October 26, 2014

Letter: Essex First Selectman Endorses Bjornberg

To The Editor:

As a business owner and the First Selectman of Essex, I am keenly aware of the difficulties companies and municipalities face here in Connecticut. Small towns like are taking on an unfair share of the burden and are feeling the weight of an increasing number of unfunded mandates from the state.

We need a stronger voice in Hartford, and that’s why I am endorsing Emily Bjornberg for State Senate in the 33rd District. She has the life experience, tenacity and drive to effect real change in Hartford.

Representing our region in Hartford needs to be more than casting a partisan protest vote against the state budget and then blaming the state’s problem on others. What our region needs is someone who will be at the table as important decisions are being made to represent the needs of our towns.

She understands the needs of small business, having grown up working with her family who owns Reynolds Subaru in Lyme. It’s through that family, made up of prominent local Republicans and Democrats, who have instilled in her the ability to find the common ground necessary to bring about constructive and positive change.

I ask that you join me in voting for Emily on November 4.


Norman Needleman
First Selectman, Essex.



Letter: Siegrist a Fresh Face

To the Editor:

I endorse Bob Siegrist for State Representative in the 36th District, representing Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

Bob is a Quinnipiac University graduate, majoring in Political Science and History. He serves as Secretary of the Haddam Republican Town Committee and is a Justice of the Peace. He stepped forward to run for office when the endorsed candidate withdrew to run for Lieutenant Governor.

I am pleased to see a new generation of  Republicans willing to serve their community.

I have been impressed by Bob’s sincerity and concern for the issues facing our district and the state. He is committed to fiscal responsibility and stresses the need for consensus and the need to work together.  Bob Siegrist is keenly aware that state spending is out of control and will oppose tax increases.

Between CT income tax, property tax, sales tax and gas tax the young and the old are fleeing CT. Representative Miller wants to add yet another tax, tolls on Routes 95 and 84. As Mr. Siegrist said about government spending, in the recent debate “Enough is Enough.”

We need a fresh face in the Connecticut House of Representatives.


Gary van Deursen

Letter: Thank you from Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore

To The Editor:

The 4th Annual Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore Wine Tasting & Auction held on October 2nd at the Saybrook Point Pavilion helped raise funds to address the urgent need for reaching out to students in need of improving their English or learning English as a Second Language in the Valley Shore towns and the tutoring program that serves them.

Fundraising events like this one are only successful due to the people and organizations who come together for a worthy cause. Literacy Volunteers is especially fortunate to have had an extraordinary combination of those two elements making this year’s event a rousing success. Special thanks to our title sponsors The Clark Group and Bailey, Murphy & Scarano LLC who always seem to answer our call and to SeaSide Wine & Spirits, this year’s title sponsor. We appreciate sponsors A R Mazzotta, Bogaert Construction, Essex Savings Bank, Ivory Wealth Management, Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets and Tower Laboratories for their participation and support. Special thanks are due to Elizabeth Steffen, Barb Erni, Arcangela Claffey, Paula Chabot, Judy Souza and Paula Ferrara as well as staff members Joanne Argersinger and Donna Whelen without whom this event would not have been successful.

Finally, thank you to all those who attended and enjoyed the wine, friendly atmosphere and bid on the many donated items to support L.V.V.S. and the cause of literacy.   We look forward to seeing you again next year!


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

Letter: Linares Understands the State Budget

To the Editor:

I support Art Linares for State Senate. He understands that we need to balance our State Budget and voted down the Budget that the General Assembly adopted. The Republicans did offer an alternative budget, but in a one party state there is no recognition of any ideas from the other party.

According to a Gallup Poll 49% want to leave CT, if they could, second only to Illinois at 50%. From About Money website, CT residents are taxed at 11.1% of their income, third highest. As to a regressive tax, CT pays 67.7 cents per gallon again 3rd highest in Nation.

Art understands that in CT the General Assembly is presented with a Budget Package. There is no chance to eliminate a regressive tax here and there. There may be discussion, but that is grandstanding. Make no mistake, the Governor’s Budget is accepted. The Governor’s last Budget had the highest amount of taxes in our state history, with no sign of balancing the budget yet or paying anything towards our Pension Fund. Do you State workers know that?

I am tired of people who run for office and think that as a Freshman legislator they can single handedly reduce regressive taxes from the Budget. What other loyal soldiers in your party will work to reduce these regressive taxes? Art Linares knows the only way to register disdain for the buget is to vote the whole Budget down.

I leave you with one more question. Will the last taxpaying citizen in CT please leave the light on? Please vote for Art Linares on Election Day.


Lynn Herlihy

Letter: Change is Good

To the Editor:

Change is good when you complete four or more years of college at a prestigious Connecticut College and you have to move out of state to find a job.

Change is good when you drive down any street in any town and all you see is a line of Real Estate signs advertising homes for sale because of lost jobs or property taxes being too high.

Change is good when you arrive at work only to find that your employer is closing down and moving out of state because they can no longer afford to do business in Connecticut.

Now you might be thinking how can any of this change be good? Well this is what it has taken to wake us up to the fact that we need a big change in Connecticut politics. Let’s not forget all those
promises of better paying jobs and a recovering economy. If you can’t follow through on your promises when your party is in charge of the legislature and governor’s office then you can’t get it
done and we need to change that.

I’ve been a registered Democrat for forty seven years and last year I switched and am now a Republican. Change is good.

Please join me in making a positive change by voting for Republican Bob Siegrist in the 36 District House Seat. We can’t afford not to

Respectfully yours.

Peter Arseneault Sr.
Former Democratic Selectman – Town of Haddam

Letter: Linares Truly Cares

To the Editor:

It is an honor and privilege for me to wholeheartedly endorse the re-election of our 33rd State Senator Art Linares.   During his two year tenure as State Senator, Art has worked tirelessly to serve you, his constituents.  He has been visible, available and listens to all, regardless of party affiliation.

Art Linares has taken the “high road” in this campaign.  Instead of criticizing his opponents, he has emphasized his many accomplishments as your State Senator.  As a business owner, growing jobs and improving the economy has been a priority.  Whether it’s supporting legislation that allows manufacturers to hire apprentices or fighting for a tax structure that will help businesses and working families, Art Linares has been there for us.  He has held town meetings throughout the 12 towns in the district welcoming your input and ideas.

Art truly cares about you and improving the State of Connecticut.  Art Linares is a breath of fresh air.  As the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  On Tuesday, November 4th, re-elect a caring, pro-active public servant.  Thank you Senator Linares for your compassion, devotion and commitment to all of us.


Tom Lindner
Deep River 

Letter: Bjornberg has the Skills

To the Editor:

Every now and then a candidate who represents the best goals of all parties appears. Fortunately we have this candidate in Emily  Bjornberg who is running for the 33rd State Senate District.  She is energetic, smart,  can negotiate,  and is a great communicator.  Unlike some who run, her  desire in doing so is just to make Connecticut  a better place.  Emily has the skills to do that.  A member of the Reynolds Garage family in Lyme,  she is a working mother of two children.  Her husband, Jason, is an Iraq War Veteran.

Among other issues, Emily is strong on the environment, education, woman’s issues, gun control, and  improving benefits for veterans.   Please take the opportunity to hear Emily speak at a candidate’s forum or “meet and greet” session.  You will be sold on her ability to get things done in a thoughtful and positive manner.

Please join me on November 4 in supporting Emily Bjornberg for State Senate.

I believe her to be the best qualified candidate.



Mary Ann Pleva


Letter: Bjornberg Shows Genuine Concern for Children’s Safety

To the Editor:

State Senator Linares recently issued a press release calling for hearings on recent infant fatalities in families having dealings with the Department of Children and Families (DCF).  Few would dispute the importance of understanding why these deaths occurred, and whether DCF can be doing a better job.

But where was Linares’ concern for children when he voted against the Newtown gun control bill, saying he hadn’t read it? More recently, where was his concern for children when he used his position – some might say abused his position – to appoint a paid representative of companies that manufacture cadmium-containing jewelry to a panel looking into health issues presented by cadmium in jewelry intended for children?

Linares voted against a ban on known carcinogens in children’s clothes, and opposed efforts to create a watch list of chemicals of high concern to children. He was also one of only two Children’s Committee members to vote against a ban on spraying toxic pesticides at all Connecticut schools.  His concern for the safety of children is not at all obvious given his voting record and appointments.

Senator Linares’ opponent, on the other hand, seems to be genuinely concerned for children’s safety.  Emily Bjornberg is the mother of children ages 4 and 7, and for the past seven years has been the Youth and Family Ministries Director of the Deep River Congregational Church.  Her concerns mirror my own and she will get my vote in the November election for State Senator.


Jeffrey Sund
Essex, CT

Letter: Responding to the OS Economic Development Commission on The Preserve

To The Editor:

The OS EDC, which has itself endorsed the acquisition of The Preserve, recently released a letter asking five questions.  They deserve a response.  In order of importance, they are:

  1. Cost to the taxpayer.   In short, very little and perhaps nothing at all.  Read on.

    Acquiring The Preserve under the proposed agreement saves Old Saybrook potentially tens of millions of dollars the town would have incurred if development as planned had gone forward—and might still incur if The Preserve is left open to development.  Perhaps more important to some residents is that acquiring The Preserve will almost certainly save Old Saybrook money.  First, the cost to taxpayers for the bonding required for the town’s share of the purchase price—less than 40%–implies annual property taxes for a median home of $12 to $24 dollars, depending on the form of bonding.  So for $1-$2 a month, residents take control of an extraordinarily important 1000 acres, the headwaters of three rivers, a critical source of clean water for the area aquifer, and an environmentally important area.  Second, the costs the town now incurs will almost certainly go down.  The proposed agreement includes a very substantial permanent endowment (perhaps reaching $1 million) which will provide funds to cover proper management of The Preserve, including trail mapping, trail marking (so folks no longer get lost on the unmarked, tangled trails they now hike), and permit sustainable forestry practices.  In addition, because of the partnership with the State, state conservation officers will share the responsibility for policing the area, relieving Old Saybrook police of some of that responsibility.  And because the area will now be managed properly, residents in Old Saybrook and adjacent towns no longer face the very real threat of damage to the aquifer and degradation of their water supply—thus again saving potentially thousands of dollars for every household affected.  On balance, it is almost certain that town costs will fall by more than the cost of the bonding.

    Wen considering costs, beyond the offsetting savings we can immediately recognize, preserving The Preserve will create value for the town and the region.  Real estate professionals will tell you that the two things potential home buys ask about are the quality of the schools and access to public open space, whether parks or forests.  Multiple studies confirm that towns that acquire and manage significant open space clearly benefit along a host of vectors.   Given how well this acquisition is planned, with the creation of an endowment to provide continuous funding and the partnership with State, preserving The Preserve will deliver real value to the town and the region.

  2. Why the State is interested in assuming more than 40% of the purchase price: Connecticut has, since the early 1970s, taken a very strong bipartisan interest in preserving open space and improving environmental quality.  Perhaps some remember when the lower Connecticut River was heavily polluted and the target of quite embarrassing coverage by the New York Times.  The river is now remarkably clean and a major asset to the region.  Moreover, the Federal government provides significant financial incentives and support for these kinds of initiatives, which are so important to sustaining and strengthening a healthy natural environment.
  3. Has anyone approached Lehman Brothers directly?  I don’t know; I suspect not.  Frankly, Old Saybrook could acquire very little by trying to “go it alone” with its $3 million.  Buying two fifths of The Preserve appears absurd on its face—it avoids none of the potential costs the town would incur if the balance of the land were then developed (new school, new police and fire stations, roads and bridges to maintain—a frightening potential cost)—and captures almost none of the benefits.  It would not achieve environmental protection nor guarantee against degradation of the aquifer with the threat to the three rivers that draw on The Preserve; it would not create well-managed public access; it would not provide an endowment to provide funding to manage and maintain the property.  It is an approach that would have secured virtually no benefit but left the town open to potentially massive expenses in the future.
  4. Is hunting allowed?  Just as with the existing 500-acre Gleason property that Old Saybrook owns, state law does permit “regulated hunting” on these kinds of open spaces.  But Old Saybrook has never permitted hunting on the Gleason property, and it is unlikely that the town would permit it on The Preserve.  Moreover, given that this a state statutory requirement, if the issue ever did emerge—and there is no reason to anticipate that it will, as it has never come up with the Gleason property—then modifying the state law would be quite straight forward.   Besides, leaving The Preserve in private hands would make hunting in all forms much much more likely—just as leaving it in private hands runs the very significant risk of future developments that will impose significant continuing costs on the town.
  5. What are the pros and cons?  The comments above point to multiple pros.  Whether your interest is in environmental protection, assuring access to high quality water (the aquifer), avoiding degradation to rivers flowing form The Preserve, having easy access to a wide array of passive recreational activities, making the region more attractive to potential residents, or simply preserving the forest canopy which mitigates global warming (the NE is an important carbon sink, especially during some months), acuiring The Preserve for a comparatively small sum makes eminent good sense.  And then add the shared responsibility (and costs) with the state and the first-ever dedication endowment in support of a part or open space, and it is extremely hard to find an argument against this acquisition.

    The cons?  I have been listening intently for nearly a year.  I haven’t heard one argument against this initiative that withstood careful scrutiny and thought.   I believe that the answers to the OS EDC questions strongly confirms that view.

Acquiring The Preserve and thus preserving it for all time is simply a winner on every count.  Old Saybrook will be quite wise to join with the Trust for the Public Lands, the State of Connecticut, and hundreds of individuals who have pledged more than $1 million of their own money to make this happen.  Let’s take control of our future: vote “Yes” on July 8.


Fred V. Carstensen

Professor of Finance and Economics
Director, Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis
University of Connecticut

Resident: Old Saybrook

Letter: OS Economic Development Commission – Become Informed About Preserve

To the Editor:
In Preparation for the Upcoming Town Meeting to discuss the ‘Preserve’ which is currently scheduled to occur on June 30th, the Economic Development Commission of Old Saybrook believes that it is important for the town be properly informed regarding the ‘Preserve’ purchase. We have the following questions which we hope will be answered at the upcoming meeting:

1. If hunting is allowed, how will it be regulated? Are you comfortable having hunting here? What types of ammunition will be allowed?
2. What is the exact cost per taxpayer?
3. Has anyone from Old Saybrook approached Lehman Brothers directly regarding an outright purchase by Old Saybrook? What would OS purchasing the land itself cost dealing directly with Lehman Brothers? What would $3,000,000 buy without the state’s added investment?
4. Why is the State interested in investing into the ‘Preserve’?
5. What are the Pro’s and Con’s to this purchase?

We encourage residents to attend the meeting come prepared with your own questions. “If you have all the facts the decision will make itself.”
Old Saybrook Economic Development Commission

Letters: Pleased with Sen. Linares’ Voting Record

To the Editor:

I’m sorry to read Mr. Harfst (letter May 13, 2014) is unsatisfied with Sen. Linares’ voting record.  I am quite pleased with it myself.

Senator Linares understands what raising the minimum wage does to small businesses.  He understands in this abysmal economy, forcing small business owners to pay a higher minimum wage can mean forcing them to cut low-wage jobs in order to stay afloat.  Otherwise the businesses go under, and then who does that help?  If Mr. Harfst believes those in menial jobs deserve higher pay, why stop at $10.10?  Why not go to $15?  How about $25 as the Swiss have proposed?  Low skill jobs were never intended to be the highlight of one’s career.  They were to be rungs in the ladder to help them achieve a higher ambition.  My own children did unpaid internships, worked for less than minimum wage in jobs during the summers, and now, as adults, they all have careers they busted their tushes to attain.  That’s the way our system is supposed to work.  People get rewarded for hard work done well.

Absentee ballots have been abused over the years.  With all the volunteers who are willing to drive people to the polls and the long hours the polls are open, it’s hard to believe people can’t get themselves to the polls one way or another.  It’s called personal responsibility.

Gun safety laws (i.e., gun control) after a tragedy like Sandy Hook help the population feel as though they’re doing something good after such a horrific event, however all the laws already on the books at the time of the tragedy didn’t prevent it.  Maybe if people at the school had been armed, someone may have been able to stop the perpetrator before he killed so many innocents.  We don’t read of the crimes stopped and people saved by armed citizens with concealed carry permits because those kinds of reports don’t fit the liberal narrative.  Personally, I feel safer thinking there might be someone in the shopping mall, theater, or restaurant who, at a moment’s notice, could fend off a madman.

And, speaking of the Constitution, I assume Mr. Harfst is for it.  I assume he enjoys the freedoms it assures.  If he is, then he is a Tea Partier.  Welcome!  Tea Party members, like me, believe in protecting the document that has been the envy of people all over the world, hence the reason so many want to become Americans.

As far as Sen. Linares voting “no” to certain legislation, I’m sure his reasons were as valid for his no vote as Mr. Harfst’s party’s reasons for voting for it.  As Justice Antonin Scalia says, and I’m paraphrasing, “Our system is set up to have roadblocks when it comes to legislation.  It helps prevent bad bills from being passed.  If both sides finally agree on a bill, it’s probably a good bill.”  I trust Sen. Linares to represent his constituents by using his judgment as to whether a bill is good or bad.  I also find it sad Mr. Harfst considers Sen. Linares’ “exploits” like supporting toy drives and hosting flag collections as unworthy endeavors.  I doubt the children who receive the toys or the patriots who know their tattered flags will be disposed of properly consider these events a waste of time.  And for him to vote “no” on even higher gas prices, I say “YAY”!  They’re already some of the highest taxes in the country and any increase hurts most the aforementioned low-wage earners Mr. Harfst presumes to want to help.

Senator Linares is continuously meeting, speaking to, and most of all, listening to his constituents so he can do the work they want him to do.  In other words, he’s doing exactly what he was elected to do.


Adrienne Forrest

Letters: Senator Linares, Explain Your Voting Record

To the Editor:

The ValleyNewsNow.com (April 29) carries a press release written by supporters of Senator Linares expressing “marvel at what this young man has accomplished in such a short period of time”. Given Mr. Linares’s lamentable voting record, it is hard to understand what the release is talking about.

The record shows that Mr. Linares has waged a quiet but persistent campaign against a wide range of legislation that most constituents in his District support. For example, Mr. Linares has:

  • Voted against an increase in the minimum wage, a measure supported almost three to one by Connecticut voters (71% for, 25% against).
  • Voted against a measure that paves the way to allowing commuters, the elderly, working parents, and many others who have difficulty getting to the polls to exercise their right to vote by means of absentee ballot. Such provisions are prevalent in other states and enjoy strong public support.
  • Voted against bipartisan legislation on gun safety following Newtown that was supported by a super majority of Connecticut voters (anywhere from 68% to 93% depending on the provision) and even by many in his own party.

Mr. Linares’s web site does not even mention these important votes, let alone explain his reasoning for them. The web site is filled with details of his other exploits — toy drives, hosting flag collections, honoring a beauty queen (and, yes, his opposition to an increase in the gas tax and work on some other bills) — but not his opposition to major mainstream legislation that commands widespread public support. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Mr. Linares seeks to draw attention away from his record. Why?

One concern is that Mr. Linares may be more attuned to the interests of the Tea Party than those of the moderate center of his District. Mr. Linares has stated publicly that he was inspired to enter public service by his experience in 2010 working “proudly” for Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, known in political circles “the Crown Prince of the Tea Party”.  When it comes to voting, can it be that Mr. Linares hears the voice of the Tea Party more clearly than any other?

In the absence of information from Mr. Linares on his voting record, constituents can turn to Project Vote Smart, a well regarded, non-partisan, independently funded voter education website. It has posted a report on 10 “key votes” by Mr. Linares over the past two years.

In 7 of the 10 cases, Mr. Linares voted “no” — in other words, his “accomplishment” was to oppose any legislation. In an 8th case, he did not vote at all. In only one case in the sample did Mr. Linares vote for something that actually became law – the legalization of mixed martial arts competitions – a matter most voters would not consider a priority.

Mr. Linares, we are entitled to know why, in our name, you have opposed the exercise of basic voting rights, opposed economic fairness by means of increasing the minimum wage, and opposed protecting the public from gun violence. Please give us a full accounting of your votes on these key issues, so that we may know you by your actions, rather than your press releases.


David Harfst

Letter: In Memory of Neil

Hi Neil,

It has been six months since you made your journey back to your God. Everyone keeps telling me that the pain of missing you will ease with time. I don’t think so Neil. With each day it gets worse. I know that I was in deep denial for months. I just knew you would burst through the back door and call to me as you did so often, “Hey Boo, where are you?” I am beginning to understand that although denial is a very primitive defense, it served me well in the early months.

During those months, I ruminated over your medical care. Did we make the right choices? Did the Oncologists give us false hope? What happened? Why did you start to fail so fast? I can still hear the doctor telling us that there was no cure for your cancer, but because you were so strong, with radiation and chemo, they could give you “two, five and possibly eight more years.” For God’s sake, Neil, you only lived for five more months. I don’t understand what happened.

Several weeks after you died, I dropped my wallet on the floor at Foodworks and everything, including the little pouch that the gypsy gave us at our hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, fell to the floor. Do you remember that night? The gypsy gave each couple in the dining room a “lucky” penny and told us to write down a wish and put it and the penny into that tiny pouch. I don’t know why, because that gypsy gave me the creeps, but I always carried the pouch in my wallet; even when I had a new wallet, I transferred the pouch. When I got home from Old Saybrook, I reread our wishes and was stunned when I read that you asked for “twenty more years of health and happiness with Ali.” The date on your wish was exactly twenty years to the day that you were diagnosed.

Why did you ask for twenty more years? How did you come up with that Neil? Why not thirty? It has me wondering if you knew on an unconscious level why you were here and when you were going to die. Do you remember our conversations about Origen? We talked about him and the other Church Fathers a lot. Origen is the one who believed in the pre-existence of the soul. He taught that this life is like a classroom and the soul chooses to come here to learn certain lessons. In essence, we learn our lesson and then, in a breath, return to God. It always made perfect sense to me. The gem of his thinking was that it takes many lives to become what God wants us to be. I know you were on the fence about that issue as Origen was later condemned as a heretic by the Church. The condemning theologians believed that reincarnation denies our salvation by the death of Jesus. Quite honestly this is all beyond my ken-really.

Wherever the truth is Neil, what I do know is that I want you back here with me. I know, I know, its selfish o f me. You had a long wonderful life while so many are taken so young. Who am I to complain? We had so much together. I want you to know that on those occasions when I think I just can’t stand it anymore and start to climb into my high-chair with “Binky” in hand, I snap out of it by remembering how you were while you were so sick-courageous sums it up pretty well.

Despite that intense pain, you never did the “why me” thing. You never complained and you even managed to joke around a bit. You couldn’t fool us Neil. Despite the meds, we could see the pain etched in your wonderful face. Near the end, when the Hospice nurse gave you a stronger injection for the pain, I knew from my days volunteering at Hospice, that your death was near. At that moment, I didn’t care. I wanted your suffering to stop. It was time to let you die and go home to your God. My regret is that we didn’t call Hospice sooner.

Shortly after you died, several friends told me to look for “signs” such as dragonflies and butterflies. I saw the most notable Dragonfly in Old Saybrook. I was stopped at the light on the Boston Post Road across from Homeworks. It was a hot August day and the dragonfly was trying to land on the hood of my car. I was afraid that if it landed, it would burn its little body. It finally flew away unharmed.

The Monarch butterfly that was performing figure eights outside the kitchen window brought-up memories of your flight training at Williams Air Force Base. Do you remember the day the base commander decided it would be a good idea for the wives of the pilots in training t to visit the observation booth? The point was to see what you guys did in your little T-Thirty Eight fighter jets? Oh my gosh Neil, I wanted to throw-up. You flew by too fast, too low and definitely too loud. That was the first time I worried about your safety, but not the last. You seemed to be hardwired for thrills. By the way, thank-you for agreeing to wear a ski helmet when you raced and “attacked” the Moguls. Why did it take so much arm-twisting?

It was the Mourning Dove that really got to me. For days, it sat on top of one of our bird feeders with its eyes facing towards the water. After several days, it turned toward the house, stayed for awhile and then flew away. How many times did you say to me, “Ali, you know, Mourning Doves mate for life?” I wept for that Dove. Had it lost its mate? I think so.

I have no clue what the signs were all about. They were comforting on some level and did, I think, prevent me from feeling the impact of your death so acutely. I remember the day when I finally got the two by four in the stomach. I was at the Doctor’s office filling out some paperwork that had its origin in Health and Human Services for God’s sake. The second or third question asked if I were married or single. The question provoked so many feelings. I didn’t know how to answer that question and left it blank. It is hard to believe that something like that was the engine for my descent into the reality of your death.

Finally understanding that I am no longer your wife and will never again feel your touch, or hear your gentle words or see your beautiful smile is so painful that I think I might break into a hundred pieces. You are my best friend Neil, my lover, my confidant, my teacher and my pupil-my soul mate. We fell in love when we were so young. In many ways, we helped author each other’s lives. Nothing, not the loss of grandparents, parents, siblings or friends prepared me for the loss of you. I am so frightened that you will forget us. And, will I forget what it was like to be loved by you? Please, no!

Recently, I had lunch with a woman whom you know who lost her husband a year ago last November. She was telling me that someone suggested that she think of three things for which she would thank her husband. If I could only choose three things, the first would be your loving me so completely and so honestly. Even when we were in the middle of a lollapalooza of an argument, I never doubted your love-not for an instant. And we never stayed angry for long. For me, the ice-breaker was a simple glance into your eyes where I saw the intensity of your unconditional love. Your eyes really were a window to your soul Neil.

Secondly, I want to thank-you for our three wonderful sons. I see something of you in each of them. The boys and their families are O.K. They all miss you terribly and are grieving for you-each in their own way. They are in Connecticut frequently and I am beginning to stop protesting. A friend suggested that they probably feel closer to you right here. When they are here, we have some good belly laughs. I feel guilty when I laugh so hard Neil. I ask myself how I can laugh when I am feeling so sad and you’re not here to join us? I do know that you would not judge us and probably are happy that we can laugh.

The puppies also make me laugh. They miss you and, at first, were acting-out all over the place- if you get my drift. We love visiting your grave. I guess that would be a surprise to you as I have never been a “cemetery person.” I feel comforted while I am there; you feel close-by. Jaynie sniffs around a lot and Murphy always pees on your grave. At first, I thought that it was his way of letting you know how angry he is that you left. I know now that it is just his way of saying, “I love you.”

The third thing I want to thank-you for is arranging for the auctioneer to come here, at the appropriate time, to pick-up your amazing antique collection. You knew that I couldn’t deal with all that “stuff.” He took it all-antique hat pins to your beautiful wooden planes. When I go to the basement, it’s a little sad to see it all gone because I know how hard that was for you.

It was hard, but you were thinking of me. And that brings me to your decency. I often think about what it was that I loved and admired the most about you. Yes, you are intelligent and I always loved picking your brain. You could converse in depth on any subject and it constantly amazed me. And your optimism was legend-a glass half-full kind of guy. But, it was your decency, your generosity of spirit, time and treasure that made me love you so much. It animated your life.

I can’t think of one time that you were too busy to help someone in need. Is it any wonder that my sister called you Lance? How many times did I say to you, “You had better put your white horse back in the barn and give it a rest Neil?” Whether family, extended family, friends, acquaintances or strangers, you were always there to help. And it came from your heart-not your ego.

Speaking of ego, I am having a hard time focusing and am experiencing a lot of anxiety. Your sister reminds me to stay focused while driving. She has a friend who lost her husband and became so distracted that she drove into a tree. I guess it was probably a good decision for me to stop listening to Elvis’ Gospel music while driving the car. The news is definitely more grounding.

I suppose lack of focus and anxiety is pretty normal during the grief “process.” But really, is there a normal, or abnormal, or right or wrong way to grieve? I don’t think so. I am finding it bit easier to cope with your death when you make your presence know. I love it when you come to me in my dreams. When you told me you were healed, although I already knew that you were, it warmed my heart to hear it from you. And, I heard you loud and clear to take my friggen keys out of the car. I know these aren’t just grief fantasies or the result of psychic trauma; they are real and beautiful-a bridge from your soul to my heart. Please don’t stop coming Neil. I love you, Ali.


Alison Nichols


Letters: Essex Grove Street Park Project Update

Dear Friends of Essex Park & Recreation,

First, we would like to wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy Holidays!

Also, please note our previous email on our terrific offering of youth after-school programs beginning in January. All EES students should have received our brochure through the school, here is a link to it as well: www.essexct.gov/sites/essexct/files/winter_13-14.pdf. Please do not delay in registering for these programs.

We would like to update you on our Civic Campus / Grove Street Park Improvement Project. The new playground is now open for use! It is wintertime, however on nice days like today it is sure to be used. The playground was finished on December 1 however our installer accidentally damaged a piece of equipment which had to be re-ordered and shipped, and a brand new one was installed just a few days ago. Work will continue in the spring as we will perform grounds remediation and repair, shift benches and picnic tables back into place, and we will install a new entrance pathway from the parking lot to the playground.

We hope everyone enjoys the new playground and we thank you for your patience during this process. The tennis courts will be finished in the spring as well as soon as conditions permit, I know our local tennis players are eager to use our new facility.

As always, we welcome you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have.


Mary Ellen Barnes
Essex Park and Recreation

Town of Essex
Recreation Program Manager &
Social Services Representative

Literacy Volunteers-Valley Shore Trains Sixteen New Tutors

Sixteen area residents were intensively trained in fall workshops to tutor adults in Basic Reading and English as a Second Language. The seven-session workshop introduces individuals to the fundamentals of teaching basic reading as well as English to foreign individuals. This year’s fall graduates were Joanne Argersinger of Deep River, Emily Brown of Essex, Paul Chapman of Guilford, Bill Etter of Guilford, Wendy Gifford of Madison, Nicholas King of Old Lyme, Katy Klarnet of Old Lyme, Valerie Klein of Niantic, Lori Miller of Chester, Barbara Pilcher of Old Saybrook, Patricia Rivers of Essex, Andrew Rogers of Clinton, Jennifer Rugarber of Madison, Christine Stout of Old Lyme, Penny Tosatti of Westbrook, and Ellen Wagner of Branford.

As an accredited affiliate of ProLiteracy America, LVVS is in its third decade of helping people in Valley Shore towns learn to read, write, and speak better English to improve their lives. These services are free of charge to the student and completely confidential. For further information contact the Literacy Volunteers office by calling (860) 399-0280, email info@vsliteracy.org or visit our website at www.vsliteracy.org.

For more information about this release, contact;  Peter Mezzetti, Communications Chairperson,  Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore CT., Inc. (203) 506-8135 or by e-mail at pmezzetti@vsliteracy.org

Letter: A Message from TTYS on Suicide Prevention

To the Editor:

“Be the 1 to start the conversation” is the tagline of three billboards scheduled by the Tri-Town Youth Services Suicide Prevention Workgroup for installation in the tri-town area during November and December. The billboards are intended to create awareness of local and statewide efforts to prevent suicide.

It’s a shocking thought that in 2011, 8.5 million people nationwide had seriously contemplated suicide and that in Connecticut someone dies by suicide on average every day of the year. A person considering suicide is in pain; they very often do not see any alternatives to suicide. They may engage in despondent and self-defeating thinking, increasing their sense of hopelessness. We, ordinary people, can learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of suicidal thinking and how to act—for example, when and how to use 2-1-1 for crisis intervention—to let a person in severe emotional pain know we care.

The conversation about suicide is also a conversation about mental health and well-being. The statistics surrounding mental health disorders are formidable as well. Every year in the United States, 1 out of every 5 adults over the age of 18—or 45.6 million people—will experience a mental illness. Lifetime rates are even higher. Across a lifespan, 1 out of 2 people will suffer with a mental health problem at some point. So it is extremely likely we’ll encounter someone in our families, workplaces, schools, churches, or communities, who lives with a diagnosed mental disorder. Studies show the vast majority of people experiencing mental illness can be treated effectively and live full, satisfying lives, contributing positively in all the places they live, work and play. Yet nearly 60% of people with disorders do not seek mental health treatment. Of those who do seek treatment, even they typically delay doing so for a decade. Stigma can be a determining factor in preventing people from receiving the help they need.

Stigma isolates, shames, embarrasses and literally threatens the well being of an individual.  Think of the words we commonly hear when people talk about a person with mental illness; none of them are attractive. While we would be hard pressed to hear someone referred to as “a cancer,” or “a broken leg,” we often do hear people referred to as “manic depressives” or “schizophrenics.” This kind of labeling is disrespectful and creates a daunting barrier to recovery. Because mental health problems impact one’s ability to work, carry out daily activities and engage in satisfying relationships, the longer a person waits to receive help the more their illness will have disrupted their lives. While the above statistics address the adult population, consider this: half of all mental health problems arise before age 14, and 75% before age 25, a period of time we now know is critical for brain development. How can we begin to eliminate stigma and increase the likelihood that people suffering from mental health concerns or in crisis will get the help they so urgently need?

Eliminating misconceptions about mental illness, engaging the media in reducing erroneous stereotypes, and providing tools for community members to support their acting positively, confidently and compassionately when mental health concerns do arise can go a long way to eliminating stigma. For example, despite the prevalent misconception that people with mental illness are violent, there is generally very little risk of violence or harm to a stranger from casual contact with an individual with a mental health disorder. In fact, a person with a mental illness is much more likely to be a victim than a perpetrator of violence. The media offers hope for eradicating stigma because of its power to educate and influence public opinion. And in Deep River, a course is being offered by Tri-Town Youth Services on January 7th and 14th entitled Mental Health First Aid which teaches members of the public how to respond in a mental health emergency and offer assistance to someone who appears to be in emotional distress.

Not every person in psychological distress is at risk of suicide or has a mental disorder, but the strains, stresses, and challenges of today’s society increase our vulnerability. With a 50 – 50 chance of developing a mental health concern in a lifetime, committing to connection vs. isolation and support vs. shame—whether we find ourselves in a position to give or to receive—increases all of our chances for individual and community well-being.


Claire Walsh
14 Dickinson Court
Deep River, CT 06417

Claire M. Walsh has had extensive experience working with adults and adolescents as a Clinical Social Worker and Addictions Specialist. She is a member of the Tri-Town Youth Services Suicide Prevention Workgroup.



Letter: Chester Library Expansion Clarification

To Editor:

As a Chester Library Trustee, I would like to clarify that the expansion “plan” mentioned in Mr. Stannard’s article is more of a concept. There are no specific architectural plans but conceptual drawings of an idea for a lower level. The Board of Trustees has scheduled a community conversation to present this concept to the people of Chester on Saturday, January 11 (snow date 1/25) at the Meeting House. Details to be announced soon.


Deedee Prisloe
Chester Library Trustee

Letters: Stuff-a-Cruiser Fundraiser – Thank You Essex!

To the Editor:

Thank You ESSEX!

Members of the Essex Community Fund recently had an opportunity to work with Russ Gingras and Todd Belcort of the Essex Police Department at the Stuff-a-Cruiser event for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries.  Our job was small, yet with a large impact. We asked Colonial Market shoppers if they would help stuff the cruiser by purchasing a few extra items with their regular groceries.  Nearly ever person approached said they would, and most came out with bags of food and were happy to do so.  A few people offered money instead which we accepted and our members purchased food on their behalf.  Essex people have always been extremely generous, which makes our job easier.  When thanked, one food donor said, “you know, I get to eat every day, but that is not true for everyone.”   At 7:00 pm, we went to the Congregational Church in Old Saybrook to drop off, weigh, and help organize the food along with the food bank coordinator and other volunteers.  The total amount of food collected was over1800 lbs.   Although there may be other places (and warmer ones) we could have spent a few hours that evening, but no other place would have been as gratifying or rewarding. Thank you all.  The next Stuff a Cruiser event will be December 13th from 3:30 to 7:00 at the Colonial Market. We hope to see you then.


The Board of Directors
Essex Community Fund


Letters: TTYS Suicide Awareness Program

To the Editor:

“Be the 1 to start the conversation” is the tagline of three billboards scheduled by the Tri-Town Youth Services Suicide Prevention Workgroup for installation in the tri-town area during November and December. The billboards are intended to create awareness of local and statewide efforts to prevent suicide.

It’s a shocking thought that in 2011, 8.5 million people nationwide had seriously contemplated suicide and that in Connecticut someone dies by suicide on average every day of the year. A person considering suicide is in pain; they very often do not see any alternatives to suicide. They may engage in despondent and self-defeating thinking, increasing their sense of hopelessness. We, ordinary people, can learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of suicidal thinking and how to act—for example, when and how to use 2-1-1 for crisis intervention—to let a person in severe emotional pain know we care.

The conversation about suicide is also a conversation about mental health and well-beingThe statistics surrounding mental health disorders are formidable as well. Every year in the United States, 1 out of every 5 adults over the age of 18—or 45.6 million people—will experience a mental illness. Lifetime rates are even higher. Across a lifespan, 1 out of 2 people will suffer with a mental health problem at some point. So it is extremely likely we’ll encounter someone in our families, workplaces, schools, churches, or communities, who lives with a diagnosed mental disorder. Studies show the vast majority of people experiencing mental illness can be treated effectively and live full, satisfying lives, contributing positively in all the places they live, work and play. Yet nearly 60% of people with disorders do not seek mental health treatment. Of those who do seek treatment, even they typically delay doing so for a decade. Stigma can be a determining factor in preventing people from receiving the help they need.

Stigma isolates, shames, embarrasses and literally threatens the well being of an individual.  Think of the words we commonly hear when people talk about a person with mental illness; none of them are attractive. While we would be hard pressed to hear someone referred to as “a cancer,” or “a broken leg,” we often do hear people referred to as “manic depressives” or “schizophrenics.” This kind of labeling is disrespectful and creates a daunting barrier to recovery. Because mental health problems impact one’s ability to work, carry out daily activities and engage in satisfying relationships, the longer a person waits to receive help the more their illness will have disrupted their lives. While the above statistics address the adult population, consider this: half of all mental health problems arise before age 14, and 75% before age 25, a period of time we now know is critical for brain development. How can we begin to eliminate stigma and increase the likelihood that people suffering from mental health concerns or in crisis will get the help they so urgently need?

Eliminating misconceptions about mental illness, engaging the media in reducing erroneous stereotypes, and providing tools for community members to support their acting positively, confidently and compassionately when mental health concerns do arise can go a long way to eliminating stigma. For example, despite the prevalent misconception that people with mental illness are violent, there is generally very little risk of violence or harm to a stranger from casual contact with an individual with a mental health disorder. In fact, a person with a mental illness is much more likely to be a victim than a perpetrator of violence. The media offers hope for eradicating stigma because of its power to educate and influence public opinion. And in Deep River, a course is being offered by Tri-Town Youth Services on January 7th and 14th entitled Mental Health First Aid which teaches members of the public how to respond in a mental health emergency and offer assistance to someone who appears to be in emotional distress.

Not every person in psychological distress is at risk of suicide or has a mental disorder, but the strains, stresses, and challenges of today’s society increase our vulnerability. With a 50 – 50 chance of developing a mental health concern in a lifetime, committing to connection vs. isolation and support vs. shame—whether we find ourselves in a position to give or to receive—increases all of our chances for individual and community well-being.


Claire Walsh
14 Dickinson Court
Deep River, CT 06417

Claire M. Walsh has had extensive experience working with adults and adolescents as a Clinical Social Worker and Addictions Specialist. She is a member of the Tri-Town Youth Services Suicide Prevention Workgroup.

Letters: Supporting Doug Nagan for the Deep River Board of Finance

To the Editor:

I confidently recommend Doug Nagan for the Deep River Board of Finance.  Doug, a longtime resident of Deep River is an experienced businessman and understands finance and the need to balance budgets.  He is a past Treasurer of the Old Lyme Country Club.

The purpose of the Board of Finance, in Doug’s view, is not to micromanage the daily operations of Deep River, but rather to make sure the department’s budgets reflect the community’s objectives and resources.  Doug realizes every budget reflects a balancing of desires and resources and compromise is necessary as part of the process.  He only wishes that this view was held in Washington, D.C.

Doug’s commitment to responsible town government will help promote financial stability.  If you want thoughtful people serving in town government, join me in supporting Doug Nagan for the Deep River Board of Finance.


Thomas W. Lindner
Deep River

Letters: ECSI – Thanks to Our Community and Supporters

To the Editor:

small logoThe Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. (ECSI) is the sole provider of Meals On Wheels to homebound seniors in the nine Estuary towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton, Killingworth, Chester, Deep River, and Essex, and the Town of Madison.  We also provide noon meals for active seniors in four café sites.  Just about every family on the Shoreline knows someone who is either receiving Meals On Wheels or enjoys meals at our café sites.

Like so many other nonprofits, ECSI has budget cuts and has to tighten its belt.  Although we get funding from Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging and donations from our clients, the funding does not cover the cost of providing the meals.  We could not provide our services without fund raising events.  Our latest Autumn on the Dock Wine Tasting and Auction was held on September 21 and was a success again this year.  I would like to thank all those generous people who attended the event and opened their wallets to support our seniors.  Len DiBella of Luigi’s was our honorary chairman and an eloquent spokesman for our senior nutrition program.

I urge you to support and thank our great sponsors as they donated $23,350 for our senior nutrition program.  They are Scranton Financial Group; Fred Cliffe; Middlesex Hospital; Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale; First Niagara Foundation; Rachel Thomas Real Estate; the Essex Savings Bank; Tri State Maintenance; Reynolds’ Garage & Marine; the Safety Zone; the Clark Group; the Guilford Savings Bank; Claremont Sales Group; Gladeview Rehabilitation & Health Care; Kitchings & Potter, LLC, Home Instead Senior Care, Ceil Printing, and the Wine Cask.

If you know of a senior in need of our nutrition service, or if you would like to volunteer to drive for Meals On Wheels, please call Peg Barrett at 860-388-1611.

Thank you,

Paula C. Ferrara,
Executive Director

Estuary Council of Seniors Inc.

Letters: Run for Chris Fundraiser Huge Success – Thank You

2013 logo


To the Editor:

The 2nd Annual 5K Run for Chris on 6-22-13 was a hugh success this year. Thank you to all who made this possible. The Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation at Middlesex County is a non-profit that integrates multicultural and foreign language programs into the schools of Lower Valley of Middlesex County.

Because of the kindness of The Town of Essex, Essex Park and Recreation, The Essex Police, The Resident State Trooper, and all of the people who donated and ran or walked this event we raised funds to support Chris’s dreams and visions. The high school students will benefit thru a grant from the fund to pay for transportation to visit Spain, France and Quebec this school year.

We would also like to thank all the sponsors especially “ From You Flowers “, our premier sponsor. Also instrumental in the success of the run were all the volunteers who donated their time. Special thanks to the race committee members: Cathy Bishop (race director), Julie Conner (for her logo design), George Chapin, Linda Talbott, Chloe Zanardi, and Sarah Delorso.

See you next year at the 3rd Annual 5K Run for Chris on Sat. June 21,2014. The run is now certified by the USATF.


Robin Chapin

Letter: Chester Organon Market Planning Process

To the editor,

As a Chester resident, former P & Z Commissioner, and owner of property abutting the Organon Market on Route 154, I have been following Charles Stannard’s coverage of the story quite closely.

I have found his coverage to be an evenhanded and accurate depiction of the complicated issues that have surrounded the project for the past three years. I would, however, like to comment on a couple points made in his article entitled: Organon Market to Close for Remodeling – Permit Application to Chester P&Z.

First, Mr. Stannard writes that (market owner) “Peter Kehayias also acknowledged the market at 56 Middlesex Avenue, also known as Route 154, would probably never reopen if the commission does not approve some revisions to conditions that the panel imposed when it approved a special permit for the market in September 2011”.  It is important to understand that P&Z did not  “impose” any conditions.  Rather, the special permit was negotiated by Mr. Kehayias and his attorney(s) with input from the commission.  In fact, many of the conditions that Mr. Kehayias is now trying to alter were authored by Mr. Kehayias himself.  They were presented for the record during the public hearings and are memorialized in the meeting minutes and in his application.   These issues include the type and amount of allowable exterior signage and Mr. Kehayias’ agreement to forgo seating and the on-site consumption of food.

Mr. Stannard quotes Mr. Kehayias as saying “ The market should be allowed to run as a market…..I can’t be looking over my shoulder all the time”.   Mr. Kehayias seems eager to lay the Market’s problems at the feet of his neighbors, the Zoning Enforcement Officer, and P&Z.  The truth is that P&Z did not write the statutes which he feels have limited his operation.  Local Town commissions are mandated to follow State Statute on Zoning (and other) matters, and the Town would be terribly, as lawyers would say, “ exposed”  if they were to approve activity forbidden by the State.  Mr. Kehayias purchased a property in a residential zone which, by definition, restricts many types of commercial activity.  This is not opinion, this is law.

During the application and construction process, Mr. Kehayias enjoyed the counsel of architects, assorted licensed contractors, traffic engineers, and at least (by my count) four different attorneys.    It is difficult for many of us to fathom how he can now suggest that the Town is restricting his activities and not allowing him to succeed.  The application process for the market was extremely long and detailed, with considerable discussion and negotiation on everything from the menu and operating hours to the noise generated by the kitchen equipment.  The process was completely transparent, and we all should have known what to expect and what rules we’d have to play by.


Richard Gold
Chester, CT

Letter: Ivoryton Parade – Heartfelt Gratitude Extended to the Participants

To the Editor:

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”  ~Abraham Lincoln

On Thursday, July 4th, the village of Ivoryton hosted our nation’s birthday celebration for the three villages of the Town of Essex.  The 8th Annual Ivoryton Village Parade was only made possible by the volunteer efforts and participation of our citizens.  Our heartfelt gratitude is extended to the veterans who led the parade, our Grand Marshals Herb and Sherry Clark, the fire fighters, ambulance crews, police officers, elected officials, as well as each and every participant.  We also owe our thanks to our Town Historian, Chris Pagliuco, host of the ceremony following the parade, Samantha Barlow for a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem and the talented musicians of the New Horizons Band, led by Paddy Hurley.  We are fortunate to live in an exceptional community of which we should all be proud.  It is the individuals who are willing to volunteer their time and energy that make it such a wonderful place to call home.  Our thanks to all who made the 4th of July Parade a success!!


Cotty Barlow and Loretta McCluskey,
Parade Coordinators

Letter: Senator Linares, Gun Control, and the NRA: More Transparency Needed

To the Editor:

The Valley News Now (April 26) quotes Senator Linares at length in remarks before a recent seniors’ luncheon of the Estuary Council explaining why he voted against the Newtown gun control law.  In my opinion, Mr. Linares’s remarks are unconvincing.  They set a standard of glib analysis that hopefully will not characterize his future votes in office. Equally important, Mr. Linares’s remarks leave me wondering whether he has told us the whole story of his “ no” vote. The News reports that he did not volunteer his explanation, but only responded to questions after having  “consented” to a discussion.  Mr. Linares’s web site does not mention his vote.  Why is that, on an issue of such importance to his constituents?

Mr. Linares is quoted by the News as saying he “did not have a chance to read the bill.”  This is hard to credit.  The new law is largely the work of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety established last January – of which Mr. Linares was a member from the beginning.  The Task Force took extensive testimony, and legislative proposals began to emerge from it as early as the beginning of March.  The members of the Task Force then reportedly met behind closed doors to negotiate the legislation for two months before emerging in early April with a bipartisan proposal. Is it possible that Senator Linares was still clueless after participating in such a process?

The News quotes Mr. Linares as saying that the legislation “could create a black market” in guns. So what?  A black market in heroin “could be” the result of existing laws prohibiting that substance.  Mr. Linares does not, I assume, favor legalizing heroin. Taxes on cigarettes and regulatory restrictions on the production of pharmaceutical products arguably have fostered black markets in those products.  Does Mr. Linares support eliminating cigarette taxes or allowing the production of prescription drugs in substandard facilities? The answer to black markets is to enforce laws against them – not cave in.

Mr. Linares’s thought process in explaining his  “no” vote is so obscure he sometimes seems to speak in riddles.  He is quoted as saying, for example, that his concern was for police officers.  He reasons that taking guns away from common citizens could have the effect of being “dangerous to law enforcement officers.”  What does he mean by this?  How can it be good for the police, let alone the rest of us, to allow every Tom, Dick, and Harry, irrespective of mental instability or terrorist proclivities, to have access to military style weapons?  Mr. Linares does not explain.

Mr. Linares claims that “most guns are used for self defense”. This seems doubtful. I would guess that “most guns” are used for hunting or target practice.  Still, if Mr. Linares is correct that ”most guns are used for self defense,” perhaps it is because folks are returning fire — in which case it might also be true that “most guns are used in violent crime.”  In any event, Mr. Linares’s observation is irrelevant because the legislation does not ban “most guns” in Connecticut, but only a small subset of them, specifically some 100 types of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines.

Few would contest Mr. Linares assertion that citizens should have the “right to defend themselves.”  However, that is not the issue presented by the Newtown legislation, which leaves intact an individual’s access to a huge variety of guns.  The issue presented by Newtown is whether we as citizens also have a right to gather in public places without the nagging fear of being attacked by an unstable, violent few bearing arms of such great destructive force that they properly belong in the military for our collective defense.

A few weeks after he voted “no” on the Newtown legislation, Mr. Linares posted a piece on his web site entitled “what I’ve heard in my first 100 days as State Senator.” There is no mention of Newtown.  Instead, Mr. Linares speaks forcefully against fiscal irresponsibility and wasteful government spending.  Is it not wasteful to spend scarce taxpayer dollars on the compensation of elected officials who do not have the  time to read important legislation and yet proceed on the basis of superficial analysis to vote against it?

In the meantime, well over a month after the enactment of the Newtown legislation, Mr. Linares still has not posted on his official website an explanation of his reasons for voting no.  I respectfully call upon him to do so now.  This is important to the transparency of his position.  All of Mr. Linares’s constituents have the right to know his reasoning, not only those who happened to attend the seniors’ luncheon at the Estuary Council.

In the context of such disclosure, it would be helpful if Mr. Linares would also clarify his dealings with the National Rifle Association.  According to the non-partisan voter education organization “Project Vote Smart”( www.votesmart.org), Mr. Linares last year was accorded a 92% approval rating by the political action committee of the National Rifle Association.  This entity, known as the “NRA Political Victory Fund” (NRA PVF), is the campaign finance arm of the NRA.  The 92% approval rating given Mr. Linares apparently was the highest accorded any member of the Connecticut General Assembly (shared with only a distinct minority of his colleagues). The NRA PVF website in turn states that it “ranks political candidates – irrespective of party affiliation – based on voting records, public statements and their responses to an NRA-PVF questionnaire.”

Since Mr. Linares had no voting record on gun control at the time of his 92% ranking in 2012, and his public statements on this issue have in my experience proven elusive, it would be reasonable to assume that Mr. Linares’s stellar NRA ranking was the result of his answers to their questionnaire.  Those answers in turn hold the key to understanding what standard Mr. Linares applied when he told the seniors’ luncheon that the Newtown legislation “ went too far and was too extreme.”

The issue now is whether Mr. Linares will be as forthcoming to his constituents as he apparently has been to the NRA.  Towards this end, I call upon Mr. Linares to publish on his web site his responses to the NRA questionnaire together with any other information he has provided to the NRA that would shed light on his gun control views.  This would help his constituents understand whether it was the Newtown legislation, or Mr. Linares’s own position, which “went too far and was too extreme.”


David Harfst

Letter: In Defense of W

To the Editor:

On behalf of those Americans who did not cheer the departure of President Bush, I would like to thank and defend him for his honorable service to America.

There are legions of us who recognize his decency, his many accomplishments (CAFTA, Medicare reform, tax cuts, democracy in Iraq, missile defense, unprecedented aid to Africa and Asia, denuclearizing of Libya, taking the lessons learned from Katrina to reform the emergency response system) and his unwavering commitment to keep America safe.

I and those like me respect and honor President Bush because after America was brutally attacked on 9/11, he never lost his will and sense of urgency to keep Americans safe. Despite nauseating teeth-clacking from the left, President Bush put policies and programs in place that protected America for the next seven and one-half years.

We honor George Bush for sending a strong signal to the enemies of peace and freedom that he believes in peace through strength and that he understands that talk-therapy is out of the question when dealing with the pathological hatred felt by those who want to destroy the infidels- us. He had the leadership to ignore the anti-war agitators, hand-wringers, and naysayers. He and our brave heroes have kept us safe. Although he has been cruelly, dangerously, and unjustly maligned, Georg Bush will be judged an extremely consequential president.


Alison Nichols, M.Div.

Letter: Essex Town Government, Elementary School Budgets Draw Mild Response at Annual Hearing

To The Editor,

The statement in the subject article: “There were no calls for specific reductions or other changes to the budget plan …” is absolutely NOT TRUE.  I attended the meeting and made specific line item recommendations to reduce about $13,000 in the budget.  These reductions, in my opinion, would have had no impact on the services provided by the town.


Phil Beckman
Ivoryton, CT

Letter: Senator Linares’s Vote Against Gun Control, Contrary to Majority of Constituent’s Wishes, Requires Explanation

To The Editor:

I write to thank ValleyNewsNow for its coverage of Senator Linares’s recent vote against the gun control law enacted by the Connecticut Legislature with broad bipartisan support following the Newtown massacre.

Mr. Linares’s constituents have a right to know the reasons for his opposition, given the undeniable support in his district for child safety, the strong endorsement of the bill across party lines, and the uncertainty as to what credible alternative Mr. Linares is offering.

However, while the ValleyNewsNow coverage of Senator Linares’s “no” vote is helpful, it was not altogether satisfying.  The article reports that Mr. Linares issued a statement which “concluded the bill does not address the most important problems”.  But it does not tell us how Mr. Linares reached that conclusion or what measures he would advocate instead.

Senator Linares reportedly said that he decided to vote against the gun law “after talking to many residents of the 33rd district”.  If Mr. Linares means to suggest that his vote reflects the majority of his constituents’ views, I would guess that claim is almost certainly preposterous. To my knowledge, Mr. Linares never conducted a hearing on the issue in his district, and the extensive testimony he heard as a member of the Newtown Task Force led other legislators to broad bipartisan support for the measure.  The true basis of Mr. Linares’s position remains a mystery.

Mr. Linares’s official website sheds no light on the matter either.  As of today, April 19 – over two weeks after the bill’s enactment – Mr. Linares’s web site does not even mention his vote, let alone carry the statement described by the Valley News.  Instead, when one consults the web site’s “in the news” section, one learns that in the aftermath of the legislation, Mr. Linares spent his time commending kindergartners for helping others, extolling the Haddam Shad Museum, and “high fiving” intermediate school students on tour of the State capitol.

One need not begrudge Senator Linares his “feel good” press releases or his energetic attempts to have them covered in the  local press, no matter how modest the content. (See, for example, the 10 or so articles appearing in the Valley News since mid January extensively covering among other things Mr. Linares participation in various meetings, his tours of local factories, and even his attendance at someone else’s press conference)  But they are not a substitute for keeping his district informed of what he is actually doing in Hartford and why.

The public’s right to know our representatives positions is not a partisan issue.  It applies left, right and center. Again, the  Newtown legislation is being cited as a model of bipartisan cooperation worthy of emulation at the national level. Residents of the 33rd District, whether they be Republican, Democrats, or Independents, deserve to understand why Mr. Linares took an outlier position on this historic legislation


David Harfst,  

Letters: Thanks to our First Responders

To The Editor:

Last weekend, our beloved Welsh Terrier, Jaynie,  Houdinied herself out of our parked car. I watched in horror as she rocketed down Main Street. Her little ears were flapping   joyfully in the wind. The bubble over her head must have read something like, “Yippee, I am free and on my way to mess with those River Museum ducks.”

Fortunately, one of Essex’s finest passed by in his patrol car.  With officer Belcourt’s guidance and a neighbor’s agility, Jaynie was scooped-up and returned to her grateful parents. Later on, I began thinking about our first responders and how lucky we are to have their help and protection. I will never forget the letter on your online news written by Jerry Wilson. Jerry was writing to thank officer Kenafick for responding to his call to Town Hall asking for help with a fallen tree. Officer Kenafick arrived on the scene and equal to Paul Bunyan lifted the tree off the driveway.

Of course small issues lead to the big issues. How do these men and women and all our first responders do what they do? When they get that 911 call, they never know exactly what is on the other end.  First responders to fires, car crashes, natural disasters, domestic violence, robberies, medical emergencies and more are heroes. They seem to have something extra in their DNA.  Maybe it’s “Grit” that allows this special breed to remain cool, dedicated and brave under unimaginable circumstances.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the first responders, not only for the warm and fuzzy thing that they do, but for their extreme bravery under extreme pressures.  I write with my deepest respect for these men and women.


Alison Nichols, M.Div., Essex CT

Letters: Essex Community Fund – Thank You Essex!

Thank you Essex!

The Essex Community Fund would like to thank the residents of the Villages of Essex for their generous support of our 2012 fund raising efforts.  Your generosity has allowed us to distribute grants to thirty-two local non-profit organizations, two different community projects, as well as support local community activities.

For sixty-four years ECF has continued to serve its mission statement by enhancing the quality of life for Essex residents thru the support of the non-profit organizations and programs that serve them.  At our annual Day of Giving on March 27th at the Centerbrook Meetinghouse, these local non-profits and programs that serve Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton, come together to be recognized and receive their grants.  This event is recorded by the Valley Regional Media Department and can be viewed on the local cable access channel.


Jacqueline D. Doane, President
Essex Community Fund

Letters: Climate Change a Manufactured Crisis

To the Editor:

I am scratching my head in wonderment over President Obama’s Inaugural address in which he pledged to address the “threat of climate change.” Why now? The economy is shrinking. Seven million people are poised to lose their health insurance under Obama Care. Unemployment, underemployment and those no longer looking for employment is a real crisis in America. And our President is focused on a hoax created by the UN. Perhaps now that Obama is sinking in the polls, he will, in his State of the Union address to the nation, focus on the real issues facing America.

Obama knows that “climate change” is a giant hoax. John Kerry, the new “climate-change” secretary of state, knows it is a hoax. And yes, the guy who has made gobs of money perpetuating the false beliefs surrounding the hoax, the king of carbon-credits, Al Gore, also knows it’s a hoax. Not only has Gore’s book (An Inconvenient Truth) been used in schools to indoctrinate our kids and grandkids, but this giant hypocrite has just raked in one hundred million dollars from oil monies after claiming that fossil fuel is the culprit in “climate change.” The inconvenient truth is that the earth’s climate has been warming, cooling and dramatically changing from the beginning of time. For goodness sake, the plague in 1867 is blamed on weather. Chinese sea captains reported melting ice caps as far back as 1434. Mega earthquakes and Tsunamis as well as blizzards, “raging fires, crippling droughts, powerful storms,” horrific tornadoes and scorching heat waves have also been around since antiquity.

Thankfully, a majority of Americans are no longer drinking the climate cool- aid passed out by liberal/progressives, or better “UNers.” We are beginning to ferret-out the truth that this hoax was created by the UN to gain power to itself. The plan was conceived in 1987 as a means to achieve “Global Government” through a manufactured crisis. Who can forget the words of Obama’s former chief of staff, the present mayor of Chicago, who said, “never let a crisis go to waste.”   We have been duped. All the over-arching rules and regulations have been used to force citizens to obey a doctrine that is fallacious.

The creators of the giant hoax, the UN and its sycophants, realized, brilliantly I might add, that its Agenda, that openly targets private property with oppressive regulations, had to be established on a local level first. That said, it is up to each of us to discern if our local boards, commissions and legislature are loaded with “UNers.” Are those serving selflessly performing their civic duties and looking out for the citizens of their towns and districts- or is their agenda the UN Agenda? Our founders were counting on ordinary citizens to speak out to protect our rights.

I wonder, do “We the People” of our great nation really want to be manipulated by the UN? Do we care that this UN invasion into our country will ultimately strip away our freedoms? Do we care that “global warming” hype, “climate change” hype and “rising sea levels” hype is a sinister means of enforcing the idea that the collective takes a front seat to individual rights? Inherent in this idea is the belief that the government can “plan” our lives better than the individual.

Liberal/progressives have very effectively demonized and dismissed the canaries in the coal mine as whacky, paranoid conspiracy theorists. No, the canaries understand that the invasion of the UN agenda has ushered in “a long train of abuses and usurpations” that the Constitution warned would threatened our Freedom and Liberty.

Many Americans watched Paul Harvey’s stellar tribute to our Farmers delivered in a commercial at the Super Bowl.  Have you heard the recording of Harvey’s prescient “warning for a nation” delivered in 1965? It is entitled, “If I Were the Devil.” Please, google it!


Alison Nichols,
Essex, CT


Letters: Proposed Path to a Safer Society

To the Editor:

Sandy Hook School is an earthquake that shakes the soul of human decency. My response:

I acknowledge the right to have a hunting rifle and a pistol for self-defense.  The right to self-defense is a root of liberty. Equally important is a coincident right of people who choose not to own a gun: the right to live in a safe and secure society. This right is an indisputable expectation. While I realize this is an ideal that will be difficult to fulfill, we must, for the sake of human decency, respect, and compassion, strive to create such a society. To not strive for this goal is disrespectful and inconsiderate to all people who want to live in peace.

My proposal to create an environment that begins to lead our society down this path is as follows:

1. A gun is not sporting equipment. To equate a gun to sports is akin to saying it is no different than a tennis racquet or basketball. This is an insult to humanity. There is no comparison because their designed purposes are so different – fun and games versus a killing implement.

2. Any weapon that is capable of firing multiple rounds in rapid succession should be outlawed to anyone other than military, law enforcement or security personnel. No one in a civil society should have such a weapon, for its sole designed purpose is to kill. For hunting and self-defense there should be no need for anything more than a single-shot pistol or rifle.

3. Any weapon that uses multiple round magazines or any type of device that loads more than six bullets at a time should be outlawed. Reasons stated in item 2.

4. Anyone caught in possession or ownership of these outlawed weapons and ammunition would be in violation of the law and should be punished with extensive community service or imprisonment.

5. Anyone who currently owns such weapons described in item 2 should be paid to turn them in. They should not be grandfathered.

6. Extensive background checks should apply to 100% of sales in any form for the purchase of legal pistols and rifles.

7. A permit is required to fish. A permit should be required to purchase ammunition.

8. Internet sale of any weapon and ammunition should be illegal.

I urge everyone with a strong opinion on this subject to voice their opinion to their representatives and senators. Time is of the essence. Do not let this moment and these memories fade.


Thomas Soboleski
Essex, CT

Letter: The Year of the Role Model

To the Editor:

The Year of the Role Model is being celebrated in our community, and it has me thinking about an important role model from my own youth.  Mr. John Mills, my high school band director, had a profound influence on my development as a young person, one that I still feel today.  As I reflect on my time with him, I’m struck by something.  What stands out in memory is not so much what he said to us but how he conducted himself.  Somehow, without doing a lot of lecturing about it, Mr. Mills taught us all we ever needed to know about commitment and professionalism.  These critical traits have made an immeasurable difference in my professional life as both social worker and weekend musician.

Some 25 years later, I find his example offers me another important life lesson, one that hits closer to home.  What I do around my kids is at least as important as what I say to them.  In other words, “Do as I say, not as I do,” doesn’t cut it.  If we want our children to act a certain way, there is no better teaching method than to role model that behavior.


Brad Pitman,
Member, Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Council

Letter: Kudos to the Chester Fire Department

To the editor:

At the height of Hurricane Sandy, the apple tree in our fron yard blew down, blocking access to Spring Street. As instructed by the Chester town website, we called the Fire Department. They were just amazing — they arrived in less than five minutes and in driving rain and fierce wind cleared the road in under ten minutes.

Everybody should take a minute to thank a firefighter today. I’m so grateful to them for what they do for us all at great personal risk.

Oh, and sending a donation wouldn’t hurt if you can do it.  We sure will be.

Thanks again to the great folks of the Chester squad!


Leslie Ann Holbrook

Letter: Environmentalists

To the Editor:

The Associated Press and NBC News staff recently reported that the “relentless, weather-gone crazy type of heat that blistered the U.S. last summer is so rare that it can’t be anything but man-made global warming.” This statement is pure global warming hype gone crazy. Consider that James lovelock, the guru of global warming hysteria who predicted the death of billions of humans due to global warming, admits now that he was an alarmist and is debunking the entire cabal. Lovelock and forty-nine others from NASA have stated that the idea that human action is responsible for climate change is not credible. Lovelock went further and stated that the modern green movement has become a religion that uses guilt to gain support. I will describe the movement as out of control and a threat to our independence and economic freedom.

Environmental extremists and some media, however, continue to posit the ludicrous idea that “global warming” and its first cousin “rising sea levels” are human inspired.  Global temperatures and sea levels have been ever-changing for over twenty-one thousand years. The reasons are clear: variations of solar output, changes in the earth’s orbit and continental drift. Carbon Dioxide does not drive changes in the climate-nature does. Moreover, the deified expert on sea levels, Swedish geologist and physicist, Niles-Axel Morner , recently stated that all this jabber about rising sea levels is a “colossal scare story.” Meanwhile, there have been tens of billions of tax-payer dollars spent and over-reaching regulations enforced to combat “The Hoax.”

Rising sea level hysteria is predicated on global warming hysteria. Both are outrageous fallacies. Did you know that the environmental satellite, Envisat, shows no rising sea levels in the past four years? Yet, environmental activists along with some of our government leaders continue to use the first cousin myths to gain control through regulations, land acquisition and taxes. I wonder, do these environmentalist gone crazy, who have outstripped the reasoned environmentalist of the past, truly believe that carbon emissions interfere with the cycles of nature? It is audacious to think that some of us, including a hefty number of scientists (whose numbers are shrinking fast) believe that humans, tinier than pygmy marmosets in the scheme of things, have a twit to do with global warming and cooling or sea level rise and fall. The hubris here is mind boggling.

So what drives all the hysteria? The engine driving the bad science being foisted on us is plain and simple lust for authority and greed. Environmentalists have been gobbling-up land with regulations based on bad science and greed for years. Also consider the fact that if we get rid of fossil fuel by making it non-competitive, radical environmentalist, with their sketchy green technology, are poised to sachet in to take unprecedented  control over private property and pocket billions of more dollars. Global warming hype is a cash cow; consider Al Gore who has become wealthy beyond belief from carbon-credits. The bureaucrats get rich with power and money while the rest of us suffer from debilitating taxes and arbitrary intervention.

Make no mistake, radical environmentalist are messing around with property rights right here in Connecticut. Earlier in the year, the environmental committee brought forth the Strategic Retreat Bill (HB5128). Recognizing that the bill seriously threatened property rights, there was considerable push-back by concerned citizens. The bill was then renamed the “Rising Seas Bill.” Representative Phil Miller, vice chair of the environmental committee, admitted to the New Haven Register that in the new bill (passed late at night and after the deadline set by our constitution) was tweaked to make the language more palatable. Huh! Do these environmental extremist think that changing the code words faster than the weather changes the facts?

Enough is enough. Modern environmentalists have shot way past stewardship and it is up to the citizens of this great country to elect leaders who understand that “global warming” and “rising sea levels” are the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the human community and that private property is the most important guarantee of our Freedoms.


Alison Nichols,
Essex, CT

Letter: McMahon – Where is the Substance?

To the Editor:

As a longtime Republican and one-time city councilman in Meriden, I wish to voice my distaste for Linda McMahon. Where is the substance, the caliber and integrity that should exemplify a US senator?  I met her in East Lyme and asked her about Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb. McMahon shows no in-depth knowledge of this and all issues, and simply repeats vapid cliches. McMahon shows me nothing beyond an empty suit. And if you research her “entertainment” at WWF, you’ll likely be disgusted.

Connecticut should not elect someone so utterly lacking in the merits and qualities we deserve in a US senator. It seems the Republican party is blinded by her money. It’s unfortunate she beat someone 2 years ago of the high caliber of Rob Simmons, who would have made an outstanding senator.
Tom Soboleski
Essex, CT

Letter: Clear Choice for Fiscal Conservatives

To the Editor:

The 33rd State Senate race among Republican, Art Linares, Democratic Jim Crawford and Green Party candidate, Melissa Schlag, presents clear choices for conservative and progressive voters. Linares, founder of a green energy company, is a strong fiscal conservative.  He is critical of Governor Malloy’s tax and spending increases supported by Mr. Crawford.  Crawford was a supporter of the Haddam Land swap.  Schlag led the successful fight against the land swap.  She supports raising taxes of the wealthy.  Linares is the clear choice for the fiscal conservatives.  Schlag is the clear choice for progressives.  Crawford is the choice for neither.


Mel Seifert
Chester, CT

Letter: Vin Pacileo Offers Both Common Sense and Real Opportunity

To the Editor:

Vin Pacileo is running for State Representative to give voters a real choice in the 36th House District. Vin has served on all major community boards – Selectmen, Finance, and Education – and understands the needs of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam. His experiences in the private sector, budget management and hands-on government administration are sorely needed in Hartford.  Vin understands that Connecticut needs a business plan to control spending, diminish taxation, shrink the size and cost of government, and to manage our debt responsibly.

Right now in Connecticut, the Democratic Party controls the Governor’s office, all of our constitutional offices, and the majority of both the House and Senate. This one-party rule has given us the largest tax increase in state history, uncontrolled government spending and debt, a 9% unemployment rate, the early release of violent criminals from prison, the repeal of the death penalty, and a billion dollar bus way from New Britain to Hartford.

Vin Pacileo’s candidacy for State Representative offers a real opportunity and common sense alternative for our region and our state. I hope that you will put his honesty, integrity, and skills to work for you as your State Representative.


Rep. Marilyn  Giuliano (R-23)
Old Saybrook, CT


Letters: Fear and Violence

To The Editor:

Here we go again. The Middle East is a powder keg and four of our patriots have been viciously killed. Now the violence has spread to Northern Africa. The Obama foreign policy is not working; it is meek, weak, hide-and-seek. We should have known that candidate Obama was flying high on out-of-control-narcissism when he claimed that the day he was inaugurated Muslim hostility would ease. This kind of hatred and violence is too deeply rooted to be ameliorated by one man who sees his presidency as the time when the “rise of oceans begin to slow and the planet begins to heal.” What kind of leadership is this?

The human community has suffered from bloodshed in the name of religion since antiquity. The conquest of more than two thirds of the Christian world by Muslims and the bloody retaliatory crusades that responded centuries later, the Spanish Inquisition, Auschwitz, Treblinka, the slaughter of Jews by their Christian neighbors and “friends” in the polish town of Jedwabne, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, hatred between Pakistan and India, the Muslim jihad against Christians in Indonesia, the horrific and savage “holy war” launched by fundamentalist Muslims on September eleven, the slaughter of Christians in Pakistan, and the murder and mayhem now in the middle East are but a few examples of the havoc reaped because of humanity’s basic insecurity and fear that cuts deep into the heart of the human community.

As I see it, our intolerance towards each other is an out-picturing of a deep sense of fear and abandonment that exists in the psyche of the human community. We have been cast into the world to fend for ourselves and to grapple with loss and end of life issues. What other species is unconsciously, if not consciously, riveted to loss and death? We know that we and our loved ones are going to die, yet we have no idea how death will come, when it will come, or who, if anyone, has the right answers as to what happens after death. This is the cruel fate of humanity.

And for most of us, the need to believe that our loved ones and we exist after death in some rarified form, or another, is the strongest and most urgent force within us. Whether it is psychic, cosmic, or biological, our belief in immortality is more basic than our need for sex and nourishment.

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, we have created, been given, or inherited over two thousand religions to help allay our fears about “end things.” Essentially, religion has been based on disassociating the idea of death and ceasing to exist. Virtually all religions promise some form of afterlife-with death as an end of temporal life and the beginning of something else.

While it is true that millions of humans profess to have no religious yearnings or concerns about their fate after death, for most of us, whether we are willing to admit it or not, the thought of not having the “right” answers as to what happens to us after death is untenable. As a result, life has become a battleground of intolerance and hatred.

It seems almost diabolic that the religious teachings that ostensibly provide us with our symbols, our values, our purpose and our comfort are so often the fuel that ignites violence and hatred between humans who look and think differently. Throughout our history we have witnessed the use of sacred texts- perverted, interpolated, misunderstood and misrepresented to justify savage cruelty by extremists from many faiths.

Most of humanity wants to rid our planet of the cruelty that we continue to inflict upon each other. However, looking for love in all the wrong places is naïve at best. At this time in human history, Islamic extremist have Americans squarely in their cross hairs. Obsequiousness will not heal this deeply rooted hatred.

Did this administration learn anything from September 11?  It was the timidity and perceived weakness of America during the Clinton administration that allowed Global Terror Inc. to implode on Ground Zero at the beginning of the Bush administration.

American foreign policy must be hardened to protect us here and around the world. Perhaps, instead of sending the bust of Sir Winston Churchill back to English diplomats, Obama should have put the bust on his desk in the Oval Office as a reminder of strong leadership. “Victory at all cost, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”


Alison Nichols,
Essex, CT

Letters: Candidates Should Debate!

To The Editor:

Vin Pacileo of Essex is challenging incumbent Phil Miller of Essex for the State Representative seat that represents Essex, Deep River, Chester and Haddam (the 36th District).  We need these candidates to face each other in a debate and discuss how they intend to overcome the challenges facing our state.

We must elect a representative that truly represents our local interests.   A great way to make an educated decision about who can best represent us is by contrasting and comparing candidate responses during a debate.


Susie Beckman
Ivoryton, CT



Letter: McMahon Has Made Her Case with the GOP in CT

To the Editor,

Linda McMahon’s big win on Tuesday removed all doubt that Linda has made her case with the GOP in Connecticut.  Both the convention of the ‘establishment’ GOP and the wider base of Connecticut’s Republican voters have enthusiastically endorsed Linda.

Linda has been making the broader argument for all of Connecticut’s voters that her opponent, Chris Murphy, promises more of the same while Linda brings the promise of shaking things up with only her constituents and – not special interests – to serve.

There has been some argument, over the years, as to the attendance record of Chris as a representative.  I don’t care so much whether he’s in attendance; it’s his voting record (98% alignment with Nancy Pelosi) that prompts me to work for Linda.

I have many close friends who supported Shay’s campaign (my husband, for one). I know it is hard to recover from a loss to a candidate you don’t support. Here in Connecticut, we’ve all had that experience. If you think that Linda doesn’t have all the answers, then my suggestion is that you speak directly to her.  Linda is absolutely approachable. She’s far more likely to listen to your concerns, understand what you are saying and actually respond directly to you than Chris Murphy who filters his support through the special interests that put him into office.

I like Linda personally and I like Linda’s promise to put Connecticut back to work.


Jerri MacMillian

Letter: Klinck Thanks Voters

To the Editor:

I want to take this opportunity to thank all my supporters in this past  33rd State Senate race. I met and talked to many voters and enjoyed it tremendously. I knew it was an uphill battle against an endorsed candidate but  I wanted to take on the challenge. I am glad I did. I am proud to have run a clean and honest campaign. Now that the Democratic voters have had the  opportunity to choose their candidate, we must now support the truly endorsed democratic candidate Jim Crawford in the November election.

Let’s keep the state senate democratic to help the middle  class, seniors,small business and  the environment.

Thank you for the opportunity to run.

A sincere thank you

 Mary Ellen Klinck


Letter: Despite Previously Enjoying Klinck’s Support, Daily Endorses Crawford

To the Editor:

Wow!  What a surprise and disappointment.  I just received a promotional piece for Jim Crawford—candidate for the 33rd District State Senate seat.  While I am sure Mr. Crawford is a worthy candidate, as is his opponent Mary Ellen Klinck, I was shocked to see he is heavily endorsed by retiring Senator Eileen Daily.

Twenty years ago Mary Ellen Klinck worked tirelessly to help Ms. Daily get elected to her first term as State Senator.  Over the years, Mary Ellen donated time, money, her years of experience with the Democratic Party, and even her home to host fundraisers—all to benefit Ms. Daily.

I would have hoped Ms. Daily to be a better person.  For her to turn her back on a loyal, hard-working friend is discouraging and wrong.  The better solution would have been for Ms. Daily to simply wish both candidates good luck.


Jim Johnson
Moodus, CT  

Letters: Consider Voting for Jim Crawford

To the Editor:

With Senator Eileen Daily retiring at the end of her term, Democrats have the opportunity to choose a candidate in the upcoming primary. I ask that Democrats consider voting for Jim Crawford who earned the party’s endorsement in May.

I first met Jim as a student in his classroom at the Westbrook Middle School over 20 years ago. I called him Mr. Crawford back then. He inspired us to get involved in our community through his passionate love of civics and democracy. It’s no surprise that a number of his students went on to public policy careers on both sides of the political aisle.

Jim also ran his family business, the Maples Motel, for more than two decades in Westbrook. He understands the challenges small business owners face in this economy, having sustained the business through good times and bad.

Recently Jim became more involved in local government, serving as a Selectman in Westbrook and now as a State Representative. He understands the complex legislative process and is often called upon by his colleagues for his experience as both an educator and small business owner.

Please join me in supporting the party endorsed candidate for the State Senate, Jim Crawford, in the primary on August 14th.


Lon Seidman
33rd District Democratic State Central Committeeman

Letters: Some Thoughts on the Abortion Debate

To the Editor:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Chairwoman, uber progressive, abortion advocate, and heroine of Planned Parenthood claims that if one is “pro-life,” one is, therefore, “anti-woman.”  Her statement invites a conversation.

Eighty percent of Americans are against partial-birth abortion. Does that mean that eighty percent of Americans are anti-woman? Does Schultz realize that poll after poll shows that even those that are working within the parameters of Supreme Court jurisprudence overwhelmingly support restrictions on abortion?

There are also legions of Americans, like myself, whose thinking and conscience have evolved to reject abortion and the decision that makes it a woman’s right. My blind allegiance to “choice” was most assuredly rooted in my background. I grew-up in a Connecticut suburb of New York City where back-alley abortions were a reality. I knew two young girls in my community who were subjected to crude methods of ending their pregnancies. The older sister of a classmate of mine threw herself down the cellar stairs to facilitate the end of her pregnancy. She was, as a result, unable to ever again conceive.

It was an untenable situation in the days before birth control became available for women. In spite of the fact that “the pill” reached pharmacy shelves a few years before abortion became legal, it is of little wonder why so many Americans, acutely aware of gruesome back-alley abortions, stood behind “ choice.” Living in a patriarchal society was an added ingredient to the acceptance of “choice.”  Women were sick and tired of gender double standards and being told what was acceptable of women, by men.

Slowly, over many years, I realized that when feminist lawyers and leaders, in concert with the ACLU, pushed for the right of a woman to abort her unborn child, I began to macerate the truth.

After the Supreme Court overturned all state abortion laws and abortion became a constitutional right, my lexicon concerning babies in the womb changed. I began to refer to the unborn child as a “fetus” and the ending of a human life became “choice.” And later on, viability was added to my lexicon.

It is telling to me that I used euphemisms such as “choice” rather  than abortion.  Little lies that I told myself helped to insulate me from the realities of “choice.” I wonder how many other men and women mimic the pro-choice mindset and in so doing completely disregard the rights of the unborn.

When I allowed myself to think about the number of babies sacrificed in the name of protecting a woman’s right to “choose,” it was chilling.  How many of the millions and millions of babies aborted were baby girls-the very same gender that the leaders and fellow supporters of the women’s movement pledged to protect through “choice.” The aborted babies have had no choice.

As I finally began to tear down the wall that separated me from the truth, I began to challenge my blind support of Roe V. Wade. It is no secret that the number of abortions performed to actually prevent the death of the mother is minimal. It seems that in those extreme cases there are two lives at stake and the decision should be between the doctor and the mom.

The number of pregnancies resulting from rape and incest are diminimus. When these heinous crimes do result in pregnancy and there is not a threat to the mother’s life, adoption is always a better answer than abortion. In these rare occasions, the community and churches must provide financial and psychological help for the victim. Since charitable giving in America is outpacing economic growth, it can be done. As a country we are moving towards rapid response to those in need. We are a caring nation.

Within the rhetoric about protecting women’s lives and privacy, we never hear the facts concerning the physical, the spiritual and the psychic post-abortion trauma suffered by so many women. These are the very same women we pledge to support with “choice.”

If it is truly women’s lives and privacy that propels the pro-choice lobby, why, I wonder, has the emphasis always been on the “right” for a woman to abort.  The emphasis has never been the promotion of and availability of safe and effective birth control, help with adoption, education and the encouragement of parents to keep pregnancy conversations open and honest?

Education should include the knowledge that that a unique human being is created when the sperm fertilizes an egg. The fertilized egg has a complete genetic make-up. It is a life. We know that at seven weeks, eyelids have been formed. By nine weeks the baby sucks her thumb, does flips in the whom and swallows. It is a life

It is not my purpose to judge anyone who has had an abortion. The pro-abortion lobby, emboldened by the Supreme Court, has been aggressive, loud and deceptive. Perhaps, with the most recent scientific discoveries, our society will wake-up and give the completely dependent unborn child the same rights as the completely dependent newborn.

The decision by the Supreme Court regarding abortion is not an inexorable command. Consider what happened to the death penalty for juveniles (Brown) in 2005. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority opinion to strike down the death penalty for juveniles, explained that the “standards of decency have evolved since the case in 1989 when the Supreme Court reached the opposite opinion.” That ruling on the legality of the death penalty for juveniles shows us that a precedent can be overturned. Roe is by no means a settled expectation of society-despite its “super duper” status.

To date there have been millions and millions of abortions performed in the United States. For me, it is a heavy burden to know that I blindly supported an egregious ruling by the Supreme Court- a ruling that has inflicted a hideous scar on the face of American history.


Alison Nichols, M.Div, 
Essex, CT

Letter: Mary Ellen Klinck – Proud to Give Her My Vote

To the Editor:

Most of us have a short list of people they would call if they were in a tight spot and really needed a friend to help.  My list includes Mary Ellen Klinck.  I first met her more than 41 years ago, when she was the real estate agent from whom we bought our house in East Haddam.  Over all these intervening years, there is no one I have known who has given more or worked harder to make her part the world a better place.  Now she is running in a primary for State Senate in the 33rd Senatorial District.  I will be proud to give her my vote because I know she will bring the same energy and commitment to the work of the state legislature.  She has the broad experience of someone who has worked at every level of government, from Selectman to Commissioner of Aging.  The 33rd Senatorial District would be fortunate to have Mary Ellen Klinck represent us in Hartford, where her hard work and experience will make all the difference.


Susan Merrow,
Former First Selectman, Town of East Haddam

Letter: Why Spend $27 Million on Out-of-State Tourism Campaign?

To The Editor:

This letter is in response to an article written by Shelly Banjo in the May 14, 2012 issue of the Wall Street Journal. The State of Connecticut has spent $27 million on a tourism campaign and hired Chowder, Inc., a NY advertising agency to lead it. Why isn’t our own government hiring ONLY local crews from within the state instead of partially outsourcing much needed jobs? Why has this money left the state? This is not the first time the state has outsourced its tourism campaign to NY. They did it in 2005.

The Connecticut Department for Economic and Community Development’s Offices of Culture and Tourism is the same department that promotes Connecticut’s Film, Television and Digital Media industry through their production guide. It is filled with talented advertising agencies, graphic designers, writers, photographers, actors, film and television crews, etc. This is quite contradictory.

In attempt for the New York agency to understand our state, they assembled a market research focus group that met in Westchester, NY. In Banjo’s article she writes that Jim Ritterhoff, a partner at Chowder Inc. observed one participant who stated, “Out of 50 states, I don’t think anyone would say that Connecticut is the most inspiring.”

On the contrary, I think Connecticut is awe-inspiring. We are home to some of the world’s most impressive corporations (PEZ, Lego North sails, Bigelow Tea, ESPN, World Wrestling Entertainment, Consumer Reports Auto Testing Center), universities (Yale, Wesleyan, Connecticut College), homesteads and museums (Mark Twain House, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the Florence Griswold Museum, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, the Hillstead Museum designed by Theodate Pope Riddle one of the first American women architects). We have the US Coast Guard Academy, Gillette Castle, The Goodpeed Opera House, the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts, Mystic Seaport which houses the largest collection of America’s Cup footage in the world and is the preeminent maritime museum worldwide, Mystic Aquarium and Dr. Robert Ballard’s renowned Institute for Exploration, the Essex Steam Train and River Boat, two of the country’s oldest and continuously running ferries, quaint historical villages, beaches, boating, state parks for camping and hiking, vineyards, Sail Fest where the world’s tall ship regularly converge, and the Connecticut River, hailed by the Nature Conservancy as one of the last 10 great places, just to name a few.

Banjo cites: “After spending $27 million on a soul-searching advertising campaign, Connecticut proclaimed Monday that the state is Still Revolutionary.” Here’s a slogan for you: Connecticut: Proud to be the Quiet, Cultural State. That will be $27 million dollars, please.


Caryn B. Davis

Letter: Follow-up to “Are Libraries Doomed?”

To The Editor:

I just finished your article, “Are Libraries Doomed?“, and I wanted to say thank you.  It gave me pause to think that our new town library may never be built.  We have an aging, dilapidated Andrew Carnegie Library in our town that is not handicap accessible.  After a year of struggling to help raise funds to build a new library we find that we are up against those who believe a library will become obsolete.

I have a Kindle that I rarely use.  I have Kindle on my PC, eBooks on my iPad and have proofread for Gutenberg.  Nothing can replace the interaction of people at a public library.  A library is a place where you know you have something in common with the others there without even speaking a word to them.  It is comforting.  Nothing can replace a librarian who will direct you to what you are looking for in a matter of minutes.  A library is community.  I’ve never had anyone leaf through my coffee table picture book via my Kindle.

Recently, I searched the internet to make the case for why we still need libraries and I am so impressed that you have visited so many.  If we don’t need a library because of advances in technology and eBooks, then I ask, do we really need a tennis court in our park when citizens can go home and play tennis on their Wii?  And why should the citizens of our town go to city council meetings to make a case for a new library, when we can sit at home and attend via GoToMeeting.com?  Is this the type of community of the future where we will all further isolate ourselves and truly be a virtual community?  Technology is great, but is it good?

A baby shower was given for my daughter-in-law when my granddaughter was 4 months old.  It was a book shower to build her library.  The gift was to be one book that was your favorite as a child.  What a creative idea.  What could be more beautiful than a child pulling the books out of a cubby and having them strewn about on the floor around them? Then, crawling through them, selecting that one favorite book and opening it up to the colorful page while their eyes are wide with discovery.  One of my granddaughter’s favorites is, “The Monster at the End of this Book.”  I can’t imagine reading to her, “The Monster at the End of this Digital Reading Device”.  Yes!  There is one book that will have to stay in print,

“But for those against libraries, they do have a point.  Why waste ten minutes doing research in a library when you can spend three hours searching for the information on the internet?”  (I read this comment somewhere when searching the internet.  It is difficult to cite the origin, as you would cite a publication.  It may have been gray square, white male, silhouette, Anonymous.)

I didn’t find much when doing my search for making the case for a new library until I found your article.  We will continue to pursue our dreams of a new library and I am thankful I am able to share your insight on our library Facebook page.


Lisa Klein

Plainview, NE

Letters: Thank You, from Essex Garden Club

To The Editor:

On Saturday May 12 in Town Park the Essex Garden Club held its 60th May Market.  This year featured a relatively new addition to the Market:  a Silent Auction.  Thanks to the incredible generosity of our area merchants and artists it was a great success.

As May Market is the Club’s only fund-raiser, we depend on its proceeds to support our civic projects in Essex Village, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton.  These range from helping to maintain the town parks, to providing scholarships to college students and camperships to elementary students, planting trees in town, organizing horticultural activities with elementary and junior high school students, and decorating throughout town with greens for the holidays.

The Garden Club would like to thank the following merchants and artists most sincerely for their wonderful donations:

Acer Gardens, Ashleigh’s Garden, Boatique USA, Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store, Bombaci Tree Experts, Dee Dee and Jeff Charnok, The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook, Cottage Whimsey, De Paula Jewelers, Decorative Interiors, English Accents Antiques, Essex Books, Essex Winter Series, The French Hen, Hortus Perennials, The Ivoryton Playhouse, The Kate, Matilda, Claire Matthews Yoga, Mimi Merton Photography, Charlotte Meyer Designs, Musical Masterworks, New Earth Acupuncture, The Note Nest, Saybrook Country Barn, Society’s Scissors, The Spa of Essex, Weekend Kitchen, Weltner’s Antiques and Art, and Wertheimer & Associates.

With thanks,

Dawn Boulanger, Genie Devine, Marily MacKinnon

The Essex Garden Club
May Market Silent Auction Committee

A Little More About Prayer

The daily news of worldwide events makes me wonder how the human spirit endures so much torment-both physically and psychically. Humankind is constantly besieged with unbearable anguish, and for many the suffering goes on for months, years and in some instances, a lifetime.

It has always been the minister’s purpose to transmute their flocks’ pain and suffering into character. While suffering may indeed build character, I can’t help wondering why we are so reluctant to get angry at God. Maybe the creator wants to know how we really feel.

The words attributed to the dying Jesus as he endured three hours of raging human pain, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me” are the most passionately honest words found in Scripture. This cry, born out of human despair, poignantly describes the human situation.

Thinking about Jesus’ cry of desolation transports me back to an incident that happened a few years ago.  I was entering my home through the backyard and noticed a tiny mouse lying on the step. It was either ill or badly hurt, but alive.  I knew the mouse was dying, and that I should end its suffering.  However, I was too cowardly to kill the little mouse.

Although I don’t believe the Creator is up there somewhere floating in the clouds, I remember looking up and yelling at God, “do something, this is your responsibility.”  When I looked down, the mouse was dead.  It is curious, but that tiny mouse symbolized all the horror, violence, misery and injustice that I see in our world.

While I remember feeling rage towards God, I also felt close to my Creator for the very first time. It was several months later that I understood what transpired on the back step. I was visiting a friend who had been seriously ill for the past six months. She had cancer in her lung, her kidney and her liver. Throughout her illness she appeared stoic and prayed frequently. Members of her church visited with her and prayed with her regularly.

On this particular day, my friend was very weak-but not too weak to tell me about a dream that she had the previous night. In the dream she was carrying a giant gift box tied with a bright red ribbon. She was carrying the gift to a church at the top of a hill. As she climbed the steps to the church, she kept falling backwards as the box was too big and cumbersome.

After an arduous climb, my friend finally reached the door to the church. She had a terrible time opening the door as she would not put the box down-not for an instant. Once inside the church, she could not take a seat because the box was hitting people in the head.

Finally, an old man with a long beard and wearing a white robe came over to her and suggested that she simply put the box on the alter. My friend did not want to give up the box so she left the church. As she was lugging the big box down the steps she awakened from her dream.

My friend asked if I knew what the dream meant. I in turn asked her what was in the gift box. She claimed that she didn’t know so I suggested that we take a look inside.  Together, we imagined ourselves untying the big red bow and looking inside.

With tears streaming down her fragile face, she looked into the box and told me that it was filled with garbage. Spontaneously, she cried out “what have I done to deserve this? Where are you? I can’t stand this anymore. I hate you God!”

My friend did not need for me to interpret her dream. She understood, at the deepest level, that the garbage symbolized all the negative feelings that she was denying God. She understood also that the wise man in her dream was urging her to leave the box of garbage on the altar as a gift for God.

The next morning, my dying friend smiled as I entered her room. With her mouth so dry and cracked that she could hardly speak, she told me that during the night she looked across the room at the wall facing her bed and saw a beautiful young man with long glowing hair. He was standing in a field of wild flowers-beckoning to her.

She said to me, “he has come to take me to God.” My beloved friend slipped into a coma that night and died two days later. Her dream, her tearing passion, and her vision helped me to understand that a despondent cry to God is a beautiful prayer of trust and of healing.

Implied in her prayer was an affirmation of faith and respect for the integrity of God. Her prayer showed enough trust in God’s love to express her rage for the horrors that she simply did not understand.

Alison Nichols, M.Div.
Essex, CT