August 27, 2016

FRA to Host Public Meeting Wednesday in Old Lyme on Proposed Rail Route; Submit Questions, Comments in Advance or at Meeting

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is planning to host a meeting in Old Lyme regarding the proposed high-speed rail route next Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School auditorium, 69 Lyme St., Old Lyme, CT.  It will last about 1.5 to 2 hours, and the FRA will give a short presentation to clarify the process and address misstatements.

Then the FRA representatives will have a roundtable discussion about the NEC Futures Draft EIS with local and state leaders. The meeting will be open to the public in an effort to allow residents and businesses to hear the discussion.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, along with local selectmen and elected officials, have been invited to the meeting.  Congressman Joe Courtney is able to attend until 5 p.m. and CT Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker will be there for the entire meeting.

The Town of Old Lyme requests that comments and questions be submitted to selectmansoffice@oldlyme-ct.gov prior to the meeting so that they may be addressed at the roundtable discussion.  It will also be possible to submit questions at the meeting for discussion by the participants.

Reemsnyder recommends arriving early since the meeting will begin promptly at 4:30 p.m.

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Chestnut Hill Concert Season Ends at ‘The Kate’ Tonight with Works by Prokofiev and More

Violinist Steven Copes, pianist Mihae Lee and cellist Ronald Thomas will be among the performers in the 2016 season of the Chestnut Hill Concerts.

Violinist Steven Copes, pianist Mihae Lee and cellist Ronald Thomas will be among the performers in the 2016 season of the Chestnut Hill Concerts.

OLD SAYBROOK – Now in its 47th season, Chestnut Hill Concerts will present four programs of chamber music this August at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook. The prestigious series is highly regarded, not only for its programming but for the world-class musicians artistic director Ronald Thomas invites for the performances.

This season, an expanded international roster of 16 renowned artists enables the programming of a greater variety of music as well as music written for larger ensembles. Among this stellar musical cast are two artists who are better known as conductors (violinist and violist Scott Yoo and Finnish clarinetist Osmo Vänskä) and five husband-and-wife duos who will perform together.

The concerts will take place on Friday evenings.  Cellist and artistic director Ronald Thomas will host and perform in each program.

In the season finale on Aug. 26, violinists Catherine Cho and Todd Phillips, also a married couple, will perform Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins, followed by Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in G minor with cellist Ronald Thomas and pianist Mihae Lee. The program and the season concludes with Robert Schumann’s monumental Piano Quintet, with Cynthia Phelps, principal viola of the New York Philharmonic and wife of Ronald Thomas, joining the ensemble.

The 2016 Season of Chestnut Hill Concerts is made possible with support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

All concerts are Fridays at 8 p.m. at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate), 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook. Subscriptions to the four concerts are $120 (orchestra) and $100 (balcony). Single tickets are $35 for orchestra seats and $30 for the balcony. To purchase tickets, visit chestnuthillconcerts.org or call 203-245-5736. After July 5, contact the Kate box office at 860-510-0453, or visit www.thekate.org.

 

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Sales Tax Free Week Ends Tomorrow

AREAWIDE — It’s August, which means Connecticut’s annual “Tax-Free Week” is just around the corner.

The annual sales tax holiday week — during which most individual clothing and footwear items costing less than $100 are exempt from state sales tax — will run from Aug. 21-27.

This is the 16th consecutive year in which the state has held the tax holiday week, which always coincides with back-to-school shopping.

“The tax holiday has become a staple of Connecticut’s back-to-school shopping season,” Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan said in a statement. “Many retailers schedule sales … ”

Click here to read the full article by Cara Rosner, which was published Aug. 16 on CTNewsJunkie.com — a member of the Independent Media Network LLC (IMN) of which Shoreline Web News LLC, owner of LymeLine.com, is also a member.

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Opening Reception for Essex Art Association’s Late Summer 2016 Open Show Tonight

Painting by Pamela Ives Paterno, whose work will be on display at the Essex Art Association.

Painting by Pamela Ives Paterno, whose work will be on display at the Essex Art Association.

The fifth and final exhibition of the Essex Art Association (EAA) 2016 season is an open (judged only for awards) show whose theme is “Lost & Found.” The exhibition juror, Nathaniel Foote, a graduate of The Cooper Union, has lived and worked in New England, the Northwest, Europe, and New York City where he won two Emmy awards for art direction/production design and graphic design. $2000 will be awarded to exhibiting artists for their work in various media.

Each season five EAA artists are selected by a juror to exhibit their work in our small “Exit Gallery.” The Exit Gallery artist during this exhibition is Pamela Ives Paterno. Paterno began oil painting when she was in seventh grade but switched to watercolor when she was a young mother. She felt the lighter media called for a light subject matter and birds in flight became a fascinating challenge.

Paterno has studied drawing and painting at The Art Institute in Chicago, Drake University, and Central Connecticut State University. She has won awards in both oil and watercolor and has work in the artists’ collection in the Wethersfield Town Hall. She has illustrated five children’s books and continues to enjoy painting birds and children being caught in action.

The “Lost & Found” exhibition opening reception will be held Friday, August 26, from 6 to 8 pm. Both exhibits are open at no charge to the public Aug. 27 – Sept. 17 at the Essex Art Association Gallery located in the sunny yellow building in the center of Essex at 10 North Main Street, Essex, Conn. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 pm daily, closed Tuesdays. For more information, call 860-767-8996.

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Essex Child & Family Auxiliary Hosts ‘Black and White Masquerade Gala’ Tomorrow

Black and White Masquerade Committee members gather for a photo.

Black and White Masquerade Gala Committee members gather for a photo in their masks.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, the Essex Auxiliary of Child and Family Agency will hold a Black and White Masquerade Gala on beautiful Griswold Point in Old Lyme, Conn., to benefit Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.

The inspiration for this event is Truman Capote’s “Party of the Century”  held exactly  50 years ago in 1966. Dust off your black tie apparel, don your mask, and step back in time with us to a more glamorous era as we enjoy an evening filled with music, champagne, dancing and good company.

Capote’s party was held in honor of newspaper legend Katherine Graham. Our gala will be in honor of Child and Family’s own Alva Gimbel Greenberg, the former owner of the Pictorial Gazette and longtime Child and Family Agency volunteer.

Griswold Point will provide the perfect backdrop as the event begins with cocktails on the gorgeous lawn with sweeping views to where the Connecticut River meets Long Island Sound. After taking in a glorious sunset from this perfect vantage point, the remainder of the evening will be devoted to a delicious al fresco dinner and some fun dancing.

Seating for this event will be limited. Tickets can be purchased at www.childandfamilyagency.org  or    http://bit.ly/2adIVRB .

Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut’s programs provide services that address children’s health care, childcare, children’s mental health, child abuse prevention, the treatment of family violence, accident prevention, and parent education.

Major support for this event was provided by Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services.

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Public Hearings on Proposed Shoreline East, Metro North Fare Hikes to be Held in Old Saybrook, Sept. 1

Shoreline_East_logoMTA logoAREAWIDE — The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT) is proposing to increase public transit fares for the New Haven Line (Metro North) and Shore Line East rail services.  For example, the proposed one-way fare on Shoreline East from Old Saybrook to New Haven would rise on Dec. 1, 2016, from $6.75 to $7.25.  Similarly, the proposed one-way peak fare on Metro North from New Haven to Grand Central would rise from $22.00 to $23.50 and off-peak from $16.50 to $17.50.

The Department will be holding public hearings to receive comments on the proposed fare changes. Those nearest to Chester, Deep River and Essex, will be on Thursday,  Sept. 1, at Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main St., Old Saybrook from 4 to 6 p.m. and then later on the same evening from 7 to 9 p.m.

The CT DOT is also planning to increase fares for CTtransit and CTfastrak local and express bus services, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit services with effect from Dec. 4, 2016, and to amend the tariffs for bus services to allow for the implementation of a new account-based smart card fare payment system (effective on or after Dec. 1, 2016).

Some other notable proposed increases include:

Old Saybrook to New Haven, ten-trip: $60.75 to $65.25
Old Saybrook to New Haven, monthly: $142.00 to $152.25
Westbrook to New Haven, one-way: $6.25 to $6.50
Westbrook to New Haven, ten-trip: $56.25 to $58.50
Westbrook to New Haven, monthly: $129.00 to $136.50
New Haven to Grand Central, weekly: $149.50 to $158.50
New Haven to Grand Central, monthly: $467.00 to $495.00

To see the proposed increases for Shoreline East fares, click here.
To see the proposed increases for Metro-North New Haven line fares to and from Grand Central Station, click here.
To see the proposed increases for Metro-North New Haven line fares to and from intermediate stations, click here.
To see the proposed increases for CTtransit and CTfastrak fares, click here.

In the event that you are unable to appear in person, you are encouraged to email comments to the DOT at dot.farecomments@ct.gov or through the DOT’s website.

Comments may also be mailed to:
Comment on Fare Changes
Bureau of Public Transportation
2800 Berlin Turnpike
P.O. Box 317546
Newington, CT 06131-7546

The comment period closes Sept. 15, 2016.

In the event you cannot make the public hearing in Old Saybrook and would like to testify in person, see the additional dates and locations below for future public hearings.

Wednesday, Sept. 7
4 pm – 7 pm
Hartford
Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street

Tuesday, Sept. 13
11 am – 2 pm
Meriden
Meriden Town Hall
City Council Chamber
142 East Main Street

Tuesday, Sept. 13
Waterbury
4 pm – 7 pm
Silas Bronson Library
267 Grand Street

Wednesday, Sept. 14
4 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm
Stamford
UConn Stamford Campus Auditorium
One University Place

Thursday, Sept. 15
4 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm
New Haven
New Haven Hall of Records, Room G-2
200 Orange Street

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) also invites readers to raise any questions or comments directly with him at devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423.

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Local DTC’s Invite Readers to ‘Meet the Candidates’ at Gelston House, Sept. 19

Essex First Selectman and Democratic candidate for the 33rd District, Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman and Democratic candidate for the 33rd District, Norman Needleman

US Senator Joe Courtney

US Senator Joe Courtney

The Democratic Town Committees of Lyme, Haddam and East Haddam are jointly sponsoring a “Meet the Candidates” event with Norm Needleman and Joe Courtney at the Gelston House in East Haddam on Monday, Sept. 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  All are welcome.

Needleman (D) is challenging two-term incumbent Art Linares (R) for the position of 33rd District State Representative. Courtney is running for another term as US Representative for Connecticut’s Second Congressional District, a position he has held since 2007..

Light refreshments will be served.  A cash bar will be available.

A $10 donation is suggested.

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

Community Music School Hosts a Beginning Group Piano class.

Community Music School Hosts a Beginning Group Piano class.

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

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

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

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

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

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Collomore Concerts Open 43rd Season at Chester Meeting House on Sept. 25

collomore 2016

CHESTER –

For its 43rd season, the Robbie Collomore Music Series will offer all four of its concerts in the fall, between Sept. 25 and Nov. 27, on Sundays at 5 p.m. in the charming and historic Chester Meeting House in the town of Chester. The concerts, featuring world-class performers, range from a string quartet to American folk music. Season subscriptions and tickets are selling fast.

Beginning the season, on Sunday, Sept. 25, is the Verona Quartet. Praised by “Classical Voice America” for their “sensational, powerhouse performance,” the Verona Quartet has set themselves apart as one of the most compelling young quartets in chamber music. They made their Alice Tully Recital Hall debut this spring. Winner of the prestigious 2015 Concert Artist Guild Competition, they are the Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School.

On Sunday, Oct. 16, Grammy Award winners BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet will perform. BeauSoleil’s distinctive sound derives from the distilled spirits of New Orleans jazz, blues, rock, folk, swamp pop, Zydeco, country and bluegrass, captivating listeners from the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans to Carnegie Hall and across the world. BeauSoleil is notorious for bringing even the most staid audience to its feet.

On Nov. 6, internationally celebrated pianist Jeffrey Swann, who has been called “a dashing virtuoso” by the New York Times, will play two of Beethoven’s and Schubert’s most iconic, monumental piano sonatas. Swann is also a noted musical lecturer. The depth of his musical knowledge and his enthusiasm for teaching often leads him into spontaneous discussions of the music he is performing, much to the delight of his audiences.

Chris Smither performed at the Chester Meeting House in 2002, and the Collomore committee is thrilled to be bringing him back on Sunday, Nov. 27. A profound songwriter, Chris Smither draws deeply from the blues, American folk music, modern poets and philosophers. Reviewers continue to praise his dazzling guitar work, gravelly voice and songwriting. As Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote, Smither sings about “the big things – life, love, loss – in a penetrating and poetic yet unpretentious way.”

The Collomore committee expects this to be another sold-out season. Buy a season subscription now and save money, plus you’ll guarantee you will have a seat even when the concert is sold out. A subscription to all four concerts is just $75 (that’s four concerts for the price of three). Individual concert tickets cost $25. For students from elementary through graduate school, a subscription is $15. A student ticket for just one concert is $5. Tickets can be purchased online now at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal. All ticket-holders are invited to stay for a reception after each concert to meet the performers. For more information, check the website or call 860-526-5162.

 

 

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘House of Lost Worlds’ by Richard Conniff

House_of_Lost_WorldsFor this month, a local author! Richard Conniff is a science writer, a contributor to The New York Times, and a resident of Old Lyme. He’s also a graduate of Yale University, one reason for his interest in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, which is now celebrating its first 150 years.

It is the story of a museum and its directors, explorers, paleontologists, ecologists, anthropologists, biologists, ornithologists, primatologists, plus a few reactionaries and, of course, 14 million specimens. It is also the story of large egos listening to “the mute cries of ages impossible to contemplate”(some 50 million years).

He explores five themes: (1) a teaching dream of leaders at the start (George Peabody, the original donor, for whom “education was (his) Rosebud”), (2) the “grandiose personality” of O. C Marsh, its first director, (3) the demolition and movement of the original building in 1905 and its effects, (4) the rise of anthropology and ecology as sciences, and (5) the invitation to go see for yourself.

So how should we pronounce the name: “Pee-body” as Yalies and the donor said it, or “Pee-buh- de” as denizens of Cambridge slur the word?

The egos predominate, highlighting the single-mindedness and secrecy of many collectors.  Hiram Bingham, the sleuth of Machu Picchu, the “lost” Incan city, was one of the most notable. As the author notes, “if paleontologists were as aggressive as brontosauri they would have eaten each other.” In many respects they did: “Maybe academic life merely gives its verbally inclined thinkers the freedom to brood about it for too long, speak it too loudly, and pursue vengeance with wrath-of-God vigor.” They make this history continually exciting and amusing.

The Peabody Museum has expanded into a teaching, research, and study institution, whose practitioners take isolated pieces from the past (human, animal, mineral) to create a logical “story” to help guide us toward the future. But today they face modern visitors, “jaded and smartphone-addled, (who) expect special effects and instantaneous answers almost everywhere.”

In 1866, when the Peabody was created, there was no sign of a “Sixth Extinction” (now forecast by Elizabeth Kolbert), no “climate change,” only 32 million people in these United States (versus 320 million today), and only 1 billion on this earth (now 7.4 billion.)  Can the interest in and funding for museums like the Peabody, their teaching and research, help us alter our behavior for a more favorable future?

Like Alice, I am “curiouser and curiouser,” so I am off to the corner of Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street in New Haven to explore for myself …

Editor’s Note: House of Lost Worlds by Richard Conniff is published by Yale Univ. Press, New Haven 2016.

Felix Kloman_headshot_2005_284x331-150x150About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

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A la Carte: Two Cold Summer Soups

Geoffrey's Gazpacho (Food Network image)

Geoffrey’s Gazpacho (Food Network image)

A few weeks ago, at a boules party, I asked my friend Priscilla whether the Chester Market was still in operation. She looked surprised and said it is busy that ever. I guess I am used to Priscilla sending me a press release to remind me of my very favorite market.

The next Sunday I hopped into my car at 9:45 am so I could be one of the first customers, and I was glad to find a parking place in the public parking lot on Water Street. (Chester’s market takes up almost all the town’s main thoroughfare, but because people park, buy their produce and leave to stow their bounty at home, it isn’t too difficult to get a parking place if you are a little patient.)

In addition to seeing friends, I got to pet at least 10 dogs. I bought lots of tomatoes, some sweet corn, gorgeous beets, radishes, peppers, some baguettes and a beautiful boules from Linda Giuca from Alforno’s kiosk (this boules is an 8-inch round bread, unlike the boules I play with stainless steel balls). That evening I buttered a few hunks with sweet butter and topped them with fresh sliced radishes and special salt. That was dinner.

 

Borscht (Beet Soup)

Adapted from a non-recipe created by Pauline Aronson

Yield: 4 large bowls

Years later, my mother told me she used canned beets. As good as it was in my memory, I use raw beets. And remember, beets stain. I peel them in the sink and I am careful about putting the beets in the food processor on my butcher block counter.

 

3 to 5 raw beets (should total 2 to 3 pounds)

1 large onion

salt and pepper to taste

juice of 1 small lemon

Cup greens and “tail” from the beets and peel (I toss the greens). Cut the beets into quarters or halves and place in soup pot. Add a peeled and quartered onion to the pot. Add enough cold water to cover plus a bit more.

Put pot on stove and cook on high heat until boiling. Drop heat to medium-low and cook for another 30 minutes, or until each beet is soft. Allow water to cool slightly. In a food processor fitted with a grating tool (or use a simple grater), spoon beets and onions in the feeding tube.

Put beets and onions back into the broth and heat for another few minutes. (Broth should be very red.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon juice into the soup, turn off heat and allow to cool. Pour soup into jar or container and refrigerate. Drink borscht cold with or without a dollop of sour cream, crème fraiche or a hot boiled potato.

 

Geoffrey’s [Zakarian] Vegetable Gazpacho

From Food Network Magazine, July/August, 2016

Yield: Serves 4

2 cups cored, seeded and diced ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium tomatoes)

1 cup seeded and sliced cucumber (about 1 large cucumber)

1 cup chopped yellow or red bell peppers

½ cup halved seedless green grapes

½ cup fresh parsley, plus more for topping

¼ cup diced red onion

1 small clove garlic, smashed

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping

½ cup vegetable stock, plus more as needed

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Puree tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, grapes, parsley, red onion, garlic, vinegar and cumin in a blender until almost smooth. With blender running, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream until gazpacho is smooth.

Add ½ cup vegetable stock and blend again. If the gazpacho is too thick for you, add more stock until you achieve a consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper and chill in a pitcher or bowl, about 1 hour (or longer). Drizzle each serving with olive oil and top with parsley.


Nibbles: Over-the-Hill Celery

On a recent Sunday afternoon, when the temperature was a humid 100 degrees outside but at just 70 degrees and dry in my condo, I decided to make corn chowder and double the recipe. I grabbed the ingredient from my refrigerator and noted that the celery was limp and sad. Rather than go out to the market, where my hair and clothes would look the same way, I cut six of the celery stalks and put them in a tall glass of cold water. Two hours later, the celery looked like it had two weeks ago in the produce aisle. I used three stalks for the soup and other more for a tuna salad the next day. What a magic trick!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Country School Partners with Level Up Village for Pioneering Global Steam Enrichment

These photos show campers with flashlights, which they created in a Global Inventors camp. During the camp, students in Madison were partnered with students in Kenya, communicating about their inventions through video exchanges.

These photos show campers with flashlights, which they created in a Global Inventors camp. During the camp, students in Madison were partnered with students in Kenya, communicating about their inventions through video exchanges.

This summer, The Country School teamed up with Level Up Village to offer pioneering global STEAM (STEM + Arts) courses as part of the school’s Summer Fun and Learning program. In addition to engaging in STEAM programs, participants collaborated one-on-one with partner students from one of Level Up Village’s Global Partner organizations in a developing country via video message exchanges.

Camps offered through the Level Up Village-Country School partnership included Global Inventors and Global Video Game Designers. At the Global Inventors camp, participants used 3D printers to create solar flashlights – and they did so while collaborating with friends in Kenya. For Global Video Game Designers, participants explored Scratch and used video camera sensors and drawings to build and hack video games, collaborating through videos with friends in Palestine.

“Joining forces with Level Up Village is a natural extension of what we do throughout the year at The Country School, developing 21st Century skills and incorporating STEAM into our PreSchool through 8th Grade programs,” said John Fixx, Head of School. “In addition, the global collaboration ties in seamlessly with our curricula that stir appreciation for various cultures and traditions, important for the fulfillment of our school’s mission as we prepare our students to enter an global and interconnected world.”

Level Up Village empowers children to make a difference in the world with courses that promote design thinking and one-to-one collaboration on real-world problems between K-9 students in the U.S. and Global Partner students in 20+ countries. U.S. school partners directly sponsor Global STEAM education in developing countries through Level Up Village’s “take a class, give a class” model: a portion of the tuition is used to deliver the same class to students at one of Level Up Village’s Global Partners, many of whom are living on less than $2 a day. More information is available at www.levelupvillage.com.

Level Up Village - Global Inventors (2)

“We connect students from around the world for shared STEAM learning experiences that are both impactful and relevant so they can develop the skills and mindset they need to become compassionate global citizens,” said Amy McCooe, CEO of Level Up Village. “Our cutting-edge global STEAM courses include fully developed curricula, comprehensive teaching training and experienced management of the global collaboration process.”

The Country School looks forward to continuing its partnership with Level Up Village – and with its partner schools – during the coming school year. What did campers think of the program this summer?

From Gabriel, a rising Country School 3rd Grader, who collaborated with a Palestinian student for the Global Video Designers camp:

It was really cool making my own video game! My friend from Palestine was like me. He had the same things. He liked to play outside, has an Xbox, and made video games too. He also had a brother!

From Nadia, a rising Country School 4th Grader:

It was neat to use the computer to make my own video game and then play it and share it, which is really awesome. It was awesome to have a friend from somewhere else in the world. Abdul loved burgers just like me. I didn’t know they have burgers in Palestine.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

For more about Level Up Village, contact Andrea Sherman, PR & Communications at Level Up Village at andrea@levelupvillage.com

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Paolucci, Gingras Appointed to Essex Financial Services Board of Directors

Essex Financial Services, Inc. (EFS) has announced that Robert Paolucci and Patrick Gingras, two of the firm’s Financial Advisors, have been appointed to serve on the company’s Board of Directors. In addition, both have been promoted to Senior Vice President.

In a statement announcing the appointment, EFS President and Chief Executive Officer Charles R. Cumello, Jr. said, “We are delighted to add two of our most senior advisors to our board. We look forward to their ongoing contributions to the growth and oversight of the firm.”

Paolucci has been in the financial services industry for nearly 20 years and joined EFS in 2009. He has earned the Certified Financial Planner®. Paolucci and his family reside in Killingworth.

Gingras joined EFS in 2006 after numerous years serving as an institutional advisor. He and his family live in Old Lyme.

Essex Financial Services is one of the leading independent financial advisory firms in the United States. Cited by Barron’s and other leading publications, the firm’s unbiased, independent, client-centric approach has made it a leader in providing exceptional service to clients for over three decades.

For more information on Essex Financial Services, visit essexfinancialservices.com

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High Praise Indeed: New York Times Gives “Marley’s Cafe” in Essex a Favorable Review

Editor’s Note: The article discussed in this piece is titled, ‘Review: Marley’s Cafe Is a Sweet Spot With a Reggae Soundtrack’ and was written by Sarah Gold.  It was published in the New York Times on Sunday, Aug. 7, and also on nytimes.com on Friday, Aug. 5.  The article can be found at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/nyregion/review-marleys-cafe-is-a-sweet-spot-with-a-reggae-soundtrack.html?_r=0

The New York Times customarily focuses its restaurant reviews on high end, Manhattan restaurants, featuring meals that can cost $100 or more.  However, in Sunday’s print edition on Aug. 7 and also published on www.nytimes.com on Aug. 5 at this link , Times food critic Sarah Gold took a look at “Marley’s Café,” a tiny, outdoor restaurant on a man-made island just off the coast of Essex.

Under the headline, “A Sweet Spot With a Reggae Soundtrack,” Gold devoted a full half page of the Sunday New York Times newspaper to the 12-year-old, “Marley’s Café.”  The article was illustrated with three photographs, featuring the front view of the restaurant, and two photos of favorite dishes.

In her review, Gold speaks of, “an indelible impression of the experience: the company I kept, the environment we shared,” noting further that, “For 12 years, Marley’s Café, in Essex, has been delivering just this sort of meal to locals and summer visitors.”

Gold sums up the café in the words,”Fine dining it ain’t, but the restaurant … is … a uniquely wonderful place to [in the words of Bob Marley after whom the restaurant is named] “get together and feel all right.””

Jeff’ Odekerken and his wife, Claudia, share much of the management of the restaurant.

The Times article gave the restaurant a “Good” rating, and the reviewer especially liked the Jamaican burger, and the evening appetizer of steamed, Prince Edward Island mussels. At lunch and dinner, sandwiches, soups and salads cost $7 to $16. Entrees in the evening run from $20 to $30.

In this author’s opinion, Marley’s is the best outdoor dining experience that the historic town of Essex has to offer. Also, the combination of good food and island isolation can equal — or even surpass — the squeeze that customers often feel in big city restaurant.

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Essex Winter Series Awards Francis Bealey Memorial Scholarship to Austin Rannestad of Chester

Francis Bealey Memorial Scholarship winner Austin Rannestad stands with his parents John and Jennifer Rannestad John Rannestad,

Francis Bealey Memorial Scholarship winner Austin Rannestad stands with his parents John and Jennifer Rannestad.

ESSEX — The Board of Trustees of Essex Winter Series has announced that Austin Rannestad of Chester is the recipient of the 2016 Francis Bealey Memorial Scholarship. A 2016 graduate of Valley Regional High School (VRHS), Austin is the son of John and Jennifer Rannestad. The scholarship was awarded by Essex Winter Series trustee Louisa Ketron at the VRHS senior awards night in June.

Named for a founding member of Essex Winter Series, the Francis Bealey Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating senior of VRHS who will be studying music in college. The generous scholarship provides $1,000 for each year of study, for a total of $4,000. The Scholarship was established in 1995 after the passing of EWS board president Francis Bealey to honor his commitment to music and arts education.

Austin plays trumpet and, during his high school career, was a member of the concert and jazz bands as well as a musician in the pit orchestra for school and community musicals. He was a member of the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble, played varsity tennis and was a member of the ski club. This summer, Austin was employed as a sailing instructor at Pettipaug Sailing Academy and, with his family, hosted a Spanish exchange student for several weeks. He plans to attend Ithaca College to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.

Bringing world-class classical and jazz music to the shoreline area was the dream of the founders of the Essex Winter Series, established in 1979.  The late Fenton Brown became involved early on and devoted many years to expanding the series, and ultimately recruited pianist Mihae Lee to become Artistic Director.  The “Fenton Brown Emerging Artists Concert” series was begun to honor Brown’s commitment to promoting the careers of young artists.

Each year, the Essex Winter Series presents a series of concert performances by top-rated musicians from around the world with each season including a mix of such performances as chamber music, instrumental soloists, opera singers, symphony and chamber orchestras, and jazz bands.

For additional information, visit www.essexwinterseries.com.

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Essex Community Fund Hosts Fundraising Evening at the Ivoryton Playhouse, Sept. 8

Organizers of Essex Community Fund's Benefit Evening stand in front of the Ivoryton Playhouse, where the event will be held.

Organizers of Essex Community Fund’s Benefit Evening stand in front of the Ivoryton Playhouse, where the event will be held.

ESSEX  — Tickets are selling quickly for the Essex Community Fund’s (ECF) Evening at the Ivoryton Playhouse featuring one of the world’s most popular musicals, The Man of La Mancha. Starring Connecticut’s own David Pittsinger returning to the Playhouse, ECF’s Evening at the Playhouse is on Sept. 8.

Inspired by Cervantes’ Don Quixote, considered by many to be “the best literary work ever written,” The Man of La Mancha features the antics of Don Quixote and his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza. Come hear songs like “The Impossible Dream” and “I, Don Quixote” and many others.

Pre-show reception and festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. under the tent with a post-show “Meet the Cast” dessert and coffee. All proceeds go to support ECF’s ongoing mission to enhance the quality of life for the residents of our three villages.

For tickets ($75) or to make a donation, contact a board member or visit our website at www.essexcommunityfund.org.

Contact: Jackie Doane, Playhouse Committee Chair Person, Essex Community Fund at info@essexcommunityfund.org

The Essex Community Fund began over 65 years ago with the same goal – helping local non-profits provide much needed services for the residents of our three villages. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life of our residents in Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton. This is accomplished by identifying community needs, providing financial support, and forging partnerships with local non-profit organizations.

Some of their recent initiatives include Compassion Counts: Exploring Mental Wellness, Teen Hunger Initiative, and The Bridge Fund, as well as continuing involvement with the Fuel Assistance Program, The Shoreline Soup Kitchen, Essex Park and Recreation, and the Essex Board of Trade programs and events.

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.essexcommunityfund.org.

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The Movie Man: Don’t Waste Your Money on ‘Suicide Squad’

Suicide_Squad_compressedOne would think that gathering together all of DC’s most memorable villains for a single movie would be appealing. After all, that’s how big-named stars such as Will Smith, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, and Margot Robbie were probably hooked on this project. Unfortunately, big names could not save a super-villain movie that lacked the type of lure that films in said genre should have.

I guess I have to give myself a break for ultimately being disappointed after seeing the trailers over the last year. Mainly because this film was produced by Zack Snyder, who was also behind 2013’s Superman film, Man of Steel, which I left disappointed. An opinion shared by my brother and a friend with whom we screened it.

I cannot determine what it is about this new string of DC movies that include Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Godot as Wonder Woman, and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luther that turns me off. Is it the writing? It ultimately must be.

As I said earlier, it lacks the “lure.” I did partially read a review in The Washington Post that criticized this film and tried to put it aside to see if I could screen it unbiased. After several hours of reflecting, I guess I was wrong. What I can say is the film does include fitting performances for their characters, so I guess that is the silver lining?

What first lost me was Jared Leto’s portrayal of the Joker. Now, maybe this is the result of us all being spoiled (and still enthralled) by Heath Ledger’s portrayal of one of the greatest villains of all time in The Dark Knight back in 2008, a time when we were going through a presidential election that did not involve dirty tricks, lying, and childlike name-calling. Now it is possible I am being unfair, as Ledger did go on to win a posthumous Academy Award for this performance.

But Leto also earned himself the same honor in the same acting category (Supporting Role, for Dallas Buyer’s Club.) It certainly cannot be because of his acting since he seemed to give it all he had as the psychotic killer clown. But it has to be how the Joker is presented.

He is not much of a clown, as we have seen him depicted throughout the character’s history, ranging from Cesar Romero in the campy 1960s Batman series, Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s 1989 adaptation, Mark Hamill’s great vocal performance for multiple animated gigs, and, of course, Ledger’s run in 2008. He is not a clown, but rather a … punk, which I believe is the word that best describes him. Nothing clown-like about him, just a crazed psycho.

Will Smith delivered, as always. It was unique seeing him as a villain, but then again, he did serve as the protagonist who ultimately had a heart of gold, mainly because of his love for his daughter. And Margot Robbie certainly proved herself as Harley Quinn, bringing back her memorable Long Island accent from The Wolf of Wall Street, making her character as crazy and, well, sexually seductive, as possible (what else will people think when a character has an outfit like that?)

I will make a prediction, as I have heard people comment on the web, that girls will go crazy over Harley Quinn and many will dress as her for Halloween this year. And one cannot go wrong with casting Viola Davis, one of the most talented actresses of our era, as she portrays the cold and heartless government agent who recruits the “suicide squad” (as Smith character, Deadshot, coins it), and she does not invest much emotion through it (after all, less can be more sometimes.)

You will hear many classic rock songs in this flick, if that will bring you to the theaters. Songs include Bohemian Rhapsody, Fortunate Sun, and Spirit in the Sky. But then again, as I have always thought, if the promotions for the movie include lists of popular songs that the viewer will eventually hear, that is an indicator of desperation.

Overall, I would not recommend this flick. Earlier when I reviewed the Bond film, Spectre, I suggested viewing it despite its “meh” quality because it was James Bond, something well embedded in our culture for over 50 years. While these DC characters have been known as long as Bond (well, Joker perhaps), it has not been as part of our movie-going experiences like 007 has. Nobody has hyped about the highly anticipated DC comics film as frequently as Ian Fleming’s iconic spy.

But to simplify it: this movie is not worth the price of the movie ticket.

Kevin Ganey

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

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Shoppers at Adams Hometown Market in Deep River Give Generously to CT Food Bank Milk Drive

The Adams Homemarket in Deep River

Shoppers at the Adams Hometown Market in Deep River gave generously to The Great American Milk Drive. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

DEEP RIVER — Shoppers at Adams Hometown Market, Better Valu and Tri Town Foods stores in Connecticut gave generously to The Great American Milk Drive, raising more than $12,000 for milk vouchers to help people served by the Connecticut Food Bank network of food assistance programs. Connecticut Food Bank spokesperson Paul Shipman spoke warmly of the tremendous contribution made by the Adams Hometown Store located in Deep River, telling ValleyNewsNow.com that, “the store has been wonderful supporting this program.”

By donating $1, $3 or $5, or rounding up their change at the register, shoppers raised $12,232 for milk vouchers. Shipman said it was the most successful Milk Drive yet for the food bank. Shoppers at the 12 participating stores have donated more than $25,000 since 2014.

Milk is one of the most requested items at food pantries, Shipman said, but it is difficult for people to obtain. “Many of our participating programs have limited refrigeration, so keeping a supply of milk is difficult, but it’s sought after by many people who need help with basic food needs.” Shipman said that many people who visit food pantries may only be able to access one gallon of milk per person in a year.

By providing vouchers for people visiting food banks, we can ease some of the transportation and refrigeration barriers and make milk a more regular part of people’s diets,” Shipman said.

The drive was part of a national program aimed at providing sought-after and highly nutritious gallons of milk to people in need. This local drive included the New England Dairy Promotion Board’s Must Be the Milk program, Guida’s Dairy, and the dairy farm families of Connecticut.

The milk drive was conducted at 12 Adams Hometown Market, Better Valu, and Tri Town Foods locations.

For more information on the Great American Milk Drive, visit www.mustbethemilk.com/milkdrive/

Editor’s Notes:

  1. Adams Hometown Market is a Connecticut-owned and operated company, which is owned by Bozzutos Incorporated, and is dedicated to providing service and support to the local community. Learn more at AdamsSuperFood.com
  2. The Connecticut Food Bank is committed to alleviating hunger in Connecticut by providing food resources, raising awareness of the challenges of hunger and advocating for people who need help meeting basic needs. The Connecticut Food Bank partners with the food industry, food growers, donors and volunteers to provide food, which last year provided 19.2 million meals. We distribute that food through a network of community based programs to six Connecticut counties – Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties – where more than 300,000 people struggle with hunger. Visit us on the web at www.ctfoodbank.org, like us on Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter and Instagram.
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Old Saybrook Schools, Saint John School Announce Free, Reduced Price Meal Policy

school_lunchThe Old Saybrook Public Schools and Saint John School have announced their policy for determining eligibility of children may receive free or reduced-price meals served under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP),  served under the Special Milk Program (SMP).

Local school officials have adopted the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs) for family size and income criteria for determining eligibility.

The income guidelines at this link will be used in Connecticut from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 for determining eligibility of participants for free and reduced-price meals and free milk in the Child Nutrition Programs.

The above income calculations are made based on the following formulas: Monthly income is calculated by dividing the annual income by 12; twice monthly income is computed by dividing annual income by 24; income received every two weeks is calculated by dividing annual income by 26; and weekly income is computed by dividing annual income by 52.  All numbers are rounded upward to the next whole dollar.

Children from families whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  Application forms are available through online registration, on the district website www.oldsaybrookschools.org and are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents.  To apply for free or reduced-price meals , households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Additional copies are available at the principal’s office at each school.]

Only one application is required per household and an application for free or reduced- price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions.  The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purposes of determining eligibility and for administration and enforcement of the lunch, breakfast and milk programs.

Note that the district MAY share your eligibility information with education, health, and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund, or determine benefits for their programs, auditors for program reviews, and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules.  This information may also be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials.  Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

For up to 30 operating days into the new school year, eligibility from the previous year will continue within the same local educational agency (LEA).  When the carry-over period ends, unless the household is notified that their children are directly certified or the household submits an application that is approved, the children must pay full price for school meals and the school will not send a reminder or a notice of expired eligibility.

No application is required if the district directly certifies a child based on a household member receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) program.  All children in these households are eligible for free meal benefits.  Households receiving assistance under the SNAP/TFA programs will be notified of their eligibility and their children will be provided free benefits unless the household notifies the determining official that it chooses to decline benefits.

If any children were not listed on the eligibility notice, the household should contact the district or school to have free meal benefits extended to those children.  Households receiving SNAP or TFA benefits for their children should only submit an application if they are not notified of their eligibility by August 31, 2016.

If a child is not directly certified, the household should complete a free and reduced-price meal application form.  The application for the SNAP or TFA households require the SNAP or TFA case number.  The signature of an adult household member is also required.

Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  Please send in an application or contact the determining official for more information.

When known to the district/school, households will be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the individual child is Other Source Categorically Eligible because the child is categorized as either:  Homeless; runaway as defined by law and determined by the district’s or school’s homeless liaison; or enrolled in an eligible Head Start or pre-kindergarten class as defined by law.  Households with children who are categorically eligible under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs should complete an application and check-off the relevant box.

Questions should be directed to the determining official.  For any child not listed on the eligibility notice, the households should contact the school or determining official about any child also eligible under one of these programs or should submit an income application for the other children.

Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the determining official or school if it chooses to decline the free meal benefits.  If households/children are not notified by the district/school of their free meal benefits and they receive benefits under Assistance Programs or under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs, the parent/guardian should contact the determining official or their school.

Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are categorically eligible for free meals.  A foster parent does not have to complete a free/reduced meal application if they can submit a copy of the legal document or legal court order showing that the child is a foster child.  Additionally, a foster child may be included as a member of the foster family if the foster family chooses to also apply for benefits.  If the foster family is not eligible for free or reduced-price meal benefits, it does not prevent a foster child from receiving free meal benefits.  Note however, that a foster child’s free eligibility does not automatically extend to all students in the household.

Application forms for all other households require a statement of total household income, household size and names of all household members.  The last four digits of the social security number of an adult household member must be included or a statement that the household member does not have one.  The adult household member must also sign the application certifying that the information provided is correct.

Under the provisions of the policy for determining eligibility for free and reduced-price meals, the determining official,  Julie Pendleton, Director of Operations, Facilities and Finance jpendleton@oldsdaybrookschools.org (860) 395-3158 x1013 will review applications and determine eligibility.  If a parent is dissatisfied with the ruling of the determining official, he/she may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. If he/she wishes to make a formal appeal, a request either orally or in writing, may be made to Jan G. Perruccio, Superintendent of Schools, 50 Sheffield Street, Old Saybrook, CT 06475 jperruccio@oldsaybrookschools.org (860)395-3157 for a hearing to appeal the decision.

The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.  Each school and the central office of the school district has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by an interested party.

If a household member becomes unemployed or if household size changes at any time, the family should contact the school to file a new application.  Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for reduced-price meals, free meals, , if the family income falls at or below the levels shown in the Income Guidelines.

Questions regarding the application process may be directed to the determining official at (860)395-3158.

This is the Public Release we will send on August 3, 2016 to the following news media outlets, the local unemployment office, major employers contemplating layoffs, etc.

1. The Hartford Courant 3. New Haven Register
2. The Day 4. CT Department of Labor

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1)  mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)  fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3)  email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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Valley Shore YMCA’s 25th Annual Golf Classic Raises Funds for Annual Campaign

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

The Valley Shore YMCA’s 25th Annual Golf Classic drew a crowd of nearly 100 golfers Monday, July 18th to the Clinton Country Club for a day of “Golfing for a Cause”. The event raised over $45,000 for the Valley Shore YMCA’s Annual Campaign, which funds scholarships for local families and community health initiatives.

The majority raised came from sponsorships, including the Tournament sponsorships of Brown and Knapp Group Benefits; Mr. & Mrs. Leighton Lee IV; Art Linares and Family; Guilford Savings Bank; L.H. Brenner, Inc./Thompson & Peck Insurance; Pat Munger Construction; Wacker Wealth Management; and Whelen Engineering. Supporting sponsors included East Commerce Solutions and Kyocera.

The day of the tournament was a beautiful summer day, sunny with slight breezes in support of the golfers. Additional fun games were held throughout the course to enhance the fun factor, including Longest Drive, Closet to the Pin, Putting and Hole in One contests. Former Y Board President David Brown and Y Board Member Leighton Lee IV co-chaired the event and rallied sponsors, volunteers and prizes.

Committee members and volunteers included Marc Brodeur, Hal Dolan, Lisa LeMonte, Elizabeth McCall, Susan Norton, Melissa Ozols, Matt Sullivan, Tony Sharillo, Marcus Wacker and Jacquelyn Waddock.

No golfer made a hole-in-one for the prized Subaru generously provided by Reynolds’ Garage and Marine.

First Net Score winners were Jeff Knapp, Steph Brodeur, Justin Urbano and Scott Wiley; second place went to Casey Quinn, Paddy Quinn, Chick Quinn and Ryan Quinn.

First Gross winners were the team of David Brown, Jeff Dow, Mike Satti and Shane O’Brien; second place  went to Bob Brady, Geoff Gregory, John Brady and Bobby Edgil.

Chris Pallatto, YMCA CEO, thanked all the golfers and local organizations who came together to make this event possible. “Once again, we had another successful event, made possible by all of our supporters here today.  They all make it possible for the Y to continue to make an impact in our community.”

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Florence Dutka Interviewed by Mary Ann Pleva on ‘Looking Back’ TV Show

Looking_Back_Crew
The technical crew of the Looking Back series posed for a photo after a recent show.

The  taping occurred at Valley Shore Community Television in their Westbrook studio.

Pictured in the photo above are Chris Morgan, Bill Cook, Bill Bevan, Terry Garrity, and Tim Butterworth
Seated are Florence Dutka who was interviewed by host, Mary Ann Pleva.  This is the fifth in a series that features community members, who have led extraordinary lives.
The programs air regularly on Channel 19, public access television.  Scheduling information is available weekly  in the Valley Courier.
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Essex Zoning Commission Asked to Reconsider Three Conditions for Approval of Plains Rd. Apartment Complex

The Plains Road property where the Iron Chef restaurant has been long empty has been approved for apartments.

The Plains Road property where the Iron Chef restaurant has been vacant for many years has been approved for the Essex Station apartments. Now the applicant has filed a resubmission to revise or rescind three conditions.

ESSEX — Weeks after the zoning commission’s approval of a special permit for the three-building 52-unit Essex Station apartment complex on Plains Road, the applicant has filed  a resubmission that asks the commission to revise or rescind three of the 10 conditions that were part of the panel’s 4-1 vote of approval on June 20.

The commission has scheduled an Aug. 15 public hearing on the resubmission from Signature Contracting Group LLC for a review of the three conditions. The project, approved after a series of public hearings that began in February, calls for 52 units in three separate buildings on a 3.7-acre parcel at 21,27 and 29 Plains Road. The parcel includes the long vacant site of the former Iron Chef restaurant. and two abutting residential parcels.

The project includes an affordable housing component, and was submitted under state statute 8-30g, which is intended to promote additional affordable housing in Connecticut. The statute, in place for more than a decade, limits the jurisdiction of local zoning authorities to issues of public health and safety, and provides for waiver of some local zoning regulations. At least 16 units in the Essex Station complex would be designated as affordable moderate income housing, with a monthly rent of about $1,000.

In a July 6 letter to the commission, Timothy Hollister, lawyer for the applicants, contended three of the conditions ” materially impact the viability of the development plan, are infeasible, legally impermissible, or are unnecessary.”

One disputed condition is the requirement for a six-foot security fence around the perimeter of the property. Hollister contended in the letter a six-foot fence would have to be a chain-link fence, which he maintained would be unsightly and unnecessary. He suggested a nearby property owner, Essex Savings Bank, was uncomfortable with the idea of six-foot fencing on the southwest corner of the property. As an alternative, Hollister suggested a four-foot picket fence around most or the property boundary, including the street frontage.

Hollister also contended a requirement for elevators in the three buildings was “impractical and unnecessary” and would make the current floor plans infeasible. He noted the project is not age-restricted housing, adding that elevators have not been a requirement for many similar projects in Connecticut, including an apartment complex with affordable housing now under construction in Old Saybrook.

The third disputed condition involves the height of the three buildings. The commission had imposed a height limit of 35 feet for all three buildings, a condition that Hollister maintained would require an unattractive, institutional-style flat roof. He suggested a maximum height limit of 42-feet for the three buildings.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said this week the resubmission requires a new public hearing, but also allows for some negotiation between the commission and the applicant on the disputed conditions. The review must be concluded within 65 days, including a public hearing and decision, with no provision for any extensions.

The panel has also scheduled an Aug. 15 public hearing on a new and separate special permit application for an eight-unit condominium-style active adult community development on a 10-acre parcel on Bokum Road. The proposed Cobblestone Court development would be comprised of four duplex buildings The applicant is local resident and property owner Mark Bombaci under the name Bokum One LLC. The property abuts a little used section of the Valley Railroad line.
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Connecticut River Artisans Now Open in Essex

Connecticut River Artisans new home will be at 55 Main St. in Essex.

Connecticut River Artisans new home will be at 55 Main St. in Essex.

ESSEX — Connecticut River Artisans are moving from Chester to Essex.

They have closed their Chester shop and now reopened at their new location at 55 Main St., Essex.

Summer hours are Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Call for seasonal hours.

For more information, visit ctriverartisans.org or call 860.767.5457.

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​Community Foundation of Middlesex County Honors Local Volunteers

'Local leaders' gather July 27 at Wadsworth Mansion. Front Row: Sarah Cody (Fox61), Rosario “Riz” Rizzo, Liz Shulman, Gail Morris, Cindy McNeil-Sola, Lynda Hunnicutt, Bernadette Jones, Laura Pedersen, Linda Bradshaw, Sharon Griffin, Deb Moore. Second Row: George “Sonny” Whelen, Dave Shulman, Bob Shulman, Andy Morris, David Director, Marc Levin, John Biddiscombe, John Bradshaw, Biff Shaw.

‘Local leaders’ gather July 27 at Wadsworth Mansion. Front Row: Sarah Cody (Fox61), Rosario “Riz” Rizzo, Liz Shulman, Gail Morris, Cindy McNeil-Sola, Lynda Hunnicutt, Bernadette Jones, Laura Pedersen, Linda Bradshaw, Sharon Griffin, Deb Moore. Second Row: George “Sonny” Whelen, Dave Shulman, Bob Shulman, Andy Morris, David Director, Marc Levin, John Biddiscombe, John Bradshaw, Biff Shaw.

They are everywhere – in the house next door, behind the counter at the business down the street, at the board of directors table of your favorite nonprofit – volunteers and leaders who give their time and talents to our community. The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is fortunate to be surrounded by “Good People Doing Great Things”.  Every day the Community Foundation is reminded that everyone in the region truly cares about their friends and neighbors and where they live, work and play.

Late last year the Community Foundation inaugurated its first Local Leaders, Local Legends recognition program, awarding the Sherry and Herb Clark Beacon of Philanthropy Award to two individuals, Arthur Director and the late Willard McRae. Both men have been exceptional legendary leaders in the community, supporting the county’s local nonprofits and CFMC itself in a myriad of ways to make Middlesex County a better place for all.

This spring the Community Foundation rolled out the full Local Leaders, Local Legends program:  to highlight individuals and organizations who make a difference every day. The Community Foundation enlisted the help of the community, putting a call out for nominations of those individuals, organizations, or businesses who should be recognized and thanked.  The Community Foundation asked members of the community to think about those they believe go above what would be expected – our community’s Local Leaders, Local Legends.

On Wednesday, July 27, the Community Foundation joined friends and honorees at the Wadsworth Mansion to honor some very special neighbors. Special guest Sarah Cody of Fox61 hosted the evening’s event. The Community Foundation is proud to announce the following honorees:

The Unsung Heroes award recognizes individuals whose role has been “behind the scenes” and not the face of the organization, but their contribution has made the local nonprofits or CFMC stronger by their support. This award was given to the following individuals:

Linda and John Bradshaw, Moodus

Sharon Griffin, Durham

Bernadette Jones, Westbrook

Gail and Andy Morris, Old Saybrook

Ralph “Biff” Shaw, Essex

George “Sonny” Whelen, IV, Lyme                                                                     

The Outstanding Volunteer award recognizes excellence in volunteer service, leading to significant improvements in the quality of life in our community. This award given to the following individuals:

Lynda Hunnicutt, Westbrook

Cindy McNeil-Sola, Higganum

Deborah Moore, Killingworth

The Leadership award recognizes exceptional leadership in recruiting, motivating and coordinating volunteers, and providing clear direction by example. Two individuals were recognized with this award.

John Biddiscombe, Durham

David Director, Cromwell

The Corporate Supporter award recognizes outstanding, sustained commitment to building a culture of civic and charitable engagement through financial and in-kind support, as well as creating a corporate culture that encourages employees to take leadership roles in philanthropy and community service. This award was presented to the Council of Business Partners and its members.

Council of Business Partners:        A & A Office Systems, A.R. Mazzotta Employment Specialists, Brown & Brown of CT, Inc.,  Belltown Motors,  BEST Cleaners, Connecticut Lighting Centers, Direct Energy, Essex Printing/Events Magazines, Interfaith Golf Open Tournament, LiveKind, M & J Bus Company, Mahoney Sabol & Co., Malloves Jewelers,  Paulson Training Programs, Nancy Raczka, Attorney,  Elizabeth Schulman, LMFT,  Suburban Stationers,  The Black Seal, The Rossi Group

Community Foundation of Middlesex County congratulates the Local Leaders, Local Legend Honorees and extends a heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone who submitted a nomination for their special Local Leader, Local Legend. Middlesex County is fortunate to have so many great people working together to make our community the best place to live, work and play.

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The Blue Oar: Enjoy a Tropical Feel at River Eatery in Haddam

Looking across the vibrant patio of 'The Blue Oar' towards the Connecticut River.

Looking across the vibrant patio of ‘The Blue Oar’ towards the Connecticut River.

The soft sunlight of a warm summer evening glistens off the gently flowing river as you sip wine at a pastel-colored picnic table while awaiting your Cajun catfish dinner. No, you’re not in Louisiana; you’re alongside the Connecticut River at the Blue Oar Restaurant in Haddam.

Now enjoying its 20th summer, the Blue Oar resembles more of a summer camp than a restaurant. Built on stilts to protect the kitchen from river floods, the yellow and white wooden structure resembles a children’s treetop playhouse. A trademark of the expansive dining grounds is the colored chairs and tables – pastels of lime green, melon, sky blue, tangerine and creamy yellow.  “It reminds people of the Caribbean or Florida,” says co-owner Jody Reilly. “There’s a relaxed vibe.” 

You can bring your own wine or beer, have a cheeseburger or hot dog with kraut, but your options go far beyond that.  The most popular sandwich is “the chicken, roasted pepper and cheddar,” says Reilly. “They seem to fly out of here. And also the ribs, chowder, and lobster rolls.”

A staple of fixed offerings is supplemented by a number of daily specials. Dinner entrees range from grilled salmon to Jamaican jerk BBQ pork loin. A recent Saturday night featured grilled Cajun catfish with black bean salsa and strips of grilled summer squash. The large fillet was just spicy enough and sat on a generous bed of cool black bean salsa that blended perfectly on the palate. A chilled Italian pinot grigio was the perfect accompaniment.

Appetizers are plentiful and varied. Sautéed mussels, seared scallops and fresh guacamole with house-made tortilla chips are just a few examples. If you’re looking for fried seafood, this isn’t your spot.

A view of 'The Blue Oar' from the Connecticut River.

A view of ‘The Blue Oar’ from the Connecticut River.

With docks along the river, arriving by boat is an option. “We’re a destination,” says Reilly. “A lot of people on boat trips for the day pull in from Sag Harbor or Greenport.”

On a bright, sunny evening, the Blue Oar has a distinct tropical feel. A good weather weekend can bring in up to 600 diners a day, says Reilly. There may be a line, but it moves along and provides conversation and entertainment. As waiters exit the tight kitchen, it resembles a bumper car arcade as they bob and weave through the order line that meanders out the door.

The Blue Oar is open seven days a week from Mother’s Day weekend through September, serving lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Water and soda is available but all alcohol is BYOB.

Note: it is cash only. Credit and debit cards are not accepted. The Blue Oar is located off Rte. 154 about a mile-and-a-half north of exit 7 off Rte. 9. Look for the turn sign.

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River Valley Dance Project Creates Dance Movie in One Day, Sept. 24

On Sept.24, the River Valley Dance Project will be at Comstock Park in Ivoryton, Conn., starting at 1 p.m. and going into the evening. Project members plan to create, rehearse and film a dance in one day.

The theme of this piece is diversity. The hope is that many people join the event to learn some very simple movements. Choreographer and Director, Linalynn Schmelzer will support and shape everyone to perform movements with which they are comfortable. The word ‘dance’ in this vision means choreographed movement not ballet.

The organizers seek diversity so all races, ages, genders are very welcome to participate. Bring your family and friends.

RSVP to linalynn2@gmail.com. It is important for the organizers to know how many people will be participating.

‘Like’ the River Valley Dance Project on Facebook to stay connected.

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Newly Designed Marine Room Opens at Stone House Museum in Deep River

Curator Rhonda Forristall (left) and Kathy Schultz (right) stand in the Deep River Historical Society's Marine Room. All photos by Sue Wisner.

Curator Rhonda Forristall (left) and Kathy Schultz (right) stand in the Deep River Historical Society’s new Marine Room. All photos by Sue Wisner.

DEEP RIVER — It is always a challenge for the curators and trustees to come up with new exhibits to attract return and first time visitors to the Stone House Museum in Deep River and the Deep River Historical Society (DRHS).

There are tours, either a self-guided tour or with a greeter if available, of the house itself and all the history that goes with it and the many exhibits already designed.

View_of_Marine_Room

This summer the DRHS Museum is excited about their newly designed Marine Room, which demonstrates the importance of ship building and the masters of their boats pertaining specifically to Deep River’s rich history in both of these topics during the mid 1800’s.

This exhibit is a culmination of three years of preparation and planning as many items had to be cataloged and stored away. Then the actually physical restoration of the room with painting, carpentry work, artifacts displayed, paintings framed and all items labeled, completed the project for the recent Open House.

Along_DR_Waterfront

The Stone House Museum also highlights collections of the town’s industries and products. Included in this is an extensive collection of Niland cut glass, ivory products of Pratt & Read Co., WWII glider models, WWI exhibit, auger bits from Jennings Co., a display on the Lace Factory Manufacturing in Deep River and much more.

Stone_House_Museum

William A. Vail schooner

The William A. Vail schooner, which was one of the last ships to be built at the Deep River shipyard.

The Stone House, pictured above, was built of local granite in 1840 and the property and house was left to the Society by Ada Southworth Munson in 1946. The rooms reflect the period of time that the family presided there including the Parlor, Living Room, and bedrooms. As one walks through the house, it is a venture back into another era and the furniture and collections are carefully preserved.

Visits to the Stone House are encouraged to view the new exhibit and also the many other interesting items on display.  The photo to the right is of the schooner William A. Vail and symbolizes the shipbuilding heritage in Deep River. The schooner was built right at the shipyards on the Connecticut River near the landing and was probably one of the last ships built before steam ships took over. Exhibits at the Stone House have several photos of the Denison shipyard with boats in various stages of production. The William A. Vail is, in fact, the model for the ship depicted in the official seal of Deep River.

Summer weekend hours are Saturday and Sunday in July, August and into mid-September from 2-4 p.m.

The Stone House Museum is located at 245 Main Street, Deep River.

Check out the Museum on Facebook, Deep River Diaries, or the DRHS website that is presently under new construction at: http://www.deepriverhistoricalsociety.org

For further information, call 860-526-1449.

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Talking Transportation: America’s Mass Transit Mecca

Portland, Oregon, with Mount Rainier providing a stunning backdrop.

Jim Cameron names Portland, Ore, (with Mount Rainier providing a stunning backdrop) the most mass-transit intensive city in the US.

What’s the most mass-transit intensive city in the US?  By the numbers, New York City.  But for a glimpse of the real future of mass-transit,  the winner is clearly Portland, Oregon!

Portland has only 632,000 residents but 2.3 million in its metro area.  Yet it has, per capita, what I think is the largest, most extensive and best integrated systems of light rail, streetcars and bike lanes in the nation.

LIGHT RAIL: It was 1986 when Portland opened its first light-rail line.  Today the system covers 60 miles (including the airport, 12 miles from downtown).  In 2001 a downtown streetcar system was added.  It proved so successful that Portland now manufactures streetcars for other American cities.

Like the city’s extensive bike-rack equipped bus network, all of Portland’s mass transit operates on the honor system:  you buy tickets before boarding and only show them if a inspector boards, looking for proof of payment.

To encourage ridership, fares are ridiculously cheap.  For $2.50 you can roam the system for 2 ½ hours.  An unlimited day pass is $5 or $26 a month (about the cost of a round-trip to NYC on Metro-North).  “Honored Citizens” (seniors, Medicare or disabled) get a monthly pass for $7.50!

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT DRIVING: To further encourage use of the ubiquitous mass transit, driving in downtown is difficult and expensive.  The main transit corridors have one lane for streetcars, one lane for bikes and just one lane for cars.  Parking is really expensive, both by meter on the streets and in lots.  And yes, the freeways crawl just like in LA.

TECHNOLOGY: The bus and rail system offers free apps for trip-planning which use GPS to tell you exactly how long you’ll wait for the next trolley, directions by line to your destination and expected travel time.  And yes, you can buy and show your ticket using your smartphone.

BIKES ARE KING:     The city’s unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird”, and the residents work hard to do so.  Outside of Europe or Asia I have never seen so many people on two-wheels traversing a community.

There are so many dedicated bike lanes that when a new bridge was built crossing the Willamette River, the bridge was built for everything except cars and trucks:  a mass transit-only bridge!

When a new Medical Center was planned on a downtown hill, designers realized it would be foolish to waste land on parking, so they built an aerial tram from unused industrial land on the waterfront.  Hospital employees and patients alike take light rail or bike to the base station (where a free 400-space bike-lot is usually full) and are skyward in minutes.

So if you are ever disillusioned by the sorry state of mass-transit in our area, take heart.  The future is now in Portland!

JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 25 years.  He is the founder of the Commuter Action Group and also serves on the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

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Volunteer to Help Those Who Cannot Read

If you have some time to volunteer to build a stronger community and help a local non-profit in tutoring area residents to read, write and speak English, you can start helping almost immediately! Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is looking for Board Members, a Treasurer for the organization, Tutor Trainees and volunteers at our offices at 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook.

Please contact us at info@vsliteracy.org or call 860-399-0280 for more details and thank you in advance for helping.

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Legal News You Can Use: Workers’ Compensation: How it Works

hph-workers-compensation-insurance-compressed
Sponsored Post:
The day begins like almost any other. You arrive at the workplace, spend a few moments interacting with your co-workers and begin the daily task. Maybe it’s a job that you’ve done a thousand times, or perhaps the demands of that day result in your performing an assignment for the first time. And then “it” happens ~ you feel a twinge in your back or shoulder; there is an ache in your hands that doesn’t subside; or there is an exposure to a substance that is foreign to you. What do you do then?

The origin of Workers’ Compensation
 in Connecticut dates over a century, the original Act becoming part of the Law in 1913. As the result of a “Contract of Employment” (whether written or implicit) with the employer, he/she/the business will cover medical benefits and lost wages for an employee who suffers an injury out of and in the course and scope of their employment. There are, essentially, three different types of injuries covered in Workers’ Compensation. They are:

(1) Accidental injuries. These are injuries that can be located in time and space; e.g., the lifting of heavy equipment, which results in an Employee screaming in pain.

(2) Repetitive trauma injuries. These are claims that arise not from one injurious situation, but are cumulative over time. Examples would include repetitive computer work with one’s hands, or kneeling on steel every day for years.

(3) Occupational disease/exposure. These injuries are those where there is a clear link between the workplace and substances to which the individual is exposed; e.g., asbestos in a shipyard; a dental hygienist contracting Hepatitis.

When an employee has sustained, or has reason to believe they have sustained, an injury related to their employment, what are the next steps?

(1) Report the injury. In accidental injuries and repetitive trauma claims, there is a one year Statute of Limitations for reporting of the injury. In Occupational Disease claims, the general rule is that the injury needs to 
be reported within three years of when the employee knew, or should have known, of the connection between the occupational exposures and the medical condition alleged.

The better approach is to report the injury to your employer at the first opportunity, or when you have reason to believe there is a connection between work activities and your injury. Employers and insurance carriers become increasingly skeptical about the validity of an injury claim when there is a delay in reporting an injury.

(2) Obtain medical treatment. Any significant injury requires treatment from a medical provider. Even if you have to use your own insurance at an initial appointment, treatment and opinions on causal connection should be obtained. Insurance companies can sort out the issues at a later date. Again, employers and insurance carriers are more likely to be skeptical about an injury if there is a significant delay in obtaining medical treatment.

(3) File notice of the injury. In Connecticut, the Form 30-C is the vehicle to place employers and their carriers on notice that an individual has suffered an injury or illness related to their employment. The Form 30-C should be sent via Certified Mail and is the ultimate protection for an injured worker. Also, note that Connecticut General Statutes Section 31-290a protects the injured worker from retaliatory actions or discrimination by an employer for asserting their rights to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Now that the claim has been properly filed, what benefits are obtainable for the injured worker? Clearly, medical treatment is paid for by the employer or insurance carrier with no deductible for the injured worker. Other “indemnity” benefits may also be appropriate, including:

(1) Temporary total disability benefits. If an injury results in lost time from work, a weekly (or bi-weekly) monetary payment, based upon earnings in the preceding 52 weeks, is payable to the injured worker until they are able to return to their job, or some other work within their restrictions.

(2) Permanent partial disability benefits.  
If an injury results in permanent impairment to a body part; e.g., following a surgery, the injured worker is entitled to obtain a “rating” for their loss of use from their Attending Physician. Additional benefits
 are payable pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 31-308b. In certain, specified situations, an injured worker may also be entitled to a disfigurement award, depending on the site of the injury.

(3) Wage loss benefits. If, as the result of
 a work-related injury, the injured worker is capable of work, but cannot perform the same job and there is a resulting loss of income, the injured worker is eligible for a period of wage loss. This, too, is controlled by the Connecticut General Statutes, and appears at Connecticut General Statutes Section 31-308a.

(4) Death benefits. Where an injury results in the death of the injured worker, benefits are payable to the surviving spouse and/or other dependents of the decedent.

Being pro-active in reporting an injury and obtaining medical care will be beneficial to any injured worker.

This article represents an overview of the Workers’ Compensation System. While the System was designed to be user-friendly, complexities often arise which may dictate hiring a Lawyer.

Attorney James P. Berryman

Attorney James P. Berryman

About the author: Jay Berryman is a Director at Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law in New London, CT, the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut. He concentrates in Workers’ Compensation Law and Social Security Disability claims. Attorney Berryman was named by “Bench- mark Plaintiff” magazine as a Local Litigation Star, and his department at Suisman Shapiro was selected by the 2013-15 editions of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” among all law firms in Connecticut for Workers’ Compensation – Claimants.

For more information, visit www.suismanshapiro.com or call (860) 442-4416. Suisman Shapiro is located at 2 Union Plaza, P.O. Box 1591, New London, CT 06320.

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America’s Roots and Diversity Shine at Deep River Muster

Pipers_in_step

What more striking example of the American melting pot and immigrants longing for liberty than to watch African-Americans, Asian-Americans, descendants of India, along with Americans of many generations, marching in uniforms and playing music that inspired the country during its struggle for independence in 1776?

This was the scene for two hours on Saturday as a parade of fife and drum corps stepped smartly down Main Street in a blazing mid-day sun in Deep River.

Drummer_from_LAThe roots of this tradition go back 137 years, to 1879. Officially known as the Deep River Ancient Muster, it features fife and drum corps from throughout our local region and some much farther afield. This year, one came from sea to shining sea.

The whole town, it seems, grinds to a halt for the muster. It actually began the night before with a camp-out and warm-ups at Devitt Field. Hundreds lined the streets on Saturday morning, bringing folding chairs, canopies and coolers to sustain two-plus hours in the sun. Many had a birds-eye vantage point from property or apartments high above street level.

Some were picnicking while revolutionary-era re-enacters, many in full wool uniforms, entertained them. The contrast could not have been more striking. But their resounding applause, given to every passing unit, showed appreciation and understanding.

Three_drummers_big_drums

Others walked alongside or behind the real participants, but the true stars of the show provided perhaps the finest example of America and who we truly are.  People of all generations, genders, ethnicities and sizes, marching together and clearly dedicated to ensuring the root values of America, as exemplified in these musical rituals, are carried forward.

Drummers

With more than 50 marching units participating, it’s clear that many people feel inspired to join groups whose purpose is to honor and celebrate our forebearers. Marching in 90-degree heat in full dress uniforms is one small reminder of the sacrifices required of the colonists who rebelled against their domineering mother country.

Pipers

If that isn’t moving enough, imagine the determination of a young man rolling along in his wheelchair while playing the fife. It was clear that his was not a temporary injury. What an inspiring sight he was!

There is something about the rolls and rhythms of drums and the pitch of fifes that touches a chord in the soul. Perhaps that’s the seat of man’s yearning for liberty, a most basic desire to be left alone to pursue one’s hopes and dreams in any way, so long as they do not infringe upon the rights and property of others.

Young_pipers&drummers

If the Deep River Ancient Muster is any indication, our youngest generation is full of people who will ensure that all the struggles and sacrifices of our American forefathers will continue to be honored. May their efforts strike the chords in the souls of generations yet to come and instill appreciation of those struggles.

Editor’s Note: Many participants and onlookers wore pink at the parade in honor of the late long-time First Selectman of Deep River, Dick Smith.

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Nibbles: Savor This Sweet Summer Surprise — Coconut Pineapple Poke Cake

pina-colada-poke-cake_350Oh my goodness, I am usually good about varying my columns to you, but today I am sending you another dessert recipe.

In May (and I think I may have told you), when I was in Rochester to watch one of my granddaughters graduate from the University of Rochester, we had breakfast in East Bloomfield, NY, where my sister-in-law lives. On the first day, I noted a “cake” for breakfast. The second day I ordered the poke cake, which eight of us shared.

When I got home, I Googled “poke cake.” There were many recipes and the name comes from the holes you poke into a cooled cake. Two weeks ago, as I waited for my groceries to be toted up by the cashier at Stop & Shop, I saw a small pamphlet called “Poke Cakes and More” where all the tabloids are. Of course, I bought a copy ($4.99). The next day I bought the ingredient to make the Coconut Pineapple Poke Cake.

Most of the recipes (in addition to poke cakes there are mug cakes, cute cupcakes, snack cakes and dump cakes) call for a cake mix. However, you can make a scratch cake and play around with ingredients. I had all the other ingredients except for the mix. I did play with the ingredients; for the liquid, it called for the juice of crushed pineapple in addition to maraschino cherries. I added the cherry juice to the pineapple juice and used half a cup of liquid instead of one-quarter cup. It is really pretty and delicious. See if the pamphlet is still available at S&S.

Coconut Pineapple Poke Cake

From Pil Publishing International, Ltd.

Yield: 10 to 15 servings

I package (about 15 ounces) white cake, plus ingredients to prepare mix

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, (squished and one-quarter juice reserved)

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

2 packages (7 ounces each) shredded coconut, divided, and toasted

1 cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained

Method:

  1. Prepare and bake cake mix according to package direction for 13- by 9-inch pan. Cool completely.
  2. Combine pineapple, sweetened condensed milk and package of coconut in a small bowl; mix well.
  3. Poke holes in cake at one-inch intervals using fork. Pour reserved pineapple juice over cake and into holes. Spread pineapple mixture over cake. Sprinkle remaining package coconut and cherries onto cake. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until firm.
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In US Senate, Blumenthal Presses Amtrak VP to Ditch Any Plans to Build High Speed Train Route Through SE CT, Mentioning Specifically Old Lyme

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) pressed Amtrak Vice President Stephen Gardner to ditch any plans to build a route through Southeastern Connecticut, such as Old Lyme, at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee hearing yesterday afternoon.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has started a massive, multi-million dollar undertaking called “NEC FUTURE” to develop a vision that will meet the passenger rail needs of the Northeast in 2040. Some of the ideas included in the plan include rerouting Amtrak straight through Old Lyme.

“Unfortunately, some of the ideas the FRA has proposed are frankly half-baked, hare-brained notions that will never come to fruition – including rerouting Amtrak straight through the community of Old Lyme, Connecticut and other shoreline communities where there is strong, understandable, and well merited opposition, ” Blumenthal said.

He continued, “The FRA’s time and money in my view would be better spent improving rail rather than on plans that have no realistic notion. I hope you will agree with me that the tracks of Amtrak would never go through Old Lyme, Connecticut.”

The proposed rail line realignment outlined in Alternative 1 of the NEC FUTURE Plan would shift the main rail line northward ahead of the Old Saybrook Station and run through several Connecticut and Rhode Island shoreline communities before reconnecting to the existing segment in Kenyon, RI. Blumenthal has been a vocal advocate against this idea.

He sent a letter with Senator Murphy and Representative Courtney in February calling on the FRA to meet with Connecticut citizens along the shoreline to hear local concerns about how this proposal would impact their communities.

A clip of the Senator’s remarks are available here, and broadcast-quality video of his remarks can be downloaded here.

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Closed-Door Meeting on High Speed Rail Proposal Held July 7 in Old Lyme; Update From SECoast

The following was posted July 10 on the SECoast (the non-profit fighting the high-speed rail proposal that impacts Old Lyme) Facebook page:

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker (Photo from ConnDOT)

“Thursday, July 7th, from 1:30 to 4:00 pm, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker held a closed-door meeting at the Old Lyme Town Hall. The invitation list included: First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, State Rep. Devin Carney, State Sen. Paul Formica, Rod Haramut for RiverCOG, Gregory Stroud for SECoast, James Redeker, Pam Sucato, Legislative Director at the Connecticut DOT; Tom Allen, for Sen. Blumenthal’s office; Emily Boushee for Senator Murphy; John Forbis and BJ Bernblum. Despite requests by SECoast, statewide partner Daniel Mackay of Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation was not invited to attend. Officials from the Federal Railroad Administration, and project consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff did not attend.

Prior to the meeting, Stroud circulated a series of questions for Commissioner Redeker and a request for a public meeting to be held in Old Lyme. These questions are included below.

In over two hours of talks, Commissioner Redeker claimed little knowledge of current FRA planning. Redeker declined to explain mid-February internal emails between Redeker and aides, uncovered through Freedom of Information laws, indicating knowledge of such plans in mid-February. Redeker also declined to host or request a public meeting in New London County, and referred such requests to the FRA.

Asked by SECoast if he would agree to provide responses or follow-up answers to the submitted questions, Redeker replied, “Nope.” Asked whether this refusal was a matter of willingness or a matter of ability, Redeker suggested both. Asked whether he could answer any of the questions, Redeker responded yes to only Question 9.

During discussion, Redeker did indicate a slightly more accelerated decision-making process at FRA. He suggested a mid-August announcement of FRA plans, and a Record of Decision that would formalize plans by the end of 2016. Redeker also emphasized the importance of FRA plans, including the coastal bypass, to insure funding and to maximize future flexibility for state and federal officials. Redeker held out the possibility of significantly expanded commuter rail service, but when given the opportunity, made no assurances that an aerial structure through the historic district in Old Lyme was off the table.

Tom Allen, representing Senator Blumenthal’s office, gave a formal statement. Allen explained that the evidence uncovered in mid-February email came as “a surprise,” and promised to “push” for a public meeting by the end of the month, and if not, by the end of the year.

Earlier in the day, Redeker attended a large gathering of state and local officials in New London in recognition of the newly-created Connecticut Port Authority. This gathering carried over into the smaller closed-door meeting in Old Lyme, referenced above.

Questions:

1. In response to the release of internal Conn DOT emails, Spokesman Judd Everhart stated that “the DOT still is awaiting a decision from the FRA on a ‘preferred alternative’ for an upgrade of the corridor.” Should we conclude from this statement that the SECoast press release is incorrect? To your knowledge, has Parsons Brinckerhoff or the FRA either formally or informally “selected a vision, or even potential routes, for the Northeast Corridor”? And if so, when?

2. What is the current time frame for selecting a preferred alternative, preparing the Tier 1 Final EIS, the formal announcement and securing a ROD? And where are we, as of 7/7, on this time line?

3. If a Kenyon to Saybrook bypass is selected as part of the preferred alternative, and subsequent study concludes that a tunnel is infeasible, will the FRA and Conn DOT rule out any possible reversion to a bridge or aerial structure at or near Old Lyme?

4. Given that the Kenyon to Old Saybrook bypass is usually understood as the defining feature of Alternative 1, what is the significance of placing this bypass instead into an Alternative 2 framework? To your knowledge, has Parsons Brinckerhoff or the FRA, either formally or informally, selected Alternative 2 with modifications as the preferred alternative?

5. To your knowledge, does Parsons Brinckerhoff, the FRA or Conn DOT have more detailed maps of the proposed Kenyon to Saybrook bypass? And are you willing to provide them to us?

6. In your discussion of “4 track capacity to Boston,” should we understand this to mean a 2 track bypass in addition to the 2 lines existing along the shoreline?

7. Given that the Kenyon to Saybrook bypass was a relatively late addition to the NEC Planning process, do you feel comfortable that the bypass has received sufficient public and professional scrutiny to be included as part of a preferred alternative? Can you explain the genesis and inclusion of the bypass after the original 98 plans had been pared down to 3 action alternatives?

8. Conn DOT email released as part of a FOI request suggests a lack of formal and informal outreach to Old Lyme and RiverCog prior to the close of the initial comment deadline, when compared to formal and informal outreach statewide to nonprofits, mayors and Cogs. Please clarify the timing and extent of outreach to the region impacted by the proposed bypass, and to Old Lyme in particular.

9. What can we do to help you in the ongoing NEC Future process in southeastern Connecticut and to prevent these sorts of difficulties from cropping up in the future?”

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Music, Dancing and All That Jazz! See “Chicago” at Ivoryton Playhouse

Lyn Philistine (Ivoryton Playhouse photo)

Lyn Philistine (Ivoryton Playhouse photo)

IVORYTON – Tickets are going fast for the steamy and sexy musical, “Chicago,” opening at the Ivoryton Playhouse tonight and running through July 24.  Winner of six 1997 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival, “Chicago” has everything that makes theater great:  a universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz;  one show-stopping song after another; and the most energetic dancing you’ve ever seen!

Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, the musical (book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb) is based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins based on actual criminals and crimes. The story is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the “celebrity criminal” – as timely today as it was when it first opened on Broadway in 1975.

“Chicago” was revived on Broadway in 1996 and holds the record as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, and is the second longest-running show in Broadway history, behind “The Phantom of the Opera.” The London revival ran for nearly 15 years, becoming the longest-running American musical in West End history.

Christopher Sutton* returns to Ivoryton in the role of Billy Flynn and will be accompanied by his wife, Lynn Philistine* in the role of Roxie Hart. CCC award-winning actress Sheniqua Trotman* also returns to Ivoryton, this time in the role of Mama Morton. She was last seen in Ivoryton as Effie in “Dreamgirls.” Stacey Harris* will be playing Velma Kelly, Z. Spiegel is Mary Sunshine and Ian Shain is Amos Hart.

Christopher Sutton (Ivoryton Playhouse photo)

Christopher Sutton (Ivoryton Playhouse photo)

The production is directed and choreographed by Todd Underwood and musical directed by Paul Feyer, with set design by Martin Marchitto, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Elizabeth Cipollina. Executive producers are Michael A. Dattilo and Frank Perrotti.

Whether you’ve seen it before and want to recapture the magic or you’ve been thrilled by the Academy Award-winning film, “Chicago” always delivers.  Don’t miss the experience of this show live on stage at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

“Chicago” runs through July 24. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for adults, $45 for seniors, $22 for students and $17 for children. They are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. Group rates are available by calling the box office for information. The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.
*denotes member of Actors Equity

 

 

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Essex Zoning Commission Approves New Restaurant in Centerbrook Section of Town

30 Main Street, Centerbrook

30 Main Street, Centerbrook

ESSEX — The zoning commission Monday approved a special permit for a new restaurant to be located on the first floor of a partially vacant commercial building at 30 Main St. in the Centerbrook section.

The application of ECC Realty and Colt Taylor was unanimously approved after a brief public hearing where several residents spoke in support of the plans. Taylor told the panel he was raised in Essex,  has been involved with restaurants in both New York and California,and wants to return to open a restaurant in his hometown.

The three-story building at 30 Main St. once housed a restaurant for a few years in the late 1980s, but has housed mostly office uses in recent years. The plans call for a 130-seat restaurant and bar.
In approving the permit, the commission specified that use of the second floor would be limited to a small office for the business and storage. Taylor said he hopes to open the restaurant, which would offer “progressive New England comfort food,” before the end of the year.
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Essex Zoning Commission Approves 52-Unit Apartment Complex on Plains Rd.

The Plains Road property where the Iron Chef restaurant has been long empty has been approved for apartments.

The Plains Road property where the Iron Chef restaurant has been vacant for many years has been approved for the Essex Station apartments.

 

ESSEX — The zoning commission Monday approved plans for a three-building 52-unit apartment complex with an affordable housing component at a 3.7-acre parcel on Plains Road that includes the long-vacant former Iron Chef restaurant property.

The special permit for the Essex Station apartments at 21, 27 and 29 Plains Road was approved o a 4-1 vote, with commission Chairman Larry Shipman and members Alvin Wolfgram, Jim Hill and Susan Uihlein  voting to approve the permit and member William Reichenbach opposed. The application from Signature Contracting Group LLC was submitted under state statute 8-30g, a law intended to promote additional affordable housing in Connecticut.

The statute limits the jurisdiction of municipal land use commissions to issues of public health and safety, while requiring that at least 30 percent of the dwelling units in a development be designated affordable housing and reserved for people or families with incomes at or less than 80 percent of the median income for the municipality. At least 16 of the Essex Station units would be designated as moderate income housing with monthly rents expected to be about $1,800.

The plans were presented at a series of public hearings that began in February, and appeared to generate increasing objections from some residents as the review process continued. Many of the objections focused on the proximity of the site to the Valley Railroad tourist excursion line.

In more than 90 minutes of discussion Monday, the panel considered two draft motions prepared by longtime commission counsel Peter Sipples, one to approve the permit with conditions, and another to deny the application. In the end, the motion of approval included several conditions, most of which had been accepted by the applicant during the public hearing process.

The major conditions include a strict prohibition on any expansion or condominium conversion of the units, construction of a six-foot high security fence around the perimeter of the property,  installing sound barriers if needed between the residential units and the railroad, and construction of a walking-bicycle path on Plains Rd. that would extend east to connect with existing sidewalks on Rte. 154. There would also be a requirement for elevators in the buildings, particularly the single three-story building, and a provision in future leases that would note the proximity to other uses, including the tourist railroad and a nearby wood-processing facility. The development site is located in a business and industrial zone.

During the discussion, Shipman noted the apartments would be a better residential use near the railroad than owned condominiums, and suggested the requirements of the affordable housing statute limited the panel’s ability to control some aspects of the project, including density and building height. The sewage disposal system for the three building complex must be approved by the state Department of Public Health.
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Essex Savings Bank Offers Financial Tips for Senior Citizens

ESSEX – Every year, millions of seniors fall victim to financial fraud. Studies show elder financial abuse costs seniors approximately $2.9 billion each year. In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, Essex Savings Bank is urging older customers and their trusted caregivers to safeguard all personal information and stay alert to the common signs of financial abuse.

“Fraudsters often prey on seniors experiencing cognitive decline, limited mobility and other disabilities that require them to rely more heavily on others for help,” said Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO. “Appointing someone you know and trust to handle your financial matters aids tremendously in the fight against these crimes.”

Essex Savings Bank is offering the following tips:

Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.

Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.

Lock up your checkbook, account statements and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.

Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.

Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”

Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.

Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.

Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.

Check references and credentials before hiring anyone. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.

Pay with checks and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.

You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services or tell someone at your bank.

If you believe you are a victim of financial abuse, be sure to:

Talk to a trusted family member who has your best interests at heart, or to your clergy.

Talk to your attorney, doctor or an officer at your bank.

Contact Adult Protective Services in your state or your local police for help.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.
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A la Carte: Molasses Cookies

Molasses cookies (Huffington Post)

Molasses cookies (Huffington Post)

Boules has begun and, as every year, it begins at the Hopkins’ house with a court big enough for two different groups to play at the same time. (Our league is gender-specific and, at the Hopkins’ house, dogs are welcome. When the pups walk through or decide to sleep on the court, we are gentle. When the men walk through as we are playing, we boo and hiss.)

As often is the case, the food is already good. While the hosts create most of the rations, co-hosts cook, too. Now that I don’t have a boules court, I like to make something for all the parties, and when I asked Christine what I could do, she said cookies would be great with the raspberries, strawberries and mascarpone. I made my mother-in-law’s molasses cookies, which are one of my favorites, but because they are made with Crisco, a no-no these days. Since I use Crisco only when I am making pies (and would shun the Crisco if I could find exceptional lard), I figured that if each person ate just one or two cookies, all of us would still be fine.

Below are two molasses cookie recipes. The first is my mother-in-law’s with Crisco; the other is from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. You decide.

Molasses Cookies

Yield: 70 little cookies

1 ½ cups Crisco (don’t laugh; Crisco makes great cookies)

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

½ cup molasses

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon each salt, cloves and ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

About ½ cup sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixer on medium-high, cream Crisco and sugar until light and fluffy; at medium, add eggs, one at a time until well mixed. Add molasses and mix.

In another bowl, whisk the rest of the ingredients. Add to the first bowl and mix until you see no flour.

With a spoon, make 1-inch balls and coat with sugar; place each onto one or more ungreased baking pans. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

 

Three-Ginger Cookies

From Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook (Workman, New York, 1994)

3 ½  to 4 dozen cookies

 

1 ½  sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup molasses

1 egg

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root

½ cup finely chopped crystalized ginger

 

Cream butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in molasses and then the egg.

Sift flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt together. Stir in the butter mixture with a wooden spoon until blended. Add fresh and crystallized ginger and stir well mixed.

Refrigerate the dough, covered, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the cooking sheet. Bake until browned, 10 minutes.

Remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Nibbles: Fried Green Tomatoes

 

I wrote about the Blue Hound in Ivoryton two years ago and have visited this adorable bistro many times for lunch and dinner.  My friend Joan wanted to dine early on Saturday evening and we arrived just after 5 p.m. Originally, it would just be three of us, but another couple decided to come, too. (The restaurant  accepts reservations for five people or higher.)

I am pleased to say the food is as good or even better than it was two years ago and this time my friends agreed that the fried green tomatoes were the best. Just to let you know – it’s nearly impossible to get green tomatoes in a supermarket or even a farmstand, so if you like them as much as I do, grow tomatoes and pick them when they are still green. I do have a recipe, which I would be glad to share, and a recipe for a remoulade, which is terrific with the dish.

 

Blue Hound Cookery

107 Main Street

Ivoryton

860-767-0260

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.

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Henry Josten Memoirs Published by Ivoryton Playhouse

 josten 1IVORYTON – The 2016 Tony Awards will be broadcast this week but those of us in the theater world, along the CT shoreline, remember the days of the PIXIE awards – Henry Josten’s personal picks of the best of Connecticut theater.  Henry retired his column in 2008 but he certainly has not stopped working and the Ivoryton Playhouse is proud to announce the publication of his memoirs.

“No Dancing, but…Dealing with the Stars at the Ivoryton Playhouse” is a fascinating collection of stories and anecdotes of his years as the publicist for Milton Stiefel at the Ivoryton Playhouse and as a globetrotting Connecticut “Country Editor.”

Henry began as a copy boy in 1941 with the New Haven Register  and more than 65 years later,  he called it quits having been a reporter, columnist, publicist, editor and publisher. For generations of readers, Henry Josten chronicled all the southeastern Connecticut news that’s been fit to print and, week after week, his readers would be entertained by his gossipy “Jottings” or “View From Here” or informed by his reporting or persuaded by his editorials.

Henry’s book begins with his years working with the stars that passed through the Ivoryton Playhouse. From Katharine Hepburn to Marlon Brando, from Tallulah Bankhead to Art Carney, Henry worked with them all and his wry sense of humor and reporter’s attention to detail makes this a fascinating read.

Henry also takes us on a journey around the world and provides captivating insights, not only on the places he traveled to but also the people he met and interviewed. Over the years, he interviewed several hundred Broadway and Hollywood stars, and political luminaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt who frequently visited Esther Lape in Westbrook where she often wrote her newspaper column, “My Day.”

He had a lengthy interview at the White House with President Jimmy Carter and met or covered Presidents Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and George H.W. Bush.

Henry’s colleagues elected him president of the Connecticut Editorial Association and the New England Press Associations, and in 2000 he was inducted into the New England Newspaper and Press Association Hall of Fame. During his career, he and his newspapers earned over 200 state and national awards for community service and journalistic excellence.

“No Dancing, but…Dealing with the Stars at the Ivoryton Playhouse” is available to purchase at the Ivoryton Playhouse, and copies have been donated to area libraries.
WITH THE ‘FIRST LADY OF THE WORLD’ – Henry Josten interviewed Mrs. Franklin D. (Eleanor) Roosevelt (right) during one of her visits with Esther Lape (center) in Westbrook in the late 1940s. (George Emery Photo).

WITH THE ‘FIRST LADY OF THE WORLD’ – Henry Josten interviewed Mrs. Franklin D. (Eleanor) Roosevelt (right) during one of her visits with Esther Lape (center) in Westbrook in the late 1940s. (George Emery Photo).

 

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Old Saybrook Seeks to Upgrade Rte. 1 East with Clean-Up as a First Step

Blighted property on “Mariner’s Way.” Investigation of clean-up is underway. Photo by J. Wilson.

Blighted property on “Mariner’s Way” in Old Saybrook. Investigation of clean-up is currently underway. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

On Sept. 22, 2014, the Town of Old Saybrook received a $155,000 “brownfield assessment grant” from Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development. The grant was designed “to support an investigation of potential pollutants on nine properties centrally located on Route 1 (Boston Post Rd.), also known as Mariner’s Way.”

This area of Rte. 1, between the town center and Ferry Point, presently contains a mix of active land use, including gasoline stations, car washes, boat sales and automotive dealers, as well as the overgrown, vacant and abandoned properties subject to the 2014 grant for investigation.

On the receipt of the State grant, Old Saybrook’s First Selectman, Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., said, “We will use this grant to identify any existing contamination in the soils, or in existing buildings, and, if needed, create a remedial action plan.” The investigation of what need there may be for eventual clean-up of the sites, under this second grant, is in progress. The grant specified that the results from the investigation would be expected in the spring of 2017.

Second Grant on May 11, 2016

On May 11, 2016, the Town received a second grant of $220,000, this one for the purpose of the greater “brownfield areawide revitalization” effort for this eastern portion of the Rte. 1 corridor.

The Town’s plan for redevelopment of Mariner’s Way. Photo by J. Wilson.

The Town’s plan for redevelopment of Mariner’s Way. Photo by J. Wilson.

In 2014, the Town adopted a study by a special committee of Rte. 1 East as a section of its Town Plan and now distributes it for the purpose of informing the public as to the necessity of these grants. The full-color, 24-page booklet is entitled, “Mariner’s Way – Gateway to Connecticut River Recreation.” The booklet was subtitled, “A vision to improve Route 1 East connector in Old Saybrook between Saybrook Junction’s Town Center, and Ferry Point’s Marina District.”

The goal of the work under this second grant is to hone the design details of the physical aspects of the Mariner’s Way planning project “to redevelop the easternmost corridor of Route 1 (Mariner’s Way) into a boulevard of reinvigorated marine and recreation uses.”  The Town hopes to further its “branding” of the area as Mariner’s Way.

Adding the two state grants together, the Town of Old Saybrook has received a total of $375,000 for implementing the “Mariner’s Way” plan of development.

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Thanks for Successful Essex Shad Bake at River Museum

(L to R) Stephen Brinkmann, Lisa LaMonte from Guilford Savings Bank, Christopher Dobbs, and Joseph Shea watch shad roasting around the bonfire. Shad are held onto the planks with strips of salt pork, adding to their smoky flavor.

(L to R) Stephen Brinkmann, Lisa LaMonte from Guilford Savings Bank, Christopher Dobbs, and Joseph Shea watch shad roasting around the bonfire. Shad are held onto the planks with strips of salt pork, adding to their smoky flavor.

ESSEX – On June 4, the Rotary Club of Essex held its annual Essex Shad Bake at the Connecticut River Museum. For 59 years running, the Rotarians have kept this traditional culinary event alive and well, and the success of this year’s bake is a testament to their dedication. Hundreds of visitors came to the museum on a beautiful Saturday to eat roasted shad and learn about the history of this once crucial fishery through talks, displays, and demonstrations.

The Rotary Club of Essex and the Connecticut River Museum would like to thank the lead sponsors for the Shad Bake – AJ Shea Construction Co., Gowrie Group, and Guilford Savings Bank – as well as all the other sponsors, volunteers, and organizations who made the afternoon such a success.
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Comment Period on Draft NE Regional Ocean Plan Open Through July 26

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 7.00.37 AM
AREAWIDE — The Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) has released the draft Northeast Regional Ocean Plan for public review and comment. The only public comment meeting in Connecticut was held June 8 in Old Lyme, but other meetings in northeastern states are scheduled as detailed in this link.

Several years of public engagement, scientific study and data analysis, and collaboration have led to this draft, and the RPB looks forward to hearing the feedback of everyone who is interested in the future of New England’s ocean and its resources.

The RPB is seeking feedback on this draft Plan. The public comment deadline is July 25, 2016, and you can comment on each chapter electronically at each chapter landing page, in-person at any of the upcoming public comment meetings, through the comment form below, or by submitting written comments to:

Betsy Nicholson, NE RPB Federal Co-lead
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930-2276.

You may also provide comments by sending an e-mail to:
comment@neoceanplanning.org.

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Talking Transportation: Big Brother Comes Along for the Ride

“Here in my car, I feel safest of all

I can lock all my doors. It’s the only way to live, in cars.”

Cars” – Gary Numan  1979

You may feel that your car is your last private refuge in this busy world.  But there’s someone along for the ride:  Big Brother.  And you’d be surprised what he knows about you, thanks to modern technology.

Cell Phones:   Your cell phone is constantly transmitting its location, and services like Google Dashboard’s location history can show exactly where you were at any date in time.  Don’t want to be tracked?  Turn off your cellphone.

E-ZPass:   Even when you are nowhere near a toll booth, E-ZPass detectors can monitor your location.   Want to stay anonymous? Keep your E-ZPass wrapped in aluminum foil in your glove box.

Highway Cameras:    The extensive network of traffic cameras on our interstates and parkways is used mostly to monitor accidents.  But State Police can also watch individual vehicles. The cameras are even available to the public online.  But state law specifically forbids using these cameras to write speeding tickets.

License+Plate+ReaderLicense Plate Readers:    This is the newest and most powerful tracking tech, as I saw in a ride-along a few years ago with my local PD.  These cameras mounted on police cars can scan up to 1800 license plates a minute as cars drive by at speed. As the plate number is recognized, it is transmitted to a national crime computer and compared against a list of wanted vehicles and scofflaws.  If it gets a “hit,” a dashboard screen in the cop car flashes a red signal and beeps, detailing the plate number and infraction.  In just one hour driving through my town, we made stops for outstanding warrants, lack of insurance and stolen plates.  (Some towns also use LPRs for parking enforcement in train station parking lots, forgoing the need for hangtags or stickers.)

While this may lead to very efficient law enforcement, LPRs also have a potentially darker side:  the data about plate number, location and time can be stored forever.

Faced with a string of unsolved burglaries, Darien police used their LPR to track every car entering the targeted neighborhood and looked for patterns of out-of-town cars driving through at the time of the burglaries and made an arrest.

But the ACLU is concerned about how long cops can store this data and how it should be used.  They laud the CT State Police policy of only storing data for 90 days.

In the early days of LPRs in 2012 an ACLU staffer filed an FOI request for his car’s plate number and found it had been tracked four times by 10 police departments in a database that had 3 million scan records.

So enjoy your car.  But realize that none of us have any privacy.

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

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

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

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Hambor’s School-to-Career Program at VRHS Celebrates 10 Successful Years

The 10th Annual Partnership Celebration brought interns and their mentors together to enjoy food and farewells.

The 10th Annual Partnership Celebration brought interns and their mentors together for food and farewells.

AREAWIDE — Ten years ago Valley Regional High School (VRHS) School-to-Career Consultant Mary Hambor started a program for students at the school interested in finding out more about jobs in the real world with five internships.  On May 26 this year, at the 10th Annual Partnership Celebration, she described how during the 2015-16 academic year, she had placed 95 seniors and seven juniors in a total of 102 internships.

Poster boards listed all the businesses and organizations which had taken interns during the 2015-16 academic year.

Poster boards listed all the businesses and organizations which had taken interns during the 2015-16 academic year.

Describing the success of the program as “very rewarding,” a delighted Hambor noted that she felt its “goal [had been] achieved” in that it had now become, “a comprehensive internship program … offering invaluable hands-on experience.”  She expressed her appreciation to all those who had taken on interns during the year and the VRHS administration saying, “I continually feel blessed to be part of such a supportive community.”

Dr. Dave Scruggs of Deep River Animal Hospital stands with Mary Hambor, VRHS School-to-Career Cordinator.

Dr. Dave Scruggs of Deep River Animal Hospital stands with Mary Hambor, VRHS School-to-Career Cordinator.

Many of the student interns spoke about their experiences during the celebration.  Katie Amara and Maddy Ball described how at Deep River Animal Hospital, they had “everyday learned something new,” including “holding a few snakes” and “how to draw blood,” summing up the internship as one in which they, “had learned a lot more than we expected.”

Anastasia Cusack-Mercedez explained that as a direct result of her internship with Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services (IRIS) in New Haven she now knew that she “would like to work for a non-profit.”

Sevigny Fortin said he had been, “very fortunate” to work in the State Prosecutor’s office at New London Superior Court with Attorney Paul Narducci and had even been involved with work on a murder trial. He believed he had benefited from “an opportunity not many high schoolers have,” noting, “I have been very fortunate to work with a mentor so passionate and helpful.”

Mary Hambor (right) stands with Ibby Carothers of iCRV Radio and the students who interned at the radio station.

Mary Hambor (right) stands with Ibby Carothers of iCRV Radio and the students who interned at the radio station.

Hannah Halsey spoke about the experience that she and several of her peers had enjoyed interning at iCRV Radio in Chester and then Ivoryton. She said it was, “a really great learning experience during which she and her friends had “learned about marketing” and acquired many new skills, such as “how to operate a database.”  The interns had actually hosted a radio show at one point!

Sometimes the students explained that the internships had caused them to experience a change in their planned careers.  Tina Mitchell, who had worked at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, had gone into her internship believing she was “interested in politics,” but during her time working with a policy analyst in the House Speaker’s office, determined that she had “found a home in policy.”

Other students like Elizabeth Forsythe freely declared, “I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” but went on to say that her internship at Aaron Manor with Karyn Cotrona had taught her “what HR is all about.”  She thanked her mentors for giving her “the experience to explore what she wanted to do.”

Our very own wonderful ValleyNewsNow.com intern, Maggie Klin.

Our very own ValleyNewsNow.com wonderful intern, Maggie Klin!

Several of the mentors took the opportunity to say publicly how the internship had gone from their angle.  Rebecca Foley from IRIS said, “Anastasia did an incredible job” and noted that she had gone far beyond the call of her internship and raised $827 for the organization in her own time.

Dr. Dave Scruggs of Deep River Animal Hospital commented that when he had first been asked to take an intern, he just said, “No.”  Then he met with the students and was “so impressed” to the extent that — speaking of this year’s interns — , “I would hire both of these young ladies today,” adding in words that seemed to sum up the universal experience of the mentors, “Every student from this high school has achieved the bar … and gone beyond it.”

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Still Irritated by Those Gypsy Moth Caterpillars? Advice from Essex Tree Warden

Gypsy moth caterpillars - photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES

Gypsy moth caterpillars – photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES

AREAWIDE – The potential for gypsy moth outbreak exists every year in our area.  For this reason, Essex Tree Warden Augie Pampel sent in this release, encouraging Essex residents to keep a vigil for the gypsy moth caterpillar, which can defoliate many trees, thus impacting the trees’ ability to thrive. But Valley News Now wants to spread this warning to the entire area, as the gypsy moth is in all our towns.

Dr. Kirby Stafford III, head of the Department of Entomology at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, has written a fact sheet on the gypsy moth available on the CAES website (click here).  The following information is from this fact sheet.

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, was introduced into the US (Massachusetts) by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot in about 1860.  The escaped larvae led to small outbreaks in the area in 1882, increasing rapidly.  It was first detected in Connecticut in 1905.  By 1952, it had spread to 169 towns.  In 1981, 1.5 million acres were defoliated in Connecticut.  During the outbreak of 1989, CAES scientists discovered that an entomopathogenic fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, was killing the caterpillars.  Since then the fungus has been the most important agent suppressing gypsy moth activity.

The fungus, however, cannot prevent all outbreaks and hotspots have been reported in some areas, in 2005-06 and again in 2015.

The life cycle of the gypsy moth is one generation a year.  Caterpillars hatch from buff-colored egg masses in late April to early May.  An egg mass may contain 100 to more than 1000 eggs and are laid in several layers.  The caterpillars (larvae) hatch a few days later and ascend the host trees and begin to feed on new leaves.  The young caterpillars, buff to black-colored, lay down silk safety lines as they crawl and, as they drop from branches on these threads, they may be picked up on the wind and spread.

There are 4 or 5 larval stages (instars) each lasting 4-10 days.  Instars 1-3 remain in the trees.  The fourth instar caterpillars, with distinctive double rows of blue and red spots, crawl up and down the tree trunks feeding mainly at night.  They seek cool, shaded protective sites during the day, often on the ground.  If the outbreak is dense, caterpillars may feed continuously and crawl at any time.

With the feeding completed late June to early July, caterpillars seek a protected place to pupate and transform into a moth in about 10-14 days.  Male moths are brown and fly.  Female moths are white and cannot fly despite having wings.  They do not feed and live for only 6-10 days.  After mating, the female will lay a single egg mass and die.  The egg masses can be laid anywhere: trees, fence posts, brick/rock walls, outdoor furniture, cars, recreational vehicles, firewood.  The egg masses are hard.  The eggs will survive the winter and larvae hatch the following spring during late April through early May.

The impact of the gypsy moth can be extensive since the caterpillar will feed on a wide diversity of trees and shrubs.  Oak trees are their preferred food.  Other favored tree species include apple, birch, poplar and willow.  If the infestation is heavy, they will also attack certain conifers and other less favored species.  The feeding causes extensive defoliation.

Healthy trees can generally withstand one or two partial to one complete defoliation.  Trees will regrow leaves before the end of the summer.  Nonetheless, there can be die-back of branches.  Older trees may become more vulnerable to stress after defoliation.  Weakened trees can also be attacked by other organisms or lack energy reserves for winter dormancy and growth during the following spring.  Three years of heavy defoliation may result in high oak mortality.

The gypsy moth caterpillars drop leaf fragments and frass (droppings) while feeding creating a mess for decks, patios, outdoor furniture, cars and driveways.  Crawling caterpillars can be a nuisance and their hairs irritating.  The egg masses can be transported by vehicles to areas where the moth is not yet established.  Under state quarantine laws, the CAES inspects certain plant shipments destined to areas free of the gypsy moth, particularly for egg masses.

There are several ways to manage the gypsy moth: biological, physical and chemical.

Biologically, the major gypsy moth control agent has been the fungus E. maimaiga.  This fungus can provide complete control of the gypsy moth but is dependent on early season moisture from rains in May and June to achieve effective infection rates and propagation of the fungus to other caterpillars.  The dry spring of 2015 resulted in little or no apparent fungal inoculation or spread until it killed late-stage caterpillars in some areas of the state, after most defoliation.

Infected caterpillars hang vertically from the tree trunk, head down.  Some die in an upside down “V” position, a characteristic of caterpillars killed by the less common gypsy moth nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV).  This was not detected in caterpillars examined in 2015.

Physical controls include removing and destroying egg masses, which can be drowned in a soapy water and disposed of.  Another method is to use burlap refuge/barrier bands wrapped around tree trunks so that migrating caterpillars will crawl into or under the folded burlap or be trapped by the sticky band.

There are a number of crop protection chemicals labeled for the control of gypsy moth on ornamental trees and shrubs. There are treatments for egg masses, larvae and adult moths.  Detailed information about these chemical treatments is available in the CAES factsheet.

For complete information about the gypsy moth and its management, please go to the CAES website (www.ct.gov/caes) and look for the fact sheet on gypsy moth.  You may also contact Augie Pampel by email: augiepampel@att.net with questions and concerns.

 

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Deep River Historical Society Receives Humanities Grant; Rep. Joe Courtney Visits Stone House

Rep. Joe Courtney talks to Deep River Historical Society curator, Rhonda Forristall. in Stone House on June 1.

Rep. Joe Courtney talks to Deep River Historical Society curator, Rhonda Forristall. in Stone House on June 1.

DEEP RIVER – U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney, 2nd District, visited the Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House at 245 Main Street, on June 1.

The Society recently received a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the amount of $1,500.

The Society applied for the grant following its first year of involvement with the StEPs-program, offered through Connecticut Humanities. According to their website (CTHumanities.org), the organization “helps local museums and historical societies build professionalism and ensure their programs and collections remain vibrant community resources through StEPs-CT – a two-year program created with the Connecticut League of History Organizations, and run in partnership with the Connecticut Historical Society, that guides them towards excellence in six areas of organizational practice.”

Rhonda Forristall, Deep River Historical Society curator, said, “We chose to write a grant for upgrading our technology. Currently DRHS has a single phone line coming into the building with no Internet connection. We have one computer with only XP capabilities (which was an upgrade from the computer with 3-inch disks that was there when I arrived), and a printer, so we can write letters and input data but really can’t get any data out. This $1500 matching grant will allow us to connect to the Internet and purchase a new laptop computer with Word and Excel programs, external storage unit and extenders so that we can have WiFi in the Carriage House to make us more appealing to renters. The grant also allows for an improvement to our website, which will be accessible to mobile devices.

“The outcome we are looking for,” said Rhonda, “will be to grow awareness of our mission at DRHS, to grow our membership and interact with a younger and more mobile generation who only communicate through their phones. We have talked to Valley Regional about having students access information and research online once we get things up and running. The potential is huge for us and we are excited to begin.

“As part of the grant funding, we are asked to thank our congressmen for their support of the Humanities and Joe responded to his letter by saying he wanted to visit. We had a great visit with him, showing off our collection and thanking him for his support and telling him what it means to us as an all-volunteer organization.”

For more information about the Deep River Historical Society, go to www.deepriverhistoricalsociety.org.

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Courcy Assumes Leadership of Pettipaug Sailing Academy from the Late Paul Risseeuw

Ann Courcy, Director, Pettipaug Sailing Academy, in front of club house.

Ann Courcy, Director, Pettipaug Sailing Academy, in front of club house.

Ann Courcy, the new Director of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, has now officially taken the place of the long serving Paul Risseeuw, who passed away last fall. In taking the helm of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, Courcy will be in full charge of the club’s 2016 sailing program for young sailors.

As is the custom, the Pettipaug Sailing Academy this summer will have two sessions. The first session will run from June 27 to July 15, and the second from July 25 to Aug. 12. Each session will also have morning and afternoon programs for differing age groups.

In assuming the leadership of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, Courcy emphasized that she could not do the job without the help of the half dozen sailing instructors, who will assist her. Courcy also promised that she was, “going to build a team that would keep in place the sailing instruction practices, as when Paul was in charge.”

Courcy also pointed out that, “Learning to sail can have a positive impact on the lives of young sailors.” Furthermore, she said that it is her intention to know the names of each of the young sailors, who are attending this year’s sessions at the Academy.

As for the boats that will be used this year at the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, they will include a new 12 foot Bauer sloop, as well as traditional 420s, Blue Jays, Optis and windsurfers. Added this year as well will be Opti rowboats.

STEM Education Series to Be Taught

Courcy also said that students at the Academy will receive guidance from the   U.S. Science Technology and Engineering Math materials, which she said were, “very much in line with those of Paul’s in the blending of instructors with the playing by the kids.”

Importantly, Courcy also noted that even in this modern world of communication, Academy students cannot take their “I phones” during instruction periods, while sailing on the waters off the Pettipaug Yacht Club. (This may cause withdrawal systems for some of the Academy students.)

A special event at this year’s Sailing Academy season will be the, “Paul Risseeuw Memorial Race.” Also, there will be movie nights for sailors and their families during the Sailing Academy season at the clubhouse. Then, finally when the sailing season ends for the young sailors, there will be a final grand picnic on a downriver island in the Connecticut River for all of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy student sailors to attend.

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TBBCF Annual Meeting to Celebrate 11 Years of Walking for a Breast Cancer Cure

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AREAWIDE – The Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation Annual Meeting will be Tuesday, June 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Filomena’s Restaurant, 262 Boston Post Road, Waterford. The TBBCF Board of Directors will review 2015 successes and 2016 Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut plans.

Among the evening’s special guests will be Logan’s Heroes, a group of men and women who have shown a dedication and commitment to the TBBCF cause by walking, volunteering or fundraising. They are named in honor of the late Norma Logan, a TBBCF co-founder who died of breast cancer shortly after the organization began.

2016 will be the 11th Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut, and TBBCF has lots of plans to make it the most exciting and successful one yet, many of which will be unveiled at the meeting.

One hundred percent of funds raised by TBBCF goes directly to breast cancer research. In 10 years the Foundation has raised more than $3.4M and awarded grants to 34 breast cancer researchers. The 11th Annual Walk will take place on Oct. 1. Registration begins in May.

Appetizers will be provided along with a cash bar. Please preregister for the meeting by emailing info@tbbcf.org, or by calling TBBCF at 860-437-1400. More information about TBBCF can be found at www.tbbcf.org.

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