March 29, 2017

Gephard Presents Lecture on ‘Shad of the Connecticut River’ at CT River Museum Tomorrow

Shad Fisherman Admiring Their Catch, early 20th century photograph, Connecticut River Museum collection.

ESSEX — The return of the shad signals spring in the Connecticut River Valley and the Connecticut River Museum is ready – hosting a new temporary exhibit that honors Connecticut’s Founding Fish.

Why is this bony fish so special to the River Valley? It has been an important food source for inhabitants along the River, starting with Native Americans and continuing throughout history. Ingenious methods of capturing the fish have been created over the years – from weirs and fish pounds, to specialized netting techniques done in the dead of night – shadding developed its own kind of folk culture.  Once caught, the fish had to be expertly boned before being sold locally in fish markets or shad shacks.

American Shad, wood carving by Timothy Eastland, Connecticut River Museum collection.

A ritual of spring, many communities organized a shad bake before the season ended; a large communal dinner of planked shad baked before an open fire. Other communities, such as Windsor, Connecticut, developed a fishing derby around the shad season, enticing sportsmen to compete for cash and prizes.

The exhibit, Connecticut’s Founding Fish examines the material and folk culture surrounding the return of the shad to the Connecticut River. Using paintings, prints, maps, tools, ceremonial objects and photographs, the exhibit will explore the natural and cultural history of shad in our region.

In addition to the exhibit, the Connecticut River Museum will be offering programs related to shad.  On March 30, at 5:30 pm Steve Gephard will present a lecture, Shad of the CT River at the Museum.  Also, on June 3, the Museum will partner with the Rotary Club of Essex on the Essex Annual Shad Bake held at the Museum.

The exhibition is on view through July 31, 2017.

The Connecticut River Museum 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.  For more information on the exhibit and related programs please contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or visit the website, ctrivermuseum.org.

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Essex Seeks Public Input on Town’s Housing Needs, Invites Readers to Complete Survey

ESSEX — Many Connecticut municipalities are devoting attention to whether they have the right mix of housing choices. Longtime residents are interested in downsizing out of larger single-family homes, adult children would like to return to town after college, and many businesses are looking for housing nearby for their workforce at prices that are attainable.

The Essex Planning Commission, which recently completed an update to the comprehensive Essex Plan of Conservation and Development, has a special interest in housing in the Town of Essex. The Commission believes that a wider array of housing opportunities will be important to maintaining Essex’s special vibrancy and competitiveness as a residential community.

Along with the Board of Selectmen, Economic Development Commission, and Essex Housing Authority, the Planning Commission is interested in the public’s perspective of Essex’s housing situation.

Readers are therefore invited to take this brief survey to help these boards and commissions understand your perspective, address your interests and concerns, and ensure that your views help share any efforts the Town may undertake in this area.  The link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EssexHousing and readers can also find it on the Town of Essex website at www.essexct.gov under News and Announcements.

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CT River Artisans Co-op Hosts Open House for Artists

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Artisans Co-op is hosting an Open House for artists on Sunday March 26, from 1 to 3 p.m.

 If you are a Connecticut artist and looking for a new venue to showcase your work, the Co-op could be it.  Located in Essex, Conn., the Connecticut River Artisans Co-op is a well-known tourist attraction and shopper’s destination.

Established in 1980, this Co-op believes it is the oldest Co-op in the state.  Stop in, enjoy the refreshments, chat with one of our artists and find out what they are all about.  Compare the advantages of belonging to a Co-op verses consigning your work or selling at shows.  Bring your portfolio, pictures or samples of your work as jurying will take place that day.

The Co-op is looking for all handcrafted, art inspired work.  Items must be quality originals made by the artists.  No imports, wholesalers or reps.  There will be no jurying of jewelry, candles or soaps at this time.

Call CT River Artisans at 860 767 5457 or Gay Petruzzi Ritter 860 578 9595 with any questions.

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Essex Library Presents ‘The Interactions Between Stars and Their Planets’ Tomorrow with Dr. Wilson Cauley

Wesleyan Post-Doctoral Astronomy Researcher Dr. Wilson Cauley

ESSEX — “Are we alone?”

Recent headlines from NASA confirm scientists’ discovery of the existence of three planets firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. We now know of thousands of planets around stars other than our Sun.

These extra-solar planets, or exoplanets, are highly diverse and exist in almost every conceivable form. In order to fully understand these exciting objects, we also have to learn about the stars they orbit and how the stars can impact the evolution of their exoplanet satellites.

On Saturday, March 25, at 1:30 p.m. at the Essex Library, Wesleyan postdoctoral researcher in astronomy, Wilson Cauley will talk about this relationship for a variety of different types of exoplanetary systems, including what these interactions imply for exoplanet atmospheres and the potential for life to thrive on these alien worlds.

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

 

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Tri-Town Youth Services Hosts Mother-Daughter Night Out, Tuesday

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services invites local 5th grade girls and their mothers or caregivers to attend a special program with Health Educator, Patty Cournoyer on Tuesday, March 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the John Winthrop Middle School Library.

One of Tri-Town’s most popular programs, “Getting Ready for the Change,” gives mothers and daughters an opportunity to talk about all of the changes that take place as the girls become young women.  Cournoyer will facilitate a fun, informative, interactive and sometimes humorous discussion about puberty.  She will create a safe, comfortable environment and give moms and daughters ideas to help them keep talking to one another, even when it’s a little uncomfortable.

The program fee is $25 per mother-daughter pair and space is limited to 12 pairs.  Call 860-526-3600 to reserve your spot or register online at  www.tritownys.org.

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Celebrating her 99th, Mary Vidbergs is Justifiably ‘Queen for a Day’

Happy 99th birthday, Mary !

It may have been one of the coldest days of the year last Sunday, March 12, but nothing was going to stop Mary Vidbergs’ family from celebrating the long-time Essex resident’s 99th birthday in style.

Mary arrived around 11 a.m. at the top of Main Street and was promptly presented with a large bouquet and ‘crowned’ with a tiara.

The family — some of whom braved the bone-chilling temperatures in lederhosen — had planned a surprise for Mary, which involved driving her from the top of Main Street in a horse-drawn carriage down to the Griswold Inn.

Dr. John Pfeiffer of Old Lyme (third from right, front row, in the photo above), who is Mary’s son-in-law as well as Old Lyme’s Town Historian, is well-known for his penchant for wearing shorts in all weathers around town!

She may be 99, but Mary was determined to enjoy the view from her carriage!

Despite the sub-zero temperatures, Mary smiled continuously through the whole adventure and insisted at the end of her ride on thanking the horses for their labors.

An ever-cheerful Mary waved goodbye to the crowd before entering the Griswold Inn where all her family joined her for what we’re sure was a wonderful family party.

Happy 99th, Mary, from all your friends at ValleyNewsNow.com — we’re looking forward to your 100th already!

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Community Music School Announces Pacheco-O’Donnell as Greenleaf Music Award Winner

Santiago Pacheco-O’Donnell

CENTERBROOK — The selection committee for the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund of Community Music School (CMS) has chosen guitarist, vocalist, and pianist as the recipient of the Spring 2017 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.

The award is for a semester of private lessons at Community Music School in Centerbrook and Santiago has chosen to study guitar with CMS’s guitar instructor, John Birt.

An Honor Freshman of Xavier High School, Santiago received his first guitar from his grandmother when he finished first grade, and he’s been playing unstoppably since then. He has attended CMS since 2012, as a guitar student of John Birt for the last four years.

He also studies piano and voice with Greta Moorhead and recently joined the Jazz Ensemble with Tom Briggs. His favorite band is The Beatles.

Outside of CMS, he has played in musicals at St John School in Old Saybrook, performing as a solo singer in last year’s performance. Aside from music, he enjoys soccer, basketball, and archery. Santiago is also an avid photographer and has received many awards at the Chester Fair.

Last summer he volunteered in the children’s section of the Essex Public Library and has been a big supporter of the Valley Shore YMCA’s Community Garden which provides vegetables for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

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. 

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Rep. Bob Siegrist Holds Workshop Monday to Learn How to Lower Your Electric Bill

Rep. Bob Siegrist

AREAWIDE  — The public is invited to meet with State Rep. Bob Siegrist (R-36th) and rate specialists from the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) for an informative workshop to learn how to lower your electric bill on Monday, March 20 at the Deep River Public Library located at 150 Main St., Deep River.

The event will run from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

All interested residents are encouraged to attend and to bring a recent copy of their electric bill.

Rate specialists from PURA will be on hand to lead the event and assist with questions.

Rep. Siegrist (Robert.Siegrist@housegop.ct.gov) represents Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.  He can be reached at 800 842 1423  or on the web at www.RepSiegrist.com.

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Nancy Ballek Mackinnon Presents ‘What’s New? Trends in the Gardening World’ Tonight at Essex Library

Nancy Ballek Mackinnon

ESSEX — ‘Edible, Native, & Sustainable’ are the three themes that keep recurring in the 2017 gardening narrative. On Thursday, March 16at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library, Nancy will discuss these and other trends in garden design and horticulture. Explore new and old varieties for beautiful and productive gardens. This event is co-sponsored with the Essex Garden Club.

Nancy Ballek Mackinnon is a partner in Ballek’s Garden Center in East Haddam, Conn., located on a farm that has been in the family since 1662. Her first three credits in horticulture were earned on a trip to Scandinavia in 1974, with her mother Anita, learning innovative methods at nurseries and municipal gardens. She received a degree in environmental horticulture and landscape design from the University of Connecticut graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1978, and joined Ballek’s Garden Center soon after.

The family’s eclectic and wide-ranging horticultural interests are reflected in her selection of products for sale, everything from garden statuary to thousands of species of annuals and perennials.

Ballek Mackinnon is the author of the “The Gardener’s Book of Charts, Tables & Lists: A Complete Gardening Guide” created to make it easier for horticulturists to select the right plant for the right place.

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

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Environmental Symposium Examines “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” March 31 in Haddam

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will deliver the keynote address at the March 31 symposium.

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation and UConn Climate Adaptation Academy present an environmental symposium about changing precipitation patterns on Friday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UConn Middlesex County Extension Office, 1066 Saybrook Road, Haddam.

The focus is “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” and the symposium will examine shifting patterns that produce extreme weather occurrences from rain bombs to drought. Discussion will include the impacts on communities and a variety of adaptive responses for municipalities, residents, and businesses.

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will give a keynote address “Examining Trends in Temperature, Precipitation and Flood Frequency in the Northeast; A Tale of Extremes.”

Other presenters and panelists will discuss the effects on our personal lives and the communities we live in, including the challenges of managing infrastructure, maintaining adequate water supplies, supporting local agriculture, fighting insect borne disease, and planning for smart design. Participants include:

  • Amanda Ryan, Municipal Stormwater Educator, UConn CLEAR and Michael Dietz, CT NEMO Program Director – Addressing how the type and frequency of storms affects compliance with MS4 requirements and the effectiveness of LID solutions.
  • David Radka, Director of Water Resource and Planning, Connecticut Water Company and Ryan Tetreault, CT Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section – Discussion of public and private water supplies with a focus on how we ensure sufficient clean water for all.
  • Ian Gibson, Farm Manager, Wellstone Farm – Relating the local agricultural experience of a small farmer and how changing precipitation patterns alter the way he farms.
  • Roger Wolfe, Mosquito Management Coordinator, CT DEEP Wetland Habitat & Mosquito Management Program – How best to control changes in mosquito populations caused by heavy rains and periods of drought.
  • Anne Penniman, ASLA, Principal/Owner, Anne Penniman Associates – Insight on how site development (plant material, surface material, drainage) can be modified to better tolerate and accommodate changing precipitation patterns.
  • Kirk Westphal, PE, CDM Smith Project Manager for CT State Water Plan – An update on the development of Connecticut’s first State Water Plan and how citizens can participate in the process.

“The symposium will be of key interest to local elected and appointed officials, land use planners, developers, and town planning and commission members,” said Robin Andreoli, executive director of the Rockfall Foundation. “And the presentations and follow-up discussions should engage all who are concerned with effective community planning.”

To register or for additional information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340. Support is provided in part by CDM Smith, Xenelis Construction, Milone & MacBroom, and Planimetrics. Proceeds benefit the environmental education programs of the Rockfall Foundation.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through financial grants and educational programming. Founded in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation owns and maintains the historic deKoven House in Middletown, which is a community center with meeting rooms and office space for non-profit groups.

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Winter Storm Stella

First snow plow of the day … there surely will be many more.

Winter Storm Stella is here.

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency meaning a statewide travel ban is in effect. Region 4 Schools, Essex, Chester and Deep River Schools, Town Halls and Libraries, and many businesses from the size of Pfizer, Inc. downwards are closed.  Events galore have been cancelled and a parking ban is in effect on all town roads in Essex from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. today.

In the event of a real emergency, call 911.  

State and local officials urge residents to stay off the roads during the storm … and stay safe.

Latest weather reports, however, predict Southeastern Connecticut will not now experience the brunt of the storm with the snow turning first to sleet and then rain later this morning.

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Ivoryton Library Hosts Immigration Exhibition This Afternoon

This photo shows a Comstock, Cheney & Co. recruiter with newly arrived immigrants at Ellis Island c. 1890.

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Library presents Immigration: A Tiny Town’s Bonanza on Sunday, March 12, from 3 to 5 p.m. This is the latest exhibit in the series An Intimate History of Ivoryton and will showcase the growth of our village on the strength of the immigrants who came to work at Comstock, Cheney and Co. between 1890 and 1915.

Photographs and other materials will be on display.

Have you been interested in looking into your own background? There will be ongoing demonstrations of ancestry.com and an opportunity to ask questions about the service.

Is your family a part of Ivoryton’s story? Come and share your memories. If you have photographs or other memorabilia that you would like to include in this exhibit as either a donation or a loan, contact Elizabeth Alvord at the library at 860-767-1252 or by email at ealvord@ivoryton.com.

The Ivoryton Library is located at 106 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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See a ‘Lincoln Center Local’ Screening of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ Ballet at Essex Library Today

Maria Kochetkova in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet. (© Erik Tomasson)

ESSEX — On Saturday, March 11, at 1:30 p.m. the Essex Library will host the Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance screening of San Francisco Ballet: Romeo & Juliet recorded at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco on May 7, 2015.

With its passionate choreography, spine-tingling swordsmanship, and celebrated score by Sergei Prokofiev, this colorful and emotional retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has packed houses around the world. Helgi Tomasson’s bravura interpretation of the Bard’s greatest tragedy “lifts Shakespeare’s complex and familiar language off the gilded pages and translates it into lucid classical choreography that is visceral, fresh, and ultimately sublime.” (Huffington Post.)

This Lincoln Center Local screening program is generously funded through the support from the Oak Foundation and The Altman Foundation.

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

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Middlesex Hospital to Present Future Plans for Vacant Essex Hospital Site at Wednesday’s BOS Meeting

The site on Plains Rd. in Essex where the former Shoreline Medical Center was located.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.


ESSEX —
Middlesex Hospital, which owns the currently vacant buildings and site on Westbrook Rd. in Essex where its Shoreline Medical Center was previously located, will present future plans for the site at the Essex Board of Selectmen’s meeting scheduled to be held March 15, at Essex Town Hall. The meeting will be begin at 7 p.m., and is open to the public.

David Giuffrida, PE, Vice President of Operations at Middlesex Hospital and Laura Martino, Vice President of Marketing, Development & Community Programs at Middlesex Hospital, have requested an opportunity to present the hospital’s future plans for the site at the meeting, notes Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman.
The original Shoreline Medical Center on Westbrook Rd. in Essex was closed when the hospital opened the new Shoreline Medical Center on Flat Rock Place in Westbrook in 2014.
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‘Save the Monarchs!’ Learn How to Plant a Butterfly Habitat Garden, Monday

Nancy DuBrule-Clemente

ESSEX — The Essex Garden Club and the Essex Land Trust are sponsoring an Open Program titled “Save the Monarch!” on Monday, March 6, at 2 p.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 14 Prospect Street, Essex.  Come and learn about their fascinating life cycle and what you can do to encourage their continued survival by planting butterfly habitat gardens.

The presentation will be by Nancy DuBrule-Clemente of Natureworks Horticultural Services, an organic garden center and landscape service. Nancy and her crew have become Monarch experts.

DuBrule-Clemente is the owner of Natureworks Horticultural Services, an organic garden center, landscape design, consultation, installation and maintenance service in Northford, CT.

Started in 1983, the Natureworks crews and retail store have sold and used only organic fertilizers and pest control products since the business began.  Education is the primary focus of Natureworks. Emails, handouts, website, social media posts and web videos, articles for local newspapers and magazines, talks to groups and radio interviews all combine to spread the word about organic and sustainable practices.

DuBrule-Clemente graduated from the Ratcliffe Hicks School of the University of Connecticut with a degree in Floriculture. She is the coauthor (with Marny Smith) of A Country Garden for your Backyard, published by Rodale Press in 1995. She is the author of Succession of Bloom in the Perennial Garden, self-published in 2004, is a former board member and past president of NOFA/CT and is currently on the board of the CT Nurserymen’s Foundation.

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Letter From Paris: Another Presidential Race, But French-Style This Time, Filled With Pride, Passion, Power, Intrigue

Nicole Prévost Logan

The presidential campaign in France is undergoing a series of twists and turns, often spectacular, sometimes violent.  Traditional politics are going through a crisis and may come out rejuvenated from the turmoil.  The rest of Europe is watching the developments with anxiety because its future is at stake.

By the end of February, five candidates were still in the race: François Fillon, winner of the right wing primary and candidate of Les Republicains or LR (The Republicans), Benoit Hamon, who won the Socialist primary, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, gauche de la gauche (far left), Marine Le Pen, president of the ultra right wing Front National (National Front) and Emmanuel Macron, independent, and head of the party he named, En Marche! (Let’s go!)

And then there were five … from left to right, the candidates still running in the French Presidential election are Jean-Luc Melenchon, Benoît Hamon, Emmanuel Macron, François Fillon and Marine Le Pen.

“Penelopegate” has been covered with glee by the media around the world.  It all started with the suspicion that François Fillon had been paying his British wife Penelope for fictitious jobs as his ’employee’ for more than two decades.  Until the three independent investigating judges have determined whether she did work or not, Fillon is presumed innocent.  But whatever they find, the damage has been done to the candidate, who had run on the ticket of a man of integrity.

Actually Fillon is not entirely to blame, he is just a product of the system. The main problem in France is the opaque system of generous perks granted the legislators.  A deputy receives about 13,000 euros monthly (base salary and allowances) and an “envlop”of 9,100 euros to pay for a maximum of five assistants parlementaires (parliamentary assistants).  The British receive twice as much and the Germans 130 percent more.  Members of the US Congress receive 10 times that amount and are allowed a staff of 18 people.  By hiring his wife and two children,  Fillon was using the privilege of nepotism to the hilt, which is increasingly unacceptable to public opinion.

He appeared even more blatantly as a member of a privileged caste when answering questions on the media. His defense strategy went through several stages.  At first he appeared arrogant, bristling at any questioning of his entitlement and of his wife’s right to work (with the tax-payer’s money).  Second stage: “I offer my apologies but I have done nothing wrong.” Third : “I am the victim of a conspiracy intended to destabilize my campaign ” . Fourth: “only Bercy (where the ministry of finances is located) can be the source of all the accusations.” His last resort was to ask his lawyers to discredit the financial prosecutor as not being competent to handle the case.

Marine Le Pen is in more trouble with justice than Fillon and has a number of pending lawsuits against her. She is clever enough to uses this situation to reinforce the admiration of her unshakable supporters.  She is being sued for using the European parliament’s budget to pay her assistants parlementaires who should be working in Strasbourg, not in Paris.   Her other cases include fraud linked to misappropriations of funds during electoral campaigns.

In a recent three-hour-long TV talk show, she displayed her skills as a sharp, articulate and smooth speaker.  Answering questions fired at her from all sides.  Winning arguments was no problem for her.  It is hard to understand how she manages to appeal so easily to people with her populist ideas while omitting to point out the financial and economic disastrous consequences her program would have for France.

The conditions were now favorable – the right and far right candidates being embroiled with justice, a divided socialist party not likely for the first time since 1974 to reach the final ballots – for Emmanuel Macron to continue his meteoric ascent.  And he is using that open road with passion.  On Feb. 22, he accepted with enthusiasm the offer of a coalition from the president of the centrist MoDem (democratic movement).  This was a perfect fit between François Bayrou, a politically-wise older man, and Macron, a 39-year-old, brilliant, highly educated, former minister of  finances and economy, although never elected.  Bayrou declared, “My priority will be to guarantee the moralization of French politics,” a promise which could not be more topical.

Macron’s style is very different from the  other French politicians.  He smiles a lot and is warm and friendly.  The project he just laid out is not harsh and does not sound like a punishment. For a man as young as he is, what he proposes is surprisingly down to earth and realistic.  His priority is to modernize the system, simplify the  regulations, and decentralize the decision process.  He introduces many innovating measures, which may go against the entrenched privileges of some French.

He is counting on the suppression of 120,000 posts of civil servants to reach his goal of a 60 billions economy.  Nothing like the choc therapy proposed by Fillon to eliminate 500,000 posts.

As a good economist, he has two sound proposals: one is to lower corporate taxes from 33.3 percent to 25 percent to be in sync  with the average European rates.  Another proposal  makes a great deal of sense: stop penalizing people for making investments.  By lowering high taxes on their capital, the French may stop hiding their savings under their mattresses.

To tackle the endemic French unemployment, he intends to make sure that the allowances are linked to the efforts demonstrated by job seekers to find a job. 

Macron unveiled his project to an audience of 400 journalists on March 2.  The other candidates were very quick to pull his project to shreds.  Vicious messages circulated in the social networks trying to demolish him, particularly for having worked for the Rothschild bank. No French president has ever been able to carry out even a small portion of Macron’s proposed  reforms.  The fight will be ruthless.

Fillon’s situation is becoming more unsustainable by the hour.  An indictment is probable. A growing number of his team have jumped ship.  He is determined not to quit the race.  The name of Alain Juppe, who came second in the primary, is being mentioned as a substitute.

Only 50 more days until the first round of elections on April 23, and still no way out of the crisis — probably one of the worst France has ever lived through.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

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

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Festival of Women’s Plays Continues Tonight at Ivoryton Playhouse

IVORYTON:  The Ivoryton Playhouse announces the 2017 inaugural festival of the Women Playwrights Initiative –  Four One Acts by Four Fabulous Women Playwrights. Two evenings of staged readings will take place on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4, at The Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT, followed by discussions with playwrights, actors and directors.

Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m.

There will be two readings presented:

Guenevere by Susan Cinoman. Teenagers, Guenevere and Arthur, are best friends–a fierce competitor, she always bests him in sword fights. What will be the outcome when confronted with Excalibur in the stone?

Apple Season by Ellen Lewis. To make arrangements for her father’s funeral, Lissie returns to the family farm she and her brother fled 26 years before. Billy, a neighbor and school friend, comes by with an offer to buy the farm. As memories, needs, and passions are stirred, we learn what happened to the siblings as children, and of Lissie’s startling price for the farm.

Saturday, March 4, at 7 p.m.

There will be a further two readings presented:

Buck Naked by Gloria Bond Clunie. Two daughters are thrown into a tizzy when they discover Lily, their 60-plus-year-old mother, has decided to spice up life by tending her back yard garden – “au naturel”!

Intake by Margo Lasher. An arrogant young psychiatrist meets an 80-year-old woman for what he assumes will be a routine examination. During the course of their relationship, he comes to realize how little he knows, and as she reveals her deep love and understanding of her two aging dogs, both doctor and patient learn about life, love, and hope.

Before the performance on Saturday at 5 p.m., the League of Professional Theatre Women will host a panel discussion with the playwrights, moderated by Shellen Lubin, followed by refreshments before the 7 p.m. readings.  If you would like to attend the pre-reading discussion, you must register by Feb. 26, at this link.

To purchase tickets for the Friday, March 3, or Saturday, March 4, readings – each starts at 7 p.m. – call 860.767.7318 or visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Tickets:  $20 adult each night; $15 senior each night; $10 student and LPTW members.

A special two-day pass (tickets for Friday and Saturday night performances for $30) is being offered.  Call the box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your two-day pass.

The Ivoryton Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT  06442.

For more information about the Women Playwrights Initiative, contact Laura Copland, Director of New Play Development, at laurac@ivorytonplayhouse.org.

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Essex Meadows Named One of Best Retirement Homes in Nation by US News & World Report

ESSEX – Essex Meadows Health Center, part of the continuum of Essex Meadows Life Care Community, is celebrating an 8th consecutive year of being rated as one of the top health services and skilled nursing providers in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Essex Meadows Health Center scored a 5-Star rating on all points of the survey, one of the most trusted in the country. Based on the scoring criteria, the center rated in the top 13 percent of skilled nursing and senior health care providers across the nation.

“We’re extremely humbled and honored by this distinction,” said associate executive director Kathleen Dess. “Our residents can go on knowing they live in one of the best retirement environments nationwide, and our team members can enjoy some well-deserved recognition for the work they do each day.”

The work Dess refers to has included Essex Meadows Health Center leading the way on an innovative program known as Reading 2 Connect, which has shown proven results in the area of helping those with various forms of dementia continue to enjoy a passion for reading.

Additionally, the community has been involved in programs like the Audubon’s Bird Tales, allowing them to make use of the nearly 1,000-acre preserve located nearby, and the Music and Memory program for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“The 5-Star rating is really about getting things right for our residents in every aspect of quality living,” said Dess. “From providing unparalleled food quality in our dining room to the short-term rehab we offer, our team members are truly among the best in the field of senior living.”

The U.S. News and World Report ratings are based on information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Editor’s Note: Since 1988, Essex Meadows has provided a lifestyle of dignity, freedom, independence and security to older adults from Connecticut and beyond. A community offering full life care, Essex Meadows, located conveniently on the Connecticut River near the mouth of Long Island Sound, prides itself on a financially responsible and caring atmosphere. Essex Meadows is managed by Life Care Services®™, a leading provider in life care, retirement living. For more information on Essex Meadows, visit the community’s website or call 860-767-7201.

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Ivoryton Library Hosts Fundraising Trivia Night Tonight at Centerbrook Meetinghouse

IVORYTON — Clear your calendars for Saturday, March 4, for an exciting Trivia Night, a fundraiser for the Ivoryton Library. Hosted by the folks at What Trivia!, this is a fun show to be held at the historic Centerbrook Meetinghouse.

An ideal way to stay warm on a March winter night and be with your friends, make a couple of new friends, and get some mileage from your stock of trivia, this event is completely interactive. Are you a walking library of trivia? Do you have random pieces of knowledge that have lodged themselves in your brain, just waiting to be unearthed? This is your opportunity to make all that useless stuff you know work for you. There’s something for everyone: the artistic crowd, the creative media types, the scholarly, the sports minded, and the rest of you guys.

Teams are made up of four to eight people so sign up as soon as possible as a team, or even as a single. Answers aren’t blurted out, they’re written down and if you don’t know an answer, best scenario is to guess. Points are awarded, wagered and, perhaps, lost. Lots of very interesting prizes will be awarded.

There will a cash bar and light fare for $25 a head, ahead of time, and $30 at the door. The fun stuff starts at 7:00pm, see you there!

For more information, visit www.ivoryton.com or call the Ivoryton
Library at 860 767-1252.

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Author Talk with Yale Professor Dr. Paul Freedman on ‘Ten Restaurants That Changed America,’ Monday

ESSEX — From Delmonico’s to Sylvia’s to Chez Panisse, a daring and original history of dining out in America as told through 10 legendary restaurants. Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ‘s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself.

Paul Freedman, the Chester D Tripp Professor of History at Yale University, will give an illustrated talk at the Essex Library on Monday, March 6, at 5 p.m.

Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation.

Dr. Paul Freedman

Freedman also treats us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered mid-century, on-the-road dining, only to be swept aside by McDonald’s.

Lavishly designed with more than 100 photographs and images, including original menus, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a significant and highly entertaining social history. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing.

Professor Freedman specializes in medieval social history, the history of Catalonia, comparative studies of the peasantry, trade in luxury products, and the history of cuisine. Freedman earned his BA at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MLS from the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He received a Ph.D. in History at Berkeley in 1978. His doctoral work focused on medieval Catalonia and how the bishop and canons interacted with the powerful and weak elements of lay society in Vic, north of Barcelona. Freedman taught for 18 years at Vanderbilt University before joining the Yale faculty in 1997.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Essex Garden Club Offers Environment-Related Scholarship

ESSEX – The Essex Garden Club is pleased announce that applications are available for scholarships to be awarded in June, 2017.

To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must be:

  1. a resident of Essex, Centerbrook or Ivoryton, CT
  2. a high school senior or undergraduate/graduate college student
  3. have a “B” or better GPA
  4. be planning to pursue studies related to the environment in an accredited two-year or four-year institute of higher learning. Fields of study may include: Agriculture, Biology, Ecology, Horticulture, Forestry, Environmental Science and Engineering.  Closely related subjects may also apply: Land Conservation, Landscape Design, Nursery Management.

Application forms are available from Guidance Counselors at Valley Regional High School, or essexgardenclubct.org. The deadline for receipt of applications is April 24, 2017. For more information call 860-581-8206.

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Update From Essex Tree Warden on Gypsy Moths 2017

Gypsy moth caterpillars – photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES

AREAWIDE — The 2016 report on the gypsy moth from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) indicates the extent of the 2016 gypsy moth outbreak.  The heaviest outbreaks were concentrated in 4 eastern counties: Middlesex, New London, Windham and Tolland Counties.  CAES has published both a map and an updated fact sheet on their website at this link.

Those areas that suffered extensive defoliation in 2016 should expect a large hatch of caterpillars in 2017.  The egg masses in these areas are numerous and widespread.

As the caterpillars age and move into the later instars, they will defoliate the trees and shrubs, particularly oak trees, but also apple, birch, poplar and willow.  However, if there is enough rain this spring (May-June), the E. maimaiga fungus may be activated and provide complete control of the caterpillars. If the NPV virus spreads throughout the caterpillar population, the caterpillars may be killed as they become crowded.

The visible egg masses can be removed from accessible locations, drowned in a container of soapy water and disposed of safely.

Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden,  advises residents to stay vigilant, remove eggs masses if possible  and contact  local arborists to discuss alternative treatments as caterpillars reappear.

Pampel is also available for questions/concerns at: augiepampel@att.net.

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‘Stop Ageism Now!’ Forum Scheduled at Essex Library Tonight at 5:30pm

ESSEX — St. Luke’s Community Services, a non-profit in Middletown, is co-hosting a ‘Stop Ageism Now! forum’ at Essex Library this evening, Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

This open community conversation will look at ageism in terms of:

  • Prejudicial attitudes toward older people old age and/or the aging process;
  • Discriminatory practices against older people;
  • Institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about aging.

Ageism is an often overlooked barrier that exists across most communities in the U.S. Ageism puts unfair limitations on older adults’ abilities to live to their fullest potential and devalues them as individuals (Source: www.stopageismnow.org).

As part of the Middlesex County Gatekeeper Program mission to advocate for successful aging and independence, St. Luke’s is committed to building awareness, breaking down stereotypes and challenging attitudes to Stop Ageism Now.

In the upcoming months, the organization will campaign to Stop Ageism Now as well as in the coming years work to create a culture in Middlesex County whereby the life experiences and achievements of older individuals are celebrated. Their ultimate goal is to bring back the belief that aging is a natural part of life and not a problem to be solved.

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Enjoy Family Pasta Night at Ivoryton Congregational Church, April 29

IVORYTON — A Family Pasta Night will be held at The Ivoryton Congregational Church, 57 Main Street, Ivoryton on Saturday April 29, offering continuous servings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Admission prices are as follows: Adults: $10, Children 6-12: $5 and Under 5’s: Free

Reservations are recommended.

The menu is: ziti & meatballs, salad bar, garlic bread followed by dessert with coffee, tea, and water.

For reservations and further information, call Isobel @ 860-767-8167 or the Church Office @  860-767-1004

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Annual Pancake Supper Today at All Saint’s, Ivoryton, Benefits Refugee/Immigrant Organization

ESSEX — Because of the extraordinary challenges faced by refugees in the present climate, All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Ivoryton plans to dedicate the proceeds of its annual pancake supper, to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, to the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services of Connecticut (IRIS). This event is open to the general public and will take place at the Deep River Congregational Church, at 1 Church Street, Deep River, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Ashley Makar, the Director of Community Co-Sponsorship at IRIS and a graduate of Yale Divinity School, will speak about the organization’s work and the plight of refugees, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. followed by a pancake supper from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10.00 and can be obtained from area churches, Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe
Zedek, at the door, and online at https://pancakesuppertobenefitiris.eventbrite.com.

If you have questions about the event or would like to volunteer services, contact John Yrchik, chair of this event, at jyrchik@comcast.net.

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Sen. Linares Proposes Electoral College Vote for 2nd Congressional District

Sen. Art Linares gives testimony in the Connecticut Senate.

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) on Wednesday testified before the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee in support of a bill he proposed to give the 2nd Congressional District its own vote in the Electoral College.

SB 133, An Act Concerning The Electoral College Vote Attributed To The State’s Second Congressional District, was submitted by Sen. Linares as a way to give a voice and more visibility to the people and businesses of the 2ndCongressional District.

During his testimony, Sen. Linares said that while people know the Naval Submarine Base and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, other areas of the district don’t get much notice.

“Presidents and vice presidents are customary speakers at Academy graduations. Members of Congress tour the facility that is the United States Navy’s primary East Coast submarine base,” Sen. Linares said. “However, during presidential primary and election years, the Second Congressional District and its important facilities are passed by. I’d like to change that.”

Sen. Linares said his bill would use the popular vote in the district to determine what candidate would get the Electoral College vote from the district. In addition to possibly generating more interest from presidential candidates, he said the bill would give the 2nd Congressional District the attention the unique area deserves,

Senator Linares represents the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Earth2 Presents a WELLfed Event Tonight in Essex to Raise Funds to Build a Sustainable Well in Uganda

Villagers in Oculoi, Uganda, collect drinking water from an unsafe source. The WELLfed event being held Friday at Centerbrook Architects will change these people’s lives by funding a well to provide them for the first time with clean drinking water.

ESSEX — On Friday, Feb. 24, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Earth2 presents their fifth WELLfed fundraiser, at Centerbrook Architects & Planners at 67 Main St., Centerbrook, Conn. Guests will wander the tasting stations, learn about the nonprofit beneficiary and well-building partner, Call To Care Uganda, and add their artistic touch to a quilt gift that will travel to Africa.

In so doing, guests will let their kindness stretch across borders and fuel profound change, improve health and sanitation, inspire critical educational opportunities, and jumpstart the safety and empowerment of over 800 people of all ages in Oculoi Village in the Kaberamaido District in Uganda.

In-kind donors include venue sponsor Centerbrook Architects & Planners, A Thyme To Cook, Caseus, Black Hog Brewing Co., Coastal Cooking Co., Fresh Salt at The Saybrook Point Inn, RIPE Craft Bar Juices, Wright’s Steakhouse, J Cakes, La Cuisine Catering, Cafe SoL, rental sponsor Connecticut Rental Center, Earth2, Gourmet Galley, graphic designer Julie Clements-Reagan, La Belle Aurore, Savvy Tea, SKYY Vodka, Spice Catering Group, quilt sponsor The White Dress by the Shore, Zest Fresh Pastry, and more.

The brief program will include Centerbrook Architects partner Chad Floyd, Josh Chalmers (Earth2 CEO and WELLfed founder) and Martha Wells-Hoffman (Call To Care Uganda Executive Director and founder), who notes that “supplying a source of clean water to Oculoi gives the gift of life. The world doesn’t stand a chance without water. It is what is standing between a billion people and their health, safety and the opportunity to unlock their true potential!”

“Earth2’s mission statement is ‘Change the world before bedtime,’” says Chalmers, “and WELLfed brings that goal to life for our guests and empowers them to make an enormous change with a small-but-potent effort, all while eating, drinking and socializing with old and new friends. What we create in just two hours is immeasurable. Safe water means improved health, opportunities, and time for education – and the villages make a commitment to maintaining the wells for generations to come.”

Chalmers recently made a pledge to help build 100 wells by the end of 2020 and WELLfed is launching other fundraising challenges, including a WELLfed Fashion event in New York City, WELLfed WEDNESDAY restaurant day on March 22 in Boston in partnership with Summits Education to build a clean water system in Haiti, and other local and national initiatives and collaborations.

Event tickets are $75 per person, all-inclusive, with 100 percent of the ticket price going directly to the well build. Tickets and details are available at this link or by contacting Earth2 at Josh@earth2company.com.

If you cannot attend this event and want to support the dream, donation pledges can be arranged through the same contact email and fundraise.com link. You may also contact Chalmers with questions, for more information and photos, or to join the fun as a tasting station donor.

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Essex Historical Society Hosts Open House for Volunteers at Pratt House, April 23

Visit the beautiful grounds of the 1732 Pratt House, a landmark property of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Enjoy history?  Historic interiors?  Meeting new people?  Essex Historical Society cordially invites you to an Open House for Volunteers at the historic 1732 Pratt House on Sunday, April 23, from 2 to 4 p.m.  The event will be held at the Pratt House, 19 West Avenue, Essex.  A short presentation will occur at 2:30 p.m.

Pratt House’s volunteer tour guides or ‘docents’ lead engaging tours for visitors.

The Society would love to introduce you to their volunteer tour guide program or ‘docents’ that will lead to a rewarding experience for you and our history-loving audience.  Come meet their genial, well-informed guides for a private tour of this historic structure.  No experience is necessary and all training is provided.

The Pratt House has served as Essex’s only historic house museum for more than 6o years and serves as the flagship of Essex Historical Society.  The house tells the story of life in an early CT River seaport town through nine generations of one family, many of whom were blacksmiths.

Tours of the house are offered to the public from June – September, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 1 to 4 p.m.; and by appointment.  Beautiful grounds, newly restored kitchen gardens, a community garden, reproduction barn and museum shop make for a memorable visit to this historic landmark.

The Open House for Volunteers is open to the public.  Refreshments will be served

For more info, contact Mary Ann Pleva at 860-767-8560 or visit www.essexhistory.org

 

Captions for Photos:

 

Visit the beautiful grounds of the 1732 Pratt House, a landmark property of Essex Historical Society.

 

Pratt House’s volunteer tour guides or ‘docents’ lead engaging tours for visitors.

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Swing! Community Music School Hosts a Swingin’ Spring Benefit, April 22

Community Music School Gala supporters gather for this photo.

DEEP RIVER – Community Music School (CMS)’s largest annual fundraiser is the CMS Gala and this year will transport guests back to the 30’s and 40’s with Swing! A swingin’ spring benefit for CMS. The greatest hits of the swing era will be performed by faculty and students.

The event takes place on Saturday, April 22, in Deep River at The Lace Factory and includes a lively cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres and silent auction. The party continues with gourmet food stations prepared by Cloud Nine Catering, and fabulous musical entertainment provided by CMS faculty and students.

The eight-piece big band will spark up the dance floor with the great hits from the 30’s and 40’s swing era featuring the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and many more. The music program will feature the jazz expertise of the CMS faculty, along with student and faculty vocalists.

Featured vocal student performers include Courtney Parrish of Westbrook and Barbara Malinsky of Madison. Faculty performers include Joni Gage (vocals), Patricia Hurley (trumpet), Andy Sherwood (clarinet/tenor saxophone), Music Director Tom Briggs (piano), Kevin O’Neil (guitar), Andrew Janes (trombone) and Matthew McCauley (bass), with special guests Jake Epstein (alto saxophone) and Gary Ribchinsky (percussion and vocals).

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with a financial need, as well as weekly music education and music therapy services for students with special needs, and arts education through in-school presentations and community concerts.

Swing! A swingin’ spring benefit for CMS sponsors include Bogaert Construction, Great Hill Development, Guilford Savings Bank, Kitchings & Potter LLC, Maple Lane Farms, Tower Laboratories LTD, World Trading Leather, Angelini Wine LTD, The Clark Group, Ring’s End, Shore Publishing, Whelen Engineering, Thomas H. Alexa – Comprehensive Wealth Management, Brewer Pilots Point Marina, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Jackson Lewis, Madison Veterinary Hospital, Periodontics P.C., Reynolds Garage & Marine, The Safety Zone Tidal Counseling LLC.

Tickets for the evening are $125 per person ($65 is tax deductible). Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org/gala, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. 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.

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Site for New Housing Development Cleared on Plains Rd. in Essex

This machine is being used to clear the area on Plains Rd. in preparation for construction of new homes. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

ESSEX — Quite a while ago, the area pictured in the image above was the site of an active business — The Iron Chef — and many, many years before that, the site of a movie theater.  Now, after the long derelict area has finally been completely leveled by a huge machine (pictured above), the empty site awaits the construction of a new apartment complex.

The building site is just to the north of the Valley Railroad station.

Read a related article by Jerome Wilson titled, “Plains Rd. Development of 52 New Homes in Essex Scheduled to Begin … Finally,” published Jan. 12, 2017, on ValleyNewsNow.com.

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Essex Winter Series Presents Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band Today

Essex Winter Series Artistic Director Mihae Lee.

ESSEX — Known for its unique concerts of world-class talent and diversity, Essex Winter Series plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary year with a robust schedule for the winter months. The season-opener on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River is a musical tour de force led by Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee.

Lee has carefully curated a program featuring breathtaking music that spans over 600 years. She will be joined by audience favorites William Purvis, Patricia Schuman, Randall Hodgkinson, the Attacca Quartet, as well as emerging young artists.

The concert begins with a celebratory fanfare of Copland, then a high spirited string quartet by Haydn, wonderful cabaret songs and jazz ballads. The first half ends with the ultimate crowd-pleaser, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue arranged for piano four-hands and performed by Ms. Lee and Mr. Hodgkinson.

The second half begins with beautiful Renaissance music for brass, then an aria from the opera Carmen and the finale movement of Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor, both in a passionate gypsy style. The concert will end with a bang with hot jazz performed by Jeff Barnhart, Vince Giordano, Paul Midiri, Joe Midiri, and Jim Lawlor.

The season continues on Feb. 19 with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band performing a centennial celebration of recorded New Orleans Jazz. On March 5, it’s Garrison Keillor and “Stories in Mind, Poems by Heart.” The beloved raconteur, author, and entertainer will share his unique brand of wisdom and humor in what is sure to be an unforgettable afternoon.

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, returns to the series on April 2 to perform the program “My Secret Heart” which includes a world premiere by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, and the return of Augusta Read Thomas’ “Love Songs” to the repertoire.

All performances take place on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. with the Jan. 8 and Feb. 19 concerts at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, and March 5 and April 2 concerts at Old Saybrook High School. Individual tickets are $35 and $5 for full-time students with savings offered for subscriptions to all four performances. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

The 2017 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, and Tower Laboratories. Outreach activities are supported by Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Childress Gives Talk Tonight on, ‘Architecture of Gardens’

ESSEX — The Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series continues with architect Jim Childress, Fellow of the American Institute Architects (FAIA), presenting “The Architecture Of Gardens: Man-made Nature.”

Gardens have captured people’s imagination for centuries.  On Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m., architect Jim Childress will illustrate the design ideas behind some of world’s best small gardens.  He will explore how they are planned and how the plants are integrated.  And, to escape winter for an hour – there will be plenty of images of gardens in full bloom. 

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information or to register for this program, call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. Centerbrook Architects’ office is located at 67 Main Street in Centerbrook.

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9 Town Transit Partners with Google Maps for Online Trip Planning

AREAWIDE — Finding local bus route information just got a whole lot easier.  In fact, you probably already have it available on your smartphone.  Google Maps now includes local bus routes and schedules in its directions feature.

Riders no longer have to read timetables.  They simply enter the date and time that they hope to arrive at their destination and the trip planner will provide three options, showing the amount of time and number of transfers for each option, letting you easily select the most convenient trip.

Google Maps can even provide walking directions, so you can find out exactly how to get to the nearest transit stop or station, and how to get to your destination once you leave the train/bus.  For extra convenience, Google Maps has most locations already stored, so you only need the location name or just a category, such as fast food.

“We are pleased to welcome 9 Town Transit to Google Maps.”, says Ryan Poscharsky, Strategic Partner Manager at Google.  “This partnership shows 9 Town Transit’s commitment to innovating, as well as serving and attracting new riders. Together we can provide useful and accurate information to help people quickly get to where they want to go.”

Another important feature is the ability to plan trips across agencies and modes.  CT Transit New Haven and Hartford, CT Transit Express, Shoreline East and Metro North are all available in Google Maps, so it is easy to plan your trip from Old Saybrook to Hartford, from Manhattan to the outlet malls, or from your Clinton to downtown New Haven.  Google Maps tells you all transfers required along with the connecting agency name and contact information.

“We hope this tool makes it easier than ever to plan your trip by bus or train in our region”, says Joseph Comerford, Executive Director of 9 Town Transit.

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Hear ‘A Conversation About Opera’ with Three Area Opera Directors Tonight; All Welcome, Free

Salt Marsh Opera Executive Director Simon Holt is a participant in the discussion ‘A Conversation About Opera,’ Feb. 16, at the Community Music School.

“A Conversation About Opera” with Alan Mann, artistic director of the Opera Theater of Connecticut, Simon Holt, artistic director of the Salt Marsh Opera, and Adrian Sylveen, artistic director of the Connecticut Lyric-Opera / Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m., at the Community Music School in Centerbrook,

The Greater Middletown Concert Association is hosting the panel discussion and Barbara Waterman Arafeh, the Association’s president, will be moderator for the panel’s discussion.

All these three leading Connecticut professional opera companies present fully-staged productions that take place in venues located in one of the state’s newly-designated Arts Regions. This region is one of nine in the state and is overseen for the Connecticut Office of the Arts in Hartford by the Shoreline Arts Alliance, which has headquarters in Guilford.

Towns and cities in this Arts Region are Lyme and Old Lyme along with Branford, Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, East Haven, East Lyme, Essex, Guilford, Haddam, Killingworth, Madison, Middlefield, Middletown, North Branford, Old Saybrook, Portland, Salem and Westbrook.

There is no admission charge for this Feb. 16, program, but those wishing to attend should call 860 343-7555 to reserve seating. Space is limited.

The Community Music School is located at 90 Main St., Centerbrook.

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Copper Beech Inn, Ivoryton Village Alliance Host Whiskey Tasting to Benefit Ivoryton Illuminations Fund, April 15

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Village Alliance, in partnership with The Copper Beech Inn, is hosting a whisky tasting on Saturday, April 15at 6:30 p.m.

The evening will consist of Scottish whiskies paired with food specially prepared by Chef Carlos Cassar. Nigel Manley, a renowned expert in the art of whisky making, will be give an informative and entertaining presentation on the history and craft of “Uisge Beatha” – the water of life.

Nigel Manley

The evening will feature four Scottish whiskies: Auchentoshan – 12-year-old; Macallan – 12- year-old; Lagavulin – 16-year-old, and Sheep Dip.

Seating is extremely limited and reservations are required. The cost is $80 per person – all profits will benefit the Ivoryton Illuminations Holiday Lights Fund.

The Copper Beeech Inn is at 46 Main Street in Ivoryton and is also offering a Whiskey Alliance Dinner Package.  This package is priced at $350 and includes: Overnight stay in a Super Deluxe Room; Admission for two to the Whiskey Dinner; Gourmet a la carte breakfast for two Sunday Morning.

For reservations or further information, visit www.copperbeechinn.com or call 860 767 0330

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Ivoryton Congregational Church Announces Holy Week Services, All Welcome; Start April 9

IVORYTON — All are invited to join the Ivoryton Congregational Church at 57 Main Street, Ivoryton, for their Holy Week Services as follows:

Palm Sunday, April 9
10:00 a.m.
A celebration of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, with the sharing of palms and special music.

Maundy Thursday, April 13
7:00 p.m.
Maundy Thursday service with the sharing in the Lord’s Supper, meditation on the passion in Matthew, special music and the service of Tenebrae (darkness).

Easter Sunday, April 16
7:00 a.m.
A brief Easter sunrise service at the pond behind the church.  This will be followed by our Easter Breakfast to which all are invited.

10:00 a.m.
Easter Celebration in the sanctuary of the church The story of Easter.  The scripture will be the Easter story in Matthew 28:1-10. The sermon will be “At Dawn”. All are welcome.

Call the church office at 860-767-1004 for more information.

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Winter Storm Niko Set to Hit Region Today, Parking Ban Announced in Essex

AREAWIDE — Due to predictions of 11-14 inches of snow today from Winter Storm Niko, the Town of Essex has announced a parking ban from 6 a.m. through 7 p.m. today. This will enable snow plows to keep roads clear and safe, and also open for emergency vehicles.  Many other closures are expected.

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Celebrate Beavers on International Beaver Day, April 8

ESSEX — The Essex Conservation Commission is celebrating International Beaver Day on Saturday, April 8.  Rain date is April 9.

The Commission will be hosting tours of Quarry Pond at 6 a.m. (prior to sunrise) and 7 p.m. (prior to sunset).  Beavers are nocturnal animals that tend to sleep during the day.  The ability to see them is best at these times.

Quarry Pond in located in the Viney Hill Brook Park in Essex, CT.  Meet at the parking lot on the end of Cedar Grove Terrace prior to the start time of each tour.

Beavers are known as a Keystone species. A keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. All species in an ecosystem, or habitat, rely on each other.

Come and visit to learn more about Beavers. Sign up by contacting EssexCelebratesBeavers@gmail.com.

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Winter Raptors Field Trip Today

Eyeing the sky for eagles, hawks and owls on last year’s Essex Land Trust birding trip.

ESSEX — Eagles, hawks and owls: Essex Land Trust is offering an outing to search for birds of prey that winter in our region on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 1 to 5:30 p.m.  The trip will be led by Jim Denham of the Essex Land Trust and Andrew Griswold of the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Meet at the Essex Town Hall Parking Lot. Bring a snack and beverage, binoculars and warm clothes.

Two vans are available to seat the first 15 people who sign up. To reserve, please contact Judy Saunders at: judith.saunders@comcast.net by Jan. 31. Inclement weather cancels.

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‘When Paris Sizzled’: Essex Library Hosts Author Talk Today by Mary McAuliffe

ESSEX — Mary McAuliffe vividly portrays the City of Light during the fabulous 1920s, Les Années Folles, when Parisians emerged from the horrors of war to find that a new world greeted them one that reverberated with the metallic clang of the assembly line, the roar of automobiles, and the beat of jazz.

On Saturday, Feb. 4, at 1:30 p.m. at the Essex Library, McAuliffe will outline this decade that saw seismic change on almost every front, from art and architecture to music, literature, fashion, entertainment, transportation, and, most notably, behavior. The epicenter of all this creativity, as well as of the era’s good times, was Montparnasse, where impoverished artists and writers found colleagues and cafes, and tourists discovered the Paris of their dreams.

Major figures on the Paris scene such as Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Picasso, Stravinsky, Diaghilev, and Proust continued to hold sway, while others now came to prominence including Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Cole Porter, and Josephine Baker, as well as Andre Citroen, Le Corbusier, Man Ray, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce, and the irrepressible Kiki of Montparnasse.

Paris of the 1920s unquestionably sizzled. Yet rather than being a decade of unmitigated bliss, this period also saw an undercurrent of despair as well as the rise of ruthless organizations of the extreme right, aimed at annihilating whatever threatened tradition and order; a struggle that would escalate in the years ahead.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at 860 767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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Letter From Paris: How France is Coping With the Ongoing Terrorism Threat

Nicole Prévost Logan

Two years after the “Je suis Charlie” massacre, how does it feel to be in France today with the threat of terrorism?  

Numbers seem to speak for themselves: France, which is the most visited European country, saw a decrease last year of almost 50 percent – equivalent to 84 million – tourists last year while website commentaries lament empty hotels, restaurants and museums.

This observation is not quite accurate and, besides, does not take into account the complexity of the situation. In the first place, France has not become a dangerous war zone and people here still enjoy themselves: restaurants are full at lunch time, the new Paris Philarmonie orchestra is booked solid for months and there are more fantastic art exhibits – such as the Shchukin collection – than ever.

For the French, the threat of terrorism is not measured primarily by the dollar amount lost through a decrease in mass tourism (which is not the country’s vocation in any case.) There are many other serious considerations relating to the effects of terrorism on French politics and society, or the measures taken by authorities to protect the citizens.    

The cover of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ two years after the horrific attack on the magazine’s office in Paris.

In recent years, the French have been deeply marked by terrorist attacks with 237 people killed between January 2015 and July 2016. These range tragically from the murder of cartoonists; the bombing of the Bataclan night club, several bistros and restaurants; a truck plowing through the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on Bastille Day; to the gory assassination of 85-year-old  father Jacques Hamel, whose throat was slit on the altar of his small Normandie church in front of two elderly nuns.

The impact on France’s national consciousness of the November 2015 terrorist attacks was enormous. As the two chambers of the parliament met in a joint session in Versailles, every single deputy stood up and sang the national anthem, La Marseillaise, a solemn event not seen since 1918.

François Hollande has been literally traumatized by the terrorist bombings. The president was immediately on the scenes of the attacks, even before the areas were made secure. For him, the defense against terrorism was a brutal awakening and a priority. The political price he had to pay was very high.

Under the intense pressure of the moment, he proposed a law on the déchéance de la nationalité (loss of nationality) for terrorists. This proposal caused havoc among the leftist segment of the French population. The president never recovered politically. Recently, when he announced his decision not to run again for another five years, Hollande declared, “I was wrong to make that proposal”.

The terrorist threat has become part of French people’s daily life. Alain Bauer, a professor of criminology, recently published a book titled, “How to Live in the Terrorist Era,” in which he gives practical advice on what to do in case of attack. Defense against terrorism is a major topic for the candidates in the upcoming presidential elections. .

France has come a long way since the affaire Merah in March 2012. The young Mohammed Merah had appeared all smiles on TV screens after killing seven civilians and military in the Toulouse area. At first believed to have acted as a “lone wolf,” he  turned out to be part of a whole network of siblings, relatives and friends. During the past five years, the French authorities – Intelligence, police,  judiciary and military both inside France and abroad – have made spectacular efforts to adjust to the terrorist threat, which is changing its modus operandi almost daily. 

Today the police wear bulletproof vests, carry attack weapons, and not only have the right, but also the duty, to intervene in the case of a terrorist threat.  The Direction Générale de Securiéte Interieure or DGSI (equivalent to the FBI) has stepped up its action, thwarting  90 percent of bombing attempts every year. In the past few months, it has dismantled sleeping terrorist cells in Marseille and Strasbourg.

France is the European country with the largest Moslem population. The latter is overwhelmingly considered to have nothing to do with radical Islam.  However, subjects which used to be taboo before, such as the relationship between extremism and religion, are now openly debated. Recent books also contribute to the change in thinking.

Gilles Kepel, an authority on the Arab world and Islam, demonstrates in his book, La Fracture, (‘The Divide’) that the only way to understand extreme Islamists is to analyze in depth their ideology. One should make an effort to understand  their strategy, which is to divide society, by teaching from a very young age, hatred against non-believers and the West, through brainwashing and conversion of an increasing number of people in both mosques and also in prisons. Keppel writes, “Prisons have become the ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration or French elite school ) for Jihadists.” 

In the fall, journalist David Thomson  published “Les Revenants” (those who returned) about the young men – and women – who joined ISIS or Islamist State in 2012 at the outset of the Syrian civil war. They would announce their plans openly on You Tube  and traveled freely through Turkey toward their final destination of Rakka. In 2013 -14 their number grew exponentially. With the loss of territory in The Levant , ISIS has changed its strategy and many of the “revenants” have gone underground and become “Jihadists of the keyboard,” to use Thomson’s expression.

Is it the end of the tunnel ? Probably not and the threat remains, the experts concur. We can be thankful, however, that the Intelligence services and police have become more successful in cracking down on radical Islam.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

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

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Chanticleer, “An Orchestra of Voices” Concludes Essex Winter Series’ 40th Anniversary Season, April 2

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, perform April 2 in Old Saybrook to conclude Esex Winter Series 40th anniversary season.

ESSEX/OLD SAYBROOK – Essex Winter Series’ 40th anniversary season concludes with Chanticleer, “an orchestra of voices,” performing on Sunday, April 2 at 3 p.m. at Old Saybrook High School, 1111 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.

One of the world’s most renowned vocal ensembles, Chanticleer is an all-male chorus that performed as part of the Series in 2015 to a near sold-out audience, despite snowstorm conditions. This year, they present “My Secret Heart,” a program that invokes images of love across time and space.

In addition to Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, the program highlights two special Chanticleer commissions. They are a brand new work from the pen of Finnish composer Jaako Mantyjärvi, and five evocative and heart-wrenching poems from “Love Songs” of Augusta Read Thomas, featured in the Grammy-award winning CD “The Colors of Love.”

Individual tickets are $35 or $5 for full-time students. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

The 2017 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, and Tower Laboratories. Outreach activities are supported by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Explore Vernal Pools, Emerging Life in the Preserve, April 1


Look what I found, Mom!

ESSEX — Due to late winter weather, the Essex Land Trust’s planned ‘Vernal Pools and Emerging Life in the Preserve’ hike, to be led by ecologist, Bob Russo is being rescheduled to Saturday, April 1.  This hike will give you the opportunity to search for salamanders, frogs and plants emerging from the long winter. During the one and a half hour hike through easy to moderate terrain, Russo will describe the biological and geological features that make the vernal pool areas unique and bountiful.

Bring tall waterproof boots and nets if you have them.  Open to all ages. Bad weather cancels.

Russo is a soil scientist, wetland scientist and ecologist who frequently played in swamps while growing up. He works for a small engineering company in Eastern CT and he lives in Ivoryton, conveniently near the Atlantic White Cedar swamp.

Bob Russo tells a group about vernal pools.

Russo is also the Chair of Essex’ Park and Recreation Commission.

Meet at The Preserve East Entrance parking lot, Ingham Hill Rd., at 9 a.m..

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Parent-Toddler Play & Support Groups Offered at Tri-Town Youth Services

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St., Deep River will host weekly support groups for parents of young children.  Parents have opportunity to socialize and talk about family challenges while toddlers play.

The Parent Resource Coordinator will present a new parenting theme each week and invite parents to browse the extensive Parent Resource Library.  Toddlers will enjoy free play and art exploration.  Each session will include a seasonal circle with songs, yoga and finger-plays, followed by a shared snack.

“Outstanding Ones” for children under two, will meet Tuesdays from Feb. 7 to April 4.  The group gathers from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and the program costs $45 for Tri-Town residents.

“Terrific Twos” for children 24-36 months, will meet Wednesdays from Feb. 8 to April 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and costs $60 for Tri-Town residents.  Call 860-526-3600 to reserve your spot or register and pay securely online at www.tritownys.org.

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

Discover more programs and information for families at www.tritownys.org.

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Sen. Linares Named Co-chairman of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Caucus

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) File photo.

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares (R-33) has been named Co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Caucus. The caucus advocates the interests of individuals with IDD and their families.

“Mahatma Gandhi said that a society will be measured by how it has treated its most vulnerable citizens,” Sen. Linares noted. “We must leave a legacy where individuals and families dealing with IDD are able to live full and complete lives. I am proud to be asked to take a leadership role in a caucus tasked with such important work.”

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-34) commented that he knows advocating for those impacted by IDD is an important issue for Sen. Linares.

“Sen. Linares is an energetic lawmaker and in this new role he will be an active ambassador to families and advocates, working hard to make their voices heard at the Capitol,” Sen. Fasano said, adding, “To best serve these families, we need to learn about the challenges they face every day. Sen. Linares will play a key role in that dialogue.”

Sen. Linares stressed that as the General Assembly faces a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit for the next fiscal year, legislators must do their best to support the needs of Connecticut’s IDD residents.

“State spending must be brought under control, but that doesn’t mean we balance the budget at the expense of those with disabilities,” he said.

Sen. Linares represents the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook along with Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.

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Community Music School Hosts Open House This Week

Community Music School’s Jazz Ensemble is a popular band at the school.

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS), located in the Spencer’s Corner professional complex at 90 Main St. in Centerbrook, welcomes the general public to visit during Open House Week Jan. 30 to Feb. 3. Children and adults can tour the School’s studios, meet teachers and staff, enjoy a free preview lesson, and learn about a vast array of programs for all ages including private and group lessons, guitar, jazz and string ensembles, music therapy services, Kindermusik, and more.

Community Music School is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Those interested in a 15-minute preview lesson are requested to call 860-767-0026 for scheduling.

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. The School’s programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

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

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Talk on ‘CT’s Early Aviation History’ Concludes Winter Lecture Series at Essex Meadows

“Pilot Charles Lindbergh lands at Doane’s Airfield, Essex, c. 1930.” Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX – Explore Connecticut’s early transportation history in “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” a lecture series presented by Essex Historical Society and Essex Meadows, Sundays, Jan. 15, 22 and 29, at 3 p.m. Each illustrated talk will feature in-depth discussion of our state’s modes, methods and mechanics of travel, often making transportation history on a national scale.  All lectures are held at Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, at 3 p.m. on those Sundays.  The programs are free and open to the public.

The series began on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 3 p.m. with “The Age of Rail in Connecticut.”

“Mrs. Ernest Bailey takes the wheel, Essex, c. 1910.” Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

On Sunday, Jan. 22, Richard DeLuca presented “From Paved Roads to Public Money: The Rise of the Automobile in Connecticut.”

The series concludes on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m., as Jerry Roberts will address “Connecticut’s Early Aviation History.”  Mr. Roberts’s illustrated talk will feature the state’s early connections to pioneering aircraft, notable aviators and significant aviation production.  While the talk has a statewide focus, it will address local aviation history, such as the production of WWII gliders at the Pratt-Read factory in Ivoryton.  As present Executive Director of the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Mr. Roberts is familiar to many as the former Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum.

Co-sponsored by Essex Historical Society and Essex Meadows, the winter lecture series is playfully titled “Planes, Trains and Automobiles: CT’s Early Transportation History.” All lectures are held in beautiful Hamilton Hall, Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, Essex.  Free and open to the public.  Refreshments.

More information can be found at www.essexhistory.org or by calling Essex Historical Society, 860-767-0681.

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11th Annual Land Trusts’ Photo Contest Deadline is Tuesday

Bopha Smith was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Landscape category of the 2016 Contest.

Bopha Smith was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Landscape category of the 2016 Contest.

AREAWIDE — Five local land trusts invite amateur photographers of all ages to enter their favorite photographs of scenes in the towns of Essex, East Haddam, Salem, Lyme and Old Lyme in the Land Trusts Photo Contest. Children are especially encouraged to submit photos. Participants need not live in the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Essex, Salem, and East Haddam, but photos must be of scenes in one of these five towns. Land Trusts in these towns sponsor this photo contest.

Submissions will be accepted from the Jan. 1, 2017 to Jan. 31, 2017. Contest rules are available online at lymelandtrust.org. The link is http://www.lymelandtrust.org/news/photo-contest/.  Entry forms for the contest are available at photocontest2017@lymelandtrust.org.

Contest awards are being funded with the generous support of our commercial sponsors: RiverQuest /Connecticut River Expeditions, Ballek’s Garden Center in East Haddam, Essex Savings Bank, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Lorensen Auto Group, the Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, and Alison Mitchell in memory of her husband John G. Mitchell. John G. Mitchell was a life-long environmentalist and former photo contest judge.

A three-judge panel will select the winning photos. New as a contest judge this year is Joe Standart, an award-winning photographer, director and internationally known artist who loves photographing the natural world. Returning judges include Amy Kurtz Lansing, an accomplished art historian and curator at the Florence Griswold Museum; and Skip Broom, a respected award-winning local photographer and antique house restoration housewright.

$100, $75, $50 and $25 cash prizes will be awarded in each of five categories. The categories are Landscape/Waterscape, Plants, Wildlife, and Cultural/Historic (human interaction with nature, including domestic animals and buildings), for participants 15 years of age or older. Photographers 14 years old or younger may enter photos on any of these subjects in the Youth Category.

All entered photographs will be displayed and winners will be announced at a public reception Friday, March 10, 2017.

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Application Deadline for Environmental Leadership Scholarship is Wednesday

logoAREAWIDE — Applications are now being accepted for the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship, a $1,000 award to recognize a high school student who has demonstrated leadership and initiative in promoting conservation, preservation, restoration, or environmental education.

Students residing in Middlesex County, Lyme or Old Lyme are eligible to apply.

The scholarship is presented by the Rockfall Foundation and applications must be submitted by noon on Wednesday, Feb. 1. For a copy of the application or for more information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Established in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations whose mission is to be a catalyst– bringing people together and supporting organizations to conserve and enhance the county’s natural environment. Rockfall awards grants each year to organizations, schools and municipalities, and sponsors educational programs and symposia.

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Registration Open for Madhatters Summer Camps

AREAWIDE — Madhatters Theatre Company is now accepting registrations for their summer productions at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street, Chester, CT.  Camps run Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a performance on Friday.

Junior production ‘Madagascar’ open to ages 6-12 years July 24 thru 28.

Senior production ‘Legally Blonde’ open to ages 12-18 years July 31 thru August 4.

For further information and to register, e-mail: madhattersctc@aol.com   www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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