November 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (File photo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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

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

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

Harvey Weinstein

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

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

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

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

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

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Photographer Carin Roaldset’s Work on View at Essex Library Through November

‘Falling Cloud’ is one of Carin Roaldset’s featured photographs at Essex Library’s exhibition of her work.

ESSEX — Carin Roaldset grew up on a farm in Sweden and spent years in Germany and Norway before settling in Connecticut.  Her images have been featured on note cards, magazines and in Chamber of Commerce booklets and ad pieces.  She is also the chosen artist for Essex Savings Bank’s 2018 calendar and has illustrated the books A Measure of Joy – Opening to the Energy of Reiki by Gary Stinnet; Here After, Poetry by Mary Volk and Letters from Cornfield Point by Sally Ann D’Aquila.

Nature plays a major role in Roaldset’s life, and she eventually turned to photography to illustrate and share that joy.  “My photographs are mostly close-ups, representing positive emotions” she explains.  “I like to combine common objects and nature.  Texture, lines and simplicity are all important to me.  Clean images, often with an element of surprise, are what I strive to achieve in many of my photographs.”

Roaldset’s photographs and paintings have been displayed at juried shows at the Essex Art Association, Valentine H. Zahn Community Gallery, West Hartford Art League, and the Slater Memorial Museum’s Artists’ Exhibition.   She has also had several solo shows on the shoreline.

Her work can be viewed at the Essex Library throughout the month of November during its regular hours.

Roaldset will be on hand for a reception that will be held at the Library on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 12 until 2 p.m. 

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Chester Historical Society Hosts Lecture, Book-Signing by Dr. Gary Ford, Author of Constance Baker Motley Book, Nov. 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s Holmes for the Holidays! See ‘The Game’s Afoot’ at Ivoryton Playhouse Thru Nov. 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Game’s Afoot opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse runs through Nov. 19. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

 

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Kick off the Holidays with ‘Trees in the Rigging,’ Nov. 26; Register Boats by Nov. 20

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

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

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

Register Your Boat for the Lighted Boat Parade

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

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

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

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

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Country School Runners Enjoy Record-Breaking Season

From left to right are Kayla Uzwiak, 8th Grader from Killingworth; Ryan Wei, 8th Grader from East Lyme; and Conor Selfor, 8th Grader from Old Saybrook.

MADISON — While local public high school cross country teams have been building toward their championship races, The Country School’s cross country team has been quietly compiling a season record for the girls of 33 wins and only one loss and 35 wins and four losses for the boys. This is the best record for cross country at the PreSchool-8th Grade Madison independent school since it began offering the sport 20 years ago.

The team competes this Saturday in the Connecticut Middle School State Championships at Wickham Park in East Hartford. Many student-athletes are also looking forward to the Junior Olympics cross country state championship, set to take place on November 12. In years past, dozens of Country School athletes have gone on to qualify for Regional Junior Olympics Championships, with several going on to Nationals, including one, Robbie Cozean of Madison, now a sophomore at Xavier High School, who earned All America status three times and finished 2nd in the United States.

The Country School serves 214 students between the ages of 3 and 14, and with only eight boys and seven girls running cross country, its Middle School teams are typically the smallest teams competing in any race. Head of School John Fixx attributes the success of their athletes to many factors, among them, dedication. The team holds optional practices two or more times a week throughout the year during the off-season, including the summer, while practicing five and even six days a week during the fall cross country season. Inevitably, the entire team shows up, with younger running enthusiasts, and even some parents, opting to join in.

Seen here in action are, from left to right, Christopher Yuh, Madison; Gabriel Goodwin, Old Lyme; Liam Boone, Clinton, and Sam Duffy, Madison.

Another factor is school culture. At The Country School, running is regarded as an activity that is fun, inclusive, and open to all ages. The program begins as early as Kindergarten, when interested runners join a group known as the Flying Owlets, a nod to the school’s mascot, an owl. More than 35 students participate in Flying Owlets, with practices taking place a few times a week. They also have opportunities to compete in road races, Junior Olympics, and other venues. As older students and younger students train alongside each other, more seasoned runners are able to model teamwork and persistence for younger runners. It is not unusual to have a 6-year-old 1st Grader running alongside and listening to a 13-year-old 8th Grader talk about the effort it takes to run repeat 200s or a “ladder” workout on the track.

With a history of strong cross country and excellent academics, the school also has the advantage of attracting strong students who are also strong runners. This year, for example, Conor and Margaux Selfors joined the school, entering 8th and 7th Grades respectively. The siblings, from Old Saybrook, have placed at or near the top in multiple races this fall, adding depth and leadership to the team.

The talent on the team is also homegrown. Eighth Grade co-captain Ryan Wei from East Lyme, a top place finisher in several races this year, has attended The Country School for several years, rising up through the running ladder, and Robbie Cozean, the school’s most successful runner ever, began in PreKindergarten. In addition to his successes at The Country School and at Junior Olympics National, Robbie was named All-Courant Cross Country Runner of the Year as a freshman at Xavier.

In addition to Robbie at Xavier, several Country School runners have gone on to compete at the high school level, making their mark at Choate Rosemary Hall, Pomfret, Westminster, Guilford High School, Daniel Hand, Hamden Hall, St. Paul’s, Cheshire Academy, and Avon Old Farms.

Training so many runners, and working with such a wide age span of athletes, requires many coaches, and The Country School is fortunate to have a team of experienced runners and educators leading the effort. In addition to Head of School Fixx, a former cross country and track captain of Greenwich High School and Wesleyan University who founded the Country School cross country team with Jordan Katz, a former student, 20 years ago, the team benefits from the likes of Laura Morrison. A recent and very fast graduate of SUNY Fredonia who now runs for Southern Connecticut State University, where she is attending graduate school during the evenings, Laura oversees The Country School’s after-school program and also coordinating TEDxTheCountrySchool. Spanish teacher Blair Balchunas, a frequent road racer and half marathoner, is another inspiring member of the coaching staff. Organizational genius and great rapport with runners all ages comes from Beth Coyne, Country School Dean of Student Life and Secondary School Counselor.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is an independent, coeducational day school serving students from across the Shoreline. In addition to a rigorous academic program that seeks to educate the whole child through active, hands-on learning, The Country School is committed to vital offerings in the arts and athletics. Athletic contests are played on the school’s new, state-of-the-art outdoor complex, featuring two full-sized athletic fields, four tennis courts, a basketball court, and the cross country course through the woods that flank the 23-acre campus. The campus is a frequent host for athletic events, including a recent nine-school cross country meet. Although the student body is small in number, The Country School has a long tradition of athletic and academic excellence. This year alone, more than 20 Country School alumni are competing on teams at colleges across the country, including Amherst, Bates, Bryant, College of Charleston, Columbia, Dickinson, Fairfield, Hamilton, Harvard, Kenyon, Middlebury, Northeastern, Northwestern, Princeton, St. Lawrence, Union, the University of Rhode Island, and Villanova. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Maple and Main Hosts ‘Art of the Sea’ Solo Show by Peter Barrett During November

‘Convergence’ by Peter Barrett is featured in ‘Art of the Sea’ at Maple & Main Gallery.

CHESTER — Maple and Main artist Peter Barrett’s solo show during November in the Stone Gallery, “Art of the Sea,” could not be more aptly titled.

A graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy and an avid boater, for a quarter of a century, Barrett has been recording with his paint brushes the waves crashing against Maine rocks, boats bobbing at rest in quiet Connecticut coves and herons and terns at the water’s edge of New England beaches.

He is mainly self-taught but has been mentored and guided by well-known artists over the years including Elizabeth Sennett of East Hampton and good friends and internationally known artists Mary Erickson and Donald Demers.  His oil paintings are done both on location and in the studio. 

Barrett’s daughter-in-law, Lindsay Barrett recently died of cancer and the show is dedicated to her memory. Fifteen percent of all sales will be donated to Yale New Haven Hospital Closer to Free Hematology Fund in Lindsay’s name.

A recently retired businessman, Barrett is a founding member of Maple and Main, developing its financial model and serving as CEO for the majority of its eight years in business.

In addition to Maple and Main, Barrett is an Associate Artist at Lyme Art Association and has been in juried shows there, at Hartford Fine Art and the Mystic Outdoor Arts Festival.

The show opens Wednesday, Nov. 1, and a reception with wine, appetizers and desserts will be held Friday, Nov. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. during First Friday in Chester. 

Maple and Main, at One Maple St., is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See the werbsite for more images and information: Mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065. Visit on Facebook and Instagram.

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Reserve Tickets Now for Essex Steam Train’s ‘Santa Special,’ Starts Nov. 24

Such fun aboard the Santa Special!

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

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

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

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

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Siegrist Votes for Bipartisan Budget That Restores Education, Municipal Funding

State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R-36th)

AREAWIDE – State Representative Robert Siegrist (R – 36th) voted Thursday for a bipartisan budget that averts Gov. Malloy’s proposed education cuts to cities and towns, and installs structural municipal mandate reform.

Noting that this bipartisan state budget puts an end to a four-month standstill, Siegrist commented, “I have to admit that there are some aspects in this budget that I do not stand by, but all-in-all there are many aspects in this budget that I do support. This budget is a compromise to move Connecticut forward. This budget restores municipal aid and education funding to our towns and will avoid a tax increase that we inevitably would incur if the governor’s draconian cuts went into effect. I believe this budget will provide Connecticut with relief and it builds a strong foundation as we attain fiscal stability.”

Budget highlights include:

  • Enacts the constitutional spending cap that was first approved by voters in 1992
  • Imposes a $1.9 billion cap on borrowing, $500 million less than what was borrowed last year
  • Restores municipal and education funding cut by the Governor’s executive order
  • Protects core social services, such as day care funding and programs for developmentally disabled
  • Supports seniors by phasing in a tax exemption on social security and pensions
  • Imposes a state employee hiring freeze
  • Limits state union contracts to being no longer than 4 years
  • Provides municipal mandate relief by reducing construction costs, reforming the arbitration process, and providing greater transparency to boards of education budgets

The budget also excluded a variety of proposals discussed during the budget process, including:

  • Sales tax increase
  • Income tax increase
  • Tax on cell phones
  • Restaurant tax
  • Business tax increase
  • Shifting teachers pensions on to municipalities

The plan passed the Senate 33-3 Wednesday evening and by 126-23 in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The budget now awaits action from the governor.

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Change of Location for Ivoryton Congregational Church Worship Services

IVORYTON — Worship Services for the Ivoryton Congregational Church are now being held at the First Congregational Church, 6 Methodist Hill, Essex, from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. with Rev. John Van Epps, Pastor.

Fellowship follows the worship service.

All are welcome.

Bible Study is held on Tuesday mornings from 11-noon in the parlor of the Essex Congregational Church with Rev. John Van Epps facilitating.

All are welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CT River Museum Hosts Naturalization Ceremony for 50 Immigrants from 26 Countries

The Honorable Robert Richardson, United States District Judge Magistrate, District of Connecticut administered the oath taking, in which 50 people from over 20 different countries became United States citizens.

ESSEX — On Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 11 a.m., the Connecticut River Museum hosted a naturalization ceremony for 50 immigrants from around the world. The ceremony took place on the Museum’s main lawn, directly overlooking the Connecticut River.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) presented candidates for naturalization to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.  The Honorable Robert Richardson, United States District Judge, District of Connecticut, administered the Oath of Allegiance to America’s newest citizens during the naturalization ceremony.

This young gentleman was waiting so patiently for his mom to become an American citizen. Photo by Phyllis Stillman.

Honored guests and speakers included: The Honorable Robert Richardson, United States District Judge Magistrate, District of Connecticut; Joe Courtney, U.S. Representative; Norm Needleman, First Selectman of Essex; Robert Siegrist, State Representative; and Yanira Rios, Research Aid & Outreach Organizer for the office of U. S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.  Along with the dignitaries, the John Winthrop Middle School’s 8th grade chorus, under the direction of Laura Traver, led participants in singing the national anthem and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”.

The Museum’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs said “We are honored to host this special, life-changing ceremony. It feels fitting that a River that delivered and became the home of so many immigrants over the centuries continues to be a place that welcomes these new citizens to our great country.”

The candidates came from the following countries:

Bosnia-Herzegovina
Brazil
Cambodia
Canada
Colombia
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Estonia
Greece
Haiti
India
Jamaica
Mexico
Morocco
Nigeria
Pakistan
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Russia
South Korea
Spain
Thailand
United Kingdom

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the waterfront at 67 Main Street in Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

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

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Artist-Run Contemporary Gallery Opens in Essex Village

‘Summer Series 1’ is one of the signature works in ‘Cool & Collected’ opening at the new Melanie Carr Gallery, Oct. 21.

ESSEX – Melanie Carr Gallery will host a grand opening featuring its inaugural exhibition of Cool & Collected, a group exhibition of 14 contemporary artists on view at 1 North Main Street (across from the Essex Art Association) from Oct. 21 through Dec. 3. The opening reception will be Saturday, Oct. 21, from 4 to 7 p.m.

This exhibition will highlight the work of artists in Carr’s collection including Mary Dwyer whose historical portrait paintings revolve around historic lore and her love of early portraiture paintings; Kevin Van Aelst whose cerebral photographs consist of common artifacts and scenes from everyday life, which he rearranges into various forms, patterns, and illustrations; Bombay born artist Rashmi Talpade’s photomontages are amalgamations of reconstructed landscapes that reflect the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures.

‘Untitled’ by Matthew Best.

The exhibition also includes mesmerizing graphite drawings by Thea Wilcox Ciciotte; Robert Gregson’s geometric drawings which stem from his love of architecture; Matthew Best’s collages deal with power, gender, and authority; Kathleen Jacobs’ landscape paintings reveal nature’s abiding beauty, grace and order; Artist Ben Parker delights in his masterful folded paper constructions.

Conceptual artist David Borawski’s Blast drawings will be on view, puppeteer and artist Kimberly Van Aelst’s combines her love of science, nature, and art, Suzan Shutan’s Tar Roofing Paper pieces straddle the worlds of two and three dimensions; University of Connecticut Professor of Art John O’Donnell’s works on paper utilize appropriated images and objects relating to art history, popular media and consumer culture; and Margaret Vaughan who appropriates imagery from the fashion and porn industry states “my works fit in the fine line between lust and revulsion.”

Carr’s studio will occupy the back of the gallery. Works on paper of gallery artists will be available in the Flat Files; a ten-drawer cabinet of flat drawers that will allow more intimate works on paper available for sale in addition to the artwork on view. Also, there will be a dedicated space to serve as a hand’s on mark-making lab for visitors of all ages. Visitors are invited to explore different artist’s materials as a way to demystify and encourage the process of drawing, encourage creativity, develop a deeper understanding, appreciation, and interest in art.

Melanie Carr is a Connecticut-based artist who received her MFA from the College of Art and Design at Lesley University in 2011. Carr began her studies in visual art after serving in the United States Navy. After 10 years at the New Britain Museum of American Art as a Director/Curator, Carr is now Adjunct Professor at Central Connecticut State University and recently joined the staff at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, University of New Haven.

Melanie Carr

Carr’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Soapbox Gallery, NY, Stockman Gallery, New Britain, CT, City Arts on Pearl, Hartford, CT, Westport Arts Center, Westport, CT, and Pegasus Gallery, Middletown, CT. In addition, Carr’s work was included in numerous group exhibitions nationally. Carr has work in the collections at the New Britain Museum of American Art, The Loomis Chaffee School, and the Boston Public Library, as well as many private collections.

Susan Malan, Essex Economic Developer comments, “Essex is thrilled that Melanie Carr is opening a new art gallery at 1 North Main Street.  Her spirit and enthusiasm is bountiful and her gallery will add to the energy of Essex Village.  Melanie also chose Essex as her hometown – highlighting that Essex is a great place to live and work!”

Douglas Hyland Director Emeritus New Britain Museum of American Art notes, “As a respected curator, experienced arts administrator, and talented artist, Melanie Carr is ideally suited to found and operate an art gallery.  I look forward to her exhibitions as I know they will reflect her deep understanding and appreciation of our region’s burgeoning contemporary art scene.”

For more information, email melcarrstudio@comcast.net or call 860.830.6949

Editor’s Note: Melanie Carr Gallery is an artist-run project space dedicated to the practice, exhibition, and sale of contemporary art. The goal of Melanie Carr Gallery is to promote the importance of contemporary art and examine its impact on society while providing its artists greater exposure to new audiences. All are welcome. “artisnotdecoration  #theworldneedsmoreartists #neverenoughart  #collectart #ctartist #artsharpensthemind

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Artful Living Invites Students to Submit Original Short Plays for Possible Production at ‘The Kate,’ Scholarship Award

AREAWIDE — Artful Living, Killingworth’s multi-generational community theatre, is seeking original scripts of short plays from Connecticut high school students.  This new program, Playwrights For Tomorrow, offers students the opportunity to win a scholarship and have their play produced on stage at Old Saybrook’s Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate) on April 29, 2018.

Plays will be reviewed by a panel of theatre professionals. Selected playwrights will be offered the opportunity to collaborate with directors and other theatre artists in the staging of their plays.  Submission Deadline is Jan. 8, 2018.

For full details and an application form, visit www.ArtfulLivingCT.com

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Letter to the Editor: Pacileo Will Fight for Essex, Confront Malloy for Fair State Funding,

To the Editor:

I endorse Vin Pacileo for First Selectman of Essex.

Under the Malloy Budget, Education Cost Sharing Grant for Essex will be 0. I don’t know why the Governor’s Budget would pass on his irresponsibility to Towns and Cities. Education for goodness sake! Isn’t that a bi-partisan issue? Vin Pacileo vows to confront the Governor for fair state funding. I agree with him.

Contrast this with our present First Selectman who wants to use our “rainy day fund” to close the loss. Isn’t that just giving up? Surely, there are other things we need to fund in Essex, perhaps an even larger amount to fund the pension, or the Library or the Fire Department. Personally, I believe our present First Selectman should join those Selectmen and Mayors working to force Governor Malloy to find other means to solve Connecticut’s budget crises. After all the Governor would listen to someone who gave a substantial donation to his campaign. Governor Malloy shows that he is not bi-partisan, since he vetoed a bi-partisan budget that was passed in the General Assembly. He might listen to a Democrat.

Since, I served on the Board of Education In Portland, I know that our state has burdened the towns and cities with expensive unfunded mandates for years. In a ValleyNewsNow.com article, dated September 15, 2017, Norm said, “ if re-elected he will continue to fight the proliferation of unfunded mandates.” He has the “bully pulpit” now. Why not fight now? This is not just a state issue, it effects Essex. Change Starts Locally.

I want a First Selectman who will fight for Essex. Vin Pacileo is that man. I urge you to vote for Vin Pacileo on November 7.

Sincerely,

Lynn D. Herlihy,
Essex.

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Legal News You Can Use: Why Many Car Accidents Happen Close to Home

Part of the reason many accidents occur near home is because driving in familiar places can cause drivers to rely on memory instead of what is happening around them. This auto-pilot phenomenon can prevent people from remaining vigilant while driving, potentially causing them to miss important visual cues. It is imperative that drivers combat this phenomenon by staying awake and alert as unpredictable elements, such as other drivers, crossing animals or mechanical failure, can always cause an accident. However, because others are also likely driving on auto-pilot, motorists should also ensure that they always buckle their seat belt no matter how far they are driving.

Further, fatal car accidents are more likely to occur at certain times of times of the day, particularly when workers are heading home or when residents are out running errands. For example, 16 percent of fatal accidents that occurred in 2013 took place between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.. Further, 31 percent of car accidents in 2013 occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight.

Car accidents that occur on interstates, local highways or even rural roads can result in serious injuries or even death. If the accident occurred due to another driver’s negligence or risky driving habits, those who suffered injuries could seek compensation for the damages they sustained in the incident, including recovering the cost of their medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. However, some insurance companies may attempt to settle the claim for less than what the injured individuals need. In such an event, filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist with an attorney’s help might be advisable.

The Law Firm of Suisman Shapiro focuses on this area of the law.
Sponsored post.

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Essex-based ‘Overabove’ Expands with Opening of West Coast Office 

The staff of OverAbove gather for a group photo in front of their premises at the Witch Hazel Works in Essex.

ESSEX – Overabove, a strategic marketing and communications firm based in Essex, Conn., has expanded its business footprint and enhanced its offerings with the opening of a Los Angeles office. The firm’s new office is located in Manhattan Beach on the Manhattan Beach Studios’ Media Campus – a facility where media arts, studio production, new technology and ideas converge.

The creative space is just south of Hollywood and bustling with the kind of activity at the heart of Overabove’s culture and services. Seasoned industry leader Tara Walls has been appointed to lead the firm’s new office.

As Head of Entertainment for Overabove, Walls will draw upon nearly 25 years of experience in the Hollywood entertainment industry to connect brands with television shows, feature films and talent. She’ll leverage industry relationships and tap her experience in brand integration and promotional partnerships, as well as with music and influencers, to craft customized entertainment partnerships to elevate brands of all sizes. She’ll also create original content to give brands exposure.

Walls’ depth of experience in identifying and structuring relationships between Hollywood properties and brands will bring strong added value to Overabove’s clients. While Walls only recently joined Overabove in a formal capacity, she’s been an extension of the Overabove team for more than a decade – collaborating with the firm on a number of entertainment partnerships for shared clients.

A resident of Los Angeles, Walls joins the Overabove team after serving as executive vice president of brand integrations & entertainment partnerships at FRUKT and Rogers & Cowan. She previously worked as a product placement executive at two Hollywood film studios.

“We are thrilled that our business footprint will now reach from coast to coast and that our new office is in such an ideal, exciting location – spearheaded by someone as talented and experienced as Tara,” said Ralph Guardiano, principal and co-founder of Overabove. “We know that these enhancements will greatly benefit our clients’ strategic and creative plans and look forward to seeing the results.”

John Visgilio, principal and co-founder of Overabove with Guardiano, added, “The opening of our West Coast office along with Tara’s hiring is part of our continued evolution to keep our clients’ brands above the noise, make our offerings as extensive and accessible as possible, and tap new growth opportunities.”

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Shoreline Legislators Attend Bridge Dedication Ceremony

From left to right, back row: State Senator Art Linares; State Representative Jesse MacLachlan; Noel Bishop, First Selectman of Westbrook; James P. Redeker, Department of Transportation Commissioner, and State Representative Devin Carney; front row, Tom Callinan and Sid Holbrook met in Westbrook on Thursday, Oct. 5, to attend the bridge dedication ceremony.

WESTBROOK – Shoreline legislators, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner, local officials and residents all came together on Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Clubhouse North Yard Pilot Point in Westbrook for a bridge dedication ceremony.

During the 2017 legislative session, Carney, MacLachlan and Linares presented proposals to officially name two bridges in Westbrook.

  • House Bill 5573An Act Naming A Bridge in Westbrook “The Singing Bridge” sought to give the bridge over the Patchogue River in Westbrook a permanent name. This historic landmark was constructed in 1925 and had no official name up until now. Due to the sound generated by motor vehicle tires passing over the grid deck, residents nicknamed the bridge “The Singing Bridge.”
  • House Bill 5679An Act Naming A Bridge In Westbrook The “John H. Wilson Bridge” sought to honor John H. Wilson, who passed away in 2015, and was the founder of the Westbrook Historical Society and a veteran of the Korean War.

Both proposals were heard at a public hearing on January 30, 2017 in the legislature’s Transportation Committee and later passed into law during the 2017 legislative session.

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Letter to the Editor: Registered Republican Urges Readers to Vote for Democrat Lewis as Probate Judge

To the Editor:

The Connecticut Probate Court System is an often misunderstood, vitally important part of our community.  I am writing to encourage anyone who reads this to cast their ballot for Jeannine Lewis; as I know no one better suited to be our next Judge of Probate in the 33rd District. Having known Jeannine as a caring parent and a polished attorney for almost a decade has been my distinct pleasure.

Attorney Lewis has a resume uncannily tailored precisely to this type of work. Aside from being thoroughly skilled in handling the administration of decedents’ estates, she is particularly well suited to handle the lesser known aspects of probate matters as well.  More than half of the work performed by probate judges involves children, seniors, persons with mental illness, and adults with intellectual disability. The ability to be a compassionate and understanding advocate for these people is a most critical skill in a probate judge; and Jeannine Lewis has a limitless reserve of compassion, care and consideration for everyone she encounters.

Attorney Lewis has adeptly handled many legal matters for my family over the years, and I hope that I am a long way away from needing her services as Judge of Probate; but I will rest far easier knowing that, should the need arise, my family, friends and I will have the best person sitting on the bench. Every one of us is just one bad bump on the head away from possibly needing the probate system to work for us to establish and monitor a conservatorship or oversee the timely administration of our estate assets.

As a registered Republican and an elected official, I encourage voters to ignore making this important choice based on party line, and to elect the best person for the job – Jeannine Lewis.

Sincerely,

DG Fitton,
Essex.

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Letter to the Editor: Needleman Confirms Financial Status of Essex is Strong, Despite State’s Budget Woes

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Essex

Although the State of Connecticut is in turmoil, we are not. We are as anxious as anyone to see how the budget gets resolved. However, the result will have a minimal effect on us

because we have been diligent in our efforts.

For fiscal year 2016/2017, Town of Essex will once again finish the year with a budget surplus.  The surplus is the result of positive variances on both the revenue and expenditure sides versus budget.  Higher than anticipated revenue from property tax and local revenue sources were more than sufficient to offset the loss of State revenue during the fiscal year.  Expenditures finished the year under budget for both the General Government and Education.  Bottom line, the Town will add approximately $161 thousand to the rainy day fund. In addition to that, $260 thousand dollars of surplus was utilized for a one-time payment to pension funds and additional money for capital sinking funds.  In other words, our total surplus was over $420 thousand.

It has been through the Town’s careful budgeting, healthy fund balance and minimal reliance on State funding sources that earned the Town an increase in credit rating to AA+ with S&P Global Ratings in the face of a downgraded rating for the State of CT.  Armed with this improved rating, the Town issued $6 million in General Obligation Bonds on September 19th with a true interest cost of 2.49%. These bonds represented the final financing of the Capital Improvements Program approved at the December 2014 referendum.

Moreover, building activity was at a record pace in 2016-17 and businesses throughout town have been opening, including restaurants, galleries, and other retail shops.

All in all, I’m proud to say that through the collaborate efforts of our Board of Selectmen the state of our town is in great shape.

All the Best,

Norm Needleman,
Essex.

Editor’s Note: The author id the first selectman of Essex.

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Letter to the Editor: Current Leadership is Working in Essex

To the Editor:

Let’s stay with what’s working.  Norm Needleman and Stacia Libby are doing a great job serving Essex as selectpersons.  They and their team have strengthened our financial management, keeping tight reins on the budget while enhancing services.  They are moderate and reasonable and work successfully with a broad range of people and opinions.  Unlike state and national politics Essex has been able to maintain open dialogue across party lines because our leaders act like the public servants they were elected to be. 

Let us also be good citizens and go to the polls on November 7th.  Vote for what you know has been working and then find ways to pitch in and help this town and it’s leaders to preserve the “best small town” reputation we have rightly earned.

Sincerely,

Claire Matthews,
Essex.

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Letter to the Editor: Re-elect Needleman; Puts Town First, Party Second

To the Editor:

The Essex election for first selectman is here again, and I’d like to voice my support for Norm Needleman. Like many folks in Essex, I am not a member of either of the major political parties; for me the reason is that I find the partisanship disheartening. There cannot be a better example than the dysfunction we have today in our federal government. I believe every issue worth discussing should be done so openly and without an allegiance to some party position. This is why I support Norm; while nominally a Democrat, he is a mindful leader that will try and execute a decision based on what is good for the town. I may not agree with everything he has done or will do, but I fully support the way in which he comes to the decisions. I think we are lucky to have him So, vote for Norm, not because he is a Democrat but rather because he genuinely has the best interests of Essex as his core principal.

Sincerely,

Bob Ward,
Essex.

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Letter to the Editor: Pacileo Will be a Full-Time, Hands-On Essex First Selectman

To the Editor:

With a 2017/2018 budget of over $24,000,000 and approximately 45 full & part time employees, Essex needs a full-time, hands on First Selectman. Vin Pacileo, the Republican candidate for First Selectman, will devote his full attention and time to the job and he has the experience to very effectively manage the town’s budget and employees.

Vin is a former Essex Selectman who currently serves on Essex’s Board of Finance. In addition, he is the chief administrative officer of the town of Stonington (a position he will resign shortly after being elected). His business experience includes management positions at Pfizer, The Hartford and Aetna.

Vin has the experience Essex needs and is committed to fighting for fair state support, engaging our community, and growing our tax base.

I urge all Essex residents to vote for Vin Pacileo for Essex First Selectman on November 7th.

Sincerely,

Bruce MacMillian
Essex.

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A la Carte: Add a (K)rumble to Key Lyme Pie!

Key Lime Pie with Crumble

Does it make you crazy that Halloween candy was on the shelves in August and today, in mid-October, the stores are already showing lawn reindeer? Yeah, me too. But it’s not too soon to think about Christmas presents, especially as I dream that someone will buy me an Instant Pot for the holidays?

Who am I kidding?

I want that Instant Pot now. I can get it on Amazon this very minute and, with Amazon Prime, the shipping is free!

But the holidays shouldn’t be about what I want. Yesterday I sent an Instant Pot to my oldest granddaughter, whose birthday is this month. She is a second-year medical student at the University of Minnesota. She and her roommates have little time, and Lily is a good cook. She will let me know whether I should get one for myself.

For Christmas, each of my grandchildren will get cookbooks, and over the next few weeks, I will decide which cookbooks I will buy for them. My first choice so far is Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough’s latest (of 30!) called “All-Time Favorite Sheet Cakes and Slab Pies.”

But instead of waiting until the holidays, get a copy for yourself now. These recipes will make you Santa Claus during the holidays. All use a half-sheet pan (13 x 18 inches) and each pie or cake will feed about 16 or 24 people. Here is just one of the 100.

Key Lyme Cheesecake with Oat Crumble

from Weinstein and Scarbrough “All-Time Favorite Sheet Cakes and Slab Pies,” St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2017

For the crumble crust and topping
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) cool unsalted butter cut into small chunks, plus additional for the sheet pan
3 and one-half cups all-purpose flour
3 and one-half cups rolled oats
1 and one-half cups granulated white sugar
1 and one-half cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white at room temperature

Generously butter the inside of a 13- by 18-inch lipped sheet pan.

Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, nuts, both sugars, baking powder and salt in a large bowl at medium speed until uniform, about 1 minute.

Add butter chunks and beat at medium-low speed until well blended, about 4 minutes. Add egg white and beat at medium speed until mixture can hold together like dry oatmeal cookie dough when squeezed, less than 1 minute.

Scoop 6 cups of the mixture into the prepared sheet pan using clean, dry fingers to press the mixtu5re into an even crust across the bottom (even to the corners, but not up the side of the pan.

For the cheesecake
1 pound full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 14-ounce can full-fat sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh lime juice (I use Key lime juice, available in most supermarkets)
One-third cup granulated white sugar
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature

Position rack in center of the oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put cream cheese, condensed milk, lime juice, sugar and egg yolks in a large food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Pour this mixture onto the prepared crust in an even layer.

Squeeze small portions of the remaining crumble mixture into little oblongs, then crumble these into little stones and pebble across the filing.

Baked until browned and set with a slight jiggle to the center of the pan, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.

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Soroptomist CT Shoreline Club Offers Cash Grant to Women Seeking Financial Assistance for Education/Training Expenses

AREAWIDE — The CT Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International of the Americas has announced that it is currently accepting applications for its annual Live Your Dream award.

The award seeks to support women who serve as the primary wage earners for their families seeking financial assistance to continue their education or to receive training. Information and an application are available at https://soroptimistnortheasternregion.org/files/ShorelineLYDapplication2018.pdf, or by contacting the co-chair Mary Jean Cummiskey at maryjeancummiskey@gmail.com. The application deadline is Nov. 15. Applicants will be notified in January 2018.

The CT Shoreline club will provide a $1,000 cash grant to its award recipient, who will then advance to the Soroptimist Northeast Region level, where recipients could receive up to an additional $5,000. The program culminates with three finalist $10,000 awards.

Recipients can use the Live Your Dream Award to offset costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education or additional skills and training. This includes tuition, books, childcare, carfare or any other education related expense. 

Nationally, the Live Your Dream Award provides over $2 million in cash grants to head-of-household women in need each year. Since the program’s inception in 1972, more than $30 million has helped tens of thousands of women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. 

A study conducted by The Fels Institute of Government, a research and consulting organization based at the University of Pennsylvania, confirmed the efficacy and impact of this program. It improves the recipients’ quality of life; builds their confidence; strengthens their self-determination and makes them want to, in turn, help others. Helping women in this way has the demonstrated effect of leading to stronger communities, nations and the world. 

Chartered in February 2017, the new CT Shoreline club is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, a global organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. CT Shoreline members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls.

Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, also powers LiveYourDream.org—an online community offering offline volunteer opportunities in support of women and girls. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit www.soroptimist.org. 

This new chapter welcomes members. To learn more, visit www.soroptimistner.org or www.liveyourdream.org.

Applications available at: https://soroptimistnortheasternregion.org/files/ShorelineLYDapplication2018.pdf

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KeyBank Supports Connecticut Food Bank with Regional Food, Fund Drive

OLD SAYBROOK – KeyBank is presenting the Super-Size-Me Food Drive to benefit the Connecticut Food Bank. Through Oct. 28, special collection boxes for nonperishable food donations will be placed at KeyBank branches in nine towns across the area served by the Connecticut Food Bank. KeyBank will also host an online virtual food drive, allowing individuals who may not be able to visit a branch to support the Food Bank with a financial donation.

The drive is the inspiration of KeyBank employee James Trimble, a longtime volunteer with the Connecticut Food Bank that has made his annual drive a tradition, along with volunteer work at other food bank activities.

“James has been a wonderful volunteer champion for the Connecticut Food Bank,” said Bernie Beaudreau, CEO of the Connecticut Food Bank. “Since beginning this project in 2013, he has raised enough food and funds to provide nearly 16,000 meals.”

Beaudreau said the drive will support the work of the Connecticut Food Bank, which distributes food through a network of more than 600 community based food assistance programs. An average of 148,000 people visit the programs each month seeking help with food needs.

“The dollars and food raised through this drive will have tremendous impact on fighting hunger,” Beaudreau said. “We know it will be a success, based on James’ energy and personal commitment and on the help and resources provided by KeyBank.”

Jeff Hubbard, KeyBank Connecticut and Western Massachusetts Market President, said that James Trimble has been named KeyBank’s Connecticut Food Bank Ambassador.

“We are proud of James’ volunteer service and we are glad to help him achieve a goal of fighting hunger in the communities we serve,” Hubbard said. “Like the Connecticut Food Bank, we want Connecticut families and communities to thrive. This month-long drive is part of a larger relationship with the Connecticut Food Bank; it’s an investment in their hunger fighting mission.”

Food drop boxes will be placed at KeyBank branches in Old Saybrook, as well as eight other locations.

More information about the drive and a way to make a financial donation online can be found at www.ctfoodbank.org/keybanksupersizeme.

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Letter to the Editor: A Gubernatorial Candidate’s Vision for Republicans to Move Forward

To the Editor:
I am running for Governor of the State of Connecticut, 2018, as a Republican and believe that our party has a positive message that can be presented in the African- and Hispanic-American communities and
that is what I intend to do. While our nation is buffeted by divisive elements of political correctness, identity politics and the illiberal winds of intolerance blowing on our college campuses, we have so much more that unites us than separates us. The core of my campaign is our common humanity. We are all sisters and brothers, children of God.
It is my message of education for our children and jobs for our children and ourselves that resonates across all social strata. The business of Connecticut should be business and not government. Many of
our fellow citizens have voted with their feet and have headed off to Republican-led states where jobs are more plentiful and the cost of living more reasonable.
We need Republican leadership of Connecticut to get our fiscal house in order and to create the conditions to nurture business in our state. In addition, we have almost 7,000 K-12 students on wait lists for charter schools. That means 7,000 charter school seats should be made available to those students as soon as possible. Education is freedom. There are also elements of the Administrative State that need to be dismantled or lessened to accentuate the liberty of the individual in his or her private and economic spheres. Again, this resonates across all social strata.

Gratitude, common humanity and liberty are the core of my message at www.SaveConnecticut.com along with the additional eight universal principles that Republicans, Democrats and independents all share! It is for the Republicans to embrace their role as the Big Tent party and unify behinds jobs and education. I respectfully ask for your vote and look forward to meeting you on the campaign trail over the coming months!

Sincerely,
Peter Thalheim,
Riverside, Conn.Editor’s Note: The author is a Republican Candidate for Governor, 2018.

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Deep River Library Children’s Programs for October

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Public Library is offering a terrific selection of children’s programs during October, AS FOLLOWS:

Baby Bounce on Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26
Come to a story time for babies, newborn to 24 months. Simple stories and songs, followed by play and social time. Older siblings may attend.

Fun Friday on Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, at 10:30 a.m.
Stories and songs in an interactive setting, followed by craft and open play. Perfect for the preschool set. Get ready for two special Fun Friday Guests this month. Rick Daniels from the Deep River Fire Department will come with his truck on 10/13 and ABC Amigos brings a Spanish story time on 10/20.

Brick Bunch is back on Oct. 5 & 19, from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.
Open Lego play with friends. We provide the bricks, you bring your imagination.

Cook Club makes Mountain Dew Ice Cream, Oct. 18, at 5:30 p.m.
Make a simple recipe with friends. Registration is required for this program and limited to 10 children. Recommended age is 4-10. Sign-up can be done through Sign-up Genius. Follow this link to sign up: Cook Club Makes Mountain Dew Ice Cream

Deep River Drive-in, evening edition, Oct. 25, at 5:30 p.m.
Pop in for a fun Halloween movie, Trick or Treat on Sesame Street. This film has a running time of 75 minutes. No registration required. Box car seating for the first 20 kids.

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Join ‘Kate’s Camp for Kids’ to Present ‘Elflandia’ Starting Oct. 18; Holiday Show, Dec. 13

OLD SAYBROOK – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Community Music School are partnering again under the umbrella of their performing arts summer camp, ‘Kate’s Camp for Kids,’ to present a holiday after-school program and show entitled ‘Elflandia.’ This exciting program takes place at The Kate, 300 Main St. in Old Saybrook, and runs for 11 weekly sessions on Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 5 p.m. beginning Oct. 18.

Launched in 2013, Kate’s Camp for Kids is a performing arts camp for children incorporating music, dance, theater, and visual art.  The after-school program is offered for ages 7-10.

Directed by Martha Herrle, a 15-year member of the Community Music School faculty and certified Kindermusik educator, this year’s show theme will be ‘Elflandia.’ In Elflandia, the land of Santa’s elves, they are busy making toys and getting ready for Santa’s yearly trip around the world to bring presents to all the deserving humans on the planet. Do human beings really exist? The reports the elves have heard are not very encouraging. Many are grumpy, stressed and loud.

Discover what the elves learn about humans when Santa shows up with a real living example. The ensuing effort to get Elfie Selfies with as many humans as possible makes for a rousing finale!

The cast will rehearse traditional children’s choral repertoire to be performed at the Community Music School Holiday Concert on Dec. 10, and prepare the show Elflandia: a “short” musical about a land of big dreams and curly toes, with a performance on stage at the Kate on Dec. 13.

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

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

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

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‘Five Women Painting’ on View This Weekend at Essex Art Association

‘Sunset through the Branches’ by Rosemary Cotnoir is one of the featured works in ‘Five Women Painting.’

ESSEX  — The ninth annual Five Women Painting show Oct. 6 through 9 at the Essex Art Association Gallery features a large selection of new works by Pam Carlson, Rosemary Cotnoir, Claudia Van Nes, Kathleen DeMeo and Janet Rayner.

The gala opening party is Friday, Oct. 6, from 5 to 8 p. m when a selection of wines, homemade appetizers and desserts will be offered and all five artists will be on hand to greet visitors.

The show showcases a wide diversity of styles, medium, sizes and price point by these five established artists. Kathleen, who lives in Old Lyme, primarily does abstract monotypes and Rosemary, from Essex paints large semi-abstract oils and does stone sculptures, Pam, also from Essex, paints water scenes and landscapes in acrylic, Janet from Haddam uses pastels for her realistic paintings while Chester resident, Claudia works in mainly in watercolor.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, from 1 to 4 p.m., Janet will give a pastel demonstration and on Sunday, Oct. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m., Claudia will do a painting using pen and ink and watercolor and Pam will do an acrylic demonstration.

There will be a free drawing for a painting during the exhibit as well.

The show is Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and by chance that afternoon; Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and Monday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Essex Art Association Gallery is at 10 North Main Street; 860-767-8996. See Five Women Painting Facebook page.

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Local Photographer Caryn Davis Publishes New Book

ESSEX — A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style by Chester resident and photographer Caryn B. Davis, with accompanying essays by author Eric D. Lehman, was released this week by Globe Pequot.

Davis will be at The Griswold Inn Store: Goods & Curiosities located at 47 Main Street in Essex, on Sunday, Oct. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. signing copies of her new book.

Celebrated chef, author, and Connecticut resident Jacques Pépin described A Connecticut Christmas as,“a sentimental journey through the lore of Connecticut and makes you want to sing Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas.’ The beautiful pictures celebrate the marvelous diversity, beauty, and spirit of the Nutmeg State . . . this heartwarming book makes you smile.”

A Connecticut Christmas is a photographic journey celebrating classic New England traditions, beauty, spirit, and community surrounding the holiday. From light displays to decorated churches and inns, spectacular private homes, festivals, carolers, town greens, and picturesque villages, this beautiful book of images takes readers on a magical holiday tour through the Nutmeg State.  There is also an event and location listing in the back of the book that for residents and tourists who love all things Christmas which is why this book has an appeal beyond the Nutmeg State.

A series of local book signings is planned — full details of more of these will be published on ValleyNewsNow.com as they become available.

Davis began her career in the visual arts 30 years ago as a cameraperson, editor, and producer of documentaries. She has been a professional photographer since 2000, specializing in architectural photography. Her work has taken her to over 50 countries, and still counting. She often combines her images with words to create compelling articles that have been featured in more than 60 magazines.

A Connecticut Christmas will retail at $26.00.

 

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A la Carte: Mushrooms by the Million? Sounds Like Soup!

I am such a spoiled princess, even if I don’t have anyone around to spoil me.

Because the temperature is dipping into the 40s at night, I opened two windows in the living room and one in the bedroom. Since I had turned on the central air in late May and hadn’t yet turned it off on the first of October, I thought I would go into this slowly. (Actually, I am not a spoiled princess in the winter—I like cold weather and keep my thermostat at around 60 degrees until late March or early April.)

Once I feel if a snap of coolness, I begin to think about what to cook for the next two seasons. In the late spring, summer and early fall, I buy a lot of fresh produce at farm markets let those ingredients speak for themselves, eating them raw, like tomatoes, sweet peppers and salads with a whisper of dressing, or simply grilled with a little olive oil and fresh herbs.

Last week I began dream of squashes and roasted vegetables and soups. I was at BJs, loading up on bags of flour and sugar (pies, cookies, cakes) and saw big containers of mushrooms. Soup, I thought. Lots of soups on the cooktop and in my slow cookers (I am also thinking about an Instant Pot. Let me know what you think about yet another counter appliance since my old blender is gone and the pressure cooker is in the garage.)’

Anyway, I made two batches of mushroom soup. I had a couple of recipes in my head, but decided that it is time to play around with soup. So this recipe is all mine. And I must say, it is better than any other mushroom soup I’d ever made. Once again, a few steps are important—saute the mushrooms and onions, add cream sherry twice (I have Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry, but I also have a bottle of Sheffield Cream Sherry of California at a fraction of Harvey’s)  If you want to add more onions or more mushrooms, be my guest. Maybe 1 percent milk would work.

Lee’s Mushroom Soup

1 stick of unsalted butter
20 ounces or more fresh, sliced white mushrooms
1 large onion, peeled and diced fairly fine
4 tablespoons cream sherry, divided (never use supermarket cooking sherry)
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (I use 2 percent)
1 32-ounce carton low-sodium, low-fat chicken or vegetable stock

In a large heavy-bottomed pot (I use a Le Creuset Dutch oven), melt butter on medium heat and add mushrooms. Stir periodically until mushrooms take up all the butter, then add onions. Continue stirring until onions are light blonde in color. Pour 2 tablespoons sherry into the pan and cook until almost dry. Toss flour over mushrooms and onions and stir until veggies are coated. Add milk, stir, then turn heat to medium low. Add the rest of the sherry. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Add all the chicken or vegetable stock, stirring, and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so and taste again for salt and pepper.

I wait until the soup is cool, then puree it just a little in my big Ninja of use an immersion blender. Or do neither. Soup can be served immediately or refrigerate and reheat over gentle heat. If soup is too thick, add more stock or water.

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Applications Open for Rockfall Foundation’s Environmental Leadership Scholarship

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation has announced the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes an area high school student who demonstrates leadership and initiative in promoting conservation, preservation, restoration, or environmental education. One $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to an eligible student residing the Foundation’s service area, including Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham , East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, or Westbrook.

Students must describe their role in an environmental project and its impact. Applications are due by 4 pm on Friday, March 2, 2018.

The scholarship is named in honor of former Executive Director of The Rockfall Foundation, Virginia R. “Ginny” Rollefson, who retired in 2010 after 24 years with the Foundation. The award honors her long service to the Foundation, her enthusiasm, and her belief that we all benefit when young people are actively engaged in making their communities a better place to live.

For a copy of the application or for more information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

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Community Foundation of Middlesex County Helps Sponsor Essex Artist’s Residency at I-Park

Aly Maderson Quinlog

East Haddam — Multi-talented artist Aly Maderson Quinlog begins her four-week residency at I-Park this week, thanks, in part, to a grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/Ann and George Petry Fund, Loffredo Performing Arts Fund.

The grant, which was bestowed on I-Park earlier this year, helps to underwrite the cost of a residency in the visual arts for a Middlesex County resident. Quinlog, who lives in Essex, was selected for the residency by an impartial jury of visual artists appointed by I-Park.

“I-Park has contributed to the cultural and economic life of Middlesex County since 2001,” says I-Park Executive Director Joanne Paradis. “We’re thrilled by this show of support from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, and are pleased that their generosity will allow us to nurture the career of someone as gifted as Aly.”

A native of Charleston, S.C., Quinlog received her BFA in Photography from Winthrop University and went on to receive a Post-Baccalaureate certificate in Painting from the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and a Masters in Art Education from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is exhibited in coastal Connecticut and New York City, and will be on view Sunday, October 22, from 2 to 5 p.m., as part of I-Park’s monthly Open Studios program. The event is free; for details visit i-park.org.

Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Its mission is to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds and to support local nonprofit organizations through effective grant making to address community needs. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 1,815 grants totaling more than $5.4 million to nonprofit organizations for the arts; cultural and heritage programs; educational activities; environmental improvements; and for health and human services.

Editor’s Note: I-Park is an artists-in-residence program offering fully funded four-week residencies in visual arts, architecture, moving image, music composition/sound art, creative writing and landscape/ecological design. Since its founding in 2001, I-Park has sponsored more than 850 residencies, and has developed cross-disciplinary projects of cultural significance and brought them into the public domain. Set within a 450-acre nature preserve, I-Park encourages dialogue between the natural and built environments, and has been the setting for exhibitions, performances, symposia, and programs that facilitate artistic collaboration. For more information, visit i-park.org

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In Tight Contest, Valley-Old Lyme Swim Team Ultimately Falls to H-K

On Sept. 28 at Haddam-Killingworth, the co-op swim team of Lyme-Old Lyme and Valley competed against Haddam-Killingworth. Despite a strong performance by Old Lyme-Valley, Haddam-Killingworth won the meet in the end with a score of 76 to 61.

Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme placed first in the following races:
-medley relay (Kim Beradis, Kaeleigh O’Donnell, Lily Cox, and Connie Pan)
-200 yard freestyle (Lily Cox)
-200 yard individual medley (Kaeleigh O’Donnell)
-100 yard freestyle (Connie Pan)
-500 yard freestyle (Lily Cox)
-200 yard freestyle relay (Kim Beradis, Kaeleigh O’Donnell, Lily Cox, and Connie Pan)
-100 yard backstroke (Kim Beradis)
-100 yard breaststroke (Kaeleigh O’Donnell)

Haddam-Killingworth came first in the 50 yard freestyle (Kiera Bragdon).

Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme notched second in the 50 yard freestyle (Connie Pan).

Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme divers Anna Donato and Britney Detuzzi earned Honorable Mentions in the 50 yard freestyle coming in respectively 5th and 6th.

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Region 4 Board of Education Acquires Property Adjacent to Valley Regional High School

DEEP RIVER – The Region 4 Board of Education has acquired a 34-acre parcel of land adjacent to Valley Regional High School for $350,000. The transaction closed on Aug. 31, 2017.

“This acquisition is great news for Valley Regional High School and the future of our community,” said Chris Riley, Chairman of the Region 4 Board of Education. “While there are no plans for the property at this time, the Board felt very strongly that the opportunity to acquire adjacent property was a smart investment for the future of our region.”

The Region 4 Board, consisting of three representatives from each of the towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex, voted unanimously to make the purchase. The First Selectmen in each of the towns were aware of the opportunity and all expressed their support for the acquisition. The purchase was funded with $350,000 from Region’s sinking funds, eliminating the need to bond or secure a mortgage. The sinking funds currently have a collective balance of $125,000.

For the past several years, the Region 4 Board has adopted the practice of returning 50 percent of any surplus to member towns and depositing 50 percent into sinking fund accounts. With a surplus of nearly $300,000 likely for the past school year, approximately $150,000 will be returned to the Region 4 sinking funds accounts once a final audit is completed. With regular deposits into the sinking funds, the entire purchase could be repaid
in three to five years.

The opportunity was first presented to the board in February of this year, and the board voted to direct Bruce Glowac to enter into negotiations to purchase the property. After several months of discussion with the previous owner and a substantial price reduction (the property was originally listed at $500,000), a deal was reached.

Superintendent Ruth Levy provided an update on the purchase at the September Region 4 Board meeting.

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Essex Harbor Management Commission Automates Mooring Permit Application Process

ESSEX — On Oct. 1, the Essex Harbor Management Commission will begin working exclusively with Online Mooring LLC for automating the Mooring Permit Application process, including renewals, Bushnell access storage permits and wait list requests. The new system will make the process “paperless” and more efficient.

Links to the new web based system will be available Oct. 1 through an email blast, through the Town’s web site or by connecting at onlinemooring.com, then going to Town of Essex, CT. Current permit holder information has been stored with Online Mooring to make the renewal process easier and faster. Permit holders will simply verify and/or update the information on file.

The system will handle all boat and contact information, including your state registration (or documentation) without requiring you to send in a paper copy.  Insurance certificates will also be handled electronically. Payment will be available through credit/debit card in a secure transaction.

The process has been tested by members of the Commission. Online Mooring LLC is a well established operation working with numerous harbors in the northeast.

The startup date of Oct. 1 is the normal renewal/application start for the coming year and provides a good point to initiate the simple paperless process. An eblast to current mooring permit holders will initiate the process.

Applicants for new mooring permits, as well as for Bushnell access storage permits will be placed on a wait list, pending the availability of space and review by the Harbor Master and Harbor Commission. Bushnell storage permit renewals will join the system with their eblast on March 1, 2018. Wait list renewals will join the program on April 1, 2018, following the completion of the other permit plans.

For renewing a current permit, you will receive an email on or after Oct.1 or you may go to my.onlinemooring.com/EssexCT and enter your email. The system will provide you with the current information on file. Correct or update the information, filling in any necessary blocks.

For new application, go to onlinemooring.com, Town of Essex, CT and choose whether you want to apply for a mooring permit or Bushnell storage permit.

Complete the application – red checked items must be completed. Double check your information and make sure your email address is accurate. Your insurance certificate can either be downloaded or photoed and included with your application.

Questions may be directed to the Essex Harbor Management Commission or the Harbor Master. You should make sure that your email is correctly  listed with your other information in the Harbor Commission/Harbor Master records.

Wait lists and permit holder lists are maintained by the Harbor Commission and are posted by the EHMC on the Town’s web site and at the Town Hall.

For more information, visit harbormanagementcommission@essexct.gov or harbormaster@essexct.gov

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Rep. Siegrist Pitches in to Clean Up Haddam Meadows State Park

Pictured at the Haddam Meadows State Park clean-up are, from left to right, Bob Moore, Jim Woodworth, Judy and Ed Munster, State Representative Bob Siegrist, Cheryl Czuba, Sharon Bailey, Mary Lou Heger, Amanda Yourse and Henry Graulty. Kraig Gray, Jamie Burgess and Gregory Krom (back row). Not pictured above Steve Carey.

HADDAM – State Representative Robert Siegrist (R-36) participated in the Connecticut River Conservancy’s 21st Annual Clean Up at the Haddam Meadows State Park Boat Launch with volunteers from Haddam to get rid of invasive plant species in the area.

For more information visit: https://www.ctriver.org/our-work/source-to-sea-cleanup/join-a-group/.

For a link to the video from this event visit: https://youtu.be/OeKCj68zG1A.

Editor’s Note: Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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Essex Meadows Completes Renovations to Casual Dining, Wellness Areas

ESSEX – With an emphasis on physical, social and emotional well-being, Essex Meadows has announced the completion of upgrades and renovations to its Fitness Center, as well as an expanded and remodeled Pub for more casual dining. These projects, which totaled more than $350,000, offer residents further opportunities for socialization, fitness and friendship. The majority of these capital improvements were made in the Pub, and major additions and advancements to the state-of-the-arts fitness equipment and their environs.

“We’ve expanded our wellness center with an emphasis on cross-training,” said Susan Carpenter, Director of Community Life Services at Essex Meadows, and a certified personal trainer. “We’ve doubled our cardio space and vastly increased our strength training equipment. The focus is truly on a comprehensive workout.”

New equipment includes NuStep® cross-trainers, which are designed specifically with older adults in mind, along with other compatible and complimentary senior-focused physical fitness apparatus.

David Reynolds, Director of Food and Beverage at Essex Meadows, says a similar line of thinking went into expanding and improving the casual dining venue.

“The resident population is constantly changing, and our newer residents are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle.  Many prefer a less staid approach to their dining experience, and want more excitement in the food and drink offerings.  We have taken underutilized space and incorporated it into our existing relaxed-dining zone.  At the same time, we recreated the menu in the Pub to provide expanded selections with an emphasis on creativity and bold flavors.” he said.

To bolster this renaissance, David has added a modest, yet wide-ranging wine list along with fresh and locally brewed beers on-tap.  The success of this expansion is witnessed by the capacity seating at most lunches.

“The Baby Boomers who are retiring in record numbers don’t want to dress formally for meals like earlier generations,” he said.  “What we’ve got here is precisely what today’s, and probably tomorrow’s seniors are looking for,” quipping further, “What other retirement community offers a hot lobster roll and cold draft beer every day?”

Editor’s Note: Since 1988, Essex Meadows has provided a lifestyle of dignity, freedom, independence and security to older adults from Connecticut and beyond. A community offering full lifecare, Essex Meadows, located conveniently near the Connecticut River, prides itself on having a financially responsible and caring atmosphere. Essex Meadows is managed by Life Care Services®, a leading provider in lifecare, retirement living. For more information on Essex Meadows, visit the community’s website or call 860-767-7201.

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Musical Masterworks, Community Music School Announce Scholarship Recipient

From left to right, Alden Murphy and Abigail Nickell stand with Musical Masterworks scholarship winner Giovanna Parnoff at the piano.

AREAWIDE — Musical Masterworks and Community Music School are pleased to announce the recipient of the first Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas.

Giovanna Parnoff, already an accomplished pianist and exceptional sixth grade student from Old Lyme, was presented with the scholarship by Alden Murphy, President of Musical Masterworks and Abigail Nickell, Executive Director of Community Music School.

“We are so pleased to honor Nancy’s memory with an award to one of her very own students, in partnership with another of her most beloved arts organizations.’ said Nickell.  Nancy Thomas was a devoted staff member of Musical Masterworks for nearly 25 years.   “It is particularly fortuitous that Giovanna, as a life-long student of Nancy Thomas, is the first winner of this scholarship; we couldn’t be more pleased,” added Murphy.

Giovanna has attended The Community Music School since she was six months old. She discovered her love of music through Kindermusik and Kate’s Camp programs and eventually started individual piano instruction under the tutelage of Nancy Thomas at the age of 3.

She has received perfect scores at the New London Piano Festival organized by the Middlesex/New London Chapter of the Connecticut State Music Teacher’s Association. Giovanna is a member of Mensa and Intertel, two high IQ societies and was recently inducted into the Junior Mensa Honor Society for her academic performance, leadership skills and volunteerism/community service.

Giovanna has been accepted into Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, Stanford University’s Gifted and Talented Program, and Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. She is a competitive foil fencer, and has been coached for six years by the Fencer’s School of CT.

Giovanna is an award-winning poet, having seen her work published in “The Mensa Bulletin” and “The Young American Poetry Digest.” She lives in Old Lyme with her parents, Dr. John Parnoff and Ms. Monique Heller, and her younger sister, Mattea, who is also a piano student at The Community Music School.

The Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas provides the tuition for a middle school student to take music lessons, 30 minutes each, for one full year at Community Music School.  The scholarship will be awarded annually for the next four years.  To be eligible, the candidate must be a student of classical voice or instrumental music and reside in Middlesex County or New London County.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34-year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call 860.767.0026.

Musical Masterworks brings to Southern New England world-class chamber music performances and outreach programs which attract, entertain, and educate a diverse audience. Now planning its 27th season, Musical Masterworks offers five weekends of performances from October through May in Old Lyme.  Learn more by visiting www.musicalmasterworks.org or by calling 860.434.2252.

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Essex Garden Club Announces Officers for 2017-2018


ESSEX —
Officers for the Essex Garden Club for 2017-2018 are Barbara Burgess, president, 1st VP Augie Pampel, 2nd VP, MyLan Sarner, Recording Secretary, Betsy Godsman, Corresponding Secretary Phyllis Graf, Treasurer , Patricia Mather and Assistant Treasurer is Barbara Muhlfelder.
In her opening remarks at the September meeting, Burgess said that the focus of the Essex Garden Club this year will be on enhancing each member’s floral design skills. These design principles will be applied when the Garden Club decorates the town’s window boxes and planters for the holidays.
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‘Junior Souls Yoga Program’ Starts in Old Saybrook for Youth, Grades 4-8

OLD SAYBROOK — Working with the Old Saybrook Parks and Recreation department, Saybrook Soul Sweat will be running an eight week long after school program, Junior Souls Yoga Program (JSYP), for grades 4 – 8.  The program will be held at the Recreation Center Gym every Monday beginning Sept. 18, from 2:45 to 4 p.m.

A description of the program states, “Yoga is a practice that exercises your body on a physical, emotional, and mental level; the younger we can get kids practicing, the better prepared they will be for the world as they progress. Junior Souls Yoga Program is a weekly, 60-minute practice that is derived from the vinyasa style of yoga, but with a New Age twist.

Instead of teaching students to sit down and meditate, JSYP uses the philosophy that to work into a meditation of the mind, you first must physically work out your body. Combining a youthful, energetic series of postures with fast tempo, upbeat pop music, JSYP gets kids moving and grooving for 45 minutes, followed by a 15-minute meditation.

The junction of physical fitness with positive mindfulness is a great way to teach kids poses, self-empowerment, stress relief, and healthy living.”

Junior Souls Yoga Program is instructed by Courtney Brooks, a 200-hour registered yoga teacher in Vinyasa yoga. Brooks has been practicing yoga for six years and teaching full-time for over one year, with experience teaching yoga to children at Corpus Christi in Wethersfield, CT, and developing a yoga program with the Hartford Police Athletic League throughout various schools in Hartford, CT.

The Saybrook Soul Sweat studio will open for business Oct. 14.

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Essex Democrats Announce Party Platform For 2017 Municipal Elections

Essex Democrats have again endorsed incumbent First Selectman Norman Needleman as their candidate for the same position in November.

ESSEX — Rejecting divisive politics and continuing a bi-partisan approach to solving problems is the cornerstone of the platform announced today in a press release by First Selectman Norm Needleman and Brian Cournoyer, Chairman of The Essex Democratic Town Committee.

“Towns throughout the state look to Essex as a model for best management practices. Under Norm’s and Stacia Rice-Libby’s leadership over the past six years, taxes are among the lowest in the state, yet we deliver high quality services and excellent schools,” Cournoyer said.

Needleman said that the collaborative, non-partisan approach to government will continue if he and running mate Stacia Rice-Libby are re-elected.

“First, and perhaps most important, we reject toxic partisan politics. Instead, we value and encourage independent thinking and inclusive dialogue that lead to real-world solutions,” Needleman said.

“Second, we will continue to manage our town with emphasis on fiscal responsibility. Essex operates in contrast to the dysfunction in Hartford. We have balanced our town budget every year I have been in office. Our budget policies have kept Essex self-reliant, while maintaining property taxes lower than 87% of the municipalities in our state.”

Libby added focusing on economic growth is another important area of focus.

“An essential element is support for the business community. Essex is home to over 700 businesses, and that number is growing. We have reduced regulations and simplified processes in the past six years, and it is essential that we sustain our policy of eliminating barriers to success,” Libby said, adding that streamlining and optimizing land use regulations will be critical for retaining and attracting local companies.

“Another vital element in our plan for the next two years is support for the robust volunteer base in our town,” Needleman said, “Municipal government, quality of life, and social services have evolved in Essex to become a partnership among elected officials, volunteer organizations, and dedicated individual volunteers. That partnership defines life in our town, and we will continue supporting the volunteers who support us.”

Needleman said if re-elected he will continue to fight the proliferation of unfunded state mandates.

“Your vote for our bipartisan slate of candidates on November 7 is vital to keeping Essex moving in the right direction,” Cournoyer said.

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Brian Cournoyer invites all Essex voters to learn more about the candidates by visiting the Essex Democratic Town Committee website/Facebook page at: essexdems.com.  The candidates will also be available to discuss issues and ideas at neighborhood meet-and-greet gatherings throughout the campaign.

Essex Democratic Candidates

  • First Selectman/Selectwoman: Norm Needleman/ Stacia Rice-Libby
  • Town Treasurer: Jim Francis
  • Tax Collector: Megan Haskins
  • Essex BOE: Loretta McCluskey
  • Region 4 BOE: Kate Sandmann
  • BOF: Ethan Goller
  • BOF : Keith Crehan
  • Board Assessment Appeals: Mark Bombaci
  • Town Clerk: Joel Marzi
  • Judge Of Probate: Jeannine Lewis
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A La Carte: Incredible Cookies Combine Caramel and Chocolate

At the end of my spacious, galley-like kitchen, there is a bay window under which is a window seat that holds all my somewhat heavy, counter-type appliances. These include two Cuisinart (one a big one, one a little one), a Ninja Pro that purees faster than a blink of one’s eye, a big Crock-Pot, two grinders, a machine that turns water into carbonated drinks and a blender. In the back is an industrial-grade Bernzomatic to make crème brulee. (What? You don’t have one? Really?)

What has been missing for almost three weeks is the biggest of my tiara of gadgets: my KitchenAid mixer. It is about 10-years-old and a new one costs around $600.

At some point, the arm that holds the bowl had become stuck. Nothing I did would make it go up and down. As the diagnostician, I figured out what was wrong and looked at YouTube to see if I could fix it. It would have involved taking the head off, removing the engine, taking off the arm and buying the plastic part that was broken.

Were I able to do this, it involved about 16 screws. I am sure I would have lost many of them. So I called KitchenAid who were of little help.

Finally, HomeAdvisor gave me the name of a man in Rhode Island. He sounded lovely on the phone, so I drove the monster to his house in Central Falls. A few days later, he called and told me what was wrong. I gave him the go-ahead. A week and $166 later, my baby is back.

By the way, my diagnosis was wrong.

I am now a happy camper. I am hoping this will last for another 10 to 20 years. My aunt had one when she got married, in 1934. When she died, in 1995, I gave it to my friend Marilyn Whiney. She still uses it.

What did I make first? I doubled the recipe for a cookie that called for the muscles of a weight lifter or, in my case, my KitchenAid.

Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Martha Stewart Living, September, 2017, page 76

Yield: 12 cookies

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 and one-half cups packed light brown sugar
One-half cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Three-quarter teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into one-half inch pieces
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (1 whole bag)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
24 caramels, such as Kraft, halved

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with racks on top and middle. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter; beat on medium speed until combined but some pea-size butter chunks remain. Add chocolate chips and beat until combined, then beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.

Line two baking sheets with parchment (I use Silpat instead.) Scoop dough into 4-ounce balls (each about one-half cu), make a deep, wide hollow in each center. Enclose 3 pieces of caramel in each; roll back into a ball. Place 6 balls on each sheet. Freeze 15 minutes.

Bake, with one sheet on each rack, 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, swap sheet positions and bake until centers are almost but not completely set (press gently on tops with your fingers to check), 7 to 10 minutes more. Remove from oven. Bang sheets on a counter a few times to create cracks on tops of cookies. Place sheets on a wire rack; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘The Tide’ by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

A present from a New Hampshire daughter, The Tide is a delightful, entertaining, and thought-provoking mix of lucid, often poetic, language with numerous literary quotations plus detailed scientific explanations of the tides that embellish our lives on this earth. It is Aldersey-Williams’s thought-experiment.

It is also his history of the oceanic tides, mixed with a bit of mathematics. But not more than you can handle. As he notes, “You may be relieved to know that I will leave the mathematics aside here.” And, given that many tell us the world’s tides are soon to be much higher, this is a most worthwhile book.

It is, as he states, “not a book about the sea” (sailors, ships, and winds), but rather a book “about the seas” and the ever-changing space between land and water. The tide, he explains, “offers an irresistible mathematical tease” as we attempt to understand and predict it. It is both a horizontal and a vertical force. That is a “scientific challenge” and “a physical; and psychological influence on our culture.” The classic story of King Canute’s (or Cnut, as the author spells it) attempt to stem the tide may have altered the English view of nobility.

This is the author’s story of watching tides around the world, from the English Channel to, of all places, Griswold Point on the Connecticut River, with a cousin, David Redfield. Tides are entrancing: they give us slow, relative motion that produces a “hallucinatory feeling.” Water is, after all, “an inelastic fluid (that) cannot be compressed or expanded.” I too have been mesmerized: by the 10-foot tides in Tenants Harbor, Maine; by the rising waters in Bosham, West Sussex, England, that regularly swamp cars in the local bar’s parking lot; and by the rushing tidal currents in the Straits of Shimonoseki, between Honshu and Kyushu, Japan, through which we once sent our Navy ship (at slack water, of course!)

He acknowledges the inevitability of climate change and global warming, and the fact they will lead to rising seas: “The greatest impact of rising sea levels and the changing tides that may accompany them will be on human habitation.” After all, we easily succumb to the human drive to cling to shores. “In the long term, if not the short, ‘managed retreat’ is our only option. The sea always wins in the end.”

Trying to ‘stop the sea? “It is a futility that Sisyphus would understand all too well.” So New York is a potential Venice … and New London too!

But do not be deterred by such pessimism. The Tide is full of rich, poetic language, as in this description of birds above the sea: “Once aloft, the birds first coalesce as an egg-shaped cloud low over the water, before gaining height and taking on ever more extravagant, twisted shapes like a pixelated flamenco dancer.”

It is enough to send me down to the end of Ely’s Ferry Road to watch the Connecticut River slip by the marshes of Essex.

Editor’s Note: ‘The Tide’ by Hugh Aldersey-Williams was published by W. W. Norton, New York 2016.

Felix Kloman

About 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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Siegrist Attends RSD 17 Convocation

State Rep. Bob Siegrist addressed RSD 17’s Convocation on Aug. 29

AREAWIDE — On Tuesday, Aug. 29, State Rep. Robert Siegrist was joined by the Superintendent of School, Howard J. Thiery III along with administrators and school staff in attending the RSD17 District Convocation held at Haddam-Killingworth High School.

The event signified the official start of the 2017 school year and included special events like staff recognition, as well as opportunities to bring together all staff and administrators as a community of professionals.

Rep. Siegrist, a Haddam-Killingworth High School graduate class of 2001 said, “Investing in our schools and our students is a benefit to the entire 36th district community, and I was happy to attend this kickoff to the 2017 school year. The future of our children begins with a quality education and I am so grateful for our dedicated staff and thankful for all that they do to ensure that our students succeed.”

“I wish the students and staff a successful school year and if the kids need anything that they could reach out to me,” Rep. Siegrist added.

Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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Deep River Public Library to Join Bibliomation

Deep River Library building at 150 Main Street, Deep River

DEEP RIVER — Coming in October, the Deep River Public Library will be joining Bibliomation, Connecticut’s largest library consortium. This is exciting news for our patrons, who will gain access to materials from a network of 82 libraries.

Deep River patrons will benefit from sharing technology and resources, including the ease of placing online holds and reserving items from within the consortium of libraries, some of which are large enough to have specialized collections.

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

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Middlesex Hospice & Palliative Care Seeks New Volunteers

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

Training is held on Saturday, Oct. 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the same time on Oct. 28. Both sessions are mandatory. The program is especially in need of male volunteers and Veterans.

The unit is specifically looking for individuals who would like to work in homecare and nursing homes visiting patients.

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

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