October 21, 2016

Republican State Sen. Linares, Democratic Challenger Needleman Spar in 33rd Senate District Debate

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

AREAWIDE — Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook and his Democratic challenger, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, sparred Monday in a public debate for the 33rd Senate District contest.

More than 150 voters from the 12 district towns turned out for the 90-minute debate held in the auditorium at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, with the question of which candidate represents the “political class” in Connecticut overshadowing the specific issues where the candidates differed, or nearly as often, concurred.

The session was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, who selected questions that had been submitted in advance by district voters.

The debate began with a walk-out by Green Party candidate Colin Bennett of Westbrook. Bennett, who has run previously for the seat and participated in all debates during the 2014 campaign, began with an opening statement where he said his goals are to end hunger, provide access to health care, protect the environment and affirm that black lives matter.

Bennett then claimed that Conroy had attempted to exclude him from the debate based on comments at an Oct. 5 debate in Westbrook where he criticized Needleman and urged people not supporting him to vote for Linares. “I don’t want to be where I am not wanted,” Bennett said before walking off the stage. Linares said later he had told Conroy he would not participate in the debate if Bennett was arbitrarily excluded from the outset.

The term political class entered the discussion soon after the opening statement from Needleman, where the three-term first selectman said he had been urged to run the seat this year by the Senate Democratic leadership because they wanted a candidate with experience in business and municipal government. Needleman said he told party leaders he would not be a rubber stamp, and could become their “worst nightmare,” if elected.

Linares, who was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, scoffed at the claim, questioning why the Senate leadership would provide Needleman with a full-time campaign manager on leave from the caucus staff if they believed his election would be a nightmare. Linares contended Needleman has been a loyal supporter of Democratic “Governor Dan Malloy and the political class,” contributing funds to Malloy’s two gubernatorial campaigns in 2010 and 2014.

Needleman said Linares is the “career politician,” running for the senate seat at age 23 and laying the groundwork for a future campaign for the 2nd District congressional seat or statewide office.

But despite the sharp exchange, the two rivals agreed on several issues, including support for recently approved incentive package for Sikorsky in Stratford, providing some degree of contract preferences for in-state companies, and reducing, or for Linares eliminating, the estate or inheritance tax. The candidates agreed state employee unions would have to make contract concessions on both wages and pensions if the state faces another large budget deficit in 2017.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night's debate.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night’s debate.

Needleman said his experience negotiating contracts with public employee unions in Essex would be helpful in any discussions with state employee unions, though he questioned whether unions could be forced into concession talks. Linares called for mandatory legislative votes on all union contracts, and suggested a need for “additional leverage” to bring unions to the table. “The unions have not come to the table, we’ve tried that, everyone has tried that,” he said.

The candidates differed somewhat on the question of welcoming refugees from war-torn Syria to Connecticut. Needleman said while “vetting is critical,” an arbitrary exclusion based on a refugee’s country of origin or religion is “un-American.” Linares, whose family fled Cuba in the early 1960s, said he would insist on “clearance from the FBI,” because the United States does not have intelligence capabilities in Syria to screen refugees, including those who reach Europe before possible entry in to the United States.

The candidates also differed on possible increases to the state minimum wage, and gun control measures. Needleman said he supports measured increases in the minimum wage, but believes a hike to $15 per hour, as advocated by some Democrats, “is a very bad idea.’ Linares said he favors a national standard for the minimum wage, suggesting that further increases at the state level would hurt small businesses and cost the state jobs. He said the earned income tax credit is a better way to provide assistance to low income workers.

On gun control, Needleman said he is a “2nd Amendment Democrat,” but favors some additional gun control measures. He criticized Linares for opposing legislation approved earlier this year that allows guns to be seized from persons who are subject to a court restraining order where domestic violence is a factor.

Linares said Needleman is “trying to take both sides of the issue,” by referring to gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. Linares said he opposed the temporary restraining order gun bill because it was an “overreach” that takes away due process for gun owners, and discretion for judges.

The 33rd Senate District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

Ivoryton Village Hosts Pumpkin Festival with Full Day, Evening of Events, Saturday

Join the fun of pumpkin carving on Oct. 22 in Ivoryton.

Join the fun of pumpkin carving on Oct. 22 in Ivoryton.

ESSEX — Ivoryton’s Pumpkin’s Festival takes place on Saturday, Oct. 22., and offers a full day of events.  The festival brings more than 1500 visitors to the village green. The Pumpkin Festival takes the very best traditions of the autumn season and offers them all for free.

The first Pumpkin Festival was held at the Ivoryton Village Green in 2000 and is held the Saturday before Halloween every year. Join the fun at the village green to enjoy the free refreshments, contests and games, live music and view the pumpkins.

Bring your carved pumpkins from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for the Jack o’ Lantern Stroll Date from 5 to 8 p.m. on Ivoryton Green.

Ivoryton Library’s Pumpkin Chase & Kid’s Run

This race will begin near the library and meander through historic Ivoryton, continuing into Falls River Farms and the Falls River Preserve and ending back at the library. A Pumpkin Run in Ivoryton Park is scheduled for children aged 8 and younger. All pumpkin runners will receive a medal and a pumpkin that can be painted after the race.

Contact the Library for more details

Show off your carving skills at Ivoryton's Pumpkin Festival!

Show off your carving skills at Ivoryton’s Pumpkin Festival!

Pre-Festival Carving Party

The Great Pumpkin Challenge at the annual Pumpkin Festival calls for 200 or more carved pumpkins for the Jack o’ Lantern stroll. Why not join this activity at the green immediately following the Ivoryton Library Pumpkin Chase from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Ivoryton Green to create your masterpiece and put it right on display for all to see?  You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with cookie decorating with the volunteers from Child & Family Services of Southeastern Connecticut.

There will be over 100 pumpkins that will need to be carved so come on down early and enjoy a fun time with neighbors and friends at our Halloween celebration. Pre-registration is not required, but would be much appreciated.

Essex Park and Recreation Department is hoping for at least 50 carvers to get the job done for the pumpkin lighting that begins at 5 p.m.

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere ...

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere …

Starting at 5 p.m., enjoy Halloween-inspired face-painting by Bohemian Body Art alongside Music with Margie, who will be performing “Roll With the Pumpkins” on the Ivoryton Playhouse’s side patio from 5 to 5:45 p.m.

Enjoy a not so scary horse drawn hayride sponsored by the Park & Recreation Commission- Rides will leave from the Village Green from 5 to 8 p.m.

Don’t miss the Haunted Wonderland at the Ivoryton Library from 6 to 8 p.m.

Also from 6 to 8 p.m., enjoy the antics of The Munsters on the Big Screen presented by Ivoryton Library and Essex Park and Rec next to Gather.

For yet more entertainment,“Federation” is back with live music in the Gazebo from 6 to 8 p.m.

Enjoy free refreshments, courtesy of Deep River Snacks, The Essex Lions Club, The Ivoryton Inn & All Saints Church – while they last at The Ivoryton Playhouse patio also starting from 6 p.m.

Be sure to take a stroll around the village and take in the sights of the beautifully carved pumpkins on display.

For more information, contact Essex Park and Recreation at 860-767-4340 x110/148 or visit www.essexct.gov


Deep River Rotary Hosts Oktoberfest, Saturday

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-50-27-amDEEP RIVER — Get your German on at Deep River Rotary Club’s Oktoberfest at the Stone House, 174 Main St., on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 6 p.m!

The Club promises an entertaining, fun-filled evening with authentic brews and german cuisine — as well as wine and soft drinks.

Tickets are $65 per person and can be purchased online at deepriverrotary.org

For more information, email deepriverrotary@gmail.com


Democratic State Rep. Miller, Republican Challenger Siegrist Face Off in 36th District Debate

AREAWIDE — Experience and a call for a fresh voice were the themes Thursday as incumbent  Democratic State Rep. Phill Miller of Essex and Republican challenger Robert Siegrist of Haddam faced off in the 36th House District debate.

Miller and Siegrist responded to nearly a dozen questions before a crowd of about 80 district voters in the session held in the auditorium at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River. The hour long  debate was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, with questions submitted to Conroy in advance by voters.

The Nov. 8 contest is a rematch from 2014, when Miller defeated newcomer Siegrist on a 5,522-4,701 vote, carrying the district towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex, while Siegrist won his hometown of Haddam. Miller was first elected to the seat in a February 2011 special election after serving as first selectman of Essex from 2003-2011.

The rivals differed sharply on several state issues, from the state budget and finances to gun controls, tolls, and the possibility of marijuana legalization. But whatever the issue, an overriding theme was Miller’s claim of public service experience that benefits district residents against Siegrist’s call form a “fresh voice for the 36th District.”

“You won’t be well served by a poser who has no public sector experience,” Miller said, later describing the campaign as a contest of “experience and know how versus inexperience and want to.” Siegrist, a former bartender, who currently works with a landscaping business, contended Miller has been too loyal to the six-year administration of Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy. “We need to change direction and stop electing career politicians whose focus is no longer clear,” he said.

The candidates agreed the state will likely face another budget shortfall in 2017, with Miller predicting a need for further spending reductions. He said legislators need more time to review budget plans before final votes on a spending package. Siegrist called for “structural changes,” including pension adjustments for unionized state workers and caps on bonding. He pledged to oppose any new or increased taxes.

A question on possible increases in the gasoline tax to fund road improvement projects brought the issue of tolls to the discussion. Miller said the gasoline tax in Connecticut is already higher than it is in neighboring states and suggested, “We need to have a conversation about tolls.” Siegrist said he would oppose any plan that includes highway tolls, which he described as “just another word for a new tax.”

There was also disagreement on gun controls, particularly legislation approved earlier this year that allows guns to be taken from residents who are subject to a court-restraining order over concerns about possible domestic violence. Miller supported the temporary restraining order gun law, declaring that “domestic violence is a major problem and the modern Republican Party believes gun rights are God-given.” Siegrist said the new state law was a “gun grabbing” measure that “takes away rights to due process.”

Miller said he is “very open” to possible legalization of marijuana, noting that it has been approved in several states and could provide a new source of tax revenue. Siegrist, while noting he supports medical marijuana, maintained the issue of full legalization of the drug needs further study.

The heated presidential contest between Democrat Hilary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump also came up during the debate. Miller said Trump is the worst presidential nominee of his lifetime, while describing Clinton as an “accomplished person,” who has been “unfairly maligned for many years.” Siegrist said his campaign is focused on state and local issues, and that he differs with some of Trump’s positions. “This about the State of Connecticut, and Phil Miller and Bob Siegrist,” he said. In a reply, Miller noted that Siegrist did not state who he would be voting for in the presidential race.

In one area of agreement, both candidates said the opiate addiction crisis in Connecticut is serious and needs to be addressed in a bipartisan manner. Siegrist said, “We need to talk about this as a community.”


State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman Endorsed by Women’s Health Groups

ESSEX – Yesterday, Norm Needleman announced the endorsements of women’s health groups Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut PAC and NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC in his State Senate campaign in the 33rd District.

Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut PAC (PPV!CT PAC) is committed to supporting and endorsing pro-reproductive rights, pro-family planning candidates for state office. Needleman was endorsed along with other candidates for Connecticut state races.

“We are very proud to endorse candidates who are committed to protecting reproductive health care,” said Chris Corcoran, PPV!CT PAC Board Chair. “The candidates we endorsed drive policy on women’s health care. Connecticut women and families should know that these candidates would ensure vital services remain intact.”

“States are the front lines in protecting women’s health and the right to choose,” said Needleman. “In the State Senate I will be an advocate for reproductive rights and access to women’s health care services. I will fight against the extremist elements that have worked their way into Hartford politics.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC’s mission is to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.

“We are excited about your support for women, and look forward to your involvement in working to make Connecticut the best state in the nation for reproductive rights,” said Jillian Gilchrest, President, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC.

Needleman is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares who has earned the endorsement of an extreme organization – the Family Institute – in 2012, 2014 and 2016 for his opposition to common sense women’s health and reproductive rights.

PPV!CT PAC is the Connecticut state political action committee affiliated with Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut (PPV!CT). PPV!CT is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE).

“These candidates support reproductive health, rights and access,” said Susan Yolen, PPV!CT PAC board member and Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy with PPV!CT. “We are confident each of these candidates will work to preserve and expand  access to full reproductive health care services for the people of Connecticut.”

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing 150 people at facilities in Essex and Clinton. Needleman is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a selectman in 2003.

He is the Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District which consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

For more information on Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut, visit www.plannedparenthoodvotes.org.

For more information on NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC, visit www.prochoicect.org.

For more information on Needleman’s campaign, visit www.norm.vote.


Letter to the Editor: Phil Miller is the Best Choice for the 36th District

To the Editor:

Phil Miller is the best choice for state representative for Essex, Deep River, Chester, and Haddam.  He is a legislative leader, chairing the Planning and Development Committee, and has been instrumental in making laws that benefit our region.  His prominent position in the legislature gives him a unique platform to continue to fight to solve the State’s financial issues. 

Since Phil has been in Hartford, he has advocated for many local infrastructure and transportation projects, giving aid to our local economy.  An active listener and talented problem solver, his office has helped countless citizens to navigate state agencies to get the assistance they need.  Phil’s experience as a Selectman and First Selectman has been particularly helpful in recognizing and helping to defeat proposed legislation which could place a financial burden on our small towns.  He knows what we need and we need to keep him in the State House. 

I ask you to join me in re-electing Phil Miller to District 36 State Representative.


Lauren S. Gister,

Editor’s Note: The author is the first selectman of Chester.


Musical Masterworks Opens 26th Season on Saturday

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Aaron leads the opening concert of the 2016-17 series.

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Aaron will perform in the opening concert of the 2016-17 series.

AREAWIDE — As Musical Masterworks opens its 26th season of exceptional chamber music, it seems only appropriate to begin the next quarter of a century of chamber music on the shoreline with the music of J.S. Bach.  Flutist Tara Helen O’Connor and pianist Adam Neiman will perform along with cellist and Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron.

The season’s first concerts are Saturday, Oct. 22, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, an acoustically rich and beautiful venue for chamber music.  Arron described how special the series is to him, “I am gratified to know that Old Lyme, Connecticut, has become a secure and distinguished sanctuary for the art of chamber music, and a destination for renowned musicians from all over the world. Every year, I relish the opportunity to plumb the rich depths of the chamber music repertory in order to create five dynamic musical journeys.“

Musical Masterworks’ season runs October 2016 through May 2017.  To purchase a series subscription ($150 each) or individual tickets ($35 individual; $5 student), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.


Community Music School Hosts Italian Cheese Rolling, Wine Tasting Event, Nov. 5; Tickets on Sale Now

CENTERBROOK — A special Italian wine tasting and a lively game of Italian cheese rolling will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Angelini Wine LTD in Centerbrook with proceeds to benefit scholarships and outreach programs at Community Music School. This event is presented by Guilford Savings Bank and includes a guided tasting of fine Italian wines and hearty hors d’oeuvres. Guests will test their bowling skills with a little friendly competition in a rousing party game of cheese rolling, a tradition in many parts of Italy.

Over the past few years, Community Music School has partnered with Angelini Wine to present unique benefit events that blend the arts with intimate guided tastings offered behind the scenes at the Angelini warehouse. Guilford Savings Bank joined as presenting sponsor in 2014 and Shore Discount Liquors is also on board as a partner this year.

What is cheese rolling, anyway?  It’s a hilarious Italian game similar to bowling… but with a wheel of Pecorino!  Come join the fun, either on the sidelines or in the middle of the action —  the winner takes home the cheese!

Led by Julius Angelini and Ron Plebiscito, the tastings allow guests to sample high-end wines, learn about the process of wine making, and ask questions of the experts. Tickets are $65 per person and are available at Community Music School’s business office or at www.community-music-school.org/cheese.

For more information, call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org/cheese.

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which provides a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, increasing appreciation of music and encouraging a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.


Op-Ed: Lawn Signs, Lawn Signs Everywhere … Well, in Essex Anyway

Art_Linares_lawn_signsNeedleman_lawn_signsThey are all over the place, one after another, in the small Connecticut River town of Essex. It seems that almost every lawn in town is now covered by a flood of political lawn signs, and in this author’s unscientific survey, the most prolific are those supporting the re-election of incumbent Republican State Senator Art Linares.

Linares has served two terms in the state senate, and is now seeking a third. Challenging Linares for the state senate position is Norman Needleman, a successful businessman, who is also the first selectman of the town of Essex.

Political lawn signs in Essex are often posted in clusters of campaign signs of the candidates of the same political party. Among the lawn signs in Essex, there are also some for Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for President of the United States, and, frequently, the lawn signs of the other Republican candidates are posted around those for Trump.   

Not a Single Sign for Hillary?

Presently, there appears not to be a single lawn sign in Essex supporting the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic Party’s candidate for President. Perhaps the Clinton campaign feels that putting up lawn signs for her campaign in the little town of Essex is simply not worth the effort.                                 

Art_Linares_lawn_signThe largest Linares campaign sign is the one across the street from the Colonial Market in Essex. This sign is on the left hand side of the road, when going out of town from the south on Rte. 153. The dimensions of this sign would likely exceed the size of a very large kitchen table.

As for the lawn signs supporting Needleman, his medium size lawn signs are posted all over downtown Essex. Also, interestingly, Needleman lawn signs do not use his last name but rather his nickname, “Norm,” is favored. 

When Election Day finally does come, it will leave behind a plethora of campaign signs — in past elections, the winners and losers of both parties have picked up and thrown away their old lawn signs.

Norm Needleman lawn_signIt is certainly hoped that after this year’s election, the supporters of both parties will do the same, unless, of course, the unpredictable Trump decides to leave his presidential campaign signs in place … as a sort of punishment for the voters who voted against him! 

What would happen if Trump loses, and as he is currently threatening, simply rejects his loss by maintaining that it had been rigged, and that he and not Clinton, were the real winner? One can hardly imagine what kind of chaos would follow. In fact, it appears Trump is already encouraging his supporters not to accept his potential loss by engaging in protests.

If Trump does lose the election, hopefully, he will accept the result of the vote. It goes without question that the remaining candidates, such as Linares and Needleman, will accept the voter’s decision, win or lose. 

As for Trump, he appears to march to his own drum, and if he loses, he might make a howl, regardless of the damage that this kind of conduct would do to the tradition of peaceful democratic election in the United States. Clinton, like her predecessors for generations, can be counted on to accept the result, whether victory or defeat, consistent with this country’s long tradition of free elections in a democratic nation. 


Full Steam Ahead! Cappella Cantorum Hosts Wine & Beer Tasting Fundraiser, 10/29

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-11-19-30-pmAREAWIDE — Help Cappella Cantorum propel into 50 years of tradition with this new, exciting fundraiser slated for Saturday, Oct. 29!

Enjoy tastes of wines and beers from local and regional sources, as well as delicious hors d’oeuvres and a pasta station, while you peruse lots of great silent auction items, including artwork, many gift certificates to local merchants and some surprise items!  Live entertainment will also be provided by Cappella’s own Hilltop Four Barber Shop Quartet.

The event is in the River Valley Junction building at the Essex Steam Train, where you will be enveloped by the delightfully preserved, historical space.

Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased at the door the night of the event. Tell your friends and family.

All proceeds benefit Cappella Cantorum, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is celebrating its 47th year of tradition in the upcoming 2016-2017 concert season, Moving Full Steam Ahead! Into Our Next Half Century of Cappella Cantorum.

For questions and more information call 860-526-1038 and visit www.cappellacantorum.org.

Cappella Cantorum is the lower Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline’s premiere non-auditioned community choral organization whose primary purpose is to learn, perform and enjoy great choral music while striving for excellence and the enrichment of its singers and audience.

Cappella Cantorum continues because of the support of area businesses and professional people through program advertising; by generous sponsors, our concert audiences, members through dues and hard work, and through the dedication of Music Director Barry Asch, Assistant Music Director Deborah Lyon, and the efforts of the volunteer Board of Directors.


Leif Nilsson Hosts ‘The Natters and Friends’ at Tomorrow’s ‘Concert in the Garden’

Frank Natter (center) plays with his wife, son and many more musicians at the Silver Spring Studio on Sunday.

Frank Natter (center) plays with his wife, son and many more musicians at the Silver Spring Studio on Sunday.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts a Sunday night ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Oct. 16, from 4 to 6 p.m.,  featuring The Natters and Friends at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center.

Frank Natter, Hillyn Schmelzer, and Frank Natter Jr are a father, daughter, and son that have the fortunate opportunity to make music together on many occasions. Teaching at Face Arts Music, their family operated music school, they have been sharing music with the local community for over a decade.

All three of these performers continue to create music separately, but enjoy opportunities to come together on various projects. The trio’s current collaboration will take listeners on a journey through original music of diverse emotions, genres, and stories, performed on classical guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, mandolin, and vocals.

The Face Arts Music family is excited to invite friends to share in the afternoon of original music. First, Shoutouttonina, a band of talented young performers consisting of Marley Elmoznino, Nina Hoehnebart, Abby Johnson, and Lucy Newman will open the show with original music. These young musicians are either current Face Arts Music students or recent participants in Face Arts Music’s Summer Music Camp.

Following Shoutouttonina, Erin Smith, Mat Seymour, and Keith Newman (along with Frank Jr) of The Dizzy River Band will take the stage to share a few new original songs. The afternoon will offer a diverse blend of music and prove to be an exciting musical experience for all.

This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come first seated. Seating is Bistro Style in the amphitheater. The concert will be moved indoors in the event of inclement weather.

A $20 donation is appreciated. The event is BYOB – pack a picnic and buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street.


Celebrate Hubbard’s 25 Years at Ivoryton Playhouse Tonight with a Mirror Ball

Director Jacqui Hubbard with her dog Lulu, a mutt.

Director Jacqui Hubbard with her dog Lulu, a mutt.

IVORYTON:  The Ivoryton Playhouse is celebrating 25 years of laughter and drama, new shingles and seats, and more and more music and romance and applause than ever before. This year marks the 25th year of Artistic Director, Jacqui Hubbard’s involvement with The Ivoryton Playhouse. Beginning as a Board member in 1991, she became Board President and in 1999 she was hired as Artistic/Executive Director and oversees all aspects of this small, historic gem of a theatre.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, the theatre will celebrate with a Wonderland Tea Party from 10 a.m. to noon at the Ivoryton Farmer’s Market. Free activities for children will include A Pink Flamingo Croquet Game, Madhatters Tea Party, Queen of Hearts Story Time, glitter tattoos and face painting and musical fun with Sunny Train.

In the evening, the theatre will host a red carpet gala. The Mirror Ball: Reflections on 25 years through the Looking Glass will feature cocktails and fine foods catered by Coffee’s Market; a musical retrospective of the past 25 years with performances by some favorite artists; champagne toasts and dancing till midnight to the fabulous music of Long Island Sound.

Celebrating the past 25 years is important to Hubbard, as the continued growth of the Playhouse is near and dear to her heart. She says, “I have watched the theatre and the community that surrounds it change and grow so much over this past quarter century. It has been an eventful 25 years with its fair share of highs and lows but the one thing that has remained constant throughout those years is the support we receive from the people of this area.”

Hubbard continues, “The Playhouse has a great family of actors and donors, musicians and members, sponsors, local businesses and community partners and I am so proud of what we have accomplished in bringing people together and encouraging growth in the village of Ivoryton. It’s been an exhilarating ride and I am looking forward to the next 25!”

Built in 1911 as a recreation hall for the workers of the Comstock-Cheney factory, the Ivoryton Playhouse has been an important part of Connecticut’s cultural landscape for every one of its 100 years. Traveling vaudeville shows and silent movies entertained residents of the shoreline area in its early years until Milton Stiefel turned into a summer theatre in 1930 and attracted stars like Katharine Hepburn, Norma Terris, Marlon Brando and Tallulah Bankhead.

In recent years the theater has continued to win critical praise: Connecticut Critic Circle Awards, a Shoreline Arts Alliance Bravo award for Best Theatre and the Shoreline Times Readers Poll Best Theatre award as well as Connecticut Magazine’s Best Place to see Live Theatre.

For more information on tickets to the Mirror Ball, the 2017 season, and all things Ivoryton Playhouse, call 860.767.9520 or visit our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.


See a “Ballet Spooktacular” at ‘The Kate,’ Sunday

Spooktacular_Dancer-247x300OLD SAYBROOK — Treat children of all ages to family-friendly Halloween fun with Eastern Connecticut Ballet’s “Ballet Spooktacular” at The Kate.  Special effects and bewitching costumes set the stage for spirited performances of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Dancing Bones, and Halloween Waltz.

Children are invited to wear their costumes to parade on stage, trick-or-treat throughout the decorated theater and pose for spellbinding photos with the dancers.

Performances will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 and 16, at 1 and 4 p.m.  Tickets to Ballet Spooktacular are $18 for adults and $12 for children (age 12 and under) and are available through The Kate box office at 877-503-1286.


Isabelle McDonald is Community Music School’s Fall 2016 Greenleaf Music Award Winner

Isabelle McDonald is the winner of the recently announced Carolyn Greenleaf Award given by the Community Music School.

Isabelle McDonald is the winner of the Fall 2016 Carolyn R. Greenleaf Music Award presented by the Community Music School.

CENTERBROOK — The selection committee for the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund of Community Music School (CMS) has chosen violinist, guitarist, and pianist Isabelle McDonald as the recipient of the Fall 2016 Carolyn R. Greenleaf Music Award.  This award is given each semester to a middle or high school student who has demonstrated exceptional musical ability and motivation, and awards a semester of private lessons at Community Music School in Centerbrook.  Isabelle has chosen to study piano with CMS’s new virtuoso piano instructor, Matthew Massaro.

Isabelle, who is a junior at Valley Regional High School, is an accomplished violin student having studied under numerous instructors, most recently under the tutelage of Kyung Yu of Yale University.  She has also studied with Janet Boughton of Guilford, Connecticut and Lisa Gray at the CMS.

Isabelle has been a member of a number of leading youth orchestras in Connecticut, including the Norwalk Youth Symphony (NYS) for four years and the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras for three years.  For her final two years with NYS, she was the Principal Orchestra’s principal second violinist.

Isabelle has also performed in a number of chamber music ensembles, including the Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians and with the NYS chamber music program.    In addition to her study on the violin and piano, Isabelle has taken guitar lessons with John Birt at CMS.   Along with Isabelle’s musical talent, she is also a talented visual art student, having won a number of juried art show awards.  Isabelle has expressed a desire to continue her music and visual art studies in college.

The Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund was established at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County in 2008 by her friends to honor Greenleaf’s dedication to music and education. The Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Music Award is open to students of Middlesex County and the Lymes and is awarded twice a year.  It is entirely based on merit and is the only such award at Community Music School.

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which provides a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, increasing appreciation of music and encouraging a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.

Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Working with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments since 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 850 grants totaling more than $2.5 million to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities,  environmental improvements, and for health and human services. 


CT Premier of ‘Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical’ Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse, Oct. 26

Kim Rachelle Harris makes her debut as Rosemary Clooney.

Kim Rachelle Harris makes her debut as Rosemary Clooney.

IVORYTON – Based on the life of Rosemary Clooney, American’s favorite girl singer comes to life on stage in this exhilarating and inspiring musical biography. Tenderly is not a typical “juke-box musical.” It offers a fresh, remarkably personal, and poignant picture of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend.

With her signature songs woven in and out, we learn both the story of her successes on film, radio, and TV, as well as the struggles in her personal life.

“I’d call myself a sweet singer with a big band sensibility,” Rosemary once wrote. She  came to prominence in the early 1950s with the novelty hit “Come On-a My House”, which was followed by other pop numbers such as “Mambo Italiano”, “Tenderly”, “Half as Much”, “Hey There” and “This Ole House.”

Clooney’s career languished in the 1960s, partly due to problems related to depression and drug addiction, but revived in 1977, when her “White Christmas” co-star Bing Crosby asked her to appear with him at a show marking his 50th anniversary in show business. She continued recording until her death in 2002.

Michael Marotta revisits the role of the Doctor in the Ivoryton Playhouse production.

Michael Marotta revisits the role of the Doctor in the Ivoryton Playhouse production.

This production was developed and premiered by The Human Race Theatre Company and produced at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Michael Marotta* will be revisiting the role of the Doctor that he helped develop and Kim Rachelle Harris* will be making her debut as Rosemary Clooney. The production is directed by Brian Feehan, musical directed by Dan Brandl, set design by William Stark, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Rebecca Welles.

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Oct. 26 and runs through Nov. 13. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main St. in Ivoryton.


‘Fitness on the Water’ in Essex Hosts Pilates Party Tomorrow

Essex Wellness Center at Novelty Ln. in Essex.

Essex Wellness Center at Novelty Ln. in Essex.

ESSEX — Fitness on the Water in Essex presents a Pilates Party! The festivities are from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 15, at 8 Novelty Lane, Essex.

See demonstrations of the new Pilates reformer/tower equipment at Fitness on the Water in Essex and learn how Pilates benefits all age groups and fitness levels.

Readers are invited to come and tour the Center’s studios overlooking the water.

Refreshments, giveaways, free mini facials, and chair massages along with discounts on the Center’s own clothing line will be offered.

The Center’s expert instructors will also be on hand to discuss with readers how starting a Pilates fitness routine can be beneficial.

Call 860-581-8225 to RSVP or email donna@fitnessonthewater.com.


Essex Congregational Church Rummage Sale Opens Tonight, Continues Tomorrow

Members of the Rummage Committee of The First Congregational Church in Essex at 6 Methodist Hill in Essex Village are preparing for the church's annual Rummage Sale on Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. An Early Sales night will take place on Oct. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Getting ready to rummage!  Members of the Rummage Committee of The First Congregational Church in Essex at 6 Methodist Hill in Essex Village are preparing for the church’s annual Rummage Sale on Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. An Early Sales night will take place on Oct. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.

ESSEX — The annual Rummage On The Hill Sale will be held at the First Congregational Church in Essex, 6 Methodist Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine.

An Early Sales evening will take place on Friday, Oct. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. For a $5 admission per person, customers will have the opportunity to be the first to preview and buy from the extensive selections of merchandise, as well as homemade baked goods.

A new department this year will be “Home Décor,” featuring a variety of decorator-quality collectibles for the home, including specialty small furniture.

Also new this year is a “50/50 drawing,” with the winner taking home 50 percent of the total monies from the ticket sales.

Other items for sale will include finer women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and shoes; women’s accessories and jewelry; books, CDs and DVDs; games and puzzles; housewares, including lamps and frames, children’s toys and selected furniture. A bake sale will feature home made fare and refreshments will be available at The Grill, on Oct. 15.

Proceeds from the sale go to support the missions of the church.

Rummage donations are now being accepted at the church, Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Donations will also be accepted during extended hours, the week prior to the sale, Oct. 10 through Oct. 14.

If you have items that you wish to donate but need them picked up by a sale volunteer, call the church office at (860) 767-8097. The church will not accept any linens, appliances, air conditioners, computers or televisions of any kind or anything that is damaged or soiled.



Accompanying photograph:



St. John’s Episcopal Hosts Annual Rummage Sale Tomorrow

The 'Essex Attic' is always a popular attraction at St. John's Annual Rummage Sale!

The ‘Essex Attic’ is always a popular attraction at St. John’s Annual Rummage Sale!

ESSEX — Once again it’s time to come down to Essex and ‘rummage!”   Visit the annual Rummage Sale at St. John’s Episcopal Church and find the treasures you have long been seeking.

The Sale will be on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 pm.  It is a huge sale with way too many items to list – everything from furniture, household appliances, books, clothing, electrical appliances, tools, etc.  Hundreds of items are priced under $10.

Prepare to be inspired in the Boutique, where you can pick out the perfect outfit.  “Essex Attic” has exceptional treasures and really cool costume jewelry.  The Silent Auction is full of unique and special items waiting for your bid.

Cider and doughnuts will be available, and on Saturday there will also be a bake sale, plus hot dogs. 

The Church is located at the corner of Main & Cross Streets, Essex, CT 06426 – opposite the park.

For more information, call the church office at:  860-767-8095


Country School Begins Year on High Note with Jump in Enrollment, New Facilities

A new academic year all-school photo  of The Country School taken on the school's new athletic fields.  Photo by Joseph's Photography, Inc.

A new academic year all-school photo of The Country School taken on the school’s new athletic fields. Photo by Joseph’s Photography, Inc.

AREAWIDE – The Country School kicked off the new school year having reached two major milestones before even opening its doors. This summer, the coeducational, independent day school celebrated the opening of its new, state-of-the-art recreational facility and broke ground on the second phase of Shaping the Future, the school’s 60th anniversary campus transformation plan. At the same time, The Country School opened with the highest new student enrollment increase in more than a decade, the 50 new students marking a 66 percent increase over last year’s number.

The school’s 60th anniversary, celebrated during the 2015-2016 school year, was a banner year at The Country School. More than 300 members of the school community came together to donate nearly $2 million to support the school’s campus transformation project and other 60th Anniversary initiatives, including increased scholarship support and programmatic enhancements. This marked the largest one-year gift total in the school’s 60-year history.

The campus improvements completed this summer include two full-sized, side-by-side athletic fields, a baseball and softball diamond, the four-court Rothberg Tennis Center, a full-sized outdoor basketball court, new playgrounds, a reconfigured ropes course, an enhanced cross country course, and more. With these new and expanded facilities, the school was able to welcome more than 200 students to campus this summer for its Summer Fun and Learning camp programs and also to coordinate with Madison Racquet & Swim Club for USTA tennis matches. This fall, the town of Madison is using the school’s baseball diamond and RUSH soccer its soccer fields.

Phase 2 of the Shaping the Future project, begun in July, moved vehicular traffic to the periphery of campus, creating a pedestrian village for learning at the center. The plan, designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, enhances academic and collaborative opportunities for students and teachers and makes the traffic pattern simpler and safer for all.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. See our community in action during our Fall Open House on Nov. 6, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.


Walmart Foundation Grant Funds Purchase of New Industrial-Size Dishwasher at ‘The Estuary’

dishwasherOLD SAYBROOK — Through a generous grant from the Walmart Foundation of $25,000, the Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook has been able to replace its aging dishwasher with a state of the art replacement.  The 15-year old machine had been doing its best, but it was becoming an increasing challenge to find replacement parts for the aging machine and also simply to repair it.

The Estuary applied for a grant through the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program and was awarded the money to cover purchase of the new machine and its installation, including the necessary updates to plumbing and electrical, and reworking the stainless table surround to accommodate the new machine.  (See photo at left.)

The new machine is a much higher efficiency model and uses about one third of the water compared to the old machine and is Energy Star-rated for increased utility efficiency.  It also has a higher per load speed and capacity so more dishes can be done in less time.  In addition, it is a high temperature sanitizing machine, which eliminates the need for costly chemicals also.

The Estuary is the regional senior center serving the towns of Clinton, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.  The Estuary served over 55,000 meals in its Meals on Wheels Program last year and served over an additional 20,000 meals at its three congregate meal sites in the nine-town region.  The center also hosts a full range of services, instructional classes, exercise and fitness programs, and opportunities for socialization to local seniors.

The Estuary Council of Seniors extend special thanks to the Walmart Foundation for making possible the purchase and installation of this new piece of equipment — and all the resultant clean dishes for years to come!  The Estuary believes that Walmart is a great community partner in the mission to help those locally in need. 

To find out more about the Estuary Council of Seniors, visit the center at 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook, or www.ecsenior.org or call (860) 388-1611.


Go Boldly Where No Opera Has Gone Before! See ‘The Abduction From the Seraglio’ This Weekend

Brian Cheney of Old Lyme is the lead tenor in the performance.

Brian Cheney of Old Lyme , pictured standing above, is the lead tenor in the performance.

It’s warp speed ahead in this exuberant production of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio. Recast as a Star Trek parody, this grand opera plays this October in Old Saybrook and Mashantucket, CT.

Stardate 14-20.27. The beauteous Konstanze and her lovely maid, Blonde have been whisked away by pirates to the Klingon slave markets. Captain Belmonte and crew track their beloved companions to a harem, but how will they ever steal the women away from the now enraptured Selim and slave master, Osmin?

Director Simon Holt says, "'The Abduction from the Seraglio' is a perfect opera to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary!”

Director Simon Holt says, “‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’ is a perfect opera to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary!”

Commissioned by the Emperor Joseph II, The Abduction from the Seraglio premiered in July 1782 to wide acclaim. The new translation―heavy on laughs and iconic lines―was written by stage director Josh Shaw and premiered in March 2015 to sold-out audiences. Along with Klingons and alien slave girls, favorite characters from the much-loved original series sing and dance their way through Abduction accompanied by a 21-piece orchestra.

The opera is full of action of every kind!

The opera is full of action of every kind!

The Abduction from the Seraglio brims with vocal fireworks featuring some of the most thrilling arias and ensembles in all of opera,” explained Salt Marsh Opera Artistic Director Simon Holt. “No substantial knowledge of either opera or Star Trek is required. It’s a perfect opera for first timers and a perfect way to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary!”

Sung in English, the opera will run just over two hours with an intermission.  The leading man in the performance is tenor Brian Cheney of Old Lyme, who on the rare weeks home from his professional singing career that takes him all over the country, sings in the choir at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

A scene from 'The Abduction of Seraglio.'

A scene from ‘The Abduction of Seraglio.’

The Abduction from the Seraglio is playing at The Pequot Museum Auditorium (110 Pequot Trail Mashantucket, CT) on Friday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at www.saltmarshopera.org or by calling Salt Marsh Opera at 860.535.0753.


Letter to the Editor: Needleman Stands for Sensible Gun Control, Unlike His Opponent

To the Editor:

I am voting for Norm Needleman for State Senate because of his pragmatic and common-sense approach to public service, exemplified by Needleman’s position for sensible gun control.

After the Newtown school massacre of 20 first graders and 6 educators, the NRA ‘robocalled” Newtown residents urging them to oppose gun safety legislation and to contact Senator Linares to mobilize opposition.

The press sought out Linares for an explanation of his role, but he was “unavailable for comment”.  A month later, the legislature overwhelmingly passed “An Act Concerning Gun Violence and Children’s Safety”, drafted by a bipartisan panel and supported by the leadership of both parties.

Linares voted “NO” and never explained why.

In May 2016, despite vehement opposition from the NRA, sensible legislation to stem gun violence, “An Act Concerning Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence” was enacted.  Again Linares voted “NO”, even though there was strong bipartisan support ensuring its passage. Over 20 states have similar statutes.

Linares’s NRA’s high rating is apparently due to his Newtown and domestic violence no votes and his confided answers to their questionnaires.

In my view, most gun owners are responsible and practice careful use of their firearms. The job of our State Senator is to listen to all concerns and recommendations on gun safety and go beyond the extreme positions of the NRA hierarchy, and begin to address the provisions of the General Assembly’s Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention, April 2013.

Norm Needleman is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and not the extreme positions embraced by the NRA and Linares.

Vote for Norm Needleman, whose proven leadership and proven results, in both the public and private sectors are driven by his sensible, compassionate and balanced approach to getting things done.


Ed Meehan,


Letter to the Editor: Needleman has Qualifications, Experience for State Senate Job

To the Editor:

This election is a crucial one for all of us, for reasons that we know only too well. The state budget, economic development, oppressive mandates, and education funding affects each of us and our towns.  With so many daunting issues to address, we can’t settle for anyone who doesn’t have the experience, knowledge, and skills to work across party lines to get the job done right. 

Given those criteria, the choice for the 33rd District State Senator is an easy one. It is Norm Needleman.  Norm’s qualifications and experience make him the right person for the job.  He has nearly forty years of experience at running a successful company and creating jobs.  His first priority is not ambition or party politics. Rather, he is focused on enhancing the quality of life for everyone in our towns.

As First Selectman of Essex, Norm has kept taxes among the lowest in the state, without cutting services.  Norm believes that dialogue is the key to solving problems, and that no individual or political party has a monopoly on good ideas. He has long been actively involved in a number of civic and not-for-profit organizations.  Most of all, he relies on his proven business skills and a deep knowledge of town government to find ways of solving problems that cut across party lines and special interests.

In these challenging times, we need Norm Needleman’s leadership and problem-solving skills in Hartford. I am voting for Norm because he will return meaningful state senate representation to our district.


Ted Taigen,


Sen. Linares, Rep. Carney Say DOT Fare Hikes Symbolize CT’s “Unsustainable Path”

Sen. Art Linares (at podium) on Sept. 1 joined with Rep. Devin Carney (seated in second row) and area commuters attended a public hearing at Old Saybrook Town Hall to testify against the State Department of Transportation’s proposed fare hikes on Connecticut rail commuters. 

Sen. Art Linares (at podium) on Sept. 1 joined with Rep. Devin Carney (seated in second row) and area commuters attended a public hearing at Old Saybrook Town Hall to testify against the State Department of Transportation’s proposed fare hikes on Connecticut rail commuters.

AREAWIDE — Sen. Art Linares and Rep. Devin Carney issued the following statements regarding the state’s decision to hike rail and bus fares Dec. 1 despite vocal opposition from lawmakers and angry commuters:

“Rep. Carney, area commuters and I attended the Sept. 1 fare hike public hearing at Old Saybrook Town Hall to send a clear message,” Sen. Linares said.  “That message was that the overall cost of living in Connecticut continues to grow and grow.  From state tax hikes to health care expenses, costs keep going up year after year.  I hear this every day from people in the communities I represent.

He continued, “That’s why I asked the DOT to not increase fares.  That request fell upon deaf ears, and it really shows how the voices of working families and people on fixed incomes are not being heard by our state government.  Tax hike after tax hike.  Rate hike after rate hike. Fare hike after fare hike.  We need to change course.  We need to get off this unsustainable path.  Rep. Carney and I will continue to be voices for taxpayers and commuters until our message is heard in Hartford.”

Rep. Carney commented, “My concern with the fare hike is twofold. First off, I believe the process was flawed.  The DOT held several public hearings and the point was to hear how this proposal would impact the people. Across the state there was overwhelming opposition to this plan, yet it seems those views fell on very deaf ears and it appears the DOT was just paying lip service. Second, as I stated in my comments, I understand fare hikes will occur from time to time, but rail fares have risen drastically since 2012 due to similar hikes over the past four years.”

He added, “These perpetual increases are unfair to commuters – especially the working class. Utilizing Shoreline East and Metro-North, as opposed to further clogging I-95, is something that the state should promote and encourage – yet I worry that some people may soon be priced out of using these trains as an option.”

Sen. Linares (Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov) represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.  He can be reached at 800 842-1421 or on the web at www.SenatorLinares.com.

Rep. Carney (Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov) represents Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  He can be reached at 800 842 1423 or on the web at www.RepCarney.com.


Letter to the Editor: Why do I Support Needleman? Let me Count the Ways … (With the Editor’s Apologies to The Bard)

To the Editor:

I enthusiastically support Norm Needleman for State Senate because as a business owner and Essex first selectman, Norm knows how to balance a budget, make a payroll and care for hundreds of employees.

Norm’s opponent? He has problems. Art Linares was a Trump delegate at the Republican Convention, and has blatantly reaffirmed his support for Trump in recent days. The question for voters is, why?

The New London Day (October 5, page B3) carried a column calling Linares’ support of Trump the most ludicrous in the state.  It pointed out that Linares’ family business (“Greenskies”, which installs solar panels from China) receives huge state subsidies to encourage renewable energy.  Yet Trump is denier-in-chief that climate change even exists.

Consider also one of Linares’ favorite issues: balancing the budget. Trump’s economic plan is projected by the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget to increase the national deficit by $5.3 trillion over the next 10 years — 26 times more that Clinton’s plan.  How can Linares possibly support that? Norm’s budget-balancing plan for the state is to cut state spending — a good approach.

Next up is Trump’s abhorrent treatment of women, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and immigrants in general, and the GOP/Trump platform’s proposals to end a women’s right to chose, legalize discrimination against gays, toss out campaign finance law, and end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The list goes on and on. Where does Linares stand on these Trump issues?

Trump’s poor record was well-known when Linares became a Trump delegate, long before the recent disclosure of Trump’s vulgar, disgusting tapes about women. Are these the principles and positions Linares stands for, since he continues to support Trump? You bet – that’s why I’m backing Norm!

Arthur Henick,


If You Oppose the Proposed High-Speed Rail Route, Join SECoast’s Fundraiser This Afternoon at Bee & Thistle

AREAWIDE SECoast, the non-profit group actively and constructively opposing the proposed high-speed rail line through Old Lyme and southeast Connecticut, is holding a fundraiser at the Bee and Thistle Inn on Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.

SECoast.org is a locally-directed special project of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. Since publicly breaking news of the proposed bypass in January, SECoast.org has been working tirelessly as an effective advocate for Old Lyme and the local area by catalyzing growing regional opposition to the bypass.

Thanks to the generosity of the Bee and Thistle’s owner David Rufo, the Inn’s Executive Chef and acclaimed wildlife photographer Kristofer Rowe and singer/songwriter Dan Stevens who is performing at the event, 100 percent of the funds raised on Sunday will go towards mounting a legal defense to the route, which it is anticipated will be announced next week.  The monies raised will help support staffing, digital media and administrative costs of the campaign.

Once that announcement has been made, there are precisely 30 days by law to respond to the preferred route.  SECoast wants to be ready to react immediately to the announcement.

Tickets for Sunday’s event are $50 and fully tax-deductible.  There is also a Sponsor level at $250 and sponsors will receive an autographed Kristofer Rowe photograph.

Donations in any amount are always at welcome at this account or by mail at CT Trust for Historic Trust Preservation, 940 Whitney Ave., Hamden, CT 06517-4002 (make checks payable to CT Trust with “For SECoast” on the face.

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of the work that SECoast has been doing.  Without Greg Stroud and his small band of dedicated individuals, the proposed Old Saybrook to Kenyon by-pass would likely have quietly continued along its probable path to becoming part of the FRA’s Tier 2 preferred route.

We are delighted that Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Joe Courtney, State Senator Paul Formica and State Representative Devin Carney are now all vocally opposed to the route and believe that in no small part relates to the efforts of SECoast.  We hope our Old Lyme Board of Selectmen (BOS) will show their support for SECoast because surely the BOS objectives are identical to those of SECoast?

This fundraiser is your chance to show your appreciation for all the work that SECoast has undertaken so far on behalf of the residents of Old Lyme specifically and, in a broader sense, the people of southeastern Connecticut … and all the work it will take on in the future.  If you choose not to support SECoast, then please don’t feel you have a right to complain about the train route down the line … pun intended!

See you on Sunday!


CT Animal House Hosts Fundraiser Today at Fox Hopyard

high-res-2016-fox-hopyard-posterThe CT Animal House is hosting its annual fundraiser Sunday, Oct. 9, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Fox Hopyard Golf Club, 1 Fox Hopyard Rd., East Haddam.

It will be an afternoon of live music starring Essex Animal Control Officer Jae Wolf with DJ Renee DiNino as Master of Ceremonies.  There will be great wine and craft beer tasting, delicious bites, and great raffle items.

Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased online at www.ctanimalhouse.org or at the door.


Chester Selectwomen Visit Roto Frank of America

Gathered for a photo during the visit are (from left to right) Debra Wallis, CFO, Roto Frank of America; Lauren Gister, Chester First Selectwoman; Chris Dimou, President and CEO, Roto Frank of America; Carolynn Linn, Chester Selectwoman; Erik Ostby, Plant Manager

Gathered for a photo during the visit are (from left to right) Debra Wallis, CFO, Roto Frank of America; Lauren Gister, Chester First Selectwoman; Chris Dimou, President and CEO, Roto Frank of America; Carolynn Linn, Chester Selectwoman and Erik Ostby, Plant Manager.

CHESTER — Helping residents from local communities find gainful employment and finding skilled workers for open manufacturing positions was the focus of a visit on Oct. 4 from Lauren Gister, Chester First Selectwoman and Carolynn Linn, Chester Selectwoman, to Roto Frank of America, Inc.  The visit included a meeting with Chris Dimou, Roto Frank of America President and CEO; Debra Wallis, CFO and a tour of the Chester manufacturing plant conducted by Erik Ostby, Plant Manager.

As Roto Frank of America continues to thrive and grow, the challenge of finding skilled workers increases accordingly. The mutually beneficial solution lies in creating a greater awareness of Roto Frank’s role in the economic community and working collaboratively to attract and retain workers from Chester and the surrounding communities.

“Working with the Chester community helps in two ways. It creates an awareness of job opportunities at Roto Frank of America and helps us fill key positions as we continue grow,” said Chris Dimou.

Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America, Inc. is a Chester, Connecticut-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. Roto Frank of America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roto Frank AG, a global company headquartered in Germany, with 17 production plants and 40 subsidiaries worldwide.

Roto Frank of America offers solutions for North American and European hardware applications, has an extensive product line including its renowned X-DRIVE™ casement and awning window systems, sash locks, window-opening-control-devices, sliding patio door systems, and European window and door hardware, among others. For more information please visit www.rotohardware.com.


Walk This Morning to Raise Awareness, Promote Early Detection of Breast Cancer in Developing Countries

Last year, participants gathered together to hear a speaker prior to starting their walk

Last year, participants gathered together to hear a speaker prior to starting their walk

AREAWIDE — This Sunday, Oct. 9, The Maina Foundation is hosting a three-mile-walk in Rocky Neck State Park to raise funds for its critical work increasing breast cancer awareness and promoting early detection to women in need of financial assistance. By working at a grass roots level, the foundation devotes the majority of the funds raised to hospitals and clinics for furthering the cause of early detection.

The incidence of breast cancer is rising globally, especially in developing countries such as India where 1 in 28 women develop the disease.  Unfortunately, because of the social taboo associated with breast cancer, almost 80 percent of patients reach an advanced stage before medical care is obtained.

The Maina Foundation hosts breast cancer awareness classes in India.

The Maina Foundation hosts breast cancer awareness classes in India.

By supporting awareness programs and providing mammogram units, The Maina Foundation wants to bring breast cancer discussion to the forefront and encourage women to seek preventative care.  Since its inception in 2008, Maina has donated mammogram units, set up awareness programs and helped with patient care.

Onsite registration for the walk begins at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m.

Refreshments will be provided after the walk.

The Maina Foundation is a non-profit organization with an office in Old Lyme.  For more information, visit The Maina Foundation’s website at mainafoundation.org.

Directions to the walk are as follows: 

Exit 72 off I-95: Follow the turnpike connector south to Route 156.  Turn left and take Route 156 east for 1/4 mile to the park. The park street address is 244 West Main Street (Route 156).

After entering the park, go towards the West side towards the Administrative building.   Registration desk will be located near the building.  


Letter to the Editor: Literacy Volunteers Say Thanks to Supporters, Sponsors of Recent Fundraiser

To The Editor:

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore’s Wine and Brew Tasting and Auction benefitting the organization’s tutoring program was a rousing success again this year. The event, held on September 29th at the Saybrook Point Pavilion netted funds that will help L.V.V.S. continue the mission of eradicating illiteracy in the valley shore area well into 2017.

Again this year people and organizations came together in a worthy cause. Special thanks to The Clark Group and Whelen Engineering our title sponsors. We are also indebted to Seaside Wine & Spirits of Old Saybrook who provided the evening’s libations. Event sponsors Tower Laboratories, Murphy and Company CPAs, Bogaert Construction, Guilford Savings Bank, Lyman Real Estate, Bob & Madge Fish and Edward Jones Investments of Clinton also deserve recognition for their support and for their continued belief in us.

I cannot thank Elizabeth Steffen enough. She worked so hard to produce the food for the evening, contributed raffle and auction items and still somehow found time to sell tickets and help set up the venue. Similarly, the efforts of board member Paula Chabot, our event organizer, board members Arcangela Claffey, Barb Erni, Bill Guerra and Linda Liptrot, Board Chairman Jack Smith and Madge Fish insured a wonderful and successful fundraiser.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hard work and extra dedication of Administrative Assistant Joanne Argersinger, volunteer Paula Ferrara and the cooperation of the Old Saybrook Park and Recreation Department.  Thank you all so very much!

Finally, thank you to everyone who shared the evening with us and whose support and generosity will warm our students throughout the remainder of this fall and into the New Year.   


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


CT River Museum’s Annual Gala Fundraiser Tonight Celebrates the 1920s

From left to right, Executive Director Chris Dobbs, Museum Chairman Tom Wilcox, Guilford Savings Bank’s Lisa LeMonte and Essex Wellness Center’s Dana Hatch (left to right) peruse the menu and design centerpieces. Photo courtesy of Connecticut River Museum.

From left to right, Executive Director Chris Dobbs, Museum Chairman Tom Wilcox, Guilford Savings Bank’s Lisa LeMonte and Essex Wellness Center’s Dana Hatch (left to right) peruse the menu and design centerpieces. Photo courtesy of Connecticut River Museum.

ESSEX — Come cut the rug with the fly boys and the flappers at the Connecticut River Museum’s 2016 Fall Ball, A Roaring 20’s Good Time presented by the Essex Wellness Center on Saturday, Oct. 8.  The museum will be putting on the Ritz with WSFB’s Scot Haney as host and auctioneer.

Kick the evening off with some bathtub gin, a sidecar or a little hanky-panky followed by a tasty dinner by A Thyme to Cook and a lively performance by the Amherst College Zumbyes.

Next Scot Haney will get the joint a-jumping with a humdinger of a live auction.   Items including an eight-day/seven-night voyage on American Cruise Lines’ Maine Coast and Harbors Cruise, and a five-night get-away to Nantucket Island.

Finally don’t be a flat tire — just dance the night away to the swell tunes of Brad and Brian.

Tickets for the event are $150 and all proceeds benefit the Connecticut River Museum.  Contributions from the Fall Ball provide critical support for the Museum’s at-risk school programs, exhibits, and environmental and cultural programs.

Fall Ball 2016 sponsors include

Presenting Sponsor Essex Wellness Center;

Benefactor Sponsors Guilford Savings Bank, Connecticut Rental Center and the Amherst College Zumbyes; Sustaining Sponsors Brewer Yacht Yards, Reynolds’ Garage & Marine, RBG Cannon, and Siris/Coombs Architects;  

Supporting Sponsors Bogaert Construction Company, J.N. Mehler, CFP, LLC., Sullivan Lawn Services, and Tower Laboratories; Friend Sponsors Brandtech Scientific, Caulfield & Ridgway, Inc., Clark Group, Essex Marine Group, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services;

In-kind Sponsors include Apparel + Plus, Eco/Blast All Inc., and invitations by Maris Wacs.

To purchase tickets and preview auction items, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or (860)767-8269.

The Connecticut River Museum is dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.


$491K STEAP Grant Awarded for Centerbrook Village Main Street Improvements, Enhancements

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

ESSEX — Essex First Selectman Norman M. Needleman has announced that Connecticut’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) awarded $491,887 for Centerbrook Village Main Street improvements and enhancements.  The project will focus on sidewalk improvement and replacement on the south side of Main Street, where there are currently continuous sidewalks in various stages of deterioration. 

This project will benefit the local community by enhancing the multi-modal, complete-streets setting that the town seeks to establish while having a positive impact on the economic, commercial and social environment of the historic village.

Needleman stated that the Town appreciates being awarded this grant, and is grateful that STEAP was funded in this difficult budget year.  This program helps small towns perform work that improves the economic vitality of our community.

Needleman offered special thanks to the Town’s Economic Development Consultant Susan Malan, the Town Planner John Guszkowski, State Representative Philip J. Miller, and the Centerbrook Visioning Group for their efforts in pulling this grant application together. 


Chocolate Chip Cookies, Wine & Art: All the Comforts of Home in Chester Tonight

Keith Stewart, the chef at Camp Hazen YMCA, is making 500 chocolate chip cookies for all to enjoy throughout Chester Center on Come Home to Chester night, Oct. 7.

Keith Stewart, the chef at Camp Hazen YMCA, is making 500 chocolate chip cookies for all to enjoy throughout Chester Center on Come Home to Chester night, Oct. 7.

The town of Chester presents its annual “Come Home to Chester” celebration on Friday evening, Oct. 7. Come stroll through the shops and galleries of quaint Chester village while munching on chocolate chip cookies made by the chef of Camp Hazen YMCA and sampling wines or sipping apple cider. (All the comforts of home on a New England fall evening!)

The French Hen’s theme for the evening is fragrance. “Fragrance has the power to evoke a memory, change a mood or unlock a new experience,” says Laurie McGinley, the shop’s owner, who says the shop will be debuting a new line, Peacock Parfumerie, and will have a drawing for one of their beautiful scented candles. Chester Package Store will do a wine tasting on the front porch of The French Hen (14 Main St.).

Kate and Anne Yurasek wrap themselves up in a cozy quilt at Lark.

Kate and Anne Yurasek wrap themselves up in a cozy quilt at Lark.

LARK is featuring coziness – as in cozy, colorful home accessories, such as quilts, rugs, towels and pillows. Sign up to win a gift while exploring all the comforts of home featured in the newly expanded shop at 4 Water St.

“An Exploration of Texture,” a new jewelry collection by Dina Varano, opens at the Dina Varano Gallery on Main Street on October 7. Since day one, texture has been a defining feature of Dina’s unique jewelry. Like an alchemist she transforms metal into meaningful works of wearable art: one of a kind, one at a time.

At Maple & Main Gallery, enjoy the Fall Exhibit on the first floor (where you can nibble on chocolate chip cookies!) and then go downstairs to the Stone Gallery for the opening reception of the two-woman show, “Go Figure,”  by friends Beverly Floyd and Maggie Bice. These longtime friends share a sensibility that is lyrical, light-hearted, and often quirky, which is obvious in their delightful show.

ELLE Design, at 1 Main St., invites you to sample the raw chocolates made by Aruna Chocolate and learn how to pair them with wine. Look for Deborah Vilcheck, a Chester-based mortgage loan originator with Nations Reliable Lending, who will have 50 apple pies to hand out to visitors. “I love Chester and this is a great way to celebrate our town,” Deb says.

Even your dogs are welcome at Yappy Hour at Strut Your Mutt on Main Street, with treats for them and you.

You are also invited to visit the yoga studio at Reflections of Chester, Health & Wellness Center, at 15-19 North Main Street, where there will be live music, cider and cookies. More live music will be at the Pattaconk 1850 Bar & Grill on Main Street, and the Homage Fine Art & Coffee Lounge (16 Main St.) features Teen Open Mic Night from 7 to 9 p.m.

Everything is within walking distance from the Maple Street and Water Street free public parking lots.









‘Five Women Painting’ Annual Art Show Continues in Essex Through Monday

'Three Hens' by Claudia van Nes

‘Three Hens’ by Claudia van Nes is featured in the ‘Five Women Painting’ art show.

ESSEX — The annual Five Women Painting art show, featuring new works by a group of established artists in the region, opened Friday and continues through Oct. 10.

'A Day of Warmth' by Pam Carlson is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

‘A Day of Warmth’ by Pam Carlson is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

The artists, whose styles and subject matter vary widely from contemporary landscapes to abstract monotypes, include Pam Carlson from Essex; Rosemary Cotnoir, Kathleen DeMeo, Ellie Pringle from Haddam, and Claudia Van Nes from Chester.

All five artists will be at the opening party on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. to greet guests and help serve wine and a variety of appetizers and desserts.

The show continues Saturday, Oct. 8, from noon to 5 p.m. with Claudia Van Nes inviting visitors to sketch along with her from 1 to 3 p.m.

On Sunday, Oct. 9, when the show is also open noon to 5 p.m., Pam Carlson will give a palette knife demonstration from 1 to 3 p.m.

The exhibit continues Monday, Oct 10 from noon to 3 p.m.

Essex Art Association Gallery is located at 10 North Main Street, Essex. Phone: 860-767-8996. Visit Five Women Painting on Facebook.


Deep River Hosts First Annual Tri-Town Veteran’s Day Parade, Nov. 5

DEEP RIVER — The First Annual Tri-Town Veteran’s Day Parade will kick off on Saturday, Nov. 5, from Devitt’s Field in Deep River at 1 p.m. followed by a ceremony at the Memorial Green on Main Street.

All Veterans are encouraged to join the parade.


Community Music School Announces New Faculty Members

CENTERBROOK & EAST LYME – Community Music School (CMS) Community Music School welcomes three area musicians to its faculty: Andrew Janes, who will be teaching trombone and low brass in our Centerbrook location; Matt Massaro, who will be teaching piano in the CMS Centerbrook location; and Marty Wirt, who will be teaching piano and percussion in the CMS East Lyme location.

Andrew Janes – Trombone, Low Brass

Janes is in his second year of study towards a Masters in Instrumental Conducting at UConn, having received a Masters degree in Trombone Performance from UConn in May of 2015. As a graduate teaching assistant, he works with UConn’s athletic bands, the university’s conducting labs, as well as conducting the Symphonic and Concert Bands. Janes received his B.M. from Middle Tennessee State University, where he participated in several summer music festivals, including the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific, (Powell River, British Columbia, CA), the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC), and the Collegium Musicum Program (Pommersfelden, Germany). As a music educator, he has worked as a jazz assistant at the Blue Lake International Fine Arts Camp, held in Muskegon, Michigan, and taught at the Community School for the Arts, in Mansfield, Connecticut.

Matt Massaro – Piano

Massaro has been playing piano for over 20 years. In high school, he was the accompanist for three years for the Pentagle Players choir and he also performed solos in school concerts. He has a B.A. degree in music performance at Central Connecticut State University. At CCSU he studied piano with Dr. Linda Laurent, who received a Masters degree from the Julliard School. He enjoys taking on challenging pieces and has performed in many recitals and concerts at CCSU and for other occasions. Upon completing his degree, Massaro was required to play a solo recital, which was well received by faculty and audience. His most recent achievement was the role of piano soloist for the CCSU sinfonietta in performing the Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major No. 23.

Marty Wirt – Piano, Percussion

Marty is an active and versatile performer and educator.  He began studying piano at age seven, and has since developed a passion for all styles of classical and popular music.  In addition to teaching at Community Music School, Marty is on the music faculty at Mercy High School in Middletown, CT, where he instructs a string orchestra, wind ensemble, and coaches jazz band.  As a performer, he has played for productions at Goodspeed Musicals, the Ivoryton Playhouse, and numerous local venues.  He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and a proud alumnus of CMS.

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


Tri-Town Youth Services Hosts Mother-Daughter Night-Out Tonight

mumdaughter_night_outAREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services invites sixth grade girls and their mothers (or other special women in their lives) to join them for two fun-filled nights out this fall.  Tri-Town has partnered with guest teachers to provide young women with opportunities to build confidence, try something new, and deepen their connections with their family and friends.

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Tri-Town’s Parent Resource Coordinator will be joined by Emrys Tetu of Decadent Wellness in Chester to present “Beauty Inside & Out.”  This interactive program combines elements from the Dove®Self-Esteem Project with mindfulness practices, yoga and movement.  Girls will learn how to navigate confusing messages about beauty and self-worth by finding the source of calm wisdom inside of themselves.  This program will take place in the John Winthrop Middle School Library from 6:30-8:30.  The cost is $25/pair and space is limited.

On Thursday, Nov. 3, Tri-Town and local Artist, Lori Lenz will be offering a “Painting Party” for sixth grade girls and their mothers.  Lori will introduce participants to Gustav Klimt’s painting, “The Tree of Life,” which will serve as inspiration for the evening.  All materials and basic instruction will be provided and everyone will create their own unique piece of art to take home!   There is a $10 materials fee.  Contact Tri-Town to register for either of the Mother-Daughter Nights Out at 860-526-3600 or visit their website at tritownys.org.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex.  They coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most. 


Essex First Selectman Opposes State Takeover of Local Health Departments, Denounces New Cost to Small Towns

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

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

ESSEX — Earlier this week, State Senate candidate and local businessman Norm Needleman spoke out against the yet-to-be-announced state takeover of local health departments. Needleman opposes the top-down, behind-the-scenes process which includes the elimination of local health departments, the loss of local control, and increased cost to towns in what amounts to a regional property tax.

The draft changes in Connecticut state statutes were distributed to town Health Directors as “draft Local Health Consolidation Statutes” by the Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Public Health Raul Pino.

“This secret state takeover plan is yet another example of the state barreling down the wrong path without input from towns,” said Needleman. “Forced regionalization is terrible policy and causes more unnecessary over-regulation of towns without any proven cost savings. This is a canary in the coal mine for more state and county control.”

Lyme Republican First Selectman Ralph Eno agreed with Needleman.

“I appreciate Norm’s attention to this key issue,” said Eno. “I agree with his position that this is an administrative overreach without any kind of formal hearing process. This is part of what is wrong with state government.”

The changes propose eliminating local health departments and consolidating them under one board and director for each county.

“In Essex we have an efficient and effective Health Department,” said Needleman. “In what world does it make any sense to turn a well managed town office over to the mess in Hartford?”

In addition, the changes propose that each town pay 1.5% of their budget to the new county health department. The draft legislation states: “towns, cities and boroughs of such district appropriate for the maintenance of the health district not less than one and one half percent of their previous fiscal year’s annual operating budgets.”

“As First Selectman of Essex I have kept our Health Department well under 1.5% of our annual town budget with a professionally managed team,” said Needleman. “This proposal will cost more for towns all across the region and amounts to a county tax. If elected State Senator I will fight foolish state overreach like this takeover.”

“The cost is a percentage of the town budget,” said Eno. “So this is a regional property tax to feed the state bureaucracy. Thanks to Norm for being out ahead on this issue and looking forward to his leadership in the State Senate.”

Norm Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing over 225 people. Needleman is in his 3rd term as First Selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003.

“Norm understands the importance of local control as an experienced town leader,” said Campaign Manager Kevin Coughlin. “That is why he has been endorsed by both Republican and Democratic First Selectmen right here in the 33rd district.”

Needleman is the Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District which consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.


‘Children of the Stone/Dal’Ouna Ensemble’ Performs in Old Lyme Tonight as Part of National Tour

Ramzi Aburedwan (third from right) stands with the other members of the Dal'Ouna Ensemble that will be performing in Old Lyme on Sept. 30.

Ramzi Aburedwan (third from right) stands with the other members of the Dal’Ouna Ensemble that will be performing in Old Lyme on Sept. 30.

OLD LYME — The Tree of Life Educational Fund presents a performance by Ranzi Aburedwan and his Arabic-French Dal’Ouna Ensemble in a program of music and book-readings on Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

This event is part of the national concert and book tour of Children of the Stone/Dal ‘Ouna, which celebrates Palestinian musician and educator Ramzi Aburedwan and his belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives and resist oppression. The tour corresponds with the paperback release of Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land (Bloomsbury, April 2015/paperback March 2016) by Sandy Tolan, author of the international bestseller, The Lemon Tree.

Featured in concert will be the powerful music of Ramzi Aburedwan and his Arabic-French Dal’Ouna Ensemble and the Lebanese singer, Abeer Nehme : a dynamic fusion of Palestinian Arab folk, classical, jazz and world music.   Ensemble members include renowned composer, violist and buzouk player Ramzi Aburedwan and percussionist Tareq Rantisi from Palestine, oud player Ziad Ben Youssef from Tunisia, Edwin Buger from Yugoslavia on accordion. Michael Dabroski will join the group with his Palestinian violin, and there will be readings from Sandy Tolan’s book, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land.

Children of the Stone tells the dramatic story of Ramzi Aburedwan’s life growing up in an occupied Palestinian refugee camp and his transformation from a stone throwing youth of the first intifada, to a talented musician studying at the Edward Said Palestine National Academy of Music and a French Conservatory and his final return to Palestine to realize his life’s dream of founding a music school, Al-Kamandjati that has centers in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. He views Al-Kamandjati and related projects with international musicians as a combination of safe haven, creative resistance, and trauma therapy for the least fortunate Palestinian children, many living in refugee camps.

World-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma said this about Sandy Tolan’s book:“In a world where so much popular fiction depicts life in a dystopian world, it is refreshing to have this non-fiction account that reflects one individual’s belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives. Congratulations to Sandy Tolan for bringing us the story of Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, his philosophy and his personal mission to make a difference.  His story is proof of the famous words of Margaret Mead –‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’”.

All are welcome to attend this concert and book-reading.  General admission is $10 at the door.  Admission is free to students and those aged under 21.

The concert and book tour features two additional locations in Connecticut as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 24; 7 pm Yale University, CT

Monday, Sept. 26; 7 pm UConn, Storrs, CT

For more information, visit www.tolef.org or call the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme at 860.434.8686

The Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOL) a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation was established by The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme to provide cross-cultural and transnational travel experiences, interfaith conferences and educational opportunities to help participants to become more enlightened and more engaged in making this a more just and peaceful world in which to live.


Lori Warner Gallery Hosts ‘ART-ISTRY’ Featuring Work of Rau, Steiner

Detail from a featured work by David Rau in the ART-ISTRY exhibition opening Oct. 1 at the Lori Warner Gallery.

Detail from a featured work, ‘Untitled,’ by David Rau in the ART-ISTRY exhibition opening Oct. 1 at the Lori Warner Gallery.

CHESTER — ART-ISTRY, featuring new work by David D. J. Rau and Christopher B. Steiner, opens Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Lori Warner Gallery in Chester with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. to which all are welcome.  On view will be three-dimensional assemblage pieces by Rau, and limited edition prints and original photomontage works by Steiner.

This exhibition will be a very special one since the Lori Warner Gallery invites artists to exhibit their work once per year and the selection process is highly competitive.

David D.J. Rau’s Vintage Hardware Drawer series, was inspired by 14 antique drawers that originally held screws, bolts, and plugs (according to the various labels). Rau transforms them into miniature surreal stage sets using vintage and antique pieces collected over the years. Inspired by the past, his aesthetic combines vintage photography, tattered paper, intriguing ephemera, and antiques into humorous, ironic, and most importantly, beautiful scenes. 

Rau is the Director of Education & Outreach at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Responsible for the public programs and making connections between the art and history and the Museum’s visitors. Rau holds a masters degree in Art History and a certificate of Museum Studies from the University of Michigan. Rau has worked at Cranbrook Art Museum; the Henry Ford Museum and The Currier Gallery of Art. Rau also teaches Museum Studies at Connecticut College.

Detail from "The Fall of Suburban Man" by Christopher Steiner.

Detail from “The Fall of Suburban Man” (2016) by Christopher Steiner.

Christopher B. Steiner has always been partial to artists with “a deep sense of wit and (twisted) humor.” His work has been described as “irreverent parody with a twist of dark absurdity.” Steiner deconstructs iconic or cliché images and well-rehearsed art-historical traditions in order to invite alternative readings. These interventions are meant to surprise, delight, destabilize, and sometimes even shock. His intent is to “reinvigorate familiar images by bringing to them new perspectives and insights through unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur visual tropes”.

Steiner holds an undergraduate degree from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University. He is the Lucy C. McDannel ’22 Professor of Art History and Anthropology at Connecticut College, where he also serves as Founding Director of the Museum Studies Program.

Steiner is also a member of the board of trustees of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, where he was also Interim Director in 2003-04. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Boards of both the Florence Griswold Museum and the Bellarmine Museum at Fairfield University.

The exhibition will be on view through Dec. 1, and is free and open to the public. The Lori Warner Gallery is located at 21 Main St. in Chester, Conn.

For further information, call 860-322-4265, email gallery@loriwarner.com and visit www.loriwarner.com or www.facebook.com/loriwarnergallery/



CBSRZ Announces High Holy Day Service Schedule, Begins Sunday

CHESTER — Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (Chester) has announced its schedule of High Holy Day services.  Contact the synagogue office for tickets or more information.  860-526-8920

Sunday, Oct. 2

7:30 pm Erev Rosh Hashanah service

Monday, Oct. 3

9:30 am Rosh Hashanah Morning service, followed by Taschlich at the Chester Ferry

2:00 pm Rosh Hashanah Family Program

3:00 pm Children’s service

Tuesday, Oct. 4

9:30 am  Rosh Hashanah (Day 2) service

Sunday, Oct. 9

1:00 pm  Cemetery service at Fountain Hill

2:30 pm  Cemetery service at Rodfe Zedek

Tuesday, Oct. 11

7:30 pm  Kol Nidre

Saturday, Oct. 12

9:30 am  Yom Kippur Morning service

2:30 pm  Children’s service

4:00 pm  Yom Kippur Afternoon service and Neilah, followed by Break the Fast


Ivoryton Congregational Church Holds St. Francis of Assisi Celebration, Sunday

IVORYTON — On Sunday, Oct. 2, the 10 a.m. worship service will be a celebration of the life, wisdom, and spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. The hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King”, based on his writings, will be sung. The meditation will reflect on his life, his teachings, and his impact.
The service will include the Sacrament of Communion on this World Communion Sunday.

The Ivoryton Congregational Church is at 57 Main St. in Ivoryton and the pastor is the Rev. John Van Epps.

All are welcome.

9 Town Transit Plans Bus Fare Increases; Public Hearing Slated for Tonight in Old Saybrook

9TT 30th Logo RGBAREAWIDE — To help offset a cut in state transit funding, the Estuary Transit District is considering an increase to fare on all 9 Town Transits services.

The proposal would see the cash fare on all routes increase from $1.50 to $1.75. Trips on Dial-A-Ride and off-route would increase from $3 to $3.50.  Multi-ride tickets and monthly passes will increase to $15.75 and $57, respectively.

The fare proposal also includes the agency’s first disabled fare.  It would provide a discounted rate of $0.85 to persons with disabilities.  ETD says this would provide relief to many in the disabled community that heavily rely on public transit.

ETD officials say the increase is necessary due to a prevent service reduction following a statewide cut by the state to transit budgets.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 4 until 6 p.m. at Old Saybrook Town Hall first floor conference room, 302 Main St, Old Saybrook, CT.  Written comments may be submitted until Oct. 14, to Estuary Transit District, 17 Industrial Park Rd, Suite 6, Centerbrook, CT 06409.

For a full listing of the new fare schedule, visit www.9towntransit.com/fares or call 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.


Essex Garden Club Announces Officers for 2016-2017

FNewly-elected officers of the Essex Garden Club are (from left to right) Pat Mather, Betsy Godsman, Augie Pampel, Barbara Burgess, Barbara Muhlfelder and Judy Greene

Newly-elected officers of the Essex Garden Club are (from left to right) Pat Mather, Betsy Godsman, Augie Pampel, Barbara Burgess, Barbara Muhlfelder and Judy Greene

ESSEX — Officers for the Essex Garden Club for 2016-2017 are Barbara Burgess, President, Augie Pampel, 1st Vice President, Barbara Muhlfelder, 2nd Vice President and Assistant Treasurer,  Betsy Godsman, Recording Secretary, Judy Greene, Corresponding Secretary, and  Patricia Mather, Treasurer.

In Barbara Burgess’s opening remarks,  at the September meeting,  she described the club’s agenda and activities for the upcoming year ahead and introduced the theme for the year “ Partnering for Success”  She shared how The Essex Garden Club has partnered with the Land Trust in sponsoring a conservation program, this year on the topic of Native Pollinators.

In addition the Essex Garden club provides resources to the libraries and schools to partner in educating both adults and children in our community. For many years the Club has  partnered with the Town of Essex to keep our parks and community looking beautiful. These strong partnerships continue to result in both benefiting our organizations and the community.


Letter to the Editor: Thanks From TTYS for ‘Taste of the Valley’ Community Support

To the Editor:

Tri-Town Youth Services would like to thank the tri-town community for supporting our signature fundraiser, Taste of the Valley, which was held at the Deep River Historical Society on the evening of September 23.

Our thanks to the restaurants who were present and shared tempting appetizers and desserts: LaVita Gustosa, Dough on Main, Rustica, and Riverside Thai, as well as to many others who sent delicious platters.  We wish to thank the Essex Lions for providing tables and chairs.

Special thanks to sponsors, including Whelen Engineering, Tom Alexa, Coburn Financial Group, Middlesex Hospital, Tower Labs, and many others.  Our silent auction had many creative offerings, thanks to many individuals and local businesses.  Blues on the Rocks provided tasteful music for listening and dancing.

Thanks to everyone who made it an evening to remember as well as a meaningful contribution to Tri-Town Youth Services.

Tri-Town Youth services supports and advances the families, youth, and communities of Chester, Deep River, and Essex.  They coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.


Gail E. Beck and Tri-Town’s Board of Directors,
Deep River


The Movie Man: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is an Unexpected Delight

kubo-main_0Truly, if you enjoy learning about ancient mythology, you will enjoy watching Kubo and the Two Strings, brought to you by Laika, the filmmakers behind Coraline and The Boxtrolls. With an all-star-studded cast that includes Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, and Star Trek actor/turned social media personality George Takei, this stop-motion animation film does not disappoint.

We are told the story of Kubo, a young one-eyed boy, who cares for his ill mother by transforming paper into origami masterpieces through his shamisen (a string instrument indigenous to Japan). After staying out past dark (as he was warned against many times), his mother’s sisters destroy his village and attempt to take his remaining eye.

Upon escaping the terror of his aunts, Kubo comes across the incarnate version of his wooden monkey (voiced by Ms. Theron) brought to life by his own mother’s magic, and eventually Beetle (Mr. McConaughey), who join him on a quest to retrieve the armor worn by his father, a Samurai warrior.

The film often invoked reminders of ancient mythology, in which the character is forced to embark on a quest, accompanied people who are both reasonable and unreasonable, in which the protagonist must locate something precious in regards to the parent he never knew, who was a great warrior and up to whose image he seeks to live. This ranges from classical mythology to modern entertainment (think of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, prior to learning his father was the enemy he was fighting all along [not spoiling anything about this film, disclaimer] or even Telemachus, son of Odysseus in The Odysessy.)

Perhaps what is most rivaled by its story and performances is its original score, which I have no doubt will at least be nominated by many award shows this upcoming season.

It was released in 3D, a trend in movies that I do not understand. Despite being a family-friendly film, I would caution those who have very young children from seeing this. One of the main themes revolves around the title character missing an eye and his grandfather and aunts seeking retribution on his life or his remaining eye, as well as there being some frightening images and scary scenes.

But anybody above the PG-warned audience will find this movie to be an ultimate delight.

Kevin Ganey

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


Letter to the Editor: Congratulations to Ann Lander on ‘Beacon Award’ for Literacy Volunteers’ Service

To The Editor:

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is proud to congratulate Ann Lander for winning a Shore Publishing 2016 Beacon Award. Ann is being recognized for her dedication to Literacy Volunteers as a Workshop Leader, Conversation Social facilitator, Tutor, Student Services Coordinator and volunteer at the organization’s fundraisers. Her selflessness and commitment to helping tutors and students improve lives in our shoreline communities for over twenty seven years makes her more than deserving of this recognition. We are so proud to be associated with someone who has made a life, after improving the lives of area children in her teaching career, improving the lives of children AND adults in her “volunteer” career with Literacy Volunteers.

The Beacon Awards recognize a few outstanding individuals who selflessly step up to help fulfill the Shoreline community’s promise as a place of opportunity, wellbeing, and safety for all. Ms. Lander was officially recognized at the annual Beacon Awards Dinner to be held at Water’s Edge Resort & Spa in Westbrook on September 28th. I am honored to speak for the board, staff, tutors and students of Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore in thanking Ann for her service, congratulating her on this award and in extending our best wishes to her in her future endeavors (although we hope she never leaves!)


John J. Ferrara,

Editor’s note: The author is the Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore.


Explore Essex’s Best Kept Secret 9am This Morning With Essex Land Trust


ESSEX — Become acquainted with the 700-acre Incarnation Camp and Bushy Hill Nature Center, Essex’s largest privately owned property on Saturday, Sept.24, 9 a.m. at Bushy Hill Nature Center, 253 Bushy Hill Rd., Ivoryton.

Phil Miller, Bushy Hill Nature Center’s Director, will guide visitors through this remarkable assemblage of woods, fields, lakes, and wetlands, seeking out the rich range of plants and animals that call it home.

This walk is suitable for all ages and involves moderate walking of up to one and a half hours.

Rain/thunderstorms cancel. Alternate rain date: Saturday, Oct. 1.


Estuary’s ‘Shoreline Chefs’ Event at ‘Water’s Edge’ Tomorrow Benefits ‘Meals on Wheels’

shoreline_chefs_2016_posterAREAWIDE — The Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook will sponsor a major fundraiser  Shoreline Chefs, a delicious way to support Meals on Wheels, on Sunday, Sept. 25, at Water’s Edge Resort & Spa, 1525 Boston Post Road, Westbrook, from 3 to 6 p.m.  This savory event features local professional and notable locals cooking up a storm in small plate tastings.

Twenty chefs are expected to participate.  A Beer Tasting by 30 Mile Brewery is included as well as wine from The Wine Cask. Entertainment will be by the Von Zells.  The special guest is author, creator, and Executive Producer of “Let’s Get Cooking with La Befana and Friends,” Kate West.

Tickets are $40 ($45 at the door) and may be purchased in Old Saybrook at the Estuary Council of Seniors, Harbor Light Realty, Harris Outdoors, Pak-it Of Southeastern CT, and Edd’s Place in Westbrook.


Enjoy “Cruise Blues & Brews” in Chester Today; Benefits At-Risk Boys Fund

Cruise_Brews&Blues 300x250_CBBCHESTER — The Second Annual Cruise Blues & Brews will be held Saturday Sept. 24, at the Chester Fair Grounds from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (rain or shine). This is a fun-filled family event featuring antique and unique cars, the area’s top blues bands, craft beer, up-scale food trucks, marketplace of vendors, kids play area, games, prizes and surprises.

For additional information and to purchase tickets at $15 (kids under 12 free) visit www.atriskboysfund.org.

All proceeds benefit the At-Risk Boys Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.