February 10, 2016

Free Tax Preparation Help Available Until April 12

AREAWIDE — Low- and moderate-income families can receive free tax preparation in Middlesex County. Households with income up to $53,000 are eligible for free tax preparation assistance now through April 12 at local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites, and households with income of up to $62,000 can prepare their taxes free online at myfreetaxes.com.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is an official IRS program, and all tax preparers are trained and certified to ensure that low- to moderate-income families receive the refunds and credits that they have earned, including the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

Appointments are required and are being offered during the evenings and on Saturdays in downtown Middletown. To make an appointment, dial 2-1-1 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or visit 211ct.org.

Individuals should bring a check or bank statement for direct deposit of their refund. Direct deposit is the quickest way to receive the refund, usually within 7 to 14 days.

When attending their pre-scheduled appointment, individuals should bring: valid photo ID for yourself and your spouse; social security cards or ITIN for everyone in the household; birth dates for everyone in the family; documentation for all income; interest and dividend statements; documentation for deductible education expenses and student loan payments; total amount paid for child care as well as day care provider’s tax identification number and address; property taxes paid, including automobile taxes; evidence of health care coverage in 2015; a copy of last year’s federal and state income tax returns, if available; and the current year’s tax package if available.

In 2015 the two VITA sites in Middletown helped more than 570 local households file their taxes for free and returned $773,120 back to taxpayers in the Middletown area. The sites are coordinated by the Middlesex VITA Coalition, a partnership of Middlesex United Way and the North End Action Team. The coalition receives support from the Connecticut Association of Human Services.

Households with income up to $62,000 last year can prepare their state and federal taxes for free at myfreetaxes.com. MyFreeTaxes tax filing software is provided by H&R Block and is sponsored by United Way, with a grant from the Walmart Foundation.

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Take Your Child to the Library Day in Chester, Saturday

anne nord reading to kids a

Chester Children’s Librarian Anne Nord (who’s known as Mrs. Applesauce to the kids of Chester) reads her favorite read-aloud book. Photo by Linda Fox

CHESTER — What is the favorite read-aloud book of Chester First Selectman Lauren Gister, Chester Elementary School Principal Joanne Beekley, and Chester Town Clerk Debra Calamari?

Come to Take Your Child to the Library Day at the Chester Public Library on Saturday morning, Feb. 6, and you’ll find out. Between 10 a.m. and noon, these Chester notables, and others, will take turns reading their favorite read-aloud book to visiting children. Children and their parents can also enjoy family crafts and refreshments during the morning.

The library is also taking an informal survey of favorite read-aloud story books. Write the title of your favorite read-aloud book and drop it in the tiny box at the front desk. Anyone can submit a title.

The Chester Library is at 21 West Main St., Chester. More information at 860-526-0018.

Take Your Child to the Library Day (TYCLD) is an international initiative that encourages families everywhere to take their children to their local library. Launched in 2011 right here in Connecticut by librarians Nadine Lipman (Waterford Public Library, retired) and Caitlin Augusta (Stratford Library) with artist Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, TYCLD raises community awareness about the importance of the library in the life of a child, and promotes library services and programs for children and families.

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Want to Paint a Rooster? Watch Cindy Stevens at Maple & Main on Sunday

stevens - roosterCHESTER – Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Arts artist Cindy Stevens will give an informal demonstration of pallette knife painting this Sunday, Feb. 7, from 11:30 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. at the gallery. Stevens plans to paint a colorful rooster using her well-practiced pallette knife approach. Come watch and learn from her, while helping the gallery celebrate “Always on Sunday” in Chester.

Stevens is a longtime resident of Clinton, where she owns her own gallery at 30 East Main St. She comes from a family of artists. Her mom, Shirley Price, was a pen and ink artist, and her brother and sister both paint professionally.

As well as her East Main Street gallery, Stevens has owned and operated Snow’s Block Frame Gallery in her home for 24 years. She grew up in Connecticut, and has lived in Clinton with her husband Gary for 34 years.  She has two grown children and one granddaughter.

For more information about “Always on Sunday,” visit Facebook.com/AlwaysonSundayinChester.

For more information about Maple and Main Gallery, visit Facebook.com/MapleandMainGallery.

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Kristen Graves to Perform at Spring Street Gallery, Feb. 21

kristen grav CHESTER —- Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden, Sunday, Feb. 21, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring Kristen Graves at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Kristen Graves is a singer/songwriter and humanitarian from Green Bay, living in Fairfield, Conn. She was recently listed as part of the “new generation of folk music” in the New York Times and was mentioned in Rolling Stone for her music’s environmental activism. She has shared the stage with Rusted Root, Dar Williams, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary), and the late Pete Seeger.

With catchy songs, a penchant for storytelling, and inspiring lyrics, Graves performs nearly 200 shows a year through the United States and Europe.

On her first visit to the Concert in the Garden series, she will be performing her own original songs as well as some classic folk sing-alongs. You’ll be invited to sing, laugh, cry, and enjoy each other as Graves shares the stories behind her music – from sharing Lincoln Center stage with Peter Yarrow, to sharing lentil soup with Pete Seeger. This is an evening of stories and songs you won’t want to miss.

Read more about Graves at www.kristengraves.com.

Doors open a half hour before the show – first come, first seated. The concert is held inside the gallery this time of year. Sorry, no pets are allowed.

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

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

 

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Chester Land Trust Erects New Signs on Its Properties

Richard Harrall, Chester Land Trust president (left) and Bill Meyers, Trustee, installed new Land Trust signs. Photo by Vivian Beyda

Richard Harrall, Chester Land
Trust president (left) and Bill Meyers, Trustee, installed new Land Trust signs. Photo by Vivian Beyda

CHESTER –  The Chester Land Trust, an all-volunteer non-profit organization in Chester, provides stewardship for 10 preserves and three easements. These properties are protected for open space in perpetuity.

Recently, new Land Trust signs have been installed on Rte. 154 by the bridge and along  Water Street for the Chester Creek preserve (46 acres in three  parcels). Another sign was placed on the south side of Rte. 148 near Camp Hazen for the Duck Pond Preserve (6.1 acres).

More information about the organization is at chesterlandtrust.org.

 

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Caravan of Thieves to Perform in Chester on Feb. 28; Tickets Available Now

Caravan of Thieves. Photo by Shervin Lainez

Caravan of Thieves. Photo by Shervin Lainez

Question: How does a hot band get recruited to play in a concert series?
Answer: One way is when it sneaks up on and knocks out the series producer.

This is how the booking for Caravan of Thieves, the musical ensemble that has dazzled audiences throughout North America with their creativity and showmanship, came to be. The band will perform at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester in a concert open to the public.

David Zeleznik, the new director of the synagogue’s Music & More concert series, recalls that he had his first Caravan “experience” unexpectedly several years ago in Norwalk when it was the opening act for Hot Tuna.

“We had never heard of Caravan of Thieves before, but from the first song they immediately hooked us and were the subject of much animated discussion in the car ride home. Their songs are witty, completely original, and speak to the themes of love and life with a big helping of irreverence and fun. When I starting putting together this, my first season as producer of Music & More, I immediately thought of Caravan as my ‘producer’s choice’ selection for the series. My hope is that others catch the energy and get on board the Caravan Freaks bandwagon.”

Caravan of Thieves began as a duo consisting of Fuzz Sangiovanni (of Deep Banana Blackout fame) and his wife Carrie Sangiovanni. The two discovered their voices blended quite well with one another. Fuzz said, “It started as a romantic, bohemian vision of a couple making music, performing on the road, in parks, venues, traveling around and avoiding responsibility as much as possible …The first thing we discovered was we loved singing together, harmonizing our voices. Just seemed to click right away.”

The couple added a violinist and an upright bass player in 2008 and the band released their debut album Bouquet in 2009. Their second album, Mischief Night, was recorded at a sold-out show in Fairfield. Caravan of Thieves released a third album in 2012, and a fourth last year.

Fuzz said about the group’s third album: “We had a concept going in, both from a sound and production standpoint, lyrically and thematically. A lot of crazy stuff happens on the road, and we took our experiences from on and off the stage, and brought them into the studio with us.”

He continued, “Life is ridiculous, all our lives, like an amusement park ride. In this case, we picked a funhouse, since those are ridiculous too. And we wanted to expand the range of what we can do instrumentally but still keep it non electric, so we added a few more gritty and twangy stringed instruments that were fun to spank, like banjos, resonator guitars and ukuleles, as well as an orchestra of kitchen appliances for some additional percussive bang.”

Samples of Caravan of Thieves music can be found on YouTube.

Tickets ($25 general admission; no charge for children under 16) for this concert are on sale now and may be purchased online at cbsrz.org, or by calling the synagogue office at (860) 526-8920.  Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

 

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It’s Ecological Sunday! New Water Bottle Initiative Kicks Off Today in Chester

felise water bottleCHESTER — Celebrate Ecological Sunday on Sunday, Jan. 31, in Chester Center to participate in a new initiative, named “Chester Cares,” to reduce the use of plastic water bottles. The initiative, which was started by Chester resident and former science teacher Felise Cressman, includes a launch of Chester’s own aluminum logo water bottle.

On Jan. 31, anytime between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., visit Maple & Main Gallery of Fine Art, at the corner of Maple and Main Streets, to educate yourself about the harmful effects of plastic on our land and waterways.

Also, view the short film celebrating this initiative, which was created by Nick Lepore, a Valley Regional senior interested in film studies.

And see the display of Chester’s “Top 10” items of garbage collected in less than five visits along Chester’s Connecticut River shoreline.

Finally, check out at the sculpture at the Maple & Main Gallery that Cressman and her fellow volunteers created from the collected debris; you can even add to it.

The water bottle is made in America by veterans and previously unemployed Americans from recycled aluminum cans and BPA-free materials. The logo is the newly designed “Chester, Connecticut -We’re a Walking Town” logo by Janet Cummings Good.

The bottle will be available for purchase that Sunday at Maple & Main as well as at Compass Rose and Simon’s Marketplace.  Check out a “boxed water” alternative to plastic at various merchants in town.  Proceeds from sales will be used to purchase more logo bottles and to support protection and cleanup of oceans through the Rozalia Project (www.rozaliaproject.org).

For more information or to become involved in this initiative, email ChesterWaterBottle@gmail.com.

Plastic Facts from Chester Cares
* Americans used approximately 30 billion plastic water bottles in 2015.
* 8 out of 10 plastic water bottles are not recycled.
* The average plastic water bottle breaks down in ocean water into 39,000 1-mm-sized micro plastic bits.
* 44% of all seabirds eat micro plastic by mistake.
* 20% of all plastic in the ocean comes from the sea and 80% comes from land.
* In 10 years there could be 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of finfish in our oceans.

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Chester Historical Society Hosts “It Happened to Jane” Walk & Talk, This Afternoon

Louis Bertelli was one of the builders of “Old 97,” a wooden locomotive that was moved into a newly planted park for the “Jane” movie (where the Chester Package Store parking lot is today). Photo courtesy of Peggy Breslin

Louis Bertelli was one of the builders of “Old 97,” a wooden locomotive that was moved into a newly planted park for the “Jane” movie (where the Chester Package Store parking lot is today). Photo courtesy of Peggy Breslin

CHESTER — “It Happened to Jane” never won an Academy Award or a Golden Globe, but as far as Chester folks are concerned, it’s definitely an award winner.

After all, the movie, which starred Doris Day and Jack Lemmon, was made right in the heart of Chester in the summer of ‘58 – in the Chester Meeting House and the Center and on Jennings Pond and by the railroad – and hundreds of Chester folks were movie extras.  So whether you were there in 1958 or came to town later, the movie has every right to be a local treasure.

On Sunday afternoon, Jan. 31, the Chester Historical Society is offering you two opportunities to immerse yourself in “Jane” memories.

At 2:30 p.m., Chester Historian Rob Miceli and Peg Lieberman will lead a walking tour of Chester Center’s sites of interest from the movie. (It’ll be a very short walk, as Chester Center isn’t very big!)

You’ll hear how Carmine Grote’s Appliance Store (now Compass Rose and Red Pepper) became Aaron Caldwell’s Fine Foods & Notions store for the movie. Bill Breslin’s package store (in The Villager building) was turned into a marine supply store. A wooden locomotive was built and moved into the parking lot now used by Chester Package Store, and parking meters were added to town. Jack Lemmon’s law office was above the old Robbie’s store and the Cape Anne, Maine, Telephone Exchange was above today’s Century 21 real estate office.

Jack Lemmon, one of the Hollywood stars in “It Happened to Jane,” takes a break on Main Street in front of the old Chester Bank building during the movie filming. Photo courtesy of Peggy Breslin

Jack Lemmon, one of the Hollywood stars in “It Happened to Jane,” takes a break on Main Street in front of the old Chester Bank building during the movie filming. Photo courtesy of Peggy Breslin

At 4 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House (used as the Cape Anne Town Hall in the movie), the Chester Historical Society is presenting one of its popular “crackerbarrel discussions,” with folks sharing their “Jane” memories. We’ll also view some of the Chester scenes from the movie.

The walk and the crackerbarrel program are free and open to all.

Walkers should meet at the Century 21 Heritage office before 2:30 p.m. Parking is available at the 20 Water St. public parking lot and the Norma Terris Theatre on North Main St.

Refreshments will be served during the movie.

For more information, call 860-526-2331 or 860-558-4701 or go to Facebook.com/ChesterCTHistoricalSociety.

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Amy Bloom Discusses her Latest Novel at Chester Synagogue Today

Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom

One of the most highly acclaimed authors of our time, Amy Bloom, will come to Chester to read from and discuss her novel “Lucky Us, now out in paperback.

Her appearance, at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31, is free and open to the public, and is part of the Books & Bagels series of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ).

“Lucky Us,” her third novel (she also has three collections of short stories, a children’s book, and a collection of essays), received almost universal praise.

From Janet Maslin of the New York Times:  “These two things about Amy Bloom’s surprise-filled Lucky Us are indisputable: It opens with a terrific hook and closes with an image of exquisite resolution … She writes sharp, sparsely beautiful scenes that excitingly defy expectation, and part of the pleasure of reading her is simply keeping up with her. You won’t know where Lucky Us is headed until, suddenly, it’s there …”

Bloom has been a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award for Fiction. Her best-selling novel,Away, was an epic story about a Russian immigrant.

Bloom lives in Durham, and taught at Yale University for the last decade. She is now Wesleyan University’s Distinguished University Writer in Residence.

Referring to her upcoming appearance at CBSRZ, she says, “This is the only synagogue I ever joined. It was a shelter, an education and a playground for my kids and, now that I think about it–it was the same for me. Whenever I go back, I’m home.”

Tracy Kleinberg, who is in charge of the synagogue’s program committee, says she is particularly pleased that the author will be returning to CBSRZ where earlier appearances have drawn large and enthusiastic crowds. “She is an entertaining speaker – warm, witty and wise.”

This program is free and open to the public – no advance registration is necessary.  CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

For more information about this program or CBSRZ, visit www.cbsrz.org or call the office 860-526-8920.

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Two New Shows on View at Maple & Main

 "Essences of Dreaming" by Rachel Carlson of Deep River


“Essences of Dreaming” by Rachel Carlson of Deep River

CHESTER – The Winter Exhibit and the first Annual Juried Show at Maple and Main Gallery in Chester open Wednesday, Jan. 27, with a gala reception Saturday, Jan. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Winter Exhibit, featuring newly created works from 40 Connecticut artists, fills the first floor of the gallery, while paintings by artists chosen for the juried show are displayed in the Joslow and Stone galleries on the lower level of Maple and Main.

The juror was noted artist Robert Noreika, who chose 85 works from hundreds of paintings that artists from Connecticut and surrounding states submitted for the new show. Visitors will be able to view a versatile selection of landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, abstracts and highly original work in both shows.

Alan James will provide live music during the opening party on Jan. 30, and wine, appetizers and desserts will be served. Many of the artists represented in the juried and winter shows will be at the event.

Maple and Main’s two shows run through March 13 and the gallery, at One Maple Street in Chester, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Maple and Main artists are also showing 31 selected works at the Valentine H. Zahn Community Gallery at Middlesex Hospital’s Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook through March 18. That gallery is open during business hours every day.

More information about Maple and Main Gallery is on its website at mapleandmaingallery.com.

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Chester Business Raises Funds for Shoreline Soup Kitchens

Shoreline Soup Kitchens logoAREAWIDE – On Friday, Feb. 5, Roto Frank of America, Inc. will present a check for $2,867 to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries. The presentation will be made by Chris Dimou, President and CEO of Roto Frank of America, Inc., and Sue LeMire, HR/General Accounting Manager. The donation will enable the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries to provide enough food for more than 7,350 meals.

The funds were raised during an employee campaign that ran from February to December 2015. After identifying five local charities, employees voted to select the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries as the recipient of their campaign efforts in 2015.

Employees voluntarily elected to make donations via payroll deduction as well as supporting a variety of fundraising events such as bake sales, pancake breakfasts and raffles. In addition to the money raised by Roto Frank employees, the organization also collected and donated more than 300 pounds of canned goods and pasta.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries provides food for families in need through its pantries located in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton, Old Lyme and East Lyme and meal sites in Centerbrook, Essex, Deep River, Chester, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton and Old Lyme.

Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America, Inc. is a Chester-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. For more information, visit www.rotohardware.com.

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Essex Library Hosts Wnek’s ‘Soul of the Landscape’ Photo Exhibit During February

'Whispers of Past' by Peter Wnek illustrate's the photographer's captivating style.

‘Whispers of Past’ by Peter Wnek beautifully illustrate’s the photographer’s captivating style.

ESSEX — Award-winning photographer Peter Wnek explores the ‘Soul of the Landscape’ in his exhibition and sale of fine art photography at the Essex Library, which runs through Feb. 2 – 28, with an opening reception on Sunday, June 7, from 4 to 7 p.m.

‘Soul of the Landscape’ celebrates the beauty and spirit of our woodlands and waterways, as seen in Whispers of the Past and its breathtaking view along the Connecticut River. Wnek’s work captures the light and details one might expect from a painting—which is no accident. He has long been inspired by the purity and innocence of the American landscape as portrayed by the 19th century Hudson River painters. “I strive for that same warm light, the luminous or stormy skies, to invoke a charm or a mood,” he explains.

Wnek’s photographs often reveal the story of the landscape—its whisper of bygone days, the intrinsic cycles of nature. With a focus on local scenes, this exhibit speaks to the beauty that surrounds us, the coastal vistas and woodland spaces that are unique to our state. In a familiar kaleidoscope of colors, see the rising and setting sun, the harmony of sky and land, the collusion of rock and sea.

As Wnek explains, “I am intrigued by the soothing compositions and repetitive patterns that collectively reveal the Divine at work.”

Featured in this exhibit is Silver Glade, an image of trees on a ridge near Meriden. It recently won the Salmagundi Club of NYC’s 2015 “Henry O’Connor Award” for excellence, portraying the gentler, quieter landscape of New England.

It is that voice of New England which Wnek most hopes to capture in his photographs, “those intimate moments of our own landscapes” waiting to be revealed.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during the Library’s regular hours. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex. Call (860) 767-1560 for more information.

 

For more information about photographer Peter Wnek, visit www.PeterWnekPhoto.com.

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Enjoy ‘Always on Sunday in Chester’ on Sundays Through Spring

Geoffrey Vollers, brother of Bill Vollers of Chester, will exhibit his handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47 in Chester Center during January.

Geoffrey Vollers, brother of Bill Vollers of Chester, will exhibit his handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47 in Chester Center during January.

CHESTER — Does January already have you feeling down? Come to Chester Center where the businesses are celebrating “Always on Sunday in Chester!” all winter and spring.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, there will be a watercolor demonstration at Maple and Main Gallery, an exhibit of miniature handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47, the annual winter sale at C&G Unparalleled Apparel, a concert at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery, the 20-foot-long Bloody Mary Bar at the Pattaconk, and more fun throughout the Chester Center businesses. And to warm you up in this cold weather, stop in at Ceramica for a cup of hot cider, Dina Varano for a cup of tea and Lark for hot chocolate on a stick!

Bivenne will give a gallery talk and demonstration in watercolor at Maple and Main Gallery beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 17.

Bivenne will give a gallery talk and demonstration in watercolor at Maple and Main Gallery beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 17.

At Maple and Main Gallery, at noon, artist Bivenne will give an informal demonstration in watercolor focusing on enhancing the element of light in a painting. Bivenne will also point out this effect in a few of the works in the gallery in a short stroll and chat preceding her demonstration at 11:30 a.m. A noted artist and popular local watercolor instructor, Bivenne has won multiple prestigious awards. Her work is widely collected and her demonstrations always informed and illuminating. Enjoy three kinds of tea and cookies at the gallery while enjoying the gallery talk and demonstration.

Bill Vollers, owner of Gallery 31-47 in Chester, will exhibit the work of his brother, Geoffrey Vollers, who owns a studio in Rockland, Maine. Geoffrey’s miniature castles have been displayed in the windows of Tiffany & Co in New York. His work, which also includes painting and stained glass windows, has been shown in numerous galleries and in private collections.

Also in Chester on Jan. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., bluesman Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Clayton Allen will play at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery. In a melding of diverse blues styles, Stevens and Allen have forged a unique sound, representing a wide variety of traditionally based fingerpicking with a tinge of primitive blues and early blues rock and roll. A $20 donation is requested at the door. BYOB. More info at nilssonstudio.com/events.

Free parking is available on Sundays at First Niagara Bank and the town lot on Water Street; at Norma Terris Theatre on North Main Street; and the Maple Street and Laurel Hill Cemetery parking lots.

Stay informed about Always on Sunday happenings through Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT; Facebook.com/AlwaysonSunday; or FindItInChesterCT.wordpress.com.

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Afro-Semitic Experience to Perform in Chester Today at 5 p.m.

Afro Semitic Experience by Fletcher Oakes April 2014

Photo courtesy of Fletcher Oakes (April 2014)

CHESTER — For 18 years, the Afro-American Experience has delighted audiences throughout the U.S. with their unique blend that prominent critic, Ramos, calls as “a whoopin’, hollerin’, testifyin’ celebration of multicultural soul music.” Their music reflects peace and joyous diversity. It is the same music that the great jazz critic Nat Hentoff referred to thus, “Never before have I heard this lyrically powerful fusion of Jewish and jazz souls on fire.” This music is coming to Chester during the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. birthday weekend.

The group opens the eighth — and most ambitious season yet — of Music & More at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m.  The season also features, among other groups, the internationally renowned Paul Winter Consort.

David Zeleznik, the new producer of the series, wanted to build on the synagogue’s record of creating special concerts that showcase diversity during the congregation’s annual commemoration of Dr. King’s birth.

As he explains it, “Last season, we had enormous success with Sweet Honey in the Rock. Their powerful soaring voices raised the roof and transported the river valley and shoreline community to their transcendent vision of a brighter future. For this season we wanted to recreate that sense of healing, grace, and inclusiveness within our sacred space through the power of musical performance.

“When we started planning this season back in June 2015, little did we know of the divisive tone that would now pervade our social and political discourse. Afro-Semitic Experience, which has recorded popular eight albums that speak to diversity, provides an antidote by showing how folk music of disparate cultures can meld and blend to joyous effect.

“That this is the group’s 18th year of existence is also meaningful at such a time.  The number 18, or ‘chai’ (in Hebrew) has special significance meaning ‘life’ in Judaic tradition. So, this is Afro-Semitic Experience’s ‘chai year’ and they are back to the beginning, celebrating the life of Martin Luther King with us.”

Zeleznik has also engaged the group to participate in the “More” part of Music & More. Prior to their performance they will be engaging with the community’s youth in a series of musical and performance workshops.

As customary at Music & More events, a reception follows, which is included in the ticket price.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  To reserve tickets ($25 for adults, and no charge for children under 16) or a spot in the workshop, or for more information about the upcoming season (which also includes Caravan of Thieves, The Paul Winter Consort, and The String of Pearls Big Band), contact the CBSRZ office at 860-526-8920 or bethshalom@snet.net or visit our website at cbsrz.org.

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Wesleyan Univ. President to Address Impact of ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement Tonight

CHESTER — This year we have heard university campuses across the country echoing with the voices of protestors calling for a stronger response to racism in the university community.  Meanwhile, tensions on campus have sparked an important conversation about the role of free speech, freedom of expression and political correctness. 

Yale University faculty member Erika Christakis resigned after igniting protests when she said that students should be free to push boundaries with Halloween costumes, even to the point of offense. And at Wesleyan University, student leaders voted to cut funding to a campus newspaper after it published an Op-Ed criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement.

Are we watching the next stage of the Civil Rights movement unfolding on our college campuses?  Have we arrived at a place as Americans where we can finally talk about race and racism in a way that may lead to a deep transformation of our culture?  Or has it gone too far?  What is the role of open dialogue and free speech, especially in an academic environment?

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will mark the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Friday evening, Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m. when Wesleyan University President and CBSRZ congregant, Dr. Michael Roth will address these questions. Roth will speak during the annual Erev Shabbat service honoring Dr. King.  This service will also include Civil Rights songs led by the CBSRZ choir, under the direction of Meg Gister.  

Refreshments will follow.  All are welcome.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information, call the CBSRZ office 860-526-8920 or visit www.cbsrz.org.

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Medical Marijuana Production, Sale Public Hearing at Chester’s P & Z Meeting Tonight

CHESTER — The public hearing held by the Town of Chester’s Planning and Zoning Commission at their December meeting to discuss an Amendment to Zoning Regulations in reference to adding new Section 117 Medical Marijuana Dispensary and Production was continued to the Commission’s next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 14, at Chester Town Hall at 7:30 p.m.

There was no discussion during the public hearing on Dec. 10 for this petition as a quorum of Commission members, who were present at the start of the public hearing the previous month, was not present.

During the public hearing on Jan. 14, residents will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendment to zoning regulations detailed above regarding the production and sale of medical marijuana in Chester.

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Meeting House Players to Hold Final Round of Open Auditions Tonight

CHESTER — The Meeting House Players will host the second evening of open auditions for Tracy Letts’ 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play “August: Osage County”.  Auditions will be held at 7 p.m. tonight in the Meeting House located at 4 Liberty St. in Chester, Conn.

The play’s 13-member ensemble includes a range of ages and ethnicities including six woman playing characters aging in range between mid-20’s and late 60’s and six men playing characters aging in range between mid-30’s and mid 70’s as well as one young women able to play a 14-year-old.

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

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script.

Directed by Lenore Grunko, the production opens at the Meeting House in Chester on Friday, April 29, and continue on April 30 and May 6 & 7.  Week-night rehearsals will begin the week of March 7.

For additional information, contact Lenore Grunko at lenoregrunko@yahoo.com.

Editor’s Note; The Meeting House Players is a not-for-profit, all volunteer community theatre organization pursuing the theatre arts with the talents and interests of individuals throughout Connecticut.

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Leif Nilsson Hosts Ramblin’ Dan Stevens & Clayton Allen at ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Jan. 17

Dan Stevens (Photo courtesy of Caryn B Davis)

Dan Stevens (Photo courtesy of Caryn B Davis)

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden’, Sunday, Jan. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring bluesmen Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Clayton Allen at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

In a melding of diverse blues styles, Stevens and Allen have forged a unique sound, representing a wide variety of traditionally based fingerpicking with a tinge of primitive blues and early blues rock and roll. Clayton’s raw energy and emotional delivery contrast with Stevens’s soulful approach creating a dynamic mix. A dose of Diddly Bow and Cigar Box guitar backed with a driving rhythm and gospel influenced vocals convey a rock bottom authenticity. They recently won the Connecticut Blues Challenge and will be representing the state at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come first seated.  The concert is held inside the gallery this time of year.

Sorry, no pets allowed.

A $15 donation is appreciated.  The event is BYOB – buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 3 p.m.

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

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Celebrating a Year of ‘Pearls and Plaid’

The charming exterior of 'Pearls and Plaid' in Haddam.

The charming exterior of ‘Pearls and Plaid’ in Haddam, Conn.

Just a few weeks ago, on Nov. 12, local Haddam boutique “Pearls and Plaid” celebrated its first birthday. The store is located just a few shops down from the Goodspeed Opera House by the Haddam Bridge, making it a popular destination for tourists as well as regular townies.

A peek inside the store.

A peek inside the store..

The tiny store is packed with clothing draped on walls and mirrors, spread on top of and underneath chests and drawers, and hung on pipes. Kristin Lemley, who is both an employee and sister of owner Caroline Lemley, comments,“From the start she (Caroline) really didn’t want it to be a typical clothing store with racks and shelves. We wanted it to be interesting to look at and always changing.”

The store’s professed style is, “Where northern prep meets southern charm,” and its inventory certainly lives up to its logo. Rompers, dresses, jewelry, and various accessories are the most popular items in the store, and new items arrive just as quickly as the old ones sell out.

‘Pearls and Plaid’ is a great example of the local businesses that are the heart and soul of our small communities. These businesses bring the community together and provide a more intimate experience than larger scale corporations. Just as we rely on them to bring character to our local communities, they rely solely on our support to maintain their status.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

Let’s commit to keep the charm and personality in our small towns by supporting ‘Pearls and Plaid’ and all the other small businesses in our local area to ensure many more anniversaries are celebrated!

Editor’s Note: Pearls and Plaid is located at 4, Norwich Rd., East Haddam, CT. Its regular opening hours are Tue-Fri: 12 to 6 p.m., Sat: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 860.876.7328.

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Follow the Stars Through Chester’s Holiday Festival, Tonight

Maple and Main Gallery, located across from the town Christmas tree, will be serving wine, appetizers and chocolates. Music will be provided by Sibling Thrivarly until 8 p.m. Enter the free drawing for an oil painting, “Star Gazing,” by Faye Mylen of Fairfield, her interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh's painting, “Starry Night.” The painting shown here of Chester’s own Starry Night is by Barbara Rossitto, a Galelry artist.

Maple and Main Gallery, located across from the town Christmas tree, will be serving wine, appetizers and chocolates. Music will be provided by Sibling Thrivarly until 8 p.m. Enter the free drawing for an oil painting, “Star Gazing,” by Faye Mylen of Fairfield, her interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, “Starry Night.” The painting shown here of Chester’s own Starry Night is by Barbara Rossitto, a Gallery artist.

Follow the stars through Chester’s Holiday Festival, tonight

“Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars,” Frank Sinatra sang. We can’t promise you the moon, but you can certainly play among the stars during Chester’s Starry Night Stroll on Friday, Dec. 4.

The annual Holiday Festival in Chester Center will be dazzling with starry specials and activities. The picturesque historic village will be beautifully decorated for the holidays and the streets will be lined with luminaries. Saint Lucia Girls will walk around offering cookie treats. Carolers will stroll through the village on their way to the town’s Christmas tree, which will be lighted at 6 p.m. while the community gathers for a sing-along.

All evening, the shops and galleries will offer light refreshments and beverages while you browse. At the Chester Gallery  the annual Postcard Show, where all art is 4×6 inches or smaller, will open with a champagne reception. Leif Nilsson will preview his new works of the Connecticut River Valley and his gardens beginning at 5 p.m. Bill Vollers is reopening Gallery 31 • 47, exhibiting new work in an expanded gallery space. Refreshments will be served.

Lori Warner Studio & Gallery will host a reception for Mandy Carroll-Leiva’s new small collection of champagne diamonds serving as the foundation and inspiration. Visit the Dina Varano Gallery to see the unveiling of Dina’s new collection created especially for this holiday season. On this special themed Starry Night, an original hand-painted, starry holiday card will be given away with every purchase.

The 4 Water Street businesses are offering prize drawings, sales, refreshments.

And that’s just a sampling of what’s happening on Starry Night in Chester!

Free parking is available in the Water Street and the Maple Street parking lots, both a short walk to the center.

 

 

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Ring in the Season in Chester Today

On Sunday, Nov. 29 Chester will “Ring in the Season” at its first Holiday Market of 2015. The town criers will ring out the news of what’s happening in town that morning.

On Sunday, Nov. 29 Chester will “Ring in the Season” at its first Holiday Market of 2015. The town criers will ring out the news of what’s happening in town that morning.

Once again Chester Center will welcome the holidays with its annual Holiday Market on four Sundays, Nov. 29 through Dec. 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stroll through the picturesque historic Chester village while shopping the market of local growers and producers of artisan baked goods, jams and jellies,  fall vegetables, fresh seafood and meats.

Want fresh seafood? Local Catch will be at the Chester Holiday Markets each week with a wide selection.

Want fresh seafood? Local Catch will be at the Chester Holiday Markets each week with a wide selection.

To add to the holiday spirit, Chester shops, restaurants and galleries will be dressed up in their holiday finery and offering special holiday happenings. On Sunday, Nov. 29, the Holiday Market theme is “Ring in the Season,” so you’ll find ding-a-ling discounts in some shops and town criers ringing out the news of what’s happening in town.

Buy Chester! Chester Rotary hats, Chester Historical Society books about Chester, Chester ornaments from every year including the new one – all will be sold at Chester’s Holiday Markets.

Buy Chester! Chester Rotary hats, Chester Historical Society books about Chester, Chester ornaments from every year including the new one – all will be sold at Chester’s Holiday Markets.

A schedule of each week’s happenings will be at Facebook.com/ChesterSundayMarket and Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT and will also be available at the market.

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Concert in the Garden Features Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet, Dec. 13

Leif Nilsson Concert in the Garden will feature the Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet on Sunday December 13 from 4-6 pm.

Bistro style seating in the Gallery.  Gates open half an hour before the show.  First come – first seated.

BYOB (Shop at the Chester package store across the street!)

Suggested donation $10.

Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet

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Armed with a provocative, whiskey-soaked tone, New York based jazz vocalist Michelle Walker is a charismatic and very versatile singer that uses an artful blend of blues, bebop, swing and soul with playful rhythmic expressiveness. She bends the lines and pushing the boundaries of jazz vocal art with rich colors and adventurous flexibility. She moves easily from a dark, deep tone to a mid-range, swinging lilt. In her upcoming release, Love Misery, Michelle brings together a collection of jazz standards, original songs and her arrangements of contemporary pop tunes effortlessly with her own genre-bending style. Mike Joyce of The Washington Post says “Walker….has seductive charm…” A Stunner in Concert. Dave Nathan of All About Jazz says “…[Walker]…she has an extraordinary degree of musicality….” Michelle is often compared to Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone and Betty Carter in style and tone. Over the past 10 years, her group has toured internationally and has been a premier performer at Festivals, Concert Halls and Performing Art Centers including the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree.

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Collomore Concert Series Present Classical Guitarist Jorge Caballero, Chester, Nov. 29

Jorge Caballero, an internationally award-winning classical guitarist, will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available through CollomoreConcerts.org.

Jorge Caballero, an internationally award-winning classical guitarist, will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. Tickets are available through CollomoreConcerts.org.

On Sunday, Nov. 29 at the Chester Meeting House, the Collomore Concert Series is honored to present classical guitarist Jorge Caballero, the youngest musician and the only guitarist to win the Naumburg International Competition, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards given to performers of any instrument.

Caballero is known for his dazzling virtuosity, intense musicality and spellbinding performances. New York Times called him a “superb young guitarist” and praised his rare combination of “a deft, powerful technique and a soft-spoken interpretive persona.”

The International Guitar Symposium described him: “He has perfect technique and plays at a pace that’s spellbinding. He can also impress us with expression and loveliness, as well as stunning strength. At its most sensational is probably his command of voice leading that simply often sounds like two or three guitars and not one.”

Jorge Caballero’s Chester Meeting House concert will be at 5 p.m. on Nov. 29. Tickets are $24, adult; $5, student, and are available through the website, CollomoreConcerts.org or by calling 860-526-5162. Ticket holders are invited to stay for the reception after the concert to meet the musician and enjoy refreshments donated by Dough on Main. This is the last concert in the 42nd season of the Collomore Concert series.

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Local History Adds to Memories for Thanksgiving Visitors

These girondolas were made for the 1876 Centennial and belonged to the Southworth family of Deep River. They have been in place on the Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House parlor mantel for more than 150 years. The two end pieces depict a man and woman dressed in Colonial style with tricorn hat - the center piece is Daniel Boone and an Indian scout plus another figure representing the westward expansion of the US.

These girondolas were made for the 1876 Centennial and belonged to the Southworth family of Deep River. They have been in place on the Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House parlor mantel for more than 150 years. The two end pieces depict a man and woman dressed in Colonial style with tricorn hat – the center piece is Daniel Boone and an Indian scout plus another figure representing the westward expansion of the US.

Thanksgiving is a time of traditions and memories. For the second year in a row, the historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex are helping you begin a new tradition while you savor the memories of times past. The three historic museums in the tri-town will be open at no charge on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving so you can visit with your families and friends. Such a welcome alternative to dealing with crowds at the malls!

Chester Historical Society president Skip Hubbard said, “This year will be the fifth year we have been open over Thanksgiving and it’s become a popular thing to do. We expect to welcome another 50-60 people again this year to our museum.  Essex and Deep River opened their historic homes over the holiday for the first time last year and I know they were surprised by the number of people who came to their doors.  Some people even visited more than one of the three sites. The combination of free admission, rekindling memories and learning more about the local area can be hard to resist.”

The Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House, built by Deacon Ezra Southworth in 1840, will be open on Friday, Nov. 27, and Saturday, Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour the home to see the “Gems of the Society,”  collections of Deep River businesses and products including Niland cut glass, and enjoy the preview of this year’s Holiday Festival of Trees, Trains and Traditions. The Stone House, at 245 Main Street in Deep River, For more information, visit www.deepriverhistoricalsociety.org.

The welcoming parlor of Essex Historical Society's 18th-century Pratt House awaits your post-Thanksgiving visit on Friday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo by Jody Dole.

The welcoming parlor of Essex Historical Society’s 18th-century Pratt House awaits your post-Thanksgiving visit on Friday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo by Jody Dole.

Essex Historical Society’s historic Pratt House, located at 19 West Avenue in Essex, will be open to visitors Friday, Nov. 27, and Saturday, Nov. 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The house, which was built in stages throughout the 18th century, interprets early farm life and the nine generations of Pratt smithies, many of whom lived there. Tour the house with EHS’s knowledgeable guides and visit its newly expanded museum shop.  This holiday season, the house features a new temporary exhibit on Essex’s E.E. Dickinson Witch Hazel Co. as EHS continues to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2015 with a “Dickinson Year.”  For more information, visit www.essexhistory.org.

At the Chester Museum at The Mill, listen to Peg Lieberman’s tales about sledding down the streets of Chester right to Jennings Pond and check out her childhood doll in the “Pastimes” exhibit.

At the Chester Museum at The Mill, listen to Peg Lieberman’s tales about sledding down the streets of Chester right to Jennings Pond and check out her childhood doll in the “Pastimes” exhibit.

The Chester Museum at The Mill, at 9 West Main Street in Chester, will also be open on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s “Pastimes in Past Times: Chester at Play” exhibit focuses on the ways Chester families spent their leisure time in the “old days.” You can even sit down and enjoy a game of Tiddly Winks and checkers or play the Jaw Harp. It makes no difference where you grew up or when, everything about the exhibit stirs your memories of pastimes you or your family enjoyed and reminds you of what you’d like to pass down to the next generation. For more information, visit www.chesterhistoricalsociety.org.

 

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Williams School Hosts Prospective Student Information Session Saturday

The Williams School in New London is offering a series of Prospective Student Information Sessions with the first one being held this Saturday, Nov. 15, from 1 to 3 p.m.  These sessions will provide an opportunity for families to enjoy a campus tour by a Student Ambassador, hear from a panel of current students and faculty, and experience mini lessons taught by faculty in their classrooms. They are one of many ways to learn about Williams’ academic, athletic, arts, and community opportunities.

Register online for Saturday’s Information Session.

Additional Information Sessions are planned on the following dates:

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 1-3 p.m.

Sunday, May 15, 2016, 1-3 p.m.

For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 860.443.5333 or 

The Williams School is a college preparatory day school serving middle and upper school students in grades 6 – 12 located on the campus of Connecticut College at 182 Mohegan Ave. New London, CT 06320

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Democrat Gister Defeats Linn in Chester’s First Selectman Race, Englert Loses Seat

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek celebrate their respective elections.

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek celebrate their respective elections.

Mario Gioco read the following “unofficial results” of the Chester Board of Selectmen election to those waiting in the town hall:
First Selectman:
Lauren Gister (D) 680
Carolyn Linn (R) 413
Selectman:
Charlene Janecek (D) 688
Tom Englert (R) 404
Gister commented, “We will work very hard and we will make you proud.”
Full story by Charles Stannard coming tomorrow.
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New York City Musicians Kick Off Collomore Concerts at Chester Meeting House, Sunday

Aaron Wunsch and Julia Bruskin will perform at the Chester Meeting House in the first Collomore Concert of the 42nd season on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 5 p.m.

Aaron Wunsch and Julia Bruskin will perform at the Chester Meeting House in the first Collomore Concert of the 42nd season on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 5 p.m.

CHESTER — The 42nd annual season of the Robbie Collomore Music Series at the historic Chester Meeting House begins on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 5 p.m. with a performance by young world-class musicians Julia Bruskin and Aaron Wunsch.

Aaron Wunsch and Julia Bruskin are both partners in life and partners in music. In addition to individually having active worldwide solo recital, chamber music and orchestral performance careers, they frequently perform duo recitals. Their life partnership is facilitated by having a joint base in New York City, Wunsch as a faculty member at the Juilliard School and Bruskin as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. They are co-Artistic Directors of the Skanteateles Festival in the Finger Lakes.

Since her concerto debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at age 17, Bruskin has established herself as one of the premiere cellists of her generation. Her recent CD of music by Beethoven, Brahms, and Dohnanyi was praised by Fanfare Magazine for its “exquisite beauty of sound and expression.”  A founding member of the critically acclaimed Claremont Trio, Bruskin won first prize in the 2001 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and was awarded the first ever Kalichestein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio Award.

Praised for his bold interpretations and communicative sensitivity, pianist Wunsch appears regularly on concert stages throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He has performed in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Duke’s Hall in London, and at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. A 10-city solo recital tour of China garnered critical acclaim and enthusiastic audience responses. He has been lauded for his “masterful” chamber music performances (Hartford Courant).

At the Chester Meeting House, Wunsch and Bruskin will perform sonatas by Bach, Debussy, Britten and Rachmaninoff. After the concert, stay for the reception, with refreshments donated by River Tavern, to meet the performers.

Collomore concert tickets are $24; $5 for students, but season subscriptions for the four fall concerts are now available at $72 (four concerts for the price of three) or $15 for students. More information is at collomoreconcerts.org or email info@collomoreconcerts.org or call 860-526-5162.

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‘Abstract Imaginings’ on View at Maple & Main

'Metalling in Nature' by Ashby Carlisle.

‘Metalling in Nature’ by Ashby Carlisle.

CHESTER — ‘Abstract Imaginings’ is currently on view at Maple & Main’s Stone Gallery in Chester.

Ashby Carlisle of Old Lyme, a sculptor, and Victoria Sivigny of Meriden, an abstract painter, are award-winning artists exhibiting major bodies of work during the month of September in this exhibition titled, ‘Abstract Imaginings,’  and on show through Sept. 30. The works of each artist invite close, careful, deep seeing and reward the viewer’s energy and time.

Sivigny works in acrylic paint on large canvases, often 36″x 36″, in a palette of neutral tones, and her mark-making varies from the extremely subtle to the grand gesture, from something so slight as to seem like a dried teardrop, to circles, grids, or pseudo grids, and other marks of time and wear.  The artist prints, scratches, paints, stamps, embeds, collages, tears, etches, pours, rakes, drips, and throws; with no end to the verbs one might use when imagining how her highly-textured marks are made.

'Point of Departure No. 3' by Victoria Sivigny.

‘Point of Departure No. 3’ by Victoria Sivigny.

There are, in some of Sivigny’s paintings, word-like inscriptions, either decorative script, or Cyrillic and Arabic letters, but the suggestion is that language is just one more graphic element, not a factor of greater signifying power than any other mark.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of encountering a Sivigny work, is alchemical: the whole is more mysterious than the sum of its parts.  One senses an artist who begins in control and ends in abandon, having tossed-up the fundamental elements of art, then stepped back as they fell into place.

Like an oxymoron, each of Sivigny’s paintings embodies an intriguing paradox: one is strangely familiar; another, naturally uncanny; or randomly ordered; or disparately harmonious.

Through the combination of a muted palette, a see-sawing of delicate and bold mark-making, patterns repeated with variations, as well as recurrent or unique gestures, Sivigny’s work is both aesthetically satisfying and intellectually challenging.

Ashby Carlisle is a sculptor whose foundation materials are fiber in the form of hand-dyed and printed paper, pages from books and magazines, metal and clay which she forms into wall sculptures contained in thin wooden boxes. Within these boxes she assembles tattered layers of papers lined with gold suggestive of sky, clouds, horizon and land.

Where the horizon separates sky from ground, Carlisle has secured a clay plate through which twisty vines penetrate the lower and upper divisions: earth and sky.  She uses the organic to suggest the supra-natural, and the natural to create objects that might be organic, but are not.

At times in her work, Carlisle inscribes the marks of culture, specifically writing and other forms of symbolizing.  Sometimes the lettering is superimposed on other lettering as if to say that not only are land and sky entirely a cultural construct, but they are a jumble, a cacophony of inscriptions over-written by “signs.’  In several of Carlisle’s works, a representation of the natural world is completely written-over, seeing itself entirely codified.

Carlisle and Sivigny are both members of GalleryOne, a cooperative of mid-career artists who exhibit along the Connecticut shoreline, and each has exhibited work in numerous local, regional and national exhibitions.  Among other opportunities, both artists have exhibited work at the John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven, Spectrum Gallery in Centerbrook, Guilford Art Center, Golden Thread Gallery in West Hartford, and the Valentine H. Zahn Community Gallery in Westbrook.

Carlisle’s work has been on view in The Cooley, Sill House, and Studio 80 Sculpture Galleries in Old Lyme.  Sivigny has also exhibited her work at The Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and West Hartford’s Art League Saltbox and Clubhouse Galleries.

Sivigny holds elected memberships with the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, West Hartford Art League, and Connecticut Women Artists.  She was awarded second prize for “Temple of the Soul” at the New Britain Museum of Art Annual Members’ Exhibition.

For additional information, visit www.ashbycarlisle.comwww.victoriasivigny.com,

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Chester Library Announces Lobster Festival Basket Winner

Basket winner and longtime Chester resident Pat Holloway, who was Chester's Library Director many years ago and recently retired as West Hartford's Library Director, is shown in the photo with Linda Fox, Chester Library Director (left), and Susan Wright, Chester Rotarian (right).

Basket winner and longtime Chester resident Pat Holloway, who was Chester’s Library Director many years ago and recently retired as West Hartford’s Library Director, is shown in the photo with Linda Fox, Chester Library Director (left), and Susan Wright, Chester Rotarian (right).

The Chester Library has a winner of its Lobster Festival basket, the final reward in its Escape the Ordinary summer reading program for adults – and it’s Pat Holloway! Holloway’s award basket includes everything needed for the perfect evening at the Chester Rotary Lobster Festival on Sept. 12 – from tableware to Festival tickets.

Thanks to the Friends of Chester Public Library who filled the basket and to the Chester Rotary that donated four Festival tickets. And thanks to all those who Escaped the Ordinary with Chester Library this summer – 40 people, who read 211 books!

Holloway, a longtime Chester resident who was Chester’s Library Director many years ago and recently retired as West Hartford’s Library Director, is shown in the photo with Linda Fox, Chester Library Director (left), and Susan Wright,  Chester Rotarian (right).

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Former Illustrator Newton Debuts as Sculptor at CBSRZ Exhibition Opening This Afternoon

Richard Newton sculptureCHESTER — Richard Newton, formerly an illustrator nationally known for his iconic Time, Newsweek, Businessweek, National Wildlife and Fortune magazine covers, will make his sculpture debut at  Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s (CBSRZ) Art Gallery on Sunday, Sept 6, from 4 to 7 p.m.  The artist will speak at 5:30p.m. and take questions.

The Sept. 6 opening will feature a wine and cheese reception with live music.  There is no charge and all art lovers are welcome.

Newton has been a professional artist for over 35 years and has mounted advertising campaigns for the U.S. Postal Service, Sprint, General Electric and Pfizer Pharmaceutical.  His exhibit will continue through Nov. 15, and will be open and free to the public Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to  3 p.m.

The artist will make a generous contribution to CBSRZ for all work sold.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information call the CBSRZ office 860-526-8920

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Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Peter Jones Attains Eagle Scout Rank

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Peter Jones. Photo by Michael Rutty.

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Peter Jones. Photo by Michael Rutty.

CHESTER & DEEP RIVER — Peter Jones of Deep River, a member of Chester/Deep River’s Troop 13, has earned Scouting’s highest rank and an Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for him on Sunday Aug. 16, at the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium.

To become an Eagle Scout, Peter earned 38 merit badges and advanced through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to his Troop and service to his community.  One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the boy’s community, school, or religious institution.

Peter’s project was to reconstruct a 20 foot long stone wall to enhance the corner of The Deep River Congregational Church’s cemetery along Platt Ln. and Essex St.  The original wall had fallen into disrepair over the years from erosion.  The completed wall complements the existing front wall of the cemetery and new plantings were added to the accent and beautify the area.

Completing this project entailed meeting with the church to determine they stone they preferred, securing donations for supplies, designing and overseeing volunteers through the construction and installation of the wall and plantings.  The completed project provides an important service to the residents of Deep River and members of Deep River Congregational Church by improving the look of the area.

Congratulations, Peter!

Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves the boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun.

There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead. The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun.

To learn more information about joining Troop 13 please contact our Scoutmaster, Steven Merola @ 860-526-9262

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Chester Artists’ Raffle Benefits Chester Library Programs

“Sorbet with Sprinkles” quilt by Sally Murray

One of the items in Chester Library’s fundraising raffle is this “Sorbet with Sprinkles” quilt by Sally Murray

CHESTER — Chester is a town of many talented individuals, three of whom have donated their works to the Friends of the Chester Public Library for a fundraising raffle, culminating on Oct. 6.

“The Chief’s Daughter” basket by Sosse Baker.

“The Chief’s Daughter” basket by Sosse Baker.

Basketmaker Sosse Baker created “The Chief’s Daughter,” a storage basket in a Cherokee pattern, 20 inches high and 16 inches wide, in dyed and natural rattan.

Baker, the co-owner of Chester Gallery in Chester Center, has been a renowned basketmaker for several decades.

There’s also “Sorbet with Sprinkles,” a lively lap quilt made by Sally Murray.  At 61 x 72 inches, it’s large enough for a couchful.  It’s all-cotton construction, machine-pieced and -quilted, washer- and dryer-friendly, and bright enough to evoke a smile.

Murray is a resource in Chester Library’s Human Library; check her out to learn more about quilting.

“Midnight Passion” mohair stole by Lisa Tollefson

“Midnight Passion” mohair stole by Lisa Tollefson

You will love to drape yourself in Lisa Tollefson’s one-of-a-kind hand-knitted lace mohair-blend stole. This original Rivergirl design, named “Midnight Passion,” is a gorgeous blue and foldable/crushable, lightweight, and surprisingly warm.

Tickets are priced at $2 each and only 1,000 tickets are being sold. The three items are on display at the Chester Library. All proceeds from the raffle will directly benefit the Friends of the Library’s programs and purchases for the library.

The Friends fund DVD and CD purchases and a Netflix membership; passes to area museums and attractions; professionally facilitated Spring and Fall book discussion series; materials for children’s story and craft hours; and the summer reading program.

The raffle drawing will be at the Chester Library on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m. Winners need not be present to win.

 

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Sidewalk Sales Slated in Chester, Saturday

“Busy Bees” by Michael Centrella of Cheshire is just one of the numerous unframed original art pieces at Maple & Main Gallery’s Sidewalk Sale event on Aug. 29.

“Busy Bees” by Michael Centrella of Cheshire is just one of the numerous unframed original art pieces at Maple & Main Gallery’s Sidewalk Sale event on Aug. 29.

At Red Pepper, you’ll find clothing, hats, handbags, scarves, handblown glass, ceramics at 20-50% off during Chester’s Sidewalk Sale Day.

At Red Pepper, you’ll find clothing, hats, handbags, scarves, handblown glass, ceramics at 20-50% off during Chester’s Sidewalk Sale Day.

The Chester Squirrel is on the run again – this time carrying a Sidewalk Sale banner for Chester’s first annual town-wide End-of-Summer Sidewalk Sale Day on Saturday, Aug. 29.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on the last Saturday of August, start exploring Chester Center shops and galleries for Sidewalk Sale specials. You’ll find unique unframed art at Maple & Main Gallery, antiques at Chester Americana Antiques & Gallery, vintage pieces at Ceramica, apparel at Compass Rose, purses at Lark, and much much more in every shop in Chester. Specials may be indoors or on the sidewalk.

Unique unframed art will be offered at Maple and Main Gallery during the Sidewalk Sale from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Out on the porch and set up inside the gallery, look for art for less because it’s not yet framed.  There will be works by the gallery’s 44 artists on paper, canvas and board; from abstract to traditional; from provocative to playful.

Custom-made frames add a considerable expense to a painting and can restrict buyers from choosing frames that better match their own taste and, of course, some people prefer no frames at all.

While you’re at the gallery, visit the summer show of over 250 works by the gallery artists.

Maple and Main Gallery, One Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit mapleandmaingallery.com or the gallery’s Facebook page or Instagram account  or call 860-526-6065.

When you get tired of shopping, find a Sidewalk Sale Special at one of Chester’s restaurants — and then head over to the Chester Fair for more small-town fun.

More details at FindItInChesterCT.wordpress.com or by calling 860-322-4047.

Start the fall with one of these purses found at Lark’s Sidewalk Sale.

Start the fall with one of these purses found at Lark’s Sidewalk Sale.

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Lori Warner Gallery Hosts Ann Lightfoot Jewelry Summer Sale Today

AnnLightfootSALE15_hands

A plethora of jewelry by Ann Lightfoot. Photo courtesy of Ann Lightfoot Jewelry

CHESTER — In appreciation of their customers’ loyal support and enthusiasm, Lori Warner and Ann Lightfoot have teamed up to host the Ann Lightfoot Jewelry Summer Studio Sale on Saturday, Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

AnnLightfootSale15_earrings

Earrings by Ann Lightfoot. Photo courtesy of Ann Lightfoot Jewelry

Find a curated mix of samples, one-offs, past seasons’ pieces, as well as many designs offered exclusively at this event, all at deeply reduced prices.

A portion of all sales will help fund the art programs in local public schools through the Lori Warner Gallery Scholarship Fund.

The Lori Warner Studio/Gallery is a unique source for artwork and objects that make a lasting impression. The gallery exhibits a small number of exclusive and award winning work and regularly hosts informal events featuring their represented artists and designers.

The gallery is located at 21 Main Street in Chester, Connecticut.  For more information, visit www.loriwarner.com or call  (860) 322-4265.

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Summer Exhibit on View at Maple & Main Through Sept. 20

'Sheep in the Meadow' by Amy Knaggs of Chester is one of the signature paintings in the Summer Exhibit.

‘Sheep in the Meadow’ by Amy Knaggs of Chester is one of the signature paintings in the Summer Exhibit.

CHESTER – All new art from cutting edge to traditional is featured in the sixth annual Summer Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery where a gala opening reception will be hosted by the gallery Saturday, July 25, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The exhibition includes paintings and sculptures by 40 Connecticut artists, some showing at Maple and Main for the first time.

'Down the River' by Claudia Van Nes of Chester.

‘Down the River’ by Claudia Van Nes of Chester.

Popular musician Alan James will play during the reception and from 6 to 7 p.m, there will be wine tasting by the Chester Package Store. The gallery will also be serving wine and a selection of hors d’ouevres, including pizza, during the evening.

'Color Jam' by Andy Teran of Essex

‘Color Jam’ by Andy Teran of Essex

Concurrently, the “Hats, Hats, Hats” show of paintings depicting hats in all manners and styles is on view in the Stone Gallery in the lower level of the gallery.

The show opens Wednesday, July 22, and runs through Sept. 20.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mapleandmaingallery.com; mapleandmain@att.net; 860-526-6065. The gallery is also on Facebook and Instagram.

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Carolyn Linn is Republican Nominee for Chester First Selectman Through Ballot Petition

Republican Carolyn Linn will face Democrat Lister in the Nov. 3 election for  Chester First Selectman.

Republican Carolyn Linn will face Democrat Lauren Gister in the Nov. 3 election for Chester First Selectman.

CHESTER — There will be a contest for first selectman in the Nov. 3 election after all as Carolyn Linn claims the Republican nomination for first selectman with a ballot petition submitted to the town clerk Tuesday. Fifty-five-year-old Linn will face Democratic nominee Lauren Gister, aged 57, for the position left open with the retirement of two-term Democratic First Selectman Edmund Meehan.

Republicans came up empty on the first selectman nomination at the July 27 party caucus that nominated incumbent Republican Selectman Tom Englert for a fourth term, along with a handful of other candidates for positions on the local ballot. Gister a lawyer and former Marine, had been nominated at the Democratic caucus on July 21, with Charlene Janecek as the running-mate for board of selectmen. Democratic Selectman Larry Sypher is not seeking a new term.

But in the succeeding days, Linn, a 26-year resident and certified veterinary assistant who runs a local pet services business, emerged as a candidate. Town Clerk Debra Calamari said Linn submitted a petition signed by 47 town Republicans late Tuesday, one day before Wednesday’s deadline for primary petitions.

State election law allows a position left open by the party nominating caucus to be filled by a primary petition that must be submitted by an Aug. 12 deadline. The petition must be signed by a least five percent of the town’s 453 registered Republicans. With no other candidate, there is no primary and the new candidate claims to Republican line through the petition.

Linn, in a statement issued Thursday, said her goals include “preserving our historic personality while responsibly developing local opportunities” that would enable the town to prosper. She cited taxes and economic development as concerns, and suggested her “entrepreneurial and volunteer spirit” would benefit the town.

Linn said she was a volunteer EMT with the Chester Volunteer Ambulance Service after arriving in town in the early 1990s, and has also been involved with the Chester Winter Carnivale and the Shoreline Soup Kitchens. She is the mother of two children, both of whom graduated from Region 4 schools.

Linn is the first Republican nominated for first selectman since 2009, when former First Selectman Tom Marsh was re-elected for a third term. Marsh resigned in August 2011 to take a town manager job in Vermont. Republicans did not nominate a candidate for first selectman in 2011, when Meehan was easily elected over a challenger nominated by the Chester Common Ground Party. Meehan was uncontested for a second term in 2013, a year when there were no contests for any positions on the town lengthy ballot.

Along with a contest, this year’s nominations ensure the town’s next first selectman will be a woman, either Gister or Linn. The first, and only, woman to serve as Chester First Selectman is Bettie Perreault, a Republican who served from 1989-1993.

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Chester Democrats Nominate Lauren Gister for First Selectman, Charlene Janececk for Selectman

Atty. Lauren Gister

Atty. Lauren Gister

CHESTER — Democrats Tuesday nominated Laruen Gister for the open first selectman position, with Charlene Janecek, the party registrar of voters, as the running-mate for board of selectmen.

Both seats on the three-member board, controlled by Democrats since 2011, were open after the incumbents declined to seek new terms in the Nov. 3 vote.

Two-term Democratic First Selectman Edmund Meehan formally advised the Democratic Town Committee in June that he would not seek a new term. Selectman Lawrence Sypher, first elected in 2009, also declined to run again.

Gister, a local attorney and 25-year member of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Janececk, were nominated on a unanimous voice vote from the approximately 70 Democrats that turned out for the caucus held at the Chester Meeting House. Gister had been endorsed by the Chester Democratic Town Committee earlier this month. But comments made in the nominating speech for the position indicated there had been some questions and possible objections to Gister’s nomination.

In nominating Gister, David Fitzgibbons claimed there had been an effort to “swiftboat,” her possible candidacy in the days preceding the caucus. The term is a reference to Republican backed attacks on Democratic nominee John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign. He claimed the actions were damaging to the party and the town while praising Gister’s experience as a Marine and ability to “lead us forward with compassion.”

Fitzgibbons was clearly referring to a letter published in a local weekly from Joe Cohen, a town committee member. In the letter published last week, Cohen contends that Gister lacks government and managerial experience, does not own property in Chester, and has not voted in recent elections. Cohen, a public relations consultant and former newspaper reporter, was rumored to be planning a caucus challenge to Gister’s nomination. But Cohen, who was present Tuesday, did not put his name in nomination at the caucus.

Gister said after the nomination that she was expecting a challenger from Cohen. She said “ugly statements” before the caucus had referred to personal problems she faced and overcame in recent years, including a divorce and subsequent foreclosure on her property in town.

Gister, 56, is a mother of four children, ages 14-31 Gister said she was born in California, but moved to Connecticut at age 14 and graduated from Hall High School in West Hartford.. A 19-year resident who maintains a law practice in town, Gister said she was approached by town committee members about a possible candidacy earlier this month.

Cohen said after the caucus that he is hoping other candidates emerge for the first selectman position over the next two weeks to provide town voters with a contest. Cohen said he is “pondering” a position run as a petition candidate, but is unlikely to challenge Gister’s nomination in a Democratic primary. He offered no apologies for his letter to the editor about Gister. “Telling the truth and raising concerns about legitimate issues is not in any way character assassination.” he said.

Democrats also nominated a slate of mostly incumbents for other positions on the municipal election ballot. Lori Ann Clymas, currently serving on the board of finance, was nominated for a six-year term on the Region 4 Board of Education. Incumbent Jennifer Rannestad was nominated for a new term on the board of finance.

Incumbents Errol Horner and Keith Scherber were nominated for new full terms on the planning and zoning commission, with incumbent Peter Zanardi nominated for a two-year term on the commission. New candidate Jacqueline Stack was nominated for planning and zoning commission alternate. Incumbents Maria Scherber and David Fitzgibbons were nominated for local board of education, along with new candidates John Stack and John Ropiak.

Incumbent Mark Borton was nominated for a new term on the zoning board of appeals, incumbent Kim Senay was nominated for a new term on the inland wetlands commission, and incumbent James Pease was nominated for a new term on the water pollution control authority. Incumbent Sandy Senior-Dauer and Karin Badger were nominated for library board of trustees.

Republicans hold their nominating caucus Monday. No candidates have announced for the Republican nomination for first selectman. Cohen, or any other possible challengers, face an Aug. 5 deadline to submit signatures to run as a petition candidate.

Aug. 12 is the deadline for primary petitions.

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Nilsson Presents ‘Old Dog New Trick’ at Tonight’s ‘Concert in the Garden’

'Old Dog New Trick' will play a 'Concert in the Garden' Thursday, July 23.

‘Old Dog New Trick’ will play a ‘Concert in the Garden’ Thursday, July 23.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Thursday, July 23, from 7 to 9 p.m., this time featuring ‘Old Dog New Trick’ at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Old Dog New Trick is Bruce Thorndike, Mitch Thorndike and Paul Emmerling, a local trio that plays various pubs and bistros along the lower Connecticut River. In addition to covering the classics, blues and alt /indie folk-rock, they have an extensive stable of originals that are enjoying a growing appreciation among their fans.

Songs of Bruce Thorndike have been featured on Shoreline Monthly Music and they were showcased recently at the Sanctuary Festival in East Haddam. In addition, the trio likes to bring on guest artists to “sit in”, thus ensuring that every song is a new ride each time out of the barn!

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

A $10 donation is appreciated. The event is BYOB – pack a picnic and buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street.

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Night Work Scheduled on Chester’s Main St., Monday & Tuesday

CHESTER — On Monday and Tuesday nights, July 20 and July 21, the Connecticut Water Company will be working on Main Street in front of Chesterfields Health Care Center and the Post Office.

This work involves installation of a new fire hydrant and fire line service for Chesterfields and completion of the new water main connection under the brook adjacent to the Post Office.

This night time work is necessary to coordinate with the reconstruction of Main Street.

Be aware of road closure, detour route and the safety of the construction crew.

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Artist Judith Barbour Osborne’s Text-based Exhibit on Show at Chester Village West Thru Aug. 21

Judith Barbour Osborne sits with samples of her work.

Judith Barbour Osborne sits with samples of her work.

CHESTER – Ivoryton resident and mixed-media abstract artist Judith Barbour Osborne will showcase 14 of her iconic works in a one-woman exhibition titled “Staining the Wind” from July 16 to August 21 at the Chester Village West active retirement community, 317 West Main St., Chester .

The public is invited to attend the exhibit’s opening reception on Friday, July 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., and to visit the exhibit any day through Aug. 21.

Osborne’s creations explore the dynamic relationship of opposites such as chance and intention to generate energies in her works. “As in all my work, the pieces in this show reflect my goal of making aspects of non-visual reality visible, as if staining the wind,” she explains. Her text sources are primarily poetry and spiritual writings.

The works Osborne will display at Chester Village West are created with a host of diverse materials: sumi ink, acrylic, watercolor, gouache and oil sticks; pastels, graphite and colored pencils; shellac, and wax, to name a few.

Osborne received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Philadelphia College of Art (University of the Arts). She has exhibited extensively, with solo exhibitions in Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, Delaware, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Canada. Her works have also been included in group exhibitions at galleries and museums in Paris, Ottawa and New York City; in Korea, China and Thailand; and in Connecticut, from New Canaan to Stonington, among others.

A recipient of a number of awards and grants, Osborne has contributed to regional and international arts publications. She has also served as an art, design and calligraphy lecturer and instructor, guest curator and juror.

For more information on Judith Barbour Osborne’s “Staining the Wind” exhibition at Chester Village West, call 860.526.6800 or email chestervillagewest@lcsnet.com.

For more information on Osborne’s work, visit jboart.com or artspacenh.org/artists/Judith_BarbourOsborne.

 

About Chester Village West

Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being. Find out more atchestervillagewestlcs.com. Visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Leif Nilsson Hosts ‘The Weedhawks’ at ‘Concert in the Garden’ Tonight

weedhawksCHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Friday, July 17, from 7 to 9 p.m., this time featuring The Weedhawks at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

The Weedhawks comprise one man and one woman — he’s like Johnny Cash meets John Prine. She’s like Janis Joplin with the fiddle chops of Alison Krauss. Together they’ve been stunning audiences from Austin, Texas, to London, England. Strong original songs combining Country, Folk, Western Swing, and Rock n Roll. Check the Weedhawks website at http://weedhawks.org,

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

A $10 donation is appreciated. The event is BYOB – pack a picnic and buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street.

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LVVS Seeks Press Relations Volunteer

AREAWIDE — Volunteer for a non-profit that makes a difference in meeting the literacy needs of our community.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) needs someone to edit and submit news and publicity items to area newspapers, collect clippings and keep records of publicity for our organization.  The schedule is flexible and mostly can be accomplished from home or remotely.

Give LVVS a call at 860-399-0280, stop in or fill out the volunteer application on their website at www.vsliteracy.org.

LVVS is located at 61 Goodspeed Dr., Westbrook, around the back of the Westbrook Library.

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Chester Rotary’s 37th Annual “Four on the Fourth” Road Race is Today

Rotary 2015 Road Race logoCHESTER — On Saturday, July 4, the Rotary Club of Chester will sponsor its perennially popular 37th Annual “4 on the 4th” Road Race – a time-honored Chester tradition.  The start time is 9 a.m.   The scenic, rolling course that loops its way around and through the quaint Village of Chester is USATF sanctioned and measured.

On-line, pre-entry is available through www.Active.com until 9 p.m. on Wed., July 1.  Information is also available at www.chesterrotary.org.  The entry fee is $25.

Race day registration will be between 7 and 8:30 a.m. at St Joseph’s Parish Center.   Pre-registered runners may pick up race packets at either the Friday evening advanced or Saturday morning, race day registration. All entrants receive a road race T-shirt (while they last) and a complimentary drink ticket for use after the race.

Entertainment, food and drinks for participants and spectators will be available.  Beer will be offered at the Rotary-sponsored beer tent.  Food will be available from Chester Main Street merchants.

Chester will be closed at 8 a.m. on race day.  Parking will be limited; carpooling is encouraged.  Detour and parking data are available on-line at www.chesterrotary.org.

Chester Rotarians are dedicated to providing funding and service to local, national and international charitable organizations.  All proceeds from this event support these causes.

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Klezmer’s Big Band Plays a Free Concert in Chester Today

The Nu Haven Kapelye 2015. Photo courtesy of Nu Haven Kapelye.

The Nu Haven Kapelye 2015. Photo courtesy of Nu Haven Kapelye.

CHESTER — Enthusiasts of klezmer bands may argue over which ensemble is the best in this part of New England, but there is no doubt about which one is the biggest.

Come see and hear for yourself when Nu Haven Kapelye, a group that has included as many as 30 musicians, ranging in age from 8 to 80, plays at the annual free picnic concert on the grounds of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester on Sunday, June 28, at 5 p.m.

The band was formed in the late 1990s when a small group of local musicians came together to create a concert of Jewish music for the greater New Haven community on Christmas Day.  Over the last 15 years, the group has become a full-fledged year-round Klezmer Big Band.  The members include professional musicians, students, and a whole bunch of amateur community members who love to play Yiddish song and dance classics.

The director of the Music & More series, Miriam Gardner-Frum, says, the Nu Haven “promises to bring incredible energy and spirit to this annual event.”

Though the concert, wrapping up the seventh season of concerts, is free and no reservations are required, audience members are asked to bring canned or boxed food items to benefit the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, the charity of this annual event.

Food items, such as kosher hot dogs, will be available for purchase with proceeds going to the soup kitchen.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information about the concert or the congregation, call the synagogue office, 860-526-8920.

 

Photo: courtesy of Nu Haven Kapelye

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Letter to the Editor: Thanks to Police for Prompt Assistance, Follow-up in Home Burglary

To the Editor:
 
I live in Chester, CT and I would like to take this opportunity to publically thank our local Resident Trooper, Officer Ewing and Troop F Officer G. for all the hard work they have done on my family’s  behalf.
 
Recently, my husband entered our home and discovered we had been robbed.  He called the Trooper’s office and then he called me.  But, before I could get home, Trooper G. was already there.  Later, he was joined by Officer Ewing who at the time was on another case.
 
Both officers performed a thorough investigation and were extremely helpful.  The robbers took off with the typical stuff but it was reported by a Good Samaritan that there was no car in our driveway during the robbery. So the Troopers thought they may have taken off on foot out in the woods.  So they brought in a tracking dog to track the nearby woods.
 
So far, our things have not been recovered, but I know Officer Ewing is still looking as he has called with updates and one time stopped by the house and spoke with our family.
 
We are fortunate to live in such a lovely town that is so well protected.  I feel safer now just knowing how our security is handled. Good job Officers Ewing and Officer G.  Thank you both so, so much.
 
Sincerely,
The Monahan family including,
Christina and Steven Monahan, Chester.
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Chester Library Offers Summer Fun for Kids, Wednesdays in July

Leigh Basilone (center) will once again teach kids scrapbooking techniques at Chester Library this summer.

Leigh Basilone (center) will once again teach kids scrapbooking techniques at Chester Library this summer.

CHESTER — When the kids say they’re bored this summer, offer to take them to one of the free craft programs at Chester Library.

For ages 7 and up, five craft workshops are offered on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m.  On July 8, learn Origami paper folding with Jenna and Erin. The next week, on July 15, sculpt a mythic Medusa. Decorate a photo frame with recycled re-useables on July 22, create Vegi Critters with Sandy on July 29, and learn the art of polymer (Sculpty) clay with Jenna and Erin on Aug. 5.

Ages 10 and older are invited to the scrapbooking class with Leigh Basilone on Thursday, July 9, at 4:30 p.m. Back by popular demand, Basilone will teach kids how to create a memory page with photos and more.

Registration is required for all programs. Sign up now at the library or call 860-526-0018.

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Chester Library Kicks Off “Heroes” Summer Program on Monday

Margie Warner will entertain on Monday at Chester Library's Summer Reading Program kick-off event.

Margie Warner will entertain on Monday at Chester Library’s Summer Reading Program kick-off event.

CHESTER — Children of all ages and their parents are invited to the kickoff of Chester Library’s summer reading program, “Every Hero Has a Story,”  on Monday, June 29, at 10:30 a.m.

Chester’s own Margie Warner will entertain with her fun, interactive musical program, “You’re My Hero.” Warner is traveling the state all summer to give her program in recognition of the nationwide summer reading initiative about heroes.

After the program, materials will be available for all children – readers and pre-readers – to start them off in the summer reading program as a “reading hero.” Refreshments will be served.

For more information about the summer program at the Chester Library, call 860-526-0018.

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Miller Applauds Historic Student Loan Rate Cut

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

AREAWIDE — State Representative Philip Miller (D-36th) is applauding a recent announcement by the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) that it will offer a fixed interest rate of 4.95 percent for new student loans, down from its current rate of 6.75 percent.

The rate is also significantly lower than the upcoming Federal PLUS loan rate, which will be 6.84 percent, and is the lowest rate CHESLA has ever offered. CHESLA will also be increasing the maximum allowed debt-to-income ratio from 40% to 43%.

“This announcement by CHESLA is certainly good news for students over-burdened with large student loans, along with their parents,” Rep. Miller said. “Hopefully, this development should help make higher education more affordable to more students in our state.”

These money-saving changes follow legislative passage of House Bill 6907, which asked CHESLA to develop a plan to lower student loan interest rates and increase the maximum allowable debt-to-income ratio.

Rep. Miller said students and parents can contact CHESLA at www.chesla.org for additional information or call (800) 935-2275.

Editor’s Note: Philip Miller is state representative for the 36th Assembly District comprising the Towns of  Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 Honors Eagle Scout Nathaniel Kinsman

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Nathaniel Kinsman. Photo by: Lianne Rutty

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Nathaniel Kinsman. Photo by: Lianne Rutty

CHESTER & DEEP RIVER —  An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held recently for Nathaniel Kinsman at the First Church of Christ in East Haddam, Conn. Kinsman is a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 13, which serves boys aged 11-18 of Chester and Deep River.

To become an Eagle Scout, Kinsman earned 54 merit badges and advanced through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to his Troop and service to his community.

One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the boy’s community, school, or religious institution.

Kinsman’s project was to refurbish the playground at the First Church of Christ in East Haddam.  This included covering areas of the playground with fresh wood chips; refurbishing the two existing benches; sanding and refinishing the sandbox and refilling with clean sand; repairing the children’s playhouse; applying several coats of linseed oil to all playground swings and structures; adding new toddler swings; and landscaping the surrounding area.

Congratulations, Nathaniel!

The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead.

The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and enjoyable.

For more information about joining Troop 13, contact Scoutmaster Steven Merola at 860-526-9262

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‘Hats, Hats, Hats! on View at Maple & Main Through July 31; Reception, July 25

'Honor' by Nicole DiStacio

‘Honor’ by Nicole DiStacio

CHESTER — A new exhibition titled, “Hats, hats, hats,” opens at Maple and Main Gallery, One Maple Ave. Chester on July 1 and will be on view through July 31.  There will be two receptions on Friday, July 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 25, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Gallery hours  are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

'Sunshower' by Karen Israel

‘Sunshower’ by Karen Israel

Featured Artists are:

'Unforgettable' by Claudia Post

‘Unforgettable’ by Claudia Post

Claudia Post from Chester, Conn.

Master pastelist and professional portrait artist for over 50 years. She conducts an academic fine art program specializing in art mentoring and coaching and is available for Jurying, Judging, and Portrait Workshops.

Karen Israel from West Hartford, Conn.

Master pastelist, President of Connecticut Pastel Society, available for jurying, judging, demonstrations and teaching pastel painting

Joel Engelhardt from Shrewsbury, Mass.

Pastelist and member of Post Atelier, Connecticut Pastel Society and Firehouse Gallery

'Ivory Porcelain Doll' by Nan Iselin

‘Ivory Porcelain Doll’ by Nan Iselin

Nan Iselin from Killingworth, Conn.

Pastelist and watercolorist and member of Post Atelier

Lou Zucchi from Kensington, Conn.

Professional photographer and member of Salmagundi Club, NYC

Dakota Neumon from Milford, Conn.

Pastelist, member of Post Atelier and member of Connecticut Pastel Society and Firehouse Gallery in Milford

Lauren Tyrell from Clinton, Conn.

Studied at Post Atelier and graduated from School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Laguna College of Art and Design in California.  She is a member of Colored Pencil Society of America and works in pastel, colored pencils and oil.

'Inspriration' by Laura Neumon

‘Inspriration’ by Dakota Neumon

Nicole DiStasio from Clinton, Conn.

Attends Middletown High School in Middletown, Conn., is a member of Post Atelier and has exhibited with the Clinton Art Society.

Samantha Listorti from Old Saybrook, Conn.

Graduated from Lyme College of Art and currently is the Arts Day Program Specialist for Vista in Madison, Conn. She freelances in various mediums.

 

Artists will be available to discuss their art work, commission work and display their portfolios at both Opening Receptions at Maple and Main Gallery. There will be paintings of many different hats in portraits, still life work and in genre (a slice of life).

For further information, contact the Gallery at (860) 526 6065 or Claudia Post at (860) 510 2056 or www.claudiapost.com

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