December 15, 2017

‘Scrooged … with a Twist’ by Madhatters Opens Tonight, More Shows Over Weekend

Galen Donovan of Old Lyme plays the title role in ‘Scrooged — with a Twist.’

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Scrooged …with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House, 4 Liberty Street Chester.  Performances are Friday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.mSaturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

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

This production is a benefit for Old Lyme Animal Control.

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

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Santa Claus is Coming to Chester on Sunday! 

Join The Chester Hose Company Elves as Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to Downtown Chester by fire truck Sunday, Dec. 17, at 5 p.m.

In case of inclement weather, Santa will arrive to the firehouse.

All the members of The Chester Hose Company wish our readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Safe New Year!

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See ‘Scrooged..with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House, Friday Through Sunday

Galen Donovan plays the title role in ‘Scrooged — with a Twist.’

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company presents ‘Scrooged..with a Twist’ at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street Chester.  Performances are Friday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.mSaturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

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

This production is a benefit for Old Lyme Animal Control.

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

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Inaugural Men’s Shopping Night to be Held Tonight in Chester

 CHESTER – The first annual men’s shopping night when all the downtown businesses will be open until 8 p.m. offering refreshments, unique presents to give, wish lists and gift wrapping will be Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Participating merchants will have wish lists of gifts the special people on shoppers’ lists have already filled out on previous visits making selection a snap.

At Perfect Pear, homemade mini pretzels and beer will be served and a free wood-handled knife given with every purchase of $50 or more.

At Lori Warner’s, bourbon and caramels will be served and at French Hen, there will be a scotch tasting by Chester Package Store and pigs in the blanket served.

Meatballs, beer and wine will be offered at Maple and Main Gallery while Lark will have a beer tasting by Chester Bottle Shop, homemade salsa and chip and wrapped chocolates for stocking gifts.

Caryn Davis will sign copies of her book, “A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style,’’ at Leif Nilsson’s Gallery.

The Pattaconk is offering $1 off your first beverage and half price appetizers for all shoppers Wednesday night.

Also participating with refreshments, wish lists and gift wrapping: Black Kat, Ruba Ruba and Dina Varano.

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Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International Hosts Holiday Dinner & Fundraiser Tonight

AREAWIDE —  The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International has announced that Jonna Gerken, President of the Society of Women Engineers, will be its guest speaker at the new chapter’s first Holiday Dinner and Fundraiser. The event, open to the public, will take place on Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. at Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant, 22 Chesterfield Rd, East Lyme. Buffet Dinner is $40 and for Students it is $30. There will be a Silent Auction.

For tickets or to donate an item, contact Deb Moshier-Dunn atDebM0727@sbcglobal.net or 860-444-9247

Gerken will address STEM (Science, Technology Engineering Math) and how young girls and women can achieve economic independence by pursuing careers in those fields. Jonna Gerken is a manager in manufacturing engineering for Pratt & Whitney. She oversees the program chief manufacturing engineers in their work to ensure all engine components meet manufacturing readiness levels appropriate to their life-cycle stage.

Gerken holds a B.S. in industrial and management engineering and an MBA in technology development, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a life member of SWE, a senior member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, and an associate value specialist with SAVE International. She received the 2016 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award from the Connecticut Science Center, the 2014 STEP Award from the Manufacturing Institute, the 2011 Pratt & Whitney Diversity and Inclusion Award, the 2006 SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award, and was a 2004 New Faces of Engineering Finalist for IIE. The Society of Women Engineers has nearly 40,000 members worldwide.

The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International was chartered in February 2017. Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. CT Shoreline members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls.

Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, such as the Live Your Dream award to support women who are supporting their families and the Dream It, Be It program to empower middle and high school girls. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit www.soroptimist.org or www.liveyourdream.org.

The Dec. 13 event will feature a silent auction with gift certificates, baskets and artwork. Funds raised will support the club’s programs and scholarships. The chapter welcomes new members. To learn more, ‘like’ Soroptimist International Connecticut Shoreline on Facebook or visit www.soroptimistner.org.

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CT River Museum Offers Range of Winter Wildlife Programs, Activities

Eagles on Ice: White-headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River. Photo by Mark Yuknat.

ESSEX — Winter along the Connecticut River brings many things – including cold winds and grey skies.  But the change in seasons also signals a shift in the ecology of New England’s Great River.  The osprey, the swallows and the egrets may be gone, but in their place now are mergansers, goldeneyes, and the highlight – bald eagles.  These once rare, majestic birds can be seen fishing along the unfrozen lower Connecticut River, a testament to one of the greatest environmental recoveries of the last half century.  To highlight these winter wonders, Connecticut River Museum (CRM) has planned a range of programs and activities.

Connecticut River Museum is happy to again partner with Connecticut River Expeditions to offer Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises in February and March.  These popular trips offer visitors a chance to get out on the River in winter to see eagles, as well as other winter species that visit the estuary such as harbor seals.

This seal is relaxing on the Connecticut River ice. Photo by Bill Yule.

Cruises aboard the environmentally friendly R/V RiverQuest provide passengers with a comfortable, heated cabin supplied with hot coffee and tea, as well as binoculars to aid in spotting and narration from a staff naturalist.  These cruises depart Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at various times in the morning and early afternoon, and are $42 per passenger.  Museum members get 10 percent off and group rates are available.

In addition, the Museum will offer its annual Eagles of Essex exhibit, which offers a wealth of information about bald eagles and their return to the lower Connecticut River.  Patrons can try their hand at building an eagle nest, and marvel at life size silhouettes of Eagles and other large raptors, a map showing good shore viewing locations, and other displays.  On the opening day of the season, Saturday, Feb. 3, the exhibit will host Family Activities related to the return of the Eagles from 1 to 4 p.m., free with Museum admission.

On Saturday, Feb. 17 and March 17, award-winning photographer Stanley Kolber returns to CRM to offer his annual Bird Photography Workshop.  Kolber has been photographing birds for years, and takes great pleasure in sharing his experience with aspiring photographers of all levels, through anecdotes, slides, and question and answer.  In addition to helping skills development, his greatest pleasure in giving workshops is the opportunity to kindle and encourage his audience’s interest in the natural world.  He hopes that young people as well as adults will attend the workshops, so that he can impart some of his own enthusiasm to the next generation.  These popular programs are also free with Museum admission.

Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months. Photo by Joan Meek.

A Live Birds of Prey Show will be offered on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m.  CRM will partner with Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation Organization for this annual show, which features a bald eagle and several other species of raptors.  Visitors will be able to get an up close look at the birds while learning more about the lifecycle and ecology of these magnificent animals.  This event will be held at the Centerbrook Meeting House and is free to the public.

For a full listing of event details, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open Tuesday – Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Connecticut River Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For more information, call CRM at 860.767.8269 or RiverQuest at 860.662.0577.

 

 

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS: 

Eagles on Ice-credit Mark Yuknat-“White headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River.”

Seal on Ice- credit Bill Yule:  “Seal lounging on the River ice”

Coyote on River Edge – credit Joan Meek: – “Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months”

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‘Con Brio’ Presents its Christmas Concert in Old Lyme This Evening, Tomorrow

Danielle Munsell Howard is the soprano at the Con Brio Christmas Concerts this weekend.

Con Brio presents two performances of its acclaimed Christmas Concert this weekend on Saturday evening, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m., both at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Imagine sitting in the center of the bright, high-ceilinged space of Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. The music begins. First from behind you. Then to your left, your right, up in front. It is surround-sound live – provided by the voices of the Con Brio Choral Society arrayed around the great space.

As each of 19 – yes, nineteen! –  parts begin to sing, the sound moves from place to place, the voices echoing one another, harmonizing and weaving a musical fabric that envelopes you.

It’s not like any other Christmas concert you have ever attended … unless you have been to one of Con Brio’s Christmas Concerts before. Attend one of this year’s concerts and experience a musical treat to calm your mind and move you into the Christmas spirit.

Under the baton of Dr. Stephen D. Bruce, Con Brio will perform with the professional 31-piece Con Brio Festival Orchestra, and soprano soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, acclaimed by Opera News Online for her “bright, pretty timbre and remarkable facility.”

Con Brio has sung many Magnificats over the years but Rutter’s setting manages to maintain the traditional approach to the well-known text while infusing it with lush contemporary harmonies and textures. Soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, has a voice well-suited to expressing the wonderment of Mary. The choral movements range from the delicacy of Esurientes (The poor) through the power of Fecit potentiam (He has shown strength) to the thrill of the Gloria Patri.

Stunning is the word often used to describe Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on This Shining Night. Its glistening harmonies and melodies so clearly express poet James Agee’s text and the magic of a December night. In 2007, two years after this piece was composed, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Lauridsen the National Medal of the Arts, the highest artistic award in the United States.

Two pieces will be sung in the round—now a Con Brio tradition. The chorus loves to take advantage of the spacious and acoustically exceptional sanctuary of Christ the King Church. First will be the a cappella, eight-part, antiphonal motet, In Dulci Jubilo, by 15th century composer Michael Praetorious. That will be followed by the 19-voice Buccinate (Blow the trumpet), by Giovanni Gabrieli.

Other pieces include Fum Fum Fum in a playful arrangement by Mack Wilberg; Pietro Yon’s familiar Gesu Bambino which will feature the soprano soloist; Still, Still, Still in a special arrangement for chorus and harp; perennial favorite Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose); Hodie Christus natus est (Today Christ is born) is one of the greatest renaissance motets; and Claude Debussy’s spritely and expressive Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain (Winter, you are nothing but a villain).

Also, Con Brio will perform a rousing arrangement of the famous spiritual, Go Where I Send Thee. The concert will close with Stephen Mager’s wonderful arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily on High, which starts with a simple rendition of the familiar melody, accompanied by winds, and slowly transforms it into a thrilling finale featuring the full orchestra.

As always, each Christmas concert will include carols for audience participation.

Con Brio, over 70 voices strong, is the Shoreline’s auditioned chorus, known for the variety of its repertoire, and the strength of its programming and musical skills. Since it was founded in 1997, Con Brio has performed regularly to a growing and loyal local audience. Singers hail from more than 15 towns: from East Haven to Mystic and from Old Saybrook to Moodus. The choir has made six overseas concert tours, with the most recent to Portugal and Spain in 2016. The seventh will be to Slovenia and Croatia in May/June 2018.

Follow Con Brio on Facebook @conbriochoral or visit www.conbrio.org

Tickets are $30 each, $15 for students. Purchase them in advance online; major credit cards are accepted.

For more information, call 860-526-5399.

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Community Music School Hosts Holiday Concert at VRHS, Sunday

The CMS String Ensemble will perform at the 2017 Holiday Concert.

AREAWIDE – ‘Tis the season of celebration and the Community Music School’s (CMS) Holiday Concert scheduled to take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. at Valley Regional High School’s auditorium.  Free and open to the public, this community-wide annual event brings together faculty and students to perform vocal and instrumental holiday favorites.

This family-friendly concert will include performances by the Community Music School New Horizons Band, Suzuki Violin Group, Americana String Band, and full String Orchestra, in addition to some beautiful solo piano holiday music performed by CMS’s top students.  Music Director Tom Briggs has arranged a special Holiday Jazz Ensemble to play some contemporary holiday favorites including “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Christmas Time is Here,” and more.

Bring your family and enjoy some of the best music of the season!

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

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

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Leif Nilsson Hosts Ramblin’ Dan Stevens & a Fiery Band in Sunday’s ‘Concert in the Garden’

Dan Stevens will play the next ‘Concert in the Garden’ at the Spring Street Studio.

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts a Sunday evening ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Dec. 10, from 4 to 6 p.m.,  featuring bluesman Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and a Fiery Band at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center.

Stevens performs an eclectic mix of traditional fingerstyle blues and originals and has entertained audiences throughout the US, Germany, UK, Canada and Virgin Islands. Of special interest is his unique style of “bottleneck” slide playing popularized by early Mississippi delta bluesmen including his use of a homemade, three stringed “Cigar Box Guitar” and one stringed “Diddly Bow”, both primitive blues instruments.

Stevens has been lauded for the authenticity of his approach gained by many years on the road as a traveling blues musician. He has appeared with such artists as Arlo Guthire, Richie Havens, Charlie Daniels, James Cotton, Gatemouth Brown and many others.

For more information on Dan Stevens, visit www.danstevens.net.

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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Chester Ornaments From Prior Years for Sale at Maple & Main

These wonderful Chester ornaments from prior years are for sale at maple & Main Gallery.

CHESTER — Each year for a number of years, a Chester artist designed a pewter ornament and a limited number were made and sold at this time of year to support local, non-profit organizations.

The last one was done in 2015, and there are no plans to continue the tradition, making the remaining ones definite collector items. Each one has the singular Chester seal, designed by Cummings and Good, on one side; the art on the other.

There are about 70 of these terrific treasures left from the various years, and they’re for sale at $10 each at Maple and Main Gallery while they last. They make excellent stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, additions to your Christmas tree and even classy pulls for window shades.

All the proceeds go to the Chester Merchants to help with their efforts on behalf of the town.

Maple and Main is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Community Renewal Team Accepting Submissions for 2018 National Arts Program

AREAWIDE — For 27 years, Community Renewal Team (CRT) has served as the sole host in the state of Connecticut for the annual National Arts Program® (NAP), providing an opportunity for local artists to showcase their art within the community.

Professional artists, along with youth, teens, amateurs and intermediate artists from Middlesex and Hartford counties are invited to submit their work now for the 2018 art show, which will be on display at Capital Community College (950 Main Street in Hartford, CT) from Jan. 19 – Feb. 7, 2018.

All forms of visual arts are accepted for this show; from paintings and photographs to sculptures, crafts and textiles.

Applications are being accepted until January 11, 2018, and it is free to submit work for the show.

The NAP provides materials and funding for this visual art exhibit, including cash awards totaling $3,450.

More information about how to get involved in the 2018 National Arts Program is available on the CRT website at http://www.crtct.org/en/events/national-arts

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Looking Ahead to 2020, CBSRZ Leaders Network With Thousands of Peers at URJ Biennial in Boston

CHESTER –  Leaders from Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will join 5,000 Jewish leaders for the 2017 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial, being held in Boston, Massachusetts, from Dec. 6-10.

The URJ Biennial is the largest Jewish religious gathering in North America. Clergy, professionals, lay leaders, educators, youth leaders, and high school and college students will come together to learn, pray, share ideas, network, celebrate, make Reform Movement policy, and create engagement opportunities for the 2 million people – representing nearly 900 Reform Jewish congregations in the U.S. and Canada – who comprise the Reform Jewish community.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is one of 138 Reform Jewish congregations from across North America who will send a group delegation to the conference. Participants from 480+ congregations in 57 states/provinces will attend intensive leadership training and learning sessions about congregational life, designed to enrich personal skills and knowledge, and deliver tangible take-aways to bring back to their congregations.

Attendees may choose from more than 200 learning sessions from 400 expert presenters. Programming is organized within five intensive tracks that reflect the top priorities of the URJ’s bold 2020 Vision action plan: Strengthening Congregations, Audacious Hospitality, Tikkun Olam (social justice), Youth Engagement, and Transforming Texts (presented in partnership with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion). View the detailed schedule.

“For clergy, synagogue professionals, and lay leaders, the URJ Biennial offers new and creative solutions about every aspect of congregational life,” said Chair of the URJ Biennial 2017 Luise Mann Burger. “Biennial is simply the best way for local leaders to learn from, share ideas, and network with peers and leading experts.”

“URJ Biennial is like a big family reunion – you get to learn, pray, share best principles, network, and catch up with 5000 of your closest Reform Jewish friends and colleagues,” shares Rabbi Marci Bellows, spiritual leader at CBSRZ. “I always return from Biennial feeling refreshed, as well as reinvigorated with new, creative programs, music, and other ideas for our wonderful congregants back at home.”

Biennial attendees will hear from a variety of speakers and expert practitioners, including:

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, social justice leader of Moral Mondays, Repairers of the Breach
  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative: her study exposed elevated lead blood levels in Flint children
  • David Grossman, Israeli author and activist, just named the winner of Man-Booker International Prize for Literature
  • Krista Tippett, host of On Being public radio show and podcast
  • Jodi Nussbaum, VP, Sesame Workshop
  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President
  • Daryl Messinger, Chair of URJ North American Board of Trustees

Visit www.urj.org/biennial for event info. Use hashtag #URJBiennial. Follow the URJ on Facebook & Twitter.

 

For more information about URJ, visit www.URJ.org

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CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Award-Winning Travel Photographer at Tomorrow’s Meeting

‘Native Girls in Ethiopia’ by Bobbi Lane.

AREAWIDE: The guest speaker at the Monday, Dec. 4, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the award-winning travel photographer Bobbi Lane, who will give a presentation titled “Travel Portraits: Capturing Light and Life.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lyme’s Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

Photographing people anywhere, home or abroad, presents many challenges to the traveling photographer. The technical concerns about light, camera angle and lenses, backgrounds, selective focus, and composition can sometimes overshadow the importance of making a connection with another human being. Honoring, respecting and communicating with your subject are the first steps to making a meaningful and storytelling photograph. Language barriers can be overcome with a smile, a great attitude and tone of voice, allowing you to communicate without words.

It’s imperative to use good lighting techniques, both natural and with flash, to create the mood and description of the scene and capture the essence. Patience and observation help the photographer choose the right time and place to capture the subject appropriately.

Lane will share her many tips and multiple experiences in both the common place and exotic locations. This presentation will help photographers connect with people, develop a deeper understand of what all humans have in common, and assist them in making photographs that emotionally affect and enlighten the viewer.

Lane is an award-winning commercial photographer specializing in creative portraits in studio and on location for editorial, corporate, and advertising accounts. Lane’s multi-faceted approach to photography incorporates over 40 years of technical experience with innovative artistic interpretation. Lane’s honest and fun connection with her clients allows them to feel relaxed and authentic.

Come on this journey, laugh and cry with Bobbi and her travels to Ethiopia, Myanmar, Venice for Carnival, Turkey, Hong Kong, Dubai and Oman and discover the keys to making great portraits.

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

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

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United Church of Chester Holds Christmas Fair Today

CHESTER — The United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT holds its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come enjoy shopping for hand-crafted items and delicacies, decorations, greens, knitted goods and mouth-watering morsels for holiday giving.  There will also be a silent auction, tea-cup auction and Grandma’s attic to prowl through for Christmas treasurers and charitable gift-giving possibilities.

Lunch will be served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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Chester Celebrates ‘First Friday’ Tonight

CHESTER – Tree lighting, carol singing, hot chocolate, cider, wine, homemade cookies passed around by St. Lucia girls, luminaries by local boy scouts , music, art openings, shops in their winter wonderland glory with special gift ideas, tastings and more are all part of the annual Holiday Night/First Friday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Christmas tree, donated by Camp Hazen and decorated by Chester Elementary students, at the corner of Maple and Main streets will be lit at 6 p.m. accompanied by caroling.


And, at Maple and Main Gallery, homemade cookies by Camp Hazen and the Guest House will be offered along with cider. Along with the Holiday Exhibit, “Luminous Perspectives,’’ opens that day in the Stone Gallery featuring landscapes by gallery artist Janine Robertson, and there will be a free drawing for the painting ‘Waiting for Mr. Claus,’ by Rosemary Serfilippi shown above.

An opening for the annual Postcard Show – dozens and dozens of original works postcard size or smaller – will be at the Chester Gallery.  Champagne by the fire will be served.

The Perfect Pear will introduce Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salts with a tasting and talk by the company co-founder and refreshments will be served.

At Harvest Moon Design, there will be an opening reception for an art show by Chelbi Wade and Jaime LeDeuce, and the musical group, the Grays will entertain from 8 to 10 p.m on this and subsequent First Fridays.

The French Hen will celebrate “A White Christmas” with a signature cocktail, “snow” dusted cookies and gift ideas while spiced hot cider will be served at Strut Your Mutt.

New jewelry designs from Dina Varano.

Lark will host a tree full of hand-made, fair-trade, African ornaments with the proceeds from sales going to the organization, “Ornaments 4 Orphans.” Peppermint Stick hot chocolate will be served.

New paintings of the Connecticut River and the artist’s garden will be shown in the Holiday Exhibit at Leif Nilsson’s Gallery. His house band, Arrowhead, will   photographer Caryn Davis signs copies of her new book, “A Connecticut Christmas: Celebrating the Holiday in Classic New England Style.”

Dina Varano Gallery will introduce Dina’s annual new collection of jewelry and wine will be served while Black Kat will host potter Ave Rivera and Jewelry Artisan Sea Glass Designs.

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Heated Boat Storage Facility Now Open at Chester Point Marina, CT.

CHESTER –  Over the past five years, the marina industry has been sailing along with increased revenue growth and rising profit. While most marinas cater to small boats and recreational boaters, Chester Point Marina is now providing heated storage for larger yachts with their newly completed 15,000-sq. ft. boat storage facility. The largest of its kind on the Connecticut River, this storage facility is 150’ deep.

Pelletier Construction Management joined by Butler Manufacturing designed the facility that met the needs of the marina and their customers. The new facility is designed to enable boat travel lifts to enter and store full- size yachts within the new structure. The innovative pile-supported new design was engineered to withstand hurricane force wind loads and associated potential storm surge.

The demand for boat storage has increased due to rising disposable income, recreational expenditures and the number of boat owners.

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‘Ranky Tanky’ Brings American Roots Gospel Music to Chester This Afternoon

Ranky Tanky will play the final Collomore Concert, Nov. 26.

CHESTER — Their music has been called “soul-stirring” and infectious, intoxicating and exotic,” and they’ll be at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 5 p.m.

The Ranky Tanky quintet from Charleston, South Carolina, revives the extraordinary Gullah music of America’s southeastern Sea Islands, mixing the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B. Their music is a variety of traditional tunes, from playful game-songs to ecstatic shouts, and heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies.

Fresh out of college, trumpeter Charlton Singleton, guitarist Clay Ross, bassist Kevin Hamilton and drummer Quentin Baxter originally worked together as an in-demand jazz quartet on the Charleston scene in the late 1990s before splitting off to each make their way as freelance musicians, working with names like Houston Person, Freddy Cole, Cyro Baptista and René Marie.

Gaining years of valuable experience plus international acclaim, Grammy nominations and thousands of performances around the word, they developed a deeper appreciation for the South Carolina Gullah tradition they came from. They reunited and formed Ranky Tanky, along with the dynamic low-country vocalist Quiana Parler, celebrated for her big, stunning, soulful voice. (Ranky Tanky translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!”)

Their Chester Meeting House concert is brought to you by the Collomore Concert Series in the last concert of its 44th season. Tickets are $28 for adults and just $5 for students (up through grad school) and can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org or by calling 860-526-5162. The concert will be followed by an informal reception, with refreshments by La Vita Restaurant at Goodspeed Landing. More information about Ranky Tanky is available on the website.

“Ranky Tanky proved that exotic music can be both unfamiliar enough to be surprising, and yet familiar enough to provoke swinging hips and nodding heads. When it works, it’s the best of both worlds.” – Paste Magazine

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Local Historical Societies Open Today

Entertain the kids during the Thanksgiving break with a visit to one or more of the local museums. It’s a great chance to get them away from one of their electronic devices.

AREAWIDE — College students home over the Thanksgiving break? House guests who have eaten more turkey than they wanted to and looking for something to do? Free entertainment and getting to know more about our local towns can all be accomplished during the extended hours at the Chester, Deep River and Essex historic museums and houses. Such a welcome alternative to dealing with crowds at the malls!

For the fifth year in a row, the historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex are helping you entertain your guests on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Chester Historical Society president Skip Hubbard said, “This year will be the fifth year our museums have been open over Thanksgiving and it’s become a popular thing to do.  Some people even visit more than one of the three sites. The combination of free admission, rekindling memories and learning more about the local area can be hard to resist.”

The Chester Museum at The Mill, at 9 West Main St., Chester, will be open both Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House, at 245 Main Street in Deep River, will be open on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Essex Historical Society’s historic Pratt House, located at 19 West Avenue in Essex, also will be open to visitors Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Chester Historical Society Hosts Lecture, Book-Signing by Dr. Gary Ford Today; Author of Constance Baker Motley Book

Photo Credit: Library of Congress Prints, Courtesy of the Author

CHESTER — On Sunday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m. at the Chester Museum at the Mill, the Historical Society will host a lecture and book signing by Dr. Gary Ford Jr, author of the just published book, Constance Baker Motley: One Woman’s Fight for Civil Rights and Equal Justice Under Law (University of Alabama Press)The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Ford, a professor of Africana Studies at CUNY’s Lehman College, with degrees from Harvard and Columbia Law School, will offer a treasure trove of exciting new facts, stories and unique insights into Motley’s unrecognized and under-represented contributions to the civil rights movement, and ultimately, her significance in American history.

According to Ford, Motley was a key strategist and brilliant courtroom litigator for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the only woman on its legal team.  “As such,” said Ford, “she was the person most often sent to the South, and the one to argue the difficult and important desegregation cases involving public schools, colleges, universities, housing, transportation, parks, and other places of public accommodation.”

Between 1946 and 1964, she litigated and won over 200 desegregation and discrimination cases across 11 southern states at every court level, including the U.S. Supreme Court, where she became the first African American woman to argue a case.

“Winning those cases,” says Ford, “was an integral part of the civil rights movement. The cases legally ended Jim Crow in the South and created a sea change in both the law and public perception, but went under-represented in traditional narratives of civil rights history.”

Ford argues in his book that Motley’s quiet courtroom battles were essential to the success of the street protests, sit-ins and marches because they turned those public campaigns for integration, equal rights and equal access, into codified American law. “This was Motley’s great, but little understood contribution to American history,” said Ford.

Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005), a native of New Haven was a resident of Chester for 40 years, and had a seasonal home on Cedar Lake Road. She was an active member of the community, who involved herself in preserving local history. Her part-time residence in Chester coincided with her second career as a distinguished Federal Judge in the Federal District Court of NY, (1966-2005), appointed in 1966 as the first African American woman by Pres. Lyndon Johnson. She spent weekends, summer vacations and holidays in Chester.

Prior to her Chester house purchase in 1965, Motley briefly entered public service (1964-1966), first as a state Senator from New York, and then as President of the Manhattan Borough Council, both firsts for an African American woman. Before that, she spent 20 years in the South as the chief litigator for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund arguing the most important desegregation cases that arose from the 1954 Brown vs Board of Education ruling that declared separate but equal unconstitutional. (See boxed civil rights history below).

As an African American woman, Motley broke countless barriers and raised the glass ceiling for all women. Her path-breaking work was honored when she was inducted into the National and Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame (1993 and 1998 respectively), and awarded the Presidential Citizen Medal of Honor (2001). Her autobiography, Equal Justice Under Law, (Giroux, 1998) has been in constant circulation.

This past summer, the Chester Land Trust acquired her 8-acre property off Cedar Lake Road, and dedicated the land as the Constance Baker Motley Preserve to honor and commemorate her life. Since her death in 2005, the Chester Rotary has provided a summer scholarship in her name to a child from New Haven to attend Camp Hazen in Chester, one of the earliest integrated YMCA camps in Connecticut, financed by her own New Haven benefactor, Clarence Blakeslee, who supported her education at NYU and Columbia Univ.

Last June, the Chester Historical Society, of which Judge Motley was a founding Trustee in 1970, mounted its first exhibit about her life at their Museum at the Mill. That exhibit will serve as the backdrop for Dr. Ford’s lecture and offer the last opportunity to view it before the Museum closes for the winter. The exhibit, also includes the celebrated documentary on her life (Justice is a Black Woman) produced by Dr. Ford and Quinnipiac University in 2012, and which airs annually on PBS.

Ford’s popular video on Motley—Justice Is a Black Woman—produced at Quinnipiac University in 2012, and shown on PBS, will also be available as part of the Motley exhibit currently on view at the Museum.

The Museum at the Mill is located at 9 West Main St (Route 148) in Chester. (Attendees should park in the Chester Library parking lot just up the hill from the Museum.)

For directions to the Chester Museum at the Mill, 9 West Main St (Route 148), click here

For more information, contact: Marta Daniels at marta.daniels@snet.net or 860-343-3191

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Letter to the Editor: Time for Democracy, Support the National Popular Vote

To the Editor:

This past Election Day, we took for granted that our votes would matter and the local candidates receiving the most votes would be the winner. That’s the way it works for every election in the U.S., except for president.

With winner-take-all Electoral College voting, a dozen battleground states with only 33% of the population decide who becomes president. Twice in the last 17 years, the loser of the popular vote became the winner. That doesn’t make sense.

Fortunately, there is a solution. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a nonpartisan plan to make everyone’s vote for president matter equally—regardless of whether they’re in a blue, red or battleground state—and to make the winner the candidate with the most votes.

The NPV Compact is an agreement among states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. It kicks in as soon as states with a combined 270 electoral votes sign on, ensuring the popular vote will always pick the president. Eleven states with a combined 165 electoral votes have already signed on.

Our state legislature has considered joining the Compact five times since 2009. Last session, there were 68 co-sponsors of the NPV bill, more than ever before. It will be introduced again in 2018. If you agree that the candidate with the most votes nationwide should become the president, contact your state legislators and ask them to support it.

This isn’t a partisan issue. A switch of 60,000 Ohio voters in 2014 would have put Kerry in the White House, despite three million more votes cast for Bush. The NPV is not a Democratic plan: in 2014 Newt Gingrich strongly endorsed it. With a national popular vote, every vote would matter, not just those in twelve states. It’s time for a change, time for democracy.

Sincerely,

Marta Daniels,
Chester.

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Final Collomore Concert Features Soulful Sounds of ‘Ranky Tanky,’ Nov. 26

Ranky Tanky will play the final Collomore Concert, Nov. 26.

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

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

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

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

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

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Chester Historical Society Hosts Free Program Today on Town’s Earliest Industry: The Waterhouse Grist Mill

Nathan Jacobson with his intricately designed scale model of the Waterhouse Grist Mill, the subject of a free program in Chester on Nov. 12. Photo by Skip Hubbard

CHESTER — In 1729 two brothers, Abraham and Gideon Waterhouse, aged 29 and 16, moved to the wilderness later named Chester and within a few years built a grist mill. Of course they had no power machinery, yet that didn’t stop them from constructing a two-story wooden building, about 22 feet square, complete with a wooden waterwheel and other wooden machinery, plus two granite millstones weighing about a ton and a half each.

And you think you work hard!

Nathan Jacobson, a registered professional engineer who has spent most of his life living near the site of the old Waterhouse Grist Mill, spent several years researching the history of the old mill. The Chester Historical Society recently published Jacobson ’s book, “The Waterhouse Grist Mill Saga.” Additionally, Jacobson created an intricate scale model of the grist mill for permanent exhibit at the Chester Museum at The Mill.

On Sunday, Nov. 12, at 4 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House, Jacobson will demonstrate how the Waterhouse mill would have been constructed and how it worked. Through a Powerpoint program and the grist mill model, he will show how the Waterhouse brothers would have used the different parts of the machinery to grind the corn and grain for the early settlers. 

This is a free program sponsored by the Chester Historical Society and refreshments will be served. Jacobson ’s book will be available for purchase following the program.

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

For more information, visit chesterhistoricalsociety.org or call 860-558-4701.

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Democrats Sweep First Selectmen Positions Across Tri-Town Region, Republican Fortuna Keeps Top Job in Saybrook

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (File photo)

AREAWIDE — Perhaps reflecting the mood of the country in Tuesday’s elections, Democrats locally retained control of the majority of seats of government in the Tri-Town area.

Democrat incumbent Norm Needleman convincingly won a fourth term as First Selectman in Essex with an almost 2 to 1 majority of 1,509 votes over Republican challenger Vin Pacileo’s 772.  Needleman is joined again on the board of selectmen by fellow Democrat Stacia Libby (1,204 votes) and Republican Bruce Glowac (1,047 votes)

Needleman’s 737 majority over Pacileo was far higher than the 80-vote margin he achieved over Glowac in 2015, and also in 2011 when, in his first contested election, he defeated Bruce MacMillian by over 400 votes. Needleman was uncontested by town Republicans for a second term in 2013.

Glowac had previously served as first selectman from 1991-1995.

In Deep River, where all three board of selectmen candidates were unopposed, incumbent Democrat Angus L. McDonald, Jr. won 804 votes to be returned as first selectman. He is joined by fellow Democrat incumbent Duane Gates (D) with 601 votes and newcomer William L. Burdick (R), who polled 360 votes.

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek (File photo)

Chester saw another incumbent Democrat Lauren Gister re-elected to the position of first selectwoman with a strong showing of 797 votes, representing a more than 2 to 1 margin over Republican challenger Carolyn Linn (360 votes). Gister’s fellow incumbent Democrat Selectwoman Charlene Janecek, who polled only 32 votes less than Gister, also retains her seat on  the board.  The third member of the board will be Republican James Grzybowski, who defeated Linn by just three votes.

The only Republican success in the area was incumbent Carl Fortuna’s re-election in Old Saybrook with 1,911 votes over Democrat Stephen Sheehan, who polled 1,220 votes. Joining Fortuna on the board will be Republican Scott Giegerich  (1,688 votes) and Democrat Carol Conklin with 1,398 votes.

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Tri-Town Veterans Day Parade to be Held Tomorrow

TRI-TOWN — Tri-Town Veterans Day Parade kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. from behind the Deep River Elementary School, travels down High Street to Main Street and then onto the memorial for a wonderful ceremony.

All veterans are welcome to join the parade.

All are invited to watch the parade and honor the veterans.

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Madhatters Hosts Auditions for ‘Annie,’ Jan. 6

AREAWIDE — Madhatters Theatre Company is currently accepting appointments for auditions for their spring production of ‘Annie’.  Auditions will be held at Lyme’s Youth Service Bureau 59 Lyme Street in Old Lyme on Saturday Jan. 6, 2018 by appointment only.  This production is open to ages 6-18 years of age.

Rehearsals will be held in Old Lyme on Saturdays with show week the week of May 15, 2018 at Chester Meeting House.

To schedule an appointment or if you have any further questions, e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com or call (860) 395-1861.

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

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It’s ‘First Friday’ Tonight with Art, Beer, Books, Knives (Yes, Knives!) and More

The ‘Arrowhead String Band’ will play at the Spring Street Gallery tonight.

CHESTER – Art openings, free beer samples, wine tastings, a book signing, trunk show, artisan knife makers, a new collection of plaid and stripped clothes, music, fine art glass works, lots of wine and food and free items from the design archives of Cummings and Good.

All this and more is happening on First Friday, Nov. 3, when Chester restaurants, galleries and shops stay open until at least 8 p.m. with special offerings for visitors to the downtown.

Ruba Ruba will unveil a new collection of clothing with plaid and stripped themes while at French Hen, resident Caryn Davis will be signing her new book, “ A Connecticut Christmas,’’ and Uno de 50 jewelry will be featured in a trunk show.

At Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery, there will be an opening reception with wine, appetizers and desserts for “The Art of the Sea,’’ a solo show of marine and seascape oil paintings by artist Peter Barrett. A portion of the proceeds go to cancer research.

In her gallery, Dina Varano will display more one-of-a-kind designs that she has created in 14kt and 18kt gold for the new gold jewelry collection for the season. Be one of the first to see these dramatic creations in gold.

A sample of Stein Roaldset’s work.

The Perfect Pear will host two artisan knife makers: Stein Roaldset who will show, sell and discuss his work and woodworker Jerry Lalancette who will showcase his hand-made knife handles.

Cummings and Good are clearing out their design archives and offering for free on their porch: pins, cards, posters prints calendars, paper, pads and more – all designed by them.

Leif Nilsson is opening his Autumn Exhibit of new oil paintings of the Connecticut River and his garden while the artist’s house band, Arrowhead, entertains you at the Spring Street Gallery.

The Lori Warner Gallery will exhibit a new collection of fine art glass work by Carrie Gustafson (see image above), who is inspired by patterns and forms from art history and observations of nature.

Lori Warner Gallery will exhibit a new collection of fine art glass work by Carrie Gustafson.

Wine and goodies will be served at Lark and Strut Your Mutt while the Historical Society will keeps the Mill building open serving wine and appetizers to passers-by.

The Chester Package Store will offers tastings of wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner and the Pattaconk will do free sample flights of any three beers on tap.

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See Meeting House Players Tonight, Tomorrow in Madcap Comedy ‘Play On!’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tickets on Sale Now for 10th Anniversary Season of ‘Music & More 2018’

The Maccabeats, who will be performing at CBSRZ, March 11, 2018.

CHESTER — Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s (CBSRZ) Music & More (M&M) 10th anniversary season 2018 is set to bring a diverse entertainment package to the shoreline community. For a decade the Music & More series has been known for first class entertainment offerings presenting artists with a broad spectrum of music from classical, folk and jazz to a cappella and has distinguished CBSRZ as a vibrant and significant cultural center. For this M&M 10th anniversary season, CBSRZ is changing it up just a little to present even more entertainment.

Kicking off the M&M series something familiar, something peculiar Comedy Tonight!, on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 8:00 pm. The CBSRZ stage will be transformed into a New York comedy club featuring Alexandra McHale and Johnny Lampert, both veterans of Comedy Central, network TV, casinos, and the NYC comedy club circuit. This show is for audiences of 18 years old and older. Adult beverages will be served. Doors will open at 7:00 pm for a pre-show reception.

Back from last year’s extremely popular performance, The Maccabeats return on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 4 p.m. to the M&M stage. The Maccabeats are the premier a cappella group from Brooklyn who are a social media sensation with their inspirational and infectious brand of entertainment. Using nothing more than the unadulterated human voice, a clean-cut presentation, and a little Jewish humor, this unique group of singers is able to connect with fans of all ages. Doors will open at 3pm There will be a reception following the concert for a chance to meet and greet the band.

Described as is an imaginative and dynamic new force on the national bluegrass scene, The Lonely Heartstring Band will bring their unique brand of music to the M&M stage on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 4:00 pm. This multi-talented group of musicians are a classic Bluegrass quintet combining soulful instrumental virtuosity with soaring three-part harmonies.

“This unique anniversary season offers a tremendous entertainment package that I believe has something for everyone,” comments David Zeleznik, producer of Music & More and member of CBSRZ.

A season subscription through advance ticketing for the three show Music & More series can be purchased at a savings of a 14% discount by visiting www.cbsrz.org/events or through the Music & More at CBSRZ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/music.more.cbsrz. For more information call the CBSRZ office at 860-326-8920 or through email at office@cbsrz.org.

Performances are held at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 E. Kings Highway, Chester, Connecticut.

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Maple and Main Hosts ‘Art of the Sea’ Solo Show by Peter Barrett During November

‘Convergence’ by Peter Barrett is featured in ‘Art of the Sea’ at Maple & Main Gallery.

CHESTER — Maple and Main artist Peter Barrett’s solo show during November in the Stone Gallery, “Art of the Sea,” could not be more aptly titled.

A graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy and an avid boater, for a quarter of a century, Barrett has been recording with his paint brushes the waves crashing against Maine rocks, boats bobbing at rest in quiet Connecticut coves and herons and terns at the water’s edge of New England beaches.

He is mainly self-taught but has been mentored and guided by well-known artists over the years including Elizabeth Sennett of East Hampton and good friends and internationally known artists Mary Erickson and Donald Demers.  His oil paintings are done both on location and in the studio. 

Barrett’s daughter-in-law, Lindsay Barrett recently died of cancer and the show is dedicated to her memory. Fifteen percent of all sales will be donated to Yale New Haven Hospital Closer to Free Hematology Fund in Lindsay’s name.

A recently retired businessman, Barrett is a founding member of Maple and Main, developing its financial model and serving as CEO for the majority of its eight years in business.

In addition to Maple and Main, Barrett is an Associate Artist at Lyme Art Association and has been in juried shows there, at Hartford Fine Art and the Mystic Outdoor Arts Festival.

The show opens Wednesday, Nov. 1, and a reception with wine, appetizers and desserts will be held Friday, Nov. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. during First Friday in Chester. 

Maple and Main, at One Maple St., is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See the werbsite for more images and information: Mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065. Visit on Facebook and Instagram.

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I-Park Begins Final Residency of 2017 with International Roster of Artists

EAST HADDAM— I-Park artists-in-residence program welcomed six new artists to its campus this week for the final residency of 2017. The artists represent a variety of disciplines, from architecture to moving image, and hail from the four corners of the globe. Their stay will culminate in an Open Studios day November 19 from 2 to 5 p.m., when the public can meet the artists and view some of the work they’ve produced during their residency.
 
Selected through a competitive, juried process from a field of more than 600 applicants, November’s artists are:
Zhiwan Cheung, a moving image artist from Pennsylvania, creates films that probe the intersection of national identity and personal psyche. 
 
Adam Haddow is an Australian architect whose work focuses on a sense of place and the patterns that appear in the natural and built environments.
 
Xiao Li is a visual artist and curator from Japan participating in her first U.S. residency. Her art probes the intersections of art and nature and art and science. 
 
Julie Anne Mann is a New York–based visual artist who uses materials found in nature to create botanical compositions that encourage us to see the natural realm in a new way.
 
Helen Betya Rubinstein is a writer and essayist from Iowa developing a nonfiction book about her family’s history and heritage.
 
Joseph Tasnadi is a Hungarian visual artist whose multimedia installations explore the relations between information and artistic expression, information and aesthetics, and information and philosophy.
 
“It’s always interesting seeing the parallels between the artists’ work when they gather for the first time,” says I-Park Executive Director Joanne Paradis. “A common theme for this group was the issue of “place”—in nature, architecture and society. It will be intriguing to see how each artist expresses that over the next four weeks.”
 
During their fully-funded residencies at I-Park, each artist will enjoy a private studio and shared accommodations in a c. 1840 farmhouse. Each individual is free to pursue projects of his or her choosing, with minimal distractions except the lure of nature and the camaraderie of their fellow residents. 
 
I-Park is an artists-in-residence program offering fully funded four-week residencies in visual arts, architecture, moving image, music composition/sound art, creative writing and landscape/ecological design. Since its founding in 2001, I-Park has sponsored more than 850 residencies, and has developed cross-disciplinary projects of cultural significance and brought them into the public domain. Set within a 450-acre nature preserve, I-Park encourages dialogue between the natural and built environments, and has been the setting for exhibitions, performances, symposia, and programs that facilitate artistic collaboration. For more information, visit i-park.org.
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CBSRZ Hosts Book Launch Event Today for ‘House of Peace & Justice’

Ellen Nodelman

CHESTER — House of Peace & Justice, a new illustrated book profiling 100 years of Jewish farming and community in the shoreline-lower Connecticut River area, is to be released in a celebration scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29, at 11:00 am, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 E. Kings Highway, in Chester, CT. The event is free of charge, open to all, and features brunch with foods linked to early Jewish farming in Connecticut.

Three years in the making, House of Peace and Justice, The First 100 Years of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek chronicles the development of the synagogue from its dual roots: in a small rural temple, Rodfe Zedek (‘Pursuers of Justice’), founded in 1915 by hardscrabble Jewish chicken farmers in Moodus, and in another small Jewish group formed in Chester and Deep River in the 1930’s that grew into the Jewish Community Center, later Congregation Beth Shalom (‘House of Peace’) in Deep River.

Author Ellen Nodelman unearthed colorful details ofmomentous events in the Jewish community of the area, including how the two synagogues merged in 1998 to form one, Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek. The fused congregation moved in 2001 to its current home in Chester, a building renowned in the international art world as the only public space designed by 20th century artist, and CBSRZ congregant, Sol LeWitt.

Few American synagogues have their origins in farming communities. And few American synagogues can claim as diverse and wide-ranging a membership as today’s CBSRZ which has included not only business people, doctors and lawyers but artists, writers, teachers, politicians, musicians, media stars, and even a farmer or two. It marked its 100th birthday in 2015.

The launch event on October 29 will feature three speakers: Ellen Friedman, Jon Joslow, and Michael Price, representing Rodfe Zedek, the JCC/Beth Shalom and the merged CBSRZ. Rabbi Marci Bellows will moderate a session for long-time community members to share memories. House of Peace & Justice author Ellen Nodelman will read selections from the new book.

The general public is invited to attend the Book Launch celebration, a very special event not only for CBSRZ and the larger Jewish community in Connecticut but for everyone interested in the history of the shoreline and lower Connecticut River valley. Visit www.cbsrz.org to RSVP by Oct. 25. Books will be available for purchase at the book launch (list price: $36).  For a discounted pre-publication price of $27, books may be ordered on the website until the 27th of October and picked up at the book launch.

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

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Siegrist Votes for Bipartisan Budget That Restores Education, Municipal Funding

State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R-36th)

AREAWIDE – State Representative Robert Siegrist (R – 36th) voted Thursday for a bipartisan budget that averts Gov. Malloy’s proposed education cuts to cities and towns, and installs structural municipal mandate reform.

Noting that this bipartisan state budget puts an end to a four-month standstill, Siegrist commented, “I have to admit that there are some aspects in this budget that I do not stand by, but all-in-all there are many aspects in this budget that I do support. This budget is a compromise to move Connecticut forward. This budget restores municipal aid and education funding to our towns and will avoid a tax increase that we inevitably would incur if the governor’s draconian cuts went into effect. I believe this budget will provide Connecticut with relief and it builds a strong foundation as we attain fiscal stability.”

Budget highlights include:

  • Enacts the constitutional spending cap that was first approved by voters in 1992
  • Imposes a $1.9 billion cap on borrowing, $500 million less than what was borrowed last year
  • Restores municipal and education funding cut by the Governor’s executive order
  • Protects core social services, such as day care funding and programs for developmentally disabled
  • Supports seniors by phasing in a tax exemption on social security and pensions
  • Imposes a state employee hiring freeze
  • Limits state union contracts to being no longer than 4 years
  • Provides municipal mandate relief by reducing construction costs, reforming the arbitration process, and providing greater transparency to boards of education budgets

The budget also excluded a variety of proposals discussed during the budget process, including:

  • Sales tax increase
  • Income tax increase
  • Tax on cell phones
  • Restaurant tax
  • Business tax increase
  • Shifting teachers pensions on to municipalities

The plan passed the Senate 33-3 Wednesday evening and by 126-23 in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The budget now awaits action from the governor.

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Letter to the Editor: Democrats Are Costing Our Towns Too Much, Vote Republican, Nov. 7

To the Editor:

We already know what a disaster the Democratic Party has imposed on us through overspending, and we can only expect more of the same from them by reelecting them to office. It’s time to take a different path, time to write tomorrow’s history, time to think ahead to our future and the future of our children, time to vote Republican.

There’s nothing progressive about:
High Taxes
High cost of living
High unemployment
Businesses moving out of State
Lost jobs
Lack of jobs for new college graduates

And there’s nothing progressive about Progressive Democrats.

It’s time to make a quality of life change for the better, time to put the doom and gloom behind us.
It’s time to vote out those Progressive Democrats that are responsible for this financial mess.
We just can’t afford them anymore. Remember who came down from his perch in Hartford to have lunch with
Norm in Essex this past summer. Remember who said he didn’t have to raise taxes because the state was in great shape before he got reelected. Norm say’s Essex is in good shape financially now, but what will he say on November 8th.

Let’s skip the November 8th surprise and Vote for Vin Pacileo, 1st Selectman on November 7th in Essex, and Carolyn Linn and James Grzybowski in Chester.

Please join me, a proud Republican in voting for the Republican Candidates this November 7th. It could be a life changing event with lower taxes.
Thank You.

Sincerely,

Peter Arseneault,
Haddam.
Editor’s Note: The author is the chairman of the Haddam Republican Town Committee.

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Artful Living Invites Students to Submit Original Short Plays for Possible Production at ‘The Kate,’ Scholarship Award

AREAWIDE — Artful Living, Killingworth’s multi-generational community theatre, is seeking original scripts of short plays from Connecticut high school students.  This new program, Playwrights For Tomorrow, offers students the opportunity to win a scholarship and have their play produced on stage at Old Saybrook’s Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate) on April 29, 2018.

Plays will be reviewed by a panel of theatre professionals. Selected playwrights will be offered the opportunity to collaborate with directors and other theatre artists in the staging of their plays.  Submission Deadline is Jan. 8, 2018.

For full details and an application form, visit www.ArtfulLivingCT.com

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

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

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

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

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

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Country School Welcomes ‘Minds in Motion’ Back to Campus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AREAWIDE — Sign up … Step Out … Save Lives

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy marshmallow corn from The Perfect Pear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Local Photographer Caryn Davis Publishes New Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Connecticut Christmas will retail at $26.00.

 

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Applications Open for Rockfall Foundation’s Environmental Leadership Scholarship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Sicilian sunset (Photo by David H. Wells)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Fowler hard at work on refurbishing a donated bike.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit this link for more information.

Visit this link to register for a ride.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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High Holy Day Services Continue at CBSRZ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Musical Masterworks, Community Music School Announce Scholarship Recipient

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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