August 1, 2015

Join Essex Land Trust’s ‘Hike of the Month’ at Osaga Trails This Morning

Osage_Trails_mapTake an easy stroll to one of the Essex Land Trust’s property gems, Osage Trails, on Saturday, Aug. 1, starting at 9 a.m. This walk, hosted by stewards Lisa and Jerry Baczewski, is sponsored by the Essex Land Trust and forms the August  ‘Hike of the Month.’

A gift of Elizabeth Barnes Callender in 1998, Osage Trails is a waterfront park with 
a sweeping lawn, a waterside meadow and a patch of forest where the Falls River forms Falls River Cove.

The easy, well-marked loop trail winds through woods and wetlands close to the water as well as along higher ground inland.

A Battle Site Essex sign panel on the shore of the Falls River commemorates the British raid that took place on April 4, 1814. Across the Falls River one can still see the stone bulkhead extending into the cove and a fieldstone building foundation, which are the only remains of the Williams’ shipbuilding yard targeted by the British in their attack on Essex.

To reach Osage Trails, take Maple Avenue, off North Main St. to Foxboro Rd. entrance, Essex. Refreshments will be provided.

‘Theater Along the River’ Performs ‘Titus Andronicus’ at CT River Museum This Evening

Flock Theatre presents Shakespeare’s 'Titus Andronicus' as part of the Connecticut River Museum’s Theater Along the River, Aug. 1. Photo courtesy of Flock Theatre.

Flock Theatre presents Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’ as part of the Connecticut River Museum’s Theater Along the River, Aug. 1. Photo courtesy of Flock Theatre.

ESSEX — On Saturday, Aug. 1 the Connecticut River Museum’s Theater Along the River returns with the Flock Theatre production of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.  Bring a picnic dinner, and enjoy a summer evening with the Bard.

Murder, revenge, and a touch of madness all feature in 'Titus Andronicus.'

Murder, revenge, and a touch of madness all feature in ‘Titus Andronicus.’

Made possible by presenting sponsor Essex Wellness Center with additional support from Wells Fargo Advisors, Titus Andronicus is thought to be Shakespeare’s first tragedy.  Written between 1588 and 1593, it was highly popular in its day but fell out of favor in the Victorian era due to its graphic violence. The story follows a fictional Roman Empire general named Titus through a cycle of revenge with Tamora, Queen of the Goths and is often viewed as Shakespeare’s attempt to emulate the revenge plays of his contemporaries.

Director of Flock Theatre, Derron Wood said that “Titus Andronicus is not for the faint of heart. It involves war, murder, horror, revenge, and a touch of madness.”  Wood invites the public to “come see this rarely produced yet thrilling play performed under the stars along the Connecticut River.”

Connecticut River Museum Executive Director, Christopher Dobbs, said that “Flock Theatre is a master of Shakespeare.  In June they stunned us with their original and creative interpretation of Twelfth Night.”  Dobbs went on to note that “I can’t wait to see what kind of enchantment and theatrical craftsmanship they pull off this time.”

The museum’s grounds will open at 6 PM for picnickers to layout blankets and chairs.  Museum staff encourage the audience to make the picnic part of the experience.  In fact, there will be a special prize awarded to the “best” picnic arrangement.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for children (12 and under).  No carry-in alcohol is permitted.  Tickets may be bought at www.ctrivermuseum.org or at the door starting at 6 PM the night of the performance. Curtain opens at 7 PM with a rain date of Sunday, August 2.

Flock Theatre is a professional, not-for-profit theatre company founded in 1989. The theater company is dedicated to creating original, collaborative and educational theater. Perhaps best known for their long-standing summer Shakespeare in the Arboretum, Flock Theatre performs year-round in a variety of venues, including their winter “nest” at the First Congregational Church, on the New London Pier, at the historic Shaw Mansion Museum and throughout New England.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 am – 5 pm.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

Essex Historical Society Hosts Second Day of “Walking Weekend,” Today  

The Pratt House in Essex is the town’s only historic house museum.

The Pratt House in Essex is the town’s only historic house museum.

ESSEX — Combine a love of history and (light) exercise as Essex Historical Society (EHS) launches a new program, “Walking Weekend,” on Friday, July 31, and Saturday, Aug. 1.  The event features two different walking tours of Essex Village in which attendees enjoy an easy stroll down the seaport’s 18th century streets learning about the major industries, structures and personalities that shaped the area.

Essex Historical Society’s trained, knowledgeable volunteer guides will lead an hour-plus long tour over fairly level, paved terrain, covering three centuries of history.

On July 31, at 7 p.m., the first tour will meet at the Foot of Main Street, Essex, for a trip down Main Street 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.

On Aug. 1, at 1 p.m., the second tour will meet at the Pratt House, 19 West Ave., 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.

Each tour is $5 per person and open to the general public.  Admission helps support the educational and cultural programming of Essex Historical Society.  Join a tour for fun, facts and fresh air.

Attendees are also welcome to tour the historic 1732 Pratt House, the town’s only historic house museum.

Formed in 1955, EHS is committed to fulfilling its mission of engaging and inspiring the community in the three villages of Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton.

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

‘Mary Poppins’ Continues at H-K Middle School, Tonight, Tomorrow, Aug. 7-9

adAREAWIDE — Artful Living has announced its 2015 Summer Musical, Mary Poppins, to be performed July 31 and Aug. 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets and information are available at www.ArtfulLivingCT.com  or call 860-389-1363

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15  for seniors and children (Groups of 10 or more save $1)

The show will be performed at Haddan-Killingworth Middle School at 451 Rte. 81, Killingworth in a state of the art fully accessible, fully air-conditioned theater.

Mary Poppins is one of the most popular Disney movies of all time and is now capturing hearts in a whole new way – as a hit musical!  sCome experience the enchanting mixture of irresistible story and unforgettable tunes. It features all the classic songs “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee” “Step In Time” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” to name a few- plus wonderful new music!

See over 100 adults and children from all over the state come together to create the magic of Mary Poppins. Enjoy this beloved score with a full professional orchestra.

Questions? Want to book a group? Call producer Chris Solimene at 860-389-1363.

‘Summer Sings’ Start Monday with Beethoven’s ‘Mass in C’

Con Brio youth choirThe 2015 season of ‘Summer Sing’ opens with Beethoven’s ’’Mass in C’on Monday, Aug 3, 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook. This session will be conducted by Jeremy Milton of the Clinton Chorale and Old Saybrook High School.

All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through. Professional soloists often participate. The event is co-sponsored by two shoreline choral groups, Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio.

An $8 fee covers the costs of the event. Scores will be available, and the church is air-conditioned.

The next Summer Sing on Aug. 10, will feature Haydn’s ‘Lord Nelson Mass,’ with Conductor Steve Bruce, Con Brio Choral Society.

For more information, call (860) 388-4110 or (860) 434-9135 or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org

Death of Former State Senator Eileen Daily Announced

Former State Senator Eileen Daily, whose death was announced today.  CTNewsJunkie.com file photo.

Former State Senator Eileen Daily, whose death was announced today. CTNewsJunkie.com file photo.

Former state Sen. Eileen Daily, 72, of Westbrook, died Wednesday. She was known as a tenacious lawmaker and served as co-chair of the powerful Finance Committee for five terms.

Daily, who had battled cancer toward the end of her legislative career, decided not to seek re-election in 2012 and to spend more time with her family,

Read the full article by Christine Stuart and published today on one of our Independent Media Network partners, CTNewsJunkie.com at this link.

Daily represented the 33rd District towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook as well as Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, and Westbrook in the State Senate from 1993 to 2013.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman released the following statements regarding Daily’s passing:

Malloy said, “For decades, she was a tenacious fighter for her constituents and a committee chair who wielded enormous respect among colleagues—and she did it with a smile on her face. Eileen was one of the toughest elected officials in the state, yet her jovial disposition always made those around her feel at ease. She represented the best of public service and politics. She was tough, loyal, hardworking, knew the issues, and her word was always her bond. This is a loss for all of us—Eileen will indeed be missed. Our hearts go out to her family and loved ones.”

Wyman said, “Today is truly a sad day. Within the walls of the State Capitol, Eileen was more than just a public servant, she was a genuine leader. To me, Eileen was more than colleague, she was a friend. We served together for years. And while we worked closely together on so many different issues, we knew each other well. She was a wonderful person with whom I was close, and I received the news this morning with an extraordinarily heavy heart. My prayers are with her entire family at this difficult time.”

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven), Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton), and Senator Art Linares (R-Westbrook) released the following statement regarding the passing of former state senator Eileen Daily.

“For six years, I sat next to Eileen Daily in the Senate Circle,” said Sen. Fasano. “I got to know her well and deeply admire the way she served our state. She was a tremendous leader who had the ability to command respect with few words. When she did speak, she was decisive, logical and people followed. She balanced that with a great sense of humor. This is a great loss for Connecticut.”

“Eileen Daily was always a strong willed person,” said Sen. Witkos. “She had a tough exterior, but also a gentle collegial approach. I remember she always had a better handle on the state budget than most and it was clear that she put in the time and the energy to serve our state proudly. My deepest sympathy and condolences go to her family and loved ones.”

“Sen. Daily was a true champion for small towns and for the people of the 33rd Senate District,” said Sen. Linares. “She worked tirelessly on behalf of her constituents, and her environmental advocacy will be a lasting legacy for our region and throughout Connecticut. She was personable and she knew the issues inside and out. Sen. Daily was respected by everyone at the State Capitol. Today, we honor Sen. Daily for her service and we remember her many accomplishments. Her passing is a tremendous loss for Westbrook and for Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sen. Daily’s family and friends.”

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) posted on Facebook that he is, “Very sad to hear about the passing of former State Senator Eileen Daily. She was a dedicated public servant and longtime Westbrook resident who served the town as First Selectman for 6 years and as the Senator from the 33rd (which includes Westbrook, Old Saybrook, and Lyme) for 20. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and many friends. She will truly be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.”

Obituary: James R. Martin, AIA

James Ralston Martin:  09/08/1954 - 07/12/2015

James Ralston Martin: 09/08/1954 – 07/12/2015

James Ralston Martin AIA, 60, of Essex, Conn., passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of Sunday, July 12, 2015 in Jackson, Wyoming.  ‘Jim’ to some, ‘Jimmy’ to others was born in White Plains, N.Y., on September 9th, 1954 to Ruth Christine Wetzel and Charles Ralston Martin.  He is survived by his four children; Tess, Madison, Alden, and Jacob, older brother Dean, and granddaughter; Svea Brosnan.   He was an inspiring spirit, family man, and friend to all he knew.

James was an extremely passionate person and placed his family and their happiness above all other things.  He was extremely talented and accomplished in his career as an architect.  He is responsible for the design and planning of many university campuses, labs, and homes in Connecticut and around the country.  He was an avid sailor who had a deep passion for the sea.  He crewed on Amistad and was very proud to call the crew his dear friends.  He was a beautiful painter, chef, hiker, skater, and most certainly a technology and robotics enthusiast.

Greater than his worldly accomplishments was his deep and endearing love for his family. There has never been a more caring, engaged, responsible and “hands on” father than Jim Martin. He was the rock that held the larger Martin Family together. Jim was a shining example of love and sacrifice for those he loved and cared about. Beyond family he was always there for his family of friends whom he met from all over the world.

Jim was deeply proud of his children; they were his reason and inspiration in life.  Jim also loved and cherished his relationship with Robbi Grayson, his “significant other”, he was over the top in love with his granddaughter Svea and his best friend “Sir George” who he loved to walk every day in Essex Village and many began to associate with Jim.

Jim’s childhood homes included Largo, Fla., Mountain Lakes, N.J., and at age 12 his family moved to Westerly, R.I.  He attended college at Franconia College in Franconia, N.H., a place that provided wonderful friendships he has maintained to this day with only one month until his 40th Franconia reunion.  He went on to study sign language at Gallaudet School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C. and passed this on to his children, who signed before they could speak.  He then went to Ithaca, N.Y., where he attended Cornell University and received a his degree in Architecture.  Jim arrived in Essex, Connecticut for a job interview after graduating from Cornell, fell in love with the town, and raised his family there. Jim was very invested in the community. He served as a Town Selectman as well as on the Zoning Board of Appeals.  He continued to live in Centerbrook, a village of Essex, on a beautiful, magical piece of land with his children and all the many people he loved, a special haven where he would live for the remainder of his life.

The family will receive loved ones, friends, colleagues and all who Jim touched on:
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 at 2 p.m. at Centerbrook Meeting House, 51 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT.

A more informal ceremony will follow at:
Pettipaug Yacht Club, 145 River Road, Essex, CT

Jim’s greatest desire was to see his children complete their higher education; to that cause the family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to:
The James Martin College Fund, c/o Liberty Bank, 7 Main Street, Essex, CT 06426

Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith to Run Unopposed for Record 14th Term

Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith takes a break at his desk.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.

A smiling Deep River First Selectman Richard Smith takes a break from his work for our photographer.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.

DEEP RIVER — Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith has been nominated for a record 14th term, and will again run unopposed on the Nov.3 town election ballot. Two-term incumbent Selectman Angus McDonald Jr. has been nominated for a new term as Smith’s running-mate, with Republican Selectman David Oliveria nominated for a fourth term on the three member board.

Slates nominated by the two parties appear to set up contested races for two seats on the board of finance, and one spot on the Region 4 Board of Education. Democrats have nominated incumbents George Eckenroth and Carmella Balducci for board of finance, with Republicans nominating Mark Grabowski and John Wichtowski for finance board.

Democrats nominated Susan Hollister for a two-year vacancy on the Region 4 board, with Republicans nominating appointed incumbent Lauri Wichtowski for the vacancy term. Republicans nominated incumbent James Olson for a full six-year term on the Region 4 board.

Smith, at 64 one of the longest serving municipal elected officials in Connecticut, said Tuesday he never considered stepping aside this year, “I love what I do, it’s like my extended family.” Smith noted, “Keeping taxes down as much as we can,” and a firehouse renovation and expansion project are priorities for the next two years.

Smith’s last challenge for the top job came in 2007 from the now defunct Deep River Independent Party. He was uncontested for re-election in 2009, 2001, and 2013. Town Republicans have not nominated a candidate for first selectman since 2005.

Three incumbent town office holders are uncontested for new terms, including Republican Town Clerk Amy Macmillian Winchell, first elected in 2009, Democratic Tax Collector Lisa Bbibbiani, also first elected in 2009, and long-time Republican Town Treasurer Tom Lindner.

Democrats nominated Tadria Cialgo, Tracy Dickson. and incumbent Miriam Morrissey for the local board of education Republicans nominated Imran Munawar, Paula Weglarz, and incumbent James Olson for the local school board.

Democrats nominated incumbent Leigh Balducci for board of assessment appeals, with Republicans nominating Thomas Alexa for board of assessment appeals.

Democrats nominated incumbents Alice Procter and Mary Maraschiello for library board of trustees, along with Linda Hall, a former member and chairwoman of the Region 4 school board.

Chester Republicans Make No Nomination for First Selectman, Open Seat May be Uncontested in November

CHESTER — Town Republicans will not nominate a candidate for first selectman, a move that could leave new Democratic nominee Lauren Gister uncontested for the top job in the Nov. 3 vote. The partial slate endorsed by the Republican caucus would appear to set up the second consecutive town election where all positions on the lengthy ballot are uncontested.

Ten party members turned out for the caucus at town hall, including Doreen Joslow, a local businesswoman and planning and zoning commission member who said she had considered a run for the top job that is left open this year with the retirement of two-term Democratic First Selectman Edmund Meehan. But Joslow said the demands of the full-time job, and the relatively low annual salary currently set at $55,000, led her to conclude that “now is not the right time” for a candidacy.

Republicans nominated three-term incumbent Selectman Tom Englert for a new term. Englert served briefly as interim first selectman in 2011 after the departure of former Republican First Selectman Tom Marsh. The last Republican to be nominated and serve as first selectman, Marsh resigned in August 2011 to take a town manager job in Vermont.

Republicans nominated Jon Joslow for one of two ballot spots for board of finance. Incumbent Bruce Watrous, a former selectman, was nominated for a new term on the board of assessment appeals. Republicans nominated Steve Merola for a new term on the planning and zoning commission Kris Seifert and Bob Blair III were nominated for inland-wetlands commission. Blair is the grandson of former First Selectman Bob Blair, a Republican who held the top job from 1965 to 1989.  Mel Seifert, who also serves on the planning and zoning commission, was nominated for water pollution control authority.

Republicans did not nominate a candidate for Region 4 Board of Education, the local school board, zoning board of appeals, or library trustees, though town committee chairman Mario Gioco said the committee is still seeking candidates for open spots that could be placed on the ballot through submission of petition signatures by an Aug 12 deadline.

Gister, a local attorney and former Marine, was nominated for first selectman by town Democrats at a July 21 caucus, with Charlene Janecek, the current Democratic registrar of voters, nominated as the running-mate for board of selectmen. Joe Cohen, a Democratic town committee member who had expressed reservations about Gister as a first selectman nominee, has said he is considering a run for first selectman as a petition candidate, a move that would require submission of signatures equal to one percent of the total vote for first selectman in 2013 by an Aug. 5 deadline.

Registration for Valley Shore YMCA Afterschool Programs Now Open

AREAWIDE — To help motivate and inspire kids to discover their potential, the Valley Shore YMCA is offering afterschool programs to school-aged children throughout Westbrook, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook schools.  The Y’s afterschool program combines academics with play and offers a caring and safe environment where youth can achieve, feel a sense of belonging, build relationships and explore new interests.  

One in four U.S. children is left unsupervised at the end of school day, according to the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness advocacy organization. With the start of the new school year, the Valley Shore YMCA encourages parents/caregivers to make sure that children are involved in safe, educational experiences after school hours.

“Research shows that afterschool programs can help children perform better in school, practice healthy habits and engage in positive lifestyle behaviors. If left unsupervised at the end of the school day, students miss out on positive influences that encourage achievement and deter risk-taking activities,” said Kathy Scholl, School Age Program Director, Valley Shore YMCA. 

She continues, “The Y’s afterschool programs promote a love for learning, social and emotional development, healthy choices, and provide children with an extra support system through positive role models and caring adults.”

The Y is a leading nonprofit committed to nurturing the potential of every child and through afterschool programming, supporting their social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development from birth to career. In the Valley Shore YMCA’s afterschool program youth receive homework help and attention to healthy eating during snack time and can also explore arts and crafts and physical activity all under the guidance of our enthusiastic Y staff. 

Financial assistance is available to those in need, to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn and grow at the Y.

For more information about the Valley Shore YMCA’s afterschool program, contact Kathy School, School Age Program Director, at 860.399.9622 ext 118, vsymca@vsymca.org or visit vsymca.org.

Essex First Selectman Needleman Faces Election Challenge from Selectman Glowac

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (file photo)

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (file photo)

ESSEX — Democratic First Selectman Norman Needleman’s bid for a third term will face an election challenge from Republican Selectman Bruce Glowac, a former first selectman who returned to the board in the town’s uncontested election of 2013.

Needleman and Glowac were nominated for the Nov. 3 ballot at party nominating sessions Wednesday. Needleman will be running with two-term incumbent Democratic Selectwoman Stacia Libby.

Glowac is running with selectman candidate Phil Beckman, a former U.S. Navy officer who retired from the service last year.

Needleman, 63, is a local businessman who served four terms on the board of selectmen from 2003-2011 with former Democratic First Selectman, now State Representative Phil Miller. Needleman won the top job in 2011, defeating Republican nominee Bruce MacMillian on a 1,415-993 vote. He was unopposed by town Republicans for a second term in 2013.

Selectman Bruce Glowac

Selectman Bruce Glowac. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

But the uncontested election of 2013 also brought Glowac back to the board as the minority Republican selectman. Glowac, also 63 and a lifelong resident, had served as first selectman from 1991-1995, later assuming the job of director of facilities for Region 4 schools. Glowac, addressing about 25 Republicans at the caucus, said one key reason he is running is to give town voters a choice on the ballot, avoiding the uncontested town elections that occurred in 2013 and also in 2007. “It’s a special time and it is important to give our residents a choice on the ballot,” he said, adding that uncontested elections for top policy-making positions, “… are unhealthy to the process and do a disservice to our community.”

Glowac said the role of town government is to “direct and control change, adding, “It needs to be done with extreme care so we don’t lose the qualities that we love in Essex.” Glowac said he would retire from the Region 4 job at year’s end if he is elected first selectman,

Needleman said he is proud of the Democratic record over the last 12 years, and “loves” the job of first selectman. “It allows you to touch people’s lives and make a real difference,” he said. Both nominees promised a positive campaign, and each praised their rival. Needleman said Glowac is “a terrific guy and a huge help on the board of selectmen,” adding the current board “is a terrific working board and I’ll do what I have to do to make that continue.” Glowac said he respects Needleman and has tried to work with he and Libby over the past two years.

Democrats nominated incumbents Fred Vollono and Donald Mesite for new terms on the board of finance. Mesite was appointed to the board in December 2013 after the former board chairman, Democrat Jim Francis was elected town treasurer. Republicans nominated Geri MacMillian and former Selectman Vince Pacileo for the finance board. Pacileo, who works as director of administrative services for the Town of Stonington, served on the board of selectmen from 2003-2009, and was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for 33rd Senate in 2008 and 36th House in 2012.

Democrats nominated incumbent Jennifer Clark for a new six-year term on the Region 4 Board of Education. Republicans nominated Mary Louise Till, a retired teacher who is also a practicing attorney, for the Region 4 seat. Democrats nominated incumbent board Chairman Lon Seidman for the local board of education, with Republicans nominating incumbent D.G. Fitton for the local board, where elections are uncontested.

Democrats nominated Mark Bombaci and former member Richard Helmecki for board of assessment appeals. Republicans nominated Bruce MacMillian and Keith Russell for board of assessment appeals.

Needleman States Priorities for Possible Third Term as Essex First Selectman

Selectman Stacia Libby stands with First Selectman Norman Needleman.

Selectman Stacia Libby stands with First Selectman Norman Needleman.

ESSEX — At his July 22 announcement of his intention to run for a third, two-year-term as First Selectman of Essex, Norman Needleman noted two priorities that he would address, if re-elected.  The first is the completion of the new public works projects presently underway in Essex and the second is to establish a new, more accountable way for delivering public services to the residents of Essex by the various town agencies.

New Public Works in Essex: Several Projects Already Complete …

With regard to the first electoral priority — completing new public works in Essex — that one is well underway. The old tennis courts behind Essex Town Hall have been brought up to “tournament play” condition.

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman holds his treasured grandson.

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman holds his treasured grandson.

The parking lots, also behind the town hall, have  been completely regraded with a new playground installed that has proved to be very popular with both young and old alike. Also, Essex Town’s Hall’s frontage has been refreshed with a new lawn and improved signage, along with a general upgrade.

… Others Still on the Agenda

Needleman has ahead of him, should he be re-elected, the completion of the total refashioning of the Ivoryton section of the Town of Essex. Extensive new streets have already been put in place and the final touches of the new streetscape improvements in Ivoryton would likely extend well into a possible Needleman third term.

Also, contemplated by Needleman are upgrades in the Centerbrook section of Essex, but these are still on the drawing boards.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 1.36.58 AMImproved Coordination of Services to Residents by Essex Town Employees  

In addition to these superstructure improvements on Needleman’s re-election roster is a determination to tackle the manner in which Essex Town Departments and workers deliver services to Essex residents. Such an initiative would review the degrees of coordination among Town agencies.

It is Needleman’s view that there is presently a serious lack of coordination among Town agencies in the delivery of services to the town and, if re-elected, he intends to change this.

Chester Democrats Nominate Lauren Gister for First Selectman, Charlene Janececk for Selectman

Atty. Lauren Gister

Atty. Lauren Gister

CHESTER — Democrats Tuesday nominated Laruen Gister for the open first selectman position, with Charlene Janecek, the party registrar of voters, as the running-mate for board of selectmen.

Both seats on the three-member board, controlled by Democrats since 2011, were open after the incumbents declined to seek new terms in the Nov. 3 vote.

Two-term Democratic First Selectman Edmund Meehan formally advised the Democratic Town Committee in June that he would not seek a new term. Selectman Lawrence Sypher, first elected in 2009, also declined to run again.

Gister, a local attorney and 25-year member of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Janececk, were nominated on a unanimous voice vote from the approximately 70 Democrats that turned out for the caucus held at the Chester Meeting House. Gister had been endorsed by the Chester Democratic Town Committee earlier this month. But comments made in the nominating speech for the position indicated there had been some questions and possible objections to Gister’s nomination.

In nominating Gister, David Fitzgibbons claimed there had been an effort to “swiftboat,” her possible candidacy in the days preceding the caucus. The term is a reference to Republican backed attacks on Democratic nominee John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign. He claimed the actions were damaging to the party and the town while praising Gister’s experience as a Marine and ability to “lead us forward with compassion.”

Fitzgibbons was clearly referring to a letter published in a local weekly from Joe Cohen, a town committee member. In the letter published last week, Cohen contends that Gister lacks government and managerial experience, does not own property in Chester, and has not voted in recent elections. Cohen, a public relations consultant and former newspaper reporter, was rumored to be planning a caucus challenge to Gister’s nomination. But Cohen, who was present Tuesday, did not put his name in nomination at the caucus.

Gister said after the nomination that she was expecting a challenger from Cohen. She said “ugly statements” before the caucus had referred to personal problems she faced and overcame in recent years, including a divorce and subsequent foreclosure on her property in town.

Gister, 56, is a mother of four children, ages 14-31 Gister said she was born in California, but moved to Connecticut at age 14 and graduated from Hall High School in West Hartford.. A 19-year resident who maintains a law practice in town, Gister said she was approached by town committee members about a possible candidacy earlier this month.

Cohen said after the caucus that he is hoping other candidates emerge for the first selectman position over the next two weeks to provide town voters with a contest. Cohen said he is “pondering” a position run as a petition candidate, but is unlikely to challenge Gister’s nomination in a Democratic primary. He offered no apologies for his letter to the editor about Gister. “Telling the truth and raising concerns about legitimate issues is not in any way character assassination.” he said.

Democrats also nominated a slate of mostly incumbents for other positions on the municipal election ballot. Lori Ann Clymas, currently serving on the board of finance, was nominated for a six-year term on the Region 4 Board of Education. Incumbent Jennifer Rannestad was nominated for a new term on the board of finance.

Incumbents Errol Horner and Keith Scherber were nominated for new full terms on the planning and zoning commission, with incumbent Peter Zanardi nominated for a two-year term on the commission. New candidate Jacqueline Stack was nominated for planning and zoning commission alternate. Incumbents Maria Scherber and David Fitzgibbons were nominated for local board of education, along with new candidates John Stack and John Ropiak.

Incumbent Mark Borton was nominated for a new term on the zoning board of appeals, incumbent Kim Senay was nominated for a new term on the inland wetlands commission, and incumbent James Pease was nominated for a new term on the water pollution control authority. Incumbent Sandy Senior-Dauer and Karin Badger were nominated for library board of trustees.

Republicans hold their nominating caucus Monday. No candidates have announced for the Republican nomination for first selectman. Cohen, or any other possible challengers, face an Aug. 5 deadline to submit signatures to run as a petition candidate.

Aug. 12 is the deadline for primary petitions.

Just a Few Space Reservations Left for Annual August Flea Market at Deep River Congregational Church

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Congregational Church is busy making final preparations for its annual Flea Market and Rummage Sale, which will be held during the third weekend of August.   The Aug. 15 Flea Market is held on Marvin Field and on the grounds around the church.

Just a few 20 x 20 foot spaces are still available for $30 and can be reserved by contacting the church office for a reservation form and map at 860-526-5045 or office.drcc@snet.net or forms can be downloaded from the church web site at www.deeprivercc.org

Deep River Rotary Installs New Officers, Libby is President

The new president of Deep River Rotary Club, Stacia Libby.

The new president of Deep River Rotary Club, Stacia Libby.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Rotary Club installed its officers for the 2015-2016 year at the annual picnic meeting on June 30.

The full slate of officers comprises Stacia Rice Libby (President);  Desiree Richardell (Vice President);  Jill Merola (Treasurer);  Timothy Haut (Secretary);  and Kevin Brewer (Sergeant-at-Arms).

The Deep River Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. at the Ivory Restaurant in Deep River.   It is a part of Rotary International, a humanitarian and service organization with over 34,000 clubs and 1.2 million members around the world.

Men and women from throughout the Valley Shore area are invited to attend meetings and become members of the Deep River Club.

Essex Rotary Club Supports Wide Variety of Local, International Needs

Rotary Club of Essex donates funds to the Essex Library for the artwork project.  From left to right: Stephen Brinkmann, Rotary Club Treasurer;  Jessica Branciforte, Head of Children’s and Youth Services and Richard Conroy, Library Director.

From left to right: Stephen Brinkmann, Rotary Club Treasurer; Jessica Branciforte, Head of Children’s and Youth Services and Richard Conroy, Library Director gather for a photo while Rotary Club of Essex donates funds to the Essex Library for the artwork project.

ESSEX — The Rotary Club of Essex recently provided funds to the Essex Library project for displaying artwork. The project’s objective is to provide a venue for local artists in support of the library’s mission to be “the community center for lifelong learning and cultural achievement”.

Rotary’s fund raising efforts provide support for many local endeavors.  In addition to the library, Rotary has recently provided funds to Essex Social Services, Essex Tree Committee, Valley Regional Interact Club, Valley Regional High School Musical, Valley Shore YMCA, Cub Scout Cub Pack 4, and the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Rotary also has an international focus. In the past year, the Rotary Club of Essex has made contributions to the Brazilian and American Youth Cultural Exchange, Simply Smiles for latrines in Oaxaca Mexico, Sister Cities Essex Haiti to help purchase a generator for the library in Deschapelles, the Rural Liberian Healthcare and Development Initiative, and through Shelterboxes USA has contributed for shelter and supplies to Vanuatu and Nepal after they suffered natural disasters.

Shad baking around the fire.

Shad baking around the fire.

The major fundraising project that enables Rotary Club of Essex contributions is the annual Shad Bake held the first Saturday in June, conducted in partnership with the Connecticut River Museum on the shore of the Connecticut River.  Shad is prepared around an open fire.  Also served are clams, chicken and hot dogs.

The event has become well known since its inception in 1960.  This year’s attendees came from local communities as well as more distant places such as New York, Vermont, Massachusetts,  New Hampshire, and as far away as Nevada.

In addition to ticket tales, a major source of income is provided by “sponsors” of the event.  This year’s sponsors were Gowrie Group; Joseph Shea in honor of Daniel Edward Wolff; Guilford Savings Bank; Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services; Tower Laboratories; AJ Shea Construction; A&S Boatworks; The JECM Foundation; Benin Management; BrandTech Scientific, Inc.; Clark Group; Emme & Jonathon Deland; Jeffrey Mehler, CFP LLC; Middle Cove Marina; Winthrop Construction; Essex Marine Group, LLC; Middlesex Hospital; Peck & Ficarra, Attorneys at Law; Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home; Safety Zone; Gerald Tarre; Northwestern Mutual Financial Network; and Wells Fargo.

Supplies for the event were contributed by Joseph Shea, Clark Group, Essex Meadows; Essex Lions Club; CT Rental; and Ashleigh’s Garden.

For anyone wishing to learn more about Rotary, the Rotary Club of Essex website can be accessed at http://www.rotaryclubofessex.com/.

Hign Energy ‘Memphis’ Musical Opens Friday at Ivoryton Playhouse, Preview Wednesday

Taavon Gamble*, Michael Sullivan, Teren Carter*, Mya Rose and Kevin Moeti in a recent rehearsal.

Taavon Gamble*, Michael Sullivan, Teren Carter*, Mya Rose and Kevin Moeti in a recent rehearsal.

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Playhouse leaves the sunny tropical shores of the South Pacific in August and travels to the sizzling backstreets of ‘50s Memphis.

Memphis is set in the places where rock and roll was born – the seedy, underground dance clubs, radio stations and recording studios in 1950s Memphis, Tenn.  Inspired by true events, this high energy musical tells the story of DJ Huey Calhoun who falls in love with a beautiful singer and battles cultural divides as he tries to bring her voice to the airwaves of America.

Renee Jackson* and Chawnta Marie Van in rehearsal.

Renee Jackson* and Chawnta Marie Van in rehearsal.

As their careers rise, a revolution erupts when his vision meets her voice and the music changed forever.  With an original score, this musical is filled with heart, soul and energy to burn!  Winner of four 2010 Tony Awards, Memphis was written by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, All Shook Up) with electrifying blues, rock, ballads and gospel music created by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan.

Writer Joe DiPietro will be joining the cast on stage for talk back after the performance on opening night, Friday, Aug. 7,  followed by a reception with the cast and crew. Limited tickets are still available for this performance.

Renee Jackson* and Carson Higgins* practice a song.

Renee Jackson* and Carson Higgins* study their parts for Memphis.

The Playhouse production of Memphis is directed and choreographed by Todd Underwood, whose last work was seen at the Ivoryton Playhouse as choreographer for La Cage aux Folles and Dreamgirls.  The show features Carson Higgins* as Huey, Rénee Jackson* as Felicia Farrell, Teren Carter* as Delray, Jamal Shuriah* as Gator.

This musical is directed by Michael Morris, the set is designed by Martin Scott Marchitto, lighting by Doug Harry and costumes by Elizabeth Cipollina.

memphis

Memphis opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse in previews on Wednesday, Aug. 5, (official opening Friday, Aug. 7) and runs through Aug. 30. 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.  There will be two additional Saturday matinees on Aug. 22 and 29 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 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

This production of ‘Memphis’ is generously sponsored by:  Pasta Vita, First Niagara, Sennheiser and Saybrook Country Barn.

Country School Students Fund Well in Uganda with Support from Local Community

Joseph Coyne presents a Run Well t shirt from the school's 5K fundraiser to Jordan Rizza, publisher of Coastal Connecticut magazine. The magazine invited Joseph to speak at a recent VIP reception during a Grassy Strip Music Series concert, where The Country School's well project was the featured nonprofit.

Joseph Coyne presents a Run Well t shirt from the school’s 5K fundraiser to Jordan Rizza, publisher of Coastal Connecticut magazine. The magazine invited Joseph to speak at a recent VIP reception during a Grassy Strip Music Series concert, where The Country School’s well project was the featured nonprofit.

MADISON, CT – Following a full year of fundraising, and with generous help from the local community, students at The Country School recently announced that they had raised enough money to underwrite the creation of a well to provide clean drinking water in Kaberamaido, Uganda.

The successful conclusion of the fundraising effort, a partnership with the Madison nonprofit Call To Care Uganda, means construction can begin this summer. The well will be based at the Odongai Primary School and will provide clean water for as many as 1,500 people, including students at the school and others who live near it. The TCS well will mark the 28th well Call To Care Uganda has dug since its founding in 2007.

The Country School’s well effort began last fall after Joseph Coyne, an 8th Grader and member of the Student Leadership Committee, learned about the work of Call To Care Uganda (www.calltocareuganda.org). In addition to the obvious health benefits, Joseph discovered that a well would mean that children – primarily girls – could remain in school, rather than having to spend several hours each day walking miles back and forth to deliver potable water to their families.

Knowing that The Country School has a strong service learning component, Joseph suggested that his school embark on a well project with Call To Care Uganda, both as a way for Country School students to “serve their communities and the larger world,” as the school mission statement calls upon them to do, and so students could learn about children in other parts of the world.

Joseph Coyne, the student leader on the fundraising project to construct a well in Uganda, with his mother Beth Coyne, Dean of Student Life at The Country School, and Martha Hoffman, founder of Call to Care Uganda.

Joseph Coyne, the student leader on the fundraising project to construct a well in Uganda, with his mother Beth Coyne, Dean of Student Life at The Country School, and Martha Hoffman, founder of Call to Care Uganda.

The full cost of the well is $8,500, and so it was an ambitious undertaking for  students at a PreSchool-8th Grade school, but Joseph and his Service Committee colleagues were confident it could be done. Starting in September, they held a series of fundraisers, from a school wide-coin collection to sales of Ugandan jewelry and dress down day fundraisers. This spring, they organized a 5K run on campus, attracting scores of local runners and inspiring several local businesses to serve as sponsors.

By the end of the school year, they had raised $5,353. With a little over $3,000 still to go, they were considering their options when they were invited by Coastal Connecticut magazine to be the featured nonprofit at the first Grassy Strip Concert of the summer, a performance by Christine Ohlman at the Madison Beach Hotel. During the concert, students sold jewelry and collected donations, and Joseph delivered a speech as part of a VIP reception.

The evening raised close to $1,300, but students still had a gap to close.  Shortly after the concert, they heard from Jordan Rizza, publisher of Coastal Connecticut, who told them the magazine would cover the balance so they can officially proclaim, “Well done!” Construction of the well is expected to begin this month.

The Country School is extremely grateful to Coastal Connecticut, to sponsors of the 5K run (Zane’s Cycles; Dr. Laura Miller, DDS; Bershtein, Volpe, and McKeon P.C.; Group Insurance Associates; Woodbridge Running Company; and Barndoor Lighting Outfitters), to the countless individuals who made donations, and to our partners in this initiative, Call To Care Uganda, and its founder, Martha Hoffman, who visited The Country School repeatedly throughout the year to share news from and information about her program, students at Odongai, and Uganda.

Hoffman also helped Country School students initiate a pen pal program with Odongai students, and last fall, Country School students held a shoe drive, collecting 600 pairs of new and gently used shoes to send to their partner school. Recently, Hoffman forwarded photographs of Odongai students wearing their new shoes. The next photo Country School students hope to see their pen pals drinking clean water from their new well.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool through Grade 8. At The Country School, a rigorous academic program is accompanied by a commitment to hands-on learning, a dynamic STEAM curriculum (integrated science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), a focus on the whole child, and service learning. The Country School prepares students to meet the future with confidence, encouraging them to reach their highest, both in school and in life. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

Vista Launches Annual ‘Put Vista on the Map’ Facebook Campaign

Vista kicked off its annual 'Put Vista On The Map' campaign at Family Day on July 11.

Vista kicked off its annual ‘Put Vista On The Map’ campaign at Family Day on July 11.

AREAWIDE — Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is on a mission to travel the globe this summer through its annual Put Vista On The Map Facebook photo campaign.

For the campaign, Vista families, friends, staff and community members are invited to submit photos of themselves wearing Vista wristbands in locations worldwide during their summer travels. It’s a fun and creative way to raise awareness for Vista, both at home and abroad.

Supporters put Vista “on the map” in all 50 states and in 27 countries during last year’s campaign.  Destinations included Australia, Morocco, the Czech Republic, India, Tunisia and South Korea.

The goal of this year’s campaign—which runs through Labor Day— is to once again put Vista on the map in all 50 states and in 35 countries. Another goal of the campaign is to reach 1,000 Facebook likes by Labor Day.

To Put Vista On The Map, send photos to vpereira@vistavocational.org.

For questions, or to request free Vista wristbands, contact Vanessa Pereira at (860) 399-8080 or vpereira@vistavocational.org.

Follow this year’s campaign by liking Vista on Facebook!

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

Women’s Golf Association Tournament Raises Funds for Terri Brodeur Cancer Foundation

golf_ladies

The Women’s Golf Association (WGA) of the Old Lyme Country held its annual Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Golf Tournament on July 23, at the Old Lyme Country Club.

Over 37 ladies participated in the tournament and raised $4,240 for the Terri Brodeur Foundation.  The event included 9-holes of golf, a silent auction,  raffle, and a luncheon.  All of the funds pledged go directly to breast cancer research.  Administrative costs are either sponsor-supported or volunteer provided.  The Foundation has an office in New London that was donated to organization.  Since 2006, over 3 million dollars have been raised and awarded to 30 researchers.

The winners of the tournament this year were:

FIRST GROSS:   Paula Bingham (Old Lyme), Louise Ferrebee (Old Lyme), Debbie English (Centerbrook), and Suzanne Kitchings (Essex).

FIRST NET: Mardee Moore (Guilford), Carolyn Daddona (Centerbrook), Eleanor Way (Old Lyme), Diane Deutermann  (Old Lyme), and Kathy Jose (Old Lyme).

Article submitted by Charlene Amacher.

State Bond Commission Set to Approve $3.8 Million Loan Tuesday for Essex Place Centerbrook

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

AREAWIDE — State Representative Philip Miller (D-Chester/Deep River/Essex/Haddam) is reporting the state Bond Commission is scheduled to approve funding to provide a $3,824,718 loan to Essex Place Centerbrook, LLC, to assist with construction of 22 elderly rental units in Essex.

The funding, provided under the Housing Trust Fund, is for 30 years at 1 percent.

“I am pleased the Bond Commission is set to approve this funding request to continue to the development of affordable apartment rentals,” Miller said. “This is an important investment in our community and I appreciate the Governor’s support for not only this project, but for making affordable housing a statewide priority.”

Janice Atkeson, Essex Housing Authority Chair, welcomed the news that the funding was on the Bond Commission’s agenda for approval saying, “I want to express my gratitude to Representative Miller and everyone who worked to make this happen. We are looking forward to the vote.”

The special meeting of the State Bond Commission will be Tuesday, July 28, at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1-E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.