March 31, 2015

Despite Snow, Determined Pettipaug YC Members Successfully Put Docks Into CT River

It was not an easy task and, at one point, a dock almost got away.

It was not an easy task and, at one point, a dock almost got away.

“Even when it’s snowing, club members have been excellent when it comes to giving us a hand,” said the Pettipaug Yach Club’s Rear Commodore, Kathryn Ryan, on Saturday.

Pettipaug Yacht Club house where the dock party took place.

Pettipaug Yacht Club house where the dock party took place.

She added, “We scheduled this day to put the docks in, and a nice mix of old and new members showed up to give us a hand.”

The puddled driveway down to the club house.

The puddled driveway down to the club house.

All told some 24 club members checked in — navigating challenging conditions en route to the club — to put the dock in the water for the upcoming sailing season.

Club members straining to put the dock’s in rapid Connecticut River waters

Club members straining to put the dock’s in rapid Connecticut River waters

The club had originally scheduled putting in the docks two weeks ago, but the weather did not clear until this past weekend.

Despite the wait, the weather was still not particularly nice with a steady light snow, and a chilling temperature of 34 degrees.

But the job was done!

Chester Historical Society Hosts Baseball ‘Crackerbarrel’ Program Today

Before Valley Regional, Chester and Deep River High Schools played well over 50 times and, truth be known, Chester was usually the loser. If “he who laughs last laughs best has merit,” we can take solace in Chester winning the last of those games in the spring of 1951 in Chester (Ridge Road). It  was the only loss Deep  River suffered that year. Sliding into Base and Down the Hills: Stories of Chester’s Games and Recreation Anecdotes and memories of sports and recreation in Chester, in both winter and summer, will be shared in a Chester Historical Society "crackerbarrel" program on Sunday, March 29, at 4 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House. Named “Sliding into Base and Sledding Down the Hills,” the program will be led by several great storytellers who grew up in Chester – Fran Malcarne, Dave Sepowski, Dual Bibbiani and Peter Zanardi – who promise lots of laughs, whether it’s about town team baseball and high school games or winter sledding and ice skating.  As with all the Historical Society’s “crackerbarrel” programs, we’re hoping you’ll bring your own Chester sports and recreation stories and memories to share.  The program is free and open to all ages. If more information is needed, check the website, chesterhistoricalsociety.org or Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.  Photo:  Baseball has a long history in Chester, and it’ll be a feature of the Chester Historical Society’s program on Sunday, March 29 at the Chester Meeting House. This photo from the Chester Historical Society archives shows the 1946 town team, taken at the Middlesex Garage (later known as Meyer's Garage) on Middlesex Ave. Front: Bill Gorman, Bibb Deuse, Babe Zanardi, Trent Bibbiani, Fran Grote, Vern Westmore, Bud Zanardi, Frank Monte (manager). Back: Frank Cart, Carl Johnson, Rich Capellini, Jim Grote, Dual Bibbiani, Len Jamison, George Watrous, Al Martorell. Bat boy: Roycroft Monte.

Baseball has a long history in Chester, and it’ll be a feature of the Chester Historical Society’s program on Sunday, March 29 at the Chester Meeting House. This photo from the Chester Historical Society archives shows the 1946 town team, taken at the Middlesex Garage (later known as Meyer’s Garage) on Middlesex Ave. Front: Bill Gorman, Bibb Deuse, Babe Zanardi, Trent Bibbiani, Fran Grote, Vern Westmore, Bud Zanardi, Frank Monte (manager). Back: Frank Cart, Carl Johnson, Rich Capellini, Jim Grote, Dual Bibbiani, Len Jamison, George Watrous, Al Martorell. Bat boy: Roycroft Monte.

CHESTER – Before Valley Regional High School existed, Chester and Deep River High Schools played well over 50 times and, truth be known, Chester was usually the loser. If “he who laughs last laughs best has merit,” one can take solace in Chester winning the last of those games in the spring of 1951 in Chester (Ridge Road). It  was the only loss Deep  River suffered that year.

Anecdotes and memories of sports and recreation in Chester, in both winter and summer, will be shared in a Chester Historical Society “crackerbarrel” program on Sunday, March 29, at 4 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.

Named “Sliding into Base and Sledding Down the Hills,” the program will be led by several great storytellers who grew up in Chester – Fran Malcarne, Dave Sepowski, Dual Bibbiani and Peter Zanardi – who promise lots of laughs, whether it’s about town team baseball and high school games or winter sledding and ice skating.

As with all the Historical Society’s “crackerbarrel” programs, the organizers are hoping you’ll bring your own Chester sports and recreation stories and memories to share.

The program is free and open to all ages. If more information is needed, check the website, chesterhistoricalsociety.org or Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.

Photo:  Baseball has a long history in Chester, and it’ll be a feature of the Chester Historical Society’s program on Sunday, March 29 at the Chester Meeting House. This photo from the Chester Historical Society archives shows the 1946 town team, taken at the Middlesex Garage (later known as Meyer’s Garage) on Middlesex Ave. Front: Bill Gorman, Bibb Deuse, Babe Zanardi, Trent Bibbiani, Fran Grote, Vern Westmore, Bud Zanardi, Frank Monte (manager). Back: Frank Cart, Carl Johnson, Rich Capellini, Jim Grote, Dual Bibbiani, Len Jamison, George Watrous, Al Martorell. Bat boy: Roycroft Monte.

Essex Winter Series Presents Season Finale Today

Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts

Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts

For the fourth and final concert of the Essex Winter Series (EWS) 2015 season, pianist and artistic director Mihae Lee will take the stage with two other celebrated artists in a program of masterpieces of the rich piano trio repertoire.

The concert will take place on Sunday, March 29, at 3 pm at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. Making their EWS debuts in this program, “Mihae Lee and Friends,” will be violinist Chee-Yun and cellist Julie Albers. Both have performed as soloists with many of the world’s major orchestras, are highly-regarded artists on the chamber music circuit, and have recorded extensively.

The selections include piano trios from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. First on the program will be the Trio No. 39 in G major by Joseph Haydn, who, along with Mozart, developed the genre by adding a cello to the violin-piano duo to create many more interesting musical possibilities. Written in 1795, the piece is nicknamed the “Gypsy” trio after its finale in the Hungarian style.

In contrast to Haydn, who ultimately wrote 45 piano trios, the early twentieth-century composer Maurice Ravel wrote just one. This 1914 work, completed just before his enlistment in the French army at the start of World War I, has become a staple of the repertoire and will be performed before intermission.

The concert will conclude with the second and final trio by one of the great nineteenth-century composers, Felix Mendelssohn. His C minor Trio from 1845 is among the romantic master’s finest and most beloved works.

Tickets, all general admission, are $35, with $5 tickets for full-time students, and may be purchased on the EWS website, www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.

The March 29 concert is dedicated to the memory of Marilyn Buel, former member of the board of trustees of EWS, who passed away in August, 2014. Mrs. Buel, an ardent supporter of the arts, helped build support for Essex Winter Series’ Fenton Brown Emerging Artist Concerts and also served as president of the board of Chestnut Hill Concerts.

About the artists:
Mihae Lee

Praised by Boston Globe as “simply dazzling,” Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts with her poetic lyricism and scintillating virtuosity. She has performed in such venues as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Academia Nationale de Santa Cecilia in Rome, Warsaw National Philharmonic Hall, and Taipei National Hall.

An active chamber musician, Lee is an artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society and is a founding member of the Triton Horn Trio with violinist Ani Kavafian and hornist William Purvis. Her recordings of Brahms, Shostakovich, Bartok, and Stravinsky with the members of BCMS were critically acclaimed by High Fidelity, CD Review, and Fanfare magazines, the reviews calling her sound “as warm as Rubinstein, yet virile as Toscanini.”

Lee has appeared frequently at numerous international chamber music festivals including Dubrovnik, Amsterdam, Groningen, Festicamara (Colombia), Great Woods, Seattle, OK Mozart, Mainly Mozart, Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, Rockport, Sebago-Long Lake, Bard, Norfolk, Mostly Music, Music Mountain, Monadnock, and Chestnut Hill Concerts.

In addition to many years of performing regularly at Bargemusic in New York, she has been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Speculum Musicae; has collaborated with the Tokyo, Muir, Cassatt, and Manhattan string quartets; and has premiered and recorded works by such composers as Gunther Schuller, Ned Rorem, Paul Lansky, Henri Lazarof, Michael Daugherty, and Ezra Laderman.

In addition to her concert career, Lee maintains her commitment to give back to her community and help many worthy charities. At the invitation of the Prime Minister and the First Lady of Jamaica, she has organized and performed in concerts in Kingston and Montego Bay to benefit the Jamaica Early Childhood Development Foundation. For many years she brought world-class musicians, both classical and jazz, to perform in fund-raising concerts for the Hastings Education Foundation outside of New York City, and she recently launched an annual Gala Concert for the Community Health Clinic of Butler County, a free health clinic outside of Pittsburgh.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Lee made her professional debut at the age of 14 with the Korean National Orchestra after becoming the youngest grand prizewinner at the prestigious National Competition held by the President of Korea. In the same year, she came to the United States on a scholarship from the Juilliard School Pre-College, and subsequently won many further awards including First Prize at the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition, the Juilliard Concerto Competition, and the New England Conservatory Concerto Competition.

Lee received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School and her artist diploma from the New England Conservatory, studying with Martin Canin and Russell Sherman. She has released compact discs on the Bridge, Etcetera, EDI, Northeastern, and BCM labels.

Violinist Chee-Yun's flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents

Violinist Chee-Yun’s flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents

Chee-Yun

Violinist Chee-Yun’s flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents. Charming, charismatic and deeply passionate about her art, Chee-Yun continues to carve a unique place for herself in the ever-evolving world of classical music.

Winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 1990 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chee-Yun performs regularly with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the Toronto, Houston, Seattle, Pittsburgh and National symphony orchestras. Additionally, she has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with such distinguished conductors as Hans Graf, James DePriest, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Krzysztof Penderecki, Neeme Järvi, Pinchas Zukerman, Manfred Honeck and Giancarlo Guerrero.

Internationally, Chee-Yun has toured with the Haifa Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Germany’s Braunschweig Orchestra and the MDR Radio Leipzig and performed with the St. Petersburg Camerata, the Bamberg Philharmonic, the Bilbao Symphony, the London Festival Orchestra, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the KBS Symphony Orchestra.

Her orchestral highlights include a concert with the Seoul Philharmonic conducted by Myung-Whun Chung that was broadcast on national network television, a benefit for UNESCO with the Orchestra of St. Lukes at Avery Fisher Hall, and her tours of the United States with the San Francisco Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas conducting), and Japan with the NHK Symphony. Recent and upcoming engagements include return subscription weeks in Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, as well as the Colorado and Austin symphony orchestras and the National Philharmonic.

Julie Albers

Cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry

Cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry

American cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry, her charismatic and radiant performing style, and her intense musicianship. She was born into a musical family in Longmont, Colo., and began violin studies at the age of two with her mother, switching to cello at four. She moved to Cleveland during her junior year of high school to pursue studies through the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Aaron.

Albers soon was awarded the Grand Prize at the XIII International Competition for Young Musicians in Douai, France, and as a result toured France as soloist with Orchestre Symphonique de Douai.

She made her major orchestral debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1998, and thereafter has performed in recital and with orchestras throughout North America, Europe, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand. In 2001, she won Second Prize in Munich’s Internationalen Musikwettbewerbes der ARD, and was also awarded the Wilhelm-Weichsler-Musikpreis der Stadt Osnabruch . While in Germany, she recorded solo and chamber music of Kodaly for the Bavarian Radio, performances that have been heard throughout Europe.

In 2003, Albers was named the first Gold Medal Laureate of South Korea’s Gyeongnam International Music Competition, winning the $25,000 Grand Prize.

In North America, Albers has performed with many important orchestras and ensembles. Recent performances have included exciting debuts on the San Francisco Performances series and with the Grant Park Music Festival where she performed Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso for 3 cellos with Mr. Penderecki conducting. Past seasons have included concerto appearances with the Orchestras of Colorado, Indianapolis, San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, and Munchener Kammerorchester among others.

In addition to solo performances, Albers regularly participates in chamber music festivals around the world. 2009 marked the end of a three year residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two. She is currently active with the Albers String Trio and the Cortona Trio. Teaching is also a very important part of Albers’ musical life. She currently is Assistant Professor and holds the Mary Jean and Charles Yales Cello Chair at the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

Albers’ debut album with Orion Weiss includes works by Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Schumann, Massenet, and Piatagorsky and is available on the Artek Label. Julie Albers performs on a N.F. Vuillaume cello made in 1872 and makes her home in Atlanta with her husband, Bourbon.

Deep River Congregational Church Hosts Men’s Palm Sunday Breakfast Today

Dr. Hornbake

Dr. Hornbake

Every Palm Sunday, men, young and old, from congregations throughout the Connecticut River Valley gather in Deep River for the annual Palm Sunday Men’s Communion Breakfast.  All are welcome at 7 a.m. on Palm Sunday, March 29, to share in an ecumenical Communion Service, a bountiful breakfast, and an inspiring message from the speaker, Dr. Rodney Hornbake.   The event will end by 9 a.m. so that those participating will have time to attend worship services in their own churches.

Plan to join other men from throughout the Valley Shore for this long-time Valley-Shore tradition  by calling the Deep River church office before Tuesday, March 24 (860-526-5045), or by e-mailing your reservations to office.drcc@snet.net.   Or sign up on the sheet on the bulletin board across from the kitchen.
The speaker will be Dr Rodney Hornbake,  who is currently president of Essex Internal Medicine, a group medical practice in Essex, Conn., and part of ProHealth Physicians a state wide multispecialty group practice. He has previously led group medical practices in New Bern, North Carolina and Rochester NY.   He has held senior executive positions at major US hospitals and public corporations.  He is an Active/Senior Attending physician at Middlesex Hospital.  Board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Hornbake provides comprehensive medical care for older adults including home visits.

Dr. Hornbake and his wife Deborah  also have founded New Mercies Farm.   It is a five-acre organic farm nestled in the quiet countryside of  Lyme, CT.  They bought the property for the farm after a 2011 fire destroyed a pre-Revolutionary home in Lyme. The idea behind the farm is to provide quality food to local residents, preserve Lyme’s agricultural land for future generations and allow a young resident farmer to earn a living wage.   On the New Mercies Farm web page is the text of the hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness, pointing to Dr. Hornbake’s deep faith

Spring Exhibit on View at Maple and Main

'You Can't Keep a Good Turnip Down' by Gray Jacobik of Deep River.

‘You Can’t Keep a Good Turnip Down’ by Gray Jacobik of Deep River.

CHESTER - The opening reception for Maple and Main Gallery’s fifth annual Spring Exhibition is Saturday, March 28, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The show will feature all new art by 37 artists, three of whose work is featured in this article, from traditional landscape paintings of the Connecticut countryside and waterways to contemporary abstracts.

'Daybreak' by Pam Carlson of Essex.

‘Daybreak’ by Pam Carlson of Essex.

'Lobster Pots' by Claudia van Nes of Chester.

‘Lobster Pots’ by Claudia van Nes of Chester.

Appetizers, the gallery’s signature selection of chocolates and wine will be served throughout the evening and from 6 to 7 p.m., the Chester Package Store will offer a spring wine tasting.

A special show of nature paintings will be on view in the Stone Gallery downstairs and there will be a number of smaller works offered in our Small Works Gallery on the main floor.

The show opens Wednesday, March 25 and runs through Sunday, May 24.

Maple and Main Gallery, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit the gallery on Facebook and at mapleandmaingallery.com where there is information about events and classes and where art may be purchased online.  For more information, call 860-526-6065 or email mapleandmain@att.net.

Celebrate the End of Winter at Chester’s Spring Carnivale, April 12

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. Photo by John Stack.

CHESTER – What a winter we had! Chester’s 25th Annual Winter Carnivale had to be cancelled because of the weather on Feb. 15, but now it’s back, reborn as Spring Carnivale.

On Sunday, April 12, the picturesque small town of Chester will be filled with people cheering on ice carvers as they create beautiful sculptures from blocks of ice, while laughing at the antics of street performers and applauding a long parade of new and antique tractors being driven down Main Street by their proud owners. All that, and food, music, art, and shopping too!

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Photo by John Stack

Richard Daly works on his ice sculpture during the 2014 Winter Carnivale. Daly holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest time to create ice sculptures. Professional ice carver Rich Daly has been a regular at Chester Carnivale through the years. He recently won the National Ice Carving Championship. Come watch his prizewinning talent in action! Photo by John Stack

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. when the carvers get started on their ice sculptures. Both professional and student ice carvers will be hard at work, demonstrating their techniques to onlookers while they try to be finished by 1 p.m. for judging.

Meanwhile, the Chester Hose Company is holding its 15th annual “Chilly Chili Cook Off” fundraiser. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to the Chester Hose Company Fire House at 6 High Street and pay your $5 admission so you can taste all the different chilis cooked and dished out by restaurants, caterers and fire departments. You can vote for your favorite fire department chili, favorite restaurant chili, most original chili, and best dressed chili serving table.  Beverages will be sold. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

Still hungry? There’s pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and lots more available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, lemonade, popcorn, kettle corn, and cupcakes – everything to satisfy every taste.

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the 14th Annual Tractor Parade. Photo by John Stack

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 14th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

There is no shortage of free activities to keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available at Century 21 Heritage. The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history. A photo booth will be at Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art.

Celebrate spring at Spring Carnivale by making an origami butterfly at Connecticut River Artisans on 4 Water Street during Carnivale.

Celebrate spring at Spring Carnivale by making an origami butterfly at Connecticut River Artisans on 4 Water Street during Carnivale.

Other galleries and shops will be open, many with special events from prize drawings to origami. The Spring Street String Band, Arrowhead, will be playing from noon to 4 p.m. at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery.

Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Route 9 and in the Roto-Frank parking lot on Inspiration Lane (exit 6) and at Greenwald Industries on Rte. 154 (212 Middlesex Avenue). (Follow the signs.) All lots will be served by courtesy shuttle buses to the town center.

For more information, go to facebook.com/chesterctwintercarnivale or https://finditinchesterct.wordpress.com/

LVVS Features the Classics in April Book Promotion

WESTBROOK – Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) is celebrating spring, Easter, and all things new during their April book promotion.

This month they are featuring the classics.  Any classic novel, such as Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and more, is on sale for $1. All other hardcover books are $2 and paperbacks are $1.  Stock up now on some of the best loved novels of all time.

Also on sale this month –  all puzzles are half price.  Stop in to the LVVS book sale Monday-Thursday 8 am -2 pm and Friday 8 am -Noon.  The LVVS is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Dr. 860-399-0280.

The organization is always accepting gently used books 2004 and newer.

CT River Museum Offers Canoe, Kayak Paddle Program Partly Funded by Cabela’s

Connecticut River Museum Expands On-water Experiences with the Development of a Canoe and Kayak Paddle Program. Photo credit: Joan Meek.

Connecticut River Museum Expands On-water Experiences with the Development of a Canoe and Kayak Paddle Program. Photo credit: Joan Meek.

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum (CRM) will launch a canoe and kayak paddle program on the museum campus in Essex, CT this summer as a major expansion of its environmental outreach.  The Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion, conservation and improvement of wildlife and wildlife habitat, hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor sporting and recreational activities, has made a generous contribution to CRM that will fund the purchase of 10 boats as well as assorted equipment that will make this important educational program possible.

According to the museum’s director, Chris Dobbs, “The Connecticut River Paddle Explorations Program is an exciting expansion of our ongoing environmental education activities and will allow more members and visitors to get out on the water.  We are thankful to the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund for making this possible.”

“Cabela’s Outdoor Fund is proud to support the Connecticut River Museum and its efforts in educating and exposing the community to the great outdoors,” said Jeremy Wonch, vice president of Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. “The Connecticut River Paddle Explorations Program will be great for both the community and the conservation efforts on the Connecticut River.”

Between June and September, CRM will offer canoes and kayaks at a nominal fee as a member benefit and to the public.  The program will allow visitors to explore the local marshes and tributaries around CRM, a great way for adults and families to access the River.

Dobbs commented, “Through the generosity of the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, the museum will be able to use these boats for a variety of education programs.”  He said that this would include “guided paddles, exploration of nature preserves along the River, and places further afield.”  As part of the expanded vision for the museum, Dobbs would like the paddle program to partner with land trusts, historical societies, and other organizations up and down the River as a way to build appreciation for this “magnificent cultural and environmental resource.”

For more information about this program, to volunteer with the paddle program or to provide additional support, contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or via email at crm@ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM and closed on Mondays until Memorial Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

 

Photo Credit: Support from Cabela’s Outdoor Fund will allow the Connecticut River Museum to expand its paddle programs and provide more people with wonderful experiences like the annual swallow migration. Photo courtesy of Joan Meek.

New State Funding Announced for Elderly Affordable Housing in Essex

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

ESSEX – State Representative Philip Miller (D-Chester/Deep River/Essex/Haddam) has welcomed the announcement that elderly affordable housing development in Essex will benefit from a $60 million statewide investment to bolster housing programs announced by Governor Dannel P. Malloy.

The funding for Essex is as follows:

  • Essex Place, Essex– Department of Housing will provide up to $3.83 million to assist in the development of Essex Place, a newly constructed 22-unit affordable elderly apartment building.  Essex Place will be located adjacent to the existing 36-unit Essex Court elderly housing development.  The site is walkable via town sidewalks to local services, grocery stores, restaurants and other community resources. The project is in close proximity to public transportation offered by the Estuary Transit District (ETD) that has regularly scheduled service on the Riverside Shuttle from Chester to Old Saybrook.  The project will consist of 18 one-bedroom and 4 two-bedroom rental units.  The units will serve residents or below 80% of the area median income.

“I welcome the Governor’s announcement that Essex will be awarded $3.83 million for the development of Essex Place. The development of affordable elderly apartments will help residents who live in the community stay in the community,” Rep. Miller said, “In addition the construction of new units has a positive economic impact by creating jobs and providing dollars for the purchase of materials and services. I thank Governor Malloy for this initiative in Essex.”

Rep. Miller is House Chairman of the Planning and Development Committee.

Study ‘Beowulf: The Superhero of Old English’ in Essex Library Spring Seminar Series

beowulf-coverESSEX – Who was the first superhero in the English language?

Whose epic adventures greatly influenced J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit?

It was Beowulf, of course.

Follow the Old English story of Scandinavian warrior Beowulf who, armed with only a magic sword and a heroic code, vanquishes the monster Grendel –and Grendel’s mother too. After becoming a wise and noble King of the Danes, he battles a mighty, fire-breathing dragon with tragic consequences.

Using the Northern Ireland Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney’s magnificent translation, University of New Haven faculty member Chuck Timlin will lead a seminar looking at the great 3182 line poem that stands as the beginning of English Literature.

This seminar will also look at several passages of the poem in the original Old English.

The five-seminar sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings April 14 & 28 and May 5, 12 and 19 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Essex Library. This seminar is free and open to the public. Register in advance by calling 860-767-1560.

The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue, Essex, CT.

Essex Library Presents ‘Right Plant, Right Place’ Landscaping Program, April 16

The Buttonbush is always a good addition to your landscaping plans.

The Buttonbush is always a good addition to your landscaping plans.

ESSEX – Wondering why certain flowers, shrubs or trees never seem to thrive in your yard? Want to know what plants are best suited for the insects and birds in our area? Based on the Right Plant, Right Place principle, learn from this illustrated talk by Master Gardener Gail Kalison Reynolds what ecological processes affect your backyard, how native plants facilitate ecological balance, and why native plants are appropriate for backyard landscaping and gardening.

This event will take place on Thursday, April 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Essex Library. Admission is free.

Gail Kalison Reynolds, MFS, directs the UConn Master Gardener Program in Middlesex County and is an independent ecological and technological consultant.  She has both undergraduate and master’s degrees from Yale University and many years of technological experience, including five information security professional certifications.  In addition, she is the Chair of the Haddam Conservation Commission and the Manager of the Higganum Farmers’ Market.

Call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 for more information and to register.  The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue, Essex CT 06426

‘Paws and Read’ at Acton Public Library, Saturdays

OLD SAYBROOK – Calling all kids! Bring your favorite book or use one of the library’s to read to Hazel, a sweet Border Collie mix who will be at the Acton Public Library on select Saturdays waiting for you to read to her.

Hazel is a certified therapy dog who is trained and fully insured and will be accompanied by her handler. She is an Allan’s Angels Therapy Dog (AATD), which is a chapter of  The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Call and register for a 15-minute reading session on Saturday, April 18 beginning at 10 a.m., first come, first served. Free and open to all ages.

For more information, call 860-395-3184 during service hours: Monday – Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Acton Library Seeks Kid’s Collections for New Display Case

OLD SAYBROOK – The Acton Public Library is looking for your display for their new Children’s Display case. If you have a collection you would like to share for a month, you can sign up in the Children’s Department or call the Library.

Some popular examples of collections to display might be: Star Wars; My Little Pony; dinosaur figures; Silly Bands; teddy bears; keychains; models; or Legos. Sign up today to reserve your month now.

If you have any questions, call the library at 860-395-3184 during service hours of: Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

CBSRZ Hosts Youth Program Open House, April 19

CHESTER – Congregation  Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is hosting an Open House for its Youth Programs For Families with children from birth through age 15  on Sunday, April 19, starting at 10 a.m.

At CBSRZ, they weave Jewish traditions, history, celebrations, and values into the everyday fabric of life’s modern day challenges. By helping young people uncover the riches of their traditions, they seek to empower and nourish their inner lives, and help them to discover the possibilities within themselves and in the world.

Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the building and meet the staff, youth and parents of our diverse community consisting of many interfaith families.

If you would like more information prior to the Open House, contact the CBSRZ office at 860-526-8920 or bethshalom@snet.net.

For further information about CBSRZ Youth Programs, contact Belinda Brennan, Cantor/Educator at 860-526-8920 or by e-mail at edcant@cbsrz.org.

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

Essex Library Offers Presentation on Scams, Frauds, and How to Avoid Them, April 14

ESSEX – We live in a fast-paced, technological world.  Scammers are all around us and their only goal is to steal your financial information to commit fraud.  Some are high-tech and use their computer to attempt to steal personal financial information.  Some are savvy and use the telephone to try to scam us.  Others simply steal our wallets or rummage through our trash.

What can you do to prevent this from happening?  Your best defense is awareness.

Richard Lalor, Associate Financial Examiner from the Government Relations and Consumer Affairs Division of the Connecticut Department of Banking, will share important tips on how to avoid identity theft and minimize your risk of becoming a victim of financial fraud at the Essex Library on Tuesday, April 14, at 11 a.m.  Admission is free.

Call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 for more information and to register.

The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue, Essex CT 06426

‘A Closer Look at Birds’ on Show at Maple and Main; Artists’ Reception, April 11

'Spring Please' by Claudia van Nes

‘Spring Please’ by Claudia van Nes

CHESTER – Natural Influences: A Closer Look at Birds is on show in the Stone Galleryin the Stone Gallery at Maple and Main, One Maple Street. through April 30.  Bird, nest, feather and birdhouse paintings and sculptures by the gallery artists will be on display.

The show offers the opportunity to experience the natural world and the deep transformative experiences that humans can have in nature expressed in the drawings, paintings and sculptures of the gallery artists.

An artists’ reception will be held Saturday, April 11, from 5 to 7 p.m.

A feather sketching workshop will be led by Jan Blencowe Sunday, April 19,  from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Spring Exhibition of all new paintings by 37 artists is also on display in the  Main, Joslow and Small Works Galleries.

The galleries are open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit www.mapleandmain gallery.com, call 860-526-6065 or email mapleandmain@att.net. for more information and to purchase art not in the gallery.

See the Results of ‘The Chester Creative Challenge,’ April 11

David Rau’s "Bull Market" for this year's Hooked Again! Creative Challenge to support the Chester Historical Society was inspired by two hooks, commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange in the 1970s and made in Chester by M.S. Brooks & Sons.

David Rau’s “Bull Market” for this year’s Hooked Again! Creative Challenge to support the Chester Historical Society was inspired by two hooks, commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange in the 1970s and made in Chester by M.S. Brooks & Sons.

CHESTER – This spring the Chester Historical Society is hosting its fifth annual Creative Challenge, dipping back into Chester’s roots as a manufacturing town. For five years, area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelers, and all others with a creative mind have accepted the challenge to use artifacts from Chester’s rich manufacturing history to create items for a silent auction and reception to raise funds for the Chester Historical Society.

This is just another great example of making history current, the ‘then and now’ that is often part of the Society’s exhibits at Chester Museum at The Mill.

Those accepting the 2015 Hooked Again! Challenge issued by the Historical Society are working with assorted sample hooks, handles and hardware, which were still enclosed in small sealed manila envelopes, from Chester’s former M.S. Brooks & Sons factory.

“Hooked on Mandalas” by Bill Vollers is a framed, signed, archival digital image.

“Hooked on Mandalas” by Bill Vollers is a framed, signed, archival digital image.

The finished pieces of art, jewelry, sculptures, photographs, etc. will be exhibited and sold by silent auction at the Historical Society’s Reception on Saturday, April 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House.

The reception will feature hearty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from Chester kitchens served with wine and non-alcoholic beverages.

Tickets for the evening are $30 and will be limited. They can be purchased at Chester Gallery and Ceramica, both in the center of Chester, or by calling Sosse Baker at Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822.

All the proceeds from the event will benefit the Chester Historical Society and its programs, including Chester Museum at The Mill. Information is available on the Society website, www.chesterhistoricalsociety.org or at Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.

Caption:

Caption:

Caption: To create “Hooked on Amazonite,” Donna Carlson used Amazonite stone and the special order hooks created for The Tigers Den by M. S. Brooks.

CT River Museum Hosts Tavern Night with Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Good Food; April 25

The Connecticut River Museum’s 1814 Tavern Night features an evening of food, drink, music and games in the Museum’s historic Samuel Lay House. Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum’s 1814 Tavern Night features an evening of food, drink, music and games in the Museum’s historic Samuel Lay House. Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum brings back its popular 1814 Tavern Night for a double hitter. These spirited 19th-century evenings transform the historic Samuel Lay House into a seaside tavern from the War of 1812. The nights include a wine or beer tasting, food pairings of early American cuisine provided by Catering by Selene, tavern games and raucous drinking songs and ballads. The event is being made possible through the generous support of Guilford Savings Bank.

ELH1814Tavern.winebarOn Saturday, April 25, a variety of fine wines will be enjoyed with Angelini Wines & Estate Wines. This night, Craig Edwards will saw out popular fiddle tunes that get people stomping their feet and singing.

Executive Director Christopher Dobbs states, “Last year’s programs sold out and were a huge hit.” He described the programs as “enchanting evenings that take you back in time – giving visitors a great taste of the food, drink, music and games of early 19th century America.”

Space is extremely limited and advance reservations are required. Tastings take place each night at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 for museum members or $27 for general public (must be 21 or older and show an ID). Tickets include wine or beer tasting, light bites, and entertainment. Additional wine and beer is available each night for purchase. You must be 21 or over to attend the event and show a valid ID.

Due to limited space, reservations are required. Tickets may be purchased by going online to www.ctrivermuseum.org or over the phone at 860-767-8269.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays after Columbus Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

Last Chance to See ‘West Side Story’ at Old Saybrook High School Tonight

Rehearsals for West Side Story are in full swing at Old Saybrook High School.

Rehearsals for West Side Story are in full swing at Old Saybrook High School.

The Old Saybrook High School (OSHS) Drama Department is excited to welcome one and all to their production of West Side Story that will be playing Thursday through Saturday, March 26 to 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Saybrook High School Auditorium.

Working on costumes is a balancing business!

Working on costumes can be a balancing business!

Written and produced through the combined efforts of Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins and set in 1950’s New York City, West Side Story is a classic tale of romance and tragedy in which the Puerto Rican Sharks face off against the all-American Jets.  It is based loosely on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and follows the story of how, amid rivalry and violence, two high ranking members in opposing gangs fall in love and ultimately hope to inspire an end to the prejudice.

Jeanne Proctor, director of the musical and head of the OSHS Drama Department, expressed her excitement for the upcoming show, commenting, “We’ve got a great group of senior leaders, and it’s also going to be my husband Dan’s last production supervising the build crew, so it’s going to be a great last accomplishment for us all.” She went on to discuss the technical aspects of the show that make it hard to pull off, including the score, rhythm, choreography, and vocal challenges it presents to the students, noting,“It’s going to require a new level of precision from us — it’s a challenge, but we’re very excited.”

Senior Kara Newell who is both playing the female lead of Maria and choreographing part of the show for her senior project said, “This show is challenging in a different way from what we are used to – it’s very dance heavy, and everyone’s really trying their best with the choreography.  I’ve never seen us be this far along in any show this early in the year.  We still have a lot to do, but I can already tell it’s going to be a great way to end my senior year.”

Measuring carefully to set the stage.

Measuring carefully to set the stage.

As for what you should expect if you go see West Side Story, Jeanne Proctor added, “We’re embracing the challenge to make it uplifting. Our goal is for the audience to be in cathartic tears by the end of the show.”

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the door or through the school at (860) – 395 – 3175.

Master Knitter Lee Gant at Essex Books, May 9

Join Master Knitter Lee Gant at Essex Books at Gather on Saturday, May 9, from 3 to 4 p.m.

Gant is one of the top knitters in the United States and has been featured on PBS, NPR, and in many magazines. She has knitted pieces for world renowned designer Melissa Leapman and can be seen in Vogue, Knitter’s, and Knit ‘N Style.

Gant’s designs have been featured in many books, including 60 Quick Baby Knits, Knitting 2013 Day-to-Day Calendar, Jamieson’s Shetland Knitting Book 2, and Garter Stitch Baby.

She is part of a very active knitting community on social media: her Facebook page has reached 92,000 people in one week. Gant travels internationally on the knitting circuit and is a well-known authority who is also writing knitting pattern books.

In her inspiring book, Love in Every Stitch: Stories of Knitting and Healing, master knitter, teacher, and widely published knitwear designer Gant shares real-life stories about the power of knitting.

As an employee of three different yarn stores, a teacher of countless knitting classes, and a volunteer with at-risk youth, Gant has had the opportunity to gather diverse stories.

The stories Gant shares about herself and fellow knitters from around the world illustrate how each stitch and purl can comfort and calm, heal and renew. A suicidal teenager crochets through pregnancy. A dying woman finds comfort in the company of knitters. A woman finds the courage to face her estranged parents. A woman going blind realizes she can still knit — and experience life. And Gant’s life, riddled with more than just anxiety, has at last become stable and productive. This book includes stories of women, men, and teens who have experienced profound change and enlightenment through knitting and crochet.

“Another lovely story of hope and inspiration. The benefits of knitting and crocheting are seen every day. More and more people turn to these skills to help them deal with so many upheavals in life. Thank goodness we have those to fall back on when everything else seems to go against us.”
—Bouncing Back

A renowned designer and sought-after teacher, Gant is a household name among knitting enthusiasts. Holding the rank of ‘master knitter,’ she enjoys working with adults and children, as young as age eight, teaching self-empowerment through knitting. Some of her designs can be found in 60 Quick Baby Knits, in Knit Picks and Patternfish online, and at Strings and Things in Kauai. Gant’s knitting has won many first place and best-in-show awards at county fairs in northern California. Her new pattern collection for children’s knitwear will publish in the spring of 2016. She now lives in Santa Rosa, Calif., and formerly lived in Guilford, Conn.

To RSVP, call or text Susan McCann at 914-310-5824.

‘Great Women Architects’ is Tonight’s Topic in Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series

The Aqua tower in Chicago by Jeanne Gang. Photo by George Showman.

The Aqua tower in Chicago designed by Jeanne Gang. Photo by George Showman.

ESSEX — Architectural Historian Professor Chuck Benson presents “Great Women Architects and Designers of the 20th and 21st Centuries” at the Essex Town Hall on Friday, March 27, at 7 p.m.

His illustrated presentation focuses on historical luminaries, such as Marion Mahoney Griffin and Mary Colter, as well as prominent contemporary architects like Billy Tsien, Zaha Hadid, and Jeanne Gang. By rising to the topmost level of a historically male-dominated profession, these women and many others like them have blazed the trail for others to follow.

Dr. Benson has been teaching Art and Architectural History for more than 25 years at various universities and has led groups to explore iconic places and buildings in America, Italy, England, France, Germany, Greece, Turkey, and elsewhere. His lecture credits include MOMA, Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. He studied the history of art and architecture at Yale, and holds advanced degrees from Columbia University. He also has studied at Cambridge and Oxford.

His talk is free and part of the Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series, which is one of many programs that are offered regularly by the Essex Library (http://www.youressexlibrary.org/). Call the library at 860-767-1560 to register.

Sponsored by Centerbrook Architects, the series is in its seventh year.

‘Discovery Sundays’ Start April 12 at Florence Griswold Museum

A family enjoys ‘Discovery Sunday’ at the Florence Griswold Museum.

On Sunday, April 12, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme invites visitors to shake off any leftover winter blues and celebrate the beginning of Discovery Sundays. In addition to the popular “Make-A-Painting” activities, where visitors of all ages use the Museum’s supplies to create their own masterpieces, Discovery Sundays now include a new outdoor Art Cart that guides families to explore the grounds and its connection to the artists who famously painted there.

To celebrate the start of the season, the Co-Co Beaux, an all male a cappella group from Connecticut College, performs in the art gallery from 2 to 4 p.m.. In addition, seasonal buildings including the Chadwick Studio and the Rafal Landscape Center open for the season. And with any luck you’ll find some pops of color starting in the garden!

The Museum is open every Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and all activities are included with admission. Children 12 and under are always free. The Museum is closed Easter Sunday.

The Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme St., Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year round Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under.

For more information, visit the Museum’s website www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Old Saybrook’s Troop 51 Welcomes Four New Eagle Scouts

 

Celebrating their accession to the rank of Eagle Scout are (from left to right) Reggie Walden, Eric Mitchell, Will Burton, and Robert O'Shaughnessy.

Celebrating their official induction to the rank of Eagle Scout are (from left to right) Reggie Walden, Eric Mitchell, Will Burton, and Robert O’Shaughnessy.

During a ceremony held March 13, at the Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook, Boy Scout Troop 51 celebrated their four newest eagle scouts: Old Saybrook High School seniors William Burton, Eric Mitchell, Robert O’Shaughnessy and Reginald Walden (pictured above.)

To earn the prestigious title of Eagle Scout, the four Boy Scouts earned a wide variety of merit badges over a span of many years. The final requirement was to complete a culminating project that gave back to the community; each went above and beyond, committing over 100 hours of work to their respective projects.

William Burton’s Eagle Scout project was making flag retirement boxes. The wooden reciprocals were placed at the Acton Library, the Elks Club, and the Submarine Veteran’s Club in Groton for people to dispose of the ashes of flags that have touched the ground or been otherwise disrespected. “I’d like to thank the Boy Scout leaders and all of those who helped me with my project, especially my mother and father,” said Burton.

Eric Mitchell decided to build a pergola for the Old Saybrook Historical Society outside the General William Hart House for his Eagle Scout project. The aim of constructing the pergola was to help beautify the town. Mitchell commented, “I was really excited to learn about carpentry, and for that and all of the other skills I’ve gained through Boy Scouts, I’m really thankful.”

Robert O’Shaughnessy chose cleaning up several locations around town and then placing geocaches in them as his Eagle Scout project. Locations include other scout’s Eagle projects, as well as three in the town park. O’Shaughnessy’s goal was to promote ecotourism in Old Saybrook, as well as bring attention to the scouting program. An appreciative O’Shaughnessy said, “The scout leadership in our troop is incredible, and I’d like to thank them for all of the really cool opportunities I’ve had thanks to Boy Scouts.”

Reginald Walden refurbished the area around the Grace Episcopal Church where attends church and also his scout meetings are held. For his Eagle Scout project, he planted bulbs, replaced unsafe playground equipment, built a bench, and more. Walden explained, “I’ve learned a lot about teamwork, and I know that without boy scouts, I would not be the same person I am today.”

Many congratulations to these fine young men!

‘An Exhibition in Four Acts’ on View at Lyme Art Association Through April 17

130 Bank Street by Roger Clements

130 Bank Street by Roger Clements

Four new exhibitions, each with a different theme, are currently on view in the Lyme Art Association (LAA)’s historic galleries through April 17. ‘A Contemporary Look’, ‘Pulled and Pressed’, ‘Industrious America’ and ‘Holding Still’ are running concurrently.

‘Pulled and Pressed’ is an exciting collection of hand-made prints, with the Center for Contemporary Printmaking as invited guests; ‘Industrious America’ celebrates American industry and features imagery of the man-made landscape; ‘Holding Still’ features still life artwork, including trompe l’oeil; and ‘A Contemporary Look’ is an exhibition of new works that evolve the representational art tradition.

'Blue Bowl with Pears' (oil) by Eileen Eder is the signature painting for the 'Holding Still' exhibition.

‘Blue Bowl with Pears’ (oil) by Eileen Eder is the signature painting for the ‘Holding Still’ exhibition.

“’The Exhibition in Four Acts’ is one of our most dynamic and exciting exhibitions, bringing together four distinct types of representational art. Visitors to our spacious, sun-lit galleries will move from the striking realism of still life paintings in ‘Holding Still’ to the evocative art in ‘Contemporary Look’, featuring works that evolve the representational art tradition,” states Katherine Simmons, President of the LAA’s Board of Directors. “’Pulled and Pressed’ features the creativity and precision of fine art, hand-made prints, and ‘Industrious America’ celebrates the vitality of working life.”

The LAA 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 and 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

‘Nights on Broadway’ Gala to Benefit Community Music School, April 18

Looking forward to welcoming guests at Nights on Broadway are (standing L to R): Melissa Lieberman and David LaMay of Essex Financial Services; Robin Andreoli, CMS executive director CMS; vocalist Courtney Parrish; vocalist Richard Pittsinger; honorary co-chairs Jennifer and John Bauman. Seated are Laureen Sullivan of Essex Savings Bank and Charles Cumello, CEO of Essex Financial Services.

Looking forward to welcoming guests at Nights on Broadway are (standing L to R): Melissa Lieberman and David LaMay of Essex Financial Services; Robin Andreoli, CMS executive director CMS; vocalist Courtney Parrish; vocalist Richard Pittsinger; honorary co-chairs Jennifer and John Bauman. Seated are Laureen Sullivan of Essex Savings Bank and Charles Cumello, CEO of Essex Financial Services.

ESSEX — Curtain Up! Light the Lights! On Saturday, April 18, Community Music School students and faculty take center stage performing classic Broadway show tunes for Nights on Broadway, the School’s 10 annual benefit gala. Guests will gather at the charming Lace Factory, 161 River Street, Deep River, for a lively party with gourmet food stations inspired by Broadway hits and prepared by Cloud Nine Catering, silent and live auctions, and a fun photo booth. Nights on Broadway promises to be a magical, musical evening!

Selections from the shows Wicked, RENT, Fiddler on the Roof, and Les Misérables are scheduled to be performed. Featured student performers include Emma Hunt (vocals) of Essex; Michael Rasberry (saxophone) of Lyme; Sonny Capaccio (vocals) of Guilford; Courtney Parrish (vocals) of Westbrook; Arnold Moore (violin) of Killingworth; and Richard Pittsinger (vocals) of Essex, a recipient of the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Music Award. Faculty performers include Karli Gilbertson (piano/vocals), Matthew McCauley (bass), Kevin O’Neil (guitar), Andrew Studenski (saxophone), and music director Tom Briggs (piano).

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with a financial need, music therapy services, and outreach through arts education and community concerts. “Nights on Broadway is an extremely important event for us,” stated Executive Director Robin Andreoli, “Proceeds will help us continue our mission of enrichment through the arts with a focus on public performances and community outreach.”

She continues, ” Of course, musical theater has always been a part of our programming with Broadway Bound, a summer program for ages 8 to 15, so it’s fitting that Broadway music is this year’s theme. Programs like Broadway Bound, Kate’s Camp for Kids, the CMS Jazz Ensemble, New Horizons Band and many others allow students of all ages to build on their individual and ensemble skills for performance.”

Nights on Broadway sponsors include Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services, Bogaert Construction, The Clark Group, Tower Laboratories LTD, Grossman Chevrolet-Nissan, Thomas H. Alexa – Comprehensive Wealth Management, Angelini Wine LTD, The Bauman Family Foundation, Brewer Pilots Point Marina, Essex Winnelson, Gowrie Group, Guilford Savings Bank, Leonardo & Associates P.C., W. Jay Mills CFP® – The Oakely Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, Periodontics P.C., Ring’s End, The Safety Zone, and Valley Courier.

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. Now in its 32nd year of building community through music, the Community Music School is a private, non-profit organization.

SECWAC Hosts Presentation on Arabs, Israelis and Military Force, Tonight in Old Lyme

Jeremy Pressman

Jeremy Pressman

Jeremy Pressman, Professor of Political Science, Director of Middle East Studies, University of Connecticut, will present Arabs, Israelis, and the Limits of Military Force” on Monday evening, March 23, at the Old Lyme Country Club.  This event is hosted by the Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC)

The reception begins at 5:30 p.m.  followed by the talk starting at 6 p.m.  A dinner follows immediately after the presentation for a limited number of Members and Guests.  Making a dinner reservation is required.

Professor Pressman (PhD, MIT, 2002) is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Middle East Studies at the University of Connecticut where he studies international relations, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Middle East politics, and U.S. foreign policy.  He has held fellowships at Harvard University, the University of Sydney, and the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut.

Pressman previously worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Milt Walters, SECWAC’s Chairman expressed his gratitude that, “Professor Pressman with his extensive Middle East experiences would provide our Members with his first hand insights in these volatile times.”

He has published extensively in academic journals such as Diplomatic History, International Security, and International Studies Perspectives, and appeared on the WNPR program “Where We Live” in 2014.  He has written two books, Warring Friends: Alliance Restraint in International Politics (Cornell University Press, 2008) and Point of No Return: The Deadly Struggle for Middle East Peace, with Geoffrey Kemp (Brookings Institution Press, 1997).

Pressman is currently writing a third book, tentatively titled “The sword is not enough: Arabs, Israelis, and the limits of military force.”  Pressman also writes for Beacon Reader and is on twitter @djpressman

Call 860-912-5718 or emailinfo@secwac.org to make a reservation for this event. On confirmation send a check for $35 for each reservation to: SECWAC, 914 Hartford Turnpike, Waterford, CT 06385.

Please respect others.  Seating and meals are based on actual reservations.

The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council is a regional, non-profit membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America and foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming. Its principal activity is to provide a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between our members and U.S. policy makers and other experts on foreign relations (http://www.secwac.org).

Guests are welcome to call 860-912-5718 or emailinfo@secwac.org to reserve a guest pass.

Upcoming Program:  Dorothy James, PhD, Professor of Government and International Relations at Connecticut College will speak on “The Art of Chinese Politics and the Politics of Chinese Art” at the Student Center, Connecticut College on April 16.

Warriors Play for Class S Championship Today at Mohegan Sun

Warrior fans will be out in force at this afternoon's championship game at Mohegan Sun.

Warrior fans will be out in force at this afternoon’s championship game at Mohegan Sun.  This photo is from the Shoreline League Conference final in New Haven against Old Lyme, which Valley won in overtime.

REGION 4 – The sixth seeded Valley Regional High School boys’ basketball team meets top seed Sacred Heart in the CIAC Class S basketball championship tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, March 22, in the Mohegan Sun arena.  Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m.

The Warriors were 20 points down in the semifinal against number two seed SMSA and came back to win by two points in a stunning 60-58 upset.  The team seems unstoppable at this point!

Go Warriors!

Click to see an interview by News Channel 8’s Eric Dobratz with Warrior’s coach Kevin Woods in which Wood discusses his team and today’s game.

Click to read an article by Jim Bransfield and published in the Middletown Press March 20 titled, “Valley Regional Ready for Another Title Shot”

Editor’s Note: This article was previously published with an incorrect date for the game – our apologies.

Cappella Cantorum Celebrates 45th Anniversary Today with Concert, Dinner

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AREAWIDE — Cappella Cantorum’s first Concert was March 22, 1970 and the choral group will hold a 45th Anniversary Celebration Dinner at Water’s Edge Resort, Westbrook, following their March 22 concert of the Faure “Requiem” and Schubert’s “Mass in G” at Saint Mark Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, 222 McVeagh Road in Westbrook.

The concert begins at 3 p.m. with dinner following at 6 p.m. A Reception at the Church after the concert will be held downstairs for the audience to meet the soloists, Chamber Orchestra, Chorus and Conductor, Barry Asch.

Master Works Chorus member Fredrick Goff, Tenor will join soloists Soprano Patricia Schuman and Baritone Christopher Grundy in singing the Benedictus from Schubert’s “Mass in G.” Patricia Schuman will be featured singing “Ave Maria” by Schubert.

According to Conductor Barry Asch,” Cappella Cantorum is fortunate in being able to perform in the outstanding acoustical ambiance and beauty of Saint Mark Church.”

For concert tickets and dinner reservations, visit Cappella Cantorum.org or call 860-577-2950.

CBSRZ Hosts Immigration Forum & Program Today

Hear their stories . . .

UntitledCHESTER – Jose was nine years old when his parents brought him to the U.S. from Mexico, not by plane or bus, as Jose thought, but across the desert on foot, through thirst and contact with “coyote’s.”

Amparo and her husband brought their two sons to the U.S. legally on a tourist visa 12 years ago but stayed.  Her sons are protected against deportation and now consider themselves “Americans,” however, the parents are now deportable.  Both Amparo and her husband would like to return to Ecuador, but because their tourist visa expired, they would then have to wait 10 years before returning.

Patricia came to the U.S. from Mexico 20 years ago with her four children.  She worked as a home care worker, which she enjoyed, but when she asked to work less than 60 hours a week, they cut her to 4-6 hours a week, which forced her to find other work.  Paty’s son was also picked up by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), held and then deported back to Mexico, even though he knew no one in Mexico, because he came to the U.S. when he was one-year-old.

Mariano came to the U.S. from Mexico at an early age and remembers little or nothing about his home country.  Educated in the New Britain school system, while attending Capital Community College, Mariano was put in a detention center when he was unable to produce documents to local police investigating an unrelated crime suspect.  Mariano was on the verge of being deported when Sen. Richard Blumenthal stepped in and persuaded immigration officials to grant a rare stay of deportation.

On March 22 at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) starting at 1 p.m., you will hear these and other immigrants.

Part of this program will include attendees participating in an exercise where you will “walk in the shoes” of a new immigrant, Pablo, taking you through challenging problems facing today’s immigrants – before and after they get to America.

And come tell your story . . .

The synagogue hopes you will share your family’s story of coming to America – however many generations ago. We all know part of this story. The hope of freedom and a better life has always been the driving force for immigrants entering the United States – for all our families as well.

A discussion on immigration reform will follow.

There is no cost for this program, but CBSRZ requests an RSVP to 860-526-8920. Refreshments will be served.

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

 

CANCELLED! ‘Essex Go Bragh’ Irish Parade & Festival Takes Place Today

St. Paddy Day 9

ESSEX — UPDATE 03/21 9 a.m. We have just heard from Mary Ellen Barnes that today’s parade has been cancelled.  She writes, ” Due to the snow and below freezing temperatures this morning, the parade organizers feel that we must cancel the parade.  Our priority is always to ensure the safety of our citizens, parade participants, staff and volunteers and we feel that the road conditions are such that in order to do that we must cancel the parade.  Thank you all for your patience and support.  This was not an easy decision, but a necessary one.  See you in 2016!”

03/13 UPDATE: The ‘Essex Go Bragh’ parade and festival planned for March 14 have been postponed for one week due to inclement weather. Both events will now be held on Saturday, March 21.

‘Essex Go Bragh’ translates as ‘Essex Forever’ and is the name of the Irish Parade and Festival that takes place in town this year on Saturday, March 21.  The Parade will step off from the Essex Town Hall at 10:30 a.m., led by 2014 Grand Marshal Mr. Augie Pampel.

Pampel, has been living and contributing to the Essex Community for many years.  He has worked tirelessly as the Town of Essex Tree Warden since 1994.  He is a proud member of the Essex Garden Club and was instrumental in securing Keep America Beautiful Grants, used for Tree Restoration throughout the three villages.

St. Paddy Day 11 (2)Pampel will lead more than 100 marchers through down Main Street Essex in front of hundreds of spectators. The parade will feature nearly 25 units including elected officials, fife & drum corps, floats, Irish step dancers, boy and girl scouts, community organizations, church groups, police, fire, EMS, military, accompanying service and antique vehicles, and more. Members of the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall are the parade honor guard.

The Festival will follow in the Village offering Food, Drink, Horse Drawn Carriage Rides, Live Music by “Rock of Cashel” at the Griswold Inn, and Kids Activities sponsored by the Community Music School.

st. paddy day 11Professional Face Painting by Z Face & Body Art, an Irish Step Dancing demonstration and Guinness Pour at the Gris are some of the festivities planned for after the parade.  The organizers encourage visitors to stay downtown after the parade, enjoy the festival and visit local restaurants and businesses to check out their special St. Patrick Day promotions.

The organizers invite your group or organization to march in the parade.  To confirm your group’s participation or for more information, contact Essex Park and Recreation at 860-767-4340 x110 or recreation@essexct.gov.

Sponsorship opportunities are as follows:

Band Sponsor – $500 

Name Identification on the banner preceding one of the six bands.

An opportunity to participate in the parade ahead of the band

Sponsor volunteers may distribute marketing materials to spectators.

Logo identification on the park and recreation web site

Logo identification on all Flyers distributed

Float Sponsor – $1,000 

Name identification on banners on both sides of Grand Marshal’s Horse Drawn Carriage

Opportunity to participate or march in the parade ahead of the Carriage

Sponsor volunteers may distribute marketing materials to spectators.

Name identification on all flyers distributed

Name identification on Park and Recreation website, www.essexct.gov

Parade Program Advertisers 

Business card size- $150

1/4 page- $250

Half page- $400

Opening Reception for CT River Museum’s ‘New Deal’ Art Exhibit, April 2

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, will open April 2nd. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allen Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, opens April 2. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allen Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

During the depths of the Great Depression, the federal government created work relief programs to put unemployed Americans back to work. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs provided all types of jobs – including opportunities for out-of-work artists. The Federal Art Project (1935 – 1943) paid artists to paint murals and easel art, sculpt, and teach art classes. Their art was always located in a public place such as a school, library, or government building so that all Americans had access to it for inspiration and enjoyment.

The subject matter for much of this artwork is known as the “American Scene” – showcasing regional history, landscapes, and people. The Connecticut River Museum’s new exhibit has selected artwork that represents artists from the Connecticut River Valley, or that depicts views of regional or maritime traditions of the Connecticut River and coastline.

“These paintings offer us a glimpse at Connecticut from sixty years ago,” says Museum Curator Amy Trout. “We think of that time as being dark and depressing, but these paintings show us a vibrant time and place.”

The exhibit contains 20 works of art ranging from pastels, etchings, watercolors, and oils. There are also examples of bas relief work from Essex sculptor Henry Kreis who designed the state’s Tercentenary medal and coin in 1935 under the Civil Works Authority (CWA) funding. The paintings come from area museums such as the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mystic Arts Center, Connecticut Historical Society, and the Portland Historical Society, among others.

Even though these paintings were originally intended for public viewing, many have found their way into museum storerooms and are rarely seen. “It’s important to get them out on display and remind people of the wonderful legacy that was left to us. It gives us a chance to talk about Connecticut during the 1930s and appreciate the art that gives us greater insight into that period,” says Trout. The artists are also relatively unknown. Many continued in the field of art after the Depression, but few achieved great fame. “They needed to make a living, so many became commercial artists, illustrators, or teachers.”

The exhibition will open Thursday, April 2, with a preview reception at 5:30 p.m. featuring a short lecture by curator Amy Trout.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays after Columbus Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

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Photo Caption:
The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, will open April 2nd. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allen Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

Riverway Studio Presents ‘Methuselah’s Guide to Online Dating,’ May 1 & 2

Methuselah

DEEP RIVER — Riverway Studio is proud to present a new theatrical production: “Methuselah’s Guide To Online Dating (For Those With Reading Glasses)“, created by Todd Alan Little and Ira Sakolsky.

Join the performers for a hilarious and touching look at the world of online dating for the 0ver-40 crowd. Suitable for ages 15 and up, the production includes audience participation and improv, as well as scripted elements and music.

The play will be produced at the Deep River Town Hall Theater, 174 Main Street, Deep River, Conn., on Friday, May 1, and Saturday, May 2, at 8 p.m.

Guests are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Deep River Food Bank.”

Tickets are $25 (general seating) and reservations are required. Tickets may be reserved by calling 860-873-3404, or by emailing Methuselahsguide@gmail.com.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/methuselahsguide.

Pettipaug Yacht Club Pushes Back First Spring Work Party to March 28

A snowbound Pettipaug Yacht Club.  Photo by Sandy Sanstrom.

A snowbound Pettipaug Yacht Club. Photo by Sandy Sanstrom.

ESSEX — Kathryn Ryan, Rear Commodore of the Pettipaug Yacht Club, has announced a push back for the club’s first, spring work party, now re-scheduled for Saturday, March 28, at 9 a.m. In making the announcement Commodore Ryan said, “We have not yet seen the continued warmth most of us are anxiously awaiting, and as a result we are still not able to get to Pettipaug easily.”

She continued, “The River still has plenty of ice on it, and we are going to reschedule our first work party of the year to March 28.  With some luck by then all the snow will be gone; the river will be flowing nicely, and the temperatures will be seasonal.”

She continued, “Please consider coming to join us for either this work party, or one of our scheduled work parties in April.  We will hope to get our docks in place at the first work party in March (weather permitting, of course), and the third attempt should be the charm, and then continue getting the club ready at the April events.  Any time you can offer us will be greatly appreciated.”

“Think Spring!” she concluded cheerfully.

VRHS Seeking Hall of Fame Nominations

AREAWIDE – Nominations and applications are being accepted for the 32nd annual Valley Regional High School (VRHS) Hall of Fame Award. Anyone may nominate a VRHS graduate who has gone on to excel in a particular profession, avocation, business, hobby, sport, etc., and who was graduated from Valley at least five years prior to nomination.

Call the VRHS office  at 860-526-5328 for an application, or write to the principal, Mrs. Kristina Martineau, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River, CT 06417, listing the name of the candidate, address, telephone number, year of graduation and his/her outstanding accomplishments. Deadline for submitting applications is April 30, 2015.

The winner of the Hall of Fame Award will be honored at the graduation ceremony at VRHS on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Dog Days Hosts Adoption Event in Clinton Saturday

RedDogRiccoDog Days Adoption Events is hosting a Red Dog Project shelter dog adoption event at Petco in Clinton on Saturday, March 21, from 12 to 3 p.m.

The Red Dog Project is a collaboration of Dog Days Adoption Events and the Connecticut Department of Corrections. Dogs have been fostered at York Correctional Institute and taught basic manners and socialization.

All adoptable dogs can be seen online at www.godogdays.org or the Facebook page of Dog Days Adoption Events. Adoption applications may be submitted online to expedite processing the day of the adoption event.

For more information about event, call Dog Days at 1-800-653-3134.

Eversource Notifies Essex Community of 2015 Tree Trimming

ESSEX – Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, was notified by Eversource, formerly CL&P, that additional tree trimming in the local community would begin this spring.  Residents will see bucket trucks and chippers from Asplundh and Lucas Tree throughout Essex.  These contractors are obliged by the new PURA(Public Utilities Regulatory Authority) laws to go from door to door to notify abutting owners and ask if the owner agrees with the trimming.

Pampel wants residents to know that, according to these new laws, they have the right to challenge the tree companies about the trimming. Those wishing to challenge the trimming or removal should follow the procedure described in the handouts received from the permissions contact person.

The following information was provided by Eversource and will be given to each abutting property owner affected by the upcoming tree work.

Eversource informs residents that year round trimming is “one of the ways we provide safe and reliable electric service”.  By removing potential hazardous growth close to power lines, they provide not only reliable service but also safer physical and visual access for their employees who work on the lines.  Problems can therefore be solved more efficiently.  Eversource states that all work is performed following professional tree care industry standards and best practices.

There are several clearance specifications outlined in the literature provided to you by the permissions contact. You should discuss the specific one that will be used in your area with the permissions contact, who leaves the permission slip with you.

The trees at risk are:

  • Those trees that can fall on or contact power lines and cause an outage.
  • Tree professionals will determine a tree’s hazardous potential based on species, location, health and structural composition.
  • Eversource arborists will also determine a tree’s risk of causing an outage and prioritize removal accordingly.  If a tree must be removed, it will be cut as low to the ground as possible
  • Critical trimming can occur without permission by the abutting owner if there is evidence that the tree or brush are in direct contact with power lines or have visible signs of burning.  This is “to protect public safety and system reliability.”

Low growing shrubs and grasses will not be removed in order to maintain a low-growing plant community.

Eversource will treat hardwood trees that can re-sprout from a cut stump with an herbicide to prevent regrowth.  As per Eversource, the herbicide has been tested and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  It will be “selectively applied with a handheld spray bottle by state licensed and certified personnel only to the outer edge and side of a stump.”

According to the Connecticut General Statutes (22a-66a) certain herbicide label information must be provided to the property owner where herbicides are used.  Property owners can ask the tree contractor requesting permission for trimming if herbicides will be used and request the herbicidal labels.

Eversource will make available to customers free of charge all cut wood or mulch produced from the tree work.  Larger limbs and tree trunks will be cut into manageable lengths and mulch can be dumped where vehicle access is possible.

In an effort to provide effective communication and better customer service, Eversource will seek property owner approval in advance of the tree work.  They will stop at all homes abutting areas of potential work to provide information and request approval for the trimming.  It is incumbent upon the property owner to read the material carefully, ask questions and/or contact the Eversource permissions contractor listed on the enclosed forms provided to property owners.   You may also call Eversource Customer Care Center at 800-286-2000 or the Eversource Business Contact Center at 888-783-6617. You can email Eversource directly at treeCT@eversource.com.

For trees that hang over the public right-of-way, you may ask for additional consultation:

  • If you live on a town road, please contact your local Tree Warden (Augie Pampel).
  • If you live on a state road, contact the state Department of Transportation (DOT), Commissioner’s Office, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06131

Not granting permission:

  • If a property owner does not wish to grant approval for the proposed tree work, he/she should follow the procedures outlined in the material left by the permissions contact.
  • Both the property owner and Eversource may further appeal that decision to the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) within 10 days.
  • Contact PURA at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051.  PURA will hold a mediation session within 30 days of an appeal or an arbitration hearing within 60 days, to reach a resolution.

According to Eversource, no property owner will be billed for damages to Eversource power lines or equipment caused by trees on the owner’s property that fall, regardless of the outcome of an appeal.

Augie Pampel is available to anyone who may have questions, concerns or who require more information about this upcoming tree work.  Contact him at 860-767-0766

Chester Village West to host AARP Driver Safety Class, April 7

CHESTER –- Has it been awhile since you’ve brushed up on your driving knowledge and skills? Want the latest information to help you stay safe on the road? Mark your calendar for April 7 at Chester Village West, 317 West Main Street, Chester CT 06412. The independent seniors community will host an AARP SmartDriver™ Course that day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cost for the course, payable by checks only, is $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. Call Chester Village West by April 2 at 860.536.6800 to reserve attendance for yourself and/or a loved one.

The April 7 SmartDriver™ course at Chester Village West, to be taught by AARP driver safety instructor Clifford McGuire, will help attendees re-familiarize themselves with the current rules of the road, defensive driving techniques and how to operate their vehicle more safely in today’s challenging driving environment.

Participants will learn how to manage and accommodate common age-related changes in vision, hearing and reaction time. They will also learn:
• How to minimize the effects of dangerous blind spots
• How to maintain the proper following distance behind another car
• The safest ways to change lanes and make turns at busy intersections
• Proper use of safety belts, air bags, antilock brakes and new technology found in cars today
• Ways to monitor your own and others’ driving skills and capabilities
• The effects of medications on driving
• The importance of eliminating distractions, such as eating, smoking and using a cellphone

After completing the course, participants will have a greater appreciation of driving challenges and a better understanding of how to avoid potential collisions and injuring themselves or others.

Connecticut is one of 35 states that offer price reductions or discounts on auto insurance to motorists who complete the AARP Smart Driver™ Course. Upon completion of the course, participants should contact their auto insurance agent to determine if they are eligible to receive an auto insurance discount.

Contact Marcy Conway (conwaymarcy@lcsnet.com) or Sara Philpott (philpottsara@lcsnet.com) at Chester Village West 0n 860.526.6800

‘Stand By Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story’ Opens Ivoryton’s 2015 Season

Katie Barton* and Ben Hope*.  Photo by Jacqui Hubbard

Katie Barton* and Ben Hope*. Photo by Jacqui Hubbard

IVORYTON –  Tammy Wynette was a country music icon. Called the “First Lady of Country Music,” she was one of country music’s best-known artists and biggest-selling female singer-songwriters. Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” was one of the best-selling hit singles by a woman in the history of country music. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wynette charted 23 No. 1 songs, helping to define the role of women in country music.

‘Stand By Your Man,’ opening at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Wednesday, March 18, brings the woman behind the legend and the incredible songs that made her the first lady of country music, off the stage and into your heart. Through her eyes, the audience relives her journey from the cotton fields of Itawamba, Miss., to international superstar.

With comic flare and dramatic impact ‘Stand By Your Man,’  recounts triumphs and tragedies and explores Tammy’s relationships with the five husbands she stood by, including George Jones, her beloved daughters, her strong-willed mother and two of her dearest friends: colorful writer and producer Billy Sherrill and film star Burt Reynolds. Among the 26 songs are “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Til I Can Make It on My Own” and “Golden Ring.”

Directed  and musically directed by the husband and wife team of David and Sherry Lutken, who were last at the Playhouse in 2012 with ‘Ring of Fire,’ the show stars husband and wife team Katie Barton* and Ben Hope*. Hope made his Broadway debut in 2012 as the lead in the Tony Award winning musical, ‘Once’, and Barton has just recently finished the national tour of ‘Million Dollar Quartet.’ The show also features Eric Anthony*, Guy Fischetti,  Jonathan Brown, Marcy McGuigan*, Morgan Morse, Sam Sherwood*, Lily Tobin* and Louis Tucci*.

The set is designed by Dan Nischan, lighting by Marcus Abbott, wigs by Liz Cipollina and costumes by Anya Sokolovskaya.

‘Stand By Your Man,’ runs through April 5. 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 $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website atwww.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Generously sponsored by:  A.R. Mazotta and Essex Savings Bank

*member of Actors Equity

Local Author George Rider Presents “Rogue’s Road to Retirement” Today at Essex Corinthian Y.C.

Rogue's RoadGeorge Rider has taken a unique approach to growing old – don’t do it!

After retiring, Rider embarked on a bumpy journey to find himself and a new lease on life.

For the first time, he got in touch with his creative side, an unusual direction indeed, since he spent 70 years of his life as a college athlete turned Navy officer turned Wall Street trader and weekend jock.

Told through a series of uproariously humorous and sometimes poignant adventures, The Rogue ‘ s Road to Retirement is about getting back in touch with your inner rascal and getting off your duff (Rider ends up in an MTV video, a Pepsi ad doing the polka, and Sports Illustrated …)

Rider’s adventures and stories reflect on finding a new passion in retirement by:
  • being kind to your kids (after all, you need them to do the lawn work now)
  • discovering the joys of guilt-tripping your grandchildren into hanging out with you
  • struggling with the age-old dilemma – take another nap or go to the gym
  • driving your spouse nuts now that you’re both home 24/7
  • barhopping (or barhobbling) after age 65
  • savoring the sweet memories of friends and loved ones now gone … and much more.
The Rogue’s Road to Retirement is about the rebels, raconteurs, and roués who refuse to grow old gracefully, who want to grow old the way they grew up – raising hell, having fun, and giving their kids and grandkids a run for their money.
The Essex Corinthian Yacht Club is pleased to host Rider in his home town and yacht club on Sunday, March 15, at 4 p.m.
The presentation is free of charge and open to the public,
Essex Corinthian Yacht Club is located at 9 Novelty Lane in Essex.  For more information, call 860-767-3239 or visit www.essexcorinthian.org

‘Band Geeks!’ Continues with Final Show Today at Valley Regional HS

Valley Regional Musical Production cast members Nathan Russo and Miranda Holland “tune up” for their roles as Spitz and Natalia, Cuyahoga High Marching Band Marching Beavers in the upcoming production of Band Geeks! .

Valley Regional Musical Production cast members Nathan Russo and Miranda Holland “tune up” for their roles as Cuyahoga High Marching Band Marching Beavers Spitz and Natalia in the upcoming production of ‘Band Geeks!’

DEEP RIVER: – Valley Regional High School (VRHS) is soon to become Cuyahoga High for a few days in March when students there stage the musical production of Band Geeks! Based on the book by Tommy Newman and Gordon Greenberg, with music and lyrics by Mark Allen, Gaby Alter and Tommy Newman, Band Geeks! is the story of the Cuyahoga High Marching Beavers who are down to a handful of members, dealing with dwindling funds and facing extinction.

When a troubled athlete is relegated to their ranks, the band must find a way to unite and save the Marching Beavers. A total of 122 Valley Warrior students, including 80 cast, 34 crew and 8 orchestra pit members, have taken on the challenge and are busy preparing to stage this high school marching band tribute with four performances on March 13 through March 15.

Performance times are Saturday, March 14, at 1 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 15, at 1 p.m. Admission is $12 for all shows except the Saturday matinee is $10.

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at VRHS in Deep River, Gather in Ivoryton, Toys Ahoy! in Essex, Celebrations in Deep River and The Wheatmarket in Chester.

More information is available at the school’s website at www.vrhs.reg4.k12.ct.us or by calling the school’s office at 860-526-5328.

TTYS Hosts ‘Outstanding Ones’ Playgroup Starting April 15

Calling all toddlers!  Tri-Town Youth Services, at 56 High Street in Deep River, offers an Outstanding Ones play group led by Parent Resource Coordinator, Meredith Adler.  The groups offer a mixture of free play and circle time.  Caregivers have a chance to chat with each other and browse the parent resource library.  Outstanding Ones meets Wednesdays, April 15-June 17 from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. with a cost of $45 for Tri-Town residents and $55 for non-residents.  Register at www.tritownys.org or call Tri-Town 860-526-3600.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex.  We coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.  Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org

Senators Linares, Formica Tour CT River Museum

From left to right: Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs, Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini, Sen. Linares, Museum Vice Chairman Joanne Masin, and Sen. Formica.

From left to right: Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs, Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini, Sen. Linares, Museum Vice Chairman Joanne Masin, and Sen. Formica.

On March 9, area legislators toured the Connecticut River Museum on Main Street in historic Essex village.  Senator Art Linares of Westbrook and Senator Paul Formica of East Lyme pledged to continue to raise public awareness of the museum at the State Capitol and throughout their senate districts.

On the web:  www.ctrivermuseum.org .

Ivory & Gold (and Maybe the Frogs of Israel!) at CBSRZ, April 19

Jeff and Ann Barnhart

Jeff and Ann Barnhart

Playing the Popcorn Room at the Griswold Inn is thousands of miles away in geography and meaning from performing before 2,500 people at an outdoor concert in Israel.  But that’s the musical leap that Jeff and Anne Barnhart have made over the years in their concerts of jazz, blues and the American songbook.

The Tel Aviv show sticks out in their as one of the greatest moments in the storied career of Ivory & Gold, as the duo is known, during which they’ve played in dozens of states and many countries, and produced several recordings – Jeff on piano and vocals, and Anne on flute.

Jeff recalls, “I don’t know how you can beat that Tel Aviv concert. There were all those Israelis sitting in lawn chairs and looking out over the Mediterranean waters.  There was a moat near the stage, and when Anne and I started playing Gershwin’s ‘Summertime,’ the frogs started croaking along with us.”

And now you, too, can croak along with Ivory & Gold as Jeff and Anne return to their home base (they live in Mystic but are on the road 40 weeks a year), and perform in a Music & More concert at the Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) on Sunday, April, 19, at 5 p.m.

All this croaking, by the way, doesn’t have to be done by adults. Jeff and Anne delight in introducing the American Songbook to kids, and have many stories about how music previously unknown to them has resonated.

Not long ago, at a concert in New London, a boy in the first row listened as Jeff demonstrated how to scat, a technique used so beautifully by Ella Fitzgerald among others, and the boy, a first grader, volunteered to try it out. He wowed the crowd.

Indeed, Jeff and Anne always have fun with kids and they encourage our synagogue community to bring children even if they’ve never heard the name Cole Porter or Irving Berlin.

The kids will be humming along and stomping their feet, and agreeing with the many music critics who consider this duo to be at the top of their game. Max Morath, a legendary ragtime player, calls them “musically flawless,” and Stuart Dryden, a music writer in the UK, says, ”Enjoy the warmth and talent of this unique duo – you won’t regret it.”

Tickets are $25 and children under 16 are free. To reserve tickets, which will also be available at the door, call the CBSRZ office, 860.526.8920.

Music & More, in its 7th season, regularly brings outstanding entertainers to Chester. For a complete listing of upcoming events at the synagogue, see www.cbsrz.org.  CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway.

The Big Thaw, Hopefully, Prayerfully, Is  Coming Soon …

The launching basin for the Frostbite Yacht Club races, which is totally iced over. Also, the boat crane (on right), that puts the boats in the water is currently of no use.

The launching basin for the Frostbite Yacht Club races, which is totally iced over. Also, the boat crane (on right), that puts the boats in the water is currently of no use.

But don’t bet on it!

The Frostbite Yacht Club in Essex was scheduled to hold its first races off Essex Harbor on Sunday, March 1.  But the launching basin, where club’s members put their boats in the water, was covered over with thick ice and snow.

So the Frostbite sailors postponed their first race of the season to the next Sunday, March 8.  However, these races were also cancelled, because of the ice over the launching basin.

Will the ice thaw by Sunday, March 15?  That’s an open question.

Also, the Committee Boat that monitors the Frostbite Yacht Club sailing races is frozen in its berth in Middle Cove in Essex, and it too was locked in ice on March 1 and 8.  Can it get out by March 15?

Pettipaug Yacht Club Frozen In

Paul Risseeuw, Director of Pettipaug Sailing Academy, is pictured at the head of the driveway that goes down to the Pettipaug Yacht Club. The club is directly on the shore of the Connecticut River.

Paul Risseeuw, Director of Pettipaug Sailing Academy, is pictured at the head of the driveway that goes down to the Pettipaug Yacht Club. The club is directly on the shore of the Connecticut River.

 

Then, there are the docks that are waiting to go into the water at the Pettipaug Yacht Club.  The club is located directly on the shoreline of the Connecticut River.  Work parties were scheduled to put the docks in the water on Saturday, March 14.

The Director of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, Paul Risseeuw, said, however, it is “highly unlikely,” that the work parties will work as scheduled.

The jumble of mooring poles in Essex Harbor. The poles will all have to be lifted out of the water and replanted for the coming boating season.

The jumble of mooring poles in Essex Harbor. The poles will all have to be lifted out of the water and replanted for the coming boating season.

Risseeuw said, “The ice on the river has to go away enough and enough snow has to melt for members to get down to the club; and the docks have to be accessible to be dragged over to the crane to put them in the water.”  Risseeuw won’t even commit that the way will be clear enough for the work parties to begin on by Saturday, March 21.

As for the high school teams that are scheduled to start sailing races off the Pettipaug Yacht Club on Monday, March 16, Risseeuw feels, assuredly, that their races will have to be postponed.  The teams are from the Daniel Hand High School in Madison and Xavier High School in Middletown.

Musical Masterworks Hosts Two Concerts in Old Lyme This Weekend

Maria Bachmann

Maria Bachmann

Musical Masterworks will continue its series of chamber music at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme with concerts on Saturday, March 14, at 3 p.m. and Sunday, March 15, at 5 p.m.

Featured performers will include pianist Adam Neiman, violinist Maria Bachmann, and violist Hsin-Yun Huang. Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron will perform on cello and serve as the concerts’ host. The program will include works of Schubert, Saint-Saens, Dvorak and others.

dam Neiman

Adam Neiman

Pianist Adam Neiman has been called one of the premiere pianists of his generation. He has performed as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Minnesota, San Francisco, and many others in the US and Europe.

Violinist Maria Bachmann won first prize in the Fritz Kreisler Competition in Vienna and recently made an acclaimed debut as soloist with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center.

Violist Hsin-Yun Huang is one of the leading young violists performing today. She has won numerous competitions in Asia and Europe and performs as soloist worldwide.

Hsin Yun Huang

Hsin-Yun Huang

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron is known as one of the world’s finest cellists. He recently completed a 10-year residency as the artistic director of the critically acclaimed Metropolitan Museum Artists in Concert, a chamber music series created in 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The program on March 14 and 15 will include three works for piano quartet including Schubert’s Adagio and Rondo Concertante, Saint Saens’ Piano Quartet in B-flat Major, and Dvorak’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major.

Edward Arron

Edward Arron

Audience members are invited to a post-concert discussion with the artists immediately following the Sunday afternoon concert.

Tickets are $35 with $5 student tickets available at the door. For tickets and information, call 860-434-2252 or visit www.musicalmasterworks.org.

The First Congregational Church is located at 2 Ferry Rd. in Old Lyme, CT 06371.

Connecticut River Museum Announces April Vacation Week Workshops

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Join the Connecticut River Museum during April School Vacation for a week of creativity and discovery. Come for one session or the whole week.

Kid_drawing_CRMThis year the Connecticut River Museum (CRM) will run two Vacation Workshop sessions.  Session I runs April 6-10, Session II runs April 13-17. Each Session’s programs are Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 12:00pm.  When school is out, CRM is the place to be — bring your imagination and come prepared to create and experiment during an exploration of the River and its history.

The workshops are designed for ages 6 – 12 and include exploration activities in the museum, time outdoors doing nature, science and history projects, and arts and crafts. Programs are $20/day, $85/week for CRM members and $25/Day, $110/week for nonmembers. Advance registration is required and space is limited.

To register, visit ctrivermuseum.org/camps-workshops for details on each day’s program and to download the registration form.  Email jwhitedobbs@ctrivermuseum.org or call 860.767.8269 x113 to reserve. The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street.

 

Old Saybrook Student Takes First Place in Southern CT Science & Engineering Fair

Andrew Pan (right) stands on the podium with the other winners at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.  Photo credit: www.scisef.org

Andrew Pan (right) stands on the podium with the other winners at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair. Photo credit: www.scisef.org

In a remarkable achievement, Old Saybrook High School senior Andrew Pan won first place in the Health and Medicine category at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair on Feb. 7 for his research project entitled, “Elevated Levels of Interleukin-8 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers induce Cell Survival During Chemotherapy.”

Pan’s first research experience was the summer before his junior year when he went to intern with the drug development company his father works for in Shanghai called Astrazeneca.  “It was my first exposure to research,” said Pan. “It was a lot of fun and it really intrigued me.”

After his summer with Astrazeneca, he knew he wanted to continue on with his scientific research the summer before his senior year.  “One of my friends who is a year above me had done research at Yale over the summer the year before and recommended it, so I contacted Professor Rong Fan because his work looked really interesting to me.”  Professor Fan’s work, which has been garnering a lot of attention, involves helping to detect variations between various cells to help aid the diagnosis of diseases like cancer.  Pan added, “Cancer is really fascinating scientifically because it’s a very complex, intricate micro environment working together against yourself – I’m curious about these types of things.”

“Researching under Professor Fan’s direction was great – he’s a very relaxed and quiet person.  I worked with Jonathan Chen, a grad student who was studying non small cell lung cancer for his thesis project and under his direction, I was investigating a variant of lung cancer which affects smokers and nonsmokers equally,” said Pan.  Specifically, he focused on a type of protein called interleukin-8 which affects how cancer cells move and grow.

Pan continued, “At first I was assigned a small sub project.  It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to study, but while Jon was gone for a couple weeks working with a lab from another school, I started to focus on a sub-population of cells emitting comparatively higher rates of interleukin-8 by comparing 2,300 individual cell samples – it was really tedious, but fun.”

Andrew Pan (left) stands with his mentor on his winning project, Yale graduate student, Jonathan Chen.

Andrew Pan (left) stands with his mentor on his winning project, Yale graduate student, Jonathan Chen.

He continued, “What I found was that the high producers of interleukin-8 were potentially serving as tumor drivers, something several other studies have confirmed experimentally.”  He went on to explain that blocking interleukin-8 in particular cells had the potential to help prevent cancer and improve upon the current delivery method so that treatments would work faster.  “I’m hoping  my research will help to identify targets for treatment,” said Andrew.

It was this research that he presented to the judges of the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.  “I had a poster, and I talked for 15-30 minutes about my research and answered some of the questions the judges had,” said Pan.  “The whole process was a lot of fun, but I never thought I’d win.  There were so many great projects, and it was so interesting seeing the research other students were doing.”

As for winning, he said, “It was really fun to present to the judges; my favorite part of the whole process was presenting my research and being able to share and learn – and it was nice to get recognition not just for myself, but for Old Saybrook High School as well.”

“On its own, my research is one small factor and won’t revolutionize anything, but hopefully building on it will help cancer research progress in the future,” said Pan, adding, “I’m really thankful to my friend for mentioning his research and encouraging me to try it, to the Professor for allocating time and resources for me, to my teachers for letting me leave school early so I could get to the lab on time, and especially to Jon for letting me tag along on his project – he used a lot of time to train me.”

As for what he’ll do next, Pan noted, “I’m going to present my research again at UConn, as well as Quinnipiac University for the next portion of the competition called the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair that’s statewide, and I’m planning on either writing a research paper or co-authoring one with Jonathan.”

He is also starting a Research Initiative Program to encourage rising juniors and seniors in Old Saybrook High School who are interested in experiencing hands-on experience scientific research.  “Everyone else at the competition came from schools with established research teams, so I’d love to be able to set something up like that for Saybrook so more people can have the experience I had,” said Pan.

Pan’s longer term plans involve him continuing to research a wide variety of things.  “I’m really interested in engineering – specifically, nanotech applied to medical technology, as well as designing devices for microfluidic platforms for the detection and diagnosis of cancer.  I’m also interested in drug development, and potentially tissue engineering or ophthalmology, but the main diseases I’d like to focus on are cancer, HIV, and neurodegenerative diseases because my family has been personally impacted by them.  I’d also love to work with Jon again and investigate some questions previous research brought up.”

Laughing, he added, “It’s really hard to condense everything I’m interested in into a short list.”  One is left with the clear impression that this extraordinary young man will have a long ‘To Do’ list for quite a while!

Chester Town Meeting Approves Funding For Library Design, Main St. Reconstruction

CHESTER — Voters at a town meeting Thursday approved funding for two major town projects, including $100,000 for architectural schematic design plans for a new library at North Quarter Park, and $100,000 as the final town funding component for reconstruction of a section of Main Street east of the downtown village.

About 60 residents braved lingering snow and slick roads tor turn out for the votes at the Chester Meetings House, approving both appropriations on voice votes after about an hour of discussion. The additional funding for the Main Street Project was approved on a unanimous vote, while the appropriation for library design fees was approved on a voice vote with a handful of opposing votes.

The town will use $100,000 from the undesignated fund balance to pay for architectural schematic design fees for a new library at North Quarter Park, a 22-acre town-owned parcel on the east end of Main Street. Library supporters and the board of selectmen decided last year to pursue construction of a new library at the park, rather than pursued a potentially costly and complicated renovation and expansion of the 109-year-old existing library building on West Main Street, though some residents continued to question the plan for a new library at the park during meetings last fall.

In November, the town was awarded a $1 million state grant toward the estimated $4 million cost of a new library, funds that must be used for a building project within the next three years. A library building committee, with support from the board of selectmen, last summer hired the Pawtucket, R.I. firm of Lads & Bartells to prepare very preliminary plans for a new library at the park as part of the grant application, though there has been no decision on hiring a firm for the actual building project.

The $100,000 for the Main Street East Project is the final town funding component for an estimated $800,000 project that is mostly paid for by state grant funds. The project, which has been under discussion for years, was scaled back last November to focus on reconstruction of a 1,000-foot section of Main Street from the intersection with School Lane west to the entrance to the Laurel Hill Cemetery.

A more costly plan for reconstruction of a larger section of Main Street east to the intersection with Middlesex Avenue (Rte. 154) that included a continuous sidewalk on the north side of the street had drawn opposition from some residents. The project is expected to be put out to bid soon for a start of construction this spring.

Deep River Town Meeting Authorizes Additional $1.1 Million for Sewer Expansion Project

DEEP RIVER — Voters at a town meeting Thursday authorized an additional $1.1 million in funding for a sewer expansion project that had been approved as a $4 million project by a May 2013 town meeting. Like the initial $4 million, the funding comes as a combination of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant and loan funds. About 20 voters braved lingering snow to turn out for the meeting, with the funding authorization approved on a voice vote with two opposed.

The additional funding for the project was approved by USDA late last year after bids that were opened last summer came in above the $4 million in approved funding. The project was rebid, with the board of selectmen in September selecting  B&W Paving and Landscaping of Mystic on a base bid of $3,610,000.

The higher than anticipated bids forced selectmen to defer some elements of the project that will now be covered by the $1.1 million in additional funding that includes a $495,000 grant and a 20-year $605,000 loan The resolution approved Thursday also authorizes the town to borrow funds in advance of reimbursement by the federal grant and loan funds.

The additional funds will allow completion of the full north end sewer expansion project that will offer municipal sewer service to about 120 residential properties in the Kirtland Street-River Street area. The additional funding will pay for an extension of sewer service to properties on five small connecting streets off Kirtland and River streets, including Fairview Avenue, Old River Street, River Lane, Phelps Lane, and Read Street.

First Selectman Richard Smith said the town has the option of accepting B&W Paving’s original alternate bids for the additional work, or rebidding this segment of the project. Preliminary construction work that began in November is expected to resume next month.

Is Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman Running for a Third Term? That is the Question 

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman stands beneath a new awning at the parking lot of Essex Town Hall

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman stands beneath a new awning at the parking lot of Essex Town Hall

If you listen to Essex’s First Selectman, Norman Needleman, he will tell you that — really, truly — he has not made up his mind, whether to run for a third term as First Selectman of Essex … or not.  It must be acknowledged that Needleman’s first two terms as Essex First Selectman have been noteworthy, especially, as regards upgrading the public landscape of the Town of Essex. Needleman’s accomplishments in this area include:

  • Essex Town Center
    Needleman has created and supervised a major upgrade of the Town Center of Essex. New improvements include: (a) reconditioning of Essex’s two tennis courts, (b) building a new and imaginative Essex playscape for children, which has proved to be very popular for young and old alike, (c) a new Town Hall parking lot with parking spaces clearly and precisely lined, and (d) new landscaping of the grounds in the front of Town Hall.Furthermore, Needleman was instrumental in raising significant new monies to help pay for these improvements. The total cost of the upgraded Essex Town Center was $700,000 with $480,000 of that amount raised through a Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant initiated by Needleman to help pay for the costs.
  • Ivoryton Main Street Upgrade
    Needleman also raised $400,000 from a second STEAP grant to pay for a major upgrade of the town center of Ivoryton. The improvements will include new cross walks and parking areas, along with a general reconfiguration of the Ivoryton town center. The final plans for the  Ivoryton improvements have been completed so now it is a question of implementing them.If Needleman runs successfully again for Essex First Selectman, he will be able supervise the construction of these already-funded Ivoryton improvements. If on the other hand, he chooses not to run, a new Essex First Selectman would be in charge.
  • Centerbrook Improvements
    Upgrading of the town center of Centerbrook is another town improvement under consideration by Needleman. If this project were to go forward, he says there would most likely be an effort to obtain yet another state STEAP grant to pay for it.  Considering Needlman’s success in obtaining approvals for STEAP grants for both Essex and Ivoryton, it seems likely that he may be able to do so again for this initiative.

Needleman’s Private Job in Essex  

Headquarters of Tower Laboratories LTD, in Essex Industrial Park

Headquarters of Tower Laboratories LTD, in Essex Industrial Park

In addition his public position as First Selectman of the Town of Essex, Needleman is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tower Laboratories, LTD. “Tower Labs,” as it is called in abbreviated form, is a sizeable private company that has no less than 250 employees.

The company specializes in the manufacturing of health and beauty aids, which are sold worldwide. The headquarters of the company is located in two building in the Essex Industrial Park, and the company also has two other locations.