June 30, 2016

The Country School Offers $10,000 Merit Scholarship

AREAWIDE –– In celebration of The Country School’s 60th Anniversary, the school’s Board of Trustees is providing a $10,000 merit scholarship to a student applying for admission to Grades 4-8 for the fall of 2016. Additional scholarships will be offered to students entering those grades based on applicants’ qualifications and/or need. Founded in 1955, The Country School is celebrating its 60th anniversary during the 2015-2016 school year.

This will be the second 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship awarded in honor of The Country School’s founding six decades ago. Eloise de Landevoisin Campbell, currently an 8th Grader from Lyme, was awarded the 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship for the 2015-2016 school year. In addition, other students received partial scholarships after applying for the merit scholarship.

Head of School John Fixx will share information about the 60th Anniversary Scholarship program on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 12:30 p.m. in conjunction with the school’s Winter Open House (taking place from 1-3:30 p.m.). While students sit for the Merit Scholarship test, parents will have the opportunity to tour campus and speak directly with faculty members, current parents, and administrators. To learn more and register, go to http://www.thecountryschool.org/admission/60th-anniversary-merit-scholarship.

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

On January 31, visitors will learn about the academic program and the wide academic, artistic, athletic, and leadership opportunities on campus. They will also learn about The Country School’s six decades-long history of preparing graduates for the strongest independent secondary schools and high school honors programs in the area and throughout New England. Families will receive the impressive list of where Country School graduates attend college and hear how the Secondary School Placement Office assists families in attracting similar scholarship support for secondary school.

Students will sit for the Merit Scholarship test and experience hands-on learning and design challenges similar to those our current students experience on a regular basis. They will also explore campus and meet teachers and students.

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

The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving 200 students in PreSchool through Grade 8, ages 3-14, on its 23-acre campus in Madison. This year, also in honor of the school’s 60th anniversary, the campus is undergoing a major transformation, with new athletic fields, tennis courts, and playground areas being installed. Future enhancements will affect classroom buildings, campus infrastructure, and outdoor common spaces.

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

For further information, visit www.thecountryschool.org.

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Essex Library’s Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series Begins Eighth Year Tonight

The 2016 Centerbrook Lecture Series opens with a talk on the evolution of ocean liners by Chad

The 2016 Centerbrook Lecture Series opens with a talk on the evolution of the modern ocean liner by Chad Floyd.

Chad Floyd

Chad Floyd

The Essex Library invites you to the kick off of the eighth year of its architecture lecture series sponsored by Centerbrook Architects on Friday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall when the program, “SS United States, Hallmark of 20th Century Design” will be presented by architect and raconteur Chad Floyd, FAIA.

Floyd will tell the story of the great ocean liner SS United States, designed by marine architect Francis Gibbs and interior designer Dorothy Marckwald.  He will show how this little-known pair reimagined ocean liners and invented a new mid-century aesthetic that married function with glamour and changed American design forever.

Over the previous seven years, the lecture series has enjoyed presentations by architects and landscape architects from across the United States and Canada. The series was also honored to welcome Nobel Prize winner James Watson, who participated in a discussion on designing science laboratories at Cold Spring Harbor.

Upcoming Centerbrook series lectures this spring will include talks on barns in Connecticut; the architecture of Hugh Ferriss and Lee Lawrie; and a premiere of the film Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion by Matthew Silva.

This program is free and open to all.

For more information or to register, call the Library at (860) 767-1560.  The Essex Town Hall is located at 29 West Ave. in Essex.

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The Insane Insidewalk Sale Continues Tomorrow in Saybrook

There will be bargains galore at this year’s Insane Insidewalk Sale in Old Saybrook.

There will be bargains galore at this year’s Insane Insidewalk Sale in Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK — The-e-list.com presents the Seventh Annual Insane Insidewalk Sale Friday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Jan. 30, at 105 Elm St., in the Old Saybrook Shopping Center, just a few doors down from the Stop & Shop grocery store. The Sale will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $5, which covers entry for both days and the first 25 people to enter the Sale on Friday will have their admission fee waived.

This Sale enables people to shop the best stores and designers on the shoreline in one location at up to 75 percent off — it’s a pop-up specialty mall, featuring over 20 of the best local boutiques and designers offering deals on women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry, gifts, home decor, and kid’s clothing for two days only.

Ann Lightfoot will be selling her beautiful jewelry at the Insane Insidewalk Sale.Ann Lightfoot will be selling her beautiful jewelry at the Insane Insidewalk Sale.

Exhibitors include Ann Lightfoot Jewelry, Just Hatched, Mix Design Store, Grace, Ciao Bella, Ella Where She Shops, Lulu’s, Southern Exposure, J. McLaughlin and many more. For a full list of participating vendors, visit http://theeli.st/1MOsmSy

The Insane Insidewalk Sale was conceived in 2008 to help local retailers who were stuck with excess inventory after the financial crash and a dismal holiday season. The-e-list rented a vacant storefront and invited 20 boutiques to sell their wares at deep discounts. It was a huge success for both vendors and attendees and now it’s become a well-established tradition that Shoreline shoppers eagerly anticipate.

Last January, more than 1,500 enthusiastic shoppers turned out for the Insane Insidewalk Sale. Bargains were snatched up from the likes of Southern Exposure, Silkworm, Stonewear and many more. Erica Tannen, creator and publisher of The-e-List commented, “It was a delight to meet and gab with e-list readers face-to-face,” adding, “I snagged a few steals myself: perfect wineglasses at Mix, de rigeur stretchy fleece leggings from Grace, and a hilarious but too-cozy-for-words hat/scarf/mitten combo (with ears) from Ciao Bella!”

Tannen continued, “It [the 2015 Sale] was the best one yet, and I’ll chalk it up to the enthusiastic crowds and happy vibe. It was a joyful place: vendors were thrilled to clean out their excess stock, shoppers were excited to score extreme bargains.” She noted, “The real fun was in the communal dressing room. Women of all ages, shapes and sizes stripped down to their skivvies and swapped clothes, opinions and advice. Unlike most solitary dressing room experiences (Oh, no! Whose thighs are those?), if you needed a boost to your self esteem, you got it there.”

She concluded, “[The 2015 Sale] left me nostalgic for the days when we shopped en masse versus all alone with a computer screen. Online shopping is handy but will never deliver instant gratification and community like the Insane Insidewalk Sale [does].”

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Coldwell Banker’s Essex Office Donates to Shoreline Soup Kitchen, Essex Housing Authority

The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Essex office recently presented an $800 donation to the Essex Housing Authority. Pictured from left are affiliated sales associates Dee Hasuly, Roy Monte, Laurel Peters, Tammy Mesite of the Essex Housing Authority, Peter Bonanno, and Jeanne Rutigliano, manager of the Coldwell Banker Essex office.

The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Essex office recently presented an $800 donation to the Essex Housing Authority. Pictured from left are affiliated sales associates Dee Hasuly, Roy Monte, Laurel Peters, Tammy Mesite of the Essex Housing Authority, Peter Bonanno, and Jeanne Rutigliano, manager of the Coldwell Banker Essex office.

ESSEX – The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Essex recently donated a total of $1,800 to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries and the Essex Housing Authority. The donations were made through the company’s charitable foundation, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Cares Foundation.

A $1,000 donation was presented to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries, an interfaith service that provides food and fellowship to those in need and also educates the community about hunger and poverty. Additionally, an $800 donation was made to the Essex Housing Authority.

The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Essex office presented $1,000 to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries. Pictured from left are affiliated sales associates Rick Greene, Laurel Peters, Executive Director Patricia Dowling, and Roy Monte.

The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Essex office presented $1,000 to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries. Pictured from left are affiliated sales associates Rick Greene, Laurel Peters, Executive Director Patricia Dowling, and Roy Monte.

“We are committed to giving back to the community and are especially proud to support these worthy organizations which provide vital services to local residents. The resources and assistance they offer is essential for the health, well-being, security and stability of our neighbors,” said Jeanne Rutigliano, sales manager of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Essex.

The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Cares Foundation is supported by the affiliated sales associates and staff of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Through regular donations, fundraising events and volunteer support, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s affiliated sales associates and staff demonstrate their commitment to unity, hope and vision in the communities of Connecticut and Westchester County.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Cares Foundation is a chapter of Realogy Charitable Foundation, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Delaware, tax ID 20-0755090. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Cares Foundation’s primary purpose is to raise funds to provide financial assistance to housing-related causes in the communities where we have a presence.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, a leading residential real estate brokerage company in Connecticut and Westchester County, N.Y., operates approximately 51 offices with more than 2,200 affiliated sales associates serving the communities of Connecticut and Westchester County, N.Y. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is part of NRT LLC, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company.

For more information, visit ColdwellBankerHomes.com.

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Essex Historical Society Presents Program on E.E. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Brand, Today

Printing area, ground floor of new office 1929

This 1929 photo shows the printing area and ground floor of the then new E.E. Dickinson office. Image courtesy of the Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — The 20th century was a time of great change and growth in the manufacturing and marketing of American products. The E.E. Dickinson Company, an Essex-based producer of Witch Hazel, was one of the most successful in dominating the national market and becoming a household name. The fascinating story of the birth of the Dickinson brand will be presented by the Essex Historical Society on Sunday, Jan. 24, at 3 p.m. in the original 1924 corporate office building — now Wells Fargo Advisors — at 31 North Main St. in Essex.

Image courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Image courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Local historian Brenda Milkofsky will address the complex, well-timed marketing efforts of the E.E. Dickinson Company, providing historical perspective on the local and national impact of the company’s growth.

A variety of Dickinson advertising and marketing artwork will be highlighted along with images that illustrate the company office environment and processes. Tours of the building’s public areas, including the gracious 1920s lobby, will be given following the program.

This lecture is part of a series of special events celebrating the Essex Historical Society’s 60th anniversary and the E.E. Dickinson Company legacy. The program is free and open to the public.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Region 4’s $53,350 Year-End Surplus to be Returned to Member Towns, Applied to R4 Sinking Funds

REGION 4 — On Jan. 7, 2016, the Region 4 Board of Education received the final audit of the 2014-15 school year that reflects a surplus of $53,350 at the close of the school year.

“The results of this year’s audit are great news, given the significant financial challenges the board and administration faced last year,” said Chris Riley, chairman of the Region 4 Board of Education. “Dr. Levy and her team are to be commended for their continued commitment to both our students and our taxpayers.”

Under a policy adopted last year, the Region 4 Board voted to return 50 percent of the surplus to the member towns and apply the other 50 percent toward capital sinking funds.

Funds will be returned to member towns based on the student population in John Winthrop Middle School and Valley Regional High School as follows:

  • Town of Chester: $6,439
  • Town of Deep River: $8,267
  • Town of Essex: $11,969
    TOTAL $26,675
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Letter from Paris: Exhibition Explores the Elegance, History of Louis Vuitton’s Luggage

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

The exhibit “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez” (Fly, Sail, Travel) at the Grand Palais takes the visitor to the elegant world of travel in the early 20th century.  It is a retrospective of the luggage, which created the Vuitton dynasty’s fame.  Every  item is beautifully crafted of wood, cloth and leather, such as the famous “sac Noé” created in 1932.

caroussel_grandpalais_460x550_v02These luxurious objects make travel by air, train or sea glamorous and modern. The visitor rides an old-fashioned, wood-paneled train and feels transported into the “Out of Africa” world of Karen Blixen, as the Kenya savannah speeds outside the windows.

Several pieces of the Vuitton family’s private luggage — first seen by the public at the 1900 Exposition Universelle (World Fair) — are scattered  on sand dunes, evoking the beautifully photographed scene of a couple riding  in the desert near the Pyramids in the 1978 Agatha Christy’s movie “Death on the Nile.”

A huge sail reaches all the way to the ceiling.  On the deck of a yacht are displayed a wooden trunk,  fragrant with camphor wood and rosewood; a “wardrobe” trunk whose drawers and hangers contain  an elegant passenger’s apparel;  a gentleman’s  personal case complete with crystal flasks; and fancy hair brushes.

Luxury goods – labeled as “consumer discretionary” in Wall Street jargon – are an important sector of the French economy.  They combine traditional savoir-faire acquired over many generations (the Maison Vuitton has existed since 1835; the Maison Hermes since 1837) with the creative talent of artists and decorators along with  the highly complex robotic machinery used to fabricate, clothes, bags, shoes and more.

At Hermes, silk screen scarves are made from raw silk spun under the constant scrutiny of a worker; artists, assisted by colorists, create the designs.

For decades, not a single famous woman – from Jacqueline Kennedy to French actress Catherine Deneuve – has been seen without the iconic Chanel purse.  The making of the little black purse, with its gold chain, and its distinctive padded outer shell stitched in lozenges, requires the skilled delicate work of 17 people.

The world of fashion and luxury objects could not exist without money — lots of money.  In 1987, the merger of Louis Vuitton fashion house with Moët et Chandon and Hennessy champagne – produced the LVMH multinational conglomerate.  It brought together 90 of the most famous brands of wines and spirits, fashion and luxury goods, as well as perfume and cosmetics.  Dior is the major shareholder with 40 percent of the shares.

Bernard Arnault is CEO of both Dior and LVMH.  He is the richest man of France and holds the fifth largest fortune in  the world — his worth is about 30 billion dollars.  When Arnault arrived in Shanghai for the opening of a new Vuitton boutique, he was received like a head  of state.

It is not uncommon for a tycoon to be a philantropist and an art collector.  In the late 19th century, two Russian businessmen were instrumental in bringing French art to their home country — Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin introduced Impressionist art to Russia after a trip to Paris, and similarly, Ivan Morozov was a major collector of French avant-garde art.

Arnault won a resounding victory over his rival Francois Pinault when he was able to build his art museum on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.  (Pinault “only” owns a few islands of Venice.)  In order to promote artistic creation, Arnault built a museum, which he called the Fondation LVMH — it was designed by the American architect Frank Gehry.  At the time of its inauguration in 2014,  it was met with a mixed reaction but gradually it has become part of the landscape. It did help rejuvenate the dilapidated  Jardin d’Acclimatation, a 100-year-old zoo and children’s attraction park, beloved by the Parisians.

Gehry created a wild structure of huge, curved glass panels flying in all directions, like spinnakers blowing in the wind.  To create an area of 125,000 square feet of molded glass, 100 engineers were employed who were supported by Dassault Systèmes, the leading French company specializing in aeronautics and space.

The inside structure, called the “iceberg,” is erratic and disorients visitors. Several intricate levels and vertiginous staircases lead to the upper terrace offering  a view over the Bois in which the skyscrapers of La Défense district appear to be framed by the glass panels.

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

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LVVS Hosts Important Presentation Tonight on Refugee Crisis, Pathways to Citizenship,

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) will host a presentation on refugees and the paths to citizenship on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of Westbrook’s Public Library. The presentation will feature Claudia Connor CEO of the International Institute of Connecticut and Alicia Kinsman, who is the Director and Managing Attorney of the organization’s Immigration Legal Services Program.

The International Institute of Connecticut, based in Bridgeport, CT (IICONN) is the state’s leading nonprofit provider of integrated legal and social services to new immigrants and refugees.  Kinsman will address immigration issues and explain the various immigration processes that would be relevant to LVVS clients and Connor will explain the refugee admissions process, the security screening process and the refugee resettlement program.

Refreshments will be served.

The event is free but readers are encouraged to reserve as seating is limited. Contact the office by phone at 860-399-0280 or email at info@vsliteracy.org 

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Essex Saving Bank’s Honan Receives ‘New Leaders in Banking’ Award

Shawn P. Honan, CPA.

Shawn P. Honan, CPA

Shawn P. Honan, CPA, has been named one of 13 ‘New Leaders in Banking’ for 2015 by the Connecticut Bankers Association. Honan is entering his 25th year at Essex Savings Bank — starting as an Accounting/Operations manager, Honan has worked his way up through the management ladder of Essex Savings Bank to the point where he is now Senior Vice President, Treasurer, and Chief Financial Officer, and is an essential part of the four-person senior management team.

He enjoys serving the community including spending 10 years coaching Little League baseball and softball while also serving as the Treasurer of the organization for most of those years and is also active both in his local church parish, including serving on the Vestry as Treasurer for four years, as well as serving the broader church throughout the state.

“I am proud to say Shawn has been an integral part of the success of our Bank. He is a thoughtful colleague who has helped shape our balance sheet and assisted in building a business that is sustainable. I enjoy strategizing with him and have appreciated his counsel and friendship,” stated Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank.

“I am honored and truly flattered to have been nominated for and chosen to receive this award. My sincere thanks to President Shook and the Board of Directors for their support and confidence in me. I consider it a privilege to serve this great institution and the financial needs of the people and businesses in our communities,” said Honan.

The awards are presented by the Connecticut Bankers Association and Connecticut Banking magazine and the ‘New Leaders In Banking’ honorees were chosen by an independent panel. To be eligible, an individual must work in a Connecticut bank, be an outstanding employee, manager, or business leader and make a notable impact within their bank or community.

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 providing a full complement of personal and business banking. 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.

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RiverQuest Now Booking Annual Winter Wonderland/Eagle Boat Cruises

EagleAREAWIDE – Connecticut River Expeditions is ready to cruise on the lower Connecticut River this February and March for their 13th Annual Winter Wonderland/Eagle Boat Cruises. These perennially popular winter cruises will depart from Eagle Landing State Park in the Tylerville section of Haddam, Conn.

Cruises will start on Saturday, Feb. 13, and run through March 20.

These cruises are very popular; it is suggested you book early to reserve your spots.

“We are really looking forward to offering this unique cruise during the 2016 winter season. After last year’s horrific ice conditions on the river, we can’t wait to make it work this year!” Capt. Mark of the quiet, friendly eco-tour vessel RiverQuest says. “On this very special cruise, our goal is to search for and learn about resident and visiting Bald Eagles and other wildlife we will find on our journey. We feel very fortunate that we are able to bring people out on the river during this quiet season to experience these magnificent raptors and one of our greatest natural resources, the Connecticut River.”

Without the summer boat traffic, there is a sense of tranquility on the river and with no leaves on the trees, the river’s edge offers a much different view, making it easier to find and see winter wildlife. In past years, bird sightings have included from one to forty-one Bald Eagles, along with numerous hawk and duck varieties, falcons, cormorants and more. On occasion, fox, coyote, deer, bobcat and even seals have been seen!

Winter and early spring are also a great time of year to explore and experience the entire lower Connecticut River Valley. Come out, enjoy and support local businesses. There are shops and restaurants in Haddam, East Haddam and neighboring towns; stop by and visit one before or after your cruise. Although Gillette Castle, a mere 4.5 miles away from RiverQuest is closed, the park grounds are open for daytime visitors.

So take a trip and beat winter cabin fever! Take your camera and binoculars. If you have no binoculars, no worry, there are extras available on RiverQuest for your use during the cruise. There will be complimentary coffee and tea on board.

Weekend and weekday times are available for these 2+ hour cruises. Cost is $40pp.

It is requested that no children under 10 travel. For more information, departure times and easy on-line reservations visit RiverQuest at ctriverquest.com. 860-662-0577. Private Charters and Gift Certificates are also available.

 

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Essex Savings Bank Offers Customers Opportunity to Select Non-Profits to Receive Financial Awards

AREAWIDE — Gregory R. Shook, President & Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank has announced that $110,000 will be made available for the Bank’s Community Investment Program during 2016. Over the course of the past 20 years the Bank has annually committed up to 10 percent of its after tax net income to qualifying organizations within the immediate market area consisting of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

The program has provided financial support to well over 200 non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to the ever-increasing needs of our communities. At the close of 2016 a total of over $4.1 million will be distributed.

Essex Savings Bank is pleased, in its 165th year of service to the community, to again offer customers the chance to determine 30 percent of the fund allocations by voting directly for three of their favorite causes, charities or organizations who have submitted applications to participate. Ballots will be available at all Essex Savings Bank Offices between Feb. 1 and 29 to determine the customer allocation of funds.

The remaining 70 percent will distributed by the Bank’s Directors, Senior Officers, Branch Managers and Essex Financial Services, Inc., the Bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary.

The organizations (80) qualifying to appear on the 2016 ballot are:

Act II Thrift Shop, Inc. * APK Charities Corporation * Bikes For Kids, Inc. * Brazilian and American Youth Cultural Exchange (BRAYCE) * Bushy Hill Nature Center * Camp Hazen YMCA * Cappella Cantorum, Inc. * Chester Historical Society * Chester Land Trust * Community Music School * Con Brio Choral Society, Inc. * The Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock * The Country School, Inc. * Deacon John-Grave Foundation, Inc. * Deep River Ambulance Association, Inc. * Deep River Fire Department, Inc. * Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps, Inc. * Deep River Land Trust, Inc. * Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc. * E.C. Scranton Memorial Library – Madison * Essex Community Fund, Inc. * Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing, Inc. * Essex Elementary School Foundation, Inc. * The Essex Fire Engine Company No. 1 * Essex Historical Society, Inc. * Essex Land Trust, Inc. * The Essex Library Association, Inc. * Essex Winter Series, Inc. * Forgotten Felines, Inc. * Friends In Service Here (F.I.S.H.) * Friends of Hammonasset, Inc. * Friends of Madison Youth, Inc. * Friends of the Chester Public Library, Inc. * Friends of the Deep River Library * High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. * Hope Partnership, Inc. * Ivoryton Library Association * The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Inc. * Literacy Volunteers – Valley Shore, CT, Inc. * Lyme Ambulance Association, Inc. * Lyme Art Association, Inc. * Lyme Consolidated School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) * The Lyme Fire Company, Inc. * Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Inc. * Lyme-Old Lyme Safe Graduation Party, Inc. * Lyme Public Hall Association, Inc. * Lyme Public Library, Inc. * Lymes’ Elderly Housing, Inc. (Lymewood) * The Madison ABC Program Incorporated * Madison Ambulance Association, Inc. * Madison Historical Society, Inc. * Madisons Nite In Hand, Inc. * Maritime Education Network, Inc. * Musical Masterworks, Inc. * Old Lyme Fire Department, Inc. * Old Lyme Historical Society, Inc. * Old Lyme Land Trust, Inc. * Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association * Old Lyme Rowing Association, Inc. * Old Lyme South End Volunteer Ambulance Association, Inc. * Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Inc. * Old Saybrook Historical Society * Old Saybrook Land Trust, Inc. * Pay Forward, Inc. * Pet Connections, Inc. * Region 4 Education Foundation, Inc. * Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation * SARAH, Inc. * Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Inc. * Simply Sharing, Inc. * Sister Cities Essex Haiti, Inc. * Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM) * Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau, Inc. * Valley Baseball-Softball Booster Club, Inc. * Valley Shore Animal Welfare League * Valley-Shore YMCA * Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, Inc. * Westbrook Project Graduation, Inc. * Westbrook Youth and Family Services, Inc. * The Woman’s Exchange of Old Lyme, Inc. 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 providing a full complement of personal and business banking. 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.

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Enjoy ‘Always on Sunday in Chester’ on Sundays Through Spring

Geoffrey Vollers, brother of Bill Vollers of Chester, will exhibit his handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47 in Chester Center during January.

Geoffrey Vollers, brother of Bill Vollers of Chester, will exhibit his handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47 in Chester Center during January.

CHESTER — Does January already have you feeling down? Come to Chester Center where the businesses are celebrating “Always on Sunday in Chester!” all winter and spring.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, there will be a watercolor demonstration at Maple and Main Gallery, an exhibit of miniature handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47, the annual winter sale at C&G Unparalleled Apparel, a concert at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery, the 20-foot-long Bloody Mary Bar at the Pattaconk, and more fun throughout the Chester Center businesses. And to warm you up in this cold weather, stop in at Ceramica for a cup of hot cider, Dina Varano for a cup of tea and Lark for hot chocolate on a stick!

Bivenne will give a gallery talk and demonstration in watercolor at Maple and Main Gallery beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 17.

Bivenne will give a gallery talk and demonstration in watercolor at Maple and Main Gallery beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 17.

At Maple and Main Gallery, at noon, artist Bivenne will give an informal demonstration in watercolor focusing on enhancing the element of light in a painting. Bivenne will also point out this effect in a few of the works in the gallery in a short stroll and chat preceding her demonstration at 11:30 a.m. A noted artist and popular local watercolor instructor, Bivenne has won multiple prestigious awards. Her work is widely collected and her demonstrations always informed and illuminating. Enjoy three kinds of tea and cookies at the gallery while enjoying the gallery talk and demonstration.

Bill Vollers, owner of Gallery 31-47 in Chester, will exhibit the work of his brother, Geoffrey Vollers, who owns a studio in Rockland, Maine. Geoffrey’s miniature castles have been displayed in the windows of Tiffany & Co in New York. His work, which also includes painting and stained glass windows, has been shown in numerous galleries and in private collections.

Also in Chester on Jan. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., bluesman Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Clayton Allen will play at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery. In a melding of diverse blues styles, Stevens and Allen have forged a unique sound, representing a wide variety of traditionally based fingerpicking with a tinge of primitive blues and early blues rock and roll. A $20 donation is requested at the door. BYOB. More info at nilssonstudio.com/events.

Free parking is available on Sundays at First Niagara Bank and the town lot on Water Street; at Norma Terris Theatre on North Main Street; and the Maple Street and Laurel Hill Cemetery parking lots.

Stay informed about Always on Sunday happenings through Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT; Facebook.com/AlwaysonSunday; or FindItInChesterCT.wordpress.com.

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Afro-Semitic Experience to Perform in Chester Today at 5 p.m.

Afro Semitic Experience by Fletcher Oakes April 2014

Photo courtesy of Fletcher Oakes (April 2014)

CHESTER — For 18 years, the Afro-American Experience has delighted audiences throughout the U.S. with their unique blend that prominent critic, Ramos, calls as “a whoopin’, hollerin’, testifyin’ celebration of multicultural soul music.” Their music reflects peace and joyous diversity. It is the same music that the great jazz critic Nat Hentoff referred to thus, “Never before have I heard this lyrically powerful fusion of Jewish and jazz souls on fire.” This music is coming to Chester during the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. birthday weekend.

The group opens the eighth — and most ambitious season yet — of Music & More at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m.  The season also features, among other groups, the internationally renowned Paul Winter Consort.

David Zeleznik, the new producer of the series, wanted to build on the synagogue’s record of creating special concerts that showcase diversity during the congregation’s annual commemoration of Dr. King’s birth.

As he explains it, “Last season, we had enormous success with Sweet Honey in the Rock. Their powerful soaring voices raised the roof and transported the river valley and shoreline community to their transcendent vision of a brighter future. For this season we wanted to recreate that sense of healing, grace, and inclusiveness within our sacred space through the power of musical performance.

“When we started planning this season back in June 2015, little did we know of the divisive tone that would now pervade our social and political discourse. Afro-Semitic Experience, which has recorded popular eight albums that speak to diversity, provides an antidote by showing how folk music of disparate cultures can meld and blend to joyous effect.

“That this is the group’s 18th year of existence is also meaningful at such a time.  The number 18, or ‘chai’ (in Hebrew) has special significance meaning ‘life’ in Judaic tradition. So, this is Afro-Semitic Experience’s ‘chai year’ and they are back to the beginning, celebrating the life of Martin Luther King with us.”

Zeleznik has also engaged the group to participate in the “More” part of Music & More. Prior to their performance they will be engaging with the community’s youth in a series of musical and performance workshops.

As customary at Music & More events, a reception follows, which is included in the ticket price.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  To reserve tickets ($25 for adults, and no charge for children under 16) or a spot in the workshop, or for more information about the upcoming season (which also includes Caravan of Thieves, The Paul Winter Consort, and The String of Pearls Big Band), contact the CBSRZ office at 860-526-8920 or bethshalom@snet.net or visit our website at cbsrz.org.

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Community Music School Jazz Ensemble Presents Concert This Evening

CMS Jazz Ensemble members Nolan Serbent of Killingworth (l) and Arthur Masiukiewicz of Essex (r); photo courtesy of Joan Levy Hepburn)

CMS Jazz Ensemble members Nolan Serbent of Killingworth (l) and Arthur Masiukiewicz of Essex (r). Photo courtesy of Joan Levy Hepburn.

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS) presents a concert by the CMS Jazz Ensemble on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Centerbrook Meetinghouse, 51 Main St., Centerbrook. The ensemble, comprised of students ages 13 to 17, will perform a mixed repertoire of blues, jazz standards, traditional swing, and Latin jazz. Directed by Tom Briggs, the CMS Jazz Ensemble is now in its 19th year.

Briggs is a retired member of the US Coast Guard Band and former musical director of the Coast Guard Masters of Swing. He is a well-known percussionist, pianist, and composer and has been on the CMS faculty since 1985. The concert is free and open to the public.

Call 860-767-0026for additional information.

Editor’s Note: Community Music School is a not-for-profit arts organization offering innovative programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality arts programs for residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives. Additional information can be found at or www.community-music-school.org .

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Bear-y Interesting: Learn About Black Bears in CT at Essex Library Talk, Jan. 26

blackbearBlack bear sightings are increasing every year, even in Connecticut’s shoreline towns, as their preferred habitat expands as farmlands revert to forest.

Master Wildlife Conservationist (MWC) Paul Colburn will present an illustrated talk on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Essex Library. This presentation will focus on the natural history of black bears in CT, an overview of black bear habitat, diet, behavior, and current research efforts.  Colburn will also provide recommendations for optimum coexistence with our black bear population especially as the recent warm weather has delayed hibernation.   

Colburn is a graduate of Master Wildlife Conservationist Program which is a Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) adult education program that trains participants in the fields of wildlife management, natural history and interpretation. The purpose of the program is to develop a volunteer corps capable of providing education, outreach, and service for state agencies, environmental organizations, libraries, schools, and the general public. Paul recently retired from a long and successful career in technology. 

In addition to his work as a MWC he volunteers for the Red Cross, Wesleyan University Admissions, AARP, The Connecticut Sports Foundation, and A Place Called Hope (raptor recovery and rehab).  Colburn holds a BA from Wesleyan University and served honorably in the United States Army. 

This talk is free and open to the public. Advance registration is recommended; call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Linares Joins Fellow Senators to Announce Amendment to Improve Protection of CT Open Space

From left to right, Senators Formica, Linares and Witkos announce a new constitutional amendment.

From left to right, Senators Formica, Linares and Witkos announce a new constitutional amendment.

HARTFORD — Sen. Paul Formica, Sen. Art Linares and Sen. Kevin Witkos joined with environmental advocates on Jan. 13 to unveil a constitutional amendment proposal to improve the protection of forest land, parks, wildlife areas and other open space in Connecticut.

The legislators’ proposal would implement strengthened restrictions on the sale of preserved land.

The next legislative session begins in February.

Sen. Art Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Sen. Paul Formica represents Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford.

Sen Kevin Witkos represents Avon, Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, Granby, Hartland, Harwinton, New Hartford, Norfolk, Simsbury, and Torrington.

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Wesleyan Univ. President to Address Impact of ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement Tonight

CHESTER — This year we have heard university campuses across the country echoing with the voices of protestors calling for a stronger response to racism in the university community.  Meanwhile, tensions on campus have sparked an important conversation about the role of free speech, freedom of expression and political correctness. 

Yale University faculty member Erika Christakis resigned after igniting protests when she said that students should be free to push boundaries with Halloween costumes, even to the point of offense. And at Wesleyan University, student leaders voted to cut funding to a campus newspaper after it published an Op-Ed criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement.

Are we watching the next stage of the Civil Rights movement unfolding on our college campuses?  Have we arrived at a place as Americans where we can finally talk about race and racism in a way that may lead to a deep transformation of our culture?  Or has it gone too far?  What is the role of open dialogue and free speech, especially in an academic environment?

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will mark the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Friday evening, Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m. when Wesleyan University President and CBSRZ congregant, Dr. Michael Roth will address these questions. Roth will speak during the annual Erev Shabbat service honoring Dr. King.  This service will also include Civil Rights songs led by the CBSRZ choir, under the direction of Meg Gister.  

Refreshments will follow.  All are welcome.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information, call the CBSRZ office 860-526-8920 or visit www.cbsrz.org.

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Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Hosts Meeting, Jan. 20

TRI-TOWN — The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition will hold its next meeting at Tri-Town Youth Services at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is a grassroots organization whose membership is open to all who live or work in the tri-town area who are concerned about substance abuse and committed to its prevention.

Many “sectors” of the community are represented on this council: schools, youth serving organizations, law enforcement, government, civic groups, parents, students, the faith community and health care to name a few.

At the January meeting, Deep River Resident Trooper Dawn Taylor will present on current drug trends in our area. Future meeting dates for this year are March, 9, and May 18.

For further information, please call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600.

Editor’s Note: 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

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Medical Marijuana Production, Sale Public Hearing at Chester’s P & Z Meeting Tonight

CHESTER — The public hearing held by the Town of Chester’s Planning and Zoning Commission at their December meeting to discuss an Amendment to Zoning Regulations in reference to adding new Section 117 Medical Marijuana Dispensary and Production was continued to the Commission’s next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 14, at Chester Town Hall at 7:30 p.m.

There was no discussion during the public hearing on Dec. 10 for this petition as a quorum of Commission members, who were present at the start of the public hearing the previous month, was not present.

During the public hearing on Jan. 14, residents will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendment to zoning regulations detailed above regarding the production and sale of medical marijuana in Chester.

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Meeting House Players to Hold Final Round of Open Auditions Tonight

CHESTER — The Meeting House Players will host the second evening of open auditions for Tracy Letts’ 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play “August: Osage County”.  Auditions will be held at 7 p.m. tonight in the Meeting House located at 4 Liberty St. in Chester, Conn.

The play’s 13-member ensemble includes a range of ages and ethnicities including six woman playing characters aging in range between mid-20’s and late 60’s and six men playing characters aging in range between mid-30’s and mid 70’s as well as one young women able to play a 14-year-old.

Note that this play contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script.

Directed by Lenore Grunko, the production opens at the Meeting House in Chester on Friday, April 29, and continue on April 30 and May 6 & 7.  Week-night rehearsals will begin the week of March 7.

For additional information, contact Lenore Grunko at lenoregrunko@yahoo.com.

Editor’s Note; The Meeting House Players is a not-for-profit, all volunteer community theatre organization pursuing the theatre arts with the talents and interests of individuals throughout Connecticut.

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AAUW Presents Awards to Three Students

AREAWIDE — The Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently presented spring semester educational grants to three local students who are pursuing higher education. Each student received the second $1000 of their total $2000 grant covering the full academic year 2015-2016.

The recipients are Megan Davis, a sophomore from Lyme who is majoring in English Education at the University of Connecticut at Storrs; Alexis Henry, a senior from Old Saybrook who is a biomedical engineering major at the University of Connecticut at Storrs; and Amanda Matulis, a sophomore from East Haddam who is majoring in radiological technology at Middlesex Community College in Middletown and is a second year recipient of this award. This is the sixth consecutive year that the Lower Connecticut Valley Branch has granted educational awards.

The AAUW is a national organization that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education.

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Hadlyme Country Market Has New Look, But Keeps Old Traditions

Hadlyme Country Market has a refreshed and welcoming exterior.

Hadlyme Country Market’s refreshed and welcoming exterior greets customers from near and far. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com.

HADLYME — Looking for a new spot to savor your daily dose of hospitality?

Why not try the new Hadlyme Country Market? Well, it’s not really new, but rather refurbished and restored. The market is, in fact, now much like it was in 1905, a place for locals and tourists alike to gather in the quaint and storied town of Hadlyme, nestled to the north of Lyme in southeastern Connecticut.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare quiet moment together.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare, quiet moment together. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

The owners of the Market — Lisa Bakoledis and Susan Raible Birch — have been working to restore the historic landmark since purchasing the building and business in 2012 and are now proudly celebrating three years in business with the unveiling of their “new” market.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

The Hadlyme Country Market has been a pillar of the riverside since the mid-19th century when steamboats ruled Connecticut. Located near the water, this community center was the hub of commerce and social life. Boaters, locals, and businesspeople came for their market staples and sundries in a traditional neighborhood fashion where everyone knows their neighbor and lends a helping hand.

A photo of Lee Luther Brockway, original owner of the store, circa 1900.

An original postcard circa 1905, from the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store, adorns the mantle.

The mastermind behind the operation was Lee Luther Brockway, an astute businessman and entrepreneur who recognized the boom from steam boating and new business along the river. As soon as he noticed a turn from boating to more land-based transportation with the arrival of automobiles, he picked up the store and moved it to a better locale.

Hadlyme_store_sign

Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

Now conveniently located near the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and Gillette’s Castle, the bustling intersection of Rte. 148 and Rte. 82 (Ferry Rd. and Norwich-Salem Rd. respectively) has been the Hadlyme Country Market’s home since 1905. After decades of transitioning owners and falling under disrepair, Bakoledis and Birch, long-time admirers and locals, purchased the store with a vision for their treasure.

Bakoledis, who worked at the store many times over the years, always felt like it was home; maybe because she lived in the apartment above but more likely because she sensed something special about the neighborhood, the people, and the rich history of the small town market.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.annasawin.com.

The pair quickly went to work planning a remodel that was true to the market’s rich history and architectural integrity. After pouring over archives and records for images, blueprints, and materials, they came up with a plan that would restore the market to its original beauty plus a few modern comforts to attract a new generation of customers.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The market was renovated to its original glory with authentic the turn-of-the-century materials salvaged from local historical buildings. In 2013 the doors were opened to the public and Bakoledis and Birch received an outpouring of locals delighted at the return of an institution. What’s more, the new owners took it upon themselves to run the store as Brockway would have, replete with hospitality, charm, and friendly faces.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cuppa in a peaceful setting.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cup of joe in a peaceful setting.

Two years later, the market continues to upgrade with an exterior restoration to the porch completed this fall, a sweet spot for anyone who enjoys sitting where the sun seems alway to shine. On the menu daily are a wide selection of deli-fresh artisan sandwiches and pot pies along with fresh Ashlawn Farm Coffee, newspapers, breakfast and bakery treats. Continuing Brockway’s tradition, Bakoledis and Birch welcome locals and travelers to enjoy old-fashioned treats, treasures, and conversations in a place everyone can feel at home. Birch sums up the Market’s attraction succinctly when she says, “The Country Market … has a heart like no other.”

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Acton Public Library Hosts ‘Music with Miss Martha,’ Fridays

The Children’s Department at Acton Public Library will host ‘Music with Miss Martha’ on the third Friday of every month January through May (except February which will be on the fourth Friday) from 10 to 10:45 a.m. This is a special drop-in musical story time and is most appropriate for ages 3-5. The dates are Jan. 15, Feb. 26, March 18, April 15, and May 20.

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 .

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Deadline for Land Trusts’ Amateur Photo Contest Entries is Jan. 31

2013 Land Trust Photo Contest winner by Hank Golet.

This photo by Hank Golet was a winning entry in the 2013 Land Trust Photo Contest.

ESSEX — Five local land trusts invite amateur photographers of all ages to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Land Trusts Amateur Photo Contest. Everyone is welcome to share their love of the natural world by entering their favorite photographs.  Submissions are being accepted until Jan. 31.

A panel of three judges will award prizes in five categories for photographs that best capture the beauty of the scenic countryside, wildlife, plants, and cultural and historic features in the towns of Essex, East Haddam, Lyme, Old Lyme and Salem. Children are encouraged to enter in the Youth category for ages 14 and below. 

Entry Forms are available only by email at photocontest@lymelandtrust.org. A copy of the Contest Rules with details about submission will be included in the reply.

For more information and details for submission go to lymelandtrust.org. http://www.lymelandtrust.org/news/photo-contest/

Cash awards are being funded with the generous support of our sponsors: RiverQuest/CT River Expeditions, Ballek’s Garden Center, Lorensen Auto Group, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Essex Savings Bank, The Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, ChelseaGroton Bank, and Alison Mitchell in honor of her late husband John G. Mitchell.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust are sponsoring the event. Previous Land Trusts Photo Contest winning photos are viewable at https://landtrustsphotos.shutterfly.com/.

All of the photographs entered will be displayed and celebrated at the Photo Contest Reception on March 11, at the Lymes’ Senior Center. The winning photographs will be announced at that time.

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TTYS Offers Pediatric First Aid, CPR, Babysitting Training Course, Starts Jan. 20

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services is offering a Pediatric First Aid and CPR course along with a Babysitter Training Certificate program.  This course provides a great opportunity to help youth aged 12-17 build self-confidence as well as  gain leadership and decision-making skills. Completion of this course is a plus on a Job Bank application.

The $75 fee includes instruction, books and certificate.

The winter session will be held on Wednesday evenings, Jan. 20, 27 and Feb. 3. All classes will be held 6 to 8 p.m. at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St. in Deep River.  Classes fill quickly, so prompt registration is encouraged – online (www.tritownys.org) or by calling 860-526-3600.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex. The organization 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

 

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CT Valley Camera Club’s Meeting Features Travel Talks, Jan. 25

DEEP RIVER — The Connecticut Valley Camera Club’s January meeting will be held at the Deep River Library (lower level) on Monday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m.

It will feature three members giving illustrated lectures about their visits to China and India (Sheila Wertheimer), Peru (Dianne Roberts), and Australia and New Zealand (Linda Waters).

This meeting is open to the public.  New and prospective members are  especially welcome.

Club meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month at the above time and location.

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Volunteer to Help Those Who Cannot Read, Variety of Openings Available at LVVS

AREAWIDE — If you have some time to volunteer to build a stronger community and help a local non-profit in tutoring area residents to read, write and speak English, you can start helping almost immediately. Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is looking for board members, a treasurer for the organization, tutor trainees and volunteers.

For more information, contact info@vsliteracy.org or call 860-399-0280.

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Vista Teams Up With Penny Lane Pub for ‘Paint Night at the Pub,’ Jan. 25

This snowy landscape will be the subject of the upcoming Paint Night with Vista at the Pub on Monday, Jan. 25th.

This snowy landscape will be the subject of the upcoming Paint Night with Vista at the Pub on Monday, Jan. 25.

AREAWIDE — Vista has announced a new Paint Night experience for the new year. In partnership with the Penny Lane Pub in Old Saybrook, Vista is hosting Paint Night with Vista at the Pub on Monday, Jan. 25.

A social art class led by local artist and Vista staff member Samantha Listorti, Paint Night is open to community members of all artistic ability. From start to finish, Listorti provides step-by-step guidance as participants create a beautiful work of art. No prior painting experience is required.

The class will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Penny Lane Pub, 150 Main St. in Old Saybrook. At the end of the night, participants leave with their finished piece.

The cost is $35 per person and includes one complimentary glass of wine or beer. Food and drink are available for purchase throughout the night. All are welcome.

To register, visit www.vistavocational.org/calendarofevents, or contact Arts Program Manager Amanda Roberts at aroberts@vistavocational.org or (860) 399-8080 ext. 255.

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

For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Cappella Cantorum to Perform Mozart’s ‘Requiem,’ April 10

AREAWIDE — Late registration and rehearsal for Cappella Cantorum’s performance of Mozart’s Requiem will be Monday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River. All singers are welcome; no auditions are required.

The concert, scheduled for Sunday, April 10, will also feature Mozart’s Regina Coeli. Soloists will be Patricia Schuman, Brian Cheney, Heather Petrie and Christopher Grundy.

Registration can also be done online at CappellaCantorum.org. Membership fee is $50, registration $10 and music $15.

For more information, check the web site or call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871.

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Old Saybrook Church Hosts a Cappella Sing-off Concert, March 5

The Ruby Fruit a cappella group will participate in the sing-off being held March 5.

‘Ruby Fruit’ a cappella group will participate in the sing-off being held March 5.

OLD SAYBROOK – Two of UCONN’s a cappella groups will perform in a sing-off Saturday, March 5, 7 p.m. at the First Church of Christ in Saybrook, 366 Main St. The Rubyfruits and Extreme Measures will also work with some Old Saybrook High School singers who will also be part of the performance.

Tickets are $15, children eight and under are admitted free. Funds raised will support the church’s 2016 teen mission trip to N.Y.’s Adirondacks. Tickets are available online, www.firstchurchsaybrook.org, in the church office Monday through Friday, or call 860-388-3008.

There is also advertising space available in the program booklet for sponsors, either individuals or businesses. In addition to having a self-designed ad printed in the program, commercial sponsors will be recognized on facebook. Options include a quarter, half or full page space for $50, $125 or $250.

To prepare for the weeklong summer trip, the teens and their families commit to a year-long process which includes group fundraising, socio-economic awareness events, worship service activities and more. While in the Adirondacks, the teens will go out into the community for service work and to immerse themselves in the local culture. Mission trips take place every year with varying destinations, alternating between urban and rural locations. Each teen mission trip is life-changing for the young participants and their chaperones.

Come out to hear some great music performed by young people, and support the work of the teen mission-trippers who seek to make a difference in the lives of those they serve.

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Eversource Notifies Essex Community of 2016 Tree Trimming

 Bruce Glowac, President of the Essex Foundation and Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden admire the new Eastern Red Cedars along West Avenue in Essex. Missing from the photo is Paul Fazzino, Jr., Essex Fire Chief.

File photo of Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden and Bruce Glowac, President of the Essex Foundation.

ESSEX — Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, has been notified by Eversource that additional tree trimming in the community will begin first quarter of 2016.  Residents will be contacted by the Lucas Tree permissions people starting in January 2016.

These contractors are obliged by the new PURA (Public Utilities Regulatory Authority) regulations and state statutes to notify abutting owners of planned tree work, on or hanging over the public road.  Tree owner approval is required for trees wholly on public property.

Pampel would like residents to know that according to these new statutes, they have the right to accept the planned work, waive their rights to object to the work, modify the work or they can refuse all tree work, if they choose. Those wishing to modify the work or object to the trimming or removal should follow the procedure described in the handouts received from the permissions contact person. This would include contacting the local Tree Warden and the Eversource in writing.

Roads that will be subject to ETT (Enhanced Tree Trimming), which is the most expansive specification, are Laurel Rd. and Dennison Rd. Enhanced Tree Trimming is ground to sky clearance and eight feet from the conductors’ clearance. If more than one quarter of a tree’s leaves have to be removed to satisfy this specification, the entire tree will be requested to be removed.

The following information was provided by Eversource and will be given to each abutting property owner affected by the upcoming tree work:

Year round trimming is “one of the ways we provide safe and reliable electric service”.  By removing potential hazardous growth close to power lines, they provide not only reliable service but also safer physical and visual access for their employees who work on the lines.  Problems can therefore be solved more efficiently.  Eversource states that all work is performed following professional tree care industry standards and best practices.

There are several clearance specifications. You should discuss the specific one that will be used in your area with the permissions contact, who leaves the slip with you.

The trees at risk are:

  • Those trees that can fall on or contact power lines and cause an outage.
  • Tree professionals will determine a tree’s hazardous potential based on species, location, health and structural composition.
  • Eversource arborists will also determine a tree’s risk of causing an outage and prioritize removal accordingly.  If a tree must be removed, it will be cut as low to the ground as possible
  • Critical trimming can occur without permission by the abutting owner if there is evidence that the tree or brush are in direct contact with power lines or have visible signs of burning.  This is “to protect public safety and system reliability.”

Low growing shrubs and grasses will not be removed in order to maintain a low-growing plant community.

Eversource will treat hardwood trees that can re-sprout from a cut stump with an herbicide to prevent regrowth.  As per Eversource, the herbicide has been tested and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  It will be “selectively applied with a handheld spray bottle by state licensed and certified personnel only to the outer edge and side of a stump.”

According to the Connecticut General Statutes (22a-66a), certain herbicide label information must be provided to the property owner where herbicides are used.  Property owners can ask the tree contractor requesting permission for trimming if herbicides will be used and request the herbicidal labels.

Eversource will make available to customers free of charge all cut wood or mulch produced from the tree work.  Larger limbs and tree trunks will be cut into manageable lengths and mulch can be dumped where vehicle access is possible.

In an effort to provide effective communication and better customer service, Eversource will seek property owner approval in advance of the tree work.  They will stop at all homes abutting areas of potential work to provide information and request approval for the trimming.

It is incumbent upon the property owner to read the material carefully, ask questions and/or contact the Eversource permissions contractor listed on the enclosed forms provided to property owners.

For trees that hang over the public right-of-way, you may ask for additional consultation:

  • If you live on a town road, contact your local Tree Warden (Augie Pampel).
  • If you live on a state road, contact the state Department of Transportation (DOT), Commissioner’s Office, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06131

Not granting permission:

  • If a property owner does not wish to grant approval for the proposed tree work, he/she should follow the procedures outlined in the material left by the permissions contact.
  • The Tree Warden will make a decision regarding the scope of tree work for all objections within 10 days of receiving the written objection or after a consultation.
  • Both the property owner and Eversource may further appeal that decision to the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) within 10 days.
  • Contact PURA at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051.  PURA will hold a mediation session within 30 days of an appeal or an arbitration hearing within 60 days, to reach a resolution.

Per the state statute, no property owner will be billed for damages to Eversource power lines or equipment caused by trees on the owner’s property that fall, regardless of the outcome of an appeal.

Pampel is available to anyone who may have questions, concerns or who require more information about this upcoming tree work. Pampel can be reached via e-mail at augiepampel@att.net or by his mobile phone at 860-388-7209.

Eversource Customer Care Center can be reached at 800-286-2000 or the Eversource Business Contact Center at 888-783-6617.  Eversource can be emailed directly at treeCT@eversource.com.

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Final Chance to See ‘The Magic of Christmas’ at Florence Griswold Museum Today

All ages can enjoy the Palette Christmas Trees.

All ages can enjoy the Artist Trees on display at the Florence Griswold Museum through Jan. 3, 2016.

OLD LYME — The holiday season is always something to celebrate at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Visitors of all ages can enjoy The Magic of Christmas through Jan. 3, 2016.

For over 10 years, visitors from across the region have admired the painted palettes on Miss Florence’s Artist Trees. The idea of contemporary artists creating paintings on artists’ palettes is a nod to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the door and wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s boardinghouse over a century ago.

The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, glass, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises.

Nearly 200 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon. “What a thrill it is for me to participate in decorating Miss Florence’s Artist Tree this year, joining such a distinguished group of artists who have lent their vision and talents to this important tradition, ” states Artist Russ Kramer of Mystic.

Russ Kramer

‘Winter Visit’ by Russ Kramer of Mystic is one of the new palettes for this year.

He continues, “I think all of us wish we could travel back in time to enjoy Miss Florence’s support and hospitality, and share inspirations with fellow artists around her table. In my palette, Winter Visit, I imagined a weary artist after a long, chilly trip from the city, and the warm welcome he would receive into Miss Florence’s home.”

Georgia native Katie Scarlett Faile was one of nine artists asked to contribute a palette this year. “I was very excited when I was asked to contribute to the Florence Griswold Museum’s annual exhibit,” Faile states. “The museum has become a very special place for me during the three years that my husband and I have been stationed here attached to the USS Virginia.”

FaileMedium

‘Winter comes to FairyLand’ by Katie Scarlett Faile is another palette new for 2015.

As an artist that works in multiple mediums, it was hard for Faile to decide how she wanted to paint her palette. “My first love, is acrylics and fairytale themed work so, Winter comes to FairyLand was a grand opportunity to paint in my favorite subject matter in my favorite medium.”

William Sillin from Sunderland, Mass., created 'The Eye of the Beholder,' using oil on wood palette for the 2015 palettes.

William Sillin from Sunderland, Mass., created ‘The Eye of the Beholder,’ using oil on wood palette for the 2015 palette additions.

The palettes will be displayed on three trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibition, The Artist in the Connecticut Landscape.

In the historic rooms of the Griswold House, visitors can see how families celebrated Christmas in 1910, as historically accurate decorations reveal homespun creativity and the use of surprising materials. The 1910 time period was an important era for the Griswold House. It was the heyday of its use as boardinghouse for the artists of the Lyme Art Colony. Christmas was also Miss Florence’s birthday. She was 60 years old in 1910.

Three designers have created Fantasy Trees

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas. Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectables scones with clotted cream, assorted tea sandwiches, and cookies prepared by Gourmet Gallery, a caterer known for their delicious flavors and impeccable presentations, are accompanied by “Miss Florence’s Tea,” a special blend from Sundial Gardens in Higginum. Miss Florence’s Tea is a special blend of superior Ceylon and China black tea enhanced with a touch of delicate spices. The tea celebrates the camaraderie and creativity of the Lyme Art Colony with each cup.

Other events and programs include special events for families, including a visit from Snow Sister Anna & her Ice Harvester, musical performances, and hands-on crafts for children and adults.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts.

Located on an 11-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year round Tuesday through Saturday from 10amto 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. For more information, visit the Museum’s website www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Magic of Christmas Activities

December 2-24
Daily Specials in the Museum Shop
One day you might save on all books or art supplies, the next, maybe everything sparkly or all snowmen. Check FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for a calendar of items and days.

December 4–23, 1-5pm
Elf-in-Residence Days
A new twist on shopping local. Tuesday through Saturday, visitors can meet a different local artisan each day. Speak to them about their craft and pick up a special gift for you or someone on your holiday list.

December 4 – 23
Christmastime Teas
Tuesday through Saturday enjoy an elegant tea of savories and sweets overlooking the wintery splendor of the Lieutenant River. Catered by Gourmet Galley. Seatings at 3pm. Guests enjoy a 10% discount in The Shop. Please call 860-434-5542 x 111 for information and reservations.

Sundays, Dec. 6 through Jan. 3, 1-5pm
Joy in the Making
Each Sunday visitors can create a different holiday craft to take home for themselves or give as a gift. This event is free with Museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Sunday, Dec. 27, 11am to 4pm
Miss Florence’s Birthday Party

Visitors share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Birthday cake and fun celebratory activities to honor the woman who started it all. Miss. Florence would be 165 this year, but age is just a number. From 1 to 4pmApril Brunelle of April’s Balloon Creations will create favorite animals, characters, and super heros at no cost. This event is included with museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Thursday, Dec. 31, 11am to 3pm
Ode to the New Year: Harp Music by Faith Leitner

The harp was Miss Florence’s favorite instrument. Visitors can see the pne her father brought back for her from England in the Florence Griswold House. Accomplished harpist Faith Leitner will perform in the gallery. A beautiful way to end the year, this event is free with Museum admission.

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Bingo Suspended at Estuary Council for Winter Months

OLD SAYBROOK —  Bingo at The Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. (ECSI) is being suspended for the winter months. Games will be resumed in the Spring – watch for future announcements for exact date and time.

The Estuary Council of Seniors Inc. (ECSI) is a non-profit regional senior center located in the M. Monica Eggert Senior Center on the Connecticut River Estuary at 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life for people 50 years and older.

ECSI is a community resource for the nine-town Estuary region’s residents over 50 years old providing nutrition, transportation, health support services, education opportunities, and socialization. For more information call 860-388-1611 or visit our website at www.ecsenior.org

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Happy New Year!

2016_fireworks_smallerWe wish all our readers, advertisers and friends a very Happy New Year 2016.

We hope it brings you and yours peace, good health and happiness.

We thank you sincerely for your support through 2015 and look forward to continuing to serve you in 2016.

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Essex Land Trust Lecture Explores ‘What’s Next for the Connecticut River?’

#1-East Haddam Bridge
ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust invites the public to attend a lecture titled, ‘What’s Next for the Connecticut River?’ by Steve Gephard, Supervising Fisheries Biologist responsible for the DEEP’s Diadromous Fish and Habitat, Conservation, and Enhancement programs. The lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan 7, at the Essex Library, 33 West Ave., Essex.

The decades-long resurgence of the Connecticut River’s health has provided us with a chance to make plans for its future. Questions currently under consideration are how to maintain and restore our marshes and adjacent uplands, enhance the fisheries and wildlife, and manage the development of our lands for the benefit of all users? Simultaneously the region must grapple with sea-level rise, more frequent cataclysmic storms, and greater usage of the resources by an expanding population.

Essex resident Steve Gephard will present a slide-illustrated lecture that highlights the great successes of the last 50 years and describes the opportunities and challenges that may lie ahead.

In case of snow cancellation, the talk will be rescheduled for Thursday, Jan. 14.

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Essex Savings Bank Donates Almost 2,000 Books to ‘Read to Grow’

Press Release - Essex Savings Bank Donates to Read to Grow (1)ESSEX — Essex Savings Bank has shared the results of its annual holiday donation contest designed to help those less fortunate in the local communities. This year’s event had each of the six branches and the corporate office collecting books for children from infancy to eighth grade for the nonprofit organization, Read to Grow.

Read to Grow promotes building literacy from birth, distributing 130,000 books to children in Connecticut each year. The book-themed displays at each office location ranged from Dr. Seuss to The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

While the contest adds an element of fun to the season, the driving force behind the Bank employees’ enthusiasm was helping children that may not otherwise have the access or opportunity to children’s classic stories. All donations were at the employees’ expense and generated by their goodwill.

As a result of everyone’s efforts, Essex Savings Bank employees delivered 1,829 books to Read to Grow. It is the hope of the Bank’s employees that these books will help make the holiday season a little more joyous for the children of Middlesex County, New Haven County and New London County.

Editor’s Note: 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 providing a full complement of personal and business banking. 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.

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Friends of Essex Library Thank Holiday Book Sale Supporters

Catharine Wagner and Ellie Champion, decked in their red aprons helping patrons check out at the recent Holiday Sale.

Catharine Wagner and Ellie Champion, decked in their red aprons, helped patrons check out at the recent Holiday Sale.

The Friends of Essex Library, and particularly Peggy Tuttle, Sale Coordinator, wish to thank all the volunteers who worked tirelessly preparing for the Holiday Sale, and all who supported the sale by purchasing many holiday books.

The Friends of Essex Library will be holding a focused sale the month of February. Books with emphasis on aspects of American History will be featured at very attractive prices.  Also on sale will be books appropriate for Valentine’s Day giving.

The Friends also offer at this time of making New Year resolutions, 10 Reasons to become a Friend of Essex Library, as follows:

  1. You’ll meet new friends and stay connected with the old.
  2. Your volunteer efforts strengthen our library and, therefore, our community.
  3. You will feel good about your participation: work a book sale, help shelve books, sort and prepare books for sales.
  4. You will enjoy helping the library’s wonderful staff, and you will be appreciated.
  5. Your volunteer efforts earn money for the library. Gifts from the Friends make a difference.
  6. You can get dusty and dirty while you dig and sort through hundreds of books for the sales, and have fun doing it.
  7. You will increase your awareness of all that is available at the library, and by being a Friend, you become integrated into the workings of the library.
  8. You can hear peals of laughter as you help young minds absorb information in the children’s section.
  9. You will get to wear a red apron as a volunteer at the Sales.
  10. You can join because you don’t HAVE to!
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Quilt Display at Acton Library During February

OLD SAYBROOK – The Acton Public Library will be displaying Jane P.R. Nettleton’s original quilting designs in their atrium display case for the months of January and February.

The Acton Public Library is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. The library is open on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

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Essex Library Hosts Wnek’s ‘Soul of the Landscape’ Photo Exhibit During February

'Whispers of Past' by Peter Wnek illustrate's the photographer's captivating style.

‘Whispers of Past’ by Peter Wnek beautifully illustrate’s the photographer’s captivating style.

ESSEX – Award-winning photographer Peter Wnek explores the ‘Soul of the Landscape’ in his exhibition and sale of fine art photography at the Essex Library, which runs through February.

‘Soul of the Landscape’ celebrates the beauty and spirit of our woodlands and waterways, as seen in Whispers of the Past and its breathtaking view along the Connecticut River. Wnek’s work captures the light and details one might expect from a painting—which is no accident. He has long been inspired by the purity and innocence of the American landscape as portrayed by the 19th century Hudson River painters. “I strive for that same warm light, the luminous or stormy skies, to invoke a charm or a mood,” he explains.

Wnek’s photographs often reveal the story of the landscape—its whisper of bygone days, the intrinsic cycles of nature. With a focus on local scenes, this exhibit speaks to the beauty that surrounds us, the coastal vistas and woodland spaces that are unique to our state. In a familiar kaleidoscope of colors, see the rising and setting sun, the harmony of sky and land, the collusion of rock and sea.

As Wnek explains, “I am intrigued by the soothing compositions and repetitive patterns that collectively reveal the Divine at work.”

Featured in this exhibit is Silver Glade, an image of trees on a ridge near Meriden. It recently won the Salmagundi Club of NYC’s 2015 “Henry O’Connor Award” for excellence, portraying the gentler, quieter landscape of New England.

It is that voice of New England which Wnek most hopes to capture in his photographs, “those intimate moments of our own landscapes” waiting to be revealed.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during the Library’s regular hours. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex. Call (860) 767-1560 for more information.

 

For more information about photographer Peter Wnek, visit www.PeterWnekPhoto.com.

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Essex Garden Club Brings Holiday Spirit to Essex, Thanks Residents for Support

Xmas policeman 2015
In preparation for the holidays, the Essex Garden club members decorated merchant window boxes and tubs of the villages of Essex as well as the town park gazebo on Main Street. Using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community, designers helped the town put on a festive face for the “Trees in the Rigging” held in November, and the Holiday stroll in December.

The “Silent Policeman” was decorated this year (from left) by Lumie Han, Gay Thorn, Eve Potts, Kirsten Wendell, Sandy French, Mylan Sarner and Liz Fowler. Thanks to both Liz Fowler and Suzanne Tweed for their efforts in coordinating the day of decorating.

Finally, The Essex Garden Club would like to thank the Essex community for its continued support, especially during their spring May Market and extends best wishes to all the resident of Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton for a Healthy and Happy New Year.

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Essex Garden Club Donates to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

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ESSEX — Essex Garden Club members collected nonperishable food items for the Shoreline soup Kitchens and Pantries (SSKP) at the club’s annual festivities at Essex Meadows.

Individual members and the club donated $1,705 to the SSKP, which will be matched by the Gowrie Challenge. The total weight of the  food donation was 376 lbs.

Pictured packing the food for delivery are Barbara Campbell and Nina Thurston.

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Vista Embraces The Spirit of Giving

Vista Stuff a Bus - printFrom collecting food for local pantries to donating toys, the Vista community embraced the Spirit of Giving this holiday season by seeking out and creating opportunities to give back.

AREAWIDE — Eric Stuebner is among the many Vista members who were inspired to give back, donating several food items to the Westbook branch of Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Inc. – a nonprofit that operates several food pantries and meal sites scattered along the Connecticut shoreline.

“It’s the right thing to do to help people in need,” said Eric, a Westbrook resident.

For the Thanksgiving holiday, a group of Vista members organized a “Stuff-a-Bus” food drive for the Madison Food Pantry. Thanks to the contributions of students, members, staff and community members, a total of 272 pounds of food was donated.

Vista member Lauren Borges used her culinary skills as a way to give back to local first responders. To show her appreciation for their dedicated service, Lauren baked vegan dark chocolate chip cookies for the Clinton police and fire departments— which she hand delivered.

Perhaps the most popular way Vista members chose to give back was by donating toys. In hopes of making the holidays more cheerful for children in need, members Chris Bailey, Leslie Strasser, Linay Dibble, Julie Butler, Alex Drago and Matt Sarti donated toys to the Toys for Tots program.

Several more members opted to make a difference by donating articles of clothing. Member Sue Miller donated new gloves and winter hats to the “Mitten Tree” at Technique Printers in Clinton, which distributes donations to numerous local charities. Clinton housemates Matt Christiaanse, Laurie Seagull, Kirsten Hadad, Andrew Hart and Evan Brookman organized their own clothing drive to benefit Westbrook Youth & Family Services.

Vista students, members and staff are always proud to support the communities where they live and work, and the Spirit of Giving is especially important during the holidays.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501C3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Valley-Old Lyme Warrior Football Alumnus Fairfield-Sonn Named All-American

All American Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn stands with his proud parents, Lynn and Jim Fairfield-Sonn of Old Lyme.

D3Football.com All-American footballer Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn stands with his proud parents, Lynn and Jim Fairfield-Sonn of Old Lyme.

Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn, who graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School in 2012 and now attends Amherst College where he is a senior safety on the College’s football team, was named to the 2015 D3football.com All-America team, and earned recognition on the Third Team Defense. Fairfield-Sonn played a key role on the Valley-Old Lyme Co-op football team while attending high school in Old Lyme.

Fairfield-Sonn became the fifth member of the Amherst football team to garner All-America praise from D3football.com. In addition to his most recent accolade, Fairfield-Sonn was also named to the D3football.com All-East Region First Team Defense, the New England Writers Division II/III All-New England Team and the NESCAC All-Conference First Team Defense.

Fairfield-Sonn also picked up two yearly awards and was named the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, while also claiming the Joseph P. Zabilski award – which is announced by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and recognizes New England’s top offensive and defensive players for Division II and III.

Congratulations, Jimmy!

Click here to read the full article on which this article is based. The original article was first published on the Athletics section of the Amherst College website.

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Adams Hometown Markets Raise More Than $7,200 For Families in Need

deepriverShoppers contributed more than $7,200 at Adams Hometown Markets during the past two months in support of The Great American Milk Drive.

Customers at 12 Adams Hometown Market locations made $1, $3, or $5 donations, with the funds raised distributed in the form of over 1,400 milk vouchers to clients of the Connecticut Food Bank.

 A similar drive last year was very successful, says Tony Groszew, Adams Hometown Markets’ Director of Sales, who expressed appreciation to the hundreds of shoppers taking part in the campaign.

The drive was part of a national effort aimed at providing highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families who need it most. The local effort also involved Guida’s Dairy, the New England Dairy Promotion Board’s Must Be the Milk program, and the dairy farm families of Connecticut.

The donation drive included Adams Hometown Market locations in Deep River, Derby, Milford, Shelton, Terryville, Thomaston, Watertown, Canterbury, Lisbon, Plainfield, East Lyme, and Portland.

“This was another impressive effort by Adams Hometown Markets’ management and its shoppers,” says Jill Monti, Regional Marketing Manager for New England Dairy Promotion Board. “There are hundreds of Connecticut households struggling to put food on the table, and while milk is frequently requested by families in need, it is not always available because it has been difficult to donate. The generous help of Adams Hometown Markets’ staff and customers really makes a difference in the lives of local families in need.”

Connecticut Food Bank Interim CEO Paul O’Leary adds, “We are grateful to Adams Hometown Markets and our partners at the New England Dairy Promotion Board for recognizing the importance of getting nutritious food into the hands of people who struggle with hunger. Their outstanding support and the generosity of Adams customers made this drive a great success.”

For more information on the Great American Milk Drive, visit www.mustbethemilk.com/milkdrive/

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Friends of Essex Library Holiday Book Sale Continues Through Wednesday

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

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

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

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Vista Hosts Day Program Open House, Jan. 19

Day Program members Yan Qin Keller and Josh Buglione participate in a painting activity. Photo by Vanessa Pereira.

Day Program members Yan Qin Keller and Josh Buglione participate in a painting activity. Photo by Vanessa Pereira.

WESTBROOK & MADISON — Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, a nationally accredited community-based education program for individuals with disabilities, is hosting an Open House for its Day Program on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Vista’s Day Program is a structured experiential day program in a peer-based setting. Participants in the Day Program enjoy a fulfilling and active schedule that includes work experiences, arts programming, group instruction, fitness, social skills training, outings and more.

The Day Program Open House will include a guided tour of Vista’s Madison Campus as well as the opportunity to meet Vista leadership and hear from current Day Program members about their experiences. This free event is ideal for families, friends, school district representatives and Department of Developmental Services caseworkers, but is designed for anyone interested in learning more about the program.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, Vista has been assisting individuals with disabilities achieve personal success for over 25 years. Accredited by the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES), Vista provides an array of services to over 300 individuals and their families. Its population is comprised of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injuries, intellectual disabilities and ADHD.

To RSVP for the Day Program Open House, contact Vanessa Pereira at vpereira@vistavocational.org. Registration is also available online at www.vistavocational.org.

Vista’s Madison Campus is located at 107 Bradley Road, Madison

Editor’s Note: Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success. For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Leif Nilsson Hosts Ramblin’ Dan Stevens & Clayton Allen at ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Jan. 17

Dan Stevens (Photo courtesy of Caryn B Davis)

Dan Stevens (Photo courtesy of Caryn B Davis)

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden’, Sunday, Jan. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring bluesmen Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Clayton Allen at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

In a melding of diverse blues styles, Stevens and Allen have forged a unique sound, representing a wide variety of traditionally based fingerpicking with a tinge of primitive blues and early blues rock and roll. Clayton’s raw energy and emotional delivery contrast with Stevens’s soulful approach creating a dynamic mix. A dose of Diddly Bow and Cigar Box guitar backed with a driving rhythm and gospel influenced vocals convey a rock bottom authenticity. They recently won the Connecticut Blues Challenge and will be representing the state at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come first seated.  The concert is held inside the gallery this time of year.

Sorry, no pets allowed.

A $15 donation is appreciated.  The event is BYOB – buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 3 p.m.

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

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Donna Scott’s Slim-down Challenge Begins at Essex Wellness Center, Jan. 9

Essex Wellness Center

Essex Wellness Center’s ‘Fitness on the Water’ facility.

Essex Wellness Center welcomes new challenge from new manager

The River Valley Slim-Down Challenge, now in its fifth year, begins Jan. 9, 2016. It combines exercise and nutrition with a sense of competition and a chance to win some big bucks – all with the goal of losing a few pounds as we head into 2016.

The River Valley Slim-down Challenge was created by Donna Scott, CPR, WLS, formerly of IFoundFitness in Deep River, who has recently been named as Manager of Essex Wellness Center’s Fitness on the Water facility on Novelty Lane in Essex Village.  Scott is certified as a Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She is also AFAA-Certified as a personal trainer, Zumba and Mad Dogg spin instructor.

“The River Valley Slim-down Challenge has enough elements to keep people motivated to shed those pounds they’ve been thinking about. Built-in incentives keep participants on track, and the camaraderie to improve personal health is fantastic,” said Scott. “The Challenge isn’t only about losing weight; it also helps to improve balance, flexibility and overall fitness.”

To join the challenge, participants pay an entry fee of $65 and then agree to take a minimum of two weekly Fitness on the Water group classes such as yoga, spin, barre, bootcamp workout, Zumba, or one weekly personal training session. The entry fee includes an initial wellness assessment and nutrition workshops throughout the 12-week period as well as fitness tips, advice and supervision from Donna Scott.

The entry fee goes towards a jackpot, which also gets a boost from small “penalty fees” incurred when a participant misses a weigh-in or gains instead of loses weight in a particular week.

The prize jackpot will be divided by the three top “losers” in terms of body weight percentage. In addition to the jackpot, top ranking winners receive prizes from local businesses including Essex Wellness Center massages, and more.

“Everyone who has entered in the past has lost weight and feels better about themselves, which is the greatest reward of all,” says Scott.

To join the 2016 River Valley Slim-Down Challenge, call 860-581-8225 or email donna@essexwellnessctr.com The Challenge runs Jan. 9 through April 2, 2016. Participants may enter individually or as a group with friends or colleagues. Sign-up before Jan. 9 and receive a three-class pass to Essex Wellness Center’s Fitness on the Water.

To learn more about Essex Wellness center, visit www.essexwellnessctr.com or facebook.com/essexwellnesscenter.

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New Buses Arrive for Transit District

 9 Town Transit board members Leslie Strauss and John Forbis show off the agencies newest buses. Photo by Estuary Transit District.

9 Town Transit board members Leslie Strauss and John Forbis show off the agencies newest buses. Photo by Estuary Transit District.

AREAWIDE — 9 Town Transit welcomed four new buses into its fleet this December. The new buses feature the bright blue and green design and offer the latest in passenger comforts.  These buses will expand the district’s fleet to accommodate its tremendous growth in ridership over the past several years.  The total cost of $337,708 was paid for with Federal Transit Administration and Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Lorraine Lieberman Honored as LVVS 2015 “Unsung Hero”

LVVS's 2015 'Unsung Hero' Lorraine Lieberman

LVVS’s 2015 ‘Unsung Hero’ Lorraine Lieberman. Photo courtesy of Joanne Argersinger.

WESTBROOK — Lorraine Lieberman of Killingworth was awarded this year’s Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) “Unsung Hero” award at the annual LVVS Holiday Social on Dec. 8. Her many contributions throughout the years have helped both tutors and students to improving English language skills and the quality of life in our shoreline communities.

Lieberman is an active tutor, tutor interviewer and tutor contact person for the organization.  Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is most grateful for her dedication, service and ‘always going the extra mile’ in the cause of literacy.

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