October 22, 2014

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 Newest Eagle Scout

Bobby Hamblett - Eagle Scout

Bobby Hamblett – Eagle Scout

Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America would like to congratulate Deep River resident Bobby Neil Hamblett for earning the rank of Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for Bobby on August 15, 2014 at the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium.

To become an Eagle Scout, Bobby earned 28 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.

Bobby showed leadership over others by developing and implementing a plan to clear and grade an existing aged tree stump and sod area to replace it with a commemorative live pin oak and a newly laid handicapped accessible brick patio with two reflecting benches at the entrance to the Deep River Elementary School. To complete this project Bobby worked with various municipal agencies, attended meetings with the Deep River Board of Selectmen, secured donations for supplies and designed and oversaw volunteers through the planning and construction period. This project is a benefit to the Deep River Elementary School staff and students and all Deep River residents and their guests visiting the school grounds.

Information about Troop 13 – BSA

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

Deep River Planning and Zoning Approves Used Car Dealership at 444 Main Street

DEEP RIVER— After two years of disputes, the planning and zoning commission Thursday gave a quick and unanimous special permit approval for a used motor vehicle dealership in a portion of a former industrial building at 444 Main St. The approval for local resident George Bartlett Jr. ends a two-year controversy that beginning in 2012 led to two lawsuits and conflict between the commission and the zoning board of appeals.

Bartlett’s new application for a used vehicle dealership in a section of the former industrial building was presented at a brief public hearing where there were no objections to the proposed use. Essex lawyer John Bennet, representing Bartlett, said the applicant had secured two required variances from the zoning board of appeals, along with a permit from the inland-wetlands commission. Bennet said any repairs performed at the site would be for motor vehicles that are in the inventory of the dealership, with no general shop for other vehicle repairs.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Cathy Jefferson said all issues related to the application had been resolved. There will be a paved display area at the front of the property for eight used vehicles. After Jefferson’s comments, the commission approved the special permit on a unanimous vote without discussion.

That was not the case in June 2012, when Bartlett first proposed the used vehicle dealership in the vacant industrial building he had purchased earlier that year. Bartlett was required to apply for variances from the zoning board of appeals because the parcel was about six-feet short of the 150-feet of road frontage that zoning regulations required for uses in the turnpike industrial zone.

The ZBA approved a dimensional variance for the road frontage requirement, but there was dispute with the planning and zoning commission over whether it had also approved a variance for the motor vehicle dealership use. Bartlett filed a lawsuit against the ZBA after the board in September 2012 amended it’s minutes to clarify that it had approved only one variance at the June 19, 2012 meeting.

The case was still pending in Middlesex Superior Court during the spring when the commission amended regulations for the turnpike industrial zone to remove the 150-foot road frontage requirement for all uses. But Bennet continued to object to the decision last May, maintaining that other provisions of the amended regulations would make it “virtually impossible” for Bartlett to pursue his plan for a used vehicle dealership.

Bartlett filed a new lawsuit in May challenging the amended regulations, while also putting the new application for the used vehicle dealership before the commission. The approval of a special permit for the used vehicle dealership is expected to lead to a withdrawal of any pending lawsuits involving the 444 Main St. property.

Obituary: Beulah May Sullivan – 8/14/2014

Beulah May Sullivan. Died August 14, 2014, age 99 years.

Beulah May Sullivan. Died August 14, 2014 at 99 years of Age.

Beulah May Sullivan born Southampton, Ma. February 17, 1915, died Greenfield, Ma. August 14, 2014 at 99 years of age.

Beulah had an open heart, an easy smile and a grace about her that touched everyone in her life.

Beulah married Francis R. Sullivan in 1950 and together they operated the Centerbrook Package Store for 20 years. In their off hours they enjoyed their boat the “Equanil” on trips to the islands.

After her husband’s death Beulah met and spent many years with her wonderful companion John J. Kiely. They toured New England in a little Mercedes and spent time with all their friends at the Gris (Griswold Inn, Essex Ct.)

Beulah will be missed by all, including her family Peter, Kathy and Dan Sullivan and the wonderful staff of Charlene Manor where Beulah spent the last four years of her life.

Services will be private. In lieu of flowers please stop by the Gris and raise your glass to Beulah.

Emily Bjornberg Endorsed by Public School Teachers

On Friday Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg, a mother with two children in the Lyme public schools, proudly announced the endorsement of her campaign by Connecticut’s public school teachers. Both the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and the Connecticut affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have voted to endorse Bjornberg for the November 4th General Election. The organizations collectively represent all of Connecticut’s public school teachers.

“More than anything else, education is an issue that should bring all of us together, as we work to prepare our children for success in a rapidly changing world,” said Bjornberg. “As a mother of two young children I have a vested interest in a public school system that works for our families, and provides students with the skills they need to get ahead in life.”

“Parents, administrators, teachers and taxpayers must work together to provide better schools and a brighter future for our students. Emily Bjornberg will work hard to help our teachers succeed, and ensure our schools have the resources they need to educate the next generation,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen.

“We need someone in the State Senate who will work with her colleagues on issues important to working families. Whether it’s reclaiming the promise of education, expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare, or preserving vital public services, Emily will help clarify the conversation, not muddy the political waters,” said Melodie Peters, president of AFT Connecticut, which also represents public schools’ support staff, nurses and healthcare workers, higher education faculty, and state and municipal employees.

“We need to have a more candid conversation about education in our small towns,” said Bjornberg. “Our local schools consistently perform at a high level, yet they are subject to increasing mandates from the state that increase our expenses—and our property taxes—without improving school performance. If a school district does very well year after year, we should lighten the burden of these requirements as an added incentive. Education reform efforts must focus on where performance is low, and not burden our most successful schools.”

“It is critically important that we stand up and fight for additional state education aid for our small towns. Too many of our school districts have not gotten their fair share of education funding, and that has put upward pressure on property tax rates. Our children deserve better, and our seniors and others on limited fixed incomes need a break,” added Bjornberg.

More than 2,100 CEA and AFT Connecticut members live in the towns of the 33rd State Senate District, which includes the communities of: Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Holiday Crafters Wanted for Estuary Council Craft Fair

2014 Craft Fair-Marino

Diana Marino pictured with her granddaughters Jessica (L) and Marissa (R) Thomas displaying their handmade crafted items at the 2013 Holiday Craft Fair

OLD SAYBROOK  —   The Estuary Senior Center is looking for crafters for its annual Holiday Craft Fair.  The Fair will be held on November 22, 2014 from 8 am to 1 pm, at the Senior Center located at 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook. Space is available to local crafters with hand crafted items for a $20 donation. Space is limited and filling quickly. Call Mike or Judy at 860-388-1611 to reserve your space.

The Estuary Council of Seniors Inc. (ECSI) is a non-profit regional senior center located in the M. Monica Eggert Senior Center on the Connecticut River Estuary at 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for people 50 years and older. ECSI is a community resource for the nine-town Estuary region’s residents over 50 years old providing nutrition, transportation, health support services, education opportunities, and socialization.  For more information call 860-388-1611 or visit our website at www.ecsenior.org

Linares wins Independent Line Endorsement

On Thursday August 21, 2014 Senator Linares received the endorsement from the Independent Party.  Linares’ name will now appear twice on the ballot, as both the chosen candidate for the Republican Party and the Independent Party.

Senator Linares attended the Independent Party convention in Danbury, CT on Thursday night to speak directly to the delegates.  Linares said of his endorsement, “I am honored to be representing the Independent Party, as well as the Republican Party.  All people want the same thing – stabilization of taxes, more accountability in spending, conservation of certain lands, more job creating businesses and more educational opportunities.”

“That is exactly what we are working towards in Hartford for all Connecticut residents and I will continue to do so if I’m given the opportunity to represent the district again in November.”

Senator Linares, who has been working non- stop on his re-election campaign, has already visited residents in all 12 towns in his district.  He plans to continue his door to door campaign up until Election Day.

Senator Linares has been very visible throughout the district and his campaign staff has also attended numerous fairs with the Senator. In addition to the many fairs and festivals, Senator Linares also has attended numerous parades in the district.

Senator Linares represents the towns of Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Colchester, Portland, East Hampton, Essex, Deep River, Haddam, East Haddam, Chester, Lyme.

33 Plains Road Cease and Desist Order Rescinded with “Path to Zoning Compliance”

ESSEX— A town cease and desist order issued earlier this year to resident  John Finkeldey for alleged zoning violations with a structure at his 33 Plains Road property has been rescinded after Finkeldey agreed to file applications with the zoning commission to resolve the zoning issues.
The action by Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow came Tuesday, the day the zoning board of appeals was scheduled to reopen a public hearing on the order that began in June. After months of discussion with Finkeldey that followed a complaint, Budrow last winter issued an order charging that Finkeldey had built a structure on the property without permits from the town, and that the structure was improperly being used as a residential dwelling in the town’s limited industrial zone.
During a two-part hearing before the ZBA where he was represented by local attorney Terrance Lomme, Finkeldey maintained the structure had been in place for more than three years without enforcement action from the town, a lapse that would make it a legal, non-conforming structure. The issue of residential use in the limited industrial zone remained unresolved when the last public hearing recessed on July 15. Lomme also serves as the elected judge of probate for the nine town region.
Michael Wells, lawyer for the ZBA, distributed a report from Budrow that was received Tuesday advising the board the cease and desist order had been rescinded. Budrow reported that a recent meeting between he and zoning commission attorney Peter Sipples with Finkeldey and Lomme had established a “path to zoning compliance” that would end the alleged zoning violations. Budrow advised that the zoning commission had concurred with the decision to rescind the cease and desist order.
Under the agreement, Finkeldey would be required to apply with the commission for a zone change from limited industrial to residential for a section of his property, and to apply for a resubdivision that would separate the disputed structure from the rest of the parcel. If the zone change and resubdivision was approved by the commission, the zoning issues on the property would be resolved. Budrow could not be reached later this week for further comment on the resolution of the case.

Pettipaug Yacht Club Ends Sailing Season with Just a Whisper of Wind

Paul Risseeuw stands next to the banner that marked the recent Junior Sailing Regatta at the Pettipaug Yacht Club

Paul Risseeuw stands next to the banner that marked the recent Junior Sailing Regatta at the Pettipaug Yacht Club

Over 40 small sailboats competed in the “Paul Risseeuw Junior Sailing Regatta,” which was held in the waters off the Pettipaug Yacht Club on August 17. There was only one thing that made things difficult at the regatta, there was very little wind.

Even so there were winners in the three, slow, slow races. The four kinds of boats that were sailed in the regatta were: 420s, Optimists, Lasers, and Blue Jays. The winners by the boats, in which they sailed, are as follows.

420s – Winners: Libby Ryan and Megan Ryan of the Pettipaug Yacht Club.

Optimists -Winners:

White fleet: Nick Hughes of Guilford

Blue fleet: Chris Annino of Ram Island Yacht Club

Red fleet: Stewart Gurnell of the Wickford Yacht Club, Rhode Island

Lasers – Winner: Jack Hogan, Watch Hill Yacht Club, Rhode Island

Blue Jays – Winners: Ryan Shasha and Freddie Kerr of the Pettipaug Yacht Club

This annual race at the Pettipaug Yacht Club, the last of the races in sailing season, is named after Paul Risseeuw, who is the Director of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, among a host of other activities at the club.

 

 

Grant Application for Planned New Chester Library to be Ready for Aug. 29 Deadline

CHESTER— A grant application for up to $1 million in state funding for a planned new library at North Quarter Park will be ready for submission by an August. 29 deadline.  The town will learn by mid-November whether it has been awarded the funding.

First Selectman Edmund Meehan said two volunteer committees working on the project, the North Quarter Park planning committee and the library building committee, have concurred on a plan to construct a two-story, 5,600 square-foot library building on the front section of the 22-acre park on the east side of Main Street. He said the board of selectmen should be ready to approve the plan, and sign-off on the grant application, at a special meeting on Aug. 26. The town’s application will be filed with the State Library Board by the Aug. 29 deadline.

Meehan said the successful completion of the grant application, which required decisions on a location and conceptual preliminary plans for the library building, required a focused effort by the two committees over the past three months. “The pieces of these two projects have really come together,” he said.

The North Quarter Park planning committee worked with landscape architects Richter & Cegan Inc. of Avon to prepare a master plan for the entire park that included a proposed library location. The master plan for the park was presented to residents at a July 9 public information meeting. The building committee worked with LLB Architects of Pawtucket, R.I. to prepare the preliminary building plans.

Meehan said approval of the grant funding would cover a significant portion, but not all, of the costs involved in building a new library that would replace the existing 108 year-old library building on West Main St. (Route 148). He said an up front appropriation of town funds would be needed to pay for completion of bid documents for the project by next spring, while additional town funding would also be needed for the total construction costs. He said a possible bonding authorization for the library project could go to the town voters for referendum approval in 2015.

Arnold to Lead Commercial Lending at Essex Savings Bank

Diane H  Arnold

Diane H Arnold

ESSEX — Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Diane H. Arnold to the position of Vice President/Senior Commercial Loan Officer.  Mrs. Arnold is responsible for business development and portfolio management, as well as assisting in the growth of the commercial loan department by utilizing her thirty one years of broad banking experience.  Mrs. Arnold previously served as the Vice President of Southington Savings Bank from 1993 until 2001 where she managed the credit department.  From 1988 to 1993, Arnold served as the Assistant Treasurer and Commercial Loan Officer at Branford Savings Bank.  Mrs. Arnold earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Quinnipiac College.  She is also a 1990 graduate of the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.  Mrs. Arnold is a resident of Ivoryton.

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

Transportation: Why a Another Fare Hike Seems Inevitable

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but chances are we will see another fare hike on Metro-North in the coming months.

Not that any elected official would endorse such a plan (at least not before the November elections), but once again Connecticut is not totally in control of its financial destiny when it comes to our trains.

True, fare increases in Connecticut must be initiated by the state regardless of what NY does to its riders, but the financial numbers speak for themselves.

We are tied to NY’s operations by an antiquated contract going back 30 years.  The cost of running “our” trains is born by both CT and NY, and those costs are soaring from $70 million a year to $110 million thanks to remedial track work and expected contract settlements (with four years of retroactive pay hikes).

How will Connecticut make up this $40 million deficit?  There are only three choices:  raise fares, cut service or find that money elsewhere.  The latter two choices are either undesirable or impossible, leaving the prospect (necessity?) of fare increases.

After a year of slower, unreliable and often-disrupted service, it’s hard to explain to commuters they should be paying more… especially in an election year.  So when the rumored necessity of a fare hike was floated last week, Governor Malloy expressed outrage and bewilderment.

But our governor and his Dept of Transportation knew darn well this was coming.  They’re the ones who pushed Metro-North for badly needed track work after derailments and deaths.  Who did they think would pay for that?  And one wonders… does CDOT ever audit Metro-North’s ever-increasing budgets and bills to our state?

Fares in Connecticut are already the highest in the US because our subsidy of those fares is the lowest.  Upstate lawmakers who dominate our legislature loathe the idea of subsidizing fat-cat investment bankers’ trips to their high-paying jobs in New York City.  But they have no trouble taxing their incomes, do they?

Fairfield County residents represent 26% of our state’s population but pay 40% of its taxes.  Legislators made us subsidize Adriaen’s Landing ($770 million) in Hartford and the UConn football stadium ($90+ million), neither of which we are ever likely to use. So why can’t they keep residing in Fairfield County affordable by keeping Metro-North safe, on-time and affordable.

Since 2012 we’ve already had 12% fare hikes, thanks in part to Governor Malloy using rail fares to balance his budget (a move I called that more of a tax on commuters than anything else.)

The good news is that a fare increase in Connecticut requires 90 days notice and public hearings.  And with the November elections just weeks away, no right minded politician will pull that trigger.

Mind you, it was now-GOP nominee Tom Foley who recently told reporters he thought we in Connecticut spend too much subsidizing mass transit, so who knows?  It should be an interesting campaign season and my hope is that Metro-North will be a much debated topic.

JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 23 years.  He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

Chester Fair Scholarship Winners

Bailey Baisel receives her scholarship from the Chester Fair.

Bailey Baisel receives her scholarship from the Chester Fair.

The Chester Agricultural and Mechanical Society (Chester Fair) Board of Directors is pleased to announce its 2014 Scholarship winners.  This year there are three recipients, each receiving a $500 scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year.

Bailey Basiel of Durham, participated in the Chester Fair for several years entering her dairy cows.  She will be attending University of New Hampshire in the fall.   Aliza Dube of Deep River is currently enrolled at the University of Maine in Farmington and has completed her freshman year.  She is majoring in elementary education.   The third recipient, Stephanie Groves of Wallingford, is attending Springfield College and studying to be a Physical Therapist.

A portion of the proceeds of the Chester Wine and Beer Tasting Event held in June is applied toward this scholarship fund.  Scholarship applications are accepted though May 15th annually.

Application forms and instructions can be found under ‘About Us’ (Forms and Instructions) at the fair’s website: www.chesterfair.org.

New Trustees Join Connecticut River Museum

ESSEX -– The Connecticut River Museum is proud to announce its 2014 class of incoming trustees.  At the annual meeting on July 11 the Board and Membership of the Museum voted in five new trustees to help manage and oversee the National Register Historic site and museum.  The new trustees include Alison Brinkmann, Peter Coombs, Linda Douglas, Ray Gaulke, and Dr. Allan Rubenstein.

Alison Brinkmann is a resident of Essex where she lives with her husband Stephen.  Before dedicating her time to charitable work, she was a specialty chemical and laboratory supply sales executive. Now, in addition to being the Founder and President of Simply Sharing, a non-profit dedicated to helping the homeless in Connecticut, Alison is also actively involved with the Rotary Club of Essex, sits on the Essex Yacht Club House Committee and serves as membership chair of the Essex Historical Society.  Alison and Stephen enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and boating in the Essex area.

Peter Coombs is a resident of Essex where he and his wife Jane Siris are Principal Partners in Siris/Coombs Architects.  The couple had practiced architecture in Manhattan for 30 years and recently moved the firm’s main office to Essex.  They live in a house which they designed for themselves and built on the site of the family homestead.  Peter also serves on the Board of Directors for Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing and is an active member of the Essex Land Trust.   He is a sailor and has plied the waters of the Connecticut River since childhood where he derived an abiding interest in both the conservation of the River’s environment and its rich history.

Linda Douglas has practiced law in the Essex area for 28 years. She has been an active member of the community where she and her husband Rob raised their three children. The family enjoys sailing and boating on the Connecticut River.

Ray Gaulke is a resident of Old Saybrook where he lives with his wife Sydney Anderson and their five year old standard poodle Riley. Ray was one of the original Mad Men, beginning his advertising career in Chicago in the mid 60’s. He is a retired Navy Captain, an avid sailor turned power boater and a boat builder interested in teaching these skills to young people.

Dr. Allan Rubenstein is Clinical Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center, Vice Chairman and Lead Director of The Cooper Companies (COO, NYSE), and Chairman of CalAsia Pharmaceuticals.  He, his wife Jane and son Jordan live in Manhattan and Killingworth.  Rubenstein has had a life-long interest in all things nautical since he built a raft at the age of 11 and attempted to sail (unsuccessfully) from his home on Lake Erie to Europe.

Founded in 1974, the Connecticut River Museum has developed as a place where anyone interested in topics about the River can come and be inspired through exhibitions and collections, a library, educational opportunities and public programs.  The Connecticut River Museum’s mission is to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley. Since 1986 it has had the honor of being accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a mark of distinction in the field.

The Museum was started with the preservation of the 1878 Essex Steamboat Dock and Warehouse.  Threatened with demolition, the building was saved through preservation efforts by a group of history-minded citizens. Adjacent to Steamboat Dock sat another historic property, the Hayden Chandlery, built in 1813.  In 1982 the building was restored and renovated as the Thomas A. Stevens Library.

​The Museum nearly doubled its campus in 2011 with the purchase of the adjacent historic 1732 Samuel Lay House property. Education is central to the Museum’s mission. Public programs take many forms including workshops for school age children, adult lectures, and on-water excursions aboard the schooner Mary E and Enviro-Lab III ​as part of its popular winter Eagle Watches. Over the past year, the museum has served more than 20,000 general visitors, delivered programing to 3,0​00 school children, and provided scholarship support to ​more than 900 underserved school children and summer campers.

 

According to the museum’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs, “We are pleased to have this talented crew of dedicated ​champions join the museum board and help lead it successfully into the next forty years.” For more information, please call 860-767-8269. The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is a membership supported educational organization. Membership is open to all. More information can be found at www.ctrivermuseum.org.

Possible Development Proposal for Deep River Industrial Land Off Route 154

DEEP RIVER— There could be a development proposal for a 59-acre parcel on the east side of Route 154 that was rezoned industrial in 2006. If the plan proceeds, it could bring a new manufacturing building of up to 100,000 square feet to Deep River with the possibility of additional industrial buildings to follow.

First Selectman Richard Smith reported at Tuesday’s meeting of the board of selectmen that he has been in contact with owners of a manufacturing company in a nearby town that are considering acquiring the parcel to relocate and expand in Deep River. He said the name of the interested party would be announced in the coming weeks if the potential sale of the parcel proceeds.

The 59 acre parcel, located on the east side of Route 154 near the intersection with Kelsey Hill Road, was rezoned by the planning and zoning commission from residential to industrial in 2006 at the urging of the late local developer Walter Mislick. Mislick, who died soon after the rezoning, envisioned an access road that would service a new industrial park with up to five buildings.

Mislick, who began his business career as owner of an egg processing company, had developed an industrial park on the opposite side of Route 154 during the 1990’s. The land, which abuts the Canfield Woods Nature Preserve to the east and the Georgetown Apartments property to the north, is now being offered for sale by Mislick’s heirs for a current price of $1.5 million. The parcel has some frontage on Route 154, and would have access to water and sewer service if developed.
Smith said the interested party currently operates a 50,000 square-foot manufacturing facility with nearly 100 employees in a nearby town, but is unable to expand at the current location. He said development of the property, which includes some wetlands areas, would be costly, requiring a 1,000-foot access road and a crossing of the state-owned Valley Railroad tracks.

If the sale proceeds, Smith said he would recommend the town offer a tax abatement to help facilitate the development. State law allows a municipality to abate up to 50 percent of all local property taxes for a new industrial development or expansion for a period of up to seven years. Deep River has authorized similar tax abatements for industrial development or expansions previously, but for shorter time periods.

“I see it as a win even with an abatement if you’re not getting anything to begin with,” Smith said. The board urged Smith to continue his contacts with the unidentified interested party and the Mislick family. “It would be great to get some activity back there”, said Selectman Angus McDonald.

Mild 2.7 Earthquake Early Thursday was Centered in Deep River

DEEP RIVER— A mild earthquake early Thursday that registered at 2.7 on the Richter Scale was centered in Deep River. The earthquake, which was confirmed by the U.S. Geological Survey, occurred around 3:09 a.m. and caused no reports of damage.

State police and dispatchers at the Troop F Barracks in Westbrook reported receiving numerous calls immediately after the quake from residents reporting an explosion and or shaking of the ground around their homes. The quake was also felt in Chester, and as far away as Middletown, Durham, and East Hampton on the east side of the Connecticut River. The quake occurred between two to three miles underground. A similar mild earthquake that was centered around Chester occurred in March 2008 with no damage reported

Foley Carries Area Towns in Republican Gubernatorial Primary Win

AREAWIDE— Party-endorsed candidate Tom Foley of Greenwich carried Chester, Deep River, and Essex Tuesday on his way to a statewide Republican gubernatorial primary win over his challenger, State Sen. John McKinney of Fairfield. As was the case statewide, voter turnout was extremely low in the three area towns. The vote in Chester was Foley-41, McKinney-36. In Deep River, Foley 64, McKinney-53, and in Essex Foley 216, McKinney-121.

But tri-town Republicans showed a preference for challengers in the close three-way contest for the GOP Lt. Governor nomination, with Groton Councilwoman Heather Bond Somers carrying the towns over the convention-endorsed candidate, State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi of Stafford and David Walker of Bridgeport, who was running as a team with McKinney.

In Chester, Walker led with a vote of Walker- 34, Bacchiochi-26, and Somers-17. In Deep River, Somers led, with a vote of Somers-59, Bacchiochi-32, and Walker-24. Somers also carried Essex, with a vote of Somers-145, Bacchiochi-98, and Walker-88.
Party-endorsed candidate Sharon McClaughlin carried all three towns in her statewide win over challenger Angel Cadena for the Republican nomination for state comptroller. In Chester, the vote was McClaughlin-53, Cadena-18, in Deep River, McClaughlin-75, Cadena-28, and in Essex McClaughlin 237, Cadena-65.

Voter turnout was extremely low, particularly in Chester, where only 77 of 458 registered Republicans turned out Tuesday. In Deep River, the turnout was 117 of 600 registered Republicans. In Essex, turnout was 337 of 1,317 registered Republicans.

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 Newest Eagle Scout

 

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Josef Fenton Lenz (photo Michael Rutty)

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Josef Fenton Lenz (photo Michael Rutty)

Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America would like to congratulate Josef Fenton Lenz for earning the rank of Eagle Scout.  An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for Josef on July 26, 2014 at the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium.

To become an Eagle Scout, Josef earned 45 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.

Josef showed leadership over others by developing and implementing a plan to establish and mark a new 0.3 mile long foot trail located at the Florence Bidwell Sanctuary on Rattling Valley Road in Deep River.  The project included fabricating and mounting a trail map on a cedar post at the site entrance and the clearing and placement of two processed stone parking spots on an underutilized 12.8 acre property of the Deep River Land Trust. While working on the project Josef worked with various municipal groups, attended and presented at meetings, secured donations for supplies, designed and oversaw volunteers through the construction and installation period. This project has enabled the development of recreation features to a lightly used open space parcel making it more accessible for both education and recreation uses by schools, youth groups and the general public.

Information about Troop 13 – BSA

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

Essex Winter Series Board of Trustees Elects New Members

2014-06-25-new-trustees-press

Left-right: Essex Winter Series vice president Janice Atkeson, newly-elected trustees Madeleine Nichols and Paula Anik, and board president Peter Amos at the organization’s June garden party. Not shown is Henry Resnikoff, who was elected to the board in August. Photo credit: Peter Harron

Peter Amos, president of the Board of Trustees of Essex Winter Series, has announced that Paula Anik of Essex, Madeleine Nichols of Lyme, and Henry Resnikoff of Essex were recently elected to the board of the organizatioin. In addition, Janice Atkeson, who has served on the board since 2012, was elected vice president.

Paula Anik has strong ties to music and has been a member of Essex Winter Series. Her father was a classically-trained vocalist who toured with the USO entertaining troops. Paula’s eldest daughter is also a classically trained vocalist. Paula has lived in Boston, Los Angeles and Essex, where she now resides with her husband, Joel. Paula is a retired residential real estate broker. She has served on various charitable committees in a fund-raising role.

Madeleine Nichols, an interior designer, was born in Budapest, Hungary, and attend Hungarian University of Fine Arts. She has lived in Cairo, Egypt, and Athens and is fluent in in numerous languages. She has been professionally involved with antiques and interior design for nearly thirty years in New York and Connecticut, and is currently as Associate with Jonathan Isleib Design of Old Lyme and owner of MWN Interior Design.

Henry Resnikoff is a professional real estate developer and has developed commercial, residential, industrial and assisted living properties throughout the Northeast and Mid Atlantic states. He was born and raised in New London where his father was also a real estate developer. With the exception of four years, Henry and his wife Daphne Nielsen have lived in Essex since 1978, currently on Ingham Hill Rd.  They have 4 grown sons.

Bringing world-class classical and jazz music to the shoreline area was the dream of Fenton Brown, who established the Essex Winter Seriesin 1979. Each year, the Essex Winter Series presents a series of concert performances by top-rated musicians from around the world. These concerts, held primarily at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, are presented on Sunday afternoons in January, February and March. A single season may include a mix of such performances as instrumental soloists, opera singers, chamber orchestras, and jazz bands.

 

Sticker System for Essex Trash Compactor Site Effective Oct. 1

ESSEX— A new sticker system for residential users that is intended to eliminate cash transactions at the town solid waste transfer station will be effective on Wednesday Oct. 1

First Selectman Norman Needleman announced the new effective date for changes at the transfer station at a meeting of the board of selectmen last week. The selectmen had approved the new site rules and fees last winter, but the effective date for the changes has been pushed back as town personnel prepare to implement the new system.

As of Oct. 1, the current pay-per-bag system for residents using the site for disposal of household trash will end, along with all other cash transactions at the facility located off Route 154 near the Route 9 exit four interchange. Resident users will be required to purchase a use sticker for their vehicle at a cost of  $125 per year, with a reduced change of $75 per year for senior citizens. Occasional users will be allowed to purchase a book of stickers at a price of  $25 for ten trips to the compactor site.

All payments must be made by check or credit card, ending the need for site personnel to handle cash paid for use of the site. The plan also includes higher fees for disposal of bulky waste and demolition materials, but there will be no charge for disposal of recyclables, including bottles, cans, plastics, newspapers and magazines.

In other business last week, selectmen approved a transfer of funds remaining in a legal services account for the now defunct sanitary waste commission to the legal budget for the water pollution control authority. Voters at a town meeting in June approved a revised ordinance dissolving the sanitary waste commission, ending an arrangement dating to the early 1990s where the town maintained an appointed joint sanitary waste commission/water pollution control authority.
Under the previous ordinance, the sanitary waste commission helped supervise the solid waste transfer station and town recycling efforts, while the WPCA directed the town’s water pollution control and sewer avoidance efforts.

With the funds transfer, which also requires approval from the board of finance at an Aug. 21 meeting, $4,000 remaining in the sanitary waste commission legal account will be added to the $5,000 that is in the legal budget for the WPCA for a total legal account of $9,000 for the WPCA in the current fiscal year that began July 1.

Adios Dear Deep River!

John Guy Laplante

John Guy LaPlante

Well, Friends, it’s time for me to say goodbye to the town I love. I never thought this day would come. Never wanted it to come. I have been happy here. Fifteen years ago I chose Deep River as my retirement community– chose it deliberately, mind you.

It’s a strange story: I had my whole career in Massachusetts.  Just retired, I came here to Connecticut for a one-week program at what is now Incarnation Center in Ivoryton.  Well, one thing led to another and I became the director of its big and fine Elderhostel Program.  Spent eight good years there.  And that’s how I got to discover Deep River.  I caught the town at the cusp, it seems.  It was just coming out of a prolonged sleepy period. My instinct told me it was about to flower. How right I was.  What I longed for was real, genuine small town life.

Within a few days I bought a condo at Piano Works—yes, the one I am living in.  It turned out to be perfect for my needs.  Then right away I applied to join the town Rotary Club.  Rotary had long appealed to me but I was always too busy. That was another smart decision.  It was a happy day when the Rotarians swore me in.  I made friends in the club and in town.  I became involved in remarkable programs—Rotary always commits to serving its community however it can.

A big project was the creation of Keyboard Park with its pretty Gazebo and Fountain. Another very meaningful one was our annual Patriotic Fourth celebration on Independence Day right there at Keyboard Park.  Another was the purchase of what is now the Town’s  iconic Elephant Statue in front of Town Hall. That was a big expense for our club but we considered it important.

Here’s a nice memory. On one Deep River Family Day we inflated balloons through the elephant’s trunk! Honest!  Handed them to delighted kids. I admit we had a second motive.  We wanted to prove to everybody that that statue is really a fantastic water fountain. Water shoots out the elephant’s trunk!  I still don’t understand why water hasn’t been connected to it permanently.

Another project was the re-dedication of the Observation Deck at the bottom of Kirtland Street that overlooks the Connecticut.  It’s Rotary that made that deck possible years ago.  We had a beautiful ceremony with speeches, a fife and drum corps, the whole works.  (But know what? Some vandal has destroyed our beautiful brand-new plaque for it!  I’d like to shoot him. Or her.)

I’m happy to tell you that those projects were always accomplished with the full cooperation of the Town and the help of First Selectman Dick Smith.

Yes, Deep River Rotary was wonderful. I’ve lived in numerous places, but emotionally I’ve considered Deep River home. In fact I’ve loved the whole area,  including the delightful neighboring towns and villages on both sides of the Connecticut Estuary.

Oh, I had been a journalist on a big newspaper.  Here from Deep River I found fresh outlets for that passion of my younger days.  And I’m still enjoying creating articles and now blogs … though momentarily I’m slowed down by all the work of selling out and moving to California.

The reason I’m leaving is simple.  I’m old and feel it and show it.  My dear daughter Monique out there in Morro Bay wants me under her wing.

Know what?  Many times over the years, I’ve heard the call,  “Go West, Young Man!”  Well, after all these years, and now far from young, I’m saying yes to that call.

But for sure there will be tears in my eyes when I do go to Bradley to fly off for that big and ultimate chapter in my life.  Living at Piano Works in this gorgeous corner of the world has been great.  Thank goodness I’ll have wonderful memories to sustain me.  And I hope to come back and visit.

Essex Island Marina Sells for $3,465,000; Higher Price than Some Expected

The welcoming building at the Essex Island Marina

The welcoming building at the Essex Island Marina

One of the prospective bidders said before the auction took place that he had decided not to bid, “because of possible environmental problems that a purchaser might have to address.” Also, this naysayer said that there was a rumor that Jack Brewer tried to buy the property before the auction took place, but that his offer had not been not accepted by the owner.

Typical luxury yacht found at Essex Island Marina

Typical luxury yacht found at Essex Island Marina

Since there was no mutually agreed upon sale of the property before the auction date of August 5, the formal Absolute Auction of the Essex Island Marina was ready to go.  The auction began shortly after eleven o’clock on Tuesday, August 5, and there was an interested crowd of some 100 people in attendance, all seated under a large tent on the grounds of the Essex Island Marina. Most of those in attendance were interested spectators, but at least 20 in the crowd were serious bidders, who came prepared with $75,000 deposit in-hand.

The crowd that attended the JJManning's "Absolute Auction" of the Essex Island Marina

The crowd that attended the JJManning’s “Absolute Auction” of the Essex Island Marina

The interest in the property by these serious bidders was understandable, since what was being auctioned off was one of the premium marinas along the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

The auction itself was conducted by Justin J. Manning, who is the President and CEO of JJManning  Auctioneers, which is headquartered in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts. Manning began the auction with the friendly query, “Did anyone come by boat today?” However, it turned out that no one had, so he got down to the business at hand.

The “Manning” Style of Running an Auction

Manning’s style in conducting the auction of the Essex Island Marina was to engage in a continuous line of chatter. He would only pause to accept a bid of a certain amount. Then, immediately after accepting this bid, he would ask for a higher one. Generally, the higher amount that he called for, was in the $50,000 range.

Justin Manning, who conducted the recent "Absolute Auction" at the Essex Island Marina

Justin Manning, who conducted the recent “Absolute Auction”
at the Essex Island Marina

The only time Manning paused in his continuous line of chatter of accepting and asking for new higher bids, was to permit a bidder to stop the auction for 30 seconds, so that the he or she could speak with an attorney or money source on the telephone. Once the thirty seconds was up, Manning immediately continued his auction patter.

In his introduction before the formal bidding began, Manning noted that his family has been in the auctioning business since 1976. As for the mindset of the present owner of the Essex Island Marina, Manning said, “He’s done, he wants to retire, and get out of the marina business.”

Also, before the auction began Manning read out loud a detailed description of the property being auctioned. He also said that prospective bidders had been given confidential information about the property that was not available to the general public.

Manning explained that the winner of the auction would have to pay a 10% Buyer’s Premium on top of the highest bid, to arrive at the total purchase price, and the final closing of the sale would take place on or before September 18.

In his remarks before the auction began, Manning stressed that the property was being sold “as is,” In addition, he said the boats presently with slips at the marina for the season would not have their leases cancelled. Manning also noted before the auction that there were 35 slip owners, presently at the marina, who wanted to turn the marina into a private yacht club condominium. However, this prospect faded quickly, when the actual bidding began.

The sale at auction included all the real estate of the marina, Manning said, and the equipment listed in the P&S.

The “Absolute Auction” Begins

At the auction itself, Manning first asked for a bid of $5 million for the property. No one responded, so he slipped down to asking for $2.5 million. There was still no response. Finally, the bidding opened at $400,000, then $1.2 million, $2 million, $2.3 million, $2.4 million, $2.5 million, $2.6 million, $2.65 million, and then before you knew it the bidding had climbed to well above $3 million, until it reached the final auction price.  Manning exhorted the bidding to continue, but to no avail. After a further pause, he proclaimed the winner of the auction, who was none other than Jack Brewer.

The actual bidding in the auction took no more than forty minutes. Also, worth noting was that the auctioneer Justin Manning wore a stylish, dark blue suit, with a tastefully appropriate shirt and tie. Clearly, this was no “blue collar “country auction, where the auctioneer pauses from time, to time to spit from the tobacco he has been chewing.

When it was all over a number of guests at that auction stayed around to compare notes. It was a general consensus that Jack Brewer could have paid less for the marina, if he had been able to strike a deal with the marina owner before the actual auction took place. JJ Manning proved to be a master in running up the price to over $3 million.

Jack Brewer Now Owns 29 Marinas

Nevertheless, even though Brewer may have paid somewhat more than what was anticipated, in the view of one the visitors at the auction, he has purchased a property that will be the flagship of what is now his 29 Brewer marinas. Also, since he already owns two marinas in Essex Harbor he has a clear monopoly on rental slips there.

The former owner of the Essex Island Marina, Wally Schieferdecker said, when the auction was all over, “I’m not happy, I’m not sad, and I am glad it is over.” The Schieferdecker family had owned and operated the marina for 56 years.

 

The Marvel That Is the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, and its Director Paul Risseeuw

Getting the boats ready to launch with Junior Instructors helping out

Getting the boats ready to launch with Junior Instructors helping out

Since the year 2007 one man has been in charge of teaching young people, ages 8 to 16, the art of sailing. That man is Paul Risseeuw of Essex, the Director of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy.  Organizationally, Risseeuw reports to the Chairman of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, David Courcy.

Assisting Risseeuw, as the chief administrator of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, are seven senior sailing instructors and seven junior sailing instructors. Many of the instructors are themselves graduates of the Academy.

The Petttipaug Sailing Academy has two teaching sessions each summer, each lasting three weeks. This year the first session of the Academy was from June 30 to July 22, and the second session, that is presently underway, began on July 24 and ends on August 15. Both sessions at the Academy have three-hour morning classes and three-hour afternoon classes.

Young sailors launch their sailboats into the Connecticut River

Young sailors launch their sailboats into the Connecticut River

The morning classes at the Academy are designed for younger sailors, ages 8, 9, 10 and 11 years old. Afternoon classes, which are more advanced, teach sailing to young adults, ages 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.

These age assignments are not rigid. A young sailor of 10, who can sail like a 14 year old, could find him or herself assigned to the more advanced afternoon classes. On the other hand a totally inexperienced sailor of 13, might find him or herself assigned to the morning classes with other beginning sailors.

Tuition for attending each of the sessions at the Pettipaug Sailing Academy is $400. In many cases students are enrolled in both teaching sessions of the Academy, which costs $700.

Counting the Sailors at the Sailing Academy

The first teaching session at the Academy this year had 91 student sailorss. The second session, presently underway, and pictured in the attached photos, has 93 students. This adds up to 145 different students learning to sail at the Academy this summer.

Learning to sail at the Pettipaug Sailing Academy is very much an on-the water affair, and there are only a limited number of lessons on land. The sailboats used at the Academy are: Optimist dinghies, 420 class sailboats and Blue Jays.

Academy students, when sailing, are on their own. However, instructors in motorboats weave between the sailboats, and rescue student sailors, when their boats capsize. At the end of their sailing courses students are given ranks for sailing proficiency. From the bottom up the ranks are: Seaman, Seaman First Class, Second Mate, First Mate, Bos’n, Skipper and Racing Skipper.

There will be a single graduation ceremony for the two teaching sessions on August 15. The day before graduation, all of the students from both sessions will sail down river to Nott Island for a picnic. It is always an exciting conclusion to the Academy’s premier sailing program.

What could be better than this, a gentle wind and a happy crew

What could be better than this, a gentle wind and a happy crew

Other Sailing Programs at the Pettipaug Yacht Club

 Besides the Sailing Academy there are a host of other sailing programs at the Pettipaug Yacht Club, and there is a powerboat course as well. The first event in the club’s sailing season is the High School Sailing program, which is held in the month of March. Racing teams from three nearby high schools compete: Valley Regional High School in Deep River, Daniel Hand High School in Madison, and Xavier High School in Middletown.

The teams from “Valley and Daniel Hand” use 14 sailboats owned by the Pettipaug Yacht Club. Xavier has 12 sailboats of its own for their team. For students wanting to participate in these races there is one requirement. They must be members of the Pettipaug Yacht Club, which costs $15 a year.

Next on the sailing schedule at Pettipaug is a five day Racing Clinic, which is held from June 23 to June 27. 16 students took the course this year, and instructors Travis Carlisle and Maria Keogh taught the course. The tuition was $200.

Next on the schedule was a two-day, Windsurfer Course on June 26-27. Tuition was free, and the course instructor was Ned Crossley, a retired gymnastic coach at West Point.

In addition, there is a schedule of Powerboat Courses during the boating season. Remaining dates for the full day course are: August 18, 19, 20, 21; and September 6. The course is taught by Paul Risseeuw and three other powerboat instructors. The tuition is $180. Pettipaug Yacht Club motor boats are used for the course.

Without question the central figure behind all of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy’s “on the water” activities is Paul Risseeuw. With the young people from the ages of 8 to 16 who attend the sailing classes, Risseeuw is the epitome of courtesy and understanding.

Pettipaug Sailing Director Paul Risseeuw provides assistance when necessary

Pettipaug Sailing Director Paul Risseeuw provides assistance when necessary

Most likely, Risseeuw’s students, past and present, will never forget how to sail. Nor will they forget who thought them how to do it..

Bjornberg Challenges State Senate Race Opponent to 12 Debates in 12 Towns

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

LYME, CT – In hopes of promoting widespread public discussion of state and local issues, Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg proposed today that she and her Republican opponent hold twelve public debates before theNovember 4th General Election, one in each town of the 33rd State Senate District.

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

“The people of the 33rd Senate District deserve a full and vigorous public debate of the issues in this election year. There is too much at stake—our economy, our schools and our values—to not have a comprehensive series of discussions, of real substance,” said Bjornberg. “The 33rd District is so large, stretching from the heart of Connecticut to the shoreline and beyond, that anything less than twelve debates in twelve towns would be a disservice to each of them.”

“I welcome invitations to debate from any genuinely nonpartisan and unbiased organization in the 33rd District, and I will prioritize invitations from towns that have not yet seen a debate,” added Bjornberg. “Each town in this district is a unique community with its own historic characteristics and local concerns. This distinctiveness calls for a separate debate to address the specific issues of each town.”

Bjornberg continued, “I urge my opponent to join me in this effort to take both of our campaigns to every corner of the 33rd District. As a resident of one of our region’s smallest communities, many people have told me that they feel their town was left out of the discussion in the last election. Too few debates were held. We cannot allow that to happen again, and the responsibility lies with both of us, together.”

State Senator Art Linares Qualifies for Public Financing

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

Nearly 15 days after the Senator Art Linares’ campaign for re-election announced it had reached its campaign funding goal, the state has certified State Senator Art Linares, R-33rd, for public financing.

Campaign Manager Ryan Linares told a group of volunteers at a July 31st orientation meeting, “We surpassed the required number of in-district donors by a huge margin in comparison to two years ago.” he said. He added that Senator Linares has been getting an enthusiastic reception everywhere he goes within the district.

Senator Linares has personally knocked on 2,000 doors in the district so far, about 300 more than his marker at the same time two years ago, Ryan Linares shared with the group of 13 volunteers.

“What we have learned is that the people of this district are well in-tune with what is happening in Hartford.  When the Senator meets constituents at the doors they have concerns and the Senator has answers” he said.

“Senator Linares is working hard seven days a week on this campaign, attending events throughout the district, knocking on doors and listening to the people about issues that are important to them,” he concluded. “We have one of the hardest working senators in the state and one of the hardest working candidate, and that should be motivation for all of us.”

The volunteers attending the orientation represented all 12 towns within the 33rd Senatorial District. Anyone else interested in volunteering can send an e-mail to senatorlinaresmanager@ gmail.com.

State Police Apprehend Suspect in Saturday Essex Bank Robbery

ESSEX— State troopers quickly apprehended a suspect Saturday morning minutes after he allegedly robbed the Bank of America branch at the Bokum Center Shopping Plaza. Joshua Green, 33, of Niantic, was arrested on Route 153 (Plains Road) soon after the robbery was reported around 10 a.m. Saturday.

Green was northbound approaching the Route 9 exit 3 interchange when the Subaru station wagon he was driving was stopped by two troopers. He was arrested and charged with third degree robbery, first degree larceny, and operating a motor vehicle without a license. Police report a “large amount of stolen currency,” was recovered from the vehicle. Green was held over the weekend at the Troop F barracks in Westbrook for arrangement Monday at Middletown Superior Court.

2014 Women of Fire Named

Lynn Giroux, named as a 2014 Woman of FIRE

Lynn Giroux, named as a 2014 Woman of FIRE

ESSEX– Lynn Giroux of Essex Savings Bank has been named a 2014 Woman of FIRE by The Commercial Record. Women of FIRE is an annual award that recognizes the key, female players in the local FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) sector.  The annual Women of FIRE award celebrates the best and the brightest women in the industry.

“We searched for the best of the best – those women who are making a difference through innovation, hard work, team-building, philanthropy, mentoring or leadership – and these women demonstrate these exemplary qualities,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group, publisher of The Commercial Record.

Lynn is a Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Essex Savings Bank responsible for Deposit Service Operations,Branch Administration, Compliance, Human Resources and Facilities Management along with numerous other duties.  She also makes time to serve our community on the Board of Camp Hazen YMCA, is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, and is an ambassador to the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce.

“Lynn has made an outstanding difference at our bank, for our staff and the community. Her positive attitude while balancing multiple disciplines is amazing.  In this year alone, she has handled human resource management – where she has overhauled the Bank’ssalary structure, implemented due diligence procedures for the Bank Secrecy Act, managed the renovation of our Old Saybrook branch, has served as compliance officer with responsibilities for the labyrinth of new regulations for Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the Dodd- Frank Act  and implementation of remote deposit capture andother business banking enhancements all on top of her everyday Branch Administrative duties… She is an inspiration to all of us here at the Bank, well respected in our community – I can think of no one more deserving of this award, “stated Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank.

“I feel overwhelmed and incredibly honored to receive this special award.  More importantly, I am grateful to President Shook and the Board of Directors to have been given the opportunity throughout the years to make a difference and impact the lives of our employees and our customers of Essex Savings Bank in meaningful ways. Finally, although this award is about how we women have made a difference in our field of expertise, what has made a difference in my life has been working with all of the great people that I have come to know over the years both professionally and personally and receiving the support that my family has always provided to me.”

Lynn was one of 13 women named this year’s Women of FIRE.

About the Women of FIRE awards

The Commercial Record is shining a light on the female innovators who are making a significant impact on the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) industries. There is a growing amount of women who are paving the way in what was once a male-dominated sector, and as more and more women rise to the top of these industries, their achievements should be illuminated, acknowledging them and inspiring others.

Nominees must be women employed in Connecticut by any business or institution facilitating transactions for finance, insurance or real estate at any level.

The awards luncheon will be held at The Hartford Club on August 20th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Commissioner Evonne M. Klein will give the keynote speech. The Commercial Record will be running profiles of each woman in a special section in the August issue.

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

Essex Capital Projects Could Total Over $6 Million

ESSEX— The board of selectmen is expected to receive a report in August detailing capital projects that could total over $6 million. The report is expected to set the stage for community debate on a bonding authorization resolution that could go to town voters before the end of the year.

Selectman Bruce Glowac said this week the five-member advisory capital projects committee is working to complete a final report for submission to the board of selectmen at its Aug 19 meeting, Glowac, a Republican and former first selectman, has chaired the capital projects committee since he assumed the minority party seat on the board of selectmen last November.

Glowac said the report would include specific cost estimates for each project. “We hope to have some pretty firm numbers to go forward with the various projects,” he said. But Glowac stressed the list of projects is subject to change as it is reviewed by the board of selectmen and board of finance in September. “We have not settled on any amounts yet,” he said.

Glowac said the top priority projects are replacement of most of the roof at Essex Elementary School, and replacement of town bridges on Ivory Street and Walnut Street in the Ivoryton section. Glowac said projects related to the elementary school and the two bridge projects would be eligible for state and federal grants that would reduce the final expense for the town.

Essex Elementary School: New Roof: a High Priority Capital Project

Essex Elementary School: New Roof: a High Priority Capital Project (photo courtesy of Jerome Wilson).

Glowac said the preliminary list includes other improvements at the elementary school, which was built in 1952 and last renovated and expanded in 2006. The possible improvements include air conditioning for a building that is now used year-round, repaving of the school driveway and some parking areas, and improvements to the school media center.

The library/media center was relocated to a former gymnasium after a renovation in the 1990s, but the floor under the media center contains final pockets of potentially hazardous asbestos material. Glowac said the asbestos must be removed before any other possible improvements to the media center are considered.

The list also includes improvements at town hall, including roof replacement, air conditioning, new energy efficient windows, and an upgraded fire and security alarm system. The town hall, built in 1892 as the former Pratt High School, has had some renovations in recent years. The list could also include improvements at the town public works garage located off Route 154, which was first constructed in the early 1990s. The building also needs roof replacement, along with an upgrade of the heating system.

Glowac said an initial cost estimate for the total list of projects came in at $6.5 million, a figure that could be reduced by $2-$3 million in state and federal grant funds. He added that some projects on the preliminary list could be removed from the final list of proposed projects that would be presented to town residents at a public hearing this fall. Glowac said it is too soon to predict when a bonding authorization resolution to fund capital projects would be presented to town voters for approval in a referendum.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts Becomes Sixth College of University of New Haven

The Chandler Academic Center at Lyme Academy College

The Chandler Academic Center at Lyme Academy College

The University of New Haven announced Thursday that it has finalized its affiliation with Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, making the fine arts school in Old Lyme the university’s sixth college.

“This a historic event, and we look forward to providing outstanding educational opportunities to generations of aspiring artists,” said University of New Haven President Steven H. Kaplan. “The affiliation of our two institutions will raise the stature of fine arts education in the Northeast while providing expanded benefits, services and opportunities to students, faculty and alumni at both the University of New Haven and Lyme Academy College. We also intend to expand the outreach efforts at Lyme Academy College to benefit local residents and, in fact, all Connecticut residents.”

The Board of Governors of the University of New Haven and the Board of Trustees at Lyme Academy College approved the affiliation in early April. The Connecticut Office of Higher Education and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges also approved the affiliation. Since that time, both institutions have worked to merge their student services, faculty units and other support and operating systems. Those integrations will continue through the upcoming academic year.

Todd Jokl, associate professor and past chair of the UNH Department of Art and Design, will serve as the campus dean at Lyme Academy College. Jokl will be based at the College in Old Lyme. Jokl received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Connecticut.

“I envision great things happening in the months and years ahead,” Kaplan said. “We will work closely with Lyme Academy College to create a top-tier fine arts education program.”

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

Administrators have said that little will change regarding the student experience at Lyme Academy College. The small classes will be retained, and students will continue to be provided the hands-on experiences and the opportunity to become immersed in figurative and representational art. But through the affiliation, students will be provided access to more courses, technologies and academic initiatives that will strengthen their educational experience.

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

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

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

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

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is nationally known for its academic tradition of figurative and representational fine art that prepares students for a lifetime of contemporary creative practice. The college offers bachelor of fine arts degrees in drawing, illustration, painting, and sculpture (full- and part-time study); certificates in painting and sculpture, a post-baccalaureate program; continuing education for adults; and a pre-college program for students aged 15-18.

Sen. Art Linares Renews Call for Hearings to Address Child Tragedies

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

HARTFORD – In light of the tragic and unsettling Child Fatality Review Report, released yesterday by the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA), State Senator Art Linares (R-Westbrook) is renewing his call for a public hearing to review the recent child fatalities involving children under the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

“This report gives us a closer look into the horrible accounts of child deaths connected to families involved with DCF. The sad and eye opening report also recommends annual public hearings on these fatalities.”

The report identified 24 infant and toddler deaths among families with DCF involvement. The review also discusses recommendations to prevent future fatalities, including a recommendation to hold an annual public hearing on child fatalities along with a focused discussion on infant-toddler deaths.

“A public hearing is needed to improve transparency and open the dialogue between DCF, lawmakers, child advocates and community members. We need to not only recognize the problems, but we must also work together to determine the cause of any system weaknesses and identify the appropriate actions to prevent future tragedies.”

In a letter to the co-chairs of the Children’s Committee Linares again urged the committee to schedule a public hearing considering the report results.

“Everyone needs to have a seat at the table when it comes to the safety of children. Legislators need to understand the short and long term needs of caseworkers and child advocacy officials. Caseworkers need to understand what policies would most benefit families. A hearing would allow us to better understand what is being done and what still needs to be done to put an end to these serious and devastating events,” said Linares.

State Senator Art Linares represents the 33rd senatorial district comprised of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland & Westbrook. He serves as Ranking Member of the Committee on Children.

Page Taft and Rachel Thomas Real Estate Merge

Page Taft Real Estate announced Wednesday that the company has merged its Essex, Conn., office with Rachel Thomas Real Estate. The Essex office of Page Taft~Christie’s International Real Estate will now be located in the former Rachel Thomas location at 5 Essex Square. The office will be home to 23 agents specializing in shoreline and Connecticut River Valley properties.
“We’re very pleased about our merger with Page Taft~Christie’s. Our agents are of like minds and both believe in the importance of fantastic customer service. By joining with an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate and one of the strongest companies in our marketplace, we are able to double the resources and services that we offer our clients,” said Maureen O’Grady, co-owner of Rachel Thomas Real Estate.
Rachel Thomas Real Estate has served Essex and surrounding communities under the expert guidance of Maureen and John O’Grady since 2000. During that time, the company has become a force in the luxury real estate market and was selected by Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate to be the exclusive “Regent” affiliate for the greater Essex area.
“I’m delighted to have a quality company like Rachel Thomas join forces with Page Taft. This strategic alliance will increase our presence in the communities we serve, from Branford to Old Lyme,” said Karen Stephens, Broker and Executive Vice-President of Page Taft.
Since opening its doors in 1980, Page Taft has earned an exemplary reputation in the Connecticut shoreline real estate market, earning a 96 percent customer satisfaction rating from the Real Living Premiere Service customer satisfaction survey. The agency is part of the Randall Family of Companies which also includes Randall, REALTORS in Rhode Island and Connecticut, Kinlin Grover on Cape Cod and Pequot Commercial in Connecticut.
“We’re excited about joining the experience and resources of Page Taft and Rachel Thomas,” commented Douglas Randall, CEO of the Randall Family of Companies. “I think it will be hard to find a more knowledgeable team of real estate professionals if you’re looking for a property along the Connecticut shore.”
Information about the Randall Family of Companies, their affiliates and the southern New England market area can be found on http://www.coastalnewenglandliving.com.

Nature Conservancy Begins Fish Passage Project on Falls River in Essex

ESSEX, CT—Work has started along the Falls River on a fishway that will benefit such migratory fish as alewife and blueback herring, as well as migrating American eel and other resident fish.

The work at the privately owned Tiley-Pratt dam will open the way for fish to access an additional 2.5 miles of river, as well as a half-acre pond above the dam. Located at a former mill site, the dam has a stone-wall lined channel that will be modified with a rocky ramp and four stone weirs. Falls River is part of the Connecticut River system.

Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection staff is assisting with construction.  The Essex Land Trust and the dam’s owner are also providing financial and other support for the project, which is expected to be completed during August.

“Connecticut streams are riddled with small dams that have big impacts.  Reconnecting rivers by removing dams and building fishways improves river health by increasing species diversity and providing fish access to more and varied habitat.” said Sally Harold, director river restoration and fish passage for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

The Conservancy is working with the Essex Land Trust to develop and install an educational sign describing fish passage and river restoration strategies at the land trust’s nearby Tiley-Pratt Preserve.

“The east bank of Tiley-Pratt Pond is one of six Essex Land Trust preserves which border the Falls River, the ecological and historical lifeline linking together the villages of Essex,” said Bob Nussbaum, past president and current vice president, of the Essex Land Trust, which also has committed $2,000 towards the gravel to be used in constructing the fishway. “We are very excited to participate in this project to improve the river habitat and restore connectivity for migratory river species.”

The Tiley-Pratt dam project also is supported by an $85,000 grant award from The National Fish and Wildlife Foundations’ Long Island Sound Futures Fund.

Portions of the Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant also will support work at Coleytown dam on the Aspetuck River in Westport and a dam on Beaver Lake in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The grant required a Conservancy match of almost $60,000, secured through donor support and in-kind contributions.

New Bids to be Opened August 28 for Deep River Sewer Expansion project

DEEP RIVER— A second round of bids will be opened Aug. 28 for the town’s sewer expansion project after the bids opened in June came in higher than the $4 million in available funding for the project.

All of the six bids opened last month were over the funding authorization that was approved by voters at a May 2013 town meeting. The lowest bid, from Baltazar Contractors Inc., of Ludlow, Mass., was $4,828,958for a base bid and $5,507,658 for a price with all construction alternates. The project, which would extend the town sewer system to about 120 properties on and around River St. and Kirtland St., is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant of $1.2 million and a $2.8 million 40-year loan.

First Selectman Richard Smith said this week funding for the project can not be increased, leading engineers to publish the latest bid documents without seven residential properties on River Lane. An alternate would include River Lane, while a third alternate would include a new pump station in the vicinity of the Putnam Park apartments.

Smith said two of the River Lane properties are new homes with new septic systems, while other dwellings on the street have not had major septic system problems. Smith added that he is hopeful the town can eventually complete the entire project, including River Lane. Smith said he is hopeful construction on the sewer expansion can begin this fall, for completion by October 2015.

Beautiful New Tennis Courts Open in Essex, Part of a Civic Campus Enhancement Project

 Tennis playing couple Julie Burdelski and Alex Bell of Essex on new Essex courts

Tennis playing couple Julie Burdelski and Alex Bell of Essex on new Essex courts

The Town of Essex has two brand new tennis courts, and they are a beauty. The new courts opened officially on July 24 of this year, and they have been well used ever since the day they opened. The new courts are surrounded by a “see through” wire fence, and according to a ranking Essex town official, the new courts were, “Completely rebuilt from below the ground up.”

Building the new courts meant the total excavation of the subsurface of the old courts. Furthermore, in installing the new courts, the very best equipment and materials were used from top to bottom. Also, a new interior drainage system was installed with the new courts. The total cost of the town’s new courts was within the $100,000 original budget allocation, however the new court fencing was funded by the Park & Recreation Sinking Fund.

In addition the new courts have new lighting for night play, costing over $10,000, which paid for by a private donor.

As for the expected life of the new courts, a town official said that, “Asphalt does crack in time.” However, his estimate is that the new courts could have a life span of as much as 15+ years. Throughout this new courts building process this town official stated, “We tried to use the very best materials.”

Tennis Courts Are Part of a New Town Enhancement

The new tennis courts are a component of what is called a, “Civic Campus Enhancement Project,” for the Town of Essex. A state grant of $472,000 funded the majority of the project. In addition to the new tennis courts, the town enhancement project includes a new and already heavily used children’s playground, and a completely resurfaced Town Hall parking lot with new curbing throughout.

Enjoying new playground equipment in Essex

Enjoying new playground equipment in Essex

The new playground and the new parking lot were completed for use in December of 2013. Another component of the project was new crosswalks from the town hall parking lot to the Essex Library, which is just across Grove Street from town hall.

The official grand opening of the entire Essex town enhancement project is slated for September 10, 2014.  A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 5:00pm, followed by a showcase of the playground and tennis courts from 5:30-6:30pm.

Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trial Seeks Volunteers, Includes Free Memory Screening

Adults under the age of 90 who have been diagnosed with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s disease, or undiagnosed individuals experiencing noticeable memory loss may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial for Alzheimer’s disease currently being conducted at CCRStudies in New London, Conn. The study will include a free memory screening.

This clinical trial research program, led by Dr. Laurence Radin of Neurological Group, PC in New London, is examining an investigational medication being developed to slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Fellow researchers include Andrea Bartels APRN, and Andrea Stewart APRN.

According to Dr. Radin, “this research will ideally bring us closer to a cure for Alzheimer’s, and will help to give hope to the individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s.” The trial is being sponsored by TauxRx Therapeutics.

More than five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and there is no cure. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger onset Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, resulting in loss of memory, loss of thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes. “People suffering from memory loss and those around them will tell you how devastating this disease can be,” said Dr. Radin.

CCRStudies is seeking volunteer participants for the current clinicaltrial. Those who become eligible for the trial will receive study related care and psychological testing at no cost. Reimbursement for
time and travel may be available. No insurance is needed to participate in the clinical trial.

For a preliminary phone evaluation, interested individuals can contact CCRStudies at 860-443-4567. Those looking for more information can also visit www.ccrstudies.com.

For further information, contact MaryLou Gannotti, Public Relations and Communications Director for CCRStudies at 860-443-4567, or email marylou@ccrstudies.com.

Ivoryton Village Named to National Register of Historic Places

Rose Brother’s Store and village gathering spot, as it was almost a century ago

Rose Brother’s Store and village gathering spot, as it was almost a century ago

ESSEX— The Village of Ivoryton has been placed on the National Parks Service National Register of Historic Places in recognition of the number of historic structures in the village and it’s role as a “well preserved company town” from the Industrial era of New England.

The town’s planning commission played a key role in the village’s nomination and inclusion on the National Register, which includes hundreds of historic sites and structures in all parts of the United States. The commission established a subcommittee more than three years ago that surveyed and documented nearly 100 historic structures in the three villages of Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton with assistance from the State Office of Historic Preservation. The effort was aided by the work of the late former Town Historian Donald Malcarne, who wrote several books about the town’s historic in its historic structures.

Gather  today.  The building is practically unchanged from a century ago when it served as the location of the Rose Brother’s Store (photo by Jody Dole)

Gather today. The building is practically unchanged from a century ago when it served as the location of the Rose Brother’s Store (photo by Jody Dole)

With more then 200 identified “contributing” structures, the National  Register highlights an area roughly bounded by Main St., North Main St., Oak St., Blake St., Summit St. and Comstock Avenue. These streets include many structures tied to the village’s two major industries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the ivory import and manufacturers Comstock, Cheney & Co. and Pratt, Read & Co, Many of the houses in the area were home to immigrants from Germany, Poland, Italy and Sweden that worked in the two ivory processing factories.

Between 1860 and the late 1930s, Ivoryton was a self-sufficient industrial center that was home for more than 600 workers. Both the Ivoryton Library and Ivoryton Playhouse buildings date back to this era.

The addition of Ivoryton village to the National Register represents a tribute to its continuing historic character and contributions to the Industrial Era in New England, but the honorary designation carries no regulatory burden and imposes no obligations on private property owners. There are no restrictions on the use, transfer or disposition of private property, though the designation could open the possibility of funding assistance for restoration of identified historic structures,.

Deep River Zoning Hearing on 444 Main Street Plans Continued to August 21

DEEP RIVER— The planning and zoning commission has continued its public hearing on a special permit application for a used motor vehicle dealership at 444 Main St. to an Aug. 21 session. The public hearing, which was briefly opened at a July 17 meeting, was continued because the site plan requires review, and possible permit approval, from the inland-wetlands commission.

Local resident George Bartlett Jr. is seeking approval; for a used motor vehicle dealership at the former manufacturing site located on the west side of Main St. (Route 154) near the town’s southern border. Bartlett’s plans for the property have been the subject of zoning disputes, and two lawsuits, over the past two years. But the lawsuits involving both the commission and the zoning board of appeals could be settled as the commission moves to consider a new application for the property.

Essex lawyer John Bennet, representing Bartlett, requested continuation of the public hearing, citing both the need for an inland wetlands review and the absence of project engineer Donald Carlson. The commission continued the hearing after first reading a letter from Bennet that clarified elements of the application that call for motor vehicle repairs and service on the site.

Bennet advised that the proposed business would not be a full service vehicle repair shop, with any repair work limited to vehicles that are on the property for sale as part of the proposed used vehicle dealership.

The zoning board of appeals on July 8 approved two variances that were required for the new application, along with a location approval for the used motor vehicle dealership that is required under state law. The board approved a variance of a requirement in zoning regulations for a raised island in the paved parking area, and a 20-foot reduction in the 50-foot front yard setback rule to 30-feet. The Aug. 21 hearing on Bartlett’s new application will convene at 7 p.m. in town hall.

“Talking Transportation: Is It Safe To Ride Metro-North?

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

It has been seven months since a drowsy engineer drove a speeding Metro-North train off the tracks at Spuyten Duyvil, killing four and injuring 59. Months earlier a derailment and collision near Bridgeport sent 70 to the hospital.

Ever since, the railroad has promised that improving safety is its top priority. So does that mean the railroad is now “safe”?

Aside from taking the word of management, how are we to know? Just because we haven’t had another accident doesn’t mean the railroad is safe. Nobody suspected it was unsafe until those two accidents last year showed us just how dangerous our daily commute had become.

In April this year The Commuter Action Group surveyed 642 commuters and asked them, “Do you feel safe riding Metro-North?” and 56% said yes, 15% said no and 29% said they “weren’t sure”.

Neither am I, but I ride those trains regularly, hoping for the best. And so far, so good. I take the railroad at its word when it says safety is its top priority, but I have no way of telling it that’s true. As Donald Rumsfeld famously said, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

Waiting on a station platform, how can the average commuter look at the tracks, the overhead wires or signals and know that Metro-North is safe? We can’t even see the engineers because they hide in their control booth behind jerry-rigged cardboard curtains ‘lest riders should watch them at work.

Here’s what we do know. The trains are running slower (on-time performance was only 79% in May). And last week we also learned that an entire class of conductor trainees had been dismissed because they were caught cheating on a safety exam. Good for the MTA for catching and disciplining them. But the worry is whether this kind of cheating has been going on for years. Reassuring?

The only way to be sure that Metro-North is safe is better federal oversight by the FRA, the Federal Railroad Administration. That agency still hasn’t issued its final report on the May 2013 derailment… and only fined the railroad $5,000 following a Metro-North trainee’s mistake, which killed one of their own track foremen. As US Senator Richard Blumenthal put it, “The watchdogs were asleep. The FRA has been lax and sluggish.”

That’s why commuters should be reassured that Senator Blumenthal will soon introduce a bill to give the FRA some real teeth: increasing civil penalties for railroad mistakes, strengthening railroad oversight, mandating new safety gear, introduction of a fatigue management plan for personnel, requiring anonymous reporting systems for whistle-blowers, installation of cameras, alerters and redundant safety systems for track workers.

Further, the bill would also require stronger safety standards for crude oil rail-tankers, the “pipelines on wheels” carrying crude oil and petroleum products on US railroads.

The only thing missing? Mandatory transparency. I’d hope that the FRA would be required to explain its oversight and reassure all railroad riders of their safety in a simple, understandable manner. That would make me feel safe.

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron has been a Darien resident for 23 years. He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

Bjornberg Expresses Concern for Implications of Family Institute’s Support of Linares

 

Emily Bjornberg

Emily Bjornberg

Emily Bjornberg, candidate for the 33rd District State Senate Seat, pledged she will oppose any efforts in Connecticut to limit contraceptive coverage for workers through their employer-provided health plans. 

“The recent decision by the US Supreme Court has serious ramifications on women’s rights and their reproductive health,” Bjornberg said, “The most appalling aspect of this decision is that women who are the victims of sexual assault will be denied coverage to emergency contraceptives.” 

Connecticut law requires fully-insured employee benefit plans to include contraceptive coverage, although certain companies such as Hobby Lobby, a lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, are able to avoid this requirement due to preemption by federal law. 

The Hobby Lobby case has emboldened anti-choice organizations like the Family Institute of Connecticut to seek further legislative changes in states that would provide similar exemptions on what supporters say are religious freedom grounds.

Bjornberg pledged to oppose any efforts to change the law to further limit coverage of contraceptives. 

Her opponent, incumbent State Senator Art Linares, has yet to make any public statements on the issue. Linares did, however, earn the endorsement’s of the Family Institute in 2012 for his support of their issues opposing same-sex marriages and women’s reproductive choices. Family Institute members were seen demonstrating at a Connecticut Hobby Lobby store supporting the Supreme Court decision. 

“As a youth and family ministry director in Deep River I am a strong supporter of religious freedom in our country, but that freedom does not give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others,” Bjornberg added, “The fact my opponent has been silent on this issue yet has been endorsed by an organization that opposes contraceptives even for victims of sexual assault should give every voter in the 33rd district cause for concern.” 

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

For more information about Emily Bjornberg, visit www.emily4ct.com.

Sen. Linares Endorsed by Connecticut REALTORS

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

Connecticut REALTORS announced that their association voted to endorse Senator Art Linares’ candidacy for Senate District 33.

The association is Connecticut’s largest trade association representing 15,000 real estate professionals.

“We carefully evaluate candidates in determining who may best ensure there is a positive environment for living in or transferring property in Connecticut.  Real estate is essential to economic recovery and stability in the state and the nation and helps to build communities.  We thank you for your commitment to serve,” stated Debra Chamberlain, President, Connecticut REALTORS and Jack Heckman, Government Affairs Director.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the association.  Realtors understand the importance of a strong economy and affordable, predictable property taxes that will attract businesses to Connecticut. Taxes are a deciding factor for people who are looking to become new homeowners,” stated Senator Art Linares.

Connecticut REALTORS was founded in 1920 with a mission to support real estate professionals and maintain the preservation of property rights, while maintaining a strict Code of Conduct.

Essex Selectmen Hear Concerns About Ivoryton Village Parking Issues

ESSEX— The board of selectmen has received an appeal from business owners for renewed town efforts to increase the availability of free public parking in Ivoryton village. Members of the Ivoryton Village Alliance attended the board’s meeting last week to press their appeal for assistance with parking issues.

The group included Elizabeth Alvord, director of the Ivoryton Library, and owners of several businesses, including the Ivoryton Tavern, Blue Hound Restaurant, and Gather, a business located in the former Ivoryton Store building. Alford noted there is currently less than 30 designated free public parking spaces in the village.

Jim Crowell, owner of the Ivoryton Tavern, said businesses in the village have been doing well in recent months, though parking is “the one thing that is holding us back.” Deanna Pinette, owner of Gather, said visitors are confused about where to park,  particularly when there is a show at the Ivoryton Playhouse and the owner of a private lot charges a $5 fee for parking. The lot is owned by Carl Echtman of Deep River.

First Selectman Norman Neeleman said Echtman has shown no interest in selling the lot, dating back to 2006 when the town applied for a state Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant to purchase it. The grant was not approved after the town planning commission declined to support the application. “There is no magic bullet when the property in question is private property,” he said. Needleman said he would work with the director of public works and business owners to “make the most out of what we have,” while continuing to explore ways to increase public parking.

Selectman Bruce Glowac said the selectmen understand the importance of the parking situation for business owners, visitors, and residents. “We all hear you loud and clear,” he said.

Deep River Resident Victorious in Vermont Equestrian Competition

Amanda Strain and Carrara 11 won the $10,000 Marimekko Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on July 17 at the 2014 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont (photo courtesy of David Mullinix Photography)

Amanda Strain and Carrara 11 won the $10,000 Marimekko Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on July 17 at the 2014 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont (photo courtesy of David Mullinix Photography)

Amanda Strain of Deep River won the $10,000 Marimekko Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, held July 17 at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.

The Vermont Summer Festival hosts six weeks of equestrian competition at Harold Beebe Farm, where some of the country’s best equestrians converge each summer.  Show jumping competitors go head-to-head in the weekly $10,000 Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, over a course of obstacles measuring nearly five feet in height.

The lion’s share of the $10,000 in prize money is awarded to the rider and horse combination that clears both rounds of competition in the fastest time while leaving all the jumps in place.  For her efforts, Strain took home her share of the $10,000 in prize money, in addition to a $1,000 gift card to Marimekko.

Marimekko store manager Elisabeth Hazelton presents Amanda Strain and Carrara 11 as the winners of the $10,000 Marimekko Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets (photo courtesy of David Mullinix Photography).

Marimekko store manager Elisabeth Hazelton presents Amanda Strain and Carrara 11 as the winners of the $10,000 Marimekko Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets (photo courtesy of David Mullinix Photography).

Strain, who operates Lone Wolf Stables in Deep River, won the $10,000 Marimekko Welcome Stake on her horse, Carrara 11, after beating out 23 other challengers.  Eight horse and rider pairs advanced to the second round jump-off, but Strain’s daring inside turn to the second-to-last fence gave her an advantage, and she stopped the timers in 40.44 seconds for the win.

Strain has ridden Carrara 11 for the past two years, and described the mare as one of her favorite horses to ride thanks to her exceptional talent.  “She’s super fun to ride,” said Strain of the eight-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Helen Krieble.  “She doesn’t spook at anything, and she can turn incredibly well.  She’s such a wonderful mare.  She can do anything!”

The Vermont Summer Festival offers a full schedule of equestrian competition through August 10 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.  Competition runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m.  The $10,000 Open Welcome Stake Series, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, is held each Thursday.  The week’s featured event, the Grand Prix, takes place on Saturdays at 1 p.m.

Admission prices are $5 for adults, $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday.  On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children.  100% of the gate proceeds benefit area libraries, including Manchester Community Library.

 

Essex Zoning Board of Appeals Continues Hearing on 33 Plains Road Cease and Desist Order

ESSEX— The zoning board of appeals has continued its public hearing on an appeal of a town cease and desist order for a disputed structure at 33 Plains Road to an August 19 session. The board agreed to continue the hearing after a meeting Tuesday where it received new evidence about a structure that Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow maintains was constructed without permits and is being improperly used as a residential dwelling in the town’s limited industrial zone.

Budrow issued a cease and desist order in January to property owner John Finkeldey after an investigation that began following receipt of a complaint in the summer of 2013. Finkeldey is appealing the order, represented by local lawyer Terrance Lomme, who also serves as the elected judge of probate for the nine-town region.

The hearing began in May, and resumed at a June 17 session where Lomme requested a continuance because a current survey map of the two acre parcel was not completed. Lomme presented the survey map Tuesday, along with letters from a current and former “tenant” in the structure.  The survey map shows three buildings on the parcel, including the house where Finkeldey lives, another structure that is also used as a dwelling, and a third structure on the northwest corner of the property that is the subject of the zoning dispute.

Budrow, in the cease and desist order, maintains this structure was constructed without zoning, building, or health department permits from the town, and is being improperly used as a dwelling because it is located on the limited industrial zone where town zoning regulations prohibit residential dwellings.

Lomme said the letters from tenants support Finkeldey’s claim the structure has been in place for more than three years without enforcement action from the town, making it a legal structure under state law. David Burke reported in his letter that he lived in the structure from 2000-2004, and that it contained running water and plumbing facilities.  Jane Graham reported in a letter that she has lived in the structure since October 2009. Lomme also presented a letter from Finkeldey’s father, Robert Finkeldey of Old Saybrook, maintaining the structure was built in the 1950s, and has had people residing there in subsequent years.

Peter Sipples, attorney for the zoning commission, said the panel maintains the structure can not be used as a dwelling in the limited industrial zone, even if has been in place for more than three years. He said the structure would have to have been used continuously as a dwelling since before 1973, when the town adopted the regulations defining the limited industrial zone, to have legal non-conforming status. Sipples added the town has no records of permits being issued for the structure or any improvements to it.

In continuing the hearing from the June 17 session, the board asked Budrow to provide information on what town tax assessment records show for structures and improvements on the property. Budrow presented a letter from Assessor Jessica Sypher advising that personnel working on the townwide  property revaluation that was completed last year did not fully inspect the property because there were no trespassing signs and no one was home at the time of the inspection visit. The 2013 revaluation was to have included visual inspections of all properties, a process that is required every ten years under state law.

When board members asked to review records of previous revaluations that included inspections of all properties, Lomme agreed to request a continuation of the hearing for the additional research.

Essex Town Meeting Gives Unanimous Approval for $200,000 Contribution to Preserve Land Purchase

ESSEX— Voters at a town meeting Wednesday gave unanimous approval for a $200,000 appropriation as the town’s contribution for purchase of the 70-acre portion of the Preserve property in Essex. More than 100 residents turned out for the meeting in the town hall auditorium, with a round of applause following approval of the funding on a voice vote without discussion.

First Selectman Norman Needleman said the $200,000 would come from an open space acquisition sinking fund available in the current town budget. The town meeting vote ends years of debate about the wooded property that includes the Essex acreage off Ingham Hill Road that had been the subject of a subdivision application  in 2011.

Paul Greenberg with the Essex Land Trust, said the non-profit group is expected to at least match the town contribution for purchase of the portion of the property in Essex. Greenberg said the Trust has applied for a state grant of up to $350,000 that is awarded in October. He said the Trust would also use private fundraising for the purchase.

Old Saybrook voters in a July 8 referendum approved $3 million in bonding for purchase of the much larger 930-acre section of the property in their town. State bond funds will also be used for the total $8 million purchase, which is being coordinated by the non-profit Trust For Public Land. The purchase of the total 1,000-acre property for preservation  as public open space is expected to close by the end of the year.

Greenberg said the Essex section of the property would be owned by the Essex Land Trust,  while the larger Old Saybrook portion would be co-owned by that town and the state. Greenberg said access to the property from Essex would be off Ingham Hill Road, with trails in to the property to be improved for greater public access next year.

Selectman Bruce Glowac, who lives on Ingham Hill Road, spoke for the crowd when he expressed appreciation for the public acquisition of the total property. “We look forward to having 1,000 acres in the town next to us and in our town,” he said.

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

Bjornberg1

Emily Bjornberg, Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat

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

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

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

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

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

 

Essex Zoning Commission has Monday Public Hearing on Plains Road Industrial Building Expansion

ESSEX— The zoning commission has a public hearing Monday on a special permit application for an 11,300 square-foot expansion of the Bell Power Systems LLC building at 34 Plains Road. The session begins at 7 p.m. in town hall.
The company, which refurbishes engines to make the equipment more environment-friendly, proposes the addition for the south side of its existing 33,871-square-foot building. The new addition would be used for engine storage. The total size of the building after expansion would be 45,172 square-feet.

The company, which currently has 61 employees, would add a handful of additional employees after the expansion is completed. Any new construction and equipment related to the expansion would add to the town’s grand list of taxable property, which has shown weak growth in recent years.

Deep River Selectmen Pick Three Firms to Build on Town-Owned Industrial Land

DEEP RIVER— The board of selectmen has picked three firms to be offered a chance to build on a town-owned parcel at the Plattwood Park Industrial Area off Route 80. The firms are Winthrop Tool LLC, Top Notch Electrical Services, and  Moyers Landscaping Services LLC.

The firms will be allowed to construct three new industrial buildings as part of an economic development plan endorsed by the selectmen last year. The town purchased a four-acre parcel located off Industrial Park Road from local resident Gary Mislick for $270,000 to be paid in three annual installments. To pay for the acquisition, it used income derived from rentals in two industrial buildings that were constructed using state grant funds in 1997 and 2004.

First Selectman Richard Smith said the town will sponsor construction of a 300-foot road that would open up the parcel for three new industrial buildings. Under preliminary plans, Winthrop Tool LLC would construct a 12,000 square-foot building, Moyers Landscaping a 9,600 square-foot building, with Top Notch Electrical Services to construct a 4,500 square-foot building. Contracts expected to be signed later this summer would require the firms to begin construction within six months. Smith said Monday all three firms are ready to begin construction this year.

Under the contracts, the town will receive property tax revenue for the land, even though it is the land owner, and all buildings, equipment, and machinery on the parcel. Each of the three firms is already involved in the Plattwood Park Industrial Area, with Winthrop Tool and Top Notch Electrical Services currently leasing space in the two existing town owned buildings. Smith said the two firms have “maxed out,” in their rental space and are looking to expand. Moyers Landscaping Services owns an abutting parcel that contains a 12,000 square-foot building.

Smith said new buildings for Winthrop Tool and Top Notch Electrical Services would free up space in the two town owned buildings for new tenants. Smith said the board of selectmen next year would consider selling the two existing buildings, with income from the sale to be placed in a separate fund for future economic development efforts.

100 Pink Flamingos Spotted in Chester!

Flamingos arrive in a 1970 Ford pickup truck

Flamingos arrive in a 1970 Ford pickup truck

On July 13th, during the much loved Chester Sunday Market, pink flamingos converged on the lawn at 4 Water Street in front of a brand new storefront: lark!  Rumor has it that scouts were sent in on Saturday, and the rest arrived Sunday by way of a 1970 pickup truck.

At lark! you will find an ever changing array of hand crafted gifts and unique accessories.  Visit Chester!  Visit Lark!  Experience Chester Sunday Market!  (Through October 15)

Saybrook Point Inn & Spa Donates $25,000 to The Preserve

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old SAybrook.

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK –– The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, through the Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Family Foundation, has donated $25,000 to “The Preserve,” a swath of 1,000 acres of coastal forest along the towns of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, Connecticut.  As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York and Boston, this land is rich in natural resources, wildlife and habitat that not only offers residents with outdoor recreational opportunities, but also provides an important coastal buffer against storm waters during natural disasters.  Residents of Connecticut treasure this 1,000-acre coastal forest as a place to connect with nature close to home. Known locally as The Preserve, the woodland plays an important role in maintaining water quality in Trout Brook and the Oyster and Mud rivers, which feed into the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. The partnership to preserve and protect this natural ecosystem in Connecticut consists of the State of Connecticut, neighboring towns (Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook), and The Trust for Public Land.

“On behalf of my family, we are proud to be able to preserve and protect one of Connecticut’s most sacred ecosystems for generations to come,” said Stephen Tagliatela, Innkeeper/Managing Partner, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa. “It’s always been a founding principle of our family to care and maintain the environment we live in. It’s through our efforts, in cooperation with the Trust for Public Land, Town of Old Saybrook, and Essex Land Trust, that we will conserve this important coastal forest to forever as a natural asset for our region and our state.”

On Tuesday, July 8th, voters in Old Saybrook overwhelmingly approved the purchase of “The Preserve,” which will now be protected in perpetuity as open space for Connecticut residents for generations to come. As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, this 1,000-acre ecosystem will be permanently protected from future development. It will connect to 500 acres of existing town parkland providing expanded opportunities for hiking and viewing a variety of birds and other wildlife.

“We are very grateful that the Tagliatela family has made this very generous gift to support the Campaign to Protect the 1,000 Acre Forest,” said Kate Brown, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land. “This is a wonderful boost that will help us move closer to the fundraising goal and permanent protection of the land.”

The Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Foundation was established in 1997 by North Haven business leader Louis F. Tagliatela. Over the years, the Foundation has donated more than $9 million to support local non-profit organizations including hospitals, schools and churches. In addition, the organization helped establish the Tagliatela School of Engineering at the University of New Haven and the Tagliatela School of Business at Albertus Magnus College.

The Preserve is a 1,000-acre coastal forest located in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, Connecticut. It is the largest unprotected coastal forest remaining between New York City and Boston. The dense canopy of forest and the Pequot Swamp Pond act as a refueling stop for many migratory birds, and the many freshwater seeps on the property are home to amphibian species such as the northern dusky salamander, spotted turtles, and box turtles. Bobcats and fisher cats have also been spotted on the property.  The land includes 38 vernal pools, 114 acres of wetlands, headwaters of the Oyster River, and tributaries of the Mud and Trout Brook Rivers. These rivers eventually flow into Long Island Sound.

The property has a fifteen-year history of development proposals, foreclosure, and lawsuits by neighbors and conservationists opposing its development. The land is currently owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings, the holding company that emerged from the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The holding company has agreed to sell the property to The Trust for Public Land for its fair market value of $8.09 million. If protected, this highly unusual intact coastal forest will be preserved and the public will have passive recreational access to the property via trails.

The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environ-mental Protection, the Towns of Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, the Old Saybrook Land Trust, the Essex Land Trust, The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the Alliance for Sound Area Planning, Audubon Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy, and others to raise the funding necessary to protect The Preserve. The goal of the fundraising effort is to raise $10 million to cover the purchase price, costs and stewardship. We expect to raise $3 million via a private fundraising campaign, to supplement $7 million in public funding.

Since it opened 25 years ago, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa has adapted and changed. It has taken a decidedly green direction, win­ning numerous awards for its often best-in-class green practices, including the first Connecticut inn to be named a Certified Energy Hotel in 2007. The Inn now features SANNO, a full service European spa, as well as Fresh Salt, a restaurant designed by Peter Niemitz that opened to strong reviews in 2011.  The property employs more than 260 hospitality professionals in the town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and is among the town’s top employers and economic engines.

Saybrook Point Inn & Spa recently opened its new Three Stories guesthouse adjacent to the main Inn. Thiscompletely renovated Italianate home overlooking Long Island Sound was originally built in 1892 as a single-family home for the prominent engineer William Vars. The property has been fully refurbished and revitalized as a seven-room guesthouse with wrap around porches and private gardens, making it the perfect retreat for couples, families and friends to reconnect, rejoice and create lasting memories and experiences. Each individually designed room features a pri­vate balcony, fireplace, fine linens, heated bathroom floors, multiple showerheads, extensive water views, and original artwork by local artists. As a testament to its rich history, each room at Three Stories tells the story of a famed local resident who made sure that the history of the community was well preserved. This includes Katharine Hepburn’s mother, who was a co-founder of Planned Parenthood and leading suffragette, and Anna Louise James, who had the distinction of being one of the first African-American female pharmacists in America and ran the James Pharmacy locally.

About Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

Situated along the picturesque coastal community of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut in the hamlet of Saybrook Point, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa features 82 elegantly appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service spa called SANNO, and a casual fine dining restaurant named Fresh Salt. Luxurious spa amenities include 11 treatment rooms, and diverse menu of services including massages, facials, body wraps, manicures and pedicures. SANNO is a latin word meaning to make sound or to heal. The goal at SANNO is to help guests be well, look well, feel well, and eat well. Fresh Salt diners savor fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Old Saybrook’s most spectacular setting – the spot where the fresh waters of the Connecticut River meet the salt of Long Island Sound. It’s a treasured and historic place, rich in life, and the restaurant reflects that lively diversity. The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa also features the historic Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark yachting dock conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River with easy access to Long Island Sound. The marina is Connecticut’s first designated Clean Marina, featuring friendly concierge service, award-winning onsite cuisine, AAA Four Diamond accommodations, an indulgent spa, and a community-based member-driven health club. It can accommodate vessels from 12 to 200 feet and has received numerous premier Connecticut marina awards. More information is available at www.saybrook.com.

About the Trust for Public Land

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at www.tpl.org.

 

Camp Claire Receives Donation Of Automated External Defibrillator Machine

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Surrounded by Camp Claire campers, Russell Sage, center, Michael Sage’s father and Director of the MVSDF, stands with James P. Berryman (left in blue shirt), a Director at Suisman Shapiro, which is a major sponsor of MVSDF, after the presentation of an AED to Camp Claire’s Director, Beth Owen-Mishou.

Representatives of the Michael Vincent Sage Dragonheart Foundation, Inc. (MVSDF) donated a new automated external defibrillator (AED) machine to Camp Claire last Thursday, July 10, at a group meeting for staff and campers.

An AED is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. The shock can stop an irregular rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume in a heart that is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of cardiac related death in the United States; it strikes without warning, and if not treated within minutes, quickly leads to death.

There are 1,900 to 14,200 cases of out-of-hospital SCA in children each year. Early defibrillation with an AED and CPR can more than double chances of survival. The American Heart Association estimates that 20,000 to 100,000 Sudden Cardiac Arrest deaths could be prevented if defibrillation was readily available.

The MVSDF was established in memory of Michael Vincent Sage, who died on February 5, 2010 at the age of 29 from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia (SCA). He was active in sports for most of his life and never exhibited any of the warning signs associated with SCA, such as episodes of dizziness, fainting, or seizures. He arrived at work at the New London offices of Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law on a beautiful February morning, had a cup of coffee with his colleagues, then collapsed and died.

People on the scene attempted to revive Michael using CPR, but there was no AED available, and by the time the paramedics arrived, Michael could not be saved. In a matter of moments, Michael was gone.

The mission of the MVSDF is to raise awareness and support research into the early diagnosis and prevention of sudden cardiac arrest, including bystander awareness education, CPR training, and availability of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools, athletic facilities, and other public forums.

Camp Claire, a summer camp for children aged 7-14 located in Lyme, Conn., applied to the MVSDF for the donation of an AED defibrillator machine and was selected by the Board of Directors to receive the gift. Organizations must meet various criteria including the required number of CPR-trained employees; the number of persons served and their age groups; current AED status; and overall worthiness/need of the organization.

The cost of an AED defibrillator machine ranges from $1,000 to $2,500. The MVSDF has donated more than 30 machines to organizations in Connecticut over the last two years.

The mission of Camp Claire is to provide a natural community environment that encourages curiosity and creativity, and increases self-esteem, while providing a lifetime of memories that prepares children for an active place in a multicultural society. The camp began as a conference retreat for members of the First Congregational Church of Meriden in 1916. It incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1954, and relies on the support of alumni and friends to continue its mission of providing children with an enriching and memorable camping experience.

Major sponsors of the Michael Vincent Sage Dragonheart Foundation include Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law (New London), Defibtech, Inc. (Guilford, CT), The Survival Group (North Haven, CT), and The Ralph L. Rossi Foundation (Hamden, CT).

For more information about the MVSDF, visit the Foundation’s website at www.defibandlive.org

To learn more about Camp Claire, visit www.campclaire.org .

Linares Two Months Ahead of 2012 Donation Level

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Senator Art Linares, 33rd District

WESTBROOK — 33rd District Senator Art Linares’ Re-election Campaign has announced that the campaign is two months ahead of their fundraising goal from two years ago. The campaign said that they are very encouraged by the number of new donors.

In addition, they are pleased that previous donors have also returned. “The fact  that we have the funds this early  to meet our matching fund obligation is very encouraging news going into the middle of the summer season when fundraising is always  more difficult,” said campaign manager Ryan Linares, who is also the Senator’s brother .

The campaign is still working on inputting the information of the 400 individuals who have so far donated to the campaign, 300 are required to meet their matching fund obligation. Senator Linares’ campaign manager added, “What is most interesting about all of this is Senator Linares did not raise money in the traditional way by having fundraisers. Instead, he personally appealed to people in the district. Most of the donations have come from an e-mail and letter request campaign done in April and in the last 72 hours. The Senator’s schedule has been booked with public events in the district.  This has raised the Senator’s profile, which has also helped with the donations,” Ryan Linares added.

He also said, “Donations are always a good sign of support from people and so far this year people have been donating with letters thanking him for the work he is doing and for representing them in Hartford. The Senator is well in tune with the values of the district and the people see him as a person who listens without regard to political affiliation.  Let there be no doubt that Senator Linares plans to campaign just as hard, if not harder, than he did in 2012 when he became the youngest sitting Senator.  The Senator is not interested in what his opponents are saying. His interest is with the needs of the people in the district.”