October 26, 2016

Essex Library Hosts ‘Authors In Conversation’ Tonight with Richard Conniff

house_of_lost_worldsESSEX — The Essex Library is honored to co-sponsor with the Essex Land Trust an author talk on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. with Richard Conniff, whose latest book is House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and The Story of Life on Earth. This fascinating book tells the story of how the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History changed ideas about dinosaurs, dynasties, and even the story of life on earth.

The event will be held in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. Centerbrook. Copies of The House of Lost Worlds will be available for purchase and signing.

Conniff introduces a cast of bold explorers, roughneck bone hunters, and visionary scientists. Some became famous for wresting Brontosaurus, Triceratops, and other dinosaurs from the earth, others pioneered the introduction of science education in North America, and still others rediscovered the long-buried glory of Machu Picchu.

The Peabody Museum, now celebrating its 150th anniversary, has remade the way we see the world.

Richard Conniff is a National Magazine Award-winning writer for Smithsonian, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and other publications, and a past Guggenheim Fellow. His other books include: The Species Seekers; Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time; The Natural History of the Rich; and The Ape in the Corner Office.  He has been a frequent commentator on NPR’s Marketplace, and is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He has written and presented television shows for the National Geographic Channel, TBS, and the BBC, among others.

This program is free and open to all. Call the Essex Library for more information or to register at (860) 767-1560. The Cube at Centerbrook Architects is located at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook.


CT Premier of ‘Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical’ Opens Tonight at Ivoryton

Michael Marotta and Kim Rachelle Harris in 'Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical,' which opens Wednesday at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Michael Marotta as the Doctor and Kim Rachelle Harris as the title role in ‘Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical,’ which opens Wednesday at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

IVORYTON – Based on the life of Rosemary Clooney, American’s favorite girl singer comes to life on stage in this exhilarating and inspiring musical biography.

Kim Rachelle Harris makes her debut as Rosemary Clooney.

Kim Rachelle Harris makes her debut as Rosemary Clooney.

Tenderly is not a typical “juke-box musical.” It offers a fresh, remarkably personal, and poignant picture of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend. With her signature songs woven in and out, we learn both the story of her successes on film, radio, and TV, as well as the struggles in her personal life.

“I’d call myself a sweet singer with a big band sensibility,” Rosemary once wrote. She  came to prominence in the early 1950s with the novelty hit “Come On-a My House”, which was followed by other pop numbers such as “Mambo Italiano”, “Tenderly”, “Half as Much”, “Hey There” and “This Ole House.”

Clooney’s career languished in the 1960s, partly due to problems related to depression and drug addiction, but revived in 1977, when her “White Christmas” co-star Bing Crosby asked her to appear with him at a show marking his 50th anniversary in show business. She continued recording until her death in 2002.

Michael Marotta revisits the role of the Doctor in the Ivoryton Playhouse production.

Michael Marotta revisits the role of the Doctor in the Ivoryton Playhouse production.

This production was developed and premiered by The Human Race Theatre Company and produced at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Michael Marotta* will be revisiting the role of the Doctor that he helped develop and Kim Rachelle Harris* will be making her debut as Rosemary Clooney. The production is directed by Brian Feehan, musical directed by Dan Brandl, set design by William Stark, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Rebecca Welles.

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Oct. 26 and runs through Nov. 13. 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 www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main St. in Ivoryton.


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

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

To the Editor:
I met Senator Linares 4 years ago shortly after he decided to run for his first term to the State Senate. My first thought was, “He’s too young,” but then he spoke of his family’s immigrant history, his ideas for Connecticut and I was sold.  In his first two terms, he has shown leadership beyond his years.
The debate between Senator Linares and Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman held October 17 revealed a stark contrast.  Mr. Needleman’s understanding of the issues facing the state appeared thin and he had no solutions beyond the failed efforts of the democratic leadership of our state. In contrast, Senator Linares revealed a deep understanding of the issues and described efforts he has made and will continue to make to fix those problems.  Mr. Needleman not only supported Mr. Malloy and his tax increases, but donated to his campaigns and was amenable to further tax increases.  Notably, Mr. Needleman did not dispute that the Democratic Party has hired and is paying a handsome salary to a campaign manager for Mr. Needleman.  We can’t know what Mr. Needleman promised the Senate Democratic Leadership, but we should all be concerned.
Senator Linares stood up against Mr. Malloy’s tax increases and supports a plan to grow the economy, jobs and reduce taxes titled, “A Confident Future,” which was unveiled by the GOP Senate Leadership on September 15.  A copy of the plan can be found at http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/LegislativeAgendaFinal.pdf
Mel Seifert,
Editor’s Note: The author is a member of the Chester RTC.

Ivoryton Village Hosts Pumpkin Festival Today with Full Day, Evening of Events

Join the fun of pumpkin carving on Oct. 22 in Ivoryton.

Join the fun of pumpkin carving on Oct. 22 in Ivoryton.

ESSEX — Ivoryton’s Pumpkin’s Festival takes place on Saturday, Oct. 22., and offers a full day of events.  The festival brings more than 1500 visitors to the village green. The Pumpkin Festival takes the very best traditions of the autumn season and offers them all for free.

The first Pumpkin Festival was held at the Ivoryton Village Green in 2000 and is held the Saturday before Halloween every year. Join the fun at the village green to enjoy the free refreshments, contests and games, live music and view the pumpkins.

Bring your carved pumpkins from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for the Jack o’ Lantern Stroll Date from 5 to 8 p.m. on Ivoryton Green.

Ivoryton Library’s Pumpkin Chase & Kid’s Run

This race will begin near the library and meander through historic Ivoryton, continuing into Falls River Farms and the Falls River Preserve and ending back at the library. A Pumpkin Run in Ivoryton Park is scheduled for children aged 8 and younger. All pumpkin runners will receive a medal and a pumpkin that can be painted after the race.

Contact the Library for more details

Show off your carving skills at Ivoryton's Pumpkin Festival!

Show off your carving skills at Ivoryton’s Pumpkin Festival!

Pre-Festival Carving Party

The Great Pumpkin Challenge at the annual Pumpkin Festival calls for 200 or more carved pumpkins for the Jack o’ Lantern stroll. Why not join this activity at the green immediately following the Ivoryton Library Pumpkin Chase from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Ivoryton Green to create your masterpiece and put it right on display for all to see?  You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with cookie decorating with the volunteers from Child & Family Services of Southeastern Connecticut.

There will be over 100 pumpkins that will need to be carved so come on down early and enjoy a fun time with neighbors and friends at our Halloween celebration. Pre-registration is not required, but would be much appreciated.

Essex Park and Recreation Department is hoping for at least 50 carvers to get the job done for the pumpkin lighting that begins at 5 p.m.

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere ...

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere …

Starting at 5 p.m., enjoy Halloween-inspired face-painting by Bohemian Body Art alongside Music with Margie, who will be performing “Roll With the Pumpkins” on the Ivoryton Playhouse’s side patio from 5 to 5:45 p.m.

Enjoy a not so scary horse drawn hayride sponsored by the Park & Recreation Commission- Rides will leave from the Village Green from 5 to 8 p.m.

Don’t miss the Haunted Wonderland at the Ivoryton Library from 6 to 8 p.m.

Also from 6 to 8 p.m., enjoy the antics of The Munsters on the Big Screen presented by Ivoryton Library and Essex Park and Rec next to Gather.

For yet more entertainment,“Federation” is back with live music in the Gazebo from 6 to 8 p.m.

Enjoy free refreshments, courtesy of Deep River Snacks, The Essex Lions Club, The Ivoryton Inn & All Saints Church – while they last at The Ivoryton Playhouse patio also starting from 6 p.m.

Be sure to take a stroll around the village and take in the sights of the beautifully carved pumpkins on display.

For more information, contact Essex Park and Recreation at 860-767-4340 x110/148 or visit www.essexct.gov


Join the Ivoryton Pumpkin Chase 5K Today!

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-47-53-amIVORYTON — The name has changed and the route is slightly different … but the seventh 5K Road and Trail Run/Walk Race — now called the Ivoryton Pumpkin Chase — will still travel through beautiful Ivoryton on Saturday, Oct. 22. This benefit for the Ivoryton Library will be fun for families, walkers and runners from this area and across Connecticut.

The striking fall colors will complement the historic sites of Ivoryton included in the route as it heads one mile down Main Street and into Falls River Farms. It will then continue one mile on the trails of Falls River Land Trust Preserve and return back to Ivoryton Park. The start will be in a slightly different spot and the route through the Falls River Preserve has been
changed, based on changes made to the trails by the Essex Land Trust.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. for all walkers and runners. Awards will be given to the top male and female 5k runners, the top walker, top male & female runners in 10 age groups (no duplicates), and the best Halloween costume, male, female and group.

The “Fun Run” for children 8 years & under is held in Ivoryton Park at 8:45 am. All Fun Runners are invited to stay after the race for storytime, crafts and refreshments. (Adult supervision is
required.) The 5K will start near the Ivoryton Library at 9:15 am.

New this year:
More age groups: 9 & under, 10-12, 13-15, 17-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49,
50-59, 60-69, 70 & up.
Predict Your Time Challenge: Visit the Fortune Teller’s booth to
predict your time. Prize for the closest time!
Tired of medals and trophies? Fresh baked apple pies for the winners!

ENTRY FEE:               $20/ advance through Thursday, October 20
$25/ same day
The first 150 registrants for the 5k will be receive t-shirts.

PUMPKIN RUN:     $5 per child.

All are invited to join us on Saturday, Oct. 22 to run or walk the race, or just cheer on the racers! The library is grateful to all the volunteers who help us and we can use more, Please consider helping out for a few hours Saturday morning!

The Ivoryton Pumpkin Chase is sponsored by Norm Needleman and Jacquie Hubbard, Kohl’s, The Clark Group, Polito and Associates, Ivoryton Playhouse, Guilford Savings Bank and the Law Office of Christopher

Any questions or to volunteer, please contact the library at 860-767-3460 or staff@ivoryton.com. Online registration or downloadable applications are available on the Ivoryton Library website (www.ivoryton.com) or at the library. Please make checks or money orders payable to the Ivoryton Library.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Op-Ed: Lawn Signs, Lawn Signs Everywhere … Well, in Essex Anyway

Art_Linares_lawn_signsNeedleman_lawn_signsThey are all over the place, one after another, in the small Connecticut River town of Essex. It seems that almost every lawn in town is now covered by a flood of political lawn signs, and in this author’s unscientific survey, the most prolific are those supporting the re-election of incumbent Republican State Senator Art Linares.

Linares has served two terms in the state senate, and is now seeking a third. Challenging Linares for the state senate position is Norman Needleman, a successful businessman, who is also the first selectman of the town of Essex.

Political lawn signs in Essex are often posted in clusters of campaign signs of the candidates of the same political party. Among the lawn signs in Essex, there are also some for Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for President of the United States, and, frequently, the lawn signs of the other Republican candidates are posted around those for Trump.   

Not a Single Sign for Hillary?

Presently, there appears not to be a single lawn sign in Essex supporting the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic Party’s candidate for President. Perhaps the Clinton campaign feels that putting up lawn signs for her campaign in the little town of Essex is simply not worth the effort.                                 

Art_Linares_lawn_signThe largest Linares campaign sign is the one across the street from the Colonial Market in Essex. This sign is on the left hand side of the road, when going out of town from the south on Rte. 153. The dimensions of this sign would likely exceed the size of a very large kitchen table.

As for the lawn signs supporting Needleman, his medium size lawn signs are posted all over downtown Essex. Also, interestingly, Needleman lawn signs do not use his last name but rather his nickname, “Norm,” is favored. 

When Election Day finally does come, it will leave behind a plethora of campaign signs — in past elections, the winners and losers of both parties have picked up and thrown away their old lawn signs.

Norm Needleman lawn_signIt is certainly hoped that after this year’s election, the supporters of both parties will do the same, unless, of course, the unpredictable Trump decides to leave his presidential campaign signs in place … as a sort of punishment for the voters who voted against him! 

What would happen if Trump loses, and as he is currently threatening, simply rejects his loss by maintaining that it had been rigged, and that he and not Clinton, were the real winner? One can hardly imagine what kind of chaos would follow. In fact, it appears Trump is already encouraging his supporters not to accept his potential loss by engaging in protests.

If Trump does lose the election, hopefully, he will accept the result of the vote. It goes without question that the remaining candidates, such as Linares and Needleman, will accept the voter’s decision, win or lose. 

As for Trump, he appears to march to his own drum, and if he loses, he might make a howl, regardless of the damage that this kind of conduct would do to the tradition of peaceful democratic election in the United States. Clinton, like her predecessors for generations, can be counted on to accept the result, whether victory or defeat, consistent with this country’s long tradition of free elections in a democratic nation. 


State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman Endorsed by Women’s Health Groups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Community Music School Hosts Italian Cheese Rolling, Wine Tasting Event, Nov. 5; Tickets on Sale Now

CENTERBROOK — A special Italian wine tasting and a lively game of Italian cheese rolling will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Angelini Wine LTD in Centerbrook with proceeds to benefit scholarships and outreach programs at Community Music School. This event is presented by Guilford Savings Bank and includes a guided tasting of fine Italian wines and hearty hors d’oeuvres. Guests will test their bowling skills with a little friendly competition in a rousing party game of cheese rolling, a tradition in many parts of Italy.

Over the past few years, Community Music School has partnered with Angelini Wine to present unique benefit events that blend the arts with intimate guided tastings offered behind the scenes at the Angelini warehouse. Guilford Savings Bank joined as presenting sponsor in 2014 and Shore Discount Liquors is also on board as a partner this year.

What is cheese rolling, anyway?  It’s a hilarious Italian game similar to bowling… but with a wheel of Pecorino!  Come join the fun, either on the sidelines or in the middle of the action —  the winner takes home the cheese!

Led by Julius Angelini and Ron Plebiscito, the tastings allow guests to sample high-end wines, learn about the process of wine making, and ask questions of the experts. Tickets are $65 per person and are available at Community Music School’s business office or at www.community-music-school.org/cheese.

For more information, call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org/cheese.

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which provides a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, increasing appreciation of music and encouraging a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.


Full Steam Ahead! Cappella Cantorum Hosts Wine & Beer Tasting Fundraiser, 10/29

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-11-19-30-pmAREAWIDE — Help Cappella Cantorum propel into 50 years of tradition with this new, exciting fundraiser slated for Saturday, Oct. 29!

Enjoy tastes of wines and beers from local and regional sources, as well as delicious hors d’oeuvres and a pasta station, while you peruse lots of great silent auction items, including artwork, many gift certificates to local merchants and some surprise items!  Live entertainment will also be provided by Cappella’s own Hilltop Four Barber Shop Quartet.

The event is in the River Valley Junction building at the Essex Steam Train, where you will be enveloped by the delightfully preserved, historical space.

Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased at the door the night of the event. Tell your friends and family.

All proceeds benefit Cappella Cantorum, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is celebrating its 47th year of tradition in the upcoming 2016-2017 concert season, Moving Full Steam Ahead! Into Our Next Half Century of Cappella Cantorum.

For questions and more information call 860-526-1038 and visit www.cappellacantorum.org.

Cappella Cantorum is the lower Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline’s premiere non-auditioned community choral organization whose primary purpose is to learn, perform and enjoy great choral music while striving for excellence and the enrichment of its singers and audience.

Cappella Cantorum continues because of the support of area businesses and professional people through program advertising; by generous sponsors, our concert audiences, members through dues and hard work, and through the dedication of Music Director Barry Asch, Assistant Music Director Deborah Lyon, and the efforts of the volunteer Board of Directors.


Celebrate Hubbard’s 25 Years at Ivoryton Playhouse Tonight with a Mirror Ball

Director Jacqui Hubbard with her dog Lulu, a mutt.

Director Jacqui Hubbard with her dog Lulu, a mutt.

IVORYTON:  The Ivoryton Playhouse is celebrating 25 years of laughter and drama, new shingles and seats, and more and more music and romance and applause than ever before. This year marks the 25th year of Artistic Director, Jacqui Hubbard’s involvement with The Ivoryton Playhouse. Beginning as a Board member in 1991, she became Board President and in 1999 she was hired as Artistic/Executive Director and oversees all aspects of this small, historic gem of a theatre.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, the theatre will celebrate with a Wonderland Tea Party from 10 a.m. to noon at the Ivoryton Farmer’s Market. Free activities for children will include A Pink Flamingo Croquet Game, Madhatters Tea Party, Queen of Hearts Story Time, glitter tattoos and face painting and musical fun with Sunny Train.

In the evening, the theatre will host a red carpet gala. The Mirror Ball: Reflections on 25 years through the Looking Glass will feature cocktails and fine foods catered by Coffee’s Market; a musical retrospective of the past 25 years with performances by some favorite artists; champagne toasts and dancing till midnight to the fabulous music of Long Island Sound.

Celebrating the past 25 years is important to Hubbard, as the continued growth of the Playhouse is near and dear to her heart. She says, “I have watched the theatre and the community that surrounds it change and grow so much over this past quarter century. It has been an eventful 25 years with its fair share of highs and lows but the one thing that has remained constant throughout those years is the support we receive from the people of this area.”

Hubbard continues, “The Playhouse has a great family of actors and donors, musicians and members, sponsors, local businesses and community partners and I am so proud of what we have accomplished in bringing people together and encouraging growth in the village of Ivoryton. It’s been an exhilarating ride and I am looking forward to the next 25!”

Built in 1911 as a recreation hall for the workers of the Comstock-Cheney factory, the Ivoryton Playhouse has been an important part of Connecticut’s cultural landscape for every one of its 100 years. Traveling vaudeville shows and silent movies entertained residents of the shoreline area in its early years until Milton Stiefel turned into a summer theatre in 1930 and attracted stars like Katharine Hepburn, Norma Terris, Marlon Brando and Tallulah Bankhead.

In recent years the theater has continued to win critical praise: Connecticut Critic Circle Awards, a Shoreline Arts Alliance Bravo award for Best Theatre and the Shoreline Times Readers Poll Best Theatre award as well as Connecticut Magazine’s Best Place to see Live Theatre.

For more information on tickets to the Mirror Ball, the 2017 season, and all things Ivoryton Playhouse, call 860.767.9520 or visit our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.


Isabelle McDonald is Community Music School’s Fall 2016 Greenleaf Award Winner

Isabelle McDonald is the winner of the recently announced Carolyn Greenleaf Award given by the Community Music School.

Isabelle McDonald is the winner of the Fall 2016 Carolyn R. Greenleaf Music Award presented by the Community Music School.

CENTERBROOK — The selection committee for the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund of Community Music School (CMS) has chosen violinist, guitarist, and pianist Isabelle McDonald as the recipient of the Fall 2016 Carolyn R. Greenleaf Music Award.  This award is given each semester to a middle or high school student who has demonstrated exceptional musical ability and motivation, and awards a semester of private lessons at Community Music School in Centerbrook.  Isabelle has chosen to study piano with CMS’s new virtuoso piano instructor, Matthew Massaro.

Isabelle, who is a junior at Valley Regional High School, is an accomplished violin student having studied under numerous instructors, most recently under the tutelage of Kyung Yu of Yale University.  She has also studied with Janet Boughton of Guilford, Connecticut and Lisa Gray at the CMS.

Isabelle has been a member of a number of leading youth orchestras in Connecticut, including the Norwalk Youth Symphony (NYS) for four years and the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras for three years.  For her final two years with NYS, she was the Principal Orchestra’s principal second violinist.

Isabelle has also performed in a number of chamber music ensembles, including the Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians and with the NYS chamber music program.    In addition to her study on the violin and piano, Isabelle has taken guitar lessons with John Birt at CMS.   Along with Isabelle’s musical talent, she is also a talented visual art student, having won a number of juried art show awards.  Isabelle has expressed a desire to continue her music and visual art studies in college.

The Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund was established at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County in 2008 by her friends to honor Greenleaf’s dedication to music and education. The Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Music Award is open to students of Middlesex County and the Lymes and is awarded twice a year.  It is entirely based on merit and is the only such award at Community Music School.

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which provides a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, increasing appreciation of music and encouraging a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.

Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Working with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments since 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 850 grants totaling more than $2.5 million to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities,  environmental improvements, and for health and human services. 


‘Fitness on the Water’ in Essex Hosts Pilates Party Tomorrow

Essex Wellness Center at Novelty Ln. in Essex.

Essex Wellness Center at Novelty Ln. in Essex.

ESSEX — Fitness on the Water in Essex presents a Pilates Party! The festivities are from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 15, at 8 Novelty Lane, Essex.

See demonstrations of the new Pilates reformer/tower equipment at Fitness on the Water in Essex and learn how Pilates benefits all age groups and fitness levels.

Readers are invited to come and tour the Center’s studios overlooking the water.

Refreshments, giveaways, free mini facials, and chair massages along with discounts on the Center’s own clothing line will be offered.

The Center’s expert instructors will also be on hand to discuss with readers how starting a Pilates fitness routine can be beneficial.

Call 860-581-8225 to RSVP or email donna@fitnessonthewater.com.


Essex Congregational Church Rummage Sale Opens Tonight, Continues Tomorrow

Members of the Rummage Committee of The First Congregational Church in Essex at 6 Methodist Hill in Essex Village are preparing for the church's annual Rummage Sale on Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. An Early Sales night will take place on Oct. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Getting ready to rummage!  Members of the Rummage Committee of The First Congregational Church in Essex at 6 Methodist Hill in Essex Village are preparing for the church’s annual Rummage Sale on Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. An Early Sales night will take place on Oct. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.

ESSEX — The annual Rummage On The Hill Sale will be held at the First Congregational Church in Essex, 6 Methodist Hill, on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine.

An Early Sales evening will take place on Friday, Oct. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. For a $5 admission per person, customers will have the opportunity to be the first to preview and buy from the extensive selections of merchandise, as well as homemade baked goods.

A new department this year will be “Home Décor,” featuring a variety of decorator-quality collectibles for the home, including specialty small furniture.

Also new this year is a “50/50 drawing,” with the winner taking home 50 percent of the total monies from the ticket sales.

Other items for sale will include finer women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and shoes; women’s accessories and jewelry; books, CDs and DVDs; games and puzzles; housewares, including lamps and frames, children’s toys and selected furniture. A bake sale will feature home made fare and refreshments will be available at The Grill, on Oct. 15.

Proceeds from the sale go to support the missions of the church.

Rummage donations are now being accepted at the church, Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Donations will also be accepted during extended hours, the week prior to the sale, Oct. 10 through Oct. 14.

If you have items that you wish to donate but need them picked up by a sale volunteer, call the church office at (860) 767-8097. The church will not accept any linens, appliances, air conditioners, computers or televisions of any kind or anything that is damaged or soiled.



Accompanying photograph:



St. John’s Episcopal Hosts Annual Rummage Sale Tomorrow

The 'Essex Attic' is always a popular attraction at St. John's Annual Rummage Sale!

The ‘Essex Attic’ is always a popular attraction at St. John’s Annual Rummage Sale!

ESSEX — Once again it’s time to come down to Essex and ‘rummage!”   Visit the annual Rummage Sale at St. John’s Episcopal Church and find the treasures you have long been seeking.

The Sale will be on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 pm.  It is a huge sale with way too many items to list – everything from furniture, household appliances, books, clothing, electrical appliances, tools, etc.  Hundreds of items are priced under $10.

Prepare to be inspired in the Boutique, where you can pick out the perfect outfit.  “Essex Attic” has exceptional treasures and really cool costume jewelry.  The Silent Auction is full of unique and special items waiting for your bid.

Cider and doughnuts will be available, and on Saturday there will also be a bake sale, plus hot dogs. 

The Church is located at the corner of Main & Cross Streets, Essex, CT 06426 – opposite the park.

For more information, call the church office at:  860-767-8095


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you on Sunday!


CT River Museum’s Annual Gala Fundraiser Tonight Celebrates the 1920s

From left to right, Executive Director Chris Dobbs, Museum Chairman Tom Wilcox, Guilford Savings Bank’s Lisa LeMonte and Essex Wellness Center’s Dana Hatch (left to right) peruse the menu and design centerpieces. Photo courtesy of Connecticut River Museum.

From left to right, Executive Director Chris Dobbs, Museum Chairman Tom Wilcox, Guilford Savings Bank’s Lisa LeMonte and Essex Wellness Center’s Dana Hatch (left to right) peruse the menu and design centerpieces. Photo courtesy of Connecticut River Museum.

ESSEX — Come cut the rug with the fly boys and the flappers at the Connecticut River Museum’s 2016 Fall Ball, A Roaring 20’s Good Time presented by the Essex Wellness Center on Saturday, Oct. 8.  The museum will be putting on the Ritz with WSFB’s Scot Haney as host and auctioneer.

Kick the evening off with some bathtub gin, a sidecar or a little hanky-panky followed by a tasty dinner by A Thyme to Cook and a lively performance by the Amherst College Zumbyes.

Next Scot Haney will get the joint a-jumping with a humdinger of a live auction.   Items including an eight-day/seven-night voyage on American Cruise Lines’ Maine Coast and Harbors Cruise, and a five-night get-away to Nantucket Island.

Finally don’t be a flat tire — just dance the night away to the swell tunes of Brad and Brian.

Tickets for the event are $150 and all proceeds benefit the Connecticut River Museum.  Contributions from the Fall Ball provide critical support for the Museum’s at-risk school programs, exhibits, and environmental and cultural programs.

Fall Ball 2016 sponsors include

Presenting Sponsor Essex Wellness Center;

Benefactor Sponsors Guilford Savings Bank, Connecticut Rental Center and the Amherst College Zumbyes; Sustaining Sponsors Brewer Yacht Yards, Reynolds’ Garage & Marine, RBG Cannon, and Siris/Coombs Architects;  

Supporting Sponsors Bogaert Construction Company, J.N. Mehler, CFP, LLC., Sullivan Lawn Services, and Tower Laboratories; Friend Sponsors Brandtech Scientific, Caulfield & Ridgway, Inc., Clark Group, Essex Marine Group, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services;

In-kind Sponsors include Apparel + Plus, Eco/Blast All Inc., and invitations by Maris Wacs.

To purchase tickets and preview auction items, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or (860)767-8269.

The Connecticut River Museum is dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.


$491K STEAP Grant Awarded for Centerbrook Village Main Street Improvements, Enhancements

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

ESSEX — Essex First Selectman Norman M. Needleman has announced that Connecticut’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) awarded $491,887 for Centerbrook Village Main Street improvements and enhancements.  The project will focus on sidewalk improvement and replacement on the south side of Main Street, where there are currently continuous sidewalks in various stages of deterioration. 

This project will benefit the local community by enhancing the multi-modal, complete-streets setting that the town seeks to establish while having a positive impact on the economic, commercial and social environment of the historic village.

Needleman stated that the Town appreciates being awarded this grant, and is grateful that STEAP was funded in this difficult budget year.  This program helps small towns perform work that improves the economic vitality of our community.

Needleman offered special thanks to the Town’s Economic Development Consultant Susan Malan, the Town Planner John Guszkowski, State Representative Philip J. Miller, and the Centerbrook Visioning Group for their efforts in pulling this grant application together. 


‘Five Women Painting’ Annual Art Show Continues in Essex Through Monday

'Three Hens' by Claudia van Nes

‘Three Hens’ by Claudia van Nes is featured in the ‘Five Women Painting’ art show.

ESSEX — The annual Five Women Painting art show, featuring new works by a group of established artists in the region, opened Friday and continues through Oct. 10.

'A Day of Warmth' by Pam Carlson is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

‘A Day of Warmth’ by Pam Carlson is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

The artists, whose styles and subject matter vary widely from contemporary landscapes to abstract monotypes, include Pam Carlson from Essex; Rosemary Cotnoir, Kathleen DeMeo, Ellie Pringle from Haddam, and Claudia Van Nes from Chester.

All five artists will be at the opening party on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. to greet guests and help serve wine and a variety of appetizers and desserts.

The show continues Saturday, Oct. 8, from noon to 5 p.m. with Claudia Van Nes inviting visitors to sketch along with her from 1 to 3 p.m.

On Sunday, Oct. 9, when the show is also open noon to 5 p.m., Pam Carlson will give a palette knife demonstration from 1 to 3 p.m.

The exhibit continues Monday, Oct 10 from noon to 3 p.m.

Essex Art Association Gallery is located at 10 North Main Street, Essex. Phone: 860-767-8996. Visit Five Women Painting on Facebook.


Community Music School Announces New Faculty Members

CENTERBROOK & EAST LYME – Community Music School (CMS) Community Music School welcomes three area musicians to its faculty: Andrew Janes, who will be teaching trombone and low brass in our Centerbrook location; Matt Massaro, who will be teaching piano in the CMS Centerbrook location; and Marty Wirt, who will be teaching piano and percussion in the CMS East Lyme location.

Andrew Janes – Trombone, Low Brass

Janes is in his second year of study towards a Masters in Instrumental Conducting at UConn, having received a Masters degree in Trombone Performance from UConn in May of 2015. As a graduate teaching assistant, he works with UConn’s athletic bands, the university’s conducting labs, as well as conducting the Symphonic and Concert Bands. Janes received his B.M. from Middle Tennessee State University, where he participated in several summer music festivals, including the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific, (Powell River, British Columbia, CA), the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC), and the Collegium Musicum Program (Pommersfelden, Germany). As a music educator, he has worked as a jazz assistant at the Blue Lake International Fine Arts Camp, held in Muskegon, Michigan, and taught at the Community School for the Arts, in Mansfield, Connecticut.

Matt Massaro – Piano

Massaro has been playing piano for over 20 years. In high school, he was the accompanist for three years for the Pentagle Players choir and he also performed solos in school concerts. He has a B.A. degree in music performance at Central Connecticut State University. At CCSU he studied piano with Dr. Linda Laurent, who received a Masters degree from the Julliard School. He enjoys taking on challenging pieces and has performed in many recitals and concerts at CCSU and for other occasions. Upon completing his degree, Massaro was required to play a solo recital, which was well received by faculty and audience. His most recent achievement was the role of piano soloist for the CCSU sinfonietta in performing the Mozart Piano Concerto in A Major No. 23.

Marty Wirt – Piano, Percussion

Marty is an active and versatile performer and educator.  He began studying piano at age seven, and has since developed a passion for all styles of classical and popular music.  In addition to teaching at Community Music School, Marty is on the music faculty at Mercy High School in Middletown, CT, where he instructs a string orchestra, wind ensemble, and coaches jazz band.  As a performer, he has played for productions at Goodspeed Musicals, the Ivoryton Playhouse, and numerous local venues.  He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and a proud alumnus of CMS.

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. 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 visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.


Essex First Selectman Opposes State Takeover of Local Health Departments, Denounces New Cost to Small Towns

Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, Norman Needleman

Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, Norman Needleman.

ESSEX — Earlier this week, State Senate candidate and local businessman Norm Needleman spoke out against the yet-to-be-announced state takeover of local health departments. Needleman opposes the top-down, behind-the-scenes process which includes the elimination of local health departments, the loss of local control, and increased cost to towns in what amounts to a regional property tax.

The draft changes in Connecticut state statutes were distributed to town Health Directors as “draft Local Health Consolidation Statutes” by the Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Public Health Raul Pino.

“This secret state takeover plan is yet another example of the state barreling down the wrong path without input from towns,” said Needleman. “Forced regionalization is terrible policy and causes more unnecessary over-regulation of towns without any proven cost savings. This is a canary in the coal mine for more state and county control.”

Lyme Republican First Selectman Ralph Eno agreed with Needleman.

“I appreciate Norm’s attention to this key issue,” said Eno. “I agree with his position that this is an administrative overreach without any kind of formal hearing process. This is part of what is wrong with state government.”

The changes propose eliminating local health departments and consolidating them under one board and director for each county.

“In Essex we have an efficient and effective Health Department,” said Needleman. “In what world does it make any sense to turn a well managed town office over to the mess in Hartford?”

In addition, the changes propose that each town pay 1.5% of their budget to the new county health department. The draft legislation states: “towns, cities and boroughs of such district appropriate for the maintenance of the health district not less than one and one half percent of their previous fiscal year’s annual operating budgets.”

“As First Selectman of Essex I have kept our Health Department well under 1.5% of our annual town budget with a professionally managed team,” said Needleman. “This proposal will cost more for towns all across the region and amounts to a county tax. If elected State Senator I will fight foolish state overreach like this takeover.”

“The cost is a percentage of the town budget,” said Eno. “So this is a regional property tax to feed the state bureaucracy. Thanks to Norm for being out ahead on this issue and looking forward to his leadership in the State Senate.”

Norm Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing over 225 people. Needleman is in his 3rd term as First Selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003.

“Norm understands the importance of local control as an experienced town leader,” said Campaign Manager Kevin Coughlin. “That is why he has been endorsed by both Republican and Democratic First Selectmen right here in the 33rd district.”

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


Ivoryton Congregational Church Holds St. Francis of Assisi Celebration, Sunday

IVORYTON — On Sunday, Oct. 2, the 10 a.m. worship service will be a celebration of the life, wisdom, and spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. The hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King”, based on his writings, will be sung. The meditation will reflect on his life, his teachings, and his impact.
The service will include the Sacrament of Communion on this World Communion Sunday.

The Ivoryton Congregational Church is at 57 Main St. in Ivoryton and the pastor is the Rev. John Van Epps.

All are welcome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Essex Garden Club Announces Officers for 2016-2017

FNewly-elected officers of the Essex Garden Club are (from left to right) Pat Mather, Betsy Godsman, Augie Pampel, Barbara Burgess, Barbara Muhlfelder and Judy Greene

Newly-elected officers of the Essex Garden Club are (from left to right) Pat Mather, Betsy Godsman, Augie Pampel, Barbara Burgess, Barbara Muhlfelder and Judy Greene

ESSEX — Officers for the Essex Garden Club for 2016-2017 are Barbara Burgess, President, Augie Pampel, 1st Vice President, Barbara Muhlfelder, 2nd Vice President and Assistant Treasurer,  Betsy Godsman, Recording Secretary, Judy Greene, Corresponding Secretary, and  Patricia Mather, Treasurer.

In Barbara Burgess’s opening remarks,  at the September meeting,  she described the club’s agenda and activities for the upcoming year ahead and introduced the theme for the year “ Partnering for Success”  She shared how The Essex Garden Club has partnered with the Land Trust in sponsoring a conservation program, this year on the topic of Native Pollinators.

In addition the Essex Garden club provides resources to the libraries and schools to partner in educating both adults and children in our community. For many years the Club has  partnered with the Town of Essex to keep our parks and community looking beautiful. These strong partnerships continue to result in both benefiting our organizations and the community.


Explore Essex’s Best Kept Secret 9am This Morning With Essex Land Trust


ESSEX — Become acquainted with the 700-acre Incarnation Camp and Bushy Hill Nature Center, Essex’s largest privately owned property on Saturday, Sept.24, 9 a.m. at Bushy Hill Nature Center, 253 Bushy Hill Rd., Ivoryton.

Phil Miller, Bushy Hill Nature Center’s Director, will guide visitors through this remarkable assemblage of woods, fields, lakes, and wetlands, seeking out the rich range of plants and animals that call it home.

This walk is suitable for all ages and involves moderate walking of up to one and a half hours.

Rain/thunderstorms cancel. Alternate rain date: Saturday, Oct. 1.


Letter From Paris – No, Now It’s Essex!  A Brave, New Museum Opens in DC

Nicole Prevost Logan

Nicole Prevost Logan

Editor’s Note:  Our popular writer from Paris, Nicole Prevost Logan, is back in Essex, CT, for the winter.  She does not normally write for us from Essex, but this year, she is making an exception and will be continuing to contribute articles to ValleyNewsNow.com and LymeLine.com during the winter months.  Here is her inaugural column from Essex about the opening of  a very special museum in Washington DC.

The Grand Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will take place in Washington DC this coming Saturday, Sept. 24.  The NMAAHC, the 19th and newest of the Smithsonian museums, was established by a bi-partisan Act of Congress in 2003.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, Nov. 6, 2015. (Photo by Michael Barnes from http://newsdesk.si.edu/photos)

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Nov. 6, 2015. (Photo by Michael Barnes / Smithsonian Institution.)

The massive structure occupies a prime location next to the Washington Monument and contrasts with the 555 ft. slender obelisk.  The dark bronze-colored metal lattice that covers the ‘Corona” also stands out from the white marble classical architecture of most of the other museums standing on the National Mall.

It has been a long struggle for the supporters, such as Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia), to make the project a reality.  They needed to overcome the resistance from several senators who advocated another location. The final approval  was more than a triumph — it might be considered a miracle.  It succeeded in making a strong statement as to the importance of Black history and culture in the American nation.

The lead designer was David Adjaye, son of a Ghanaian diplomat and the lead architect Philip Freehon, who died in 2009.  Founding Director Lonnie B. Bunch III is the visionary and driving force of the project.  During some of the many interviews he gave to the press and to a variety of audiences, including select ones like the Aspen institute, he explains the building process and his objective with a very contagious enthusiasm.

The NMAAHC is not intended to be a Holocaust museum, he explains . Its mission is to show the pain but also the joy and the creativity of African-Americans.  A daunting fund-raising goal of 450,000 million dollars had to be reached.

The three-tier effect of the construction incorporates elements from African culture, such as the Yoruban crowns from Nigeria.  Inside the building, high tech designs and the enormity of the space will make it possible to be versatile in organizing several exhibits simultaneously.

The collections had to be created from zero.  It required a treasure hunt into the attics, trunks and basements of the population.  To date 35,000 artifacts have been collected.  A segregated train from outside Chattanooga (TN) was lowered by crane and the museum built around it.  All traffic stopped on Constitution Ave. when an oversized truck delivered the control tower from a federal prison.

Artifacts showing the terrible fate of the slaves are very moving.  Such is an amulet created by the Lombi tribe in the form of a shackle.  More tragic still were the shackles for children.

But fun and the world of entertainment are also present in the displays , such as Louis Armstrong and his trumpet, Lena Horne or Marianne Andersen . The film archives will be essential to build up history, from Harriet Tubman to the human rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s.

According to Washington insiders , the opening of the new museum is the hottest event in a decade.  More than 150,000 special tickets have been distributed to dignitaries while long lines of visitors gather at the entrances of the building to purchase tickets for general admission after the opening.


Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series Begins Tonight With NYC-Based Architect Stephen Wanta

An apartment designed by Stephen Wanta.

An apartment designed by Stephen Wanta.

ESSEX — What do a former Vermont residence of a Phish band member, a 96-foot custom motor yacht, a loft inspired by the relationship between Judaic Mysticism and Quantum Mechanics, law offices using strategies similar to those of architect/artist Gordon Matta-Clark (with a bit of the “Terminator” thrown in) and a penthouse combination in “one of the 10 most haunted buildings in New York” have in common?

Stephen Wanta

Stephen Wanta

The answer is New York-based architect Stephen Wanta, who will begin the ninth year of the Library’s Architecture Lecture Series on Friday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. in Centerbrook.

Among Wanta’s commercial projects are film and sound production facilities, restaurants, numerous private law offices, and showrooms and trade show exhibition booths for the home furnishings industry. The firm has also designed several museum stores, their pop-up locations and retail outlets.

Wanta has designed and executed well over 100 residential projects with budgets from less than $100,000 to over $5 million in New York City, with a number of others across the country and in Europe.  The firm is just completing its second long-range motor yacht project; built in Xiamen China and commissioned in Florida.

Wanta received his Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980 where he received the Reynolds Aluminum School Prize in 1979 and 1980 and The American Institute of Architects Certificate of Merit. He has worked at the offices of Machado & Silvetti, Rafael Vinoly Architects, and at Peter Marino Architect and Associates.

Wanta has taught and lectured at a number of schools, including Columbia University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information or to register, call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560.


Letter to the Editor: Needleman Unites People With Differing Opinions

To The Editor:

My support for Norm Needleman in his candidacy for the 33rd District State Senate seat is not surprising, since I am a member of the Essex Democratic Town Committee.  But the reasons for my support go deeper than just party affiliation.  Throughout  his decades of involvement in Essex town government, I have seen Norm successfully tackle difficult problems with a unique ability to unite people with differing opinions.  I, and virtually everyone I have talked to in state government, believe that Norm’s deep knowledge of small town  government and his ability to build consensus will immediately make him a leader in the state senate.  That position of leadership will directly benefit our district.  So, my support for Norm is not political.  Rather, it is a decision to restore influential representation for our district in the state senate.


Claire Tiernan,

Editor’s Note: The author is a member of Essex Democratic Town Committee.


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

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

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (D)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

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

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

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

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

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


Family Fun Day at Face Arts Music, Saturday

TRI-TOWN — Make music together …

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

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

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

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


Local DTC’s Invite Readers to ‘Meet the Candidates’ Today at Gelston House

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

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

US Senator Joe Courtney

US Senator Joe Courtney

AREAWIDE — The Democratic Town Committees of Lyme, Haddam and East Haddam are jointly sponsoring a “Meet the Candidates” event with Norm Needleman and Joe Courtney at the Gelston House in East Haddam on Monday, Sept. 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  All are welcome.

Needleman (D) is challenging two-term incumbent Art Linares (R) for the position of 33rd District State Representative. Courtney is running for another term as US Representative for Connecticut’s Second Congressional District, a position he has held since 2007..

Light refreshments will be served.  A cash bar will be available.

A $10 donation is suggested.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Renowned Blues/ Roots Duo to Perform Sunday at CT River Museum

Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons will perform at the Connecticut River Museum on Sept. 18.

Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons will perform at the Connecticut River Museum on Sept. 18.

ESSEX — On Sunday, Sept.18, at 4 p.m., the Connecticut River Museum will host roots musicians Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons for an afternoon concert on the Museum’s riverside lawn. In three short years, Ben and Joe have established themselves nationally as critically acclaimed roots musicians and award-winning acoustic blues songsters.

The duo are recent winners of the prestigious International Blues Challenge 2016 on Beale St. in Memphis TN. Rooted in their home of Seattle, Washington, they bring their unique integration of performance, folklore, and education with them to schools and communities nationwide.

Ben and Joe formed their blues duo in 2012 after performing together for two years with Renegade Stringband. The music they play is truly American inspired by early 20th-century American folk and African music.

Ben Hunter, born in the African nation of Lesotho, raised in Phoenix, Ariz., is a classically trained violinist who studied music around the world. Joe Seamons has shown a devotion to Northwest American folk music, receiving a Woody Guthrie Fellowship from the BMI Foundatio; he studied the banjo with Hobe Kytr.

Their music is one part of the Rhapsody Project, an integration of performance and teaching through public events and school workshops. Designed to bring together people across generational and cultural divides through music, Rhapsody is a Seattle-based community endeavor. “We want regular folks, especially the youth, to understand that America’s folk and blues music is not a relic, but a thriving tradition. It’s not only about the fantastical, deeply mysterious recordings that we can all hear now on records or online. Music is a playground for the imagination with no barriers to entry.”

Opening the show are local favorites Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Clayton Allen who met Hunter and Seamons as fellow competitors at the Blues Challenge in Memphis. In a melding of diverse blues styles, Dan and Clayton have forged a unique sound, representing a wide variety of traditionally based fingerpicking with a tinge of primitive blues and early blues rock and roll. A dose of Diddly Bow and Cigar Box guitar backed with a driving rhythm and gospel influenced vocals infuse their style with an engaging rock bottom authenticity.

Stevens’ MusicNow Foundation, located in Old Lyme, was instrumental in bringing Hunter and Seamons to the area and is a co-beneficiary in the proceeds from the concert. The mission of MusicNow is to engage, enrich, and inspire young aspiring artists by providing performance opportunities, workshop programming and mentorships thereby nurturing creative and artistic growth and supporting the development of live music in our communities.

For more info on MusicNow, visit www.musicnowfoundation.org.

Concert-goers are invited to bring chairs or picnic blankets for festival-style seating on the Museum’s front lawn. Porky Pete’s Barbecue will be present serving grilled fare, and the Museum will offer a cash bar providing beer and wine.

In the advent of inclement weather, the show will take place in the Museum’s boat house.

Tickets for this event are $12, with a discount for Museum members. They can be bought at the gate or online at ctrivermuseum.org.


Letter to the Editor: No Better Choice for State Senator Than Needleman

To the Editor:
I am supporting Norm Needleman for State Senate in the 33rd district because I have seen his character firsthand. Actually, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Norm.
He hired me as a graphic designer for his company while I was attending college, and at a time when I could not afford my tuition, he was generous enough to pay it for me.
After graduating, I continued to work for his company, and the professional growth Norm fostered enabled me to achieve my current role as a design manager for Macy’s.
My experience with Norm is not unique, either. Simply put, Norm cares strongly about the well-being and development of everyone he meets. I cannot imagine a better choice for State Senator
Christopher Crowl,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Essex DTC Hosts ‘Meet The Candidates’ Event Saturday, Open to All

The Essex Democratic Town Committee is hosting a Meet the Candidates event on Saturday,  Sept. 17.  The event will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. at Viney Hill Brook Park in Essex, near the town’s swimming area. The event is open to everyone regardless of age or political affiliation.  Free refreshments will be served. 

Come and meet community members and learn more about the candidates and the issues.

Democratic candidates running for office on Nov. 8  are:
Hillary Clinton: President
Richard Blumenthal: US Senate
Joe Courtney: US Congress
Norm Needleman: State Senate 33rd
Phil Miller: State Representative, 36th District

Directions:  Take Saybrook Rd. to Gates Rd., to Cedar Grove Terrace,  turn right on Hillside Dr. and follow road to the park entrance.


HOPE Partnership’s Night at the Theatre Tonight Features, ‘Man of La Mancha’

hope-partnership-logo_162x104ESSEX – HOPE Partnership’s Annual Night at the Theatre is fast approaching and the event is expected to be sold out. This year’s event at the historic Ivoryton Playhouse, takes place on Thursday, Sept. 15, and features one of the world’s most popular musicals, Man of La Mancha, starring Connecticut’s own David Pittsinger.

One of the world’s most popular musicals, Man of La Mancha, the “Impossible Dream” musical, is based on Cervantes’ masterpiece Don Quixote, and tells of the adventures of a mad, aging nobleman who embarrasses his respectable family by his adventures. At times both inspiring and thought provoking, the story is both very entertaining and moving, and will warm the heart of everyone whose spirits were ever raised by the prospect of a victory by the underdog against all the odds.

HOPE Partnership is a non-profit dedicated to educating, advocating and developing affordable workforce housing opportunities in Southern Middlesex County and the surrounding communities. The need for affordable housing for those who work in our community continues to be a challenge and HOPE looks for creative ways to meet this challenge.

HOPE is grateful for the support and sponsorship of:   Guilford Savings Bank & Liberty Bank, Shore Publishing, Bill & Mary Attridge, Tower Laboratories, The Clark Group, Connecticut Home Builders & Remodelers Association Charitable Foundation, Harding Development Group, First Niagara Foundation, Cloutier & Cassella LLC, Essex Savings Bank, David & Eunice Royston Family, Lorensen Enterprises, Thompson & Peck, St. Paul Lutheran Church, CT River Lumber, OSFD Charitable Fund, Common Sense EMS, Women’s Institute for Housing & Economic Development, Lenny & Joe’s, Londregan Real Estate, Saybrook Point Inn and Angelini Wines.

This year’s event will feature a pre-show cocktail party beginning at 6 p.m., sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank, with an abundance of hearty hors d’oeuvres on the theatre’s tented blue stone terrace. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and dessert will be served during intermission and following the show.

For tickets ($80) or to donate to HOPE, visit www.hope-ct.org or call (860) 388-9513.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Essex Winter Series Launches 40th Year with Gala Celebration, Sept. 17

The Argus Quartet

The Argus Quartet

ESSEX, CT – Essex Winter Series will celebrate 40 years of quality artistic presentations with a special Fenton Brown Emerging Artists Concerts, Plus! benefit event on Saturday, Sept. 17, at a private home in Essex. Proceeds from the event will support the Emerging Artists fund and community outreach programming.

Artistic Director Mihae Lee has planned a beautiful program at which she will perform on piano and will be joined by Series favorite, William Purvis (horn), as well as upcoming artists the Argus Quartet (strings), Aaron Plourde (trumpet), and Matthew Russo (trombone). Selections to be performed include Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, op. 74 no. 1; Fauré’s Pavane for horn and piano, op. 50; and three renaissance pieces for brass trio.

Through this fall fundraiser, grants, and individual contributions, Essex Winter Series is able to sustain its community outreach programming in which emerging artists perform for area schools and senior residences, and present a master class. Tickets for the Sept. 17 benefit and reception are $150 per person and may be purchased by calling the Essex Winter Series office at 860-272-4572.

Bringing world-class classical and jazz music to the shoreline area was the dream of the founders of the Essex Winter Series.  The late Fenton Brown became involved early on and devoted many years to expanding the series, and ultimately recruited pianist Mihae Lee to become Artistic Director.

The “Fenton Brown Emerging Artists Concert” series was begun to honor Brown’s commitment to promoting the careers of young artists.  Each year, the Essex Winter Series presents a series of concert performances by top-rated musicians from around the world – with each season including a mix of such performances as chamber music, instrumental soloists, opera singers, symphony and chamber orchestras, and jazz bands.

For additional information about the Sept. 17 benefit or the 2017 concert season, call 860-272-4572 or visit www.essexwinterseries.com.


Essex Library Hosts Presentation on “Black Holes,” Nov. 5

Professor Dr. Nikodem Poplawski

Professor Dr. Nikodem Poplawski

ESSEX — On Saturday, Nov. 5, at 1:30 p.m. the Essex Library will welcome University of New Haven’s Theoretical Physicist, who will present “Black holes and the origin of the Universe.”

Black holes are regions of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape because gravity is too strong. They form from the most massive stars or at the centers of galaxies. When the contracting matter in a black hole reaches extremely high densities, the quantum mechanical property of elementary particles called spin turns gravitational attraction into repulsion (torsion). The matter stops collapsing, undergoes a bounce like a compressed spring, and starts rapidly expanding. 

Extremely strong gravitational forces at the bounce cause an intense particle production, increasing the mass inside a black hole by many orders of magnitude. The region on the other side of the black hole’s event horizon becomes a new, growing universe. Accordingly, our own Universe may be the interior of a black hole existing in another universe, with the Big Bang being replaced by a Big Bounce.

Forbes Magazine has called Dr. Poplawski a potential future Einstein for his theory that every black hole is a doorway to another universe, one of the top 10 discoveries of 2010. Dr. Poplawski has appeared on television’s Discovery Channel and Science Channel.

This program is free and open to all. For more information or to register, call the Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.


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

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

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

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

Some other notable proposed increases include:

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

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

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

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

The comment period closes Sept. 15, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ivoryton Congregational Church Hosts Special Service, Oct. 30

The Ivoryton Congregational Church at 57 Main St. will hold a special worship service in celebration of Desmond Tutu on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 10 a.m.

The pastor is Rev. John Van Epps.   All are welcome.

On Sunday, Oct. 30, the Ivoryton Congregational Church will hold a special worship service reflecting on the Protestant Reformed Spirituality of Martin Luther and John Calvin.  It is Reformation Sunday.  All are welcome.   The pastor of the church is Rev. John Van Epps.

For more information on either service, call the church office at 860-767-1004.


CT River Museum Seeks Volunteer Actors for Halloween Production; Auditions, Sept. 7 & 12

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Museum is looking for a variety of volunteer actors to help launch a Halloween production on myths and legends of the Connecticut River Valley.  Auditions will take place on Sept. 7 and 12 between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. 

Available parts are for adults and children and include short seven-minute scenes and theatrical tour guides.  No prior acting experience is necessary.  Rehearsals will be held on Wednesday nights and run from Sept. 21 through Oct. 19 with a dress rehearsal and evening performances at the end of October.

For more information and to arrange an audition, call the Connecticut River Museum at 860-767-8269 x121 or visit it online at www.ctrivermuseum.org.   

The Connecticut River Museum is located in Essex, CT and is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. 


Master Clarinetist Teaches Technique Intensive at CMS, Oct. 29

Clarinetist Ken Lagace will lead a full day of workshops, Oct. 29.

Clarinetist Ken Lagace will lead a full day of workshops, Oct. 29.

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS) presents master clarinetist Ken Lagace, who will lead a full day of workshops on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., focusing on intermediate/advanced level clarinet technique on a wide range of topics.  The intensive will be hosted on CMS’s main campus in Centerbrook and will cost $95, with lunch included.  Call the Business Office at 860-767-0026 to register.

The morning session will include in-depth information on clarinet reeds, including how to select them, maintain them, fix them, properly play them, and even how to make them! The afternoon session will provide an introduction to Ken’s signature REALM method, which stands for Reed, Embouchure, Air, Ligature, and Mouthpiece.  This method teaches players to achieve an excellent sound with flexibility, range, control, and many other aspects of good clarinet performance.

Each session will be followed by a chance for the participants to experiment with their newly learned skills. During the final session, participants will be broken into two or more groups where they can apply their new techniques in a chamber ensemble setting, with feedback from Ken and other clarinet instructors.

Lagace received his Bachelor of Music degree at Hartt College of Music (CT) in 1960.  He studied with Keith Wilson at Yale in 1955, Bernard Portnoy in New York City from 1958 to 1960.  He served as a member of the US Coast Guard Band and studied with Kalmen Opperman in New York City from 1962 to 1966. He instructed at the Hartt College of Music (CT) from 1966 to 1987.

Under the tutelage of Kalmen Opperman, Lagace learned to make his own reeds and reface clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces which has become a skill he willingly shares with his peers.

He was a member of the Hartford (CT) Symphony Orchestra from 1966 to 1987 playing Assistant Principal Clarinet, Bass Clarinet and Eb Clarinet. He was Principal Clarinetist in the Hartford (CT) Chamber Orchestra from its inception until 1987.

His performances include many on TV and Radio, and at Lincoln Center (NYC) and Carnegie Hall (NYC) with the Hartford Symphony.  He also made a CD recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Hartford (CT) Chamber Orchestra in 1976.

In 1987 Lagace abandoned the clarinet to program computers and in 2008 after retiring, dusted off the clarinet and is enjoying being back in the clarinet world again.

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. School 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 st www.community-music-school.org or call (860) 767-0026.



Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series Hosts Seattle Architect Tom Bosworth, Oct. 28

An example of Tom Bosworth's architecture.

An example of Tom Bosworth’s architecture.

ESSEX — The Essex Library is honored to welcome Seattle architect, Tom Bosworth, FAIA, on Friday, Oct. 28at 7 p.m. as part of its Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series, which is in its ninth year. Bosworth, a gifted educator, architect, and speaker, will talk about designing his award-winning, unique homes. 

After graduating from Yale and working with Eero Saarinen in the 1960s, he moved to the Seattle area to teach at the University of Washington and opened a practice designing houses.  Over the following decades he became one of the most influential architects in the Pacific Northwest, whose designs reflect a sense of place and emphasize the use of natural light and the relationship of the building to the landscape. 

The spirit of his house designs is illustrated in his 2006 book ‘Building with Light in the Pacific Northwest’. 

The lecture is free and open to all. It will be held in ‘The Cube’ at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. in Centerbrook. 

For more information or to register, call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560.


Latest Beautification Phase of Bushnell St. Access Point Now Complete

View of the tree plantings.

View of the tree plantings at Bushnell Street Access Point.

ESSEX — The Essex Harbor Management Commission recently completed its latest phase for the beautification of the Bushnell Street Access Point.  The current project removed an older, overgrown hedge row and replaced it with Arborvitae plantings. The old hedge proved to be problematic aesthetically and hindered keeping the area properly manicured.

The Commission wishes to thank the Town’s Tree Warden Augie Pampel, the Town’s Maintenance Department, and Acer Gardens for their assistance.

Over the past five years, the Commission has managed numerous improvements to the Bushnell Street Access Point, including the removal of older, diseased trees, strategic plantings to provide added privacy for its neighbors, the removal of abandoned small boats, an observation deck, and storage racks for the highly successful Small Vessel Storage Program.

These improvements have been made possible through Grants and Permits Fees from the Small Vessel Storage Program.

The Bushnell Street facility has become a popular launching area for kayakers and canoeists who utilize the protected waters of North Cove.  The Access Point is available for all to use and provides ample parking.


CT River Museum Offers ‘Haunted River: Ghostly Tales’ Production, Oct. 28 & 29

The Haunted River cast rehearses scene 5 at the Connecticut River Museum. Photo by Jeffrey Farrell.

The Haunted River cast rehearses scene 5 at the Connecticut River Museum. Photo by Jeffrey Farrell.

ESSEX — Don’t be scared…too much!  Phantoms, Captain Kidd, and unexplainable phenomena are just a few of the things lurking in the shadows at the Connecticut River Museum (CRM) this October.

Haunted River is a theatrical production that will take place over two nights on Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016.  Exploring the history and folklore of the Connecticut River Valley, the pilot production will incorporate nearly two years of folklore research.  This research was conducted by Museum staff and resident folklorist Dr. Stephen Olbrys Gencarella of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as part of the Connecticut River Myths and Legends Project.

As Dr. Gencarella wrote, the “Valley has been a location for storytelling and the source of myths and legends since the first people arrived.”  These stories are often told to entertain, educate, and create a common identity for people.  Sometimes they have involved the macabre, such as grisly murders or accidents like the 1833 explosion of the steamer New England which took place in Essex harbor.  Other times, they help to explain the unexplainable such as the weird rumblings under Moodus, diseases like tuberculosis that were blamed on vampires, or mysterious objects in the River that became sea serpents.

The progressive five-scene, 50-minute tour will depart from the Museum’s Lay House property every 20 minutes between the hours of 6 and 8:40 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 29.  A ‘River Spirit’ will be called upon to guide visitors safely from scene to scene while they share their own dark and mysterious tale. 

A highlight of the tour will be a special shadow puppet show designed and performed by New London’s Flock Theatre.  While the story is not being divulged, the Museum’s executive director Christopher Dobbs stated that “Flock Theatre are masters of puppetry.  The mystery and ambiguity of many Valley legends lend themselves to this shadowy art form.”

The Connecticut River Myths and Legends Project has been made possible through the generous support of the Connecticut Humanities.  It is the first time that the entire Valley’s folklore has been strategically collected and documented.  Much of the research will appear in an exhibit due to open in 2018 at CRM before it moves to traveling locations that include the Hartford Public Library and the Vermont Historical Society.  The original shadow puppet show has also been supported by the Connecticut Humanities and will be incorporated into the future exhibit and into a much larger production. 

For more information on the Project or to contribute a story, visit www.ctrivermythsandlegends.org

Tickets to Haunted River are extremely limited and should be booked in advance by going online to www.ctrivermuseum.org or calling the museum at 860-767-8269.  Prices for the show are $13 for adults and $9 for youth (ages 7 to 12).  The program is not recommended for children under 7.  Museum members will be given a chance to buy tickets before they are available to the general public.

The Connecticut River Museum is dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is from 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. 


Last Chance to see ‘RENT’ at Ivoryton Playhouse This Afternoon

IVORYTON —  Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical RENT opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Wednesday, Aug. 3, running until Aug. 28.

Johnny Newcomb* as Roger and Alyssa Gomez* as Mimi Marquez in 'Rent' at Ivoryton Playhouse opening Aug. 3.

Johnny Newcomb* as Roger and Alyssa Gomez* as Mimi Marquez in ‘Rent’ at Ivoryton Playhouse opening Aug. 3.

Loosely based on Puccini’s opera, La Boheme, RENT details one year in the life of seven artists and musicians, living in New York’s run down “Alphabet City” in the late 1980s.  As this circle of friends struggle with life, love, infidelity, and the usual hopes & fears of modern day life, they must also cope with drug addiction and the rising specter of AIDS.  In the midst of all this, one of them attempts to capture all of their lives on film, hoping to make artistic sense of it all.

Jonathan Larson died in 1996, the day before his musical opened in New York. He never witnessed its phenomenal success. RENT opened on Broadway on April 29, 1996. It went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

RENT closed after 5,124 performances and is the seventh longest running show in Broadway history.  Over the course of its groundbreaking 12-year New York run, RENT transformed the definition of musical theater – and changed Broadway forever.  The musical has been translated into every major language and been performed on six continents.

The Ivoryton Playhouse welcomes back returning actors Jamal Shuriah*, Sheniquah Trotman*, Collin Howard*, Tim Russell and Grant Benedict as well as Johnny Newcomb*, Alyssa Gomez*, Patrick Clanton*, Jonny Cortes, Maritza Bostic, Stephanie Genito, Ronnie S. Bowman, Jr, Mac Cherny, Sandra Lee, Josephine Gottfried

This production is directed by Ivoryton Playhouse Artistic / Executive Director Jacqueline Hubbard and is choreographed by Todd Underwood.  Musical director is Michael Morris, with set design by Martin Scott Marchitto, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Lisa Bebey.

After Larson’s death and the amazing success of his musical, his friends wanted to honor his commitment to his community of people whose lives are a daily struggle for survival. They set aside the first two rows at each performance as $20 seats so that the people the show was about could afford to see it. These special tickets would go on sale at 6 p.m. each night and the line usually formed by noon on weekdays and often 24 hours in advance on weekends. In honor of Jonathan Larson and the community that we serve, the Ivoryton Playhouse will save 20 seats for every performance at a $25 price. Those seats will be available after 6 p.m. every show day.

If you are interested in helping support this program or our Little Wonder program that provides a free night at the theatre for patients and their families dealing with the nightmare of cancer, please give Krista a call at 860 767 9520 ext 205.

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.  Due to popular demand, two additional Saturday matinee performances have been added on Aug. 20 and 27 – both at 2 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

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

*denotes member of Actors Equity