September 22, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tennis Courts Are Part of a New Town Enhancement

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

Enjoying new playground equipment in Essex

Enjoying new playground equipment in Essex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ivoryton Village Named to National Register of Historic Places

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Cameron

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

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

 

Emily Bjornberg

Emily Bjornberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sen. Linares Endorsed by Connecticut REALTORS

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

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

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

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

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

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

Essex Selectmen Hear Concerns About Ivoryton Village Parking Issues

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

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

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

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

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

Deep River Resident Victorious in Vermont Equestrian Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bjornberg1

Emily Bjornberg, Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

100 Pink Flamingos Spotted in Chester!

Flamingos arrive in a 1970 Ford pickup truck

Flamingos arrive in a 1970 Ford pickup truck

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

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

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

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old SAybrook.

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old Saybrook.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

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

About the Trust for Public Land

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

 

Camp Claire Receives Donation Of Automated External Defibrillator Machine

Thumbnail for 25897

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linares Two Months Ahead of 2012 Donation Level

linares full

Senator Art Linares, 33rd District

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

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

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

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

Master Plan Suggests Library Site for Chester’s North Quarter Park

Chester Library Is Considering an Expansion

Chester Library Is Considering an Expansion (photo by Jerome Wilson)

CHESTER— A proposed master plan has identified a potential site for a new library and other possible improvements for the town’s North Quarter Park. The plan recommended by the town’s North Quarter Park committee was presented to about 25 residents at a public information meeting Wednesday.

The plan for the 22-acre park on the eastern end of Main Street was prepared over the past eight weeks by landscape architects Richter & Cegan Inc. of Avon. A key component of the plan suggests locating a two-story, 8,000-square foot library on the front section of the parcel, with the main entrance from a proposed 50 space parking area in back of the building.

First Selectman Edmund Meehan said the plan would help guide the efforts of a separate library building committee that is currently working to develop preliminary plans for a new library building in time to meet an August 29 deadline for submitting an application for a state library construction grant of up to $1 million. “The committees are working together to do sufficient work to be positioned well for the grant application,” he said. The library building committee has recommended hiring LLB Architects (Lerner, Lads & Bartells) of Pawtucket, R.I. to prepare preliminary design plans for the library building.

Landscape architect Mike Cegan outlined other possible improvements for the park, including a pavilion and lawn area, a multi-purpose improved recreation field and trails that would provide access to the northern section of the park that has views of tidal wetlands and Chester Creek. The existing children’s playground would be relocated, with the site of the former community center building that has frontage on Route 154 recommended as the location for a parks and recreation storage shed. There would be no improvements in wetlands areas.

The proposed master plan drew a generally positive response from residents at the meeting, though two residents continued to question the decision made earlier this year by the board of selectmen and library board of trustees to abandon plans for a renovation and expansion of the existing 1907 library building on West Main Street (Route 148).

Joe Cohen contended there are “too many moving parts” to the library/park project and a separate plan to reconstruct a section of Main Street from the intersection with Route 154 to the entrance of the Laurel Hill Cemetery. Cohen also questioned the total cost of the library project and possible park improvements.

Meehan said securing the state grant that is awarded in November would be a major step in lining up funding for construction of a new library, though a bonding authorization would also be required to pay for construction of the new building. Meehan said the town could pursue completion of other improvements at the park “over time” by setting aside funds in the annual town budget’s capital improvements plan, and seeking other grant funding.

Old Saybrook Gives Overwhelming Approval for $3 Million Preserve Land Purchase

Polling taking place at the Old Saybrook High School (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Polling taking place at the Old Saybrook High School (photo by Jerome Wilson)

OLD SAYBROOK— Voters Tuesday gave overwhelming approval for $3 million in bonding for the town’s share of a planned $8 million purchase of the Preserve property, described as the “1,000 acre forest.” The bonding for the 930 acres located in Old Saybrook was approved on a 2,002-242 vote in an eight-hour referendum.

About 20 percent of the town’s 7,361 registered voters turned out for the referendum, with 115 property owners who are not registered voters in Old Saybrook also casting ballots. The bonding approval is the key element in a combination of funding sources that is expected to lead to a closing on the property by the end of the year.

First Selectman Carl Fortuna said he was not surprised by the huge margin of support. “This has been a generational issue in this town and it’s finally being put to bed,” Fortuna said, adding that he was aware of no organized opposition to the bonding authorization while “there was certainly organized support.”

The parcel, which includes 70 acres in Essex and four acres in Westbrook, is located off Bokum Road and Ingham Hill Road in Old Saybrook and Ingham Hill Road in Essex. The property had been the subject of development proposals dating back to 1999 that once called for over 200 homes and a golf course. It is currently owned by River Sound Development/Lehman Brothers, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers setting the stage for negotiations that led to a purchase plan earlier this year. The purchase negotiations were coordinated by the non-profit Trust For Public Land.

Along with the Old Saybrook contribution, the plan calls for about $3.3 million in state funding and about $1.9 million from the Trust For Public Land. Essex voters will be asked at a July 16 town meeting to approve a $200,000 town funding contribution, with the Essex Land Conservation Trust also contributing through private fund raising. The Essex town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.at town hall.

Fortuna said the acreage in Old Saybrook would be co-owned by the town and the state. The Essex Land Conservation Trust will own the section of the property in Essex. Fortuna said trails through the vast property should be improved and ready for public use by the summer of 2015.

Supporters of the referendum near the polling station (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Supporters of the referendum near the polling station (photo by Jerome Wilson)

 

Blumenthal Urges “Yes” Vote for $3 Million Towards Purchase of ‘The Preserve’

pic2

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at July 7 rally for a “yes vote” at July 8 referendum

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal came to the Old Saybrook Green on Monday, July 7, to urge Old Saybrook voters to vote “Yes” in a referendum to grant $3 million of town monies to help purchase 930 undeveloped acres in the open land known as The Preserve. The referendum for Old Saybrook voters will be held on Tuesday, July 8, at the Old Saybrook High School gymnasium, and the polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m.

Other public officials urging a “Yes” vote on the July 8 town referendum were: Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, State Representative Phil Miller; and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman.

Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna said in his prepared remarks, “This property has been at the center of attention, good and bad, for 20 years. It is now time for resolution. We are optimistic that enough private and public funds can be raised to purchase the property and preserve The Preserve in its natural state. The Town will work cooperatively with all parties in this effort, including DEEP. Most importantly, I will work for and listen to Old Saybrook’s residents as they decide the future of this parcel.”

State Representative Miller said in his prepared remarks, “We’re grateful to the citizens of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, and our allies, the Trust for Public Land, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Governor Malloy, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, Congressman Courtney, First Selectmen Fortuna and Needleman and the Connecticut legislature. A thousand acres forever preserved. What a rightful thing.”

Essex First Selectman Urges “Yes Vote”

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman said in his prepared remarks, “Over in Essex, we’re excited about the proposition for acquiring this majestic property. Essex will hold a public hearing and town meeting to approve a $200,000 appropriation for the purchase on July 16 and look forward to joining our neighbors in Old Saybrook in support of this wonderful project.”

The Essex town meeting to consider approval of the town’s $200,000 appropriation to The Preserve’s acquisition will be held at 6:45 p.m. on July 16 at Essex Town Hall.

pic3

Senator Blumenthal takes time to chat with Democratic State Senate candidate, Emily Bjornberg, at referendum rally

Other Supporters of Acquisition

Other remarks for the occasion were offered by Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, who said, “Coming off July Fourth weekend, this is an exciting time for Old Saybrook to exercise their patriotic rights and vote to protect this important piece of land here in town.”

Also, Alicia Sullivan, Connecticut State Director of the Trust for Public Land said, “We commend Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for the state’s early funding commitment to this significant landscape. Also, we are grateful to Senator Blumenthal and our congressional delegation for supporting federal conservation programs that the state will use for this acquisition.”

An audience of some 30 to 40 persons attended the pre-vote July 7 rally.

TriTown Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to Take Part in National Conference

Health advocates from the Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (SAPC) will join more than 1,700 substance abuse prevention specialists from across the country at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) 2014 Mid-Year Training Institute in Orlando, Fla., from July 20-24. The week-long training will take place at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hotel.

CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute—a one-of-a-kind intensive training opportunity—will offer more than 70 half-day and two-day courses geared towards helping participants find solutions to their community’s toughest substance use/abuse concerns. Attendees will participate in a variety of lecture and hands-on sessions to expand their knowledge in prevention science and improve their skills in implementing evidence-based strategies to reduce drug and alcohol use.

The conference will feature renowned experts in the field of substance abuse prevention and will cover a wide range of topics – everything from how to prevent prescription drug abuse and the abuse of synthetic drugs to how to create tobacco-free environments, reduce impaired driving and develop policies to reduce marijuana use and underage drinking. SAPC and other community members attending this Mid-Year Training Institute include Deep River First Selectman Richard Smith, Deep River Resident Trooper Dawn Taylor, Deep River Constable Pete Lewis, Gina Sopneski, Dave Fitzgibbons, Claire Walsh, Gail Onofrio and Cate Bourke.

Tri-Town Youth Services and the SAPC offer programs and services to support the positive growth and development of youth and families in Chester, Deep River and Essex. Through education, counseling, youth development programs and prevention activities, Tri-Town serves to help community members of all ages thrive. For more information on the conference, Tri-Town Youth Services or the SAPC, see www.tritownys.org or call 860-526-3600.

New Application for 444 Main Street Requires Variances from Deep River Zoning Board

DEEP RIVER— The new special permit application to allow a used motor vehicle dealership at 444 Main Street will require approval of variances from the zoning board of appeals before it can proceed to a scheduled July 17 public hearing before the planning and zoning commission. A public hearing on the variance requests is scheduled for July 8 at 7:30 p.m. in town hall.

Local resident George Bartlett Jr. is seeking approvals for a used motor vehicle sales and service operation at the site of the former manufacturing building he purchased in 2012. The effort has led to two years of zoning disputes, and two lawsuits involving the planning and zoning commission and the ZBA.

An initial proposal in June 2012 led to a lawsuit with the ZBA that is now headed for a settlement to clarify exactly what variances the board approved after a June 19, 2012 public hearing.   The planning and zoning commission in May approved revised regulations governing motor vehicle dealerships and gasoline stations that eliminated one of the issues that forced Bartlett to apply for a variance in 2012, a requirement  that such uses have at least 150-feet of road frontage in the turnpike industrial zone.

But Bartlett, represented by Essex lawyer John Bennet, objected, and later filed a lawsuit in Middlesex Superior Court challenging the zoning amendments approved by the commission on May 15. Bennet contends two other amendments that were approved, requiring that entrances be at least 30-feet wide with a 30-foot setback from adjoining lot lines and for paving of areas where vehicles are stored, would make it “virtually impossible” for Bartlett to develop the property as a motor vehicle dealership. Bennet also alleges in the lawsuit that commission members are prejudiced against Bartlett and his plans for the property.

But Bartlett has also filed a new special permit application for the vehicle dealership that will be considered by the planning and zoning commission under the previous regulations that were in place before the approval of the amendments. The application is scheduled for a July 17 public hearing with the PZC.

Under the new site plan, Bartlett is requesting variances of the requirements for an island for the parking area at the rear of the property, and to reduce the requirement for a 50-foot front yard setback to 30-feet. He is also seeking location approval for the motor vehicle dealership under a state law that requires approval from zoning appeals boards before a state license can be approved for a motor vehicle dealership.

Cathy Jefferson, zoning enforcement officer, said Monday she has not been instructed by the commission to appear at the July 8 ZBA hearing and speak in opposition to the variances, as was the case in 2012. Jefferson said the commission is ready to proceed with the July 17 public hearing on the new application. “If he gets the variances, we’ll take the next step,” she said.

Letter: Responding to the OS Economic Development Commission on The Preserve

To The Editor:

The OS EDC, which has itself endorsed the acquisition of The Preserve, recently released a letter asking five questions.  They deserve a response.  In order of importance, they are:

  1. Cost to the taxpayer.   In short, very little and perhaps nothing at all.  Read on.

    Acquiring The Preserve under the proposed agreement saves Old Saybrook potentially tens of millions of dollars the town would have incurred if development as planned had gone forward—and might still incur if The Preserve is left open to development.  Perhaps more important to some residents is that acquiring The Preserve will almost certainly save Old Saybrook money.  First, the cost to taxpayers for the bonding required for the town’s share of the purchase price—less than 40%–implies annual property taxes for a median home of $12 to $24 dollars, depending on the form of bonding.  So for $1-$2 a month, residents take control of an extraordinarily important 1000 acres, the headwaters of three rivers, a critical source of clean water for the area aquifer, and an environmentally important area.  Second, the costs the town now incurs will almost certainly go down.  The proposed agreement includes a very substantial permanent endowment (perhaps reaching $1 million) which will provide funds to cover proper management of The Preserve, including trail mapping, trail marking (so folks no longer get lost on the unmarked, tangled trails they now hike), and permit sustainable forestry practices.  In addition, because of the partnership with the State, state conservation officers will share the responsibility for policing the area, relieving Old Saybrook police of some of that responsibility.  And because the area will now be managed properly, residents in Old Saybrook and adjacent towns no longer face the very real threat of damage to the aquifer and degradation of their water supply—thus again saving potentially thousands of dollars for every household affected.  On balance, it is almost certain that town costs will fall by more than the cost of the bonding.

    Wen considering costs, beyond the offsetting savings we can immediately recognize, preserving The Preserve will create value for the town and the region.  Real estate professionals will tell you that the two things potential home buys ask about are the quality of the schools and access to public open space, whether parks or forests.  Multiple studies confirm that towns that acquire and manage significant open space clearly benefit along a host of vectors.   Given how well this acquisition is planned, with the creation of an endowment to provide continuous funding and the partnership with State, preserving The Preserve will deliver real value to the town and the region.

  2. Why the State is interested in assuming more than 40% of the purchase price: Connecticut has, since the early 1970s, taken a very strong bipartisan interest in preserving open space and improving environmental quality.  Perhaps some remember when the lower Connecticut River was heavily polluted and the target of quite embarrassing coverage by the New York Times.  The river is now remarkably clean and a major asset to the region.  Moreover, the Federal government provides significant financial incentives and support for these kinds of initiatives, which are so important to sustaining and strengthening a healthy natural environment.
  3. Has anyone approached Lehman Brothers directly?  I don’t know; I suspect not.  Frankly, Old Saybrook could acquire very little by trying to “go it alone” with its $3 million.  Buying two fifths of The Preserve appears absurd on its face—it avoids none of the potential costs the town would incur if the balance of the land were then developed (new school, new police and fire stations, roads and bridges to maintain—a frightening potential cost)—and captures almost none of the benefits.  It would not achieve environmental protection nor guarantee against degradation of the aquifer with the threat to the three rivers that draw on The Preserve; it would not create well-managed public access; it would not provide an endowment to provide funding to manage and maintain the property.  It is an approach that would have secured virtually no benefit but left the town open to potentially massive expenses in the future.
  4. Is hunting allowed?  Just as with the existing 500-acre Gleason property that Old Saybrook owns, state law does permit “regulated hunting” on these kinds of open spaces.  But Old Saybrook has never permitted hunting on the Gleason property, and it is unlikely that the town would permit it on The Preserve.  Moreover, given that this a state statutory requirement, if the issue ever did emerge—and there is no reason to anticipate that it will, as it has never come up with the Gleason property—then modifying the state law would be quite straight forward.   Besides, leaving The Preserve in private hands would make hunting in all forms much much more likely—just as leaving it in private hands runs the very significant risk of future developments that will impose significant continuing costs on the town.
  5. What are the pros and cons?  The comments above point to multiple pros.  Whether your interest is in environmental protection, assuring access to high quality water (the aquifer), avoiding degradation to rivers flowing form The Preserve, having easy access to a wide array of passive recreational activities, making the region more attractive to potential residents, or simply preserving the forest canopy which mitigates global warming (the NE is an important carbon sink, especially during some months), acuiring The Preserve for a comparatively small sum makes eminent good sense.  And then add the shared responsibility (and costs) with the state and the first-ever dedication endowment in support of a part or open space, and it is extremely hard to find an argument against this acquisition.

    The cons?  I have been listening intently for nearly a year.  I haven’t heard one argument against this initiative that withstood careful scrutiny and thought.   I believe that the answers to the OS EDC questions strongly confirms that view.

Acquiring The Preserve and thus preserving it for all time is simply a winner on every count.  Old Saybrook will be quite wise to join with the Trust for the Public Lands, the State of Connecticut, and hundreds of individuals who have pledged more than $1 million of their own money to make this happen.  Let’s take control of our future: vote “Yes” on July 8.

Sincerely,

Fred V. Carstensen

Professor of Finance and Economics
Director, Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis
University of Connecticut

Resident: Old Saybrook

Essex Police Officers to Host Tip-A-Cop for Special Olympics at the Griswold Inn

ESSEX – Officers with the Essex Police Department will host a Tip-A-Cop event to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut at the Griswold Inn on Monday, July 21st, from  5 to 10 pm. The Griswold Inn is located at 26 Main Street, Essex.

During the event, officers will assist restaurant staff in taking orders and serving meals to restaurant patrons. At the end of the evening, all tips the officers receive for their efforts will go to Special Olympics Connecticut to support its year-round sports, health and fitness programs for athletes of all abilities.

Tip-A-Cop is a Law Enforcement Torch Run event to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut.

About the Special Olympics Connecticut Law Enforcement Torch Run®

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Connecticut is one of the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicles. This year-round program involves law enforcement officers from across the state who volunteer their time to raise awareness and funds through events including Tip-a-Cops, Cop-on-Tops, and Jail N’ Bail fundraisers.

In addition, each year in June, over 1,500 officers and athletes carry the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” through hundreds of cities and towns across the state, covering over 530 miles over three days.  The runners run the “Final Leg” and light the ceremonial cauldron during Opening Ceremonies for the Special Olympics Connecticut Summer Games.

Law Enforcement Torch Run Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors: Dream Ride 2014, Whelen Engineering, WWE; The Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund; JN Phillips Auto Glass;Gold Sponsors: Adams Hometown Markets / IGA Hometown Supermarkets, Papa’s Dodge.

About Special Olympics Connecticut

Special Olympics Connecticut provides year-round sports training and competitions for over 14,000 athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports® partners – their teammates without disabilities.

Through the joy of sport, the Special Olympics movement transforms lives and communities throughout the state and in 170 countries around the world by promoting good health and fitness and inspiring inclusion and respect for all people, on and off the playing field. (www.soct.org)

Partner Sponsors: Adams Hometown Markets/IGA Hometown Supermarkets, Connecticut Light & Power/Yankee Gas/Western Massachusetts Electric (Northeast Utilities Companies), Law Enforcement Torch Run, NBC Connecticut, TD Bank, United Technologies and WWE.

Year-Round Suppliers: Adams Hometown Markets/IGA Hometown Supermarkets, Campus Customs/Cymplify, The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New England, Crystal Rock Water and Coffee Company, Dunkin’ Donuts, Graebel Connecticut, Guida’s Milk and Ice Cream, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Marcus Communications, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Community Service and Worx Branding & Advertising.

Durham Offers General Public Transit Service

Durham First Selectman Laura Francis boards a 9 Town Transit bus at Durham Town Hall (photo by Amanda Pederson)

Durham First Selectman Laura Francis boards a 9 Town Transit bus at Durham Town Hall (photo by Amanda Pederson)

Durham residents will soon have greater mobility with new access to a regional transit system. Beginning July 1st, the town of Durham will begin a contract with 9 Town Transit to provide general public Dial-A-Ride service throughout the town.

9 Town Transit, operated by the Estuary Transit District, currently provides Dial-A-Ride service throughout Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, East Haddam, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.  Any location within Durham will now also be included in the new expanded service area.

9 Town Transit will also offer Durham residents service to parts of Middletown including Stop & Shop supermarket, downtown, Middlesex Hospital and the Saybrook Road area medical offices.

Previously, only Durham seniors and persons with a disability through an application process could utilize public transit.  That service, provided by Middletown Area Transit, will continue to operate within Durham, Middlefield, Middletown, Portland and East Hampton for those residents meeting these criteria.  The new service by 9 Town Transit will be available to the general public who do not meet these criteria, or seniors and persons with disabilities traveling to the 9 Town Transit region.

The partnership is a direct result of information sharing fostered by the recently expanded council of governments and the efforts of Durham First Selectman Laura Francis.  “I am happy to begin our business relationship with 9 Town Transit, which will allow all residents of Durham to get reliable, affordable transportation,” says Francis.

To reserve a trip, customers will call 9 Town Transit at least one day in advance.  The fare will be $3.00 each way, with seniors age 60 and over eligible to ride at a suggested donation of $1.50.  The hours of service are 6:00 AM until 6:00 PM Monday through Friday.  The service is open to the general public with no age restrictions.  All vehicles are fully accessible with wheelchair lifts and service is available for any trip purpose.

Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-554-0551.

NY Times Bestselling Author Chris Bohjalian to Speak at the Bee & Thistle Inn

 New York Times Bestselling author Chris Bohjalian at the Bee & Thistle Saturday, July 12, 2014

New York Times Bestselling author Chris Bohjalian at the Bee & Thistle Saturday, July 12, 2014

OLD LYME  – The Big Book Getaway invites readers to convene at the Bee and Thistle Inn for an intimate luncheon with New York Times Bestselling author Chris Bohjalian on Saturday, July 12, 2014.  The first seating from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m is sold out.  A second seating from 2-4pm has been added! This is the second of four events in the Blockbuster Summer Reading Series. The Bee and Thistle Inn will serve a full luncheon and dessert to attendees, prepared by Chef Kristofer Rowe.

Having gained recognition from authors and readers all around the world, Chris Bohjalian is set to deliver yet another masterpiece in writing. With 17 novels published in more than 25 languages, nine of which made their way to the New York Times Bestsellers list, Bohjalian’s latest story, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands will be released on July 8.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless teen living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags filled with frozen leaves. Half a year earlier, a nuclear plant in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom had experienced a cataclysmic meltdown, and both of Emily’s parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault. Was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to flee their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer’s apartment, and inventing a new identity for herself — an identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. When Emily befriends a young homeless boy named Cameron, she protects him with a ferocity she didn’t know she had. But she still can’t outrun her past, can’t escape her grief, can’t hide forever — and so she comes up with the only plan that she can. A story of loss, adventure, and the search for friendship in the wake of catastrophe, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is one of Chris Bohjalian’s finest novels to date.

Bohjalian’s most recent novel, The Light in the Ruins, debuted in 2013 as a New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and national Indiebound bestseller.  Several of Bohjalian’s other books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon. He has been honored with the ANCA Freedom Award for his efforts to inform Americans about the Armenian Genocide. Bohjalian also won a number of awards for his titles including Sandcastle Girls, The Night Strangers, and Midwives.

Bohjalian has written for a various array of newspapers and magazines, such as the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. A resident of Vermont, he is also a weekly columnist for the Burlington Free Press since 1992.

Tickets to “An Intimate Luncheon with Chris Bohjalian” are $45 each; which includes a full luncheon, dessert, author presentation and book signing session. Visit www.thebigbookclub.org for more information or to purchase tickets. Tickets are also available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/684006.

The historic Bee and Thistle Inn is an important stop within Old Lyme, Connecticut’s art colony, arguably one of the most famous Impressionist-oriented art communities in America.   While retaining the integrity of the historic landmark built in 1756, the transformed Bee and Thistle Inn provides a link to the past while nurturing artists of the present.  Innkeepers Linnea and David Rufo are building a truly inspirational environment, which serves as a gathering place for artists and authors to collaborate, display and sell their work.  The Inn is located directly next door to the renowned Florence Griswold Museum. Visit the Inn’s website at www.beeandthistleinn.com.
The official bookseller for the event is Bank Square Books of Mystic. Locally owned and independently operated, Bank Square Books has been a staple of the downtown Mystic community for 25 years.

The Big Book Club is a creation of LaFrancois Marketing Consultants and Essex Books.  Initiated in February 2013, The Big Book Club has presented multiple “Big Book Getaway” events at Mohegan Sun, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and the Bee and Thistle Inn.  Since its inception, more than 200 authors have presented their work to over 1,500 enthusiastic attendees.  The official website is www.thebigbookclub.org .

Thursdays on the Dock Heats Up this Summer

Enjoy an evening of live music on the Essex waterfront at the Connecticut River Museum each Thursday in July and August.

Enjoy an evening of live music on the Essex waterfront at the Connecticut River Museum each Thursday in July and August.

ESSEX — Now in its fifth year at the Connecticut River Museum, Thursdays on the Dock has for many become the unofficial start to the summer weekend.  This year thanks to lead sponsorship from the Essex Wellness Center and supporting sponsors Guilford Savings Bank and Connecticut River Dock and Dredge, the event that features a different band each night, Connecticut made beer and wine and the panoramic views of being on the River is back and bigger than ever.

Thursdays on the Dock takes place every Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., July 11 through August 28 on the museum’s historic steamboat dock.  Phyllis Stillman, Connecticut River Museum Development Manager, said that “We are fortunate to have received more sponsorship this year that is allowing us to bring in a broad range of musical acts that will appeal to a diverse audience.”  In addition to the lead sponsor, support is also coming from Guilford Savings Bank and Connecticut River Dock and Dredge.  Museum director Christopher Dobbs noted that patrons will hear the sounds of “Dixie land jazz, classic rock, folk, to even steel drum music during the series.”  In fact, some of the performances will be by the steel drumming White-Eyed Lizard Band, noted Irish folk singer Danny Quinn, and the locally jazzed-up Corinthian Jazz Band. Heidi Kunzli owner of the new Essex Wellness Center and leading sponsor said that she has always enjoyed coming down to the museum for these events, “There’s nothing quite like a relaxing evening by the harbor taking in the music and the view. . . It’s a wonderful experience!”  Kunzli is so impressed with the location that she will be offering as part of her business yoga and tai chi on the Museum’s docks this summer.

Kicking off the season on July 11 will be the Small Pond All Stars.  This popular local music group has played at the Old Lyme Inn and Gelston House, performing light jazz and old rock favorites that get people singing and dancing.   Members of the group include John Williams (drums), Dan Bernier (guitar and vocalist), Anthony Nero (bass), Geoff Cox (saxophones), Raphael Stover (percussion), and Steve Cryan (harmonica and trombone).  Cryan is not a stranger to the museum. For twenty years he has been the creator of the annual Holiday Train Show that mesmerizes young and old alike with the miniature world of model trains.  Dobbs laughed, saying that “Steve has become an integral fixture here.  We are placing him on display as part of the museum’s 40th Anniversary exhibit where he will have his summer art studio.”

Schedule of performers:

  • July 11 – Small Pond All Stars
  • July 17 – Longsplice
  • July 24 – Don Sineti
  • July 31 – White- Eyed Lizard Band
  • August 7 – Tom Briggs and Andy Sherwood
  • August 14 – Uncle John’s Clan
  • August 21 – Danny Quinn
  • August 28 – Corinthian Jazz Band

In addition to the lively music, drinks and light snacks will be served.  The Museum’s main floor galleries and gift shop will also be open for a bit of waterfront and local history. The cover for the event that includes the live music, galleries, and breathtaking views is $5 per person (members are always free).

For more information, please call 860-767-8269. The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is a membership supported educational organization. Membership is open to all. More information can be found at www.ctrivermuseum.org

Deep River Historical Society Exhibit Marks World War I Centennial

Arthur Winschel and Alice Johnson. Winschel's father was the parent of World War I veteran, William Winschel

Arthur Winschel and Alice Johnson stand in the new World War I exhibition at the Stone House Museum in Deep River. Winschel and Johnson’s father was World War I veteran, Pte. William Winschel. (Photos by Jerome Wilson.)

DEEP RIVER— The Deep River Historical Society is hosting an exhibit highlighting the role of town residents in World War I, which began as a conflict among the great powers of Europe in August 1914. The exhibit, at the society’s Stone House Museum on Main Street, opens Saturday and continues through the end of October.

America entered the war in May 1917 in the wake of German submarine attacks on ships in the Atlantic Ocean. Records show a total of 112 Deep River residents served during the 18 months of United States involvement in the conflict that ended with the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918. The date that is now marked as the Veteran’s Day holiday.

Kathy Schultz, assistant curator at the Stone House, said the society reviewed its collection, and received several new donations and loans to prepare for the exhibit. The exhibit has uniforms and equipment, including helmets and gas masks, used by town residents during the war. There are also photographs and century-old postcards brought home from France, where most of the town residents served.

Uniform of World War I Sergeant Harry Mavin, who war the first Commander of American Legion Post 61 in Deep River

Uniform of World War I Sergeant Harry Mavin, who war the first Commander of American Legion Post 61 in Deep River

While the last of the town’s World War I veterans died in the 1970s and 1980s, there are several residents whose fathers served in the war that some called “the war to end all wars.” Siblings Arthur Winschel and Alice Johnson are the children of Private Willam Winschel, who entered the war at age 21 in the fall of 1917 as part of the New York-based 305th Infantry regiment. Winschel was wounded during fighting in France in November 1918, and returned to Deep River several months later.

Arthur Winschel said his father survived a German mustard gas attack that damaged his lungs. Despite the injury, William Winschel later worked at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft and died in 1974 at age 77. The Winschel siblings, who were not yet born when their father was in the war, have donated several items to the exhibit, including his uniform.

Schultz said society members are hoping other residents from Deep River or nearby towns with relatives who served in World War I will visit the exhibit, and possibly provide information or photographs of area residents that served in the war. “We want it to be an ongoing exhibit,” she said.

The Stone House hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m., with the exception of Saturday, July 19, when Main Street hosts the annual Deep River Fife and Drum Muster.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore Membership

Imagine coming to a country where the language and culture are foreign to you and only a smile is universal. Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore’s literacy program directly acclimates students to the English language, culture, and idioms. With expanding literacy skills, confidence grows and transition begins.  Imagine progressing from being functionally illiterate in the English language to gaining employment, building relationships, becoming a citizen or even owning your own business.  Memberships supports the literacy needs of you, your family, your employees or your neighbors to better improve their personal, work and life skills.

How is LVVS unique?  Our tutoring services are free, confidential, and supportive. LVVS endeavors to meet the student “where they are” and address their needs and wants. We have pride in what we do for the betterment of the community. LVVS is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit agency and your contribution, at any level, is fully tax deductible.  Visit our website www.vsliteracy.org to make a credit card payment or send a check to LVVS, Inc. P.O. Box 1006, Westbrook, CT 06498. Thank you for supporting an organization you care about in your community.

Six Firms Express Interest in Building on Deep River Industrial Land

DEEP RIVER— The board of selectmen is expected to decide next month on three firms that would be given an opportunity to construct industrial buildings on a recently acquired town-owned industrial parcel on the western side of the Plattwood Park Industrial Area.

Six firms submitted letters on interest for use of the industrial land last month. The firms are Top Notch Electrical Services LLC, Winthrop Toll and Tackle LLC, Interpro, Colaner Inc., and Olsen Sanitation Co., all of Deep River, and Moyers Landscaping Services LLC of Killingworth.

The town purchased the four-acre parcel earlier this year from local resident Gary Mislick at a appraised price of $270,000. The land is to be paid for in three installments, using revenue generated from the two town-owned small business incubator buildings on Industrial Park Road. The buildings, which are usually fully occupied with tenants, were constructed using Small Cities Program grant funds, with the first building completed in the late 1990s, and the second about a decade ago.

Smith said engineers with the Chester firm Nathan Jacobson Associates have determined up to three new industrial buildings could be constructed on the parcel, two larger buildings of up to 12,00 square-feet, and a small 5,000 square-foot building. He said contracts would require a start of construction within six months of signing.

The new industrial buildings are expected to generate tax revenue on buildings, equipment and machinery, along with creating new jobs for area residents. Smith said the board would discuss, and possibly act, on the proposals at its July 8 meeting.

Robert Siegrist of Haddam is New Republican Candidate in 36th House District

AREAWIDE— Robert Siegrist of Haddam has been nominated as the Republican challenger in the 36th house District after the candidate nominated at the party convention last month, Chester Harris of Haddam Neck, withdrew to run for lieutenant governor on a conservative petition ticket.

Siegrist, 31, stepped forward and was nominated last week by a vacancy committee made up of delegates from the May 14convention. He will challenge incumbent Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex in the Nov. 4 election. The district is comprised of the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

Delegates at the convention had nominated Harris, who had run unsuccessfully for state representative in the district in 2010. But earlier this month Harris decided to run for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Joseph Visconti of West Hartford. Visconti had run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination but failed to muster enough delegates at the May 17 GOP State Convention to qualify for the Aug. 12 primary. The Visconti-Harris ticket must file petitions signed by at least 7,200 registered voters by an Aug. 6 deadline to gain a spot on the statewide ballot.

Siegrist is the secretary of the Haddam Republican Town Committee. A 2001 graduate of Haddam-Killingworth High School, he graduated from Quinnipiac University in Hamden with a degree in political science. Siegrist, who is single, currently works as a bartender at the Brush Mill Restaurant in Chester.

Siegrist said Tuesday he is planned to wage an active, “but positive,” campaign for the Nov. 4 vote. Miller, who served as Essex first selectman from 2003-2011, was elected as state representative in a Feb. 2011 special election. Miller was re-elected for a full two-year term in 2012.

Saybrook Point Inn Sponsors Sea Scouts at CRM Boat Building Workshop

Commodore Marshall Parsons of the Sea Scouts and Steve Tagliatela of Saybrook Point Inn & Marina shake hands to commemorate the Saybrook Point Inn & Marina’s sponsorship. The sponsorship will allow several Sea Scouts to take part in the Connecticut River Museum’s public Boat Building Workshop to be held in August. From left to right: Reggie Walden of Old Saybrook, Isaac Doggart of Niantic, Commodore Marshall Parson, Steve Taglietela, Daniel Puttre of Old Saybrook and Cameron Fogg of Old Saybrook.

Commodore Marshall Parsons of the Sea Scouts and Steve Tagliatela of Saybrook Point Inn & Marina shake hands to commemorate the Saybrook Point Inn & Marina’s sponsorship. The sponsorship will allow several Sea Scouts to take part in the Connecticut River Museum’s public Boat Building Workshop to be held in August. From left to right: Reggie Walden of Old Saybrook, Isaac Doggart of Niantic, Commodore Marshall Parson, Steve Taglietela, Daniel Puttre of Old Saybrook and Cameron Fogg of Old Saybrook.

The Connecticut River Museum is pleased to announce that it has received a sponsorship from the Saybrook Point Inn & Marina that will allow Sea Scouts to build a CRM 12 skiff as part of a public three-day workshop in August.  The 12’ skiff is reflective of the traditional boats that were built locally in the late 19th and early 20th century.  With great versatility, these skiffs were used for fishing, rowing and sailing on the River and in the tidal marshes and tributaries.

After hearing that the Museum was piloting a summer boat building workshop for families and adults, Stephen Tagliatela (2012 “RiverMan” of the Year), managing partner of Saybrook Point Inn & Marina wanted to make a difference by sponsoring a boat that the local Sea Scout crew members could build.  Tagliatela’s father was an Eagle Scout and built model power and sail boats.  Two of the models won awards in the New York Boat Show of 1939 and are now displayed in Saybrook Point Inn’s restaurant, Fresh Salt.  He said “It is important to provide opportunities to our future adults and leaders.”  Tagliatela went on to say that “building a boat creates a sense of accomplishment and helps to develop the critical life skills of problem solving and teamwork.”

Since 1912 Sea Scouts has been part of the Boy Scouts of America.  Sea Scouts is a coed program offered to young adults 14 years (or 13 years and completed the eighth grade) through age 21. This youth maritime training program is organized to address members’ boating skills and promote knowledge of America’s maritime heritage.  The Scout units are called “Ships”.  The local Ship out of Westbrook is captained by AJ Maxwell. For more information about Sea Scouts, contact the New England Sea Scout Flotilla Commodore Marshall Parsons at twinpars@earthlink.net and/or 860-938-7681.  Mr. Parsons is excited to have this opportunity and noted that “we are opening this up to a limited number of parents and teenagers who would like to know more about Sea Scouts.”

The three-day boat building workshop that the Connecticut River Museum is offering for families and adults will be held on August 22 – 24.  Participants can either do the workshop as individuals or as a group (up to four people).  There is no previous boat building experience required to build one of these kits.  However, organizers do expect that participants will have basic woodworking knowledge.

Space is extremely limited for the boat building workshop.  Participants must be at least 10 years old (13 if they are doing it as part of the Sea Scout program) and accompanied by an adult.  The deadline to register is Monday, July 14.  The $1,500 program fee includes all the supplies needed to build the CRM 12, oars, and instruction.  By the end of the weekend, participants will have a nearly completed boat (all but paint) that is ready to take home. The basic kit is designed to be rowed.  However, a sailing conversion kit and sail is available for an additional cost.  Paul Kessinger, owner of Madison Kit Builders, has donated and constructed a CRM 12 that is now on display at the Museum for those interested in seeing the final product. Thanks to the generous donation of Saybrook Point Inn & Marina, there is no cost toSea Scouts. For more information, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 am – 5 pm.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

The Sea Scouts gathered at the Connecticut River Museum with Steve Tagliatela, Chris Dobbs and Boat Building Volunteers to celebrate the sponsorship. The Scouts will be one of the groups that take part in the public Boat Building Workshop held at the Museum in August. Left to right: Isaac Doggart of Niantic, Commodore Marshall Parsons, Museum Director Chris Dobbs, Steve Tagliatela of Saybrook Point Inn & Marina, Paul Kessinger of Madison, Daniel Puttre of Old Saybrook, Skipper AJ Maxwell of Chester and Tom Doggart of Niantic.

The Sea Scouts gathered at the Connecticut River Museum with Steve Tagliatela, Chris Dobbs and Boat Building Volunteers to celebrate the sponsorship. The Scouts will be one of the groups that take part in the public Boat Building Workshop held at the Museum in August. Left to right: Isaac Doggart of Niantic, Commodore Marshall Parsons, Museum Director Chris Dobbs, Steve Tagliatela of Saybrook Point Inn & Marina, Paul Kessinger of Madison, Daniel Puttre of Old Saybrook, Skipper AJ Maxwell of Chester and Tom Doggart of Niantic.

 

A Brand New Theatre Group Starting at The Ivoryton Playhouse

The Ivoryton Players director, Joyce Beauvais

The Ivoryton Players director, Joyce Beauvais

Ivoryton:  We are so excited to announce a brand new program at the Ivoryton Playhouse starting in July. The Ivoryton Players is an opportunity for adults who love the theatre to have fun, meet new friends and put on a show!

You will learn about professional theater while preparing and rehearsing for a staged reading with the performance on 12/09/14 on the Ivoryton Playhouse Stage!  All levels of experience or no experience are welcome.  Here comes the fun …  NO MEMORIZING!

If you are interested in performing again in your life or it is on your bucket list to see what it’s like to be “in the theater”, here’s your chance. If you want to be a part of this fun group but would prefer to be involved in the backstage work essential to a great show, there are props, costumes, set design, stage managing, publicity, understudies and more.

We will be performing a riotous comedy to be announced.  The first meeting will include a welcome packet for all, an overview of the club and some hilarious get-acquainted improvisations.  We will then start the rehearsal process in the next meetings.

The Ivoryton Players director is Joyce Beauvais.  Joyce, after settling in CT, currently runs this program in Old Saybrook and also starting in East Lyme.  Ms Beauvais brings with her a lifetime in the theater performing her first professional role at age seven.  She lived in NYC for over 25 years as an actress in stage, TV and film, also a Broadway and Off-Broadway producer and 5 years as owner and operator of Chez Beauvais, Restaurant and Cabaret.  Chez Beauvais was a boite on Tenth Ave., NYC offering fine cuisine and the best of New York City jazz.  She partnered with uber agents Jack Rollins and Jane Rollins.  After moving to FL she continued to perform as an actress but also developed this program that today will be the Ivoryton Players.  “The mix of people and experience”, Joyce finds, “turns into the magic one only finds in theater”.  Joyce promises this will be one of the times of your life!

Sign up now for our very first meeting of the Ivoryton Players.  We begin Monday, July 18th from 1:00 to 3:30PM (time flexible according to membership needs) and will meet every Monday up till the show at the Playhouse Rehearsal Studio, 24 Main Street, Centerbrook. Call Krista at 860-767-9520, ext 205 to register.

There is limited enrollment and only a $5 charge per class (funding available for those who need it), so come and join us.  I promise you, after one meeting you’ll be hooked!

Letter: OS Economic Development Commission – Become Informed About Preserve

To the Editor:
In Preparation for the Upcoming Town Meeting to discuss the ‘Preserve’ which is currently scheduled to occur on June 30th, the Economic Development Commission of Old Saybrook believes that it is important for the town be properly informed regarding the ‘Preserve’ purchase. We have the following questions which we hope will be answered at the upcoming meeting:

1. If hunting is allowed, how will it be regulated? Are you comfortable having hunting here? What types of ammunition will be allowed?
2. What is the exact cost per taxpayer?
3. Has anyone from Old Saybrook approached Lehman Brothers directly regarding an outright purchase by Old Saybrook? What would OS purchasing the land itself cost dealing directly with Lehman Brothers? What would $3,000,000 buy without the state’s added investment?
4. Why is the State interested in investing into the ‘Preserve’?
5. What are the Pro’s and Con’s to this purchase?

We encourage residents to attend the meeting come prepared with your own questions. “If you have all the facts the decision will make itself.”
Respectfully,
Old Saybrook Economic Development Commission

Extension of Connecticut River Paddleway Celebrated at Gillette Castle in Lyme

The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC), along with the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Vermont River Conservancy, launched the extension of the Connecticut River Paddler’s Trail into Massachusetts and Connecticut at Lyme’s Gillette Castle State Park last Saturday, June 21.

The Council, along with project leaders from the other two organizations, unveiled the plan for the expanded trail, which currently just serves Vermont and New Hampshire.

“We’re excited to be a part of a collaborative effort to enhance this resource for those who paddle our great river,” said Andrew Fisk, CRWC Executive Director. “This trail is an investment for those who are enthusiastic about being out on the water, and the 410-mile journey from the river’s source to the sea is one of New England’s iconic adventures.”

The Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail is managed by a collaborative of organizations working together on trail planning and development, building and stewarding primitive campsites, improving access points and portage trails, and disseminating information to visitors.

canoes

Steve Grant, a Pulitzer-prize nominated journalist, spoke at the Celebration. Jim Dina, an intrepid explorer and author of The Voyage of the Ant, was also a featured guest. The two guests have deep connections with the river. Grant has worked as an outdoor and environmental reporter for the Hartford Courant for over 29 years and wrote a 17-part chronicle of his journey from the headwaters of the Connecticut River down to the Sound. Dina’s work, The Voyage of the Ant, relays his experience paddling up the Connecticut River in his birchbark canoe, made using Native American tools and techniques.

The Celebration also included the presentation of the Bud Foster Award and lunch on site at the state park.

Many of those present launched their canoes and kayaks at the ferry landing and paddled down to Selden Island State Park on the Lyme shore of the Conn River.

For more about the Paddlers’ Trail, visit www.ConnecticutRiverPaddlersTrail.org.

The CRWC works to protect the watershed from source to sea. As stewards of this heritage, it celebrates the River as a four-state treasure and collaborates, educates, organize, restores and intervenes to preserve its health for generations to come.

To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020, ext. 201.

For more information, visit http://www.ctriver.org/river-celebration-announces-launch-of-expanded-connecticut-river-paddlers-trail/#sthash.nP6eiSVf.dpuf

Deep River P&Z has New Application and New Lawsuit for Main Street Property

DEEP RIVER— The planning and zoning commission has a new special permit application for a used car dealership at the 444 Main St. property owned by local resident George Bartlett Jr., and also faces a new lawsuit filed by Bartlett over amendments to zoning regulations for motor vehicle dealerships that were approved by the commission last month.

The lawsuit and the permit application that is scheduled for a July 17 public hearing are the latest developments in two years of disputes over Bartlett’s plans for the former manufacturing site on the west side of Main St. (Route 154) that he purchased in February 2012.

A June 2012 zoning board of appeals approval of a six-foot variance of the 150-foot road frontage requirement for motor vehicle dealerships in the Turnpike Interchange Zone led to a split between the ZBA and the planning and zoning commission, and a subsequent lawsuit filed by Bartlett against the ZBA after it clarified the limits of the variance approval. The initial lawsuit is now the subject of settlement negotiations

But Bartlett, represented by Essex lawyer John Bennet, earlier this month filed a new lawsuit in Middlesex Superior Court challenging the commission’s approval  in May of amendments to the town’s zoning regulations governing motor vehicle sales and repair operations, and also gasoline stations, in the Turnpike Interchange Zone. After presenting the changes at a May 1 public hearing, the commission on May 15 approved amendments that removed the 150-foot road frontage requirement for such uses, while also adding new setback and paving requirements for the uses.

Entrances to motor vehicle sales and service operations, and gasoline stations, would be required to be 30-feeet wide, and have a 30-foot setback from any adjoining property line. Paving would be required for areas where there would be outside storage of motor vehicles.

Bennet contends in the new lawsuit that zoning amendments would make development of the 444 Main St. parcel for a used car dealership “virtually impossible” due to the “extraordinary setback provisions.” of the amendment. The lawsuit also contends commission members and Zoning Enforcement Officer Cathy Jefferson have “personal animus and prejudice,” against Bartlett.

Jefferson said this week the commission was simply trying to update the regulations for vehicle dealerships and gasoline stations that had not been revised for more than a decade. She said removal of the road frontage requirement was actually an effort to help Bartlett, while also addressing concerns about safe access and paving to contain any possible leakage of motor fuels and other fluids.

Jefferson said Bartlett’s new application for a dealership on the 444 Main St. parcel would be considered under the earlier regulations, and will go forward to a public hearing on July 17 separate from the latest lawsuit over the amendments.

Essex Island Marina to be Sold to the Highest Bidder at Auction on Tuesday, August 5

A bird's eye view of the Essex Island Marina

A bird’s eye view of the Essex Island Marina. (Photo J.J. Manning, Auctioneer)

One of the land marks of the Town of Essex, the Essex Island Marina, will be sold at auction on Tuesday, August 5. The auction will be held at the Essex Island Marina, which is located on its very own island, and which has the address of 11 Ferry Street in Essex. The auction will start at 11:00 a.m.

The Essex Island Marina will be sold at what is called an “Absolute Auction.” This means that the marina will be sold to the winning bidder, regardless of the price, as long as it is over $75,000.

A representative of JJ Manning, the company which is conducting the auction, was asked if this is not a dangerous strategy to open with such a low price. The representative said that in the long run, “having a low, opening price frequently attracts the highest sales price for the property.”

The Essex Island Marina’s property consists of 13.2 plus, acres on a private island on the Connecticut River. The site has 125 boat slips, a gas dock, a repair shop, a laundry, a swimming pool, a dog walk, and inside and outside boat storage facilities. There is also a restaurant on the site. In addition, the sale includes the boats used to take passengers to and from the island, and miscellaneous equipment and leases.

Property Tour on July 22

Boat storage at the marina (Photo J.J. Manning, Auctioneers)

Boat storage at the marina (Photo J.J. Manning, Auctioneers)

There will be a tour of the site for prospective bidders on Tuesday, July 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Terms for the winning big include: payment of a 10% certified deposit of the winning bid, due within three business days of auction, and payment of the full price of the bid, 45 days after the close of the auction.

JJ Manning, conductor of the auction, bills itself as, “the leading professional auction marketing firm in the Northeast U.S.” The company is headquartered in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.

Marina Is Presently Family Owned

The present owner of the Essex Island Marina is Wallie Schieferdecker, who lives in Essex. Schieferdecker operates the marina with the assistance of his two daughters, Dawn and Kyle.

Paul Risseeu, the Director of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy in Essex, and who occasionally operates the ferry from the main land to the Essex Island Marina, says that the Essex Island Marina, “is a class operation.”  Risseuw also observes that, “the yacht business has been tough lately, because people are moving to owning smaller boats.” Also, “it is part of the five year recession in the country,” he says.

Editor’s Note:  Justin J. Manning, President of the Auctioneer Firm J.J. Manning, has provided the following clarification of the auction process: “The auction is Absolute, which means that it sells to the highest bidder, period.  The $75,000 is merely the initial deposit made by the buyer on auction day, not the starting bid.  This Marina appraised 14 years ago for $1.23 million and would likely appraise today for well over $2 million.  The real estate tax appraisal in $1.53 million.”

Essex Board of Appeals Continues Public Hearing on Cease and Desist Order for 33 Plains Road Property

ESSEX— The zoning board of appeals has continued the public hearing on an appeal of a town cease and desist order for alleged zoning violations at 33 Plains Road. The hearing will resume at the board’s next meeting on July 15.

Property owner John Finkeldey is appealing a cease and desist order issued last January by Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow for a structure that Budrow maintains was constructed without zoning and building permits from the town. Budrow also maintains the structure is being used as a dwelling on a section  of the property that is located in the town’s limited industrial zone, where residential dwellings are not permitted under zoning regulations.

Tuesday’s session was continued from May 20 to allow for completion of a detailed current survey map of the property. But local attorney Terrance Lomme, representing Finkeldey, told the board he did not receive the survey in time for the meeting. Lomme said the survey map is “critical,” and asked for a continuation of the public hearing.
Lomme also serves as the elected judge of probate for a nine town region that includes Essex. Elected to the newly created position in 2010, Lomme, a Democrat, is seeking a second four-year term in the Nov. 4 election.

While granting the continuance, board members also asked Budrow to begin presenting his case for the order. Budrow said he learned of the structure in June 2013 based on information provided by a town police officer. Budrow said Finkeldey later maintained the structure had been in place for more than three years, which could make it a legal non-confirming use if there was no town enforcement action taken within that time.

Budrow said further investigation, including reviews of town records and aerial photos, confirmed the structure has not been in place on the property for more than three years.  “Clearly we have a second house on a property with another house,” he said.

Peter Sipples, lawyer for the zoning commission, said the panel is most concerned about use of the structure as a dwelling in the limited industrial zone. Sipples said the residential use would have to have been active before 1973, when the regulation on limited industrial zones was adopted, to have valid nonconforming status.

Michael Wells, lawyer for the ZBA, told Lomme he should be prepared to present documentary evidence the structure was built before January 2011, three years before the issuance of the cease and desist order, when the public hearing resumes next month.

Essex Sets July 16 Town Meeting for $200,000 Contribution to Preserve Land Purchase

ESSEX— The board of selectmen has scheduled a July 16 town meeting to vote on a $200,000 appropriation that would be the town’s contribution towards the planned $8.1 million purchased of the 1,000-acre Preserve property that includes 70 wooded acres in Essex. The town meeting vote in contingent on referendum approval in Old Saybrook of a $3 million bonding authorization that would be that town’s contribution to the total land purchase.

Under a plan announced earlier this spring by state and Old Saybrook officials, the $8.1 million for the purchase would be raised through a combination of state grant funds, municipal funds, and private donations raised by the land conservation trust organizations in Old Saybrook and Essex. State grants, including some state bonding, would account for $3 million of the purchase price. Old Saybrook voters will be asked to authorize $3 million in bonding for the purchase in a referendum expected during the first two weeks of July, possibly on July 8. In addition to the proposed $200,000 in town funding, the Essex Land Conservation Trust is expected to provide a matching $200,000, mostly from private donations.

The 1,000 acre forest, the subject of failed development proposals dating back to 1999, can be accessed from either Ingham Hill Road and Schoolhouse Road in Old Saybrook, and from Bokum Road that connects Essex and Old Saybrook. The property became a target for acquisition and preservation as open space after the fall 2008 financial crash that began the Great Recession.

Paul Greenberg, with the Essex Land Conservation Trust, told the selectmen at Wednesday’s meeting that Bokum Road would be the access point in to the property from Essex, with plans to construct a small parking area and trails that would connect to a larger network of trails in the vast Old Saybrook section of the parcel.

First Selectman Norman Needleman said the $200,000 would come from the town’s open space sinking fund, which currently contains about $225,000. Needleman said he believes town voters will support making a contribution to the Preserve purchase project, even though only 70 acres of the property are in Essex. The 70 acres in Essex has been valued at about $700,000 in two appraisals.

Literacy Volunteers Hold Annual Meeting and Recognition Awards

LVVS Director John Ferrara presents the Vi Brache Student of the Year Award to Westbrook’s Sabrina Kosky at the organization’s 2014 Annual Meeting on June 18th.  (Photo courtesy of Joanne Argersinger)

LVVS Director John Ferrara presents the Vi Brache Student of the Year Award to Westbrook’s Sabrina Kosky at the organization’s 2014 Annual Meeting on June 18th.
(Photo courtesy of Joanne Argersinger)

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) held their annual meeting and recognition awards program in the community room of the Westbrook Library on June 18, 2014.  The organization recognized their tutor, student, and volunteers of the year.  This year’s tutor of the year is Judy LeVesque of Clinton. She will be presented the Barrie Potter Award representing the tutor who most exemplified the caring and dedication of Mr. Potter, a long time tutor and volunteer of LVVS.  Judy is a 17 year volunteer tutor at LVVS teaching countless students and families to help those in need.  Judy came to LVVS after a 25 year career teaching the deaf at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford. Also awarded was. Sabrina Kosky of Westbrook was presented the Vi Brache Student of the Year award which is given to the student who has achieved in learning English and putting that learning to work. Sabrina has learned to speak English fluently, has twice won the organization’s student essay contest, became an American citizen, business owner and plans to further her education.  Co-Volunteers of the Year honorees are Audrey Jacobson of Ivoryton and Edna Shaw of Deep River. Every week each of them come to LVVS to help with book sales, mailings or other tasks around the office.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore trains volunteer tutors to teach Basic Reading and English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults to help them read, write and speak English to improve their basic life and work skills.  LVVS tutors provide confidential, one-to-one instruction without charge.  Volunteers currently provide language instruction to over 200 students in the eleven shoreline towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Guilford, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Valley Regional High School Graduates 135 in the Class of 2014

DEEP RIVER— A 135 member Valley Regional High School Class of 2014 celebrated the conclusion of their high school yearsWednesday at the school’s 63rd annual commencement ceremony. A crowd of several hundred friends and family members from the Region 4 towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex watched the program in sunny but cool weather from a field on the southeast side of the school grounds off Kelsey Hill Road.

Principal Kristina Martineau welcomed the crowd by noting the retirement of six longtime district teachers, including high school English teacher Margaret Meehan and foreign language teacher Maria Tellechea. Martineau said members of the class had many accomplishments in academics, athletics, and arts during the past four years while also often serving as volunteers in the school system and the three district towns. “Achieving and living this balance- the pursuit of personal success and service to others, is what it means to be a Valley Regional High School Warrior,” she said.

Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy noted that school staff, parents, and family members have played a role in mentoring the graduates through their years in Region 4 schools, and urged them to also serve as mentors in their post-high school lives.  “As you, the Class of 2014, move on from Valley, and in to your adult lives, I encourage each of you to seek out your niche and live an amazing life. to be both a mentee and a mentor,” she said.

The three student speakers, all from Essex, looked back at their years at VRHS, and ahead to the future. Honors Essayist Kelly Carufe recalled the volunteer efforts of class members, noting that “it takes many individuals working together to achieve change.”

Valedictorian Phoebe Petrivic expressed appreciation to her teachers and other school staff. “Each of you has benefitted from a similarly essential relationship, whether a coach, a director, a teacher, or a friend. Other’s belief in us, and the resulting belief in ourselves, has helped fuel our growth,” she said.

Salutatorian Hannah VanBenschoten praised the school, and urged underclassmen to “know that each day is a rare gift, especially in such a safe and encouraging community.” She urged her classmates to “look back at your time at Valley with fondness and nostalgia,” because the past four years at the school had “given us the tools to accomplish great things.”

Members of the Class of 2014 are:

Erica    Alexander

Maxine Allen

Jenna Armenia

Linnea Barbour

Connor Barnes

Peter Barry

Mia Belval

Shelby Bersing

Cori Camire

Kelly Carufe

Daniel Caulfield

Christopher Chiappa

Alexandra Clymas

Matthew Cole

Tazmin Corbett

Alan Cote

Jake Cuccaro

Lindsey Cullinan

Sarah  Curran

Gabriel Cusack-Mercedez

McKenzie Davis

Kiernan Decker

Brandon Dole

Kelly Duggan

Dale Duguay

Amelia Dyson

Nicole  Eline

Dillon Eriksson

Connor Ewart

John Forsythe

Emily Fuentes

Luke Gagnon

Audrey Garden

Claudia Gates

Sara Giangrande

Brittany Gilbert

Stone Gilbert

Andrew Goehring

Jessica Grote

Bobby Hamblett

Ashton Harris

Evan Haston

Erin Hayes

Mary Helchowski

Alexandria Hollwedel

Alexander Hougrand

Tyler Jaynes

Ryan Johnson

Samuel Jones

Nathaniel Joyce

Wyatt Joyce

Aubrey Karg

Jakob Kasimir

Kara Kelly

Holden King

Madeline Kozlik

Dashiell Krempel

Robert Kuchyt

Angela LaMark

McClent Langellier

Robert Lanouette

Jill Larsen

Michaela Lavy

Emily LeGrand

Alexander Lewis

Jacob Luster

Scott Lynch

Chloe MacNeil

Caroline Madden

Cole Magee

Paige Malcarne

Jessica Markland

Katelynn Maxwell

Seamus McGinley

Brendan McGirr

Casey McKeon

Dustin Meadows

Naomi Menard

Jonathan Metsack

James Molyneux

Marcella Mosier

Katherine Mulligan

Heather  Negralle

Joseph Nevins V

Ryan Newman

Iestyn Norton

Cobi O’Connell

Beatrice O’Neil

Michelle Odekerken

Shelby Olson

Michaela Paholski

Fenna Palmieri

Marcia Pandolfi

Jordi Paredes

Hanna Partyka

August Pearson

Phoebe Petrovic

Sean Porter

Jean-Luc Poulard

Tiffani Ramcke

Eric Rannestad

Deidre Regan

Alexandra Riggio Clark

Zachary Robertson

Emily Roise

Samuel Rosenberg

Kyle Ruthstrom

Nicholas Schultz

Sarah Shepard

Owen Sheppard

Jack Simoneau

Colin Smith

Sena Spinella

Samuel Spitzschuh

Abigail Stempel

Jacqueline Stevens

Gabrielle Stratidis

Joshua Szachewicz

Angela Tabor

Julia Tackett

Liza  Thayer

Ethan Thompson

Bryanna Tobin

Emma Trabucchi

Oscar  Valera Rico

Hannah Van Benschoten

Clay Vernon

Seth Verry

Veronica Villafana

Whitney Wachtarz

Kristen Watson

Lauren Webb

Jack Wislocki

Destinee  Yenovich

 

Region #4 Board and Valley Regional High School Honors Top Ten Percent Seniors

The Region #4 Board of Education and Valley Regional High School will honor the top ten percent ranking seniors who have achieved outstanding scholastic records.  A Senior Awards ceremony and reception was held Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. in the VRHS auditorium.  The top ten percent senior students listed alphabetically are:

Kelly Estelle Carufe                             daughter of  Kristin and Patrick Carufe of Ivoryton

Audrey Kennedy Garden                     daughter of Lisa and Rognvald Garden of Chester

Claudia Allyn Gates                             daughter of Comer Rudd-Gates and Jeffrey Gates of Chester

Erin Katrina Hayes                              daughter of Karen and David Hayes of Essex

Madeline Rose Kozlik                        daughter of Nancy and Michael Kozlik of Chester

Emily Smith LeGrand                          daughter of Kathleen and David LeGrand of Essex

Jacob Ryan Luster                               son of Mary and Steven Luster of Essex

Katherine Taylor Mulligan                   daughter of Michelle and John Mulligan of Ivoryton

Phoebe Robin Petrovic                        daughter of Kari and Marc Petrovic of Centerbrook

Samuel Bruno Rosenberg                    son of Jennifer and Robert Rosenberg of Ivoryton

Jack Paul Simoneau                             son of Diane and Paul Simoneau of Ivoryton

Sena Olivia Spinella                             daughter of Karli Gilbertson-Spinella and Paul Spinella of Chester

Abigail Rose Stempel                           daughter of Kelly and David Stempel of Ivoryton

Hannah Morgan VanBenschoten         daughter of Susan and Wayne VanBenschoten of Ivoryton

Popular Jenny Tripp to Retire as Programming Librarian at the Essex Library

Departing Program Librarian Jenny Tripp and Chief Librarian Richard Conroy

Departing Program Librarian Jenny Tripp and Chief Librarian Richard Conroy

After nine years of creating some of the most interesting adult programs on the Connecticut shoreline, the Essex Library’s Programming Librarian, Jenny Tripp, is  be retiring from her position effective July 1.  During her service at the library Tripp has been the creator of many of the library’s most popular programs.

They include, the “Science for Everyone” series, which included talks on the “Mars Rover,” the concept of “Time Travel,” and a program on the similarities of the actions of human beings and monkeys. As Tripp puts it, “Each of the species [human and monkey] seem to be hard wired to make the same mistakes repeatedly.”

Another popular library program that Tripp created is the “True Crime” series.” This series featured discussions of “cold cases,” an examination of the murder trial of Martha Moxley, and a lecture by Dr. Henry Lee, a noted forensic pathologist, who has reviewed hundreds of cases of foul deeds.

Created Popular Bereavement Group

Another significant accomplishment of Tripp has been her creation of a Bereavement Support Group, which meets twice a month, and which she characterizes as “the program of which I’m most proud.” Roughly a dozen of evolving library patrons attend the sessions of the open group, based on personal need.

Another activity of Tripp has been chairing two of the library’s book clubs. One of the clubs is the Classic Plays Readers Club, which has exhaustively discussed Shakespeare’s plays, and other classic works as well. The next play to be discussed is Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie.

Tripp’s second book club, the Classic Readers Group, has tackled tomes as diverse as The Magic Mountain and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The current selection of the club is The Red and the Black by Stendhal. As if this was not enough, Tripp has also hosts a memoir writing group at the library.

In addition to these activities Tripp has been the editor of the library’s Ex Libris, the Library’s twice-yearly mailed newsletter. When asked about her, likely impossible to find, replacement, Tripp says dismissively that “You really don’t need a trained librarian to do this, just someone with some imagination who is prepared to make a lot of phone calls.”

For all her reputation as the “go to” person on perhaps every aspect of the library, Tripp has been actually a part time employee working only 24 hours a week. As for her own personal background, Tripp was an English major at the University of California (Berkley). She has also worked extensively as a screen writer, and is a lifetime member of the Writer’s Guild of America.

On a personal note about her work at the Essex Library, she says, “I have never held a job this long.”

Library Director Lauds Tripp

Essex Library Director Richard Conroy was fulsome in his praise of  Tripp’s work at the library. He said, “She has been one of the key factors in the success of the library this past few years,” He noted that library attendance is up, and that there has been an upgrade as well in the quality of the library’s services.

Conroy especially praised Tripp’s, “intellectually stimulating programs,” singling out the True Crime series, the Science for Everyone series, and her Shakespeare and Classic Book clubs as well. “How do we replace the irreplaceable?” he concluded.

As for her future plans, in addition to helping out at the Essex library from time to time, Tripp says that she is going to engage, “in helping people to write their books.” Asked if this this means she is going to be a professional “ghost writer,” her answer is, “Just call me Casper.”

Valley Regional Students Make a Difference with “Civics in Action” Food Drive

Valley Regional High School 10th grade students (l-r) Sam Armenia, Alex Tiezzi and Ben Toles.

Valley Regional High School 10th grade students (l-r) Sam Armenia, Alex Tiezzi and Ben Toles.

Lessons learned in civics class transformed into tangible help for local families in need when three 10th grade students from Valley Regional High School held a “Civics in Action Stuff-A-Truck” food drive for The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) at  Deep River Adams Supermarket.

The students, Alex Tiezzi, Sam Armenia and Ben Toles, all of Chester, explained their project and asked shoppers to donate groceries for the drive.  In a single afternoon the boys had filled the SSKP truck with 1,751 pounds of non-perishable food. The food was delivered to SSKP’s Westbrook Pantry, which distributes over 15,000 pounds of food every month to hundreds of local families in need. Deep River Adams Supermarket manager Jeff Prindle also helped in the effort, by providing food “at cost” for a $1,000 donation made by supporters of the food drive.

“What a wonderful example these three young men have set for their fellow students,” said Patty Dowling, executive director of SSKP. “On behalf of those we serve, who experience a community that cares deeply each time they attend a pantry, I thank these students  and all those who donated food during the drive for remembering those in need on the shoreline.”

Founded 25 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served over 908,000 meals worth of food to shoreline neighbors in need.

Essex Zoning Board of Appeals Public Hearing on Appeal of Cease and Desist Order

ESSEX— The zoning board of appeals will hold a public hearing Tuesday on an appeal of a town cease and desist order for alleged zoning violations on a property at 33 Plains Road. The hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. in town hall.

John Finkeldey, the property owner, is appealing an order issued in January by Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow on the existence and use of a structure that was constructed without permits from the town. Finkeldey is expected to be represented in the appeal by Terrance Lomme, an Essex lawyer who also serves as the elected judge of probate for the nine-town region.

Budrow said he learned of the alleged zoning violations based on a complaint received last summer. He said efforts to resolve the issues through meetings and correspondence with Finkeldey were unsuccessful, leading to the case and desist order.

Budrow said the single-story structure was constructed without required approvals from his office, or the town health and building departments. Budrow said he believes the structure is being used as a dwelling, but much of it is located in the town’s limited industrial  zone, where dwellings are not permitted.  Budrow said there are also setback violations related to the structure and other accessory buildings on the property. Budrow said he believes there are violations of ten town zoning regulations related to the structure and accessory buildings.

Under state law, the ZBA has authority to uphold or overturn cease and desist orders issued by a municipal zoning enforcement officer. Lomme, a Democrat, was elected in 2010 as judge of probate for a nine town region that includes Essex. He is seeking a second four-year term in the Nov. 4 election in a contest with Anselmo Delia, the Clinton Republican who also ran for the position in 2010.

Essex Garden Club Announces 2014 Scholarships

The Essex Garden Club is pleased to announce the winners of its 2014 scholarships.  Scholarships of $1,100 each were award to three Essex students:

Tyler Jaynes, Senior at VRHA, will attend the University of Vermont

Sarah Watson will be a sophomore at Gettysburg College

Allyson Clark will be a freshman at Drew University

Additionally, 13 campership awards of $125 each were given to Essex Park and Recreation Summer session.  These will be distributed by Park and Recreation.  Three awards of $520 were given to Bushy Hill Nature Center to be distributed by the Center.

The Essex Garden Club congratulates all the winners and thanks the Essex community for its ongoing support which allows the Club to provide these educational opportunities to our students.

Friends of the Essex Library Donate $30,000 to the Library in Last Year

Wendy Madsen, President of the Friends of Essex Library, presents Richard Conroy, Library Director, with the Friends’ annual donation on June 5, 2014.

Wendy Madsen, President of the Friends of Essex Library, presents Richard Conroy, Library Director, with the Friends’ annual donation on June 5, 2014.

The Friends of the Essex Library presented Richard Conroy, Director of the Library, with a check for $10,000 during their Annual Meeting on Thursday June 5.  This supplements the $20,000 donation the Friends gave the Library in November 2013, making the Friends total donation this year $30,000.

“The Friends are crucial in making the Essex Library an exciting and vibrant community resource,” said Richard Conroy in accepting the check.

The Friends’ donation has been used by the Library to enrich their offerings in a variety of ways.  It has allowed the purchase of Ancestory.com for genealogical research, Mango.com for foreign language study, Zinio.com for online magazines, passes to local museums for patrons to borrow, and DVDs of popular series.  It has supported the Library’s Book-a-Baby outreach, the children’s summer reading program, and participation by Library staff in professional development conferences.

If you would like to support the Essex Library, please consider joining the Friends of the Library.  There are no dues, just camaraderie!  www.youressexlibrary.org/friends

All Bids for Deep River Sewer Expansion Over Budget

DEEP RIVER— Town officials and engineers will be revisiting a sewer expansion project planned for several streets in the town’s north end after all six bids opened last week were over the $4 million allocated for the project.

First Selectman Richard Smith said he and members of the water pollution control authority will meet with project engineers, with the Meriden firm Cardinal Engineering, to review options for scaling back the project to reduce the cost. Voters at a May 2013 town meeting authorized the project with a funding limit set at $4 million. The project, which would extend sewer service to about 120 properties on and around River Street and Kirtland Street, was to be funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a $1.2 million grant and a $2.8 million loan that would be repaid over 40 years at 2.75 percent annual interest.

All of the bids opened last week were over $4 million, with the lowest bid from Baltazar Contractors Inc. of Ludlow, Mass. coming in at $4,828,958 for a base bid and a bid of $5,5,507,658 that would include all project alternates. The second lowest bid was $5,397,039 and $6,066,954 from C. J Fucci Inc. of New Haven.

Smith said the project would be revised and rebid over the next few weeks. Smith said he is hopeful a revised bid for a scaled back project could be approved by the board of selectmen and WPCA in time for a late summer start of construction for the project.