March 23, 2017

Local Rotaries Present Global Collaborative World’s Faire Today; Includes Sister Cities Essex Haiti

All the full-time doctors at Hospital Albert Schweitzer are Haitian.

All the full-time doctors at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer are Haitian.

CHESTER — Six local Rotary clubs are working together with other organizations to present a Global Collaborative World’s Faire on Sunday, Nov. 6 from 2 to 5 p.m at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT. The motto of the event is “Building Bridges across the Globe” as it seeks to bring attention and support to local efforts that serve global causes. Bring the whole family to this fun-filled celebration that will help others around the world!

This event will feature:

  • displays and information on over 15 local organizations that serve international causes
  • children’s crafts and activities with an international focus — make a drum, dragon, mola art project, and more
  • vegetarian soups from around the world, plus pizza, sweets and soft drinks
  • musical entertainment bits
  • a raffle and door prizes

Individuals or groups supporting nonprofit international initiatives will showcase their efforts and raise funds and awareness for their causes. Artisan crafts and alternative gift-giving options will be available for purchase.

Children who bring art work depicting the theme “Building Bridges across the Globe” will receive Rotary Happy Bucks that they can use to purchase items or donate to the charity of their choice.

Admission is free.  Non-profit groups will keep 100% of the money raised from sale of wares, foods, non-alcoholic beverages, raffle items, and charitable donations.

Sister Cities Essex Haiti and Hôpital Albert Schweitzer will also be present at the Rotary Global Collaborative World’s Faire.

At the Faire, Sister Cities Essex Haiti and Hôpital Albert Schweitzer will showcase their efforts in rural Deschapelles, Haiti.  Sister Cities Essex Haiti was established in 2010, shortly after the devastating earthquake, by members of the Essex community who had previously traveled to Haiti.

Children enjoy reading together at the Deschapelles Community Library.

Children enjoy reading together at the Deschapelles Community Library.

It now supports a community library designed by Essex architect Hope Proctor, a tennis program, a music program and an Early Education Teacher Training program.

Hôpital Albert Schweitzer was founded in 1956 by Gwen and Larry Mellon, parents of Essex resident, Jenifer Grant. The full service hospital serves over 300,000 people in its 610 square mile district, and it has outreach efforts with four health centers in the more rural mountainous areas, a reforestation program, and a wells and water program to provide potable water.

Both organizations have been beneficiaries of Rotary support, as well as broad support from people in this area, and are delighted to be invited to participate in this Faire.

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The Country School Presents a Timeless Lesson — Starting With the Holocaust

Author Robert Gillette addresses Middle School students at The Country School.

Author Robert Gillette addresses Middle School students at The Country School.

AREAWIDE — The Country School regularly offers rich learning opportunities, inviting authors, community leaders, and alumni to speak to students. Most recently, TCS welcomed Robert H. Gillette, retired teacher and author of Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm, to share the story of two Jewish teenagers who fled from Nazi Germany.

Gillette spoke to his audience about a book’s meaning, what he calls White Fire. The Holocaust, he says, was written in black letters and screamed, “Beware!” White Fire, in contrast, invites readers to learn and not to be afraid. The White Fire in Escape to Virginia teaches readers not to be a perpetrator, a passive victim, or a bystander.

These lessons echo those The Country School teaches as part of its signature Elmore Leadership and Affective Education programs. In a unit called “Bullies, Victims, and Bystanders,” Middle School students learn about the power of words. Mr. Gillette’s message, the White Fire of his historical account of two young students, offers the same.

Seventh-grader Phineas Scott reflected on Mr. Gillette’s presentation, “It could not have gone better. He kept us all on the edge of our seats with his descriptions of what life was like for those refugees. We met the children of Eva who helped Mr. Gillette with the research for his book. Mr. Gillette told us we can learn a lot from history. We can learn about courage and hope from stories like Eva’s and we can learn to always stand up for what is right. He told us that The Country School’s motto, Education that Lasts a Lifetime, is the motto that Eva believed in.”

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond.

See The Country School community in action during their Fall Open House on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Collomore Concerts Continue This Evening in Chester with Pianist Jeffrey Swann

Jeffrey Swann

CHESTER – Internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Swann will perform at the Chester Meeting House on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. in the 43rd season of the Collomore Concert Series.

Swann’s performing career has taken him throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. After pursuing his graduate degrees at the Juilliard School, where he studied with the renowned Beveridge Webster and Adele Marcus, Swann came to the piano world’s attention winning first prize in the Dino Ciani Competition sponsored by La Scala in Milan and a gold medal at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. Other top honors include the Van Cliburn and Chopin Warsaw Competitions, and the Young Concert Artists auditions in New York.

In addition to presenting recitals worldwide, Swann has performed in this country with the symphonies of Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Minneapolis and worldwide with the orchestras in Rotterdam, La Scala, Rome, Prague and London.

Swann is a noted musical lecturer. The depth of his musical knowledge and his enthusiasm for teaching often leads him into spontaneous discussions of the music he is performing, much to the delight of his recital audiences. He continues to lecture regularly at the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Germany, and at Wagner Societies in the United States and Italy. Swann has also served as judge at many competitions, most recently at the Utrecht International Liszt Competition.

Since 2007 Jeffrey Swann has been Artistic Director of the Dino Ciani Festival and Academy in Cortina d’Ampezzo; since 2008 the Adel Artist-in-Residence at Northern Arizona University; since 2010 Professor of Piano at New York University; and since 2012 Artistic Director of the Scuola Normale Superiore Concert Series in Pisa.

At the Chester Meeting House, Jeffrey Swann will perform the Schubert Sonata in G Major and Beethoven Sonata No. 29 (Hammerklavier). After the concert, stay for the reception with refreshments donated by The Wheatmarket, to meet the performer. Tickets cost $25 for adult; $5 for student. Tickets can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal. The Chester Meeting House is at 4 Liberty St., in Chester. For more information, check the website or call 860-526-5162.

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Chester Garden Club Hosts 18th Annual Tea This Afternoon

CHESTER — The Chester Garden Club’s 18th Annual Tea will be held on Saturday Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. at the United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester.  Come for an afternoon of musical entertainment as the Valley Shore a Cappella, a Chapter of Sweet Adelines International, from Middletown, CT will entertain with songs from romance to rock and roll, show tunes and patriotic melodies, all are sung in the barbershop style, four- part a cappella harmony.

The tea menu will include savory sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, as well as an assortment of delectable desserts that will be served by members. 

Proceeds from this event support the Garden Club’s civic and education efforts in the local area. Tickets are $25 and seating is limited to 100 guests. To make reservations, send name, address, telephone number with ticket requests, payment and a stamped, self-addressed return envelope to the Chester Garden Club, P.O. Box 415, Chester, CT 06412.

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

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Maple & Main Hosts CT Camera Club Show

Black Beauty by Elin Dole is the signature photo of the photo exhibition at Maple & Main.

Black Beauty by Elin Dole is the signature photo of the photo exhibition at Maple & Main.

CHESTER  A diverse selection of exceptional photographs is being shown during November in the Stone Gallery.

The work of members of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club are on display from Wednesday, Nov. 2 through Nov. with a reception Friday, Nov. 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The opening party is also part of the town-wide First Friday initiative so when you come to town that evening expect many galleries and shops to be open with special offerings.

Maple and Main Gallery, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday from  noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065; visit us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Meeting House Players Present Three Performances of ‘Almost Maine’ This Weekend

Almost_Maine_book_coverCHESTER — The Meeting House Players will present John Cariani’s witty, romantic comedy “Almost Maine” early November in the Meeting House, 4 Liberty Street, Chester.

Directed by Debbie Alldredge, the production will be performed Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4 and 5, at 8 p.m.; there will also be a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.

“Almost Maine” is a series of nine romantic vignettes, set on a cold, clear midwinter night in the mythical town of Almost, ME.  As the northern lights drape across the night sky, the residents of Almost find themselves falling in and out of love in unanticipated and often hilarious ways.

For additional information, contact Deb Alldredge at TheMeetingHousePlayers@gmail.com or at 860-526-3684.

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Chester/Deep River ‘Solarize’ Workshop Scheduled for Tonight

CHESTER/DEEP RIVER — The second Chester/Deep River Solarize Workshop will be held this evening, Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the Deep River Town Hall at 7 p.m.

This meeting is for anyone from either Town interested in learning about the environmental and financial benefits of solar.

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Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Meets Jan. 18, All Welcome

tri town ysb
TRI-TOWN –
The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 9 a.m. at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River.

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

In Year 6 of the Drug Free Communities Support Program Grant, the Coalition will address Action Plan items for this year and will develop their Action Plan for next year.  Future meeting dates for this year are March 8, 2017 and May 17, 2017.  For further information, please call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600.

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

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Chester Library Offers Fall Book Discussion This Evening

CHESTER – A National Book Award winning book will be discussed this evening, Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Chester Public Library. The discussion, facilitated by Marsha Bansavage, an educator who has led book discussions at the library for several years, will give the participants a chance to reflect on why each of these books (a novel and a collection of short stories) received the prestigious National Book Award. According to Bansavage, this book, “will promote lively, interesting discussion.”

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

The discussion will be held at the Chester Public Library, at 21 West Main Street, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  The discussions are free, but registration is required.

Call 860-526-0018 for more information and to register.  Books will be available to borrow at the library on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Letter to the Editor: Many Reasons to Reelect Phil Miller, the Best Choice for State Representative

To the Editor:

It didn’t take me long to figure out who to support this election for state representative for the 36th District. If you missed the debate between Phil Miller and Bob Siegrist then you missed out on hearing how polished and professional our incumbent State Rep Phil Miller sounded. Phil is the right choice to continue to represent us in Hartford. He has been an influential voice for us as the chair of the Planning & Development Committee, and he has our small CT River Valley well represented.

Phil has worked to secure funding, meeting with the Office of Policy and Management, and supporting Valley Shore Emergency Communications (VSECI) grant application. The group seeks creation of a multi-site UHF simulcast system to provide better communications for volunteer firefighters and medical technicians among the towns.

Rep. Philip Miller introduced a bill in the House of Representatives backed by local lawmakers and advocates which aims to improve water services to residents of the Tylerville section of Haddam.

The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) has named Phil a “Legislative Champion” for his support of environmental issues considered by the General Assembly this year.

Many people have told me they have phoned our representative and state senator, and it is always Phil that returns the call and tries to help them with their problem whatever it may be; Phil is approachable, inclusive and very successful in helping resolve problems.

Phil has the experience to work across the aisle, and has many avenues to help cut the red tape in Hartford and help pave the way to a better future. I hope you will join me in reelecting Phil Miller to the 36th District on November 8th.

Sincerely,

Lisa Bibbiani, Deep River Democratic Town Committee (DRTC) Chair
AnnMarie Joy, DRDTC Vice Chair
Dorothy DeMichael, DRDTC Treasurer
Angus McDonald Jr, Deep River First Selectman
Stephen Bibbiani, DRDTC member
Bruce Edgerton, DRDTC Member
Jan Edgerton, DRDTC Member

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Letter to the Editor: Sen. Linares Right for the Lower CT River Valley

To the Editor:

I met Senator Linares 4 years ago shortly after he decided to run for his first term to the State Senate. My first thought was, “He’s too young,” but then he spoke of his family’s immigrant history, his ideas for Connecticut and I was sold.  In his first two terms, he has shown leadership beyond his years.

The debate between Senator Linares and Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman held October 17 revealed a stark contrast.  Mr. Needleman’s understanding of the issues facing the state appeared thin and he had no solutions beyond the failed efforts of the democratic leadership of our state. In contrast, Senator Linares revealed a deep understanding of the issues and described efforts he has made and will continue to make to fix those problems.  Mr. Needleman not only supported Mr. Malloy and his tax increases, but donated to his campaigns and was amenable to further tax increases.  Notably, Mr. Needleman did not dispute that the Democratic Party has hired and is paying a handsome salary to a campaign manager for Mr. Needleman.  We can’t know what Mr. Needleman promised the Senate Democratic Leadership, but we should all be concerned.

Senator Linares stood up against Mr. Malloy’s tax increases and supports a plan to grow the economy, jobs and reduce taxes titled, “A Confident Future,” which was unveiled by the GOP Senate Leadership on September 15.  A copy of the plan can be found at http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/LegislativeAgendaFinal.pdf

Sincerely,

Mel Seifert,
Chester.
Editor’s Note: The author is a member of the Chester RTC.

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State Rep. Miller, Challenger Siegrist Face Off in 36th District Debate

AREAWIDE — Experience and a call for a fresh voice were the themes Thursday (Oct. 13) as incumbent  Democratic State Rep. Phill Miller of Essex and Republican challenger Robert Siegrist of Haddam faced off in the 36th House District debate.

Miller and Siegrist responded to nearly a dozen questions before a crowd of about 80 district voters in the session held in the auditorium at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River. The hour long  debate was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, with questions submitted to Conroy in advance by voters.

The Nov. 8 contest is a rematch from 2014, when Miller defeated newcomer Siegrist on a 5,522-4,701 vote, carrying the district towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex, while Siegrist won his hometown of Haddam. Miller was first elected to the seat in a February 2011 special election after serving as first selectman of Essex from 2003-2011.

The rivals differed sharply on several state issues, from the state budget and finances to gun controls, tolls, and the possibility of marijuana legalization. But whatever the issue, an overriding theme was Miller’s claim of public service experience that benefits district residents against Siegrist’s call form a “fresh voice for the 36th District.”

“You won’t be well served by a poser who has no public sector experience,” Miller said, later describing the campaign as a contest of “experience and know how versus inexperience and want to.” Siegrist, a former bartender, who currently works with a landscaping business, contended Miller has been too loyal to the six-year administration of Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy. “We need to change direction and stop electing career politicians whose focus is no longer clear,” he said.

The candidates agreed the state will likely face another budget shortfall in 2017, with Miller predicting a need for further spending reductions. He said legislators need more time to review budget plans before final votes on a spending package. Siegrist called for “structural changes,” including pension adjustments for unionized state workers and caps on bonding. He pledged to oppose any new or increased taxes.

A question on possible increases in the gasoline tax to fund road improvement projects brought the issue of tolls to the discussion. Miller said the gasoline tax in Connecticut is already higher than it is in neighboring states and suggested, “We need to have a conversation about tolls.” Siegrist said he would oppose any plan that includes highway tolls, which he described as “just another word for a new tax.”

There was also disagreement on gun controls, particularly legislation approved earlier this year that allows guns to be taken from residents who are subject to a court-restraining order over concerns about possible domestic violence. Miller supported the temporary restraining order gun law, declaring that “domestic violence is a major problem and the modern Republican Party believes gun rights are God-given.” Siegrist said the new state law was a “gun grabbing” measure that “takes away rights to due process.”

Miller said he is “very open” to possible legalization of marijuana, noting that it has been approved in several states and could provide a new source of tax revenue. Siegrist, while noting he supports medical marijuana, maintained the issue of full legalization of the drug needs further study.

The heated presidential contest between Democrat Hilary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump also came up during the debate. Miller said Trump is the worst presidential nominee of his lifetime, while describing Clinton as an “accomplished person,” who has been “unfairly maligned for many years.” Siegrist said his campaign is focused on state and local issues, and that he differs with some of Trump’s positions. “This about the State of Connecticut, and Phil Miller and Bob Siegrist,” he said. In a reply, Miller noted that Siegrist did not state who he would be voting for in the presidential race.

In one area of agreement, both candidates said the opiate addiction crisis in Connecticut is serious and needs to be addressed in a bipartisan manner. Siegrist said, “We need to talk about this as a community.”

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Republican State Sen. Linares, Democratic Challenger Needleman Spar in 33rd Senate District Debate

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

AREAWIDE — Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook and his Democratic challenger, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, sparred Monday in a public debate for the 33rd Senate District contest.

More than 150 voters from the 12 district towns turned out for the 90-minute debate held in the auditorium at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, with the question of which candidate represents the “political class” in Connecticut overshadowing the specific issues where the candidates differed, or nearly as often, concurred.

The session was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, who selected questions that had been submitted in advance by district voters.

The debate began with a walk-out by Green Party candidate Colin Bennett of Westbrook. Bennett, who has run previously for the seat and participated in all debates during the 2014 campaign, began with an opening statement where he said his goals are to end hunger, provide access to health care, protect the environment and affirm that black lives matter.

Bennett then claimed that Conroy had attempted to exclude him from the debate based on comments at an Oct. 5 debate in Westbrook where he criticized Needleman and urged people not supporting him to vote for Linares. “I don’t want to be where I am not wanted,” Bennett said before walking off the stage. Linares said later he had told Conroy he would not participate in the debate if Bennett was arbitrarily excluded from the outset.

The term political class entered the discussion soon after the opening statement from Needleman, where the three-term first selectman said he had been urged to run the seat this year by the Senate Democratic leadership because they wanted a candidate with experience in business and municipal government. Needleman said he told party leaders he would not be a rubber stamp, and could become their “worst nightmare,” if elected.

Linares, who was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, scoffed at the claim, questioning why the Senate leadership would provide Needleman with a full-time campaign manager on leave from the caucus staff if they believed his election would be a nightmare. Linares contended Needleman has been a loyal supporter of Democratic “Governor Dan Malloy and the political class,” contributing funds to Malloy’s two gubernatorial campaigns in 2010 and 2014.

Needleman said Linares is the “career politician,” running for the senate seat at age 23 and laying the groundwork for a future campaign for the 2nd District congressional seat or statewide office.

But despite the sharp exchange, the two rivals agreed on several issues, including support for recently approved incentive package for Sikorsky in Stratford, providing some degree of contract preferences for in-state companies, and reducing, or for Linares eliminating, the estate or inheritance tax. The candidates agreed state employee unions would have to make contract concessions on both wages and pensions if the state faces another large budget deficit in 2017.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night's debate.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night’s debate.

Needleman said his experience negotiating contracts with public employee unions in Essex would be helpful in any discussions with state employee unions, though he questioned whether unions could be forced into concession talks. Linares called for mandatory legislative votes on all union contracts, and suggested a need for “additional leverage” to bring unions to the table. “The unions have not come to the table, we’ve tried that, everyone has tried that,” he said.

The candidates differed somewhat on the question of welcoming refugees from war-torn Syria to Connecticut. Needleman said while “vetting is critical,” an arbitrary exclusion based on a refugee’s country of origin or religion is “un-American.” Linares, whose family fled Cuba in the early 1960s, said he would insist on “clearance from the FBI,” because the United States does not have intelligence capabilities in Syria to screen refugees, including those who reach Europe before possible entry in to the United States.

The candidates also differed on possible increases to the state minimum wage, and gun control measures. Needleman said he supports measured increases in the minimum wage, but believes a hike to $15 per hour, as advocated by some Democrats, “is a very bad idea.’ Linares said he favors a national standard for the minimum wage, suggesting that further increases at the state level would hurt small businesses and cost the state jobs. He said the earned income tax credit is a better way to provide assistance to low income workers.

On gun control, Needleman said he is a “2nd Amendment Democrat,” but favors some additional gun control measures. He criticized Linares for opposing legislation approved earlier this year that allows guns to be seized from persons who are subject to a court restraining order where domestic violence is a factor.

Linares said Needleman is “trying to take both sides of the issue,” by referring to gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. Linares said he opposed the temporary restraining order gun bill because it was an “overreach” that takes away due process for gun owners, and discretion for judges.

The 33rd Senate District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.
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State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman Endorsed by Women’s Health Groups

ESSEX – Yesterday, Norm Needleman announced the endorsements of women’s health groups Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut PAC and NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC in his State Senate campaign in the 33rd District.

Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut PAC (PPV!CT PAC) is committed to supporting and endorsing pro-reproductive rights, pro-family planning candidates for state office. Needleman was endorsed along with other candidates for Connecticut state races.

“We are very proud to endorse candidates who are committed to protecting reproductive health care,” said Chris Corcoran, PPV!CT PAC Board Chair. “The candidates we endorsed drive policy on women’s health care. Connecticut women and families should know that these candidates would ensure vital services remain intact.”

“States are the front lines in protecting women’s health and the right to choose,” said Needleman. “In the State Senate I will be an advocate for reproductive rights and access to women’s health care services. I will fight against the extremist elements that have worked their way into Hartford politics.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC’s mission is to develop and sustain a constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.

“We are excited about your support for women, and look forward to your involvement in working to make Connecticut the best state in the nation for reproductive rights,” said Jillian Gilchrest, President, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC.

Needleman is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares who has earned the endorsement of an extreme organization – the Family Institute – in 2012, 2014 and 2016 for his opposition to common sense women’s health and reproductive rights.

PPV!CT PAC is the Connecticut state political action committee affiliated with Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut (PPV!CT). PPV!CT is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE).

“These candidates support reproductive health, rights and access,” said Susan Yolen, PPV!CT PAC board member and Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy with PPV!CT. “We are confident each of these candidates will work to preserve and expand  access to full reproductive health care services for the people of Connecticut.”

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing 150 people at facilities in Essex and Clinton. Needleman is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a selectman in 2003.

He is the Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District which consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

For more information on Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut, visit www.plannedparenthoodvotes.org.

For more information on NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut PAC, visit www.prochoicect.org.

For more information on Needleman’s campaign, visit www.norm.vote.

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Letter to the Editor: Phil Miller is the Best Choice for the 36th District

To the Editor:

Phil Miller is the best choice for state representative for Essex, Deep River, Chester, and Haddam.  He is a legislative leader, chairing the Planning and Development Committee, and has been instrumental in making laws that benefit our region.  His prominent position in the legislature gives him a unique platform to continue to fight to solve the State’s financial issues. 

Since Phil has been in Hartford, he has advocated for many local infrastructure and transportation projects, giving aid to our local economy.  An active listener and talented problem solver, his office has helped countless citizens to navigate state agencies to get the assistance they need.  Phil’s experience as a Selectman and First Selectman has been particularly helpful in recognizing and helping to defeat proposed legislation which could place a financial burden on our small towns.  He knows what we need and we need to keep him in the State House. 

I ask you to join me in re-electing Phil Miller to District 36 State Representative.

Sincerely,

Lauren S. Gister,
Chester

Editor’s Note: The author is the first selectman of Chester.

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Letter to the Editor: Needleman has Qualifications, Experience for State Senate Job

To the Editor:

This election is a crucial one for all of us, for reasons that we know only too well. The state budget, economic development, oppressive mandates, and education funding affects each of us and our towns.  With so many daunting issues to address, we can’t settle for anyone who doesn’t have the experience, knowledge, and skills to work across party lines to get the job done right. 

Given those criteria, the choice for the 33rd District State Senator is an easy one. It is Norm Needleman.  Norm’s qualifications and experience make him the right person for the job.  He has nearly forty years of experience at running a successful company and creating jobs.  His first priority is not ambition or party politics. Rather, he is focused on enhancing the quality of life for everyone in our towns.

As First Selectman of Essex, Norm has kept taxes among the lowest in the state, without cutting services.  Norm believes that dialogue is the key to solving problems, and that no individual or political party has a monopoly on good ideas. He has long been actively involved in a number of civic and not-for-profit organizations.  Most of all, he relies on his proven business skills and a deep knowledge of town government to find ways of solving problems that cut across party lines and special interests.

In these challenging times, we need Norm Needleman’s leadership and problem-solving skills in Hartford. I am voting for Norm because he will return meaningful state senate representation to our district.

Sincerely,

Ted Taigen,
Chester

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Country School Begins Year on High Note with Jump in Enrollment, New Facilities

A new academic year all-school photo  of The Country School taken on the school's new athletic fields.  Photo by Joseph's Photography, Inc.

A new academic year all-school photo of The Country School taken on the school’s new athletic fields. Photo by Joseph’s Photography, Inc.

AREAWIDE – The Country School kicked off the new school year having reached two major milestones before even opening its doors. This summer, the coeducational, independent day school celebrated the opening of its new, state-of-the-art recreational facility and broke ground on the second phase of Shaping the Future, the school’s 60th anniversary campus transformation plan. At the same time, The Country School opened with the highest new student enrollment increase in more than a decade, the 50 new students marking a 66 percent increase over last year’s number.

The school’s 60th anniversary, celebrated during the 2015-2016 school year, was a banner year at The Country School. More than 300 members of the school community came together to donate nearly $2 million to support the school’s campus transformation project and other 60th Anniversary initiatives, including increased scholarship support and programmatic enhancements. This marked the largest one-year gift total in the school’s 60-year history.

The campus improvements completed this summer include two full-sized, side-by-side athletic fields, a baseball and softball diamond, the four-court Rothberg Tennis Center, a full-sized outdoor basketball court, new playgrounds, a reconfigured ropes course, an enhanced cross country course, and more. With these new and expanded facilities, the school was able to welcome more than 200 students to campus this summer for its Summer Fun and Learning camp programs and also to coordinate with Madison Racquet & Swim Club for USTA tennis matches. This fall, the town of Madison is using the school’s baseball diamond and RUSH soccer its soccer fields.

Phase 2 of the Shaping the Future project, begun in July, moved vehicular traffic to the periphery of campus, creating a pedestrian village for learning at the center. The plan, designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, enhances academic and collaborative opportunities for students and teachers and makes the traffic pattern simpler and safer for all.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. See our community in action during our Fall Open House on Nov. 6, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Letter to the Editor: Needleman Stands for Sensible Gun Control, Unlike His Opponent

To the Editor:

I am voting for Norm Needleman for State Senate because of his pragmatic and common-sense approach to public service, exemplified by Needleman’s position for sensible gun control.

After the Newtown school massacre of 20 first graders and 6 educators, the NRA ‘robocalled” Newtown residents urging them to oppose gun safety legislation and to contact Senator Linares to mobilize opposition.

The press sought out Linares for an explanation of his role, but he was “unavailable for comment”.  A month later, the legislature overwhelmingly passed “An Act Concerning Gun Violence and Children’s Safety”, drafted by a bipartisan panel and supported by the leadership of both parties.

Linares voted “NO” and never explained why.

In May 2016, despite vehement opposition from the NRA, sensible legislation to stem gun violence, “An Act Concerning Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence” was enacted.  Again Linares voted “NO”, even though there was strong bipartisan support ensuring its passage. Over 20 states have similar statutes.

Linares’s NRA’s high rating is apparently due to his Newtown and domestic violence no votes and his confided answers to their questionnaires.

In my view, most gun owners are responsible and practice careful use of their firearms. The job of our State Senator is to listen to all concerns and recommendations on gun safety and go beyond the extreme positions of the NRA hierarchy, and begin to address the provisions of the General Assembly’s Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention, April 2013.

Norm Needleman is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and not the extreme positions embraced by the NRA and Linares.

Vote for Norm Needleman, whose proven leadership and proven results, in both the public and private sectors are driven by his sensible, compassionate and balanced approach to getting things done.

Sincerely,

Ed Meehan,
Chester.

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Letter to the Editor: Why do I Support Needleman? Let me Count the Ways … (With the Editor’s Apologies to The Bard)

To the Editor:

I enthusiastically support Norm Needleman for State Senate because as a business owner and Essex first selectman, Norm knows how to balance a budget, make a payroll and care for hundreds of employees.

Norm’s opponent? He has problems. Art Linares was a Trump delegate at the Republican Convention, and has blatantly reaffirmed his support for Trump in recent days. The question for voters is, why?

The New London Day (October 5, page B3) carried a column calling Linares’ support of Trump the most ludicrous in the state.  It pointed out that Linares’ family business (“Greenskies”, which installs solar panels from China) receives huge state subsidies to encourage renewable energy.  Yet Trump is denier-in-chief that climate change even exists.

Consider also one of Linares’ favorite issues: balancing the budget. Trump’s economic plan is projected by the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget to increase the national deficit by $5.3 trillion over the next 10 years — 26 times more that Clinton’s plan.  How can Linares possibly support that? Norm’s budget-balancing plan for the state is to cut state spending — a good approach.

Next up is Trump’s abhorrent treatment of women, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and immigrants in general, and the GOP/Trump platform’s proposals to end a women’s right to chose, legalize discrimination against gays, toss out campaign finance law, and end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The list goes on and on. Where does Linares stand on these Trump issues?

Trump’s poor record was well-known when Linares became a Trump delegate, long before the recent disclosure of Trump’s vulgar, disgusting tapes about women. Are these the principles and positions Linares stands for, since he continues to support Trump? You bet – that’s why I’m backing Norm!

Arthur Henick,
Chester

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If You Oppose the Proposed High-Speed Rail Route, Join SECoast’s Fundraiser This Afternoon at Bee & Thistle

fundraiser-at-bt_oct2016
AREAWIDE SECoast, the non-profit group actively and constructively opposing the proposed high-speed rail line through Old Lyme and southeast Connecticut, is holding a fundraiser at the Bee and Thistle Inn on Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.

SECoast.org is a locally-directed special project of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. Since publicly breaking news of the proposed bypass in January, SECoast.org has been working tirelessly as an effective advocate for Old Lyme and the local area by catalyzing growing regional opposition to the bypass.

Thanks to the generosity of the Bee and Thistle’s owner David Rufo, the Inn’s Executive Chef and acclaimed wildlife photographer Kristofer Rowe and singer/songwriter Dan Stevens who is performing at the event, 100 percent of the funds raised on Sunday will go towards mounting a legal defense to the route, which it is anticipated will be announced next week.  The monies raised will help support staffing, digital media and administrative costs of the campaign.

Once that announcement has been made, there are precisely 30 days by law to respond to the preferred route.  SECoast wants to be ready to react immediately to the announcement.

Tickets for Sunday’s event are $50 and fully tax-deductible.  There is also a Sponsor level at $250 and sponsors will receive an autographed Kristofer Rowe photograph.

Donations in any amount are always at welcome at this account or by mail at CT Trust for Historic Trust Preservation, 940 Whitney Ave., Hamden, CT 06517-4002 (make checks payable to CT Trust with “For SECoast” on the face.

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of the work that SECoast has been doing.  Without Greg Stroud and his small band of dedicated individuals, the proposed Old Saybrook to Kenyon by-pass would likely have quietly continued along its probable path to becoming part of the FRA’s Tier 2 preferred route.

We are delighted that Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Joe Courtney, State Senator Paul Formica and State Representative Devin Carney are now all vocally opposed to the route and believe that in no small part relates to the efforts of SECoast.  We hope our Old Lyme Board of Selectmen (BOS) will show their support for SECoast because surely the BOS objectives are identical to those of SECoast?

This fundraiser is your chance to show your appreciation for all the work that SECoast has undertaken so far on behalf of the residents of Old Lyme specifically and, in a broader sense, the people of southeastern Connecticut … and all the work it will take on in the future.  If you choose not to support SECoast, then please don’t feel you have a right to complain about the train route down the line … pun intended!

See you on Sunday!

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Chester Selectwomen Visit Roto Frank of America

Gathered for a photo during the visit are (from left to right) Debra Wallis, CFO, Roto Frank of America; Lauren Gister, Chester First Selectwoman; Chris Dimou, President and CEO, Roto Frank of America; Carolynn Linn, Chester Selectwoman; Erik Ostby, Plant Manager

Gathered for a photo during the visit are (from left to right) Debra Wallis, CFO, Roto Frank of America; Lauren Gister, Chester First Selectwoman; Chris Dimou, President and CEO, Roto Frank of America; Carolynn Linn, Chester Selectwoman and Erik Ostby, Plant Manager.

CHESTER — Helping residents from local communities find gainful employment and finding skilled workers for open manufacturing positions was the focus of a visit on Oct. 4 from Lauren Gister, Chester First Selectwoman and Carolynn Linn, Chester Selectwoman, to Roto Frank of America, Inc.  The visit included a meeting with Chris Dimou, Roto Frank of America President and CEO; Debra Wallis, CFO and a tour of the Chester manufacturing plant conducted by Erik Ostby, Plant Manager.

As Roto Frank of America continues to thrive and grow, the challenge of finding skilled workers increases accordingly. The mutually beneficial solution lies in creating a greater awareness of Roto Frank’s role in the economic community and working collaboratively to attract and retain workers from Chester and the surrounding communities.

“Working with the Chester community helps in two ways. It creates an awareness of job opportunities at Roto Frank of America and helps us fill key positions as we continue grow,” said Chris Dimou.

Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America, Inc. is a Chester, Connecticut-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. Roto Frank of America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roto Frank AG, a global company headquartered in Germany, with 17 production plants and 40 subsidiaries worldwide.

Roto Frank of America offers solutions for North American and European hardware applications, has an extensive product line including its renowned X-DRIVE™ casement and awning window systems, sash locks, window-opening-control-devices, sliding patio door systems, and European window and door hardware, among others. For more information please visit www.rotohardware.com.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies, Wine & Art: All the Comforts of Home in Chester Tonight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lori Warner Gallery Hosts ‘ART-ISTRY’ Featuring Work of Rau, Steiner

Detail from a featured work by David Rau in the ART-ISTRY exhibition opening Oct. 1 at the Lori Warner Gallery.

Detail from a featured work, ‘Untitled,’ by David Rau in the ART-ISTRY exhibition opening Oct. 1 at the Lori Warner Gallery.

CHESTER — ART-ISTRY, featuring new work by David D. J. Rau and Christopher B. Steiner, opens Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Lori Warner Gallery in Chester with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. to which all are welcome.  On view will be three-dimensional assemblage pieces by Rau, and limited edition prints and original photomontage works by Steiner.

This exhibition will be a very special one since the Lori Warner Gallery invites artists to exhibit their work once per year and the selection process is highly competitive.

David D.J. Rau’s Vintage Hardware Drawer series, was inspired by 14 antique drawers that originally held screws, bolts, and plugs (according to the various labels). Rau transforms them into miniature surreal stage sets using vintage and antique pieces collected over the years. Inspired by the past, his aesthetic combines vintage photography, tattered paper, intriguing ephemera, and antiques into humorous, ironic, and most importantly, beautiful scenes. 

Rau is the Director of Education & Outreach at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Responsible for the public programs and making connections between the art and history and the Museum’s visitors. Rau holds a masters degree in Art History and a certificate of Museum Studies from the University of Michigan. Rau has worked at Cranbrook Art Museum; the Henry Ford Museum and The Currier Gallery of Art. Rau also teaches Museum Studies at Connecticut College.

Detail from "The Fall of Suburban Man" by Christopher Steiner.

Detail from “The Fall of Suburban Man” (2016) by Christopher Steiner.

Christopher B. Steiner has always been partial to artists with “a deep sense of wit and (twisted) humor.” His work has been described as “irreverent parody with a twist of dark absurdity.” Steiner deconstructs iconic or cliché images and well-rehearsed art-historical traditions in order to invite alternative readings. These interventions are meant to surprise, delight, destabilize, and sometimes even shock. His intent is to “reinvigorate familiar images by bringing to them new perspectives and insights through unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur visual tropes”.

Steiner holds an undergraduate degree from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University. He is the Lucy C. McDannel ’22 Professor of Art History and Anthropology at Connecticut College, where he also serves as Founding Director of the Museum Studies Program.

Steiner is also a member of the board of trustees of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, where he was also Interim Director in 2003-04. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Boards of both the Florence Griswold Museum and the Bellarmine Museum at Fairfield University.

The exhibition will be on view through Dec. 1, and is free and open to the public. The Lori Warner Gallery is located at 21 Main St. in Chester, Conn.

For further information, call 860-322-4265, email gallery@loriwarner.com and visit www.loriwarner.com or www.facebook.com/loriwarnergallery/

 

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CBSRZ Announces High Holy Day Service Schedule, Begins Sunday

CHESTER — Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (Chester) has announced its schedule of High Holy Day services.  Contact the synagogue office for tickets or more information.  860-526-8920

Sunday, Oct. 2

7:30 pm Erev Rosh Hashanah service

Monday, Oct. 3

9:30 am Rosh Hashanah Morning service, followed by Taschlich at the Chester Ferry

2:00 pm Rosh Hashanah Family Program

3:00 pm Children’s service

Tuesday, Oct. 4

9:30 am  Rosh Hashanah (Day 2) service

Sunday, Oct. 9

1:00 pm  Cemetery service at Fountain Hill

2:30 pm  Cemetery service at Rodfe Zedek

Tuesday, Oct. 11

7:30 pm  Kol Nidre

Saturday, Oct. 12

9:30 am  Yom Kippur Morning service

2:30 pm  Children’s service

4:00 pm  Yom Kippur Afternoon service and Neilah, followed by Break the Fast

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9 Town Transit Plans Bus Fare Increases; Public Hearing Slated for Tonight in Old Saybrook

9TT 30th Logo RGBAREAWIDE — To help offset a cut in state transit funding, the Estuary Transit District is considering an increase to fare on all 9 Town Transits services.

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

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

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

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

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

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Special Concert in the Garden Features ‘Supercool,’ Nov. 26

Supercool will play at the Concert in the Garden on Nov. 26.

Supercool will play at the Concert in the Garden on Nov. 26.


CHESTER — Leif Nilsson presents a special Concert in the Garden at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio located at 1 Spring Street in Chester Center on Saturday, Nov. 26 from 7-9pm for featuring Supercool. BYOB, $20 donation, Inside the Gallery if inclement weather. 

 

SuperCool is a band with an interesting story, and the musical goods to back it up. Jeffrey Marshall (bass and vocals) has a self-taught bass technique. He is a soulful player, delivering dynamic and passionate bass lines, while playing harmonica and singing lead as well.

Daniel Levanti (guitar and vocals) honed his guitar skills at Berklee College of Music, and through touring during his years in Europe.
Together they share a special friendship and creative bond. Part of their intriguing story is that these Americans met randomly in Prague, Czech Republic. Despite the apparent randomness of their hooking up, they have formed a solid musical partnership. They have been able to unite emotions and experiences and turn them into songs. These songs can be heard on their debut album, Greatest Hits Vol. I., available on Earwave Records, and Greatest Hits V.II, available on Championship Music. All songs are written by Daniel Levanti and Jeffrey Marshall.
Supercool will be joined by drummer Ian Kelly.
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Enjoy “Cruise Blues & Brews” in Chester Today; Benefits At-Risk Boys Fund

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

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

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

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‘The Verona Quartet’ Performs Tomorrow in First Collomore Concert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (D)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

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

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

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

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

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

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Family Fun Day at Face Arts Music, Saturday

TRI-TOWN — Make music together …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chester Rotary Hosts 46th Annual Lobster Festival Tomorrow

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

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

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

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CBSRZ Presents ‘Cinders’ Author, an Inner City Survivor, Discussing Racism, Poverty at ‘Books & Bagels’, Nov. 6

book_cover_192x300As the presidential election intensifies, campaigns have focused on inner-city issues of poverty, drugs and crime. Most of these arguments are based on statistics rather than the kind of real-life insight offered by people who have survived the worst city neighborhoods.

Cindy Brown Austin, author of the new acclaimed memoir, “Cinders,” brings that inside view to Chester in a free program on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 9:30 a.m., as part of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ)’s long-running Books & Bagels series.

She grew up in one of Hartford’s toughest projects as the self-described “love child” of an African-American mother and Jamaican father. In the project, gangs proliferated, violence was the norm, and the sting of racism was prevalent whenever she tried to lift herself out.

By the time she was 19, Brown Austin was brushing the cockroaches from the dresser-drawer so her infant daughter, her third child, could have a place to sleep, and she was lamenting, “Oh, Lord, is there no place on earth for me?”

In time, after she and her longtime husband David Austin had their fourth daughter, she began to describe her experiences in print, publishing many accounts from urban life in the Hartford Courant’s Northeast magazine, and then reprinted in Reader’s Digest, where she attracted a national following.

Lary Bloom, who was the founding editor of Northeast, says, “Cindy is the most eloquent and courageous writer on urban subjects that I ever published. She breathes honesty, and this comes through both in her essays and her speeches. I’ve been a champion of her work since 1990, and it just keeps getting better.”

Even so, these days Brown Austin runs scared. Her memoir details hair-raising events, including the whizzing of bullets past her head.  But a recent incident in Windsor Locks left her stunned. “For the first time in my life I was afraid of the mob. I’m a tough person. I’m not usually afraid of anybody.”

She and David were staying at a hotel because the mold in her Windsor home had made them ill. One night she went out to get a burger, and then on her return, outside of the hotel, “a group of young white guys, 20-somethings blocked the doorway.  I had to get past them to get into the building. For the first time, I was so afraid. I asked myself, why am I so afraid? I said hello, but there was such hostility in return. You could feel the mob thing.”

“For the first time in my life I felt what tyranny must feel like. They were emboldened. When Donald Trump steps into the spotlight, we, as blacks, tremble. We have so little, and to be hated by someone who has so much is so unfair. He’s stirred up the crowd, brought out so much fear. For black people, the doors are shut. If Hillary doesn’t get in, I can’t even imagine what will happen. The threat is so real. Everybody’s afraid.”

Indeed, indignities intensify. Recently, her husband David, on the same route to work through the suburbs that he’s followed for 20 years, was stopped by the Simsbury police, his car searched for weapons and drugs, just because he had made the terrible mistake of driving while black. (Brown Austin, outraged, drew an apology from police headquarters.)

Brown Austin’s appearance at the synagogue was arranged by CBSRZ’s Program Chair, Tracy Kleinberg, who says, “What an incredible learning opportunity for our community to have someone come and speak about being on the front lines of issues like racism and poverty, especially in today’s political and social climate where it is of the utmost importance to begin to listen and understand each other.  The more people who can engage in conversation about the very real situations in underserved communities the better off we will be as a society as a whole.”

Andy Schatz, CBSRZ’s Chair of Social Action, says, “One of our social action themes at CBSRZ has been to embrace diversity, and we have focused on the challenges of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism. Cindy Brown Austin tells some real-life stories behind those challenges, set in Hartford, one of the poorest cities in one of the richest states in America. Although we have been spared the most public examples of tragic conflict between police and community in recent years, those problems exist here as well. We hope everyone will come to discuss with Cindy her stories and what we all might do to change the narrative of our times.”

This event is free and open to the public, no advance registration is required.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some other notable proposed increases include:

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

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

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

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

The comment period closes Sept. 15, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Senator Chris Murphy Hosts Town Hall Discussion This Afternoon in Chester

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

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

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

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Chester Artists Donate Works to Chester Library Raffles

"September Light" by Deborah Quinn-Munson

“September Light” by Deborah Quinn-Munson

 

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

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

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

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

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

Butcherblock Cutting Board by Pondside Kitchens

Butcherblock Cutting Board by Pondside Kitchens

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

Knitted Squares Blanket by Chester Kid Knitters

Knitted Squares Blanket by Chester Kid Knitters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View of the Connecticut River from the "Victoria."

View of the Connecticut River from the “Victoria.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reading by Notable Poets Tonight at Maple & Main in Chester

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

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

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

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

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

Jacobik and Meneely will be joined by much-published poets: Ruth Foley of Attleboro, MA., Sharon Olson of Lawrenceville, NJ., Carole Stasiowski of Cotuit, MA., Hiram Larew of Upper Marlboro, MD., Anne Harding Woodworth of Washington, D.C., and Lawrence Wray of Pittsburgh, PA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry, no pets allowed.

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

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

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

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Connecticut River Artisans Now Open in Essex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sketch Along This Sunday at Maple & Main

'Three Hens' by Claudia Van Nes.

‘Three Hens’ by Claudia Van Nes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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See a Monotype Demonstration at Maple & Main Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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