February 22, 2017

New Housing Site Cleared on Rte. 154 South in Essex

Demolition complete: the Chinese restaurant on Rte. 154 South was leveled by this machine. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

ESSEX — Not too long ago, the area pictured in the image above was the site of an active business — a Chinese restaurant — and many, many years before that, the site of a movie theater.  Now, after being completely leveled by a huge machine (pictured above), the empty site awaits the construction of a new apartment complex.

The new building site is just to the north of the Valley Railroad station.

Read a related article by Jerome Wilson titled, “Plains Rd. Development of 52 New Homes in Essex Scheduled to Begin … Finally,” published Jan. 12, 2017, on ValleyNewsNow.com.

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Celebrate Winter Today at Chester’s 26th Annual Winter Carnivale

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

CHESTER — The townspeople of Chester are looking forward to their 26th annual winter celebration, Chester Winter Carnivale, on Sunday, Feb. 19.

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

Bill Bernhart stands proudly beside his ice carving at the Chester Carnivale in this 2012 file photo by John Stack.

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

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

Still hungry? Pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and lots more will all be available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, popcorn and kettle corn.

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 15th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

Free activities will keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available. The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history. Galleries and shops will be open, many with special events.

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the Annual Tractor Parade. File photo by John Stack

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

Tractor Parade at a previous year’s Chester Carnivale. File photo by John Stack.

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

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Essex Winter Series Presents Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band Today

Essex Winter Series Artistic Director Mihae Lee.

ESSEX — Known for its unique concerts of world-class talent and diversity, Essex Winter Series plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary year with a robust schedule for the winter months. The season-opener on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River is a musical tour de force led by Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee.

Lee has carefully curated a program featuring breathtaking music that spans over 600 years. She will be joined by audience favorites William Purvis, Patricia Schuman, Randall Hodgkinson, the Attacca Quartet, as well as emerging young artists.

The concert begins with a celebratory fanfare of Copland, then a high spirited string quartet by Haydn, wonderful cabaret songs and jazz ballads. The first half ends with the ultimate crowd-pleaser, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue arranged for piano four-hands and performed by Ms. Lee and Mr. Hodgkinson.

The second half begins with beautiful Renaissance music for brass, then an aria from the opera Carmen and the finale movement of Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor, both in a passionate gypsy style. The concert will end with a bang with hot jazz performed by Jeff Barnhart, Vince Giordano, Paul Midiri, Joe Midiri, and Jim Lawlor.

The season continues on Feb. 19 with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band performing a centennial celebration of recorded New Orleans Jazz. On March 5, it’s Garrison Keillor and “Stories in Mind, Poems by Heart.” The beloved raconteur, author, and entertainer will share his unique brand of wisdom and humor in what is sure to be an unforgettable afternoon.

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, returns to the series on April 2 to perform the program “My Secret Heart” which includes a world premiere by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, and the return of Augusta Read Thomas’ “Love Songs” to the repertoire.

All performances take place on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. with the Jan. 8 and Feb. 19 concerts at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, and March 5 and April 2 concerts at Old Saybrook High School. Individual tickets are $35 and $5 for full-time students with savings offered for subscriptions to all four performances. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

The 2017 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, and Tower Laboratories. Outreach activities are supported by Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Childress Gives Talk Tonight on, ‘Architecture of Gardens’

ESSEX — The Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series continues with architect Jim Childress, Fellow of the American Institute Architects (FAIA), presenting “The Architecture Of Gardens: Man-made Nature.”

Gardens have captured people’s imagination for centuries.  On Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m., architect Jim Childress will illustrate the design ideas behind some of world’s best small gardens.  He will explore how they are planned and how the plants are integrated.  And, to escape winter for an hour – there will be plenty of images of gardens in full bloom. 

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information or to register for this program, call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. Centerbrook Architects’ office is located at 67 Main Street in Centerbrook.

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9 Town Transit Partners with Google Maps for Online Trip Planning

AREAWIDE — Finding local bus route information just got a whole lot easier.  In fact, you probably already have it available on your smartphone.  Google Maps now includes local bus routes and schedules in its directions feature.

Riders no longer have to read timetables.  They simply enter the date and time that they hope to arrive at their destination and the trip planner will provide three options, showing the amount of time and number of transfers for each option, letting you easily select the most convenient trip.

Google Maps can even provide walking directions, so you can find out exactly how to get to the nearest transit stop or station, and how to get to your destination once you leave the train/bus.  For extra convenience, Google Maps has most locations already stored, so you only need the location name or just a category, such as fast food.

“We are pleased to welcome 9 Town Transit to Google Maps.”, says Ryan Poscharsky, Strategic Partner Manager at Google.  “This partnership shows 9 Town Transit’s commitment to innovating, as well as serving and attracting new riders. Together we can provide useful and accurate information to help people quickly get to where they want to go.”

Another important feature is the ability to plan trips across agencies and modes.  CT Transit New Haven and Hartford, CT Transit Express, Shoreline East and Metro North are all available in Google Maps, so it is easy to plan your trip from Old Saybrook to Hartford, from Manhattan to the outlet malls, or from your Clinton to downtown New Haven.  Google Maps tells you all transfers required along with the connecting agency name and contact information.

“We hope this tool makes it easier than ever to plan your trip by bus or train in our region”, says Joseph Comerford, Executive Director of 9 Town Transit.

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Hear ‘A Conversation About Opera’ with Three Area Opera Directors Tonight; All Welcome, Free

Salt Marsh Opera Executive Director Simon Holt is a participant in the discussion ‘A Conversation About Opera,’ Feb. 16, at the Community Music School.

“A Conversation About Opera” with Alan Mann, artistic director of the Opera Theater of Connecticut, Simon Holt, artistic director of the Salt Marsh Opera, and Adrian Sylveen, artistic director of the Connecticut Lyric-Opera / Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m., at the Community Music School in Centerbrook,

The Greater Middletown Concert Association is hosting the panel discussion and Barbara Waterman Arafeh, the Association’s president, will be moderator for the panel’s discussion.

All these three leading Connecticut professional opera companies present fully-staged productions that take place in venues located in one of the state’s newly-designated Arts Regions. This region is one of nine in the state and is overseen for the Connecticut Office of the Arts in Hartford by the Shoreline Arts Alliance, which has headquarters in Guilford.

Towns and cities in this Arts Region are Lyme and Old Lyme along with Branford, Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, East Haven, East Lyme, Essex, Guilford, Haddam, Killingworth, Madison, Middlefield, Middletown, North Branford, Old Saybrook, Portland, Salem and Westbrook.

There is no admission charge for this Feb. 16, program, but those wishing to attend should call 860 343-7555 to reserve seating. Space is limited.

The Community Music School is located at 90 Main St., Centerbrook.

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Local Lawmakers Urge State to Support ‘The Kate’ with Tourism Signage on Rte. 9 and I-95

Rep. Carney (left), The Kate’s Director of Development Dana Foster (center), and Paul Formica (right) at the Jan. 29 public hearing on the proposal to install signs for The Kate on local highways.

OLD SAYBROOK -– Old Saybrook lawmakers are urging the state legislature to help support the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (‘The Kate’) by passing legislation that would allow tourism signage for the center to be placed on Rte. 9 and I-95.

Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th), Sen. Art Linares (R-33rd) and Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) submitted testimony in favor of House Bill 5574 and spoke before the Transportation Committee to urge fellow lawmakers to support the local theater. ‘The Kate’ is a theater in the Town of Old Saybrook that provides entertainment for the region and is named for Connecticut Hall-of-Famer, multiple Academy Award winner, and former Old Saybrook resident Katharine Hepburn.

“We believe that ‘The Kate’ deserves to have signage along both I-95 and Rte. 9 because it will attract tourists to the theater and create an interest for those passing by the signs,” the lawmakers said in their written testimony, adding, “Similar theaters have signage along various highways throughout the state due to their importance and popularity and ‘The Kate’ is no different.”

They continued, “It is a cultural hub with entertainment that draws people from across the state and the country. It is an economic engine, not only for Old Saybrook, but for the region as a whole and helps nearby businesses like the many restaurants and shops in town. Signage along the highway will only improve the number of tourists to town and we believe it is in the state’s best interest to promote this important theater with the signage suggested.”

Sen. Formica and Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations at The Kate, testify before the Transportation Committee in favor of House Bill 5574 An Act Concerning Signs Indication the Location of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

Sen. Formica testified in person with Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations, at ‘The Kate,’ on Jan. 31, before the Transportation Committee on which Rep. Carney is a ranking member.

Foster explained the importance of signage along the highways, saying, “Signage would help our growing audiences navigate the multiple exits to Old Saybrook and help to further attract additional tourists and others to our historical building, great exhibit, and incredible arts and programming.”

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Festival of Women’s Plays Opens 2017 Season at Ivoryton Playhouse, March 3 & 4

IVORYTON:  The Ivoryton Playhouse announces the 2017 inaugural festival of the Women Playwrights Initiative –  Four One Acts by Four Fabulous Women Playwrights. Two evenings of staged readings will take place on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4, at The Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT, followed by discussions with playwrights, actors and directors.

Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m.

There will be two readings presented:

Guenevere by Susan Cinoman. Teenagers, Guenevere and Arthur, are best friends–a fierce competitor, she always bests him in sword fights. What will be the outcome when confronted with Excalibur in the stone?

Apple Season by Ellen Lewis. To make arrangements for her father’s funeral, Lissie returns to the family farm she and her brother fled 26 years before. Billy, a neighbor and school friend, comes by with an offer to buy the farm. As memories, needs, and passions are stirred, we learn what happened to the siblings as children, and of Lissie’s startling price for the farm.

Saturday, March 4, at 7 p.m.

There will be a further two readings presented:

Buck Naked by Gloria Bond Clunie. Two daughters are thrown into a tizzy when they discover Lily, their 60-plus-year-old mother, has decided to spice up life by tending her back yard garden – “au naturel”!

Intake by Margo Lasher. An arrogant young psychiatrist meets an 80-year-old woman for what he assumes will be a routine examination. During the course of their relationship, he comes to realize how little he knows, and as she reveals her deep love and understanding of her two aging dogs, both doctor and patient learn about life, love, and hope.

Before the performance on Saturday at 5 p.m., the League of Professional Theatre Women will host a panel discussion with the playwrights, moderated by Shellen Lubin, followed by refreshments before the 7 p.m. readings.  If you would like to attend the pre-reading discussion, you must register by Feb. 26, at this link.

To purchase tickets for the Friday, March 3, or Saturday, March 4, readings – each starts at 7 p.m. – call 860.767.7318 or visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Tickets:  $20 adult each night; $15 senior each night; $10 student and LPTW members.

A special two-day pass (tickets for Friday and Saturday night performances for $30) is being offered.  Call the box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your two-day pass.

The Ivoryton Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT  06442.

For more information about the Women Playwrights Initiative, contact Laura Copland, Director of New Play Development, at laurac@ivorytonplayhouse.org.

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Annual Pancake Supper, Feb. 28, at All Saint’s, Ivoryton, Benefits Refugee/Immigrant Organization

ESSEX — Because of the extraordinary challenges faced by refugees in the present climate, All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Ivoryton plans to dedicate the proceeds of its annual pancake supper, to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, to the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services of Connecticut (IRIS). This event is open to the general public and will take place at the Deep River Congregational Church, at 1 Church Street, Deep River, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Ashley Makar, the Director of Community Co-Sponsorship at IRIS and a graduate of Yale Divinity School, will speak about the organization’s work and the plight of refugees, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. followed by a pancake supper from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10.00 and can be obtained from area churches, Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe
Zedek, at the door, and online at https://pancakesuppertobenefitiris.eventbrite.com.

If you have questions about the event or would like to volunteer services, contact John Yrchik, chair of this event, at jyrchik@comcast.net.

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US Institute for Peace President Nancy Lindborg Speaks This Evening on ‘Building Peace in a Fragile World’

USIP President Nancy Lindborg

AREAWIDE — The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) hosts the president of the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Nancy Lindborg on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. She will speak on “Building Peace in a Fragile World” at the Saybrook Point Inn   USIP is an independent institute founded by Congress in 1984 to provide practical solutions for preventing and resolving violent conflicts around the world.

Tickets are $20 for the general public and free for area college and high school students, and SECWAC members; tickets can be obtained at info@secwac.org. (The ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership.)

The event will take place at 6 pm, Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Saybrook Point Inn in Old Saybrook. It will be preceded by a 5:30 pm reception.  Immediately following the presentation, SECWAC members with reservations (made by Friday February 10th) will reconvene for dinner ($35) at the Inn.

Lindborg has spent most of her career working in fragile and conflict-affected areas around the world. Prior to joining USIP, she served as the assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) at USAID. There, she led DCHA teams that responded to the Syria Crisis, the droughts in Sahel and Horn of Africa, the Arab Spring, the Ebola outbreak and other global crises.

Prior to that, Lindborg was president of Mercy Corps, the globally respected organization known for its innovative programs in the most challenging environments. She has held a number of leadership and board positions, including serving as co-president of the board of directors for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition; and cofounder and board member of the National Committee on North Korea.

She is a member of Council on Foreign Relations. She holds a B.A and M.A. in English Literature from Stanford University, and an M.A. in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The presentation is a part of the SECWAC Speaker Series.  SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America.  Its mission is to foster an understanding of issues related to foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate and educational programming.

Through its annual Speaker Series, SECWAC arranges up to 10 presentations a year that provide a public forum for dialogue between its members and experts on foreign relations.  Membership information is available at www.secwac.org.

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CANELLED: Leif Nilsson Presents ‘The Lost Acres String Band’, Sunday

The Lost Acres String Band performs Sunday at the Spring Street Studio.

CHESTER — 02/12 UPDATE: THIS CONCERT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE IMPENDING WINTER STORM.  Leif Nilsson hosts a Sunday night ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Feb. 12, from 4 to 6 p.m.,  featuring The Lost Acres String Band inside the Gallery at the Spring Street Studio at 1 Spring St, Chester Center.

The Lost Acres String Band serves up a flavorful mixture of songs and instrumentals from a wide variety of musical traditions with the added spice of several exotic original compositions. A typical show includes blues, Gypsy jazz, old-time and contemporary fiddle tunes, a haunting Hispanic ballad from the old Southwest, a classic number by The Mississippi Sheiks, and swing tunes from the 1930s.

After study of Western classical and South Indian classical violin, since 1975 Gordon Swift has been playing fiddle, electric violin, and baritone violectra in bands ranging from jazz-rock fusion to reggae to country-and-western. Gordon holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University and blends musical influences from around the world into a distinctively American violin/fiddle style. He organized LASB in 2008 and writes the band’s original material.

Master guitarist Paul Howard is a long-time member of the CT Americana/string band Last Fair Deal, with whom he has recorded four albums. Paul runs Valley Music School in Avon, CT and is a founding faculty member of the National Guitar Workshop with five music instruction books to his credit. Paul is an eclectic guitarist bringing influences from swing, old-time, bluegrass, and folk/rock music; he’s also an accomplished vocalist.

Jon Swift (Gordon’s brother) is a veteran of the New England bluegrass and roots music scene. He was a founding member of the popular bluegrass band Traver Hollow, playing bass and singing with the group for 13 years. He has also sung and played bass or acoustic guitar in several other groups (currently BluesGrass and Deep Ellum) as well as performing solo. Appearing here on upright bass, Jon lays down a solid foundation for the band.

“Impossible to pigeonhole…an unpretentious mood-booster…ranging confidently through several different styles, all handled with aplomb,”  says Grammy-winner Stacy Phillips about the band in Fiddler magazine.

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.

For more information about the band, visit http://www.lostacresstringband.com

For more information about the studio, visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com or call 860-526-2077

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Celebrate Valentines with Mimosas, Chocolates at Maple & Main, Today

Vivid swirling brushstrokes by abstract artist Lesley Koenig compose this dynamic acrylic painting of a single red rose, surrounded by luscious bursts of bright pink, yellow, blue, orange and green.

CHESTER – In celebration of Valentines, mimosas and chocolates will be served to visitors at Maple and Main Gallery Sunday, Feb. 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The gallery has a large selection of small paintings at reasonable prices which would make perfect and unique Valentine’s gifts.

The annual Juried Show and Winter Exhibit are on display representing new work by over 80 artists in a variety of styles and medium.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday from noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065. Visit the gallery on facebook.

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‘Stop The Bypass’ Rally in Mystic Today; Blumenthal, Courtney, Formica and Carney All Slated to Attend

Photo courtesy of Robin Breeding.

AREAWIDE — A protest rally against the Federal Rail Administration’s proposed high speed rail route through southeastern Connecticut will be held this Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Olde Mistick Village, 27 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT.  The meeting point for the rally is the Caboose in the north end of the parking lot.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, US Representative Joe Courtney (2nd District), State Sen. Heather Somers (R-18th), State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th), State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd), Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons, and Greg Stroud of SECoast and CT Trust are all planning to join the protest.  Stroud is the founder of the non-profit SECoast, which has worked tirelessly to research all aspects of the proposed bypass and campaign objectively against them.

Organizers of the rally include Olde Mistick Village, Westerly Chamber of Commerce, Mystic Chamber of Commerce and many more.

For more information, contact Stephenbessette@gmail.com

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Winter Storm Niko Set to Hit Region Today, Parking Ban Announced in Essex

AREAWIDE — Due to predictions of 11-14 inches of snow today from Winter Storm Niko, the Town of Essex has announced a parking ban from 6 a.m. through 7 p.m. today. This will enable snow plows to keep roads clear and safe, and also open for emergency vehicles.  Many other closures are expected.

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March Madness is Almost Here! ‘First Friday’ Starts March 3, Offers $500+ Shopping Spree Prize Drawing

Suzie Woodward of ‘Lark’ prepares for First Friday in Chester.

CHESTER – Visitors who come to Chester’s downtown between Friday, March 3, and Friday, April 7, have a chance at winning a March Madness shopping spree worth more than $500.

Kicking off on First Friday in March and ending First Friday in April, shoppers, diners and gallery-goers can pick up a special “Chester” card at any business and each time they buy something their card will be validated.

Once they’ve made purchases at seven different locations, their card is eligible for the drawing April 7 when the winner will receive $25 gift certificates from each of the eight restaurants and 13 merchants participating.

Every store, gallery and restaurant in town is on board, and the cards will be available at each of them beginning on First Friday, March 3.

These customers of “Strut Your Mutt” are ready for First Friday.

Completed cards should be turned in to The Perfect Pear at 51 Main Street no later than 5 p.m. April 7 for the grand-prize drawing at 6 p.m. Players can complete more than one card for entry. The winner need not be present to win.

The participating restaurants are: The Good Elephant, Otto, Pattaconk 1850 Bar and Grille, River Tavern, Simon’s Marketplace, Thai Riverside, The Villager and The Wheatmarket.

The eligible retail shops and galleries are Black Kat Leather, Dina Varano, Elle Design Studio, The French Hen, Lark, Lori Warner Gallery and Swoon and Maple & Main Gallery, Also: The Perfect Pear, R.J Vickers Herbery, the Chester Bottle Shop, Strut Your Mutt, Matt Austin Studio and Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery.

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Winter Raptors Field Trip Today

Eyeing the sky for eagles, hawks and owls on last year’s Essex Land Trust birding trip.

ESSEX — Eagles, hawks and owls: Essex Land Trust is offering an outing to search for birds of prey that winter in our region on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 1 to 5:30 p.m.  The trip will be led by Jim Denham of the Essex Land Trust and Andrew Griswold of the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Meet at the Essex Town Hall Parking Lot. Bring a snack and beverage, binoculars and warm clothes.

Two vans are available to seat the first 15 people who sign up. To reserve, please contact Judy Saunders at: judith.saunders@comcast.net by Jan. 31. Inclement weather cancels.

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‘When Paris Sizzled’: Essex Library Hosts Author Talk Today by Mary McAuliffe

ESSEX — Mary McAuliffe vividly portrays the City of Light during the fabulous 1920s, Les Années Folles, when Parisians emerged from the horrors of war to find that a new world greeted them one that reverberated with the metallic clang of the assembly line, the roar of automobiles, and the beat of jazz.

On Saturday, Feb. 4, at 1:30 p.m. at the Essex Library, McAuliffe will outline this decade that saw seismic change on almost every front, from art and architecture to music, literature, fashion, entertainment, transportation, and, most notably, behavior. The epicenter of all this creativity, as well as of the era’s good times, was Montparnasse, where impoverished artists and writers found colleagues and cafes, and tourists discovered the Paris of their dreams.

Major figures on the Paris scene such as Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Picasso, Stravinsky, Diaghilev, and Proust continued to hold sway, while others now came to prominence including Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Cole Porter, and Josephine Baker, as well as Andre Citroen, Le Corbusier, Man Ray, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce, and the irrepressible Kiki of Montparnasse.

Paris of the 1920s unquestionably sizzled. Yet rather than being a decade of unmitigated bliss, this period also saw an undercurrent of despair as well as the rise of ruthless organizations of the extreme right, aimed at annihilating whatever threatened tradition and order; a struggle that would escalate in the years ahead.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at 860 767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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Celebrate ‘Take Your Child to the (Chester) Library Day’ Today; Meet the Dog Whisperer

Chester Library (Skip Hubbard photo)

CHESTER — “Take Your Child to the Library Day,” this Saturday, Feb. 4, you can meet the Dog Whisperer, Helene Ferrari, from Sheltara in Chester, and her training dog, Bodie, at the library between 11 a.m. and noon.

While you pet Bodie, Ferrari will share her secrets about how to care for a pet and the importance of training. Bring your questions and also, bring a picture of your dog to share.

Before 11, you can hear stories about amazing dogs from Mrs. Applesauce, and sign up for your own library card. Pet crafts, dog treats and treats for humans too.

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‘Music & More’ Season Opens Sunday in Chester with Jazz Singer Kathy Kosins

Kathy Kosins performs at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek on Sunday.

CHESTER — Song stylist Kathy Kosins, described by one prominent music critic as “everything Diane Krall should be,” will perform in Chester on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m.  Her appearance opens season nine of Music & More at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek and, as always, is open to the public, and features a meet-the-artist reception afterward.

Kosins has performed throughout Europe, as well as Tanglewood in the Berkshires, the iconic Blue Note in New York City, and the Newport Jazz Festival.  She is particularly known for uncovering great songs that are overlooked by others. In all, though, her work is not easily categorized.

In 2012 she released “To The Ladies Of Cool”, a dedication to the West Coast School of Cool artists like June Christy, Chris Connor, Julie London, and Anita O’Day. Her latest release this year (2016) is titled “Uncovered Soul” and includes lesser known tunes by well-known artists like Curtis Mayfield, The Neville Brothers, and Bill Withers, along with three originals of her own.

David Zeleznik, the director of the Music & More series, says, “I am particularly excited that this concert will be Kathy Kosins’ only appearance in CT this season. Her new release ‘Uncovered Soul’ has transported her from mainstream jazz to groove-oriented soul. On the recording, produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Kamau Kenyatta, she is backed by the incomparable Gregory Porter. Visit this link to see video of Kosin performing.

Kosins is also a talented painter of modern abstractions and she will be bringing along several of her smaller works for display and sale. ”

To accompany her in February, Kathy has recruited Earl MacDonald, the celebrated jazz pianist who is Director of Jazz Studies at UConn and composer in residence at the Hartford Jazz Society. Earl has won the Hartford Advocate’s “best jazz group” award several times and will bring along a couple of other jazz professors to round out the combo backing Kathy.

Music & More, which has become a cultural phenomenon in the Connecticut River Valley, offers three more concerts for the ninth season, featuring the a capella singing group, the Maccabeats (March 19), classical pianist Dalia Lazar (April 30), and Bivolito Klezmer (June 25).

Tickets for the general public for the Kathy Kosins concert are $35 in advance or $40 at the door, with free admission for children 16 and under. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

For more information or to order tickets, visit cbsrz.org or call

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Letter From Paris: How France is Coping With the Ongoing Terrorism Threat

Nicole Prévost Logan

Two years after the “Je suis Charlie” massacre, how does it feel to be in France today with the threat of terrorism?  

Numbers seem to speak for themselves: France, which is the most visited European country, saw a decrease last year of almost 50 percent – equivalent to 84 million – tourists last year while website commentaries lament empty hotels, restaurants and museums.

This observation is not quite accurate and, besides, does not take into account the complexity of the situation. In the first place, France has not become a dangerous war zone and people here still enjoy themselves: restaurants are full at lunch time, the new Paris Philarmonie orchestra is booked solid for months and there are more fantastic art exhibits – such as the Shchukin collection – than ever.

For the French, the threat of terrorism is not measured primarily by the dollar amount lost through a decrease in mass tourism (which is not the country’s vocation in any case.) There are many other serious considerations relating to the effects of terrorism on French politics and society, or the measures taken by authorities to protect the citizens.    

The cover of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ two years after the horrific attack on the magazine’s office in Paris.

In recent years, the French have been deeply marked by terrorist attacks with 237 people killed between January 2015 and July 2016. These range tragically from the murder of cartoonists; the bombing of the Bataclan night club, several bistros and restaurants; a truck plowing through the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on Bastille Day; to the gory assassination of 85-year-old  father Jacques Hamel, whose throat was slit on the altar of his small Normandie church in front of two elderly nuns.

The impact on France’s national consciousness of the November 2015 terrorist attacks was enormous. As the two chambers of the parliament met in a joint session in Versailles, every single deputy stood up and sang the national anthem, La Marseillaise, a solemn event not seen since 1918.

François Hollande has been literally traumatized by the terrorist bombings. The president was immediately on the scenes of the attacks, even before the areas were made secure. For him, the defense against terrorism was a brutal awakening and a priority. The political price he had to pay was very high.

Under the intense pressure of the moment, he proposed a law on the déchéance de la nationalité (loss of nationality) for terrorists. This proposal caused havoc among the leftist segment of the French population. The president never recovered politically. Recently, when he announced his decision not to run again for another five years, Hollande declared, “I was wrong to make that proposal”.

The terrorist threat has become part of French people’s daily life. Alain Bauer, a professor of criminology, recently published a book titled, “How to Live in the Terrorist Era,” in which he gives practical advice on what to do in case of attack. Defense against terrorism is a major topic for the candidates in the upcoming presidential elections. .

France has come a long way since the affaire Merah in March 2012. The young Mohammed Merah had appeared all smiles on TV screens after killing seven civilians and military in the Toulouse area. At first believed to have acted as a “lone wolf,” he  turned out to be part of a whole network of siblings, relatives and friends. During the past five years, the French authorities – Intelligence, police,  judiciary and military both inside France and abroad – have made spectacular efforts to adjust to the terrorist threat, which is changing its modus operandi almost daily. 

Today the police wear bulletproof vests, carry attack weapons, and not only have the right, but also the duty, to intervene in the case of a terrorist threat.  The Direction Générale de Securiéte Interieure or DGSI (equivalent to the FBI) has stepped up its action, thwarting  90 percent of bombing attempts every year. In the past few months, it has dismantled sleeping terrorist cells in Marseille and Strasbourg.

France is the European country with the largest Moslem population. The latter is overwhelmingly considered to have nothing to do with radical Islam.  However, subjects which used to be taboo before, such as the relationship between extremism and religion, are now openly debated. Recent books also contribute to the change in thinking.

Gilles Kepel, an authority on the Arab world and Islam, demonstrates in his book, La Fracture, (‘The Divide’) that the only way to understand extreme Islamists is to analyze in depth their ideology. One should make an effort to understand  their strategy, which is to divide society, by teaching from a very young age, hatred against non-believers and the West, through brainwashing and conversion of an increasing number of people in both mosques and also in prisons. Keppel writes, “Prisons have become the ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration or French elite school ) for Jihadists.” 

In the fall, journalist David Thomson  published “Les Revenants” (those who returned) about the young men – and women – who joined ISIS or Islamist State in 2012 at the outset of the Syrian civil war. They would announce their plans openly on You Tube  and traveled freely through Turkey toward their final destination of Rakka. In 2013 -14 their number grew exponentially. With the loss of territory in The Levant , ISIS has changed its strategy and many of the “revenants” have gone underground and become “Jihadists of the keyboard,” to use Thomson’s expression.

Is it the end of the tunnel ? Probably not and the threat remains, the experts concur. We can be thankful, however, that the Intelligence services and police have become more successful in cracking down on radical Islam.

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

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

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CT Camera Club’s Next Meeting on Monday Features Presentation by William Canosa

A striking photo of an osprey by William Canosa.

AREAWIDE — Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will host its next monthly meeting Monday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at Lymes’ Senior Center, Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme.  All are welcome to attend the meeting regardless of whether or not you are member of CVCC.

The meeting will feature a presentation by local photographer, William Canosa.  He will present and discuss how he captured his landscapes, plants and animals, insects, birds, and macro photography photos. Canosa will also discuss how to print what you see on your screen.

‘Turret Arch’ by William Canosa.

More examples of his photography can be viewed on his website at www.canosaphotography.net.

In addition to his presentation, Canosa will display some print photos from an upcoming show in Milford where there will be a reception May 2, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Cafe Atlantique in Milford CT.

The Camera Club’s meeting dates, speakers / topics and other notices are published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/.

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Parent-Toddler Play & Support Groups Offered at Tri-Town Youth Services

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River will host weekly support groups for parents of young children.  Parents have opportunity to socialize and talk about family challenges while toddlers play.

The Parent Resource Coordinator will present a new parenting theme each week and invite parents to browse the extensive Parent Resource Library.  Toddlers will enjoy free play and art exploration.  Each session will include a seasonal circle with songs, yoga and finger-plays, followed by a shared snack.

“Outstanding Ones” for children under two, will meet Tuesdays from Feb. 7 to April 4.  The group gathers from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and the program costs $45 for Tri-Town residents.

“Terrific Twos” for children 24-36 months, will meet Wednesdays from Feb. 8 to April 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and costs $60 for Tri-Town residents.  Call 860-526-3600 to reserve your spot or register and pay securely online at www.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.

Discover more programs and information for families at www.tritownys.org.

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Sen. Linares Named Co-chairman of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Caucus

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) File photo.

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares (R-33) has been named Co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Caucus. The caucus advocates the interests of individuals with IDD and their families.

“Mahatma Gandhi said that a society will be measured by how it has treated its most vulnerable citizens,” Sen. Linares noted. “We must leave a legacy where individuals and families dealing with IDD are able to live full and complete lives. I am proud to be asked to take a leadership role in a caucus tasked with such important work.”

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-34) commented that he knows advocating for those impacted by IDD is an important issue for Sen. Linares.

“Sen. Linares is an energetic lawmaker and in this new role he will be an active ambassador to families and advocates, working hard to make their voices heard at the Capitol,” Sen. Fasano said, adding, “To best serve these families, we need to learn about the challenges they face every day. Sen. Linares will play a key role in that dialogue.”

Sen. Linares stressed that as the General Assembly faces a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit for the next fiscal year, legislators must do their best to support the needs of Connecticut’s IDD residents.

“State spending must be brought under control, but that doesn’t mean we balance the budget at the expense of those with disabilities,” he said.

Sen. Linares represents the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook along with Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.

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Community Music School Hosts Open House This Week

Community Music School’s Jazz Ensemble is a popular band at the school.

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS), located in the Spencer’s Corner professional complex at 90 Main St. in Centerbrook, welcomes the general public to visit during Open House Week Jan. 30 to Feb. 3. Children and adults can tour the School’s studios, meet teachers and staff, enjoy a free preview lesson, and learn about a vast array of programs for all ages including private and group lessons, guitar, jazz and string ensembles, music therapy services, Kindermusik, and more.

Community Music School is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Those interested in a 15-minute preview lesson are requested to call 860-767-0026 for scheduling.

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. The School’s programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

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

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Talk on ‘CT’s Early Aviation History’ Concludes Winter Lecture Series at Essex Meadows

“Pilot Charles Lindbergh lands at Doane’s Airfield, Essex, c. 1930.” Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX – Explore Connecticut’s early transportation history in “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” a lecture series presented by Essex Historical Society and Essex Meadows, Sundays, Jan. 15, 22 and 29, at 3 p.m. Each illustrated talk will feature in-depth discussion of our state’s modes, methods and mechanics of travel, often making transportation history on a national scale.  All lectures are held at Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, at 3 p.m. on those Sundays.  The programs are free and open to the public.

The series began on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 3 p.m. with “The Age of Rail in Connecticut.”

“Mrs. Ernest Bailey takes the wheel, Essex, c. 1910.” Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

On Sunday, Jan. 22, Richard DeLuca presented “From Paved Roads to Public Money: The Rise of the Automobile in Connecticut.”

The series concludes on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m., as Jerry Roberts will address “Connecticut’s Early Aviation History.”  Mr. Roberts’s illustrated talk will feature the state’s early connections to pioneering aircraft, notable aviators and significant aviation production.  While the talk has a statewide focus, it will address local aviation history, such as the production of WWII gliders at the Pratt-Read factory in Ivoryton.  As present Executive Director of the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Mr. Roberts is familiar to many as the former Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum.

Co-sponsored by Essex Historical Society and Essex Meadows, the winter lecture series is playfully titled “Planes, Trains and Automobiles: CT’s Early Transportation History.” All lectures are held in beautiful Hamilton Hall, Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, Essex.  Free and open to the public.  Refreshments.

More information can be found at www.essexhistory.org or by calling Essex Historical Society, 860-767-0681.

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Region 4 Returns 2015-16 Surplus to Towns, Sinking Fund

AREAWIDE — On Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, the Region 4 Board of Education approved a report from the accounting firm of Mahoney and Sabol that reflects a surplus of $157,046 from the 2015-2016 academic year. “This audit is a great endorsement of our continued focus on meeting the needs of our students while keeping a very close eye on the bottom line …” said Chris Riley, Region 4 Board of Education Chairman.

Per the Region 4 Board of Education policy, the surplus is split with 50 percent returned to member towns, and 50 percent deposited in the Region’s Sinking Fund accounts. Accordingly, member towns will receive refunds as follows:

  • Chester $18,838
  • Deep River $24,876
  • Essex $34,809

In addition, $78,523 will be deposited in the Region 4 Sinking Funds allocated as follows:

  • Paving $26,175
  • Flooring $26,174
  • Field and Repair $26,174
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Gowrie Group Raises a Record $172,919 to Benefit The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

From left to right, the Gowrie Group team of Whitney Peterson, Lindas Dillon, and Carter Gowrie present the donation check to Patty Dowling and Claire Bellerjeau of The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

AREAWIDE — The 2016 Gowrie Group Challenge raised more funds for The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) than ever before – a record breaking $172,919!

The Gowrie Group Challenge is an annual fundraising initiative where Gowrie Group announces a dollar for dollar match to benefit The SSKP. This approach doubles the impact of generous donations from local businesses and individuals. This year, over 400 individuals and companies donated to the challenge which ran two months, from Nov. 15, 2016 to Jan. 15, 2017.

The contributions from this campaign are used to fill the shelves of the SSKP’s five pantries and serve meals to those who are struggling to feed themselves and their families at the SSKP’s eight meal sites along the Connecticut shoreline. Since Gowrie Group began this challenge 13 years ago, over 4 million meals in total have been provided for those in need through the Gowrie Group Challenge.

Gowrie Group kicked off this year’s challenge with their largest gift to date – a $30,000 dollar for dollar matching donation to the SSKP.  Five companies stepped forward as Partner Sponsors to provide additional matching funds: The Safety Zone, LC Doane Company, Tower LabsLenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and BrandTech Scientific.

Spreading the word about joining this effort is vital.  Morning radio personality, Bob Muscatel of WLIS/WMRD, once again generously updated the community throughout the Challenge from his radio station. In addition, Shore Publishing provided a series of print advertisements in local papers across the shoreline.

Carter Gowrie, CEO and Founder of Gowrie Group said “We are very proud that over the past 13 years our community of clients, local business and friends have come together to raise more than a million dollars – $1,322,000 to be exact – to benefit the SSKP through our annual Gowrie Group Challenge.  We look forward to continuing to work together to support those in need along our shoreline.”

Lindas Dillon, a past SSKP board member, volunteer and longtime Gowrie Group employee shared, “It is personally rewarding to be part of this basic needs initiative.  It makes me so thankful to share energy and hope with all our clients, colleagues, neighbors, and friends who support the Gowrie Group Challenge.  I am proud that the success of the Gowrie Challenge brings food, hope, and community to our neighbors in need.”

Gowrie Group was thankful to be the recipient of proceeds from two exciting events.  The “Black Friday Benefit Concert” at The Kate held in November raised $4,767 and the ballet performance of “Ahavah: The Story of Christmas” performed by the Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet and Christian Academy of Dance raised $6,500. Both event proceeds were matched by the Gowrie Group Challenge.

Many Gowrie Group employees not only donate money to the challenge each year, but also donate time and services to soup kitchens across New England year round. Gowrie Group employees host and serve a lunch at the SSKP’s Old Saybrook meal-site each summer.  Additionally, employees work together to host Food-Drives every holiday season at many of Gowrie Group’s other locations including Westbrook CT, Darien CT, Newport RI, Marshfield MA, and Manchester NH.

Patty Dowling, Executive Director of the SSKP shared, “The Gowrie Challenge produces so much positivity – so many in the community come together to benefit something greater than themselves; feeding their neighbors – and with the match that gift becomes even greater.  I am so thankful for the many years of commitment from the leadership and employees at Gowrie Group – SSKP is grateful!”

Gowrie Group and the SSKP are proud of all that they have accomplished in the past 13 years of partnership, and look forward to continuing the annual Gowrie Group Challenges in future years.

Editor’s Notes: i) As one of the nation’s Top-50 independent insurance agencies, Gowrie Group provides total risk management services to individuals and organizations with complex insurance needs. Gowrie Group offers comprehensive insurance solutions matched with trusted advice and a commitment to service excellence. Gowrie Group’s portfolio of offerings includes commercial, home/auto, equine, and yacht insurance, as well as employee benefits solutions and safety services. The company’s 175+ professionals service clients across the US from offices in Westbrook CT, Darien CT, Newport RI, North Kingstown RI, Annapolis MD, Boston MA, and Marshfield, MA. www.gowrie.com or 800.262.8911.  

ii) Since 1989, the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries have been providing food and fellowship to those in need in the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org

iii) 2016 Gowrie Challenge partners and media sponsors were The Safety Zone, LC Doane Company, Tower Labs, Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and BrandTech Scientific. Media Sponsors: Shore Publishing and WLIS/WMRD.

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Old Saybrook ‘Sister March’ Draws Almost 1,000 Peaceful Protesters

Baby’s first march — we suspect not Grandma’s!

AREAWIDE — The march may only have been registered late last week, but almost 1,000 people still turned out Saturday morning in Old Saybrook to join the movement that inspired around three million people across the globe to publicly express their opinions on the rights of women and other minority groups, and in many ways on the new Trump presidency as a whole.

More than 500 people had gathered by 10 a.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green unsure whether they were just going to simply stand in front of the Town Hall or whether they were actually going to march.

They came from towns all along the shoreline — Guilford, Clinton, Old Lyme, Lyme, East Lyme, and Old Saybrook were all mentioned — and they spanned in age from a few months to others well into their 80s and many wore what had become the signature pink “Pussy Hats.” Many people brought signs ranging from hand-written words painted on pieces of cardboard to an elaborately embroidered banner bearing the words “Not My President.”

Others like Alison Mitchell of Old Lyme fearlessly sat in her wheelchair strongly and stoically making her point.

Around 10:30 a.m., it became apparent that a march was beginning going north up Main St. on the east side towards Boston Post Rd. then crossing over and returning to the Green going south on the west side.  By this time the crowd had swelled by several hundred more and as the demonstrators marched, more and more people joined.

Women were definitely in the majority but there were plenty of men marching too.  There were some chants, “Love Trumps Hate” was a popular one, and songs,”We Shall Overcome” rang out at one point, and overall, it was a cheerful, friendly occasion.  When the clouds cleared and the sun finally broke through on the return leg, marcher Rosemary Barclay of Old Lyme said with a chuckle, “It’s certainly not going to rain on our parade!”

From left to right, some Old Lyme marchers share a smile.

But once wasn’t enough for these intrepid marchers.  Almost as soon as they found themselves back at ‘The Kate,’ they started re-tracing their steps and ultimately completed a second loop. The Old Saybrook Police did a wonderful job stopping the patient traffic so that the marchers could cross Main Street whenever necessary.

By the time of the second circuit, the line of marchers was so long that it snaked down one side of Main St., across the road and then up the other side.  Passengers were getting out of cars to join the march, horns were being sounded regularly — and loudly — in support of the marchers and only one lone pick-up truck with “Trump’ flags was spotted.

At the end of it all, the marchers happily gathered in front of the Town Hall and in communion with all the other marchers across the nation and the world, observed a meaningful moment of silence before peacefully dispersing.

More signs …

… and another …

… and another …

… and another …

David Brown with coffee and a sign …

A previous presidential campaign slogan refocused …

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11th Annual Land Trusts’ Photo Contest Deadline is Tuesday

Bopha Smith was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Landscape category of the 2016 Contest.

Bopha Smith was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Landscape category of the 2016 Contest.

AREAWIDE — Five local land trusts invite amateur photographers of all ages to enter their favorite photographs of scenes in the towns of Essex, East Haddam, Salem, Lyme and Old Lyme in the Land Trusts Photo Contest. Children are especially encouraged to submit photos. Participants need not live in the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Essex, Salem, and East Haddam, but photos must be of scenes in one of these five towns. Land Trusts in these towns sponsor this photo contest.

Submissions will be accepted from the Jan. 1, 2017 to Jan. 31, 2017. Contest rules are available online at lymelandtrust.org. The link is http://www.lymelandtrust.org/news/photo-contest/.  Entry forms for the contest are available at photocontest2017@lymelandtrust.org.

Contest awards are being funded with the generous support of our commercial sponsors: RiverQuest /Connecticut River Expeditions, Ballek’s Garden Center in East Haddam, Essex Savings Bank, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Lorensen Auto Group, the Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, and Alison Mitchell in memory of her husband John G. Mitchell. John G. Mitchell was a life-long environmentalist and former photo contest judge.

A three-judge panel will select the winning photos. New as a contest judge this year is Joe Standart, an award-winning photographer, director and internationally known artist who loves photographing the natural world. Returning judges include Amy Kurtz Lansing, an accomplished art historian and curator at the Florence Griswold Museum; and Skip Broom, a respected award-winning local photographer and antique house restoration housewright.

$100, $75, $50 and $25 cash prizes will be awarded in each of five categories. The categories are Landscape/Waterscape, Plants, Wildlife, and Cultural/Historic (human interaction with nature, including domestic animals and buildings), for participants 15 years of age or older. Photographers 14 years old or younger may enter photos on any of these subjects in the Youth Category.

All entered photographs will be displayed and winners will be announced at a public reception Friday, March 10, 2017.

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Application Deadline for Environmental Leadership Scholarship is Wednesday

logoAREAWIDE — Applications are now being accepted for the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship, a $1,000 award to recognize a high school student who has demonstrated leadership and initiative in promoting conservation, preservation, restoration, or environmental education.

Students residing in Middlesex County, Lyme or Old Lyme are eligible to apply.

The scholarship is presented by the Rockfall Foundation and applications must be submitted by noon on Wednesday, Feb. 1. For a copy of the application or for more information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Established in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations whose mission is to be a catalyst– bringing people together and supporting organizations to conserve and enhance the county’s natural environment. Rockfall awards grants each year to organizations, schools and municipalities, and sponsors educational programs and symposia.

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‘Sister March’ Supporting ‘Women’s March on Washington’ in Old Saybrook Today

OLD SAYBROOK — We have just heard that a ‘Sister March’ has been announced in Old Saybrook on Saturday.  This ‘Demonstration in Support of the Women’s March in D.C.’ starts at 10 a.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green and runs through 2 p.m.

The information on the ‘Sister Marches‘ website states, “We invite anyone who’d like to demonstrate support for the Women’s March, occurring in Washington D.C. and throughout the country, to join us in front of the Old Saybrook Town Green on the day of the march, Saturday, January 21, any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.”

The invitation continues, “We encourage you to bring posters or banners calling for equal rights for women and for all
persons entitled to fair and equitable treatment, regardless of their sex, orientation, age, race or creed.”

For more information and to RSVP, visit this link: https://actionnetwork.org/events/demonstration-in-support-of-womens-march-in-dc?source=email&

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Centerbrook Architects Present Lecture by Jimmy Stamp Tonight on ‘100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale’

ESSEX — 2016 marked the centennial anniversary of the Yale School of Architecture. In recognition of this occasion, The Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series will welcome Jimmy Stamp, co-author with former YSOA Dean Robert A.M. Stern of the book Pedagogy and Place: 100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale (Yale Press, 2016).

Stamp will trace the development of the School’s pedagogy alongside a critical overview of the succession of buildings designed to house Yale’s architecture program. He will also draw parallels between historic moments in Yale’s history and things that have happened more recently.

Stamp is a writer at Robert A. M. Stern Architects whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Smithsonian, and the Journal of Architecture Education. 

Join this special event on Friday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Architects 67 Main St. Centerbrook.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the library at 860 767-1560 to register or for more information. Centerbrook Architects is located at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook.

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Wayne Eisenbaum Charitable Foundation Donates $20,000 to Operation Fuel

OLD SAYBROOK — The Wayne Eisenbaum Charitable Foundation (previously called IRMAR) of Old Saybrook, has donated $20,000 to Operation Fuel for its energy programs.

Now in its 40th year, Operation Fuel is a statewide nonprofit program that provides emergency energy assistance year-round to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly, and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis.

Individuals who need energy assistance should call 211.

For more information on Operation Fuel or to make a donation, go towww.operationfuel.org

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‘Together We Rise’ Holds Official ‘Sister Event’ to Women’s March on Washington at East Haddam, Saturday

EAST HADDAM — The Women’s March on Washington has inspired over 370 other ‘sister marches’ to take place this coming Saturday, Jan. 21. All 50 states and Puerto Rico are confirmed to have at least one grassroots-led march on that day, as well as 55 global cities on six continents, from Tokyo to Sydney, Nairobi to Paris to Bogotá.

But if you’ve missed the bus — literally and figuratively — to DC, there is now a local opportunity to participate in a ‘Sister Event.’ Together We Rise – Building Bridges For Justice has just announced that East Haddam/Lower Connecticut River Valley is now registered as an Official Sister Event for Connecticut, along with Hartford, Salisbury and Stamford, for the Women’s March on Washington.

The East Haddam event will be a vigil to be held from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday.  This outdoor vigil will be at Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee House & Café, located at 374 Town Street in East Haddam, CT at the junction of Rte. 82 and Rte. 151.

A Still We Rise vigil has been ongoing weekly since November 2016 and is attended by a group of dedicated individuals each Saturday.  The purpose is to keep social justice issues in the forefront of our community consciousness and to stand in solidarity with marginalized groups.  From the suffrage movement to anti-war protests, vigils have a long tradition in our country as an effective form of peaceful protest.

Participants in the weekly vigil stand outside Two Wrasslin’ Cats in East Haddam.

“The gathering of men and women at the East Haddam weekly vigil is a powerful illustration of what can be done by a small group with a willingness to stand up and work for change.  A perfect example of this determination is the fact that our vigil is a Sister Event for the Women’s March on Washington—one of only four Sister Events in Connecticut,” notes Edwina Trentham, organizer of the weekly Still We Rise vigils

Theresa Govert, Co-Chair of Together We Rise – Building Bridges For Justice comments, “What happens on the national stage affects all of us, but the strength of our Nation is built in the communities of action and compassion that start at the local level.  The Women’s March on Washington is unique and powerful because it draws from grassroots movements, first time activists, seasoned organizers, and institutions to amplify our voices.”

She continues, “Over 700,000 people have registered for sister events and 200,000 people are registered to attend the event in Washington D.C., the movement total could easily be 1 million people concerned about justice and human rights. This is the community building and work we all need to do every day to strengthen our nation.”

For more information, visit: WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON SISTER MARCHES

For more information on the East Haddam vigil, visit their Facebook page.

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‘The Maccabeats’ to Perform in Chester at CBSRZ, March 19

The Maccabeats, who will be performing at CBSRZ, March

CHESTER — The Maccabeats, a singing group that set a record for a video going viral (more than 10 million hits in eight days), and that performed for President Barack Obama in the East Room and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion, will bring their unique brand of harmony, humor, and musical inventiveness to Chester on Sunday, March 19, at 5 p.m., at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

David Zeleznik, producer of the synagogue’s Music & More series, says, “The Maccabeats are an a cappella group from the heart of Brooklyn that started at Yeshiva University with incredibly hunky young men, terrific voices, and a good dose of humor that is the closest thing to a Jewish youth sensation these days. And adults should not feel left out, these guys are just plain fun and joyous.” See video of The Maccabeats at https://www.youtube.com/user/MaccabeatsVideos.

The group, with its name inspired by the Maccabeats, heroes of the Chanukah story, became literally an overnight sensation during the holiday season in 2010.  It used a tune by Taio Cruz, “Dynamite,” and turned it into “Candlelight,” a playful Chanukah celebration — “I flip my latkes in the air sometimes, saying ‘ay-oh,’ spin the dreidel” — that it went viral so fast that it soon became number one on the Billboard Comedy Digital Track Charts.

The Maccabeats have followed up with a variety of songs and albums that have reinvented Jewish music, and have been cheered by audiences on five continents. Recently, the group released another video, this one reinterpreting the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton” as a Jewish story.  https://youtu.be/u3UubcYj49k

A sell-out crowd is expected so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. Advance general admission tickets are $35 for adults (or $40 at door, pending availability) and free admission for children 16 and under.  As always at Music & More concerts, ticket price includes an after-concert reception and an opportunity to meet the band.

For tickets and more information, see www.cbsrz.org, or call the synagogue office at (860) 526-8920.

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Plains Rd. Development of 52 New Homes in Essex Scheduled to Begin … Finally

Building site for 52 new homes on Plains Rd., just out of downtown Essex. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

ESSEX — It has been a long time coming, but the “green light” is finally turned on for the construction of 52 new housing units known as Essex Station. The units, which comprise a three-building apartment complex with an affordable housing component, will be constructed on a 3.7-acre parcel on Plains Rd. that includes the long-vacant former Iron Chef restaurant property and previously, a movie theater. Heading out of town from the town center of Essex, the new building site is on right hand side of Plains Rd., just past the tracks of the Valley Steam Train.

The application from Signature Contracting Group LLC was submitted under state statute 8-30g, a law intended to promote additional affordable housing in Connecticut.  It was originally approved by the Essex Zoning Commission on June 20, 2016.

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

Weeks after the zoning commission’s approval of the special permit for the Essex Station apartment complex on June 20, the applicant filed a resubmission that asked the commission to revise or rescind three of the 10 conditions that were part of the panel’s 4-1 vote of approval.

One disputed condition related to the requirement for a six-foot security fence around the perimeter of the property. The second related to a requirement for elevators in the three buildings, which was described as, “impractical and unnecessary,” making the floor plans infeasible. The third disputed condition involved the height of the three buildings.

The issues related to all three conditions were resolved at a Sept. 19 Essex Zoning Commission meeting and construction by the Signature Contracting Group LLC  is now scheduled to begin as early as February.

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Pough Interiors, Middlesex Community Foundation Host Open House Tonight

ESSEX — In the spirit of Love Your Local and Live Local, Give Local, Pough Interiors and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County invite you to their annual Open House to celebrate all the ways in which we as a community can help one another.

Join your friends and neighbors for wine and hors d’oeuvres on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pough Interiors, One Main Street, Essex Village. Pass the word and invite your friends.

For more information contact Pough Interiors at 860.581.8344 or The Community Foundation of Middlesex County at 860.347.0025 or info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org

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Saybrook Stage Presents “The Farnsworth Invention” at ‘The Kate,’ Continues Through Sunday

The cast of ‘The Farnsworth Invention.’

The invention of television comes to life in “The Farnsworth Invention” live at The Kate from Jan. 19 through Jan. 22 – a fast-paced electric play written by Aaron Sorkin; who brought us such great television as “The West Wing”, “The Social Network” and “The Newsroom.” His high energy writing style makes for an enjoyable evening of theatre.

It’s 1929. Two ambitious visionaries race against each other to invent a device called “television.” Separated by 2,000 miles, each knows that if he stops working, even for a moment, the other will gain the edge. Who will unlock the key to the greatest innovation of the 20th century: the ruthless media mogul or the self-taught Idaho farm boy?

This compelling story moves at lightning speed as two very different groups attempt to transmit a moving picture at the speed of light. The play is packed with every possible emotion – love, deceit, compassion, death, ambition and power – all intertwined as these two industry giants fight for the ultimate prize of being named the father of television!

“The Farnsworth Invention” opened on Broadway in 2007 and the Chicago Sun-Times described it as “ a firecracker of a play in a fittingly snap, crackle and pop production … the drama has among its many virtues the ability to make you think at the same time it breaks your heart.” The play has a cast of over 20 people who play over 60 roles which makes for a quick moving storyline from scene to scene.

The Saybrook Stage Company is pleased to return once again to The Kate in this quick-paced drama directed by John Pike. This will be their 13th production at The Kate and will be the largest cast to take the stage to date – the more recent previous plays are Deathtrap, Rumors, The Wayside Motor Inn, Moon Over Buffalo and this past January to a sold-out audience, Noises Off.

Visit www.thekate.org or call 877.503.1286 and reserve your tickets. Also, visit www.SaybrookStage.org for more information about Saybrook Stage Company.

The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing quality theater on the Connecticut Shoreline at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Saybrook Stage welcomes actors of all levels and abilities – and anyone who genuinely loves the arts – to come together and share in the experience that only live theater can provide.

The actors that have been part of The Saybrook Stage Company to date have varied backgrounds and “day jobs” from teachers, artists and homemakers to lawyers, business people and judges. The Company looks forward to producing many more quality productions at the beautiful venue of The Kate and continuing to thrive in this wonderful, artistic region of Connecticut.

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Linares Chairs CT Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee

Sen. Heather Somers and Sen. Art Linares at the January meeting.

AREAWIDE — On Jan. 11, Sen. Heather Somers (R-18th) and Sen. Art Linares (R-33rd) attended the first 2017 meeting of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.  The panel has oversight of all matters relating to the Board of Regents for Higher Education, public and independent institutions of higher education, private occupational schools, post‑secondary education, job training institutions and programs, apprenticeship training programs and adult job training programs offered to the public by any state agency or that receives funding from the state.

Somers, who serves as the committee’s Vice-Chair, represents Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington, and Voluntown.

Linares, the committee’s Co-Chair, represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Somers (www.SenatorSomers.com) can be reached atHeather.Somers@cga.ct.gov and at 800-842-1421.  Linares (www.SenatorLinares.com) can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov and at 800-842-1421.

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Greenskies to Build Solar Array on Whelen Rooftop

CHESTER –- Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC has signed an agreement to build a 339 kilowatt (DC) solar array on the roof of The Whelen Engineering Co. Inc.’s main facility in Chester, Conn.

The array, which will consist of 1,062 solar photovoltaic panels, will produce 398 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity annually. It is expected to be completed and operational by October.

Greenskies has already begun the design phase of the project. The construction phase is expected to begin this spring.

Under terms of the solar installation agreement between the two companies, Greenskies – one of the nation’s leading solar energy providers in the commercial, industrial and municipal segments of the industry – will design, engineer and construct the array on the roof of the 185,000-square-foot main building on Whelen’s Chester campus and then sell the completed array to the engineering firm.

Whelen Engineering designs and manufactures audio and visual warning equipment for the automotive, aviation, and mass notification industries worldwide. Founded in 1952, Whelen has become a leading provider of sirens, warning lights, white illumination lighting, and controllers. With facilities in Chester and Charlestown, N.H., Whelen products are designed, manufactured, and assembled in the United States.

“We are very excited to be working with Whelen Engineering to help them take a big step towards their energy and sustainability goals,” said Bryan Fitzgerald, a business development associate at
Greenskies.

Greenskies designs, builds and maintains solar photovoltaic systems for commercial and industrial clients, municipalities and government agencies, educational institutions and utilities throughout the United States.  Sen. Art Linares (R- 20th) is owner and co-founder of Greenskies according to the company’s website.

For more information about Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, visit www.greenskies.com.

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UConn Professor Gives Book Talk at Essex Library on ‘The Man Who Built the Sierra Club’

ESSEX — David Brower (1912–2000) was a central figure in the modern environmental movement. His leadership, vision, and elegant conception of the wilderness forever changed how we approach nature.

Brower transformed the Sierra Club into a national force that challenged and stopped federally sponsored projects that would have dammed the Grand Canyon and destroyed hundreds of millions of acres of our nation’s wilderness. To admirers, he was tireless, passionate, visionary, and unyielding. To opponents and even some supporters, he was contentious and polarizing.

Professor Robert Wyss of the University of Connecticut will talk about his biography of Brower, titled, “The Man Who Built The Sierra Club: A life of David Brower” on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m.

As a young man growing up in Berkeley, Calif., Brower proved himself a fearless climber of the Sierra Nevada’s dangerous peaks. After serving in the Tenth Mountain Division during World War II, he became executive director of the Sierra Club.

This uncompromising biography explores Brower’s role as steward of the modern environmental movement. His passionate advocacy destroyed lifelong friendships and, at times, threatened his goals. Yet his achievements remain some of the most important triumphs of the conservation movement. What emerges from this unique portrait is a rich and robust profile of a leader who took up the work of John Muir and, along with Rachel Carson, made environmentalism the cause of our time.

Wyss is associate professor of journalism at the UConn and a journalist who has written for the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Yankee, and the Providence Journal. He is the author of Covering the Environment: How Journalists Work the Green Beat (2007).

This special program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at 860 767-1560 to register or for more information.

The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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CMS Names Marianne Chamberlain, CPA, CMA, as Software Practice Manager

WESTBROOK — Computer Management Services (CMS) today announced the addition of a new staff member to the organization’s headquarters in Westbrook, CT. Marianne Chamberlain has assume the role as Practice Manager for Computer Management Services, LLC., with responsibility for overseeing and managing the Sage software practice.

“The new position will allow us to refine current services, create new initiatives and continue to be a leading provider of business software solutions in the New England area. We are extremely fortunate to add Marianne to our team.” said Harvey Payton, Executive Vice President at Computer Management Services (CMS). “She comes to us with knowledge, skill, experience and energy to enhance our company’s goals and mission.”

Marianne has a strong background in accounting, business management, and technology. Marianne has earned a Bachelor of Science and MBA in Accounting from CCSU and is a CPA and CMA. She also has extensive experience with Sage 100, Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and QuickBooks. She is currently pursuing certification with Sage Software.

Editor’s Note:  Computer Management has specialized in serving wholesale distributors, manufacturers, marine and service organizations throughout the northeast for over 30 years. CMS, with over 70 years of practical experience, has provided solid solutions while extending exceptional service to their diverse client base.  For more information visitwww.cmsct.com or at 1.800.533.0595.

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Middlesex County Chamber Hosts ‘Taste of Middlesex County’ Through Jan. 23

AREAWIDE — The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce announced that its restaurant week, the second annual Taste of Middlesex County will take place from Monday, Jan. 16 to Sunday, Jan.23. The week will feature restaurants throughout Middlesex County, Connecticut and is sponsored by Comcast Business.

The restaurant week is designed to highlight the numerous and diverse dining experiences within the greater Middlesex region. Taste of Middlesex County will feature a fixed price three-course meal for just $20.17, (does not include beverages, tax or gratuity). The three course components include an appetizer, main entrée, and dessert.

Participating restaurants locally include the Griswold Inn in Essex, Red House in Deep River, and On the Rocks at Fox Hopyard in East Haddam.

Additional participating venues include Amici Italian Grill, Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, El Pulpo & Tapas Bar, Esca Restaurant and Wine Bar, First and Last Tavern, Hachi, La Boca, Lan Chi’s Vietnamese Restaurant, Moonlight Sushi Bar & Grill, Tavern at the Armory, and Tuscany Grill in Middletown, Baci Grill, Cromwell Pizza & Pasta and Sheffield’s Restaurant and Lounge at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell, Angelico’s Lake House Restaurant, Rossini’s Italian Restaurant, The Tavern on 66, and WAVES in East Hampton, and Fire at the Ridge and Ridgeside Tavern in Middlefield,  They will offer a specific menu for Taste of Middlesex to highlight their diverse menus.

Follow updates on social media by searching the hashtag #TasteOfMiddlesex and by visiting MiddlesexChamber.com for more information.

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Cappella Cantorum Late Registration Tonight for ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Medley, ‘Les Mis,’ & Choral Showcase

ESSEX — Tomorrow, Monday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m., Cappella Cantorum will hold a non-auditioned, late registration/rehearsal for Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and a Choral Showcase including: For the Beauty of the Earth-Rutter; Precious Lord, Take My Hand, and Come to the Music, Lift Thine Eyes.  (This Choral Showcase has replaced Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.)  The event will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church, 109 Main St. Centerbrook, CT 06409.

Rehearsals will generally be held at 7:30 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River.

Soloists will be chosen from the chorus.

The concert will be held on Sunday, March 26, in John Winthrop Middle School.

Registration is $40. Prices for individual pieces are Les Miserables, arr. Lojeski: $4,  Phantom of the Opera. arr. Lojeski: $4. Pay at rehearsal or www.CappellaCantorum.org  

For further information, call Barry at 860-388-2871.

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‘Kate’s Camp for Kids’ Presents ‘ARF!’, Rehearsals Begin March 15

AREAWIDE – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Community Music School are partnering again under the umbrella of their performing arts summer camp, Kate’s Camp for Kids, to present a spring program and show entitled “ARF: A Canine Musical of Kindness, Courage and Calamity!”

This exciting program takes place at The Kate, 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook, and runs for six weekly sessions on Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 5 p.m. beginning March 15.  Launched in 2013, Kate’s Camp for Kids is a performing arts camp for children in grades K-5 incorporating music, dance, theater, and visual art.

Directed by Martha Herrle, a 15-year-member of the Community Music School faculty and certified Kindermusik educator, this year’s camp theme will be “ARF!”  Students will be acting out the personalities of their favorite canine characters from Doggie Town including General German Shepherd, the singing Dalmatians, and Rover the mutt. Featuring five original songs and easy-to-learn rhyming dialog, the program culminates in a lively performance for friends and family.

Tuition for this camp is $125 and scholarships are available for families with a financial need.

For additional information and to register, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

Learn more at visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Award-winning D.B. Rielly Performs a ‘Concert in Garden’ Today

D.B. Rielly

Photo courtesy of D.B. Rielly

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery presents the next Concert in the Garden on Sunday, Jan. 15, from 4 to 6 p.m.

D.B. Rielly is an award-winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who, along with his band, performs a wide-ranging collection of Americana music, including Roots, Zydeco, Blues, and Alt-Country. WMLB in Atlanta calls him “one of the best songwriters you’ve never heard of” and Country Music People Magazine says he is “rootsy, frequently very funny, witty and cynical, literate and highly enjoyable. Rielly is definitely someone to watch out for.” D.B. promises his listeners an “instantaneous cure for all afflictions.”

 Check out D.B.’s videos, they are amazing! http://www.youtube.com/dbrielly<.

A $20 donation at the door is requested. Feel free to BYOB and picnic and enjoy the outdoor bistro style seating in the amphitheater (inside the gallery if inclement weather).Gates open a half hour before the show. First come first seated. Sorry, no pets allowed.
For more information, call (860) 526-2077 or visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com. The studio is at 1 Spring Street, in the heart of Chester Center.
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Ivoryton Playhouse Hosts Open Auditions Today for Women Playwrights Staged Reading

ESSEX — On Saturday, Jan. 14, the Ivoryton Playhouse will be holding auditions for local actors to participate in its First Women Playwrights Initiative.

Beginning on Monday, Feb. 27, actors will have the rare opportunity to work with a director and writer on a new play in a workshop setting and on March 3 and 4 perform a staged reading for the public. This is an exciting project and there are a limited number of roles available. Looking for women and men aged 16-80, all ethnicities.

Bring a picture and resume and a short monologue. Sides will be available.

Open call – no appointment necessary.

Auditions will be held at the Ivoryton Playhouse Administrative Offices, 22 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT on Saturday, Jan. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, email info@ivorytonplayhouse.org

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Essex Library Presents Talk on ‘The State of the Coast Guard,’ Saturday

Capt. Greg Wisener

ESSEX — The United States has the largest system of ports, waterways, and coastal seas in the world, which includes some 95,000 miles of coastline, 26,000 miles of commercial waterways that serve 361 ports; 3,700 marine terminals (ranging from marinas to mega-ports); and 25,000 miles of inland and coastal waterways. The Coast Guard protects: those on the sea; the United States from threats delivered by sea; and the sea itself.

On Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m., Capt. Greg Wisener will present an illustrated overview of the state of the U.S. Coast Guard including the efforts currently taken and those being developed for future needs to ensure a secure nation, prosperous markets and thriving oceans.

Captain Wisener is a 1991 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy and currently serves as the Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard Leadership Development Center. He has 13 years of sea service time with afloat assignments that include being Commanding Officer aboard USCGC Forward (WMEC 911) from Portsmouth, Virginia from 2012 to 2014; Executive Officer aboard USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC 722) from Alameda, California from 2010 to 2012; two tours aboard USCG Barque Eagle (WIX 327) from New London, Connecticut as Operations Officer and then as Executive Officer; and two tours aboard USCGC Chase (WHEC 718) from San Pedro, California as Deck Watch Officer and Weapons Department Head.

Captain Wisener’s shore assignments include Operations Officer of the Pacific Strike Team Novato, California; Performance Branch Chief and Assistant Training Officer at Training Center Petaluma, California; Personnel Officer at Integrated Support Center San Pedro, California and Coast Guard Liaison Officer at U.S. Navy Training Systems Division, Orlando, Florida.

 

This program is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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Join the ‘Common Good Gardens’ to Discover the Benefits of Volunteering; Orientation Meeting, Mar. 11

OLD SAYBROOK — Each year, the Common Good Gardens in Old Saybrook raise nearly four tons of fresh vegetables and fruit, and then then donates them to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries  And they do it entirely with volunteers – volunteers who have kept it going and improved it for 15 years.

You’re probably thinking, “How unselfish … doing all that work to benefit other people,” and they are for sure.  But, according to new research, volunteers are also on the receiving end of some amazing benefits; and most likely, they don’t even know it.  They just know that they feel better when they leave the garden.

Never too young … all ages can volunteer at the Common Good Garden.

Solid data on the benefits of volunteering has appeared in a variety of current publications, ranging from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health Letters, to a review from the Corporation for National & Community Service, which states,

On average, volunteering 40 to 100 hours per year increases personal satisfaction and happiness, decreases depression, improves functional capacity; and results in fewer illnesses and a longer life span.

Similar articles from the Huffington Post, Atlantic Monthly as well as research released by Johns Hopkins, The London School of Economics and University of Exeter Medical School have all told a similar story.

Greatest Gains for Seniors

Volunteering has health benefits — especially for seniors!

While there are potential gains to be had for high-schoolers and middle-aged persons, the greatest gains related to volunteering are for those 65 and older.  Some researchers suggest this greater gain for seniors may be because they start out lower before volunteering. Their health may not be as good as that of younger people or they may have lower self-esteem and more social isolation due to retirement.  Even if that proves true, starting to volunteer at an earlier adult stage seems to correlate with fewer health issues later in life.

Regarding functional capacity, the Hopkins study showed improved brain function associated with activities that get you moving and thinking at the same time.  As for happiness, though some of the happiness data is based on self-reporting alone, other data show hormone levels and brain scan activity consistent with physiologic changes associated with happiness.

Studies in UK

In addition to the improvements shown above, a large review of nearly 25,000 articles in the UK notes increased coping ability, better parenting skills and richer personal relationships.

Impact on Chronic Illness and Longevity

Several studies examined in particular the impact for those with chronic illness. They found that these volunteers reported decreased pain and depression. People with a prior heart attack also had lower incidences of depression after volunteering.

A United Health Group survey showed these striking figures:

  • 25% reported volunteering helped them live better with chronic illness
  • 76% reported feeling healthier
  • 78% reported lowered stress levels
  • 94% reported improved mood
  • 96% reported an enriched sense of purpose

Finally U.S. census data confirms that those states with high volunteer rates show greater longevity and lower rates of heart disease.

Come Join the Common Good Gardens

There’s always room for an extra pair of hands …

Come join us at the Common Good Gardens.  Whatever your age, level of health, or skill set, there’s a way for you to contribute while benefiting from volunteering.

Yes, gardeners are needed to plant, weed and harvest, and beginners are always welcome. But also needed are people with computer skills, carpentry skills, writing and speaking skills;   people who can drive a car to deliver produce; leaders to organize small groups and work with public schools; people who love nature or are excited about nutrition, and folk who want to help experiment with natural ways to deter pests or make soil richer.

Common Good Gardens by the numbers

  • 14: Number of years garden has been in existence (2002-2016)
  • July 7, 2011: Date the garden incorporated and received non-profit 501(c)3  status
  • 10: Number of Board members
  • 220,000: Total pounds of produce grown, collected and delivered 2004-2016 through garden volunteer efforts
  • 50: Number of core active volunteers (gardeners, drivers, other)
  • 3,000: Number of volunteer hours donated annually
  • 1/2 acre: Size of garden located at rear of Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main Street, Old Saybrook
  • 22: Number of different varieties of fruits and vegetablesgrown at the garden during 2016
  • 6,900: Pounds of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • $17,200: Dollar value of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • 7: Number of farm stands that donate excess produce to garden for distribution to pantries in 2013.

Many hands make light work at the Common Good Gardens.

Current volunteers at the Common Good Gardens encourage you to get involved so that together, a healthy future for the garden, ourselves, and our shoreline community can be created.

If interested, contact Common Good Gardens at PO Box 1224, Old Saybrook, CT 06475 or call Barbara Standke at 860-575-8645 with questions, or to sign up for the annual new volunteer orientation on March 11.

Editor’s Note: The authors of this piece, Kate Wessling and Barbara Standke, are respectively Common Good Gardens President and Common Good Gardens Volunteer Coordinator.

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All About Invasives: Essex Land Trust Hosts Educating Event Tonight at Library

The bush honeysuckle (Lonicera) is a widespread, non-native, invasive plant in Connecticut.

ESSEX — Do you know what plants are growing in your yard?

Chances are very good that along with your favorite flowers and shrubs, there are non-native invasives on your property. Learn about invasive plant species you’re likely to encounter in and around your home and the lower Connecticut River valley at, “Invasive Species:  Identification, Control and Alternatives,” at Essex Library, Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m.  This event is hosted by the Essex Land Trust.

David Gumbart, Director of Land Management for The Nature Conservancy, will discuss the value of native plants and share experiences in identification and control of invasive plants, including several that may be unfamiliar to the general public. Gumbart is also a member of the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group.

Non-native invasives are aggressive exotic plants introduced intentionally for their ornamental value, or accidentally by hitchhiking with people or products. They thrive in our growing conditions, and with no natural enemies have nothing to check their rapid spread. The environmental costs of invasives are great – they crowd out native vegetation and reduce biological diversity, can change how entire ecosystems function, and pose a threat to endangered species.

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