August 30, 2015

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Peter Jones Attains Eagle Scout Rank

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Peter Jones. Photo by Michael Rutty.

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Peter Jones. Photo by Michael Rutty.

CHESTER & DEEP RIVER — Peter Jones of Deep River, a member of Chester/Deep River’s Troop 13, has earned Scouting’s highest rank and an Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for him on Sunday Aug. 16, at the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium.

To become an Eagle Scout, Peter earned 38 merit badges and advanced through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to his Troop and service to his community.  One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the boy’s community, school, or religious institution.

Peter’s project was to reconstruct a 20 foot long stone wall to enhance the corner of The Deep River Congregational Church’s cemetery along Platt Ln. and Essex St.  The original wall had fallen into disrepair over the years from erosion.  The completed wall complements the existing front wall of the cemetery and new plantings were added to the accent and beautify the area.

Completing this project entailed meeting with the church to determine they stone they preferred, securing donations for supplies, designing and overseeing volunteers through the construction and installation of the wall and plantings.  The completed project provides an important service to the residents of Deep River and members of Deep River Congregational Church by improving the look of the area.

Congratulations, Peter!

Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves the boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun.

There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead. The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun.

To learn more information about joining Troop 13 please contact our Scoutmaster, Steven Merola @ 860-526-9262

‘Shoreline Chefs’ to Offer Small Plates in Afternoon ‘Estuary’ Fundraiser

OLD SAYBROOK –   Shoreline Chefs, a fundraising event featuring local professional and home chefs and notable locals cooking up a storm in small plate tastings for fun and fun competition, will be held on Sunday, Sept. 20,  from 3 to 6 p.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green. Tickets at $35 are available now at The Estuary Council of Seniors, which is sponsoring this first-time event.

Restauranteurs, caterers, gifted home cooks, and neighborhood notables are providing food and their cooking talent for an afternoon and evening of small plate tastings. Fun loving friends and patrons who purchase a ticket, will have the privilege of tasting delicious recipes. The event includes a silent auction and entertainment.

The list of Shoreline Chefs currently includes: Dagmar’s Desserts, Apple Rehab, The Estuary, The Town of Old Saybrook, Porky Pete’s BBQ, Old Saybrook Fire Department, The Tea Kettle, Guilford Savings Bank, Mirsina’s Restaurant, Homeworks, the Pursuit of Pastry and The Town of Old Lyme.

Join this event for an afternoon of food, fun and fundraising to support the services of the Estuary Council of Seniors. Throughout the nine town Estuary region, one out of every four individuals is now using one of the Estuary Council of Senior’s vital programs.

Last year, the Estuary provided 70,000 hot, nutritious meals to individuals in our nine town district.   The Estuary also provide medical outpatient transportation, social and educational programs and numerous trips and activities. The organization’s challenge is to keepup with the increased need and the cost of providing services.

If you are interested in being a Chef, or a sponsor of this event, call 860.388.1611 x 211

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Slated for Sept. 17 to Celebrate Ivoryton Village Streetscape Project

ESSEX — On Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 at 5 p.m., the Town of Essex will celebrate the culmination of the Ivoryton Village Streetscape Project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The ceremony will take place at the Ivoryton Village Green on Main Street in Ivoryton.

The project was funded through a $435,000 Main Street Investment Fund grant administered by the State of Connecticut – Department of Housing.

“These improvements create a sense of community” stated First Selectman Norman Needleman, “and the impressive results have come about through the efforts of many stakeholders, with special thanks to Selectman Stacia R. Libby and the members of the Ivoryton Alliance.”

The ceremony will include remarks from the First Selectman as well as other local government officials and will be followed by refreshments.  The event is open to the public.

For more information, visit www.essexct.gov,  or call the office at 860-767-4340 x112.

Tickets on Sale Now for Chester Rotary’s 45th Annual Lobster Festival

Loving lobster! Happy LobsterFest-goers savor the feast in 2014.

Loving lobster! Happy LobsterFest-goers savor the 2014 feast.

CHESTER — The Rotary Club of Chester will host its 45th Annual Lobster Festival at the Chester Fairgrounds on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Tickets are on sale now and going fast, so prompt purchase is encouraged.

The event is highlighted by classic double entree dinners featuring Twin Lobster, Twin Steak, or Surf and Turf and single entrée Lobster or Steak dinners. Traditional sides include corn on the cob, baked potato, coleslaw and rolls.

The gates will open at 4 p.m. for table decorating and general admission.  Dinners will be served from 5 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m.   Soft drinks, bottled water, draft beer and wine are available for sale throughout the night.

Live music for your dancing and listening pleasure will be provided by Four Barrel Billy with the Bottom of the Barrel Singers until closing at 10 p.m.

Admission tickets for twin lobster or twin steak or surf and turf dinner tickets are $40 in advance, $45 for remaining tickets at the gate. Single lobster or steak dinner tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate.  Access to the Lobster Festival is restricted to dinner ticket holders. Seating is limited.

Visit http://www.ChesterRotary.org for more information and to purchase tickets on-line. Tickets can also be purchased at CENTURY 21 Heritage Company, Chester Package Store, Chester Package Store, Chrisholm Marina and Lark, from any Chester Rotarian, or call Susan Wright at (860) 526-3294.

Chester Rotarians are dedicated to providing funding and service to local, national and international charitable organizations. All proceeds from this event support these local and global humanitarian causes of Chester Rotary & Rotary International.

“The Preserve” Advocate Suellen Kozy McCuin Passes Away After Unexpected, Brief Illness: Service Today

ESSEX — Suellen Kozey McCuin, 49, of Essex, beloved wife of J. Scott McCuin, passed away Friday, Aug. 21, with her family and friends at her side after an unexpected and brief illness.  Her obituary states, “She was an outstanding leader in the fight to protect the 1,000 acre forest now known as “The Preserve” located in her childhood town of Old Saybrook and her current home in Essex.”

Her obituary also notes, “She graduated from Old Saybrook High School and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Central Connecticut State University. She was a parishioner at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex, CT.  Suellen enjoyed a successful career in government affairs and was most recently Executive Director for the Connecticut Council of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.”

State Representative Philip Miller (D-36th) described her passing as, “A loss for everyone.  One of the very best people I have ever known.”

He continued, “Of all of us who helped save the thousand acres, she is the only one of us who was indispensable.  We could have never succeeded without her.  Over the years, we had hundreds of phone calls and dozens of coffee conversations.”

Miller added, “She was an original, a deeply genuine, kind hearted person of great dignity.  My heart aches for her family, especially Scott, Maddy, and little Owen.  So many of us will miss our dear friend.  She walks in the spirit world now.  Gone but never to be forgotten.”

Calling hours for celebrating Ms. Kozey McCuin and her life will be at the Swan Funeral Home, 1224 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook on Friday, Aug. 28 from 6 to 9 p.m.  A mass service and reception will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 10 a.m. in the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, 14 Prospect St., Essex.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Kozey McCuin Children Education Fund, c/o Essex Savings Bank, PO Box 950, Essex, CT 06426, or The Old Saybrook Land Trust.

 

Sidewalk Sales Slated in Chester, Saturday

“Busy Bees” by Michael Centrella of Cheshire is just one of the numerous unframed original art pieces at Maple & Main Gallery’s Sidewalk Sale event on Aug. 29.

“Busy Bees” by Michael Centrella of Cheshire is just one of the numerous unframed original art pieces at Maple & Main Gallery’s Sidewalk Sale event on Aug. 29.

At Red Pepper, you’ll find clothing, hats, handbags, scarves, handblown glass, ceramics at 20-50% off during Chester’s Sidewalk Sale Day.

At Red Pepper, you’ll find clothing, hats, handbags, scarves, handblown glass, ceramics at 20-50% off during Chester’s Sidewalk Sale Day.

The Chester Squirrel is on the run again – this time carrying a Sidewalk Sale banner for Chester’s first annual town-wide End-of-Summer Sidewalk Sale Day on Saturday, Aug. 29.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on the last Saturday of August, start exploring Chester Center shops and galleries for Sidewalk Sale specials. You’ll find unique unframed art at Maple & Main Gallery, antiques at Chester Americana Antiques & Gallery, vintage pieces at Ceramica, apparel at Compass Rose, purses at Lark, and much much more in every shop in Chester. Specials may be indoors or on the sidewalk.

Unique unframed art will be offered at Maple and Main Gallery during the Sidewalk Sale from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Out on the porch and set up inside the gallery, look for art for less because it’s not yet framed.  There will be works by the gallery’s 44 artists on paper, canvas and board; from abstract to traditional; from provocative to playful.

Custom-made frames add a considerable expense to a painting and can restrict buyers from choosing frames that better match their own taste and, of course, some people prefer no frames at all.

While you’re at the gallery, visit the summer show of over 250 works by the gallery artists.

Maple and Main Gallery, One Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit mapleandmaingallery.com or the gallery’s Facebook page or Instagram account  or call 860-526-6065.

When you get tired of shopping, find a Sidewalk Sale Special at one of Chester’s restaurants — and then head over to the Chester Fair for more small-town fun.

More details at FindItInChesterCT.wordpress.com or by calling 860-322-4047.

Start the fall with one of these purses found at Lark’s Sidewalk Sale.

Start the fall with one of these purses found at Lark’s Sidewalk Sale.

River COG Announces ‘GrowSMART’ Project to Develop Lower CT River Valley’s Economic Growth Strategy

growsmart logo

AREAWIDE — Have you heard of RiverCOG?

It’s an acronym for the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, which is an association of 17 towns with each represented by its chief elected official.  Its mission involves facilitating solutions and planning between the 17 towns, the State of Connecticut, federal agencies, and nonprofits for land use, transportation, agriculture, emergency management, conservation, and economic development.

One of its key goals is to encourage a safe and open venue to discuss shared regional options and projects.  Fulfilling this mission had led RiverCOG to launch a new and exciting project titled, GrowSMART.  The purpose of GrowSMART is to research how the region can collaborate to attract workers, and retain and grow businesses while also conserving the natural resources that are so vital to the region’s infrastructure, housing values, and tourism industry.

factory_signAs you drive, walk, or bike around the region in September and October, you will start to notice signs, posters and banners around town such as the one shown to the left or see an advertisements while reading a local newspaper or local online news.  The signs or advertisements may ask a question, such as:  “Why can’t you find qualified help?” or “Who is going to buy your house”?

Why is RiverCOG asking these questions?

The answer is that its Regional Strategic Economic Growth Committee is working with Ninigret Partners to create a regional economic growth strategy and is seeking your input.  RiverCOG invites you to visit the project website at www.GrowSMARTregion.org to learn about its travelling mobile workshop and note dates of the upcoming public forums to which all are welcome

There is also an opportunity at the www.GrowSMARTregion.org website to submit your ideas directly.

Essex Civic Campus Project Recognized as First STEAP Grant Success Story

Photos of the Essex Civic Campus reproduced from the Office and Policy of Management page on the State of CT website.

Photos of the Essex Civic Campus reproduced from the Office of Policy and Management page on the State of CT website at www.ct.gov/opm.

ESSEX — The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has announced that its first STEAP Grant Success Story is the Town of Essex Civic Campus Enhancement Project.

Essex was awarded a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) in the amount of $471,500 in 2013 for the Essex Civic Campus Enhancement Project which funded the expansion, repair, and improvements to the “Essex Civic Campus” located at 29 West Ave.  The Civic Campus is a gateway to Essex and a center of municipal activity, including the Town Hall, Police Station, Essex Community Library, and Grove Street Park.

The project included the installation and replacement of the Grove Street Park Playscape to improve compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards; the renovation and expansion of the Town Hall parking area; renovations to the Town tennis courts, and improved pedestrian connectivity between the Town Hall and Library.

Essex First Selectman, Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman, Norman Needleman

This grant provided much-needed improvements to ensure that the Essex Civic Campus is a vibrant and welcoming center of community activity, whether for recreation, public meetings, conducting business, or visiting the library.

A delighted Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman commented, “The people of the Town of Essex are deeply grateful to Governor Malloy, Senator Linares, Representative Miller, and our partners at DECD, for the investments that the state has made, via STEAP grants, in our community. The Town continually strives to be a friendlier and more welcoming place to live, work, learn, and play. The State’s investment of STEAP funds helps us get to that next level.”

Essex Historical Society Celebrates 60th Anniversary with Series of Events in 2015-16

The Pratt House in Essex is the town’s only historic house museum.

The Pratt House is home to the Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — The Essex Historical Society (EHS), a private, non-profit organization boasting 250 members and dedicated volunteer corps, is celebrating its 60th anniversary year throughout 2015 and early 2016 with a variety of special events and programs.  Of special note is the Dickinson Initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the impact of the E. E. Dickinson Witch Hazel business on Essex.

The E. E. Dickinson Witch Hazel Company was an important part of Essex for much of the 20th century.  The EHS and the Valley Railroad Company have partnered to refurbish the original Birch Mill /Yellow Label building that sits on the southern end of the railroad depot property.  As part of the project, EHS will refurbish the Yellow Label signs and install Dickinson exhibit panels in the newly repaired space.

A pre-construction kick-off took place on May 15, 2015.  The dedication and unveiling of the refurbished building is targeted for one year later on May 15, 2016.

Upcoming Events 

An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History 

Sunday, Sept. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m.  A self-guided tour of private properties along North Main Street in Essex village and formerly owned by members of the Dickinson family. Tickets are $60 per person with proceeds to benefit the Essex Historical Society. Includes a commemorative book and refreshments.

Essex Historical Society Antique Car Rally 

Sunday, Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The 5th Annual Fall Foliage Antique Auto Show and Tour with a Purpose:  Dickinson business and family sites. Co-sponsored with the Belltown Antique Car Club.

EHS Program 

A special program Creating the E. E. Dickinson National Brand will be presented by EHS and held at 31 North Main St., Essex, the Dickinson corporate office, now the Wells Fargo office building.

Yellow Label Building Dedication 

Sunday, May 15, 2016. Dedication of the refurbished Yellow Label Building and tour of the Dickinson Witch Hazel Plant.  Co-sponsored with the Valley Railroad Company.  Details to be announced at a later date.

Essex Historical Society: Three Villages, Two Rivers, One History 

The EHS strives to be the center of excellence for collecting and sharing historic resources for Essex and the surrounding area, and to be the facilitator among other organizations focused on the history of the area, so that we may inspire future generations.  Our mission statement reflects this vision: Engaging and Inspiring the Community. Essex.  Ivoryton.  Centerbrook.

History of the Essex Historical Society

The Essex Historical Society was formed and incorporated in 1955. According to news reports at the time, the Town of Essex was about to announce its intention to sell Hills Academy located on Prospect Street. It was no longer useful to the Town for classroom space and had been rented to various tenants for many years.

A concerned group sprung into action and the first unofficial meeting of the Board of Directors was held at Essex Town Hall on Friday, Dec. 10, 1954. The newly formed Essex Historical Society purchased the Hills Academy building from the Town for one dollar.

From 1955 to 1985, Hills Academy served as the Society’s meeting house, as home to its growing collection of Essex memorabilia, and as exhibit space depicting the story of Essex history. Then in 1985, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (known then as S.P.N.E.A. and now renamed Historic New England) deeded the Pratt House Museum on West Avenue to the Society and the focus of activity shifted to the Pratt family narrative.

Today, Pratt House continues to interpret 18th century farm life in Essex and the nine generations of Pratt Smithies, many of whom lived in the house. The barn houses a set of panels depicting a time line of Essex history and an early loom that is worked on by an award-winning group of weavers.

The beautiful meadow to the rear of the property is the site of the Community Garden and often the scene of antique car shows and old fashioned summer fairs. Hills Academy provides additional meeting and exhibit space on the first floor and storage and office space on the second floor for the collection and archival files.

The EHS serves the three villages of Essex — Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton.

Bartlett Tree Experts Donate Maple Tree to Town of Essex

Donated_tree_to Essex_by_Bartlett_Tree _ExpertsESSEX — Dan Estey (left) donated a Red Sunset Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’) on behalf of Bartlett Tree Experts to the Town of Essex.

He is pictured with Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, who selected the location at 147 Dennison Rd.

Press release and photo submitted by the Essex Tree Committee

Registration Open for Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Walk Across SE Connecticut

Participants take to the streets in the 2014 Walk Across SE CT.

Participants take to the streets in the 2014 Walk Across SE CT.

AREAWIDE — The Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation (TBBCF) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut on Saturday, Oct. 3, having funded over $3M in breast cancer research (30 grants of $100,000 each), while raising funds, hopes and dreams for a breast cancer-free future.

TBBCF_walk_logo_203The TBBCF is a local non-profit dedicated to providing critical funding to breast cancer research. Their pledge is that 100 percent of gross fundraising dollars goes directly to breast cancer research in the scientific pursuit of medicines and techniques that mitigate cancer treatment and promote disease eradication. Administrative costs are sponsor-supported or volunteer-provided.

The organization’s name was chosen to honor the beautiful life and fighting spirit of Terri Brodeur, a local Old Saybrook mother of three young children and victim of breast cancer. The Foundation was established by two friends, Norma Logan and Sandy Maniscalco, who realized the need for a new kind of fundraising organization. After a two-year battle with breast cancer, Brodeur succumbed to the disease in 2005, as did Logan six months later.

It is estimated that there will be more than 3,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Connecticut in 2015 and that almost 500 will die from the disease. By walking in the 10th Anniversary Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut you will increase funding of breast cancer research with hopes for earlier detection, better treatments and ultimately prevention of this disease.

Friends often form a team in the walk Across SE CT.

Friends often form a team in the TBBCF’s Walk Across SE CT.

The 10th Anniversary Walk provides a marathon option to suit everyone’s level of ability. Registration is now open and the time to start training for your chosen marathon walk is approaching.

Walks include a seven-mile super quarter marathon, a 13.1 mile half marathon and our signature 26.2 mile full marathon. The full marathon walk begins with 6:30 a.m. opening ceremonies at Saybrook Point, Old Saybrook, with feet on the pavement at 7 a.m.

This walk follows a scenic route along the shoreline through Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme and Waterford. The half marathon walk starts at Capitol Drive, East Lyme at 10 a.m. and the super quarter marathon walk starts at the Niantic Baptist Church, Niantic at 1 p.m. All walks end at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford with closing ceremonies.

The Walk goal is to raise funds for research through walker fundraising commitments. Youth walkers must raise $100 to walk any marathon option. Adult walkers must raise $200 for a super quarter marathon, $250 for a half marathon and $500 for a full marathon.

Team-up with friends, family or co-workers to walk in honor or memory of someone special. Enjoy the benefits of working as a team to meet the fundraising commitment. There are Youth Walk Team options for 12 to 18-year-olds.

Gather five or more youth with a Youth Walk Coach and the coach only pays registration with no fundraising requirement. Walkers are provided with training and fundraising support.

To register to walk or volunteer, or to contribute to a registered walker, visit www.tbbcf.org, call 860-437-1400 or email info@tbbcf.org.

Funding has assisted researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Yale Cancer Center, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and NYU School of Medicine.

Tickets on Sale for Essex Historical Society’s Self-Guided Stroll of Five Dickinson Houses

Pat Thompson, Event Chairman for An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History, walks past the former Dickinson family home, one of five private properties that will be opened for public touring on September 13 to benefit the Essex Historical Society.

Pat Thompson, Event Chairman for An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History, walks past the former Dickinson family home, one of five private properties that will be opened for public touring on Sept. 13 to benefit the Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX – On Sunday, Sept. 13, the Essex Historical Society’s 60th anniversary celebration continues with An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History, a self-guided tour through five private properties formerly owned by members of the Dickinson family, founders and manufacturer’s of E.E. Dickinson Witch Hazel. The benefit event will provide a peek into the Dickinson past and will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. along the North Main and Prospect Street section of Essex village.

The White House in Essex.

The White House in Essex.

On view will be the iconic family home, the stately, columned “White House” located at 21 North Main Street; the Dickinson office building at 31 North Main now home to Wells Fargo Advisors; the adjacent Dickinson carriage house; the 1750’s Samuel Lay homestead located at 17 North Main St., which was the former home of the top sales executive for Dickinson Witch Hazel; and the once cow barn now private home just a few steps south. Dickinson family members will be onsite to lend a personal perspective.

The Carriage House

The Carriage House

Stroll guests can enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres and a quiet respite in Dickinson Park, a small swath of grassy green across from the main home. Period cars will also be on display and each attendee will receive a commemorative book documenting the Dickinson legacy.

Office building

The Dickinson office building at 31 North Main now home to Wells Fargo Advisors.

According to event chairperson Pat Thompson, “This is a house tour like no other, so steeped in history and one family’s impact on a community. We are very grateful for the current owners’ willingness to open up their homes and for the Dickinson family members who have graciously shared their memories to help us celebrate Essex’s rich heritage.”

Dickinson Stroll_CowBarn_web

The once cow barn now private home just a few steps south of 17 North Main St.

Tickets for An Afternoon Stroll Through Dickinson History are $60 per person, with children under the age of 18 admitted at no charge. All proceeds will benefit the Essex Historical Society.

The Samuel Lay House.

The Samuel Lay House.

Parking is available along North Main St. and Prospect St., at Hills Academy and Our Lady of Sorrows located at 21 Prospect St., and at Essex Town Hall. Handicap parking can be found at the Welcome Tent to be located at Wells Fargo Advisors, 31 North Main Street.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at essexhistory.org or by calling 860-767-0681, or at the Welcome Tent on the day of the event.

Madhatters Hosts Auditions for Christmas Comedy, Saturday

AREAWIDE — Madhatters Theatre Company is currently scheduling audition appointments for their December musical comedy production of ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ at Chester Meeting House.  Auditions will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, 59 Lyme St. in Old Lyme by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment, call (860) 395-1861 or e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com.

For further information, visit ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

Carolyn Linn is Republican Nominee for Chester First Selectman Through Ballot Petition

Republican Carolyn Linn will face Democrat Lister in the Nov. 3 election for  Chester First Selectman.

Republican Carolyn Linn will face Democrat Lauren Gister in the Nov. 3 election for Chester First Selectman.

CHESTER — There will be a contest for first selectman in the Nov. 3 election after all as Carolyn Linn claims the Republican nomination for first selectman with a ballot petition submitted to the town clerk Tuesday. Fifty-five-year-old Linn will face Democratic nominee Lauren Gister, aged 57, for the position left open with the retirement of two-term Democratic First Selectman Edmund Meehan.

Republicans came up empty on the first selectman nomination at the July 27 party caucus that nominated incumbent Republican Selectman Tom Englert for a fourth term, along with a handful of other candidates for positions on the local ballot. Gister a lawyer and former Marine, had been nominated at the Democratic caucus on July 21, with Charlene Janecek as the running-mate for board of selectmen. Democratic Selectman Larry Sypher is not seeking a new term.

But in the succeeding days, Linn, a 26-year resident and certified veterinary assistant who runs a local pet services business, emerged as a candidate. Town Clerk Debra Calamari said Linn submitted a petition signed by 47 town Republicans late Tuesday, one day before Wednesday’s deadline for primary petitions.

State election law allows a position left open by the party nominating caucus to be filled by a primary petition that must be submitted by an Aug. 12 deadline. The petition must be signed by a least five percent of the town’s 453 registered Republicans. With no other candidate, there is no primary and the new candidate claims to Republican line through the petition.

Linn, in a statement issued Thursday, said her goals include “preserving our historic personality while responsibly developing local opportunities” that would enable the town to prosper. She cited taxes and economic development as concerns, and suggested her “entrepreneurial and volunteer spirit” would benefit the town.

Linn said she was a volunteer EMT with the Chester Volunteer Ambulance Service after arriving in town in the early 1990s, and has also been involved with the Chester Winter Carnivale and the Shoreline Soup Kitchens. She is the mother of two children, both of whom graduated from Region 4 schools.

Linn is the first Republican nominated for first selectman since 2009, when former First Selectman Tom Marsh was re-elected for a third term. Marsh resigned in August 2011 to take a town manager job in Vermont. Republicans did not nominate a candidate for first selectman in 2011, when Meehan was easily elected over a challenger nominated by the Chester Common Ground Party. Meehan was uncontested for a second term in 2013, a year when there were no contests for any positions on the town lengthy ballot.

Along with a contest, this year’s nominations ensure the town’s next first selectman will be a woman, either Gister or Linn. The first, and only, woman to serve as Chester First Selectman is Bettie Perreault, a Republican who served from 1989-1993.

Malloy, Blumenthal Join Celebrations Marking 15-Year Effort Culminating in Protection of ‘The Preserve’

Governor Dannel Malloy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal cut the ribbon. (L to R: Carl Fortuna, Old Saybrook First Selectman, Alicia Sullivan, CT State Director of the Trust for Public Land, State Representative Brendan Sharkey, Speaker of the House, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Will Rogers, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, State Representative Phil Miller).

Governor Dannel Malloy (third from left) and US Sen. Richard Blumenthal (second from right) cut the celebratory ribbon at yesterday’s event.  Also pictured from left to right are Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, CT State Director of the Trust for Public Land (TPL) Alicia Sullivan, State Representative Brendan Sharkey (D-88) who is also Speaker of the House, TPL President & CEO Will Rogers and State Representative Phil Miller (D-36.)  All photos by Nigel Logan.

OLD SAYBROOK — Governor Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal joined over 200 state and local officials, and local residents at a reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony in Old Saybrook on Thursday to celebrate the permanent protection of “The Preserve,” the 1,000 acre coastal woodland recently acquired primarily by the state and the Town of Old Saybrook. The Essex Land Trust also owns some 70 acres in Essex.

Hosted by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), the celebration was held at the Great Cedars (West) Conservation Area on Ingham Hill Rd. in Old Saybrook where a large tent was erected to provide seating, a refreshment area and space for a band. All guests other than VIPs were ferried on school buses from the M & J Bus Depot on Ingham Hill Rd. to the site.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy addresses the large audience.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy addresses the large audience.

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna spoke briefly followed by Governor Dannel Malloy. “The Preserve is no longer the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, because it’s now protected,” said Malloy, stating emphatically, “This is a monument to Connecticut and who we are and what we are … part of history is now permanently preserved.”

US Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks.

Blumenthal enthused, “There is no way to describe in words the stunning beauty of this land,” continuing, “It will now be enjoyed by our children and our children’s children.” Prompting ripples of laughter, he also apologized with tongue in cheek to, “… all the golfers who will never have the benefit of playing on the golf courses,” that were once planned for the area.

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller (D-36) has been deeply involved in the project to protect ‘The Preserve.’

Also sharing the celebration and offering thanks to the many thousands of individuals and organizations who helped make saving “The Preserve” possible were Connecticut State TPL Director Alicia Sullivan; Speaker of the House and State Representative Brendan Sharkey (D-88); State Representative Phil Miller (D-36); DEEP Policy Director Jessie Stratton; and TPL President and CEO Will Rogers.

Crowds gather to celebrate the successful conservation of 'The Preserve' at Great Cedars, Old Saybrook

Crowds gather to celebrate the successful conservation of ‘The Preserve’ at Great Cedars, Old Saybrook.

Refreshments, speeches and award presentations were followed by a ceremonial ribbon-cutting by Governor Malloy and Senator Blumenthal against the striking back-drop of the green trees of “The Preserve” and a brilliant blue sky.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (left) chats with State Representative Phil Miller after the ribbon-cutting.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (left) chats with State Representative Phil Miller after the ribbon-cutting.

The celebration marks the culmination of 15 years of hard work, fund-raising and collaboration by an enormous number of individuals, local, state and federal organizations and public figures. Blumenthal remarked that he was reminded of a favorite quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt the ability of a small group of intelligent, committed people to change the world – it is the only thing that ever has.”

Rounding off the official part of the ceremony, Rogers noted, “The Trust for Public Land has always referred to ‘The Preserve’ project as the Holy Grail,” adding with a broad smile, “We have now found the Holy Grail.”

From Blues to Classical Guitar: Four Collomore Concerts at Chester Meeting House This Fall 

Robbie Collomore SeriesCHESTER — For its 42nd season, the Robbie Collomore Music Series will offer all four of its concerts in the fall, between Sept. 27 and Nov. 29. As always, the Collomore Committee, chaired by Martin Nadel, has chosen a mix of music genres for the season. All four concerts will be on Sundays at 5 p.m. in the Chester Meeting House.

Beginning the season, on Sept. 27, is the Barbara and Edmund Delaney Young Artists Concert. Cellist Julia Bruskin debuted with the Boston Symphony at age 17 and now performs as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and internationally as a soloist. She will perform in Chester with her husband, Aaron Wunsch, an internationally known pianist and a member of the Juilliard piano faculty.

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton takes center stage on Oct. 18.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Paxton, age 26, is “virtually the only music-maker of his generation—playing guitar, banjo, piano and violin, among other implements—to fully assimilate the blues idiom of the 1920s and ‘30s.”

The Hot Club of Detroit, a jazz ensemble specializing in the Gypsy jazz sound made famous by guitarist Django Reinhardt, performs on Nov. 8, followed on Nov. 29 by classical guitarist Jorge Caballero. He is the youngest musician and the only guitarist to win the Naumburg International Competition, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards given to performers of any instrument.

Buy a season subscription and save money, plus you’ll be certain you will have a seat even when the concert is sold out. A subscription to all four concerts is just $72 (that’s four concerts for the price of three). Individual concert tickets cost $24. For students from elementary through graduate school, a subscription is $15. A student ticket for just one concert is $5. Tickets can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal. All ticket-holders are invited to stay for a reception after the concert to meet the performers. For more information, check the website or call 860-526-5162.

Photo: Check your calendars and order your season subscription for this year’s Collomore Concerts! All the info is on the website.

Deep River Historical Society Hosts Cartoonist C.D. Batchelor Exhibit Open This Weekend

Self portrait by C.D. Batchelor.

Self portrait by C.D. Batchelor.

DEEP RIVER  — Viewed by millions daily in The New York Daily News and syndicated in 1,000 newspapers across the country, the work of C.D. Batchelor was thought-provoking and challenged the reader to draw his own conclusions.

Batchelor was hired by The New York Daily News in 1931 and his strong, graphic cartoons filled the upper-right columns of the editorial page, seven days a week for the next 25 years. He was the first political cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and by 1947 his work was circulated to nearly three million readers.

Funded in part by a grant from the Connecticut Humanities, the Deep River Historical Society invites you to step into his world, view a collection of his work that spanned 40 of the most turbulent years in U.S. history.

The exhibit titled, “Draw Your Own Conclusions: The Political Cartoons of C.D. Batchelor,” will be open at the Stone House of the Deep River Historical Society at 245 Main Street, Deep River on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. through the months of July and August.

Also in the Stone House are Victorian furniture, historic paintings, and collections of Deep River businesses and products including Niland cut glass, and ivory products of Pratt, Read & Co.   Visitors may also see the last remaining restored bleach house for piano keys.

All are welcome and admission is free.

One of C.D. Batchelor's famous cartoons.

One of C.D. Batchelor’s famous cartoons.

Editor’s Note: Connecticut Humanities, a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supports cultural and historic organizations that tell the state’s stories, build community and enrich lives.

Burt’s Photo Exhibit, ‘Hidden Lives of Baby Wetland Birds,’ on Show at CT River Museum

Tri-colored heron ©Wm Burt  (15.2 x 20)

Tri-colored heron ©Wm Burt (15.2 x 20)

ESSEX — An exhibition of photos by William Burt titled, “Water Babies – The Hidden Lives of Baby Wetland Birds,” is on show at the Connecticut River Museum through Oct. 12at the Connecticut River Museum.  This is the fourth of William Burt’s photo exhibitions, each based on one of his books, to show at the Museum.

The exhibition features 40 framed archival pigment prints, all made by the photographer, and 18 text panels quoting passages from the book of the same name.  The pieces are sequenced such that every “water baby” is juxtaposed with the adult bird it becomes.

For 40 years, photographer William Burt has chased after the birds few people see: first rails, then bitterns, nightjars, and other skulkers – and now these, elusive creatures of a very different kind: the Water Babies.  They are the subjects of his coming book, and also this exhibition at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex. The book will be published in October 2015 by W. W. Norton/Countryman.

Red-necked phalarope  ©Wm Burt

Red-necked phalarope ©Wm Burt

The “babies” are the downy young of ducks, grebes, gallinules and shorebirds, herons, and other wetland birds – those that get their feet wet, as it were – and challenging they are, to birder and photographer alike: quick-footed, wary, and well-camouflaged, to say the least; and temporary.

You have only a week or two each year in which to find them.  But above all else, they are endearing.  From the comic-monster herons to the fuzzy ducklings and stick-legged sandpipers, these tots have personality, and spunk.  You see it in their faces, each and every one.

To find these youngsters and adults, Burt prowled their wetland breeding grounds each spring and summer for some seven years, all over North America, from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico.  The result is a portrait of these wild birds of the wetlands as both young and old, unknown and known, new and familiar.

Burt is a naturalist, writer, and photographer with a passion for wild places and elusive birds – especially marshes, and the shy birds within.  His feature stories are seen in Smithsonian, Audubon, National Wildlife, and other magazines, and he has written three previous books: Shadowbirds (1994); Rare & Elusive Birds of North America (2001); and Marshes: The Disappearing Edens (2007).

Burt’s photo exhibitions have been shown at some 35 museums across the U.S. and Canada.  He lives in Old Lyme, Conn.

For more information on this and other museum programs, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or visit  www.ctrivermuseum.org.

Ivoryton Hosts Village Farmers Market Each Saturday

IVORYTON — Fresh produce and products are again offered on Saturdays through Oct 10, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Ivoryton Green, Main St, next to the Ivoryton
Playhouse.

Local vendors provide Connecticut-grown produce, baked goods, honey, meat, fish, cheese crafts and more.

Live music is provided each week.

For more information, visit www.ivorytonfarmersmarket.com