February 13, 2016

Democrats Win all Contested Deep River Races

DEEP RIVER— With longtime Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith unopposed for a record 14th two-year term, Democrats also won all contested positions in Tuesday’s low turnout election.

Smith received 783 votes, with 541 votes for Democratic Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., for a third term, and 318 votes for Republican Selectman David Oliveria, for a  fourth term.  Republican Town Clerk Amy Macmillan Winchell won a fourth term with 666 votes, and  Democratic Tax collector Lisa Bibbiani won a fourth term with 699 votes. Longtime Republican Town Treasurer Tom Lindner was re-elected with 746 votes.

In contested races, incumbent  Democrats George Eckenroth and Carmela Balducci were re-elected to the board of finance, with  587 votes for Eckenroth and 621 votes for Balducci. Republican challenger Mark Grabowski had 339 votes. For board of assessment appeals, incumbent Democrat Leigh Balducci outpolled Republican Thomas Alexa,505-328. For a two year vacancy on the Region 4 Board of Education, Democrat Susan Hollister outpolled Republican K.C. Nelson-Oliveria, 514-328.

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Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman Wins Third Term With 80-Vote Margin

Needleman_N_008ESSEX— Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman was re-elected for a third term Tuesday, defeating Republican Selectman Bruce Glowac on an 1,145-1065 vote. Democratic Selectwoman Stacia Libby was re-elected for a third term with 1,105 votes.

Needleman’s 80-vote margin over Glowac, who had served previously as first selectman from 1991-1995, was much closer than his first contested election in 2011 when Needleman defeated Republican Bruce MacMillian by over 400 votes. Needleman was uncontested by town Republicans for a second term in 2013.

The result for the third, or minority party, seat on the three-member board of selectmen was extremely close, with Republican selectman nominee Phil Beckman receiving 1,062 votes, only three votes less than Glowac’s 1,065 total. The three vote margin is less than the 20-vote margin where a recount could be required. Beckman said he is not requesting a recount with fellow Republican Glowac, but believes a recount should be conducted if it is required under state election law.

Needleman said he was “grateful to the voters,” and also thankful to challengers Glowac and Beckman for “running a good campaign based on the issues,” adding that he ” looks forward to continuing the work we’ve done over the past four years.” Glowac said he is glad the election is over, and believes “we accomplished what we set out to accomplish which was to give voters a choice and make this election an event rather than a non event.”.

Democrats captured most of the other contested positions on the ballot, though Republicans won seats on the board of finance and board of assessment appeals. Democrat Donald Mesite, an appointed incumbent, and Republican Vince Pacileo were elected to six year terms on the board of finance, with 1,110 votes for Mesite and 1,131 votes for Pacileo, who served on the board of selectmen from 2003-2009. Mesite and Pacileo outpolled Democrat Ethan Goller, with 1,058 votes, and Republican Jerri MacMillian, with 976 votes.

Republican Keith Russell was elected for a full term on the board of assessment appeals, with 1,084 votes to 1,032 votes for Democrat Richard Helmecki. Democrat Mark Bombacci was elected to a two-year vacancy on the board of assessment appeals, with 1,150 votes to 982 votes for Republican Bruce MacMillian. Democrat Jennifer Cark was re-elected for a second term on the Region 4 Board of Education, with 1,177 votes to 963 votes for Republican Mary Lou Till. Both nominees for the local board of education are automatically elected, with incumbent  Democrat Lon Seidman, who serves as board chairman, receiving 1,174 votes, and incumbent Republican D.G. Fitton garnering 967 votes.

A total of 2,223 of the town’s 4,595 registered voters turned out for Tuesday’s election, a turnout of just over 50%.

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Deep River Election Has Contests for Board of Finance, Assessment Appeals, and School Board Vacancy Term

DEEP RIVER— Most positions on Tuesday’s town election ballot are uncontested, but Democrats and Republicans are competing for two seats on the board of finance, a position on the board of assessment appeals, and a two-year vacancy term on the Region 4 Board of Education.

Longtime Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith is unopposed for a record 14th term. Also uncontested are incumbent Democratic Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., first elected 2011, and incumbent Republican Selectman David Oliveria, first elected in 2009. Republican Town Clerk Amy Macmillan Winchell, Democratic Tax Collector Lisa Bibbiani, and Republican Town Treasurer Tom Lindner, are also unopposed for new two-year terms. Smith, first elected in 1989, had his last contested election with an independent challenger in 2007, and was last challenged by town Republicans in 2005.

But two incumbent Democrats, George Eckenroth and Carmela Balducci, are competing with Republican Mark Grabowski, for two six year spots on the board of finance, while Republican John Wichtowski is uncontested for a two-year vacancy spot on the finance board. Incumbent Democrat Leigh Balducci is competing with Republican Thomas Alexa for a seat on the board of assessment appeals. Democrat Susan Hollister is contesting with Republican K.C. Nelson-Oliveria for a two-year vacancy term on the Region 4 Board of Education.

Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Deep River Library community room.

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Essex Board of Selectmen Candidates Hold Cordial Debate

ESSEX—  Democrat and Republican nominees for first selectman and board of selectmen faced Wednesday in a cordial debate that displayed few differences on most local issues, including unanimous rejection of a municipal blight ordinance and sewers for any section of town.

About 100 residents turned out on a rainy night for the session in the town hall auditorium. Essex Library Director Richard Conroy posed questions that had been submitted in writing in advance, with separate sessions for incumbent Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman and his Republican challenger,  Selectman Bruce Glowac, and the two candidates for board of selectmen, incumbent Democratic Selectwoman Stacia Libby and Republican Phil Beckman. Needleman was elected in 2011 and unopposed for a second tern in 2013. Glowac served as first selectman from 1991-1995, and returned to the board of selectmen in 2013.

All of the candidates rejected the idea of a municipal blight ordinance, which had been discussed, but not pursued, in the fall of 2013. Both Needleman and Glowac rejected the idea of a large sewer system for any part of Essex, while also agreeing the town should be open to what Gloawc described a “new innovations,” such as a small community system that would focus on any possible problem location for on-site septic systems.

The two first selectman nominees  rejected the idea of adopting a town charter, which Glowac said would represent “an expansion of government,” and Needleman described as an unnecessary effort and expense. The candidates also agreed on deferring any new effort for a full kindergarten through grade 12 regionalization of Region 4 schools to include the elementary schools in Chester, Deep River and Essex. A K-12 regionalization plan was considered earlier this year, but dropped amid opposition from Chester officials.

Glowac, who currently works as director of facilities for Region 4 schools,  predicted a full regionalization, which  requires voter approval from all three towns, would eventually occur because of declining student enrollment, but suggested any new proposal “should come from the communities to the schools and not from the schools to the communities.”

One possible difference in perspective emerged as the two selectmen candidates responded to a question about economic development and efforts to grow the grand list of taxable property. Libby said the current administration last year hired a part-time economic development coordinator to assist the town’s appointed economic development commission, but Beckman suggested efforts to attract and retain businesses in Essex “can be improved on.”

Beckman said a review of permit procedures and zoning regulations should be part of any new focus on economic development. A recently retired U.S. Navy officer, Beckman said he could bring a new perspective to the board of seemen.

The top three vote-getters Tuesday will be elected for the 2015-2017 term, with a losing candidate for first selectman also in play as a candidate for board of selectmen depending on the vote totals.

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Will Political Lawn Signs Influence Essex Local Election Results?

Campaign sign for Republican First Selectman candidate Bruce Glovac

Campaign sign for Republican First Selectman candidate Bruce Glovac

ESSEX — Suddenly, it seems the town of Essex is almost covered with sometimes red, sometimes blue lawn signs promoting the candidacies of Republicans Bruce Glowac for First Selectman and Phil Beckman for Selectman. Not only are there signs along many of the streets in Essex, but they are also posted on the roads leading into town (see photo above). Essex has not seen such a large display of election lawn signs in several years.

Where were the Democrats when the Republican lawn sign blitz first appeared?  It appears First Selectman Norman Needleman and Selectman Stacia Rice-Libby were at first caught a little off guard since it seemed they had very few of their own lawn signs in view. Now it looks as though the Democrats have many more of their own lawn signs visible, but our unscientific poll suggests the Republicans still have a higher number.

Road signs for Essex Democratic incumbents, Norm Needleman and Stacia-Rice Libby

Road signs for Essex Democratic incumbents, Norm Needleman and Stacia-Rice Libby

Election Day is Nov. 3, and the election will decide Essex’s town governance for the next two years. It will be interesting to see if, in a small town like Essex, the distribution of lawn signs bears any relationship to the result.

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Essex Place Centerbrook Groundbreaking for New Affordable Senior Housing

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Thorden)

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Thorden)

ESSEX — Essex Place Centerbrook, LLC held a groundbreaking for a new 22-unit building for affordable senior housing in Centerbrook, CT, a village of the Town of Essex.  In attendance for the ceremony were representatives from the state legislature, the Governor’s office, and the U.S. Congress as well as town officials, funders of the project, and members of the Development Team.

Essex Place Centerbrook is a partnership between Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing (EEAH)and Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development (WIHED). Celebrating the occasion were remarks from Commissioner Klein, Department of Housing, Rep. Philip Miller, First Selectman Norm Needleman, Joanne Sullivan from the Federal Home Loan Bank, Erica Schwarz from LISC, Greg Shook, Chairman and CEO of Essex Savings Bank, and from  WIHED Betsy Crum, Exec. Director, and Loni Willey, Chief Operating Officer.

The groundbreaking  celebration culminates over five years of planning. The idea for Essex Place Centerbrook was to provide additional units for Essex Court, the current senior affordable housing residence, that had a waiting list larger than available places .  In 2012, the development process began.  The Development Team includes Quisenberry & Arcari, Architects, W.H. Cole, To Design, Doane Collins,  A. Secondino & Sons, and Cloutier & Cassella and Hudson &Kilby, counsels.  The Board of Directors of Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing are most grateful for the support of everyone who collaborated to make this project a reality.  Occupancy for the new building is anticipated to be 2017.

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Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman Faces Republican Selectman Bruce Glowac in Nov. 3 Vote

ESSEX—Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman’s bid for a third term faces a challenge Tuesday from Republican Selectman Bruce Glowac, a former first selectman who returned to the board in 2013.

The contest between two well-known elected officials, which follows a 2013 election where Needleman’s second term was unopposed by town Republicans, has been relatively quiet. Neither candidate is campaigning door-to-door, and each generally avoided direct criticism in recent interviews. The candidates will face off in a public debate Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the town hall auditorium

Needleman, 64, is a Brooklyn, N.Y. native who arrived in Essex in the late 1980s to establish Tower Laboratories as a local manufacturer of personal care products. The company now has plants in Centerbrook, Clinton, and Montague, Michigan. A divorced father of two grown sons and two step-daughters, Needleman was elected to the board of selectman in 2003, when the victory of former Democratic first selectman, now state representative, Phil Miller, ended 18 years of Republican control of the top job. Needleman was elected to the top job in 2011, defeating Republican Bruce MacMillian on a 1,415-993 vote.

Glowac, 63, is a lifelong resident who established a local landscaping business before winning election to the board of selectmen in 1989 running with former Republican First Selectman John Johns. A married father of four grown sons, Glowac was elected first selectman in 1991, and won a second term in 1993 before stepping aside in 1995. After serving on the Region 4 school board in the late 1990s, Glowac was hired for his current position as director of facilities for Region 4 schools.

Glowac, who returned to the board of selectmen in the uncontested 2013 election, said he stepped aside in 1995 because he is “a firm believer in term limits,” and believed he had accomplished initial goals. Glowac said he decided to run again this year to ensure a contest for the top job. “No choice on the ballot leads to voter apathy,” he said, adding that ” a fresh look every few years is not a bad thing at all.”

Needleman said he respects Glowac’s decision to run for the top job, and praised the Republican for working with him on several goals over the past two years, including voter approval of an $8 million bonding authorization for capital projects last December.  He said the current board of selectmen, including Glowac and  Democratic Selectwoman Stacia Rice-Libby, has been “one of the best working boards” in town history.

Needleman said he is “running on a record of accomplishment,” pointing to completion of two grant-funded projects, the town hall civic campus and the Ivoryton Man Street projects, along with advancing plans for a 22-unit expansion of the Essex Court elderly housing complex. Needleman said his management has improved operations at town hall to provide efficient and responsive service to residents.

But along with pledging to be a “full-time first selectman” without also directing a private company, Glowac suggests that property taxes have increased too much, and the town’s undesignated fund balance grown too high, in recent years. Glowac said when the fund balance has grown to over $2.5 million, as it has in Essex, transferring from the fund balance to defray a portion of a tax rate increase “should always be a consideration.” He added “there are some generations that we are taxing out” of Essex.

Needleman said he has given the position of first selectman “my full attention and best effort,” over the past four years. Needleman agreed the board of finance should be prepared transfer from the fund balance if the town is facing a steep tax hike over the 2015-2017 term, and noted that he had objected to very small tax rate increase the finance board had approved for the current 2015-2016 budget.

Both candidates said adoption of a town charter, or a possible proposal to change to four year terms for board of selectmen, would not be a priority during the 2015-2016 term. Needleman is running with incumbent Selectwoman Rice-Libby, who was elected with him in 2011. Glowac is running with Phil Beckman a former U.S. Navy officer who lives in the Ivoryton section. Both campaigns are close in fundraising, with Democrats raising a total of $8,384 as of Oct. 1, with Republicans raising a total of $7,162. Two big doners for the Democrats were Needleman and his companion Jacqueline Hubbard, each contributing $2,000 over the summer.

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Two Female Candidates Vie for Open First Selectman Seat in Chester

Atty. Lauren Gister

Atty. Lauren Gister – D

Republican Carolyn Linn

Carolyn Linn – R

CHESTER — Two female candidates with no previous experience in town government are competing for the town’s open first selectman seat in the first contested election with both Democrat and Republican nominees since 2009.

Both women are divorced mothers of grown daughters, but with differing background and job experience. Democrat Lauren Gister, 57, is a lawyer who arrived in Chester in 1996 from West Hartford. Republican Carolyn Linn, 55, has lived in Chester since 1989 after growing up in New Britain. Gister served 25 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring at the rank of major in 2002. Linn worked at Aetna Insurance for 21 years, retiring from a position as performance consultant to open a pet care business in Chester. Linn petitioned her way to the Republican nomination in August after the party initially did not nominate a candidate for first selectman at the July 27 caucus.

The candidates are competing to succeed two-term Democratic First Selectman Edmund Meehan. A former town planner, Meehan was elected over a candidate supported by the Chester Common Ground Party in 2011, and was uncontested for a second term in 2013. Also departing with Meehan this year is three-term Democratic Selectman Lawrence Sypher.

Gister and Linn hold similar views on many town issues, and their contest has been cordial. Both women support the plan to build a new library with a community center center function at North Quarter Park. Gister noted a $1 million state grant awarded for the library project last fall requires voter approval of a building plan and additional funding by 2017.

Both candidates said one priority of the coming two-year term would be monitoring and guiding a state Department of Transportation replacement of the Main Street bridge, a project expected to begin early next year that will require a closing of Main Street in the downtown business district for several months. Each acknowledged a long range town plan to reconstruct Main Street in the business district can not be done simultaneously with the bridge project, though Gister noted the town must complete the full Main Street reconstruction in the near future because of aging infrastructure, including water mains, under the heavily used street.

Both candidates said adoption of a town charter, or a possible change to four-year terms for board of selectmen, would not be a priority during the 2015-2017 term. Linn said she would seek to improve communications on town government issues for all residents, and oppose any effort to close Chester Elementary School. Gister also pledges improved communications, suggesting evening office hours as one way to be more accessible to residents. Gister said one new initiative she would undertake is adoption of a tax relief ordinance for elderly and low income property owners, noting that Essex has had an elderly tax relief program in place for the past decade..

The two candidates, who did not know each other before the campaign, declined to criticize their opponent. Gister said Linn is a “smart and capable person” with similar priorities to her. Linn suggested that experience at Aetna makes her more qualified for the job and “ready to move in to the role of first selectman on day one”. Gister said business experience can be useful, while adding “we certainly can’t run the town like a corporation.”

Both women are campaigning actively door-to-door through the town. Gister is running with Charlene Janecek, a long time resident who used to run the Lunch Box on Main Street and currently serves as Democratic registrar of voters. Linn is running with three-term incumbent Republican Selectman Tom Englert, a Whelen Engineering employee who served briefly as acting first selectman in the fall of 2011 after former republican First Selectman tom Marsh resigned to take a job in Vermont.

The two parties are close in fundraising for the campaign, according to an Oct. 10 filing. The Chester Democratic Town Committee has raised $5,070 since the beginning of the year, with Republicans raising $4,729. Two big donors for the Democrats are residents James Miller and Robert Gorman, each contributing $1,000.

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Making A Difference From Two Wheels – Vista Ride Raises $84,000

The Vista Tour de Shore cycling event and fundraiser was held Sunday, Oct. 18th. Nearly $84,000 was raised by 250 riders. Credit: Jared D’Auria

The Vista Tour de Shore cycling event and fundraiser was held Sunday, Oct. 18th. Nearly $84,000 was raised by 250 riders. Credit: Jared D’Auria

A total of 250 people of all ages and abilities made a positive impact in the lives of individuals with disabilities by riding in the 7th Annual Vista Tour de Shore cycling event and fundraiser on Oct. 18th.

Together, 35 fundraising teams raised nearly $84,000 in the event, which was held at the Westbrook Elks Lodge. Funds raised in the Vista Tour de Shore benefit the Vista Endowment Fund, a supporting organization of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center—an organization dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities achieve personal success for over 25 years. Among those riding were 26 Vista students and members.

Riders chose from 5, 25, 40 and 60 mile routes on scenic byways along the Connecticut shoreline, enjoying the beautiful fall foliage. The event culminated with a party at the Westbrook Elks Lodge featuring food and live music by the Hayseed Criers, a local band. There were also raffles prizes donated by Zane’s Cycles, Branford Jewelers, Thomson Bike Tours, Lyman Orchards, Stony Creek Brewery, the Vista Arts Center and Creations, a retail store and Vista social enterprise located in downtown Madison.

Since its inception, the Vista Tour de Shore has raised over $315,000 for the Vista Endowment Fund.

Vista would like to thank event sponsors Shore Publishing, Essex Printing, Zane’s Cycles, Wilcox Energy, The Tolland Fund, V.P Electric, Pasta Vita, Gowrie Group, WebNow1, Middlesex Hospital, Essex Savings Bank, Wells Fargo, Branford Jewelers and Thomson Bike Tours.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, please visit www.vistavocational.org

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Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith Endorses Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman for Re-Election

Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (l to r) pose outside Town Hall in Deep River (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (l to r) pose outside Town Hall in Deep River (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Deep River’s popular First Selectman, Dick Smith, has announced his endorsement of Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman for re-election. Needleman is finishing his second term and is running for his third. Needleman is being challenged by Republican candidate Bruce Glowac, who was an Essex First Selectman several years ago, and a Selectman as well.

In his endorsement Smith said of his fellow First Selectman Norman Needleman, “We both are working hard for our two towns. Norm Needleman is a great person, a good guy and he has had two excellent terms in the position of First Selectman of Essex.” Smith continued, “The issues of the two towns, Deep River and Essex, are the same, and Norm and I work together very closely.” Smith noted, “Needleman’s business background is an added plus, because running a town is the same thing as running a business.” Concluding Smith said, “It is very important that Needleman be re-elected as First Selectman of Essex.”

Needleman Thanks Dick Smith  

Needleman for his part thanked Smith, “for both his support and his wisdom.”  “Dick Smith is one of the most respected public officials in the state of Connecticut, and his opinions matter.” Needleman said, adding that Smith, “is known for his experience and judgement, and it is important that he continue his work as First Selectman of Deep River.”

Election Day this year is November 3rd.

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Grant Awarded to Preserve Shoreline Electric Railway Powerhouse

image001 (1)As part of the effort to encourage revitalization and redevelopment of Mariner’s Way and the Ferry Point neighborhood, the Town of Old Saybrook applied for and received a Making Places Grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to study potential new uses for the Shoreline Electric Railway Powerhouse located on the Connecticut River at Ferry Point.

Shoreline Electric Railway Powerhouse History

The building was constructed between 1908 and 1910 of poured concrete, a unique process considered revolutionary at the time. The Shoreline Electric Railway Powerhouse housed the boilers and turbines that provided the electricity for trolleys serving the transportation needs of shoreline residents between 1890 and 1930. The electric trolleys ran east to west from New Haven to New London and south to north from Old Saybrook to Chester.

Old Saybrook Making Places Grant from the CT Trust for Historic Preservation

Preservation and revitalization of this historic industrial structure were goals identified in Ferry Point planning workshops. Revitalizing the building would preserve local history, further redevelopment goals in the Mariner’s Way Plan and create a destination in the Ferry Point neighborhood for residents and visitors.

After meetings with Connecticut Trust staff members, property owners, the First Selectman, Old Saybrook Land Use staff, the Old Saybrook Historical Society and a consultant, The Town of Old Saybrook requested and received a $49,750 Making Places Grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Town of Old Saybrook hired Goman+York Property Advisors to conduct the market feasibility study. Goman+York Property Advisors have experience in strategic planning, property redevelopment and market feasibility research. Goman + York gathered input from residents and completed feasibility analyses on multiple reuse options. Their study identifies the best uses with the greatest potential for success to ensure the building can be preserved and contribute to the economic well-being and quality of life of Old Saybrook.

 

Presentation of the Findings

 

The public is invited to a presentation of the study’s results by Peter Holland of Goman+York Property Advisors.

Thursday, November 12 at 4:00pm

Saybrook Point Pavilion

150 College Street, Old Saybrook

Making Places Grant Overview

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation (CTPH) Making Places Grants (MPG) are intended to catalyze and move forward efforts to preserve, stabilize, rehabilitate and re-use historic industrial places.

The MPG is a strategic planning and pre-development grant for non-profits, municipalities, private developers partnered with these entities for underutilized historic industrial buildings and sites. MPGs are cash reimbursements for pre-approved costs upon successful completion of the grant-funded project and do not require any match. Awards are $2,500 up to $50,000.

Making Places Grants are administered by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and funded by the State Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Economic and Community Development, with funds from the Community Investment Act of the State of Connecticut.

located on the Connecticut River at Ferry Point.

The public is invited to a presentation of the findings on November 12 at the Saybrook Point Pavilion at 4:00pm.

Shoreline Electric Railway Powerhouse History

The building was constructed between 1908 and 1910 of poured concrete, a unique process considered revolutionary at the time. The Shoreline Electric Railway Powerhouse housed the boilers and turbines that provided the electricity for trolleys serving the transportation needs of shoreline residents between 1890 and 1930. The electric trolleys ran east to west from New Haven to New London and south to north from Old Saybrook to Chester.

Old Saybrook Making Places Grant from the CT Trust for Historic Preservation

Preservation and revitalization of this historic industrial structure were goals identified in Ferry Point planning workshops. Revitalizing the building would preserve local history, further redevelopment goals in the Mariner’s Way Plan and create a destination in the Ferry Point neighborhood for residents and visitors.

After meetings with Connecticut Trust staff members, property owners, the First Selectman, Old Saybrook Land Use staff, the Old Saybrook Historical Society and a consultant, The Town of Old Saybrook requested and received a $49,750 Making Places Grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Town of Old Saybrook hired Goman+York Property Advisors to conduct the market feasibility study. Goman+York Property Advisors have experience in strategic planning, property redevelopment and market feasibility research. Goman + York gathered input from residents and completed feasibility analyses on multiple reuse options. Their study identifies the best uses with the greatest potential for success to ensure the building can be preserved and contribute to the economic well-being and quality of life of Old Saybrook.

Presentation of the Findings

The public is invited to a presentation of the study’s results by Peter Holland of Goman+York Property Advisors.

Thursday, November 12 at 4:00pm
Saybrook Point Pavilion
150 College Street, Old Saybrook

Making Places Grant Overview

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation (CTPH) Making Places Grants (MPG) are intended to catalyze and move forward efforts to preserve, stabilize, rehabilitate and re-use historic industrial places.

The MPG is a strategic planning and pre-development grant for non-profits, municipalities, private developers partnered with these entities for underutilized historic industrial buildings and sites. MPGs are cash reimbursements for pre-approved costs upon successful completion of the grant-funded project and do not require any match. Awards are $2,500 up to $50,000.

Making Places Grants are administered by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and funded by the State Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Economic and Community Development, with funds from the Community Investment Act of the State of Connecticut.

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Women Candidates Face Off in Cordial Chester First Selectman Debate

CHESTER — The two first time women candidates running for the open first selectman seat, Democrat Lauren Gister and Republican Carolyn Linn, faced off Tuesday in a cordial campaign debate held at the Chester Meeting House.

About 70 residents turned out to watch the candidates answer prepared questions and questions from the floor. The one-hour session was moderated by former Democratic State Rep. Claire Sauer of Lyme.

Gister, a lawyer and former U.S. Marine, and Linn, a former Aetna manager who now runs a local pet care business, were in general agreement on many municipal issues and topics. Both expressed support for the plan to build a new library/community center at North Quarter park, and both were cautious on the question of building a sidewalk along the north side of Main Street as it approaches the park. A north side sidewalk was dropped from the nearly complete Main Street east reconstruction project late last year amid objections from some residential property owners on the street.

Linn said there should be a continuous sidewalk on at least one side of the street east to the intersection with Rte. 154, and suggested looking to projects in other cities and towns for creative ways to build a sidewalk with minimal disturbance. Gister, while noting “some neighbors have great concerns,” said a crosswalk further west at the intersection with School Lane is not sufficient for pedestrian safey, adding the sidewalk issue “will have to be addressed,” as the town moves toward construction of the new library.

Both women, each mothers of children who attended Region 4 schools, said they opposed the plan for a full K-12 regionalization of district schools that was withdrawn earlier this year amid opposition from Chester officials.  Linn went furthest, questioning whether there would be any real benefits of a full regionalization under a single three-town elected board of education. Gister said there could be some benefits, while adding that any regionalization plan “needs a lot more work.”

Both candidates said they would look to residents for input on the option of adopting a town charter, a step that could open the door to changing to a four-year term for board of selectmen and other town offices, or even a change to a town manager for of local government. “I don’t know what Chester wants and would need to find out what Chester wants,” Gister said.

On economic development, both candidates said the town should look to fuller utilization of existing commercial and industrial land and space, with Gister noting “one business does not make that much difference on the mill rate.” Linn agreed that filling vacant spaces can be difficult, but also suggested the town should be prepared to “use our zoning in the most optimal fashion,” to boost economic development and grow the grand list.

One difference between the candidates emerged with a question from the audience about a possible local blight ordinance. Linn said she would oppose what she described as an inherently “subjective” ordinance on blighted properties, adding “what one person may consider blight another may not.” Gister, while not advocating quick adoption of a blight ordinance, said she has heard concerns from many residents about the condition of some properties in town, and the impact of such conditions on values for nearby properties.

Depending on the Nov. 3 result, either Gister or Linn will become the second woman to serve as Chester First Selectman. The first was Republican Betty Perreault, who served from 1989-1993.

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Essex Firm, Outthink Hires New CFO

Outthink hires Tracey Jacey as new CFO

Outthink hires Tracey Jacey as new CFO

ESSEX —  Essex firm Outthink has hired Tracey Jacey as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In her role at Outthink, Jacey will lead accounting, finance and human resources. She brings over 25 years of experience in financial management, strategic planning and human resources that will support Outthink’s growth. Jacey has worked for many well-known regional and international companies including, Honeywell International, Dealertrack Technologies, Sonalysts, Inc., Pratt and Whitney and ABB Combustion Engineering.

“Outthink’s rapid growth requires someone with Tracey’s strong financial management skills and ability to communicate effectively,” says Outthink Principal and Co-founder John Visgilio.

Prior to joining Outthink, Jacey was the Divisional Controller at Dealertrack Technologies, Inc. in Groton, Conn. Before that she served as the CFO, Director of Human Resources and Treasurer for INNCOM International, Inc., a Niantic-based company specializing in software-based energy management systems for global lodging, healthcare and educational markets. INNCOM was acquired by Honeywell in 2012, and Jacey led the sell-side financial transaction efforts. Prior to joining INNCOM, she was the Accounting and Finance Manager for Sonalysts, Inc. in Waterford, Conn.

Active in the community, Jacey serves on the Board of Trustees of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Conn. She was also a founding member of the Shoreline Cohorts Investment Association and has chaired several non-profit fundraising events. She received her BS from the University of Massachusetts and her MBA from the University of Connecticut.

Outthink, a different kind of full-service marketing communications firm, serves clients who want more than just image building and demand immediate results. Outthink works across 13 time zones in categories like gaming, travel and leisure, healthcare, education and financial services. Founded in 2002, Outthink invents new combinations of traditional and new media strategies to boost results in advertising and media engagement. That’s how Outthink helps clients outperform their competition. Visit outthink.com to see how they do this.

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Essex Garden Club Presents “Autumn Leaves” Scarecrow

Autumn leaves scarecrowEssex Garden Club has created “Autumn Leaves” to compete in this year’s Scarecrow Competition. Pictured left to right are MyLan Sarner and Lumie Han. Also Eve Potts and Sandy French helped in the making of “Autumn Leaves”. You can see “Autumn Leaves” at the entrance to the Town Park on Main Street where the Garden Club members recently completed their fall Cleanup.

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Vista, Community Members, Shift Into Gear

Vista students and members were joined by members of the community and Vista staff on Monday, Oct. 5th, for a group bike ride. From left are: Gerard O’Shea, Elayna Paradiso, Sheridan Bauman, Charlie Steinberg, Dan Coca-Ducach, Chris Bailey, Scott Taylor, Ben Bodman, Kip Lyons, James Pittenger, Linda Rogen, John Morgan, Tom Naughton, Paul Rogen and Ellis Mayo.

Vista students and members were joined by members of the community and Vista staff on Monday, Oct. 5th, for a group bike ride. From left are: Gerard O’Shea, Elayna Paradiso, Sheridan Bauman, Charlie Steinberg, Dan Coca-Ducach, Chris Bailey, Scott Taylor, Ben Bodman, Kip Lyons, James Pittenger, Linda Rogen, John Morgan, Tom Naughton, Paul Rogen and Ellis Mayo.

In preparation for the upcoming Vista Tour de Shore cycling event and fundraiser on Oct. 18th, many Vista students and members have been training alongside members of the community during weekly Monday night bicycle rides.

A tradition started last year by the Gears of Change team—led by Vista employee Linda Rogen and her husband Paul, of Thompson Bike Tours— the training rides help Vista students and members get ready for the event while allowing them the opportunity to socialize with members of the community also riding in the event.

“I made a new buddy here,” Vista member Elayna Paradiso said, referring to Westbrook resident Sheridan Bauman, an experienced Tour de Shore participant. “I like riding with her because she is able to keep up with me.”

The group rides departed from Vista’s Westbrook campus and consisted of a 5-mile route along the shoreline. An average of 15 people participated in the rides each week.

Now in its seventh year, the Vista Tour de Shore is a major fundraiser for Vista. The event kicks off from the Westbrook Elks Lodge and offers 5, 25, 40 and 60 mile routes on scenic byways along the shoreline. Money raised by the Vista Tour de Shore benefit the Vista Endowment Fund, a supporting organization of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center.

It’s not too late to register or support a team. Visit www.vistatourdeshore.com.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, please visit www.vistavocational.org

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Local Sailor Wins New England Model Sailboat Fall Regatta in Deep River

From left to right: Will James, Ron Rhault, Brian Kerrigan, Renny Schoonmaker, and Jon Pelley.

From left to right: Will James, Ron Rhault, Brian Kerrigan (Essex), Renny Schoonmaker, and Jon Pelley.

Model sailing enthusiasts for all over New England converged at Plattwood Park Pond in Deep River this past Sunday to compete for the five awards  for winning this prestigious event. The event was hosted by the Dry Pants Model Yacht Club( DPMYC) based in Deep River and well-known in sailing circles throughout the United States.

The boats that were sailed were the CR-914s , a one-design national class of racing sailboat. The designs reflect the same lines of many well-known Americas Cup boats. Their length is 36 inches.

Sailing conditions were anything but normal. High winds due to the offshore location of Hurricane Joaquin forced a one-day postponement and , even then, the waters of the pond reflected 20 mph (gusts to 30) wind  swirling in many directions. These conditions were extremely challenging for both skippers and their boats. A lot of close calls took place in terms of boat contact. Simply put, it was not a sailing day for those expecting or wanting “normal” sailing conditions.

After 17 races, five sailors emerged as the best of the best. The overall winner was Brian Kerrigan of Essex, Ct.  He was followed (in order of finish) by Will James (Marblehead, MA), Ron Rhault (Mansfield , Ct), Renny Schoonmaker (Essex, Ct) and Jon Pelly (Griswold ,Ct).

Spectators were amazed these boats were able to handle the winds we had. For information on model sailing in the readership area, contact Jim Godsman@860-767-5052.

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Valley Regional High School Students Help Library Book Sale

National Honor Society students from Valley Regional High School help with the sale

National Honor Society students from Valley Regional High School help with book sale

The Board of the Friends of the Essex Library would like to thank all who contributed to the success of our recent book sale. This exceptionally large sale required significant work by many volunteers including those who worked during the event and those who sorted, repaired, priced and stored books in preparation for the sale, helped set-up for the sale and put everything away afterwards.   We are especially grateful to the Valley Regional National Honor Society students who assisted in our set-up and clean-up efforts. Katie Amara, Hannah Halsey, Leslie Clapp, Emma Petersen, Colton Kinney, Kyra Streck, Alex Zambuni and John Tibbets, thank you! We also want to recognize the Zambuni family who for many years have helped with set-up, take down and moving overflow books to the storage shed throughout the year.  We are grateful for your help. And, lastly, we thank the library staff for their support, with a special thank you to Anna Cierocki.

We would be remiss in not thanking those who contributed, and those who purchased, books, CDs and DVDs.   Your support of the library is deeply appreciated.

From November 23 to December 23 we will be featuring a Holiday Sale where sale items will change daily. Please stop in to browse for pristine books that are suitable for holiday gift giving.

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TTYS Donates Rifton Chairs to Local Schools

UntitledTri-Town Youth Services recently donated four Rifton chairs to local schools servicing children in Chester, Essex and Deep River. The supervisor of pupil services, Tyson Stoddard, accepted the donation and will distribute the chairs into the preschool special education classrooms. The chairs will be used in the preschools to assist children in the appropriate sitting position while participating in educational activities, tasks, and routines.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex. We coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most. Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org

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WFSB’s Kevin Hogan Reveals What You Didn’t See on TV When the Pope Visited

WFSB News Director Kevin Hogan on assignment in New York City covering Pope Francis’s visit

WFSB News Director Kevin Hogan on assignment in New York City covering Pope Francis’s visit

Editor’s Note: Lyme, CT resident and WFSB News Director Kevin Hogan covered Pope Francis’s recent trip to the US in each of the three cities of Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia that the Pope visited. We are thrilled that Kevin has chosen to share some insights with us from those hectic days on the road and express our sincere appreciation to him on behalf of all our readers.

During my 42 years as a broadcast journalist, I’ve covered many high-profile world leaders. Last week I had the distinct, exhausting pleasure to cover Pope Francis in Washington, New York City and Philadelphia.

While the Holy Father was in Cuba, my Channel 3 videographer Jeff Kolan and I set the GPS in our news car for the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. The Marquis was the media mecca for all 3,000 journalists cleared by the Secret Service and the Vatican to cover Pope Francis on this historic trip. Even before checking in to our hotel in Arlington, we had to obtain our credentials for the week.

The planning for our coverage began months earlier when we had to apply for credentials, our managers had to coordinate with our CBS Newspath directors to ensure broadcast quality transmission and communication in all three locations and venues. Weeks before we even filled up the car and gathered gear, I was making contact with all the known and possibly unknown religious and other organizations planning to be with the Holy Father. Yes, the Archbishop from Hartford and Bishops from Bridgeport and Norwich diocese were attending, as well as the Knights of Columbus in New Haven. The Knights World Headquarters is in the Elm City.

Thankfully it was up to my managers to secure hotel reservations. We knew getting around each city under extremely tight security was going to be a challenge. So getting a hotel close to the heart of the action at this stage of the game was not going to be easy. In Washington, we were put up in Arlington, Va. Not a bad drive. Some taxis were available, but most of the time we walked. Jeff and I averaged 4 to 5 miles per day in DC.

Kevin Hogan stands in front of the Capitol in DC.

Kevin Hogan stands with the waiting crowds behind him in DC.

We walked with the throngs of visitors along miles of steel mesh barricades, through Airport Style electronic security sensor checkpoints with bomb sniffing dogs to stand for hours on the lawn of the Capitol. While Pope Francis was giving the first address by a Pope to a joint session of Congress, we were attempting to find Connecticut residents amongst the gathering of 50,000. We found people with relatives in Connecticut, Priests who’ve studied in Connecticut and even TV reporter Les Trent from Inside Edition. Nice guy, by the way. His photographer recognized my photographer from an earlier assignment.

We found Nutmeggers in DC, who were not there necessarily to see Pope Francis but to hawk Vatican related souvenirs. Dave Thomas of New Haven brought $150,000 worth of supplies to sell. No, he didn’t have a Pope doll or the much sought after Pope bobble-head because they were made of a breakable ceramic that would be a security risk.

Dumb me, on the morning of the Canonization Mass for Franciscan Junipero Serra, it didn’t dawn on me until I was in checkpoint line for security that I realized I had two of my coveted multi-tools in my LL Bean canvass shoulder bag. Lesson learned. Security was nice about it. No, I couldn’t get that back.

We had the most perfect vantage point during the Mass, four stories high on a scaffolding riser with all the other world media watching down and absorbing this beautiful event.

Our producers wanted us to talk to the morning team on Thursday … anchors Eric Parker of Old Lyme and Irene O’Connor. Our wake up time was 4 a.m. We were LIVE on the air at 5:10 a.m. and ready for another looooong day. Thursday was also the day we had to checkout early and hit the road after our live broadcast at 6 and head for New York.

Kevin Hogan and Jeff Kholan take a brief break for a photo.

Kevin Hogan and Jeff Kolan take a brief break for a photo.

Videographer Jeff Kolan grew up in southern New Jersey and he made a calculated foodie stop at his favorite hotdog stand, The Doghouse. He treated me to a real, honest-to-goodness Philadelphia Cheese steak loaded with mushrooms and onions. Funny, you see all these world leaders and you gravitate to the food memory. I savored it all.

We checked into our hotel at midnight and got up at 8 a.m. Why the Doubletree in midtown doesn’t have a coffee maker in the room, I’ll never figure that one out. I needed one.

We were in New York one day, packed and checked out bound for Philadelphia and the last leg of our trip.

Did you see the Pope? Not in person in DC or New York because our timing was off. If you wanted to see the Holy Father in Person, you had to take a position in an area he was scheduled to be and stake it out for hours.

In the Big Apple, we hooked up with Susan and Dr. Robert Staab of Old Lyme and members of Christ the King Church. The Staabs, as members of the Order of Malta — a 900-year-old organization that helps the Vatican — were invited to attend the Papal Mass Friday evening in Madison Square Garden. They were just 13 rows from the Holy Father. Me? Jeff and I were on the road for Philly hoping to get ahead of the Pope.

Philadelphia was given the name “POPEACOLYPSE”. Because a more than two square mile area was walled off to vehicles, pedestrian traffic only.

Our hotel was on the fringe of the fence line. On Saturday morning we woke at 5 and were out the door heading to a live location at KYW TV, the CBS affiliate. It was a short 2.5 mile walk through two security checkpoints, minus my multi-tools.

As soon as we finished our live shot … and watched on TV as the Holy Father’s Aircraft landed we got word that his motorcade would drive right near the TV station. Jeff and I bolted and made feet for a fixed position right on the highway exit ramp. In a matter of minutes, a long procession of motorcycle officers roared past followed by black SUV’s and more motorcycles with the U.S. Flag and the flag of the Vatican See.

Yes, it was Pope Francis.

With an excited Kevin Hogan watching, Pope Francis drives by in his famous Fiat

With an excited Kevin Hogan watching, Pope Francis drives by in his famous Fiat through the streets of Philadelphia.

Homeland Security warned us to back off the ramp … as we did a small black FIAT carrying Pope Francis on the other side … came into view. Like a little child I raised my arm stretching my Channel 3 Microphone high into the air and waved it wildly! I saw Pope Francis raise his left arm and wave back. I snapped a selfie shot … and captured a moment in time.

There were hundreds of thousands of people in Philadelphia. On Saturday we walked 13.5 miles. We walked a total of 38 miles during the whole U.S. tour.

Each day we encountered wonderful people, officers, security personal from all over the U.S. Amazingly the visitors of all ages and cultures dressed as if they were going to Sunday Church. There was a calm in each city we visited. There was excitement in the air because The Pope was here.

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Past, Present and Candidates for Future Selectmen of Chester Gather

 First Selectman candidate Lauren Gister; Selectman candidate Charlene Janecek; Current First Selectman Ed Meehan and Selectman Larry Sypher; Former Selectmen Martin Heft and Peter Zanardi

First Selectman candidate Lauren Gister; Selectman candidate Charlene Janecek; Current First Selectman Ed Meehan and Selectman Larry Sypher; Former Selectmen Martin Heft and Peter Zanardi

Lt Governor Nancy Wyman and Attorney General George Jepsen stopped by a local event to support Chester First Selectman Candidate Lauren Gister and Selectman Candidate Charlene Janecek.   They emphasized how important the local race is and praised Lauren and Charlene on the dedication, knowledge and experience they have to run the Town of Chester.

Selectman Larry Sypher; former First Selectman of Old Saybrook Roger Goodnow; P&Z candidate Jacqueline Stack; Library Board Candidate Karin Badger; Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman; Chairman of the Board of Finance Virginia Carmany (behind); Selectman Candidate Charlene Janecek; Attorney General George Jepson; First Selectman candidate Lauren Gister; State Representative Phil Miller and First Selectman Ed Meehan.

Selectman Larry Sypher; former First Selectman of Old Saybrook Roger Goodnow; P&Z candidate Jacqueline Stack; Library Board Candidate Karin Badger; Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman; Chairman of the Board of Finance Virginia Carmany (behind); Selectman Candidate Charlene Janecek; Attorney General George Jepson; First Selectman candidate Lauren Gister; State Representative Phil Miller and First Selectman Ed Meehan.

 

 

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Essex Foundation Announces Plans for Painting Rte. 9 Overpass Bridges in Essex

Bruce Glowac and Jay Tonk, President and Vice President of the Essex Foundation, point to the bridge overpasses that they hope will be painted this spring. The Foundation has pledged $5,000 toward the $20,000 needed to repaint the overpasses.

Bruce Glowac and Jay Tonk, President and Vice President of the Essex Foundation, point to the bridge overpasses that they hope will be painted this spring. The Foundation has pledged $5,000 toward the $20,000 needed to repaint the overpasses.

Bruce Glowac, President of The Essex Foundation, Inc., has announced that the Foundation is spearheading an effort to raise funds to paint the Rte. 9 bridges over the Essex crossing at the corner of West Ave. and Saybrook Rd., an area that used to be known as Phelps Corner. The bridge spans presently are rusted and desperately in need of repair and repainting.

The State Highway Department has plans to start bridge repairs in the spring. However, under the guidelines for Federal expenditures, the repainting of repaired bridge areas is limited to the strips adjoining the repair. This means that when the job is completed by the state, the only parts that will be painted will be those directly adjoining the repairs.

In line with all the clearing work recently done by the state in the area of the intersection, the Town and the Essex Foundation Board have been investigating how to further beautify the corner, including exploring ways to get the bridges painted. Glowac explained that local residents Susan and Steven Bogan, owners of Blast All, a local painting and blasting company, have taken the initiative to develop a pilot apprentice program that would use trainees under the direction of Blast All’s union employees to accomplish two objectives at an affordable cost: teaching a new generation much needed technical skills and beautifying overhead bridge structures that are badly in need of painting.

Blast All has received approval from the State of Connecticut to proceed with the program. The Essex project would serve as a model for future projects in Connecticut and Rhode Island. There would be no cost to the community for project management, labor, equipment or materials other than the cost of the soft green paint that will be used on the bridges.

Recognizing the need for the painting and wanting to take advantage of this unique opportunity, the Board of the Essex Foundation has pledged an initial donation of $5000 from the Elizabeth Callender fund to help pay for the paint. The Essex Foundation hopes that other organizations, individuals and family funds will consider joining the Foundation in helping to raise a total of $20,000 to cover the cost of the paint for the project.

Contributions can be made to The Essex Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 64, Essex, CT 06417. The Essex Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. www.theessexfoundation.org.

 A History of Phelps Corner

Most people in Essex today have no memory of what the corner at the junction of West Avenue and Saybrook Road looked like in the days before Rte. 9 cut through Centerbrook in the 1960s. West Avenue was a pre-1700 highway, but Plains Rd. did not exist until after 1800. The area was dotted with lovely old residences. A 1934 survey map shows that there were at least 25 homes that were either demolished or moved to make room for the new Rte. 9, built in the 1960s.

Fourteen of the homes were built before 1900 and six more dated back before 1850. An 1812 house built by Noah Starkey occupied the corner and the Roscoe Doane house stood along the road leading to Saybrook. River View Gardens, a florist shop run by George Baroni, became another casualty of the new Rte. 9 highway.

At the time the highway was built, a home with an adjoining gasoline station anchored the corner, the home and business of Ernest Phelps, for whom the corner was known. The property had been built originally about 1753 by Zephania Pratt whose son Zadock Pratt fought through the entire Revolutionary War. This house later became the home of Joseph Pratt who had his home and blacksmith shop there. (This was a different Pratt from the Pratt who ran the Pratt Smithy in Champlin Square.) In 1965, the property was relinquished to the state and the house was removed. The building of Rte. 9 totally changed the character of the original Centerbook settlement.

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CBSRZ Food Drive for Shoreline Soup Kitchens Fills the Shelves

Volunteers from CBSRZ and Shoreline Soup Kitchens at the SSKP Old Saybrook Pantry, hosted at First Church of Christ in Saybrook, Congregational.

Volunteers from CBSRZ and Shoreline Soup Kitchens at the SSKP Old Saybrook Pantry, hosted at First Church of Christ in Saybrook, Congregational.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester has an annual tradition during the High Holy Days; a large food drive for The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries. Congregants are given empty bags at Rosh Hashanah services and asked to bring them back to Yom Kippur services, this time full of non-perishable food.  Each congregant receives a wish list of the most-needed items, along with a biblical passage about helping people in need.

This year’s drive was extremely successful, with a total of 2,361 lbs collected. Sandy Seidman, a member of the congregation and the owner of Safety Zone, arranged for a large truck to deliver the food to SSKP’s Old Saybrook pantry, where CBSRZ and SSKP volunteers unloaded hundreds of bags of food to be weighed and sorted for distribution.

“This annual food drive is so appreciated, and shows the commitment of CBSRZ to caring for others,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director of SSKP. “By the end of summer our pantry shelves can get quite depleted, and this will help fill them again. We are so thankful to everyone at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.”

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Sen. Linares Named “Latino Citizen of the Year”

Sen. Art Linares addresses his colleagues in the State Capitol’s Senate Chamber. Linares has been named “Latino Citizen of the Year” by the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission.

Sen. Art Linares addresses his colleagues in the State Capitol’s Senate Chamber. Linares has been named “Latino Citizen of the Year” by the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission.

Sen. Art Linares has been named “Latino Citizen of the Year” by the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission (LPRAC).  LPRAC is a nonpartisan policy agency within the legislative branch of government.  LPRAC consists of 21 appointed community leaders who advise the Connecticut General Assembly and the Governor on policies which foster progress in Connecticut’s Latino communities.

“I am very excited that members of the board of my agency agreed to bestow such a great honor to State Senator Linares,” LPRAC Executive Director Werner Oyanadel said.  “Sen. Linares is a great leader who exemplifies all the best qualities of what makes this country so great! Sen. Linares has excelled in business and sports at a very young age and to our delight he becomes one of our first Latino Senators to be elected to that office to champion our issues in the halls of power.”

“I am deeply honored and humbled,” Sen. Linares said.  “I am grateful to the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission for this recognition, and I pledge to continue to work in a bipartisan fashion with anyone who is willing to pass policies which improve our quality of life in Connecticut.”

Linares, 26, is State Senator for the 33rd Senate District, which encompasses the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.  A Westbrook resident, Linares is the lead Republican senator on the state legislature’s Planning and Development Committee. The panel has cognizance of all matters relating to local governments, regional planning and development activities, and economic development programs impacting local governments.  An Assistant Minority Leader, Sen. Linares also serves on the Education Committee, the Internship Committee and the Judiciary Committee. He has previously served on the Children’s Committee, the Commerce Committee and the Banks Committee.

Linares’ val­ues stem from his family’s his­tory. In 1961, a force of exiles trained by the CIA stormed Cuba in an attempt to free the coun­try from com­mu­nist dic­ta­tor Fidel Cas­tro. After the inva­sion failed, Linares’ grand­parents fled the coun­try they loved in order to assure that their chil­dren were safe and able to grow up in a free coun­try.

In Amer­i­ca, Linares’s father started a successful busi­ness, and that success inspired Linares to start a busi­ness out of his base­ment when he was 19 years old.  Linares is the co-founder of Greenskies, a successful, Middletown-based, commercial solar energy company.

At 23, Linares was elected to the state Senate.  He is now serving his second term in office.

The “Latino Citizen of the Year” award presentation will take place on Oct. 17 at Amarante’s Sea Cliff in New Haven.

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Ivoryton Resident Discusses Debut Novel at Chester Library

Julian Friedland will come to Chester Library on Sept. 28 to discuss his new novel

Julian Friedland discusses his new novel at Chester Library, Sept. 28.

CHESTER — Ivoryton author Julian Friedland will read from and discuss his recently published debut novel, American Steam, at the Chester Library on Monday, Sept. 28, from 7 to 8 p.m.

Friedland, a Franco-American philosopher who received his Ph.D. at the Sorbonne, describes his novel as “loosely autobiographical, inspired by a wealth of hair-raising experiences I have amassed over two decades teaching at American universities.”

The story follows Professor Jules Stern as he comes to the realization that his world is being overtaken by a zombie-like epidemic of narcissism. It’s a place where pampered students blackmail compromised faculty in a madcap mix of raging hormones, political correctness, and consumer entitlement. Jules valiantly beats back the disease in his interactions with students, colleagues, and romantic interests. But when his walls start to crumble, he struggles to distinguish sanity from insanity and his fight becomes a battle to save himself.

Reviewers have called American Steam both “intensely funny and intelligent” and “definitely a book you want your friends to read.” Another reviewer wrote, “A shocking look into today’s university politics and behaviors. But it’s not only about campus life. It’s also about the contemporary culture in general with some highly entertaining dating situations and quirky characters. It’s thought-provoking but written in a light and easy style.”

The Chester Library is at 21 West Main St. (Rte. 148) in Chester. No registration is necessary for Friedland’s program.

For more information, call 860-526-0018.

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Vista Member, Tutor, Get Ready To Ride in ‘Tour de Shore’

Vista member David “Curly” Parish and his private tutor, Olive Moredock of Guilford, take their bikes for a spin around Curly’s neighborhood in Clinton

Vista member David “Curly” Parish and his private tutor, Olive Moredock of Guilford, take their bikes for a spin around Curly’s neighborhood in Clinton

What started out as an academic mentorship between Vista member David “Curly” Parish and his private tutor, Olive Moredock, has evolved into a friendship in which they support each other’s goals to stay active and healthy.

One of Curly and Olive’s favorite ways of staying active is bike riding. On October 18th, the pair will participate in the Vista Tour de Shore, Vista’s annual cycling event and fundraiser, for a third year. And they’ve already started training for it.

“This summer, Olive took me on a challenge around Block Island,” said Curly, a Clinton resident. “We rode around the whole Island!”

The Vista Tour de Shore offers 5, 25, 40 and 60 mile routes. Last year, Curly completed the 5 mile route with little difficulty, Olive said. The pair plans to step it up this year by tackling half of the 25 mile route, with the goal of completing 13 miles, she said.

In the weeks leading up to this year’s event, Curly plans to go on training rides three times a week near his home: once with Olive on Tuesdays and two other times with his peers.

“Part of my goal is to encourage him to reach out and socialize with other Vista students,” Olive, of Guilford, said.

Curly and Olive’s commitment to staying active started a few years ago when Curly signed up for the WALK for Vista. It wasn’t long until he recruited Olive to join him. A year or two later, one of Olive’s friends and avid cyclist Paul Rogen got her involved in the Tour de Shore. This time around, Olive recruited Curly to ride with her, and they were hooked.

Although biking can literally be an uphill battle at times, it doesn’t stop them from riding. In fact, it’s part of what drives them. Olive said she and Curly love the feeling of accomplishment they have when they return from a ride.

“We also like to check out the scenery,” Curly said with a smile.

To register for the Vista Tour de Shore or for more information, visit www.vistatourdeshore.com, or contact Jessica Liedke, Manager of Fundraising and Events, at (860) 399-8080 ext. 268.

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Essex Garden Club Announces Officers for 2015-2016

Essex Garden Club 2015-2016 Officers: Betsy Godsman, Patricia Mather, Linda Newberg, Judy Greene, and Barbara Burgess

Essex Garden Club 2015-2016 Officers: Betsy Godsman, Patricia Mather, Linda Newberg, Judy Greene, and Barbara Burgess

Officers for the Essex Garden Club for 2015-2016 are Linda Newberg, president; Barbara Burgess, first vice president; Barbara Muhlfelder, second vice president; Betsy Godsman, recording secretary, Judy Greene, corresponding secretary; Patricia Mather, treasurer; and MyLan Sarner, assistant treasurer.

In her opening remarks at the September meeting, Newberg described the club’s agenda and activities for the coming year, and introduced the theme for this year, “Looking into our past”. She went on to say that Since the Essex Garden Club’s inception in 1952 the mission has continually focused on beautifying Essex and conserving our natural resources. EGC has contributed so much in making this a lovely town to live in.

Membership in the Essex Garden club

Essex Garden Club welcomes new members (male and female) for a rich and rewarding experience. The Club meets on the first Monday of the month (except for January, July, and August) for a business meeting at 1 pm followed by a program at 2 pm.  Prospective members must have resided in Essex for at least six month prior to becoming a member, and must be proposed and seconded by two current members.  If you are interested in obtaining more information about club activities, please check our website at www.essexgardenclub.org .  If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Judy Taylor, Membership Chair at Essex Garden Club, P.O. box 936 , Essex, Ct 06426.

 

 

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‘The Hammered Edge’ is Going “All In” Online! Closing Sept. 26

DSCN9822After two years of developing their online shop HammeredEdgeStudio on Etsy have decided it is now time to let go of walk in retail and focus entirely on their online business.

To that end they are having a sale of furnishings and display items on Saturday, Sept. 26, at their gallery at 108 Main Street in the Ivoryton Village of Essex, Ct.  A listing of sale items can be found on Craig’s List at newlondon. craigslist.org/fud/5232776412. html

The collection of items includes

  • a vintage 10’ wood and glass display case originally from Sak’s Fifth Avenue.
  • three vintage glass, wood and metal full display cases each nearly six feet in long.
  • an antique Chinese apothecary chest with 25 drawers, each with four compartments.
  • a massive bureau with 56 drawers measuring five feet wide by 50” tall and 21” deep beautifully hand made of wood with metal bottoms in the drawers.

Some of the other items are a large double door cedar closet, a 5’ cash counter, a curved front glass and wood upright display case with light and glass shelves, vintage rugs, a table top double display case, a vintage map bureau, antique Chinese stool/ tables, a cobbler’s rack, a vintage oak claw foot dining table with extra leaves, a vintage arts and crafts style double door wood and glass shelf/ display case, a gorgeous wood blanket chest, vintage floor and table top lamps, 14 like new metal padded folding chairs, a vintage folding wood sewing table, vintage shelving, glass shelving, track lighting, an assortment of masquerade masks, tutus, beading and jewelry books and lots of other smalls.

‘The Hammered Edge’ thanks all who have been so supportive of their efforts and invites you to visit online at www.etsy.com/shop/ HammeredEdgeStudio

Contact the store at 860-526-1654 and visit their website at www.hammerededge.com as well as on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ katiebeadsalot

 

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State Senator Art Linares Co-Hosts Fundraiser Supporting Christie for President

State Senator (R) Art Linares

State Senator (R) Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook co-hosted a fundraiser for the presidential campaign of Chris Christie in Greenwich last Thursday, Sept. 22.

The fundraiser was held in the home of Linda and Vincent McMahon in Greenwich, who were co-sponsors. Additional co-sponsors of the fundraiser were the Hon. Tom Foley and State Representative John Frey.

The online invitation noted that, “Contributions to Chris Christie for President are not tax deductible.”

In Senator Linares’s invitation to the event. he wrote, “I will be attending an event for Governor Chris Christie of NJ at the home of Linda and Vince McMahon. Like you, I believe in limited government and strong national defense. Supporting individuals, who work for our ideals, is all of our responsibility.”

A representative of the organizing committee for the fundraiser said the event was “very successful.”

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Letter to the Editor: Former Chester First Selectman Supports Gister/Janecek

To the Editor:

It is with great pleasure and honor that I throw my full support behind two amazing women, Lauren Gister and Charlene Janecek.

Lauren is a 20 year resident of Chester and has served our nation for 25 years as a U.S. Marine Major.  As an attorney she has focused on real estate, small business, estate planning and family mediations.

In addition to raising her four children, three of which have been part of Region 4 school system, she has found the time to give back to Chester.  Serving on her synagogue’s Board of Directors, Chester’s Veteran contact, Girl Scout leader, various parent organizations and veteran-oriented non- profits for the past 18 years, Lauren has shown her dedication and support.

Her varied life experiences, community involvement and judicial knowledge have proven that she can lead Chester as its First Selectman.

Charlene may be best known as the owner of The Lunch Box for 28 years, but she exemplifies honesty, fairness, and thoughtfulness.  Still working in customer care, it provides the right foundation in overseeing a town.

She has served Chester for many years as a Registrar of Voters, Police Commission Chairman, Retirement Board, Chester Fire Department Auxiliary, Fire Commissioners and Chester Fair Board of Directors.  Her town background will be a great asset to the Board of Selectmen.

Gister and Janecek want to serve Chester. They care for Chester.  I for one cannot think of two women more suited for the job.

Elections are only a month away and you deserve a say in who runs your town. Voting for the Gister/Janecek team is a vote that you care for Chester.

Sincerely,

Martin L. Heft
Former Chester First Selectman

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Rep. Carney Achieves 100 Percent Voting Record

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23) achieved a perfect one-hundred-percent voting record during the regular 2015 Legislative Session according to statistics compiled by the House Clerk’s Office.

This year, Rep. Carney cast his vote on all 379 separate pieces of legislation that made it to the floor of the House of Representatives.  Only about 20 percent of legislators achieve perfect attendance each year. In addition, Carney attended every committee meeting and public hearing during the 2015 session.

“Throughout my first term representing the citizens of the 23rd district, I have made it a priority to be present for every debate and every vote,” said Carney. “The people of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook put their faith in me to serve as their representative and they deserve a voice on every piece of legislation that comes before the legislature. While I am proud to receive a perfect score, this is simply my duty to my constituents and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Carney, who represents the 23rd district in the General Assembly, is a House Republican Chair and Founding Member of Young Legislators Caucus and serves on the legislature’s committees on Environment, Transportation, and Higher Education & Employment Advancement.

The next regular session of the legislature will convene in February 2016.

Devin Carney represents the 23rd district communities of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

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Pink Flamingo Fundraiser to Support Valley Regional Musical Productions

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Join the Friends of Valley Regional Musical Productions (VRMP) as they kick off their first “Flock a Friend” fundraiser in October when, for a donation, flocks of plastic pink flamingos will roost throughout Chester, Deep River and Essex. If they show up in your front yard, it means someone has sent them to you by donating to Valley Regional High School’s (VRHS) drama program.

For a donation of $10 for a mini flock of 10, $25 for a full flock of 24 and $45 for a double flock of 48, you can direct flamingos to roost on a friend’s lawn for 24-48 hours. To ensure that VRMP won’t ruffle anyone’s feathers, you may purchase Anti-Flocking Insurance for $100 to prevent flamingos from roosting on your lawn.

Get your order form now on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/VRMPFLOCKTOBER or by e-mail at: VRPM256@gmail.com.

“VRMP is committed to providing Valley Regional High School students with opportunities to grow through working as a team to produce award-winning musicals,” says Ingrid Walsh, director, VRMP.  “Over the last several years, VRMP has won acclaim among Connecticut high schools for their productions.  We strive to be inclusive of all who wish to participate, and with the increasing participation, so increases the costs of production,” continues Walsh.

In VRMP’s 2015 production of “Band Geeks,” there was a total of 122 VRHS students, including 80 cast, 34 crew and 8 orchestra pit members for four performances.  The Friends of VRMP hope to offset costs while keeping ticket prices low and participation high by flocking lawns like yours as they prepare for their 2016 production, “The Addams Family.”

To learn more about VRMP, please visit the school’s website at www.vrhs.reg4.k12.ct.us or call the school at 860.526.5328.

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Old Saybrook Holds Light Bulb Swap

On Sunday, September 13, the Old Saybrook Conservation Commission, as part of its Nature of Old Saybrook event, hosted a light bulb swap for residents.

Old Saybrook residents were able to exchange old incandescent and CFL bulbs for five free LED light bulbs. In addition to the light bulb swap, energy experts from Eversource and members of the Old Saybrook Conservation Commission were on-hand to answer questions and provide information about further actions residents can take to save money by making their homes more energy efficient. Additional LED energy saving products such as holiday lights, night lights and specialty bulbs also were available for purchase at a discounted rate.

The light bulb swap was phenomenally successful. Residents were provided with approximately 2,000 free LED bulbs. This is equivalent to $20,000 in annual energy savings for participating residents of Old Saybrook, with a lifetime savings of approximately $660,000. A single LED bulb has a life expectancy of 23 years and can save homeowners as much as $10 per year versus a traditional incandescent bulb, which has about a 2-2.5 year lifespan.

The Town of Old Saybrook used part of a $5,000 Bright Idea Grant for the exchange, earned through their participation in Energize Connecticut’s Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program. In 2013, the town signed the CEC pledge, committing to make efforts to reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent, to attain 20 percent of municipal electricity needs from renewable sources, and to take other actions to support the deployment of clean energy by 2018.

Residents and businesses looking to save energy and money should visit EnergizeCT.com or call 877.WISE.USE (877-947-3873).

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Op-Ed: Valley Warriors Need to Reconsider Outdated, Distressing Mascot

valley regional2I am a proud alum of Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS), Class of 2010. I could not have asked for a better education or community. One of the most important experiences I had as a student there was my involvement in athletics. I enjoyed every moment of cross country that did not involve running, and during basketball games, I ensured that the team’s bench remained warm at all times. I also supported my friends in their athletic pursuits, especially those dedicated enough to travel to another school to play football for the Valley Regional Warriors. Having heard about their growing success, I’ve begun to follow along once more and I’m proud to see that some of the team’s best players are from LOLHS, some of whom I know from my time as a summer camp counselor in town. However, I was saddened to see that the image used for the mascot is an antiquated, stereotypical depiction of Native Americans.

The image used to represent the “warriors” is a red face with black hair and two loosely hanging feathers. It is, in my opinion, a highly problematic image. The image would be problematic anywhere, but it is particularly troubling given the region’s history of violence against native peoples. The Pequot War, the war that ensured colonial hegemony in Connecticut, culminated with the Mystic Massacre of 1637, during which colonists and their native allies attacked a Pequot village and shot or burned to death over 400 hundred men, women, and children. The attackers targeted the village after bypassing a stronghold of warriors, knowing that non-combatants would put up less of a fight. To misappropriate the imagery of that time period is a deeply uninformed way of grappling with our violent history.

This imagery also promotes a racialized view of American life. The idea that there is a race of “red” people is an idea that Euro-Americans constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries to justify campaigns of conquest and displacement. Far from being an ideology of the past, this racism is still very much alive and dangerous. Few people know that police kill Native American men at about the same rate as African American men. It has been encouraging to see the removal of imagery that glorifies the Confederacy and chattel slavery, and we must now remove symbols that trivialize the centuries-old abuses of native peoples. Only then can we begin to combat the caustic racism that continues to permeate our society.

Finally, using Native Americans as mascots promotes the myth of the “vanishing Indian.” This myth, which dates back to the early-19th century, contends that Native Americans died out in the course of American history, unable to adapt to new contexts or hold their lands. The myth could not be more wrong. Native peoples, who represent countless languages, cosmologies, and identities, have displayed remarkable resilience and have been intertwined in American life since the early-colonial period. Native peoples have shaped American politics, contributed to the American ethos, and served in our wars in greater proportion than any other population. And they have fought tenaciously to preserve their lands and cultures. While they lost a great deal under the onslaught of imperialism, and now grapple with the resulting poverty and trauma, they are proud of what they have maintained. I’ve travelled to numerous reservations—I recently returned from a month-long trip to the beautiful Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota—and the people there work tirelessly to elevate their communities without losing sight of their heritage. They continue to fight, every day, to revitalize their languages and resist new forms of encroachment, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline. They’re not a novelty or a relic of the past. They are students and teachers and parents and artists, and they cannot be encapsulated by a picture of a red face and feathers.

I’m being oversensitive, you might say. Perhaps. The mascot debate is by no means our most important. But it’s a good place to start. So can we change the image used by Valley Regional’s football team? The important things—the lines on the field, the minutes in a half, the positive impact of playing on a team—will remain unchanged. This problematic image will be the only thing to go, and when it does, our boys will have even more to be proud of.

Editor’s Note: Michael McLean graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School in 2010.  He went on obtain an undergraduate degree from Trinity College in 2014 and is currently studying for his PhD in American History at Boston College.  He is a contributor to the online history magazine, “We’re History” at http://werehistory.org.

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Blumenthal, Miller Visit Chester Fair to Support First Selectman Candidate Gister

State Representative Phil Miller (D-36), Democratic Selectman Candidate Charlene Janecek, Democratic First Selectman Candidate Lauren Gister and US Senator Richard Blumenthal visit Chester Fair

State Representative Phil Miller (D-36), Democratic Selectman Candidate Charlene Janecek, Democratic First Selectman Candidate Lauren Gister and US Senator Richard Blumenthal visit Chester Fair

CHESTER — US Senator Richard Blumenthal and State Representative Phil Miller (D-36) visited the Chester Fair to support Democratic First Selectman Candidate Lauren Gister and talk to fairgoers about their concerns. Democratic Selectman Candidate Charlene Janecek, who also serves as a Fair Director and Assistant Treasurer,  joined them.

Democratic First Selectmen Ed Meehan (Chester), Cathy Lino (Killingworth) and Melissa Schlag (Haddam) also spent time over the weekend with the candidates.  Both Gister and Janecek enjoyed discussing issues and answering questions regarding their experience, knowledge and extensive service records.

 Cathy Lino , Lauren Gister, State Representative Phil Miller, Melissa Schlag, and Chester First Selectman Ed Meehan

Gathered for a photo are, from left to right, Killingworth First Selectman Cathy Lino, Chester First Selectman candidate Lauren Gister, State Representative Phil Miller, Haddam First Selectman Melissa Schlag, and Chester First Selectman Ed Meehan

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Volunteers Needed for Middlesex Hospital Hospice, Palliative Care

At Middlesex Hospice and Palliative Care, volunteers are an integral part of the interdisciplinary team, reaching out to patients and families as they cope with the challenges of terminal illness. Volunteers can choose to work in homecare, on the Weiss Hospice Unit or in bereavement support after completing 40 hours of classes and a 12-hour mentorship.

Training runs from early February to mid-April 2016, and is held on four Saturdays and one evening. The program welcomes both male and female volunteers. Volunteers must be 18 years or older.

To begin the fall application process, contact Jaclyn Thurnauer, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, at (860) 358-6955 or email  jaclyn.thurnauer@midhosp.org.

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Registration Open Now for TTYS’s Pediatric First Aid, CPR and Babysitter Training Program

DEEP RIVER — Tri-Town Youth Services (TTYS) will offer a Pediatric First Aid and CPR course along with a babysitter training certificate program. This course provides an excellent opportunity to help youth, aged 12-17, to build self-confidence as well as job leadership and decision-making skills. Completion of this course is a plus on Job Bank applications. The $75 fee includes instruction, books, and certificate.

The fall session will be held on Wednesday evenings, Oct. 7, 14 and 21. All classes will be held 6 to 8 p.m. at TTYS, 56 High Street in Deep River. Classes fill quickly, so register soon online (www.tritownys.org) or by calling 860-526-3600.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex. The organization coordinates and provides resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most. Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org

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Chester Library Announces Lobster Festival Basket Winner

Basket winner and longtime Chester resident Pat Holloway, who was Chester's Library Director many years ago and recently retired as West Hartford's Library Director, is shown in the photo with Linda Fox, Chester Library Director (left), and Susan Wright, Chester Rotarian (right).

Basket winner and longtime Chester resident Pat Holloway, who was Chester’s Library Director many years ago and recently retired as West Hartford’s Library Director, is shown in the photo with Linda Fox, Chester Library Director (left), and Susan Wright, Chester Rotarian (right).

The Chester Library has a winner of its Lobster Festival basket, the final reward in its Escape the Ordinary summer reading program for adults – and it’s Pat Holloway! Holloway’s award basket includes everything needed for the perfect evening at the Chester Rotary Lobster Festival on Sept. 12 – from tableware to Festival tickets.

Thanks to the Friends of Chester Public Library who filled the basket and to the Chester Rotary that donated four Festival tickets. And thanks to all those who Escaped the Ordinary with Chester Library this summer – 40 people, who read 211 books!

Holloway, a longtime Chester resident who was Chester’s Library Director many years ago and recently retired as West Hartford’s Library Director, is shown in the photo with Linda Fox, Chester Library Director (left), and Susan Wright,  Chester Rotarian (right).

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Vista Member Turns Hobby Into Business

Vista member Nicole Martines proudly shows off some of her handmade duct tape accessories at the YASBIZ Showcase back in July, where she made her first-ever sale.

Vista member Nicole Martines proudly shows off some of her handmade duct tape accessories at the YASBIZ Showcase back in July, where she made her first-ever sale.

AREAWIDE — Duct tape is more than just an adhesive tool for Vista member Nicole Martines— it’s a creative art form. It’s also the foundation of her newly established business, Crafty Nicole, which she launched last month with the help of Vista staff.

Nicole, who’s long had a passion for crafting, recently started creating duct tape accessories after watching how-to videos on YouTube. She decided to take her hobby to the next level after Kristin Juaire, Vista’s manager of Quality of Life Programming, encouraged her to sell her crafty wares.

Using a variety of colored and patterned tape, Nicole creates large and small wallets, flower pens and hand-braided bracelets.

“The pens are my favorite,” said Nicole, a Clinton resident. “They take longer to make, but they are the most fun.”

Nicole made her first-ever sale on July 24, at the YAZBIZ Showcase hosted at Vista’s Madison campus. YASBIZ is a network of Young Adult Service programs from around Connecticut that help individuals with disabilities launch their own small business ventures.

Since the YASBIZ event, Nicole has sold out of her original inventory. She’s been making more pieces in her spare time— when she’s not hard at work with the Ventures Business Services cleaning crew.

Aside from her duct tape creations, Nicole also makes loom bracelets for fun. She even teaches her peers how to make them. Her other hobbies include gymnastics, golf and skiing.

For more information about Nicole’s products or to make a purchase, email Sharon Grogan at sgrogan@VistaVocational.org.

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Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Peter Jones Attains Eagle Scout Rank

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Peter Jones. Photo by Michael Rutty.

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Peter Jones. Photo by Michael Rutty.

CHESTER & DEEP RIVER — Peter Jones of Deep River, a member of Chester/Deep River’s Troop 13, has earned Scouting’s highest rank and an Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for him on Sunday Aug. 16, at the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium.

To become an Eagle Scout, Peter earned 38 merit badges and advanced 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 boy’s community, school, or religious institution.

Peter’s project was to reconstruct a 20 foot long stone wall to enhance the corner of The Deep River Congregational Church’s cemetery along Platt Ln. and Essex St.  The original wall had fallen into disrepair over the years from erosion.  The completed wall complements the existing front wall of the cemetery and new plantings were added to the accent and beautify the area.

Completing this project entailed meeting with the church to determine they stone they preferred, securing donations for supplies, designing and overseeing volunteers through the construction and installation of the wall and plantings.  The completed project provides an important service to the residents of Deep River and members of Deep River Congregational Church by improving the look of the area.

Congratulations, Peter!

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 please contact our Scoutmaster, Steven Merola @ 860-526-9262

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River COG Announces ‘GrowSMART’ Project to Develop Lower CT River Valley’s Economic Growth Strategy

growsmart logo

AREAWIDE — Have you heard of RiverCOG?

It’s an acronym for the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, which is an association of 17 towns with each represented by its chief elected official.  Its mission involves facilitating solutions and planning between the 17 towns, the State of Connecticut, federal agencies, and nonprofits for land use, transportation, agriculture, emergency management, conservation, and economic development.

One of its key goals is to encourage a safe and open venue to discuss shared regional options and projects.  Fulfilling this mission had led RiverCOG to launch a new and exciting project titled, GrowSMART.  The purpose of GrowSMART is to research how the region can collaborate to attract workers, and retain and grow businesses while also conserving the natural resources that are so vital to the region’s infrastructure, housing values, and tourism industry.

factory_signAs you drive, walk, or bike around the region in September and October, you will start to notice signs, posters and banners around town such as the one shown to the left or see an advertisements while reading a local newspaper or local online news.  The signs or advertisements may ask a question, such as:  “Why can’t you find qualified help?” or “Who is going to buy your house”?

Why is RiverCOG asking these questions?

The answer is that its Regional Strategic Economic Growth Committee is working with Ninigret Partners to create a regional economic growth strategy and is seeking your input.  RiverCOG invites you to visit the project website at www.GrowSMARTregion.org to learn about its travelling mobile workshop and note dates of the upcoming public forums to which all are welcome

There is also an opportunity at the www.GrowSMARTregion.org website to submit your ideas directly.

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Chester Artists’ Raffle Benefits Chester Library Programs

“Sorbet with Sprinkles” quilt by Sally Murray

One of the items in Chester Library’s fundraising raffle is this “Sorbet with Sprinkles” quilt by Sally Murray

CHESTER — Chester is a town of many talented individuals, three of whom have donated their works to the Friends of the Chester Public Library for a fundraising raffle, culminating on Oct. 6.

“The Chief’s Daughter” basket by Sosse Baker.

“The Chief’s Daughter” basket by Sosse Baker.

Basketmaker Sosse Baker created “The Chief’s Daughter,” a storage basket in a Cherokee pattern, 20 inches high and 16 inches wide, in dyed and natural rattan.

Baker, the co-owner of Chester Gallery in Chester Center, has been a renowned basketmaker for several decades.

There’s also “Sorbet with Sprinkles,” a lively lap quilt made by Sally Murray.  At 61 x 72 inches, it’s large enough for a couchful.  It’s all-cotton construction, machine-pieced and -quilted, washer- and dryer-friendly, and bright enough to evoke a smile.

Murray is a resource in Chester Library’s Human Library; check her out to learn more about quilting.

“Midnight Passion” mohair stole by Lisa Tollefson

“Midnight Passion” mohair stole by Lisa Tollefson

You will love to drape yourself in Lisa Tollefson’s one-of-a-kind hand-knitted lace mohair-blend stole. This original Rivergirl design, named “Midnight Passion,” is a gorgeous blue and foldable/crushable, lightweight, and surprisingly warm.

Tickets are priced at $2 each and only 1,000 tickets are being sold. The three items are on display at the Chester Library. All proceeds from the raffle will directly benefit the Friends of the Library’s programs and purchases for the library.

The Friends fund DVD and CD purchases and a Netflix membership; passes to area museums and attractions; professionally facilitated Spring and Fall book discussion series; materials for children’s story and craft hours; and the summer reading program.

The raffle drawing will be at the Chester Library on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m. Winners need not be present to win.

 

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Essex Civic Campus Project Recognized as First STEAP Grant Success Story

Photos of the Essex Civic Campus reproduced from the Office and Policy of Management page on the State of CT website.

Photos of the Essex Civic Campus reproduced from the Office of Policy and Management page on the State of CT website at www.ct.gov/opm.

ESSEX — The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has announced that its first STEAP Grant Success Story is the Town of Essex Civic Campus Enhancement Project.

Essex was awarded a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) in the amount of $471,500 in 2013 for the Essex Civic Campus Enhancement Project which funded the expansion, repair, and improvements to the “Essex Civic Campus” located at 29 West Ave.  The Civic Campus is a gateway to Essex and a center of municipal activity, including the Town Hall, Police Station, Essex Community Library, and Grove Street Park.

The project included the installation and replacement of the Grove Street Park Playscape to improve compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards; the renovation and expansion of the Town Hall parking area; renovations to the Town tennis courts, and improved pedestrian connectivity between the Town Hall and Library.

Essex First Selectman, Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman, Norman Needleman

This grant provided much-needed improvements to ensure that the Essex Civic Campus is a vibrant and welcoming center of community activity, whether for recreation, public meetings, conducting business, or visiting the library.

A delighted Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman commented, “The people of the Town of Essex are deeply grateful to Governor Malloy, Senator Linares, Representative Miller, and our partners at DECD, for the investments that the state has made, via STEAP grants, in our community. The Town continually strives to be a friendlier and more welcoming place to live, work, learn, and play. The State’s investment of STEAP funds helps us get to that next level.”

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Bartlett Tree Experts Donate Maple Tree to Town of Essex

Donated_tree_to Essex_by_Bartlett_Tree _ExpertsESSEX — Dan Estey (left) donated a Red Sunset Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’) on behalf of Bartlett Tree Experts to the Town of Essex.

He is pictured with Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, who selected the location at 147 Dennison Rd.

Press release and photo submitted by the Essex Tree Committee

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Donna Scott from IFoundFitness to Join Valley Shore YMCA’s Staff Team

Donna Scott, former owner of IFoundFitness in Deep River, is joining the Y's staff.

Donna Scott, former owner of IFoundFitness in Deep River, is joining the Y’s staff.

AREAWIDE — The Valley Shore YMCA has announced that Donna Scott, owner of the Best of the Shoreline’s Readers Poll IFoundFitness located in Deep River, will join the staff team of the Valley Shore YMCA at the end of August as a Wellness Coordinator.  Earlier in the summer, Scott had decided to close her popular fitness studio and started thinking about the next chapter of her life.

“When I looked at partnerships, there were certain criteria that had to be met;” Scott noted.  “A non-competitive, environment where my members would fit in and feel comfortable, the ability to continue and strengthen great programs like The Slim Down, programs for seniors, and the Couch to 5k program.  I want to be part of an organization that believes in giving back and supporting its members.”

“We are very excited to have Donna join our staff team,” comments Chris Pallatto, Executive Director of the Valley Shore Y, adding, “She has a tremendous reputation and created a very strong following with her professionalism, expertise, and enthusiasm.  She will be a great addition to our staff team.”

In her new role at the Y, Scott will be in charge of personal training, the Y’s Wellness Center, active older adult initiatives as well as running the ever popular Slim Down challenges throughout the year.

Editor’s Note: For further information about the Valley Shore YMCA, visit their website or call 860.399.9622.

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New Gift Shop — a Vista Social Enterprise — Opens In Downtown Madison

Creations is located in the heart of downtown Madison at 712 Boston Post Road, next to Tony’s Barber Shop

Creations is located in the heart of downtown Madison at 712 Boston Post Road, next to Tony’s Barber Shop

AREAWIDE — Handcrafted ceramic pottery, children’s toys, specialty jewelry and even blown glass that glows in the dark— these are among the many items one will find at Creations, a unique gift shop, which opened Thursday in the heart of downtown Madison.

Located at 712 Boston Post Rd., Creations showcases the beautiful work of more than 60 artisans from throughout the Northeast. These artists— from the mom who found inspiration in her child or the grandchildren who resurrected their grandparent’s legacy— each have stories that deserve to be shared with the world. They imagined the possibilities and followed their dream of creating gifts that can be used, loved and talked about for many years to come.

Shoppers will find products for men, women, children and the home. The store will also feature a variety of seasonal items.  All proceeds from the store benefit Vista.

Creations is a social enterprise of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center of Westbrook. Based in Madison and Westbrook, Conn., Vista is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about the store including its opening hours, visit the store’s website.

For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Nibbles: Summer Just Isn’t Summer Without Ratatouille (and a Five-Bean Bake!)

Ratatouille is always a welcome addition to any summer meal -- or as a meal on its own.

Ratatouille is always a welcome addition to any summer meal — or as a meal on its own.

I am so enjoying this summer.

I do love my CSA baskets (Hanukkah or Christmas every Tuesday afternoon), but I still delight in visiting my local farm and farm markets twice a week to get more tomatoes and sweet corn, either at Whittle’s in Mystic or Becky’s in Waterford.

If that were not enough, a neighbor, who is a scientist at Pfizer, asked if I liked tuna. “Fresh tuna?” I asked. Sure enough, her colleague was going tuna fishing the next day and she came home with two simply gorgeous tuna fillet.

The next day I marinated it with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh tarragon. Aside from the fact that I overcooked the tuna, it was amazing and my plate shared space with two big tomatoes with burrata (from Fromage) and sweet corn. Life can be pretty darn good.

Over the July 4 weekend, I went to a party at John Colton’s house in Lyme. His sister, Beverly Picazio, made two salads—ratatouille with fresh vegetables and another that can be whipped up with pantry staples.

I loved both of them so you might consider making these from your next potluck or party. The ratatouille is not only a great side dish, but, with a crusty loaf of bread and a salad, it is a terrific vegetarian dinner.

Ratatouille

Slightly adapted from recipe of Beverly Picazio of Stonington

Yield:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 to 4 large cloves of garlic, minced

One-half teaspoon crusted pepper flakes

2 medium-sized eggplants, peeled and chopped

3 zucchini, chopped2 green peppers, chopped

2 8-ounce packages of sliced mushrooms

4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 can lima beans

1 yellow squash, chopped

2 28-ounces crushed tomatoes

Fresh ground fresh black pepper and salt, to taste

Chop all vegetables to about the same side.

In a large (or Le Creuset) Dutch oven, saute garlic in oil. Add pepper flakes. Stir in all the vegetables, including the tomatoes. Bring ingredients to a simmer, then cover and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Season to taste.

Beverly thinks the dish is better made a day or two earlier. When reheating, water if ratatouille is too thick.

Five-Bean Bake

From Beverly Picazio of Stonington

Yield: serves 12 as a side dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

8 bacon slices, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

1 28-ounce can Bush baked beans

1 19.75 ounce of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 16-ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can lima beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup ketchup

Three-quarter cup firmly packed brown sugar

One-half cup water

One-quarter cup cider vinegar

Cook bacon I a large skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Remove bacon, reserving 3 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Add diced onion and saute until tender. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Add all ingredients into a 9-inch by 13-nch baking dish and cook in the oven covered for 1 hour; uncover and bake another 30 minutes.

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Community Music School Receives Grant to Fund Scholarships, Pop-Up Kindermusik Days

CMS Kindermusik teacher Nancy Thomas is joined by members of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County grants committee and participants in a Pop-Up Day. Photo courtesy of Community Music School.

CMS Kindermusik teacher Nancy Thomas (front row, kneeling, second from right) is joined by members of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County grants committee and participants in a Pop-Up Day. Photo courtesy of Community Music School.

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS) has announced receipt of a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County to support the award-winning early childhood program, Kindermusik. Community Music School used the funds to present Kindermusik Pop-Up Days throughout the community during the summer and will offer Kindermusik scholarships for its fall semester.

“We are grateful for the support this year,” says Robin Andreoli, CMS Executive Director,” continuing, “More children in our community will benefit from this wonderful early childhood music program thanks to the generosity of the Community Foundation and those who support their efforts.”

The final Pop-Up Day takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 10 a.m. at CMS, 90 Main St., Centerbrook.  The classes are recommended for ages 18 months to 4 years and offer a fun-filled 45 minutes of singing, dancing, and lots of giggles!

Additionally, interested families can attend a preview Kindermusik class during the School’s Open House on Tuesday, Sept. 15.  Three distinct age-appropriate classes are offered that day: Village Class for 6 to 18-months-old will be at 9 a.m.; Time class for 18 months to 3-years-old will be at 10 a.m.; and Imagine That for 3- and 4-year-olds will take place at 11 a.m.

For more information about Kindermusik, the scholarship program, other Community Music School programs, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the people of the County, now and in the future, by developing endowments, making grants that have impact and assisting donors in meeting their philanthropic objectives.

Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has awarded 907 grants totaling over $2.8 million for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements and for health and human services.

Community Music School is a not-for-profit arts organization that has been serving the music education needs of students for nearly 30 years. Founded in 1983, Community Music School has grown steadily over the years and now occupies 6,000 square feet of space in two buildings with 17 studios and small group performance space.  Today, CMS has nearly 500 students of all ages from Essex and 17 surrounding towns throughout Middlesex, New London and New Haven counties.

The mission of CMS is to provide a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, to increase appreciation of music and to encourage a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.

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Deep River Congregational Church Hosts Flea Market, Aug. 15

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Congregational Church is busy making final preparations for its annual Flea Market and Rummage Sale, which will be held during the third weekend of August.   The Saturday, Aug. 15, Flea Market is held on Marvin Field and on the grounds around the church.

Just a few 20 x 20 foot spaces are still available for $30 and 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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Deep River Rotary Installs New Officers, Libby is President

The new president of Deep River Rotary Club, Stacia Libby.

The new president of Deep River Rotary Club, Stacia Libby.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Rotary Club installed its officers for the 2015-2016 year at the annual picnic meeting on June 30.

The full slate of officers comprises Stacia Rice Libby (President);  Desiree Richardell (Vice President);  Jill Merola (Treasurer);  Timothy Haut (Secretary);  and Kevin Brewer (Sergeant-at-Arms).

The Deep River Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. at the Ivory Restaurant in Deep River.   It is a part of Rotary International, a humanitarian and service organization with over 34,000 clubs and 1.2 million members around the world.

Men and women from throughout the Valley Shore area are invited to attend meetings and become members of the Deep River Club.

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Women’s Golf Association Tournament Raises Funds for Terri Brodeur Cancer Foundation

golf_ladies

The Women’s Golf Association (WGA) of the Old Lyme Country held its annual Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Golf Tournament on July 23, at the Old Lyme Country Club.

Over 37 ladies participated in the tournament and raised $4,240 for the Terri Brodeur Foundation.  The event included 9-holes of golf, a silent auction,  raffle, and a luncheon.  All of the funds pledged go directly to breast cancer research.  Administrative costs are either sponsor-supported or volunteer provided.  The Foundation has an office in New London that was donated to organization.  Since 2006, over 3 million dollars have been raised and awarded to 30 researchers.

The winners of the tournament this year were:

FIRST GROSS:   Paula Bingham (Old Lyme), Louise Ferrebee (Old Lyme), Debbie English (Centerbrook), and Suzanne Kitchings (Essex).

FIRST NET: Mardee Moore (Guilford), Carolyn Daddona (Centerbrook), Eleanor Way (Old Lyme), Diane Deutermann  (Old Lyme), and Kathy Jose (Old Lyme).

Article submitted by Charlene Amacher.

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