February 10, 2016

Carney, Linares to Hold Office Hours in Westbrook Tonight

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State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

AREAWIDE — State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) will hold pre-session office hours in Westbrook at the Westbrook Town Hall on Feb. 9, starting at 6:30 p.m.  State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) and State Representative Jesse MacLachlan (R-35th) will join Carney at the Westbrook event.

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares (R-20th)

This session will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government. Anyone with questions about the event can contact Carney’s office at 800-842-1423 or devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov.

Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District that includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.

Linares represents the 33rd District comprising Lyme along with Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Tickets on Sale for Thursday’s Vintage Valentine’s Soiree, Benefits Deep River Rotary

 DEEP RIVER — Charles Shultz once said “all you need is love … but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”Vintage_Valentine

Lots of chocolate will be among the treats at the Vintage Valentine’s soiree on Thursday, Feb. 11, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., hosted by the Deep River Rotary and Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club at the beautiful Deep River Town Hall Auditorium/Theater.

Along with chocolate, you can fill your evening with decadent hors d’oeuvres, chilled champagne (and wine and beer), and sweets as you dance the night away to the tunes of the Shiny Lapel Trio.  Foods are being prepared by local restaurants, including The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook, Alforno, Penny Lane Pub and The Ivory.

The ticket cost is $45 per person and supports the many humanitarian projects of the Deep River Rotary and the Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club.

For tickets visit the Deep River Town Hall at 174 Main St. in Deep River, or Shore Discount Liquors next to the Deep River Post Office, or go online to www.vintagevalentines.eventbrite.com.

Questions? Email: deepriverrotary@gmail.com.

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Kristen Graves to Perform at Spring Street Gallery, Feb. 21

kristen grav CHESTER —- Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden, Sunday, Feb. 21, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring Kristen Graves at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Kristen Graves is a singer/songwriter and humanitarian from Green Bay, living in Fairfield, Conn. She was recently listed as part of the “new generation of folk music” in the New York Times and was mentioned in Rolling Stone for her music’s environmental activism. She has shared the stage with Rusted Root, Dar Williams, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary), and the late Pete Seeger.

With catchy songs, a penchant for storytelling, and inspiring lyrics, Graves performs nearly 200 shows a year through the United States and Europe.

On her first visit to the Concert in the Garden series, she will be performing her own original songs as well as some classic folk sing-alongs. You’ll be invited to sing, laugh, cry, and enjoy each other as Graves shares the stories behind her music – from sharing Lincoln Center stage with Peter Yarrow, to sharing lentil soup with Pete Seeger. This is an evening of stories and songs you won’t want to miss.

Read more about Graves at www.kristengraves.com.

Doors open a half hour before the show – first come, first seated. The concert is held inside the gallery this time of year. Sorry, no pets are allowed.

A $20 donation is appreciated. The event is BYOB. Buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 3 p.m.

For more information, call 860-526-2077 or log on www.nilssonstudio.com.

 

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Auditions for Ivoryton Playhouse Production, Feb. 12

AREAWIDE – The Ivoryton Playhouse will hold local auditions for Equity actors for “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,” by Richard Alfieri on Friday, Feb. 12, in Centerbrook, and Monday, Feb. 15, in New York City.

The Playhouse is looking for two characters:

Lily, an attractive woman, early to late 60s, with an ability to dance (or can take simple choreography for) swing, tango, foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, and cha-cha.

Michael Minetti (late 30s/40s), an attractive man of 45 who is trying to look 35. Ability to dance (or can take simple choreography for) swing, tango, foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, and cha-cha.

All auditions are by appointment and actors should bring a picture and resume. More information is available online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.

For audition appointments, call 860-767-9520, ext. 204.

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Caravan of Thieves to Perform in Chester on Feb. 28; Tickets Available Now

Caravan of Thieves. Photo by Shervin Lainez

Caravan of Thieves. Photo by Shervin Lainez

Question: How does a hot band get recruited to play in a concert series?
Answer: One way is when it sneaks up on and knocks out the series producer.

This is how the booking for Caravan of Thieves, the musical ensemble that has dazzled audiences throughout North America with their creativity and showmanship, came to be. The band will perform at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester in a concert open to the public.

David Zeleznik, the new director of the synagogue’s Music & More concert series, recalls that he had his first Caravan “experience” unexpectedly several years ago in Norwalk when it was the opening act for Hot Tuna.

“We had never heard of Caravan of Thieves before, but from the first song they immediately hooked us and were the subject of much animated discussion in the car ride home. Their songs are witty, completely original, and speak to the themes of love and life with a big helping of irreverence and fun. When I starting putting together this, my first season as producer of Music & More, I immediately thought of Caravan as my ‘producer’s choice’ selection for the series. My hope is that others catch the energy and get on board the Caravan Freaks bandwagon.”

Caravan of Thieves began as a duo consisting of Fuzz Sangiovanni (of Deep Banana Blackout fame) and his wife Carrie Sangiovanni. The two discovered their voices blended quite well with one another. Fuzz said, “It started as a romantic, bohemian vision of a couple making music, performing on the road, in parks, venues, traveling around and avoiding responsibility as much as possible …The first thing we discovered was we loved singing together, harmonizing our voices. Just seemed to click right away.”

The couple added a violinist and an upright bass player in 2008 and the band released their debut album Bouquet in 2009. Their second album, Mischief Night, was recorded at a sold-out show in Fairfield. Caravan of Thieves released a third album in 2012, and a fourth last year.

Fuzz said about the group’s third album: “We had a concept going in, both from a sound and production standpoint, lyrically and thematically. A lot of crazy stuff happens on the road, and we took our experiences from on and off the stage, and brought them into the studio with us.”

He continued, “Life is ridiculous, all our lives, like an amusement park ride. In this case, we picked a funhouse, since those are ridiculous too. And we wanted to expand the range of what we can do instrumentally but still keep it non electric, so we added a few more gritty and twangy stringed instruments that were fun to spank, like banjos, resonator guitars and ukuleles, as well as an orchestra of kitchen appliances for some additional percussive bang.”

Samples of Caravan of Thieves music can be found on YouTube.

Tickets ($25 general admission; no charge for children under 16) for this concert are on sale now and may be purchased online at cbsrz.org, or by calling the synagogue office at (860) 526-8920.  Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

 

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Romance Novels Featured in LVVS February Sale

AREAWIDE – Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) has announced that February’s monthly book promotion gives all aspiring cupids an opportunity to shine.

Romance novels are the special feature of the month.  Pay just $1 for five selected paperbacks or $1 for all hardcover romance novels.

The book sale is located in the LVVS offices in the lower level of the Westbrook Public Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m. to noon.

All book sale proceeds benefit the LVVS tutoring programs. For more information, email info@vsliteracy.org or call 860-399-0280.

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Gowrie Group Leads the Way to Raise $1 Million for Shoreline Soup Kitchens

(left to right): Ed Gumbrecht, Gowrie Group; Patty Dowling, SSKP executive director; Whitney Peterson, Gowrie Group; Lindas Dillon, Gowrie Group & SSKP board; Carter Gowrie; Rev. Martha Bays, SSKP board chair; Barbara Whitcher, SSKP board; and Claire Bellerjeau, SSKP.

The Gowrie Challenge raised over $150,000 in 2015 for Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries. Shown (L-R): Ed Gumbrecht, Gowrie Group; Patty Dowling, SSKP executive director; Whitney Peterson, Gowrie Group; Lindas Dillon, Gowrie Group & SSKP board; Carter Gowrie; Rev. Martha Bays, SSKP board chair; Barbara Whitcher, SSKP board; and Claire Bellerjeau, SSKP.

AREAWIDE – The results are in for the 2015 Gowrie Challenge. This was a record-breaking year — more than 400 businesses and individuals raised more this year than ever before: over $150,400.

Over the past 12 years, the Gowrie Challenge has raised over one million dollars for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP). Surpassing this “Million Dollar Mark” was possible through thousands of contributions given since 2004 by caring and committed members of the shoreline community.

This year’s goal was achieved with the combined effort of many, including “Partner Sponsors” L.C. Doane (Ivoryton), Safety Zone (Essex), Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale (Westbrook and Madison), the Tariq Farid Foundation (Wallingford), and Tower Labs (Essex). The Challenge also had generous media sponsors – Shore Publishing and WLIS/WMRD – helping to spread the word about hunger on the shoreline.

Once again this year two special community events raised additional funds for the Challenge – the Benefit Concert at The Kate and the “Ahavah” ballet by the Christian Academy of Dance.

Most important, the 12th Annual Gowrie Challenge funds will provide enough food for more than 385,800 meals. This nutritious food will fill the shelves at SSKP’s five weekly pantries, and will be given to those who are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Carter Gowrie, CEO and Founder of Gowrie Group, which is located in Westbrook, said, “Since 2004 we have partnered with the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries to feed our neighbors and those in need. I am extremely proud to be part of a local community that comes together each year to support this challenge and to have raised over one million dollars to benefit the SSKP.”

Patty Dowling, Executive Director of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens, said, “The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is so grateful for Gowrie Group’s support, and all those who contributed to the Gowrie Challenge this year. This campaign shows the commitment of our community to caring for others. On behalf of the thousands of those we serve every year, I say thank you!”

Gowrie Group and the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries are proud of all that they have accomplished in the past 12 years of partnership, and both look forward to continuing the annual Gowrie Challenge in future years.

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Disabled Workers Committee Offers $10K Matthew Shafner Memorial Scholarship

The Disabled Workers Committee, Inc. has announced a $10,000 scholarship in honor of Matthew Shafner.  The Committee is a Connecticut-based, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help impaired workers.  Shafner, a nationally recognized attorney and former Chairman of the Disabled Workers Scholarship Subcommittee, passed away in September 2015.  The scholarship will assist a child of a worker, who lives in Connecticut and has been totally disabled in the workplace, to attend college.

The scholarship has been awarded since 1993. In 2016, it has been renamed the Matthew Shafner Memorial Scholarship for Sons and Daughters of Disabled Workers.  The 2016 scholarship will provide one $10,000 award to be divided evenly over four years of college ($1,250 per semester.)  It will be given to a student demonstrating both academic  excellence and financial need.

Matthew Shafner was recentiy described as “a legal giant and humanitarian who broke new ground with asbestos, maritime injury and workers compensation cases,” by The Day. He was only the ninth person to receive the Connecticut Trial Lawyer Association’s lifetime achievement award since the association formed in 1954.In2015,U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers in America recognized Shafner as a “Lawyer of the Year”.

“The pressures that fall on disabled workers and their families are tremendous,” explained Matthew Shafner in 2010 when he was Chairman of the Committee.”This scholarship fund eases one of the important financial burdens that disabled workers often face.”

Applications are available throughout Connecticut in the offices of high school guidance counselors, labor unions and Workers Compensation Commission offices. They should be received by April 1, 2016 at the Scholarship Fund, Disabled Workers Committee, Inc, c/o Suisman  Shapiro Attomeys-at-Law, 2 Union Plaza, Suite 200, New London, CT 06320. A statewide committee of independent prominent educators will select the successful students.

The Disabled Workers Committee, Inc educates the public about helping impaired workers return to their workplace as soon as possible. The Committee is co-sponsored by the Connecticut State Medical Society and the New London County Medical Association

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Tractor Supply Company, National FFA Foundation Offer “Grants for Growing”

OLD SAYBROOK – Tractor Supply Company has launched its national “Grants for Growing” program, which allows opportunities for local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters to make their communities a better place to live.  The deadline for local FFA chapters to sign up for this competitive grant process is Feb. 15. The in-store event to raise funds by allowing Tractor Supply shoppers to donate $1 at checkout will run Feb. 19-28.

Tractor Supply is located at 400 Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook.

In partnership with the National FFA Foundation, the “Grants for Growing” program raises funds for local FFA chapter initiatives and awards minimum $500 competitive grants to participating chapters. While $500 is the minimum grant amount that will be awarded to selected chapters, there is no cap on the amount of funding that a chapter can choose to request for its project.

If selected, chapters can use the funds in a number of ways to benefit their community including buying vegetation, trees, seed, chickens, feed, mulch or tools to help start or expand an FFA project that will continue for years to come.

Chapter advisors are required to complete the grant application, and eligibility will be based on the evaluation of how the money will be used, volunteer hours, and promotional activities during the fundraising period.  The grant application can be found at www.FFA.org/grantsforgrowing/application.

For more information on Tractor Supply, access the website at www.TractorSupply.com.

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Marshview Gallery Exhibits Work of Carlos Rios; Opening Reception on Feb. 12

marshview photo
AREAWIDE –
During February the Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook features the art of Carlos Rios.

Born in Colombia, Rios began his training at the Academia Superior de Arte and Bellas Artes in Colombia.  He moved to the U.S. in 1965 to further his education at the Paier College of Art in Connecticut.  He has lived with his wife in Milford for over 30 years.

Rios works in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors. His style and taste is eclectic, ranging from impressionistic to contemporary.  He is constantly experimenting and creating new works, as well as researching and developing new materials, media and ideas to use in the creation of new pieces.

His work is internationally known, and his original paintings and prints are in collections and exhibits throughout the world, including many foreign embassies. More information can be found at his website, www.carlosriospaintings.com.

A reception will be held Friday, Feb. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Marshview Gallery. All are welcome to meet the artist. Refreshments will be provided.

The Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc., 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. All ages are welcome to view the gallery.

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Take a Winter Raptors Field Trip, Feb. 13; Only 14 Spots Available

Winter Raptors trip 2015 aAREAWIDE – The Essex Land Trust and the Connecticut Audubon Society are planning a half-day field trip on Saturday, Feb. 13, to look for winter birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and owls.

Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel Director Andy Griswold and Land Trust Board member Jim Denham are leading the trip, which will cover the lower Connecticut River Valley region from Deep River and Essex to Old Lyme.

Novice and advanced birdwatchers are welcome. Bring a bag lunch, binoculars and warm clothes. Two vans are available to seat the first 14 people who sign up.

The event takes place from 12 to 4 p.m. Meet at Essex Town Hall parking lot. To reserve, call Judy Saunders at 860-581-8108, or email her at judith.saunders@comcast.net by Feb. 10.  Inclement weather cancels.

 

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Vista’s Starlight Benefit “Sets Sail” in April, Sponsorship Opportunities Available

Members of Vista’s Starlight Benefit Committee are gearing up for this year’s Gilligan’s Island-themed event on April 16. From left are Margie Butler, Jean Brookman, Heidi Teubert and Francoise Williams. Photo credit: Vanessa Pereira

Members of Vista’s Starlight Benefit Committee are gearing up for this year’s event on April 16. From left are Margie Butler, Jean Brookman, Heidi Teubert and Francoise Williams. Photo credit: Vanessa Pereira

AREAWIDE — Set sail aboard the S.S. Minnow for a “three-hour tour” during the Vista Starlight Benefit at the Water’s Edge Resort and Spa on Saturday, April 16.

The event—Vista’s annual spring fundraiser and social event—features a cocktail function, live and silent auctions, dinner and entertainment. Guests are encouraged to embrace this year’s “Welcome Ashore” theme by coming dressed as a shipwrecked castaway from the 1960s.

Charles Steinberg

Taking the helm is event honoree Charles Steinberg, owner of Branford Jewelers. Steinberg is a great friend of Vista and a tremendous supporter of many organizations along the shoreline. An avid cyclist, Steinberg supports a number of charitable rides, including the Vista Tour de Shore cycling event and fundraiser. Vista is proud to honor him for his dedication and commitment to the Vista and shoreline communities.

More than 250 people attended last year’s Broadway-themed Starlight Benefit, which netted over $90,000. Funds raised at the event support the many programs and services offered at Vista, an organization that serves individuals with disabilities. A unique auction held during the evening benefits Vista’s Student/Member Enrichment Fund, which helps underwrite special projects and initiatives that directly benefit students and members in Vista’s programs.

Event tickets start at $100. Sponsorships and online fundraising opportunities are also available. Visit www.vistavocational.org to support the Starlight Benefit. For questions or to get involved, contact Jessica Liedke, Manager of Fundraising and Events, at jliedke@vistavocational.org or (860) 399-8080 ext. 268.

Editor’s note: Based in Madison and Westbrook, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success. For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org.

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New Buses Arrive for Transit District

 9 Town Transit board members Leslie Strauss and John Forbis show off the agencies newest buses. Photo by Estuary Transit District.

9 Town Transit board members Leslie Strauss and John Forbis show off the agencies newest buses. Photo by Estuary Transit District.

AREAWIDE — 9 Town Transit welcomed four new buses into its fleet this December. The new buses feature the bright blue and green design and offer the latest in passenger comforts.  These buses will expand the district’s fleet to accommodate its tremendous growth in ridership over the past several years.  The total cost of $337,708 was paid for with Federal Transit Administration and Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Lorraine Lieberman Honored as LVVS 2015 “Unsung Hero”

LVVS's 2015 'Unsung Hero' Lorraine Lieberman

LVVS’s 2015 ‘Unsung Hero’ Lorraine Lieberman. Photo courtesy of Joanne Argersinger.

WESTBROOK — Lorraine Lieberman of Killingworth was awarded this year’s Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) “Unsung Hero” award at the annual LVVS Holiday Social on Dec. 8. Her many contributions throughout the years have helped both tutors and students to improving English language skills and the quality of life in our shoreline communities.

Lieberman is an active tutor, tutor interviewer and tutor contact person for the organization.  Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is most grateful for her dedication, service and ‘always going the extra mile’ in the cause of literacy.

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Reading Uncertainly: ‘The Social Conquest of Earth’ by Edward O. Wilson

SocialConquest_Mech.inddWho are we?

This has been the eternal question of our curious and self-reflective species. Paul Gauguin, in Tahiti in 1897 in his final painting, expanded this question into three: D’ou Venons Nous? Que Sommes Nous? Ou Allons Nous?  (Where do we come from? What are we? And where are we going?) As the weather cools, it is time for some serious reading …

Edward O. Wilson, the noted Harvard chronicler of ants, has embarked on a trilogy to try and answer all three. The first, The Social Conquest of Earth, addresses the Gauguin threesome in short, pithy chapters, easy for today’s creatures accustomed to electronic social networks. No Proustian rambling for him!

“We have created a Star Wars civilization,” he begins, “with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.” His argument, which represents the story of the evolution of social life and its driving forces, is controversial.

It goes like this: “The social conquerors of Earth” dominate today, but they include not only homo sapiens but also ants, bees, wasps, and termites, species that are possibly more than 100 million years older than us (we emerged several 100,000 years ago, only spreading across this globe over the past 60,000 years). It is altogether probable that these other “eusocial species” — less than two percent of  the one million known species — will remain long after we disappear.

Our human condition is both selfish and selfless: “the two impulses are conflated … the worst of our nature coexists with the best, and so it will ever be.” Our “hereditary curse” is “our innate pugnacity … our bloody nature (in which) individuals prefer the company of others of the same race, nation, clan, and religion.”

Wilson continues, “The biological human mind is our province. With all its quirks, irrationality, and risky productions, and all its conflict and inefficiency, the biological mind is the essence and the very meaning of the human condition.”

In answering the question, “What are we?” Wilson explores the origins of culture, language, cultural variation, morality, honor, religions and creative art, suggesting “human beings are enmeshed in social networks.” And in these networks, we express our “relentless ambivalence and ambiguity … the fruits of the strange primate inheritance that rules the human mind.”

Wilson submits that religions are logical hallucinations in response to the ever-unanswered question, determining that, “ … religious faith is better interpreted as an unseen trap unavoidable during the biological history of our species. Humankind deserves better … than surrender and enslavement.”

The final chapter of this engrossing and illuminating exploration asks, “Where are we going?” Do we have free will? Wilson answers his question thus: “We are free as independent beings, but our decisions are not free of all the organic processes that created our personal brains and minds. Free will therefore appears to be ultimately biological.” Are we social creatures? Wilson suggests, ” … group selection (is) the driving force of where we have been and where we are going.”

We, a convoluted and introspective species, live in an “extremely complex biosphere” in which we must respect the “equilibrium created by all the other species, plants, animals, and microorganisms around us.” Failure to do so may mean our collapse or even that of the entire system.

But Wilson concludes on an optimistic note, saying, “Earth, by the twenty-second century, can be turned, if we so wish, into a permanent paradise for human beings, or at least the strong beginnings of one.”

This first philosophical exploration of human existence has been followed by the second, The Meaning of Human Existence, published in early 2015, and the third, The End of the Anthropocene will follow shortly.

Together they require serious reflection.

Editor’s Note: The Social Conquest of Earth, by Edward O.Wilson was published by W. W. Norton & Co., New York 2012.

Felix Kloman_headshot_2005_284x331-150x150About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

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9 Town Transit Unveils New Slogan      

AREAWIDE — This spring, 9 Town Transit (9TT) asked the public to help with a new slogan for the region’s bus system.  After reviewing the nearly 50 submissions, the district now has a new tag line.

“We wanted something that conveyed the impact public transit has on people’s lives.” explains 9TT Chairperson Leslie Strauss, “We think ‘connecting your Connecticut’ does just that.”

The winning entry came from Alejandro Callirgos, a local freelance copywriter.   He stumbled across the contest on Google.  “I liked the idea of public transportation that connects so many Connecticut towns and neighbors”, explains Callirgos.

The district plans to use the new slogan to help promote public transit, and will use it on most marketing materials.  As the winner, Callirgos received forty transit ride tickets which he will be donating to a local charity to make transportation a little easier for those in need.

9 Town Transit provides service to all parts of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, with connections to New Haven, New London and Middletown. All services are open to the general public.  Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Summer Fun Opportunities for Youth at High Hopes

High Hopes in Old Lyme has a few openings remaining in some of its fun, horse-related programs for youth this summer as follows:

Community Riding Lessons

Sign up for Group Youth Lessons (three per group) at High Hopes in Old Lyme on Fridays from 3 to 4 p.m. through Aug. 7 or Teen/Adult Semi Private Lessons (two per group) at Camp Harkness, Waterford on Wednesdays from 1 to 1:45 p.m. or 2 to 2:45 p.m. through Aug. 5.

Contact Courtney Bernard at 860-434-1974, ext. 118 to learn more or visit www.highhopestr.org.

Summer Camp

There are a few spots left this July in the High Hopes Summer Camp for all children ages 3 to 12 on their beautiful 125-acre campus in Old Lyme, Conn. Campers are provided opportunities to build and/or develop horsemanship skills both on and off the horse.

Campers will groom and tack their horse each morning in addition to a daily riding lesson. Other activities include vaulting, carriage driving, inclusive team building games and equine arts and crafts.

Contact Sarah Carlson at 860-434-1974, ext. 115 to learn more or visit www.highhopestr.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Letter to the Editor: The Reign of the Nuancers

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Alison Nichols,
Essex, CT

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Become a Trained Tutor for Literacy Volunteers, Registration Open Now

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

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

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

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

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Tractor Supply Co. Announces Third Annual National FFA Scholarship Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tractor Supply Company

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

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Letter From Paris: Marcel Duchamp at the Pompidou Center

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

Nude descending a staircase No. 2

Nude going down a staircase No. 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Positive Aspects of Today’s Cuba

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

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

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

Weicker’s Two Trips to Castro’s Cuba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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State Awards Historic Haddam Jail $300,000 Redevelopment Funding

Front view of Haddam Jail

A view of Haddam Jail from the front.

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

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

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

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

Historic image depicting the jail.

Historic image depicting the jail

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

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

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

Inside the jail.

Inside the jail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Carney Assigned to Legislative Committees for 2015 Session

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xmas_Eve_football_game_335KB

World War I soldiers transport an injured comrade.

World War I nurses prepare to tend the injured.

World War I nurses prepare to tend the injured.

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

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

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

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

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

View the J. Sainsbury advertisement below:

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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.

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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

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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.

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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 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

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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

 

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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

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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.

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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

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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 

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Bjornberg1

Emily Bjornberg, Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat

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

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

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

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

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

 

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