March 23, 2017

Help Us Determine the Future of ValleyNewsNow, Please Take This Survey

We are delighted to have been asked by a professor from the School of Journalism at the University of Kansas, Dr. Peter Bobkowski, to participate in a project to research the news audiences of hyperlocal news websites.

The professor and two of his graduate students are conducting this study to understand better who reads local news websites, and about their readership and social habits. This will entail you completing a survey, which the professor and his students have created.

We would really appreciate as many readers as possible taking the time to complete the survey, which is expected to take approximately 10 minutes.  You can find the survey at this link.  When you click on the link, the landing page is a Consent Information Statement with more information.

The information you supply will remain completely anonymous at all times.  The raw data from the survey will be shared with us and will help us determine the future of ValleyNewsNow.com, but we stress again it will be in a form that it is totally anonymous.

Thank you so much for your support and assistance!

 

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Letter From Paris: Europe Sees The Netherlands Come to its Rescue

Nicole Prévost Logan

Thank goodness for The Netherlands!  

Their March 15 vote for their House of Representatives was exactly what Europe needed at this point – the reassuring voice of a founding member of the European Community (EU) expressing its belief in Europe while being open to the world. The result was greeted with a sigh of relief by pro-Europeans. It was another sign — after the victory of the Green Party-backed Independents in the Austrian elections of December 2016 — that populism and rejection of Europe are not inescapable. 

A brief look at history will help better understand the elections of The Netherlands and realize how coherent the Dutch position is.  During its “Golden Age” in the 16th and 17th centuries,  Holland was an opulent merchant class society marked by Calvinist ethics of discipline and frugality.  It stood out as being tolerant toward religions and a place where liberty of conscience was inscribed in the constitution.

The founding of the Dutch East India Company opened a maritime and commercial empire, becoming a hub of finances and trade. The first ever stock exchange was created in Amsterdam.  Erasmus (1466-1536), the humanist Renaissance scholar, gave his name to a most successful student exchange program established in 1987.

Someone described The Netherlands of that time as having high literacy and low interest. Rotterdam, until recently the largest port in the world, is still number one in Europe.  What was tolerance has developed into permissiveness and it is one of the dominant traits of the Dutch people today.  Finally, that small country, located well below the sea level, has shown incredible courage in carrying out its Pharaonic fight against the elements. 

“The Netherlands is the country, which has the most to lose from the Brexit” says Marc-Olivier Padis, from the Terra Nova Think Tank.  It shares with the UK an attachment to free trade policies and also to the unhindered circulation of goods and capital within the European Common Market.  Holland’s agriculture, horticulture and dairy industry have always profited from Europe’s Political Agricultural Policy (PAC). The reason the Dutch voted “No”  to the 2005 referendum on a European constitution was because they  worried about the seemingly uncontrolled expansion of Europe, especially with Holland being the largest of the small countries in the continent.

The participation in the March 15 elections was incredibly high at 77.6 percent.  The ballot system by proportional representation produces multiple parties.  In order to be able to govern, any of the 28 parties has to join a coalition with others. 

Here is a snapshot  of the votes showing the changes since the 2012 elections.  The winner was Mark Rutte (VVD), former prime minister, head of the conservative liberal centrist party with 21.3 percent votes and 33 seats. He lost eight seats.  In second place, the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV), led by Greet Wilders, obtained 13.1 percent and will have 20 seats. Two pro-European parties, Christian democrat Appeal (CDA) and centrist reformer (D66) won 19 seats each.  Those two may share an alliance with Rutte.    

Rutte said he would not join Wilders again, as he had done in 2012.  The Labour party Social democrats (PVDA) collapsed going from 29 seats to only nine seats.  The radical left also did not perform well.  One notes two interesting developments: a young 30-year-old had a spectacular rise — Jesse Klaver has a Dutch-Indonesian mother and a  father of Moroccan origin.  His party, Groenlinks (GL)  or green- left, will secure 14 seats.

A new party, Denk, meaning “think”, headed by Unahan Kuzu, received 2 percent of the votes and will have three seats.  It is 100 percent Moslem.

Wilders, the “peroxide candidate,” leader of PPV, the only extremist party,  gained five seats.  He progressed but did not win.  “We are the party, which did not lose,” he commented.”  He is well-known for his outrageous attacks against Islam.  He wants to outlaw the Koran , close all mosques and expel the Moslems.  As a consequence, he is under constant threat.

For the past 13 years he has been living in a safe house with  a “panic room,” is under police protection round the clock and rides in an armor-plated car.  “I would not wish my life to anybody”  A “buffer zone,” to use the expression of German journalist Michaela Wiegel, isolates Wilders in the parliament. 

The Dutch elections took place at a time of high tension between Ankara and Europe.  The Turkish minister of foreign affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu was about to land in Rotterdam as part of a political campaign among the Turkish diaspora of  2.8 million.  Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s objective is to gather the Turkish population’s support prior to the April 16 constitutional referendum on his increased powers.  After Erdogan called Holland the Nazi capital of the West and kept hurling other insults, Germany and Holland had the courage to forbid the Turkish officials from entering their territories.  Rutte was very firm and impressed the voters scrambling during the last minutes before the polls.

Today Dutch economy is so healthy as to make its neighbors drool with envy with 6 percent unemployment and an economic growth rate of 2.1 percent.  The government reacted quickly to the recent economic crises in 2008 and 2010-11.  In 2012, it was even able to generate a trade surplus.  Its rigorous austerity program was so efficient as to lower public expenses down from 65 to 45 percent.  The reforms were not imposed on the people but accepted by them in a form of consensus.

The main issues at stake are not so much economic nor social but a fear of losing one’s cultural identity and also anxiety about security.  Therefore immigration and the challenge of integration are at the core of the people’s concerns. 

Holland is a multicultural society with a surge of a Turkish and Moroccan immigration — something which has occurred during the past 50 years.  Half the population of Rotterdam consists of recent immigrants.  The Dutch have been working hard at establishing good relations with these populations: 70 associations act as go-between; a minister from a reformed church in Rotterdam just gave a sermon in a mosque; Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam, is of Moroccan origin, and is strongly against the radicalization of Islam.

The Netherlands should be considered as a model for the other EU members. Unfortunately, many of their qualities are not to be found in other countries.  It is hoped that the position and demands of the Dutch are heard in a restructuring of the EU, possibly to unfold in the next few months. 

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

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

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Potapaug Presents ‘Bird Language’ at Westbrook Library, Saturday

AREAWIDE — Potapaug Audubon presents “Bird Language” on Saturday, March 25, at 1 p.m. at Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive with guest speaker, Brendan Hylan from Bushy Hill Nature Center. This promises to be a fun, family program and there is no charge for admission.

Refreshments served.

For more information, call 860-399-6422.

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SECWAC Presents UConn Professor Pieter Visscher Tonight Speaking on ‘Lithium in the Andes’

Professor Pieter Visscher

OLD LYME — The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) presents Pieter Visscher — professor of marine sciences at the University of Connecticut and director of the university’s Center for Integrative Geosciences — speaking on “Lithium in the Andes” at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School on Tuesday, March 21, at 6 p.m.

His presentation will explore the ecological, economic and geopolitical impact of the world’s largest lithium mines – which are located in the Andes and provide more than 600,000 tons of this metal annually for use in lithium batteries.  Mining of these lithium reservoirs makes a significant impact on the fragile Andean ecosystem.

The mining process requires substantial amounts of water, yet many of the mines are located in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on the planet.  While the Chilean government works with mining companies and local populations on conservation efforts, significant socio-economical, ecological and political tensions remain.

Tickets are $20 for the general public, and free for area college and high school students and SECWAC members; tickets can be obtained at info@secwac.org. (Ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership.)  Reporters are welcome to attend as guests of the SECWAC Board.  (Interested reporters should contact Paul Nugent at info@secwac.org or 860-388-9241.)

The event will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception.  Immediately following the presentation, SECWAC members with reservations (made at least 24 hours in advance) will reconvene for dinner ($35) at the Old Lyme Country Club.

Prior to joining the university, Visscher worked for Hawaii’s Oceanic Institute, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School and the US Geological Survey.  He is a founding member of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute.

Funders of his research have included NASA, NSF, NIH, EPA and DOE. His current research focuses on biosignatures (changes in rock or atmosphere that provide evidence for life).

Visscher holds graduate degrees in chemistry, environmental law and microbiology from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.  He is currently a Fulbright Specialist and travels extensively to Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, where he is involved in conservation issues.

The presentation is a part of the SECWAC Speaker Series.  SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America.  Its mission is to foster an understanding of issues related to foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate and educational programming.

Through its annual Speaker Series, SECWAC arranges up to 10 presentations a year that provide a public forum for dialogue between its members and experts on foreign relations.  Membership information is available at www.secwac.org.

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Lyme Academy College to Donate Historic Document Collection to Lyme Art Association, Sunday

Elisabeth Gordon Chandler at work.

OLD LYME — Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts has announced that on Sunday, March 26, it will make a formal presentation of a collection of historic documents and original exhibition catalogs to the Lyme Art Association. The event will occur immediately prior to the opening of the Lyme Art Association’s A Show in Four Acts exhibition.

This remarkable collection was part of the estate of Elisabeth Gordon Chandler (1913-2006), who not only founded the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, but was also previously president and a long-time member of the Lyme Art Association. The Archives Committee of Lyme Academy College has spent several years assembling and preparing this gift of history to the Lyme Art Association.

The collection being donated includes a comprehensive collection of Lyme Art Association exhibition catalogs including a 1909 8th annual exhibition pamphlet listing the artists Childe Hassam and Willard Metcalf and also, a 1921 20th annual exhibition booklet, which was the inaugural exhibit in the new Charles A. Platt designed gallery. In addition, there are catalogs of the spring watercolor exhibits, which began in 1925, along with the autumn exhibitions, beginning in 1933.

Many letters and documents related to Elisabeth Gordon Chandler’s time as Lyme Art Association president from 1975-1978 and tell of her productive time during a transformative era in the Association’s history. Important documents relate to the ‘Goodman Presentation Case’ of 1928, a collection of 35 small artworks by early Lyme Art Association members. An original copy of Charles A. Platt’s “General Specifications for the Art Gallery” of July 1920 is included with this collection, which gives a detailed outline of the plans for the gallery.

Elisabeth Gordon Chandler

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (originally named Lyme Academy of Fine Arts) was founded by members of the Lyme Art Association in 1976 during the time Chandler was President. The school was based on preserving the time-honored traditions and disciplines of training in the fine arts.  Founded as an Academy, it became an accredited College in 1996, and in 2014 became a College of the University of New Haven (UNH), when UNH acquired the College.

Lyme Art Association dates back to 1902, when a group of tonalist painters, led by the New York artist Henry Ward Ranger (1858-1916), were asked to hold a two-day exhibition in August at Old Lyme’s Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. The artwork exhibited consisted entirely of landscapes depicting the local countryside, painted while they boarded at the home of Florence Griswold (1850-1937). It is believed that Lyme Art Association is the nation’s oldest continuously exhibiting art group in the country.

A nationally recognized portrait sculptor, Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, was a regular exhibitor at the Lyme Art Association, and she became vice-president in 1974 and, president in 1975. With a goal of obtaining tax-exempt status for the association, and continuing the teaching and traditions of representational art, she set to work to create an art school in the basement of the gallery building.

The ceremony commemorating the transfer of historic archives will take place at Lyme Art Association, 90 Lyme St. Old Lyme, CT at 1:30 p.m., just prior to the opening of the exhibition A Show in Four Acts at LAA.

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Leif Nilsson to Donate Half Cost of Purchased Artwork to Lyme Land Conservation Trust Thru May 21

CAT# 3406 Hamburg Cove Oil 24 x 54 inches Leif Nilsson Summer 2016 ©

CHESTER/LYME — Acclaimed artist Leif Nilsson is donating half of the price of any painting in his Spring Street Studio in Chester to the Lyme Land Conservation Trust from now through May 21, 2017.

The most convenient way to proceed is to first view his work on the artist’s website and then either visit the studio or contact them by phone at (860) 526-2077 to arrange your purchase.

To be eligible for a tax deduction on 50 percent of the purchase price, payment must be made in two parts. You need to provide the Nilsson Studio with either a check payable to the Lyme Land Trust or your credit card information we can use to charge your account for half the price. The other half will be handled by Nilsson Studio.

The Spring Street Studio & Gallery is located at 1 Spring Street, Chester, CT 06412.

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Saybrook Point Inn Installs Comcast Business High Speed Internet Services

A view of Saybrook Point Inn from the Connecticut River.

OLD SAYBROOK — Comcast Business today announced that Saybrook Point Inn, a luxury Connecticut inn featuring elegant accommodations, fine dining and premier spa services, is using Comcast Business Ethernet, Internet, Phone and Video offerings to provide guests with high-quality technology services as well as improve inn operations.

The privately-owned travel destination is located on the Connecticut River at the entrance to Long Island Sound and features more than 100 guest rooms, a full-service spa, fine dining restaurant and marina that can accommodate vessels up to 200 feet. To meet its commitment to environmental conservation, operational efficiency and exceptional guest services, the management team streamlined its technology offerings and implemented Comcast Business Internet to increase the performance for all three of its networks in the marina, office and guest areas.

“Both our social and corporate guests require high-speed internet service, from the visiting yachts in the marina who use it for self-diagnostic marine systems and video applications, to those staying in our inn. Comcast Business provides us with reliable internet as well as phone and video services throughout the property,” said John Lombardo, general manager of Saybrook Point.

He continued, “Leveraging technology allows us streamline operations. We can be more of a high-touch resort because our staff can spend more time interacting and servicing our guests, whether they are visiting for a vacation or attending an event in our ballrooms and conference center.”

Saybrook Point Inn was the first “Green Hotel” designated in Connecticut and is well-known for its eco-friendly practices, several of which rely on technology to meet the property’s green commitment.

Looking across the Saybrook Point Inn’s marina to the accommodations beyond.

In the guest rooms, Saybrook Point implemented Comcast Business’ Q2Q hospitality solution offering guests full voice and video offerings with a specific Saybrook Point default channel to promote various events and news and a second menu channel. These channels eliminate the need for the Inn to print materials for the rooms continuously, thus adding to its eco-friendly mission. Their cogeneration and extensive solar panel system also rely on solid internet services to perform properly.

“Technology offerings including high-speed internet, phone and hi-def video are among the top amenities for resorts such as Saybrook Point Inn to keep guests connected to their families and work during their travels as well as provide entertainment options,” said Michael Parker, regional senior vice president for Comcast’s Western New England Region.

He added, “Saybrook Point Inn is a well-known for its beautiful location, exceptional guest services and commitment to the environment and community. Comcast is fortunate to work with this Inn to provide the high-tech solutions to meet guest needs as well as optimize business operations.”

Additionally, Saybrook Point Inn relies on Comcast Business to strengthen its operations with a 100 Megabit-per-second (Mbps) Ethernet Dedicated Internet line and PRI business phone service for direct dialing around the property.

“Our invoices are processed via an online central accounting system so our efficiency is greatly impacted if the network is slow or offline. Also, our staff offices, printers and copiers are connected through an online shared system, which needs reliable internet,” Lombardo noted.

He commented, “Comcast Business ensures that we are operating at peak productivity. And it has allowed us to implement new guest service systems. For instance, in the dining room, we use iPads and OpenTable to communicate the status of each table in real-time with the hostess station to decrease guest wait times, and we are implementing systems for housekeeping and maintenance departments to both eliminate paper, intrusive radio communication and have better accountability.

Lombardo said, “We also installed two treadmills recently that have built-in Wi-fi capability for internet surfing and access to online special fitness programs.”

Editor’s Notes:

  1. Situated along the picturesque shores of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Saybrook Point Inn, Spa and Marina features a collection of 100 elegantly-appointed guestrooms, 24 villas offering long and short-term rentals, a rejuvenating full-service SANNO spa, and casual fine dining restaurant, Fresh Salt, as well as a unique waterside Lighthouse Suite. In addition, the historic Three Stories and Tall Tales luxury guesthouses offer exquisite rooms that convey the story of famous local residents, including Katharine Hepburn. Saybrook Point also shines with the pristine Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark boating destination conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River with easy access to Long Island Sound. It can accommodate vessels from 12 to 200 feet and has received numerous premier Connecticut marina awards.
    More information is available at www.saybrook.com.
  2. Comcast Business offers Ethernet, Internet, Wi-Fi, Voice and TV solutions to help organizations of all sizes transform their business. Powered by a next-generation, fiber-based network, and backed by 24/7 technical support, Comcast Business is one of the largest contributors to the growth of Comcast Cable. Comcast Business is the nation’s largest cable provider to small and mid-size businesses and has emerged as a force in the Ethernet market; recognized over the last two years by leading industry associations as its fastest growing provider and service provider of the year.
    For more information, call 866-429-3085. Follow on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social media networks at http://business.comcast.com/social.
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Community Music School Announces Pacheco-O’Donnell as Greenleaf Music Award Winner

Santiago Pacheco-O’Donnell

CENTERBROOK — The selection committee for the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund of Community Music School (CMS) has chosen guitarist, vocalist, and pianist as the recipient of the Spring 2017 Carolyn R. Greenleaf Music Award.

This award is given each semester to a middle or high school student who has demonstrated exceptional musical ability and motivation.

The award is for a semester of private lessons at Community Music School in Centerbrook and Santiago has chosen to study guitar with CMS’s guitar instructor, John Birt.

An Honor Freshman of Xavier High School, Santiago received his first guitar from his grandmother when he finished first grade, and he’s been playing unstoppably since then. He has attended CMS since 2012, as a guitar student of John Birt for the last four years.

He also studies piano and voice with Greta Moorhead and recently joined the Jazz Ensemble with Tom Briggs. His favorite band is The Beatles.

Outside of CMS, he has played in musicals at St John School in Old Saybrook, performing as a solo singer in last year’s performance. Aside from music, he enjoys soccer, basketball, and archery. Santiago is also an avid photographer and has received many awards at the Chester Fair.

Last summer he volunteered in the children’s section of the Essex Public Library and has been a big supporter of the Valley Shore YMCA’s Community Garden which provides vegetables for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

The Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund was established at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County in 2008 by her friends to honor Greenleaf’s dedication to music and education. The Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Music Award is open to students of Middlesex County and the Lymes and is awarded twice a year.  It is entirely based on merit and is the only such award at Community Music School.

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which provides a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, increasing appreciation of music and encouraging a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.

Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Working with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments since 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 850 grants totaling more than $2.5 million to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities,  environmental improvements, and for health and human services. 

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30 Plunge Into Frigid Sound to Help Save Plum Island

Plunging for Plovers: these brave souls charged into the freezing waters of Long Island Sound last Saturday to raise awareness of efforts to save Plum Island from sale and preserve the island’s outstanding flora and fauna. Photo by Judy Preston.

OLD SAYBROOK -– A long-planned “polar plunge”-style fundraiser at Old Saybrook Town Beach got a shot of drama from unexpectedly cold temperatures, strong winds, and high waves this weekend.

CFE/Save the Sound’s Chris Cryder, in seal costume, speaks at the press conference. Photo by Laura McMillan.

Students from Old Saybrook High School, area officials, and representatives of a regional environmental organization—some in costumes—packed into a heated school bus for a press conference last Saturday morning, March 11, before running into a frigid Long Island Sound to raise awareness and support for protecting Plum Island.

The “Plum Island Plunge for Plovers” has raised $3,700 for Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound’s multi-year battle to save Plum Island from sale and private development. Donations are still coming in.

“I’ve met thousands of folks all around the Sound who want Plum Island preserved, but this is something else,” said Chris Cryder, special project coordinator for CFE/Save the Sound, decked out as one of the harbor seals that rest on Plum Island’s rocky shore. “To see dozens of people voluntarily turn out in weather like this to make a statement about the island’s importance is inspiring.”

Rosie Rothman, co-president of Old Saybrook High School’s Interact Club, speaks at the press conference prior to ‘The Plunge.’ Photo by Judy Preston.

Rosie Rothman, co-president of Old Saybrook High School’s Interact Club, explained that the plunge was a perfect fit for the Interact Club’s mission of community service and the Ecology Club’s mission of environmental protection.

“Afterwards, we couldn’t feel our toes for a while, but we still had fun,” she said. “With a windchill in the single digits, it was definitely a challenge, but our members still showed up. I think that speaks to our dedication to the cause. It is our hope that our legislators take decisive federal action to protect Plum Island from development that would be detrimental to the wildlife that depends on it, including 111 species of conservation concern.”

“I was very proud to see so many Old Saybrook High School students participate in the polar plunge, on a freezing March day, to support efforts to preserve Plum Island,” said Rep. Devin Carney (Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook). “Plum Island is an important natural resource for the Connecticut shoreline and Long Island Sound. By preserving it, these students, and many others, will be able to enjoy its natural beauty for many years to come.”

And they’re off! The plungers enter the bitterly cold water at Old Saybrook Town Beach. (Photo by Judy Preston)

Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., first selectman for the Town of Old Saybrook, joined the hardy souls jumping into the Sound. Addressing the assembled attendees, he reminded them of the region’s land conversation victory in saving The Preserve, and said, “The Town of Old Saybrook fully supports the conservation of Plum Island and its rightful place in the public domain upon the decommissioning of scientific activities. The importance of Plum Island as a flora and fauna host has been amply demonstrated. It is now time for our legislative and executive branches to swiftly put an end to any speculation that this resource will be privately developed. I applaud the bipartisan efforts to conserve Plum Island.”

These were some of the supporters, who braved the cold to cheer on the plungers. (Photo by Judy Preston.)

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy sent letters in support of the effort.

Plum Island, an 840-acre, federally-owned island in the eastern end of Long Island Sound, is home to threatened and endangered birds like the piping plover and roseate tern, as well as other rare species. Seventy Connecticut and New York organizations work together as the Preserve Plum Island Coalition, partnering with grassroots activists and champions in Congress to halt sale of the island. CFE/Save the Sound has also brought an action in federal court claiming that the government’s decision to sell the island violates numerous federal environmental laws.

Fundraising will remain open through the end of the month. Members of the public may donate to support CFE/Save the Sound’s work at www.bit.ly/plum-plunge.

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Environmental Symposium Examines “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” March 31 in Haddam

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will deliver the keynote address at the March 31 symposium.

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation and UConn Climate Adaptation Academy present an environmental symposium about changing precipitation patterns on Friday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UConn Middlesex County Extension Office, 1066 Saybrook Road, Haddam.

The focus is “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” and the symposium will examine shifting patterns that produce extreme weather occurrences from rain bombs to drought. Discussion will include the impacts on communities and a variety of adaptive responses for municipalities, residents, and businesses.

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will give a keynote address “Examining Trends in Temperature, Precipitation and Flood Frequency in the Northeast; A Tale of Extremes.”

Other presenters and panelists will discuss the effects on our personal lives and the communities we live in, including the challenges of managing infrastructure, maintaining adequate water supplies, supporting local agriculture, fighting insect borne disease, and planning for smart design. Participants include:

  • Amanda Ryan, Municipal Stormwater Educator, UConn CLEAR and Michael Dietz, CT NEMO Program Director – Addressing how the type and frequency of storms affects compliance with MS4 requirements and the effectiveness of LID solutions.
  • David Radka, Director of Water Resource and Planning, Connecticut Water Company and Ryan Tetreault, CT Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section – Discussion of public and private water supplies with a focus on how we ensure sufficient clean water for all.
  • Ian Gibson, Farm Manager, Wellstone Farm – Relating the local agricultural experience of a small farmer and how changing precipitation patterns alter the way he farms.
  • Roger Wolfe, Mosquito Management Coordinator, CT DEEP Wetland Habitat & Mosquito Management Program – How best to control changes in mosquito populations caused by heavy rains and periods of drought.
  • Anne Penniman, ASLA, Principal/Owner, Anne Penniman Associates – Insight on how site development (plant material, surface material, drainage) can be modified to better tolerate and accommodate changing precipitation patterns.
  • Kirk Westphal, PE, CDM Smith Project Manager for CT State Water Plan – An update on the development of Connecticut’s first State Water Plan and how citizens can participate in the process.

“The symposium will be of key interest to local elected and appointed officials, land use planners, developers, and town planning and commission members,” said Robin Andreoli, executive director of the Rockfall Foundation. “And the presentations and follow-up discussions should engage all who are concerned with effective community planning.”

To register or for additional information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340. Support is provided in part by CDM Smith, Xenelis Construction, Milone & MacBroom, and Planimetrics. Proceeds benefit the environmental education programs of the Rockfall Foundation.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through financial grants and educational programming. Founded in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation owns and maintains the historic deKoven House in Middletown, which is a community center with meeting rooms and office space for non-profit groups.

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RiverQuest Offers Osprey/Eagle Cruises on Connecticut River From Haddam

An osprey on its nest is an imposing sight.

Late March into early April is when the Osprey returns to Connecticut from its southern wintering grounds. It is a wonderful sign that spring is finally here.

The Osprey is a large bird of prey with a 4’6” to 6’ wingspan that eats only fish, hence, it is sometimes referred to as the Fish Hawk. Ospreys migrate south for the winter months to areas where their food supply will not be affected by frozen rivers and lakes. They settle down in the southern US, Central America, South America, and have been seen as far south as Argentina. Ospreys of breeding age are returning north now, to start a new nest or to re-establish a nest they may have used in previous years.

There are many Osprey nests along the lower Connecticut River, from the mouth of the river in Old Lyme/Old Saybrook up river as far north as Middletown. There will be activity on the many man-made nesting platforms at the Roger Tory Peterson Preserve in Old Lyme and on other platforms located along the Connecticut River, in “natural” tree settings and on the top of each of the large navigation aids that mark the river channel.

A great way to see this nesting activity is by boat.

RiverQuest, an eco-tour vessel located at Eagle Landing State Park in the Tylerville section of Haddam is offering several cruises to the general public throughout the month of April to view and learn about the Osprey and other wildlife that may be spotted, including hawks and another famous raptor, the Bald Eagle.

After disappearing from Connecticut in 1948, the Bald Eagle has made a return and there are several active eagle nests on the river. Two of these nests will be visible from RiverQuest and we will most likely see one or more of our resident Bald Eagles.

Other areas of interest that will be seen on our cruise include the Goodspeed Opera House, Gillette Castle and the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry. The cruises are approximately 2.5 hours in length and cost $40 per passenger (no children under 10-years-old.) There are binoculars on board for loan during the cruise and complimentary coffee and tea. To learn more about these informative cruises and to reserve your spot with our easy on-line booking, please visit: ctriverquest.com or call the RiverQuest  phone: 860-662-0577.

Osprey/Eagle Cruise Dates:

Saturday, April 1: 1:30pm

Saturday, April 8: 10:00am

Saturday, April 15: 4:00pm

Thursday, April 20: 1:30pm

Sunday, April 23: 1:30pm

Saturday, April 29: 4:00pm

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Winter Storm Stella

First snow plow of the day … there surely will be many more.

Winter Storm Stella is here.

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency meaning a statewide travel ban is in effect. Region 4 Schools, Essex, Chester and Deep River Schools, Town Halls and Libraries, and many businesses from the size of Pfizer, Inc. downwards are closed.  Events galore have been cancelled and a parking ban is in effect on all town roads in Essex from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. today.

In the event of a real emergency, call 911.  

State and local officials urge residents to stay off the roads during the storm … and stay safe.

Latest weather reports, however, predict Southeastern Connecticut will not now experience the brunt of the storm with the snow turning first to sleet and then rain later this morning.

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Office Hours Hosted by Rep. Siegrist in Haddam, More Sessions to Follow

State Representative Robert Siegrist (R-36)

HADDAM – State Representative Robert Siegrist (R-36) hosted an Office Hours session Monday night in Haddam at Brainerd Memorial Library.

Rep. Siegrist discussed the budget, the status of bill proposals, and the legislative committee process before opening up the forum to questions.

“We have a difficult financial situation on our hands in Connecticut and we are going to have to make some tough decisions in the legislature this session,” said Rep. Siegrist.

Siegrist indicated that he is always willing to listen to his constituents to discuss their concerns regarding state or local issues.

“I am honored to be the voice of the 36th District in Hartford, and I want to hear from the people I represent,” added Siegrist. “It was truly a pleasure to meet with area residents and listen to their concerns regarding state policies. I would like to thank all those who showed up to my Haddam Office Hours and I hope to meet more constituents at my upcoming coffee hours.”

Anyone who was unable to attend but would like to speak with Rep. Siegrist can reach him by contacting him at Robert.siegrist@cthousegop.ct.gov or 1-800-841-1423.

Rep Siegrist will hold coffee hours in Chester, Deep River, Higganum and Essex throughout the months of March and April.

The upcoming Coffee Hour schedule follows:

Tuesday, March 28
8:00-9:00am
Simon’s Market Place, 17 Main Street, Chester

Thursday, March 30
8:00-9:00am
Hally Jo’s Corner, 165 Main Street, Deep River

Tuesday, April 4
8:00-9:00am
Jack’s Country Restaurant, 26 Killingworth Road, Higganum

Thursday, April 6
8:00-9:00am
Town Hall, Room 1, 29 West Avenue, Essex

Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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Andy Schatz to Receive Social Justice Award at CBSRZ

CHESTER/WESTBROOK — Over many years, Andy Schatz has devoted his professional life as a lawyer to civil liberties and social justice – advocating on behalf of health care for the poor, rights for the disabled, improved educational opportunities for minorities, consumer protection and a host of other public causes.

For all these efforts the Westbrook resident has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Philip Scheffler Pursuers of Peace and Justice Award, given by Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

He will be honored at a Shabbat service on Saturday, April 10 at 10:30 a.m., to which the public is invited, and that is followed by a luncheon, the award presentation and a panel discussion on social justice and the news media.

Susan Peck, chair of the committee that selects awardees each year, said, “The CBSRZ community is proud to honor our congregant. We are keenly aware from recent events that constant vigilance is required to preserve and protect civil rights and civil liberties for all, and to promote social justice for those members of our community who are unable to do so on their own.  Through his exemplary work in these areas, Andy Schatz is a hero.  There is no more worthy recipient this award.”

Schatz is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Civil Rights, Civil Liberties Law Review.  He has served over the years in many organizations, including Advocates for the Handicapped, Legal Aid of Chicago, West Hartford Community Television, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, the American Civil Liberties Union, both as a national board and executive committee member, and as president and vice president of the Connecticut chapter.

As a law student and later as a lawyer he pursued successful class action litigation regarding consumer and anti-trust matters, challenges to strip searches of female arrestees, school segregation and government intrusion, and has worked on a wide range of issues involving the rights of prisoners.

He has also been the chair of the CBSRZ Social Action committee over the last five years. With his fellow congregants he has led efforts to alleviate the effects of poverty, including food drives and meal sites for Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, and furnishing apartments for the homeless, clothing drives for children, and similar projects.  In addition, under his leadership, the committee has supported and sometimes led legislative efforts aimed at gun control, children’s rights, and racial justice.

The award is named after Philip Scheffler, a congregant who had a long career at CBS News as a producer and as executive editor of 60 Minutes and who died in April 2016. Andy Schatz is the second recipient of the award.  Martha Stone, of Durham, longtime director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy, was the first.

The panel discussion after the Shabbat service will feature Schatz, along with James Jacoby (former colleague of Scheffler at CBS News), Allan Appel (of the New Haven Independent), and Jeff Cohen (WNPR).

In order to be sure to accommodate all who wish to attend, the congregation asks that those interested to RSVP either by calling the CBSRZ office, (860) 526-8920, or by registering online at www.cbsrz.org.

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Musical Masterworks Mixes Mozart Originals with 20th Century Adaptations

Edward Aaron and Jeewon Park

Musical Masterworks favorites Jeewon Park, Tessa Lark and Dimitri Murrath join Edward Arron in a performance of Mozart’s piano quartets this afternoon at 3 p.m. in the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Before each quartet, a late twentieth century work by a Soviet era composer will be performed

The concert opens with Mozart’s String Trio fragment in G Major, K. 562e, Anh. 66, followed by Arvo Pärt’s haunting Mozart-Adagio for Piano Trio (1992/1997), arranged from the slow movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata, K.280.

This precedes Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor, K. 478.

Then Alfred Schnittke’s humorous salute to Mozart in Moz-Art à la Haydn for Violin and Viola (1977) is the prelude to Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, K. 493.

For more informatiion and to purchase tickets, visit http://musicalmasterworks.org/concerts/march-11-12-2017/

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Enjoy Family Pasta Night at Ivoryton Congregational Church, April 29

IVORYTON — A Family Pasta Night will be held at The Ivoryton Congregational Church, 57 Main Street, Ivoryton on Saturday April 29, offering continuous servings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Admission prices are as follows: Adults: $10, Children 6-12: $5 and Under 5’s: Free

Reservations are recommended.

The menu is: ziti & meatballs, salad bar, garlic bread followed by dessert with coffee, tea, and water.

For reservations and further information, call Isobel @ 860-767-8167 or the Church Office @  860-767-1004

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Inter-Religious Clergy of CT River Valley to Hold Three-Part Interfaith Dinner Reception; Second at Meriden Mosque, April 24

AREAWIDE — An Inter-Religious Clergy Alliance of CT is organizing an unifying three-part Interfaith Dinner Reception and Scripture study of spiritually awakening proportions free and open to all ages and backgrounds. Amid rising divisiveness, multiple religious communities, including Jewish, Christian, and Islamic, of CT River Valley are uniting on an educational platform to celebrate the affinities shared between their sacred traditions and counter the rise of injustice through peace-loving action.

The progressive gatherings will feature timely topics and interactive workshops advancing fellowship and solidarity betwixt diversity followed by engaging Q & A sessions. The enlightening programs will foster unique opportunities for attendees to work together in building bridges instead of walls and serve as a workable model for the larger community. Complimentary dinners will be served.

The first of these events entitled “Peacebuilding and Justice” was held at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek located at 55 E Kings Highway, Chester, CT 06412 on Monday, March 20.

The second of these events entitled “Responsibility to Our Fellow Human Beings” will be held at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community CT Baitul Aman House of Peace Mosque located at 410 Main St, Meriden, CT 06451 on Monday, April 24, at 6 p.m.

The third of these events entitled “Prayer and Spiritual Practices” will be held at the United Church of Chester located on 29 W Main St, Chester, CT 06412 on Monday, May 15, at 6 p.m.

These events are co-hosted also in collaboration with First Baptist Church in Essex, First Church of Christ, Congregational in East Haddam, and Trinity Lutheran Church in Centerbrook.

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Chanticleer, “An Orchestra of Voices” Concludes Essex Winter Series’ 40th Anniversary Season, April 2

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, perform April 2 in Old Saybrook to conclude Esex Winter Series 40th anniversary season.

ESSEX/OLD SAYBROOK – Essex Winter Series’ 40th anniversary season concludes with Chanticleer, “an orchestra of voices,” performing on Sunday, April 2 at 3 p.m. at Old Saybrook High School, 1111 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.

One of the world’s most renowned vocal ensembles, Chanticleer is an all-male chorus that performed as part of the Series in 2015 to a near sold-out audience, despite snowstorm conditions. This year, they present “My Secret Heart,” a program that invokes images of love across time and space.

In addition to Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, the program highlights two special Chanticleer commissions. They are a brand new work from the pen of Finnish composer Jaako Mantyjärvi, and five evocative and heart-wrenching poems from “Love Songs” of Augusta Read Thomas, featured in the Grammy-award winning CD “The Colors of Love.”

Individual tickets are $35 or $5 for full-time students. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

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

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Chester Synagogue Hosts Open House, April 2

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is hosting an open house Sunday, April 2, to learn about their educational opportunities for children and teenagers. Tour the building, meet teachers and watch the students in action as they present our Passover program,The Living Haggadah, for their parents and congregants.

Open house begins at 10 a.m. and the Living Haggadah program begins at 11 a.m. Call the office at (860) 526-8920 with questions or visit cbsrz.org to learn more about the synagogue or their many educational and cultural programs.

CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT 06412  

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CT River Artisans Co-op Hosts Open House, March 26

The Connecticut River Artisans Co-op is hosting an Open House for artists on Sunday March 26, from 1 to 3 p.m.

 If you are a Connecticut artist and looking for a new venue to showcase your work, the Co-op could be it.  Located in Essex, Conn., the Connecticut River Artisans Co-op is a well-known tourist attraction and shopper’s destination.

Established in 1980, this Co-op believes it is the oldest Co-op in the state.  Stop in, enjoy the refreshments, chat with one of our artists and find out what they are all about.  Compare the advantages of belonging to a Co-op verses consigning your work or selling at shows.  Bring your portfolio, pictures or samples of your work as jurying will take place that day.

The Co-op is looking for all handcrafted, art inspired work.  Items must be quality originals made by the artists.  No imports, wholesalers or reps.  There will be no jurying of jewelry, candles or soaps at this time.

Call CT River Artisans at 860 767 5457 or Gay Petruzzi Ritter 860 578 9595 with any questions.

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Essex Library Presents ‘The Interactions Between Stars and Their Planets’ with Dr. Wilson Cauley, March 25

Wesleyan Post-Doctoral Astronomy Researcher Dr. Wilson Cauley

“Are we alone?”

Recent headlines from NASA confirm scientists’ discovery of the existence of three planets firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. We now know of thousands of planets around stars other than our Sun.

These extra-solar planets, or exoplanets, are highly diverse and exist in almost every conceivable form. In order to fully understand these exciting objects, we also have to learn about the stars they orbit and how the stars can impact the evolution of their exoplanet satellites.

On Saturday, March 25, at 1:30 p.m. at the Essex Library, Wesleyan postdoctoral researcher in astronomy, Wilson Cauley will talk about this relationship for a variety of different types of exoplanetary systems, including what these interactions imply for exoplanet atmospheres and the potential for life to thrive on these alien worlds.

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

 

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