September 16, 2014

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

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old SAybrook.

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old Saybrook.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

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

About the Trust for Public Land

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

 

Camp Claire Receives Donation Of Automated External Defibrillator Machine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TriTown Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to Take Part in National Conference

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

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

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

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

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

To The Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Fred V. Carstensen

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

Resident: Old Saybrook

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

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

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

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

About the Special Olympics Connecticut Law Enforcement Torch Run®

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

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

Law Enforcement Torch Run Sponsors

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

About Special Olympics Connecticut

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

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

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

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

Durham Offers General Public Transit Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore Membership

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

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

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

swallow funnel

Photos by Mindy Hill

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

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

Letter: OS Economic Development Commission – Become Informed About Preserve

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

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

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

Extension of Connecticut River Paddleway Celebrated at Gillette Castle in Lyme

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

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

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

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

canoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Literacy Volunteers Hold Annual Meeting and Recognition Awards

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

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

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

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

Ivoryton Farmer’s Market Open Through Oct. 11

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Kelly Estelle Carufe                             daughter of  Kristin and Patrick Carufe of Ivoryton

Audrey Kennedy Garden                     daughter of Lisa and Rognvald Garden of Chester

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

Erin Katrina Hayes                              daughter of Karen and David Hayes of Essex

Madeline Rose Kozlik                        daughter of Nancy and Michael Kozlik of Chester

Emily Smith LeGrand                          daughter of Kathleen and David LeGrand of Essex

Jacob Ryan Luster                               son of Mary and Steven Luster of Essex

Katherine Taylor Mulligan                   daughter of Michelle and John Mulligan of Ivoryton

Phoebe Robin Petrovic                        daughter of Kari and Marc Petrovic of Centerbrook

Samuel Bruno Rosenberg                    son of Jennifer and Robert Rosenberg of Ivoryton

Jack Paul Simoneau                             son of Diane and Paul Simoneau of Ivoryton

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

Abigail Rose Stempel                           daughter of Kelly and David Stempel of Ivoryton

Hannah Morgan VanBenschoten         daughter of Susan and Wayne VanBenschoten of Ivoryton

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

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

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

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

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

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

Founded 25 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served over 908,000 meals worth of food to shoreline neighbors in need.

Essex Garden Club Announces 2014 Scholarships

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

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

Sarah Watson will be a sophomore at Gettysburg College

Allyson Clark will be a freshman at Drew University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Founded 25 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Last year with a small staff and 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP provided enough food for 908,000 meals to shoreline neighbors in need.

TTYS – Talk Early, Talk Often!

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Family Movies at Acton Public Library

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

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

Local Authors Donate to the Chester Chapter American Legion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Scouting For Food” Helps Fill Pantry Shelves

Members of the Essex Cub Scouts, Pack 4.

Members of the Essex Cub Scouts, Pack 4.

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

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

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

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

Founded 25 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served over 908,000 meals worth of food to shoreline neighbors in need.

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

Eagles at candles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riverdance: Photo Credit Jack Hartin reproduced courtesy of Riverdance

Riverdance: Photo Credit Jack Hartin reproduced courtesy of Riverdance

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

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

Craig Ashurst,  TCRG (Photo courtesy of Christina Dozall)

Craig Ashurst, TCRG (Photo courtesy of Christina Dozall)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For additional information, call 860-388-1611.

Girl Scout Volunteer Receives Local Honor

Left to right: GSOFCT CEO Mary Barneby, Maureen, and GSOFCT Board President Caroline Sloat. (Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts of Connecticut.)

Left to right: GSOFCT CEO Mary Barneby, Maureen, and GSOFCT Board President Caroline Sloat. (Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts of Connecticut.)

OLD SAYBROOK — Girl Scouts of Connecticut is proud to announce that Maureen Francescon of the Marsh Service Unit (Old Saybrook/Westbrook) was awarded the prestigious Girl Scouts of Connecticut Pin at the organization’s Annual Meeting on May 28.

The Girl Scouts of Connecticut pin was developed exclusively by Girl Scouts of Connecticut and is the highest award given to adults on behalf of the Council. The Girl Scouts of Connecticut Pin recognizes any registered Adult Girl Scout giving outstanding service to a Council-wide assignment, or whose service and dedication impacts the success and development of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience for Girl Scouts of Connecticut.

Maureen Francescon has been the leader of Travel Troop #3 for 35 years, leading 45 girls in numerous opportunities abroad, including Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. She has also taken groups of girls to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. In addition, she ensures the troop participates in two community service trips per year.

The photo attached, from left to right: GSOFCT CEO Mary Barneby, Maureen, and GSOFCT Board President Caroline Sloat. Photo credit is Girl Scouts of Connecticut.

For more information, visit www.gsofct.org.

About Girl Scouts of Connecticut

Girl Scouts of Connecticut is the largest girl-empowerment organization in the state, serving nearly 44,000 girls and more than 18,000 adult members. Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

For further information, visit www.gsofct.org or call 1 (800) 922-2770.

New Principal Appointed for Deep River Elementary School

The Deep River Elementary School Board of Education is pleased to announce the  appointment of Mr. Christian Strickland to the position of Principal at Deep River Elementary School. Christian Strickland has most recently served as the Assistant Principal at Griswold Elementary School in Berlin, Connecticut for the past four
years.

Strickland replaces an interim principal who has directed the school since January, Nancy Haslam of East Haddam. Haslam, who had worked previously as principal at an elementary school in Waterford, was hired by the local school board at the end of last year to replace Jennifer Byars.

A local resident who was hired in 2012, Byars left to accept a position as assistant superintendent of schools for the Ledyard school district. The previous principal was Jack Pietrick, who held the job for 13 years before retiring in 2012.

Prior to his experience as Assistant Principal, Strickland was a Math Instructional Specialist for two years. Strickland began his career in education as a third and fourth grade teacher in Maryland and then in the Berlin Public Schools. Strickland has been recognized as a Teacher of the Year, and nominated for the CAS Assistant Principal of the year. Outside of school, Christian is an avid swimmer and enjoys participating in Spartan Races.

Strickland completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary education, his Master of Science Degree and his Sixth Year Degree in Educational Leadership, all from Central Connecticut State University.

The Deep River Board of Education and Search Committee were very impressed with Strickland’s knowledge, commitment to excellence, integrity, sense of humor, and enthusiasm for elementary school students, families, and the Deep River community. The Board of Education unanimously endorsed Strickland on Thursday May 15th, at their Board of Education meeting. We are confident that Strickland will provide excellent leadership for the students at Deep River Elementary School.

Strickland resides in Middletown with his family. He will begin his tenure in the Deep River Public Schools on July 1st, 2014.

Micky Dolenz to Headline in ‘Comedy is Hard’ at Ivoryton Playhouse – Sep. 24

Micky Dolenz (photo courtesy of dis Company)

Micky Dolenz (photo courtesy of dis Company)

Actor, writer, director, performer Micky Dolenz (of The Monkees) has been confirmed for the lead role in Mike Reiss’ new play Comedy Is Hard!, premiering Wednesday, September 24, at The Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton, Connecticut.

Dolenz, who just began a tour with The Monkees last week, has delighted audiences with his performances on stage in the Elton John/Tim Rice production of Aida; Grease; Pippin’; A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum; and, most recently Hairspray in the West End playing Wilbur Turnblad.

A renaissance-artist of the highest order, Dolenz has continued his recording career, most recently with a solo album entitled Remember, released last year. He has also participated heavily in several Broadway charities; most notably for Rockers On Broadway. In fact, he was just announced as the recipient of their annual award; to be presented in November.

Said Dolenz, “The opportunity to originate this role in Mike’s new play is terrific. I am ready to un-leash my inner-comedian.”

Reiss’ play is set in a home for retired actors and the play takes an affectionate look at the relationship and rivalry between a retired stand-up comedian and a classical actress.

Reiss, who is writer and producer for the long running TV show, The Simpsons, also created the animated seriesThe Critic; the webtoon Queer Duck and worked on the screenplays for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Horton Hears a Who!; The Simpsons: The Movies; and, My Life In Ruins. Ivoryton audiences turned out in droves in June 2013 for his hilarious play, I’m Connecticut, which was a huge popular and critical success.

Comedy is Hard! opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on September 24 and runs through October 12, 2014. Directed by Playhouse Artistic Director, Jacqueline Hubbard, the rest of the cast is not yet announced.

Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Tri-Town Youth Services Adopts New Logo

TTYS New Logo

TTYS New Logo

When Tri-Town Youth Services updated its logo recently, it dug deeply into the history of the region.  Chester, Deep River and Essex were all towns in the Saybrook Colony up until 1644.  Repurposing a simple border element found in the original Saybrook Colony coat of arms, the rendering is both geometric and symmetrical, motivational and energetic, and speaks to a sense of deep history and community pride that is evident throughout the tri-town area.

“Our goal is to promote health, wellness, strength, and collaboration among our youth, families, community institutions and organizations,” says Tri-Town Youth Services Director Gail Onofrio.  “We may be three towns but it is our intentional, supportive interconnectivity – cultivated by all of us for all our kids all the time – that ensures that the whole tri-town community thrives.”

The process of developing the new logo itself involved youth and adult community members’ participation in focus groups, the engagement of the brand development and design organization, co:lab, which works exclusively with organizations committed to social value.  Sandy Vaccaro of Smart Graphics has designed the agency’s new letterhead and business cards.  The new logo arrives just in time for Tri-Town Youth Services to celebrate its 30th anniversary this fall.

Tri-Town Youth Services continues to coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.  Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration, at www.tritownys.org

State Rep. Giuliano Supports STEAP Grant for Old Saybrook

OLD SAYBROOK – State Rep. Marilyn Giuliano petitioned the Small Town Economic Assistance Program for a grant of $500,000 to fund the town of Old Saybrook’s creation of the Main Street Connections Park and Parking Lot Project.

“This grant will improve our Main Street business district with much needed downtown parking and a recreational park for people to enjoy our downtown attractions,” said Giuliano.

The town will use the grant funding for capital improvements including redeveloping the irreparably storm-damaged Police Department property.  Additional downtown parking and a park with a canopied pathway and seating area are planned.

Giuliano said, “Old Saybrook has made an outstanding effort to redesign our downtown area. I am thankful to all those who assisted with this project and I look forward to seeing the progress.”

Valley Regional’s Production ‘Secret Garden’ Receives 12 Nominations for Music Theater Awards

Valley Regional Musical Productions’ newest cast member(s), Mr. Robin, arrives at rehearsal of THE SECRET GARDEN at Valley Regional High School.  (Back, left to right): VRMP cast members Megan Ryan, Shelby Talbot, Kristen Kilby and Annie Brown. (Front): Puppet artist Linda Wingerter

Valley Regional Musical Productions’ newest cast member(s), Mr. Robin, arrives at rehearsal of THE SECRET GARDEN at Valley Regional High School. (Back, left to right): VRMP cast members Megan Ryan, Shelby Talbot, Kristen Kilby and Annie Brown. (Front): Puppet artist Linda Wingerter

Valley Regional High School’s 2014 Production of The Secret Garden received 12 nominations for Connecticut High School Music Theater Award this year. The Award ceremony will take place at the black tie gala on Monday June 2, at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. Good luck to all our nominees!

OUTSTANDING HAIR & MAKE UP ACHIEVEMENT

OUTSTANDING COSTUMING ACHIEVEMENT

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN ACHIEVEMENT

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN ACHIEVEMENT

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY

OUTSTANDING MUSIC DIRECTION

OUTSTANDING LEADING ACTRESS, Maggie Walsh -MARY LENNOX

OUTSTANDING LEADING ACTOR, Andrew Goehring -ARCHIBALD CRAVEN

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR, Casey McKeon – DICKON SOWERBY

OUTSTANDING CHORUS

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR

Letters: Pleased with Sen. Linares’ Voting Record

To the Editor:

I’m sorry to read Mr. Harfst (letter May 13, 2014) is unsatisfied with Sen. Linares’ voting record.  I am quite pleased with it myself.

Senator Linares understands what raising the minimum wage does to small businesses.  He understands in this abysmal economy, forcing small business owners to pay a higher minimum wage can mean forcing them to cut low-wage jobs in order to stay afloat.  Otherwise the businesses go under, and then who does that help?  If Mr. Harfst believes those in menial jobs deserve higher pay, why stop at $10.10?  Why not go to $15?  How about $25 as the Swiss have proposed?  Low skill jobs were never intended to be the highlight of one’s career.  They were to be rungs in the ladder to help them achieve a higher ambition.  My own children did unpaid internships, worked for less than minimum wage in jobs during the summers, and now, as adults, they all have careers they busted their tushes to attain.  That’s the way our system is supposed to work.  People get rewarded for hard work done well.

Absentee ballots have been abused over the years.  With all the volunteers who are willing to drive people to the polls and the long hours the polls are open, it’s hard to believe people can’t get themselves to the polls one way or another.  It’s called personal responsibility.

Gun safety laws (i.e., gun control) after a tragedy like Sandy Hook help the population feel as though they’re doing something good after such a horrific event, however all the laws already on the books at the time of the tragedy didn’t prevent it.  Maybe if people at the school had been armed, someone may have been able to stop the perpetrator before he killed so many innocents.  We don’t read of the crimes stopped and people saved by armed citizens with concealed carry permits because those kinds of reports don’t fit the liberal narrative.  Personally, I feel safer thinking there might be someone in the shopping mall, theater, or restaurant who, at a moment’s notice, could fend off a madman.

And, speaking of the Constitution, I assume Mr. Harfst is for it.  I assume he enjoys the freedoms it assures.  If he is, then he is a Tea Partier.  Welcome!  Tea Party members, like me, believe in protecting the document that has been the envy of people all over the world, hence the reason so many want to become Americans.

As far as Sen. Linares voting “no” to certain legislation, I’m sure his reasons were as valid for his no vote as Mr. Harfst’s party’s reasons for voting for it.  As Justice Antonin Scalia says, and I’m paraphrasing, “Our system is set up to have roadblocks when it comes to legislation.  It helps prevent bad bills from being passed.  If both sides finally agree on a bill, it’s probably a good bill.”  I trust Sen. Linares to represent his constituents by using his judgment as to whether a bill is good or bad.  I also find it sad Mr. Harfst considers Sen. Linares’ “exploits” like supporting toy drives and hosting flag collections as unworthy endeavors.  I doubt the children who receive the toys or the patriots who know their tattered flags will be disposed of properly consider these events a waste of time.  And for him to vote “no” on even higher gas prices, I say “YAY”!  They’re already some of the highest taxes in the country and any increase hurts most the aforementioned low-wage earners Mr. Harfst presumes to want to help.

Senator Linares is continuously meeting, speaking to, and most of all, listening to his constituents so he can do the work they want him to do.  In other words, he’s doing exactly what he was elected to do.

Sincerely,

Adrienne Forrest
Essex

Carney Cruises to Victory in 23rd District Republican Convention

Devin Carney

Devin Carney

Devin Carney, Republican candidate for State Representative, won the 23rd District Convention by a vote of 10-4. His campaign was able to earn unanimous support from Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. This included votes from the Lyme First Selectman, Ralph Eno, the Old Saybrook First Selectman, Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., and the current State Representative for the 23rd District, Marilyn Giuliano, who also gave Carney his nominating speech and has endorsed him.

In a statement, Giuliano said, “I believe Devin will work for all of us with energy and integrity, and with an interest not in politics, but public service.” Giuliano lost her convention in 2002 by onlytwo votes on a second ballot vote after the first vote failed to determine a winner by majority, but defeated her opponent in a primary due to her showing in her hometown of Old Saybrook.

In addition to the support at convention, Carney has received support from each town – which can be seen through his strong fundraising effort. He collected 95 donations from Old Saybrook, 57 from Old Lyme, 35 from Westbrook, and 18 from Lyme.

Carney stated, “The results at convention were a testament to the hard work I’ve put in these past few months and to the confidence the delegates have in me to win in November. I bring new, fresh ideas to the table and can’t wait to get up to Hartford to offer some much-needed common sense. I am not your typical politician, but rather a regular person just trying to fix our economy, get jobs back in Connecticut, and help rejuvenate the Republican Party in this state.”

He continued, “Most importantly, I believe the people of the 23rd District deserve a representative who understands the unique issues in each of the four towns. While I live in Old Saybrook, my family is from Westbrook, my mother lives in Lyme, and my longtime girlfriend lives in Old Lyme with her children. I have a personal stake in each town and will be a representative for all; the people of the 23rd deserve nothing less.”

For more information about Carney’s campaign, contact Melissa Bonner at carneyfor23pr@gmail.com.

Talking Transportation: America’s Interstate Highways

The 47,000 miles of highways that comprise America’s interstate highway system are nothing short of an engineering marvel, surpassed only by what China has built in the last few years.

We take them for granted, but when they were designed almost 60 years ago these super-highways presented both great opportunity and vast challenges. The US wasn’t the first with super-highways. Those bragging rights go to the Germans, whose Reichsautobahn saw cars zooming along at 100+ mph in the 1930’s.

Most credit President Eisenhower, whose troops rode the Autobahn in WWII, for seeing the military value of an American equivalent, though engineering such a complex across the US was far more difficult.

Of course, by 1940 the US already had the Pennsylvania Turnpike and, by 1954, the NY State Thruway, but private toll roads were just the beginning.

To build a road expected to last, in 1955 the federal government, AAA and automakers first built a $27 million seven mile test road near Ottawa, Illinois. Half was concrete, the other half asphalt. The 836 separate sections of highway had various sub-surfaces and 16 bridges. For two years army trucks drove night and day, seeing which road designs would hold up.

Weather and traffic dictated different designs: in desert areas the highways need be only a foot thick, while in Maine the tough winter and freeze-thaw cycles required that I-95 would be five feet thick.

Construction of the highways required moving 42 billion cubic feet of soil. To expedite construction of I-40 in California, there was even a plan to use nuclear bombs to vaporize part of the Bristol Mountain range.

As author Dan McNichol writes in his excellent book, “The Roads that Built America”, “VIP seating was even planned for the event. The (nuclear) bombing was to produce a cloud 12,000 feet high and a radioactive blast 133 times that of Hiroshima.” Needless to say, the mountains were moved using more conventional explosives.

Outside of Greenbelt, Md., another site tested the design of road signs … white lettering on a black background, white on blue (already adopted by the NY Thruway) or, what proved to be the winning model, white on green.

Just 5,200 of the original 41,000 miles of Interstates were to be built in urban areas, but those few miles accounted for almost half of the $425 billion total cost. By 1992 the system was deemed “completed”. Bragging rights for the longest of the interstates goes to I-90 running 3,020 miles from Boston to Seattle and our own beloved I-95, which runs 1,920 miles from the Canadian border to Miami, Fla.

As anyone who drives on I-95 in Connecticut knows, the interstates have far surpassed their expected traffic load and are in need of billions of repairs. Little did we know 60 years ago what our automotive future might bring.

Jim Cameron

Jim CameronJim Cameron has been a Darien resident for 22 years. He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

Local Companies Honored by Middlesex United Way

Jason Bohn, Paulette Swanson and Vin Capece accept an award for Middlesex Hospital at the Middlesex United Way Campaign Awards Breakfast. Capece served as chair of the 2013-14 Middlesex United Way Campaign for Middlesex County.

Jason Bohn, Paulette Swanson and Vin Capece accept an award for Middlesex Hospital at the Middlesex United Way Campaign Awards Breakfast. Capece served as chair of the 2013-14 Middlesex United Way Campaign for Middlesex County.

AREAWIDE – More than 75 companies, organizations, and individuals were honored May 6 for their contributions to raising $1.75 million for the 2013-14 Middlesex United Way Campaign.

Local companies recognized include: AAA Allied Group, Old Saybrook; AT&T, Inc., Essex and Old Saybrook; Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT, Essex; Community Health Center, Old Saybrook; Essex Savings Bank, Essex; Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., Old Saybrook; Liberty Bank, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook; Mahoney Sabol & Company LLP, Essex; Middlesex Hospital, Essex; Stop & Shop SupermarketCo., Old Saybrook; and Tower Laboratories, Centerbrook.

The top honor, the Corporate Spirit Award, was presented to Standard-Knapp, of Portland. The Corporate Spirit Award is the highest honor a company can receive for running a United Way campaign.

Other distinguished honors were awarded to: East Hampton resident Meghan Slater, of the Middletown firm Wright-Pierce, who was named Coordinator of the Year for bringing enthusiasm and creativity to the workplace campaign; Carol P. Wallace, CEO of Cooper-Atkins Corp. in Middlefield, who earned the Leadership Award for exemplifying philanthropic leadership through support of the United Way campaign; and Kuhn Employment Opportunities in Middletown, named Funding Partner of the Year for achieving noteworthy results in employee giving and special events by a Middlesex United Way funding partner.

Special Achievement Awards for outstanding Middlesex United Way campaigns were presented to: Henkels & McCoy, of Portland; Lyman Farm, Inc. of Middlefield, Town of Durham; and Middlesex Hospital and Webster Bank, both with locations throughout Middlesex County.

Colebrook Financial in Middletown was awarded the Small Business Community Partnership Award for outstanding support by a small business.

2013-14 Campaign Chair Vincent G. Capece, Jr., of Middlesex Hospital, was honored for his leadership during the campaign, and Dr. Pat Charles, superintendent of Middletown Public Schools, was announced as the incoming 2014-15 Campaign Chair.

The funds raised by these companies through the Middlesex United Way campaign will be invested in strategies to advance education, income, health and housing in Middlesex County. Middlesex United Way is a locally based organization dedicated to strengthening lives, helping people, and improving community conditions in the fifteen towns in Middlesex County. Middlesex United Way serves the towns of Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

For a complete list of all 2013-14 Middlesex United Way Campaign Award winners, visit www.middlesexunitedway.org/news.

State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg Addresses Nominating Convention of Rep. Joe Courtney

From left: Emily Bjornberg, Rep. Joe Courtney and State Rep. Mae Flexer (D-Killingly) at Courtney's nominating convention earlier this week.

From left: Emily Bjornberg, Rep. Joe Courtney and State Rep. Mae Flexer (D-Killingly) at Courtney’s nominating convention earlier this week.

Emily Bjornberg of Lyme, Democratic candidate for the State Senate in the 33rd District, addressed the nominating convention of U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-2nd) on Wednesday evening at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield.

The 33rd District includes Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

“Joe Courtney has amassed a stellar record of fighting hard for education, defense, agriculture and small business. He holds true to the values that matter most to Eastern Connecticut, and we are proud to call him our representative,” said Bjornberg.

Courtney is seeking a fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“It has been an honor to serve the people of the second district of Connecticut for more than seven years, and I am looking forward to running again. I am grateful for the strong support displayed at our convention, which demonstrates the importance of the work we will continue to do in Connecticut and in Washington,” said Courtney in a prepared statement.

Lanier Reaches Goal to Qualify for Public Election Campaign Funds

Vicki Lanier (R) of Old Lyme has announced that in just six weeks of active fundraising, she significantly exceeded the required amount of funds and number of donors to qualify for public campaign funds to be used both in any

primary efforts and ultimately in her race against any Democratic candidate this November. Lanier’s donors have come from both statewide and the four towns with areas in the 23rd District, namely Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Lyme and Westbrook.

Lanier commented, “I am excited by the level of support we have so quickly built for my campaign effort. My extensive experience of true civic service and real accomplishments as an elected official have prepared me for the demands of serving as an effective state assembly member. ”

She added, “With the close of the 2014 legislative session, I would also like to express my thanks to our distinguished retiring 23rd district state representative, Marilyn Giuliano. She has done an outstanding job of balancing leadership on issues with listening to constituents and advocating for their views.”

Vicki, a life-long resident of Old Lyme, was elected to the Regional District 18 Board of Education in 2009, where she served as treasurer. She holds a law degree from Quinnipiac University and practices family law. She is a contributing mentor to various women’s groups and active in community efforts supporting children and small businesses.

For additional information, contact vickilanier2014@gmail.com. Visit her page on Facebook at “Lanier2014″ and her website at www.lanier2014.com.

Region 4 Superintendent Dr. Ruth Levy Wins TTYS Award

Dr. Ruth Levy

Dr. Ruth Levy

Tri-Town Youth Services recently presented its 2014 Generativity Award to Region 4 Superintendent of Schools, Ruth Levy. Dr. Levy has been with Region 4 Schools for eight years. During her initial three years, she served as Assistant Superintendent.

Dr. Levy was chosen for this award because of her leadership of the schools in the tri-town area. Dr. Levy attributes much of the schools’ success to the extensive collaboration that takes place among educators, government, social services, prevention programming. She cites involvement with Whelan, law enforcement, Tri-Town, Camp Hazen and Boards of Selectmen, Boards of Finance and Boards of Education all coming together to benefit the children. As she says, “it’s a wonderful place for children to grow up.”

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex. We coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most. Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org

 

Dates For Chester Sunday Market

CSM+LogoThe dates for the Chester Sunday Market for 2014 have been set!

They will be operating from June 15th to October 12th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday mornings.  A vendor list and calendar for which bands are playing will be posted at chestersundaymarket.jimdo.com/.

Also, please like us on Facebook to get instant updates on what’s happening at the market.

Ten Shoreline FDs Collect 6,285 Pounds Food for Shoreline Soup Kitchens

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is pleased to announce that the 2014 Firehouse Food Drive held on April 26, 2014 raised 6,285 pounds of food for local residents in need.  With the largest group of participating fire stations ever, volunteers and donors across the shoreline donned their raingear to lend a hand during the stormy Saturdaymorning.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) is particularly grateful that this drive was a success, despite the rainy weather, because March and April are traditionally slow donation months.

This is the third year that area fire stations have participated in the drive. Ten towns joined in the effort, including Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Westbrook, Essex, Killingworth, Chester, Deep River, North Madison, Clinton and Niantic. Firehouses provided staff and publicity, opened their doors as drop off locations and helped to deliver donations to the pantries. Many stations also set up tents and sorting stations, handed out grocery bags, posted social media announcements, distributed lists of most-needed foods, and collected food at other April fire house events.

In addition, the Clinton Shop Rite, Clinton Stop & Shop, Old Saybrook Stop & Shop, and Roberts Food Center of North Madison offered additional donation areas, manned by firehouse volunteers. This year the Old Saybrook firehouse brought in media sponsors, including Shore Publishing, who donated large advertisements in three newspapers. Radio stations Soft Rock 106.5 WBMW, Connecticut’s Hottest Jamz Jammin 107.7, and 94.9 News Now! helped get the word out with a live broadcast from the Old Saybrook firehouse, and AM stations WMRD 1150 and WLIS 1420 made many public service announcements.

“Every day the personnel of the our volunteer fire stations are available to help those effected by fire and emergencies—they never turn down a call for assistance and raise their hearts and hands to help those in need.  On April 26th, once again these amazing men and women gave of their precious time to answer the call of those most needy in our community.  On behalf of SSKP and those we serve, thank you so much for this amazing gift of time and help—not only to our many fire stations, but to all those who dropped off food—you made a real difference in the lives of your neighbors”, said Patty Dowling, SSKP Executive Director.

The need for donated food is on-going throughout the year, and SSKP urges other community groups to consider organizing food drives. The Shoreline Soup Kitchen’s five pantries distributed over 1 million pounds of food in 2013. Only 40% of this food is obtained through food banks; the remainder must be either purchased or donated. Call(860) 388-1988 or visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org for more information. All drives, no matter what the size, are greatly appreciated.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Founded 25 years ago, in 1989, at the Baptist Church in Essex, the agency continues in its mission to feed the hungry in body and spirit. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served enough food for over 908,000 meals to shoreline neighbors in need.

 

Essex Savings Bank Center for Financial Training Certificate Awards

ESSEX —  Essex Savings Bank is pleased to announce that several employees were honored at the 67th Annual Graduation and Awards Ceremony of the Center for Financial Training.  Brenda Kim, Assistant Branch Manager of the Old Lyme Branch, received her Professional Teller Certificate, Advanced Financial Services Diploma and First in Class Certificate for Real Estate Finance.  Isabel Roberge, Senior Teller at the Chester Branch, received her Professional Teller Certificate and Suzanne Schneider, Accounting Representative at the Corporate Office, received a First in Class Certificate for Law and Banking:  Applications, Introduction to Financial Services Certificate and Introduction to Financial Services Operations Certificate.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.   Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

Republican State Rep. Candidate Carney Reaches Fundraising Milestone

Devin Carney

Devin Carney

Republican candidate for State Representative, Devin Carney, has announced that he has raised $6,285 from 205 donors across the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. His campaign will qualify for funding through the Citizen’s Clean Election Program, which requires ‘public support’ from 150 donors in the four towns represented by the 23rd District. $5,000 in small donations is also required in order receive the $27,850 grant, which comes primarily from the sale of abandoned property in the state’s custody.

“We are very excited to have reached our fundraising goals so quickly from such a diverse group of people in the district,” Lisa Knepshield, deputy treasurer for Carney 2014, said. “We have 95 donors from Old Saybrook, 57 from Old Lyme, 35 from Westbrook, and 18 from Lyme – from all across the political spectrum.”

Carney, a realtor and former political operative, said that surpassing the fundraising threshold so early will give him a chance to focus on the issues and meet more people. “I am happy that I can now talk to voters without having to worry about raising money and I can bring my message of common sense, fiscal responsibility, and improving our quality of life to good people of the 23rd.”

“People know my character, know my work ethic, and know my enthusiasm to bring logical solutions to Hartford” he said, “I’m not a traditional politician and I am running because we need to get businesses back to Connecticut, keep our talented younger population in the state, make the shoreline affordable to retirees and families and, overall, help rebuild our struggling economy.”

Carney is a lifelong resident of Old Saybrook and grandson of Art Carney of Hollywood and Westbrook fame. Representative Marilyn Giuliano, who has represented the district since 2003, currently holds the seat. The Old Saybrook Republican announced in February that she would not seek a 7th term. She has thrown her support behind Carney.

For more information, contact Melissa Bonner at carneyfor23pr@gmail.com.

Talking Transportation: Things Are Getting Better on Metro-North

Jim CameronI know it may be hard to believe, but I think things are getting better on Metro-North.

Last week I finally met Joseph Giulietti, the new President of Metro-North. I found him to be very smart, quite candid and equipped with a reasonable plan to bring this railroad back to its once-deserved world-class status.

On May 11th a new timetable will become effective, aimed at achieving two goals: safety and reliability. The timetable will mean running trains on-time but still allowing for track and catenary work to keep the railroad in a state of good repair.

At a Commuter Forum in Westport, Giulietti was the first to admit that the railroad was in bad shape, that trains are running slower and later, often with standees. But unlike GM’s Chairman explaining delays in safety recalls and blaming it on “the old GM”, Giulietti is taking ownership of the problems. That’s refreshing.

Yes, trains are not on time (just 76 percent in February), but that’s because after the last May’s Bridgeport derailment the FRA issued speed restrictions on bridges and curves. The current timetable is, as one commuter put it in our recent survey, “more of a suggestion” than anything else.

So for the past months the railroad has been analyzing the entire timetable, looking at the reasons for every late train and being open to revising everything. The new timetable will rationalize the current running times, adding 2-4 minutes for trains between New Haven and Stamford, but cutting two to four minutes for runs from Stamford to GCT.

That means that your 7:35 a.m. train to work, usually arriving this winter at 7:40 or 7:45, may be rescheduled to arrive at 7:40 and, probably, will. This means you can plan your life with reliability and not be wasting time on the platform peering down the track.

The problem of standees on trains will hopefully lessen when people return to a routine commuting cycle and extra railcars will be provided on trains where ridership shows the demand for more seats.

The good news is that with increased reliability, we may also see greater frequency of service … four trains an hour in the a.m. peak instead of three trains every half-hour off-peak. Yes, the run may take a bit longer, but you’ll have more options, always knowing the scheduled departure and arrival times will be achieved.

But is the railroad safe? Yes, insist both Giulietti and CDOT Commissioner Jim Redeker. But so too was airline safety / security after 9-11. And our bridges became safer after the collapse of the Mianus River Bridge 30 years ago. Even in the “land of steady habits,” we hopefully learn from our mistakes.

We’re now about half-way through Mr. Giulietti’s 100 day plan to get Metro-North back on track. I, for one, am hopeful he will achieve his goals. But on day 100, June 11th, I’ll be checking the scorecard and seeing what he’s achieved versus what was promised.

Jim Cameron


Jim Cameron has been a Darien resident for 22 years. He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

Two New Rebud Trees on South Main

2014-04-25 09.54.47In celebration of Arbor Day, the Essex Rotary Club and the Essex Garden Club each donated a redbud tree to the Essex Tree Committee. These trees were planted on Friday, April 25 on South Main Street (opposite Collins Street) by Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden and Chairman of the Tree Committee with the help of Fred Weber Tree and Landscape Experts. Richard Levene and Dr. Peter Pool from the Rotary Club and Linda Newberg from the Essex Garden Club, the Club’s President were on hand to add the final touches to the planting.

The Eastern redbud (cercis Canadensis) is one of the first trees to flower in the spring with large showy clusters of soft pink to magenta buds that pop out directly on the branches and trunk. After blooming, light green, heart shaped leaves appear. These darken to an emerald green and in the fall turn to a golden yellow. The disease resistant trees mature to a height of 20-30 feet.

These new trees are just two of many that were added to the Essex landscape this year thanks also to the Essex Land Trust and the Dept. of Park and Recreation. To see any of the new trees take a walk across the Town Hall campus, stroll into Cross Lots, check out the new trees at the Essex Elementary School and the Ivoryton Green.

Once again the Essex community enhances the beauty to our streets and parks! If you or your organization would like to fund/donate a tree, please contact Augie Pampel at augiepampel@att.net.

IFoundFitness Weight Loss Challenge Helps Feeds the Hungry

Left to right: Claire Bellerjeau of SSKP, Donna Scott, Owner of IFoundFitness, Jeff Prindle, Store Manager of the Deep River Adams Super Food Store, and the top three winners of the challenge: first place, Sarina Garofalo, second place, “Santa” Dave Puffer, and third place, Deb Garofalo, pictured with the food donation.

Left to right: Claire Bellerjeau of SSKP, Donna Scott, Owner of IFoundFitness, Jeff Prindle, Store Manager of the Deep River Adams Super Food Store, and the top three winners of the challenge: first place, Sarina Garofalo, second place, “Santa” Dave Puffer, and third place, Deb Garofalo, pictured with the food donation.

DEEP RIVER — The 2014 IFoundFitness “Winter River Valley Slim Down” challenge included over 30 people competing for $2,300 in prizes. In addition, the competition raised $478 to purchase a food donation for The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries. The winner, Sarina Garofalo, lost 21% of her body weight in 12 weeks through the challenge.

The total weight of the food donated was equally impressive, resulting in 339 pounds of food for SSKP’s Westbrook Pantry, which distributes over 15,000 pounds of food every month to hundreds of local families in need. When the funds were brought to the Deep River Adams Supermarket, manager Jeff Prindle sold the food “at cost”, making every penny count for the pantry.

Donna Scott, owner of IFoundFitness, repeats this special challenge several times per year. “Getting people of all ages fit, through regular exercise and healthy eating, and then giving back to the community is what it’s about!”, she said.

“On behalf of those we serve, who experience a community that cares deeply each time they attend a pantry, I thank IFoundFitness and all the challenge participants for remembering those in need on the shoreline,” said Patty Dowling, executive director of SSKP.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Founded 25 years ago, in 1989, at the Baptist Church in Essex, the agency continues in its mission to feed the hungry in body and spirit. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served over 908,000 meals worth of food to shoreline neighbors in need.

 

Senator Linares Endorses McKinney for Governor

John McKinney

John McKinney

State Senator Art Linares (R-Westbrook) today endorsed State Senate Republican Leader John McKinney to be the next governor of the state of Connecticut.

“Republicans have a great opportunity in this election to take back the governor’s office and win a number of new seats in the legislature, but we will not be successful unless we have a strong candidate at the top of our ticket, Senator John McKinney is that candidate,” Linares said. “Senator McKinney is a dynamic leader capable of taking our Party and our state in a positive new direction.”

Senator Linares represents the 35th State Senate District in the Connecticut General Assembly, which encompasses the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and his hometown of Westbrook. He is ranking member on the Banks Committee. In his private life, Linares, 25, is cofounder of a successful, Middletown-based, commercial solar energy company.

Linares is of Cuban-American descent. His grandparents fled communist Cuba in the 1960’s to start over in America where his father started his own business. Linares, who volunteered for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio before running for office himself, has made it a priority to improve Republican outreach to Latino communities.

“Senator McKinney, can relate Republican values to young voters, female voters and Latino voters – constituencies we must rally to build a strong foundation for the future of our Party,” Linares said.

McKinney thanked Linares for his endorsement. “Senator Linares represents the future of our Party. I marvel at what this young man has accomplished in such a short period of time and what the future may hold for him. I am grateful for his support and for what he has taught me about the issues important to his constituents in southeastern Connecticut.”

University of New Haven and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts Reach Historic Agreement

OLD LYME — The governing bodies of both the University of New Haven and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts have unanimously approved a proposal for Lyme Academy College to become the university’s sixth college.

“The affiliation of these two outstanding institutions is an exciting and historic event,” said University of New Haven President Steven H. Kaplan. “This will raise the stature of fine arts education in the Northeast and expand the benefits, services and opportunities that the university and Lyme Academy College provide to students, faculty, alumni and all Connecticut residents.”

Robert W. Pratt Jr., chairman of the Board of Trustees of Lyme Academy College, agreed, adding, “The cultural, educational and civic resources of both institutions will become stronger, more exciting and increasingly available to a larger constituency.”

The Board of Trustees of Lyme Academy College and the Board of Governors of the University of New Haven both provided their approvals in early April. The Connecticut Office of Higher Education and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges also approved the affiliation.

“I am grateful for the bold decision of both boards,” Kaplan said. “We will work closely with Lyme Academy College to support and enhance what already is a top-tier fine arts education program that is one of the cultural and educational jewels of the Northeast.”

The affiliation presents many advantages to both institutions. Lyme Academy College will benefit from the operational breadth and depth of the University of New Haven, gaining access to an expanded range of liberal arts courses and complementary UNH art programs, such as design and digital media. The University of New Haven also offers study-abroad opportunities at its campus outside Florence, Italy, where Lyme Academy College students can attend classes. Lyme Academy College students also will gain access to the university’s growing portfolio of new and exciting learning opportunities.

“Very little will change as regards the student experience,” said Lyme Academy College President Scott Colley. “We will retain the acclaimed essence of the college – the small size of our classes, the hands-on experiences and the opportunity to become immersed in representational art. But we will gain access to an expanded reservoir of courses, technologies and academic initiatives that will strengthen the educational experience. Additionally, the opportunity to study abroad in Italy is particularly appealing to our students.

“After 20 years as an academy and almost another 20 as a fully accredited independent college, this affiliation represents a wonderful opportunity for Lyme Academy College to take the next step in its evolution as it becomes part of a much larger university, while retaining all the attributes of a small institution,” Colley continued.

The University of New Haven will add Lyme Academy College’s high-quality Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) program to its curriculum, making it possible for UNH students to study painting, sculpting, drawing and illustration. The university does not currently offer a B.F.A.

“Our university is known for the unique experiential programs it offers to students. The program at Lyme Academy College fits in well with our rapidly expanding offerings at our main campus in West Haven, our new campus in Orange, and our international program in Italy,” Kaplan said.

“We are determined to protect and preserve the mission of Lyme Academy College, retaining the unique qualities that appeal to students seeking an arts degree in an idyllic, rural setting in Old Lyme, Conn., that nurtures creativity,” he added.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. The university has 80 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Founded in 1920, the university enrolls approximately 1,800graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts continues the academic tradition of figurative and representational fine art while preparing students for a lifetime of contemporary creative practice. The college offers the bachelor of fine arts degree in drawing, illustration, painting, and sculpture (full- and part-time study); certificates in painting and sculpture; a post-baccalaureate program; continuing education for adults; and a pre-college program for students aged 15-18. The college is located at 84 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

Very Rare Sturgeon Found on Bank of Connecticut River in Lyme

sturgeon

These youngsters stand by the sturgeon found yesterday at the end of Elys Ferry Rd.

This very rare sturgeon (pictured above) was found Saturday on the banks of the Connecticut River near the end of Elys Ferry Road in Lyme.  It was about five feet long.

Labelled an endangered species by the Connecticut DEEP, the sea-run population of sturgeon in the Connecticut River is concentrated along the lower part of the River.  There is a landlocked population surviving above dams in the upper watershed of the river.

For more information on sturgeon in Connecticut, visit the DEEP website at http://www.ct.gov/deEP/cwp/view.asp?a=2723&q=326092&deepNav_GID=1655

Obituary: Gary William Lamothe – April 13, 2014

ESSEX – Gary William Lamothe, 56, died Sunday, April 13, 2014, at Yale New Haven Hospital.

He was born in Meriden May 23, 1957. He lived in Essex and will be missed by his friend, Marsha Pond, and his dogs Ty, Cooper and Phoebe. Gary had struggled with many medical conditions in the past years but he always embraced his spirituality.

He is survived by a brother, Bruce Lamothe, of Ogunquit, Maine; a sister, Janet Gura, of Meriden; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his life partner, Spirit T. X.; his mother and father, Marlene and Richard Lamothe; his brother, Richard Jr.; and sisters, Carol and Diane.

A memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, May 3, at 1:15 p.m. at St. Lawrence Parish, 121 Camp St, Meriden, Ct.

Friends may make donations to: Maryheart Crusaders at 338 Coe Ave., Meriden, CT 06451 and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – SPCA, 359 Spring Hill Road, Monroe, CT 06468-2100.

The Spa of Essex Celebrates Anniversary with a New Addition

ESSEX — The Spa of Essex is celebrating its anniversary!  2014 marks 8 years of providing luxury & wellness services to clients from near and far. This spring they are also excited to unveil the new Sauna & Steam Lounge.

Clients of The Spa of Essex are now able to experience the benefits of both a sauna and a steam (visit http://www.thespaofessex.com/spa-blog/  to read about the benefits of sauna and steam).   “We asked our clients what additional services they would like and we are thrilled to be able to fulfill their requests. We believe that it is all about your experience!” said Joyce Cosenza, owner of the spa.

The Spa of Essex, located at 65 South Main St., Essex, CT, is an elegant day spa & boutique with a serene and sophisticated environment designed for even the most discriminating of clientele. With a menu offering all that is essential to relax, renew and achieve your desired results, you may choose from more than 100 treatments & experiences that are completely customized to meet your needs.