October 25, 2016

Public Invited to Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan Kick-Off Meeting, Nov. 3

The public is invited to participate in the Kick-Off Meeting for the Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan on Nov. 3. The goal of the meeting is to gather input from residents, businesses and property owners about revitalizing Rte. 1 East, the area between the Town Center and Ferry Point, also known as Mariner’s Way. Hunter’s Ambulance is hosting the meeting at its location 309 Boston Post Rd. on Mariner’s Way. Doors open at 5 p.m.; the meeting runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

This is the first public meeting of several planned by CivicMoxie, the consultant hired to assist the Town with developing the Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan. This process will refine the Mariner’s Way Plan adopted by the Town in 2014 to guide the revitalization of Mariner’s Way. A grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) provided funding for the consultant.

To read more about the project, visit http://www.oldsaybrookct.org/Pages/OldSaybrookCT_EcoDevelCommission/way

To participate in advance of the meeting, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/OSMarinersWay


The Town of Old Saybrook adopted the Mariner’s Way Plan in 2014 as its guide to revitalizing the section of Rte. 1 East from Saybrook Junction at the Town’s Center to the marina district at Ferry Point. Since 2014, the Town actively pursued funding opportunities to implement the Mariner’s Way Plan successfully receiving three grants thus far to move the plan forward:

  1. A Brownfields Assessment Grant this grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) allowed the Town to investigate the existence and extent of environmental contamination on nine properties located on Mariner’s Way. The ultimate goal is to provide potential developers with information about existing contamination to estimate clean-up costs.  The assessment will be completed in the first quarter of 2017.
  1. A Making Places Grant – this grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation funded a market feasibility study of the historic Shoreline Trolley Power House to determine what uses would be best suited for the building. The study was completed in 2015.
  1. The Brownfields Area-Wide Revitalization (BAR) Grant – this grant, also from DECD, is funding the Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan project which will refine the concepts in the 2014 Mariner’s Way Plan with the help of resident, business and property owner input. Concepts to be refined include (but are not limited to): the types of development and businesses desired and the feasibility of their success; the design of buildings and the streetscape; and branding and marketing.

Republican State Sen. Linares, Democratic Challenger Needleman Spar in 33rd Senate District Debate

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

AREAWIDE — Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook and his Democratic challenger, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, sparred Monday in a public debate for the 33rd Senate District contest.

More than 150 voters from the 12 district towns turned out for the 90-minute debate held in the auditorium at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, with the question of which candidate represents the “political class” in Connecticut overshadowing the specific issues where the candidates differed, or nearly as often, concurred.

The session was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, who selected questions that had been submitted in advance by district voters.

The debate began with a walk-out by Green Party candidate Colin Bennett of Westbrook. Bennett, who has run previously for the seat and participated in all debates during the 2014 campaign, began with an opening statement where he said his goals are to end hunger, provide access to health care, protect the environment and affirm that black lives matter.

Bennett then claimed that Conroy had attempted to exclude him from the debate based on comments at an Oct. 5 debate in Westbrook where he criticized Needleman and urged people not supporting him to vote for Linares. “I don’t want to be where I am not wanted,” Bennett said before walking off the stage. Linares said later he had told Conroy he would not participate in the debate if Bennett was arbitrarily excluded from the outset.

The term political class entered the discussion soon after the opening statement from Needleman, where the three-term first selectman said he had been urged to run the seat this year by the Senate Democratic leadership because they wanted a candidate with experience in business and municipal government. Needleman said he told party leaders he would not be a rubber stamp, and could become their “worst nightmare,” if elected.

Linares, who was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, scoffed at the claim, questioning why the Senate leadership would provide Needleman with a full-time campaign manager on leave from the caucus staff if they believed his election would be a nightmare. Linares contended Needleman has been a loyal supporter of Democratic “Governor Dan Malloy and the political class,” contributing funds to Malloy’s two gubernatorial campaigns in 2010 and 2014.

Needleman said Linares is the “career politician,” running for the senate seat at age 23 and laying the groundwork for a future campaign for the 2nd District congressional seat or statewide office.

But despite the sharp exchange, the two rivals agreed on several issues, including support for recently approved incentive package for Sikorsky in Stratford, providing some degree of contract preferences for in-state companies, and reducing, or for Linares eliminating, the estate or inheritance tax. The candidates agreed state employee unions would have to make contract concessions on both wages and pensions if the state faces another large budget deficit in 2017.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night's debate.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night’s debate.

Needleman said his experience negotiating contracts with public employee unions in Essex would be helpful in any discussions with state employee unions, though he questioned whether unions could be forced into concession talks. Linares called for mandatory legislative votes on all union contracts, and suggested a need for “additional leverage” to bring unions to the table. “The unions have not come to the table, we’ve tried that, everyone has tried that,” he said.

The candidates differed somewhat on the question of welcoming refugees from war-torn Syria to Connecticut. Needleman said while “vetting is critical,” an arbitrary exclusion based on a refugee’s country of origin or religion is “un-American.” Linares, whose family fled Cuba in the early 1960s, said he would insist on “clearance from the FBI,” because the United States does not have intelligence capabilities in Syria to screen refugees, including those who reach Europe before possible entry in to the United States.

The candidates also differed on possible increases to the state minimum wage, and gun control measures. Needleman said he supports measured increases in the minimum wage, but believes a hike to $15 per hour, as advocated by some Democrats, “is a very bad idea.’ Linares said he favors a national standard for the minimum wage, suggesting that further increases at the state level would hurt small businesses and cost the state jobs. He said the earned income tax credit is a better way to provide assistance to low income workers.

On gun control, Needleman said he is a “2nd Amendment Democrat,” but favors some additional gun control measures. He criticized Linares for opposing legislation approved earlier this year that allows guns to be seized from persons who are subject to a court restraining order where domestic violence is a factor.

Linares said Needleman is “trying to take both sides of the issue,” by referring to gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. Linares said he opposed the temporary restraining order gun bill because it was an “overreach” that takes away due process for gun owners, and discretion for judges.

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

State Rep. Miller, Challenger Siegrist Face Off in 36th District Debate

AREAWIDE — Experience and a call for a fresh voice were the themes Thursday (Oct. 13) as incumbent  Democratic State Rep. Phill Miller of Essex and Republican challenger Robert Siegrist of Haddam faced off in the 36th House District debate.

Miller and Siegrist responded to nearly a dozen questions before a crowd of about 80 district voters in the session held in the auditorium at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River. The hour long  debate was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, with questions submitted to Conroy in advance by voters.

The Nov. 8 contest is a rematch from 2014, when Miller defeated newcomer Siegrist on a 5,522-4,701 vote, carrying the district towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex, while Siegrist won his hometown of Haddam. Miller was first elected to the seat in a February 2011 special election after serving as first selectman of Essex from 2003-2011.

The rivals differed sharply on several state issues, from the state budget and finances to gun controls, tolls, and the possibility of marijuana legalization. But whatever the issue, an overriding theme was Miller’s claim of public service experience that benefits district residents against Siegrist’s call form a “fresh voice for the 36th District.”

“You won’t be well served by a poser who has no public sector experience,” Miller said, later describing the campaign as a contest of “experience and know how versus inexperience and want to.” Siegrist, a former bartender, who currently works with a landscaping business, contended Miller has been too loyal to the six-year administration of Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy. “We need to change direction and stop electing career politicians whose focus is no longer clear,” he said.

The candidates agreed the state will likely face another budget shortfall in 2017, with Miller predicting a need for further spending reductions. He said legislators need more time to review budget plans before final votes on a spending package. Siegrist called for “structural changes,” including pension adjustments for unionized state workers and caps on bonding. He pledged to oppose any new or increased taxes.

A question on possible increases in the gasoline tax to fund road improvement projects brought the issue of tolls to the discussion. Miller said the gasoline tax in Connecticut is already higher than it is in neighboring states and suggested, “We need to have a conversation about tolls.” Siegrist said he would oppose any plan that includes highway tolls, which he described as “just another word for a new tax.”

There was also disagreement on gun controls, particularly legislation approved earlier this year that allows guns to be taken from residents who are subject to a court-restraining order over concerns about possible domestic violence. Miller supported the temporary restraining order gun law, declaring that “domestic violence is a major problem and the modern Republican Party believes gun rights are God-given.” Siegrist said the new state law was a “gun grabbing” measure that “takes away rights to due process.”

Miller said he is “very open” to possible legalization of marijuana, noting that it has been approved in several states and could provide a new source of tax revenue. Siegrist, while noting he supports medical marijuana, maintained the issue of full legalization of the drug needs further study.

The heated presidential contest between Democrat Hilary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump also came up during the debate. Miller said Trump is the worst presidential nominee of his lifetime, while describing Clinton as an “accomplished person,” who has been “unfairly maligned for many years.” Siegrist said his campaign is focused on state and local issues, and that he differs with some of Trump’s positions. “This about the State of Connecticut, and Phil Miller and Bob Siegrist,” he said. In a reply, Miller noted that Siegrist did not state who he would be voting for in the presidential race.

In one area of agreement, both candidates said the opiate addiction crisis in Connecticut is serious and needs to be addressed in a bipartisan manner. Siegrist said, “We need to talk about this as a community.”


Op-Ed: Lawn Signs, Lawn Signs Everywhere … Well, in Essex Anyway

Art_Linares_lawn_signsNeedleman_lawn_signsThey are all over the place, one after another, in the small Connecticut River town of Essex. It seems that almost every lawn in town is now covered by a flood of political lawn signs, and in this author’s unscientific survey, the most prolific are those supporting the re-election of incumbent Republican State Senator Art Linares.

Linares has served two terms in the state senate, and is now seeking a third. Challenging Linares for the state senate position is Norman Needleman, a successful businessman, who is also the first selectman of the town of Essex.

Political lawn signs in Essex are often posted in clusters of campaign signs of the candidates of the same political party. Among the lawn signs in Essex, there are also some for Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for President of the United States, and, frequently, the lawn signs of the other Republican candidates are posted around those for Trump.   

Not a Single Sign for Hillary?

Presently, there appears not to be a single lawn sign in Essex supporting the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic Party’s candidate for President. Perhaps the Clinton campaign feels that putting up lawn signs for her campaign in the little town of Essex is simply not worth the effort.                                 

Art_Linares_lawn_signThe largest Linares campaign sign is the one across the street from the Colonial Market in Essex. This sign is on the left hand side of the road, when going out of town from the south on Rte. 153. The dimensions of this sign would likely exceed the size of a very large kitchen table.

As for the lawn signs supporting Needleman, his medium size lawn signs are posted all over downtown Essex. Also, interestingly, Needleman lawn signs do not use his last name but rather his nickname, “Norm,” is favored. 

When Election Day finally does come, it will leave behind a plethora of campaign signs — in past elections, the winners and losers of both parties have picked up and thrown away their old lawn signs.

Norm Needleman lawn_signIt is certainly hoped that after this year’s election, the supporters of both parties will do the same, unless, of course, the unpredictable Trump decides to leave his presidential campaign signs in place … as a sort of punishment for the voters who voted against him! 

What would happen if Trump loses, and as he is currently threatening, simply rejects his loss by maintaining that it had been rigged, and that he and not Clinton, were the real winner? One can hardly imagine what kind of chaos would follow. In fact, it appears Trump is already encouraging his supporters not to accept his potential loss by engaging in protests.

If Trump does lose the election, hopefully, he will accept the result of the vote. It goes without question that the remaining candidates, such as Linares and Needleman, will accept the voter’s decision, win or lose. 

As for Trump, he appears to march to his own drum, and if he loses, he might make a howl, regardless of the damage that this kind of conduct would do to the tradition of peaceful democratic election in the United States. Clinton, like her predecessors for generations, can be counted on to accept the result, whether victory or defeat, consistent with this country’s long tradition of free elections in a democratic nation. 


Letter to the Editor: Linares, Siegrist Will Help Restore Fiscally Sound State Budget

To the Editor:

Art Linares and Bob Siegrist have the conviction to standup for the changes needed to put the Connecticut state budget back on track.  Too many of our state legislators speak about instituting change or making meaningful improvements to the budget.  These same legislators come to the eleventh hour and join the lemmings in passing a budget lacking any foresight or respect for non-partisan revenue predictions.  Art Linares did oppose the most recent budget due to a lack of substantive institutional changes.  Bob Siegrist has spoken out against that budget and provided meaningful solutions to the current budget problems.

Art Linares has been a voice advocating positive change and a more holistic budgeting process.  Bob Siegrist will be another voice addressing the long-term budgetary issues that have caused Connecticut to earn the dubious title of the having the highest per capita government debt.  Both will represent our district by ensuring our tax dollars are treated with the same consideration we give our individual household budgets.

We continue to hear about the “new economic reality” Connecticut is facing.  Well, that reality is not new; it started in 2008.  It’s time we have state representatives that recognize a “new” reality in less than eight years and not hide behind a tricky phrase as an excuse for their inaction.  Linares recognized that change early on as evidenced by his votes in the Senate.  Siegrist has been living the economic reality and understands the challenges.  Both are grounded in reality and understand what needs to be done to improve our prospects for the future.

Art Linares and Bob Siegrist are our best choices for making the changes needed in our state government.  Join me in voting for Art and Bob on November 8.


Susie Beckman,


State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman Endorsed by Women’s Health Groups

ESSEX – Yesterday, Norm Needleman announced the endorsements of women’s health groups Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut PAC and NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC in his State Senate campaign in the 33rd District.

Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut PAC (PPV!CT PAC) is committed to supporting and endorsing pro-reproductive rights, pro-family planning candidates for state office. Needleman was endorsed along with other candidates for Connecticut state races.

“We are very proud to endorse candidates who are committed to protecting reproductive health care,” said Chris Corcoran, PPV!CT PAC Board Chair. “The candidates we endorsed drive policy on women’s health care. Connecticut women and families should know that these candidates would ensure vital services remain intact.”

“States are the front lines in protecting women’s health and the right to choose,” said Needleman. “In the State Senate I will be an advocate for reproductive rights and access to women’s health care services. I will fight against the extremist elements that have worked their way into Hartford politics.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC’s mission is to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.

“We are excited about your support for women, and look forward to your involvement in working to make Connecticut the best state in the nation for reproductive rights,” said Jillian Gilchrest, President, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC.

Needleman is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares who has earned the endorsement of an extreme organization – the Family Institute – in 2012, 2014 and 2016 for his opposition to common sense women’s health and reproductive rights.

PPV!CT PAC is the Connecticut state political action committee affiliated with Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut (PPV!CT). PPV!CT is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE).

“These candidates support reproductive health, rights and access,” said Susan Yolen, PPV!CT PAC board member and Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy with PPV!CT. “We are confident each of these candidates will work to preserve and expand  access to full reproductive health care services for the people of Connecticut.”

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing 150 people at facilities in Essex and Clinton. Needleman is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a selectman in 2003.

He is the Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District which consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

For more information on Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut, visit www.plannedparenthoodvotes.org.

For more information on NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC, visit www.prochoicect.org.

For more information on Needleman’s campaign, visit www.norm.vote.


Letter to the Editor: Phil Miller is the Best Choice for the 36th District

To the Editor:

Phil Miller is the best choice for state representative for Essex, Deep River, Chester, and Haddam.  He is a legislative leader, chairing the Planning and Development Committee, and has been instrumental in making laws that benefit our region.  His prominent position in the legislature gives him a unique platform to continue to fight to solve the State’s financial issues. 

Since Phil has been in Hartford, he has advocated for many local infrastructure and transportation projects, giving aid to our local economy.  An active listener and talented problem solver, his office has helped countless citizens to navigate state agencies to get the assistance they need.  Phil’s experience as a Selectman and First Selectman has been particularly helpful in recognizing and helping to defeat proposed legislation which could place a financial burden on our small towns.  He knows what we need and we need to keep him in the State House. 

I ask you to join me in re-electing Phil Miller to District 36 State Representative.


Lauren S. Gister,

Editor’s Note: The author is the first selectman of Chester.


Community Music School Hosts Italian Cheese Rolling, Wine Tasting Event, Nov. 5; Tickets on Sale Now

CENTERBROOK — A special Italian wine tasting and a lively game of Italian cheese rolling will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Angelini Wine LTD in Centerbrook with proceeds to benefit scholarships and outreach programs at Community Music School. This event is presented by Guilford Savings Bank and includes a guided tasting of fine Italian wines and hearty hors d’oeuvres. Guests will test their bowling skills with a little friendly competition in a rousing party game of cheese rolling, a tradition in many parts of Italy.

Over the past few years, Community Music School has partnered with Angelini Wine to present unique benefit events that blend the arts with intimate guided tastings offered behind the scenes at the Angelini warehouse. Guilford Savings Bank joined as presenting sponsor in 2014 and Shore Discount Liquors is also on board as a partner this year.

What is cheese rolling, anyway?  It’s a hilarious Italian game similar to bowling… but with a wheel of Pecorino!  Come join the fun, either on the sidelines or in the middle of the action —  the winner takes home the cheese!

Led by Julius Angelini and Ron Plebiscito, the tastings allow guests to sample high-end wines, learn about the process of wine making, and ask questions of the experts. Tickets are $65 per person and are available at Community Music School’s business office or at www.community-music-school.org/cheese.

For more information, call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org/cheese.

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which provides a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, increasing appreciation of music and encouraging a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.


Letter to the Editor: Prominent Democrat Supports Republican Siegrist for State Rep.

To the Editor:

As we are all aware, there is an election coming up, and I have given careful thought as to where I will place my vote on election day. It was not a difficult decision. When it comes to a responsible, knowledgeable, and honest choice; the choice is obvious, Bob Siegrist.

Bob is a fresh face to politics, with strong and relevant ideas on how best to serve the people of the 36th district. Connecticut politics need a new voice in Hartford and Bob’s voice will be heard when he becomes our next state representative. He is tenacious and ready and willing to fight for the needs of our district.

As our next State Representative for the 36th district, Bob will continue to take the time to meet with his constituents and understand what is important to them. I know because I have already met with and spoken with him a number of times about those things that concern me. I have found that he listens with an open mind and allows for opposing opinions as well as like-minded thoughts. He truly wants to know what it is that concerns those in his district and he is willing to step in to help find the best solutions to resolve those concerns.

Bob is ready to do the work to make our state and our district a better place to live, work, and raise our families. In my opinion, there’s only one right choice for state rep of the 36th district and that’s Bob Siegrist. Join me on November 8 and give Bob the opportunity to do the work he is ready to take on as our State Representative.


Leigh Balducci,
Deep River.


Full Steam Ahead! Cappella Cantorum Hosts Wine & Beer Tasting Fundraiser, 10/29

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-11-19-30-pmAREAWIDE — Help Cappella Cantorum propel into 50 years of tradition with this new, exciting fundraiser slated for Saturday, Oct. 29!

Enjoy tastes of wines and beers from local and regional sources, as well as delicious hors d’oeuvres and a pasta station, while you peruse lots of great silent auction items, including artwork, many gift certificates to local merchants and some surprise items!  Live entertainment will also be provided by Cappella’s own Hilltop Four Barber Shop Quartet.

The event is in the River Valley Junction building at the Essex Steam Train, where you will be enveloped by the delightfully preserved, historical space.

Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased at the door the night of the event. Tell your friends and family.

All proceeds benefit Cappella Cantorum, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is celebrating its 47th year of tradition in the upcoming 2016-2017 concert season, Moving Full Steam Ahead! Into Our Next Half Century of Cappella Cantorum.

For questions and more information call 860-526-1038 and visit www.cappellacantorum.org.

Cappella Cantorum is the lower Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline’s premiere non-auditioned community choral organization whose primary purpose is to learn, perform and enjoy great choral music while striving for excellence and the enrichment of its singers and audience.

Cappella Cantorum continues because of the support of area businesses and professional people through program advertising; by generous sponsors, our concert audiences, members through dues and hard work, and through the dedication of Music Director Barry Asch, Assistant Music Director Deborah Lyon, and the efforts of the volunteer Board of Directors.


Learn All About Adoption at ‘Adoption Fair’ to be Held in Southbury, Nov. 5

AREAWIDE — Have you or someone you know been considering starting or expanding your family?

There are many children who absolutely deserve and want to be a part of a loving family.

Invest a few hours of your time and let the Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Coalition Team show you how the adoption process works; all of the support available both pre- and post-adoption; and the rewards of adoption and starting or growing your family.

The Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Coalition Team is bringing together adoption agencies from across Connecticut, the Department of Children and Families, the Heart Gallery and other organizations involved in adoption support services so Connecticut families can learn more about the process of becoming an adoptive parent.

Attend this National Adoption Month Adoption Fair in Southbury on Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at United Church of Christ, 283 Main St North. Representatives from adoption agencies from Connecticut and Massachusetts will be hosting information tables where you can ask questions, pick up information and mingle. There will be speakers representing domestic, international and foster-to-adopt throughout the day.

Refreshments will be available.

For more information, call Annie C Courtney Foundation and ask for Deb Kelleher at 475.235.2184.

For general information, visit www.anniec.org


Collomore Concerts Continue Nov. 6 in Chester with Pianist Jeffrey Swann


Jeffrey Swann

CHESTER – Internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Swann will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. in the 43rd season of the Collomore Concert Series.

Swann’s performing career has taken him throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. After pursuing his graduate degrees at the Juilliard School, where he studied with the renowned Beveridge Webster and Adele Marcus, Swann came to the piano world’s attention winning first prize in the Dino Ciani Competition sponsored by La Scala in Milan and a gold medal at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. Other top honors include the Van Cliburn and Chopin Warsaw Competitions, and the Young Concert Artists auditions in New York.

In addition to presenting recitals worldwide, Swann has performed in this country with the symphonies of Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Minneapolis and worldwide with the orchestras in Rotterdam, La Scala, Rome, Prague and London.

Swann is a noted musical lecturer. The depth of his musical knowledge and his enthusiasm for teaching often leads him into spontaneous discussions of the music he is performing, much to the delight of his recital audiences. He continues to lecture regularly at the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Germany, and at Wagner Societies in the United States and Italy. Swann has also served as judge at many competitions, most recently at the Utrecht International Liszt Competition.

Since 2007 Jeffrey Swann has been Artistic Director of the Dino Ciani Festival and Academy in Cortina d’Ampezzo; since 2008 the Adel Artist-in-Residence at Northern Arizona University; since 2010 Professor of Piano at New York University; and since 2012 Artistic Director of the Scuola Normale Superiore Concert Series in Pisa.

At the Chester Meeting House, Jeffrey Swann will perform the Schubert Sonata in G Major and Beethoven Sonata No. 29 (Hammerklavier). After the concert, stay for the reception with refreshments donated by The Wheatmarket, to meet the performer. Tickets cost $25 for adult; $5 for student. Tickets can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal. The Chester Meeting House is at 4 Liberty St., in Chester. For more information, check the website or call 860-526-5162.




Letter to the Editor: Needleman has Qualifications, Experience for State Senate Job

To the Editor:

This election is a crucial one for all of us, for reasons that we know only too well. The state budget, economic development, oppressive mandates, and education funding affects each of us and our towns.  With so many daunting issues to address, we can’t settle for anyone who doesn’t have the experience, knowledge, and skills to work across party lines to get the job done right. 

Given those criteria, the choice for the 33rd District State Senator is an easy one. It is Norm Needleman.  Norm’s qualifications and experience make him the right person for the job.  He has nearly forty years of experience at running a successful company and creating jobs.  His first priority is not ambition or party politics. Rather, he is focused on enhancing the quality of life for everyone in our towns.

As First Selectman of Essex, Norm has kept taxes among the lowest in the state, without cutting services.  Norm believes that dialogue is the key to solving problems, and that no individual or political party has a monopoly on good ideas. He has long been actively involved in a number of civic and not-for-profit organizations.  Most of all, he relies on his proven business skills and a deep knowledge of town government to find ways of solving problems that cut across party lines and special interests.

In these challenging times, we need Norm Needleman’s leadership and problem-solving skills in Hartford. I am voting for Norm because he will return meaningful state senate representation to our district.


Ted Taigen,


Isabelle McDonald is Community Music School’s Fall 2016 Greenleaf Award Winner

Isabelle McDonald is the winner of the recently announced Carolyn Greenleaf Award given by the Community Music School.

Isabelle McDonald is the winner of the Fall 2016 Carolyn R. Greenleaf Music Award presented by the Community Music School.

CENTERBROOK — The selection committee for the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund of Community Music School (CMS) has chosen violinist, guitarist, and pianist Isabelle McDonald as the recipient of the Fall 2016 Carolyn R. Greenleaf Music Award.  This award is given each semester to a middle or high school student who has demonstrated exceptional musical ability and motivation, and awards a semester of private lessons at Community Music School in Centerbrook.  Isabelle has chosen to study piano with CMS’s new virtuoso piano instructor, Matthew Massaro.

Isabelle, who is a junior at Valley Regional High School, is an accomplished violin student having studied under numerous instructors, most recently under the tutelage of Kyung Yu of Yale University.  She has also studied with Janet Boughton of Guilford, Connecticut and Lisa Gray at the CMS.

Isabelle has been a member of a number of leading youth orchestras in Connecticut, including the Norwalk Youth Symphony (NYS) for four years and the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras for three years.  For her final two years with NYS, she was the Principal Orchestra’s principal second violinist.

Isabelle has also performed in a number of chamber music ensembles, including the Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians and with the NYS chamber music program.    In addition to her study on the violin and piano, Isabelle has taken guitar lessons with John Birt at CMS.   Along with Isabelle’s musical talent, she is also a talented visual art student, having won a number of juried art show awards.  Isabelle has expressed a desire to continue her music and visual art studies in college.

The Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund was established at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County in 2008 by her friends to honor Greenleaf’s dedication to music and education. The Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Music Award is open to students of Middlesex County and the Lymes and is awarded twice a year.  It is entirely based on merit and is the only such award at Community Music School.

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which provides a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, increasing appreciation of music and encouraging a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.

Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Working with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments since 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 850 grants totaling more than $2.5 million to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities,  environmental improvements, and for health and human services. 


CT Premier of ‘Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical’ Opens at Ivoryton, Oct. 26

Kim Rachelle Harris makes her debut as Rosemary Clooney.

Kim Rachelle Harris makes her debut as Rosemary Clooney.

IVORYTON – Based on the life of Rosemary Clooney, American’s favorite girl singer comes to life on stage in this exhilarating and inspiring musical biography. Tenderly is not a typical “juke-box musical.” It offers a fresh, remarkably personal, and poignant picture of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend.

With her signature songs woven in and out, we learn both the story of her successes on film, radio, and TV, as well as the struggles in her personal life.

“I’d call myself a sweet singer with a big band sensibility,” Rosemary once wrote. She  came to prominence in the early 1950s with the novelty hit “Come On-a My House”, which was followed by other pop numbers such as “Mambo Italiano”, “Tenderly”, “Half as Much”, “Hey There” and “This Ole House.”

Clooney’s career languished in the 1960s, partly due to problems related to depression and drug addiction, but revived in 1977, when her “White Christmas” co-star Bing Crosby asked her to appear with him at a show marking his 50th anniversary in show business. She continued recording until her death in 2002.

Michael Marotta revisits the role of the Doctor in the Ivoryton Playhouse production.

Michael Marotta revisits the role of the Doctor in the Ivoryton Playhouse production.

This production was developed and premiered by The Human Race Theatre Company and produced at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Michael Marotta* will be revisiting the role of the Doctor that he helped develop and Kim Rachelle Harris* will be making her debut as Rosemary Clooney. The production is directed by Brian Feehan, musical directed by Dan Brandl, set design by William Stark, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Rebecca Welles.

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Oct. 26 and runs through Nov. 13. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main St. in Ivoryton.


Volunteers Opportunities Abound at Estuary

AREAWIDE — Volunteers are needed at the Estuary Council Senior Center, 220 Main St, Old Saybrook. The senior center has a variety of opportunities for volunteers. Join the Thrift Shop team, pack or deliver Meals on Wheels, drive someone to a medical appointment, or greet guests at the Welcome Desk.

The Estuary’s Volunteer Coordinator will meet with you to discuss your interests and availability and find the best fit for you. Even a few hours a week can make a big difference. The Center’s many vital services and programs would not be possible without the volunteers who donate their time and talent to it.

For more information, call Judy at 860-388-1611 x203.


Deep River Hosts First Annual Tri-Town Veteran’s Day Parade, Nov. 5

DEEP RIVER — The First Annual Tri-Town Veteran’s Day Parade will kick off on Saturday, Nov. 5, from Devitt’s Field in Deep River at 1 p.m. followed by a ceremony at the Memorial Green on Main Street.

All Veterans are encouraged to join the parade.