November 19, 2017

Tomorrow, Chester Historical Society Hosts Lecture, Book-Signing by Dr. Gary Ford, Author of Constance Baker Motley Book

Photo Credit: Library of Congress Prints, Courtesy of the Author

CHESTER — On Sunday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m. at the Chester Museum at the Mill, the Historical Society will host a lecture and book signing by Dr. Gary Ford Jr, author of the just published book, Constance Baker Motley: One Woman’s Fight for Civil Rights and Equal Justice Under Law (University of Alabama Press)The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Ford, a professor of Africana Studies at CUNY’s Lehman College, with degrees from Harvard and Columbia Law School, will offer a treasure trove of exciting new facts, stories and unique insights into Motley’s unrecognized and under-represented contributions to the civil rights movement, and ultimately, her significance in American history.

According to Ford, Motley was a key strategist and brilliant courtroom litigator for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the only woman on its legal team.  “As such,” said Ford, “she was the person most often sent to the South, and the one to argue the difficult and important desegregation cases involving public schools, colleges, universities, housing, transportation, parks, and other places of public accommodation.”

Between 1946 and 1964, she litigated and won over 200 desegregation and discrimination cases across 11 southern states at every court level, including the U.S. Supreme Court, where she became the first African American woman to argue a case.

“Winning those cases,” says Ford, “was an integral part of the civil rights movement. The cases legally ended Jim Crow in the South and created a sea change in both the law and public perception, but went under-represented in traditional narratives of civil rights history.”

Ford argues in his book that Motley’s quiet courtroom battles were essential to the success of the street protests, sit-ins and marches because they turned those public campaigns for integration, equal rights and equal access, into codified American law. “This was Motley’s great, but little understood contribution to American history,” said Ford.

Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005), a native of New Haven was a resident of Chester for 40 years, and had a seasonal home on Cedar Lake Road. She was an active member of the community, who involved herself in preserving local history. Her part-time residence in Chester coincided with her second career as a distinguished Federal Judge in the Federal District Court of NY, (1966-2005), appointed in 1966 as the first African American woman by Pres. Lyndon Johnson. She spent weekends, summer vacations and holidays in Chester.

Prior to her Chester house purchase in 1965, Motley briefly entered public service (1964-1966), first as a state Senator from New York, and then as President of the Manhattan Borough Council, both firsts for an African American woman. Before that, she spent 20 years in the South as the chief litigator for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund arguing the most important desegregation cases that arose from the 1954 Brown vs Board of Education ruling that declared separate but equal unconstitutional. (See boxed civil rights history below).

As an African American woman, Motley broke countless barriers and raised the glass ceiling for all women. Her path-breaking work was honored when she was inducted into the National and Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame (1993 and 1998 respectively), and awarded the Presidential Citizen Medal of Honor (2001). Her autobiography, Equal Justice Under Law, (Giroux, 1998) has been in constant circulation.

This past summer, the Chester Land Trust acquired her 8-acre property off Cedar Lake Road, and dedicated the land as the Constance Baker Motley Preserve to honor and commemorate her life. Since her death in 2005, the Chester Rotary has provided a summer scholarship in her name to a child from New Haven to attend Camp Hazen in Chester, one of the earliest integrated YMCA camps in Connecticut, financed by her own New Haven benefactor, Clarence Blakeslee, who supported her education at NYU and Columbia Univ.

Last June, the Chester Historical Society, of which Judge Motley was a founding Trustee in 1970, mounted its first exhibit about her life at their Museum at the Mill. That exhibit will serve as the backdrop for Dr. Ford’s lecture and offer the last opportunity to view it before the Museum closes for the winter. The exhibit, also includes the celebrated documentary on her life (Justice is a Black Woman) produced by Dr. Ford and Quinnipiac University in 2012, and which airs annually on PBS.

Ford’s popular video on Motley—Justice Is a Black Woman—produced at Quinnipiac University in 2012, and shown on PBS, will also be available as part of the Motley exhibit currently on view at the Museum.

The Museum at the Mill is located at 9 West Main St (Route 148) in Chester. (Attendees should park in the Chester Library parking lot just up the hill from the Museum.)

For directions to the Chester Museum at the Mill, 9 West Main St (Route 148), click here

For more information, contact: Marta Daniels at marta.daniels@snet.net or 860-343-3191

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Sen. Formica Welcomes Old Saybrook North Cove Dredging Project

From left to right, State Rep. Devin Carney, CT Ports Authority Chair Scott Bates, State Senator Paul Formica, and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

OLD SAYBROOK – State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) joined the Connecticut Port Authority alongside state and local officials on Nov. 14 to announce the start of the North Cove dredging project in Old Saybrook.

At a press conference at the Vicky Duffy Pavilion at Saybrook Point, officials detailed the project, overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, intended to boost maritime activity and business in the Old Saybrook area. 

“Growing our maritime industry is an economic catalyst to development in our cities, towns and communities throughout the state,” said Sen. Formica. “This is an investment that will lead to new opportunities for business development and job growth. I thank all those who have worked hard to launch this project, including all the efforts by the Connecticut Port Authority, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact of a strengthened port system throughout Connecticut.”

The North Cove Federal Navigation Dredging Project will remove 290,000 cubic yards of fine grain sediments to restore the width and depth authorized throughout the cove and its entrance channel.

The Connecticut Port Authority will invest $4.3 million in this project to make all moorings available for use and increase vessel safety and access to the cove at all tide levels.

According to the Connecticut Port Authority, river flows and natural tidal actions have deposited significant shoals in both the cove and the channels, in some areas reducing depth to as little as 4 feet. The entrance channel is authorized to 11 feet and the anchorage area is authorized to both 11 feet and 6 feet at different locations. All three areas will be restored to their authorized levels. The dredged material has been analyzed and determined suitable for deposit in the Central Long Island Sound Disposal Site.

The Connecticut Port Authority was created in 2014 that is responsible for marketing and coordinating the development of the state’s ports and maritime economy.

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Local History Adds to Memories for Thanksgiving Visitors

Entertain the kids during the Thanksgiving break with a visit to one or more of the local museums. It’s a great chance to get them away from one of their electronic devices.

AREAWIDE — College students home over the Thanksgiving break? House guests who have eaten more turkey than they wanted to and looking for something to do? Free entertainment and getting to know more about our local towns can all be accomplished during the extended hours at the Chester, Deep River and Essex historic museums and houses. Such a welcome alternative to dealing with crowds at the malls!

For the fifth year in a row, the historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex are helping you entertain your guests on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Chester Historical Society president Skip Hubbard said, “This year will be the fifth year our museums have been open over Thanksgiving and it’s become a popular thing to do.  Some people even visit more than one of the three sites. The combination of free admission, rekindling memories and learning more about the local area can be hard to resist.”

The Chester Museum at The Mill, at 9 West Main St., Chester, will be open both Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House, at 245 Main Street in Deep River, will be open on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Essex Historical Society’s historic Pratt House, located at 19 West Avenue in Essex, also will be open to visitors Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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12th Annual Black Friday Concert at the Kate Benefits Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Nov. 24 

The Ebin-Rose Trio plays in the Black Friday Concert at the Kate.

OLD SAYBROOK – Local musicians come together at the Kate on Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. for the annual Black Friday Concert to benefit the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries (SSKP). Now in its 12th year, this concert has become a community tradition and a wonderful event that embodies the season of giving.

With an emphasis on melody, lyricism and harmony The Ebin-Rose Trio, Carter Gowrie, Leonard Wyeth, Ian Meadows, and Lauren Agnelli will perform with special guests. Brian Wolfe of the Ebin-Rose Trio and Len Wyeth have been organizing the concert since its inception in 2006.

“We’re very happy to be hosting this special concert again in support of such a magnificent organization,” said Brett Elliott, Executive Director, the Kate. “It’s always a special night when local artists take the stage, but when they do so to give back to the community, it’s the perfect occasion to partner and kick off the holiday season of giving.”

Last year, the SSKP distributed enough food for over 1 million meals through five pantries and nine hot meal sites to people in need in the towns of Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Essex, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Lyme, Deep River, Chester, and Killingworth. This year, the number of meals needed on the shoreline has risen over nine percent.

“The financial support we receive through this wonderful concert and the generous Gowrie Group Challenge match allows SSKP to meet the needs of the community. Thank you to all of the musicians for their time and talent and to our friends at the Kate,” said Ellen Rabin, Executive Director, SSKP.

The concert is generously sponsored by Wyeth Architects LLC and AcousticMusic.Org and all proceeds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Gowrie Group Challenge. Every year between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, Gowrie Group, Connecticut’s largest independent insurance agency, challenges their local community of businesses and friends to team together to raise money to benefit SSKP.

Tickets are $25 and can purchased online through www.thekate.org or by calling the box office at 877-503-1286.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “the Kate,” is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Kate has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees.

It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on more than 250 days each year. For more information on tickets for any shows at the Kate, please visit www.thekate.org or call the Box Office at 877-503-1286.

SSKP is an interfaith service that provides food and fellowship to those in need and educates our community on hunger and poverty. The mission is to provide food and fellowship to those in need and educate our community about hunger and poverty. SSKP provides enough food for over 1 million meals each year. This includes home-style meals served each day at one of nine meal sites, weekly groceries available at five food pantries, and frozen and microwaveable meals prepared by Heat & Eat kitchens. SSKP is an interfaith ministry with all locations hosted by faith communities. For additional information, please visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org

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Letter to the Editor: Time for Democracy, Support the National Popular Vote

To the Editor:

This past Election Day, we took for granted that our votes would matter and the local candidates receiving the most votes would be the winner. That’s the way it works for every election in the U.S., except for president.

With winner-take-all Electoral College voting, a dozen battleground states with only 33% of the population decide who becomes president. Twice in the last 17 years, the loser of the popular vote became the winner. That doesn’t make sense.

Fortunately, there is a solution. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a nonpartisan plan to make everyone’s vote for president matter equally—regardless of whether they’re in a blue, red or battleground state—and to make the winner the candidate with the most votes.

The NPV Compact is an agreement among states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. It kicks in as soon as states with a combined 270 electoral votes sign on, ensuring the popular vote will always pick the president. Eleven states with a combined 165 electoral votes have already signed on.

Our state legislature has considered joining the Compact five times since 2009. Last session, there were 68 co-sponsors of the NPV bill, more than ever before. It will be introduced again in 2018. If you agree that the candidate with the most votes nationwide should become the president, contact your state legislators and ask them to support it.

This isn’t a partisan issue. A switch of 60,000 Ohio voters in 2014 would have put Kerry in the White House, despite three million more votes cast for Bush. The NPV is not a Democratic plan: in 2014 Newt Gingrich strongly endorsed it. With a national popular vote, every vote would matter, not just those in twelve states. It’s time for a change, time for democracy.

Sincerely,

Marta Daniels
Chester.

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It’s Holmes for the Holidays! Final Weekend to see ‘The Game’s Afoot’ at Ivoryton Playhouse

Hard at work in a rehearsal for ‘The Game’s Afoot’ are, from left to right, Katrina Ferguson, Michael Iannucci, Molly Densmore, Erik Bloomquist, Craig McDonald and Maggie McGlone Jennings. Photos by Anne Hudson.

IVORYTON – On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Ivoryton Playhouse continues the Halloween season with a murderously funny thriller set in William Gillette’s Connecticut Castle – Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot.

It is December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his theatrical portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears.

In the vein of the best “whodunit” murder mysteries, the plot takes many twists and turns. The dialogue is witty and face-paced; there’s suspense within the laughter and even when you think you’ve figured out who the bad guy is, you will start to question yourself when the plot takes an unexpected twist.

An intense moment during a rehearsal for Victoria Bundonis and Craig McDonald.

The Cleveland Examiner writes about The Game’s Afoot, “From the intriguing opening mini play within a play to the surprise last scene a split second before final curtain, The Game’s Afoot gives you everything you love about great live theatre. Billed as a comedy thriller you will find yourself swept along for a wild and funny ride.”

The Game’s Afoot is directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Jacqueline Hubbard and features Ivoryton favorites Erik Bloomquist, Victoria Bundonis*, Katrina Ferguson*, Michael Iannucci*, Maggie McGlone Jennings and Beverley J. Taylor, as well as Craig McDonald*, making his Playhouse debut as William Gillette and Molly Densmore* as the beautiful Aggie.

Set design is by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, sound by Tate R. Burmeister and costume design by Kathleen T. Gephart.

The Game’s Afoot opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse runs through Nov. 19. 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 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

 

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Reserve Tickets Now for Essex Steam Train’s ‘Santa Special,’ Starts Friday

Such fun aboard the Santa Special!

ESSEX — All aboard the Santa Special for a one-of-a-kind, daytime holiday experience. Make sure you’re camera-ready for that special moment when Santa and Mrs. Claus visit each child! Enjoy the spirit of the season as you relax with family and friends aboard festive railway cars adorned with vintage decorations.

•       Tickets are $24/coach, $40/first class (individual armchair seats with cash beverage service). Reindeer Breakfast upgrade is available on Santa Special days from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for $15 adults / $5 children (age 1-6).
•       Dates: November 24-26December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23
•       Departure times: 9:30 a.m.10:00 a.m.11:00 a.m.11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. & 1 p.m.
•       Rudolph and Pablo the Penguin will be on board to spread holiday cheer.
•       Each child receives a small holiday gift from Santa’s Elves!
•       Special Christmas performance by Sunny Train on Nov. 24, 25, 26 and Dec. 2,3,9,10,16,17, and 23. Shows are at 9:30, 10 & 11:30 am12:15 and 1 pm.
•       Write and Mail your “Letter to Santa” at Santa’s Post Office.
•       Take your family pictures in Santa’s sleigh.
•       Visit “Create a Card!” Station
•       Enjoy fresh baked cookies & other goodies in the Klaus Kitchen.

Visit essexsteamtrain.com/seasonal-excursions/santa-special for tickets and more information!

Tickets:
https://essex-steam-train-riverboat.myshopify.com/collections/select_santaspecial-11-2017
Location: Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, 1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT, 06426
Contact: Pam Amodio
Phone: 860.767.0103
Email: pamodio@essexsteamtrain.com
Price range: $24-$55. $24/coach, $40/first class. Reindeer Breakfast upgrade available for $15/adult, $5/child (age 1-6)

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Child & Family Hosts Essex Holiday House Tour, Dec. 9

File photo of a beautifully decorated home from the 2015 tour.

ESSEX — Saturday, Dec. 9, will highlight a memorable stroll through Essex, one of New England’s most picturesque towns, for its 14th biennial holiday house tour.  Created and organized by the Essex auxiliary of the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT, the tour consists of seven distinctive private homes beautifully decorated for the holidays, the Essex Historical Society properties, and the Connecticut River Museum with Steve Cryan’s special holiday train show.  The Essex Art Association will also offer free chili.

Home base for the tour will be the Essex Town Hall at 29 West Avenue, where tickets may be purchased or picked up, and where there will be a large Boutique with vendors offering clothing, jewelry, gifts, home décor items, holiday arrangements and other alluring items.  Several drawings for donations by the vendors will be held here at the end of the day, and, during the day, Santa’s Café will offer snacks and refreshments.  The Boutique will be open from 9:30 to 5:00, and admission is free.

Tickets for the tour are $30 in advance, $35 the day of the tour.  Checks payable to Child & Family Agency may be sent to:  Essex Holiday House Tour, 168 River Road, Essex, CT 06426.

Tickets are also available in advance at www.childandfamilyagency.org; at the Griswold Inn Store, One North Main, and Walker Loden in Essex; Centerbrook Cheese Shop in Centerbrook; Saybrook Country Barn in Old Saybrook; Lark in Chester; Celebrations in Deep River; Bowerbird in Old Lyme; Walker Loden in Madison and New Haven; and the Child & Family Agency in New London, (806)443-2896, ext. 1403.

All proceeds from the tour go to funding Child & Family Agency’s programs addressing the mental health, educational, and healthcare needs of children and their families to promote the well-being and development of all children.

Services are offered from birth through high school in southeastern Connecticut and include child guidance, early childhood development, and after-school academic, recreational, and artistic activities.  Adult services include parenting education as well as prevention training for scholars and professional practitioners.  Healthcare services address both physical and mental health issues facing children.  Office-based, community-based, and home-based mental health services are available from New Haven to Stonington, and 14 school-based health centers provide healthcare options to children in Waterford, New London, Groton, Norwich, and Stonington. Child Guidance centers are based in Essex, New London, and Groton.

Last year, with a professional staff of more than 190, Child & Family provided services to over 18,000 children and their families in 79 towns in New Haven, Middlesex, and New London Counties.

In other words, your enjoyment of the Essex Holiday House Tour will benefit thousands of children in our neighborhoods, so come and help us celebrate the holidays by exploring lovely historic homes, including a mansion, in a picture-book setting!

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Essex Elementary School Foundation Kicks Off Annual Appeal


ESSEX —
The Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF) is kicking off its annual appeal and needs your help.  This not-for-profit, volunteer organization provides funds for enrichment programs and tools at EES.  Examples include a 3D printer, an iPad lab, the Justus W. Paul World Cultures Days and an Engineering with Legos program.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, members met in the school’s media center to stuff envelopes, all part of the foundation’s annual direct mail campaign to Essex area residents and businesses.  In the photo above, board members Chet Kitchings, Marta Collins, Sarah Whitney, Linda Reamer and Bill Jacaruso are seen stuff envelopes.

Send donations to Essex Elementary School Foundation, P.O. Box 882, Essex, CT 06426.

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Kick off the Holidays with ‘Trees in the Rigging,’ Nov. 26; Register Boats by Monday

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights. Photo by Jody Dole.

ESSEX – Kick off the holiday season in Essex with the annual Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Lighted Boat Parade.   The Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Board of Trade, and the Essex Historical Society combine to present this annual event that includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down Main Street where spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns or flashlights and join in with the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars.

Participants can gather at the Essex Town Hall at 4 p.m. The stroll steps off at 4:30 p.m. beginning on West Avenue and ending at the Connecticut River Museum with a parade of vessels dressed out in holiday lights and passing in review along the Connecticut River.  Santa and his elves will arrive by one of the parade boats for visits with children on the lawn of the Connecticut River Museum. The Connecticut River Museum will also be open that evening for all to attend the 24th Annual Holiday Train Show at a reduced admission of $6.

Register Your Boat for the Lighted Boat Parade

A critical and crowd-pleasing part of this free community event is the parade of boats dressed in holiday lights that sail along Essex’s waterfront. The decorated boats are part of a friendly competition.  A modest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize will be awarded to the best dressed boats. Winners will be invited to receive their prize and participate in a photo-op on Monday, Nov. 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum.

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 p.m. from the south end of Essex Harbor. To register, send emails to: kperkins@ctrivermuseum.org. Information should include: vessel name; type of boat and description; owner(s) name; contact information (phone and preferred email); decorating scheme (if known at time of registration). Registration must be received by Monday, Nov. 20 at 4:30 p.m.  

To make your own lanterns at home:
Step 1: fill an empty aluminum can with water and freeze. This will make it easier to punch holes for the design in the can.
Step 2: using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the can to make a connect-the-dots style picture of a holiday design. Use plenty of holes to allow the light to shine through.
Step 3: punch two holes near the rim to attach a wire handle.
Step 4: after the ice is melted, attach a votive or other small candle to the inside bottom of the can.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860.767.8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

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Democrats Sweep First Selectmen Positions Across Tri-Town Region, Republican Fortuna Keeps Top Job in Saybrook

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (File photo)

AREAWIDE — Perhaps reflecting the mood of the country in Tuesday’s elections, Democrats locally retained control of the majority of seats of government in the Tri-Town area.

Democrat incumbent Norm Needleman convincingly won a fourth term as First Selectman in Essex with an almost 2 to 1 majority of 1,509 votes over Republican challenger Vin Pacileo’s 772.  Needleman is joined again on the board of selectmen by fellow Democrat Stacia Libby (1,204 votes) and Republican Bruce Glowac (1,047 votes)

Needleman’s 737 majority over Pacileo was far higher than the 80-vote margin he achieved over Glowac in 2015, and also in 2011 when, in his first contested election, he defeated Bruce MacMillian by over 400 votes. Needleman was uncontested by town Republicans for a second term in 2013.

Glowac had previously served as first selectman from 1991-1995.

In Deep River, where all three board of selectmen candidates were unopposed, incumbent Democrat Angus L. McDonald, Jr. won 804 votes to be returned as first selectman. He is joined by fellow Democrat incumbent Duane Gates (D) with 601 votes and newcomer William L. Burdick (R), who polled 360 votes.

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek (File photo)

Chester saw another incumbent Democrat Lauren Gister re-elected to the position of first selectwoman with a strong showing of 797 votes, representing a more than 2 to 1 margin over Republican challenger Carolyn Linn (360 votes). Gister’s fellow incumbent Democrat Selectwoman Charlene Janecek, who polled only 32 votes less than Gister, also retains her seat on  the board.  The third member of the board will be Republican James Grzybowski, who defeated Linn by just three votes.

The only Republican success in the area was incumbent Carl Fortuna’s re-election in Old Saybrook with 1,911 votes over Democrat Stephen Sheehan, who polled 1,220 votes. Joining Fortuna on the board will be Republican Scott Giegerich  (1,688 votes) and Democrat Carol Conklin with 1,398 votes.

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Letter From Paris: Sexual Harassment Scandal in US Reverberates Around the World

Nicole Prévost Logan

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal exploded in the Hollywood world, last September, who could have ever expected  the groundswell it is sending around the world, or at least the Western world.  All of a sudden, in the media, the social networks, and all the way up to the highest political spheres of government, it has triggered a deluge of testimonies from women who have been the victims of all forms of unpunished harassment and kept silent until now.  Debates and commentaries are occupying the news by storm.

In Le Monde of Oct. 22,  a headline in huge letters read, La Parole Liberée (The liberated voice.)  A psychologist writes, “Today shame seems to have changed camp.”  What took place in  the workplace,  the street and on public transport, is now being brought out in the open.  This situation has been going on for a long time.  Years ago, my three daughters were boarders in an American high school in Rome.  Their description of the behavior of Italian males preying on women was almost a caricature of what seems to be a national pastime.

A hashtag, crudely worded, #balancetonporc (expose your pig), created by a French journalist living in New York turned viral within five hours.  It is a website where women can talk anonymously and denounce their rapist.  The slogan #moiaussi (equivalent to #meetoo  in the US) provoked millions of reactions.  It is not the creation of a feminist group, but just happened spontaneously.    

In the French workplace, one of five women was subjected to harassment in 2014 but only 5 percent brought their case to justice.  In 2016, 216,000 complaints were registered.  A majority of women plaintiffs lose their job in the process.

Harvey Weinstein

The complicity of men as co-workers or business collaborators contributes to the vulnerability of the victims.  The rapid downfall of Harvey Weinstein can be explained by his failing company and the disappearance of his supporters.    

On Oct. 26, the deputies of the European parliament in Strasbourg voted overwhelmingly (by 580 votes to 10, with 26 abstentions) in support of a resolution condemning all forms of harassment.  A legal inquiry has just been launched to investigate the numerous cases involving  5,000 parliamentary assistants (mostly female.)

Bringing aggression and rapes by an influential personality into the open is like a bombshell.  Such is the case of Tarik Ramadam – a Swiss Islamic scholar of Egyptian origin – accused by two women.  Grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder, he teaches the precepts of radical Islam from his Qatari-financed chair at Oxford.  One can imagine the ripple effect the recent accusations of rape will have on the large audiences of followers, who consider him as a guru. 

This week the retrospective of Roman Polanski ‘s films was met with demonstrations in Paris.  Although a brilliant movie director,  who showed his last film at the Cannes Festival, his way of denying  and belittling the women accusing him of rape, makes it difficult to separate the artist from the man.

Marlen Schiappa, the French Secretary of State for Equality between Women and Men, is working on legislation to criminalize street harassment.  However, like other societal problems, new legislation will not be enough to sanction this unacceptable reality, but when millions of women break the taboos by speaking up, this may bring about real change.

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Tickets on Sale Now for 10th Anniversary Season of ‘Music & More 2018’

The Maccabeats, who will be performing at CBSRZ, March 11, 2018.

CHESTER — Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s (CBSRZ) Music & More (M&M) 10th anniversary season 2018 is set to bring a diverse entertainment package to the shoreline community. For a decade the Music & More series has been known for first class entertainment offerings presenting artists with a broad spectrum of music from classical, folk and jazz to a cappella and has distinguished CBSRZ as a vibrant and significant cultural center. For this M&M 10th anniversary season, CBSRZ is changing it up just a little to present even more entertainment.

Kicking off the M&M series something familiar, something peculiar Comedy Tonight!, on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 8:00 pm. The CBSRZ stage will be transformed into a New York comedy club featuring Alexandra McHale and Johnny Lampert, both veterans of Comedy Central, network TV, casinos, and the NYC comedy club circuit. This show is for audiences of 18 years old and older. Adult beverages will be served. Doors will open at 7:00 pm for a pre-show reception.

Back from last year’s extremely popular performance, The Maccabeats return on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 4 p.m. to the M&M stage. The Maccabeats are the premier a cappella group from Brooklyn who are a social media sensation with their inspirational and infectious brand of entertainment. Using nothing more than the unadulterated human voice, a clean-cut presentation, and a little Jewish humor, this unique group of singers is able to connect with fans of all ages. Doors will open at 3pm There will be a reception following the concert for a chance to meet and greet the band.

Described as is an imaginative and dynamic new force on the national bluegrass scene, The Lonely Heartstring Band will bring their unique brand of music to the M&M stage on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 4:00 pm. This multi-talented group of musicians are a classic Bluegrass quintet combining soulful instrumental virtuosity with soaring three-part harmonies.

“This unique anniversary season offers a tremendous entertainment package that I believe has something for everyone,” comments David Zeleznik, producer of Music & More and member of CBSRZ.

A season subscription through advance ticketing for the three show Music & More series can be purchased at a savings of a 14% discount by visiting www.cbsrz.org/events or through the Music & More at CBSRZ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/music.more.cbsrz. For more information call the CBSRZ office at 860-326-8920 or through email at office@cbsrz.org.

Performances are held at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 E. Kings Highway, Chester, Connecticut.

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Essex Steam Train & Riverboat Welcomes Reservations for Groups to ‘Carol for a Cause’

AREAWIDE — This holiday season brings a new program – “Caroling For A Cause” to the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat.

Created as an opportunity for local non-profits, school groups, families, church choirs and other organizations to raise funds for their favorite charity, this program will also bring additional cheer and holiday spirit to the railroad’s Reindeer Breakfast and Santa Special events.

As “street-singers for donations,” groups volunteering to sing their favorite holiday songs will keep 100 percent of the donations they collect to give to the charity of their choice.  Additionally, as thanks for their participation, the Essex Steam Train will also make a $100 donation to the chosen charity.

Two-hour performance slots are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., on a first-come, first-served basis.

Professional training or talent are not required – only an enthusiasm for the holiday season and a desire to help a worthwhile charity.

For further information or to reserve your group’s spot, contact Pam Amodio at 860-767-0103, Ext 217 or email at pamodio@essexsteamtrain.com.

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