CHESTER— The next step remains unclear after a Connecticut Supreme Court decision last week sent the seven-year legal battle between the town and an elderly resident over a backyard burial back to the town zoning office where it began in 2005.
The court, in a 4-3 decision, directed Ellise Piquet to apply for a permit for the private burial of her late husband on her eight-acre residential property on South Wig Hill Road. Piquet, 82, had buried her husband, former World War II Royal Air Force Pilot John Shaboe Doll, on the property after his death in October 2004. The burial was done under the supervision of a licensed funeral director, but the state Department of Public Health later requested confirmation that a backyard burial was allowed under Chester Zoning Regulations.
The regulations did not address backyard burials, and the Chester Planning and Zoning Commission determined that such burials could not be allowed without a permit. The zoning enforcement officer issued a cease and desist order in 2005 that Piquet appealed to the town’s zoning board of appeals. The town later withdrew the cease and desist order without a formal public hearing before the ZBA to give Piquet an opportunity to resolve the issue with the state Department of Public Health.
Piquet filed suit in 2007 as the town continued to maintain that a private burial violated local zoning regulations and required a permit. After nearly five years of proceedings in Middlesex Superior Court and the Connecticut Appellate Court, the state Supreme Court heard arguments on the case last spring. The court majority determined that Piquet should have pursued an appeal to the ZBA before filing a lawsuit seeking a state court approval for the private burial.
William Gallagher, the New Haven lawyer representing Piquet, acknowledged Wednesday the Supreme Court decision had directed her to “start the whole process over again.” But Gallagher added that he is uncertain how Piquet wants to proceed with the case.
Gallagher said he had sent Piquet a letter explaining the decision, but has been unable to reach her by telephone in the week since the decision was issued on Aug. 22. “It’s her call as to how she wants to proceed but I have not heard from her,” Gallagher said, adding the elderly Piquet may not want to bring the issue to a public hearing before the zoning board of appeals as she was ready to do in 2005.
Gallagher said there are “several options,” to resolve the case, including exhuming Doll’s remains for burial elsewhere with his wife, or some agreement with the town that would allow Doll and Piquet to be buried on the South Wig Hill Road property.
The residents and staff of Chester Village West, Chester’s senior living community, welcome Robert Taylor as the new Executive Director. Bob is an executive with Life Care Services, the owner and manager of Chester Village West. His most recent assignment was as an administrator at Blakehurst, another Life Care Services community in Baltimore, MD. Before coming to Life Care Services, Bob had extensive experience as a CEO and owner of a variety of apparel companies in the United States and Europe.
Bob’s transition to Chester Village West brings fresh ideas and energy to the community. He looks forward to becoming more involved with Chester and the surrounding towns. He is firmly committed to helping seniors and particularly, their families learn more about healthy and independent lifestyle opportunities. One of his goals is to provide information and counseling to families and for Chester Village West to become the source for that information.
Bob is originally from the northeast and is pleased to be back home with his family in Connecticut. Bob enjoys travelling and has been on every continent and in 27 countries. His other hobby interests include, tennis, reading, and spending time with his family.
Please feel free to contact Bob at 860-526-6800 if you would like a personal tour or receive information about Chester Village West. Chester Village West is located at 317 West Main Street in Chester, CT.
Visiting the Chester Public Library is more like visiting the home of a friend than going to a public facility. Head Librarian Linda Fox, who greets visitors from behind the main library desk, is the perfect hostess. In fact, most of her conversations with visitors go on for awhile, before the topic of taking out a book is mentioned.
“The library is like a family room,” Fox says, “where you can find something that people are interested in.” As for her role as Head Librarian she says, “If you can’t be welcoming and friendly, you should not be here.”
In addition to her greeting skills, professionally, Fox holds a Masters Degree in Library Services from Emory University, and she has been in charge of Chester’s library for almost a decade.
The Challenges of a Very Small Library
As director of the Chester library, Fox faces the challenges of being in charge of a very small library. In fact, the library is so small that there is room for only one public computer. The smallness of the Chester Library has also meant that many Chester residents go to the Deep River library, “because it has more computers,” Fox points out.
In fact, the Deep River library estimates that as many as 2,700 Chester and other towns’ residents are making use of Deep River’s computers and other services. There is also the factor that the Chester library has less than 2,000 square feet of space, whereas the Deep River library offers 6,000 square feet of space to its patrons.
You immediately feel the limits of space, as you enter the Chester library. After the entrance alcove, you come up to the library’s main desk with its attendant librarian. From there, a small children’s reading room is on your left, and a small adult reading room is on your right. The walls of both rooms are bulging with books. The library’s sole public computer is next to the main desk.
Behind the main desk there is also a cramped area for administration functions. Also, in addition to upper main floor of the library, there is a lower floor as well. On the landing, on the way down the stairs to this lower floor, there is “snuggled in” the books of the library’s Young Adult collection.
The steps to the lower floor of the library are steep and narrow, and it is evident that they are not handicap accessible. In fact, Fox herself admits that the steps to the lower floor of the library “may not be up to code.”
The lower floor of the library houses most of the library’s adult reading collection, and this subterranean space is certainly more spacious than that of the crowded, first floor above. “Meetings and quiet study space is located on the lower level as well,” the Head Librarian notes.
Though the space for books at the Chester library is admittedly limited, Fox says, “As you can see, we put a lot of stuff in here.”
A Small and Busy Library
For all its space limitations the Chester Library has a steady stream of visitors. As for favorite books, the Head Librarian says that, “most books taken out are current fiction, although not by much. Also, cook books and garden books are always popular.”
Furthermore, if the library does not have a book on its shelves that is wanted by a patron, it can be requested from the interlibrary loan system. With interlibrary loans, Fox says, “We can get books from all over the state and beyond, including even books from the Library of Congress.”
In addition to being a place for books, “The library is a gathering place, which is important,” the director says.
Staffing and Hours at the Library
The Chester library has a staff of four. Head Librarian Linda Fox is full time, and the other three staff librarians are part time. Pam Larson is in charge of interlibrary loans, which is a big operation at the Chester library. In addition, Patty Petrus is the Children’s librarian, and Leigh Basilone is the Circulation Librarian.
The hours of operation at the Chester library are: Monday 10am to 8pm; Tuesday 2pm to 6pm, Wednesday 10am to 6pm, Thursday 2pm to 8pm, Friday 10am to 6pm, Saturday l0am to 2 pm. Also, the library is CLOSED on Sundays and on Tuesdays from July l to Labor Day.
A Larger Chester Library in the Future?
Because of the admittedly small physical space of the Chester library, there have been some preliminary discussions about the feasibility of expanding the library building. The purpose of such an expansion would be to afford greater physical accessibility at the library, as well as to add additional space. These discussions have proceeded to the point where an architectural firm has been retained, and a number of expansion scenarios have been discussed with the firm.
The present classical building of the Chester Public Library is truly one of the town’s architectural highlights. The library building was built in 1907, and it has been a library for the public for 105 years. In any expansion plan, “Most people want to preserve the present space as a library,” Fox says. “Some people would like to build a whole new space for the library, but they are in the minority.”
The land on which the library sits was deeded to the town for a library by the church next door. Also, the parking lot next to the library, which is used by library patrons, belongs to the church next door as well. This fact would make the church, the United Church of Chester, “an important stakeholder in any discussions of expansion,” Library Director Fox observes.
Off Site Programs of the Chester Library
In addition to the special programs held at the library, one of which, just recently included a ‘live” goat, other library programs are held at locations throughout the town of Chester. Among these program sites are the church next door and the Chester Meeting House. “We spread out our library functions,” is the way Fox puts it.
In contrast to the strictly public accessibility of the present Chester library, “formerly, the old library societies were largely private,” Fox points out. Testing the director, as to whether there was any anti-slavery sentiment in Chester before the Civil War, director Fox found the following account in a book entitled the “Chester Scrapbook.”
“On August 15, 1839, another library association was formed with twenty-four men and women members. They met at the house of widow Huldah Dunk Silliman … This library seems to have been more abolitionist than literary. Its constitution had a long preamble in regards to the evils of slavery, after which it stated … the object of the association … shall be to procure books that may be read by ALL persons who may be serious of receiving information on the subject of American Slavery.”
Head Librarian Linda Fox dug up this account in a matter of minutes from the materials that are on hand at the Chester library. It all goes to show that though the library may indeed be small, when it comes to knowledge of the history of Chester, among many other topics, the Chester Public Library knows just where to find it.
On two evenings in August, several dozen Valley Regional students gathered at the Chester Library to discuss one of the books on their school’s required summer reading list with Chester resident Sally Murray. Shown above are a few of the attendees, left to right, David Ramage, Megan Winslow, Morgan Winslow, Kenna Campbell and Ben Bourez.
By attending the discussion, students received a certificate from the library to turn in to the school.
Five more Pillars of Chester — residents who have helped improve the quality of life in our town — will be honored at a community picnic on Sunday, August 19, at 5 p.m., on the Meeting House green. So bring dinner (and dancing shoes) and prepare to toast:
Sylvia Miksa, a Chester native, has been a member of the Chester Hose Company for 40 years, and president of its auxiliary for 20 of those. She was a member of the Chester Garden Club and a Girl Scout leader. She is proud of her family ties to the town, and her two children, Nicole and Ryan.
Harvey Redak has been on the boards of the Chester Historical Society, Camp Hazen, the Robbie Collomore Music Series and Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek. He has been on the town finance commission, and the Cedar Lake Management Advisory committee. He is the leader of Max’s Birthday Band, that has played at many community functions.
Susan Wright has been a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader, a longtime member (and president for two years) of Chester Rotary, co-chair of Chester Economic Development, and helps co-ordinate the annual tree lighting and caroling by Chester Elementary School singers. She has been chairman of the Womanless Beauty Pageant, and works on behalf of BRAYCE, a Chester charity devoted to helping American and Brazilian children.
Denise Learned has been executive director of Camp Hazen since 1999, and in that time has overseen the growth of the camp and has forged close connections with the town of Chester, and more opportunities for its children and the community at large. Under her leadership the camp has become international — making our town’s facility a model of diversity. She was previously director of the Shoreline Soup Kitchen.
Gloria Eustis worked for 18 years at the Chester Library, most of that time as chief librarian. Under her leadership our library became part of the statewide library network, making loans from other libraries much easier. She helped established a book discussion program that has run for 16 years, and still volunteers and at library and offers her lovely gardens for fund raisers.
The picnic, which always has music, too, this year features Max’s Birthday Band, led by Harvey Redak, and featuring Dan Bernier on guitar and vocals, Jon Joslow on drums, Randy Allinson on bass, and Lary Bloom on keyboard. The band plays American standards as well as blues.
I am often asked about the motivation for starting the Chester Pillars program, and was reminded during some of the crazy monsoon weather we had this spring of the first Pillars event five years ago this August. I had only lived in Chester a few years but had been embraced from the start and wanted very much to give something back to the town and people who had welcomed me.
The question of how to bring the long time residents of Chester together with the newer residents such as myself fit naturally into my idea of a town-wide picnic at the Meeting House. That idea then became a platform to recognize people whose impact on the quality of life in Chester deserved recognition by paying tribute and giving thanks to them.
We have taken nominations from all of the town’s institutions, including the Selectman’s Office, Chester Library, Hose Company, Merchants, Historical Society, Land Trust and three religious institutions, Chester Rotary and others.
There are so many to thank, but I’d like to single out for special praise, Jeff Nelson, Sandy Dauer, Lynne Jacques, Linda Fox, Susan Wright and Charles Greeney, ( a former Pillar) Chief of the Chester Hose Company, for always supporting the event by providing a grill for the picnic.
(In case of rain, the event will be held inside the Meeting House.)
CHESTER/ESSEX— The July 4th holiday week got off to a busy start for area emergency responders, with police and volunteer firefighters responding to a drowning in the Connecticut River off Chester Sunday and a fire that destroyed a house on Deep River Road in Essex Monday.
The fire at 55 Deep River Road, also known as Route 154, was reported by a passing motorist around 11:30 a.m. Monday. Essex Fire Chief Steven Olsen said the house was fully ablaze when firefighters arrived on the scene minutes later. Olsen said about 60 volunteer firefighters from Essex, Chester, Deep River, Old Saybrook and Westbrook had the fire contained within about an hour, despite an explosion that is believed to have been caused by a propane tank in the garage..
No one was in the house at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries to firefighters. Electric power was shut of in the vicinity, including the busy intersection on Main Street in Centerbrook, as firefighters battled the blaze. The house, which is owned by Richard and Joanne Faraci, was a total loss. The house was being rented by a family of four. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by state and local fire marshals.
In the Chester incident, state police divers are expected to resume a search in the Connecticut River Tuesday for 37-year-old Dariusz Czarnota of East Hampton. Police said Czarnota went under water around 2:30 p.m. Sunday while swimming about 50-feet from a dock at the Pattaconk Yacht Club to a boat operated by his brother. Strong currents in the area off the Chester Point Marina are believed to have pulled Czarnota under water.
Dive teams made up of state police and local volunteer firefighters searched the river until after dark Sunday and through the day Monday without finding Czarnota, who remains missing and presumed drowned.
CHESTER— The board of selectmen Tuesday approved new rules and fees for organizations or private groups using the historic Chester Meeting House on Liberty St. The changes, proposed by First Selectman Edmund Meehan, include new fees and a clarification on the dispensing of alcoholic beverages at the structure and surrounding grounds.
The current rules do not address consumption of alcoholic beverages, though some organizations and many private wedding parties renting the structure have served alcoholic beverages. The revised rules prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages, but allow private parties renting the structure to serve alcohol to guests if they provide the town with a certificate of liability insurance for their event. The revised rules also include an 11 p.m. cutoff for activities at the meeting house, earlier than the previous 12:30 a.m. time limit.
There are also increases in the fees for rental of the structure or the surrounding grounds. Free use would continue for town organizations, political groups, and non-profit organizations where there is no admission charge for the group’s program. If admission is charged, non-profit groups and organizations would pay a $200 rental fee.
The rental fee would be $350 for private or for profit organizations holding an event at the meeting house that is open to the public with an admission charge. The fee for closed functions, such as a wedding or a private party, would be $400 for Chester residents and $500 for non-residents. The new rules and fees are scheduled to become effective July 1.
Selectmen also reviewed a formal request for proposals for the lease of the ground floor space at the town hall on Route 154 that will be vacated by the Bank of America at the end of this month. Residents at an April 17 informational meeting cheered an offer by Essex Savings Bank to lease and open a local branch in the soon to be vacant space.
But Meehan noted the town is still required to publish a formal request for proposals notice, though Essex Savings Bank is the only bank to express interest in the space. Letters of response to the request for proposals are due by June 22, with a requirement for the space to be reoccupied by January 2013.
Spanish Dance Students from Chester Elementary recently performed the art of Flamenco for the residents of Aaron Manor.
Second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders are members of the Spanish Club which meets every Wednesday after school with Señora Read to practice various styles of Spanish dance. Students perform every year in May for the residents of Aaron Manor and in June at Chester Elementary School as part of a 6th grade school play.
It’s time again for the Chester Town-Wide Tag Sale. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 26, Memorial Day Weekend, individual residences and businesses having tag sales will be up and running throughout town. Each year the event attracts hundreds of visitors to Chester. Maps are available showing the location of all sales at individual residences and businesses throughout town. Maps are distributed at the Town Center on the day of the event for $1.00. The event is “rain or shine.” Once again, the event is being organized by the Chester Republican Town Committee.
To be listed on the map, send $10 to the Chester RTC, 248 Middlesex Avenue, Chester, CT 06412, or visit the Century-21 office in Chester Center. You must be a Chester resident or business and your sale address must be in Chester to be listed on the map. Proceeds from listing fees, map sales, and advertising on the map are used to promote the event throughout Connecticut, to pay for extra police duty during the event, and to benefit the Chester Republican Town Committee’s general fund.
Last year, more than 80 individual residences and businesses were listed on the map and over 500 maps were distributed. We estimate that well over 1000 buyers come to town that day.
The first such event of its kind in the Lower Connecticut River Valley, the Chester Town-Wide Tag Sale was started by a group of Chester merchants in the mid-90’s and was run by the Merchants for several years. In 2003, the Chester Historical Society took over the event and ran it for the next seven years. This will be the Chester Republican Town Committee’s second year to organize the event and sign-ups are pouring in. Several other towns in the area now host similar events at other times of the year.
“The Chester Town-wide Tag Sale offers buyers a concentration of sales at one convenient destination, increasing the buyer’s chances of finding that special piece that they just have to have. It’s a great way to spend a day of fun and relaxation, and it affords professional dealers an efficient day of shopping to replenish their inventories,” said Glenn Reyer, the event’s prior organizer. “Chester residents and businesses who wish to have a sale get the benefit of traffic volume that is rarely seen in Chester. For less than the cost of a single classified ad, sellers see a flow of buyers that they could not hope to achieve on their own. And the town as a whole benefits by getting all the tag sales over with on one day.”
And when you’re done or if you just need a break, please stop by any one of our six downtown restaurants for a cup of coffee, snack or really nice lunch … or you can just continue shopping in the downtown shops.
For more information, contact Kris Seifert at (860) 526-8440 or email@example.com.
CHESTER— Voters Tuesday approved a total $12.74 town/school budget plan for 2012-2013 on a unanimous voice vote at the annual budget meeting.
About 60 residents turned out for the meeting, where the spending plan was approved without discussion. First Selectman Edmund Meehan explained the only change made by the board of finance after the May 1 public hearing, restoring $18,000 to the appropriation for Chester Elementary School while deferring $18,000 in the capital expenditure plan that was to be set aside for roof repairs at the school.
The finance board, citing declining enrollment at the school, had recommended a $20,000 cut in the elementary school budget. The cut drew a mixed response from residents at the public hearing after the local board of education reported it could only find $2,000 in cuts from the proposed budget. The finance board later decided to restore $18,000 for 2012-2013 while deferring the $18,000 for planned roof repairs.
The total $12,748,081 spending package includes a town government budget of $3,411,243, $428,961 in capital expenditures, a $4,223,900 appropriation for the elementary school, and the town’s 4,683,977 share of the Region 4 education budget that was approved by the voters of Chester, Deep River, and Essex in a May 8 referendum.
The board of finance will vote this week to set a tax rate of 22.24 mills to fund the spending plan. The new rate, which represents $22.45 in tax for each $1,000 in assessed property value, is up by .34 mills from the current tax rate. In setting the rate at 22.25 mills, the finance board will approve a transfer of $174,641 from the town’s undesignated fund balance to help cover expenditures. The transfer would leave about $1.34 million in the fund balance as of June 30, 2013.
Voters also unanimously approved several other items on the town meeting agenda, including authorization of two transfers from the capital expenditure plan that are funded in the current budget. Voters approved $40,000 for the Main Street Committee to pay for an engineering consultant for the long-planned Main Street improvement project, and $110,000 for road repairs to be completed this summer. Meehan said the town would be resurfacing a section of North Cedar Lake Road from from the Boy Scouts shack north to the Haddam town line.
Voters also authorized joining the new Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, a regional organization that will replace the existing and more informal Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Elected Officials to coordinate a planned merger of the two regional planning agencies serving area towns.
The organization has already received membership approval from the required two-thirds of the 17 towns in the proposed region, with the vote Tuesday making Chester the 14th town to join the COG. The new council of governments is expected to implement the merger of the Old Saybrook-based Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency and the Middletown-based Midstate Regional Planning Agency this summer.
When the Howard Fishman Quartet appears at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) on Sunday,May 20 at 5 pm, the singer-guitarist-composer will not reprise his highly acclaimed performance in Chester last year. He will present an entirely new and different program, “Tales From The Road.” Fishman says the concert will be will be “focused on songs and stories from my own travels inward and out.”
Fishman’s audience will be transported by a collection of music and stories inspired by his far-flung travels from New Orleans, where he spent his formative musical years, to rural Romania, Ukraine and Hungary and influenced by the exciting new music generated in Brooklyn, NY,where he is currently based. His travel experiences engender/give birth to his songs. Fishman says, “I never sit down to write a song. The melody just comes unbidden.”
Fishman’s musical style is difficult to characterize. He has been compared to artists as diverse as Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Cash, but he improvises his own personal take on various musical forms—New Orleans jazz, Brooklyn soul, folk, country,blues, gospel, pop, classical and experimental—creating a sound entirely his own. Backstage wrote that he creates “an irresistible synthesis,” while Downbeat called it“something entirely new.” The New York Times has said that Howard Fishman’s music “transcends time and idiom.”According to The Los Angeles Times, “At a time when performers in virtually every genre are trying to stretch their stylistic boundaries, Fishman refuses to acknowledge that boundaries exist.”
One of the pioneers of the current Brooklyn music scene, Fishman moved to Williams burgin the late 90s and began playing on subway platforms for spare change until he and his band were “discovered” by music insiders. This landed them a two-week engagement at the Algonquin Oak Room, one of NYC’s toniest concert venues. Since then he has headlined in major venues and garnered a devoted following, both here and abroad. Fishman has headlined at the Lincoln Center American Songbook series, The Steppenwolf Theatre, The Pasadena Playhouse, Joe’s Pub, NJPAC, and Le Petit Journal in Paris. In April he played with his New Orleans-style Biting Fish Brass Band at the Garde Arts Theater in New London.
A frequent National Public Radio guest, Fishman has appeared on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, “World Cafe,” “The Leonard Lopate Show,” “Word of Mouth”and “Sound check” among others. Fishman has performed on bills with such diverse artists as Odetta, Yo Yo Ma, Maceo Parker, Robyn Hitchcock,Madeleine Peyroux and Allen Holdsworth. He has recently released a trilogy of new albums—The World Will Be Different, No Further Instructions and Better Get Right.
The concert is open to the public. Admission is$25 for adults, $20 for CBSRZ members and $10 for children under 16. For reservations and further information, call 860-526-8920 or visit www.cbsrz.org.
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.
The Chester Land Trust will be holding their 2012 Gardner’s Round Table on Sunday May 20, 4 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street, Chester.
Please join our panel of Master Gardeners for an informative and lively discussion on cultivating raspberries, nutrient dense gardening, growing vegetables, shade plants and much more. Come ask questions of Margot Caldor, Lois Nadel, Janet Nelson and Helene Ferrari. Wine and Cheese will be served. Most Chester Land Trust education and awareness programs are free, please consider joining firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Gardener’s event, please contact Deb Dembo: email@example.com or phone 860.304.7560
CHESTER — For the fifth year in a row, Chester Elementary School joined thousands of schools, libraries and community groups nationwide in a coordinated effort to encourage millions of Americans to turn off televisions, computers and video games for seven days and turn on the world around them. Screen-Free Week is a chance for children to read, play, think, create, be more physically active and to spend more time with friends and family.
“Screen-Free Week is a much needed respite from the screen media dominating the lives of so many children,” said Wendy Fiore. “Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that we help children discover the joys of life beyond screens.” On average, preschool children spend over four and a half hours a day consuming screen media, while older children spend over seven hours a day including multitasking. Excessive screen time is linked to a number of problems for children, including childhood obesity, poor school performance, and problems with attention span.
A Family Night was hosted with a poetry slam, yoga, as well as creating body murals with Lori Lenz and Wendy Fiore.
On Wednesday, April 25, John Winthrop Middle School hosted a regional debate tournament run by CivicsFirstCT. There were 37 teams in attendance and Chester Elementary School entered one team: Jared Dompier and Rocket Otte.
This year’s topic was abolishing the double jeopardy clause in the 5th amendment. Students researched the topic and had to debate both the affirmative (which argues abolishing the clause) as well as the negative (which argues the status quo).
CHESTER— The board of finance Tuesday restored $18,000 to the proposed 2012-2013 budget for Chester Elementary School after a public hearing where a recommended $20,000 cut in the local education budget drew both support and objections from residents.
Meeting after the close of the hearing, the board decided to restore $18,000 to the $4.2 million elementary school budget, while deferring $18,000 that was in the capital expenditure plan for repairs to the school roof. First Selectman Edmund Meehan said Monday Wendy King, chairwoman of the local board of education, had told the finance board the school board could accept a delay in funding for the roof repairs.
King said during the public hearing the school board could identify only an additional $2,000 cut for various supplies and repairs. She urged the finance board to restore $18,000 to the $4,205,900 elementary school budget, which would be up by only $41,831 from current spending with the full $20,000 cut.
About 40 residents turned out for the public hearing at the Chester Meeting House, with some speaking in support of restoring funds to the elementary school budget. But others, including finance board members, said a reduction could be justified by continuing drops in enrollment at the kindergarten-sixth grade school. Enrollment has dropped over the last five years, with enrollment of only 256 students expected in September. King said the school board has reduced staff in recent years in response to the declining enrollment, including reduction of a half-time teaching position in the proposed budget.
Tax Collector Madeline Meyer urged the finance board to hold down total spending in the face of the continuing state and national economic slowdown. Meyer said collection of unpaid back taxes has become slower in recent months. “The economy has now hit Chester and it’s not coming in at the same rate,” she said. The budget plan assumes a 98.5 percent collection rate for property taxes.
Virginia Carmony, board of finance chairwoman, said the board has often deferred funding for town projects in recent years to maintain funding for the elementary school. She said this had led to the need for a $102,000 increase in the capital expenditure plan for 2012-2013 that includes funding for needed road repairs.
Meehan said the $18,000 adjustment would not change the total proposed town/school expenditure of $12,748,081 that would be funded by a tax rate of 22.45 mills, an increase of .34 mills from the current tax rate. The new rate, $22.45 in tax for each $1,000 of assessed property value, would represent about $102 in additional tax for a home assessed at $300,000.
In setting the tax rate at 22.45 mills, the finance board included a transfer of $174,641 from the town’s undesignated fund balance to hold down the tax increase. The transfer is expected to leave about $1.34 million in the fund balance in June 2013.
The total proposed spending package, which also includes the town’s $4,683,977 share of the Region 4 education budget, now goes to voters for approval at the annual budget meeting scheduled for Tuesday May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House. The Region 4 education budget goes to the voters of Chester, Deep River, and Essex in an eight-hour referendum on May 8.
CHESTER— The 2012-2013 budget plans for town government and Chester Elementary School will be presented at the annual budget hearing on May 1 at the Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street. The hearing convenes at 7:30 p.m.
The town government budget totals $3,411,243, and is combined with a $446,961 capital expenditure plan. The town government budget is up by $87,525, or 2.63 percent, over current spending. The capital expenditure plan, which had been reduced for this year’s budget, would increase by $101,961 in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The proposed $4,205,900 budget for the elementary school is up by $41,831, or one percent, over the current appropriation for the elementary school.
First Selectman Edmund Meehan, preparing the his first budget since winning election to the top job last November, said the major drivers for the town government budget are funding for anticipated higher fuel oil and gasoline expenses, and a two percent wage/salary increase for all town employees, including elected officials. The two percent pay increase matches the increase awarded to the eight town employees in the American Federation of State, county, and Municipal employees (AFSCME) bargaining unit. The contract extends to 2017-2018, when the pay increase for union employees would be three percent.
The proposed capital expenditure plan includes $303,961 for road repairs, $50,000 toward replacement of the firehouse roof, $50,000 toward the planned replacement of a 1988 fire truck, $18,000 for roof repairs at the elementary school, and $25,000 for the town hall space/needs study.
Meehan said one issue that is likely to be discussed at the hearing is the board of finance directive for a $20,000 cut in the elementary school budget. Meehan said the finance board recommended the cut based on declining enrollment at the kindergarten through sixth grade elementary school. Enrollment is projected to be at around 256 students this September.
The finance board has recommended a transfer of $174,641 from the town’s undesignated fund balance to limit the required increase in the property tax rate to .34 mills. The current tax rate is 22.11 mills, with the proposed 2012-2013 rate at 22.45 mills, or $22.45 for each $1,000 in assessed property value. The transfer would leave about $1.34 million in the fund balance as of June 30, 2013.
The town government and elementary school budgets are combined with Chester’s $4,683,977 share of the Region 4 education budget for a total 2012-2013 spending levy of $12,748,081. The Chester share of the region 4 budget is down by $39,000 because of fewer students from Chester attending Valley Regional High School and John Winthrop Middle School.
The Region 4 budget goes to the voters of Chester, Deep River, and Essex in a 12 noon to 8 p.m . referendum on May 8. The annual budget meeting vote on the town/elementary school budget plan is set for Tuesday May 15 at 7 :30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.
CHESTER— A dispute over zoning requirements for a backyard human burial that began in 2005 was argued this week before the Connecticut Supreme Court by attorneys for the town and local resident Elise Piquet.
The dispute began after the town zoning enforcement officer learned that Piquet had buried her late husband, John Shaboe Doll, on her eight-acre South Wig Hill Road property after his death in the fall of 2004. The burial had been done under the supervision of a licensed funeral director, but the state Department of Public Health had requested confirmation from the town that a backyard burial was allowed under Chester zoning regulations. The regulations did not address private burials, and the planning and zoning commission determined that means such burials are not allowed.
Piquet had appealed for a variance from the zoning board of appeals to allow the burial, but the case was never presented for a public hearing after the town withdrew a cease and desist order against the burial to give Piquet and the Department of Public Health an opportunity to resolve the issue. Piquet filed suit against the town in 2007 after the commission continued to maintain she had violated local zoning regulations and needed a permit for the burial. A Middlesex Superior Court judge later ruled in favor of the town, and the requirement for zoning approval, but Piquet then brought the case to the Connecticut Appellate Court.
The Appellate Court reversed the judge’s decision on mostly technical grounds, sending the ultimate issue of whether town zoning approval is required for a backyard burial to the state Supreme Court. Piquet was represented in Tuesday’s arguments at the court chamber in Hartford by New Haven lawyer William Gallagher. The town was represented by town attorney John Bennet, a Chester resident. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case by this summer.
Residents Support Essex Savings Bank’s Interest in Leasing Available Bank Space at Town Hall Building
CHESTER— An expression of interest from Essex Savings Bank about leasing soon-to-be-available space on the first floor of town hall drew strong support from residents Tuesday night as the board of selectmen held an informational meeting on options for the space that has been leased by a Bank of America branch for more than a decade.
About 50 residents turned out for the meeting that was called after Bank of America announced that it would close the branch and vacate the space by the end of June. The board was seeking input from residents on options for using the space, including possible town use as a community center. But the recent expression of interest from Essex Savings Bank dominated the discussion.
Bank of America occupied the space when the town purchased the building at Middlesex Avenue (Route 154) in 2002 and converted other sections on the first and second floors into town hall in 2003. First Selectman Edmund Meehan said the bank has leased 3,200 square feet on the south side of the first floor at an annual rent of $75,000. The lease expires in August, but Bank of America is expected to vacate by the end of June.
Meehan said the town has received a payment of $280,000 from insurance carriers to replace the former community center building, located further south on Route 154, that collapsed under the weight of heavy snow in February 2011. Meehan said the total insurance payment was about $337,000, with some funds already expended for demolition and stabilization of the former community center site. The funds must be used to create a similar community center building for public use.
Meehan said there are options for town use of the vacant space at town hall, including a community center or possible use by the Chester Public Library, which is awaiting a feasibility study due in late June on a possible renovation and expansion of the historic 1908 library building on West Main Street (Route 148).
But nearly all of the residents at the meeting appeared to favor leasing the space to another bank, particularly a local institution like Essex Savings Bank. The bank’s president, Greg Shook, and Thomas Lindner, a vice-president who serves as the bank’s community relations officer, were at the meeting. After nearly an hour of discussion, Shook told the crowd Essex Savings Bank would be “honored to to able to fill the hole,” left by the departure of Bank of America.
Speakers at the meeting said the library should remain at the current site on Route 148, and some speakers questioned whether the town needed to replace the demolished community center with a new building. Lori Clymas, one of many who favored offering the space to Essex Savings Bank, said the community center insurance reimbursement could be directed to renovating underused space on the second floor of town hall for wider community use.
Several residents said Chester would benefit from having a second bank operating in town. With the departure of Bank of America, the only bank would be the First Niagara branch located on Water Street. Essex Savings Bank currently has two bank facilities in Essex, and branches in Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and a new branch that opened last year in Madison.
Meehan said he is proposing an appropriation of $25,000 in the pending 2012-2013 town budget to pay for a space and needs study of town facilities that would include “taking a look” at further renovations and other uses for the second floor at town hall. Meehan said the board of selectmen would discuss options for the first floor space at town hall, including possible lease talks with Essex Savings Bank, at a future meeting. He said the town must make a decision on use of the insurance proceeds from the former community center by the end of 2014.
Bank of America Leaving Space at Chester Town Hall, Selectmen set April 17 Public Information Meeting
CHESTER— Bank of America is ending its lease of space at the Chester Town Hall on Route 154, with an April 17 information meeting set to discuss possible town uses for the ground floor space.
First Selectman Edmund Meehan announced at Tuesday’s meeting of the board of selectmen the bank will close the branch and vacate the space by June 22. The Bank of America branch has been in operation for more than a decade, but the town became the landlord in 2003 when the it purchased the building and converted the other sections on the first and second floor in to the town hall.
Meehan said there will be 3,200 square-feet of space available on the first floor of the building. The bank has been paying the town $75,000 per year for the space, which includes a drive-through. Meehan said the town has potential uses for the newly available space, either for the library, a community center, or some combination of the two options.
The town’s community center building, located further south on Route 154, was demolished last year after the building collapsed in February 2011 due to the weight of accumulated snow on the roof. The Chester Library is currently considering options for a renovation and expansion of the historic 1908 library building on West Main Street, also known as Route 148. Library directors are awaiting a feasibilty study of expansion options that is expected by the end of June.
Meehan said a public information session would allow the selectmen to receive input from residents on possible town uses for the space. “We need to hear more from the community on this,” he said
Meehan said he is also proposing a $25,000 appropriation in the 2012-2013 town budget for an architectural/engineering design study of possible town uses for the space. The April 17 public information meeting convenes at 7 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street.
Conn DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker hosted a “First Crossing” party on the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry Saturday afternoon for local residents who helped raise public support for the ferry last summer when the ferry service was slated to be closed as part of the state’s austerity program.
After the state decided to fund continued ferry service for two more years, Commissioner Redeker formed a joint state-local task force to work on ways to reduce the ferry’s operating deficit by increasing ridership and increasing revenues.
Standing with Commissioner Redeker are Hadlyme members of the task force: left to right – Susannah Griffin, Wendy Dow Miller, Curtis Michael, and Dr. Matthew Elgart.
Despite temperatures hovering in the low 40s and a damp wind gusting up the Connecticut River, more than 70 local residents from both sides of the river turned out to ride the on the Selden III and celebrate the start of another year of ferry service between Chester and Hadlyme. Daily ferry service officially started on Sunday April 1, continuing 243 years of ferry service first started by Jonathan Warner in 1769.
Moravian-born Iva Bittova, vocalist, violinist, avant-garde performer, will be the featured musician at the third concert of the 38th season of the Robbie Collomore Concert Series at the Chester Meetinghouse on Sunday, April 22 at 5 p.m.
Iva Bittova is renowned for giving unique performances that draw upon her training in drama, classical violin and singing. Influenced by jazz, rock, Czechoslovakian folk music and classical violin training, Bittova creates vocal and violin sounds than have always been described as thrilling and impossible to categorize. As expected from an actress featured in a Czech film nominated for an Academy Award in 2004, her performances have a dramatic cohesion that is spellbinding. She will be accompanied by George Mraz, jazz bassist and alto saxophonist.
The Collomore Concert Series bring high-caliber, visiting musicians to Chester four times a year. Each performance is followed by a simple reception to mingle with and meet other music lovers and the performer. Tickets are $21 for adults and $5 for students. For information and tickets, call 860-526-5162 or visit www.collomoreconcerts.org. Iva Bittova’s performance is sponsored by First Niagara Bank.
With so many new books being published every day, why would anyone want to read books written in Greece almost 2500 years ago?
Just ask Charlotte Rea, who will be leading a series of three evening discussions on three Greek tragedies in April at the Chester Public Library. Rea, the former Head of School at the Williams School in New London, has an academic background in English and theater, including Greek drama.
“They are a good read,” she says firmly. “They are great stories that capture human purpose, drive, action, guilt and knowledge at its most elemental, intense, and ennobling.”
Rea draws a parallel between life in Greece 2500 years ago and our American society today. “The tragedies were written during a time of Athenian prosperity and stability, during the best periods of a working democracy (as they defined it – adult free males only). In the background, though, was the memory of recent wars and the mounting tensions with neighboring city-states, such as Sparta. Prosperity and stability in a time of tension, doubt, worry and cultural divides – sound familiar?”
The three plays, by Sophocles and Euripedes, are “Oedipus Rex,” “Antigone,” and “The Trojan Women.” In “Oedipus,” the Greeks asked how we find the truth and what choices do we make in our journey to see and to understand. “Antigone” raises the question of the individual’s right to act on a personal belief system when respect for civic stability requires cooperation. “The Trojan Women” makes clear the timeless, seemingly inevitable consequences of war for the survivors. The discussions will begin Wednesday, April 11, with “Oedipus Rex”; move on to “Antigone” on April 18; and end on April 25, with “The Trojan Women.”
“The plays have lasted as ‘classics’ for almost 2500 years – why?” Rea asks. “What do they teach us about the human condition and quest for meaning? In a period of quick changes and rapid alterations in communication, landscape, and attitudes, which human values have endured through the centuries? Which have not?”
Rea notes that the plays are easy to read and short, requiring an hour or so to read (though the former schoolteacher admits to encouraging a second reading).
Registration is required for these programs, which are brought to you by the Friends of Chester Public Library. Call the library at 860-526-0018, or visit the library website at www.chesterct.org/library.php to register. All discussions will be at Chester Public Library from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Books will be available for loan at Chester Library. Those interested in ebooks may want to check out the texts available through Project Gutenberg.
The Turnaround Performance Award, which is given by Roto Frank AG on the occasion that a Roto Group Company makes dramatic improvements. The Executive Board recognized significant progress in the areas of strategy, market approach, sales, cost structure, inventory, and change management. “The decision to honor Roto Frank of America with this award derived also from the fact that Roto has been dramatically reversing the negative trend which was in place up until 2009,” concludes Dr. Eckhard Keill, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for Roto Frank AG.
According to Chris Dimou, Chief Executive Officer of Roto Frank of America, “Despite the downturn in the building and construction industry and such difficult economic times, the Roto team here in the United States and Canada has persevered and made tremendous strides over the past two years. By growing our Sales by almost 40% the last couple of years, we have gained important market share and prepared the ground for future growth. We are deeply honored by this unique Performance Award, appreciative of the Group’s continued support, as well as our employees’ dedication and hard work.”
About Roto Frank of America
Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America is a Connecticut-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. The company, which offers solutions for North American and European hardware applications, has an extensive product line including its renowned X-DRIVE™ casement and awning hardware, NT Tilt & Turn, TITAN sliding patio door, Flip Lock positive action lock, DR10 adjustable hinge, Patio Life lift & slide, and 6080 fold & slide, among others.
About Roto Frank AG
Roto Frank AG was founded in Stuttgart, Germany in 1935 by the inventor of tilt & turn hardware, Wilhelm Frank. In 1950, the company moved to a facility in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, a suburb of Stuttgart where it is still headquartered today. Two divisions comprise the Roto Group: Hardware Technology for Windows and Doors and Roof Windows and Solar Technology. As one of the world’s largest OEM suppliers, Roto Frank AG employs more than 4,000 people and currently operates twelve manufacturing facilities as well as 40 sales subsidiaries and sales partners worldwide.
For more information about Roto’s services or products please contact: Roto Frank of America, Inc., 14 Inspiration Lane, Chester, CT 06412. 1-800-243-0893 or visit www.rotohardware.com
Photo caption: Chris Dimou, CEO/President of Roto Frank of America receives the coveted “Turnaround Performance Award” from Parent Company Roto Frank AG and the Executive Board Members. (From left to right: Mr. Leonhard Braig, Chief Technical Officer, Michael Stangier, Chief Financial Officer, Chris Dimou CEO/President of Roto Frank of America, and Dr. Eckhard Keill, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Roto Frank AG.
CHESTER— State Department of Transportation officials Thursday outlined plans for the replacement of the Main Street bridge over Pattaconk Brook that include a start of construction, and five-month closing of Main Street in the downtown village beginning in January 2015.
About 40 residents turned out for the session at the Chester Meeting House where the plans for a complex construction project were presented by engineers and project managers. The bridge, constructed in 1921, carries the brook through a narrow channel that runs along or near several downtown buildings. Project manager David Stahnke described the construction area as “a very tight site.” The bridge is located just south of the intersection of Main Street and Route 148, also known as Water Street.
DOT project manager David Cutler said the 90-year-old bridge is rated poor, with deterioration to both the substructure and superstructure. He said repairing the bridge is not an option. The existing bridge is 22 feet long and about 65 feet wide. The new bridge would be 32 feet long, with two 12-foot travel lanes and wider shoulders than the existing bridge. The plans also call for improvements to the road approaches and sidewalks around the bridge.
Cutler said preparation work for the estimated $2.5 million project would begin in the fall of 2014. Main Street around the bridge would be closed during the heaviest construction, planned for a five-month period between January and May 2015. Traffic would be detoured off Route 148 on to Straits Road and Prospect Street to Maple Street and back to Main Street.
Stahnke said a temporary bridge would be set up around the work area to maintain pedestrian access to Main Street. The project will require acquisition of rights of way from at least two downtown property owners, a process that was explained by David Hummel, property agent for the DOT’s Division of Rights of Way.
One of the issues that generated discussion at the meeting is whether there should be no night work during the most active period of construction, or whether residents could accept some night work if it would speed up completion of the project. Michael Joplin, chairman of the town’s Main Street Committee, maintained residents and downtown business owners could live with a 12 or 13 hour workday if that would help ensure the project was finished, and Main Street reopened to traffic, by May 2015.
Cutler said the state is ready to coordinate work on the bridge project with the town’s plans for a reconstruction of Main Street, the locally-funded project that is being directed by the Main Street Committee. The state also plans a replacement of the Water Street bridge over Great Brook, located just east of the Main Street bridge. Work on the Water Street bridge replacement is expected to begin later this year. The Main Street reconstruction is expected to be done around 2013-2014, between completion of the Water Street bridge replacement and the start of work on the Main Street bridge project.
CHESTER— The planning and zoning commission has approved a special permit for a new vegetarian restaurant in the former Chester Savings Bank building at 6 Main St. in the downtown village.
The commission approved the application of Chester Properties LLC of Old Lyme in a unanimous vote at a Feb. 2 meeting. The plans were presented at a two-part public hearing that began in January and continued on Feb. 2. The plans call for a 40 to 50-seat restaurant with a liquor license, along with a separate 857 square-foot retail space and two apartments on the second floor of the building. More than a dozen residents expressed support for the project at the public hearings.
The restaurant, which is expected to open later this year, will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. There will be a parking area with space for 23 vehicles.
Extensive renovations of the former factory building of 36,000 square feet are now 80 percent complete, according PCI Medical, the new company that is coming to town. When finished and operational, an estimated 50 new jobs will have moved into Deep River. Over thirty of them will be employees of PCI Medical, and the rest will be those of a tenant, according to PCI.
Deep River’s Smith said that he was “very excited about PCI’s move back to Deep River.” “Industrial and commercial development is very important to us,” he said, noting that they add new tax revenues to the town. Also, Smith said that the building that PCI is now remodeling was “in tough shape.” It once housed a metal stamping company, and has been vacant for a number of years.
PCI Medical, a national leader in disinfection systems
“Everything we do is related to disinfection,” says Philip Coles, President of PCI Medical, speaking from PCI’s present headquarters in the industrial area of Chester. Coles runs the company with his wife, Cliodhna Coles, who holds the title of Vice President, and who shares an office with her husband.The essence of PCI’s business is manufacturing machines that disinfect heat sensitive, medical devices used by hospitals, health care facilities and medical laboratories throughout the country. Over 6,000 of these health care facilities are currently customers of PCI Medical.
Many of the disinfectant processes that are addressed by PCI machines are mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation.
Coles says that because its disinfectant machines protect health care professionals, the company even receives “thank you” letters from workers in the health care industry.
The PCI disinfectant process
These diagnostic devices in the health care industry that PCI machines disinfect are those that are inserted into to various parts of the human body to determine the health of an individual medical patient. These devices include endoscopes and ultrasound probes.After these medical devices have been used, they are disinfected and “the vapor from the disinfectant can be very dangerous,” says PCI President Coles. To address these dangers PCI manufactures no less than twenty different disinfection soak stations that remove the toxic vapors.
These PCI disinfectant devices fall into two categories. The first are used for endoscopes, and the second are for ultrasound probes.
The endoscope process, according to Coles, “provides an actual medical peek inside a person’s body.” The ultrasound probe on the other hand generates an ultrasound picture of the probe within the human body to a “live” visual display machine.
PCI’s business consists of manufacturing Disinfection Soak Stations that disinfect the devices that are used in both endoscope and ultrasound medical examinations.
“We provide machines to disinfect these instruments, which also protect the person doing the disinfecting,” Coles points out. The Soak Station machines of PCI are equipped with specially activated carbon filters, which by chemical adsorption protect the user while the medical instruments are disinfected.
Coles says that the machines manufactured by PCI Medical used in the disinfecting process are designed (1) to protect the health care professional using the device, (2) to protect the delicate medical instruments that are being disinfected, and (3) to minimize the use of the liquid disinfectant involved in the process. In fact, PCI’s processes use 75% less disinfectant than other systems, according to Coles.
Furthermore, PCI’s disinfection processes are “ductless,” which means that in the disinfecting process, it is not necessary for a PCI customer to construct ducts to the outside air, according to Coles.
In addition, Coles says that PCI Disinfection Soak Stations prevent splashes and spills.
The PCI Medical success story
According to Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, PCI Medical’s first manufacturing site was a 2,000 square feet space in Deep River’s industrial park. It was in what the town calls an “incubator space.” At the very first the company had only three employees.However, PCI Medical grew rapidly, and eventually after renting progressively larger sites in town, the company was up to renting a 14,000 square feet space at 12 Bridge Street in Deep River.
But then in 2010 the company had growing pains again. However, this time the amount of rental space that was needed was simply not available in Deep River, so the company moved to a rental property in Chester’s industrial park.
Now, when the extensive reconstruction of its new property on Winter Avenue is complete, PCI will be coming back to Deep River. No one could more pleased by this than Deep River First Selectman, Dick Smith.
CHESTER— The state Department of Transportation will hold a Feb. 16 public information meeting on the planned replacement of the Main Street bridge in the downtown village. The session begins at 7 p.m. in the Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street.
DOT engineers will be present at the meeting to outline and answer questions from residents and downtown business owners about the latest plans to replace the Main Street bridge over the Pattaconk Brook. The bridge replacement project is expected to begin in 2014.
A nearby bridge project, replacement of the bridge on Water Street, is expected to begin this summer. The town is planning a reconstruction of Main Street in the downtown village to be done over the next two years, around the same time as the two bridge replacement projects. The Main Street Committee, a group of volunteers appointed by the board of selectmen, is coordinating and supervising the town’s Main Street project.
On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, at the Chester Meeting House, the Chester Historical Society will present another in its series of programs about the colorful “characters” who have called Chester home for their family and their business.
As Historical Society president Skip Hubbard says, “As much as we often think of buildings and artifacts as history, it’s really about people – what they did, what they experienced, how they adapted and how they succeeded. That’s why we like to offer the ‘Chester Characters’ programs, as an opportunity to hear the stories of the people.”A couple of “characters” who are still living will share how their Chester businesses got started along with interesting stories that happened to them. Other “characters” will be described by family members or in some cases by their close friends or employees. This winter’s “Characters of Chester” will feature: Harry Archambault, the founder of Archambault Insurance Agency; Shirley Miceli, the pharmacist and owner of Chester Pharmacy; Robbie Collomore, the owner of Robbie’s store; John Dengler, owner of Dengler’s Service Station; Jim Grote, Chester Hose Co. chief and fire marshal; and John Zanardi, the original proprietor of John Zanardi Oil Co., Inc.
Come learn the history of what made Chester such a special place to live and work. As with all Chester Historical Society programs, audience participation is encouraged. We welcome your own stories of these Chester “characters.”
The program will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
CHESTER— Assessor Loreta Zdanys has filed an October 2001 grand list of taxable property that totals $502,698,090 an increase of $3,580,619, or .70 percent, over the 2010 grand list total. The increase is expected to generate about $79,000 in new tax revenue at the current tax rate of 22.11 mills.
The increase is slightly larger than last year, when the net grand list was up by .50 percent from the 2009 total, with all of the increase attributed to motor vehicles. The 2011 grand list shows increases in both motor vehicles and real estate, while personal property is down from the 2010 total. The real estate total of $451,502,570 is up by $2,412,905 from the 2010 total. The motor vehicles assessment total of $27,959,970 is up by $1,780,874 from the 2010 total. The personal property assessment total of $16,148,030 is down slightly, by $87,290, from the 2010 total.
The list of top ten taxpayers is unchanged from 2010. The top ten taxpayers in descending order are Chester Woods Inc. (Chester Village West), Connecticut Water Company, Whelen Engineering Company, The Eastern Company, Whelen Aviation LLC (Chester Airport), Connecticut Light and Power Company, Roto Frank of America, Arthur and Judith Schaller, Margaret and Robert Sbriglio, and Chester Marina LLC. Schaller and Sbriglio are residential properties on the Connecticut River.
CHESTER— Town Democrats and Republicans have selected new town committees for the 2012-2014 term at recent party caucuses.
Democrats selected a 24-member town committee with ten new members. Incumbents returning to the town committee include Samuel Chorches, Lori Ann Clymas, Lawrence DiBernardo, Robert Gorman, Charlene Janecek, Henry Krempel, Justin Kronholm, James Miller, Isaac Ruiz, Sandra Senior-Dauer, Selectman Lawrence Sypher, John Yrchik, former Selectman Peter Zanardi, and Kurt Ziemann.
New members include First Selectman Edmund Meehan, who was elected to the town’s top job last November. Meehan’s election ended six years of Republican control of town hall that began with the election of former First Selectman Tom Marsh in 2005. Marsh resigned in August to take a job as town manager in Windsor, Vt.
Other new members are Robert Bibbiani, Joe Cohen, David Fitzgibbons, Errol Horner, Arthur Henick, Pantelis Kehayias, Suzane Levine, Margaret Meehan, and James Ready.
Incumbents leaving the town committee include former First Selectman Martin Heft, who was unseated by Marsh in 2005 after serving 12 years in the top job. Heft, an aide to Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, moved to West Hartford last fall. Also leaving the town committee are Charles Della Rocco, Kristina Finnerty, Region 4 Board of Education member Elaine Fitzgibbons, Emily Maste4rs, Michael Peck, and Priscilla Robinson.
Town Republicans selected a 25-member town committee that includes five new members. Incumbents returning to the town committee include Joyce Aley, David Clark, Selectman Tom Englert, Terri Englert, Region 4 Board of Education member and current town chairman Mario Gioco, Laura Gioco, Victor Hoehnebart, John Huston, Alexa Jamieson, Joni Malcynski, Darolina Marguez-Sterling, Ashley Marsh, Karl Ohaus, Maria Ruberto, Kristian Seifert, Melvin Seifert, former Selectman Bruce Watrous, and Beverly Watrous.
New members are Jamie Grabowski, Jon Joslow, Tracy Ohaus, Jill Sakidovitch, and Brian Sakidovitch. Leaving the town committee are Marsh, Kathy Marsh, Frank Palka, and Betty Palka. The new town committees are seated in March, when the panels will elect officers for the 2012-2014 term.
Chester, CT – Guest House Retreat and Conference Center in Chester, Connecticut, will offer a series of public events. The outreach programs will kick off with “Gentle Yoga for Every Body”, an all-inclusive gentle yoga class designed for all levels of experience, taught by Lisa Uihlein, owner and operator of Turning Point Yoga. These classes will run on Wednesday mornings, from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m., from February 1 to March 21. Additionally on Wednesday evenings, Guest House will resume its year-long series of free meditation classes, titled “Meditation in the World.”
About Guest House: Guest House is a delightful retreat and conference center in the scenic Connecticut River Valley. Founded in 2008, the not-for-profit educational facility rents out its conference rooms and provides accommodations to organizations and teachers who wish to present their own programs. In addition, programs generated by Guest House aim to support the development of the human potential of individuals. Located in the town of Chester, Connecticut, the structure is a beautifully renovated country inn situated on private wooded land, adjacent to a state forest. For additional information about Guest House and its programs, visit www.GuestHouseCenter.org.
CHESTER— The planning and zoning commission has continued the public hearing for a new vegetarian restaurant at 6 Main St. in the downtown village to Feb. 2. The hearing will reopen at 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House on Liberty St.
The commission on Jan. 5 opened the public hearing on the application of Chester Properties LLC of Old Lyme for a restaurant in the former Chester Savings Bank building at 6 Main St. The proposed restaurant would have 40 to 50 seats, with a liquor license and bar. It would serve organic vegetarian cuisine.
The site plan for the building also calls for a 700-square-foot retail space with a separate entrance, and two residential apartments on the second floor. The project also requires a permit from the inland-wetlands commission because of the proximity of the building to the Pattaconk Brook. The IWC is expected to review the permit application at a Jan. 30 meeting.
The planning and zoning commission elected new officers last month, with Jon Lavy named as chairman. Lavy, a Democrat, has served on the commission since 2005. Lavy replaces Michael Joplin, a Democrat who had served as chairman of the panel for more than a decade before losing his seat in last November’s town election.
Michael Sanders was named as vice-chairman. Sanders, a leader of the Chester Common Ground Party, was elected to the commission in 2007.
CHESTER – Maple and Main Gallery is planting “Summer Dreams” in its downstairs gallery during the new Winter Show, opening Wednesday, February 1.
Visitors can shake off the winter doldrums in the lower gallery where all the art will be devoted to the theme of flowers, gardens and bright, beautiful summertime.
Over 200 paintings, in a variety of mediums and all new to the gallery, will be on display during the Winter Show. Please come to the opening party Friday, Feb. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. when food and drink will be offered and the artists will be on hand.
Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is located at the corner of Maple and Main streets in Chester. The web site is mapleandmaingallery.com. and the phone number is 860-526-6065.
CHESTER – Join Community Music School for an entertaining performance by members of Cabaret Singers On Thursday, January 26 at 7:45 p.m. at Chester Village West, 317 West Main Street, Chester.
Under the direction of Karli Gilbertson and accompanied by Sue Sweeney, the group of ten adult students will perform favorite ballads, Broadway hits and toe-tapping pop rock standards of the 1950’s. A selection of titles to be performed include: Standing on the Corner, Baby It’s Cold Outside, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, Hymn L’amour, Bella Notte, There’s No You, Secret Love, Lipstick on Your Collar, Sixteen Candles, and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me.
Karli Gilbertson, CMS Artist-in-Residence, is a graduate in vocal performance of the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Minnesota. Her esteemed vocal teachers have included Doris Yarick-Cross, Susan Fischer-Clickner, and Donna Pegors. Ms. Gilbertson was previously a Resident Artist with the Connecticut Opera Company.
The concert is free and open to the public. Please call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org for additional information.
CHESTER, CT– A Special Board of Selectmen Meeting with a Budget Forum for the 2012-2013 fiscal year will be held at the Chester Meeting House on January 17 at 7 p.m.
The Public is invited to share their ideas, concerns and solutions for preparing the 2012-2013 budget that maintains the quality of services and controls spending. The Board of Selectmen will hold a special meeting immediately following the budget forum.
Do you have any Budget Saving Ideas? If you have any budget saving ideas, please fill out this form available on the website chesterct.org/depart/finance/cost_sav_online.pdf and send it along to the First Selectman’s Office in the Town Hall. We would love to hear from you!
The award was personally presented to the firm by Anne S. Evans, Director of the Connecticut District Office of the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce and eastern Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney. It was accepted by Andrew J. Gibson, CEO of AeroCision.
“Here is a company that is absolutely competing and winning in export markets,” said Director Evans in presenting the award.
A statement issued by Congressman Courtney office provided background about the award:
“Last year Rep. Courtney and Anne Evans of the U.S. Department of Congress joined AeroCision representatives on a trade mission to the United Kingdom. During the trip, the company was able to solidify the international relationships and expand markets, boosting their overall exports from $300,000 in 2010 to $1 million in 2011.”
In the statement AeroCision CEO Andrew Gibson was quoted as saying, “When we were in the UK with Congressman Courtney, we were at a crucial point with Rolls Royce.”
Gibson continued, “The fact that I was in the UK with a member of the Armed Services Committee seeking global opportunities within the UK demonstrated our sincere commitment as a global supplier. The timing was perfect. The supply chain people at Rolls were impressed. In sum, the trip and our association with Department of Commerce added prestige and credibility at a critical time.”The award ceremony was followed by a sandwich luncheon with many of the 60 AeroCision employees that work at the aerospace plant in Chester. An AeroCision spokesman said that in connection with the trade mission to the UK, the company paid for all of the travel expenses of its employees in connection with the trip.
CHESTER— Main Street in the downtown village will be improved and reconstructed around the same time as two state funded bridge replacement projects, but decisions are still pending on the exact scope and cost of the town funded work on Main Street.
That was the message Wednesday as about 40 residents turned out at the Chester Meeting House for the first public information meeting held by the Main Street Committee, an 11-member group appointed by the board of selectmen last fall to coordinate the Main Street improvement project. Committee Chairman Michael Joplin and other members presented the latest information on the project. The committee recently conducted a mail-in survey to help gather opinions from residents on the extent of the town-funded project.
While noting the bridge replacements and the Main Street reconstruction are separate projects, Joplin said the goal is to begin the Main Street work around the same time as the bridge projects. Joplin said the state Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting on the first project, replacement of the Water Street bridge, on Thursday Feb. 16 at the Chester Meeting House.
Work on the Water Street bridge project is expected to begin this summer, with a temporary closing of Water Street expected to begin this fall. Replacement of the Main Street bridge over Pattaconk Brook is expected to begin in 2014.
Committee member Chuck Mueller said the committee and board of selectmen, along with the town as a whole, must decide on the extent of the Main Street reconstruction. Mueller said options include focusing on Main Street in the immediate downtown area, near the bridge and intersection with West Main Street (Route 148), or extending the improvements east on Main Street to the intersection with Route 154, and up sections of Water Street, and North Main Street to the location of the Norma Terrace Theatre.
Mueller said the town currently has $440,000 set aside for the project, including a state Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant. The cost of the project could be significantly higher depending on the extent of the improvements. Committee member Steve Tiezzi said the town could apply for additional state grants after the extent of the project is determined.
Residents at the meeting also discussed the option of relocating electric power lines underground, instead of overhead, for a portion of the project area. Joplin said relocating the power lines underground would cost at least $3 million.
CHESTER— The planning and zoning commission has scheduled a Jan. 5 public hearing on a special permit application for a new restaurant at 6 Main Street in the downtown village. The hearing convenes at 7:30 p.m. in the Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street.
Chester Properties LLC, which has an address at 102 Sill Lane in Old Lyme, is seeking approval for a full service restaurant in the former Chester Savings Bank building at 6 Main Street. The restaurant would have 40 to 50 seats, with a liquor license and bar. There would be 8 to 15 full and part-time employees.
The site plan for the property also calls for a “small retail space with a separate entrance,” and two residential apartments on the second floor of the building. The proposed restaurant would be open seven days a week.
CHESTER— The board of selectmen has approved a new 15-year contract with the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority for disposal of solid waste and recyclables.
Meeting after Tuesday’s town meeting, the board approved a new contract that will replace the current CRRA contract that expires in November 2012. Chester has been a member of CRRA since it was established in the mid-1980s, and is one of 13 area towns that dispose of solid waste and recyclables at the CRRA regional transfer station located off Route 154 in Essex. Solid waste is compacted and trucked to the CRRA Mid-Connecticut incinerator in Hartford.
First Selectman Edmund Meehan said Chester would be paying a tipping fee of $59.50 per ton under the new contract, less than the $70 per ton fee the town is currently paying. Meehan said Chester has one of the highest number of residences and businesses served by commercial trash haulers of any of the towns using the regional transfer station, with nearly 99 percent of the properties in town served by paid haulers that collect trash at the curbside. Chester becomes the third area town to approve new disposal contracts with CRRA, following Deep River and Lyme.
In other business, the board appointed Melvin Seifert to fill an alternate vacancy on the planning and zoning commission. Seifert, a lawyer, had served on the commission in a vacancy appointment since last year, but failed to win election running on the Republican and Common Ground Party ballot lines in the Nov. 8 town election.
When the board appointed Democratic commission alternate Henry Krempel to fill a regular member vacancy on Dec. 6, Seifert asked to be considered for the regular member opening. Republican Doreen Joslow, who was elected to a two-year regular member vacancy term on Nov. 8 actually offered to resign to open up a spot for Seifert.
Meehan said Joslow has decided to remain a regular member, with Seifert stepping in to the alternate seat. There remains one alternate member vacancy on the commission, a spot that was not filled in last month’s election.
CHESTER— Voters at a town meeting Tuesday elected two new members of the Region 4 Board of Education, with Republican Mario Gioco and Democrat Ann Monaghan picked to fill vacant seats through the November 2013 town election.
The vacancies were created by the resignations of two Republican members, Richard Strauss, who had served as the board’s treasurer, resigned in October. Pamela Christman, the board’s vice-chairwoman, resigned effective Dec. 6.
Three candidates were nominated for the first vacancy, a six-year term that expires in November 2013. Nominated were Gioco, the longtime chairman of the zoning board of appeals who is also chairman of the Chester Republican Town Committee, Monaghan, a lawyer with three children attending Region 4 schools, and Michael Hotkowski, a graduate of Valley Regional High School. Hotkowski had been an unsuccessful candidate for the regional school board on the Chester Common Ground Party line in the Nov. 8 election, losing to incumbent Democrat Elaine Fitzgibbons. Fitzgibbons is the town’s third representative on the nine member regional school board that also includes three members each from Deep River and Essex.
Gioco won the seat on a paper ballot vote with 28 votes to 18 votes for Monaghan and eight votes for Hotkowski. The second vacancy was for a six-year term ending in November 2015, but town attorney and meeting moderator John Bennet announced the seat would also be on the town’s November 2013 election ballot for the final two years of the term.
Monaghan was nominated again, along with James Gordon, a former member of the Chester Board of Education who was nominated by Glen Reyer, a founder of the Chester Common Ground Party. Monaghan was elected on a voice vote, with a handful of votes for Gordon.
Gioco and Monaghan were sworn in to office by Town Clerk Debra Calamari immediately after the town meeting. Their first regular meeting is Jan. 5, when the board is scheduled to elect a chairman and other officers for 2012-2013.
CHESTER– Voters will elect two new members of the Region 4 Board of Education for vacancy terms at a Dec. 20 town meeting. The town meeting will convene at 7 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.
The vacancies were created by the recent resignations of two Republicans on the board. Richard Strauss, who had served as board treasurer, resigned in October. Pamela Christman, who served as vice-chairwoman, resigned effective Dec. 6.
The board of selectmen was preparing to fill the two vacancies by appoint, but First Selectman Edmund Meehan announced last week that he was advised by town attorney John Bennet that a town meeting vote was required to fill a vacancy on the regional school board.
The town meeting has a single agenda item, to fill two vacancies on the Region 4 board through the November 2013 town election. The Chester Republican Town Committee has recommended Mario Gioco, the chairman of the town’s zoning board of appeals, to fill one of the openings.
Meehan said last week that at least two other residents had expressed interest in serving on the board. Nominations will be made from the floor of the town meeting, with the top two vote-getters elected to fill the vacant seats.
CHESTER— The board of selectmen decided Tuesday that a town meeting vote is required to fill the town’s two vacancies on the Region 4 Board of Education.
First Selectman Edmund Meehan, at his first meeting of the board since assuming the top job on Nov. 22, said he had learned Monday that a town meeting vote would be needed to fill the two vacancies on the regional school board. Chester selectmen, along with the boards of selectmen in the other district towns of Deep River and Essex, had been operating on the assumption that vacancies on the Region 4 board could be filled with appointments by the board of selectmen. “This is a new wrinkle in this process,” Meehan said.
Meehan said he was advised of a state statute that requires vacancies on regional school boards to be filled through a town meeting vote, even though the Region 4 towns have 1950s ordinances that call for an appointment of the board of selectmen to fill vacancies. Town meeting votes have been used to fill vacancies on the board of other regional school districts in the area, including Region 17 (Haddam-Killingworth) and Region 13 (Durham-Middlefield). Meehan said Town Attorney John Bennet had advised that the state statute on the vacancy process would supersede any local town ordinance.
Chester has two vacancies on the Region 4 board in seats that were held by Republicans. Richard Strauss, the board’s treasurer, resigned in October, while board vice-chairwoman Pamela Christman resigned effective Tuesday. Meehan said three residents have expressed interest in serving on the school board, including Mario Gioco, an accountant and chairman of the zoning board of appeals who has been recommended for one of the vacancies by the Chester Republican Town Committee.
The board agreed to schedule a town meeting to vote on filling the vacancies, and made no recommendations of candidates at Tuesday’s meeting. Meehan said he would schedule the town meeting as soon as possible, probably before the end of the month. Nominations would be made from the floor of the town meeting, with the winning candidates serving on the Region 4 board through the next town election in 2013.
The board also appointed a new member of the planning and zoning commission while offering support to a possible post-election switch among Republicans on the commission.
There were four residents interested in filling the vacancy created by the recent resignation of long-time member Janet Good, a Democrat. The interested residents include current commission alternate Henry Krempel, a Democrat, former Republican member Melvin Seifert, who failed to win election in the Nov. 8 town election after serving as an appointed member of the commission, former member Steve Tiezzi, and Patricia Bisacky, an unsuccessful candidate for the commission in last month’s election on the Chester Common Ground Party line.
Meehan said he favored appointing Krempel for the vacancy, following an informal tradition of appointing an active alternate when a regular member seat is opened up by a resignation. Seifert asked to be considered for the appointment, contending his background as a lawyer had been helpful to the panel over the past year.
After Democratic Selectman Larry Sypher indicated he also favored Krempel for the appointment, newly elected Republican member Doreen Joslow made an unusual offer. Joslow had won election to a two-year vacancy term on the commission in the Nov. 8 vote, defeating long-time commission chairman Michael Joplin, a Democrat, in the major upset of the 2011 election.
Joslow said she would be willing to resign her regular member seat, possibly stepping in to an alternate position, if the board of selectmen would agree to appoint Seifert to fill the two-year vacancy seat she won on Nov. 8. Joslow said she believes Seifert would bring valuable experience in filling a regular member seat on the panel.
Meehan and Sypher said they would be willing to support a possible switch of the two Republicans. Krempel’s appointment leaves two alternate openings on the commission, along with the regular member opening that could be created if Joslow resigns the seat.
In other business, the board reappointed Bennet as town attorney for the 2011-2013 term. The appointment comes despite a pending increase in the firm’s fee, from the current $140 per hour to $175 per hour next July.
CHESTER— The board of selectmen will be filling two vacancies on the Region 4 Board of Education by appointment through the 2013 town election. The second vacancy takes effect on Dec. 6 with the resignation of Pamela Christman, the board’s current vice-chairwoman.
Christman, a Republican, was narrowly elected to a six-year term on the board in 2009. She served previously as a member and chairwoman of the Chester Board of Education. Richard Strauss, another Republican who served as the treasurer of the nine-member regional board, had resigned in October. Strauss’s term expires in 2013. The town’s other member, Democrat Elaine Fitzgibbons, was re-elected to a second term on the board in the Nov. 8 election.
The Chester Republican Town Committee last month recommended Mario Gioco for appointment to the vacancy created by the Strauss resignation. But with the town election only weeks away, the board of selectmen decided to defer action on the appointment until a newly elected board was seated for the 2011-2013 term. Gioco, the chairman of the town committee, is also a longtime member and chairman of the zoning board of appeals.
Democrat Edmund Meehan was elected on Nov. 8, with Democratic Selectman Larry Sypher and Republican Selectman Tom Englert also returning for second terms on the board. The board is expected to discuss the Region 4 vacancies when it holds its first meeting on Dec. 6.
The individuals appointed to the vacancies will serve until November 2013, when both seats will be on the municipal election ballot. The selectmen’s vacancy appointees are not required to be a member of any particular political party.
By December 10 decorate one door per household and send in your $15 registration fee to Paula Dutka, 33 Castle View Dr., Chester, CT 06412.
The judging will be done on Dec. 16 and prizes donated by Simon’s, Ceramica and Acer Gardens will be given to the winners.
More information is available by calling Paula Dutka at 860-526-9722 or by going to www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org.
The merchants of Chester will present The Annual Holiday Night in Chester, on Friday, December 2, 2011. The annual tree-lighting and sing along will begin at 6:00 pm – Art Gallery, restaurant and shop opening receptions from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.
The Holiday Night Festival, co-sponsored by the Town of Chester, Chester Rotary Club and the Merchants of Chester, will begin at the Chester Flag Pole between Main Street and Maple Street with the annual tree-lighting and sing along at 6:00 pm. Join our community as we gather to sing carols around the decorated Christmas Tree (click here for the song list). Most Shops, Restaurants and Galleries in Chester will be open for the Special Event to showcase our unique wares, gifts, menus and art work from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.
Evening highlights will include a sing-along led by local talent, the children’s decorating of the tree, and special merchant events and gallery openings. The Chester Boy Scouts Troop 13 will line the streets with luminarias, while Saint Lucia Girls stroll around with goodies. The Garden Club will decorate the lampposts, adding to the holiday feeling we all enjoy. There will be plenty of demonstrations, exhibits, openings and of course, shopping. And not to be forgotten, the newest pewter ornament will be on sale by the Chester Hose Company and local merchants throughout the season designed by a Chester artist.
Free parking is available at the Water Street and the Maple Street parking lots, both a short walk to the center. Limited on street parking is available as portions of Main Street will be closed to vehicle traffic.
Looking for something to do over the Thanksgiving holiday? Chester Museum at The Mill will be open to the public without charge on Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26. Stop by and see our two-time award-winning Streams of Change permanent exhibit, plus the last two days of our 2011 season exhibit, Chester Voices of the Civil War. Museum hours will be 10 am to 4 pm each day. The museum is at 9 West Main Street, just steps from Chester center.
CHESTER— The planning and zoning commission has denied a special permit for a proposed bulk propane storage facility at the Airport Industrial Park off Route 145.
The panel acted at a special meeting on Nov. 8. The permit application of DSDM LLC was rejected on a unanimous vote.
DSDM LLC, an affiliate of Uncas Gas Company, was seeking a permit for two 30,000-gallon propane storage tanks on a parcel at 25 airport Industrial Park Road. The industrial park is located off Winthrop Road, also known as Route 145, in the rural western section of town. The plan drew strong opposition when it was presented at public hearings in September and October, with a final session held on Nov. 3.
A nearby business owner at the industrial park, and a nearby resident, each hired lawyers to support their objections at the public hearings. William and Susan Sangster, owners of Hull Management LLC on a nearby parcel in the industrial park, were represented by Hartford lawyer John Bradley and an engineering consultant. Keith and Maria Scherber, of 70 Winthrop Road, were represented by Old Saybrook lawyer Michael Cronin.
More than a dozen residents spoke in opposition to the permit application at the public hearings. Opponents contended the industrial park road, which ends in a cul-de-sac, was not a suitable location for bulk propane storage, and that bulk propane storage should not be allowed in an area that is not served by a public water line.
CHESTER— The town will hire Drummey-Rosane-Anderson Inc., a South Windsor architectural firm, to develop an expansion plan for the Chester Public Library.
The board of selectmen approved the hiring earlier this month based on recommendations from the library expansion committee and the elected library board of trustees. The firm, which has experience preparing building expansion projects for libraries and historic buildings, which selected from about ten firms that applied for the job. The services are expected to cost about $20,000.
The board of selectmen earlier this year appointed a volunteer library expansion committee to determine the feasibility of expanding the historic 1906 library building on West Main Street, and if an expansion is feasible, developing a plan and cost estimate for a building project. In discussion with the selectmen last winter, library trustees said they were considering a “limited expansion” of the 2,000 square-foot library building.
The committee and architects are expected to present a report and recommendations to the board of selectmen in the coming months. The recommendation, including a cost estimate, could lead to a library expansion proposal that would be presented to town voters for approval later this year.