July 23, 2017

Essex Foundation Provides Support For Essex Place Furnishings

Bruce Glowac. President of The Essex Foundation, Inc. presents a check to Janice Atkeson, President of Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing, Inc. outside Essex Place, the newly constructed affordable senior housing complex on Main Street in Centerbrook.

Foundation underwrites cost of common area furniture in newly constructed senior housing 

ESSEX — Two weeks before the grand opening of Essex Place, a 22-unit, affordable senior rental housing complex developed by Essex Elderly & Affordable Housing, Inc. and the Women’s Institute of Housing & Economic Development, The Essex Foundation was called upon to help cover the cost of furniture for the common area spaces.

Last minute adjustments to the overall project budget left no available resources for completing the already constructed community room, game room, office, and kitchen.  After a thoughtful presentation by Janice Atkeson and Yolanda Lowe, both representing Essex Elderly & Affordable Housing, Inc., members of The Essex Foundation Board of Directors approved the request for financial assistance.

Funds from The Essex Foundation were used to cover the cost of upholstered furniture, dining tables, game tables, occasional tables, stacking chairs, office furniture, and miscellaneous kitchen items.  Essex Place is located at 26 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex, adjacent to the Essex Court senior apartments.

The common areas are accessible to all residents of Essex Place and Essex Court, and will also be used for general meetings and as a designated emergency shelter. Community members who would like to donate to the project can send a check made out to The Essex Foundation, PO Box 64, Essex, CT 06426, indicating that it is for the Essex Place community room.

The Essex Foundation was founded in 1970. It is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Essex residents. The foundation is funded through donations from the community and strives to fill needs not met by other organizations or sources. In general, funds are granted for special purposes, including buildings, equipment, land, and programs, but not to recurring expenses. More information can be found at www.theessexfoundation.org.

 

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PHOTO CAPTION: Bruce Glowac. President of The Essex Foundation, Inc. presents a check to Janice Atkeson, President of Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing, Inc. outside Essex Place, the newly constructed affordable senior housing complex on Main Street in Centerbrook.

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CT River Conservancy Launches Source to Sea Jump-In Journey, Celebrating 65 Years of Success

AREAWIDE – To celebrate its 65th anniversary, the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), formerly Connecticut River Watershed Council, is traveling the length of the Connecticut River this month to celebrate the many successes that have significantly improved the health of New England’s great river. Just as importantly, this Journey will lay out the work still to be done to meet the legal requirements and public expectations to make our rivers truly clean and full of life.

The Source to Sea Jump-In Journey begins at the source of the Connecticut River near the Canadian border on July 15 and ends at the Long Island Sound on July 30. The Source to Sea Jump-In Journey is an opportunity for everyone who loves our rivers to join CRC in speaking up for our rivers.

The public is invited to join the Source to Sea Jump-In Journey at events celebrating the many ways people use, enjoy, and take sustenance from their rivers. These events include opportunities to directly engage with important issues as well as have fun and celebrate. Opportunities include boating events as well as joining Splash Mobs, ‘flash mob’ style events where groups of river fans will jump in the river to publicly show support for their rivers. To learn more or follow the Journey online, visit www.ctriver.org/s2sjourney.

“Our rivers have come a long way,” says CRC Executive Director Andrew Fisk. “This Journey is retracing a trip taken by one of our trustees in 1959. Back then, they wore gas masks and scooped sludge from the river to highlight pollution problems. On this Journey, we have the pleasure of highlighting how clean our rivers have become and all the awesome ways people use our rivers for recreation. But our rivers still face challenges every single day. Our job is to find environmental problems and help solve them.”

The important work that remains to be done includes:

  • Removing deadbeat dams and making flood ready culverts to connect habitat and protect infrastructure
  • Restoring migratory fish populations so that millions of fish return each year
  • Fighting roll-backs of environmental regulations that protect our rivers, streams and lakes
  • Investing in aging and outdated water and wastewater infrastructure

CRC Executive Director Andrew Fisk and his wife Karen will make the trip down the Connecticut River.

The two most local events on the itinerary are as follows:

Saturday, July 29
What: 43rd Connecticut River Raft Race & Splash Mob
Where: Portland, CT
Details: 10am – 2pm, 43rd Annual Connecticut River Raft Race, Race begins at Gildersleeve Island and ends at the Portland Riverside Marina
Large community event with very creative rafts being raced.

What: Bass Fishing
Where: Salmon River boat launch E. Haddam, CT (Rt 149, E Haddam Moodus Road)
Details:  4:00 – 8:00 pm

Sunday, July 30
What: Onrust Cruise with CT River Museum
Where: Connecticut River Museum, Essex, CT
Details: 4 – 8pm, Join Connecticut River Museum and Connecticut River Conservancy to celebrate the completion of the Source to Sea Jump In Journey, food & drinks provided.
Sunset sail to the Sound on the historic Onrust, a replica of Dutch explorer Adriaen Block’s 1614 vessel, the first European ship to sail up the Connecticut River

What: Kayak the Salmon River & Pizza Party, Splash Mob
Where: Haddam, CT
Details: Paddle 10am – 12pm, Pizza Party 12 – 2pm

The remainder of the itinerary is as follows:

Sunday, July 16
What: Hike to the source of the Connecticut River, 4th Connecticut Lake to launch the journey
Where: Pittsburg, NH

Monday, July 17 to Wednesday, July 19
What: Paddle the upper reaches
Where: Canaan, VT to Guildhall, NH

Thursday, July 20
What: Pontoon Boat trip & Splash Mob
Where: Hanover, NH

Friday, July 21
What: River Parade & Community Paddle, Splash Mob
Where: Lyme, NH / Thetford, VT
Details: Launch from Orford, NH boat ramp, Paddle 1:30-3:30pm, Celebration at 599 River Road Lyme, NH 3:30-4:30pm. Lyme Town Band will perform on boats on river joined by flotilla of paddling friends.

Saturday, July 22
What: Reception & Community Conversation
Where: Windsor Welcome Center, 3 Railroad Ave., Windsor, VT
4-6pm, Walking tours of Windsor river recreation projects.

What: Float with the Kennetticut River Pigs & Splash Mob
Where: Cornish to Claremont, NH
Details: Paddle Launch at11am, near the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge.

Sunday, July 23
What: Riverboat Cruise with Tribal Leaders
Where: Northfield Mtn Recreation Facility, 99 Millers Falls Rd, Northfield, MA
Details: 12:45 – 3pm, Cruise departs from Riverview picnic area dock.
David Brule from Nolumbeka Project (MA), Roger Longtoe Sheehan Chief of Elnu Abenaki tribe (VT), and Rich Holschuh of VT Commission for Native American Affairs will speak about the Native American history of the river and their vision for its future.
What: Scuba Diving & Splash Mob
Where: Brattleboro, VT

Monday, July 24
What: Honor David Deen’s Retirement with CRC
Where: Whetstone Station, Brattleboro, VT
Details: 4-7pm, Recognize David Deen’s retirement after 19 years as River Steward with CRC and welcome new River Steward, Kathy Urffer.

Tuesday, July 25
What: Waterskiing at the Oxbow & Splash Mob
Where: Easthampton, MA

Wednesday, July 26
What: Watch a Dragon Boat Race & Splash Mob
Where: Northampton Community Rowing & Connecticut River Greenway Park, 80 Damon Road,Northampton, MA
Details: Approx 5:30 – 7pm, Watch a dragon boat challenge race with the Paradise City Dragon boat team and several of our local officials and community members. Learn relationship to Cancer Connection.

Thursday, July 27
What: Rowing Flotilla & Splash Mob
Where: Holyoke to Springfield, MA
Details: Time TBD, Rowing activities start at Holyoke Rows, 25 Jones Ferry Rd in Holyoke, and finish at Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club at the North Riverfront Park, 121 West Street, Springfield, MA. 

Friday, July 28
What: E. Windsor American Heritage River Commission Paddle & Picnic
Where: East Windsor, CT
Details: Approx. 2 – 6pm, Launch at Kings Island boat ramp in Enfield, CT. End paddle & picnic at Volunteer Park in E. Windsor, CT.
Paddle with an active group of local citizens who have worked to maintain the legacy of the American Heritage River designation of the CT River

What: Air-boating with Conte Refuge
Where: Enfield & Hartford, CT

 

Since 1952, Connecticut River Conservancy has been the voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. We collaborate with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers and educate and engage communities. We bring people together to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of your river and its tributary streams. Healthy rivers support healthy economies. To learn more about CRC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org.

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Old Lyme First Selectwoman Hails FRA ‘Record of Decision’ as a Victory, CT Historic Trust’s Stroud Urges Caution

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

AREAWIDE — Almost unable to contain her delight, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder told LymeLine.com in a phone call Wednesday afternoon that she was absolutely delighted with the Record of Decision (ROD) announced today by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which takes the proposed Old Saybrook to Kenyon by-pass, “… out of the plan.” “It’s exactly what we asked for,” she said with noticeable emotion in her voice, adding excitedly, “We fought Goliath and we won.”

Reemsnyder acknowledged that the area between New Haven and Providence has been identified by the FRA as a “study area,” but said firmly that the idea of the by-pass has now been “eliminated,” and “… cannot be reinstated.” She added enthusiastically, “This is a great day for Old Lyme!”

Reemsnyder noted she had been concerned all the way through the process as to whether enough had been done by the Town, while also being told unequivocally, “The FRA will not be bullied by a small town.”  In the final analysis, she said, “The plan will be what it should have been from the beginning …” meaning that the Connecticut and Rhode Island DOT’s will work together to find a solution that does not ignore the residents.

Greg Stroud

In a more measured response, Greg Stroud, Executive Director of Special Projects at Connecticut Historic Trust, who has worked tirelessly against the FRA proposal in the northeast — especially in southeastern Connecticut — noted in a telephone conversation yesterday with LymeLine.com that the ROD is “very good news” for southeast Connecticut, but also cautioned, “We can’t declare victory.”  He said that unquestionably the ROD offers “breathing room,” but declared firmly that the work is “far from over.”

Commenting on the major effect of the opposition to the proposal, Stroud said, “The communities of southeast Connecticut have shown a united front against the by-pass.” He added that the unfailing support of Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney had been “key” in achieving the result and would be “very influential in the work ahead to find a better solution.”  Stroud also commended the  significant input of State Rep. Devin Carney and State Senator Paul Formica.

Looking to the future, Stroud said in a post on the SECoast Facebook page, “This Record of Decision does not assure a good solution, nor does it assure a better process, it does however, provide the communities of southeastern Connecticut with a some breathing room. As we move forward SECoastand the Connecticut Trust will continue to engage this issue, and push for a better planning process in the next stage.”

Editor’s Note: Read full details of the FRA’s Record of Decision at this link.

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The Country School Offers Fun, Learning Opportunities Throughout the Summer

Budding authors craft their own stories and enjoy collaborative writing in Word Play: Creative Writing at The Country School. Check out the school’s July and August offerings: Victory and Shoreline FC Soccer, Intro to A Cappella, Intro to Algebra, Young Actors, and Beginning Robotics. 

AREAWIDE — Each year the offerings at Country School’s Summer Fun and Learning become more engaging and more popular with area families. Not limited to students at The Country School, children in grades PreK-8 are welcome to attend the full or half-day week-long programs, all of which take place on the school’s newly appointed 23-acre campus in Madison.

Whether you’re searching for something academic, artistic, or athletic, The Country School has got you covered. Country School teachers, outside educators and professionals, athletes, and alumni will present workshops throughout the summer.

Academic camps include Scratch, Minecraft and Crafting, 3-D Printing, Beginning Robotics, Robotics for Girls, Intro to Algebra, Word Play Creative Writing, Exploring Media and Technology, Debate, and Learning Olympics.

Recording thoughts in her writer’s notebook for the camp Word Play: Creative Writing at The Country School.

More interested in the arts? Check out Intro to A Cappella, Young Actors’ Workshop, and Art Adventure. Need to release some energy? Multi Sport Camp with Madison Racquet and Swim Club, Soccer with Victory or Shoreline FC, and Running will keep the children moving.

Learn more about these camps at http://www.thecountryschool.org/summer2017. Follow your passions and discover new ones.

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Pettipaug Sailing Academy Teaches Young Sailors Their Craft


ESSEX —
The staff of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy is currently in the throes of teaching over 300 young students how to sail a sailboat. Instruction occurs mainly in sailboats on the water.

Although a staff member cruises around in a motor boat, when students capsize their sailboats, it is their responsibility whenever possible to right the vessel, climb on board and start sailing again.

Initially, many of the boats capsize but after a few embarrassing dunkings, the sailing students quickly learn their preference is to sail rather than capsize!

Some more photo highlights of the Petttipaug Sailing Academy’s Class of 2017 follow.

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So Much to See This Summer at Chester Museum at The Mill

A front view of Chester Museum at the Mill. Photo from chesterhistoricalsociety.org.

Upstairs and down, all the new Chester history being featured at the Chester Museum at The Mill this year will delight you.

Downstairs is the seasonal exhibit prepared by Keith Dauer and Sandy Senior-Dauer, called “Chester Postcards & Three Chester Notables.” There are more than 200 Chester postcards on display as well as exhibits devoted to three people who lived in or impacted Chester, namely, Judge Constance Baker Motley, The Leatherman (see the life-size sculpture made by Weymouth Eustis), and photographer Hugh Spencer.

There is a replica of the Waterhouse Gristmill, intricately and lovingly handcrafted by Nathan Jacobson, in the entry level. And on the second floor, there’s a redo of the Museum’s permanent exhibit, which now includes a replica of Chester Pharmacy’s soda fountain (guaranteed to make you hungry!)

Museum hours are Saturdays 1 to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free (but donations are always welcome to help the Historical Society continue to collect and preserve items of Chester history).

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Essex DTC Endorses Jeannine Lewis as Democratic Candidate for Saybrook District Probate Judge

Attorney Jeannine Lewis

ESSEX – On Wednesday, June 28, the Essex Democratic Town Committee (EDTC) endorsed Jeannine Lewis – an attorney at Hudson and Kilby – as their preferred Democratic candidate for the position of Judge of Probate-Saybrook District.  A Special Election for Judge of Probate will be held on November 7, 2017 to fill the anticipated vacancy due to the July 18, 2018 retirement of current Judge, Terrance “Terry” Lomme.

Attorney Lewis, along with three other Democratic candidates addressed the EDTC over the course of several months, where each presented their qualifications for the position and responded to questions from the members of the committee.  EDTC Chairman Brian Cournoyer said, “Although each candidate demonstrated qualities that would serve the district well, members were impressed with Attorney Lewis’s unique combination of experience in probate law and commitment to ensuring all citizens seeking assistance through the court would be treated with care and attention.”

In addition to running a law practice focused on probate matters, estate planning and elder law, Lewis serves on the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association’s (CBA’s) Elder Law Section, and on the Integrity of the Practice/Pro Bono Committee of the CBA’s Estates and Probate Section.  She is a board member of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries and provides pro bono legal counsel to Sister Cities Essex Haiti, a local charity that helps residents of the town of Deschapelles, Haiti.

Probate judges typically handle estates, trusts, adoptions, name changes, and the termination of parental rights and conservatorships, among other important matters.  The probate court for the Saybrook District is located in Old Saybrook and serves the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

The EDTC meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Essex Town Hall. Meetings are open to the public and all registered Democrats are encouraged to attend.

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Essex Foundation Funds Veterans Memorial Hall Parking Lot Paving

Members of the Essex Foundation Board of Directors present a check to Veterans Memorial Hall to pay for the paving of their parking lot. Pictured from left to right are Judy Bombaci, Jim Clark, Bruce Glowac, Sam Riggio (EVMH member), Alex Breen (EVMH member), Herb Clark, and Stick Hyde.

ESSEX – The Essex Foundation Board of Directors recently approved a request for financial assistance from the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall, the last known stand-alone, 501(c)(19) nonprofit  veterans organization on the East Coast. The donated funds will be used to fully underwrite the cost of paving the 10,633 square-foot gravel parking lot on the group’s property located at 3 Westbrook Rd. in Centerbrook.

Sullivan Paving Company, Inc. submitted the winning bid, which also includes a donation of their time and materials to line stripe and mark the new pavement.  Work will be completed this summer.

The Essex Foundation is underwriting the cost of paving this gravel parking lot at the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall in Centerbrook.

The paving project is one of several initiatives undertaken by the Hall’s 184 members to improve the building’s interior and exterior over the past three years. Once the Centerbrook Schoolhouse, the building became Essex Veterans Memorial Hall in 1946, and now serves as a resource for veterans, their families, and the greater community, including free hall usage to area nonprofit organizations and scout groups.

The Essex Foundation board members considered all of these factors when making the funding decision, agreeing that the project fell within their typical parameters of being of benefit to Essex residents, of being somewhat unique, and requiring relatively quick action.

“The Essex Foundation board members were impressed with the hard work and dramatic improvements that have been made by members of Essex Veterans Memorial Hall over the past few years,” stated Chairman Bruce Glowac, “We are happy to be able to help them with this upgrade to the property that has become a valuable community center.”

Editor’s Notes: 

i) Community members who would like to donate to the project can send a check made out to the Essex Foundation, PO Box 64, Essex, CT 06426, indicating that it is for the Veterans Memorial Hall parking lot.      

ii) The Essex Foundation was founded in 1970. It is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Essex residents .   The foundation is funded through donations from the community and strives to fill needs not met by other organizations or sources. In general, funds are granted for special purposes, including buildings, equipment, land, and programs, but not to recurring expenses.

More information can be found at www.theessexfoundation.org.

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Three Chester Residents Honored in 60 Over 60 Awards

Lee Howard has championed access to the arts throughout her life.

CHESTER — Three Chester residents were recently honored with 60 Over 60 Awards.  They are Lee Howard, Phyllis McDowell, and Nancy Smith, all of whom are residents at Chester Village West.

This is the first year the awards have been presented to honor Connecticut citizens over age 60 who make a difference in the lives of others or in their communities.  The 60 Over 60 award was created by Duncaster as a way to showcase the lives of people 60 or better, who continue to have a unique impact on their world. Howard, McDowell, and Smith were celebrated at a reception on the Duncaster campus in Bloomfield.

Howard is a life-long leader in greater access to the arts for all.  Lee has worked with local arts councils and alliances across the country to develop their technical services, and with advocacy and arts programs throughout the country.

Phyllis McDowell has advocated for those with mental health issues and those who care for the environment.

McDowell has changed the lives of those with mental health issues and those who care for the environment.  She and several volunteers from the Mental Health Association of New Haven launched Fellowship Place, a socialization program for psychiatric patients.

Smith is a writer, an editor, and a connector of people. She is an active member of the Susan B. and William K. Wasch Center for Retired Faculty at Wesleyan University.

Duncaster began their search for 60 Over 60 on Jan. 1.  It received nominations of remarkable individuals from throughout Connecticut.  “Our state has so many extraordinary people who are 60 or better, so we were not surprised at the number of nominations we received.  Clearly there are many people who wanted to recognize people 60 or better for their continued accomplishments,” says Carol Ann McCormick, VP Sales and Marketing at Duncaster.

Nancy Smith continues her work as a writer and editor, and has been a lifelong learning advocate

She continued, “We’ve all heard of 40 Under 40 awards that highlight the successes of this group of people.  We thought it was high time to recognize the ongoing inspiration and achievement of those 60 or better.  We were delighted with the response to it.”

Duncaster, the Hartford area’s first LifeCare community, is located minutes from West Hartford and Simsbury in Bloomfield CT.  This boutique Life Plan Community sits on 94 acres.  While catering to those who are active and engaged in independent living neighborhoods, Duncaster also offers options for those seeking assisted living, memory care, long-term care and rehab services (all private) in intimate settings.

For more information, visit http://www.Duncaster.org or call (860) 380-5005.

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Chester’s Juliette Linares Earns Girl Scouting’s Highest Award

Juliette Linares of Chester has earned Girl Scouting’s top award.

CHESTER – Girl Scout Juliette Linares of Chester has received her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn in Girl Scouting.

The Girl Scout Gold Award requires Girl Scouts grades nine through 12 to spend at least 80 hours researching issues, assessing community needs and resources, building a team, and making a sustainable impact in the community. A Gold Award recipient’s accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set her apart as a community leader.

Nationally, only 6 percent of older Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award. Girl Scouts of Connecticut recently honored the 71 Girl Scouts in Connecticut who have achieved this honor on Sunday, June 4.

Juliette’s project addressed the need for families to encourage their younger children to foster a love for literature at a young age. Juliette hosted a Dr. Seuss family event where 25 families along with Girl Scout troops, guests from surrounding towns, two guest readers, teachers, principals, and reading specialists attended. Juliette will continue to host the Dr. Seuss family event until she graduates high school. She hopes that it will continue to be a success and the school would agree to make it an annual event.

“I am beyond proud of our Girl Scouts as we celebrate another century of young women taking the lead and making a sustainable change in our communities,” said Mary Barneby, CEO of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “By earning the Gold Award, Girl Scouts set themselves apart as top achievers, and are incredible go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders. I can’t wait to see what they will accomplish in the future!”

For more information about the Gold Award or how to become a Gold Award volunteer or mentor, visit gsofct.org.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut are more than 47,000 members strong – nearly 32,000 girls and over 15,000 adults – who believe that every girl can change the world. They’re part of a sisterhood of 2.6 million strong around the globe—1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world.

The Girl Scouts organization’s extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, her vision and legacy have been honored, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. The organization is the preeminent leadership development one for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success.

To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit gsofct.org.

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Deep River Students Recognized at 13th Annual eesmarts™ Student Contest at State Capitol

Jolie Edwards (left) and Ella Pitman, who are both in seventh grade at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River, stand proudly with their 1st and 2nd place awards respectively at the 13th annual eesmarts Student Contest award ceremony held on June 2, at the State Capitol.

Statewide contest provided students the opportunity to creatively promote energy efficient and renewable energy technologies

DEEP RIVER – John Winthrop Middle School classmates Jolie Edwards and Ella Pitman were honored last week at the 13th annual eesmarts™ Student Contest ceremony held at the State Capitol for their winning entries in the seventh-grade category.

Presented by Energize Connecticut in partnership with Eversource and AVANGRID, Inc. subsidiaries United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, the eesmarts Student Contest invites Connecticut students in grades K-12 and college to create projects about energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability.

Jolie received 1st place for her persuasive speech addressing the Connecticut General Assembly’s Energy and Technology Committee about why our state should become more energy efficient. Her recommendations for combating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions included switching to more energy efficient resources, enforcing public transportation, installing solar panels, buying energy-efficient appliances and making energy-efficient home improvements.

Ella was awarded 2nd place for her speech persuading the Committee to consider utilizing off-shore wind farms and water and solar power. “Energy efficiency is very important because it creates a safer and cleaner environment.” She argues that these steps are necessary to lower our state’s carbon emissions and will save money over time.

The ceremony attracted more than 150 students, parents, teachers, elected officials, and clean energy supporters from across the state in celebration of the students’ hard work. Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Mary Sotos was the keynote speaker for the event, and FOX 61 meteorologist Joe Furey served as Master of Ceremonies.

For more information on the student contest and the eesmarts program, visit www.eesmarts.com.

Editor’s Note: Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Connecticut Green Bank, the State, and your local electric and gas utilities, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at EnergizeCT.com or by calling 1.877.WISE.USE.

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Essex Garden Club Awards Three Scholarships to Local Students

Essex Garden Club Scholarship committee chair, Anne Elich, is seated with 2017 scholarship recipients Daniel Taylor and Haley Hammen. Missing from photo, Annie Brown. Photo courtesy of Leslie Barlow

ESSEX — The Essex Garden Club recently awarded college scholarships to three area students:

  • Annie Brown of Essex, who attends the University of Vermont, is pursuing a major in Elementary Education with a minor in Environmental Studies.
  • Daniel Taylor of Ivoryton, a 2017 graduate of Valley Regional High School, will attend Vassar College in the fall to study Biology.
  • Haley Hammen of Essex, a 2017 Valley Regional High School graduate, will attend Pennsylvania State University in the fall to study Biology.

In addition, the Garden Club is proud to provide funding for young children from Essex, Ivoryton and Centerbrook to attend local nature camps. This year, scholarships were given the Essex Parks and Recreation Summer Program for 25 children to attend their one-week nature and science sessions.   Also, the Club has provided funding to allow four students to attend camp at The Bushy Hill Nature Center, which provides two weeks of in-depth nature experience.

The Essex Garden Club sincerely thanks all who support the annual May Market, the proceeds of which enable the Club to make these donations. This year, additional scholarship funds were contributed in memory of Garden Club members who were devoted to the education of young people in our community.

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Registration Still Open for Tri-Town Youth Services’ Summer Co-op Second Session, Starts July 10

TRI-TOWN — Tri-Town Youth Services Summer Co-op 2017 is open to 7th, 8th and 9th graders with Session 2 running July 10 to 13.  Each day will start at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River.

Session 2 includes trips to: July 10 – Bushy Hill Nature Center; July 11 – Ocean Beach; July 12 – Launch Trampoline Park and Laser Tag; July 13 – Lake Compounce.

The cost per session is $225. and $200. For additional sibling.  Registration forms are available throughout the tri-town region at elementary schools and at John Winthrop Middle School.  These programs are open to students entering grades 7, 8 and 9 who live in Chester, Deep River, and Essex.

For further information, call Tri-Town Youth Services at 860-526-3600 or visit www.tritownys.org

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Community Music School Receives Grant from Middlesex Community Foundation/River View Cemetery Fund

Community Music School’s New Horizons Band is a not-for-profit program that provides Middlesex County with an adult beginners band, many of whom have had never played an instrument before joining.

CENTERBROOK — Community Music School (CMS) has received a $3,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC)/River View Cemetery Fund in order to fund the New Horizons Band.

Community Music School’s New Horizon Band is a not-for-profit program that provides Middlesex County with an adult beginners band of 13 members, many of whom have had never played an instrument before joining. Under the direction of Patricia Hurley, the CMS New Horizons Band performs marches, jazz selections, and music from the stage and screen, and much more. The band has recently collaborated with the John Winthrop Middle School band and has also participated in several concerts open to the public, in the past six months.

The CFMC grant will be used to further the advancement of the New Horizons Band. The New Horizons Program provides an entry point to music making for seniors, including those with no musical experience at all, or those who were active in school music programs but have been inactive for a long period. The band is nurturing, non-competitive, and supportive in style. There are no auditions or tryouts, and everyone is welcome, and many seniors enjoy the socialization of group instruction and ensemble playing.

Seniors participating in such a music program meet new friends, become an important part of a group, and have events to anticipate. The New Horizons Band has become an important part of the cultural life of our community as well, performing in many different settings and for special events. In addition to formal concerts, performances in community centers, and summer concerts in parks, they often play for retirement and nursing homes where added events are so needed.

“This program is so important to our seniors – both those who perform in the band and those who enjoy their many concerts throughout the year,” states Abigail Nickell, CMS Executive Director. “We are so grateful for CFMC’s support of this program so we can continue to serve the seniors in our community.”

For additional information, visit www.community-music-school.org or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

Editor’s Notes:
  1. Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 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. 
  2. The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County, and to help Good People Do Great Things. Its two-fold mission is: (1) to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds; and (2) to support local nonprofit organizations through effect grant making, in order t address community needs, as well as Let Good Grow.
    Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 1,815 grants, totaling more than $5.4 million, to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements, and for health and human services.
    To learn more, contact the Community Foundation at (860)347-0025, or info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org
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Environmental Program Looks To ‘Foster Future Stewards’ in Lower CT River Valley

From left to right, Peter and Elsie Patton, Marilyn Ozols, president, and Robin Andreoli, executive director. Photo by Joan Levy Hepburn.

LOWER CT RIVER VALLEY – The Rockfall Foundation recently announced the launch of a special campaign to commemorate 45 years of environmental grant making and support programs for students in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The Fostering Future Stewards campaign will fund environmental education for kindergarten through 8th grade students with multi-year grants to schools for school-time, after school or summer programs.

Consecutive years of funding will allow educators to continue programs that introduce and sustain environmental literacy and the continuity of those programs will greatly benefit students.

The Foundation looks to raise $45,000 over two years and the campaign is off to a very positive start, thanks in large part to Peter and Elsie Patton of Middletown. Two of the Foundation’s most ardent supporters, the Pattons were the first to come forward with a leadership gift of $5,000 to the campaign.

“We are grateful to Peter and Elsie for inspiring others through their passion for this cause and their generous gift,” said Robin Andreoli, the Foundation’s executive director. “With a commitment from our Board of Directors, we have already achieved twenty-five percent of our goal and have heard from many friends in the community who support the project.”

Established in 1935, the Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest non-profit environmental organizations and is the steward for the historic deKoven House Community Center in Middletown. The Foundation receives support from donors with a passion for the environment and connects them to local programs that help make the Lower Connecticut River Valley a better place to live.

Annual grant awards provide funding for local environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives. The Foundation also presents educational public programs throughout the year, which include symposia and public forums, informal networking opportunities, and family hikes.

For the past 45 years, the Rockfall Foundation’s grant making has supported and promoted outstanding environmental programs delivered by non-profit organizations, schools, and municipalities throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The first grants awarded in 1972 provided a total of $5,000 to support four planting projects in Essex, Old Saybrook, and Chester. Since then, the Foundation has helped to fund 350 programs with awards totaling nearly half a million dollars.

For information about the Rockfall Foundation or how to contribute to the Fostering Future Stewards fund, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

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Deep River Congregational Church Seeks Vendors for Flea Market & Rummage Sale, Aug 19

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Congregational Church is starting preparations for its annual Flea Market and Rummage Sale, which will be held during the third weekend of August.   The Saturday, Aug. 19, Flea Market is held on Marvin Field and on the grounds around the church.

Spaces are 20 x 20 foot and available for $30; they can be reserved by contacting the church office for a reservation form and map at 860-526-5045 or office.drcc@snet.net or forms can be downloaded from the church web site at www.deeprivercc.org

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Chester Village West Foundation Awards $30K in Scholarships to 10 Employees, Two Employees’ Children

Chester Village West Foundation, Inc. recently awarded $30,000 in college and university scholarships to 10 Chester Village West employees and two employees’ children. Left to right: Chester Village West resident and scholarship committee volunteer Whitey Wilson, Evan Swanson and Julie Fredericksen (both, Killingworth); Gabriella Dess (Madison); Ashlyn O’Boyle (Killingworth); Kira Woodworth (East Haddam); Jack Liggett (Deep River); Kristine Davis (Deep River); Elizabeth Forsythe (Killingworth); Leah Ann Sopneski (Deep River); Kenna Campbell (Chester); Chester Village West resident and foundation president Joan Galliher. Not pictured: Brandon Miller (Madison) and Johanna Regan (Northford).

Residents of Chester, Deep River, East Haddam, Killingworth, Madison and Northford enrolled at local and national colleges and universities

CHESTER – Ten Chester Village West employees and two children of employees have each been awarded a $2,500 scholarship from the Chester Village West Foundation, Inc. The scholarships will help the employees and their children continue their education at colleges and universities in Connecticut and beyond.

“Chester Village West employees are part of our extended family, dedicating their work to making our community a great place to live,” said Joan Galliher, a six-year resident and the foundation’s volunteer president. “And every year, our residents express their appreciation by generously supporting the foundation’s scholarship program to help staff members – and their children – pursue higher education.” 

Created as not-for profit entity in 1998 by a group of Chester Village residents, over the past 18 years the Chester Village West Foundation has provided more than $280,000 in scholarships to the community’s staff and their children, helping them to further their education beyond high school. The foundation’s income comes from voluntary donations made by residents of Chester Village West and memorial gifts from family and friends.

Recipients of the Chester Village West Foundation’s 2017 scholarships are:

Chester resident Kenna Campbell, a front desk employee and third year student at Central Connecticut State University.

Deep River resident Kristine Davis, a dining room employee and second year student at University of Tampa.

Madison resident Gabriella Dess, a dining room employee and fourth year student at Providence College.

Killingworth resident Elizabeth Forsythe, a dining room employee and second year student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Killingworth resident Julie Fredericksen, daughter of housekeeping employee Debra Fredericksen and a first year student at Middlesex Community College.

Deep River resident Jack Liggett, a dining room employee and first year student at Marist College.

Madison resident Brandon Miller, son of marketing director Sara Philpott and third year student at Muhlenberg College.

Killingworth resident Ashlyn O’Boyle, a dining room employee and first year student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Northford resident Johanna Regan, a dining room employee who is in her final year of teacher’s certification at Central Connecticut State University.

Deep River resident Leah Sopneski, a housekeeping employee and third year student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Killingworth resident Evan Swanson, a dining room employee and third year student at Cedarville University.

East Haddam resident Kira Woodworth, a dining room employee and first year college student.

Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being.

Find out more at chestervillagewestlcs.com.

Visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Ivoryton Playhouse Presents “A Night on the Town’ Cabaret-Dinner at Water’s Edge, Sunday

AREAWIDE — Ivoryton Playhouse, in a new partnership with Water’s Edge Resort,  will present a series of eight cabaret-style dinner theatre performances beginning Sunday, June 11, written for and performed exclusively at Water’s Edge.  This original series will showcase the professional talent of Ivoryton Playhouse performers and musicians in four unique events.

This original series of four uniquely themed productions celebrate a broad array of musical styles and genres:

Great Balls on Fire: Sunday, June 11 and Sunday, June 18
‘50s Rock N’ Roll and so much more.

A Night on the Town: Sunday, June 25 and Sunday, July 9
Featuring the musical inspiration of New York City.

That’s Amore: Sunday, July 16 and Sunday, July 23
Favorites from opera and musical theatre celebrating all things Italian.

Sounds of the ‘70s: Sunday, July 30 and Sunday, Aug. 13
Hits from the disco era.

Carly Callahan. Photograph courtesy of Carly Callahan

Each evening will feature a professional cast of performers, in addition to a trio led by Music Director, Eric Trudel and directed by Carly Callahan.

Cast members include Marsha Ackerman, Schuyler Beeman, Carly Callahan, Billy DiCrosta, Amy Maude Helfer, Kate Hubbard, Emily Johnson, Mia Pinero, Jorge Prego, Michael Scarcelle and Charlie Widmer.

“We have put together some great talent for these evenings, including cast members from our season, to bring the Water’s Edge audience a night of entertainment that they won’t forget,” said Jacqui Hubbard, Artistic Director of Ivoryton Playhouse.

Water’s Edge, previously known as Bill Hahn’s Hotel, was an entertainment destination in the 1940s and 50s and featured both up-and-coming singers and stars such as Henry Youngman, Art Carney and Barbra Streisand.  “We’re thrilled to revive the wonderful provenance of this resort, and look forward to entertaining a new audience inspired by Bill Hahn’s delightful evenings here decades ago”, said Hubbard.

Tickets are $69 per person, including dinner and the show, and can be purchased by calling Water’s Edge Resort at 860-399-5901.  Tickets are not available through the Ivoryton Playhouse website or theatre box office.

For more information, visit watersedgeresortandspa.com.

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Essex Historical Society Reopens Much Improved Hills Academy History Center

Volunteers at the newly refurbished Hills Academy History Center catalog and safeguard its historic treasures. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Essex Historical Society (EHS) shines the spotlight on its historic structures in 2017, focusing its energies on setting the stage for a friendlier, community-centric approach to sharing their stories.  The Society’s library and offices at 22 Prospect St. reopen as the Hills Academy History Center on June 10.

Workers prepare for upgraded technology at Hills Academy to better serve the public. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Improvements include outdoors land design, improved mechanicals, safety upgrades, new security systems, new research technology, painting and window repair to create a community History Center.

The Hills Academy History Center reopens June 10. Courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Visitors who have negotiated Hills’ narrow staircase to visit the archives or conduct research will be pleasantly surprised that we are moving downstairs to the first floor!  Now, researchers and volunteers benefit from improved access at ground level to examine EHS’s frequently-used collections and visit their database via upgraded technology, funded in part through a grant from Guilford Savings Bank.

The public is welcome to join in the grand opening on Saturday, June 10, from 1 to 3 p.m.  The event is free and refreshments will be served.  Hills Academy History Center is open year-round Tuesday and Thursday mornings and by appointment.

Also that afternoon, EHS’s historic house museum, Pratt House, will participate in the statewide museum event, Connecticut Open House Day, Saturday, June 10, from 1 to 4 p.m.  Admission is free.  Both beautiful properties serve as historic resources for the entire community, helping EHS live up to its mission of Engaging and Inspiring the Community: Essex. Ivoryton. Centerbrook.  

For more information, visit www.essexhistory.org or 860-767-0681. 

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Volunteers Needed to Control Invasive Plant in Local Rivers

Water chestnut is an invasive plant that is easy for volunteers to remove & keep under control. Join CRC for upcoming volunteer events to learn about & remove this invasive plant.

AREAWIDE — There is an emerging threat to the Connecticut River and the waters within its basin that any boater, paddler, angler or property manager can help control. European water chestnut (Trapa natans) is an aquatic invasive plant that spreads rapidly, covering bodies of water with dense foliage impeding recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming.

The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), formerly Connecticut River Watershed Council, is hosting a variety of opportunities this summer for residents to learn more and help remove this threat.

Quick and thorough action must be taken to prevent this plant from taking over because water chestnut reproduces exponentially. “The good news is that this plant is easy to identify, it reproduces only by seed, and pulls up easily,” notes Alicea Charamut, River Steward for the Connecticut River Conservancy.

She continues, “It can be managed by trained volunteers. For small to moderate infestations, no chemicals or equipment are needed other than willing volunteers in canoes, kayaks, and shallow draft boats. This work offers an opportunity for those of us who love our rivers, lakes and ponds to give back to them in a fun and easy way.”

There are two opportunities to learn to identify and report the plants. CRC hosted an information session at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex on Tuesday, June 13, and will do so again at LL Bean at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor on Friday, June 19. Both events are at 6:30 p.m. There will be a brief presentation, live plants on display, and plenty of time for questions.

Charamut is also available to give talks to groups within the Connecticut River watershed, who want to bring this information to their organization or club.

Paddlers and boaters can also help CRC manage known infestations. Five hand-pulling events are already scheduled for the floating meadows of the Mattabesset River in Middletown and Keeney Cove in Glastonbury in June and July with more to be scheduled as new infestations are reported. The work is fairly easy, a little dirty and very rewarding. Supplies are provided. Those who wish to attend need only bring their boat and PFD.

In addition, CRC is coordinating a River Sweep of the Connecticut River, its coves and ponds to scout for this invasive plant. “Because the seeds from these plants can last for up to twelve years, knowing where these plants have been found is crucial. In order to effectively control the spread of these plants we must monitor locations where they have been found each year and have as many eyes on the water as possible.” Paddling and boating groups can adopt a section of the river to scout for plants on or around Saturday, June 24.

“It will take a community of those who care coming together to help control this plant,” says Charamut. The Connecticut River Conservancy joins many partners in the effort to control water chestnut in the Connecticut River watershed. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Lower Connecticut River Council of Governments, Jonah Center for Earth and Art, Connecticut River Museum, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station are all active participants working to help control this aquatic invasive plant.

More groups are encouraged to join the effort. Much of the work in the lower Connecticut River Valley here in Connecticut is possible thanks to a generous grant from the Rockfall Foundation.

For more information about education and volunteer opportunities to help control European water chestnut, visit www.ctriver.org/get-involved or contact Alicea Charamut at acharamut@ctriver.org.

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On Board the ‘Onrust,’ Famed Re-creation of Adriaen Block’s Boat Sails up Connecticut River

The ‘Onrust’ docked at Saybrook Point Inn and Spa.

ESSEX —  It was “a momentous occasion,” according to Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs when a group of dignitaries and invited guests gathered to board the re-creation of Adriaen Block’s boat Onrust last Thursday (June 1.)  Dobbs pointed out that it was, “400 years ago — 403 to be precise” since the original Onrust commenced its exploration of the Connecticut River ultimately exploring it upstream to just a little further north than present-day Hartford — a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound.

Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs takes a brief break from his duties as host on board the ‘Onrust.’

While overwintering (1613-1614) in New York Bay, the Dutch explorer Block’s first ship, the Tyger (Tiger), caught fire and burned to the waterline.  Working through the frigid winter, Block built a new ship from the salvaged remnants and named it the Onrust, Dutch for ‘Restless.’

It was the first vessel built by Europeans in New York State and the first yacht built in the New World.  In 1614, Block and his crew set off to explore coastal New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island with the intent of developing trade partnerships with Native Americans.  During his time on the water, Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River  

The re-created Onrust was launched in 2009 by The Onrust Project, an all-volunteer non-profit out of New York, which built the vessel after painstakingly researching traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques.  

To reach the Saybrook Point Inn at Old Saybrook, Conn., where the guests boarded the ship, the Onrust followed a similar path to the one that Block took in 1614.  It departed from Kingston, N.Y., traveled to New York Bay, traversed the treacherous Hell Gate, entered Long Island Sound and sailed to the mouth of the Connecticut River. 

While preparations were made to launch, Connecticut River Museum Board Chairman Tom Wilcox told the guests now assembled on board the Onrust, “This is a most auspicious occasion,” and correctly predicted they would have, “a lovely sail.”  Despite an earlier threat of rain, the weather cooperated completely with warm temperatures and clear skies.

Steven Tagliatella, owner of the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, addressed the guests on board the ‘Onrust.’

Another guest on board was Steven Tagliatella, owner of the Saybrook Point Inn, who spoke effusively about the upcoming trip to the Connecticut River Museum describing the Onrust as “a spectacular sight.”  He also took the opportunity to mention the new tourism coalition he has formed to promote tourism in the state, noting that the Onrust offers “a wonderful opportunity” for tourism.

Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodward speaks on the theme of ‘restlessness,’ echoing the name of the boat — ‘Onrust’ translates from the Dutch to ‘restless.’

Walter Woodward, Connecticut’s State Historian, unquestionably spoke for everyone on the boat when he said, “To be on this boat on this day is so exciting,” but then asked the guests to take themselves back in time to the spring of 1614 when Block brought the ship he had built the previous winter and named Onrust – Restless – to the mouth of the river the natives call Quinitticut.  Woodward declared that Block, “was as restless as his little vessel,” explaining, “The 47-year-old trader-explorer was anxious to make up the losses he had experienced the previous winter, when his ship the Tyger had accidentally caught fire.”

Woodward pursued the theme of ‘restlessness’ as he continued, saying, “Then as now, the word restless had many meanings … A generation of restless Europeans … both Dutch and English would come to this river, first in search of trade with the indigenous people, and soon after, in the quest for their land and resources.”

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna (center in sunglasses) chats with a guest during the trip up the Connecticut River.

Woodward added, “Some were restless too in a godly way – troubled in mind and spirit, seeking a place to serve God as their consciences demanded.”

He also noted that, “For those already here, the arrival of the Onrust heralded a new native restlessness – first, as the indigenous people jostled with each other for control of the distribution of European trade goods … and later to fight the efforts of these insurgents to drive them from their homes.”

Jennifer White-Dobbs enjoys the glorious river views with her son (right) and a guest.

Keeping to his theme, Woodward ended with the words, “I know you are restless to get underway, so let me conclude by saying, “ It is a privilege to be here today to mark the moment in time, when Adriaen Block and his Onrust entered the river he named Fresh River, and a world-transforming era of restless change began.”

The Essex Sailing Masters of 1812 greeted the ‘Onrust’ with bright melodies in front of the Museum.

Before introducing the next speaker, Dobbs noted, “The amount of research to build this vessel was amazing,” and also that it had taken, “Around 250 people to build the Onrust.”  He explained that the Onrust will be a floating exhibit at the Museum through early October, open for dockside tours, school and Scout programs, along with public cruises and charters.

The guests vigorously waved Dutch flags as the ‘Onrust’ pulled into the Connecticut River Museum’s dock.

Dobbs then presented Emily Boucher, who brought a message from Senator Chris Murphy, which she read aloud to the guests on the Onrust.  In the message, Murphy expressed the wish that he could join everyone on the trip, and noted he was pleased with the financial assistance the state had given the Museum which, “was going to allow it [the Museum] to not float away.”

A crew member prepares to fire the cannon to announce the boat’s arrival at the Connecticut River Museum.

Finally the Onrust departed from Saybrook Point inn and sailed serenely up the Connecticut River offering spectacular views in all directions. As the three-man crew prepared for arrival at the Museum during the first hour of the popular RiverFare event, one crew member fired a celebratory cannon.  Meanwhile, Essex’s very own Sailing Masters of 1812 provided a cheery, musical fanfare as the historic vessel approached the Museum’s dock. 

It was indeed a wonderful and “momentous” trip!

For more information on the Connecticut River Museum and the Onrust, visit the Museum’s website.  The Museum extends special thanks to Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa, Essex Meadows, the Sailing Masters of 1812, and The Onrust Project for their efforts in arranging the vessel’s arrival. 

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street in Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River. For a full listing of Museum programs or to buy tickets for the Onrust, RiverFare, and many other events go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

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See Broadway Star’s Laiona Michelle’s in Benefit Concert, Aug. 5

New England native and Broadway start Laiona Michelle will give a one-woman show at Spring Street Gallery, Aug. 5. The show will benefit the Bingham Camp Theatre Retreat.

CHESTER — Broadway’s Laiona Michelle comes to the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery in Chester, CT, on Saturday, Aug. 5, to star in a benefit concert called Little Girl Blue, the words and music of Nina Simone.

Little Girl Blue is Laiona Michelle’s one woman show inspired by her idol, the legendary jazz singer, songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone.   With personal stories and plenty of songs, all performed in Laiona’s exuberant, raw and crowd-pleasing style, Little Girl Blue is an evening that will reach deep into your soul.
Laiona Michelle is an actress and singer who has graced stages across the USA, performing in musicals, contemporary plays and Shakespeare in addition to appearing in film and on television in shows such as Law and Order.   Recently seen on Broadway in Amazing Grace and on tour in The Book of Mormon, Laiona grew up in Springfield, Mass., where she is the creator of Shakers Performing Arts Camp, which teaches Shakespeare in a “hip” fun way to inner city youth.
All proceeds from the concert will benefit the Bingham Camp Theatre Retreat (BCTR), a non-profit theatrical organization which develops new work for the stage that promotes and celebrates diversity.  Its mission is to create musicals and plays that give voice to under-represented communities onstage and promote inter-cultural dialogue and understanding.  It is located at an historic property in Salem, Conn., more than 100 years old, where theatre artists from around the country take residence each September.
Little Girl Blue direction is by BCTR’s Artistic Director Devanand Janki and musical direction is by Mark Fifer.
The performance takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, at The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery, 1 Spring Street, Chester, CT 06412. Concert tickets are $20 and available at the door and on sale now online at www.binghamcamptheatreretreat.org
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Learn Legends of the Lower CT River Valley at Essex Library, Aug. 3

Professor Steven Gencarella discusses folklore legends at Essex Library, Aug. 3.

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Valley has been an important site for storytelling ever since humans arrived here. In his talk at the Essex Library on Thursday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m., Professor Stephen Gencarella will tell and discuss many legends and other folk narratives of the lower Connecticut River Valley.

He will address some of the best known examples such as the Moodus Noises and Lady Fenwick; revive a few long-forgotten ones such as Obed’s Altar and the mystery of the Selden Island lotus; and even discuss an important (and recently discovered) ghost story centered in Essex.

Professor Gencarella is currently at work in developing an exhibit with the River Museum and will welcome audience members to share their stories as well.

Stephen Gencarella is a professor of folklore studies at UMass Amherst and is the resident folklorist at the Connecticut River Museum. He was featured in the June 2017 Connecticut Magazine in an article entitled “The Moodus Noises” (pg. 35), and is also developing a series on Connecticut folklore for iCRV.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information and to register. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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Memories of Memorial Day

CHESTER — Our thanks to Kris Seifert for sending us these wonderful photos of Chester’s Memorial Day parade and commemoration ceremony, which was held despite the inclement weather.

National Guard members stand to attention.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 13 pay their respects.

 

Chester Fife & Drum Corps march by in the rain.

 

From left to right, State Rep Bob Siegrist (waving), Selectwoman Carolyn Linn, and First Selectwoman Lauren Gister.

From left to right, Selectwoman Carolyn Linn, Selectwoman Charlene Janecek, and State Rep Bob Siegrist stand together.

Selectwoman Carolyn Linn and State Representative Bob Siegrist with Former First Selectman and Grand Marshall Bob Blair, Sr.


Boy Scout Troop 13 and Troop leaders at Flagpole with First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Selectwoman Carolyn Linn and Selectwoman Charlene Janecek.

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Take the Kids to See ‘BubbleMania’ at Ivoryton Playhouse, July 28

Casey Carle will delight audiences with his ‘Bubblemania’ show at Ivoryton Playhouse, July 28.

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse brings you another summer full of fun and educational programs all geared towards children. The Playhouse is proud to present some new and exciting live performances featuring some of Connecticut’s most popular, professional artists.

Performances are for children of all ages. Help your child discover the magic of theatre this summer at The Ivoryton Playhouse.

 

July 14
Crabgrass Puppet Theatre presents

The Pirate, The Princess and The Pea

A swashbuckling pirate and princess adventure!  A pirate’s life isn’t all “yo-ho-ho and a bottle of grog,” ya know. It’s hard work searchin’ for treasure, avoidin’ the sea monsters, keepin’ the crabs from eatin’ your nose, and fallin’ overboard just in time to meet a giant octopus. But it’s worth it when ya haul in that treasure chest . . . but the treasure in this chest happens to be a princess . . . a princess who doesn’t even believe you’re a pirate! And how do you prove you’re a real pirate? Arrgh. Well, ya start with a whole lot o’ mattresses!

July 21
Blashford Bro. Puppet Co. presents
Jack & Jill

Jack & Jill is a one-man puppet show featuring hand-carved, folk-toy-inspired puppets and live music. The show explores the contemporary issue of water conservation in the tradition of the Appalachian Jack Tale. In this story, a young coal miner and his companion go ‘up a hill to fetch a pail of water’ then take on a selfish giant and save a whole neighborhood! Everyone is welcome to a big ol’, heapin’ helpin’ of this good-natured, heartland American story of teaming up and looking out for the little guy.  A show for all ages.

July 28
Casey Carle’s
Bubblemania

Back by popular demand! Casey Carle performs tricky undulations, manipulations and juggling with bubbles. An extremely unique program combining high energy entertainment with artistic achievement, BubbleMania is loaded with visual comedy, quick wit, big band swing music and the untamed, often unbelievable qualities and beauty of spherical liquids. Casey’s creations grow from intricate and imaginative bubble artforms to “trapping” people inside bubbles! This is a bubble show to keep the 5 to 75 year-olds mesmerized.

August 25
The Comedy Magic of Danny Diamond

Come and be amazed by the comedy magic of Danny Diamond. His show will astound and entertain people of all ages. Bring the whole family for some fun and entertainment on a warm summer day.  dannydiamond.com

All performances are at 11am. Tickets are $14 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  Book early to avoid disappointment. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

 

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2017 Sailing Season Opens at Pettipaug Yacht Club

Dave Courcy, Commodore of the Pettipaug Yacht Club, at the club’s docks.

ESSEX — The Pettipaug Yacht Club held its formal commissioning ceremonies to mark the opening of the 2017 sailing season on Sunday, May 21. The ceremonies were held on the club’s grounds, which are located on the western bank of the Connecticut River in Essex.

Prior to the formal opening of the club’s season, there was a dinghy sailing race at 1 p.m. by club members.

The entrance sign to the Pettipaug Yacht Club welcomes members, guests and PSA students.

All of the 300 plus members of the Pettipaug Yacht Club were invited be attend the formal commissioning ceremonies of the 2017 sailing season held on May 21 at the club’s headquarters on the Connecticut River.

Pettipaug YC sailors will be soon be out again on the waters of the Connecticut River.

The ceremonies were conducted by the Club’s Commodore Dave Courcy and Vice Commodore Katheren Ryan.

Commodore Courcy has served in that position from 2016 to the present.  Prior to that he served as the Vice Commodore and Rear Commodore.

Sailing dinghies mostly used by younger sailors at the Pettipaug Yacht Club.

In addition to being available for the general use of club members, Pettipaug Yacht Club also sponsors the Pettipaug Sailing Academy (PSA) during the summer months, at which young sailors are taught to sail.

The club also sponsors power boat instruction conducted by club member John Kennedy. If interested in joining the power boat classes or for further information, contact Kennedy at Kdesign@snet.net.  Club membership is not required in order to attend the power boat classes.

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Estuary Offers Medical Appointment Rides for Seniors

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Senior Center provides transportation to those aged 60 and over for medical appointments, including dialysis, to any medical location beyond the nine-town estuary region such as Branford, New Haven, Middletown, Hartford and New London. With the Center’s Stan Greimann EMOTS program, a driver and car will pick you up, take you to your appointment, and bring you back home. 

For more information on the Stan Greimann EMOTS program, call David at 860-388-1611, X203. Suggested donation of $35 for roundtrip service.

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Deep River Public Library Introduces Wandoo Reader

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Public Library will be introducing Wandoo Reader, an interactive program to log summer reading. Interested participants can access Wandoo Reader from the library’s home page. There will be a two registration options, one for adults and the other for children. Registration begins June 14. Logging begins on June 28.

Participants can sign up by choosing the “join here” tab and filling in the appropriate information, including choosing a user name and password to access their account. Kids under age 18 will be eligible for prizes and weekly raffles, which include novelties, snacks, craft kits, Avery’s Gross Soda, gift certificates for scoops from the Sweet Shoppe, and cookies at Dough on Main. We will also raffle off an Erector set and a gift certificate to Deep River Pizza.

Wandoo Reader for Kids has a fun interface to help encourage children to complete the Governor’s Reading Challenge. As they log books, participants earn points to modify their adventure character. Wandoo Reader makes it easy for students to keep track of their books. No more lost paper logs – simply print your list of books at summer’s end!

Parents and Adults can enjoy a simpler version of Wandoo Reader. Register and log your reading with Wandoo Reader Adult and become eligible for the end-of-summer raffle, which include gift certificates to local Deep River merchants.

Summer Reading programs are free and open to all. Programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Deep River Public Library, Dough on Main, Deep River Pizza, the Sweet Shoppe and the Hartford Yardgoats.

For more information, visiy http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on our monthly calendar, email the Children’s Department at drplchildrensdept@gmail.com or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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Reps. MacLachlan, Carney, House Republicans Unveil Revised No-Tax-Increase Budget Proposal

HARTFORD — State Representatives Jesse MacLachlan (R-35th) and Devin Carney (R-23rd) joined their House Republican colleagues May 16 to issue their revised no-tax-increase budget for 2018-19 that eliminates the projected $5 billion budget deficit, increases school funding for all towns, reduces the corporate surcharge and mitigates municipal aid losses by reallocating funds.

“The governor’s revised budget continues to make devastating cuts to our communities to shift money to major cities,” said Rep. MacLachlan. “Our revised budget protects and provides adequate funding to all communities throughout the state. I am proud to also see that our budget closes the deficit by making long-term structural changes. I will continue to work with members of my caucus and with members from across the aisle to find common ground, but I will not vote in favor of a budget that increases taxes or zeros out education funding to our communities.”

“Connecticut cannot afford another budget that raises taxes on the middle class or burdens our small towns. I am proud of the budget that my Republican colleagues and I have put forth as it does not rely on tax hikes or passing huge costs, such as teacher’s retirement, onto municipalities. I am hopeful that Republicans and Democrats in the legislature can work together to restore the fiscal health of Connecticut by passing a common sense budget that will allow our state and its residents to thrive,” said Rep. Carney.

In this current proposal, Republicans revert back to the former Education Cost Sharing formula, while also adding $20 million to the distribution.  In addition, the proposal establishes a $90 million grant in order to ensure that no municipality loses aid compared to the current fiscal year.

Other structural changes include:

  • Implements a strict Constitutional Spending Cap
  • Reduces bond issuance cap from $2 billion to $1.3 billion for each fiscal year
  • Ensures municipalities are held harmless
  • Establishes a wage freeze for state employees, but no layoffs

Republicans now join Democrats and Gov. Malloy at the negotiating table to come up with a final budget plan that can pass both the House and Senate.

For more information on the House Republican budget proposal, visit www.cthousegop.com/budget.

 

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Essex Boat Works, Carlson Landing Present Proposed Marina, Restaurant Building Plans at Last Monday’s Zoning Hearing

Rendering of the proposed waterfront premises by Centerbrook Architects.

ESSEX — Essex Boat Works, LLC and Carlson Landing LLC presented their finalized building plans for its Main Street property for review by the Town of Essex Zoning Board on Monday, May 15.  The details of the plans will begin with the construction of a new marina building and accessory waterfront restaurant with Main Street access.

The business and property were purchased in February of 2016, by Richard (Rick) E. Carlson/Carlson Landing, LLC of Essex, Conn.  Carlson purchased the property with the vision to preserve a very important piece of boating and Essex history while beautifying the waterfront area and supporting the economic business development goals of the town.

A team of expert consultants, Centerbrook Architects and Milone & MacBroom, have developed a proposal that complies with regulatory and code requirements.  Centerbrook Architects has planned and designed a suitable year-round building to be used for office space, marina customers along with an accessory waterfront restaurant.

The design goal was established to keep to the historical look and feel of the downtown Essex area, specifically the nearby buildings.  The new establishment, located on the Essex Harbor, will be an anchor for the town.  It is a prime location for visitors from the water to dock their boats, visit the local restaurants and shops throughout Essex Village.  The accessory restaurant will feature waterfront indoor and outdoor dining with a menu of ‘lite bites,’ small plates of upscale casual seafood selections.

Editor’s Note: One of the oldest remaining shipyards in the country, the location of Essex Boat Works predates the War of 1812, where the building of the U.S. warships was performed.  Located in the heart of the historic Essex Village, EBW continues the legacy of top-notch customer relations and professional services including; marina, storage, service, brokerage and new yacht sales.  A new office, marina building with an accessory restaurant are planned for construction beginning in 2017. For more information visit:  www.essexboatworks.com  or call 860-767-8276.

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Op-Ed: CT River Museum Raises Questions About Essex’s Changing Waterfront

The following op-ed was submitted by the Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum, Christopher Dobbs.

The Connecticut River Museum may be getting a new neighbor – a restaurant called Carlson’s Landing, to be located at 63 Main Street on a flag lot that bisects the Museum’s campus – the main Museum at 67 Main Street and the Lay House at 57 Main Street. The Museum is delighted Essex is getting a business that might draw welcome patronage to the Village’s main commercial district. However, the organization does have reservations about the application for the new restaurant which it will air at the upcoming Zoning Commission’s public hearing at 7:00 pm on May 15th .

Careful review of the Carlson’s Landing application by engineers, a zoning specialist, and a surveyor have resulted in several concerns. The majority of these stem from inadequate information. Major concerns at this time are: 1) increased traffic congestion and impact; 2) inadequate parking; and 3) under equipped bathroom facilities and septic system.

The Museum is worried that the developers have seriously under-represented the burden that additional traffic will have on the foot of Main Street and the Museum. The proposed restaurant (according to an application now on file with the Zoning Commission) will be accessed with one-way traffic from 63 Main – including commercial delivery and trash removal trucks – with egress contemplated across the Essex Boat Works lot and onto Ferry Street. (The developers are also the new owners of Essex Boat Works which is accessed via a driveway at 9 Ferry Street.)

The proposed plan permanently removes the Museum’s stairway connecting the two halves of its campus. This staircase, in honor of Sherry and Herb Clark, was donated to the Museum in 2013 by the Rotary Club of Essex with the permission of the property’s previous owner. It has allowed the Museum to thrive and better serve the community. Removal will result in the two halves being disconnected and the Museum installing a new set of stairs to the Lay property from the village sidewalk. More importantly, thousands of program attendees, including school children, will need to walk along the road and cross the entrance of the restaurant.

Increased traffic by cars and trucks, no matter where pedestrians cross to stroll down to the waterfront, will transform the foot of Main Street. For safety and aesthetic reasons, the Museum has suggested to the owners that commercial traffic enter and exit via 9 Ferry Street, which they have refused to do. The Museum has also requested that they limit traffic off of Main Street during major community events such as Burning of the Ships Day, the Annual Essex Shad Bake, Dogs on the Dock, and Trees in the Rigging. To date, the developers have not formally agreed.

Parking on the restaurant lot (10 spaces are identified on the plan) is inadequate. To meet zoning regulations, the plans call for using the adjacent Essex Boat Works property for parking. Since the Boat Works will continue to operate as a boat yard and marina, the Museum is concerned that the operations will impinge on the theoretical parking spaces and that restaurant patrons will need to find parking elsewhere, including in the Museum’s lot.

The Museum worries that if 63 Main Street and 9 Ferry Street were ever sold separately that the one-way driveway will need to become two-way (including commercial traffic) and there will then be even more inadequate parking on the restaurant lot with subsequent further strain on the Museum parking lot. One solution to this problem would be to secure cross-property easements (between 63 Main Street and 9 Ferry Street) for parking and ingress/egress that would survive any future sale of either lot.

Finally, the Museum has concerns about the new restaurant’s septic system design and bathroom capacity. The application indicates that the system’s leaching fields will be located on the flag lot between the Museum’s two properties – uphill and very close to the line. Sewage will need to be pumped uphill to the leaching fields. The Museum’s engineer questions the fields’ ability to withstand inundation from rainfall, let alone over-use. There are only two restrooms shown on the plans for the new restaurant that are meant to accommodate 59 restaurant patrons. In addition to restaurant patrons, the restrooms and septic system will also need to accommodate restaurant and marina employees along with showers for marina customers. The Museum questions whether the new restaurant has made adequate provision and is concerned that its own restroom facilities (the two in the Lay house and the three in its main building) will have additional demand placed on them by people frequenting lower Main Street.

The Museum is pleased to have a new neighbor on the foot of Main Street. Carefully addressing these concerns will allow the Museum, the restaurant, and our community to flourish.

Editor’s Note: For 43 years, the Connecticut River Museum has been a significant community and regional asset. Over 25,000 visitors each year attend the Museum’s programs with many more using the front lawn and Lay house property as their park and access to New England’s great river.

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

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Essex Foundation Continues Gateway Beautification Work

As part of the Essex Foundation’s gateway beautification project, Chanticleer pear trees were planted along Route 154 in Essex by a Sullivan Lawn Services installation crew.

ESSEX – The Essex Foundation recently completed the first phase of a multi-phase landscape plan for the grounds surrounding the newly painted bridge in the Rte. 9/ Exit 3 underpass area of Essex. Twelve Chanticleer pear trees were planted on the state-owned land south of the Rte. 154 and Rte. 153 intersection, directly across from the Essex Fire Department station and commuter lot.

The charitable organization contracted with Matthew Verry, a graduate of the University of Connecticut’s Landscape Architecture program, for the planning and coordination of the work. His company, Matthew Verry Landscape Design, provided the landscape design and oversight of the state approval and installation bid process.  Sullivan Lawn Services, LLC was hired for the installation work.

The Chanticleer pear tree was selected for its beauty and hardiness.  It is one of the most profuse flowering trees with a narrow, tailored appearance.  It tolerates many urban conditions, making it a popular street tree choice where spread may be a bit limited. The next phase of the landscape beautification, which includes planting of low growing, low maintenance evergreen and perennial ornamentals in the southeast corner of the gateway area, is also targeted for completion this spring.

Funds for the cost of the planning, design, tree/plant purchase and installation were provided through a bequest to the Essex Foundation by the late Elizabeth “Diz” Barnes Callender and her predeceased sister Mary Frances Barnes.

“The gateway beautification has been a true community effort,” stated Bruce Glowac, Chairman of the Essex Foundation Board of Trustees, “It is exactly the type of project we like to get behind – somewhat unique, requiring relatively quick action. It’s also nice that the impact can be seen immediately. Now that the bridge painting is complete, the trees are installed, and the ornamentals are being planted, .”

The Essex Foundation was founded in 1970 through an open-ended bequest to benefit the town.  Board members are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Essex citizens by providing medical, educational, social, welfare, cultural, recreational, and civic support. Thanks to the Foundation’s endowment, as well as the many donations received from individuals, businesses and other organizations, the Essex Foundation is able to provide “seed money” for new services and to allocate funds to fill needs not met by other organizations or sources. In general, funds are granted for special purposes, including buildings, equipment, land, and programs, but not to recurring expenses. More information can be found at www.theessexfoundaton.org.

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Musical Masterworks, Community Music School Announce New Scholarship

ESSEX/OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks and Community Music School (CMS) have announced a new scholarship to honor the memory of Nancy D. Thomas.

Ms. Thomas was a well-known and beloved piano instructor with Community Music School for 30 years and initiated the Kindermusik program and Kate’s Camp for Kids at CMS.  She influenced the lives of many young musicians and inspired their talents.  “We are thrilled to provide an additional opportunity for young people to study music through this new endeavor and are so honored to have Musical Masterworks by our side in this partnership.” said Abigail Nickell, Executive Director of Community Music School

Ms. Thomas also was on the staff of Musical Masterworks for almost 25 years.  She was fastidious in her responsibilities working with the pianists onstage and was well loved by all.  “Nancy was an indispensable part of Musical Masterworks.  We are delighted to partner with her beloved Community Music School in establishing this scholarship in her name, so that more young people can discover the power of music in their lives. We believe this would have pleased Nancy immensely,” said Alden Rockwell Murphy, President of Musical Masterworks.

Community Music School and Musical Masterworks are pleased to honor her memory with the Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas, which will provide the tuition for a middle school student to take music lessons, 30 minutes each, for one full year at Community Music School.  The scholarship will be awarded annually for the next five years.  To be eligible, the candidate must be a student of classical voice or instrumental music and reside in Middlesex County or New London County.

Interested students must complete an application and submit an audio recording of two pieces of classical music in contrasting styles as well as a written recommendation.  A three-member jury comprised of representatives of both Community Music School and Masterworks will review applications.

The application deadline for the scholarship is June 16, 2017, and the scholarship recipients will be notified mid-summer. To learn more and to obtain an application, contact Community Music School at (860) 767-0026.

Editor’s Notes: Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34-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 www.community-music-school.org or call 860.767.0026.

Musical Masterworks brings to Southern New England world-class chamber music performances and outreach programs which attract, entertain, and educate a diverse audience. Now planning its 27th season, Musical Masterworks offers five weekends of performances from October through May in Old Lyme.  Learn more by visiting www.musicalmasterworks.org or by calling 860.434.2252.

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‘Olive Oyl’s’ Plans Uptown Move Soon, Possibly June

A cheerful Kevin Kendall, co-owner of Olive Oyl’s in Essex, stands at the counter in the current shop.

ESSEX — Olive Oyl’s, a favorite sandwich shop in Essex, presently located at 77 Main Street, will be changing its address as early as this coming June, according to Kevin Kendall, who co-owns the shop with his wife Jennifer. The shop’s new location will be at 6 Main Street in Essex and the shop there will be considerably larger than the current one.

A flag waves above the entrance to the current Olive Oyl’s shop at 77 Main Street in Essex.

For several weeks, workmen at the new location have been modernizing the present structure and also resurfacing the paved driveway at the front of the store.

Olive Oyl’s new home at 6 Main Street.

Olive Oyl’s move to a new and much larger location in Essex up Main Street can be seen as a clear plus for the town of Essex. It will likely draw more visitors to that section of town though passengers arriving in Essex by boat will have a little further to walk up Main Street to make their purchases … but the delicious offerings at their destination will surely be worth the effort!

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‘Small Gems’ on View at Maple & Main

‘Black-eyed Susans and cherries’ by Claudia Van Nes of Chester.

CHESTER — During May, Maple and Main is devoting its Stone Gallery to a new type of exhibit for the gallery: each unique painting in the show will be 8”x 8” in dimension and sell for $200.

The 60 or so paintings were created especially for this show by Maple and Main artists in a wide selection of styles and medium.

An opening party for the Small Gems: 8”x8” show will be Friday, May 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. which is First Friday in Chester as well as the town’s annual May Daze Stroll.

The gallery will serve wine and Mexican dips in a nod to Cinco de Mayo which is also May 5.  All other galleries, shops and restaurants in Chester will also be open offering food, drink and special events.

The Small Gems show runs from May 6 through May 31.

‘Nocturnal Light’ by Rachel Carlson of Deep River

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Contact the gallery at Mapleandmaingallery.com, 860-526-6065 or on Facebook and Instagram.

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CT Audubon RTPEC Offers Estuary Explorations Saturday Mornings

Osprey in flight. Photo by Brock Graham.

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is offering a new program of Saturday morning field trips to natural areas along the lower Connecticut River starting May 6.

Estuary Explorations will be led by PhD ecologist Paul Spitzer, a protégé of internationally recognized naturalist and painter, Roger Tory Peterson. Each exploration will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the possibility of extending the field tripinto the afternoon, depending on the participants’ interest.

The fee for each field trip is $30 per person ($25 per student) and registration is required. To register, visit this link.

Estuary Explorations will give participants a chance to learn about the Lower Connecticut River Estuary’s ecosystems and wildlife as the year progresses from the peak bird migratory season of May, through high summer, and into the late fall.

Paul Spitzer. Photo courtesy of Paul Spitzer.

Spitzer has designed the programs to follow in the footsteps of one of the 20th century’s most famous naturalists, field guide author and illustrator Roger Tory Peterson, who spent his adult life painting in his studio in Old Lyme and examining the flora and fauna of the Connecticut River Estuary and the world.

Spitzer will showcase some of Peterson’s favorite natural sites and share his extensive knowledge of the ecology of the region. Spitzer plans to lead these explorations at a “Thoreauvian saunter,” moving slowly to appreciate many of the birds, plants, and insects that Peterson once enjoyed.

While Old Lyme tends to be recognized for its scenic views and historic artist colony and arts culture, it is also situated at an important ecological hub in New England — the meeting of the waters. In this species-rich estuary, the fresh water of the vast Connecticut River and Long Island Sound mix, resulting in a wealth of natural life.

Spitzer learned his natural history while growing up in the Connecticut River Valley. He is a graduate of Old Lyme High School and continued up the river to attend Wesleyan University. He later earned his PhD in ecological sciences from Cornell University.

More recently, he has studied the now substantial Connecticut River Estuary Osprey colony as a “biomonitor” of migratory menhaden abundance, the Osprey’s preferred food source. Spitzer advocates for sustainable management practices of this keystone fish for its ecosystem, economic, and societal functions.

Working alongside Spitzer will be Old Saybrook native, Jim Arrigoni. Arrigoni has worked as a fisheries biologist in Washington State and developed protocols to evaluate stream water quality in Hong Kong. Most recently, he has taught cultural and aquatic ecology classes at Goodwin College, and he is currently completing a PhD on the conservation value of restored wetlands.

Spitzer has studied Ospreys for 50 years, his research beginning here in the Connecticut River Estuary. By the 1970’s, the impact of DDT in the ecosystem whittled the local Osprey colony down to one active nest. Spitzer was instrumental in the recovery of this important keystone species to these waters.

“The Connecticut River Ospreys are our iconic story of revival from the brink,” said Spitzer. “These guided and educational field trips will open a world of discovery about nature’s profusion in this extraordinary bioregion.”

“Migrant and resident species of the estuary watershed are particularly exciting to observe in May. I will provide up-close and expansive views of the natural world from salt marshes to Yellow Warblers in particularly beautiful places.”

After meeting at the Old Lyme I-95 Park and Ride (Exit 70), participants will enjoy three hours of ecological exploration followed by a brown bag lunch and guided discussion in the field.  Spitzer is also willing to offer optional afternoon sessions gauged by the stamina and interest of the participants.

Beyond the four Saturdays in May, the field trips will occur monthly through November.

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Region 4 Budget Passes by 100 Votes

The Region 4 proposed 2017-18 budget passed comfortably today with totals of 429 Yes votes to 329 No votes.

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Tri-Towns Observe ‘High on Life’ Week to Raise Substance Abuse Awareness, May 1-6

Celebrated annually throughout Chester, Deep River, and Essex, the annual High on Life Week is being observed this week, May 1-6, according to the wishes of the three select persons of Chester, Deep River and Essex respectively, Lauren Gister, Angus McDonald and Norm Needleman, who have signed the following Proclamation:

CT State Police report that alcohol and marijuana continue to be used prevalently by young people under 20 in our community.  A recent survey of youth indicates that nearly 40% of Valley students use alcohol and about 24% use marijuana regularly.  There are also emerging concerns that teens are using prescription drugs recreationally, often with alcohol. 

Unfortunately, the communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex are not immune to the current opioid crisis in our nation.  Our Resident State Troopers concur that heroin is now the most common drug found among adults over 25 in our towns.  Drugs and alcohol affect all of us.  Our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends or family members are caught in cycles of using substances to feel better but ultimately succumbing to addiction.

We cannot retreat from any opportunity to enlighten, to inform, and to gain the support of all residents as we work together to ensure that our young people and future generations escape the consequences of lives ruled by substance abuse.

The week of May 1-6 will be such an opportunity.  Tri-Town Youth Services will sponsor the 28th annual substance abuse awareness week to educate our communities about drug and alcohol use and abuse and to help people see that life can be enjoyed to its fullest without drugs.

Our unifying theme this year is: “Self-Esteem”.  The week’s events will include coordinated school assemblies, fun youth activities and community-wide discussions about substance abuse and other addictive behaviors.  Residents are encouraged to attend a Community Breakfast on May 10 from 8-9:30 a.m. at Camp Hazen to discuss local drug trends, share concerns, talk with neighbors about underlying causes and share ideas for connecting with youth and supporting healthy decisions.

Therefore, in recognition of this vital cooperative effort, we, the first selectmen of Chester, Deep River, and Essex, designate May 1-6, 2017 as our tri-town prevention and awareness week and a celebration of our lives free of substance abuse.  We sincerely urge all members of our communities to participate in this week’s important activities.

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Acton Library Announces Annual Poetry Contest Winners

AREAWIDE — The Acton Public Library will hold Poetry Night Wednesday, April 26, at 7 p.m. concluding its 23rd Annual Poetry Competition.  Winning poets will read their compositions and receive their awards. The public is invited to attend.

The panel judges for this year’s competition were Barbara Batt of Old Saybrook, Mary Guitar of Lyme, Susan Murphy of Madison, Mary Volk of Old Saybrook, and Jane Ulrich of Guilford. Chief judges were Patricia O’Brien, Old Saybrook’s Poet Laureate, and Nancy Meneely of Essex.

The evening, celebrating National Poetry Month, and the poets’ prizes are sponsored by the Friends of Acton Library. All submitted poems will be on display in the library through May.

The library is open Monday through Thursday 10-8:00, Friday and Saturday 10-5.

Contest winners are:

ADULT PRIZES

1st PRIZE                  My Father by Mike Augusta of Deep River
2nd PRIZE                How She Left by Lorraine Riess of Higganum
3rd PRIZE                Tar by Mike Augusta of Deep River

GRADES 9-12 PRIZES

1st PRIZE                  Parental Boogie by Sophie Spaner of Deep River
2nd PRIZE                 Escape by Stefanie Guo of Madison
3rd PRIZE                 Turns Black When Wet by Julia Collins of Old Saybrook

GRADES 7-8 PRIZES

1st PRIZE                    Snowflakes by Mackenzie Kapp of Old Saybrook
2nd PRIZE                  An Alphabet of Self Reflection by Mia Katz of Branford
3rd PRIZE                   Seeds by Sophie Burdick of Deep River

GRADES 4-6 PRIZES

1st  PRIZE               Moon Haikus by Van Lampos of Old Lyme
2nd PRIZE               Rude Awakening by Sheila Northrup of Madison
3rd PRIZE TIE        Time by Margo Katz of Branford
Oak Tree by Philip Warren of Old Saybrook

GRADES 1-3 PRIZES

1st PRIZE                  Butterfly by Hannah Belknap of Old Saybrook
2nd PRIZE                Valentine’s Day by Toyba Barasz of Old Saybrook

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Essex Meadows Announces Lifelong Learning Affiliation with Wesleyan University, Courses Open to Public Start May 13

Courses Offer Opportunities for Continuing Education, Intellectual Growth and Socialization

ESSEX – Essex Meadows, in affiliation with Wesleyan University, announces a series of lifelong learning sessions hosted by the retirement community. With intellectually stimulating courses geared toward historians, art aficionados and more, these lifelong learning opportunities will promote cultural ties with the community.

Beginning Saturday, May 13, the classes and interactive learning sessions will focus on a host of topics, taught by Wesleyan faculty members. “Research has shown that adults who engage in intellectual and artistic endeavors feel more connected to their local community,” said Susan Carpenter, director of community life services at Essex Meadows.

She continued, “Whether your passion is history, art, or lifelong learning, in general, this affiliation allows us to offer some wonderful opportunities to broaden one’s knowledge base.”

Rick Friswell, associate director of the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning, says the topics will cover a variety of content. “Learning is limitless and we’re excited about the content we’ll be covering at Essex Meadows,” he said. “We’re exploring these important topics in a way that should spark curiosity and discussion, and we’re really excited about this affiliation.”

The first course will focus on World War I, and will include a 1957 film on the topic, as well as lecture and discussion.

These events are open to the public, with costs associated with some of the courses.

Schedule of Courses

  • Saturday, May 13:
    One Day University – The Great War to End All Wars $125
  • Thursday, June 8:
    Lecture – The Epic of Gilgamesh No Charge
  • Wednesday, July 12:
    Field Trip – Yale Center for British Art $45
  • Thursday, September 7:
    Mini Course – Three Places in New England: A Guided Tour Through 19th Century Art and Literature $100
  • Sunday, October 29:
    Melodrama – Dark and Stormy Nights: Gothic Fiction and Romantic Music No Charge

To register, contact Susan Carpenter, director of community life services, at carpenters@essexmeadows.com or 860-767-4578, ext. 5156. Checks should be made payable to Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning. Visit www.essexmeadows.com/events to learn more.

Essex Meadows is located at 30 Bokum Road, Essex, CT 06426.

Since 1988, Essex Meadows has provided a lifestyle of dignity, freedom, independence and security to older adults from Connecticut and beyond. A community offering full lifecare, Essex Meadows, located conveniently on the Connecticut River near the mouth of Long Island Sound, prides itself on a financially responsible and caring atmosphere.

Essex Meadows is managed by Life Care Services®™, a leading provider in life care, retirement living. For more information on Essex Meadows, visit the community’s website or call 860-767-7201.

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One Weekend, Three New Eagle Scouts for Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 celebrates three new Eagles Scouts. From left to right, James Rutty, Samuel Rutty, Zane Bouregy. Photo by Michael Rutty.

CHESTER/DEEP RIVER — Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America would like to congratulate two Chester brothers and one Centerbrook resident on earning the rank of Eagle Scout. These Eagle Scouts completed projects in the towns of Chester and Haddam Neck.    All the work completed benefits residents and visitors to both towns.

To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must earned 21 merit badges and advance through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to his Troop and service to his community.  One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the Scout’s community, school, or religious institution; all of this work must be completed prior to the young man’s 18th birthday.

James H. Rutty’s  Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to construct a prayer garden patio with benches and peace pole at the United Church of Chester, allowing residents and visitors a place for quiet reflection and prayer. James was awarded the rank at a joint Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony with his brother Samuel on March 18, 2017 at the United Church of Chester.  Since joining Troop 13, James has earned 85 Merit Badges.  James is a junior at Saint Bernard School in Uncasville, CT.

Samuel M. Rutty’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to raise funds and construct twenty eight foot wood and concrete memorial benches at the Haddam Neck Fairgrounds, providing attendees a place to rest and enjoy the fair.  Sam was awarded the rank at a joint Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony with his brother James on March 18, 2017 at the United Church of Chester.  Since joining Troop 13, Sam has earned 70 Merit Badges.  Samuel is a freshman at Saint Bernard School in Uncasville, CT.

Zane F. Bouregey’s  Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to replace the flagpole, restore the veterans memorial at Cedar Lake and hold a rededication ceremony on December 28, 2016.  Zane was awarded the rank at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor held March 19, 2017 at the Deep River Town Hall.  Since joining Troop 13, Zane has earned 46 Merit Badges.  Zane is a senior at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, CT.

We offer our congratulations to these fine, young men!

Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves the boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead. The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun.

To learn more information about joining Troop 13, contact Scoutmaster Steven Merola at 860-526-9262

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Deep River Rotary Offers Tai Chai Classes as Gift to Community, Tuesdays & Thursdays


DEEP RIVER —
Summer Tai Chi on the River will begin on Tuesday, June 20, at 7 a.m. at the Deep River Landing.   The class will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 10 weeks throughout the summer.    There is no charge to be a part of the class.  

It will be taught again this year by David Shaver, of Peaceful Wolf T’ai Chi Ch’uan in East Haddam.   He has studied the arts of Tai Chi and Qigong for 29 years and taught them for 22 and is a wonderful teacher for beginners as well as experienced people.

The Deep River Rotary Club has sponsored this class each summer for many years, and residents from throughout the area gather at this beautiful location early in the morning for exercise, peace of mind, and well-being.   These gentle exercises are accessible to anyone.   This summer program is Rotary’s gift to the community.

The class will include a warm-up to gather and healing movements to promote flow of energy in the body.   Basic principles of T’ai Chi and Qigong will also be practiced and discussed.  Come and open your body and spirit to these ancient techniques as morning breaks over the river, the herons fly by, and life awakens.

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Madhatters Announce Summer Camps in Chester

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company is now accepting registrations for their summer productions at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street in Chester, Conn.  Camps run Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a performance on Friday.

Junior production ‘Madagascar’ open to ages 6-12 years July 24 through 28.

Senior production ‘Legally Blonde’ open to ages 12-18 years July 31 through Aug. 4.

To register, e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com

For further information, visit www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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Legendary Adriaen Block Vessel To Land this Summer at Connecticut River Museum

Onrust under sail. Photo courtesy of the Onrust Project.

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Museum has announced that the Onrust, a replica of the first European vessel to explore and chart the Connecticut River, will rediscover the River this summer.

Following Henry Hudson’s 1609 expedition, Dutch captain Adriaen Block was hired to explore the northeastern coastline of America with the intent of establishing trade with Native Americans and claiming parts of the territory for the Dutch Republic.  On his fourth and final voyage (1613-1614), Block’s ship the Tiger was destroyed by fire while in New York Bay.  Block and his crew went to work near Manhattan building a new vessel – the Onrust (launched in New York Bay in April 1614).

The Onrust investigated coastal New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. In the course of his travels, Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River to just north of Hartford (a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound).  He recorded the conditions, the places that he saw, and the native people he encountered. 

The impacts of Block’s travels were many.  Upon his return to Amsterdam in July 1614, Block’s explorations, along with the collective knowledge from other expeditions, were documented in the “Figurative Map of Capt. Adriaen Block” — an incredibly accurate map of the northeast region given the navigation and survey instruments of the day. 

Connecticut River Museum Executive Director, Christopher Dobbs stated “We cannot be more thrilled to host this remarkable vessel that has such historic relevance to our region.”  In fact, as Dobbs notes, Block’s discoveries ushered in dramatic changes.  Most notably, the cultural interchanges (often leading to calamitous consequences) between Native Americans and Europeans, colonization, the founding of New Netherland, and the ecological impacts due to global trade.  It was “at least in part thanks to Block’s work that a Dutch trading post was established in 1624 in Old Saybrook and that Hartford [House of Hope] became New Netherland’s eastern-most trading post and fort.”

The re-creation of the vessel was spearheaded by New York based nonprofit The Onrust Project. Following extensive research, the rediscovery of traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques, and the efforts of over 250 volunteers, the vessel was launched in 2009 at the Mabee Farm Historic Site, Rotterdam, NY.  Board Chair and Executive Director of The Onrust Project, Greta Wagle said “The Onrust is an extraordinary, floating museum.  We are very pleased to collaborate with the Connecticut River Museum and share her important stories with River Valley residents and tourists.”

The Connecticut River Museum will host the Onrust from June 1 through early October.  During this time they will offer cruises and dockside tours.  To find out more details about the Onrust’s summer cruises, charters, and upcoming programs please visit the Connecticut River Museum’s website at ctrivermuseum.org.  You can also discover the Onrust yourself by going to The Onrust Project’s website at theonrust.com.

Interested in becoming a volunteer guide this summer aboard the ship?  Contact the Museum’s Education Department at jwhitedobbs@ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  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.  The Museum currently has a special exhibition, Connecticut’s Founding Fish, exploring the story of the Shad.

For more information on exhibits and related programs please contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or visit the website, ctrivermuseum.org.

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The Rockfall Foundation Announces 12 Grants for Environmental Projects

AREAWIDE — The Board of Directors and Grants Committee of the Rockfall Foundation are pleased to announce that twelve environmental programs throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley received grants in the latest funding cycle. More than $28,000 was awarded to support environmental education and conservation efforts that will have a combined benefit for nearly 2,000 students and many more adults and families in the region.

“These grants, awarded through a competitive process, support the wonderful work being done in the area of environmental education and conservation throughout our region,” said Marilyn Ozols, President of the Foundation. “We are grateful that the generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to support so many worthwhile programs.”

Environmental education is a priority area for the Foundation and programs that serve and engage children and youth represent the several of those receiving grants. Public schools and non-profit organizations will provide hands-on environmental education programs in Middletown, Durham, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Additionally, several conservation projects and public events will present residents throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley with information on urban farming, removal of invasives, and tree identification, as well as provide volunteer opportunities.

Grantees include:

Indian Hill Cemetery Association – “A Celebration of the Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery” will encourage visitors to utilize Indian Hill Cemetery as a place where they can learn about trees, be inspired by trees, enjoy the view and walk quietly. Tree identification activities, school programs, and the addition of signs will support this effort. $1,000

Van Buren Moody Elementary School – “Moody School Courtyard Nature Enrichment Programs” will train teachers to use the school’s courtyard gardens for education enrichment, thereby increasing the amount of time students spend outside learning about the environment. The program will also involve students and families in maintaining and managing the gardens to create a sense of ownership and connection to the courtyards and the natural world. $1,030

Regional School District 13 Elementary Schools – “Taking the Next Generation Science Standards Outside” will encourage elementary students to engage in the Science and Engineering Practices emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, while exploring the nature trails near their schools and noting problems that could be investigated and addressed. $1,100

Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District – “Urban Farm-Based Education Programs at Forest City Farms: A Farm Days Pilot Project” will promote an ongoing urban agriculture initiative in Middletown focused on improving urban farming conservation practices, building community interest and engagement in farming, developing farming/gardening knowledge and skills, and helping address food insecurity. Hands-on activities will take place at Forest City Farms. $1,500

Middlesex Land Trust and Everyone Outside – “Middlesex Land Trust Preserves: Great Places to Spend Time Outside” will revive and foster an interest in nature by connecting children and families with their local environment through field trips and public trail walks, helping them gain an understanding and appreciation of nature in order to become future stewards of the environment. $1,500

Snow Elementary School – “Outdoor Explorations at Snow Elementary School” will provide students and teachers with hands-on science and nature programs, including teacher training, mentoring and curriculum development leading to greater interest in science and stewardship of the natural world. $1,900

Lyme Land Conservation Trust – “The Diana and Parker Lord Nature and Science Center” to support the planning and development of educationally-focused content that is directed to all ages and will engage school-age children, and to support a unique and interactive interpretive trail within the Banningwood Preserve. $2,000

Valley Shore YMCA – “Farm to Table Specialty Camp,” an innovative new program that will teach children the important life skills of gardening, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and environmental sustainability. $2,225

Macdonough Elementary School – “Macdonough School Takes the Classroom Outside” will provide hands-on science education for K through 5th grade students, including an understanding of the natural world and the local ecosystem, to enhance students’ connection with nature. $2,570

Connecticut River Watershed Council – “European Water Chestnut Strategy for the Connecticut River Watershed” will directly educate more than 250 individuals on how to identify, manage and report European Water Chestnuts; educate thousands of residents about the plant and its threat to our waterways; and involve volunteers in hand removal of documented infestations. $3,500

Connecticut Forest and Park – “Highlawn Forest Invasive Removal and Education Program,” part of a strategic Forest Management Plan, to use the property as a recreation and education asset through careful timbering and an invasive removal process. The program will be a model for environmental planning and will offer a unique opportunity for hands-on environmental education for landowners and municipalities. $4,000

SoundWaters – “Coastal Explorers: A Bridge for Sustainability for Watershed Exploration for Middle School Students” will provide students from Middlesex County with hands-on science education focused on their local estuarine habitats and watershed to encourage a deeper understanding of the natural world via a combination of study and stewardship activities. $6,000

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is named for the large waterfall in Wadsworth Falls State Park. In addition to its grants, the Foundation sponsors educational programs and owns and maintains the deKoven House Community Center. The Rockfall Foundation awards grants annually through a competitive process that is open to non-profit organizations and municipalities located in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. For additional information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.rockfallfoundation.org  or call 860-347-0340.

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The Very Latest … and Most Important … News to Date on the Proposed High Speed Train Route

Amtrak’s ‘Acela’ passes through Rocky Neck State Park on a recent morning.

AREAWIDE — In a major news story published yesterday in the CT Mirror, veteran journalist Ana Radelat summarizes the significant impact that opposition in Connecticut to the proposed high-speed rail route has already had — and is continuing to have.  Radelat quotes Old Lyme’s Greg Stroud, founder of SECoast and now director of special projects for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, who has been at the forefront of this opposition, as saying, “Opposition is growing along the entire shoreline.”

Read Radelat’s story titled, CT rebellion against federal rail plan grows — and may have impact, at this link.

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Cappella Cantorum, Con Brio Hosts ‘Summer Sing’ of Mozart’s Requiem, June 12

AREAWIDE — Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio host their first Summer Sing of the season with Mozart’s “Requiem” on Monday, June 12, 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Rd., Old Saybrook. This session will be conducted by Rachael Allen of Westbrook High School.

All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work. Professional soloists often participate.

The event is co-sponsored by Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio. A $10 fee covers the costs of the event. Scores will be available, and the church is air-conditioned. The next Summer Sing on Monday, June 19, will be conducted by Barry Asch of Cappella Cantorum directing the Lord Nelson Mass, by Haydn.

For more information call (860) 767-9409 or (203)530-0002   or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org

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Middlesex Hospital to Create Office Building at Vacant Essex Site of Former Shoreline Medical Center

Middlesex Hospital has now announced plans for its medical facility in Essex, pictured above, which was closed on April 28, 2014, and has been vacant ever since. The proposal calls for renovating the property as a medical office building that will offer physical therapy and occupational medicine. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

ESSEX—Middlesex Hospital will turn its vacant building on Westbrook Road into a medical office building that will offer physical therapy and occupational medicine. The building will house a third department to be named at a later date.

The building has been vacant since the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center moved to its new facility in Westbrook in 2014. Construction plans call for renovating the Essex facility to maximize service offerings, while also ensuring that each department located there has adequate space and the ability to grow.

The Hospital currently offers physical therapy and occupational medicine services at 192 Westbrook Road. Those departments will move into the new office building, and they have all been involved in the project’s planning process.

As part of the project, the medical office building will get a new roof and existing HVAC units will be replaced or rebuilt. Overgrown shrubbery will be removed, the exterior of the building will be painted, and the building will get new signs.

“We are excited to repurpose this building for the people of Essex and residents of surrounding shoreline communities,” said David Giuffrida, the Hospital’s vice president of operations. “This is an opportunity for the Hospital to further invest in its property and to offer several vital services at one location.”

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Florence Griswold Museum Director Jeffrey Andersen to Step Down After Successor is Chosen

Jeff Andersen, Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, will step down from the position he has held for more than 40 years when a successor has been selected.

After over 40 years of service to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., Director Jeff Andersen is planning to step down after a new director is appointed. Ted Hamilton, President of the Board of Trustees, announced that a comprehensive national search will be undertaken in the months ahead, overseen by a committee of trustees and coordinated with an executive search firm.

“Jeff Andersen has guided the growth of this museum with equal measures of vision and attention to detail,” Hamilton said. “He sees things clearly and stays focused on long-term goals.  Jeff charted a course for the Florence Griswold Museum to become a singular American art institution based on its history as an artist colony.  He inspired our trustees, staff, and volunteers to dedicate themselves toward this mission. Under his leadership, the Museum has become known for its compelling exhibitions and innovative educational programs.”

A fifth-generation native of Northern California, Andersen began his career at the Museum after completing his M.A. in Museum Studies from Cooperstown Graduate Program in Cooperstown, N.Y. During his tenure, the Florence Griswold Museum evolved from a seasonal attraction with one staff member and fewer than 1,000 visitors per year to an accredited art museum with 20 staff members, 225 dedicated volunteers, nearly 80,000 visitors annually, and over 3,000 members.  Early on, Andersen helped establish an endowment fund for the institution, which now funds one-third of the Museum’s annual operating budget of $2.6 million.

Working closely with teams of trustees and professional colleagues, Andersen led a transformative, decades-long campaign to reacquire the original Florence Griswold property with the goal of creating a new kind of American museum based on the site’s history as the creative center of the Lyme Art Colony.  Reunifying the historic estate, much of which had been sold during the 1930s, took seven different real estate transactions, culminating in 2016 with the purchase of the last private parcel of the original estate.

Supported by capital campaigns that raised over $20 million collectively, the Museum implemented master plans to reconstruct historic gardens, relocate the William Chadwick artist studio, build education and landscape centers, and open the Robert and Nancy Krieble Gallery, an award-winning modern exhibition, collection, and archives facility designed by Centerbrook Architects.  In 2006, the Museum completed the restoration of the National Historic Landmark Florence Griswold House (1818) as a circa 1910 boardinghouse of the artists’ colony.  Located along the banks of the Lieutenant River, the Museum’s 13-acre historic site now forms an essential part of a visitor experience that integrates art, history, and nature.

As part of his duties, Andersen has organized exhibitions for the Museum and written extensively about American artists in Connecticut. For a museum of its size, the Florence Griswold Museum has been active in publishing scholarly books and catalogues to accompany many of its exhibitions.  Beginning in 1983, Andersen established a close relationship with The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company on behalf of the Florence Griswold Museum, assisting the company in assembling a major collection of 190 paintings and sculptures by American artists associated with Connecticut.

In 2001, Hartford Steam Boiler donated the entire collection to the Museum, where it serves as a centerpiece of ambitious collection, exhibition, and education programs revolving around diverse expressions of American art from the eighteenth century to the present day.  Works from this collection by such artists as Ralph Earl, Frederic Church, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, and others have been lent to over forty museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The National Gallery, London.

Over the years, Andersen has been a leader in the cultural community, serving on numerous non-profit boards, such as Connecticut Humanities and the New England Museum Association, and working as a peer accreditation reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums. In 2004, he received the Public Service Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  In 2016, Andersen was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New England Museum Association (NEMA).  “Throughout his career, Jeff has been an inspirational leader at the Florence Griswold Museum, on the NEMA board, and through all of his community service,” said NEMA Executive Director Dan Yaeger.

“It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to be a part of this Museum,” Andersen reflected.  “What I am perhaps most proud of is the deep sense of loyalty and camaraderie that is felt amongst our staff, trustees, volunteers, and members. In many ways, it echoes what Florence Griswold and the original Lyme artists had with one another. In this spirit, I know that everyone will give their full support to the next director to help the Museum flourish in the years ahead.”

Andersen, who lives in Quaker Hill, Connecticut, is looking forward to spending more time with his family in California and traveling with his wife, the artist Maureen McCabe, who was a longtime professor at Connecticut College. Andersen intends to stay active in the art world and in the community at large.

The Florence Griswold Museum has been called a “Giverny in Connecticut” by the Wall Street Journal and a “must see” by the Boston Globe.  Its seasonal Café Flo was just recognized as “best hidden gem” and “best outdoor dining” by Connecticut Magazine. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut.   Visit www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for more information.

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Essex Seeks Public Input on Town’s Housing Needs, Invites Readers to Complete Survey

ESSEX — Many Connecticut municipalities are devoting attention to whether they have the right mix of housing choices. Longtime residents are interested in downsizing out of larger single-family homes, adult children would like to return to town after college, and many businesses are looking for housing nearby for their workforce at prices that are attainable.

The Essex Planning Commission, which recently completed an update to the comprehensive Essex Plan of Conservation and Development, has a special interest in housing in the Town of Essex. The Commission believes that a wider array of housing opportunities will be important to maintaining Essex’s special vibrancy and competitiveness as a residential community.

Along with the Board of Selectmen, Economic Development Commission, and Essex Housing Authority, the Planning Commission is interested in the public’s perspective of Essex’s housing situation.

Readers are therefore invited to take this brief survey to help these boards and commissions understand your perspective, address your interests and concerns, and ensure that your views help share any efforts the Town may undertake in this area.  The link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EssexHousing and readers can also find it on the Town of Essex website at www.essexct.gov under News and Announcements.

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