May 6, 2016

Essex First Selectman Needleman to Declare State Senate Candidacy Today, Challenging Linares

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman

ESSEX — Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (D) will announce his candidacy for the 33rd State Senate District at a press conference to be held Tuesday, May 3, at 5 p.m. in the Gelston House in East Haddam.

Needleman, a Democrat who is currently serving his third two-year term as Essex First Selectman, will challenge incumbent Art Linares (R), who is completing his second two-year term as 33rd District State Senator and is running for a third term. Linares is Assistant Minority Leader of the state senate.

Apart from Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook, the 33rd senate district includes the towns of Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.

Share

Renowned Jazz Musician Ronny Whyte Performs in Centerbrook April 30

Ronny Whyte_208_rtch
IVORYTON –
World-renowned jazz musician Ronny Whyte will be performing a benefit concert for the Ivoryton Players on Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Meeting House in Centerbrook. Mr. Whyte will perform an evening of songs from “The Great American Songbook,” including works by Gershwin, Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Ronny Whyte is not only considered a premier interpreter of classic American popular song, he is also an outstanding jazz pianist and an award-winning songwriter. He has been featured on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR and his lyric “Forget the Woman” was recorded by Tony Bennett. He produces and hosts “Midtown Jazz at Midday” in St. Peter’s in Manhattan and was inducted into the Cabaret Jazz Hall of Fame.

Whitney Balliett wrote in the New Yorker: “Whyte (handsome, dapper, easygoing) is a first class cabaret singer. His diction sparkles…his songs ring and float and shine.”

Ronny Whyte will be accompanied by bassist Boots Maleson. There will be a special guest appearance by Deborah Mott. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling 860-767-7318 or can be purchased at the door (seating is limited). A reception will follow the performance.

Share

Centerbrook Architects Present Lecture on “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion”

silvaESSEX – The Essex Library will present the Connecticut premier of Matthew Silva’s award-winning documentary, “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion,” on Friday, April 29, at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall, as part of the Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series.

Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion, once the shining symbol of the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair, now sits in the middle of New York City as a haunting reminder of what became of the age of optimism, the early 1960s. The “Modern Ruin” film tells the story of New York State Pavilion during the glory days of the fair, and chronicles its demise over the past 50 years. The film details its post-fair use as a ‘60s concert venue and ‘70s roller rink, including the years of neglect and recent growing advocacy efforts.

Matthew Silva is a teacher, filmmaker and co-founder of People for the Pavilion, an organization dedicated to preserving the New York State Pavilion.  Since 2012, Silva has worked to raise interest and change public perception for what is possible for the Pavilion.  With support from a strong social media community and a coalition of various New York-based civic, advocacy and cultural institutions, he produced his 2015 documentary “Modern Ruin” film.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Town Hall is located at 29 West Ave. in Essex.

 

Share

Essex Resident Antonio C. Robaina Honored by Connecticut Bar Association

From left to right: CBA President, William H. Clendenen, Jr.; the Honorable Antonio C. Robaina, recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award; CBA Vice President, Karen DeMeola; and CBA President-elect, Monte E. Frank.

From left to right: CBA President, William H. Clendenen, Jr.; the Honorable Antonio C. Robaina, recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award; CBA Vice President, Karen DeMeola; and CBA President-elect, Monte E. Frank.

ESSEX – The Honorable Antonio C. Robaina was recently presented with the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award at the Connecticut Bar Association’s annual awards celebration, “Celebrate with the Stars,” in New Britain. Judge Robaina was selected based on nominations submitted to the CBA Awards Committee.

Judge Robaina was appointed to the Superior Court in 1998 and is currently assigned to the Hartford Judicial District as the presiding civil judge. From 2005 to 2010, he was the administrative judge in the Windham Judicial District; previously, Judge Robaina served as the presiding judge for civil matters in the New Haven Judicial District, as well as the assistant administrative judge. In 2002, Judge Robaina was the presiding judge for family matters in the Hartford Judicial District. He is one of the few judges who have served in a presiding role in civil, criminal, and family, and has served in judicial districts throughout the state as a trial judge in those same areas.

From 1979 to 1998, Judge Robaina was engaged in general practice in New Haven, which included plaintiff’s personal injury, insurance defense, criminal defense, immigration law, and family matters. He currently serves as a member of the adjunct faculty at Quinnipiac University.

Judge Robaina was one of the original founders and a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association and has served as the chairman of the Diversity Award Committee for the Lawyer’s Collaborative for Diversity. He has been a member of the Rules Committee of the judges of the superior court, and a number of other committees for the Judicial Branch and various bar organizations.

Judge Robaina has dedicated much of his time as a mediator in a variety of capacities. He has participated in the externship programs at both the University of Connecticut School of Law and Quinnipiac University Law School, has mentored law school students through the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association Mentoring Program, and  has mentored other  judges in  the Judicial Branch mentoring program. Judge Robaina has served as the co-chair of a bench/bar committee with respect to medical malpractice cases as well as the co-chair of the CBA Task Force for the Study of a Mentoring Program, which explored the establishment of a mandatory mentoring program for new lawyers in the state of Connecticut.

“Celebrate with the Stars” is dedicated to recognizing Connecticut’s top judges, lawyers and professionals who make a difference through their work by demonstrating allegiance, dedication, conscientious service, commitment and mentorship.

The recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award must meet the following criteria: he or she be a member of the Connecticut Judiciary, federal or state court, who has integrity and epitomizes long-term, dedicated, and conscientious service to the community in his or her judicial role; must be a hard-working judge who labors long in his or her duties; and who is selfless in his or her approach to the demands of the judge position.

Henry J. Naruk (1928-1991) of Middletown was the 60th president of the CBA. Under his presidency, the CBA successfully ran a then-record number of continuing legal education seminars that had been attended by approximately 5,300 Connecticut attorneys. Also under his astute leadership, the CBA created the Women and the Law Section in 1983.

 

From left to right: CBA President, William H. Clendenen, Jr.; the Honorable Antonio C. Robaina, recipient of the Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award; CBA Vice President, Karen DeMeola; and CBA President-elect, Monte E. Frank.

 

Share

Essex Foundation Underwrites Material Costs for Essex Gateway Bridge Painting

EssexBridgePaintingCloseup_4-20-16

ESSEX – For 46 years, the Essex Foundation has been quietly tending to the unique and special needs of the Essex community, answering calls for assistance when fast action is needed.

Most recently, the nonprofit group lent financial support to the highway bridge painting project at the Route 9, exit 3 section of town. The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s tree and shrub removal along state highway barriers had further exposed the patched-paint and rusted appearance of the bridge and left the landscape bare. Public outcry over the “tacky” condition of what is considered the gateway to Essex was fierce, with local residents asking town officials to find a solution.

That solution came in the form of a collaboration between Essex residents Steve and Susan Bogan, owners of Blast-All Construction, who provided the in-kind donation of project planning, supervision, equipment, and labor services; the Town of Essex who provided police supervision and traffic re-routing services; and the Essex Foundation, the Essex Rotary Club and many individual donors, who together provided a total of $18,000 for the purchase of the paint.

The initiative started in 2015 when the Bogans approached the Essex Foundation with a plan for painting the bridge at no cost to taxpayers. As a contractor for state and federal bridge work, Blast-All worked with the CT D.O.T. and the Union Apprenticeship program to have the Essex gateway bridge serve as a training site. The Bogans also met with town officials to secure local police assistance for traffic re-routing and worker safety, while the Essex Foundation, the Essex Rotary Club and many individual donors provided financial support for the paint and material costs. In less than a year, with an entire community behind the effort, the bridge painting work is complete with the exception of the end panels, which are soon to be repaired by the D.O.T. and then painted by Blast-All.

The Essex Foundation is now in the planning stages of a grounds beautification project that will include plantings for the area around the gateway bridge.

Founded in 1970, the Essex Foundation is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Essex citizens by providing medical, educational, social, welfare, cultural, recreational and civic support. From the start, the foundation board wanted to make it possible for funds to be made available for special projects that are not typically supported by other non-profits and that required fast local action. In 1982, many local citizens were devastated by heavy flooding that destroyed homes and left people without food, clothing, refrigeration and heat. Because of the structure of the fund, the Essex Foundation was able, on an ad hoc basis, to help many people get back on their feet quickly. Other past projects supported by the Essex Foundation fund, along with individual donations, include the removal of the half-sunken barge in the Middle Cove, pond weed control for the Falls River neighborhood, repair and maintenance of the Town Clock in the tower of the Baptist Church, and the operation and maintenance of the Bumpy Warner Youth House on Bushnell Street used by the Boy Scouts. More information can be found at www.theessexfoundation.org or by emailing contact@theessexfoundation.org.

Share

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

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton

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

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

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

Middlesex Community Foundation Honors Ivoryton Playhouse, Broadway Actor

Photo by Donna Bowden

Students “high-five” the cast of “Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical” at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Photo by Donna Bowden

IVORYTON – The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) recently presented the Bully-Free Communities Spotlight Award to the Ivoryton Playhouse and to Broadway actor Douglas Lyons for their work in creating and presenting educational productions that foster positive, healthy behaviors and attitudes among young people.

The recipients were recognized at the April 11 world premiere of “Polkadots:The Cool Kids Musical,” which was co-conceived and written by Lyons and performed at the Playhouse for over 1400 elementary school students from Clinton, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Middletown and Portland, in addition to the general public. The CFMC Council of Business Partners Fund, a donor advised fund started in 2009 by a group of local business owners in support of school-based anti-bullying initiatives, in partnership with other organizations, provided financial support for the production and, when necessary, bus transportation for the school systems.

Two years ago, CFMC and its Council of Business Partners launched the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, calling upon students, educators, civic leaders, businesses, community organizations, neighbors and friends to stand together for change and to make all of Middlesex County a bully-free zone. The Ivoryton Playhouse responded with enthusiasm and energy, first staging the premiere of the Off Broadway musical “The Bully” in April 2015, and then making the decision to bring the Douglas Lyons’ original work and universal message of respect and acceptance to elementary school children this year.

“Polkadots” tells the story of Lily Polkadot and her journey to acceptance with the help of her new friend Sky Square in the “Squares Only” town of Rockaway. At the opening night pre-show reception, which took place at Six Summit Gallery in Ivoryton, Mr. Lyons and his creative team spoke about how the events of the Little Rock Nine in 1957 served as the inspiration for the show. Prior to the school performances, a curriculum guide, developed by Rushford, a Hartford HealthCare Partner, was provided for teachers to talk about topics in the musical before the students saw it. Additional financial support for the production was provided by Marc Blakeman, The Bauman Family Foundation, The Essex Community Fund, and The Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

“The Ivoryton Playhouse’s commitment to educational, children’s productions that celebrate our differences and promote positive behavior is spotlight worthy. They truly understand the power of partnership and giving voice to valuable life lessons,” said CFMC CEO and President Cynthia Clegg. “We are thrilled that they opened the door for ‘Polkadots’ to have its world premiere here in Middlesex County, and for introducing all of us to the vision and great talent of Doug Lyons and his creative team.”

The Ivoryton Playhouse  and Doug Lyons were awarded the Spotlight Award specifically for taking to heart the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities initiative of encouraging everyone to be an UPstander, not a bystander; and for their demonstrated commitment to being “Agents of Change” and ensuring that community youth have the support they need to grow and develop in a healthy and safe environment. For more information on the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, go to bullyfreemiddlesexcountycf.org or call 860-347-0025.

 

Share

Ancient Order of Essex Weeders Honors Sam Rogers

WeedersParty3411

ESSEX – The Ancient Order of Essex Weeders is a group of men who maintain the landscaping in Essex on Rte. 154 at the intersection of Rte. 153. It was founded in 1981 by Bob Swain, who became “Lead Weed,” and was succeeded by Erl Nord.

The group is also a social organization that gets together for coffee weekly and includes a book club that meets monthly.

The group recently had a retirement party for Sam Rogers. In the photo above, party attendees are shown with new “Lead Weed” Ray Coyle presenting Sam his retirement gift.

More information at http://essexweeders.weebly.com/.

Share

Ivoryton Library Plans Programs, Exhibit & Plant Sale Over Next two Weekends

The outside sign of the Ivoryton Library

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Library has a very busy schedule for the next few weeks.

This weekend, on Sunday, May 1, the library will present “The Ivoryton Home Front during WWII” at 3 p.m. View the library’s newest exhibit in the “Intimate History of Ivoryton” series showcasing the patriotic spirit of the Ivoryton village and town during World War II. Do you have memorabilia to add to the exhibit? If so, contact Elizabeth Alvord at 860-767-1252.

The Ivoryton Library is partnering with Essex Lions Club and Tri-Town Youth Services to present an Eye-Popping Story and Craft time at the library on Wednesday, May 4. Drop in between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. to hear stories and make fun crafts. All children will be invited to receive a free, fast, non-invasive eye screening to test for seven vision issues. Results will be presented immediately for parents to take to their pediatrician or ophthalmologist. For information on this eye test, visit www.clerf.org

Finally, the library’s annual Mother’s Day Sale will be held Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Look for gently used books (none over $2), plants from local gardens and baked goods from local kitchens. Prices will be slashed at 1 p.m. Also, at 11 a.m., children are invited to decorate a pot and plant a flower for Mom, as supplies last.

For more information about any of these programs, call 860-767-1252 or visit www.ivoryton.com. The Ivoryton Library is located at 106 Main St. in Ivoryton.

Share

It’s Connecticut’s Presidential Primary Day — Don’t Forget to Vote!

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

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

Chester residents:

Chester Town Hall – Community Room

Deep River residents:

Deep River Town Library – Community Room.

Essex residents:

Essex Town Hall – Auditorium

Share

Last Chance to See Musical About John Denver at Playhouse This Weekend

dml_headshot

David Lutken

IVORYTON – A captivating celebration of the life and music of folk musician John Denver is be performed at the Ivoryton Playhouse through April 24.

This Connecticut premiere features versatile musicians David Lutken (Ring of Fire) and Katie Deal, who have been with the show since its original production at Milwaukee Rep. They present an unvarnished rendition of Denver’s music with gorgeous harmonies, solid musicianship and honest to goodness talent.

Back Home Again: On the Road with John Denver includes hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High” and “Leaving On a Jet Plane.”

John Denver was about more than country music. He had enormous international appeal, and was equally popular with country and pop audiences. In addition to music, he was an activist and humanitarian whose biggest causes were land conservation and environmental awareness. He supported space exploration and was vocal about his stance in music censorship. He left behind a musical legacy that still resonates with audiences today.

Created and directed by collaborators Randal Myler ( a two-time Tony Award nominee) and Dan Wheetman, this production does not offer a standard biography of Denver. Instead, Wheetman presents his own story, as a musician who’d known Denver as an Aspen neighbor before touring with him for eight years. As embodied by Lutken, Wheetman’s story sheds light on Denver’s own, with parallels including a love for Colorado, the hardships of life on the road and the consequent toll on marriages. But as Denver once sang, in another song included in this show, it’s his guitar that gave him his life, his living, and “all the things you know I love to do.” Focused on that guitar, Back Home Again movingly captures what those things were and why Denver’s music still matters.

Back Home Again: On the Road with John Denver 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 $44 for adults, $39 for seniors, $22 for students and $17 for children, and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at (860) 767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

 

 

 

David Lutken

 

Share

River Valley Slim-Down Challenge Begins April 23

River-Valley-Slimdown-Challenge-LogoESSEX – The Essex Wellness Center presents a nine-week River Valley Slim-Down Challenge, beginning April 23.

The challenge is a “biggest loser-style” competition where the participants with the largest percentage of weight lost over the challenge period share prize monies and receive prizes from local businesses such as massages, makeovers, and more.   Participants pay a small registration fee and then participate in a minimum of two (but normally three or more) classes per week at the Fitness on the Water studios such as barre, yoga, spin, Zumba and Tabata bootcamp (a form of high intensity, interval training that gets results – fast!).

Donna Scott, the program manager, is at the Fitness on the Water studios early with the first classes for those wanting to work out before work. Other classes are run during the day for moms of school-age children or in the evening.  In addition, mini-workshops and consultations are provided by Dawn Swope, an experienced health coach, during the nine-week challenge.

Fitness on the Water, a private fitness studio operated by Essex Wellness Center, is at 8 Novelty Lane in Essex Village. More information at http://www.essexwellnessctr.com/ or email donna@fitnessonthewater.com or call (860) 581-8225.

Share

Over 70 Boats and Yachts to Navigate into Essex for Spring Boat Show, May 13-15

The first CT Spring Boat Show in Essex features some of the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, sport and sail boats.

The first CT Spring Boat Show in Essex features some of the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, sport and sail boats.

 

ESSEX – The Connecticut Spring Boat Show, sponsored by the Yacht Brokers Association of America, is expecting over 70 boats to journey from as far away as Maine to attend the first annual 2016 Spring Boat Show. The exhibition is set for May 13-15, at Brewer Essex Island Marina in Essex, and is attracting interested boat buyers from Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and beyond.

“Brewer Essex Island Marina could possibly be the most intimate place in Connecticut to have a boat show,” says Tom Pilkington of Prestige Yacht Sales. “Where else can show-goers look at their favorite boats in the water, visit land exhibits, and explore the town of Essex, which is filled with its own maritime heritage? With boats ranging in size from 20 to 75 feet, sail, power, new and used, there will be a boat for every taste and budget.”

Visitors attending the free show will enjoy seeing a wide range of new and brokerage, power and sail models. Boating gear, accessories and service companies will also be on site.

Sails Up 4 Cancer, a non-profit organization based in Connecticut, will be at the show, raising money through food and beverage sales to benefit their organization. SU4C has been dedicated to supporting cancer care, education, prevention and research along the Connecticut Shoreline.

Also featured the same weekend in the historical town of Essex will be the annual Burning of the Ships parade. This nautical-themed event commemorates the worst day in Essex’s history with the famous ‘Loser’s Day Parade’. Sailing Masters will be joined by other regional fife and drums corps for the parade.

The parade and boat show offer individuals and families an opportunity to experience local sailing history and the flipside of today’s latest and greatest technology in the boating industry.

The free show is open to the public on Friday, May 13, from noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.ctspringboatshow.com for specific event details and parking info.

Share

Essex Zoning Commission Approves Centerbrook Cumberland Farms Rebuild, Expansion

ESSEX — The zoning commission has approved a special permit for a demolition/rebuild and expansion of the Cumberland Farms store in Centerbrook section. The permit was approved on a unanimous vote Monday night after the panel closed a three session public heating on the project.

The permit will allow a 4,250 square-foot store that would double the size of the existing building, along with a third gasoline pumping station. The new building would also have public restrooms, a first for the Centerbrook section.

The project had drawn opposition from some residents over the three public hearings, with most objections focused on the size of the canopy over the six gasoline fueling stations. Some residents questioned the need for a third pump, though attorney Joseph Williams, representing Cumberland Farms, said the company would not pursue the expansion and improvement project without a third gasoline pump.

The commission imposed several conditions on the permit approval, setting the length of the canopy at 74 feet, and requiring a fire suppression system as part of the structure. The panel required a 24-foot distance between fueling stations, while also calling for the pumps to be set at an angle unless engineers for the applicant convince town engineers that this would interfere with traffic flow on the property. The panel also required two additional parking spaces, raising the total number of designated spaces to 24, with an area for eight reserve parking spaces to be designated on the site plan.

Another key condition requires the applicant to present a more detailed drawing of the south sight line along Westbrook Rd. (Rte. 153), particularly the abutting residential property on Westbrook Rd. that is owned by Town Clerk Joel Marzi. Marzi had asked for more information on the sight lines at Monday’s session, with commission member Alvin Wolfgram noting the issue is important because Marzi has the right to erect a fence on his property that could block sight line for motorists exiting on to Westbrook Rd.

The commission has continued a separate public hearing on site plan approval for a 52-unit apartment complex on Plains Rd. to a special meeting scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in town hall. The multi-family housing development would be located on a 3.7-acre parcel that would be created by combining parcels at 21, 27, and 29 Plains Rd., including the site of the long vacant former Iron Chef restaurant property. The apartments would be constructed in three separate buildings, with 16 units designated as affordable housing under a state law intended to encourage development of more affordable housing in Connecticut.

The plans for the Essex Station Luxury Apartments were first presented at a Feb. 22 public hearing that has been continued two times, on March 21 and Monday. Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said the panel intends to close the public hearing Monday, and would then have 65 days, or until late June, to vote on the site plan approval.

Share

Essex Republican Town Committee Endorses Linares and Siegrist

ESSEX – At its monthly meeting, the Essex Republican Town Committee  (ERTC) endorsed candidates for the upcoming  election in November.

State Senator Art Linares, the incumbent from Connecticut’s 33rd Senate District, and Bob Siegrist, the challenger  in Connecticut’s 36th House District, received unanimous endorsements from the committee.

“These candidates bring fresh and unique perspectives that are essential when addressing the current budget crisis in Connecticut,” said ERTC Chairman Bruce MacMillian. “We have an opportunity to elect a legislature that addresses the budget, jobs and unfunded mandates – the issues that hit home with everyone.”

 

Share

Donations Sought for Child & Family Annual Sale at Essex Intake Day, April 28

intake dayESSEX – The 62nd Annual Sale of the Child and Family Agency of Southeastern CT will be held in early May in New London, which means it’s time for you to spring clean and donate furniture, tools, toys, decorative items, vintage items and antique items, household items, books, sporting goods, art work and of course “jewelry.”

This sale helps raise the much needed, unrestricted funds for Child and Family Agency, a 200-year-old non-profit organization that serves over 18,000 children and their families from 79 towns.

The Essex River Valley Auxiliary of the Child and Family Agency will be hosting Intake for the sale at the Essex Town Hall at 29 West Ave. on Thursday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. “Please Bring the Best and Leave the Rest,” the Auxiliary members say. They will help you unload your car, and if you call them at (860) 526-3124 in advance, they will arrange for a pickup of bulkier items. You’re even invited to stay and help and make friends while sorting clothing, books, household goods and shoes.

Donation letters will be available for you at the site.

All donations will be boxed and transported to the New London Armory at 249 Bayonet Street, New London, where they will be combined with the donations from five other Auxiliaries for the Annual Sale to be held on May 5, 6 and 7.

Please call Pat Thompson at (860) 227-7551 with any questions or to learn how you can volunteer.

Share

David Reed-Brown Brings His Magic Show Back to Essex April 15

Rings.p.1001x1500 a

Magician David Reed-Brown stars in “The Magic Show” on Friday, April 15, at 7 p.m. at Essex Town Hall, sponsored by the First Congregational  Church in Essex. (Photo courtesy of David Reed-Brown)

ESSEX –  Sleight-of-hand, mind-reading, close-up magic and new, mystical illusions will be showcased at “The Magic Show,” starring magician and ordained minister, David Reed-Brown, returning to Essex Town Hall on Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.) A highlight of the show will be the levitation of Essex Elementary School teacher Kelli Grace. The performance is sponsored by the First Congregational Church in Essex.

Magician David Reed-Brown’s inspiration came at the age of seven when he discovered a secret magic set in an aged wooden jewelry box on top of a dusty piano. The kit had been passed down through the family by his grandfather. Inside the box, David found small wooden magical wonders that filled him with joy immediately. Ever since, he has been studying the art of theatrical magic, becoming a part-time professional magician in 1997.

David studies at the Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas with master magicians Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger. His writing made recent history by appearing in McBride’s “The Show Doctor,” the first magic book ever published in print and on electronic tablet (available in Print and on the iPad). He regularly publishes “The Magic Tech Road” column in McBride’s “Secret Art Journal.”

In Las Vegas, David has performed at Jeff McBride’s famous Wonderground, at the Magic & Meaning Conference and the Mount Charleston Hotel & Lodge. He also serves as magic consultant for Denny Moon’s musical “Abracadabra,” and he assisted McBride in the magical direction of Lawrence and Priscilla Khong’s theatrical illusion show, “The Magic of Love” for its North American debut.

David Friedman of the Walt Disney Company said, “David Reed-Brown is more than just a magician. Yes his magic is expert and entertaining and awe-inspiring, but the real magic is the spiritual way in which he presents it. You leave his performances knowing that life itself is magical and filled with endless possibilities.”

Tickets for the April 15 Magic Show are $15 for adults and $8 for children and are available at Toys Ahoy in Essex Village and Elephant Crossing in Ivoryton. New this year, there will also be 28 premium, reserved front row seats available at $20 each. Tickets may also be purchased in advance by calling the church at (860) 767-8097. The premium seating tickets are available only at the church at 6 Methodist Hill in Essex Village or by calling (860) 767-8097. At the April 15 show, there will be drawings for three gift certificates to a local ice cream parlor, awarded to children.

Proceeds from the evening benefit the outreach missions of The First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC.

Share

“Invaders” Exhibit Now Open at CT River Museum

InvadersExhibit2016.Sponsors a

Sponsors of the exhibit gathered for a sneak peek prior to the Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water exhibit opening at the Connecticut River Museum. From left to right are: John Lombardo, Stephen and Viola Tagliatela from Saybrook Point Inn and Spa; Thayer Talbot from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Representative Phil Miller; Cynthia Clegg from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Joanne Masin and Christopher Dobbs from the Connecticut River Museum; Brenda Kestenbaum from Eyewitness News (WFSB); and Tony Marino and Marilyn Ozols from the Rockfall Foundation.

ESSEX – On Thursday night, March 31, the Connecticut River Museum unveiled its 2016 feature exhibit, Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water. The exhibit explores one of the most significant threats today to the 410-mile-long Connecticut River Valley:  invasive species.

Representative Phil Miller was one of many honored public figures and supporters in attendance. Miller said, “I’m thrilled that the State of Connecticut was able to provide some support for this important project and I encourage everyone to come out and see this great show.   Building public awareness is a big part of the solution to the problem of invasive species.”

The vibrantly campy, yet serious exhibit was in production for two years and involved numerous organizations including Channel 3 Eyewitness News, the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, the Connecticut DEEP Marine Fisheries Division, and the Long Island Sound Study. Stunned by the creative energy and theatrical elements of the exhibit, one observer said, “Move over Universal Studios.”

Taking on the feel of a classic, 1950s Ed Wood science fiction monster movie, the exhibit explores the many air, land and water invasive species to our region. Critical environmental, economic and recreational impacts are highlighted and help to answer why we should care about this invasion.  More importantly, according to the museum’s executive director Christopher Dobbs, “The exhibit provides information on how we can make a difference by changing our habits, identifying invasive species before they are established, and getting involved with environmental organizations such as local land trusts.”

Stephen Tagliatela, owner of Saybrook Point Inn, said, “We are proud to support this kind of effort. The Connecticut River is one of our great regional and national assets.  It is something that brings visitors to the area and it is our duty to ensure its vitality.”

The Invaders exhibit is on public display now through Oct.10.  It has been made possible by Presenting Sponsor Long Island Sound Study.  Other dedicated sponsors include: Channel 3 Eyewitness News; the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation; the Rockfall Foundation; the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Tourism; the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa; the Edgard & Geraldine Feder Foundation; and the many supporters of the Connecticut River Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.

Share

Community Music School Hosts ‘When Swing Was King’ Benefit, Saturday

king swing photo

Looking forward to welcoming guests at When Swing Was King are (L-R): Tom Briggs, CMS music director; Bruce Lawrence, CMS trustee and gala sponsor with Bogaert Construction; Joni Gage, CMS piano and vocal instructor; Karli Gilbertson, CMS artist-in-residence and vocal instructor; vocalist Emma Hunt; and Jennifer and John Bauman, gala sponsors with the Bauman Family Foundation and event co-chair (Jennifer).

AREAWIDE – To quote Duke Ellington, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”

The Community Music School is transporting guests at this April’s CMS Gala back to the ‘30s and ‘40s with “When Swing Was King.”

The event, which is the music school’s largest annual fund raiser, takes place Saturday, April 16 at 6 p.m., at the Lace Factory in Deep River. It 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 greatest hits of the swing era will be performed by faculty and students. The eight-piece band will spark up the dance floor with music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and many more. Don’t forget your dancing shoes so you can learn to jitterbug, lindy hop and boogie woogie!

Featured vocal student performers include Emma Hunt of Essex, Mia Lawrence of East Haddam and Barbara Malinsky of Madison. Faculty performers include Joni Gage (vocals), Karli Gilbertson (vocals), Patricia Hurley (trumpet), Andy Sherwood (clarinet/tenor saxophone), Andrew Studenski (alto saxophone), music director Tom Briggs (piano), Kevin O’Neil (guitar), and Matthew McCauley (bass), with special guests Tom Boates (trombone) and Gary Ribchinsky (drum set).

Tickets for the evening are $100 per person ($40 is tax deductible). A sponsor ticket of $150 per person provides a greater charitable gift ($90 is tax deductible) and is also available. Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling (860) 767-0026.

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, arts education and music enjoyment through in-school presentations and community concerts, and Kate’s Camp for Kids, a comprehensive summer arts day camp in partnership with the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

When Swing Was King sponsors include Whelen Engineering Company, the Bauman Family Foundation, Bogaert Construction, Maple Lane Farms, Angelini Wine LTD, Bob’s Discount Furniture, the Clark Group, Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services, Grossman Chevrolet-Nissan, Kitchings & Potter LLC, Ring’s End, Tower Laboratories LTD, Thomas H. Alexa – Comprehensive Wealth Management, Anonymous, Brewer Pilots Point Marina, Dreamscapes Design Group, Guilford Savings Bank, Jackson Lewis, Madison Veterinary Hospital, W. Jay Mills CFP® – The Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, Periodontics P.C., Reynolds Garage & Marine, the Safety Zone, Sullivan Lawn Services, and Valley Courier.

Now in its 33rd year of building community through music, the Community Music School is a private, non-profit organization.

 

Looking forward to welcoming guests at When Swing Was King are (L-R): Tom Briggs, CMS music director; Bruce Lawrence, CMS trustee and gala sponsor with Bogaert Construction; Joni Gage, CMS piano and vocal instructor; Karli Gilbertson, CMS artist-in-residence and vocal instructor; vocalist Emma Hunt; and Jennifer and John Bauman, gala sponsors with the Bauman Family Foundation and event co-chair (Jennifer).

Share

Essex Garden Club Offers Scholarship

ESSEX – The Essex Garden Club is offering a $1,000 scholarship for the school year 2016-2017. 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, or go to essexgardenclubct.org. The deadline for receipt of applications is April 25, 2016. For more information call 860-581-8206.

Share

CT River Museum Trustees Visit State Capitol

Connecticut River Museum Board of Trustees Chair Joanne Masin, Sen. Art Linares and Connecticut River Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini.

Connecticut River Museum Board of Trustees Chair Joanne Masin, Sen. Art Linares and Connecticut River Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini.

ESSEX – Historical societies and preservationists from across the state gathered at the State Capitol last month to raise awareness about their organizations’ dedication to promoting Connecticut’s heritage for present and future generations.

The Connecticut River Museum (www.ctrivermuseum.org) was among the groups that travelled to Hartford to speak with Sen. Art Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) and other state lawmakers.

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

The museum maintains its National Registered buildings on Steamboat Dock in Essex, and provides a spectacular waterfront park as a venue for museum functions, community events and quiet reflection.

 

Share

Detox Program at Essex Wellness Center Started April 16

Dr. Dana Krete

Dr. Dana Krete

ESSEX – Do you want to increase your energy, lose weight, charge up your immune system and improve your overall health? Have you been trying to improve your diet, decrease your sugar intake and lose weight, but have a hard time sticking with it and staying motivated?

Dr. Dana Krete will lead a four-week group detox program at the Essex Wellness Center starting April 16.

With this program you will be guided, motivated and supported through the detox program that includes a two-week detox that’s both safe and effective, and will leave you feeling re-energized for spring and on track to reach your goals.

You will be using a high-quality, hypoallergenic, user-friendly program that includes two shakes per day, supplements twice per day, and a “clean” meal plus healthy snacks. Meals and snacks will be prepared by you, so they are made of fresh, wholesome ingredients. This means this is not a product-heavy program, but one that uses mostly real food. Dr. Krete will guide you through this process, so you know what foods to eliminate and what foods to include.

Dr. Krete will lead a group talk once per week for four weeks for about an hour to inform you of the process, and so participants can support each other through the process.

Dr. Dana Krete earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Master of Acupuncture at National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Registration with payment in advance is required.   The total cost of the program, including the detox kit and all meetings led by Dr. Krete, is $279.  More information at www.EssexWellnessCtr.com or call Essex Wellness Center at (860) 767-7770.

Share

Philip Scheffler, “60 Minutes” Executive Editor, Former Essex Resident, Died April 7

philipESSEX – Philip Scheffler, CBS News’ first television street reporter, a documentary producer and the executive editor at 60 Minutes for many years, died April 7, 2016, in New York Presbyterian – Cornell Weill Medical Center. He was 85 and lived in Manhattan. Until recently he also spent much of his time in Essex, Conn., where he had a home for 40 years.

Scheffler retired from 60 Minutes in June of 2003 and had served as a consultant to CBS News up until a few years ago. He was a friend and mentor to Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes.  “Phil was a guiding force behind the success of 60 Minutes for more than two decades,” said Fager.  “Don Hewitt often said he couldn’t have done it without him.  He was a first-class journalist, an admirable human being, and a great friend to many of us.  We will miss him very much.”

Scheffler was a reporter and producer for CBS News for the first half of his five-decade career. He became the senior producer at 60 Minutes in 1980, handling the day-to-day responsibilities – essentially the right hand of the broadcast’s executive producer Don Hewitt. Hewitt named him executive editor later. In this capacity, Scheffler had a direct hand in producing every 60 Minutes report broadcast from 1980 to 2003 – a period during which 60 Minutes was the number-one program in America five times.

Scheffler oversaw the reporting from the field and handled most of the producers’ journalistic issues, enabling Hewitt to focus almost exclusively on shaping the newsmagazine’s stories. When tempers flared in the screening room between Hewitt and one of his correspondents, such as Mike Wallace or Morley Safer, it was the professorial Scheffler, sporting a bow tie and close-cropped beard, who played referee.

Before his senior positions, Scheffler produced 60 Minutes stories over nine seasons for Wallace, Safer, Harry Reasoner and Dan Rather. His first story with Safer was “After Attica,” a look inside a maximum security prison in Colorado broadcast after the horrible riots in the New York prison in 1971.

Hewitt hired him in March of 1951 as a copy boy for “Douglas Edwards with the News,” which Hewitt directed and produced. Debuting in May 1948, that broadcast was the first network television news program, and in 1951, Scheffler became its first street reporter.

His first field assignment was to ask people whether they thought Gen. Dwight Eisenhower should enter politics and run for the Republican presidential nomination. But reporting was only one of the hats worn by early television news people like Scheffler.  Out of necessity, he also invented a makeshift news teleprompter.

Hewitt wanted his anchor, Edwards, to look at the camera instead of his script when reading the news, so he had Scheffler make cue cards. “My first job at CBS Television News,” recalls Scheffler, “was to hand print Douglas Edwards’ copy on two-by-three-foot cue cards. Then, when we were on the air, I would hold them up next to the camera lens and move them up a line at a time for Doug to read. My arms were always tired and sore, so I asked Don if the camera could move in closer. He put on a wide-angle lens and moved the camera to within 10 feet of Doug, and I started typing the copy using wide adding-machine paper and a huge-type typewriter. It was the first crude teleprompter, but I didn’t have the wit to develop it!” said Scheffler in 2001.

In 1953, Scheffler was drafted into the Army and served his two years. During this period, he convinced his superior officer that he could put the Army on television — as long as he could get a few weekends off to film the piece! The result was a feature series in weekly installments he helped produce and write for CBS in which a Korean War recruit was followed through basic training at New Jersey’s Fort Dix.   Scheffler returned to CBS and continued working as writer, reporter and producer for the nightly network news and other regularly scheduled CBS News programs through the 1950s.

The news program, “Eyewitness,” was Scheffler’s next stop, where he served as associate producer and on-air reporter for the half-hour weekly from 1960 to 1963. He briefly served as an associate producer on “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” where he covered the Kennedy assassination, before joining the documentary unit in 1964. There, Scheffler became a producer of documentary and special news broadcasts, including “CBS Special Reports” and “CBS Reports.” He produced more than 100 of them, including: “After 10 Years: The Court and the Schools” (1964), on school integration; “CBS REPORTS: Robert F. Kennedy” (1967), on Sen. Kennedy and his political ambitions; and “The Cities” (1968), about the nation’s urban crisis.

Scheffler’s assignments took him to 47 states and to 50 foreign countries, including Vietnam. He traveled there for six assignments during the war; his output included three two-hour specials on American policy in Southeast Asia, “Where We Stand in Vietnam” (1967), “Where We Stand in Indochina” (1970), and “The Changing War in Indochina” (1971).

CBS News broadcasts that Scheffler worked on, especially 60 Minutes, have received the industry’s highest recognition, including the Peabody, DuPont and Emmy awards. In 1981, he received the Alumni Award for distinguished contributions to journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, from which he received a master’s degree.  As an adjunct professor, he once taught classes there as well.

Scheffler was born Sept. 16, 1930 in New York City and was graduated from the City College of New York. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Linda Weingarten Scheffler, a clinical psychologist, author and retired professor at Hunter College in New York City; his daughter, Ramsay Klaff, of Massachusetts; and a son, Adam, of Chicago.

Share

Essex to Host Energy Fair & Free LED Light Bulb Swap for Residents, Saturday

ESSEX – On Saturday, April 9,  the Town of Essex and the Essex Citizens for Clean Energy (ECCE) will host an energy fair and free LED light bulb swap for residents. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall.

Essex residents, with identification, may bring up to five incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) light bulbs in any condition and exchange them for new, energy-efficient LED bulbs free of charge.  (Offer is for up to 5 LED light bulbs per household while supplies last.)  Other styles of LEDs and lighting products will be available for purchase at a discounted rate.

A single LED bulb has a life expectancy of 23 years, uses up to 80 percent less energy, and can save homeowners as much as $10 per year versus a traditional incandescent bulb, which has about a 1.5 to 2.5 year lifespan.

Energy experts from Eversource will be on-hand at the light bulb swap to answer questions and provide people with additional information on how they can save money and energy at home, including the popular in-home service, Home Energy SolutionsSM (HES).   There will be an activity for children and alternative fuel cars from local dealers will be on display.

In addition, a variety of energy related information and services will be available from vendors such as Competitive Resources, Ameri Group, Southern Connecticut Gas, and Benedetto Heating & AC.   Representatives from Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) and the Public Utility Regulation Authority (PURA) will be on hand to talk about the electric industry in Connecticut and discuss selecting suppliers to save money on residential electric bills. (Residents may bring a recent electric bill.)

The Town is using a $4,500 grant, earned through participation in Energize Connecticut’s Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program, to fund the exchange.  In October 2012, Essex signed the CEC pledge, committing to make efforts to reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent, attain 20 percent of municipal electricity needs from renewable sources, and take other actions to support the deployment of clean energy by 2018.

Residents and businesses that took advantage of Energize Connecticut energy efficiency solutions helped the community earn the grant and will reap the benefits with this LED giveaway.

For more information about how residents and businesses can save energy and money, visit EnergizeCT.com or call 877.WISE.USE (877-947-3873) or for more information on the Energy Fair & LED Light Bulb Swap visit the ECCE Website at www.essexcitizensforcleanenergy.com, call 860-227-7753 or check  https://www.facebook.com/SXCleanEnergy/

Share

Essex’s Medical Center Closed Almost Two Years Ago, Plans for Empty Building Not Yet Determined

Middlesex Hospital closed its medical facility in Essex on April 28, 2014, and the property has been vacant ever since.

Middlesex Hospital closed its medical facility in Essex on April 28, 2014, and the property has been vacant ever since.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.

It has now been almost two years — April 28, 2014 to be precise — since Middlesex Hospital closed its medical center in Essex. For the present, however, according to Middlesex Hospital’s Director of Public Relations, Peg Arico, there are no specific plans by the hospital regarding the future of the shuttered facility.

Signs threatening prosecution for trespassers stand on the grounds of Middlesex Hospital’s former medical center in Essex.

Signs threatening prosecution for trespassers stand on the grounds of Middlesex Hospital’s former medical center in Essex.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman said in a separate interview that he had learned that Middlesex Hospital had retained an “outside consultant” to explore options for its unused hospital facility in Essex where ‘No Trespassing’ signs stand at the perimeter of the site.       

Some Essex residents have expressed the hope that Middlesex Hospital will soon decide what to do with the unused property noting that the “No Trespassing” signs on Westbrook Rd. are not an especially pleasant way to welcome visitors entering historic Essex.

At the same time, Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center patient care facilities in Westbrook, which replaced the Essex clinic, have, in general, been very well received by Essex residents.

Share

Essex Library Explores Women as ‘Uncommon Heroes,’ Series Continues in Coming Months

malalaESSEX – The Essex Library kicked off “Uncommon Heroes,” a series of programs exploring the status of women around the world and right at home in Connecticut, on Feb. 27, with a screening of the film “He Named Me Malala.”

The series continues Wednesday, April 6, at 5 p.m., when Christine Palm from the CT General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women will speak about the pressing issues facing women in our state currently.

More events will be included in the months to come.

Call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 to register or for more information. All of these programs are free and open to the public and advance registration is suggested.

The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

Share

Enjoy a Tour of Private Gardens in Essex, June 4

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

ESSEX – On Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., plan to stroll through eight of the loveliest and most unusual private gardens in Essex. Some are in the heart of Essex Village while others are hidden along lanes most visitors never see.  While exploring, you will find both formal and informal settings, lovely sweeping lawns and panoramic views of the Connecticut River or its coves.  One garden you will visit is considered to be a ‘laboratory’ for cultivation of native plants. Master Gardeners will be available to point out specific features, offer gardening tips, and answer questions.

The garden tour is sponsored by the Friends of the Essex Library. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the Essex Library the day of the event.  Cash, checks, Visa or Master Card will be accepted. Tickets can be reserved by visiting the library or by completing the form included in flyers available at the library and throughout Essex beginning May 2.  Completed forms can be mailed to the library.  Confirmations will be sent to the email addresses on the completed forms.

Your ticket will be a booklet containing a brief description of each garden along with a map of the tour and designated parking. Tickets must be picked up at the library beginning at 9:45 a.m. the day of the event.

Richard Conroy, library director, has said, “The Essex Library receives only about half of its operating revenue from the Town. The financial assistance we receive each year from the Friends is critical.  It enables us to provide important resources such as Ancestry.com and museum passes, as well as practical improvements like the automatic front doors that were recently installed.  I urge you to help your Library by helping our Friends make this event a success!  Thank you for your support.”

The tour will take place rain or shine.  For more information, please call 860-767-1560. All proceeds will benefit Friends of the Essex Library.

Share

“Clouds & Shadows” — Essex Art Association’s Show Opens June 3

 

Judy plein air painting in Chester

Dianne Gorrick plein air painting in Chester

ESSEX – The Essex Art Association will continue its 2016 season with the Elected Artists Member Show, opening June 3. Juror, Judy Atlas, is an exhibiting member of City Gallery in New Haven and teaches art classes at Creative Arts Workshop, also in New Haven. A total of $1900 in award money will be given to exhibiting artists for their work in various media.

Each season five EAA artists are selected by a juror to exhibit their work in the small “Exit Gallery.” The Exit Gallery artist during this exhibition is plein air painter Dianne Gorrick, who creates vibrant works of art depicting the beauty of the natural world. Although she selects peaceful subjects, her paintings are invigorated by bright colors and impasto painting. Gorrick explains that the thick application of paint gives the paintings “a three-dimensional quality,” which enhances the sense of depth within her compositions. Concerning her technique, she writes, “I would say my style is Romanticized Realism. I want the viewer to be drawn into the scene and to enjoy looking at the painting.”

Gorrick’s paintings display skill and knowledge, which she acquired from years of study and exploration. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a master’s in Studio Art from Wesleyan University, she continued her education in painting at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, Dartmouth College and the Scottsdale Artist School with the Plein Air Painters of America.

Her artwork has been exhibited throughout the state of Connecticut, earning numerous awards and grants over the years. She is the recipient of two National Endowment Fellowships; a research grant concerning the Hudson River School of Painters and a fellowship to attend Dartmouth College, where she studied the art and culture of New England. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Wadsworth Athenaeum, the New Britain Museum, the Slater Museum, and the Ward-Nasse Gallery in NYC. She is an Elected Artist of the Essex Art Association and the Mystic Art Center. Currently, she teaches painting and drawing at the Glastonbury Art Guild. Gorrick had a long and rewarding career as an art educator in the public school system at Bacon Academy, where she also served as department head.

The “Clouds & Shadows” exhibition opening will be held Friday, June 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. The Essex Art Association Gallery is located in the sunny yellow building in the center of Essex at 10 North Main Street. Gallery hours are 1-5 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays. For more information, call 860-767-8996.

Share

Public Advisory from the Essex Tree Warden

The emerald ash borer adult beetle

The emerald ash borer adult beetle

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) is advising all residents of Connecticut that the emerald ash borer (EAB – agrilus planipennis) has quickly spread throughout Connecticut, making it now part of the federal EAB quarantine. Residents should be aware of this invasive insect and the threat it poses to all ash trees in our community.

The emerald ash borer is a beetle in the buprestid family that is native to Asia.  First discovered in 2002 in Detroit, it has rapidly spread across the US.  It may have first been introduced via wood-packing materials and continued spreading by humans in everything from firewood to rustic crafts.  Because the beetle is a strong flier, it  can spread on its own as well.

CAES describes the adult beetle as metallic green, about ½ inch long. It feeds exclusively on ash trees in the genus Fraxinus.  Tiny, flat, round 1mm long eggs are laid in the bark crevices.  Seven to 10 days later, the eggs hatch and the young larvae begin to feed on the tree’s conducting tissues.  As they feed and grow, the larvae create distinctive tightly-winding ‘serpentine galleries.’  This process quickly stresses and girdles the ash tree.

The emerald ash borer larva

The emerald ash borer larva

During the winter the mature larvae remain in a pupal chamber and pupate in the spring.  The adult beetles emerge by chewing a distinctive 4mm wide D-shaped exit hole.  The adults feed on the margins of the ash foliage prior to mating.  The lifespan is 4-5 weeks, during which time a single female may lay upwards of 60 eggs.

It has been difficult to survey for this pest because of its small size. Some monitoring and trapping methods have been used including purple panel traps. Another is  “biosurveillance” by scientists and volunteers who monitor the nests of a native wasp that specifically hunts buprestids, including EAB.

The overall effect of the ash borer is the decline of the ash trees.  Infected trees are  attacked by woodpeckers who strip bark while trying to reach the larvae.  The eventual loss of ash trees will have ripple effects on other organisms including butterflies and moths as well as wood duck, bob white, purple finch, pine grosbeak and fox squirrels all of which eat the seeds of the ash tree.

To identify an ash tree look for compound leaves and opposite branching.  Ash trees have diamond patterned bark which provides distinct crevices.  Ash seeds are winged, resembling maple pinwheels.  Ash trees do not produce berries.  The ash tree is valued for its combination of strength and flexibility.  It is used as shovel handles, baseball bats and in construction of guitar bodies.

The D-shaped exit holes of the emerald ash borer in an ash tree

The D-shaped exit holes of the emerald ash borer in an ash tree

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Connecticut is seeking to slow the spread of EAB by a quarantine to keep any infested ash materials from leaving Ct. and going to an area that is not infested.  The quarantine targets ash logs, hardwood firewood, yard waste and ash nursery stock.  Also, a ban on the importation of firewood into Ct. through New York or Massachusetts – unless it is properly certified as not coming from an infested area – has been instituted.

Individuals can help in the following ways:

  1. Know what an ash tree looks like and monitor the ash trees you are responsible for.
  2. Act quickly to report any ash trees that are declining and may pose a threat to people or structures.
  3. Be careful when moving firewood or young trees. Use locally obtained firewood.
  4. Notify the Tree Warden of concerns about street or park trees.

Private trees are the responsibility of the property owner.  DEEP encourages owners of ash trees to contact an arborist for further help in monitoring the status of your trees and to use the resources available at the CT Agricultural Experiment Station and DEEP.

According to the CAES, ash trees that are still healthy can be treated for and protected against EAB using commercially available pesticides.  Ash trees that are not treated will eventually die and should be preemptively removed.  Please contact your local arborist for expert advice.

 

The above information has been provided by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. For more information go to the following websites: www.emeraldashborer.info or www.ct.gov/deep or www.ct.gov/caes. Contact Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden at: augiepampel@att.net with any questions or concerns.

Share

Linares Welcomes Essex Historical Society to Capitol

Senator em

Essex Historical Society Director Melissa Josefiak and Sen. Art Linares

ESSEX – Historical societies and preservationists from across the state gathered at the State Capitol on March 23 to raise awareness about their organizations’ dedication to promoting Connecticut’s heritage for present and future generations.

The Essex Historical Society (www.essexhistory.org) was among the groups that traveled to Hartford to speak with Sen. Art Linares and other state lawmakers.

Sen. Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

 

Share

Essex’s Popular Village Provision Store Closes Doors, March 31

 Village Provision co-proprietor, Claudia Odekerken, stands outside the store.

Village Provision co-proprietor, Claudia Odekerken, stands outside the store. Photos by Jerome Wilson.

Essex’s popular Village Provision store closed its doors on Thursday, March 31. Village Provision has been operating at 6 Main Street in the heart of downtown Essex for the past fifteen and a half years, according to Claudia Odekerken, who with her husband, Jeff, has managed the unique and popular store. 

A regular customer of Village Provision for many years, Barry Fulford, said that the closing of the store was, “Absolutely dreadful.” Fulford like many of the store’s customers begins his day with a coffee, and perhaps a bagel on the side. The store also carries a full line of daily newspapers.

Village Provision’s owners in a written statement wrote, “It is with deep sadness that we announce the closing of Village Provision Company this Thursday, March 31, 2016. Due to the owner’s desire to sell the property, our lease was not renewed this year. We have been asked to vacate the property by April 1 in order for the new owner to take possession. This development has been very hard on our family, after more than 15 years of service and growth in the community, and with little time we must pack our little store and move on to a new adventure.”

The statement continued, “We would like to thank you all for your continued support through the years and for becoming more than just customers but friends. We will truly miss seeing you all every day, but our time here is not forgotten and we will look back to it with happiness, and at the many memories that we have share with you all. We will still be at Marley’s Café this summer, and we hope to see you there.”

We would also like to invite you to join us for a farewell lunch on Thursday March 31 at the Provision Store. Sincerely, Jeff, Claudia, Dylan, Michele, Patrick, Katherine and Milkey.” 

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 3.40.01 PM

Owner Claudia Odekerken relaxes briefly inside the store.

As to what Claudia and Jeff are going to do after the closing of Marley’s, Claudia said in an interview that she and her husband would continue to operate Marley’s restaurant on the island of the Essex Island Marina. The restaurant serves both lunch and dinner from May to September. “After that,” Claudia said, “we are just going to have to figure it out.”

Claudia also noted that she and her husband were still, “going to cater weddings, funerals and birthday parties.” Claudia noted that they also will continued to do, “plates for special occasions.” As for the rest of their future, Claudia and Jeff, remain undecided.

Share

John Winthrop MS Presents “Xanadu Jr.”

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

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

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

Share

Essex Zoning Commission Continues Hearings on Cumberland Farms Rebuild, Plains Rd. Apartments to April 18

ESSEX — The zoning commission has continued to April 18 the public hearings on separate applications for a rebuild and expansion of the Cumberland Farms store at 82 Main St. in the Centerbrook section, and a 52-unit apartment complex with an affordable housing component on Plains Rd.

Both applicants agreed at public hearings Monday to extend the legal deadline for closure of the public hearings on the two applications.  Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said the extensions will require the commission to vote on April 18 on the site plan review application from Signature Contracting Group LLC of Westport for the apartments, while the panel will have until June to act on the Cumberland Farms application.

The Cumberland Farms application includes a demolition, rebuild, and expansion of the existing store to include three gasoline pumping stations under an canopy.  The new 4,250-square-foot store would include a public restroom, a new septic system, and lighting.  The size of the canopy, along with the need for a third pumping station, generated the most discussion, and some objections, Monday.

Nearby residents  Robert and Laurie Hernandez objected to the size of the canopy, which would be about 80-feet long, and the third pumping station.  Laurie Hernandez said the applicants were ‘trying to jam and prototype onto a very small lot,” to build “something that would be at an I-95 off ramp.”

Joel Marzi, the town clerk who is an abutting property owner at 21 Westbrook Rd., said he has concerns about the size of the canopy, but would also appreciate an upgrade of the site.

Joan Wallace, who lives on the opposite side of Westbrook Rd., said she has concerns about the canopy, lighting, and also traffic flow, contending there are already traffic backups for vehicles heading north to the Centerbrook traffic light.  Wallace asked if Cumberland Farms would be willing to proceed with an expansion and upgrade of the store without a third fuel pumping station.

Joseph Williams, an attorney for Cumberland Farms with the firm of Shipman & Goodwin, said an additional fueling station was key to the company’s plan to pursue an estimated $3 million expansion and upgrade of the store.  Two residents, Kenneth Bombaci and Strickland Hyde, spoke in support of the project.

With several issues still under discussion, and approval of the new septic system still pending from the town health department, Williams agreed to continue the hearing to April 18.

The site plan for the apartment complex on a 3.7-acre parcel that would combine parcels at 21, 27, and 29 Plains Rd., including the long vacant Iron Chef restaurant property, has been filed under state statute 8-30g, which is intended to encourage additional affordable housing in Connecticut.  The proposed 52 units in three separate buildings would include 16 units designated as moderate income housing.  Each building would have a septic system, which requires approval from the state Department of Public Health.

One new development Monday came when lawyer John Bennet announced that he has been designated an intervener in the application process for Northbound 9 LLC, which owns the commercial building on the opposite side of Plains Rd.  The building contains the office of Bennet’s law firm, and a local construction company.

Bennet said the objections to the project focus on the potential for “environmental damage.”  Under the 8-30g law, the commission could reject the application only for public health and safety reasons.

Share

Invasive Species Explored at CT River Museum’s Featured 2016 Exhibit Opening April 1

invaders pic 2

The “Invaders” exhibit features original artwork by Michael DiGiorgio and explores the issues related to invasive species in the River Valley and local region.

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum unveils its 2016 featured exhibit Invaders: They Come by Air, Land & Water! on Friday, April 1. Invaders examines the threat of invasive species to the Connecticut River Valley, a region celebrated for its ecological and biological diversity. As the exhibit notes: “In many cases, the invasion resembles a classic monster movie that unfortunately has serious, real-life consequences.”

The museum commissioned accomplished illustrator Michael DiGiorgio to create original movie poster artwork that uses invasives in place of the classic monsters. The museum also collaborated with Channel 3 Eyewitness News to create fascinating “Orson Wells style” in-the-field interviews with invasive species experts.

Experts include Cynthia Boettner from Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, David Molnar from the Connecticut DEEP Marine Fisheries Division, Judy Preston from the Long Island Sound Study, and the museum’s own environmental specialist William Yule.

Invaders explores current threats through the themes of air, land and water. William Yule said, “Over the past four centuries of European and global contact, humans have intentionally and inadvertently introduced non-native life forms to this fragile ecosystem.” Of the dozens of invasive species explored in the exhibit, some of the highlights include Asiatic bittersweet that people often use in holiday decorations, and the beautiful purple loosestrife.

Also featured is didymo, known as “rock snot” which is often spread via fishing equipment. This asexual single cell organism likes cool, fresh water and can quickly multiply creating a thick mat on the bottom of riverbeds, destroying trout habitats.

There is also a laboratory that will allow children and adults to explore and identify invasive species through microscopes, specimens and fun activities. The exhibit closes with a “Call to Action” on the many ways the public can make a difference.  As the Museum Curator Amy Trout noted, “Once visitors can identify and understand these invasive species better, they can take action through prevention and activism.”

Executive Director Christopher Dobbs said, “The museum has a mission and a responsibility to lead in the preservation of the Valley’s cultural and natural heritage.” Dobbs was quick to note that the exhibit would not have been possible without the support from presenting sponsor, the Long Island Sound Study, and other dedicated sponsors that include Channel 3 Eyewitness News; the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation; the Rockfall Foundation; the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Tourism; the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Saybrook Point Inn & Spa; the Edgard & Geraldine Feder Foundation; and the many supporters of the Connecticut River Museum.

The exhibit will be on view at the Museum in Essex until Oct. 10, when it will begin to travel to libraries, schools, museums and nature centers. Dobbs said, “We want it to be an ambassador of the museum and help spotlight this important issue.”

For more information on the exhibit, related programs, or to arrange a tour destination, contact the Connecticut River Museum (860-767-8269) or visit the website, ctrivermuseum.org.

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 museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex, and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: The Connecticut River Museum’s 2016 exhibit Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water! features original artwork by Michael DiGiorgio and explores the issues related to invasive species in the River Valley and local region.

 

 

Share

AAUW Presents Program Tonight on ‘Empowering Afghan Women and Girls’ at Essex Library

UNAMA School in Afghanistan

UNAMA School in Afghanistan

AREAWIDE – There are contingents of Afghan women who, with incredible courage and determination, are making a difference in this war-weary country. They are desperate for an education, to have a salaried job, to have influence in their family, to have a say in government and at peace tables, and to hold up at least some of the Afghan sky. They seek to bring peace and stability to their homeland.

On Wednesday, March 23 at 7 p.m., Hally Siddons will present an illustrated talk at the Essex Library on how members of the Canadian Federation of University Women have worked to understand the plight of these women, to advocate for them, and to provide support in Afghanistan and in Ottawa.

Hally Siddons, the past president of the Canadian Federation of University Women, Ottawa, is instrumental in developing a project to support education and a school for women in Afghanistan. She is coming to Essex after attending the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, where she has also presented.

This program, sponsored by the AAUW Lower Connecticut Valley, is free and open to the public. Please 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.

 

Share

Essex Library’s Career Series for High Schoolers Continues Through May

Essex Public Library where the Career Series is being held.

Essex Public Library where the Career Series is being held.

ESSEX — As the middle of the winter season drags on and springtime can be just vaguely made out in the distance, many are looking forward to the exciting prospects that the new season will bring. For some, it is merely the release from Connecticut’s raw winter weather and the enticement of warm weather activities; while for a body of young people, the anxious wait for college application decisions has begun.

Selecting a college major, along with a career path, may appear to be a perplexing ordeal to those who have not yet found their niche. As a member of the restless class of teenagers who are anticipating the decision that will become the foundation for their future careers, I empathize with others who are in the same boat as I am and have not yet chosen a designated career path.

logoThankfully, the Essex Library has teamed up with Education Solutions of Essex to lend a helping hand to students who freeze up when that all-too-familiar, “What do you want to major in?” question strikes.

The Essex Library is a professionally-run, free public library that encourages all visitors to explore all that is offered. The youth and teen program, headed by Jessica Branciforte, is especially vibrant.

Branciforte is the smiling face behind the wonderful programs that are offered at the library for adolescents ranging from toddlers to teens. Education Solutions is a consulting firm that helps students and families identify and navigate through the process of selecting a school or career pathway.

Exterior_brick&sign_213KBA career series entitled “Demystifying the Future” has been created for students aged 12 and older who are searching for the career path that will suit them best. During each session, the Essex Library hosts a professional from a wide variety of areas ranging from communications to engineering, robotics, business and beyond. These informational sessions give students the opportunity to learn about classes required, industry trends, job prospects, degree information, salary ranges, and additional principal information regarding the career path.

Branciforte is co-heading the project along with Teal Reamer at Education Solutions, and discusses the motive behind creating the program. Branciforte comments, “Students are entering into a world where the options are overwhelming, and the pressure is on. Seeing a career description on paper is quite different from immersing oneself in the field, so it is both thrilling and reassuring to bring in experts who are willing to share their passion.”

The series runs through May 2016. The third session in this series is scheduled for Tuesday, March 1, from 6 to 7 p.m. and will feature keynote speaker Jeff Reamer who will share his experience with business and finance. The program is an opportune time to interact with people who have had first-hand experience in career areas that gives invaluable insight into a career field that may be of interest.  

To register for the session or for more information, contact the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560.

Editor’s Note: Essex Library Association is located at 33 West Avenue, Essex, CT 06426. Opening hours are Monday and Wednesday, 10am – 6pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 10am -7pm; Friday, 10am – 5pm; and Saturday, 10am – 4pm. The library is closed on Sundays. For more information, visit  http://www.youressexlibrary.org or call (860) 767-1560

Share

Two Local Authors to be at Essex Library Book Sale, May 21

 

Richard Friswell

Richard Friswell

ESSEX – When the Friends of Essex Library hold their Spring Book Sale on Saturday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., two local authors, Richard Friswell and Jane Rice, will be on hand to sign and sell their books.

Richard J. Friswell, M.Ed., M. Phil, Publisher and Managing Editor of ARTES magazine, and author of Balancing Act: Postcards for the Edge of Risk. Friswell writes, “Balancing Act is a collection of short essays, capturing moments in my life when I find myself in curious, challenging or awe-inspiring situations.  I reflect on my own vulnerability and the curious workings of human nature as we venture out into a complex world.  Adventure can be found in everyday encounters if we know where to look for it and are open to being surprised.  From an offshore sailing trip, a chaotic cab ride through the streets of New York, a journey to the tip of Cape Cod, to observations about a summer’s night sky, I attempt to put events in a context of self-discovery and amazement.  The mundane events of life need not be so, if we are prepared to embrace the unexpected.”

Jane Rice, Eliane Koeves and Nikki Lindberg

Jane Rice, Eliane Koeves and Nikki Lindberg

Jane Rice is the co-author of Eliane—The Art of Embracing Life and Nature, written with Nikki Lindberg about Eliane Koeves of Chester after two years of interviewing her. Eliane said, “My story is a personal account of an extraordinary journey through the last century.  Challenges both simple and complicated presented themselves and just had to be faced.  Definitely things just happened to me.  Fortunately laughter and a positive attitude bubbled just beneath the surface, however calamitous or life threatening the situation might be.”  Eliane served in World War II, and joined the Peace Corps at age 75, always looking for a way to serve.  She died in Chester last fall at

age 102.

The Essex Library is at 33 West Ave., Essex.

Share

Friends of Essex Library Spring Book Sale, May 21

Peggy Tuttle is new sales coordinator for Essex Library book sales.

Peggy Tuttle is new sales coordinator for Essex Library book sales.

ESSEX – A face that has become very familiar around the Essex Library is that of Peggy Tuttle. Peggy is the recently appointed Sales Coordinator for the Friends of the Essex Library.  Though she has been a volunteer for the Friends for many years, including being named “Volunteer of the Year” for 2015, she stepped into the newly named position that was vacated when Dee Grover “retired.”  She has been working closely with Dee for months learning the ins and outs of conducting a successful book sale, and has put in many hours learning techniques and procedures.  She has recruited a small army of volunteers whose job is to sort through the literally thousands of donated books.  Each book is examined to determine age, condition, first edition or signed by author status.  Books suspected of having “special value” can then be scanned by the computer program recently donated by the Friends.

Peggy has brought many innovative ideas to the position.  Ongoing sales continue to provide quality books for sale all year.  New are “Focused Sales” where a particular era or topic is highlighted.  In February, American History and Valentine themed books were displayed for purchase at very attractive prices.  March was “Music Month” where shoppers browsed through an extensive collection donated CDs.  June will feature “Beach Read” books suitable for summer reading.  Other featured sales are planned throughout the year.

Peggy and her team of volunteers are preparing for this year’s Friends of Essex Library Spring Book Sale to be held Saturday, May 21, in the library at 33 West Ave. in Essex. The doors will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  From 3 to 4 p.m., books will sell for half price; “fill your bag for $10” will run from 4 to 5 p.m.  Customers are encouraged to bring their own bags for the latter event.

Specific information about the sale, including signed books, will be on the Essex Library’s website two weeks prior to the sale. Go to www.youressexlibrary.org, click on “Friends” and then the “Book Sale” page.

The annual sale will provide funds to support the library’s special programs and activities, as well as practical improvements to the building.

 

 

 

Share

‘Spay It Forward’ Fundraiser in Ivoryton Tonight Benefits Local Animal Shelters

AREAWIDE – Homeward Bound CT and CT Animal House want to help local animal shelters get their dogs spayed and neutered.

The organizations are co-hosting a Spay it Forward beer, wine and silent auction fundraiser at the Blue Hound Taproom at 107 Main Street in Ivoryton on Monday, March 21, from 6 to 9 p.m.  The evening will feature local craft beers at a cash bar, free appetizers and a terrific silent auction.

“Spay/neuter saves pets’ lives while lessening the burden on animal shelters and taxpayers,” said Chris Lamb, founder and president of CT Animal House in Waterford. “We are happy to partner with Homeward Bound Adoption events to create a fund dedicated to sponsoring or subsidizing Connecticut dogs in honor of World Spay Day 2016. Each time a dog or cat is spay/neutered, its chances at adoption increase, and the animal no longer contributes to the cycle of abandoned, neglected or abused homelessness.”

Local veterinary practices, including Chester Veterinary Clinic, Higganum Veterinary Clinic, Powder Ridge Veterinary Hospital and Shoreline Veterinary Hospital, have offered free or discounted surgeries through this program.  Others, including Dr. Suzanne Magruder of Saybrook Veterinary Hospital and Dr. Virginia Nunes Olson of Pieper Memorial Veterinary Center, have provided program administrators with free vouchers towards spay/neuter surgery.  All services will be provided on a need-based system and the project will continue until funds are depleted.

Sue Hotkowski, Homeward Bound president and a resident of Chester, said, “We are overwhelmed by the support of our local veterinarians in our first ever effort to ‘spay it forward.’ Connecticut is blessed to have such wonderful community support for helping its abandoned dogs.”

Local merchants that have donated to the spay/neuter project evening on March 21 include the fundraiser hosts, Blue Hound Cookery and Taproom, Two Roads Brewery, Steady Habits, Outer Light Brewery, 30 Mile Brewery, Willimantic Brewery, Bishops Orchards, Essex Steam Train, Love the Dog, East River Oil, Asterisk, and Sweet Luna’s.

Tickets for the March 21 fundraiser cost $25 each and can be purchased online or at the door.  All direct donations are tax deductible.  All money raised will go towards the spay/neuter fund to be administered by Homeward Bound.

Editor’s note: CT Animal House provides the services necessary to get abandoned Connecticut dogs into safe and permanent homes.  They remove high risk dogs from municipal pounds and provide the veterinary and behavioral care needed to increase the chances of adoption.  Homeward Bound helps dog rescue groups by hosting adoption events, and sponsoring and promoting rescue dogs. More information can be found on the websites www.CTAnimalHouse.org, and http://homewardboundadoptionevents.jimdo.com/.

Sue Hotkowski gets a kiss from Bart, an abandoned Connecticut dog, after being spayed on World Spay Day in February at Chester Veterinary Hospital. Bart has since been adopted.

Sue Hotkowski gets a kiss from Bart, an abandoned Connecticut dog, after being spayed on World Spay Day in February at Chester Veterinary Hospital. Bart has since been adopted.

Share

Essex Zoning Commission Resumes Public Hearings Monday on Apartment Complex and Centerbrook Cumberland Farms Rebuild

ESSEX — The zoning commission will resume public hearings Monday on two large-scale development proposals, a proposed 52-unit apartment complex on Plains Rd., and a rebuild and expansion of the Cumberland Farms store at 82 Main St. in the Centerbrook section. The hearings reconvene at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at town hall.

Public hearings on both proposals opened on Feb. 22. Signature Contracting Group LLC of Westport is seeking site plan approval for 52 apartment units in three buildings on a 3.7-acre parcel that would combine properties at 21, 27, and 29 Plains Road. The parcel at 21 Plains Rd. was the site of the former Iron Chef restaurant, and was previously the location of a bowling alley and the Essex Junction restaurant and movie theatre. Now owned by Treuhold Essex LLC of Scarsdale, N.Y. it has been vacant for about nine years. The properties at 27 and 29 Plains Rd. are residential properties owned by the local Costa family.

The plans for the Essex Station Luxury Apartments call for 52 units in three buildings, including two buildings with three floors and one two-story structure. Thirty percent of the units, or16 units, would be designated as moderate income housing under state statute 8-30g, which was adopted more than a decade ago to promote low and moderate income housing in Connecticut. The maximum rent for these units would be about $1,800 per month.

Because the site plan review application is filed as a proposed 8-30g project, the commission faces some limits on its authority to reject or demand major changes in the plans. Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said the panel has been advised by legal counsel that it could only reject the project for reasons directly related to safety and public health. Budrow said the plans drew a generally mild reaction at the Feb. 22 hearing , with “questions but not a lot of vocal opposition.”

The Cumberland Farms project calls for demolition of the 1,800-square-foot existing store that opened in the 1990s, replacing it with a 4,200-square-foot store with three gasoline pump islands, one more than the two currently on site. The pumping stations would be under a 24-foot by 55-foot canopy. The plan drew some objections at the Feb. 22 hearing, mostly focused on traffic flow and the size of the canopy.

Budrow said legal timelines require the commission to close the public hearing on the Plains Rd. apartment complex, and vote on the application Monday, unless the applicant approves an extension that would push the deadline for a decision to April 18. He said the panel also faces an April deadline for action on the Cumberland Farms project.

Another public hearing on a new application scheduled to open Monday is for a proposed take-out pizza shop in a section of the former Ivoryton Store building at 104 Main St. in the Ivoryton section. The applicant is Paul Cappazone.

Share

Essex Has New, More Readable Street Signs

Essex street sign
ESSEX — The old and largely unreadable street signs in Essex have now been almost completely replaced. The new street signs have larger letters and are more readable than were the old ones. To date 250 new street signs have been delivered, and most have now been installed. The new signs are nine inches high, and can accommodate street names with letters six inches high. The total cost of the new street signs is approximately $13,330.

Essex Street sign

According to the office of Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, the main reason for installing the new street signs is safety. Also, the old signs were barely readable under limited light conditions, and they posed a particular problem for visitors to Essex. In addition the old signs received numerous complaints from Essex residents. Also, one of the most urgent needs for the new Essex street signs was to assist the vehicles of emergency responders, such as hospital ambulances and fire trucks, trying to find street addresses in Essex.

Essex Street sign

The new signs conform to new traffic code requirements, which specify the letter size of road signs, based on an individual road’s speed limits. Also, there are new retro reflective backgrounds on the new street signs, making them easier to read under limited light conditions. The roll out of the new street signs started with state roads, then next came the town roads in Ivoryton and Centerbrook, then the town roads surrounding Essex Village, and finally the town roads in the village itself. The final instillation of the new roads should be finished in the next few weeks.

A spokesperson in Needleman office noted, “The new road signs have been very well received.” As for what to do with the town’s old street signs, a charity auction of some kind is under discussion at Essex Town Hall. .

Share

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share

Beer, Music, History and Pizza at CT River Museum

CTRiverMuseum.BeerHistoryImage

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum will host “A Glass of Beer History” on Friday, March 18 at 7 p.m.

This multimedia program will feature the sights, sounds and tastes of 6,000 years of brewing history. Presented by the Museum’s executive director Christopher Dobbs and folk musician Rick Spencer, the program will explore the origins of beer, its growth as a popular beverage, and its evolving place in American society. From ancient civilizations to the modern microbrew craze of today, tastings will reflect beer’s evolution.

Five beers will be tasted throughout the night. These include a barleywine, which Dobbs notes is “considered to be the world’s first beer.” Other beers being tasted are a German-American lager, a classic English-style porter, an India Pale Ale (IPA) and a featured local beer.

Steady Habit Brewing Company will be featured as one of Connecticut River Valley’s newest microbreweries. Based out of Haddam, owner and brewmaster Jon Peterson will join Dobbs and Spencer during the tasting with one of his handcrafted beers.

In addition to the tastings and history, Spencer will join Dobbs with rousing drinking songs that support the program’s themes. They will be accompanied by signer Dawn Indermuehle. Spencer, an accomplished folk musician, said that “these songs do more than just support the night’s themes; they expand the audience’s understanding and dive into the social customs and concerns around drink.” Both Dobbs and Spencer noted that you cannot just reflect on beer’s history without also discussing temperance and vice.

Deep River’s Pizzeria DaVinci is donating food that will complement the assorted beers. Dobbs stated that this is the “perfect way to enjoy a beer tasting. Pizzeria DaVinci is known in the area for their high quality New Haven style pizza and wonderful breads and desserts.”

The event is open to the public; however, reservations are required due to limited space. Participants must be 21 or over and show valid ID at the door. Tickets include the program with beer and food tastings. Prices are $10 for Museum members and $16 for the general public.

For more information and to register, visit CTRiverMuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

 

Share

Centerbrook Architects Lecture Features Hugh Ferriss and Lee Lawrie

Hugh Ferriss's rendering of an imaginary city

Hugh Ferriss’s rendering of an imaginary city

ESSEX – Both Hugh Ferriss and Lee Lawrie had an enormous effect upon architectural philosophical thinking and ultimate execution in the early part of the 20th century in America.

Hugh Ferriss became famous for his dark, brooding charcoal renderings of zoning studies for skyscrapers in New York. Lee Lawrie distinguished himself as being the lead designer and lead sculptor for most of the architectural sculptures at Rockefeller Center, as well as work at Yale University on the Sterling Library, the State Capitol of Nebraska, the City & County of Los Angeles Library, and more. He was perhaps most known for his collaboration with the architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue on many of his firms’ projects.

Learn more about these two influential designers in an illustrated talk by architectural historian Dr. Chuck Benson on Friday, March 18, at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall.

Dr. Benson has been teaching Art and Architectural History for more than 25 years at various universities and has led groups to explore iconic places and buildings in America, Italy, England, France, Germany, Greece, Turkey, and elsewhere. His lecture credits include MOMA, Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. He studied the history of art and architecture at Yale, and holds advanced degrees from Columbia University. He also has studied at Cambridge and Oxford.

This Essex Library program is free and open to the public. The Essex Town Hall is located at 29 West Avenue in Essex. Please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register.

Share

Local Essex Realtor’s 2015 Sales Total $24.8 Million

Award-winning Essex realtor Colette Harron stands outside the Sotheby's International office on Main Street in Essex.

Award-winning Essex realtor Colette Harron stands outside the Sotheby’s International office on Main Street in Essex.

ESSEX — Essex resident Colette Harron of Sotheby’s International Realty sold an unprecedented $24.8 million of real estate in the 2015 calendar year.  This record-breaking amount not only placed Harron in the “Top 15 Company Wide Dollar Volume” in sales among Sotheby’s 1,500 realtors but also put in the “Top Producer’s Dollar Volume” in the Sotheby’s sales office in Essex.

The properties that Harron sold last year were located in the towns of Essex, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Deep River and Chester. As for the keys to her success, Harron said in a recent interview, “I work very hard, and even more importantly I always make myself available for my clients.” She also noted, “I know the area very well.”

In addition, Harron has Joanne Tyrol as a full time assistant, who Harron described as, “Just Perfect.”

Harron also noted, “I’m well established in the community, and have been doing this work for the last 15 years,” adding, “I’m always working, and I am always available.” In addition to English, Harron is also in fluent in Spanish and French.  Another secret of her exceptional performance is, in Harron’s words, “I try not to remember the bad times, and just remember the good.” She concluded, “It is a tough business, and the challenges are high,” … but there is no question that she has made the very best of both.

Share

Dedication Day for Yellow Label Mill at Valley Railroad, May 15

YellowLabelBldg_EastFacade

The Birch Mill, today rechristened the Yellow Label Mill, was built by E.E. Dickinson, Sr. in 1915. Black Birch has the same chemistry as wintergreen and was chipped and distilled in the same manner as witch hazel until 1926. Today the mill is used to tell the story of witch hazel and to help preserve the Dickinson legacy in Essex.

ESSEX – The Essex Historical Society’s 60th anniversary celebration of the E.E. Dickinson Company legacy will come to a close on Sunday, May 15, when the non-profit organization, in partnership with the Valley Railroad Company, officially cuts the ribbon on the newly refurbished Yellow Label Mill, once used as a storefront for the sale of Dickinson Witch Hazel products.

Plans for the Yellow Label Mill Dedication Day, which takes place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Valley Railroad, include a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. to be followed by public tours of the Yellow Label Mill, the former Dickinson Bottling Plant and Witch Hazel Distillery. The free event is open to the public and will feature live music performed by the Occasional Jazz Ensemble, food and drinks. The Valley Railroad is located at 1 Railroad Avenue, off Middlesex Turnpike/Saybrook Road in Essex.

Just one year ago, May 15 was officially proclaimed “Yellow Label Day” in Essex as the two organizations announced plans for the renovation of the iconic 1915 building, originally a birch mill, that sits on the southern end of the railroad depot property on Plains Road. The Valley Railroad oversaw the replacement of the roof, windows and deteriorated structural elements as well as general cleaning and painting while the Essex Historical Society (EHS) was responsible for the refurbishment of Yellow Label signage and installation of Dickinson history exhibit panels in the newly repaired space.

“We are looking forward to a great day of activities that cap off and celebrate our milestone anniversary and our partnership with the Valley Railroad in honoring the Dickinson company’s history,” commented EHS President Sherry Clark, “We have enjoyed tremendous community interest and support at the various Dickinson programs held this past year, and we hope to see everyone come out for the big finale.”

For more information on the Dedication Day and other Essex Historical Society events or membership, go to www.essexhistory.org or call 860-767-0681. The Essex Historical Society is a non-profit, member organization.

Share

Explore the Artistry of Bosch at Essex Library, May 14

boschESSEX – This year marks the 500th anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch’s death, which brings renewed interest in his extraordinary creativity.

Join Connecticut College Art History Professor Robert Baldwin on Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. at the Essex Library for an entertaining examination of Bosch’s work.

Bosch revolutionized early Renaissance art by turning away from traditional Christian images such as Madonnas and saints. In the Garden of Earthly Delights, the Haywain and the Seven Deadly Sins, Bosch painted secular, encyclopedic scenes of everyday life (framed with moral allegory) and fantastic scenes of sexual fantasy and hellish punishment. Although seemingly poles apart, his naturalism and fantasy were both part of a secular, Renaissance aesthetic that understood artistic seeing as both empirical and playful, as a process rooted in the study of the natural world and in the display of visual interpretation and artistic mind.  In the Renaissance world of art, seeing was ultimately connected to artistic invention. Among the ironies, Bosch’s artistry allowed him to convert medieval sin and hellish punishment into visually appealing luxury objects for pleasure-loving aristocrats while bringing the artist fame and fortune.

The Essex Library program is free and open to the public. Please call the library at 860-767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

Share

Birding and Nature Walk in Essex, May 14

 

#5-Essex Meadows Walk - 2013

ESSEX – May is the optimal time to see and hear the many birds that have returned from wintering in points south. Many will be singing and claiming nesting territories.

On Saturday, May 14, at 9 a.m., come explore the grounds of Essex Meadows and the adjacent Preserve where 70 acres belong to the Essex Land Trust. ELT Board Member and birder Jim Denham will lead a casual 1 1/2 hour stroll that coincides with the peak of spring bird migration. Easy to moderate walking on trails.

All levels of knowledge are welcome. Essex Meadows will provide refreshments at the conclusion of the walk.  Bad weather cancels. Meet at Essex Meadows Main Building Entrance.

Share

St. Patrick’s Celebration Today Benefits Ivoryton Playhouse

untitled

Michael McDermott

IVORYTON – On Sunday, March 13, at 3 p.m. at the Centerbrook Meeting House, join Ivoryton Playhouse favorite Michael McDermott and his group, Cead Mile Failte, to celebrate Celtic culture and heritage through stories and song.

The afternoon will be filled with traditional Irish music including “That’s An Irish Lullaby,” “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms,” “Star Of The County Down,” “Carrickfergus” and, of course, “Danny Boy.”

irish woman 1

Kathleen Mulready

McDermott will be joined by Kathleen Mulready, an Ivoryton Playhouse favorite who starred in Finian’s Rainbow and shared the stage with McDermott in The Irish… and How They Got That Way.

McDermott has been seen many times at the Playhouse – most recently in The Bells of Dublin: The Carol of the Bells. He has been performing with Cead Mile Failte for several years and says, “‘Cead Mile Failte’ means ‘a hundred thousand welcomes’ in Irish Gaelic.  This has always been a saying that has warmed and inspired my heart and is especially meaningful for me here in Ivoryton, which is like my second home.”

He continues, “For me, the month of March is a time of renewed hope, that feeling of spring just around the corner.  We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and feel the weather change with the old saying, ‘in like a lion out like a lamb’ when strong gusts of wind push out winter and warmer, greener days are joyfully welcomed.  Because of this inspiration from nature, combined with my deep love for Irish music, the group Cead Mile Failte was formed.  As a group, we strive to create that feeling in our concerts – the feeling that all are welcomed to share in the stories and music that the Irish tell so well.  At our concerts you will find friendly hospitality, good conversation, and great music – a hundred thousand welcomes!”

Tickets for the St. Patrick’s Celebration are $30 and include light refreshments after the concert. For tickets and information, call 860-767-7318. Seating is limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

Photos by Michael McDermott

Share

Augie Pampel to lead Essex go Bragh Irish Parade, Saturday

The 5th Annual Essex go Bragh Parade will be held March 12.

The 5th Annual Essex go Bragh Parade will be held March 12.

ESSEX — Many local organizations, led by Grand Marshal Augie Pampel, will be celebrating “All Things Green” at the Fifth Annual Essex go Bragh Irish Parade, on Saturday, March 12.

Mary Ellen Barnes, Park and Recreation Director, said, “Every parade needs a Grand Marshal, and the Essex go Bragh Parade is no exception! We have had some tremendously distinguished individuals serving that honored position in the past. Last year Essex Park and Recreation Commission was proud to announce that Augie Pampel would serve as 2015 Grand Marshal.  However, thanks to a couple of mid-March snow storms, our parade was canceled and Mr. Pampel could not serve.  We are hoping that with a little Irish Luck on March 12, 2016, the parade will return with Augie leading the way!”

Barnes continued, “Mr. Pampel has been living and contributing to the Essex community for many years.  He has worked tirelessly as the Town of Essex Tree Warden since 1994.  He is a proud member of the Essex Garden Club and was instrumental in securing Keep America Beautiful Grants, used for tree restoration throughout the three villages. We are tremendously honored by Augie Pampel’s participation in our 5th Annual Essex go Brag Parade as Grand Marshal.”

The parade steps off from Essex Town Hall at 10:30 a.m. The parade route is down West Avenue to Main Street, turning onto Ferry Street. Marching groups must arrive by 10 a.m. For more information about participating in the parade, contact Mary Ellen Barnes at 860-767-4340 x100 or mbarnes@essexct.gov.

In case of severe weather, the parade will be held on March 13.

Share