October 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Letter to the Editor: LVVS Thanks Shoreline Web News for Supporting Recent Fundraiser

To the Editor:

In our original letter regarding Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore’s Wine and Brew Tasting and Auction benefitting the organization’s tutoring program we set out to thank those responsible for the success of the event. The event, held on September 29th at the Saybrook Point Pavilion netted funds that will help L.V.V.S. continue the mission of eradicating illiteracy in the valley shore area well into 2017.

Many of our sponsors have longstanding relationships with our agency and support the work of eliminating illiteracy through a number of means. It has come to our attention that we inadvertently left off one of the most loyal and steadfast partners from that letter. Nigel and Olwen Logan of Shoreline Web News LLC provided LVVS with coverage and an ad for our fundraiser worth far in excess of the $200 normal ad space charge. We thank them for their continued support and for the fine work they do in covering area news and events.

Our agency exists because volunteers and sponsors, such as Shoreline Web News make it possible for us to raise the funds to help area residents improve their lives. Readers and advertsers can help in that work by supporting those businesses who are committed to causes such as this.

Thank You!


John J. Ferrara

Editor’s Note: The author is the Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc.


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

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

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

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

Not a Single Sign for Hillary?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

To the Editor:

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

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

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


Lauren S. Gister,

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


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

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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


Leigh Balducci,
Deep River.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Jeffrey Swann

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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


Ted Taigen,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Country School Begins Year on High Note with Jump in Enrollment, New Facilities

A new academic year all-school photo  of The Country School taken on the school's new athletic fields.  Photo by Joseph's Photography, Inc.

A new academic year all-school photo of The Country School taken on the school’s new athletic fields. Photo by Joseph’s Photography, Inc.

AREAWIDE – The Country School kicked off the new school year having reached two major milestones before even opening its doors. This summer, the coeducational, independent day school celebrated the opening of its new, state-of-the-art recreational facility and broke ground on the second phase of Shaping the Future, the school’s 60th anniversary campus transformation plan. At the same time, The Country School opened with the highest new student enrollment increase in more than a decade, the 50 new students marking a 66 percent increase over last year’s number.

The school’s 60th anniversary, celebrated during the 2015-2016 school year, was a banner year at The Country School. More than 300 members of the school community came together to donate nearly $2 million to support the school’s campus transformation project and other 60th Anniversary initiatives, including increased scholarship support and programmatic enhancements. This marked the largest one-year gift total in the school’s 60-year history.

The campus improvements completed this summer include two full-sized, side-by-side athletic fields, a baseball and softball diamond, the four-court Rothberg Tennis Center, a full-sized outdoor basketball court, new playgrounds, a reconfigured ropes course, an enhanced cross country course, and more. With these new and expanded facilities, the school was able to welcome more than 200 students to campus this summer for its Summer Fun and Learning camp programs and also to coordinate with Madison Racquet & Swim Club for USTA tennis matches. This fall, the town of Madison is using the school’s baseball diamond and RUSH soccer its soccer fields.

Phase 2 of the Shaping the Future project, begun in July, moved vehicular traffic to the periphery of campus, creating a pedestrian village for learning at the center. The plan, designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, enhances academic and collaborative opportunities for students and teachers and makes the traffic pattern simpler and safer for all.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. See our community in action during our Fall Open House on Nov. 6, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.


Walmart Foundation Grant Funds Purchase of New Industrial-Size Dishwasher at ‘The Estuary’

dishwasherOLD SAYBROOK — Through a generous grant from the Walmart Foundation of $25,000, the Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook has been able to replace its aging dishwasher with a state of the art replacement.  The 15-year old machine had been doing its best, but it was becoming an increasing challenge to find replacement parts for the aging machine and also simply to repair it.

The Estuary applied for a grant through the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program and was awarded the money to cover purchase of the new machine and its installation, including the necessary updates to plumbing and electrical, and reworking the stainless table surround to accommodate the new machine.  (See photo at left.)

The new machine is a much higher efficiency model and uses about one third of the water compared to the old machine and is Energy Star-rated for increased utility efficiency.  It also has a higher per load speed and capacity so more dishes can be done in less time.  In addition, it is a high temperature sanitizing machine, which eliminates the need for costly chemicals also.

The Estuary is the regional senior center serving the towns of Clinton, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.  The Estuary served over 55,000 meals in its Meals on Wheels Program last year and served over an additional 20,000 meals at its three congregate meal sites in the nine-town region.  The center also hosts a full range of services, instructional classes, exercise and fitness programs, and opportunities for socialization to local seniors.

The Estuary Council of Seniors extend special thanks to the Walmart Foundation for making possible the purchase and installation of this new piece of equipment — and all the resultant clean dishes for years to come!  The Estuary believes that Walmart is a great community partner in the mission to help those locally in need. 

To find out more about the Estuary Council of Seniors, visit the center at 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook, or www.ecsenior.org or call (860) 388-1611.


Letter to the Editor: Needleman Stands for Sensible Gun Control, Unlike His Opponent

To the Editor:

I am voting for Norm Needleman for State Senate because of his pragmatic and common-sense approach to public service, exemplified by Needleman’s position for sensible gun control.

After the Newtown school massacre of 20 first graders and 6 educators, the NRA ‘robocalled” Newtown residents urging them to oppose gun safety legislation and to contact Senator Linares to mobilize opposition.

The press sought out Linares for an explanation of his role, but he was “unavailable for comment”.  A month later, the legislature overwhelmingly passed “An Act Concerning Gun Violence and Children’s Safety”, drafted by a bipartisan panel and supported by the leadership of both parties.

Linares voted “NO” and never explained why.

In May 2016, despite vehement opposition from the NRA, sensible legislation to stem gun violence, “An Act Concerning Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence” was enacted.  Again Linares voted “NO”, even though there was strong bipartisan support ensuring its passage. Over 20 states have similar statutes.

Linares’s NRA’s high rating is apparently due to his Newtown and domestic violence no votes and his confided answers to their questionnaires.

In my view, most gun owners are responsible and practice careful use of their firearms. The job of our State Senator is to listen to all concerns and recommendations on gun safety and go beyond the extreme positions of the NRA hierarchy, and begin to address the provisions of the General Assembly’s Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention, April 2013.

Norm Needleman is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and not the extreme positions embraced by the NRA and Linares.

Vote for Norm Needleman, whose proven leadership and proven results, in both the public and private sectors are driven by his sensible, compassionate and balanced approach to getting things done.


Ed Meehan,


Sen. Linares, Rep. Carney Say DOT Fare Hikes Symbolize CT’s “Unsustainable Path”

Sen. Art Linares (at podium) on Sept. 1 joined with Rep. Devin Carney (seated in second row) and area commuters attended a public hearing at Old Saybrook Town Hall to testify against the State Department of Transportation’s proposed fare hikes on Connecticut rail commuters. 

Sen. Art Linares (at podium) on Sept. 1 joined with Rep. Devin Carney (seated in second row) and area commuters attended a public hearing at Old Saybrook Town Hall to testify against the State Department of Transportation’s proposed fare hikes on Connecticut rail commuters.

AREAWIDE — Sen. Art Linares and Rep. Devin Carney issued the following statements regarding the state’s decision to hike rail and bus fares Dec. 1 despite vocal opposition from lawmakers and angry commuters:

“Rep. Carney, area commuters and I attended the Sept. 1 fare hike public hearing at Old Saybrook Town Hall to send a clear message,” Sen. Linares said.  “That message was that the overall cost of living in Connecticut continues to grow and grow.  From state tax hikes to health care expenses, costs keep going up year after year.  I hear this every day from people in the communities I represent.

He continued, “That’s why I asked the DOT to not increase fares.  That request fell upon deaf ears, and it really shows how the voices of working families and people on fixed incomes are not being heard by our state government.  Tax hike after tax hike.  Rate hike after rate hike. Fare hike after fare hike.  We need to change course.  We need to get off this unsustainable path.  Rep. Carney and I will continue to be voices for taxpayers and commuters until our message is heard in Hartford.”

Rep. Carney commented, “My concern with the fare hike is twofold. First off, I believe the process was flawed.  The DOT held several public hearings and the point was to hear how this proposal would impact the people. Across the state there was overwhelming opposition to this plan, yet it seems those views fell on very deaf ears and it appears the DOT was just paying lip service. Second, as I stated in my comments, I understand fare hikes will occur from time to time, but rail fares have risen drastically since 2012 due to similar hikes over the past four years.”

He added, “These perpetual increases are unfair to commuters – especially the working class. Utilizing Shoreline East and Metro-North, as opposed to further clogging I-95, is something that the state should promote and encourage – yet I worry that some people may soon be priced out of using these trains as an option.”

Sen. Linares (Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov) represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.  He can be reached at 800 842-1421 or on the web at www.SenatorLinares.com.

Rep. Carney (Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov) represents Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  He can be reached at 800 842 1423 or on the web at www.RepCarney.com.


Letter to the Editor: Why do I Support Needleman? Let me Count the Ways … (With the Editor’s Apologies to The Bard)

To the Editor:

I enthusiastically support Norm Needleman for State Senate because as a business owner and Essex first selectman, Norm knows how to balance a budget, make a payroll and care for hundreds of employees.

Norm’s opponent? He has problems. Art Linares was a Trump delegate at the Republican Convention, and has blatantly reaffirmed his support for Trump in recent days. The question for voters is, why?

The New London Day (October 5, page B3) carried a column calling Linares’ support of Trump the most ludicrous in the state.  It pointed out that Linares’ family business (“Greenskies”, which installs solar panels from China) receives huge state subsidies to encourage renewable energy.  Yet Trump is denier-in-chief that climate change even exists.

Consider also one of Linares’ favorite issues: balancing the budget. Trump’s economic plan is projected by the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget to increase the national deficit by $5.3 trillion over the next 10 years — 26 times more that Clinton’s plan.  How can Linares possibly support that? Norm’s budget-balancing plan for the state is to cut state spending — a good approach.

Next up is Trump’s abhorrent treatment of women, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and immigrants in general, and the GOP/Trump platform’s proposals to end a women’s right to chose, legalize discrimination against gays, toss out campaign finance law, and end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The list goes on and on. Where does Linares stand on these Trump issues?

Trump’s poor record was well-known when Linares became a Trump delegate, long before the recent disclosure of Trump’s vulgar, disgusting tapes about women. Are these the principles and positions Linares stands for, since he continues to support Trump? You bet – that’s why I’m backing Norm!

Arthur Henick,


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

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

All Veterans are encouraged to join the parade.


Community Music School Announces New Faculty Members

CENTERBROOK & EAST LYME – Community Music School (CMS) Community Music School welcomes three area musicians to its faculty: Andrew Janes, who will be teaching trombone and low brass in our Centerbrook location; Matt Massaro, who will be teaching piano in the CMS Centerbrook location; and Marty Wirt, who will be teaching piano and percussion in the CMS East Lyme location.

Andrew Janes – Trombone, Low Brass

Janes is in his second year of study towards a Masters in Instrumental Conducting at UConn, having received a Masters degree in Trombone Performance from UConn in May of 2015. As a graduate teaching assistant, he works with UConn’s athletic bands, the university’s conducting labs, as well as conducting the Symphonic and Concert Bands. Janes received his B.M. from Middle Tennessee State University, where he participated in several summer music festivals, including the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific, (Powell River, British Columbia, CA), the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC), and the Collegium Musicum Program (Pommersfelden, Germany). As a music educator, he has worked as a jazz assistant at the Blue Lake International Fine Arts Camp, held in Muskegon, Michigan, and taught at the Community School for the Arts, in Mansfield, Connecticut.

Matt Massaro – Piano

Massaro has been playing piano for over 20 years. In high school, he was the accompanist for three years for the Pentagle Players choir and he also performed solos in school concerts. He has a B.A. degree in music performance at Central Connecticut State University. At CCSU he studied piano with Dr. Linda Laurent, who received a Masters degree from the Julliard School. He enjoys taking on challenging pieces and has performed in many recitals and concerts at CCSU and for other occasions. Upon completing his degree, Massaro was required to play a solo recital, which was well received by faculty and audience. His most recent achievement was the role of piano soloist for the CCSU sinfonietta in performing the Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major No. 23.

Marty Wirt – Piano, Percussion

Marty is an active and versatile performer and educator.  He began studying piano at age seven, and has since developed a passion for all styles of classical and popular music.  In addition to teaching at Community Music School, Marty is on the music faculty at Mercy High School in Middletown, CT, where he instructs a string orchestra, wind ensemble, and coaches jazz band.  As a performer, he has played for productions at Goodspeed Musicals, the Ivoryton Playhouse, and numerous local venues.  He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and a proud alumnus of CMS.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.


Essex First Selectman Opposes State Takeover of Local Health Departments, Denounces New Cost to Small Towns

Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, Norman Needleman

Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, Norman Needleman.

ESSEX — Earlier this week, State Senate candidate and local businessman Norm Needleman spoke out against the yet-to-be-announced state takeover of local health departments. Needleman opposes the top-down, behind-the-scenes process which includes the elimination of local health departments, the loss of local control, and increased cost to towns in what amounts to a regional property tax.

The draft changes in Connecticut state statutes were distributed to town Health Directors as “draft Local Health Consolidation Statutes” by the Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Public Health Raul Pino.

“This secret state takeover plan is yet another example of the state barreling down the wrong path without input from towns,” said Needleman. “Forced regionalization is terrible policy and causes more unnecessary over-regulation of towns without any proven cost savings. This is a canary in the coal mine for more state and county control.”

Lyme Republican First Selectman Ralph Eno agreed with Needleman.

“I appreciate Norm’s attention to this key issue,” said Eno. “I agree with his position that this is an administrative overreach without any kind of formal hearing process. This is part of what is wrong with state government.”

The changes propose eliminating local health departments and consolidating them under one board and director for each county.

“In Essex we have an efficient and effective Health Department,” said Needleman. “In what world does it make any sense to turn a well managed town office over to the mess in Hartford?”

In addition, the changes propose that each town pay 1.5% of their budget to the new county health department. The draft legislation states: “towns, cities and boroughs of such district appropriate for the maintenance of the health district not less than one and one half percent of their previous fiscal year’s annual operating budgets.”

“As First Selectman of Essex I have kept our Health Department well under 1.5% of our annual town budget with a professionally managed team,” said Needleman. “This proposal will cost more for towns all across the region and amounts to a county tax. If elected State Senator I will fight foolish state overreach like this takeover.”

“The cost is a percentage of the town budget,” said Eno. “So this is a regional property tax to feed the state bureaucracy. Thanks to Norm for being out ahead on this issue and looking forward to his leadership in the State Senate.”

Norm Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing over 225 people. Needleman is in his 3rd term as First Selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003.

“Norm understands the importance of local control as an experienced town leader,” said Campaign Manager Kevin Coughlin. “That is why he has been endorsed by both Republican and Democratic First Selectmen right here in the 33rd district.”

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


Lori Warner Gallery Hosts ‘ART-ISTRY’ Featuring Work of Rau, Steiner

Detail from a featured work by David Rau in the ART-ISTRY exhibition opening Oct. 1 at the Lori Warner Gallery.

Detail from a featured work, ‘Untitled,’ by David Rau in the ART-ISTRY exhibition opening Oct. 1 at the Lori Warner Gallery.

CHESTER — ART-ISTRY, featuring new work by David D. J. Rau and Christopher B. Steiner, opens Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Lori Warner Gallery in Chester with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. to which all are welcome.  On view will be three-dimensional assemblage pieces by Rau, and limited edition prints and original photomontage works by Steiner.

This exhibition will be a very special one since the Lori Warner Gallery invites artists to exhibit their work once per year and the selection process is highly competitive.

David D.J. Rau’s Vintage Hardware Drawer series, was inspired by 14 antique drawers that originally held screws, bolts, and plugs (according to the various labels). Rau transforms them into miniature surreal stage sets using vintage and antique pieces collected over the years. Inspired by the past, his aesthetic combines vintage photography, tattered paper, intriguing ephemera, and antiques into humorous, ironic, and most importantly, beautiful scenes. 

Rau is the Director of Education & Outreach at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Responsible for the public programs and making connections between the art and history and the Museum’s visitors. Rau holds a masters degree in Art History and a certificate of Museum Studies from the University of Michigan. Rau has worked at Cranbrook Art Museum; the Henry Ford Museum and The Currier Gallery of Art. Rau also teaches Museum Studies at Connecticut College.

Detail from "The Fall of Suburban Man" by Christopher Steiner.

Detail from “The Fall of Suburban Man” (2016) by Christopher Steiner.

Christopher B. Steiner has always been partial to artists with “a deep sense of wit and (twisted) humor.” His work has been described as “irreverent parody with a twist of dark absurdity.” Steiner deconstructs iconic or cliché images and well-rehearsed art-historical traditions in order to invite alternative readings. These interventions are meant to surprise, delight, destabilize, and sometimes even shock. His intent is to “reinvigorate familiar images by bringing to them new perspectives and insights through unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur visual tropes”.

Steiner holds an undergraduate degree from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University. He is the Lucy C. McDannel ’22 Professor of Art History and Anthropology at Connecticut College, where he also serves as Founding Director of the Museum Studies Program.

Steiner is also a member of the board of trustees of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, where he was also Interim Director in 2003-04. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Boards of both the Florence Griswold Museum and the Bellarmine Museum at Fairfield University.

The exhibition will be on view through Dec. 1, and is free and open to the public. The Lori Warner Gallery is located at 21 Main St. in Chester, Conn.

For further information, call 860-322-4265, email gallery@loriwarner.com and visit www.loriwarner.com or www.facebook.com/loriwarnergallery/



Essex Garden Club Announces Officers for 2016-2017

FNewly-elected officers of the Essex Garden Club are (from left to right) Pat Mather, Betsy Godsman, Augie Pampel, Barbara Burgess, Barbara Muhlfelder and Judy Greene

Newly-elected officers of the Essex Garden Club are (from left to right) Pat Mather, Betsy Godsman, Augie Pampel, Barbara Burgess, Barbara Muhlfelder and Judy Greene

ESSEX — Officers for the Essex Garden Club for 2016-2017 are Barbara Burgess, President, Augie Pampel, 1st Vice President, Barbara Muhlfelder, 2nd Vice President and Assistant Treasurer,  Betsy Godsman, Recording Secretary, Judy Greene, Corresponding Secretary, and  Patricia Mather, Treasurer.

In Barbara Burgess’s opening remarks,  at the September meeting,  she described the club’s agenda and activities for the upcoming year ahead and introduced the theme for the year “ Partnering for Success”  She shared how The Essex Garden Club has partnered with the Land Trust in sponsoring a conservation program, this year on the topic of Native Pollinators.

In addition the Essex Garden club provides resources to the libraries and schools to partner in educating both adults and children in our community. For many years the Club has  partnered with the Town of Essex to keep our parks and community looking beautiful. These strong partnerships continue to result in both benefiting our organizations and the community.


Letter to the Editor: Thanks From TTYS for ‘Taste of the Valley’ Community Support

To the Editor:

Tri-Town Youth Services would like to thank the tri-town community for supporting our signature fundraiser, Taste of the Valley, which was held at the Deep River Historical Society on the evening of September 23.

Our thanks to the restaurants who were present and shared tempting appetizers and desserts: LaVita Gustosa, Dough on Main, Rustica, and Riverside Thai, as well as to many others who sent delicious platters.  We wish to thank the Essex Lions for providing tables and chairs.

Special thanks to sponsors, including Whelen Engineering, Tom Alexa, Coburn Financial Group, Middlesex Hospital, Tower Labs, and many others.  Our silent auction had many creative offerings, thanks to many individuals and local businesses.  Blues on the Rocks provided tasteful music for listening and dancing.

Thanks to everyone who made it an evening to remember as well as a meaningful contribution to Tri-Town Youth Services.

Tri-Town Youth services supports and advances the families, youth, and communities of Chester, Deep River, and Essex.  They coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.


Gail E. Beck and Tri-Town’s Board of Directors,
Deep River


The Movie Man: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is an Unexpected Delight

kubo-main_0Truly, if you enjoy learning about ancient mythology, you will enjoy watching Kubo and the Two Strings, brought to you by Laika, the filmmakers behind Coraline and The Boxtrolls. With an all-star-studded cast that includes Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, and Star Trek actor/turned social media personality George Takei, this stop-motion animation film does not disappoint.

We are told the story of Kubo, a young one-eyed boy, who cares for his ill mother by transforming paper into origami masterpieces through his shamisen (a string instrument indigenous to Japan). After staying out past dark (as he was warned against many times), his mother’s sisters destroy his village and attempt to take his remaining eye.

Upon escaping the terror of his aunts, Kubo comes across the incarnate version of his wooden monkey (voiced by Ms. Theron) brought to life by his own mother’s magic, and eventually Beetle (Mr. McConaughey), who join him on a quest to retrieve the armor worn by his father, a Samurai warrior.

The film often invoked reminders of ancient mythology, in which the character is forced to embark on a quest, accompanied people who are both reasonable and unreasonable, in which the protagonist must locate something precious in regards to the parent he never knew, who was a great warrior and up to whose image he seeks to live. This ranges from classical mythology to modern entertainment (think of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, prior to learning his father was the enemy he was fighting all along [not spoiling anything about this film, disclaimer] or even Telemachus, son of Odysseus in The Odysessy.)

Perhaps what is most rivaled by its story and performances is its original score, which I have no doubt will at least be nominated by many award shows this upcoming season.

It was released in 3D, a trend in movies that I do not understand. Despite being a family-friendly film, I would caution those who have very young children from seeing this. One of the main themes revolves around the title character missing an eye and his grandfather and aunts seeking retribution on his life or his remaining eye, as well as there being some frightening images and scary scenes.

But anybody above the PG-warned audience will find this movie to be an ultimate delight.

Kevin Ganey

About the Author: Kevin Ganey has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at LymeLine.com, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.


Old Lyme Debate Sees Linares, Needleman Disagree Sharply on Some Issues, Agree on Others

Norm Needleman (left) and Art Linares

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (left) and Sen. Art Linares answered questions on a variety of topics in last night’s debate.

OLD LYME — The candidates vying for the 33rd State Senate District seat met Thursday night in front of a relatively small audience of around 75 in the somewhat rarefied atmosphere of Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS).  Rarefied because not a single resident of Old Lyme can vote for either candidate since Old Lyme is part of the 20th State Senate District currently represented by Republican Paul Formica.

Nevertheless, The Day and the Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce selected LOLHS as the location for the first debate of the season in the high profile 33rd State Senate race.  Two-term incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) faced off against challenger Norman Needleman (D), who is in his third term as first selectman of Essex, in a gentlemanly debate conducted entirely from seated positions.

Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote. Needleman was first elected as an Essex Selectman in 2003


The Day’s Editorial Page editor Paul Choiniere (center in photo above) moderated the debate assisted by retired Day Deputy Managing  Editor Lisa McGinley and Day Staff Writer Brian Hallenback.

The constant theme of both candidates’ responses was the need for the state to control spending and to increase jobs, but they expressed different routes towards achieving that goal interspersed with regular jabs against their respective opponent.


Linares, pictured above, opened the latter theme by saying, “Desperate people do desperate things,” when asked about charges from Needleman that he (Linares) had used constituent names and addresses inappropriately.  Linares said, “They [his opponents] want us to focus on desperate things,” rather than the state’s real problems such as, “Every day we have businesses leaving the state,” declaring emphatically, “I am ready to stand up and fight for you.”

A question about whether the candidates supported the Citizen’s Election Program (CEP) drew one of the most heated exchanges with Linares saying candidates should be encouraged to fund their own election campaigns because, “the CEP is running a deficit year after year.”  Needleman responded immediately, “That’s an absurd and ridiculous statement,” adding that the CEP has proved to be a “leveling-field.”

The issue of a third casino in Connecticut also showed a sharp difference in the candidate’s positions with Linares supporting the proposal in order to “intercept tourists on their way to [the new MGM casino in] Massachusetts,” which he predicted would otherwise take potentially up to $100 million out of state.  Needleman said unequivocally, “I would not support the expansion of casinos in Connecticut.”

Responding to a question about Linares’s March 2016 vote against a measure to reduce the state’s budget deficit, Needleman declared, “That vote pushed me over the edge to run,” and that he was “perplexed,” when he had determined that Linares was one of the three senators who had voted against the proposal.  Linares countered that he had, “stood up against that budget because I knew the next day it would be in deficit,” adding, “We didn’t make the kinds of structural change needed,” concluding firmly, “I’m proud that I stood up against Dan Malloy’s budget.”


Needleman, pictured above, then accused Linares of being something Needleman confessed he had been described as himself when much younger by a teacher, namely, “A master of the obvious.” Needleman agreed, “We all know now we need structural reform,” but argued, “That stand needed to be taken,” long before the actual vote.

The candidates were in relative harmony regarding the recent Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that education funding needs to be more equitable, both agreeing, in Linares’s words, “The legislature must find a fair and concise way to fund education,” and, in Needleman’s, “The judge should not legislate from the bench.”

Similarly, Needleman and Linares found common ground on the subject of how the state should improve its fiscal position with the former saying that the state needed to “control spending and increase jobs,” while the latter added, “… and end wasteful spending.”

Asked which Presidential candidate they were voting for, Needleman mentioned first, “I’ve never seen an election like this one,” then said, “I support Hilary Clinton … albeit at times, reluctantly.” In turn, Linares stated, “I’m voting for Donald Trump,” adding, “I’m voting Republican down the line this year,” commenting, “Our country and our state needs to change direction.”


The candidates responded to several further questions including ones about the ease with which the state can sell or swap state-owned land, how the state should create jobs and the state’s response to the opioid crisis.

In his closing statement, Linares said his goal was, “to take Connecticut to the top again,” since under six year of Malloy’s leadership, “”I have seen the state move backwards.”  He explained that Connecticut Republicans have a plan to achieve that objective called, “A Confident Future,” and urged the audience to review it.

Taking his turn, Needleman said, “I started as a cab driver in New York – I have paid my dues,” adding, “Relationships mean everything to me. I am always telling the truth and not reverting to scripted talking points.” He concluded, “Glory has no role for me.”

Prior to the debate, Needleman supporters were out in force in front of Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

Prior to the debate, Needleman supporters were out in force in front of Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

Editor’s Note: The 33rd State Senate District consists of the Town of Lyme along with the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.


Letter From Paris – No, Now It’s Essex!  A Brave, New Museum Opens in DC

Nicole Prevost Logan

Nicole Prevost Logan

Editor’s Note:  Our popular writer from Paris, Nicole Prevost Logan, is back in Essex, CT, for the winter.  She does not normally write for us from Essex, but this year, she is making an exception and will be continuing to contribute articles to ValleyNewsNow.com and LymeLine.com during the winter months.  Here is her inaugural column from Essex about the opening of  a very special museum in Washington DC.

The Grand Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will take place in Washington DC this coming Saturday, Sept. 24.  The NMAAHC, the 19th and newest of the Smithsonian museums, was established by a bi-partisan Act of Congress in 2003.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, Nov. 6, 2015. (Photo by Michael Barnes from http://newsdesk.si.edu/photos)

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Nov. 6, 2015. (Photo by Michael Barnes / Smithsonian Institution.)

The massive structure occupies a prime location next to the Washington Monument and contrasts with the 555 ft. slender obelisk.  The dark bronze-colored metal lattice that covers the ‘Corona” also stands out from the white marble classical architecture of most of the other museums standing on the National Mall.

It has been a long struggle for the supporters, such as Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia), to make the project a reality.  They needed to overcome the resistance from several senators who advocated another location. The final approval  was more than a triumph — it might be considered a miracle.  It succeeded in making a strong statement as to the importance of Black history and culture in the American nation.

The lead designer was David Adjaye, son of a Ghanaian diplomat and the lead architect Philip Freehon, who died in 2009.  Founding Director Lonnie B. Bunch III is the visionary and driving force of the project.  During some of the many interviews he gave to the press and to a variety of audiences, including select ones like the Aspen institute, he explains the building process and his objective with a very contagious enthusiasm.

The NMAAHC is not intended to be a Holocaust museum, he explains . Its mission is to show the pain but also the joy and the creativity of African-Americans.  A daunting fund-raising goal of 450,000 million dollars had to be reached.

The three-tier effect of the construction incorporates elements from African culture, such as the Yoruban crowns from Nigeria.  Inside the building, high tech designs and the enormity of the space will make it possible to be versatile in organizing several exhibits simultaneously.

The collections had to be created from zero.  It required a treasure hunt into the attics, trunks and basements of the population.  To date 35,000 artifacts have been collected.  A segregated train from outside Chattanooga (TN) was lowered by crane and the museum built around it.  All traffic stopped on Constitution Ave. when an oversized truck delivered the control tower from a federal prison.

Artifacts showing the terrible fate of the slaves are very moving.  Such is an amulet created by the Lombi tribe in the form of a shackle.  More tragic still were the shackles for children.

But fun and the world of entertainment are also present in the displays , such as Louis Armstrong and his trumpet, Lena Horne or Marianne Andersen . The film archives will be essential to build up history, from Harriet Tubman to the human rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s.

According to Washington insiders , the opening of the new museum is the hottest event in a decade.  More than 150,000 special tickets have been distributed to dignitaries while long lines of visitors gather at the entrances of the building to purchase tickets for general admission after the opening.


Op-Ed: Lifelong Conservative Democrat Says if you Want to Vote for a Brighter Future, Vote Republican

Unfortunately some political parties, to boost their standings in the political arena around election time, take to sticking positive labels on themselves and negative labels on their opponents, in hopes of changing people’s minds and winning the election based on untruths and lies. Now while most people hate history, a better understanding of what our future holds for us might be had by looking back at the  performance of the current politicians who hold office.

For the past 30 years the Democratic Party has held a super majority of votes in the Connecticut Legislature. Simply put what that means is that regardless of what party the Governor was from, the legislature has had the votes necessary to override any vetoes he/she might impose on bills/budgets that the legislature wanted passed. That said, we have a Governor with the lowest approval rating of any Governor in the U.S. and a list of Democratic Legislatures that rubber- stamped anything and everything that he wanted passed.

Let us place the blame of a faltering economy, loss of business that moved out of state, loss of jobs, high taxes and lost employment opportunities squarely on the shoulders of those responsible. Let us realize that we don’t have to wait two more years to replace a Governor to effect change in our lives, we have that opportunity this Nov. 8. It’s time to replace the supermajority that represents a party mentality and not the people that voted them into office.

Because of the lack of responsible spending/taxation, by our current Democratic Governor/Legislature, our State is on the verge of bankruptcy, our bond rating in the financial market is continually downgraded and the Democratic Party has the audacity to label the Republican Party the party of doom and gloom. They say that the Republicans don’t have any answers to our budgetary problems, yet when it comes time to work on the budget the Democrats lock the Republicans out of the Budget talks.

A majority of the people in this state wants our politicians to work together on their behalf but the Democrats won’t allow that to take place. The realistic approach to budgetary problems is to identify, analyze, and find solutions to the problems in a fair, even-handed, professional manner and the only party currently not responsible for this mess is the Republican Party.

We already know what a disaster the Democratic Party has imposed on us through overspending, and we can only expect more of the same from them by reelecting them to office. It’s time to take a different path, time to write tomorrow’s history, time to think ahead to our future and the future of our children, time to vote Republican.

There’s nothing progressive about:

  • High Taxes
  • High cost of living
  • High unemployment
  • Businesses moving out of State
  • Lost jobs
  • Lack of jobs for new college graduates

And there’s nothing progressive about Progressive Democrats.

It’s time to make a quality of life change for the better, time to put the doom and gloom behind us.

It’s time to vote out all those Progressive Democrats that are responsible for this financial mess.
We just can’t afford them anymore.

Please join me, a lifelong Conservative Democrat and now a proud Republican, in voting for the Republican candidates this November.

Editor’s Note: The author is a former Democratic Selectman for the Town of Haddam.


Letter to the Editor: Needleman Unites People With Differing Opinions

To The Editor:

My support for Norm Needleman in his candidacy for the 33rd District State Senate seat is not surprising, since I am a member of the Essex Democratic Town Committee.  But the reasons for my support go deeper than just party affiliation.  Throughout  his decades of involvement in Essex town government, I have seen Norm successfully tackle difficult problems with a unique ability to unite people with differing opinions.  I, and virtually everyone I have talked to in state government, believe that Norm’s deep knowledge of small town  government and his ability to build consensus will immediately make him a leader in the state senate.  That position of leadership will directly benefit our district.  So, my support for Norm is not political.  Rather, it is a decision to restore influential representation for our district in the state senate.


Claire Tiernan,

Editor’s Note: The author is a member of Essex Democratic Town Committee.


Talking Transportation: Don’t Blame Malloy for the Fare Hikes

metro-north-railroad-620x400Sure, it was sleazy of Governor Malloy and the CDOT to release news of a proposed five percent fare hike on Metro-North on a Friday afternoon in July, hoping nobody would notice.  But the more I dig into the proposal, the more I realize the Governor and CDOT are not to blame.

It’s the Connecticut legislature that’s really responsible for this fare hike.

Lawmakers this session left the Governor with a $192 million budget shortfall and every other branch of government has taken budget cuts and layoffs as a result.  Now it’s transportation’s turn to feel the pinch.

Pol’s on both sides of the aisle tell me Malloy could have saved millions by facing down the state employees’ unions and their rich benefits package.  Could’ve, maybe should’ve … but didn’t.

So now we’re looking at a five percent hike in train fares on Metro-North and Shore Line East and a 16 percent boost in bus fares starting in December.  Plus closing ticket windows, reduced maintenance and fuel savings.  And that’s just on the transit side.

Highway work will also be cut, hiring postponed and less salt purchased for the winter.  Service areas will be closed overnight and the volunteers who work in the Visitor Centers will be fired. Welcome to Connecticut!

So when you calculate the impact of all these cuts on your commute, by road or rail, call your State Rep and Senator and ask “why”?

Why are they allowing the Special Transportation Fund to run dry due to the dwindling revenues from the gas tax?

Ask Senate Majority leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and the usually pro-transportation Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) why they have opposed alternative funding mechanisms like the VMT (Vehicle Miles Tax), calling it “dead on arrival” before it was even explained, let alone studied.

Ask your elected officials what their plan is to pay for our existing transportation network, let alone expand it by the $100 billion Malloy has suggested.  They won’t have an answer.

Why?  Because they are running for re-election this November.  And none of them has the guts to tell you the truth:  we will all have to pay more to drive or commute by rail … as you’ll find out after the election when they approve new taxes.

What can we do in the meantime (aside from holding them accountable during the campaign)?  There have been some public hearings in September on the fare hikes with more to come* … and we should all turn out.

It will be political theater, but cathartic.  Commuters will rant and the folks from CDOT will listen and then do what they proposed.  Aside from cutting train service, a fare hike is about the only option.

And, of course as upstate lawmakers constantly remind us, those of us living on the “gold coast” are all millionaires, and we can afford it, right?

*9 Town Transit will hold a public hearing on its proposed price increases Thursday, Sept. 29, in Old Saybrook Town Hall at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Jim Cameron - Chairman of the CT Metro-North / Shore Line East Rail Commuter Council

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com


Letter to the Editor: No Better Choice for State Senator Than Needleman

To the Editor:
I am supporting Norm Needleman for State Senate in the 33rd district because I have seen his character firsthand. Actually, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Norm.
He hired me as a graphic designer for his company while I was attending college, and at a time when I could not afford my tuition, he was generous enough to pay it for me.
After graduating, I continued to work for his company, and the professional growth Norm fostered enabled me to achieve my current role as a design manager for Macy’s.
My experience with Norm is not unique, either. Simply put, Norm cares strongly about the well-being and development of everyone he meets. I cannot imagine a better choice for State Senator
Christopher Crowl,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Valley Shore YMCA Offers Fitness Program for Those With Parkinson’s Disease, Starts Oct. 25

The Parkinson Disease program at the Valley Shore YMCA is led by Mary Charlton (left) and Ellen Nichele (right).

The Wellness Program for people with Parkinson’s Disease program at the Valley Shore YMCA is led by Mary Charlton (left) and Ellen Nichele (right).

AREAWIDE — The Valley Shore YMCA is now offering a wellness program specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s disease led by OhioHealth Delay the Disease-certified instructors Ellen Nichele and Mary Charlton.

Delay the Disease™ is an evidence-based fitness program designed to empower those living with Parkinson’s disease by optimizing their physical function, helping delay the progression of symptoms and improving their mental and emotional realities.

“We are so excited to be able to expand this exciting program across our community,” said Chris Pallatto, Executive Director. “One of the Y’s commitments to our community is to reduce the impact of chronic disease.  Delay the Disease is designed to provide the hope and inspiration people need so that the disease does not define them.”

Participants observe improvement in posture, balance, handwriting, mobility, speech volume and daily functional challenges.

“Our goal is to make the benefits of OhioHealth Delay the Diseases classes available to as many people with Parkinson’s disease as possible,” said Ellen Nichele. “You may have Parkinson’s disease, but it does not have you.”

Classes will be offered from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Oct. 25, at the Valley Shore YMCA. Individuals interested in Delay the Disease classes can contact Nichele at 860-399-9622 ext. 121 or enichele@vsymca.org.

For additional information, visit vsymca.org.


Sullivan Named to 2016 ‘Financial Times’ 401 Top Retirement Plan Advisers

ESSEX — Essex Financial Services has announced that Financial Advisor and Vice President, James M. Sullivan, AIF®, has been named to the 2016 edition of the Financial Times 401 Top Retirement Plan Advisers. The list recognizes the top financial advisers who specialize in serving defined contribution (DC) retirement plans.

This is the second annual FT 401 list, produced independently by the Financial Times in collaboration with Ignites Research, a subsidiary of the FT that provides business intelligence on asset management.

Financial advisers from across the broker-dealer and RIA channels applied for consideration, having met a set minimum of requirements. The applicants were then graded on seven criteria: DC assets under management; DC AUM growth rate; specialization in DC plans; years of experience; DC plan participation rate; advanced industry credentials; and compliance record. There are no fees or other considerations required of advisers who apply for the FT 401.

Once again, the final FT 401 represents a cohort of elite advisers: the “average” adviser in this year’s FT 401 has 18 years of experience advising DC plans and manages $950 million in DC plan assets. The FT 401 advisers hail from 41 states and Washington, D.C., and DC plans on average account for 74 percent of their assets under management.

The FT 401 is one in a series of rankings of top advisers developed by the FT in partnership with Ignites Research, including the FT 300 (independent RIA firms) and the FT 400 (broker-dealer advisers).

The Financial Times 401 Top Retirement Plan Advisors is an independent listing produced by the Financial Times (September 2016). This award does not evaluate the quality of services provided to clients and is not indicative of this advisor’s future performance. Neither the advisors nor their parent firms pay a fee to Financial Times in exchange for inclusion in the FT 401.

Essex Financial Services is one of the leading independent financial advisory firms in the United States. Cited by Barron’s and other leading publications, the firm’s unbiased, independent, client-centric approach has made it a leader in providing exceptional service to clients for over three decades. For more information on Essex Financial Services please go to: http://www.essexfinancialservices.com


Lyme First Selectman Eno (R) Endorses Needleman (D) for State Senate

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.

LYME – Today, Lyme Republican First Selectman Ralph Eno endorsed Democratic State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman.

“Although I generally try to avoid all things political, given the state of affairs at the state level, I’ve decided to be more public in terms of of the upcoming state senate race,” said Eno. “Norm has my unequivocal support.”

Eno, a Republican, has served as the first selectman of Lyme since 2007 and, with a brief interlude, for 10 years prior to that.

“Norm has the chief elected official experience at the town level that is crucial to being an effective representative,” Eno continued. “We need more small to mid-level town CEOs in the legislature to stand up to laws in Hartford that have terrible unintended consequences for our towns. His work in the public sector paired with his experience as a tried and true business person gives him a leg up to make sure we have the best possible representation given our state’s budget problems.”

“I am endorsing Norm, who is far and away the most qualified candidate for State Senate,” said Eno. “I know him as a man that is collaborative instead of adversarial. He will not be tethered to his political party. He will work on both sides of the aisle and be a team player. And he will be honest with you even when you disagree.”

Norm Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing 150 people at facilities in Essex and Clinton.

“Ralph has been a great example for me on how to run a small town,” said Norm Needleman. “He’s hands on, hard-working, honest, and always involved. He knows what it takes to run a municipality. It means a tremendous amount to me to receive this endorsement from a man I have viewed as a mentor in so many ways.”

Needleman is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003.

“This district has 12 towns with a lot in common and Ralph and I share a common perspective,” continued Needleman. “We both understand the perspective of small towns, the importance of home rule, and that we need fewer mandates and rules from Hartford.”

Needleman is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares, who is running for a third term and like Eno, is a Republican. Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote.

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

Click here for audio of the event: http://norm.vote/eno.mp3.

Click here for photos of the event: http://bit.ly/2bZWKDT.


Sen. Linares Presented With a 2016 “Children’s Champion” Award

Sen. Art Linares (left) and Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance Executive Director Merrill Gay.

Sen. Art Linares (left) and Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance Executive Director Merrill Gay.

AREAWIDE — In a Sept. 8 ceremony at the start of a Middlesex Coalition for Children meeting at deKoven House in Middletown, Sen. Art Linares was presented with a 2016 “Children’s Champion” award by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for his leadership on issues related to Connecticut’s young children.

The other local legislators honored at the same ceremony were Sen. Len Fasano, Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, Rep. Matthew Lesser and Rep. Noreen Kokoruda. A total of 29 legislators were recognized in ceremonies statewide.

Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance (www.earlychildhoodalliance.com) is a statewide organization committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety, and economic security for children ages birth to age eight. Every year, the Alliance recognizes legislators for their leadership on issues that impact the well-being of Connecticut’s young children in the areas of health development, early care and education, nutrition, and safety.

An Assistant Minority Leader, Sen. Linares, 28, is the lead Republican senator on the state legislature’s Planning and Development Committee. He also serves on the Education Committee, the Internship Committee and the Judiciary Committee. Sen. Linares has previously served on the Children’s Committee, the Commerce Committee and the Banks Committee.

Sen. Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.  On the web: www.SenatorLinares.com.


Literacy Volunteer Ann Lander Wins Shore Publishing Beacon Award

AREAWIDE — Ann Lander has been named a winner of a Shore Publishing 2016 Beacon Award for her work with Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS).

Lander is being recognized for her dedication to LVVS as a Workshop Leader, Conversation Social facilitator, Tutor, Student Services Coordinator and volunteer at the organization’s fundraisers. Her selflessness and commitment to helping tutors and students improve lives in the shoreline communities for over 20 years makes her more than deserving of this recognition.

The Beacon Awards recognize a few outstanding individuals who selflessly step up to help fulfill the Shoreline community’s promise as a place of opportunity, well-being, and safety for all.

Lander will be officially recognized at the annual Beacon Awards Dinner to be held at Water’s Edge Resort & Spa in Westbrook on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m.


Essex Savings Bank Donates to Non-Profits

Essex Savings Bank President & CEO Gregory R. Shook

Essex Savings Bank President & CEO Gregory R. Shook

ESSEX — Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank announced the completion of the distribution from the Board of Directors’ portion of the Community Investment Fund. Total distributions for the year will amount to $110,000. The program, which has run annually since its inception in 1996, distributes up to 10 percent of after tax net income to local non-profit organizations.

Donations for this year’s portion have been allocated to the following non-profit organizations:

Angel Charities, Inc. * Camp Hazen YMCA * The Chester Historical Society, Inc. * Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. * Community Foundation of Middlesex County * Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock * Friends of the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association, Inc. * Ivoryton Village Alliance * Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center & Theatre * Lawrence & Memorial Hospital * Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts * Lyme Land Conservation Trust * Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau * MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation, Inc. * Madison Land Conservation Trust * Rotary Club of Essex Foundation * Tri-Town Youth Service Bureau, Inc. * Valley Shore YMCA * Vista Life Innovations.

essex savings bankEssex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department.


Death of Marianne Sullivan Announced; Long-Term ‘Valley Courier’ Reporter for Essex, Deep River & Chester

Marianne Sullivan (1946- 2016)

After a prolonged and courageous struggle with cancer, Marianne Sullivan passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 3rd at home, surrounded by family and loved ones. Marianne was born in New Haven, Connecticut on December 14th, 1946, daughter of the late William and Virginia Montgomery.

Marianne was a long time resident of Guilford, Connecticut where she spent the majority of her career as a reporter and editor for several local newspapers including the New Haven Register, and the Shore Publishing Group’s local news publications. She was an avid reader and possessed masterful writing skills honed over her 40-year career. She enjoyed covering politics and once served as a Selectman for the town of Guilford.

She is survived by her sister Donna Lee and her four sons Brian, Barry, Sean and Kenneth Sullivan, two nieces Michelle Richards and Melissa Hernandez, and three grandchildren Courtney, Conner and Riley Sullivan. She was a devoted mother and friend, a stoic person with the enviable ability to take on life’s many challenges courageously and without complaint. To those who knew her well, she was selfless and incredibly inspirational. She saw life clearly and brought a quick and ready wit to bear on daily happenings. To say she will be sorely missed would be an understatement. 

A memorial service will held at St. George’s Church on 33 Whitfield St, Guilford, Connecticut on Friday, September 9th at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Marianne’s memory be made to The American Cancer Society.


Hundreds Join Elected Officials to Oppose Possible Amtrak Railroad Bypass

More than 500 people packed the auditorium at the Lyme-Old Lyme High School for the FRA public session on Wednesday. Daniel Mackay photo

More than 500 people packed the auditorium at the Lyme-Old Lyme High School for the FRA public session on Wednesday. Daniel Mackay photo

AREAWIDE — A crowd of more than 500 area residents turned out Wednesday to join elected officials in opposing a possible Amtrak railroad bypass project that would run from Old Saybrook through southeastern Connecticut to Kenyon, R.I.

The auditorium at Lyme-Old Lyme High School was packed to capacity for a public session with representatives of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Also on hand were elected officials, including U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney, state legislators, and chief elected officials for seven area cities and towns.

The concern is focused on an option that has emerged as part of a long-range plan to improve and expand passenger rail service along the Northeast Corridor from Washington D.C. to Boston, Mass. The option, called the Old Saybrook-Kenyon, R.I. Bypass, would require construction of a second rail line that would cross the Connecticut River and run north of the existing rail line and Interstate-95 through historic and environmentally sensitive areas of Old Lyme and other towns.

In the session that was held in response to pressure from elected representatives and the public after months of local controversy over the bypass option, two representatives of the FRA, Rebecca Reyes-Alecea and Anishi Castelli, explained the preliminary plans and review process before responding to questions and comments from the elected officials. The “roundtable” did not include questions or comments from the large audience.

Reyes-Alecea said the Northeast Corridor improvements would be completed over the coming decades, and would require congressional approval of funding and probably a state funding contributions.

Though the FRA is expected to make some decisions on future project options by the end of the year, Reyes-Alecea said the review process is still in an “early stage.” She added the turnout for Wednesday’s session was the largest officials have seen for any of the public meetings held at locations throughout the 457-mile Washington-Boston corridor.

But the comments from federal, state, and local officials made it clear any decision to pursue the bypass plan, estimated to cost at least $68 billion, would face determined bipartisan resistance every step of the way.

State elected officials plus representatives from seven area towns were on hand for the meeting. Daniel Mackay photo

State elected officials plus representatives from seven area towns were on hand for the meeting. Daniel Mackay photo

Blumenthal said the bypass plan is “unfeasible, unworkable, and unnecessary,” adding, “I will fight as long and as hard as possible to block any route with an adverse impact on historic, cultural, and environmental values.” Courtney said the bypass plan seemed like something “from an alternate universe” and suggested there is a “long to-do list,” including bridge and grade crossing replacements, that must be completed before any consideration of a second rail line through the region.

State and local officials were equally firm in their opposition to the bypass plan. New London Mayor Michael Passero said previous railroad and urban renewal projects have hurt his city by claiming taxable property and isolating neighborhoods. Passero said there is no way to construct a second rail line through or around New London “without destroying our little city.”

State Rep. Devin Carney, R-Old Saybrook, described the plan as “a dark cloud hovering over these towns.” Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons, a former second district congressman, and Waterford First Selectman David Stewart urged the federal agency to focus first on improvements to the existing rail line. “Why can’t we fix what we have,” Simmons said. Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna said all seven municipalities along the possible bypass route would “stand with Old Lyme” in resisting the plan.

Reyes-Alecea said any recommendation filed later this year would set the stage for a Tier 2” analysis process and report that would include more specific plans and cost estimates for improvement projects. She said it could take years before any construction begins, even on the specific improvement to the existing line that are encouraged by the local elected leaders.

Asked after the meeting for his reaction, Gregory Stroud, Executive Director of SECoast – the non-profit constructively opposing the proposed bpass – said, “There is no doubt, that every member of the press, Senator Blumenthal and Representative Courtney came away impressed. A huge crowd. A great coming together of all the towns in southeastern Connecticut. A bipartisan, unified delegation, with one curious exception. Where is Governor Malloy?”


Holiday Crafters Wanted for Estuary’s Holiday Fair

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Senior Center is looking for crafters for its annual Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Senior Center located at 220 Main St, Old Saybrook.

Space is available to local crafters, with hand crafted items for a $20 donation. Space is limited and filling quickly.

Call Mike or Judy at 860.388.1611 x203 to reserve your space.


Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 Announces Five New Eagle Scouts

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 presents five new Eagle Scouts: from left to right are Andrew Myslik, Jacob Beauliu, Adam Dalterio, Benjamin Toles and  Alexander Maxwell VI.  Photo by Alexander Toles.

Gathered for a photo are Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13’s five newest Eagle Scouts. From left to right are Andrew Myslik, Jacob Beauliu, Adam Dalterio, Benjamin Toles and Alexander Maxwell VI. Photo by Alexander Toles.

CHESTER/DEEP RIVER — Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America would like to congratulate five Chester residents on earning the rank of Eagle Scout. These five young men have been in scouting together since elementary school as Cub Scouts in Pack 13.

The Eagle Scouts completed projects at Camp Hazen YMCA, recreation and historic locations in the town of Chester.  All the work completed benefits the visitors, school groups and residents of Chester as they enjoy these areas around town.

To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must earned 21 merit badges and advance 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 Scout’s community, school, or religious institution; all of this work must be completed prior to the young man’s eighteenth birthday.

Benjamin James Toles’ Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to demo eleven sets of non-complaint aged wooden stairways and replace with new treated wood, code compliant steps, platform and railings on cabins in and around the Sachem Village portion on the grounds of Camp Hazen YMCA. The completed project improved the safety of the venue while maintaining its rustic appearance. Ben was awarded the rank at this Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on March 20, 2016.  Ben will attend University of Rhode Island this fall.

Andrew James Myslik’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to improve the deteriorating border of the Chester Burial Grounds fronting on North Main Street. Specifically, the project involved the removal of an old wire fence, stumps and debris and replaced it with one hundred and eighty feet of painted picket fence and posts and included the installation of a recycled historic iron gate. The completed project presents the site in a more historically correct, respectful appearance.

Andrew was awarded the rank at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on June 5.  Andrew will attend George Washington University in Washington, DC this fall.

Adam Gerard Dalterio’s Eagle Scout Service Project was to replace three aging benches with two new hand built oversized Adirondack benches and a hand build eight-foot tall giant chair embossed with Camp Hazen signage complete with newly restored landscaping features on the grounds of Camp Hazen YMCA.

Adam was awarded the rank at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on Aug. 14.  Adam will attend Vermont Technical College this fall.

Jacob Louis Beaulieu’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan which included the construction of a new tether ball court, the installation of two reinforced poured concrete access ramps serving site sheds, the stripping and resurfacing of stationary pedestal cooking grills and edging and grading of various sections of the site that make up the Robert H. Pelletier Park on the shores of Cedar Lake.

Jacob was awarded the rank at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on Aug. 14.  Jacob will attend Middlesex Community College this fall.

Alexander Maxwell, VI‘s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a restoration plan to remove all the decking, railing, seating and a gateway to be replaced with new treated lumber complimented with decorative end post caps on the Chester Creek Scenic Overlook near its confluence with the Connecticut River. The completed project improved the safety and usability of the overlook while maintaining its rustic appearance.

Alex was awarded the rank at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on August 14.  Alex will attend University of Rhode Island this fall.

We at ValleyNewsNow.com send hearty congratulations to these five, fine young men on this great achievement!

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, contact Scoutmaster, Steven Merola at 860-526-9262


CT River Museum Offers ‘Haunted River: Ghostly Tales’ Production, Oct. 28 & 29

The Haunted River cast rehearses scene 5 at the Connecticut River Museum. Photo by Jeffrey Farrell.

The Haunted River cast rehearses scene 5 at the Connecticut River Museum. Photo by Jeffrey Farrell.

ESSEX — Don’t be scared…too much!  Phantoms, Captain Kidd, and unexplainable phenomena are just a few of the things lurking in the shadows at the Connecticut River Museum (CRM) this October.

Haunted River is a theatrical production that will take place over two nights on Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016.  Exploring the history and folklore of the Connecticut River Valley, the pilot production will incorporate nearly two years of folklore research.  This research was conducted by Museum staff and resident folklorist Dr. Stephen Olbrys Gencarella of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as part of the Connecticut River Myths and Legends Project.

As Dr. Gencarella wrote, the “Valley has been a location for storytelling and the source of myths and legends since the first people arrived.”  These stories are often told to entertain, educate, and create a common identity for people.  Sometimes they have involved the macabre, such as grisly murders or accidents like the 1833 explosion of the steamer New England which took place in Essex harbor.  Other times, they help to explain the unexplainable such as the weird rumblings under Moodus, diseases like tuberculosis that were blamed on vampires, or mysterious objects in the River that became sea serpents.

The progressive five-scene, 50-minute tour will depart from the Museum’s Lay House property every 20 minutes between the hours of 6 and 8:40 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 29.  A ‘River Spirit’ will be called upon to guide visitors safely from scene to scene while they share their own dark and mysterious tale. 

A highlight of the tour will be a special shadow puppet show designed and performed by New London’s Flock Theatre.  While the story is not being divulged, the Museum’s executive director Christopher Dobbs stated that “Flock Theatre are masters of puppetry.  The mystery and ambiguity of many Valley legends lend themselves to this shadowy art form.”

The Connecticut River Myths and Legends Project has been made possible through the generous support of the Connecticut Humanities.  It is the first time that the entire Valley’s folklore has been strategically collected and documented.  Much of the research will appear in an exhibit due to open in 2018 at CRM before it moves to traveling locations that include the Hartford Public Library and the Vermont Historical Society.  The original shadow puppet show has also been supported by the Connecticut Humanities and will be incorporated into the future exhibit and into a much larger production. 

For more information on the Project or to contribute a story, visit www.ctrivermythsandlegends.org

Tickets to Haunted River are extremely limited and should be booked in advance by going online to www.ctrivermuseum.org or calling the museum at 860-767-8269.  Prices for the show are $13 for adults and $9 for youth (ages 7 to 12).  The program is not recommended for children under 7.  Museum members will be given a chance to buy tickets before they are available to the general public.

The Connecticut River Museum is dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is from 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. 


CT Port Authority Chair Tells Lower CT River Local Officials, “We’re All on One Team”

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River but still deep in discussion are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) Board Member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River, but still finding time for discussions, are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) board member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

There was an overarching message both throughout the Connecticut Port Authority’s (CPA) meeting in Old Lyme’s Town Hall Thursday afternoon and during a subsequent boat ride on the MV ‘Victoria’ for members and local officials on the Connecticut River.  It was, in the words of CPA Chairman Scott Bates, that, “We’re absolutely committed to river communities.”

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town's needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town’s needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

In addition, while sailing from Essex down to Old Saybrook and then back up to Hamburg Cove on a perfect afternoon, Bates stressed, “Part of our mission is protecting these beautiful waters … and the quality of life we have here while preserving access to the river.”

View of the Connecticut River from the "Victoria."

View of the Connecticut River from the “Victoria.”

Bates noted that to have “five local officials (Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, all of whom were on board, and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, who was unable to join the trip) “involved” was a really positive sign in terms of  “building a coalition.”  This, Bates explained, was key to the development of a strategic plan for the CPA—something the Authority has been charged with preparing with a deadline of Jan. 1, 2017.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The  CPA is a relatively new quasi-public agency created in 2014 with board appointments made in 2016.  Bates said the agency was responsible for 35 coastal communities and with this trip, he would now personally have visited 28 of them. Since the CPA has not created a strategic plan previously, Bates said he is determined, “to include everyone,” in the process, adding that he regards part of the Authority’s mission to be “getting small town and big cities together.” and, in turn, “to make great things happen for our state.”

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the 'Victoria.'

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the ‘Victoria.’

Apart from Bates and the four local First Selectmen and Selectwomen, also on board were Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG) Executive Director Sam Gold, River COG Deputy Director and Principal Planner J.H. Torrance Downes, CPA Board of Directors member John Johnson and Joe Salvatore from the CPA.  Reemsnyder is also a board member of the CPA.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder and Johnson.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder, Bates and Johnson.

At the earlier meeting in Old Lyme, Downes had given a presentation to CPA members to introduce them to the Lower Connecticut River during which he had described the geography of the estuary, noting it had, “very little industry and very little commercial development.”  He described it as a “really prime area for bird migration” and highlighted numerous points of scenic beauty.

J.H. Torrance Downe, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

J.H. Torrance Downes, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

Bates noted one of the CPA’s responsibilities is to pursue state and federal funds for dredging and, while sailing under the Baldwin Bridge towards the Connecticut River’s mouth where several tributaries join the main river, Reemsnyder commented that Old Lyme had been a beneficiary of a $1.6 million state grant for dredging two of those tributaries — the Black Hall and Four Mile Rivers.  She noted that it had been a successful exercise thanks in part to Salvatore, who had, “held our hand through the whole project.”

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the 'Victoria.'

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the ‘Victoria.’ Joe Salvatore stands at rear.

Johnson, whose life and business career according to the CPA website, have “a common underlying element: the coastal waters,” also confirmed the benefits of a dredging program, saying, “There is a need for depth of water — both elements, marine and maritime, need depth of water.”  Still on the dredging issue, Bates said he had met separately with Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna and told him that he could have “whatever he needs to keep the mouth of the Connecticut River open.”

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

Reemsnyder took a minute to commend Bates for his leadership of the CPA, saying, “Scott has given focus to coastal communities,”  while Johnson added, “We are blessed with our new chairman.”

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

Glancing around at the numerous boats docked both in marinas and on the river itself,  Reemsnyder remarked, “Add up the money in these boats … [they represent] lots of economic drivers.”  On the same theme, Bates noted that the state is marketing its ports for the first time using “national expertise” in some cases with the aim of moving “more people and goods in and out of Connecticut.”  He added, “We have some great assets [in terms of ports in the state] but we could do more.”

Eyes on the Cove -- guests on the 'Victoria' gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

Eyes on the Cove — guests on the ‘Victoria’ gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

As the “Victoria’ pulled gently back into dock at Essex Yacht Club, Bates summarized the benefits of the boat trip saying that by spending time with these local leaders, he had been able to “see their waterfronts, assess their needs,“ and gain an “appreciation of the vitality of the Lower Connecticut River basin,” emphasizing one more time, “This is really about pulling together as a state … we’re all on one team.”


Explore Artisan, Vintage Vendors Galore at ‘Repurpose Happiness’ Event in Chester, Saturday

Bird_logoCHESTER — Chalk Mercantile and the Trove are excited to bring together the most creative artisans and vintage/antique merchants from all over Connecticut. More than 40 vendors are ready to greet folks on Sept. 3, at the Chester Fairgrounds, located at 11 Kirkland Terrace, Chester CT.

Repurpose Happiness is for anyone who wants to see firsthand Connecticut’s vibrant arts and antique culture, looking for rare or limited runs items, or just wanting to have a good time this September in the Historic Town of Chester.

The event showcases an eclectic mix of handmade, vintage, repurposed and antique goods and is sure to have something for every style, taste and age. Along with a myriad of vendors, makers, merchants and artisans, there will also be food trucks and music for all to enjoy.

Repurpose Happiness opens its doors at 10 a.m. (9 a.m. early buyers) and runs until 4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission $2 adults, children under 12 free, $10 early buyers (9am). Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Valley Regional Girls Soccer Booster Club.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/RepurposeHappiness/ or Repurposehappinees.com


Essex Park & Rec. Announces Exciting Range of Fall Programs

ESSEX — Essex Park and Recreation (P & R) Department has announced that registration is now open for all Fall 2016 programming.

A small sample of the extensive and varied range of programs includes track, tennis, archery, cooking, floor hockey, Kids on the Move, Pre-Season Basketball and Outdoor Nature Exploration

Registration for the Winter Youth Basketball Program is also open at this time.

Essex P & R is also offering a bus trip to see the Patriots play the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Finally, don’t forget to Save the Date for the Ivoryton Village Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 22!

Click on this link to view the color guide to Essex P & R Fall Programs aptly sub-titled, “The Benefits are Endless”.

For further information or to register for programs, call 860.767.4340 x 110 or email recreation@ essexct.gov. The P & R office is located inside the Essex Town Hall at 29 West Ave., Essex.


Join Fun Fridays for Pre-Schoolers at Deep River Library, Wide Range of Children’s Programs Also Offered

DEEP RIVER — Every Friday is Fun Friday at the Deep River Public Library!  The following story times and programs are offered for the month of September:

Sept. 1 — This Fun Friday Story time is a Preschool Power Hour with stories and songs in an interactive setting, followed by Open Play. Starts at 10:30 am, open to all ages.

Sept. 9 – This Fun Friday Story time is a Preschool Power Hour with stories and songs in an interactive setting, followed by Open Play. Starts at 10:30 am, open to all ages.

Sept. 16 — This Fun Friday Story time is a Preschool Power Hour with stories and songs in an interactive setting, followed by Open Play. Starts at 10:30 am, open to all ages.

Sept. 23 – This Fun Friday Story time is a Preschool Power Hour with stories and songs in an interactive setting, followed by Open Play. Starts at 10:30 am, open to all ages.

Sept. 30 — Today there will be a Fun Friday Guest — ABC Amigos returns. Starts at 10:30 a.m., open to all ages. Preschool Power Hour with stories and songs in an interactive setting. Starts at 10:30 am, open to all ages.

Additional Children’s Programs:

Sept. 8 & Sept. 22: Brick Bunch meets from 3:45 – 4:45 pm for open Lego construction. This is a drop-in program. We now have large blocks for the younger kids!!

Sept. 21: Cooking Club starts at 6:00 pm. Whip up a tasty treat with friends! Registration is required for this program and limited to 10 children. Call 860-526-6039 or email drplchildrensdept@gmail.com to sign up!

Sept. 17: All new Baby Bounce with Miss Elaine. This is a one-a-month story time exclusively for non-walking babies and their caregivers. Older siblings may attend, but the program will be geared toward the littlest library users. No registration required. Starts at 10:30 am.

For more information on any of these programs, call 860-526-6039 or email at drplchildrensdept@gmail.com


Catamount Medical Education to Hold Marrow Registration Drive, Sept. 13

CHESTER — Catamount Medical Education is asking local residents to help save a life. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the organization will be hosting a marrow donor registry drive to raise awareness about the need for marrow donors.

Potential donors can take the first step to save a life between 3 and 7 p.m. Registration requires paperwork and a cheek swab sample taken from the inside of the mouth. And that’s it! Most donations, if you later match a patient, are done through an automated blood donation.

Every year more than 14,000 patients suffer from a variety of bone marrow functioning diseases and a transplant is their only hope for survival. Seventy percent (70%) of patients have no matching donors in their family and turn to the Be The Match registry for someone willing to give them a second chance at life.

To register you must be between the ages of 18-44, in generally good health and willing to donate to any patient in need. Donors are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity and doctors request donors in the 18-44 age group more than 90 percent of the time.

“Giving back to the community is very important to Catamount and with our company’s focus on medical education, it’s even more special that we can help contribute to helping save the lives of patients with cancer,” said Jennifer Green, Chief Learning Officer at Catamount.

Costs for this drive will be covered by health insurance and Michael’s Fund of Fall River, Mass. There will be no out-of-pocket expense for anyone wishing to the join the registry.

The marrow registration drive will take place at Catamount’s office located at 189 Middlesex Turnpike, Suite 210, Chester, CT 06412.

Catamount’s mission is to create learning experiences that maximize the impact on patient care. Education is delivered through live programs, including satellite symposia, local and regional meetings, and online events, as well as through self-directed, enduring formats such as podcasts, videos, Webinars, monographs, newsfeeds, and other enduring formats.

Catamount seeks to add value to its education and ensuring a direct impact on patient care by incorporating practical tools for the clinician (e.g., exam room posters, pocket cards, patient education materials) into every educational experience.  Learn more at www.catmeded.com.

The Rhode Island Blood Center’s Marrow Donor Program is working with Catamount Medical Education to host this event. The Rhode Island Blood Center is a donor center for Be The Match, involved in recruiting marrow donors and facilitating donations throughout New England. Be The Match is a movement that engages a growing community of people inspired to help patients who need a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor.

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), a leader in the field of marrow and cord blood transplantation, created Be The Match to provide opportunities for the public to become involved in saving the lives of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases.

For more information, visit www.bethematch.org or call 800-283-8385 ext.720.

Michael’s Fund is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help adults & children survive cancer through marrow transplants. The organization was founded by family members of Michael Wrobel who in 1996, at the age of 11, lost his battle with lymphoma when a matching donor could not be found.

The organization provides funds that enable the RI Blood Center to add more marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry thus increasing the number of donors available to patients.


Yoga & Pilates Practice Opens in Essex Catering to Individuals with Physical, Mobility Challenges

Karen DiRenzio works with a client in her new facility in Essex.

Karen DiRenzio works with a client in her new facility in Essex.

ESSEX — Karen DiRenzo has announced the opening of Yoga & Pilates for Health and Well-Being, a private practice located at 3 New City Road, Essex, CT.  The practice focuses on working one-on-one with individuals who have physical limitations and mobility challenges and is fully equipped with Pilates apparatus on premises.  In addition to being a Certified Pilates Instructor, she is specially trained in Adapting Yoga for Disabilities, Chair Yoga, Cardiac Yoga and Silver Sneakers.

DiRenzo, a retired Navy Nurse for over 30 years chooses to work with individuals looking to improve their health who have sustained injuries, illness and limitations.

She explains, “I’ve taken the fear out of fitness classes and large studio environments for individuals looking to improve their health.  By establishing a Pilates and Yoga in-home practice, clients feel at ease to work at a pace that suits them.  My focus is on outcome, and I am dedicated to working with those who feel uncomfortable with larger studios environments.  I can modify any movements to make them accessible for all.”

With over 30 years of experience as a Registered Nurse, DiRenzo has the skills and understanding to work with all clients, especially those with physical problems, older individuals and post-rehabilitation to bridge the gap after physical therapy completion.   Pilates and Yoga provides a variety of movements to improve balance and strength, increase bone density and improve mobility.

DiRenzo has worked with clients recovering from bilateral mastectomy reconstructions, strokes, arthritis, fibromyalgia and more.  In addition to her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree, she holds a Master of Science Degree in Community Health Administration and Wellness Promotion.

Yoga and Pilates for Health and Well-Being offers Private One Hour Sessions,  In-home Sessions, Group Pilates mat or Yoga for Schools, Businesses, Churches and Chair Yoga at Assisted Living Facilities.

For more information, visit www.yogaandpilatesforhealth.com


Nibbles: Celebrating Celery … or How to Stiffen Soggy Celery!

How celery should look!

How celery should look!

On a recent Sunday afternoon, when the temperature was a humid 100 degrees outside but at just 70 degrees and dry in my condo, I decided to make corn chowder and double the recipe. I grabbed the ingredient from my refrigerator and noted that the celery was limp and sad.

Rather than go out to the market, where my hair and clothes would look the same way, I cut six of the celery stalks and put them in a tall glass of cold water.

Two hours later, the celery looked like it had two weeks ago in the produce aisle. I used three stalks for the soup and other more for a tuna salad the next day.

What a magic trick!


All Welcome to Visit Community Music School During Open House Week, Sept. 12-16;

Community Music School Hosts a Beginning Group Piano class.

Community Music School Hosts a Beginning Group Piano class.

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School, located in the Spencer’s Corner professional complex at 90 Main Street in Centerbrook, welcomes the general public to visit during Open House Week Sept. 12 through 16.

Children and adults can tour the School’s studios, meet teachers and staff, enjoy a FREE preview lesson, and learn about a vast array of programs for all ages including private and group lessons, clarinet, jazz, and string ensembles, music therapy services, Kindermusik, and more.

Community Music School is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Those interested in a 15-minute preview lesson are requested to call 860-767-0026 for scheduling.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

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


Adam’s Hometown Markets, Local Law Enforcement Team Up to Raise $29,000 For Special Olympics Connecticut

special olympicsDEEP RIVER — Adam’s Hometown Markets and local law enforcement officers teamed up to raise $29,000 for Special Olympics Connecticut through a campaign at 14 Adams Markets across the state throughout May and June. For each donation, a “paper torch” with the donor’s name (if desired) was displayed in the store for the duration of the campaign.

The money raised will go to support Special Olympics Connecticut’s year-round sports, health and fitness programs for athletes of all abilities.

The Paper torch campaign is a Law Enforcement Torch Run event to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut.  For more information about Special Olympics Connecticut, visit www.soct.org.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Connecticut is one of the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicles. This year-round program involves law enforcement officers from across the state who volunteer their time to raise awareness and funds through events including Tip-a-Cops, Cop-on-Tops, and Jail N’ Bail fundraisers.

In addition, each year in June, over 1,500 officers and athletes carry the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” through hundreds of cities and towns across the state, covering over 530 miles over three days.  The runners run the “Final Leg” and light the ceremonial cauldron during Opening Ceremonies for the Special Olympics Connecticut Summer Games.

Special Olympics Connecticut provides year-round sports training and competitions for over 13,000 athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports® partners – their teammates without disabilities.

Through the joy of sport, the Special Olympics movement transforms lives and communities throughout the state and in 170 countries around the world by promoting good health and fitness and inspiring inclusion and respect for all people, on and off the playing field.(www.soct.org)