April 28, 2017

Tr-Towns Observe ‘High on Life’ Week, May 1-6, to Raise Substance Abuse Awareness

Celebrated annually throughout Chester, Deep River, and Essex, High on Life Week will be observed next week, May 1-6, this year as per the three select persons of Chester, Deep River and Essex respectively, Lauren Gister, Angus McDonald and Norm Needleman, who have signed the following Proclamation:

CT State Police report that alcohol and marijuana continue to be used prevalently by young people under 20 in our community.  A recent survey of youth indicates that nearly 40% of Valley students use alcohol and about 24% use marijuana regularly.  There are also emerging concerns that teens are using prescription drugs recreationally, often with alcohol. 

Unfortunately, the communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex are not immune to the current opioid crisis in our nation.  Our Resident State Troopers concur that heroin is now the most common drug found among adults over 25 in our towns.  Drugs and alcohol affect all of us.  Our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends or family members are caught in cycles of using substances to feel better but ultimately succumbing to addiction.

We cannot retreat from any opportunity to enlighten, to inform, and to gain the support of all residents as we work together to ensure that our young people and future generations escape the consequences of lives ruled by substance abuse.

The week of May 1-6 will be such an opportunity.  Tri-Town Youth Services will sponsor the 28th annual substance abuse awareness week to educate our communities about drug and alcohol use and abuse and to help people see that life can be enjoyed to its fullest without drugs.

Our unifying theme this year is: “Self-Esteem”.  The week’s events will include coordinated school assemblies, fun youth activities and community-wide discussions about substance abuse and other addictive behaviors.  Residents are encouraged to attend a Community Breakfast on May 10 from 8-9:30 a.m. at Camp Hazen to discuss local drug trends, share concerns, talk with neighbors about underlying causes and share ideas for connecting with youth and supporting healthy decisions.

Therefore, in recognition of this vital cooperative effort, we, the first selectmen of Chester, Deep River, and Essex, designate May 1-6, 2017 as our tri-town prevention and awareness week and a celebration of our lives free of substance abuse.  We sincerely urge all members of our communities to participate in this week’s important activities.

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From Italy, With Love: Dalia Lazar to Perform Beethoven Sonatas in Chester, Sunday

Internationally renowned pianist Dalia Lazar, who will give a concert at the Chester synagogue April 30.

CHESTER — Though the internationally renowned pianist Dalia Lazar now lives in Italy, she is always eager to perform thousands of miles away, in the town of Chester, Conn. “I love playing at the synagogue, as it so inspires me,” she says. And so she will play here for the third time in the nine-year history of Music & More at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

On Sunday, April 30, at 5 p.m., Lazar offers her interpretations of four Beethoven sonatas in preparation for a European tour that follows, and during which she will play all 32 of the composer’s works for piano. It is a rare chance for local audiences to see a performer who is described by one of many admiring critics, as that rare combination of charisma, personality and terrific pianistic facility.”

David Zeleznik, the director of the series, says, “She continues to come back every other year because she finds the warmth of our audience, and the wonderful acoustics of our space and our Mason & Hamlin piano to be the perfect match for her expressive playing.  And our audiences appreciate both her generous spirit and virtuosity. This will be a singular opportunity to preview Dalia’s European tour in an intimate setting that she adores. Our audiences respond not only her virtuosity but her enthusiasm and charm.”

Lazar does more than talk about Chester and nearby local towns – she invests in them. The last time she performed, her dress, her shoes, and her jewelry all came from local merchants. When she returns, this spring, she brings with her a long list of accomplishments.

She began studying piano at an early age in her native Zabreb, Croatia, when music “made everything come alive,” she says. “Paintings in my grandmother’s room, the trees outside the window, the courtyard’s balconies, suddenly displayed their own life and movement.   My mother, noticing the effect that music had on me, took me to concerts, where I insisted we sit in the first row from where I experienced feelings of wonder and happiness that have stayed with me since. Her first piano teacher recognized her uncommon talent and pianistic ability, and at the age of sixteen she was admitted to Moscow’s P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory.  During her studies in Moscow, Lazar performed throughout Soviet Union. Immediately after her graduation at the Moscow Conservatory, she decided to continue her career in New York and London where she studied with Karl Urlich Schnabel and Maria Curcio.

Lazar made her New York debut at Rubenstein Hall, followed by her Carnegie Recital Hall debut. Since then she has performed a broad repertoire as a soloist in concerts and recitals worldwide, including the United States, Russia, Venezuela, Israel, Switzerland, Croatia, Mexico and Romania.  Her chamber music repertoire includes the works for violin and piano duo and piano trio, which she performed extensively with her late husband, violinist Lucian Lazar.  Her recent CD includes works by Schumann and Chopin.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester, CT.  For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the cbsrz.org website.

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Referendum on Region 4 Budget to be Held Tuesday

The Region 4 Budget Referendum vote will be held Tuesday, May 2, from 12 to 8 p.m. in Chester, Deep River and Essex.

A copy of the proposed 2017-18 budget can be found at this link.

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So Much to Celebrate at ‘May Daze’ on First Friday, May 5

Jewelry will be on sale during May Daze at Dina Varano.

CHESTER – The 26th annual May Daze celebration is First Friday, May 5 when all the shops, restaurants and galleries in town are open late with live music, art events, special deals, Mexican cake, Argentinian sparkling wine, local beer tastings and new lines of artisan jewelry.

This year, because May Daze falls on Cinco de Mayo, a number of businesses are adopting a Mexican flavor for the evening.

Strut your Mutt is staging “Connecticut Shelter Dogs Celebrating Cinco de Mayo” when rescue dogs will be up for adoption and margaritas and chips and salsa will be served.

‘Warmth’ by Pam Carlson of Essex at Maple & Main Gallery.

A Mother’s Day collection of new Leiva jewelry featuring parings of mother/daughter necklaces and earrings, will be unveiled at Lori Warner’s and sangria and sweets will be offered. In the Swoon Boutique downstairs, it’s 10 percent off all Mother’s Day gifts.

At Maple and Main Gallery, “Little Gems”, a show of paintings, all 8”x 8,” all $200 and all newly created by the gallery artists, will open in the Stone Gallery  where wine and Mexican dip and chips will be served.

Mini margaritas will be offered at The French Hen which is launching a new jewelry line by T. Jazelle, created on Cape Cod and perfect for Mother’s Day and graduation.

Dina Varano is offering unique jewelry for mom as well as unveiling new spring arrivals. In another nod to Cinco de Mayo, ginger/lime spritzers with be offered with chips & guacamole.

Perfect Pear will be serving a delicious pinata cake

And, at the Perfect Pear, a festive piñata cake will be served and 10 percent off is being offered on a special selection of Cinco de Mayo-related merchandise.

To herald in spring, The Pattaconk’s ice cream shop will open for the season on May Daze and live music will be performed on the patio from 7 to 10 p.m. while Arrowhead will be playing at Leif Nilsson’s Studio and Gallery .

And for the younger crowd, Circle of Friends Montessori is hosting a May Daze open house from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring music, face painting, art projects and a planting activity with Cold Spring Farm.

C&G is celebrating its 10th anniversary with 10 percent off everything in the store. Argentinian sparkling wine will offered.

A wine tasting by Sunset Hill Vineyards in Lyme will take place at BlackKate Leather and at Chester Package Store there will be a tasting of local beers from 5 to 7 p.m.

At Lark, MaryAnne Delorenzo of Beach House Stained Glass and Jewelry will be featured and wine and appetizers will be served.

At Elle, everything will be 50 percent off in anticipation of a month-long closing in May for renovations and rebranding. A grand re-opening will be on the first Friday in June.

Come back to town Saturday, May 6 when the students in Rayna’s Dance Studio will perform selected numbers from their upcoming recital, “Love and Dance” at noon in the downtown.

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One Weekend, Three New Eagle Scouts for Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 celebrates three new Eagles Scouts. From left to right, James Rutty, Samuel Rutty, Zane Bouregy. Photo by Michael Rutty.

CHESTER/DEEP RIVER — Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America would like to congratulate two Chester brothers and one Centerbrook resident on earning the rank of Eagle Scout. These Eagle Scouts completed projects in the towns of Chester and Haddam Neck.    All the work completed benefits residents and visitors to both towns.

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 18th birthday.

James H. Rutty’s  Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to construct a prayer garden patio with benches and peace pole at the United Church of Chester, allowing residents and visitors a place for quiet reflection and prayer. James was awarded the rank at a joint Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony with his brother Samuel on March 18, 2017 at the United Church of Chester.  Since joining Troop 13, James has earned 85 Merit Badges.  James is a junior at Saint Bernard School in Uncasville, CT.

Samuel M. Rutty’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to raise funds and construct twenty eight foot wood and concrete memorial benches at the Haddam Neck Fairgrounds, providing attendees a place to rest and enjoy the fair.  Sam was awarded the rank at a joint Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony with his brother James on March 18, 2017 at the United Church of Chester.  Since joining Troop 13, Sam has earned 70 Merit Badges.  Samuel is a freshman at Saint Bernard School in Uncasville, CT.

Zane F. Bouregey’s  Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to replace the flagpole, restore the veterans memorial at Cedar Lake and hold a rededication ceremony on December 28, 2016.  Zane was awarded the rank at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor held March 19, 2017 at the Deep River Town Hall.  Since joining Troop 13, Zane has earned 46 Merit Badges.  Zane is a senior at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, CT.

We offer our congratulations to these fine, young men!

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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Free Lecture on Global Warming Scheduled at Chester Village West Tonight

CHESTER — Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, launches its Spring Lifelong Learning Program with two free and open-to-the-public talks in April on topics ripped from today’s headlines. Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, Conn. 06412.

On Monday, April 3, at 4 p.m., Wesleyan University Professor of Government and author John E. Finn, Ph.D. discussed Our Rights of Expression and Religion: Understanding the First Amendment.

Dr. Henry Auer

On Thursday, April 20, at 4 p.m., scientist and Global Warming Blog author Henry E. Auer, Ph.D. will present The Science of Global Warming: Facts and Some Fallacies. Most climate scientists believe that our planet has been warming throughout the industrial period. ​Yet, some others dispute this notion. Dr. Auer will discuss the science of greenhouse warming and assess the extent to which humanity is responsible for it. He will also examine some counter arguments.

Refreshments will be served. Registration is required; seating is limited to 40 people per lecture on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for one or more programs, call 860.322.6455, email ChesterVillageWest@LCSnet.com or visit http://www.chestervillagewestlcs.com/lifestyle/calendar-of-events/.

Upcoming Lifelong Learning lectures at Chester Village West in May and June will include:

Tuesday May 9, 4 p.m.: Ella Grasso, Connecticut’s Pioneering Governor, by Jon Purmont, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus Southern Connecticut State University

Tuesday May 16, 4 p.m.: Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P.T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity by Eric D. Lehman, Ph.D., Professor, University of Bridgeport

Wednesday June 7, 4 p.m.: Nearly everything you need to know about Middlesex Hospital’s Shoreline Medical Center and Shoreline Cancer Center by Middlesex Hospital Marketing VP Laura Martino and Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center Director Justin Drew

Thursday June 22, 4 p.m.: Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker by Author and Journalist Susan Campbell

Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the community was founded more than 25 years ago, Chester Village West residents have directed and embraced active learning. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being. Find out more atchestervillagewestlcs.com; visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Suzanne Levine Reads from New Poetry Collection at ‘Books & Bagels,’ Sunday Morning

CHESTER — Things are almost never what they seem. Hence, the title of Suzanne Levine’s second book of poetry, “Grand Canyon Older Than Thought,” in which she examines the difference between appearances and reality in her own life, in the lives of others, and in our environment.

The best-selling novelist Amy Bloom says, “Suzanne Levine’s new collection is wry. Moving. Surprising. A little autumnal (in a Parisian way). Like Szymborska, Levine is a poet of consciousness, loving the world while seeing every dark and light inch of it. You can peer in Grand Canyon for a long time and be glad of it.”

The public will have a chance to do this as the poet reads from her book in a free Books & Bagels program on Sunday, April 23, at 9:30 a.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek. (No tickets or reservations required.)

Levine’s first book, “Haberdasher’s Daughter,” also published by Antrim House, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award and she has contributed to many literary publications since earning her MFA at Vermont College.

For many years, the poet lived in Chester, and now resides in New Haven, where she answered questions about poetry and her work.

How did you get interested in poetry?

Middle School was the eye opener for me after we read Homer’s “Odyssey” and the next year Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in Middle English. Those were the days when memorization of passages was required and I loved to recite Chaucer’s tongue twisting Prologue, 

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour. 

Still I did not realize these works as poetry per se but I felt the words and recognized their lyrical value. Words began to matter to me and I felt a definite kinship with them and with their power when used purposefully. 

Who are your mentors, heroes?

Because I am now writing in a form of only 100 words to tell an entire “story” my mentors are Emily Dickinson and Lydia Davis and Anne Carson but I always return to Robert Pinsky, James Wright, W.C. Williams, Billy Collins, Wislawa Szymborska, Sylvia Plath for their awesome ability to ignite emotion even in the hearts of those who are afraid of poetry.

Was the rigor and expense of the MFA worth it all?

For me yes, definitely, those two years studying the craft and reading over one hundred books of poetry and poetics and then presenting a dissertation as well as teaching a class on Yeats gave me a firm foundation on which to stand in the world of writing. I know that I am qualified to offer my opinion in workshops and other situations because of the excellent education I received regarding the craft of writing.

What does poetry offer that prose doesn’t?

Nowadays nothing as they are often indistinguishable from one another

What surprises you most when you read in public?

What surprises me probably surprises most presenters, that people actually show up! Every time I read aloud and actually hear my words versus reading them on the page I see them anew and also see where I could have chosen a better word or changed a line ending and I make note to revisit the work. 

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

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Madhatters Announce Summer Camps in Chester

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company is now accepting registrations for their summer productions at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street in Chester, Conn.  Camps run Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a performance on Friday.

Junior production ‘Madagascar’ open to ages 6-12 years July 24 through 28.

Senior production ‘Legally Blonde’ open to ages 12-18 years July 31 through Aug. 4.

To register, e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com

For further information, visit www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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Register Now to be Listed on the Chester Town Wide Tag Sale Map; Sale is May 27

CHESTER — All Chester Residents who wish to sell what they no longer need can join their neighbors in participating in the annual tradition of the Chester Town-Wide Tag Sale on Saturday, May 27 (Memorial Day weekend), from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.  For the fifth year in a row, the Chester Republican Town Committee is organizing this 25-year event, which brings thousands of people to Chester for a day of tag sale buying, eating and shopping.

It is easy to do—get on the map that directs the traffic to your doorstep.   To be listed on the map, you must be a Chester resident; if you are a business, your sale address must be in Chester.

Listing forms are available through Kris at kris.seifert@gmail.com and at LARK! In the Town Center.  The listing fee is $10 for residences or businesses or $25 for businesses that wish to include a small 1-1/2” by 1-1/2” advertisement.  Deadline for inclusion in the map is May 25 to enable the printing of the map.   But don’t wait, space fills up quickly.   

To everyone who wants to have a fun and adventurous day in Chester, mark May 27 on your calendar and come to the town-wide tag sale—rain or shine.  As you enter town, you will see friendly volunteers selling maps  (at $1) that will give the locations of everyone who wants to see you.  Spend more time with them and less time trying to find them by randomly driving around– although, that is fun,  too.

Make a day of it and enjoy all that the Town of Chester has to offer.

When you are ready to take a break, restaurants will welcome you with coffee, fresh baked treats, and great food any time of day. The downtown merchants – some of them new like Black Leather, The French Hen, Strut the Mutt and The Perfect Pear – will welcome you with open arms, with shelves stocked with specials, and galleries filled with unique objects of desire.  Don’t forget to pick up a loaf or two of Simon’s well-known bread.

The downtown area is revitalized – check out the new bridge (or bridgework) and sidewalks.  If you want to learn about the town, walk into the Chester Historical Society’s Museum at the Mill in the center of town where you can learn about the Life and Industry along the Pattaconk.  Walk up to the Chester Meeting House or simply stroll about and enjoy the day.

Proceeds from listing fees, map sales, and advertising on the map are used to promote the event throughout Connecticut.  Net proceeds from this event benefit the Chester Republican Town Committee’s general fund.

If you have questions or require more information, email kris.seifert@gmail.com or phone 860-526-8440 / 714-878-9658.

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The Rockfall Foundation Announces 12 Grants for Environmental Projects

AREAWIDE — The Board of Directors and Grants Committee of the Rockfall Foundation are pleased to announce that twelve environmental programs throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley received grants in the latest funding cycle. More than $28,000 was awarded to support environmental education and conservation efforts that will have a combined benefit for nearly 2,000 students and many more adults and families in the region.

“These grants, awarded through a competitive process, support the wonderful work being done in the area of environmental education and conservation throughout our region,” said Marilyn Ozols, President of the Foundation. “We are grateful that the generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to support so many worthwhile programs.”

Environmental education is a priority area for the Foundation and programs that serve and engage children and youth represent the several of those receiving grants. Public schools and non-profit organizations will provide hands-on environmental education programs in Middletown, Durham, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Additionally, several conservation projects and public events will present residents throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley with information on urban farming, removal of invasives, and tree identification, as well as provide volunteer opportunities.

Grantees include:

Indian Hill Cemetery Association – “A Celebration of the Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery” will encourage visitors to utilize Indian Hill Cemetery as a place where they can learn about trees, be inspired by trees, enjoy the view and walk quietly. Tree identification activities, school programs, and the addition of signs will support this effort. $1,000

Van Buren Moody Elementary School – “Moody School Courtyard Nature Enrichment Programs” will train teachers to use the school’s courtyard gardens for education enrichment, thereby increasing the amount of time students spend outside learning about the environment. The program will also involve students and families in maintaining and managing the gardens to create a sense of ownership and connection to the courtyards and the natural world. $1,030

Regional School District 13 Elementary Schools – “Taking the Next Generation Science Standards Outside” will encourage elementary students to engage in the Science and Engineering Practices emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, while exploring the nature trails near their schools and noting problems that could be investigated and addressed. $1,100

Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District – “Urban Farm-Based Education Programs at Forest City Farms: A Farm Days Pilot Project” will promote an ongoing urban agriculture initiative in Middletown focused on improving urban farming conservation practices, building community interest and engagement in farming, developing farming/gardening knowledge and skills, and helping address food insecurity. Hands-on activities will take place at Forest City Farms. $1,500

Middlesex Land Trust and Everyone Outside – “Middlesex Land Trust Preserves: Great Places to Spend Time Outside” will revive and foster an interest in nature by connecting children and families with their local environment through field trips and public trail walks, helping them gain an understanding and appreciation of nature in order to become future stewards of the environment. $1,500

Snow Elementary School – “Outdoor Explorations at Snow Elementary School” will provide students and teachers with hands-on science and nature programs, including teacher training, mentoring and curriculum development leading to greater interest in science and stewardship of the natural world. $1,900

Lyme Land Conservation Trust – “The Diana and Parker Lord Nature and Science Center” to support the planning and development of educationally-focused content that is directed to all ages and will engage school-age children, and to support a unique and interactive interpretive trail within the Banningwood Preserve. $2,000

Valley Shore YMCA – “Farm to Table Specialty Camp,” an innovative new program that will teach children the important life skills of gardening, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and environmental sustainability. $2,225

Macdonough Elementary School – “Macdonough School Takes the Classroom Outside” will provide hands-on science education for K through 5th grade students, including an understanding of the natural world and the local ecosystem, to enhance students’ connection with nature. $2,570

Connecticut River Watershed Council – “European Water Chestnut Strategy for the Connecticut River Watershed” will directly educate more than 250 individuals on how to identify, manage and report European Water Chestnuts; educate thousands of residents about the plant and its threat to our waterways; and involve volunteers in hand removal of documented infestations. $3,500

Connecticut Forest and Park – “Highlawn Forest Invasive Removal and Education Program,” part of a strategic Forest Management Plan, to use the property as a recreation and education asset through careful timbering and an invasive removal process. The program will be a model for environmental planning and will offer a unique opportunity for hands-on environmental education for landowners and municipalities. $4,000

SoundWaters – “Coastal Explorers: A Bridge for Sustainability for Watershed Exploration for Middle School Students” will provide students from Middlesex County with hands-on science education focused on their local estuarine habitats and watershed to encourage a deeper understanding of the natural world via a combination of study and stewardship activities. $6,000

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is named for the large waterfall in Wadsworth Falls State Park. In addition to its grants, the Foundation sponsors educational programs and owns and maintains the deKoven House Community Center. The Rockfall Foundation awards grants annually through a competitive process that is open to non-profit organizations and municipalities located in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. For additional information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.rockfallfoundation.org  or call 860-347-0340.

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Fire House Food Drive Benefits Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries Today

Shoreline Fire Departments hold a food drive Saturday, April 8, to benefit SSKP.

AREAWIDE — For the sixth consecutive year, Connecticut shoreline fire departments will host a one-day food drive on Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to collect non-perishable food for shoreline residents in need.

All donations will go to local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP.)

The SSKP hopes to include all fire departments in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. Fire departments already committed to the event include: Old Saybrook FD, 310 Main Street; (and once again this year, drop-offs will also be accepted by the OSFD at the Stop and Shop in Old Saybrook and Big Y in Old Saybrook); Westbrook FD, 15 South Main Street; Essex FD, 11 Saybrook Road; Clinton FD, 35 East Main Street; North Madison FD, 864 Opening Hill Road; and Chester FD, 6 High Street. All area fire departments are encouraged to participate.

At a time of year when food donations are low, this food drive will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our local communities will have a place at the table. The Soup Kitchens’ five pantries distributed over 1 million pounds of food last year to needy residents. Only 40 percent of this food comes from the CT Food Bank; the remainder must be either purchased or donated, so every item is appreciated.

Last year’s drive brought in close to 4,000 pounds of food, and this year’s goal is 6,000 pounds.

Join the effort by donating food, or by holding a food drive in your neighborhood, workplace, or club, and then bringing it to a participating firehouse on Saturday, April 8. Participating fire departments ask those donating food only to drop off food on Saturday, April 8.

Please do not drop off food before that date.

For more information call (860) 388-1988 or email Claire Bellerjeau at cbellerjeau@shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provide food and fellowship to people in need and educate the community about hunger and poverty, serving 11 shoreline towns. Founded 28 years ago, they accomplish their mission with the help of over 900 dedicated volunteers. Last year SSKP provided food for over one million meals to 8,000 local residents in need.

For more information on volunteering, visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org and get updates on Facebook. The SSKP thanks you for supporting their mission to provide food and fellowship to people in need and educate the community about hunger and poverty.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ Tonight in Chester with $525 Give-Away, New Martini, New Art, New Jewelry & More

CHESTER — It’s First Friday again in Chester on April 7.  Most village shops and galleries will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. for this festive evening.

Visitors who come to Chester’s downtown between Friday, March 3 and Friday, April 7 have a chance at winning a March Madness shopping spree worth more than $500. This special promotion kicked off on First Friday in March and ends First Friday in April: shoppers, diners and gallery-goers can pick up a special “Chester” card at any business and each time they buy something, their card will be validated.

Once they’ve made purchases at seven different locations, their card is eligible for the drawing April 7 when the winner will receive $25 gift certificates from each of the eight restaurants and 13 merchants participating.

Every store, gallery and restaurant in town is on board, and the cards are available at each of them.

Suzie Woodward of ‘Lark’ prepares for ‘First Friday’ in Chester.

Completed cards should be turned in to The Perfect Pear at 51 Main Street no later than 5 p.m. April 7 for the grand-prize drawing at 6 p.m. Players can complete more than one card for entry. The winner need not be present to win.

These customers of “Strut Your Mutt” are ready for ‘First Friday.’

The participating restaurants are: The Good Elephant, Otto, Pattaconk 1850 Bar and Grille, River Tavern, Simon’s Marketplace, Thai Riverside, The Villager and The Wheatmarket.

The eligible retail shops and galleries are Black Kat Leather, Dina Varano, Elle Design Studio, The French Hen, Lark, Lori Warner Gallery and Swoon and Maple & Main Gallery, Also: The Perfect Pear, R.J Vickers Herbery, the Chester Bottle Shop, Strut Your Mutt, Matt Austin Studio and Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery.

Tonight, Leif Nilsson will be hosting an Opening Reception for his Watch Hill Paintings at his Spring Street Studio and Gallery, where his band Arrowhead will also be playing.

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Maple & Main Gallery Hosts Spring Exhibit

‘The Overlook’ by Pam Carlson of Essex is one of the signature paintings of the Spring Exhibition at Maple & Main.

CHESTER –- The opening reception for the Spring Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery will be Saturday, April 8 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The party includes a wine tasting from 6 to 7 p.m. by Eric Nelsen, owner of the Chester Package Store, and from 6 to 8 p.m., an assortment of appetizers and sweets and wines will be offered.

‘Homophony’ by Gray Jacobik of Deep River is featured in the exhibition. The work is gouache on cradled panel 36x36x2.5,

The show will feature new works by 48 established painters and sculptors ranging from traditional to abstract in a wide variety of sizes, medium and price points.

From April 5 through 30, the art department of Haddam-Killingworth High School will display work in the Stone Gallery with an opening party, April 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. In May, in there will be a special show of 8 x 8 paintings by Maple and Main artists in the Stone Gallery with an opening on First Friday, May 5 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Spring Exhibit opens Wednesday, April 5 and runs through Sunday, June 18.

Maple and Main Gallery is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.; Friday, from noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please visit our webpage: mapleandmaingallery.com or facebook page. 860-526-6065; mapleandmain@att.net.

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Andy Schatz to Receive Social Justice Award at CBSRZ, Saturday

CHESTER/WESTBROOK — Over many years, Andy Schatz has devoted his professional life as a lawyer to civil liberties and social justice – advocating on behalf of health care for the poor, rights for the disabled, improved educational opportunities for minorities, consumer protection and a host of other public causes.

For all these efforts the Westbrook resident has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Philip Scheffler Pursuers of Peace and Justice Award, given by Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

He will be honored at a Shabbat service on Saturday, April 8, at 10:30 a.m., to which the public is invited, and that is followed by a luncheon, the award presentation and a panel discussion on social justice and the news media.

Susan Peck, chair of the committee that selects awardees each year, said, “The CBSRZ community is proud to honor our congregant. We are keenly aware from recent events that constant vigilance is required to preserve and protect civil rights and civil liberties for all, and to promote social justice for those members of our community who are unable to do so on their own.  Through his exemplary work in these areas, Andy Schatz is a hero.  There is no more worthy recipient this award.”

Schatz is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Civil Rights, Civil Liberties Law Review.  He has served over the years in many organizations, including Advocates for the Handicapped, Legal Aid of Chicago, West Hartford Community Television, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, the American Civil Liberties Union, both as a national board and executive committee member, and as president and vice president of the Connecticut chapter.

As a law student and later as a lawyer he pursued successful class action litigation regarding consumer and anti-trust matters, challenges to strip searches of female arrestees, school segregation and government intrusion, and has worked on a wide range of issues involving the rights of prisoners.

He has also been the chair of the CBSRZ Social Action committee over the last five years. With his fellow congregants he has led efforts to alleviate the effects of poverty, including food drives and meal sites for Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, and furnishing apartments for the homeless, clothing drives for children, and similar projects.  In addition, under his leadership, the committee has supported and sometimes led legislative efforts aimed at gun control, children’s rights, and racial justice.

The award is named after Philip Scheffler, a congregant who had a long career at CBS News as a producer and as executive editor of 60 Minutes and who died in April 2016. Andy Schatz is the second recipient of the award.  Martha Stone, of Durham, longtime director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy, was the first.

The panel discussion after the Shabbat service will feature Schatz, along with James Jacoby (former colleague of Scheffler at CBS News), Allan Appel (of the New Haven Independent), and Jeff Cohen (WNPR).

In order to be sure to accommodate all who wish to attend, the congregation asks that those interested to RSVP either by calling the CBSRZ office, (860) 526-8920, or by registering online at www.cbsrz.org.

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Chester Synagogue Hosts Open House Today

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is hosting an open house Sunday, April 2, to learn about their educational opportunities for children and teenagers. Tour the building, meet teachers and watch the students in action as they present our Passover program,The Living Haggadah, for their parents and congregants.

Open house begins at 10 a.m. and the Living Haggadah program begins at 11 a.m. Call the office at (860) 526-8920 with questions or visit cbsrz.org to learn more about the synagogue or their many educational and cultural programs.

CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT 06412  

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Environmental Symposium Examines “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” Today in Haddam

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will deliver the keynote address at the March 31 symposium.

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation and UConn Climate Adaptation Academy present an environmental symposium about changing precipitation patterns on Friday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UConn Middlesex County Extension Office, 1066 Saybrook Road, Haddam.

The focus is “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” and the symposium will examine shifting patterns that produce extreme weather occurrences from rain bombs to drought. Discussion will include the impacts on communities and a variety of adaptive responses for municipalities, residents, and businesses.

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will give a keynote address “Examining Trends in Temperature, Precipitation and Flood Frequency in the Northeast; A Tale of Extremes.”

Other presenters and panelists will discuss the effects on our personal lives and the communities we live in, including the challenges of managing infrastructure, maintaining adequate water supplies, supporting local agriculture, fighting insect borne disease, and planning for smart design. Participants include:

  • Amanda Ryan, Municipal Stormwater Educator, UConn CLEAR and Michael Dietz, CT NEMO Program Director – Addressing how the type and frequency of storms affects compliance with MS4 requirements and the effectiveness of LID solutions.
  • David Radka, Director of Water Resource and Planning, Connecticut Water Company and Ryan Tetreault, CT Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section – Discussion of public and private water supplies with a focus on how we ensure sufficient clean water for all.
  • Ian Gibson, Farm Manager, Wellstone Farm – Relating the local agricultural experience of a small farmer and how changing precipitation patterns alter the way he farms.
  • Roger Wolfe, Mosquito Management Coordinator, CT DEEP Wetland Habitat & Mosquito Management Program – How best to control changes in mosquito populations caused by heavy rains and periods of drought.
  • Anne Penniman, ASLA, Principal/Owner, Anne Penniman Associates – Insight on how site development (plant material, surface material, drainage) can be modified to better tolerate and accommodate changing precipitation patterns.
  • Kirk Westphal, PE, CDM Smith Project Manager for CT State Water Plan – An update on the development of Connecticut’s first State Water Plan and how citizens can participate in the process.

“The symposium will be of key interest to local elected and appointed officials, land use planners, developers, and town planning and commission members,” said Robin Andreoli, executive director of the Rockfall Foundation. “And the presentations and follow-up discussions should engage all who are concerned with effective community planning.”

To register or for additional information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340. Support is provided in part by CDM Smith, Xenelis Construction, Milone & MacBroom, and Planimetrics. Proceeds benefit the environmental education programs of the Rockfall Foundation.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through financial grants and educational programming. Founded in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation owns and maintains the historic deKoven House in Middletown, which is a community center with meeting rooms and office space for non-profit groups.

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Leif Nilsson Hosts Eric Lichter & Kerri Powers at Next ‘Concert in the Garden,’ May 25

Eric Lichter and Kerri Powers will play at Spring Street Gallery, May 25.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts a Thursday evening ‘Concert in the Garden,’ May 25, from 7 to 9 p.m.,  featuring Eric Lichter and Kerri Powers at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center.

Chip McCabe of Lonesome Noise says of Powers that she, “… is something of an anomaly. She’s like the music scene’s version of the protagonist in the film, “The Natural,” having spent the “prime of her career” out of the spotlight — in her case, tending to her family — only to return from absolutely nowhere to wow and amaze. Where Robert Redford made all the fans sit up and cheer with mammoth home runs, Kerri Powers is going to make people listening to this album do the exact same thing with exceptional song writing and equally exceptional delivery

Red Line Roots of Boston says of Eric Michael Lichter  that he is, “A product of the Laurel Canyon sound popularized by CSN, Jackson Browne, Eagles, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Fleet Foxes, Jonathan Wilson, Father John Misty, etc, Eric Lichter’s music is perfectly out of time. With two records under his belt (Chorduroy and OWL respectively) he’s busy working on a follow up.”

Red Line Roots continue, “Writing, crafting, and performing great songs is one thing that a lot of folks struggle with. Doing that all while making other people’s songs sound amazing is an entirely different beast. A beast that Eric Lichter has mastered again and again and is displayed strongly in all of the recordings that come out of his studio, Dirt Floor Recording Studio in Connecticut. Eric is the type of musical talent that doesn’t come around too often. Extremely humble, yet insanely talented. This is the kind of guy you want to make music with and be best pals with. That’s why he is a Must Know Musician”

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

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

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

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Tri-Town Youth Services Hosts Mother-Daughter Night Out, Tuesday

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services invites local 5th grade girls and their mothers or caregivers to attend a special program with Health Educator, Patty Cournoyer on Tuesday, March 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the John Winthrop Middle School Library.

One of Tri-Town’s most popular programs, “Getting Ready for the Change,” gives mothers and daughters an opportunity to talk about all of the changes that take place as the girls become young women.  Cournoyer will facilitate a fun, informative, interactive and sometimes humorous discussion about puberty.  She will create a safe, comfortable environment and give moms and daughters ideas to help them keep talking to one another, even when it’s a little uncomfortable.

The program fee is $25 per mother-daughter pair and space is limited to 12 pairs.  Call 860-526-3600 to reserve your spot or register online at  www.tritownys.org.

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Leif Nilsson Celebrates Lyme Land Conservation Trust’s Golden Anniversary with 50:50 Offer

CAT# 3406 Hamburg Cove Oil 24 x 54 inches Leif Nilsson Summer 2016 ©

CHESTER/LYME — It’s time to celebrate the Lyme Land Conservation Trust’s Golden Anniversary!

Buy a box of matches, a print or a painting owned by Leif Nilsson at the studio between March 17 and May 21 and 50 percent of the purchase price will be donated to the Lyme Land Conservation Trust by making two payments; one for 50 percent of the price plus sales tax to the studio and one for the remaining 50 percent to the Lyme Land Conservation Trust.

Click here to preview Leif’s art. 

The Spring Street Studio & Gallery is located at 1 Spring Street, Chester, CT 06412.  Studio Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m., by appointment, or other hours call 860-526-2077.

 

 

 

 

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Opening Reception for ‘Nilsson & Newton’ Exhibit, May 19

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery at One Spring Street, Chester, presents Nilsson & Newton, a special exhibit of paintings by Leif Nilsson and sculptures by Richard Newton with a wine tasting provided by Sunset Hill Vineyard of Lyme, Conn., on Friday, May 19, from 5  to 8 p.m.

Nilsson works with oil paint on canvas and Newton works with shaped and painted steel. The exhibit will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and other times by appointment through June 4, 2017.

Oil paint on steel  52 x 168 inches by Richard Newton

Mdina, Malta – spring afternoon  oil 12 x 18 inches by Leif Nilsson 2017 ©

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Rep. Bob Siegrist Holds Workshop Monday to Learn How to Lower Your Electric Bill

Rep. Bob Siegrist

AREAWIDE  — The public is invited to meet with State Rep. Bob Siegrist (R-36th) and rate specialists from the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) for an informative workshop to learn how to lower your electric bill on Monday, March 20 at the Deep River Public Library located at 150 Main St., Deep River.

The event will run from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

All interested residents are encouraged to attend and to bring a recent copy of their electric bill.

Rate specialists from PURA will be on hand to lead the event and assist with questions.

Rep. Siegrist (Robert.Siegrist@housegop.ct.gov) represents Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.  He can be reached at 800 842 1423  or on the web at www.RepSiegrist.com.

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‘The Maccabeats’ to Perform in Chester at CBSRZ, Sunday

The Maccabeats, who will be performing at CBSRZ, March

CHESTER — The Maccabeats, a singing group that set a record for a video going viral (more than 10 million hits in eight days), and that performed for President Barack Obama in the East Room and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion, will bring their unique brand of harmony, humor, and musical inventiveness to Chester on Sunday, March 19, at 5 p.m., at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

David Zeleznik, producer of the synagogue’s Music & More series, says, “The Maccabeats are an a cappella group from the heart of Brooklyn that started at Yeshiva University with incredibly hunky young men, terrific voices, and a good dose of humor that is the closest thing to a Jewish youth sensation these days. And adults should not feel left out, these guys are just plain fun and joyous.” See video of The Maccabeats at https://www.youtube.com/user/MaccabeatsVideos.

The group, with its name inspired by the Maccabeats, heroes of the Chanukah story, became literally an overnight sensation during the holiday season in 2010.  It used a tune by Taio Cruz, “Dynamite,” and turned it into “Candlelight,” a playful Chanukah celebration — “I flip my latkes in the air sometimes, saying ‘ay-oh,’ spin the dreidel” — that it went viral so fast that it soon became number one on the Billboard Comedy Digital Track Charts.

The Maccabeats have followed up with a variety of songs and albums that have reinvented Jewish music, and have been cheered by audiences on five continents. Recently, the group released another video, this one reinterpreting the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton” as a Jewish story.  https://youtu.be/u3UubcYj49k

A sell-out crowd is expected so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. Advance general admission tickets are $35 for adults (or $40 at door, pending availability) and free admission for children 16 and under.  As always at Music & More concerts, ticket price includes an after-concert reception and an opportunity to meet the band.

For tickets and more information, see www.cbsrz.org, or call the synagogue office at (860) 526-8920.

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Inter-Religious Clergy of CT River Valley Host Three-Part Interfaith Dinner Reception; Third Event to be Held in Chester, May 15

AREAWIDE — An Inter-Religious Clergy Alliance of CT is organizing an unifying three-part Interfaith Dinner Reception and Scripture study of spiritually awakening proportions free and open to all ages and backgrounds. Amid rising divisiveness, multiple religious communities, including Jewish, Christian, and Islamic, of CT River Valley are uniting on an educational platform to celebrate the affinities shared between their sacred traditions and counter the rise of injustice through peace-loving action.

The progressive gatherings will feature timely topics and interactive workshops advancing fellowship and solidarity betwixt diversity followed by engaging Q & A sessions. The enlightening programs will foster unique opportunities for attendees to work together in building bridges instead of walls and serve as a workable model for the larger community. Complimentary dinners will be served.

The first of these events entitled “Peacebuilding and Justice” was held at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek located at 55 E Kings Highway, Chester, CT 06412 on Monday, March 20.

The second of these events entitled “Responsibility to Our Fellow Human Beings” will be held at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community CT Baitul Aman House of Peace Mosque located at 410 Main St, Meriden, CT 06451 on Monday, April 24, at 6 p.m.

The third of these events entitled “Prayer and Spiritual Practices” will be held at the United Church of Chester located on 29 W Main St, Chester, CT 06412 on Monday, May 15, at 6 p.m.

These events are co-hosted also in collaboration with First Baptist Church in Essex, First Church of Christ, Congregational in East Haddam, and Trinity Lutheran Church in Centerbrook.

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RiverQuest Offers Osprey/Eagle Cruises on Connecticut River From Haddam

An osprey on its nest is an imposing sight.

Late March into early April is when the Osprey returns to Connecticut from its southern wintering grounds. It is a wonderful sign that spring is finally here.

The Osprey is a large bird of prey with a 4’6” to 6’ wingspan that eats only fish, hence, it is sometimes referred to as the Fish Hawk. Ospreys migrate south for the winter months to areas where their food supply will not be affected by frozen rivers and lakes. They settle down in the southern US, Central America, South America, and have been seen as far south as Argentina. Ospreys of breeding age are returning north now, to start a new nest or to re-establish a nest they may have used in previous years.

There are many Osprey nests along the lower Connecticut River, from the mouth of the river in Old Lyme/Old Saybrook up river as far north as Middletown. There will be activity on the many man-made nesting platforms at the Roger Tory Peterson Preserve in Old Lyme and on other platforms located along the Connecticut River, in “natural” tree settings and on the top of each of the large navigation aids that mark the river channel.

A great way to see this nesting activity is by boat.

RiverQuest, an eco-tour vessel located at Eagle Landing State Park in the Tylerville section of Haddam is offering several cruises to the general public throughout the month of April to view and learn about the Osprey and other wildlife that may be spotted, including hawks and another famous raptor, the Bald Eagle.

After disappearing from Connecticut in 1948, the Bald Eagle has made a return and there are several active eagle nests on the river. Two of these nests will be visible from RiverQuest and we will most likely see one or more of our resident Bald Eagles.

Other areas of interest that will be seen on our cruise include the Goodspeed Opera House, Gillette Castle and the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry. The cruises are approximately 2.5 hours in length and cost $40 per passenger (no children under 10-years-old.) There are binoculars on board for loan during the cruise and complimentary coffee and tea. To learn more about these informative cruises and to reserve your spot with our easy on-line booking, please visit: ctriverquest.com or call the RiverQuest  phone: 860-662-0577.

Osprey/Eagle Cruise Dates:

Saturday, April 1: 1:30pm

Saturday, April 8: 10:00am

Saturday, April 15: 4:00pm

Thursday, April 20: 1:30pm

Sunday, April 23: 1:30pm

Saturday, April 29: 4:00pm

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Winter Storm Stella

First snow plow of the day … there surely will be many more.

Winter Storm Stella is here.

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency meaning a statewide travel ban is in effect. Region 4 Schools, Essex, Chester and Deep River Schools, Town Halls and Libraries, and many businesses from the size of Pfizer, Inc. downwards are closed.  Events galore have been cancelled and a parking ban is in effect on all town roads in Essex from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. today.

In the event of a real emergency, call 911.  

State and local officials urge residents to stay off the roads during the storm … and stay safe.

Latest weather reports, however, predict Southeastern Connecticut will not now experience the brunt of the storm with the snow turning first to sleet and then rain later this morning.

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Stonewell Farm Hosts Two-Day Workshop on Dry Stone Wall Building, April 29, 30

Andrew Pighill’s work includes outdoor kitchens, wine cellars, fire-pits, fireplaces and garden features that include follies and other whimsical structures in stone.

Andrew Pighill’s work includes outdoor kitchens, wine cellars, fire-pits, fireplaces and garden features that include follies and other whimsical structures in stone.

KILLINGWORTH — On April 29 and 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily,  Andrew Pighills, master stone mason, will teach a two-day, weekend long workshop on the art of dry stone wall building at Stonewell Farm in Killingworth, CT.

Participants will learn the basic principles of wall building, from establishing foundations, to the methods of dry laid (sometimes called dry-stacked) construction and ‘hearting’ the wall. This hands-on workshop will address not only the structure and principles behind wall building but also the aesthetic considerations of balance and proportion.

This workshop expresses Pighill’s  commitment to preserve New England’s heritage and promote and cultivate the dry stone wall building skills that will ensure the preservation of our vernacular landscape.

This workshop is open to participants, 18 years of age or older, of all levels of experience. Note the workshop is limited to 16 participants, and spaces fill up quickly.

You must pre-register to attend the workshop.  The price for the workshop is  $350 per person. Stonewell Farm is located at 39 Beckwith Rd., Killingworth CT 06419

If you have any questions or to register for the workshop, contact the Workshop Administrator Michelle Becker at 860-322-0060 or mb@mbeckerco.com

At the end of the day on Saturday you’ll be hungry, tired and ready for some rest and relaxation, so the wood-fired Stone pizza oven will be fired up and beer, wine and Pizza Rustica will be served.

About the instructor: 

 Born in Yorkshire, England, Andrew Pighills is an accomplished stone artisan, gardener and horticulturist. He received his formal horticulture training with The Royal Horticultural Society and has spent 40+ years creating gardens and building dry stone walls in his native England in and around the spectacular Yorkshire Dales and the English Lake District.

Today, Pighills is one of a small, but dedicated group of US-based, certified, professional members of The Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA) of Great Britain. Having moved to the United States more than 10 years ago, he now continues this venerable craft here in the US, building dry stone walls, stone structures and creating gardens throughout New England and beyond.

His particular technique of building walls adheres to the ancient methods of generations of dry stone wallers in his native Yorkshire Dales. Pighills’ commitment to preserving the integrity and endurance of this traditional building art has earned him a devoted list of private and public clients here and abroad including the English National Trust, the English National Parks, and the Duke of Devonshire estates.

His stone work has been featured on British and American television, in Charles McCraven’s book The Stone Primer, and Jeffrey Matz’s Midcentury Houses Today, A study of residential modernism in New Canaan Connecticut. He has featured  in the N Y Times, on Martha Stewart Living radio, and in the Graham Deneen film short  “Dry Stone”, as well as various media outlets both here and in the UK, including an article in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Yankee Magazine.

Pighills is a DSWA fully qualified dry stone walling instructor. In addition to building in stone and creating gardens, Pighills teaches dry stone wall building workshops in and around New England.

He is a frequent lecturer on the art of dry stone walling, and how traditional UK walling styles compare to those found in New England. His blog, Heave and Hoe; A Day in the Life of a Dry Stone Waller and Gardener, provides more information about Pighills.

For more information, visit www.englishgardensandlandscaping.com

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Celebrate 110 Years of Montessori Education at Circle of Friends Today

CHESTER — Students and staff members at Circle of Friends Montessori, 25 West Main St., Chester, invite community members to come join in their celebration of Montessori Education Week with two special open houses.

Come take a firsthand look at their child-centered, individualized approach to education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first female physician in Italy.  See how multi-age groupings, a rich curriculum, and hands-on materials can benefit young children and help them to develop a lifelong love of learning.

The classroom will be open on Monday, Feb. 27, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and again on Friday, March 3, from 4 to 6 p.m.

For more information or to schedule a visit, call (860) 526-9995.

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Sen. Linares Proposes Electoral College Vote for 2nd Congressional District

Sen. Art Linares gives testimony in the Connecticut Senate.

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) on Wednesday testified before the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee in support of a bill he proposed to give the 2nd Congressional District its own vote in the Electoral College.

SB 133, An Act Concerning The Electoral College Vote Attributed To The State’s Second Congressional District, was submitted by Sen. Linares as a way to give a voice and more visibility to the people and businesses of the 2ndCongressional District.

During his testimony, Sen. Linares said that while people know the Naval Submarine Base and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, other areas of the district don’t get much notice.

“Presidents and vice presidents are customary speakers at Academy graduations. Members of Congress tour the facility that is the United States Navy’s primary East Coast submarine base,” Sen. Linares said. “However, during presidential primary and election years, the Second Congressional District and its important facilities are passed by. I’d like to change that.”

Sen. Linares said his bill would use the popular vote in the district to determine what candidate would get the Electoral College vote from the district. In addition to possibly generating more interest from presidential candidates, he said the bill would give the 2nd Congressional District the attention the unique area deserves,

Senator Linares represents the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Solarize Chester/Deep River Participation Deadline Extended to March 31


CHESTER & DEEP RIVER: 
The deadline has been extended to March 31 for homeowners who live, work, and/or worship in Chester and Deep River to receive discounted rates for residential solar installations through the Solarize Chester/Deep River program.

The Chester Energy Team and the Towns of Chester and Deep River have worked with a single installer, C-TEC Solar, over the past 18 weeks doing solar education and outreach, as well as offering discounted pricing for residents.

Due to high recent interest in the program, the Solarize Chester/Deep River deadline has been extended and the reduced pricing will be held for residents who participate by March 31.

The Solarize Chester/Deep River offer saves residents an average of $4,032 or 20 percent off what they would pay for a system at market pricing. The Solarize Chester/Deep River program offers residents quality equipment with a reputable company for a lower investment than what is typically available due to the aggregated savings of residents going solar together in the community.

People who are interested in finding out more about the program or if their home is right for solar can stop by can sign up to have an evaluation of their home for solar at no cost when they sign up at solarizect.com/Chester.

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Celebrate Winter Today at Chester’s 26th Annual Winter Carnivale

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. File photo by John Stack.

CHESTER — The townspeople of Chester are looking forward to their 26th annual winter celebration, Chester Winter Carnivale, on Sunday, Feb. 19.

That’s when the picturesque small town of Chester is filled with people cheering on ice carvers as they create beautiful sculptures from blocks of ice, while laughing at the antics of street performers and applauding a long parade of new and antique tractors being driven down Main Street by their proud owners. All that, and food, music, art, and shopping too!

Bill Bernhart stands proudly beside his ice carving at the Chester Carnivale in this 2012 file photo by John Stack.

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. when the carvers get started on their ice sculptures. Both professional and student ice carvers will be hard at work, demonstrating their techniques to onlookers while they try to be finished by 1 p.m. for judging.

Meanwhile, the Chester Hose Company, Inc. is holding its annual “Chilly Chili Cook Off” fundraiser. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to the Chester Hose Company Fire House at 6 High Street and pay your $5 admission so you can taste all the different chilis cooked and dished out by restaurants, caterers and fire departments. You can vote for your favorite fire department chili, favorite restaurant chili, most original chili, and best dressed chili serving table.  Beverages will be sold. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

Still hungry? Pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and lots more will all be available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, popcorn and kettle corn.

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 15th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

Free activities will keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available. The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history. Galleries and shops will be open, many with special events.

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the Annual Tractor Parade. File photo by John Stack

Chester Winter Carnivale is held rain or snow or shine.  Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Rte. 9 and in the Roto-Frank parking lot on Inspiration Lane (exit 6) and at Greenwald Industries on Rte. 154 (212 Middlesex Avenue). (Follow the signs.) All lots will be served by courtesy shuttle buses to the town center.

Tractor Parade at a previous year’s Chester Carnivale. File photo by John Stack.

For more information, visit facebook.com/chesterctwintercarnivale or https://finditinchesterct.wordpress.com/

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Registration Now Open for AARP Driver Safety Class at Chester Village West, April 18

CHESTER — Has it been awhile since you’ve brushed up on your driving knowledge and skills? Want the latest information to help you stay safe on the road? Sign up for an AARP SmartDriver™ Course on Tuesday, April 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Chester Village West, 317 West Main Street, Chester CT 06412. Refreshments will be served.

Cost for the course, payable by checks only, is $15. Call Chester Village West by April 2 at 860.526.6800 to reserve attendance for yourself and/or a loved one.

The April 18 SmartDriver™ course at Chester Village West, to be taught by AARP driver safety instructor Cliff McGuire, will help attendees re-familiarize themselves with the current rules of the road, defensive driving techniques and how to operate their vehicle more safely in today’s challenging driving environment.

The course is designed to help participants:

  • Learn research-based safety strategies that can reduce the likelihood of having a crash.
  • Understand the links among the driver, vehicle, and road environment, and how this awareness encourages safer behavior.
  • Learn how aging, medications, alcohol, and other health-related issues affect driving ability,
  • and ways to adjust to allow for these changes.
  • Increase confidence.
  • Know how to drive safely when sharing the road with other road users.
  • Learn the newest safety and advanced features in vehicles.
  • Learn when driving may no longer be safe.
  • Explore other ways to travel.

After completing the course, participants will have a greater appreciation of driving challenges and a better understanding of how to avoid potential collisions and injuring themselves or others.

Connecticut offers price reductions or discounts on auto insurance to motorists who complete the AARP Smart Driver™ Course. Upon completion of the course, participants should contact their auto insurance agent to determine if they are eligible to receive an auto insurance discount.

 

The AARP Smart Driver course, offered by AARP Driver Safety, is the nation’s first and largest refresher course designed specifically for drivers age 50 and older. For more than 30 years, the course has taught millions of drivers proven safety strategies so they can continue driving safely for as long as possible.

Located in historic Chester, Conn., Chester Village West gives independent-minded seniors a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since it 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 athttps://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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9 Town Transit Partners with Google Maps for Online Trip Planning

AREAWIDE — Finding local bus route information just got a whole lot easier.  In fact, you probably already have it available on your smartphone.  Google Maps now includes local bus routes and schedules in its directions feature.

Riders no longer have to read timetables.  They simply enter the date and time that they hope to arrive at their destination and the trip planner will provide three options, showing the amount of time and number of transfers for each option, letting you easily select the most convenient trip.

Google Maps can even provide walking directions, so you can find out exactly how to get to the nearest transit stop or station, and how to get to your destination once you leave the train/bus.  For extra convenience, Google Maps has most locations already stored, so you only need the location name or just a category, such as fast food.

“We are pleased to welcome 9 Town Transit to Google Maps.”, says Ryan Poscharsky, Strategic Partner Manager at Google.  “This partnership shows 9 Town Transit’s commitment to innovating, as well as serving and attracting new riders. Together we can provide useful and accurate information to help people quickly get to where they want to go.”

Another important feature is the ability to plan trips across agencies and modes.  CT Transit New Haven and Hartford, CT Transit Express, Shoreline East and Metro North are all available in Google Maps, so it is easy to plan your trip from Old Saybrook to Hartford, from Manhattan to the outlet malls, or from your Clinton to downtown New Haven.  Google Maps tells you all transfers required along with the connecting agency name and contact information.

“We hope this tool makes it easier than ever to plan your trip by bus or train in our region”, says Joseph Comerford, Executive Director of 9 Town Transit.

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CANELLED: Leif Nilsson Presents ‘The Lost Acres String Band’, Sunday

The Lost Acres String Band performs Sunday at the Spring Street Studio.

CHESTER — 02/12 UPDATE: THIS CONCERT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE IMPENDING WINTER STORM.  Leif Nilsson hosts a Sunday night ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Feb. 12, from 4 to 6 p.m.,  featuring The Lost Acres String Band inside the Gallery at the Spring Street Studio at 1 Spring St, Chester Center.

The Lost Acres String Band serves up a flavorful mixture of songs and instrumentals from a wide variety of musical traditions with the added spice of several exotic original compositions. A typical show includes blues, Gypsy jazz, old-time and contemporary fiddle tunes, a haunting Hispanic ballad from the old Southwest, a classic number by The Mississippi Sheiks, and swing tunes from the 1930s.

After study of Western classical and South Indian classical violin, since 1975 Gordon Swift has been playing fiddle, electric violin, and baritone violectra in bands ranging from jazz-rock fusion to reggae to country-and-western. Gordon holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University and blends musical influences from around the world into a distinctively American violin/fiddle style. He organized LASB in 2008 and writes the band’s original material.

Master guitarist Paul Howard is a long-time member of the CT Americana/string band Last Fair Deal, with whom he has recorded four albums. Paul runs Valley Music School in Avon, CT and is a founding faculty member of the National Guitar Workshop with five music instruction books to his credit. Paul is an eclectic guitarist bringing influences from swing, old-time, bluegrass, and folk/rock music; he’s also an accomplished vocalist.

Jon Swift (Gordon’s brother) is a veteran of the New England bluegrass and roots music scene. He was a founding member of the popular bluegrass band Traver Hollow, playing bass and singing with the group for 13 years. He has also sung and played bass or acoustic guitar in several other groups (currently BluesGrass and Deep Ellum) as well as performing solo. Appearing here on upright bass, Jon lays down a solid foundation for the band.

“Impossible to pigeonhole…an unpretentious mood-booster…ranging confidently through several different styles, all handled with aplomb,”  says Grammy-winner Stacy Phillips about the band in Fiddler magazine.

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.

For more information about the band, visit http://www.lostacresstringband.com

For more information about the studio, visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com or call 860-526-2077

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Celebrate Valentines with Mimosas, Chocolates at Maple & Main, Today

Vivid swirling brushstrokes by abstract artist Lesley Koenig compose this dynamic acrylic painting of a single red rose, surrounded by luscious bursts of bright pink, yellow, blue, orange and green.

CHESTER – In celebration of Valentines, mimosas and chocolates will be served to visitors at Maple and Main Gallery Sunday, Feb. 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The gallery has a large selection of small paintings at reasonable prices which would make perfect and unique Valentine’s gifts.

The annual Juried Show and Winter Exhibit are on display representing new work by over 80 artists in a variety of styles and medium.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday from noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065. Visit the gallery on facebook.

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Celebrate ‘Take Your Child to the (Chester) Library Day’ Today; Meet the Dog Whisperer

Chester Library (Skip Hubbard photo)

CHESTER — “Take Your Child to the Library Day,” this Saturday, Feb. 4, you can meet the Dog Whisperer, Helene Ferrari, from Sheltara in Chester, and her training dog, Bodie, at the library between 11 a.m. and noon.

While you pet Bodie, Ferrari will share her secrets about how to care for a pet and the importance of training. Bring your questions and also, bring a picture of your dog to share.

Before 11, you can hear stories about amazing dogs from Mrs. Applesauce, and sign up for your own library card. Pet crafts, dog treats and treats for humans too.

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‘Music & More’ Season Opens Sunday in Chester with Jazz Singer Kathy Kosins

Kathy Kosins performs at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek on Sunday.

CHESTER — Song stylist Kathy Kosins, described by one prominent music critic as “everything Diane Krall should be,” will perform in Chester on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m.  Her appearance opens season nine of Music & More at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek and, as always, is open to the public, and features a meet-the-artist reception afterward.

Kosins has performed throughout Europe, as well as Tanglewood in the Berkshires, the iconic Blue Note in New York City, and the Newport Jazz Festival.  She is particularly known for uncovering great songs that are overlooked by others. In all, though, her work is not easily categorized.

In 2012 she released “To The Ladies Of Cool”, a dedication to the West Coast School of Cool artists like June Christy, Chris Connor, Julie London, and Anita O’Day. Her latest release this year (2016) is titled “Uncovered Soul” and includes lesser known tunes by well-known artists like Curtis Mayfield, The Neville Brothers, and Bill Withers, along with three originals of her own.

David Zeleznik, the director of the Music & More series, says, “I am particularly excited that this concert will be Kathy Kosins’ only appearance in CT this season. Her new release ‘Uncovered Soul’ has transported her from mainstream jazz to groove-oriented soul. On the recording, produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Kamau Kenyatta, she is backed by the incomparable Gregory Porter. Visit this link to see video of Kosin performing.

Kosins is also a talented painter of modern abstractions and she will be bringing along several of her smaller works for display and sale. ”

To accompany her in February, Kathy has recruited Earl MacDonald, the celebrated jazz pianist who is Director of Jazz Studies at UConn and composer in residence at the Hartford Jazz Society. Earl has won the Hartford Advocate’s “best jazz group” award several times and will bring along a couple of other jazz professors to round out the combo backing Kathy.

Music & More, which has become a cultural phenomenon in the Connecticut River Valley, offers three more concerts for the ninth season, featuring the a capella singing group, the Maccabeats (March 19), classical pianist Dalia Lazar (April 30), and Bivolito Klezmer (June 25).

Tickets for the general public for the Kathy Kosins concert are $35 in advance or $40 at the door, with free admission for children 16 and under. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.

For more information or to order tickets, visit cbsrz.org or call

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Chester Synagogue Hosts ‘Shabbat for Tots’ at Clinton Library, April 1

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek and PJ Library present a free event for children ages birth to 6 years of age. Children and their caregivers are invited to join Rabbi Marci Bellows as she leads an interactive hour filled with stories, activities and songs about Shabbat.

Snacks will be provided.
This event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Henry Carter Hull Library in Clinton

For more information or to RSVP, call 860-526-8920 or send an email to belinda@cbsrz.org .

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Parent-Toddler Play & Support Groups Offered at Tri-Town Youth Services

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River will host weekly support groups for parents of young children.  Parents have opportunity to socialize and talk about family challenges while toddlers play.

The Parent Resource Coordinator will present a new parenting theme each week and invite parents to browse the extensive Parent Resource Library.  Toddlers will enjoy free play and art exploration.  Each session will include a seasonal circle with songs, yoga and finger-plays, followed by a shared snack.

“Outstanding Ones” for children under two, will meet Tuesdays from Feb. 7 to April 4.  The group gathers from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and the program costs $45 for Tri-Town residents.

“Terrific Twos” for children 24-36 months, will meet Wednesdays from Feb. 8 to April 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and costs $60 for Tri-Town residents.  Call 860-526-3600 to reserve your spot or register and pay securely online at www.tritownys.org.

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 Named Co-chairman of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Caucus

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) File photo.

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares (R-33) has been named Co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Caucus. The caucus advocates the interests of individuals with IDD and their families.

“Mahatma Gandhi said that a society will be measured by how it has treated its most vulnerable citizens,” Sen. Linares noted. “We must leave a legacy where individuals and families dealing with IDD are able to live full and complete lives. I am proud to be asked to take a leadership role in a caucus tasked with such important work.”

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-34) commented that he knows advocating for those impacted by IDD is an important issue for Sen. Linares.

“Sen. Linares is an energetic lawmaker and in this new role he will be an active ambassador to families and advocates, working hard to make their voices heard at the Capitol,” Sen. Fasano said, adding, “To best serve these families, we need to learn about the challenges they face every day. Sen. Linares will play a key role in that dialogue.”

Sen. Linares stressed that as the General Assembly faces a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit for the next fiscal year, legislators must do their best to support the needs of Connecticut’s IDD residents.

“State spending must be brought under control, but that doesn’t mean we balance the budget at the expense of those with disabilities,” he said.

Sen. Linares represents the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook along with Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.

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Application Deadline for Environmental Leadership Scholarship is Wednesday

logoAREAWIDE — Applications are now being accepted for the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship, a $1,000 award to recognize a high school student who has demonstrated leadership and initiative in promoting conservation, preservation, restoration, or environmental education.

Students residing in Middlesex County, Lyme or Old Lyme are eligible to apply.

The scholarship is presented by the Rockfall Foundation and applications must be submitted by noon on Wednesday, Feb. 1. For a copy of the application or for more information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Established in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations whose mission is to be a catalyst– bringing people together and supporting organizations to conserve and enhance the county’s natural environment. Rockfall awards grants each year to organizations, schools and municipalities, and sponsors educational programs and symposia.

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Registration Open for Madhatters Summer Camps

AREAWIDE — Madhatters Theatre Company is now accepting registrations for their summer productions at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street, Chester, CT.  Camps run Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a performance on Friday.

Junior production ‘Madagascar’ open to ages 6-12 years July 24 thru 28.

Senior production ‘Legally Blonde’ open to ages 12-18 years July 31 thru August 4.

For further information and to register, e-mail: madhattersctc@aol.com   www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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St. Joseph’s Fundraising Fish Fry Offers Eat-Out, Take-Home Options Every Friday

Fish on Friday? Enjoy it at Saint Joseph’s Weekly Fish Fry!  Photo submitted.

CHESTER — The fish are swimming again, out of the frypans and onto the plates at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Chester where the Lenten Season will kick off its Fourth Annual Fish Fry on Friday, March 3.  This event is expected to be not only a great faith/fundraising event for the church community, but an opportunity to reach out to the community at-large to meet new friends and reacquaint with old friends.  Fish & Chips, Clam Chowder and Macaroni & Cheese are also available, not to mention a wide variety of baked goods for dessert.   

The Fish Fry will continue through April 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. in the parish hall located at 48 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 154) in Chester.   Come see what makes St. Joseph’s a thriving, active, and growing community.  The food is great, the conversation is flowing, the staff enthusiasm is wonderful and you don’t have to cook or clean.  We invite you all to visit.  After all, it’s a great way to treat yourself to a great dinner!  

The menu includes:

  • $12 for Fish and Chips, Fried Shrimp or Fried Clam Strips with Fries and Wild Caught Salmon over rice
  • $5 for Children 12 & under Macaroni & Cheese and French Fry Dinner
  • Also available are Lobster Bisque and Claim Chowder Soups ($5) and Mixed Green Dinner Salad ($6).   
  • All meals include Bread & Butter, Drinks and Dessert.   

Meals are also available for Take-Out.

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‘Together We Rise’ Holds Official ‘Sister Event’ to Women’s March on Washington at East Haddam, Saturday

EAST HADDAM — The Women’s March on Washington has inspired over 370 other ‘sister marches’ to take place this coming Saturday, Jan. 21. All 50 states and Puerto Rico are confirmed to have at least one grassroots-led march on that day, as well as 55 global cities on six continents, from Tokyo to Sydney, Nairobi to Paris to Bogotá.

But if you’ve missed the bus — literally and figuratively — to DC, there is now a local opportunity to participate in a ‘Sister Event.’ Together We Rise – Building Bridges For Justice has just announced that East Haddam/Lower Connecticut River Valley is now registered as an Official Sister Event for Connecticut, along with Hartford, Salisbury and Stamford, for the Women’s March on Washington.

The East Haddam event will be a vigil to be held from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday.  This outdoor vigil will be at Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee House & Café, located at 374 Town Street in East Haddam, CT at the junction of Rte. 82 and Rte. 151.

A Still We Rise vigil has been ongoing weekly since November 2016 and is attended by a group of dedicated individuals each Saturday.  The purpose is to keep social justice issues in the forefront of our community consciousness and to stand in solidarity with marginalized groups.  From the suffrage movement to anti-war protests, vigils have a long tradition in our country as an effective form of peaceful protest.

Participants in the weekly vigil stand outside Two Wrasslin’ Cats in East Haddam.

“The gathering of men and women at the East Haddam weekly vigil is a powerful illustration of what can be done by a small group with a willingness to stand up and work for change.  A perfect example of this determination is the fact that our vigil is a Sister Event for the Women’s March on Washington—one of only four Sister Events in Connecticut,” notes Edwina Trentham, organizer of the weekly Still We Rise vigils

Theresa Govert, Co-Chair of Together We Rise – Building Bridges For Justice comments, “What happens on the national stage affects all of us, but the strength of our Nation is built in the communities of action and compassion that start at the local level.  The Women’s March on Washington is unique and powerful because it draws from grassroots movements, first time activists, seasoned organizers, and institutions to amplify our voices.”

She continues, “Over 700,000 people have registered for sister events and 200,000 people are registered to attend the event in Washington D.C., the movement total could easily be 1 million people concerned about justice and human rights. This is the community building and work we all need to do every day to strengthen our nation.”

For more information, visit: WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON SISTER MARCHES

For more information on the East Haddam vigil, visit their Facebook page.

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Linares Chairs CT Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee

Sen. Heather Somers and Sen. Art Linares at the January meeting.

AREAWIDE — On Jan. 11, Sen. Heather Somers (R-18th) and Sen. Art Linares (R-33rd) attended the first 2017 meeting of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.  The panel has oversight of all matters relating to the Board of Regents for Higher Education, public and independent institutions of higher education, private occupational schools, post‑secondary education, job training institutions and programs, apprenticeship training programs and adult job training programs offered to the public by any state agency or that receives funding from the state.

Somers, who serves as the committee’s Vice-Chair, represents Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington, and Voluntown.

Linares, the committee’s Co-Chair, represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Somers (www.SenatorSomers.com) can be reached atHeather.Somers@cga.ct.gov and at 800-842-1421.  Linares (www.SenatorLinares.com) can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov and at 800-842-1421.

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Greenskies to Build Solar Array on Whelen Rooftop

CHESTER –- Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC has signed an agreement to build a 339 kilowatt (DC) solar array on the roof of The Whelen Engineering Co. Inc.’s main facility in Chester, Conn.

The array, which will consist of 1,062 solar photovoltaic panels, will produce 398 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity annually. It is expected to be completed and operational by October.

Greenskies has already begun the design phase of the project. The construction phase is expected to begin this spring.

Under terms of the solar installation agreement between the two companies, Greenskies – one of the nation’s leading solar energy providers in the commercial, industrial and municipal segments of the industry – will design, engineer and construct the array on the roof of the 185,000-square-foot main building on Whelen’s Chester campus and then sell the completed array to the engineering firm.

Whelen Engineering designs and manufactures audio and visual warning equipment for the automotive, aviation, and mass notification industries worldwide. Founded in 1952, Whelen has become a leading provider of sirens, warning lights, white illumination lighting, and controllers. With facilities in Chester and Charlestown, N.H., Whelen products are designed, manufactured, and assembled in the United States.

“We are very excited to be working with Whelen Engineering to help them take a big step towards their energy and sustainability goals,” said Bryan Fitzgerald, a business development associate at
Greenskies.

Greenskies designs, builds and maintains solar photovoltaic systems for commercial and industrial clients, municipalities and government agencies, educational institutions and utilities throughout the United States.  Sen. Art Linares (R- 20th) is owner and co-founder of Greenskies according to the company’s website.

For more information about Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, visit www.greenskies.com.

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Award-winning D.B. Rielly Performs a ‘Concert in Garden’ Today

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 Sunday, Jan. 15, from 4 to 6 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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Siegrist Sworn in, Prepares for First Term as State Representative

State Representative Bob Siegrist takes the oath of office at the swearing-in ceremony held in Hartford, Jan 4, 2017.

AREAWIDE — State Representative Bob Siegrist (R-36th) was sworn in on Wednesday, Jan. 4, to represent the 36th General Assembly District, which includes the communities of Chester, Deep River, Haddam and Essex.

Siegrist states he is committed to reducing the expense of government and wants to ensure that Connecticut responsibly balances its checkbook.

“I am grateful to the wonderful people of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam for their support. It is truly an honor to represent the 36th District in Hartford, and I pledge that I will do so with energy, respect and hard work. We are blessed to live in such a picturesque community in the lower Connecticut River Valley. I vow to always keep an open mind and open door for all residents of our beautiful towns,” added Siegrist.

Rep. Siegrist took the oath of office and was sworn in by Secretary of State Denise Merrill on Wednesday afternoon in the State House Chamber. He then participated in a Joint Convention of both the House of Representatives and Senate as Gov. Dannel Malloy addressed lawmakers about the 2017 Session.

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides appointed Siegrist to serve on the Insurance, Veterans’ Affairs and Public Safety Committees for the 2017 legislative session.

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‘The Chester Show’ at Maple & Main Benefits Town’s Emergency Fuel Fund, on View Through Jan. 22

‘Yellow Chester Barn’ by Rachel Carson of Deep River is one of the signature paintings of ‘The Chester Show.’

CHESTER — ‘The Chester Show,’ an exhibition devoted to paintings of Chester, is currently on view at Maple and Main Gallery through Sunday, Jan. 22. The show, depicting paintings of the downtown as well as creeks, barns, the riverfront and houses, is in the Stone Gallery.

A portion of all the sales will be given to Chester’s Emergency Fuel Fund, which is dependent on donations and which helps cover heating costs for residents who are unable to meet their fuel bills.

 

Maple and Main Gallery, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065; visit the gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

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Season’s Greetings to All Our Readers


Merry Christmas to all our readers! We hope you enjoy a wonderful day with friends and family.

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Madhatters Present Final Performance of ‘Nutcracker, the Musical Comedy’ at Chester Meeting House This Evening

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Nutcracker, the Musical Comedy’ at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street, Chester.

Performances are Friday, Dec. 9, at 6pm, Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20, adults and $15, children 12 and under.  To purchase tickets, call (860) 395-1861 or email: madhattersctc@aol.com    www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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