February 12, 2016

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

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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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Old Saybrook Library Offers ‘Local & Legal’ Film Series on Second Fridays

OLD SAYBROOK — The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting a “Local & Legal” film series at 1 p.m. in the Grady Thomas Room on second Fridays January through May.

Parrish starring Troy Donahue and shot in and around Old Saybrook will be shown on Jan. 8 ; Ragtime, with a film segment in Essex, will be shown on Feb. 12 ; for the legal side, Witness for the Prosecution will be shown on March 11; 12 Angry Men will be shown on April 8; and Erin Brockovich will be shown on May 13.

For more information, call The Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Oct to May on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. or visit online at www.actonlibrary.org .

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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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Acton Public Library Taking Applications for Honorary Position of Old Saybrook Poet Laureate

Acton Public Library is now taking applications for the honorary position of Old Saybrook Poet Laureate. Applications can be requested from the library or downloaded from the library’s webpage. The deadline for application submissions is January 31, 2016. All applications received will be reviewed by a selection committee, appointed by the library board.  The Old Saybrook Poet Laureate will be announced on March 18, 2016.  A formal recognition will take place in April, at the library’s annual poetry night celebration.

At their October meeting, the Acton Public Library voted to begin the search process for the first poet laureate for the Town of Old Saybrook, joining other communities throughout the state who have appointed residents to this position.

The mission of Old Saybrook’s Poet Laureate Program is to communicate the value of poetry and use poetry as a means to inspire, inform, and entertain the community at large. The Poet Laureate of the Town of Old Saybrook will serve as the ambassador of the community’s vibrant literary life, promoting its literary community and celebrating the written word.

To be considered for the position, a nominee must be a poet and resident of Old Saybrook, over 21 years old, and available and willing to collaborate with other Connecticut town poets to develop and present poetry-related activities that address the objectives of the laureate program. Interested poets can self-nominate or be nominated by others. Applications are available at the library, or may be downloaded from the library’s website. For more information, please contact the library at 860-395-3184, or our website: www.actonlibrary.org.

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OSW 8th Grade Football Players Compete in FBU Championship

Left to right:  Justin Badolato, Jeffery Miller, and Dominic Santullo

Left to right: Justin Badolato, Jeffery Miller, and Dominic Santullo

Three Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OSW) Youth Football players have been named to the Connecticut 8th Grade team for the Football University National Championship.  Defensive lineman Justin Badolato from John Winthrop Middle School, linebacker Jeffery Miller from Westbrook, and center Dominic Santullo of Old Saybrook were chosen after a series of tryouts and will compete in the second round of tournament games this Saturday against Southern Jersey in Lewisburg, West Virginia.  Round one was played in Rhode Island and New Hampshire.  Victory this coming weekend will mean they move on to compete against Indiana.

The FBU National Championship is described by the organization as the single biggest event in youth football.  Sixty-four teams from all over the United States and Canada representing their state or province battle in a single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion. 6th, 7th and 8th grade divisions compete throughout the month of December to be crowned national champion. Participants include 6,000 athletes representing thousands of youth leagues. This year the FBU “Championship Weekend” is in Naples, Florida to showcase the best teams in the nation. All American Games, parent company of FBU, is a sports management and marketing company based in Rockaway, N.J., that produces and manages many of the nation’s premiere high school and youth sporting events, including the U.S. Army All-American Bowl for the country’s best high school players.

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LVVS Congratulates Class of Fall 2015 Tutors

WESTBROOK — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) is pleased to congratulate the 2015 Fall class of tutors. Tutors are trained through comprehensive nationally accredited workshop sessions held by Literacy Volunteers. On completion of workshop sessions, trainees receive certification as a tutor and are assigned a mentor for support and guidance.

Trained volunteer tutors are matched with students in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading. Tutors carry out our mission of providing one-on-one tutoring to anyone seeking to improve their English skills. Through the LVVS services, students become acclimated to American culture and the English language resulting in them becoming productive, happy members of the community. There is no cost to the student.

Congratulations to the 2015 Fall class of tutors: Deborah Huddy of Clinton, Susan Taylor of Clinton, Rosanne Vinci of Clinton, Paul Aresta of Deep River, Karol Gardner of Deep River, Joseph Katan of East Haddam, Tricia Carey of East Lyme, Margaret Azarian of Guilford, Sandra Maccarone of Madison, Anne Maxwell of Niantic and Jane Gonzalez of Old Saybrook.

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Country School Selected as Finalist in United Arab Emirates STEAM Initiative

Learning through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

Learning through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

The Country School is one of three finalists selected to advise the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Education as it seeks to implement a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum for all Kindergarten-3rd Grade students.

Following a global search, the UAE identified the independent Pre-School through 8th Grade school as one of its top three choices to assist with the planning and implementation of the nationwide STEAM initiative. If selected, The Country School will partner with SmartStart Education, an academic solutions company based in New Haven, to plan and oversee implementation.

“We couldn’t be more honored that our signature STEAM program may serve as a global model for 21st century learning,” said Head of School John Fixx. “For the past five years, Country School teachers have immersed themselves in this effort to inspire meaningful, deep, and lasting learning through integrated science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. We know it works on our campus, and we look forward to sharing what we have learned with others across the globe.”

Fixx said The Country School was also delighted to be partnering on this venture with SmartStart Education, a team of administrators, teachers, and academics committed to helping people reach their full potential. He commented, “Like The Country School, SmartStart is all about promoting excellence in teaching and learning.”

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students, ages 3-14, on its 23-acre campus in Madison. STEAM is one of several signature programs at The Country School; others include Elmore Leadership, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking. Through STEAM, students are invited to tackle real-world problems that require them to ask challenging questions and work together to come to a solution.

By integrating all elements of the curriculum, STEAM engages all learners, and the hands-on, creative nature of a STEAM exploration means the learning will last. Perhaps most importantly, STEAM gives students the skills they need for success in the future—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity—and the inspiration to be tomorrow’s innovators.

Since adopting the STEAM model five years ago, The Country School has shared its learning in a variety of ways: during a summer teacher institute, through periodic teacher workshops, and through a series of STEAM events for area students and families. In addition, Country School teachers have been invited to facilitate STEAM workshops at outside conferences.

The Country School also hosts regular forums on the topics of parenting and education through its Teacher Institute-Partnering with Parents program. The next Teacher Institute-Partnering with Parents event will have a STEAM focus when, at 6.15 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2016, The Country School hosts a screening of Most Likely to Succeed, the acclaimed new film that invites us to reimagine education. This has been brought forward from the previously announced 7 p.m. time to allow for a panel discussion and Q & A after the film.

Visit www.thecountryschool.org or contact communications@thecountryschool.org for more information.

For more about SmartStart Education, visit www.smartstarteducation.com.

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Artisans Harbor Announces New Artist Show, Addition of Custom Framing

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Artisans Harbor  is very pleased to announce the addition of -Ron’s Custom Framing Ron Staskelunas brings with him 10 years of custom framing experience. He apprenticed with the best in the business and honed his technique prior to launching his own framing business located at Artisans Harbor 188 Main Street Old Saybrook.

Ron’s expertise and creative eye will ensure each customer is more than pleased with a collaboratively selected frame, matting or shadow box for fine art paintings, photography, prints, mirrors, needlepoint, collages, posters, keepsakes, heirlooms, jerseys and pretty much any memorabilia.

Artisans Harbor is also announcing three new artists showing now through Jan. 15th. Pastel painter Steve Linde is a signature member of the Connecticut Pastel Society and also serves as its Vice President. He has won awards at the CPS Renaissance Shows. Mary Mellot has been painting in landscapes, still life, and portraits in oils for over 40 years and her paintings are in collections throughout the U.S. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her portraiture paintings.

Old Lyme artist Randie Kahrl’s painting style is varied and often unexpected. An artist who is still evolving, she has certainly mastered different aspects of art, and yet is anxious to always explore new areas and ideas, whether it is color, edges, impasto and texture or simply the tension created by dramatic lighting. Visit Artisans Harbor Wed.-Sat. 12-5pm.

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Sen. Linares, State Officials Honor Deep River Veteran

Left to right: Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Member PW Louthain, and Sen. Art Linares.

Left to right: Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Member PW Louthain, and Sen. Art Linares.

U.S. Navy veteran PW Louthain of Deep River was inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 during a Nov. 30 ceremony at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The Hall of Fame was established in 2005 to recognize the continued contributions of Connecticut veterans to their cities and towns. This year, 11 veterans joined the 104 veterans who are currently in the Hall of Fame.

State officials, including State Sen. Art Linares, were on hand to congratulate Louthain and thank him for his service to his country and to his community.

Louthain served in the Navy for 20 years as a Senior Chief Machinist Mate and then worked for Electric Boat in Groton. While at EB, Louthain and a group of other U.S. submarine service veterans decided to sponsor and organize a Groton Sea Scout ship. A Sea Scout “ship” is the functional equivalent of a boy or girl scout troop.  As a member of the Westbrook Elks Lodge 1784, Louthain has served as liaison to the Westbrook-based Sea Scout Ship Stars and Stripes 1784.  The co-educational youth organization helps youth in the region to gain confidence and become good citizens.

“The inductees into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame have not only answered the call of their nation, they have answered the call of their communities,” Sen. Linares said. “It is what they have done beyond their military service that truly sets them apart as individuals worthy of this special honor. The example PW Louthain has set and his public service is most worthy of the respect and admiration of all Connecticut citizens. His volunteerism has inspired young future leaders in our region.  I was honored to join him and congratulate him on this memorable day.”

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‘Deck The Walls’ on Show at Lyme Art Association

‘Village Morning' by Barbara Lussier is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

‘Village Morning’ by Barbara Lussier is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association’s (LAA) festive art exhibition and sale, Deck the Walls, opened Nov. 27 and is on show through Jan. 8, 2016. An opening reception featuring live music will be held next Friday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is free and all painting purchases from 5 p.m. on Dec. 4 through 5 p.m. Dec. 5 will be tax-free.

More than 200 original works of art by member artists will be on display and priced to sell as holiday gifts. Artwork by newly inducted LAA Elected Artists will be featured in their own exhibition in the Goodman Gallery.

'Curious' by Kim Muller-Thym is featured in 'Deck the Walls.'

‘Curious’ by Kim Muller-Thym is featured in ‘Deck the Walls.’

“For Deck the Walls, the Lyme Art Association features a wide variety of appealing subjects at affordable prices that are great for holiday shopping. We hope to help solve those gift giving dilemmas – a beautiful piece of artwork is always appreciated!” says Jocelyn Zallinger, Gallery Manager.

The LAA is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 12 to 5 p.m., and by appointment. The building is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Road.

Call (860) 434-7802 for more information, or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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Ivoryton Hosts Sixth Annual Illuminations Extravaganza Tomorrow Evening

Tree4IVORYTON — Looking for a different way to celebrate Christmas? Then head down to Ivoryton for the Sixth Annual Ivoryton Illuminations on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The entire village of Ivoryton will be participating in this Holiday Extravaganza with carol singing, Santa’s Grotto, Holiday Bazaar, and culminating with the arrival of Santa and the lighting of the states’ largest living Christmas Tree at 6:30 p.m.  Ivoryton will be lighting up the holiday with over 300,000 lights throughout the village.

Family activities include writing letters to Santa and cards to our soldiers at the Ivoryton Library; Christmas Craft making and visits with Santa in the Playhouse (bring your camera if you want a picture!); a Holiday Bazaar featuring community and local church groups in the Fire House; Six Summit Gallery is featuring 100 pieces of fine art for gift giving (and free poster or book with purchase) as well as special events at The Ivoryton Tavern, Blue Hound Cookery and Taproom, The Copper Beech, Elephant Crossing, Hammered Edge, The Ivoryton Inn and Porky Pete’s BBQ & Brew.

Music will be provided by The Sweet Adeline’s and other local musicians who will be playing at various locations throughout the village.

Free parking will be available at the First Congregational Church and The Copper Beech Inn with a shuttle bus service to the village. The Illuminations will shine brightly through Jan. 5, and visitors can tune their car radios to 101.5FM and watch as the lights dance to the music.

This event is supported entirely by volunteers and sponsors including Essex Lions, Essex Savings Bank, Valley Courier, Riggio & Sons General Contractors, Wilcox Tree Service and Essex Rotary Club.

If you would like to experience some real Christmas cheer, then come and join the party in Ivoryton, the brightest village in Connecticut!

For more information, visit www.ivorytonalliance.org

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Old Lyme Town Band Gives Holiday Concert in Deep River Tonight

OL Town Band 01

Old Lyme Town Band

The Old Lyme Town Band will be performing a holiday concert in the Deep River Town Hall this evening at 7 p.m.  All are welcome and admission is free.

Other holiday concerts by the band in the local area through Dec. 16 are as follows:

OLTB

Visit OldLymeTownBand.org for more details.

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A Successful Year for the Essex Tree Committee

Red cedar

One of 33 Eastern Red Cedars planted at the West Avenue gateway

In 2015 the Essex Tree Committee received donations of 40 trees from both individuals and community organizations.  Thirty three of these trees were Eastern Red Cedars planted at the West Avenue gateway (see photo).  These were donated by the Essex Foundation and the Essex Fire Department.  Other trees included a Swamp White Oak tree located at the Methodist Hill donated by the Essex Police Union.  Two Princeton Elm trees, donated privately were planted at West Avenue and South Main Street.  A Sunset Red Maple donated by the Essex Rotary Club was planted also at South Main Street.  The Essex Garden Club donated a London Plane, planted at 15 Dennison Road. The Essex Tree Committee donated a Saucer Magnolia to the Essex Elementary School.  And Bartlett Tree Experts planted a Red Sunset Maple at 147 Dennison Road.

Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, thanks all who donated trees to the town of Essex in 2015.  These trees will enhance the beauty of the streets of Essex for many years to come.

To make a donation to the Essex Tree Committee, please contact Augie Pampel at augiepampel@att.net.

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Cappella Cantorum Presents a Holiday Festival with Chorus & Brass, Sunday

Christmas-musicCome and celebrate the holidays at Cappella Cantorum’s Holiday Festival concert with chorus and brass, Sunday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River.

The concert will feature John Rutter’s ‘Gloria,’ Daniel Pinkham’s ‘Christmas Cantata,’ Hanukah songs, selections for brass and a carol sing.

Barry B. Asch is the Music Director and Conductor, Deborah Lyon is Assistant Music Director and Accompanist and Patricia Hurley serves as Cappella Cantorum Festival Brass Manager.

Tickets purchased in advance are $30 and are available at CappellaCantorum.org or by calling (860) 577-2950. Tickets at the door are $30, students $5 (cash or check only).

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Biographer Discusses Life & Times of Playwright Eugene O’Neill at Essex Library, Thursday

Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O’Neill

ESSEX — The Essex Library invites you to meet with Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, Robert M. Dowling for a talk on the life of Eugene O’Neill and a signing of his biography: Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts on Thursday, December 3rd at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library. The Irish Times calls the book “a powerful narrative”, and it has won praise from The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, Booklist, Provincetown Arts, and Publishers Weekly.

Dowling’s extensively researched book recounts O’Neill’s tumultuous life and highlights how the stories O’Neill told for the stage are interwoven with the events in the playwright’s own life.

Robert M. Dowling is a professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He serves on the board of directors of the Eugene O’Neill Society and on the board of The Eugene O’Neill Review.

Books will be available for sale and signing through Essex Books. This program is free and open to all. Please call the Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Reading Uncertainly: ‘The Social Conquest of Earth’ by Edward O. Wilson

SocialConquest_Mech.inddWho are we?

This has been the eternal question of our curious and self-reflective species. Paul Gauguin, in Tahiti in 1897 in his final painting, expanded this question into three: D’ou Venons Nous? Que Sommes Nous? Ou Allons Nous?  (Where do we come from? What are we? And where are we going?) As the weather cools, it is time for some serious reading …

Edward O. Wilson, the noted Harvard chronicler of ants, has embarked on a trilogy to try and answer all three. The first, The Social Conquest of Earth, addresses the Gauguin threesome in short, pithy chapters, easy for today’s creatures accustomed to electronic social networks. No Proustian rambling for him!

“We have created a Star Wars civilization,” he begins, “with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.” His argument, which represents the story of the evolution of social life and its driving forces, is controversial.

It goes like this: “The social conquerors of Earth” dominate today, but they include not only homo sapiens but also ants, bees, wasps, and termites, species that are possibly more than 100 million years older than us (we emerged several 100,000 years ago, only spreading across this globe over the past 60,000 years). It is altogether probable that these other “eusocial species” — less than two percent of  the one million known species — will remain long after we disappear.

Our human condition is both selfish and selfless: “the two impulses are conflated … the worst of our nature coexists with the best, and so it will ever be.” Our “hereditary curse” is “our innate pugnacity … our bloody nature (in which) individuals prefer the company of others of the same race, nation, clan, and religion.”

Wilson continues, “The biological human mind is our province. With all its quirks, irrationality, and risky productions, and all its conflict and inefficiency, the biological mind is the essence and the very meaning of the human condition.”

In answering the question, “What are we?” Wilson explores the origins of culture, language, cultural variation, morality, honor, religions and creative art, suggesting “human beings are enmeshed in social networks.” And in these networks, we express our “relentless ambivalence and ambiguity … the fruits of the strange primate inheritance that rules the human mind.”

Wilson submits that religions are logical hallucinations in response to the ever-unanswered question, determining that, “ … religious faith is better interpreted as an unseen trap unavoidable during the biological history of our species. Humankind deserves better … than surrender and enslavement.”

The final chapter of this engrossing and illuminating exploration asks, “Where are we going?” Do we have free will? Wilson answers his question thus: “We are free as independent beings, but our decisions are not free of all the organic processes that created our personal brains and minds. Free will therefore appears to be ultimately biological.” Are we social creatures? Wilson suggests, ” … group selection (is) the driving force of where we have been and where we are going.”

We, a convoluted and introspective species, live in an “extremely complex biosphere” in which we must respect the “equilibrium created by all the other species, plants, animals, and microorganisms around us.” Failure to do so may mean our collapse or even that of the entire system.

But Wilson concludes on an optimistic note, saying, “Earth, by the twenty-second century, can be turned, if we so wish, into a permanent paradise for human beings, or at least the strong beginnings of one.”

This first philosophical exploration of human existence has been followed by the second, The Meaning of Human Existence, published in early 2015, and the third, The End of the Anthropocene will follow shortly.

Together they require serious reflection.

Editor’s Note: The Social Conquest of Earth, by Edward O.Wilson was published by W. W. Norton & Co., New York 2012.

Felix Kloman_headshot_2005_284x331-150x150About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

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LVVS Offers an Affordable Gift Idea

In the spirit of affordable giving, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS), CT, Inc. is having a “Fill a Bag for $5” December book promotion on specially selected books.

The LVVS bookstore has a large variety of hardcover, paperback, and children’s books that include selections by well-known authors and topics such as gardening, crafts, and religion. Buy a bag full and fill a basket or stocking for a special reader or favorite teacher in your life.

LVVS is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive. Book sale hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-2:00 and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 10:00AM-Noon.

Visit www.vsliteracy.org or call at 860-399-0280.  All book sales, promotion or otherwise, benefit the LVVS tutoring programs in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading.

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Start the Season with ‘Trees in the Rigging’ Community Carol Sing & Boat Parade, Today

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights.

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights.

ESSEX  Kick off the holiday season in Essex with the annual Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Lighted Boat Parade on Nov. 29.   The Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Board of Trade, and the Essex Historical Society combine to present this annual event that includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down Main Street where spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns or flashlights and join in with the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars.

Participants can gather at the Essex Town Hall at 4 p.m. The stroll steps off at 4:30 p.m. beginning on West Ave. and ending at the Connecticut River Museum with a parade of vessels dressed out in holiday lights and passing in review along the Connecticut River.  Santa and his elves will arrive by one of the parade boats for visits with children on the lawn of the Connecticut River Museum. The Connecticut River Museum will also be open that evening for all to attend the 22th Annual Holiday Train Show at a reduced admission of $6.

Register Your Boat for the Lighted Boat Parade

A critical and crowed-pleasing part of this free community event is the parade of boats dressed in holiday lights that sail along Essex’s waterfront. The decorated boats are part of a friendly competition.  A modest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize will be awarded to the best dressed boats. Winners will be invited to receive their prize and participate in a photo-op on Monday, Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum.

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 p.m. from the south end of Essex Harbor. To register, send an email to crm@ctrivermuseum.org. Information should include: Vessel name; Type of boat and description; Owner(s) name; Contact information (phone and preferred email); Decorating scheme (if known at time of registration). Registration must be received by Monday, Nov. 24 at 4:30 p.m.

Make your Own Parade Lantern

Carolers can make their own lanterns for the parade.  Step 1: fill an empty aluminum can with water and freeze. This will make it easier to punch holes for the design in the can. Step 2: using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the can to make a connect-the-dots style picture of a holiday design. Use plenty of holes to allow the light to shine through. Step 3: punch two holes near the rim to attach a wire handle. Step 4: after the ice is melted, attach a votive or other small candle to the inside bottom of the can.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860.767.8269 or visit www.ctrivermuseum.org.

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Hadlyme Hall Fine Art & Crafts Show Runs Through 4pm Today

drawing_of_hallThe 14th annual Fine Art & Craft Show at Hadlyme Public Hall will be held over Thanksgiving weekend from Friday through Sunday. The event features artist Brian Keith Stephens from Old Lyme, Conn.

at_the_showAdmission for Saturday and Sunday is free. The show is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

A variety of artists — many local — will be exhibiting mixed media, holiday home décor, photography, oil and watercolor paintings, stoneware, wood carvings, jewelry, pottery, and sculpture.

All the artists have been asked to prepare “Small Wonders” in order to be able to offer some pieces that are affordable for all and suitable for holiday gift lists.

A full listing of the artists exhibiting is given below

 

Phyllis Bevington – Oil On Canvas

JoAnna Chapin – Watercolors

Linda Elgart – Oils & Enhanced Giclees

Paula Emery – Oils & Collages

Maureen Girard – Mixed Media

Matthew Goldman – Prints, Books, & Cards

Bud Haines – Handcarved Birds

Bonnie Bryne LeMay – Oil Paintings

Jill Beecher Matthew – Palette Knife Oils

Thomas McLean – Oil Paintings

Ron Olansen – Oil Paintings

Cora Preibis – Oil Paintings

Erin Reemsnyder – Photography

Maureen Tarbox – Oils & Watercolors

Lisa Tellier – Oils & Watercolors

Amy Amelia White – Oil on Canvas

Paul Maulucci – Wooden Bowls

Julliet Rutigliano – Eclectic Sterling Jewlery

Paula Goldman – Silver Circle Herbals

Frank Michael Winiski – Metal Sculpture

Marcy Furphy – Mayflower Soap

Laurie Gelston Alt – Ceramic Sculpture

Nancy McKinnon – Ballek’s Nursery

Hadlyme Garden Club

Loreen O’Neil – Handmade Felted Bags

For further information, click here.

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Land Trust’s Annual Photo Contest Celebrates 10 Years

Michael Cathcart (Honorable Mention, Cultural Category, 2015 contest)

Michael Cathcart (Honorable Mention, Cultural Category, 2015 contest)

The deadline for the Tenth Annual Land Trusts Amateur Photo Contest is January 31, 2016. Entry forms for the contest will be available only by email after December 1, 2015 at photocontest@lymelandtrust.org.

Amateur photographers are invited to share their love of the natural world by entering their favorite photographs.  Children age 14 and under are especially encouraged to submit photos in the Youth category. Participants, no matter their town of residence, may submit photos that focus on the celebrated and scenic countryside of Lyme, Old Lyme, Essex, Salem, and East Haddam. Land Trusts in these towns sponsor this photo contest.

Submissions are accepted from the first to the last day of January 2016. Contest rules are available online at lymelandtrust.org. The link is http://www.lymelandtrust.org/news/photo-contest/.

Contest awards are being funded with the generous support of RiverQuest /Connecticut River Expeditions, Ballek’s Garden Center, Essex Savings Bank, ChelseaGroton Bank, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Lorensen Auto Group, the Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, and Alison Mitchell in honor of her late husband John G. Mitchell. John G. Mitchell was a life-long environmentalist and former photo contest judge.

A panel of three judges will award $100, $75, $50 and $25 cash prizes in each of five categories. The categories are Landscape/Waterscape, Plants, Wildlife, and Cultural/Historic (human interaction with nature, including domestic animals and buildings), for participants 15 years of age or older. Photographers 14 years old or younger may enter photos on any of these subjects in the Youth Category.

The Photo Contest will be judged by William Burt, a naturalist and wildlife photographer acclaimed for his beautiful books; Amy Kurtz Lansing, an accomplished art historian and curator at the Florence Griswold Museum; and  Skip Broom, a respected, award-winning local photographer and antique house restoration housewright.

All entered photographs, plus all winning photos, will be displayed and celebrated in a public reception Friday, March 11, 2016.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust encourage amateur photographers to join the fun and share wonderful photos from these southern Connecticut towns. Previous Land Trusts Photo Contest winning photos, viewable at https://landtrustsphotos.shutterfly.com/, highlight the beauty of these towns and the pressing need to preserve the environments within these towns.

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Concert in the Garden Features Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet, Dec. 13

Leif Nilsson Concert in the Garden will feature the Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet on Sunday December 13 from 4-6 pm.

Bistro style seating in the Gallery.  Gates open half an hour before the show.  First come – first seated.

BYOB (Shop at the Chester package store across the street!)

Suggested donation $10.

Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet

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Armed with a provocative, whiskey-soaked tone, New York based jazz vocalist Michelle Walker is a charismatic and very versatile singer that uses an artful blend of blues, bebop, swing and soul with playful rhythmic expressiveness. She bends the lines and pushing the boundaries of jazz vocal art with rich colors and adventurous flexibility. She moves easily from a dark, deep tone to a mid-range, swinging lilt. In her upcoming release, Love Misery, Michelle brings together a collection of jazz standards, original songs and her arrangements of contemporary pop tunes effortlessly with her own genre-bending style. Mike Joyce of The Washington Post says “Walker….has seductive charm…” A Stunner in Concert. Dave Nathan of All About Jazz says “…[Walker]…she has an extraordinary degree of musicality….” Michelle is often compared to Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone and Betty Carter in style and tone. Over the past 10 years, her group has toured internationally and has been a premier performer at Festivals, Concert Halls and Performing Art Centers including the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree.

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Happy Thanksgiving … and Let’s Talk Turkey

We wish all our readers a very happy Thanksgiving holiday and are pleased to republish an article that our good friend Linda Ahnert wrote for us in 2007 to celebrate Thanksgiving that year, but it it still as topical today as then.

Who Doesn’t Love Thanksgiving?

Giving thanks_bookSeveral years ago, a book entitled “Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie” was published. The co-authors are Kathleen Curtin, food historian at the Plimoth Plantation, Mass., and Sandra L. Oliver, food historian and publisher of the newsletter “Food History News.”

The book is a fascinating look at how an autumnal feast evolved into a “quintessential American holiday.”

Most Americans, introduced to the story of the Pilgrims and Indians during childhood, assume there is a direct link between the traditional holiday menu and the first Thanksgiving. But we learn from the book that many of those food items—such as mashed potatoes and apple pie—were simply impossible in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. Potatoes were not introduced to New England until much later and those first settlers did not yet have ovens to bake pies.

What we do know about the bill of fare at the first celebration in 1621 comes from a letter written by colonist Edward Winslow to a friend in England: “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.”

Later 90 Indians joined the party with “their great king Massasoit whom for three days we entertained and feasted.” Then the Indians “went out and killed five deer which they brought to the plantation.”

So venison was a principal food on the menu. It also seems safe to assume that mussels, clams, and lobsters (all in plentiful supply) were served as well. According to other journals of the colonists, the “fowl” that Winslow described were probably ducks and geese. But wild turkeys were also bountiful in 1621, and so it is very likely that they were on the Pilgrims’ table. Thank goodness for that.

Throughout the New England colonies, it became common to proclaim a day of thanksgiving sometime in the autumn. In period diaries, there are many descriptions of food preparation—such as butchering and pie baking—followed by the notation that “today was the general thanksgiving.”

By the 19th century, Americans were taking the idea of a “thanksgiving” to a whole new level. The religious connotations were dropping away in favor of a holiday celebrating family and food. Roast turkey had become the centerpiece of these fall celebrations.

Turkeys, of course, were native to North America. (Benjamin Franklin, in a letter, had even proposed the turkey as the official U.S. bird!) And turkey was considered to be a fashionable food back in the mother country. Just think of the significance of turkey in Charles’ Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” When Scrooge wakes up in a joyful mood on Christmas morning, he calls to a boy in the street to deliver the prize turkey in the poulterer’s shop to the Cratchit family. (Earlier in the story, the poor Cratchits were dining on goose.)

It is thanks to a New England woman that Thanksgiving became an American holiday. Sarah Hale was a native of New Hampshire and the editor of “Godey’s Lady’s Book,” a popular women’s magazine. She lobbied for years for a national observance of Thanksgiving. She wrote editorials and sent letters to the president, all state governors, and members of Congress.

Finally, in 1863, she convinced Abraham Lincoln that a national Thanksgiving Day might help to unite the Civil War-stricken country. The fourth Thursday in November was now officially on the American calendar.

Connecticut’s own Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this description of a New England Thanksgiving in one of her novels—“But who shall . . .describe the turkey, and chickens, and chicken pies, with all that endless variety of vegetables which the American soil and climate have contributed to the table . . . After the meat came the plum-puddings, and then the endless array of pies. . .”

The autumnal feast became a national holiday, but each region of the country put its own spin on the menu. Not to mention that immigrants have also added diversity. The result is a true “melting pot” of America. The second half of “Giving Thanks” contains recipes that reflect what Americans eat for Thanksgiving in the 21st century.

In the South, for instance, the turkey might be stuffed with cornbread and there would be pecan and sweet potato pies on the table. In New Mexico, chiles and Southwestern flavors may be added to the stuffing.

There’s the “time-honored traditional bread stuffing” recipe. There’s also one for a Chinese American rice dressing and directions for a Cuban turkey stuffed with black beans and rice. Desserts run the gamut from an (authentic) Indian pudding to an (exotic) coconut rice pudding. Old-fashioned pumpkin pie is included as well as the newfangled pumpkin cheesecake.

But no matter what food items grace our Thanksgiving tables, it seems that we all end up stuffing ourselves silly. Perhaps overeating started at that very first harvest celebration in 1621. In Edward Winslow’s letter describing the feast with the Indians, he noted that food was not always this plentiful. But he wrote his friend in England “ … yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

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Vista Members Publish Memoirs

From left are Evan Brookman, Devery Morgan, Jocelyn Ruggiero, Dana Rupley and Matt Christiaanse during the memoir reading at CREATE Art Studio. Credit: Vanessa Pereira

From left are Evan Brookman, Devery Morgan, Jocelyn Ruggiero, Dana Rupley and Matt Christiaanse during the memoir reading at CREATE Art Studio. Credit: Vanessa Pereira

Four members of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center have accomplished a feat many have only dreamed about— publishing a book.

Evan Brookman, Matt Christiaanse, Devery Morgan and Dana Rupley recall memories, life experiences and even look to the future in memoirs they wrote and published during a seven-week Vista Arts Center class taught by writer Jocelyn Ruggiero. These newly published authors shared passages from their books on Nov. 12th during a reading held at CREATE Art Studio in Madison.

“I liked telling my story to my family, friends and Vista staff,” said Dana. Her memoir, “Pieces of My Life,” recounts her early years at Vista and includes anecdotes about loved ones. “I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

In his memoir, “My Life at Vista and Beyond,” Evan, too, focuses on his time at Vista. He chronicles his journey through the program—from the nerves he experienced his first week, to the confidence and friendships he has developed over the years.  His book also serves as a tribute to his late grandmother, of whom he shares fond memories.

“I thought making part of [the book] about her would be a perfect way to honor her,” Evan said.

Matt took a different approach in his memoir, “My Life.” Instead of recalling a memory, he imagines what the future may hold and details his aspirations of moving to Los Angeles to become an actor and singer.

Devery, who Jocelyn called a prolific writer, centered her memoir on a more emotional topic—the cause of her disability. In “I Fought My Way in Life,” she tells the story of how her life was forever changed after being involved in a car accident at age two.

Although a painful story, Devery enjoyed the writing process. She said writing gives her a voice and allows her to express things she wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

“For me, writing is like a painting where you have nothing on paper, but in time, you will get a beautiful picture and writing is the picture,” Devery said. “If I could write for a living, I would be in heaven!”

Copies of these memoirs are available for purchase. For information, contact Arts Program Manager Amanda Roberts at aroberts@vistavocational.org.

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Volunteers Needed for Tax Preparation Assistance

Volunteer Jay Keiser helps a client prepare their tax return at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site at the Middlesex United Way office

Volunteer Jay Keiser helps a client prepare their tax return at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site at the Middlesex United Way office

Volunteers are needed for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to help low- to moderate-income households prepare and file their taxes to ensure they get back the money they have earned.

VITA is a national program of the IRS, and volunteers are trained and certified to ensure that working families and individuals are filing for all of the appropriate tax credits. The program also helps families who might be struggling financially by saving them costly fees associated with tax preparation and rapid refund loans.

The program is looking for volunteers for two VITA sites located in downtown Middletown to provide free tax preparation assistance for eligible taxpayers. Tax preparation is offered January 23–April 12, 2016 at Middlesex United Way’s office in 100 Riverview Center and at NEAT’s office on Main Street.

No prior experience is necessary. Volunteers complete training and are certified by the IRS. Training will be held January 4-7 or January 11-14, 2016, and volunteers need to attend consecutive evening sessions.  Volunteers will be trained to let taxpayers know if they qualify for additional tax credits, such as the federal and the state Earned Income Tax Credits and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. VITA volunteers must complete a minimum of one 4-hour shift per week during tax season in the late afternoons and evenings or on Saturdays; maintain confidentiality of all client information; and interact with the public in a helpful and supportive manner. Opportunities to become certified as an advanced tax preparer are also available.

In 2015, the two VITA sites in Middletown helped more than 570 Middlesex County area residents file their taxes for free and returned more than $770,000 back to taxpayers. Those who filed with Middletown VITA sites had an average adjusted gross income of about $21,000 and received an average refund of $1,656, money they have earned. This impacts not only those who filed their taxes, but also their families and the local economy.

To volunteer or learn more, contact Leah Meyer at 860-227-7409 or leah.meyer99@gmail.com.

VITA is a free program offered by the federal government. Local VITA sites are coordinated by the Middlesex VITA Coalition, a partnership of Middlesex United Way and the North End Action Team. The Middlesex VITA Coalition receives support from the Connecticut Association of Human Services.

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Head for the Woods Today with Old Saybrook Land Trust

OSLT Board members on the Oyster River property after it's purchase was complete in 2014. L-R Bob Lorenz, Joe Nochera, Cathy Malin, Ann Gamble, Barb Guenther, Laurel Friedmann, Mike Urban and John Ogren.(photo by Jen Gamble)

OSLT Board members on the Oyster River property after it’s purchase was complete in 2014. L-R Bob Lorenz, Joe Nochera, Cathy Malin, Ann Gamble, Barb Guenther, Laurel Friedmann, Mike Urban and John Ogren.(photo by Jen Gamble)

OLD SAYBROOK – Saturday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Old Saybrook Land Trust will work on their property fronting the Oyster River. The public is invited public to join in the fun/work and share in a barbecue lunch.

The OSLT purchased the six acres in 2014 and has since worked to remove excess brush and improve accessibility. Come on out to help continue the work, or just stop by to enjoy the late fall weather and meet some OSLT members. This property is a great bird watching area, and a knowledgeable naturalist will help with spotting and identifying the many types of birds known to frequent the area. Bring binoculars if possible.

To reach the property, travel on Ingham Hill Road by McDonald’s in Old Saybrook, and look for the Old Saybrook Land Trust Event sign along the right hand side of the road near mailbox number 68. This is a free event.

For more detailed directions and other information , visit oslt.org, or send an email to oldsaybrooklandtrust@oslt.org.

 

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Essex Elementary School Foundation Hosts Talent Showcase with Scott Haney as EmCee

WFSB's Scot Haney and 5th grader Kendra Cika emcee the show

WFSB’s Scot Haney and 5th grader Kendra Cika emcee the show ( all photos courtesy of EESF)

ESSEX — Comedians, jugglers, singers, pianists and Karate masters strutted their stuff at the Essex Elementary School Talent Showcase on Tuesday, Nov. 9.  The crowd cheered as students performed their talents, while WFSB personality Scot Haney served as emcee

4th grader Owen Peterson has excellent martial arts moves

4th grader Owen Peterson has excellent martial arts moves

This special night was sponsored by the Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF), a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that provides independent financial resources for worthy educational projects and enrichment programs, such as a mathematician-in-residence and an iPad lab.  Students walked away equal winners in this non-competitive talent show.

Led by EESF board member Cathy Poulin, the showcase utilized the skills of local volunteers, such as Patty Carver, of the Connecticut Children’s Theatre.

4th grader Charlie Whelan entertains the crowd with comedy

4th grader Charlie Whelan entertains the crowd with comedy

The event raised more than $400 for the organization.

For more information about the EESF, visit www.essexelementaryschoolfoundation.org.  Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Essex Elementary School Foundation, PO Box 882, Essex CT 06426.

4th grader Zoey Michel leads the entire group in a rendition of "Glad You Came"

4th grader Zoey Michel leads the entire group in a rendition of “Glad You Came”

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Local Firm Receives FDA Approval for Medical Devices

PCI Medical’s newly remodeled, 36,000 square foot, state-of-art headquarters

PCI Medical’s newly remodeled, 36,000 square foot, state-of-art headquarters

DEEP RIVER –  PCI Medical is pleased to announce that it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the ASTRA VR and ASTRA TEE automated reprocessors used to facilitate the high-level disinfection of endocavity ultrasound probes.

“The ASTRA VR and ASTRA TEE automated reprocessors are the next innovation in ultrasound probe disinfection,” stated Philip Coles, Founder and Chairman of PCI Medical. “For over 20 years PCI Medical has developed high-level disinfection systems for ultrasound probes to help keep patients and probes safe, while saving our customers money. The ASTRA series automatically controls the time, temperature and rinse cycles for the probes while providing fully automated data logging.”

The ASTRA VR is an automated reprocessor for the high-level disinfection and rinsing of one or two endovaginal/endorectal ultrasound probes.  The ASTRA TEE is an automated reprocessor for the high-level disinfection and rinsing of one or two transesophageal (TEE) probes.

The ASTRA® series of automated reprocessors offer many unique features that help users meet audit and accreditation requirements for Joint Commission and Infection Control standards. The ASTRA uses a reusable, industry standard high-level disinfectant that dramatically minimizes cycle costs. A single gallon of disinfectant can be reused in the system for up to 14 days. A built-in bar code reader captures and automatically stores information including: type of disinfectant, probe ID and operator ID. The ASTRA also automatically captures and logs temperature, date and time of disinfection, MRC pass or fail and cycle outcome. All of the data from the last 1,000 cycles is stored on the ASTRA and downloaded via a USB port as needed.

For more information on the ASTRA series of automated reprocessors, go to www.pcimedical.com/astra/

About PCI Medical – Experts in High-Level Disinfection®

For over 20 years, PCI Medical has developed and manufactured high-level disinfection systems. PCI Medical manufactures a complete line of GUS® manual soak stations as well as Storage Systems for endovaginal/endorectal, general purpose probes and TEE probes, and other accessories for high-level disinfection such as spill kits and neutralizers. GUS Disinfection Soak Stations are used in over 6,000 facilities throughout the US and Canada.

In addition to quality products, the PCI Medical Disinfection Team helps facilities to become or stay compliant in the high-level disinfection process, from pre-cleaning through to storage. They are Experts in High-Level Disinfection. For more information about PCI Medical products and educational offerings, please visit www.pcimedical.com

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Gowrie Group Aims to Raise $1 Million to Benefit Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

Gowrie Group Team serving lunch at the Old Saybrook meal site location.

Gowrie Group Team serving lunch at the Old Saybrook meal site location.

“I never expected to hit such tough times, but thank God for the food pantry.” This message was written by a shoreline resident and guest of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP), during a recent family financial crisis. Shoreline Soup Kitchens gave her the food she needed, no questions asked. Helping shoreline families like hers who are facing food insecurity is one of Gowrie Group’s most important outreach initiatives.

That desire to give back to the community in a meaningful way is why for the past 11 years Gowrie Group has focused much of its charitable giving on supporting SSKP.  Since 1989, SSKP has provided food and fellowship to neighbors in need who reside in Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Last year they distributed more food than ever before – over 1 million pounds of groceries. This year the number of people in need continues to rise, and the SSKP has had a 14 percent increase in the amount of food distributed at their five local pantries.

In response to this need, Gowrie Group is launching their 12th annual matching challenge with a $25,000 donation to the SSKP.  Five local companies — The Safety Zone, LC Doane Company, Tower Labs, Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and the Tariq Farid Foundation – are providing an additional $22,500 in matching funds.

This year, Gowrie Group is challenging the community of local businesses and friends to help them meet and exceed an ambitious goal – raising $125,000. Meeting this year’s goal will put the lifetime total amount raised by the Gowrie Group Shoreline Soup Kitchen Challenge over the Million Dollar mark. The 2015 Gowrie Group Challenge runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31.

Carter Gowrie, CEO of Gowrie Group said, “We are extremely proud that over the past 11 years, we have raised almost $1,000,000 to benefit those in need in our community and support the great work the SSKP does. We greatly appreciate the donations made by so many of our clients, local businesses, and friends each and every year.  I look forward to us together breaking the million dollar mark this year.”

“Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is so grateful for all those who support the Gowrie Challenge.  Every year this campaign shows the commitment of our community to caring for others. On behalf of the thousands of those we serve every year, I say thank you,” says Patty Dowling, SSKP Executive Director.

Throughout the year, Gowrie Group and its employees donate time and services to soup kitchens and pantries across New England.  Each summer, Gowrie employees prepare and serve a lunch at an SSKP meal site in Old Saybrook, CT.  Before the holidays, Gowrie employees host canned food drives at each office location – Westbrook CT, Darien CT, Newport RI, North Kingstown RI, Marshfield, MA, Manchester, NH – and donate the collected goods to local entities.  Employees and their families also help out regularly at a variety of food pantries and meal service locations across the region.

Appreciation is expressed to the 2015 Gowrie Challenge partner and media sponsors: The Safety ZoneLC Doane CompanyTower LabsLenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and Tariq Farid Foundation. Media Sponsors: Shore Publishing and WLIS/WMRD

Donations can be made online at www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org; click the “Donate” button and select “Gowrie Challenge.”

Donations by mail should be sent to: The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Attn: Gowrie Group Challenge, P.O. Box 804, Essex, Connecticut 06426.

Two special events will benefit the Gowrie Group Shoreline Soup Kitchen Challenge.

On Black Friday, Nov. 27, the “Shoreline Soup Kitchen Benefit Concert” will take place at The Kate, in Old Saybrook.

On Dec. 5 and 6, Dancing to End Hunger, a ballet performance of “Ahavah: The Story of Christmas,” will take place at the Morgan School in Clinton.

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Collomore Concert Series Present Classical Guitarist Jorge Caballero, Chester, Nov. 29

Jorge Caballero, an internationally award-winning classical guitarist, will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available through CollomoreConcerts.org.

Jorge Caballero, an internationally award-winning classical guitarist, will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available through CollomoreConcerts.org.

On Sunday, Nov. 29 at the Chester Meeting House, the Collomore Concert Series is honored to present classical guitarist Jorge Caballero, the youngest musician and the only guitarist to win the Naumburg International Competition, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards given to performers of any instrument.

Caballero is known for his dazzling virtuosity, intense musicality and spellbinding performances. New York Times called him a “superb young guitarist” and praised his rare combination of “a deft, powerful technique and a soft-spoken interpretive persona.”

The International Guitar Symposium described him: “He has perfect technique and plays at a pace that’s spellbinding. He can also impress us with expression and loveliness, as well as stunning strength. At its most sensational is probably his command of voice leading that simply often sounds like two or three guitars and not one.”

Jorge Caballero’s Chester Meeting House concert will be at 5 p.m. on Nov. 29. Tickets are $24, adult; $5, student, and are available through the website, CollomoreConcerts.org or by calling 860-526-5162. Ticket holders are invited to stay for the reception after the concert to meet the musician and enjoy refreshments donated by Dough on Main. This is the last concert in the 42nd season of the Collomore Concert series.

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Learn ‘The Bear Facts’ about Black Bears in CT Tonight in Chester Town Hall

It's true that black bears are being sighted in Connecticut, but this black bear in the tree was discovered by Chester photographer Al Malpa in the Great Smokies.

It’s true that black bears are being sighted in Connecticut, but this black bear in the tree was discovered by Chester photographer Al Malpa in the Great Smokies.

Yes, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), there have been sightings of black bears in our towns.

The town of Chester has had the most sightings of any of the Valley Shore towns – 14 – in the 12-month period since November 2014.

While this number is lower than northwestern Connecticut towns, a DEEP spokesman was quoted in a recent article in the Hartford Courant as saying, “Most of us live adjacent to bear habitat, so most of us can expect bears to be near our homes as the population increases.”

So the Chester Library and Chester Land Trust are teaming up to present “The Bear Facts: Black Bears in Connecticut” on Friday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at Chester Town Hall on Rte. 154. The free presentation will be given by Master Wildlife Conservationist Paul Colburn through the DEEP.

Colburn’s program will focus on the natural history of black bears in our state. He will provide an overview of black bear habitat, diet and behavior, and current research efforts.  He will also provide recommendations for coexistence with our black bear population.

The program is best suited to adults and children over age 11. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call the Chester Library at 860-526-0018.

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Quilts of Valor – Ten Local Veterans Honored with Quilt Presentations

IMG_3706The Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook, along with the Connecticut Chapter of Quilts of Valor were privileged on Veterans Day to honor 10 local veterans with quilt presentations.  The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to “cover” service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor made by dedicated volunteers.

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High Hopes’ Fifth Annual Holiday Market to Host More Than 60 Local Vendors, Saturday

HighHopesHolidayMarketHigh Hopes Therapeutic Riding is transforming its indoor arena into a holiday marketplace on Sunday, Nov. 15, for the Fifth Annual Holiday Market sponsored by Reynolds Subaru. The event begins at noon and will feature more than 60 local vendors and exhibitors, as well as activities for the entire family including hayrides, a kids’ scavenger hunt, face painting, door prizes and raffle for a 2015 Subaru Crosstrek.

Last year more than 2,000 visitors attended the event on High Hopes’ 120-acre facility to start their holiday shopping and enjoy popular area food trucks. Items for sale include hand-made jewelry, holiday décor, pottery, crafts, skin care products, organic produce and more.

This year’s gourmet and specialty food truck line-up includes Flanders Fish Market, The Rolling Tomato, The Whey Station, FryBorg, Munchies Food Truck and for dessert, Meriano’s Bakery and Cannoli Truck.

For the first time at the event, attendees can see a glassblowing demonstration by Arch One Glass, and meet Garbanzo, a nine-month-old Mongolian Bankhar Dog who is trained to help nomadic Mongolian families by protecting their livestock from predators.

Raffle and event beneficiaries

High Hopes will hold a raffle drawing at 3:45 p.m. at the Holiday Market for a 2015 Subaru Crosstrek Premium, an Apple Watch Sport, a New York City overnight with dinner and Broadway show tickets, and a pair of Sorrel Cowboy Boots. The cost of a raffle ticket is $50, with only 1,500 being sold.

Visitors are encouraged to attend the Holiday Market which raises funds that directly support the 1,538 children and adults who are served annually by High Hopes’ programs.

Admission to the Holiday Market is free with a suggested donation of a nonperishable food item for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries. Last year, more than 2,400 pounds of food was donated to help local families who struggle with hunger.

For more information about the event and to see a list of vendors, visit www.highhopestr.org, or contact Trudy Burgess at tburgess@highhopestr.org or call 860-434-1974, ext. 123.

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Williams School Hosts Prospective Student Information Session Saturday

The Williams School in New London is offering a series of Prospective Student Information Sessions with the first one being held this Saturday, Nov. 15, from 1 to 3 p.m.  These sessions will provide an opportunity for families to enjoy a campus tour by a Student Ambassador, hear from a panel of current students and faculty, and experience mini lessons taught by faculty in their classrooms. They are one of many ways to learn about Williams’ academic, athletic, arts, and community opportunities.

Register online for Saturday’s Information Session.

Additional Information Sessions are planned on the following dates:

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 1-3 p.m.

Sunday, May 15, 2016, 1-3 p.m.

For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 860.443.5333 or 

The Williams School is a college preparatory day school serving middle and upper school students in grades 6 – 12 located on the campus of Connecticut College at 182 Mohegan Ave. New London, CT 06320

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Obituary: Richard B. Blythe, 31 Oct. 15

blytheRichard (Dick) B. Blythe, 87 of Killingworth, CT passed away peacefully on October 31, 2015.   He served as the Principal of Valley Regional High School from 1971-1985 and the High School honored Dick for his many years of dedication and service by naming football/soccer and track facilities the Richard B. Blythe Athletic Complex.

Read the full obituary published in the Hartford Courant here.

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Letter: Thanks from LVVS

To The Editor

The 5th Annual Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore Wine and Brew Tasting and Auction benefitting the organization’s tutoring program was a smashing (pumpkins?) success again this year. The event, held on October 23rd at the Saybrook Point Pavilion netted funds that will help L.V.V.S. continue the mission of eradicating illiteracy in the valley shore area well into 2016.

Any event’s success is always due to people and organizations coming together for a worthy cause. We are fortunate to have an extraordinary combination that made this year’s event a rousing success. Special thanks to The Clark Group, our title sponsor. We are also indebted to The Wine Cask of Old Saybrook who provided the evening’s libations. Event sponsors Tower Laboratories, Murphy and Company CPAs, Whelen Engineering, Guilford Savings Bank and Edward Jones Investments of Clinton also deserve recognition for their support and for their continued belief in us.

Mere words are not sufficient to thank Elizabeth Steffen who worked so hard to produce the food for the evening, contributed a number of raffle and auction items and still somehow found time to sell tickets and help set up the venue. Similarly, the efforts of board member Paula Chabot, our event organizer, board members Arcangela Claffey, Barb Erni, Bill Guerra and Rose Marie Cushing insured a wonderful and successful fundraiser. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hard work and extra dedication of Administrative Assistant Joanne Argersinger, volunteers Paula Ferrara and Judy Sousa and the cooperation of the Old Saybrook Park and Recreation Department. Thank you all so very much!

Finally, thank you to everyone who shared the evening with us and whose support and generosity will warm our students throughout the remainder of this fall and into the New Year.

Sincerely,

John J. Ferrara
Executive Director Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc.

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Democrat Gister Defeats Linn in Chester’s First Selectman Race, Englert Loses Seat

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek celebrate their respective elections.

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek celebrate their respective elections.

Mario Gioco read the following “unofficial results” of the Chester Board of Selectmen election to those waiting in the town hall:
First Selectman:
Lauren Gister (D) 680
Carolyn Linn (R) 413
Selectman:
Charlene Janecek (D) 688
Tom Englert (R) 404
Gister commented, “We will work very hard and we will make you proud.”
Full story by Charles Stannard coming tomorrow.
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Essex Elementary School Foundation Prepares for Second Talent Showcase

CENTERBROOK, CT — The Essex Elementary School Foundation, a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that provides independent financial resources for worthy educational projects, enrichment programs, and other initiatives, is preparing for its second Essex Elementary Talent Showcase. Students in the fourth through sixth grades were invited to participate in this “non-competitive talent show” where all students will walk away as equal winners.

The goal is two-fold: to empower EES students to be proud of their abilities and to enhance awareness of the foundation’s role in the school community. The showcase has brought in local volunteers, such as Patty Carver, of the Connecticut Children’s Theatre, to provide professional assistance.

The Talent Showcase will be open to the public on Monday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Essex Elementary School’s cafeteria. Scot Haney, WFSB’s popular meteorologist and personality, will be making a special appearance at the show. Donations will be graciously accepted by the foundation at the door.

Since its inception in 1996, the Essex Elementary School Foundation’s primary goal has been to create a significant endowment that can support the school’s strategic vision to be a world-class educational institution. Each year, 5% of the EESF endowment is allocated for programs and projects such as a Scientist-in-Residence program, an iPad lab, literacy support materials, equipment for musical and physical education, playground improvements, logical thinking games, and audio/visual equipment.

For more information about the Essex Elementary School Foundation, log onto www.essexelementaryschoolfoundation.org. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Essex Elementary School Foundation, PO Box 882, Essex, CT 06426.

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Essex Place Centerbrook Groundbreaking for New Affordable Senior Housing

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Thorden)

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Thorden)

ESSEX — Essex Place Centerbrook, LLC held a groundbreaking for a new 22-unit building for affordable senior housing in Centerbrook, CT, a village of the Town of Essex.  In attendance for the ceremony were representatives from the state legislature, the Governor’s office, and the U.S. Congress as well as town officials, funders of the project, and members of the Development Team.

Essex Place Centerbrook is a partnership between Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing (EEAH)and Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development (WIHED). Celebrating the occasion were remarks from Commissioner Klein, Department of Housing, Rep. Philip Miller, First Selectman Norm Needleman, Joanne Sullivan from the Federal Home Loan Bank, Erica Schwarz from LISC, Greg Shook, Chairman and CEO of Essex Savings Bank, and from  WIHED Betsy Crum, Exec. Director, and Loni Willey, Chief Operating Officer.

The groundbreaking  celebration culminates over five years of planning. The idea for Essex Place Centerbrook was to provide additional units for Essex Court, the current senior affordable housing residence, that had a waiting list larger than available places .  In 2012, the development process began.  The Development Team includes Quisenberry & Arcari, Architects, W.H. Cole, To Design, Doane Collins,  A. Secondino & Sons, and Cloutier & Cassella and Hudson &Kilby, counsels.  The Board of Directors of Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing are most grateful for the support of everyone who collaborated to make this project a reality.  Occupancy for the new building is anticipated to be 2017.

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Letter: Essex Needs Pro-Active Management

To the Editor:

Vote for hands-on, conscientious attention to town operations and future planning in Essex! Bruce Glowac, Phil Beckman and the slate of Republican candidates offer us a leadership team with exceptional management experience in the private and public sectors that is unrivaled by any other candidates.

There is always room for improvement and I would like to see some effort made to improve operations and fiscal responsibility in our local government. Our Town seems to operate on auto-pilot without many controversies or major issues. This can be a good sign that, in general, things are going well. It is at these times, however, that a great management team can make improvements and be pro-active to ensure things continue to go well in the short and long term.

Let’s not continue to operate on auto-pilot. Join me in voting for a GREAT leadership team that will ensure Essex remains a great place to live, work and play now and in the future.

Vote for Bruce Glowac and Phil Beckman and the Republican Team of candidates on November 3.

Sincerely,

Susie Beckman
Essex

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Letter: Experience, Leadership and Common Sense

To the Editor:

With over 35 years of public and private sector experience managing capital and human resources, I am excited at the opportunity to serve in elected office and drive both fiscal discipline and strategy on the Essex Board of Finance.

Our state economy, while no longer in recession, continues to be marked by sluggish growth. As the economic climate gradually improves, addressing the long-term capital needs of Essex becomes even more important. At the same time, Essex must also focus in earnest on broadening and diversifying its tax base to relieve the constant pressure faced by individual property owners.

My current experience as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Stonington involves working with a Democratic First Selectman to assist him in leading the town with an emphasis on thoughtful decision making, working cooperatively, and setting a direction with the best interest of the community as the focal point. This experience combined with my previous leadership role as a Selectman for Essex, provides the necessary foundation for navigating our challenges and charting a successful course.

It takes both an emphasis on teamwork and developing partnerships within the community that will drive positive outcomes for Essex. The Republican slate of candidates embodies this approach to governance. Lifelong resident Bruce Glowac is a candidate for First Selectman and understands the current and future needs of our town. Phil Beckman, running for Selectman, is a 24-year veteran of the United States Navy where he led complex teams responsible for developing and executing strategic policy. Republican candidates for election to other Town and Regional Boards similarly demonstrate a depth of experience that will serve our residents well.

Together, we look forward to bringing experience, leadership, and common sense to Town government. We ask for your support and vote on Election Day, November 3rd.

Sincerely,

Vincent A. Pacileo III
Republican candidate for Board of Finance – Essex

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Letter: Sen. Linares Endorses Beckman for Essex Selectman

To the Editor:

I write to offer my strongest endorsement of Phil Beckman for the Essex Board of Selectman.

Phil will demonstrate outstanding management and collaboration savvy as he, with 24 years of experience as an officer in the Navy, routinely led and managed our finest young men and women. He frequently worked on bridging the gap between the highest levels of national strategy and operations. That makes him a prime asset in a policy shaping organization such as the Board of Selectman.

Phil has lived in town almost 20 years and has two school aged children in the local school system. Most importantly, he demonstrates a willingness to offer different points of view and accept the same from others – a character trait that is a must in government. I am certain that he will provide the same level of dedication and sacrifice on the Board of Selectman as he has in his military career. Please vote on November 3rd and support Beckman for Selecman.

Sincerely,

Art Linares
State Senator, 33rd District

 

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Making A Difference From Two Wheels – Vista Ride Raises $84,000

The Vista Tour de Shore cycling event and fundraiser was held Sunday, Oct. 18th. Nearly $84,000 was raised by 250 riders. Credit: Jared D’Auria

The Vista Tour de Shore cycling event and fundraiser was held Sunday, Oct. 18th. Nearly $84,000 was raised by 250 riders. Credit: Jared D’Auria

A total of 250 people of all ages and abilities made a positive impact in the lives of individuals with disabilities by riding in the 7th Annual Vista Tour de Shore cycling event and fundraiser on Oct. 18th.

Together, 35 fundraising teams raised nearly $84,000 in the event, which was held at the Westbrook Elks Lodge. Funds raised in the Vista Tour de Shore benefit the Vista Endowment Fund, a supporting organization of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center—an organization dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities achieve personal success for over 25 years. Among those riding were 26 Vista students and members.

Riders chose from 5, 25, 40 and 60 mile routes on scenic byways along the Connecticut shoreline, enjoying the beautiful fall foliage. The event culminated with a party at the Westbrook Elks Lodge featuring food and live music by the Hayseed Criers, a local band. There were also raffles prizes donated by Zane’s Cycles, Branford Jewelers, Thomson Bike Tours, Lyman Orchards, Stony Creek Brewery, the Vista Arts Center and Creations, a retail store and Vista social enterprise located in downtown Madison.

Since its inception, the Vista Tour de Shore has raised over $315,000 for the Vista Endowment Fund.

Vista would like to thank event sponsors Shore Publishing, Essex Printing, Zane’s Cycles, Wilcox Energy, The Tolland Fund, V.P Electric, Pasta Vita, Gowrie Group, WebNow1, Middlesex Hospital, Essex Savings Bank, Wells Fargo, Branford Jewelers and Thomson Bike Tours.

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, please visit www.vistavocational.org

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