June 29, 2016

Maple and Main Gallery’s Summer Exhibit Opens

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

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

CHESTER – Over 230 new paintings and sculptures by 46 artists will be featured in the annual Summer Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery, which begins Wednesday, June 22.

The opening reception will be Saturday, June 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. when appetizers and wine will be served in addition to a wine tasting by Staehly Farm and Winery of East Haddam.

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

The gallery is highlighting an artist each week who will show additional work and give a demonstration or talk. The first of these is Pam Carlson of Essex demonstrating her unique use of the palette knife as she creates a landscape on Sunday, June 26 from 1 to 3 p.m.

In the Stone Gallery during June is “Expressions,” an exhibit of abstract and exploratory work by gallery artists Carole Johnson and Ishita Bandyo.

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

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Valley Regional Celebrates Class of 2016 With Memories, Music and Merriment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valedictorian Christina Mitchel.

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

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

Honor Essayist Mary Proteau.

 

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

Principal ?? beamed as he listened to the speeches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The presentation of diplomas began ...

The presentation of diplomas began …

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

... and ended!

… and ended!

 

Hat_toss

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

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

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

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Roto Frank of America Helps Connecticut’s Veterans

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit www.rotohardware.com

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

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

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

Colonial Market in Essex (Essex Ambulance)

Roberts Food Center in Madison (Madison Ambulance)

Stop & Shop in Clinton (Clinton Ambulance)

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

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

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

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

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New Exhibit Opens in Stone Gallery in Chester

"Blue Forest," Ishita

“Blue Forest,” Ishita Bandyo

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Freedom Bird. Carole

“Freedom Bird,” Carole Johnson

 

 

 

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Tri-Town Parades Cancelled Because of Forecasted Rain

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Townwide Tag Sales Today Bring Hundreds to Chester

townwide tag sale 1

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

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

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

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

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

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Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln Come to Life in Two Dramatic Performances, July 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BobS&woman_204KB

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

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

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

Bob Siegrist (left) stands with Ed Munster.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morley Safer

Morley Safer

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Bob Siegrist,
Haddam.

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

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Ribbon Cutting Opens Chester’s Main Street Bridge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chester Republican Committee Endorses Linares and Siegrist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Award-winning D.B. Rielly Performs at Concert in Garden, June 30

D.B. Rielly

Photo courtesy of D.B. Rielly

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton

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

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

In  the Republican contest, Trump took Essex with 407 votes, with Ohio Governor John Kasich polling 297 votes. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 73 votes, with 10 uncommitted. In Deep River, Trump led Kasich 173-94, with  29 votes for Cruz and 4 uncommitted. In Chester, Trump led Kasich 133-103, with 27 votes for Cruz and 3 uncommitted.
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Public Lecture Series at Chester Village West Continues June 28

Elina Filozov, D.O.

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

Chester Village West, a senior living community, in partnership with the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning and Middlesex Hospital, has been offering a series of lectures and informative presentations by biographers, historians and medical experts this spring. The last two programs are scheduled for June 2 and June 28.

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

The final lecture is as follows:

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

Editor’s note: Located at 317 West Main St. (Rte. 148) in historic Chester, CT, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the independent seniors community was founded more than 25 years ago, Chester Village West residents have directed and embraced active learning. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well being. Find out more at chestervillagewestlcs.com.

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Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13’s Newest Eagle Scout

Ben Toles Eagle336

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

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

To become an Eagle Scout, Toles earned 38 merit badges and advanced through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to Troop 13 and service to his community.

One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the boy’s community, school or religious institution.  Toles used leadership skills he learned by attending summer camp with Troop 13, participating in the Troop 13 Philmont Trek in 2014 , attending the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree and successfully completing the Boy Scouts National Youth Leadership Training.

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

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

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

About Troop 13 – BSA: Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead. The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun. To learn more information about joining Troop 13, contact Scoutmaster Steven Merola at 860-526-9262.

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

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

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

Chester residents:

Chester Town Hall – Community Room

Deep River residents:

Deep River Town Library – Community Room.

Essex residents:

Essex Town Hall – Auditorium

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CBSRZ Hosts Passover Seder, April 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations, Buzz!

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Chester Sunday Market is Open for the Season, Sundays

ChesterSundayMarketLogoCHESTER – The Chester Sunday Market takes place on Sundays through the summer.

The vendors are all listed on the Market’s website (http://chestersundaymarket.jimdo.com), with links to their websites.  They are:

  • Seven farms bringing produce – Chatfield Hollow Farm, Deep Hollow Farms, Dondero Orchards, Hunts Brook Farm, Sage Hill Farm, Upper Pond Farm and Wellstone Farm.
  • Meat, fish and poultry from Four Mile River Farm, Gourmavian Farms, Maple Breeze Farm and The Local Catch.
  • Beltane Farm bringing cheese & dairy products.
  • Bread from Alforno Restaurant and Howard’s Breads.
  • Plus, flowers and honey and jams and pickles and biscotti from: Hay House, Stonewall Apiary, Little Bird Provision Co. and Biscotti and Beyond.

Live music is lined up for each week, beginning on June 12 with Deep Blue Remedy. The bands play from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the words of the organizers: “The philosophy of the Chester Sunday Market is to bring the community together with local products and to have a good time doing it. It is a weekly town-wide farmers’ market that brings our community together. We invite local vendors to sell produce, meats, cheeses, breads and so much more.  Our goal is to stay local so we can help the smaller farmers in the area. Having all these amazing vendors join us in our lovely little town is a great way to promote our community and see each other. Main Street is closed off for the market giving the patrons the freedom to walk about town. Music is provided along with a bistro area so you can sit and have a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza.”

Market hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Because Main Street is closed to traffic between West Main St. (Rte. 148) and Maple St., shoppers are invited to park in the town public parking lots on Maple Street and at 20 Water St. (Rte. 148). Well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Shops and galleries are open during Market hours and often offer special happenings. You can find late breakfast or lunch at the restaurants in Chester Center, or buy some pizza on the street from one of the vendors, Frank Andrews Mobile Kitchen.

More information about the Chester Sunday Market at: Facebook.com/ChesterSundayMarket and http://chestersundaymarket.jimdo.com/. You can also find out more about Chester at Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT and Facebook.com/AlwaysonSundayinChester.

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Author Karen Rose Reads Stories at Chester Library, June 18

karen e rose 3CHESTER Chester Public Library’s summer program for children of all ages kicks off on Saturday, June 18, at 10:30 a.m. Author Karen Rose will read her funny stories of chickens at Two Mountain Farm and will then answer questions about how she became a writer and why she uses children for illustrators. This will be followed by relay races (can you carry a book on your head?), a contest to win a slip ‘n slide, and refreshments.

Then, on Monday, June 20, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Monday Stories & Crafts for pre-K to 2nd grade begin, with “Down by the Sea.” Kids will make a seashell mobile and take home the ocean in a bottle. Each week will have a special focus.

Older kids are invited to enjoy Wednesday afternoon programs, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The first one, on June 22, for grades 6-8 will be “Testing The Waters,” presented by the DEP. Be a scientist. Identify microscopic creatures living in our water ways, test and measure biological and chemical elements. Create a “clean water” sample. The following week, on June 29, grades 3-8 are invited to learn about “ham radio” from Carl Nord.

Pick up a full schedule of summer events for all ages at the library. Registration is required for all programs. Chester Library is at 21 West Main St., near Chester Center. Call 860-526-0018.

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Chester Walking Song Video Wins Gold Hermes Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Families with Babies, Youngsters Invited to Join “Weekly Rambles” Friday Mornings

tri town ysb

Join Tri-Town Youth Services for Weekly Rambles this June!

Tri-Town’s Parent Resource Coordinator invites local families with babies and young children to walk and talk on Friday mornings in June.  We will gather at some of the area’s most beautiful parks for stroller-friendly walks from 10 a.m. to noon.  Parents will get out in the nice weather, visit with other adults and have a chance to ask parenting questions or chat about current challenges.  Toddlers in the group will enjoy some fun, nature-based activities after our walk.

Caregivers are welcome to come to as many Rambles as they are able, which will be held at different locations each week.  To register and obtain a schedule, call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600 or register online at www.tritownys.org.

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

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Letter to the Editor: Your April 26 Primary Vote Matters

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chester Democratic Town Committee

Lori Ann Clymas, Chair

Chester

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The Meadows Brothers Play a ‘Concert in the Garden’

Photo courtesy of the Meadows Brothers

Photo courtesy of the Meadows Brothers

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

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

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

Gates open a half hour before the show; first come first seated.  Outside bistro-style seating in the amphitheater; inside the gallery if inclement weather. Sorry, no pets are allowed.

A $20 donation is appreciated.  The event is BYOB – buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 3 p.m.

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

 

 

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Sticks from the Past Create Art for the Present; See Them at Saturday’s Reception at Chester Meeting House

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

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

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

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

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

"Inspiration" by Deborah Quinn Munson

“Inspiration” by Deborah Quinn Munson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Starry Night” archival digital image by Bill Vollers

“Starry Night” archival digital image by Bill Vollers

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Linares Hosts Town Hall Meeting in Chester

State Senator (R) Art Linares

State Senator (R) Art Linares

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

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

 

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John Winthrop MS Presents “Xanadu Jr.”

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

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

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

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

Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis

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

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

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

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

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

Jon Lukomnik

Jon Lukomnik

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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New Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek

Rabbi Marci Bellows

Rabbi Marci Bellows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Donna Martin Performs at Spring Street Gallery, March 20

Donna Martin

Donna Martin

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden on Sunday, March 20, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring singer/songwriter Donna Martin at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St., Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

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

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

Gates open a half hour before the show — first come first seated.  Indoor bistro-style seating in the gallery. Sorry, no pets are allowed.

A $20 donation is appreciated.  The event is BYOB – buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 3 p.m.

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

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Chester Library Installs “Computer Bar,” Thanks to Community Collaborative Efforts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Computer Bar at Chester Library.

The Computer Bar at Chester Library.

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

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

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Chester Plant Sale Benefits Land Trust & Library, May 14

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Will Siss, 'The Beer Snob'

Will Siss, ‘The Beer Snob’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to Meet This Morning

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

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

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

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

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Gallery Openings & Receptions at May Daze Night, May 6

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Tracey Kroll

Photo by Tracey Kroll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Buzz in Chester – Backyard Beekeeping

Surviving and Thriving as an Adult College Student

The Ukelele

Patchwork and Quilting

Tap Your Trees!

Why Isn’t Our Economy Growing Faster?

Fantasy Sports

Nonviolent communication

Eating Wheat and Gluten Free

Girl – Woman – Widow

The Human Library and Me

Sustainable Buddhist

Refugee – Filmmaker – Photographer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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