June 30, 2016

Be an Adventurer! Share Your Ideas at First Meeting, July 5

estuary councilAREAWIDE – Estuary Council of Seniors Marshview Adventurers’ Group’s first meeting will be Tuesday, July 5, at 10:30 a.m. at the Estuary Council, 220 Main St., Old Saybrook.

Those of you who like to be active and busy have been asking the Estuary Council about starting a group for adventurers.

Do you bike, hike, kayak or walk the beach? The first meeting on July 5 will decide what the Estuary Council will be scheduling, what time of day, etc. Susan Graham will be the group leader. You may call her at 860-388-1611 ext. 208 for more information or visit the website at www.ecsenior.org. So it’s up to you to come to the meeting to meet Susan and talk about what outdoor group activities interest you.

 

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Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna Chastises Both Parties for Current Budget Mess 

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna. Photo from LinkedIn.com

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna. Photo from LinkedIn.com

In an exclusive interview with Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, Jr., on May 2, Fortuna, a Republican, castigated the leadership of both parties for putting the state of Connecticut, “into a budgetary mess.” Fortuna expressed particular alarm that the state’s budgetary shortfall will be over $1.5 billion, “and that’s for this year alone,” he stressed.

“That is $1.5 million,” Fortuna repeated.

Furthermore, Fortuna said that in the next two years, the state’s budgetary shortfall would reach over $4 billion. He commented that a contributing factor to the state budget’s shortfall is, “Retired civil servants are living longer and longer.”

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Essex Art Association’s Summer Open Show, Opens July 1

Golden-Iris-by-C-DunnESSEX – The third exhibition of the Essex Art Association 2016 season is an open show whose theme is “Inside Out.” The juror, Jon Sideriadis, is a member of the faculty at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme. A science fiction and fantasy illustrator and author, Sideriadis is currently writing and illustrating an original mythology series. $1700 will be awarded to exhibiting artists for their work in various media.

 Each season five EAA artists are selected by a juror to exhibit their work in the small “Exit Gallery.” The Exit Gallery artist during this exhibition is Carol Dunn, an award-winning printmaker, photographer and mixed media artist, specializing in alternative processes for creating artwork. She said, “I enjoy working with many non-traditional mediums. I continue to learn and experiment with new materials and techniques. I also like to combine many techniques into one piece, which often makes it difficult to explain to someone exactly how something was created.”

Dunn continued, “More than anything else in the creative process, I love the interplay of color and texture. I have spent countless hours photographing peeling paint and rusting metal. When I mix inks to begin printmaking, I often get sidetracked by marveling at the pigments on my palette, enjoying how the colors play off each other, wondering what will happen if I mix two unrelated colors into a blend with my brayer. Sometimes I think I could just mix colors forever and never begin the actual application of the color to plate or paper. When working with collage, I have difficulty eliminating items, because I find such beauty in the smallest scraps of handmade paper, or an old ledger filled with beautifully drawn numbers, letters, and script.”

Dunn’s techniques include Mixed Media, Photopolymer Etchings, Overprinted Collages, Acrylic Skins, Printing on Handmade Papers, Collagraphs, Prints on Aluminum, Polaroid Emulsion Lifts and Transfers, Linocuts and Monotypes. She said, “I have a large studio full of natural light, where I enjoy teaching others many of my techniques for art making. I hope you enjoy my work. You can contact me or find out more about my classes, and see more of my work, through my website: www.caroldunnart.com.“

The “Inside Out” exhibition opening reception will be held Friday, July 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. Both exhibits are open at no charge to the public from July 2 to July 23 at the Essex Art Association Gallery located in the sunny yellow building in the center of Essex at 10 North Main Street. Gallery hours are 1-5 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays. For more information, call 860-767-8996.
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Maple and Main Gallery Artists Paint Chester Scenes for First Friday Show, July 1

Dan Nichols paints a Chester scene

Dan Nichols paints a Chester scene

“Downtown Chester,” a show of original paintings done by Maple and Main Gallery artists depicting the center of Chester, will be at the gallery Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 3.

An opening party will be July 1 from 5 to 8 p.m. to help kick off the debut of First Fridays in Chester. Other galleries and shops in Chester Center will also be having special events during the First Friday of July.

The paintings in the Downtown Chester show were mainly done during June, a number of them from the gallery porch, in the street during the Chester Sunday Market and along the sidewalks.

The show will open Friday at noon until 8 p.m., and will remain open Saturday, July 2 from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Maple and Main is at One Maple Street in Chester. For more information, go to mapleandmaingallery.com or call 860-526-6065. Hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.

Donna Dubreuil Favreau, "Chester's Farmers Market"

Donna Dubreuil Favreau, “Chester’s Farmers Market”

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Marshview Gallery Features Diane Aldi DePaola in July

AOM 07 2016 DePaolo

Oil by Diane Aldi DePaola

OLD SAYBROOK – The July artist of the month at Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors will be Diane Aldi DePaola.

Diane retired from a career as a psychiatric nurse.  She joined the board of the Tracy Art Center, an art center in Old Saybrook, which encouraged her to begin drawing and painting. She has studied with Nancy Tracy, Bernie McTigue, Noel Belton and Leif Nilsson.

Diane enjoys painting with oil best… its smell, its thick texture, the way it covers the canvas like frosting on a cake.  To get that “certain effect,” she has been known to use Q-tips, rags and even kitchen utensils. Painting has taught her to see differently than before…. color, light, nature. Painting challenges her assumptions about the color of things in life: the grass is not always green, the sky is often not blue.

Diane hopes her paintings will bring the same joy and fun to those who see them. View or purchase her paintings on-line at dianedepaola.com or contact her at 860-388-6353.

A reception to meet Diane will be held Friday, July 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend to meet the artist. Refreshments will be provided. The Estuary Council is at 220 Main St., Old Saybrook. More information at 860-388-1611.

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Arts Festival to Honor Adam Haut in Deep River

all things artsy poster

DEEP RIVER – An Arts Festival, called “All Things Artsy,” will be held to honor the life of Adam Haut on Sunday, May 1, from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the courtyard of the Deep River Congregational Church on Main Street in Deep River.

Photographers, painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, carvers, ceramic, glass, mixed media, poets, sewers, knitters, quilters, etc. are asked to submit a favorite piece of artwork to display or sell. The theme is “Animals, Nature, Love!”  All proceeds will be donated to Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc. in honor of Adam, who died Aug. 28, 2015.

Contact Sybil Higgins (christianed.drcc@snet.net or 860-526-5045) for more details.

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Award-winning D.B. Rielly Performs at Concert in Garden, June 30

D.B. Rielly

Photo courtesy of D.B. Rielly

CHESTER – Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery presents the next Concert in the Garden on Thursday, June 30, from 7 to 9 p.m.

D.B. Rielly is an award-winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who, along with his band, performs a wide-ranging collection of Americana music, including Roots, Zydeco, Blues, and Alt-Country. WMLB in Atlanta calls him “one of the best songwriters you’ve never heard of” and Country Music People Magazine says he is “rootsy, frequently very funny, witty and cynical, literate and highly enjoyable. Rielly is definitely someone to watch out for.” D.B. promises his listeners an “instantaneous cure for all afflictions.”

 Check out D.B.’s videos, they are amazing! http://www.youtube.com/dbrielly<.

A $20 donation at the door is requested. Feel free to BYOB and picnic and enjoy the outdoor bistro style seating in the amphitheater (inside the gallery if inclement weather).Gates open a half hour before the show. First come first seated. Sorry, no pets allowed.  For more information, call (860) 526-2077 or visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com. The studio is at 1 Spring Street, in the heart of Chester Center.
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Renowned Jazz Musician Ronny Whyte Performs in Centerbrook April 30

Ronny Whyte_208_rtch
IVORYTON –
World-renowned jazz musician Ronny Whyte will be performing a benefit concert for the Ivoryton Players on Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Meeting House in Centerbrook. Mr. Whyte will perform an evening of songs from “The Great American Songbook,” including works by Gershwin, Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Ronny Whyte is not only considered a premier interpreter of classic American popular song, he is also an outstanding jazz pianist and an award-winning songwriter. He has been featured on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR and his lyric “Forget the Woman” was recorded by Tony Bennett. He produces and hosts “Midtown Jazz at Midday” in St. Peter’s in Manhattan and was inducted into the Cabaret Jazz Hall of Fame.

Whitney Balliett wrote in the New Yorker: “Whyte (handsome, dapper, easygoing) is a first class cabaret singer. His diction sparkles…his songs ring and float and shine.”

Ronny Whyte will be accompanied by bassist Boots Maleson. There will be a special guest appearance by Deborah Mott. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling 860-767-7318 or can be purchased at the door (seating is limited). A reception will follow the performance.

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Essex Resident Antonio C. Robaina Honored by Connecticut Bar Association

From left to right: CBA President, William H. Clendenen, Jr.; the Honorable Antonio C. Robaina, recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award; CBA Vice President, Karen DeMeola; and CBA President-elect, Monte E. Frank.

From left to right: CBA President, William H. Clendenen, Jr.; the Honorable Antonio C. Robaina, recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award; CBA Vice President, Karen DeMeola; and CBA President-elect, Monte E. Frank.

ESSEX – The Honorable Antonio C. Robaina was recently presented with the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award at the Connecticut Bar Association’s annual awards celebration, “Celebrate with the Stars,” in New Britain. Judge Robaina was selected based on nominations submitted to the CBA Awards Committee.

Judge Robaina was appointed to the Superior Court in 1998 and is currently assigned to the Hartford Judicial District as the presiding civil judge. From 2005 to 2010, he was the administrative judge in the Windham Judicial District; previously, Judge Robaina served as the presiding judge for civil matters in the New Haven Judicial District, as well as the assistant administrative judge. In 2002, Judge Robaina was the presiding judge for family matters in the Hartford Judicial District. He is one of the few judges who have served in a presiding role in civil, criminal, and family, and has served in judicial districts throughout the state as a trial judge in those same areas.

From 1979 to 1998, Judge Robaina was engaged in general practice in New Haven, which included plaintiff’s personal injury, insurance defense, criminal defense, immigration law, and family matters. He currently serves as a member of the adjunct faculty at Quinnipiac University.

Judge Robaina was one of the original founders and a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association and has served as the chairman of the Diversity Award Committee for the Lawyer’s Collaborative for Diversity. He has been a member of the Rules Committee of the judges of the superior court, and a number of other committees for the Judicial Branch and various bar organizations.

Judge Robaina has dedicated much of his time as a mediator in a variety of capacities. He has participated in the externship programs at both the University of Connecticut School of Law and Quinnipiac University Law School, has mentored law school students through the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association Mentoring Program, and  has mentored other  judges in  the Judicial Branch mentoring program. Judge Robaina has served as the co-chair of a bench/bar committee with respect to medical malpractice cases as well as the co-chair of the CBA Task Force for the Study of a Mentoring Program, which explored the establishment of a mandatory mentoring program for new lawyers in the state of Connecticut.

“Celebrate with the Stars” is dedicated to recognizing Connecticut’s top judges, lawyers and professionals who make a difference through their work by demonstrating allegiance, dedication, conscientious service, commitment and mentorship.

The recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award must meet the following criteria: he or she be a member of the Connecticut Judiciary, federal or state court, who has integrity and epitomizes long-term, dedicated, and conscientious service to the community in his or her judicial role; must be a hard-working judge who labors long in his or her duties; and who is selfless in his or her approach to the demands of the judge position.

Henry J. Naruk (1928-1991) of Middletown was the 60th president of the CBA. Under his presidency, the CBA successfully ran a then-record number of continuing legal education seminars that had been attended by approximately 5,300 Connecticut attorneys. Also under his astute leadership, the CBA created the Women and the Law Section in 1983.

 

From left to right: CBA President, William H. Clendenen, Jr.; the Honorable Antonio C. Robaina, recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award; CBA Vice President, Karen DeMeola; and CBA President-elect, Monte E. Frank.

 

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Lyme Art Association Hosts Opening Reception This Evening for Two New Shows

Del-Bouree Bach's 'The Good Life' is one of the signature paintings of the 2016 Elected Artist's Exhibition.

Del-Bouree Bach’s ‘The Good Life’ is one of the signature paintings of the 2016 Elected Artist’s Exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents the annual showcase of the best new works of art by Elected Artists Members. These artists are professionals of note and significance whose works are known, collected, and exhibited throughout the country, as well as along the Shoreline. The LAA hosts an opening reception for this show and Body Language, displaying artwork based on the human figure in all its forms, on Friday, April 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. All are welcome and admission is free — come and meet the artists, enjoy the music and celebrate fine art.

The 95th Annual Elected Artist Exhibition and Body Language are both on view through June 3, 2016.

Also on view in The Art Market is an unjuried show featuring an entirely new collection of affordable smaller works. All artwork on display is for sale.

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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Trump Carries Three Local Towns in GOP Presidential Primary, Democrats Split

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton

AREAWIDE — Businessman Donald Trump carried Chester, Deep River and Essex as he rolled to a sweeping victory Tuesday in the state presidential primary, while Hillary Clinton carried Essex and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders took Chester and Deep River in the Democratic vote.

Clinton, who won the statewide vote, led Sanders in Essex 513-458, with 13 voting uncommitted. In Deep River, Sanders led 339-242, with 6 uncommitted. In Chester, Sanders led  361-277, with 7 uncommitted.

In  the Republican contest, Trump took Essex with 407 votes, with Ohio Governor John Kasich polling 297 votes. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 73 votes, with 10 uncommitted. In Deep River, Trump led Kasich 173-94, with  29 votes for Cruz and 4 uncommitted. In Chester, Trump led Kasich 133-103, with 27 votes for Cruz and 3 uncommitted.
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Middlesex Community Foundation Honors Ivoryton Playhouse, Broadway Actor

Photo by Donna Bowden

Students “high-five” the cast of “Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical” at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Photo by Donna Bowden

IVORYTON – The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) recently presented the Bully-Free Communities Spotlight Award to the Ivoryton Playhouse and to Broadway actor Douglas Lyons for their work in creating and presenting educational productions that foster positive, healthy behaviors and attitudes among young people.

The recipients were recognized at the April 11 world premiere of “Polkadots:The Cool Kids Musical,” which was co-conceived and written by Lyons and performed at the Playhouse for over 1400 elementary school students from Clinton, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Middletown and Portland, in addition to the general public. The CFMC Council of Business Partners Fund, a donor advised fund started in 2009 by a group of local business owners in support of school-based anti-bullying initiatives, in partnership with other organizations, provided financial support for the production and, when necessary, bus transportation for the school systems.

Two years ago, CFMC and its Council of Business Partners launched the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, calling upon students, educators, civic leaders, businesses, community organizations, neighbors and friends to stand together for change and to make all of Middlesex County a bully-free zone. The Ivoryton Playhouse responded with enthusiasm and energy, first staging the premiere of the Off Broadway musical “The Bully” in April 2015, and then making the decision to bring the Douglas Lyons’ original work and universal message of respect and acceptance to elementary school children this year.

“Polkadots” tells the story of Lily Polkadot and her journey to acceptance with the help of her new friend Sky Square in the “Squares Only” town of Rockaway. At the opening night pre-show reception, which took place at Six Summit Gallery in Ivoryton, Mr. Lyons and his creative team spoke about how the events of the Little Rock Nine in 1957 served as the inspiration for the show. Prior to the school performances, a curriculum guide, developed by Rushford, a Hartford HealthCare Partner, was provided for teachers to talk about topics in the musical before the students saw it. Additional financial support for the production was provided by Marc Blakeman, The Bauman Family Foundation, The Essex Community Fund, and The Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

“The Ivoryton Playhouse’s commitment to educational, children’s productions that celebrate our differences and promote positive behavior is spotlight worthy. They truly understand the power of partnership and giving voice to valuable life lessons,” said CFMC CEO and President Cynthia Clegg. “We are thrilled that they opened the door for ‘Polkadots’ to have its world premiere here in Middlesex County, and for introducing all of us to the vision and great talent of Doug Lyons and his creative team.”

The Ivoryton Playhouse  and Doug Lyons were awarded the Spotlight Award specifically for taking to heart the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities initiative of encouraging everyone to be an UPstander, not a bystander; and for their demonstrated commitment to being “Agents of Change” and ensuring that community youth have the support they need to grow and develop in a healthy and safe environment. For more information on the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, go to bullyfreemiddlesexcountycf.org or call 860-347-0025.

 

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Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13’s Newest Eagle Scout

Ben Toles Eagle336

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Benjamin James Toles with one of the staircases built at Sachem Village Camp Hazen YMCA. Photo by Lianne Rutty

CHESTER – Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America congratulates Benjamin James Toles of Chester for earning the rank of Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for Toles on Sunday, March 20, at the Chester Meeting House.

To become an Eagle Scout, Toles earned 38 merit badges and advanced through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to Troop 13 and service to his community.

One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the boy’s community, school or religious institution.  Toles used leadership skills he learned by attending summer camp with Troop 13, participating in the Troop 13 Philmont Trek in 2014 , attending the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree and successfully completing the Boy Scouts National Youth Leadership Training.

Toles’s Eagle Scout Service project involved developing and implementing a plan to demo eleven sets of non-compliant aged wooden stairways on cabins in and around the Sachem Village portion on the grounds of Camp Hazen YMCA and replace them with new treated wood, code-compliant steps, platform and railings.

Completing this project entailed working with various private groups, securing donations for supplies, and designing and overseeing volunteers through the demolition, construction and installation period. The completed project improved the safety of the venue while maintaining its rustic appearance. This project is a benefit to all the visitors, schools and youth groups that utilize the facilities of Camp Hazen in Chester.

Toles is a senior at Valley Regional High School and a member of the men’s cross country and the men’s track and field team. He plans to attend the University of Rhode Island in the fall.

About Troop 13 – BSA: Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead. The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun. To learn more information about joining Troop 13, contact Scoutmaster Steven Merola at 860-526-9262.

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Despite Significant Increase in State Taxes for Middlesex Hospital, Steps Taken to Ensure Patient Care Not Adversely Affected

Front view of Middlesex Hospital's Shoreline Medical Center at Westbrook.

Middlesex Hospital’s recently opened Shoreline Medical Center at Westbrook.

The question of increased taxes due by Connecticut hospitals to the state has been much in the news recently. ValleyNewsNow.com therefore asked Peg Arico, Director of Public Rations and Communications at Middlesex Hospital (which also operates the Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook) to comment on the impact to the hospital of these tax increases along with cuts in state aid.

She responded, “As a result of the increases in hospital taxes approved by the governor and the state legislature for fiscal year 2016, Middlesex Hospital will pay the state approximately $21 million this year in taxes, compared to $14 million in 2015.” Arico continued, “As part of this tax process, this year’s state budget provided for supplemental payments to Middlesex Hospital of about $6 million. The governor cut these payments to zero back in September. However, recently the state legislature voted to reinstate about half of his funding.”

“Despite the negative impact of all of these changes,” Arico noted, “the hospital has managed to maintain a positive operating gain so far this year, but its operating performance has declined significantly. Hospitals throughout the state are experiencing similar financial issues, due to the enormous increase in hospital taxes imposed by the state.” She continued, “Even before the recent increase in taxes by the state, Middlesex Hospital, for the past several years, has been proactive in its fiscal management and has been implementing various measures to improve the efficiency its operations.  Providing high quality and safe patient care to the community is the Hospital’s primary mission. In developing strategies to address the impact of these increased state taxes, Middlesex Hospital has taken careful and deliberate steps to ensure that patient care will not be negatively affected.”

Arico concluded, “In essence, Middlesex Hospital, like hospitals throughout the state, is ‘doing more with less.’ However, Middlesex is now quickly approaching a “tipping point.” At the current time, all Connecticut hospitals have fewer resources available to invest in the future. If the state imposes additional tax increases on hospitals, the impact on Middlesex Hospital’s finances will become increasingly challenged, and will likely necessitate more drastic cost-cutting measures.”

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Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. Takes Office as Interim First Selectman for Deep River

A new Interim First Selectman for Deep River was sworn in April 21.

A new Interim First Selectman for Deep River was sworn in April 21.

DEEP RIVER — Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. was sworn into office as interim first selectman Thursday after he and Republican Selectman David Olveria voted for his appointment to serve the remainder of the unexpired term of the late Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith.

McDonald, 58, becomes the town’s first new first selectman since November 1989, when Smith was first elected for what would become more than 13 two-year terms in the top job.  McDonald will serve the remainder of the unexpired term ending on Nov. 22, 2017.
The two remaining selectmen had 30 days from Smith’s unexpected death on March 25 to appoint a successor, a period that was expected to expire Monday.  McDonald and Oliveria had discussed the appointment in two closed session special meetings held on April 7 and April 18.

Oliveria, in making a motion to appoint McDonald, said, “We have considered all options in front of us and feel that this is the right choice for Deep River at this time.”  McDonald said he looks forward to working in the best interests of the town over the next 20 months.  “It’s an honor to be in this position and to be asked to do it,” he said, adding that he and Oliveria’s agreement on the appointment is, “A good example of how a small town can pull together.”

The co-owner of an Old Saybrook-based engineering firm, McDonald moved to Deep River in 2005 after living previously in Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  He was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for first selectman of Westbrook in 1999, and served on the Westbrook Board of Selectmen.  McDonald was first elected to the Deep River Board of Selectmen as Smith’s running-mate in 2011.  He is married to Andrea Isaacs, and the couple own the Lace Factory building near the town’s riverfront landing.

Minutes after the appointment vote, McDonald received the oath of office from Town Clerk Amy Winchell.  McDonald’s appointment creates a new vacancy ion the board of selectmen, an opening that McDonald and Oliveria now have 30 days, or until about May 20, to fill by appointment.

McDonald said any resident interested in serving as selectman through November 2017 should send a letter of intent and qualifications to his office as soon as possible. McDonald said the interim selectman does not have to be a Democrat, with Oliveria saying qualifications and “a cooperative board” would be factors in the appointment decision.

The interim appointments could be forced to special elections with petitions signed by five percent of the town’s total voter registration, or about 158 signatures.  Petitions must be filed within 15 days of an appointment.
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Kyle Carey in Concert with “Gaelic Americana” at The Kate

kyle-promo-3

OLD SAYROOK – The Katharine Hepburn Theatre presents Kyle Carey in concert on Thursday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m.

The ingredients of Kyle Carey’s music include the songs of the American Folk Anthology, the Appalachian poetry of Louise McNeill, and the traditional music of Ireland, Cape Breton and Scotland. The results are well described by Jeremy Searle of R2 Magazine: “Kyle Carey is, quite simply, a delight. Drawing from both the American and British folk traditions, her songs, including some very fine originals, are beautifully crafted and performed. She’s assured, confident, charming and irresistible.”

Kyle’s debut album Monongah, produced by former Lùnasa guitarist Donogh Hennessy, rose to number eight on the Folk DJ charts, landing on a number of “Best of 2011”lists by year’s end. Her original songs draw heavily from the American folk tradition, while her fluency in Scottish Gaelic makes for her own brand of “Gaelic Americana” music.

Kyle’s sophomore release North Star recorded in Scotland and produced by Solas founding member Seamus Egan was released in the fall of 2014 to widespread critical acclaim, charting at #45 in the top 200 CDs of 2014 compiled by Folk DJs nationwide.

Having toured for five years on both sides of the Atlantic, Kyle Carey is a unique and innovative artist not to be missed. Doors open at 7 and the show begins at 7:30. Tickets are $20 to the general public and can be reserved by calling 877-503-1286 or by visiting www.katharinehepburntheatre.org. The theater is at 300 Main St., Old Saybrook. More information: www.kyleannecarey.com and www.katharinehepburntheatre.org.

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Essex Savings Bank Announces 2016 Community Investment Balloting Results

essex savings bank
ESSEX
 – Results from Essex Savings Bank’s customers recent voting in the Bank’s Community Investment Program were announced at a meeting of employees, directors and trustees at the Bank’s Plains Road Office on April 12. According to Thomas Lindner, Vice President and Community Relations Officer for Essex Savings Bank, 7,206 votes were cast this year for a total of $33,001.

The non-profits that received the top 10 number of votes were in attendance for special recognition. They are, in order: Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Forgotten Felines, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Valley Shore Animal Welfare League, Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Bikes for Kids, Dog Days Adoption Events, Essex Fire Engine Company Number 1, Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM) and Pet Connections.  See full results here.

The customer balloting portion of Essex Savings Bank’s 2016 Community Investment Program began on Feb. 1 and concluded on Feb. 29. The program entitled the bank’s customers to select up to three charities from this year’s list of 80 qualified non-profit organizations. Fund allocations are awarded based on the results of these votes.

Gregory R. Shook, President and Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank, said, “As we celebrate our 165th year of operation, we are proud to share in our success by giving back. Our Community Investment Program is designed to provide vital financial support to those organizations that enhance the quality of life in our communities.”

Each year the bank donates up to 10 percent of its net income to non-profit organizations within the immediate market area consisting of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Since the program’s inception in 1996, the bank has donated over $4 million to well over 200 organizations. This year, the bank has allocated $110,000 to assisting non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to our community and one third of that amount is then voted upon by the bank’s customers.

Editor’s note: Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.

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Essex Zoning Commission Approves Centerbrook Cumberland Farms Rebuild, Expansion

ESSEX — The zoning commission has approved a special permit for a demolition/rebuild and expansion of the Cumberland Farms store in Centerbrook section. The permit was approved on a unanimous vote Monday night after the panel closed a three session public heating on the project.

The permit will allow a 4,250 square-foot store that would double the size of the existing building, along with a third gasoline pumping station. The new building would also have public restrooms, a first for the Centerbrook section.

The project had drawn opposition from some residents over the three public hearings, with most objections focused on the size of the canopy over the six gasoline fueling stations. Some residents questioned the need for a third pump, though attorney Joseph Williams, representing Cumberland Farms, said the company would not pursue the expansion and improvement project without a third gasoline pump.

The commission imposed several conditions on the permit approval, setting the length of the canopy at 74 feet, and requiring a fire suppression system as part of the structure. The panel required a 24-foot distance between fueling stations, while also calling for the pumps to be set at an angle unless engineers for the applicant convince town engineers that this would interfere with traffic flow on the property. The panel also required two additional parking spaces, raising the total number of designated spaces to 24, with an area for eight reserve parking spaces to be designated on the site plan.

Another key condition requires the applicant to present a more detailed drawing of the south sight line along Westbrook Rd. (Rte. 153), particularly the abutting residential property on Westbrook Rd. that is owned by Town Clerk Joel Marzi. Marzi had asked for more information on the sight lines at Monday’s session, with commission member Alvin Wolfgram noting the issue is important because Marzi has the right to erect a fence on his property that could block sight line for motorists exiting on to Westbrook Rd.

The commission has continued a separate public hearing on site plan approval for a 52-unit apartment complex on Plains Rd. to a special meeting scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in town hall. The multi-family housing development would be located on a 3.7-acre parcel that would be created by combining parcels at 21, 27, and 29 Plains Rd., including the site of the long vacant former Iron Chef restaurant property. The apartments would be constructed in three separate buildings, with 16 units designated as affordable housing under a state law intended to encourage development of more affordable housing in Connecticut.

The plans for the Essex Station Luxury Apartments were first presented at a Feb. 22 public hearing that has been continued two times, on March 21 and Monday. Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said the panel intends to close the public hearing Monday, and would then have 65 days, or until late June, to vote on the site plan approval.

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Essex Republican Town Committee Endorses Linares and Siegrist

ESSEX – At its monthly meeting, the Essex Republican Town Committee  (ERTC) endorsed candidates for the upcoming  election in November.

State Senator Art Linares, the incumbent from Connecticut’s 33rd Senate District, and Bob Siegrist, the challenger  in Connecticut’s 36th House District, received unanimous endorsements from the committee.

“These candidates bring fresh and unique perspectives that are essential when addressing the current budget crisis in Connecticut,” said ERTC Chairman Bruce MacMillian. “We have an opportunity to elect a legislature that addresses the budget, jobs and unfunded mandates – the issues that hit home with everyone.”

 

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Chester Resident Adams Signs to Play Baseball at Mitchell College in Fall

Buzz Adams signs his Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College

Buzz Adams signs his Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College

CHESTER — Buzz Adams, a senior at Plainville High School, whose family recently moved to Chester, has signed a Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College in the fall.

Congratulations, Buzz!

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Deep River Housing Authority Breaks Ground for Addition to Kirtland Commons Affordable Housing

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony at Kirtland Commons last Friday were (from left to right) Karl Kilduff, Executive Director, CHFA (CT Housing Finance Authority), Helen Muniz, Community Development Specialist, State of Connecticut Department of Housing, Joann Hourigan, Executive Director, Deep River Housing Authority, Jim LaRosa , Chief Operating Officer, LaRosa Building Group, Chris Widmer, Architect, Mazie Dennison, Tenant Commissioner, DRHA, and Dave Oliveria, Selectman, Town of Deep River.

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony at Kirtland Commons last Friday were (from left to right) Karl Kilduff, Executive Director, CHFA (CT Housing Finance Authority), Helen Muniz, Community Development Specialist, State of Connecticut Department of Housing, Joann Hourigan, Executive Director, Deep River Housing Authority, Jim LaRosa , Chief Operating Officer, LaRosa Building Group, Chris Widmer, Architect, Mazie Dennison, Tenant Commissioner, DRHA, and Dave Oliveria, Selectman, Town of Deep River.

Deep River Housing Authority breaks ground for an 18 unit addition to Kirtland Commons, its Elderly/Disabled affordable housing facility. The project also includes rehab to the existing 26 units.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Housing Authority (DRHA) hosted a ground-breaking ceremony Friday at its elderly/disabled income-based housing facility, Kirtland Commons, located at 60 Main St. in Deep River.  The current facility has been providing housing for the past 23 years and currently has 26 one-bedroom apartment units that are available to seniors aged 62 and over, as well as disabled individuals.

The new addition will provide an additional 18 one-bedroom units.  The project is made possible through a $3.2 million dollar grant and $1 million dollar recoverable grant from the State of Connecticut, Department of Housing (DOH.)  In addition to the new units, the existing units will be rehabbed including new doors, windows and heating conversion to natural gas. 

Joann Hourigan, Executive Director of DRHA, will oversee the project with the assistance of Dale Kroop, Consultant and the DRHA Board of Directors.  La Rosa Building Group LLC, headquartered in Meriden, is the general contractor and Chris Widmer of Guilford, Conn., is the Principal Architect.  The project is scheduled for completion in the early spring of 2017.

“Until there is a need, people generally don’t understand that the availability of affordable housing is limited.  I receive calls every week for people who can no longer afford to maintain their homes on their limited income.  They are surprised to learn that submitting an application places them on a waiting list with recent wait times of two years or longer,” said Hourigan. 

She continued, “The new units will increase our ability to provide much needed housing as well as help the DRHA spread its operating expenses over a broader base.  Without this expansion, we were not on a sustainable course.  The process to obtain funding has been long and difficult.  We have been seeking funding for about five years and the Champ V grant was awarded in 2014.  We are so excited to finally break ground.”

Helen Muniz, DOH, stated that the grants represent the State of Connecticut’s commitment to expand the availability of affordable housing.  In a press release in January of this year, Governor Malloy stated, “Housing is key to economic growth, and that’s why we’re taking steps like never before.  We’ve done more on housing in the past few years than we’ve done in the past few decades, and in 2015, we continued to make significant stridesEvery resident of Connecticut should have access to quality, safe, and affordable housing,”

While the grants provide the majority of funding for this project, there are additional projects and funding needs.  Last December, DRHA kicked off a “Buy a Brick” fundraising campaign.  Commemorative bricks are available for $50 and $100 and will be placed in an outdoor sitting area in front of the building.  Forms for buying bricks will be made available at several events throughout the year, and can also be obtained by contacting Hourigan directly at (860) 526-5119.

Kirtland Commons is owned and operated by the DRHA and reports to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA).  DRHA consists of the Executive Director; a four member volunteer board appointed by the Deep River First Selectman; and a Resident Commissioner (who resides at Kirtland Commons and acts as a resident representative).  The board is committed to providing high quality, well maintained affordable housing and promoting a welcoming, family atmosphere.

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“Clouds & Shadows” Exhibition on View at Essex Art Association Through June 25

Judy plein air painting in Chester

Dianne Gorrick plein air painting in Chester

ESSEX – The Essex Art Association will continue its 2016 season with the Elected Artists Member Show, which is on view through June 25. Juror, Judy Atlas, is an exhibiting member of City Gallery in New Haven and teaches art classes at Creative Arts Workshop, also in New Haven. A total of $1900 in award money will be given to exhibiting artists for their work in various media.

Each season five EAA artists are selected by a juror to exhibit their work in the small “Exit Gallery.” The Exit Gallery artist during this exhibition is plein air painter Dianne Gorrick, who creates vibrant works of art depicting the beauty of the natural world. Although she selects peaceful subjects, her paintings are invigorated by bright colors and impasto painting.

Gorrick explains that the thick application of paint gives the paintings “a three-dimensional quality,” which enhances the sense of depth within her compositions. Concerning her technique, she writes, “I would say my style is Romanticized Realism. I want the viewer to be drawn into the scene and to enjoy looking at the painting.”

Gorrick’s paintings display skill and knowledge, which she acquired from years of study and exploration. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a master’s in Studio Art from Wesleyan University, she continued her education in painting at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, Dartmouth College and the Scottsdale Artist School with the Plein Air Painters of America.

Her artwork has been exhibited throughout the state of Connecticut, earning numerous awards and grants over the years. She is the recipient of two National Endowment Fellowships; a research grant concerning the Hudson River School of Painters and a fellowship to attend Dartmouth College, where she studied the art and culture of New England. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Wadsworth Athenaeum, the New Britain Museum, the Slater Museum, and the Ward-Nasse Gallery in NYC.

She is an Elected Artist of the Essex Art Association and the Mystic Art Center. Currently, she teaches painting and drawing at the Glastonbury Art Guild. Gorrick had a long and rewarding career as an art educator in the public school system at Bacon Academy, where she also served as department head.

The Essex Art Association Gallery is located in the sunny yellow building in the center of Essex at 10 North Main Street. Gallery hours are 1-5 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays. For more information, call 860-767-8996.

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Eric Fresia to Perform Concert in the Garden, June 16

Eric Fresia

CHESTER – The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery at One Spring Street in Chester, presents the next  Concert in the Garden on Thursday, June 16, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Nova Scotia Singer Songwriter Eric Fresia will perform.

Eric Fresia’s eighth album is a stripped-down honest portrayal of his 30 years as a singer songwriter. The album was inspired by a six-month journey in 2015 from London to Morocco, and time spent living in Provence, Barcelona and Andalusia. There are echoes of North African blues and Moroccan rhythms throughout. Eric’s new album is a songbook filled with stories from the road. After years of trying different bands from a four-piece roots/rock band to an eight-piece world music ensemble, and ten years of touring as a trio with two of his children, he is performing these new songs solo, just the way they were written, with one mic, one voice and one guitar. The new album will be released at the 8th Beckwith Bash music festival Aug. 20, 2016 in the Fresias’ backyard. More information at http://ericfresia.com/.

A $20 donation at the door is requested. Feel free to BYOB and picnic and enjoy the outdoor bistro style seating in the amphitheater (inside the gallery if inclement weather).

Gates open a half hour before the show. First come first seated. Sorry, no pets allowed.
For more information, call (860) 526-2077 or visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com.

 

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Op-Ed: Carney Says Proposed State Education Budget Cuts Will Seriously Impact 23rd District

State Rep. Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney

Does Governor Malloy have a problem with communities that succeed? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Year after year, the schools of the 23rd District work diligently to provide quality education to our youth. Our teachers and administrators add to the success of our state by instilling the proper foundation to produce the industrial, business, and community leaders of tomorrow. Many of our best and the brightest students chose to continue their education in Connecticut – something of which the governor should be incredibly proud. Just last year the valedictorians from Region 18 (Lyme and Old Lyme) and Westbrook as well as the salutatorian from Old Saybrook chose UConn.

We have seen two budget proposals over the past two weeks that would do damage to the schools in the 23rd District. The Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee released an incomplete budget that would cut Education Cost Sharing (“ECS”) funding to the towns in our district by 33 – 56%. This was bad enough. But, under the governor’s updated proposal, the four towns in the 23rd went from receiving a recommended amount of $1,831,496 in ECS funding to $0 for FY 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017). A total of 28 towns were zeroed-out, while many cities, like the governor’s hometown of Stamford, were held harmless. Talk about a shared sacrifice.

These proposed cuts – made at a time when most local Boards of Finance are crafting their own fiscal year budgets – are unfair. The clear lack of respect and care on the governor’s part is alarming. All four towns in the 23rd District will now have funding gaps and may require local property tax increases to offset them. This would add an even greater burden to Connecticut’s taxpayers and Connecticut simply cannot afford to lose additional wealth at this time. However, that’s where these indirect tax hikes would be directed – all 28 communities being zeroed-out are considered ‘wealthy’.

Although these cuts are debilitating to small towns like ours – which already receive far less back from the state than we put in – we must keep in mind that this is only a proposal.

I remain committed to finding a solution with other members of the legislature to address this inequitable cut to our towns and to solving our $930 million deficit. The state wants people to move to Connecticut and one of our best selling points is our top-tier education. While we are faced with many serious and pressing economic issues, predominantly the ongoing budget crisis, great public education is one area on which we can pride ourselves.

I have written a letter to the governor urging him not to turn his back on the children and the taxpayers of the 23rd District and to request that he amend his updated budget and eliminate these cuts. The taxpayers of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook provide a great deal to this state and the deficits would be much, much higher without us. If either the legislature’s or the governor’s cuts are enacted, then it would be only fair that some of the approximately 380 unfunded state educational mandates be eliminated.

Instead of education, the governor and the legislature must look to balance the budget through real structural changes in the way state government is run. Changes could include pension and benefit reform, re-negotiating of union contracts, a moratorium on unnecessary government projects, serious spending and bonding caps, and tighter controls on overtime. When I last checked, many don’t live in Connecticut for bloated government overtime, but they do for our great schools. In fact, it may just be the only thing keeping them here.

To read my letter to Governor Malloy: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the Appropriations budget: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the governor’s budget: click here

To read the governor’s budget proposal: click here

To see the approximately 380 unfunded educational mandates: click here

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“Invaders” Exhibit Now Open at CT River Museum

InvadersExhibit2016.Sponsors a

Sponsors of the exhibit gathered for a sneak peek prior to the Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water exhibit opening at the Connecticut River Museum. From left to right are: John Lombardo, Stephen and Viola Tagliatela from Saybrook Point Inn and Spa; Thayer Talbot from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Representative Phil Miller; Cynthia Clegg from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Joanne Masin and Christopher Dobbs from the Connecticut River Museum; Brenda Kestenbaum from Eyewitness News (WFSB); and Tony Marino and Marilyn Ozols from the Rockfall Foundation.

ESSEX – On Thursday night, March 31, the Connecticut River Museum unveiled its 2016 feature exhibit, Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water. The exhibit explores one of the most significant threats today to the 410-mile-long Connecticut River Valley:  invasive species.

Representative Phil Miller was one of many honored public figures and supporters in attendance. Miller said, “I’m thrilled that the State of Connecticut was able to provide some support for this important project and I encourage everyone to come out and see this great show.   Building public awareness is a big part of the solution to the problem of invasive species.”

The vibrantly campy, yet serious exhibit was in production for two years and involved numerous organizations including Channel 3 Eyewitness News, the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, the Connecticut DEEP Marine Fisheries Division, and the Long Island Sound Study. Stunned by the creative energy and theatrical elements of the exhibit, one observer said, “Move over Universal Studios.”

Taking on the feel of a classic, 1950s Ed Wood science fiction monster movie, the exhibit explores the many air, land and water invasive species to our region. Critical environmental, economic and recreational impacts are highlighted and help to answer why we should care about this invasion.  More importantly, according to the museum’s executive director Christopher Dobbs, “The exhibit provides information on how we can make a difference by changing our habits, identifying invasive species before they are established, and getting involved with environmental organizations such as local land trusts.”

Stephen Tagliatela, owner of Saybrook Point Inn, said, “We are proud to support this kind of effort. The Connecticut River is one of our great regional and national assets.  It is something that brings visitors to the area and it is our duty to ensure its vitality.”

The Invaders exhibit is on public display now through Oct.10.  It has been made possible by Presenting Sponsor Long Island Sound Study.  Other dedicated sponsors include: Channel 3 Eyewitness News; the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation; the Rockfall Foundation; the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Tourism; the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa; the Edgard & Geraldine Feder Foundation; and the many supporters of the Connecticut River Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.

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Old Saybrook Seeks Proposals for Mariner’s Way

old saybrook town sealOLD SAYBROOK – The Town of Old Saybrook is seeking proposals from a team of qualified consultants to further refine plans for Mariner’s Way that will lead to successful redevelopment of this area that encompasses multiple brownfields. This team of consultants should have demonstrated experience in similar planning activities that successfully revitalized an area of a community blighted by brownfields.

Planning activities will include:

Economic/Market Analysis, and Place Branding;

Current Conditions and Site Analysis;

Road and Streetscape Plan; and

Site Reuse/Redevelopment and Façade Improvement Plan.

All elements will include public input from informational meetings and charrettes.

The Town expects the results to yield a final report that refines the concepts established in the Mariner’s Way Plan and outlines specific steps to move the plan forward.

Funding for this project is provided by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The RFP is available on the Town’s website at www.oldsaybrookct.gov. Printed copies of the RFP are available at the Land Use Dept., 302 Main St., Old Saybrook, CT, 06475. The deadline to submit completed proposals is 3 p.m., Thursday, May 12, 2016.

 

AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER: The Town of Old Saybrook encourages Minority/Women/Small Business Enterprises to respond to the Request for Proposals.

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Community Music School Jazz Ensemble in Concert, June 11

Community Music School Jazz Ensemble

Community Music School Jazz Ensemble

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School will present a concert by the CMS Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Tom Briggs on Saturday, June 11, at 7:30 pm at the Centerbrook Meetinghouse, 51 Main Street, Centerbrook.

The ensemble, comprised of students ages 12 to 17, will perform a mixed repertoire of blues, traditional jazz standards, swing, Latin jazz and one new original song. The concert will feature group ensemble performance with an emphasis on improvisation. The concert is free and open to the public. Please call 860-767-0026 for additional information.

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Essex Garden Club Offers Scholarship

ESSEX – The Essex Garden Club is offering a $1,000 scholarship for the school year 2016-2017. To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must be

  1. a resident of Essex, Centerbrook or Ivoryton, CT

2. a high school senior or undergraduate/graduate college student

3. have a “B” or better GPA

4.  be planning to pursue studies related to the environment in an accredited two-year or four-year institute of higher learning. Fields of study may include: Agriculture, Biology, Ecology, Horticulture, Forestry, Environmental Science and Engineering.  Closely related subjects may also apply: Land Conservation, Landscape Design, Nursery Management.

Application forms are available from Guidance Counselors, or go to essexgardenclubct.org. The deadline for receipt of applications is April 25, 2016. For more information call 860-581-8206.

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CT River Museum Trustees Visit State Capitol

Connecticut River Museum Board of Trustees Chair Joanne Masin, Sen. Art Linares and Connecticut River Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini.

Connecticut River Museum Board of Trustees Chair Joanne Masin, Sen. Art Linares and Connecticut River Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini.

ESSEX – Historical societies and preservationists from across the state gathered at the State Capitol last month to raise awareness about their organizations’ dedication to promoting Connecticut’s heritage for present and future generations.

The Connecticut River Museum (www.ctrivermuseum.org) was among the groups that travelled to Hartford to speak with Sen. Art Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) and other state lawmakers.

The museum’s mission is to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley. By deepening understanding of the river’s importance to past generations, the museum aims to inspire the stewardship of future generations.

The museum maintains its National Registered buildings on Steamboat Dock in Essex, and provides a spectacular waterfront park as a venue for museum functions, community events and quiet reflection.

 

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Detox Program at Essex Wellness Center Started April 16

Dr. Dana Krete

Dr. Dana Krete

ESSEX – Do you want to increase your energy, lose weight, charge up your immune system and improve your overall health? Have you been trying to improve your diet, decrease your sugar intake and lose weight, but have a hard time sticking with it and staying motivated?

Dr. Dana Krete will lead a four-week group detox program at the Essex Wellness Center starting April 16.

With this program you will be guided, motivated and supported through the detox program that includes a two-week detox that’s both safe and effective, and will leave you feeling re-energized for spring and on track to reach your goals.

You will be using a high-quality, hypoallergenic, user-friendly program that includes two shakes per day, supplements twice per day, and a “clean” meal plus healthy snacks. Meals and snacks will be prepared by you, so they are made of fresh, wholesome ingredients. This means this is not a product-heavy program, but one that uses mostly real food. Dr. Krete will guide you through this process, so you know what foods to eliminate and what foods to include.

Dr. Krete will lead a group talk once per week for four weeks for about an hour to inform you of the process, and so participants can support each other through the process.

Dr. Dana Krete earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Master of Acupuncture at National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Registration with payment in advance is required.   The total cost of the program, including the detox kit and all meetings led by Dr. Krete, is $279.  More information at www.EssexWellnessCtr.com or call Essex Wellness Center at (860) 767-7770.

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State Reps Observe Safe Haven Day in Westbrook

Carney and McLState Representatives Devin Carney (pictured right) and Jesse MacLachlan (left) held a press conference on April 4 at Middlesex Hospital, Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook to promote and discuss Safe Haven Day.

Last year, lawmakers designated April 4 of each year to be observed as Safe Haven Day to foster awareness of safe havens in Connecticut. The Safe Havens law, which passed in 2000, enables a distressed parent to anonymously leave an infant at a hospital emergency room without fear of prosecution for abandonment, up to 30 days after birth.

Carney (R-23) can be reached at devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423 and MacLachlan (R-35) can be reached at jesse.maclachlan@housegop.ct.gov or at (800) 842-1423.

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Small Vessel Permits for 2016 at Bushnell Access Have Reached Maximum Capacity

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ESSEX — Bushnell Access maximum storage capacity of 75 small vessels has been reached. Applications received from this point forward will be placed on a wait list and checks will be returned to the applicants.

Bushnell Access is still open to use for those who wish to bring their craft for the day and take it away at the end of the day.  Should it be determined that additional vessels can be accommodated at some point during the season, which runs from April 1 to Nov. 30, additional permits may be issued.

Direct any inquiries to the Harbor Management Commission email address at HarborManagementCommission@EssexCT.gov.

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“Operatic Disasters,” a Free and Fascinating Lecture, June 4

Kuslan_James editOLD SAYBROOK – James Kuslan, opera devotee and popular dynamic speaker on operatic topics, will present a lecture entitled “Operatic Disasters” on Saturday, June 4, at 11 a.m. at the Acton Public Library. This event is sponsored by the library and the Guild of Salt Marsh Opera.

With the help of fascinating and some hilariously funny sound clips, Kuslan will explore the challenges of singing opera. According to Kuslan, “My objective is not to ridicule, but to demonstrate that the extreme difficulty of the art form means that an audience in the presence of a superb performance is, in reality, beholding a miracle.”

Kuslan graduated with an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.  He has consulted for the German classical music recording giant, Deutsche Grammophon.

“Operatic Disasters” at the Acton Public Library is free, open to the public and handicapped accessible. For additional information, call 860-388-2871. The Acton Library is at 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.

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Deep River Selectmen Make No Decision on First Selectman Vacancy, Town Department Heads Reporting to Democrat Angus McDonald Jr.

DEEP RIVER— The two remaining members of the board of selectmen, Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. and Republican David Oliveria, Thursday made no decision on appointing an interim first selectman to fill the vacancy created by the March 25 death of longtime Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith.

More than 30 residents filled the meeting room at town hall Thursday as the selectmen held their first meeting since Smith’s death. In a prepared statement, Oliveria said he and McDonald would be working together to manage the town until the appointment of an interim first selectman, who would serve the reminder of Smith’s unexpired 14th term ending on Nov. 20, 2017.

Oliveria said they hope to make an appointment “as soon as possible,” while adding that until then town department heads will be reporting to McDonald, who will be keeping late afternoon office hours at town hall beginning Tuesday.  State statute gives the two remaining selectmen 30 days to appoint an interim first selectman, a period that runs through at least April 22.

If Democrat McDonald and Republican Oliveria cannot agree on an appointment, the statute would also give Democratic elected officials, including Selectman McDonald, the tax collector and the registrar of voters, an opportunity to make an appointment.  McDonald said after Thursday’s brief special meeting that he is “interested” in serving as interim first selectman, but has not yet made a final commitment with the Deep River Democratic Town Committee to accept the appointment.

Elected with Smith in 2011, McDonald is a co-owner of the Angus McDonald Associates engineering firm. McDonald said he is discussing with colleagues at the firm whether he would be able to serve as interim first selectman for the next 20 months. McDonald said he is hopeful the selectmen could vote on an appointment at the board’s next regular meeting on April 12. “We have 30 days and we may need 30 days but I hope not,” he said. The appointment of either McDonald or Oliveria as interim first selectman would create a new vacancy on the board that would be filled under the statutory appointment process. Any appointment of an interim first selectman, or even a new member of the board, could be forced to a special election with a petition signed by at least five percent of the town’s total registered voters, or about 158 voter signatures. The petition would have to be filed with the town clerk within 15 days of any appointment.

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Public Advisory from the Essex Tree Warden

The emerald ash borer adult beetle

The emerald ash borer adult beetle

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) is advising all residents of Connecticut that the emerald ash borer (EAB – agrilus planipennis) has quickly spread throughout Connecticut, making it now part of the federal EAB quarantine. Residents should be aware of this invasive insect and the threat it poses to all ash trees in our community.

The emerald ash borer is a beetle in the buprestid family that is native to Asia.  First discovered in 2002 in Detroit, it has rapidly spread across the US.  It may have first been introduced via wood-packing materials and continued spreading by humans in everything from firewood to rustic crafts.  Because the beetle is a strong flier, it  can spread on its own as well.

CAES describes the adult beetle as metallic green, about ½ inch long. It feeds exclusively on ash trees in the genus Fraxinus.  Tiny, flat, round 1mm long eggs are laid in the bark crevices.  Seven to 10 days later, the eggs hatch and the young larvae begin to feed on the tree’s conducting tissues.  As they feed and grow, the larvae create distinctive tightly-winding ‘serpentine galleries.’  This process quickly stresses and girdles the ash tree.

The emerald ash borer larva

The emerald ash borer larva

During the winter the mature larvae remain in a pupal chamber and pupate in the spring.  The adult beetles emerge by chewing a distinctive 4mm wide D-shaped exit hole.  The adults feed on the margins of the ash foliage prior to mating.  The lifespan is 4-5 weeks, during which time a single female may lay upwards of 60 eggs.

It has been difficult to survey for this pest because of its small size. Some monitoring and trapping methods have been used including purple panel traps. Another is  “biosurveillance” by scientists and volunteers who monitor the nests of a native wasp that specifically hunts buprestids, including EAB.

The overall effect of the ash borer is the decline of the ash trees.  Infected trees are  attacked by woodpeckers who strip bark while trying to reach the larvae.  The eventual loss of ash trees will have ripple effects on other organisms including butterflies and moths as well as wood duck, bob white, purple finch, pine grosbeak and fox squirrels all of which eat the seeds of the ash tree.

To identify an ash tree look for compound leaves and opposite branching.  Ash trees have diamond patterned bark which provides distinct crevices.  Ash seeds are winged, resembling maple pinwheels.  Ash trees do not produce berries.  The ash tree is valued for its combination of strength and flexibility.  It is used as shovel handles, baseball bats and in construction of guitar bodies.

The D-shaped exit holes of the emerald ash borer in an ash tree

The D-shaped exit holes of the emerald ash borer in an ash tree

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Connecticut is seeking to slow the spread of EAB by a quarantine to keep any infested ash materials from leaving Ct. and going to an area that is not infested.  The quarantine targets ash logs, hardwood firewood, yard waste and ash nursery stock.  Also, a ban on the importation of firewood into Ct. through New York or Massachusetts – unless it is properly certified as not coming from an infested area – has been instituted.

Individuals can help in the following ways:

  1. Know what an ash tree looks like and monitor the ash trees you are responsible for.
  2. Act quickly to report any ash trees that are declining and may pose a threat to people or structures.
  3. Be careful when moving firewood or young trees. Use locally obtained firewood.
  4. Notify the Tree Warden of concerns about street or park trees.

Private trees are the responsibility of the property owner.  DEEP encourages owners of ash trees to contact an arborist for further help in monitoring the status of your trees and to use the resources available at the CT Agricultural Experiment Station and DEEP.

According to the CAES, ash trees that are still healthy can be treated for and protected against EAB using commercially available pesticides.  Ash trees that are not treated will eventually die and should be preemptively removed.  Please contact your local arborist for expert advice.

 

The above information has been provided by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. For more information go to the following websites: www.emeraldashborer.info or www.ct.gov/deep or www.ct.gov/caes. Contact Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden at: augiepampel@att.net with any questions or concerns.

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Niantic Toastmasters Hold Open House, April 18

Niantic Toastmasters will hold an Open House on Monday, April 18, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Niantic Community Church, 170 Pennsylvania Ave., Niantic.

The club will be presenting a One Act play titled, “To Toast or Not Toast.”  Written by a club member and performed by club members, it shows what it’s like to be in a Toastmasters club. Afterwards there will be a facilitated discussion to answer any questions audience members may have, followed by a cast party with the players and refreshments.  This is a free event.

Toastmasters clubs give people a space to become confident communicators and learn the art of public speaking by doing it.  Twice a month, club members meet to deliver prepared or impromptu speeches, and work on aspects of public speaking such as body language or vocal variety.  Toastmasters clubs provide a safe environment for people who have something to say but might not have the confidence.  Members also learn how to give feedback to energize others to do better the next time.

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Marshview Gallery Exhibits Paintings by Maureen Tarbox in June

AOM 2016 06 Tarbox

OLD SAYBROOK — Maureen Tarbox, a resident of East Haddam, will be exhibiting her paintings at Marshview Gallery in Old Saybrook in June.

Tarbox moved to Connecticut in 2002 when she retired from teaching science. She began plein air painting because of the extraordinary light, beautiful scenery and many opportunities to attend art workshops and classes in southeast CT. She paints with a group called The Brushstrokes, who all share the love of nature and desire to try and recreate on canvas the beauty that surrounds us .

For the past 10 years she has developed her oil painting style  under the guidance of Noel Belton and other talented instructors. She is currently a member of the  Essex Art Association, the Middlesex Art Guild, Brushstrokes and the Connecticut River Watercolorists.

Tarbox loves to paint landscapes, seascapes, old buildings and anything with water. She loves the proximity to the many beaches, woods and historical towns.

All are welcome to attend the artist reception on Friday, June 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.  and meet the artist. Refreshments will be provided.

Marshview Gallery is located in the Estuary Center, 220 Main St., Old Saybrook.

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Tri-Town Youth Services Collects Diapers for Mothers in Need

tri town ysb

REGION 4 – Tri-Town Youth Services kicks off Diaper Drive for mothers in need. The agency is working with preschools in Region 4 to collect diapers from May 9 to May 31.  Diapers can be dropped off at Tri-Town, 56 High Street, Deep River, weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Collection boxes are also located at KinderCare in Essex; Schoolmates in Ivoryton; CDE Nursery School in Deep River; and Circle of Friends Montessori in Chester.

An adequate supply of diapers can cost over $100 per month, which is not feasible for some low-income families in our area. Babies are at risk of spending a day or longer in one diaper, leading to potential health risks.

Collected diapers will be donated to the Diaper Bank for distribution to families in need throughout Middlesex County. The Diaper Bank ensures that families living in poverty have an adequate supply of diapers for their infants and toddlers.  Their greatest needs are diapers in sizes 5 and 6.

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Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries Spring Appeal Welcomes Your Donations Year-Round

Volunteers at SSKP Old Saybrook Pantry.

Volunteers at SSKP Old Saybrook Pantry

AREAWIDE – “The food pantry changed my life. It made me believe again that God exists.” These words were recently written by a local resident, according to Patty Dowling, executive director of Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

“In January one of our guests wrote this very heartfelt message. We asked her if we could share it with the community, so they could understand how much the pantry means to her and her family, and she said yes.”

For 27 years the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) has been providing groceries through five weekly pantry distributions and offering daily hot meals at eight local meal sites, providing help to over 8,000 residents last year. The towns served by SSKP are Old Saybrook, Essex, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Lyme, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

One out of ten coming to an SSKP pantry are seniors, many on a fixed income; others are disabled or suffering from physical or mental illness. Many are employed, but with wages too low to be self-sufficient. Over half of the pantry registrants last year were families of four or more, and 35 percent were children or teens.

According to Dowling, the number of those coming for help has risen steadily over the years. “Last year, for the first time, we distributed food for over 1 million meals,” she explained. “Recent data indicates a complicated economic and demographic future for many living on the shoreline.

“But despite these increases,” she added, “our shoreline community responds to the need. When we reach out for support to provide food and fellowship, so many have answered abundantly. To respond best to the current needs, and to prepare for what may be greater need, we are launching a new annual Spring Appeal.  We’re also contacting private foundations and corporate supporters.”

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries receives no direct state or federal funding, and operates with the support of 900 volunteers in partnership with local faith communities.

“We will continue to provide all who register at an SSKP pantry free groceries every week for everyone in their household, and a daily hot meal to those who attend our meal sites,” said Dowling. “Thank you for caring, and know your support gives your neighbors hope. They believe that someone has their back on their most difficult days, and they can see the presence of God in their lives.”

The SSKP Spring Appeal will be held through May 31. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 804, Essex, CT 06426 or online at www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

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Registration Opens for Madhatters Summer Theater Programs for Ages 6-18

AREAWIDE – Madhatters Theatre Company is currently accepting registration for its youth summer theater programs at Chester Meeting House.

The junior program, open to ages 6-12 years, will be “The Little Rascals, The Musical.” The program runs Monday through Friday, July 25 through July 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a performance on Friday.

The senior program, open to ages 13-18 years, is “The Roaring 20’s Musical.” The program runs Monday through Friday, Aug. 1 – 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a performance on Friday.

For further information and/or to register, e-mail: madhattersctc@aol.com or call (860) 395-1861. Information is also available at www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany.

The Chester Meeting House is at 4 Liberty Street in Chester.

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Area Residents Pack Dick Smith Funeral Service at Chester Church

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St. Joseph RC Church, Chester, where hundreds of area residents turned out to participate in the funeral service for the late, longtime Deep River First Selectman Richard H. “Smitty” Smith.

CHESTER — St. Joseph RC Church was packed Thursday as hundreds of area residents turned out to participate in the funeral service for the late, longtime Deep River First Selectman Richard H. “Smitty” Smith.

The mass of Christian burial followed a three-hour wake and viewing Tuesday evening at Deep River Town Hall where more than 1,000 citizens turned out to file through the second floor auditorium to pay final respects to Smith, who died suddenly on March 25 at age 65. Smith, a Democrat first elected in 1989, was the longest serving chief elected official in Middlesex County, and one of the longest serving municipal elected leaders in the entire state.

Representatives of various organizations, including the police and Deep River Fife & Drum Corps., stand somberly outside Chester RC Church prior to the funeral service for Richard "Smitty" Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Representatives of various organizations, including the police and Deep River Fife & Drum Corps., stand somberly outside Chester RC Church prior to the funeral service for Richard “Smitty” Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

The hour-long service had much of the pageantry of a state funeral, with a squad of Connecticut state troopers in full dress uniform and a police bagpiper, along with dozens of uniformed volunteer firefighters with the large ladder trucks from both the Deep River and Essex volunteer fire departments. Smith had also served as a part-time town police officer since 1973.

The sad task of removing the coffin from the hearse.  Photo by Kim Tyler.

The sad task of removing the coffin from the hearse. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Present were many of the current selectmen from area towns, but the crowd also included former first selectmen from towns such as Essex, Killingworth, and Old Lyme, who worked with Smith on regional issues during his long 26-year tenure. Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman was one of the speakers, describing Smith as a “cheerleader for economic development and a relentless advocate for small towns.” Wyman said Smith’s legacy would be, “Serve your community proudly.”

flag_outside_church

Photo by Kim Tyler

Grieving town hall employees filled the front seats of the church, with Tax Collector Lisa Bibbiani and selectmen’s assistant Gina Sopneski speaking about their fond memories of Smith. Bibbiani said Smith was an elected leader, who was always “approachable to everyone,” adding, “Dick Smith was sincere, he was honest, he was loyal, and he was funny.”

After the service, with the bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace,” Smith was laid to rest in a plot at the cemetery that is part of the church property on Rte. 154.

 

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Farewell, Dick ... farewell.

Farewell, Dick … farewell.

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‘Discovery Sundays’ at Florence Griswold Museum

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One of the highlights of Discovery Sundays at the Florence Griswold Museum is an outdoor Art Cart that guides families to explore the grounds and its connection to the artists. Explorer Kits are designed for various ages and skill levels.

OLD LYME – Beginning Sunday, April 3, the Florence Griswold Museum invites visitors to shake off any leftover winter blues and celebrate the beginning of Discovery Sundays. In addition to the popular “Make-A-Painting” activities, where visitors of all ages use the museum’s supplies to create their own masterpieces, Discovery Sundays now include an outdoor Art Cart that guides families to explore the grounds and its connection to the artists who famously painted there.

In addition, seasonal buildings including the Chadwick Studio and the Rafal Landscape Center will open for the season. And who knows! With any luck you’ll find some pops of color starting in the garden!

The museum is open every Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and all activities are included with admission ($10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students). Children 12 and under are always free.

The museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme. For more information, visit www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

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Hundreds Vigil for Late First Selectman Richard Smith, Selectmen to Meet Thursday to Discuss Succession

Candles are lit in honor of " a remarkable legacy to service, commitment, and dedication to the people of Deep River." Photo by Kim Tyler.

Candles are lit in honor of Dick Smith’s “… remarkable legacy to service, commitment, and dedication to the people of Deep River.” (Angus McDonald Jr.)  Photo by Kim Tyler.

DEEP RIVER — The town showed its affection and appreciation for the late First Selectman Richard H. “Smitty” Smith Monday as hundreds gathered at sunset around town hall in a vigil for the longtime municipal leader who died suddenly Friday at age 65.

Hundreds gathered at Deep River Town Hall yesterday evening to pay tribute to their beloved First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday afternoon.

Hundreds gathered at Deep River Town Hall Monday evening to pay tribute to their beloved First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday afternoon.

The vigil, which precedes the funeral for Smith Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Church in Chester, came as the two remaining members of the board of selectman, Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. and Republican David Oliveria, scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to discuss the process for filling the vacancy for the remainder of Smith’s term that runs through November 2017.

A quiet, candlelit moment of contemplation on a life well lived.

A quiet, candlelit moment of contemplation on a life well lived. Photo by Kim Tyler.

McDonald, who joined Oliveria to meet with town hall employees Monday afternoon, said the special meeting that begins at 5:30 p.m. in town hall would review “temporary organizational changes to cover leadership in the coming month.” McDonald, who was first elected with Smith in 2011, said he and Oliveria are still discussing who would assume the full-time job of interim first selectman through the unexpired term. The appointment of either McDonald or Oliveria to the top job would also create a new vacancy on the board of selectman.

A boy sets a candle in remembrance of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away last Friday, March 25.

During the vigil, a boy places a candle on the town hall steps in remembrance of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25.  Photo by Kim Tyler.

“Dick Smith leaves a remarkable legacy to service, commitment, and dedication to the people of Deep River,” McDonald said. “While we know we can never replace him, we have an obligation to our community to move quickly to fill the vacancy.”

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Candles light the faces of those gathered to remember Deep River First Selectman Richard “Smitty” Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Town officials from both political parties joined elected officials from around the state in praising Smith, a Democrat whose 26-year tenure made him one of the longest serving municipal chief elected officials for both Middlesex County and the entire state. A South Carolina native who arrived in Connecticut around 1970, Smith was elected first selectman in 1989, and had been unopposed for a 14th consecutive term in the town election last fall. Smith had also served as a part-time town police officer since 1973.

Candles and roses are held in remembrance of Richard "Smitty" Smith at Monday night's vigil. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Candles and roses are held in remembrance of Richard “Smitty” Smith at Monday night’s vigil. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Oliveria, first elected to the board in 2009, said Smith had done “an incredible job as first selectman running all aspects of the town.” Town Treasurer Tom Lindner, a Republican who was elected to the part-time position in 1989, said Smith was “always there for everybody in Deep River.”

State Senator Phil Miller addresses the vigil participants.

State Rep. Phil Miller speaks at Monday’s vigil. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Speakers at the vigil, where residents of Deep River and other nearby towns held lighted candles and roses in honor of the longtime town leader, recalled Smith’s tireless dedication to the town and its people. Jonathan Kastner, the first selectman’s assistant and friend, said Smith was “a problem solver who somehow found a way to keep adversaries from being too adversarial.” State Rep. Phil Miller, a former first selectman of Essex, said Smith was “a role model for anyone in any kind of public service.”

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Remembering a leader who Sen. Phil Miller described as, “a role model for anyone in any kind of public service.”  Photo by Kim Tyler.

Smith built a record of accomplishment that changed and improved Deep River during his 26 years as first selectman. There is the row of fully occupied industrial buildings at the Plattwood Park Industrial Area off Rte. 80, a 20-year- development process where Smith earned statewide recognition for using state and federal grant funds to construct buildings for small or start-up businesses as a way to help grow the town’s tax base. One of Smith’s most recent accomplishments was a Main Street redevelopment effort that began in 2005, and concluded in 2009 with construction of a Walgreen’s pharmacy on the former Deep River Inn parcel, along with various streetscape improvements for the entire length of Main Street.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Richard “Smitty” Smith: In Memoriam.  Photo by Kim Tyler.

State statute gives the two remaining selectmen up to 30 days from March 26, the day after Smith’s death, to appoint an interim first selectman who would serve until November 2017. The appointment could be forced to a special election by a petition with signatures from five percent of the town’s total voter registration, or about 158 voter signatures, that must be submitted within 15 days after any appointment to fill the vacancy.

Roses in remembrance of Richard "Smitty" Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Roses in remembrance of Richard “Smitty” Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Editor’s Note: Deep River resident and professional photographer Kim Tyler, who graciously supplied all of these photos to ValleyNewsNow.com for publication, has also generously agreed to make many of the photos that she took at the vigil available to our readers at no charge.  We applaud her wonderful act of public service.  The photos will be uploaded later this evening and we will provide a link to them at that time.  For more information about Kim Tyler Photography, visit ktphoto.net

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Linares Hosts Town Hall Meeting in Chester

State Senator (R) Art Linares

State Senator (R) Art Linares

Sen. Art Linares hosted a Town Hall Meeting yesterday evening at the Chester Town Hall Community Room.

Linares had invited the public to hear the latest update from the State Capitol and to have their questions answered.

 

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CT Legislators Support Study to Preserve Plum Island From Commercial Development

Aerial voew of Plum Island lighthouse. (From Preserve Plum Island website)

Aerial view of Plum Island lighthouse. (From Preserve Plum Island website)

OLD SAYBROOK — Last Thursday, March 24, at a press conference in Old Saybrook, a triumvirate of Congressional legislators from Connecticut, State Senator Richard Blumenthal and US Representatives Joe Courtney (D-2nd District) and Rosa DeLauro (D-3rd District) confirmed their support for a study to determine the future of Plum Island located in Long Island Sound.

Members of the Plum Island Coalition — which has some 65 member organizations all dedicated to preserving the island — were in attendance to hear the good news.

The island still houses a high-security, federal animal disease research facility, but the decision has already been taken to move the facility to a new location in Kansas with an opening slated for 2022. The current facility takes up only a small percentage of the land on the island and significantly for environmentalists, the remainder of the island has for years been left to nature in the wild.

In supporting a federal study on the future of Plum Island, Sen. Blumenthal said, “This study is a step towards saving a precious, irreplaceable national treasure from developers and polluters. It will provide the science and fact-based evidence to make our case for stopping the current Congressional plan to sell Plum Island to the highest bidder.”

He continued, “The stark truth is the sale of Plum Island is no longer necessary to build a new bioresearch facility because Congress has fully appropriated the funds. There is no need for this sale – and in fact, Congress needs to rescind the sale.”

Congress, however, still has a law on the books that authorizes the sale of Plum Island land to the highest bidder. Therefore, opponents of the sale will have the burden of convincing Congress to change a law that is currently in place.

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Essex First Selectman Needleman Has Strong Admiration, Fond Memories of his “Friend and Mentor” Dick Smith

Two friends -- the late Dick Smith, First Selectman of Deep River (left) and Norman Needleman, First Selectman of Essex. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

Two friends — the late Dick Smith, First Selectman of Deep River (left) and Norman Needleman, First Selectman of Essex. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

ESSEX — Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman paid tribute to the late Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith in a statement sent to ValleyNewsNow.com.  Needleman said, “Dick was a wonderful guy. He frequently told me how much he loved his family and his job. They were the lights in his life. He managed Deep River as a family, from the staff that worked for him to the residents he loved.”

Needleman continued, “He was an amazing First Selectman (26 years, I think) and an outstanding police officer (44 years) who dedicated his life to making Deep River and the entire Connecticut River Valley the wonderful place that it is. He was a friend and mentor who listened well and made whoever he was with feel special. His love of people made him the ultimate type of public servant.”

Finally, expressing the opinion likely shared by many, he said, “I am going to really miss him.”

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Courtney, Linares Pay Tribute to Dick Smith, Services Announced

Dick Smith: A man for all seasons, for all reasons ... and for every job in town.

Dick Smith: A man for all seasons, for all reasons … and for every job in town.

DEEP RIVER — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) issued the following statement after the passing of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith:

“Dick was the iconic small town First Selectman who did everything from running town meetings, to plowing snow, to cleaning up storm damage with public works, as well as crowd control at the Deep River Muster, and attending every community event in town. Deep River is one of Connecticut’s jewels because it had a leader like Dick, who was always there to help those in need and help the town grow smartly. Dick was a friend whose support I will always remember and treasure, and he should live on as an example of a citizen-public servant to all who hold elected office.”

State Senator Art Linares (D-33rd), who represents Deep River, issued the following statement on the passing of First Selectman Dick Smith:

“Dick Smith epitomized Deep River. He was a friend to all and his advice was valued by Democrats and Republicans throughout the Connecticut River Valley. Dick was a role model public official who dedicated himself to serving his town and its residents. His loss is deeply saddening and our thoughts and prayers are with Dick’s family and the people of Deep River.”

Services for Dick Smith have now been announced as follows:

There will be a Candlelight Vigil on Monday, March 28, at Deep River Town Hall at dark (about 7:30 p.m.)

Calling hours will also be at the Town Hall on Tuesday, March 29, from5 to 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 30, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Chester at 11 a.m.

Deep River Town Hall Closings

Deep River Town Hall will close at noon on Tuesday and remain closed on Wednesday.  Normal business hours will resume on Thursday.

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Town of Deep River Announces Death of First Selectman Dick Smith

A file photo of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

A file photo of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

DEEP RIVER — The Town of Deep River has announced the passing yesterday afternoon (Friday, March 25) of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith. An announcement on the town’s website states, “The Town of Deep River has suffered a terrible loss in the passing of Dick Smith. The town has lost a leader of over 26 years, the community has lost a friend, and we are saddened beyond words, but its immediate thoughts are with Dick’s family, who has lost a father and a grandfather.” The statement adds, “Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

Details of services have not yet been announced.

Our reporter Charles Stannard wrote in an article published July 28, 2015, on ValleyNewsNow.com that Smith, then 64, was, “one of the longest serving municipal elected officials in Connecticut.”  The article also noted that Smith said he, “never considered stepping aside this year,” adding, “I love what I do, it’s like my extended family.” Smith told Stannard during the interview that his priorities for the next two years were, “Keeping taxes down as much as we can,” along with a firehouse renovation and expansion project.

Stannard also reported, “Smith’s last challenge for the top job came in 2007 from the now defunct Deep River Independent Party. He was uncontested for re-election in 2009, 2011, and 2013. Town Republicans have not nominated a candidate for first selectman since 2005.”

We extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Smith’s family.

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What’s the Latest on That Proposed High Speed Train Track Through Southeast CT?

Many readers have contacted us to inquire what has happened — as well as a sea of other questions — to the Federal Rail Administration’s (FRA) proposal to route a high speed rail track through the center of Old Lyme bifurcating Lyme Street just to the south of the I-95 bridge. The ‘comment period’ closed Feb. 15 and so we feel the questions raised by our readers — many of whom submitted comments — are entirely justified.

We turned to Gregory Stroud to seek some answers.

Stroud, an Old Lyme resident, has taken a deep and enduring interest in the FRA’s proposal and has, in the process, become extremely knowledgeable on the complexities of the project. For regular readers, you will recall that Stroud wrote the original editorial on LymeLine.com that sparked an avalanche of interest in and concern about the FRA’s proposal. He graciously agreed to respond to our questions and we are planning to publish his responses — question by question — in a series starting today.

Stroud has also created a Facebook page titled SECoast at Old Lyme where readers can glean a plethora of information about the project and be kept current on developments.

And if you ready to be shocked, take a look at the rendering below to get a sense of how the railroad will intrude into our quiet, relatively reclusive life in Old Lyme … and we stress, this image is to scale.

Rendering by Robin Breeding of the high-speed train in Old Lyme drawn/created to scale.

Rendering by Robin Breeding of the high-speed train in Old Lyme drawn/created to scale.

Here’s our first question:

Question (LymeLine.com ): What has happened since the “Comment” period was closed?

Answer (Gregory Stroud): Great question. But first, let me offer a little background. The Federal Railroad Administration actually outsources the planning process to a contractor, a huge multinational based out of Montreal, called Parsons Brinckerhoff. They specialize in this sort of project. They worked on The Big Dig up in Boston. They are same people who planned the Baldwin Bridge, and who electrified the rail lines to our east a few years ago. Parsons Brinckerhoff knows Old Lyme. They’ve faced local community activists before. And they’ve won.

So … with two weeks to go before the comment deadline, Parsons Brinckerhoff was reading a lazy stream of public comment, averaging just a comment every other day for a few years, and suddenly all heck breaks loose. Comments start pouring in from Old Lyme—1,200 comments out of 3,000 received from every town and city from Washington to Boston. Those numbers pretty much guarantee that more people cared enough to comment in Old Lyme, than in Manhattan, or Boston, or even Baltimore, which has its own contentious tunnel project. Add in the outreach to Hartford and Washington, and suddenly Old Lyme is on the map.

The good news is that the contractor has actually reached out to Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, to Daniel Mackay at Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and others. Parsons Brinckerhoff is making cordial, if maybe grudging, efforts to respond to the local outcry. You have to understand, as a contractor, they are in a tough place. They need to get this done by the end of the summer. They want to make their bosses at the Federal Railroad Administration happy. They have to make the people funding this in the Senate and Congress happy. It has to be something that Hartford can swallow.

In this grand balancing act, Old Lyme is a bit of a nuisance. I don’t get the sense that Stamford or New Haven or Hartford are somehow secretly plotting to send high-speed rail through Old Lyme. It’s not malicious. From what I understand, nearly everyone in-state would actually prefer Alternative 2, connecting Hartford to Boston. Parsons Brinckerhoff just wants to get this done. Right now they are busy with their statutory obligation of weighing every one of those 1200 comments.

That said, no one really wants a small town at the mouth of the Connecticut river to upset the tea cart. If at the end of the day, Washington and Hartford decide that a train has to run through Old Lyme, then they plan to run a train through Old Lyme. I think it’s fair to say that pretty much everyone wants us to pipe down and behave.

So, of course, they start telling us what they think we want to hear. Most importantly, for the first time the idea of tunnel is floated, privately, details to be determined at some uncertain date, perhaps 2 billion dollars added the price tag—quite an accomplishment for a few weeks work! But don’t believe it for a second.

At Tier 1, the current planning stage, these vague promises mean almost nothing. Sure, they can relabel the purple line running through Old Lyme, and call it a tunnel. But it’s the purple line that really matters. In two years they can just decide that a tunnel is too expensive or impractical, and it’s a bridge all over again. To be clear, no one has actually carried out engineering or environmental studies on a tunnel. In this planning process, the decisions are coming before the studies. The cart before the horse.

So, where are we now in the process? Everyone should understand that the Federal Railroad Administration is replacing their master plan for the Northeast. The current plan dates back to 1978. The next plan will reshape rail in the Northeast for the next 25 years.

A decision will be made, probably in August. The choice will be announced around September 1. And if the Federal Railroad Administration chooses Alternative 1, and Alternative 1 still has a purple line running through Old Lyme, then we are in for the fight of a lifetime. We have a once-a-generation chance to shape federal plans for Old Lyme, and we need to get this right.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Gregory Stroud.

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Land Trusts’ Photo Contest Winners Announced

Hank Golet Mitchell Award a

Winner of the top prize, the John G. Mitchell Environmental Conservation Award – Hank Golet

The 10th Annual Land Trusts’ Photo Contest winners were announced at a March 11 reception highlighting the winning photos and displaying all entered photos. Land trusts in Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, Essex and East Haddam jointly sponsor the annual amateur photo contest to celebrate the scenic countryside and diverse wildlife and plants in these towns. The ages of the photographers ranged from children to senior citizens.

Hank Golet won the top prize, the John G. Mitchell Environmental Conservation Award, with his beautiful photograph of a juvenile yellow crowned night heron in the Black Hall River in Old Lyme. Alison Mitchell personally presented the award, created in memory of her late husband John G. Mitchell, an editor at National Geographic, who championed the cause of the environment.

William Burt, a naturalist and acclaimed wildlife photographer, who has been a contest judge for ten years, received a special mention. Judges Burt; Amy Kurtz Lansing, an accomplished art historian and curator at the Florence Griswold Museum; and Skip Broom, a respected, award-winning local photographer and antique house restoration housewright, chose the winning photographs from 219 entries.

The sponsoring land trusts – Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust – thank the judges as well as generous supporters RiverQuest/ CT River Expeditions, Lorensen Auto Group, the Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Ballek’s Garden Center, Essex Savings Bank, Chelsea Groton Bank, and Alison Mitchell in honor of her late husband John G. Mitchell. Big Y and Fromage Fine Foods & Coffee provided support for the reception.

The winning photographers are:

John G. Mitchell Environmental Award, Hank Golet, Old Lyme

Youth
1st: Patrick Burns, East Haddam
2nd: Judah Waldo, Old Lyme
3rd: James Beckman, Ivoryton
Honorable Mention Gabriel Waldo, Old Lyme
Honorable Mention Sarah Gada, East Haddam
Honorable Mention Shawn Parent, East Haddam

Cultural/Historic
1st: Marcus Maronne, Mystic
2nd: Normand L. Charlette, Manchester
3rd:  Tammy Marseli, Rocky Hill
Honorable Mention  Jud Perkins, Salem
Honorable Mention Pat Duncan, Norwalk
Honorable Mention John Kolb, Essex

Landscapes/Waterscapes
1st: Cheryl Philopena, Salem
2nd: Marian Morrissette, New London
3rd:  Harcourt Davis, Old Lyme
Honorable Mention Cynthia Kovak, Old Lyme
Honorable Mention Bopha Smith, Salem
Honorable Mention  Pat Duncan, Norwalk

Plants
1st: Mary Waldron, Old Lyme
2nd: Courtney Briggs, Old Saybrook
3rd: Linda Waters, Salem
Honorable Mention Pete Govert, East Haddam
Honorable Mention Marcus Maronne, Mystic
Honorable Mention Marian Morrissette, New London

Wildlife
1st: Chris Pimley, Essex
2nd: Harcourt Davis, Old Lyme
3rd: Linda Waters, Salem
Honorable Mention Thomas Nemeth, Salem
Honorable Mention Jeri Duefrene, Niantic
Honorable Mention Elizabeth Gentile, Old Lyme

First place winner of Wildlife category - Chris Pimley

First place winner of Wildlife category – Chris Pimley

The winning photos will be on display at the Lymes’ Senior Center for the month of March and Lyme Public Library in April. For more information go to lymelandtrust.org.

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