May 27, 2015

Tickets on Sale Now for Acclaimed British Comedy, ‘Calendar Girls’ at Ivoryton Playhouse

Jacqui Hubbard and Beverley Taylor.  Photo by Anne Hudson.

Jacqui Hubbard and Beverley Taylor. Photo by Anne Hudson.

IVORYTON – The summer season opens June 3 in Ivoryton with the US professional premier of one of the UK’s most popular shows, ‘Calendar Girls.’  Adapted by Tim Firth from his smash hit Miramax film of the same name, it is based on an inspiring true story that is both poignant and hilarious.

A group of extraordinary women, members of a very ordinary Yorkshire Women’s Institute, spark a global phenomenon by persuading one another to pose au natural for a charity calendar with a difference.  As interest snowballs, the ‘Calendar Girls’ find themselves revealing more than they’d ever planned …

Dazzlingly funny, shamelessly sentimental and utterly captivating, this is one of the best-selling shows in British theatre history. It will make you laugh, cry … and walk out singing Jerusalem!

The fundraising phenomenon of the Calendar Girls was inspired by the death of Angela Baker’s husband, John Richard Baker, an Assistant National Park Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, who died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 54 in 1998.

During his illness Angela’s friends began to raise money, initially with the aim of purchasing a sofa for the visitors’ lounge in the hospital where John was treated. Nothing could have prepared them for the way their original calendar took off (selling 202,000 copies in its first year). To date they have raised over £3 million for Leukemia & Lymphoma Research, the UK’s leading blood cancer charity.

The Ivoryton Playhouse will also be using this opportunity to raise awareness for several cancer charities. Wednesday, June 3, at 7:30 p.m. is Cancer Survivor Night – half price adult ticket price for those individuals who have survived the challenge of cancer. Participating organizations include Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation, Little Wonder, Valley Shore YMCA – Hope is Power Program and Middlesex Hospital‘s Center for Survivorship and Integrative Medicine.

Jacqui Hubbard, Artistic/Executive Director, is directing the production and is also stepping on stage in the role of Annie. Beverley Taylor, Ivoryton Company Manager, will be joining her in the role of Chris.

“We are both Northern English lasses” says Hubbard, “I spent four years trying to get the rights to produce this wonderful play and, though directing and performing at the same time will be a challenge, I knew I had to do it. These women are in our bones and it will be a rare treat to get to step in front of the curtain for a change.”

Joining them on stage are Vickie Blake, Danielle Bonanno, Erik Bloomquist, Victoria Bundonis*, R. Bruce Connelly*, Lily Dorment*, David Edwards*, Katrina Ferguson*, Maggie McGlone Jennings, and Maria Silverman*.

Set design is by Tony Andrea, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Cully Long.

Calendar Girls opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on June 3, and runs through June 21. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Deep River Historical Society Hosts Cartoonist C.D. Batchelor Exhibit, Home Tour

Self portrait by C.D. Batchelor.

Self portrait by C.D. Batchelor.

DEEP RIVER  — Viewed by millions daily in The New York Daily News and syndicated in 1,000 newspapers across the country, the work of C.D. Batchelor was thought-provoking and challenged the reader to draw his own conclusions.

Batchelor was hired by The New York Daily News in 1931 and his strong, graphic cartoons filled the upper-right columns of the editorial page, seven days a week for the next 25 years. He was the first political cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and by 1947 his work was circulated to nearly three million readers.

Funded in part by a grant from the Connecticut Humanities, the Deep River Historical Society invites you to step into his world, view a collection of his work that spanned 40 of the most turbulent years in U.S. history.

The exhibit titled, “Draw Your Own Conclusions: The Political Cartoons of C.D. Batchelor,” will be open at the Stone House of the Deep River Historical Society at 245 Main Street, Deep River on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. through the months of July and August.

One of C.D. Batchelor's famous cartoons.

One of C.D. Batchelor’s famous cartoons.

On June 6, a special opening day event will include the rare opportunity to tour the historic 18th century Deep River home of Batchelor.  Tickets for this event are $15 and are  limited given the capacity of the house.  Contact Rhonda Forristall via email at rcforristall@gmail.com or 860-526-5086 for more information about times and availability of tickets for this day.

Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supports cultural and historic organizations that tell the state’s stories, build community and enrich lives.

Dry Pants Model Yacht Club Hosts Successful 2015 New England Spring Regatta

Sail away!

Sail away!

DEEP RIVER — Plattwood Pond in Deep River was the home over the May 16-17 weekend to one of the most popular model sailing events in the Northeast: the 10th Annual  New England Spring Regatta  for  CR-914 model yachts.  Once again, it was a great success for both participants and curious onlookers.

Competitors were invited from all over the northeast. The top five sailors in order of finish were Kevin Dooley (USCG Academy sailing coach), Brain Jobson ( Essex), William James ( Worcester, Mass.), Brian Kerrigan( Essex), and John Skerry (Marblehead, Mass.) The top two sailors have previously won National CR-914 Championships.

Regatta winners proudly display their certificates.

Regatta winners proudly display their certificates.

The boats that were sailed are known as CR-914s, a nationally syndicated one-design class of boats that are 1/12 scale copies of America Cup racers. Over 5000 exist and can be found in every state of the nation. These radio-controlled boats are 36” long and can easily be carried in the trunk of most cars fully-rigged. They are fast, very competitive, and identical in every way-including weight. Winning and losing is totally dependent on the competence of the skippers.

Interested parties in the lower Connecticut River Valley can find club members sailing every Sunday at Plattwood Park in Deep River from 10:30 a.m. until noon as well as Thursday evenings until dark. Visitors are always welcome to try sailing these boats.

For more information, visit the Dry Pants Model Yacht Club’s website or call 860-767-5052.

Lecture Thursday in Audubon Society’s CT River Series Considers Estuary Ecology

painting

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Estuary Lecture Series hosted by the Connecticut Audubon Society continues Thursday, May 28, with a presentation on the ecology of the estuary at Essex Meadows starting at 4 p.m.

The first lecture of our Connecticut River Estuary series was a terrific success, with over 110 people attending Essex Meadows last Thursday to hear Michelle Eckman, Connecticut Audubon Society’s (CAS) director of education and Dr. Paul Spitzer scientist and osprey researcher.

This second lecture will be presented by Dr. Wayne (Rocky) Geyer, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Dr. Gail Kineke, associate professor at Boston College and a Woods Hole scientist. Their National Science Foundation funded work promises to create a fundamentally new understanding of the mechanics of the Connecticut River Estuary.

One of the Audubon Society’s advisors, Dr. Rita Colwell retired Director of the National Science Foundation, believes that Rocky in one of the leading scientists in the fight against rising sea water.

The title of the second lecture is “The Value of the Connecticut River to Our Environment.” Estuaries like the lower Connecticut River are among the most biologically productive ecosystems on earth. Geyer and Kineke will discuss their current estuary research in the Connecticut River and why a field station on the lower Connecticut would aid that work. In addition, Dr. Paul Spitzer will briefly continue his discussion on his osprey research.
The third and final lecture titled, “Aesthetic Beauty of the Estuary: Vision of Artists and Writers” will look at the role of the estuary in painting and writing and be presented by Jeffrey Cooley, founder and owner of The Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme. It is set for 4 p.m., Thursday, June 4, at Essex Meadows.

Admission to the lecture is free but RSVP’s are required. To RSVP, contact Allison Bryant at the Connecticut Audubon Society at abryant@ctaudubon.org or 203 259-0416 x106. A reception follows each lecture.

 

For more information on the lecture series, visit www.ctaudubon.org/2015/04/connecticut-river-estuary-lecture-series/.

These lectures are one of the initial projects of a new regional board formed by the Connecticut Audubon Society to focus on the lower Connecticut River valley and southeastern Connecticut.

The new board will work in conjunction with Connecticut Audubon Society staff and state Board of Directors to provide direction and support to the organization’s conservation and education work in Old Lyme, Lyme, Essex, Old Saybrook, and other communities in southeastern Connecticut.

The board’s other seminal projects include the introduction of Connecticut Audubon’s award-winning Science in Nature outdoor education program at Essex Elementary School and an effort to expand Osprey Nation, Connecticut Audubon’s citizen science Osprey monitoring program.

For decades Connecticut Audubon Society has maintained nature sanctuaries in Montville, Haddam, East Haddam, Stonington and Middletown. In addition to being a key component of the region’s native habitat, the sanctuaries serve as portals of opportunity into nature for children and families in the region.

The chair of the new Regional Board is Herman Blanke of Old Lyme. Other members are Patsy McCook (secretary) of Old Lyme; Emily Bjornberg of Lyme; Elsie Childs of Old Lyme; Jim Denham of Essex; Margarita Emerson of Niantic; Eleanor Robinson of Old Lyme; Dr. Ted Vanitallie of Old Lyme; and Claudia Weicker of Old Lyme.

Herman Blanke and Jim Denham are also members of Connecticut Audubon Society’s Board of Directors.

In addition, Old Lyme resident John Forbis and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder have provided essential support to this effort.

“Having had the fortune to live in Essex for 15 years, I have always appreciated the values of the Connecticut River; its incredible aesthetic beauty, its ecological contributions, and its great historical legacy to the people of this nation., said Alexander Brash, president of Connecticut Audubon Society.

He continued, “In keeping with the great tradition of conservationists of the area, we are looking to work with its citizens and school children in order to highlight and protect the area’s birds, unique biodiversity and habitats, and leverage such interactions for greater awareness of conservation issues across the state.”

“There is a great conservation tradition to uphold in this region,” said Herman Blanke. “Roger Tory Peterson of Old Lyme helped make birding the popular pastime that it is and also drew the connection between birds and conservation. A century ago, the painters of Old Lyme turned this beautiful landscape into art. We view it as our goal and our responsibility to carry on that tradition of conservation and appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.”

Jim Denham said, “From its inception, Connecticut Audubon Society has made conservation education the foundation of its work. Each generation is responsible for helping the next generation understand how the natural world works and why conservation is important, and for making sure the wonders of nature don’t get lost amid all the distractions of the modern world. That’s what we are trying to accomplish at Essex Elementary School, and we intend for it to be a stepping stone to collaborations with other schools as well.”

Science in Nature, which provides curriculum-based outdoor science education to students in elementary and high schools, recently completed its first session at Essex Elementary, with a field trip to Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth. The second session is set for May 28 at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.

Science in Nature teaches the principles of conservation science in local outdoor settings, focusing on climate and weather, rocks and soils, ecological adaptations, and wetland ecology. The goal is to increase environmental literacy among elementary, middle and high school students so they will understand basic environmental science principles and be more likely to participate in finding solutions to environmental issues within their communities.

In October it was named the best outdoor conservation program in the region by the New England Environmental Education Alliance. Schools from almost 50 communities in Connecticut have participated in Science in Nature, although Essex Elementary is the first in southeastern Connecticut to take part.

Osprey Nation uses volunteer citizen scientists, working under the direction of Connecticut Audubon’s conservation staff, to find and monitor nests of the state’s resurgent Osprey population.

More than 400 Osprey nests have been identified and plotted on a map. The greatest concentration in the state is on Great Island in Old Lyme. Connecticut Audubon is hoping that increased awareness of the project will propt more local residents to volunteer to as Osprey stewards in Old Lyme and elsewhere throughout the southeastern part of the state.

Founded in 1898, Connecticut Audubon Society is the state’s original and still independent Audubon Society. The Society manages four nature centers, two museums, and 19 sanctuaries across the state. It uses the charismatic nature of birds to inspire the next generation of conservationists, and to work with the current generation to protect and improve the state’s natural habitats for the betterment of state residents, birds and other wildlife.

Connecticut Audubon Society’s headquarters are at Birdcraft Sanctuary in Fairfield. It has regional centers and associated boards in Fairfield, Pomfret, Glastonbury and Milford.

Historic Waterfront Tours Scheduled in Deep River During Summer Months

Deep River Historical Society will explain the history of the town's waterfront during walking tours this summer.

Deep River Historical Society will explain the history of the town’s waterfront during walking tours this summer.

DEEP RIVER — Deep River’s commercial connection to the rest of the world started at the end of Kirtland and River Streets in the early 1800’s. What is now known as the Town Landing, was a shipyard and dock, which collectively, were the linchpin to Deep River’s mercantile success. The shipbuilding provided the vessels and the dock provided the point of delivery of raw materials and the shipment of end products, that made Deep River an economic success.

A lecture and tour of Deep River’s Historic Waterfront will be offered every second and fourth Saturday morning, this June, July, August and September. Tours are sponsored by the Deep River Historical  Society. The tour will start at the home of sea captain and ship builder, Calvin Williams, at 131 Kirtland Street, (immediately left of the Mt. Saint John entrance pillars), starting at 10 a.m. SHARP, each tour day. Each tour is expected to be about 1 1/2 hour duration and will start punctually at 10 a.m.

Reservations are recommended and tickets may be acquired at the door, or in advance, from the program’s director: James Hogan, by calling 860-391-2354, or at two convenient store locations: Celebrations, 161 Main Street, Deep River and Old Saybrook Antiques Center, 756 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook.

The costs for tickets is $20 per family; $10 adults; $5 students and senior citizens. 100% of all donations will benefit the Deep River Historical Society. All donations are tax deductable. Program is “rain or shine”.

For more information, call James J. Hogan III  at: 860-391-2354

Tour Dates are:
June: 13 and 27
July: 11 and 25
August: 8 and 22
September: 12 and 26

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds to Host Summer Sculpture Showcase

The signature piece of Gil Boro's Summer Sculpture Showcase, "Queen Anne's Lace" by Gints Grinsberg.

The signature piece of Gil Boro’s Summer Sculpture Showcase, “Queen Anne’s Lace” by Gints Grinsberg.

OLD LYME — Gilbert Boro, owner and sculptor at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, has announced an exciting new exhibition on the grounds of his studio featuring examples of his own contemporary work accompanied by a selection of works created by a number of other widely acclaimed sculptors working in contrasting media.  This Summer Sculpture Showcase will be on view from Monday, June 8, through Sunday, Sept. 13, and feature an Opening Reception on Friday, June 19, from 5 to 7 p.m.  All are welcome to attend the reception at which light refreshments will be served.

Nine sculptors will be exhibiting in Boro’s expansive Sculpture Gardens located on the 4.5 acres of his residence on historic Lyme Street in the heart of Old Lyme, Conn.  Their works will be interspersed amongst Boro’s own sculptures along with works by 13 other contributing artists on the beautifully landscaped grounds offering a unique plein air experience combining both large- and small-scale contemporary sculptures, many of which are for sale.  The sculptors whose work – and in some cases, more than one piece – was selected for the Showcase are:

Diane Barcelo
Ashby Carlisle
Fay Chin
Gints Grinsberg
Lannie Hart
Deborah Hornbake
Elizabeth Knowles
David Millen
Elizabeth Miller McCue
William Thielen

The signature piece of the exhibition is “Queen Anne’s Lace” by Gints Grinsbergs.  It is a large — 144” in height, 56” in diameter — yet delicate structure that evokes the intricate design of lace in its welded and stainless steel structure.  Grinsbergs’ work has been featured at various museums and galleries and is Included in private and corporate collections throughout North America.

'Waves' by Fay Chin.

‘Waves’ by Fay Chin.

Fay Chin’s abstract aluminum sculpture in the exhibition titled, “Waves,” explores pyramidal relationships in a large, ground-based structure.  A sculptor and painter, she has exhibited stone and metal sculptures nationally and internationally in museums, galleries, and public spaces with larger installations.

“Modern Dance,” a multi-colored sculpture utilizing wire fencing wrapped in vinyl surveying tape, is a collaborative work by Elizabeth Knowles and William Thielen.  Natural patterns inspire the work of Knowles and Thielen, who live and work respectively in New York City and Carbondale, Ill.  Both have an extensive body of individual work and have received numerous awards, grants and residencies.

'Pipehenge' by Gil Boro.

‘Pipehenge’ by Gil Boro.

Boro has enjoyed a distinguished career as a sculptor, architect, educator and international design consultant.  He explores the interplay of space, place and scale in a wide range of media including stone, wood, metal and fiberglass.  His vast body of work has been exhibited in numerous galleries throughout the US and internationally, and has also been purchased by collectors, corporations and foundations in both the US and Europe.  Boro currently has several works being exhibited at off-site locations including the South Carolina-based Art League of Hiltonhead’s Biennale (where he was recently awarded second place in their 24th National Juried Exhibition), the New England Sculptor’s Association’s exhibition in Portsmouth, N.H., and Ramey Fine Art in Palm Desert, Calif.

This inaugural Summer Sculpture Showcase offers a unique opportunity for established sculptors to exhibit their work in a different location, while also effectively creating a new exhibition within the Sculpture Gardens.  Boro comments, “I’m delighted to be able to open my grounds to these exceptional sculptors whose work intrigues me.  Each one offers original creative thinking resulting in a fascinating combination of contrasting conceptual designs in a variety of media.  I think any visitor to the exhibition is going to be thoroughly engaged by what he or she sees – including children.”

Boro is somewhat unusual as a professional sculptor in that he loves to see folk of all ages directly interacting with his sculptures, noting that he has a strong aversion to exhibitions, “… where people can’t touch my work.”   Apart from attracting visitors to see the works on his grounds, Boro is thoroughly invested in the vibrant Old Lyme arts scene and hopes this exhibition will help cement the town as a summer destination for art-loving visitors from near and far, especially during the town’s Midsummer Festival on Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25.

Located at 80-1 Lyme St., less than a minute from Exit 70 on I-95, the Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds are open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Admission is free.  Children, field trips and group visits are all welcome. The Studio is open by appointment. 

For further information, contact 860-434-5957, visit www.sculpturegrounds.com or email studio80sculpturegrounds@gmail.com

Celebrate End of ‘Great CT Caper Celebration’ at Gillette Castle, June 7

To celebrate the conclusion of ‘The Great Connecticut Caper,’ readers are invited to Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam on Sunday, June 7.  Join other fans of the serialized mystery from 2 to 4 p.m. for storytelling, letterboxing, craft activities and author and illustrator meet and greets.

This free event is sponsored by Connecticut Humanities, the folks behind the children’s story, written and illustrated by 12 Connecticut authors and 12 state artists.

To learn more, visit http://cthumanities.org/c4b/ctcaper/

Essex Library Presents ‘South Pacific – Behind the Scenes’ with Hubbard, Edwards, June 15

4_south_pacific_tmmESSEX — On Monday, June 15, at 7 p.m. join Ivoryton Playhouse Executive/Artistic Director Jaqueline Hubbard and South Pacific Director David Edwards at the Essex Library for a talk about this great musical and its place in the history of musical theater.

The influence and impact of arguably the greatest musical theater writing partnership of the 20th century – Rodgers and Hammerstein – will be discussed.  Hubbard will talk about why she chose South Pacific for the 2015 Season and how audiences are responding.  The themes of South Pacific, including racial prejudice and gender roles will be explored.  Director David Edwards will also talk about his vision for this production and the challenges of producing such a large production on Ivoryton’s small stage.

Edwards is an accomplished actor and director who has performed on and off Broadway, as well as on TV and in films. He appeared in last season’s Ivoryton Playhouse production of La Cage Aux Folles and this season’s Calendar Girls.  His numerous directing credits include multiple productions of The Producers and South Pacific, as well as Showboat and many others.

British native Hubbard has been the Ivoryton Playhouse’s Executive/Artistic Director for over 20 years.  During her tenure she has breathed new life into the century old theater, overseeing of a complete renovation in 2006 that has enabled it to become a year-round facility.  Hubbard also directs, and acts in, many of the Playhouse’s productions each year.

This program is being presented in conjunction with the Playhouse’s July 9 performance of South Pacific, which will jointly benefit the Essex and Ivoryton Libraries.  The cast includes local residents Patricia Schumann and David Pittsinger, who played the part of Emile on Broadway.

Seats are now on sale at both libraries, and are selling quickly.  They are priced at $60, and entitle purchasers to attend a pre-performance reception, as well as an opportunity to enjoy desserts and meet the cast after the show is over.

Red Cross Launches Campaign to Reduce Deaths, Injuries Caused by Home Fires

AREAWIDE — The American Red Cross has launched a campaign to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent in five years. There are two actions you can take to substantially reduce the risk of death or injury in a home fire.

Install smoke alarms: Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a fire in half. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home inside bedrooms and sleeping areas. The Red Cross offers a program to install FREE smoke alarms in your home and provide additional fire safety information. Call 1-877-287-3327 and press option one to request a home fire safety visit or register for a visit at http://www.redcross.org/ct/schedule-a-visit.

Practice fire drills at home: Fire experts agree that you may have as little as 2 minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. Use this Home Fire Escape Plan worksheet to plan your evacuation and practice it at least twice a year as a family.

Learn more about the Red Cross home fire prevention campaign.

Fire takes everything. It takes security. It takes safety, dignity and routine. Help the Red Cross give back what fire takes – the items that provide safety and comfort.

Popular Essex Shad Bake to be Held Again at CT River Museum

1.Preparing Shad – Rotary Club of Essex volunteers prepare shad at the 2014 bake the traditional way by nailing them onto oak boards and using a specially prepared rub.

1. Preparing Shad – Rotary Club of Essex volunteers prepare shad at the 2014 bake the
traditional way by nailing them onto oak boards and using a specially prepared rub.

ESSEX — Fifty-seven years ago, the Rotary Club of Essex introduced the quintessential New England shoreline tradition; a dining experience known as a shad bake.  Yankee Magazine has called it one of the “Top 20 Summer Events”.

The Essex Shad Bake returns to the Connecticut River Museum on Saturday, June 6, from 3 to 6:30 p.m.  This year, the bake is made possible through the generous support of Admiral Sponsor Gowrie Group, along with Fishermen Sponsors Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, and Guilford Savings Bank.

The museum’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs says, “We are once again pleased to host and partner with the Rotary Club of Essex on this iconic event that celebrates part of the River’s heritage and that supports the many worthwhile projects of the Rotary.” This volunteer-run event has been organized by the Rotary Club of Essex and is now coordinated by Bake Master Joseph Shea.

Bill Hoffstetler demonstrates the fine art of removing bones  from shad; a fish referred to by local Native Americans as the “inside out porcupine”.

Bill Hoffstetler demonstrates the fine art of removing bones
from shad; a fish referred to by local Native Americans as the “inside out porcupine”.

Shea states, “We offer one of the most unique culinary traditions in New England; at one of the most historic sites along the River. . . it is a winning combination!”  You might find one of your favorite doctors or dentists at the de-nailing table where they take the shad off the oak planks or enjoy a freshly shucked clam or oyster from a local banker.

Join seasoned Shad Bake pioneers for a story from shad bakes of yesteryear including the year of the big flood.  The Shad Museum in Haddam, the Connecticut River Museum, and the Connecticut River Watershed Council will also offer programs during the day on the history and traditions of the shad fishery.

Connecticut River shad baking in front of fire on oak planks.

Connecticut River shad baking in front of fire on oak planks.

For shad lovers, the lure is the secret ingredients and the authentic method of preparation and cooking handed down from Connecticut natives.  Done in front of the fire, the fish picks up the smoky flavor of the fire with the seasoned oak boards on which it is cooked.  Add to this delicacy homemade potato salad, tossed green salad, and scrumptious pies from Lyman Orchards and you have yourself a gourmet meal.

Don’t care for shad?  The event also offers BBQ chicken and hot dogs.

Share a piece of Connecticut and Essex history with your friends and family.  In addition to the food, participants will enjoy live music and touring the museum which will be open until 6 p.m.  The atmosphere is vibrant with antique cars, picnickers, and the delicious smell of shad roasting around the open fire.

To whet your appetite, on Wednesday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m., the Connecticut River Museum will host a shad fishing excursion on board RiverQuest.  Participants will get a chance to hear about traditional shad fishing, see related artifacts, and go on a boat ride to view shad fisherman ply their trade on the water.  The boat ride will include dessert and non-alcoholic beverages.  Beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Buy your tickets today to the Shad Bake.  The $30 adult and $10 child (10 and under) ticket include the full meal and admission to the museum.  Beverages (soda, beer and wine) will be available at an additional price.  No carry-in alcohol will be permitted.

To purchase tickets, visit www.rotaryclubofessex.com or buy them in person at the Centerbrook Package Store and the Connecticut River Museum.  For additional information on the Shad Fishing Excursion, visit the Connecticut River Museum’s website.

Onsite and street parking at the Connecticut River Museum is limited.  On the day of the event, an Essex Meadows shuttle will be running between the museum and several key parking locations that include the Essex Town Hall parking lot and Pratt House field (29 West Ave.).  The free shuttle service will start at 3 p.m. and run until 7:30 p.m. with pick-ups and drop-offs every 15 minutes.

 

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open 10 am to 5 pm, closed Mondays until Memorial Day. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River. For a full listing of Museum programs and events, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

 

The Rotary Club of Essex is the local chapter of Rotary International that is made up of service minded professionals.  The club and its members are committed to improving the community, connecting with other professionals, sharing their time and experience with the young, supporting global causes, and using their skills to help others.  For more information about the Shad Bake and Rotary Club visit http://www.rotaryclubofessex.com.

 

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Photo Captions:

 

  1. Preparing Shad – Rotary Club of Essex volunteers prepare shad at the 2014 bake the

traditional way by nailing them onto oak boards and using a specially prepared rub.

 

  1. Baking Shad – Connecticut River shad baking in front of fire on oak planks.

 

  1. Boning Demonstration – Bill Hoffstetler demonstrates the fine art of removing bones

from shad; a fish referred to by local Native Americans as the “inside out porcupine”.

CT River Museum Offers Boat Building Workshop in July, Register By June 12

2.Ernstoff Shipyard – The Ernstoff Shipyard, a father and daughter team in 2014 work on their boat.

The Ernstoff Shipyard, a father and daughter team in 2014 work on their boat.

ESSEX — What floats your boat?

In celebration of the Connecticut River’s rich heritage, the Connecticut River Museum is once again offering the CRM 12, a slightly adapted Bevin’s Skiff kit that is produced in limited quantity.  The 12’ skiff is reflective of the traditional boats that were built locally in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  With great versatility, these skiffs were used for fishing, rowing and sailing on the River and in the tidal marshes and tributaries.  Simple and beautiful, the museum selected the CRM 12 as a good beginner project to build with the help of knowledgeable instructors.

The museum will offer a three-day Boat Building Workshop July 10 – 12.  Participants can either do the workshop as individuals or as a group (up to four people).  There is no previous boat building experience required to build one of these kits.  However, organizers do expect that participants will have basic woodworking knowledge.  By the end of the weekend, each individual or group should have a nearly completed boat that is ready for the water.  As Ray Gaulke, museum board member and co-organizer stated, “It’s a marvelous way to learn basic boat building and have a product that you can take home.”

Last year’s successful program had four diverse teams — father/daughter, husband/wife, father/son and a Sea Scout troop — successfully build CRM 12’s.  “It was a wonderful sight to see participants with little or no boatbuilding experience on Friday rowing their completed boats on the River Sunday afternoon”, said Chris Dobbs, museum executive director.

The CRM 12 kit comes complete with everything needed to build the boat — high-quality marine plywood, fastenings, adhesives, plans and an easy-to-follow manual.   Boat builders only need to bring a few basic woodworking tools.  The museum commissioned Paul Kessinger, a local wooden boat builder from Guilford, CT to build the first CRM 12 in 2014.  Kessinger said that “This is a perfect activity for adults or families.  Best yet, you will get years of enjoyment out of rowing or sailing your skiff.”

Space is extremely limited for the boat building workshop.  Participants must be at least 10 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult.  The deadline to register is Friday, June 12.  The $1,500 program fee ($1,400 for CRM members) includes all the supplies needed to build the CRM 12, oars, and instruction.  By the end of the weekend, participants will have a completed boat, ready to be painted and rowed.  For more information, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

Chester Synagogue to Host Rare Discussion of Jewish Organizations Response to Palestinian BDS Movement

CHESTER — Since 2005, Palestinian organizations have increasingly called for worldwide support for a movement to boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) Israel.  Although this movement has gained some support in the United States, particularly on university campuses, it has also engendered sharp responses from American Jewish organizations – so sharp that they have consistently refused to appear on the same program as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization which supports the BDS movement, to avoid providing any air of legitimacy to JVP and the BDS discussion.

On Saturday, May 30, from 1 to 4 p.m., Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will host representatives of two American Jewish organizations with opposing views on BDS – J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace.  In a forum titled “Can We Talk – BDS, the Jewish Response and Anti-Semitism,” the role of BDS in the Middle East peace process will be explored.

Speaking in favor of the BDS movement will be Robert Gelbach, co-chair of the New Haven chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, co-convener of the Connecticut BDS coalition, and retired professor of political science from Southern Connecticut State University.  Learn more about JVP at jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

Speaking against the BDS movement will be Shaina Wasserman, New England Regional Director for J Street, a Jewish organization which describes itself as “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.”  Learn more about J Street at jstreet.org.

Audience questions will be highlighted, and there will be time for audience opinions as well.

Andy Schatz, chair of the Social Action Committee of CBSRZ, which is sponsoring the forum, stressed the significance of this discussion not only because of what it may clarify about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also for what it says about the Jewish community in the U.S.  “We think it is critical for Jewish communities and organizations to discuss openly these tough and uncomfortable issues to reach better solutions, and we are grateful for J Street for being willing to discuss the issue directly with JVP, which the other organizations we invited continued to refuse.”

He continues, “This discussion is another in the CBSRZ’ series of forums ‘celebrating diversity,’ as we think diversity of opinion within the American Jewish community is critical not only to reach those better solutions but to make clear American Jews are not some monolithic body but millions of people with oft-divergent views on issues large and small.”

Schatz noted that some of the topics likely to be discussed include:

  • Is boycott, divestment or sanction ever appropriate against democratic countries, and is any different standard appropriate as to Israel?
  • Can the BDS movement play a legitimate or positive role in the peace process in the Middle East?
  • Is the BDS movement inconsistent with support for Israel, a Jewish state, or a two-state solution?
  • Are boycotts, divestments or sanctions, which impact people and not just governments, inconsistent with religious values?
  • Is anti-Semitism increased by the BDS movement and/or by the refusal of most Jewish organizations to address it?
  • What should be the role of the American Jewish community and organizations in the debate over Israel’s future?

CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  There is no charge for this event, but to ensure adequate seating, register by sending an email to the CBSRZ office (bethshalom@snet.net) or calling 860-526-8920.   Light refreshments will be provided.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore Host Murder Books Promotion During May

“M” is for May…..Murder and Mayhem at Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) Book Sale. Now that warmer weather is finally here after an endless winter, take some time for yourself with a book sitting on the porch or back deck.

Feature titles include James Patterson’s “Cross-Double Cross,” Steve Martini’s “Guardian of Lies” and Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol- Inferno” along with many other spine-tingling page turners.

All promotional books are on sale for half price- hard cover books are $1 and paperbacks at $.25. Also, our supply of jigsaw puzzles are clearance priced at $0.50 as well for hours of fun.
The LVVS is gearing up for summer too with a “Paperbacks for the Beach” theme so look for that promotion next month. Stock up for your summer reading pleasures.

Stop in Monday-Thursday between the hours of 8am -2pm. The LVVS bookstore is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive. Contact Literacy Volunteers at 860-399-0280.

The LVVS is lways accepting gently used books, including paperbacks, 2005 or newer.

Artists of Gallery One Exhibit at ELLE Design Studio in Chester, Opens June 2

Forced Narcissus, by Catherine Christiano, on linen, 14 x 8 inches, 2005.

Forced Narcissus, by Catherine Christiano, on linen, 14 x 8 inches, 2005.

Gallery One, a cooperative of mid-career artists working in a wide variety of media and styles from representational to abstract, including painting, sculpture and works on paper, will exhibit at the ELLE Design Studio from June 2 through Aug. 30, with a reception on Friday, June 5, from 5 to 8 p.m.

“We are very pleased to have this opportunity to exhibit our artists’ work in Chester,” says Judith Barbour Osborne, “and particularly at ELLE Design Studio, both of which are art destinations.”

Gallery One artists include David Brown, Old Saybrook; Ashby Carlisle, Old Lyme; Catherine Christiano, Old Lyme; Bette Ellsworth, Madison; Mary Fussell, Clinton; Gray Jacobik, Deep River; Judith Barbour Osborne, Ivoryton; T. Willie Raney, Ivoryton; Diana Rogers, Clinton; Victoria Sivigny, Meriden; and Jill Vaughn, Ivoryton.

The Artists of Gallery One, whose vision is to provide southeastern Connecticut with a stimulating resource and to support one another artists, exhibit in various locations along the Connecticut shoreline from Stonington to New Haven. The Artists will be showing at the Mystic Arts Center Sept. 25 through Nov. 7 (in the Leibig Gallery). Additional information, the artists and any upcoming exhibitions can be found at www.galleryoneCT.com.

ELLE Design Studio is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 11am until 6pm, Sunday from 10am until 4pm, and by appointment.

For more information, visit Gallery One online at www.galleryoneCT.com and the ELLE Design Studio at elledesignstudio.net

Range of Summer Classes on Offer at Artisan’s Harbor

Harbor Night pARTy 1
Artisan’s Harbor at 188 Main St. in Old Saybrook announces the opening of their Adult and Teen classes on May 13 – these classes run through June 27. This is a flexible program in which  you may choose one class or a four- or six-pack.

Classes are for beginners and those wanting to learn the newest techniques to further their skills. Classes are offered in acrylic painting, oil painting, watercolor painting, and drawing.

Youth Mixed Media and Drawing classes for ages 7-18 continue on May 13-June 25th. Children will explore using a variety of materials to include paints, colored pencil, clay, wood, recycled and natural items and are encouraged to experiment.

Summer camp programs for youth will run from July 8 to Aug. 27. Information will be available shortly.

Harbor Nights pARTies are hosted every Friday and Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. Reservations 48 hours prior to evening of your choice is required. Come into the studio and paint your own masterpiece! No experience necessary. BYOB -wine or beverage of your choice – the studio provides appetizers, set-ups and all your art supplies.

Private parties may be arranged any day or time based on availability.

Check for details on class times and Harbor Nights pARTies calendar at www.artisansharbor.com. To register, call Cheryl Powell at 860-608-5749 or e-mail artisansharbor@att.net.

Old Saybrook Student Takes First Place in Southern CT Science & Engineering Fair

Andrew Pan (right) stands on the podium with the other winners at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.  Photo credit: www.scisef.org

Andrew Pan (right) stands on the podium with the other winners at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair. Photo credit: www.scisef.org

In a remarkable achievement, Old Saybrook High School senior Andrew Pan won first place in the Health and Medicine category at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair on Feb. 7 for his research project entitled, “Elevated Levels of Interleukin-8 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers induce Cell Survival During Chemotherapy.”

Pan’s first research experience was the summer before his junior year when he went to intern with the drug development company his father works for in Shanghai called Astrazeneca.  “It was my first exposure to research,” said Pan. “It was a lot of fun and it really intrigued me.”

After his summer with Astrazeneca, he knew he wanted to continue on with his scientific research the summer before his senior year.  “One of my friends who is a year above me had done research at Yale over the summer the year before and recommended it, so I contacted Professor Rong Fan because his work looked really interesting to me.”  Professor Fan’s work, which has been garnering a lot of attention, involves helping to detect variations between various cells to help aid the diagnosis of diseases like cancer.  Pan added, “Cancer is really fascinating scientifically because it’s a very complex, intricate micro environment working together against yourself – I’m curious about these types of things.”

“Researching under Professor Fan’s direction was great – he’s a very relaxed and quiet person.  I worked with Jonathan Chen, a grad student who was studying non small cell lung cancer for his thesis project and under his direction, I was investigating a variant of lung cancer which affects smokers and nonsmokers equally,” said Pan.  Specifically, he focused on a type of protein called interleukin-8 which affects how cancer cells move and grow.

Pan continued, “At first I was assigned a small sub project.  It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to study, but while Jon was gone for a couple weeks working with a lab from another school, I started to focus on a sub-population of cells emitting comparatively higher rates of interleukin-8 by comparing 2,300 individual cell samples – it was really tedious, but fun.”

Andrew Pan (left) stands with his mentor on his winning project, Yale graduate student, Jonathan Chen.

Andrew Pan (left) stands with his mentor on his winning project, Yale graduate student, Jonathan Chen.

He continued, “What I found was that the high producers of interleukin-8 were potentially serving as tumor drivers, something several other studies have confirmed experimentally.”  He went on to explain that blocking interleukin-8 in particular cells had the potential to help prevent cancer and improve upon the current delivery method so that treatments would work faster.  “I’m hoping  my research will help to identify targets for treatment,” said Andrew.

It was this research that he presented to the judges of the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.  “I had a poster, and I talked for 15-30 minutes about my research and answered some of the questions the judges had,” said Pan.  “The whole process was a lot of fun, but I never thought I’d win.  There were so many great projects, and it was so interesting seeing the research other students were doing.”

As for winning, he said, “It was really fun to present to the judges; my favorite part of the whole process was presenting my research and being able to share and learn – and it was nice to get recognition not just for myself, but for Old Saybrook High School as well.”

“On its own, my research is one small factor and won’t revolutionize anything, but hopefully building on it will help cancer research progress in the future,” said Pan, adding, “I’m really thankful to my friend for mentioning his research and encouraging me to try it, to the Professor for allocating time and resources for me, to my teachers for letting me leave school early so I could get to the lab on time, and especially to Jon for letting me tag along on his project – he used a lot of time to train me.”

As for what he’ll do next, Pan noted, “I’m going to present my research again at UConn, as well as Quinnipiac University for the next portion of the competition called the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair that’s statewide, and I’m planning on either writing a research paper or co-authoring one with Jonathan.”

He is also starting a Research Initiative Program to encourage rising juniors and seniors in Old Saybrook High School who are interested in experiencing hands-on experience scientific research.  “Everyone else at the competition came from schools with established research teams, so I’d love to be able to set something up like that for Saybrook so more people can have the experience I had,” said Pan.

Pan’s longer term plans involve him continuing to research a wide variety of things.  “I’m really interested in engineering – specifically, nanotech applied to medical technology, as well as designing devices for microfluidic platforms for the detection and diagnosis of cancer.  I’m also interested in drug development, and potentially tissue engineering or ophthalmology, but the main diseases I’d like to focus on are cancer, HIV, and neurodegenerative diseases because my family has been personally impacted by them.  I’d also love to work with Jon again and investigate some questions previous research brought up.”

Laughing, he added, “It’s really hard to condense everything I’m interested in into a short list.”  One is left with the clear impression that this extraordinary young man will have a long ‘To Do’ list for quite a while!

Letter to the Editor: The Reign of the Nuancers

To the Editor:

The Kings and Queens of nuance have deluded themselves into believing that the delicate difference perceived by any of the senses (nuance) gives them a superior ability to make decisions. It appears, however, that nuance is running rough-shod over any semblance of wisdom coming from the Obama administration.

The nuancers are deflecting the reality that worldwide murderous Islamic jihadists are intent on killing all who do not believe in their revolutionary ideology; they are bound by an imperative to fight to kill infidels till death.

This administration’s tag-team of haughty wizards have offered nothing of value. Their fanciful ideas and statements are alarming and devoid of intellectual honesty. Deputy spokesperson for the Department of State, Marie Harf, posits that the extremists are driven by economic deprivation and need jobs — really?

John Kerry, the emperor of nuance, offers the ludicrous statement that the world is “safer than ever.” Kerry hardly inspires confidence in those of us who hear direct threats, witness barbarous immolation and beheadings and understand what is motivating the slaughter. Does Kerry even know that 2014 was the deadliest year for terror attacks in forty-five years?

All of this nonsense is coming from the same administration who made the incogitable decision to trade Bowe Bergdahl, the deserter, for five high-value Taliban prisoners. And why does this administration continue to cuddle-up to Foreign Nationals who continue to break immigration laws. One can only imagine, because we just do not know, how many jihadists are slipping through the borders.

Is the current accommodates approach to Iran another decision influenced by nuance? The last time I checked, Iran was the leading sponsor of State Terrorism and too close to having nuclear capabilities. They would love the “deal” being contemplated by this White House. The “geniuses” are beginning to scare me. They believe that the just war is the war against “global warming” (the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on humankind) and refuse to accept that radical Islamists are driven to wipe out Christians, Jews and moderate Muslims who are, in their minds, infidels.

There are no shades of gray here. The nuancers need to get off their high horse, stop the verbal acrobatics, get a grip and LEAD.

Sincerely,

Alison Nichols,
Essex, CT

Become a Trained Tutor for Literacy Volunteers, Registration Open Now

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization.  Their mission is to train tutors to teach Basic Reading (BR) and English as a Second Language (ESL) to residents of the Valley Shore area who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills.  This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a seven-session, 14-hour workshop program.  The workshops begin March 26 and run through May 12. A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to help students improve their skill in basic literacy.

If interested in becoming a tutor, contact the Literacy Volunteers office on or before March 2 by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at jferrara@vsliteracy.org or you can stop by the office located in the basement of Westbrook’s Public Library weekdays between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

For further information, contact: John Ferrara (860) 391-1198

Tractor Supply Co. Announces Third Annual National FFA Scholarship Program

AREAWIDE — Coming off the heels of a successful second year in 2014, Tractor Supply Company has announced the third annual Growing Scholars program in partnership with the National FFA Foundation. Last year, Tractor Supply customers donated $447,671, resulting in 334 scholarships awarded to FFA members in their pursuit of a college degree.

The Growing Scholars program will be supported nationally by each of the more than 1,400 Tractor Supply and Del’s Feed & Farm Supply stores Feb. 20 – March 1, which includes National FFA Week. Tractor Supply customers can donate $1 or more at store registers during the checkout process to support local FFA chapters and their members. Ninety percent of funds raised through Tractor Supply’s Growing Scholars program will be utilized to fund scholarships for FFA members. The remaining 10 percent of donations will benefit state FFA organizations.

“The funding we received from our customers last year was tremendous,” said Tractor Supply President and CEO Greg Sandfort. “We’re honored to be able to provide critical funding to FFA members who intend to pursue a college degree. Many of these students go on to be agriculture educators – and we know how important ag. ed. is to our communities, customers, and the lifestyle they value. Local FFA chapters enrich the lives of young members by teaching life skills, citizenship and leadership qualities. Giving back to our 1,300-plus communities that we serve is very important, and the Growing Scholars program is one of the ways that we support our current and future customers and future team members.”

To be eligible for the scholarship program, students must be current FFA members and either high school seniors or a freshman, sophomore or junior college student seeking a two- or four-year degree or other specialized training program. Major areas of study will also be considered when determining scholarship recipients.

“We can’t thank Tractor Supply and its customers enough for supporting FFA, student and alumni members and agriculture education in general,” said National FFA Foundation President Molly A. Ball. “The Growing Scholars program truly makes a difference in the lives of our youth.”

In addition to the Growing Scholars program, Tractor Supply and the National FFA Foundation have many other joint initiatives, including the FFA horse evaluation career development event, National FFA Week and the annual National Association of Agricultural Educators Conference. At an individual store level, Tractor Supply continually hosts fund-raising events and works closely with local FFA chapters and high school agriculture advisors to provide resources and leverage synergies.

“Local high school agricultural advisors and FFA chapters feel at home in their local Tractor Supply stores,” said Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply. “These groups often host fund-raising events at our stores to raise money for community projects, like building a school greenhouse, a new bridge in a public park or an animal care lab. Our stores also work with local FFA members to support specific programs and proficiencies by providing demonstrations from knowledgeable Tractor Supply employees and our vendor partners, which brings significant value to both organizations.”

Tractor Supply has been a sponsor of the National FFA Foundation for 28 years. The National FFA Foundation is the fundraising arm of the National FFA Organization, which provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 610,240 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,665 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Tractor Supply Company

Tractor Supply Company operates more than 1,400 stores in 49 states, including one in Old Saybrook. Located in the outlying towns in major metropolitan markets and in rural communities, Tractor Supply Company stores are focused on supplying the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers and others who enjoy the rural lifestyle, as well as tradesmen and small businesses. The Company offers a comprehensive selection of merchandise for the health, care, growth and containment of horses, livestock and pets including select Purina and Nutrena brand feeds; hardware, truck, towing and tool products; and seasonal products, including lawn and garden items, power equipment, gifts and toys. In addition, the company sells work/recreational clothing and footwear for the entire family and maintenance products for agricultural and rural use. For more information on Tractor Supply, access the website at www.TractorSupply.com.

National FFA Foundation
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agriculture education. Governed by a 19-member board of trustees comprised of educators, business leaders, individual donors and FFA alumni, the foundation is a separately-registered nonprofit organization. About 82 percent of all sponsorship dollars received by the foundation support FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. For more, visit the National FFA Foundation at http://www.FFA.org/Give.

CT Audubon Announces EcoTravel Day Trips, Dates Thru Feb. & March

AREAWIDE — Connecticut Audubon Society has announced its upcoming series of EcoTravel Day Trips.

Click here for a full listing of all the trips available and information regarding reservations.

Ivoryton Announces Spectacular Season for 2015, Features ‘Memphis’, ‘Calendar Girls’

ESSEX: Ivoryton Playhouse has announced details of its upcoming 2015 season as follows:

Stand by Your Man
March 18 – April 5, 2015
By Mark St. Germain

Relive the journey of country music legend, Tammy Wynette, from the cotton fields of Itawamba, Mississippi, to international superstardom, including the five husbands she stood by. Among the 26 songs are “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Til I Can Make It On My Own” and “Golden Ring.”

The Last Romance
April 22 – May 10, 2015
By Joe DiPietro

A crush can make anyone feel young again – even an 80 year old widower. This heartwarming comedy about the transformative power of love mixes heartbreak with humor and opera with laughter.

Calendar Girls
June 3rd – June 21st, 2015
By Tim Firth

One of the best-selling plays in British theatre history is making its US premier. This dazzlingly funny and shamelessly sentimental story of the ladies of the Women’s Institute who pose au natural for a fundraising calendar is guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and walk out singing Jerusalem!  Sponsored by Webster Bank, PCI Medical

South Pacific
July 1 – July 26, 2015
By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan

Who doesn’t love this extraordinary show that includes “Some Enchanted Evening”, “Younger Than Springtime”, “Bali Ha’i”, “There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame”, and “A Wonderful Guy”? But South Pacific is also a deeply felt drama. Its portrayal of Americans stationed in an alien culture in wartime is as relevant today as when it first thrilled audiences back in 1949.

Memphis
Aug. 5 – Aug. 30, 2015
By Joe DiPietro and David Bryan

Memphis is set in the places where rock and roll was born in the 1950s: the seedy nightclubs, radio stations and recording studios of Memphis, TN. With an original score, it tells the fictional story of DJ Huey Calhoun, a good ole’ local boy with a passion for R&B music and Felicia Farrell, an up-and-coming black singer that he meets one fateful night on Beale Street. From the first notes of its electrifying opening number, right up to a rousing finale , Memphis delivers one energetic song after another. A rollicking new musical.

Little Shop of Horrors
Sept. 23 – Oct. 11, 2015
By Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

The charming, tongue in cheek musical comedy of Seymour who stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” – after his coworker crush, has been devouring audiences for over 30 years. A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical.

Liberace!
Oct. 28 – Nov. 15, 2015
By Brent Hazelton

Liberace! is a moving and highly entertaining tribute to the performer and musician famous for his charm, glitz, and glamour. Liberace relives the highs (and lows) of his prolific life, with a rollicking piano score spanning classical and popular music from Chopin to “Chopsticks,” and Rachmaninoff to Ragtime.

Subscriptions for 3-play, 5-play or 7-play packages are available now by calling Beverley Taylor at 860.767.9520

Single tickets go on sale Feb. 17 — call 860.767.7318.

For more information, visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Letter From Paris: Marcel Duchamp at the Pompidou Center

Marcel Duchamp i(1887-1965) is well known in America.  Most people have heard of his readymades like the famous (or infamous) Fontaine, which is, in fact, a public urinal.  Stiglitz immortilized the original in a 1917 photograph before it disappeared for ever.  The bicycle wheel set on a kitchen stool is a familiar sight for MOMA vistors.

Nude descending a staircase No. 2

Nude going down a staircase No. 2

Since his first trip to the US in 1915, the artist made multiple visits to that country, avoiding the two World Wars.  He acquired American nationality in 1955.  It was at the 1913 Armory Show that his cubist painting  ‘Nu Descendant un escalier No. 2′ (Nude going down a staircase No. 2) became a huge success.

Some critics have labelled Marcel Duchamp as the creator of modern art while others say he destroyed it when he advocated “non-retinal” painting.  Volumes have been written about him.  In an amazingly short time – since he abandoned art for chess at age 36 – he was able not only to produce art, but also to integrate into it the latest discoveries  of science and modern technology.

The Marcel Duchamp exhibit at the Pompidou Center just closed its doors after several successful months.  It was a monographic approach consisting of about 100 paintings  and drawings little known in France (most of them are part of the Louise and Walter Arensberg collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) covering the 1912 to 1923 period and leading to his main creation, ‘Le Grand Verre.’

Born in Normandy, Duchamp belonged to a talented family of six children.  The mother was a distant figure, which may explain his alienation from women.  ‘Sonate,’ 1911, represents the three sisters playing musical instruments.  The mother stands stern and erect . Strangely enough she seems to be enjoying the concert, although she is deaf.

He had a deadpan sort of humor and provocation was his tool.  He enjoyed playing  tricks on the Regardeurs  (viewers), giving wrong titles to his works.  He relished plays on words, for example, he called himself Rose Selavy (Eros – that’s life) in the photograph Man Ray took of him.  To put a moustache and a goatie on Mona Lisa was a virtual iconoclastic gesture and he made it even more outrageous by giving it the title of LHOOQ (if  the letters are pronounced in French the meaning is shockingly vulgar) .

Duchamp joined his two brothers Jacques Villon and Raymond-Duchamp in the Puteaux group of Cubists.  ‘Dulcinea’ and the ‘Joueurs d’échecs’ are among his superb cubist paintings.  Borrowing the technique of chronophotography and cinema, he introduced time and movement in ‘Jeune Homme Triste dans Un Train 1911-12,’  where the real accomplishment was to show a person in a train in motion while also suggesting his sad mood.

La Mariée mise a nu par ses célibataires,’ meme (also called Le Grand Verre) was his major work.  It consists of two free-standing glass panels.  In the lower register, nine Moules Maliques*  (an officer, a gendarme, a priest, etc) stand beside a chocolate-crushing machine, which rotates non-stop.  By means of sexually-related devices, gas travels up toward the mariée, who is hanging limply at the top, having gone from the virgin to the bride stage.  The work alludes to the universal themes of erotic love and the inaccessible woman.

* I am not even attempting to translate these nonsensical words!

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

Former Governor Weicker Lauds President Obama’s New Openness to Cuba      

Former Connecticut Governor Lowell Weicker at his home in Old Lyme, Thursday.

Former Connecticut Governor Lowell Weicker at his home in Old Lyme, Thursday.

Lowell Weicker, a former Governor and Senator of Connecticut, has expressed his support for the Obama’s administration new policy of normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba. In taking this position, Weicker noted in an interview at his home in Old Lyme with ValleyNewsNow yesterday that current polls show that 60 percent of Americans support diplomatic recognition of Cuba.

In adopting a new U.S. relationship with Cuba, Weicker said, “Finally, we are catching up with the times.” He continued, “The U.S. embargo has lasted for 50 years, yet country after country has recognized Cuba with only the United States in not doing so.”  Weicker also expressed criticism of those who oppose the Obama Administration new policy of recognizing Cuba, such as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Positive Aspects of Today’s Cuba

According to Weicker, “The most positive aspects of the present Castro regime in Cuba are in the areas of health care and good public education. Ninety nine percent of Cubans have free health care and good public education, a complete turnaround from the days of Battista.” At the same time, Weicker faulted the present Cuban government, “for its lack of human rights and democratic elections.”

As for his personal relationship with Cuba, the former Connecticut Governor said, “My family owned a large business in Cuba, which was expropriated by the Castro government, after Battista fled the island. No one, especially myself, is going to extol Castro’s confiscation of private property.”

Weicker also noted his, “deep personal distaste for the dictatorship of Flugencio Battista, who preceded Fidel Castro. Early on,” he said, “most of the Cuban immigrants to the United States were allied with Battista. Indeed in my losing the 1988 Senate campaign, the Florida Cuban community poured late money into Senator Joe Lieberman’s campaign.”

Weicker’s Two Trips to Castro’s Cuba

File photo from the 1980s of then U.S. Senator Lowell Weicker shaking hands with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Photo from the 1980s of then U.S. Senator Lowell Weicker shaking hands with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Weicker also stated, “When I was a U.S. Senator, I made two trips to Cuba in the early 1980s. The first was to organize a joint American-Cuban marine science mission. The second was to secure the release of six American women imprisoned in Cuba.” According to Weicker, he, “convinced Castro, personally, to release the women who were in jail on drug charges. Two of the six were from Connecticut.”

Weicker described how, while in Cuba, he and Castro went diving together and spent many hours discussing Cuban-American relations. When Castro inquired whether there was anything he could do for Weicker, the Senator jokingly responded by requesting the Major League Baseball franchise for Havana. Castro’s response was, ‘No, we keep that.’”

In Weicker’s account, “When I announced to the Senate that I was to go to Cuba to retrieve the six women, U.S. Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina tried to block the trip.” Failing that endeavor, Helms asked Weicker, confidentially, if he could bring back some cigars for him.

Weicker also makes the point that the wrapper leaf for Cuban cigars are traditionally grown in Connecticut, so Connecticut would directly benefit from the lifting of U.S. restrictions on the importation of Cuban cigars.

In conclusion, Weicker said, “Cuban dictator Battista was bad news, and I agree that the Castro brothers have had their own failings.” However, Weicker does not want the U.S. to live in the past as regards Cuba. He states, “It is only a question of time … Cuba will become more and more democratic. It is a new world, and one that should see two old friends reconcile.”

State Awards Historic Haddam Jail $300,000 Redevelopment Funding

Front view of Haddam Jail

A view of Haddam Jail from the front.

HADDAM — Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has awarded the town of Haddam a grant of $300,000 for assessment and planning for the redevelopment of the Haddam Jail.

This grant is part of a $2,188,000 in assessment and planning grants given to eight municipalities throughout the state to support the redevelopment of historically significant brownfield sites.

“As we’ve raised the bar like never before in preserving our most treasured areas, we’ve also made historic progress redeveloping brownfields – because it boosts our economic development in the short- and long-term. It’s about the future, about revitalizing local communities, and enhancing our economy,” Governor Malloy said. “This is an investment now that will benefit these municipalities for years to come.”

First Selectman Melissa Schlag applied for the second round of DECD grants this fall in hopes to provide much needed funding to plan for redevelopment use of the old historic jail.

Historic image depicting the jail.

Historic image depicting the jail

The Middlesex County Jail built in 1845 is the oldest county jail in America, the first agricultural jail in the country and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Schlag stated, “Many hours of writing and research went into this grant, but I believed the state would recognize the significance of this jail to Haddam’s economy.” She continued, “That we are one of only eight towns in the state to receive this grant during these difficult fiscal times shows how important the state views this project for Haddam, the region and the state.”

“Eight historically significant brownfield sites will move closer to being restored and reclaimed,” said Tim Sullivan, director of Waterfront, Brownfield and Transit-Oriented Development. He added, “By combining brownfield remediation with historic preservation, we believe these sites represent unique opportunities to create new jobs while also honoring Connecticut’s industrial heritage.”

Inside the jail.

Inside the jail

Schlag commented, “The old historic jail turns 170 this year, I couldn’t think of a better anniversary gift than this much needed grant,” She noted, “This will allow Haddam to finally give one of the most significant buildings in our community an exciting income-producing future without having to raise property taxes to do it.”

“My goal is to have our jail open to the public by the 175th anniversary,” said Schlag.

SE CT Delegation Highlights Transport Investment Needs in I-95 Corridor

Representative Aundre` Bumgardner, Senator Paul Formica, State Representative Devin Carney next to Governor Malloy at the Gold Star Bridge in New London for a transportation press conference.

Representative Aundre` Bumgardner, Senator Paul Formica, State Representative Devin Carney next to Governor Malloy at the Gold Star Bridge in New London for a transportation press conference.

Three freshman state lawmakers from Southeastern Connecticut joined Governor Malloy on Wednesday overlooking the Thames River to highlight the need for more investment in all modes of transportation along the I-95 corridor in the shoreline region.

“People in the southeast corridor of the state should have reliable and safe transportation systems.  The fact that the Governor chose to highlight I-95 in our area is important.  It is a major pathway for commerce in this region,” said Senator Paul Formica.

State Senator Formica (R) is the veteran lawmaker in the group of freshmen, recently resigning as the first selectman of East Lyme to serve as the 20th district’s state senator in Hartford.

“I have been working with the state department of Transportation for years as a first selectman to revamp exit 74 and to widen the Niantic River Bridge.  Today’s event is an extension of those conversations,” added Formica.

Newly elected State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) also reiterated the need to prioritize the upkeep of roads, bridges, rail and ports.

From left to right,  State Representative Aundre` Bumgardner, State Senator Paul Formica and State Representative Devin Carney stand next to the Gold Star Bridge in New London for a transportation press conference with CTDOT.

From left to right, State Representative Aundre` Bumgardner, State Senator Paul Formica and State Representative Devin Carney stand next to the Gold Star Bridge in New London for a transportation press conference with CTDOT.

“Improving our transportation infrastructure is very important to folks of Southeastern Connecticut. I applaud Governor Malloy for acknowledging that there needs to be upgrades made to I-95 at this end of the state. It’s a key area for commuters and tourists, so it’s crucial that traffic can move steadily and safely. As a member of the Transportation Committee, I will continue to be an advocate for government transparency and a proponent of public safety,” said Rep. Carney.

As one of the two youngest elected lawmakers in the country, Representative Aundre` Bumgardner brings a new perspective to the ongoing conversation of how to keep the state’s transportation infrastructure strong for future generations.

“Connecticut needs a comprehensive transportation plan that includes roads, bridges, rail, our ports and waterways and pedestrian-friendly ways to get around,” Rep. Bumgardner (R-41st) said. “I’m encouraged the Governor is making sure Southeastern Connecticut isn’t being left out but this is just the start.  The Governor and the legislature must ensure any funding put into transportation projects is used specifically for transportation and protected from being raided for other purposes.”

All agree protecting the Special Transportation Fund may require new language for a “lock box” on funds collected through the gas tax, department of motor vehicle fees, as well as commuter train and bus tickets.

The event was held at the State DEEP Boat Launch on the New London side of the Thames River, just below the Gold Star Bridge.   At 5,925 feet, the Gold Star is the longest bridge in Connecticut. The northbound bridge, which originally carried I-95 traffic in both directions, opened in 1943. A new bridge for southbound traffic opened in 1973.

Editor’s Note: State Senator Formica represents the 20th District towns of Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Waterford, New London, Montville, Bozrah and Salem. State Representative Carney represents the 23rd District towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. State Representative Bumgardner represents the 41st General Assembly District representing residents in Groton and New London

CT River Watershed Council Partners Receive $10M to Improve Long Island Sound 

The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) is one of seven partners receiving a $10 million federal grant funded through USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. This new project brings together seven partners to improve the health of Long Island Sound. The funding will be matched dollar for dollar by other local, state, and private funding sources.

Excess nutrients have been identified as the primary driver of hypoxic conditions (lack of oxygen) in Long Island Sound and are also impacting upland water resources within the watershed, which encompasses areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The project will develop a comprehensive, whole-farm management certainty program for farmers in the area. It will use both working lands and easement programs to improve soil health and nutrient management, establish community resiliency areas with a focus on enhancing riparian areas, and institute a land protection program to agricultural and forestry areas.

The Council is very pleased to be one of the many partners on this important project to improve the health of both the Connecticut River basin and Long Island Sound,” says CRWC Executive Director Andrew Fisk.  “Funding will allow CRWC to continue working with landowners on restoration projects on their land that will improve our rivers and protect their investment in productive farm and forest land.”

The Connecticut River contributes over 70 percent of the freshwater to Long Island Sound and plays an important role in the health of the Sound.  “We are proud to be working with landowners to help them do their part to restore and protect the public’s water,” notes Fisk.  “Many individuals working together across the entire watershed will have a great impact to improve the health of our rivers and Long Island Sound.”

The CRWC works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, the organization celebrates its four-state treasure and collaborates, educates, organizes, restores and intervenes to preserve its health for generations to come. The  work of the CRWC informs the communal vision of economic and ecological abundance.

To learn more about CRWC, visit www.ctriver.org.

This project is one of more than 110 high-impact projects across all 50 states that will receive a portion of $370+ million as part of this new effort.

More information on the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program and other awards is available at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/farmbill/rcpp/

Carney Assigned to Legislative Committees for 2015 Session

OLD SAYBROOK — State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) will serve on three committees during the 2015 legislative session.

Carney has been assigned to the legislature’s committees on Environment, Transportation as well as Higher Education and Employment Advancement. His two-year term began Jan. 7.

“Carney will make an excellent addition to these committees, I am confident that he will serve the House Republican caucus with distinction,” said state Rep. Themis Klarides, incoming House Republican Leader. “Committee members serve as our eyes and ears when it comes to developing important legislation.”

Carney commented, “I look forward to representing the 23rd District on committees of such great importance as Environment, Transportation and Higher Education and Employment Advancement. The 23rd District is like no other with its scenic beauty and I want to ensure that both residents and tourists are able to enjoy it for generations to come. Transportation is a priority to many folks across the district and I will work extremely hard to try and repair our broken infrastructure.”

He continued, “Finally, I believe it’s time for my generation to step up and start taking the lead towards restoring our prosperity in an area that has affected it, higher education. Working to ensure we have a diverse, skilled workforce, aligned with available jobs, is part of the bigger picture of boosting our economy and preventing the further exodus of our youth.”

The Environment Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to the Department of Environmental Protection, including conservation, recreation, pollution control, fisheries and game, state parks and forests, water resources, and all matters relating to the Department of Agriculture, including farming, dairy products and domestic animals.

The Transportation Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to the Department of Transportation, including highways and bridges, navigation, aeronautics, mass transit and railroads; and to the State Traffic Commission and the Department of Motor Vehicles

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to (A) the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the Office of Higher Education, and (B) public and independent institutions of higher education, private occupational schools, post-secondary education, job training institutions and programs, apprenticeship training programs and adult job training programs offered to the public by any state agency or funded in whole or in part by the state.

“Committee rooms are where the laws of our state are outlined and where we can achieve the best for the people of the state of Connecticut,” Klarides said.

Playhouse’s Hubbard Joins WWI Xmas Eve Truce Centennial Celebration in Europe

Xmas_Eve_football_game_335KB

World War I soldiers transport an injured comrade.

World War I nurses prepare to tend the injured.

World War I nurses prepare to tend the injured.

ESSEX – Ivoryton Playhouse Executive Director Jacqueline Hubbard and her daughters recently took a memorable trip to Europe.

The three of them spent Christmas in Belgium visiting the battlefields of Ypres where they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the extraordinary Christmas Eve Truce, which was observed during World War I in 1914.

As happened in 1914 and 100 years later memorialized in a  2014 Christmas advertisement made by the British grocery chain of J.Sainsbury, a soccer game was played in Ypres in costumes from the war period.

Hubbard notes, “It was an incredibly moving experience.”

She also shared with ValleyNewNow a link to a story that was written by a journalist for an Aberdeen newspaper that accompanied Hubbard and her daughters on the tour. https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/uk/440689/video-watch-re-enactment
-christmas-day-truce-football-match/

View the J. Sainsbury advertisement below:

Republican Senator Art Linares and Democratic Challenger Emily Bjornberg in Hotly Contested 33rd District Race

AREAWIDE— Republican State Senator Art Linares’s bid for a second term is facing an aggressive challenge from Democrat Emily Bjornberg in of Lyme in a contest that also includes Green Party nominee Colin Bennett.

The race, which included three well-attended debates, has attracted statewide attention as Democrats make a determined effort to reclaim the seat that was held for two decades by former Democratic State Sen. Eileen Daily of Westbrook before Linares won it after a three candidate contest in 2012. This week U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman campaigned for Bjornberg at separate appearances in Portland and Clinton. The district includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and portions of Old Saybrook.

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

Linares, of Westbrook, was elected in 2012 on a 23,813 to 21,251 vote, over Democrat Jim Crawford, a one term state representative from Westbrook, in a race where Green Party nominee Melissa Schlag received over 4,000 votes. This year, Linares also has the Connecticut Independent Party ballot line while Bjornberg also holds the ballot line for the Working Families Party.

Linares, who turned 26 Friday, and Bjornberg, 33, have campaigned heavily since last spring, making thousands of door-to-door visits throughout the 12 district towns. Both major party nominees have received the $94,850 grant available for state senate candidates under the state’s Citizens Election Program, using the funds to pay for several voters mailings and television ads on the cable channels.

Green Party nominee Colin Bennett

Green Party nominee Colin Bennett

Bennett, 34, of Westbrook, is spending little money on his campaign, but has raised some signs and participated in each of the debates. Bennett, who currently works as a substitute teacher in Region 4 schools, was the Green Party nominee for the seat in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010, garnering as many as 1,682 votes in 2008.

Linares, who co-founded the Middletown-based Greenskies solar power company in 2008, said he has focused his campaign on economic issues. He contends tighter controls on government spending and easing of some business regulations would help add jobs and boost the economic recovery in Connecticut. While predicting a possible state budget deficit would approach $2 billion next year, Linares pledges to oppose any new or increased taxes and calls for reductions in taxes on gasoline, hospitals, and retirement income.

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

Bjornberg, a mother of two young children who works part-time with the youth and families ministry at Deep River Congregational Church, has also talked about helping small businesses and pledges to oppose any tax increases that would impact middle and working class families. But the first time candidate whose family owns the Reynolds Subaru dealership in Lyme has also sharply criticized the incumbent’s record over the past two years and questioned several aspects of his business, including purchasing solar panels from China rather than from companies in the United States.

Bjornberg has also brought social issues in to the fray, contending an endorsement from the Connecticut Family Institute shows Linares is an ultra-conservative who would seek to overturn state laws on same sex marriage and abortion rights. “People have a very clear choice in this election,” she said, promising to be a voice in the Democratic majority caucus for children, the environment, and small towns.

Linares said he “has no social agenda,” and is personally opposed to abortion while supporting same sex marriage rights. Linares said he would make no effort to change state law on the social issues, and suggests Bjornberg is highlighting these issues “just to scare people.” He said Bjornberg has “offered no solutions or new ideas,” while criticizing his two-year record and a business that he claims has created 300 jobs in the state.

Bennett has called for increased investments in clean energy, raising taxes on the state’s wealthiest citizens, and legalization or marijuana. While Bjornberg confirmed that she has asked Bennett to withdraw to avoid splitting progressive votes on Tuesday, Bennett said he is remaining in the race to provide another choice for “people who have lost faith in government.”

The candidates show both common ground and some differences on two issues that affect motorists, the option of restoring tolls on state highways and allowing use of red light cameras. Linares and Bennett expressed strong opposition to allowing red light cameras, while Bjornberg said she would want to see a specific proposal, including “where cameras would be placed and why and what safeguards would be in place for due process.”

On tolls, Bjornberg is opposed while Linares said he could be open to the option if it did not include new toll booths at multiple locations. “I would like to see the proposition in detail and what the new technologies are,” he said. Bennett acknowledged he is undecided on the issue of tolls.

Letter: Response to Latest Mailings

To the Editor:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the 33rd District.

The political mailings, particularly the last two I have received on behalf of Democratic candidate Emily Bjornberg who is running for a senate seat in Connecticut representing our 33rd district,  have been, to say the least, the lowest, most nasty mailings that I have ever received prior to an election for a senatorial candidate who would represent me in Hartford.

Not only have these last two mailings been disgraceful and full of lies, but, having attended the last two debates among Emily Bjornberg, Art Linares and Colin Bennett, I have also been disgusted with the attack dog tactics and misinformation coming from Emily against Art Linares. Her behavior makes the definition given to a pit bull terrier pale in comparison to her progressive, socialistic demands and attitudes about what should or should not be rule of law for everyone.

Please, back off Emily. You have shown your true colors.  We have had good representation in the 33rd district with Senator Art Linares.  We need Art to return to his duties in Hartford and continue the work of trying to keep Connecticut from collapsing under the heavy weight of a democratic governor and a democratically controlled House and Senate.

Respectfully submitted

 

Melanie Phoenix
Essex

Giuliano Commends Funding to Preserve Open Space

State Rep. Marilyn Giuliano (R-23) along with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced state grants of: $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of open space in Lyme, $162,500 to preserve 40.76 acres of land on 106 Four Mile River Road in Old Lyme and $650,000 to preserve 186 acres of Horse Hill Woods – Phase II in Westbrook. The collective grants will help preserve over 405 acres of open space.

Open Space projects are a continuation of the supportive roles that these Towns and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) have had in preserving open space and protecting habitat.

Sheldon Creek River Access in Lyme will receive $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of land. Currently, the property is maintained as a meadow with 157 feet of waterfront access along Sheldon cove on the Connecticut River. This parcel is recognized as a “Wetlands of International Importance,” with public parking and recreation to the river are easily accessible.

The 106 Four Mile River Road property, in Old Lyme, boasts over 1,250 feet of frontage and public access which will seek to be added to a open space parcels totaling 147 acres. The $162,500 grant will protect the property, which is traversed by two wetland tributaries of the Three Mile River and is covered by diverse upland forest and stands of mountain laurel.

Additionally, the state also awarded a $650,000 grant to the town of Westbrook, aimed at protecting Horse Hill Woods – Phase II, which consists of two separately owned but abutting parcels of land: the Russo (143 acres) and Miele (43 acres) properties.

Rep. Giuliano persistently lobbied to secure the purchase of “The Preserve” – a 1,000 acre coastal-forest area that the state is seeking to purchase along with the Town of Old Saybrook and surrounding towns.  The $471,250 award to the Essex Land Trust supports that organization’s plans to purchase a 70.6-acre section of “The Preserve”.

“An investment in preserving open space in Connecticut is one which will surely pay off. These grants will help safeguard the natural beauty and habitats our district is known for. Through these grants, we will ensure that generations to come will continue to enjoy the abundant natural beauty,” said Rep. Giuliano.

Aiming to preserve 673, 210 acres of undeveloped Connecticut land by 2023, the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) developed the Open Space program. To date, the state has reached nearly 74 percent of its goal, preserving an impressive 496, 182 acres.

Letter: Linares Ranked Low by League of Conservation Voters

To the Editor:
When my husband and I moved to Essex, one of the compelling reasons for doing so was the natural beauty of the Lower Connecticut River Valley.  We are fortunate that this area has been protected from major development.  In the upcoming election you have an opportunity to choose between two candidates for state senator who share very different views on conservation:  the incumbent Art Linares and his challenger Emily Bjornberg.

Mr. Linares received a lifetime score for his voting record by the independent group League of Conservation Voters that ranks the second lowest in the entire state senate.  Art may work at a solar energy company, but as an intern to Tea Party Senator Marco Rubio in 2010, he must have picked up some very bad ideas on the role of government in protecting the environment.  I cannot believe his voting record on these issues is representative of the people of his district.

Emily has not been ranked by the League as she is not a sitting legislator. However, she is a very committed environmentalist who has served as a member of the Lyme Land Trust for many years. She has been endorsed by State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex, a leading environmental legislator, as well as by Melissa Schlag, now the First Selectman of Haddam and a former Green Party Candidate for the State Senate.

If you appreciate the beauty of our state’s environment, please vote with me for Emily Bjornberg.
Sincerely,
Jane Piro
Essex 

Letter: Judge Terrance Lomme Asks for Your Vote

To the Editor:

I am Terrance D. Lomme, your Judge of Probate and believe I am the best candidate for this office due to my compassion and experience. These two qualities are essential to being an effective Judge. I am very concerned about all of the people who appear before me. I fully understand that there are difficult circumstances that bring people to the Court. As a Veteran, I am sensitive to the Veteran’s issues that are presented to me.

Before being elected Judge, I practiced probate law for over 30 years in the towns that now constitute the 33rd District Court. This experience, combined with being the East Haddam Probate Judge for three years was invaluable to me when, shortly after my election in 2010, I was given the task of merging nine individual courts into the new Saybrook District Probate Court. This was the largest merger of individual Courts in the State.

I am aware my decisions have a major affect on people’s lives, whether it is a decision to conserve an elderly person, to award custody of a child to a grandparent or the loss of a loved one.

As a probate lawyer for 30 years, and seven years as a Judge presiding over three thousand five hundred hearings, I have assisted thousands of families through the probate process. The Court and my clerks have received exemplary ratings from Probate Administration in each of its three reviews. Additionally, the Court budget has not increased since my election.

Further, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Probate Assembly and a member of the National College of Probate Judges, I keep current on State and National trends that may affect the Court.

For the above reasons I ask you to vote for me on November 4th.

Sincerely,

 

Terrance D. Lomme,
Essex

 

Letter: Bjornberg’s Criticism of Sen. Linares is Hypocritical

To the Editor:

As a lifelong Democrat, a former legislator and a former Selectman representing shoreline Towns, and a partner with State Senator Art Linares, Jr. at Greenskies Renewable Energy, I was shocked and quite frankly embarrassed for my party to receive the recent mailer from Emily Bjornberg on Senator Linares’ track record on the environment and the economy.  Her false and hypocritical statements regarding our business seems to be representative of her “win at all costs” mantra, and her criticism of one of Connecticut’s most dynamic and environmentally responsible startup companies clearly displays her basic lack of understanding about both the environment and the economy.

A puzzling and disturbing fact regarding Ms. Bjornberg’s criticisms regarding Senator Linares’s lack of concern for the environment centers around her family business, which has enjoyed millions of dollars of profits for generations selling automobiles, the single largest contributor to carbon monoxide pollution in the atmosphere.  Greenskies sole mission is to reduce carbon footprint throughout Eastern United States through the development of photo-voltaic solar systems.  Even more disturbing (and hypocritical) is the automobile that her family business sells are Subaru! These vehicles are entirely manufactured in Japan by Fuji Heavy Industries.  Yet the most outlandish statement in her mailer is that Senator Linares does not care about Connecticut jobs.  Without political fanfare, without beating his chest, but simply because it was the right thing to do, Senator Linares supported consummating a relationship with the electrical union, and today Greenskies currently employs over 300 IBEW electricians in four states, including Connecticut.  If she cared so much about Connecticut jobs, perhaps, Ms. Bjornberg should consider unionizing her automobile dealership.

In today’s world economy, we enjoy an international platform of business opportunity to benefit all.  Greenskies has purchased products from both U.S. manufacturers and from overseas, and we embrace and are extremely proud of our track record.  I personally appreciate the success of Ms. Bjornberg’s family business as well, which has proudly served the shoreline for generations.  But Ms. Bjornberg’s attempt to malign Senator Linares’ record on the environment and on the economy clearly indicates that she does not possess the balance or the intellectual maturity to represent our district.  She should focus on the issues that separate her and her opponent, and their respective parties, and let voters elect the right candidate for the right reasons.

Sincerely,

 

Robert A. Landino
Westbrook

 

Letter: Deep River First Selectman Endorses Bjornberg

To the Editor:

Emily Bjornberg is clearly the choice to represent the 12 towns that comprise Connecticut’s 33rdSenatorial District.  That conclusion is based on 25 years of first hand experience.  Early in my tenure as First Selectman I learned just how important it is to maintain close contact with our representatives in Hartford.  I have spent many hundreds of hours testifying before our Legislators, the men and women who play such an important part in the health of our communities.  The actions—or, unfortunately, inactions, of our representatives in Hartford are crucial to our future.

We have been largely fortunate in our legislative choices: Jamie Spallone, Phil Miller and, for 20 years, Eileen Daily, whose presence we have sorely missed during the two years since she stepped down.  But we have been afforded a golden opportunity, the chance to elect a Senator with the drive, the capacity and the promise to follow in that fine tradition.

Emily Bjornberg speaks passionately and compellingly; she states her beliefs frankly; she clearly enumerates her goals as our State Senator.  Emily has spent time with residents in all corners of the towns she seeks to represent.  She understands us.  Her honesty is immediately apparent.  She will devote herself to the service of her constituents.  Emily Bjornberg should be our next State Senator.
Sincerely,

Richard H. Smith
First Selectman, Deep River

Letter: Road Tolls Not Simple Solution to Gas Tax Replacement

To the Editor:

I attended the debate between Representative Phil Miller and Challenger Bob Siegrist at the Valley High School. I enjoyed the policy debate over issues that face Connecticut. There was one comment that did catch my attention by Representative Miller when he said he wanted to get rid of the gas tax and replace it with tolls. I love a good research project and looked into this campaign idea.

When you combine both the gasoline taxes (gas tax and the gross receipts tax) it totals approx. $900M. One would say great, get rid of burdensome taxes. However, to replace that revenue one would have to litter CT with tolls. And remember that tolls cost money. For comparison, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority incurred approx. $470,000 in costs last year to run them. By the way, there is currently a Federal prohibition of tolls on all interstate highways in CT as they are currently configured (with few exceptions).

While CT is discussing tolls in Southwestern CT along 95, it is part of a pilot program to strategically place tolls in a limited basis in the hopes of reducing traffic congestion, not to raise revenue. In fact, one of those exceptions to place tolls in CT includes all non-interstate highways. Rt. 9 is a non-interstate highway. Get ready for more traffic on Rt. 9 if tolls go up. Do we really need I95 traffic in our backyard?

I would only suggest that before you make any campaign suggestions as massive as this one that you do the research first. What we don’t need are more ways to raise revenue and more spending in a bloated budget. Let’s vote for a candidate who won’t raid the transportation fund and wants to fix our roads and highways, not create more traffic on them. I’m voting for Bob Siegrist on November 4th.

Sincerely,

Ashley Amaio
Chester

 

Letter: Linares Debate Response Misunderstood

To the Editor:

I attended the debate between State Senator Art Linares, Emily Bjornberg, and Colin Bennett on October 8th at Valley Regional High School. With regard to the letter from Sue Huybensz, who also attended the debate, I am certain that she misunderstood the discussion. In particular, she completely misinterpreted the response by Senator Linares regarding his stand on the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision.

In no way did Senator Linares say that he is opposed to a woman’s right to choose. He pointed out that this issue is not germane to candidates running for the State Senate. If he were running for the United States Senate or were in line for consideration for a position on the Supreme Court, the issue of what methods of birth control must be paid for by a private enterprise would be a worthwhile topic for debate. At a debate for election to State Senator, the issue is a red herring.

When Art shared that he was raised Catholic, he was pointing out that nobody’s personal and religious beliefs supersede the laws of our country. The aim of Senator Linares on the evening of October 8th was to bring the debate’s discussion back to issues that are germane to CT residents, issues that a state senator is empowered to do something about: returning prosperity and top-notch educational and  professional opportunity to the residents of our state.  As a CT woman, I plan to cast my vote for Senator Art Linares.

Sincerely,
Alice van Deursen
Essex

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!

Sincerely,

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.

Sincerely,

Lynn Herlihy
Essex

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.

Sincerely,

Tom Lindner
Deep River 

Following Strong Debate Performance, Bjornberg Challenges Linares to Appear in 33rd District’s Northern Towns

Following a strong performance Tuesday evening during a public debate at the Valley Regional High School in Deep River, Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg criticized her Republican opponent, Art Linares of Westbrook, for refusing multiple invitations for further debates from non-partisan organizations across the 33rd Senate District.

“My opponent may not wish to talk about his record in the Northern part of our district, but the residents of Colchester, East Hampton, Portland, Haddam and East Haddam deserve to hear what he has to say about it. And they should be concerned at his reluctance to appear there,” said Bjornberg. “There are important issues in this campaign, and real differences between my opponent and myself. We need to better address the needs of our small businesses, and put their interests first before those of lobbyists and special interests. We need lower property taxes, and greater state education aid to make that possible. We need to put more people back to work, particularly our unemployed returning veterans.”

Linares has not accepted a single invitation in one the district’s northern towns, including any and all proposed events north of the Town of Deep River.

The 33rd State Senate District includes twelve towns: Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

“I believe in a full and open debate of the issues in this election. It takes over an hour to drive across the 33rd Senate District, one of the largest in the state. Each community has their own unique needs and concerns. For my opponent to agree to debates only in the southern portion of the district is a disservice and an insult to those northern communities,” said Bjornberg.

In response to a recent invitation to debate from the Haddam Bulletin, Linares’ campaign manager and brother, Ryan Linares, emailed the following statement in response (follow link to Linares’ full email):

“For this election  (just like last election) we’ve already been asked to participate in over 8-9 debates. Myself and our campaign team [sic] have decided to participate in four, believing that this is more then [sic] sufficient for all candidates to voice their opinion on certain matters. Those debates include the New London Day (Lyme), Rotary Club (Essex), Essex library (Deep River) & Westbrook Council of Beaches (Westbrook) – we made our decision off a first come bases [sic] and to geographically space them out for all to conveniently attend.”

Of the four events the Linares’ campaign has agreed to, two have already occurred, one of which was not located within the 33rd District itself (The Day’s debate was actually held in Old Lyme). Only one of the two events that remain will be open to the public, with approximately six weeks remaining before the general election. The Essex Rotary event is open to club members only.

“Art Linares may wish to limit public debate in this election, but the voters deserve a broader discussion. I have challenged my opponent to twelve debates in twelve towns, and I renew that challenge today. If my opponent is proud of his voting record and his positions on the issues, he has no reason to hide,” said Bjornberg.

To date, the Bjornberg campaign has accepted invitations for upcoming debates from all of the following organizations. Bolded events have either not received a response from the Linares campaign, or have had their invitation declined:

Haddam Bulletin Debate
October 14th or 15th, Time TBD
Haddam-Killingworth High School
95 Little City Road, Higganum, CT 

Colchester AARP Candidate Forum
October 28th at 2PM
Colchester Senior Center, 95 Norwich Avenue, Colchester, CT

Morgan School Debate
October 23rd, Time TBD
The Morgan School, 27 Killingworth Turnpike, Clinton, CT 

CT Mirror Debate at Chamard Vineyard in Clinton
Date TBD

Essex Rotary Club Candidate Forum
Tuesday, September 30th
Cocktails at 5:45pm, Dinner begins at 6:15pm
Essex Yacht Club, 13 Novelty Ln, Essex, CT

Westbrook Council of Beaches Candidate Forum
Monday, October 6th, 7pm
Teresa Mulvey Municipal Center, 866 Boston Post Rd, Westbrook, CT
The 33rd District includes the communities of: Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Local Resident Recalls Eleanor Roosevelt Endorsement of State Senate Candidacy

Eleanor Roosevelt endorsing the candidacy of Essex resident Jerome Wilson, when he was a candidate for the New York State Senate back in 1962

Eleanor Roosevelt endorsing the candidacy of Essex resident Jerome Wilson, when he was a candidate for the New York State Senate in 1962

What with much of the country riveted by the PBS documentary on the “Roosevelt’s,” Essex resident Jerome Wilson has released a photograph of his one time meeting with Eleanor Roosevelt. The photograph was taken in the fall of 1962, and it pictured Mrs. Roosevelt’s endorsement of Wilson’s candidacy for the New York State Senate in Albany. Wilson won his race in 1962 and went on to serve three terms in the New York State Senate.

Wilson was a member of what was called the Reform Movement in New York City in the 1960’s. The leaders of the Reform Democratic movement were three notable national Democrats: Eleanor Roosevelt, former New York State Governor Herbert Lehman and former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Thomas Finletter. The purpose of this group was to defeat Tammany Hall, Democratic Party officeholders (the so-called “bosses”), and replace them with Reform Democrats.

On the West Side of Manhattan, the Reform Democrats had already beaten Tammany Hall candidates in the 1960 elections, electing a U.S. Congressman and a New York State Senator. Wilson’s election as a State Senator on the Manhattan East Side in 1962 would be yet another victory for the Reform Democrats. In addition to electing public officials, the Reform Democrats had set up Reform Democratic clubs on both on the West Side and the East Side of Manhattan. At the time of his election to the New York State Senate, Wilson was the President of the Yorkville Democratic Club, a Reform Democratic club located on East 79th Street in Manhattan.

Wilson’s most significant accomplishment during his service in the New York State legislature was to lead the fight to reform the state’s 179-year-old divorce law. New York’s divorce law up until 1966 had only one ground for divorce, which was for adultery. There was not even a ground for extreme physical cruelty. Through his efforts, as Chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee and Family Law, Wilson exposed the inadequacy of the one-ground divorce law, and, as a result, the New York State legislature adopted new grounds for physical and mental cruelty, among other humane grounds for divorce.

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.

Sincerely,

 

Mary Ann Pleva
Essex

 

Republican Senator Art Linares and Democratic Challenger Emily Bjornberg Schedule Debate for 33rd District Contest

AREAWIDE— Republic State Senators Art Linares and Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg have agreed to at least three public debates for their election contest in the 12-town 33rd Senate district, though Bjornberg is calling for at least one more face-off to be held in one of the northern towns of the district.

In a separate campaign development, Colin Bennett of Westbrook has been endorsed the receive the Green Party line on the Nov. 4 ballot. Bennett has run for the seat several times as the Green Party nominee in past elections where former Democratic State Sen. Eileen Daily of Westbrook faced Republican challengers.

The Green Party has secured a ballot line in the district with past campaigns by Bennett, and particularly with the 2012 contest after Daily’s retirement where Melissa Schlag of Haddam won nearly ten percent of the vote as the Green Party candidate in the contest with Linares and Democratic nominee Jim Crawford of Westbrook. Schlag was elected last year as the Democratic first selectwoman of Haddam, and is supporting Bjornberg in this year’s election.

Bennett is not believed to be waging an active campaign for the Nov. 4 vote, but he has been included in at least one of the Linares-Bjornberg debates. Bennett has been invited to participate in a Sept. 23 debate at Valley Regional High School in Deep River that is sponsored by the Essex Library. The debate begins at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium, with written questions from the audience that will be screened by the debate moderator, Essex Librarian Richard Conroy.

The first campaign face off between the one-term Republican incumbent and Bjornberg, of Lyme, will be held Tuesday Sept. 16 at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School in Old Lyme. The session, sponsored by the New London Day, begins at 8 p.m.
Old Lyme is part of the 20th Senate District, but Lyme, its northern neighbor, is in the 33rd District. The district also includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and parts of Old Saybrook.

The candidates will also appear at a debate sponsored by the Westbrook Council of Beaches in early October, and at a forum, not a debate, sponsored by the Chester-Deep River-Essex chapter of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce on the morning of Oct. 3 at the Chester Meeting House.

Bjornberg this week urged Linares to agree to hold one additional public debate in one of the five northern towns of the district, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, or Portland. Bjornberg said she would keep her schedule open for a northern town debate.

Adios Dear Deep River!

John Guy Laplante

John Guy LaPlante

Well, Friends, it’s time for me to say goodbye to the town I love. I never thought this day would come. Never wanted it to come. I have been happy here. Fifteen years ago I chose Deep River as my retirement community– chose it deliberately, mind you.

It’s a strange story: I had my whole career in Massachusetts.  Just retired, I came here to Connecticut for a one-week program at what is now Incarnation Center in Ivoryton.  Well, one thing led to another and I became the director of its big and fine Elderhostel Program.  Spent eight good years there.  And that’s how I got to discover Deep River.  I caught the town at the cusp, it seems.  It was just coming out of a prolonged sleepy period. My instinct told me it was about to flower. How right I was.  What I longed for was real, genuine small town life.

Within a few days I bought a condo at Piano Works—yes, the one I am living in.  It turned out to be perfect for my needs.  Then right away I applied to join the town Rotary Club.  Rotary had long appealed to me but I was always too busy. That was another smart decision.  It was a happy day when the Rotarians swore me in.  I made friends in the club and in town.  I became involved in remarkable programs—Rotary always commits to serving its community however it can.

A big project was the creation of Keyboard Park with its pretty Gazebo and Fountain. Another very meaningful one was our annual Patriotic Fourth celebration on Independence Day right there at Keyboard Park.  Another was the purchase of what is now the Town’s  iconic Elephant Statue in front of Town Hall. That was a big expense for our club but we considered it important.

Here’s a nice memory. On one Deep River Family Day we inflated balloons through the elephant’s trunk! Honest!  Handed them to delighted kids. I admit we had a second motive.  We wanted to prove to everybody that that statue is really a fantastic water fountain. Water shoots out the elephant’s trunk!  I still don’t understand why water hasn’t been connected to it permanently.

Another project was the re-dedication of the Observation Deck at the bottom of Kirtland Street that overlooks the Connecticut.  It’s Rotary that made that deck possible years ago.  We had a beautiful ceremony with speeches, a fife and drum corps, the whole works.  (But know what? Some vandal has destroyed our beautiful brand-new plaque for it!  I’d like to shoot him. Or her.)

I’m happy to tell you that those projects were always accomplished with the full cooperation of the Town and the help of First Selectman Dick Smith.

Yes, Deep River Rotary was wonderful. I’ve lived in numerous places, but emotionally I’ve considered Deep River home. In fact I’ve loved the whole area,  including the delightful neighboring towns and villages on both sides of the Connecticut Estuary.

Oh, I had been a journalist on a big newspaper.  Here from Deep River I found fresh outlets for that passion of my younger days.  And I’m still enjoying creating articles and now blogs … though momentarily I’m slowed down by all the work of selling out and moving to California.

The reason I’m leaving is simple.  I’m old and feel it and show it.  My dear daughter Monique out there in Morro Bay wants me under her wing.

Know what?  Many times over the years, I’ve heard the call,  “Go West, Young Man!”  Well, after all these years, and now far from young, I’m saying yes to that call.

But for sure there will be tears in my eyes when I do go to Bradley to fly off for that big and ultimate chapter in my life.  Living at Piano Works in this gorgeous corner of the world has been great.  Thank goodness I’ll have wonderful memories to sustain me.  And I hope to come back and visit.

Sen. Art Linares Renews Call for Hearings to Address Child Tragedies

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

HARTFORD – In light of the tragic and unsettling Child Fatality Review Report, released yesterday by the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA), State Senator Art Linares (R-Westbrook) is renewing his call for a public hearing to review the recent child fatalities involving children under the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

“This report gives us a closer look into the horrible accounts of child deaths connected to families involved with DCF. The sad and eye opening report also recommends annual public hearings on these fatalities.”

The report identified 24 infant and toddler deaths among families with DCF involvement. The review also discusses recommendations to prevent future fatalities, including a recommendation to hold an annual public hearing on child fatalities along with a focused discussion on infant-toddler deaths.

“A public hearing is needed to improve transparency and open the dialogue between DCF, lawmakers, child advocates and community members. We need to not only recognize the problems, but we must also work together to determine the cause of any system weaknesses and identify the appropriate actions to prevent future tragedies.”

In a letter to the co-chairs of the Children’s Committee Linares again urged the committee to schedule a public hearing considering the report results.

“Everyone needs to have a seat at the table when it comes to the safety of children. Legislators need to understand the short and long term needs of caseworkers and child advocacy officials. Caseworkers need to understand what policies would most benefit families. A hearing would allow us to better understand what is being done and what still needs to be done to put an end to these serious and devastating events,” said Linares.

State Senator Art Linares represents the 33rd senatorial district comprised of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland & Westbrook. He serves as Ranking Member of the Committee on Children.

Essex Town Meeting Gives Unanimous Approval for $200,000 Contribution to Preserve Land Purchase

ESSEX— Voters at a town meeting Wednesday gave unanimous approval for a $200,000 appropriation as the town’s contribution for purchase of the 70-acre portion of the Preserve property in Essex. More than 100 residents turned out for the meeting in the town hall auditorium, with a round of applause following approval of the funding on a voice vote without discussion.

First Selectman Norman Needleman said the $200,000 would come from an open space acquisition sinking fund available in the current town budget. The town meeting vote ends years of debate about the wooded property that includes the Essex acreage off Ingham Hill Road that had been the subject of a subdivision application  in 2011.

Paul Greenberg with the Essex Land Trust, said the non-profit group is expected to at least match the town contribution for purchase of the portion of the property in Essex. Greenberg said the Trust has applied for a state grant of up to $350,000 that is awarded in October. He said the Trust would also use private fundraising for the purchase.

Old Saybrook voters in a July 8 referendum approved $3 million in bonding for purchase of the much larger 930-acre section of the property in their town. State bond funds will also be used for the total $8 million purchase, which is being coordinated by the non-profit Trust For Public Land. The purchase of the total 1,000-acre property for preservation  as public open space is expected to close by the end of the year.

Greenberg said the Essex section of the property would be owned by the Essex Land Trust,  while the larger Old Saybrook portion would be co-owned by that town and the state. Greenberg said access to the property from Essex would be off Ingham Hill Road, with trails in to the property to be improved for greater public access next year.

Selectman Bruce Glowac, who lives on Ingham Hill Road, spoke for the crowd when he expressed appreciation for the public acquisition of the total property. “We look forward to having 1,000 acres in the town next to us and in our town,” he said.

Ballot News Ranks Connecticut’s 33rd Senate Race One of Most Competitive Statewide

Bjornberg1

Emily Bjornberg, Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat

Ballotnews.org ranked the most competitive legislative races in Connecticut on their website today, with the 33rd Senate contest ranked as one of the top four.

The ranking comes a day after Emily Bjornberg, the Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat, was approved by the State Elections Enforcement Commission for a clean elections fund grant ahead of her incumbent opponent Art Linares.

State grants require the candidate to demonstrate significant support behind their campaign, with small contributions required from at least 300 constituents and at least $15,000 raised in the aggregate.

The 33rd Senate contest is one of only four state senate races statewide held by an incumbent to be ranked as competitive on the Ballotnews.org list.   The full list can be found at:  www.ballotnews.org/ state-legislatures/ legislative-lowdown- identifying-competitive- connecticut-elections-in-2014/ 

Connecticut’s 33rd State Senate District includes the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook as well as Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.

 

Saybrook Point Inn & Spa Donates $25,000 to The Preserve

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old SAybrook.

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK —– The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, through the Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Family Foundation, has donated $25,000 to “The Preserve,” a swath of 1,000 acres of coastal forest along the towns of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, Connecticut.  As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York and Boston, this land is rich in natural resources, wildlife and habitat that not only offers residents with outdoor recreational opportunities, but also provides an important coastal buffer against storm waters during natural disasters.  Residents of Connecticut treasure this 1,000-acre coastal forest as a place to connect with nature close to home. Known locally as The Preserve, the woodland plays an important role in maintaining water quality in Trout Brook and the Oyster and Mud rivers, which feed into the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. The partnership to preserve and protect this natural ecosystem in Connecticut consists of the State of Connecticut, neighboring towns (Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook), and The Trust for Public Land.

“On behalf of my family, we are proud to be able to preserve and protect one of Connecticut’s most sacred ecosystems for generations to come,” said Stephen Tagliatela, Innkeeper/Managing Partner, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa. “It’s always been a founding principle of our family to care and maintain the environment we live in. It’s through our efforts, in cooperation with the Trust for Public Land, Town of Old Saybrook, and Essex Land Trust, that we will conserve this important coastal forest to forever as a natural asset for our region and our state.”

On Tuesday, July 8th, voters in Old Saybrook overwhelmingly approved the purchase of “The Preserve,” which will now be protected in perpetuity as open space for Connecticut residents for generations to come. As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, this 1,000-acre ecosystem will be permanently protected from future development. It will connect to 500 acres of existing town parkland providing expanded opportunities for hiking and viewing a variety of birds and other wildlife.

“We are very grateful that the Tagliatela family has made this very generous gift to support the Campaign to Protect the 1,000 Acre Forest,” said Kate Brown, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land. “This is a wonderful boost that will help us move closer to the fundraising goal and permanent protection of the land.”

The Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Foundation was established in 1997 by North Haven business leader Louis F. Tagliatela. Over the years, the Foundation has donated more than $9 million to support local non-profit organizations including hospitals, schools and churches. In addition, the organization helped establish the Tagliatela School of Engineering at the University of New Haven and the Tagliatela School of Business at Albertus Magnus College.

The Preserve is a 1,000-acre coastal forest located in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, Connecticut. It is the largest unprotected coastal forest remaining between New York City and Boston. The dense canopy of forest and the Pequot Swamp Pond act as a refueling stop for many migratory birds, and the many freshwater seeps on the property are home to amphibian species such as the northern dusky salamander, spotted turtles, and box turtles. Bobcats and fisher cats have also been spotted on the property.  The land includes 38 vernal pools, 114 acres of wetlands, headwaters of the Oyster River, and tributaries of the Mud and Trout Brook Rivers. These rivers eventually flow into Long Island Sound.

The property has a fifteen-year history of development proposals, foreclosure, and lawsuits by neighbors and conservationists opposing its development. The land is currently owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings, the holding company that emerged from the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The holding company has agreed to sell the property to The Trust for Public Land for its fair market value of $8.09 million. If protected, this highly unusual intact coastal forest will be preserved and the public will have passive recreational access to the property via trails.

The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environ-mental Protection, the Towns of Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, the Old Saybrook Land Trust, the Essex Land Trust, The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the Alliance for Sound Area Planning, Audubon Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy, and others to raise the funding necessary to protect The Preserve. The goal of the fundraising effort is to raise $10 million to cover the purchase price, costs and stewardship. We expect to raise $3 million via a private fundraising campaign, to supplement $7 million in public funding.

Since it opened 25 years ago, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa has adapted and changed. It has taken a decidedly green direction, win­ning numerous awards for its often best-in-class green practices, including the first Connecticut inn to be named a Certified Energy Hotel in 2007. The Inn now features SANNO, a full service European spa, as well as Fresh Salt, a restaurant designed by Peter Niemitz that opened to strong reviews in 2011.  The property employs more than 260 hospitality professionals in the town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and is among the town’s top employers and economic engines.

Saybrook Point Inn & Spa recently opened its new Three Stories guesthouse adjacent to the main Inn. Thiscompletely renovated Italianate home overlooking Long Island Sound was originally built in 1892 as a single-family home for the prominent engineer William Vars. The property has been fully refurbished and revitalized as a seven-room guesthouse with wrap around porches and private gardens, making it the perfect retreat for couples, families and friends to reconnect, rejoice and create lasting memories and experiences. Each individually designed room features a pri­vate balcony, fireplace, fine linens, heated bathroom floors, multiple showerheads, extensive water views, and original artwork by local artists. As a testament to its rich history, each room at Three Stories tells the story of a famed local resident who made sure that the history of the community was well preserved. This includes Katharine Hepburn’s mother, who was a co-founder of Planned Parenthood and leading suffragette, and Anna Louise James, who had the distinction of being one of the first African-American female pharmacists in America and ran the James Pharmacy locally.

About Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

Situated along the picturesque coastal community of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut in the hamlet of Saybrook Point, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa features 82 elegantly appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service spa called SANNO, and a casual fine dining restaurant named Fresh Salt. Luxurious spa amenities include 11 treatment rooms, and diverse menu of services including massages, facials, body wraps, manicures and pedicures. SANNO is a latin word meaning to make sound or to heal. The goal at SANNO is to help guests be well, look well, feel well, and eat well. Fresh Salt diners savor fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Old Saybrook’s most spectacular setting – the spot where the fresh waters of the Connecticut River meet the salt of Long Island Sound. It’s a treasured and historic place, rich in life, and the restaurant reflects that lively diversity. The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa also features the historic Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark yachting dock conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River with easy access to Long Island Sound. The marina is Connecticut’s first designated Clean Marina, featuring friendly concierge service, award-winning onsite cuisine, AAA Four Diamond accommodations, an indulgent spa, and a community-based member-driven health club. It can accommodate vessels from 12 to 200 feet and has received numerous premier Connecticut marina awards. More information is available at www.saybrook.com.

About the Trust for Public Land

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at www.tpl.org.

 

Old Saybrook Gives Overwhelming Approval for $3 Million Preserve Land Purchase

Polling taking place at the Old Saybrook High School (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Polling taking place at the Old Saybrook High School (photo by Jerome Wilson)

OLD SAYBROOK— Voters Tuesday gave overwhelming approval for $3 million in bonding for the town’s share of a planned $8 million purchase of the Preserve property, described as the “1,000 acre forest.” The bonding for the 930 acres located in Old Saybrook was approved on a 2,002-242 vote in an eight-hour referendum.

About 20 percent of the town’s 7,361 registered voters turned out for the referendum, with 115 property owners who are not registered voters in Old Saybrook also casting ballots. The bonding approval is the key element in a combination of funding sources that is expected to lead to a closing on the property by the end of the year.

First Selectman Carl Fortuna said he was not surprised by the huge margin of support. “This has been a generational issue in this town and it’s finally being put to bed,” Fortuna said, adding that he was aware of no organized opposition to the bonding authorization while “there was certainly organized support.”

The parcel, which includes 70 acres in Essex and four acres in Westbrook, is located off Bokum Road and Ingham Hill Road in Old Saybrook and Ingham Hill Road in Essex. The property had been the subject of development proposals dating back to 1999 that once called for over 200 homes and a golf course. It is currently owned by River Sound Development/Lehman Brothers, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers setting the stage for negotiations that led to a purchase plan earlier this year. The purchase negotiations were coordinated by the non-profit Trust For Public Land.

Along with the Old Saybrook contribution, the plan calls for about $3.3 million in state funding and about $1.9 million from the Trust For Public Land. Essex voters will be asked at a July 16 town meeting to approve a $200,000 town funding contribution, with the Essex Land Conservation Trust also contributing through private fund raising. The Essex town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.at town hall.

Fortuna said the acreage in Old Saybrook would be co-owned by the town and the state. The Essex Land Conservation Trust will own the section of the property in Essex. Fortuna said trails through the vast property should be improved and ready for public use by the summer of 2015.

Supporters of the referendum near the polling station (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Supporters of the referendum near the polling station (photo by Jerome Wilson)