May 29, 2016

Townwide Tag Sales Today Bring Hundreds to Chester

townwide tag sale 1

CHESTER: Chester’s 26th Annual Townwide Tag Sale will be on Saturday, May 28 – the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Sales open at 8 a.m. and end by 3 p.m.(or earlier). The event is rain or shine.

You’ll find well over 50 tag sales throughout the entire town of Chester, in residences and businesses.

As you enter town, you will see friendly volunteers selling maps (a mere $1) that will give you the locations of everyone hosting a tag sale. Spend more time with the maps and less time trying to find the sales by randomly driving around– although, that is fun,  too.

The first such event of its kind in the Lower Connecticut River Valley, the Chester Townwide Tag Sale was started by a group of Chester merchants in the mid-90’s and was run by the Merchants Group for several years.  In 2003, the Chester Historical Society took over the event and ran it for the next seven years.  The event is now organized by Chester Republican Town Committee..

For more information, contact Kris Seifert at (860) 526-8440 or kris.seifert@gmail.com.

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VRHS Students Finish Strong at State’s Robotics Competition

Valley robotics Relaxing after their second competition

Valley robotics relaxing after their second place finish

REGION 4 – Valley Regional High School was among 40 teams from Connecticut and Massachusetts that convened at two weekend-long First Robotics’ Competitions (FRC) New England held in March and April of this year. The April event took place at Hartford Public High School, April 1-3, and officials of the school said it was the biggest event in the state related to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM education.

In only their second year with a robotics team, Valley Regional High School’s “Human Error” took second place at the March competition held in Waterbury, beating out nearly 30 other teams. Then, on day one of the Hartford event, Human Error placed second overall but ultimately dropped in rank on the final day just missing the cut to advance.  Last year Valley’s team was awarded Rookie of the Year.

“It’s a little disappointing that we didn’t get picked for an alliance in order to advance, but we accomplished every one of our goals set for the robot we built and we all feel really good about that,” said Valley sophomore Rocket Otte.

Being Otte’s first time with the Valley team, he described the competition experience as “electric” and “exciting” and like no other. He explained he really appreciated the spirit of cooperation among all the teams.

“I really like how FRC organizes their events. They have this term called ‘gracious professionalism’ where they encourage all the teams to cooperate with each other in alliances and helping out with tools and equipment. If you’re missing a part you can post it and other teams will help out regardless. That’s really cool.”

Valley’s team Human Error, made up of about 30 students, spent more than 200 hours working after school and on weekends to build and refine the robot’s functionality. Each member or specific group works on a particular aspect of the robot, from sensors, to gears, to bumpers to programming, using math, science, logic and other educational disciplines. But the key is teamwork.

“Working collaboratively and coordinating skills and talents is what happens in this space; students determine themselves who does what to get the robot working, they organize themselves; the other teachers, mentors and myself are on the sidelines offering guidance and support when needed,” explained Valley Biology teacher Dr. Peano.

Another key element to the team is programming skills. This year that effort was led by rookie member and sophomore Sam Paulson, who worked in the Java programming language to accomplish the task of instructing the robot’s functions, programming it to drive and move its metal arm.

“Programming is something I learned myself with online sites and it’s something that interests me, so when I joined the team I offered to work on that. I learned programming the robot to drive is easier than programming the arm to move,” said Paulson.

He added, “I learned a lot this year and I’ll be able to do a lot more next year like make the robot do more complex tasks. But for this year I was content with what our team did and how the robot worked.”

In the end the competition was more than winning or losing. It was about brainpower, creativity, collaboration and having fun, all done in an environment outside the usual classroom setting.

Valley Regional High School team roster:
Alexandro Adamson, Tanner Aikens, Samantha Bartlett, Ian Bott, Matt Caron, Allie Champion, Gavin Collins, Jaedyn Correa, Jared Dompier, Meagan Gephart, Samuel Griswold, Michael Johnson, Nate Luscomb, Patrick Myslik, Nicholas Otte, Samuel Paulson, Cooper Robbins, Francis Stino, Sam Swap, Nolan Tackett, Ethan West
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Duane Gates Appointed to Open Deep River Selectman Seat

DEEP RIVER — Eight weeks after the unexpected March 25 death of 26-year Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith, the board of selectmen returned to a full complement of members Friday with the appointment of Duane Gates to fill an unexpired term ending in November 2017.

Gates, a Democrat, was appointed at a special meeting by interim First Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., also a Democrat, and Republican Selectman Dave Oliveria to fill the vacancy created last month when McDonald, with Oliveria’s support, was appointed as interim first selectman. Gates was sworn in to office immediately by Town Clerk Amy Winchell.

McDonald said six residents had submitted letters of intent and qualifications since the vacancy was created after his appointment as first selectman on April 21. McDonald said he and Oliveria had met with all of the interested individuals, holding closed door special meetings with prospective candidates on May 14 and last Monday. “It came down to a very difficult decision,” he said.

Gates 52, is a lifelong Deep River resident with a background in the construction industry. Gates currently works as a union representative and recording secretary for the Hamden-based Operating Engineers Union Local 478. He is the married father of a 22-year-old daughter.

Gates has served previously on the local board of education, to which he was first elected as a Republican, and the Region 4 Board of Education, where he served eight years from 2005-2013. Gates was elected to a full six-year term as a Democrat in 2005, and for a two-year vacancy term from 2011-2013.

Gates said he has been interested in serving on the board of selectmen, and had expressed his interest in conversations with Smith. “I am honored to serve the remainder of the term and I look forward to working with Angus and Dave,” he said.

The appointment Friday completes the transition that was forced by Smith’s unexpected death. The Gates appointment could be forced to a special election with a petition signed by at least 158 town voters that must be submitted to the town clerk within 15 days of the appointment. There was no petition for special election with McDonald’s appointment as interim first selectman.

The current terms expire on November 21, 2017, two weeks after the next municipal election on Nov. 7, 2017

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Community Music School Names New Executive Director

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School has named Abigail Nickell as its new Executive Director, where she will be responsible for the leadership and management of the active school and its outreach programs.  She replaces Robin Andreoli, who left the organization in March.

Abigail Nickell is a seasoned non-profit executive with more than a decade of experience in the social sector.  She took the helm at the Community Music School in April.  She most recently served as the Executive Director of MADD Hawaii, overseeing their statewide operations and fundraising.  Prior to that, she served as the Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Hawaii, a statewide grantmaking agency, and Executive Director of Save the Food Basket, an AIDS service organization.

Nickell began her career as the Assistant Director of the Northampton Community Music Center and is thrilled to be working in arts administration again.  Her undergraduate degree is in music and dance from Smith College and she received her MBA from Chaminade University’s Non-Profit Management program.

“I’m so pleased to join the staff and our incredible faculty at CMS in our mission to make music education accessible to all,” said Nickell.  “I look forward to working with our dedicated board of trustees to develop innovate strategies that will allow us to operate efficiently while engaging new audiences in support of our efforts.”

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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Letter to the Editor: Elect Siegrist in 36th District to Help Solve State’s Budget Woes

To the Editor:

On July 17, 2015 ValleyNewsNow.com published a 938 word Op-Ed titled “We Have a State Budget” authored by State Representative Philip Miller.   This opinion piece heaped endless self-praise on the virtues of the fiscal year 2015-16 budget, rationalized the supposed benefits of this budget, and admonished us for questioning  the wisdom underlying this fine piece of legislation.  The budget was first of all, “balanced” and secondly, would act as the foundation for future economic growth in both the 36th District and the State of Connecticut.  Bravo!

What a difference ten months make!  Fast forward to May 2016, the current year’s budget deficit ballooned to more than $250 million; the 2016-17 budget was reduced $930 million dollars because of overspending and unrealistic revenue projections.  Did not Representative Miller tell us, with great fanfare, the State’s budget was balanced and our long term needs addressed?  Rest assured he said, there was no need to worry, the record tax increases would solve our economic and budgetary problems.  Anyone stating otherwise was just “posturing”.

The current year’s deficit remains in place and the cuts in the 2016-17 budget did irreparable damage to individuals through the loss of their jobs, curtailed services to those most in need, and threw municipal budgets into turmoil.  Representative Miller supports budgets reliant on revenue increases based on people smoking, drinking, and gambling at ever increasing levels while further reducing peoples’ eligibility for local property tax credits.

How did Representative Miller get it so wrong again?

It is time we elected an individual, Bob Siegrist, to Hartford who will vote for the interests of our district and not simply follow the marching orders of the Governor and House Democratic Leadership.  Bob is an independent voice who will vigorously represent our interests in the 36th House District of Essex, Haddam, Deep River and Chester.  He has the courage to address the systemic problems that plague our State.

This November, join the movement to bring fresh voices to Hartford and elect Bob Siegrist as our State Representative for the 36th District.

Sincerely,

Vincent A. Pacileo, III
Ivoryton.

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Ivoryton Resident Darcy Chmielewski Honored by Webster’s Banking Center

webster bank

From the left, are Darcy Chmielewski, Jessica DaRe, Andrea Myers and Alex Nodden

IVORYTON – Darcy Chmielewski, a resident of Ivoryton and manager at Webster’s banking center in Essex, is an honoree of the bank’s “80 Days of Giving” employee volunteer campaign. The volunteer effort is part of Webster’s 80th Anniversary celebration. An awards ceremony was held May 3 at the Radisson Cromwell Hotel.

Chmielewski’s volunteer effort earned $1,000 for the nonprofit of her choice – the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries. She led a team of five Webster bankers who helped the local soup kitchen serve meals in November, filling a staffing void that occurs each month that has a fifth Monday. Chmielewski’s team shopped, prepared the food, served a meal to 12 people, and then cleaned up on Nov. 30 at the First Baptist Church in Essex. To make the event even more meaningful, nine of those who attended were able to take home enough food to provide them with an extra meal on the following day. The meal was sponsored by the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries of Old Saybrook.

The banker volunteer initiative, “80 Days of Giving,” was launched October 11, 2015. In all, 103 bankers nominated volunteer activities to receive one of the 80 grants. The breadth and impact of participation stimulated even greater community involvement by Webster bankers, who now contribute more than 125,000 volunteer hours annually.

Webster Bank is a leading regional bank serving businesses and consumers in the Northeast.

 

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Retire Your Worn American Flags, May 31 to June 10

american-flag-2a

OLD SAYBROOK – State lawmakers Sen. Art Linares, Sen. Paul Formica and Rep. Devin Carney encourage residents to retire their worn American flags from May 31 to June 10.

Drop-off locations include: Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main Street, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, Monday through Friday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The collected flags will be brought to the Old Saybrook American Legion Post 113 for proper retirement.

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Letter to the Editor: Thanks and Appreciation for May Market

To the Editor:

On Saturday, May 7, the Essex Garden Club held its 64th May Market.  As Co-Chairs of  May Market, we would like to thank all of  the volunteers, town workers,  residents, and especially the shoppers who supported May Market.  The proceeds of the annual May Market support the villages of Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton with programs for youth, scholarships for education and  campers,   town park maintenance and town beautification during various times of the year.

Thank you for your support.

Barbara  Hall  & Rosemary Willis
Co-Chairs of May Market

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Community Music School Opens Satellite Location in East Lyme

ESSEX – Community Music School (CMS) has expanded their programming to a satellite location in East Lyme, beginning with their summer session on June 27, 2016.  The new site will offer private lessons in a variety of instruments for students of all ages, as well as several beginner group classes, chamber music ensembles, music therapy, and the popular Kindermusic program for babies and toddlers.  The satellite is located in a beautiful new building with easy access and ample parking at 179 Flanders Road in East Lyme.

With strong public school music programming in the area, but very little in the way of private instruction or instrumental ensembles, CMS will be a much needed addition to the local arts community.  With need-based financial aid available, as well as music therapy services administered by a certified clinician, CMS will provide accessible music education for local residents.

“We are thrilled to launch our satellite location in East Lyme this summer,” says Executive Director Abigail Nickell.  “The board and faculty see this as a great opportunity to serve a new community with our well-established music programming.”  Community Music School’s eight-week summer session runs from June 27 through August 19, followed by the fall session beginning on September 7.  To register for classes, 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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Registration Open for 5th Annual ‘Run for Chris’ 5K in Essex

Run for Chris 5K (VNN file photo)

Run for Chris 5K (VNN file photo)

ESSEX — The 5th Annual ‘Run for Chris’ 5K will be held Saturday, June 25, at Essex Town Hall. It is both a memorial and charitable event, the primary purpose of which is to raise money for educational endeavors in the schools of the Lower Valley of Middlesex County.

Chris Belfoure greatly appreciated the opportunities afforded to him that introduced him to new places, peoples and cultures, such as his time spent studying and working in China. (He had participated in the trips abroad while at Valley Regional High School.) He felt that every young person should have similar opportunities to expand their horizons, since his experiences had so profoundly impacted him and his worldview.

Thus, to honor his memory and perpetuate his ideals, the Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund has been established at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. The proceeds from the ‘Run for Chris’ go directly to these causes.

To preregister for the race, go to aratrace.com, and click on ‘Run For Chris.’ (Race day registration starts at 7 a.m.) Overall and age-group awards will be given, and all participants will receive a free, tech t-shirt. Fun Run for Kids 6 and under starts at 8:15 a.m. along with the CB4 Mile Run for ages 7-14. The 5K and 2 mile walk start at 8:45 a.m. The run through beautiful Essex is USATF Certified. There will be great raffle items and a face painter to add to the fun.

Registration link: http://www.chrisbel4mf.com/run-for-chris-5k.html

 

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Essex Library Hosts Book-Signing by Local Authors at Today’s Book Sale

Richard Friswell

Richard Friswell

ESSEX — When the Friends of Essex Library hold their Spring Book Sale on Saturday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., two local authors, Richard Friswell and Jane Rice, will be on hand to sign and sell their books.

Richard J. Friswell, M.Ed., M. Phil, Publisher and Managing Editor of ARTES magazine, and author of Balancing Act: Postcards for the Edge of Risk. Friswell writes, “Balancing Act is a collection of short essays, capturing moments in my life when I find myself in curious, challenging or awe-inspiring situations.  I reflect on my own vulnerability and the curious workings of human nature as we venture out into a complex world.”

He continues, “Adventure can be found in everyday encounters if we know where to look for it and are open to being surprised.  From an offshore sailing trip, a chaotic cab ride through the streets of New York, a journey to the tip of Cape Cod, to observations about a summer’s night sky, I attempt to put events in a context of self-discovery and amazement.  The mundane events of life need not be so, if we are prepared to embrace the unexpected.”

Jane Rice, Eliane Koeves and Nikki Lindberg

Jane Rice, Eliane Koeves and Nikki Lindberg

Jane Rice is the co-author of Eliane—The Art of Embracing Life and Nature, written with Nikki Lindberg about Eliane Koeves of Chester after two years of interviewing her. Eliane said, “My story is a personal account of an extraordinary journey through the last century.  Challenges both simple and complicated presented themselves and just had to be faced.  Definitely things just happened to me.  Fortunately laughter and a positive attitude bubbled just beneath the surface, however calamitous or life threatening the situation might be.”

Eliane served in World War II, and joined the Peace Corps at age 75, always looking for a way to serve.  She died in Chester last fall at age 102.

The Essex Library is at 33 West Ave., Essex.

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Vista Presents “Pirates” Musical at ‘The Kate’ This Weekend

Nancy, Brian and Craig are three of the actors in "The Pirates of Penzance" at The Kate.

Nancy, Brian and Craig are three of the actors in “The Pirates of Penzance” at The Kate.

OLD SAYBROOK – A band of pirates will soon invade the stage at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook as part of Vista Life Innovations’ upcoming musical production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” which opens Friday, May 20.

Directed by Pat Souney, this production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic comedy features an original adaptation by Souney and Assistant Director Noah Golden. The story follows Frederic, an orphan who has mistakenly been apprenticed to a bumbling band of pirates, and the hilarity that ensues as a result.

“The comedy varies from clever dialogue to corny puns to slapstick,” said Souney, an Old Saybrook resident. “It is a very funny show and the cast has great fun with it.”

Setting this production apart is its mission to unite the shoreline and Vista communities, which it achieves by featuring an all-ability ensemble of performers from both communities. The cast is comprised of nine community members and 20 Vista members, and ranges from seasoned performers to those making their stage debuts.

Among the actors is Killingworth resident Craig Hines in the role of Pirate King. Hines was introduced to Vista when he was cast in Vista’s first-ever all-ability musical production, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” in 2014.

“What I have enjoyed most about working with the Vista students and members is the way they notice and enjoy the small details,” Hines said. “They are also more genuinely enthusiastic and openly happy to see you and be involved.”

Show times are Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.katharinehepburntheater.org or call the box office at 877-503-1286.

This production is funded in part through a grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. Show sponsors include Farmers Insurance, the Wrotnowski Family, the Lee Family, Cornerstone Construction Services, Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc., Bruce Baber, and Laurie Pilcher and Sharon Grogan.

With campuses in Westbrook, Madison and Guilford, Vista Life Innovations is an organization dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

 

Nancy, Brian and Craig

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Literacy Volunteers Hosts Races for All Ages Today in Essex

literacy volunteers runAREAWIDE – On Saturday, May 21, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) will hold its Ninth Annual Backward Mile and 5K Run/3K Walk. Registration for the races begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Essex Town Hall, on West Avenue. The Backward Mile race, open to runners older than 18, begins at 8:30 a.m.; the 5K race and 3K walk both begins at 9:15 a.m. T-shirts will be given to the first 100 runners.

Runners below the age of six can participate in the Lollipop Run, which begins at 8:50 a.m. All Lollipop runners will receive lollipops.

Registration forms are available from the LVVS offices, (860) 399-0280, or you can register online at www.register.fasttracktiming.com. Runners with additional questions about the race may contact Elizabeth Steffen, race director, at esteffen@vsliteracy.org. All proceeds from the race go to LVVS tutoring programs.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. teaches residents of the valley shore towns to read, write and speak English to improve their life and work skills. This one-to-one instruction is confidential and is completely without charge to the student. LVVS currently has 183 volunteers who serve 203 students in 11 shoreline towns: Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Guilford, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

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New Thrift Shop Opens in Essex

The idea of Susan Christopher of Essex (far right), a new thrift shop, "Treasures On The Hill" is being created by Susan Nilsen (left) and Connie Connor (center) of Essex at the First Congregational Church in Essex.

The idea of Susan Christopher of Essex (far right), a new thrift shop, “Treasures On The Hill” is being created by Susan Nilsen (left) and Connie Connor (center) of Essex at the First Congregational Church in Essex.

ESSEX – The useful, the unusual, the wearable and the collectible can all be found at “Treasures On The Hill,” a new thrift Shop that opened May 21 at the First Congregational Church in Essex, 6 Methodist Hill in Essex Village. The shop will be open year-round every first and third Saturday of each month, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Shoppers will find bargains on better women’s and men’s clothing, children’s items, books, household goods, cookware and an antiques/boutique selection. Proceeds from the store will go to support the missions of the church.

For more information or to donate items for “Treasures On The Hill,” call the church at 860-767-8097.

 

 

 

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Essex Wellness Hosts Free Talk, Discussion This Afternoon on Prescription Drug Abuse

Crowell_Joanna_05

Joanna Crowell, LPC, LADC

ESSEX — Abuse of prescription painkillers and opioid drugs has become an epidemic that has worked its way into many Connecticut families.

On Saturday, May 21, at the Essex Wellness Center from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Joanna Crowell, LPC, LADC, psychotherapist, drug and alcohol counselor, will talk about abuse of certain medications – opioids, central nervous system depressants and stimulants – and adverse health effects, including addiction, accidental overdose and death.

When people lose their access to prescription narcotics, they often turn to heroin in both affluent suburbs and inner cities alike. Addiction to prescription painkillers is common and dangerous.

Join this open dialogue and candid discussion that includes a variety of treatment options available to begin the healing process for people in trouble. This event is free, but preregistration is required as space is limited. Call 860-767-7770 or email info@essexwellnessctr.com.

This program is part of Essex Wellness Center’s free Live Well Lecture series. Essex Wellness Center is at 8 Novelty Lane (upstairs), Essex Village.

 

 

 

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Samuel Magaziner of Essex Graduates with Honors from Columbia

Sam Magaziner

Sam Magaziner

ESSEX —  Samuel James Magaziner of Essex graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Columbia University in the City of New York’s commencement ceremony, held on May 18.  Magaziner received departmental honors in Chemistry and was inducted into the Columbia chapter of the New York Delta Phi Beta Kappa.

While at Columbia, Magaziner conducted independent research and served as a research assistant with the Wang and Cornish Labs of Columbia University and was appointed a Research Team Leader and Co-founder for Columbia’s first International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM). He served as a Clinical Research Assistant in the Sinai Research Associates Program at New York Mt. Sinai St. Lukes’s and Roosevelt Hospitals. Magaziner participated in The Charles Drew High School Pipeline Program, where he served as a mentor to underrepresented and economically disadvantaged high school students seeking to enter into health and science professions by providing guidance and a strong support network among fellow Columbia students and faculty.

Magaziner has been recognized as a Guthikonda Fellow of the Columbia University Chemistry Department and is a member of the The Charles Drew Premedical Society and Chandler Chemistry Society of Columbia University. He serves as an executive member of the Nu Nu Chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Magaziner will attend the University of Cambridge in England in the fall to pursue an advanced degree.

Magaziner is a 2012 graduate of Xavier High School and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. James R. Magaziner of Essex, and Rumson, NJ.
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36th House Election a Rematch Between Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller and Republican Bob Siegrist

Republican nominee Bob Siegrist stands with State Senator Art Linares (R-30th) after the former accepted the Republican nomination to run for the State Rep. seat currently held by Phil Miller.

Republican nominee Bob Siegrist (right) stands with State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd), who nominated Siegrist to run for the State Representative seat currently held by Phil Miller (D-36th).

AREAWIDE — Party nominating conventions this week have set up a Nov. 8 election rematch, with Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller’s bid for a third full term facing a challenge from Haddam Republican Bob Siegrist in the 36th House District that is comprised of the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

In 2014, Siegrist was awarded the GOP nomination in June, following the withdrawal of a candidate nominated at the convention in May. After a spirited campaign, Miller was re-elected on a 5,522-4,701 vote, with Miller carrying Chester, Deep River and Essex and Siegrist carrying Haddam. Miller was elected to the seat in a February 2011 special election while serving his fourth term as first selectman of Essex. He was elected to a full term in 2012.

BobS&woman_204KB

State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-34th) offers congratulations to Bob Siegrist.

Siegrist was the unanimous choice of about 15 delegates and supporters at the convention Monday at the Pattaconk Bar & Grille in Chester. Seigrist was nominated by Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook, who holds the 33rd Senate District seat that includes the four district towns. In seconding remarks, Phil Beckman of Essex said Seigrist, “gets the priorities, the budget, economy and taxes,” which he described as the “Bermuda Triangle in the Legislature right now.”

The nomination of Siegrist (left) was seconded by of Essex.

Bob Siegrist (left) stands with Ed Munster.

In brief remarks after the nomination, Seigrist said he would focus on priorities and work to represent all of the residents of the four district towns. Seigrist, 32, currently works with a landscaping business after working previously as a bartender before his 2014 campaign.

Miller was nominated for a third full term Tuesday by delegates gathered in the community room at Chester Town Hall.  He was nominated by Lisa Bibbiani, the Deep River tax collector who said Miller has dedication and a positive attitude. In seconding remarks, Brian Cournoyer, chairman of the Essex Democratic Town Committee, praised the incumbent’s “passion for the environment and the Lower Connecticut River Valley.”

Miller told the delegates that this year’s legislative session, which struggles with a looming state budget deficit, mirrored the situation when he arrived at the Capitol in late February 2011. Miller defended the 2016-2017 budget plan approved by the House last week on a 74-70 vote, noting the plan made tough choices to address the budget deficit, including $900 million in cuts, while avoiding tax increases and a deeper cuts to education funding.

Miller said he was also proud to vote last week against a Republican amendment that would have ended the Citizen’s Election Program funding for legislative campaigns. Miller said the program, established in 2007 under a law pushed by his predecessor in the 36th District seat, current Deputy Secretary of the State James Spallone, limits the influence of large campaign contributions while also helping to level the playing field for challengers, including Siegrist. Spallone, an Essex resident, was chairman of the Tuesday convention.

Miller said he plans to run an active and positive campaign, and is ready for public debates with Siegrist. “I’ll be out and about meeting people like I normally do,” he said, adding “It’s my case to make and I think it is going to be clear, if it is not already, that I am a much better candidate.”

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Death Announced of Veteran ’60 Minutes’ Correspondent, Chester Resident Morley Safer

Morley Safer

Morley Safer

The death was announced Thursday morning of award-winning journalist and long-time ’60 Minutes’ correspondent Morley Safer, who had a home in Chester.  The Hartford Courant reports, “Safer, 84, recently retired from the popular news show and was the subject of a special report on his lengthy career Sunday night.”

Read the full article published today on the Courant.com by ‘Wire Reports’ at this link.

 

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Madhatters’ “Beauty & the Beast” Performances Continue Through Sunday

beauty_and_the_beast_logo_2_CHESTER – Madhatters Theatre Company presents “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” at Chester Meeting House, opening May 13.

The family-friendly production is a fundraiser for ‘Hailey Strong for a Paws.’ Hailey Giguere is a Windsor, CT teen in need of a service dog due to brain tumors she has suffered throughout her life.  Please help support this wonderful young lady. More about Hailey on Facebook: www.facebook.com/haileystrongforapaws.

Performances are Friday, May 13, at 6 p.m.; Saturday, May 14 at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m.; Friday, May 20 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, May 21 at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.

To reserve tickets, please e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com or call (860) 395-1861.

The Chester Meeting House is at 4 Liberty Street, Chester.

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RiverFare 2016 at River Museum Introduces a New Craft Beer Garden, May 26

Connecticut River Museum Board Vice-Chair Tom Wilcox and Executive Director Christopher Dobbs are joined by some of the restauranteurs as well as Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman to celebrate the upcoming RiverFare 2016. From left to right: Tom Wilcox, Selene Sweck of Catering by Selene, Norman Needleman, Christopher Dobbs, and Chef Earl Swain of Cloud Nine Catering.

Connecticut River Museum Board Vice-Chair Tom Wilcox and Executive Director Christopher Dobbs are joined by some of the restauranteurs as well as Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman to celebrate the upcoming RiverFare 2016. From left to right: Tom Wilcox, Selene Sweck of Catering by Selene, Norman Needleman, Christopher Dobbs, and Chef Earl Swain of Cloud Nine Catering.

ESSEX – On Thursday, May 26, from 6 to 9 p.m., the waterfront lawn of the Connecticut River Museum will come to life again as the scenic setting for RiverFare 2016.

Known as the unofficial kick-off of summer on the shoreline, RiverFare, the area’s most popular tasting event, will feature a new Craft Beer Garden with some of Connecticut’s finest craft breweries including 30 Mile Brewing Company, Back East Brewing Company, City Steam Brewery, Fat Orange Cat Brew Company and Willimantic Brewing Company.

Over 20 gourmet food and wine tasting stations plus an incredible silent auction make this an evening not to be missed  This year’s lineup of Connecticut’s leading restaurants and food purveyors includes RiverFare new comers The Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom and Dough on Main. Back by popular demand are Red House, Fromage Fine Foods & Coffees, Gourmet Galley Catering, Griswold Inn, Essex Coffee & Tea, Catering by Selene, The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook, The Ivory Restaurant, Cloud Nine Catering, Coastal Cooking Company, Impressive Catering Services, The Tea Kettle Restaurant, Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn and others.

RiverFarers will also have the opportunity to join in the fun of bidding in the silent auction, which features a diverse array of fine gifts, services and entertainment experiences.  Items include a fully refurbished 16-ft Hobie catamaran and trailer, a stand-up paddle board, and two tickets to the sold-out Demi Lovato/Nick Jonas Future Now Concert at Mohegan Sun.  Check out additional auction items at ctrivermuseum.org.

Major support for RiverFare is provided by Tower Labs Ltd., C. Sherman Johnson Co., and Sapia Builders Corp.  Additional support is provided by Bogaert Construction; Carr, Douglas & Cline, LLC; Centerbrook Architects and Planners; Clark Group; Egidio Assante Wealth Management; Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services; North by Northeast Enterprises; Reynolds’ Garage & Marine, Inc.; Sky Investment Group, blp Enterprises; Bob’s Discount Furniture; Caulfield & Ridgway; and Middlesex Hospital.  In-kind support is provided by Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store, Rhode VanGessel Design, Essex Printing, Connecticut Rental Center, and Apparel Plus.  Media support is provided by Valley Courier and iCRV radio.

RiverFare admission is $60 per person in advance and $65 at the door.  Patron tickets may be purchased for $150 and include a premium bar and a $100 tax deduction.  Net proceeds will help support the Connecticut River Museum’s mission to increase public awareness and access to the heritage, culture, and natural beauty of New England’s Great River.  For more information, or to make advance reservations, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860.767.8269. The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street in Essex.

 

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Wilson to Read Selection of Shakespeare’s Sonnets at Old Saybrook Library Tonight

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

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

OLD SAYBROOK — A reading and discussion of nine sonnets by William Shakespeare will be held at the Acton Library in Old Saybrook on Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m.  The public is invited to attend and participate in the reading, which will be moderated by Jerome Wilson, ValleyNewsNow.com contributor and a lifetime lover of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Shakespeare is much in the news on both sides of the Atlantic this year since it was the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23, 1616.  Interestingly, it is widely believed that he was born 52 years previously in 1564, also on on April 23.  His date of birth is not a certainty simply because there is no record of his birth, but his baptism in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, was recorded on April 26, 1564.  In the sixteenth century, baptism generally took place a few days after the actual birth, so scholars acknowledge April 23, 1564 as Shakespeare’s date of birth.

There was a full page article on Shakespeare in the the New York Times on April 23, 2016, and similarly, there have been numerous celebrations of the 400th anniversary of his death in the United Kingdom.  Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 — one of his most famous and many would say, most beautiful — will be among the sonnets read and discussed at the reading. It begins:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,
Thou art more lovely and more temperate,
Rough winds do shake the darling bud of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

Also, included in the reading will be Sonnet 116, which begins:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when its alteration finds,
Or bends to the remover to remove.

Nine sonnets by Shakespeare will be read and discussed at the reading.  At the reading, Wilson will first read the selected sonnet in full.  Next, there will be a general discussion by those attending regarding the sonnet just read. Then, Wilson will once again read the full sonnet.

Copies of the nine sonnets that will be read and discussed at the reading are  available at the Old Saybrook library, and those attending can bring their copies of the sonnets with them to the discussion.

In total, Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets in his lifetime, not to his mention tragedies, comedies and histories. The sonnets that will be discussed at the Old Lyme library meeting on May 19 will be: 2, 18, 30, 33, 73, 106, 116, 130 and 138.

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Norwegian Architect Ramstad Lectures in Essex Tonight

Trollstigen Visitor Centre

Trollstigen Visitor Centre

ESSEX — The Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series, hosted by the Essex Library, presents acclaimed architect Reiulf Ramstad at Centerbrook’s office this evening, Tuesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. Ramstad’s firm, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, has earned an international reputation for boldly simple architecture that strongly connects to its Scandinavian context and landscape.

Ramstad’s Oslo-based firm achieved notoriety for its design of the Trollstigen Visitor Centre, in Møre of Romsdal, Norway. Completed in 2012, this facility is one of the earliest and largest structures among the the now-famous Norwegian Tourist Routes. Set in a stunning natural environment, it exemplifies how the deep understanding of a place can lead to innovative modern architecture. The firm has gone on to produce a wide range of pioneering projects that have attracted international accolades, including the Architizer A+Awards Firm of the Year in 2015.

Ramstad earned a professorship from the Oslo School of Architecture and was a regular thesis advisor and juror. Recognized professionally as a board member of the National Association of Norwegian Architects, he has served on juries for domestic and international architectural competitions. In recent years, following awards and publicity of his firm’s projects, he has lectured around the world. He will receive an Honorary Fellowship into the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows at the AIA National Convention in Philadelphia this May.

The lecture will be held at Centerbrook Architects’ office, located at 67 Main Street in Centerbrook. Admission is free but seating is limited — call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 to register or for more information.

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Friends of Essex Library Appoint Sales Coordinator

Peggy Tuttle is new sales coordinator for Essex Library book sales.

Peggy Tuttle is new sales coordinator for Essex Library book sales.

ESSEX – A face that has become very familiar around the Essex Library is that of Peggy Tuttle. She is the recently appointed Sales Coordinator for the Friends of the Essex Library.  Though she has been a volunteer for the Friends for many years, including being named “Volunteer of the Year” for 2015, she stepped into the newly named position that was vacated when Dee Grover “retired.”

Tuttle has been working closely with Grover for months learning the ins and outs of conducting a successful book sale, and has put in many hours learning techniques and procedures.  She has recruited a small army of volunteers whose job is to sort through the literally thousands of donated books.  Each book is examined to determine age, condition, first edition or signed by author status.  Books suspected of having “special value” can then be scanned by the computer program recently donated by the Friends.

Tuttle has brought many innovative ideas to the position.  Ongoing sales continue to provide quality books for sale all year.  New are “Focused Sales” where a particular era or topic is highlighted.  In February, American History and Valentine themed books were displayed for purchase at very attractive prices.  March was “Music Month” where shoppers browsed through an extensive collection donated CDs.  June will feature “Beach Read” books suitable for summer reading.  Other featured sales are planned throughout the year.

Tuttle and her team of volunteers are preparing for this year’s Friends of Essex Library Spring Book Sale to be held Saturday, May 21, in the library at 33 West Ave. in Essex. The doors will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  From 3 to 4 p.m., books will sell for half price; “fill your bag for $10” will run from 4 to 5 p.m.  Customers are encouraged to bring their own bags for the latter event.

Specific information about the sale, including signed books, will be on the Essex Library’s website two weeks prior to the sale. Go to www.youressexlibrary.org, click on “Friends” and then the “Book Sale” page.

The annual sale will provide funds to support the library’s special programs and activities, as well as practical improvements to the building.

 

 

 

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New Location Announced for CT Valley Camera Club’s Meetings

"Within a Water Drop" by Diane Roberts, one of the photographs to be exhibited by the CT Valley Camera Club in Chester.

“Within a Water Drop” by Diane Roberts, one of the photographs to be exhibited by the CT Valley Camera Club in Chester.

AREAWIDE – The Connecticut Valley Camera Club will host all future meetings at the Lymes’ Senior Center on Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of every month. Meetings and exhibits are free and open to the public.

The club will be exhibiting at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek through July 23.

For further information, call Ed McCaffrey at 860-767-3521.

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Yellow Label Mill Dedication at Valley Railroad This Afternoon

YellowLabelBldg_EastFacade

The Birch Mill, today rechristened the Yellow Label Mill, was built by E.E. Dickinson, Sr. in 1915. Black Birch has the same chemistry as wintergreen and was chipped and distilled in the same manner as witch hazel until 1926. Today the mill is used to tell the story of witch hazel and to help preserve the Dickinson legacy in Essex.

ESSEX – The Essex Historical Society’s 60th anniversary celebration of the E.E. Dickinson Company legacy will come to a close on Sunday, May 15, when the non-profit organization, in partnership with the Valley Railroad Company, officially cuts the ribbon on the newly refurbished Yellow Label Mill, once used as a storefront for the sale of Dickinson Witch Hazel products.

Plans for the Yellow Label Mill Dedication Day, which takes place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Valley Railroad, include a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. to be followed by public tours of the Yellow Label Mill, the former Dickinson Bottling Plant and Witch Hazel Distillery. The free event is open to the public and will feature live music performed by the Occasional Jazz Ensemble, food and drinks. The Valley Railroad is located at 1 Railroad Avenue, off Middlesex Turnpike/Saybrook Road in Essex.

Just one year ago, May 15 was officially proclaimed “Yellow Label Day” in Essex as the two organizations announced plans for the renovation of the iconic 1915 building, originally a birch mill, that sits on the southern end of the railroad depot property on Plains Road. The Valley Railroad oversaw the replacement of the roof, windows and deteriorated structural elements as well as general cleaning and painting while the Essex Historical Society (EHS) was responsible for the refurbishment of Yellow Label signage and installation of Dickinson history exhibit panels in the newly repaired space.

“We are looking forward to a great day of activities that cap off and celebrate our milestone anniversary and our partnership with the Valley Railroad in honoring the Dickinson company’s history,” commented EHS President Sherry Clark, “We have enjoyed tremendous community interest and support at the various Dickinson programs held this past year, and we hope to see everyone come out for the big finale.”

For more information on the Dedication Day and other Essex Historical Society events or membership, go to www.essexhistory.org or call 860-767-0681. The Essex Historical Society is a non-profit, member organization.

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Lyme Land Trust Hosts ‘Tour de Lyme’ Today; Event Also Benefits ‘Bikes For Kids’

Tour de Lyme riders cycle past Grassy Hill Church

Tour de Lyme riders cycle past Grassy Hill Church

The Lyme Land Trust inaugurated Tour de Lyme in 2013 as an annual bike ride to raise funds to support its mission of preserving and protecting environmentally important land in Lyme. More than 725 riders participated last year.  It is being held this year on Sunday, May 15.  For more information about the Tour de Lyme and to register, visit this website.

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

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

Details of the ride options are as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join the fun of the Tour de Lyme!

Join the fun of the Tour de Lyme!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Letter to the Editor: Miller’s November Challenger Questions Opponent’s Priorities

To the Editor:
An opportunity for our district towns was lost on the evening of May 13 as an amendment proposed by the House Republicans to restore education funding to their local budgets was rejected by self-serving democratic legislators including our Rep. Miller (D-36).

The amendment would have restored Education Cost Sharing (ECS) to the district towns by using Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) funds to pay for it. It would have restored $3,500 to Chester, $22,800 to Deep River, $10,000 to Haddam and $229,000 to Essex.  Miller voted against the amendment.

This is unbelievable! Wow! Miller voted to keep the money for his campaign instead of returning education funds to his district’s schools! It’s pretty clear  what his priorities are for the 36th.

Sincerely,

Bob Siegrist,
Haddam.

Editor’s Note: The author is the Republican nominee to run against State Rep. Phil Miller in the 36th District.

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Ribbon Cutting Opens Chester’s Main Street Bridge

ribbon cutting 1

CT DOT District 2 Engineer Ken Fargnoli cuts the ribbon (using the scissors that cut the ribbon when the Merritt Parkway opened in 1940). Looking on, Selectwoman Charlene Janecek and First Selectwoman Lauren Gister (left) with DOT Commissioner James Redeker (right)

CHESTER – Ten days ahead of schedule, Chester’s Main Street Bridge reopened to pedestrian and vehicular traffic after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 12.

First Selectwoman Lauren Gister received only one day’s notice about the ceremony, yet even so, she was able to get the word out – and in small-town fashion, the word spread fast! About 100 people were on hand for the 3:30 p.m. ceremony, including fascinated small children who have been watching the work since it began in early January.

First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, with Selectwomen Charlene Janecek (left) and Carolyn Linn (right).

First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, with Selectwomen Charlene Janecek (left) and Carolyn Linn (right).

Gister thanked the Chester Merchants Association, “who have been incredibly patient and stalwart and put up with a lot of noise and dirt and lack of parking.” She thanked the Economic Development Commission and the Main Street Project Committee for their work before and during the project.

And she gave special thanks to the crew of Arborio Construction and the engineers – “we’ve been good to them and they’ve been GREAT to us!” – which drew a long round of applause from all in attendance. Gister added, “There is still some work to do on the streetscape and utilities and some patience is still going to be necessary, but we can now celebrate spring!”

Edmund Meehan, Chester’s former first selectman, also took the podium to thank his board of selectmen and the Main Street Committee for their “great expertise in setting the bar so high.”

Representing the CT Department of Transportation were Commissioner James Redeker along with District 2 Engineer Kenneth E. Fargnoli, who said, “This is a signature project, which established an amazing relationship and showed how communication not only addressed the bridge and its foundations, but how people can work together.”

This sign, at ELLE Design Studio, exemplifies the relationship Chester townspeople established with the Arborio crew and state engineers.

This sign, at ELLE Design Studio, demonstrates the warm relationship Chester townspeople established with the Arborio crew and state engineers through the bridge reconstruction project. Photo by Annalisa Russell-Smith

After the ribbon was cut, the first vehicle to go over the new bridge was Louis Heft’s white pickup truck, driven by his daughter, Paulette, with his wife, Marieanne. Mr. Heft died on March 11 of this year and his famous truck was given the honor of being the first over the bridge because, as his obituary stated, “Louie will be remembered for his strong, active role in the community.”

Mr. Heft’s white pick-up truck was often parked slightly askew downtown. He was known for keeping an eye on construction workers, watching any road work being done and offering all the help he could. Most days, Mr. Heft could be seen directing traffic, offering his seasoned advice to workers around town, or reading the paper with a coffee in hand.”

Sadly, he never got to supervise the Main Street Bridge project, because of his illness leading up to his death.

The first vehicle over the bridge was Louie Heft's famous white pickup truck.

Louie Heft’s famous white pickup was the first vehicle to go over the Main Street Bridge after the ribbon was cut.

The Main Street Bridge is owned by the State of Connecticut. Decades ago, the town purchased Main Street for $1 from the State, establishing its responsibility for road maintenance beginning on the village side of the bridge. The bridge replacement was required by the State.

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Letter to the Editor: Thanks from Essex Garden Club

To the Editor:

On Saturday May 7th in Town Park, the Essex Garden Club held its 64rd May Market.  The Silent Auction Committee of May Market would like to thank our area merchants, friends and artists for the incredible generosity they showed in supporting this year’s Silent Auction.  They are:

Abby’s Place Restaurant, Acer Gardens, Aegean Treasures, Ashleigh’s Garden, Bartlett Tree Experts, Black Seal, Blue Hound Cookery, Diana Charnok, Connecticut River Publishing Co., Copper Beech Inn, Cortland Park Cashmere, Adriane Costello, Ron Cozzolino, De Paula Jewelers, Essex Olive Oil Company, Essex Winter Series, Sandy French, Friends of the Essex Library, Judy Greene, Goodspeed Musicals, Phyllis and George Graf, Haystacks, Hortus Perennials, Ivoryton Playhouse, Marily MacKinnon Interior Design, Wendy and John Madsen, J. McLaughlin, Charlotte Meyer Design, Musical Masterworks, New Earth Acupuncture, Old Lyme Inn, One N Main, Pough Interiors, Saybrook Country Barn, Patricia Spratt for the Home, That’s the Spirit Shoppe, Walker-Loden, Weekend Kitchen, and Weltner’s Antiques and Art.

With thanks,

Dawn Boulanger, Alyson Danyliw, Genie Devine, Marily MacKinnon
The Essex Garden Club
May Market Silent Auction Committee

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Over 70 Boats, Yachts to Navigate into Essex for Spring Boat Show This Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Essex Shad Bake to be Held June 4, Event Serves up CT History

Connecticut River shad baking in front of fire on oak planks.

ESSEX – Fifty-eight years ago, the Rotary Club of Essex introduced the quintessential New England shoreline tradition; a dining experience Yankee Magazine has called one of the “Top 20 Summer Events” – the Essex Annual Shad Bake.

The Shad Bake returns on Saturday, June 4, to the Connecticut River Museum (CRM), from 3 to 6:30 p.m. It is made possible by the support of lead sponsors The Gowrie Group, Guilford Savings Bank and AJ Shea Construction.

CRM’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs, said “We are once again pleased to partner with the Rotary Club of Essex on this iconic event that celebrates the river’s heritage and supports the many worthwhile projects of the Rotary.” This volunteer-run event has been organized by the Rotary Club of Essex and is now coordinated by Bake Master Joseph Shea. Shea said, “We offer a unique New England culinary tradition; at one of the most historic sites along the river. . . It is a winning combination!”  Visitors might find a local doctor or lawyer at the de-nailing table where they take the shad off the oak planks or a local banker shucking fresh clams.

For shad lovers, the lure is the secret ingredients and the authentic method of preparation and cooking handed down from Connecticut natives.  Done in front of the fire, the fish picks up the smoky flavor of the fire with the seasoned oak boards that it is cooked on.  Add homemade potato salad, tossed green salad and scrumptious pies from Lyman Orchards and you have yourself a gourmet meal!  Don’t care for shad?  The event offers BBQ chicken and hot dogs.

In addition to the food, participants will enjoy live music and touring the museum, which will be open until 6 p.m.  The atmosphere is vibrant with picnickers, music by the Corinthian Jazz Band and the delicious smell of shad roasting around the open fire.

This year marks an important milestone for Connecticut shad.  Back in 1866, the Connecticut State Legislature created the Fisheries Commission as a way to restore, manage and conserve the State’s natural resources.  One of the key concerns at the time was the shad fishery and the need to protect the species from unsustainable practices.  Since the Commission’s founding, it has developed into the DEEP Bureau of Outdoor Recreation.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary, the DEEP will be present with a display.  The Shad Museum in Haddam, the Connecticut River Museum and the Connecticut Watershed Council will also offer programs during the day on the history and traditions of the shad fishery.

Buy your tickets today to the Shad Bake.  The $30 adult and $10 child (10 and under) ticket includes the full meal and admission to the museum. A five dollar fee will be added to walk-ins.  Beverages (soda, water, beer and wine) will be available at an additional price.  No carry-in alcohol will be permitted.

To purchase tickets go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or buy them in person at the Centerbrook Package Store or the Connecticut River Museum.

Onsite and street parking at the Connecticut River Museum is limited.  On the day of the event, an Essex Meadows shuttle will be running between the museum and several key parking locations that include the Essex Town Hall parking lot and Pratt House field (29 West Ave.).  The free shuttle service will start at 3 p.m. and run until 7:30 p.m., with pick-ups and drop-offs every 15 minutes.

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street. For more information about the Shad Bake and Rotary Club visit www.rotaryclubofessex.com.

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Essex Senior Ready to Conquer ‘Tour de Lyme’ Cycling Event

Don Shildneck may be resting against a fence for this photo, but you won't see this 85-year-old rider from Essex resting on Sunday at the Tour de Lyme.

Don Shildneck may be resting against a fence for this photo, but you won’t see this 85-year-old rider from Essex resting on Sunday at the Tour de Lyme.

ESSEX – This year’s Tour de France might be a couple of months away, but that’s not stopping one Essex senior from channeling his inner Chris Froome.

Eighty-five-year-old Don Shildneck, a resident at Essex Meadows, the retirement community located on Bokum Road in Essex, is earnestly gearing up for this year’s Tour de Lyme this Sunday, May 15, and he’s eager to take it by storm.

To prepare for the event, Don has been cycling four times a week, pedaling at least 120 miles each week. Don says his active lifestyle at Essex Meadows has also played a major role in ensuring he’s ready for the big event.

The Tour de Lyme is an annual cycling event that raises funds for the Lyme Land Conservation Trust. Money raised goes toward the conservation of the unique and historic landscapes of the Lyme area. Don is part of a four-member Essex Meadows team that was assembled to support the cause.

The event takes place at Ashlawn Farm in Lyme. Lots more information about the Tour de Lyme on their website, http://www.tourdelyme.org/.

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Celebrate Haiti’s New Library at June 9 Party

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Sister Cities Essex Haiti board members Mary-Beth Harrigan, Jenifer Grant and Connie Connor plan food details with Claudia Odekerken from Marley’s Café.

ESSEX – Sister Cities Essex Haiti will be celebrating the opening of the Deschapelles Community Library in Haiti with a party on Thursday, June 9, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Brewer Essex Island Marini. The event will feature food by Marley’s Café, drinks and music by the Tangerine Trio. The public is invited.

Ticket purchases and reservations can be made until May 31 by email to: info@sistercitiesessexhaiti.org  or by calling 860-227-0848.

More info at http://www.sistercitiesessexhaiti.org/.

haiti celeb

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Chester Republican Committee Endorses Linares and Siegrist

CHESTER – The Chester Republican Town Committee (CRTC), at its monthly meeting, unanimously endorsed candidates State Senator Art Linares, the incumbent from Connecticut’s 33rd Senate District, and Bob Siegrist, the challenger in Connecticut’s 36th House District, for the upcoming election in November.

“These candidates bring essential experience and knowledge of the issues facing our district and thoughtful innovative solutions critical to resolving the current budget crisis in Connecticut,” said CRTC Chairman Carolyn Linn. “It is time for us to elect a legislature committed to once again making our state a desirable place to live, work, and be viable for business and industry growth.”

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Watch out for Gypsy Moth Caterpillars; Advice from Essex Tree Warden

Gypsy moth caterpillars - photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES

Gypsy moth caterpillars – photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES

ESSEX – The potential for gypsy moth outbreak exists every year in our community.  For this reason, Essex Tree Warden Augie Pampel is encouraging Essex residents to keep a vigil for the gypsy moth caterpillar, which can defoliate many trees, thus impacting the trees’ ability to thrive.

Dr. Kirby Stafford III, head of the Department of Entomology at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, has written a fact sheet on the gypsy moth available on the CAES website.  The following information is from this fact sheet.

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, was introduced into the US (Massachusetts) by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot in about 1860.  The escaped larvae led to small outbreaks in the area in 1882, increasing rapidly.  It was first detected in Connecticut in 1905.  By 1952, it had spread to 169 towns.  In 1981, 1.5 million acres were defoliated in Connecticut.  During the outbreak of 1989, CAES scientists discovered that an entomopathogenic fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, was killing the caterpillars.  Since then the fungus has been the most important agent suppressing gypsy moth activity.

The fungus, however, cannot prevent all outbreaks and hotspots have been reported in some areas, in 2005-06 and again in 2015.

The life cycle of the gypsy moth is one generation a year.  Caterpillars hatch from buff-colored egg masses in late April to early May.  An egg mass may contain 100 to more than 1000 eggs and are laid in several layers.  The caterpillars (larvae) hatch a few days later and ascend the host trees and begin to feed on new leaves.  The young caterpillars, buff to black-colored, lay down silk safety lines as they crawl and, as they drop from branches on these threads, they may be picked up on the wind and spread.

There are 4 or 5 larval stages (instars) each lasting 4-10 days.  Instars 1-3 remain in the trees.  The fourth instar caterpillars, with distinctive double rows of blue and red spots, crawl up and down the tree trunks feeding mainly at night.  They seek cool, shaded protective sites during the day, often on the ground.  If the outbreak is dense, caterpillars may feed continuously and crawl at any time.

With the feeding completed late June to early July, caterpillars seek a protected place to pupate and transform into a moth in about 10-14 days.  Male moths are brown and fly.  Female moths are white and cannot fly despite having wings.  They do not feed and live for only 6-10 days.  After mating, the female will lay a single egg mass and die.  The egg masses can be laid anywhere: trees, fence posts, brick/rock walls, outdoor furniture, cars, recreational vehicles, firewood.  The egg masses are hard.  The eggs will survive the winter and larvae hatch the following spring during late April through early May.

The impact of the gypsy moth can be extensive since the caterpillar will feed on a wide diversity of trees and shrubs.  Oak trees are their preferred food.  Other favored tree species include apple, birch, poplar and willow.  If the infestation is heavy, they will also attack certain conifers and other less favored species.  The feeding causes extensive defoliation.

Healthy trees can generally withstand one or two partial to one complete defoliation.  Trees will regrow leaves before the end of the summer.  Nonetheless, there can be die-back of branches.  Older trees may become more vulnerable to stress after defoliation.  Weakened trees can also be attacked by other organisms or lack energy reserves for winter dormancy and growth during the following spring.  Three years of heavy defoliation may result in high oak mortality.

The gypsy moth caterpillars drop leaf fragments and frass (droppings) while feeding creating a mess for decks, patios, outdoor furniture, cars and driveways.  Crawling caterpillars can be a nuisance and their hairs irritating.  The egg masses can be transported by vehicles to areas where the moth is not yet established.  Under state quarantine laws, the CAES inspects certain plant shipments destined to areas free of the gypsy moth, particularly for egg masses.

There are several ways to manage the gypsy moth: biological, physical and chemical.

Biologically, the major gypsy moth control agent has been the fungus E. maimaiga.  This fungus can provide complete control of the gypsy moth but is dependent on early season moisture from rains in May and June to achieve effective infection rates and propagation of the fungus to other caterpillars.  The dry spring of 2015 resulted in little or no apparent fungal inoculation or spread until it killed late-stage caterpillars in some areas of the state, after most defoliation.

Infected caterpillars hang vertically from the tree trunk, head down.  Some die in an upside down “V” position, a characteristic of caterpillars killed by the less common gypsy moth nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV).  This was not detected in caterpillars examined in 2015.

Physical controls include removing and destroying egg masses, which can be drowned in a soapy water and disposed of.  Another method is to use burlap refuge/barrier bands wrapped around tree trunks so that migrating caterpillars will crawl into or under the folded burlap or be trapped by the sticky band.

There are a number of crop protection chemicals labeled for the control of gypsy moth on ornamental trees and shrubs. There are treatments for egg masses, larvae and adult moths.  Detailed information about these chemical treatments is available in the CAES factsheet.

For complete information about the gypsy moth and its management, please go to the CAES website (www.ct.gov/caes) and look for the fact sheet on gypsy moth.  You may also contact Augie Pampel by email: augiepampel@att.net with questions and concerns.

 

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Using Social Media – Free Program for Businesses, at Essex Library

ESSEX – The Essex Library is presenting a series of programs, “Building a Digital Roadmap for Your Business (or Nonprofit),” with Caitlin Monahan, Alyssa Puzzo and Austin Gray from Julia Balfour, LLC.

The series includes expert advice on website design and maintenance; social media and how to use it; e-mail marketing best practices; and the advantages of digital advertising.

The program on Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m. will focus on learning the where, what, when, and how to best use social media for your business or nonprofit, including analyzing the return on investment on your various channels.

This program is free and open to all.

Please call the Essex Library for more information or to register at 860-767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Lyme Land Trust Seeks to Preserve Whalebone Cove Headwaters

Lyme Land Trust Preservation Chairman Anthony Irving, kneeling, and Vice President Don Gerber next to Whalebone Creek in the proposed Hawthorne Preserve in Hadlyme.

Lyme Land Trust Preservation Chairman Anthony Irving, kneeling, and Vice President Don Gerber next to Whalebone Creek in the proposed Hawthorne Preserve in Hadlyme.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust has announced a fund raising drive to protect 82 acres of ecologically strategic upland forest and swamp wildlife habitat in Hadlyme on the headwaters of Whalebone Cove, one of the freshwater tidal wetlands that comprises the internationally celebrated Connecticut River estuary complex.

The new proposed preserve is part of a forested landscape just south of Hadlyme Four Corners and Ferry Road (Rt. 148), and forms a large part of the watershed for Whalebone Creek, a key tributary feeding Whalebone Cove, most of which is a national wildlife refuge under the management of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Land Trust said it hopes to name the new nature refuge in honor of William Hawthorne of Hadlyme, whose family has owned the property for several generations and who has agreed to sell the property to the Land Trust at a discount from its market value if the rest of the money necessary for the purchase can be raised by the Land Trust.

“This new wildlife preserve will represent a triple play for habitat conservation,” said Anthony Irving, chairman of the Land Trust’s Preservation Committee.

“First, it helps to protect the watershed feeding the fragile Whalebone Cove eco-system, which is listed as one of North America’s important freshwater tidal marshes in international treaties that cite the Connecticut River estuary as a wetland complex of global importance. Whalebone Creek, one of the primary streams feeding Whalebone Cove, originates from vernal pools and upland swamps just south of the Hawthorne tract on the Land Trust’s Ravine Trail Preserve and adjacent conservation easements and flows through the proposed preserve. Virtually all of the Hawthorne property comprises much of the watershed for Whalebone Creek.

“Second, the 82 acres we are hoping to acquire with this fund raising effort represents a large block of wetlands and forested wildlife habitat between Brush Hill and Joshuatown roads, which in itself is home to a kaleidoscope of animals from amphibians and reptiles that thrive in several vernal pools and swamp land, to turkey, coyote, bobcat and fisher. It also serves as seasonal nesting and migratory stops for several species of deep woods birds, which are losing habitat all over Connecticut due to forest fragmentation.

“Third, this particular preserve will also conserve a key link in the wildlife corridors that connects more than 1,000 acres of protected woodland and swamp habitat in the Hadlyme area.” Irving explained that the preserve is at the center of a landscape-scale wildlife habitat greenway that includes Selden Island State Park, property of the US Fish & Wild Life’s Silvio O Conte Wildlife Refuge, The Nature Conservancy’s Selden Preserve, and several other properties protected by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust.

Map showing the location of the proposed Hawthorne Preserve.

“Because of its central location as a hub between these protected habitat refuges,” said Irving, “this preserve will protect forever the uninterrupted access that wildlife throughout the Hadlyme landscape now has for migration and breeding between otherwise isolated communities and families of many terrestrial species that are important to the continued robust bio-diversity of southeastern Connecticut and the Connecticut River estuary.”

Irving noted that the Hawthorne property is the largest parcel targeted for conservation in the Whalebone Cove watershed by the recently developed US Fish & Wildlife Service Silvio O Conte Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

Irving said the Land Trust hopes to create a network of hiking trails on the property with access from both Brush Hill Road on the east and Joshuatown Road on the west and connection to the Land Trust’s Ravine Trail to the south and the network of trails on the Nature Conservancy’s Selden Preserve.

Irving said there is strong support for the Land Trust’s proposal to preserve the property both within the Hadlyme and Lyme communities and among regional and state conservation groups. He said letters of support have come from the Hadlyme Garden Club, the Hadlyme Public Hall Association, the Lyme Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Agency, the Lyme Planning and Zoning Commission, the Lyme Open Space Committee, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, the Lyme Garden Club, the Lyme Public Hall, The Nature Conservancy, The Silvio O Conte Refuge, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and the Friends of Whalebone Cove, Inc.

He reported that between Hawthorne’s gift and several other pledges the Land Trust has already received commitments of 25 percent of the cost of the property.

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What Floats Your Boat? Sign up for River Museum Boatbuilding Workshop, July 8-10

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The Cappy 15 will be the boat built during the Connecticut River Museum’s annual Boatbuilding Workshop July 8 – 10.

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum will host its third community boatbuilding workshop the weekend of July 8 – 9 on the grounds of the museum. This year the boat to be built is the Cappy 15. Cappy, a rugged 15-ft kayak specifically designed for river use by Dave Hemenway, is an easy-to-build plywood boat that is based on the popular “Six Hour Canoe” design. Hundreds of these versatile craft have been built, but the Cappy adds decks, buoyancy tanks and rugged construction to increase strength and safety. According to David Hemenway, who developed the boat for construction by students at Mitchell College in New London, “The Cappy is particularly well suited to the Connecticut River and its coves.”

During the workshop, participants will assemble a Cappy kit. No previous boat building experience is required. Participants need only provide a few basic hand tools plus paint to finish the boat at home after the event. Time will be set aside on Saturday afternoon during the workshop for a group paddle using the museum’s existing canoe and kayak fleet to learn basic kayak operation and to enjoy time on the water. Saturday will also have the ever popular Southern New England Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society’s annual Mahogany Memories show.

“The past two years we have built a traditional rowboat, but when we saw this kayak with its stability, its versatility and its comfort for kayakers young and old, we decided to move to this design for our 2016 event,” said Paul Kessinger, museum volunteer and Boat Crew Foreman. The event encourages families and groups of up to four people to build a boat. On Friday, participants begin with a kit and by the end of the day on Sunday they are ready for the “put’em in the water” celebration. The teams are assisted by experienced boat builders who answer questions and assist as needed.

The cost per boat is $675 for museum members and $725 for non-members and includes all materials. Teams are requested to bring simple power tools like drills but everything else is provided.

To register: Space is extremely limited for the boat building workshop. Participants must be at least 10 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult. The deadline to register is Friday, June 20. The $725 program fee ($675 for CRM members) includes all the supplies needed to build the Cappy 15. By the end of the weekend, participants will have a completed boat, ready to be painted and rowed. For more information, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

 

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Essex Native Assumes Command of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron in San Diego

sailor pix 1ESSEX – The Navy Office of Community Outreach has announced that Essex native Cmdr. Robert Barr Kimnach, III assumed command of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49 in San Diego, California, on April 22.

A 1998 graduate of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Cmdr. Kimnach joined the Scorpions of HSM-49 in January of 2014 as executive officer. He was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1999 and has accumulated over 2,500 flight hours.

HSM-49 is made up of over 250 Sailors and ten MH-60R aircraft. The Scorpions source two aircraft MH-60R detachments for the Navy’s Cruiser and Destroyer warships.  Currently HSM-49 is supporting USS Momsen and USS Spruance as part of a Surface Action Group.

Cmdr. Kimnach’s personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and numerous campaign, unit and service awards.

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John Proctor Wins 2016 Generativity Award from Tri-Town Youth Services

 

Gail Beck, director of Tri-Town Youth Services, present award to John Proctor

Gail Beck, director of Tri-Town Youth Services, presents Generativity Award to John Proctor

REGION 4 – Tri-Town Youth Services’ 2016 Generativity Award was recently presented to John Proctor, Superintendent of Region 4 Schools, 1986-1998. John and his wife, Sherry, have been residents of Ivoryton since 1986, when he began his role of Superintendent of Schools here.

Upon retirement, John held a position at UConn, where he supervised teachers as well as student administrators. Over the years, he has made numerous presentations on the Civil War.

When John was Superintendent of Region 4 Schools, he said enthusiastically he was “here for the kids.” He made it a point to attend numerous school functions such as sports games, proms and banquets, and he was frequently seen in all schools.  His philosophy holds that each child is an individual with unique expectations, strengths and needs.  He believes students need to be informed, thinking citizens with well-developed character.  Over the years, he promoted youth developmental assets, including diversity.  He supported including social emotional programming in Region 4 schools.

John Proctor has received numerous awards. In Region 16 he was named Educational Leader of the Year.  A magazine, “Executive Educator,” named him as one of the best 100 small school superintendents.  A professional organization, Connecticut Association of Public Schools Superintendents, presented him with their Emeritus Award for 45 years of service.

Tri-Town Youth Services has presented a Generativity Award annually since 2005. Recipients of the award are people who, over time, have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to youth and have contributed significantly to building youth developmental assets.  Previous awardees include: Marilyn Malcarne, Rick Stabbins, Pat Kosky, Jane Cavanaugh, Ingrid Walsh, Rev. Tim Haut, Linda Hall, Barbara Nidzgorski, Phil Miller, Dr. Ruth Levy and Michael Fearon.

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

 

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May Daze in Chester Brings Art, Music, Food, Dancing, Fun for All Ages, Starts at 5pm Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chester Rotarian and DJ Gary Torello will be playing music in the center of Main Street near the bridge barricades from 8 to 9 p.m., and Suzie Woodward of Lark has lined up swing dancers to show off some of their steps and moves. Come on down and dance in the street with us! (If it’s raining, there will be no dancing.)

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

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Free Day For All at FloGris, May 7

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7, at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7, at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum presents its annual Community Free Day on Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Old Lyme. The event offers free admission to the Museum’s 11-acre campus, and includes family activities as well as two performances by Master Storyteller Tom Lee.

Storyteller Tom Lee

Storyteller Tom Lee

“Our Community Free Day is a great way for all ages to spend the day at the Museum,” stated David D.J. Rau, Director of Education and Outreach. “The fun and educational activities planned for this year are a wonderful introduction for the many first-time visitors we get on this annual day.”

Museum-goers visiting the original Florence Griswold House are treated to guides sharing stories of the Lyme Art Colony artists who stayed with Florence Griswold in the boardinghouse over 100 years ago. The house, decorated as it was in 1910, includes the original paintings that artists created on the door and wall panels of the house.

On view in the Museum’s Krieble Gallery is Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum. The exhibition details the growth of the Museum’s art collection over the past forty years, including a range of American art from the Tonalist style of the late 1800s to today’s modern Abstraction.

Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum, will be on view on Community Free Day, May 7 at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum, will be on view on Community Free Day, May 7 at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Community Free Day attendees can also visit the Chadwick Art Studio, presented as it would have looked in 1920, the Rafal Landscape Center, as well as the Museum’s gardens and grounds along the Lieutenant River.

Family-Fun on Community Free Day

Community Free Day highlights family enjoyment of the Florence Griswold Museum. In addition to performances by Tom Lee, the Museum offers a special family craft activity in the Hartman Education Center from 11am to 4pm.

On May 7, Community Free Day visitors will hear about life in an artists' boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

On May 7, Community Free Day visitors will hear about life in an artists’ boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

While at the Museum, families are encouraged to follow scavenger hunt cards in the Florence Griswold House, and uncover art details in the Krieble art gallery with “Can You Find Me” game cards.

A historic center for American art, the Florence Griswold Museum is considered the Home of American Impressionism. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95.

For additional information contact the Museum at 860-434-5542 or www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org.

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See “August: Osage County” at Chester Meeting House, Tonight, Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ivoryton Library Hosts Mother’s Day Sale May 7

The outside sign of the Ivoryton Library

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

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

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‘Simply Sharing’ Receives Grant from Community Foundation of Middlesex County

20160311_113215

AREAWIDE – ‘Simply Sharing’ has announced that it has been awarded a $3,000 grant for 2015 in support of its Beds and Bedding Program. The grant is funded by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/River View Cemetery Fund.

This one year grant award specifically supports the purchase of new beds and bedding for families and individuals in need. The grant money was used to purchase beds, frames and pillows to help five families with children and three adults. The deliveries were made to everyone in two days in the same week with the help of many volunteers.

Simply Sharing provides basic furniture, household goods and occasional “interior design” input to individuals and families transitioning from homelessness to sustainable and supportive housing. Approved donations are accepted from individuals and businesses. In addition, Simply Sharing welcomes any financial donations that allow it to maintain the warehouse, deliver to those in need and purchase items that have not been donated or cannot be accepted such as mattresses and pillows. Simply Sharing is an all-volunteer based organization. For more information, visit the website at www.simplysharing.org.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life in Middlesex County. Its mission is to work with charity-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds and to support local non-profit organizations through effective grant making to address community needs. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has awarded 1,295 grants totaling over $4 million to nonprofit organizations for the arts; cultural and heritage programs; educational activities; environmental improvements; and for health and human services.

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See “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” at Ivoryton Playhouse Through May 22

dancing close up
IVORYTON –
The Ivoryton Playhouse is leaving the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and heading to the Gulf Coast beaches of St. Petersburg, Florida. “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” is a touching and human comedy about a formidable retired woman, Lily Harrison, who hires an unusually difficult dance instructor with an acerbic personality, Michael Minetti, to give her private dance lessons — one per week for six weeks — in her Gulf-front condo.

What begins as an antagonistic relationship blossoms into an intimate friendship as these two people from very different backgrounds reveal their secrets, fears and joys while dancing the Swing, Tango, Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha and Contemporary Dance. Michael and Lily learn to overcome their outward differences and discover an unlikely but profound connection. By the final lesson, Lily shares with Michael her most closely guarded secret and he shares with her his greatest gifts, his loyalty and compassion.

A poignant comedy with music and dance, the play also addresses the serious issues of ageism and intolerance.

Written by Yale grad Richard Alfieri, “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” premiered in Los Angeles and opened on Broadway at the Belasco Theater in 2003. The play has since been translated into 14 languages and has traversed the globe with productions in 24 countries. The play has established itself as an international hit and one of the most produced plays in the world.

A film was also made of the play starring Gena Rowlands and Cheyenne Jackson.

Featuring seasoned actors and Actors Equity members Michael Ianucci and Valerie Stack Dodge, the play is directed by Sasha Bratt and choreographed by Apollo Smile, with set design by William Stark, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Lisa Bebey.

“Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on May 4 and runs through May 22. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $44 for adults, $39 for seniors, $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

 

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

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That is $1.5 million,” Fortuna repeated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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