July 24, 2016

Enjoy Opera Favorites at Free ‘Opera in the Park’ in Saybrook, Sunday Evening

Opera_at_the_Park

OLD SAYBROOK – Salt Marsh Opera’s free concert, “Opera in the Park,” will take place on Sunday, July 24 (rain date July 25) at 6:30 p.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green adjacent to the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main St.

World famous singers – tenor Brian Cheney and soprano Sarah Callinan – with accompanist Elena Zamolodchikova will sing opera favorites.

Grab your friends and family, picnic blankets and lawn chairs and get ready for a mesmerizing evening under a canopy of stars.  Arrive early for best seating. The concert will conclude at 8 p.m.

Opera in the Park is sponsored by State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development and anonymous friends of Salt Marsh Opera residing in the Lower Connecticut River Valley.
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Join the Mad Hatter’s (Fundraising) Garden Party at Deep River Library, Sunday

MadHatterDEEP RIVER – The Deep River Public Library’s 2nd Annual Mad Hatter’s Garden Party will be held on Sunday, July 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. on the library lawn. There will be hors d’oeuvres, light refreshments, live music, good conversation and a teacup auction. A prize will be awarded for the best hat.

Tickets to this event are $25. All funding benefits the library garden and grounds.

For more information, call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours.
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Newly Designed Marine Room Opens at Stone House Museum in Deep River

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

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

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

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

View_of_Marine_Room

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

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

Along_DR_Waterfront

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

Stone_House_Museum

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

Visits to the Stone House are encouraged to view the new exhibit and also the many other interesting items on display.

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

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

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

For further information, call 860-526-1449.

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Talking Transportation: America’s Mass Transit Mecca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Letter to the Editor: Writer Names Miller ‘Newspeak’ Prize Winner for ‘Capitol Update 2016’

To the Editor:

One of my favorite books of all time is ‘1984’, by George Orwell. The protagonist of the novel works for the Ministry of Truth. It is responsible for historical revisionism, using ‘Newspeak’. The historical record always supports the party line.

I award Representative Phil Miller, the Winner of the Newspeak Prize for ‘Capitol Update 2016’. A mailing to 36th District households (Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam) authored by him. His mailing among other Newspeak items, ” no withdrawals from the Rainy Day Fund” which was emptied by a withdrawal of approximately $315 million to close the fiscal year 2015-2016 deficit, earned consideration. However, what catapulted him to First Prize was his Newspeak, that the budget fully funds past Pension Liabilities. While I grant him that these liabilities are always estimates, due to interest of bond earnings and the liabilities have been estimated worse than this in the past five years. He must be content with 2015 estimates. The total underfunding of the State’s pension liabilities is estimated to be at least $26 Billion. Given that the total State of Connecticut Budget is $20 billion, it is impossible to proclaim these past pension liabilities as fully funded. Wow, what a fine example of historical revisionism. I truly hope this matter comes up at the one debate between he and the candidate who is running against him, Bob Siegrist. But, alas, that can only happen if a question concerning this is selected.

I know Bob Siegrist very well, having worked for him during the last election to represent the 36th District. I have also attended a few meetings to discuss the State Budget with him and a few other State Representatives from the area. The Pension Liabilities were discussed before the mailing, and that is why the fully funding caught my eye. Bob Siegrist will never win the Newspeak Prize. He simply can’t speak Newspeak. He examines the Budget, researches the issues his constituents ask about and unfailingly speaks the facts, as much as is humanly possible. I will vote for Bob Siegrist in November because I appreciate knowing the facts and not Newspeak.

Sincerely,

Lynn Herlihy,
Essex.

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Connecticut River Artisans Making a Move to Essex, New Store Opens Aug. 1

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

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

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

They will close their Chester shop at 4 Water St. at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, and reopen at their location at 55 Main St., Essex on Monday, Aug. 1.

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

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

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State Senate Candidate Needleman is First to Reach Fundraising Goal

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

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

AREAWIDE — Democratic State Senate candidate Norm Needleman, who is running in the 33rd District, announced today that his campaign has reached the fundraising requirements needed to qualify for public financing in compliance with the Citizens’ Election Program. Needleman is the first to qualify for such financing in the 33rd District race.

“Since I began this campaign I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support,” said Norm Needleman. “Every day I meet more and more residents of the 33rd District who are ready to fix Hartford and bring a non-partisan, business approach to our state government. I am proud to have their support.”

Norm For Senate raised over $16,390 from 364 individual contributors, with 319 of those contributors coming from one of the 12 towns in the 33rd State Senate District (Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook). The campaign far outraised the required totals of $15,000 from 300 donors residing in the District.

Making good on fulfilling his promise to run a clean campaign without the influence of special interests, Needleman refused to accept donations from lobbyists. None of the 300-plus donors to the campaign are lobbyists.

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, an Essex-based manufacturing business that employs over 200 people, most of whom are local to the District. He also serves as First Selectman of Essex.

“Norm’s solution-focused, business-empowering message is really resonating throughout the twelve towns of the 33rd district,” said Campaign Manager Kevin Coughlin. “There’s a real groundswell around his candidacy from citizens across the spectrum.”

The Citizens’ Election Program is a voluntary system of public campaign financing that is designed to encourage citizen participation and limit the role of private money in politics.  The program was created under former Republican Governor Jodi Rell, after her predecessor, John Rowland, resigned amid corruption allegations. To qualify, candidates must raise small qualifying contributions and agree to adhere to spending limits and disclosure requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attorney James P. Berryman

Attorney James P. Berryman

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

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

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America’s Roots and Diversity Shine at Deep River Muster

Pipers_in_step

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

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

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

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

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

Three_drummers_big_drums

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

Drummers

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

Pipers

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

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

Young_pipers&drummers

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

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

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30th Anniversary of Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival, July 30; Evening Kick-off Concert with Braiden Sunshine, July 29

The crowd settles in to enjoy the Friday night concert at the Florence Griswold Museum.

The crowd settles in to enjoy the Friday night concert at the Florence Griswold Museum.

The 30th anniversary of the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival, a summertime favorite for thousands that has now become a signature event in the lower Connecticut River Valley, takes place Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30. The event opens with a Kickoff Concert Friday, July 29, and follows up with daytime festivities Saturday, July 30, on Lyme Street in the historic Old Lyme village center. The Festival promotes the arts, music, and culture, drawing on Old Lyme’s history as a home to a number of artists including those in the original Lyme Art Colony.

Art exhibitions, art demonstrations, and musical performances are just part of the celebration, with specialty shopping, children’s activities, and a wide variety of food vendors rounding out the offerings.

The Midsummer Festival was first held in 1986 as a way to celebrate the local arts during the height of the summer season. Jeff Andersen, Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, approached institutional neighbors including the Lyme Art Association, the Bee & Thistle Inn, the Old Lyme Inn, and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, to provide a festival that included art shows, a “Stars and Stripes” concert, artist demonstrations and a “Turn of the Century Fair” complete with lawn games and a Victorian ice cream cart.

Now in its 30th year, the Midsummer Festival has 13 community partners, including the Town of Old Lyme. “Even as the festival has grown in visitation and offerings, it has stayed true to its mission of highlighting the cultural identity of Old Lyme,” notes Florence Griswold Museum Director Jeff Andersen. “There is always a great mix of new events with everyone’s favorites.”

Visitors to this year’s festival will find perennial festival favorites including art sales, hands-on activities for children, a dog show, and musical performances, while enjoying new offerings including a vendor market by the Chamber of Commerce, a fashion show in a sculpture garden and a guided tour of the Town Hall’s art collection.  A full schedule of events and list of vendors can be found at OldLymeMidsummerFestival.com

Friday, July 29 festivities

Old Lyme's own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the Festival's free Kick-off Concert at the Florence Griswold Museum on Friday, July 29.

Old Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the Festival’s free Kick-off Concert at the Florence Griswold Museum on Friday, July 29.

The traditional kickoff concert takes place Friday, July 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Florence Griswold Museum. This year’s concert features The Voice sensation 16-year old singer/song writer Braiden Sunshine and his band Silver Hammer. With a national following as a semi-finalist on Season 9 of NBC’s The Voice, Sunshine brings to the stage his version of much-loved rock classics as well as his own original compositions.

Visitors can find their spot on the lawn along the Lieutenant River and enjoy an evening of free music. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner or purchase food from Rough House Food Truck and NoRA Cupcake Truck, both on-site for the evening. The concert is sponsored by All Pro Tire Automotive and the Graybill Family.

Prior to the concert, the Florence Griswold Museum is open for free from 5 to 7 p.m. Visitors can enjoy the summer exhibition, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement and tour the historic Florence Griswold boardinghouse.

Saturday, July 30 festivities

There's always a vast array of flowers, fruit and vegetables at the 'En Plein Air' market on Saturday at the Florence Griswold Museum.

There’s always a vast array of flowers, fruit and vegetables at the ‘En Plein Air’ market on Saturday at the Florence Griswold Museum.

On Saturday, June 30, the festival spans 11 locations along Lyme Street, the heart of Old Lyme’s historic district – the Florence Griswold Museum, the Lyme Art Association, the Old Lyme Inn, the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven, Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds, the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce vendor fair at 77 Lyme Street, the Old Lyme Historical Society, Patricia Spratt for the Home, the “Plein Air Fence Painters” on Center School lawn, Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall, Inc., and the Old Lyme-PGN Library.

Festival Partner High Hopes Therapeutic Riding will be at the Museum’s site providing an educational, equine-themed arts and crafts children’s activity. Festival Partner Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau will be the host site for a morning 5K run.

Sponsors of the Festival include premium sponsors Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Pasta Vita, Inc., and Yale New Haven Health/Yale New Haven Hospital. Media sponsors include The Day Publishing Company and Shoreline Web News, LLC, publisher of LymeLine.com and ValleyNewsNow.com.

Enjoy the artwork of the 'Plein Air' artists in front of Center School.

Enjoy the artwork of the ‘Plein Air’ artists in front of Center School.

Each location will offer a variety of events and activities. In addition to art exhibitions and art sales at six of the locations, food vendors and specialty food trucks will provide a wide-range of options at each location. Artisans will market their wares at locations including the OL-PGN Library, the Chamber of Commerce vendor market, and the traditional French-styled market and artisan fair at the Florence Griswold Museum. New partner Patricia Spratt for the Home will offer its popular warehouse sale of table linens and pillows.

Children’s activities are a popular way for families to stop and enjoy the festival offerings, and can be enjoyed at multiple locations. There will be musical performances at the Chamber’s music stage, Lyme Academy and at the Old Lyme Inn where Mass-Conn-Fusion will perform with refreshments for sale under the tent.

New events this year include a fashion show by Hygienic Art resident artist Susan Hickman and acclaimed designer Anna Lucas at Studio 80, tours of Town Hall’s art collection, weaving demonstrations at the Old Lyme Historical Society, a visit from Rey to meet future Jedi-in-training at the OL-PGN Library, and a display of snakes and turtles by Linda Krulikowski (known as Old Lyme’s “Snake Lady”) at the Lyme Art Association.

Meet the oxen from Cranberry Meadow Farm on the lawn of the Lyme Art Association.

Meet the oxen from Cranberry Meadow Farm on the lawn of the Lyme Art Association.

Art demonstrations including sculpture and painting will take place throughout the day at Lyme Academy. Details and times for special events including a dog talent show, and an impressive roster of musical performances throughout the day can be found at www.OldLymeMidsummerFestival.com.

Most activities begin at 9 a.m. and continue through 4 p.m. Parking is available at Old Lyme Marketplace (46 Halls Rd.), Florence Griswold Museum (special festival parking entrance at 5 Halls Rd.), and the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (69 Lyme St.) Two shuttle buses run between these locations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit  www.OldLymeMidsummerFestival.com.

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Blockbuster ‘RENT’ Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse, Aug. 3

Rent
IVORYTON —  Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical RENT opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Wednesday, Aug. 3, running until Aug. 28.

Loosely based on Puccini’s opera, La Boheme, RENT details one year in the life of seven artists and musicians, living in New York’s run down “Alphabet City” in the late 1980s.  As this circle of friends struggle with life, love, infidelity, and the usual hopes & fears of modern day life, they must also cope with drug addiction and the rising specter of AIDS.  In the midst of all this, one of them attempts to capture all of their lives on film, hoping to make artistic sense of it all.

Jonathan Larson died in 1996, the day before his musical opened in New York. He never witnessed its phenomenal success. RENT opened on Broadway on April 29, 1996. It went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

RENT closed after 5,124 performances and is the seventh longest running show in Broadway history.  Over the course of its groundbreaking 12-year New York run, RENT transformed the definition of musical theater – and changed Broadway forever.  The musical has been translated into every major language and been performed on six continents.

The Ivoryton Playhouse welcomes back returning actors Jamal Shuriah*, Sheniquah Trotman*, Collin Howard*, Tim Russell and Grant Benedict as well as Johnny Newcomb*, Alyssa Gomez*, Patrick Clanton*, Jonny Cortes, Maritza Bostic, Stephanie Genito, Ronnie S. Bowman, Jr, Mac Cherny, Sandra Lee, Josephine Gottfried

This production is directed by Ivoryton Playhouse Artistic / Executive Director Jacqueline Hubbard and is choreographed by Todd Underwood.  Musical director is Michael Morris, with set design by Martin Scott Marchitto, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Lisa Bebey.

After Larson’s death and the amazing success of his musical, his friends wanted to honor his commitment to his community of people whose lives are a daily struggle for survival. They set aside the first two rows at each performance as $20 seats so that the people the show was about could afford to see it. These special tickets would go on sale at 6 p.m. each night and the line usually formed by noon on weekdays and often 24 hours in advance on weekends. In honor of Jonathan Larson and the community that we serve, the Ivoryton Playhouse will save 20 seats for every performance at a $25 price. Those seats will be available after 6 p.m. every show day.

If you are interested in helping support this program or our Little Wonder program that provides a free night at the theatre for patients and their families dealing with the nightmare of cancer, please give Krista a call at 860 767 9520 ext 205.

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.  Due to popular demand, two additional Saturday matinee performances have been added on Aug. 20 and 27 – both at 2 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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Nibbles: Savor This Sweet Summer Surprise — Coconut Pineapple Poke Cake

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

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

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

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

Coconut Pineapple Poke Cake

From Pil Publishing International, Ltd.

Yield: 10 to 15 servings

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

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

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

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

1 cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained

Method:

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

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Eversource Offers Service to Identify Where Cooled Air May Leak From Your Home

air-leak-in-house-wasted-energyAREAWIDE — With summer underway, many of us are trying to wrap up home improvement projects so that we can kick back and relax when we have time off. However, as you are finishing up these projects, don’t forget about making sure that the cool air you’ll be paying for this summer stays in your home.

We all know that air can escape under a door and through leaky windows. But did you know that it can also leak through less obvious places like ductwork, outlets, attic entrances, recessed lights and moldings?

Beyond driving up energy costs, air leaks can affect your home’s durability, comfort and overall indoor environment. According to the Department of Energy, air movement is the reason most water vapor problems appear within a home or building. From mold growth and poor air quality to structural damage, we all probably have or know someone who has experienced the negative effects of moisture in a home.

One of the most effective ways residents of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook can check this off their to-do list is to sign up for Home Energy Solutions℠ (HES) and address those areas where conditioned air is leaking out of your home head-on. For $99.00, an Eversource-authorized contractor will come to your home or apartment, identify the areas that need caulk and foam and make the repairs on the spot.  While every home has different needs, the professional air sealing alone is worth an average of about $600.

The expert will also evaluate your home’s overall efficiency performance and fix additional problems, like inefficient lighting, hot water pipe insulation and water flow from faucets and showerheads. Then they will provide you with a customized plan with other efficiency recommendations, valuable rebates and financing options to help you save energy, money and keep your home comfortable.

HES is an easy process that will not only help you save energy and money long-term, but will help your community be greener and also stay warmer this winter.

Between 2012 and 2015, all four towns took the pledge and have been active participants in Clean Energy Communities (CEC), the nationally-recognized Energize Connecticut program that help cities and towns save energy and increase the installation of renewable energy. Eversource is currently working with each one to reach CEC program goals and reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018.

In each town, homeowners and renters that participate in HES can help earn a grant, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. These “Bright Idea Grants” can be used on a community-selected energy saving project, like the installation of an electric car charging station at town hall or new LED lighting for a school.

To sign up for HES, visit EnergizeCT.com or call 877-WISE-USE (877-947-3873).

Editor’s Note: This column was submitted by Eversource and written by Eversource’s energy efficiency expert, Enoch Lenge.

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

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

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker (Photo from ConnDOT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lyn Philistine (Ivoryton Playhouse photo)

Lyn Philistine (Ivoryton Playhouse photo)

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

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

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

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

Christopher Sutton (Ivoryton Playhouse photo)

Christopher Sutton (Ivoryton Playhouse photo)

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Essex Historical Society Expands “Walking Weekend,” July 29, 30 & 31 

Ivoryton Library. All photos courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Ivoryton Library. All photos courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Combining the outdoors and history, Essex Historical Society (EHS) expands its popular outdoor program, “Walking Weekend,” on July 29, 30 and 31.  The event features three different walking tours within the Town of Essex in which attendees enjoy an easy stroll along the Town’s historic streets learning about the major industries, structures and personalities that shaped the area.  EHS’s trained, knowledgeable guides will lead an hour+ long tour over fairly level, paved terrain, covering three centuries of history.   For the first time, this year’s Walking Weekend will feature a guided walking tour of Ivoryton Village, led by former Town Historian Chris Pagliuco.

On July 29 at 7 p.m., the first tour will meet at Ivoryton Library, 106 Main Street, Ivoryton, for an in-depth look at this historic village, from its beginnings as a company town surrounding the Comstock-Cheney Co., the stories of 19th century immigration, the striking examples of Victorian architecture and its unique cultural attractions that continue to this day. 

The Pratt Smithy.

The Pratt Smithy.

On July 30 at 1 p.m., the second tour will meet at the Pratt House, 19 West Avenue, Essex, for a trip down West Ave. and Prospect Street to explore the histories behind the structures of “Pound Hill” including several 19th century churches, Hills Academy, the Old Firehouse and more.  Attendees are also welcome to tour the historic 1732 Pratt House, the town’s only historic house museum. 

The Rose Store.

The Rose Store.

On July 31 at 7 p.m., the final tour will meet at the Foot of Main Street, Essex, for a trip down Main Street in Essex Village to capture the rich maritime history of 18th century “Potapaug,” its working waterfront and ship-building prominence in the early 19th century as well as its development as a beautiful visitor destination of today. 

Essex Historical Society is committed to fulfilling its mission of engaging and inspiring the community in the three villages of Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton.  Looking ahead, EHS hopes to expand its 2017 Walking Weekend to include a walking tour of Centerbrook.

Each tour is $5 per person and is open to the general public; free to members of EHS.  Admission helps support the educational and cultural programming of Essex Historical Society.  For more information, please visit www.essexhistory.org or call (860) 767-0681. 

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Essex Zoning Commission Approves New Restaurant in Centerbrook Section of Town

30 Main Street, Centerbrook

30 Main Street, Centerbrook

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

During the discussion, Shipman noted the apartments would be a better residential use near the railroad than owned condominiums, and suggested the requirements of the affordable housing statute limited the panel’s ability to control some aspects of the project, including density and building height. The sewage disposal system for the three building complex must be approved by the state Department of Public Health.
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Shoreline “Stuff-the-Ambulance” Drive Collects Over 3,000 Pounds of Food

Volunteers from the Chester and Deep River Ambulance Companies at the June 11 food drive at the Deep River Adams Market. They were joined by Ambulance Companies from Essex, Madison and Clinton holding food drives at other locations.

Volunteers from the Chester and Deep River Ambulance Companies at the June 11 food drive at the Deep River Adams Market. They were joined by Ambulance Companies from Essex, Madison and Clinton holding food drives at other locations.

AREAWIDE – Five area ambulance companies across the shoreline held food drives at local supermarkets on Saturday, June 11, challenging residents to “stuff” their ambulances with food for Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP). Shoppers responded generously, and in total gave over 3,000 pounds of non-perishable food. Supporters also donated over $860, which will provide enough food for over 2,200 meals. Volunteers from five ambulance companies participated, including Essex, Chester, Deep River, Madison and Clinton. Once “stuffed,” the ambulances delivered the food to SSKP’s food pantries, where the volunteers helped unload the food and restock the pantry shelves.

“We are so grateful to the Ambulance Companies from Essex, Chester, Deep River, Madison and Clinton for generously volunteering their time,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director of SSKP. “Every day they provide life-saving medical care – and now they are giving back even more to help others. We are also very thankful to all those who donated both food and funds. Often there are fewer food drives during the summer months, and this will really make a difference in the lives of families along the shoreline who are struggling.”

Held at Colonial Market in Essex, Stop & Shop in Clinton, Adams Hometown Market in Deep River and Roberts Food Center in Madison, the dedicated volunteers from each ambulance company worked together to make the drive a huge success.

“It’s just another way we can work together to help the people in need,” said Steve Olsen with the Essex Ambulance Association, adding that he hopes this will become an annual tradition.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving 11 shoreline towns. Founded 27 years ago, they accomplish their mission with the help of over 900 dedicated volunteers. Last year SSKP provided food for over one million meals to over 8,000 local residents in need.

 

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Ann Carl Receives “Making A Difference” Award from Essex Congregational Church

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The First Congregational Church in Essex presented its “Making A Difference” Award to Valley Regional High School graduated senior Ann E. Carl of Chester (front row center) at a recent ceremony at the church. Family and members of the church’s Justice and Witness Committee who gathered for the award announcement are: (front row L-R) committee member Delcie McGrath of Essex, parents Elizabeth Carl and Joseph Carl of Chester; committee member Mary-Lawrence Bickford of Essex; (back L-R) church pastor Rev. Ken Peterkin, and committee members Emily Williams of Essex, Sharyn Nelson of Ivoryton and Mike Hennessy of East Lyme.

ESSEX – The First Congregational Church of Essex, UCC has presented its “Making A Difference” Award to Ann E. Carl, a graduated senior from Valley Regional High School.

Sponsored by the Justice and Witness Committee of the church, the $1,000 “Making A Difference” award is given to a senior at Valley Regional High School whose actions continue to challenge those ideas and practices that result in the exclusion of others. These can be small actions: an effort to connect groups or individuals with different ideas and different experiences, acts of inclusiveness, a community project or school activity that unites people in a positive cause or attempts to seek out individuals needing support.

The daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Carl of Chester, award recipient Annie is taking a “Gap Year” to travel and work in Ecuador, the Western United States and South Africa. The “Making A Difference” Award will go towards her fundraising for those efforts.

During her years at VRHS, Annie was a member of the National Honor Society and was active in soccer, track, the Interact Club and the Steering Committee. She has helped to raise funds for “Sharing To Learn,” a non-profit to help the village of Makuleke, South Africa; “CT Brain Freeze,” a polar plunge held by the National Brain Tumor Society; and a soccer game to promote awareness of pediatric cancer.

Other projects that Annie was involved in during her student career include “Tap Is Back Campaign/Chester Cares Initiative” to promote reusable water bottles; “Simply Smiles” Mission Trip to South Dakota to work on the Cheyenne Sioux Reservation; ICVR Radio, promoting accomplishments of local high school students; and a Hiking Sunday to encourage teens to exercise outdoors.

 

 

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The Movie Man: “The Conjuring 2” – Enter If You Dare

Conjuring_2A little disclaimer: unless you like “jump” moments in movies, avoid The Conjuring 2 (there’s a lot of them).

The sequel to the highly successful 2013 film, The Conjuring, tells the story of another paranormal case tackled by real-life demonologist couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Ed passed away in 2006, while Lorraine still lives in their family home in Monroe, Connecticut). The Warrens are perhaps best known for investigating the claims of the Amityville Horror.

For those who are not familiar with this legend, as well as the references and parodies throughout pop culture, 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo, Jr. murdered his parents and four siblings in the middle of a 1974 night, claiming he was coaxed into committing the acts by “voices.” A new family, the Lutzes, eventually moved into the home a year later, had their priest bless the home, and claimed that during the blessing, he heard a masculine voice tell him to “get out,” accompanied by a slap across the face, bleeding hands, and flu-like symptoms. The Lutzes only lasted 28 days in the house before they took off.

Upon researching the Warrens, it came as no surprise that they were subject to a great deal of scrutiny and controversy, as many skeptics claim there are holes in their stories regarding their investigations. This can be said about the Amityville Horror, as well as another case that took place in Seymour, Connecticut, and was featured on Discovery Channel’s A Haunting program. The list goes on and on. However, even if you do not believe any piece of their stories, you cannot deny the horror that is embedded in them, and they will be sure to keep you up at night, worrying about all you cannot see.

I am not writing this as a way to propose or criticize claims about ghosts and the supernatural, although I have had certain experiences in allegedly haunted locations that have made me a believer in regards to the supernatural. The only form of apologetics I will engage in is quoting Hamlet, in regards to those who consider themselves to be “rationalists”, in saying:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, [t]han are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

The Conjuring 2 opens with Ed and Lorraine investigating Amityville with the Lutzes. Lorraine goes into a trance and witnesses the massacres that took place in said home, as well as other frightening supernatural images, including a large nun with a demonic appearance. After this investigation, she urges Ed that they not take any cases for a while. Unfortunately, due to their newfound popularity, a family all the way across the Atlantic is able to plead to them for help, claiming a poltergeist is harassing them, and has taken a special interest in their daughter, Janet. Much to Lorraine’s chagrin, they take on the case in hopes of defeating the evil spirit.

There is something about director James Wan’s take on depicting this story, especially through his cinematography involving slow zoom-in’s and “jump” stills in which we suddenly see something that has transcended our senses, as if it has taken off a mask that allowed it to remain unseen (or a ring, for those of us who are fond of J. R. R. Tolkien’s stories of Middle Earth?). The soundtrack proves to be unique amongst all other forms of music, focusing mainly on violins and cellos reaching low and shrill notes. But what helps make this a great horror film is not the amount of disturbing images or loud sounds, but in its stories that are woven in and out of the main plotline, depicting Ed and Lorraine’s marriage bond, and the victim family’s sad home-life.

I have said this to many people in the past, and I will say it again: too often Hollywood makes horror films that are comprised of excessive blood and gore, and hires models, not to act, but to read lines. If you want a good horror film, you need a good story and good actors, and most of all a good portrayal of everyone’s relationships. Just because you have beautiful college girl in nothing but her underwear screaming loudly and blood sprays on her does not guarantee a critical success. Perhaps a financial success, and maybe some experience for up-and-coming actors trying to get their feet in the door, and at the very most cementing a scene from the film into pop culture (but not for good reasons).

A great film for anyone who appreciates cinema, is fond of ghost stories, loves to be on the edge of their seat, or repeatedly scared to death. Enter the theaters, if you dare…

Kevin Ganey

Kevin Ganey

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

 

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Letter to the Editor: Thanks for Essex Library Garden Tour

To the Editor:

“Spectacular gardens!”  “Wonderful day!” were some of the comments heard throughout Essex Village as hundreds of visitors participated in the first Friends of the Essex Library Garden Tour held Saturday June 4. To those who came to walk the gardens and enjoy the beauty of Essex Village, we say, “Thank you!”

To make such an event possible took the involvement of many people, including those who planned the event, the hostesses at each garden, Master Gardeners, plein air painters, ticket takers and traffic managers.  Your help made the event run smoothly and for this we extend heartfelt thanks.  We especially thank Rhode VanGessel for her patience and tireless effort in making the publicity both eye-catching and beautiful.

Lastly, and most importantly, we wish to recognize the garden owners who worked tirelessly creating their works of art.  Those who attended saw the enormous effort that went into preparing for the event and it was gratifying to see your efforts appreciated by so many people.   All the Friends of the Essex Library say, “Thank You.”

Linda Levene and Daphne Nielsen, co-chairman

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Essex Savings Bank Offers Financial Tips for Senior Citizens

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

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

Essex Savings Bank is offering the following tips:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.
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Essex Garden Club Donates $500 to The Farm at John Winthrop

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Pictured are the advisors, Mark Gostkeiwicz and John Woitovich, along with Elizabeth Bartlett from Essex Garden Club.

The Essex Garden Club recently donated $500 to the Farm at John Winthrop School.   Their after-school program  has grown fruits and vegetables to support classroom learning such as cooking and propagation. The produce is also made available to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens.

 

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A la Carte: Molasses Cookies

Molasses cookies (Huffington Post)

Molasses cookies (Huffington Post)

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

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

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

Molasses Cookies

Yield: 70 little cookies

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

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

½ cup molasses

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon each salt, cloves and ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

About ½ cup sugar

 

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

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

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

 

Three-Ginger Cookies

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

3 ½  to 4 dozen cookies

 

1 ½  sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup molasses

1 egg

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root

½ cup finely chopped crystalized ginger

 

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

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

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.

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

Remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Nibbles: Fried Green Tomatoes

 

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

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

 

Blue Hound Cookery

107 Main Street

Ivoryton

860-767-0260

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

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Henry Josten Memoirs Published by Ivoryton Playhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Grant on May 11, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thanks for Successful Essex Shad Bake at River Museum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Talking Transportation: Big Brother Comes Along for the Ride

“Here in my car, I feel safest of all

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

Cars” – Gary Numan  1979

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gypsy moth caterpillars - photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES

Gypsy moth caterpillars – photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STEM Education Series to Be Taught

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

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

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

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

TBBCF_logo_203

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

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

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

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

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

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A la Carte: Weeknight Red Curry

Red Thai curry

Red Thai curry

It was a nice quiet birthday, beginning with my daughter-in-law and three of my granddaughters and ending with pineapple rice with chicken at Spice Club in Niantic and a terrific movie at the Niantic Theater.

With some trepidation, I drove from home to Newbury, Mass., Friday of Memorial Day weekend. The traffic began on I-95 in East Lyme to 290 in Worcester, continued on 495, then, finally, back to 95. I watched young Casey play tennis at her school. We all went to their house while Casey changed. Nancy and I had a nice glass of red wine and then drove to Flatbread in Amesbury for salad and pizza (one of the pizzas was topped with fiddleheads and golden beets). (My middle granddaughter, Laurel, drove; even one glass of wine makes me a bit tipsy.)

With no traffic on the way home, I was home in just over two hours. I watched a little television I’d DVRed and went to bed early. On my birthday, friend Sarah and I had met at the Spice Club for Thai food and then we walked to see Love and Friendship, a new film from one of Austen’s smaller books. Don’t miss it!

Today I decided to make another. I always have cans of unsweetened coconut milk in the pantry and red curry paste in the refrigerator. (I am not sure red curry paste ever has an expiration date; in any case, I have had little opened cans, covered, in the fridge for half a decade.) I went through some recipes I’d clipped once from Cooking Light. I found a package of cod in the freezer and, as always, a finger of ginger there, too. Dinner was ready in less than an hour.

Weeknight Red Curry*

Yield: 4 servings

1 large shallot (half a small onion will do)

6 garlic cloves

1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons red curry paste

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 (14.5 oz.) can canned tomatoes (I always use diced Muir Glen)

1 (13.5 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk

1 pound mixed vegetables, cut into 1-inch pieces (frozen veggies are fine)

1 pound firm white fish, skin removed

Cooked rice noodles, cilantro leaves with stems and lime wedges (for serving)

Pulse shallot, garlic and ginger in a food processor to finely chop. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot mixture and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add curry paste and turmeric and cook, stirring, until paste is darkening in color and mixture starts to stick to pan, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook, stirring often and scraping up brown bits, until tomatoes start to break down and stick to pot, about 5 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk and season with salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until mixture is slightly thickened and flavor meld, 8 to 10 minutes. Add vegetables and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season fish all over with salt and nestle into curry (add a little more water if it is very thick). Return to a simmer and cook just until fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Spoon curry over rice noodles and top with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

*I use vegetable or chicken stock instead of, or with, water for more flavor.


Nibbles: Pittsfield Rye Bread

A few weeks ago I watched a movie in New London called “Deli Man,” part of the International Film Series. I grew up with a terrific Jewish deli in Troy, New York. It, and thousands, is gone now, primarily because  Jewish immigrants insisted that their children go to college and “make something of themselves.” As a result, there are few now, even in New York City, where there are more Jews than in Israel. Gone, also, is H&H and Ess-a-Bagel.

On a drive home from Massachusetts, I stopped in Worcester to get some rye bread, bulkies (hard rolls) and bagels at Widoff on Water Street. It, too, is gone. Instead, hoping against hope, I drove to the Big Y in Norwich. Happily, it (and many other Big Ys) still carry superb Pittsfield rye bread—marbled, seeded, unseeded, and dark rye (pumpernickel). I had a toasted slice with butter and placed the rest into the freezer for another day.

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Democrats Nominate Essex First Selectman Needleman for 33rd Senate District Seat

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (file photo)

AREAWIDE — Democrats Monday nominated Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman to challenge two-term Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook in the 12-town 33rd Senate District.

Needleman, now in a third term as first selectman of Essex, was the unanimous choice of about 50 delegates gathered for the party nominating convention held at Angelico’s Lakehouse in East Hampton. The district includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland , Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

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

Needleman, 64, is a Brooklyn, N.Y. native who has lived in Essex since 1984. He is a founder and owner of Tower Labs, a company that manufactures effervescent products at plants in Clinton and the Centerbrook section of Essex. Needleman was elected to the Essex Board of Selectmen in 2003, and to the position of first selectman in 2011.

Needleman was nominated by Portland First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield, who described Needleman as a “special friend,” who offers voters “three in one, a good person, a good businessperson, and a great local town leader.” Bransfield said getting more municipal leaders elected to the General Assembly would “help save Connecticut” friom its current fiscal problems.

There were seconding remarks from Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam, who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in a Democratic primary in 2012, former State Rep. Brian O’Connor of Clinton, and 36th District State Representative Phil Miller of Essex, who picked Needleman as his running mate when he served as Essex first selectman from 2003-2011. Miller, who is seeking a third full term this year, described Needleman as “a person who cares for other people and follows through.”

In remarks to the convention, Needleman said small towns like most in the 33rd District are getting hurt as a result of the state’s fiscal problems. Needleman described himself as a “problem solver”, and contended Linares has been “an ineffective legislator who is working on building his own resume and not representing the 33rd District.”

Another candidate who recently expressed interest in the nomination, former Green Party nominee Colin Bennet of Westbrook, was present at the convention, but was not nominated and made no request to address the delegates. Bennet, who garnered 527 votes districtwide as the Green Party nominee in 2014, said he may pursue his campaign as a petition candidate in the Nov. 8 election.
Bennet said the Connecticut Green Party is expected to nominate a different candidate for the 33rd District seat this year.
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VRHS Students Finish Strong at State’s Robotics Competition

Valley robotics Relaxing after their second competition

Valley robotics relaxing after their second place finish

REGION 4 – Valley Regional High School was among 40 teams from Connecticut and Massachusetts that convened at two weekend-long First Robotics’ Competitions (FRC) New England held in March and April of this year. The April event took place at Hartford Public High School, April 1-3, and officials of the school said it was the biggest event in the state related to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM education.

In only their second year with a robotics team, Valley Regional High School’s “Human Error” took second place at the March competition held in Waterbury, beating out nearly 30 other teams. Then, on day one of the Hartford event, Human Error placed second overall but ultimately dropped in rank on the final day just missing the cut to advance.  Last year Valley’s team was awarded Rookie of the Year.

“It’s a little disappointing that we didn’t get picked for an alliance in order to advance, but we accomplished every one of our goals set for the robot we built and we all feel really good about that,” said Valley sophomore Rocket Otte.

Being Otte’s first time with the Valley team, he described the competition experience as “electric” and “exciting” and like no other. He explained he really appreciated the spirit of cooperation among all the teams.

“I really like how FRC organizes their events. They have this term called ‘gracious professionalism’ where they encourage all the teams to cooperate with each other in alliances and helping out with tools and equipment. If you’re missing a part you can post it and other teams will help out regardless. That’s really cool.”

Valley’s team Human Error, made up of about 30 students, spent more than 200 hours working after school and on weekends to build and refine the robot’s functionality. Each member or specific group works on a particular aspect of the robot, from sensors, to gears, to bumpers to programming, using math, science, logic and other educational disciplines. But the key is teamwork.

“Working collaboratively and coordinating skills and talents is what happens in this space; students determine themselves who does what to get the robot working, they organize themselves; the other teachers, mentors and myself are on the sidelines offering guidance and support when needed,” explained Valley Biology teacher Dr. Peano.

Another key element to the team is programming skills. This year that effort was led by rookie member and sophomore Sam Paulson, who worked in the Java programming language to accomplish the task of instructing the robot’s functions, programming it to drive and move its metal arm.

“Programming is something I learned myself with online sites and it’s something that interests me, so when I joined the team I offered to work on that. I learned programming the robot to drive is easier than programming the arm to move,” said Paulson.

He added, “I learned a lot this year and I’ll be able to do a lot more next year like make the robot do more complex tasks. But for this year I was content with what our team did and how the robot worked.”

In the end the competition was more than winning or losing. It was about brainpower, creativity, collaboration and having fun, all done in an environment outside the usual classroom setting.

Valley Regional High School team roster:
Alexandro Adamson, Tanner Aikens, Samantha Bartlett, Ian Bott, Matt Caron, Allie Champion, Gavin Collins, Jaedyn Correa, Jared Dompier, Meagan Gephart, Samuel Griswold, Michael Johnson, Nate Luscomb, Patrick Myslik, Nicholas Otte, Samuel Paulson, Cooper Robbins, Francis Stino, Sam Swap, Nolan Tackett, Ethan West
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Letter to the Editor: Thanks from Organizers of Literacy Volunteers April Fool’s Race

To the Editor:

The 9th Annual Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore April Fool’s Race benefitting tutoring programs for area residents came in like spring this year. A little slow on the starting blocks but run in beautiful weather and finishing with a kick. Racers from all over New England and as far away as Minnesota participated in the festivities to help commemorate the contributions of past volunteers Dot and Erl Nord.

We are especially fortunate to have an extraordinary combination that made this year’s event a rousing success. Special thanks to the Clark Group and Tower Laboratories, our title sponsors. Their generosity reached new heights with their sponsorship, which included the Backward Mile race. AAA Refrigeration answered the call with a Silver Sponsorship this year. Thanks also to sponsors Edward Jones Investments-Clinton, Andre Prost, Inc., Pasta Vita, Kearney Insurance, Penny Lane Pub, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank and Big Y Supermarkets for their generosity in helping stamp out illiteracy.

A huge thank you to Race Director Elizabeth Steffen, who again worked very hard this year to make this event a success. We greatly appreciate the generous assistance from First Selectman Norm Needleman, the Town of Essex, Essex Police, Essex Parks & Recreation Department, our office staff and our many race volunteers.

Finally, thank you to all our racers and all those who brought “spring” to the race and the cause of literacy.

Sincerely,

John J. Ferrara
Executive Director Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc.

Serving the towns of: Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Guilford, Killingworth,
Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook

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Community Music School Names New Executive Director

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School has named Abigail Nickell as its new Executive Director, where she will be responsible for the leadership and management of the active school and its outreach programs.  She replaces Robin Andreoli, who left the organization in March.

Abigail Nickell is a seasoned non-profit executive with more than a decade of experience in the social sector.  She took the helm at the Community Music School in April.  She most recently served as the Executive Director of MADD Hawaii, overseeing their statewide operations and fundraising.  Prior to that, she served as the Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Hawaii, a statewide grantmaking agency, and Executive Director of Save the Food Basket, an AIDS service organization.

Nickell began her career as the Assistant Director of the Northampton Community Music Center and is thrilled to be working in arts administration again.  Her undergraduate degree is in music and dance from Smith College and she received her MBA from Chaminade University’s Non-Profit Management program.

“I’m so pleased to join the staff and our incredible faculty at CMS in our mission to make music education accessible to all,” said Nickell.  “I look forward to working with our dedicated board of trustees to develop innovate strategies that will allow us to operate efficiently while engaging new audiences in support of our efforts.”

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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Letter From Paris: The Grand Palais in Paris to Old Lyme — CT Impressionist Exhibits Both Sides of ‘The Pond’

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

Talking with Jan Dilenschneider is entering a beautiful world of marshes, rushes swaying in the breeze, ponds reflecting the sky,  and clusters of trees taking on the many hues from the painter’s palette contrasting with the softness of the wild flowers.

Dilenschneider is a Darien artist who has recently been making inroads on the Paris art scene. She was one of only a very few artists to participate in the “Art Paris Art Fair” held in March 2016 at the Grand Palais and, in a switch of continents, she will have a solo exhibition at the Sill House Gallery of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in October of this year. For an artist, whose work so closely resembles Impressionism, to exhibit her paintings in the same year both in Paris and in Old Lyme – the home of the American Impressionism –  is a remarkable and very special event.

A classic work by Jan Dilenschneider.

A classic work by Jan Dilenschneider.

For the past three years, Dilenschneider has shown her work in Paris at the upscale Galerie Pierre-Alain Challier in the Marais district, close to the Picasso Museum. I was treated to a private showing of Jan’s paintings by the gallery’s owner, who knows her well.  Then I had the pleasure of meeting Jan personally at the Grand Palais.  Thanks to the badge Challier obtained for me, I was able to enter the giant steel and glass 1900 structure through the cavernous entrance reserved for the exhibitors. 

The Paris artistic calendar is overcrowded and art professionals are scrambling to find a time slot.  The “Journal des Arts” describes the artistic events taking place in the spring as a “galaxy in fusion.”  The last weekend in March is particularly in demand.  It was therefore a real breakthrough for “Art Paris Art Fair” to be able to establish itself under the nave of the Grand Palais at that time.  The Fair has a special format — only galleries can participate, not individual artists.  This year, 143 major galleries from from 22 countries around the world showed their collections.  All media are allowed, including sculpture, design, photographs or digital art.

"Trees with broken color" by Jan Dilenschneider

“Trees with broken color #2,” oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″, by Jan Dilenschneider.

As I approached the Challier space, several potential buyers were looking at the gallery’s collection.  A striking blonde woman was standing in front of one of her paintings – an icy white and blue landscape – being interviewed by a French television team from the Canal Sat network channel “Luxe.”  It transpired the woman was Dilenschneider and after the TV crew left, she and I started chatting and did so for a long time.  I immediately liked her as a person and was attracted to her sunny personality.  Her passion for nature was contagious.

“Any work starts from the abstract, and the abstract is never far under the painting,” she explained, adding, “Each artist makes a contribution to art history.”  In one of the handsome catalogues the Galerie Pierre-Alain Challier has published relating to her exhibits, she writes, “If I were to have lunch with four artists, I would choose Wolf Kahn, Henri Matisse, Franz Kline and Michelangelo.”

In a video series named “Nec plus ultra,” produced by the “Magazine de l’art de vivre” of TV 5 Monde, Dilenschneider is shown caught in the throes of her creating process.  She paints with gusto, happily digging into the colors lying heavily on her palette.  She uses spatulas, all sizes of brushes, and even squeegees to diversify her technique.

Painting is her way of meditating, which she says she can do eight hours a day.  Even when she is not painting, she is taking photographs from trains, at airports … wherever she is, to be used in her future work.   

Dilenschneider has a remarkable way with words and writes, “I become the water, I become the trees, I become the birds and reeds — but I don’t need to tell you [that] — my paintings already do.  Living on Long Island Sound, the beauty of the world is my inspiration.”

She wants to make people enjoy the beauty of nature and is happy to use her privileged situation to make an impact.  With the help of her influential husband, whose communications counseling company is based on the 57th floor of the Chrysler building in New York City, she has created the “Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider Scholar Rescue Award in the Arts.”  This year she rescued a Syrian artist, her husband and two sons.

Although she has been painting since the age of 17, she has not exhibited her work until recently.  Thus, she has long been a hidden treasure, which now finally all can enjoy.

Editor’s Note (i): Dilenschneider’s exhibition at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts opens Friday, Oct. 7.

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

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

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Letter to the Editor: Elect Siegrist in 36th District to Help Solve State’s Budget Woes

To the Editor:

On July 17, 2015 ValleyNewsNow.com published a 938 word Op-Ed titled “We Have a State Budget” authored by State Representative Philip Miller.   This opinion piece heaped endless self-praise on the virtues of the fiscal year 2015-16 budget, rationalized the supposed benefits of this budget, and admonished us for questioning  the wisdom underlying this fine piece of legislation.  The budget was first of all, “balanced” and secondly, would act as the foundation for future economic growth in both the 36th District and the State of Connecticut.  Bravo!

What a difference ten months make!  Fast forward to May 2016, the current year’s budget deficit ballooned to more than $250 million; the 2016-17 budget was reduced $930 million dollars because of overspending and unrealistic revenue projections.  Did not Representative Miller tell us, with great fanfare, the State’s budget was balanced and our long term needs addressed?  Rest assured he said, there was no need to worry, the record tax increases would solve our economic and budgetary problems.  Anyone stating otherwise was just “posturing”.

The current year’s deficit remains in place and the cuts in the 2016-17 budget did irreparable damage to individuals through the loss of their jobs, curtailed services to those most in need, and threw municipal budgets into turmoil.  Representative Miller supports budgets reliant on revenue increases based on people smoking, drinking, and gambling at ever increasing levels while further reducing peoples’ eligibility for local property tax credits.

How did Representative Miller get it so wrong again?

It is time we elected an individual, Bob Siegrist, to Hartford who will vote for the interests of our district and not simply follow the marching orders of the Governor and House Democratic Leadership.  Bob is an independent voice who will vigorously represent our interests in the 36th House District of Essex, Haddam, Deep River and Chester.  He has the courage to address the systemic problems that plague our State.

This November, join the movement to bring fresh voices to Hartford and elect Bob Siegrist as our State Representative for the 36th District.

Sincerely,

Vincent A. Pacileo, III
Ivoryton.

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Ivoryton Resident Darcy Chmielewski Honored by Webster’s Banking Center

webster bank

From the left, are Darcy Chmielewski, Jessica DaRe, Andrea Myers and Alex Nodden

IVORYTON – Darcy Chmielewski, a resident of Ivoryton and manager at Webster’s banking center in Essex, is an honoree of the bank’s “80 Days of Giving” employee volunteer campaign. The volunteer effort is part of Webster’s 80th Anniversary celebration. An awards ceremony was held May 3 at the Radisson Cromwell Hotel.

Chmielewski’s volunteer effort earned $1,000 for the nonprofit of her choice – the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries. She led a team of five Webster bankers who helped the local soup kitchen serve meals in November, filling a staffing void that occurs each month that has a fifth Monday. Chmielewski’s team shopped, prepared the food, served a meal to 12 people, and then cleaned up on Nov. 30 at the First Baptist Church in Essex. To make the event even more meaningful, nine of those who attended were able to take home enough food to provide them with an extra meal on the following day. The meal was sponsored by the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries of Old Saybrook.

The banker volunteer initiative, “80 Days of Giving,” was launched October 11, 2015. In all, 103 bankers nominated volunteer activities to receive one of the 80 grants. The breadth and impact of participation stimulated even greater community involvement by Webster bankers, who now contribute more than 125,000 volunteer hours annually.

Webster Bank is a leading regional bank serving businesses and consumers in the Northeast.

 

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Community Music School Opens Satellite Location in East Lyme

ESSEX – Community Music School (CMS) has expanded their programming to a satellite location in East Lyme, beginning with their summer session on June 27, 2016.  The new site will offer private lessons in a variety of instruments for students of all ages, as well as several beginner group classes, chamber music ensembles, music therapy, and the popular Kindermusic program for babies and toddlers.  The satellite is located in a beautiful new building with easy access and ample parking at 179 Flanders Road in East Lyme.

With strong public school music programming in the area, but very little in the way of private instruction or instrumental ensembles, CMS will be a much needed addition to the local arts community.  With need-based financial aid available, as well as music therapy services administered by a certified clinician, CMS will provide accessible music education for local residents.

“We are thrilled to launch our satellite location in East Lyme this summer,” says Executive Director Abigail Nickell.  “The board and faculty see this as a great opportunity to serve a new community with our well-established music programming.”  Community Music School’s eight-week summer session runs from June 27 through August 19, followed by the fall session beginning on September 7.  To register for classes, 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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Letter to the Editor: Thanks from Friends of Essex Library

To the Editor:

The Board of the Friends of the Essex Library would like to thank all who contributed to the success of our recent book sale.  This exceptionally large sale required significant work by many volunteers including those who worked during the event and those who sorted, repaired, priced and stored books in preparation for the sale, helped set up for the sale and put everything away afterwards.    We thank all the students who are committed to Community Service and generously offered their time to help us.   Many carried boxes upon boxes of books from an outdoor shed to the library in preparation for the sale.  Others provided assistance with our clean-up efforts.   The library staff has been very supportive and for this we say thanks, with a special thank you to Anna Cierocki.

We would be remiss in not thanking those who contributed, and those who purchased, books, CDs and DVDs.   Your support of the library is deeply appreciated.

Look for our ‘Beach Books’ sale June 1-30 when sale items will change daily.

Peggy Tuttle
Book Sale Coordinator

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36th House Election a Rematch Between Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller and Republican Bob Siegrist

Republican nominee Bob Siegrist stands with State Senator Art Linares (R-30th) after the former accepted the Republican nomination to run for the State Rep. seat currently held by Phil Miller.

Republican nominee Bob Siegrist (right) stands with State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd), who nominated Siegrist to run for the State Representative seat currently held by Phil Miller (D-36th).

AREAWIDE — Party nominating conventions this week have set up a Nov. 8 election rematch, with Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller’s bid for a third full term facing a challenge from Haddam Republican Bob Siegrist in the 36th House District that is comprised of the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

In 2014, Siegrist was awarded the GOP nomination in June, following the withdrawal of a candidate nominated at the convention in May. After a spirited campaign, Miller was re-elected on a 5,522-4,701 vote, with Miller carrying Chester, Deep River and Essex and Siegrist carrying Haddam. Miller was elected to the seat in a February 2011 special election while serving his fourth term as first selectman of Essex. He was elected to a full term in 2012.

BobS&woman_204KB

State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-34th) offers congratulations to Bob Siegrist.

Siegrist was the unanimous choice of about 15 delegates and supporters at the convention Monday at the Pattaconk Bar & Grille in Chester. Seigrist was nominated by Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook, who holds the 33rd Senate District seat that includes the four district towns. In seconding remarks, Phil Beckman of Essex said Seigrist, “gets the priorities, the budget, economy and taxes,” which he described as the “Bermuda Triangle in the Legislature right now.”

The nomination of Siegrist (left) was seconded by of Essex.

Bob Siegrist (left) stands with Ed Munster.

In brief remarks after the nomination, Seigrist said he would focus on priorities and work to represent all of the residents of the four district towns. Seigrist, 32, currently works with a landscaping business after working previously as a bartender before his 2014 campaign.

Miller was nominated for a third full term Tuesday by delegates gathered in the community room at Chester Town Hall.  He was nominated by Lisa Bibbiani, the Deep River tax collector who said Miller has dedication and a positive attitude. In seconding remarks, Brian Cournoyer, chairman of the Essex Democratic Town Committee, praised the incumbent’s “passion for the environment and the Lower Connecticut River Valley.”

Miller told the delegates that this year’s legislative session, which struggles with a looming state budget deficit, mirrored the situation when he arrived at the Capitol in late February 2011. Miller defended the 2016-2017 budget plan approved by the House last week on a 74-70 vote, noting the plan made tough choices to address the budget deficit, including $900 million in cuts, while avoiding tax increases and a deeper cuts to education funding.

Miller said he was also proud to vote last week against a Republican amendment that would have ended the Citizen’s Election Program funding for legislative campaigns. Miller said the program, established in 2007 under a law pushed by his predecessor in the 36th District seat, current Deputy Secretary of the State James Spallone, limits the influence of large campaign contributions while also helping to level the playing field for challengers, including Siegrist. Spallone, an Essex resident, was chairman of the Tuesday convention.

Miller said he plans to run an active and positive campaign, and is ready for public debates with Siegrist. “I’ll be out and about meeting people like I normally do,” he said, adding “It’s my case to make and I think it is going to be clear, if it is not already, that I am a much better candidate.”

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Ribbon Cutting Opens Chester’s Main Street Bridge

ribbon cutting 1

CT DOT District 2 Engineer Ken Fargnoli cuts the ribbon (using the scissors that cut the ribbon when the Merritt Parkway opened in 1940). Looking on, Selectwoman Charlene Janecek and First Selectwoman Lauren Gister (left) with DOT Commissioner James Redeker (right)

CHESTER – Ten days ahead of schedule, Chester’s Main Street Bridge reopened to pedestrian and vehicular traffic after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 12.

First Selectwoman Lauren Gister received only one day’s notice about the ceremony, yet even so, she was able to get the word out – and in small-town fashion, the word spread fast! About 100 people were on hand for the 3:30 p.m. ceremony, including fascinated small children who have been watching the work since it began in early January.

First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, with Selectwomen Charlene Janecek (left) and Carolyn Linn (right).

First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, with Selectwomen Charlene Janecek (left) and Carolyn Linn (right).

Gister thanked the Chester Merchants Association, “who have been incredibly patient and stalwart and put up with a lot of noise and dirt and lack of parking.” She thanked the Economic Development Commission and the Main Street Project Committee for their work before and during the project.

And she gave special thanks to the crew of Arborio Construction and the engineers – “we’ve been good to them and they’ve been GREAT to us!” – which drew a long round of applause from all in attendance. Gister added, “There is still some work to do on the streetscape and utilities and some patience is still going to be necessary, but we can now celebrate spring!”

Edmund Meehan, Chester’s former first selectman, also took the podium to thank his board of selectmen and the Main Street Committee for their “great expertise in setting the bar so high.”

Representing the CT Department of Transportation were Commissioner James Redeker along with District 2 Engineer Kenneth E. Fargnoli, who said, “This is a signature project, which established an amazing relationship and showed how communication not only addressed the bridge and its foundations, but how people can work together.”

This sign, at ELLE Design Studio, exemplifies the relationship Chester townspeople established with the Arborio crew and state engineers.

This sign, at ELLE Design Studio, demonstrates the warm relationship Chester townspeople established with the Arborio crew and state engineers through the bridge reconstruction project. Photo by Annalisa Russell-Smith

After the ribbon was cut, the first vehicle to go over the new bridge was Louis Heft’s white pickup truck, driven by his daughter, Paulette, with his wife, Marieanne. Mr. Heft died on March 11 of this year and his famous truck was given the honor of being the first over the bridge because, as his obituary stated, “Louie will be remembered for his strong, active role in the community.”

Mr. Heft’s white pick-up truck was often parked slightly askew downtown. He was known for keeping an eye on construction workers, watching any road work being done and offering all the help he could. Most days, Mr. Heft could be seen directing traffic, offering his seasoned advice to workers around town, or reading the paper with a coffee in hand.”

Sadly, he never got to supervise the Main Street Bridge project, because of his illness leading up to his death.

The first vehicle over the bridge was Louie Heft's famous white pickup truck.

Louie Heft’s famous white pickup was the first vehicle to go over the Main Street Bridge after the ribbon was cut.

The Main Street Bridge is owned by the State of Connecticut. Decades ago, the town purchased Main Street for $1 from the State, establishing its responsibility for road maintenance beginning on the village side of the bridge. The bridge replacement was required by the State.

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Republicans Nominate Art Linares for Third Term in 33rd Senate District

Sen. Art Linares (File photo)

Sen. Art Linares (File photo)

AREAWIDE — Republicans Tuesday nominated incumbent State Senator Art  Linares of Westbrook for a third term in the 12-town 33rd Senate District. Linares was the unanimous choice of about 45 delegates and alternates gathered for the nominating convention at the Old Town Hall in East Haddam.

Linares is facing a challenge in the Nov. 8 vote from Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman of Essex, who is expected to be nominated for the seat at the Democratic convention on May 23 in East Hampton. Needleman, 64, has served as first selectman of Essex since 2011. The district includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

Linares was nominated by State Rep. Melissa Ziobron of East Hampton, who described the incumbent as a “great advocate for all of the towns,” in the district. The nomination was seconded by Edward Marcolini of Old Saybrook, who described Linares as, “young, vibrant and personable.”

In brief remarks, Linares said he has worked for spending reform and fiscal responsibility at the capitol, contending that overly optimistic budget planning by legislative Democrats had led to first ever cuts in the state ECS (Education Cost Sharing) grants for cities and towns. Linares, 27, said he is ready for the election challenge. “I stand before you a four-year-veteran, a little more seasoned, but just as ready to knock on thousands of doors and wear out shoes as that 23-year-old kid was four years ago,” he said.

Linares declined to comment on Needleman’s candidacy, but confirmed he is ready to debate his opponent on more than one occasion during the fall campaign.

Linares, a co-founder of the Middletown-based Greenskies solar energy company, was elected in 2012 in a district that has been represented for 20 years by the late former Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a  22,672-17,326 vote in a race where Bjornberg also had the Working Families Party ballot line and Linares had the ballot line of the Connecticut Independent Party.

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Colin Bennett Announces Run for State Senate as Democrat

Colin Bennett (file photo)

Colin Bennett (file photo)

WESTBROOK — Longtime area resident and small business owner Colin Bennett has announced his candidacy for state senate in the 33rd District – as a Democrat. Bennett has run for the seat multiple times, always as a Green, so this will be his first foray into the Democratic Party.

“I’ve been impressed with the popularity and success of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and have taken inspiration from his campaign,” Bennett explains. “Bernie and I agree on almost every major issue, so it makes sense that I would follow in his footsteps, especially since he carried nine of the twelve towns in the 33rd District,” he says.

“The thing is, this election is about more than me. It’s about more than any of the individual candidates or the parties they represent. Elected officials should be accountable to the people, not corporate lobbyists, but that’s no longer the reality – the people of Connecticut, and this country, have been sold out. I’m running because I want to help change that.”

In this election Bennett will take part in the Connecticut Citizens’ Election Program for the first time. According to Bennett, “The ability to fundraise has very little to do with the ability to be an effective legislator, especially when so many campaign contributions come from corporations, PACs and other special interest groups that are trying (successfully) to buy influence with candidates. Fortunately, the CEP is a big step in the correct direction.”

Bennett concludes, “People in the country are ready for and demanding change – Bernie and Trump have proven that. Given the (long overdue) anti-establishment political climate and with the support of the Citizens’ Election Program, the Bennett for Senate campaign is going all the way this year.”

For more information about Bennett, visit www.facebook.com/Bennett.for.Senate.

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