December 20, 2014

Essex Winter Series Announces 2015 Program

The Attaca Quartet will perform in the first concert of the 2015 Essex Winter Series.

The Attaca Quartet will perform in the first concert of the 2015 Essex Winter Series.

Essex Winter Series will present four diverse and exciting concerts in 2015, including two programs of classical chamber music, a concert of jazz from the early part of the twentieth century, and — for the first time — a world-renowned chamber chorus. Programmed by EWS artistic director Mihae Lee and newly-appointed Jazz Impresario Jeff Barnhart, these concerts offer world-class performing artists and an impressive array of styles and genres.

The first concert, StringFest2, takes place on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. 2015 Fenton Brown Emerging Artists, the Attacca Quartet, will share the stage with three members of the Amphion Quartet — who performed in the first StringFest in 2011 as the EWS Emerging Artists— and the renowned violinist Erin Keefe. The members of the Attacca Quartet are Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tanagawa, violin; Luke Fleming, viola; and Andrew Yee, cello. The members of the Amphion Quartet who will perform in this program are Katie Hyun, violin; Andy Wei-Yang Lin, viola; and Mihai Marica, cello.

Three members of the Amphion Quartet (pictured above) will also appear in the first concert.

Three members of the Amphion Quartet will also appear in the first concert.

The concert begins with three musicians of the Amphion Quartet performing Franz Schubert’s String Trio in B flat major, followed by the Amphion Quartet in a performance of Edvard Grieg’s String Quartet in G minor. After intermission, the two groups joined by Erin Keefe will perform the exciting Octet for Strings in E flat, written in 1825 by the remarkably precocious sixteen-year-old Felix Mendelssohn.

Three concerts, all Sundays at 3 p.m., follow the season opener on Jan. 11. The Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert on Feb. 8 at Valley Regional High School will feature Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.  On March 1,  Chanticleer, “ An Orchestra of Voices” will perform a program entitled “The Gypsy in My Soul” at Old Saybrook High School. The final concert, on March 29 at Valley Regional High School, will be an exciting program of piano trios, with Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee, violinist Chee-Yun and cellist Julie Albers.

StringFest2 is co-sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank and Essex Meadows.

All tickets to Essex Winter Series concerts are general admission. Individual tickets are $35; four-concert subscriptions are $120, which represents a $20 saving over the single-ticket price for four concerts. Tickets may be purchased on the EWS website,www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.

The performers in Stringfest2 include:

Attacca Quartet

First Prize winners of the 7th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2011, top prizewinners and Listeners’ Choice Award recipients in the 2011 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and winners of the Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the 60th annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition in 2006, the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet has become one of America’s premier young performing ensembles.  The Attacca Quartet is now in its eleventh season, having been formed at the Juilliard School in 2003.  It is comprised of violinists Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tokunaga, violist Luke Fleming and cellist Andrew Yee.  They made their professional debut in 2007 as part of the Artists International Winners Series in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and have appeared there on numerous occasions since.  The Attacca Quartet recently recorded the complete string quartet works of John Adams for Azica Records, which was released to great acclaim in March 2013.  2013-2014 marked the fourth season of “The 68,” an ambitious project in which the Attacca Quartet will perform all sixty-eight Haydn string quartets on a special series they created in New York.  They have been honored with the 2013 National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award, the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association, and the Lotos Prize in the Arts.

Amphion Quartet

Hailed for its “gripping intensity” and “suspenseful and virtuoso playing” (San Francisco Classical Voice), the Amphion String Quartet is a winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and joined the roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two Program in fall 2013. Through LCCMS, the ensemble made its Alice Tully Hall debut in March 2014, about which the New York Times praised “the focused, forceful young Amphion String Quartet” for its “sharply detailed performances.”

This season includes their Mostly Mozart debut with two recitals at Avery Fisher Hall and a return to Korea for the Busan Chamber Music Festival. The quartet has several return engagements in New York, including two LCCMS performances at Alice Tully Hall, Schneider Concerts at the New School, Brooklyn’s Bargemusic and the Tilles Center Chamber Music Series on Long Island. Collaborative performances include a recital with clarinetist David Shifrin at Rockford’s Coronado Theatre and a special program with the renowned dance company BodyVox in Portland, Oregon. This fall, the ASQ’s first CD will be released by the UK-based label Nimbus, including quartets by Grieg, Janacek and Wolf.

Internationally, the Amphion Quartet has performed in South Korea at the Music Isle Festival in Jeju and at the Seoul Arts Center.  Previous U.S. festival appearances include The Chautauqua Institution, OK Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, New Jersey’s Mostly Music Series, NYU String Quartet Workshop, Princeton Summer Concerts, Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival, and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. The ASQ has collaborated with such eminent artists as the Tokyo String Quartet, Ani Kavafian, David Shifrin, Carter Brey, Edgar Meyer, Michala Petri, James Dunham, and Deborah Hoffmann.

Recent featured concerts include the Amphion Quartet’s Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall on the CAG series with guest David Shifrin, and also Zankel Hall; the Library of Congress and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; Caramoor Center for the Arts; Pepperdine University; TCAN Center for the Arts (Mass.); New York’s Met Museum and National Arts Club;, and a tour of Northern California.  The ASQ has been showcased on New York’s WQXR radio frequently, including the station’s November 2012 Beethoven String Quartet Marathon.

Erin Keefe, violin

Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, violinist Erin Keefe was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2006.  She was also the Grand Prize winner in the Valsesia Musica, Torun, Schadt and Corpus Christi international violin competitions, and was the Silver Medalist in the Carl Nielsen, Sendai, and Gyeongnam competitions.

Ms. Keefe has appeared in recent seasons as soloist with orchestras such as the Minnesota Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the Korean Symphony Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, the Sendai Philharmonic and the Gottingen Symphony and has given recitals throughout the United States, Austria, Italy, Germany, Korea, Poland, Japan and Denmark. She has collaborated with artists such as the Emerson String Quartet, Roberto and Andrés Díaz, Edgar Meyer, Gary Hoffman, Richard Goode, Menahem Pressler, and Leon Fleisher, and she has recorded for Naxos, Onyx, the CMS Studio Recordings label, and Deutsche Grammophon. She has made festival appearances with Music@Menlo, the Marlboro Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Ravinia, and the Seattle, OK Mozart, Mimir, Bravo! Vail Valley, Music in the Vineyards and Bridgehampton chamber music festivals. Ms. Keefe performs regularly with the Brooklyn and Boston Chamber Music Societies and is an Artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Madhatters to Hold Auditions for ‘Seussical,’ Jan. 3

Madhatters Theatre Company is now accepting appointments for auditions for their spring production of ‘Seussical’ to be performed in May at the Chester Meeting House.  Auditions are being held Jan. 3, at the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, 59 Lyme St., Old Lyme from 9 a.m.to 2 p.m.

To schedule an appointment and for further information, call (860) 395-1861 or e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com

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

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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)

 

Blumenthal Urges “Yes” Vote for $3 Million Towards Purchase of ‘The Preserve’

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U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at July 7 rally for a “yes vote” at July 8 referendum

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal came to the Old Saybrook Green on Monday, July 7, to urge Old Saybrook voters to vote “Yes” in a referendum to grant $3 million of town monies to help purchase 930 undeveloped acres in the open land known as The Preserve. The referendum for Old Saybrook voters will be held on Tuesday, July 8, at the Old Saybrook High School gymnasium, and the polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m.

Other public officials urging a “Yes” vote on the July 8 town referendum were: Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, State Representative Phil Miller; and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman.

Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna said in his prepared remarks, “This property has been at the center of attention, good and bad, for 20 years. It is now time for resolution. We are optimistic that enough private and public funds can be raised to purchase the property and preserve The Preserve in its natural state. The Town will work cooperatively with all parties in this effort, including DEEP. Most importantly, I will work for and listen to Old Saybrook’s residents as they decide the future of this parcel.”

State Representative Miller said in his prepared remarks, “We’re grateful to the citizens of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, and our allies, the Trust for Public Land, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Governor Malloy, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, Congressman Courtney, First Selectmen Fortuna and Needleman and the Connecticut legislature. A thousand acres forever preserved. What a rightful thing.”

Essex First Selectman Urges “Yes Vote”

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman said in his prepared remarks, “Over in Essex, we’re excited about the proposition for acquiring this majestic property. Essex will hold a public hearing and town meeting to approve a $200,000 appropriation for the purchase on July 16 and look forward to joining our neighbors in Old Saybrook in support of this wonderful project.”

The Essex town meeting to consider approval of the town’s $200,000 appropriation to The Preserve’s acquisition will be held at 6:45 p.m. on July 16 at Essex Town Hall.

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Senator Blumenthal takes time to chat with Democratic State Senate candidate, Emily Bjornberg, at referendum rally

Other Supporters of Acquisition

Other remarks for the occasion were offered by Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, who said, “Coming off July Fourth weekend, this is an exciting time for Old Saybrook to exercise their patriotic rights and vote to protect this important piece of land here in town.”

Also, Alicia Sullivan, Connecticut State Director of the Trust for Public Land said, “We commend Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for the state’s early funding commitment to this significant landscape. Also, we are grateful to Senator Blumenthal and our congressional delegation for supporting federal conservation programs that the state will use for this acquisition.”

An audience of some 30 to 40 persons attended the pre-vote July 7 rally.

Deep River Historical Society Exhibit Marks World War I Centennial

Arthur Winschel and Alice Johnson. Winschel's father was the parent of World War I veteran, William Winschel

Arthur Winschel and Alice Johnson stand in the new World War I exhibition at the Stone House Museum in Deep River. Winschel and Johnson’s father was World War I veteran, Pte. William Winschel. (Photos by Jerome Wilson.)

DEEP RIVER— The Deep River Historical Society is hosting an exhibit highlighting the role of town residents in World War I, which began as a conflict among the great powers of Europe in August 1914. The exhibit, at the society’s Stone House Museum on Main Street, opens Saturday and continues through the end of October.

America entered the war in May 1917 in the wake of German submarine attacks on ships in the Atlantic Ocean. Records show a total of 112 Deep River residents served during the 18 months of United States involvement in the conflict that ended with the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918. The date that is now marked as the Veteran’s Day holiday.

Kathy Schultz, assistant curator at the Stone House, said the society reviewed its collection, and received several new donations and loans to prepare for the exhibit. The exhibit has uniforms and equipment, including helmets and gas masks, used by town residents during the war. There are also photographs and century-old postcards brought home from France, where most of the town residents served.

Uniform of World War I Sergeant Harry Mavin, who war the first Commander of American Legion Post 61 in Deep River

Uniform of World War I Sergeant Harry Mavin, who war the first Commander of American Legion Post 61 in Deep River

While the last of the town’s World War I veterans died in the 1970s and 1980s, there are several residents whose fathers served in the war that some called “the war to end all wars.” Siblings Arthur Winschel and Alice Johnson are the children of Private Willam Winschel, who entered the war at age 21 in the fall of 1917 as part of the New York-based 305th Infantry regiment. Winschel was wounded during fighting in France in November 1918, and returned to Deep River several months later.

Arthur Winschel said his father survived a German mustard gas attack that damaged his lungs. Despite the injury, William Winschel later worked at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft and died in 1974 at age 77. The Winschel siblings, who were not yet born when their father was in the war, have donated several items to the exhibit, including his uniform.

Schultz said society members are hoping other residents from Deep River or nearby towns with relatives who served in World War I will visit the exhibit, and possibly provide information or photographs of area residents that served in the war. “We want it to be an ongoing exhibit,” she said.

The Stone House hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m., with the exception of Saturday, July 19, when Main Street hosts the annual Deep River Fife and Drum Muster.

Nominating Conventions Set Up Contest Between Democrat Emily Bjornbergand Republican Art Linares in 33rd District

AREAWIDE— Democrats Monday nominated political newcomer Emily Bjornberg of Lyme to challenge one-term incumbent Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook in the 12-town 33rd Senate district.

Bjornberg, 33, was the unanimous choice of the 45 delegates gathered for the Democratic convention at the Old Town Hall in Haddam. Linares, 25, was nominated by delegates at the May 12 Republican convention at the Riverhouse in Haddam.

Linares, cofounder of a Middletown-based solar energy company, was elected in a three-way contest in 2012, succeeding a 20-year Democratic incumbent, former Sen. Eileen Daily of Westbrook. Ljnares defeated Jim Crawford of Westbrook, who was then serving as a state representative, on a 23,915-21,251 vote in a race where an active Green Party candidate, Melissa Schlag of Haddam, garnered 4,317 votes. Schlag later rejoined the Democratic Party was elected last year as first selectwoman of Haddam, She was present at the convention Monday to support Bjornberg.

Also offering support at the convention was Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, telling delegates “we’re finally going to get someone who will replace Eileen Daily.” Bjornberg was nominated by Crawford, with seconding remarks from Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam, who competed with Crawford for the party nomination at an August 2012 Democratic primary, and Daily.

Bjornberg, the married mother of two grown children, contended Linares’s views and votes over the part 18 months are “clearly out of step with the majority of his constituents.” She cited Linares vote against raising the minimum wage, and opposition to bills that included grant funding for local projects in the district.

Bjornberg said Linares would often vote against total funding bills, and then claim credit for grants that are awarded for projects in district towns. “I will be a strong voice for our district inside the majority caucus,” she said.

Linares was nominated last week by former state representative and environmental protection commissioner Sidney Holbrook of Westbrook, with seconding remarks by Carl Chuznik of Portland. Linares told the delegates he would continue efforts to improve the business climate in Connecticut and support policies that provide more flexibility and local control in education.

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

Democrats Nominate Terrance Lomme as for Second Term as regional Judge of Probate

AREAWIDE— Democrats Thursday nominated incumbent Judge Terrance Lomme of Essex for a second four-year term as judge of probate for the nine-town region. Lomme was the unanimous choice of the 31 delegates gathered for the nominating convention at Essex Town Hall.
The nine-town region, which was established under the statewide consolidation of probate courts in 2010, includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. The court is located in Old Saybrook.
Lomme was nominated by Bruce Edgarton of Deep River, with seconding remarks from Larry Oullette of Clinton. Edgarton said Lomme has “invaluable experience,” as a practicing lawyer for 30 years and former local judge of probate in East Haddam during the early 1990s. He said Lomme had successfully implemented the consolidation of the nine local probate courts during the eight weeks between election day 2010 and the start of the new judge term in January 2011.
Lomme, in brief remarks to the convention, recalled his initial endorsement for the judge of probate position at a May 2010 party nominating convention where six candidates competed through six ballots before he secured a majority of the delegates. “What a difference four years makes,” he said, adding that “compassion and understanding” are requirements for the regional judge position..
Lomme won the party nomination in 2010 after an August primary with Raymond Rigat of Clinton, who was serving as that town’s local probate judge at the time. Lomme later defeated the Republican nominee, Clinton lawyer Anselmo Delia, by a 419 vote margin in the general election. Lomme faces a rematch contest with Delia in the Nov. 4 election. Delia was nominated for a second run for the regional judge position by delegates at the Republican convention on May 8.

Letters: Pleased with Sen. Linares’ Voting Record

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Adrienne Forrest
Essex

Republicans Nominate Anselmo Delia of Clinton for Second Run for Judgeship

Anselmo Delia

Anselmo Delia

ESSEX— Republicans Thursday nominated Clinton lawyer Anselmo Delia for a second run for the judgeship in the nine-town Saybrook Probate Court District. Delia was the unanimous choice of the 33 delegates gathered for the GOP district convention at Old Saybrook Town Hall.

Delia, 59, will challenge incumbent Democratic Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme of Essex in a rematch of their 2010 election contest for the position, the first election after a state-mandated consolidation of local probate courts in each town. Lomme defeated Delia by 419 votes out of a total district-wide vote of about 26,300.
Delia carried the district towns of Clinton, Haddam, Killingworth and Westbrook, while Lomme carried the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, and Old Saybrook. Lomme is expected to be renominated for a second term by district Democrats at a May 21 convention.
Delia, the married father of two grown children, cited his 27 years of volunteer service in Clinton as a key qualification for the position, along with 32 years of experience as a general practice attorney. Along with leadership positions on the Clinton Republican Town Committee, Delia has served on the town’s board of education, youth and family services board, and economic development commission. He is the current elected chairman of the planning and zoning commission, and has also served on a town charter revision commission, and a new interchange development committee committee that is developing strategies for redevelopment of the Morgan High School property as the town prepares to build a new high school.
“Community service is a very important part of public life”, Delia said in remarks to the delegates. Delia said this service on various town boards, commissions, and committees “is one characteristic where my candidacy is very different from my opponent’s,” adding “to my knowledge he has never serves on any town board or commission.”
Delia said he would serve as a full-time regional judge of probate, “winding down and terminating” his law practice if he is elected,. “This is a high paying job and you deserve an individual that commits to it 100 percent,” he said.
Delia said he is planning an active campaign for the Nov. 4 vote, urging delegates to contribute to his campaign financially if possible, but also through volunteer efforts and spreading information about his candidacy on social media. Delia said he would seek a public debate with Lomme, an event that did not occur during their 2310 race.

Ten Shoreline FDs Collect 6,285 Pounds Food for Shoreline Soup Kitchens

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is pleased to announce that the 2014 Firehouse Food Drive held on April 26, 2014 raised 6,285 pounds of food for local residents in need.  With the largest group of participating fire stations ever, volunteers and donors across the shoreline donned their raingear to lend a hand during the stormy Saturdaymorning.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) is particularly grateful that this drive was a success, despite the rainy weather, because March and April are traditionally slow donation months.

This is the third year that area fire stations have participated in the drive. Ten towns joined in the effort, including Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Westbrook, Essex, Killingworth, Chester, Deep River, North Madison, Clinton and Niantic. Firehouses provided staff and publicity, opened their doors as drop off locations and helped to deliver donations to the pantries. Many stations also set up tents and sorting stations, handed out grocery bags, posted social media announcements, distributed lists of most-needed foods, and collected food at other April fire house events.

In addition, the Clinton Shop Rite, Clinton Stop & Shop, Old Saybrook Stop & Shop, and Roberts Food Center of North Madison offered additional donation areas, manned by firehouse volunteers. This year the Old Saybrook firehouse brought in media sponsors, including Shore Publishing, who donated large advertisements in three newspapers. Radio stations Soft Rock 106.5 WBMW, Connecticut’s Hottest Jamz Jammin 107.7, and 94.9 News Now! helped get the word out with a live broadcast from the Old Saybrook firehouse, and AM stations WMRD 1150 and WLIS 1420 made many public service announcements.

“Every day the personnel of the our volunteer fire stations are available to help those effected by fire and emergencies—they never turn down a call for assistance and raise their hearts and hands to help those in need.  On April 26th, once again these amazing men and women gave of their precious time to answer the call of those most needy in our community.  On behalf of SSKP and those we serve, thank you so much for this amazing gift of time and help—not only to our many fire stations, but to all those who dropped off food—you made a real difference in the lives of your neighbors”, said Patty Dowling, SSKP Executive Director.

The need for donated food is on-going throughout the year, and SSKP urges other community groups to consider organizing food drives. The Shoreline Soup Kitchen’s five pantries distributed over 1 million pounds of food in 2013. Only 40% of this food is obtained through food banks; the remainder must be either purchased or donated. Call(860) 388-1988 or visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org for more information. All drives, no matter what the size, are greatly appreciated.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Founded 25 years ago, in 1989, at the Baptist Church in Essex, the agency continues in its mission to feed the hungry in body and spirit. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served enough food for over 908,000 meals to shoreline neighbors in need.

 

A Smooth Transition from Essex to Westbrook for Middlesex Hospital

Exterior of new Emergency Whelen Pavilion in Westbrook

Exterior of new Emergency Whelen Pavilion in Westbrook

On Monday morning, April 28, Middlesex Hospital quietly closed its doors to medical patients at its long-term Shoreline Medical Center in Essex, and at the same time, opened its doors to new patients at its new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook. The new Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center is located at 250 Flat Rock Place, Westbrook, just off of Interstate 95 at Exit 65 and neighbors to the Tanger Outlets.

Closed down Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center in Essex

Closed down Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center in Essex

There were a multitude of road signs posted, announcing that the Shoreline Medical Center in Essex was moving to Westbrook. The move was also widely covered in the media. The new facility opened its doors at 7 a.m. with its first Emergency Department patient arriving at 7:01 a.m.

With 44,000 square feet the new Medical Center in Westbrook is double the size of the old medical center in Essex. In contrast to the building of the old Essex center, the new Medical Center in Westbrook has two, distinct entrances. They are: (1) The Whelen Emergency Pavilion ­– 24/7 emergency services with 24 acute care beds and (2) the Outpatient Center ­– two entrances, registration and waiting area.

The Whelen Emergency Pavilion offers patients true emergency care with its separate, covered entrance for up to five ambulatory vehicles, including a helipad to transport patients from the Emergency Department, and an “Express Care” designated to minor injuries or illness but still considered an emergency visit.

As for the Outpatient Center, it offers patients a wide range of medical services. They are: (1) Radiology Department, including the latest generation MRI, CT scanning, X-ray digital fluoroscopy and more, (2) Women’s Imaging Center, including digital mammography, ultrasound and bone densitometry, (3) Laboratory for emergency and routine blood work, and (4) Infusion – a private area for receiving intravenous (IV) fluids.

 Middlesex Hospital President and CEO On Hand

On hand for the first day of operation of the new Shoreline Medical Center was Middlesex Hospital’s President and CEO, Vincent Capece. Regarding the move from Essex to the new facility, Capece said, “The transition to our new facility has been smooth, and there were no major glitches. This was the result of all the efforts of many employees in planning this transition.”

Opening day -  (left to right) Pat Cozza, volunteer; Vincent Capece, President & CEO, Middlesex Hospital; and Beth Saity, Telecommunications.

Opening day – (left to right) Pat Cozza, volunteer; Vincent Capece, President & CEO, Middlesex Hospital; and Beth Saity, Telecommunications.

Senator Linares Endorses McKinney for Governor

John McKinney

John McKinney

State Senator Art Linares (R-Westbrook) today endorsed State Senate Republican Leader John McKinney to be the next governor of the state of Connecticut.

“Republicans have a great opportunity in this election to take back the governor’s office and win a number of new seats in the legislature, but we will not be successful unless we have a strong candidate at the top of our ticket, Senator John McKinney is that candidate,” Linares said. “Senator McKinney is a dynamic leader capable of taking our Party and our state in a positive new direction.”

Senator Linares represents the 35th State Senate District in the Connecticut General Assembly, which encompasses the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and his hometown of Westbrook. He is ranking member on the Banks Committee. In his private life, Linares, 25, is cofounder of a successful, Middletown-based, commercial solar energy company.

Linares is of Cuban-American descent. His grandparents fled communist Cuba in the 1960’s to start over in America where his father started his own business. Linares, who volunteered for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio before running for office himself, has made it a priority to improve Republican outreach to Latino communities.

“Senator McKinney, can relate Republican values to young voters, female voters and Latino voters – constituencies we must rally to build a strong foundation for the future of our Party,” Linares said.

McKinney thanked Linares for his endorsement. “Senator Linares represents the future of our Party. I marvel at what this young man has accomplished in such a short period of time and what the future may hold for him. I am grateful for his support and for what he has taught me about the issues important to his constituents in southeastern Connecticut.”

University of New Haven and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts Reach Historic Agreement

OLD LYME — The governing bodies of both the University of New Haven and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts have unanimously approved a proposal for Lyme Academy College to become the university’s sixth college.

“The affiliation of these two outstanding institutions is an exciting and historic event,” said University of New Haven President Steven H. Kaplan. “This will raise the stature of fine arts education in the Northeast and expand the benefits, services and opportunities that the university and Lyme Academy College provide to students, faculty, alumni and all Connecticut residents.”

Robert W. Pratt Jr., chairman of the Board of Trustees of Lyme Academy College, agreed, adding, “The cultural, educational and civic resources of both institutions will become stronger, more exciting and increasingly available to a larger constituency.”

The Board of Trustees of Lyme Academy College and the Board of Governors of the University of New Haven both provided their approvals in early April. The Connecticut Office of Higher Education and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges also approved the affiliation.

“I am grateful for the bold decision of both boards,” Kaplan said. “We will work closely with Lyme Academy College to support and enhance what already is a top-tier fine arts education program that is one of the cultural and educational jewels of the Northeast.”

The affiliation presents many advantages to both institutions. Lyme Academy College will benefit from the operational breadth and depth of the University of New Haven, gaining access to an expanded range of liberal arts courses and complementary UNH art programs, such as design and digital media. The University of New Haven also offers study-abroad opportunities at its campus outside Florence, Italy, where Lyme Academy College students can attend classes. Lyme Academy College students also will gain access to the university’s growing portfolio of new and exciting learning opportunities.

“Very little will change as regards the student experience,” said Lyme Academy College President Scott Colley. “We will retain the acclaimed essence of the college – the small size of our classes, the hands-on experiences and the opportunity to become immersed in representational art. But we will gain access to an expanded reservoir of courses, technologies and academic initiatives that will strengthen the educational experience. Additionally, the opportunity to study abroad in Italy is particularly appealing to our students.

“After 20 years as an academy and almost another 20 as a fully accredited independent college, this affiliation represents a wonderful opportunity for Lyme Academy College to take the next step in its evolution as it becomes part of a much larger university, while retaining all the attributes of a small institution,” Colley continued.

The University of New Haven will add Lyme Academy College’s high-quality Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) program to its curriculum, making it possible for UNH students to study painting, sculpting, drawing and illustration. The university does not currently offer a B.F.A.

“Our university is known for the unique experiential programs it offers to students. The program at Lyme Academy College fits in well with our rapidly expanding offerings at our main campus in West Haven, our new campus in Orange, and our international program in Italy,” Kaplan said.

“We are determined to protect and preserve the mission of Lyme Academy College, retaining the unique qualities that appeal to students seeking an arts degree in an idyllic, rural setting in Old Lyme, Conn., that nurtures creativity,” he added.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. The university has 80 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Founded in 1920, the university enrolls approximately 1,800graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts continues the academic tradition of figurative and representational fine art while preparing students for a lifetime of contemporary creative practice. The college offers the bachelor of fine arts degree in drawing, illustration, painting, and sculpture (full- and part-time study); certificates in painting and sculpture; a post-baccalaureate program; continuing education for adults; and a pre-college program for students aged 15-18. The college is located at 84 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

Emily Bjornberg of Lyme Declares Democratic Candidacy for 33rd State Senate Seat

Emily Bjornberg, State Senate candidate (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Emily Bjornberg, State Senate candidate (photo by Jerome Wilson)

AREAWIDE– With three 2012 election rivals and the district’s former 20-year Democratic senator looking on, Emily Bjornberg of Lyme Monday declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 12-town 33rd State Senate District. Bjornberg will challenge the first term incumbent elected in 2012, Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook.

About 50 friends and supporters turned out for Bjornberg’s announcement at the Deep River Town Landing on the banks of the Connecticut River. Bjornberg, 33, was joined by her husband, Jason, an Iraq War veteran, and children Elliot (age 7), and Anna (age 4).

But it was the other participants at the announcement that signaled district Democrats have united behind Bjornberg in an effort to reclaim the senate seat. There was former ten-term State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook, who had represented the district for two decades before her retirement in 2012, and two former candidates who faced off in an August 2012 primary for the nomination to succeed Daily, former state Rep. James Crawford of Westbrook, and longtime party activist Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam. Crawford won the nomination in the primary.

Also standing near the podium was Haddam First Selectwoman Melissa Schlag. Elected as first selectwoman as a Democrat last November, Schlag had run an aggressive campaign for the senate seat in 2012 as the nominee of the Green Party. Linares, at age 24, won the seat in 2012, defeating Crawford on a 23,915 to 21,251 vote. Schlag received 4,317 votes as the Green Party candidate.

Endorsement of Bjornberg's candidacy by Haddam First Selectman Melissa Schlag, a ranking woman office holder (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Endorsement of Bjornberg’s candidacy by Haddam First Selectman Melissa Schlag, a ranking woman office holder (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Schlag Monday pledged to actively support Bjornberg in the challenge to the incumbent Republican. “We’re all together again,” she said. Klinck said Bjornberg was “a true social justice Democrat,” who would appeal to young people in the campaign. Daily described Bjornberg as “a very sound Democrat with a huge social conscience that we can all be proud of,” while Crawford said Bjornberg would bring the Linares record on various issues “into the daylight.”

Former State Senator Eileen Daily endorsing Bjornberg's candidacy for her former seat (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Former State Senator Eileen Daily endorsing Bjornberg’s candidacy for her former seat (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Bjornberg is from the Reynolds family that owns and operates the Reynolds Subaru dealership in the Hamburg section of Lyme. She has worked for the past eight years as Director of Youth and Family Ministries for the Deep River Congregational Church, and is also active with the Lyme Land Conservation Trust.

Bjornberg pledged an active campaign for the Nov. 4 election, citing education, the environment, and the economy as the three top issues.. “I will be a strong voice for our region in the majority caucus, where important policy and legislative decisions are made,” she said, adding “we can no longer afford to be represented by a senator who did not receive a majority of votes in the last election, and who routinely votes against legislation that will benefit our towns.”

Bjornberg is expected to receive an uncontested endorsement for the Democratic nomination at the district nominating convention on May 19. Linares is expected to be nominated for a second term by district Republicans at a May 12 convention. The 33rd Senate District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

 

John W. Rafal Ranked 12th in Barron’s Special Report on the Top 100 Financial Advisors

John Rafal, long term resident of Old Lyme and the Founder and current Vice Chair of Essex Financial Services, has been ranked 12th in Barron’s special report of the nation’s Top 100 Financial Advisors.

John Rafal, long term resident of Old Lyme and the Founder and current Vice Chair of Essex Financial Services, has been ranked 12th in Barron’s special report of the nation’s Top 100 Financial Advisors.

Essex – Barron’s, the acclaimed financial and investment newsweekly, has published the 2014 list of America’s Top 100 Financial Advisors, and John W. Rafal of Essex, Connecticut, is ranked number 12. Very few independent advisors, such as John Rafal, were included in the list, which is mostly composed of advisors from the major wire house firms.

Mr. Rafal is the Founder and current Vice Chair of Essex Financial Services, which is owned by Essex Savings Bank. The ranking appears in the April 21 edition of Barron’s
(www.barrons.com).

In the story accompanying the list, Barron’s noted that John Rafal was among a small group of financial advisors who have appeared on the top 100 list every year since inception in 2004.

“I am gratified to Barron’s for the recognition and accept the honor on behalf of the entire team at Essex Financial Services,” said John Rafal. “I want to express my sincere thanks to our clients, many of whom we have represented for over 30 years. It’s a privilege to earn and retain your trust.”

Doug Paul, Chairman of the Board of Essex Savings Bank, which also owns Essex Financial Services, stated, “The Barron’s ranking is a testament to John Rafal and the entire team at Essex Financial Services. On behalf of the entire board and management team, I want to offer our congratulations to John Rafal.”

Essex Financial Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Essex Savings Bank, is one of the leading independent financial advisory firms in the country

Middlesex Hospital Holds Well Attended “Open House” at New Medical Center in Westbrook

Exterior of Emergency Center with helicopter coming in

Exterior of Emergency Center with helicopter coming in

Middlesex Hospital held a very successful preview of its new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook on Saturday, April 19. The new center is located off I-95 at Exit 65 and has a street address of 250 Flat Rock Place in Westbrook. The four-hour preview event on the 19th, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., attracted a flood of visitors to the new 44,000 square foot medical facility.

The new medical center will open its doors for patients on Monday, April 28. Until then, Middlesex Hospital will continue to provide medical services at its present medical center in Essex. Once the new center opens in Westbrook, the Essex center will be closed down permanently. It should be noted that Middlesex Hospital has been providing emergency medical services at various locations in Essex since the 1970’s.

Middlesex Hospital’s new facility on Flat Rock Place in Westbrook is housed in a single long building, which is divided into two discrete sections. The section on the right, when facing the building coming off Flat Rock Road, houses the Emergency Center. The section on the left houses the Outpatient Center. There is a single walk-in entrance to the Emergency Center. There are two entrances to the Outpatient Center, one facing Flat Rock Place, and the other at the left side of the building.

The Emergency Center

The Emergency Department, named the “Whelen Emergency Pavilion,” offers emergency medical treatment, for things such as a heart attack, or a crushed limb. Also, located at the Emergency Center is an “Express Care” treatment center, which offers treatment for injuries of a non-emergency nature, such as a sprained ankle, or for a minor cut.

Laurel Patt, Director, Radiology Services; Paula Howley, radiologic technologist; and Kim Carey, radiologic technologist

Laurel Patt, Director, Radiology Services; Paula Howley, radiologic technologist; and Kim Carey, radiologic technologist

There is also a separate ambulance entrance to the Whelen Emergency Pavilion, with a helipad located just beyond the ambulance area. To give visitors a little extra excitement during the recent open house, the LifeStar helicopter made a special landing on the helipad and allowed visitors to explore it.

The Outpatient Center

The Outpatient Center is the section of the Medical Center which is to the left of the Emergency Center, when entering from Flat Rock Place. The Outpatient Center has two separate entrances, one at the front of the building, and another on the left side of the building. The services offered at the Outpatient Center are extensive. They include: a Radiology Department, which offers state-of-the-art imaging services, including the latest generation MRI, CT scanning, X-ray, digital fluoroscopy, among other services.

Interior of waiting area of the Outpatient Center

Interior of waiting area of the Outpatient Center

A Women’s Imaging Center is also located in the Outpatient Center. It includes private spaces for digital mammography, ultrasound and bone density examinations.  Also in the Outpatient Center has a new MRI unit, which features the most advanced imaging with a wider and shorter opening aperture.

In addition this is the location of the Medical Center’s laboratory, which is accessible to outpatients and for emergency services. Finally, in the Outpatient Center there is an infusion section with a private area for receiving intravenous (IV) fluids.

On an artistic note there is also a Community Gallery featuring rotating works of art by professional, amateur and student artists. There is also an open area stone garden off the left end of the building.

Entertainments for the Day

At the recent Saturday open house, in addition to tours of the Emergency and Outpatient Centers, there were vehicles on display from the Westbrook and Essex Ambulance Associations, the Middlesex Hospital Paramedic service and neighboring commercial car dealers. Also, there were free blood pressure screenings offered to visitors, and a roving magician to entertain the young. In addition, Connecticut State Police officers distributed child fingerprint ID’s, among other amusements for the young and old.

Talking Transportation: The Feds Deep Dive into Metro-North

Jim CameronIt was worse than we’d ever known. Metro-North was almost an accident waiting to happen.

That summarizes the Federal Railway Administration’s “Operation Deep Dive” report issued last week, following 60 days of probing into every aspect of the railroad’s operations. All of this comes on the heels of collisions and derailments in the past year that have taken the lives of four commuters and two railroad workers.

The 28-page report confirms that what was wrong at Metro-North was not just old equipment but a failure of management with very misplaced priorities. “On-time performance” was what mattered most, even at the expense of safety.

Among the report’s findings…

• Half of the personnel who dispatch and monitor the trains have less than three years’ experience, are not properly trained and are so tired they make mistakes

• The railroad’s “safety culture” was “poor”. Safety meetings went unattended.

• Fatigue by train engineers, track workers and dispatchers may have affected performance.

• The trains themselves are in good shape, but the tracks are not.

I’ve been following Metro-North for more than 20 years, so much of this is not news to me but just a substantiation of my worst fears. Still, the report makes for interesting reading because it cites many examples as proof-points for these findings:

Metro-North has known for a decade that they were facing a “retirement cliff” with 20% of its employees, those with the most experience, reaching their 30th anniversary of employment to retire on fat pensions. But the railroad was clearly inadequate in hiring and training their replacements.

Fatigue becomes a factor because soon-to-retire veterans grab all the overtime they can in their final year to increase their income and their railroad pensions. They are among the oldest employees and least resilient.

Metro-North’s management wasn’t even enforcing its own rules. The report says employees were “confused” about cell phone use on the job. Any teenager studying for his driver’s license knows not to use a cell phone while driving, but track workers at Metro-North got away with it.

Additional funding for staff and infrastructure are important and must be found. But turning around a culture of lax enforcement and lip-service to safety is going to take more than money.

Only a month on the job, espousing “safety is our top priority” at every turn, the new President of Metro-North, Joseph Giulietti, recently saw the first fatal accident on his watch: a track worker, 8 years on the job, was struck by a train just outside the Park Avenue tunnel. Why?

There are no quick fixes to this mess. It took years of invisible neglect for Metro-North to slide into this abyss, and it will take years to rebuild the railroad and regain riders’ trust.

JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 22 years. He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

 

Middlesex Hospital to Open New Westbrook Medical Center in April

Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook to open in April

Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook to open in April

Middlesex Hospital is on track to open a new emergency and outpatient medical center off Exit 65 of I-95 in Westbrook this coming April.  The new 44,000 square foot medical center is located at 250 Flat Rock Road, which is on the road that leads up to the Tanger Outlet Mall.

As soon as the new Westbrook medical center is completed, Middlesex Hospital will make the transition from its existing Shoreline Medical Center in Essex.  The new Westbrook location will be double the size of the Essex facility.  In addition, it will have the capacity to expand up to 60,000 square feet, if there is a need to do so.

Middlesex Hospital’s new Westbrook facility will have many improvements over the present Essex facility.  They include an expanded emergency center with 24 beds, as well as an urgent care area for non-emergency patients.  Patient privacy will be also be improved at the new center and there will be a separate outside entrance to the adjoining outpatient area.

In addition, the new facility will have a full service laboratory, an infusion therapy suite, expanded radiology services and a designated women’s imaging area.

Chester Company Donates $1 Million to New Center

Whelen Engineering, Inc., which is headquartered in Chester, is donating $1 million towards the building of the new Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook.  The new Emergency Department in Westbrook will be aptly named the “Whelen Emergency Center.”

Whelen Engineering previously donated $1 million towards to the construction of a new Emergency Department in Middletown, which the hospital named the “Whelen Emergency Pavilion.”

Middlesex Hospital’s History of Medical Care on the Shoreline

Middlesex Hospital has a history, beginning in 1970, of providing medical care to the shoreline residents of Middlesex County.  The hospital first rented a space in Centerbrook, where it set up a full-service, satellite Emergency Department.

From its first day of operation, this Shoreline Medical Center in Centerbrook experienced phenomenal growth.  In fact, it soon became impossible for the medical center to remain at its Centerbrook location and properly serve an overrun of patients for the size of the facility.

Then,  two Essex residents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred P. Knapp,  came to the rescue by donating to Middlesex Hospital 10.4 acres of land on which to build a new, permanent, Shoreline Medical Center in Essex.  Today, the facility serves on average 2,000 to 2,500 patients a month in its Emergency Department alone.  In addition, the Medical Center’s Emergency Department has received a number of prestigious awards for its excellence in patient satisfaction.

Shoreline Medical Clinic in Essex, which will close this coming April when Westbrook Medical Center opens

Shoreline Medical Clinic in Essex, which will close this coming April when Westbrook Medical Center opens

Middlesex Hospital to date has not announced its plans for the building in Essex, once it has been closed and replaced by the new Westbrook facility.

No “Butts” About It, CVS Pharmacies Have Stopped Selling Cigarettes; While Rival, Rite Aid, Is Still Selling Them

riteaid4

The nation’s largest pharmacy chain, CVS, recently announced that it would stop selling cigarettes. However, one of its major competitors in the pharmacy business, Rite Aid, has declined not to adopt a similar policy.

Rite Aid’s Bob Neveu, who is in charge of the pharmacy at the Colonial shopping center in Essex, maintains that even though Rite Aid still sell cigarettes, it is still cutting back in selling tobacco products generally. “We used to have a special cigar section in the stores,” he says, and now they have been eliminated.

Rite Aid’s Nevey admits he has always felt that, “it was somewhat incongruous for a health goods store, like Rite Aid, to be selling cigarettes.” However, regardless of the store manager’s personal feelings, cigarettes enjoy a prime spot behind the checkout counter at the front of the store, where Marlboro cigarette packages and other brands are on full display. 

As for the CVS pharmacy chain, in its pharmacy in downtown Old Saybrook on Boston Post Road, it indeed appears that CVS is not selling cigarettes, true to its word. Not a single cigarette package was evident on recent visit. However, it does appear that CVS has not given up selling other tobacco products. On a recent visit right behind the checkout counters, although there were no cigarettes in view, there were clearly other kinds of tobacco products for sale.

CVS pharmacy where they no longer sell cigarettes

CVS pharmacy where they no longer sell cigarettes

When asked what they were, “We sell pipe tobacco and cigars,” said one of the women behind the CVS checkout counter.

 

Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services, Inc. to Contribute $223,373 to Charity

 

Essex Savings Bank President & CEO Gregory R. Shook

Essex Savings Bank President & CEO Gregory R. Shook

Essex, CT – Gregory R. Shook, President & Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank announced January 17, 2014, “We are extremely proud to report available contributions of $223,373 from our Community Investment Program in our 163rd year”.  The Bank annually commits 10% of its after tax net income to qualifying organizations within the immediate market area consisting of  Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  This program provides financial support to over 200 non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to the ever-increasing needs of our communities.  By year end, a total of $3,896,917 will have been distributed since inception in 1996.  Essex Savings Bank customers determine 30% of the fund allocations each year by voting directly for three of their favorite causes, charities or organizations who have submitted applications to participate.  Ballots will be available at all Essex Savings Bank Offices between February 1 and March 15 to determine an allocation of $67,012.  The Bank’s Directors, Senior Officers, Branch Managers and Essex Financial Services, Inc., the Bank’s subsidiary, will distribute the remaining 70%, or $156,361.

Organizations (85) qualifying to appear on the 2014 ballot includes:

Act II Thrift Shop, Inc. * Bikes for Kids, Inc. * Brazilian and American Youth Cultural Exchange (BRAYCE) * Bushy Hill Nature Center * Camp Claire, Inc. * Camp Hazen YMCA * CDE (Chester, Deep River, Essex) Cooperative Nursery School * Chester Historical Society * Chester Land Trust, Inc. * Common Good Gardens, Inc. * Community Music School * The Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock * The Country School, Inc. * The Deacon John Grave Foundation * Deep River Ambulance Association, Inc. * Deep River Elementary PTO, Inc. * The Deep River Fire Department * Deep River Historical Society, Inc. * Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps, Inc. * Deep River Land Trust, Inc. * Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc. * Essex Ambulance Association, Inc. * The Essex Art Association, Incorporated * Essex Community Fund, Inc. * Essex Elementary School Foundation, Inc. * Essex Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, Inc. * Essex Fire Engine Company #1 * Essex Historical Society, Inc. * Essex Library Association * Essex Winter Series, Inc. * Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. – Meals on Wheels * Florence Griswold Museum * Forgotten Felines, Inc. * Friends In Service Here (F.I.S.H.) * Friends of Hammonasset, Inc. * Friends of the Acton Public Library * Friends of the Chester Public Library, Inc. * Graduation Night, Inc. – Old Saybrook * High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. * Hope Partnership, Inc. * Ivoryton Playhouse Foundation, Inc. * The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Inc. * Literacy Volunteers – Valley Shore, CT, Inc. * Lyme Ambulance Association, Inc. * Lyme Art Association, Inc. * The Lyme Fire Company, Inc. * Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Inc. * Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation * Lyme-Old Lyme Safe Graduation Party, Inc. * Lyme Public Hall Association, Inc. * Lyme Public Library, Inc. * Lymes’ Elderly Housing, Inc. (Lymewood) * The Madison ABC Program, Incorporated (aka Madison A Better Chance, Inc.) * Madison Ambulance Association, Inc. * Madison Community Services, Inc. * The Madison Foundation, Inc. * Madison Historical Society, Inc. * Madison Land Conservation Trust, Inc. * Maritime Education Network, Inc. * Musical Masterworks, Inc. * Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center, Inc. * Old Lyme Historical Society, Inc. * Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association * Old Saybrook Education Foundation * Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Inc. * Old Saybrook Historical Society * Old Saybrook Land Trust, Inc. * Pet Connections, Inc. * Potapaug Audubon Society * The Region 4 Education Foundation, Inc. (R4EF) * Scranton Library, Madison (aka E.C. Scranton Memorial Library) * The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries * Sister Cities Essex Haiti, Inc. * Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM) * The Touchdown Club, Inc. (Valley Regional High School/Old Lyme High School Football) * Tracy Art Center, Inc. * Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau, Inc. * Valley Baseball-Softball Booster Club, Inc. * Valley Shore Animal Welfare League * Valley-Shore YMCA * Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, Inc. (VNLV) * Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, Inc. * Westbrook Project Graduation, Inc. * Westbrook Youth and Family Services, Inc. * The Woman’s Exchange of Old Lyme.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Lower Connecticut River Valley with six offices in Chester, Essex (2), Madison, Old Lyme, and Old Saybrook.  Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.  Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value, are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

Essex Savings Bank Donates to Local Communities

Old Saybrook 1

Essex – Each year all six branches and the corporate office of Essex Savings Bank hold a holiday contest designed to help those less fortunate in the local communities.  The goal of this year’s event was to collect food and non-perishables for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen as well as the food pantries in Chester and Madison.

The festive displays at each office location centered on a particular food course, and the entries ranged from breakfast selections to desserts.  Although this contest adds to the fun of the season, the deeper goal for all of the Bank employees is to help those in need as that is the true spirit of the season.

All donations were at the employees’ expense and generated by their goodwill.

As a result of everyone’s efforts, on Monday, Dec. 23, Essex Savings Bank employees delivered 845 pounds of food to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen.  Additional donations were made to the pantries in Chester and Madison.

Branch Manager/AVP Marla Bogaert serves on the Board of Directors for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and a team of Bank employees volunteer to prepare and serve dinner throughout the year.  The ingredients for these meals are collected through the generous donations from Bank employees.

Admin-HR

Editor’s Note: Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

 

 

Country School Robotics Team Wins Two Awards at State Robotics Championship

Members of The Country School's Wise Guys Robotics Team at the First Lego League State Championship in December. Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Andre Salkin, Gordie Croce, Robbie Cozean, Ben Iglehart, Aidan Chiaia, and Joseph Coyne. Back row, left to right, are Nate Iglehart, Liam Ber, Emmett Tolis, and Coach Heather Edgecumbe. Missing from the photo is Sarah Platt.

Members of The Country School’s Wise Guys Robotics Team at the First Lego League State Championship in December. Pictured, front row, left to right, are: Andre Salkin, Gordie Croce, Robbie Cozean, Ben Iglehart, Aidan Chiaia, and Joseph Coyne. Back row, left to right, are Nate Iglehart, Liam Ber, Emmett Tolis, and Coach Heather Edgecumbe. Missing from the photo is Sarah Platt.

Madison, CT— Members of The Country School’s Wise Guys Robotics Team won two awards at the First Lego League state championships held at Central Connecticut State University in December. Of the 51 teams participating, the Wise Guys won a First Lego League core value award for Innovation and a second award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for the way they worked together to come up with an innovative solution to a problem. The IEEE award was accompanied by a $200 cash prize.

This was the second year that The Country School has fielded a robotics team and the second time a TCS team has qualified for the First Lego League Connecticut state championship. The team qualified during a competition held in Old Lyme in the fall. In addition to the Wise Guys, The Country School also fields a team called the Archimedes Owls. Nineteen students in grades 5- 8 participated on the school’s two robotics teams. The Country School also offers a summer robotics camp and hosts periodic Robotics Nights on campus for the broader community.

According to the First Lego League, the FLL Innovation Award is presented to a team that is “empowered by their FLL experience and displays extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit.” The award from the IEEE was presented to five teams who displayed an innovative solution to a problem caused by nature’s fury. The Country School team chose to focus on how towns can clear roads and clean up after blizzards in a safe and effective way.

The Wise Guys remembered how hard it was for Connecticut towns to recover from last February’s blizzard. Team member Sarah Platt, an 8th Grader, interviewed John Bower, Director of Emergency Management for the town of Madison, to try to identify the biggest issues the town had to deal with during the blizzard. Team members then came up with a plan for a robotic plow which, while plowing, would send snow into a container. There, the snow would be melted down to water, which would later be deposited in a safe area.

The Wise Guys are coached by Country School science teacher Heather Edgecumbe of Madison. In addition to Sarah Platt, a Madison resident, team members include Andre Salkin of Old Lyme (6th Grade), Gordie Croce of Killingworth (6th Grade), Robbie Cozean of Madison (6th Grade), Nate and Ben Iglehart of Guilford (both 6th Grade), Aidan Chiaia of Guilford (6th Grade), Joseph Coyne of Madison (7th Grade), Liam Ber of Westbrook (8th Grade), and Emmett Tolis of Madison (7th Grade).

The Country School, founded in 1955, is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool through Grade 8. At The Country School, a rigorous academic program is accompanied by a commitment to hands-on learning and discovery and a focus on the whole child. The robotics program is part of the school’s commitment to advancing 21st century skills through STEAM, or integrated science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

Learn more about Robotics and other STEAM offerings at The Country School by visiting www.thecountryschool.org/steam. The Country School will also have a special STEAM focus at its Open House on Sunday, January 26, from 1-3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org/openhouse.

 

 

New Executive Director Has Big Dreams, Plans for Connecticut River Museum

Chris Dobbs, new Executive Director of Connecticut River Museum

Chris Dobbs, new Executive Director of Connecticut River Museum

Imagine if you will, a vintage, side-wheeler steamboat tied up, smartly, at the Steamboat Dock of the Connecticut River Museum. Imagine as well that on given days, this old, classic steamboat carries modern day passengers up and down the Connecticut River on both educational and pleasure cruises.

This is just one of the ambitious dreams held by the Connecticut River Museum’s new Executive Director, Christopher I. Dobbs. (He prefers to be called “Chris.”) Chris Dobbs recently replaced the museum’s former Executive Director, Jerry Roberts.

A resident of Deep River, the 42 year old Dobbs comes to his new post at the Connecticut River Museum after a nine year stint as Executive Director of the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society in West Hartford. Prior to that, Dobbs was the Associate Director of Education at the Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea. Dobbs has an M.A. in Museum Studies from the State University College of New York, Cooperstown, New York.

To help him get the Connecticut River Museum’s top job, Dobbs submitted to the search committee an impressive, three paged, single space, small type resume, setting forth his previous experience and multiple accomplishments in the museum field. For example, his resume notes that as head of the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, he “Developed and completed $1.2 million capital campaign (raised 20% more than goal).”

Also, noted is that in his previous position he “Acted as the chief fundraiser by working with individual donors, foundations, city government, and State of Connecticut legislatures and agencies, and that he “increased endowment 45%.

"Conversational" billboard entrance to the Museum

“Conversational” billboard entrance to the Museum

It is highly likely that the new Executive Director’s fund raising skills did not go unnoticed by the Connecticut River Museum’s search committee for a new Executive Director. Further evidence of Dobbs, successful fund raising was that he managed and fundraised for a 250th Birthday celebration for his previous employer’s namesake, Noah Webster.

The Dream of a Steamboat Tied Up at Steamboat Dock

In a recent interview Dobbs demonstrated that he is a person who can dream big. For example, he suggested that at some future date the Connecticut River Museum might acquire a fully working, side paddling steamboat. With this historical coincidence in mind, the new steamboat would be docked at the Steamboat Dock of the Connecticut River Museum. In the 19th century the Steamboat Dock was a frequent stop for steamboats operating along the river.

As for the present availability of old steamboats, Dobbs said, “There are some of them still around for sale.” Dobbs asks what could be more appropriate than to have a working steamboat tied up at the Steamboat Dock of the Connecticut River Museum.

This does not mean that the museum’s present sailboat, the “Mary E,” which seasonably carries paying passengers on short cruises up and down the Connecticut River, would be replaced immediately. However, the new Executive Director feels that having a working steamboat at the Steamboat Dock would be uniquely consistent with the Connecticut River Museum’s mission and history.

The unadorned entrance of the Connecticut River Museum

The unadorned entrance of the Connecticut River Museum

This talk of steamboats does not mean that Dobbs is not completely on board in commemorating next year’s 200th anniversary of the 2014 burning of the American ships in Essex by British forces during the war of 1812. However, Dobbs clearly feels that this one-time historic event should not be the principal focus of the Connecticut River Museum.

Tying the Museum to the Entire Connecticut River

Rather, the central mission of the museum in Dobbs’s view is that it should focus on the full length of the Connecticut River. As Dobbs puts it, “This is, after all, the Connecticut River Museum, and, therefore, the entire length of the river from the Canadian border down to the rivers mouth on Long Island Sound is what this museum should be all about.” It should be noted that the Connecticut River is 407 miles long, and that it begins just below the Canadian border and runs down to its mouth on Long Island Sound in Connecticut between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme.

Artist rendering at the Museum of 1814 British attack on Essex

Artist rendering at the Museum of 1814 British attack on Essex

Activities that the museum could sponsor, could be canoe excursions on the upper Connecticut River between Vermont and New Hampshire. In addition, the new Executive Director envisions joining the fight against pollution in the Connecticut River, as well as children’s programs about animal and aquatic life along the Connecticut River, including teaching young and old how “to hold a fish and touch a crab.”

Dodd also raptures that the Connecticut River is, “America’s First Blue Way.” Also, like many environmentalists, he is grateful that the mouth of the Connecticut River between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme “has not been spoiled by development.”

In sum, Chriss Dobbs, the new Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum, takes a broad and exciting view of his new position. As he puts it, “We are the Connecticut River Museum, and that is the Connecticut River, and that is what we are about.” He continues, “That means that the museum is entwined with the river, every single mile of it.”

 

Literary Volunteers Valley Shore Needs Fundraising Committee Members

In the season of giving, why not give a gift of time in your community? While our attention and thoughts of volunteering are more dominant during the holidays, help is needed year round. LVVS are looking for friendly, outgoing people to populate their fundraising events committee. If you are a creative thinker and can commit some time to serve on a committee, they need you to help develop and facilitate the scheduling of fundraising events.

Meet new people, have fun, and be a part of a worthy organization. LVVS serves 11 CT Valley Shore towns through one-on-one tutoring programs in English as a Second Language(ESL) and Basic Reading(BR).  Fundraisers benefit these much needed programs.  Contact  info@vsliteracy.org or 860-399-0280.

New $28 Million Medical Center in Westbrook Is on Track to Open in April 2014

The new Westbrook medical center under construction

The new Westbrook medical center under construction

Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook is scheduled to open its doors to receive patients, as early as April 2014.

The Whiting-Turner Construction Company of New Haven is in charge of constructing the new Medical Center in Westbrook. The company estimates that the new facility will be finished by March 2014. Then, it will take much of April 2014 for Middlesex Hospital to furnish the new Center and to install medical equipment.

New Center Can Expand to 60,00 Square Feet

The new Medical Center in Westbrook will initially have 44,000 square feet of working space. However, the Center can be expanded to 60,000 square feet, if it becomes necessary. By contrast the Hospital’s present Medical Center in Essex is just over 20,000 square feet. On an historical note, the Essex facility has provided emergency medical care for shoreline residents for over forty years.

There is still work to do

There is still work to do

The new Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center will be located on Flat Rock Place, which is just off Exit 65 of Interstate I-95. Flat Rock Place is a four-lane access highway, which has the auto dealerships of Honda and Toyota at the bottom end and the Tanger Outlets shopping mall at the top. The new Medical Center will be located half way up Flat Rock Place on the left hand side.

The present medical center in Essex

The present medical center in Essex

When complete, the new Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook will have, “a whole host of diagnostic and treatment services,” according to hospital sources.  In addition, “radiological services will expand to include a new MRI testing area, and a designated woman’s imaging area.” Also, the new Center in Westbrook will continue to provide 24/7 medical care, and it will have a helipad for emergency helicopter trips, as well as paramedic services.

Advantages of New Westbrook Location

In addition to a large roster of medical services at the new Westbrook facility, there are significant access advantages as well. The new Westbrook center will be conveniently located, just off I-95 at Exit 65.

Also, the new Westport location will permit patients from towns, such as Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Clinton and Guilford, to have direct I-95 Interstate access to the new facility. In addition, the residents of Deep River, Chester and Haddam, via Route 9, will have I-95 Interstate access to the new Center as well.

Although patients from Essex will no longer have their very own medical center right in town; still it will be only be a few extra miles down Route 153 for Essex residents to reach the new Westbrook Center.

New Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum Appointed

Chris Dobbs will take the helm as Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum on November 18th.

Chris Dobbs will take the helm as Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum on November 18th.

ESSEX, CT — Christopher I. Dobbs has been named Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum. For the past nine years, Dobbs has been the Executive Director of the Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society in West Hartford. During his tenure, Dobbs led efforts to restore the Webster House, which is a National Landmark building, and reinvigorate its exhibits. He also developed many innovative public programs, including “Tavern Nights”, “Webster’s War of the Words” a word game show featuring Connecticut celebrities, and “West Hartford Hauntings,” a popular historical program that was held in cemeteries. Under his leadership, the Webster House won several awards for its exhibits, and the museum received several significant grants. The museum’s attendance and its number of volunteers increased, and membership grew by 40 percent. Dobbs also helped lead a capital campaign that raised $1.2 million, 20 percent more than its goal.

“Chris Dobbs is a seasoned and innovative museum professional who has a proven track record as a museum leader who can inspire community engagement,” said Peter Prichard, chair of the Connecticut River Museum. “He is also a very versatile and talented manager. We were fortunate to be able to hire him and we expect great things under his leadership.”

Brenda Milkofsky, the founding director of the Museum who has served as interim director since July, said: “Next year is the Museum’s 40th Birthday so this is the perfect time for fresh ideas and renewed energy and Chris Dobbs brings both to this maturing institution. He’s an experienced museum professional, well-grounded in history who will help us recommit to the public service and educational standards of our mission.”

Dobbs said “I am looking forward to taking the helm of the Connecticut River Museum and working with its Board, staff, and community to expand the museum’s reach and cultural impact.” He went on to say that “The museum has a critical mission to preserve, document, and engage thousands of visitors each year with New England’s most significant, and in my opinion, most beautiful inland waterway.”

Dobbs, 42, has a bachelor’s degree in American history from Indiana University and a Master’s Degree in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, which is a joint project of the State University College of New York and the New York Historical Society. He now serves on the board of the Cooperstown Alumni Association. Dobbs began his career in history museums as an intern when he was still in college in the mid-1990s. In 1998 he joined Mystic Seaport, where he served as Supervisor of Special Interpretative Programs, including the Lantern Light Tours, before being promoted to Associate Director of Education. For the past six years, he has also served as a Peer Advisor to museum and non-profit leaders for the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, assisting non-profits around the state with strategic planning, development and program creation.

In his spare time, Dobbs enjoys woodworking and recently restored an antique boat. He is married to Jennifer White-Dobbs, Director of Education of the Connecticut River Museum. The couple has two children and they live in Deep River.

Essex Savings Bank Rated 5 Stars – Eighteen Consecutive Years

Essex –  Essex Savings Bank has once again earned the highest 5-Star rating for strength and stability from BauerFinancial, Inc. of Coral Gables, Florida, the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm.  Bauer Financial has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks since 1983.  No institution can pay BauerFinancial to rate it, nor can an institution choose to be excluded.  Essex Savings Bank has proven its commitment to superiority by earning this top rating for 71 consecutive quarters.  Fewer than 10% of the nation’s banks can claim this distinction.  In order to do so, the Bank has excelled in areas of capital adequacy, delinquent loan levels and profitability to name just a few.  Consistently earning BauerFinancial’s highest rating assures customers and the community that Essex Savings Bank is a strong financial institution that will be able to fulfill their banking needs for years to come.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.  Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

Transportatation: Metro-North Meltdown

Jim CameronFirst of all, despite what some commuters may recently be thinking, the folks who manage and operate Metro-North are not stupid.  Inconsiderate and uncommunicative sometimes, but not stupid.

Metro-North managers and employees are railroad professionals, justifiably proud of the 96+% on-time performance they achieve on one of the busiest commuter line in the US.  They want to run a world class railroad.  But they can only achieve as much as the states of NY and Connecticut fund them to do.

In recent years our legislature gave MNRR $1+ billion to buy badly needed new railcars, a very visible manifestation to commuters that the state was investing in the railroad.  But sufficient funding for inspection and repair of the tracks, the catenary and our 100- year-old bridges is still lacking.

New cars are sexy.  Giving them safe tracks to run on and wires to power them, not so sexy.

What happened when Con Ed’s back-up feeder cable failed at 5:30 am on Wednesday Sept 25th was not an act of God, but human error.  The two agencies knew the main power cable was going to be out of service and calculated, very wrongly, that the single back-up cable would be sufficient.

This raises a number of questions:  Did Con Ed monitor that back-up cable for signs it might fail?  Was it wise to save $1 million by not constructing a back-up for the back-up?  Does Homeland Security know or care that the entire Metro-North and Amtrak Northeast Corridor were depending on this calculation? How many other power sub-stations are in similar danger?

The effects of this outage are many:  the inconvenience to 125,000 daily riders, the economic impact on those commuters’ businesses, and longer-term, the economic recovery of our state and nation.

Governor Malloy quickly called this outage just the latest black eye for our state in his efforts to attract businesses to set up shop in the Nutmeg State.  Even if they can tolerate our high taxes, do relocating CEO’s really want to rely on Metro-North to get their employees to and from work or fight the perpetual rush-hour crawl on I-95?

I fear some individual commuters may be reaching the tipping point.  There are plenty of other New York suburbs with good schools and more reliable transportation.  If fed-up Connecticut commuters decide to vote with their feet and move to Westchester or Long Island, they will take their taxes with them.  Remember that Fairfield County pays 40% of all state taxes in Connecticut, so anything that makes our neighborhoods less attractive, hurts the entire state.

And it hurts our house values too.  People live in the towns served by Metro-North because they need to rely on those trains to get to high-paying jobs in NYC.  When that trust is broken, those towns and their houses become less attractive.

If housing values sag, town taxes will have to go up.  The schools will suffer making our towns even less desirable for those leaving the city for the good life in the ‘burbs.

Reliable train service at an affordable price is what makes Fairfield County thrive.  When you begin to doubt the ability of the railroad to keep operating, let alone be on time, it may be time to rethink where you live.

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JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 22 years.  He is a member of the CT Rail Commuter Council and the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CTRailCommuterCouncil@gmail.com  or www.trainweb.org/ct

Essex Resident Served on Shore Crew of U.S. Winner of Recent America Cup Race

Essex resident Jason Sanstrom holding the American's Cup after the race

Essex resident Jason Sanstrom holding the American’s Cup after the race

Jason Sanstrom, an Essex resident, played an important role in the recent winning of the America Cup by Oracle Team USA. Jason is the son of Sandy Sanstrom, a Member of the Board of Governors of the Pettipaug Yacht Club in Essex.

The younger Sandstrom, 27, is a specialist in the carbon fiber construction of racing sailboats. Because it is lighter and stronger, carbon fiber construction has become the favorite over fiber glass, in the construction racing, sailboat hulls.

The younger Stanstrom worked not only on this year’s American entry in the 34th America Cup Race, he also worked on the American entry in the 33rd America Cup Race. In this year’s final race the America team, Oracle Team USA, beat out the Emirates Team New Zealand by a mere 44 seconds.

To capture the America’s Cup the U.S. team, funded by Larry Ellison, had first to win seven consecutive races in order to catch up with the New Zealand team. In the final race, initially, the New Zealand boat had a 40 meter lead; however, eventually the wind and the tide favored the Americans in going upwind, which enabled them to win.

The entire cup race lasts barely twenty minutes; the boats are so fast in going around the course.