December 12, 2017

Final Day of Community Music School’s Free Preview Week is Today

AREAWIDE – Community Music School, located at 90 Main Street in Centerbrook and 179 Flanders Rd. in East Lyme, welcomes the general public to visit during Free Preview Week Sept. 11 through 15. Children and adults can tour the School’s studios, meet teachers and staff, enjoy a free preview lesson, and learn about a vast array of programs for all ages including private and group lessons, adult cabaret, jazz ensemble, string ensembles, music therapy services, Kindermusik for babies and toddlers, and more.

During the academic year, Community Music School is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Those interested in a 30-minute preview lesson are requested to call 860-767-0026 for scheduling.  The public is also welcome to observe any group class or ensemble during Free Preview Week.

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

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

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Next ‘Lifelong Learning’ Lecture at Chester Village West Features ‘Paradoxes of Wellbeing,’ Nov. 13

CHESTER — Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, continues its Lifelong Learning Program with six free-and-open-to-the-public lectures in September, October and November. The program, in its fourth season, is in partnership with the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning and Middlesex Hospital. A Q&A and reception with light refreshments will be held after each program.

Registration is required. To register for one or more programs, call 860.322.6455, email ChesterVillageWest@LCSnet.com or visit https://www.chestervillagewestlcs.com/lifestyle/calendar-of-events/.

Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, CT 06412.

The final lecture was:

Monday, Nov. 13, 4 p.m.

Some Paradoxes of Wellbeing
Karl Scheibe, Ph.D., B.S.
Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, Wesleyan University
Director Emeritus, Wasch Center for Retired Faculty, Wesleyan University

Wellbeing has recently moved to center state of psychologists’ field of attention. This is in part a reaction to the traditional focus of psychology on problems of human suffering. But research on this topic has turned up some fascinating contradictions. Pleasure and pain do not accumulate in the same way, revealing a curious asymmetry in our emotional lives. Paradoxes of wellbeing are conspicuous, not the least of which is the observation that older people manifest an unexpected level of satisfaction with their lives.

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

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CBSRZ Adds New Programs to Current Education Offerings for Fall

CHESTER — The education team at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is offering new programming in the Kivvun wing. Kivvun means “direction” or “pathway,” and this year it is CBSRZ’s intention to provide more “paths” or “access points” into Judaism, while empowering each child to grow into their best selves, and experience their lives through a Jewish lens, within a vibrant Jewish Community.

Utilizing the Shalom Learning curriculum, and incorporating many aspects of the Project Based Learning model, learners will drive the creation of “questions” in order to determine how to answer the question,“What makes a strong Jewish community?”

Students will explore answers to their questions through the study of Hebrew, Prayer, Holidays and Values.  The learners will begin to formulate ideas while they analyze and express their thoughts through modes such as art, legos, cooking and storytelling. These electives or “Chugim” will be chosen by the students according to their interests and will offer an opportunity for learners of all grades to interact.

In addition to restructured program for young learners, new opportunities for teens will be offered, including student teaching, social action and recreational interaction. Gesher, a monthly class for 8th and 9th grade students, and Makom, a confirmation class for 10th grade students, will continue to be offered.

Registration is now open to everyone. To obtain your registration packet, contact Belinda Brennan, Cantor and Educator, at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, belinda@cbsrzorg, the office at 860-526-8920 and visit www.cbsrz.org/learn/youth for more information. CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT 06412.

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Applications Due by Nov. 9 for Rockfall Foundation Grants

AREAWIDE — Continuing the philanthropic tradition of its founder, Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation invites non-profit organizations, municipalities, and schools in the Lower Connecticut River Valley to apply for grants through the annual Competitive Grant Program. The Foundation seeks to support projects that preserve and enhance the environment and to increase public knowledge of and respect for natural resources. Projects that demonstrate new and imaginative ways to achieve this are encouraged.

Applications are due by Nov. 9 and can be downloaded from www.rockfallfoundation.org.  For detailed eligibility criteria or additional information, call 860-347-0340 or visit www.rockfallfoundation.org.

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through public programs and grants.  In addition, the Rockfall Foundation operates the historic deKoven House Community Center that offers meeting rooms and office space for non-profit organizations.

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Republican Primary Today for Judge of Probate

Anselmo Delia is the Republican party endorsed candidate for Judge of Probate in the 33rd District.

AREAWIDE — Registered Republicans in Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Old Saybrook are eligible to vote tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 12, in a primary election to determine the party’s candidate for 33rd District Probate Judge in the November election.

Kevin J. Hecht of Old Saybrook is challenging the party-endorsed candidate, Anselmo Delia, of Clinton.

In addition to the towns listed above, the 33rd District Probate Court, which is located in Old Saybrook, covers  Clinton, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, and Westbrook.

There is no Democratic Primary since party-endorsed candidate Jeannine Lewis is not being challenged.

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Chester Rotary’s ‘Lobster Festival’ Takes Place Today

Loving lobster! Happy LobsterFest-goers savor the feast. (File photo.)

CHESTER — Join the Rotary Club of Chester’s 47th Annual Lobster Festival to be held at the Chester Fairgrounds on Saturday, Sept. 9.

The event is highlighted by classic double entree dinners featuring Twin Lobster, Twin Steak, or Surf and Turf and single entrée Lobster or Steak dinners. Traditional sides include corn on the cob, potatoes and coleslaw.  The gates will open at 4 p.m. for table decorating and general admission.  Dinners will be served from 5 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m.   Soft drinks, bottled water, beer and wine are available for sale throughout the evening.

Live music for your dancing and listening pleasure will be provided by two great bands, Driving Route 9 and Old Dog New Trick until closing at 10 p.m.

Admission tickets for twin lobster or twin steak or surf and turf dinners are $40 in advance, $45 for remaining tickets at the gate. Single lobster or single steak dinner tickets are $30 in advance, $35 for remaining tickets at the gate.  Seating is limited, so early purchase is recommended.  Access to the Lobster Festival is restricted to dinner ticket holders.

Tickets are available at the following Chester locations: LARK, Pattaconk Bar & Grill, Chester Package Store, Chrisholm Marina, Chester Bottle Shop and at the Sunday Market as well as on-line at  http://www.ChesterRotary.org.

Proceeds from this event will be used to benefit the community.  Join friends and family for a memorable evening of great food, good fun and live music!

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21st Annual Venture Smith Day Festivities to be held This Afternoon

Keynote speaker, Russell Shorto, will talk about “Venture Smith and American Freedom” at the 21st annual Venture Smith Day on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 1 to 4 pm in the cemetery at the First Church of Christ, 499 Town St. (Rte. 151), in East Haddam.

EAST HADDAM, CT – The 21st annual Venture Smith Day Festivities will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the cemetery at the First Church of Christ, 499 Town Street (Rte. 151), East Haddam, Conn.where he is buried (1729-1805).

Son of an African king, Venture Smith became the first black man to document his capture from Africa and life as an American slave and successful black freeman in Connecticut.  Well-known and respected, Venture Smith spent the majority of his freedom years in East Haddam and Haddam Neck, Conn.  His grave is one of the original sites on the Connecticut Freedom Trail.

Keynote speaker, Russell Shorto, author of the best seller “The Island at the Center of the World,” about the Dutch founding of Manhattan, will talk about “Venture Smith and American Freedom.” His newest book, “Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom,” which weaves together the lives of Venture Smith, George Washington and four other early Americans, will be released Nov. 7.

Shorto believes the revolutionary period, through which Venture Smith lived, is more relevant now than ever. Shorto has won numerous awards for his writing, and his books have been published in 14 languages.

Dr. Karl P. Stofko, East Haddam’s Municipal Historian and Venture Smith family genealogist since the 1970s, will talk about “Charles Holt, the Forgotten Publisher of Venture Smith’s 1998 Narrative.” Venture Smith’s family genealogy and artifacts and crafts from Ghana and other regions of Africa will be on display. A town proclamation will be presented and wreath-laying ceremony by the descendants of Venture Smith and the annual Venture family reunion photograph will take place in the cemetery by Venture’s grave.

The ladies of “Sisters In Stitches Joined by the Cloth” of eastern Massachusetts will return this year with their magnificent African American quilts on display. The recent discovery of the Starks family, descendants of Venture’s granddaughter Cynthia Smith Matson, was added to Venture Smith’s family genealogy and will be on display. In addition, a restored original copy Venture Smith’s 1798 narrative will be on exhibit at the event. A facsimile of this booklet will be on sale for $5.

Adults and children who are interested in learning more about Connecticut history in the 1700 and 1800s are encouraged to attend. Bring lawn chairs or blanket. In case of inclement weather the celebration will move into the parish house of First Church.

There will be plenty of time to renew old friendships, talk with speakers, and Venture’s descendants and enjoy light refreshments in the Parish Hall next to the cemetery.

Call (860) 873-9375 with questions.  To review the original Venture Smith autobiography, visit  www.docsouth.unc.edu/neh/venture2/menu.html

A Brief Biography of Venture Smith

Born around 1729, Venture Smith’s African birth name was Broteer, and he was the eldest son of King Saungm Furro of the tribe of Dukandarra in Guinea, West Africa. He was captured about 1736 when he was seven years old and was sold for “4 gallons of rum and some calico” at Anamabo on Africa’s Gold Coast to Robinson Mumford, the steward of a Rhode Island slave ship. Broteer was renamed Venture because he was purchased by Mumford’s own private venture. Venture grew up as a slave on Fishers Island, New York, which was being leased by the Mumford family at that time.

Around 1750 he married Meg, another Mumford slave, and they had four children. After a failed escape attempt in 1754, Venture was sold to Thomas Stanton of Stonington Point, Connecticut. In 1760, he was purchased for the last time by Oliver Smith, of Stonington. Smith allowed Venture to purchase his freedom in 1765 and in return Venture took the name Smith as his surname.

Venture then lived and worked on Long Island to raise money to purchase the freedom of his wife and children. During these years he cut wood, farmed, fished, and spent seven months on a whaling voyage. In 1774, Venture sold all his land on Long Island and in Stonington and moved his family to East Haddam. He then began purchasing land on Haddam Neck along the Salmon River Cove from Abel Bingham and others. His farm grew into 134 acres with three houses; twenty boats, canoes and sailing vessels; two fishing businesses and a commercial orchard. His entrepreneurial ventures included river trafficking, lumberjacking, carpentry and farming. All this he accomplished without the ability to either read or write.

In 1798, Venture dictated his autobiography to teacher Elisha Niles, which was then published in pamphlet form by Charles Holt, editor of the New London Bee weekly newspaper. It has been reprinted many times. It is the only slave narrative of the 18th century that recounts life in Africa. His life story has been an inspiration to many over the years. Venture died on September 19, 1805, at age 77 as a highly respected man by all in the Haddams. His wife, two sons, Cuff and Solomon, and several grandchildren survived him. Several of his descendants still live in Connecticut.

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Registration Open Through Today for Madhatters December Production

AREAWIDE — Madhatters Theatre Company is registering for their December production of ‘Scrooged, with a twist.’  Registration is open to students age 6-18 years.  Rehearsals begin on Saturdays in September at Lyme’s Youth Service Bureau in Old Lyme.

Performance week is Dec. 11-17 at Chester Meeting House in Chester.  Registration is open through Sept. 8.

For further information and to register, email: madhattersctc@aol.com or call (860) 395-1861  www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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CT River Museum Issues Call for Actors, Production Crew; Auditions Monday

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut River Museum is looking for a variety of volunteer actors to help with the 2017 production of Haunted River.  Auditions will take place on Sept. 6 and 11 between 4:45 and 6:15 p.m.  Available parts are for adults and children (ages 10 and up).  Roles include actors for seven-minute scenes, theatrical tour guides, and musicians.  No prior acting experience is necessary.  Rehearsals will be held on Wednesday nights and run from Sept. 20 through Oct. 18 with a dress rehearsal on Oct. 25 and evening performances on Oct. 27, 28, and 29 from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Also needed is production crew.  Positions include stage crew, prop and scene fabricators, and costumers. 

For more information and to arrange an audition, call the Connecticut River Museum at 860-767-8269  x122 or send an email to kperkins@ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is located in Essex, Conn., and is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The recreation of Adriaen Block’s ONRUST, the first vessel to explore and chart Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River, is on display and available for cruises through Oct. 14. 

The Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex and open seven days per week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Columbus Day. After Columbus Day the Museum is closed on Mondays.  Visit online at www.ctrivermuseum.org.   

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CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Professional Nature Photographer at Nov. 6 Meeting

‘Hurricane Ridge’ by nature photographer Mark Bowie

Mark Bowie to Speak on Techniques for Taking Stunning Landscape Photographs

AREAWIDE: The guest speaker at the Monday, Nov. 6 meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the acclaimed photography writer and public speaker Mark Bowie, who will give a presentation titled “Multiple Exposures for Maximum Landscapes.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lyme’s Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

By shooting multiple exposures in the field and combining them in-camera or in the digital darkroom, photographers can extend exposure latitude, depth of field and camera resolution. They can push the bounds of what can be captured with a camera and open opportunities for taking “never-before-possible” images.

In this new presentation, designed for both amateur and seasoned shooters looking to take their landscape imagery to new levels, Bowie covers the field techniques and state-of-the-art software he uses to produce many types of multi-shot composites.

Mark Bowie is a professional nature photographer, writer and much sought-after public speaker. His work has been published internationally in books and magazines, on calendars, posters, and greeting cards, and in advertising media. His first two coffee table books, Adirondack Waters and In Stoddard’s Footsteps, have become landmark regional publications. He followed those with The Adirondacks: In Celebration of the Seasons. Each won the Adirondack Center for Writing’s Photography Book of the Year Award.

He has also authored two extensive e-books on night photography: The Light of Midnight and After Midnight: Night Photography by Example, and recently released one on his photographic journey, Finding November.  Mark is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute and leads digital and landscape photography workshops and tours.  For information, please visit www.adkpi.org.

This event is sponsored in part by Hunt’s Photo & Video (http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/).

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers.  The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills.  Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.  The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com/.CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

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Nominations for Rockfall Foundation Local Environmental Champions Close Sept. 15

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2017 Environmental Awards, which recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses for environmental efforts that contribute to the quality of life in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Two categories of awards include the Distinguished Service Award and Certificates of Appreciation in the areas of preservation, conservation, restoration, or environmental education.

Awardees are recognized at the Rockfall Foundation’s annual meeting and grants celebration in November. Nominations must be submitted by Sept. 15, 2017 and a form can be downloaded at www.rockfallfoundation.org or one can be requested by calling 860-347-0340.

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through public programs and grants.
In addition, the Rockfall Foundation operates the historic deKoven House Community Center that offers meeting rooms and office space for non-profit organizations.

For additional information about the 2017 Environmental Awards or the Rockfall Foundation, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

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Siegrist Attends RSD 17 Convocation

State Rep. Bob Siegrist addressed RSD 17’s Convocation on Aug. 29

AREAWIDE — On Tuesday, Aug. 29, State Rep. Robert Siegrist was joined by the Superintendent of School, Howard J. Thiery III along with administrators and school staff in attending the RSD17 District Convocation held at Haddam-Killingworth High School.

The event signified the official start of the 2017 school year and included special events like staff recognition, as well as opportunities to bring together all staff and administrators as a community of professionals.

Rep. Siegrist, a Haddam-Killingworth High School graduate class of 2001 said, “Investing in our schools and our students is a benefit to the entire 36th district community, and I was happy to attend this kickoff to the 2017 school year. The future of our children begins with a quality education and I am so grateful for our dedicated staff and thankful for all that they do to ensure that our students succeed.”

“I wish the students and staff a successful school year and if the kids need anything that they could reach out to me,” Rep. Siegrist added.

Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ Tonight! Come Celebrate ‘Taste of Chester’

Joel Gargano is opening Grano Restaurant in Chester in the fall.

CHESTER — Raw oysters, brick over pizza slices, heirloom tomatoes with ricotta and basil, wine and beer tastings, ice cream cones, free drinks and more will be offered by downtown eateries First Friday, Sept. 1 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The first annual Taste of Chester will even include tastings by Grano Restaurant, which isn’t opening until later this fall in the former brick bank building on Main Street. Outside the building, owner Joel Gargano will be serving heirloom tomatoes and marinated roasted cauliflower.

At Otto’s, slices of brick-oven pizza will be $2 while River Tavern will be offering $1 drinks. The Chester package Store will be doing wine and beer tastings and the Pattaconk Bar and Grill will also offer tastings of any beer on tap and, at its ice cream window, any cone for $1.50

Outside the L&E, the restaurant will be serving oysters on the half shell for $1 each and Thai Riverside will give a drink away with each entrée.

Meanwhile, all the shops and galleries will be open until 8 p.m. with art openings, new lines of merchandise and specials plus wine and treats

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Painting Party for Alzheimer’s Research to be Held This Afternoon at Chester Village West

CHESTER — Love to paint in a fun group setting? Want to support critical Alzheimer’s research?

Join the Chester Village West independent seniors’ community to paint for this cause on Monday, Aug. 21, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. With guidance from award-winning local artist Gloria Nilsson, participants will paint a beautiful floral arrangement. Light refreshments will be served.

Per-person donation for the event is $35; proceeds will support the Alzheimer’s Association of Connecticut. Seating is limited. Call (860) 526-6010 to reserve your space. Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, Conn. 06412.

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

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Chester Village West Hosts Blood Drive Today, 1:30 to 6:30pm

CHESTER – Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, will host a Red Cross Blood Drive on Friday, Aug. 18 from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.  Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, Conn. 06412.

To schedule your appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Chester Village West employees regularly participate in the blood drive. Old Saybrook resident Richard Mulvihill, one of the community’s security guards, has donated more than two gallons (16 units) of blood over the past 18 years. According to the American Red Cross, Mulvihill’s blood donations have helped to save the lives of more than 48 people. A donor since age 18, Richard has been giving valuable ‘double red cell’ donations three times per year since 1999, when he joined the Old Saybrook Fire Department as a volunteer fireman.

“I feel great about helping people this way,” said Mulvihill, who is Type O Positive. According to the American Red Cross, double red cell donations from Type O donors and donors with Rh-negative blood types play a very important role in maintaining blood supply levels. Double red cell donation is done with the help of an apheresis machine, which collects the red cells but returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor. “Because I get my platelets and plasma back, I don’t feel as drained afterwards,” he added.

Other Chester Village West employees who regularly donate blood include Marketing Director and Westbrook resident Sara Philpott, Director of Operations and Deep River resident Jim Jake, Marketing Assistant and Deep River resident Brenda Kollmer, Transportation Coordinator and Killingworth resident Priscilla Soucy and Debra Millspaugh, Accounting Manager and Deep River resident.

“My father’s life was saved by a blood transfusion,” Philpott said. “Most of us don’t think about the importance of maintaining the blood bank until we have a personal crisis. Our blood banks are always in need of more donors. It’s such a small thing to do that can literally save the life of another. It makes me feel good to know that my donation can help someone when they need it most.”

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

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Chester Hose Company Auxiliary Hosts Annual Apple Pie Night, Oct. 17

CHESTER — Chester Hose Company Auxiliary hosts its Annual Apple Pie Night Tuesday, Oct. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Chester Firehouse.

The “good witches” of the Hose Company will serve you up nothing but treats at a Chester tradition when you can indulge your sweet tooth on a slice of homemade apple pie, cheese, ice cream, and cider, coffee or tea. Enter the festive raffle and enjoy socializing with family and friends.  There’s even a ‘to-go’ option.

Prices are $5 for adults or $3 for kids. All funds benefit the annual Chester Hose Company Auxiliary Scholarship presented in the spring.

For more information, email chcauxiliary@gmail.com.

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Courtney Holds Town Hall Meeting This Evening at VRHS

Representative Joe Courtney

DEEP RIVER  — Rep. Joe Courtney will hold a town hall meeting for constituents of the Second Congressional District at 6 p.m. this evening at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River.

All are welcome. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

There will be a wide ranging discussion on issues such as the successful effort to stop the ‘Kenyon Bypass’ passenger rail tracks, higher education affordability, the future of Social Security and Medicare, and the thriving manufacturing economy in eastern Connecticut.

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Op-Ed: Educational Advocate Sandmann is Excellent Choice for Region 4 BOE, Offers Hope for Future

Returning from vacation, I was ecstatic to find a long-time Region 4 volunteer running for a seat on the Region 4 Board of Education (BOE).  For the past 13 years I have known Kate (Kathryn) Sandmann as a tireless advocate and a steadfast agent to build and enrich the educational experience for our community children.  Kate has served on the PTO/Parent Council for Essex Elementary School (EES), John Winthrop Middle School (JW), and Valley Regional High School (VRHS).  Kate is not a politician she is an educational advocate.  Not only does her candidacy give me hope for the future of Region 4, it gives me personally, a reason to reconsider sending my youngest to VRHS rather than a private school.  Not to mention Kate has always counseled me to keep my children in the Region 4 system based on her strong belief in our staff and potential outcome for all students in Region 4.

Kate has a vision of how public education can best meet the needs of our diverse population of learners.  Also, having two children who graduated from VRHS, she has knowledge of the complete Region 4 experience.  As the parent of any High School student knows, it is a much different experience than at the elementary school.  The value of speaking with articulate teens (and their families) about their educational experience makes Kate an invaluable candidate; one with insights to the strengths and challenges of a public education in a small town(s).  Kate has had the value of speaking to hundreds of students who were in the musical, sports, National Honor Society, etc.  She has had her finger on the pulse of our children’s educational experience for the past 15 years.  Some of her experience at the High School has helped move from a block schedule, which often put our students at a disadvantage with standardized testing necessary for college entrance.  She was also a parent volunteer that helped VRHS through a successful NEASC recertification.

As a professional who serves children with disabilities in a school system, I have first-hand knowledge about Kate’s commitment to this population.  Under her leadership as PTO President at Essex Elementary School a new playground, accessible to students of all abilities, was built by the PTO through fundraising.  Kate was also a vocal supporter of the pre-school move to Essex Elementary School.

Not every student will be college-bound, and Kate knows programs for these students need nurturing as well.  Programs like School-to-Work, and vocational training are also an important part of the educational experience at VRHS.

Kate also understands the challenge of meeting the educational needs of our gifted students.  Meeting the needs of these students is not mandated by law, but is a moral obligation that benefits our community as a whole.  Why do many of our students move on to private school after JW?  Losing these students does not strengthen Region 4.  It is necessary to infuse our BOE with leaders that understand the importance of strengthening and growing our programs for our gifted students.

It is a tricky time for education.  It is a time for fresh thinking and creative solutions.  Declining enrollment and budgetary constraints are challenges that make it necessary to think out of the box.  Kate’s experience with fundraising and budgeting for enrichment through PTO programs gives her the advantage of creativity in finding solutions.  Her experience with attending monthly Superintendent meetings for Region 4 has given her depth of insight into the challenges Region 4 faces in the coming years.  The leadership of Region 4 has expressed confidence in Kate’s decision making by including her in committees to hire the JW Principal, Region 4 Assistant Superintendent and the VRHS Vice Principal.

As a registered Republican, I will definitely be crossing party lines for a candidate I am confident has the benefit of every student as her number one priority.  A candidate who had the time, energy and enthusiasm our children need.  I will cast my vote for Kate Sandmann.

 

Sincerely,

 

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See Broadway Star’s Laiona Michelle Tonight in Benefit Concert

New England native and Broadway start Laiona Michelle will give a one-woman show at Spring Street Gallery, Aug. 5. The show will benefit the Bingham Camp Theatre Retreat.

CHESTER — Broadway’s Laiona Michelle comes to the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery in Chester, CT, on Saturday, Aug. 5, to star in a benefit concert called Little Girl Blue, the words and music of Nina Simone.

Little Girl Blue is Laiona Michelle’s one woman show inspired by her idol, the legendary jazz singer, songwriter and civil rights activist Nina Simone.   With personal stories and plenty of songs, all performed in Laiona’s exuberant, raw and crowd-pleasing style, Little Girl Blue is an evening that will reach deep into your soul.
Laiona Michelle is an actress and singer who has graced stages across the USA, performing in musicals, contemporary plays and Shakespeare in addition to appearing in film and on television in shows such as Law and Order.   Recently seen on Broadway in Amazing Grace and on tour in The Book of Mormon, Laiona grew up in Springfield, Mass., where she is the creator of Shakers Performing Arts Camp, which teaches Shakespeare in a “hip” fun way to inner city youth.
All proceeds from the concert will benefit the Bingham Camp Theatre Retreat (BCTR), a non-profit theatrical organization which develops new work for the stage that promotes and celebrates diversity.  Its mission is to create musicals and plays that give voice to under-represented communities onstage and promote inter-cultural dialogue and understanding.  It is located at an historic property in Salem, Conn., more than 100 years old, where theatre artists from around the country take residence each September.
Little Girl Blue direction is by BCTR’s Artistic Director Devanand Janki and musical direction is by Mark Fifer.
The performance takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, at The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery, 1 Spring Street, Chester, CT 06412. Concert tickets are $20 and available at the door and on sale now online at www.binghamcamptheatreretreat.org
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Enjoy a ‘A Little Night Music’ at ‘First Friday’ in Chester Tonight, 5-8pm!

Arrowhead will play on the porch of the Spring Street Gallery & Studio during ‘First Friday in Chester tonight

CHESTER –  A Little Night Music will greet visitors to First Friday, Aug.4, when singers, bands, modern dancers and even a bagpiper will play outdoors in the downtown while shops, restaurants and galleries stay open late with art openings, new jewelry lines and summer sales.

Leif Nilsson’s band Arrowsmith will play from 5 to 8 p.m. on the porch at Leif Nilsson’s Spring Street Studio and Gallery; inside, Leif’s latest paintings will be on display.

At Maple and Main Gallery, Dan Nichols, one of the gallery artists, will be wearing his kilt and playing his bagpipes on the porch. The opening party for “Earth and Air,” a show of Michael DiGiorgio’s bird paintings and Betsy Himmelman’s ceramic vessels will be from 6 to 8  p.m.in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery.

Dancers from the River Valley Dance Project will perform at ‘Lark’ this evening.

The Gusto Dance Project collaborating with River Valley Dance Project will be performing on the lawn outside Lark; if the mood suits them they may dance through town as well. Lark is featuring painted signs by Jennifer Burr and necklaces from Kenya.

Performing in front of The Perfect Pear beginning at 6 p.m., Connecticut College senior and Deep River native Julia Tackett will be playing the guitar and singing. The Perfect Pear is also introducing its “Back to School” specials Friday and serving samples of  lavender lemonade.

And, at The Pattaconk, the rock band, The Instagaters  will play from 7 to 10 p.m.

‘Stingray’ by Clare Gustafson is one of the featured pieces of the artist’s work on show at Lori Warner Gallery.

Friday will kick off the opening of Weekend of Diamonds with Mandy Carroll-Leiva as well as new glass by Carrie Gustafson and a new series of monotypes by Lori Warner at Lori Warner Gallery.

Chester’s Finders Marketplace, a new enterprise on Rte. 154 across from the entrance to Main Street, will be joining first Friday with light cocktails and snacks.

Blackkate is featuring fine jewelry artist Nick Dedo

At C&G the start of the shop’s 40 percent off August sale of summer hats, sandals and select apparel will begin Friday evening. Sales items on the porch Friday are an additional 10 per cent off.

Dina Varano Gallery will be presenting new jewelry designs by Dina and nature-inspired tabletop designs by Michael Aram. The gallery will also be offering a refreshing beverage in celebration of this town-wide festive evening.

The French Hen will be serving guests spiked lemonade and sales on summer décor.

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Asch Retires from Cappella Cantorum After 47 Years, Holt Appointed New Music Director

Barry Asch is retiring after 47 years at the helm of Cappella Cantorum.

AREAWIDE — Co-founder, music director, and conductor of Cappella Cantorum, Barry B. Asch, has announced his retirement from the Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus.  Asch has conducted the MasterWorks Chorus for 47 years during which time over 65 major choral works have been performed. 

The inaugural performance was March 1970 with Schubert’s Mass in E Flat.  Asch formed the popular Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus in 1977, and the SummerSings series in 1987.  Both events still continue.

The Eighth Annual Messiah Sing or Listen in 2016 at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center was nearly filled to capacity.  This favorite holiday tradition was conducted and organized by Asch.  ‘The Kate’ will host the ninth annual event on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017.

Group sessions and vocal classes have been offered to Cappella members with renowned soprano Patricia Schuman and tenor Brian Cheney.

Asch began Cappella Cantorum’s European Concert Tours in 1981.  The tours are currently organized by member Patricia Hill of Madison.

Simon Holt has been named the new Musical Director of Cappella Cantorum.

A highlight of Cappella Cantorum was performing five concerts at Carnegie Hall, New York City with Mid-America Productions.  This opportunity was initiated by Asch.

Cappella Cantorum has represented 20 communities throughout southeastern Connecticut.

Simon Holt, artistic director of Salt Marsh Opera and director of music at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme will be the new music director of the Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus.

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Chester Republicans Endorse Linn, Grzybowski for Chester’s Top Seats in November

CHESTER — The Chester Republican Town Committee has announced the endorsement of Selectwoman Carolyn Linn for First Selectman and James Grzybowski for Selectman in November’s election. Both Linn and Grzybowski received unanimous endorsement at the Town Committee Caucus held July 24, when the complete slate of Republican candidates was also endorsed.

Both candidates come with solid backgrounds of service to the community and beyond. Linn currently serves on the Chester Board of Selectmen, is actively involved in the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and is a long-time member of the Chester Merchant’s Association. Linn chaired the 2017 Winter Carnivale, working with the Shoreline Soup Kitchen, EMT for the Chester Ambulance Association and one of the three members of the VRHS Touch Down Club, which spearheaded the addition of lights, field house and snack shack to Friday Night Football.

 

James Grzybowski is following in the footsteps of his dad (former selectman) Edward Grzybowski and his godfather (former selectman – among other roles) Joseph Bergonzi, so serving the Town is, truly, “in his blood”.

He is currently Facilities Manager for the Chester Elementary School, sits on the Town’s Retirement Board; is one of the Town’s representatives to the Valley Shore Communication Board and has served in many capacities for 27 years in the Chester Hose Company, including as Chief.

With two sons who are active in local sports, Grzybowski coached his sons’ teams, and recognizing, first hand, the effects of concussions, he pushed for concussion training for all youth coaches and in 2013 was appointed by the State legislature to serve on its Youth Concussion Task Force, which is charged with making recommendations to enact statutes to better protect against the effects in youth and increase awareness of that danger. Many of the recommendations are in effect today.

 

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Senators Formica, Somers and Linares Applaud Governor’s Signing Tribal Casino Expansion Bill

Senator Paul Formica (left) and Art Linares (right). File photo

AREAWIDE — State Senators Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), Heather Somers (R-Groton) and Art Linares (R-Westbrook) applauded the Governor’s ceremonial signing of legislation that will allow for the expansion of southeastern Connecticut’s tribal casinos to support thousands of local jobs.

“I thank the governor for his support of this bill and the bipartisan efforts of many lawmakers. Supporting the tribes is an important piece of a long-term puzzle to enhance tourism, support our community, protect economic development and preserve all that the tribes have accomplished for our region thus far,” said Senator Paul Formica. 

“We have seen firsthand the impact of the tribes on the local economy and on the thousands of casino employees and their families who live in our Senate districts. I applaud the legislature for working together in bipartisanship to make this important piece of legislation a reality,” said Senator Heather Somers.

“From tourism to manufacturing, southeastern Connecticut has seen quality growth thanks to the enormous efforts of the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots and the impact of their destination casinos. That’s why it was so important that lawmakers and the governor come together this year to help the tribes protect the thousands of jobs they’ve created,” said Senator Art Linares.

Senator Paul Formica (R-20) represents the communities of Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford.

Senator Heather Somers (R-18) represents the communities of Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington and Voluntown.

Senator Art Linares (R-33), represents the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

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Maple & Main Hosts Special Poetry Reading Tonight; Open to Public

Members of the Connecticut River Poetry Conference gather for a photo.

CHESTER — Members of the prestigious Connecticut River Poetry Conference will do a reading in the round in Maple and Main’s Stone Gallery Wednesday, July 19, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. A reception of wine and food follows.

This unusual event, open to the public, is the second year the group has read in the Stone Gallery where “Sharing the Vision,’’ a two-woman exhibit by Maple and Main artists Linda DeStefanis and Barbara Rossitto is being shown during July.

‘Beach Day’ by Barbara Rossitto is a signature painting for the new show at Maple & Main.

For the past seven years a singular group of poets meets for a summer week of workshops, seminars, readings, camaraderie and literary high-jinx at Chester’s Guest House Conference Center Shoreline. Gray Jacobik, a poet and Maple and Main artist and Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely founded this conference, which grew out of an advanced poetry seminar at The Frost Place in Franconia, NH.

‘Mandarin Sky II’ by Linda DeStefanis is featured in the two-woman show at Maple & Main Gallery.

Jacobik and Meneely will be joined by notable and 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.

Maple and Main, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, noon to  7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-60605; mapleandmain@att.net; visit the gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ Tonight, Celebrate ‘The Rest of Chester’ From 5 to 7pm

A Sosse Baker original basket at Blackkat Leather.

CHESTER — ‘The Rest of Chester’ will be celebrated at “Biz Bash” tonight on “First Friday,” from 5 to 7 p.m. when businesses from outside the downtown will set up on Main Street with giveaways, demonstrations and drawings.

Come visit with an alpaca farmer, a picture framer and an art therapist or take a turn on a gym’s treadmill, get a brush out from a hair stylist, enjoy chocolate chip cookies, watch a demonstration of camp songs and more.

Meanwhile, all the restaurants, shops and galleries in the center will be open late with special offerings.

There are two art opening receptions that night at Maple and Main Gallery for a pair of shows running through July.

‘Beach Day’ by Barbara Rosetti is a signature painting for the new show at Maple & Main.

The first is Sharing the Vision, a two-woman show of new paintings by long-time gallery artists Barbara Rossitto and Linda DeStefanis in the Stone Gallery and a show of sculptures by the Connecticut Society of Sculpture in the main gallery.

At Blackkat Leather, well-known local basket maker Sosse Baker’s work will be featured and wine and snacks will be served. Strut Your Mutt will also be serving wine.

Lark is highlighting Olivia Engel, a jewelry designer from West Hartford while

L&E will be selling dollar oysters at the bar and serving a First Friday French Cocktail.

Refreshments will be served at the Historical Society’s Museum at the Mill and visitors will be able to see the new exhibit, Three Chester Notables.

This tempting summer cocktail will be served at L&E on Chester’s upcoming First Friday.

Bastille Day (July 14) is being kicked off at The Perfect Pear with 14 percent off while porcelain and ceramic ware and samples of a red, white and blue bundt cake will be available.

To celebrate its one year anniversary in town, The French Hen will be serving special sips, bites and sale and at Dina Varano Gallery, new jewelry designs by Dina and a new line of porcelain by Elizabeth Benotti will be introduced.

 

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So Much to See This Summer at Chester Museum at The Mill

A front view of Chester Museum at the Mill. Photo from chesterhistoricalsociety.org.

Upstairs and down, all the new Chester history being featured at the Chester Museum at The Mill this year will delight you.

Downstairs is the seasonal exhibit prepared by Keith Dauer and Sandy Senior-Dauer, called “Chester Postcards & Three Chester Notables.” There are more than 200 Chester postcards on display as well as exhibits devoted to three people who lived in or impacted Chester, namely, Judge Constance Baker Motley, The Leatherman (see the life-size sculpture made by Weymouth Eustis), and photographer Hugh Spencer.

There is a replica of the Waterhouse Gristmill, intricately and lovingly handcrafted by Nathan Jacobson, in the entry level. And on the second floor, there’s a redo of the Museum’s permanent exhibit, which now includes a replica of Chester Pharmacy’s soda fountain (guaranteed to make you hungry!)

Museum hours are Saturdays 1 to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free (but donations are always welcome to help the Historical Society continue to collect and preserve items of Chester history).

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Run ‘Four-on-the Fourth’ in Chester Today! Registration Opens at 7am

In this 2016 Al Malpa photo,  runners in last year’s ‘Four on the Fourth’ are seen at the start of the popular race.

CHESTER — The 39th Annual Four-on-the Fourth Road Race sponsored by the Chester Rotary will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, July 4.

The race will start at 9 a.m. tomorrow and early registration takes place today, Monday, July 3, from 4 to 6 p.m. Race day registration will be from 7 to 8:30 a.m.  Registration will be held at St. Joseph’s Parish Center, 48 Middlesex Avenue, Chester.

On-line pre-entry is encouraged through www.Active.com.  Teams must pre-register on-line.

Pre-registered runners may pick up their packets either during early registration on Monday or on race day.   Information for this year’s event and a link to www.Active.com  are available at the club’s website, www.chesterrotary.org.

Chester Rotarians are dedicated to providing funding and service to local, national and international charitable organizations.  All proceeds from this event support these causes.

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Summer Show on View at Maple & Main Thru Sept. 3

‘The Way we Wore’ by Claudia Van Nes of Chester is a signature painting of the ‘Summer Exhibit’ at Maple & main.

CHESTER – The opening reception for the Summer Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery is Saturday, June 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. when newly created works by 55 artists will be shown.

Wine and a variety of appetizers will be served and live music will be played by Alan James, an accomplished musician and artist from Deep River who is also showing his watercolors in the show.

The artists featured in the Summer Exhibit are from all corners of Connecticut and beyond and their work ranges from luminous landscapes to abstract multimedia works. The show runs through September 3.

“Summer Tides,” a solo show of beach, water and marine scenes by Rhode Island artist Vanessa Piche is on view in the Stone Gallery through June. There is a small, special exhibit of paintings in the main gallery by Bob Dietz who will do a demonstration of pastel painting Saturday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Maple and Main Galley, at One Maple Street, is open Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mapleandmaingallery.com; 860-526-6065; mapleandmain@att.net. Visit the gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

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Three Chester Residents Honored in 60 Over 60 Awards

Lee Howard has championed access to the arts throughout her life.

CHESTER — Three Chester residents were recently honored with 60 Over 60 Awards.  They are Lee Howard, Phyllis McDowell, and Nancy Smith, all of whom are residents at Chester Village West.

This is the first year the awards have been presented to honor Connecticut citizens over age 60 who make a difference in the lives of others or in their communities.  The 60 Over 60 award was created by Duncaster as a way to showcase the lives of people 60 or better, who continue to have a unique impact on their world. Howard, McDowell, and Smith were celebrated at a reception on the Duncaster campus in Bloomfield.

Howard is a life-long leader in greater access to the arts for all.  Lee has worked with local arts councils and alliances across the country to develop their technical services, and with advocacy and arts programs throughout the country.

Phyllis McDowell has advocated for those with mental health issues and those who care for the environment.

McDowell has changed the lives of those with mental health issues and those who care for the environment.  She and several volunteers from the Mental Health Association of New Haven launched Fellowship Place, a socialization program for psychiatric patients.

Smith is a writer, an editor, and a connector of people. She is an active member of the Susan B. and William K. Wasch Center for Retired Faculty at Wesleyan University.

Duncaster began their search for 60 Over 60 on Jan. 1.  It received nominations of remarkable individuals from throughout Connecticut.  “Our state has so many extraordinary people who are 60 or better, so we were not surprised at the number of nominations we received.  Clearly there are many people who wanted to recognize people 60 or better for their continued accomplishments,” says Carol Ann McCormick, VP Sales and Marketing at Duncaster.

Nancy Smith continues her work as a writer and editor, and has been a lifelong learning advocate

She continued, “We’ve all heard of 40 Under 40 awards that highlight the successes of this group of people.  We thought it was high time to recognize the ongoing inspiration and achievement of those 60 or better.  We were delighted with the response to it.”

Duncaster, the Hartford area’s first LifeCare community, is located minutes from West Hartford and Simsbury in Bloomfield CT.  This boutique Life Plan Community sits on 94 acres.  While catering to those who are active and engaged in independent living neighborhoods, Duncaster also offers options for those seeking assisted living, memory care, long-term care and rehab services (all private) in intimate settings.

For more information, visit http://www.Duncaster.org or call (860) 380-5005.

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Meeting House Players to Hold Open Auditions for “Play On,” Aug. 29-30

CHESTER — The Meeting House Players has announced open auditions for Rick Abbot’s madcap comedy “Play On!”.   Auditions will be held on Aug. 29 & 30, at 7  p.m. in the Meeting House located at 4 Liberty Street in Chester.

Written as a play within a play, “Play On! “treats its audiences to a hilarious look behind the scenes of a local community theatre troupe desperately trying to mount a production of a new play.  With only a few rehearsals left before the opening night, chaos ensues.  Dress rehearsal is a disaster.  On opening night, anything that can go wrong, does go wrong but the ensemble continues to “play on” until the final curtain falls!

The play’s 10-member ensemble includes the following cast of characters:

  • Henry Benish, 50-early 60’s, a character actor, plays Lord Dudley
  • Polly Benish, 50-early 60’s, a character actress, plays Lady Dudley
  • Marla “Smitty” Smith, early 20’s, a supporting actress, plays Doris, the Maid
  • Saul Watson, 40’s, a supporting actor, plays Dr. Rex Forbes, the Villain
  • Billy Carewe, mid 20’s- early 30’s, an athletic looking actor, plays Steven Sellers, a Young Man
  • Violet Imbrey, 20’s, a supporting actress, plays Diana Lassiter, the Ingenue
  • Aggie/Algie Manville, 30-50, the stage manager & prompter (can be male or female)
  • Gerry/Jerry Dunbar, 40-55, the community theatre director (can be male or female)
  • Louise/Louie Peary, 25-50, the sound-lighting-scenic technician (can be male or female)
  • Phyllis Montague, any age over 40, the community’s eccentric & somewhat haughty playwright

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script. 

Directed by Debbie Alldredge, the production will run for five performances opening at the Meeting House in Chester on Friday, Oct. 27 and continue Oct.28 and Nov. 3 & 4, 2017 with both a matinee and an evening performance on Nov. 4.

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

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Chester’s Juliette Linares Earns Girl Scouting’s Highest Award

Juliette Linares of Chester has earned Girl Scouting’s top award.

CHESTER – Girl Scout Juliette Linares of Chester has received her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn in Girl Scouting.

The Girl Scout Gold Award requires Girl Scouts grades nine through 12 to spend at least 80 hours researching issues, assessing community needs and resources, building a team, and making a sustainable impact in the community. A Gold Award recipient’s accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set her apart as a community leader.

Nationally, only 6 percent of older Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award. Girl Scouts of Connecticut recently honored the 71 Girl Scouts in Connecticut who have achieved this honor on Sunday, June 4.

Juliette’s project addressed the need for families to encourage their younger children to foster a love for literature at a young age. Juliette hosted a Dr. Seuss family event where 25 families along with Girl Scout troops, guests from surrounding towns, two guest readers, teachers, principals, and reading specialists attended. Juliette will continue to host the Dr. Seuss family event until she graduates high school. She hopes that it will continue to be a success and the school would agree to make it an annual event.

“I am beyond proud of our Girl Scouts as we celebrate another century of young women taking the lead and making a sustainable change in our communities,” said Mary Barneby, CEO of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “By earning the Gold Award, Girl Scouts set themselves apart as top achievers, and are incredible go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders. I can’t wait to see what they will accomplish in the future!”

For more information about the Gold Award or how to become a Gold Award volunteer or mentor, visit gsofct.org.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut are more than 47,000 members strong – nearly 32,000 girls and over 15,000 adults – who believe that every girl can change the world. They’re part of a sisterhood of 2.6 million strong around the globe—1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world.

The Girl Scouts organization’s extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, her vision and legacy have been honored, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. The organization is the preeminent leadership development one for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success.

To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit gsofct.org.

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‘Run for Chris 5K, With the Y,’ Takes Place Tomorrow, Registration Still Open

Tony Sharillo of Middletown and son complete the Run for Chris last year. Photos courtesy of Roger U. Williams

AREAWIDE — The 6th Annual Run For Chris 5K, With The Y will be held Saturday, June 24, in Essex, Conn., starting at Town Hall. Of note is the addition of “With the Y” to the run’s name, reflecting this year’s official partnering with the Valley Shore YMCA. The YMCA will bring a family aspect to this already great race and continue to have The Run for Chris kick off the Y’s Run Club’s race season as their featured race.

This fun family event, which includes a Kids’ Fun Run, face painting, music and games, is truly a great way to spend some quality family time together.

For those 5K runners who are looking for a great race this June, this is a terrific course passes thru historic Essex with beautiful views of the Connecticut River. Awards and food for the runners, as well as a great raffle, round out the morning’s festivities.

The race is held in memory of Christopher Belfoure, a 2005 graduate of Valley Regional High School (VRHS), with all the proceeds benefitting The Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.

While a student at Valley, Chris went on several school trips abroad. Chris went on to major in History and Chinese Studies at West Virginia University, where he spent a considerable amount of time studying abroad in China and became fluent in Mandarin.

Influenced by his own life-altering journeys, Chris was passionate about encouraging others to also broaden their horizons and follow their own paths. Sadly Chris lost his life at the age of 24, so to keep his inspiration and passion alive The Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund was established in 2011.

The fund is intended to perpetuate Chris’s vision by helping local area high school students travel abroad.  A race participant added this perspective about the run, “I think the race is also quite indicative of the ups, downs and flat stretches in life we all face from time to time. You have a wonderful foundation that celebrates the life of Chris, and which seeks to help others. That is incredibly admirable.”

To date 142 VRHS students have benefited from the Fund, traveling to such places as Costa Rica, France and Spain, for a total of $9,145 in grants. On April 24 students departed for Paris, supported by a $3,000 grant from the Chris Belfoure Memorial Fund, which is made possible by proceeds from the run and from its sponsors.

To register for the Run, go to www.aratrace.com.  For more information, contact George Chapin, Race Director, at george_c@snet.net.

Visit the website @ www.chrisbel4mf.com

 

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Author, Journalist Susan Campbell to Speak This Afternoon About Her Book on Isabella Beecher Hooker

CHESTER — Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, concludes its Spring Lifelong Learning Program with a free-and-open-to-the-public talk by author and journalist Susan Campbell on Thursday, June 22, at 4 p.m.

Campbell will present her book, “Tempest Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker” and discuss its main character. The youngest daughter of the “Fabulous Beecher” family, Isabella Beecher Hooker was a leader in the suffrage movement, and a mover and shaker in Hartford’s storied Nook Farm neighborhood and salon. But there is more to the story – and to Isabella’s character – than that.

Campbell is the award-winning author of “Dating Jesus” and “Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker.” She is a distinguished lecturer at University of New Haven and a columnist at the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Health Investigative Team. Her work has been recognized by the National Women’s Political Caucus, New England Associated Press News Executives, the Society for Professional Journalists and several other respected journalism organizations.

Refreshments will be served. Registration is required; seating is limited to 40 people per lecture on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register, call 860.650.1815, email ChesterVillageWest@LCSnet.com or register from the community’s Calendar of Events page.

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

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Registration Still Open for Tri-Town Youth Services’ Summer Co-op Second Session, Starts July 10

TRI-TOWN — Tri-Town Youth Services Summer Co-op 2017 is open to 7th, 8th and 9th graders with Session 2 running July 10 to 13.  Each day will start at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River.

Session 2 includes trips to: July 10 – Bushy Hill Nature Center; July 11 – Ocean Beach; July 12 – Launch Trampoline Park and Laser Tag; July 13 – Lake Compounce.

The cost per session is $225. and $200. For additional sibling.  Registration forms are available throughout the tri-town region at elementary schools and at John Winthrop Middle School.  These programs are open to students entering grades 7, 8 and 9 who live in Chester, Deep River, and Essex.

For further information, call Tri-Town Youth Services at 860-526-3600 or visit www.tritownys.org

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Environmental Program Looks To ‘Foster Future Stewards’ in Lower CT River Valley

From left to right, Peter and Elsie Patton, Marilyn Ozols, president, and Robin Andreoli, executive director. Photo by Joan Levy Hepburn.

LOWER CT RIVER VALLEY – The Rockfall Foundation recently announced the launch of a special campaign to commemorate 45 years of environmental grant making and support programs for students in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The Fostering Future Stewards campaign will fund environmental education for kindergarten through 8th grade students with multi-year grants to schools for school-time, after school or summer programs.

Consecutive years of funding will allow educators to continue programs that introduce and sustain environmental literacy and the continuity of those programs will greatly benefit students.

The Foundation looks to raise $45,000 over two years and the campaign is off to a very positive start, thanks in large part to Peter and Elsie Patton of Middletown. Two of the Foundation’s most ardent supporters, the Pattons were the first to come forward with a leadership gift of $5,000 to the campaign.

“We are grateful to Peter and Elsie for inspiring others through their passion for this cause and their generous gift,” said Robin Andreoli, the Foundation’s executive director. “With a commitment from our Board of Directors, we have already achieved twenty-five percent of our goal and have heard from many friends in the community who support the project.”

Established in 1935, the Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest non-profit environmental organizations and is the steward for the historic deKoven House Community Center in Middletown. The Foundation receives support from donors with a passion for the environment and connects them to local programs that help make the Lower Connecticut River Valley a better place to live.

Annual grant awards provide funding for local environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives. The Foundation also presents educational public programs throughout the year, which include symposia and public forums, informal networking opportunities, and family hikes.

For the past 45 years, the Rockfall Foundation’s grant making has supported and promoted outstanding environmental programs delivered by non-profit organizations, schools, and municipalities throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The first grants awarded in 1972 provided a total of $5,000 to support four planting projects in Essex, Old Saybrook, and Chester. Since then, the Foundation has helped to fund 350 programs with awards totaling nearly half a million dollars.

For information about the Rockfall Foundation or how to contribute to the Fostering Future Stewards fund, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

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Chester Village West Foundation Awards $30K in Scholarships to 10 Employees, Two Employees’ Children

Chester Village West Foundation, Inc. recently awarded $30,000 in college and university scholarships to 10 Chester Village West employees and two employees’ children. Left to right: Chester Village West resident and scholarship committee volunteer Whitey Wilson, Evan Swanson and Julie Fredericksen (both, Killingworth); Gabriella Dess (Madison); Ashlyn O’Boyle (Killingworth); Kira Woodworth (East Haddam); Jack Liggett (Deep River); Kristine Davis (Deep River); Elizabeth Forsythe (Killingworth); Leah Ann Sopneski (Deep River); Kenna Campbell (Chester); Chester Village West resident and foundation president Joan Galliher. Not pictured: Brandon Miller (Madison) and Johanna Regan (Northford).

Residents of Chester, Deep River, East Haddam, Killingworth, Madison and Northford enrolled at local and national colleges and universities

CHESTER – Ten Chester Village West employees and two children of employees have each been awarded a $2,500 scholarship from the Chester Village West Foundation, Inc. The scholarships will help the employees and their children continue their education at colleges and universities in Connecticut and beyond.

“Chester Village West employees are part of our extended family, dedicating their work to making our community a great place to live,” said Joan Galliher, a six-year resident and the foundation’s volunteer president. “And every year, our residents express their appreciation by generously supporting the foundation’s scholarship program to help staff members – and their children – pursue higher education.” 

Created as not-for profit entity in 1998 by a group of Chester Village residents, over the past 18 years the Chester Village West Foundation has provided more than $280,000 in scholarships to the community’s staff and their children, helping them to further their education beyond high school. The foundation’s income comes from voluntary donations made by residents of Chester Village West and memorial gifts from family and friends.

Recipients of the Chester Village West Foundation’s 2017 scholarships are:

Chester resident Kenna Campbell, a front desk employee and third year student at Central Connecticut State University.

Deep River resident Kristine Davis, a dining room employee and second year student at University of Tampa.

Madison resident Gabriella Dess, a dining room employee and fourth year student at Providence College.

Killingworth resident Elizabeth Forsythe, a dining room employee and second year student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Killingworth resident Julie Fredericksen, daughter of housekeeping employee Debra Fredericksen and a first year student at Middlesex Community College.

Deep River resident Jack Liggett, a dining room employee and first year student at Marist College.

Madison resident Brandon Miller, son of marketing director Sara Philpott and third year student at Muhlenberg College.

Killingworth resident Ashlyn O’Boyle, a dining room employee and first year student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Northford resident Johanna Regan, a dining room employee who is in her final year of teacher’s certification at Central Connecticut State University.

Deep River resident Leah Sopneski, a housekeeping employee and third year student at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Killingworth resident Evan Swanson, a dining room employee and third year student at Cedarville University.

East Haddam resident Kira Woodworth, a dining room employee and first year college student.

Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being.

Find out more at chestervillagewestlcs.com.

Visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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BLUE Exhibition Featuring Monotype Prints on View at Lori Warner Gallery

‘Blue 02’ (2017) by Lori Warner.

CHESTER — BLUE features new monotype prints by Elvira Ormaechea, Elizabeth Gourlay, Pat Smith and Lori Warner. Three artists were invited to create artwork with Lori Warner in her personal printmaking studio. Each artist created a series of prints using a variation on the color blue.

The exhibition opened May 19 and closes July 10. In addition to the opening, the artists will be present at the gallery on Saturday, June 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to informally discuss their work at a special gallery Open House.

Artists selected to exhibit in BLUE have various levels of printmaking experience. Elizabeth Gourlay has the most printmaking experience, creating monotypes with master printers. Gourlay’s primary medium is painting. Elvira Ormaechea printed while studying painting at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Art. Pat Smith is a sculptor. This wa

Unnamed work by Pat Smith.

s Smith’s first experience with printmaking.

In addition to their monotypes, an artwork in their primary medium will be exhibited to demonstrate the interpretation and influence of the process of printmaking.

As we all know, it’s difficult to step away from your comfort zone. The artists included in BLUE experimented with a new process, new tools and inks in an unfamiliar studio space – all with the intention of showing their work to the public. The works created for BLUE are exceptional because each piece demonstrates a rare glimpse into the artist’s unhindered interpretation of their personal vision through the revealing nature of simply working in an unfamiliar process. Allowing this creative vulnerability often marks a significant turning point for an artist. The Lori Warner Gallery is pleased to encourage this level of creativity and personal growth.

Before opening her gallery in Chester, Warner set up her printmaking studio in 2003 with award money received for excellence in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design. Her intent was to invite artists to print, as finding access to an etching press is often difficult and expensive. BLUE is the first exhibition featuring works created by invited artists in Warner’s Hadlyme studio.

Additional information about each artist can be found on the gallery website, on Facebook, or in person at the Lori Warner Studio / Gallery in Chester, CT. Info below.

This event is free and open to the public.

Lori Warner Studio / Gallery is located at 21 Main Street in Chester, CT
For more information, call (860) 322-4265 or visit gallery@loriwarner.com, www.loriwarner.com, www.facebook.com/loriwarnergallery/

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Volunteers Needed to Control Invasive Plant in Local Rivers

Water chestnut is an invasive plant that is easy for volunteers to remove & keep under control. Join CRC for upcoming volunteer events to learn about & remove this invasive plant.

AREAWIDE — There is an emerging threat to the Connecticut River and the waters within its basin that any boater, paddler, angler or property manager can help control. European water chestnut (Trapa natans) is an aquatic invasive plant that spreads rapidly, covering bodies of water with dense foliage impeding recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming.

The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), formerly Connecticut River Watershed Council, is hosting a variety of opportunities this summer for residents to learn more and help remove this threat.

Quick and thorough action must be taken to prevent this plant from taking over because water chestnut reproduces exponentially. “The good news is that this plant is easy to identify, it reproduces only by seed, and pulls up easily,” notes Alicea Charamut, River Steward for the Connecticut River Conservancy.

She continues, “It can be managed by trained volunteers. For small to moderate infestations, no chemicals or equipment are needed other than willing volunteers in canoes, kayaks, and shallow draft boats. This work offers an opportunity for those of us who love our rivers, lakes and ponds to give back to them in a fun and easy way.”

There are two opportunities to learn to identify and report the plants. CRC hosted an information session at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex on Tuesday, June 13, and will do so again at LL Bean at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor on Friday, June 19. Both events are at 6:30 p.m. There will be a brief presentation, live plants on display, and plenty of time for questions.

Charamut is also available to give talks to groups within the Connecticut River watershed, who want to bring this information to their organization or club.

Paddlers and boaters can also help CRC manage known infestations. Five hand-pulling events are already scheduled for the floating meadows of the Mattabesset River in Middletown and Keeney Cove in Glastonbury in June and July with more to be scheduled as new infestations are reported. The work is fairly easy, a little dirty and very rewarding. Supplies are provided. Those who wish to attend need only bring their boat and PFD.

In addition, CRC is coordinating a River Sweep of the Connecticut River, its coves and ponds to scout for this invasive plant. “Because the seeds from these plants can last for up to twelve years, knowing where these plants have been found is crucial. In order to effectively control the spread of these plants we must monitor locations where they have been found each year and have as many eyes on the water as possible.” Paddling and boating groups can adopt a section of the river to scout for plants on or around Saturday, June 24.

“It will take a community of those who care coming together to help control this plant,” says Charamut. The Connecticut River Conservancy joins many partners in the effort to control water chestnut in the Connecticut River watershed. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Lower Connecticut River Council of Governments, Jonah Center for Earth and Art, Connecticut River Museum, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station are all active participants working to help control this aquatic invasive plant.

More groups are encouraged to join the effort. Much of the work in the lower Connecticut River Valley here in Connecticut is possible thanks to a generous grant from the Rockfall Foundation.

For more information about education and volunteer opportunities to help control European water chestnut, visit www.ctriver.org/get-involved or contact Alicea Charamut at acharamut@ctriver.org.

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CT State Supreme Court Justice Richard Palmer to Speak on Journey to Same-Sex Marriage Equality, June 21


DEEP RIVER –
On June 21, Connecticut Supreme Court Associate Justice Richard Palmer will discuss the legal battle for same-sex marriage in Connecticut at an event hosted by The Valley Stands Up.

Justice Palmer authored the majority opinion in Connecticut’s 2008 decision to permit gay marriage, which was followed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states in 2015.

The event, “Equal Love: Celebrating Connecticut’s Journey to Equality in Marriage,” will be held on Wednesday, June 21, from 6:30-8:00 PM in the Deep River Library Community Room, 150 Main Street (Rt. 154).

Following Justice Palmer’s talk, the community is invited to share stories of what this ruling has meant for their own lives and to reflect on the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ rights in our communities, state, and country.

Palmer, a graduate of Wethersfield High School, earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut Law School. He has served in private practice and as a U.S. Attorney for Connecticut. In 1993, he was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, where he continues to serve.

Justice Palmer has served on numerous boards and committees including the Criminal Justice Commission, Appellate Rules Committee, Justice Education Center, and Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. He has also been an adjunct faculty at Yale and Quinnipiac University, and is the recipient of many awards including the 2015 Judicial Recognition Award of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

For further information on Justice Palmer’s biography, visit https://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/justice6.html

The Valley Stands Up is an independent civic group created to unite our diverse communities in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through outreach, organizing, and advocacy to support the dignity and human rights for all.

Visit The Valley Stands Up on Facebook or https://thevalleystandsup.org/

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Tonight, CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Director of Photography from ‘The Day’

A well-known photo by Sean Elliot, who will speak at the Connecticut Valley Camera Club, Monday, June 5.

AREAWIDE — The June 5 meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will feature a presentation by Sean Elliot, Director of Photography at The Day in New London, Conn.  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lyme’s Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn.

In addition to overseeing The Day’s staff of visual journalists, Elliot retains responsibilities as a photographer, documenting life in southeastern Connecticut. He started his career at The Day as the paper’s Digital Imaging Technician (a position now titled: night photo editor) in 1993. He was hired as a staff photographer in 1994 and became Chief Photographer in 2002 and was named Director of Photography in 2016. Prior to The Day, Eliot had internships in Lima, Ohio and Brigeport, Conn.

Elliot was born in Norwalk, Connecticut but raised in Eugene, Oregon. He returned to New England where he graduated from the Boston University College of Communications with a degree in journalism.

He has won numerous awards from the National Press Photographers Association Region One, New England Associated Press News Executives Association, Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists and the New England Press Association (NEPA). In 1994 he was the NEPA Rookie of the Year and in 2000, the NEPA Photographer of the Year. In 2007 he was given the Community Photojournalism award by the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. He has served on the board of the National Press Photographers Association, including two terms as that association’s President and chairs the NPPA Ethics Committee.

You can also follow him on Twitter @seandelliot and on Instagram @sdelliot

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

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

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Memories of Memorial Day

CHESTER — Our thanks to Kris Seifert for sending us these wonderful photos of Chester’s Memorial Day parade and commemoration ceremony, which was held despite the inclement weather.

National Guard members stand to attention.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 13 pay their respects.

 

Chester Fife & Drum Corps march by in the rain.

 

From left to right, State Rep Bob Siegrist (waving), Selectwoman Carolyn Linn, and First Selectwoman Lauren Gister.

From left to right, Selectwoman Carolyn Linn, Selectwoman Charlene Janecek, and State Rep Bob Siegrist stand together.

Selectwoman Carolyn Linn and State Representative Bob Siegrist with Former First Selectman and Grand Marshall Bob Blair, Sr.


Boy Scout Troop 13 and Troop leaders at Flagpole with First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Selectwoman Carolyn Linn and Selectwoman Charlene Janecek.

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CT Valley Camera Club Exhibits at Clinton Library Through Aug. 29

AREAWIDE — There will be a photography exhibit by the CT Valley Camera Club from Aug. 1 to Aug 29, at the Clinton Library at 10 Killingworth Turnpike, Clinton, Conn.  There will be 12 members exhibiting at the show that has an open theme.

For further information, call Ed McCaffrey at 860-767-3521.

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club, founded in 2001, has a prime directive of encouraging, accommodating, and implementing multiple photographic experiences for our members. Photographers of all levels are welcome. With the overall intent of improving our skills, information is shared about techniques and equipment, as well as the provision of mutual support in evaluating images.

The club meets on the first Monday of each month at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme. Visitors are welcome. You can find out more about our club on our website and Facebook postings.

To view images by club members and for more information, visit ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com  or Facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

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Education Mandate Relief Passes House

Rep. Bob Siegrist testifies during a Public Hearing.

AREAWIDE — On Tuesday, May 30, State Representative Robert Siegrist, who represents the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam supported legislation to promote real progress for education mandate relief.

The proposal, HB 7276, An Act Concerning Education Mandate Relief, includes recommendations from concerned superintendents, administrators, teachers, Board of Education members, parents, and advocates. School districts and town officials from across the state have been strongly urging members of the legislature to provide mandate relief.

“I am happy to see the passage of this bipartisan proposal in the House, and it is my hope that this legislation will be signed into law by the governor,” said Rep. Siegrist who cosponsored the bill. “The passage of this proposal will amount to monetary savings for our districts and towns, but will also allow our dedicated educators to focus their attention on providing the best possible education and services to our students.”

The bill’s provisions include:

  • Eliminate the requirement for school districts to adopt a regional calendar
  • Require the state to purchase one digital school management and reporting software system
  • Provide a digital school management and reporting software system at no cost to districts; allowing districts to decide how they provide education to expelled students; and allowing districts to focus training in procedures for handling highly sensitive behavioral issues on staff who have direct contact with students

The bill is supported by Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST) and passed out of the House of Representatives; it now heads to the Senate.

The 2017 legislative session adjourns on June 7.

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Townwide Tag Sale Today Brings Hundreds to Chester

townwide tag sale 1

CHESTER — Chester’s 27th Annual Townwide Tag Sale takes place today, Saturday, May 27– sales open at 8 a.m. and end by 3 p.m.(or earlier). The event is rain or shine.

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

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

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

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

‘Ready to Bargain in Southern France’ by BL Taylor of Essex is one of the paintings included in the Unframed Art Show at Maple & Main Gallery today.

A one-day show of unframed, original art by Maple and Main artists will be held today in conjunction with the Townwide Tag Sale when over 150 works on paper, board and canvas will be offered from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The show will be under a tent at the gallery entrance and on the porch and offers visitors a chance to buy paintings for less and choose their own frames to complement their homes. Visit Mapleandmaingallery.com to view a selection of works in the show.

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

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

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

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

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

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Bill to Protect Rescue Animals in Private Shelters One Step Closer to Becoming Law

State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R-36th)

AREAWIDE — On Wednesday, May 16, State Representative Robert Siegrist applauded the passage of House Bill 6334, which passed unanimously. The bill aims to improve conditions at brick and mortar private, non-profit animal shelters by requiring them to register with the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) and to comply with local zoning requirements.

“This legislation is a step in the right direction that will help prevent animals from being neglected and abused.  We must care for our furry friends with respect and treat them like our own family, they depend on us,” said Rep. Siegrist. “I would like to make it known that I do believe that the majority of Connecticut private, non-profit animal shelters provide exceptional service to the animals in their care. Most of these shelters are run by devoted staffers, but there are a few exceptions to this rule and this legislation addresses those few bad apples.”

Under the bill, DoAg must issue a registration to an applicant upon application and payment of a $50 fee if the applicant complies with applicable state regulations and, for an initial registration, municipal zoning requirements. A registration is effective until the second Dec. 31 following issuance, may be renewed biennially by Dec. 31, and may be transferred to another premise with the commissioner’s approval.

The bill authorizes the commissioner, or his agent, to inspect an animal shelter at any time. If, in his judgement, the shelter is not being maintained in a sanitary and humane manner that protects public safety, or if he finds that contagious, infectious, or communicable disease or other unsatisfactory conditions exist, he may fine the shelter up to $500 for each affected animal, issue orders necessary to correct the conditions, and quarantine the premises and animals.

In addition, if a shelter fails to comply with the commissioner’s regulations or orders or any state law relating to animals, the commissioner may revoke or suspend its registration. Anyone aggrieved by a commissioner’s order may appeal to Superior Court. Anyone operating a shelter without a valid registration is subject to a fine of up to $200.

This bill is supported by CT Votes for animals, ASPCA, the US and CT Humane Societies and Our Companions Animal Rescue.

House Bill 6334 now heads to the Senate, where it will need to be voted on by midnight on June 7.

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Estuary Offers Medical Appointment Rides for Seniors

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Senior Center provides transportation to those aged 60 and over for medical appointments, including dialysis, to any medical location beyond the nine-town estuary region such as Branford, New Haven, Middletown, Hartford and New London. With the Center’s Stan Greimann EMOTS program, a driver and car will pick you up, take you to your appointment, and bring you back home. 

For more information on the Stan Greimann EMOTS program, call David at 860-388-1611, X203. Suggested donation of $35 for roundtrip service.

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Shoreline Soup Kitchens Opens New Westbrook Meal Site, All Welcome

AREAWIDE — The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) new Westbrook meal site is open for dinner from 6 to 7 p.m. every Friday.  The site is located at the Westbrook Congregational Church, 1166 Boston Post Road.  All are welcome to attend.

Don’t be shy, bring the whole family and enjoy a meal with wonderful dinner companions and nutritious food. You don’t need to call ahead or “make a reservation.”

Did you know that last year over 900,000 meals worth of food were distributed to individuals and families during The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries grocery distribution program?  And, that over 17,000 nutritious and delicious meals were provided at our 9 meal sites, serving seven days a week?

There are those among us who are hungry and alone. You can change that; you can make a difference in the lives of those who are hungry in body and spirit.  Contact SSKP to learn about the many opportunities to volunteer.

The SSKP offers food and fellowship to the communities of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

The SSKP’s family-oriented meal sites serving nutritious and delicious food are located in Centerbrook, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Old Lyme, Westbrook and Old Saybrook.  And, SSKP food pantries are located in Clinton, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, East Lyme and Westbrook.  Also, provided to those who have limited cooking facilities are heat-n- meals that can be picked up at any of our pantries.

Community support of the SSKP is appreciated.  If you have any questions or for a more information, call 860.388.1988 or email at pdowling@shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

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‘Nilsson & Newton’ Exhibition on View at Spring Street Gallery

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery at One Spring Street, Chester, presents Nilsson & Newton, a special exhibit of paintings by Leif Nilsson and sculptures by Richard Newton.

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

Oil paint on steel  52 x 168 inches by Richard Newton

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

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Tri-Town Youth Services Offers Pediatric First Aid, CPR & Babysitter Training Course, July 17-18

Tri-Town Youth Services (TTYS) will offer the American Heart Association’s Pediatric First Aid and CPR course along with a babysitter training certificate program.  This course is for youth ages 12-17.  The $75 fee includes instruction, books, and certificate.

The summer session will be held at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High Street, Deep River on July 17 and 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Classes fill quickly, so register soon – online (www.tritownys.org) or by calling 860-526-3600.

Tri-Town Youth Services 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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Letter to the Editor: Proposed Library Plans Warrant Close Inspection, More Questions From Chester Residents

To the Editor:

I love libraries. I visit different ones weekly. But I have concerns about whether or not an 8,000 square foot, $7.4 million library (excluding bonding costs), can be sustained by Chester’s taxpayers, or utilized enough by Chester’s population to warrant a building of this magnitude.

There’s been much discussion about developing North Quarter Park. But until the Board of Finance and taxpayers vote on it, it’s not a done deal although a lot of time, money and hard work have gone into creating these plans. Perhaps there are more cost effective options to keep taxes down so young families can afford to move here, and older families can afford to stay.

Has a feasibly study been done on the space where the Essex Savings Bank is after their lease is up? It’s large enough. There’s plenty of parking. There’s a community room upstairs. It’s already built. The town owns it. It’s 0.6 miles from the center. Can we revisit expanding the current library since a survey conducted by the Chester Public Library stated residents “resoundingly preferred to stay in the current location.”

Perhaps we build a smaller library. The state recommendation is 1.6 square feet per person. With a population of 4,245, and approximately 1,041 cardholders, does 6,720 square feet or smaller make sense? Certainly, it would cost less to build, staff and maintain. Libraries are also going digital and ultimately will require less space to house collections. Should this be considered when deciding on how much square footage is need? We also have 6 neighboring libraries offering programs and events all within a 12-minute drive or less that can easily be utilized.

We, the taxpayers, should carefully consider what the size, scope and cost of this project should be, and what we as a town, really need.

Sincerely,

Caryn B. Davis,
Chester, CT.

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