May 3, 2016

Essex First Selectman Needleman to Declare State Senate Candidacy Today, Challenging Linares

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

ESSEX — Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (D) will announce his candidacy for the 33rd State Senate District at a press conference to be held Tuesday, May 3, at 5 p.m. in the Gelston House in East Haddam.

Needleman, a Democrat who is currently serving his third two-year term as Essex First Selectman, will challenge incumbent Art Linares (R), who is completing his second two-year term as 33rd District State Senator and is running for a third term. Linares is Assistant Minority Leader of the state senate.

Apart from Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook, the 33rd senate district includes the towns of Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.

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Is it a Tunnel? An Aerial Structure? Learning the Latest on the Proposed High Speed Railroad Through Old Lyme

A large crowd gathered at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme to hear the latest on the proposed high speed railroad track.

A large crowd gathered at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme to hear the latest on the proposed high speed railroad track.

More than 80 people gathered in Gil Boro’s Studio 80 on Lyme Street in Old Lyme Sunday afternoon to hear a variety of speakers give updates on the latest developments in the saga involving the Federal Rail Authority’s (FRA) NEC Future’s proposals for an upgraded high speed railroad track from Washington DC to Boston. The event had a lighter side with musical performances from Ramblin’ Dan Stevens, Clayton Allen and friends, and the Localmotives with Eleanor Robinson, the Shrivers and friends. But the main thrust of the program was to educate and inform the attendees about the status of FRA’s plans … and what to do about them.

Greg Stroud, who has spearheaded the movement to fight Alternative 1 –- the route that travels through the center of Old Lyme – spoke first explaining that in spring 2012, when the FRA first announced a plan to invest in and modernize high speed rail in the northeast corridor, they began with 98 alternatives. He pointed out that back then, “I don’t think you’ll find a single complaint from Old Lyme, “Because not one of these alternatives included plans for running a railroad through the historical district of Old Lyme.”

Greg Stroud makes a point during his presentation in Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.

Greg Stroud makes a point during his presentation in Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.

It was only in November 2015 when the FRA issued their Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that “Old Lyme was mentioned for the first time” in the proposals and by that time, the original 98 alternatives had been narrowed down to just three. Moreover, the route through Old Lyme – the 50-mile bypass running from Old Saybrook to Kenyon, R.I. known as Alternative 1 – featured an “aerial structure’ traversing Lyme Street some 40 ft. above street level. He commented calmly, “This was kind of disturbing.”

The initial comment period for the Tier 1 study closed at the end of January. It was then extended to Feb. 15 and after an extraordinary number of comments from the residents of Old Lyme (1,200 out of a total of 3,000 according to Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder), the FRA introduced the idea of a tunnel going from Old Saybrook and Stroud said, “coming out around Whippoorwill [Rd.]”

Stroud pointed out that although “a tunnel sounds better … we’re a community of marshes .. this Historic District is built on soil and groundwater,” and suggested the audience should Google the word “dewatering.” He said that in order to build a tunnel, “You have to pump the water out of the soil,” noting soil tends to settle, “when you pump out groundwater,” adding, “There really isn’t a nice way to build a tunnel,” and then the comment, “It’s troubling.”

Stressing that he could not say definitively this would happen, Stroud noted that the FRA is unable to do so either. He mentioned that the FRA is “pretty friendly” and in numerous conversations with involved parties in Old Lyme, the FRA has said consistently that it, “will do the studies afterwards.”

Stroud’s point, however, is that the FRA is currently determining its preferred route for the track based on the feedback it has received to date. It will announce that route in September and then undertake the necessary studies. But, Stroud emphasized, “Once that route is drawn on the map, and if that route runs under, over, or through Old Lyme, it’s going to be enormously difficult and expensive, to erase.”

State Senator Paul Formica (R- 20th, center) and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd, right) listen carefully to an attendee's point.

State Senator Paul Formica (R- 20th, center) and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd, right) listen carefully to an attendee’s point.

Stroud continued that it was important to know where town government and state officials stood on the proposal, noting, “I know where our First Selectwoman [Bonnie Reemsnyder] stands on this,” and adding that from the start, State Representative Devin Carney (R), “took me seriously” and State Senator Paul Formica (R), “was very supportive,” drawing laughter when he confessed, “ And I’m a Democrat!”

But Stroud noted despite the fact, “We’ve back-channeled and we’ve front-channeled … it’s been pretty quiet,” and there has been “Little from [Congressman Joe] Courtney,” and with regard to Senator Richard Blumenthal, Stroud stated emphatically, “We don’t know if he’s with us or against us.” He urged the audience to “get our public representatives to take a stand,” by calling and/or writing to Senator Blumenthal’s office asking him to take a stand in order to, “Get this off the table.”

Pre-addressed postcards were available at the event for attendees to write a personal note to Senator Blumenthal, who Stroud noted is “the most active supporter of high-speed rail in Congress” and the ranking member of the Senate committee in charge of the rail planning process. Stroud said Blumenthal could therefore be enormously influential in the final route decision.

BJ Bernblum reads Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder's statement to the audience.

BJ Bernblum reads Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder’s statement to the audience.

BJ Bernblum then read a statement on behalf of Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who was unable to attend the event. It opened with Reemsnyder thanking all the people who had written to the FRA during the Tier 1 comment period, noting that at a subsequent meeting with the NEC Futures team, “ I believe that our concerns were taken seriously,” adding, “Of those concerns, we were effective in the most important one, and that is the removal of the plan for an aerial structure going through the heart of Old Lyme.”

Reemsnyder noted in her statement, however, “While this is good news, I acknowledge that the idea of a tunnel across the Connecticut River comes with its own set of concerns, which we also addressed in our meeting. The Connecticut River and its estuary are of such vital importance that we must assure that valid research and extreme caution are used in planning this type of work.” She stressed that a team of people from the regional government council (RiverCOG) and some Old Lyme residents “are gathering important data on the Connecticut River to be used if and when the time comes to thoroughly discuss the impact of a tunnel.”

In conclusion, Reemsnyder’s statement said, “We are continuing to keep the communication open with the FRA, our state officials, our Connecticut Delegation and state representatives to advocate for our community and protect our future,” adding, “You can see our summary of our meeting in a letter to the FRA on the town website, along with their response to that summary.”

Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, discusses a point after his presentation.

Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, discusses a point after his presentation.

The third speaker was Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. He commented that from both his perspective in his current position and his prior experience as a municipal government member in the Town of New Scotland, N.Y. that Old Lyme’s town government “was doing the right things,” but stressed, “They need you [the audience],” explaining, “Their effectiveness is bolstered by a grassroots movement.”

He described the positive relationship between the Old Lyme town government and the local environmental, cultural and historical organizations as, “a potent mix” that he felt could be effective in conveying the message that “there are other ways to deliver high speed rail … without the wreckage of going through Old Lyme.”

In similar vein to Stroud, he reflected that, “While the process has been silent (while the FRA considers which option to select as its preferred route), I want to encourage you not to be silent,” adding, “You need to keep pressing home the point that this is not the place for high speed rail.”

Greg Stroud addresses the audience from the mezzanine level where the musicians played during Sunday's event.

Greg Stroud addresses the audience from the mezzanine level where the musicians played during Sunday’s event.

He explained that the Trust has “taken on fiscal responsibility” for the project known as ‘SECoast,’ which is described on its Facebook page as, “An independent nonprofit, partnered with the Connecticut Trust and currently focused on the topic of high-speed rail in Southeastern Connecticut,” with a mission of, “Organizing and educating the public to protect Southeastern Connecticut and the Lower Connecticut River Valley.”

Mackay said the Trust will be “picking up costs” associated with the project and donations to the group can now be accepted. He said information on how to donate to support the project is on the SECoast website and 100 percent of any donation will go to the project and is tax-deductible.

Mackay then cited what he described as a “visionary” Statement of Significance written in 1971 by Margaret Crosby Brown of Old Lyme when the town was applying to establish an historic district. Crosby Brown mentioned, “The town’s long awareness of the necessity for strong stewardship for both the historical and environmental aspects of Old Lyme,” noting at that time, “This is especially so when the destructive forces of accelerated change are all too apparent.”

Concurring with Crosby Brown’s opinion about the “necessity for strong stewardship,” he concluded with the words, “You have something very special here,” adding emphatically, “Let’s press that point.”

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May Daze in Chester Brings Art, Music, Food, Dancing, Fun for All Ages, Friday

ircle of Friends Montessori at 25 West Main Street will be hosting an open house during May Daze Night, from 5 to 8 p.m. The "Earth Day, Every Day" evening will include a wildflower planting activity and an opportunity for children to make Mother's Day gifts using recycled materials. Shown here are Jess Stone, from Cold Spring Farm in East Haddam, helping Adam Schmelzer with his plants.

Circle of Friends Montessori at 25 West Main Street will be hosting an open house during Chester’s May Daze Night, from 5 to 8 p.m. The “Earth Day, Every Day” evening will include a wildflower planting activity and an opportunity for children to make Mother’s Day gifts using recycled materials. Shown here are Jess Stone, from Cold Spring Farm in East Haddam, helping Adam Schmelzer with his plants.

CHESTER – May Daze Night. That’s been the name for the first Friday evening of May in Chester Center for several decades, thanks to the Chester Merchants. No one seems to know the reason for the name, but they know one thing – it’s always a great evening for people to convene in Chester Center to meet friends, see new art exhibits, find sales and gift drawings at the shops, hear good music, and enjoy savory treats and wines as they browse.

Chester has inspired artists for many years. Here is “Chester: A Collage” by Kathy DeMeo of Wallingford, an artist at Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art. The gallery will serve wine and cookies as you enjoy the Spring Exhibit of over 200 new paintings by 46 established artists. In addition, there is a special show in the Stone Gallery of the paintings by the late Don Bement of Haddam Neck.

Chester has inspired artists for many years. Here is “Chester: A Collage” by Kathy DeMeo of Wallingford, an artist at Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art. The gallery will serve wine and cookies as you enjoy the Spring Exhibit of over 200 new paintings by 46 established artists. In addition, there is a special show in the Stone Gallery of the paintings by the late Don Bement of Haddam Neck.

This year, as the Main Street Bridge reconstruction nears its completion, the Merchants have added another element – a Main Street Swing Dance on May Daze Night, Friday, May 6. May is “Swinging Chester” month, so what could be better than a Swing Dance?

Chester Rotarian and DJ Gary Torello will be playing music in the center of Main Street near the bridge barricades from 8 to 10 p.m., and Suzie Woodward of Lark has lined up swing dancers to show off some of their steps and moves. Come on down and dance in the street with us!

May Daze Night – that’s Friday, May 6 – begins at 5 p.m. Parking is available in several public parking lots, on Water Street and on Maple Street.

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Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna Chastises Both Parties for Current Budget Mess 

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna. Photo from LinkedIn.com

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna. Photo from LinkedIn.com

In an exclusive interview with Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, Jr., on May 2, Fortuna, a Republican, castigated the leadership of both parties for putting the state of Connecticut, “into a budgetary mess.” Fortuna expressed particular alarm that the state’s budgetary shortfall will be over $1.5 billion, “and that’s for this year alone,” he stressed.

“That is $1.5 million,” Fortuna repeated.

Furthermore, Fortuna said that in the next two years, the state’s budgetary shortfall would reach over $4 billion. He commented that a contributing factor to the state budget’s shortfall is, “Retired civil servants are living longer and longer.”

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Books & Bagels Program This Morning in Chester Considers “Architecture After the Holocaust”

architecture
CHESTER –
How did the Holocaust shape the works of modern architects? Historian Gavriel Rosenfeld, author of Building After Auschwitz, answers that question and more at a free Books & Bagels program open to the public at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 1, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester – a building that’s featured in his book.

Since the end of World War II, Jewish architects have risen to unprecedented international prominence. Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Louis I. Kahn, Daniel Libeskind, Richard Meier, Moshe Safdie, Robert A.M. Stern and Stanley Tigerman have made pivotal contributions. They have also decisively shaped Jewish architectural history, as many of their designs are influenced by Jewish themes, ideas and imagery. Building After Auschwitz is the first major study to examine the origins of this “new Jewish architecture.”

Speaking on behalf of CBSRZ, Tracy Kleinberg, says, “I’ve known Gavriel a long time and when I became program chair two years ago, I knew I wanted to have him come speak about his book.  I thought about the fact that our building, designed by Sol LeWitt, is a prominent piece of modern Jewish architecture and the topic would be of interest to our congregation.  The cool part is that our building is discussed on page 320.”

Rosenfeld, a professor at Fairfield University, describes this cultural development as the result of important shifts in Jewish memory and identity since the Holocaust, and cites the rise of postmodernism, multiculturalism and Holocaust consciousness as a catalyst. In showing how Jewish architects responded to the Nazi genocide in their work, Rosenfeld’s study sheds new light on the evolution of Holocaust memory.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. As always for the Books & Bagels programs, there is no charge for the event and it is open to the public. No reservations are necessary. For more information, visit cbsrz.org or call the CBSRZ office 860-526-8920.

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Arts Festival to Honor Adam Haut in Deep River

all things artsy poster

DEEP RIVER – An Arts Festival, called “All Things Artsy,” will be held to honor the life of Adam Haut on Sunday, May 1, from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the courtyard of the Deep River Congregational Church on Main Street in Deep River.

Photographers, painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, carvers, ceramic, glass, mixed media, poets, sewers, knitters, quilters, etc. are asked to submit a favorite piece of artwork to display or sell. The theme is “Animals, Nature, Love!”  All proceeds will be donated to Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc. in honor of Adam, who died Aug. 28, 2015.

Contact Sybil Higgins (christianed.drcc@snet.net or 860-526-5045) for more details.

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Egyptologist to Present Lecture in Old Lyme This Afternoon

Kent Weeks (photo from www.ancient.co.uk)

Kent Weeks (photo from www.ancient.co.uk)

OLD LYME – On Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m., Dr. Kent R. Weeks, a world-famous Egyptologist, will be giving a lecture at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

Dr. Weeks, a part-time Old Lyme resident and the subject of the cover article in the February 2016 edition of INK magazine, is known for his discovery of the Tomb of Ramses II in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt.

His Old Lyme lecture will focus on recent developments in archaeology in the Valley of the Kings. He will also discuss his groundbreaking success in the creation and development of a local library for Luxor residents. Initially established as an information center for visiting archaeologists and conservationists, the library has expanded to become a unique local cultural center attracting a wide audience of Egyptian mothers, children and young students. A man of many talents, Dr. Kent Weeks is an energetic and engaging speaker.

The event is free, but a suggested donation of $10 per person will be gratefully accepted.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School is located at 69, Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

 

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Musical Masterworks Celebrates Conclusion of its 25th Season This Afternoon

Violinist Chee-Yun

Violinist Chee-Yun

Musical Masterworks’ 25th Anniversary Season will end with a burst of excitement as eight extraordinary musicians perform works of Richard Strauss, Bartók, Mendelssohn and contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima. The last concert of this season, which will feature veteran violinist Chee-Yun, will be held Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m.

The anniversary season will be celebrated with a free 25th Anniversary Party after the final concert on May 1, to which all ticket buyers will be invited.

The finale of each concert will be one of the best-loved works in the chamber music repertoire: the Mendelssohn Octet.It promises to be a wonderful conclusion to the group’s first quarter century.

Artistic Director, Edward Arron commented, “I feel privileged to be the curator of this unique concert series. As the years go by, I continue to be inspired by the beauty of the Congregational Church, the art of chamber music, the artistry of my colleagues, and the warmth of our audience.”

To learn more about Musical Masterworks, visit www.musicalmasterworks.org. This summer information will be posted about the 26th season, which begins in October 2016.

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Renowned Jazz Musician Ronny Whyte Performs in Centerbrook Tonight

Ronny Whyte_208_rtch
IVORYTON –
World-renowned jazz musician Ronny Whyte will be performing a benefit concert for the Ivoryton Players on Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Meeting House in Centerbrook. Mr. Whyte will perform an evening of songs from “The Great American Songbook,” including works by Gershwin, Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Ronny Whyte is not only considered a premier interpreter of classic American popular song, he is also an outstanding jazz pianist and an award-winning songwriter. He has been featured on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR and his lyric “Forget the Woman” was recorded by Tony Bennett. He produces and hosts “Midtown Jazz at Midday” in St. Peter’s in Manhattan and was inducted into the Cabaret Jazz Hall of Fame.

Whitney Balliett wrote in the New Yorker: “Whyte (handsome, dapper, easygoing) is a first class cabaret singer. His diction sparkles…his songs ring and float and shine.”

Ronny Whyte will be accompanied by bassist Boots Maleson. There will be a special guest appearance by Deborah Mott. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling 860-767-7318 or can be purchased at the door (seating is limited). A reception will follow the performance.

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Centerbrook Architects Present Lecture on “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion”

silvaESSEX – The Essex Library will present the Connecticut premier of Matthew Silva’s award-winning documentary, “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion,” on Friday, April 29, at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall, as part of the Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series.

Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion, once the shining symbol of the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair, now sits in the middle of New York City as a haunting reminder of what became of the age of optimism, the early 1960s. The “Modern Ruin” film tells the story of New York State Pavilion during the glory days of the fair, and chronicles its demise over the past 50 years. The film details its post-fair use as a ‘60s concert venue and ‘70s roller rink, including the years of neglect and recent growing advocacy efforts.

Matthew Silva is a teacher, filmmaker and co-founder of People for the Pavilion, an organization dedicated to preserving the New York State Pavilion.  Since 2012, Silva has worked to raise interest and change public perception for what is possible for the Pavilion.  With support from a strong social media community and a coalition of various New York-based civic, advocacy and cultural institutions, he produced his 2015 documentary “Modern Ruin” film.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Town Hall is located at 29 West Ave. in Essex.

 

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Essex Resident Antonio C. Robaina Honored by Connecticut Bar Association

From left to right: CBA President, William H. Clendenen, Jr.; the Honorable Antonio C. Robaina, recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award; CBA Vice President, Karen DeMeola; and CBA President-elect, Monte E. Frank.

From left to right: CBA President, William H. Clendenen, Jr.; the Honorable Antonio C. Robaina, recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award; CBA Vice President, Karen DeMeola; and CBA President-elect, Monte E. Frank.

ESSEX – The Honorable Antonio C. Robaina was recently presented with the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award at the Connecticut Bar Association’s annual awards celebration, “Celebrate with the Stars,” in New Britain. Judge Robaina was selected based on nominations submitted to the CBA Awards Committee.

Judge Robaina was appointed to the Superior Court in 1998 and is currently assigned to the Hartford Judicial District as the presiding civil judge. From 2005 to 2010, he was the administrative judge in the Windham Judicial District; previously, Judge Robaina served as the presiding judge for civil matters in the New Haven Judicial District, as well as the assistant administrative judge. In 2002, Judge Robaina was the presiding judge for family matters in the Hartford Judicial District. He is one of the few judges who have served in a presiding role in civil, criminal, and family, and has served in judicial districts throughout the state as a trial judge in those same areas.

From 1979 to 1998, Judge Robaina was engaged in general practice in New Haven, which included plaintiff’s personal injury, insurance defense, criminal defense, immigration law, and family matters. He currently serves as a member of the adjunct faculty at Quinnipiac University.

Judge Robaina was one of the original founders and a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association and has served as the chairman of the Diversity Award Committee for the Lawyer’s Collaborative for Diversity. He has been a member of the Rules Committee of the judges of the superior court, and a number of other committees for the Judicial Branch and various bar organizations.

Judge Robaina has dedicated much of his time as a mediator in a variety of capacities. He has participated in the externship programs at both the University of Connecticut School of Law and Quinnipiac University Law School, has mentored law school students through the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association Mentoring Program, and  has mentored other  judges in  the Judicial Branch mentoring program. Judge Robaina has served as the co-chair of a bench/bar committee with respect to medical malpractice cases as well as the co-chair of the CBA Task Force for the Study of a Mentoring Program, which explored the establishment of a mandatory mentoring program for new lawyers in the state of Connecticut.

“Celebrate with the Stars” is dedicated to recognizing Connecticut’s top judges, lawyers and professionals who make a difference through their work by demonstrating allegiance, dedication, conscientious service, commitment and mentorship.

The recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award must meet the following criteria: he or she be a member of the Connecticut Judiciary, federal or state court, who has integrity and epitomizes long-term, dedicated, and conscientious service to the community in his or her judicial role; must be a hard-working judge who labors long in his or her duties; and who is selfless in his or her approach to the demands of the judge position.

Henry J. Naruk (1928-1991) of Middletown was the 60th president of the CBA. Under his presidency, the CBA successfully ran a then-record number of continuing legal education seminars that had been attended by approximately 5,300 Connecticut attorneys. Also under his astute leadership, the CBA created the Women and the Law Section in 1983.

 

From left to right: CBA President, William H. Clendenen, Jr.; the Honorable Antonio C. Robaina, recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award; CBA Vice President, Karen DeMeola; and CBA President-elect, Monte E. Frank.

 

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Essex Foundation Underwrites Material Costs for Essex Gateway Bridge Painting

EssexBridgePaintingCloseup_4-20-16

ESSEX – For 46 years, the Essex Foundation has been quietly tending to the unique and special needs of the Essex community, answering calls for assistance when fast action is needed.

Most recently, the nonprofit group lent financial support to the highway bridge painting project at the Route 9, exit 3 section of town. The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s tree and shrub removal along state highway barriers had further exposed the patched-paint and rusted appearance of the bridge and left the landscape bare. Public outcry over the “tacky” condition of what is considered the gateway to Essex was fierce, with local residents asking town officials to find a solution.

That solution came in the form of a collaboration between Essex residents Steve and Susan Bogan, owners of Blast-All Construction, who provided the in-kind donation of project planning, supervision, equipment, and labor services; the Town of Essex who provided police supervision and traffic re-routing services; and the Essex Foundation, the Essex Rotary Club and many individual donors, who together provided a total of $18,000 for the purchase of the paint.

The initiative started in 2015 when the Bogans approached the Essex Foundation with a plan for painting the bridge at no cost to taxpayers. As a contractor for state and federal bridge work, Blast-All worked with the CT D.O.T. and the Union Apprenticeship program to have the Essex gateway bridge serve as a training site. The Bogans also met with town officials to secure local police assistance for traffic re-routing and worker safety, while the Essex Foundation, the Essex Rotary Club and many individual donors provided financial support for the paint and material costs. In less than a year, with an entire community behind the effort, the bridge painting work is complete with the exception of the end panels, which are soon to be repaired by the D.O.T. and then painted by Blast-All.

The Essex Foundation is now in the planning stages of a grounds beautification project that will include plantings for the area around the gateway bridge.

Founded in 1970, the Essex Foundation is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Essex citizens by providing medical, educational, social, welfare, cultural, recreational and civic support. From the start, the foundation board wanted to make it possible for funds to be made available for special projects that are not typically supported by other non-profits and that required fast local action. In 1982, many local citizens were devastated by heavy flooding that destroyed homes and left people without food, clothing, refrigeration and heat. Because of the structure of the fund, the Essex Foundation was able, on an ad hoc basis, to help many people get back on their feet quickly. Other past projects supported by the Essex Foundation fund, along with individual donations, include the removal of the half-sunken barge in the Middle Cove, pond weed control for the Falls River neighborhood, repair and maintenance of the Town Clock in the tower of the Baptist Church, and the operation and maintenance of the Bumpy Warner Youth House on Bushnell Street used by the Boy Scouts. More information can be found at www.theessexfoundation.org or by emailing contact@theessexfoundation.org.

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Lyme Art Association Hosts Opening Reception This Evening for Two New Shows

Del-Bouree Bach's 'The Good Life' is one of the signature paintings of the 2016 Elected Artist's Exhibition.

Del-Bouree Bach’s ‘The Good Life’ is one of the signature paintings of the 2016 Elected Artist’s Exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents the annual showcase of the best new works of art by Elected Artists Members. These artists are professionals of note and significance whose works are known, collected, and exhibited throughout the country, as well as along the Shoreline. The LAA hosts an opening reception for this show and Body Language, displaying artwork based on the human figure in all its forms, on Friday, April 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. All are welcome and admission is free — come and meet the artists, enjoy the music and celebrate fine art.

The 95th Annual Elected Artist Exhibition and Body Language are both on view through June 3, 2016.

Also on view in The Art Market is an unjuried show featuring an entirely new collection of affordable smaller works. All artwork on display is for sale.

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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Trump Carries Three Local Towns in GOP Presidential Primary, Democrats Split

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton

AREAWIDE — Businessman Donald Trump carried Chester, Deep River and Essex as he rolled to a sweeping victory Tuesday in the state presidential primary, while Hillary Clinton carried Essex and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders took Chester and Deep River in the Democratic vote.

Clinton, who won the statewide vote, led Sanders in Essex 513-458, with 13 voting uncommitted. In Deep River, Sanders led 339-242, with 6 uncommitted. In Chester, Sanders led  361-277, with 7 uncommitted.

In  the Republican contest, Trump took Essex with 407 votes, with Ohio Governor John Kasich polling 297 votes. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 73 votes, with 10 uncommitted. In Deep River, Trump led Kasich 173-94, with  29 votes for Cruz and 4 uncommitted. In Chester, Trump led Kasich 133-103, with 27 votes for Cruz and 3 uncommitted.
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Middlesex Community Foundation Honors Ivoryton Playhouse, Broadway Actor

Photo by Donna Bowden

Students “high-five” the cast of “Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical” at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Photo by Donna Bowden

IVORYTON – The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) recently presented the Bully-Free Communities Spotlight Award to the Ivoryton Playhouse and to Broadway actor Douglas Lyons for their work in creating and presenting educational productions that foster positive, healthy behaviors and attitudes among young people.

The recipients were recognized at the April 11 world premiere of “Polkadots:The Cool Kids Musical,” which was co-conceived and written by Lyons and performed at the Playhouse for over 1400 elementary school students from Clinton, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Middletown and Portland, in addition to the general public. The CFMC Council of Business Partners Fund, a donor advised fund started in 2009 by a group of local business owners in support of school-based anti-bullying initiatives, in partnership with other organizations, provided financial support for the production and, when necessary, bus transportation for the school systems.

Two years ago, CFMC and its Council of Business Partners launched the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, calling upon students, educators, civic leaders, businesses, community organizations, neighbors and friends to stand together for change and to make all of Middlesex County a bully-free zone. The Ivoryton Playhouse responded with enthusiasm and energy, first staging the premiere of the Off Broadway musical “The Bully” in April 2015, and then making the decision to bring the Douglas Lyons’ original work and universal message of respect and acceptance to elementary school children this year.

“Polkadots” tells the story of Lily Polkadot and her journey to acceptance with the help of her new friend Sky Square in the “Squares Only” town of Rockaway. At the opening night pre-show reception, which took place at Six Summit Gallery in Ivoryton, Mr. Lyons and his creative team spoke about how the events of the Little Rock Nine in 1957 served as the inspiration for the show. Prior to the school performances, a curriculum guide, developed by Rushford, a Hartford HealthCare Partner, was provided for teachers to talk about topics in the musical before the students saw it. Additional financial support for the production was provided by Marc Blakeman, The Bauman Family Foundation, The Essex Community Fund, and The Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

“The Ivoryton Playhouse’s commitment to educational, children’s productions that celebrate our differences and promote positive behavior is spotlight worthy. They truly understand the power of partnership and giving voice to valuable life lessons,” said CFMC CEO and President Cynthia Clegg. “We are thrilled that they opened the door for ‘Polkadots’ to have its world premiere here in Middlesex County, and for introducing all of us to the vision and great talent of Doug Lyons and his creative team.”

The Ivoryton Playhouse  and Doug Lyons were awarded the Spotlight Award specifically for taking to heart the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities initiative of encouraging everyone to be an UPstander, not a bystander; and for their demonstrated commitment to being “Agents of Change” and ensuring that community youth have the support they need to grow and develop in a healthy and safe environment. For more information on the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, go to bullyfreemiddlesexcountycf.org or call 860-347-0025.

 

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Ancient Order of Essex Weeders Honors Sam Rogers

WeedersParty3411

ESSEX – The Ancient Order of Essex Weeders is a group of men who maintain the landscaping in Essex on Rte. 154 at the intersection of Rte. 153. It was founded in 1981 by Bob Swain, who became “Lead Weed,” and was succeeded by Erl Nord.

The group is also a social organization that gets together for coffee weekly and includes a book club that meets monthly.

The group recently had a retirement party for Sam Rogers. In the photo above, party attendees are shown with new “Lead Weed” Ray Coyle presenting Sam his retirement gift.

More information at http://essexweeders.weebly.com/.

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See “August: Osage County” at Chester Meeting House, April 29-30, May 6-7

The cast of "August: Osage County" at Chester Meeting House

The cast of “August: Osage County” at Chester Meeting House

CHESTER – The Meeting House Players will present Tracy Letts’ 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play August: Osage County at the Chester Meeting House.  The production opens on Friday, April 29, and continues on April 30 and May 6 and 7.

A vanished father. A pill-popping mother. Three sisters harboring shady little secrets. When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites after Dad disappears, their Oklahoman family homestead explodes in a whirlwind of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. This dark comedy unflinchingly and uproariously exposes the dark side of a Midwestern American family.  August: Osage County is being directed by Lenore Grunko and features a 13-member ensemble of talented area actors who bring these unique characters to life.

Evening performances start at 8 p.m. A matinee performance is scheduled for Saturday, May 7, at 2 p.m.  Tickets prices are $20 for preferred seating tickets and $15 for open seating tickets.  Reservation requests for both preferred and open seating are available by e-mail at   TheMeetingHousePlayers@gmail.com or at 860-526-3684.  Unreserved tickets will be available at the door.

Please note that this play contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

The Chester Meeting House is located at 4 Liberty Street in Chester. The Meeting House Players is a not-for-profit, all volunteer community theater organization pursuing the theater arts with the talents and interests of individuals throughout Connecticut.

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Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13’s Newest Eagle Scout

Ben Toles Eagle336

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Benjamin James Toles with one of the staircases built at Sachem Village Camp Hazen YMCA. Photo by Lianne Rutty

CHESTER – Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America congratulates Benjamin James Toles of Chester for earning the rank of Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for Toles on Sunday, March 20, at the Chester Meeting House.

To become an Eagle Scout, Toles earned 38 merit badges and advanced through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to Troop 13 and service to his community.

One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the boy’s community, school or religious institution.  Toles used leadership skills he learned by attending summer camp with Troop 13, participating in the Troop 13 Philmont Trek in 2014 , attending the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree and successfully completing the Boy Scouts National Youth Leadership Training.

Toles’s Eagle Scout Service project involved developing and implementing a plan to demo eleven sets of non-compliant aged wooden stairways on cabins in and around the Sachem Village portion on the grounds of Camp Hazen YMCA and replace them with new treated wood, code-compliant steps, platform and railings.

Completing this project entailed working with various private groups, securing donations for supplies, and designing and overseeing volunteers through the demolition, construction and installation period. The completed project improved the safety of the venue while maintaining its rustic appearance. This project is a benefit to all the visitors, schools and youth groups that utilize the facilities of Camp Hazen in Chester.

Toles is a senior at Valley Regional High School and a member of the men’s cross country and the men’s track and field team. He plans to attend the University of Rhode Island in the fall.

About Troop 13 – BSA: Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead. The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun. To learn more information about joining Troop 13, contact Scoutmaster Steven Merola at 860-526-9262.

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Ivoryton Library Plans Programs, Exhibit & Plant Sale Over Next two Weekends

The outside sign of the Ivoryton Library

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Library has a very busy schedule for the next few weeks.

This weekend, on Sunday, May 1, the library will present “The Ivoryton Home Front during WWII” at 3 p.m. View the library’s newest exhibit in the “Intimate History of Ivoryton” series showcasing the patriotic spirit of the Ivoryton village and town during World War II. Do you have memorabilia to add to the exhibit? If so, contact Elizabeth Alvord at 860-767-1252.

The Ivoryton Library is partnering with Essex Lions Club and Tri-Town Youth Services to present an Eye-Popping Story and Craft time at the library on Wednesday, May 4. Drop in between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. to hear stories and make fun crafts. All children will be invited to receive a free, fast, non-invasive eye screening to test for seven vision issues. Results will be presented immediately for parents to take to their pediatrician or ophthalmologist. For information on this eye test, visit www.clerf.org

Finally, the library’s annual Mother’s Day Sale will be held Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Look for gently used books (none over $2), plants from local gardens and baked goods from local kitchens. Prices will be slashed at 1 p.m. Also, at 11 a.m., children are invited to decorate a pot and plant a flower for Mom, as supplies last.

For more information about any of these programs, call 860-767-1252 or visit www.ivoryton.com. The Ivoryton Library is located at 106 Main St. in Ivoryton.

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Musical Masterworks Celebrates Conclusion of 25th Season This Weekend

Chee-Yun

Chee-Yun

OLD LYME – Musical Masterworks’ 25th Anniversary Season will end with a burst of excitement with eight extraordinary musicians performing works of Richard Strauss, Bartók, Mendelssohn and contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima.

The last concerts of this season will be held Saturday, April 30, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 1 at 3 p.m.  The anniversary season will be celebrated with a free 25th anniversary party after the final concert on May 1, to which all ticket buyers are invited.

“Our special 25th Anniversary Season will culminate on April 30 and May 1 with Mendelssohn’s glorious Octet for Strings, led by Musical Masterworks’ beloved veteran violinist, Chee-Yun,” said Artistic Director Edward Arron.  “I feel extraordinarily privileged to be the curator of this unique concert series. As the years go by, I continue to be inspired by the beauty of the Congregational Church, the art of chamber music, the artistry of my colleagues and the warmth of our audience.”

To learn more about Musical Masterworks, visit www.musicalmasterworks.org.

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It’s Connecticut’s Presidential Primary Day — Don’t Forget to Vote!

All registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in today’s Presidential Primary election. Unaffiliated registered voters must wait until the November election to cast their ballots.

Voting locations are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. as follows:

Chester residents:

Chester Town Hall – Community Room

Deep River residents:

Deep River Town Library – Community Room.

Essex residents:

Essex Town Hall – Auditorium

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Despite Significant Increase in State Taxes for Middlesex Hospital, Steps Taken to Ensure Patient Care Not Adversely Affected

Front view of Middlesex Hospital's Shoreline Medical Center at Westbrook.

Middlesex Hospital’s recently opened Shoreline Medical Center at Westbrook.

The question of increased taxes due by Connecticut hospitals to the state has been much in the news recently. ValleyNewsNow.com therefore asked Peg Arico, Director of Public Rations and Communications at Middlesex Hospital (which also operates the Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook) to comment on the impact to the hospital of these tax increases along with cuts in state aid.

She responded, “As a result of the increases in hospital taxes approved by the governor and the state legislature for fiscal year 2016, Middlesex Hospital will pay the state approximately $21 million this year in taxes, compared to $14 million in 2015.” Arico continued, “As part of this tax process, this year’s state budget provided for supplemental payments to Middlesex Hospital of about $6 million. The governor cut these payments to zero back in September. However, recently the state legislature voted to reinstate about half of his funding.”

“Despite the negative impact of all of these changes,” Arico noted, “the hospital has managed to maintain a positive operating gain so far this year, but its operating performance has declined significantly. Hospitals throughout the state are experiencing similar financial issues, due to the enormous increase in hospital taxes imposed by the state.” She continued, “Even before the recent increase in taxes by the state, Middlesex Hospital, for the past several years, has been proactive in its fiscal management and has been implementing various measures to improve the efficiency its operations.  Providing high quality and safe patient care to the community is the Hospital’s primary mission. In developing strategies to address the impact of these increased state taxes, Middlesex Hospital has taken careful and deliberate steps to ensure that patient care will not be negatively affected.”

Arico concluded, “In essence, Middlesex Hospital, like hospitals throughout the state, is ‘doing more with less.’ However, Middlesex is now quickly approaching a “tipping point.” At the current time, all Connecticut hospitals have fewer resources available to invest in the future. If the state imposes additional tax increases on hospitals, the impact on Middlesex Hospital’s finances will become increasingly challenged, and will likely necessitate more drastic cost-cutting measures.”

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Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. Takes Office as Interim First Selectman for Deep River

A new Interim First Selectman for Deep River was sworn in April 21.

A new Interim First Selectman for Deep River was sworn in April 21.

DEEP RIVER — Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. was sworn into office as interim first selectman Thursday after he and Republican Selectman David Olveria voted for his appointment to serve the remainder of the unexpired term of the late Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith.

McDonald, 58, becomes the town’s first new first selectman since November 1989, when Smith was first elected for what would become more than 13 two-year terms in the top job.  McDonald will serve the remainder of the unexpired term ending on Nov. 22, 2017.
The two remaining selectmen had 30 days from Smith’s unexpected death on March 25 to appoint a successor, a period that was expected to expire Monday.  McDonald and Oliveria had discussed the appointment in two closed session special meetings held on April 7 and April 18.

Oliveria, in making a motion to appoint McDonald, said, “We have considered all options in front of us and feel that this is the right choice for Deep River at this time.”  McDonald said he looks forward to working in the best interests of the town over the next 20 months.  “It’s an honor to be in this position and to be asked to do it,” he said, adding that he and Oliveria’s agreement on the appointment is, “A good example of how a small town can pull together.”

The co-owner of an Old Saybrook-based engineering firm, McDonald moved to Deep River in 2005 after living previously in Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  He was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for first selectman of Westbrook in 1999, and served on the Westbrook Board of Selectmen.  McDonald was first elected to the Deep River Board of Selectmen as Smith’s running-mate in 2011.  He is married to Andrea Isaacs, and the couple own the Lace Factory building near the town’s riverfront landing.

Minutes after the appointment vote, McDonald received the oath of office from Town Clerk Amy Winchell.  McDonald’s appointment creates a new vacancy ion the board of selectmen, an opening that McDonald and Oliveria now have 30 days, or until about May 20, to fill by appointment.

McDonald said any resident interested in serving as selectman through November 2017 should send a letter of intent and qualifications to his office as soon as possible. McDonald said the interim selectman does not have to be a Democrat, with Oliveria saying qualifications and “a cooperative board” would be factors in the appointment decision.

The interim appointments could be forced to special elections with petitions signed by five percent of the town’s total voter registration, or about 158 signatures.  Petitions must be filed within 15 days of an appointment.
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Op-Ed: Proposing a Memorial to Dick Smith

Like so many of our Deep Riverites, I am saddened beyond words by the sudden and truly tragic death of our dear First Selectman Dick Smith.

Few among us are not aware of how he labored continuously for years and years for the physical improvement of our town in so many ways as well as the enhancement of life for all of us who call this home.

The question now is,  what would be a meaningful and enduring memorial to remind us and those who will follow us of his great efforts?

Suggestions will come up, I’m sure.  And the more, the better.

I would like to propose one right now.  Simple.  I suggest re-naming our Plattwood Park “The First Selectman Dick Smith Memorial Park.”

After all, I for one have no idea why it was ever called Plattwood.  That has no emotional or historic pizzazz for me.  If it does for you, please let me know.  But I would find calling it the Dick Smith Park very powerful.

As we know so well, it was Dick who spear-headed the transformation of Plattwood from a weedy, don’t-bother-to-look-at-it-twice waterhole to the great and beautiful recreational complex that it is today—and with the ambitious work still going on.  A park that is the envy of many other small towns, which have become aware of it!

I further propose that a big, handsome boulder chosen with care from the quarry next door be set at the very entrance to the Dick Smith Park.  With a bronze plaque set into its face that would have both a smiling profile of Dick, yes, in genuine  bronze, plus our words of praise and pride and thanks.  He’s earned them.

Thus would his love of Deep River and his long and record-setting career of service for our town (and us) be proclaimed to all who enter the park.  He deserves no less.

One more thought: we might organize a tribute-writing contest for the plaque.  We have a lot of talent in town … 

A maximum number of abc’s (words and spaces) would be allowed for the plaque.

The especially appointed plaque committee would reserve the right to select the best submission in whole.  Or, if it chooses, just thoughts and phrases from the top three submissions, say.  With these best thoughts and phrases to be assembled into a final, terrific composite.  Of course, prizes would be awarded.

After all, those are the words that would be read by all entering our wonderful Dick Smith Park for decades and decades to come.

I suspect Dick is in a place where he’d be aware of this going on and would break out into an even bigger smile.

P.S. A very fine chairman for this committee would be Rev. Tim Haut.  A very fine member would be Jonathan Kastner.  I would ask for recommendations for another three, say.  Making sure there would be at least two women.  One of these would be our fine local professional writer and editor Christine Woodside.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of John Guy LaPlante.

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Last Chance to See Musical About John Denver at Playhouse This Weekend

dml_headshot

David Lutken

IVORYTON – A captivating celebration of the life and music of folk musician John Denver is be performed at the Ivoryton Playhouse through April 24.

This Connecticut premiere features versatile musicians David Lutken (Ring of Fire) and Katie Deal, who have been with the show since its original production at Milwaukee Rep. They present an unvarnished rendition of Denver’s music with gorgeous harmonies, solid musicianship and honest to goodness talent.

Back Home Again: On the Road with John Denver includes hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High” and “Leaving On a Jet Plane.”

John Denver was about more than country music. He had enormous international appeal, and was equally popular with country and pop audiences. In addition to music, he was an activist and humanitarian whose biggest causes were land conservation and environmental awareness. He supported space exploration and was vocal about his stance in music censorship. He left behind a musical legacy that still resonates with audiences today.

Created and directed by collaborators Randal Myler ( a two-time Tony Award nominee) and Dan Wheetman, this production does not offer a standard biography of Denver. Instead, Wheetman presents his own story, as a musician who’d known Denver as an Aspen neighbor before touring with him for eight years. As embodied by Lutken, Wheetman’s story sheds light on Denver’s own, with parallels including a love for Colorado, the hardships of life on the road and the consequent toll on marriages. But as Denver once sang, in another song included in this show, it’s his guitar that gave him his life, his living, and “all the things you know I love to do.” Focused on that guitar, Back Home Again movingly captures what those things were and why Denver’s music still matters.

Back Home Again: On the Road with John Denver 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 $44 for adults, $39 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 www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

 

 

 

David Lutken

 

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River Valley Slim-Down Challenge Begins April 23

River-Valley-Slimdown-Challenge-LogoESSEX – The Essex Wellness Center presents a nine-week River Valley Slim-Down Challenge, beginning April 23.

The challenge is a “biggest loser-style” competition where the participants with the largest percentage of weight lost over the challenge period share prize monies and receive prizes from local businesses such as massages, makeovers, and more.   Participants pay a small registration fee and then participate in a minimum of two (but normally three or more) classes per week at the Fitness on the Water studios such as barre, yoga, spin, Zumba and Tabata bootcamp (a form of high intensity, interval training that gets results – fast!).

Donna Scott, the program manager, is at the Fitness on the Water studios early with the first classes for those wanting to work out before work. Other classes are run during the day for moms of school-age children or in the evening.  In addition, mini-workshops and consultations are provided by Dawn Swope, an experienced health coach, during the nine-week challenge.

Fitness on the Water, a private fitness studio operated by Essex Wellness Center, is at 8 Novelty Lane in Essex Village. More information at http://www.essexwellnessctr.com/ or email donna@fitnessonthewater.com or call (860) 581-8225.

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Over 70 Boats and Yachts to Navigate into Essex for Spring Boat Show, May 13-15

The first CT Spring Boat Show in Essex features some of the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, sport and sail boats.

The first CT Spring Boat Show in Essex features some of the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, sport and sail boats.

 

ESSEX – The Connecticut Spring Boat Show, sponsored by the Yacht Brokers Association of America, is expecting over 70 boats to journey from as far away as Maine to attend the first annual 2016 Spring Boat Show. The exhibition is set for May 13-15, at Brewer Essex Island Marina in Essex, and is attracting interested boat buyers from Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and beyond.

“Brewer Essex Island Marina could possibly be the most intimate place in Connecticut to have a boat show,” says Tom Pilkington of Prestige Yacht Sales. “Where else can show-goers look at their favorite boats in the water, visit land exhibits, and explore the town of Essex, which is filled with its own maritime heritage? With boats ranging in size from 20 to 75 feet, sail, power, new and used, there will be a boat for every taste and budget.”

Visitors attending the free show will enjoy seeing a wide range of new and brokerage, power and sail models. Boating gear, accessories and service companies will also be on site.

Sails Up 4 Cancer, a non-profit organization based in Connecticut, will be at the show, raising money through food and beverage sales to benefit their organization. SU4C has been dedicated to supporting cancer care, education, prevention and research along the Connecticut Shoreline.

Also featured the same weekend in the historical town of Essex will be the annual Burning of the Ships parade. This nautical-themed event commemorates the worst day in Essex’s history with the famous ‘Loser’s Day Parade’. Sailing Masters will be joined by other regional fife and drums corps for the parade.

The parade and boat show offer individuals and families an opportunity to experience local sailing history and the flipside of today’s latest and greatest technology in the boating industry.

The free show is open to the public on Friday, May 13, from noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.ctspringboatshow.com for specific event details and parking info.

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CBSRZ Hosts Passover Seder, April 23

CHESTER – Do you remember the smell of Grandma’s matzah ball soup simmering on the stove as she prepared for Passover seder?

If you are looking for an opportunity to reconnect with your Jewish heritage, Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester invites you to learn about its Community Passover Seder, on the second night of Passover, Saturday, April 23, starting at 6 p.m. The family-style seder, led by Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg and Cantor Belinda Brennan, will stimulate lots of discussion, participation and singing.  The meal, prepared by Bob and Linda Zemmel, owners of Alforno Restaurant, will include brisket, chicken, homemade matzah ball soup and many side dishes.  There will even be kid-friendly options.

Call the CBSRZ office at (860) 526-8920 for information on prices and to make a reservation or look at www.cbsrz.org. Reservations are required no later than April 8.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

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Essex Zoning Commission Approves Centerbrook Cumberland Farms Rebuild, Expansion

ESSEX — The zoning commission has approved a special permit for a demolition/rebuild and expansion of the Cumberland Farms store in Centerbrook section. The permit was approved on a unanimous vote Monday night after the panel closed a three session public heating on the project.

The permit will allow a 4,250 square-foot store that would double the size of the existing building, along with a third gasoline pumping station. The new building would also have public restrooms, a first for the Centerbrook section.

The project had drawn opposition from some residents over the three public hearings, with most objections focused on the size of the canopy over the six gasoline fueling stations. Some residents questioned the need for a third pump, though attorney Joseph Williams, representing Cumberland Farms, said the company would not pursue the expansion and improvement project without a third gasoline pump.

The commission imposed several conditions on the permit approval, setting the length of the canopy at 74 feet, and requiring a fire suppression system as part of the structure. The panel required a 24-foot distance between fueling stations, while also calling for the pumps to be set at an angle unless engineers for the applicant convince town engineers that this would interfere with traffic flow on the property. The panel also required two additional parking spaces, raising the total number of designated spaces to 24, with an area for eight reserve parking spaces to be designated on the site plan.

Another key condition requires the applicant to present a more detailed drawing of the south sight line along Westbrook Rd. (Rte. 153), particularly the abutting residential property on Westbrook Rd. that is owned by Town Clerk Joel Marzi. Marzi had asked for more information on the sight lines at Monday’s session, with commission member Alvin Wolfgram noting the issue is important because Marzi has the right to erect a fence on his property that could block sight line for motorists exiting on to Westbrook Rd.

The commission has continued a separate public hearing on site plan approval for a 52-unit apartment complex on Plains Rd. to a special meeting scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in town hall. The multi-family housing development would be located on a 3.7-acre parcel that would be created by combining parcels at 21, 27, and 29 Plains Rd., including the site of the long vacant former Iron Chef restaurant property. The apartments would be constructed in three separate buildings, with 16 units designated as affordable housing under a state law intended to encourage development of more affordable housing in Connecticut.

The plans for the Essex Station Luxury Apartments were first presented at a Feb. 22 public hearing that has been continued two times, on March 21 and Monday. Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said the panel intends to close the public hearing Monday, and would then have 65 days, or until late June, to vote on the site plan approval.

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It’s 400 Years Since The Bard Died: ‘The New Consort’ Remembers Him Saturday in Word, Song

‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

AREAWIDE — ‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 23, St. Ann’s of Old Lyme presents a special musical program, Much Ado About Music: 400 Years of Shakespeare Set to Song.

The_New_Consort_singing_from_behind

Another view of ‘The New Consort’ in song.

In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, this musical celebration of the Bard’s enduring legacy will be performed by The New Consort, a project-based vocal ensemble directed by baritone and Old Lyme native Brian Mummert.

William Shakespeare, 4/23/1564 – 4/23/1616

William Shakespeare, 4/23/1564 – 4/23/1616

The evening’s hour-long program will include music written by English composers of Shakespeare’s time, settings of Shakespeare’s texts by a variety of more recent composers, and readings from some of his greatest plays and sonnets.

St. Ann’s is particularly excited to present the world premiere of When He Shall Die, composed specifically for The New Consort on this occasion by Lyme resident and Wesleyan emeritus faculty member Sarah Meneely-Kyder. The concert aims to celebrate the life and work of this great artist, whose characters and stories continue to wield influence across our culture to this day.

The_New_ConsortWinners of the 2015 American Prize in Chamber Music, The New Consort was founded in 2014 and has quickly made embracing stylistic contrasts one of its hallmarks: from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary and non-classical works, nothing is off limits. Members of The New Consort come together in shoreline CT for an intensive week of rehearsals leading up to each set of concerts.

The group’s singers have appeared in venues including Washington’s Kennedy Center and New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and have performed in ensembles ranging from the Choirs of Trinity Wall Street and the National Cathedral to Chanticleer, but relish the opportunity that The New Consort presents to collaborate with each other as chamber musicians.

Admission is a suggested donation of $20 for adults and $5 for children aged 12 and under. The performance will begin at 5 p.m. and doors open at 4:30 p.m. Audience members are invited to meet members of The New Consort at a reception following the concert.

Saint Ann’s is an Episcopal parish in Old Lyme, Conn., where the rector The Reverend Canon Mark Robinson and the temporary assistant rector The Reverend Patricia Hames invite and welcome all visitors to this family-friendly event. Saint Ann’s is located at 82 Shore Rd. (Rte. 156), two miles off I-95, Exit 70. Parking is adjacent to the church.

For reservations and more information, contact Kathy Rowe at 860-434-1621, via email at office@saintannsoldlyme.org, or visit Saint Ann’s online at www.saintannsoldlyme.org.

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Essex Republican Town Committee Endorses Linares and Siegrist

ESSEX – At its monthly meeting, the Essex Republican Town Committee  (ERTC) endorsed candidates for the upcoming  election in November.

State Senator Art Linares, the incumbent from Connecticut’s 33rd Senate District, and Bob Siegrist, the challenger  in Connecticut’s 36th House District, received unanimous endorsements from the committee.

“These candidates bring fresh and unique perspectives that are essential when addressing the current budget crisis in Connecticut,” said ERTC Chairman Bruce MacMillian. “We have an opportunity to elect a legislature that addresses the budget, jobs and unfunded mandates – the issues that hit home with everyone.”

 

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Chester Resident Adams Signs to Play Baseball at Mitchell College in Fall

Buzz Adams signs his Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College

Buzz Adams signs his Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College

CHESTER — Buzz Adams, a senior at Plainville High School, whose family recently moved to Chester, has signed a Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College in the fall.

Congratulations, Buzz!

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Donations Sought for Child & Family Annual Sale at Essex Intake Day, April 28

intake dayESSEX – The 62nd Annual Sale of the Child and Family Agency of Southeastern CT will be held in early May in New London, which means it’s time for you to spring clean and donate furniture, tools, toys, decorative items, vintage items and antique items, household items, books, sporting goods, art work and of course “jewelry.”

This sale helps raise the much needed, unrestricted funds for Child and Family Agency, a 200-year-old non-profit organization that serves over 18,000 children and their families from 79 towns.

The Essex River Valley Auxiliary of the Child and Family Agency will be hosting Intake for the sale at the Essex Town Hall at 29 West Ave. on Thursday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. “Please Bring the Best and Leave the Rest,” the Auxiliary members say. They will help you unload your car, and if you call them at (860) 526-3124 in advance, they will arrange for a pickup of bulkier items. You’re even invited to stay and help and make friends while sorting clothing, books, household goods and shoes.

Donation letters will be available for you at the site.

All donations will be boxed and transported to the New London Armory at 249 Bayonet Street, New London, where they will be combined with the donations from five other Auxiliaries for the Annual Sale to be held on May 5, 6 and 7.

Please call Pat Thompson at (860) 227-7551 with any questions or to learn how you can volunteer.

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Deep River Housing Authority Breaks Ground for Addition to Kirtland Commons Affordable Housing

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony at Kirtland Commons last Friday were (from left to right) Karl Kilduff, Executive Director, CHFA (CT Housing Finance Authority), Helen Muniz, Community Development Specialist, State of Connecticut Department of Housing, Joann Hourigan, Executive Director, Deep River Housing Authority, Jim LaRosa , Chief Operating Officer, LaRosa Building Group, Chris Widmer, Architect, Mazie Dennison, Tenant Commissioner, DRHA, and Dave Oliveria, Selectman, Town of Deep River.

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony at Kirtland Commons last Friday were (from left to right) Karl Kilduff, Executive Director, CHFA (CT Housing Finance Authority), Helen Muniz, Community Development Specialist, State of Connecticut Department of Housing, Joann Hourigan, Executive Director, Deep River Housing Authority, Jim LaRosa , Chief Operating Officer, LaRosa Building Group, Chris Widmer, Architect, Mazie Dennison, Tenant Commissioner, DRHA, and Dave Oliveria, Selectman, Town of Deep River.

Deep River Housing Authority breaks ground for an 18 unit addition to Kirtland Commons, its Elderly/Disabled affordable housing facility. The project also includes rehab to the existing 26 units.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Housing Authority (DRHA) hosted a ground-breaking ceremony Friday at its elderly/disabled income-based housing facility, Kirtland Commons, located at 60 Main St. in Deep River.  The current facility has been providing housing for the past 23 years and currently has 26 one-bedroom apartment units that are available to seniors aged 62 and over, as well as disabled individuals.

The new addition will provide an additional 18 one-bedroom units.  The project is made possible through a $3.2 million dollar grant and $1 million dollar recoverable grant from the State of Connecticut, Department of Housing (DOH.)  In addition to the new units, the existing units will be rehabbed including new doors, windows and heating conversion to natural gas. 

Joann Hourigan, Executive Director of DRHA, will oversee the project with the assistance of Dale Kroop, Consultant and the DRHA Board of Directors.  La Rosa Building Group LLC, headquartered in Meriden, is the general contractor and Chris Widmer of Guilford, Conn., is the Principal Architect.  The project is scheduled for completion in the early spring of 2017.

“Until there is a need, people generally don’t understand that the availability of affordable housing is limited.  I receive calls every week for people who can no longer afford to maintain their homes on their limited income.  They are surprised to learn that submitting an application places them on a waiting list with recent wait times of two years or longer,” said Hourigan. 

She continued, “The new units will increase our ability to provide much needed housing as well as help the DRHA spread its operating expenses over a broader base.  Without this expansion, we were not on a sustainable course.  The process to obtain funding has been long and difficult.  We have been seeking funding for about five years and the Champ V grant was awarded in 2014.  We are so excited to finally break ground.”

Helen Muniz, DOH, stated that the grants represent the State of Connecticut’s commitment to expand the availability of affordable housing.  In a press release in January of this year, Governor Malloy stated, “Housing is key to economic growth, and that’s why we’re taking steps like never before.  We’ve done more on housing in the past few years than we’ve done in the past few decades, and in 2015, we continued to make significant stridesEvery resident of Connecticut should have access to quality, safe, and affordable housing,”

While the grants provide the majority of funding for this project, there are additional projects and funding needs.  Last December, DRHA kicked off a “Buy a Brick” fundraising campaign.  Commemorative bricks are available for $50 and $100 and will be placed in an outdoor sitting area in front of the building.  Forms for buying bricks will be made available at several events throughout the year, and can also be obtained by contacting Hourigan directly at (860) 526-5119.

Kirtland Commons is owned and operated by the DRHA and reports to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA).  DRHA consists of the Executive Director; a four member volunteer board appointed by the Deep River First Selectman; and a Resident Commissioner (who resides at Kirtland Commons and acts as a resident representative).  The board is committed to providing high quality, well maintained affordable housing and promoting a welcoming, family atmosphere.

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Chester Walking Song Video Wins Gold Hermes Award

Peter Good and Janet Cummings created a Walking Town decal and pewter ornament.

Peter Good and Janet Cummings created a Walking Town decal and pewter ornament.

CHESTER – For years, the town of Chester knew the state was requiring that the Main Street Bridge be rebuilt, and this caused a lot of angst among merchants, selectmen, and residents. How would we cope with keeping the town center viable and reachable? Would the shops, restaurants and galleries continue to attract customers? Where would people park?

The selectmen required that the state do the reconstruction from the beginning of January 2016 until Memorial Day, to get it over with before summertime shopping and the Chester Sunday Market began. The town’s Economic Development Commission created a “Survival Guide” and held several planning meetings in an effort to minimize the impact on the business district.

Then, last fall the Chester merchants decided to meet the challenge head on. With a small group of creative merchants, Leslie Strauss wrote and recorded “The Chester Walking Song,” saying, “We are all so busy getting in shape on treadmills that we forget how much more enjoyable it is to get out there and ‘walk about.’ Chester Village shops, galleries and restaurants are, and will continue to be, more easily accessed than the average mall store. With parking lots within 70 steps, you can ‘walk right in and come hang out.’”

Annalisa Russell-Smith, of Chester-based Local Plant Productions, then volunteered to create a video of Chester Center with the song in the background.

As Leslie says, “Annalisa’s enchanting minute-long video reinforces the vibrancy of the village, and how accessible everything is to anyone willing to ‘walk right in, come hang out.’ The shops, galleries, restaurants and street scenes entice visitors of all ages to be sure to make Chester one of their New England favorites.”

This month, Annalisa’s video was selected for a Gold Award by the Hermes Creative Awards, an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional materials and programs, and emerging technologies. Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

Watch the video about Chester here:  https://vimeo.com/157448900. For more information about Annalisa Russell-Smith, go to http://www.localplanetproductions.com.  More information about the Hermes Creative Awards here: www.hermesawards.com.

Annalisa Russell-Smith shooting the Chester video in Chester Center. Photo by Al Malpa

Annalisa Russell-Smith shooting the Chester video in Chester Center. Photo by Al Malpa

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Registration for ‘Tour de Lyme’ Open; Event Benefits Lyme Land Trust, Bikes For Kids

Tour de Lyme riders cycle  past Grassy Hill Church

Tour de Lyme riders cycle past Grassy Hill Church

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust announced it is pleased to again host used bike drop offs along with Reynolds Subaru for Bikes for Kids, Old Saybrook, CT. Any sized donated bike is welcome.

Reynolds Subaru, 286 Hamburg Road (Rte. 156), Lyme, Conn., is accepting used bike donations from May 9 to May 21, 2016.

Registered riders for the Tour de Lyme can drop off used bikes for donation on May 15, 2016 on arrival at Ashlawn Farm’s parking lot prior to signing in for their cycling event.

Bikes for Kids is a charity organization that collects, refurbishes and distributes bikes primarily to kids, teenagers and some adults to CT families in need. All refurbished bikes are distributed with new cycling helmets.

Bikes for Kids since its founding in 1989 has collected, refurbished and distributed 18,000 bikes to families primarily in the inner cities of New Haven, New London, Middletown and Hartford. Bikes for Kids efforts extend beyond CT and include deliveries to Bell Harbor, New York, Haiti and 30 mountain bikes to Tanzania.

John Pritchard, President of the Lyme Land Trust the organizer of the Tour de Lyme, said “Bikes for Kids is one of our area’s outstanding outreach organizations. We’re delighted again to serve as a host site along with Reynolds Subaru for used bike donations.”

David Fowler, President of Bikes for Kids, and a former science teacher in Lyme Old Lyme’s Middle School, indicated we put people on wheels who would either be walking or not really going anywhere at all. “Last year we delivered almost 1,400 bikes and with the help of the Tour de Lyme collected 150 bikes in the last two years. We hope to deliver and collect more this year.”

The motivating factor of Bikes for Kids’ Founder was “every kid needs a bike”.

For Early Bird home pick-up contact: Dave Fowler, 860-388-2453 or davefowler05@gmail.com

Or drop offs can be made from May 9 to May 21, at Reynolds Subaru, 286 Hamburg Road ( Rte 156), Lyme, CT 06371.

For additional information on the Tour de Lyme go to www.tourdelyme.org; for Bikes for Kids, www.bikesforkidsct.org

Join the fun of the Tour de Lyme!

Join the fun of the Tour de Lyme!

The Lyme Land Trust inaugurated Tour de Lyme in 2013 as an annual bike ride to raise funds to support its mission of preserving and protecting environmentally important land in Lyme. More than 725 riders participated last year.

The Tour de Lyme is intended for all to enjoy. It is not competitive (there are no “races” or timed finishes), but rather is designed as a way to showcase and celebrate the preservation of Lyme’s spectacular natural beauty. While some of the courses will be challenging, there are others intended for casual cyclists, and there is even a family ride.

Departure times are designed so that all riders will return to Ashlawn Farm for lunch at about the same time.

Details of the ride options are as follows:

The Challenge– 60 miles – The name says it all. Changes we have made are sure to please returning riders. A few more beautiful miles, a hill or two eliminated but still a challenge. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Challenge Ride 2016. Ride departs at 8:00am. Follow red arrows.

The Valley35 – 35 miles –The popular Valley rides are less hilly than the Classic. The Valley35 is a longer version of the original with the northern loop of 9 added miles along beautiful roads. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Valley 26&35 Rides. Ride departs at 9:00am. Follow green arrows.

The Valley26 – 26 miles – A scenic fun ride. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Valley 26&35 Rides. Ride departs at 9:30am. Follow green arrows.

The Classic – 25 miles – Shorter than The Challenge but still challenging. Ride departs at 9:30am. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Classic Ride 2016. Follow blue arrows.

The Family – 8 miles – ideal for families riding with children. For returning riders, please note we have reversed the route direction to avoid confusion at some turns. Ride departs at 10:15am. The Family Ride cue sheet here and a map of the Family Ride. Follow purple arrows.

The Church Goers Ride – 7.6 to 8.8 miles – After services, approximately 11:45am riders leave Old Lyme Congregational and Christ the King and meet up with other riders at Saint Ann’s and then ride to Ashlawn Farm. Follow purple arrows. Detailed cue sheet and map coming soon.

To register for any of the rides listed above, visit http://www.tourdelyme.org/register/

For additional information about the Tour de Lyme, visit http://www.tourdelyme.org/

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Con Brio Presents a ‘Simply Dazzling’ Spring Concert Today

Mihae Lee

Mihae Lee

AREAWIDE – Con Brio, the shoreline’s all-auditioned chorus, offers its spring concert on Sunday, April 17, at 4 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, assisted by Associate Music Director Susan Saltus and accompanied by the Con Brio Festival Orchestra, the chorus will be joined this year by world-renowned pianist Mihae Lee, known to many in the area as the artistic director of the Essex Winter Series. Critics have described her playing as “simply dazzling.”

Vocal soloists include Danielle Munsell Howard and Laura Gladd, soprano; Donna Bishop-Seaton, contralto; Ransom Bruce and Bill Sorensen, tenor; and John Dominick III, bass.

The concert opens with two well-paired pieces: Dvorak’s Te Deum and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia.  Commissioned to write a piece in 1891 in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, Dvorak composed the Te Deum and performed it at his first concert in New York as director of the National Conservatory of Music.  This liturgical hymn to God has been described as one of the most “spectacular” of Dvorak’s compositions.

Often considered a precursor to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Choral Fantasia premiered in 1808 at what might be considered the greatest of classical concerts ever performed, an hours-long concert that included the premiers of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony (The Pastoral), and the first public performance of the Fourth Piano Concerto. The Fantasia develops as a series of variations on a theme, which prefigures that of the last movement of the Ninth Symphony, composed some years later.

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John Dominick III

For the second half of the concert, Con Brio will sing pieces that it will share with local choruses in Portugal and Spain during its sixth European tour in May. Pieces include Alice Parker’s great traditional arrangement of a fine early American hymn, “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal”; Rachmaninoff’s beloved setting of the Ave Maria, “Bogoroditse Devo”; the Portuguese song, “Eu vou, eu vou” and the Spanish song, “Te Quiero.” The concert ends with two rousing pieces for audience participation: “Praise His Holy Name” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Tickets at $30 adults, $15 students, are available at www.conbrio.org, from any Con Brio member, or by calling 860-526-5399.

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No Action Yet on Deep River First Selectman Vacancy

Deep River Town Hall

A new Deep River First Selectman will be appointed by April 25.

DEEP RIVER — The two remaining members of the board of selectmen, Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. and Republican Dave Oliveria, met Wednesday, but took no action on filling the top job vacancy created by the March 25 death of longtime Democratic First Selectmen Richard Smith.

Oliveria told a handful of residents at the board’s regular meeting he and McDonald were “not ready” to act on a first selectman appointment Tuesday. Oliveria said he and McDonald would hold two special meetings next week, a closed session discussion with one prospective candidate for a seat on the board, followed by another special meeting later in the week to vote on a first selectman appointment. The two selectmen have already held one special meeting closed session discussion on the vacancy, an April 7 session that lasted about 30 minutes.

The state law governing filling of vacancies gives the two remaining selectmen 30 days to appoint a first selectman who would serve the remainder of Smith’s unexpired term ending in November 2017. Town officials have agreed the deadline for making an appointment is Monday, April 25.

McDonald said after the brief meeting he and Oliveria are seeking to “work cooperatively” on filling the vacancy. “A lot of thought is going in to this because it’s a really important role,” he said. But McDonald, who was first elected with Smith in 2011,  added that he remains interested in filling the open position for the next 19 months. A co-owner of an engineering firm, McDonald said he continues to discuss the possibility of assuming the first selectman job with his partners.

An appointment of McDonald as first selectman would create a new vacancy on the three-member board that would be filled under the same appointment procedure, with the same 30 days for action deadline.

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David Reed-Brown Brings His Magic Show Back to Essex April 15

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Magician David Reed-Brown stars in “The Magic Show” on Friday, April 15, at 7 p.m. at Essex Town Hall, sponsored by the First Congregational  Church in Essex. (Photo courtesy of David Reed-Brown)

ESSEX –  Sleight-of-hand, mind-reading, close-up magic and new, mystical illusions will be showcased at “The Magic Show,” starring magician and ordained minister, David Reed-Brown, returning to Essex Town Hall on Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.) A highlight of the show will be the levitation of Essex Elementary School teacher Kelli Grace. The performance is sponsored by the First Congregational Church in Essex.

Magician David Reed-Brown’s inspiration came at the age of seven when he discovered a secret magic set in an aged wooden jewelry box on top of a dusty piano. The kit had been passed down through the family by his grandfather. Inside the box, David found small wooden magical wonders that filled him with joy immediately. Ever since, he has been studying the art of theatrical magic, becoming a part-time professional magician in 1997.

David studies at the Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas with master magicians Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger. His writing made recent history by appearing in McBride’s “The Show Doctor,” the first magic book ever published in print and on electronic tablet (available in Print and on the iPad). He regularly publishes “The Magic Tech Road” column in McBride’s “Secret Art Journal.”

In Las Vegas, David has performed at Jeff McBride’s famous Wonderground, at the Magic & Meaning Conference and the Mount Charleston Hotel & Lodge. He also serves as magic consultant for Denny Moon’s musical “Abracadabra,” and he assisted McBride in the magical direction of Lawrence and Priscilla Khong’s theatrical illusion show, “The Magic of Love” for its North American debut.

David Friedman of the Walt Disney Company said, “David Reed-Brown is more than just a magician. Yes his magic is expert and entertaining and awe-inspiring, but the real magic is the spiritual way in which he presents it. You leave his performances knowing that life itself is magical and filled with endless possibilities.”

Tickets for the April 15 Magic Show are $15 for adults and $8 for children and are available at Toys Ahoy in Essex Village and Elephant Crossing in Ivoryton. New this year, there will also be 28 premium, reserved front row seats available at $20 each. Tickets may also be purchased in advance by calling the church at (860) 767-8097. The premium seating tickets are available only at the church at 6 Methodist Hill in Essex Village or by calling (860) 767-8097. At the April 15 show, there will be drawings for three gift certificates to a local ice cream parlor, awarded to children.

Proceeds from the evening benefit the outreach missions of The First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC.

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Op-Ed: Carney Says Proposed State Education Budget Cuts Will Seriously Impact 23rd District

State Rep. Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney

Does Governor Malloy have a problem with communities that succeed? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Year after year, the schools of the 23rd District work diligently to provide quality education to our youth. Our teachers and administrators add to the success of our state by instilling the proper foundation to produce the industrial, business, and community leaders of tomorrow. Many of our best and the brightest students chose to continue their education in Connecticut – something of which the governor should be incredibly proud. Just last year the valedictorians from Region 18 (Lyme and Old Lyme) and Westbrook as well as the salutatorian from Old Saybrook chose UConn.

We have seen two budget proposals over the past two weeks that would do damage to the schools in the 23rd District. The Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee released an incomplete budget that would cut Education Cost Sharing (“ECS”) funding to the towns in our district by 33 – 56%. This was bad enough. But, under the governor’s updated proposal, the four towns in the 23rd went from receiving a recommended amount of $1,831,496 in ECS funding to $0 for FY 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017). A total of 28 towns were zeroed-out, while many cities, like the governor’s hometown of Stamford, were held harmless. Talk about a shared sacrifice.

These proposed cuts – made at a time when most local Boards of Finance are crafting their own fiscal year budgets – are unfair. The clear lack of respect and care on the governor’s part is alarming. All four towns in the 23rd District will now have funding gaps and may require local property tax increases to offset them. This would add an even greater burden to Connecticut’s taxpayers and Connecticut simply cannot afford to lose additional wealth at this time. However, that’s where these indirect tax hikes would be directed – all 28 communities being zeroed-out are considered ‘wealthy’.

Although these cuts are debilitating to small towns like ours – which already receive far less back from the state than we put in – we must keep in mind that this is only a proposal.

I remain committed to finding a solution with other members of the legislature to address this inequitable cut to our towns and to solving our $930 million deficit. The state wants people to move to Connecticut and one of our best selling points is our top-tier education. While we are faced with many serious and pressing economic issues, predominantly the ongoing budget crisis, great public education is one area on which we can pride ourselves.

I have written a letter to the governor urging him not to turn his back on the children and the taxpayers of the 23rd District and to request that he amend his updated budget and eliminate these cuts. The taxpayers of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook provide a great deal to this state and the deficits would be much, much higher without us. If either the legislature’s or the governor’s cuts are enacted, then it would be only fair that some of the approximately 380 unfunded state educational mandates be eliminated.

Instead of education, the governor and the legislature must look to balance the budget through real structural changes in the way state government is run. Changes could include pension and benefit reform, re-negotiating of union contracts, a moratorium on unnecessary government projects, serious spending and bonding caps, and tighter controls on overtime. When I last checked, many don’t live in Connecticut for bloated government overtime, but they do for our great schools. In fact, it may just be the only thing keeping them here.

To read my letter to Governor Malloy: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the Appropriations budget: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the governor’s budget: click here

To read the governor’s budget proposal: click here

To see the approximately 380 unfunded educational mandates: click here

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“Invaders” Exhibit Now Open at CT River Museum

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Sponsors of the exhibit gathered for a sneak peek prior to the Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water exhibit opening at the Connecticut River Museum. From left to right are: John Lombardo, Stephen and Viola Tagliatela from Saybrook Point Inn and Spa; Thayer Talbot from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Representative Phil Miller; Cynthia Clegg from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Joanne Masin and Christopher Dobbs from the Connecticut River Museum; Brenda Kestenbaum from Eyewitness News (WFSB); and Tony Marino and Marilyn Ozols from the Rockfall Foundation.

ESSEX – On Thursday night, March 31, the Connecticut River Museum unveiled its 2016 feature exhibit, Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water. The exhibit explores one of the most significant threats today to the 410-mile-long Connecticut River Valley:  invasive species.

Representative Phil Miller was one of many honored public figures and supporters in attendance. Miller said, “I’m thrilled that the State of Connecticut was able to provide some support for this important project and I encourage everyone to come out and see this great show.   Building public awareness is a big part of the solution to the problem of invasive species.”

The vibrantly campy, yet serious exhibit was in production for two years and involved numerous organizations including Channel 3 Eyewitness News, the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, the Connecticut DEEP Marine Fisheries Division, and the Long Island Sound Study. Stunned by the creative energy and theatrical elements of the exhibit, one observer said, “Move over Universal Studios.”

Taking on the feel of a classic, 1950s Ed Wood science fiction monster movie, the exhibit explores the many air, land and water invasive species to our region. Critical environmental, economic and recreational impacts are highlighted and help to answer why we should care about this invasion.  More importantly, according to the museum’s executive director Christopher Dobbs, “The exhibit provides information on how we can make a difference by changing our habits, identifying invasive species before they are established, and getting involved with environmental organizations such as local land trusts.”

Stephen Tagliatela, owner of Saybrook Point Inn, said, “We are proud to support this kind of effort. The Connecticut River is one of our great regional and national assets.  It is something that brings visitors to the area and it is our duty to ensure its vitality.”

The Invaders exhibit is on public display now through Oct.10.  It has been made possible by Presenting Sponsor Long Island Sound Study.  Other dedicated sponsors include: Channel 3 Eyewitness News; the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation; the Rockfall Foundation; the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Tourism; the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa; the Edgard & Geraldine Feder Foundation; and the many supporters of the Connecticut River Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.

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Letter to the Editor: Your April 26 Primary Vote Matters

To the Editor:

So much is at stake in the upcoming Presidential primary elections with candidates who differ greatly in character, attitude, experience and promise. Perhaps never before has an election inspired such fervor, conflict, hopes or fears. Our nation’s future depends on the outcome of these races, and for the first time in many years, Connecticut voters have the opportunity to influence who the Presidential nominees will be since no candidate has yet captured enough party delegates.

We urge all Chester Democratic, Republican and Unaffiliated voters to cast a vote in the Tuesday, April 26, Connecticut primary. Voting is from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. in Chester Town Hall at 203 Middlesex Avenue, or earlier by absentee ballot.

Since only registered Democrats or Republicans can cast a vote in the Connecticut Presidential primary, it is necessary for Unaffiliateds to temporarily change their registration to either one of these two political parties.

The registration deadline to switch from Unaffiliated to Democrat or Republican is 12 p.m. on April 25. To switch by mail, the registration change form must be received by April 21, or in person at Chester Town Hall by 12 pm on April 25 (day before the primary). Registration can be switched back afterwards. To get a voter registration form (or an absentee ballot form), contact the Registrar of Voters or Chester Town Clerk at 860-526-0013.

Whether your vote is to support your preferred Presidential candidate, or to stop a candidate you fear, we urge registered Democrats and Republicans to vote on April 26.

This is Connecticut’s opportunity to influence one of the most critical presidential elections in our nation’s history. Every vote is especially important and matters. Have a voice in the future. VOTE in the primary on April 26!

Chester Democratic Town Committee

Lori Ann Clymas, Chair

Chester

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Community Music School Hosts ‘When Swing Was King’ Benefit, Saturday

king swing photo

Looking forward to welcoming guests at When Swing Was King are (L-R): Tom Briggs, CMS music director; Bruce Lawrence, CMS trustee and gala sponsor with Bogaert Construction; Joni Gage, CMS piano and vocal instructor; Karli Gilbertson, CMS artist-in-residence and vocal instructor; vocalist Emma Hunt; and Jennifer and John Bauman, gala sponsors with the Bauman Family Foundation and event co-chair (Jennifer).

AREAWIDE – To quote Duke Ellington, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”

The Community Music School is transporting guests at this April’s CMS Gala back to the ‘30s and ‘40s with “When Swing Was King.”

The event, which is the music school’s largest annual fund raiser, takes place Saturday, April 16 at 6 p.m., at the Lace Factory in Deep River. It includes a lively cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres and silent auction. The party continues with gourmet food stations prepared by Cloud Nine Catering, and fabulous musical entertainment provided by CMS faculty and students.

The greatest hits of the swing era will be performed by faculty and students. The eight-piece band will spark up the dance floor with music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and many more. Don’t forget your dancing shoes so you can learn to jitterbug, lindy hop and boogie woogie!

Featured vocal student performers include Emma Hunt of Essex, Mia Lawrence of East Haddam and Barbara Malinsky of Madison. Faculty performers include Joni Gage (vocals), Karli Gilbertson (vocals), Patricia Hurley (trumpet), Andy Sherwood (clarinet/tenor saxophone), Andrew Studenski (alto saxophone), music director Tom Briggs (piano), Kevin O’Neil (guitar), and Matthew McCauley (bass), with special guests Tom Boates (trombone) and Gary Ribchinsky (drum set).

Tickets for the evening are $100 per person ($40 is tax deductible). A sponsor ticket of $150 per person provides a greater charitable gift ($90 is tax deductible) and is also available. Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling (860) 767-0026.

Support of the Community Music School Gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with a financial need, as well as weekly music education and music therapy services for students with special needs, arts education and music enjoyment through in-school presentations and community concerts, and Kate’s Camp for Kids, a comprehensive summer arts day camp in partnership with the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

When Swing Was King sponsors include Whelen Engineering Company, the Bauman Family Foundation, Bogaert Construction, Maple Lane Farms, Angelini Wine LTD, Bob’s Discount Furniture, the Clark Group, Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services, Grossman Chevrolet-Nissan, Kitchings & Potter LLC, Ring’s End, Tower Laboratories LTD, Thomas H. Alexa – Comprehensive Wealth Management, Anonymous, Brewer Pilots Point Marina, Dreamscapes Design Group, Guilford Savings Bank, Jackson Lewis, Madison Veterinary Hospital, W. Jay Mills CFP® – The Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, Periodontics P.C., Reynolds Garage & Marine, the Safety Zone, Sullivan Lawn Services, and Valley Courier.

Now in its 33rd year of building community through music, the Community Music School is a private, non-profit organization.

 

Looking forward to welcoming guests at When Swing Was King are (L-R): Tom Briggs, CMS music director; Bruce Lawrence, CMS trustee and gala sponsor with Bogaert Construction; Joni Gage, CMS piano and vocal instructor; Karli Gilbertson, CMS artist-in-residence and vocal instructor; vocalist Emma Hunt; and Jennifer and John Bauman, gala sponsors with the Bauman Family Foundation and event co-chair (Jennifer).

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The Meadows Brothers Play a ‘Concert in the Garden’

Photo courtesy of the Meadows Brothers

Photo courtesy of the Meadows Brothers

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden on Sunday, April 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. This time the Meadows Brothers will be featured at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St., Chester Center.

Ian and Dustin Meadows have been playing music together for most of their lives. In 2011 they made the decision to leave the band they were playing in and strike out on their own as a duo. Their distinct brand of roots music draws inspiration from a huge list of influences; combining folk, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll genres into what the Boston Globe calls “an engagingly twangy sibling sound all their own.”

The brothers’ original songs, which they typically write together, have been praised for their emotive, relatable lyrics and memorable hooks. Several of their tunes have won awards and have been covered by international acts.

Gates open a half hour before the show; first come first seated.  Outside bistro-style seating in the amphitheater; inside the gallery if inclement weather. Sorry, no pets are allowed.

A $20 donation is appreciated.  The event is BYOB – buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 3 p.m.

For more information, call 860-526-2077 or log on www.nilssonstudio.com

 

 

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VRHS Student Art Show on View at Essex Art Association

"Pink Mermaid" by Kasey O'Rourke is one of the pieces to be featured in this year's VRHS Student Art Show

“Pink Mermaid” by Kasey O’Rourke is one of the pieces to be featured in this year’s VRHS Student Art Show

2016 ESAA Poster aREGION 4 – The 2016 Valley Regional High School (VRHS) Student Art Show at the Essex Art Association will be open daily to the public the week of April 11 through April 15, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

The Essex Art Association hosts this show each year and gives away over $1,100 in prize awards to VRHS students.

An opening reception was held Wednesday, April 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

The Essex Art Association is at 10 North Main St., in Essex.

The poster painting (shown on the left) was done by student Morgan Dinwoodie.

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Old Saybrook Seeks Proposals for Mariner’s Way

old saybrook town sealOLD SAYBROOK – The Town of Old Saybrook is seeking proposals from a team of qualified consultants to further refine plans for Mariner’s Way that will lead to successful redevelopment of this area that encompasses multiple brownfields. This team of consultants should have demonstrated experience in similar planning activities that successfully revitalized an area of a community blighted by brownfields.

Planning activities will include:

Economic/Market Analysis, and Place Branding;

Current Conditions and Site Analysis;

Road and Streetscape Plan; and

Site Reuse/Redevelopment and Façade Improvement Plan.

All elements will include public input from informational meetings and charrettes.

The Town expects the results to yield a final report that refines the concepts established in the Mariner’s Way Plan and outlines specific steps to move the plan forward.

Funding for this project is provided by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The RFP is available on the Town’s website at www.oldsaybrookct.gov. Printed copies of the RFP are available at the Land Use Dept., 302 Main St., Old Saybrook, CT, 06475. The deadline to submit completed proposals is 3 p.m., Thursday, May 12, 2016.

 

AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER: The Town of Old Saybrook encourages Minority/Women/Small Business Enterprises to respond to the Request for Proposals.

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Historical Weddings Featured at Deep River Tea

Sue Pire, Essex, with her mother Georgiana Czaplicki of Clinton. The dress was modeled by Katherine “Kat” Irena of Chester. Photo by Susanne Wisner

Sue Pire, Essex, with her mother, Georgiana Czaplicki of Clinton. The dress was modeled by Katherine “Kat” Irena of Chester. Photo by Susanne Wisner

 

DEEP RIVER – The Deep River Historical Society held their third annual Tea on April 9 at the Carriage House on the grounds of the Stone House. This event featured not only delicious food but also a special program that highlighted “Wedding Traditions through Time.”

This was a multi-generational presentation where several granddaughters modeled gowns of their grandmothers or mothers, along with other models. Several vintage gowns that dated back to the 1800s were also on display.

A slide presentation and raffle were also part of the sold-out event.

 

 

 

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Essex Garden Club Offers Scholarship

ESSEX – The Essex Garden Club is offering a $1,000 scholarship for the school year 2016-2017. To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must be

  1. a resident of Essex, Centerbrook or Ivoryton, CT

2. a high school senior or undergraduate/graduate college student

3. have a “B” or better GPA

4.  be planning to pursue studies related to the environment in an accredited two-year or four-year institute of higher learning. Fields of study may include: Agriculture, Biology, Ecology, Horticulture, Forestry, Environmental Science and Engineering.  Closely related subjects may also apply: Land Conservation, Landscape Design, Nursery Management.

Application forms are available from Guidance Counselors, or go to essexgardenclubct.org. The deadline for receipt of applications is April 25, 2016. For more information call 860-581-8206.

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CT River Museum Trustees Visit State Capitol

Connecticut River Museum Board of Trustees Chair Joanne Masin, Sen. Art Linares and Connecticut River Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini.

Connecticut River Museum Board of Trustees Chair Joanne Masin, Sen. Art Linares and Connecticut River Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini.

ESSEX – Historical societies and preservationists from across the state gathered at the State Capitol last month to raise awareness about their organizations’ dedication to promoting Connecticut’s heritage for present and future generations.

The Connecticut River Museum (www.ctrivermuseum.org) was among the groups that travelled to Hartford to speak with Sen. Art Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) and other state lawmakers.

The museum’s mission is to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley. By deepening understanding of the river’s importance to past generations, the museum aims to inspire the stewardship of future generations.

The museum maintains its National Registered buildings on Steamboat Dock in Essex, and provides a spectacular waterfront park as a venue for museum functions, community events and quiet reflection.

 

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Detox Program at Essex Wellness Center Started April 16

Dr. Dana Krete

Dr. Dana Krete

ESSEX – Do you want to increase your energy, lose weight, charge up your immune system and improve your overall health? Have you been trying to improve your diet, decrease your sugar intake and lose weight, but have a hard time sticking with it and staying motivated?

Dr. Dana Krete will lead a four-week group detox program at the Essex Wellness Center starting April 16.

With this program you will be guided, motivated and supported through the detox program that includes a two-week detox that’s both safe and effective, and will leave you feeling re-energized for spring and on track to reach your goals.

You will be using a high-quality, hypoallergenic, user-friendly program that includes two shakes per day, supplements twice per day, and a “clean” meal plus healthy snacks. Meals and snacks will be prepared by you, so they are made of fresh, wholesome ingredients. This means this is not a product-heavy program, but one that uses mostly real food. Dr. Krete will guide you through this process, so you know what foods to eliminate and what foods to include.

Dr. Krete will lead a group talk once per week for four weeks for about an hour to inform you of the process, and so participants can support each other through the process.

Dr. Dana Krete earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Master of Acupuncture at National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Registration with payment in advance is required.   The total cost of the program, including the detox kit and all meetings led by Dr. Krete, is $279.  More information at www.EssexWellnessCtr.com or call Essex Wellness Center at (860) 767-7770.

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