April 30, 2016

Volunteer to Help Those Who Cannot Read, Variety of Openings Available at LVVS

AREAWIDE — If you have some time to volunteer to build a stronger community and help a local non-profit in tutoring area residents to read, write and speak English, you can start helping almost immediately. Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is looking for board members, a treasurer for the organization, tutor trainees and volunteers.

For more information, contact info@vsliteracy.org or call 860-399-0280.

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Eversource Notifies Essex Community of 2016 Tree Trimming

 Bruce Glowac, President of the Essex Foundation and Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden admire the new Eastern Red Cedars along West Avenue in Essex. Missing from the photo is Paul Fazzino, Jr., Essex Fire Chief.

File photo of Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden and Bruce Glowac, President of the Essex Foundation.

ESSEX — Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, has been notified by Eversource that additional tree trimming in the community will begin first quarter of 2016.  Residents will be contacted by the Lucas Tree permissions people starting in January 2016.

These contractors are obliged by the new PURA (Public Utilities Regulatory Authority) regulations and state statutes to notify abutting owners of planned tree work, on or hanging over the public road.  Tree owner approval is required for trees wholly on public property.

Pampel would like residents to know that according to these new statutes, they have the right to accept the planned work, waive their rights to object to the work, modify the work or they can refuse all tree work, if they choose. Those wishing to modify the work or object to the trimming or removal should follow the procedure described in the handouts received from the permissions contact person. This would include contacting the local Tree Warden and the Eversource in writing.

Roads that will be subject to ETT (Enhanced Tree Trimming), which is the most expansive specification, are Laurel Rd. and Dennison Rd. Enhanced Tree Trimming is ground to sky clearance and eight feet from the conductors’ clearance. If more than one quarter of a tree’s leaves have to be removed to satisfy this specification, the entire tree will be requested to be removed.

The following information was provided by Eversource and will be given to each abutting property owner affected by the upcoming tree work:

Year round trimming is “one of the ways we provide safe and reliable electric service”.  By removing potential hazardous growth close to power lines, they provide not only reliable service but also safer physical and visual access for their employees who work on the lines.  Problems can therefore be solved more efficiently.  Eversource states that all work is performed following professional tree care industry standards and best practices.

There are several clearance specifications. You should discuss the specific one that will be used in your area with the permissions contact, who leaves the slip with you.

The trees at risk are:

  • Those trees that can fall on or contact power lines and cause an outage.
  • Tree professionals will determine a tree’s hazardous potential based on species, location, health and structural composition.
  • Eversource arborists will also determine a tree’s risk of causing an outage and prioritize removal accordingly.  If a tree must be removed, it will be cut as low to the ground as possible
  • Critical trimming can occur without permission by the abutting owner if there is evidence that the tree or brush are in direct contact with power lines or have visible signs of burning.  This is “to protect public safety and system reliability.”

Low growing shrubs and grasses will not be removed in order to maintain a low-growing plant community.

Eversource will treat hardwood trees that can re-sprout from a cut stump with an herbicide to prevent regrowth.  As per Eversource, the herbicide has been tested and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  It will be “selectively applied with a handheld spray bottle by state licensed and certified personnel only to the outer edge and side of a stump.”

According to the Connecticut General Statutes (22a-66a), certain herbicide label information must be provided to the property owner where herbicides are used.  Property owners can ask the tree contractor requesting permission for trimming if herbicides will be used and request the herbicidal labels.

Eversource will make available to customers free of charge all cut wood or mulch produced from the tree work.  Larger limbs and tree trunks will be cut into manageable lengths and mulch can be dumped where vehicle access is possible.

In an effort to provide effective communication and better customer service, Eversource will seek property owner approval in advance of the tree work.  They will stop at all homes abutting areas of potential work to provide information and request approval for the trimming.

It is incumbent upon the property owner to read the material carefully, ask questions and/or contact the Eversource permissions contractor listed on the enclosed forms provided to property owners.

For trees that hang over the public right-of-way, you may ask for additional consultation:

  • If you live on a town road, contact your local Tree Warden (Augie Pampel).
  • If you live on a state road, contact the state Department of Transportation (DOT), Commissioner’s Office, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06131

Not granting permission:

  • If a property owner does not wish to grant approval for the proposed tree work, he/she should follow the procedures outlined in the material left by the permissions contact.
  • The Tree Warden will make a decision regarding the scope of tree work for all objections within 10 days of receiving the written objection or after a consultation.
  • Both the property owner and Eversource may further appeal that decision to the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) within 10 days.
  • Contact PURA at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051.  PURA will hold a mediation session within 30 days of an appeal or an arbitration hearing within 60 days, to reach a resolution.

Per the state statute, no property owner will be billed for damages to Eversource power lines or equipment caused by trees on the owner’s property that fall, regardless of the outcome of an appeal.

Pampel is available to anyone who may have questions, concerns or who require more information about this upcoming tree work. Pampel can be reached via e-mail at augiepampel@att.net or by his mobile phone at 860-388-7209.

Eversource Customer Care Center can be reached at 800-286-2000 or the Eversource Business Contact Center at 888-783-6617.  Eversource can be emailed directly at treeCT@eversource.com.

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Essex Savings Bank Donates Almost 2,000 Books to ‘Read to Grow’

Press Release - Essex Savings Bank Donates to Read to Grow (1)ESSEX — Essex Savings Bank has shared the results of its annual holiday donation contest designed to help those less fortunate in the local communities. This year’s event had each of the six branches and the corporate office collecting books for children from infancy to eighth grade for the nonprofit organization, Read to Grow.

Read to Grow promotes building literacy from birth, distributing 130,000 books to children in Connecticut each year. The book-themed displays at each office location ranged from Dr. Seuss to The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

While the contest adds an element of fun to the season, the driving force behind the Bank employees’ enthusiasm was helping children that may not otherwise have the access or opportunity to children’s classic stories. All donations were at the employees’ expense and generated by their goodwill.

As a result of everyone’s efforts, Essex Savings Bank employees delivered 1,829 books to Read to Grow. It is the hope of the Bank’s employees that these books will help make the holiday season a little more joyous for the children of Middlesex County, New Haven County and New London County.

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

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Friends of Essex Library Thank Holiday Book Sale Supporters

Catharine Wagner and Ellie Champion, decked in their red aprons helping patrons check out at the recent Holiday Sale.

Catharine Wagner and Ellie Champion, decked in their red aprons, helped patrons check out at the recent Holiday Sale.

The Friends of Essex Library, and particularly Peggy Tuttle, Sale Coordinator, wish to thank all the volunteers who worked tirelessly preparing for the Holiday Sale, and all who supported the sale by purchasing many holiday books.

The Friends of Essex Library will be holding a focused sale the month of February. Books with emphasis on aspects of American History will be featured at very attractive prices.  Also on sale will be books appropriate for Valentine’s Day giving.

The Friends also offer at this time of making New Year resolutions, 10 Reasons to become a Friend of Essex Library, as follows:

  1. You’ll meet new friends and stay connected with the old.
  2. Your volunteer efforts strengthen our library and, therefore, our community.
  3. You will feel good about your participation: work a book sale, help shelve books, sort and prepare books for sales.
  4. You will enjoy helping the library’s wonderful staff, and you will be appreciated.
  5. Your volunteer efforts earn money for the library. Gifts from the Friends make a difference.
  6. You can get dusty and dirty while you dig and sort through hundreds of books for the sales, and have fun doing it.
  7. You will increase your awareness of all that is available at the library, and by being a Friend, you become integrated into the workings of the library.
  8. You can hear peals of laughter as you help young minds absorb information in the children’s section.
  9. You will get to wear a red apron as a volunteer at the Sales.
  10. You can join because you don’t HAVE to!
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Essex Garden Club Brings Holiday Spirit to Essex, Thanks Residents for Support

Xmas policeman 2015
In preparation for the holidays, the Essex Garden club members decorated merchant window boxes and tubs of the villages of Essex as well as the town park gazebo on Main Street. Using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community, designers helped the town put on a festive face for the “Trees in the Rigging” held in November, and the Holiday stroll in December.

The “Silent Policeman” was decorated this year (from left) by Lumie Han, Gay Thorn, Eve Potts, Kirsten Wendell, Sandy French, Mylan Sarner and Liz Fowler. Thanks to both Liz Fowler and Suzanne Tweed for their efforts in coordinating the day of decorating.

Finally, The Essex Garden Club would like to thank the Essex community for its continued support, especially during their spring May Market and extends best wishes to all the resident of Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton for a Healthy and Happy New Year.

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Essex Garden Club Donates to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

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ESSEX — Essex Garden Club members collected nonperishable food items for the Shoreline soup Kitchens and Pantries (SSKP) at the club’s annual festivities at Essex Meadows.

Individual members and the club donated $1,705 to the SSKP, which will be matched by the Gowrie Challenge. The total weight of the  food donation was 376 lbs.

Pictured packing the food for delivery are Barbara Campbell and Nina Thurston.

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Vista Embraces The Spirit of Giving

Vista Stuff a Bus - printFrom collecting food for local pantries to donating toys, the Vista community embraced the Spirit of Giving this holiday season by seeking out and creating opportunities to give back.

AREAWIDE — Eric Stuebner is among the many Vista members who were inspired to give back, donating several food items to the Westbook branch of Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Inc. – a nonprofit that operates several food pantries and meal sites scattered along the Connecticut shoreline.

“It’s the right thing to do to help people in need,” said Eric, a Westbrook resident.

For the Thanksgiving holiday, a group of Vista members organized a “Stuff-a-Bus” food drive for the Madison Food Pantry. Thanks to the contributions of students, members, staff and community members, a total of 272 pounds of food was donated.

Vista member Lauren Borges used her culinary skills as a way to give back to local first responders. To show her appreciation for their dedicated service, Lauren baked vegan dark chocolate chip cookies for the Clinton police and fire departments— which she hand delivered.

Perhaps the most popular way Vista members chose to give back was by donating toys. In hopes of making the holidays more cheerful for children in need, members Chris Bailey, Leslie Strasser, Linay Dibble, Julie Butler, Alex Drago and Matt Sarti donated toys to the Toys for Tots program.

Several more members opted to make a difference by donating articles of clothing. Member Sue Miller donated new gloves and winter hats to the “Mitten Tree” at Technique Printers in Clinton, which distributes donations to numerous local charities. Clinton housemates Matt Christiaanse, Laurie Seagull, Kirsten Hadad, Andrew Hart and Evan Brookman organized their own clothing drive to benefit Westbrook Youth & Family Services.

Vista students, members and staff are always proud to support the communities where they live and work, and the Spirit of Giving is especially important during the holidays.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501C3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

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

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Adams Hometown Markets Raise More Than $7,200 For Families in Need

deepriverShoppers contributed more than $7,200 at Adams Hometown Markets during the past two months in support of The Great American Milk Drive.

Customers at 12 Adams Hometown Market locations made $1, $3, or $5 donations, with the funds raised distributed in the form of over 1,400 milk vouchers to clients of the Connecticut Food Bank.

 A similar drive last year was very successful, says Tony Groszew, Adams Hometown Markets’ Director of Sales, who expressed appreciation to the hundreds of shoppers taking part in the campaign.

The drive was part of a national effort aimed at providing highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families who need it most. The local effort also involved Guida’s Dairy, the New England Dairy Promotion Board’s Must Be the Milk program, and the dairy farm families of Connecticut.

The donation drive included Adams Hometown Market locations in Deep River, Derby, Milford, Shelton, Terryville, Thomaston, Watertown, Canterbury, Lisbon, Plainfield, East Lyme, and Portland.

“This was another impressive effort by Adams Hometown Markets’ management and its shoppers,” says Jill Monti, Regional Marketing Manager for New England Dairy Promotion Board. “There are hundreds of Connecticut households struggling to put food on the table, and while milk is frequently requested by families in need, it is not always available because it has been difficult to donate. The generous help of Adams Hometown Markets’ staff and customers really makes a difference in the lives of local families in need.”

Connecticut Food Bank Interim CEO Paul O’Leary adds, “We are grateful to Adams Hometown Markets and our partners at the New England Dairy Promotion Board for recognizing the importance of getting nutritious food into the hands of people who struggle with hunger. Their outstanding support and the generosity of Adams customers made this drive a great success.”

For more information on the Great American Milk Drive, visit www.mustbethemilk.com/milkdrive/

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The Movie Man: “Spotlight” Explores How “Globe” Reporters Exposed Priest Sex Scandal

Spotlight_movieTonight, I look back to a scandal that has rocked the institution that preserved Western Civilization in the Dark Ages, transformed hospitals, and, believe it or not, science. Thirteen years ago, the Boston Globe revealed a series of stories to the public, and many in the world began to distrust her. What I speak of is the Catholic Church, and the priest sex scandal.

This is a New England film, as many big parts of New England life are displayed throughout it via product placement. Dunkin’ Donuts, W. B. Mason, and other familiar logos are seen throughout it. For those of us who know Boston well, many popular, yet not mainstream popular, or, rather “hipster” streets are seen and spoken about through dialogue.

We begin in 1976, in which a bishop visits a Boston Police station in regards to a priest who abused a young boy, and he assures the boy and his parents they will never hear from the priest again, and the bishop and the priest then drive off. Twenty-five years later, members of the Boston Globe have a goodbye party for one of their editors who is stepping down after the New York Times bought out the newspaper.

New editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) comes in from Miami and expresses interest in going deeper into a case involving a priest, who severely abused countless children, as he feels there is something that is being hidden from the public.

How could somebody take on a church? This is the basic theme that is dealt with as the journalists from the Globe’s Spotlight section begin to dig deeper and deeper into this horrible scandal. A member of a survivor group, SNAP, comes to them, having previously tried to contact the paper many years prior. While his organization is small, comprised of only 10 members, Spotlight eventually catches on and realizes there has to be a scandal in their midst.

While they are presented with the same facts that we are today when we discuss the scandal, that perhaps only a very small percentage of ordained priests have engaged in such awful activities, they realize they need to take action because there are numerous victims out there with stories to be heard.

Several scenes take place in which the journalists meet with the survivors (as one asserts they are survivors because some ended up taking their lives) and they tell their stories. It is a completely heart-wrenching ordeal to listen to, as they describe being initially excited that their parish priest took an interest in them, only to violate the in the most unimaginable way.

Cardinal Bernard Law, the Archbishop of Boston at the time, is our enemy, despite his cheerful and outgoing personality. The stories of Church corruption in the Middle Ages suddenly return to 21st century America. Cardinal Law is reaching out to officials, taking advantage of loopholes to keep legal documents confirming his corruption away from the public’s eyes.

And though he only appears in three or four scenes, he does not have the lasting effect of the antagonizing villain that we see in other films, such as Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs consisting of only 16 minutes of screen time, but earning the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and being ranked by the American Film Institute as the greatest villain in the history of film.

Many interesting points are made, as people bring up that these stories were brought to the newspapers on many occasions, but turned down. Michael Keaton’s character, Walter “Robby” Robinson, notes that he originally shot down the claims when he worked for a different section of the Globe 20 years prior, and another brings up that we all stumble around in the dark and only realize what has happened when the light enters. Boston is a tightly-knit community, one character says, pointing out that if it’s true it takes a village to raise a child, as he quips, it also takes a village to [destroy him].

I will not post a disclaimer to share that I am a lifelong Catholic, myself, and have been brought up in the Church in a very intimate manner. Baptism, CCD, First Communion and Reconciliation, Confirmation, Catholic high school, and even participated in campus ministry as a student at Quinnipiac. I do not intend to bash Catholicism, as journalists such as Christopher Hitchens might have done when reviewing a film like this, nor do I seek to engage in apologies, but rather to show the honest side of the faith.

This film has been received well by the Church, of all viewers, especially by Seán Cardinal O’Malley, Law’s replacement as Archbishop of Boston, who claimed the investigation by the Globe prompted the Church “to deal with what was shameful and what was hidden.” Vatican Radio also shared similar words, calling the film honest and compelling. Anyone who is involved with their local church can describe how there is now a zero-tolerance policy for things of this nature, and how Popes Benedict XVI and Francis have made these events a main focus during their papacies.

I will close with a reference to Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy, since I read all three volumes this summer … to my surprise. Plus, who doesn’t feel super smart when they close an article with a quote from a piece of classical literature?

(Dante addresses a pope who is confined to be buried face down into a furnace, who is guilty of simony [buying of sacred things])

And were it not that I am still constrained by the reverence I owe to the Great Keys [1] you held in life, I should not have refrained from using other words and sharper still; for this avarice of yours grieves all the world, tramples the virtuous, and exalts the evil.

Of such as you was the Evangelist’s vision when he saw She Who Sits upon the Waters locked with the Kings of the earth in fornication.[2] Gold and silver are the gods you adore! In what are you different from the idolator, Save that he worships one, and you a score?

Inferno, Canto XIX

[1] Papacy, the “Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven” given to St. Peter by Christ.

[2] The Whore of Babylon, from Revelation 17-18

Kevin Ganey

Kevin Ganey

About the Author: Kevin Ganey has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at LymeLine.com, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.

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New Buses Arrive for Transit District

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

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

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

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

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Lorraine Lieberman Honored as LVVS 2015 “Unsung Hero”

LVVS's 2015 'Unsung Hero' Lorraine Lieberman

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

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

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

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Letter from Paris: COP 21 Tackles Climate Change in Challenging Times

Nicole Prevost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

All eyes are on the COP21 United Nations conference on climate change taking place in Paris from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12. The “Conference of Parties” or COP, have been held every year since COP 1 in Berlin, in 1995.

In the middle of nowhere, in an industrial and non-descript vacant lot – a preview of what our world will become if the conference does not bring concrete results – the Bourget site has been turned into an ephemeral city of tents, movable partitions and kilometers of carpets. The recyclable constructions will all disappear at the end of the conference. More than 3,000 journalists are covering the event.

The circumstances were exceptional, barely two weeks after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks. France is living under emergency rules and the danger is still present. More than 120,000 police, army and special forces are deployed throughout the country. Terrorism and global warming were on a collision course. It was a huge challenge for France to organize the conference. The highways and part of the beltway were closed to facilitate the arrival of the thousands of visitors. The Parisians had braced themselves for total chaos … but it turned out to be the most peaceful two days in a long time.

The inaugural day was quite a show of protocol. There was first the greetings of the 150 leaders, followed by photo-ops and smiles. Elham Aminzadeh, the vice-president of Iran, dressed in her long robes, walked past the French president and prime minister to shake hands only with Segolène Royal, French minister of the environment. Then everyone scrambled to find his or her place for the giant “family pnoto.” Leaders of Israel and Palestine or of Russia and Turkey had to stand apart to avoid a diplomatic incident.

This year the heads of States spoke at the outset of the COP. It was believed that their declarations of intent — powerful but brief (three minutes each) — would galvanize the public and give a boost to the working sessions to follow. One sensed a definite will to reach the objective of limiting the global warming to below two degrees by 2100. “Greenpeace could have signed Francois Hollande’s speech,” commented Jean Francois Julliard, the director of Greenpeace France. Indian Prime Minister Narandra Modi announced his country’s support of an ” International Solar Alliance.” China is becoming the world first producer of renewable energy. The liberal new prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, is changing his country’s attitude about the environment.

Early in the conference, 11 developed countries, including the US, France, England, Germany and Sweden, made the solemn commitment to contribute 250 million Euros for a transfer of renewable technology to the poorest countries.

In the 1970s, the advocates of ecology were not taken seriously and pretty much disregarded. Things have now come a long way from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which so few countries ratified or from the 2009 COP 15 of Copenhagen, which ended up with a weak and non-binding text.

At the midpoint of COP 21, its president, French minister of foreign affairs Laurent Fabius, exhorted the participants to seize the momentum. He urged delegates not to wait until global warming becomes irreversible.

The pollution of the atmosphere is measured in particles per million or “ppm.” To-day it is 400 as compared to 250 in the pre-industrial era. In Peiping, pollution is 25 times higher than that of Paris on it worst day.

In 1990, the developed countries (also labeled as the “North”) produced 14,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the emerging countries 7,500. In 2012, the North had slightly reduced its emissions to 13,000 and the “emerging countries “, called G77 + China , ( actually numbering 134 now), almost tripled their emissions to 20,000. It is ironic that the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) is still included among the “emerging” countries.

The main stumbling block at the COP 21 is whether the developed world will have to pay 100 billion Euros per year to the other countries even though they are profiting from the technology it created. Besides, if one has to wait for the “big emergents,” headed by China and India, in the name of “climate justice,” to catch up, the planet will be gone by then.

In the early evening of the inaugural day, I saw a convoy with blue strobe lights, going against traffic in a one-way street in front of my windows. Who could that be, I wondered? It turned out it was President Barrack Obama driving toward the very secluded three-star Ambroisie restaurant on Place des Vosges. In the elegant dining room, under crystal chandeliers, the president, John Kerry and their party seemed to have a great time with Francois Hollande and his cabinet ministers.

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

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OSW 8th Grade Football Players Compete in FBU Championship

Left to right:  Justin Badolato, Jeffery Miller, and Dominic Santullo

Left to right: Justin Badolato, Jeffery Miller, and Dominic Santullo

Three Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OSW) Youth Football players have been named to the Connecticut 8th Grade team for the Football University National Championship.  Defensive lineman Justin Badolato from John Winthrop Middle School, linebacker Jeffery Miller from Westbrook, and center Dominic Santullo of Old Saybrook were chosen after a series of tryouts and will compete in the second round of tournament games this Saturday against Southern Jersey in Lewisburg, West Virginia.  Round one was played in Rhode Island and New Hampshire.  Victory this coming weekend will mean they move on to compete against Indiana.

The FBU National Championship is described by the organization as the single biggest event in youth football.  Sixty-four teams from all over the United States and Canada representing their state or province battle in a single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion. 6th, 7th and 8th grade divisions compete throughout the month of December to be crowned national champion. Participants include 6,000 athletes representing thousands of youth leagues. This year the FBU “Championship Weekend” is in Naples, Florida to showcase the best teams in the nation. All American Games, parent company of FBU, is a sports management and marketing company based in Rockaway, N.J., that produces and manages many of the nation’s premiere high school and youth sporting events, including the U.S. Army All-American Bowl for the country’s best high school players.

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Talking Transportation: Saving Money on Metro North

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

With the holidays upon us, let’s review some money-saving tips for riding Metro-North into the city for commuters and day-trippers alike:

TRANSITCHEK: See if your employer subscribes to this great service, which allows workers to buy up to $130 per month in transit using pre-tax dollars. If you’re in the upper tax brackets, that’s a huge savings on commutation. A recent survey shows that 45 percent of all New York City companies offer TransitChek, which can be used on trains, subways and even ferries.

GO OFF-PEAK: If you can arrive at Grand Central weekdays after 10 a.m. and can avoid the 4 to 8 p.m. peak return hours, you can save 25 percent. Off-peak’s also in effect on weekends and holidays. These tickets are good for 60 days after purchase.

BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE: If you buy your ticket on the train you’ll pay the conductor a $5.75 – $6.50 “service charge”… a mistake you’ll make only once ! (Seniors: don’t worry, you’re exempt and can buy on-board anytime without penalty.) There are ticket machines at most stations, but the cheapest tickets are those bought online. And go for the ten-trip tickets (Peak or Off-Peak) to save an additional 15 percent. They can be shared among passengers and are good for six months.

KIDS, FAMILY & SENIOR FARES: Buy tickets for your kids (ages 5 – 11) in advance and save 50 percent over adult fares. Or pay $1 per kid on board (up to four kids traveling with an adult, but not in morning peak hours). Seniors, the disabled and those on Medicare get 50 percent off the one-way peak fare. But you must have proper ID and you can’t go in the morning rush hours.

FREE STATION PARKING: Even stations that require weekday parking permits usually offer free parking after 5 pm, on nights and weekends. Check with your local town.

METROCARDS: Forget about the old subway tokens. These nifty cards can be bought at most stations (even combined with your Metro-North ticket) and offer some good deals: put $5.50 on a card (bought with cash, credit or debit card) and you get a 5% bonus. Swipe your card to ride the subway and you’ll get a free transfer to a connecting bus, or vice versa. You can buy unlimited ride MetroCards for a week ($31) or a month ($116.50).

BUT IS IT CHEAPER TO DRIVE?: Despite being a mass transit advocate, I’m the first to admit that there may be times when it’s truly cheaper to drive to Manhattan than to take the train, especially with three or more passengers. You can avoid bridge tolls by taking the Major Deegan to the Willis / Third Ave. bridge, but I can’t help you with the traffic you’ll have to endure. Check out www.bestparking.com to find a great list of parking lots and their rates close to your destination. Or drive to Shea Stadium and take the # 7 subway from there.

The bottom line is that it isn’t cheap going into “the city”. But with a little planning and some insider tips, you can still save money. Happy Holidays!

Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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Celebrating a Year of ‘Pearls and Plaid’

The charming exterior of 'Pearls and Plaid' in Haddam.

The charming exterior of ‘Pearls and Plaid’ in Haddam, Conn.

Just a few weeks ago, on Nov. 12, local Haddam boutique “Pearls and Plaid” celebrated its first birthday. The store is located just a few shops down from the Goodspeed Opera House by the Haddam Bridge, making it a popular destination for tourists as well as regular townies.

A peek inside the store.

A peek inside the store..

The tiny store is packed with clothing draped on walls and mirrors, spread on top of and underneath chests and drawers, and hung on pipes. Kristin Lemley, who is both an employee and sister of owner Caroline Lemley, comments,“From the start she (Caroline) really didn’t want it to be a typical clothing store with racks and shelves. We wanted it to be interesting to look at and always changing.”

The store’s professed style is, “Where northern prep meets southern charm,” and its inventory certainly lives up to its logo. Rompers, dresses, jewelry, and various accessories are the most popular items in the store, and new items arrive just as quickly as the old ones sell out.

‘Pearls and Plaid’ is a great example of the local businesses that are the heart and soul of our small communities. These businesses bring the community together and provide a more intimate experience than larger scale corporations. Just as we rely on them to bring character to our local communities, they rely solely on our support to maintain their status.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

Let’s commit to keep the charm and personality in our small towns by supporting ‘Pearls and Plaid’ and all the other small businesses in our local area to ensure many more anniversaries are celebrated!

Editor’s Note: Pearls and Plaid is located at 4, Norwich Rd., East Haddam, CT. Its regular opening hours are Tue-Fri: 12 to 6 p.m., Sat: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 860.876.7328.

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LVVS Congratulates Class of Fall 2015 Tutors

WESTBROOK — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) is pleased to congratulate the 2015 Fall class of tutors. Tutors are trained through comprehensive nationally accredited workshop sessions held by Literacy Volunteers. On completion of workshop sessions, trainees receive certification as a tutor and are assigned a mentor for support and guidance.

Trained volunteer tutors are matched with students in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading. Tutors carry out our mission of providing one-on-one tutoring to anyone seeking to improve their English skills. Through the LVVS services, students become acclimated to American culture and the English language resulting in them becoming productive, happy members of the community. There is no cost to the student.

Congratulations to the 2015 Fall class of tutors: Deborah Huddy of Clinton, Susan Taylor of Clinton, Rosanne Vinci of Clinton, Paul Aresta of Deep River, Karol Gardner of Deep River, Joseph Katan of East Haddam, Tricia Carey of East Lyme, Margaret Azarian of Guilford, Sandra Maccarone of Madison, Anne Maxwell of Niantic and Jane Gonzalez of Old Saybrook.

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Country School Selected as Finalist in United Arab Emirates STEAM Initiative

Learning through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

Learning through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

The Country School is one of three finalists selected to advise the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Education as it seeks to implement a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum for all Kindergarten-3rd Grade students.

Following a global search, the UAE identified the independent Pre-School through 8th Grade school as one of its top three choices to assist with the planning and implementation of the nationwide STEAM initiative. If selected, The Country School will partner with SmartStart Education, an academic solutions company based in New Haven, to plan and oversee implementation.

“We couldn’t be more honored that our signature STEAM program may serve as a global model for 21st century learning,” said Head of School John Fixx. “For the past five years, Country School teachers have immersed themselves in this effort to inspire meaningful, deep, and lasting learning through integrated science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. We know it works on our campus, and we look forward to sharing what we have learned with others across the globe.”

Fixx said The Country School was also delighted to be partnering on this venture with SmartStart Education, a team of administrators, teachers, and academics committed to helping people reach their full potential. He commented, “Like The Country School, SmartStart is all about promoting excellence in teaching and learning.”

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students, ages 3-14, on its 23-acre campus in Madison. STEAM is one of several signature programs at The Country School; others include Elmore Leadership, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking. Through STEAM, students are invited to tackle real-world problems that require them to ask challenging questions and work together to come to a solution.

By integrating all elements of the curriculum, STEAM engages all learners, and the hands-on, creative nature of a STEAM exploration means the learning will last. Perhaps most importantly, STEAM gives students the skills they need for success in the future—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity—and the inspiration to be tomorrow’s innovators.

Since adopting the STEAM model five years ago, The Country School has shared its learning in a variety of ways: during a summer teacher institute, through periodic teacher workshops, and through a series of STEAM events for area students and families. In addition, Country School teachers have been invited to facilitate STEAM workshops at outside conferences.

The Country School also hosts regular forums on the topics of parenting and education through its Teacher Institute-Partnering with Parents program. The next Teacher Institute-Partnering with Parents event will have a STEAM focus when, at 6.15 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2016, The Country School hosts a screening of Most Likely to Succeed, the acclaimed new film that invites us to reimagine education. This has been brought forward from the previously announced 7 p.m. time to allow for a panel discussion and Q & A after the film.

Visit www.thecountryschool.org or contact communications@thecountryschool.org for more information.

For more about SmartStart Education, visit www.smartstarteducation.com.

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Artisans Harbor Announces New Artist Show, Addition of Custom Framing

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Artisans Harbor  is very pleased to announce the addition of -Ron’s Custom Framing Ron Staskelunas brings with him 10 years of custom framing experience. He apprenticed with the best in the business and honed his technique prior to launching his own framing business located at Artisans Harbor 188 Main Street Old Saybrook.

Ron’s expertise and creative eye will ensure each customer is more than pleased with a collaboratively selected frame, matting or shadow box for fine art paintings, photography, prints, mirrors, needlepoint, collages, posters, keepsakes, heirlooms, jerseys and pretty much any memorabilia.

Artisans Harbor is also announcing three new artists showing now through Jan. 15th. Pastel painter Steve Linde is a signature member of the Connecticut Pastel Society and also serves as its Vice President. He has won awards at the CPS Renaissance Shows. Mary Mellot has been painting in landscapes, still life, and portraits in oils for over 40 years and her paintings are in collections throughout the U.S. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her portraiture paintings.

Old Lyme artist Randie Kahrl’s painting style is varied and often unexpected. An artist who is still evolving, she has certainly mastered different aspects of art, and yet is anxious to always explore new areas and ideas, whether it is color, edges, impasto and texture or simply the tension created by dramatic lighting. Visit Artisans Harbor Wed.-Sat. 12-5pm.

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Sen. Linares, State Officials Honor Deep River Veteran

Left to right: Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Member PW Louthain, and Sen. Art Linares.

Left to right: Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Member PW Louthain, and Sen. Art Linares.

U.S. Navy veteran PW Louthain of Deep River was inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 during a Nov. 30 ceremony at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The Hall of Fame was established in 2005 to recognize the continued contributions of Connecticut veterans to their cities and towns. This year, 11 veterans joined the 104 veterans who are currently in the Hall of Fame.

State officials, including State Sen. Art Linares, were on hand to congratulate Louthain and thank him for his service to his country and to his community.

Louthain served in the Navy for 20 years as a Senior Chief Machinist Mate and then worked for Electric Boat in Groton. While at EB, Louthain and a group of other U.S. submarine service veterans decided to sponsor and organize a Groton Sea Scout ship. A Sea Scout “ship” is the functional equivalent of a boy or girl scout troop.  As a member of the Westbrook Elks Lodge 1784, Louthain has served as liaison to the Westbrook-based Sea Scout Ship Stars and Stripes 1784.  The co-educational youth organization helps youth in the region to gain confidence and become good citizens.

“The inductees into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame have not only answered the call of their nation, they have answered the call of their communities,” Sen. Linares said. “It is what they have done beyond their military service that truly sets them apart as individuals worthy of this special honor. The example PW Louthain has set and his public service is most worthy of the respect and admiration of all Connecticut citizens. His volunteerism has inspired young future leaders in our region.  I was honored to join him and congratulate him on this memorable day.”

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Letter from Paris: ‘Francofonia’ Explores German Attitude to Louvre Art During Occupation, but with Broader Message

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

Like irritating mosquitoes on a hot summer afternoon, three fighter planes of the German Luftwaffe fly over a majestic and impregnable Louvre museum.  This is the opening image of Francofonia, a documentary reflecting on art and the courage of men fighting to protect it against forces of destruction.  A most appropriate and needed interlude at this particularly tense time for the humanity.

Although labeled a documentary, Francofonia – a Russian-German-French production – is part newsreels, part fiction, part poetic images. The film, directed by the well-known Alexander Sokurov, won an award at the September 2015 Venice Film Festival.

Count Wolff Metternich, a German officer of Prussian origin, walks down a vaulted hallway. He is there to meet  Jacques Jaujard, the French director of the Louvre.  The two men are stiff and on their respective guards.  Metternich asks Jaujard, “Do you speak German?” “No,” responds Jaujard, “The answer is, I am very French.”

A scene from 'Francophonia.' Image courtesy of Films Boutique.

A scene from ‘Francophonia.’ Image courtesy of Films Boutique.

Ironically both men are on an identical mission.  In 1939, most of the Louvre’s art work, including the “Victory of Samothrace” – the museum’s most illustrious treasure – was removed by the staff and hidden in the cellars of French castles.  Metternich had done precisely the same thing with the collections of the Cologne cathedral before the start of the war.

With an element of pathos, Sokurov imagines the visit of German military to  the Louvre.  Did they realize it was an empty place except for Assyrian winged bulls and other monumental sculptures, which might have been left on purpose to act as the watchdogs of an idea?

Two iconic guides take us through the deserted Grande Gallery.  A fat-bellied Napoleon, behaving like the host, points at the David’s painting of his coronation.  “This is me,” he says proudly. But  it is with irony that Sukurov shows “Napoleon crossing the Alps” by Delaroche as an undignified and tired man riding a mule  rather than the dashing rider imagined by David.  Our other guide, Marianne, wearing the distinctive Phrygian bonnet, repeats over and over  “Liberté,  égalité, fraternité.”

Sukorov accompanies us through an empty museum filled with the memory of treasures now gone.  A hand touches the diaphanous finger tips of a statue;  Clouet’s delicate portraits come alive;  and so do Millet’s peasants, sitting  by the fire, their deeply-lined faces showing their exhaustion.  The greyish, almost sepia, quality  of the photographs adds to the eerie feeling.

The camera moves in and out of the Louvre and depicts difficult scenes, which demand pause for thought.  A tanker is struggling in the fury of the Baltic. Will the works of art it carries in its containers survive or be crushed by the waves?  The frozen body of a well-dressed little girl lying on a street during the siege of Leningrad evokes the human suffering caused by war.

Francofonia is a complex film, which can be read on several levels.  It came on the Paris screens not long after the blasting of Palmyra and other archaeological sites by Daesh (ISIS).  The message is crystal clear — art, which is the legacy of our civilization, is too precious to die.

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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A Successful Year for the Essex Tree Committee

Red cedar

One of 33 Eastern Red Cedars planted at the West Avenue gateway

In 2015 the Essex Tree Committee received donations of 40 trees from both individuals and community organizations.  Thirty three of these trees were Eastern Red Cedars planted at the West Avenue gateway (see photo).  These were donated by the Essex Foundation and the Essex Fire Department.  Other trees included a Swamp White Oak tree located at the Methodist Hill donated by the Essex Police Union.  Two Princeton Elm trees, donated privately were planted at West Avenue and South Main Street.  A Sunset Red Maple donated by the Essex Rotary Club was planted also at South Main Street.  The Essex Garden Club donated a London Plane, planted at 15 Dennison Road. The Essex Tree Committee donated a Saucer Magnolia to the Essex Elementary School.  And Bartlett Tree Experts planted a Red Sunset Maple at 147 Dennison Road.

Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, thanks all who donated trees to the town of Essex in 2015.  These trees will enhance the beauty of the streets of Essex for many years to come.

To make a donation to the Essex Tree Committee, please contact Augie Pampel at augiepampel@att.net.

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LVVS Offers an Affordable Gift Idea

In the spirit of affordable giving, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS), CT, Inc. is having a “Fill a Bag for $5” December book promotion on specially selected books.

The LVVS bookstore has a large variety of hardcover, paperback, and children’s books that include selections by well-known authors and topics such as gardening, crafts, and religion. Buy a bag full and fill a basket or stocking for a special reader or favorite teacher in your life.

LVVS is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive. Book sale hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-2:00 and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 10:00AM-Noon.

Visit www.vsliteracy.org or call at 860-399-0280.  All book sales, promotion or otherwise, benefit the LVVS tutoring programs in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading.

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Land Trust’s Annual Photo Contest Celebrates 10 Years

Michael Cathcart (Honorable Mention, Cultural Category, 2015 contest)

Michael Cathcart (Honorable Mention, Cultural Category, 2015 contest)

The deadline for the Tenth Annual Land Trusts Amateur Photo Contest is January 31, 2016. Entry forms for the contest will be available only by email after December 1, 2015 at photocontest@lymelandtrust.org.

Amateur photographers are invited to share their love of the natural world by entering their favorite photographs.  Children age 14 and under are especially encouraged to submit photos in the Youth category. Participants, no matter their town of residence, may submit photos that focus on the celebrated and scenic countryside of Lyme, Old Lyme, Essex, Salem, and East Haddam. Land Trusts in these towns sponsor this photo contest.

Submissions are accepted from the first to the last day of January 2016. Contest rules are available online at lymelandtrust.org. The link is http://www.lymelandtrust.org/news/photo-contest/.

Contest awards are being funded with the generous support of RiverQuest /Connecticut River Expeditions, Ballek’s Garden Center, Essex Savings Bank, ChelseaGroton Bank, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Lorensen Auto Group, the Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, and Alison Mitchell in honor of her late husband John G. Mitchell. John G. Mitchell was a life-long environmentalist and former photo contest judge.

A panel of three judges will award $100, $75, $50 and $25 cash prizes in each of five categories. The categories are Landscape/Waterscape, Plants, Wildlife, and Cultural/Historic (human interaction with nature, including domestic animals and buildings), for participants 15 years of age or older. Photographers 14 years old or younger may enter photos on any of these subjects in the Youth Category.

The Photo Contest will be judged by William Burt, a naturalist and wildlife photographer acclaimed for his beautiful books; Amy Kurtz Lansing, an accomplished art historian and curator at the Florence Griswold Museum; and  Skip Broom, a respected, award-winning local photographer and antique house restoration housewright.

All entered photographs, plus all winning photos, will be displayed and celebrated in a public reception Friday, March 11, 2016.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust encourage amateur photographers to join the fun and share wonderful photos from these southern Connecticut towns. Previous Land Trusts Photo Contest winning photos, viewable at https://landtrustsphotos.shutterfly.com/, highlight the beauty of these towns and the pressing need to preserve the environments within these towns.

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The Movie Man: See ‘Spectre’ … Though It’s Not Bond’s Best

Headshot_v2We’re delighted to welcome a new writer to our fold today. Kevin Ganey joins us as our movie critic: he will be submitting regular reviews of movies in a variety of genres. He has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at Shoreline Web News LLC, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.

He opens his column series with a review of the latest Bond movie, ‘Spectre:’

"Spectre poster" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

“Spectre poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

“Bond. James Bond.”

Since the 1962 release of Dr. No, six actors have had the pleasure of playing the iconic James Bond, or 007. For many years, it had been consider blasphemy to assert that any of the six actors aside from Sean Connery was Bond, as in he truly embodied the character and was the first actor moviegoers would think of when somebody brought 007 up in conversations. However, on a cold night in November of 2012, as I left the Niantic Cinema after seeing Skyfall, I literally proclaimed to others that Daniel Craig, not Connery, was Bond.

I do not think that I am alone when it comes to this opinion. My younger brother shares it, and he also proudly tells people that he knows every line to Craig’s first film as Bond, Casino Royale. We are fans of Craig’s gritty approach to the character, a quiet man with a killer’s stare, a force with which to be reckoned. He was not as comical as Roger Moore, or as suave as Pierce Brosnan, or, as my mom says, “campy” like Sean Connery. Each actor brings a new approach to Ian Fleming’s iconic spy, and I must say that I am more than satisfied with Daniel Craig’s interpretation.

So, it was with great pleasure that I embarked on a journey to Westbrook’s Marquee Cinema 12 on the premiere date for Eon Production’s 24th film about the secret agent, Spectre. When I was 11-years-old, my parents gave me a DVD collection that contained seven Bond films, which included Dr. No, Goldfinger, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Licensed to Kill, Goldeneye, and Tomorrow Never Dies, and I was quickly captivated by this heroic figure. As soon as I learned this film’s title, I immediately remembered the organization of the same name that Bond was constantly combating in the earlier films. The name stood for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion.

This film begins just weeks after Skyfall left off, with Judi Dench’s M still in the memories of all MI6 agents, replaced by Ralph Fiennes. Bond has just completed a semi-rogue mission in Mexico City (ordered by Judi Dench’s M just before she died in a video message), thwarting a terrorist attack during a Day of the Dead celebration. Grounded by the new M, Bond requests help from Moneypenny and Q to make him disappear in order to find more information in regards to the mission he just completed.

He is led back to a member of QUANTUM, a criminal organization — Mr. White, whom he encountered in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, now leads him on the trail to the even bigger organization “Spectre,” headed by a mysterious man named Franz Oberhauser, played by Christoph Waltz. M also deals with the emergence of a young government official, whom Bond calls C, running a new organization that monitors criminal activity, who also seeks to bury the Double-O system.

This film brings the previous four Bond films together, as all the villains were connected somehow before, and, without giving away too many spoilers, Oberhauser reveals this to be a form of revenge against Bond, as he knew him very intimately in the past. And I take a further risk by saying this to ardent Bond fans: Oberhauser reveals himself to be a memorable character from the earlier films.

I was expecting a great performance from Waltz, since he has won two Academy Awards over the last five years, but sadly, I was unhappy with his portrayal of a Bond villain. And my disappointment was compounded because Javier Bardem, who played the villain in Skyfall, and is also an Academy Award winner, gave what I consider to be one of greatest performances as a bad guy in that movie.

But Spectre does have its redeeming qualities. Sam Smith’s credit song, “Writing’s on the Wall” (I think this was also a reference to an exchange between Bond and Q in the 1995 installation, Goldeneye) was enjoyable and had a similar approach to Adele’s “Skyfall.” Q provided entertaining gadgets, including the classic donation of a multi-purposed watch, as well as humorously “giving” Bond an incomplete Aston Martin.

The main team that we are familiar with at MI6 (M, Q, and Moneypenny) is much more hands-on than they have been in the past, with all members in the field, partaking in the missions, in contrast to previous installments when Q stays in his lab, Moneypenny helps brief Bond and shows hints of her crush, and M behind the desk scolding Bond for going rogue.

But the way I saw it as I entered the movie theater, as long as you did not have a song by Madonna or an invisible car (both came from Die Another Day, which was the reason for rebooting the series), we were in for a good Bond film. Granted I should not enter a movie theater thinking “as long as it was not as bad as X, then it’s a great movie!”

What I will say is that it was a decent film, worthy of being a part of the Bond series. It is not the best, as I came in expecting greater things, but nonetheless, I have no problem including this on a list of Bond films to binge watch (an interesting millennial term) in a weekend. I would definitely recommend this movie to fellow movie-goers, not because of its critical value, but simply because it is an installment of the world’s most famous spy.

Who’s the other guy again? Jack Ryan?

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Vista Members Publish Memoirs

From left are Evan Brookman, Devery Morgan, Jocelyn Ruggiero, Dana Rupley and Matt Christiaanse during the memoir reading at CREATE Art Studio. Credit: Vanessa Pereira

From left are Evan Brookman, Devery Morgan, Jocelyn Ruggiero, Dana Rupley and Matt Christiaanse during the memoir reading at CREATE Art Studio. Credit: Vanessa Pereira

Four members of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center have accomplished a feat many have only dreamed about— publishing a book.

Evan Brookman, Matt Christiaanse, Devery Morgan and Dana Rupley recall memories, life experiences and even look to the future in memoirs they wrote and published during a seven-week Vista Arts Center class taught by writer Jocelyn Ruggiero. These newly published authors shared passages from their books on Nov. 12th during a reading held at CREATE Art Studio in Madison.

“I liked telling my story to my family, friends and Vista staff,” said Dana. Her memoir, “Pieces of My Life,” recounts her early years at Vista and includes anecdotes about loved ones. “I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

In his memoir, “My Life at Vista and Beyond,” Evan, too, focuses on his time at Vista. He chronicles his journey through the program—from the nerves he experienced his first week, to the confidence and friendships he has developed over the years.  His book also serves as a tribute to his late grandmother, of whom he shares fond memories.

“I thought making part of [the book] about her would be a perfect way to honor her,” Evan said.

Matt took a different approach in his memoir, “My Life.” Instead of recalling a memory, he imagines what the future may hold and details his aspirations of moving to Los Angeles to become an actor and singer.

Devery, who Jocelyn called a prolific writer, centered her memoir on a more emotional topic—the cause of her disability. In “I Fought My Way in Life,” she tells the story of how her life was forever changed after being involved in a car accident at age two.

Although a painful story, Devery enjoyed the writing process. She said writing gives her a voice and allows her to express things she wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

“For me, writing is like a painting where you have nothing on paper, but in time, you will get a beautiful picture and writing is the picture,” Devery said. “If I could write for a living, I would be in heaven!”

Copies of these memoirs are available for purchase. For information, contact Arts Program Manager Amanda Roberts at aroberts@vistavocational.org.

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Volunteers Needed for Tax Preparation Assistance

Volunteer Jay Keiser helps a client prepare their tax return at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site at the Middlesex United Way office

Volunteer Jay Keiser helps a client prepare their tax return at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site at the Middlesex United Way office

Volunteers are needed for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to help low- to moderate-income households prepare and file their taxes to ensure they get back the money they have earned.

VITA is a national program of the IRS, and volunteers are trained and certified to ensure that working families and individuals are filing for all of the appropriate tax credits. The program also helps families who might be struggling financially by saving them costly fees associated with tax preparation and rapid refund loans.

The program is looking for volunteers for two VITA sites located in downtown Middletown to provide free tax preparation assistance for eligible taxpayers. Tax preparation is offered January 23–April 12, 2016 at Middlesex United Way’s office in 100 Riverview Center and at NEAT’s office on Main Street.

No prior experience is necessary. Volunteers complete training and are certified by the IRS. Training will be held January 4-7 or January 11-14, 2016, and volunteers need to attend consecutive evening sessions.  Volunteers will be trained to let taxpayers know if they qualify for additional tax credits, such as the federal and the state Earned Income Tax Credits and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. VITA volunteers must complete a minimum of one 4-hour shift per week during tax season in the late afternoons and evenings or on Saturdays; maintain confidentiality of all client information; and interact with the public in a helpful and supportive manner. Opportunities to become certified as an advanced tax preparer are also available.

In 2015, the two VITA sites in Middletown helped more than 570 Middlesex County area residents file their taxes for free and returned more than $770,000 back to taxpayers. Those who filed with Middletown VITA sites had an average adjusted gross income of about $21,000 and received an average refund of $1,656, money they have earned. This impacts not only those who filed their taxes, but also their families and the local economy.

To volunteer or learn more, contact Leah Meyer at 860-227-7409 or leah.meyer99@gmail.com.

VITA is a free program offered by the federal government. Local VITA sites are coordinated by the Middlesex VITA Coalition, a partnership of Middlesex United Way and the North End Action Team. The Middlesex VITA Coalition receives support from the Connecticut Association of Human Services.

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Essex Elementary School Foundation Hosts Talent Showcase with Scott Haney as EmCee

WFSB's Scot Haney and 5th grader Kendra Cika emcee the show

WFSB’s Scot Haney and 5th grader Kendra Cika emcee the show ( all photos courtesy of EESF)

ESSEX — Comedians, jugglers, singers, pianists and Karate masters strutted their stuff at the Essex Elementary School Talent Showcase on Tuesday, Nov. 9.  The crowd cheered as students performed their talents, while WFSB personality Scot Haney served as emcee

4th grader Owen Peterson has excellent martial arts moves

4th grader Owen Peterson has excellent martial arts moves

This special night was sponsored by the Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF), a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that provides independent financial resources for worthy educational projects and enrichment programs, such as a mathematician-in-residence and an iPad lab.  Students walked away equal winners in this non-competitive talent show.

Led by EESF board member Cathy Poulin, the showcase utilized the skills of local volunteers, such as Patty Carver, of the Connecticut Children’s Theatre.

4th grader Charlie Whelan entertains the crowd with comedy

4th grader Charlie Whelan entertains the crowd with comedy

The event raised more than $400 for the organization.

For more information about the EESF, visit www.essexelementaryschoolfoundation.org.  Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Essex Elementary School Foundation, PO Box 882, Essex CT 06426.

4th grader Zoey Michel leads the entire group in a rendition of "Glad You Came"

4th grader Zoey Michel leads the entire group in a rendition of “Glad You Came”

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Local Firm Receives FDA Approval for Medical Devices

PCI Medical’s newly remodeled, 36,000 square foot, state-of-art headquarters

PCI Medical’s newly remodeled, 36,000 square foot, state-of-art headquarters

DEEP RIVER –  PCI Medical is pleased to announce that it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the ASTRA VR and ASTRA TEE automated reprocessors used to facilitate the high-level disinfection of endocavity ultrasound probes.

“The ASTRA VR and ASTRA TEE automated reprocessors are the next innovation in ultrasound probe disinfection,” stated Philip Coles, Founder and Chairman of PCI Medical. “For over 20 years PCI Medical has developed high-level disinfection systems for ultrasound probes to help keep patients and probes safe, while saving our customers money. The ASTRA series automatically controls the time, temperature and rinse cycles for the probes while providing fully automated data logging.”

The ASTRA VR is an automated reprocessor for the high-level disinfection and rinsing of one or two endovaginal/endorectal ultrasound probes.  The ASTRA TEE is an automated reprocessor for the high-level disinfection and rinsing of one or two transesophageal (TEE) probes.

The ASTRA® series of automated reprocessors offer many unique features that help users meet audit and accreditation requirements for Joint Commission and Infection Control standards. The ASTRA uses a reusable, industry standard high-level disinfectant that dramatically minimizes cycle costs. A single gallon of disinfectant can be reused in the system for up to 14 days. A built-in bar code reader captures and automatically stores information including: type of disinfectant, probe ID and operator ID. The ASTRA also automatically captures and logs temperature, date and time of disinfection, MRC pass or fail and cycle outcome. All of the data from the last 1,000 cycles is stored on the ASTRA and downloaded via a USB port as needed.

For more information on the ASTRA series of automated reprocessors, go to www.pcimedical.com/astra/

About PCI Medical – Experts in High-Level Disinfection®

For over 20 years, PCI Medical has developed and manufactured high-level disinfection systems. PCI Medical manufactures a complete line of GUS® manual soak stations as well as Storage Systems for endovaginal/endorectal, general purpose probes and TEE probes, and other accessories for high-level disinfection such as spill kits and neutralizers. GUS Disinfection Soak Stations are used in over 6,000 facilities throughout the US and Canada.

In addition to quality products, the PCI Medical Disinfection Team helps facilities to become or stay compliant in the high-level disinfection process, from pre-cleaning through to storage. They are Experts in High-Level Disinfection. For more information about PCI Medical products and educational offerings, please visit www.pcimedical.com

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Gowrie Group Aims to Raise $1 Million to Benefit Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

Gowrie Group Team serving lunch at the Old Saybrook meal site location.

Gowrie Group Team serving lunch at the Old Saybrook meal site location.

“I never expected to hit such tough times, but thank God for the food pantry.” This message was written by a shoreline resident and guest of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP), during a recent family financial crisis. Shoreline Soup Kitchens gave her the food she needed, no questions asked. Helping shoreline families like hers who are facing food insecurity is one of Gowrie Group’s most important outreach initiatives.

That desire to give back to the community in a meaningful way is why for the past 11 years Gowrie Group has focused much of its charitable giving on supporting SSKP.  Since 1989, SSKP has provided food and fellowship to neighbors in need who reside in Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Last year they distributed more food than ever before – over 1 million pounds of groceries. This year the number of people in need continues to rise, and the SSKP has had a 14 percent increase in the amount of food distributed at their five local pantries.

In response to this need, Gowrie Group is launching their 12th annual matching challenge with a $25,000 donation to the SSKP.  Five local companies — The Safety Zone, LC Doane Company, Tower Labs, Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and the Tariq Farid Foundation – are providing an additional $22,500 in matching funds.

This year, Gowrie Group is challenging the community of local businesses and friends to help them meet and exceed an ambitious goal – raising $125,000. Meeting this year’s goal will put the lifetime total amount raised by the Gowrie Group Shoreline Soup Kitchen Challenge over the Million Dollar mark. The 2015 Gowrie Group Challenge runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31.

Carter Gowrie, CEO of Gowrie Group said, “We are extremely proud that over the past 11 years, we have raised almost $1,000,000 to benefit those in need in our community and support the great work the SSKP does. We greatly appreciate the donations made by so many of our clients, local businesses, and friends each and every year.  I look forward to us together breaking the million dollar mark this year.”

“Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is so grateful for all those who support the Gowrie Challenge.  Every year this campaign shows the commitment of our community to caring for others. On behalf of the thousands of those we serve every year, I say thank you,” says Patty Dowling, SSKP Executive Director.

Throughout the year, Gowrie Group and its employees donate time and services to soup kitchens and pantries across New England.  Each summer, Gowrie employees prepare and serve a lunch at an SSKP meal site in Old Saybrook, CT.  Before the holidays, Gowrie employees host canned food drives at each office location – Westbrook CT, Darien CT, Newport RI, North Kingstown RI, Marshfield, MA, Manchester, NH – and donate the collected goods to local entities.  Employees and their families also help out regularly at a variety of food pantries and meal service locations across the region.

Appreciation is expressed to the 2015 Gowrie Challenge partner and media sponsors: The Safety ZoneLC Doane CompanyTower LabsLenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and Tariq Farid Foundation. Media Sponsors: Shore Publishing and WLIS/WMRD

Donations can be made online at www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org; click the “Donate” button and select “Gowrie Challenge.”

Donations by mail should be sent to: The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Attn: Gowrie Group Challenge, P.O. Box 804, Essex, Connecticut 06426.

Two special events will benefit the Gowrie Group Shoreline Soup Kitchen Challenge.

On Black Friday, Nov. 27, the “Shoreline Soup Kitchen Benefit Concert” will take place at The Kate, in Old Saybrook.

On Dec. 5 and 6, Dancing to End Hunger, a ballet performance of “Ahavah: The Story of Christmas,” will take place at the Morgan School in Clinton.

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Quilts of Valor – Ten Local Veterans Honored with Quilt Presentations

IMG_3706The Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook, along with the Connecticut Chapter of Quilts of Valor were privileged on Veterans Day to honor 10 local veterans with quilt presentations.  The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to “cover” service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor made by dedicated volunteers.

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Legal News You Can Use: The Gift of Real Estate From Parent to Child

real-estate-giftShould I gift my house to the kids now, or leave it in my estate? This can be a tricky question. There are also many other factors to consider, including mortgages, capital gains tax, Medicaid regulations, and other risks.

GIFT TAX

The current federal law gives each donor (maker of a gift) a $5.43 million lifetime exemption from the federal gift tax. The Connecticut statutes provide for a $2 million lifetime exemption from the Connecticut gift tax. Therefore, there is no gift tax due unless the donor has made more than $2 million in taxable gifts during his/her life.

Each donor receives a $14,000.00 annual gift tax exclusion per donee (receiver of a gift) for gifts of a present interest, meaning that the recipient can use and enjoy the gift immediately. For example, the exclusion for a gift from a parent to two children may total $28,000. If both the donor and their spouse join in the gift, the exclusion would be $56,000.00. That is, the value of the gift for gift tax purposes would be reduced by $56,000.00.

The $14,000.00 annual gift tax exclusion is not available for gifts of a future interest, such as a gift of real estate in which the donor reserves a life use. So, if your total estate is below the $5.43 million federal estate tax exemption and the $2 million Connecticut estate tax exemption, there is really no practical difference in this case.

MORTGAGE

Most mortgage documents prohibit the borrower from transferring an interest in the real estate without the lender’s written consent. To be assured of avoiding trouble with the lender, be sure to seek this consent before making a transfer.

CAPITAL GAINS

A donor may have purchased real estate many years ago at a price that is much lower than the property’s current value. Because the gift recipient’s basis for capital gains tax purposes is the same as the donor’s basis, if and when the donee children sell the property, they could anticipate paying capital gains tax on a substantial gain.

By contrast, if the children were to inherit the property at the parent’s death, the children’s basis would be the fair market value of the property at the parent’s date of death. In that case, if the property were eventually sold, the gain upon which capital gains tax may be due would be much smaller than it would be if the property were received by gift and then eventually sold.

MEDICAID

The current Medicaid regulations provide that if a person makes a gift of assets, and subsequently applies for Medicaid sooner than five years from the date of the gift, a period of ineligibility based on the value of the gift will apply. For instance, if a parent gifted real estate to a child on September 1, 2014, and the parent or the parent’s spouse needed to apply for Medicaid to pay for the cost of long term nursing home care prior to September 1, 2019, the parent or their spouse would be ineligible for Medicaid. Because of this five year look back rule, it is important to examine what other assets are available to pay for long term care.

OTHER RISKS

What if your child passes away before you do? As much as we don’t like to think about these scenarios, this can be particularly problematic if the parent has not reserved a life use in the gifted property. In this case, the deceased child’s interest would pass under his/her own estate plan documents, possibly to a spouse or to the deceased child’s own children.

Other unexpected events such as bankruptcy, or an accident suffered by one of the donee children, or a divorce, could leave the gifted real estate vulnerable to claims of creditors or claims of the child’s spouse.

The long and short of this complicated discussion is that it is very important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney before making the decision to gift property to your children.

Attorney Jeanette Dostie is a Director at Suisman Shapiro in New London, CT, the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut. She has a wide experience in estate planning, ranging from simple wills to complex estate plans designed to maximize estate tax savings for clients. For more information, visit www.suismanshapiro.com or call (860) 442-4416. Suisman Shapiro is located at 2 Union Plaza, P.O. Box 1591, New London, CT 06320.

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Dear Cammy: Making New Friends, Keeping Old Ones

envelope-308015_640We’re delighted that our advice columnist for middle schoolers has rejoined our growing ranks of contributors. Cammy answers two letters this week from local students about issues with school friends. If you would like to send a letter to Cammy, email it to cammy12100@gmail.com

Dear Cammy,

I am in 10th grade and just started a new school this year. Everything is going all right. All my classes are good and the kids there are nice, but I feel as if I don’t belong. I have made a few friends and we all get along. But every time the whole group is together I feel out of the loop. They all already have so much history together because they’ve all known each other since they were in kindergarten. I really want to keep these friends; I just don’t know what to do about this one problem. What do I do?

The New Kid

Dear The New Kid,

I understand where you are coming from. Going to a new school is hard and coming in at such a late time in your life is even harder. It’s great that you are enjoying your classes and you have begun to make friends. What a great start! The hardest part is over. It will take time to fully connect as a part of this friend group. They all have so many memories together, so try making new ones with them. Why don’t you try inviting them over to go to your favorite place or for a sleepover. This will help all of you to get to know one another, trust one another, and have memories to help create that foundation of the friendship. Wishing you the best of luck!

Cammy

Dear Cammy,

Throughout all my life, I have had the same friend group. We have done everything together since kindergarten. This year we are going into our final year at the middle school and things are starting to change. I do not have many/no classes with a lot of my friends and I feel as though the group is slowly falling apart. I don’t want to lose my friends; I care about them so much. Help Cammy, what should I do?

Not Sure

Dear Not Sure,

You have been so fortunate to have had such amazing friends and I see where you are coming from. After going through so much, it is hard to let go of the people you know, love, and trust the most. You need to understand that this is a time in your life when people are finding themselves and where they fit in. I believe that it is in your best interest that you talk to your friends about how you feel. Everyone goes through times when they aren’t in a lot of classes with their friends. That doesn’t mean that you can’t hang out outside of class. Just always remember to be open to new friends no matter how secure you are with your closest friends; you will never know who you will meet. Wishing you the best of luck!

Cammy

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Recount Waived for Essex Republican Selectman Election Result

ESSEX— There will be no recount of the close election result for the minority Republican seat on the board of selectmen. Town Clerk Joel Marzi reported Friday that he had received a written waiver of the recount from Republican selectman candidate Phil Beckman.

When votes were counted Tuesday night, only three votes separated Beckman, a first time candidate, and incumbent Republican Selectman Bruce Glowac, who had lost the first selectman race with two-term incumbent Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman. The result for the GOP selectman seat was Glowac- 1,065, and Beckman-1,062, well below the 20-vote difference where state election law provides for a recount.. But a recount is not held if the trailing candidate waives the process, as Beckman has done.

Needleman was-elected to a third term with 1,145 votes, with incumbent Democratic Selectwoman Stacia Libby winning a third term with 1,105 votes. The board of selectmen for the 2015-2017 term will be comprised of Needleman, Libby, and Glowac.

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Letter from Paris: Fabulous FIAC Celebrates Contemporary Art Throughout Paris

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

She’s back! We’ve probably been asked more often about what has happened to Nicole Prévost Logan than any other of our wonderful writers. You see, Nicole takes a break from writing for us in the summer when she is living in Essex, Conn. But now she has returned to her house in Paris and (metaphorically) picked up her pen again … and we’re delighted … along with many of our readers!

fiac_2012_jardin_des_plantes

In late October every year, France attracts visitors from around the world to take part in the FIAC (Foire Internationale de l’Art Contemporain.) Multiple exhibits open, not only in museums, but also hors murs (outdoors) on the grounds of historical monuments like the Chateau de Versailles, or on public squares and parks like Place la Concorde or the Jardin des Tuileries .

For a few days, Paris becomes the capital of arts, fashion and design. The main event of the FIAC takes place in the Grand Palais and was attended this year by 75,000 professionals in the arts and owners of the 173 most prestigious galleries of the world. (not individual artists.) The high entrance fee was set at $40. The works exhibited were in all media – paintings, sculptures, videos, installations. Values of the objects varied from a few thousands euros to several millions.

What makes the specificity of the FIAC is that it expands every year and becomes increasingly accessible to the general public. The French minister of Culture and Communication Fleur Pellerin, who occupied the media center stage during the week, stressed the civic importance of the richness and diversity of culture open to all in the public space.

When walking around Paris it seemed impossible not to stumble over some work of art: on the banks of the Seine in the new Cité de la Mode et du Design, in the department stores or the elegant lobbies of five-star hotels palaces. In the historical districts of the Marais, or St Germain des Prés, unbridled art creations were the norm. The “off” art found additional space under white tents. Digital art celebrated its tenth anniversary near the Alexandre III bridge.

The “Outsider Art Fair” (art brut) – made up of the works of mentally disturbed , marginal or self-taught artists – placed its 38 stands in a private mansion. It included the works of the well known American artist Henry Darger whose permanent collection is in the New York American Folk Art museum.

To stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries was to be in for a great treat. One could admire whimsical, mostly thought-provoking artistic creations on lawns, near the two pools, along the tree-lined paths. Young and articulate art students from the Ecole du Louvre described the works to the curious passers-by.

Just two examples. Heimo Zobernig, who lives and works in Vienna, created a tall androgynous statue. The body was made of three pieces from three different sculptures scanned in 3D. The head, legs, and torso were assembled digitally, raising the question of figurative sculpture. On the Tuileries bassin rond, a transparent sphere, of about 10 feet in diameter was floating under the motion of a crystal chandelier hanging inside and spinning around. The artist’s intention was to show the hidden properties of objects by the incongruous mix of an inflatable toy, a scooter’s chain and a 24 volt rotating mechanism.

The visitor reaches the Place de la Concorde. Four pavilions mesmerized the crowds. They had been erected by St Gobain – the French company specialized in construction material for the past 450 years (it built the Louvre pyramid.) The pavilions showed the company’s innovations for the future: how can sensorial modules create thermic and acoustic comfort or a 21st house being built entirely from materials created by 3D printers.

After an absence of a few months, what better way than the FIAC to reacquaint oneself with the Paris scene?

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Chester Incumbent Waves Recount for Minority Republican Selectman Seat

CHESTER— There will be no recount for the minority party seat for the board of selectmen where nine votes separated unsuccessful Republican first selectman nominee Carolyn Linn and incumbent Republican Selectman Tom Englert when results were announced Tuesday night.

Linn, a first time candidate, pulled 413 votes in losing to Democratic First Selectwoman-elect Lauren Gister. Englert, who has served on the board since 2009, had 404 votes. Democrat Charlene Janecek was also elected to the board. The nine-vote difference between Linn and Englert fell within the 20 vote margin where a recount is required under state election law, unless one of the candidates waives a recount.

Town Clerk Debra Calamari said Thursday she has been advised by Englert that he does not want a recount. Englert’s decision confirms the town will have its first all women board of selectmen, comprised of Gister, Janecek, and Linn, when the new term begins on Nov. 17.

It will also be an all new board of selectmen. Englert was the only incumbent on the board who sought a new term this year with the decisions of two-term Democratic First Selectman Edmund Meehan and three-term Democratic Selectman Larry Sypher not to seek re-election.

In Essex, Town Clerk Joel Marzi said Thursday he is still awaiting word from Republican Selectman candidate Phil Beckman on whether he wants a recount of the close Tuesday result for the minority Republican seat on the board of selectmen. Incumbent Republican Selectman Bruce Glowac pulled 1,065 votes in losing the first selectman race to Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman. Beckman, a first time candidate, received 1,062 votes, a three-vote difference. Marzi said a recount has tentatively been scheduled for Saturday morning at town hall, pending any waiver of a recount from Beckman.

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Obituary: Richard B. Blythe, 31 Oct. 15

blytheRichard (Dick) B. Blythe, 87 of Killingworth, CT passed away peacefully on October 31, 2015.   He served as the Principal of Valley Regional High School from 1971-1985 and the High School honored Dick for his many years of dedication and service by naming football/soccer and track facilities the Richard B. Blythe Athletic Complex.

Read the full obituary published in the Hartford Courant here.

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Democrat Lauren Gister Elected First Selectwoman as Close Result for Minority Seat Sets Up All Women Board of Selectmen

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek celebrate their respective elections.

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek celebrate their respective elections.

CHESTER— Democrat Lauren Gister was elected as first selectman Tuesday, with Republican challenger Carolyn Linn expected to edge incumbent Republican Selectman Tom Englert to set up the town’s first all-female board of selectmen.

Gister, a lawyer making her first run for town office, defeated Linn on a 688-413 vote. Democrat Charlene Janecek, currently the party’s registrar of voters, was elected with 696 votes. But Linn’s total in losing the contest for first selectman was ahead of Englert by a scant nine votes — Englert received 404 votes — in an election where the top three voter-getters make up the board. Englert has served on the board since 2009, and served briefly as acting first selectman in the fall of 2011 after former Republican First Selectman Tom Marsh resigned to take a job in Vermont.

Tom Englert congratulates Lauren Gister after the result was announced Tuesday evening.

Tom Englert congratulates Lauren Gister after the result was announced Tuesday evening.

Town Clerk Debra Calamari said Wednesday the nine-vote margin between Linn and Englert, being less than 20 votes, would trigger a recount for the minority seat, unless Englert formally waives the recount. Calamari said she had not yet heard from Englert or Republican Town Chairman Mario Gioco  on whether Englert wants a recount.

Gister said Wednesday she looks forward to the challenge of the next two years, and wants to hear from residents on what they want from town government. “We will try to be the best board of selectmen we possibly can for Chester,” she said.

Gister, who becomes the second woman to serve as Chester First Selectman after former Republican First Selectwoman Betty Perreault (1989-1993), said  she does not believe an all-female board of selectmen, a first for Chester, would make that much difference in how the town is run. “It might give a slightly different flavor to the board,” she said.

Linn said she is pleased that her campaign for the top job, the first by a Chester Republican since 2009, had helped boost voter turnout to nearly 50 percent, the highest in a decade. “The  community engagement was just spectacular,” Linn said, adding that she looks forward to working with Gister and Janecek on issues facing the town.

Democrats won the few other contested races on Tuesday’s ballot. For planning and zoning commission, incumbent Democrats Keith Scherber and Errol Horner, and incumbent Republican Steve Merola outpolled Lisa Matz Tolleffson, running one ballot line of the Chester Common Ground Party. The totals were Scherber, 684, Merola,632, and Horner, 579, to 474 for Matz Tolleffson.

For library trustees, Democrats Sandra Senior-Dauer and Karin Badger outpolled Matz Tolleffson, with 752 votes for Senior-Dauer, 637 votes for Badger, and 317 votes for Matz Tolleffson. For Region 4 Board of Education, Democrat Lori Ann Clymas led Common Ground candidate David Cohen 622-301.

Gister and the new board of selectmen take office on Nov. 17. Gister succeeds two-term Democratic First  Selectman Edmund Meehan. A total of  1,115 of the town’s 2,341 registered voters cast ballots Tuesday.

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Democrats Win all Contested Deep River Races

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Essex Board of Selectmen Candidates Hold Cordial Debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Will Political Lawn Signs Influence Essex Local Election Results?

Campaign sign for Republican First Selectman candidate Bruce Glovac

Campaign sign for Republican First Selectman candidate Bruce Glovac

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

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

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

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

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

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Essex Place Centerbrook Groundbreaking for New Affordable Senior Housing

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Thorden)

(Photo courtesy of Lisa Thorden)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Two Female Candidates Vie for Open First Selectman Seat in Chester

Atty. Lauren Gister

Atty. Lauren Gister – D

Republican Carolyn Linn

Carolyn Linn – R

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Needleman Thanks Dick Smith  

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

Election Day this year is November 3rd.

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Grant Awarded to Preserve Shoreline Electric Railway Powerhouse

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

Shoreline Electric Railway Powerhouse History

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

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

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

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

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

 

Presentation of the Findings

 

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

Thursday, November 12 at 4:00pm

Saybrook Point Pavilion

150 College Street, Old Saybrook

Making Places Grant Overview

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

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

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

located on the Connecticut River at Ferry Point.

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

Shoreline Electric Railway Powerhouse History

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

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

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

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

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

Presentation of the Findings

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

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

Making Places Grant Overview

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

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

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

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Women Candidates Face Off in Cordial Chester First Selectman Debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Essex Firm, Outthink Hires New CFO

Outthink hires Tracey Jacey as new CFO

Outthink hires Tracey Jacey as new CFO

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

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

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

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

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

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