September 25, 2016

Enjoy “Cruise Blues & Brews” in Chester Today; Benefits At-Risk Boys Fund

Cruise_Brews&Blues 300x250_CBBCHESTER — The Second Annual Cruise Blues & Brews will be held Saturday Sept. 24, at the Chester Fair Grounds from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (rain or shine). This is a fun-filled family event featuring antique and unique cars, the area’s top blues bands, craft beer, up-scale food trucks, marketplace of vendors, kids play area, games, prizes and surprises.

For additional information and to purchase tickets at $15 (kids under 12 free) visit www.atriskboysfund.org.

All proceeds benefit the At-Risk Boys Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.

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‘The Verona Quartet’ Performs Tomorrow in First Collomore Concert

verona-quartet-vnn
CHESTER — The Verona Quartet will perform works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Webern on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. in the first concert of the 43rd season of the Collomore Concert Series at the historic Chester Meeting House at 4 Liberty Street, Chester.

Praised by “Classical Voice America” for their “sensational, powerhouse performance,” the Verona Quartet has set themselves apart as one of the most compelling young quartets in chamber music. They have played at Lincoln Center Alice Tully Recital Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington and the Melbourne Recital Hall in Australia.

Winner of the prestigious 2015 Concert Artist Guild Competition, they are the Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School, where they work closely with members of the Juilliard String Quartet and teach during Juilliard’s academic year.

They have also served as visiting artists and teachers at leading international institutions for music education including the Beethoven-Haus (Bonn, Germany), New York University-Abu Dhabi and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

In less than three years, the Verona Quartet have established themselves as one of the most compelling young quartets in chamber music.

Their Chester Meeting House concert on Sept. 25 will be followed by a reception and a chance to meet the artists. Tickets are $25 for adults, $5 for students, or purchase a season subscription now for just $75 for adults, $15 for students. For more information, check the website at collomoreconcerts.org or call 860-526-5162.

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Linares, Needleman to Debate Tonight at Lyme-Old Lyme HS in Hotly Contested 33rd State Senate Race

Essex First Selectman and Democratic candidate for the 33rd District, Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (D)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

AREAWIDE — The Day and the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut are hosting a debate from 7 to 8 p.m. this evening, Thursday, Sept. 22, between the candidates running for the 33rd State Senate District — incumbent Senator Art Linares (R) and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (D).

Needleman, who is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003, is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares, who is running for a third term.

Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote.

The 33rd State Senate District consists of the Town of Lyme along with the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

Questions for the debate may be submitted in advance to p.choiniere@theday.com. To watch the debate, visit www.theday.com. It will be live streamed and available for viewing until the election. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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9 Town Transit Plans Bus Fare Increases; Public Hearing Slated for Sept. 29 in Old Saybrook

AREAWIDE — To help offset a cut in state transit funding, the Estuary Transit District is considering an increase to fare on all 9 Town Transits services.

The proposal would see the cash fare on all routes increase from $1.50 to $1.75. Trips on Dial-A-Ride and off-route would increase from $3 to $3.50.  Multi-ride tickets and monthly passes will increase to $15.75 and $57, respectively.

The fare proposal also includes the agency’s first disabled fare.  It would provide a discounted rate of $0.85 to persons with disabilities.  ETD says this would provide relief to many in the disabled community that heavily rely on public transit.

ETD officials say the increase is necessary due to a prevent service reduction following a statewide cut by the state to transit budgets.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 4 until 6 p.m. at Old Saybrook Town Hall first floor conference room, 302 Main St, Old Saybrook, CT.  Written comments may be submitted until Oct. 14, to Estuary Transit District, 17 Industrial Park Rd, Suite 6, Centerbrook, CT 06409.

For a full listing of the new fare schedule, visit www.9towntransit.com/fares or call 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Family Fun Day at Face Arts Music, Saturday

TRI-TOWN — Make music together …

Tri-Town Youth Services and Face Arts Music in Deep River are teaming up to offer an exciting opportunity for 20 families on Saturday, Sept. 24from 1 to 3 p.m. at the music school.  Join the teachers at Face Arts Music for an introduction to different types of instruments, including piano, guitar and your own voice.  Learn to play some chords, get a drum beat going and have fun.  The afternoon will finish with a mini-concert.

This Family Fun Day is a free event, open to 20 elementary school students and their families.  Spaces fill quickly, so contact Tri-Town to reserve your spot.  Call 860-526-3600 or register online at tritownys.org.

Face Arts Music provides quality music instruction to students, keeping learning educational and fun.  Their passionate team of instructors offers drum, guitar, violin and piano lessons for beginner to advanced students, in addition to vocal lessons and specialized private instruction in blues guitar, classical guitar or folk violin lessons.  For a complete list of their offerings, visit faceartsmusic.com.

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

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Sen. Linares, Senate GOP Unveil Legislative Agenda: “A Confident Future”

Sen. Art Linares and the Connecticut Senate Republicans on Sep. 15 unveiled their policy agenda “A Confident Future” for the 2017 legislative session. From left to right: Sen. Henri Martin, Sen. Kevin Witkos, Sen. Len Fasano, and Sen. Linares. Details of the plan can be found at www.ctsenaterepublicans.com and www.SenatorLinares.com .

Sen. Art Linares and the Connecticut Senate Republicans on Sep. 15 unveiled their policy agenda “A Confident Future” for the 2017 legislative session. From left to right: Sen. Henri Martin, Sen. Kevin Witkos, Sen. Len Fasano, and Sen. Linares. Details of the plan can be found at www.ctsenaterepublicans.com and www.SenatorLinares.com .

AREAWIDE — On Sept. 15, Sen. Art Linares and the Connecticut Senate Republicans unveiled their policy agenda for the 2017 legislative session.

The plan “A Confident Future” presents multiple policy proposals aimed at moving Connecticut in a new direction to grow jobs, renew business confidence, build opportunity, and restore people’s trust in government.

The plan outlines the Republican priorities the caucus will pursue in the 2017 legislative session which begins in January.

“A Confident Future” identifies three main areas Republicans will focus their efforts:

1)      Creating Financial Stability and Predictability. A reliable state with business confidence is the best environment to grow jobs. By reforming the state’s spending and borrowing, Republicans plan to improve the state’s financial health to support a more predictable business environment so that job creators don’t have to worry about what new tax proposals could be awaiting them in bad budget years.

Republican budget proposals include properly funding transportation needs without tolls or new taxes like the mileage tax, reducing the size of state bureaucracy, and making long term structural changes to government. The Republican priorities also include specific tax relief proposals to reduce the burdens on individuals and job creators, such as property tax relief and phasing out taxation of pension income.

2)      Supporting Families and Growing Opportunity. Connecticut’s future depends on supporting our families and creating opportunities for all to succeed. The Republican plan includes policy proposals to strengthen Connecticut cities and help improve life for families in urban areas. It also includes reforms for the state’s child welfare agency, proposes restoring education funding that was cut in recent budgets, protects seniors and the developmentally disabled, and offers new ideas to improve health care and insurance quality and accessibility.

3)      Restoring Trust in Government. The Republican legislative agenda contains proposals to ensure that government operates efficiently and transparently and uses tax dollars as wisely as possible. Proposals include ideas to reduce DMV wait times, eliminate waste, live within our means, strengthen campaign financing laws, and create a more transparent budget writing process.

Sen. Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook. He can be reached at 800 842-1421 and Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov .

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Bring the Family to Watch Base Ball Played by 1857 Rules at Devitt Field, Sunday

 Keith “Double D” Dauer (left) and Manager Tom “Yukon” Miceli are all smiles following in the high-five line following a Chester Squirrels win in last year’s tri-town round-robin games.


Keith “Double D” Dauer (left) and Manager Tom “Yukon” Miceli are all smiles following in the high-five line following a Chester Squirrels win over the ICE Elelphants in last year’s tri-town round-robin games.

DEEP RIVER – “I see great things in baseball.  It’s our game—the American game.”   Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Just around the corner is your chance to see ‘the American game’ played by the rules of 1857, much the same as was seen by one of America’s finest poets.

On Sunday, Sept. 18 at 2 p.m., teams representing Chester (the “Chester Squirrels”), Deep River (“Deep River Haz Beenz”) and Essex (“ICE – Ivoryton, Centerbrook, Essex – Elephants”) will be meeting in a round-robin format at Devitt Field in Deep River.   There is no admission charge for this family event sponsored by the Chester, Deep River and Essex Historical Societies.

Once again, players will be wearing period shirts and caps and you can count on spotting a few ‘game day’ mustaches.  No gloves are allowed (the ball was somewhat softer then) and a striker (term for ‘batter’) was out if a fielder caught a ball on its first bounce under 1857 rules. Free programs will be provided at the game with team rosters, 1857 rules and terminology.

Old-time refreshments will be sold by Chester Rotary. Bring lawn chairs to supplement the limited seating at the field. The rain date will be Sept. 25.

So, using more terminology from the past, make a point to be a Crank (fan) at the Match (game) when the Club Nine (team) legs it (runs to a base) hoping to make Aces (runs) before Player Dead (an Out).

All in all it makes for a wonderful, educational and entertaining way for all ages to enjoy the great American Game as it was 150 years ago.  We think Walt Whitman would agree.

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Lyme First Selectman Eno (R) Endorses Needleman (D) for State Senate

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.

LYME – Today, Lyme Republican First Selectman Ralph Eno endorsed Democratic State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman.

“Although I generally try to avoid all things political, given the state of affairs at the state level, I’ve decided to be more public in terms of of the upcoming state senate race,” said Eno. “Norm has my unequivocal support.”

Eno, a Republican, has served as the first selectman of Lyme since 2007 and, with a brief interlude, for 10 years prior to that.

“Norm has the chief elected official experience at the town level that is crucial to being an effective representative,” Eno continued. “We need more small to mid-level town CEOs in the legislature to stand up to laws in Hartford that have terrible unintended consequences for our towns. His work in the public sector paired with his experience as a tried and true business person gives him a leg up to make sure we have the best possible representation given our state’s budget problems.”

“I am endorsing Norm, who is far and away the most qualified candidate for State Senate,” said Eno. “I know him as a man that is collaborative instead of adversarial. He will not be tethered to his political party. He will work on both sides of the aisle and be a team player. And he will be honest with you even when you disagree.”

Norm Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing 150 people at facilities in Essex and Clinton.

“Ralph has been a great example for me on how to run a small town,” said Norm Needleman. “He’s hands on, hard-working, honest, and always involved. He knows what it takes to run a municipality. It means a tremendous amount to me to receive this endorsement from a man I have viewed as a mentor in so many ways.”

Needleman is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003.

“This district has 12 towns with a lot in common and Ralph and I share a common perspective,” continued Needleman. “We both understand the perspective of small towns, the importance of home rule, and that we need fewer mandates and rules from Hartford.”

Needleman is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares, who is running for a third term and like Eno, is a Republican. Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote.

The 33rd State Senate District consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

Click here for audio of the event: http://norm.vote/eno.mp3.

Click here for photos of the event: http://bit.ly/2bZWKDT.

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Chester Rotary Hosts 46th Annual Lobster Festival Tomorrow

twinlobsterCHESTER — The Rotary Club of Chester holds its 46th Annual Lobster Festival at the Chester Fairgrounds tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 10.

Tickets are available at LARK, Chester Package Store, Chrisholm Marina and Chester Bottle Shop, at the Sunday Market, from any Chester Rotarian and on-line at  http://chesterlobsterfestival.com and  http://www.ChesterRotary.org

Join friends and family for a memorable evening of great food, good fun and live music.

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Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 Announces Five New Eagle Scouts

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 presents five new Eagle Scouts: from left to right are Andrew Myslik, Jacob Beauliu, Adam Dalterio, Benjamin Toles and  Alexander Maxwell VI.  Photo by Alexander Toles.

Gathered for a photo are Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13’s five newest Eagle Scouts. From left to right are Andrew Myslik, Jacob Beauliu, Adam Dalterio, Benjamin Toles and Alexander Maxwell VI. Photo by Alexander Toles.

CHESTER/DEEP RIVER — Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America would like to congratulate five Chester residents on earning the rank of Eagle Scout. These five young men have been in scouting together since elementary school as Cub Scouts in Pack 13.

The Eagle Scouts completed projects at Camp Hazen YMCA, recreation and historic locations in the town of Chester.  All the work completed benefits the visitors, school groups and residents of Chester as they enjoy these areas around town.

To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must earned 21 merit badges and advance through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to his Troop and service to his community.

One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the Scout’s community, school, or religious institution; all of this work must be completed prior to the young man’s eighteenth birthday.

Benjamin James Toles’ Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to demo eleven sets of non-complaint aged wooden stairways and replace with new treated wood, code compliant steps, platform and railings on cabins in and around the Sachem Village portion on the grounds of Camp Hazen YMCA. The completed project improved the safety of the venue while maintaining its rustic appearance. Ben was awarded the rank at this Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on March 20, 2016.  Ben will attend University of Rhode Island this fall.

Andrew James Myslik’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to improve the deteriorating border of the Chester Burial Grounds fronting on North Main Street. Specifically, the project involved the removal of an old wire fence, stumps and debris and replaced it with one hundred and eighty feet of painted picket fence and posts and included the installation of a recycled historic iron gate. The completed project presents the site in a more historically correct, respectful appearance.

Andrew was awarded the rank at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on June 5.  Andrew will attend George Washington University in Washington, DC this fall.

Adam Gerard Dalterio’s Eagle Scout Service Project was to replace three aging benches with two new hand built oversized Adirondack benches and a hand build eight-foot tall giant chair embossed with Camp Hazen signage complete with newly restored landscaping features on the grounds of Camp Hazen YMCA.

Adam was awarded the rank at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on Aug. 14.  Adam will attend Vermont Technical College this fall.

Jacob Louis Beaulieu’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan which included the construction of a new tether ball court, the installation of two reinforced poured concrete access ramps serving site sheds, the stripping and resurfacing of stationary pedestal cooking grills and edging and grading of various sections of the site that make up the Robert H. Pelletier Park on the shores of Cedar Lake.

Jacob was awarded the rank at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on Aug. 14.  Jacob will attend Middlesex Community College this fall.

Alexander Maxwell, VI‘s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a restoration plan to remove all the decking, railing, seating and a gateway to be replaced with new treated lumber complimented with decorative end post caps on the Chester Creek Scenic Overlook near its confluence with the Connecticut River. The completed project improved the safety and usability of the overlook while maintaining its rustic appearance.

Alex was awarded the rank at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony on August 14.  Alex will attend University of Rhode Island this fall.

We at ValleyNewsNow.com send hearty congratulations to these five, fine young men on this great achievement!

Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves the boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead.

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

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

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Public Hearings on Proposed Shoreline East, Metro North Fare Hikes Held in Old Saybrook

Shoreline_East_logoMTA logoAREAWIDE — The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT) is proposing to increase public transit fares for the New Haven Line (Metro North) and Shore Line East rail services.  For example, the proposed one-way fare on Shoreline East from Old Saybrook to New Haven would rise on Dec. 1, 2016, from $6.75 to $7.25.  Similarly, the proposed one-way peak fare on Metro North from New Haven to Grand Central would rise from $22.00 to $23.50 and off-peak from $16.50 to $17.50.

The Department will be holding public hearings to receive comments on the proposed fare changes. Those nearest to Chester, Deep River and Essex, will be on Thursday,  Sept. 1, at Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main St., Old Saybrook from 4 to 6 p.m. and then later on the same evening from 7 to 9 p.m.

The CT DOT is also planning to increase fares for CTtransit and CTfastrak local and express bus services, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit services with effect from Dec. 4, 2016, and to amend the tariffs for bus services to allow for the implementation of a new account-based smart card fare payment system (effective on or after Dec. 1, 2016).

Some other notable proposed increases include:

Old Saybrook to New Haven, ten-trip: $60.75 to $65.25
Old Saybrook to New Haven, monthly: $142.00 to $152.25
Westbrook to New Haven, one-way: $6.25 to $6.50
Westbrook to New Haven, ten-trip: $56.25 to $58.50
Westbrook to New Haven, monthly: $129.00 to $136.50
New Haven to Grand Central, weekly: $149.50 to $158.50
New Haven to Grand Central, monthly: $467.00 to $495.00

To see the proposed increases for Shoreline East fares, click here.
To see the proposed increases for Metro-North New Haven line fares to and from Grand Central Station, click here.
To see the proposed increases for Metro-North New Haven line fares to and from intermediate stations, click here.
To see the proposed increases for CTtransit and CTfastrak fares, click here.

In the event that you are unable to appear in person, you are encouraged to email comments to the DOT at dot.farecomments@ct.gov or through the DOT’s website.

Comments may also be mailed to:
Comment on Fare Changes
Bureau of Public Transportation
2800 Berlin Turnpike
P.O. Box 317546
Newington, CT 06131-7546

The comment period closes Sept. 15, 2016.

In the event you cannot make the public hearing in Old Saybrook and would like to testify in person, see the additional dates and locations below for future public hearings.

Wednesday, Sept. 7
4 pm – 7 pm
Hartford
Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street

Tuesday, Sept. 13
11 am – 2 pm
Meriden
Meriden Town Hall
City Council Chamber
142 East Main Street

Tuesday, Sept. 13
Waterbury
4 pm – 7 pm
Silas Bronson Library
267 Grand Street

Wednesday, Sept. 14
4 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm
Stamford
UConn Stamford Campus Auditorium
One University Place

Thursday, Sept. 15
4 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm
New Haven
New Haven Hall of Records, Room G-2
200 Orange Street

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) also invites readers to raise any questions or comments directly with him at devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423.

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Senator Chris Murphy Hosts Town Hall Discussion This Afternoon in Chester

CHESTER — Congress heads back into session next month, and Senator Chris Murphy wants to know what’s on your mind …

Join him this afternoon, Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 4:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House to talk about issues you care about and ask him your questions. This event is open to the public, so invite your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors.

Questions and RSVPs can be directed to Emily Boushee at Emily_boushee@murphy.senate.gov

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Chester Artists Donate Works to Chester Library Raffles

"September Light" by Deborah Quinn-Munson

“September Light” by Deborah Quinn-Munson

 

Chester is a town of many creative people who are generous with their talents.

The annual Chester Artists for the Chester Library Raffle has been the grateful beneficiary of those creative talents for the past few years.

This year there are actually three 2016 Chester Artists for the Chester Library Raffles – one for a painting by Deborah Quinn-Munson, another for a butcherblock cutting board handcrafted by Stephen Bradley of Pondside Kitchens, and the third for a blanket, made by the Kid Knitters of the Chester Library. Raffle tickets are just $2.00 each.

Deborah Quinn Munson donated her pastel painting, “September Light,” to the raffle. The painting, 12” x 18”, framed and under museum glass, depicts the Connecticut River. Deborah says, “I am lucky to be on the river occasionally and never tire of creating paintings inspired by those beautiful colors, reflections and skies.”

She adds, “When I paint, I am interested in bold color, energetic line, and strong composition to convey a powerful image filled with atmosphere and light. I enjoy the contrast between the spirited execution of a painting and the serenity and peacefulness of the scene. Clear brush and pastel strokes have become an important aspect of my work and bring vitality and movement to the painting.” Deborah is an elected Signature Member of The Pastel Society of America, Connecticut Pastel Society and the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod. Her work is in many private and corporate collections throughout the country.

Butcherblock Cutting Board by Pondside Kitchens

Butcherblock Cutting Board by Pondside Kitchens

Stephen Bradley is a kitchen designer and owner of Pondside Kitchens & Hearth on Water Street in Chester. He also loves to create cutting boards in his woodworking shop. He explains, “I like to focus on boards that are functional rather than just decorative. The board for the library is made from side-grain Maple, Cherry and Black Walnut. These are all food-safe native hardwoods. The finish is food-safe as it is polished with Carnauba Wax, a very hard and water-resistant finish. It is a wax made from the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant native to and grown only in the northeastern Brazilian states of Piauí, Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte.” His Butcherblock Cutting Board for the library is 10″ x 16″ x 1-1/2″.

Knitted Squares Blanket by Chester Kid Knitters

Knitted Squares Blanket by Chester Kid Knitters

The third raffle item is the Knitted Squares Blanket, created by the Kid Knitters who meet on Saturday mornings at the library under the guidance of experienced needle worker Anne Winslow. Reminiscent of the Gees Bend quilts, this charming lap warmer is a medley of stitches, yarns, and colors and measures 33” x 57”.

Kim Stack, parent organizer of the knitters, says, “The nature of the randomness is what makes this a unique piece. The colors chosen for the squares were personal decisions for the kids who knitted them. The textures of the yarns represent the journey each knitter took when sampling how the yarn felt to the touch, how it felt while working with it on the knitting needles, and how it looked as a finished piece. Out of their exploration of yarns, and the satisfaction of beginning and ending a knitted piece quickly (hence ‘squares’), came this one-of-a-kind blanket made of various shapes, textures and colors. The Chester Kids Knitters, ranging from preschool to sixth grade, are immensely proud of their individual efforts coming together to form this collaborative piece.”

The Chester Library is proud of the knitters as well, for their Knitted Squares Blanket won a blue ribbon at the Chester Fair in August.

All three items can be seen at the library. Tickets are just $2.00 each. If you’d like to buy a ticket and cannot get to Chester, please write: Friends of Chester Public Library, 21 West Main St, Chester, CT 06412, and enclose your check or cash for tickets, along with a stamped self-addressed envelope and your phone number. The winning tickets will be drawn at the library on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 11. Winners need not be present to win.

All proceeds from the raffles go directly to Chester Library needs not covered by tax dollars, such as movies, museum passes, programs, and special purchases such as comfortable reading chairs.

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CT Port Authority Chair Tells Lower CT River Local Officials, “We’re All on One Team”

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River but still deep in discussion are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) Board Member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River, but still finding time for discussions, are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) board member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

There was an overarching message both throughout the Connecticut Port Authority’s (CPA) meeting in Old Lyme’s Town Hall Thursday afternoon and during a subsequent boat ride on the MV ‘Victoria’ for members and local officials on the Connecticut River.  It was, in the words of CPA Chairman Scott Bates, that, “We’re absolutely committed to river communities.”

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town's needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town’s needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

In addition, while sailing from Essex down to Old Saybrook and then back up to Hamburg Cove on a perfect afternoon, Bates stressed, “Part of our mission is protecting these beautiful waters … and the quality of life we have here while preserving access to the river.”

View of the Connecticut River from the "Victoria."

View of the Connecticut River from the “Victoria.”

Bates noted that to have “five local officials (Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, all of whom were on board, and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, who was unable to join the trip) “involved” was a really positive sign in terms of  “building a coalition.”  This, Bates explained, was key to the development of a strategic plan for the CPA—something the Authority has been charged with preparing with a deadline of Jan. 1, 2017.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The  CPA is a relatively new quasi-public agency created in 2014 with board appointments made in 2016.  Bates said the agency was responsible for 35 coastal communities and with this trip, he would now personally have visited 28 of them. Since the CPA has not created a strategic plan previously, Bates said he is determined, “to include everyone,” in the process, adding that he regards part of the Authority’s mission to be “getting small town and big cities together.” and, in turn, “to make great things happen for our state.”

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the 'Victoria.'

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the ‘Victoria.’

Apart from Bates and the four local First Selectmen and Selectwomen, also on board were Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG) Executive Director Sam Gold, River COG Deputy Director and Principal Planner J.H. Torrance Downes, CPA Board of Directors member John Johnson and Joe Salvatore from the CPA.  Reemsnyder is also a board member of the CPA.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder and Johnson.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder, Bates and Johnson.

At the earlier meeting in Old Lyme, Downes had given a presentation to CPA members to introduce them to the Lower Connecticut River during which he had described the geography of the estuary, noting it had, “very little industry and very little commercial development.”  He described it as a “really prime area for bird migration” and highlighted numerous points of scenic beauty.

J.H. Torrance Downe, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

J.H. Torrance Downes, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

Bates noted one of the CPA’s responsibilities is to pursue state and federal funds for dredging and, while sailing under the Baldwin Bridge towards the Connecticut River’s mouth where several tributaries join the main river, Reemsnyder commented that Old Lyme had been a beneficiary of a $1.6 million state grant for dredging two of those tributaries — the Black Hall and Four Mile Rivers.  She noted that it had been a successful exercise thanks in part to Salvatore, who had, “held our hand through the whole project.”

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the 'Victoria.'

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the ‘Victoria.’ Joe Salvatore stands at rear.

Johnson, whose life and business career according to the CPA website, have “a common underlying element: the coastal waters,” also confirmed the benefits of a dredging program, saying, “There is a need for depth of water — both elements, marine and maritime, need depth of water.”  Still on the dredging issue, Bates said he had met separately with Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna and told him that he could have “whatever he needs to keep the mouth of the Connecticut River open.”

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

Reemsnyder took a minute to commend Bates for his leadership of the CPA, saying, “Scott has given focus to coastal communities,”  while Johnson added, “We are blessed with our new chairman.”

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

Glancing around at the numerous boats docked both in marinas and on the river itself,  Reemsnyder remarked, “Add up the money in these boats … [they represent] lots of economic drivers.”  On the same theme, Bates noted that the state is marketing its ports for the first time using “national expertise” in some cases with the aim of moving “more people and goods in and out of Connecticut.”  He added, “We have some great assets [in terms of ports in the state] but we could do more.”

Eyes on the Cove -- guests on the 'Victoria' gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

Eyes on the Cove — guests on the ‘Victoria’ gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

As the “Victoria’ pulled gently back into dock at Essex Yacht Club, Bates summarized the benefits of the boat trip saying that by spending time with these local leaders, he had been able to “see their waterfronts, assess their needs,“ and gain an “appreciation of the vitality of the Lower Connecticut River basin,” emphasizing one more time, “This is really about pulling together as a state … we’re all on one team.”

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Explore Artisan, Vintage Vendors Galore at ‘Repurpose Happiness’ Event in Chester, Saturday

Bird_logoCHESTER — Chalk Mercantile and the Trove are excited to bring together the most creative artisans and vintage/antique merchants from all over Connecticut. More than 40 vendors are ready to greet folks on Sept. 3, at the Chester Fairgrounds, located at 11 Kirkland Terrace, Chester CT.

Repurpose Happiness is for anyone who wants to see firsthand Connecticut’s vibrant arts and antique culture, looking for rare or limited runs items, or just wanting to have a good time this September in the Historic Town of Chester.

The event showcases an eclectic mix of handmade, vintage, repurposed and antique goods and is sure to have something for every style, taste and age. Along with a myriad of vendors, makers, merchants and artisans, there will also be food trucks and music for all to enjoy.

Repurpose Happiness opens its doors at 10 a.m. (9 a.m. early buyers) and runs until 4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission $2 adults, children under 12 free, $10 early buyers (9am). Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Valley Regional Girls Soccer Booster Club.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/RepurposeHappiness/ or Repurposehappinees.com

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Catamount Medical Education to Hold Marrow Registration Drive, Sept. 13

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CHESTER — Catamount Medical Education is asking local residents to help save a life. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the organization will be hosting a marrow donor registry drive to raise awareness about the need for marrow donors.

Potential donors can take the first step to save a life between 3 and 7 p.m. Registration requires paperwork and a cheek swab sample taken from the inside of the mouth. And that’s it! Most donations, if you later match a patient, are done through an automated blood donation.

Every year more than 14,000 patients suffer from a variety of bone marrow functioning diseases and a transplant is their only hope for survival. Seventy percent (70%) of patients have no matching donors in their family and turn to the Be The Match registry for someone willing to give them a second chance at life.

To register you must be between the ages of 18-44, in generally good health and willing to donate to any patient in need. Donors are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity and doctors request donors in the 18-44 age group more than 90 percent of the time.

“Giving back to the community is very important to Catamount and with our company’s focus on medical education, it’s even more special that we can help contribute to helping save the lives of patients with cancer,” said Jennifer Green, Chief Learning Officer at Catamount.

Costs for this drive will be covered by health insurance and Michael’s Fund of Fall River, Mass. There will be no out-of-pocket expense for anyone wishing to the join the registry.

The marrow registration drive will take place at Catamount’s office located at 189 Middlesex Turnpike, Suite 210, Chester, CT 06412.

Catamount’s mission is to create learning experiences that maximize the impact on patient care. Education is delivered through live programs, including satellite symposia, local and regional meetings, and online events, as well as through self-directed, enduring formats such as podcasts, videos, Webinars, monographs, newsfeeds, and other enduring formats.

Catamount seeks to add value to its education and ensuring a direct impact on patient care by incorporating practical tools for the clinician (e.g., exam room posters, pocket cards, patient education materials) into every educational experience.  Learn more at www.catmeded.com.

The Rhode Island Blood Center’s Marrow Donor Program is working with Catamount Medical Education to host this event. The Rhode Island Blood Center is a donor center for Be The Match, involved in recruiting marrow donors and facilitating donations throughout New England. Be The Match is a movement that engages a growing community of people inspired to help patients who need a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor.

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), a leader in the field of marrow and cord blood transplantation, created Be The Match to provide opportunities for the public to become involved in saving the lives of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases.

For more information, visit www.bethematch.org or call 800-283-8385 ext.720.

Michael’s Fund is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help adults & children survive cancer through marrow transplants. The organization was founded by family members of Michael Wrobel who in 1996, at the age of 11, lost his battle with lymphoma when a matching donor could not be found.

The organization provides funds that enable the RI Blood Center to add more marrow donors to the Be The Match Registry thus increasing the number of donors available to patients.

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Leif Nilsson Hosts ‘The Natters and Friends’ at Next ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Oct. 16

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts a Sunday night ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Oct. 16, from 4 to 6 p.m.,  featuring The Natters and Friends at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

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

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

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Reading by Notable Poets Tonight at Maple & Main in Chester

Some of the poets who will read Wednesday at Maple & Main Gallery in Chester.

Some of the poets who will read Wednesday at Maple & Main Gallery in Chester.

CHESTER – A reading of their best work by notable poets attending the Connecticut River Poetry Conference will be Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Maple and Main Gallery.

For the past six years a select group of poets has met annually for a summer week of workshops, seminars, readings, camaraderie and literary high-jinx at Chester’s Guest House.

Shoreline poets Gray Jacobik and Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely founded the Connecticut River Poetry Conference, which grew out of an advanced poetry seminar at The Frost Place in Franconia, NH. This year, in honor of Gray Jacobik’s exhibition, Lines Spoken: In Paint, in Wax, in Words during August in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery, the Conference poets will present a group reading in the round at the gallery Wednesday. Wine will be served.

Jacobik and Meneely will be joined by 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.

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Leif Nilsson Hosts ‘The Grays’ at ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Thursday

The Grays perform the next 'Concert in the Garden' at the Silver Spring Gallery.

‘The Grays’ perform the next ‘Concert in the Garden’ at the Silver Spring Gallery.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden’, Thursday, Aug. 11, from 7 to 9 p.m., this time featuring ‘The Grays’ at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

‘The Grays’ are an original jazz-funk music project, which mixes electrified gypsy jazz with odd-time tribal funk beats. The group features Justin Vood Good on guitar, Hans Lohse on percussion, accordion and vocals, Tracey Kroll on drums and electronica, Pat Pollen on acoustic and electric bass, and Steve Fava on sonic sculpting and atmospherics. The band offers deep grooves and dynamic improvisation for listening as well as dancing, and encourages audience participation.

For more information visit the thegrays.bandcamp.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/thegraysmusic.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come, first seated. BYOB and picnic – outdoor Bistro style seating offered in the amphitheatre.

Sorry, no pets allowed.

A $20 donation is appreciated.  The event is BYOB – buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 8 p.m.

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

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Chocolate Chip Cookies, Wine & Art: All the Comforts of Home in Chester, Oct. 7

Keith Stewart, the chef at Camp Hazen YMCA, is making 500 chocolate chip cookies for all to enjoy throughout Chester Center on Come Home to Chester night, Oct. 7.

Keith Stewart, the chef at Camp Hazen YMCA, is making 500 chocolate chip cookies for all to enjoy throughout Chester Center on Come Home to Chester night, Oct. 7.

The town of Chester presents its annual “Come Home to Chester” celebration on Friday evening, Oct. 7. Come stroll through the shops and galleries of quaint Chester village while munching on chocolate chip cookies made by the chef of Camp Hazen YMCA and sampling wines or sipping apple cider. (All the comforts of home on a New England fall evening!)

The French Hen’s theme for the evening is fragrance. “Fragrance has the power to evoke a memory, change a mood or unlock a new experience,” says Laurie McGinley, the shop’s owner, who says the shop will be debuting a new line, Peacock Parfumerie, and will have a drawing for one of their beautiful scented candles. Chester Package Store will do a wine tasting on the front porch of The French Hen (14 Main St.).

Kate and Anne Yurasek wrap themselves up in a cozy quilt at Lark.

Kate and Anne Yurasek wrap themselves up in a cozy quilt at Lark.

LARK is featuring coziness – as in cozy, colorful home accessories, such as quilts, rugs, towels and pillows. Sign up to win a gift while exploring all the comforts of home featured in the newly expanded shop at 4 Water St.

“An Exploration of Texture,” a new jewelry collection by Dina Varano, opens at the Dina Varano Gallery on Main Street on October 7. Since day one, texture has been a defining feature of Dina’s unique jewelry. Like an alchemist she transforms metal into meaningful works of wearable art: one of a kind, one at a time.

At Maple & Main Gallery, enjoy the Fall Exhibit on the first floor (where you can nibble on chocolate chip cookies!) and then go downstairs to the Stone Gallery for the opening reception of the two-woman show, “Go Figure,”  by friends Beverly Floyd and Maggie Bice. These longtime friends share a sensibility that is lyrical, light-hearted, and often quirky, which is obvious in their delightful show.

ELLE Design, at 1 Main St., invites you to sample the raw chocolates made by Aruna Chocolate and learn how to pair them with wine. Look for Deborah Vilcheck, a Chester-based mortgage loan originator with Nations Reliable Lending, who will have 50 apple pies to hand out to visitors. “I love Chester and this is a great way to celebrate our town,” Deb says.

Even your dogs are welcome at Yappy Hour at Strut Your Mutt on Main Street, with treats for them and you.

You are also invited to visit the yoga studio at Reflections of Chester, Health & Wellness Center, at 15-19 North Main Street, where there will be live music, cider and cookies. More live music will be at the Pattaconk 1850 Bar & Grill on Main Street, and the Homage Fine Art & Coffee Lounge (16 Main St.) features Teen Open Mic Night from 7 to 9 p.m.

Everything is within walking distance from the Maple Street and Water Street free public parking lots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Valley Shore YMCA’s 25th Annual Golf Classic Raises Funds for Annual Campaign

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

The Valley Shore YMCA’s 25th Annual Golf Classic drew a crowd of nearly 100 golfers Monday, July 18th to the Clinton Country Club for a day of “Golfing for a Cause”. The event raised over $45,000 for the Valley Shore YMCA’s Annual Campaign, which funds scholarships for local families and community health initiatives.

The majority raised came from sponsorships, including the Tournament sponsorships of Brown and Knapp Group Benefits; Mr. & Mrs. Leighton Lee IV; Art Linares and Family; Guilford Savings Bank; L.H. Brenner, Inc./Thompson & Peck Insurance; Pat Munger Construction; Wacker Wealth Management; and Whelen Engineering. Supporting sponsors included East Commerce Solutions and Kyocera.

The day of the tournament was a beautiful summer day, sunny with slight breezes in support of the golfers. Additional fun games were held throughout the course to enhance the fun factor, including Longest Drive, Closet to the Pin, Putting and Hole in One contests. Former Y Board President David Brown and Y Board Member Leighton Lee IV co-chaired the event and rallied sponsors, volunteers and prizes.

Committee members and volunteers included Marc Brodeur, Hal Dolan, Lisa LeMonte, Elizabeth McCall, Susan Norton, Melissa Ozols, Matt Sullivan, Tony Sharillo, Marcus Wacker and Jacquelyn Waddock.

No golfer made a hole-in-one for the prized Subaru generously provided by Reynolds’ Garage and Marine.

First Net Score winners were Jeff Knapp, Steph Brodeur, Justin Urbano and Scott Wiley; second place went to Casey Quinn, Paddy Quinn, Chick Quinn and Ryan Quinn.

First Gross winners were the team of David Brown, Jeff Dow, Mike Satti and Shane O’Brien; second place  went to Bob Brady, Geoff Gregory, John Brady and Bobby Edgil.

Chris Pallatto, YMCA CEO, thanked all the golfers and local organizations who came together to make this event possible. “Once again, we had another successful event, made possible by all of our supporters here today.  They all make it possible for the Y to continue to make an impact in our community.”

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Connecticut River Artisans Now Open in Essex

Connecticut River Artisans new home will be at 55 Main St. in Essex.

Connecticut River Artisans new home will be at 55 Main St. in Essex.

ESSEX — Connecticut River Artisans are moving from Chester to Essex.

They have closed their Chester shop and now reopened at their new location at 55 Main St., Essex.

Summer hours are Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Call for seasonal hours.

For more information, visit ctriverartisans.org or call 860.767.5457.

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Sketch Along This Sunday at Maple & Main

'Three Hens' by Claudia Van Nes.

‘Three Hens’ by Claudia Van Nes.

CHESTER  — Bring a drawing pen and paper and some watercolors or colored pencils and join Maple and Main Gallery artist Claudia Van Nes Sunday, July 31, from noon to 2 p.m. to discover anyone can sketch.

Van Nes is Maple and Main’s Focus Artist of the Week and will sketch and paint a teacup and teapot with whoever shows up. Bring along your own tea items if you’d like or just stop by to watch.

There’s a special display of Van Nes’s pen and ink and watercolor paintings at the gallery through Sunday.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6p.m.;  Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mapleandmaingallery.com. Visit on Facebook and Instagram. 860-526-6065.

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Chester Library Offers Fall Book Discussions, Starting Sept. 27

 let the great world spinCHESTER – Two National Book Award winning books will be discussed this fall at Chester Public Library.

With two evening discussions facilitated by Marsha Bansavage, an educator who has led book discussions at the library for several years, the participants will have a chance to reflect on why each of these books (a novel and a collection of short stories) received the prestigious National Book Award. According to Bansavage, “both books are worthy of first and second reads and will promote lively, interesting discussions.”

The topic of discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 27, will be “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann. In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. Bansavage explains, “’Let the Great World Spin’” explores how an amazing international event shapes and affects ALL – the famous, the everyday, the large, the small.  McCann develops major characters that seem to be living very different, independent lives, but through clever, masterful plot and thematic devices, he surprises the reader with a conclusion that interrelates all.” Calling it a “truly beautifully crafted piece of literature,” Bansavage concludes, “I felt – in today’s light, in current events, in political debates – to read a novel that develops the humanity within each of us is timely, universal, and reaffirming.”

 A month later, Tuesday, Oct. 25, the discussion will center on “Fortune Smiles: Stories,” by Adam Johnson, who also won the Pulitzer Prize for “Orphan Master’s Son.” fortune-smilesSays Bansavage, “The collection develops six short stories with very different narrators, characters, and themes.  The voices are vivid, different, and distinct.  We travel at times through interesting places, unexplored, uncharted, and perhaps forbidden.  I felt his style and interest in bringing the genre of the short story to the American public was brilliant.  I felt it was important to develop, reexamine, explore and celebrate the important short story genre.” 

Both discussions will be held at the Chester Public Library, at 21 West Main Street, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.  The discussions are free, but registration is required. Participation in both evening discussions is not required. Call 860-526-0018 for more information and to register.  Books will be available to borrow at the library on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

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Free Tickets Remain for Abraham & Mary Lincoln Dramatic Performances, Thursday

Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, will be portrayed at Chester Village West in two dramatic performances.

Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, will be portrayed at Chester Village West on July 21.

CHESTER — President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary will come to life with compelling stories of their days in the Oval Office on Thursday, July 21, at Chester Village West independent seniors community, 317 West Main Street, Chester, in two open-to-the-public performances at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

During this theatrical portrayal by the acting and writing team of husband and wife William and Sue Wills, participants will gain new insights about our 16th president, his rise from humble beginnings and the challenges he faced during our country’s Civil War.

After 20 years of operating their own theatrical company in Ocean City, Md., William and Sue Wills now bring to life the stories of 34 different presidential couples through their “Presidents and Their First Ladies, dramatically speaking” performances. The Willses have appeared together on stage more than 8,700 times.

Mr. and Mrs. Wills have performed in 35 of 50 states and given more than 30 performances at the nation’s presidential sites. They are a true working team: William researches and creates the scripts; Sue edits his work and creates the costumes, many of her own design. They are not impersonators, but hope that their costumes, dialects, and demeanors will help recreate these historical characters.

In 2013, the couple created an IRS-recognized non-profit organization, Presidents Project Inc., to raise money for organizations that help wounded soldiers and their families.  With their “Presidents and First Ladies” program, the William and Sue Wills hope that by presenting the personal side of our first couples, they will become more than just names read about in history books.

Refreshments will be served. Seating for the performances is limited and reservations are required. Call Chester Village West at 860-333-8992 to RSVP by Friday, July 15. More information at chestervillagewestlcs.com or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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See a Monotype Demonstration at Maple & Main Today

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CHESTER — Try your hand at making a monotype print with Maple and Main Gallery artist Cathy DeMeo on Sunday, July 17, from noon to 2 p.m.

DeMeo, Maple and Main’s Focus Artist of the Week, explains, “Monotypes are a painterly form of printmaking made by applying ink or paint to a smooth plate, then transferring the image to paper using some form of applied pressure.” She will demonstrate monotype printing techniques and will show visitors how to make a simple print themselves.

A special selection of DeMeo’s work is on display at the gallery through Sunday.

Why on Sunday? Because Chester hosts “Always on Sundays” and each Sunday, galleries, shops, restaurants present special offerings to visitors. In warm-weather months, these offerings are companion pieces to the town’s widely popular Sunday Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

More information on Maple and Main Gallery is at www.MapleandMainGallery.com or by calling 860-526-6065.

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Chester Garden Club Hosts Presentation on Attracting Butterflies, Birds, Sept. 13

butterflyOn Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m, the Chester Garden Club will be hosting a presentation by Dustyn Nelson from The Garden Barn Nursery & Landscape located in Vernon, Conn., on “Attracting Butterflies and Birds in the Garden” at the United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT. Nelson will offer some great suggestions and ideas on what annuals, perennials and shrubs/trees are best for attracting our winged and feathered friends.

Members of the Chester Garden Club and the public are invited to attend.  The cost for guests will be $5.

For additional information, contact Chester Garden Club Co-President Brenda Johnson at (860) 526-2998

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Chester Village West’s Fall Lifelong Learning Program Opens With “History of Hollywood,” Part 2 on Sept. 13

Jason Day, Ph.D

Jared Day, Ph.D

CHESTER — Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, will offer six lectures and informative presentations by biographers, historians and medical experts in September, October and November. The talks, which are being presented in partnership with the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning and Middlesex Hospital, are free and open to the public. Registration is required. Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, CT 06412.

The series kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 4:30 to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 4 to 5 p.m. with “History of Hollywood: “Icons of the 1950s.” Presented by historian Dr. Jared Day, this two-part lecture will examine the gradual decline of the studio system in the 1950s. Special focus will be given to mega-stars such as Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor.

A Q&A and reception with light refreshments will be held after the program.

Pre-registration is required. Registration will be limited to 40 registrants per lecture or presentation. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register for one or more programs, call 860.322.6455, email ChesterVillageWest@LCSnet.com or visithttp://www.chestervillagewestlcs.com/events-and-resources/lifelong-learning-program/. Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, CT 06412.

Located in historic Chester, Conn., 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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‘Plywood Cowboy’ Plays a ‘Concert in the Garden’ Tonight

Photo courtesy of Steve Dedman

Photo courtesy of Steve Dedman

CHESTER – Plywood Cowboy will present a Special Friday Night Concert at the Leif Nilsson Studio on Friday, July 8, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Formed in 2015 in the Connecticut River Valley, Plywood Cowboy is poised to rewrite the American Songbook. “With great harmonies, clever songs & tasty guitar pickin’, Plywood Cowboy is one of the best new bands on the Americana scene,” said Chris Bergson, NY Blues Hall of Fame Inductee. Bottle-fed on roots music, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Steve Dedman and his band strike deep at the soul of American music with songs about hound dogs, heart strings, and the vice of the bottle.

Plywood Cowboy is reaching new audiences through their expanding live performance schedule, and is currently writing and recording new material that is on track for a debut album release in 2016. Their music reflects decades of playing and performing experience by Steve and his band mates. Combining Austin Gray’s ever-present harmonies and palpable telecaster work, Shane Tanner’s warm Fender bass lines and Henry Yorzinski’s exacting drumwork, Plywood Cowboy’s music sits comfortably on the ears of its listeners.

The band has appeared numerous times on iCRV Radio and has been a featured band on WESU 88.1FM ‘Voice of the City’. They’ve also found the spotlight on stages throughout Connecticut including Infinity Hall and The Kate, and destination venues from Monadnock Pumpkin Festival (NH) to Puckett’s (TN). In addition to the core lineup, guest musicians are often featured at live performances, including Emily Marcello on violin, and others on pedal steel, tenor saxophone, and banjo.

Cowboys of the airwaves, no one in the band owns any cows. Not as of yet, at least. Steve learned to play guitar from his father, David, and family friend John Hanus, who would pick guitars and sing their favorite country songs over their CB radios, and take the time on Sundays to teach Steve how to pick in country-western style. From Kris Kristopherson to Lefty Frizzell, John and David taught a young Steve true American music. Few knew John by his real name, but many knew him by his CB handle, “Plywood Cowboy,” a reference to his day job hauling lumber around the Northeast. Though both CB’ers have left the airwaves, it is through the band’s music that their influences will forever be heard.

Follow the herd with Plywood Cowboy on the path to release their debut album and enjoy the sounds of “incredible, toe-tapping, quality Ameriana music” (Ibby Carothers, iCRV Radio). More at http://www.plywoodcowboy.com/

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

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38th Annual Chester Road Race Attracts 800+ Runners

And they're off! (Al Malpa photo)

And they’re off! (Al Malpa photo)

On a glorious Fourth of July morning, 800-plus runners (and a few walkers) participated in the 38th Fourth on the Fourth Chester Road Race. Four miles, up and down Chester’s many hills, the race is a major fundraiser for the Chester Rotary Club and attracts many of the same runners year after year.
Chris Rosenberg of Old Saybrook, the store manager of Sound Runner, was the first place winner with a time of 21:13. Chris won the race in 2015 as well. (Al Malpa photo)

Chris Rosenberg of Old Saybrook, the store manager of Sound Runner, was the first place winner with a time of 21:13. Chris won the race in 2015 as well. (Al Malpa photo)

Nick Fresenko, of Louisville, Ohio, was second overall. His time was 21:38. (Al Malpa photo)

Nick Fresenko, of Louisville, Ohio, was second overall. His time was 21:38. (Al Malpa photo)

Coming in third place overall, Lee Cattanach, with a time of 21:54. (Al Malpa photo)

Coming in third place overall, Lee Cattanach of New London, with a time of 21:54. (Al Malpa photo)

 

The list of winners in each category can be seen here: 2016 road race results

 

Cheryl Anderson was the first woman to win, with a time of 23:11. (Al Malpa photo)

Cheryl Anderson was the first woman to win, with a time of 23:11. (Al Malpa photo)

 

The POW/MIA veterans group comes every year to run in the Chester Road Race. (Al Malpa photo)

The POW/MIA veterans group comes every year to run in the Chester Road Race. (Al Malpa photo)

 

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Chester Library Says Goodbye to Linda Fox, Hello to Stephanie Romano

A reception for outgoing Library Director Linda Fox and incoming Director Stephanie Romano will be held at Chester Library on July 7. (Skip Hubbard photo)

A reception for outgoing Library Director Linda Fox and incoming Director Stephanie Romano will be held at Chester Library on July 7. (Skip Hubbard photo)

CHESTER – After 13-plus years of being the Director of Chester Public Library, Linda Fox retires from her position on Thursday, July 7, and Stephanie Romano stepped into Linda’s position full-time on July 6.

Linda wrote the Library Board of Trustees in February, to tell them of her plan to leave the library this summer. She said, “Being a Public Library Director is a job that I never expected to love, but love it I have for more than a decade.  It has been challenging, rewarding and a great pleasure to work for and with you, the library staff, the Friends, and the people of Chester.  We’ve accomplished good things together, haven’t we?  The library is more technologically current, staff and service hours have been expanded, and the community is more engaged with the library, not to mention that we are closer than ever to creating an accessible, 21st-century library building for the community.  The thought of not being around for the opening of those doors brings with it a true sense of disappointment.”

Longtime Library Friends member Sally Murray said, “Linda has consistently given her all, and then some, for the people of Chester; her tireless efforts have brightened our town in ways most people will never recognize but which benefit all of us.”

Longtime Library Board of Trustees Chairman Terry Schreiber, who hired Linda in 2002 and Stephanie this spring, added, “We feel Stephanie will be a perfect match for our library. She is enthusiastic and willing to reach out to people to continue to make Chester Library a warm, friendly, welcoming place.  We will miss Linda very very much – she was the face of the library for so many years – but we wish her well and know she looks forward to new  adventures.”

Stephanie Romano comes to Chester from the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, where she worked since May 2007, most recently as Access Services Manager (see separate article on LymeLine.com here). Describing herself, Stephanie wrote, “My path to being a librarian has not been a direct one! I worked at Research Books (a book distributor for corporate libraries) in Madison for about eight years before deciding to go back to school. The work I was involved in with Research Books involved interaction with librarians on all different levels and was the reason I chose to pursue a degree in Library Science.  I loved the fact that every librarian I spoke with, no matter which field they were in, loved their job.  I knew that I also wanted a job that I was going to love after 25 years.”

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Maple and Main Gallery’s Summer Exhibit on View through Sept. 4

"Daffodils and Oak," by Claudia Van Nes, at Maple and Main Gallery

“Daffodils and Oak,” by Claudia Van Nes, at Maple and Main Gallery

CHESTER – Over 230 new paintings and sculptures by 46 artists will be featured in the annual Summer Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery, which is on view through Sept. 4.

This exhibit showcases a wide selection of art from traditional seascapes and landscapes to vibrant abstracts, from collage and encaustic to oil, pastel and watercolor.

The gallery is highlighting an artist each week who will show additional work and give a demonstration or talk.

On display in the Stone Gallery during July is “Quiet Places,” an exhibit of work by artists Kim Petersen and Elvira Omaechea.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, Chester, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  For more information, visit mapleandmaingallery.com or call 860-767-6065.

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Celebrate September First Friday in Chester Center, Sept. 2

CHESTER – Start off your Labor Day weekend with First Friday in Chester Center. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find between 5 and 8 p.m.

At the newly expanded Lark at 4 Water Street, Heather Wright of Crunchy Diva Designs will help you design a one-of-a-kind bracelet from her array of adornments.  Join in the “bracelet bar party.” Make your own or find your favorite from those created by the Crunchy Diva.

"Sailing on the Sound" by Gary Lavarack

“Sailing on the Sound” by Gary Lavarack

Maple and Main Gallery will mark First Friday with a free drawing for “Sailing on the Sound,” a wonderful summer painting by former Connecticut artist Gary Lavarak. Stop by the gallery for a glass of wine and enter the drawing; the winner’s name will be drawn during the opening of the fall exhibit Saturday, Sept. 17.

See the new fall line of Ruba Ruba in the fashion show in front of ELLE Design. (Ruba Ruba photo)

See the new fall line of Ruba Ruba in the fashion show in front of ELLE Design. (Ruba Ruba photo)

Start gathering at 6:45 p.m. in front of ELLE Design at 1 Main Street for the Pop Up Fashion Show of RUBA RUBA Designs, a clothing line designed and handmade by Georgia Caroline Milton, an Essex, CT, native. The fashion show of the new fall line of RUBA RUBA (kimono jackets, cowl scarves, sheet scarves, ponchos & more) will run from 7 to about 7:15, and then you can enjoy the designer meet and greet as well as purchase items from the ready-to-wear line. Georgia graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012 majoring in fibers and experimental fashion. She began RUBA RUBA after graduating and has been cultivating it ever since through her hard work and passion for quality, handmade style.

Also on First Friday is Teen Open Mic Night at Homage Fine Art and Coffee Lounge. Sing, play music, read poetry, do stand-up comedy or perform an improve act! It all begins at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Keep an eye on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT to learn what else will happen that evening.

 

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Last Chance to See ‘Downtown Chester’ Original Paintings at Maple and Main Gallery Today

Dan Nichols paints a Chester scene

Dan Nichols paints a Chester scene

“Downtown Chester,” a show of original paintings done by Maple and Main Gallery artists depicting the center of Chester, will be at the gallery Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 3.

The paintings in the Downtown Chester show were mainly done during June, a number of them from the gallery porch, in the street during the Chester Sunday Market and along the sidewalks.

The show will open Friday at noon until 8 p.m., and will remain open Saturday, July 2 from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Maple and Main is at One Maple Street in Chester. For more information, go to mapleandmaingallery.com or call 860-526-6065. Hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.

Donna Dubreuil Favreau, "Chester's Farmers Market"

Donna Dubreuil Favreau, “Chester’s Farmers Market”

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State Police Promote Safe Driving Throughout July 4 Weekend; Sobriety Checkpoints, Roving Patrols Planned Locally

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut State Police Public Information Office has issued the following important press release.

As thousands of drivers plan to travel during the upcoming long holiday weekend, Connecticut State Troopers are also preparing to patrol in increased numbers to keep roads and highways safe for all drivers.

Troop F is planning the following roving patrols and checkpoint locations:

06/30/16                         Roving Patrols – Interstate 95 within Troop F patrol area

07/01/16                         Roving Patrols – Rte. 9 and Rte. 66 in town of Middlefield

07/02/16                         Roving Patrols – I-95 exits 56-71

07/03/16                         Roving Patrols – Rte. 9 and Rte. 66 in town of Middlefield

07/03/16                         DUI Sobriety Checkpoint – At Rte. 156 and Ferry Rd. in the town of Old Lyme. This will be in conjunction with the Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit.

07/04/16                         Roving Patrols – I-95 exits 56-71

July 4 is Monday, allowing for extra time for beach outings, cookouts and fireworks. This translates to increased traffic starting as early as Friday, July 1, and continuing through the evening of July 4.  Many will be driving through and around the state of Connecticut for Independence Day events.

State Police will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) starting at midnight on July 3 and running through midnight on July 5.

Troopers will be strategically placed to reduce speed on the highways and roadways during the holiday period. In addition, State Troopers will operate sobriety checkpoints numerous locations throughout Connecticut. Drivers can expect to experience concentrated enforcement operations at locations where a high number of alcohol-involved crashes and incidents.  (Please see attached list.)

As always, State Police consistently work toward preventing accidents – especially fatal crashes – on Connecticut’s roads and highways. Troopers will utilize laser units, and both marked and unmarked State Police cars to enhance safety and to remove all drunk drivers from Connecticut’s roads.

“We need your help. Obeying the rules of the road is everyone’s responsibility. We ask all drivers to buckle up, adhere to the speed limit, put down cell phones, and please be courteous to other drivers,” said Dora B. Schriro, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Colonel Alaric J. Fox, Commander of the Connecticut State Police, added, State Troopers depend on drivers to follow the law. Please do not drink and drive since that is a deadly combination. If you are on the road and drunk driver, please call 911, as this is a true emergency.”

Planning to consume alcohol to celebrate our nation’s birthday? Then please designate a driver so that this festive, enjoyable summer weekend does not turn into a tragedy. Never drink and drive.

During July 4, 2015, weekend, Connecticut State Police issued the following number of summons:  859 for speeding and 33 for driving under the influence.  State Police investigated 170 motor vehicle crashes, with injury and two fatalities.

Troopers also issued 2,461 tickets for other hazardous moving violations.

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First Friday to be Celebrated Tonight in Chester Center

CHESTER – Start the July Fourth Weekend off with a bang! Come to First Friday in Chester Center.

On this first of Chester’s First Fridays, the evening of July 1st brings art gallery shows, a trunk show, live music, the opening of the doors of Chester’s newest shop, The French Hen, and more.

The town is buzzing with anticipation about The French Hen, which has just moved here from Essex. On its Facebook page, the shop is described as “a gift boutique where you will discover the beautiful, unique and the curious. Lush with product and creativity, the store will delight your senses.” The French Hen will be at 8 Main St.

Chester’s two other brand-new shops will also be open on First Friday. Strut Your Mutt at 29 Main St. will be hosting a “Yappy Hour” from 6 to 8 p.m. with wine for you and water for your dog. Homage Art Gallery and Café at 16 Main St. is having Teen Open Mic Night from 6 to 8 p.m.

Two pieces in Dina Varano’s new summer collection, “Ocean Dreams.”

ELLE Design Studio presents “Natural Occurrences,” paintings and works on paper, by Deborah Weiss during the month of July. The exhibit opens with an opening reception on July 1, from 5 to 8 p.m.  ELLE design is at 1 Main Street.

At Dina Varano Gallery, First Friday brings the opening of Dina’s jewelry collection for the summer, “Ocean Dreams.” The collection features white and light-hued gemstones with brushed sterling silver that is expertly and intuitively crafted into one-of-a-kind necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. The inspiration came from all things seen and felt at the beach: the light breezes, ocean waves, warm sunshine, and salty-fresh air.

Stop in and take a look at the newly refurbished, resized, refeathered Lark on First Friday, July 1st. Owner Suzie Woodward says, “We are renewed, restored and reinvigorated by the rearranging, readorning and rebrightening of one of Chester’s enchanting shops.  Along with our recelebration for our grand reopening, MaryAnne Delorenzo will be hosting a trunk show featuring beautiful, handmade lamp work and sterling.”

All this plus live music on the Pattaconk Patio, great shopping at the Lori Warner Gallery, and the “Downtown Chester” art show at the Maple & Main Gallery (see separate story and images here).

More details on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT.

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Jacobik Presents Solo Exhibit at Maple & Main Through Aug. 31

Gray Jacobik

Gray Jacobik

CHESTER – Artist and poet Gray Jacobik is combining paintings and her literary work for the first time in a solo exhibit during August in the Stone Gallery at Maple and Main.

“Lines Spoken: In Paint, in Wax, in Words” will feature broadsides of poems paired with paintings so that these two major modes of expression can talk across lines. The formal written lines of verse, where meaning is in the foreground and the visual or graphic element recedes, will be displayed in conjunction with paintings where the visual message dominates and meaning is no less significant, just less determined.

'Dreams Begin Responsibilities,' acrylic, by Gray Jacobik.

‘Dreams Begin Responsibilities,’ acrylic, by Gray Jacobik.

Gray’s paintings in oil, acrylic and encaustic will be on display along with images of corresponding text from her published books including her latest collection of poetry, The Banquet, which is being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

The_Banquet_book_coverGray, who lives and works in Deep River, will give a reading of selected work reading from The Banquet, Thursday, Aug. 25, from 7 to 8 p.m. at Maple and Main.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6p.m.;  Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit Mapleandmaingallery.com or call 860-526-6065.

The Gallery is also on on Facebook and Instagram.

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Award-winning D.B. Rielly Performs Concert in Garden

D.B. Rielly

Photo courtesy of D.B. Rielly

CHESTER – Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery presents the next Concert in the Garden on Thursday, June 30, from 7 to 9 p.m.

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

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

A $20 donation at the door is requested. Feel free to BYOB and picnic and enjoy the outdoor bistro style seating in the amphitheater (inside the gallery if inclement weather).Gates open a half hour before the show. First come first seated. Sorry, no pets allowed.  For more information, call (860) 526-2077 or visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com. The studio is at 1 Spring Street, in the heart of Chester Center.
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Valley Regional Celebrates Class of 2016 With Memories, Music and Merriment

In the distance on the bleachers, the Valley Regional High School Class of 2016. All photos by Laura Matesky of lauramateskyphotography.com

In the distance, the Valley Regional High School Class of 2016 stands on the bleachers. All photos by Laura Matesky of lauramateskyphotography.com

A clear blue sky accompanied by 75° weather and a gentle breeze created the perfect ambience for the Valley Regional High School’s (VRHS) 151 students of the Class of 2016 to graduate this past Wednesday, June 15.

The girls of the Class of 2016 filed into the stadium.

The girls of the Class of 2016 file into the stadium.

Teacher Kevin Woods (wearing sunglasses) filed in with the faculty.

Teacher and boy’s varsity basketball coach Kevin Woods (wearing sunglasses) files in with the faculty.

Valley Regional Principal Michael Barile hugs this year's VRHS Hall of Fame inductee.

Valley Regional Principal Michael Barile hugs this year’s VRHS Hall of Fame inductee.

Valedictorian Christina Mitchel.

Valedictorian Christina Mitchel (above) and Salutatorian Acacia Bowden (below delivered heartfelt and inspirational speeches that led the graduates to reflect on the past, the present, and the future.

Honor Essayist Mary Proteau (below) completed the triumvirate with an equally compelling speech.

Honor Essayist Mary Proteau.

 

While the students gave their speeches, the dignitaries listened attentively.

Principal ?? beamed as he listened to the speeches.

Michael Barile, VRHS Pricipal, smiles broadly as he listens to the speeches.

Several students in the graduating class lightened the mood with two musical numbers.
The bright Scottish tune, “Loch Lomond” was sung by Valley’s senior ensemble choir, including sopranos Angelina Annino, Miranda Holland, Carly Zuppe, Emma Colby, Eme Carlson, Avery Carlson, and Erica Vaccaro; altos Cassidy French, Leslie Clapp, Jordan Adams­Sack, Joy Molyneux, Amanda Hull, Caitlin Glance, and Rachel Breault; tenor Dilan Rojas; and basses John Cappezzone, Brooks Robinson, Riley Sullivan, and Will Elliot. This song showcased seniors Dilan Rojas, Emma Colby, Carly Zuppe, and Eme Carlson.

Valley Regional's Senior Ensemble sang 'Loch Lomond' and "I lived' during the event.

Valley Regional’s Senior Ensemble sang ‘Loch Lomond’ and “I lived’ during the event.

The second musical song, a cover of “I Lived”, by One Republic, was performed by singers Dilan Rojas, Carly Zuppe, and John Cappezzone, supported by Tyler Atkinson on the guitar and Brooks Robinson on drums.

Senior Class Treasurer Julia Hammond and Secretary Katie Amara presented the Class Gift.

Senior Class Treasurer Julia Hammond and Secretary Katie Amara presented the Class gift of benches for the art hallway during the ceremony as well.

The presentation of diplomas began ...

The presentation of diplomas began …

Girl_receives_diploma

… and continued … with Region 4 Superintendent Dr. Ruth Levy shaking each graduate’s hand …

... and ended!

… and ended!

 

Hat_toss

The evening culminated when the class tossed their caps high into the air, symbolizing their level of energy and high ambition for the next chapter of their lives.

When the ceremony was complete, all that remained were fond memories ... and a handful of hats on the ground.

When the ceremony was complete, all that remained were fond memories … and a handful of hats scattered on the ground.

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Roto Frank of America Helps Connecticut’s Veterans

roto frankCHESTER – Supporting Connecticut’s veterans is an issue that is close to the hearts of Roto Frank of America employees. So it wasn’t surprising that when it came time to select a charitable organization for 2016, Roto Frank employees voted overwhelming for Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Each year, employees of Roto Frank of America, Inc. select among five local charities on which to focus their fundraising activities, which include voluntary payroll deductions by employees, food sales, and fifty-fifty raffles. “We’re proud to support Department of Veterans’ Affairs in their efforts to improve the lives of Connecticut veterans and their families,“ said Sue LeMire, Roto Frank of America’s HR/General Accounting Manager.

Based in Rocky Hill, the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs has provided care for veterans and their dependents for over 140 years. This includes a health care facility with approximately 180 beds that provides extended health care to veterans, and a domicile with approximately 483 beds available that provides residents with a continuum of rehabilitation care. Veterans also receive substance abuse treatment, educational and vocational rehabilitation, job skills development, self-enhancement workshops, employment assistance and transitional living opportunities.

Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America, Inc. is a Chester-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. Roto Frank of America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roto AG, a global company headquartered in Germany, with 13 production plants and 40 subsidiaries worldwide. Roto Frank of America offers solutions for North American and European hardware applications, has an extensive product line including its renowned X-DRIVE™ casement and awning window systems, sash locks, window-opening-control-devices, sliding patio door systems, and European window and door hardware, among others.

For more information, visit www.rotohardware.com

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“Stuff-the-Ambulance” in Shoreline Soup Kitchens Food Drive, June 11

Ambulance20162

AREAWIDE – On Saturday, June 11 local ambulance companies across the shoreline are hosting an areawide food drive to collect non-perishable food for local residents in need. Between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., participating ambulance companies will be at:

Adams Hometown Market in Deep River (Deep River and Chester Ambulance)

Colonial Market in Essex (Essex Ambulance)

Roberts Food Center in Madison (Madison Ambulance)

Stop & Shop in Clinton (Clinton Ambulance)

The donations will go to local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP). In the summer there are typically fewer food drives, so this food will go a long way to help restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our communities will have a place at the table.

“We are so grateful to all the town ambulance companies who are generously volunteering their time,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director of SSKP. “Every day they provide life-saving medical care – and now they are giving of themselves to help fill our pantry shelves through the summer months. Many families that are struggling will have healthy food to eat because of their efforts, and our neighbors in need will know that they are part of a community that really cares.”

“It’s just another way we can work together to help the people in need,” said Steve Olsen with the Essex Ambulance Association.

For more information call (860) 388-1988 or visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

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Celebrate First Friday in Chester, Aug. 5

CHESTER – From an open mic night to a trunk show and an art exhibit opening, once again Chester Center will celebrate its First Friday – August 5 – will a lot of fun and special events.

Homage Fine Art & Coffee Lounge, at 16 Main St., once again hosts an acoustic open mic night, a family- friendly gathering, to showcase young local talent. Sing, play music, read poetry, do stand-up comedy or an improv act!  It all begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5.

Young people are invited to join in the fun at Open Mic Night at Homage on First Friday. Shown here, Bailey Hilliar reads her poetry at Homage in July.

Young people are invited to join in the fun at Open Mic Night at Homage on First Friday. Shown here, Bailey Hilliar reads her poetry at Homage in July.

A wine and appetizer opening will celebrate a solo exhibit in the Stone Gallery at Maple and Main from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Artist and poet Gray Jacobik is combining her paintings and her literary work for the first time in her solo exhibit, “Lines Spoken: In Paint, in Wax, in Words,” which will feature broadsides of poems paired with paintings so that these two major modes of expression can talk across lines. Gray’s paintings in oil, acrylic and encaustic will be on display along with images of corresponding text from her published books including her latest collection of poetry, The Banquet, which is being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Maple and Main is at One Maple Street. (Read more about Gray here.)

Screen-Shot-2016-07-17-at-12.18.44-PM-580x350

 

Also on First Friday, Chester’s newest shops will be open. The French Hen will be serving refreshments and offering a discount on all beach house décor, and Strut Your Mutt is having a Yappy Hour, with wine for two-legged visitors.

During the evening, Lark will be featuring Donna Wollum of East Hampton, creator of Pure Bliss.  Donna’s products are all-natural skincare, cosmetics, bath salts, body butters, lip butter scrubs, lip balms and hand-poured soy-wax candles.

Watch Facebook.com/visitchesterct for more news of First Friday in Chester.

 

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New Exhibit Opens in Stone Gallery in Chester

"Blue Forest," Ishita

“Blue Forest,” Ishita Bandyo

 

“Expressions,” an exhibit of abstract and exploratory art, will be featured in the Stone Gallery at Maple and Main Gallery in Chester Center during June.

The experimental but confident paintings are by two artists who’ve been with the gallery since its inception almost seven years ago: Carole Johnson of Haddam Neck and Ishita Bandyo of Branford.  Ishita was born in India and Carole in Connecticut, worlds apart and in very different circumstances, but art has sustained both women through the years and brought them to the same place – the use of layering and collage to produce their distinctive work.

Ishita came from a comfortable upbringing in India and had a master’s degree in Economics before moving to this country where, as a foreigner, she found herself suffering from loneliness and social alienation. Art therapy helped her cope during this difficult period of her life and she became determined to make a career in art, obtaining a BFA from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme.

Though Ishita is an accomplished academic painter, she made a break from traditional art and started experimenting with various methods including assemblage and installation art. In the body of work in “Expressions,” she explores color, texture and symbolism, using motifs of tree, roots, birds, etc. to represent the inner workings of the mind.  Ishita is married and has a daughter.

Carole’s childhood was fraught: foster homes and a Catholic orphanage in New Haven, where she discovered the world of pencils, clay, shapes and colors. Many years later, her love of art helped her weather a first marriage to a violent alcoholic.  Divorce found her raising two sons and returning to college for a marketing degree with a minor in art that led to a partnership in a very successful graphic design firm.

Always a student of the nature of reality, Carole was a frequent seminar speaker and guest on a local TV show, “Ancient Wisdom for Today.” This love of understanding how reality is created set the stage for the evolution of her art. Her original work features people photographed in many other countries, including Colombia, Tanzania, Egypt and China. More and more the abstracted backgrounds became dominant until now much of Carole’s work is non-objective abstract expressionism.

Maple and Main is at the corner of Maple Street and Main Street in the heart of Chester Center. More information at www.mapleandmaingallery.com.

"Freedom Bird. Carole

“Freedom Bird,” Carole Johnson

 

 

 

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Tri-Town Parades Cancelled Because of Forecasted Rain

flags-clip-art-RTdKR6AT9The towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex have cancelled their Memorial Day parades because of the rain in the forecast.

According to the Town of Chester Facebook page, “Due to the impending rain tomorrow- the Memorial Day parade to the Chester Meeting House is cancelled. We WILL be meeting as planned in the [St. Joseph] church parking lot and walking to the War Memorial for a brief ceremony honoring our fallen veterans. Please join us – it will not be the first time Memorial Day will be honored with a sea of umbrellas!”

The Town of Deep River reported via Facebook, “The Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies planned in Deep River for Monday starting at 9:00 am have been cancelled due to impending bad weather. Please remember those who fought for our freedom with your families and friends and have a safe and happy Memorial Day.”

We could not find a posting of the Town of Essex page, but from the Facebook page of Mary Ellen Barnes, the Town of Essex’s Park and Recreation Director, “I just received word that the Memorial Day Parade for the Town of Essex has been cancelled due to anticipated rain. There will be a ceremony at Essex Town Hall at 930am. Please call the Veterans Hall in Centerbrook for more information. +1 (860) 767-8892. Please Share!”

 

 

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Townwide Tag Sales Today Bring Hundreds to Chester

townwide tag sale 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BobS&woman_204KB

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

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

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

Bob Siegrist (left) stands with Ed Munster.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morley Safer

Morley Safer

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Bob Siegrist,
Haddam.

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

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Ribbon Cutting Opens Chester’s Main Street Bridge

ribbon cutting 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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