June 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit the website @ www.chrisbel4mf.com

 

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Essex Garden Club Awards Three Scholarships to Local Students

Essex Garden Club Scholarship committee chair, Anne Elich, is seated with 2017 scholarship recipients Daniel Taylor and Haley Hammen. Missing from photo, Annie Brown. Photo courtesy of Leslie Barlow

ESSEX — The Essex Garden Club recently awarded college scholarships to three area students:

  • Annie Brown of Essex, who attends the University of Vermont, is pursuing a major in Elementary Education with a minor in Environmental Studies.
  • Daniel Taylor of Ivoryton, a 2017 graduate of Valley Regional High School, will attend Vassar College in the fall to study Biology.
  • Haley Hammen of Essex, a 2017 Valley Regional High School graduate, will attend Pennsylvania State University in the fall to study Biology.

In addition, the Garden Club is proud to provide funding for young children from Essex, Ivoryton and Centerbrook to attend local nature camps. This year, scholarships were given the Essex Parks and Recreation Summer Program for 25 children to attend their one-week nature and science sessions.   Also, the Club has provided funding to allow four students to attend camp at The Bushy Hill Nature Center, which provides two weeks of in-depth nature experience.

The Essex Garden Club sincerely thanks all who support the annual May Market, the proceeds of which enable the Club to make these donations. This year, additional scholarship funds were contributed in memory of Garden Club members who were devoted to the education of young people in our community.

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Taking Care of Our Ancestors: Centerbrook Cemetery Offers Free Gravestone Cleaning Workshop, Sunday

CENTERBROOK — Centerbrook Cemetery, 37 Westbrook Rd., Centerbrook will be holding a free Gravestone Cleaning Workshop on Sunday, June 25, at 2 p.m. (In case of heavy rain, the date will be Wednesday, June 28, at 2 p.m.)

Participants should bring an eight-ounce bottle, soft bristle brush and toothbrush.  Plastic gloves are optional.

Non-toxic cleaning agent will be provided.

For additional information, contact Isobel Allen @ 860-767-8167.

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Heartwrenching ‘West Side Story’ Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse, July 5

Stephen Mir stars as Tony in Ivoryton Playhouse’s upcoming production of ‘West Side Story.’

IVORYTON – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is transported to modern-day New York City in the breathtaking musical, West Side Story, which opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on July 5. With book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the original 1957 Broadway production ran for over 700 performances before going on tour, and garnered six Tony nominations.

Mia Pinero makes her debut at Ivoryton as Maria in ‘West Side Story.’

The story is set in the Upper West Side of New York City in the mid-1950s and explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. When, Tony, a Jet, falls in love with Maria, a Shark, the young lovers struggle to keep their love alive in a world of hate, violence and prejudice.

The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre when it was first produced; West Side Story remains one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching and relevant musical dramas of our time.

The film version starring Natalie Wood, Russ Tamblyn, Richard Beymer and Rita Moreno won 10 Academy Awards and in 2009, Karen Olivo won a Tony for her portrayal of Anita in the Broadway revival.

Stephen Mir* returns to Ivoryton to play the role of Tony and Mia Pinero* makes her Ivoryton debut in the role of Maria.

The production is directed and choreographed by Todd Underwood and musical directed by Mike Morris, with set design by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Elizabeth Cipollina. Executive Producers are Michael A. Dattilo and Frank Perrotti

Tonight, Tonight, won’t be just any night!  Don’t miss the experience of this show live on stage at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

West Side Story opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Wednesday, July 5, and runs through Sunday, July 30. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Pictures by Ivoryton Playhouse

Group rates are available by calling the box office for information. The Playhouse is located at 103 Main St. in Ivoryton.

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Registration Still Open for Tri-Town Youth Services’ Summer Co-op Sessions, Start Monday

TRI-TOWN — Tri-Town Youth Services will kick off its Summer Co-op 2017 open to 7th, 8th and 9th graders with Session 1 running June 26-29 and Session 2 running July 10 to 13.  Each day will start at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River.

Session I includes trips to: June 26 – Empower; June 27 – Bowling and Lyman Allen Museum; June 28 – Hammonasset Beach and Meigs Point Nature Center; June 29 – Brownstone.

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

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

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

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Essex Park & Rec. Offers Exciting Summer Concert Series Starting Tuesday

‘Southern Voice’ will perform July 11 at Ivoryton Green.

ESSEX — Essex Park and Recreation is excited to be able to offer another great set of bands this year for their 2017 Summer Concert Series.  Hosted on alternating Tuesdays at The Ivoryton Green and Wednesdays at The Essex Main Street Park, concerts take place at 6:30 p.m. from June 27 through August 16. Admission is free to all. Note the location carefully as the venue changes each week.

Local favorites, The Shiny Lapel Trio will kick off our summer concert series on Tuesday, June 27, at the Ivoryton Green. Swing, sway and rock your way through the evening.

The following Wednesday, the Middletown Symphonic Band returns. Their line-up of jazz, marches, classical and rousing patriotic pieces are always amazing coupled with the stellar view from the Essex Main Street Green.

On Tuesday July 11, at the Ivoryton Green, Southern Voice will have everyone dancing with their mix of modern country, rock and pop.

On Wednesday, July 19, at the Essex Main Street Green, celebrate 50 Years of Park and Rec with a kid’s concert with entertainer and musician, T-Bone, and face painting starting at 5:30 p.m. River of Dreams will take the stage at 6:30 p.m.

The Long Island Sound Band offers an energized and dynamic performance that an audience can’t help but enjoy, when they rock the Ivoryton Green on July 25.

Chester natives, The Meadows Brothers are brothers with an American Folk and Rock ‘n Roll sound. They will perform on Aug. 2, at the Essex Main Street Green.

The following week, another great set of locals, U.H.F. will be making the best soulful Rock, Funk, Reggae and Blues music they can  make on Aug. 8 at the Ivoryton Town Green.

The concert series will conclude with a performance from Blues on the Rocks, bringing their dynamic and enthusiastic mix of Blues, R&B, Motown, and Rock sure to get you up and dancing to Essex Main Street Park on Aug. 16.

For more information on the Summer Concert Series or Park and Rec. programs, visit https://www.facebook.com/SXParkandRec. You may also contact Park & Rec. by email at recreation@essexct.gov or call the office at 860-767-4340 x148.

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Community Music School Receives Grant from Middlesex Community Foundation/River View Cemetery Fund

Community Music School’s New Horizons Band is a not-for-profit program that provides Middlesex County with an adult beginners band, many of whom have had never played an instrument before joining.

CENTERBROOK — Community Music School (CMS) has received a $3,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC)/River View Cemetery Fund in order to fund the New Horizons Band.

Community Music School’s New Horizon Band is a not-for-profit program that provides Middlesex County with an adult beginners band of 13 members, many of whom have had never played an instrument before joining. Under the direction of Patricia Hurley, the CMS New Horizons Band performs marches, jazz selections, and music from the stage and screen, and much more. The band has recently collaborated with the John Winthrop Middle School band and has also participated in several concerts open to the public, in the past six months.

The CFMC grant will be used to further the advancement of the New Horizons Band. The New Horizons Program provides an entry point to music making for seniors, including those with no musical experience at all, or those who were active in school music programs but have been inactive for a long period. The band is nurturing, non-competitive, and supportive in style. There are no auditions or tryouts, and everyone is welcome, and many seniors enjoy the socialization of group instruction and ensemble playing.

Seniors participating in such a music program meet new friends, become an important part of a group, and have events to anticipate. The New Horizons Band has become an important part of the cultural life of our community as well, performing in many different settings and for special events. In addition to formal concerts, performances in community centers, and summer concerts in parks, they often play for retirement and nursing homes where added events are so needed.

“This program is so important to our seniors – both those who perform in the band and those who enjoy their many concerts throughout the year,” states Abigail Nickell, CMS Executive Director. “We are so grateful for CFMC’s support of this program so we can continue to serve the seniors in our community.”

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

Editor’s Notes:
  1. Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives. 
  2. The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County, and to help Good People Do Great Things. Its two-fold mission is: (1) to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds; and (2) to support local nonprofit organizations through effect grant making, in order t address community needs, as well as Let Good Grow.
    Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 1,815 grants, totaling more than $5.4 million, to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements, and for health and human services.
    To learn more, contact the Community Foundation at (860)347-0025, or info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org
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Environmental Program Looks To ‘Foster Future Stewards’ in Lower CT River Valley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Organizers of Ivoryton’s Fourth of July Parade Invite Participants

ESSEX — The Ivoryton Fourth of July Parade Committee invites all who are interested in participating in this year’s parade to sign up and march! Groups, organizations, businesses, individuals are welcome. March on foot, pull a wagon, ride a bike, drive a tractor or any other vehicle.
Musicians: we’d love to have you!
Animals: fantastic! Decorate in our nation’s red, white and blue and join the fun.
The 2017 4th of July Parade will be held on Tuesday, July 4. This year’s parade honors the Essex Ambulance Association Volunteers. Parade steps off at 10 a.m. A short ceremony follows the parade at the Ivoryton Park Gazebo.
Are you interested? Contact Cotty Barlow at cmbarlow@snet.net.
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Learn About the Private Life of an Unloved Bird This Evening at CT River Museum

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Museum presents, “Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird,” with author Katie Fallon this evening, Thursday, June 15, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Join Fallon, author of this fascinating book about vultures, for a reading, book signing, and discussion of the essential roles that vultures play in healthy ecosystems.

This event is free to members of the Museum and $5 for non-members.

Seating is limited; call 860.767.8269 ext.110 to register.

The Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex, CT 06426.

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Pratt House Participates in CT Open House Day Today; Essex Historical Society Improves Visitor Experience

The historic 1732 Pratt House welcomes visitors for Connecticut Open House Day, June 10, 2017. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Essex Historical Society (EHS) shines the spotlight on its historic structures in 2017, focusing its energies on setting the stage for a friendlier, community-centric approach to sharing our stories.  At the historic 1732 Pratt House at 19 West Ave., the town’s only historic house museum, EHS continues to improve the visitor experience, just in time for CT Open House Day, on Saturday, June 10.  It will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. that day; admission is free.

Admission includes the creation of a “pocket park” on the Pratt House grounds along with improved visitor amenities, outdoor lighting and signage and general beautification for a friendly, accessible visitor experience.  Visitors can also enjoy Pratt House’s beautiful grounds, reproduction barn, kitchen gardens, a community garden and museum shop.   

See inside the Pratt House parlor on CT Open House Day, June 10. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Open to the public for guided tours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 1 to 4 p.m., from June through September, Pratt House is staffed entirely by trained volunteer guides or ‘docents.’  In 2017, EHS expanded its volunteer programs to recruit new guides and more are welcome. Those who volunteer their time to support our organization are its lifeblood and our investment in their support and training is critical to our ongoing success. 

Also that afternoon, EHS welcomes the public to the reopening of the Hills Academy History Center, 22 Prospect St., to enjoy its several improvements for visitors and researchers. 

Both beautiful properties serve as historic resources for the entire community, helping EHS live up to its mission of Engaging and Inspiring the Community: Essex. Ivoryton. Centerbrook.   For more information, visit www.essexhistory.org or 860-767-0681. 

Photos:

[Pratt Mantle] and/or [Pratt Exterior]

The historic 1732 Pratt House welcomes visitors for Connecticut Open House Day, June 10, 2017.  Courtesy of Essex Historical Society. 

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Annual Picnic & Concert This Evening

And the band played on … Photo submitted by Jim Denham.

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust is once again holding its popular annual picnic concert Saturday, June 10, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Essex Main Street Park,. The event is open to all and is free of charge. Bring a picnic, blanket and chairs and find a spot in Essex’s Main Street Park.  The music starts at 5:30 pm with the Essex Corinthian Jazz Band. Bring chairs, blankets and enjoy sitting back and relaxing with your picnic and BYO refreshments. Come early to enjoy the waterfront and cove views. Bad weather cancels.

Main Street Park has been a hub for the village of Essex since it was put together by volunteers and created for the benefit of the Town. It features a scenic spot in the middle of Main Street with a gazebo, benches and picnic tables, restroom facilities, the beautiful waterfront and cove views, a boat launch and municipal parking area.

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Essex Historical Society Reopens Much Improved Hills Academy History Center

Volunteers at the newly refurbished Hills Academy History Center catalog and safeguard its historic treasures. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Essex Historical Society (EHS) shines the spotlight on its historic structures in 2017, focusing its energies on setting the stage for a friendlier, community-centric approach to sharing their stories.  The Society’s library and offices at 22 Prospect St. reopen as the Hills Academy History Center on June 10.

Workers prepare for upgraded technology at Hills Academy to better serve the public. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Improvements include outdoors land design, improved mechanicals, safety upgrades, new security systems, new research technology, painting and window repair to create a community History Center.

The Hills Academy History Center reopens June 10. Courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Visitors who have negotiated Hills’ narrow staircase to visit the archives or conduct research will be pleasantly surprised that we are moving downstairs to the first floor!  Now, researchers and volunteers benefit from improved access at ground level to examine EHS’s frequently-used collections and visit their database via upgraded technology, funded in part through a grant from Guilford Savings Bank.

The public is welcome to join in the grand opening on Saturday, June 10, from 1 to 3 p.m.  The event is free and refreshments will be served.  Hills Academy History Center is open year-round Tuesday and Thursday mornings and by appointment.

Also that afternoon, EHS’s historic house museum, Pratt House, will participate in the statewide museum event, Connecticut Open House Day, Saturday, June 10, from 1 to 4 p.m.  Admission is free.  Both beautiful properties serve as historic resources for the entire community, helping EHS live up to its mission of Engaging and Inspiring the Community: Essex. Ivoryton. Centerbrook.  

For more information, visit www.essexhistory.org or 860-767-0681. 

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Canoe/Kayak Trip of North Cove, Falls River Today

Out on the water with Essex Land Trust.

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust invites you to explore Essex’s North Cove and Falls River on Saturday, June 10, 2 pm, with registration starting at 1:30 p.m. Bring your own boat for an early summer kayak/canoe trip into peaceful North Cove and Falls River.

Join naturalist Phil Miller as he speaks about the abundant wildlife and history of this waterway where many of Essex’s colonial ships were built. North Cove is a 230-acre body of tidal water between the Falls River and the Connecticut River. The cove is formed in part by Great Meadow, a 200-acre “pendant bar”, or levee, along the Connecticut River. North Cove is part of the Connecticut River Estuary Canoe/Kayak Trail.

North Cove was noted for shipbuilding, with the Mack and Williams yards turning out coasting vessels in the 19th century. Empty now, Great Meadow was a beehive of activity, too. Cattle were grazed, salt hay harvested and duck hunting blinds once lined the shore. The bar was also a base for the local shad fishing industry. Great Meadow is topped by cattails and reeds while wild rice and bulrush grow at the water’s edge. Rare plants include horned pondweed and tidewater arrowhead. A well-known eagle habitat, the cove and meadow also attract ospreys, hawks, red-wing blackbirds, goldfinches and swallows.

Meet at the public boat launch, foot of Bushnell St., off of No. Main St Participants should register on site beginning at 1:30 p.m. and launch their boats prior to the 2 p.m. departure. A safety boat will accompany.  Bad weather cancels.

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Essex Public Safety Day Scheduled for Today

Firefighters demonstrate the Jaws of Life in a crash simulation.

ESSEX — The Town of Essex, Essex Fire Company and Essex Ambulance will host Essex Public Safety Day on Sunday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Essex Fire Headquarters, 11 Saybrook Rd.

Activities will include:
• Jaws of Life Extrication Demos
• Lucas CPR Demos
• Quick–Clot Bandaging Table
• Burn Boxes
• Stove Fire Prop
• Walking Wounded
• Helicopter “subject to availability”
• Mobile Command Vehicle
• Lenny & Joe’s Food Truck

This is a hands-on event. Come see and experience how you can become a part of the Town of Essex First Responder team!

Rain date is scheduled for June 18.

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Volunteers Needed to Control Invasive Plant in Local Rivers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On Board the ‘Onrust,’ Famed Re-creation of Adriaen Block’s Boat Sails up Connecticut River

The ‘Onrust’ docked at Saybrook Point Inn and Spa.

ESSEX —  It was “a momentous occasion,” according to Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs when a group of dignitaries and invited guests gathered to board the re-creation of Adriaen Block’s boat Onrust last Thursday (June 1.)  Dobbs pointed out that it was, “400 years ago — 403 to be precise” since the original Onrust commenced its exploration of the Connecticut River ultimately exploring it upstream to just a little further north than present-day Hartford — a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound.

Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs takes a brief break from his duties as host on board the ‘Onrust.’

While overwintering (1613-1614) in New York Bay, the Dutch explorer Block’s first ship, the Tyger (Tiger), caught fire and burned to the waterline.  Working through the frigid winter, Block built a new ship from the salvaged remnants and named it the Onrust, Dutch for ‘Restless.’

It was the first vessel built by Europeans in New York State and the first yacht built in the New World.  In 1614, Block and his crew set off to explore coastal New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island with the intent of developing trade partnerships with Native Americans.  During his time on the water, Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River  

The re-created Onrust was launched in 2009 by The Onrust Project, an all-volunteer non-profit out of New York, which built the vessel after painstakingly researching traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques.  

To reach the Saybrook Point Inn at Old Saybrook, Conn., where the guests boarded the ship, the Onrust followed a similar path to the one that Block took in 1614.  It departed from Kingston, N.Y., traveled to New York Bay, traversed the treacherous Hell Gate, entered Long Island Sound and sailed to the mouth of the Connecticut River. 

While preparations were made to launch, Connecticut River Museum Board Chairman Tom Wilcox told the guests now assembled on board the Onrust, “This is a most auspicious occasion,” and correctly predicted they would have, “a lovely sail.”  Despite an earlier threat of rain, the weather cooperated completely with warm temperatures and clear skies.

Steven Tagliatella, owner of the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, addressed the guests on board the ‘Onrust.’

Another guest on board was Steven Tagliatella, owner of the Saybrook Point Inn, who spoke effusively about the upcoming trip to the Connecticut River Museum describing the Onrust as “a spectacular sight.”  He also took the opportunity to mention the new tourism coalition he has formed to promote tourism in the state, noting that the Onrust offers “a wonderful opportunity” for tourism.

Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodward speaks on the theme of ‘restlessness,’ echoing the name of the boat — ‘Onrust’ translates from the Dutch to ‘restless.’

Walter Woodward, Connecticut’s State Historian, unquestionably spoke for everyone on the boat when he said, “To be on this boat on this day is so exciting,” but then asked the guests to take themselves back in time to the spring of 1614 when Block brought the ship he had built the previous winter and named Onrust – Restless – to the mouth of the river the natives call Quinitticut.  Woodward declared that Block, “was as restless as his little vessel,” explaining, “The 47-year-old trader-explorer was anxious to make up the losses he had experienced the previous winter, when his ship the Tyger had accidentally caught fire.”

Woodward pursued the theme of ‘restlessness’ as he continued, saying, “Then as now, the word restless had many meanings … A generation of restless Europeans … both Dutch and English would come to this river, first in search of trade with the indigenous people, and soon after, in the quest for their land and resources.”

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna (center in sunglasses) chats with a guest during the trip up the Connecticut River.

Woodward added, “Some were restless too in a godly way – troubled in mind and spirit, seeking a place to serve God as their consciences demanded.”

He also noted that, “For those already here, the arrival of the Onrust heralded a new native restlessness – first, as the indigenous people jostled with each other for control of the distribution of European trade goods … and later to fight the efforts of these insurgents to drive them from their homes.”

Jennifer White-Dobbs enjoys the glorious river views with her son (right) and a guest.

Keeping to his theme, Woodward ended with the words, “I know you are restless to get underway, so let me conclude by saying, “ It is a privilege to be here today to mark the moment in time, when Adriaen Block and his Onrust entered the river he named Fresh River, and a world-transforming era of restless change began.”

The Essex Sailing Masters of 1812 greeted the ‘Onrust’ with bright melodies in front of the Museum.

Before introducing the next speaker, Dobbs noted, “The amount of research to build this vessel was amazing,” and also that it had taken, “Around 250 people to build the Onrust.”  He explained that the Onrust will be a floating exhibit at the Museum through early October, open for dockside tours, school and Scout programs, along with public cruises and charters.

The guests vigorously waved Dutch flags as the ‘Onrust’ pulled into the Connecticut River Museum’s dock.

Dobbs then presented Emily Boucher, who brought a message from Senator Chris Murphy, which she read aloud to the guests on the Onrust.  In the message, Murphy expressed the wish that he could join everyone on the trip, and noted he was pleased with the financial assistance the state had given the Museum which, “was going to allow it [the Museum] to not float away.”

A crew member prepares to fire the cannon to announce the boat’s arrival at the Connecticut River Museum.

Finally the Onrust departed from Saybrook Point inn and sailed serenely up the Connecticut River offering spectacular views in all directions. As the three-man crew prepared for arrival at the Museum during the first hour of the popular RiverFare event, one crew member fired a celebratory cannon.  Meanwhile, Essex’s very own Sailing Masters of 1812 provided a cheery, musical fanfare as the historic vessel approached the Museum’s dock. 

It was indeed a wonderful and “momentous” trip!

For more information on the Connecticut River Museum and the Onrust, visit the Museum’s website.  The Museum extends special thanks to Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa, Essex Meadows, the Sailing Masters of 1812, and The Onrust Project for their efforts in arranging the vessel’s arrival. 

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street in Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River. For a full listing of Museum programs or to buy tickets for the Onrust, RiverFare, and many other events go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

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Letter From Paris: (Old Hand) Putin Meets (New Kid) Macron With Surprising Results

Nicole Prévost Logan

The hour-long press conference held jointly by long-standing Russian President Putin and newly-elected French President Macron in the Palace of Versailles on May 29, was a spectacle not to be missed.

Vladimir Putin

Emmanuel Macron

Putin had been absent from the high-powered week during which US President Donald Trump met with heads of state at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels and at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily. Macron seized an opportunity to invite the Russian president. The timing, location and format of the encounter of the two presidents were a smart move on the part of Macron.

He was not organizing a “state visit” – lest he offended Angela Merkel – but asking the Russian leader to be present at the inauguration of an exhibit marking the 300th anniversary of the visit of Tzar Peter the Great to France. The two presidents met in the grandiose 17th century palace of the French monarchs. Putin would probably find similarities between the ornate rooms and his elegant home town of St. Petersburg.

The visit was organized under the sign of culture and meant to revive the historical ties between the two countries. Macron mentioned how much Peter the Great had wanted to open up his country to the West and learn about its military architecture, crafts, and sciences. Putin contributed proudly an even earlier historical fact – the marriage at Queen Ann of Kiev, daughter of Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise, to French King Henry I, in 1051.

During the press conference, the supposedly “novice” French president appeared self-assured, and totally in charge of the proceedings. He described how he envisaged cooperation with Russia. His road map for Syria was to guarantee humanitarian aid to the population and emphasize that the use of chemical weapons would constitute a red line that would be met with an immediate response from France.

Macron added that failed states lead to chaos. Hence the necessity to keep Bachar el Assad until ISIS is eradicated. In Ukraine, he stressed that an agreement should be reached within the framework of the Minsk accord. The objective there is both to stop progression of the spheres of influence of Russia in the region and the escalation of violence. He did not say the word ‘Crimea,’ however, implying that its return to the Ukraine was not on the agenda.

In his statement, Macron declared that during their three-hour-long conversation they covered all topics, including areas of disagreement. As he mentioned the treatment of homosexuals and transgenders in Chechnia, he turned toward Putin and told him to his face, “We will monitor the progress you make in that area.”

During his talk, Putin looked fidgety, ill-at-ease, squirming, and with shifty eyes. He mumbled his comments. He did say though that he would be ready to engage in a dialogue. Then, turning toward the audience of international media, he almost pleaded with them, saying, “You have to convince public opinion that the sanctions are stifling Russia. Tell the world they have to be lifted.”

French journalists raised questions about the spread of fake news on the social networks and in magazines like Sputnik and Russia Today intended to destabilize the leader of the En Marche movement during the campaign. Macron retorted that those people are not journalists and will not be treated as such.

Journalists also asked what the French government was going to do about the hacking of 70,000 documents belonging to then-candidate Macron 40 hours before the first round of the vote. Macron responded that he was not going to dwell on those events, adding, “What I want to do is to move on.”

From the exchanges between the two protagonists, it was clear that Macron was in control of the situation. His message was clear and direct. The days when Putin disregarded the EU as being too weak were now over. The power dynamic was the correct one for Macron to use and Putin understood that.

This was a textbook situation where the two protagonists, although not liking each other, could work out a resolution from which both could profit. Since 1990, Putin — a major player behind the war in Syria — has been shattered by the implosion of the Russian empire. Moreover, since sanctions are hurting his country severely, the give and take of negotiation is therefore possible.

Now, we can only hope that effective action will match the quality of this performance by Macron.

Editor’s Notes:
i) This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.
ii) Nicole is, in fact, now back in Essex, but events in France are currently moving so fast that she’s continuing to write for us from this side of the Atlantic in an effort to keep readers over here up to date.  Merci, Nicole!

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Enjoy Essex Rotary’s Annual Shad Bake at CT River Museum Today

Shad planked and baking in front of the fire similar to the way local Native Americans would have done it centuries ago

ESSEX — One of our State’s great culinary customs returns to the Connecticut River Museum with the 2017 Essex Annual Shad Bake, which will be held Saturday, June 3, from 3 to 6 p.m.  For 59 years, the Rotary Club of Essex has been proudly holding this annual rite of spring, nailing delicious American shad onto oak planks and roasting them around a large bonfire.  Share this wonderful Connecticut tradition with your family and friends.

This year’s Bake is made possible through the generous support of Guilford Savings Bank and AJ Shea Construction.  Additional support comes from The JECM Foundation, Norman Needleman & Jacqueline Hubbard, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Middlesex Hospital and many other sponsors.

This year’s Shad Bake will take place while the Connecticut River Museum’s feature exhibit, Connecticut’s Founding Fish, is on view. This new Museum exhibit focuses on the history and lifecycle of this important fish that helped shape our region.

The Museum’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs said “We are pleased to host and partner with the Rotary Club of Essex on this iconic event that celebrates part of the Connecticut River’s heritage and supports the many worthwhile projects of Rotary and Museum.”

Preparing Shad – Rotary Club of Essex volunteers prepare shad the traditional way by nailing them onto oak boards and using a specially prepared rub.

This volunteer-run event has been organized by the Rotary Club of Essex and is coordinated by Bake Master Joseph Shea. Shea stated that “We offer one of the most unique culinary traditions in New England and now we are merging it with one of the most majestic and historic locations. It is a winning combination!”

A variety of activities are taking place throughout the afternoon. Join seasoned Shad Bake pioneers for a story from shad bakes of yesteryear including the year of the big flood.  The Shad Museum in Haddam and the Connecticut River Museum will also offer programs on the history and traditions of the shad fishery.  The Museum’s authentic Connecticut River shad boat, Alva Starr, will be on display throughout the afternoon.

For shad lovers, the lure is the secret ingredients and the authentic method of preparing and baking the fish which has been handed down through generations of Connecticut natives.  Nailed onto oak planks with salt pork and placed in front of the bonfire, the fish picks up the smoky flavor of the fire and the seasoned oak boards on which it is baked. Add to this delicacy homemade potato salad, tossed green salad, and pie from Lyman Orchards and your shad experience is complete.

Don’t care for shad?  Grilled chicken and hot dogs are also available!  In addition to the food, participants will be able to enjoy live music and touring the Museum, which will be open until 6 pm.  The vibrant atmosphere is enhanced with picnickers and the delicious smell of shad baking around the open fire.

Buy your tickets today!  The $30 adult (Shad or Chicken dinner option) and $10 child (12 and under) ticket includes the full meal and admission to the Museum.  Tickets will be an additional $5 on the day of the event. Beer, wine and soda will be available for purchase with a valid ID.  Freshly shucked clams and oysters will also be available at an additional price beginning at 3:00 pm. No carry-in alcohol will be permitted.

To purchase tickets, visit shop.ctrivermuseum.org or buy them in person at the Centerbrook Package Store or the Connecticut River Museum.  On-site and street parking at the Connecticut River Museum is limited.  On the day of the event, a free shuttle will be running between the Museum and the Essex Town Hall parking lot.

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open 10 am to 5 pm, closed Mondays until after Memorial Day. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River. For a full listing of Museum programs and events, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

The Rotary Club of Essex is the local chapter of Rotary International whose membership is made up of service minded professionals.  The club and its members are committed to improving the community, connecting with other professionals, sharing their time and experience with the young, supporting global causes, and using their skills to help others.  For more information about the Shad Bake and Rotary Club visit http://www.rotaryclubofessex.com.

Representative from the two lead sponsors, Bake Master Joseph Shea of AJ Shea Construction, and David Carswell Branch Manager of Guildford Savings Bank join Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs to celebrate the upcoming Shad Bake.

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Community Music School Offers Performance Anxiety Workshop Today

Community Music School faculty member Cheryl Six offers a Performance Anxiety Workshop, June 3.

CENTERBROOK — Community Music School (CMS) will be offering a Performance Anxiety Workshop specifically for musicians on June 3, from 3 to 5 p.m.  Many musicians struggle with stage fright and this workshop will address all the usual symptoms including butterflies, trembling hands, a racing heart, or worse.  The workshop is open to the public and costs just $30 for a two hour interactive workshop.

Community Music School faculty member Cheryl Six will discuss the roots of performance anxiety, the common symptoms, the most popular remedies, and tricks, tips and techniques that you have probably never heard of!  This is your opportunity to listen, learn and share with other musicians.  You will leave feeling hopeful and prepared to tackle your performance anxiety head on.

Six is an active performing flutist and instructor, specializing on piccolo.  She served as piccolo player in the US Coast Guard Band from 1977 until her retirement in 2007, and currently performs with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, a position she has held for over 35 years.  In addition, Six is often heard in the flute sections of the Salt Marsh Opera, the Con Brio Choral Society Orchestra, and other Connecticut ensembles.

After retiring from the US Coast Guard Band, Six pursued a life-long interest in hypnosis and received a certification in Hypnotherapy in 2008.  In 2012, she completed a Master’s Degree in Holistic Thinking with a focus and culminating project on “Insights in to the Use of Hypnosis for Musical Performance Anxiety.”

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

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30-year -tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities.  Programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

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Community Music School Presents ‘A Concert in the Park’ in Downtown Essex, Sunday

ESSEX – Bring your blanket, lawn chair, and picnic basket and enjoy an entertaining concert presented by the Community Music School (CMS) on Sunday, June 4, from 4-6 pm at the Main Street Park Gazebo in Essex. Three CMS student groups will be performing, including the New Horizons Band, New Horizons Brass Ensemble, and the CMS Jazz Ensemble.

Featured pieces include jazz and folk standards, Broadway tunes, and music from the American Songbook. The rain location is St. John’s Episcopal Church located at Main and Cross Streets in Essex.  The concert will be free of charge and open to the public.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Famed Re-creation of Adriaen Block’s Boat ‘Onrust’ Sails up CT River to Dock at ‘RiverFare’

The Onrust will arrive at Connecticut River Museum during Riverfare on June 1.

Editor’s Note: Visit ValleyNewsNow.com tomorrow for a photo essay of the Onrust’s trip up the Connecticut River.

ESSEX — Firing celebratory cannons, the re-creation of Adriaen Block’s Onrust arrived yesterday at the Connecticut River Museum during the Museum’s popular RiverFare, after a short journey with dignitaries and VIPs aboard, which had begun at Saybrook Point Inn.

In 1614 the Dutch explorer and his crew investigated coastal New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island in pursuit of developing trade partnerships with Native Americans.  Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River to just north of Hartford (a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound). 

The re-created Onrust was launched in 2009 by The Onrust Project, an all-volunteer non-profit out of New York, which built the vessel after painstakingly researching traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques.  For the first time, the Museum and the Project have partnered to bring the vessel to Connecticut.

The vessel will follow much of the same path that Block took in 1614.  It will depart from Kingston, N.Y., travel to New York Bay, traverse the treacherous Hell Gate, enter Long Island Sound and sail to the mouth of the Connecticut River. 

Yesterday, the Onrust completed the last leg of its journey from Saybrook Point Inn up the Connecticut River, which Block named the Versche, or Fresh River, to the Connecticut River Museum.

The Onrust will arrive during the first hour of RiverFare, which featured 16 different area restaurants and six Connecticut Micro Breweries.  Essex’s very own Sailing Masters of 1812 provided fanfare as the historic vessel approached the Museum’s dock. 

The Onrust will be a floating exhibit at the Museum through early October.  She will be opened for dockside tours, school and Scout programs, along with public cruises and charters. 

For more information on the Connecticut River Museum, the Onrust, and RiverFare, visit the Museum’s website.  Special thanks to Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa, Essex Meadows, the Sailing Masters of 1812, and The Onrust Project for their effort in arranging the vessel’s arrival. 

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street in Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River. For a full listing of Museum programs or to buy tickets for the Onrust, RiverFare, and many other events go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

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Last Few Days to See ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ at Ivoryton Playhouse

Luke Darnell – Carl Perkins, Jamie Piddle – Fluke, John Rochette – Elvis and Jeremy Sevelovitz – Johnny Cash.

IVORYTON — What would happen if rock-n’-roll legends Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash all got together for one night only to give one of the most epic jam sessions the world has ever known? That’s what happens in Million Dollar Quartet, the Tony-winning musical that brings to life this legendary session that occurred on Dec. 4, 1956 at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tenn.

Million Dollar Quartet opened at the Ivoryton Playhouse May 31, and runs through June 25, 2017. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” who was responsible for launching the careers of each icon, brought the four legendary musicians together at the Sun Records studio in Memphis for the first and only time. The resulting evening became known as one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history.

The jam session consisted largely of snippets of gospel songs that the four artists had all grown up singing. The recordings show Elvis, the most nationally and internationally famous of the four at the time, to be the focal point of what was a casual, spur-of-the-moment gathering of four artists who would each go on to contribute greatly to the seismic shift in popular music in the late 1950s.

John Rochette who plays Elvis Presley in the upcoming musical at Ivoryton Playhouse.

During the session, Phillips called a local newspaper, the Memphis Press-Scimitar and the following day, an article about the session appeared in the Press-Scimitar under the headline “Million Dollar Quartet”.

The jukebox Million Dollar Quartet written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, brings that legendary night to life with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, betrayal and celebrations featuring an eclectic score of rock, gospel, R&B and country hits including; “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and more.

The Broadway production premiered at the Nederlander Theatre on April 11, 2010, with a cast featuring Eddie Clendening as Elvis Presley, Lance Guest as Johnny Cash, Levi Kreis as Jerry Lee Lewis, Robert Britton Lyons as Carl Perkins and Hunter Foster as Sam Phillips.  The musical transferred to New World Stages in July 2011 and closed on June 24, 2012. A US national tour and International productions followed.

The musical was nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. Levi Kreis won the award for Best Featured Actor for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis.

This production is directed by Sherry Lutken, who was last here in 2015 with Stand By Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story; Eric Anthony is Musical Director; Set Design is by Martin Scott Marchitto and Lighting by Marcus Abbott. Costume Design is by Rebecca Welles

The Ivoryton Playhouse production stars: Luke Darnell* as Carl Perkins, Joe Callahan* as Jerry Lee Lewis, Jeremy Sevelovitz* as Johnny Cash, John Rochette* as Elvis Presley, Ben Hope* as Sam Phillips, Jamie Pittle as Fluke, Emily Mattheson as Dyanne and Kroy Presley as Jay Perkins.

Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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RiverFare Returns Tonight for 24th Year of Delicious Fun on Essex Waterfront

Photo from left to right Tom Wilcox, Chairman Connecticut River Museum; Evan Barrett, The Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom; Chris Dobbs, Executive Director Connecticut River Museum; Francis D’Urso, Cannoli’s on the Run; Bill McGuinness, Becker’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry; Anna Lathrop, Gourmet Galley Catering; and Norman Needleman, Tower Laboritories.

ESSEX — On Thursday, June 1, from 6 to 9 p.m., the waterfront lawn of the Connecticut River Museum will come to life as the scenic setting for RiverFare 2017.  Known as the unofficial kick off of summer on the shoreline, RiverFare, the area’s most popular tasting event, will feature a craft beer garden, gourmet food and wines and a huge silent auction all on the Museum grounds overlooking beautiful Essex Harbor.  Like a kid in a candy store, move from table to table and sample the best culinary delights the Connecticut River Valley has to offer.

This year’s lineup of Connecticut’s leading restaurants and food purveyors includes RiverFare newcomers Cannoli on the Run and Anna’s Café, Savour Café & Bakery, Sixpence Pie Company, Atria Crossroads Place, Spice Catering Group and Wright’s Bar + Wood Fired Grill. Back by popular demand are Red House, Fromage Fine Foods & Coffees, Gourmet Galley Catering, Griswold Inn, Essex Coffee & Tea, Catering by Selene, The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook, Coastal Cooking Company, The Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom, Dough on Main and others.

RiverFarers will also have the opportunity to join in the fun of bidding in the silent auction, which features a diverse array of fine gifts, services, and entertainment experiences.  Items include a private island weekend get-away on Brockway Island, a Stand up Paddle Board, and an overnight at Mohegan Sun including dinner at Tuscany Restaurant.  Check out additional auction items at ctrivermuseum.org.

RiverFare 2017 is presented by Tower Labs Ltd., with major support provided by Becker’s Diamond & Fine Jewelry and Bogaert Construction. 

Additional support is provided by C. Sherman Johnson Co., Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Sapia Builders Corp., Centerbrook Architect and Planners, Clark Group, Egidio Assante Wealth Management, Ivory Wealth Management, Middlesex Hospital,  North by Northeast Enterprises, Reynolds’ Garage & Marine, Inc., blp Enterprises, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Carr, Douglas & Cline, Caulfield & Ridgway, Innovative Display & Design and Stillman & Associates. 

Additional in-kind support is provided by Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store, Rhode VanGessel Design, and Connecticut Rental Center.  Media support is provided by Valley Courier.

RiverFare admission is $60 per person in advance and $65 on the day of the event.  Patron tickets may be purchased for $150 and include a premium bar and $100 tax deduction.  Net proceeds will help support the Connecticut River Museum’s mission to increase public awareness and access to the heritage, and natural beauty of New England’s Great River. 

For more information or to make advance reservations, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860.767.8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street in Essex.

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Education Mandate Relief Passes House

Rep. Bob Siegrist testifies during a Public Hearing.

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

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

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

The bill’s provisions include:

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

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

The 2017 legislative session adjourns on June 7.

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Essex’s Memorial Day Parade Cancelled

Essex’s Memorial Day Parade has been cancelled due to the inclement weather. According to the Town’s website, ceremonies will now be held at Essex Town Hall at 9:30 a.m. and at the Essex Veteran’s Memorial Hall at 11 a.m.

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All Veterans Welcome to March in Essex’s Memorial Day Parade, Tomorrow

ESSEX — Memorial Day offers an opportunity to reflect on our freedoms and honor those that have given their lives in defending those freedoms. In recognition of these fallen heroes, the Essex Memorial Day Parade will provide a reverent celebration winding through the streets of Essex. The parade will commence on Memorial Day, May 29, at 9 a.m.

All veterans are welcome; wear your uniform of choice or collared shirt/slacks and join your fellow warriors. Assemble at the Foot of Main Street in downtown Essex at 8:45 a.m.

The parade will follow a three-mile route as it makes the following stops to pay respects: Riverview Cemetery, First Baptist Church, Town Hall, Centerbrook Cemetery, and the Essex Veteran’s Memorial Hall. There will be a short ceremony at the Veteran’s Hall at the conclusion of the parade (approximately 11:15 a.m.)

If weather precludes a parade, ceremonies will be held at Essex Town Hall at 9:30 a.m. and at the Essex Veteran’s Memorial Hall at 11 a.m. All interested parties please contact Alex Breen, Jr., at 609.805.7146 or email huntnfreak@icloud.com  with questions. Veterans who may require transportation are requested to contact the above.

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

State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R-36th)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Community Music School Offers New Music Therapy Group Classes


CENTERBROOK — Community Music School is offering new music therapy programs this summer.  In addition to one-on-one music therapist sessions, CMS is debuting three new group classes beginning in June led by board certified music therapist, Amy Hemenway.

Music Therapy Group Class for Young Children with Autism begins June 28 at 10am for ages 2-5. This group will consist of 6, 30-minute group sessions to target various skills including communication, joint attention, gross/fine motor skills, socialization and other sensory-related needs. The final 15 minutes of each session will be reserved for parent/guardian feedback and questions with the therapist.

Music Therapy Social Skills Group for Adolescents & Young Adults with Autism begins June 28 at 5:30pm for ages 13-22.  This group will consist of 6, 45-minute group sessions for individuals ages 13-21 that have high-functioning autism.  The final 15 minutes of each session will be reserved for parent/guardian feedback and questions with the therapist.  Group endeavors will involve lyrical analysis, songwriting and improvisation activities designed to promote self-expression, creative/musical expression, communication of thoughts/ideas, group collaboration and peer support.

Music Therapy Drum Circles are scheduled for July 14 and August 11 at 7pm.  This family-oriented event will promote socialization and creative/musical expression.  Individuals of all ages and abilities may participate.  Not restricted to music therapy students!

Amy Hemenway is a board-certified music therapist who enjoys providing clinical services to children, adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum.  She also has experience in working with individuals with a variety of cognitive, psychological and motor impairments.  She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Marywood University, Scranton, PA in 1998 and recently received her Master of Arts in Music Therapy degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Terre Haute, IN.

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

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

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2017 Sailing Season Opens at Pettipaug Yacht Club

Dave Courcy, Commodore of the Pettipaug Yacht Club, at the club’s docks.

ESSEX — The Pettipaug Yacht Club held its formal commissioning ceremonies to mark the opening of the 2017 sailing season on Sunday, May 21. The ceremonies were held on the club’s grounds, which are located on the western bank of the Connecticut River in Essex.

Prior to the formal opening of the club’s season, there was a dinghy sailing race at 1 p.m. by club members.

The entrance sign to the Pettipaug Yacht Club welcomes members, guests and PSA students.

All of the 300 plus members of the Pettipaug Yacht Club were invited be attend the formal commissioning ceremonies of the 2017 sailing season held on May 21 at the club’s headquarters on the Connecticut River.

Pettipaug YC sailors will be soon be out again on the waters of the Connecticut River.

The ceremonies were conducted by the Club’s Commodore Dave Courcy and Vice Commodore Katheren Ryan.

Commodore Courcy has served in that position from 2016 to the present.  Prior to that he served as the Vice Commodore and Rear Commodore.

Sailing dinghies mostly used by younger sailors at the Pettipaug Yacht Club.

In addition to being available for the general use of club members, Pettipaug Yacht Club also sponsors the Pettipaug Sailing Academy (PSA) during the summer months, at which young sailors are taught to sail.

The club also sponsors power boat instruction conducted by club member John Kennedy. If interested in joining the power boat classes or for further information, contact Kennedy at Kdesign@snet.net.  Club membership is not required in order to attend the power boat classes.

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Estuary Offers Medical Appointment Rides for Seniors

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

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

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Friends of Essex Library Host Annual Spring Book Sale Today

ESSEX — The Friends of Essex Library host their Annual Spring Book Sale on Saturday, May 20, and Monday, May 22.  Doors will open Saturday at 9 a.m.

 Hardcovers are priced at $2; paperbacks at $1.  From 3 to 4 p.m. books will sell for half price.

“Fill your Bag for $5” will run from 4 to 5 p.m. for all books except those specially priced.

You are invited to bring your own tote or paper bag.  Free paper bags will be available at the library.

The “Fill your Bag for $5” sale will continue on Monday, May 22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Free bags will again be provided, if needed

Unique to this sale is a collection of 30 Life magazines from the 1930’s and 40’s, featuring everyone from Winston Churchill to Roy Rogers and Trigger. Each is in a plastic sheet protector and priced between$3 -$5.

Also available for sale will be a jazz aficionado’s collection of 150 CDs, from Diana Krall and Hoagy Carmichael to Starbucks and Pottery Barn choices, each for $1.00.

Additional special offerings, including a large collection of signed books and books of particular
interest, can be viewed on the Essex Library website.Click HERE for more information.In addition to the books for purchase, there will be a large number of board games from which to choose.

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Ivoryton Library Annual Book, Bake & Plant Sale is Today

The Ivoryton Library annual Book, Bake & Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, May 20 from 9 a.m.to 1 p.m. There will be perennials from members’ gardens, homemade baked goods and the big used book sale. Baked goods can be dropped off on Saturday morning.

New this year: Buy an Ivoryton Library Book Bag for $15 and fill it with used books from the sale for free. Bring it back to the sale next year and fill it for $5.00!

This sale is a great time to stock up on summer reading for all ages as well as goodies for your kitchen and garden. Support from those who make donations and/or attend the sale is much appreciated.  For more information, call the library at 867-767-1252. The Ivoryton Library is located at 106 Main St in Ivoryton.

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Birding and Nature Walk in Essex Meadows Today

Watching for birds on an Essex Land Trust hike.

ESSEX — May is the optimal time to see and hear the many birds that have returned from wintering in points south. Many will be singing and claiming nesting territories. Come explore the grounds of Essex Meadows.

Essex Land Trust Board Member and birder Jim Denham will lead a casual 1 1/2 hour stroll that coincides with the peak of spring bird migration. All levels of knowledge are welcome.  Essex Meadows will provide refreshments at the conclusion of the walk.

Easy to moderate walking on trails. Bad weather cancels. The event takes place Saturday, May 20, 10 am. Meet at Essex Meadows Main Building Entrance.

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Essex Corinthian YC Hosts Annual Spring Party Tonight; Benefits Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

ESSEX — Continuing its tradition of supporting charitable events, the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club (ECYC) will host its Annual Spring Party to Benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on Saturday, May 20, starting at 6: 30 p.m. at the club on Novelty Lane in Essex.

What is better than to enjoy entertainment in a beautiful location overlooking the Connecticut River and do something for a good cause at the same time?

The event is supported by members of the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, in cooperation with the Duck Island and North Cove Yacht Clubs. The Arrowhead String Band from Chester, with renowned local artist Leif Nilsson, has graciously donated their performance at this event to this worthy cause. There will also be a raffle and silent auction, and a few more surprises!

All proceeds will benefit the lifesaving work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/LLSBenefit2017atECYC  

Questions? E-mail events@essexcorinthian.org

For further information, call Jean Little, Office Manager, ECYC at 860-767-3239.

The ECYC is located at 9 Novelty Lane, PO Box 759, Essex CT 06426. 

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Shoreline Soup Kitchens Opens New Westbrook Meal Site, All Welcome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Beatles Forever’ Continues ‘Rhythm by the Rails’ Free Concert Series at Essex Steam Train, July 18

ESSEX — Summer fun at The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat continues with the first free concert in a three-part summer music series.

Mark your calendars for July 18 when the ever popular Beatles Forever will be center stage, and wrap up the summer with us on Aug. 23 with Rock Solid Alibi, playing great music from the 60s to 80s.

The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat is located at 1 Railroad Ave., Essex, CT. Follow signs for Parking/Free admission.

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Community Music School Opens Summer Registration for Arts, Music Programs & ‘Broadway Bound’

Broadway Bound with the Community Music School.

CENTERBROOK & EAST LYME – Community Music School is currently enrolling for summer arts programs for students of all ages, including Broadway Bound, a two-week summer musical theater experience for ages 8 to 15. This very popular program, now in its 17th season, will produce “The Addams Family” and “The Lion King.”

At the School’s Centerbrook location, private lessons, group classes and ensembles are available including Tutti Flutie Flute Ensemble with Cheryl Six; Beginning Group Piano with Tom Briggs; CMS Drum Village with Marty Wirt; Introduction to Music Technology with Tom Briggs; Jazz for the Beginning Student with Tom Briggs; Drums & Percussion Workshop with Tom Briggs; the Science of Sound with Christine Coyle; and Summer Kindermusik Drop-in Classes with Martha Herrle.

Community Music School’s eight-week summer session of private lessons runs from June 26th through August 18th and registrations are accepted throughout the summer. Summer lessons can be scheduled around family vacations at your convenience, and a four-pack of lessons is offered at reduced rate.  For additional information, visit www.community-music-school.org/summer or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

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

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

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

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

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

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Obituary: Death of Matilda A. Colihan (Tillie) Announced

In this submitted photo, the late Tillie Colihan is seen tending her flowers.

Avid gardener, conservationist, seeker of solutions to make the world and our local communities better places, Tillie Colihan died peacefully in her Essex Meadows home on May 2, 2017.

Born May 20, 1920 in Mount Vernon, NY to William and Rowena Alston, Tillie attended Madeira School in Greenway, VA, and graduated from Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA in 1940.  She made lasting friendships with classmates and served as alumnae secretary for both schools.

Not wanting to be left behind after her brothers enlisted in the Armed Services, Tillie joined the Red Cross in December 1943. She was assigned to the 85th Division, stationed in northeastern Italy, and served until the war ended.  She was awarded a Medal of Freedom for “gallantry in the line of duty and devoted service while under enemy fire.” (While immensely proud of her medal, Tillie always insisted, with undue modesty, she was just serving donuts and coffee to the G.I.’s.)

Following the war, she became a receptionist at the Young & Rubicam advertising agency in New York City.  There, she met William J. Colihan, whom she married in May 1948. Tillie and Bill settled in Greenwich, CT, where they raised four children, Alston Colihan of Washington, D.C., Jane Colihan of Brooklyn, NY, William Colihan of New York, NY, and Abby Colihan of Montpelier, VT.  During these years, Tillie took up yoga and developed an interest in natural foods and alternative medicine.

In 1980, Tillie and Bill moved to a house – designed by Bill and her brother, Henry Alston – on the Connecticut River in Essex. Tillie spent springs and summers in her field, surrounded by bluebirds and wildflowers.  She enthusiastically organized the making of trough gardens for May Markets. Wanting to share nature’s beauty, Tillie regularly brought flowers from her garden to the Essex Meadows Medical Center – a practice she kept up for many years. During the winters she and her husband traveled in the U.S. and internationally. Bill died at Essex Meadows Medical Center in July 1994.

In 1998, Tillie moved to an apartment in Essex Meadows.  Hours that she had spent in her garden she now spent feeding birds and keeping up with all things happening in the world.  In recent years she has enjoyed watching her four rarely-disciplined grandchildren, Dan, Jim, Dana, and Molly, turn out fine.

As she wished, there will be a small memorial service later this summer.

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Essex Boat Works, Carlson Landing Present Proposed Marina, Restaurant Building Plans at Last Monday’s Zoning Hearing

Rendering of the proposed waterfront premises by Centerbrook Architects.

ESSEX — Essex Boat Works, LLC and Carlson Landing LLC presented their finalized building plans for its Main Street property for review by the Town of Essex Zoning Board on Monday, May 15.  The details of the plans will begin with the construction of a new marina building and accessory waterfront restaurant with Main Street access.

The business and property were purchased in February of 2016, by Richard (Rick) E. Carlson/Carlson Landing, LLC of Essex, Conn.  Carlson purchased the property with the vision to preserve a very important piece of boating and Essex history while beautifying the waterfront area and supporting the economic business development goals of the town.

A team of expert consultants, Centerbrook Architects and Milone & MacBroom, have developed a proposal that complies with regulatory and code requirements.  Centerbrook Architects has planned and designed a suitable year-round building to be used for office space, marina customers along with an accessory waterfront restaurant.

The design goal was established to keep to the historical look and feel of the downtown Essex area, specifically the nearby buildings.  The new establishment, located on the Essex Harbor, will be an anchor for the town.  It is a prime location for visitors from the water to dock their boats, visit the local restaurants and shops throughout Essex Village.  The accessory restaurant will feature waterfront indoor and outdoor dining with a menu of ‘lite bites,’ small plates of upscale casual seafood selections.

Editor’s Note: One of the oldest remaining shipyards in the country, the location of Essex Boat Works predates the War of 1812, where the building of the U.S. warships was performed.  Located in the heart of the historic Essex Village, EBW continues the legacy of top-notch customer relations and professional services including; marina, storage, service, brokerage and new yacht sales.  A new office, marina building with an accessory restaurant are planned for construction beginning in 2017. For more information visit:  www.essexboatworks.com  or call 860-767-8276.

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Essex May Market, an Essex Garden Club Extravaganza, Takes Place Today

Plants galore for sale at May Market.

ESSEX — You’re in for a treat on Saturday, May 13, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, when the Essex Garden Club will have a one-day extravaganza in the Town Park on Main Street. 

Just in time for Mother’s Day, there will be herbs and herbal gift creations as well as the Garden Club’s ‘world famous’ garlic salt, made from a closely-guarded secret recipe since 1953.

Always the star of Essex May Market are the ever-popular Members Plants.  People have been coming to Essex on May Market day for years from all over New England to take advantage of the healthy plants dug and nurtured by the Garden Club members.  These plants include perennials, ground covers, grasses and shrubs dug and potted from the garden club members. 

An early sell out in the Members Plants area each year are the many varieties of tomato plants grown from seed and cultivated carefully.  There will be 300 tomato plants, including many heirloom varieties guaranteed to grow in our climate. People start lining up at 8 a.m. to get the finest specimens. 

On the other side of the park, the Annuals Tent will be stocked with the healthiest hanging baskets, and blooming annuals. Knowledgeable Garden Club members will be available to help with any questions on caring for the plants. 

Back by popular demand this year is the all-natural compost available for sale.

Sales of Essex Garden Club’s ‘World Famous’ Garlic Salt are always brisk.

The “Treasures” section is a great place to find gently used pieces of jewelry, garden pieces, planters, books, cnildren’s items, gardening tools and a mix of odds and ends. There will be lots of interesting finds for all ages.

The Silent Auction will have an incredible array of goods and services donated from many generous merchants. One of the features of the Market is a Silent Auction.  This year one of the Club’s members has made a very special donation to the Silent Auction offerings:  one dozen Beatrix Potter collectable figurines made by Beswick Pottery in England.  These delightful figurines include many of the storybook characters made famous by the writings and drawings of Beatrix Potter.  Three are mounted as music boxes.  They were produced under license from F. Warne & Co., the publisher of her stories and thus are faithful to her drawings.  

And back again this year is the Jewelry Tree.  Here you will find an extensive and superb collection of vintage bangles, earrings, necklaces and pins.

The May Market Café offers donuts and coffee starting in the morning and light lunch fare at midday. Local Connecticut breads and honey will be for sale and make great gifts

May Market is the Garden Club’s only annual fundraising event.  Proceeds support civic improvement projects, such as beautifying town parks and traffic islands in Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton.  Plantings are also purchased for the Essex Town hall, Town Park and for public schools serving Essex students. 

Funds also provide scholarships for high school seniors and college students, summer camper-ships for young students, and educational programs for Essex Elementary school and John Winthrop Middle school

May Market is truly a gardener’s dream.  Come early and you will definitely find something beautiful for your garden or a special gift to take home. It is, after all, the quintessential Essex event!

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Op-Ed: CT River Museum Raises Questions About Essex’s Changing Waterfront

The following op-ed was submitted by the Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum, Christopher Dobbs.

The Connecticut River Museum may be getting a new neighbor – a restaurant called Carlson’s Landing, to be located at 63 Main Street on a flag lot that bisects the Museum’s campus – the main Museum at 67 Main Street and the Lay House at 57 Main Street. The Museum is delighted Essex is getting a business that might draw welcome patronage to the Village’s main commercial district. However, the organization does have reservations about the application for the new restaurant which it will air at the upcoming Zoning Commission’s public hearing at 7:00 pm on May 15th .

Careful review of the Carlson’s Landing application by engineers, a zoning specialist, and a surveyor have resulted in several concerns. The majority of these stem from inadequate information. Major concerns at this time are: 1) increased traffic congestion and impact; 2) inadequate parking; and 3) under equipped bathroom facilities and septic system.

The Museum is worried that the developers have seriously under-represented the burden that additional traffic will have on the foot of Main Street and the Museum. The proposed restaurant (according to an application now on file with the Zoning Commission) will be accessed with one-way traffic from 63 Main – including commercial delivery and trash removal trucks – with egress contemplated across the Essex Boat Works lot and onto Ferry Street. (The developers are also the new owners of Essex Boat Works which is accessed via a driveway at 9 Ferry Street.)

The proposed plan permanently removes the Museum’s stairway connecting the two halves of its campus. This staircase, in honor of Sherry and Herb Clark, was donated to the Museum in 2013 by the Rotary Club of Essex with the permission of the property’s previous owner. It has allowed the Museum to thrive and better serve the community. Removal will result in the two halves being disconnected and the Museum installing a new set of stairs to the Lay property from the village sidewalk. More importantly, thousands of program attendees, including school children, will need to walk along the road and cross the entrance of the restaurant.

Increased traffic by cars and trucks, no matter where pedestrians cross to stroll down to the waterfront, will transform the foot of Main Street. For safety and aesthetic reasons, the Museum has suggested to the owners that commercial traffic enter and exit via 9 Ferry Street, which they have refused to do. The Museum has also requested that they limit traffic off of Main Street during major community events such as Burning of the Ships Day, the Annual Essex Shad Bake, Dogs on the Dock, and Trees in the Rigging. To date, the developers have not formally agreed.

Parking on the restaurant lot (10 spaces are identified on the plan) is inadequate. To meet zoning regulations, the plans call for using the adjacent Essex Boat Works property for parking. Since the Boat Works will continue to operate as a boat yard and marina, the Museum is concerned that the operations will impinge on the theoretical parking spaces and that restaurant patrons will need to find parking elsewhere, including in the Museum’s lot.

The Museum worries that if 63 Main Street and 9 Ferry Street were ever sold separately that the one-way driveway will need to become two-way (including commercial traffic) and there will then be even more inadequate parking on the restaurant lot with subsequent further strain on the Museum parking lot. One solution to this problem would be to secure cross-property easements (between 63 Main Street and 9 Ferry Street) for parking and ingress/egress that would survive any future sale of either lot.

Finally, the Museum has concerns about the new restaurant’s septic system design and bathroom capacity. The application indicates that the system’s leaching fields will be located on the flag lot between the Museum’s two properties – uphill and very close to the line. Sewage will need to be pumped uphill to the leaching fields. The Museum’s engineer questions the fields’ ability to withstand inundation from rainfall, let alone over-use. There are only two restrooms shown on the plans for the new restaurant that are meant to accommodate 59 restaurant patrons. In addition to restaurant patrons, the restrooms and septic system will also need to accommodate restaurant and marina employees along with showers for marina customers. The Museum questions whether the new restaurant has made adequate provision and is concerned that its own restroom facilities (the two in the Lay house and the three in its main building) will have additional demand placed on them by people frequenting lower Main Street.

The Museum is pleased to have a new neighbor on the foot of Main Street. Carefully addressing these concerns will allow the Museum, the restaurant, and our community to flourish.

Editor’s Note: For 43 years, the Connecticut River Museum has been a significant community and regional asset. Over 25,000 visitors each year attend the Museum’s programs with many more using the front lawn and Lay house property as their park and access to New England’s great river.

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open 10 am to 5 pm, closed Mondays until Memorial Day. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River. For more information on the Museum, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

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Essex Foundation Continues Gateway Beautification Work

As part of the Essex Foundation’s gateway beautification project, Chanticleer pear trees were planted along Route 154 in Essex by a Sullivan Lawn Services installation crew.

ESSEX – The Essex Foundation recently completed the first phase of a multi-phase landscape plan for the grounds surrounding the newly painted bridge in the Rte. 9/ Exit 3 underpass area of Essex. Twelve Chanticleer pear trees were planted on the state-owned land south of the Rte. 154 and Rte. 153 intersection, directly across from the Essex Fire Department station and commuter lot.

The charitable organization contracted with Matthew Verry, a graduate of the University of Connecticut’s Landscape Architecture program, for the planning and coordination of the work. His company, Matthew Verry Landscape Design, provided the landscape design and oversight of the state approval and installation bid process.  Sullivan Lawn Services, LLC was hired for the installation work.

The Chanticleer pear tree was selected for its beauty and hardiness.  It is one of the most profuse flowering trees with a narrow, tailored appearance.  It tolerates many urban conditions, making it a popular street tree choice where spread may be a bit limited. The next phase of the landscape beautification, which includes planting of low growing, low maintenance evergreen and perennial ornamentals in the southeast corner of the gateway area, is also targeted for completion this spring.

Funds for the cost of the planning, design, tree/plant purchase and installation were provided through a bequest to the Essex Foundation by the late Elizabeth “Diz” Barnes Callender and her predeceased sister Mary Frances Barnes.

“The gateway beautification has been a true community effort,” stated Bruce Glowac, Chairman of the Essex Foundation Board of Trustees, “It is exactly the type of project we like to get behind – somewhat unique, requiring relatively quick action. It’s also nice that the impact can be seen immediately. Now that the bridge painting is complete, the trees are installed, and the ornamentals are being planted, .”

The Essex Foundation was founded in 1970 through an open-ended bequest to benefit the town.  Board members are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Essex citizens by providing medical, educational, social, welfare, cultural, recreational, and civic support. Thanks to the Foundation’s endowment, as well as the many donations received from individuals, businesses and other organizations, the Essex Foundation is able to provide “seed money” for new services and to allocate funds to fill needs not met by other organizations or sources. In general, funds are granted for special purposes, including buildings, equipment, land, and programs, but not to recurring expenses. More information can be found at www.theessexfoundaton.org.

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Musical Masterworks, Community Music School Announce New Scholarship

ESSEX/OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks and Community Music School (CMS) have announced a new scholarship to honor the memory of Nancy D. Thomas.

Ms. Thomas was a well-known and beloved piano instructor with Community Music School for 30 years and initiated the Kindermusik program and Kate’s Camp for Kids at CMS.  She influenced the lives of many young musicians and inspired their talents.  “We are thrilled to provide an additional opportunity for young people to study music through this new endeavor and are so honored to have Musical Masterworks by our side in this partnership.” said Abigail Nickell, Executive Director of Community Music School

Ms. Thomas also was on the staff of Musical Masterworks for almost 25 years.  She was fastidious in her responsibilities working with the pianists onstage and was well loved by all.  “Nancy was an indispensable part of Musical Masterworks.  We are delighted to partner with her beloved Community Music School in establishing this scholarship in her name, so that more young people can discover the power of music in their lives. We believe this would have pleased Nancy immensely,” said Alden Rockwell Murphy, President of Musical Masterworks.

Community Music School and Musical Masterworks are pleased to honor her memory with the Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas, which will provide the tuition for a middle school student to take music lessons, 30 minutes each, for one full year at Community Music School.  The scholarship will be awarded annually for the next five years.  To be eligible, the candidate must be a student of classical voice or instrumental music and reside in Middlesex County or New London County.

Interested students must complete an application and submit an audio recording of two pieces of classical music in contrasting styles as well as a written recommendation.  A three-member jury comprised of representatives of both Community Music School and Masterworks will review applications.

The application deadline for the scholarship is June 16, 2017, and the scholarship recipients will be notified mid-summer. To learn more and to obtain an application, contact Community Music School at (860) 767-0026.

Editor’s Notes: Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34-year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call 860.767.0026.

Musical Masterworks brings to Southern New England world-class chamber music performances and outreach programs which attract, entertain, and educate a diverse audience. Now planning its 27th season, Musical Masterworks offers five weekends of performances from October through May in Old Lyme.  Learn more by visiting www.musicalmasterworks.org or by calling 860.434.2252.

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Understanding Local Pollinators is Topic of CT River Museum Forum Today at 5:30pm

Photo from Unsplash.com by Stefan Steinbauer.

ESSEX – The Rockfall Foundation and the Connecticut River Museum present “Understanding Local Pollinators,” a free environmental forum on Thursday, May 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the Museum, 67 Main Street, Essex. Speakers will address issues relating to pollinators and the plants they sustain in the Connecticut River valley, including natural environment, organic farming, and home gardening of flowers, vegetables and shrubs.

Presenters include Judy Preston, Connecticut Sea Grant; Gail Reynolds, UCONN Extension Master Gardeners Program; Jeff Cordulack, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut; and  Jane Seymour, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

This free event is sponsored by the Rockfall Foundation and is part of its “Meet Your Greens” monthly networking series. Refreshments will be served and a reception continues on the Museum’s north deck following the presentations. Advanced registration is encouraged by calling the Connecticut River Museum at 860-767-8269.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Established in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations and annually awards grants to non-profits, schools and municipalities. Meet Your Greens is an official program of Green Drinks International’s informal monthly gatherings that offer attendees a chance to network with other local people interested in environmental issues, and the means to solve them.

The Connecticut River Museum’s mission is to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley. By deepening understanding of the River’s importance to past generations, the Museum inspires the stewardship of future generations.

For additional information, contact the Rockfall Foundation at 860-347-0340 or visitwww.rockfallfoundation.org.

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Siegrist Hails Passage of Proposal to Allow Return of Prescription Drugs to Pharmacies

State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R-36th)

AREAWIDE — State Rep. Robert Siegrist hailed the passage of a bill in the House of Representatives this week that looks to allow certain state pharmacies to accept and dispose of unused prescription drugs. Rep. Siegrist proposed a similar measure in the General Assembly in the beginning of the 2017 legislative session.

Rep. Siegrist, a member of the legislature’s public safety and security committee, said, “The opioid crisis is at an all-time high and I believe this proposal is another step in the right direction to combat growing crisis. I also believe this proposal will help the rural district that I represent, specifically the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.”

Currently, prescription drug drop boxes in Connecticut are located in local police stations.

The legislation, HB 5077, An Act Concerning The Return Of Prescription Drugs To Pharmacies, passed unanimously in the House and now heads to the State Senate for further action. After much negation in the House with all stakeholders, the bill as passed allows for Connecticut licensed pharmacies to accept and dispose of unused prescription drugs.  The bill also allows for the potential for cooperative agreements between pharmacies and local law enforcement, which should help independent and rural pharmacy locations

The bill has the support of the Connecticut Association of Community Pharmacies.

According to Governor Dannel Malloy, Connecticut saw an increase in the amount of unused prescription medications that residents dropped off at collection boxes during 2016, with the state collecting a total of 33,803 pounds worth of various medications throughout the year. That amounts to a 43 percent increase compared to the amount that residents dropped off in 2015, when 23,651 pounds of unused drugs were collected by the state.

The final rule on the Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in September of 2014 expanded the authority of authorized hospitals/clinics and retail pharmacies to voluntarily maintain collection receptacles. These receptacles would still be subject to regulation and protections under the law. This bill will give pharmacies the option to participate as a collection site, not require it, and would likely help to get more prescription drugs off the street from people  who would otherwise feel uncomfortable returning them to the police directly.

Editor’s Note: Siegrist represents the 36th District communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.

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‘Olive Oyl’s’ Plans Uptown Move Soon, Possibly June

A cheerful Kevin Kendall, co-owner of Olive Oyl’s in Essex, stands at the counter in the current shop.

ESSEX — Olive Oyl’s, a favorite sandwich shop in Essex, presently located at 77 Main Street, will be changing its address as early as this coming June, according to Kevin Kendall, who co-owns the shop with his wife Jennifer. The shop’s new location will be at 6 Main Street in Essex and the shop there will be considerably larger than the current one.

A flag waves above the entrance to the current Olive Oyl’s shop at 77 Main Street in Essex.

For several weeks, workmen at the new location have been modernizing the present structure and also resurfacing the paved driveway at the front of the store.

Olive Oyl’s new home at 6 Main Street.

Olive Oyl’s move to a new and much larger location in Essex up Main Street can be seen as a clear plus for the town of Essex. It will likely draw more visitors to that section of town though passengers arriving in Essex by boat will have a little further to walk up Main Street to make their purchases … but the delicious offerings at their destination will surely be worth the effort!

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