March 20, 2018

Middlesex Hospice & Palliative Care Seeks New Volunteers

AREAWIDE — At Middlesex Hospice and Palliative Care, volunteers are an integral part of the interdisciplinary team, reaching out to patients and families as they cope with the challenges of terminal illness. Volunteers are eligible to begin after completing 12 hours of classes and a 12-hour mentorship on our inpatient hospice unit.

Training is held on Saturday April 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and April 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Both sessions are mandatory. The Hospice is specifically looking for individuals who would like to work in homecare and nursing homes visiting patients. 

For more information and to begin the application process, contact Jackie Orlowski, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, at (860) 358-6955 or at your earliest convenience.


Tavern Night Returns to CT River Museum, March 23

ESSEX — On Friday, Jan. 26, the Connecticut River Museum brings back its popular 1814 Tavern Night.  This lively 19th century evening will take place at the museum’s historic Samuel Lay House overlooking scenic Essex harbor.  The house will be transformed into a candlelit riverside tavern from the War of 1812. 

The evening includes a bourbon whiskey tasting hosted by Highland Imports, songs by noted musician Don Sineti, tavern games, and a food pairing of early American cuisine provided by Catering by Selene.  Additional wine and beer will be available at the cash bar.

Folk singer Don Sineti will play and sing some rousing tunes at Tavern Night.

Sineti is a folksinger, songwriter, part-time sea chantey man (with one of the most powerful voices on the Eastern Seaboard!), and long-neck, 5-string banjo picker.  For over 20 years, he has entertained with his boundless energy, to deliver rousing renditions of songs from the days of wooden ships and iron men.  With a booming voice and a hearty laugh, he shares his music with audiences of all ages.

There are three candle lit evenings planned.  Two additional Tavern Nights will be held; 

  • March 23 – Heritage Wines and Port Tastings with folklorist Stephen Gencarella & historian Chris Dobbs; Music by Joseph Mornealt
  • April 27  – Olde Burnside Brewing Company beer tastings; music by Rick Spencer, Dawn Indermuehle & Chris Dobbs. 

Save $10 when you buy all three evenings!

Tastings take place at 6 and 8 p.m.  Space is limited and reservations are required.  Call to reserve tickets at 860-767-8269 or visit  Tickets are $24 for museum members or $29 for the general public (must be 21 or older and show valid ID).  Includes bourbon whiskey tasting, light bites, and entertainment.  The evening is sponsored in part by Catering by Selene, Connecticut Rental Center and Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM and closed on Mondays until Memorial Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for students, $6 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to


St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Offers New Wednesday Evening Celtic Prayer Service

EAST HADDAM – St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is starting a new tradition.

St. Stephen’s is offering a Wednesday evening prayer built upon the Celtic Christian tradition. This quiet and meditative prayer service begins at 7 p.m. and lasts for about half-an-hour.

This time represents an opportunity to find an oasis in the midst of busy lives where you can sit and be still with God. This service is open to any person who hungers for rest in the divine and is seeking a deeper connection with God, regardless of their religious background.

The Celtic Evening Prayer Service places an emphasis on silence, meditation, the mysteries of our faith, and creation. Celtic Spirituality draws its inspiration from the earliest manifestation of Christianity as well as the wisdom of pre-Christian Ireland.

The prayers of the Celtic Saints are filled with the experiences of God’s presence in creation, the simplicity of living in harmony with creation, and the awareness of the sacredness of all things. In the prayers, the passion, and the practice of the faith in the early church on these islands, there is a clarity, simplicity and wisdom that speak to many of today’s concerns.

“The Celtic Evening Prayer service offers an opportunity to come to a quiet place, to be reflective and through prayer to be renewed. We are pleased to offer this unique prayer experience,” comments Thom Hagerth, parishioner of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

“Preparing for this Celtic Evening Prayer Service has been very rewarding and it is my hope that people will find a new way to worship through time honored traditions,” comments Mike Corey, Intern, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

St. Stephen’s is located at 31 Main St., East Haddam, Connecticut, 860-873-9547.

For more information, visit


‘The Lonely Heartstring Band’ Brings Bluegrass to ‘Music & More’ at CBSRZ, April 15

The Lonely Heartstring Band will perform at CBSRZ, April 15.

CHESTER — Music & More at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) brings nationally known masterful bluegrass band The Lonely Heartstring Band to the stage on April 15, at 4 p.m. Nourished by deep roots in the expansive canon of traditional American music, The Lonely Heartstring Band embodies the modern American condition—an understanding and reverence for the past that informs a push into the future.

This multi-talented group of musicians is a classic Bluegrass quintet—always far greater than the sum of its parts. Combining soulful instrumental virtuosity with soaring three-part harmonies, their growing repertoire of original songs and compositions showcases not only their considerable talents, but a dedication to meaningful roots-conscious music.

Since their beginnings in 2012, The Lonely Heartstring Band has been on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down. With their 2015 IBMA Momentum Award and their 2016 release of their debut full-length album on the legendary Rounder Records label, there is every reason to hope that they are at the front edge of a significant career.

The Lonely Heartstring Band has already generated a devoted following of music-lovers across North America, performing and headlining at major music festivals and historic venues from Western Canada to California, from Kentucky to New Hampshire. Whether it’s a festival stage, theatre, or intimate listening room, The Lonely Heartstring Band always delivers a dynamic, diverse, and heartfelt performance. Over the last three years of touring, the band has crafted shows that generate a genuine connection and bring crowds to their feet.

The Lonely Heartstring Band, named in a tongue-in-cheek, tip-of-the-hat reference to one of their favorite albums, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely-Hearts Club Band, is a genuine musicians’ band, immediately appreciated by fellow-musicians who get their sound. That said, this is not esoteric or effete music intended for a select few, but has listenability that appeals to the bands already devoted following of fans and to music critics alike. Though their music is akin to the Punch Brothers, Alison Krauss, The Infamous String Dusters, or other folk-grass/chamber-grass groups in the Americana world, this band is already well on its way to making a dynamic and distinctive sound all its own.

Though characterized by intricate, precise, even elegant arrangements, The Lonely Heartstring Band’s music still has all the joy and spontaneity of bluegrass or folk grass at its finest, as exemplified in George Clements’s unique and sensitive, yet powerful, lead vocals, and their own extensive repertoire of originals.

The Lonely Heartstring Band is comprised of the aforementioned George Clements on guitar and lead vocals, his identical twin brother Charles on bass and harmony vocals, Gabe Hirshfeld on banjo, Matt Witler on mandolin, and Patrick McGonigle on fiddle, rounding out the harmony vocals as well. Four of the five band members met while students at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Gabe Hirshfeld, George, and Charles are all from New England, while Matt and Patrick are both from the west coast; California and Vancouver.

“Being a huge fan of bluegrass music, I was drawn to The Lonely Heartstring Band because they bring a soulful quality to their music and voices,” comments David Zeleznik, Music & More producer and member of CBSRZ. “I felt that their particular brand of bluegrass will add to this fan base.”

For more information about The Lonely Heartstring Band visit their website at

Advance tickets ($25 general admission) can be purchased at www.cbsrz/org/events or through the Music & More at CBSRZ Facebook page For more information call the CBSRZ office at 860-526-8920 or through email at

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at, 55 E Kings Highway in Chester.


Friends of Deep River Public Library Seek Reader’s Votes at Essex Savings Bank

The handsome Deep River Library building stands at 150 Main Street, Deep River

DEEP RIVER — The Friends of the Deep River Public Library are asking for your vote!

Throughout the month of February, Essex Savings Bank is giving thousands of dollars to help aid projects that improve our communities. Customers of Essex Savings Bank can vote for their three favorite non-profit organizations. Help support the Friends of the Deep River Library by voting. Paper ballots are available at any of the Bank’s six branches or an electronic ballot may be submitted by logging into your Essex Savings Bank online account.

The Friends of the Deep River Public Library help raise funds for programs that provide education and enrichment for children, families and adults. Visit your local Essex Savings Bank or log into your online account today to help us continue supporting these important community programs!

For more information, visit and click on the monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pmTuesday 10 am – 6 pmWednesday 12:30 – 8 pmThursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; andSaturday 10 am – 5 pm.


Volunteers Needed to Help Valley Shore Residents With Literacy Challenges

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization.  Its mission is to train tutors to help residents of the Valley Shore area who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills.  This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a 14-hour program conducted over seven sessions held each spring and again in the fall of every year.  The next training session begins March 22 and runs through May 15. Workshop Leaders have developed a comprehensive program that provides prospective tutors the skills and resources to help them succeed.

A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to helping a student improve their skill in basic literacy or English as a Second Language over the period of one year after the completion of training.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, contact the Literacy Volunteers office in the lower level of the Westbrook Public Library by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at .  Registration for the spring session is open now.


Looking Ahead to 2020, CBSRZ Leaders Network With Thousands of Peers at URJ Biennial in Boston

CHESTER –  Leaders from Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will join 5,000 Jewish leaders for the 2017 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial, being held in Boston, Massachusetts, from Dec. 6-10.

The URJ Biennial is the largest Jewish religious gathering in North America. Clergy, professionals, lay leaders, educators, youth leaders, and high school and college students will come together to learn, pray, share ideas, network, celebrate, make Reform Movement policy, and create engagement opportunities for the 2 million people – representing nearly 900 Reform Jewish congregations in the U.S. and Canada – who comprise the Reform Jewish community.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is one of 138 Reform Jewish congregations from across North America who will send a group delegation to the conference. Participants from 480+ congregations in 57 states/provinces will attend intensive leadership training and learning sessions about congregational life, designed to enrich personal skills and knowledge, and deliver tangible take-aways to bring back to their congregations.

Attendees may choose from more than 200 learning sessions from 400 expert presenters. Programming is organized within five intensive tracks that reflect the top priorities of the URJ’s bold 2020 Vision action plan: Strengthening Congregations, Audacious Hospitality, Tikkun Olam (social justice), Youth Engagement, and Transforming Texts (presented in partnership with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion). View the detailed schedule.

“For clergy, synagogue professionals, and lay leaders, the URJ Biennial offers new and creative solutions about every aspect of congregational life,” said Chair of the URJ Biennial 2017 Luise Mann Burger. “Biennial is simply the best way for local leaders to learn from, share ideas, and network with peers and leading experts.”

“URJ Biennial is like a big family reunion – you get to learn, pray, share best principles, network, and catch up with 5000 of your closest Reform Jewish friends and colleagues,” shares Rabbi Marci Bellows, spiritual leader at CBSRZ. “I always return from Biennial feeling refreshed, as well as reinvigorated with new, creative programs, music, and other ideas for our wonderful congregants back at home.”

Biennial attendees will hear from a variety of speakers and expert practitioners, including:

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, social justice leader of Moral Mondays, Repairers of the Breach
  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative: her study exposed elevated lead blood levels in Flint children
  • David Grossman, Israeli author and activist, just named the winner of Man-Booker International Prize for Literature
  • Krista Tippett, host of On Being public radio show and podcast
  • Jodi Nussbaum, VP, Sesame Workshop
  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President
  • Daryl Messinger, Chair of URJ North American Board of Trustees

Visit for event info. Use hashtag #URJBiennial. Follow the URJ on Facebook & Twitter.


For more information about URJ, visit


Garden Club Decorates Essex for the Holidays

Hard at work on decorations for the Town of Essex are, from left to right, Diane Sexton, Pat Mather and Renate Houchin.

ESSEX — In preparation for the holidays, members  of the Essex Garden Club decorated merchant window boxes,  and tubs of the villages of Essex using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community.

Decorating the “Silent Policeman” are, from left to right, Gay Thorn, DeeDee Charnok and Sandy Meister.

The “Silent Policeman” has been decorated with layers of evergreens, berries and lights. The gazebo also has been decorated with garlands and lights.

The Essex Garden Club has helped the town put on a festive face for Trees in the Rigging on Nov. 26, and the Holiday Stroll on Dec. 1.


Essex Elementary School Foundation Kicks Off Annual Appeal

The Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF) is kicking off its annual appeal and needs your help.  This not-for-profit, volunteer organization provides funds for enrichment programs and tools at EES.  Examples include a 3D printer, an iPad lab, the Justus W. Paul World Cultures Days and an Engineering with Legos program.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, members met in the school’s media center to stuff envelopes, all part of the foundation’s annual direct mail campaign to Essex area residents and businesses.  In the photo above, board members Chet Kitchings, Marta Collins, Sarah Whitney, Linda Reamer and Bill Jacaruso are seen stuff envelopes.

Send donations to Essex Elementary School Foundation, P.O. Box 882, Essex, CT 06426.


Bushnell Farm Hosts ‘Harvest Home,’ Tomorrow

AREAWIDE — On Saturday, Nov. 4, Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook is preparing for one of their public events, the annual Harvest Home, a celebration of the season, on Saturday, Nov. 4,  from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. . The event is free and open to the public with on-site parking. Privately owned by Herb and Sherry Clark of Essex, Bushnell Farm is open for occasional programs related to agriculture and enterprise in the pre-industrial age and for area education programs.

The 1678 Bushnell House will be the site of hearth cooking and the huge task of processing the apple crop while preparing for the cold and dark days of winter at the same time.  The bulk of the apple crop would have gone into cider barrels to see the family through the year and visitors can help press this year’s crop of apples.

The Forge will be fired up and the farmer-blacksmith will be working on hardware to make repairs to the house over the winter. The source of  charcoal for the forge and the processing of local bog iron will be part of the discussions during the day.  Early metal on the Farm and gun-making during the colonial wars in which the Bushnell men participated will also be part of the program.

Members of this Bushnell family were weavers and the Loom House is one of eight buildings that will be open with demonstrators on the 22 acre farm.

The fire ring near the Wigwam in the Grove will be live with seasonal cooking in contrast to that of the English colonists.  There will be examples of the adaptation of trade metal by Native People for their own uses.

There will be corn to be shelled and water to be drawn and carried from the well; lots of activities for young and old. Visit to step back into a quieter time; let your senses relax in this reflection of the past.

Bushnell Farm is located at 1445 Boston Post Rd. Old Saybrook, CT,

For more information, call (860) 767-0674.


Soroptomist CT Shoreline Club Offers Cash Grant to Women Seeking Financial Assistance for Education/Training Expenses

AREAWIDE — The CT Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International of the Americas has announced that it is currently accepting applications for its annual Live Your Dream award.

The award seeks to support women who serve as the primary wage earners for their families seeking financial assistance to continue their education or to receive training. Information and an application are available at, or by contacting the co-chair Mary Jean Cummiskey at The application deadline is Nov. 15. Applicants will be notified in January 2018.

The CT Shoreline club will provide a $1,000 cash grant to its award recipient, who will then advance to the Soroptimist Northeast Region level, where recipients could receive up to an additional $5,000. The program culminates with three finalist $10,000 awards.

Recipients can use the Live Your Dream Award to offset costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education or additional skills and training. This includes tuition, books, childcare, carfare or any other education related expense. 

Nationally, the Live Your Dream Award provides over $2 million in cash grants to head-of-household women in need each year. Since the program’s inception in 1972, more than $30 million has helped tens of thousands of women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. 

A study conducted by The Fels Institute of Government, a research and consulting organization based at the University of Pennsylvania, confirmed the efficacy and impact of this program. It improves the recipients’ quality of life; builds their confidence; strengthens their self-determination and makes them want to, in turn, help others. Helping women in this way has the demonstrated effect of leading to stronger communities, nations and the world. 

Chartered in February 2017, the new CT Shoreline club is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, a global organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. CT Shoreline members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls.

Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, also powers—an online community offering offline volunteer opportunities in support of women and girls. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit 

This new chapter welcomes members. To learn more, visit or

Applications available at:


Deep River Library Children’s Programs for October

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Public Library is offering a terrific selection of children’s programs during October, AS FOLLOWS:

Baby Bounce on Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26
Come to a story time for babies, newborn to 24 months. Simple stories and songs, followed by play and social time. Older siblings may attend.

Fun Friday on Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, at 10:30 a.m.
Stories and songs in an interactive setting, followed by craft and open play. Perfect for the preschool set. Get ready for two special Fun Friday Guests this month. Rick Daniels from the Deep River Fire Department will come with his truck on 10/13 and ABC Amigos brings a Spanish story time on 10/20.

Brick Bunch is back on Oct. 5 & 19, from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.
Open Lego play with friends. We provide the bricks, you bring your imagination.

Cook Club makes Mountain Dew Ice Cream, Oct. 18, at 5:30 p.m.
Make a simple recipe with friends. Registration is required for this program and limited to 10 children. Recommended age is 4-10. Sign-up can be done through Sign-up Genius. Follow this link to sign up: Cook Club Makes Mountain Dew Ice Cream

Deep River Drive-in, evening edition, Oct. 25, at 5:30 p.m.
Pop in for a fun Halloween movie, Trick or Treat on Sesame Street. This film has a running time of 75 minutes. No registration required. Box car seating for the first 20 kids.


Jim Benn Presents His Latest Billy Boyle Mystery at Essex Library, Tuesday

ESSEX — The Essex Library welcomes back James Benn in celebration of the release of his 12th Billy Boyle mystery.

The Devouring has earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly and Booklist wrote in their review of the book, ​”Benn​ ​molds an entertaining story out of Billy and his cohorts’ encounters with odious Swiss bankers and a cadre​ of ​Gestapo agents stationed in Bern to protect the loot. Great history here.” Benn’s series is very popular with historical fiction fans, mystery readers, and military buffs.

Benn’s latest Billy Boyle WWII mystery addresses the beginning of the end of the war and the U.S. government’s concerns that looted Nazi gold might be successfully laundered through Swiss banks and used to begin a new German Reich. On Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library,

Benn will describe fascinating details from the actual events that he researched for the book’s plotlines and more about the upcoming books in the Billy Boyle series.

James Benn

Benn, a new resident of Essex, CT, worked in the library and information technology field for more than 35 years before he started writing full-time. One lesson he says that’s helped him greatly as an author is a quote from Oscar Wilde, “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s pants to a chair.”

Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560.

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


Essex Meadows Completes Renovations to Casual Dining, Wellness Areas

ESSEX – With an emphasis on physical, social and emotional well-being, Essex Meadows has announced the completion of upgrades and renovations to its Fitness Center, as well as an expanded and remodeled Pub for more casual dining. These projects, which totaled more than $350,000, offer residents further opportunities for socialization, fitness and friendship. The majority of these capital improvements were made in the Pub, and major additions and advancements to the state-of-the-arts fitness equipment and their environs.

“We’ve expanded our wellness center with an emphasis on cross-training,” said Susan Carpenter, Director of Community Life Services at Essex Meadows, and a certified personal trainer. “We’ve doubled our cardio space and vastly increased our strength training equipment. The focus is truly on a comprehensive workout.”

New equipment includes NuStep® cross-trainers, which are designed specifically with older adults in mind, along with other compatible and complimentary senior-focused physical fitness apparatus.

David Reynolds, Director of Food and Beverage at Essex Meadows, says a similar line of thinking went into expanding and improving the casual dining venue.

“The resident population is constantly changing, and our newer residents are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle.  Many prefer a less staid approach to their dining experience, and want more excitement in the food and drink offerings.  We have taken underutilized space and incorporated it into our existing relaxed-dining zone.  At the same time, we recreated the menu in the Pub to provide expanded selections with an emphasis on creativity and bold flavors.” he said.

To bolster this renaissance, David has added a modest, yet wide-ranging wine list along with fresh and locally brewed beers on-tap.  The success of this expansion is witnessed by the capacity seating at most lunches.

“The Baby Boomers who are retiring in record numbers don’t want to dress formally for meals like earlier generations,” he said.  “What we’ve got here is precisely what today’s, and probably tomorrow’s seniors are looking for,” quipping further, “What other retirement community offers a hot lobster roll and cold draft beer every day?”

Editor’s Note: Since 1988, Essex Meadows has provided a lifestyle of dignity, freedom, independence and security to older adults from Connecticut and beyond. A community offering full lifecare, Essex Meadows, located conveniently near the Connecticut River, prides itself on having a financially responsible and caring atmosphere. Essex Meadows is managed by Life Care Services®, a leading provider in lifecare, retirement living. For more information on Essex Meadows, visit the community’s website or call 860-767-7201.


High Holy Day Services Continue at CBSRZ

CHESTER — At Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ), in Chester, CT, on Jewish holidays, High Holy Days – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – are major highlights every year, with music led by Cantor, Belinda Brennan and the CBSRZ Choir, inspiring teachings from religious and spiritual leader Rabbi Marci Bellows, and lay people within the CBSRZ community, as well as special services and activities for children and young families.

The schedule for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is as follows:

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Wednesday, Sept.20, 7:30 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah morning service: Thursday, Sept. 21, 9:30 a.m.; children’s service 2:30 p.m.

Second day of Rosh Hashanah, Friday, Sept. 22, 9:30 a.m.

Kol Nidre, Friday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.

Yom Kippur, Saturday, Sept. 30, morning service 9:30 am; children’s service 2 pm; afternoon Yizkor, Neilah, 3:30 pm

Communal break-the-fast will be at the conclusion of services. All are welcome.

For information regarding tickets, contact the CBSRZ office or visit

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.


Essex Garden Club Announces Officers for 2017-2018

Officers for the Essex Garden Club for 2017-2018 are Barbara Burgess, president, 1st VP Augie Pampel, 2nd VP, MyLan Sarner, Recording Secretary, Betsy Godsman, Corresponding Secretary Phyllis Graf, Treasurer , Patricia Mather and Assistant Treasurer is Barbara Muhlfelder.
In her opening remarks at the September meeting, Burgess said that the focus of the Essex Garden Club this year will be on enhancing each member’s floral design skills. These design principles will be applied when the Garden Club decorates the town’s window boxes and planters for the holidays.

Final Day of Community Music School’s Free Preview Week is Today

AREAWIDE – Community Music School, located at 90 Main Street in Centerbrook and 179 Flanders Rd. in East Lyme, welcomes the general public to visit during Free Preview Week Sept. 11 through 15. Children and adults can tour the School’s studios, meet teachers and staff, enjoy a free preview lesson, and learn about a vast array of programs for all ages including private and group lessons, adult cabaret, jazz ensemble, string ensembles, music therapy services, Kindermusik for babies and toddlers, and more.

During the academic year, Community Music School is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Those interested in a 30-minute preview lesson are requested to call 860-767-0026 for scheduling.  The public is also welcome to observe any group class or ensemble during Free Preview Week.

For additional information, visit or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at or call (860)767-0026.


Next ‘Lifelong Learning’ Lecture at Chester Village West Features ‘Paradoxes of Wellbeing,’ Nov. 13

CHESTER — Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, continues its Lifelong Learning Program with six free-and-open-to-the-public lectures in September, October and November. The program, in its fourth season, is in partnership with the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning and Middlesex Hospital. A Q&A and reception with light refreshments will be held after each program.

Registration is required. To register for one or more programs, call 860.322.6455, email or visit

Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, CT 06412.

The final lecture was:

Monday, Nov. 13, 4 p.m.

Some Paradoxes of Wellbeing
Karl Scheibe, Ph.D., B.S.
Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, Wesleyan University
Director Emeritus, Wasch Center for Retired Faculty, Wesleyan University

Wellbeing has recently moved to center state of psychologists’ field of attention. This is in part a reaction to the traditional focus of psychology on problems of human suffering. But research on this topic has turned up some fascinating contradictions. Pleasure and pain do not accumulate in the same way, revealing a curious asymmetry in our emotional lives. Paradoxes of wellbeing are conspicuous, not the least of which is the observation that older people manifest an unexpected level of satisfaction with their lives.

Editor’s Note: Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the independent seniors community was founded more than 25 years ago, Chester Village West residents have directed and embraced active learning. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being. Find out more at; visit the community on Facebook at


CBSRZ Adds New Programs to Current Education Offerings for Fall

CHESTER — The education team at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is offering new programming in the Kivvun wing. Kivvun means “direction” or “pathway,” and this year it is CBSRZ’s intention to provide more “paths” or “access points” into Judaism, while empowering each child to grow into their best selves, and experience their lives through a Jewish lens, within a vibrant Jewish Community.

Utilizing the Shalom Learning curriculum, and incorporating many aspects of the Project Based Learning model, learners will drive the creation of “questions” in order to determine how to answer the question,“What makes a strong Jewish community?”

Students will explore answers to their questions through the study of Hebrew, Prayer, Holidays and Values.  The learners will begin to formulate ideas while they analyze and express their thoughts through modes such as art, legos, cooking and storytelling. These electives or “Chugim” will be chosen by the students according to their interests and will offer an opportunity for learners of all grades to interact.

In addition to restructured program for young learners, new opportunities for teens will be offered, including student teaching, social action and recreational interaction. Gesher, a monthly class for 8th and 9th grade students, and Makom, a confirmation class for 10th grade students, will continue to be offered.

Registration is now open to everyone. To obtain your registration packet, contact Belinda Brennan, Cantor and Educator, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, belinda@cbsrzorg, the office at 860-526-8920 and visit for more information. CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT 06412.


Deep River Public Library to Join Bibliomation

Deep River Library building at 150 Main Street, Deep River

DEEP RIVER — Coming in October, the Deep River Public Library will be joining Bibliomation, Connecticut’s largest library consortium. This is exciting news for our patrons, who will gain access to materials from a network of 82 libraries.

Deep River patrons will benefit from sharing technology and resources, including the ease of placing online holds and reserving items from within the consortium of libraries, some of which are large enough to have specialized collections.

For more information, visit and click on the monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.


Deep River Historical Society Launches New Book of ‘Deep River Stories’ with Reception, Oct. 19

The Deep River Historical Society (DRHS) is proud to announce the launch of its newest publication “Deep River Stories.” DRHS Trustee Frank Santoro has created 10 short stories bringing Deep River’s legends from XYZ to Dick Smith together in an entertaining and educational book for all ages.  Santoro has a lighthearted approach and each story has a moral ending. The stories are enriched by the talents of eleven local artists who have donated their time to this project.

The Society is grateful for the generosity of these truly creative people: Rachel Carlson, Karen F. Carroll, Janet Edgerton, Linda Elgart, Sarah Gustafson, Andrea Isaacs, Lori Lenz, Alicia Melluzzo, Sophie Spaner, Cindi Stannard (DRHS Trustee) and Virginia (Gin) Wylie. This project truly exemplifies our mission statement as it interacts with our community, interprets Deep River’s place in America’s history and hopefully will inspire current and future generations.

The Deep River Historical Society invites you to an evening reception to meet the author and artists behind “Deep River Stories” on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Carriage House, 245 Main Street Deep River. Come for a fun evening of stories as the Society launches its newest publication. Books will be available for $10. 

All proceeds will benefit the Deep River Historical Society in its work to maintain this gem of a historic building and create new interactive exhibits. For further information, call Rhonda Forristall at 860-526-5086.


Chester Village West Hosts Blood Drive Today, 1:30 to 6:30pm

CHESTER – Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, will host a Red Cross Blood Drive on Friday, Aug. 18 from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.  Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, Conn. 06412.

To schedule your appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Chester Village West employees regularly participate in the blood drive. Old Saybrook resident Richard Mulvihill, one of the community’s security guards, has donated more than two gallons (16 units) of blood over the past 18 years. According to the American Red Cross, Mulvihill’s blood donations have helped to save the lives of more than 48 people. A donor since age 18, Richard has been giving valuable ‘double red cell’ donations three times per year since 1999, when he joined the Old Saybrook Fire Department as a volunteer fireman.

“I feel great about helping people this way,” said Mulvihill, who is Type O Positive. According to the American Red Cross, double red cell donations from Type O donors and donors with Rh-negative blood types play a very important role in maintaining blood supply levels. Double red cell donation is done with the help of an apheresis machine, which collects the red cells but returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor. “Because I get my platelets and plasma back, I don’t feel as drained afterwards,” he added.

Other Chester Village West employees who regularly donate blood include Marketing Director and Westbrook resident Sara Philpott, Director of Operations and Deep River resident Jim Jake, Marketing Assistant and Deep River resident Brenda Kollmer, Transportation Coordinator and Killingworth resident Priscilla Soucy and Debra Millspaugh, Accounting Manager and Deep River resident.

“My father’s life was saved by a blood transfusion,” Philpott said. “Most of us don’t think about the importance of maintaining the blood bank until we have a personal crisis. Our blood banks are always in need of more donors. It’s such a small thing to do that can literally save the life of another. It makes me feel good to know that my donation can help someone when they need it most.”

Editor’s Note: Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the community was founded more than 25 years ago, Chester Village West residents have directed and embraced active learning. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being. Find out more; visit the community on Facebook at


Bingo is Back at the Estuary Council Thursdays, Doors Open 5:30pm

Beginning June 15 and continuing through Nov. 9, Bingo is back at The Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. (ECSI) and open to all ages. Game play begins at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The Estuary Council is located at 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook.

Join in on the fun for this weekly event.  Admission, including game package, is $12 per player. Cash prizes with the progressive jackpot maximum payout of $1,000 (increases $100 each week.)  

For more information, call 860-388-1611 or visit


Essex Foundation Completes Second Phase of Gateway Landscape Project

Sullivan Lawn Service crew members install evergreen shrubs and ornamental perennial plants at the intersection of Route 154 and Route 153 in Essex, the second phase of a landscape beautification project funded by The Essex Foundation.

300+ Perennials Planted Along Intersection of Rte. 154 and Rte. 153 in Essex

ESSEX – Just three months after funding the installation of 12 Chanticleer pear trees along Rte. 154 near the intersection of Rte. 153, The Essex Foundation, Inc. has completed the second phase of a multi-phase gateway beautification project.

Over 300 low-growing, low-maintenance evergreen and perennial ornamentals were planted in the southeast corner of state-owned land in the Rte. 9/ Exit 3 underpass area of Essex. The charitable organization hired Matthew Verry Landscape Design for design planning and state approval oversight while Sullivan Lawn Services, LLC was contracted for the installation services. 

Sullivan Lawn Service crew members install evergreen shrubs and ornamental perennial plants at the intersection of Route 154 and Route 153 in Essex, the second phase of a landscape beautification project funded by The Essex Foundation.

With the goal of creating a colorful, year-round visual display that is both drought-tolerant and pest-resistant, The Essex Foundation board of directors opted for a combination of Vibernum, KnockOut Rose,  Black-eyed Susan, Sedum Autumn Joy and Winterberry. Funds for the cost of the planning, plant purchase and installation were provided through a bequest to The Essex Foundation by the late Elizabeth “Diz” Barnes Callender and her predeceased sister Mary Frances Barnes.

The gateway beautification project, which also included funding for the highway bridge painting, is a good example of the types of community efforts supported by The Essex Foundation.  The Foundation’s community projects tend to be unique, require quick action, and have an immediate impact.

The Essex Foundation was founded in 1970. It is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Essex residents. The foundation is funded through donations from the community and strives to fill needs not met by other organizations or sources. In general, funds are granted for special purposes, including buildings, equipment, land, and programs, but not to recurring expenses. More information can be found at

PHOTO CAPTION: Sullivan Lawn Service crew members install evergreen shrubs and ornamental perennial plants at the intersection of Route 154 and Route 153 in Essex, the second phase of a landscape beautification project funded by The Essex Foundation.    


1772 Foundation Grant Awarded for deKoven House Exterior Maintenance

The historic deKoven House Community Center in Middletown received a grant of $10,700 for exterior maintenance.

MIDDLETOWN — The Rockfall Foundation recently received a matching grant of $10,700 to support exterior maintenance of the historic, 18th century deKoven House Community Center located at 27 Washington Street, Middletown. The grant was awarded by the 1772 Foundation in cooperation with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and will allow for painting, wood repair, and chimney repointing.

Bequeathed to the Foundation by the organization’s founder, Clarence S. Wadsworth, the deKoven House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Captain Benjamin Williams House. The brick Georgian mansion was built between 1791 and 1797 and is just yards from the banks of the Connecticut River. Previously renovated with architectural work by Jeffrey Dale Bianco, AIA, the current exterior project is part of a long-range plan to care for the building.

“One of the Rockfall Foundation’s main responsibilities is stewardship of the deKoven House,” said Robin Andreoli, the Foundation’s executive director. “In addition to the Foundation, its offices are occupied by several groups whose missions are concerned with natural resource education, research, and conservation in the Lower Connecticut River Valley.”

Since 1942, the Rockfall Foundation has provided subsidized, low-cost office space in the deKoven House to a variety of nonprofit environmental and educational organizations. Current resident organizations include the Middlesex Land Trust, Connecticut River Conservancy, Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, Mattabeseck Audubon Society, Connecticut Land Conservation Council, Artists for World Peace, Connecticut Center for Spiritual Living, and the Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commission.Two meeting rooms are also available to community groups for use and host more than 150 gatherings per year.

The Rockfall Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation that supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Established in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation annually awards environmental grants to other non-profits and sponsors education programs and symposia.

For additional information, call 860-347-0340 or visit


Diabetes Screening Ongoing at the Estuary Council, 2nd & 4th Wednesdays

OLD SAYBROOK — The Estuary Council of Seniors offers diabetes testing for people age 50 and over twice a month at their facility at 220 Main St. Old Saybrook.

Testing is done by a registered nurse, fasting is required and no appointment is necessary.

Testing is available on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 7:30 – 9am and the 4th Wednesday of each month from 7:30 – 9am. There is no charge for this service, donations are welcome.

For additional information call the Estuary Council at 860-388-1611 x 202


Essex Foundation Provides Support For Essex Place Furnishings

Bruce Glowac. President of The Essex Foundation, Inc. presents a check to Janice Atkeson, President of Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing, Inc. outside Essex Place, the newly constructed affordable senior housing complex on Main Street in Centerbrook.

Foundation underwrites cost of common area furniture in newly constructed senior housing 

ESSEX — Two weeks before the grand opening of Essex Place, a 22-unit, affordable senior rental housing complex developed by Essex Elderly & Affordable Housing, Inc. and the Women’s Institute of Housing & Economic Development, The Essex Foundation was called upon to help cover the cost of furniture for the common area spaces.

Last minute adjustments to the overall project budget left no available resources for completing the already constructed community room, game room, office, and kitchen.  After a thoughtful presentation by Janice Atkeson and Yolanda Lowe, both representing Essex Elderly & Affordable Housing, Inc., members of The Essex Foundation Board of Directors approved the request for financial assistance.

Funds from The Essex Foundation were used to cover the cost of upholstered furniture, dining tables, game tables, occasional tables, stacking chairs, office furniture, and miscellaneous kitchen items.  Essex Place is located at 26 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex, adjacent to the Essex Court senior apartments.

The common areas are accessible to all residents of Essex Place and Essex Court, and will also be used for general meetings and as a designated emergency shelter. Community members who would like to donate to the project can send a check made out to The Essex Foundation, PO Box 64, Essex, CT 06426, indicating that it is for the Essex Place community room.

The Essex Foundation was founded in 1970. It is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Essex residents. The foundation is funded through donations from the community and strives to fill needs not met by other organizations or sources. In general, funds are granted for special purposes, including buildings, equipment, land, and programs, but not to recurring expenses. More information can be found at


#                                             #                                             #


PHOTO CAPTION: Bruce Glowac. President of The Essex Foundation, Inc. presents a check to Janice Atkeson, President of Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing, Inc. outside Essex Place, the newly constructed affordable senior housing complex on Main Street in Centerbrook.


So Much to See This Summer at Chester Museum at The Mill

A front view of Chester Museum at the Mill. Photo from

Upstairs and down, all the new Chester history being featured at the Chester Museum at The Mill this year will delight you.

Downstairs is the seasonal exhibit prepared by Keith Dauer and Sandy Senior-Dauer, called “Chester Postcards & Three Chester Notables.” There are more than 200 Chester postcards on display as well as exhibits devoted to three people who lived in or impacted Chester, namely, Judge Constance Baker Motley, The Leatherman (see the life-size sculpture made by Weymouth Eustis), and photographer Hugh Spencer.

There is a replica of the Waterhouse Gristmill, intricately and lovingly handcrafted by Nathan Jacobson, in the entry level. And on the second floor, there’s a redo of the Museum’s permanent exhibit, which now includes a replica of Chester Pharmacy’s soda fountain (guaranteed to make you hungry!)

Museum hours are Saturdays 1 to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free (but donations are always welcome to help the Historical Society continue to collect and preserve items of Chester history).


Three Chester Residents Honored in 60 Over 60 Awards

Lee Howard has championed access to the arts throughout her life.

CHESTER — Three Chester residents were recently honored with 60 Over 60 Awards.  They are Lee Howard, Phyllis McDowell, and Nancy Smith, all of whom are residents at Chester Village West.

This is the first year the awards have been presented to honor Connecticut citizens over age 60 who make a difference in the lives of others or in their communities.  The 60 Over 60 award was created by Duncaster as a way to showcase the lives of people 60 or better, who continue to have a unique impact on their world. Howard, McDowell, and Smith were celebrated at a reception on the Duncaster campus in Bloomfield.

Howard is a life-long leader in greater access to the arts for all.  Lee has worked with local arts councils and alliances across the country to develop their technical services, and with advocacy and arts programs throughout the country.

Phyllis McDowell has advocated for those with mental health issues and those who care for the environment.

McDowell has changed the lives of those with mental health issues and those who care for the environment.  She and several volunteers from the Mental Health Association of New Haven launched Fellowship Place, a socialization program for psychiatric patients.

Smith is a writer, an editor, and a connector of people. She is an active member of the Susan B. and William K. Wasch Center for Retired Faculty at Wesleyan University.

Duncaster began their search for 60 Over 60 on Jan. 1.  It received nominations of remarkable individuals from throughout Connecticut.  “Our state has so many extraordinary people who are 60 or better, so we were not surprised at the number of nominations we received.  Clearly there are many people who wanted to recognize people 60 or better for their continued accomplishments,” says Carol Ann McCormick, VP Sales and Marketing at Duncaster.

Nancy Smith continues her work as a writer and editor, and has been a lifelong learning advocate

She continued, “We’ve all heard of 40 Under 40 awards that highlight the successes of this group of people.  We thought it was high time to recognize the ongoing inspiration and achievement of those 60 or better.  We were delighted with the response to it.”

Duncaster, the Hartford area’s first LifeCare community, is located minutes from West Hartford and Simsbury in Bloomfield CT.  This boutique Life Plan Community sits on 94 acres.  While catering to those who are active and engaged in independent living neighborhoods, Duncaster also offers options for those seeking assisted living, memory care, long-term care and rehab services (all private) in intimate settings.

For more information, visit or call (860) 380-5005.


Key Bank Westbrook Volunteers Help Beautify the Estuary Senior Center

Key Bank’s Westbrook employees, some of whom are pictured above, visited the Estuary Senior Center recently and worked hard cleaning up the outside area, making the place even more beautiful! They have a 27-year tradition of volunteering in the communities they serve.

On behalf of all the seniors that the Estuary Center serves, Estuary board members wish to express their sincerest thanks to all the Key Bank, Westbrook volunteers who donated their time to work at the Estuary facility.


Chester’s Juliette Linares Earns Girl Scouting’s Highest Award

Juliette Linares of Chester has earned Girl Scouting’s top award.

CHESTER – Girl Scout Juliette Linares of Chester has received her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn in Girl Scouting.

The Girl Scout Gold Award requires Girl Scouts grades nine through 12 to spend at least 80 hours researching issues, assessing community needs and resources, building a team, and making a sustainable impact in the community. A Gold Award recipient’s accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set her apart as a community leader.

Nationally, only 6 percent of older Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award. Girl Scouts of Connecticut recently honored the 71 Girl Scouts in Connecticut who have achieved this honor on Sunday, June 4.

Juliette’s project addressed the need for families to encourage their younger children to foster a love for literature at a young age. Juliette hosted a Dr. Seuss family event where 25 families along with Girl Scout troops, guests from surrounding towns, two guest readers, teachers, principals, and reading specialists attended. Juliette will continue to host the Dr. Seuss family event until she graduates high school. She hopes that it will continue to be a success and the school would agree to make it an annual event.

“I am beyond proud of our Girl Scouts as we celebrate another century of young women taking the lead and making a sustainable change in our communities,” said Mary Barneby, CEO of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “By earning the Gold Award, Girl Scouts set themselves apart as top achievers, and are incredible go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders. I can’t wait to see what they will accomplish in the future!”

For more information about the Gold Award or how to become a Gold Award volunteer or mentor, visit

Girl Scouts of Connecticut are more than 47,000 members strong – nearly 32,000 girls and over 15,000 adults – who believe that every girl can change the world. They’re part of a sisterhood of 2.6 million strong around the globe—1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world.

The Girl Scouts organization’s extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, her vision and legacy have been honored, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. The organization is the preeminent leadership development one for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success.

To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit


Chester Village West Foundation Awards $30K in Scholarships to 10 Employees, Two Employees’ Children

Chester Village West Foundation, Inc. recently awarded $30,000 in college and university scholarships to 10 Chester Village West employees and two employees’ children. Left to right: Chester Village West resident and scholarship committee volunteer Whitey Wilson, Evan Swanson and Julie Fredericksen (both, Killingworth); Gabriella Dess (Madison); Ashlyn O’Boyle (Killingworth); Kira Woodworth (East Haddam); Jack Liggett (Deep River); Kristine Davis (Deep River); Elizabeth Forsythe (Killingworth); Leah Ann Sopneski (Deep River); Kenna Campbell (Chester); Chester Village West resident and foundation president Joan Galliher. Not pictured: Brandon Miller (Madison) and Johanna Regan (Northford).

Residents of Chester, Deep River, East Haddam, Killingworth, Madison and Northford enrolled at local and national colleges and universities

CHESTER – Ten Chester Village West employees and two children of employees have each been awarded a $2,500 scholarship from the Chester Village West Foundation, Inc. The scholarships will help the employees and their children continue their education at colleges and universities in Connecticut and beyond.

“Chester Village West employees are part of our extended family, dedicating their work to making our community a great place to live,” said Joan Galliher, a six-year resident and the foundation’s volunteer president. “And every year, our residents express their appreciation by generously supporting the foundation’s scholarship program to help staff members – and their children – pursue higher education.” 

Created as not-for profit entity in 1998 by a group of Chester Village residents, over the past 18 years the Chester Village West Foundation has provided more than $280,000 in scholarships to the community’s staff and their children, helping them to further their education beyond high school. The foundation’s income comes from voluntary donations made by residents of Chester Village West and memorial gifts from family and friends.

Recipients of the Chester Village West Foundation’s 2017 scholarships are:

Chester resident Kenna Campbell, a front desk employee and third year student at Central Connecticut State University.

Deep River resident Kristine Davis, a dining room employee and second year student at University of Tampa.

Madison resident Gabriella Dess, a dining room employee and fourth year student at Providence College.

Killingworth resident Elizabeth Forsythe, a dining room employee and second year student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Killingworth resident Julie Fredericksen, daughter of housekeeping employee Debra Fredericksen and a first year student at Middlesex Community College.

Deep River resident Jack Liggett, a dining room employee and first year student at Marist College.

Madison resident Brandon Miller, son of marketing director Sara Philpott and third year student at Muhlenberg College.

Killingworth resident Ashlyn O’Boyle, a dining room employee and first year student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Northford resident Johanna Regan, a dining room employee who is in her final year of teacher’s certification at Central Connecticut State University.

Deep River resident Leah Sopneski, a housekeeping employee and third year student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Killingworth resident Evan Swanson, a dining room employee and third year student at Cedarville University.

East Haddam resident Kira Woodworth, a dining room employee and first year college student.

Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being.

Find out more at

Visit the community on Facebook at


Essex Historical Society Reopens Much Improved Hills Academy History Center

Volunteers at the newly refurbished Hills Academy History Center catalog and safeguard its historic treasures. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Essex Historical Society (EHS) shines the spotlight on its historic structures in 2017, focusing its energies on setting the stage for a friendlier, community-centric approach to sharing their stories.  The Society’s library and offices at 22 Prospect St. reopen as the Hills Academy History Center on June 10.

Workers prepare for upgraded technology at Hills Academy to better serve the public. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Improvements include outdoors land design, improved mechanicals, safety upgrades, new security systems, new research technology, painting and window repair to create a community History Center.

The Hills Academy History Center reopens June 10. Courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Visitors who have negotiated Hills’ narrow staircase to visit the archives or conduct research will be pleasantly surprised that we are moving downstairs to the first floor!  Now, researchers and volunteers benefit from improved access at ground level to examine EHS’s frequently-used collections and visit their database via upgraded technology, funded in part through a grant from Guilford Savings Bank.

The public is welcome to join in the grand opening on Saturday, June 10, from 1 to 3 p.m.  The event is free and refreshments will be served.  Hills Academy History Center is open year-round Tuesday and Thursday mornings and by appointment.

Also that afternoon, EHS’s historic house museum, Pratt House, will participate in the statewide museum event, Connecticut Open House Day, Saturday, June 10, from 1 to 4 p.m.  Admission is free.  Both beautiful properties serve as historic resources for the entire community, helping EHS live up to its mission of Engaging and Inspiring the Community: Essex. Ivoryton. Centerbrook.  

For more information, visit or 860-767-0681. 


Essex Public Safety Day Scheduled for Today

Firefighters demonstrate the Jaws of Life in a crash simulation.

ESSEX — The Town of Essex, Essex Fire Company and Essex Ambulance will host Essex Public Safety Day on Sunday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Essex Fire Headquarters, 11 Saybrook Rd.

Activities will include:
• Jaws of Life Extrication Demos
• Lucas CPR Demos
• Quick–Clot Bandaging Table
• Burn Boxes
• Stove Fire Prop
• Walking Wounded
• Helicopter “subject to availability”
• Mobile Command Vehicle
• Lenny & Joe’s Food Truck

This is a hands-on event. Come see and experience how you can become a part of the Town of Essex First Responder team!

Rain date is scheduled for June 18.


Shoreline Soup Kitchens Opens New Westbrook Meal Site, All Welcome

AREAWIDE — The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) new Westbrook meal site is open for dinner from 6 to 7 p.m. every Friday.  The site is located at the Westbrook Congregational Church, 1166 Boston Post Road.  All are welcome to attend.

Don’t be shy, bring the whole family and enjoy a meal with wonderful dinner companions and nutritious food. You don’t need to call ahead or “make a reservation.”

Did you know that last year over 900,000 meals worth of food were distributed to individuals and families during The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries grocery distribution program?  And, that over 17,000 nutritious and delicious meals were provided at our 9 meal sites, serving seven days a week?

There are those among us who are hungry and alone. You can change that; you can make a difference in the lives of those who are hungry in body and spirit.  Contact SSKP to learn about the many opportunities to volunteer.

The SSKP offers food and fellowship to the communities of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

The SSKP’s family-oriented meal sites serving nutritious and delicious food are located in Centerbrook, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Old Lyme, Westbrook and Old Saybrook.  And, SSKP food pantries are located in Clinton, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, East Lyme and Westbrook.  Also, provided to those who have limited cooking facilities are heat-n- meals that can be picked up at any of our pantries.

Community support of the SSKP is appreciated.  If you have any questions or for a more information, call 860.388.1988 or email at


Guilford Savings Bank Supports Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries with ‘Green for Greens’

From left to right, front row, Guilford Saving Bank Branch Manager, Dave Carswell, SSKP Board Member Rick Westbrook, SSKP Executive Director, Patty Dowling, and Guilford Saving Bank Community Development Officer, Lisa La Monte. (back row) Guilford Saving Bank Assistant Branch Manager, Sandra Miller, and Guilford Saving Bank tellers Ryan Donovan and Brandy Reilly.

AREAWIDE — Guilford Savings Bank has awarded a $4,000 grant to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) to purchase fresh produce for needy residents of the shoreline. The grant, called “Green for Greens”, helps assure that local families who come to SSKP’s food pantries will be provided with fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to non-perishable foods.

Lisa LeMonte, Marketing and Community Development Officer at Guilford Savings Bank, shared, “I know I speak for everyone at GSB when I say how proud we are to provide “Green for Greens” that allows The Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries to supplement their budget with funds to purchase additional fresh produce.”

“The support of Guilford Savings Bank and their generous “Green for Greens” is truly a gift to those we serve at our 5 food pantries.  We all know the feeling of eating a fresh crisp apple, or finding a banana in our lunch bag when we are hungry midday.  Because of GSB, those in need will share in that feeling, and on behalf of those we serve, I sincerely thank Guilford Savings Bank for their commitment to providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director.

Founded 28 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

Guilford Savings Bank has been serving the financial needs of the Connecticut shoreline for over 140 years.  Recently named the #1 Community Bank in Connecticut, it is the premier relationship bank, providing banking, lending, wealth management and life insurance solutions for personal, small business and commercial customers. For more information visit


Essex Historical Society Hosts Open House for Volunteers at Pratt House, Sunday

Visit the beautiful grounds of the 1732 Pratt House, a landmark property of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Enjoy history?  Historic interiors?  Meeting new people?  Essex Historical Society cordially invites you to an Open House for Volunteers at the historic 1732 Pratt House on Sunday, April 23, from 2 to 4 p.m.  The event will be held at the Pratt House, 19 West Avenue, Essex.  A short presentation will occur at 2:30 p.m.

Pratt House’s volunteer tour guides or ‘docents’ lead engaging tours for visitors.

The Society would love to introduce you to their volunteer tour guide program or ‘docents’ that will lead to a rewarding experience for you and our history-loving audience.  Come meet their genial, well-informed guides for a private tour of this historic structure.  No experience is necessary and all training is provided.

The Pratt House has served as Essex’s only historic house museum for more than 6o years and serves as the flagship of Essex Historical Society.  The house tells the story of life in an early CT River seaport town through nine generations of one family, many of whom were blacksmiths.

Tours of the house are offered to the public from June – September, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 1 to 4 p.m.; and by appointment.  Beautiful grounds, newly restored kitchen gardens, a community garden, reproduction barn and museum shop make for a memorable visit to this historic landmark.

The Open House for Volunteers is open to the public.  Refreshments will be served

For more info, contact Mary Ann Pleva at 860-767-8560 or visit


Captions for Photos:


Visit the beautiful grounds of the 1732 Pratt House, a landmark property of Essex Historical Society.


Pratt House’s volunteer tour guides or ‘docents’ lead engaging tours for visitors.


Inter-Religious Clergy of CT River Valley Host Three-Part Interfaith Dinner Reception; Third Event to be Held in Chester, May 15

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.


Ivoryton Library Hosts Immigration Exhibition This Afternoon

This photo shows a Comstock, Cheney & Co. recruiter with newly arrived immigrants at Ellis Island c. 1890.

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Library presents Immigration: A Tiny Town’s Bonanza on Sunday, March 12, from 3 to 5 p.m. This is the latest exhibit in the series An Intimate History of Ivoryton and will showcase the growth of our village on the strength of the immigrants who came to work at Comstock, Cheney and Co. between 1890 and 1915.

Photographs and other materials will be on display.

Have you been interested in looking into your own background? There will be ongoing demonstrations of and an opportunity to ask questions about the service.

Is your family a part of Ivoryton’s story? Come and share your memories. If you have photographs or other memorabilia that you would like to include in this exhibit as either a donation or a loan, contact Elizabeth Alvord at the library at 860-767-1252 or by email at

The Ivoryton Library is located at 106 Main Street in Ivoryton.


Join the ‘Common Good Gardens’ to Discover the Benefits of Volunteering; Orientation Meeting Today

OLD SAYBROOK — Each year, the Common Good Gardens in Old Saybrook raise nearly four tons of fresh vegetables and fruit, and then then donates them to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries  And they do it entirely with volunteers – volunteers who have kept it going and improved it for 15 years.

You’re probably thinking, “How unselfish … doing all that work to benefit other people,” and they are for sure.  But, according to new research, volunteers are also on the receiving end of some amazing benefits; and most likely, they don’t even know it.  They just know that they feel better when they leave the garden.

Never too young … all ages can volunteer at the Common Good Garden.

Solid data on the benefits of volunteering has appeared in a variety of current publications, ranging from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health Letters, to a review from the Corporation for National & Community Service, which states,

On average, volunteering 40 to 100 hours per year increases personal satisfaction and happiness, decreases depression, improves functional capacity; and results in fewer illnesses and a longer life span.

Similar articles from the Huffington Post, Atlantic Monthly as well as research released by Johns Hopkins, The London School of Economics and University of Exeter Medical School have all told a similar story.

Greatest Gains for Seniors

Volunteering has health benefits — especially for seniors!

While there are potential gains to be had for high-schoolers and middle-aged persons, the greatest gains related to volunteering are for those 65 and older.  Some researchers suggest this greater gain for seniors may be because they start out lower before volunteering. Their health may not be as good as that of younger people or they may have lower self-esteem and more social isolation due to retirement.  Even if that proves true, starting to volunteer at an earlier adult stage seems to correlate with fewer health issues later in life.

Regarding functional capacity, the Hopkins study showed improved brain function associated with activities that get you moving and thinking at the same time.  As for happiness, though some of the happiness data is based on self-reporting alone, other data show hormone levels and brain scan activity consistent with physiologic changes associated with happiness.

Studies in UK

In addition to the improvements shown above, a large review of nearly 25,000 articles in the UK notes increased coping ability, better parenting skills and richer personal relationships.

Impact on Chronic Illness and Longevity

Several studies examined in particular the impact for those with chronic illness. They found that these volunteers reported decreased pain and depression. People with a prior heart attack also had lower incidences of depression after volunteering.

A United Health Group survey showed these striking figures:

  • 25% reported volunteering helped them live better with chronic illness
  • 76% reported feeling healthier
  • 78% reported lowered stress levels
  • 94% reported improved mood
  • 96% reported an enriched sense of purpose

Finally U.S. census data confirms that those states with high volunteer rates show greater longevity and lower rates of heart disease.

Come Join the Common Good Gardens

There’s always room for an extra pair of hands …

Come join us at the Common Good Gardens.  Whatever your age, level of health, or skill set, there’s a way for you to contribute while benefiting from volunteering.

Yes, gardeners are needed to plant, weed and harvest, and beginners are always welcome. But also needed are people with computer skills, carpentry skills, writing and speaking skills;   people who can drive a car to deliver produce; leaders to organize small groups and work with public schools; people who love nature or are excited about nutrition, and folk who want to help experiment with natural ways to deter pests or make soil richer.

Common Good Gardens by the numbers

  • 14: Number of years garden has been in existence (2002-2016)
  • July 7, 2011: Date the garden incorporated and received non-profit 501(c)3  status
  • 10: Number of Board members
  • 220,000: Total pounds of produce grown, collected and delivered 2004-2016 through garden volunteer efforts
  • 50: Number of core active volunteers (gardeners, drivers, other)
  • 3,000: Number of volunteer hours donated annually
  • 1/2 acre: Size of garden located at rear of Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main Street, Old Saybrook
  • 22: Number of different varieties of fruits and vegetablesgrown at the garden during 2016
  • 6,900: Pounds of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • $17,200: Dollar value of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • 7: Number of farm stands that donate excess produce to garden for distribution to pantries in 2013.

Many hands make light work at the Common Good Gardens.

Current volunteers at the Common Good Gardens encourage you to get involved so that together, a healthy future for the garden, ourselves, and our shoreline community can be created.

If interested, contact Common Good Gardens at PO Box 1224, Old Saybrook, CT 06475 or call Barbara Standke at 860-575-8645 with questions, or to sign up for the annual new volunteer orientation on March 11.

Editor’s Note: The authors of this piece, Kate Wessling and Barbara Standke, are respectively Common Good Gardens President and Common Good Gardens Volunteer Coordinator.


Ivoryton Library Hosts Fundraising Trivia Night Tonight at Centerbrook Meetinghouse

IVORYTON — Clear your calendars for Saturday, March 4, for an exciting Trivia Night, a fundraiser for the Ivoryton Library. Hosted by the folks at What Trivia!, this is a fun show to be held at the historic Centerbrook Meetinghouse.

An ideal way to stay warm on a March winter night and be with your friends, make a couple of new friends, and get some mileage from your stock of trivia, this event is completely interactive. Are you a walking library of trivia? Do you have random pieces of knowledge that have lodged themselves in your brain, just waiting to be unearthed? This is your opportunity to make all that useless stuff you know work for you. There’s something for everyone: the artistic crowd, the creative media types, the scholarly, the sports minded, and the rest of you guys.

Teams are made up of four to eight people so sign up as soon as possible as a team, or even as a single. Answers aren’t blurted out, they’re written down and if you don’t know an answer, best scenario is to guess. Points are awarded, wagered and, perhaps, lost. Lots of very interesting prizes will be awarded.

There will a cash bar and light fare for $25 a head, ahead of time, and $30 at the door. The fun stuff starts at 7:00pm, see you there!

For more information, visit or call the Ivoryton
Library at 860 767-1252.


Literacy Volunteers Offer Opportunity to Make your Book Donations Pay

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS), CT, Inc. in Westbrook is looking for donations of clean books that were loved and now need a new home.

If you have books with a copyright date of 2007 or newer that you have read, loved and now would like to see go to a good home, LVVS can offer that opportunity. Consider donating those adult or children’s hard- or soft-cover books and DVD’s or puzzles to Literacy Volunteers at 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook during business hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. In return, you will receive a certificate for $5 off the purchase of any books in our inventory totaling $10.

You can feel good about your “friends” becoming a part of our family of books, games, puzzles and media items for sale to only the most discriminating buyers who want, like you, to help the cause of Literacy.

Anyone interested in more information regarding on this program, our upcoming events or any of our services is encouraged to call (860) 399-0280, visit or e-mail


Stonewell Farm Hosts Two-Day Workshop on Dry Stone Wall Building, April 29, 30

Andrew Pighill’s work includes outdoor kitchens, wine cellars, fire-pits, fireplaces and garden features that include follies and other whimsical structures in stone.

Andrew Pighill’s work includes outdoor kitchens, wine cellars, fire-pits, fireplaces and garden features that include follies and other whimsical structures in stone.

KILLINGWORTH — On April 29 and 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily,  Andrew Pighills, master stone mason, will teach a two-day, weekend long workshop on the art of dry stone wall building at Stonewell Farm in Killingworth, CT.

Participants will learn the basic principles of wall building, from establishing foundations, to the methods of dry laid (sometimes called dry-stacked) construction and ‘hearting’ the wall. This hands-on workshop will address not only the structure and principles behind wall building but also the aesthetic considerations of balance and proportion.

This workshop expresses Pighill’s  commitment to preserve New England’s heritage and promote and cultivate the dry stone wall building skills that will ensure the preservation of our vernacular landscape.

This workshop is open to participants, 18 years of age or older, of all levels of experience. Note the workshop is limited to 16 participants, and spaces fill up quickly.

You must pre-register to attend the workshop.  The price for the workshop is  $350 per person. Stonewell Farm is located at 39 Beckwith Rd., Killingworth CT 06419

If you have any questions or to register for the workshop, contact the Workshop Administrator Michelle Becker at 860-322-0060 or

At the end of the day on Saturday you’ll be hungry, tired and ready for some rest and relaxation, so the wood-fired Stone pizza oven will be fired up and beer, wine and Pizza Rustica will be served.

About the instructor: 

 Born in Yorkshire, England, Andrew Pighills is an accomplished stone artisan, gardener and horticulturist. He received his formal horticulture training with The Royal Horticultural Society and has spent 40+ years creating gardens and building dry stone walls in his native England in and around the spectacular Yorkshire Dales and the English Lake District.

Today, Pighills is one of a small, but dedicated group of US-based, certified, professional members of The Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA) of Great Britain. Having moved to the United States more than 10 years ago, he now continues this venerable craft here in the US, building dry stone walls, stone structures and creating gardens throughout New England and beyond.

His particular technique of building walls adheres to the ancient methods of generations of dry stone wallers in his native Yorkshire Dales. Pighills’ commitment to preserving the integrity and endurance of this traditional building art has earned him a devoted list of private and public clients here and abroad including the English National Trust, the English National Parks, and the Duke of Devonshire estates.

His stone work has been featured on British and American television, in Charles McCraven’s book The Stone Primer, and Jeffrey Matz’s Midcentury Houses Today, A study of residential modernism in New Canaan Connecticut. He has featured  in the N Y Times, on Martha Stewart Living radio, and in the Graham Deneen film short  “Dry Stone”, as well as various media outlets both here and in the UK, including an article in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Yankee Magazine.

Pighills is a DSWA fully qualified dry stone walling instructor. In addition to building in stone and creating gardens, Pighills teaches dry stone wall building workshops in and around New England.

He is a frequent lecturer on the art of dry stone walling, and how traditional UK walling styles compare to those found in New England. His blog, Heave and Hoe; A Day in the Life of a Dry Stone Waller and Gardener, provides more information about Pighills.

For more information, visit


Take a Mat /Chair Adaptive Yoga Class at the Estuary, Fridays

OLD SAYBROOK — The Estuary Council of seniors 220 Main St Old Saybrook has a new yoga class that meets on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and the cost is $6 a class

The class is designed for individuals who find it a challenge to get up and down from the floor in a yoga class. You will use a chair, yoga mat and other props to enable safe adaptations of yoga poses that will help build confidence, strength and flexibility.

Bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing

For more information, email or call Rachel Baer at 860-859-7217


Celebrate Winter Today at Chester’s 26th Annual Winter Carnivale

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. File photo by John Stack.

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

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

Bill Bernhart stands proudly beside his ice carving at the Chester Carnivale in this 2012 file photo by John Stack.

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

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

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

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

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

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the Annual Tractor Parade. File photo by John Stack

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

Tractor Parade at a previous year’s Chester Carnivale. File photo by John Stack.

For more information, visit or


9 Town Transit Partners with Google Maps for Online Trip Planning

AREAWIDE — Finding local bus route information just got a whole lot easier.  In fact, you probably already have it available on your smartphone.  Google Maps now includes local bus routes and schedules in its directions feature.

Riders no longer have to read timetables.  They simply enter the date and time that they hope to arrive at their destination and the trip planner will provide three options, showing the amount of time and number of transfers for each option, letting you easily select the most convenient trip.

Google Maps can even provide walking directions, so you can find out exactly how to get to the nearest transit stop or station, and how to get to your destination once you leave the train/bus.  For extra convenience, Google Maps has most locations already stored, so you only need the location name or just a category, such as fast food.

“We are pleased to welcome 9 Town Transit to Google Maps.”, says Ryan Poscharsky, Strategic Partner Manager at Google.  “This partnership shows 9 Town Transit’s commitment to innovating, as well as serving and attracting new riders. Together we can provide useful and accurate information to help people quickly get to where they want to go.”

Another important feature is the ability to plan trips across agencies and modes.  CT Transit New Haven and Hartford, CT Transit Express, Shoreline East and Metro North are all available in Google Maps, so it is easy to plan your trip from Old Saybrook to Hartford, from Manhattan to the outlet malls, or from your Clinton to downtown New Haven.  Google Maps tells you all transfers required along with the connecting agency name and contact information.

“We hope this tool makes it easier than ever to plan your trip by bus or train in our region”, says Joseph Comerford, Executive Director of 9 Town Transit.


Parent-Toddler Play & Support Groups Offered at Tri-Town Youth Services

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River will host weekly support groups for parents of young children.  Parents have opportunity to socialize and talk about family challenges while toddlers play.

The Parent Resource Coordinator will present a new parenting theme each week and invite parents to browse the extensive Parent Resource Library.  Toddlers will enjoy free play and art exploration.  Each session will include a seasonal circle with songs, yoga and finger-plays, followed by a shared snack.

“Outstanding Ones” for children under two, will meet Tuesdays from Feb. 7 to April 4.  The group gathers from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and the program costs $45 for Tri-Town residents.

“Terrific Twos” for children 24-36 months, will meet Wednesdays from Feb. 8 to April 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and costs $60 for Tri-Town residents.  Call 860-526-3600 to reserve your spot or register and pay securely online at

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex.  They coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.

Discover more programs and information for families at


Literacy Volunteers Seeks Tutors, Registration Open Now for Next Training Program

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS), CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization.  Its mission is to train tutors to help residents of the Valley Shore area who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills.  This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a 14-hour program conducted over seven sessions held each spring and again in the fall of every year.  The next training session begins March 23 and runs through May 9. Literacy Volunteers Workshop Leaders have developed a comprehensive program that provides prospective tutors the skills and resources to help them succeed. A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to helping a student improve their skill in basic literacy or English as a Second Language over the period of one year after the completion of training.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, contact the LVVS office in the basement of Westbrook’s Public Library by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at . Literacy Volunteers are registering for the spring session now and the deadline for applications is March 2, but only a few more slots are available.


Old Saybrook ‘Sister March’ Draws Almost 1,000 Peaceful Protesters

Baby’s first march — we suspect not Grandma’s!

AREAWIDE — The march may only have been registered late last week, but almost 1,000 people still turned out Saturday morning in Old Saybrook to join the movement that inspired around three million people across the globe to publicly express their opinions on the rights of women and other minority groups, and in many ways on the new Trump presidency as a whole.

More than 500 people had gathered by 10 a.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green unsure whether they were just going to simply stand in front of the Town Hall or whether they were actually going to march.

They came from towns all along the shoreline — Guilford, Clinton, Old Lyme, Lyme, East Lyme, and Old Saybrook were all mentioned — and they spanned in age from a few months to others well into their 80s and many wore what had become the signature pink “Pussy Hats.” Many people brought signs ranging from hand-written words painted on pieces of cardboard to an elaborately embroidered banner bearing the words “Not My President.”

Others like Alison Mitchell of Old Lyme fearlessly sat in her wheelchair strongly and stoically making her point.

Around 10:30 a.m., it became apparent that a march was beginning going north up Main St. on the east side towards Boston Post Rd. then crossing over and returning to the Green going south on the west side.  By this time the crowd had swelled by several hundred more and as the demonstrators marched, more and more people joined.

Women were definitely in the majority but there were plenty of men marching too.  There were some chants, “Love Trumps Hate” was a popular one, and songs,”We Shall Overcome” rang out at one point, and overall, it was a cheerful, friendly occasion.  When the clouds cleared and the sun finally broke through on the return leg, marcher Rosemary Barclay of Old Lyme said with a chuckle, “It’s certainly not going to rain on our parade!”

From left to right, some Old Lyme marchers share a smile.

But once wasn’t enough for these intrepid marchers.  Almost as soon as they found themselves back at ‘The Kate,’ they started re-tracing their steps and ultimately completed a second loop. The Old Saybrook Police did a wonderful job stopping the patient traffic so that the marchers could cross Main Street whenever necessary.

By the time of the second circuit, the line of marchers was so long that it snaked down one side of Main St., across the road and then up the other side.  Passengers were getting out of cars to join the march, horns were being sounded regularly — and loudly — in support of the marchers and only one lone pick-up truck with “Trump’ flags was spotted.

At the end of it all, the marchers happily gathered in front of the Town Hall and in communion with all the other marchers across the nation and the world, observed a meaningful moment of silence before peacefully dispersing.

More signs …

… and another …

… and another …

… and another …

David Brown with coffee and a sign …

A previous presidential campaign slogan refocused …


The Latest on the Train: FRA Hosts Open House in Springfield, Mass., Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take your mind back to Aug. 31 when the FRA finally held a “public” meeting in Old Lyme — yes, it was public in that over 500 people attended but was any member of the public allowed to ask a single question?  No.  It is therefore significant that this opportunity is being presented — but in Springfield, Mass.?  The intention is clear — people from this area of Connecticut are not expected to attend. and the CT Trust are encouraging as many folk as possible to make the trek up to Springfield on the 25th so we can meet the FRA face-to-face, ask our questions, and expect answers.  We heartily support that call and urge as many readers as possible to attend.  We hear there is a possibility a bus may be chartered to go to Springfield — we’ll keep you posted on that.

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

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

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

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

File photo from

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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