May 28, 2018

Norm Needleman Wins Democratic Nomination for 33rd District Sate Senate Seat

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman.

AREAWIDE — Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman has been nominated as the Democratic Party State Senate candidate for the 33rd District. 

Delegates from Democratic Town Committees in the 12 towns comprising the 33rd District met on Monday, May 21, at the Gelston House in East Haddam to select a candidate. Needleman was nominated by acclimation on the first ballot. 

Needleman accepted the nomination, and defined his approach to addressing issues facing towns in the district: “We need a state senator who has the temperament, the credibility, and the experience to rise above partisan bickering and generate the ideas that solve problems. Over the years, I have fostered consensus-building that gets things get done in the real world. Job creation, balanced budgets, low taxes, treating people fairly and infrastructure improvements define my accomplishments as an elected official.”

He continued: “I’m not here to advance my political career, or to lay the groundwork for higher office. I can’t be bought by any organization or special interest. I will be a state senator driven by the desire to do the right thing for the people and towns in our district, and I will do the hard work necessary to address the deep and abiding problems in our state.”

In placing Needleman’s name for nomination, Michelle Gilman, a resident of Colchester, said: “I have learned a lot about Norm in the years we have collaborated on the issues facing our towns’ families. I know that he will be the advocate and partner we so badly need in the state senate. I know that he will fight for investments in education and investments in our communities. I know that he will make certain that the towns in our district get their fair share from Hartford. And just as important, I know he will lead across party lines to address the challenges facing our state.”

Needleman’s nomination was seconded by two prominent Democrats from the district: Emily Bjornberg, 2014 nominee for the 33rd State Senate Seat, and Stacia Libby, four-term Selectman in Essex.

commented, “When no one is watching, Norm is a quiet friend to myriad marginalized folks within his community. He quietly provides meals and housing. He quietly provides jobs and friendship. He quietly, yet unapologetically, fights for the humanity of his fellow man. He is a pillar of his community without being a boast and he is a successful driver of the local economy without being a brag.”

Libby, who has worked as an elected official alongside Needleman for eight years, noted, “What I have learned about Norm pales when compared to what I’ve learned from Norm. He taught me through his actions what it means to be a true leader. Norm is compassionate, intelligent and diplomatic. He listens. He considers all sides and viewpoints. Then he seeks solutions that are fair, balanced and in the best interest of our community.”

Needleman has 20 years of public service experience in Essex, including four terms as First Selectman. During his tenure as First Selectman, he led economic development initiatives that made Essex home to over 700 businesses. He balanced budgets and made infrastructure improvements while maintaining one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing company employing 150 people, located in Essex. His two sons co-manage the company with him.  He lives in Essex with his partner, Jacqueline Hubbard, Executive Director of the Ivoryton Playhouse.

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 a portion of Old Saybrook.

For further information, contact Campaign Manager Ed Tedeschi at et@edted.com or (917) 734-9460.

Share

Join CT River Museum for ‘RiverFare 2018,’ Thursday

Executive Director Christopher Dobbs and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman are joined by Committee Members, sponsors and participating food vendors to celebrate the upcoming RiverFare 2018. From left to right: Bill McGuiness of Becker’s Diamond’s & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook, Raeleen St. Pierre of Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Evan P. Barrett of The Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom, Melody Tierney, Christopher Dobbs, Joanne Deschler and Norman Needleman.

ESSEX — On Thursday, May 31, from 6 to 9 p.m., the waterfront lawn of the Connecticut River Museum will come to life again as the scenic setting for RiverFare 2018.  Known as the unofficial kick-off of summer on the shoreline, RiverFare, presented by Tower Laboratories and the Ivoryton Playhouse and underwritten by Becker’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook is the area’s most popular tasting event and will feature 25 gourmet food and drink tasting stations plus an incredible silent auction.

This year’s lineup of Connecticut’s leading restaurants and food purveyors includes RiverFare new comers The Essex, Grano Arso and The Essex Clipper Dinner Train. Back by popular demand are Red House, Fromage Fine Foods & Coffees, Gourmet Galley Catering, Griswold Inn, Essex Coffee & Tea, Catering by Selene, The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook, Cloud Nine Catering, Coastal Cooking Company, Atria Crossroad Place and The Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom.

RiverFarers will also have the opportunity to join in the fun of bidding in the silent auction which features a diverse array of fine gifts, services, and entertainment experiences.  Items include two 10’ Pelican Trailblazer Kayaks, a three-night stay at Jiminy Peak, and a massage every month for a year at Privé Swiss Wellness in Westbrook, CT.  Check out additional auction items at ctrivermuseum.org.

Major Support for RiverFare is provided by Bogaert Construction Co., C. Sherman Johnson Co., Egidio Assante Wealth Management, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, and Sapia Builders Corp.  Additional support is provided by Centerbrook Architects and Planners; Clark Group; Ivory Wealth Management, Middlesex Hospital, Reynolds’ Garage & Marine, Inc., blp Enterprises, Bob’s Discount Furniture; Carr, Douglas & Cline, LLC; North by Northeast Enterprises, and Stillman & Associates.  In-kind support is provided by SeaSide Wine & Spirits, Rhode VanGessel Design, and Connecticut Rental Center.  Media support is provided by Valley Courier.

RiverFare admission is $60 per person in advance and $65 at the door.  Patron tickets may be purchased for $150 and include a premium bar and a $100 tax deduction.  Net proceeds will help support the Connecticut River Museum’s mission to increase public awareness and access to the heritage, culture, and natural beauty of New England’s Great River.

For more information, or to make advance reservations, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860.767.8269. The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street in Essex.

Photo Caption: Executive Director Christopher Dobbs and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman are joined by Committee Members, Sponsors and participating food vendors to celebrate the upcoming RiverFare 2018. From left to right: Bill McGuiness of Becker’s Diamond’s & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook, Raeleen St. Pierre of Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Evan P. Barrett of The Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom, Melody Tierney Christopher Dobbs, Joanne Deschler and Norman Needleman.

Share

‘A Night with Janis Joplin’ Opens Ivoryton Playhouse’s Summer Season, May 30

Paige MacNamara plays Janis Joplin in the production about the legendary singer’s life opening at Ivoryton Playhouse, May 30. Photos by Curtis Brown.

ESSEX — The Ivoryton Playhouse will present the 2014 Tony Award-nominated 2013 Broadway Musical A Night With Janis Joplin, written and directed by Randy Johnson, from May 30 to June 24.

Born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1943, Janis Lyn Joplin challenged racial and sexual stereotypes, and created a sound and a style that has become legendary. She exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the queen of rock and roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with more than a touch of Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock

Her unique sound, however, was originally created as a result of her love for some of the greatest African-American singers of all time. Now, theatergoers can share an evening with the Queen of Rock and Roll and her musical influences in A Night with Janis Joplin

On Jan. 12, 1995, when she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, her profile proclaimed, “Janis Joplin’s star rose fast, burned bright and burned out too soon. The blues-influenced rocker had one of the most powerful voices of the Sixties. Her voice is equal parts tough and vulnerable, a shout into the void that resonated with a generation.” Joplin biographer Myra Friedman added, “It wasn’t only her voice that thrilled, with its amazing range and strength and awesome wails. To see her was to be sucked into a maelstrom of feeling that words can barely suggest.”

A Night with Janis Joplin made its Broadway debut, under the direction of Randy Johnson, on Oct. 10, 2013 at the Lyceum Theatre, where it played for 140 performances before closing on Feb. 9, 2014. Mary Bridget Davies, who made her Broadway debut in the title role, earned a 2014 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, and won a 2014 Theatre World Award for her critically acclaimed performance.

Aurianna Tuttle plays Etta James in ‘A Night with Janis Joplin.’

Sharing the lead role of Janis Joplin in this production are Francesca Ferrari* and Paige McNamara*. The cast also includes Aurianna Angelique*, Jennifer Leigh Warren*, Tawny Dolley*, and Amma Osei* who take on the roles of the many women who influenced Janis – Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and many more.

A Night with Janis Joplin opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on May 30 and runs through June 24. Original direction by Randy Johnson, original set design by Brian Prather, original lighting design by Ryan O’Gara, original projections by Darrel Maloney, original costume designs by Amy Clark and original wig designs by Leah Loukas. This production is co-directed by Tyler Rhodes. Musical Director is Michael Morris.

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

Tickets purchased before June 1 are $50 for adults, $45 for seniors, $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting the Playhouse’s website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. After June 1, tickets are $55 for adults and $50 for seniors. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

Share

Carney Receives Republican Nomination for Re-Election to the 23rd District

Celebrating Devin Carney’s unanimous endorsement as Republican candidate for the 23rd District are, from left to right, Cathy Carter, Dave Evers, Dan Montano, Carney, and Jackie Miano.

OLD SAYBROOK — State Representative Devin Carney received the unanimous endorsement of the Republican delegates representing Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and coastal Westbrook at the 23rd District convention on Wednesday, May 16. The convention was held at the Teresa Mulvey Municipal Building in Westbrook.

“It is truly an honor to be nominated for a third term by the Republicans of the 23rd District,” said Carney. “I have worked incredibly hard over the past four years as State Representative and always put the people of the district first. In these past two terms, I have advocated for small businesses and small towns, opposed massive tax increases, and worked across the aisle in order to achieve the best legislative results for the people of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Connecticut still faces significant budgetary hurdles, so I plan on continuing to work to stabilize government finances while helping  to create an economic environment that provides opportunity for all.”

Carney was nominated by Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna.

“As First Selectman of Old Saybrook, I often interact with the state legislature on issues that affect small towns and I always know I can count on Devin,” Fortuna said. “In these past four years, Devin has always stood up for his municipalities by supporting local education, pushing back against unnecessary unfunded mandates, and opposing legislation that would negatively affect the quality of life in shoreline Connecticut.”

In only his second term, Carney was named the highest ranked House Republican of the Transportation Committee where he has advocated for roadway improvements, local public transportation, and highway safety. In addition, he used that role to campaign against the Federal Railroad Administration’s NEC Future plan bypass, which would have devastated Southeastern Connecticut.

“Serving in leadership on the Transportation Committee has given me the unique opportunity to fight for local transportation concerns, including Shore Line East and 9-Town Transit, and also to call attention to issues that affect the region such as I-95 safety and the FRA’s NEC Future proposal,” added Carney.

Carney also serves on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and the Environment Committee. Last year, Carney was recognized by the Connecticut Counseling Association with their “Legislative Service Award” for his work in support of licensed professional counselors and for supporting efforts to curb elder abuse and to combat the state’s opioid epidemic.

Carney also co-founded the legislature’s bipartisan Young Legislators Caucus and the bipartisan Clean Energy Caucus. Carney is active in many community organizations including serving on the Board of Trustees at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, on the Board of Saye Brook Village senior housing, and as a member of both the Old Saybrook and Lyme-Old Lyme Chambers of Commerce.

“As the next phase of the election begins, I look forward to discussing my accomplishments and bringing my message of fiscal stability and economic growth to each and every doorstep in the 23rd District,” said Carney.

Share

Essex Announces Mill Rate Reduction for Fiscal Year 2018-2019

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman. (File photo)

ESSEX – First Selectman Norman Needleman has announced that Essex taxpayers will notice a reduction in the tax bills they receive in June.  With the unanimous approval of the proposed town budget at Town meeting on Monday, May 14, the Essex Board of Finance took up the task of setting the mill rate.  First Selectman Needleman carried a message from the Board of Selectmen recommending the board of finance consider a mill rate reduction.

Several favorable factors enabled the board of finance to consider the mill rate reduction.  These include the growth in the Town’s grand list, the passage of the State budget, a reduction of the Town’s cost share of Region 4 education budget, as well as a reduction at Essex Elementary School, and the Town’s strong fund balance position.  The board of finance voted to reduce the mill rate from the current rate of 21.96 mills for fiscal year 2017-2018 to 21.85 mills for fiscal year 2018-2019.  This represents a reduction of 0.11 mills or -0.5 percent.

“This is a responsible budget and one that I am very proud of. Essex is a vibrant and welcoming community and I am pleased we were able to lower the mill rate while maintaining the exceptional level of Town services that our residents expect and deserve,” said Needleman.

Copies of approved budgets are available on the Finance Department page of the town website at this link.

Share

Essex Art Association’s 2018 Elected Artist Exhibition Opens with Reception, June 1

‘Mixed Media’ by Pam Erickson is one of the signature pieces of the artist’s solo exhibition at the Essex Art Association.

ESSEX — The June show at the Essex Art Association (EAA) is the Elected Artists’ Exhibition. The exhibit’s opening reception is Friday, June 1, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The show runs June 2 through June 23. The EAA Gallery is located at 10 North Main Street, Essex, CT. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. daily, and closed Tuesdays. For more information visit essexartassociation.com or call 860-767-8996.

Essex Art Association Elected Artists are members who have distinguished themselves by having their work accepted in three separate juried art shows within a five-year period, meaning their work passed the stringent entrance requirements of at least three discerning judges.

The Gantner Gallery exhibit showcases artwork by artist Pam Erickson. Erickson finds herself on a constant quest, foraging for treasures to incorporate into her art and titled this one-woman exhibition “Scavenger Hunt.”

To further the theme and perhaps inspire some adults to bring their children or grandchildren, she has created an actual treasure hunt for the viewers. She was inspired by seeing how much fun this was for the visitors to the Florence Griswold Museum’s “Wee Faerie Village” in Old Lyme. This will be the fourth year that she has enjoyed participating in this popular event.

Erickson’s assemblage and sculpture employ a wide range of non-traditional materials. If you frequent the Betty Pierson Recycling Shed at the Essex Transfer Station, you might just find one of your castoffs finding a new life in one of Erickson’s oft times whimsical creations. She finds it hard to leave without finding something that might lead to inspiration for another piece of art.

‘On the Level’ by Pam Erickson is featured in her one-woman show at the Essex Art Association.

Erickson grew up in Brooklyn. She graduated with a degree in Graphic Arts from the School of Visual Arts and studied ceramics at The New School and Southampton College.

Erickson and her family relocated from New York City and Long Island to Killingworth, Conn. in 1997 when she received two Connecticut Commission on the Arts fellowships.

In 2001, she and her husband moved to Ivoryton, renovating a factory into living quarters and studio space, eventually opening The Erickson-Davis Gallery of which she was manager and curator. for more information, visit www.ericksondavisgallery.com

Exhibition juror Breana Ferrara is a sculptor and metalsmith. She recently earned her BFA in Fine Arts 3D/Metalsmithing from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and works as a studio assistant to metalsmiths in the Boston area. 

Ferrara teaches classes and works in the small metals studio at MassArt, while maintaining her own studio practice in her home. In her work, she uses metalsmithing and fiber techniques to create inter active sculpture.

She examines themes in her work such as shame, trauma, sexuality, and memory to tell her story in a deeply personal way, while still relating to the experiences of others on an emotional and visceral level.

Share

Essex Steam Train Hosts a Cigar & Whiskey Cruise, June 7 & 12

AREAWIDE — Join Essex Steam Train for a unique night of refined pleasures on their Cigar & Whiskey Cruise.

On Thursdays, June 7 and July 12, from 6 to 9 p.m., the Cigar & Whiskey Cruise (for adults only) will take
an exclusive group of cigar enthusiasts on the Becky Thatcher riverboat for an evening of spirits, cigars, and delicious cuisine.  This event will be held rain or shine.

Guests board the vintage steam train at Essex Station for a ride to Deep River Landing, where they will embark on a two-hour sunset cruise along the Connecticut River while they sample premium whiskeys paired with a hand-rolled cigar for each passenger.

The schedule for the evening is as follows:-

  • Board the locomotive at Essex Station at 6 p.m.
  • Train departs Essex at 6:15 p.m.
  • Riverboat Cruise runs from 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Arrive back at Essex Station at 9:30 p.m.

Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided and additional spirits will be available for purchase.

Included in the $85 ticket price ($95 at the door) is the initial train ride to Deep River Landing, two-hour cruise on the Connecticut River, a hand-rolled cigar, 1/2-oz. tastings of the night’s featured whiskeys, light fare, and an Essex Steam Train & Riverboat rocks glass.

For more information and to reserve tickets, contact Pam Amodio at pamodio@essexsteamtrain.com or call 860.767.0103 or visit this link.

 

Share

Pugliese Accepts Democratic Nomination for 23rd District, Will Challenge Carney in November Election

Last Wednesday, delegates from the 23rd District unanimously nominated Matt Pugliese (fourth from right) as the Democratic candidate for the 23rd State House District. Photo by Janis Esty.

OLD SAYBROOK — On Wednesday, May 16, at a convention held in Old Saybrook at the Vicky Duffy Pavilion, Matt Pugliese accepted the Democratic nomination to represent the 23rd House District in the upcoming November election. The District includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and the southern portion of Westbrook.

Matt Pugliese

Pugliese, a non-profit arts executive, announced his candidacy in early March. He is challenging incumbent Devin Carney-R, who is running for a third term.

He was formally nominated by Karen Brodeur, a member of the Old Saybrook Board of Education.  In her remarks, Brodeur said, “Matt has experience as a business leader, as a community leader, as a civic volunteer, and as a caring husband and father. Matt is focused, disciplined, hard-worker.  He is an empathetic listener.  Matt cares about his family and he cares about his community.”

In accepting the nomination, Pugliese said, “I’m a Democrat. I’ve always believed that the Democratic party valued everyone, especially those didn’t have a voice. I will represent everyone in our community. I believe in communication, in compromise and consensus building. That is the style of leadership and the values I promise to bring to Hartford.”

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd)

Pugliese, the Executive Producer and Managing Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, serves as the Chair of Old Saybrook’s Economic Development Commission.  He holds his BA in Theatre and his Masters in Public Administration, both from UConn.

Pugliese’s formal nomination drew praise and remarks from others in attendance including Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal and Mary Stone from Lyme, who was herself a candidate for the 23rd District in 2014. The delegates in attendance unanimously voted to select Pugliese as the candidate.

Pugliese, who is participating in the public funding option in the Citizen’s Election Program, announced that he had raised the required funds to qualify.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Share

Essex Joins Sustainable CT

ESSEX — On May 3, the Essex Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to join Sustainable CT, an exciting new initiative to support the environmental resiliency of Connecticut’s cities and towns. The statewide initiative, created by towns for towns, includes a detailed menu of sustainability best practices, tools and resources, peer learning, and recognition.

Over the past 15 years Essex has made great strides in reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of its residences and municipal buildings.  This is an ideal time to focus on improving the environmental outlook of Essex in other areas.

A newly named Sustainable Essex Committee, formerly Essex Citizens for Clean Energy, will focus on strategies to balance environmental protection, economic development, and social objectives to meet the needs of today without compromising the quality of life for future generations. 

“It’s important to continue efforts toward greater sustainability, not only for the potential grant opportunities, but also because we need to be good stewards of the incredible environment we are surrounded by so that future generations can enjoy all that this community has the potential to offer,” said First Selectman  Norm  Needleman.

The Sustainable CT initiative involves nine categories that towns need to improve upon and earn points toward becoming certified as a sustainable municipality, which opens the door to receiving grants for further improvements. There is no cost to participate and communities will voluntarily select actions that meet their unique, local character and long-term vision. 

The initiative was developed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.  Three Connecticut philanthropies – The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation, and the Common Sense Fund – have supported the program’s development and launch.

“We are thrilled that Essex has passed a resolution to join Sustainable CT. The program builds on many current success stories in our communities to create and support more great places to live, work, and play,” said Lynn Stoddard, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy.  “We are looking forward to working with the Town as they pursue Sustainable CT certification.”

For more information on Sustainable CT, visit the program’s website at www.sustainablect.org.

Share

Essex Annual Shad Bake to be Held, June 2

Preparing Shad – Rotary Club of Essex volunteers prepare shad the traditional way by nailing them onto oak boards and using a specially prepared rub.

 

One of our State’s great culinary customs returns to the Connecticut River Museum Saturday, June 2, from 3 to 6 p.m. with the 2018 Essex Annual Shad Bake.  For 60 years, the Rotary Club of Essex has been proudly holding this annual rite of spring, nailing delicious American shad onto oak planks and roasting them around a large bonfire.  Share this wonderful Connecticut tradition with your family and friends.

Shad baking around the fire.

This year’s Bake is made possible through the generous support of Guilford Savings Bank and AJ Shea Construction.  Additional support comes from The JECM Foundation, Norman Needleman & Jacqueline Hubbard, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Middlesex Hospital, Gallagher Buick GMC Inc., and many other sponsors.

Representatives from the two lead sponsors, Bake Master Joseph Shea of AJ Shea Construction (left), and David Carswell Branch Manager of Guildford Savings Bank (center) join Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs to celebrate the upcoming Shad Bake.

The Museum’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs said “We are pleased to host and partner with the Rotary Club of Essex on this iconic event that celebrates part of the Connecticut River’s heritage and supports the many worthwhile projects of Rotary and Museum.”

This volunteer-run event has been organized by the Rotary Club of Essex and is coordinated by Bake Master Joseph Shea. Shea comments,“We offer one of the most unique culinary traditions in New England at one of the most majestic and historic locations. It is a winning combination!”

In addition to delicious food on Saturday, the Connecticut River Museum docks welcomes the Onrust for a second season of sailing on the Connecticut River.

The historic replica vessel Onrust will be docked at the Connecticut River Museum through mid October for public cruises and programs. Photo by Judy Preston.

At the shad bake, a variety of activities take place throughout the afternoon. Join JB Lundgren for a deboning demonstration, Saybrook Point Inn Marina and Spa for a presentation on how to cook shad roe, and Al Moncovich for a shad wood carving exhibit.  Always popular is Tim Visel’s historical diorama display of shad fishing through the years.  The Connecticut River Conservancy, The Shad Museum in Haddam and the Connecticut River Museum will also offer programs on the history and traditions of the shad fishery.

For shad lovers, the lure is the secret ingredients and the authentic method of preparing and baking the fish, which has been handed down through generations of Connecticut natives.  Nailed onto oak planks with salt pork and placed in front of the bonfire, the fish picks up the smoky flavor of the fire and the seasoned oak boards on which it is baked. Add to this delicacy homemade potato salad, tossed green salad, and pie from Lyman Orchards and your shad experience is complete.

Bill Hoffstetler demonstrates the fine art of removing bones from shad — a fish referred to by local Native Americans as the “inside out porcupine.”

Don’t care for shad?  Grilled chicken is also available. In addition to the food, participants will be able to enjoy live music and tour the Museum, which will be open until 6 p.m.  The vibrant atmosphere is enhanced with picnickers and the delicious smell of shad baking around the open fire.

Buy your tickets today.  The $30 adult (shad or chicken dinner option) and $10 child (10 and under) ticket includes the full meal (child ticket includes a hot dog and salads) and admission to the Museum.  Tickets will be an additional $5 on the day of the event.

Beer, wine and soda will be available for purchase with a valid ID.  Freshly shucked clams and oysters will also be available at an additional price beginning at 3:00 pm. No carry-in alcohol will be permitted.

To purchase tickets, visit shop.ctrivermuseum.org or buy them in person at the Centerbrook Package Store, Essex Hardware, or the Connecticut River Museum.  There will be no parking on the Museum grounds and on-street parking is very limited.  On the day of the event, a free shuttle will be running between the Museum and the Essex Town Hall parking lot.

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Mondays until after Memorial Day. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For a full listing of Museum programs and events, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

The Rotary Club of Essex is the local chapter of Rotary International whose membership is made up of service minded professionals.  The club and its members are committed to improving the community, connecting with other professionals, sharing their time and experience with the young, supporting global causes, and using their skills to help others.

For more information about the Shad Bake and Rotary Club visit http://www.rotaryclubofessex.com.

Photo Captions:

  1. Members of The Rotary Club of Essex season and plank the Shad to cook in front of the fire just as it has been done for hundreds of years.
  2. Representative from the two lead sponsors, Bake Master Joseph Shea of AJ Shea Construction, and David Carswell Branch Manager of Guildford Savings Bank join Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs to celebrate the upcoming Shad Bake.
Share

Essex Library Hosts ‘Meet The Author’ Event With Verlyn Klinkenborg, June 12

Verlyn Klinkenborg gives an Author Talk, June 12, at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Join Essex Public Library in welcoming author Verlyn Klinkenborg on Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. His talk is titled Choosing A Book: The Author and The Reader. 

Klinkenborg comes from a family of Iowa farmers and is the author of Making Hay and The Last Fine Time. A member of the editorial board of the New York Times from 1997 to 2013, he has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, National Geographic, Mother Jones, and the New York Times Magazine, among others.

His essays on rural life were a beloved regular feature in the New York Times for many years. He lives on a small farm in upstate New York and teaches in the English Department at Yale.

This special event is free and open to the public. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

Share

Leif Nilsson Hosts Eric Fresia in Next ‘Concert in the Garden,’ June 14

Eric Fresia will play the next ‘Concert in the Garden,’ June 14, at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts a Thursday evening ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Thursday, June 14 , from 7 to 9 p.m.,  featuring Eric Fresia at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. Arrowhead will open the show.

Fresia’s music spans eight albums and at least as many genres. From ballrooms to juke joints, he brings a big voice and a small guitar that are bound to leave you dancing, laughing, ringing and singing. Fresia can silence a room with a slow ballad, rock the house with some heavy blues, then bring it home with some driving world music.

Fresia’s eighth album is an honest, stripped-down portrayal of 30 years as a singer-songwriter. Inspired by a six-month journey in 2015 from London to Morocco, the album draws influence from time spent living in Provence, Barcelona and Andalusia, with echoes of North African blues and Moroccan rhythms.

After evolving from a four-piece roots/rock band, to an eight-piece world music ensemble, to 10 years of touring as a trio with two of his children, it’s time to perform these new songs solo, just as they were written: one mic, one voice, one guitar and a songbook filled with stories from the road.

For more information on Fresia, visit http://ericfresia.com/

This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come first seated. Seating is Bistro Style in the amphitheater. The concert will be moved indoors in the event of inclement weather.

A $20 donation is appreciated. The event is BYOB – pack a picnic and bring your own wine or beer or buy it across the street at the Chester Package Store.

Share

Author Amy Bloom Discusses Her New Book, ‘White Houses’ at CBSRZ, June 3

CHESTER — Join Books & Bagels on Sunday, June 3, and find out how author Amy Bloom unearthed the story behind First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationship with renowned journalist Lorena Hickok.  Her research included reading some three thousand letters between these two remarkable women, letters stowed away in the Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park and the source of inspiration for her intimate portrayal of their story.

Arguably the greatest First Lady ever, Eleanor Roosevelt contrasted in almost every possible way with Lorena Hickok, whose background was so dissimilar as to make any understanding between the two seem unlikely.  Bloom tells the story in Hickok’s inimitable voice and helps us see and understand the developing bond between these two exceptional women and thus we unravel not only their personal tale but also the momentous events of the time.

White Houses has already received critical acclaim.from numerous sources. Paula McLain, author of Circling the Sun, wrote “It seems a minor miracle, what Amy Bloom has done in White Houses. In Lorena Hickok’s unforgettable voice, she brings an untold slice of history so dazzlingly and devastatingly to life, it took my breath away. Easily, the most intimate, crackling and expansive rendering of Eleanor Roosevelt in print, and more than this, a dizzyingly beautiful tale of what it means to be human, and what it is to love. This is a book I won’t forget.”

Joyce Carol Oates describes White Houses as “Irresistibly readable, fascinating material—Amy Bloom has written a remarkably intimate and yet informative novel of the secret, scandalous love of Eleanor Roosevelt and her longtime friend and companion Lorena Hickok, who relates the tale in her own, quite wonderful voice.”

Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue, writes, “Amy Bloom illuminates one of the most intriguing relationships in history with her graceful prose and sensitive portrayals in White Houses.  Her Lorena Hickok is entirely sympathetic and often quite funny, yet ultimately she is a woman who found love with another lost soul, Eleanor Roosevelt.  And love is what this book is all about; it suffuses every page, every scene so that by the time you reach the end, you are simply stunned by the beauty of the world these two carved out for themselves.”

Book & Bagels will be held at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek on Sunday, June 3, at 9:30 a.m. White Houses, along with several of Bloom’s other bookswill be on sale at the event and ready to be signed by the author.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information, contact the office at CBSRZ: 860-526-8920.

Share

Deep River Historical Society Hosts Strawberry Social Annual Fundraiser, June 3

Mmmmmm … strawberries always taste so good.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Historical Society hosts a Strawberry Social Annual Fundraiser on Sunday, June 3, from 1 to 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the door of the Carriage House on the grounds of the Stone House, 245 Main Street, Deep River.

This event benefits the many projects and functions of the Society and is enjoyed by the community each year.

Admission for adults is $6 and children 5 and under are $3.

The “Berry Baskets” will be available also.

For more information, call Sue Wisner at 860-526-9103 or email suewisner@comcast.net

Share

Join a ‘Follow the Falls’ Celebration & Clambake, June 3

A  colorized postcard, circa 1910, shows the sawmill, dam and mill pond, part of the Williams Complex & Shipyard, which once stood at the mouth of Falls River Cove.  Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Celebrate the history and natural beauty of Falls River Cove area with a riverside soiree and clam bake, hosted rain or shine by Essex Historical Society and Essex Land Trust, held at Osage Trails Preserve, Foxboro Road, Essex, on Sunday, June 3, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Learn about the groups’ major collaborative partnership, investigating the Williams Complex & Shipyard, 1689 – 1845, ‘hidden’ below Falls River Cove for 150 years. Osage Trails is as close as the public can get to the site of the former shipyard, now on private property. 

The Clambake will be catered by Flanders Fish Market. 

Follow the Falls represents a joint effort by Essex Historical Society and the Essex Land Trust to tell the remarkable story of the Falls River, which binds together the three historic villages of Ivoryton, Centerbrook and Essex to form what we know today as the Town of Essex. Besides its historic significance, the Falls River is home to a rich natural history, kept alive by the four Essex Land Trust preserves located along its winding shores.

In 2018, Follow the Falls explores the area’s natural history, Native American and European settlements, the harnessing of the river’s water power and the industrial development of Falls River Cove. and the industrial development of Falls River Cove.

A triple-spillway dam at the mouth of the Falls River, once powered several small industries in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.  A wooden bridge connected the river banks between a grist mill and the sawmill, as in seen in this late 19th century photograph.  Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Thanks to new technology, a 24-page booklet and conversations with research participants, attendees can look through this window into the shipyard’s history. See how local resident and environmentalist Diz Callender’s vision was realized as she donated this beautiful parcel to form the Osage Trails Preserve with its rich natural history. 

The ongoing project is made possible with support from Overabove, the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and Guilford Savings Bank, as well as private funders. 

The Follow the Falls Celebration and Clambake will be catered by Flanders Fish Market.  Photos courtesy of Flanders Fish Market.

Admission is $65 per person for the event and clambake. Event limited to first 150 registrants. Your registration and payment must be received no later than May 25 to be placed on the reservation list. Tickets will not be mailed out or sold on the day of the event.  (Keep your confirmation of payment as your event admission receipt. Sorry no refunds.) 

For more information, visit www.essexhistory.org or 860-767-0681.

Share

Healthy Food, Farming is Focus of Child & Family’s ‘Farm to Fork’ Benefit Event, June 16


Traditional plowing methods are used at New Mercies Farm where the June 16 ‘Farm to Fork’ event will be held.

LYME — How much do you know about the food you eat?  Do you know where it was grown, or how was it planted, cultivated, and harvested? Were any harmful chemicals used? How healthy was the soil it grew in? Or the water that nourished it?

Farm to Fork: The Sustainable Life is a day spent at a local, family-owned farm learning about sustainable farming, organic practices, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and how all of this works together to provide healthy, clean, and locally grown food to our families, restaurants, schools, markets, and shops. It takes place on Saturday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Mercies Farm in Lyme.

Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn, the owner/operators of New Mercies Farm and the farmers at Upper Pond Farm in Old Lyme, are opening New Mercies Farm to us for this one-of-a-kind experience. Baylee and Quinn are both educated farmers, with degrees in biology, education, and sustainable food systems, and apply that knowledge to their farming practices. But farming is more than a job for them; it’s a way of life.

Drown was raised on a dairy farm in Michigan; and Quinn, a Lyme native, grew up surrounded by farmland. Their goal is to feed their community with healthy, beautiful, and tasty produce and to do this in the most ecologically sustainable way. Baylee and Quinn will share with us how they do this and why, while they discuss such topics as the importance of soil health, natural ways to fight pests, how to combat erosion, and more.

Farm to Fork attendees will tour the farm fields and hoop houses where produce is growing at various stages of development. You’ll see the farm in action — and may even get your hands dirty! Presentations on CSAs, displays on nutrition and organic foods, and planting demonstrations will offer valuable information that you can take with you to use in your own garden or to inform the food choices you make and improve the quality of the food your family consumes.
And for a true “farm to table” experience, attendees at Farm to Fork will also enjoy (included with their ticket) a delicious boxed lunch, creatively catered by Coffee’s Country Market of Old Lyme, which will incorporate ingredients grown at this very farm.
Farm to Fork: The Sustainable Life takes place on Saturday, June 16, from 11am to 3pm, rain or shine.  Advance tickets for Farm to Fork are $45, which includes tours, talks, presentations, and a boxed lunch. 
NOTE: Tickets are limited to 200, and advance purchases are strongly encouraged. Ticket availability cannot be guaranteed on June 16. (Tickets purchased on June 16, IF AVAILABLE, will be priced at $50. Tickets are available now online by visiting http://www.childandfamilyagency.org/event/farmtofork/ and clicking on the Eventbrite link; or download an order form and send a check (made out to Child & Family Agency) to P.O. Box 324, Old Lyme, CT 06371.

Questions?  Email cfa.lolauxiliary@gmail.com.  Follow us on facebook at www.facebook.com/events/2034637750188871/.

 

Proceeds from Farm to Fork will benefit the programs and projects of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to nurture children and families to develop their strengths through service, partnership, and advocacy. With offices in New London, Essex, and Groton, and a professional staff of 170, Child & Family Agency is the largest nonprofit children’s service provider in southeastern Connecticut.
Share

Chester Synagogue Hosts Photo Exhibit by CT Valley Camera Club Through July 27

The CT Valley Camera Club exhibit organizers gather for a photo, from left to right, C. Peter Chow, Mary Fiorelli, and Michael Newborg.

CHESTER — Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester presents a juried selection of photographs by members of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) in the CBSRZ Art Gallery through Friday, July 27. The exhibition highlights the work of many of the Club’s approximately 50 members, whose occupations and ages vary greatly demonstrating the diversity present within the Club.

The CVCC, which was founded in 2002, has a simple mission — to give its members the opportunity to become better photographers. The ways that the Club achieves this objective include offering a variety of presentations and workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. During these popular events, members explore such areas as photographic techniques, computer processing, artistic interpretation and commercial applications, often under the tutelage of a professional photographer.

The CVCC welcomes new members at any time. Meetings are generally held on the first Monday of the month at the Lymes’ Senior Center in Old Lyme.

For more information about the CVCC, visit the club’s website at ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com . Meeting dates, speakers and their topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CTValleyCamer aClubPage.

The CBSRZ Art Gallery can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at CBSRZ, 55 E. Kings Highway, Chester, CT. For more information about the Art Gallery and special events visit www.cbsrz.org/engage/events/art-exhibits/ or call the CBSRZ office at 860-526-8920,

Share

Letter to the Editor: Thanks to Donors from Essex Garden Club’s ‘May Market’ Silent Auction Committee

To the Editor:

On Saturday May 12th in Town Park the Essex Garden Club held its 66th May Market. The Silent Auction Committee of May Market would like to thank our area merchants, friends, and artists for the incredible generosity they showed in supporting this year’s Silent Auction. They are:

Abby’s Place Restaurant, Acer Gardens, Ashleigh’s Garden, Bartlett Tree Experts, Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom, Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store, Connecticut River Museum, Cooper & Smith, Copper Beech Inn, Ron Cozzolino, De Paula Jewelers, Earth and Fire Art Studio, Essex Chocolatier and Coffee Bar, Essex Winter Series, Goodspeed Musicals, Haystacks, Ivoryton Playhouse, Wendy and John Madsen, Charlotte Meyer Design, Melanie Carr Gallery, Al Moncovich, Musical Masterworks, New Earth Acupuncture, Olive Oyl’s, Patricia Spratt for the Home, Perfect Pear, Eve Potts, Savour Café & Bakery, Saybrook Country Barn, Scotch Plains Tavern, 1738 Farm, That’s the Spirit Shoppe, The Essex, The Valley Railroad Company, Gay Thorn, Truffle Shots, Weekend Kitchen, and Weltner’s Antiques and Art.

With thanks to them all.

Sincerely,

Dawn Boulanger, Genie Devine, Barbara Hall, Marily MacKinnon
The Essex Garden Club May Market Silent Auction Committee

Share

Town of Essex Conducts State Mandated Real Estate Revaluation

ESSEX – The Town of Essex has begun the state mandated revaluation project. Connecticut law requires municipalities to conduct a general revaluation at least once every five years. The revaluation will be effective with the Oct. 1, 2018 Grand List. Vision Government Solutions has been awarded the contract to assist the Town with the process.

If your property sold within the last year a representative from Vision will be visiting your property in the near future. Each employee of Vision will carry proper identification and a letter of introduction. Their vehicles have also been registered with the Essex Police Department.

Homeowners, be advised that the Vision employees will request access to your home to ensure accuracy of the information. While the assessor encourages you to allow access, you are not required to do so. As always, do not let anyone into your home without the proper identification.

If you are unsure, you may contact the Assessor’s Office at 860-767-4340 x124 or the Essex Police Department at 860-767-1054 for verification.

Share

VRHS Students Present a Custom-Made Equipment Box for the Town of Essex Fire Marshal Vehicle

Valley regional High School students who worked on the project are from left to right: Jared Hart, Josh Donahue, Quinn Kobe, Marcus SantaMaria, Andrew Persico, Ben Rosenberg, Chris Donohue, David Uphold, Cayla Sperzel, and Sam Wollschleager.

ESSEX — First Selectman Norm Needleman and Fire Marshal John Planas would like to give special thanks to the Valley Regional High School Students who worked to fabricate a custom-made wooden equipment box for the Fire Marshal vehicle.

On Monday, April 30, the students presented to the Town of Essex the equipment box for the vehicle. The box was designed to contain and organize a wide variety of the necessary tools, protective clothing, and supplies that the Fire Marshal needs to perform tasks such as routine inspections to emergency assistance.

This photo shows the custom-made box in situ in the Fire Marshal’s vehicle.

This project was a collaborative effort of the Town of Essex and Valley Regional High School students and faculty.

Norman gave special thanks to the students, their teacher JL Kopcha, Principal Mike Barile, and Superintendent Dr. Ruth Levy.   He noted that this was an excellent example of the practical benefits of the school’s vocational curriculum and active citizenship to support critical Town functions.

Students in photograph, from left to right, are:  Jared Hart, Josh Donahue, Quinn Kobe, Marcus SantaMaria, Andrew Persico, Ben Rosenberg, Chris Donohue, David Uphold, Cayla Sperzel, and Sam Wollschleager

Share

Letter to the Editor: American Legion Post #97 Appeals for Donations to Repair Chester War Memorial

To the Editor:

Sitting proudly on Rte. 154 entering Chester are Chester’s War Memorials. Dedicated in 1939, the World War I memorial features a granite doughboy figure atop a monument listing local veterans.  In 2004, American Legion Post #97 unveiled an elegant granite monument honoring Chester residents who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and post-Vietnam conflicts.

They shall grow not old, as we are left grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn, at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

You only need to visit other towns in Connecticut to see what a dignified and stately memorial this is for the size of Chester.

Over the years maintenance and minor repairs have been funded by the Town of Chester, volunteers and American Legion Post #97. But 14 years have taken their toll on our Memorial.  Post #97 members have identified some issues that need to be addressed – most importantly is the fence on the front perimeter of the memorial.    The pressure treated wooden fence is rotting away and needs to be replaced.   Plans are to use granite posts and black chain which will be less susceptible to the weather.  

We are asking the help of our residents and friends to donate towards the replacement of the fence and ensure the memorial remain a proud focal point. Any contribution, however small, will be welcome. Donors may request to be added to a donor list that will be published in the local paper at the conclusion of our project.

This memorial at the entrance to Chester holds an honored position and completing these repairs will ensure it remains so for many years.

Our goal is $6,000 for the new fence at the Chester’s War Memorial. If more funds are donated then what covers the price of supplies and installation of the fence, we will use those funds to repair the flagpoles.  Your donations may be made out to American Legion Post #97 and mailed to PO Box 122, Chester, CT 06412.  All donations are tax deductible and very much appreciated.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

American Legion Post #97

Share

9 Town Transit Faces Bus Cuts, Fare Increases; Encourages Public to Voice Their Opinions

AREAWIDE — 9 Town Transit (9TT) is preparing for a 15 percent reduction of state funding beginning July 1, 2018 with a proposal of service cuts and fare increases.  The agency says the reductions are due to the failure of revenue into the state’s Special Transportation Fund to keep up with expenses.

Under the proposal, bus fares would rise from $1.75 to $2 on bus routes and to $4 on Dial-A-Ride.  This would be the second fare increase in 18 months.

The agency is also proposing multiple service reductions.  They include:

  • Elimination of the senior fare subsidy, which would result in seniors paying a fare on all services for the first time in 37 years.
  • Reducing service on Rte. 2 Riverside, which provides service between Chester and Old Saybrook, by eight hours per weekday.
  • Elimination of all Saturday service.
  • Reducing service on Rte. 1 Shoreline Shuttle by three hours per day (7:30 a.m. trip leaving Old Saybrook, 9 a.m. leaving Madison).

 

Written statements concerning the proposal may be submitted either at the hearing, by email to info@estuarytransit.org or mail.

9 Town Transit is encouraging transit users and supporters to let their state representative and senator know how important 9 Town Transit, Shoreline East or other public transit services are to them.

More information about the possible service reductions and ways to help prevent the funding cuts can be found at www.9towntransit.com/fundtransit.

Share

Reynolds’ Subaru Donates $30,000 to Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center

Pictured above at the check donation ceremony are (from left to right) Joe Altavilla, District Sales Manager, Subaru of New England; Devin Carney, Connecticut State Representative (R-23rd); Kathryn Wayland, Reynolds’ Subaru; Hayden Reynolds, Reynolds’ Subaru; Laura Martino, Middlesex Hospital; Melissa Ziobron, Connecticut State Representative (R-34th); and Justin Drew, Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center.

 

WESTBROOK — Reynolds’ Subaru in Lyme has donated $30,000 to Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center’s new Westbrook location. The generous donation will ensure that cancer patients have access to the best possible treatments and care team.

Reynolds’ donation was made following the conclusion of Subaru of America Inc.’s Share the Love campaign. Reynolds’ Subaru and the Reynolds’ family, however, have been supportive of Middlesex Hospital for many years.

“As a local business, we feel it is important to give back to our community,” says Hayden Reynolds. “We believe that having medical care on the shoreline makes it easier for our customers, neighbors and family members to get the care they need. The Cancer Center is a great addition to what Middlesex already offers on the shoreline, and we are so pleased to help the Hospital’s efforts.”

Justin Drew, director of the Cancer Center, is very grateful for the support. “We are humbled by the generosity of Reynolds’ Subaru,” he says. “Their support means that Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center patients can access life-saving cancer treatment closer to home, and we thank them for sharing their love with us.”

Share

Thatchbed Island Ospreys Return

Webcam image of the nesting ospreys at Thatchbed Island.

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust’s Thatchbed Island property is once again hosting returning Ospreys. Having wintered in the warmer climates of Central and South America, the arrival of Ospreys towards the end of March is the clearest indication that Spring is on its way.

The Essex Land Trust’s OspreyCam has not been operational for the past two seasons due to battery and camera problems. With these problems now resolved, the Trust took advantage of the opportunity to upgrade the camera to digital quality. This Thatchbed Platform has been hosting a nesting pair since 2003 and has successfully reared numerous fledglings.

I see you! A osprey looks up at the camera from his — or is it her –nest?

Ospreys continue to make a remarkable comeback after having practically disappeared from our coastal region in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2017, the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Osprey Nation Citizen Science Program monitored 540 nest sites throughout the state. Of these sites, there were 394 active nests and 607 total fledglings observed in the state. 

Ospreys are now occupying new nesting sites that are further inland than their historical range along the Connecticut coast.

The Middlesex County Community Foundation/Riverview Cemetery generously funded the initial installation of the Essex Land Trust OspreyCam. The live streaming of the Essex Land Trust OspreyCam is made possible by the generous support of Essex Savings Bank

Share

Letter From Paris: The (Rail) Battle That Macron Must Win 

Nicole Prévost Logan

France is going through the labor pains of implementing a variety of overdue structural reforms if France is to be brought into the 21st century.  President Emmanuel Macron has tackled this objective at a dizzying speed since his election on May 7, 2017.  The pace of change was so fast that the opposition appeared unable to react until Macron turned to the reform of the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français.) 

Now that process is developing into a major crisis.  Other groups  – university students,  Air France personnel, hospital staff,  garbage collectors, violent clashes at the Notre Dame des Landes “zad” (zone à defenre), etc. – joined the movement.  To overcome the spread of the social discontent  will be the first and decisive test for the French president. 

When the government announced a restructuring of the SNCF , which involved the status of the railroad workers or cheminots, dealing with the unsustainable debt, introducing competition, and the overall modernization of the rail network – the reaction of the unions was immediate and massive.

On March 18, four trade unions – CGT (Confédération Générale du Travail), UNSA (Union Nationale des Syndicats Autonomes), RAIL-SUD and CFDT (Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail) – announced  an innovative and deadly form of strikes: work stops for two days, then trains run for three days.  This schedule will be repeated for a total of 36 days during a period of three months until the end of June … longer if necessary. 

The platform at the Gare de Lyon in Paris on April 3, showing the rail strike’s devastating effect.

The French are bracing themselves for this monster strike, which will be hard for millions of working people, mainly commuters.  The specter of the 1995 strike, which paralyzed France for one month, looms over the country.  The collateral cost of a widespread strike is astronomical with the loss of work days; hotels and restaurants losing more than 30 percent of their profits; and factories momentarily having to close down and lay off employees, and the like.

Facing the angry unions was Minister of Transports Elizabeth Borne, who is a petite, remarkably qualified 57-year-old woman.  A product of the top elite school Polytechnique, part of the socialist government of Lionel Jospin, former head of the RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) and of the SNCF strategy from 2002 to 2005. Technocrat rather than politician, Borne knows everything, but communication is not her forte

The 150,000 cheminots occupy a special place in France and are at the heart of the nation’s DNA. This is why the government’s efforts to bring reforms have met resistance violence the like of which it may not have anticipated.  The aura surrounding  the cheminots has been significantly fed in popular culture by a couple of films. 

In Jean Renoir’s “La Bête Humaine”, 1938, Jean Gabin portrays a cheminot. He looks quite dashing as he leans out of the steam engine wearing goggles, his face smeared with black dust.  Sustained by a bottle of wine he shares with his jolly co-worker, his exhausting job is to feed the “beast” with coal in the deafening noise of an inferno while breathing  poisonous fumes. The indelible image of this hero inspired the population’s respect for the hard work of the cheminots. 

Jean Gabin as a cheminot in ‘La Bête Humaine,’ 1938.

The other film, which contributed to the collective adulation of the French for their cheminots, is La Bataille du Rail, 1946, played by non-professional actors.  It shows their courage against the Nazi occupants in provoking the derailment of many German trains.

The cheminots are fiercely attached to their special status including retiring at as early an age 52 with a very generous package of  guaranteed employment for life and free transport tickets for the extended family. The government is trying to be reassuring, saying that the changes will only concern the railroad workers hired in the future.  The cheminots will also benefit from a “social backpack” whereby they can take their special status with them in case of transfer to another job.

The SNCF is badly in the red: its debt of over 50 billion Euros increases by three billion every year and the infrastructure is in dire need of investment.  Although showing some signs of disfunction – trains are often late,  major break downs such as the ones which occurred last fall when the Gare Saint Lazare and Gare Montparnasse left passengers stranded for hours – the rail system is still one of the best in Europe.  The French people do not realize what an expensive luxury it is to have such a public transport system.  But this luxury comes at a price: its operation cost is 30 percent higher than the one of other European railroads.    

The cheminots have a visceral fear of the word” privatization.”  The government has repeatedly said that there will be no privatization.  The state will remain the sole share holder and the only change will be that, in the future, the SNCF will be run as a private company, according to directives approved by the European Council in 2001.

The opponents to reforms spread unfounded horror stories about the introduction of competition and problems it caused in other countries.  Besides, the SNCF’s structure, as a public company created in 1937, had already entered that process over the years.  Freight was privatized in 2003.  International lines – like Eurostar (to England) and Thalys (to Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany) – are run independently from the SNCF.   The Italian company Thello runs night trains between Paris and Venice.  All Trains à Grande Vitesse (TGV — high-speed train) tracks are scheduled to be shared with foreign companies by 2020, according to the guidelines approved by the European Union (EU) members.

Criticisms have been expressed about the overbuilding of TGV lines at a high cost and at the expense of other lines.  The announcement of  suppression of small lines provoked an outcry from public opinion well-orchestrated by the unions.  The dense network of TER (Transport Express Regional) and inter-city trains dates back to the days after WWII.  It was a time when half the French population lived and worked in the country versus less than only 4 percent today.  Each village wanted its gare (railroad station.)  Obviously, the time has come to adapt the network to the population’s current needs.  Since 2002, the small lines are the responsibility of the 12 “regions.”

Emmanuel Macron is dealing with the most challenging issue of his presidency to date.

With the one-year mark of his mandate approaching, Macron felt it was timely to take stock of  what has been accomplished to date by his government.  His first talk took place on Thursday, April 12, during the midday news.  The president was sitting on a tiny chair in an elementary classroom in Normandy.  In a relaxed atmosphere, the president answered the questions French people – including retirees – were asking regarding the erosion of their purchasing power.

Many people expected fireworks during the second event on the evening of Sunday, April 15.  The fireworks duly happened. 

Two journalists – Edwy Plenel from Mediapart and Jean-Jacques Bourdin, from RMC (Radio Monte-Carlo ) wanted only one thing: to tear Macron to pieces.  Interrupting him from the start, their questions were bundled with disinformation.  Insults and accusations flew.  Plenel went as far as saying, “Mr. President, you only won the election by default and your program was supported by just a handful of people.”  Bourdin treated the president as a criminal — as  he frequently does in respect of the person he is interviewing, bullying them into  a “Yes or No” answer.  When the exchange touched on the veil worn by Moslem women, both journalists blasted Macron for totally opposite reasons.

Macron’s performance was superb.  He kept his cool and managed not only to answer the questions at length, but also to explain the rationale for his policy.  Among all the information he disclosed, one was crucial — starting in 2010, the state will gradually take over the huge debt of the SNCF.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

Share

Family Wellness: Does Mindfulness Work for Families?

“Mindfulness” is certainly trending these days.  Books and workshops are in abundance, aimed at children, adults and families.

For some, the concept provokes rolling of the eyes, for others, curiosity, others still, an eagerness to share how helpful the practice has been for them. Perhaps in some it may provoke an urge to purchase new yoga pants and scented candles.

I believe it definitely has practical applications for healthy and happy relationships in families. Think of it as a “health habit.”

Let’s first define the term: 

“The quality of being conscious or aware of something,” and,  “A mental state achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, as a therapeutic technique.”

Generally, I see mindfulness as being able to identify feelings (sometimes uncomfortable ones.)  Being able to hold these feelings helps us to act — or not act — in a healthy way.

Here are some examples of mindful parenting at different developmental stages:

  • CeeCee is  2-months-old and has been fussy since three weeks of age. This makes her parents anxious, maybe even a little angry. CeeCee is thriving and healthy. By practicing mindfulness, her parents are more able to accept their own feelings as “normal” and know that these feelings do not mean that they do not love her. They look forward to CeeCee having her own fussy baby in the decades to come, so that they can reminisce with her.
  • Ben is 3-years-old and cries when he is dropped off at preschool. At family parties, he attaches himself like Velcro to his mother’s leg and will not engage with anyone of any age.  His mother acknowledges and respects her own feelings that go back and forth between embarrassment, irritation, and too- deep sympathy for Ben in this horribly scary world.  Thus her calm, measured responses to him end up making him “braver;” they do not feed into his erroneous belief about the terrible danger at a family party, and do not make him feel like a “bad boy” for being shy.
  • Sara, 10-years-old, did not make the A team in soccer this year. Before she expresses any feelings around this, her parents check in on their own feelings of disappointment and anger at the coach and they restrain themselves from immediately calling the coach. Later over dinner Sara states, “I was not really one of the best players and I like the girls on the B team a lot.”
  • Nick, age 16, is enraged with his parents that he cannot have a house party unsupervised by his parents.  His parents are considering the following responses:   1) “What are you, crazy, you little jerk?” 2) “We are so sorry you are angry with us, so we’ve changed our minds” and/or 3) “It is all our fault we raised you to even consider such a request.”  They realize all these feelings are “OK” and it is also ok for Nick to be mad. It is not their job to make him “OK” with their decision right now. They shrug, acknowledge his disappointment and move on, feeling good about their family and themselves, knowing that Nick is a good kid. Perhaps they will process this at a later time.

Mindfulness has applications across the lifespan.  Young children tend to be “in the moment,” often joyful, which is a tenet of mindfulness, but they may have trouble with handling feelings that might be perceived as less positive.  Young children can learn to “stand next to” feelings of anger, sadness, disappointment and fear, and then move on.  The elderly, sometimes looking at the past, are perhaps a bit frightened about the future.  A practice of mindfulness can be a comfort to them at their stage of growth.

Hanna Rosin, in a humorous piece in Slate, wonders if the concept of mindful parenting just identifies another way for parents to fail (e.g., I forgot to bake for the bake sale AND I forgot to be mindful with the kids yesterday.)  She raises a valid point in a funny and engaging way.  But I believe that, in the long run, a bit of this practice in family life will do the opposite; it will relieve pressure on kids and parents, and perhaps grandparents as well.

Share

Madison Senior Men’s Tennis Club Welcomes New Members of Any Skill Level From All Along Shoreline

Dan Janiak and Will Tuthill confirm it was a pleasure to play.   All photos by Peter Pearce.

“Sometimes you’re looking to play perfect tennis but it’s not going to happen all the time and you have to accept it.”   Andy Murray, professional tennis champion

AREAWIDE — For the men of the Madison Senior Men’s Tennis Organization, the tennis is far from perfect – but that’s not the point. Oh, they may step onto the court feeling sure that today, for just once, it’s all going to come together. But the reality of slower reflexes and an aging body’s aches and pains quickly snaps them back to reality.  The players all accept their shortcomings and can even joke about them; it’s the camaraderie that matters.

For men 60 years or older, the Madison Senior Men’s Tennis group is a great retirement activity and a perfect way to spend two to three mornings a week.  You’ll get exercise, competition, laughter, friendship, caring, and more.

Dave Cassano puts away a volley.

But you don’t have to be retired …

Some players adjust their work schedules to fit in tennis. Along the way, you just may be stimulated by seeing guys in their 80s who can still get around the court and hit winners. As player Greg Fahey said, “I happen to be one of the younger members of the group … all of the members are an inspiration in both physical and mental condition … in the spirit they demonstrate and the example they provide.”

The league is now recruiting new players for both the upcoming summer season as well as next winter’s. There’s no need to worry about your skill level. As octogenarian Tom Dolan told one player who was feeling dejected by his poor play, “Don’t worry about it. Think about the alternative; you could be horizontal.”

Art Paquette hits a forehand while his partner John Kraska watches the play closely.

Players range from beginners to seasoned veterans and span in age from 60 to 88. The league’s steering committee divides them into three groups based on ability, the goal being to slot players into the level in which they are likely to find comfortable, enjoyable play. A wide geographic area is represented, stretching from Hamden and New Haven up to Cromwell and down to Old Lyme.

Matches are all doubles, with partners being agreed upon by the foursome at the start of the match. You will be in a different foursome every match. With the emphasis on recreation and friendship, no standings are kept.

Matches are scheduled year-round, with the summer season running from May through early October and the winter season from October through April. Summer season is outdoors at public and private courts in the Madison/Guilford area; winter season is played indoors at the Madison Racquet and Swim Club. You may choose to play one, two or three days a week.

Article author Tom Soboleski runs down a forehand.

Madison Seniors Tennis is now in its 21st year. It began when a small group of friends, led by John Sadek and Joe Pegnataro of Madison, began playing at Pegnataro’s home court. It now includes more than 70 men and all scheduling is administered through a web-based program.

Whether you’re a high-skilled player or just a beginner, Madison Senior Mens Tennis will happily and comfortably welcome you. “Best thing I’ve ever done,” said Peter Lemley. “I find more often than not, when a player scores a great point, not only his partner, but his opponents will cheer.”  Besides the aforementioned benefits, your ego may get a boost as well. As tennis great John McEnroe has said, “The older I get, the better I used to be.”

If interested in joining, or if you have any questions, the organization can be contacted:

  • By text message or call to: Chris Hill at 203.641.7100, or John Sadek at 203.245.1261

More information is also available on the league’s website at https://sites.google.com/site/mseniortennis/home

Share

Needleman Announces Support For Initiatives To Promote Tourism

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, who is also a candidate for the 33rd District State Senate seat.

ESSEX — Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman and candidate for the State Senate for the 33rd District, today announced 3his support for new initiatives to promote tourism in Connecticut.

Needleman said: “The most recent data shows that tourism delivers $14.7 billion in annual revenue to the state, and supports 120,000 sector jobs. Every dollar invested in promoting tourism returns three dollars in revenue.

“That’s why I support the initiatives developed by The Connecticut Tourism Coalition. The proposed initiatives are common sense ideas that will enhance our tourism presence, which is key to building revenue:

  1. Create of a 15 member volunteer Tourism Advisory Committee, whose role will be to recommend strategies to the Office of Tourism for maximizing use of tourism funds.
  2. Appoint a Director of Tourism, a new position reporting directly to the governor
  3. Commit 3 percent of all taxable lodging revenue as a sustainable source of tourism funding
  4. Reopen visitor centers, using public or private funds

Needleman continued: “Connecticut is blessed with a wealth of historical, entertainment, lodging and recreation options. It makes sense for us to revitalize and sustain support for tourism. That investment will yield significant financial returns, and make our state more competitive with states that border us.”

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 a portion of Old Saybrook.

Share

Bill to Study State Employee Compensation Moves to Senate

State Senator Art Linares

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares announced that the legislature’s Appropriations Committee has approved a bill he requested to study the long-term financial impact of state employees’ and elected officials’ pay and benefit compensation on the state. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

“Connecticut has been in a state of fiscal crisis for the last several years with budget deficit after budget deficit. This is despite the two largest tax increases in the state’s history,” Sen. Linares said. “We have to look at the state’s fixed costs and why they have gotten so far out of control.”

Sen. Linares said a review of state employee and elected officials compensation could examine ways to save money when the current state employee contract ends in 2027.

“I believe one area that should be considered is capping pension payout at $100,000 a year. The number of retirees receiving pension payments in excess of $100,000 has been growing at an unsustainable rate,” he said. “What do we tell the rank-and-file employees receiving smaller pensions when the pension fund is drained by retirees receiving six-figure payments? We have to make sure the pension plan stays solvent for all retirees.”

Currently, more than 1,400 retirees collect annual pensions in excess of $100,000, Sen. Linares said. The highest paid retiree received more than $300,000 a year.

“Retirement payouts like this were unheard of in the private sector even before most businesses moved away from pensions. Now employees and employers contribute to 401K-type plans,” he said. “We also have to remember that pensions are not the only form of retirement income state retirees receive. They contributed to and can collect Social Security.”

Sen. Linares said he also believes the lowering the expected return on investment in the fund from 8percent to 6 percent should be considered. The 10-year return for the 41 largest state pension funds was 6.59 percent.

“State employees, like their private sector counterparts, work hard to earn the paychecks they receive. We need to ensure that each of them receives the retirement funding they earn, by making sure the pension fund does not run dry due to the excessive pensions of a few,” he said. “I believe a comprehensive review of benefits that includes a $100,000 cap on pensions after 2027 will do that.”

Sen. Linares represents the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Share

Chester Girl Scout Honored With President’s Volunteer Service Award, Certificate of Excellence

Chester resident Juliette Linares has been honored for exemplary service in her community 

CHESTER – Juliette Linares of Chester, a local Girl Scout, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a Certificate of Excellence from The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, and with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Presented annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honors young people across America for outstanding volunteer service. Certificates of excellence are granted to the top 10 percent of all Prudential Spirit of Community Award applicants in each state and the District of Columbia.

President’s Volunteer Service Awards recognize Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country.

Juliette, from Chester, Connecticut, has been in Girl Scouting for 13 years and has spent her career as a Girl Scout giving back to her community. She was chosen to represent local Girl Scouts on the Girl Scouts of Connecticut Board of Directors as Girl Board Member, where she speaks on issues affecting Girl Scouts throughout the state.

Since she was young, Juliette has used funds generated from selling Girl Scout Cookies for community service projects, including volunteering with a local inner-city elementary school. She began conducting book drives and shared 100 stories with 100 kindergarten students and gifted each child the shared book.

Juliette’s community service experience paved the path towards earning her Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Nationally, only 6 percent of Girl Scouts earn this prestigious honor. Girls must complete 80-100 hours of community service to earn this award. Juliette’s Gold Award Project, Dinner & A Book was a literary celebration addressing the importance of literacy among young children.

Juliette started in 2014, writing a proposal, composing a budget, and fundraising, and 148 hours of planning time later, Juliette hosted an evening where she advocated for literacy. Her program will continue to run after she graduates high school.

“We are extremely proud of Juliette for receiving these incredible honors and for all that she has accomplished in Girl Scouting,” said CEO of Girl Scouts of Connecticut Mary Barneby. “I look forward to following her future endeavors and witnessing her continue to make our world a better place.”

Girl Scouts of Connecticut are more than 41,000 members strong – over 27,500 girls and nearly 14,000 adults – who believe that every girl can change the world.

They are part of a sisterhood of 2.6 million strong around the globe—1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Their journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, her vision and legacy are honored, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

Girl Scouts of America are the preeminent leadership development organization for girls … and with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success.

To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit gsofct.org.

Share

Letter From Paris: Macron & Merkel: Can This Power “Couple” Lead Europe?

Nicole Prévost Logan

On Sept. 26, 2017, Emmanuel Macron chose the Sorbonne University to develop his grand vision for Europe.  In that seminal speech he was urging his perceived partner German Chancellor Angela Merkel to join him in tackling the lofty goals of European reforms, speeding up the integration of the Eurozone through the creation of a parliament, a ministry of finances, and its own budget.   

Macron proposed to strengthen the common market and reduce the economic inequalities through the  harmonization of taxes, creation of a minimum wage, and reform of the “detached workers” system, which leads to employment of migrant workers at cheaper rates than would likely be available locally — a practice known as “social dumping.”  His approach is based on several principles: a Europe protected by well-managed  external borders and a strong defense; the opening of Europe to free trade, but with due regard for reciprocity, and solidarity among the European Union (EU) members regarding the treatment of refugees.

After an interminable six months, the “Great Coalition” between German Conservatives and Social Democrats has made it possible for Angela Merkel to start her fourth mandate. Barely a few hours after her confirmation as Chancellor on Friday, March 16, she met with French President Macron accompanied by several ministers.  The speed with which she came to Paris shows how important it was for those two heads of state to get to work. 

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Unfortunately, the geopolitical environment allowing them to be the driving force of a dynamic Europe has shifted and even deteriorated during that long waiting period and their task has become more difficult. Merkel is politically weaker.  The continent is now fragmented and the resistance from newly-created groups within the EU has become more aggressive.  Macron will have to downgrade his proposals and make adjustments.

The political context in which Merkel starts her fourth mandate is quite different from the one existing in 2013.  Only 52 percent of the population supported the new chancellor in 2017 versus 73 percent in the earlier elections.  Compared to the consensus Merkel was able to maintain previously, it is harder now for her to keep the lid over dissenting opinions.

Even though they are part of the “Great Coalition,” several ministers stand in disagreement with the chancellor, including Olaf Scholz (social democrat or SPD), vice-chancellor and minister of finances, who believes in tightening the budget; Horst Seehofer  (head of the conservative Christian Social Union or CSU in Bavaria), who was given the  “super ministry” of the interior, who intends to be harsher toward the immigration policy in the name of the reactivated concept of “heimat” (homeland); Jens Spahn, 37, minister of health (Christian democratic union, CDU or Merkel’s own party), who is also a critic of Merkel’s policy on migrants, and Andrea Nahles, leader of SPD in the Bundestag, wants to rush through social reforms in favor of the workers. 

Even more difficult for Merkel will be the meteoric growth of the far right party (Alternative for Germany or AfD).  In  2013 it did not have enough votes to have representatives  in the Bundestag.  To-day AfD holds 92 seats out of 709.   At a recent news cast on the ARTE channel, the violent tone of a AfD member at the Bundestag was incredible.

The “Countries of the North” (as they are now called) — Ireland, Iceland, along with the Scandinavian and Baltic states, as well as the Netherlands — believe in a strict budget and are inflexible about financial and monetary discipline. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of TheNetherlands, speaking for the North countries , declared, “We have to adhere to the Maestrich criteria,” namely to keep the public deficit under 3 percent of the Domestic Gross Product.  On March 27, for the first time in 10 years, France saw her deficit fall down to 2.6 percent.  This was a significant accomplishment:  France is now a credible member of the “club.” 

The North countries ask that Italian and Greek banks clean up their toxic debts.  A “mutualization” of the debt (particularly of Greece’s sovereign debt) and financial transfers are a red line conservative parties from Germany or Holland are not willing to cross.  Like Macron and Merkel, however, Rutte sets as a priority a European Stability Mechanism (EMS) and a European Monetary Fund .

The recent Italian elections on March 8 were a blow for moderate centrists like Matteo Renzi, and the victory of two extremist, anti-system and xenophobe parties: the Five Stars (M5S) at the far left, and The League at the far right.  Italy joins now the eurosceptic countries like Austria and the Visegrad group (the former Iron Curtain countries of Eastern Europe.)  All these countries oppose the Macron/Merkel policies on trade, finances, democratic values and attitude toward the migrants.

Given this overview of the political landscape of Europe, it seems that the strategy of Macron and Merkel will be to start from the areas of agreement – passage toward Brexit, defense against terrorism, and protection against excessive Chinese investments in the name of the “Silk Road.”

The reactions of other EU members toward Macron’s “jupiterian” style and desire to reform are ambivalent.  In a March 20 interview published by Le Monde, Xavier Bettel  prime minister of Luxembourg said that a “directorate Paris-Berlin is out of the question, but added”  France and Europe are lucky to have him. Even if we do not agree with all his proposals, they are most welcome.” 

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

Share

Needleman Supports Legislation to End False Advertising by Limited Service Pregnancy Centers

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman

ESSEX — Essex First Selectman and businessman Norm Needleman submitted testimony Monday, March 26, to the Public Health Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly in support of a bill to require limited service pregnancy centers to end deceptive advertising practices.

Needleman submitted testimony in support of Senate Bill 5416, An Act Concerning Deceptive Advertising Practices Of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers. In his testimony, Needleman stated his reason for supporting the bill: ”Every other business in our state and in our nation is held accountable for false advertising practices. Limited service pregnancy centers should not be exempt from the rule of law that requires all businesses to be truthful in advertising and promotion.”

His testimony identified the advertising practices the legislation seeks to end: “By law, women can seek and obtain the medical services they desire relative to their pregnancies. It is patently deceptive to use advertising to lure these women into centers that do not provide the services they are seeking. Limited service pregnancy centers should not be permitted to engage in these false and deceptive advertising practices.”

Needleman went on to point out that the legislation does not impact the operation of limited service pregnancy centers: “It is important to note that the legislation does not in any way impact the services these centers actually provide, nor does it in any way impede their operation. They are free to continue delivering services they believe are appropriate.”

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 a portion of Old Saybrook.

Share

Family Wellness: Screens, Media and Family Life

How invasive is technology in our lives?  Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

The idea for this column came from a LymeLine.com reader, but there is also a general clamor for information about this topic that I am privy to in my work with families.

Anna and Rosalie Shalom were the picture of old school, imaginative play in their West Orange, New Jersey, home. The two, 5 and almost 3, labored in harmony at their task, preparing an elaborate pretend dinner to be served at the tiny table in their playroom. They set out play plates. They loaded them up with wooden fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. They sat down, ready to dig in. Ah, but first: they whipped out their pretend cell phones to make sure that no pressing pretend calls or texts required their attention. Their parents cringed. Where had they learned that? (See this article published in Time magazine about raising the screen generation)

Well, Anna and Rosalie aren’t in any imminent danger, but we probably understand why this was cringe-worthy for their parents.  I did observe real imminent danger posed by cell phone use just the other day – a young person almost struck by a car while crossing a busy Boston street, chatting on her phone.  (Coincidentally, I was on my way to a conference where topics around children’s phone, screen and media use abounded.)

So how have screens, phones and media affected family life?

Let’s start with a little context to this question.  According to The Moment, a time tracking app with nearly 5 million users, the average person spends four hours per day interacting with his or her cell phone.  The amount of time children 8-years-old and younger spend on phones or tablets had increased 10 fold between 2012 and 2017, according to a study by Common Sense, which also found that in 2017, 42 percent of kids in the same age group had their own mobile device, up from only 1 percent in 2011. I have to admit to shock and knee jerk dismay at these numbers.  It should be noted that TV usage still predominates for young people’s consumption of media. 

I think we all can think of many ways technology has made our lives easer.  What in the world did we do in the past when our car broke down on the road?  When Junior did not know what time play practice finished up?  When grandmother fell?

Media and technology are here to stay.  So what concerns do families have about media use?  Or “problematic media use,” as many psychologists have termed media use that interferes with “RL” (real life)? 

Real life includes when toddlers learn to play with each other (there is some evidence that excessive screen time results in decreased social and emotional development in young children).  Real life also includes the development of closeness and trust, learning logical reasoning, abstract thought, problem solving and creativity (see this story published in the Wall Street Journal about how cell phones hi-jack our minds).  Real life includes separating from parents during freshman orientation (see this article published in the New York Times about the mental health of college freshmen). 

So yes, there is evidence that excessive media use and dependency can interfere with “RL.”  But there still remains much research to do into the “who, what, when, why and how much” questions concerning family media use and screen time.

So what are we families to do while we wait for more research?  Families need to self-monitor as best they by can looking at their media usage and real (family) life.  Commonsensemedia.org may provide some help for us, as perhaps can Anya Kamenetz’s new book, The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life.

I tend to be a bit of a technophobe, but will end on a positive note:  My son, a “digital native,” and my elderly mother bonded over his expertise in technology and her fear and ignorance of all things digital – enhancing both their “RLs” and strengthening their relationship.

Betsy Groth

Betsy Groth is an APRN, PMHS – BC and a pediatric nurse practitioner with advanced certification in pediatric mental health.

She is a counselor, mental health educator and parent coach in Old Lyme and writes a monthly column for us on ‘Family Wellness.’

For more information about Betsy and her work, visit Betsy’s website at betsygroth.com

Share

Centerbrook Announces New Hires; Archer, Brakels Join Architectural Staff

René Brakels  (left) and Cassie Archer have recently joined the staff of Centerbrook Architects. Photo by Derek Hayn/Centerbrook Architects

CENTERBROOK – Centerbrook Architects & Planners is excited to announce two new hires as it has welcomed Cassie Archer and René Brakels to the architectural staff.

Archer, who grew up in Nigeria and England, comes to Centerbrook from Kenneth Boroson Architects in New Haven, Connecticut, where she was a senior job captain. After graduating from Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Archer began her career as a designer in California. She now resides in East Haddam with her husband.

Brakels joins Centerbrook with a diverse background of 15 years in the architecture industry that includes positions in his home country The Netherlands, Ireland, Latvia and New York. Most recently he served as a job captain at RGB Architects in Providence, Rhode Island. Brakels earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture in The Netherlands, where he is a licensed architect. Brakels and his family currently live in Mystic.

Both Archer and Brakels joined Centerbrook in February and have hit the ground running on Quinnipiac University projects.

“We look for well-rounded people who have a spark. We were delighted to find René and Cassie who are full of energy, care about people and are driven to excel at the craft of building,” said Centerbrook Principal Jim Childress, FAIA. “They are already proving to be great additions to our staff.”

Centerbrook currently has designs under construction in Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, New York and Texas, and active projects in seven states, Canada and China.

Centerbrook Architects & Planners is a firm conceived in 1975 as a community of architects working together to advance American place-making and the craft of building. A collaborative firm with an exceptional history of building, Centerbrook is known for inventive design solutions that are emblematic of its client and their traditions. Centerbrook’s designs have won 380 awards, including the Architecture Firm Award, a distinction held by only 36 active firms nationwide.

Share

‘March For Our Lives’ Draws Hundreds of Protesters in Old Saybrook

All photos by Valerie Chapman.

People of all ages from across southeast Connecticut gathered on Main Street in Old Saybrook yesterday to march in support of action against gun violence and in solidarity with some 800 other marches taking place worldwide.  Those who had marched in the January 2017 Women’s March in Old Saybrook estimated that the crowd for yesterday’s event was substantially larger than the 2017 one.

The signs people held were many and various …

… but the message was loud …

… and clear.

Spirits were high …

… but the questions remain unanswered …

Share

Letter From Paris: Visit to Franco-American Museum in Blerancourt Sparks Review of Relationship Between the Two

Nicole Prévost Logan

La Fayette nous voilà (La Fayette, here we are) are the famous words General John J. Pershing , commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, is supposed to have pronounced  on July 4, 1917 during the commemoration near the tomb of the Marquis de La Fayette at the Picpus cemetery in Paris. The entry of the Americans in World War I was a way to return the favor to the French for being an ally throughout their history. The Franco-American museum in Blerancourt, in a concrete way, furthered this enduring amity.

From the outbreak of the war even before America declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, a segment of US public opinion, wanted the country to enter the conflict. Among the Americans living in Paris (there were 100,000 of them at the time), private associations such as the American Field Service,  intellectuals, writers, and artists offered to join the allied cause. Many young people volunteered as ambulance drivers.

Many volunteers served in ambulances like this one on display in the Museum of Blerancourt during the Great War.

One of them was Anne Morgan (1873-1952)  third daughter of  John Pierpont Morgan, Sr., banker and art collector.

Anne Morgan

She started raising funds to equip the French army as early as 1915, and in 1917 chose the village of Blerancourt, which was in the midst of total devastation, to carry out her humanitarian aid to the wounded soldiers and civilian population. 

The Aisne department (a department in France is the US equivalent of a county) was one of the worst hit battle fields. It is sadly remembered for being the scene of three bloody campaigns all called Chemin des Dames in 1914, 1916 and 1917 . In April 1917 alone, 100,000 French soldiers died on that front. 

Morgan worked from the barracks she erected on the terraces of the Chateau de Blerancourt – a grand 17th century private residence built by the architect who designed the Luxembourg Palace, for Marie de Medicis.  In 1919, Morgan bought the ruins of the chateau and started its restoration. In 1923, she created the association of the Friends of Blerancourt and the following year founded what was to become the Franco-American Museum.

The restored 17th century elegant rooms of the chateau are quite fitting for the historical part of the museum.  French explorers -Jacques Cartier, Father Jacques Marquette-Cavelier de la Salle, Champlain and others  – left their trace in the geography books of the New World. Their names are still vivid but the lands they discovered – from Canada to Louisiana – have long severed ties with France.  Only the St Pierre et Miquelon archipelago remained part of the mother country.

La Fayette was the first Frenchman to enlist in the War of Independence in 1777. With a great deal of panache, in October 1781, the 6,000 men of Count of Rochambeau, joined the Continental Army of George Washington, later the fleet of Admiral de Grasse encircled the English forces.  The combined effort ended in the victorious battle of Yorktown and the rendition of the British.  

Was its support in the conflict beneficial to France?  Some historians do not think so.  Claude Moisy, former president of Agence France Press  (AFP), journalist and specialist in the political history of the US, is one of them and goes as far as to believe that France was caught in a fool’s game.  

During a talk Moisy gave to the France-England Association in 2007, he described the sequence of events, as he sees it: the US Congress had promised not to sign a separate peace with the English, but it did on November 30 ,1782, after secret negotiations.

The real objective for the American government was to resume, as soon as possible, trade and economic relations with Great Britain.  Washington had dispatched Benjamin Franklin to Paris. He soon became the coqueluche (the rage) of the Paris society and suspiciously close to it. The author describes Paris at that time as a “panier de crabes” (can of worms), crawling with spies and foreign agents.

The final peace treaty was only signed 10 months later in September 1783, with the participation of Holland and Spain.

2018, – the year of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the Great War- started appropriately with the “Cesars” selecting Au Revoir Là Haut, as best film and best director.  It is based on the 2013 Prix Goncourt novel by Pierre Lemaitre. Two soldiers- nicknamed “poilus” during the Great war-  experience the horror of trench war, including being buried alive .  (the writer may have been inspired by what happened to the poet and art theoretician  Guillaume Apollinaire, who was buried alive three times, underwent trepanation and died in 1918.).  The story continues after the war, when the two heroes, traumatized and disfigured by injuries, witness the sordid traffic of war memorials.

The Chateau de Blerancourt makes a charming picture.

The Blerancourt museum  is a lovely, luminous building,, located at about two hours drive north-east of Paris. The World war I activities of Anne Morgan -including her ambulance, uniform, wartime memorabilia and mobile library- are brought back to life. 

The Art department has just been renovated and contains more than 400 works. The collection  includes paintings by impressionist Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent and many others.  The arrival of American troops in St Nazaire was caught in Art Deco style by French artist Jean Emile Laboureur in 1918.  Singer and dancer Josephine Baker, appears on the cover of the “Revue Nègre“.  She was born in St Louis, joined the Resistance and is an idol in France.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

Share

Death of Former Chester Resident William (Bill) Hanford Burr Announced

William Hanford Burr (Bill), age 87, died on February 11, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  A memorial service will be held on June 8, 2018 at 2:00PM at the site of interred cremains in Oak Land Cemetery in Fairfield, CT. 

Born on August 28, 1930 in Westport, CT to parents Morris Lyon Burr and Catherine Aretta Burr, he was married to his surviving spouse Marilyn Jean Weber on August 18, 1962.  He has three surviving children: daughter Catherine Margaret Burr-Utter (married to Steven Utter; children Nathan Michael Utter and Hannah Elizabeth Utter); son William Osborn Burr II (married to Carole Westhfer; children Thaddeus James Burr and Noah Hanford Burr; and daughter Elizabeth Forrest Burr (married to Dale C. Deutscher; children Bremmer William Mock, John Morgan Mock, and Satari Austin Deutscher). 

Dad has three siblings: brother Morris Lyon Burr Jr. (spouse Arlene Davis (deceased)); sister Mary Bolin (deceased) (spouse United States Army Col (retired) James Bolin); and sister Aretta Muir (spouse James Muir).

His education and military experience include a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture from the University of Connecticut and a Masters in Business Administration from Bridgeport University.  He was inducted into the United States Army and served two years in the rank of Specialist as a Medical Corpsman.  His career in business management brought him to Handy & Harmon in Fairfield, CT and later to Lewis Engineering in Naugatuck CT and finally to Bavier, Bulger, and Goodyear Management Consultants in New Haven, CT where he remained until retirement in 1996.

Throughout dad’s life, he lived in Westport, CT from childhood until 1997 when he and Marilyn moved to Chester, CT.  In 2003, they moved to Bozeman, MT and remained there until their move to Port St. Lucie, FL in 2017.

Dad believed in giving back to his community and did so by remaining actively involved in leadership roles at Greens Farms Congregational Church of Westport, CT and the United Church of Christ of Chester, CT.  He regularly volunteered his labor on environmental conservation projects conducted by the Land Trust of Chester, CT.  In Bozeman, MT he maintained a weekly routine of volunteering at the local food bank and tending plants at the Gallatin Gardeners Club.

Dad loved gardening.   He had the soul of a farmer.  He loved all kinds of outdoor work.  He was a driven do-it-yourself handyman, indeed, a frustrated carpenter, woodsman, and homesteader who insisted on doing any size job himself and with antiquated manual tools and equipment leftover from the bygone Burr Farms era of his childhood.  Of his few allowances for modern methods was his 1929 Farmall B-N model tractor that had to be crank started from the front end.  And when he was not growing and putting up vegetable stores (particularly onions) with an intensity that made one believe survival through the winter months hung in the balance, he was sailing on Long Island Sound.  Neither foul weather nor any number of sea-sick crew members hanging over the side was a reason for him to consider a day on the water unpleasant.  A dousing spray of salt water and vomit he considered a reasonable character building experience for all.

Our father was not a verbose man and not one to seek public attention.  He was fond of a saying: “fools names and faces are seen and heard in public places”.  He was not given to overt demonstrations of intense emotion.  Nevertheless, he had a stoic charm that conveyed a genuine strength of character and integrity.  He cherished family gatherings, most especially at Christmas.  He loved us, his children and his wife.  And we love him.  He is remembered with the fondness and respect.  He is missed.

Share

Middlesex Hospice & Palliative Care Seeks New Volunteers

AREAWIDE — At Middlesex Hospice and Palliative Care, volunteers are an integral part of the interdisciplinary team, reaching out to patients and families as they cope with the challenges of terminal illness. Volunteers are eligible to begin after completing 12 hours of classes and a 12-hour mentorship on our inpatient hospice unit.

Training is held on Saturday April 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and April 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Both sessions are mandatory. The Hospice is specifically looking for individuals who would like to work in homecare and nursing homes visiting patients. 

For more information and to begin the application process, contact Jackie Orlowski, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, at (860) 358-6955 or jaclyn.orlowski@midhosp.org at your earliest convenience.

Share

Needleman Calls for Increased Staffing, Improved Response Times from Utility Companies

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman

ESSEX — Today, March 12, in response to unacceptable and inadequate utility response time during power outages, Essex First Selectman and businessman Norm Needleman submitted public testimony in support of new proposed legislation to have utility companies increase staffing and equipment levels.

Senate Bill 329, An Act Concerning Minimum Utility Staffing and Equipment Levels, would require the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to initiate a docket and issue a final order regarding minimum utility staffing and equipment levels. The Authority was originally meant to create these minimum levels following Tropical Storm Irene, but has yet to finish its work.

Needleman, who is in his fourth term as Essex First Selectman, has seen the responses by the local utility company Eversource get slower and less efficient with every storm. His testimony, which was submitted to the Energy and Technology Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly, is detailed in the following paragraphs:

“In recent years, I have witnessed an alarming deterioration in response to power outages by Eversource, causing inordinate delays in power restoration to homes and businesses in Essex. It is my strong belief that this inadequate response to power outages is the result of two factors. First, Eversource has drastically reduced repair personnel and equipment, instead relying on resources from private contractors and service units from outside of their system.

Second, and equally alarming, is the lack of operating management oversight in directing and coordinating whatever resources are available.  Said another way, Eversource does not maintain staffing levels sufficient to provide adequate response to power outages, and they have failed to develop a communications and management system to direct the outside resources that eventually arrive.

This service problem is not confined to Essex. In consulting with officials in surrounding  towns, they have detailed their frustrations with prolonged power outages, inadequate staffing, and incorrect information from Eversource.”

Not only have I experienced these problems as a First Selectman trying to provide basic services to residents but also as a business owner and a household customer myself. My manufacturing plant in Michigan has lost power one time in 14 years and they have pretty drastic weather conditions, especially during the winter. Meanwhile, my manufacturing plant in Centerbrook loses power regularly and sometimes for no reason at all.

Considering we are paying one of the highest prices in the country for electricity we should have a world class system, not a third world system, which is what it feels like we have. The lack of reliable electricity is a serious deterrent for new businesses considering locating in Connecticut.

Repeatedly, Eversource has ignored their responsibilities by failing to implement effective weather-related response and repair. Instead, they have chosen to implement staff and equipment reductions to effect cost economies. As a matter of public safety, Eversource should be required to maintain adequate staffing and equipment levels. S.B. 329 will help remedy this crippling public utility problem.”

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 a portion of Old Saybrook.

Share

Carney (R) Seeks Third Term as State Representative, Democrat Pugliese Announces Challenge

State Rep. Devin Carney

UPDATED 3/7 10:09pm: OLD SAYBROOK: Devin Carney, a Republican who ran unopposed for a second term in 2016, has announced his intention to seek a third term as State Representative for the 23rd General AssemblyDistrict, which includes the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and coastal Westbrook. But this November, Carney will be challenged by Old Saybrook resident and Democrat Matt Pugliese.

Pugliese, a non-profit arts executive, notes in a press release that, “The frustration that our community feels is palpable.  The community wants change, wants new voices.  I’m running for state representative to help lead that change.   I’m a listener, and a leader who believes in building consensus, finding compromise and getting things done.”

Carney, who works as a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Old Saybrook. explains his decision to seek a third term in a press release in this way, “Over these past two terms, I have always put the people of the 23rd District first.This community is everything to me. I was raised here and I understand the unique values and needs of my constituents. In these difficult and divisive times, it is important that the state has leaders with a proven track record of putting people over politics and who will work together to get Connecticut’s fiscal house in order.”

Matt Pugliese.

Pugliese, a resident of Old Saybrook, has spent his career working in the non-profit theatre industry, beginning at the Ivoryton Playhouse.  He served as the Executive Director at Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theatre in Middletown, CT and now is the Executive Producer at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, based on UConn’s Storrs campus. Pugliese holds his BA in Theatre (’04) and his Masters in Public Administration (’17), both from UCONN. Pugliese said, “My work in the arts has been about activism.  It is about bringing together diverse audiences and creating opportunities for dialogue.  That is how we solve problems.  Every day running a theatre is about creative, problem solving and strategic thinking. The intersection of the arts and government – that is community.  That has been my professional career for 15 years.”

A lifelong resident of the district, Carney graduated from Old Saybrook Public Schools and currently lives in Old Lyme. He is the Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee, meaning he is the highest-ranked House Republican on the committee, and he serves on the Environment Committee and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. In addition, Carney chairs the bipartisan Clean Energy Caucus, was the founding House Republican of the bipartisan Young Legislators Caucus, and serves on both the bipartisan Tourism Caucus and bipartisan Intellectual and Developmental Disability Caucus. He has also served as the Connecticut House Republican State Lead for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.

Pugliese comments in the release, “Non-profit organizations need to run efficiently and effectively.  We know how to get the most out of every dollar.  My experiences in the non-profit sector in Middlesex County really opened my eyes to the incredible need we have in our community.  We have young people and families facing the most extreme and basic risks.  But we also have incredible resources in our community to draw upon.  That is what makes our district a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family.”

Over his first two terms, Rep. Carney says he advocated for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, seniors, tourism, small business, local public education, and improving I-95. In 2015, he voted against the second largest tax increase in Connecticut’s state history. In 2017, he voted against the SEBAC agreement, but supported the bipartisan budget compromise in October.

Pugliese’s community involvement includes Old Saybrook’s Economic Development Commission since 2015, of which he was recently elected Chairperson.  He served on the Board of Directors for the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce for two years.  He served as the co-chair of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County Live Local Give Local 365 initiative when it was launched in 2011.  In 2012, Pugliese was named to the Hartford Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for his professional work and civic involvement.

Carney’s community activities include serving on the Board of Trustees at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and the Board of Directors at Saye Brook Senior Housing. He is a member of both the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce and the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce, a lector at Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook, and serves on both the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee as a member and the Old Saybrook Republican Town Committee as an honorary member.

Public education is a key issue for Pugliese. He comments in the release, “When I think of our communities, I think of our strong public education systems. I will fight for the funding we deserve from Hartford necessary to support our schools.  I believe we need to invest in our higher education system. We want to have a vibrant university system to educate our young people, ensure their access to this education, and keep them here as part of our workforce in Connecticut.”

Commenting on his achievements in the past four years, Carney says, “I have pushed back against drastic tax increases to residents, defeated a federal rail proposal that would have devastated the region, supported bipartisan initiatives to combat our opioid crisis, and fought Governor Malloy’s proposal to push teacher pension costs onto local school districts. I have always put the taxpayer first and engaged with the community.”

Pugliese is an advocate for paid family leave, ensuring rights for women and minorities and championing arts, culture and tourism.  He adds, “Part of the identity of our community is the incredible cultural resources we have in the 23rd district. These resources drive tourism, which is critical to the economy of the towns in our region.  We need to ensure the viability of our cultural assets, and the public infrastructure needed to support tourism.”

Carney highlights in his press release, “I have never missed a vote,” adding, “Connecticut is at a crossroads and our residents and businesses cannot afford the same tax-and-spend policies that have put the state into this mess. It is imperative Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook continue to have a strong voice at the table during this tough fiscal reality.”

Share

State Representative Bob Siegrist to Seek Re-Election

State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R-36th)

AREAWIDE — State Representative Bob Siegrist, III (R-36) announced today that he plans to seek re-election for a second term.  Siegrist states, “I am proud to have served the residents of the 36th House District these past two years as their State Representative.  I have listened to the people of the district and voted their concerns, their issues and most importantly, their pocketbook.”

He continues, “I have always considered this seat the people’s seat and I will continue to fight for children, families, senior citizens, and for a better business climate to create and retain jobs. I will fight for common sense budgeting and fiscal responsibility to keep more of your own money, and I will advocate for policies that will make Connecticut more affordable for the residents of the 36th.”

Siegrist concludes, “There is a lot more work that needs to be done and that is why I am announcing my plans to seek re-election as State Representative of the 36th House District seat.  With your help and support we can make Connecticut what it once was; the embodiment of the American Dream. A state with unending opportunities for everyone.”

Siegrist, a Republican, has represented the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam since 2017. He currently serves on the Public Safety and Security, Insurance and Real Estate, and Veterans’ Affairs committees.

Share

Rebooting New England: What Do YOU Think? Op-Ed from SECoast

On Tuesday, Feb. 27 we [SECoast] participated in a round table in New Haven hosted by New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, with 40 or so others to discuss alternatives to NEC Future high-speed rail planning. Attendees included administrators from Yale and Trinity college, Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) head Kristina Newman-Scott, former CTDOT Commissioner Emil Frankel, engineer Foster Nichols, among others. The project is being organized by former RPA head Bob Yaro, and former DECD head Kip Bergstrom. You can download the 50 mb 200+ page document here.

In the most simple terms, the plan resembles NEC Future Alternative 3.2, with high-speed rail service heading north, rather than east from New Haven, and then east from Hartford, through Storrs, to Providence. Yaro and Bergstrom are specifically offering “Rebooting New England,” as they call it, as an opportunity to avoid the impacts (and opposition) through southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island to NEC Future planning. It also includes the audacious idea of a tunnel across the Sound.  Here’s an illustration:

And while NEC Future was tailored for the needs of the largest cities along the Northeast Corridor, Yaro and Bergstrom have rather crafted a plan which also benefits inland and mid-sized cities along the corridor, by drawing from similar efforts in Great Britain to connect Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle, in the north, to London.

You can find an hour-long video presentation of the project from last July to the Lincoln Institute here. Given the current lack of funding, it’s an ambitious plan, but a serious one, worth serious consideration. SECoast’s Gregory Stroud will be meeting with project leaders again on Thursday for further discussions. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to take a look at the project, and tell us what you think.

About those Transit hearings…

With Connecticut’s Special Transportation Fund on the verge of insolvency, and the Malloy administration proposing a first wave of drastic cuts, and fare increases, to train and bus service to take effect on July 1, [detailed here], the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been holding hearings over the last three weeks across Connecticut, and (more surprisingly) in Massachusetts.

SECoast board and staff members attended a February 28 hearing in New London, where a diverse group of 50 or so members of the public — young and old, poor and well-to-do, African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and White — offered relatively muted criticism of proposed fare increases, together with broad and pointed opposition to proposed service cuts. [Take a look at Kim Drelich’s  coverage for The Day here].

In turn, CTDOT commissioner James Redeker presented a persuasive case for increased revenues and investments, including two-cents yearly increases over seven years to the gasoline tax, and new tolling along the state’s major roadways, to avoid these unsustainable cuts to transportation.

This all made for good theater for the Malloy administration, but also missed an essential purpose of such hearings, which is not just to allow the public the chance to air its grievances, but also to take part meaningfully in the decision-making process. As far as the latter goes, meaningful public participation requires a level of transparency which has been lacking in the materials provided. And we have significant concerns that these proposals have been presented as simply mandated, rather than as the result of limited, but real choices made behind closed doors.

In much this vein, RiverCOG executive director Sam Gold briefly outlined lengthy written comments and opposition to the proposed cuts. Gold questioned the fairness of cuts to towns like Old Saybrook, which played by the rules, embraced CTDOT priorities, and heavily invested in transit-oriented development (TOD). Gold further questioned the priorities and motivation of CTDOT cuts which would spare CTDOT’s own CTTransit, while falling heavily on towns like New London with municipal-supported (and controlled) transit. We agree.

In contrast to an earlier hearing in Stamford, where elected officials have faced criticism for cutting a lengthy line to present comments, few elected officials turned up in New London. State Rep. Devin Carney, ranking member on the Connecticut General Assembly Transportation Committee, was a notable exception.

We strongly encourage you to write to CTDOT by March 16 with your comments. Just click here.

Widening I-95

On Feb. 22, as part of a larger coordinated rollout by the Malloy administration of revenue proposals, announced project cuts, service cuts, and fare increases, CTDOT reintroduced targeted plans to widen I-95 through Fairfield County and southeastern Connecticut. Kim Drelich covers the announcement for The Day, here, you can also find coverage in the Hartford Courant, and in the Yale Daily News here.

While we appreciate the need to improve safety and reduce congestion on I-95, we have several concerns about the announcement. Most importantly, whether you are for or against proposals to widen I-95, by failing to release the actual studies, and by providing the public with only summary findings, CTDOT is depriving the public of a chance to meaningfully participate in a decision on the topic.  In southeastern Connecticut, we are left to wonder whether this latest plan differs materially from earlier planning proposed in 2005, which would require significant takings and environmental impacts. In Fairfield County, we are left to wonder about the impacts to the densely settled corridor.

In the case of the National Historic Landmark Bush-Holley house for example, it appears that while keeping to the existing right of way, and to CTDOT property, such widening could still significantly impact properties alongside the corridor, with enormous potential impacts to the property, and to ongoing projects  by the Greenwich Historical Society.

Take a look at a graphic we produced by cross-referencing the released graph of potential land use, with project parameters, and mileage markers:

We are of course encouraged that the plan keeps as much as possible to the existing right of way, and to CTDOT property, but we’d like to know much more about the actual impacts and plans for construction at the Mianus river crossing in particular. Such plans are simply too important to made behind closed doors, and without timely and sufficient public scrutiny. And they obviously make little or no sense when paired with transit cuts that would send thousands of additional commuters onto I-95.

SECoast has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to obtain planning documents. We [SECoast] will let you know, when we know more about these plans …

Editor’s Note: We also urge readers to write to CTDOT by March 16 with your thoughts on the first wave of drastic cuts, and fare increases, to train and bus service to take effect on July 1.  Just click 

Share

Letter From Paris: Annual ‘Salon de l’Agriculture’ Prompts a Peek into Farming in France

Nicole Prévost Logan

The Salon de l’Agriculture (agricultural fair) is the most popular event of the year in Paris.  For two weeks, the Porte de Versailles is turned into an oversize farm   Four thousand animals – bovines, pigs, sheep and fowl – move in for the delight of both children and adults.  It is the largest agricultural show in Europe.

The French are emotional about their relationship with the countryside and never forget that they share a common rural ancestry and that, just a few decades ago, 25 percent of the population lived and worked on the land. The fair is an opportunity for rural and urban communities to get together and have a good time.

Food is a big attraction at the fair.  Thirty seven restaurants offer culinary specialties from each region: trip à la mode de Caen (tripe cooked in cider and calvados), boeuf bourguignon,  tartiflette (Savoyard gratin with Reblochon cheese, cream and pork), Toulouse cassoulet , bouillabaisse and hundreds more dishes, accompanied by the best wines.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets the much-admired cow named Haute at the Salon de l’Agriculture.

Entertainment reaches its height with the competition for the best animal. This year the star of the show is Haute, a 700 kilo blonde cow of the Aubrac breed raised in Aveyron (a volcanic plateau in the south west), whose big black eyes are made-up with mascara.  Haute has a pedigree in the same way as a racehorse and her offspring are already in line to compete in the 2024 fair – the same year that the Olympics will be held in Paris. 

From the air, the French landscape looks like a beautiful tapestry with colored patches of fields, woods and clusters of roofs huddled around a church steeple. Behind this idyllic picture, it is hard to believe that there is a tough world of fierce competition, hard work, and for some, a struggle to survive . 

Among the 450,606 working farms in France to-day, many of them are small with less than 10 hectares (one hectare is equivalent to 2.47 acres.) Their owners find it hard to make a living. The average income of a farmer is 1,525 euros for month and can be as low as 500 euros, which is well below the poverty threshold.  There are many reasons for this. 

Food today represents only 20 percent of a family budget as compared to 34.7 percent in 1960.   The agri-business and chains of supermarket distributors, in order to increase their profit margin, force the farmers to sell their milk or meat at rock-bottom prices.

Farmers are deep in debt because of the necessity to invest but they have ways to show their anger and frustration, such as pouring manure or truck loads of raw eggs on public squares.  Another effective way is for them to launch an operation escargot (snail offensive.) They bring their five-mile an hour tractors on the highways with the expected result.   

European farmers could not survive without financial subsidies from Brussels.  In 1962, the Politique d’Agriculture Commune (PAC – Common Agricultural Policy) was set up by the European Union (EU) to assist and guide the agriculture of its members.  The PAC is the second largest item in the EU budget and one of its pillars.  Methods and objectives have changed over the years.  

For a while, it requested farmers to lay fallow their cultivated land.  Quotas for milk were stopped in 2015 and sugar in 2017.  Today the PAC is putting more emphasis on the development of organic food and protection of farmers against the climatic vagaries.  France is the leading agricultural country in Europe with production valued at 71 billion ahead of Germany (56.7 billion), Italy (54.2 billion) and Spain (49 billion.) France remains the top beneficiary of financial assistance from the PAC. 

Most Europeans are hostile to the use of pesticides.  Brussels wanted to set a 10-year-moratorium on the use of the herbicide Glyphosate.  Macron fought and demanded three years.  Finally Brussels decided on a period of five years. 

In France, Monsanto has become the prime bad guy.  Europeans are also against genetically-modified food and the addition of hormones and antibiotics in meat.  The French are getting very finicky about the traceability of products   A couple of years ago, horse meat was found in prepared food produced in Eastern Europe.  The French public went up in arms.   Since then, on every package or can, the geographic origin of the product has to be indicated.

Macron, during his visit to the Agricultural Fair asked the crowd, “Did you know that that 70 percent of the meat you eat in French restaurants is imported?  It makes no sense when French meat is probably the best in the world.”  The president is not a protectionist but, in his eyes, free trade agreements have to be equally  beneficial for both sides.  At present, the signing  of  the Mercosur Treaty between Europe and four South American countries is stalled, leaving Europeans worried.

It is a “must” for each French president to visit the fair.  Macron outdid all his predecessors by mingling with the crowd for more than 12 straight hours.  Always eager to explain his policies, he did not hesitate to plunge into the fray and engage in heated discussions with angry farmers. 

The day before the opening of the Salon, Macron had invited 700 young farmers to the Elysees palace.  As always, his method was not to promise financial assistance, but help his guests find creative solutions to make their farms more competitive.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

Share

The Kate, Community Music School Team Up to Offer Kid’s Camp Starting March 21


OLD SAYBROOK –
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Community Music School (CMS) are partnering again under the umbrella of their performing arts summer camp, “Kate’s Camp for Kids,” to present a spring program and show entitled “It’s Saturday!”

This exciting program takes place at The Kate, 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook, and runs for seven weekly sessions on Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 5 p.m. beginning March 21.  Launched in 2013, Kate’s Camp for Kids is a performing arts camp for children in grades K-5 incorporating music, dance, theater, and visual art.

Directed by Martha Herrle, a 16-year member of CMS faculty and certified Kindermusik educator, this year’s camp theme will be “It’s Saturday!”  Join the celebration of a ‘day off’ in the life of a kid with this clever mini-musical.

From watching cartoons to piano lessons, from football practice to chores, you’ll explore all the options for activities … or are they options? Featuring five original songs and easy-to-learn rhyming dialog, the program culminates in a lively performance for friends and family.

Tuition for this camp is $165 and scholarships are available for families with a financial need.

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

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. The School’s 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 www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

Share

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Offers New Wednesday Evening Celtic Prayer Service

EAST HADDAM – St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is starting a new tradition.

St. Stephen’s is offering a Wednesday evening prayer built upon the Celtic Christian tradition. This quiet and meditative prayer service begins at 7 p.m. and lasts for about half-an-hour.

This time represents an opportunity to find an oasis in the midst of busy lives where you can sit and be still with God. This service is open to any person who hungers for rest in the divine and is seeking a deeper connection with God, regardless of their religious background.

The Celtic Evening Prayer Service places an emphasis on silence, meditation, the mysteries of our faith, and creation. Celtic Spirituality draws its inspiration from the earliest manifestation of Christianity as well as the wisdom of pre-Christian Ireland.

The prayers of the Celtic Saints are filled with the experiences of God’s presence in creation, the simplicity of living in harmony with creation, and the awareness of the sacredness of all things. In the prayers, the passion, and the practice of the faith in the early church on these islands, there is a clarity, simplicity and wisdom that speak to many of today’s concerns.

“The Celtic Evening Prayer service offers an opportunity to come to a quiet place, to be reflective and through prayer to be renewed. We are pleased to offer this unique prayer experience,” comments Thom Hagerth, parishioner of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

“Preparing for this Celtic Evening Prayer Service has been very rewarding and it is my hope that people will find a new way to worship through time honored traditions,” comments Mike Corey, Intern, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

St. Stephen’s is located at 31 Main St., East Haddam, Connecticut, 860-873-9547.

For more information, visit www.ststeves.org.

Share

Letter From Paris: ‘The Donald’ and Europe Grow Further Apart

Nicole Prévost Logan

In February 2017, the European Union (EU) members, gathered at the Malta summit, were flabbergasted by President Donald Trump’s hostile attitude toward the United States’s traditional allies.  One year later the world has adjusted in the opinion of the seasoned diplomat Hubert Vedrine, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997-2002).  The French diplomat commented, “One has to get over our initial disbelief as to the unpredictable and apparently erratic policy of the 45th president of the US.”

The European opinion of Trump is not monolithic.  One has to differentiate between the North and South:  heavily indebted Greece and Germany with a flourishing economy will have opposite opinions.  The same divide exists between East and West: for example, nationalist and authoritarian countries like Poland will view Trump differently from the liberal Netherlands.

The Europeans resent Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement leaving a wide open boulevard for China to become the champion defender of the environment.  Last January, the announcement made by the controversial Ryan Zinke, US Secretary of the Environment, that he would allow oil and gas drilling near almost all US coasts from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico was considered a mistake.  The French oppose the position of Trump’s administration on the use of coal and other fossil fuel as sources of energy.  France has closed all its coal mines and does not even allow fracking for oil or gas exploration in fear of endangering the environment.

President Donald Trump

The recent financial and tax reforms introduced by the US president were characterized as a fiscal war with the rest of the world by economist and professor Philippe Dessertine.   On Jan. 26,  2018 at the Davos World Economic Forum, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), criticized those measures by saying that, subsequent to creating benefits in the short term, they would ultimately impact world  financial vulnerability.  She believes that the increase in both liquidity and the budget deficit, will eventually cause a sudden drop in the stock market.  It is interesting to note that a few days after her speech, the Dow tanked and began a new cycle of high volatility.

French economists commented that lowering corporate taxes to 21 percent in the US – not that far from the 12.5 percent of Irish tax heaven – is placing the competitiveness of countries like France at a disadvantage.  It will take five years of arduous effort by French President Macron to lower French corporate taxes to 25 percent.  The French Minister of Economy and Finances, Bruno Lemaire, criticized these reforms for technical reasons.  He commented that they will penalize European subsidiaries located in the US and also be an incentive for American companies located in France to relocate to the US.

According to French economist Thomas Piketty, 68.1 percent of the US income tax reduction will benefit just 1 percent of the population, thereby increasing the already exisiting inequalities even further.  For Gerard Courteois, editorial writer of the French national newspaper Le Monde, there is an incoherence in the statement,”Make America great again,” particularly in the use of the word “again.”  Does it apply to the boom years after World War II when it actually was a time of high taxes and international trade?

Trump’s foreign policy is scrutinized by French diplomats and geopoliticians.  Vedrine describes the American president’s policy in the Middle East as a disaster.  Trump has created a confrontational axis with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey against Iran and managed to freeze the Israel-Palestine peace process.  Regarding the European Union (EU), Trump’s objective seems to be its deconstruction.  Trump applauded Brexit and asked “Who is next?”  To European satisfaction, Congress has blocked the confirmation of a Europhobe nominee as US Ambassador to the EU.  The post has not been filled to date.

Trump’s diplomacy is not sophisticated.  It is a bully approach, forever brandishing the threat of more and greater sanctions, whether in the Ukraine, Iran or Korea.  Punitive measures are even taken by Trump toward the Palestinians.  He intends to suspend financial aid because they refuse to sit at the negotiating table.

French diplomats prefer pragmatism and negotiations.  Dominique de Villepin, former foreign minister (2002-2004) and prime minister (2005-2007), believes, for instance, that one has to accept the fact that North Korea is a nuclear power and entice that country to join the international community by helping  its economic development .

However, Vedrine says one should not blame Trump for everything.  Being realistic, France and Europe are not at the center of the world today.  If the US is stepping back, it is a chance for Europe to regain its autonomy.  Villepin suggests that Europe needs to break away from US guardianship .

At the annual Munich conference on security, participants showed for the first time their intention to step up the defense of the EU.  Last year Trump had scolded NATO members for not paying their share leading to the irritation of Washington today.  To put a stop to transatlantic polemics, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, wanted to be conciliatory and declared, “The increase in the European defense budget will reinforce the NATO European pillar.”

Judging from this non-exhaustive list of disagreements, relations between Trump and Europe are not particularly warm right now — in fact, one might be tempted to conclude they are well on the way to just plain bad.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

Share

9 Town Transit Faces Drastic Funding Cuts From State, Seeks Help From Readers to Prevent Them

AREAWIDE — For decades, transportation programs in Connecticut have been funded by a tax on gasoline and diesel fuels that goes into the Special Transportation Fund (STF.)  The 25 cent gas tax has not changed since 2000, while vehicles have become more fuel efficient, both of which combined have resulted in a significant decrease in revenues.

Without action from the legislature, the Connecticut Department of Transportation warns that there will not be enough funding coming into the STF to cover the expenses of the state’s transportation system.  As a result, 9 Town Transit would see a 15 percent reduction in funding in 2018 and a 50 percent reduction of funding in 2019.

9 Town Transit has asked ValleyNewsNow.com to let its readers know that a 15 percent reduction of state funding beginning July 1, 2018 would result in changes such as fare increases, elimination or reduction of bus routes and reduced Dial-A-Ride service.  In addition, a 50 percent reduction of state funding beginning July 1, 2019 would result in changes such as additional fare increases, elimination of most bus routes, elimination of Saturday service and elimination of Dial-A-Ride service.

These changes would have a significant impact on the more than 100,000 trips made each year on these services.  Hundreds of area residents would be stranded, and unable to get to work, school and medical appointments.

9 Town Transit is therefore asking our readers who are transit users and/or supporters to let their state representative and senator know how important 9 Town Transit, Shoreline East and/or other public transit services are to them. We urge our readers to support all these transportation programs in those ways and also to share this message with others, who may not read ValleyNewsNow.com.

More information about the possible service reductions and ways to help prevent the funding cuts can be found at www.9towntransit.com/fundtransit

Share

Deep River Resident Joins KBE Building Corporation as Preconstruction Manager

DEEP RIVER – Deep River resident Chris Desrosiers has joined Farmington-based KBE Building Corporation as Preconstruction Manager. KBE has expanded its preconstruction team in response to a steadily growing client base and demand for in-depth preconstruction services.

Mr. Desrosiers has more than 10 years of experience as an architect, and previously worked with JCJ Architecture, Lerner | Ladds + Bartels, and DiLeonardo International. He has worked on projects throughout the U.S., the Middle East, and the Far East. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Roger Williams University.

In addition to hiring Mr. Desrosiers, KBE has promoted two of its current employees in the preconstruction department:

Erica Millard, CPE, LEED AP, was promoted to Manager of Preconstruction Services. As head of KBE’s preconstruction department, she oversees a staff of three preconstruction managers and is responsible for all preconstruction phase services and procurement on select projects. She joined KBE in March of 2012 as a senior project engineer in the field, and has worked as an estimator and preconstruction manager. She previously worked with Balfour Beatty in Washington, DC. Ms. Millard is a Certified Professional Estimator and LEED Accredited Professional, and received her BS in Civil Engineering from University of Virginia.

William Culviner was promoted to Preconstruction Manager. Mr. Culviner worked with KBE as an intern and was hired in 2014 as an Estimator. He received his BS in Construction Management from Central Connecticut State University and is 30-Hour OSHA Certified for Construction Safety. He is currently hospitality chair of the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) – Nutmeg Chapter.

KBE has managed more than $4 billion in construction volume during the past two decades alone and is ranked among Engineering News-Record magazine’s top 400 construction companies nationally.

With offices in Norwalk and Farmington, CT, as well as Columbia, MD, KBE Building Corporation is a full-service, single-source commercial construction company strategically positioned to serve the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S. Our New York City clients are serviced through our affiliate, KBENY, LLC. (www.kbeny.com)

Founded in 1959 and incorporated in 1966, KBE bills $300 million annually. The firm provides preconstruction, construction management, design-build, and general contracting services to clients in the retail, educational, senior living, federal, corporate, hospitality, health care, and institutional markets.

KBE’s team of 120+ construction professionals and support staff is deeply committed to the firm’s corporate philanthropy program, 50 Ways to Make a Difference. Established in 2009 to celebrate the firm’s 50 years in business, 50 Ways has helped KBE associates donate more than $2.5 million and 12,000 volunteer hours to charitable causes benefiting children, seniors, and military veterans in Connecticut and Maryland.

Share

Wayne Eisenbaum Charitable Foundation Donates $20,000 to Operation Fuel

OLD SAYBROOK — The Wayne Eisenbaum Charitable Foundation, of Old Saybrook, has donated $20,000 to Operation Fuel for energy assistance.

Operation Fuel is a statewide nonprofit organization that provides emergency energy assistance year-round to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly, and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis.

Individuals who need energy assistance should call 211.

For more information on Operation Fuel or to make a donation, visit www.operationfuel.org.

Share

New Book Club to Start at Deep River Public Library, Welcomes Members

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Public Library is looking for a few good readers!

The Library is forming a new reading group to be facilitated by members, to meet once a month in the reading room. Participants will take turns each month, choosing a book and leading the discussion. This is a great opportunity to meet and mingle with other members of the community and enjoy meaningful chats centered on topical books. The library can request holds for members through its consortium, Bibliomation.

If you are interested in joining, email the library at: deepriverpubliclibrary@gmail.com and let us know your name, if your prefer Monday or Wednesday evening and the types of books you’re most interested in reading.

For more information, visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on the monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pmTuesday 10 am – 6 pmWednesday 12:30 – 8 pmThursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

Share