October 19, 2017

Tickets Now on Sale for Meeting House Players Madcap Comedy, ‘Play On!’, Opens Oct. 27

A scene from a recent rehearsal of “Play On!”

CHESTER — The Meeting House Players will present a number of performances of Rick Abbot’s madcap comedy “Play On!” at the end of this month and in early November.  The production opens on Friday, Oct. 27, and continues Oct. 28, and on Nov. 3 and 4, at the Meeting House located on 4 Liberty St. in Chester, Conn.  The curtain will rise at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 and 28, and Nov. 3.  On Nov. 4, there will be a 2 p.m. matinee and an 8 p.m. evening performance.

Written as a play within a play, “Play On!”  treats its audiences to a hilarious look behind the scenes of a local community theatre troupe desperately trying to mount a production of a new play.  With only a few rehearsals left before the opening night, chaos ensues.  Dress rehearsal is a disaster. 

On opening night, anything that can go wrong, does go wrong but the ensemble continues to “play on” until the final curtain falls.  The play’s talented ensemble cast features David Cardone, Vickie Blake, Derek Clark, Jessica Chan, Nancy Cardone, Timothy Rowe, Elizabeth Alvord, Barbara Harvey, Alexis Hartman and Andrew Jaworski. The production is directed by Debbie Alldredge

Tickets for “Play On!” are on sale now.  Tickets prices are $25 for Preferred Seating tickets and $15 for Open Seating tickets.  Reservation requests for both Preferred and Open seating are available at www.TheMeetingHousePlayers.com  or by calling 860-526-3684.  Unreserved tickets will be available at the door.

For additional information, contact TheMeetingHousePlayers@gmail.com.  The Meeting House Players is a not-for-profit community theatre organization.  The group pursues the theatre arts with the talents and interests of people throughout Connecticut.   

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Legal News You Can Use: Why Many Car Accidents Happen Close to Home

Part of the reason many accidents occur near home is because driving in familiar places can cause drivers to rely on memory instead of what is happening around them. This auto-pilot phenomenon can prevent people from remaining vigilant while driving, potentially causing them to miss important visual cues. It is imperative that drivers combat this phenomenon by staying awake and alert as unpredictable elements, such as other drivers, crossing animals or mechanical failure, can always cause an accident. However, because others are also likely driving on auto-pilot, motorists should also ensure that they always buckle their seat belt no matter how far they are driving.

Further, fatal car accidents are more likely to occur at certain times of times of the day, particularly when workers are heading home or when residents are out running errands. For example, 16 percent of fatal accidents that occurred in 2013 took place between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.. Further, 31 percent of car accidents in 2013 occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight.

Car accidents that occur on interstates, local highways or even rural roads can result in serious injuries or even death. If the accident occurred due to another driver’s negligence or risky driving habits, those who suffered injuries could seek compensation for the damages they sustained in the incident, including recovering the cost of their medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. However, some insurance companies may attempt to settle the claim for less than what the injured individuals need. In such an event, filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist with an attorney’s help might be advisable.

The Law Firm of Suisman Shapiro focuses on this area of the law.
Sponsored post.

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Country School Welcomes ‘Minds in Motion’ Back to Campus

Claudia Califano, M.D., child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist and Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Child Study Center will be part of the panel discussion “How do you raise technologically healthy children?”

AREAWIDE – The Country School welcomes Minds in Motion back to campus for a full day of fun, fast-paced, hands-on workshops for students in PreK-Grade 6 on Saturday, Oct. 14, when this signature event of the Connecticut Association for the Gifted returns to The Country School for the fourth time. In addition to children’s programming, there will also be free parent and teacher programs designed to help parents explore ways to challenge and inspire their children.

There will be free literature, resources, and networking opportunities available, as well as a range of exhibitors, camps, books, and educational toy sales for parents to explore.

Over 25 different student workshops this year will range from Sizzling Sensory Science, Life by the Wigwam 300 Years Ago!, Introduction to Robotics, Fencing, Poetry and Math, Owl Pellet Detectives, Paint Like the Masters, Intro to STEAM, 3D Printing and Design, Roller Coaster Physics, Chess, Think Like DaVinci, and more.

This year’s keynote for parents will feature a panel discussion on the role of technology in the lives of children. How much is too much? How can you best ensure your child’s safety online?

Panelists will include Claudia Califano, M.D., child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist and Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Child Study Center; Peggy Chappell, LCSW and Consultant with over 30 years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers; Jerry Zigmont, Owner, MacWorks, LLC, technology consultant with over 30 years experience in technology industry; and Bill Leidt, Technology Director and Technology Teacher at The Country School. Beth Coyne, Dean of Student Life at The Country School, will serve as moderator. Panelists will also offer parent workshops on this topic.

Learn more about the workshops for children and opportunities for adults at http://www.thecountryschool.org/student-life/minds-in-motion. Space is limited and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early to reserve your spot. Registration closed Oct. 7.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 213 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. See the school community in action during Fall Open House on Oct. 29 from 1-3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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New London’s St. Francis House To Hold Book Sale Today

AREWIDE — New London’s St. Francis House will hold a book sale on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to benefit the St. Francis House library. The library, which is open to the public on Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m. or by appointment, offers a unique collection of books on theology, social justice, biography and women’s issues, along with poetry and more.

The sale will take place at the non-profit, located at 30 Broad Street in New London.  Books in the sale will include children’s books and poetry as well as fiction, spirituality, philosophy and social justice.

St. Francis House is an intentional Christian Community, where members share the daily work of living while working to improve the social and economic conditions of the surrounding community. The community supports initiatives and ongoing works, having played a role in the Homeless Hospitality Center, Voluntown Peace Trust, Spark MakerSpace, Drop-In Learning Center, FRESH, Hearing Youth Voices among others.

The library at St. Francis House offers a look into the philosophy behind the organization, and guidance for the work which others may contemplate.

Early in the history of the organization, the question of valuing written works presented itself, as the late Father Emmett Jarrett was confronted with having to put a price on a soon-to-be-published book of his poetry. The issue for Fr. Emmett, a published New Directions poet, was of detracting from the sacredness of writing by placing a market-based price on it.

Carrying on this discussion, books will be offered at the St. Francis book sale for whatever price the buyer deems reasonable; or, for what value the buyer places on the continued operation of the St. Francis House Library.

A catalog of the library’s collections may be viewed at www.stfrancishouseNL.org. To schedule a time to visit the library, or for more information on the book sale, contact: stfrancishouseNL@att.net, or 860-437-8890.

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‘Safe Futures’ Hosts ‘Power of Purple’ 4K Walk, Sunday; Benefits Domestic Violence Victims, Survivors

AREAWIDE — Sign up … Step Out … Save Lives

Join Safe Futures this Sunday, Oct. 15, as the organization takes a stand against domestic violence. Their efforts during Safe Futures 40th Anniversary Power of Purple 4K Walk will help to bring the community together to show survivors and victims of sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking in southeast Connecticut that they matter and that Safe Futures is there to help them.

The walk will be held in the Crystal Mall at Waterford and registration is at 8:30 a.m., speeches at 9:15 a.m. and the walk start is at 9:30 a.m. Registration fees are $25 for adults and $15 for kids.

Can you help them during Domestic Violence Awareness Month by honoring and supporting the victims of abuse?

You can still pre-register at: https://www.firstgiving.com/413648/safe-futures-4k-walk

For sponsorships, raffle basket donation, and other registration questions, contact Amanda Boaz, Development Associate, aboaz@safefuturesct.org (860) 447-0366 x.220

 

 

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Soroptomist CT Shoreline Club Offers Cash Grant to Women Seeking Financial Assistance for Education/Training Expenses

AREAWIDE — The CT Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International of the Americas has announced that it is currently accepting applications for its annual Live Your Dream award.

The award seeks to support women who serve as the primary wage earners for their families seeking financial assistance to continue their education or to receive training. Information and an application are available at https://soroptimistnortheasternregion.org/files/ShorelineLYDapplication2018.pdf, or by contacting the co-chair Mary Jean Cummiskey at maryjeancummiskey@gmail.com. The application deadline is Nov. 15. Applicants will be notified in January 2018.

The CT Shoreline club will provide a $1,000 cash grant to its award recipient, who will then advance to the Soroptimist Northeast Region level, where recipients could receive up to an additional $5,000. The program culminates with three finalist $10,000 awards.

Recipients can use the Live Your Dream Award to offset costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education or additional skills and training. This includes tuition, books, childcare, carfare or any other education related expense. 

Nationally, the Live Your Dream Award provides over $2 million in cash grants to head-of-household women in need each year. Since the program’s inception in 1972, more than $30 million has helped tens of thousands of women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. 

A study conducted by The Fels Institute of Government, a research and consulting organization based at the University of Pennsylvania, confirmed the efficacy and impact of this program. It improves the recipients’ quality of life; builds their confidence; strengthens their self-determination and makes them want to, in turn, help others. Helping women in this way has the demonstrated effect of leading to stronger communities, nations and the world. 

Chartered in February 2017, the new CT Shoreline club is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, a global organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. CT Shoreline members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls.

Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, also powers LiveYourDream.org—an online community offering offline volunteer opportunities in support of women and girls. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit www.soroptimist.org. 

This new chapter welcomes members. To learn more, visit www.soroptimistner.org or www.liveyourdream.org.

Applications available at: https://soroptimistnortheasternregion.org/files/ShorelineLYDapplication2018.pdf

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‘Come Home to Chester’ Tonight with Apples and More on ‘First Friday’

Gourmet product samples will be on offer at The French Hen during ‘Come Home to Chester.’

CHESTER –  Come Home to Chester, the long-observed annual event the first Friday of October in the downtown, will be observed this year on Oct. 6  from 5 to 8 p.m. with crisp Autumn apples for all and special events in all the galleries, shops and eateries.

The apples, supplied at cost by Scott’s Orchards in Deep River, will be given to visitors at eight locations: Maple and Main Gallery, The Perfect Pear, Ruba Ruba, Dina Varano Gallery, The French Hen, Lori Warner Gallery, Chester Package Store and Lark. A donation jar will be at each “apple” location with hopes visitors will help the Chester Merchants organization defray the costs of Winter Carnivale – a free annual event for the community in February.

Apples or not – every place in town will be open with special enticements.  For instance The French Hen will be offering tastings of gourmet products imported from Europe, and the Perfect Pear will give away owner Laura Grimmer’s home-made marshmallow popcorn “ears of corn” with any purchase.

Enjoy marshmallow corn from The Perfect Pear.

Arrowsmith will be performing live at Leif Nilsson’s Gallery, and outside the soon-to-open Grano restaurant, owner Joel Gargano will be serving samples of his homemade bread and fall soup.

The Chester Historical Society will be serving refreshments from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Mill Museum to those who come to see its exhibits of Chester postcards, the Leatherman and Nate Jacobson’s Grist Mill replica.

At Maple and Main Gallery, there will be an opening party for “Oasis,” Chester resident and artist Kate Hair’s solo exhibit of recent paintings. Wine, appetizers and desserts will be served including apples with cheese and other “apple” surprises.

The Chester Package Store will offer tastings of OctoberFest beer and fall red wine while Dina Varano Gallery will showcase jewelry designs in gold by Dina and new Fall fashion accessories and Lori Warner Gallery will be serving cider and “a nibble.”

At Ruba Ruba, a new collection of sweater designs will be featured and there will an opening reception for Deep River artist Gray Jacobik whose paintings will be in the windows of the store during October. Spiked apple cider will be served.

Lark will introduce a new jewelry line by Alison Grondino and serve wine and sweet apple treats.

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Local Photographer Caryn Davis Publishes New Book

ESSEX — A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style by Chester resident and photographer Caryn B. Davis, with accompanying essays by author Eric D. Lehman, was released this week by Globe Pequot.

Davis will be at The Griswold Inn Store: Goods & Curiosities located at 47 Main Street in Essex, on Sunday, Oct. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. signing copies of her new book.

Celebrated chef, author, and Connecticut resident Jacques Pépin described A Connecticut Christmas as,“a sentimental journey through the lore of Connecticut and makes you want to sing Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas.’ The beautiful pictures celebrate the marvelous diversity, beauty, and spirit of the Nutmeg State . . . this heartwarming book makes you smile.”

A Connecticut Christmas is a photographic journey celebrating classic New England traditions, beauty, spirit, and community surrounding the holiday. From light displays to decorated churches and inns, spectacular private homes, festivals, carolers, town greens, and picturesque villages, this beautiful book of images takes readers on a magical holiday tour through the Nutmeg State.  There is also an event and location listing in the back of the book that for residents and tourists who love all things Christmas which is why this book has an appeal beyond the Nutmeg State.

A series of local book signings is planned — full details of more of these will be published on ValleyNewsNow.com as they become available.

Davis began her career in the visual arts 30 years ago as a cameraperson, editor, and producer of documentaries. She has been a professional photographer since 2000, specializing in architectural photography. Her work has taken her to over 50 countries, and still counting. She often combines her images with words to create compelling articles that have been featured in more than 60 magazines.

A Connecticut Christmas will retail at $26.00.

 

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Applications Open for Rockfall Foundation’s Environmental Leadership Scholarship

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation has announced the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship, which recognizes an area high school student who demonstrates leadership and initiative in promoting conservation, preservation, restoration, or environmental education. One $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to an eligible student residing the Foundation’s service area, including Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham , East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, or Westbrook.

Students must describe their role in an environmental project and its impact. Applications are due by 4 pm on Friday, March 2, 2018.

The scholarship is named in honor of former Executive Director of The Rockfall Foundation, Virginia R. “Ginny” Rollefson, who retired in 2010 after 24 years with the Foundation. The award honors her long service to the Foundation, her enthusiasm, and her belief that we all benefit when young people are actively engaged in making their communities a better place to live.

For a copy of the application or for more information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

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Leif Nilsson Hosts Johnny Martorelli in Next ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Sunday

Johnny Martorelli plays a Concert in the Garden, Oct. 8.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts a Sunday evening ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Oct. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m.,  featuring guitarist, singer and songwriter Johnny Martorelli at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center.  Martorelli will perform classic covers and original works

This Chester native has had a passion for music ever since he can remember. Born and raised by a drummer and singer, music was never too far out of reach. Alfonso, Johnny’s father, played drums with his band at the Cove Road Inn with former Mayor, Bob Blair. After the gig, you would often find them flipping burgers for their patrons at the Al-a-Bob in Chester center.

In his teens, Johnny showcased his talents on guitar fronting bands such as Rush Hour, Wired for Sound and Velocity.

Making a name for himself locally, he found himself in New York City. He soon joined the John McEnroe band touring the world with this tennis legend. You may still see a gig or two from this band annually.

Back in the River Valley, Johnny tours the shoreline playing gigs (with UHF, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or solo) at venues such as Chamard Vineyards, Bill’s Seafood, Donahue’s, Water’s Edge, Cuckoo’s Nest, and a variety of private affairs. Johnny also makes time for younger talents, teaching lessons out of his home in Chester.

For more information on upcoming gigs or lessons, contact Johnny at johnnystrings@comcast.net or www.reverbnation.com/johnmartorelli

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

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

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

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Award-Winning Photographer Discusses ‘Tools of Travel Photography’ Tonight at CT Valley Camera Club

Shadows of camels and their riders in the Sahara desert in Erg Chebi, Morrocco (Photo by David H. Wells)

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at next Monday’s (Oct. 2) meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be award-winning photographer/videographer David H. Wells, who will give a presentation titled, “The Tools of Travel Photography.” The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn.  All are welcome.

Wells uses whichever technology he feels is most appropriate for the specific situation to create visual narratives. He is based in Providence, RI, affiliated with Aurora Photos and is also a photo-educator. One editor described him as a “… specialist in intercultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light, shadow and sound, stills and video.”

Wells became the photographer he is today by first trying on the styles and/or methods of other well-known and historic photographers. Then he mastered the challenging discipline of color slide film. He fused all of these experiences, over 30-plus years, to develop his own style, built on a mastery of light, exposure and tonality, framing and composition with predictable and consistent control over focus and depth of field.

As a photography educator, he leads students to learn how to master consistently these same elements of photography. He was featured in Photo District News as one of “The Best Workshop Instructors.”

A Sicilian sunset (Photo by David H. Wells)

His project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years he has worked on assignment for such magazines as Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Sunday New York Times, Time, etc. He also worked for corporations such as Consolidated Natural Gas and DuPont as well as for non-profits such as the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund.

His work has been featured in more than 50 exhibitions and he has taught workshops at the International Center for Photography in NYC and at the Maine Media Workshops. He has received two Fulbright fellowships, a grant from Nikon/N.P.P.A., a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation’s Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation.

For more information on David H. Wells, visit his website.

Connecticut Valley Camera Club is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The club offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed. The club draws members from up and down both sides of the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com/. The Club’s meeting dates, speakers / topics and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

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‘Bikes for Kids’ Hosts Annual Bike Ride Today; Choice of Four Rides All Starting in Essex

Dave Fowler hard at work on refurbishing a donated bike.

AREAWIDE — ‘Bikes for Kids’ is holding its 2nd Annual Charity Ride on Sunday, Oct. 1.  The charity which was founded by Chuck Graeb is now run by retired Lyme-Old Lyme Schools teacher Dave Fowler.

Bikes For Kids is a  Connecticut based non-profit organization founded in 1989 that brings smiles to children one bike at a time. Volunteers collect, repair, and safety test donated used bicycles. The refurbished bicycles, along with new helmets, are given away to individuals of all ages and needs.

Donated bikes from ‘Bikes for Kids’ bring smiles ‘one bike at a time.’

Most donated bicycles remain in Connecticut, but some have reached children in other states and countries. More than 1,000 bicycles are given away annually. Requests for bicycles come from local and state social service organizations, churches, schools, non-profits, and individuals. 21,000 bicycles have been donated to date.

Support this charity by participating in the Annual Charity Ride.  All rides start in Essex. There will be four rides to choose from.

  • The Family Ride will have two options – a 3-mile or a more challenging 12-mile ride.
  • The Intermediate Ride will be 27 miles
  • (for the die-hards) there will be a 55-mile ride through 7 towns.

These rides go through some of the most beautiful sections of Connecticut’s River Valley. Depending on the route you select, you can ride through Essex, Deep River, Chester, Haddam, Killingworth, Westbrook and Clinton.  After the ride, all cyclists are invited for food, fun and tours at the new ‘Bikes for Kids’ Wheelhouse in Essex.

Visit this link for more information.

Visit this link to register for a ride.

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‘Cruise, Blues & Brews’ Festival Today Features Top CT Blues Bands, Benefits ‘At-Risk Boys’ 

CHESTER — When organizers for the 3rd Annual Cruise, Blues & Brews Festival approached legendary local blues performer Ramblin’ Dan Stevens, they received immediate and enthusiastic support. Stevens had the connections and the passion to recruit top blues talent for this unique festival to benefit the At-Risk Boys Fund.

“As soon as I was asked to help, I was confident my friends at the Connecticut Blues Society and fellow Blues musicians would want to help this important cause, and have a lot of fun doing it too” says Dan Stevens. Turns out, Dan was right. Ed Stack, Connecticut Blues Society President, promptly started promoting the Cruise Blues & Brews Festival to all the Society’s members to help boost attendance and raise more money for the At-Risk Boys Fund.

Stevens’ Blues musician friends were quick to respond too. One by one six bands agreed to perform on the Festival Stage between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. “We’ve got some of the best blues artist in Connecticut, many of whom have represented our state at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, with several advancing to the finals. I’m so grateful they agreed to help in raising money and awareness for this great cause” says Stevens.

Here is the list of bands scheduled to play: Frank Breen, Traditional Acoustic Blues; Peter Magrane and the Drive by Blues Band,Upbeat Ragtime & originals; Blues on the Rocks, Genuine Blues; Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and the Fiery Band, Eclectic Fingerstyle Blues, Slide & originals; Jake Kulak and The Lowdown featuring Braiden Sunshine, a collaboration between award winning 17 year old blues Phenom Jake Kulak and finalist on The Voice, Braiden SunshineRyan Hartt and Tom FerraroNew England Blues super group.

In addition to live performance by these top Blues musicians the Cruise Blues & Brews Festival will also feature hundreds of antique and unique cars on display, a food court with a variety of up-scale food trucks, locally brewed craft beer by on tap by Thimble Island Brewery, a market place of vendors, a kids play area, trophies, games and prizes.

“Thanks to Ramblin’ Dan Stevens, we have more than doubled the number of blues bands for this year, and that is a really big deal for us” says Bill Guerra, Volunteer Chairman of the Festival.

“Established only four years ago, The At-Risk Boys fund has awarded over $61,000 in grants to organizations, throughout Middlesex County. These grants have helped hundreds of boys and young men achieve success and a better life”, Guerra added.

The 3rd Annual Cruise Blues & Brews Festival, will be held Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain date, Sunday, Oct. 1), at the Chester Fair Grounds. Admission: $5 donation, children under 12 free. To learn more about this Festival, buy tickets in advance or make a donation to the At-Risk Boys Fund of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, visit:  www.atriskboysfund.org . Tickets may also be purchased at the gate during the Festival.

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In Tight Contest, Valley-Old Lyme Swim Team Ultimately Falls to H-K

On Sept. 28 at Haddam-Killingworth, the co-op swim team of Lyme-Old Lyme and Valley competed against Haddam-Killingworth. Despite a strong performance by Old Lyme-Valley, Haddam-Killingworth won the meet in the end with a score of 76 to 61.

Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme placed first in the following races:
-medley relay (Kim Beradis, Kaeleigh O’Donnell, Lily Cox, and Connie Pan)
-200 yard freestyle (Lily Cox)
-200 yard individual medley (Kaeleigh O’Donnell)
-100 yard freestyle (Connie Pan)
-500 yard freestyle (Lily Cox)
-200 yard freestyle relay (Kim Beradis, Kaeleigh O’Donnell, Lily Cox, and Connie Pan)
-100 yard backstroke (Kim Beradis)
-100 yard breaststroke (Kaeleigh O’Donnell)

Haddam-Killingworth came first in the 50 yard freestyle (Kiera Bragdon).

Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme notched second in the 50 yard freestyle (Connie Pan).

Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme divers Anna Donato and Britney Detuzzi earned Honorable Mentions in the 50 yard freestyle coming in respectively 5th and 6th.

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Region 4 Board of Education Acquires Property Adjacent to Valley Regional High School

DEEP RIVER – The Region 4 Board of Education has acquired a 34-acre parcel of land adjacent to Valley Regional High School for $350,000. The transaction closed on Aug. 31, 2017.

“This acquisition is great news for Valley Regional High School and the future of our community,” said Chris Riley, Chairman of the Region 4 Board of Education. “While there are no plans for the property at this time, the Board felt very strongly that the opportunity to acquire adjacent property was a smart investment for the future of our region.”

The Region 4 Board, consisting of three representatives from each of the towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex, voted unanimously to make the purchase. The First Selectmen in each of the towns were aware of the opportunity and all expressed their support for the acquisition. The purchase was funded with $350,000 from Region’s sinking funds, eliminating the need to bond or secure a mortgage. The sinking funds currently have a collective balance of $125,000.

For the past several years, the Region 4 Board has adopted the practice of returning 50 percent of any surplus to member towns and depositing 50 percent into sinking fund accounts. With a surplus of nearly $300,000 likely for the past school year, approximately $150,000 will be returned to the Region 4 sinking funds accounts once a final audit is completed. With regular deposits into the sinking funds, the entire purchase could be repaid
in three to five years.

The opportunity was first presented to the board in February of this year, and the board voted to direct Bruce Glowac to enter into negotiations to purchase the property. After several months of discussion with the previous owner and a substantial price reduction (the property was originally listed at $500,000), a deal was reached.

Superintendent Ruth Levy provided an update on the purchase at the September Region 4 Board meeting.

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Music Now Foundation Hosts Sunset Soiree Fundraiser at Griswold Point, Saturday

AREAWIDE — Music Now Foundation hosts its second annual Sunset Soiree Fundraiser at beautiful Griswold Point in Old Lyme Saturday, Sept. 23, from 4 p.m. Come out to support the initiatives of Music Now, while you enjoy beautiful water views, a great meal, and live musical performances by talented young artists until sunset.

Ticket cost is $50 for adults and includes food, beer, wine and soft drinks. There will also be a vegetarian option offered. Youth ticket cost is $20.

The MusicNow Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 charitable organization based in Old Lyme CT. Its mission is to engage, enrich, and inspire young aspiring artists by providing performance opportunities, workshop programming and mentorships thereby nurturing creative and artistic growth and supporting the development of live music in our communities.

For more information about MusicNow, visit www.musicnowfoundation.org

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High Holy Day Services Continue at CBSRZ

CHESTER — At Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ), in Chester, CT, on Jewish holidays, High Holy Days – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – are major highlights every year, with music led by Cantor, Belinda Brennan and the CBSRZ Choir, inspiring teachings from religious and spiritual leader Rabbi Marci Bellows, and lay people within the CBSRZ community, as well as special services and activities for children and young families.

The schedule for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is as follows:

Erev Rosh Hashanah: Wednesday, Sept.20, 7:30 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah morning service: Thursday, Sept. 21, 9:30 a.m.; children’s service 2:30 p.m.

Second day of Rosh Hashanah, Friday, Sept. 22, 9:30 a.m.

Kol Nidre, Friday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.

Yom Kippur, Saturday, Sept. 30, morning service 9:30 am; children’s service 2 pm; afternoon Yizkor, Neilah, 3:30 pm

Communal break-the-fast will be at the conclusion of services. All are welcome.

For information regarding tickets, contact the CBSRZ office or visit cbsrz.org.

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

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Musical Masterworks, Community Music School Announce Scholarship Recipient

From left to right, Alden Murphy and Abigail Nickell stand with Musical Masterworks scholarship winner Giovanna Parnoff at the piano.

AREAWIDE — Musical Masterworks and Community Music School are pleased to announce the recipient of the first Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas.

Giovanna Parnoff, already an accomplished pianist and exceptional sixth grade student from Old Lyme, was presented with the scholarship by Alden Murphy, President of Musical Masterworks and Abigail Nickell, Executive Director of Community Music School.

“We are so pleased to honor Nancy’s memory with an award to one of her very own students, in partnership with another of her most beloved arts organizations.’ said Nickell.  Nancy Thomas was a devoted staff member of Musical Masterworks for nearly 25 years.   “It is particularly fortuitous that Giovanna, as a life-long student of Nancy Thomas, is the first winner of this scholarship; we couldn’t be more pleased,” added Murphy.

Giovanna has attended The Community Music School since she was six months old. She discovered her love of music through Kindermusik and Kate’s Camp programs and eventually started individual piano instruction under the tutelage of Nancy Thomas at the age of 3.

She has received perfect scores at the New London Piano Festival organized by the Middlesex/New London Chapter of the Connecticut State Music Teacher’s Association. Giovanna is a member of Mensa and Intertel, two high IQ societies and was recently inducted into the Junior Mensa Honor Society for her academic performance, leadership skills and volunteerism/community service.

Giovanna has been accepted into Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, Stanford University’s Gifted and Talented Program, and Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. She is a competitive foil fencer, and has been coached for six years by the Fencer’s School of CT.

Giovanna is an award-winning poet, having seen her work published in “The Mensa Bulletin” and “The Young American Poetry Digest.” She lives in Old Lyme with her parents, Dr. John Parnoff and Ms. Monique Heller, and her younger sister, Mattea, who is also a piano student at The Community Music School.

The Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas provides the tuition for a middle school student to take music lessons, 30 minutes each, for one full year at Community Music School.  The scholarship will be awarded annually for the next four years.  To be eligible, the candidate must be a student of classical voice or instrumental music and reside in Middlesex County or New London County.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34-year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call 860.767.0026.

Musical Masterworks brings to Southern New England world-class chamber music performances and outreach programs which attract, entertain, and educate a diverse audience. Now planning its 27th season, Musical Masterworks offers five weekends of performances from October through May in Old Lyme.  Learn more by visiting www.musicalmasterworks.org or by calling 860.434.2252.

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State Orders Recount in Republican Primary for 33rd District Probate Judge; Delia Wins by Nine Votes in First Count

Tuesday’s unofficial winner, Anselmo Delia.

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Secretary of State has informed all the towns that comprise the 33rd District Probate Court that they need to conduct a recount of Tuesday’s Republican Primary. The Town of Essex has scheduled their recount on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. at the town hall. Deep River held their recount yesterday, Thursday, Sept. 13. We do not have details of the timing of recounts in other area towns at this time.

Tuesday’s race between the party-endorsed candidate Attorney Anselmo Delia of Clinton and challenger Attorney Kevin Hecht of Old Saybrook ended with a 859-850 win for Delia after all the unofficial results had been declared in the nine towns.

Unofficial results given on the Connecticut Secretary of State’s webpage for towns covered by ValleyNewsNow.com towns are as follows:

Chester: Hecht 23 – Delia 12
Deep River: Delia 24 – Hecht 14
Essex: Delia 79 – Hecht 59
Old Saybrook: Hecht 277 – Delia 46
Westbrook: Hecht 90 – Delia 41.

Results for the remaining towns in the District are:

Clinton: Delia 444 – Hecht 228
Haddam: Delia 140 – Hecht 37
Killingworth: Hecht 78 – Delia 53
Lyme: Hecht 44 – Delia 20.

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Final Day of Community Music School’s Free Preview Week is Today

AREAWIDE – Community Music School, located at 90 Main Street in Centerbrook and 179 Flanders Rd. in East Lyme, welcomes the general public to visit during Free Preview Week Sept. 11 through 15. Children and adults can tour the School’s studios, meet teachers and staff, enjoy a free preview lesson, and learn about a vast array of programs for all ages including private and group lessons, adult cabaret, jazz ensemble, string ensembles, music therapy services, Kindermusik for babies and toddlers, and more.

During the academic year, Community Music School is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Those interested in a 30-minute preview lesson are requested to call 860-767-0026 for scheduling.  The public is also welcome to observe any group class or ensemble during Free Preview Week.

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

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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CBSRZ Adds New Programs to Current Education Offerings for Fall

CHESTER — The education team at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is offering new programming in the Kivvun wing. Kivvun means “direction” or “pathway,” and this year it is CBSRZ’s intention to provide more “paths” or “access points” into Judaism, while empowering each child to grow into their best selves, and experience their lives through a Jewish lens, within a vibrant Jewish Community.

Utilizing the Shalom Learning curriculum, and incorporating many aspects of the Project Based Learning model, learners will drive the creation of “questions” in order to determine how to answer the question,“What makes a strong Jewish community?”

Students will explore answers to their questions through the study of Hebrew, Prayer, Holidays and Values.  The learners will begin to formulate ideas while they analyze and express their thoughts through modes such as art, legos, cooking and storytelling. These electives or “Chugim” will be chosen by the students according to their interests and will offer an opportunity for learners of all grades to interact.

In addition to restructured program for young learners, new opportunities for teens will be offered, including student teaching, social action and recreational interaction. Gesher, a monthly class for 8th and 9th grade students, and Makom, a confirmation class for 10th grade students, will continue to be offered.

Registration is now open to everyone. To obtain your registration packet, contact Belinda Brennan, Cantor and Educator, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, belinda@cbsrzorg, the office at 860-526-8920 and visit www.cbsrz.org/learn/youth for more information. CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT 06412.

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Applications Due by Nov. 9 for Rockfall Foundation Grants

AREAWIDE — Continuing the philanthropic tradition of its founder, Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation invites non-profit organizations, municipalities, and schools in the Lower Connecticut River Valley to apply for grants through the annual Competitive Grant Program. The Foundation seeks to support projects that preserve and enhance the environment and to increase public knowledge of and respect for natural resources. Projects that demonstrate new and imaginative ways to achieve this are encouraged.

Applications are due by Nov. 9 and can be downloaded from www.rockfallfoundation.org.  For detailed eligibility criteria or additional information, call 860-347-0340 or visit www.rockfallfoundation.org.

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through public programs and grants.  In addition, the Rockfall Foundation operates the historic deKoven House Community Center that offers meeting rooms and office space for non-profit organizations.

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Republican Primary Today for Judge of Probate

Anselmo Delia is the Republican party endorsed candidate for Judge of Probate in the 33rd District.

AREAWIDE — Registered Republicans in Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Old Saybrook are eligible to vote tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 12, in a primary election to determine the party’s candidate for 33rd District Probate Judge in the November election.

Kevin J. Hecht of Old Saybrook is challenging the party-endorsed candidate, Anselmo Delia, of Clinton.

In addition to the towns listed above, the 33rd District Probate Court, which is located in Old Saybrook, covers  Clinton, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, and Westbrook.

There is no Democratic Primary since party-endorsed candidate Jeannine Lewis is not being challenged.

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Chester Rotary’s ‘Lobster Festival’ Takes Place Today

Loving lobster! Happy LobsterFest-goers savor the feast. (File photo.)

CHESTER — Join the Rotary Club of Chester’s 47th Annual Lobster Festival to be held at the Chester Fairgrounds on Saturday, Sept. 9.

The event is highlighted by classic double entree dinners featuring Twin Lobster, Twin Steak, or Surf and Turf and single entrée Lobster or Steak dinners. Traditional sides include corn on the cob, potatoes and coleslaw.  The gates will open at 4 p.m. for table decorating and general admission.  Dinners will be served from 5 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m.   Soft drinks, bottled water, beer and wine are available for sale throughout the evening.

Live music for your dancing and listening pleasure will be provided by two great bands, Driving Route 9 and Old Dog New Trick until closing at 10 p.m.

Admission tickets for twin lobster or twin steak or surf and turf dinners are $40 in advance, $45 for remaining tickets at the gate. Single lobster or single steak dinner tickets are $30 in advance, $35 for remaining tickets at the gate.  Seating is limited, so early purchase is recommended.  Access to the Lobster Festival is restricted to dinner ticket holders.

Tickets are available at the following Chester locations: LARK, Pattaconk Bar & Grill, Chester Package Store, Chrisholm Marina, Chester Bottle Shop and at the Sunday Market as well as on-line at  http://www.ChesterRotary.org.

Proceeds from this event will be used to benefit the community.  Join friends and family for a memorable evening of great food, good fun and live music!

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21st Annual Venture Smith Day Festivities to be held This Afternoon

Keynote speaker, Russell Shorto, will talk about “Venture Smith and American Freedom” at the 21st annual Venture Smith Day on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 1 to 4 pm in the cemetery at the First Church of Christ, 499 Town St. (Rte. 151), in East Haddam.

EAST HADDAM, CT – The 21st annual Venture Smith Day Festivities will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the cemetery at the First Church of Christ, 499 Town Street (Rte. 151), East Haddam, Conn.where he is buried (1729-1805).

Son of an African king, Venture Smith became the first black man to document his capture from Africa and life as an American slave and successful black freeman in Connecticut.  Well-known and respected, Venture Smith spent the majority of his freedom years in East Haddam and Haddam Neck, Conn.  His grave is one of the original sites on the Connecticut Freedom Trail.

Keynote speaker, Russell Shorto, author of the best seller “The Island at the Center of the World,” about the Dutch founding of Manhattan, will talk about “Venture Smith and American Freedom.” His newest book, “Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom,” which weaves together the lives of Venture Smith, George Washington and four other early Americans, will be released Nov. 7.

Shorto believes the revolutionary period, through which Venture Smith lived, is more relevant now than ever. Shorto has won numerous awards for his writing, and his books have been published in 14 languages.

Dr. Karl P. Stofko, East Haddam’s Municipal Historian and Venture Smith family genealogist since the 1970s, will talk about “Charles Holt, the Forgotten Publisher of Venture Smith’s 1998 Narrative.” Venture Smith’s family genealogy and artifacts and crafts from Ghana and other regions of Africa will be on display. A town proclamation will be presented and wreath-laying ceremony by the descendants of Venture Smith and the annual Venture family reunion photograph will take place in the cemetery by Venture’s grave.

The ladies of “Sisters In Stitches Joined by the Cloth” of eastern Massachusetts will return this year with their magnificent African American quilts on display. The recent discovery of the Starks family, descendants of Venture’s granddaughter Cynthia Smith Matson, was added to Venture Smith’s family genealogy and will be on display. In addition, a restored original copy Venture Smith’s 1798 narrative will be on exhibit at the event. A facsimile of this booklet will be on sale for $5.

Adults and children who are interested in learning more about Connecticut history in the 1700 and 1800s are encouraged to attend. Bring lawn chairs or blanket. In case of inclement weather the celebration will move into the parish house of First Church.

There will be plenty of time to renew old friendships, talk with speakers, and Venture’s descendants and enjoy light refreshments in the Parish Hall next to the cemetery.

Call (860) 873-9375 with questions.  To review the original Venture Smith autobiography, visit  www.docsouth.unc.edu/neh/venture2/menu.html

A Brief Biography of Venture Smith

Born around 1729, Venture Smith’s African birth name was Broteer, and he was the eldest son of King Saungm Furro of the tribe of Dukandarra in Guinea, West Africa. He was captured about 1736 when he was seven years old and was sold for “4 gallons of rum and some calico” at Anamabo on Africa’s Gold Coast to Robinson Mumford, the steward of a Rhode Island slave ship. Broteer was renamed Venture because he was purchased by Mumford’s own private venture. Venture grew up as a slave on Fishers Island, New York, which was being leased by the Mumford family at that time.

Around 1750 he married Meg, another Mumford slave, and they had four children. After a failed escape attempt in 1754, Venture was sold to Thomas Stanton of Stonington Point, Connecticut. In 1760, he was purchased for the last time by Oliver Smith, of Stonington. Smith allowed Venture to purchase his freedom in 1765 and in return Venture took the name Smith as his surname.

Venture then lived and worked on Long Island to raise money to purchase the freedom of his wife and children. During these years he cut wood, farmed, fished, and spent seven months on a whaling voyage. In 1774, Venture sold all his land on Long Island and in Stonington and moved his family to East Haddam. He then began purchasing land on Haddam Neck along the Salmon River Cove from Abel Bingham and others. His farm grew into 134 acres with three houses; twenty boats, canoes and sailing vessels; two fishing businesses and a commercial orchard. His entrepreneurial ventures included river trafficking, lumberjacking, carpentry and farming. All this he accomplished without the ability to either read or write.

In 1798, Venture dictated his autobiography to teacher Elisha Niles, which was then published in pamphlet form by Charles Holt, editor of the New London Bee weekly newspaper. It has been reprinted many times. It is the only slave narrative of the 18th century that recounts life in Africa. His life story has been an inspiration to many over the years. Venture died on September 19, 1805, at age 77 as a highly respected man by all in the Haddams. His wife, two sons, Cuff and Solomon, and several grandchildren survived him. Several of his descendants still live in Connecticut.

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Registration Open Through Today for Madhatters December Production

AREAWIDE — Madhatters Theatre Company is registering for their December production of ‘Scrooged, with a twist.’  Registration is open to students age 6-18 years.  Rehearsals begin on Saturdays in September at Lyme’s Youth Service Bureau in Old Lyme.

Performance week is Dec. 11-17 at Chester Meeting House in Chester.  Registration is open through Sept. 8.

For further information and to register, email: madhattersctc@aol.com or call (860) 395-1861  www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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CT River Museum Issues Call for Actors, Production Crew; Auditions Monday

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut River Museum is looking for a variety of volunteer actors to help with the 2017 production of Haunted River.  Auditions will take place on Sept. 6 and 11 between 4:45 and 6:15 p.m.  Available parts are for adults and children (ages 10 and up).  Roles include actors for seven-minute scenes, theatrical tour guides, and musicians.  No prior acting experience is necessary.  Rehearsals will be held on Wednesday nights and run from Sept. 20 through Oct. 18 with a dress rehearsal on Oct. 25 and evening performances on Oct. 27, 28, and 29 from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Also needed is production crew.  Positions include stage crew, prop and scene fabricators, and costumers. 

For more information and to arrange an audition, call the Connecticut River Museum at 860-767-8269  x122 or send an email to kperkins@ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is located in Essex, Conn., and is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The recreation of Adriaen Block’s ONRUST, the first vessel to explore and chart Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River, is on display and available for cruises through Oct. 14. 

The Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex and open seven days per week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Columbus Day. After Columbus Day the Museum is closed on Mondays.  Visit online at www.ctrivermuseum.org.   

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Nominations for Rockfall Foundation Local Environmental Champions Close Sept. 15

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2017 Environmental Awards, which recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses for environmental efforts that contribute to the quality of life in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Two categories of awards include the Distinguished Service Award and Certificates of Appreciation in the areas of preservation, conservation, restoration, or environmental education.

Awardees are recognized at the Rockfall Foundation’s annual meeting and grants celebration in November. Nominations must be submitted by Sept. 15, 2017 and a form can be downloaded at www.rockfallfoundation.org or one can be requested by calling 860-347-0340.

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through public programs and grants.
In addition, the Rockfall Foundation operates the historic deKoven House Community Center that offers meeting rooms and office space for non-profit organizations.

For additional information about the 2017 Environmental Awards or the Rockfall Foundation, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

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Next Collomore Concert Features Curtis Brothers Quartet, Nov. 5

Internationally renowned Jason Vieaux and Julien Labro pair up on classical guitar and bandoneon on Oct. 15.

CHESTER — For its 44th season, the Robbie Collomore Music Series will offer all four of its concerts in the fall, between Sept. 24 and Nov. 26. These will be on Sundays at 5 p.m. in the historic and charming Chester Meeting House. It is now the time to buy your season subscription.

In recent years, Jason Vieaux and Julien Labro have thrilled Collomore Concert audiences separately – Jason playing classical guitar in a solo concert and Julien playing accordion with the Detroit Hot Club. When the Collomore committee heard they had joined forces touring, playing the guitar and bandoneon, they jumped at the opportunity to have them return to Chester on Sunday, Oct. 15.  You can expect something “entertaining, fun, exciting, virtuosic in the unusual pairing of these two instruments. The program contains some modern classical, world music from Brazil and Argentina, and even some pop music.”

Latin Jazz comes to Chester on Nov. 5, with the Curtis Brothers Quartet featuring Ray Vega, percussionist.  The Curtis Brothers Quartet takes bold steps towards a modern Latin Jazz sound, fearlessly pushing their musical approach into new territories. Their unique rhythmic concept is what separates them from most other jazz quartets. All of their music, original or not, is based on the percussive concepts that they have accumulated through their various musical experiences.

And on Nov. 26, the soulful songs of the Gullah culture will be brought to life by Ranky Tanky, a five-piece band of native South Carolinians who mix the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B. They’ve been called “infectious, intoxicating and exotic” with
“frisky and hypnotic rhythms with a bone-deep mix of spirituals and gutbucket blues.”

Buy a season subscription now and save money, plus you’ll be certain you will have a seat even when a concert is sold out. A subscription to all four concerts is just $98. Individual concert tickets cost $28. For students from elementary through graduate school, a subscription is $15 ($5 per concert). Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal. All ticket-holders are invited to stay for a reception after the concert to meet the performers. For more information, check the website or call 860-526-5162.

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Siegrist Attends RSD 17 Convocation

State Rep. Bob Siegrist addressed RSD 17’s Convocation on Aug. 29

AREAWIDE — On Tuesday, Aug. 29, State Rep. Robert Siegrist was joined by the Superintendent of School, Howard J. Thiery III along with administrators and school staff in attending the RSD17 District Convocation held at Haddam-Killingworth High School.

The event signified the official start of the 2017 school year and included special events like staff recognition, as well as opportunities to bring together all staff and administrators as a community of professionals.

Rep. Siegrist, a Haddam-Killingworth High School graduate class of 2001 said, “Investing in our schools and our students is a benefit to the entire 36th district community, and I was happy to attend this kickoff to the 2017 school year. The future of our children begins with a quality education and I am so grateful for our dedicated staff and thankful for all that they do to ensure that our students succeed.”

“I wish the students and staff a successful school year and if the kids need anything that they could reach out to me,” Rep. Siegrist added.

Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ Tonight! Come Celebrate ‘Taste of Chester’

Joel Gargano is opening Grano Restaurant in Chester in the fall.

CHESTER — Raw oysters, brick over pizza slices, heirloom tomatoes with ricotta and basil, wine and beer tastings, ice cream cones, free drinks and more will be offered by downtown eateries First Friday, Sept. 1 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The first annual Taste of Chester will even include tastings by Grano Restaurant, which isn’t opening until later this fall in the former brick bank building on Main Street. Outside the building, owner Joel Gargano will be serving heirloom tomatoes and marinated roasted cauliflower.

At Otto’s, slices of brick-oven pizza will be $2 while River Tavern will be offering $1 drinks. The Chester package Store will be doing wine and beer tastings and the Pattaconk Bar and Grill will also offer tastings of any beer on tap and, at its ice cream window, any cone for $1.50

Outside the L&E, the restaurant will be serving oysters on the half shell for $1 each and Thai Riverside will give a drink away with each entrée.

Meanwhile, all the shops and galleries will be open until 8 p.m. with art openings, new lines of merchandise and specials plus wine and treats

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Painting Party for Alzheimer’s Research to be Held This Afternoon at Chester Village West

CHESTER — Love to paint in a fun group setting? Want to support critical Alzheimer’s research?

Join the Chester Village West independent seniors’ community to paint for this cause on Monday, Aug. 21, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. With guidance from award-winning local artist Gloria Nilsson, participants will paint a beautiful floral arrangement. Light refreshments will be served.

Per-person donation for the event is $35; proceeds will support the Alzheimer’s Association of Connecticut. Seating is limited. Call (860) 526-6010 to reserve your space. Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, Conn. 06412.

Editor’s Note: Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the 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; visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Next ‘Lifelong Learning’ Lecture at Chester Village West Features Modern Art, Oct. 20

CHESTER — Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, continues its Lifelong Learning Program with six free-and-open-to-the-public lectures in September, October and November. The program, in its fourth season, is in partnership with the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning and Middlesex Hospital. A Q&A and reception with light refreshments will be held after each program.

Registration is required. To register for one or more programs, call 860.322.6455, email ChesterVillageWest@LCSnet.com or visit https://www.chestervillagewestlcs.com/lifestyle/calendar-of-events/.

Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, CT 06412.

The fall schedule of lectures continues as follows:

 

Friday, October 20, 4 p.m.

The Origins of Modern Art, Part 2:

The Influence of French Impressionism on American Art

Richard J. Friswell, M.Ed., M.Phil.

Associate Director, Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning

The word ‘Impressionism’ continues to strike a chord with art enthusiasts, even decades after the last impressionist painting was created. What few have a full appreciation for is the unusual and surprising ways in which impressionist techniques gained a foothold in France, and how that message was carried back to the U.S. in the earliest years of the 20th century. This lecture will examine the global dynamics that unfolded in the mid-1800s, impacting on artistic styling in France; and, by extension, how those “new ways of seeing” were eventually exported to America—and Connecticut in particular.

Monday, November 6, 4 p.m.

The Women’s Playwright Initiative in Connecticut

Laura Copland, Director of Play Development, the Ivoryton Playhouse

Laura Copland’s talk will provide an overview of the Women Playwrights’ Initiative she founded, now in its second season. The Initiative develops new one-act plays by and about women and the issues that shape their lives. It provides a safe, nurturing environment for play development, and culminates in a staged reading festival. In February/March 2018 the festival Passion, Power, Prose: Women Playwrights’ Initiative will once again feature interactive talkbacks with the playwrights, directors, actors, and audience. The presentation will cover some recurring themes of this year’s submissions. Using two of the plays from last year, the residents will read scenes and discuss acting approaches.

Monday, November 13, 4 p.m.

Some Paradoxes of Wellbeing

Karl Scheibe, Ph.D., B.S.

Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, Wesleyan University

Director Emeritus, Wasch Center for Retired Faculty, Wesleyan University

Wellbeing has recently moved to center state of psychologists’ field of attention. This is in part a reaction to the traditional focus of psychology on problems of human suffering. But research on this topic has turned up some fascinating contradictions. Pleasure and pain do not accumulate in the same way, revealing a curious asymmetry in our emotional lives. Paradoxes of wellbeing are conspicuous, not the least of which is the observation that older people manifest an unexpected level of satisfaction with their lives.

Editor’s Note: Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. 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; visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Chester Village West Hosts Blood Drive Today, 1:30 to 6:30pm

CHESTER – Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, will host a Red Cross Blood Drive on Friday, Aug. 18 from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.  Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, Conn. 06412.

To schedule your appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Chester Village West employees regularly participate in the blood drive. Old Saybrook resident Richard Mulvihill, one of the community’s security guards, has donated more than two gallons (16 units) of blood over the past 18 years. According to the American Red Cross, Mulvihill’s blood donations have helped to save the lives of more than 48 people. A donor since age 18, Richard has been giving valuable ‘double red cell’ donations three times per year since 1999, when he joined the Old Saybrook Fire Department as a volunteer fireman.

“I feel great about helping people this way,” said Mulvihill, who is Type O Positive. According to the American Red Cross, double red cell donations from Type O donors and donors with Rh-negative blood types play a very important role in maintaining blood supply levels. Double red cell donation is done with the help of an apheresis machine, which collects the red cells but returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor. “Because I get my platelets and plasma back, I don’t feel as drained afterwards,” he added.

Other Chester Village West employees who regularly donate blood include Marketing Director and Westbrook resident Sara Philpott, Director of Operations and Deep River resident Jim Jake, Marketing Assistant and Deep River resident Brenda Kollmer, Transportation Coordinator and Killingworth resident Priscilla Soucy and Debra Millspaugh, Accounting Manager and Deep River resident.

“My father’s life was saved by a blood transfusion,” Philpott said. “Most of us don’t think about the importance of maintaining the blood bank until we have a personal crisis. Our blood banks are always in need of more donors. It’s such a small thing to do that can literally save the life of another. It makes me feel good to know that my donation can help someone when they need it most.”

Editor’s Note: Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the 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 atchestervillagewestlcs.com; visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Chester Hose Company Auxiliary Hosts Annual Apple Pie Night, Oct. 17

CHESTER — Chester Hose Company Auxiliary hosts its Annual Apple Pie Night Tuesday, Oct. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Chester Firehouse.

The “good witches” of the Hose Company will serve you up nothing but treats at a Chester tradition when you can indulge your sweet tooth on a slice of homemade apple pie, cheese, ice cream, and cider, coffee or tea. Enter the festive raffle and enjoy socializing with family and friends.  There’s even a ‘to-go’ option.

Prices are $5 for adults or $3 for kids. All funds benefit the annual Chester Hose Company Auxiliary Scholarship presented in the spring.

For more information, email chcauxiliary@gmail.com.

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Courtney Holds Town Hall Meeting This Evening at VRHS

Representative Joe Courtney

DEEP RIVER  — Rep. Joe Courtney will hold a town hall meeting for constituents of the Second Congressional District at 6 p.m. this evening at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River.

All are welcome. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

There will be a wide ranging discussion on issues such as the successful effort to stop the ‘Kenyon Bypass’ passenger rail tracks, higher education affordability, the future of Social Security and Medicare, and the thriving manufacturing economy in eastern Connecticut.

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Op-Ed: Educational Advocate Sandmann is Excellent Choice for Region 4 BOE, Offers Hope for Future

Returning from vacation, I was ecstatic to find a long-time Region 4 volunteer running for a seat on the Region 4 Board of Education (BOE).  For the past 13 years I have known Kate (Kathryn) Sandmann as a tireless advocate and a steadfast agent to build and enrich the educational experience for our community children.  Kate has served on the PTO/Parent Council for Essex Elementary School (EES), John Winthrop Middle School (JW), and Valley Regional High School (VRHS).  Kate is not a politician she is an educational advocate.  Not only does her candidacy give me hope for the future of Region 4, it gives me personally, a reason to reconsider sending my youngest to VRHS rather than a private school.  Not to mention Kate has always counseled me to keep my children in the Region 4 system based on her strong belief in our staff and potential outcome for all students in Region 4.

Kate has a vision of how public education can best meet the needs of our diverse population of learners.  Also, having two children who graduated from VRHS, she has knowledge of the complete Region 4 experience.  As the parent of any High School student knows, it is a much different experience than at the elementary school.  The value of speaking with articulate teens (and their families) about their educational experience makes Kate an invaluable candidate; one with insights to the strengths and challenges of a public education in a small town(s).  Kate has had the value of speaking to hundreds of students who were in the musical, sports, National Honor Society, etc.  She has had her finger on the pulse of our children’s educational experience for the past 15 years.  Some of her experience at the High School has helped move from a block schedule, which often put our students at a disadvantage with standardized testing necessary for college entrance.  She was also a parent volunteer that helped VRHS through a successful NEASC recertification.

As a professional who serves children with disabilities in a school system, I have first-hand knowledge about Kate’s commitment to this population.  Under her leadership as PTO President at Essex Elementary School a new playground, accessible to students of all abilities, was built by the PTO through fundraising.  Kate was also a vocal supporter of the pre-school move to Essex Elementary School.

Not every student will be college-bound, and Kate knows programs for these students need nurturing as well.  Programs like School-to-Work, and vocational training are also an important part of the educational experience at VRHS.

Kate also understands the challenge of meeting the educational needs of our gifted students.  Meeting the needs of these students is not mandated by law, but is a moral obligation that benefits our community as a whole.  Why do many of our students move on to private school after JW?  Losing these students does not strengthen Region 4.  It is necessary to infuse our BOE with leaders that understand the importance of strengthening and growing our programs for our gifted students.

It is a tricky time for education.  It is a time for fresh thinking and creative solutions.  Declining enrollment and budgetary constraints are challenges that make it necessary to think out of the box.  Kate’s experience with fundraising and budgeting for enrichment through PTO programs gives her the advantage of creativity in finding solutions.  Her experience with attending monthly Superintendent meetings for Region 4 has given her depth of insight into the challenges Region 4 faces in the coming years.  The leadership of Region 4 has expressed confidence in Kate’s decision making by including her in committees to hire the JW Principal, Region 4 Assistant Superintendent and the VRHS Vice Principal.

As a registered Republican, I will definitely be crossing party lines for a candidate I am confident has the benefit of every student as her number one priority.  A candidate who had the time, energy and enthusiasm our children need.  I will cast my vote for Kate Sandmann.

 

Sincerely,

 

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See Broadway Star’s Laiona Michelle Tonight in Benefit Concert

New England native and Broadway start Laiona Michelle will give a one-woman show at Spring Street Gallery, Aug. 5. The show will benefit the Bingham Camp Theatre Retreat.

CHESTER — Broadway’s Laiona Michelle comes to the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery in Chester, CT, on Saturday, Aug. 5, to star in a benefit concert called Little Girl Blue, the words and music of Nina Simone.

Little Girl Blue is Laiona Michelle’s one woman show inspired by her idol, the legendary jazz singer, songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone.   With personal stories and plenty of songs, all performed in Laiona’s exuberant, raw and crowd-pleasing style, Little Girl Blue is an evening that will reach deep into your soul.
Laiona Michelle is an actress and singer who has graced stages across the USA, performing in musicals, contemporary plays and Shakespeare in addition to appearing in film and on television in shows such as Law and Order.   Recently seen on Broadway in Amazing Grace and on tour in The Book of Mormon, Laiona grew up in Springfield, Mass., where she is the creator of Shakers Performing Arts Camp, which teaches Shakespeare in a “hip” fun way to inner city youth.
All proceeds from the concert will benefit the Bingham Camp Theatre Retreat (BCTR), a non-profit theatrical organization which develops new work for the stage that promotes and celebrates diversity.  Its mission is to create musicals and plays that give voice to under-represented communities onstage and promote inter-cultural dialogue and understanding.  It is located at an historic property in Salem, Conn., more than 100 years old, where theatre artists from around the country take residence each September.
Little Girl Blue direction is by BCTR’s Artistic Director Devanand Janki and musical direction is by Mark Fifer.
The performance takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, at The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery, 1 Spring Street, Chester, CT 06412. Concert tickets are $20 and available at the door and on sale now online at www.binghamcamptheatreretreat.org
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Enjoy a ‘A Little Night Music’ at ‘First Friday’ in Chester Tonight, 5-8pm!

Arrowhead will play on the porch of the Spring Street Gallery & Studio during ‘First Friday in Chester tonight

CHESTER –  A Little Night Music will greet visitors to First Friday, Aug.4, when singers, bands, modern dancers and even a bagpiper will play outdoors in the downtown while shops, restaurants and galleries stay open late with art openings, new jewelry lines and summer sales.

Leif Nilsson’s band Arrowsmith will play from 5 to 8 p.m. on the porch at Leif Nilsson’s Spring Street Studio and Gallery; inside, Leif’s latest paintings will be on display.

At Maple and Main Gallery, Dan Nichols, one of the gallery artists, will be wearing his kilt and playing his bagpipes on the porch. The opening party for “Earth and Air,” a show of Michael DiGiorgio’s bird paintings and Betsy Himmelman’s ceramic vessels will be from 6 to 8  p.m.in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery.

Dancers from the River Valley Dance Project will perform at ‘Lark’ this evening.

The Gusto Dance Project collaborating with River Valley Dance Project will be performing on the lawn outside Lark; if the mood suits them they may dance through town as well. Lark is featuring painted signs by Jennifer Burr and necklaces from Kenya.

Performing in front of The Perfect Pear beginning at 6 p.m., Connecticut College senior and Deep River native Julia Tackett will be playing the guitar and singing. The Perfect Pear is also introducing its “Back to School” specials Friday and serving samples of  lavender lemonade.

And, at The Pattaconk, the rock band, The Instagaters  will play from 7 to 10 p.m.

‘Stingray’ by Clare Gustafson is one of the featured pieces of the artist’s work on show at Lori Warner Gallery.

Friday will kick off the opening of Weekend of Diamonds with Mandy Carroll-Leiva as well as new glass by Carrie Gustafson and a new series of monotypes by Lori Warner at Lori Warner Gallery.

Chester’s Finders Marketplace, a new enterprise on Rte. 154 across from the entrance to Main Street, will be joining first Friday with light cocktails and snacks.

Blackkate is featuring fine jewelry artist Nick Dedo

At C&G the start of the shop’s 40 percent off August sale of summer hats, sandals and select apparel will begin Friday evening. Sales items on the porch Friday are an additional 10 per cent off.

Dina Varano Gallery will be presenting new jewelry designs by Dina and nature-inspired tabletop designs by Michael Aram. The gallery will also be offering a refreshing beverage in celebration of this town-wide festive evening.

The French Hen will be serving guests spiked lemonade and sales on summer décor.

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Asch Retires from Cappella Cantorum After 47 Years, Holt Appointed New Music Director

Barry Asch is retiring after 47 years at the helm of Cappella Cantorum.

AREAWIDE — Co-founder, music director, and conductor of Cappella Cantorum, Barry B. Asch, has announced his retirement from the Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus.  Asch has conducted the MasterWorks Chorus for 47 years during which time over 65 major choral works have been performed. 

The inaugural performance was March 1970 with Schubert’s Mass in E Flat.  Asch formed the popular Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus in 1977, and the SummerSings series in 1987.  Both events still continue.

The Eighth Annual Messiah Sing or Listen in 2016 at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center was nearly filled to capacity.  This favorite holiday tradition was conducted and organized by Asch.  ‘The Kate’ will host the ninth annual event on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017.

Group sessions and vocal classes have been offered to Cappella members with renowned soprano Patricia Schuman and tenor Brian Cheney.

Asch began Cappella Cantorum’s European Concert Tours in 1981.  The tours are currently organized by member Patricia Hill of Madison.

Simon Holt has been named the new Musical Director of Cappella Cantorum.

A highlight of Cappella Cantorum was performing five concerts at Carnegie Hall, New York City with Mid-America Productions.  This opportunity was initiated by Asch.

Cappella Cantorum has represented 20 communities throughout southeastern Connecticut.

Simon Holt, artistic director of Salt Marsh Opera and director of music at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme will be the new music director of the Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus.

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Chester Republicans Endorse Linn, Grzybowski for Chester’s Top Seats in November

CHESTER — The Chester Republican Town Committee has announced the endorsement of Selectwoman Carolyn Linn for First Selectman and James Grzybowski for Selectman in November’s election. Both Linn and Grzybowski received unanimous endorsement at the Town Committee Caucus held July 24, when the complete slate of Republican candidates was also endorsed.

Both candidates come with solid backgrounds of service to the community and beyond. Linn currently serves on the Chester Board of Selectmen, is actively involved in the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and is a long-time member of the Chester Merchant’s Association. Linn chaired the 2017 Winter Carnivale, working with the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, EMT for the Chester Ambulance Association and one of the three members of the VRHS Touch Down Club, which spearheaded the addition of lights, field house and snack shack to Friday Night Football.

 

James Grzybowski is following in the footsteps of his dad (former selectman) Edward Grzybowski and his godfather (former selectman – among other roles) Joseph Bergonzi, so serving the Town is, truly, “in his blood”.

He is currently Facilities Manager for the Chester Elementary School, sits on the Town’s Retirement Board; is one of the Town’s representatives to the Valley Shore Communication Board and has served in many capacities for 27 years in the Chester Hose Company, including as Chief.

With two sons who are active in local sports, Grzybowski coached his sons’ teams, and recognizing, first hand, the effects of concussions, he pushed for concussion training for all youth coaches and in 2013 was appointed by the State legislature to serve on its Youth Concussion Task Force, which is charged with making recommendations to enact statutes to better protect against the effects in youth and increase awareness of that danger. Many of the recommendations are in effect today.

 

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Senators Formica, Somers and Linares Applaud Governor’s Signing Tribal Casino Expansion Bill

Senator Paul Formica (left) and Art Linares (right). File photo

AREAWIDE — State Senators Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), Heather Somers (R-Groton) and Art Linares (R-Westbrook) applauded the Governor’s ceremonial signing of legislation that will allow for the expansion of southeastern Connecticut’s tribal casinos to support thousands of local jobs.

“I thank the governor for his support of this bill and the bipartisan efforts of many lawmakers. Supporting the tribes is an important piece of a long-term puzzle to enhance tourism, support our community, protect economic development and preserve all that the tribes have accomplished for our region thus far,” said Senator Paul Formica. 

“We have seen firsthand the impact of the tribes on the local economy and on the thousands of casino employees and their families who live in our Senate districts. I applaud the legislature for working together in bipartisanship to make this important piece of legislation a reality,” said Senator Heather Somers.

“From tourism to manufacturing, southeastern Connecticut has seen quality growth thanks to the enormous efforts of the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots and the impact of their destination casinos. That’s why it was so important that lawmakers and the governor come together this year to help the tribes protect the thousands of jobs they’ve created,” said Senator Art Linares.

Senator Paul Formica (R-20) represents the communities of Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford.

Senator Heather Somers (R-18) represents the communities of Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington and Voluntown.

Senator Art Linares (R-33), represents the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

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Maple & Main Hosts Special Poetry Reading Tonight; Open to Public

Members of the Connecticut River Poetry Conference gather for a photo.

CHESTER — Members of the prestigious Connecticut River Poetry Conference will do a reading in the round in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery Wednesday, July 19, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. A reception of wine and food follows.

This unusual event, open to the public, is the second year the group has read in the Stone Gallery where “Sharing the Vision,’’ a two-woman exhibit by Maple and Main artists Linda DeStefanis and Barbara Rossitto is being shown during July.

‘Beach Day’ by Barbara Rossitto is a signature painting for the new show at Maple & Main.

For the past seven years a singular group of poets meets for a summer week of workshops, seminars, readings, camaraderie and literary high-jinx at Chester’s Guest House Conference Center Shoreline. Gray Jacobik, a poet and Maple and Main artist and Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely founded this conference, which grew out of an advanced poetry seminar at The Frost Place in Franconia, NH.

‘Mandarin Sky II’ by Linda DeStefanis is featured in the two-woman show at Maple & Main Gallery.

Jacobik and Meneely will be joined by notable and much-published poets: Ruth Foley of Attleboro, MA., Sharon Olson of Lawrenceville, NJ., Carole Stasiowski of Cotuit, MA., Hiram Larew of Upper Marlboro, MD., Anne Harding Woodworth of Washington, D.C., and Lawrence Wray of Pittsburgh, PA.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, noon to  7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-60605; mapleandmain@att.net; visit the gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ Tonight, Celebrate ‘The Rest of Chester’ From 5 to 7pm

A Sosse Baker original basket at Blackkat Leather.

CHESTER — ‘The Rest of Chester’ will be celebrated at “Biz Bash” tonight on “First Friday,” from 5 to 7 p.m. when businesses from outside the downtown will set up on Main Street with giveaways, demonstrations and drawings.

Come visit with an alpaca farmer, a picture framer and an art therapist or take a turn on a gym’s treadmill, get a brush out from a hair stylist, enjoy chocolate chip cookies, watch a demonstration of camp songs and more.

Meanwhile, all the restaurants, shops and galleries in the center will be open late with special offerings.

There are two art opening receptions that night at Maple and Main Gallery for a pair of shows running through July.

‘Beach Day’ by Barbara Rosetti is a signature painting for the new show at Maple & Main.

The first is Sharing the Vision, a two-woman show of new paintings by long-time gallery artists Barbara Rossitto and Linda DeStefanis in the Stone Gallery and a show of sculptures by the Connecticut Society of Sculpture in the main gallery.

At Blackkat Leather, well-known local basket maker Sosse Baker’s work will be featured and wine and snacks will be served. Strut Your Mutt will also be serving wine.

Lark is highlighting Olivia Engel, a jewelry designer from West Hartford while

L&E will be selling dollar oysters at the bar and serving a First Friday French Cocktail.

Refreshments will be served at the Historical Society’s Museum at the Mill and visitors will be able to see the new exhibit, Three Chester Notables.

This tempting summer cocktail will be served at L&E on Chester’s upcoming First Friday.

Bastille Day (July 14) is being kicked off at The Perfect Pear with 14 percent off while porcelain and ceramic ware and samples of a red, white and blue bundt cake will be available.

To celebrate its one year anniversary in town, The French Hen will be serving special sips, bites and sale and at Dina Varano Gallery, new jewelry designs by Dina and a new line of porcelain by Elizabeth Benotti will be introduced.

 

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So Much to See This Summer at Chester Museum at The Mill

A front view of Chester Museum at the Mill. Photo from chesterhistoricalsociety.org.

Upstairs and down, all the new Chester history being featured at the Chester Museum at The Mill this year will delight you.

Downstairs is the seasonal exhibit prepared by Keith Dauer and Sandy Senior-Dauer, called “Chester Postcards & Three Chester Notables.” There are more than 200 Chester postcards on display as well as exhibits devoted to three people who lived in or impacted Chester, namely, Judge Constance Baker Motley, The Leatherman (see the life-size sculpture made by Weymouth Eustis), and photographer Hugh Spencer.

There is a replica of the Waterhouse Gristmill, intricately and lovingly handcrafted by Nathan Jacobson, in the entry level. And on the second floor, there’s a redo of the Museum’s permanent exhibit, which now includes a replica of Chester Pharmacy’s soda fountain (guaranteed to make you hungry!)

Museum hours are Saturdays 1 to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free (but donations are always welcome to help the Historical Society continue to collect and preserve items of Chester history).

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Run ‘Four-on-the Fourth’ in Chester Today! Registration Opens at 7am

In this 2016 Al Malpa photo,  runners in last year’s ‘Four on the Fourth’ are seen at the start of the popular race.

CHESTER — The 39th Annual Four-on-the Fourth Road Race sponsored by the Chester Rotary will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, July 4.

The race will start at 9 a.m. tomorrow and early registration takes place today, Monday, July 3, from 4 to 6 p.m. Race day registration will be from 7 to 8:30 a.m.  Registration will be held at St. Joseph’s Parish Center, 48 Middlesex Avenue, Chester.

On-line pre-entry is encouraged through www.Active.com.  Teams must pre-register on-line.

Pre-registered runners may pick up their packets either during early registration on Monday or on race day.   Information for this year’s event and a link to www.Active.com  are available at the club’s website, www.chesterrotary.org.

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

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Summer Show on View at Maple & Main Thru Sept. 3

‘The Way we Wore’ by Claudia Van Nes of Chester is a signature painting of the ‘Summer Exhibit’ at Maple & main.

CHESTER – The opening reception for the Summer Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery is Saturday, June 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. when newly created works by 55 artists will be shown.

Wine and a variety of appetizers will be served and live music will be played by Alan James, an accomplished musician and artist from Deep River who is also showing his watercolors in the show.

The artists featured in the Summer Exhibit are from all corners of Connecticut and beyond and their work ranges from luminous landscapes to abstract multimedia works. The show runs through September 3.

“Summer Tides,” a solo show of beach, water and marine scenes by Rhode Island artist Vanessa Piche is on view in the Stone Gallery through June. There is a small, special exhibit of paintings in the main gallery by Bob Dietz who will do a demonstration of pastel painting Saturday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Maple and Main Galley, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065; mapleandmain@att.net. Visit the gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

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Three Chester Residents Honored in 60 Over 60 Awards

Lee Howard has championed access to the arts throughout her life.

CHESTER — Three Chester residents were recently honored with 60 Over 60 Awards.  They are Lee Howard, Phyllis McDowell, and Nancy Smith, all of whom are residents at Chester Village West.

This is the first year the awards have been presented to honor Connecticut citizens over age 60 who make a difference in the lives of others or in their communities.  The 60 Over 60 award was created by Duncaster as a way to showcase the lives of people 60 or better, who continue to have a unique impact on their world. Howard, McDowell, and Smith were celebrated at a reception on the Duncaster campus in Bloomfield.

Howard is a life-long leader in greater access to the arts for all.  Lee has worked with local arts councils and alliances across the country to develop their technical services, and with advocacy and arts programs throughout the country.

Phyllis McDowell has advocated for those with mental health issues and those who care for the environment.

McDowell has changed the lives of those with mental health issues and those who care for the environment.  She and several volunteers from the Mental Health Association of New Haven launched Fellowship Place, a socialization program for psychiatric patients.

Smith is a writer, an editor, and a connector of people. She is an active member of the Susan B. and William K. Wasch Center for Retired Faculty at Wesleyan University.

Duncaster began their search for 60 Over 60 on Jan. 1.  It received nominations of remarkable individuals from throughout Connecticut.  “Our state has so many extraordinary people who are 60 or better, so we were not surprised at the number of nominations we received.  Clearly there are many people who wanted to recognize people 60 or better for their continued accomplishments,” says Carol Ann McCormick, VP Sales and Marketing at Duncaster.

Nancy Smith continues her work as a writer and editor, and has been a lifelong learning advocate

She continued, “We’ve all heard of 40 Under 40 awards that highlight the successes of this group of people.  We thought it was high time to recognize the ongoing inspiration and achievement of those 60 or better.  We were delighted with the response to it.”

Duncaster, the Hartford area’s first LifeCare community, is located minutes from West Hartford and Simsbury in Bloomfield CT.  This boutique Life Plan Community sits on 94 acres.  While catering to those who are active and engaged in independent living neighborhoods, Duncaster also offers options for those seeking assisted living, memory care, long-term care and rehab services (all private) in intimate settings.

For more information, visit http://www.Duncaster.org or call (860) 380-5005.

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Meeting House Players to Hold Open Auditions for “Play On,” Aug. 29-30

CHESTER — The Meeting House Players has announced open auditions for Rick Abbot’s madcap comedy “Play On!”.   Auditions will be held on Aug. 29 & 30, at 7  p.m. in the Meeting House located at 4 Liberty Street in Chester.

Written as a play within a play, “Play On! “treats its audiences to a hilarious look behind the scenes of a local community theatre troupe desperately trying to mount a production of a new play.  With only a few rehearsals left before the opening night, chaos ensues.  Dress rehearsal is a disaster.  On opening night, anything that can go wrong, does go wrong but the ensemble continues to “play on” until the final curtain falls!

The play’s 10-member ensemble includes the following cast of characters:

  • Henry Benish, 50-early 60’s, a character actor, plays Lord Dudley
  • Polly Benish, 50-early 60’s, a character actress, plays Lady Dudley
  • Marla “Smitty” Smith, early 20’s, a supporting actress, plays Doris, the Maid
  • Saul Watson, 40’s, a supporting actor, plays Dr. Rex Forbes, the Villain
  • Billy Carewe, mid 20’s- early 30’s, an athletic looking actor, plays Steven Sellers, a Young Man
  • Violet Imbrey, 20’s, a supporting actress, plays Diana Lassiter, the Ingenue
  • Aggie/Algie Manville, 30-50, the stage manager & prompter (can be male or female)
  • Gerry/Jerry Dunbar, 40-55, the community theatre director (can be male or female)
  • Louise/Louie Peary, 25-50, the sound-lighting-scenic technician (can be male or female)
  • Phyllis Montague, any age over 40, the community’s eccentric & somewhat haughty playwright

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script. 

Directed by Debbie Alldredge, the production will run for five performances opening at the Meeting House in Chester on Friday, Oct. 27 and continue Oct.28 and Nov. 3 & 4, 2017 with both a matinee and an evening performance on Nov. 4.

For additional information, contact Deb Alldredge at 860-526-3684 or TheMeetingHousePlayers@gmail.com .

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Chester’s Juliette Linares Earns Girl Scouting’s Highest Award

Juliette Linares of Chester has earned Girl Scouting’s top award.

CHESTER – Girl Scout Juliette Linares of Chester has received her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn in Girl Scouting.

The Girl Scout Gold Award requires Girl Scouts grades nine through 12 to spend at least 80 hours researching issues, assessing community needs and resources, building a team, and making a sustainable impact in the community. A Gold Award recipient’s accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set her apart as a community leader.

Nationally, only 6 percent of older Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award. Girl Scouts of Connecticut recently honored the 71 Girl Scouts in Connecticut who have achieved this honor on Sunday, June 4.

Juliette’s project addressed the need for families to encourage their younger children to foster a love for literature at a young age. Juliette hosted a Dr. Seuss family event where 25 families along with Girl Scout troops, guests from surrounding towns, two guest readers, teachers, principals, and reading specialists attended. Juliette will continue to host the Dr. Seuss family event until she graduates high school. She hopes that it will continue to be a success and the school would agree to make it an annual event.

“I am beyond proud of our Girl Scouts as we celebrate another century of young women taking the lead and making a sustainable change in our communities,” said Mary Barneby, CEO of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “By earning the Gold Award, Girl Scouts set themselves apart as top achievers, and are incredible go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders. I can’t wait to see what they will accomplish in the future!”

For more information about the Gold Award or how to become a Gold Award volunteer or mentor, visit gsofct.org.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut are more than 47,000 members strong – nearly 32,000 girls and over 15,000 adults – who believe that every girl can change the world. They’re part of a sisterhood of 2.6 million strong around the globe—1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world.

The Girl Scouts organization’s extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, her vision and legacy have been honored, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. The organization is the preeminent leadership development one for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success.

To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit gsofct.org.

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