July 15, 2018

Middlesex Hospital Opens Renovated Essex Facility

Middlesex Hospital and local dignitaries celebrate the opening of the renovated Shoreline Medical Center.

ESSEX — Middlesex Hospital has opened its renovated building at 252 Westbrook Road in Essex.

The building was once home to the Shoreline Medical Center, which moved to 252 Flat Rock Place in Westbrook in 2014. On July 10, Middlesex Hospital’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine Department and its Physical Rehabilitation Department began seeing patients at the renovated facility.

The Physical Rehabilitation Department, which includes the Hospital’s physical and occupational therapy programs, has several offices located throughout Middlesex County. The department’s office at 192 Westbrook Road in Essex is now closed due to the department’s move to the renovated space.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine also moved from 192 Westbrook Road. As such, Middlesex Hospital no longer has any offices located at that address.

When it renovated 252 Westbrook Road, Middlesex installed new exterior wall framing, insulation, siding and a new roof. The inside of the building was rebuilt and includes a new HVAC system, ceiling, lighting, flooring and finishes. By doing this work, Middlesex invested in its facility, in the services it offers and in the Essex community.

“We are so excited to open this renovated facility,” says Middlesex President and CEO Vincent G. Capece, Jr. “This building will give our Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Physical Rehabilitation departments a new home. It will give them the space and resources to continue doing what they do best—caring for our community.”

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Ivoryton Village Farmers’ Market Open Today on Ivoryton Green


IVORYTON — Summer’s back and so is the Ivoryton Farmers’ Market.  The Ivoryton Green will be bustling with vendors showcasing Connecticut-Grown produce and prepared foods. Local artisans and crafters will be displaying their latest creations and area musicians will be performing, live.

Brought to you by the Ivoryton Village Alliance, the market is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and runs weekly from June 16, through Sept.29. Everyone is invited to visit our village, shop the market and enjoy the free, live entertainment.

More information is available at www.ivorytonfarmersmarket.com or www.facebook.com/ivorytonfarmersmarket

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Kayak Race Today on Mill Pond

Join a kayak race round Jean’s Island, July 14!

ESSEX — On your marks, get ready. paddle!

Join the Essex Land Trust in a first ever kayak race around Jean’s island, on the seven-acre Falls River Mill Pond located in Ivoryton and Centerbrook. This will be an informal, fun and family-friendly race with prizes provided for the first three finishers.

Participants ages 12 and older should register on site starting at 9:30 a.m. and launch their boats from the Falls River Park Landing, located on Falls River Drive. All participants should wear a personal floatation device.

The competition starts at 10 a.m. Safety boat will accompany. Bad weather cancels.

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Local Organizations Host Summer Program to Provide Food for Families in Need

TRI-TOWN — Tri-Town Youth Services, Deep River Public Library and Deep River, Chester and Essex Social Service Departments are working together to help local families in need over the summer.  No child should go hungry, and yet many children, who receive free and reduced lunches during the school year, are left without the nutrition they need in the summer.

Beginning Thursday, July 12, families can visit the Deep River Public Library’s Children’s Garden, on Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to receive a bag of nutritious food.  Arts and crafts will also be available for the children.

The program sponsors are looking for volunteer help and food donations, especially easy-to-carry, kid-friendly, nutritious lunch and snack items.

Contact Tri-Town Youth Services at 860-526-3600 for more information or to sign up to help.

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Tell Me More! Tell Me More! See ‘Grease’ at the Ivoryton Playhouse Through July 29

Danny, played by Johnny Newcomb, and  Sandy (Kimberley Immanuel) are the leads in ‘Grease’ at Ivoryton Playhouse.  Both are members of Equity. Photograph by Anne Hudson.

IVORYTON — Dust off your leather jackets, pull on your bobby-socks and take a trip to a simpler time as Danny and Sandy fall in love all over again at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Opening on July 5, and running through July 29, Grease, by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey,  features all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including “You’re The One That I Want”, “Grease Is The Word”, “Summer Nights”, “Hopelessly Devoted To You”, “Greased Lightnin’” and many more.

Here is Rydell High’s senior class of 1959: duck-tailed, hot-rodding “Burger Palace Boys” and their gum-snapping, hip-shaking “Pink Ladies” in bobby sox and pedal pushers, evoking the look and sound of the 1950s in this rollicking musical.

Head “greaser” Danny Zuko and new (good) girl Sandy Dumbrowski try to relive the high romance of their “Summer Nights” as the rest of the gang sings and dances its way through such songs as “Greased Lightnin’,” “It’s Raining on Prom Night,” “Alone at the Drive-In Movie” recalling the music of Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley that became the soundtrack of a generation.

The Burger Palace Boys comprising (Kenickie, (Natale Pirrotta*), Roger (Taylor Morrow), Danny (Johnny Newcomb*), Doody (Luke Linsteadt*) and Sonny (Max Weinstein) play a key  role in ‘Grease.’ * denotes member of Equity. Photograph by Anne Hudson.

Grease‘ opened Off-Broadway at the Eden Theatre on Feb. 14, 1972 but was deemed eligible for the 1972 Tony Awards, and received seven Tony Award nominations. The 1994 revival also garnered Tony nominations and the show went on to a successful national tour, featuring local hero Micky Dolenz as Vince Fontaine.

The movie that we all know and love opened 40 years ago and it is a testament to the music and the iconic characters that ‘Grease‘ is still the word today.

The best part of this quintessentially American high school story (aside from the music, of course) is what Danny, Sandy, Rizzo, Kenickie, Frenchy and the rest of the Rydell High gang taught us – that the people who really care about you will stay by your side no matter how different you are from one another, and support you just the same whether you’re a pom-pom-wielding goody-two-shoes, a leather-touting T-Bird or a starry-eyed, pink-haired aspiring beautician, who drops out of school months before graduation.

So throw your mittens around your kittens and hand jive the night away with the show that’ll make you want to stand up and shout, ‘A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop, a-wop-bam-boom!

This production stars Johnny Newcomb* as Danny Zuko and Kimberley Immanuel* as Sandy. Johnny made his Broadway debut in The Last Ship and was part of the national tour of American Idiot. He was last seen in Ivoryton as Roger in Rent. This season’s audience may remember Kimberley for her luminous performance as Luisa in The Fantasticks

Other cast members that may be familiar to Ivoryton audiences are Alyssa V. Gomez* (Rizzo), Amy Buckley (Miss Lynch), Cory Candelet (Eugene), Jonny Cortes (Johnny Casino), Taylor Lloyd (Marty), Alexa Racioppi (Patty Simcox) Max Weinstein (Sonny) Amanda Lupacchino, Andee Buccheri, and Nathan Russo. Making their Ivoryton debut are Katelyn Bowman (Frenchy) Lawrence Cummings* (Vince Fontaine/Teen Angel), Luke Linsteadt* (Doody), Taylor Morrow (Roger), Natale Pirrotta* (Kenickie), Shalani Taylor (Cha-Cha), Audrey Wilson (Jan), Jamaal Fields-Green, Jared Starkey and Clementine Wurzbach

The production is directed and choreographed by Todd L. Underwood and musical directed by Michael Morris, with set design by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Elizabeth Saylor Cippolina.

Grease opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on July 5 and runs through July 29, 2018. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm.Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.

Additional matinee performances are on Saturday, July 7, 14 and 28 at 2pm.

Tickets are $55 for adults; $50 for seniors; $25 for students and $20 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.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

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Happy Fourth to all our Readers! Join the Ivoryton Independence Day Parade Today!

IVORYTON — Join your friends and neighbors to celebrate The Fourth of July at the Ivoryton Independence Day Parade, July 4th.

All are welcome to march on foot or ride on bicycles, scooters, trucks, tractors wagons or in vintage cars. Patriotic attire encouraged.

Vehicles should assemble on Cheney Street, Ivoryton by 9:15 a.m. and walkers by 9:30 a.m. The parade steps off at 10 a.m., circling Ivoryton and winding up by the green in preparation for a short, patriotic program around 11 a.m.

Severe rain will cancel the event, which will not be rescheduled.

Show your spirit for American History and help celebrate The Glorious Fourth!

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Community Music School Presents Inaugural Annual Cornhole Charity Challenge, Aug. 13

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School will present their first annual Cornhole Charity Challenge on Aug. 13, at 6 pm on beautiful Essex Island.  Join us for live music and southern BBQ! Local charities will face off in this friendly cornhole competition. BYOB and family friendly! The event is presented by Guilford Savings Bank and proceeds will benefit scholarships and outreach programs at Community Music School.

Event tickets include live music and all food: $25/adult, $12/kid, ages 5 and under free. Teams of two can enter the cornhole competition for $20. Rain or shine; covered area available. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit www.community-music-school.org/cornhole or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 35-year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Community Music School Launches Summer Rock Camp, July 30-Aug. 3

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS) has announced the launch of a new summer initiative, Summer Rock Camp.  This new program takes place at Community Music School’s main campus at 90 Main Street in Centerbrook and runs for a weeklong session July 30 through August 3 from 9 am to 12 pm each day. Designed for intermediate to advanced students aged 12 and up who play guitar, bass, drums, woodwinds, brass, or voice.

Directed by CMS Guitar Instructor John Birt, Summer Rock Camp will help students explore popular music on a variety of instruments. Students will gain experience putting together an ensemble and learn how to prepare for a performance.

All instruments are welcome, as well as all styles of music such as classic rock, country, pop, blues, and more.  The camp will end in a live performance at the Centerbrook Meeting House for family and friends on Aug. 3 at 1 pm.

Tuition for this camp is $225 and scholarships are available for families with a financial need.

For additional information and to register, visit www.community-music-school.org/summer or call 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 35 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

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

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Essex Steam Train Hosts ‘Cigar & Whiskey’ Cruise, July 12

AREAWIDE — Join Essex Steam Train for a unique night of refined pleasures on their Cigar & Whiskey Cruise.

On Thursday, July 12, from 6 to 9 p.m., the Cigar & Whiskey Cruise (for adults only) will take an exclusive group of cigar enthusiasts on the Becky Thatcher riverboat for an evening of spirits, cigars, and delicious cuisine.  This event will be held rain or shine.

Guests board the vintage steam train at Essex Station for a ride to Deep River Landing, where they will embark on a two-hour sunset cruise along the Connecticut River while they sample premium whiskeys paired with a hand-rolled cigar for each passenger.

The schedule for the evening is as follows:-

  • Board the locomotive at Essex Station at 6 p.m.
  • Train departs Essex at 6:15 p.m.
  • Riverboat Cruise runs from 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Arrive back at Essex Station at 9:30 p.m.

Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided and additional spirits will be available for purchase.

Included in the $85 ticket price ($95 at the door) is the initial train ride to Deep River Landing, two-hour cruise on the Connecticut River, a hand-rolled cigar, 1/2-oz. tastings of the night’s featured whiskeys, light fare, and an Essex Steam Train & Riverboat rocks glass.

For more information and to reserve tickets, contact Pam Amodio at pamodio@essexsteamtrain.com or call 860.767.0103 or visit this link.

 

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Enjoy ‘Music on the Riverboat’ on Select Saturdays in the Summer, Next Cruise July 20

‘Music on the Riverboat’ will be held on the Becky Thatcher, pictured above.

Enjoy live music while sailing down the Connecticut River during a gorgeous sunset at Essex Steam Train’s annual summer concert series, Music on the Riverboat. Offering four nights of music on the Becky Thatcher riverboat on select Fridays this summer, this is a fun and unique live music series offering the opportunity to dance the night away in front of a beautiful, natural backdrop.

Pick your favorite act from the schedule or attend all four!

  • July 20 features Basically Blues
  • Aug. 17 is a returning favorite, Rock Solid Alibi
  • the series closes out on Sept. 14, with Seat of our Pants.

Features of the cruise include:

  • Board the train at Essex Station at 6 p.m. for a 6:15 p.m. departure
  • Two-hour cruise down the Connecticut River aboard the Becky Thatcher riverboat
  • Bands perform between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
  • Train returns to Essex Station approximately 9 p.m.
  • Food and beverage service are available at the fully stocked bar (No BYOB permitted)
  • Due to the time of day and duration of the cruise, Music on the Riverboat is not recommended for children under 10.
  • $45 per person

The Essex Steam Train is located at 1 Railroad Ave., Essex.  For more information, visit the Essex Steam Train website or contact Pam Amodio at 860.767.0103 or pamodio@essexsteamtrain.com

To reserve tickets, visit this link.

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“Brilliant,” Essex Art Association’s Summer Exhibition, on View Through July 21

‘Mom’s Basket’ by Steven Wells is one of the signature paintings of the artist’s solo show in the Gantner Gallery at the Essex Art Association.

ESSEX — The July show at the Essex Art Association (EAA) is an Open Exhibition and welcomes all area artists to submit up to two pieces of artwork for display. This type of show offers the public a viewing experience with a wide spectrum of subjects, styles and mediums.

The show is juried for awards only, with the EAA distributing $1800 in nine categories. In addition, one artist will be awarded a solo exhibit in the EAA Gantner Gallery during the 2019 gallery season. 

The exhibit’s opening reception is Friday, June 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. The show runs June 30  through July 21. The EAA Gallery is located at 10 North Main Street, Essex, CT. Gallery hours are 1-5 pm daily, closed Tuesdays. For more information visit essexartassociation.com or call 860-767-8996.

The exhibit theme “Brilliant” invites artists to share their most ingenious and insightful artwork reflecting expressions of dynamic composition, luminous color or any personal inspiration.

The Gantner Gallery exhibit, “Perspective of Portland, My Home Town,” features the work of Steven Wells of Portland, Conn. Wells has enjoyed portraying familiar and unique perspectives in and around his home town the better part of his life.  This Paier College of Art student, after teaching art classes on and off for a few years, set aside his passion for watercolors to create with a different medium, hammer and nail, having been a professional building contractor for over 40 years.

Throughout his time designing, renovating, and creating homes in and around Portland, Wells never truly “put down the brush” as he would use the winter months to pick up where he left off, pursuing what he enjoys most, which is painting.

His profound ability to capture the essence of life and nature was undoubtedly nurtured by his mother Lois, a tremendous watercolorist of her own. They loved to share creative moments while they worked on their latest pieces.  

Becoming a member of the Essex Art Association and participating in their exhibitions has been a welcoming experience and allowed him to share, through his eyes, the artist behind the hammer.

Exhibition juror, Douglas Deveny is an abstract expressionist who attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and Savannah College of Art and Design. He graduated with a B.S. in Art Education from Southern Connecticut State University – Summa Cum Laude.

Deveny says, “My work is non-objective. I like to explore the complexity in simplicity by use of texture and color. I am intrigued by the beauty of deteriorated surfaces, happenstance and patina. Each painting incorporates a variety of techniques and countless layers of acrylic and mixed media, with a constant accumulation and reduction of materials, until each piece finds its own end.”

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Essex Library Receives $20,000 Gift

The Friends of Essex Library recently presented Library Director Richard Conroy with a $20,000 check.

ESSEX — The Friends of the Essex Library presented a $20,000 check to library Director Richard Conroy at their Annual Meeting held on June 13.  This generous gift was made possible thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers who put in countless hours organizing book sales, and working on highly successful fund raisers such as the “Festival of Dinner Parties” held in the fall of 2017 and recent tour of “Our Friends Gardens.” 

“Quite simply, the Library could not offer the level of services we provide if it weren’t for the vital financial support we receive from our Friends” said Conroy, who marveled at how vibrant the organization has become over the past few years.  He offered special thanks to outgoing Friends President Jo Kelly for being “the sparkplug” that has kept the group on task during her tenure.  He also mentioned that he looked forward to working with incoming President Suzy Baird. 

In addition to their usual fall and spring book sales the Friends are hard at work planning upcoming fund-raising events such as a Swallow Cruise in September, and Library Mini-Golf in January.  To learn more about the Friends, or how to become one, visit their webpage at: www.youressexlibrary.org/friends/.

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Joint Summer Worship Services Planned Between Ivoryton, Essex Congregational Churches

Combined summer worship services between the Ivoryton Congregational Church and the First Congregational Church in Essex will be held through the summer at the First Congregational Church in Essex at 6 Methodist Hill, Essex at 9 a.m. in the sanctuary.

The joint services will continue through Sept. 9.

All are welcome.

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Last Chance to See ‘A Night with Janis Joplin’ at Ivoryton Playhouse This Afternoon

Paige MacNamara plays Janis Joplin in the production about the legendary singer’s life opening at Ivoryton Playhouse, May 30. Photos by Curtis Brown.

ESSEX — The Ivoryton Playhouse will present the 2014 Tony Award-nominated 2013 Broadway Musical A Night With Janis Joplin, written and directed by Randy Johnson, from May 30 to June 24.

Born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1943, Janis Lyn Joplin challenged racial and sexual stereotypes, and created a sound and a style that has become legendary. She exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the queen of rock and roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with more than a touch of Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock

Her unique sound, however, was originally created as a result of her love for some of the greatest African-American singers of all time. Now, theatergoers can share an evening with the Queen of Rock and Roll and her musical influences in A Night with Janis Joplin

On Jan. 12, 1995, when she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, her profile proclaimed, “Janis Joplin’s star rose fast, burned bright and burned out too soon. The blues-influenced rocker had one of the most powerful voices of the Sixties. Her voice is equal parts tough and vulnerable, a shout into the void that resonated with a generation.” Joplin biographer Myra Friedman added, “It wasn’t only her voice that thrilled, with its amazing range and strength and awesome wails. To see her was to be sucked into a maelstrom of feeling that words can barely suggest.”

A Night with Janis Joplin made its Broadway debut, under the direction of Randy Johnson, on Oct. 10, 2013 at the Lyceum Theatre, where it played for 140 performances before closing on Feb. 9, 2014. Mary Bridget Davies, who made her Broadway debut in the title role, earned a 2014 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, and won a 2014 Theatre World Award for her critically acclaimed performance.

Aurianna Tuttle plays Etta James in ‘A Night with Janis Joplin.’

Sharing the lead role of Janis Joplin in this production are Francesca Ferrari* and Paige McNamara*. The cast also includes Aurianna Angelique*, Jennifer Leigh Warren*, Tawny Dolley*, and Amma Osei* who take on the roles of the many women who influenced Janis – Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and many more.

A Night with Janis Joplin opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on May 30 and runs through June 24. Original direction by Randy Johnson, original set design by Brian Prather, original lighting design by Ryan O’Gara, original projections by Darrel Maloney, original costume designs by Amy Clark and original wig designs by Leah Loukas. This production is co-directed by Tyler Rhodes. Musical Director is Michael Morris.

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 purchased before June 1 are $50 for adults, $45 for seniors, $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting the Playhouse’s website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. After June 1, tickets are $55 for adults and $50 for seniors. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

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Gencarella Shares ‘Wicked, Weird, and Wily Yankees’ at CT River Museum Tomorrow

ESSEX — On Tuesday, June 19, at 5:30 pm, join Stephen Gencarella as he shares some of his fantastic stories of the prophets, vagabonds, fortune-tellers, hermits, lords, and poets who shaped New England.  New England has been a lot of things–an economic hub, a cultural center, a sports mecca–but it is also home to many of the strangest individuals in America.  Wicked, Weird, & Wily Yankees explores and celebrates the eccentric personalities who have left their mark in a way no other book has before.

Some folks are known and others not so much, but the motley cast of characters that emerges from the pages of his book represents a fascinating cross-section of New England’s most peculiar denizens.  Listen as Steve tells the tales of the Leather Man and the Old Darned Man, who both spent years crisscrossing the highways and byways of the northeast, their origins and motivation to remain forever unknown.  

Delve into the magnificent homes of William Gillette and Madame Sherri, famed socialites who constructed enormous castles in the New England countryside.  Learn of William Sheldon’s apocalyptic prophecies and wild claims including that the American Revolution had hastened the end of the world and that he could, through his mastery of the “od-force” prevent cholera across the eastern United States. 

And find out about the mysterious fortune-teller Moll Pitcher whose predictions, some say, were sought by European royalty and whose fame made her the subject of poems, plays, and novels long after her death. 

Stretching back to the colonial era and covering the development and evolution of New England society through the beginning of the 21st century, this book captures the rebel spirit, prickly demeanors, and wily attitudes that have made the region the hotbed for oddity it is today.  This event is free and the program begins at 5:30 p.m. 

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street on the Essex waterfront and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For a full listing of Museum programs, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

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Letter From Paris: Exhibition Explores Work of American Female Artist in Male World of French Impressionism

Nicole Prévost Logan

“Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) was the most French of all American artists,” said art historian Jerome Coignard.  She was the only woman – along with Berthe Morisot – to be recognized by the Impressionist movement and therefore permitted to show her works in their annual Salons. 

A rare photograph of Mary Cassatt — supposedly the only photograph for which she ever posed.

For 40 years she developed a personal and artistic friendship with Edgar Degas, which was somewhat surprising considering Degas was well known for his misogyny.  Her long association with the famous art merchant Paul Durand Ruel, especially after he opened a gallery on Madison Avenue, increased the exposure of impressionism in the US.

The Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris is currently holding a retrospective exhibition of monographs by Mary Cassatt titled, ‘An American Impressionist in Paris.’  It is a long overdue recognition of an artist whose works are found mostly in the US, but who is better known in France.  Jacquemart-André is one of the most elegant art galleries in Paris.  It was built in the 1860s as one of the townhouses of the imperial aristocracy in the “plaine Monceau” (an area of Paris in the 17th arrondissement.)

The property is slightly set back from Boulevard Haussmann, and on the upper level, opens up onto a vast courtyard under the watchful eyes of two stone lions.  The magnificent residence, with its eclectic furniture, boiseries (wood wall paneling), fireplaces and Gobelins tapestries, used to attract thousands of guests from the high society.

In the West Wing of the Metroplitan Museum in New York, paintings by Cassatt are hung in a gallery exclusively reserved for the works of other women.  Cassatt might have been upset by this apparent patronization by critics and art historians toward domestic scenes created by women.  She might have deemed it unfair because painters like Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) or Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) are famous for their paintings inspired by the intimacy of the home. 

Art historian Guillaume Morel comments that the many mother and child scenes painted by Cassatt were, in fact, more feminist than it appears at first.  He writes that she may have found herself endowed with a mission to represent scenes to which men did not have access.  Her “maternity scenes” effectively propelled her into modernism.

La Loge (The Theatre Box) by Mary Cassatt.

At the turn of the 20th century, women were tied to their homes, seemingly leading an indolent existence limited to feminine activities, primarily the care of small children.  They almost never ventured onto the public place – like a café, race track or a prostitute’s haunt.  The subject in “La Loge (The theater box)” (1878) is a departure from this tradition: a self-assured woman is by herself looking through her opera-glasses, and apparently unconcerned by the male spectator staring at her from another balcony.

Even in France, the obstacles inflicted on women artists were enormous: they were neither allowed in the Ecole des Beaux Arts nor were naked models permitted in their art classes.  Women could not copy the grands maitres (Old Masters) in museums like the Louvre.

The special talent of Cassatt was to have overcome these obstacles by taking advantage of her place in the privileged class, traveling extensively and establishing contacts with members of the artistic elite such as Isabella Stewart Gardner (Boston), Alfred Atmore Pope (Connecticut) or Henry Walters (Baltimore.)

From a very young age, she rebelled against the formal teaching offered in the few fine art institutions open to women.  She hated the idea of learning her craft through the use of castings and copies.  She showed an intrepid personality when she told her father she wanted to pursue her artistic education in Europe.  Her father admonished her, saying, “I would rather see you dead.”

And her response to her father’s threat?  She went anyway.

Cassatt was born in Pittsburgh into a well-to-do family.  Her father was an investment banker and her mother was educated in a school created by a former chambermaid of Marie Antoinette.  At the age of seven, she sailed for the first time to Europe with her family.  David McCullough, in his superb book titled The Greater Journey, published in 2011, describes the luxury steamers carrying less than 300 privileged passengers, who could afford the crossing in comfortable accommodations in an “interior richly embellished with satin wood, gilded ceilings … and indoor plumbing.”

The co-curator of the present exhibit held in Paris,  Nancy Mowell Mathews, rejects the expression “woman Impressionist.”  She comments, “Mary Cassatt did not paint differently from other Impressionists.  What she had in common with them was her taste for rough sketches, the unfinished feel of strokes and her daring cadrages (framing of the subject) mostly used in photography or  cinematography.”

‘The little girl in the blue armchair’ was painted in 1878 by Mary Cassatt.

Cassatt’s models – mostly members of her family – do not pose in a stilted attitude, but appear relaxed and natural.  In “The little girl in a blue armchair” (1878), the little girl is literally sprawling on a big, shapeless, overstuffed blue armchair.  And so is the small boy looking at us in the painting called, “Woman sitting with a child in her arms. 

‘The Cup of Tea’ is a classic Impressionist work by Mary Cassatt.

“The Cup of Tea “(1880) is an unsurpassed exercise in Impressionist virtuosity.  Fast brush strokes  and the rejection of details are sufficient to render volumes.   The dramatic contrast between the fluffy, pink dress and the black of the solid armchair creates a strong composition.  In 1879, Cassatt was officially accepted in the Impressionist Salon.  The two following decades marked the summit of her career. 

Although Cassatt painted mostly in oils and pastels, Degas had also detected her exceptional talent as both draughtsman and engraver.  Her eaux-fortes (etchings) constitute a large part of her works, while “La Toilette” and “The letter ” (both dated 1891) show signs of japonism.  The engraving process with a pointe-sèche (dry point) is a painstaking and dangerous process since acid is used.

She was the friend of the most influential American feminists and joined their movement for equality, which had started in the US in 1840.  Toward the end of her life, she increasingly devoted her time to counseling American art collectors.  Among them was her close friend Lousine Hvenmeyer, wife of wealthy sugar baron, who owned more than 2,000 Impressionist works. 

After spending 60 years in France, she died in her estate, the Chateau de Beaufresnes in Le Mesnil Théribus, north west of Paris, although interestingly, she never took French nationality.

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Essex Library Hosts ‘Meet The Author’ Event This Evening with Verlyn Klinkenborg

Verlyn Klinkenborg gives an Author Talk, June 12, at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Join Essex Public Library in welcoming author Verlyn Klinkenborg on Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. His talk is titled Choosing A Book: The Author and The Reader. 

Klinkenborg comes from a family of Iowa farmers and is the author of Making Hay and The Last Fine Time. A member of the editorial board of the New York Times from 1997 to 2013, he has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, National Geographic, Mother Jones, and the New York Times Magazine, among others.

His essays on rural life were a beloved regular feature in the New York Times for many years. He lives on a small farm in upstate New York and teaches in the English Department at Yale.

This special event is free and open to the public. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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CT River Museum Presents Book Talk on ‘Archipelago New York,’ Cruise Aboard ‘Onrust’ with Author, Thursday

Under Sail: Author Thomas Halaczinsky will share his experiences aboard Sojourn in an illustrated talk and on an evening cruise aboard Onrust at the Connecticut River Museum, June 14. Photo: Thomas Halaczinsky.

ESSEX — Enjoy a modern day exploration tracing Adriaen Block’s 1614 journey.

On Thursday, June 14, at 5:30 p.m. Thomas Halaczinsky will share his adventures in a talk, followed by an evening cruise aboard Onrust. Halaczinsky’s new book Archipelago New York documents the photos and thoughts that he captured on a 3,000 nautical mile sailing expedition into the island world of New York.

With a bunch of historical books and maps, a camera and an open mind, the German-born photographer, writer, and filmmaker departed from Brooklyn toward Long Island Sound and beyond. He followed Adriaen Block, a fellow European 400 years his senior, who had discovered the island world that stretches from Manhattan to Fishers Island on the Onrust, a wooden boat 14 and a half feet longer than Thomas’ fiberglass sloop Sojourn (built in 1980).

Book Cover: Archipelago New York, by Thomas Halaczinsky documents the author’s journey retracing the routes sailed by Adriaen Block in 1614. Photo by Thomas Halaczinsky.

Intrigued by mysterious names like Money Island, Pot Island and Rats Island, the artist delved into a search for a sense of place. From this journey, Thomas brings back stunning photography, historical facts and thrilling stories of explorers, pirates, and an African prince who tragically ended up as a slave on Fishers Island – twice.

Following the lecture, Thomas will join the audience for a sunset sail on the Onrust. Weather permitting, the artist will sail to Connecticut River Museum on his boat, the Sojourn, and arrive on its dock on the afternoon before the lecture. 

To register for the program, call the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 x110. Space is limited. The lecture is free; tickets for the cruise are $38.

Onrust: The Onrust, a replica of Adriaen Block’s 1614 exploration vessel, will host Thomas Halaczinsky for a special evening cruise June 14th. Please call the Connecticut River Museum to register. Photo: George Bekrist.

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

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

The Onrust will be a floating exhibit at the Museum through early October.  She will be open for dockside tours, school and Scout programs, along with public cruises and charters.  Public cruises run June – October, Thursdays – Mondays at 2 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm (sunset) on Friday & Saturday.  For more information on the Connecticut River Museum and the Onrust, please visit the Museum’s website. 

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

  1. Book Cover: Archipelago New York, by Thomas Halaczinsky documents the author’s journey retracing the routes sailed by Adriaen Block in 1614.  Photo by Thomas Halaczinsky.
  2. Under Sail: Author Thomas Halaczinsky will share his experiences aboard Sojourn in an illustrated talk and on an evening cruise aboard Onrust at the Connecticut River Museum, June 14. Photo: Thomas Halaczinsky.
  3. Onrust:  The Onrust, a replica of Adriaen Block’s 1614 exploration vessel, will host Thomas Halaczinsky for a special evening cruise June 14th. Please call the Connecticut River Museum to register. Photo: George Bekrist.
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Photographer Elin Dolle to Exhibit her Work at Essex Library Through June

This photo is one of the signature works by Elin Dolle on view at Essex Library during June.

ESSEX — Photography has always been a part of Elin Dolle’s life going back to childhood when she received her first camera at age 8 or 9. She enjoyed documenting the places she traveled as a child in a military family and as an adult on vacations. It was after a career in education that she decided to branch out and take her photography to a different level.

About three years ago she decided to combine her love of photography with her love of animals. She started photographing rescue horses and was amazed at their strength and resilience in the face of some horrific treatment. The more time she spent with them the more she came to respect and admire them. “Their ability to forgive and trust again after what they’ve been through is humbling.”

Another of Elin Dolle’s remarkable photos, which is on view at Essex Library.

In that work, Strength and Resilience, as well as in her present project, Grace and Beauty, Dolle strives to depict not only the horses’ physical beauty, their strength and gentleness, but more importantly their dignity, and just maybe a glimpse into their souls.

Her work has been shown in galleries throughout Connecticut; she has won numerous awards and has been published in several magazines including Black and White Photography magazine.  It will be on display at the Essex Library throughout the month of June.

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Letter to the Editor: State Rep., Now State Senate Candidate, Ziobron Reviews Recent Activities

To the Editor:

The 2018 legislative session is now behind us. A bipartisan budget was passed that reflects the difficult realities facing Connecticut. This budget begins to address our future in a more realistic and balanced
fashion. We need to stay this course, now more than ever.

This was my sixth legislative session. I’m hopeful that we will continue to bring forward fiscally conservative budget-balancing efforts in the next session and beyond. We cannot revert to the business as usual mindset that has plagued Hartford for decades.  As we transition from spring to summer, my attention is naturally
shifting to my campaign to serve the 12 towns of the 33rd District.

Here’s a recap of recent activities:

Over the last few weeks, I made a point to meet with individuals and businesses in the southern portion of the district, including Essex, Clinton, Westbrook and Old Saybrook. In addition, I have also met with voters at budget referendums in East Hampton, Old Saybrook, Clinton and Portland. The expressed voter concerns — which I share —center on controlling the cost of living and making our state more competitive. I was pleased to hear strong support for my work towards balancing our state budget, reducing wasteful spending and fighting against unnecessary tax increases.

I also visited with the great folks at Petzold’s Marine Center in Portland and joined State Rep. Christie Carpino during office hours at Quarry Ridge Golf Course. Key topics included cutting government red tape and concern about the effort to place tolls on our state highways. I rounded out this tour by highlighting the Airline Trail system with events in Colchester and East Hampton.

For more campaign information please visit my campaign website melissaziobron.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,
State Representative 34th District
East Haddam, East Hampton, Colchester.

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Essex Garden Club Awards Scholarships to Area Students

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

  • Elizabeth Beckman of Ivoryton, a 2018 graduate of Valley Regional High School, will attend the University of New Hampshire to study Environmental Law and Conservation. 
  • Annie Brown of Essex, who attends the University of Vermont, is pursuing a major in Elementary Education with a minor in Environmental Studies.
  • Daniel Taylor of Ivoryton attends Vassar College, where he is majoring in Biology.

The Garden Club is also proud to provide “camperships” to help young children from Essex, Ivoryton and Centerbrook attend local nature camps. This year, funds were given to the Essex Parks and Recreation Summer Program for 25 children to attend their nature and science sessions.  Additional funding was given to the Bushy Hill Nature Center to enable four students to attend their day camp.

The Essex Garden Club sincerely thanks all who support the annual May Market. This is the club’s only fundraising event and the proceeds enable the Club to offer these scholarships each year.

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Ziobron Endorsed Unanimously by Republicans as Candidate for 33rd State Senate District

AREAWIDE — State Representative Melissa Ziobron (R-34) was the unanimous choice for more than 40 Republican delegates at a nominating convention. Delegates from 12 towns gathered at East Haddam’s Old Town Hall on May 14 and enthusiastically endorsed Ziobron for the position.

Nominating Ziobron was current State Senator Art Linares, Jr. (R-33) of Westbrook.

“Melissa has been an incredibly effective representative, both in Hartford and in her district; I am honored to place her name into nomination,” said Linares.

Linda Grzeika of Colchester seconded Linares’s motion, stating that she resides in a part of Colchester not located in Ziobron’s district.

“I’m thrilled that she will finally represent all of Colchester as our state senator,” said Grzeika.

In her acceptance speech, Representative Ziobron promised that she would be a tireless campaigner.

“All of you are going to see a lot of me over the next seven months,” stated Ziobron. “I love the Connecticut River Valley and the shoreline and I can’t wait to be your voice in Hartford.”

Ziobron currently represents the towns of Colchester, East Haddam, and East Hampton. She is currently serving her third, two-year term in the State Legislature.

Linares was first elected in 2010; he is seeking the Republican nomination for state treasurer.

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

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Needleman Applauds State Aid to Essex for Valley Shore Emergency Communications

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman stands with Paul Fazzino, President of Valley Shore Emergency Response after the announcement was made.

ESSEX — After years of planning and local town coordination, the Valley Shore Emergency Communications received critical state funding to upgrade emergency communications for numerous towns in the region. 

The State Bond Commission approved $1.25 million in grant-in-aid to the Town of Essex on behalf of the Valley Shore Emergency Communications, Inc. The funding will be used for upgrades to the outdated emergency radio dispatch system serving 11 towns. The upgrades will interconnect all member towns and allow coordination with adjoining systems to allow for better communication for police, fire and ambulances.

“I want to thank the tremendous work of the various public safety departments to make today a reality,” said Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman. “Throughout this process we worked together to bring our local emergency communications into the 21st century. This new funding will strengthen the safety of our towns and allow our public safety employees to better serve our communities.”

Valley Shore Emergency Communications serves the towns of Chester, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Old Lyme, and Westbrook. 

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Essex Annual Shad Bake to be Held Today

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

 

One of our State’s great culinary customs returns to the Connecticut River Museum Saturday, June 2, from 3 to 6 p.m. with the 2018 Essex Annual Shad Bake.  For 60 years, the Rotary Club of Essex has been proudly holding this annual rite of spring, nailing delicious American shad onto oak planks and roasting them around a large bonfire.  Share this wonderful Connecticut tradition with your family and friends.

Shad baking around the fire.

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

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

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

This volunteer-run event has been organized by the Rotary Club of Essex and is coordinated by Bake Master Joseph Shea. Shea comments,“We offer one of the most unique culinary traditions in New England at one of the most majestic and historic locations. It is a winning combination!”

In addition to delicious food on Saturday, the Connecticut River Museum docks welcomes the Onrust for a second season of sailing on the Connecticut River.

The historic replica vessel Onrust will be docked at the Connecticut River Museum through mid October for public cruises and programs. Photo by Judy Preston.

At the shad bake, a variety of activities take place throughout the afternoon. Join JB Lundgren for a deboning demonstration, Saybrook Point Inn Marina and Spa for a presentation on how to cook shad roe, and Al Moncovich for a shad wood carving exhibit.  Always popular is Tim Visel’s historical diorama display of shad fishing through the years.  The Connecticut River Conservancy, The Shad Museum in Haddam and the Connecticut River Museum will also offer programs on the history and traditions of the shad fishery.

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

Bill Hoffstetler demonstrates the fine art of removing bones from shad — a fish referred to by local Native Americans as the “inside out porcupine.”

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

Buy your tickets today.  The $30 adult (shad or chicken dinner option) and $10 child (10 and under) ticket includes the full meal (child ticket includes a hot dog and salads) and admission to the Museum.  Tickets will be an additional $5 on the day of the event.

Beer, wine and soda will be available for purchase with a valid ID.  Freshly shucked clams and oysters will also be available at an additional price beginning at 3:00 pm. No carry-in alcohol will be permitted.

To purchase tickets, visit shop.ctrivermuseum.org or buy them in person at the Centerbrook Package Store, Essex Hardware, or the Connecticut River Museum.  There will be no parking on the Museum grounds and on-street parking is very limited.  On the day of the event, a free shuttle will be running between the Museum and the Essex Town Hall parking lot.

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Mondays until after Memorial Day. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For a full listing of Museum programs and events, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

The Rotary Club of Essex is the local chapter of Rotary International whose membership is made up of service minded professionals.  The club and its members are committed to improving the community, connecting with other professionals, sharing their time and experience with the young, supporting global causes, and using their skills to help others.

For more information about the Shad Bake and Rotary Club visit http://www.rotaryclubofessex.com.

Photo Captions:

  1. Members of The Rotary Club of Essex season and plank the Shad to cook in front of the fire just as it has been done for hundreds of years.
  2. Representative from the two lead sponsors, Bake Master Joseph Shea of AJ Shea Construction, and David Carswell Branch Manager of Guildford Savings Bank join Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs to celebrate the upcoming Shad Bake.
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Family Wellness: New Beginnings

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth.  Every year in New England nature reminds us of this.  Crocuses emerge, the landscape turns from brown to green and many animals have their babies: foxes, otters and black bears, just to name a few. 

I look fondly back on my grandmother’s stories about lambing season in Ireland.  Human babies are born year round, of course, but my thoughts went this month from lambs to human babies. 

Not only is birth the start of a new life but it is the start of a new (or newly reconfigured) family.  It is often a time of unimaginable joy, but it is also a time of stress.  Stress is defined as, “… bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.”

Few could argue that a new baby alters an existent equilibrium in ways that are delightful and challenging at the same time.  A new member (in this case tiny and cute) affects the family identity in that constellation in a whole array of ways: emotionally, physically, socially and economically.  All the resources, whether few or many, need to be allocated differently.

Just as adolescence has been described as the transition from childhood to adulthood, the transition to motherhood has been called “matrescence” by anthropologists — for more information, visit this link.  A similar term for the transition to fatherhood does not exist as far as I know, though it has received attention in both academic and popular circles and the media, with online forums such as fathersforum.com. Similarly some attention has been given to the transition to grandparenthood and “older-sibling-hood.”  (I am waiting for an especially gifted and precocious 3-year-old to blog about the challenges of losing attention to a tiny usurper in the house.)

Societies and cultures around the world have different constructs that help or hinder the development of a new family.  These constructs range from policies (paid parental leave) to the practical matters (village and neighborhood folks bringing food to the new family). 

Looking at and understanding how we can support families in transition at this stage of the family life cycle and the stressors that they face (stress being a challenge to equilibrium, not positive or negative) can only be a good thing.

Betsy Groth

Betsy Groth is an APRN, PMHS – BC and a pediatric nurse practitioner with advanced certification in pediatric mental health.

She is a counselor, mental health educator and parent coach in Old Lyme and writes a monthly column for us on ‘Family Wellness.’

For more information about Betsy and her work, visit Betsy’s website at betsygroth.com

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Palm Unanimously Chosen as Democratic Candidate for 36th District

Democratic Town Committee chairs and delegates for Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam gather for a photo after unanimously endorsing Christine Palm (center, in marine blue) as their candidate for the 36th District.

CHESTER — Christine Palm has won the unanimous endorsement of delegates in the four towns comprising the 36th General Assembly District: Chester, Essex, Deep River and Haddam. The Democrat running for state representative accepted the nomination at her convention, held May 16 in the Brainerd Memorial Library, Haddam.

Palm has also received the endorsement of U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney, who represents the Second Congressional District.

“I’ve known Christine my whole life, and I can’t think of anyone better prepared to lead,” Courtney said. “I can’t say emphatically enough how excited I am about her candidacy and I really hope the citizens of those four great communities come out strongly and support her, because the minute she’s elected and sworn into office, she’ll become one of the leaders in the General Assembly, which is so important to our state, especially now.”

Palm, who is running on a platform that includes economic security for working families, healthcare for all, safeguards for older adults, and environmental protection, thanked the delegates for their unity.

“Democrats in our four beautiful towns have really pulled together this year and I’m grateful for their faith in me and their desire to see meaningful, lasting change at the Capitol,” Palm said, continuing, “These are perilous times for democracy, as policies out of Washington continue to erode families’ wellbeing, imperil the safety of our school children, and roll back environmental protections that have been in place for decades.”

Palm explained, “I’ll fight for policies that enhance the safety and security of all our citizens, not just those in the one percent of the income bracket. This is an enlightened region where people hold sensible economic policies and compassion for our less fortunate neighbors in equal regard, and they know these are not mutually exclusive ideals.”

Palm owns a small business — Sexual Harassment Prevention, LLC, which gives trainings to the corporate, academic and non-profit workplace. She has 10 years’ experience in government as women’s policy analyst for the General Assembly’s Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, and communications director for its predecessor agency, the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. She is a former newspaper reporter and high school teacher.

In the upcoming November election, Palm will challenge incumbent State Representative Bob Siegrist (R), who is running for a second term.

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Join CT River Museum Tomorrow for ‘RiverFare 2018’

Executive Director Christopher Dobbs and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman are joined by Committee Members, sponsors and participating food vendors to celebrate the upcoming RiverFare 2018. From left to right: Bill McGuiness of Becker’s Diamond’s & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook, Raeleen St. Pierre of Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Evan P. Barrett of The Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom, Melody Tierney, Christopher Dobbs, Joanne Deschler and Norman Needleman.

ESSEX — On Thursday, May 31, from 6 to 9 p.m., the waterfront lawn of the Connecticut River Museum will come to life again as the scenic setting for RiverFare 2018.  Known as the unofficial kick-off of summer on the shoreline, RiverFare, presented by Tower Laboratories and the Ivoryton Playhouse and underwritten by Becker’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook is the area’s most popular tasting event and will feature 25 gourmet food and drink tasting stations plus an incredible silent auction.

This year’s lineup of Connecticut’s leading restaurants and food purveyors includes RiverFare new comers The Essex, Grano Arso and The Essex Clipper Dinner Train. Back by popular demand are Red House, Fromage Fine Foods & Coffees, Gourmet Galley Catering, Griswold Inn, Essex Coffee & Tea, Catering by Selene, The Cheese Shop of Centerbrook, Cloud Nine Catering, Coastal Cooking Company, Atria Crossroad Place and The Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom.

RiverFarers will also have the opportunity to join in the fun of bidding in the silent auction which features a diverse array of fine gifts, services, and entertainment experiences.  Items include two 10’ Pelican Trailblazer Kayaks, a three-night stay at Jiminy Peak, and a massage every month for a year at Privé Swiss Wellness in Westbrook, CT.  Check out additional auction items at ctrivermuseum.org.

Major Support for RiverFare is provided by Bogaert Construction Co., C. Sherman Johnson Co., Egidio Assante Wealth Management, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, and Sapia Builders Corp.  Additional support is provided by Centerbrook Architects and Planners; Clark Group; Ivory Wealth Management, Middlesex Hospital, Reynolds’ Garage & Marine, Inc., blp Enterprises, Bob’s Discount Furniture; Carr, Douglas & Cline, LLC; North by Northeast Enterprises, and Stillman & Associates.  In-kind support is provided by SeaSide Wine & Spirits, Rhode VanGessel Design, and Connecticut Rental Center.  Media support is provided by Valley Courier.

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

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

Photo Caption: Executive Director Christopher Dobbs and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman are joined by Committee Members, Sponsors and participating food vendors to celebrate the upcoming RiverFare 2018. From left to right: Bill McGuiness of Becker’s Diamond’s & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook, Raeleen St. Pierre of Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Evan P. Barrett of The Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom, Melody Tierney Christopher Dobbs, Joanne Deschler and Norman Needleman.

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Essex Art Association’s 2018 Elected Artist Exhibition on View Through June 23

‘Mixed Media’ by Pam Erickson is one of the signature pieces of the artist’s solo exhibition at the Essex Art Association.

ESSEX — The June show at the Essex Art Association (EAA) is the Elected Artists’ Exhibition. 

The show runs June 2 through June 23. The EAA Gallery is located at 10 North Main Street, Essex, CT. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. daily, and closed Tuesdays. For more information visit essexartassociation.com or call 860-767-8996.

Essex Art Association Elected Artists are members who have distinguished themselves by having their work accepted in three separate juried art shows within a five-year period, meaning their work passed the stringent entrance requirements of at least three discerning judges.

The Gantner Gallery exhibit showcases artwork by artist Pam Erickson. Erickson finds herself on a constant quest, foraging for treasures to incorporate into her art and titled this one-woman exhibition “Scavenger Hunt.”

To further the theme and perhaps inspire some adults to bring their children or grandchildren, she has created an actual treasure hunt for the viewers. She was inspired by seeing how much fun this was for the visitors to the Florence Griswold Museum’s “Wee Faerie Village” in Old Lyme. This will be the fourth year that she has enjoyed participating in this popular event.

Erickson’s assemblage and sculpture employ a wide range of non-traditional materials. If you frequent the Betty Pierson Recycling Shed at the Essex Transfer Station, you might just find one of your castoffs finding a new life in one of Erickson’s oft times whimsical creations. She finds it hard to leave without finding something that might lead to inspiration for another piece of art.

‘On the Level’ by Pam Erickson is featured in her one-woman show at the Essex Art Association.

Erickson grew up in Brooklyn. She graduated with a degree in Graphic Arts from the School of Visual Arts and studied ceramics at The New School and Southampton College.

Erickson and her family relocated from New York City and Long Island to Killingworth, Conn. in 1997 when she received two Connecticut Commission on the Arts fellowships.

In 2001, she and her husband moved to Ivoryton, renovating a factory into living quarters and studio space, eventually opening The Erickson-Davis Gallery of which she was manager and curator. for more information, visit www.ericksondavisgallery.com

Exhibition juror Breana Ferrara is a sculptor and metalsmith. She recently earned her BFA in Fine Arts 3D/Metalsmithing from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and works as a studio assistant to metalsmiths in the Boston area. 

Ferrara teaches classes and works in the small metals studio at MassArt, while maintaining her own studio practice in her home. In her work, she uses metalsmithing and fiber techniques to create inter active sculpture.

She examines themes in her work such as shame, trauma, sexuality, and memory to tell her story in a deeply personal way, while still relating to the experiences of others on an emotional and visceral level.

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Join a ‘Follow the Falls’ Celebration & Clambake, Sunday

A  colorized postcard, circa 1910, shows the sawmill, dam and mill pond, part of the Williams Complex & Shipyard, which once stood at the mouth of Falls River Cove.  Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Celebrate the history and natural beauty of Falls River Cove area with a riverside soiree and clam bake, hosted rain or shine by Essex Historical Society and Essex Land Trust, held at Osage Trails Preserve, Foxboro Road, Essex, on Sunday, June 3, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Learn about the groups’ major collaborative partnership, investigating the Williams Complex & Shipyard, 1689 – 1845, ‘hidden’ below Falls River Cove for 150 years. Osage Trails is as close as the public can get to the site of the former shipyard, now on private property. 

The Clambake will be catered by Flanders Fish Market. 

Follow the Falls represents a joint effort by Essex Historical Society and the Essex Land Trust to tell the remarkable story of the Falls River, which binds together the three historic villages of Ivoryton, Centerbrook and Essex to form what we know today as the Town of Essex. Besides its historic significance, the Falls River is home to a rich natural history, kept alive by the four Essex Land Trust preserves located along its winding shores.

In 2018, Follow the Falls explores the area’s natural history, Native American and European settlements, the harnessing of the river’s water power and the industrial development of Falls River Cove. and the industrial development of Falls River Cove.

A triple-spillway dam at the mouth of the Falls River, once powered several small industries in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.  A wooden bridge connected the river banks between a grist mill and the sawmill, as in seen in this late 19th century photograph.  Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Thanks to new technology, a 24-page booklet and conversations with research participants, attendees can look through this window into the shipyard’s history. See how local resident and environmentalist Diz Callender’s vision was realized as she donated this beautiful parcel to form the Osage Trails Preserve with its rich natural history. 

The ongoing project is made possible with support from Overabove, the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and Guilford Savings Bank, as well as private funders. 

The Follow the Falls Celebration and Clambake will be catered by Flanders Fish Market.  Photos courtesy of Flanders Fish Market.

Admission is $65 per person for the event and clambake. Event limited to first 150 registrants. Your registration and payment must be received no later than May 25 to be placed on the reservation list. Tickets will not be mailed out or sold on the day of the event.  (Keep your confirmation of payment as your event admission receipt. Sorry no refunds.) 

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

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Memorial Day Parades Planned Throughout Local Area, Monday

Memorial Day parades will be held at the following locations and times:

Chester:

The Annual Memorial Day Parade and Exercises in Chester is planned for Monday, May 28, at 9 a.m. with Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Watrous serving as Parade Marshal.
All service people, interested groups and residents are invited to participate. Your participation in the traditional Memorial Day Parade is encouraged and welcomed.
The formation of units will start at 8:30 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Parish Center on Middlesex Avenue. Parking will be on the right side of the parking lot and parade formation will be on the left. Upon arrival, Marchers will check in with Bruce Watrous for parade positioning.
Support the Town’s military members – past and present – and take part in making this event a special day of remembrance.

Essex:

The Essex Memorial Day Parade will commence on Memorial Day, May 28, at 9 a.m. from the Foot of Main, Essex Village. This year’s Grand Marshal will be Walt Budney.

The parade will follow a three-mile route as it makes the following stops to pay respects: Riverview Cemetery, First Baptist Church, Town Hall, Centerbrook Cemetery, and the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall. There will be a short ceremony at Essex Veterans Memorial Hall at the conclusion of the parade (aprox. 11:15am) followed by complimentary food items and an Open House.

If weather precludes a parade, ceremonies will be held at Essex Town Hall at 9:30 a.m. and Essex Veterans Memorial Hall at 11am followed by complimentary food items and an Open House. All interested marching parties or those that need transportation please contact Alex Breen 609.805.7146.

Old Saybrook:

Dockside naval ceremony with a rifle salute at the Saybrook Point Pavilion, 155 College Street, at 9 a.m. Monday, May 28, followed by a wreath laying ceremony on the Connecticut River. 

Memorial Day Parade will kick off at Elm Street at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28, travel across Rte. 1 to Main Street, and proceed to the Veterans Memorial Monuments on the Town Green for the memorial program.

Westbrook:

Memorial Day Parade steps off at the Riggio Building by the Town Green at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28. In case of rain, the parade route will be shorter, but will not be cancelled.

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Norm Needleman Wins Democratic Nomination for 33rd District Sate Senate Seat

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman.

AREAWIDE — Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman has been nominated as the Democratic Party State Senate candidate for the 33rd District. 

Delegates from Democratic Town Committees in the 12 towns comprising the 33rd District met on Monday, May 21, at the Gelston House in East Haddam to select a candidate. Needleman was nominated by acclimation on the first ballot. 

Needleman accepted the nomination, and defined his approach to addressing issues facing towns in the district: “We need a state senator who has the temperament, the credibility, and the experience to rise above partisan bickering and generate the ideas that solve problems. Over the years, I have fostered consensus-building that gets things get done in the real world. Job creation, balanced budgets, low taxes, treating people fairly and infrastructure improvements define my accomplishments as an elected official.”

He continued: “I’m not here to advance my political career, or to lay the groundwork for higher office. I can’t be bought by any organization or special interest. I will be a state senator driven by the desire to do the right thing for the people and towns in our district, and I will do the hard work necessary to address the deep and abiding problems in our state.”

In placing Needleman’s name for nomination, Michelle Gilman, a resident of Colchester, said: “I have learned a lot about Norm in the years we have collaborated on the issues facing our towns’ families. I know that he will be the advocate and partner we so badly need in the state senate. I know that he will fight for investments in education and investments in our communities. I know that he will make certain that the towns in our district get their fair share from Hartford. And just as important, I know he will lead across party lines to address the challenges facing our state.”

Needleman’s nomination was seconded by two prominent Democrats from the district: Emily Bjornberg, 2014 nominee for the 33rd State Senate Seat, and Stacia Libby, four-term Selectman in Essex.

commented, “When no one is watching, Norm is a quiet friend to myriad marginalized folks within his community. He quietly provides meals and housing. He quietly provides jobs and friendship. He quietly, yet unapologetically, fights for the humanity of his fellow man. He is a pillar of his community without being a boast and he is a successful driver of the local economy without being a brag.”

Libby, who has worked as an elected official alongside Needleman for eight years, noted, “What I have learned about Norm pales when compared to what I’ve learned from Norm. He taught me through his actions what it means to be a true leader. Norm is compassionate, intelligent and diplomatic. He listens. He considers all sides and viewpoints. Then he seeks solutions that are fair, balanced and in the best interest of our community.”

Needleman has 20 years of public service experience in Essex, including four terms as First Selectman. During his tenure as First Selectman, he led economic development initiatives that made Essex home to over 700 businesses. He balanced budgets and made infrastructure improvements while maintaining one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing company employing 150 people, located in Essex. His two sons co-manage the company with him.  He lives in Essex with his partner, Jacqueline Hubbard, Executive Director of the Ivoryton Playhouse.

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

For further information, contact Campaign Manager Ed Tedeschi at et@edted.com or (917) 734-9460.

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Essex Announces Mill Rate Reduction for Fiscal Year 2018-2019

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman. (File photo)

ESSEX – First Selectman Norman Needleman has announced that Essex taxpayers will notice a reduction in the tax bills they receive in June.  With the unanimous approval of the proposed town budget at Town meeting on Monday, May 14, the Essex Board of Finance took up the task of setting the mill rate.  First Selectman Needleman carried a message from the Board of Selectmen recommending the board of finance consider a mill rate reduction.

Several favorable factors enabled the board of finance to consider the mill rate reduction.  These include the growth in the Town’s grand list, the passage of the State budget, a reduction of the Town’s cost share of Region 4 education budget, as well as a reduction at Essex Elementary School, and the Town’s strong fund balance position.  The board of finance voted to reduce the mill rate from the current rate of 21.96 mills for fiscal year 2017-2018 to 21.85 mills for fiscal year 2018-2019.  This represents a reduction of 0.11 mills or -0.5 percent.

“This is a responsible budget and one that I am very proud of. Essex is a vibrant and welcoming community and I am pleased we were able to lower the mill rate while maintaining the exceptional level of Town services that our residents expect and deserve,” said Needleman.

Copies of approved budgets are available on the Finance Department page of the town website at this link.

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Essex Joins Sustainable CT

ESSEX — On May 3, the Essex Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to join Sustainable CT, an exciting new initiative to support the environmental resiliency of Connecticut’s cities and towns. The statewide initiative, created by towns for towns, includes a detailed menu of sustainability best practices, tools and resources, peer learning, and recognition.

Over the past 15 years Essex has made great strides in reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of its residences and municipal buildings.  This is an ideal time to focus on improving the environmental outlook of Essex in other areas.

A newly named Sustainable Essex Committee, formerly Essex Citizens for Clean Energy, will focus on strategies to balance environmental protection, economic development, and social objectives to meet the needs of today without compromising the quality of life for future generations. 

“It’s important to continue efforts toward greater sustainability, not only for the potential grant opportunities, but also because we need to be good stewards of the incredible environment we are surrounded by so that future generations can enjoy all that this community has the potential to offer,” said First Selectman  Norm  Needleman.

The Sustainable CT initiative involves nine categories that towns need to improve upon and earn points toward becoming certified as a sustainable municipality, which opens the door to receiving grants for further improvements. There is no cost to participate and communities will voluntarily select actions that meet their unique, local character and long-term vision. 

The initiative was developed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.  Three Connecticut philanthropies – The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation, and the Common Sense Fund – have supported the program’s development and launch.

“We are thrilled that Essex has passed a resolution to join Sustainable CT. The program builds on many current success stories in our communities to create and support more great places to live, work, and play,” said Lynn Stoddard, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy.  “We are looking forward to working with the Town as they pursue Sustainable CT certification.”

For more information on Sustainable CT, visit the program’s website at www.sustainablect.org.

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RTP Estuary Center Hosts Final Spring Lecture This Evening on ‘Genius’ Roger Tory Peterson

ESSEX — The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson (RTP) Estuary Center is hosting a three-part Spring Lecture Series from April 19 through May 17.

The third and final lecture in the series will be held Thursday, May 17, at 5 p.m. at Lyme Art Association and is titled Creation of a Genius: Roger Tory Peterson.

Roger Tory Peterson made his home and, as an adult, found inspiration for his monumental work on the banks of the Connecticut River Estuary. But the seeds of his passion for art and conservation were sown in his youth.

Twan Leenders, President of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, N.Y., will focus on Peterson’s early years, his youthful explorations, and how the hidden treasures of his hometown, were to become a passion and eventually lead to inspiring amateur and professional naturalists through generations and throughout the world.  RSVP here.

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Poetry and the Human Condition: Final Talk of Series by Prof. David Cappella is Tonight

ESSEX — Poetry is a spiritual gift. Poetry reclaims the worth of subjective experience, expanding the human mind and spirit in endless ways. It celebrates our basic experience of living in the world. Thus, poetry cannot be reduced to a stock answer. In this sense, it is an art that pushes back against our commodified society.

Using selected poems from a pairing of various poets, these sessions will explore the enormous possibility that poetry, through the art of language, offers its readers to plumb the experience of being human.

Join Essex Library for five consecutive Thursday evenings beginning April 19 and running through May 17, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Poets will include: Robert Frost/ Emily Dickinson; Hayden Carruth/Jane Kenyon; Wallace Stevens/Elizabeth Bishop; Jim Harrison/Maxine Kumin and Czeslaw Milosz/Anna Akhmatova.

Dr. Cappella is Emeritus Professor in the English Department at Central Connecticut State University. He has co-authored two widely used poetry textbooks, Teaching the Art of Poetry: The Moves and A Surge of Language: Teaching Poetry Day to Day.

This series is free and open to all.

For more information, call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 or visit this link. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Letter to the Editor: Thanks to Donors from Essex Garden Club’s ‘May Market’ Silent Auction Committee

To the Editor:

On Saturday May 12th in Town Park the Essex Garden Club held its 66th May Market. The Silent Auction Committee of May Market would like to thank our area merchants, friends, and artists for the incredible generosity they showed in supporting this year’s Silent Auction. They are:

Abby’s Place Restaurant, Acer Gardens, Ashleigh’s Garden, Bartlett Tree Experts, Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom, Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store, Connecticut River Museum, Cooper & Smith, Copper Beech Inn, Ron Cozzolino, De Paula Jewelers, Earth and Fire Art Studio, Essex Chocolatier and Coffee Bar, Essex Winter Series, Goodspeed Musicals, Haystacks, Ivoryton Playhouse, Wendy and John Madsen, Charlotte Meyer Design, Melanie Carr Gallery, Al Moncovich, Musical Masterworks, New Earth Acupuncture, Olive Oyl’s, Patricia Spratt for the Home, Perfect Pear, Eve Potts, Savour Café & Bakery, Saybrook Country Barn, Scotch Plains Tavern, 1738 Farm, That’s the Spirit Shoppe, The Essex, The Valley Railroad Company, Gay Thorn, Truffle Shots, Weekend Kitchen, and Weltner’s Antiques and Art.

With thanks to them all.

Sincerely,

Dawn Boulanger, Genie Devine, Barbara Hall, Marily MacKinnon
The Essex Garden Club May Market Silent Auction Committee

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Town of Essex Conducts State Mandated Real Estate Revaluation

ESSEX – The Town of Essex has begun the state mandated revaluation project. Connecticut law requires municipalities to conduct a general revaluation at least once every five years. The revaluation will be effective with the Oct. 1, 2018 Grand List. Vision Government Solutions has been awarded the contract to assist the Town with the process.

If your property sold within the last year a representative from Vision will be visiting your property in the near future. Each employee of Vision will carry proper identification and a letter of introduction. Their vehicles have also been registered with the Essex Police Department.

Homeowners, be advised that the Vision employees will request access to your home to ensure accuracy of the information. While the assessor encourages you to allow access, you are not required to do so. As always, do not let anyone into your home without the proper identification.

If you are unsure, you may contact the Assessor’s Office at 860-767-4340 x124 or the Essex Police Department at 860-767-1054 for verification.

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It’s May Market Time in Essex Today

Flowers for the asking at the Essex May Market.

ESSEX — The long-awaited May Market is almost here.   Set your Calendars, i-Phone and Smart Phones to Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, in the town park, located on Main Street in Essex Village.

Just in time for Mother’s Day there will be herbs and herbal gift creations as well as the Garden Club’s famous garlic salt, made from a closely guarded secret recipe since 1953. This garlic salt is made by the Essex Garden Club and its “world Famous”

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

Members’ plants of all kind will be for sale at the Essex May Market

An early sell-out in the Members’ Plants area each year are the many varieties of tomato plants grown from seed and cultivated carefully.  There will be 300 tomato plants, including many heirloom varieties guaranteed to grow in our climate. There will also be a colorful assortment of annuals and hanging baskets for sale. 

Knowledgeable Garden Club members will be available to help with any questions on caring for the plants.  Back by popular demand this year is the all-natural compost available for sale.

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

The Silent Auction will have an incredible array of goods and services donated from many generous merchants. Gift for Mother’s Day. 

Last year the fresh flowers were such in demand, we are going to have them again! In addition, we have also added a few new things … garden gifts, things that every gardener would love to have, or children could purchase as a Mother’s Day gift.

The May Market Café offers donuts and coffee starting in the morning and light lunch fare at midday.

Don’t forget to look for the Artist in the Park who will be painting scenes of May Market.

May Market is the Garden Club’s only annual fundraising event.  Proceeds support civic improvement projects, such as beautifying town parks and traffic islands in Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton.  Funds also provide scholarships for high school seniors and college students, summer camperships for young students, and educational programs for Essex Elementary school and John Winthrop Middle school.  Funds also support adult and children’s  programs in both Essex and Ivoryton Libraries.

May Market is truly a gardeners dream.  Come early, rain or shine,  and for sure you will find something beautiful for your garden or a special gift to take home.

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Community Music School Offers Performance Anxiety Workshop This Afternoon

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

CENTERBROOK — Community Music School (CMS) will be offering a Performance Anxiety Workshop specifically for musicians on May 12, from 3 to 5 p.m.  Many musicians struggle with stage fright and this workshop will address all the usual symptoms including butterflies, trembling hands, a racing heart, or worse.  The workshop is open to the public and costs just $30 for a two hour interactive workshop.

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

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

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

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

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

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Final Weekend to Enjoy ‘Love Quest’ at Ivoryton Playhouse

Photo by Emily Ash. In this rehearsal photo, Katherine Crawford played by Linda Purl checks computer dating activity with Susan Slotoroff.

IVORYTON – A renowned scientist once theorized that finding “intelligent life” on other planets in the universe would be like shooting a particular blackbird in a room full of blackbirds, with the lights out. Ironically, the same probability applies for finding a “normal man (or woman)” on an online dating service.

Love Quest – a new comedy, which opened at the Ivoryton Playhouse April 25 – explores the journeys of two women in the perilous world of online dating.

Kate Crawford, 60, was married for 30-years and divorced for three. Her husband left her for a younger woman and she is dealing with issues of abandonment, old age and the new world order of internet dating. It is a position in which she never thought she would find herself. Her concerned daughter, Megan, posts Kate’s profile on the Love Quest dating site and Kate is thrust into unknown territory.

The “gentleman caller” is a thing of the past. Now a relationship is decided in a millisecond with the “swipe” of a finger across your smart phone. And speed dating gives Kate 60 seconds to present herself, 30 seconds too long for many of the younger men who sit across from here.

Brook Davis, 35, single, has climbed the corporate ladder in the fashion industry with a driven, single minded focus. Her ambition left her little time for socializing which is just fine with her. Raised in foster homes she has learned to only trust herself. A relationship would only get in her way.

However, executives in her firm want her to raise her celebrity profile by being seen and photographed at the right places with eye candy dates. Her assistant, Bové, reluctantly signs her up on Love Quest. Brook is far more cynical than Kate and is more amused than shocked by what she encounters in the world of high speed dating.

Kate and Brook meet after a bad date goes awry and become friends and allies in this strange new dating world. This is their story.

Jacqui Hubbard – Playhouse Artistic Director – is taking the helm of this new production. “It has been part of the mission of the Ivoryton Playhouse for the last five years to try to include one new play in our season. I saw a reading of Love Quest in the city last year and was immediately impressed by the humor and the heart and most especially, audience response. This is a funny, poignant and very timely story that I know many in my audience will relate to.”

Love Quest stars Linda Purl* as Katherine Crawford. Many will remember Linda for her roles at Charlene Matlock in Matlock and Ashley Pfister, Fonzie’s girlfriend in Happy Days but her career has included many movie and TV appearances. She can currently be seen in The Oath (recurring), and in recent episodes of Homeland, True Blood, The Office, and  Designated Survivor.

Sharing the stage with Linda are Playhouse favorites Josh Powell* (My Way) and Mike Mihm* (Biloxi Blues), Jes Bedwinek, Joe Candelora* and Susan Slotoroff will be making their Playhouse debut.

Love Quest opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 25 and runs through May 13, 2018.  Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

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

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VRHS Students Present a Custom-Made Equipment Box for the Town of Essex Fire Marshal Vehicle

Valley regional High School students who worked on the project are from left to right: Jared Hart, Josh Donahue, Quinn Kobe, Marcus SantaMaria, Andrew Persico, Ben Rosenberg, Chris Donohue, David Uphold, Cayla Sperzel, and Sam Wollschleager.

ESSEX — First Selectman Norm Needleman and Fire Marshal John Planas would like to give special thanks to the Valley Regional High School Students who worked to fabricate a custom-made wooden equipment box for the Fire Marshal vehicle.

On Monday, April 30, the students presented to the Town of Essex the equipment box for the vehicle. The box was designed to contain and organize a wide variety of the necessary tools, protective clothing, and supplies that the Fire Marshal needs to perform tasks such as routine inspections to emergency assistance.

This photo shows the custom-made box in situ in the Fire Marshal’s vehicle.

This project was a collaborative effort of the Town of Essex and Valley Regional High School students and faculty.

Norman gave special thanks to the students, their teacher JL Kopcha, Principal Mike Barile, and Superintendent Dr. Ruth Levy.   He noted that this was an excellent example of the practical benefits of the school’s vocational curriculum and active citizenship to support critical Town functions.

Students in photograph, from left to right, are:  Jared Hart, Josh Donahue, Quinn Kobe, Marcus SantaMaria, Andrew Persico, Ben Rosenberg, Chris Donohue, David Uphold, Cayla Sperzel, and Sam Wollschleager

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‘Taking Great Photos With Your Smartphone’ is Topic at Tomorrow’s CT Valley Camera Club Meeting

This photo of palm trees was taken by Peter Glass on a smart phone. Glass is the speaker Monday evening at the CT Valley Camera Club.

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at the Monday, May 7, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the acclaimed professional photographer Peter Glass, who will give a presentation titled, “Taking Great Photos with Your Smartphone.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme. All are welcome. There is no admission charge.

The quality of smartphone cameras has improved substantially over recent years and their capabilities now extend far beyond what many people use them for currently. In many situations, they work well as valuable stand-ins for bigger, more cumbersome traditional cameras. It therefore is no longer necessary to drag around a big camera for fear of missing that great picture opportunity. A good quality smartphone camera can work almost as well.

In this presentation, Glass will give comprehensive guidance on how to set up and use the camera on your smartphone including which photography apps to install, how to use the camera controls, useful accessories to purchase and helpful smartphone photography techniques.

Glass has been a professional photographer for more than 25 years. He specializes in stock, corporate and editorial photography, with his photos appearing regularly in magazines, advertising brochures, and on book covers. He offers photography classes at local colleges, towns, art associations, libraries, and through his MeetUp group, the Connecticut Photography Workshops (www.meetup.com/Connecticut-Photography-Workshops). Glass holds a Master of Arts degree in Film and Television Production from the University of Texas. His current work can be viewed at www.peterglass.comand www.stockpeterglass.com.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.  The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at this link.

CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at this link.

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Region 4 Budget Referendum is Today

TRI-TOWN — The Region 4 Budget Referendum on the 2018-2019 Budget is being held today, Wednesday, May 2, from 12 noon until 8 p.m.

Vote at the following locations:

Chester: Chester Town Hall Community Room

Deep River:Community Meeting Room of the Public Library, 150 Main Street

Essex: Essex Town Hall auditorium

 

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Tr-Town Forum Offers Democratic Candidates Opportunity to State Positions, Take Questions

Ned Lamont, a Democratic candidate for Connecticut Governor, addresses the audience at Monday evening’s forum in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  All photos by M.J. Nosal.

Around 100 residents of Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook turned out at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Monday night for a Democratic Candidate Forum arranged by the Democratic Town Committees of the three area municipalities.  Local residents heard from and were able to ask questions directly of: Ned Lamont, candidate for governor (pictured above);

Old Lyme Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium to introduce Denise Merrill.

Denise Merrill, incumbent candidate for secretary of the state;

Shawn Wooden is one of the candidates running for State Treasurer — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) is another.

Shawn Wooden, candidate for state treasurer;

Matt Pugliese will challenge State Rep. Devin Carney (R- 23rd) in the November election.

Matthew Pugliese, candidate for state representative in the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook;

Martha Marx.

Martha Marx, candidate for state senator in the 20th District, and

Lyme Selectman John Kiker (left) listens to Essex First Selectman and candidate for State Senator (20th District) Norm Needleman speak.

Norm Needleman, candidate for state senator in the 33rd District.

The Tri-Town Democratic Town Committees’ event started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted two and a half hours.

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9 Town Transit Faces Bus Cuts, Fare Increases; Encourages Public to Voice Their Opinions

AREAWIDE — 9 Town Transit (9TT) is preparing for a 15 percent reduction of state funding beginning July 1, 2018 with a proposal of service cuts and fare increases.  The agency says the reductions are due to the failure of revenue into the state’s Special Transportation Fund to keep up with expenses.

Under the proposal, bus fares would rise from $1.75 to $2 on bus routes and to $4 on Dial-A-Ride.  This would be the second fare increase in 18 months.

The agency is also proposing multiple service reductions.  They include:

  • Elimination of the senior fare subsidy, which would result in seniors paying a fare on all services for the first time in 37 years.
  • Reducing service on Rte. 2 Riverside, which provides service between Chester and Old Saybrook, by eight hours per weekday.
  • Elimination of all Saturday service.
  • Reducing service on Rte. 1 Shoreline Shuttle by three hours per day (7:30 a.m. trip leaving Old Saybrook, 9 a.m. leaving Madison).

 

Written statements concerning the proposal may be submitted either at the hearing, by email to info@estuarytransit.org or mail.

9 Town Transit is encouraging transit users and supporters to let their state representative and senator know how important 9 Town Transit, Shoreline East or other public transit services are to them.

More information about the possible service reductions and ways to help prevent the funding cuts can be found at www.9towntransit.com/fundtransit.

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CT River Museum Hosts ‘Tavern Night’ Tomorrow With Beer, Ale Tasting and Games Galore

The Connecticut River Museum’s War of 1812 Tavern Night features an evening of food, drink, music and games in the Museum’s historic Samuel Lay House. Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

ESSEX — Join the final Connecticut River Museum Tavern Night of the season on Friday, April 27!  This lively 19th century evening will take place at the museum’s historic Samuel Lay House overlooking scenic Essex harbor.  The house will be transformed into a candlelit riverside tavern from the War of 1812.

The evening includes a Beer and Ale tasting by Olde Burnside Brewing Company, drinking songs and ballads by Rick Spencer, Dawn Indermuehle & Chris Dobbs, tavern games, and early American cuisine provided by Catering by Selene.  Additional wine and beer will be available at the cash bar.

Catering by Selene is creating a sampling of appetizers/light dinner featuring early 19th-century food. These are based on chef Selene Sweck’s extensive research and collection of early American cookbooks and will comprise such foods as hearty corn chowder, chess pie, and other light bites.

As part of the evening, participants will have an opportunity to try their hand at historic games such as Skittles (played with a top that goes through a maze knocking down pins) and Captain’s Mistress, a game with a scandalous sounding name.

Tastings take place at 6 and 8 p.m.  Space is limited and reservations are required.  Call to reserve tickets at 860-767-8269 or visit ctrivermuseum.org.  Tickets are $24 for museum members or $29 for the general public (must be 21 or older and show valid ID).  Includes Beer and Ale tasting, light bites, and entertainment.  The evening is sponsored in part by Catering by Selene, Connecticut Rental Center and Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM and closed on Mondays until Memorial Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for students, $6 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6. 

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org

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Community Music School Hosts 35th Anniversary Gala Tomorrow

Making plans for this year’s 35th anniversary CMS gala are, from left to right, CMS Music Director Tom Briggs, CMS Trustee and Gala Sponsor Bruce Lawrence of Bogaert Construction, CMS Trustee and Gala Sponsor Jennifer Bauman of The Bauman Family Foundation, and CMS Executive Director Abigail Nickell.

DEEP RIVER – Community Music School’s (CMS) largest annual fundraiser is the CMS Gala and this year the organization is  celebrating its 35th anniversary with For the Love of Music! The event takes place on Friday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. in Deep River at The Lace Factory and includes fabulous musical entertainment provided by CMS faculty and students. Enjoy cocktail jazz and an exquisite dinner show, as well as gourmet food, dancing, silent auction, fine wines and more.

Featured faculty and student performers include Music Director Tom Briggs, Noelle Avena, John Birt, Amy Buckley, Luana Calisman-Yuri, Audrey Estelle, Joni Gage, Silvia Gopalakrishnan, Martha Herrle, Ling-Fei Kang, Barbara Malinsky, Matt McCauley, Kevin O’Neil, Andy Sherwood, and Marty Wirt.

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with financial need, as well as weekly music education and music therapy services for students with special needs.

For The Love of Music! sponsors include The Bauman Family Foundation, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Bogaert Construction, Clark Group, Essex Savings Bank, Essex Financial Services, Grossman Chevrolet Nissan, Guilford Savings Bank, Jackson Lewis, Kitchings & Potter, Maple Lane Farms, Reynold’s Subaru, Ring’s End, Shore Publishing, Thomas Alexa Wealth Management, Tidal Counseling LLC, and Tower Labs LTD.

Early bird tickets for the evening are $125 per person ($65 is tax deductible) by April 13 and $135 thereafter. Event tickets include hors d’oeuvres, gourmet food stations, wine and beer, live music, and dancing. Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org/gala, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 35 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. The CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  To learn more, visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)-767-0026.

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See “Speaking Light’ at Melanie Carr Gallery Through May 8

ESSEX — Melanie Carr Gallery hosts a new exhibit, ‘Speaking Light,’ featuring the work of Hartford-based interdisciplinary Joe Bun Keo, on view at 1 North Main Street (across from the Essex Art Association) from April 20 through May 8. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, April 28, 2 – 4 P.

While incorporating everyday items and popular commercial products, Bun Keo’s sculptural, installation and conceptual works utilizes semantics to bring forth issues of cultural identity and the evolution of language.

He’s also interested in the relationship between art and work, specifically the correlation between global supply chain management and the art world. ‘Speaking Light’  explores the mysteries of autism and light – in the Artist’s words:

‘Speaking Light’

Autism is a spectrum.
Light is a spectrum.
We are all on that spectrum.
Cinema marquees light up the night with the newest films to enjoy.
The challenges of autism play themselves out in an action-packed feature.
You have your Oscar-winning moments of progress and then you have your empty seat moments of helplessness and frustration.
Light is a revelation, it is a beacon, it is a sign.
These light boxes feature terms, phrases, and soundbites I’m hearing, reading and learning about as a parent to an autistic child.
Let these be educational, but also let them be comforting and reassuring for those living life on the spectrum.

Artist Bio:   Joe Bun Keo

Joe Bun Keo received his BFA from the Hartford Art School. He was a candidate for The Mountain School of Arts (2012; Los Angeles, CA), nominated for the Wellesley College Alice C. Cole ’42 Fellowship (2013-2014; Wellesley, MA) and is currently pursuing his MFA. Bun Keo has participated in/ assisted with projects in Germany, United Kingdom, France, and has exhibited all over the United States.

Bun Keo is an active member of the creative community in Connecticut. He was selected for SLIDE SLAM at Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT (2010). He’s exhibited in pop-up galleries with David Borawski’s ATOMspace NOW ON (2012) and CT ArtList (2013). He has been featured in group exhibitions such as A Crew In Interest (Accruing Interest) at The Mill at Trinity College (Hartford, CT) and Hartford DADA at Pump House Gallery at Bushnell Park (Hartford, CT).

He had his most recent solo exhibition Head to Toe, at ArtWalk at Hartford Public Library, Hartford, CT (2015), group exhibitions, Distracted Driving, at Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT (2016) , Scars and Stripes, at Spaceworks Gallery, Tacoma, WA (2017),  Cool + Collected, at Melanie Carr Gallery, Essex Village, CT

He is a contributor to CT ArtList, a growing online arts resource for the State of Connecticut. Joe has also worked alongside Sharon L. Butler as a contributor for her award-winning blog, Two Coats of Paint. Bun Keo lives and works in Hartford, CT.

Melanie Carr Gallery is hybrid artist-run project space dedicated to the practice, exhibition, and sale of contemporary art and design. Carr’s studio occupies the back of the gallery and the goal of MCG is to promote the importance of contemporary art and examine its impact on society while providing its artists greater exposure to new audiences.

Melanie Carr, Owner and Director, is a Connecticut-based artist who received her MFA from the College of Art and Design at Lesley University in 2011. Carr began her studies in visual art after serving in the United States Navy as an Operations Specialist onboard the USS Willamette (AO-180) in Pearl Harbor, HI. Carr spent over 10 years at the New Britain Museum of American Art, her most recent role as Curator of New Media. She is now Adjunct Professor at Central Connecticut State University, where she teaches drawing, and joined the staff at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, University of New Haven.

For more information, email melaniecarrgallery@gmail.com or call 860.830.6949

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Cappella Cantorum to Perform Haydn’s ‘Creation’ Today with Pittsinger, Cheney, Callinan as Soloists

Tenor Brian Cheney

Bass David Pittsinger

DEEP RIVER — Celebrate Earth Day and the creation of this beautiful planet by attending Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus’ performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Creation” on Sunday, April 22, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River.

Simon Holt will lead the chorus, professional soloists and orchestra. Soloists will be internationally known Bass David Pittsinger, Tenor Brian Cheney and Soprano Sarah Callinan.

Haydn’s oratorio depicts the creation of the world from darkness and chaos to the creation of light, order and harmony. It is considered one of Haydn’s finest works.

Tickets are $25 purchased in advance, $30 at the door. For more information or tickets, visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.

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Centerbrook Architects Hosts SCEH Presentation This Afternoon on Cross-cultural Activities in Haiti

Students from Valley Regional HS teach robotics to Haitian students in the Deschapelles Community Library.

ESSEX — Sister Cities Essex Haiti invites the community to join them Sunday, April 22, at 4:30 p.m. at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main Street, Centerbrook. Parking on site and across the street at Spencer’s Corner for two Cross-Cultural presentations of activities in Deschapelles, Haiti

The first presentation will be a talk titled, Teaching Robotics in Haiti, which will be in the form of a power point presentation with Valley Regional High School seniors Patrick Myslik, Sam Paulson, and Nicholas Otte about their one-week workshop in Deschapelles teaching programming to the Robotics Club of the Deschapelles Community Library.

The second will be a short film titled, Education in Haiti, by Olivia Henrickson and Gabe Vasquez, freshmen at Amherst College and Yale University. There will be a short Q and A with the students at the end.

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