November 1, 2014

Republican Senator Art Linares and Democratic Challenger Emily Bjornberg in Hotly Contested 33rd District Race

AREAWIDE— Republican State Senator Art Linares’s bid for a second term is facing an aggressive challenge from Democrat Emily Bjornberg in of Lyme in a contest that also includes Green Party nominee Colin Bennett.

The race, which included three well-attended debates, has attracted statewide attention as Democrats make a determined effort to reclaim the seat that was held for two decades by former Democratic State Sen. Eileen Daily of Westbrook before Linares won it after a three candidate contest in 2012. This week U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman campaigned for Bjornberg at separate appearances in Portland and Clinton. The 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 Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

Linares, of Westbrook, was elected in 2012 on a 23,813 to 21,251 vote, over Democrat Jim Crawford, a one term state representative from Westbrook, in a race where Green Party nominee Melissa Schlag received over 4,000 votes. This year, Linares also has the Connecticut Independent Party ballot line while Bjornberg also holds the ballot line for the Working Families Party.

Linares, who turned 26 Friday, and Bjornberg, 33, have campaigned heavily since last spring, making thousands of door-to-door visits throughout the 12 district towns. Both major party nominees have received the $94,850 grant available for state senate candidates under the state’s Citizens Election Program, using the funds to pay for several voters mailings and television ads on the cable channels.

Green Party nominee Colin Bennett

Green Party nominee Colin Bennett

Bennett, 34, of Westbrook, is spending little money on his campaign, but has raised some signs and participated in each of the debates. Bennett, who currently works as a substitute teacher in Region 4 schools, was the Green Party nominee for the seat in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010, garnering as many as 1,682 votes in 2008.

Linares, who co-founded the Middletown-based Greenskies solar power company in 2008, said he has focused his campaign on economic issues. He contends tighter controls on government spending and easing of some business regulations would help add jobs and boost the economic recovery in Connecticut. While predicting a possible state budget deficit would approach $2 billion next year, Linares pledges to oppose any new or increased taxes and calls for reductions in taxes on gasoline, hospitals, and retirement income.

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg

Bjornberg, a mother of two young children who works part-time with the youth and families ministry at Deep River Congregational Church, has also talked about helping small businesses and pledges to oppose any tax increases that would impact middle and working class families. But the first time candidate whose family owns the Reynolds Subaru dealership in Lyme has also sharply criticized the incumbent’s record over the past two years and questioned several aspects of his business, including purchasing solar panels from China rather than from companies in the United States.

Bjornberg has also brought social issues in to the fray, contending an endorsement from the Connecticut Family Institute shows Linares is an ultra-conservative who would seek to overturn state laws on same sex marriage and abortion rights. “People have a very clear choice in this election,” she said, promising to be a voice in the Democratic majority caucus for children, the environment, and small towns.

Linares said he “has no social agenda,” and is personally opposed to abortion while supporting same sex marriage rights. Linares said he would make no effort to change state law on the social issues, and suggests Bjornberg is highlighting these issues “just to scare people.” He said Bjornberg has “offered no solutions or new ideas,” while criticizing his two-year record and a business that he claims has created 300 jobs in the state.

Bennett has called for increased investments in clean energy, raising taxes on the state’s wealthiest citizens, and legalization or marijuana. While Bjornberg confirmed that she has asked Bennett to withdraw to avoid splitting progressive votes on Tuesday, Bennett said he is remaining in the race to provide another choice for “people who have lost faith in government.”

The candidates show both common ground and some differences on two issues that affect motorists, the option of restoring tolls on state highways and allowing use of red light cameras. Linares and Bennett expressed strong opposition to allowing red light cameras, while Bjornberg said she would want to see a specific proposal, including “where cameras would be placed and why and what safeguards would be in place for due process.”

On tolls, Bjornberg is opposed while Linares said he could be open to the option if it did not include new toll booths at multiple locations. “I would like to see the proposition in detail and what the new technologies are,” he said. Bennett acknowledged he is undecided on the issue of tolls.

Say Goodnight, Gracie – The Life, Laughter & Love of George Burns, Ivoryton Playhouse

Bruce Connelly (Photographer: Rose Picarelli)

Bruce Connelly (Photographer: Rose Picarelli)

IVORYTON – Ivoryton favorite Bruce Connelly returns to the Playhouse stage on October 29th, in the hit Broadway show, Say Goodnight, Gracie. This stunning tour de force invites you to spend an hilarious, heart-warming evening in the uplifting company of the world’s favorite and funniest centenarian, George Burns, who spanned one hundred years of American entertainment history. Say Goodnight, Gracie was Broadway’s third longest running solo performance show and was nominated for a 2003 Tony Award for BEST PLAY and won the 2003-04 National Broadway Theatre Award for BEST PLAY.

In Say Goodnight, Gracie, George Burns looks back upon his impoverished, plucky youth on the lower East Side of New York… his disastrous but tenacious career in Vaudeville … the momentous day when he meet a fabulously talented young Irish girl named Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen … their instant chemistry, with his flawless timing a perfect mate to her dizzy delivery … his wooing of her, their marriage and their rise to the pinnacles of Vaudeville, Movies, Radio and Television. Gracie’s demise forced George to start from square one in life and in his career, eventually achieving an equal level of success as a solo raconteur and Academy Award-winning actor, portraying everything from a Sunshine Boy to, oh, God.

Say Goodnight, Gracie was written by multiple Tony Award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes, whose Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning musical The Mystery Of Edwin Drood and who is also creator and writer of the nostalgic Emmy Award-winning comedy series Remember WENN.

Bruce Connelly* appeared last at the Ivoryton Playhouse as Jim in the summer production All Shook Up. Notable roles include Barney Cashman in Last Of The Red Hot Lovers, Max Bialystock in The Producers, Felix Unger in The Odd Couple, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Finian in Finian’s Rainbow. Since 1993, Bruce has played Barkley, Jim Henson’s Muppet dog on Sesame Street for which he has been honored fifteen times by the National Academy of Television and Radio at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

Say Goodnight, Gracie is a tender, funny, life-affirming love story … a personal guided tour through an American century in the company of George Burns, a man who laughingly lived and loved each day for all it had to offer, until he finally went “gently into that good night” to forever reunite with his beloved Gracie.

Say Goodnight, Gracie opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Wednesday, October 29th and runs through Sunday, November 16th, 2014. Directed by Michael McDermott, the set design is by Dan Nischan, lighting by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Kari Crowther.

Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.

Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

Generously sponsored by Clark Corporation and Essex Meadows

 

Deep River Awarded $4.2 Million State Grant for Expansion and Renovation of Kirtland Commons Elderly Housing Complex

DEEP RIVER— The town has been awarded a $4.2 million state Department of Housing grant for an 18-unit expansion and renovations at the Kirtland Commons elderly housing complex. The grant was announced last week under the department’s Competitive Housing Assistance for Multi-family Properties program.

Joanne Hourigan, executive director for Kirtland Commons, said the award comes after more than three years of efforts to obtain grant funding for improvements at the 21-year-old complex on the northern end of Main Street (Route 154). “We’re beyond happy about finally getting a grant,” she said.

The plans call for adding 18 units to the existing 26-unit complex that opened in the spring of 1993. The new units would be added to the north on each of the three floors of the building.  The grant will also pay for other needed improvements, including new windows, doors and locks, along with a new entrance area and upgrades to the building’s heating system.

Hourigan said the long effort to obtain funding has resulted in design plans for the project that are nearly ready to be put out to bid. Hourigan said the “project team” includes consultant Dale Kroop of Hamden and architect Chris Widmer of Guilford. She said construction for the renovations and expansion should begin in 2015.

Letter: Response to Latest Mailings

To the Editor:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the 33rd District.

The political mailings, particularly the last two I have received on behalf of Democratic candidate Emily Bjornberg who is running for a senate seat in Connecticut representing our 33rd district,  have been, to say the least, the lowest, most nasty mailings that I have ever received prior to an election for a senatorial candidate who would represent me in Hartford.

Not only have these last two mailings been disgraceful and full of lies, but, having attended the last two debates among Emily Bjornberg, Art Linares and Colin Bennett, I have also been disgusted with the attack dog tactics and misinformation coming from Emily against Art Linares. Her behavior makes the definition given to a pit bull terrier pale in comparison to her progressive, socialistic demands and attitudes about what should or should not be rule of law for everyone.

Please, back off Emily. You have shown your true colors.  We have had good representation in the 33rd district with Senator Art Linares.  We need Art to return to his duties in Hartford and continue the work of trying to keep Connecticut from collapsing under the heavy weight of a democratic governor and a democratically controlled House and Senate.

Respectfully submitted

 

Melanie Phoenix
Essex

Letter: Essex Democratic Town Committee Honored to Support Miller, Bjornberg

To The Editor:

The Essex Democratic Town Committee (EDTC) is honored to support Representative Phil Miller, State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg, and the other Democrats running for office this fall.

Since being elected in 2011, Representative Miller has become a trusted leader in House of Representatives on policy matters impacting the environment and public health, as well as behavioral health.   In addition to serving as a statewide policy leader, Rep. Miller works tirelessly for the residents of Essex, Deep River, Chester and Haddam.

If elected, Emily Bjornberg, candidate for the state senate would serve as a partner with Phil in the General Assembly.  Emily’s history of caring for those in need and her commitment to protecting and preserving the CT River will bring a much needed voice to the state senate on these matters. Emily’s plan to focus the state’s attention on the needs of small business, help unemployed veterans return to work, and fight for greater state education aid to lower property taxes would yield many benefits for our economy.

Essex residents and those of the surrounding towns deserve a state representative and state senator who are able to articulate the needs of the district and then work collaboratively to effectuate the changes needed to improve our communities.

The EDTC believes a legislative team of Representative Phil Miller and Emily Bjornberg will serve the town of Essex and surrounding towns well and we urge you to vote for them on November 4.
Sincerely,
Brian Cournoyer, Chairman
Essex Democratic Town Committee

Letter: If You Want Change Get Out and Vote

To the Editor:

I’m not a Republican. But I’m voting for Bob Siegrist, the Republican candidate for State Representative.

It’s important not to raise taxes, but more important for me is being sure my tax money and the money I have to pay as a business owner is being spent properly.

I’m competing against three companies, one national, one based out of state and one Connecticut company. All three are operating in one or more ways illegally.

The out-of-state company has been caught for not registering to do business in Connecticut and failing to pay business entity taxes. To avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance, this company is also classifying people as subcontractors who should be paid as employees. But nobody at Department of Labor has bothered following up on it. This company underbid a good locally-operating business until it left the state. Connecticut lost all the tax revenue on that business and its’ employees. Since these workers were paid in the state, Connecticut also lost any money made by these people spending their paychecks here.

The Connecticut company has forced subcontractors to take pay cuts while denying them the right to renegotiate their contracts. It was bouncing paychecks for two years. No one at the state level has done anything about that either. Two subcontractors had the courage to approach someone in the Labor Department and were told there was nothing they could do about it because the two individuals were subcontractors.

By breaking the law, these companies can afford to underbid me on work in the state. The state should be sure everybody doing business here is registered and doing business legally and paying for that right. The state should be collecting all the money that it is owed.

It seems like it takes a whistleblower or a news story to alert state departments to problems like this. Otherwise, nothing seems to happen until somebody gets hurt. Why can’t the various departments within the state investigate on their own?

Our legislature should act as a proper board of directors or trustees for all the departments of the state. Bob Siegrist understands this.

Our voters are like shareholders and elect our representatives to set a proper vision for the future of Connecticut. It’s our representatives’ work to be sure our state runs efficiently and everyone working for the state is doing their job. Bob Siegrist has promised me he will work hard if he is elected.

Everybody should realize that if they are unhappy with the way our state and national governments are working, waiting for change means waiting forever. The easiest way to make change happen is to get out and vote.

Sincerely,

Mark Bruce Guthrie
Chester

36th House District Contest Pits Two-Term Democratic Incumbent Against Republican Newcomer

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

AREAWIDE— The election contest in the four-town 36th House District pits a two-term Democratic incumbent with previous experience as a first selectman against a Republican newcomer whose most recent full-time job was as a bartender. The district includes the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller, 56, of Essex, is seeking a second full term in a seat he first won in a Feb. 2011 special election. After serving a nearly full term that included votes for the tax and budget plan presented by Democratic Governor Danel Malloy, Miller was re-elected in 2012, defeating Republican Vince Pacileo of Essex on a 7.105-5,352 vote. Miller previously served four terms as Essex first selectman, winning the top job in 2003 after unsuccessful runs in 1999 and 2001.

Robert Siegrist

Republican candidate Robert Siegrist

Robert Siegrist, 31, of Haddam, is making his first run for political office from a spot on the Haddam Republican Town Committee. Siegrist emerged as a candidate in June after the nominee of the May party convention, Chester Harris of Haddam, withdrew to run for lieutenant governor on a conservative petition ticket. A 2001 graduate of Haddam-Killingworth High School, Siegrist received a degree in political science from Quinnipiac University and has worked as a bartender in recent years at two establishments in Chester. Siegrist said he gave up bartending in August to focus on the campaign, and currently works for a local landscaper.

Both candidates have received the $27,850 grant for House races through the state’s Citizen’s Election Program, and are waging active campaigns that have included door-to-door visits in the four towns. Siegrist, seeking to build some name recognition, has deployed more than a dozen large signs at various locations in the district.

An Oct. 8 debate at Valley Regional High School in Deep River showed Miller, known as a progressive with a focus on the environment, and Siegrist, who has a libertarian bent, agree on several social issues such as support for abortion rights, same sex marriage, and decriminalization of marijuana. But differences have emerged over state spending, taxes, and the possibility of returning tolls to two interstate highways in Connecticut.

Miller said this week he does not believe any possible budget shortfall in 2015 will be as large as predicted by some fiscal analysts. He discounts the possible need for new or higher taxes, and suggests any future tax increase should be limited to a hike in income tax for the state’s wealthiest citizens. Siegrist believes the deficit could be higher, and calls for a renewed effort to cut state spending. He also calls for reducing state taxes on gasoline and social security income, along with elimination of a business entity tax on companies with less than 50 employees.

The rivals differ sharply on the issue of restoring tolls, with Siegrist rejecting any consideration of tolls as a way to boost funding for road and bridge projects. Miller said he could support restoring tolls to certain locations on Interstate 95 and Interstate 84 as a way to build funding for transportation projects while also allowing for reductions in the gasoline tax that would put Connecticut prices more in line with prices in neighboring states.

The candidates may also differ on the possible authorization of red light cameras in Connecticut. Siegrist said he would oppose any legislation for red light cameras. Miller said he is undecided, but sees some possible benefits that could include greater safety for pedestrians and bicycle riders “It’s a tough issue and there needs to be a lot more discussion on it,” he said.

The candidates have avoided negative campaigning and personal attacks, Siegrist said he has been running a positive campaign that seeks to present himself as a new face in local politics. Miller said Siegrist’s lack of government experience could hamper his efforts for the district. “I respect that he is a working person but I don’t think Bob has the knowledge and skills to discern what is important.” Miller said.

Giuliano Commends Funding to Preserve Open Space

State Rep. Marilyn Giuliano (R-23) along with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced state grants of: $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of open space in Lyme, $162,500 to preserve 40.76 acres of land on 106 Four Mile River Road in Old Lyme and $650,000 to preserve 186 acres of Horse Hill Woods – Phase II in Westbrook. The collective grants will help preserve over 405 acres of open space.

Open Space projects are a continuation of the supportive roles that these Towns and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) have had in preserving open space and protecting habitat.

Sheldon Creek River Access in Lyme will receive $351,000 to preserve 2.87 acres of land. Currently, the property is maintained as a meadow with 157 feet of waterfront access along Sheldon cove on the Connecticut River. This parcel is recognized as a “Wetlands of International Importance,” with public parking and recreation to the river are easily accessible.

The 106 Four Mile River Road property, in Old Lyme, boasts over 1,250 feet of frontage and public access which will seek to be added to a open space parcels totaling 147 acres. The $162,500 grant will protect the property, which is traversed by two wetland tributaries of the Three Mile River and is covered by diverse upland forest and stands of mountain laurel.

Additionally, the state also awarded a $650,000 grant to the town of Westbrook, aimed at protecting Horse Hill Woods – Phase II, which consists of two separately owned but abutting parcels of land: the Russo (143 acres) and Miele (43 acres) properties.

Rep. Giuliano persistently lobbied to secure the purchase of “The Preserve” – a 1,000 acre coastal-forest area that the state is seeking to purchase along with the Town of Old Saybrook and surrounding towns.  The $471,250 award to the Essex Land Trust supports that organization’s plans to purchase a 70.6-acre section of “The Preserve”.

“An investment in preserving open space in Connecticut is one which will surely pay off. These grants will help safeguard the natural beauty and habitats our district is known for. Through these grants, we will ensure that generations to come will continue to enjoy the abundant natural beauty,” said Rep. Giuliano.

Aiming to preserve 673, 210 acres of undeveloped Connecticut land by 2023, the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) developed the Open Space program. To date, the state has reached nearly 74 percent of its goal, preserving an impressive 496, 182 acres.

Letter: Linares’s Business Experience: What Is It Exactly?

To the Editor:

The suggestion that voters should support Art Linares for state senator due to his “business experience” deserves closer examination. So does Linares’s portrayal of himself as a champion of free enterprise.

Linares’s company, “Greenskies”, installs solar panels. It is undoubtedly among the most heavily subsidized companies in Connecticut.  In 2012, the Hartford Courant reported that “the biggest impact on Greenskies’ potential for growth by far is how successful it is in capturing state subsidies.” In a lobbying paper to the Connecticut legislature, Greenskies president called such support  “critical”.

How many Connecticut companies depend for growth “by far” mainly on state subsidies? Most companies, like the successful car dealership run by the family of Emily Bjornberg  (Linares’s opponent) must compete on their own merits.  Given the extensive state aid propping up Greenskies, how relevant is Linares’s experience to most businesses ?

Tea Party politicians like Linares usually revile such support as “corporate hand outs” and a bone-headed effort by government to “pick winners and losers”. We’re not hearing that here, however.

Meanwhile – and this is a key point — Linares wants to cut many other state programs supporting equally worthy causes and opposes increasing the minimum wage. For others, Linares believes the free market should set wages and prices – just not in the sector where he does business.

Greenskies use of Chinese solar panels takes this double standard to a new level. In 2012, the U.S. Government found that factories controlled by the Chinese government were selling the panels at prices below their cost of production.  This is an unfair trade practice under U.S. law, known as “dumping”.  Our government imposed tariffs on the panels.

Greenskies liked the artificially cheap panels dumped by the Chinese because they hurt its competitors, who, unlike Greenskies, make their panels in the U.S. Greenskies president bluntly told the press “When we go to toe to toe, we enjoy an advantage. We were perfectly happy with low-cost equipment from China.”

It did not seem to bother Greenskies or Linares that, according to our own government, this “advantage” resulted from Chinese market manipulation. The matter is now before the World Trade Organization.

So I am trying to understand this. It appears that Linares’s business experience is with a company that enjoys state subsidies on a huge scale not available to virtually anyone else, which enable it to distribute panels dumped by Chinese communists at artificially low prices, damaging American companies and destroying U.S. jobs.

That’s quite a business model for a champion of free enterprise.

Sincerely,


David Harfst

Essex

Letter: Linares Ranked Low by League of Conservation Voters

To the Editor:
When my husband and I moved to Essex, one of the compelling reasons for doing so was the natural beauty of the Lower Connecticut River Valley.  We are fortunate that this area has been protected from major development.  In the upcoming election you have an opportunity to choose between two candidates for state senator who share very different views on conservation:  the incumbent Art Linares and his challenger Emily Bjornberg.

Mr. Linares received a lifetime score for his voting record by the independent group League of Conservation Voters that ranks the second lowest in the entire state senate.  Art may work at a solar energy company, but as an intern to Tea Party Senator Marco Rubio in 2010, he must have picked up some very bad ideas on the role of government in protecting the environment.  I cannot believe his voting record on these issues is representative of the people of his district.

Emily has not been ranked by the League as she is not a sitting legislator. However, she is a very committed environmentalist who has served as a member of the Lyme Land Trust for many years. She has been endorsed by State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex, a leading environmental legislator, as well as by Melissa Schlag, now the First Selectman of Haddam and a former Green Party Candidate for the State Senate.

If you appreciate the beauty of our state’s environment, please vote with me for Emily Bjornberg.
Sincerely,
Jane Piro
Essex 

Letter: Judge Terrance Lomme Asks for Your Vote

To the Editor:

I am Terrance D. Lomme, your Judge of Probate and believe I am the best candidate for this office due to my compassion and experience. These two qualities are essential to being an effective Judge. I am very concerned about all of the people who appear before me. I fully understand that there are difficult circumstances that bring people to the Court. As a Veteran, I am sensitive to the Veteran’s issues that are presented to me.

Before being elected Judge, I practiced probate law for over 30 years in the towns that now constitute the 33rd District Court. This experience, combined with being the East Haddam Probate Judge for three years was invaluable to me when, shortly after my election in 2010, I was given the task of merging nine individual courts into the new Saybrook District Probate Court. This was the largest merger of individual Courts in the State.

I am aware my decisions have a major affect on people’s lives, whether it is a decision to conserve an elderly person, to award custody of a child to a grandparent or the loss of a loved one.

As a probate lawyer for 30 years, and seven years as a Judge presiding over three thousand five hundred hearings, I have assisted thousands of families through the probate process. The Court and my clerks have received exemplary ratings from Probate Administration in each of its three reviews. Additionally, the Court budget has not increased since my election.

Further, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Probate Assembly and a member of the National College of Probate Judges, I keep current on State and National trends that may affect the Court.

For the above reasons I ask you to vote for me on November 4th.

Sincerely,

 

Terrance D. Lomme,
Essex

 

Letter: Bjornberg’s Criticism of Sen. Linares is Hypocritical

To the Editor:

As a lifelong Democrat, a former legislator and a former Selectman representing shoreline Towns, and a partner with State Senator Art Linares, Jr. at Greenskies Renewable Energy, I was shocked and quite frankly embarrassed for my party to receive the recent mailer from Emily Bjornberg on Senator Linares’ track record on the environment and the economy.  Her false and hypocritical statements regarding our business seems to be representative of her “win at all costs” mantra, and her criticism of one of Connecticut’s most dynamic and environmentally responsible startup companies clearly displays her basic lack of understanding about both the environment and the economy.

A puzzling and disturbing fact regarding Ms. Bjornberg’s criticisms regarding Senator Linares’s lack of concern for the environment centers around her family business, which has enjoyed millions of dollars of profits for generations selling automobiles, the single largest contributor to carbon monoxide pollution in the atmosphere.  Greenskies sole mission is to reduce carbon footprint throughout Eastern United States through the development of photo-voltaic solar systems.  Even more disturbing (and hypocritical) is the automobile that her family business sells are Subaru! These vehicles are entirely manufactured in Japan by Fuji Heavy Industries.  Yet the most outlandish statement in her mailer is that Senator Linares does not care about Connecticut jobs.  Without political fanfare, without beating his chest, but simply because it was the right thing to do, Senator Linares supported consummating a relationship with the electrical union, and today Greenskies currently employs over 300 IBEW electricians in four states, including Connecticut.  If she cared so much about Connecticut jobs, perhaps, Ms. Bjornberg should consider unionizing her automobile dealership.

In today’s world economy, we enjoy an international platform of business opportunity to benefit all.  Greenskies has purchased products from both U.S. manufacturers and from overseas, and we embrace and are extremely proud of our track record.  I personally appreciate the success of Ms. Bjornberg’s family business as well, which has proudly served the shoreline for generations.  But Ms. Bjornberg’s attempt to malign Senator Linares’ record on the environment and on the economy clearly indicates that she does not possess the balance or the intellectual maturity to represent our district.  She should focus on the issues that separate her and her opponent, and their respective parties, and let voters elect the right candidate for the right reasons.

Sincerely,

 

Robert A. Landino
Westbrook

 

Letter: Bjornberg has the Intellectual Capacity

To the Editor:

After review of the candidates’ backgrounds I am choosing to vote for Emily Bjornberg as our next State Senator.    I need to know my elected representative has the brain power to think on her feet, the intellectual curiosity to dig deeply into issues, the personal skills to listen to and interact with a wide range of people, the leadership skills to influence legislation on issues relevant to our area, and the heart to care.

Emily has real-life experience volunteering and caring for others including aiding the sick in South Africa and working to engage local young people in community service and social justice.    She has real-life experience supporting veterans, including her own husband, who served with the Connecticut National Guard in Iraq.

Emily also has real-life experience as a mother who knows that quality education and protecting children from toxins are important issues if we care about future generations.   She has real-life experience working on behalf of our local environment.   And she has real-life experience with business deeply rooted in the community.  Her family’s business has helped people get where they need to go for generations, from wagon wheels to automobiles, and now Emily is dedicated to helping our constituents go where they want to go…whether they dream of education, a good job , a clean forest for hiking, or a comfortable retirement.

At one of the debates Emily’s opponent decided to attend, our sitting senator said “anyone who is running on social issues doesn’t have anything important to run on.”  He also refused to participate in local debates where he was not provided with questions in advance.

I served on local boards of education for 10 years and know first-hand that balancing budgets with the needs of all of our citizens is difficult.  No decision can be made without considering the impact on all constituents.  This requires analysis and showing up for community dialogues.  “Social issues” do not exist separately from financial issues.

Emily Bjornberg has the maturity, intellectual capacity, and diplomatic skills to make a difference for our region.    She will represent us well and will show up on behalf of all of us.  That’s why she is getting my vote.

Sincerely,

 

Lynne Pease
Chester

Letter: Deep River First Selectman Endorses Bjornberg

To the Editor:

Emily Bjornberg is clearly the choice to represent the 12 towns that comprise Connecticut’s 33rdSenatorial District.  That conclusion is based on 25 years of first hand experience.  Early in my tenure as First Selectman I learned just how important it is to maintain close contact with our representatives in Hartford.  I have spent many hundreds of hours testifying before our Legislators, the men and women who play such an important part in the health of our communities.  The actions—or, unfortunately, inactions, of our representatives in Hartford are crucial to our future.

We have been largely fortunate in our legislative choices: Jamie Spallone, Phil Miller and, for 20 years, Eileen Daily, whose presence we have sorely missed during the two years since she stepped down.  But we have been afforded a golden opportunity, the chance to elect a Senator with the drive, the capacity and the promise to follow in that fine tradition.

Emily Bjornberg speaks passionately and compellingly; she states her beliefs frankly; she clearly enumerates her goals as our State Senator.  Emily has spent time with residents in all corners of the towns she seeks to represent.  She understands us.  Her honesty is immediately apparent.  She will devote herself to the service of her constituents.  Emily Bjornberg should be our next State Senator.
Sincerely,

Richard H. Smith
First Selectman, Deep River

Letter: Greatly Respect Essex First Selectman

To the Editor:

I am responding to a letter by a man I greatly respect, who governs our town in a nonpartisan manner. He is a welcome relief from his predecessor, who had a policeman come to Board of Selectman meetings to save him from debate over his decisions.

Negotiations between a Democratic Governor, a Supermajority State House and a Supermajority State Senate is akin to a Chinese Student negotiating with a Tiananmen tank. They just don’t listen!

Sincerely,

Lynn Herlihy
Essex

Court Orders Recovery of Legal Expenses in Region 4 Principal Lawsuit

REGION 4— A Middlesex Superior Court judge has authorized the regional school district to recover legal costs in the lawsuit involving former Valley Regional High School Principal Eric Rice that was resolved in the district’s favor in August after more than two years of legal proceedings.

After an Oct. 21 hearing at the Middletown court, Judge Julie Aurigemma ordered Rice to pay the district $54,149 in attorney fees and court costs for the lawsuit he filed in December 2011 against the three town school district, Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy and former assistant superintendent Ian Neviaser. The amount includes $52,327 in attorney fees and $1,832 in court costs.

Rice, who was a Chester resident, resigned as principal at the high school in October 2010 after only weeks in the job amid reports he had been given a resign or be fired ultimatum from Levy based on complaints and concerns raised by some staff at the high school. Under terms of the resign and release agreement, Rice received $62,000 in severance pay and medical coverage until he secured new employment. The agreement also called for both parties to refrain from public comment about Rice’s employment with the school district.

But Rice, represented by the Hamden firm Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Srignari, later claimed in the lawsuit that he was defamed in a June 2011 Hartford Courant article about the situation that included information from emails and other communications released by the district to the newspaper under a freedom of information request. In a summary judgment issued in August, Judge Aurigemma dismissed the lawsuit after determining the resign and release agreement signed by Rice was comprehensive, and that school officials responded properly to the newspaper FOI request.

In the Oct. 21 order on legal fees, Aurigemma also noted the resign and release agreement included a provision that could require Rice to pay “all costs including court costs and reasonable attorney fees,” if he later filed suit against the district. The judge noted she had reviewed an accounting of legal fees and court costs provided by attorney Peter Murphy with the Hartford firm Shipman and Goodwin, who worked on the case for the school district.

Rice is attempting to appeal the Middlesex judge’s decision to the Connecticut Appellate Court. Aurigemma rejected a motion from Rice’s attorneys to stay the order on legal fees, noting that issue could be part of any appeal to the higher court.

New Guests on the Lawns of Essex, Deep River and Chester – Lawn Signs

IMG_8959

It started with the posting of just a few lawns signs on the lawns of Essex, Deep River and Chester. Among the first signs in view were those of Bob Siegrist, Republican candidate for State Representative, who is running against incumbent State Representative Phil Miller. Notably, the signs that Siegrist put up in Deep River were “extra large,” so that they could not be missed. Then, shortly thereafter, Siegrist’s lawn signs were then even exceeded in size by those of his Republican running mate, State Senator Art Linares, who is running for re-election.

IMG_8960

Where were the Democratic lawn signs one began to wonder?   They first appeared modestly along North Main Street in Essex.  Then individual lawn signs began poking into view, including the normal size signs of Emily Bjornberg, Democratic candidate for State Senate, who is running against Senator Linares, and signs for State Representative Phil Miller, who Siegrist is challenging.

IMG_8978

IMG_8976

In the deluge of lawn signs that was ultimately upon us, the Republicans devoted front row positioning, in cluster after cluster, to the election of Anselmo Delia, the party’s candidate for Judge of Probate. The incumbent Judge of Probate, Terrance Lomme, then not only responded in kind with a splattering of lawns signs, he even went so far as to pay for a commercial billboard located  on Main Street coming into Deep River.

Judge of Probate candidate Anselmo Delia

Judge of Probate candidate Anselmo Delia

IMG_8975

Election Day is November 4 this year. Shortly thereafter the lawn signs will disappear, and our area’s laws will return to their normal condition.