August 24, 2016

Public Hearings on Proposed Shoreline East, Metro North Fare Hikes to be Held in Old Saybrook, Sept. 1

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

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

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

Some other notable proposed increases include:

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

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

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

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

The comment period closes Sept. 15, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Deep River Church Hosts August Flea Market & Rummage Sale Tomorrow

Flea market
DEEP RIVER — 
The Deep River Congregational Church, 1 Church St., Deep River, is preparing for its Annual Flea Market and Rummage Sale which will be held on Aug. 20, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  From 1 to 2 p.m., there will be a Rummage Bag Sale for $3 bag.  All are invited to a Rummage Pre-Sale on Friday, Aug. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. for a $5 admission fee.

The Flea Market, which is held on Marvin Field and on the grounds around the church, runs from 8:30 a.m.to 3 p.m. with over 80 vendors, who bring a wide variety of items to sell, from antiques to hand crafted pieces.

There will be a variety of fresh baked goods for sale, prepared by church members and friends.    Refreshments may also be purchased throughout the day:  coffee and doughnuts in the morning and hamburgers, hotdogs, and side dishes throughout the day. There are only a few 20 x 20 foot spaces available for $30, and you can reserve one by contacting the church office for a reservation form and map.

Tag Sale (800x600)

Come along for a fun day!

For further information, contact the church office at 860-526-5045 or office.drcc@snet.net or visit the church website at www.deeprivercc.org.

 

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Adam’s Hometown Markets, Local Law Enforcement Team Up to Raise $29,000 For Special Olympics Connecticut

special olympicsDEEP RIVER — Adam’s Hometown Markets and local law enforcement officers teamed up to raise $29,000 for Special Olympics Connecticut through a campaign at 14 Adams Markets across the state throughout May and June. For each donation, a “paper torch” with the donor’s name (if desired) was displayed in the store for the duration of the campaign.

The money raised will go to support Special Olympics Connecticut’s year-round sports, health and fitness programs for athletes of all abilities.

The Paper torch campaign is a Law Enforcement Torch Run event to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut.  For more information about Special Olympics Connecticut, visit www.soct.org.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Connecticut is one of the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicles. This year-round program involves law enforcement officers from across the state who volunteer their time to raise awareness and funds through events including Tip-a-Cops, Cop-on-Tops, and Jail N’ Bail fundraisers.

In addition, each year in June, over 1,500 officers and athletes carry the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” through hundreds of cities and towns across the state, covering over 530 miles over three days.  The runners run the “Final Leg” and light the ceremonial cauldron during Opening Ceremonies for the Special Olympics Connecticut Summer Games.

Special Olympics Connecticut provides year-round sports training and competitions for over 13,000 athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports® partners – their teammates without disabilities.

Through the joy of sport, the Special Olympics movement transforms lives and communities throughout the state and in 170 countries around the world by promoting good health and fitness and inspiring inclusion and respect for all people, on and off the playing field.(www.soct.org)

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Shoppers at Adams Hometown Market in Deep River Give Generously to CT Food Bank Milk Drive

The Adams Homemarket in Deep River

Shoppers at the Adams Hometown Market in Deep River gave generously to The Great American Milk Drive. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

DEEP RIVER — Shoppers at Adams Hometown Market, Better Valu and Tri Town Foods stores in Connecticut gave generously to The Great American Milk Drive, raising more than $12,000 for milk vouchers to help people served by the Connecticut Food Bank network of food assistance programs. Connecticut Food Bank spokesperson Paul Shipman spoke warmly of the tremendous contribution made by the Adams Hometown Store located in Deep River, telling ValleyNewsNow.com that, “the store has been wonderful supporting this program.”

By donating $1, $3 or $5, or rounding up their change at the register, shoppers raised $12,232 for milk vouchers. Shipman said it was the most successful Milk Drive yet for the food bank. Shoppers at the 12 participating stores have donated more than $25,000 since 2014.

Milk is one of the most requested items at food pantries, Shipman said, but it is difficult for people to obtain. “Many of our participating programs have limited refrigeration, so keeping a supply of milk is difficult, but it’s sought after by many people who need help with basic food needs.” Shipman said that many people who visit food pantries may only be able to access one gallon of milk per person in a year.

By providing vouchers for people visiting food banks, we can ease some of the transportation and refrigeration barriers and make milk a more regular part of people’s diets,” Shipman said.

The drive was part of a national program aimed at providing sought-after and highly nutritious gallons of milk to people in need. This local drive included the New England Dairy Promotion Board’s Must Be the Milk program, Guida’s Dairy, and the dairy farm families of Connecticut.

The milk drive was conducted at 12 Adams Hometown Market, Better Valu, and Tri Town Foods locations.

For more information on the Great American Milk Drive, visit www.mustbethemilk.com/milkdrive/

Editor’s Notes:

  1. Adams Hometown Market is a Connecticut-owned and operated company, which is owned by Bozzutos Incorporated, and is dedicated to providing service and support to the local community. Learn more at AdamsSuperFood.com
  2. The Connecticut Food Bank is committed to alleviating hunger in Connecticut by providing food resources, raising awareness of the challenges of hunger and advocating for people who need help meeting basic needs. The Connecticut Food Bank partners with the food industry, food growers, donors and volunteers to provide food, which last year provided 19.2 million meals. We distribute that food through a network of community based programs to six Connecticut counties – Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties – where more than 300,000 people struggle with hunger. Visit us on the web at www.ctfoodbank.org, like us on Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter and Instagram.
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Valley Shore YMCA’s 25th Annual Golf Classic Raises Funds for Annual Campaign

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Join the Mad Hatter’s (Fundraising) Garden Party at Deep River Library, Sunday

MadHatterDEEP RIVER – The Deep River Public Library’s 2nd Annual Mad Hatter’s Garden Party will be held on Sunday, July 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. on the library lawn. There will be hors d’oeuvres, light refreshments, live music, good conversation and a teacup auction. A prize will be awarded for the best hat.

Tickets to this event are $25. All funding benefits the library garden and grounds.

For more information, call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours.
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Newly Designed Marine Room Opens at Stone House Museum in Deep River

Curator Rhonda Forristall (left) and Kathy Schultz (right) stand in the Deep River Historical Society's Marine Room. All photos by Sue Wisner.

Curator Rhonda Forristall (left) and Kathy Schultz (right) stand in the Deep River Historical Society’s new Marine Room. All photos by Sue Wisner.

DEEP RIVER — It is always a challenge for the curators and trustees to come up with new exhibits to attract return and first time visitors to the Stone House Museum in Deep River and the Deep River Historical Society (DRHS).

There are tours, either a self-guided tour or with a greeter if available, of the house itself and all the history that goes with it and the many exhibits already designed.

View_of_Marine_Room

This summer the DRHS Museum is excited about their newly designed Marine Room, which demonstrates the importance of ship building and the masters of their boats pertaining specifically to Deep River’s rich history in both of these topics during the mid 1800’s.

This exhibit is a culmination of three years of preparation and planning as many items had to be cataloged and stored away. Then the actually physical restoration of the room with painting, carpentry work, artifacts displayed, paintings framed and all items labeled, completed the project for the recent Open House.

Along_DR_Waterfront

The Stone House Museum also highlights collections of the town’s industries and products. Included in this is an extensive collection of Niland cut glass, ivory products of Pratt & Read Co., WWII glider models, WWI exhibit, auger bits from Jennings Co., a display on the Lace Factory Manufacturing in Deep River and much more.

Stone_House_Museum

William A. Vail schooner

The William A. Vail schooner, which was one of the last ships to be built at the Deep River shipyard.

The Stone House, pictured above, was built of local granite in 1840 and the property and house was left to the Society by Ada Southworth Munson in 1946. The rooms reflect the period of time that the family presided there including the Parlor, Living Room, and bedrooms. As one walks through the house, it is a venture back into another era and the furniture and collections are carefully preserved.

Visits to the Stone House are encouraged to view the new exhibit and also the many other interesting items on display.  The photo to the right is of the schooner William A. Vail and symbolizes the shipbuilding heritage in Deep River. The schooner was built right at the shipyards on the Connecticut River near the landing and was probably one of the last ships built before steam ships took over. Exhibits at the Stone House have several photos of the Denison shipyard with boats in various stages of production. The William A. Vail is, in fact, the model for the ship depicted in the official seal of Deep River.

Summer weekend hours are Saturday and Sunday in July, August and into mid-September from 2-4 p.m.

The Stone House Museum is located at 245 Main Street, Deep River.

Check out the Museum on Facebook, Deep River Diaries, or the DRHS website that is presently under new construction at: http://www.deepriverhistoricalsociety.org

For further information, call 860-526-1449.

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America’s Roots and Diversity Shine at Deep River Muster

Pipers_in_step

What more striking example of the American melting pot and immigrants longing for liberty than to watch African-Americans, Asian-Americans, descendants of India, along with Americans of many generations, marching in uniforms and playing music that inspired the country during its struggle for independence in 1776?

This was the scene for two hours on Saturday as a parade of fife and drum corps stepped smartly down Main Street in a blazing mid-day sun in Deep River.

Drummer_from_LAThe roots of this tradition go back 137 years, to 1879. Officially known as the Deep River Ancient Muster, it features fife and drum corps from throughout our local region and some much farther afield. This year, one came from sea to shining sea.

The whole town, it seems, grinds to a halt for the muster. It actually began the night before with a camp-out and warm-ups at Devitt Field. Hundreds lined the streets on Saturday morning, bringing folding chairs, canopies and coolers to sustain two-plus hours in the sun. Many had a birds-eye vantage point from property or apartments high above street level.

Some were picnicking while revolutionary-era re-enacters, many in full wool uniforms, entertained them. The contrast could not have been more striking. But their resounding applause, given to every passing unit, showed appreciation and understanding.

Three_drummers_big_drums

Others walked alongside or behind the real participants, but the true stars of the show provided perhaps the finest example of America and who we truly are.  People of all generations, genders, ethnicities and sizes, marching together and clearly dedicated to ensuring the root values of America, as exemplified in these musical rituals, are carried forward.

Drummers

With more than 50 marching units participating, it’s clear that many people feel inspired to join groups whose purpose is to honor and celebrate our forebearers. Marching in 90-degree heat in full dress uniforms is one small reminder of the sacrifices required of the colonists who rebelled against their domineering mother country.

Pipers

If that isn’t moving enough, imagine the determination of a young man rolling along in his wheelchair while playing the fife. It was clear that his was not a temporary injury. What an inspiring sight he was!

There is something about the rolls and rhythms of drums and the pitch of fifes that touches a chord in the soul. Perhaps that’s the seat of man’s yearning for liberty, a most basic desire to be left alone to pursue one’s hopes and dreams in any way, so long as they do not infringe upon the rights and property of others.

Young_pipers&drummers

If the Deep River Ancient Muster is any indication, our youngest generation is full of people who will ensure that all the struggles and sacrifices of our American forefathers will continue to be honored. May their efforts strike the chords in the souls of generations yet to come and instill appreciation of those struggles.

Editor’s Note: Many participants and onlookers wore pink at the parade in honor of the late long-time First Selectman of Deep River, Dick Smith.

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Deep River Parade Kicks Off at 11am Today, Followed by Muster

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 8.09.56 PM

Photo credit: Town of Deep River website.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Ancient Muster is the oldest and largest gathering of fife and drum participants and enthusiasts in the world and has been referred to as “The Granddaddy of All Musters” and “A Colonial Woodstock.”  The Parade and Muster will be held again this Saturday — the Muster is always held the third Saturday in July — and the Tattoo takes place Friday evening.

The Parade starts at 11 a.m. at the corner of Main and Kirtland Streets and proceeds down Main Street to Devitt’s Field. The host corps is the Deep River Ancient Muster Committee and the Deep River Drum Corps.

The Muster starts immediately following the parade at Devitt’s Field.  Roads will be closed at 10:30 a.m.

The Tattoo starts Friday at 7 p.m. at Devitt’s Field with the host corps being the Deep River Junior Ancients

Parking will be available in several locations along Main Street, Deep River Congregational Church, The Stone House, Deep River Hardware, Deep River Public Library and Rte. 80.

Click here to read an article by Caryn B. Davis about Fife and Drum Corps and published on AmericanProfile.com.

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State Police Promote Safe Driving Throughout July 4 Weekend; Sobriety Checkpoints, Roving Patrols Planned Locally

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut State Police Public Information Office has issued the following important press release.

As thousands of drivers plan to travel during the upcoming long holiday weekend, Connecticut State Troopers are also preparing to patrol in increased numbers to keep roads and highways safe for all drivers.

Troop F is planning the following roving patrols and checkpoint locations:

06/30/16                         Roving Patrols – Interstate 95 within Troop F patrol area

07/01/16                         Roving Patrols – Rte. 9 and Rte. 66 in town of Middlefield

07/02/16                         Roving Patrols – I-95 exits 56-71

07/03/16                         Roving Patrols – Rte. 9 and Rte. 66 in town of Middlefield

07/03/16                         DUI Sobriety Checkpoint – At Rte. 156 and Ferry Rd. in the town of Old Lyme. This will be in conjunction with the Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit.

07/04/16                         Roving Patrols – I-95 exits 56-71

July 4 is Monday, allowing for extra time for beach outings, cookouts and fireworks. This translates to increased traffic starting as early as Friday, July 1, and continuing through the evening of July 4.  Many will be driving through and around the state of Connecticut for Independence Day events.

State Police will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) starting at midnight on July 3 and running through midnight on July 5.

Troopers will be strategically placed to reduce speed on the highways and roadways during the holiday period. In addition, State Troopers will operate sobriety checkpoints numerous locations throughout Connecticut. Drivers can expect to experience concentrated enforcement operations at locations where a high number of alcohol-involved crashes and incidents.  (Please see attached list.)

As always, State Police consistently work toward preventing accidents – especially fatal crashes – on Connecticut’s roads and highways. Troopers will utilize laser units, and both marked and unmarked State Police cars to enhance safety and to remove all drunk drivers from Connecticut’s roads.

“We need your help. Obeying the rules of the road is everyone’s responsibility. We ask all drivers to buckle up, adhere to the speed limit, put down cell phones, and please be courteous to other drivers,” said Dora B. Schriro, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Colonel Alaric J. Fox, Commander of the Connecticut State Police, added, State Troopers depend on drivers to follow the law. Please do not drink and drive since that is a deadly combination. If you are on the road and drunk driver, please call 911, as this is a true emergency.”

Planning to consume alcohol to celebrate our nation’s birthday? Then please designate a driver so that this festive, enjoyable summer weekend does not turn into a tragedy. Never drink and drive.

During July 4, 2015, weekend, Connecticut State Police issued the following number of summons:  859 for speeding and 33 for driving under the influence.  State Police investigated 170 motor vehicle crashes, with injury and two fatalities.

Troopers also issued 2,461 tickets for other hazardous moving violations.

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Ladies of the ‘Historic Sewing Circle’ Visit Deep River Historical Society, Aug. 28

Kandie Carle, here in Edwardian dress, will be one of the Aug. 28 visitors.

Kandie Carle, here in Edwardian dress, will be one of the Aug. 28 visitors.

Come and welcome the ladies of the Historic Sewing Circle who will be gathering at the Deep River Historical Society at the Stone House, 245 Main Street, Deep River on Aug. 28, at 2 p.m.

Ladies from all over Connecticut, who interpret different historical time periods from the 1740s to the early 1900s, will be sewing at the Stone House and discussing their projects with visitors. They will be delighted to chat about their fashions and the sewing techniques of the various eras they represent.

While they have visited numerous other historic sites, this is the first time that they will be at the Stone House in Deep River, and wearing reproduction historic clothing. Also on display will be the Society’s extensive vintage quilt collections and ladies hats.

Photo is of Kandie Carle in Edwardian clothing.

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World Class Frisbee at Deep River Public Library, June 29

Todd Brodeur

Todd Brodeur

DEEP RIVER – Get ready for some high-flying fun when World Class Frisbee visits the Deep River Public Library on Wednesday, June 29, at 6 p.m.

Watch Free-Styling Frisbee Champion Todd Brodeur as he amazes us with some fabulous tricks. You might just learn a few skills to try out on your own! Free and open to all, no registration required.

This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Deep River Public Library.

For more information, go to website at http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on the monthly calendar, email the Children’s Department at drplchildrensdept@gmail.com or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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Deep River Library Kicks Off Summer with Family Fun Night

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DEEP RIVER – Summer Reading kicks off on June 22 with the Deep River Public Library’s Wednesday Family Fun Night! Come for a rocking good time with a DJ Dave Dance Party, starting at 6 p.m. Get the whole family moving and grooving! This program is free and open to all, no registration required.

Programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Deep River Public Library. For more information, go to http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on the monthly calendar; email the Children’s Department at drplchildrensdept@gmail.com; or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8 .pm.; Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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Bozzuto’s Inc. Kicks Off ‘Reach for the Stars’ Campaign to Help Special Olympics Athletes Shine

special olympicsDEEP RIVER – This summer, until Aug. 13, grocery shoppers can visit their neighborhood IGA supermarket (such as Adams in Deep River) and make a donation to help Special Olympics athletes reach for the stars.

Bozzuto’s Inc. and The IGA Hometown Foundation invite their customers and the community to join them in supporting local Special Olympics athletes by participating in their annual ‘Reach for the Stars’ campaign by making a donation of $1, $2, $5 or more at checkout. In recognition of each contribution, a “star” with the donor’s name (if desired) will be displayed in the store for the duration of the campaign.

The ‘Reach for the Stars’ campaign aims to help share the joy of sport and encourage inclusion and respect for people of all abilities – on and off the playing field. Since 2008, the hang tag promotion has been conducted to assist Special Olympics in providing year-round sports training and competition opportunities for thousands of athletes, statewide.

All proceeds from this effort will go to the local Law Enforcement Torch Run Program, which encompasses a variety of events supporting Special Olympics that include the annual Torch Run, and Cop-on-Top and Tip-A-Cop fundraising events, all hosted and run by volunteer law enforcement officers.

Bozzuto’s, Inc., is a family-owned, full service, wholesale food distribution company headquartered in Cheshire, Connecticut, that serves over 1,500 supermarket retailers in 10 states.  Bozzuto’s is a proud supporter of IGA and is a five-time winner of IGA’s highest honor, The President’s Cup.

The Hometown Foundation is a non-profit, charitable foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals and their families in hometowns and surrounding communities where it operates. The Hometown Foundation honors and assists five key areas of interest: Children, Cancer, Diabetes, Military, and Emergency Response Personnel.

Special Olympics Connecticut (www.soct.org) provides year-round sports training and competitions for close to 13,000 athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports® partners – their teammates without disabilities. Through the joy of sport, the Special Olympics movement transforms lives and communities throughout the state and in 170 countries around the world by promoting good health and fitness and inspiring inclusion and respect for all people, on and off the playing field.

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Enjoy ‘Fun Friday’ at Deep River Library, Aug.19

Deep River Library building at 150 Main Street, Deep River

Deep River Library building at 150 Main Street, Deep River

DEEP RIVER — Deep River Library hosts ‘Fun Fridays’ through August as follows:

Aug. 19 — Special Activity! Water Table in the Children’s Garden.  Come splash with friends.  Starts at 10:30 am; open to all ages.

These programs are free and open to all; no registration required. Programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Deep River Public Library.

For more information, visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on our monthly calendar, email the Children’s Department at drplchildrensdept@gmail.com or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm. *July and August, Saturday 10-am – 2pm.

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valedictorian Christina Mitchel.

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

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

Honor Essayist Mary Proteau.

 

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

Principal ?? beamed as he listened to the speeches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The presentation of diplomas began ...

The presentation of diplomas began …

Girl_receives_diploma

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

... and ended!

… and ended!

 

Hat_toss

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

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

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

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Deep River Resident Recognized for Excellence by Progressive Grocer

Silvana Baxter

Silvana Baxter

DEEP RIVER – Progressive Grocer, a leading retail food industry trade publication, has named Silvana Baxter of Deep River, a Stop & Shop Asset Protection Associate, as a 2016 Top Women in the grocery industry, which honors outstanding female leaders in the retailer and supplier community sectors.  

“Stop & Shop is very proud of the many accomplishments achieved by these dedicated associates who have gone above and beyond their positions within our company and have made many contributions within the communities they serve,” said Robert Spinella, Vice President of Human Resources, Stop & Shop NY Metro Division. “Congratulations to our honorees who serve as true role models for the future of their fellow colleagues.”  

Covering the retail food industry, Progressive Grocer’s core target audience includes top management and key decision makers from chain supermarkets, regional and local independent grocers, supercenters, wholesaler distributors, manufacturers and other supply chain training partners.

The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC employs over 61,000 associates and operates 419 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.

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Deep River Presents Annual Strawberry Social, June 12

strawberry photo

Marian Staye (left) and Gail Gallagher serve up fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream in Deep River.

DEEP RIVER – The Deep River Historical Society is holding its annual Strawberry Social on Sunday, June 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. Yes, you can expect fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream! Tickets are $10 for adults and $3 for children 5 years and under. The event will include other surprises for the guests.

The event is held in the Carriage House on the grounds of the Deep River Historical Society at 245 Main Street (Rte. 154), Deep River.

 

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

Ambulance20162

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

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

Colonial Market in Essex (Essex Ambulance)

Roberts Food Center in Madison (Madison Ambulance)

Stop & Shop in Clinton (Clinton Ambulance)

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

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

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

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

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Hambor’s School-to-Career Program at VRHS Celebrates 10 Successful Years

The 10th Annual Partnership Celebration brought interns and their mentors together to enjoy food and farewells.

The 10th Annual Partnership Celebration brought interns and their mentors together for food and farewells.

AREAWIDE — Ten years ago Valley Regional High School (VRHS) School-to-Career Consultant Mary Hambor started a program for students at the school interested in finding out more about jobs in the real world with five internships.  On May 26 this year, at the 10th Annual Partnership Celebration, she described how during the 2015-16 academic year, she had placed 95 seniors and seven juniors in a total of 102 internships.

Poster boards listed all the businesses and organizations which had taken interns during the 2015-16 academic year.

Poster boards listed all the businesses and organizations which had taken interns during the 2015-16 academic year.

Describing the success of the program as “very rewarding,” a delighted Hambor noted that she felt its “goal [had been] achieved” in that it had now become, “a comprehensive internship program … offering invaluable hands-on experience.”  She expressed her appreciation to all those who had taken on interns during the year and the VRHS administration saying, “I continually feel blessed to be part of such a supportive community.”

Dr. Dave Scruggs of Deep River Animal Hospital stands with Mary Hambor, VRHS School-to-Career Cordinator.

Dr. Dave Scruggs of Deep River Animal Hospital stands with Mary Hambor, VRHS School-to-Career Cordinator.

Many of the student interns spoke about their experiences during the celebration.  Katie Amara and Maddy Ball described how at Deep River Animal Hospital, they had “everyday learned something new,” including “holding a few snakes” and “how to draw blood,” summing up the internship as one in which they, “had learned a lot more than we expected.”

Anastasia Cusack-Mercedez explained that as a direct result of her internship with Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services (IRIS) in New Haven she now knew that she “would like to work for a non-profit.”

Sevigny Fortin said he had been, “very fortunate” to work in the State Prosecutor’s office at New London Superior Court with Attorney Paul Narducci and had even been involved with work on a murder trial. He believed he had benefited from “an opportunity not many high schoolers have,” noting, “I have been very fortunate to work with a mentor so passionate and helpful.”

Mary Hambor (right) stands with Ibby Carothers of iCRV Radio and the students who interned at the radio station.

Mary Hambor (right) stands with Ibby Carothers of iCRV Radio and the students who interned at the radio station.

Hannah Halsey spoke about the experience that she and several of her peers had enjoyed interning at iCRV Radio in Chester and then Ivoryton. She said it was, “a really great learning experience during which she and her friends had “learned about marketing” and acquired many new skills, such as “how to operate a database.”  The interns had actually hosted a radio show at one point!

Sometimes the students explained that the internships had caused them to experience a change in their planned careers.  Tina Mitchell, who had worked at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, had gone into her internship believing she was “interested in politics,” but during her time working with a policy analyst in the House Speaker’s office, determined that she had “found a home in policy.”

Other students like Elizabeth Forsythe freely declared, “I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” but went on to say that her internship at Aaron Manor with Karyn Cotrona had taught her “what HR is all about.”  She thanked her mentors for giving her “the experience to explore what she wanted to do.”

Our very own wonderful ValleyNewsNow.com intern, Maggie Klin.

Our very own ValleyNewsNow.com wonderful intern, Maggie Klin!

Several of the mentors took the opportunity to say publicly how the internship had gone from their angle.  Rebecca Foley from IRIS said, “Anastasia did an incredible job” and noted that she had gone far beyond the call of her internship and raised $827 for the organization in her own time.

Dr. Dave Scruggs of Deep River Animal Hospital commented that when he had first been asked to take an intern, he just said, “No.”  Then he met with the students and was “so impressed” to the extent that — speaking of this year’s interns — , “I would hire both of these young ladies today,” adding in words that seemed to sum up the universal experience of the mentors, “Every student from this high school has achieved the bar … and gone beyond it.”

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Deep River Historical Society Receives Humanities Grant; Rep. Joe Courtney Visits Stone House

Rep. Joe Courtney talks to Deep River Historical Society curator, Rhonda Forristall. in Stone House on June 1.

Rep. Joe Courtney talks to Deep River Historical Society curator, Rhonda Forristall. in Stone House on June 1.

DEEP RIVER – U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney, 2nd District, visited the Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House at 245 Main Street, on June 1.

The Society recently received a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the amount of $1,500.

The Society applied for the grant following its first year of involvement with the StEPs-program, offered through Connecticut Humanities. According to their website (CTHumanities.org), the organization “helps local museums and historical societies build professionalism and ensure their programs and collections remain vibrant community resources through StEPs-CT – a two-year program created with the Connecticut League of History Organizations, and run in partnership with the Connecticut Historical Society, that guides them towards excellence in six areas of organizational practice.”

Rhonda Forristall, Deep River Historical Society curator, said, “We chose to write a grant for upgrading our technology. Currently DRHS has a single phone line coming into the building with no Internet connection. We have one computer with only XP capabilities (which was an upgrade from the computer with 3-inch disks that was there when I arrived), and a printer, so we can write letters and input data but really can’t get any data out. This $1500 matching grant will allow us to connect to the Internet and purchase a new laptop computer with Word and Excel programs, external storage unit and extenders so that we can have WiFi in the Carriage House to make us more appealing to renters. The grant also allows for an improvement to our website, which will be accessible to mobile devices.

“The outcome we are looking for,” said Rhonda, “will be to grow awareness of our mission at DRHS, to grow our membership and interact with a younger and more mobile generation who only communicate through their phones. We have talked to Valley Regional about having students access information and research online once we get things up and running. The potential is huge for us and we are excited to begin.

“As part of the grant funding, we are asked to thank our congressmen for their support of the Humanities and Joe responded to his letter by saying he wanted to visit. We had a great visit with him, showing off our collection and thanking him for his support and telling him what it means to us as an all-volunteer organization.”

For more information about the Deep River Historical Society, go to www.deepriverhistoricalsociety.org.

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Tri-Town Parades Cancelled Because of Forecasted Rain

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Sign Up Now to Read to Mia, the Reading Therapy Dog, July 28

Mia, the Reading Therapy dog, is eager to be read to at the Deep River Public Library.

Mia, the Reading Therapy dog, is eager to be read to at the Deep River Public Library.

DEEP RIVER – Mia, the Reading Therapy dog, and her handler, Terrie Carpenter, will visit the Deep River Public Library on Thursday, July 28 at 3 p.m.

Reading Therapy animals can build confidence with children who are emerging or struggling readers. Young children can make up stories by using the pictures in book. Older readers can build their read-aloud skills. This program is best suited for children ages 3-11. Each child is given a 15-minute time slot. Registration is required for this activity. Call today to reserve your spot.

This program is free and sponsored by the Friends of the Deep River Public Library. For more information, go to http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on our monthly calendar, email the Children’s Department at drplchildrensdept@gmail.com or call the library at 860-526-6039.
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Duane Gates Appointed to Open Deep River Selectman Seat

DEEP RIVER — Eight weeks after the unexpected March 25 death of 26-year Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith, the board of selectmen returned to a full complement of members Friday with the appointment of Duane Gates to fill an unexpired term ending in November 2017.

Gates, a Democrat, was appointed at a special meeting by interim First Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., also a Democrat, and Republican Selectman Dave Oliveria to fill the vacancy created last month when McDonald, with Oliveria’s support, was appointed as interim first selectman. Gates was sworn in to office immediately by Town Clerk Amy Winchell.

McDonald said six residents had submitted letters of intent and qualifications since the vacancy was created after his appointment as first selectman on April 21. McDonald said he and Oliveria had met with all of the interested individuals, holding closed door special meetings with prospective candidates on May 14 and last Monday. “It came down to a very difficult decision,” he said.

Gates 52, is a lifelong Deep River resident with a background in the construction industry. Gates currently works as a union representative and recording secretary for the Hamden-based Operating Engineers Union Local 478. He is the married father of a 22-year-old daughter.

Gates has served previously on the local board of education, to which he was first elected as a Republican, and the Region 4 Board of Education, where he served eight years from 2005-2013. Gates was elected to a full six-year term as a Democrat in 2005, and for a two-year vacancy term from 2011-2013.

Gates said he has been interested in serving on the board of selectmen, and had expressed his interest in conversations with Smith. “I am honored to serve the remainder of the term and I look forward to working with Angus and Dave,” he said.

The appointment Friday completes the transition that was forced by Smith’s unexpected death. The Gates appointment could be forced to a special election with a petition signed by at least 158 town voters that must be submitted to the town clerk within 15 days of the appointment. There was no petition for special election with McDonald’s appointment as interim first selectman.

The current terms expire on November 21, 2017, two weeks after the next municipal election on Nov. 7, 2017

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Babysitting Training Class Offered by Tri-Town YS, July 20

DEEP RIVER – Tri-Town Youth Services 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 in Deep River on July 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Participants should bring their own lunches.  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.  We coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.  Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org.
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36th House Election a Rematch Between Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller and Republican Bob Siegrist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob Siegrist (left) stands with Ed Munster.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Bob Siegrist,
Haddam.

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

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Arts Festival to Honor Adam Haut in Deep River

all things artsy poster

DEEP RIVER – An Arts Festival, called “All Things Artsy,” will be held to honor the life of Adam Haut on Sunday, May 1, from 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the courtyard of the Deep River Congregational Church on Main Street in Deep River.

Photographers, painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, carvers, ceramic, glass, mixed media, poets, sewers, knitters, quilters, etc. are asked to submit a favorite piece of artwork to display or sell. The theme is “Animals, Nature, Love!”  All proceeds will be donated to Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc. in honor of Adam, who died Aug. 28, 2015.

Contact Sybil Higgins (christianed.drcc@snet.net or 860-526-5045) for more details.

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Trump Carries Three Local Towns in GOP Presidential Primary, Democrats Split

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton

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

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

In  the Republican contest, Trump took Essex with 407 votes, with Ohio Governor John Kasich polling 297 votes. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 73 votes, with 10 uncommitted. In Deep River, Trump led Kasich 173-94, with  29 votes for Cruz and 4 uncommitted. In Chester, Trump led Kasich 133-103, with 27 votes for Cruz and 3 uncommitted.
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Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13’s Newest Eagle Scout

Ben Toles Eagle336

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dig into Your Past with Genealogy Experts, June 27

DEEP RIVER – A free genealogy program will be given on Monday, June 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Deep River Public Library. The Family History Center of Madison will help you research your family’s story. They will introduce you to available resources for researching and instruct you on where to look. They will help guide you with questions and help you to avoid common pitfalls in discovering the secrets of your family history. This program is free, but registration is required.

For more information, go to http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on the monthly calendar or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours.
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It’s Connecticut’s Presidential Primary Day — Don’t Forget to Vote!

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

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

Chester residents:

Chester Town Hall – Community Room

Deep River residents:

Deep River Town Library – Community Room.

Essex residents:

Essex Town Hall – Auditorium

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Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. Takes Office as Interim First Selectman for Deep River

A new Interim First Selectman for Deep River was sworn in April 21.

A new Interim First Selectman for Deep River was sworn in April 21.

DEEP RIVER — Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. was sworn into office as interim first selectman Thursday after he and Republican Selectman David Olveria voted for his appointment to serve the remainder of the unexpired term of the late Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith.

McDonald, 58, becomes the town’s first new first selectman since November 1989, when Smith was first elected for what would become more than 13 two-year terms in the top job.  McDonald will serve the remainder of the unexpired term ending on Nov. 22, 2017.
The two remaining selectmen had 30 days from Smith’s unexpected death on March 25 to appoint a successor, a period that was expected to expire Monday.  McDonald and Oliveria had discussed the appointment in two closed session special meetings held on April 7 and April 18.

Oliveria, in making a motion to appoint McDonald, said, “We have considered all options in front of us and feel that this is the right choice for Deep River at this time.”  McDonald said he looks forward to working in the best interests of the town over the next 20 months.  “It’s an honor to be in this position and to be asked to do it,” he said, adding that he and Oliveria’s agreement on the appointment is, “A good example of how a small town can pull together.”

The co-owner of an Old Saybrook-based engineering firm, McDonald moved to Deep River in 2005 after living previously in Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  He was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for first selectman of Westbrook in 1999, and served on the Westbrook Board of Selectmen.  McDonald was first elected to the Deep River Board of Selectmen as Smith’s running-mate in 2011.  He is married to Andrea Isaacs, and the couple own the Lace Factory building near the town’s riverfront landing.

Minutes after the appointment vote, McDonald received the oath of office from Town Clerk Amy Winchell.  McDonald’s appointment creates a new vacancy ion the board of selectmen, an opening that McDonald and Oliveria now have 30 days, or until about May 20, to fill by appointment.

McDonald said any resident interested in serving as selectman through November 2017 should send a letter of intent and qualifications to his office as soon as possible. McDonald said the interim selectman does not have to be a Democrat, with Oliveria saying qualifications and “a cooperative board” would be factors in the appointment decision.

The interim appointments could be forced to special elections with petitions signed by five percent of the town’s total voter registration, or about 158 signatures.  Petitions must be filed within 15 days of an appointment.
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Op-Ed: Proposing a Memorial to Dick Smith

Like so many of our Deep Riverites, I am saddened beyond words by the sudden and truly tragic death of our dear First Selectman Dick Smith.

Few among us are not aware of how he labored continuously for years and years for the physical improvement of our town in so many ways as well as the enhancement of life for all of us who call this home.

The question now is,  what would be a meaningful and enduring memorial to remind us and those who will follow us of his great efforts?

Suggestions will come up, I’m sure.  And the more, the better.

I would like to propose one right now.  Simple.  I suggest re-naming our Plattwood Park “The First Selectman Dick Smith Memorial Park.”

After all, I for one have no idea why it was ever called Plattwood.  That has no emotional or historic pizzazz for me.  If it does for you, please let me know.  But I would find calling it the Dick Smith Park very powerful.

As we know so well, it was Dick who spear-headed the transformation of Plattwood from a weedy, don’t-bother-to-look-at-it-twice waterhole to the great and beautiful recreational complex that it is today—and with the ambitious work still going on.  A park that is the envy of many other small towns, which have become aware of it!

I further propose that a big, handsome boulder chosen with care from the quarry next door be set at the very entrance to the Dick Smith Park.  With a bronze plaque set into its face that would have both a smiling profile of Dick, yes, in genuine  bronze, plus our words of praise and pride and thanks.  He’s earned them.

Thus would his love of Deep River and his long and record-setting career of service for our town (and us) be proclaimed to all who enter the park.  He deserves no less.

One more thought: we might organize a tribute-writing contest for the plaque.  We have a lot of talent in town … 

A maximum number of abc’s (words and spaces) would be allowed for the plaque.

The especially appointed plaque committee would reserve the right to select the best submission in whole.  Or, if it chooses, just thoughts and phrases from the top three submissions, say.  With these best thoughts and phrases to be assembled into a final, terrific composite.  Of course, prizes would be awarded.

After all, those are the words that would be read by all entering our wonderful Dick Smith Park for decades and decades to come.

I suspect Dick is in a place where he’d be aware of this going on and would break out into an even bigger smile.

P.S. A very fine chairman for this committee would be Rev. Tim Haut.  A very fine member would be Jonathan Kastner.  I would ask for recommendations for another three, say.  Making sure there would be at least two women.  One of these would be our fine local professional writer and editor Christine Woodside.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of John Guy LaPlante.

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Deep River Housing Authority Breaks Ground for Addition to Kirtland Commons Affordable Housing

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony at Kirtland Commons last Friday were (from left to right) Karl Kilduff, Executive Director, CHFA (CT Housing Finance Authority), Helen Muniz, Community Development Specialist, State of Connecticut Department of Housing, Joann Hourigan, Executive Director, Deep River Housing Authority, Jim LaRosa , Chief Operating Officer, LaRosa Building Group, Chris Widmer, Architect, Mazie Dennison, Tenant Commissioner, DRHA, and Dave Oliveria, Selectman, Town of Deep River.

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony at Kirtland Commons last Friday were (from left to right) Karl Kilduff, Executive Director, CHFA (CT Housing Finance Authority), Helen Muniz, Community Development Specialist, State of Connecticut Department of Housing, Joann Hourigan, Executive Director, Deep River Housing Authority, Jim LaRosa , Chief Operating Officer, LaRosa Building Group, Chris Widmer, Architect, Mazie Dennison, Tenant Commissioner, DRHA, and Dave Oliveria, Selectman, Town of Deep River.

Deep River Housing Authority breaks ground for an 18 unit addition to Kirtland Commons, its Elderly/Disabled affordable housing facility. The project also includes rehab to the existing 26 units.

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Housing Authority (DRHA) hosted a ground-breaking ceremony Friday at its elderly/disabled income-based housing facility, Kirtland Commons, located at 60 Main St. in Deep River.  The current facility has been providing housing for the past 23 years and currently has 26 one-bedroom apartment units that are available to seniors aged 62 and over, as well as disabled individuals.

The new addition will provide an additional 18 one-bedroom units.  The project is made possible through a $3.2 million dollar grant and $1 million dollar recoverable grant from the State of Connecticut, Department of Housing (DOH.)  In addition to the new units, the existing units will be rehabbed including new doors, windows and heating conversion to natural gas. 

Joann Hourigan, Executive Director of DRHA, will oversee the project with the assistance of Dale Kroop, Consultant and the DRHA Board of Directors.  La Rosa Building Group LLC, headquartered in Meriden, is the general contractor and Chris Widmer of Guilford, Conn., is the Principal Architect.  The project is scheduled for completion in the early spring of 2017.

“Until there is a need, people generally don’t understand that the availability of affordable housing is limited.  I receive calls every week for people who can no longer afford to maintain their homes on their limited income.  They are surprised to learn that submitting an application places them on a waiting list with recent wait times of two years or longer,” said Hourigan. 

She continued, “The new units will increase our ability to provide much needed housing as well as help the DRHA spread its operating expenses over a broader base.  Without this expansion, we were not on a sustainable course.  The process to obtain funding has been long and difficult.  We have been seeking funding for about five years and the Champ V grant was awarded in 2014.  We are so excited to finally break ground.”

Helen Muniz, DOH, stated that the grants represent the State of Connecticut’s commitment to expand the availability of affordable housing.  In a press release in January of this year, Governor Malloy stated, “Housing is key to economic growth, and that’s why we’re taking steps like never before.  We’ve done more on housing in the past few years than we’ve done in the past few decades, and in 2015, we continued to make significant stridesEvery resident of Connecticut should have access to quality, safe, and affordable housing,”

While the grants provide the majority of funding for this project, there are additional projects and funding needs.  Last December, DRHA kicked off a “Buy a Brick” fundraising campaign.  Commemorative bricks are available for $50 and $100 and will be placed in an outdoor sitting area in front of the building.  Forms for buying bricks will be made available at several events throughout the year, and can also be obtained by contacting Hourigan directly at (860) 526-5119.

Kirtland Commons is owned and operated by the DRHA and reports to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA).  DRHA consists of the Executive Director; a four member volunteer board appointed by the Deep River First Selectman; and a Resident Commissioner (who resides at Kirtland Commons and acts as a resident representative).  The board is committed to providing high quality, well maintained affordable housing and promoting a welcoming, family atmosphere.

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

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

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

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

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

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No Action Yet on Deep River First Selectman Vacancy

Deep River Town Hall

A new Deep River First Selectman will be appointed by April 25.

DEEP RIVER — The two remaining members of the board of selectmen, Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. and Republican Dave Oliveria, met Wednesday, but took no action on filling the top job vacancy created by the March 25 death of longtime Democratic First Selectmen Richard Smith.

Oliveria told a handful of residents at the board’s regular meeting he and McDonald were “not ready” to act on a first selectman appointment Tuesday. Oliveria said he and McDonald would hold two special meetings next week, a closed session discussion with one prospective candidate for a seat on the board, followed by another special meeting later in the week to vote on a first selectman appointment. The two selectmen have already held one special meeting closed session discussion on the vacancy, an April 7 session that lasted about 30 minutes.

The state law governing filling of vacancies gives the two remaining selectmen 30 days to appoint a first selectman who would serve the remainder of Smith’s unexpired term ending in November 2017. Town officials have agreed the deadline for making an appointment is Monday, April 25.

McDonald said after the brief meeting he and Oliveria are seeking to “work cooperatively” on filling the vacancy. “A lot of thought is going in to this because it’s a really important role,” he said. But McDonald, who was first elected with Smith in 2011,  added that he remains interested in filling the open position for the next 19 months. A co-owner of an engineering firm, McDonald said he continues to discuss the possibility of assuming the first selectman job with his partners.

An appointment of McDonald as first selectman would create a new vacancy on the three-member board that would be filled under the same appointment procedure, with the same 30 days for action deadline.

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Historical Weddings Featured at Deep River Tea

Sue Pire, Essex, with her mother Georgiana Czaplicki of Clinton. The dress was modeled by Katherine “Kat” Irena of Chester. Photo by Susanne Wisner

Sue Pire, Essex, with her mother, Georgiana Czaplicki of Clinton. The dress was modeled by Katherine “Kat” Irena of Chester. Photo by Susanne Wisner

 

DEEP RIVER – The Deep River Historical Society held their third annual Tea on April 9 at the Carriage House on the grounds of the Stone House. This event featured not only delicious food but also a special program that highlighted “Wedding Traditions through Time.”

This was a multi-generational presentation where several granddaughters modeled gowns of their grandmothers or mothers, along with other models. Several vintage gowns that dated back to the 1800s were also on display.

A slide presentation and raffle were also part of the sold-out event.

 

 

 

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Cappella Cantorum Celebrates Mozart in Concert This Afternoon

Daniel Juarez

Daniel Juarez

AREAWIDE — Listen to the magic of Mozart when Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus presents a Mozart Celebration on Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m., in John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River.

Mozart’s Requiem, Regina Coeli and Ave Verum are the featured choral works.

Featured soloists singing with the professional Cappella Cantorum Chamber Orchestra will be: Patricia Schuman, soprano; Heather Petrie, contralto; Daniel Juárez, tenor; and Christopher Grundy, baritone.

Internationally acclaimed Patricia Schuman, soprano, has performed with Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus, most recently with the production of Fauré Requiem and Schubert Mass in G.

Heather Petrie

Heather Petrie

Hailed as a true contralto, Heather Petrie is becoming a familiar voice throughout the Northeast. She has performed with Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus, most recently with the production of Bach Magnificat and Vivaldi Gloria.

Praised as a rising star who brings eloquence and musicality to a performance, Christopher Grundy, baritone, has given frequent recitals across the United States of repertoire spanning seven centuries.

A leading resident tenor of the CT Lyric Opera, Daniel Juárez’s operatic credits include Erik in Wagner’s Der Fligende Hollander, Don José in Bizet’s Carmen and other leading tenor roles in many opera programs.

Tickets are $30 (free for age 18 and under), from CappellaCantorum.org or by calling 860-388-2871. A reception follows the performance.

 

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Author Sara Ingram Performs at Carriage House, June 2

Sara Ingram, author, and curator Rhonda Forristall discuss the upcoming event to be held at the Carriage House. Photo by Susanne Wisner

Sara Ingram, author, and curator Rhonda Forristall discuss the upcoming event to be held at the Carriage House. Photo by Susanne Wisner

DEEP RIVER – Sara Ingram will act out stories and poems from her published book, Sounds of House and Wood, on Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m. in the Carriage House of the Deep River Historical Society.

Many of Sara’s poems recount her early life growing up in Deep River where her grandmother and mother were the Deep River librarians for a combined total of 50 years. Sara’s father was an early member of the Deep River Historical Society and the driving force in renovating the Carriage House to be used for local events.

Sara has worn many hats as editor, dancer and teacher. She has been involved with literature and arts-related pursuits for many years. She is a certified teacher and has been an instructor of the gifted in Connecticut public schools for over 25 years.

This free event, sponsored by the Deep River Historical Society, is open to the general public also. Light refreshments will be served. Anyone interested in purchasing Sara’s book can have it personally signed by her at the event.

Sounds of House and Wood, published by Antrim House, 2013, celebrates the essence of New England – nature, discovery, family and the four seasons. Please join in an enjoyable and entertaining evening.
Sara Ingram, author, and curator Rhonda Forristall discuss the upcoming event to be held at the Carriage House. Photo by Susanne Wisner

 

 

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Deep River Selectmen Make No Decision on First Selectman Vacancy, Town Department Heads Reporting to Democrat Angus McDonald Jr.

DEEP RIVER— The two remaining members of the board of selectmen, Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. and Republican David Oliveria, Thursday made no decision on appointing an interim first selectman to fill the vacancy created by the March 25 death of longtime Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith.

More than 30 residents filled the meeting room at town hall Thursday as the selectmen held their first meeting since Smith’s death. In a prepared statement, Oliveria said he and McDonald would be working together to manage the town until the appointment of an interim first selectman, who would serve the reminder of Smith’s unexpired 14th term ending on Nov. 20, 2017.

Oliveria said they hope to make an appointment “as soon as possible,” while adding that until then town department heads will be reporting to McDonald, who will be keeping late afternoon office hours at town hall beginning Tuesday.  State statute gives the two remaining selectmen 30 days to appoint an interim first selectman, a period that runs through at least April 22.

If Democrat McDonald and Republican Oliveria cannot agree on an appointment, the statute would also give Democratic elected officials, including Selectman McDonald, the tax collector and the registrar of voters, an opportunity to make an appointment.  McDonald said after Thursday’s brief special meeting that he is “interested” in serving as interim first selectman, but has not yet made a final commitment with the Deep River Democratic Town Committee to accept the appointment.

Elected with Smith in 2011, McDonald is a co-owner of the Angus McDonald Associates engineering firm. McDonald said he is discussing with colleagues at the firm whether he would be able to serve as interim first selectman for the next 20 months. McDonald said he is hopeful the selectmen could vote on an appointment at the board’s next regular meeting on April 12. “We have 30 days and we may need 30 days but I hope not,” he said. The appointment of either McDonald or Oliveria as interim first selectman would create a new vacancy on the board that would be filled under the statutory appointment process. Any appointment of an interim first selectman, or even a new member of the board, could be forced to a special election with a petition signed by at least five percent of the town’s total registered voters, or about 158 voter signatures. The petition would have to be filed with the town clerk within 15 days of any appointment.

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Area Residents Pack Dick Smith Funeral Service at Chester Church

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St. Joseph RC Church, Chester, where hundreds of area residents turned out to participate in the funeral service for the late, longtime Deep River First Selectman Richard H. “Smitty” Smith.

CHESTER — St. Joseph RC Church was packed Thursday as hundreds of area residents turned out to participate in the funeral service for the late, longtime Deep River First Selectman Richard H. “Smitty” Smith.

The mass of Christian burial followed a three-hour wake and viewing Tuesday evening at Deep River Town Hall where more than 1,000 citizens turned out to file through the second floor auditorium to pay final respects to Smith, who died suddenly on March 25 at age 65. Smith, a Democrat first elected in 1989, was the longest serving chief elected official in Middlesex County, and one of the longest serving municipal elected leaders in the entire state.

Representatives of various organizations, including the police and Deep River Fife & Drum Corps., stand somberly outside Chester RC Church prior to the funeral service for Richard "Smitty" Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Representatives of various organizations, including the police and Deep River Fife & Drum Corps., stand somberly outside Chester RC Church prior to the funeral service for Richard “Smitty” Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

The hour-long service had much of the pageantry of a state funeral, with a squad of Connecticut state troopers in full dress uniform and a police bagpiper, along with dozens of uniformed volunteer firefighters with the large ladder trucks from both the Deep River and Essex volunteer fire departments. Smith had also served as a part-time town police officer since 1973.

The sad task of removing the coffin from the hearse.  Photo by Kim Tyler.

The sad task of removing the coffin from the hearse. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Present were many of the current selectmen from area towns, but the crowd also included former first selectmen from towns such as Essex, Killingworth, and Old Lyme, who worked with Smith on regional issues during his long 26-year tenure. Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman was one of the speakers, describing Smith as a “cheerleader for economic development and a relentless advocate for small towns.” Wyman said Smith’s legacy would be, “Serve your community proudly.”

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Photo by Kim Tyler

Grieving town hall employees filled the front seats of the church, with Tax Collector Lisa Bibbiani and selectmen’s assistant Gina Sopneski speaking about their fond memories of Smith. Bibbiani said Smith was an elected leader, who was always “approachable to everyone,” adding, “Dick Smith was sincere, he was honest, he was loyal, and he was funny.”

After the service, with the bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace,” Smith was laid to rest in a plot at the cemetery that is part of the church property on Rte. 154.

 

Dick_smith_NBL6813-2

Farewell, Dick ... farewell.

Farewell, Dick … farewell.

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Photo Gallery by Kim Tyler of Monday Night’s Vigil for Deep River First Selectman Richard Smith

DEEP RIVER — Deep River resident and professional photographer Kim Tyler, who graciously supplied all of the photos published with Charles Stannard’s story on ValleyNewsNow.com, has also generously agreed to make many of the photos that she took at the vigil available to our readers at no charge.

We applaud her wonderful act of public service and the photos are now published below.

For more information about Kim Tyler Photography, visit ktphoto.net

 

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Eastern CT Ballet Presents Spring Showcase, May 28

ballet

DEEP RIVER – Eastern Connecticut Ballet presents its Spring Showcase on Saturday, May 28, at 1:30 and 7 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River.

The afternoon performance features company works by Artistic Director Gloria Govrin (classical ballet) and guest Broadway veteran and choreographer Stephen Reed (musical theater). Matinee audiences will also enjoy “Bon Voyage,” a lively around-the-world dance adventure featuring ECB’s youngest performers (ages 3-7).

The evening performance showcases company works and class pieces from ECB’s graded classical ballet program and modern program (ages 7-18).

Tickets may be purchased in advance (prior to May 20) at Eastern Connecticut Ballet (435 Boston Post Rd., East Lyme). Advance tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for children (age 4 and up).  Children age three and under are free when seated on an adult’s lap.  Tickets are also available at the door: $22 for adults, $20 for children.  Call Eastern Connecticut Ballet at 860-739-7899 for further information.

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John Winthrop MS Presents “Xanadu Jr.”

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

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

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

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Courtney, Linares Pay Tribute to Dick Smith, Services Announced

Dick Smith: A man for all seasons, for all reasons ... and for every job in town.

Dick Smith: A man for all seasons, for all reasons … and for every job in town.

DEEP RIVER — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) issued the following statement after the passing of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith:

“Dick was the iconic small town First Selectman who did everything from running town meetings, to plowing snow, to cleaning up storm damage with public works, as well as crowd control at the Deep River Muster, and attending every community event in town. Deep River is one of Connecticut’s jewels because it had a leader like Dick, who was always there to help those in need and help the town grow smartly. Dick was a friend whose support I will always remember and treasure, and he should live on as an example of a citizen-public servant to all who hold elected office.”

State Senator Art Linares (D-33rd), who represents Deep River, issued the following statement on the passing of First Selectman Dick Smith:

“Dick Smith epitomized Deep River. He was a friend to all and his advice was valued by Democrats and Republicans throughout the Connecticut River Valley. Dick was a role model public official who dedicated himself to serving his town and its residents. His loss is deeply saddening and our thoughts and prayers are with Dick’s family and the people of Deep River.”

Services for Dick Smith have now been announced as follows:

There will be a Candlelight Vigil on Monday, March 28, at Deep River Town Hall at dark (about 7:30 p.m.)

Calling hours will also be at the Town Hall on Tuesday, March 29, from5 to 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 30, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Chester at 11 a.m.

Deep River Town Hall Closings

Deep River Town Hall will close at noon on Tuesday and remain closed on Wednesday.  Normal business hours will resume on Thursday.

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Town of Deep River Announces Death of First Selectman Dick Smith

A file photo of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

A file photo of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

DEEP RIVER — The Town of Deep River has announced the passing yesterday afternoon (Friday, March 25) of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith. An announcement on the town’s website states, “The Town of Deep River has suffered a terrible loss in the passing of Dick Smith. The town has lost a leader of over 26 years, the community has lost a friend, and we are saddened beyond words, but its immediate thoughts are with Dick’s family, who has lost a father and a grandfather.” The statement adds, “Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

Details of services have not yet been announced.

Our reporter Charles Stannard wrote in an article published July 28, 2015, on ValleyNewsNow.com that Smith, then 64, was, “one of the longest serving municipal elected officials in Connecticut.”  The article also noted that Smith said he, “never considered stepping aside this year,” adding, “I love what I do, it’s like my extended family.” Smith told Stannard during the interview that his priorities for the next two years were, “Keeping taxes down as much as we can,” along with a firehouse renovation and expansion project.

Stannard also reported, “Smith’s last challenge for the top job came in 2007 from the now defunct Deep River Independent Party. He was uncontested for re-election in 2009, 2011, and 2013. Town Republicans have not nominated a candidate for first selectman since 2005.”

We extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Smith’s family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to Meet This Morning

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

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

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

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

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WWII Veteran and Author Speaks in Deep River, May 6

Dave-at-RI-Authors-signing-600x392

DEEP RIVER – To commemorate Memorial Day 2016, the Adult Fellowship of the Deep River Congregational Church welcomes an American hero, Dave Mann, on Friday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m.

Now age 90, Dave Mann has written a book, “What I Fought For,” about his experiences in World War II.

He went to war just days after his 18th birthday, not fully understanding what he was getting into. He was young, green, inexperienced. He didn’t even shave. When he came back three years later, he had seen horrendous battle, lost countless buddies, and cheated death more than once. He did shave now, but very carefully…around the scars. David Mann won a Purple Heart, survived the attack on D-Day, fought the Battle of the Bulge, and still gets a lump in his throat each time he sees our flag.

Today, this former radio personality and much sought-after national speaker speaks out about the war, about peace, about the American flag, and about what it means to love your country so much you would do it all over again. His book will be available for purchase that evening.

To attend, please call the church office at 860-526-5045. The Deep River Congregational Church is in the center of Deep River, on Rte. 154.

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