October 24, 2016

Talking Transportation: America’s Amazing Interstate Highways

Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways, from Federal Highway Administration

Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways, from Federal Highway Administration

The 47,000 miles of highways that comprise America’s interstate highway system are nothing short of an engineering marvel, surpassed only by what China has built in the last few years.

We take them for granted, but when they were designed almost 60 years ago these super-highways presented both great opportunity and vast challenges.  The U.S. wasn’t the first with super-highways. Those bragging rights go to the Germans, whose Reichsautobahn saw cars zooming along at 100+ mph in the 1930s.

Most credit President Eisenhower, whose troops rode the Autobahn in WWII, for seeing the military value of an American equivalent, though engineering such a complex across the U.S. was far more difficult.

Of course by 1940 the U.S. already had the Pennsylvania Turnpike and by 1954 the NY State Thruway, but private toll roads were just the beginning.

To build a road expected to last, in 1955 the federal government, AAA and automakers first built a $27 million seven-mile test road near Ottawa, Illinois.  Half was concrete, the other half asphalt.  The 836 separate sections of highway had various subsurfaces and 16 bridges.  For two years Army trucks drove night and day, seeing which road designs would hold up.

Weather and traffic dictated different designs:  in desert areas the highways need be only a foot thick, while in Maine the tough winter and freeze-thaw cycles required that I-95 would be five feet thick.

Construction of the highways required moving 42 billion cubic feet of soil.  To expedite construction of I-40 in California, there was even a plan to use nuclear bombs to vaporize part of the Bristol Mountain range.

As author Dan McNichol writes in his excellent book, “The Roads that Built America,” “VIP seating was even planned for the event.  The (nuclear) bombing was to produce a cloud 12,000 feet high and a radioactive blast 133 times that of Hiroshima.”  Needless to say, the mountains were moved using more conventional explosives.

Outside of Greenbelt, MD, another site tested the design of road signs – white lettering on a black background, white on blue (already adopted by the NY Thruway) or, what proved to be the winning model, white on green.

Just 5,200 of the original 41,000 miles of interstates were to be built in urban areas, but those few miles accounted for almost half of the $425 billion total cost.  By 1992 the system was deemed “completed.”  Bragging rights for the longest of the interstates goes to I-90 running 3,020 miles from Boston to Seattle and our own beloved I-95, which runs 1,920 miles from the Canadian border to Miami.

As anyone who drives on I-95 in Connecticut knows, the interstates have far surpassed their expected traffic load and are in need of billions of repairs.  Little did we know 60 years ago what our automotive future might bring.

Jim Cameron

Editor’s Note: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. 

You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com



Local Golfers Play in Nancy Lehr Benefit Tournament, Two of Winners From Essex

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Nancy Lehr Benefit participants

On June 2, the Old Lyme Country Club held the annual Nancy Lehr Benefit Tournament to support Junior Girls Golf in Connecticut through the CWGA/PME Foundation. The tournament raised $500 for this worthwhile organization.

The winners of this year’s tournament were Esther Boyle (Essex), Karen Danielson (Old Saybrook), Carol Gordon (Essex) and Hyla Cohen (Old Lyme).



TBBCF Annual Meeting to Celebrate 11 Years of Walking for a Breast Cancer Cure


AREAWIDE – The Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation Annual Meeting will be Tuesday, June 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Filomena’s Restaurant, 262 Boston Post Road, Waterford. The TBBCF Board of Directors will review 2015 successes and 2016 Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut plans.

Among the evening’s special guests will be Logan’s Heroes, a group of men and women who have shown a dedication and commitment to the TBBCF cause by walking, volunteering or fundraising. They are named in honor of the late Norma Logan, a TBBCF co-founder who died of breast cancer shortly after the organization began.

2016 will be the 11th Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut, and TBBCF has lots of plans to make it the most exciting and successful one yet, many of which will be unveiled at the meeting.

One hundred percent of funds raised by TBBCF goes directly to breast cancer research. In 10 years the Foundation has raised more than $3.4M and awarded grants to 34 breast cancer researchers. The 11th Annual Walk will take place on Oct. 1. Registration begins in May.

Appetizers will be provided along with a cash bar. Please preregister for the meeting by emailing info@tbbcf.org, or by calling TBBCF at 860-437-1400. More information about TBBCF can be found at www.tbbcf.org.


A la Carte: Weeknight Red Curry

Red Thai curry

Red Thai curry

It was a nice quiet birthday, beginning with my daughter-in-law and three of my granddaughters and ending with pineapple rice with chicken at Spice Club in Niantic and a terrific movie at the Niantic Theater.

With some trepidation, I drove from home to Newbury, Mass., Friday of Memorial Day weekend. The traffic began on I-95 in East Lyme to 290 in Worcester, continued on 495, then, finally, back to 95. I watched young Casey play tennis at her school. We all went to their house while Casey changed. Nancy and I had a nice glass of red wine and then drove to Flatbread in Amesbury for salad and pizza (one of the pizzas was topped with fiddleheads and golden beets). (My middle granddaughter, Laurel, drove; even one glass of wine makes me a bit tipsy.)

With no traffic on the way home, I was home in just over two hours. I watched a little television I’d DVRed and went to bed early. On my birthday, friend Sarah and I had met at the Spice Club for Thai food and then we walked to see Love and Friendship, a new film from one of Austen’s smaller books. Don’t miss it!

Today I decided to make another. I always have cans of unsweetened coconut milk in the pantry and red curry paste in the refrigerator. (I am not sure red curry paste ever has an expiration date; in any case, I have had little opened cans, covered, in the fridge for half a decade.) I went through some recipes I’d clipped once from Cooking Light. I found a package of cod in the freezer and, as always, a finger of ginger there, too. Dinner was ready in less than an hour.

Weeknight Red Curry*

Yield: 4 servings

1 large shallot (half a small onion will do)

6 garlic cloves

1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons red curry paste

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 (14.5 oz.) can canned tomatoes (I always use diced Muir Glen)

1 (13.5 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk

1 pound mixed vegetables, cut into 1-inch pieces (frozen veggies are fine)

1 pound firm white fish, skin removed

Cooked rice noodles, cilantro leaves with stems and lime wedges (for serving)

Pulse shallot, garlic and ginger in a food processor to finely chop. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot mixture and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add curry paste and turmeric and cook, stirring, until paste is darkening in color and mixture starts to stick to pan, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook, stirring often and scraping up brown bits, until tomatoes start to break down and stick to pot, about 5 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk and season with salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until mixture is slightly thickened and flavor meld, 8 to 10 minutes. Add vegetables and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season fish all over with salt and nestle into curry (add a little more water if it is very thick). Return to a simmer and cook just until fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Spoon curry over rice noodles and top with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

*I use vegetable or chicken stock instead of, or with, water for more flavor.

Nibbles: Pittsfield Rye Bread

A few weeks ago I watched a movie in New London called “Deli Man,” part of the International Film Series. I grew up with a terrific Jewish deli in Troy, New York. It, and thousands, is gone now, primarily because  Jewish immigrants insisted that their children go to college and “make something of themselves.” As a result, there are few now, even in New York City, where there are more Jews than in Israel. Gone, also, is H&H and Ess-a-Bagel.

On a drive home from Massachusetts, I stopped in Worcester to get some rye bread, bulkies (hard rolls) and bagels at Widoff on Water Street. It, too, is gone. Instead, hoping against hope, I drove to the Big Y in Norwich. Happily, it (and many other Big Ys) still carry superb Pittsfield rye bread—marbled, seeded, unseeded, and dark rye (pumpernickel). I had a toasted slice with butter and placed the rest into the freezer for another day.


Senator Formica Honored by AARP for Protecting Seniors

formica pic

Left to right: AARP State Advocacy Director John Erlingheuser, Sen. Formica, and AARP Volunteer Joanne Davis of Waterford.

On May 20 at the East Lyme Senior Center, Sen. Paul Formica was presented with a Legislative Achievement Award from the Connecticut AARP.  The award recognized Sen. Formica’s advocacy in protecting consumers from unaffordable expenses for essential energy services. Formica represents Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford. For more information, go to www.aarp.org or www.senatorformica.com.

“The 39 Steps,” Zany Spoof of Hitchcock Movies, at Ivoryton Playhouse Through June 19


Dan Fenaughty and Larissa Klinger. Photo by Ivoryton Playhouse

IVORYTON – Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have “The 39 Steps,” a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theater! This two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with nonstop laughs, over 150 zany characters (played by a ridiculously talented cast of four), an on-stage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers and some good old-fashioned romance!

“The 39 Steps” is set in England, just before the war. A young man bored with life meets a woman with a mysterious accent who says she’s a spy and needs to take refuge in his apartment. Murder and mayhem soon follow as our hero is chased across the wild and wooly British countryside, meeting a host of ridiculous characters and climaxing in a death-defying finale! A riotous blend of virtuoso performances and wildly inventive stagecraft, “The 39 Steps” amounts to an unforgettable evening of pure pleasure!

The first version of the play was written by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon for a cast of four actors and funded by a £1,000 Yorkshire Arts Grant. It premiered in 1995 at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, North Yorkshire, before embarking on a tour of village halls across the north of England. In 2005, Patrick Barlow rewrote the script, keeping the scenes, staging and small-scale feel, and in June 2005 this re-adaption premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. In 2006, it opened in the West End and in 2008 it premiered on Broadway to rave reviews. The New York Times proclaimed, “Theatre at its finest!… Absurdly enjoyable! This gleefully theatrical riff on Hitchcock’s film is fast and frothy, performed by a cast of four that seems like a cast of thousands.”

This production introduces Ivoryton audiences to the husband and wife team of Dan Fenaughty and Larissa Klinger, who have both performed these roles before in the national tour. The clowns are played by Ivoryton favorite, David Edwards, and Jonathan Brody, making his Ivoryton debut. All four actors are members of Actors Equity. The play is directed by Erik Bloomquist, a two-time Emmy-nominated writer/director/producer and former Top 200 Director on Project Greenlight. Erik is currently in post-production on the television adaptation of “The Cobblestone Corridor,” a seriocomic mystery series based on his internationally acclaimed short film of the same name. The set design is by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Cully Long.

“The 39 Steps” opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on June 1 and runs through June 19. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $44 for adults; $39 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Ticket prices go up on June 1 to $50 for adults and $45 for seniors, so purchase tickets now for all the summer shows for the best prices. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.


Letter to the Editor: Thanks from Organizers of Literacy Volunteers April Fool’s Race

To the Editor:

The 9th Annual Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore April Fool’s Race benefitting tutoring programs for area residents came in like spring this year. A little slow on the starting blocks but run in beautiful weather and finishing with a kick. Racers from all over New England and as far away as Minnesota participated in the festivities to help commemorate the contributions of past volunteers Dot and Erl Nord.

We are especially fortunate to have an extraordinary combination that made this year’s event a rousing success. Special thanks to the Clark Group and Tower Laboratories, our title sponsors. Their generosity reached new heights with their sponsorship, which included the Backward Mile race. AAA Refrigeration answered the call with a Silver Sponsorship this year. Thanks also to sponsors Edward Jones Investments-Clinton, Andre Prost, Inc., Pasta Vita, Kearney Insurance, Penny Lane Pub, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank and Big Y Supermarkets for their generosity in helping stamp out illiteracy.

A huge thank you to Race Director Elizabeth Steffen, who again worked very hard this year to make this event a success. We greatly appreciate the generous assistance from First Selectman Norm Needleman, the Town of Essex, Essex Police, Essex Parks & Recreation Department, our office staff and our many race volunteers.

Finally, thank you to all our racers and all those who brought “spring” to the race and the cause of literacy.


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

Serving the towns of: Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Guilford, Killingworth,
Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook


Community Music School Opens Satellite Location in East Lyme

ESSEX – Community Music School (CMS) has expanded their programming to a satellite location in East Lyme, beginning with their summer session on June 27, 2016.  The new site will offer private lessons in a variety of instruments for students of all ages, as well as several beginner group classes, chamber music ensembles, music therapy, and the popular Kindermusic program for babies and toddlers.  The satellite is located in a beautiful new building with easy access and ample parking at 179 Flanders Road in East Lyme.

With strong public school music programming in the area, but very little in the way of private instruction or instrumental ensembles, CMS will be a much needed addition to the local arts community.  With need-based financial aid available, as well as music therapy services administered by a certified clinician, CMS will provide accessible music education for local residents.

“We are thrilled to launch our satellite location in East Lyme this summer,” says Executive Director Abigail Nickell.  “The board and faculty see this as a great opportunity to serve a new community with our well-established music programming.”  Community Music School’s eight-week summer session runs from June 27 through August 19, followed by the fall session beginning on September 7.  To register for classes, visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.


A la Carte: Corn and Chicken Chowder

My friend Lisa Marber-Rich, who spends about a quarter of her time in the town of Madison, is a marvel. In addition to working full-time in New York City and Los Angeles (she has a talent agency and a partner who lives on the West Coast, and has two teenage sons and a divine husband), she arranged for her younger son, Dashiell, to have a bar mitzvah party over the last weekend. She had family and friends for a little Friday evening supper for around 40 at their home and arranged for a dessert party at the synagogue just a few hours later (with her cousins). The next day, after the bar mitzvah itself, there was a lunch. That night there were to be two parties, one for the younger set (bar mitzvahs take place right around the son or daughter’s 13th birthday) and, at the same time, a party for the grownups, close to a hundred people at the Surf Club in Madison.

Then came the weather report of teeming rain and gusty winds. With just two days to go, Lisa was able not only to change the venue to the synagogue’s hall, but also the decorations and the food (no lobster rolls or fried clams in the temple). She and her amazing family and friends were still blowing up balloons an hour after the party. The next day there were friends and family again at their house for brunch. ”What would she do once everyone went home,” I asked, laughing. She said there were two things, but I can only tell you the first: a nap. What is most amazing? That she would still have time leftover for the other.

Only once did I plan a fairly big party: my daughter’s wedding at Old Sturbridge Village. The buffet dinner was catered by a friend of mine who made the wedding cake (a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting), my mother got shingles and couldn’t come for the celebration, and my brother got roaring drunk and, according to my daughter, fell flat while dancing. Even worse: the marriage was over in less than two years. These days I make dinner for eight to ten people who don’t expect me to be the hostess with the mostest. The one thing I did for the bar mitzvah: cornbread for 150, to go with the fried chicken. I decided to make it in disposable pans and to slice it thin. It wasn’t as good as it should have been.

In the meantime, I still have lots of sweet corn in the freezer, so I am making a big pot of corn and chicken chowder this weekend.


Corn and Chicken Chowder

Adapted from “50 Chowders” by Jasper White (Scribner, New York, 2000)


3 ears corn (about 2 cups of kernels), fresh or frozen

4 ounces slab bacon, diced into one-third-inch dice (I used 4 ounces of bacon, diced)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (salted is fine here)

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

½ large red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped (1/2 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

1 pound Yukon Gold or other all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 cups fresh chicken stock or low-salt commercial chicken stock

kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 to 4 cups cooked chicken, cut into one-inch chunks

2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup (or less) heavy cream


If you are using corn on the cob, husk corn, remove silk by hand, cut kernels from cobs and place in a bowl. Use back of knife and scrape down cobs, adding the milky substance to the corn.

Heat 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over low heat and add diced bacon. Once it has rendered a few tablespoons of fat, increase heat to medium and cook until bacon is crisp. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat, leaving bacon in the pot.

Add butter, onion, bell pepper, thyme, cumin and turmeric and saute, stirring occasionally, with wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes, until onion and pepper are tender but not browned.

Add corn, potatoes and stock, turn up heat, cover, and boil vigorously for about 10 minutes. Some potatoes will have broken up. Use back of spoon to smash a bit of the corn and potatoes against side of pot. Reduce heat to medium and season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken and cook until hot.

Stir cornstarch mixture and slowly pour into pot, stirring constantly. As soon as the chowder has come back to a boil and thickened slightly, remove from heat and stir in cream. Adjust seasoning if necessary. If you are not serving chowder within the hour, let it cool a bit, then refrigerate; cover chowder after it has chilled completely. Otherwise, let it sit at room temperature for up to an hour, allowing the flavors to meld.

When ready to serve, reheat chowder over low heat; don’t let it boil. Ladle into cups or bowl and sprinkle with chopped chives or thinly sliced scallions.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 




A la Carte: Turkey Meatball Vindaloo

Turkey Meatball Vindaloo - Food Network magazine

Turkey Meatball Vindaloo – Food Network magazine

Oh lord, that drive up I-91 to the Mass Turnpike and that interminable New York Thruway is a killer. Four groups of us made the trip to Rochester, most in separate cars: son Peter and his daughter Laurel; me alone in my car; daughter-in-law Nancy with another daughter, Casey; and another set of grandparents, Nancy’s parents Vange and Jordan Chatis. Peter called from his phone and said he and Laurel were going to detour to Troy, New York, and Famous Hotdogs for a late lunch. I met them there, ate four with the works (each hot dog and bun are three inches long) and some fries and an RC cola. Hit the Thruway at 1:30 in driving rain almost to East Bloomfield, my sister-in-law’s house, four hours later.

From that point on, it was an incredible weekend. Made pasta Bolognese, salad and lemon cake for Roslyn, her son Arran, his wife and their daughter. Later, Peter and Laurel arrived and ate, too. Breakfast was great fun the next day. That night we ate great steaks and apps and salads and dessert at Black & Blue in Pittsford (why don’t we get one of those on the shoreline?). On Sunday granddaughter Sydney graduated from University of Rochester. Driving home, it was sunshine the whole way. I got home at 4:30 and by 7:30 saw the movie “Dough” at the Garde.

Now the question: what to make for dinner and, if was good enough, write an A la Carte column. Here it is:

Turkey Meatball Vindaloo 
From Food Network magazine, May 2016, “Weeknight Cooking,” page 88

Although I don’t watch the Food Network much anymore, this magazine has some of the best recipes ever.

Yield: Serves 4 (it’s delicious the next day, too)

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 onion (1/4 grated, 3/4 diced)
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, diced
2 to 3 teaspoons hot Madras curry (or regular curry mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)
15-ounce can no-salt fire-roasted tomatoes (regular if you don’t have fire-roasted)
3 cups cooked white rice (or brown rice, for that matter)

Preheat boiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Combine turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, ½ cup cilantro, grated onion, 2 teaspoons ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until just combined. Form into 20 meatballs (about 1 and 1/2 inches each). Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and bell pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 teaspoon ginger and the curry powder. Cook, stirring to coat, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, 1 ½ cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, broil meatballs until lightly brown and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Nestle the meatballs in the sauce, cover, and cook until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes. Stir in half of the remaining cilantro; season with salt. Serve meatballs and sauce with the rice, and top with more cilantro, if you like.

 Nibbles: Cinnamon Ice Cream 

Almost 40 years ago, I lived in the Rochester, New York, area. I wasn’t much of a cook then. There were many supermarkets and none of them were of interest to me. I bought flour and sugar in small amounts and after years, they wound up with little black bugs in them.

Some years later, there came a supermarket called Wegman’s. It was, and is, a family-run business in Gates, New York. There are supermarket consultants that call Wegman’s the best supermarkets in the United States. Last weekend, by myself, I went to one in Canandaigua, New York. I spent more than an hour there. It is better than Whole Food, Trader Joe’s and all other supermarkets combined. I bought a pint of Wegman’s cinnamon ice cream. It was fabulous. I figured Wegman’s didn’t make it themselves. Indeed, it is probably made by Blue Bunny. Locally, Walmart and Shop Rite sell Blue Bunny. See if they have cinnamon ice cream and let me know!

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 


Republicans Nominate Art Linares for Third Term in 33rd Senate District

Sen. Art Linares (File photo)

Sen. Art Linares (File photo)

AREAWIDE — Republicans Tuesday nominated incumbent State Senator Art  Linares of Westbrook for a third term in the 12-town 33rd Senate District. Linares was the unanimous choice of about 45 delegates and alternates gathered for the nominating convention at the Old Town Hall in East Haddam.

Linares is facing a challenge in the Nov. 8 vote from Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman of Essex, who is expected to be nominated for the seat at the Democratic convention on May 23 in East Hampton. Needleman, 64, has served as first selectman of Essex since 2011. 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.

Linares was nominated by State Rep. Melissa Ziobron of East Hampton, who described the incumbent as a “great advocate for all of the towns,” in the district. The nomination was seconded by Edward Marcolini of Old Saybrook, who described Linares as, “young, vibrant and personable.”

In brief remarks, Linares said he has worked for spending reform and fiscal responsibility at the capitol, contending that overly optimistic budget planning by legislative Democrats had led to first ever cuts in the state ECS (Education Cost Sharing) grants for cities and towns. Linares, 27, said he is ready for the election challenge. “I stand before you a four-year-veteran, a little more seasoned, but just as ready to knock on thousands of doors and wear out shoes as that 23-year-old kid was four years ago,” he said.

Linares declined to comment on Needleman’s candidacy, but confirmed he is ready to debate his opponent on more than one occasion during the fall campaign.

Linares, a co-founder of the Middletown-based Greenskies solar energy company, was elected in 2012 in a district that has been represented for 20 years by the late former Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a  22,672-17,326 vote in a race where Bjornberg also had the Working Families Party ballot line and Linares had the ballot line of the Connecticut Independent Party.


A la Carte: Coconut-Lime Pork Stew

Coconut Lime Pork Stew - Associated Press

Coconut Lime Pork Stew – Associated Press

A few weeks ago, I began to think about what I might make in late spring and summer, since I had just paid for my CSA (community-supported agriculture). I had already put away my pressure cooker and decided to put my slow cooker way high up over a cabinet, thinking I might not be using it until late fall, when the cooler temperatures begins, maybe mid-October. Then I thought about hot the kitchen might be in the summer, and decided I would keep it in a cabinet, since I could make desserts in it, when it is too hot to turn on the oven.

This, of course, brought me back to my computer, thinking about doing pudding cakes in my slow cooker since I love coconut and anything lemony or limey. What did I find: a recipe for a pork stew scented with coconut milk and lime juice. A stew, I thought? In May? Truth is, it is cool enough, especially at night, that it is still too cold to put my basil plants in yet.

Off I went to my faraway freezer, about a block away from my condo. Know what I found? A boneless pork roast, maybe bought in the winter when it was on sale. I know it’s odd, but I always have canned coconut milk in the pantry, a knob or two of ginger in the refrigerator’s freezer, and limes (and lemons) in a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter. The next day, after the roast was thawed, I made this recipe. It was delicious.

Coconut-Lime Pork Stew
Adapted from Jim Romanoff for the Associated Press

Serves 6

4 to 5 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper (I used maybe 1/2 teaspoon)
3-pound boneless pork roast, cut into 1-inch chunks
flour, salt and pepper in a zippered plastic bag
14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2-inch strip (or more) lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 pound baby carrots
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup chopped peanuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions and saute until they begin to color, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a large plate.

Return the Dutch oven to the burner. Increase heat to high and add a couple of tablespoons of the oil. In batches, add pork to the plastic bag holding seasoned flour, toss, then put chunks in Dutch oven and cook until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the plate. Brown remaining pork in 3 batches, adding oil as needed.

Return onion mixture and browned pork to pot; stir in coconut milk, lime zest and juice, brown sugar, bay leaves, salt and baby carrots. Bring mixture to a simmer, cover and place in oven for 1 ½  to 1 ¾ hour, or until pork is tender. Taste; add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve stew over saffron or any rice (I use those packets of flavored rice I get at Ocean State Job Lot or most supermarkets). Toss peanuts on top, if desired.

Nibbles:  Café Routier

A week or so I went to see “Keanu” at the Marquee Theater in Westbrook with my friends Nancy and  Andy, because Nancy and I love kitties and cats and the cat is the protagonist. We met at the cinema and, on the way, they made a reservation for dinner at 9:15 p.m. This is usually way past my bedtime, but a trip to Café Routier is a great reason to stay awake.

I knew what I wanted, because nobody around here does steak frites like Routier does, but the waiter first told us about the specials. One entrée include sauce Bearnaise. I asked our waiter if I might have a ramekin of that sauce, my favorite in the whole world. As we ate (oysters remoulade and trout for both of them), I ate about a quarter of the fries, dipping each into the béarnaise. And this, friends, is why I love Café Routier. The next day and the day after, I ate the steak (on a salad one day, a stir fry the next). Few places either serve great sauces or are willing to give me a few tablespoons with no questions asked.

Café Routier
1353 Boston Post Road

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 


Talking Transportation: The ‘Lock Box’ is Log-Jammed in Hartford

locked_chestI hope you’ve been following CT-N to watch our dysfunctional legislature in recent weeks as they struggle to fill a $900 million budget gap.  Not only could they not get a new budget together before adjourning (only to be summoned back mid-May for a special session), but the legislative logjam left several important measures in limbo.  Among them, the long debated “lock box” for special transportation funding.

As I wrote weeks ago, none of Governor Malloy’s plans to spend $100 billion to rebuild and expand our transportation systems over the next 30 years can go anywhere without an agreement to safeguard those funds from misappropriation by putting them in an untouchable “lock box”.

Because the legislature couldn’t pass such a bill or even put it on the ballot as a potential constitutional amendment referendum, that puts the entire Malloy plan on hold.  Without a lock box, nobody trusts Hartford with money raised by tolling or taxes, nor should they.

The lock box idea is not new.  In fact, it was Republicans who suggested it years ago.  But when Malloy appropriated the idea as his own, GOP lawmakers saw the Governor’s version as more sieve than safe, and they held up a vote.

Folks, if lawmakers can’t agree on an annual budget, let alone a way to keep transportation funding secure, how can we trust them with $100 billion in new money?

The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) track-record on private-public partnerships for transit-oriented development also gives one pause.  For example, consider the Fairfield Metro train station where a private developer went belly-up, leaving CDOT to finish the job, sort of:  the beautiful new station they built still has no waiting room.

Or consider the ongoing saga of the Stamford rail station garage.  It’s been almost three years since CDOT tapped a private developer to demolish the old garage, replace it with a high-rise office / condo / hotel and build new commuter parking lots within a quarter mile from the station.  In three years, nothing has been done because there is still no signed contract.

Yet, that project is wrapped in such secrecy that nobody understands the delay.  Or why the CDOT is even still negotiating with this laggard “developer of choice.” It couldn’t be because the developer contributed $165,000 to the Malloy campaign that he’s being given so much time, could it?  Nah, that would never happen.

So here we are, fellow Nutmeggers.  Lawmakers deadlocked.  A $900 million budget deficit to fill this year and another $2 billion hole in years ahead.  State workers are being laid-off.  State funding to towns for education is being cut (meaning local taxes rise).  Billionaires are bailing (a third of our taxes are paid by the top 1 percent).  And no prospects for a lock box … let alone more funding for transportation.  Yup, just the same old stuff as ever.

No wonder they call us “the land of steady habits.”

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com


A la Carte: Asparagus Soup Two Ways

asparagusmainpic_2203991bThis is the time of year I always yearn for. I think about what is available in the supermarkets (rhubarb is in!) and I will buy asparagus.

I have a few tips for you about asparagus. Buy your asparagus with tips tightly wound. It can be thin or thick (I prefer the thick ones). I cut about half an inch or an inch from the bottom with a sharp knife (I do this five or six stalks at a time). Then I peel around the stalk 2 or so inches from the top. This way, every stalk is incredibly tender.

I love roasting the asparagus in a little oil and salt. But I also love to blanch the stalks in boiling water for maybe 3-4 minutes. I serve it with a little butter and salt. Sometimes I make a hollandaise sauce, which I adore, but it may be gilding the lily (or gilding the asparagus).

I am also crazy about risotto. I would add asparagus stalks, cut on the diagonal, each about 1 inch, and add them about halfway to the point when the risotto is ready, about 10 minutes.

Here is a lovely recipe for asparagus soup from Julia Child. If you need a recipe for risotto, e-mail me at leeawhite@aol.com and I will send it to you.

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Adapted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child (Alfred Knopf, New York, 1994)

Yield: about 2 quarts

1 cup sliced onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed about 2 inches from bottom
2 quarts lightly salted boiling water
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground white pepper (use black if you don’t have white)
1/2 cup heavy cream, crème fraiche or sour cream, optional

Cook onions and butter until tender and translucent. In the meantime, cut the tender green tips from the asparagus stalks. Drop the tips into boiling water and boil 2 minutes, or barely tender. Dip out with a skimmer, reserving water, and refresh tips in bowl of iced water to set the color; drain and reserve. Chop the remaining stalks into one-inch lengths and add to the onions with a sprinkling of salt. Cover and cook slowly 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, and, when bubbling stops, blend in the hot asparagus cooking water (I strain the water into the mixture). Simmer, uncovered, 25 or 30 minutes, or until tender enough to puree.

When the mixture is a bit cooler (maybe 15 minutes), pour into blender (or use a soup blender). If you like the soup clearer, you can use a sieve or Foley food mill. The soup will be a lovely pale green color; to keep it that way, reheat it only just before serving. Carefully correct seasonings.

You can serve this soup hot or cold. If you are using cream, crème fraiche or sour cream and serving it hot, gently reheat the soup and add the cream just before serving. If you are serving the soup cold, refrigerate the soup and swirl in the cream before serving. To decorate each bowl of soup, garnish with the asparagus tips.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.


What Floats Your Boat? Sign up for River Museum Boatbuilding Workshop, July 8-10


The Cappy 15 will be the boat built during the Connecticut River Museum’s annual Boatbuilding Workshop July 8 – 10.

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum will host its third community boatbuilding workshop the weekend of July 8 – 9 on the grounds of the museum. This year the boat to be built is the Cappy 15. Cappy, a rugged 15-ft kayak specifically designed for river use by Dave Hemenway, is an easy-to-build plywood boat that is based on the popular “Six Hour Canoe” design. Hundreds of these versatile craft have been built, but the Cappy adds decks, buoyancy tanks and rugged construction to increase strength and safety. According to David Hemenway, who developed the boat for construction by students at Mitchell College in New London, “The Cappy is particularly well suited to the Connecticut River and its coves.”

During the workshop, participants will assemble a Cappy kit. No previous boat building experience is required. Participants need only provide a few basic hand tools plus paint to finish the boat at home after the event. Time will be set aside on Saturday afternoon during the workshop for a group paddle using the museum’s existing canoe and kayak fleet to learn basic kayak operation and to enjoy time on the water. Saturday will also have the ever popular Southern New England Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society’s annual Mahogany Memories show.

“The past two years we have built a traditional rowboat, but when we saw this kayak with its stability, its versatility and its comfort for kayakers young and old, we decided to move to this design for our 2016 event,” said Paul Kessinger, museum volunteer and Boat Crew Foreman. The event encourages families and groups of up to four people to build a boat. On Friday, participants begin with a kit and by the end of the day on Sunday they are ready for the “put’em in the water” celebration. The teams are assisted by experienced boat builders who answer questions and assist as needed.

The cost per boat is $675 for museum members and $725 for non-members and includes all materials. Teams are requested to bring simple power tools like drills but everything else is provided.

To register: Space is extremely limited for the boat building workshop. Participants must be at least 10 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult. The deadline to register is Friday, June 20. The $725 program fee ($675 for CRM members) includes all the supplies needed to build the Cappy 15. By the end of the weekend, participants will have a completed boat, ready to be painted and rowed. For more information, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.



Talking Transportation: The Quiet Car Conundrum

quiet-car-newerSixteen years ago a group of regular commuters on Amtrak’s early morning train to DC had a great idea. Why not designate one car on the train as a “Quiet Car,” free from cellphone chatter and loud conversations. The railroad agreed and the experiment proved a great success.

But as early as 2006, when the same idea was suggested to Metro-North, it was rejected outright. Then serving on the Commuter Council, I persisted and finally, in 2011, the railroad agreed to a trial with one car on each rush hour train dedicated to what it called a “Quiet CALMmute.”

Almost immediately the plan ran into trouble. Not because it wasn’t wanted but because it wasn’t enforced.

There were no signs in the cars and only occasional PA announcements before departure reminding folks of the quiet, library-like environment that was expected in the car. Most of all, conductors wouldn’t enforce the new rules.  But why?

Conductors seem to have no trouble reminding passengers to keep their feet off the seats or put luggage in the overhead racks. But all that the railroad expected them to do to enforce the Quiet Car rules was to pass out bilingual “Shhh cards” to gabby violators. It seemed left to passengers to remind fellow riders what a Quiet Car was for, and confrontations resulted.

Then this spring the railroad surprised even me by announcing an expansion of the program: every weekday train, peak and off-peak, would now have two Quiet Cars!  Sounds great, but without signage or education, the battles continued.

One commuter from Fairfield recently e-mailed me with a typical tale: Riding in a Quiet Car he became annoyed when a fellow passenger was yakking on her cellphone.  He tapped her on the shoulder and told her, “We’re in a Quiet Car” and she freaked, telling him to “keep your @&%! hands off of me” and continuing her chatter by telling her caller that “some guy” just tried to tell her to get off her phone and what a fool he was to think this was some kind of quiet car.

Of course there was no conductor around (all tickets having been collected) and lacking any signage in the car to point to, the offended passenger was made to feel like some sort of jerk.

On Amtrak trains, those violating Quiet Car rules have been thrown off the train and arrested. Even Chris Christie had to move his seat on an Acela once for jabbering with his staff in the wrong car.

Nobody wants these kinds of altercations on Metro-North. But why initiate and then expand such a passenger amenity as “Quiet CALMmute” without proper education and enforcement? A few signs and friendly reminders from conductors should make passengers aware that “train time may be your own time” (as the railroad’s marketing slogan says), but it’s also shared time. And I, for one, want a quiet commute.

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

Editor’s Note: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. 

You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com



Essex Savings Bank Announces 2016 Community Investment Balloting Results

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

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

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

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

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

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


“Invaders” Exhibit Now Open at CT River Museum

InvadersExhibit2016.Sponsors a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Talking Transportation: Why There’s No Wi-Fi On Metro-North

wifi-train-600x397A few weeks ago a friend was showing me his new Chevy Volt.  Not only does the hybrid-electric car get 42 mpg, it has its own Wi-Fi hotspot.  That’s right.  The car is a Wi-Fi device, so kids in the backseat can watch YouTube.

Days later we were on a road-trip from the Maryland shore when we caught the Lewes – Cape May ferry.  Onboard the vessel they offered passengers free Wi-Fi.

Airlines have offered flyers Wi-Fi for years now. Discount bus lines like Megabus have free Wi-Fi.  Even Connecticut’s new CTfastrak commuter bus system to Hartford gives its passengers free Wi-Fi.

But there is no Wi-Fi on Metro-North.  And the railroad says none is planned, even though the new M8 railcars are ready for the needed gear.  And therein lies a story.

Offering Wi-Fi on a moving vehicle usually involves cellular technology.  That’s how the first airline Wi-Fi was offered by companies like Go-Go, though JetBlue and Southwest now rely on proprietary satellite systems, which are much faster (up to 30 mb per second.)

When Amtrak first offered Wi-Fi on its Acela trains between Washington and Boston, they immediately had bandwidth issues.  So many passengers were using their cell phones and tablets, speeds dropped to 0.6 mb per second and the complaints came pouring in.

That’s part of the reason that Metro-North is reluctant to offer Wi-Fi:  if an Acela train carrying 300 passengers can’t handle the online load, how could a 10-car train carrying a thousand commuters?  The railroad has enough complaints as it is.

Metro-North’s experience with on-board communications has left them feeling burned.  Remember years ago when the railroad installed pay-phones on the trains?  Great idea, until a year later when costs came down and everyone had their own cell phone.  Those pay cell phone booths went unused and were eventually removed.

Back in 2006 then-President of MNRR Peter Cannito said Wi-Fi would be built into the new M8 cars, both for passengers and to allow the railcars to “talk” to HQ by beaming diagnostic reports.  The railroad issued an RFP for ideas and got a number of responses, including from Cablevision, with whom they negotiated for many months.  They even initiated on-train testing of Wi-Fi gear on one railcar.

But Metro-North insisted any Wi-Fi would have to cost it nothing, that all the expense and tech risk would be borne by Cablevision or its customers.  And that’s where the negotiations deadlocked.

Today the railroad sees Wi-Fi as just a convenience.  Smart phones and cell-card configured laptops can access the internet just fine, they say, using cellular technology.  But to their credit the railroad is trying to get cell providers to fill in the coverage gaps, for example, in the tunnels and at GCT.

So don’t look for Wi-Fi anytime soon on America’s biggest and busiest commuter railroad.  It’s not seen as a necessity … except perhaps by its passengers who really have no other transportation option.

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com


Philip Scheffler, “60 Minutes” Executive Editor, Former Essex Resident, Died April 7

philipESSEX – Philip Scheffler, CBS News’ first television street reporter, a documentary producer and the executive editor at 60 Minutes for many years, died April 7, 2016, in New York Presbyterian – Cornell Weill Medical Center. He was 85 and lived in Manhattan. Until recently he also spent much of his time in Essex, Conn., where he had a home for 40 years.

Scheffler retired from 60 Minutes in June of 2003 and had served as a consultant to CBS News up until a few years ago. He was a friend and mentor to Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes.  “Phil was a guiding force behind the success of 60 Minutes for more than two decades,” said Fager.  “Don Hewitt often said he couldn’t have done it without him.  He was a first-class journalist, an admirable human being, and a great friend to many of us.  We will miss him very much.”

Scheffler was a reporter and producer for CBS News for the first half of his five-decade career. He became the senior producer at 60 Minutes in 1980, handling the day-to-day responsibilities – essentially the right hand of the broadcast’s executive producer Don Hewitt. Hewitt named him executive editor later. In this capacity, Scheffler had a direct hand in producing every 60 Minutes report broadcast from 1980 to 2003 – a period during which 60 Minutes was the number-one program in America five times.

Scheffler oversaw the reporting from the field and handled most of the producers’ journalistic issues, enabling Hewitt to focus almost exclusively on shaping the newsmagazine’s stories. When tempers flared in the screening room between Hewitt and one of his correspondents, such as Mike Wallace or Morley Safer, it was the professorial Scheffler, sporting a bow tie and close-cropped beard, who played referee.

Before his senior positions, Scheffler produced 60 Minutes stories over nine seasons for Wallace, Safer, Harry Reasoner and Dan Rather. His first story with Safer was “After Attica,” a look inside a maximum security prison in Colorado broadcast after the horrible riots in the New York prison in 1971.

Hewitt hired him in March of 1951 as a copy boy for “Douglas Edwards with the News,” which Hewitt directed and produced. Debuting in May 1948, that broadcast was the first network television news program, and in 1951, Scheffler became its first street reporter.

His first field assignment was to ask people whether they thought Gen. Dwight Eisenhower should enter politics and run for the Republican presidential nomination. But reporting was only one of the hats worn by early television news people like Scheffler.  Out of necessity, he also invented a makeshift news teleprompter.

Hewitt wanted his anchor, Edwards, to look at the camera instead of his script when reading the news, so he had Scheffler make cue cards. “My first job at CBS Television News,” recalls Scheffler, “was to hand print Douglas Edwards’ copy on two-by-three-foot cue cards. Then, when we were on the air, I would hold them up next to the camera lens and move them up a line at a time for Doug to read. My arms were always tired and sore, so I asked Don if the camera could move in closer. He put on a wide-angle lens and moved the camera to within 10 feet of Doug, and I started typing the copy using wide adding-machine paper and a huge-type typewriter. It was the first crude teleprompter, but I didn’t have the wit to develop it!” said Scheffler in 2001.

In 1953, Scheffler was drafted into the Army and served his two years. During this period, he convinced his superior officer that he could put the Army on television — as long as he could get a few weekends off to film the piece! The result was a feature series in weekly installments he helped produce and write for CBS in which a Korean War recruit was followed through basic training at New Jersey’s Fort Dix.   Scheffler returned to CBS and continued working as writer, reporter and producer for the nightly network news and other regularly scheduled CBS News programs through the 1950s.

The news program, “Eyewitness,” was Scheffler’s next stop, where he served as associate producer and on-air reporter for the half-hour weekly from 1960 to 1963. He briefly served as an associate producer on “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” where he covered the Kennedy assassination, before joining the documentary unit in 1964. There, Scheffler became a producer of documentary and special news broadcasts, including “CBS Special Reports” and “CBS Reports.” He produced more than 100 of them, including: “After 10 Years: The Court and the Schools” (1964), on school integration; “CBS REPORTS: Robert F. Kennedy” (1967), on Sen. Kennedy and his political ambitions; and “The Cities” (1968), about the nation’s urban crisis.

Scheffler’s assignments took him to 47 states and to 50 foreign countries, including Vietnam. He traveled there for six assignments during the war; his output included three two-hour specials on American policy in Southeast Asia, “Where We Stand in Vietnam” (1967), “Where We Stand in Indochina” (1970), and “The Changing War in Indochina” (1971).

CBS News broadcasts that Scheffler worked on, especially 60 Minutes, have received the industry’s highest recognition, including the Peabody, DuPont and Emmy awards. In 1981, he received the Alumni Award for distinguished contributions to journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, from which he received a master’s degree.  As an adjunct professor, he once taught classes there as well.

Scheffler was born Sept. 16, 1930 in New York City and was graduated from the City College of New York. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Linda Weingarten Scheffler, a clinical psychologist, author and retired professor at Hunter College in New York City; his daughter, Ramsay Klaff, of Massachusetts; and a son, Adam, of Chicago.


“The Three Foragers” Share Their Plant Foraging Tips at River Museum, June 7

3 Foragers BookOn Tuesday, June 7, the Connecticut River Museum will offer the third in a series of talks related to the museum’s current exhibit on invasive species Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water.

This event will focus on edible invasive plants, and will be presented by the family known as ‘the Three Foragers’- Robert Gergulics, Karen Monger and Gillian Gergulics.  The family has been blogging about their wild food adventures in Connecticut for nearly ten years, sharing their photos and recipes online.

Their new book, Adventures in Edible Plant Foraging: Finding, Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Native and Invasive Plants, will be available at the program. They were recently profiled in the March/April 2016 issue of Yankee magazine for their family-friendly foraging and educational philosophy.  Help raise awareness and learn how to help combat the spread of invasive species one bite at a time!  Registration strongly recommended, please call 860-767-8269 to reserve a seat.  This event is free for museum members, and $5 for nonmembers. The program begins at 5:30 p.m.

Invaders: They Come by Air, Land, and Water will be on display through October 10 at the Connecticut River Museum.  An interactive exhibit featuring artwork by Michael DiGiorgio and a videography by WFSB, Invaders aims to educate and entertain while showing the impact that invasive species have had and are still having on our region.

The Connecticut River Museum is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily through Columbus Day and is closed Mondays during the winter.  Three floors of exhibits offer visitors an insight into the history and ecology of New England’s Great River through artifacts and interactive displays, while schooner cruises and kayak rentals allow visitors a chance to get out on the river themselves.


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

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

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

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

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


Enjoy a Tour of Private Gardens in Essex, June 4

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

ESSEX – On Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., plan to stroll through eight of the loveliest and most unusual private gardens in Essex. Some are in the heart of Essex Village while others are hidden along lanes most visitors never see.  While exploring, you will find both formal and informal settings, lovely sweeping lawns and panoramic views of the Connecticut River or its coves.  One garden you will visit is considered to be a ‘laboratory’ for cultivation of native plants. Master Gardeners will be available to point out specific features, offer gardening tips, and answer questions.

The garden tour is sponsored by the Friends of the Essex Library. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the Essex Library the day of the event.  Cash, checks, Visa or Master Card will be accepted. Tickets can be reserved by visiting the library or by completing the form included in flyers available at the library and throughout Essex beginning May 2.  Completed forms can be mailed to the library.  Confirmations will be sent to the email addresses on the completed forms.

Your ticket will be a booklet containing a brief description of each garden along with a map of the tour and designated parking. Tickets must be picked up at the library beginning at 9:45 a.m. the day of the event.

Richard Conroy, library director, has said, “The Essex Library receives only about half of its operating revenue from the Town. The financial assistance we receive each year from the Friends is critical.  It enables us to provide important resources such as Ancestry.com and museum passes, as well as practical improvements like the automatic front doors that were recently installed.  I urge you to help your Library by helping our Friends make this event a success!  Thank you for your support.”

The tour will take place rain or shine.  For more information, please call 860-767-1560. All proceeds will benefit Friends of the Essex Library.


A la Carte: Ricotta Cheese Pie

2013-04-05-springform-pan-pouringcheesecake_580This was an odd Easter weekend for me. On Good Friday, I picked up my daughter-in-law Nancy and second-youngest granddaughter Casey in Newbury, Massachusetts, then drove up to Kennebunkport Inn.

It all began with an e-mail from the beautiful hotel in Maine. It is less expensive to spend a day or two there in the late fall, winter and early spring, but the advertisement said it would be even less so for March and April, with a special discount of 29 percent. Hmmm, it was time to visit my cousins from Portland (she a breeder of Corgis, he a retired AP reporter). Perhaps a Friday night dinner at Fore Street (one of the many in Portland) and a visit with cousins Adrienne and Jerry. So I called Nancy, and asked if it was time for a road trip. (Our last had been last year in Boston to see a Bette Midler concert and an overnight stay in a boutique hotel in walking distance from the concert.) She was game and said, since it was a school holiday for Casey, could she come too? What a treat I said. She is a high school sophomore and great company.

I called the Kennebunkport Inn, doubting there would be rooms available, but we got one big room with two double beds and a twin for Friday and Saturday. Not only that, I got a reservation for us at Fore Street on Friday night. By the way, Nancy and Casey are Greek; my cousins are Jewish, as am I; so we celebrate Greek Easter and Passover (which isn’t a Jewish Easter but a spring kind-of festival) later this spring.

In any case, I didn’t make Easter dinner for anyone and, hopefully, I will be invited to Greek Easter. Here is what I will make. It is a luscious dessert that everyone loves.

Ricotta Cheese Pie

For the filling:
2 cups ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
1 cup cream
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the crust:
1 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar (no sugar if using cookie crumbs)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (or chocolate wafer cookie or vanilla wafer crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with two layers of heavy aluminum foil.

To make the crust, in a bowl combine crumbs, sugar and melted butter (this can be done in the food processor). Press crumbs evenly over bottom of pan, saving a few for the top. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

To make the cheesecake filling, in your food processor or electric mixer, mix ricotta, cream and sugar until well blended and smooth. Beat in flour and salt; then add eggs, one at a time, processing or beating until incorporated. Finally, add vanilla extract and cinnamon and process until incorporated. Pour into prepared crust and dust top with crumbs. Take care not to overmix.

Bake about 50 to 60 minutes, or until cheesecake is set, yet moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the edges of the cheesecake will have some browning). Remove from water bath and cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

Nibbles: Perk on Main

A couple of weeks ago, I judged the 14th Annual Chocolate to the Rescue. For the past few years, the fundraiser benefits the Middlesex Family Shelter and, according to John Roberts, executive director, I have judged each year since its inception.

As always, the chocolate was delicious. I am not sure who won but the chocolate seems to get better and better every year. My favorite this year was from Perk on Main, primarily because it was warm crepes folded around warm chocolate, raspberries and blueberries. Even better, it is a café that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in two different locations: 6 Main Street in Durham and 20 Church Street in Guilford. And if that were not enough, there is Perk on Wheels. Check out www.perkonmain.com.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 


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

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

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

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

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

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


Registration Now Open for High Hopes Summer Equestrian Camp for Ages 3-12

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding’s summer camp in Old Lyme begins July 11 for children ages 3 to 12. No previous riding experience is needed.

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding’s summer camp in Old Lyme begins July 11 for children ages 3 to 12. No previous riding experience is needed.

OLD LYME – High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Inc., is once again hosting a youth equestrian summer camp for area children ages 3 to 12, on its beautiful 120-acre campus in Old Lyme. High Hopes offers summer campers equine-related educational opportunities in partnership with its herd of more than 20 horses and ponies. Each camp session is designed to meet the needs of participant groups by age and/or riding skill level, and offers children diverse equine-based activities conducted by a certified therapeutic riding instructor.

Campers build and/or develop horsemanship skills both on and off the horse by grooming and tacking their horse each morning in addition to a daily riding lesson. Other activities include gymnastics on horseback, carriage driving, inclusive team-building games and equine arts and crafts. No previous riding experience is necessary. During the school year, High Hopes provides therapeutic horseback riding and other equine-assisted activities for people with cognitive, physical, and emotional disabilities.

Four weekly sessions are scheduled beginning the week of July 11. Each session is limited to 16 participants and is Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration deadline is June 10. Contact Carrina Echeandia, cecheandia@highhopestr.org, 860-434-1974 ext. 118 for more information.

Editor’s note: High Hopes is one of the oldest and largest therapeutic riding centers in the United States, operating since 1974 and accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH Intl.) since 1979. High Hopes is committed to providing the highest quality service to all who might benefit, regardless of their financial means.  www.highhopestr.org



‘Discovery Sundays’ at Florence Griswold Museum

flo gris 1

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Town of Deep River Announces Death of First Selectman Dick Smith

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

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

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

Details of services have not yet been announced.

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

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

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


Essex Zoning Commission Continues Hearings on Cumberland Farms Rebuild, Plains Rd. Apartments to April 18

ESSEX — The zoning commission has continued to April 18 the public hearings on separate applications for a rebuild and expansion of the Cumberland Farms store at 82 Main St. in the Centerbrook section, and a 52-unit apartment complex with an affordable housing component on Plains Rd.

Both applicants agreed at public hearings Monday to extend the legal deadline for closure of the public hearings on the two applications.  Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said the extensions will require the commission to vote on April 18 on the site plan review application from Signature Contracting Group LLC of Westport for the apartments, while the panel will have until June to act on the Cumberland Farms application.

The Cumberland Farms application includes a demolition, rebuild, and expansion of the existing store to include three gasoline pumping stations under an canopy.  The new 4,250-square-foot store would include a public restroom, a new septic system, and lighting.  The size of the canopy, along with the need for a third pumping station, generated the most discussion, and some objections, Monday.

Nearby residents  Robert and Laurie Hernandez objected to the size of the canopy, which would be about 80-feet long, and the third pumping station.  Laurie Hernandez said the applicants were ‘trying to jam and prototype onto a very small lot,” to build “something that would be at an I-95 off ramp.”

Joel Marzi, the town clerk who is an abutting property owner at 21 Westbrook Rd., said he has concerns about the size of the canopy, but would also appreciate an upgrade of the site.

Joan Wallace, who lives on the opposite side of Westbrook Rd., said she has concerns about the canopy, lighting, and also traffic flow, contending there are already traffic backups for vehicles heading north to the Centerbrook traffic light.  Wallace asked if Cumberland Farms would be willing to proceed with an expansion and upgrade of the store without a third fuel pumping station.

Joseph Williams, an attorney for Cumberland Farms with the firm of Shipman & Goodwin, said an additional fueling station was key to the company’s plan to pursue an estimated $3 million expansion and upgrade of the store.  Two residents, Kenneth Bombaci and Strickland Hyde, spoke in support of the project.

With several issues still under discussion, and approval of the new septic system still pending from the town health department, Williams agreed to continue the hearing to April 18.

The site plan for the apartment complex on a 3.7-acre parcel that would combine parcels at 21, 27, and 29 Plains Rd., including the long vacant Iron Chef restaurant property, has been filed under state statute 8-30g, which is intended to encourage additional affordable housing in Connecticut.  The proposed 52 units in three separate buildings would include 16 units designated as moderate income housing.  Each building would have a septic system, which requires approval from the state Department of Public Health.

One new development Monday came when lawyer John Bennet announced that he has been designated an intervener in the application process for Northbound 9 LLC, which owns the commercial building on the opposite side of Plains Rd.  The building contains the office of Bennet’s law firm, and a local construction company.

Bennet said the objections to the project focus on the potential for “environmental damage.”  Under the 8-30g law, the commission could reject the application only for public health and safety reasons.


Land Trusts’ Photo Contest Winners Announced

Hank Golet Mitchell Award a

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

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

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

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

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

The winning photographers are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

First place winner of Wildlife category - Chris Pimley

First place winner of Wildlife category – Chris Pimley

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


Senators Fight to Preserve Crucial Hospital Services

AREAWIDE – Sen. Paul Formica and Sen. Art Linares met with area hospital officials at the Legislative Office Building on March 23 to discuss ways to protect vital health care services for vulnerable populations like the disabled, children and seniors.

To protect those most in need, Formica and Linares, along with Senate and House Republicans, are proposing a plan to restore the governor’s funding cuts to Connecticut hospitals. The 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly ends in May.

Sen. Formica (www.senatorformica.com) represents Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford.

Sen. Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

(L-R): Yale-New Haven Health System Senior Vice President of External Affairs Vin Petrini, Yale-New Haven Health System CEO Marna Borgstrom, Sen. Paul Formica, Yale-New Haven Health System Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Gayle Capozzalo, and Sen. Art Linares.

(L-R): Yale-New Haven Health System Senior Vice President of External Affairs Vin Petrini, Yale-New Haven Health System CEO Marna Borgstrom, Sen. Paul Formica, Yale-New Haven Health System Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Gayle Capozzalo, and Sen. Art Linares.


Salt Marsh Opera Hosts Master Class Led by Soprano Patricia Schuman

Patricia Schuman

Patricia Schuman

AREAWIDE – The internationally acclaimed soprano Patricia Schuman will lead a Master Class on Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. The class is sponsored by the Guild of Salt Marsh Opera.

Ms. Schuman has been engaged with the most distinguished opera houses throughout Europe and the United States, including the Metropolitan Opera with James Levine, La Scala with Riccardo Muti, Vienna State Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

The church is located at 2 Ferry Rd., Old Lyme. Suggested donation is $20. A reception will follow the Master Class.



What Happens to Your Money? Authors Speak on Financial System’s Failures, May 22

Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis

CHESTER – Every year, Americans pay billions of dollars in fees to those who run our financial system. The money comes from our bank accounts, our pensions and our borrowing, and often we aren’t told that the money has been taken. These billions may be justified if the finance industry does a good job, but as an important new book shows, it too often fails us.

This is the message of the three authors of the book, What They Do With Your Money, two of whom will be at a free Books & Bagels program open to all at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 22, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

Stephen Davis and Jon Lukomnik will talk about the ways that financial institutions place their business interests first, charging for advice that does nothing to improve performance, employing short-term buying strategies that are corrosive to building long-term value, and sometimes concealing both their practices and their investment strategies from investors.

Praise for the book comes not only from international authorities but from former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd, co-author of the Dodd-Frank legislation intended to prevent a repeat of the banking system collapse that occurred in 2008. Dodd says, “As only insiders can, Davis, Lukomnik, and Pitt-Watson shine a spotlight on hidden cracks in the system that can still put hard-earned savings at risk. This is a vital book for anyone concerned about how to make the finance industry generate wealth for all of us.”

Along with their third collaborator, David Pitt-Watson, Davis and Lukomnik also wrote the prizewinning book, The New Capitalists, in which the authors demonstrated how ordinary people are working together to demand accountability from even the most powerful corporations.

Jon Lukomnik

Jon Lukomnik

The three address such issues from authoritative academic perspectives. Davis is a senior fellow at Harvard Law School’s program on corporate governance. (He is also president of the board of the Chester synagogue.) Lukomnik is executive director of the Investor Responsibility Research Center. David Pitt-Watson is the former head of the Hermes shareholder activist funds in Europe and an executive fellow of finance at the London Business School.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. As always for the Books & Bagels programs, the program is open at no charge to the public, and reservations are not required.  For more information about CBSRZ, visit cbsrz.org or call the office, 860-526-8920.


Old Lyme Town Band Kicks off 2016 Season at Christ the King, May 22

Old Lyme Town Band

Old Lyme Town Band

The Old Lyme Town Band, under the direction of Carolyn Whinnem, will perform the first concert of their 2016 season at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme on Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 4pm.  Their second concert will be at The Kate, Old Saybrook, on Wednesday May, 25, 2016 at 7 pm.

For more details visit the Old Lyme Town Band website at www.OldLymeTownBand.org


AAUW Offers Education Grants to Area Women

AREAWIDE – The Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) is offering a $2000 grant to women who are pursuing undergraduate education. Successful applicants will be awarded $1000 upon registration for the fall semester and $1000 upon successful academic performance and registration for the spring semester.  Recipients will be chosen on the basis of personal goals, academic performance and financial need.

Applicants must be 21 years of age or older, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, be pursuing an associate or bachelor degree from an accredited college or university, and reside in Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook or Westbrook.

Applications must be postmarked by May 30. Grants will be announced by July 1.

The American Association of University Women is a national organization whose mission, since its founding in 1881, is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

For information or an application, contact Carolyn Cohen at 860-526-8209 or lcvaauw@gmail.com.



A la Carte: Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp. King Arthur Flour photo

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp. King Arthur Flour photo

I love social media, but before I tell you why I do, here is what I do not love. I never, ever have a meal, at my house, someone else’s house or in a restaurant with my cell phone next to my plate. If I forget to turn my phone off at a movie, I turn it off as soon as the note on the screen asks. If I am in a meeting and forget to turn it off and someone calls me, I turn it off without looking to see who called. I don’t text. My friends know that. As soon as someone tells me why I should text, I listen to their reasons. No one has yet convinced me.

Here is what I love: I have met friends from high school, many decades ago, and I am thrilled we are “friends” again. I love seeing what cookbook authors, chefs and teachers are up to. I love the fact that I can order tickets, books and gift certificates for myself, my friends and my children and grandchildren. Yesterday I bought four sets of tickets for the UConn women’s basketball games at Gampel. When the brackets were set, UConn e-mailed me the tickets. I print them.

I also love that I can “meet” friends I have never met. Seven years ago, I wrote about the fact that my husband had died. Sybil Nassau had just lost her husband and we e-mailed back and forth for years. A few weeks ago, we met at the Shoreline Diner in Guilford. She reads my columns; I e-mail her when I know about gluten-free menus, recipes and new products. She herself is gluten-intolerant (though she does not have celiac disease). I am not. She is branch manager of GIG, Gluten-Intolerance Group. Her daughter writes the newsletter. She gave me a copy in which there are a dozen recipes. So many supermarkets have shelves and shelves of gluten-free products. Even the King Arthur catalog has pages and pages of gluten-free products (kingarthurflour.com). This recipe looks great.

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

4 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 pinch nutmeg
½ cup almond flour
1/2 cup certified gluten-free old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a pie dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together apples, sugar, water, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg until well combined. Set aside.

Make the oatmeal topping*: In a bowl, gently combine almond flour, oats, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and butter until crumbly.

Place apple mixture in the dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until apples are cooked through, juices are bubbling and topping is browned. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

*You can quadruple or even more, then save the topping in little plastic and freeze for more crisps you might make.

Nibbles: Tiano Smokehouse

On a recent Sunday morning, before I had to drive to Middletown to judge chocolate at Chocolate to the Rescue, a fundraiser for Columbus House, I read a review in the New York Times. Tiano Smokehouse, a barbecue restaurant in Middletown, got a rave from Rand Richards Cooper. As Joan Gordon and I drove to Middletown, we talked about stopping at Tiano to get some ‘cue. (Joan is the only friend I have who would, for sure, go to a restaurant right after we judge chocolate.)

What a find this place is. We took lots of food for takeout. I ordered a pulled pork dinner—half a pound of pork so perfect that I never added barbecue sauce on it, creamy mac and cheese (they also have one they called macaroni Alfredo), creamed spinach and a luscious piece of cornbread.  I figured I would eat half that night and the rest the following night. Ate it all in one sitting.

Tiano Smokehouse, 482 South Main Street, Middletown, 860-358-9828

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 



Talking Transportation: Is Uber Really a Bargain?

In the almost two years since Uber rolled into Connecticut, the state’s car/taxi service business has been rocked to its core.  But is Uber competing on the same level as taxis and car service companies?  Of course not, which is why it’s so successful.

I spoke with Uber’s Connecticut Manager Matt Powers and Drivers Unlimited (a Darien car & limo company) owner Randy Klein to try to get an objective comparison of the services.  (Full disclosure:  I have been a customer of both firms.)

While Uber does offer a “black car” (premium) service, my comparisons are with their more popular Uber X service … private cars driven by non-chauffeurs, 7,000 of whom have signed up as drivers in CT, according to Powers.

VEHICLES:  Car services opt for Lincoln Town Cars and SUV’s.  Uber X just requires drivers have a 4-door car, less than 10 years old with a trunk big enough to carry a wheelchair.

MAINTENANCE:  Klein owns and maintains his own fleet, inspecting all cars weekly.  Uber relies on its X drivers to do upkeep.

DRIVER SCREENING:  Klein does his own background checks on top of the DMV screening required for a CDL (commercial drivers license).  Uber says it does “rigorous” screening of drivers, including terrorist watch lists, but requires only a regular driver’s license.  Klein’s firm also does random drug testing of his drivers.

INSURANCE:  Klein has coverage of up to $1.5 million for every driver.  Uber relies on the individual driver’s personal insurance but layers a $1 million policy on top when they are driving Uber customers.

RATINGS:  Uber asks drivers and passengers to rate each other after every trip.  Klein asks passengers to rate drivers but says it’s unfair to allow drivers to rate customers. “We’re in a service business,” he says.

BOOKING:  Klein says most of his reservations are made two to three weeks in advance.  Uber doesn’t do advance bookings, though, in personal experience, I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a car.

FARES:  Though not an apples-to-apples comparison, an average car service ride from Darien to LaGuardia Airport is anywhere from $130 – $180, one-way.  Uber’s quote for an X car is about $75.

SURGE PRICING:  When demand is highest, Uber adds a surcharge to fare quotes, sometimes doubling the fare.  Klein says his rates are the same 24 x 7.

IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS:  Klein says his office can be reached anytime by phone, toll-free.  Uber’s website offers a template to file complaints online.

So, is Uber really a bargain?  Let me answer with a hotel analogy.  Sometimes I love staying at the Ritz Carlton with its plush rooms and fabulous service.  Other times, a Motel 6 or LaQuinta is fine, though there’s always the risk of a “surprise”.

I see car services the same way.  With a plush Lincoln SUV and chauffeur you get what you pay for.  But sometimes all you want is to get from home to the airport and an Uber X is just fine … and a lot cheaper!

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

Editor’s Note: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.

You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com


Linares Welcomes Gillette Castle, Friends of CT Parks to State Capitol

SenatorLinaresFriendsofCTStateParks3-9-16 281 new On March 9, Sen. Art Linares (center) welcomed representatives from Connecticut State Parks to the State Capitol to mark State Parks Day. Discussions focused on ways to preserve, protect and enhance Connecticut’s state parks, including Gillette Castle State Park. This year, Linares is part of a first-of-its-kind effort to amend the state Constitution to better ensure protection of state-owned forests, parks, farmland and other conservation lands.

He is shown here with Harold Niver and Theodora Niver at the State Capitol. The Nivers bring William Gillette and his wife, Helen, to life in an entertaining and informative performance at Gillette Castle State Park. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, but Holmes was brought to life by William Gillette. Gillette also put together the “costume” – the hat, pipe, lens and cape – that we associate with Holmes to this day.

Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.


Carney, Formica Advocate for Connecticut Tourism

tourism caucus press

AREAWIDE – On March 15, a newly formed alliance met at the State Capitol in Hartford to push for more reliable funding for Connecticut’s tourism industry. Area legislators are investigating the formation of a tourism caucus, in order to have an open discussion about tourism funding.

Shown here, from left, are: State Senator Paul Formica (R-20); Viola and Stephen Tagliatela, owners of the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa in Old Saybrook;  Brian J. Freeman, Manchester Community College student; and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23).

For more information about the Connecticut Tourism Coalition and how to get involved, please visit www.tourismCT.com.


Explore the Artistry of Bosch at Essex Library, May 14

boschESSEX – This year marks the 500th anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch’s death, which brings renewed interest in his extraordinary creativity.

Join Connecticut College Art History Professor Robert Baldwin on Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. at the Essex Library for an entertaining examination of Bosch’s work.

Bosch revolutionized early Renaissance art by turning away from traditional Christian images such as Madonnas and saints. In the Garden of Earthly Delights, the Haywain and the Seven Deadly Sins, Bosch painted secular, encyclopedic scenes of everyday life (framed with moral allegory) and fantastic scenes of sexual fantasy and hellish punishment. Although seemingly poles apart, his naturalism and fantasy were both part of a secular, Renaissance aesthetic that understood artistic seeing as both empirical and playful, as a process rooted in the study of the natural world and in the display of visual interpretation and artistic mind.  In the Renaissance world of art, seeing was ultimately connected to artistic invention. Among the ironies, Bosch’s artistry allowed him to convert medieval sin and hellish punishment into visually appealing luxury objects for pleasure-loving aristocrats while bringing the artist fame and fortune.

The Essex Library program is free and open to the public. Please call the library at 860-767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.


YMCA ‘Grow Fit’ Program Aims to Keep Teens and Tweens Active After School

pho_facilymcaAREAWIDE – The Valley Shore YMCA has just launched a new non-competitive fitness program for children ages 11 to 18, thanks to a generous donation from the Brady Family Foundation.

Grow Fit is fitness-based training for small groups (five per group).  The objective is to keep teens and tweens active after school, provide healthy social interaction and aid in battling obesity and related health issues.  Participants will experience improved endurance, strength, coordination, energy and self-esteem.  Held Monday through Friday, participants are able to choose to attend the 3 or 4 p.m. session each day.

Grow Fit is led by David Fernandes, a member of the US National Champion Rugby Team in 2015 who played in the Premier Soccer League. He has a degree in physical education and kinesiology, so Grow Fit participants will experience a high-quality training program.  Along with his athletic accomplishments, David is also the director for the Westbrook Park & Rec Summer Camp Program.

“David has the perfect set of experiences to lead Grow Fit,” remarked Ellen Nichele, wellness coordinator for the Valley Shore Y. “He brings a wealth of athletic, health and wellness knowledge while being able to relate and make connections with children. He will ensure Grow Fit is fun and a program that kids will want to be a part of.”

Grow Fit will be held in the Valley Shore Y’s Health and Wellness Center. Students will utilize the weight room, cardio room and functional training room. Outdoor activities will be incorporated, weather permitting.  The fee for unlimited sessions per week is $85 per month for Y members and $170 per month for folks not members of the Y.

Any questions, please call Ellen Nichele at 860-399-9622 ext. 121 or email enichele@vsymca.org.


FloGris Offers Free Admission to All, Saturday, May 7

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7.

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7.

OLD LYME – The Florence Griswold Museum presents its annual Community Free Day on Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event offers free admission to the museum’s 11-acre campus on Lyme Street in Old Lyme, and includes family activities as well as two performances by Master Storyteller Tom Lee.

A performer for all ages, Lee will present “Mysteries at the Museum: Stories That’ll Make You Think” at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. With training in classical theater, Lee has been performing in museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art for over 15 years (www.tomleestoryteller.com). The museum will also offer a special family craft activity in the Hartman Education Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a scavenger hunt, and a “Can You Find Me” art hunt.

“Our Community Free Day is a great way for all ages to spend the day at the museum,” said David D.J. Rau, Director of Education and Outreach. “The fun and educational activities planned for this year are a wonderful introduction for the many first-time visitors we get on this annual day.”

Museum-goers visiting the original Florence Griswold House are treated to guides sharing stories of the Lyme Art Colony artists who stayed with Florence Griswold in the boardinghouse over 100 years ago. The house, decorated as it was in 1910, includes the original paintings that artists created on the door and wall panels of the house.

On view in the museum’s Krieble Gallery is “Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum.” The exhibition details the growth of the museum’s art collection over the past 40 years, including a range of American art from the Tonalist style of the late 1800s to today’s modern Abstraction.

Community Free Day attendees can also visit the Chadwick Art Studio, presented as it would have looked in 1920; the Rafal Landscape Center; as well as the museum’s gardens and grounds along the Lieutenant River.

A historic center for American art, the Florence Griswold Museum is considered the Home of American Impressionism. The museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95. For additional information contact the museum at 860-434-5542 or visit  www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org.

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Visitors will hear about life in an artists’ boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum.

Visitors will hear about life in an artists’ boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum.


Essex May Market Set for May 7, Rain or Shine

Essex Garden Club members prepare for the annual May Market

Essex Garden Club members prepare for the annual May Market

ESSEX – Mark your calendars for the Essex May Market, Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, in the town park on Main Street in Essex Village.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, there will be herbs and herbal gift creations as well as the Garden Club’s famous garlic salt, made from a closely guarded secret recipe since 1953.

Always the star of Essex May Market are the ever-popular Members’ Plants.  People have been coming to Essex on May Market day for years from all over New England to take advantage of the healthy plants dug and nurtured by the Garden Club members.  These plants include perennials, groundcovers, grasses and shrubs dug and potted by club members.  An early sell-out in the Members’ Plants area each year are the many varieties of tomato plants grown from seed.  There will be 300 tomato plants, including many heirloom varieties guaranteed to grow in our climate. There will also be a colorful assortment of annuals and hanging baskets for sale.  Knowledgeable Garden Club members will be available to help with any questions on caring for the plants.  Back by popular demand this year is the all-natural compost available for sale.

The “Treasures” section is a great place to find gently used pieces of jewelry, garden pieces, planters, books, children’s items, gardening tools and a mix of odds and ends. The Silent Auction will have an incredible array of goods and services donated from many generous merchants. Local CT breads and honey will be for sale.

The May Market Café offers donuts and coffee starting in the morning and light lunch fare at midday.

May Market is the Garden Club’s only annual fundraising event.  Proceeds support civic improvement projects, such as beautifying town parks and traffic islands in Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton.  Plantings are also purchased for the Essex Town Hall, Town Park and for public schools serving Essex students.  Funds also provide scholarships for high school seniors and college students, summer camperships for young students, and educational programs for Essex Elementary School and John Winthrop Middle School.


Area Students Win Country School Poetry Recitation

Phineas Scott recites his winning poem.

Phineas Scott recites his winning poem.

MADISON – A panel of judges awarded first place in The Country School’s 60th Anniversary Lois MacLane Poetry Recitation to Phineas Scott, a sixth grader from Haddam. Phineas won the top honors for his masterful presentation of Wilderness by Carl Sandburg.

First held on April 26, 1957, the Lois MacLane Poetry Recitation was created by David T. MacLane, the school’s first headmaster, in honor of his sister, Lois. Each year since 1957, the entire student body has selected, memorized, and recited a poem before an audience. The youngest students recite in groups, and starting in Kindergarten, they recite individually. In Grades 5-8, the recitation is juried, with the top reciters from each grade selected to compete in the finals.

This year, 25 students competed in the finals. Judges, who included previous MacLane winners and finalists, parents of former finalists, and a former Head of School, awarded second place to eighth grader Livi Redding of Branford, reciting I Had a Guinea Golden by Emily Dickinson. Willa Wurzbach, a fifth grader from Killingworth, was awarded third place for her recitation of Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

Among the other finalists were Andre Salkin from Old Lyme, grade 8, and Philip Warren from Old Saybrook, grade 5.

The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison.


AARP CT Volunteers Meet With Carney and Linares at Capitol

From left to right: Rep. Devin Carney, Jean Caron of Old Saybrook, Marian Speers of Old Saybrook and Sen. Art Linares.

From left to right: Rep. Devin Carney, Jean Caron of Old Saybrook, Marian Speers of Old Saybrook and Sen. Art Linares

AREAWIDE – Volunteers from AARP Connecticut met with Sen. Art Linares and Rep. Devin Carney at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Feb. 10 to discuss key issues that will be debated during the 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly.

Sen. Art Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook. He can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov or 800-842-1421.

State Rep. Devin Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District covering Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Carney can be reached at devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov or 800-842-1423.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and older improve the quality of their lives. More information at aarp.org.




Paul Winter Consort to Perform in Chester, April 10

Paul Winter at Crestone (2)a

Paul Winter at Crestone

CHESTER – Seven-time Grammy winner Paul Winter brings the environmental melodies of whales, birds, seals, wolves, elephants and the earth’s melodic treasures to Chester on Sunday, April 10, at 5 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

Booking such world-renowned musical talent for the synagogue’s Music & More program was not easy, but for the series producer, David Zeleznik, it was the result of an enduring passion.

He says, “I first encountered the Paul Winter Consort as a college student at Northwestern University in the 1970s. As a former student there himself, Paul’s jazz legacy was well known on campus. I was a budding acoustic string musician at the time and I was blown away by the amazing talents of the band and their ability to set a groove with no need for vocals.

“The virtuosity of the guitarist Ralph Towner especially caught my attention, and the Consort’s groundbreaking album ‘Icarus,’ composed by Ralph Towner and produced by George Martin, was breathtaking. [It was taken to the moon by Apollo 15 astronauts.]

“Fast forward four decades…I discovered that Paul Winter’s base of operations is Litchfield County. As I learned about the far-reaching musical projects that Paul Winter had been engaged in, I found that he and his music were as vibrant as ever.

“In fact, I dare say in these ecologically challenged times, his work has fresh urgency and is even more relevant than before. Paul Winter recently completed work on his Flyways project, which celebrates the great bird migration between Africa and Eurasia. That, coupled with his Music for the Earth foundation and its mission of awakening a spirit of involvement in the preservation of wildlife and the Earth’s natural environments, led us to engage the Paul Winter Consort to perform ‘In Celebration of the Earth.’ The program will be an exciting musical connection to nature’s Spring awakening and Earth Day, which follows on April 22.”

As always at Music & More programs, the ticket price includes a reception and a chance to meet the musicians. General admission tickets are $35 in advance through the website, cbsrz.org, or $40 at the door, depending on availability.  Tickets for children under 16 are free.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. For more information contact the office (860) 526.8920 or visit the website, cbsrz.org.


Reynolds Subaru 6th Annual Pet Adoption Event, April 9

subaru 2LYME – Reynolds Subaru and Boats is holding its sixth annual Adopt a Pet event Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We all are looking for the common goal of saving these homeless animals and giving them wonderful lives,” said Hayden Reynolds. “Our past events have brought together the public in more ways than one to help achieve this goal and we are grateful for our customers, community and sponsors who are passionate about helping animals.”

At last year’s event many pets found their new homes and Reynolds Subaru is on a mission to double that this year.

The event will take place at Reynolds Subaru, 264 Hamburg Road, Lyme. There will be complimentary food, refreshments, raffles, and, of course, pets looking for their forever home.

For more information on this event follow www.facebook.com/ReynoldsSubaru or call 860-434-0028.


Marshview Gallery Exhibits Cindy Fiano Photography in April

AOM Cindy Fiano April 2016aOLD SAYBROOK – During April, local photographer Cindy Fiano will exhibit her works at the Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. – Regional Senior Center in Old Saybrook.

Cindy’s photography is inspired by serene seascapes and graceful birds located on the beaches and marshes in Old Saybrook and nearby shore towns. She spends countless hours walking the many area beaches.

Her biggest inspiration has been to capture and share the beauty in the common that often gets overlooked. Seagulls are a favorite subject. Cindy calls seagulls “intelligent, clever and extremely adaptable.” She appreciates that she can always count on them being on the beach no matter what the weather conditions are.

A reception to see Cindy’s photographs and to meet her will be held on Friday, April 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

The Estuary Council of Seniors is at 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook.


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.