May 24, 2016

36th House Election a Rematch Between Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller and Republican Bob Siegrist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Siegrist (left) stands with Ed Munster.

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

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

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

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

Miller said he plans to run an active and positive campaign, and is ready for public debates with Siegrist. “I’ll be out and about meeting people like I normally do,” he said, adding “it’s my case to make and I think it is going to be clear, if it is not already, that I am a much better candidate.”
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Death Announced of Veteran ’60 Minutes’ Correspondent, Chester Resident Morley Safer

Morley Safer

Morley Safer

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Bob Siegrist,
Haddam.

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

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Ribbon Cutting Opens Chester’s Main Street Bridge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chester Republican Committee Endorses Linares and Siegrist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trump Carries Three Local Towns in GOP Presidential Primary, Democrats Split

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton

AREAWIDE — Businessman Donald Trump carried Chester, Deep River and Essex as he rolled to a sweeping victory Tuesday in the state presidential primary, while Hillary Clinton carried Essex and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders took Chester and Deep River in the Democratic vote.

Clinton, who won the statewide vote, led Sanders in Essex 513-458, with 13 voting uncommitted. In Deep River, Sanders led 339-242, with 6 uncommitted. In Chester, Sanders led  361-277, with 7 uncommitted.

In  the Republican contest, Trump took Essex with 407 votes, with Ohio Governor John Kasich polling 297 votes. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 73 votes, with 10 uncommitted. In Deep River, Trump led Kasich 173-94, with  29 votes for Cruz and 4 uncommitted. In Chester, Trump led Kasich 133-103, with 27 votes for Cruz and 3 uncommitted.
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Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13’s Newest Eagle Scout

Ben Toles Eagle336

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 newest Eagle Scout Benjamin James Toles with one of the staircases built at Sachem Village Camp Hazen YMCA. Photo by Lianne Rutty

CHESTER – Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America congratulates Benjamin James Toles of Chester for earning the rank of Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for Toles on Sunday, March 20, at the Chester Meeting House.

To become an Eagle Scout, Toles earned 38 merit badges and advanced through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to Troop 13 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.  Toles used leadership skills he learned by attending summer camp with Troop 13, participating in the Troop 13 Philmont Trek in 2014 , attending the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree and successfully completing the Boy Scouts National Youth Leadership Training.

Toles’s Eagle Scout Service project involved developing and implementing a plan to demo eleven sets of non-compliant aged wooden stairways on cabins in and around the Sachem Village portion on the grounds of Camp Hazen YMCA and replace them with new treated wood, code-compliant steps, platform and railings.

Completing this project entailed working with various private groups, securing donations for supplies, and designing and overseeing volunteers through the demolition, construction and installation period. The completed project improved the safety of the venue while maintaining its rustic appearance. This project is a benefit to all the visitors, schools and youth groups that utilize the facilities of Camp Hazen in Chester.

Toles is a senior at Valley Regional High School and a member of the men’s cross country and the men’s track and field team. He plans to attend the University of Rhode Island in the fall.

About Troop 13 – BSA: Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves 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, contact Scoutmaster Steven Merola at 860-526-9262.

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It’s Connecticut’s Presidential Primary Day — Don’t Forget to Vote!

All registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in today’s Presidential Primary election. Unaffiliated registered voters must wait until the November election to cast their ballots.

Voting locations are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. as follows:

Chester residents:

Chester Town Hall – Community Room

Deep River residents:

Deep River Town Library – Community Room.

Essex residents:

Essex Town Hall – Auditorium

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CBSRZ Hosts Passover Seder, April 23

CHESTER – Do you remember the smell of Grandma’s matzah ball soup simmering on the stove as she prepared for Passover seder?

If you are looking for an opportunity to reconnect with your Jewish heritage, Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester invites you to learn about its Community Passover Seder, on the second night of Passover, Saturday, April 23, starting at 6 p.m. The family-style seder, led by Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg and Cantor Belinda Brennan, will stimulate lots of discussion, participation and singing.  The meal, prepared by Bob and Linda Zemmel, owners of Alforno Restaurant, will include brisket, chicken, homemade matzah ball soup and many side dishes.  There will even be kid-friendly options.

Call the CBSRZ office at (860) 526-8920 for information on prices and to make a reservation or look at www.cbsrz.org. Reservations are required no later than April 8.

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

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Chester Resident Adams Signs to Play Baseball at Mitchell College in Fall

Buzz Adams signs his Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College

Buzz Adams signs his Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College

CHESTER — Buzz Adams, a senior at Plainville High School, whose family recently moved to Chester, has signed a Letter of Intent to play baseball at Mitchell College in the fall.

Congratulations, Buzz!

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Chester Walking Song Video Wins Gold Hermes Award

Peter Good and Janet Cummings created a Walking Town decal and pewter ornament.

Peter Good and Janet Cummings created a Walking Town decal and pewter ornament.

CHESTER – For years, the town of Chester knew the state was requiring that the Main Street Bridge be rebuilt, and this caused a lot of angst among merchants, selectmen, and residents. How would we cope with keeping the town center viable and reachable? Would the shops, restaurants and galleries continue to attract customers? Where would people park?

The selectmen required that the state do the reconstruction from the beginning of January 2016 until Memorial Day, to get it over with before summertime shopping and the Chester Sunday Market began. The town’s Economic Development Commission created a “Survival Guide” and held several planning meetings in an effort to minimize the impact on the business district.

Then, last fall the Chester merchants decided to meet the challenge head on. With a small group of creative merchants, Leslie Strauss wrote and recorded “The Chester Walking Song,” saying, “We are all so busy getting in shape on treadmills that we forget how much more enjoyable it is to get out there and ‘walk about.’ Chester Village shops, galleries and restaurants are, and will continue to be, more easily accessed than the average mall store. With parking lots within 70 steps, you can ‘walk right in and come hang out.’”

Annalisa Russell-Smith, of Chester-based Local Plant Productions, then volunteered to create a video of Chester Center with the song in the background.

As Leslie says, “Annalisa’s enchanting minute-long video reinforces the vibrancy of the village, and how accessible everything is to anyone willing to ‘walk right in, come hang out.’ The shops, galleries, restaurants and street scenes entice visitors of all ages to be sure to make Chester one of their New England favorites.”

This month, Annalisa’s video was selected for a Gold Award by the Hermes Creative Awards, an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional materials and programs, and emerging technologies. Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

Watch the video about Chester here:  https://vimeo.com/157448900. For more information about Annalisa Russell-Smith, go to http://www.localplanetproductions.com.  More information about the Hermes Creative Awards here: www.hermesawards.com.

Annalisa Russell-Smith shooting the Chester video in Chester Center. Photo by Al Malpa

Annalisa Russell-Smith shooting the Chester video in Chester Center. Photo by Al Malpa

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Letter to the Editor: Your April 26 Primary Vote Matters

To the Editor:

So much is at stake in the upcoming Presidential primary elections with candidates who differ greatly in character, attitude, experience and promise. Perhaps never before has an election inspired such fervor, conflict, hopes or fears. Our nation’s future depends on the outcome of these races, and for the first time in many years, Connecticut voters have the opportunity to influence who the Presidential nominees will be since no candidate has yet captured enough party delegates.

We urge all Chester Democratic, Republican and Unaffiliated voters to cast a vote in the Tuesday, April 26, Connecticut primary. Voting is from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. in Chester Town Hall at 203 Middlesex Avenue, or earlier by absentee ballot.

Since only registered Democrats or Republicans can cast a vote in the Connecticut Presidential primary, it is necessary for Unaffiliateds to temporarily change their registration to either one of these two political parties.

The registration deadline to switch from Unaffiliated to Democrat or Republican is 12 p.m. on April 25. To switch by mail, the registration change form must be received by April 21, or in person at Chester Town Hall by 12 pm on April 25 (day before the primary). Registration can be switched back afterwards. To get a voter registration form (or an absentee ballot form), contact the Registrar of Voters or Chester Town Clerk at 860-526-0013.

Whether your vote is to support your preferred Presidential candidate, or to stop a candidate you fear, we urge registered Democrats and Republicans to vote on April 26.

This is Connecticut’s opportunity to influence one of the most critical presidential elections in our nation’s history. Every vote is especially important and matters. Have a voice in the future. VOTE in the primary on April 26!

Chester Democratic Town Committee

Lori Ann Clymas, Chair

Chester

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The Meadows Brothers Play a ‘Concert in the Garden’

Photo courtesy of the Meadows Brothers

Photo courtesy of the Meadows Brothers

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden on Sunday, April 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. This time the Meadows Brothers will be featured at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St., Chester Center.

Ian and Dustin Meadows have been playing music together for most of their lives. In 2011 they made the decision to leave the band they were playing in and strike out on their own as a duo. Their distinct brand of roots music draws inspiration from a huge list of influences; combining folk, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll genres into what the Boston Globe calls “an engagingly twangy sibling sound all their own.”

The brothers’ original songs, which they typically write together, have been praised for their emotive, relatable lyrics and memorable hooks. Several of their tunes have won awards and have been covered by international acts.

Gates open a half hour before the show; first come first seated.  Outside bistro-style seating in the amphitheater; inside the gallery if inclement weather. 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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Sticks from the Past Create Art for the Present; See Them at Saturday’s Reception at Chester Meeting House

David Rau, Chester resident and Florence Griswold Museum Education Director, created this piece from short wooden manicure sticks

David Rau, Chester resident and Florence Griswold Museum Education Director, created this piece from short wooden manicure sticks

CHESTER — What would you do if you were given a pile of 2-inch-long carved wooden sticks to repurpose?

If you’re one of the area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelers, designers (you get the picture), you’d turn those sticks into something unique and/or useful, decorative and/or functional, whimsical and/or practical.

All for the Creative Challenge hosted annually by the Chester Historical Society.

"Inspiration" by Deborah Quinn Munson

“Inspiration” by Deborah Quinn Munson

For this year’s Challenge on Saturday, April 9 (obviously named the Sticks Challenge), the Chester Historical Society uncovered in a local barn boxloads of short wooden manicure sticks made (probably in the 1950s) at the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works, which used to be on Maple Street.

According to Bruce Watrous, whose grandfather started the business along with Oliver Bishop in the 1920s, “The manicure sticks were made from ‘orange wood’ (citrus wood, because it will bend without splintering), mostly from Florida orange trees. Wood was sent from Florida to Maine, turned into dowels and then to Chester. Dowels were cut to different lengths and hand finished with slants or points.”

For the past six or so years, the Chester Historical Society’s Creative Challenge has invited area artists to use artifacts from Chester’s rich manufacturing history to create items for a silent auction and reception to raise funds for the Historical Society. There have been challenges based on hooks from the Brooks Factory, knitting gauges from the C.J. Bates factory, and even rusted pieces “unearthed” from the yard of one of Chester’s earliest houses.

The finished pieces of “sticks” art, jewelry, sculptures, photographs, etc. will be exhibited and sold by silent auction at the Historical Society’s Reception on Saturday, April 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House at 4 Liberty Street.

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

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

All the proceeds from the event will benefit the preservation and showcasing of Chester history through the Chester Historical Society and the Chester Museum at The Mill. Information is available on the Society website, www.chesterhistoricalsociety.org or at Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.

“Starry Night” archival digital image by Bill Vollers

“Starry Night” archival digital image by Bill Vollers

 

 

 

 

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Celebrate CT Trails Day, June 4, in Chester at Cockaponset

ct trails dayCHESTER – On the weekend of June 4 and 5, Connecticut is set to host Connecticut Trails Day — the largest National Trails Day (NTD) celebration in the nation with 200-plus free events scheduled statewide.

This annual celebration features activities for everyone, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, running, trail maintenance, kayaking, educational walks, bird watching, letterboxing, and more. These events are guided by knowledgeable volunteers from local hiking clubs, parks and recreation departments, state agencies, conservation organizations, historic groups, education programs and land trusts.

In Chester, join leaders Rob Butterworth and Melissa Evarts on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Pattaconk Reservoir Recreation area in Cockaponset State Forest (S.F.) for an outdoor adventure sponsored by the Bridle Path Conservancy, the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Horsemen’s Club(LCRVHC) and the New England Mountain Biking Association’s Central Connecticut Chapter.

Come and help celebrate the 10th anniversary “Combined Arms” event. For a decade now, trail volunteers of all type have been coming together to make the Cockaponset S.F. trails better for all. This year’s event will be the kickoff to restoring the yellow trail in the Pattaconk Reservoir section of the state forest.

Projects will include painting blazes, trimming back brush and building a new section of trail. Work party attendees will be treated to a cook-out, courtesy of the LCRVHC, and a raffle. This is a volunteer-led event in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Bring clothing, food, water and bug spray suitable for a day out in the woods. Bring loppers if you have them, but tools will be provided.

Preregistration is requested, but not required (it helps with planning for food and tools). Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information, visit www.ctwoodlands.org/ct-trails-weekend/events-2016/chester-trail-maintenance-record-2877

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Public Lectures at Chester Village West Continue June 2

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Dr. Christine Signore

CHESTER – Regardless of the formal education we’ve received over our lifetimes, continuous learning is what keeps us young, enthusiastic and engaged in retirement.

Chester Village West, a senior living community, in partnership with the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning and Middlesex Hospital, is offering a series of lectures and informative presentations by biographers, historians and medical experts in April, May and June.

All lectures, which begin at 4 p.m. in the community’s event room, are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. Each lecture will be limited to 40 participants on a first-come, first served basis; early registration is encouraged. To register, call (860) 333-8992 or visit the website at http://www.chestervillagewestlcs.com/events-and-resources/lifelong-learning-program.

The upcoming Chester Village West Lifelong Learning Program schedule of lectures is as follows:

 

Thursday, June 2, 4 p.m. – It’s Worth a Shot
Alina Filozov, D.O., an infectious disease physician specialist at Middlesex Hospital, will review current recommendations on routine and travel-related immunizations. She will discuss who is appropriate to receive various vaccines recommended for seniors, including those for shingles, pneumonia and whooping cough. Pre-travel vaccine advice will also be discussed. Register here.

Tuesday, June 28, 4 p.m. – Is It More than Just the Blues?
Robert A. Grillo, Jr., M.D., a specialist in geriatric psychiatry at Middlesex Hospital, will review the symptoms, diagnosis and epidemiology of depression in the elderly. He will also discuss specific risk factors of developing depression for older persons, treatment options and prevention. Register here.

Editor’s note: Located at 317 West Main St. (Rte. 148) in historic Chester, CT, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the independent seniors community was founded more than 25 years ago, Chester Village West residents have directed and embraced active learning. 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 at chestervillagewestlcs.com.

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Linares Hosts Town Hall Meeting in Chester

State Senator (R) Art Linares

State Senator (R) Art Linares

Sen. Art Linares hosted a Town Hall Meeting yesterday evening at the Chester Town Hall Community Room.

Linares had invited the public to hear the latest update from the State Capitol and to have their questions answered.

 

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John Winthrop MS Presents “Xanadu Jr.”

Xanadu Jr. JWMSAREAWIDE — Region 4’s John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River presents “Xanadu Jr.” on Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2.  Both performances are at 7 p.m.

With over 60 students involved, “Xanadu Jr.” promises to be an energetic, family-friendly performance.  The plot follows Greek muse Kira as she helps surfer Sonny with his dream to create a roller disco in 1980 Venice Beach, Calif.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors.  Tickets are available by calling the John Winthrop Middle School main office at (860) 526-9546.

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What Happens to Your Money? Authors Speak on Financial System’s Failures, May 22

Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis

CHESTER – Every year, Americans pay billions of dollars in fees to those who run our financial system. The money comes from our bank accounts, our pensions and our borrowing, and often we aren’t told that the money has been taken. These billions may be justified if the finance industry does a good job, but as an important new book shows, it too often fails us.

This is the message of the three authors of the book, What They Do With Your Money, two of whom will be at a free Books & Bagels program open to all at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, May 22, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

Stephen Davis and Jon Lukomnik will talk about the ways that financial institutions place their business interests first, charging for advice that does nothing to improve performance, employing short-term buying strategies that are corrosive to building long-term value, and sometimes concealing both their practices and their investment strategies from investors.

Praise for the book comes not only from international authorities but from former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd, co-author of the Dodd-Frank legislation intended to prevent a repeat of the banking system collapse that occurred in 2008. Dodd says, “As only insiders can, Davis, Lukomnik, and Pitt-Watson shine a spotlight on hidden cracks in the system that can still put hard-earned savings at risk. This is a vital book for anyone concerned about how to make the finance industry generate wealth for all of us.”

Along with their third collaborator, David Pitt-Watson, Davis and Lukomnik also wrote the prizewinning book, The New Capitalists, in which the authors demonstrated how ordinary people are working together to demand accountability from even the most powerful corporations.

Jon Lukomnik

Jon Lukomnik

The three address such issues from authoritative academic perspectives. Davis is a senior fellow at Harvard Law School’s program on corporate governance. (He is also president of the board of the Chester synagogue.) Lukomnik is executive director of the Investor Responsibility Research Center. David Pitt-Watson is the former head of the Hermes shareholder activist funds in Europe and an executive fellow of finance at the London Business School.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. As always for the Books & Bagels programs, the program is open at no charge to the public, and reservations are not required.  For more information about CBSRZ, visit cbsrz.org or call the office, 860-526-8920.

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Artists Invited to Take Chester Historical Society’s Creative Challenge Before April 9

The Chester Historical Society invites you to take its Sticks Challenge based on these “orange sticks” made by the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works around 1950. More information at the Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822. Photo by Skip Hubbard

The Chester Historical Society invites you to take its Sticks Challenge based on these “orange sticks” made by the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works around 1950. More information at the Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822. Photo by Skip Hubbard

AREAWIDE – The Chester Historical Society is inviting anyone who likes a challenge to participate in its sixth Creative Challenge linking Chester history and art.

This spring, those accepting the 2016 Sticks Challenge will be given a bagful of short wooden manicure sticks, made from Florida citrus trees and shaped at the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works on Maple Street around 1950.

As with last year’s Hooked Again! Challenge based on hooks from Chester’s M.S. Brooks factory, this spring’s Sticks Challenge is for area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelry designers, and all others with a creative mind.

The sticks are available at Chester Gallery in Chester Center (860-526-9822). The artists’ entrance fee of $30 includes a bagful of the sticks and two tickets to the Sticks Challenge Silent Auction & Reception on Saturday, April 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.

Those who do not wish to take the Challenge can purchase tickets now at the Chester Gallery. All proceeds from the evening help the Chester Historical Society preserve Chester history and maintain the Chester Museum at The Mill.

For more information on the Historical Society and this year’s Creative Challenge, visit www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.com or Facebook.com/ChesterCTHistoricalSociety

 

 

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New Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek

Rabbi Marci Bellows

Rabbi Marci Bellows

CHESTER – Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester has announced that Rabbi Marci Bellows will take over religious leadership of the synagogue on July 1, 2016. Members voted unanimously to ratify the decision on Thursday evening, March 17.

“Rabbi Bellows will bring song, courage, excitement and wisdom to our community,” said Congregation President Stephen Davis. “We are delighted to welcome another great leader to follow Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg.”

Rabbi Goldenberg has successfully led the congregation for the past nine years. She will be establishing a new congregation in the New York metropolitan area focused on innovative styles of worship to involve young, unaffiliated Jews.

“As I begin a new chapter in my rabbinate, and as our family moves to a new community, I’m filled with gratitude for the time we have had here in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley,” Rabbi Goldenberg said. “Our time at CBSRZ has been filled with meaningful moments of learning, celebration and connections. And we have treasured the small town experience, living in Deep River and sending our kids to Deep River Elementary School. We will miss the wonderful people we’ve met, and hope to stay in touch. We won’t be too far!”

Rabbi Bellows has been for seven years the spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Torah in Wantagh, New York, a synagogue with some 400 families. Prior to that, she was an assistant rabbi and director of Adult Programs at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York. Beyond her synagogue responsibilities, she has written for New York Jewish Week and for the Union for Reform Judaism’s 10 Minutes of Torah and has been a faculty member at URJ’s Crane Lake Camp and a participant in various URJ programs. Rabbi Bellows’ mother was cantorial soloist for 27 years at the family’s synagogue in Skokie, Illinois, where Rabbi Bellows grew up. Rabbi Bellows is a graduate of Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.

“It is truly an honor and pleasure to be selected as the next rabbi at CBSRZ. The congregation, known for its warmth, wisdom, and wide variety of programming, is beautiful inside and out. I look forward to being part of its distinguished legacy and impact on the area,” Rabbi Bellows said.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek—Hebrew for ‘House of Peace, Pursuers of Justice’—last year marked its one hundredth birthday. Congregants come from 36 towns, from Hartford to Westbrook, Norwich to New Haven. Its sanctuary, situated near the Connecticut River, is renowned in the international art world as the only public building ever designed by 20th-century master artist Sol LeWitt. It was the subject of a film called “We Built This House.” Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is a home for both traditional ritual and pioneering spirituality, earning it the tagline “ancient and cool. ”It also regularly hosts music and learning programs open to the community. More information may be found on the new website www.cbsrz.org.

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Republican Robert Siegrist Announces Second Run for 36th House District Seat

Flanked by Devin Carney (R-24th) to his left and Senator Art Linares (R- 33rd) to his right, Bob Siegrist announces his intention to run for the 30th District seat in November.

Flanked by State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) to his left and State Senator Art Linares (R- 33rd) to his right, Republican Bob Siegrist (center) announced his intention to run for the 36th House District seat in November.  Photo used with permission of Rep. D. Carney.

AREAWIDE — Republican Robert Siegrist of Haddam  formally announced a second run for the 36th House District seat Monday, setting up a likely November rematch with incumbent Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex.

About 70 supporters from the district towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam filled two rooms at the Brush Mill Restaurant in Chester to cheer Seigrist’s declaration of candidacy. The restaurant off Rte. 148 is where Seigrist had worked as a bartender before becoming a candidate in 2014. Siegrist, who entered the 2014 race in June after the withdrawal of a candidate nominated by Republicans at the May convention, lost to Miller on a 5,522 – 4,701 vote.

Siegrist, 32, carried his hometown of Haddam by about 300 votes, while losing to Miller in Chester, Deep River and Essex. Miller served four terms as first selectman of Essex before winning the seat in a February 2011 special election. Miller was elected to a full term in 2012 over Essex Republican Vincent Pacileo.

There were indications Republicans have targeted the 36th District seat, as several area Republican legislators, along with former legislators and municipal elected officials, turned out Monday to pledge active support for Siegrist’s campaign. On hand were 33rd District State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook, and representatives Melissa Ziobron of the 34th District (East Haddam-East Hampton), Devin Carney of the 23rd District (Old Saybrook-Old Lyme), and Jesse MacLachan of the 35th District (Clinton-Killingworth and Westbrook). Carney and MacLachlan were elected in 2014, with MacLachan unseating an incumbent Democratic legislator, Tom Vicino of Clinton.

Ziobron said she would campaign door-to-door with Siegrist to help elect “another partner at the capitol”, while Carney described Miller as “one of the most liberal members of the House of Representatives.” Siegrist said Connecticut is “at a crossroads,” adding, “We desperately need a representative, a leader that listens, truly listens. to this district and votes for their concerns, issues, and pocketbooks.” Siegrist said he is ready to “knock on every door” in the four -town district to end “one party rule in Hartford.”

Siegrist, who formed a candidate committee last month and is participating in the Citizens Elections Program for most of his campaign funding, said he is currently working for a Haddam landscaping business, In Full Bloom LLC. Siegrist, a member of the Haddam Republican Town Committee, said he was active in last fall’s municipal election in Haddam, where Republican Liz Milardo unseated former Democratic First Selectwoman Melissa Schlag by a close 25-vote margin. Milardo was on hand Monday to stand with Siegrist.

Miller has not yet formed a candidate committee or declared as a candidate, but he is expected to seek a third full term this year. State House and Senate candidates for the Nov. 8 election will be formally nominated at district conventions in May.

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Enjoy a Fish Fry Dinner at St. Joseph Parish Center, March 18

fish fry night
CHESTER —
It may have been a bone-chilling evening, but St. Joseph Catholic Church in Chester kicked off its Lenten Season on Friday, Feb. 12, with a good catch at the Third Annual Fish Fry.  Despite having to bundle up against the cold, people came out in a steady stream, proving once again what a great faith/fundraising event it is for the church community.  Salmon was swimming out of the kitchen and onto the plates all evening.  Fish & Chips, Clam Chowder and Macaroni & Cheese were also available, not to mention a wide variety of baked goods for dessert.

The Fish Fry will continue every Friday through March 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the parish hall at 48 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 154) in Chester.

The menu includes: $12 for Fish & Chips, Fried Shrimp or Fried Clam Strips with Fries and Wild Caught Salmon over rice; $5 for children 12 & under Macaroni & Cheese and French Fry Dinner. Also available are Lobster Bisque and Clam Chowder Soups ($5) and Mixed Green Dinner Salad ($6).  All meals include bread & butter, drinks and dessert.   Meals are also available for take-out.

Come see for yourself what makes St. Joseph’s a thriving, active, and growing community.  The food is great, the conversation is flowing, the staff enthusiasm is wonderful and you don’t have to cook or clean.  We invite you all to visit.

After all, it’s a great way to treat yourself to a great dinner!

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Stand-up Comedy, Acrobatics, Live Music at 7th Annual Karmic Relief, March 19

sanctuary 1AREAWIDE – The Sanctuary’s 7th Annual Karmic Relief fast approaches on Saturday, March 19, at 6 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House. Focusing on the light-hearted side of the Spiritual Path, this event features stand-up comedy, circus acrobatics performance, live music and dancing, plus superfoods, silent auction and, of course, a great community of people.

A silent auction begins the evening at 6 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by SporadiComedy, with four NYC-based comedians, Katie Boyle, Cathy Humes, Kat Burdick, and Rebecca Rush, bringing edgy, uplifting energy from the city.

The OMFLY CircusYoga Troupe, the Sanctuary’s indigenous social circus, will bring antics, partnership and the joy of flight starting at 8 p.m. At 8:30, The Grays, with special guests Christian George and DJ MayoNoize, will play Live Tribal Jazz Dance Music.

Healthy comfort foods (“organic, local, super energy and amazing delicious”) will be provided by Kale Yums.

Tickets are $20 in advance (may be purchased online) and $25 at the door. Kids 13 and under are $5. All proceeds will support The Sanctuary, a non-profit community organization, located in East Haddam. More information about Karmic Relief is at OurSanctuary.org.

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

Editor’s note: The Community of the Sanctuary at Shepardfields is located in and around a 40-acre land preserve in East Haddam. Its mission is to hold sacred space for personal transformation, healing, enlightenment, intentional community and environmental stewardship. This community is organized and served by Shepardfields, Inc., a spiritual life center and 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

 

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Donna Martin Performs at Spring Street Gallery, March 20

Donna Martin

Donna Martin

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden on Sunday, March 20, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring singer/songwriter Donna Martin 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.

Donna Martin redefines the boundaries of contemporary folk with her guitar skills that range from finger style to flat picking to groove-oriented rhythms. With her soulful voice and compelling lyrics, she is hailed by Performing Songwriter magazine as “a songwriter whose stories are colored by powers of observation” and the Town Crier Cafe in New York described her as “an exquisite songwriter with a superb voice.”

After two decades of touring the Northeast and sharing the stage with the likes of Charlie Daniels and Nicolette Larson, opening for Alabama and a Lilith Fair performance alongside Bonnie Raitt and Sara McLachlan, Martin has emerged as a well-honed performer. From sitting toe to toe at a picking party with Guy Clark who remarked that if the songs Martin was playing were truly her first, “the rest could be scary,” to being plucked out of the new songwriters showcase at the NY Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in the early ‘90s and placed on the main stage between the Saturday night headliners, there is no doubt that once seen, this songwriter makes a big impression. More about Donna Martin on her website, www.donnamartin.com.

Gates open a half hour before the show — first come first seated.  Indoor bistro-style seating in the gallery. 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 Library Installs “Computer Bar,” Thanks to Community Collaborative Efforts

joe at computer bar 1CHESTER – The Chester Public Library is always praised for its friendly and personable staff and its historic building.

But it never won any accolades for its computers. Make that “computer,” singular. Yes, for years there has been only one public computer for years at the Chester Library because the building is so small and on such a limited budget, that squeezing in a second computer was out of the question. Library patrons were frustrated. They’d come in to use the computer and find someone else working on it. Or, if working on it, feel they needed to rush to finish for a person who was waiting. The librarians were frustrated too, because their everyday goal is to see that all visitors to the library are able to accomplish their missions.

But last year, Library Director Linda Fox received a $5000 donation from a library patron who said she wanted Linda to go “a little crazy” in spending it – something out of the box.

Linda conceived of the idea of a “computer bar,” a counter-height workspace for two computers, with two stools, and with pullout drawers for audiobooks. Steve and Karen Bradley, owners of the Chester-based Pondside Kitchens and Hearth, said yes indeed, they could custom design it to fit in the present library building and be movable to a future building.

The computer bar was custom designed by Pondside Kitchens to include drawers for the audiobook collection.

The computer bar was custom designed by Pondside Kitchens to include drawers for the audiobook collection.

The Friends of Chester Public Library, a 501c3 nonprofit group, applied for a grant from the Middlesex County Community Foundation for the funds needed to make the computer bar a reality. The grant requested – and won – was for $4687.

Fast forward to this week. The computer bar was installed, the wiring done and the all-in-one computers, purchased through the town’s technology supplier CT/Comp, are operating. Two people have been able to work side by side. And no one has had to wait! And there are even USB charging stations for mobile devices.

The Computer Bar at Chester Library.

The Computer Bar at Chester Library.

“I am absolutely thrilled!” said Linda Fox. “The computer bar will make such an incredible difference for everyone who uses the library. It’s the result of tremendous community collaborative effort – from the anonymous donor to the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/Sherry and Herb Clark Family Fund and River View Cemetery Fund, Pondside Kitchens and Hearth, and the Friends of the Library – everyone was so generous to make this happen.”

Editor’s note: The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the people of the County, now and in the future, by developing endowments, making grants that have impact and assisting donors in meeting their philanthropic objectives. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has awarded 1,564 grants totaling more than $4.7 million for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements and for health and human services. More at middlesexcountycf.org

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Chester Plant Sale Benefits Land Trust & Library, May 14

Just a few of the most recent perennials(Echinacea and Rudbeckia) donated to the Chester Plant Sale. So many more on their way!

So many perennials are being donated to Chester’s Plant Sale, scheduled for May 14. It opens at 10 a.m., but may open earlier! Park in the town parking lot at 20 Water St.

 

CHESTER – Chester Land Trust and Chester Public Library are teaming up to sponsor a Plant Sale on Saturday, May 14, featuring locally grown and native plants.

Chester residents are dividing their perennials, digging up their tree seedlings, and potting up extra houseplants to donate to the sale. Many of them are potted in clay flowerpots, which once were used on an orchid farm in Haddam. An area garden center is contributing native perennials and mixed vegetable flats.

All donated plants will be sold at very reasonable prices, with all proceeds from the sale benefiting the Land Trust and the Chester Library.

The sale will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carini Preserve on Water St. (Rte. 154), next to the public parking lot at 20 Water Street. Master gardeners will be on hand to answer your plant care questions. More information is available at the library (860-526-0018).

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CT Beer From a “Beer Snob” Angle at Chester Museum at the Mill, 2pm Today

Will Siss, 'The Beer Snob'

Will Siss, ‘The Beer Snob’

CHESTER – “Ever since it was a British colony, Connecticut has loved beer.”

So writes Will Siss, Connecticut’s “Beer Snob,” in his recent book, Connecticut Beer: A History of Nutmeg State Brewing (The History Press).

When he’s not teaching at a middle school, Will tastes and reviews and talks about beer. (Not a bad life!) He has been writing the “Beer Snob” column for the Republican-American in Waterbury since 2005, so he has seen the latest resurgence in Connecticut craft brewing up close.

“The Beer Snob” will be in Chester on Sunday, March 13, at 2 p.m. for a free program, followed by a tasting of several Connecticut beers.

After his recent presentation at the West Haven Public Library, librarian Amanda Gilbertie said, “Will Siss gave a fascinating presentation on the history of Connecticut brewing. He was warm, funny, and engaging. He brought three absolutely delicious beers for tasting and offered some really interesting tidbits about the history of those beers and the art of beer tasting.”

His program, which is for ages 21 and up, will be at the Chester Museum at The Mill, 9 West Main St., hosted by the Friends of Chester Public Library.

Will’s book, which focuses on the many ups and downs of Connecticut 7930-CONN-cvr.inddbrewing history, from the lows of Prohibition to the highs of the 2012 breakthrough that brought many wonderful breweries to the state, will be available for purchase after the program.

Parking is limited at the Chester Museum, so park at the Chester Library at 16 West Main Street or in the town’s public parking lot at 20 Water Street.

For more information, contact the Chester Library at 860-526-0018 or Facebook.com/ChesterCTPublicLibrary.

To learn more about Will Siss, visit www.beersnobwrites.com or @BeerSnobWrites.

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A Right to Aid in Dying? CBSRZ Hosts Forum This Morning to Examine Issues, All Welcome

AREAWIDE – It’s been called the Right to Die, Aid in Dying, Death with Dignity, Assisted Suicide – it’s sometimes called murder. To what extent does a terminally ill person, possibly facing pain and suffering for the rest of a short life, have the right to receive assistance from doctors and others to end his/her life? What does religion say about the issue? Five states now have protection for doctors assisting terminally ill patients to die in such circumstances, and it is under discussion in the Connecticut legislature.

On Sunday, March 13, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, the Social Action Committee of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek will sponsor a forum to examine these issues.

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg of CBSRZ and retired Reverend Kathy Peters, formerly of the United Church of Chester, will discuss religious perspectives on the issue.

The group will then watch The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, a 38-minute film nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary in 2010, which tells the story of how the former governor of the State of Washington, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, led the successful referendum for Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.

“The highlight of the morning,” said the Social Action Committee, “will be breaking into small groups to discuss this intensely personal and important issue, because it is our many personal and family experiences, as well as our diverse backgrounds, which make each of us the expert on this topic.”

This forum is part of an ongoing series of social action forums on embracing diversity of people and ideas. It is open to the public at no charge.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  Please contact the CBSRZ office (860-526-8920) to get background materials in advance of the forum if you wish to attend.

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Chester’s Oldest Home, the Dunk House, on Market

Known locally at the Dunk House, this antique Cape Cod-style home is priced at $595,000.

Known locally at the Dunk House, this antique Cape Cod-style home is priced at $595,000.

CHESTER – The oldest home in Chester, built in 1672, is on the market with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.

Named after the property’s first owner, the Thomas Dunk Homestead is a Cape Cod-style residence that has been thoughtfully restored and expanded over the years.

Located just steps away from Chester’s historic village center, this four-bedroom, three-bath home underwent a complete renovation in 1976 by former owner and retired historian Jean Simmons. The undertaking involved a total rebuild using the structure’s original timbers, beams, floor boards and wall planks. Insulation was also installed throughout the home’s ceilings, walls and floors. The exterior was re-sided with clapboard and a new roof was added, while interior walls were plastered in the authentic, period style and the aging central fireplace was replaced.

Not long after, a local attorney purchased the home, developing plans for a reproduction barn addition based on a 1700s design. The 1,100 square-foot expansion provided space for a two-car garage and an upstairs suite with a full bath, ideal for an office, in-law apartment, guest suite or rental. Utilities were also upgraded, and cedar shake shingles were added on the roof.

The residence is currently home to French-born local artisan and former chef of the popular Simsbury restaurant, Metro Bis. Claude Martin, and his wife, Catrin, have continued the tradition of historically correct improvements and maintenance on the now 340-year-old structure, and have recently completed a kitchen renovation. The space was expanded to include a second rear kitchen area, adding granite counters, locally crafted shelving, pot racks and even subway doors and seating discovered from the early Parisian metros.

Artisans at heart, the Martins additionally transformed the property’s previous barn addition into a studio, which houses the Thomas Dunk gallery. This space serves as Martin’s fine art restoration studio, where he conserves, cleans and restores oil paintings with classic tools and 21st-century technology.

Outside, the property is bordered by a gently flowing stream, as well as a private and peaceful rear patio that is surrounded by English-style gardens complete with perennials, flowering trees and landscape lighting.

The property is represented by Essex agent Tim Boyd, and offered at $595,000. For more information on the property, located at 16 North Main Street, please visit the firm’s website here.

Editor’s note: The information used in this article came from a release from William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to Meet This Morning

tri town ysb
TRI-TOWN –
The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, March 9, at 9 a.m. at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River.

The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is a grassroots organization whose membership is open to all who live or work in the tri-town area who are concerned about substance abuse and committed to its prevention.  Many “sectors” of the community are represented on this council: schools, youth-serving organizations, law enforcement, government, civic groups, parents, students, the faith community and health care, to name a few.

At the March meeting, the Drug Free Communities grant application will be shared.  The next meeting of the Coalition will be on May 18.  For further information, call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600.

Editor’s note: Tri-Town Youth Services (TTYS) supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex.  TTYS coordinates and provides resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most. Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org.

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Gallery Openings & Receptions at May Daze Night, May 6

CHESTER – On Friday evening, May 6, when Chester Center celebrates its annual May Daze Night, two of Chester’s well-known art galleries will be hosting opening receptions from 5 to 8 p.m.

Leif Nilsson will have a reception for his exhibit of his new gouache paintings done in the United Kingdom this spring. Gouache is a new medium for him to explore, Leif said, adding, “Especially for traveling, it dries so quickly and is easy to move around with.” The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery is at One Spring Street. More information at http://www.nilssonstudio.com

"Spring in Chewstoke, England" - gouache, 7 x 11 inches by Leif Nilsson 2016 ©

“Spring in Chewstoke, England” – gouache, 7 x 11 inches by Leif Nilsson 2016 ©

Chester Gallery, at 76 Main Street, opens “Housing for the Birds,” with bird houses by Hans Lohse, works on paper by Elizabeth Gourlay, and etching and engraving by Richard Ziemann. Meet the artists at the reception till 8 p.m. This show will remain up through the summer.

Photo by Tracey Kroll

Photo by Tracey Kroll

Chester’s May Daze Night also includes store events and refreshments throughout the Center. At 8 p.m., stay for some street dancing to music by DJ Gary Torello, in celebration of the almost done Main Street Bridge reconstruction. Watch for more information at Facebook.com/visitchesterct or Finditinchesterct.wordpress.com.

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Meet Human Books at Human Library Forum at CBSRZ, Sunday – All Welcome

human library poster VNN
CHESTER –
The town of Chester will be the home of a “first” in Connecticut – the first Human Library Forum – on Sunday, March 6.

Born in Denmark and brought to the Chester Public Library in 2014 by Sue Zirlen, the Human Library provides a place where the “books” are living people who volunteer to share their stories, passion and/or life experiences with members of the community.

On March 6, the Human Library Forum invites attendees to experience the world of “human books” first-hand by providing an opportunity for one-on-one conversations with a “book” that piques their interest.

The forum is being held at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester, in conjunction with the synagogue’s Books & Bagels monthly programs, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Following a brief introduction to the Human Library concept, attendees will have an opportunity for several 20-minute conversations with the “books.” The “book” titles are:

The Buzz in Chester – Backyard Beekeeping

Surviving and Thriving as an Adult College Student

The Ukelele

Patchwork and Quilting

Tap Your Trees!

Why Isn’t Our Economy Growing Faster?

Fantasy Sports

Nonviolent communication

Eating Wheat and Gluten Free

Girl – Woman – Widow

The Human Library and Me

Sustainable Buddhist

Refugee – Filmmaker – Photographer

The Human Library Forum is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served during the morning. The forum will conclude around 11:30 a.m. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is at 55 East King’s Highway, off Rte. 154, in Chester.

For more information, call Chester Library at 860-526-0018 or CBSRZ at 860-526-8920 or visit Facebook.com/ChesterCTPublicLibrary.

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Tri-Town Offers “Open Up” Support Group for Parents of Teens, Starts This Evening

AREAWIDE – Parents have expressed a desire to talk about the challenges of raising young adults in this day and age. They are looking for a safe place to talk about their fears and frustrations, receive guidance and support one another.

Allison Abramson, Parent Resource Coordinator at Tri-Town Youth Services, hopes to get parents to open up about their worries so that they can encourage their kids to do the same. On Wednesday, March 2, she is beginning a series of conversations (aptly titled “Open Up”) designed specifically for parents of teenagers.

“We want these monthly conversations to spark more dialogue at home,“ Abramson said. “On March 2, we will focus a lot on conversation skills and being more effective communicators. In the months ahead our group will explore ways to build mutual trust and have the more difficult conversations about underage drinking, drug use and sex.”

“Open Up” will meet at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on March 2. All interested parents are asked to call 860-526-3600 to register.

Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau, Inc. is a nonprofit agency that coordinates, develops and provides services dedicated to promoting the positive growth and development of youth and families in Chester, Deep River and Essex, Connecticut.

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Juniper Foster Art Exhibit on Show at CBSRZ Through April 30

Emerging Worlds I, 2016, 36x36" (Photo: Nazim Khan)

Emerging Worlds I, 2016, 36×36″ (Photo: Nazim Khan)

AREAWIDE – “Juniper Foster has evolved to a place in the artistic community where she and her work can no longer be ignored. There are many paintings and many artists but rarely do paintings arise with such strength of purpose and overwhelming originality.” – Harry Folsom

An opening reception will be held on Sunday, March 13, from 3 to 5 p.m., for one of this year’s most exciting artistic events at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s Main Street Gallery.

New York artist Juniper Foster’s dynamic, unencumbered palette forms a conversation with the canvas, effortlessly draws the viewer into her world, and brings each painting to life, transforming the spectator into a participant whose perspective is free to shift with time and mood.

Her 37 works range in size from 4×4″ to 58×84” and will be on display through April 30.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East King’s Highway in Chester. For more information, visit cbsrz.org or call 860-526-8920.

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Yenowich Sisters Share Chester Memories, April 24

Three Yenowich Sisters – Thelma Culver, Matilda Dumbrill and Lillian Bella

CHESTER – The Chester Historical Society will host a free program, “Three Remarkable Sisters,” on Sunday, April 24, at 4 p.m., in the Community Room at Chester Town Hall.

The Yenowich sisters – Lillian Bella, Thelma Culver and Matilda Dumbrill – will reminisce about growing up in Chester in their large Russian family on a farm on Wig Hill. Their memories of their parents and their life on the farm are compelling.

Matilda is the author of the recent book “Makhorka – The Green Cigarette,” a fictionalized memoir about her family. It is described on Amazon’s website as: “Based on real events, MAKHORKA is the epic story of Danya and Mikolai, two young lovers torn apart by the turmoil of turn-of-the-century Russia. With Danya’s help, Mikolai mounts a daring escape from the Tsar’s army and sets out to make a new life in America while Danya stays behind. Alone and fighting to survive the frigid winters with only hope to cling to, Danya is betrayed by those closest to her and must find the strength to overcome their heartless treachery. Years later in 1920s America, Danya’s dreams of love and New World prosperity quickly turn to hardship as the Great Depression catapults her into another desperate struggle to survive. When she uncovers fraud by a respected member of the community, Danya decides to act, not expecting the vicious reaction that threatens to tear her family apart.”

Come and hear a story about a time in Chester that will surprise you. There will be time for questions and for sharing your own memories of the Yenowich family. The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. More information: 860-526-2331.

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Bring Dinner, Wear Dancing Shoes to Chester Rotary’s Longest Dinner Table Fundraiser, April 23

Bring your own dinner and drinks to the Longest Dinner Table and help support local hunger programs.

Bring your own dinner and drinks to Chester Rotary’s Longest Dinner Table evening in April and help support local hunger programs.

CHESTER – The Rotary Club of Chester continues its long practice of giving back to the Town of Chester and its residents.  Its fund raisers, such as the 4 On The Fourth road race and the Lobster Festival (to be held this year on Sept. 10 at the Chester Fairgrounds) are two of its successful events.

The Longest Dinner Table is a relatively new fund raiser, with the goal of raising funds to benefit local organizations such as the Chester Food Pantry, the Back Pack Program and the Shoreline Soup Kitchens.

This year The Longest Dinner Table is being held Saturday, April 23, at St. Joseph’s Parish Center in Chester from 7 to 11 p.m.  It is an adults only evening consisting of music, food, silent auction and fun.

Buy tickets at $25 each and create your own dinner menu with beverages centered on your theme. Gather your friends and create a themed table with your own decorations. Wear costumes, if you want! After dinner, dance to the rockabilly tunes of Four Barrel Billy, an upbeat local band. Everyone will have a great time and you will be supporting the Rotary’s local programs.

Tickets can be purchased at www.ChesterRotary.org or at the door.

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Join in the Beowulf Discussions at Chester Library in April

CHESTER – beowulfDespite Woody Allen’s aspersions, Beowulf is an Old English poem well worth reading.

In the hands of discussion leader, Edward Wheeler, the participants in the Chester Library’s discussion series will have an extraordinary look at a society in transition with its heroes and monsters, mead halls and the giving of rings. Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf translation offers both the Old English and contemporary English texts.

Three sessions are planned for Tuesdays, April 12, 19 and 26, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the Chester Library. Registration is required; call 860-526-0018. Books are available at the library on a first come-first served basis.

Chester Library is at 21 West Main St. (Rte. 148) in Chester.

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Kristen Graves to Perform at Spring Street Gallery, Sunday

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-based Roto Frank of America Donates to Shoreline Soup Kitchens, Pantries

roto frank donationAREAWIDE – On Feb. 5, Roto Frank of America, Inc. presented a check for $2,867 to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries. The presentation was made on behalf of the Roto Frank of America employees by Chris Dimou, President & CEO of Roto Frank of America, Inc., and Sue LeMire, HR/General Accounting Manager of Roto Frank of America, Inc., to representatives of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries, including Board of Directors member Reverend Dr. Jonathan Folts, Executive Director Patty Dowling, and Director of Development and Outreach Claire Bellerjeau.

The funds were raised during an employee campaign that ran from February to December 2015, during which employees voluntarily elected to make donations via payroll deduction, as well as supporting a variety of fundraising events. Roto Frank employees also collected and donated more than 300 pounds of canned good and pasta.

“It’s a great feeling to know that the funds we raised will provide enough food for more than 7,350 meals,“ said Sue LeMire. “We’re pleased to be able to help out a local organization that does such fantastic work for the shoreline communities,” said Chris Dimou.

Based in Essex, 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. Roto Frank of America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roto AG, a global company headquartered in Germany, with 13 production plants and 40 subsidiaries worldwide.For more information visit www.rotohardware.com.

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Chester Grand List Registers Small Increase

CHESTER – The grand list of taxable property in Chester showed little growth last year. Assessor Loreta Zdanys filed an October 2015 grand list that totals $443,781,440, an increase of $7,954,680, or 0.18 percent, over the 2014 grand list total. The increase would generate about $201,000 in new revenue at the current property tax rate of 25.32 mills.

The increase was smaller than 2014, when the grand list increased by a full one percent after dropping almost 12 percent the previous year with the townwide property revaluation that was completed in 2013. The 2015 list shows small increases in all three categories.

The net real estate total of $400,628,690 is up by $7,579,130 from the 2014 real estate total. The personal property total of $14,842,130 is up by $366,403 from the 2014 personal property total. The motor vehicles total of $28,310,620 is up by a tiny $9,167 from the previous year.

The list of the Chester’s top ten taxpayers is unchanged from recent years. Here are the top ten taxpayers with 2015 assessment totals.

  1. Chester Woods Inc. (Chester Village West) – $14,845,590
  2. Whelen Engineering Co,. Inc. – $6,760,220
  3. Connecticut Water Company – $5,211,140
  4. Eversource Energy Service Company – $4,652,850
  5. Whelen Aviation LLC (Chester Airport) – $3,843,340
  6. The Eastern Corp. – $3,648,140
  7. Roto Frank of America Inc. – $2,467,370
  8. Margaret & Robert Spriglio (Aaron Manor) – $2,237,320
  9. Chester Point Real Estate LLC – $2,079,830
  10. Arthur & Judith Schaller (residential) – $2,045,890
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Chester Town Committees Reorganize for 2016-18 Term

CHESTER – Democratic and Republican town committees for Chester have reorganized for the 2016-18 term after party caucuses held in January. The new town committees will pick delegates for state and district nominating conventions in May. They will also nominate candidates for the next town elections in 2017.

One new twist in the process this year is a new state law requiring signatures from all prospective town committee members at the time of the caucus. Republicans in Chester were unable to secure some signatures in time for the caucus, but will fill out the membership by appointments when the new committees are seated in March.

Chester Democrats have picked a 25-member town committee with six new members, including newly elected First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Trisha Brookhart, Ted Taigen, Jacqueline Stack, Michael Price, Isaac Ruiz and Susan Wright. Incumbents returning to the town committee are former First Selectman Edmund Meehan, Sandy Senior-Dauer, David Fitzgibbons, Lynne Stiles, Henry Krempel,, newly elected Selectwoman Charlene Janecek, Robert Gorman, Roger Goodnow, Marta Daniels and Lori Ann Clymas.

Chester Republicans chose a 26-member town committee that includes five new members: newly elected Selectwoman Carolyn Linn, Mandy Grass, Chris Fryxell, Meredith Devaney, and Robert Blair, who is the son of former longtime Republican First Selectman Robert Blair. Returning incumbents are Mario Gioco, former Selectman Bruce Watrous, Beverly Watrous, Joyce Aley, Joel Severance, former Selectman Tom Englert, Terri Englert, Karl Ohaus, Tracey Ohaus, Jonui Malcynsky, David Clark, John Hutson, Kristina Seifert, Melvin Seifert, Victor Hoehnebart, Jill Sakidovitch, Brian Sakidovitch, Jamie Grzybowski, Alex Strekel and Virgil Lloyd.

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Chester Selectwoman Invites Residents to Informal Morning Chats

First Selectwoman Lauren Gister chatted with Mark Russell about the Main Street bridge construction at The Villager on Feb. 10 after answering questions from residents. This was the first of the occasional “chats” Gister is holding to give residents a chance to talk with her.

First Selectwoman Lauren Gister chatted with Mark Russell about the Main Street bridge construction at The Villager on Feb. 10 after answering questions from residents. This was the first of the occasional “chats” Gister is holding to give residents a chance to talk with her.

CHESTER – First Selectwoman Lauren Gister is inviting residents to share with her their concerns, ask questions and give ideas at informal gatherings.

Gister said, “This will become a weekly or biweekly occurrence, at different times of day and at various venues over the next few months, but I need a name for this event, so I am holding a contest.  The resident who comes up with the best title for this new tradition will get a free breakfast or lunch at the Villager.”

The next “chat” will be on Thursday, Feb. 18, between 8 and 9 a.m. at Simon’s Marketplace. Gister has invited people to “grab a coffee or breakfast and bring ideas and questions.”

 

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Open House for CBSRZ Youth Programs, April 10

CHESTER – Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) will host an open house of its youth programs on Sunday, April 10, at 10 a.m. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the building and meet the staff, youth and parents of the diverse CBSRZ community, which consists of many interfaith families.

At CBSRZ, Jewish traditions, history, celebrations and values are woven into the everyday fabric of life’s modern day challenges. Young people are helped to uncover the riches of the Jewish traditions, to empower and nourish their inner lives and help them discover the possibilities within themselves and in the world.

After the open house, families are invited to stay and see how the youth of CBSRZ tell the story of Passover in their version of “The Living Haggadah.”

If you would like more information prior to the Open House, contact the CBSRZ office at (860) 526-8920 or bethshalom@snet.net. For further information about the youth programs, please contact Belinda Brennan, Cantor/Educator, by phone or by e-mail at edcant@cbsrz.org.

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

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Paul Winter Consort to Perform in Chester, April 10

Paul Winter at Crestone (2)a

Paul Winter at Crestone

CHESTER – Seven-time Grammy winner Paul Winter brings the environmental melodies of whales, birds, seals, wolves, elephants and the earth’s melodic treasures to Chester on Sunday, April 10, at 5 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

Booking such world-renowned musical talent for the synagogue’s Music & More program was not easy, but for the series producer, David Zeleznik, it was the result of an enduring passion.

He says, “I first encountered the Paul Winter Consort as a college student at Northwestern University in the 1970s. As a former student there himself, Paul’s jazz legacy was well known on campus. I was a budding acoustic string musician at the time and I was blown away by the amazing talents of the band and their ability to set a groove with no need for vocals.

“The virtuosity of the guitarist Ralph Towner especially caught my attention, and the Consort’s groundbreaking album ‘Icarus,’ composed by Ralph Towner and produced by George Martin, was breathtaking. [It was taken to the moon by Apollo 15 astronauts.]

“Fast forward four decades…I discovered that Paul Winter’s base of operations is Litchfield County. As I learned about the far-reaching musical projects that Paul Winter had been engaged in, I found that he and his music were as vibrant as ever.

“In fact, I dare say in these ecologically challenged times, his work has fresh urgency and is even more relevant than before. Paul Winter recently completed work on his Flyways project, which celebrates the great bird migration between Africa and Eurasia. That, coupled with his Music for the Earth foundation and its mission of awakening a spirit of involvement in the preservation of wildlife and the Earth’s natural environments, led us to engage the Paul Winter Consort to perform ‘In Celebration of the Earth.’ The program will be an exciting musical connection to nature’s Spring awakening and Earth Day, which follows on April 22.”

As always at Music & More programs, the ticket price includes a reception and a chance to meet the musicians. General admission tickets are $35 in advance through the website, cbsrz.org, or $40 at the door, depending on availability.  Tickets for children under 16 are free.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. For more information contact the office (860) 526.8920 or visit the website, cbsrz.org.

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Maple and Main Gallery Spring Exhibit Open

"Spring in Paris" by BL Taylor of Essex

“Spring in Paris” by BL Taylor of Essex

CHESTER – The sixth annual Spring Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery with art from 45 Connecticut artists will open Wednesday, April 6, with a reception Saturday, April 9, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The show of over 200 newly created paintings includes landscapes, marsh and marine views, city and country depictions; abstracts and semi-abstracts in a wide variety of mediums, sizes and price points.

The opening party features a beer and wine tasting by Tony’s Package Store in Haddam plus appetizers and wine. Many of the artists will be on hand.

The Spring Exhibit runs through June 19.

Also during the month of April, the artwork by students at Haddam-Killingworth High School will be exhibited in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery.

Maple and Main, at the corner of Maple and Main Streets in Chester Center, is open Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Visit mapleandmaingallery.com and the gallery’s facebook page or call 860-526-6065.

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