March 31, 2015

Celebrate the End of Winter at Chester’s Spring Carnivale, April 12

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

CHESTER – What a winter we had! Chester’s 25th Annual Winter Carnivale had to be cancelled because of the weather on Feb. 15, but now it’s back, reborn as Spring Carnivale.

On Sunday, April 12, the picturesque small town of Chester will be filled with people cheering on ice carvers as they create beautiful sculptures from blocks of ice, while laughing at the antics of street performers and applauding a long parade of new and antique tractors being driven down Main Street by their proud owners. All that, and food, music, art, and shopping too!

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Photo by John Stack

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Professional ice carver Rich Daly has been a regular at Chester Carnivale through the years. He recently won the National Ice Carving Championship. Come watch his prizewinning talent in action! Photo by John Stack

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. when the carvers get started on their ice sculptures. Both professional and student ice carvers will be hard at work, demonstrating their techniques to onlookers while they try to be finished by 1 p.m. for judging.

Meanwhile, the Chester Hose Company is holding its 15th annual “Chilly Chili Cook Off” fundraiser. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to the Chester Hose Company Fire House at 6 High Street and pay your $5 admission so you can taste all the different chilis cooked and dished out by restaurants, caterers and fire departments. You can vote for your favorite fire department chili, favorite restaurant chili, most original chili, and best dressed chili serving table.  Beverages will be sold. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

Still hungry? There’s pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and lots more available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, lemonade, popcorn, kettle corn, and cupcakes – everything to satisfy every taste.

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 14th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

There is no shortage of free activities to keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available at Century 21 Heritage. The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history. A photo booth will be at Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art.

Celebrate spring at Spring Carnivale by making an origami butterfly at Connecticut River Artisans on 4 Water Street during Carnivale.

Celebrate spring at Spring Carnivale by making an origami butterfly at Connecticut River Artisans on 4 Water Street during Carnivale.

Other galleries and shops will be open, many with special events from prize drawings to origami. The Spring Street String Band, Arrowhead, will be playing from noon to 4 p.m. at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery.

Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Route 9 and in the Roto-Frank parking lot on Inspiration Lane (exit 6) and at Greenwald Industries on Rte. 154 (212 Middlesex Avenue). (Follow the signs.) All lots will be served by courtesy shuttle buses to the town center.

For more information, go to facebook.com/chesterctwintercarnivale or https://finditinchesterct.wordpress.com/

CT River Museum Offers Canoe, Kayak Paddle Program Partly Funded by Cabela’s

Connecticut River Museum Expands On-water Experiences with the Development of a Canoe and Kayak Paddle Program. Photo credit: Joan Meek.

Connecticut River Museum Expands On-water Experiences with the Development of a Canoe and Kayak Paddle Program. Photo credit: Joan Meek.

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum (CRM) will launch a canoe and kayak paddle program on the museum campus in Essex, CT this summer as a major expansion of its environmental outreach.  The Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion, conservation and improvement of wildlife and wildlife habitat, hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor sporting and recreational activities, has made a generous contribution to CRM that will fund the purchase of 10 boats as well as assorted equipment that will make this important educational program possible.

According to the museum’s director, Chris Dobbs, “The Connecticut River Paddle Explorations Program is an exciting expansion of our ongoing environmental education activities and will allow more members and visitors to get out on the water.  We are thankful to the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund for making this possible.”

“Cabela’s Outdoor Fund is proud to support the Connecticut River Museum and its efforts in educating and exposing the community to the great outdoors,” said Jeremy Wonch, vice president of Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. “The Connecticut River Paddle Explorations Program will be great for both the community and the conservation efforts on the Connecticut River.”

Between June and September, CRM will offer canoes and kayaks at a nominal fee as a member benefit and to the public.  The program will allow visitors to explore the local marshes and tributaries around CRM, a great way for adults and families to access the River.

Dobbs commented, “Through the generosity of the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, the museum will be able to use these boats for a variety of education programs.”  He said that this would include “guided paddles, exploration of nature preserves along the River, and places further afield.”  As part of the expanded vision for the museum, Dobbs would like the paddle program to partner with land trusts, historical societies, and other organizations up and down the River as a way to build appreciation for this “magnificent cultural and environmental resource.”

For more information about this program, to volunteer with the paddle program or to provide additional support, contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or via email at crm@ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM and closed on Mondays until Memorial Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

 

Photo Credit: Support from Cabela’s Outdoor Fund will allow the Connecticut River Museum to expand its paddle programs and provide more people with wonderful experiences like the annual swallow migration. Photo courtesy of Joan Meek.

New State Funding Announced for Elderly Affordable Housing in Essex

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

ESSEX – State Representative Philip Miller (D-Chester/Deep River/Essex/Haddam) has welcomed the announcement that elderly affordable housing development in Essex will benefit from a $60 million statewide investment to bolster housing programs announced by Governor Dannel P. Malloy.

The funding for Essex is as follows:

  • Essex Place, Essex– Department of Housing will provide up to $3.83 million to assist in the development of Essex Place, a newly constructed 22-unit affordable elderly apartment building.  Essex Place will be located adjacent to the existing 36-unit Essex Court elderly housing development.  The site is walkable via town sidewalks to local services, grocery stores, restaurants and other community resources. The project is in close proximity to public transportation offered by the Estuary Transit District (ETD) that has regularly scheduled service on the Riverside Shuttle from Chester to Old Saybrook.  The project will consist of 18 one-bedroom and 4 two-bedroom rental units.  The units will serve residents or below 80% of the area median income.

“I welcome the Governor’s announcement that Essex will be awarded $3.83 million for the development of Essex Place. The development of affordable elderly apartments will help residents who live in the community stay in the community,” Rep. Miller said, “In addition the construction of new units has a positive economic impact by creating jobs and providing dollars for the purchase of materials and services. I thank Governor Malloy for this initiative in Essex.”

Rep. Miller is House Chairman of the Planning and Development Committee.

Acton Library Seeks Kid’s Collections for New Display Case

OLD SAYBROOK – The Acton Public Library is looking for your display for their new Children’s Display case. If you have a collection you would like to share for a month, you can sign up in the Children’s Department or call the Library.

Some popular examples of collections to display might be: Star Wars; My Little Pony; dinosaur figures; Silly Bands; teddy bears; keychains; models; or Legos. Sign up today to reserve your month now.

If you have any questions, call the library at 860-395-3184 during service hours of: Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

See the Results of ‘The Chester Creative Challenge,’ April 11

David Rau’s "Bull Market" for this year's Hooked Again! Creative Challenge to support the Chester Historical Society was inspired by two hooks, commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange in the 1970s and made in Chester by M.S. Brooks & Sons.

David Rau’s “Bull Market” for this year’s Hooked Again! Creative Challenge to support the Chester Historical Society was inspired by two hooks, commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange in the 1970s and made in Chester by M.S. Brooks & Sons.

CHESTER – This spring the Chester Historical Society is hosting its fifth annual Creative Challenge, dipping back into Chester’s roots as a manufacturing town. For five years, area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelers, and all others with a creative mind have accepted the challenge to use artifacts from Chester’s rich manufacturing history to create items for a silent auction and reception to raise funds for the Chester Historical Society.

This is just another great example of making history current, the ‘then and now’ that is often part of the Society’s exhibits at Chester Museum at The Mill.

Those accepting the 2015 Hooked Again! Challenge issued by the Historical Society are working with assorted sample hooks, handles and hardware, which were still enclosed in small sealed manila envelopes, from Chester’s former M.S. Brooks & Sons factory.

“Hooked on Mandalas” by Bill Vollers is a framed, signed, archival digital image.

“Hooked on Mandalas” by Bill Vollers is a framed, signed, archival digital image.

The finished pieces of art, jewelry, sculptures, photographs, etc. will be exhibited and sold by silent auction at the Historical Society’s Reception on Saturday, April 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House.

The reception will feature hearty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from Chester kitchens served with wine and non-alcoholic beverages.

Tickets for the evening are $30 and will be limited. They can be purchased at Chester Gallery and Ceramica, both in the center of Chester, or by calling Sosse Baker at Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822.

All the proceeds from the event will benefit the Chester Historical Society and its programs, including Chester Museum at The Mill. Information is available on the Society website, www.chesterhistoricalsociety.org or at Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.

Caption:

Caption:

Caption: To create “Hooked on Amazonite,” Donna Carlson used Amazonite stone and the special order hooks created for The Tigers Den by M. S. Brooks.

Registration Open for LVVS April 11 Road Race Dedicated to Essex Couple

And they're off!

And they’re off!

ESSEX – On Saturday April 11, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) will hold its 8th Annual Backward Mile and 5K Run/3K Walk.  Registration for the races begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Essex Town Hall, on West Avenue. The Erl and Dot Nord Memorial Backward Mile race, open to runners older than 18, begins at 8:30 a.m.; the 5K race and 3K walk both begins at 9:15 a.m.. T-shirts will be given to the first 100 runners.

Runners below the age of six can participate in the Lollipop Run, which begins at 8:50 a.m.  All Lollipop runners will receive lollipops.

Registration forms are available from the LVVS offices, (860) 399-0280 or you can register online at www.register.fasttracktiming.com. Fees for those signing up prior to March 31  are $18 for the backward mile, $23 for either the 3K walk or 5K run, $5 for the Lollipop race and to compete in any combination $40. Students can participate for $10 per race or $15 for any two races.

Runners with additional questions about the race may contact Elizabeth Steffen, Race Director at esteffen@vsliteracy.org .

RiverQuest Offers Osprey/Eagle Cruises in April

An osprey, returned from his winter spent in the southern hemisphere, feeds his young on the nest.

An osprey, returned from his winter spent in the southern hemisphere, feeds his young in the nest.

Late March into early April is when the Osprey returns to Connecticut from its southern wintering grounds. It is a wonderful sign that spring is here …

The Osprey is a large bird of prey (raptor) with a wingspan up to 6’ that eats fish, hence, it is sometimes referred to as the fish hawk. Connecticut Ospreys migrate south in late August through late September to areas where their food supply will not be affected by frozen rivers and lakes, sometimes as far south as Argentina. Ospreys of breeding age, at least three-years-old, are returning north now to start a new nest or to re-establish and re-build a nest they may have used in previous years.

Ospreys nest along the edges of the lower Connecticut River, from the mouth of the river in Old Lyme/Old Saybrook up river as far as Middletown. There will be activity on the many man-made nesting platforms at the Roger Tory Peterson Preserve near the mouth of the river in Old Lyme and on several other nesting platforms on the river, in “natural” tree settings and on the top of each of the navigational day markers that indicate the river channel. It is also hoped there will be Ospreys nesting on the new Osprey platform placed on the 101-year-old East Haddam Swing Bridge.

A great way to see this nesting activity is by boat. RiverQuest, an eco-tour vessel located at Eagle Landing State Park in the Tylerville section of Haddam is offering several cruises to the general public throughout April to view and learn about the Osprey and other wildlife that may be spotted, including hawks and another famous raptor, the American Bald Eagle.

After disappearing from Connecticut in 1948, the Bald Eagle has made a return and there are several active eagle nests on the river. It will be possible to view two of these nests from RiverQuest and very possibly, see one or more of the local resident Bald Eagles.

Other areas of interest that will be seen on the cruise include the Goodspeed Opera House, Gillette Castle and the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry. The cruises are about 2.5 hours in length and cost $40 per passenger (no children under 10-years-old.) There will be complimentary coffee and tea and a limited supply of binoculars on loan for the cruise.

To learn more about these informative cruises and/or reserve your spot with the easy on-line booking system, visit ctriverquest.com or phone 860-662-0577.

Old Saybrook’s Troop 51 Welcomes Four New Eagle Scouts

 

Celebrating their accession to the rank of Eagle Scout are (from left to right) Reggie Walden, Eric Mitchell, Will Burton, and Robert O'Shaughnessy.

Celebrating their official induction to the rank of Eagle Scout are (from left to right) Reggie Walden, Eric Mitchell, Will Burton, and Robert O’Shaughnessy.

During a ceremony held March 13, at the Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook, Boy Scout Troop 51 celebrated their four newest eagle scouts: Old Saybrook High School seniors William Burton, Eric Mitchell, Robert O’Shaughnessy and Reginald Walden (pictured above.)

To earn the prestigious title of Eagle Scout, the four Boy Scouts earned a wide variety of merit badges over a span of many years. The final requirement was to complete a culminating project that gave back to the community; each went above and beyond, committing over 100 hours of work to their respective projects.

William Burton’s Eagle Scout project was making flag retirement boxes. The wooden reciprocals were placed at the Acton Library, the Elks Club, and the Submarine Veteran’s Club in Groton for people to dispose of the ashes of flags that have touched the ground or been otherwise disrespected. “I’d like to thank the Boy Scout leaders and all of those who helped me with my project, especially my mother and father,” said Burton.

Eric Mitchell decided to build a pergola for the Old Saybrook Historical Society outside the General William Hart House for his Eagle Scout project. The aim of constructing the pergola was to help beautify the town. Mitchell commented, “I was really excited to learn about carpentry, and for that and all of the other skills I’ve gained through Boy Scouts, I’m really thankful.”

Robert O’Shaughnessy chose cleaning up several locations around town and then placing geocaches in them as his Eagle Scout project. Locations include other scout’s Eagle projects, as well as three in the town park. O’Shaughnessy’s goal was to promote ecotourism in Old Saybrook, as well as bring attention to the scouting program. An appreciative O’Shaughnessy said, “The scout leadership in our troop is incredible, and I’d like to thank them for all of the really cool opportunities I’ve had thanks to Boy Scouts.”

Reginald Walden refurbished the area around the Grace Episcopal Church where attends church and also his scout meetings are held. For his Eagle Scout project, he planted bulbs, replaced unsafe playground equipment, built a bench, and more. Walden explained, “I’ve learned a lot about teamwork, and I know that without boy scouts, I would not be the same person I am today.”

Many congratulations to these fine young men!

VRHS Seeking Hall of Fame Nominations

AREAWIDE – Nominations and applications are being accepted for the 32nd annual Valley Regional High School (VRHS) Hall of Fame Award. Anyone may nominate a VRHS graduate who has gone on to excel in a particular profession, avocation, business, hobby, sport, etc., and who was graduated from Valley at least five years prior to nomination.

Call the VRHS office  at 860-526-5328 for an application, or write to the principal, Mrs. Kristina Martineau, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River, CT 06417, listing the name of the candidate, address, telephone number, year of graduation and his/her outstanding accomplishments. Deadline for submitting applications is April 30, 2015.

The winner of the Hall of Fame Award will be honored at the graduation ceremony at VRHS on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Chester Village West to host AARP Driver Safety Class, April 7

CHESTER –- Has it been awhile since you’ve brushed up on your driving knowledge and skills? Want the latest information to help you stay safe on the road? Mark your calendar for April 7 at Chester Village West, 317 West Main Street, Chester CT 06412. The independent seniors community will host an AARP SmartDriver™ Course that day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cost for the course, payable by checks only, is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. Call Chester Village West by April 2 at 860.536.6800 to reserve attendance for yourself and/or a loved one.

The April 7 SmartDriver™ course at Chester Village West, to be taught by AARP driver safety instructor Clifford McGuire, will help attendees re-familiarize themselves with the current rules of the road, defensive driving techniques and how to operate their vehicle more safely in today’s challenging driving environment.

Participants will learn how to manage and accommodate common age-related changes in vision, hearing and reaction time. They will also learn:
• How to minimize the effects of dangerous blind spots
• How to maintain the proper following distance behind another car
• The safest ways to change lanes and make turns at busy intersections
• Proper use of safety belts, air bags, antilock brakes and new technology found in cars today
• Ways to monitor your own and others’ driving skills and capabilities
• The effects of medications on driving
• The importance of eliminating distractions, such as eating, smoking and using a cellphone

After completing the course, participants will have a greater appreciation of driving challenges and a better understanding of how to avoid potential collisions and injuring themselves or others.

Connecticut is one of 35 states that offer price reductions or discounts on auto insurance to motorists who complete the AARP Smart Driver™ Course. Upon completion of the course, participants should contact their auto insurance agent to determine if they are eligible to receive an auto insurance discount.

Contact Marcy Conway (conwaymarcy@lcsnet.com) or Sara Philpott (philpottsara@lcsnet.com) at Chester Village West 0n 860.526.6800