March 27, 2015

Master Knitter Lee Gant at Essex Books, May 9

Join Master Knitter Lee Gant at Essex Books at Gather on Saturday, May 9, from 3 to 4 p.m.

Gant is one of the top knitters in the United States and has been featured on PBS, NPR, and in many magazines. She has knitted pieces for world renowned designer Melissa Leapman and can be seen in Vogue, Knitter’s, and Knit ‘N Style.

Gant’s designs have been featured in many books, including 60 Quick Baby Knits, Knitting 2013 Day-to-Day Calendar, Jamieson’s Shetland Knitting Book 2, and Garter Stitch Baby.

She is part of a very active knitting community on social media: her Facebook page has reached 92,000 people in one week. Gant travels internationally on the knitting circuit and is a well-known authority who is also writing knitting pattern books.

In her inspiring book, Love in Every Stitch: Stories of Knitting and Healing, master knitter, teacher, and widely published knitwear designer Gant shares real-life stories about the power of knitting.

As an employee of three different yarn stores, a teacher of countless knitting classes, and a volunteer with at-risk youth, Gant has had the opportunity to gather diverse stories.

The stories Gant shares about herself and fellow knitters from around the world illustrate how each stitch and purl can comfort and calm, heal and renew. A suicidal teenager crochets through pregnancy. A dying woman finds comfort in the company of knitters. A woman finds the courage to face her estranged parents. A woman going blind realizes she can still knit — and experience life. And Gant’s life, riddled with more than just anxiety, has at last become stable and productive. This book includes stories of women, men, and teens who have experienced profound change and enlightenment through knitting and crochet.

“Another lovely story of hope and inspiration. The benefits of knitting and crocheting are seen every day. More and more people turn to these skills to help them deal with so many upheavals in life. Thank goodness we have those to fall back on when everything else seems to go against us.”
—Bouncing Back

A renowned designer and sought-after teacher, Gant is a household name among knitting enthusiasts. Holding the rank of ‘master knitter,’ she enjoys working with adults and children, as young as age eight, teaching self-empowerment through knitting. Some of her designs can be found in 60 Quick Baby Knits, in Knit Picks and Patternfish online, and at Strings and Things in Kauai. Gant’s knitting has won many first place and best-in-show awards at county fairs in northern California. Her new pattern collection for children’s knitwear will publish in the spring of 2016. She now lives in Santa Rosa, Calif., and formerly lived in Guilford, Conn.

To RSVP, call or text Susan McCann at 914-310-5824.

Pettipaug Yacht Club Work Party on for 8am Tomorrow

The Pettipaug Yacht Club’s first work party for the 2015 sailing season is now on for this Saturday, March 28, beginning at 8 a.m.  Rear Commodore Kathryn Ryan wrote in a message to club members, “Looks like the snow is starting to melt, and the club will be accessible on Saturday morning.”

“We will be looking for volunteers to come and help put the docks in on Saturday morning starting at 8 a.m.,” she wrote, adding, “We will have two other work parties on April 11 and April 18, where we could really use everyone’s help to get the club ready for spring after this cold and snowy winter.”

Two previous Saturday morning work parties at the club, March 14 and 21, were cancelled, because the way to the club was impassable due to the snow.

Essex Land Trust Hosts Outdoor Equipment Fair and Safety Seminar Tomorrow

Chainsaw_demonstrationESSEX – On Saturday, March 28, the Essex Land Trust (ELT) is holding an Outdoor Equipment Fair and Safety Seminar in collaboration with the New England Power Equipment Company of Old Saybrook.  The event begins at 10 a.m. at Cross Lots Preserve, 40 West Avenue, Essex.

Come and learn how to work safely and more efficiently in your garden or woodlot.  This event will showcase the latest chain saws, trimmers, blowers, tillers, and other tools for the outdoors.  The New England Power Equipment Company will also demonstrate their safe operation and provide tips on trimming, pruning, and clearing of trees and shrubs. Essex Land Trust  Steward Geoff Furtney will host.

Rain will cancel.

Any questions contact Judy Saunders at judith.saunders@comcast.net or by calling 860-581-8108.

‘Great Women Architects’ is Tonight’s Topic in Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series

The Aqua tower in Chicago by Jeanne Gang. Photo by George Showman.

The Aqua tower in Chicago designed by Jeanne Gang. Photo by George Showman.

ESSEX — Architectural Historian Professor Chuck Benson presents “Great Women Architects and Designers of the 20th and 21st Centuries” at the Essex Town Hall on Friday, March 27, at 7 p.m.

His illustrated presentation focuses on historical luminaries, such as Marion Mahoney Griffin and Mary Colter, as well as prominent contemporary architects like Billy Tsien, Zaha Hadid, and Jeanne Gang. By rising to the topmost level of a historically male-dominated profession, these women and many others like them have blazed the trail for others to follow.

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

His talk is free and part of the Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series, which is one of many programs that are offered regularly by the Essex Library (http://www.youressexlibrary.org/). Call the library at 860-767-1560 to register.

Sponsored by Centerbrook Architects, the series is in its seventh year.

Ivoryton Playhouse Hosts Auditions Tomorrow for ‘Memphis’

memphis

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse will be holding local auditions for Equity and non union actors for Memphis on Saturday, March 28, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Rehearsal Studio, 24 Main Street, Centerbrook.

Memphis begins rehearsing July 21, opens Aug. 5 and runs through Aug. 30.

The director is looking for singers, dancers and actors – especially African American.

Auditions are by appointment only. Bring a headshot and resume and prepare a song.

For audition appointments, call 860-767-9520, ext 203.

‘Nights on Broadway’ Gala to Benefit Community Music School, April 18

Looking forward to welcoming guests at Nights on Broadway are (standing L to R): Melissa Lieberman and David LaMay of Essex Financial Services; Robin Andreoli, CMS executive director CMS; vocalist Courtney Parrish; vocalist Richard Pittsinger; honorary co-chairs Jennifer and John Bauman. Seated are Laureen Sullivan of Essex Savings Bank and Charles Cumello, CEO of Essex Financial Services.

Looking forward to welcoming guests at Nights on Broadway are (standing L to R): Melissa Lieberman and David LaMay of Essex Financial Services; Robin Andreoli, CMS executive director CMS; vocalist Courtney Parrish; vocalist Richard Pittsinger; honorary co-chairs Jennifer and John Bauman. Seated are Laureen Sullivan of Essex Savings Bank and Charles Cumello, CEO of Essex Financial Services.

ESSEX — Curtain Up! Light the Lights! On Saturday, April 18, Community Music School students and faculty take center stage performing classic Broadway show tunes for Nights on Broadway, the School’s 10 annual benefit gala. Guests will gather at the charming Lace Factory, 161 River Street, Deep River, for a lively party with gourmet food stations inspired by Broadway hits and prepared by Cloud Nine Catering, silent and live auctions, and a fun photo booth. Nights on Broadway promises to be a magical, musical evening!

Selections from the shows Wicked, RENT, Fiddler on the Roof, and Les Misérables are scheduled to be performed. Featured student performers include Emma Hunt (vocals) of Essex; Michael Rasberry (saxophone) of Lyme; Sonny Capaccio (vocals) of Guilford; Courtney Parrish (vocals) of Westbrook; Arnold Moore (violin) of Killingworth; and Richard Pittsinger (vocals) of Essex, a recipient of the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Music Award. Faculty performers include Karli Gilbertson (piano/vocals), Matthew McCauley (bass), Kevin O’Neil (guitar), Andrew Studenski (saxophone), and music director Tom Briggs (piano).

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with a financial need, music therapy services, and outreach through arts education and community concerts. “Nights on Broadway is an extremely important event for us,” stated Executive Director Robin Andreoli, “Proceeds will help us continue our mission of enrichment through the arts with a focus on public performances and community outreach.”

She continues, ” Of course, musical theater has always been a part of our programming with Broadway Bound, a summer program for ages 8 to 15, so it’s fitting that Broadway music is this year’s theme. Programs like Broadway Bound, Kate’s Camp for Kids, the CMS Jazz Ensemble, New Horizons Band and many others allow students of all ages to build on their individual and ensemble skills for performance.”

Nights on Broadway sponsors include Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services, Bogaert Construction, The Clark Group, Tower Laboratories LTD, Grossman Chevrolet-Nissan, Thomas H. Alexa – Comprehensive Wealth Management, Angelini Wine LTD, The Bauman Family Foundation, Brewer Pilots Point Marina, Essex Winnelson, Gowrie Group, Guilford Savings Bank, Leonardo & Associates P.C., W. Jay Mills CFP® – The Oakely Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, Periodontics P.C., Ring’s End, The Safety Zone, and Valley Courier.

Tickets for the evening are $100 per person ($40 is tax deductible). A sponsor ticket of $150 per person provides a greater charitable gift ($90 is tax deductible) and is also available. Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling 860-767-0026. Now in its 32nd year of building community through music, the Community Music School is a private, non-profit organization.

CANCELLED! ‘Essex Go Bragh’ Irish Parade & Festival Takes Place Today

St. Paddy Day 9

ESSEX — UPDATE 03/21 9 a.m. We have just heard from Mary Ellen Barnes that today’s parade has been cancelled.  She writes, ” Due to the snow and below freezing temperatures this morning, the parade organizers feel that we must cancel the parade.  Our priority is always to ensure the safety of our citizens, parade participants, staff and volunteers and we feel that the road conditions are such that in order to do that we must cancel the parade.  Thank you all for your patience and support.  This was not an easy decision, but a necessary one.  See you in 2016!”

03/13 UPDATE: The ‘Essex Go Bragh’ parade and festival planned for March 14 have been postponed for one week due to inclement weather. Both events will now be held on Saturday, March 21.

‘Essex Go Bragh’ translates as ‘Essex Forever’ and is the name of the Irish Parade and Festival that takes place in town this year on Saturday, March 21.  The Parade will step off from the Essex Town Hall at 10:30 a.m., led by 2014 Grand Marshal Mr. Augie Pampel.

Pampel, has been living and contributing to the Essex Community for many years.  He has worked tirelessly as the Town of Essex Tree Warden since 1994.  He is a proud member of the Essex Garden Club and was instrumental in securing Keep America Beautiful Grants, used for Tree Restoration throughout the three villages.

St. Paddy Day 11 (2)Pampel will lead more than 100 marchers through down Main Street Essex in front of hundreds of spectators. The parade will feature nearly 25 units including elected officials, fife & drum corps, floats, Irish step dancers, boy and girl scouts, community organizations, church groups, police, fire, EMS, military, accompanying service and antique vehicles, and more. Members of the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall are the parade honor guard.

The Festival will follow in the Village offering Food, Drink, Horse Drawn Carriage Rides, Live Music by “Rock of Cashel” at the Griswold Inn, and Kids Activities sponsored by the Community Music School.

st. paddy day 11Professional Face Painting by Z Face & Body Art, an Irish Step Dancing demonstration and Guinness Pour at the Gris are some of the festivities planned for after the parade.  The organizers encourage visitors to stay downtown after the parade, enjoy the festival and visit local restaurants and businesses to check out their special St. Patrick Day promotions.

The organizers invite your group or organization to march in the parade.  To confirm your group’s participation or for more information, contact Essex Park and Recreation at 860-767-4340 x110 or recreation@essexct.gov.

Sponsorship opportunities are as follows:

Band Sponsor – $500 

Name Identification on the banner preceding one of the six bands.

An opportunity to participate in the parade ahead of the band

Sponsor volunteers may distribute marketing materials to spectators.

Logo identification on the park and recreation web site

Logo identification on all Flyers distributed

Float Sponsor – $1,000 

Name identification on banners on both sides of Grand Marshal’s Horse Drawn Carriage

Opportunity to participate or march in the parade ahead of the Carriage

Sponsor volunteers may distribute marketing materials to spectators.

Name identification on all flyers distributed

Name identification on Park and Recreation website, www.essexct.gov

Parade Program Advertisers 

Business card size- $150

1/4 page- $250

Half page- $400

Opening Reception for CT River Museum’s ‘New Deal’ Art Exhibit, April 2

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, will open April 2nd. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allen Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, opens April 2. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allen Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

During the depths of the Great Depression, the federal government created work relief programs to put unemployed Americans back to work. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs provided all types of jobs – including opportunities for out-of-work artists. The Federal Art Project (1935 – 1943) paid artists to paint murals and easel art, sculpt, and teach art classes. Their art was always located in a public place such as a school, library, or government building so that all Americans had access to it for inspiration and enjoyment.

The subject matter for much of this artwork is known as the “American Scene” – showcasing regional history, landscapes, and people. The Connecticut River Museum’s new exhibit has selected artwork that represents artists from the Connecticut River Valley, or that depicts views of regional or maritime traditions of the Connecticut River and coastline.

“These paintings offer us a glimpse at Connecticut from sixty years ago,” says Museum Curator Amy Trout. “We think of that time as being dark and depressing, but these paintings show us a vibrant time and place.”

The exhibit contains 20 works of art ranging from pastels, etchings, watercolors, and oils. There are also examples of bas relief work from Essex sculptor Henry Kreis who designed the state’s Tercentenary medal and coin in 1935 under the Civil Works Authority (CWA) funding. The paintings come from area museums such as the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mystic Arts Center, Connecticut Historical Society, and the Portland Historical Society, among others.

Even though these paintings were originally intended for public viewing, many have found their way into museum storerooms and are rarely seen. “It’s important to get them out on display and remind people of the wonderful legacy that was left to us. It gives us a chance to talk about Connecticut during the 1930s and appreciate the art that gives us greater insight into that period,” says Trout. The artists are also relatively unknown. Many continued in the field of art after the Depression, but few achieved great fame. “They needed to make a living, so many became commercial artists, illustrators, or teachers.”

The exhibition will open Thursday, April 2, with a preview reception at 5:30 p.m. featuring a short lecture by curator Amy Trout.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays after Columbus Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 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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Photo Caption:
The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, will open April 2nd. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allen Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

Pettipaug Yacht Club Pushes Back First Spring Work Party to March 28

A snowbound Pettipaug Yacht Club.  Photo by Sandy Sanstrom.

A snowbound Pettipaug Yacht Club. Photo by Sandy Sanstrom.

ESSEX — Kathryn Ryan, Rear Commodore of the Pettipaug Yacht Club, has announced a push back for the club’s first, spring work party, now re-scheduled for Saturday, March 28, at 9 a.m. In making the announcement Commodore Ryan said, “We have not yet seen the continued warmth most of us are anxiously awaiting, and as a result we are still not able to get to Pettipaug easily.”

She continued, “The River still has plenty of ice on it, and we are going to reschedule our first work party of the year to March 28.  With some luck by then all the snow will be gone; the river will be flowing nicely, and the temperatures will be seasonal.”

She continued, “Please consider coming to join us for either this work party, or one of our scheduled work parties in April.  We will hope to get our docks in place at the first work party in March (weather permitting, of course), and the third attempt should be the charm, and then continue getting the club ready at the April events.  Any time you can offer us will be greatly appreciated.”

“Think Spring!” she concluded cheerfully.

CT River Museum Hosts Tavern Nights with Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Good Food; First One on Saturday

The Connecticut River Museum’s 1814 Tavern Night features an evening of food, drink, music and games in the Museum’s historic Samuel Lay House. Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum’s 1814 Tavern Night features an evening of food, drink, music and games in the Museum’s historic Samuel Lay House. Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum brings back its popular 1814 Tavern Night for a double hitter. These spirited 19th-century evenings transform the historic Samuel Lay House into a seaside tavern from the War of 1812. The nights include a wine or beer tasting, food pairings of early American cuisine provided by Catering by Selene, tavern games and raucous drinking songs and ballads. The event is being made possible through the generous support of Guilford Savings Bank.

ELH1814Tavern.winebarOn Saturday, March 28, craft beers of Connecticut will be celebrated. The featured brewers will be Two Roads and the Willimantic Brewing Companies. Folk musician Rick Spencer will perform popular drinking songs as he strums the guitar, picks at the banjo, and squeezes the concertina.

Then on Saturday, April 25 a variety of fine wines will be enjoyed with Angelini Wines & Estate Wines. This night, Craig Edwards will saw out popular fiddle tunes that get people stomping their feet and singing.

Executive Director Christopher Dobbs states, “Last year’s programs sold out and were a huge hit.” He described the programs as “enchanting evenings that take you back in time – giving visitors a great taste of the food, drink, music and games of early 19th century America.”

Space is extremely limited and advance reservations are required. Tastings take place each night at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 for museum members or $27 for general public (must be 21 or older and show an ID). Tickets include wine or beer tasting, light bites, and entertainment. Additional wine and beer is available each night for purchase. You must be 21 or over to attend the event and show a valid ID.

Due to limited space, reservations are required. Tickets may be purchased by going online to www.ctrivermuseum.org or over the phone at 860-767-8269.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays after Columbus Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

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

VRHS Seeking Hall of Fame Nominations

AREAWIDE – Nominations and applications are being accepted for the 32nd annual Valley Regional High School (VRHS) Hall of Fame Award. Anyone may nominate a VRHS graduate who has gone on to excel in a particular profession, avocation, business, hobby, sport, etc., and who was graduated from Valley at least five years prior to nomination.

Call the VRHS office  at 860-526-5328 for an application, or write to the principal, Mrs. Kristina Martineau, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River, CT 06417, listing the name of the candidate, address, telephone number, year of graduation and his/her outstanding accomplishments. Deadline for submitting applications is April 30, 2015.

The winner of the Hall of Fame Award will be honored at the graduation ceremony at VRHS on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Eversource Notifies Essex Community of 2015 Tree Trimming

ESSEX – Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, was notified by Eversource, formerly CL&P, that additional tree trimming in the local community would begin this spring.  Residents will see bucket trucks and chippers from Asplundh and Lucas Tree throughout Essex.  These contractors are obliged by the new PURA(Public Utilities Regulatory Authority) laws to go from door to door to notify abutting owners and ask if the owner agrees with the trimming.

Pampel wants residents to know that, according to these new laws, they have the right to challenge the tree companies about the trimming. Those wishing to challenge the trimming or removal should follow the procedure described in the handouts received from the permissions contact person.

The following information was provided by Eversource and will be given to each abutting property owner affected by the upcoming tree work.

Eversource informs residents that year round trimming is “one of the ways we provide safe and reliable electric service”.  By removing potential hazardous growth close to power lines, they provide not only reliable service but also safer physical and visual access for their employees who work on the lines.  Problems can therefore be solved more efficiently.  Eversource states that all work is performed following professional tree care industry standards and best practices.

There are several clearance specifications outlined in the literature provided to you by the permissions contact. You should discuss the specific one that will be used in your area with the permissions contact, who leaves the permission slip with you.

The trees at risk are:

  • Those trees that can fall on or contact power lines and cause an outage.
  • Tree professionals will determine a tree’s hazardous potential based on species, location, health and structural composition.
  • Eversource arborists will also determine a tree’s risk of causing an outage and prioritize removal accordingly.  If a tree must be removed, it will be cut as low to the ground as possible
  • Critical trimming can occur without permission by the abutting owner if there is evidence that the tree or brush are in direct contact with power lines or have visible signs of burning.  This is “to protect public safety and system reliability.”

Low growing shrubs and grasses will not be removed in order to maintain a low-growing plant community.

Eversource will treat hardwood trees that can re-sprout from a cut stump with an herbicide to prevent regrowth.  As per Eversource, the herbicide has been tested and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  It will be “selectively applied with a handheld spray bottle by state licensed and certified personnel only to the outer edge and side of a stump.”

According to the Connecticut General Statutes (22a-66a) certain herbicide label information must be provided to the property owner where herbicides are used.  Property owners can ask the tree contractor requesting permission for trimming if herbicides will be used and request the herbicidal labels.

Eversource will make available to customers free of charge all cut wood or mulch produced from the tree work.  Larger limbs and tree trunks will be cut into manageable lengths and mulch can be dumped where vehicle access is possible.

In an effort to provide effective communication and better customer service, Eversource will seek property owner approval in advance of the tree work.  They will stop at all homes abutting areas of potential work to provide information and request approval for the trimming.  It is incumbent upon the property owner to read the material carefully, ask questions and/or contact the Eversource permissions contractor listed on the enclosed forms provided to property owners.   You may also call Eversource Customer Care Center at 800-286-2000 or the Eversource Business Contact Center at 888-783-6617. You can email Eversource directly at treeCT@eversource.com.

For trees that hang over the public right-of-way, you may ask for additional consultation:

  • If you live on a town road, please contact your local Tree Warden (Augie Pampel).
  • If you live on a state road, contact the state Department of Transportation (DOT), Commissioner’s Office, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06131

Not granting permission:

  • If a property owner does not wish to grant approval for the proposed tree work, he/she should follow the procedures outlined in the material left by the permissions contact.
  • Both the property owner and Eversource may further appeal that decision to the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) within 10 days.
  • Contact PURA at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051.  PURA will hold a mediation session within 30 days of an appeal or an arbitration hearing within 60 days, to reach a resolution.

According to Eversource, no property owner will be billed for damages to Eversource power lines or equipment caused by trees on the owner’s property that fall, regardless of the outcome of an appeal.

Augie Pampel is available to anyone who may have questions, concerns or who require more information about this upcoming tree work.  Contact him at 860-767-0766

‘Stand By Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story’ Opens Ivoryton’s 2015 Season

Katie Barton* and Ben Hope*.  Photo by Jacqui Hubbard

Katie Barton* and Ben Hope*. Photo by Jacqui Hubbard

IVORYTON –  Tammy Wynette was a country music icon. Called the “First Lady of Country Music,” she was one of country music’s best-known artists and biggest-selling female singer-songwriters. Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” was one of the best-selling hit singles by a woman in the history of country music. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wynette charted 23 No. 1 songs, helping to define the role of women in country music.

‘Stand By Your Man,’ opening at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Wednesday, March 18, brings the woman behind the legend and the incredible songs that made her the first lady of country music, off the stage and into your heart. Through her eyes, the audience relives her journey from the cotton fields of Itawamba, Miss., to international superstar.

With comic flare and dramatic impact ‘Stand By Your Man,’  recounts triumphs and tragedies and explores Tammy’s relationships with the five husbands she stood by, including George Jones, her beloved daughters, her strong-willed mother and two of her dearest friends: colorful writer and producer Billy Sherrill and film star Burt Reynolds. Among the 26 songs are “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Til I Can Make It on My Own” and “Golden Ring.”

Directed  and musically directed by the husband and wife team of David and Sherry Lutken, who were last at the Playhouse in 2012 with ‘Ring of Fire,’ the show stars husband and wife team Katie Barton* and Ben Hope*. Hope made his Broadway debut in 2012 as the lead in the Tony Award winning musical, ‘Once’, and Barton has just recently finished the national tour of ‘Million Dollar Quartet.’ The show also features Eric Anthony*, Guy Fischetti,  Jonathan Brown, Marcy McGuigan*, Morgan Morse, Sam Sherwood*, Lily Tobin* and Louis Tucci*.

The set is designed by Dan Nischan, lighting by Marcus Abbott, wigs by Liz Cipollina and costumes by Anya Sokolovskaya.

‘Stand By Your Man,’ runs through April 5. 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 $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website atwww.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Generously sponsored by:  A.R. Mazotta and Essex Savings Bank

*member of Actors Equity

Local Author George Rider Presents “Rogue’s Road to Retirement” Today at Essex Corinthian Y.C.

Rogue's RoadGeorge Rider has taken a unique approach to growing old – don’t do it!

After retiring, Rider embarked on a bumpy journey to find himself and a new lease on life.

For the first time, he got in touch with his creative side, an unusual direction indeed, since he spent 70 years of his life as a college athlete turned Navy officer turned Wall Street trader and weekend jock.

Told through a series of uproariously humorous and sometimes poignant adventures, The Rogue ‘ s Road to Retirement is about getting back in touch with your inner rascal and getting off your duff (Rider ends up in an MTV video, a Pepsi ad doing the polka, and Sports Illustrated …)

Rider’s adventures and stories reflect on finding a new passion in retirement by:
  • being kind to your kids (after all, you need them to do the lawn work now)
  • discovering the joys of guilt-tripping your grandchildren into hanging out with you
  • struggling with the age-old dilemma – take another nap or go to the gym
  • driving your spouse nuts now that you’re both home 24/7
  • barhopping (or barhobbling) after age 65
  • savoring the sweet memories of friends and loved ones now gone … and much more.
The Rogue’s Road to Retirement is about the rebels, raconteurs, and roués who refuse to grow old gracefully, who want to grow old the way they grew up – raising hell, having fun, and giving their kids and grandkids a run for their money.
The Essex Corinthian Yacht Club is pleased to host Rider in his home town and yacht club on Sunday, March 15, at 4 p.m.
The presentation is free of charge and open to the public,
Essex Corinthian Yacht Club is located at 9 Novelty Lane in Essex.  For more information, call 860-767-3239 or visit www.essexcorinthian.org

Senators Linares, Formica Tour CT River Museum

From left to right: Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs, Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini, Sen. Linares, Museum Vice Chairman Joanne Masin, and Sen. Formica.

From left to right: Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs, Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini, Sen. Linares, Museum Vice Chairman Joanne Masin, and Sen. Formica.

On March 9, area legislators toured the Connecticut River Museum on Main Street in historic Essex village.  Senator Art Linares of Westbrook and Senator Paul Formica of East Lyme pledged to continue to raise public awareness of the museum at the State Capitol and throughout their senate districts.

On the web:  www.ctrivermuseum.org .

The Big Thaw, Hopefully, Prayerfully, Is  Coming Soon …

The launching basin for the Frostbite Yacht Club races, which is totally iced over. Also, the boat crane (on right), that puts the boats in the water is currently of no use.

The launching basin for the Frostbite Yacht Club races, which is totally iced over. Also, the boat crane (on right), that puts the boats in the water is currently of no use.

But don’t bet on it!

The Frostbite Yacht Club in Essex was scheduled to hold its first races off Essex Harbor on Sunday, March 1.  But the launching basin, where club’s members put their boats in the water, was covered over with thick ice and snow.

So the Frostbite sailors postponed their first race of the season to the next Sunday, March 8.  However, these races were also cancelled, because of the ice over the launching basin.

Will the ice thaw by Sunday, March 15?  That’s an open question.

Also, the Committee Boat that monitors the Frostbite Yacht Club sailing races is frozen in its berth in Middle Cove in Essex, and it too was locked in ice on March 1 and 8.  Can it get out by March 15?

Pettipaug Yacht Club Frozen In

Paul Risseeuw, Director of Pettipaug Sailing Academy, is pictured at the head of the driveway that goes down to the Pettipaug Yacht Club. The club is directly on the shore of the Connecticut River.

Paul Risseeuw, Director of Pettipaug Sailing Academy, is pictured at the head of the driveway that goes down to the Pettipaug Yacht Club. The club is directly on the shore of the Connecticut River.

 

Then, there are the docks that are waiting to go into the water at the Pettipaug Yacht Club.  The club is located directly on the shoreline of the Connecticut River.  Work parties were scheduled to put the docks in the water on Saturday, March 14.

The Director of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, Paul Risseeuw, said, however, it is “highly unlikely,” that the work parties will work as scheduled.

The jumble of mooring poles in Essex Harbor. The poles will all have to be lifted out of the water and replanted for the coming boating season.

The jumble of mooring poles in Essex Harbor. The poles will all have to be lifted out of the water and replanted for the coming boating season.

Risseeuw said, “The ice on the river has to go away enough and enough snow has to melt for members to get down to the club; and the docks have to be accessible to be dragged over to the crane to put them in the water.”  Risseeuw won’t even commit that the way will be clear enough for the work parties to begin on by Saturday, March 21.

As for the high school teams that are scheduled to start sailing races off the Pettipaug Yacht Club on Monday, March 16, Risseeuw feels, assuredly, that their races will have to be postponed.  The teams are from the Daniel Hand High School in Madison and Xavier High School in Middletown.

Connecticut River Museum Announces April Vacation Week Workshops

kids.creating.art.2014

Join the Connecticut River Museum during April School Vacation for a week of creativity and discovery. Come for one session or the whole week.

Kid_drawing_CRMThis year the Connecticut River Museum (CRM) will run two Vacation Workshop sessions.  Session I runs April 6-10, Session II runs April 13-17. Each Session’s programs are Monday – Friday from 9:00am – 12:00pm.  When school is out, CRM is the place to be — bring your imagination and come prepared to create and experiment during an exploration of the River and its history.

The workshops are designed for ages 6 – 12 and include exploration activities in the museum, time outdoors doing nature, science and history projects, and arts and crafts. Programs are $20/day, $85/week for CRM members and $25/Day, $110/week for nonmembers. Advance registration is required and space is limited.

To register, visit ctrivermuseum.org/camps-workshops for details on each day’s program and to download the registration form.  Email jwhitedobbs@ctrivermuseum.org or call 860.767.8269 x113 to reserve. The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street.

 

Essex Winter Series Presents Season Finale, March 29

Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts

Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts

For the fourth and final concert of the Essex Winter Series (EWS) 2015 season, pianist and artistic director Mihae Lee will take the stage with two other celebrated artists in a program of masterpieces of the rich piano trio repertoire.

The concert will take place on Sunday, March 29, at 3 pm at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. Making their EWS debuts in this program, “Mihae Lee and Friends,” will be violinist Chee-Yun and cellist Julie Albers. Both have performed as soloists with many of the world’s major orchestras, are highly-regarded artists on the chamber music circuit, and have recorded extensively.

The selections include piano trios from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. First on the program will be the Trio No. 39 in G major by Joseph Haydn, who, along with Mozart, developed the genre by adding a cello to the violin-piano duo to create many more interesting musical possibilities. Written in 1795, the piece is nicknamed the “Gypsy” trio after its finale in the Hungarian style.

In contrast to Haydn, who ultimately wrote 45 piano trios, the early twentieth-century composer Maurice Ravel wrote just one. This 1914 work, completed just before his enlistment in the French army at the start of World War I, has become a staple of the repertoire and will be performed before intermission.

The concert will conclude with the second and final trio by one of the great nineteenth-century composers, Felix Mendelssohn. His C minor Trio from 1845 is among the romantic master’s finest and most beloved works.

Tickets, all general admission, are $35, with $5 tickets for full-time students, and may be purchased on the EWS website, www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.

The March 29 concert is dedicated to the memory of Marilyn Buel, former member of the board of trustees of EWS, who passed away in August, 2014. Mrs. Buel, an ardent supporter of the arts, helped build support for Essex Winter Series’ Fenton Brown Emerging Artist Concerts and also served as president of the board of Chestnut Hill Concerts.

About the artists:
Mihae Lee

Praised by Boston Globe as “simply dazzling,” Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee has been captivating audiences throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia in solo recitals and chamber music concerts with her poetic lyricism and scintillating virtuosity. She has performed in such venues as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Academia Nationale de Santa Cecilia in Rome, Warsaw National Philharmonic Hall, and Taipei National Hall.

An active chamber musician, Lee is an artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society and is a founding member of the Triton Horn Trio with violinist Ani Kavafian and hornist William Purvis. Her recordings of Brahms, Shostakovich, Bartok, and Stravinsky with the members of BCMS were critically acclaimed by High Fidelity, CD Review, and Fanfare magazines, the reviews calling her sound “as warm as Rubinstein, yet virile as Toscanini.”

Lee has appeared frequently at numerous international chamber music festivals including Dubrovnik, Amsterdam, Groningen, Festicamara (Colombia), Great Woods, Seattle, OK Mozart, Mainly Mozart, Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, Rockport, Sebago-Long Lake, Bard, Norfolk, Mostly Music, Music Mountain, Monadnock, and Chestnut Hill Concerts.

In addition to many years of performing regularly at Bargemusic in New York, she has been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Speculum Musicae; has collaborated with the Tokyo, Muir, Cassatt, and Manhattan string quartets; and has premiered and recorded works by such composers as Gunther Schuller, Ned Rorem, Paul Lansky, Henri Lazarof, Michael Daugherty, and Ezra Laderman.

In addition to her concert career, Lee maintains her commitment to give back to her community and help many worthy charities. At the invitation of the Prime Minister and the First Lady of Jamaica, she has organized and performed in concerts in Kingston and Montego Bay to benefit the Jamaica Early Childhood Development Foundation. For many years she brought world-class musicians, both classical and jazz, to perform in fund-raising concerts for the Hastings Education Foundation outside of New York City, and she recently launched an annual Gala Concert for the Community Health Clinic of Butler County, a free health clinic outside of Pittsburgh.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Lee made her professional debut at the age of 14 with the Korean National Orchestra after becoming the youngest grand prizewinner at the prestigious National Competition held by the President of Korea. In the same year, she came to the United States on a scholarship from the Juilliard School Pre-College, and subsequently won many further awards including First Prize at the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition, the Juilliard Concerto Competition, and the New England Conservatory Concerto Competition.

Lee received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School and her artist diploma from the New England Conservatory, studying with Martin Canin and Russell Sherman. She has released compact discs on the Bridge, Etcetera, EDI, Northeastern, and BCM labels.

Violinist Chee-Yun's flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents

Violinist Chee-Yun’s flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents

Chee-Yun

Violinist Chee-Yun’s flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents. Charming, charismatic and deeply passionate about her art, Chee-Yun continues to carve a unique place for herself in the ever-evolving world of classical music.

Winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 1990 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chee-Yun performs regularly with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the Toronto, Houston, Seattle, Pittsburgh and National symphony orchestras. Additionally, she has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with such distinguished conductors as Hans Graf, James DePriest, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Krzysztof Penderecki, Neeme Järvi, Pinchas Zukerman, Manfred Honeck and Giancarlo Guerrero.

Internationally, Chee-Yun has toured with the Haifa Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Germany’s Braunschweig Orchestra and the MDR Radio Leipzig and performed with the St. Petersburg Camerata, the Bamberg Philharmonic, the Bilbao Symphony, the London Festival Orchestra, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the KBS Symphony Orchestra.

Her orchestral highlights include a concert with the Seoul Philharmonic conducted by Myung-Whun Chung that was broadcast on national network television, a benefit for UNESCO with the Orchestra of St. Lukes at Avery Fisher Hall, and her tours of the United States with the San Francisco Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas conducting), and Japan with the NHK Symphony. Recent and upcoming engagements include return subscription weeks in Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, as well as the Colorado and Austin symphony orchestras and the National Philharmonic.

Julie Albers

Cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry

Cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry

American cellist Julie Albers is recognized for her superlative artistry, her charismatic and radiant performing style, and her intense musicianship. She was born into a musical family in Longmont, Colo., and began violin studies at the age of two with her mother, switching to cello at four. She moved to Cleveland during her junior year of high school to pursue studies through the Young Artist Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Richard Aaron.

Albers soon was awarded the Grand Prize at the XIII International Competition for Young Musicians in Douai, France, and as a result toured France as soloist with Orchestre Symphonique de Douai.

She made her major orchestral debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1998, and thereafter has performed in recital and with orchestras throughout North America, Europe, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand. In 2001, she won Second Prize in Munich’s Internationalen Musikwettbewerbes der ARD, and was also awarded the Wilhelm-Weichsler-Musikpreis der Stadt Osnabruch . While in Germany, she recorded solo and chamber music of Kodaly for the Bavarian Radio, performances that have been heard throughout Europe.

In 2003, Albers was named the first Gold Medal Laureate of South Korea’s Gyeongnam International Music Competition, winning the $25,000 Grand Prize.

In North America, Albers has performed with many important orchestras and ensembles. Recent performances have included exciting debuts on the San Francisco Performances series and with the Grant Park Music Festival where she performed Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso for 3 cellos with Mr. Penderecki conducting. Past seasons have included concerto appearances with the Orchestras of Colorado, Indianapolis, San Diego, Seattle, Vancouver, and Munchener Kammerorchester among others.

In addition to solo performances, Albers regularly participates in chamber music festivals around the world. 2009 marked the end of a three year residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two. She is currently active with the Albers String Trio and the Cortona Trio. Teaching is also a very important part of Albers’ musical life. She currently is Assistant Professor and holds the Mary Jean and Charles Yales Cello Chair at the McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

Albers’ debut album with Orion Weiss includes works by Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Schumann, Massenet, and Piatagorsky and is available on the Artek Label. Julie Albers performs on a N.F. Vuillaume cello made in 1872 and makes her home in Atlanta with her husband, Bourbon.

Is Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman Running for a Third Term? That is the Question 

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman stands beneath a new awning at the parking lot of Essex Town Hall

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman stands beneath a new awning at the parking lot of Essex Town Hall

If you listen to Essex’s First Selectman, Norman Needleman, he will tell you that — really, truly — he has not made up his mind, whether to run for a third term as First Selectman of Essex … or not.  It must be acknowledged that Needleman’s first two terms as Essex First Selectman have been noteworthy, especially, as regards upgrading the public landscape of the Town of Essex. Needleman’s accomplishments in this area include:

  • Essex Town Center
    Needleman has created and supervised a major upgrade of the Town Center of Essex. New improvements include: (a) reconditioning of Essex’s two tennis courts, (b) building a new and imaginative Essex playscape for children, which has proved to be very popular for young and old alike, (c) a new Town Hall parking lot with parking spaces clearly and precisely lined, and (d) new landscaping of the grounds in the front of Town Hall.Furthermore, Needleman was instrumental in raising significant new monies to help pay for these improvements. The total cost of the upgraded Essex Town Center was $700,000 with $480,000 of that amount raised through a Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant initiated by Needleman to help pay for the costs.
  • Ivoryton Main Street Upgrade
    Needleman also raised $400,000 from a second STEAP grant to pay for a major upgrade of the town center of Ivoryton. The improvements will include new cross walks and parking areas, along with a general reconfiguration of the Ivoryton town center. The final plans for the  Ivoryton improvements have been completed so now it is a question of implementing them.If Needleman runs successfully again for Essex First Selectman, he will be able supervise the construction of these already-funded Ivoryton improvements. If on the other hand, he chooses not to run, a new Essex First Selectman would be in charge.
  • Centerbrook Improvements
    Upgrading of the town center of Centerbrook is another town improvement under consideration by Needleman. If this project were to go forward, he says there would most likely be an effort to obtain yet another state STEAP grant to pay for it.  Considering Needlman’s success in obtaining approvals for STEAP grants for both Essex and Ivoryton, it seems likely that he may be able to do so again for this initiative.

Needleman’s Private Job in Essex  

Headquarters of Tower Laboratories LTD, in Essex Industrial Park

Headquarters of Tower Laboratories LTD, in Essex Industrial Park

In addition his public position as First Selectman of the Town of Essex, Needleman is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tower Laboratories, LTD. “Tower Labs,” as it is called in abbreviated form, is a sizeable private company that has no less than 250 employees.

The company specializes in the manufacturing of health and beauty aids, which are sold worldwide. The headquarters of the company is located in two building in the Essex Industrial Park, and the company also has two other locations.

Letter to the Editor: The Reign of the Nuancers

To the Editor:

The Kings and Queens of nuance have deluded themselves into believing that the delicate difference perceived by any of the senses (nuance) gives them a superior ability to make decisions. It appears, however, that nuance is running rough-shod over any semblance of wisdom coming from the Obama administration.

The nuancers are deflecting the reality that worldwide murderous Islamic jihadists are intent on killing all who do not believe in their revolutionary ideology; they are bound by an imperative to fight to kill infidels till death.

This administration’s tag-team of haughty wizards have offered nothing of value. Their fanciful ideas and statements are alarming and devoid of intellectual honesty. Deputy spokesperson for the Department of State, Marie Harf, posits that the extremists are driven by economic deprivation and need jobs — really?

John Kerry, the emperor of nuance, offers the ludicrous statement that the world is “safer than ever.” Kerry hardly inspires confidence in those of us who hear direct threats, witness barbarous immolation and beheadings and understand what is motivating the slaughter. Does Kerry even know that 2014 was the deadliest year for terror attacks in forty-five years?

All of this nonsense is coming from the same administration who made the incogitable decision to trade Bowe Bergdahl, the deserter, for five high-value Taliban prisoners. And why does this administration continue to cuddle-up to Foreign Nationals who continue to break immigration laws. One can only imagine, because we just do not know, how many jihadists are slipping through the borders.

Is the current accommodates approach to Iran another decision influenced by nuance? The last time I checked, Iran was the leading sponsor of State Terrorism and too close to having nuclear capabilities. They would love the “deal” being contemplated by this White House. The “geniuses” are beginning to scare me. They believe that the just war is the war against “global warming” (the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on humankind) and refuse to accept that radical Islamists are driven to wipe out Christians, Jews and moderate Muslims who are, in their minds, infidels.

There are no shades of gray here. The nuancers need to get off their high horse, stop the verbal acrobatics, get a grip and LEAD.

Sincerely,

Alison Nichols,
Essex, CT

TTYSB Encourages Residents to Get Involved in the ‘Year of the Story’

TTYS placemat
Have you noticed the “2015: Year of the Story” placemats at some of your favorite restaurants in the tri-town area, including Moravella’s, Pattaconk, The Villager and Wheat Market in Chester;  DaVinci Pizza, The Ivory, and the Whistle Stop in Deep River; and Centerbrook Pizza in Essex?

Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau (TTYSB) is grateful for the support of these businesses in getting out the word about this year’s Community Story project. Individual adults and youth are also stepping up to participate in this story-making process. Each person, whatever their involvement, does make a difference.

Do you want to pass on your knowledge, experience, sense of resilience and possibility? What has it meant for you to be part of the Tri-Town community?

TTYSB encourages everyone to beciome involved in this project to celebrate our community through stories

How?

First, consider the most challenging thing you had to face while growing up; how did you manage to overcome it? Then tell your story to a trained story-gatherer—many of these volunteers are your friends and neighbors and they will be collecting stories through April, 2015. After that a professional playwright will be turning our community members’ stories into a one-act play. T

Then during the summer of 2015, volunteer to become a member of the cast, crew or audience for the community performance to be held on Oct. 2, 3 and 4th. Three performances, two evening shows and a matinee, will ensure that every community member will get a chance to attend.

Finally, explore additional ways to build assets, community connections and supportive relationships for the benefit of individuals, families and the community throughout 2015 and beyond.

Photo Exhibit Featuring Architects as Traveling Photographers on View at Centerbrook Firm

Exhibit taken in Thailand by Alan Paradis.\

Photo taken in Thailand by Alan Paradis.\

Architects like to travel and usually pack their cameras when they do, and they often see and capture things that others miss. Centerbrook’s peripatetic staff have collected their printed observations from across the globe, and are displaying them in the Drill Bit Gallery at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main Street in Centerbrook, CT.

“The World According to Architects” is free to the public, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the firm’s offices, which are located in a former factory building that produced metal augurs. It runs March 9 through Labor Day.

Subject matter ranges from graffiti in Thailand and a Hawaiian beach, to a riotously colorful Jamaican fishing village and downtown Essex with a double rainbow arching over the Connecticut River Museum.

More than two dozen prints, one by each photographer, are displayed, augmented by five video screens that allow visitors to view hundreds more images taken by the exhibitors. Photographs of buildings such as Jean Nouvel’s stunning Torre Agbar in Barcelona, a chapel in the Alps, and a red barn in Amish Country are complemented by scenes of nature, people, and striking landscapes, such as a skerry (small rocky island) in Norway. One photo captures the rocks on Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay Beach that appear to be acknowledging the ocean that helped to shape them.

“This exhibit follows on the heels of an architects’ watercolor show.” said Centerbrook Partner Mark Simon. “It is rare that you find such a large group of visually sophisticated people, and we are delighted to showcase their extraordinary talent in yet another medium.”

The exhibit was organized by Matt Montana, head of the Drill Bit Gallery, and curated by Derek Hayn, the firm’s Graphic Designer, and Patrick McCauley, Master Model Maker and Product Designer. Founded in 1975, Centerbrook Architects has a staff of 66 people.

Exhibit taken in Essex by Brian Adams

Photo taken in Essex by Brian Adams

CBSRZ Hosts Community Passover Seder, April 4; Reserve by March 20

Do you remember the smell of Grandma’s Matzah Ball soup simmering on the stove as she prepared for Passover seder?

If you are looking for an opportunity to reconnect with your Jewish heritage, make a call to learn about Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ)’s Community Passover Seder at the synagogue in Chester.

The seder will be on the second night of Passover, Saturday, April 4, starting at 6 p.m.  The family-style seder, led by Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg and Cantorial Soloist Belinda Brennan, will stimulate lots of discussion, participation, and singing.

The meal, as prepared by Bob and Linda Zemmel, owners of Alforno Restaurant, will include delicious brisket, chicken, homemade matzah ball soup and many side dishes.  There will also be kid-friendly options.

Call the CBSRZ office at860-526-8920 for information on prices and to make a reservation.  Reservations are required no later than March 20.

All Performances of ‘Motherhood Out Loud’ at Ivoryton This Weekend Cancelled

Pictured from top left are Beverley Taylor and Michael Cartwright. From bottom left – Atticus Nischan, Jeanie Rapp, Kase Vradenburgh, Vanessa Vradenburgh, Elle Vradenburgh. Photograph by Anne Hudson

Gathered for a photo are some of the Motherhood Out Loud performers and their children. From top left are Beverley Taylor and Michael Cartwright and from bottom left, Atticus Nischan, Jeanie Rapp, Kase Vradenburgh, Vanessa Vradenburgh, Elle Vradenburgh.  Photograph by Anne Hudson

1:30pm Update: Due to the threat of bad weather this weekend, all three performances of Motherhood Out Loud have been cancelled.

CANCELLED:  Friday, February 20 at 7:30pm in partnership with Women and Family Life Center
CANCELLED:  Saturday, February 21 at 7:30pm in partnership with Community Foundation of Middlesex County to support the Sari A. Rosenbaum Fund for Women & Girls
CANCELLED:  Sunday, February 22 at 2:00pm in partnership with Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut

Call the Ivoryton Playhouse at 860.767.7318 for ticket refunds.

ESSEX – “Mom!” “Mommy!!” “Ma!!!” How many times a day does a mother hear these words? Being a mother is one of the most rewarding, hilarious, joy-filled and heartbreaking jobs in the world. Come and celebrate all things Mom during a staged reading of Motherhood Out Loud at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Feb. 20, 21 and 22 to benefit local agencies that promote programs for women and children.

Motherhood Out Loud features a great variety of pieces by women reflecting upon the diversity of the parenting experience in America today, yet at the same time, the universality of it. From the wonder of giving birth to the bittersweet challenges of role reversal and caring for an aging parent, it is all shared with tremendous candor, heart and humor.

Conceived by Susan R. Rose and Joan Stein, Motherhood Out Loud is written by a collection of award-winning American writers including Leslie Ayvazian, Brooke Berman, David Cale, Jessica Goldberg, Beth Henley, Lameece Issaq, Claire LaZebnik, Lisa Loomer, Michele Lowe, Marco Pennette, Theresa Rebeck, Luanne Rice, Annie Weisman and Cheryl L. West.

Henley is a Pulitzer-Prize winner, Rebeck is the creator of the television series SMASH, and Pennette was Executive Producer of Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty and is Executive Producer of Kirstie Alley’s television show. Luanne Rice is the New York Times best-selling author of 33 novels, who has a home in Old Lyme.

Directed by Maggie McGlone Jennings (who has directed several shows at the Playhouse), the play features local actors who are well known in the shoreline community. The cast includes Beverley Taylor (a regular on the Playhouse stage), Jeanie Rapp (known to local audiences as the artistic director of Margreta Stage), Vanessa Daniels and Michael Cartwright.

This special production is a partnership between the Ivoryton Playhouse and several different organizations that promote programs for women and children. Friday, Feb. 20, is in partnership with Women & Family Life Center in Guilford; Saturday, Feb. 21, is in partnership with the Sari A. Rosenbaum Fund for Women & Girls at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; and Sunday, Feb. 22, is in partnership with Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT. The Ivoryton Playhouse is proud to partner with three different organizations to raise funds to help those in need in New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties.

Performance times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m; Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $40 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting the Playhouse’s website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

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

‘China Day’ at Essex Elementary Offers Lantern Learning

3rd Grader Raegan Wyrebek-Brasky makes a paper lantern during EESF's China Day.

3rd Grader Raegan Wyrebek-Brasky makes a paper lantern during EESF’s China Day.

ESSEX – Second and third grade students recently practiced martial arts, made paper lanterns and learned new letters during China Day at Essex Elementary School.  The celebration, funded by the Essex Elementary School Foundation’s (EESF) Justus W. Paul World Cultures Program, included activities with Asian Performing Arts of Connecticut and Malee’s School of Tae Chi.
Chinese lanterns made during China Day at Essex Elementary School funded by the EESF.

Chinese lanterns made during China Day funded by EESF at Essex Elementary School. .

The EESF is looking for your support.  The not-for-profit, volunteer organization provides funds for enrichment programs that bring a mathematician and historian-in-residence into the classrooms, as well as an iPad lab and author visits.

For donation information, visit www.essexelementaryschoolfoundation.org.

Essex Garden Club Hosts Successful Terrarium Workshop

EGCterrarium1

Sandy Meister, left, works with a participant at the terrarium workshop.

 

ESSEX – The Essex Garden Club and Essex Library Association co-sponsored a terrarium workshop on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Essex Library.

Workshop participants create their masterpieces.

Workshop participants create their masterpieces.

Twenty participants were given step-by-step instructions by Sandy Meister of the Essex Garden Club.  She also provided information on choosing plants and tips on garden maintenance.

 

Essex Grand List Shows Small 0.33 Percent Increase

ESSEX — The grand list of taxable property has remained nearly flat after a revaluation-driven drop in 2013, with the October 2014 total showing an increase of only $3.72 million or 0.33 percent.

Assessor Jessica Sypher has filed an October 2014 grand list that totals $944,905,200, up by $3,726,569 from the 2013 total. There were small increases in each of the categories of real estate, personal property, and motor vehicles. The increase is expected to generate only about $60,000 in new tax revenue at the current tax rate of 20.99 mills.

The grand list, which previously had totaled over $1 billion, dropped by 7.72 percent after the full townwide property revaluation that was completed in 2013. The 2012 grand list was also down very slightly, dropping by about six one-hundredths of a percent.

Sypher said a court settlement for two of about a dozen appeals that followed the revaluation had resulted in a loss of about $700,000 in assessed value, or about $21,000 in tax revenue.

Brewer’s Marina appealed the revised assessments for marinas it owns on Ferry Street and Chandler Street. Sypher said attorneys for the town recommended a settlement that would split the difference between the revised assessments and the values claimed by the marina company. The compromise that was approved by a superior court judge last month dropped the assessed value for the two marinas from about $5 million to $4.3 million.

The town’s 3,253 real estate accounts have an assessment total of $943,246,673, up by only $727,030 from the 2013 real estate total.The town’s 722 personal property accounts have an assessment total of  $41,873,673, up by $1,213,929 from the 2013 personal property total.

The town’s 7,697 motor vehicle accounts have an assessment total of $62,881,170, up by $1,785,610 from the 2013 motor vehicles total.

Following are the town’s top 10 taxpayers with current assessment totals

1) Essex Meadows Inc. — $22,875,400
2) Lee Company — $14,820,920
3) Connecticut Light & Power Co. — $6,875,610
4) SLK Partners LLC — $5,708,900
5) River Properties Inc. — $3,597,210
6) Griswold Inn LLC — $3,378,640
7) Essex Savings Bank — $3,355,950
8) Stephen R. Cline Successor Trustee — $3,319,200
9) Herbert T. Clark III — $2,760,140
10) Macbeth Ventures LLC — $2,759,500

Ivoryton Announces Spectacular Season for 2015, Features ‘Memphis’, ‘Calendar Girls’

ESSEX: Ivoryton Playhouse has announced details of its upcoming 2015 season as follows:

Stand by Your Man
March 18 – April 5, 2015
By Mark St. Germain

Relive the journey of country music legend, Tammy Wynette, from the cotton fields of Itawamba, Mississippi, to international superstardom, including the five husbands she stood by. Among the 26 songs are “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Til I Can Make It On My Own” and “Golden Ring.”

The Last Romance
April 22 – May 10, 2015
By Joe DiPietro

A crush can make anyone feel young again – even an 80 year old widower. This heartwarming comedy about the transformative power of love mixes heartbreak with humor and opera with laughter.

Calendar Girls
June 3rd – June 21st, 2015
By Tim Firth

One of the best-selling plays in British theatre history is making its US premier. This dazzlingly funny and shamelessly sentimental story of the ladies of the Women’s Institute who pose au natural for a fundraising calendar is guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and walk out singing Jerusalem!  Sponsored by Webster Bank, PCI Medical

South Pacific
July 1 – July 26, 2015
By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan

Who doesn’t love this extraordinary show that includes “Some Enchanted Evening”, “Younger Than Springtime”, “Bali Ha’i”, “There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame”, and “A Wonderful Guy”? But South Pacific is also a deeply felt drama. Its portrayal of Americans stationed in an alien culture in wartime is as relevant today as when it first thrilled audiences back in 1949.

Memphis
Aug. 5 – Aug. 30, 2015
By Joe DiPietro and David Bryan

Memphis is set in the places where rock and roll was born in the 1950s: the seedy nightclubs, radio stations and recording studios of Memphis, TN. With an original score, it tells the fictional story of DJ Huey Calhoun, a good ole’ local boy with a passion for R&B music and Felicia Farrell, an up-and-coming black singer that he meets one fateful night on Beale Street. From the first notes of its electrifying opening number, right up to a rousing finale , Memphis delivers one energetic song after another. A rollicking new musical.

Little Shop of Horrors
Sept. 23 – Oct. 11, 2015
By Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

The charming, tongue in cheek musical comedy of Seymour who stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” – after his coworker crush, has been devouring audiences for over 30 years. A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical.

Liberace!
Oct. 28 – Nov. 15, 2015
By Brent Hazelton

Liberace! is a moving and highly entertaining tribute to the performer and musician famous for his charm, glitz, and glamour. Liberace relives the highs (and lows) of his prolific life, with a rollicking piano score spanning classical and popular music from Chopin to “Chopsticks,” and Rachmaninoff to Ragtime.

Subscriptions for 3-play, 5-play or 7-play packages are available now by calling Beverley Taylor at 860.767.9520

Single tickets go on sale Feb. 17 — call 860.767.7318.

For more information, visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Groundhog Day Parade Shorter than Usual But Still Wonderful

Republican State Senator Art Linares (left in photo) leads the marchers up Main Street in Essex.

Republican State Senator Art Linares (left in photo) leads the marchers up Main Street in Essex.

ESSEX – The spirit was all there for the 38th annual Groundhog Day parade in Essex on Feb. 1. “Essex Ed,” the star of the parade, who every year shows up with a new costume, was very much on display.

The star of the show -- "Essex Ed"

The star of the show — “Essex Ed” in his Warrior football uniform

 

This year he was dressed as a ‘Warrior’ football player from the Valley/Old Lyme high school co-op football team. The theme of this year’s parade was a salute to the team, who won the 2014 Class S-Large state championship for the first time in their history.

A marching band was stationed just behind the dignitaries in the parade.

A marching band was stationed just behind the dignitaries in the parade.

Missing from this year’s parade, however, were the many antique automobiles that usually make an appearance. Their owners kept them in their garages because of  fear of bad weather.

Immersed in the spirit of the parade, this marcher posed with her personal grounhog

Immersed in the spirit of the parade, this marcher posed with her very own groundhog

Still, hundreds of enthusiastic spectators crowded the sidewalks along the entire length of Essex’s Main Street from the river to the “roundabout,” as natives like to call traffic circle at the top of  Main Street.

Fur hats -- for good reason -- were much in vogue among many marchers

Fur hats — for good reason — were much in vogue among the marchers

 

Town of Essex, Fire Company Call for Help to Clear Snow from Hydrants

2)A snow-covered fire hydrant on Dennison Rd. in Essex, waiting to be cleared by residents.

A snow-covered fire hydrant on Dennison Rd. in Essex, waiting to be cleared by residents.

ESSEX – The Town of Essex and the firefighters of the Essex Fire Engine Company #1 have put out an urgent call to Essex residents to personally help clean the snow away from the town’s 136 fire hydrants. “Many are now covered with snow and hidden from Essex Firefighters needing them in an emergency,” the Town of Essex said in a statement.

“The snow won’t start melting anytime soon and more snow is on the way. Please take a few minutes to clear the snow from the fire hydrants next to where you live and work,” the Town and Fire Company urge.

A fire hydrant already cleared on North Main St. in Essex.

A fire hydrant already cleared on North Main St. in Essex.

This simple act will, “Help protect your family, property, and livelihood,” the Fire Company, located at 11 Saybrook Rd., explains.

 

Celebrate Groundhog Day Today at Essex Parade

Groundhog fun at last year's parade.

Joining in the groundhog fun at last year’s parade.

The annual Essex Groundhog Day Parade in Essex Village will take place on Sunday, Feb. 1. The parade forms at 1:30 p.m. and steps off at 2 p.m.

Essex Ed will make his annual trip from Essex Boat Works to the top of Main Street. He will lead a raucous parade of antique cars, fire trucks, residents, and visitors.

Everyone is invited to don their groundhog gear and join in the fun. Children are encouraged to bring noisemakers – pots and pans, anything – to help awaken Ed from his long winters nap.

Part of the excitement annually is to find out how Ed is dressed. Each year, Essex Ed is costumed in unique attire to acknowledge a special occasion, person or organization. Past years have seen Ed dressed as historical figures, athletes, thespians, and musical performers. As always, this year’s costume is a secret but organizers guarantee that it will be a “huge hit” when Ed makes his appearance.

The parade is organized by the Essex Board of Trade.

For more information, visit www.essexct.com.

Essex Garden Club Offers Scholarships To Environmental Studies Students

ESSEX — The Essex Garden Club is offering a scholarship of up to $5,000 for the school year 2015-16.

To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must be:

  • A resident of Essex, Centerbrook, or Ivoryton, Conn.
  • A high school senior or undergraduate/graduate college student
  • Have a ‘B’ or better GPA
  • Be planning to pursue studies related to the environment in an accredited two- or four-year institution of higher learning. Fields of study may include:
    >Biology, Ecology, Horticulture, Forestry, Land Conservation, Environmental Science;
    >Closely related subjects may also apply: Landscape Design, Nursery Management

Application forms are available from Guidance Counselors.  The deadline for receipt of applications is April 27, 2015.

Letter From Paris: Marcel Duchamp at the Pompidou Center

Marcel Duchamp i(1887-1965) is well known in America.  Most people have heard of his readymades like the famous (or infamous) Fontaine, which is, in fact, a public urinal.  Stiglitz immortilized the original in a 1917 photograph before it disappeared for ever.  The bicycle wheel set on a kitchen stool is a familiar sight for MOMA vistors.

Nude descending a staircase No. 2

Nude going down a staircase No. 2

Since his first trip to the US in 1915, the artist made multiple visits to that country, avoiding the two World Wars.  He acquired American nationality in 1955.  It was at the 1913 Armory Show that his cubist painting  ‘Nu Descendant un escalier No. 2′ (Nude going down a staircase No. 2) became a huge success.

Some critics have labelled Marcel Duchamp as the creator of modern art while others say he destroyed it when he advocated “non-retinal” painting.  Volumes have been written about him.  In an amazingly short time – since he abandoned art for chess at age 36 – he was able not only to produce art, but also to integrate into it the latest discoveries  of science and modern technology.

The Marcel Duchamp exhibit at the Pompidou Center just closed its doors after several successful months.  It was a monographic approach consisting of about 100 paintings  and drawings little known in France (most of them are part of the Louise and Walter Arensberg collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) covering the 1912 to 1923 period and leading to his main creation, ‘Le Grand Verre.’

Born in Normandy, Duchamp belonged to a talented family of six children.  The mother was a distant figure, which may explain his alienation from women.  ‘Sonate,’ 1911, represents the three sisters playing musical instruments.  The mother stands stern and erect . Strangely enough she seems to be enjoying the concert, although she is deaf.

He had a deadpan sort of humor and provocation was his tool.  He enjoyed playing  tricks on the Regardeurs  (viewers), giving wrong titles to his works.  He relished plays on words, for example, he called himself Rose Selavy (Eros – that’s life) in the photograph Man Ray took of him.  To put a moustache and a goatie on Mona Lisa was a virtual iconoclastic gesture and he made it even more outrageous by giving it the title of LHOOQ (if  the letters are pronounced in French the meaning is shockingly vulgar) .

Duchamp joined his two brothers Jacques Villon and Raymond-Duchamp in the Puteaux group of Cubists.  ‘Dulcinea’ and the ‘Joueurs d’échecs’ are among his superb cubist paintings.  Borrowing the technique of chronophotography and cinema, he introduced time and movement in ‘Jeune Homme Triste dans Un Train 1911-12,’  where the real accomplishment was to show a person in a train in motion while also suggesting his sad mood.

La Mariée mise a nu par ses célibataires,’ meme (also called Le Grand Verre) was his major work.  It consists of two free-standing glass panels.  In the lower register, nine Moules Maliques*  (an officer, a gendarme, a priest, etc) stand beside a chocolate-crushing machine, which rotates non-stop.  By means of sexually-related devices, gas travels up toward the mariée, who is hanging limply at the top, having gone from the virgin to the bride stage.  The work alludes to the universal themes of erotic love and the inaccessible woman.

* I am not even attempting to translate these nonsensical words!

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

‘EagleWatch’ Opens at CT River Museum with Exhibit, Boat Tours, Programs

Connecticut River Museum environmental educator, Bill Yule, leads the boat tours and helps participants spot Bald Eagles, wintering hawks and water fowl and other wildlife from the deck of Enviro-Lab III. Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

Connecticut River Museum environmental educator, Bill Yule, leads the boat tours and helps participants spot Bald Eagles, wintering hawks and water fowl and other wildlife from the deck of Enviro-Lab III. Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

ESSEX – Winter has arrived and the ice is starting to freeze across the Connecticut River. Bald Eagles and other winter birds are moving to the southern reaches of the river in search of open water and food. The eagles are primarily fish eaters and, as the lakes and rivers freeze to the north, the big birds begin to drift south looking for open water where they can catch fish and survive winter.

One of the best places to survive the hardships of a New England winter is Essex and the lower 12 miles of the Connecticut River. The combination of river-flow, tides and proximity to the coast creates a micro-climate that keeps the lower river from freezing solid and is perfect for winter fishing.

The arrival of the eagles signals the beginning of another season of the return of the majestic Bald Eagle to the lower Connecticut River and the Museum’s annual EagleWatch programs.

EagleWatch & Winter Wildlife Cruises include more than just big birds! Passengers often site beautiful winter ducks and even harbor seals. Photo by: Bill Yule.

EagleWatch & Winter Wildlife Cruises include more than just big birds! Passengers often site beautiful winter ducks and even harbor seals. Photo by: Bill Yule.

EagleWatch officially begins Jan. 30 this year and will run through March 15. As a part of this winter celebration of wildlife along the River, the Connecticut River Museum will offer an exhibit, boat tours, public programs and workshops.

Opening on Jan. 31, and running through March 15, the ‘Eagles of Essex’ exhibit tells the story of Bald Eagles along the Connecticut River, why they winter here and how they came back from near-extinction to becoming one of the greatest environmental come-back stories in history. In addition to an interactive eagle nest, the exhibit illustrates how to identify birds of prey and where the best land-viewing spots are located. An eagle sighting scoreboard and a digital photography display is also featured. Along with the exhibit, an Eagle Driving Tour is available in print and as an app to help birdwatchers discover key viewing sites along the lower River Valley.

A Community Photography section is also part of the exhibit. Amateur photographers who capture a great image of an eagle or other wintering bird along the Connecticut River are invited to submit their digital entry to curator Amy Trout. Your image will be on view in the exhibit as a part of the digital display. For more information or submit an image, contact Amy at atrout@ctrivermuseum.org

The Bald Eagles are here along the lower Connecticut River and boat tours in February and March can help you get a great look at them! Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

The Bald Eagles are here along the lower Connecticut River and boat tours in February and March can help you get a great look at them! Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

Boat Tours

Through a partnership with Project Oceanology, a Groton-based marine science and environmental education organization, the Connecticut River Museum will once again provide a dynamic, on-water, eagle-viewing experience.

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting on Jan. 30 and running through March 15, Project Oceanology’s Enviro-lab III, a 65-foot modern research vessel, will depart from the Museum’s docks for an up-close view of winter wildlife, Bald Eagles, and other big birds of prey.

Educators from the Museum and Project Oceanology will provide narration while passengers can enjoy viewing from the heated cabin or outside deck area. Boat tours are $40 per person and include free admission to the Museum. Advance boat tour reservations are strongly suggested.

Public Programs

Throughout the season, the Connecticut River Museum offers a variety of public programs.
Feb. 14 and March 7 at 1:15 p.m.: noted photographer Stanley Kolber will be at the museum for his popular Nature Photography Workshops.
Feb. 15 at 3:30p.m.: ‘A Place Called Hope’ will present their Live Birds of Prey program at Essex Town Hall.
Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m.: Author Richard King will talk about his book, ‘Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History.’
Feb. 22: Wood carver Al Moncovich will demonstrate eagle carving in the Eagles of Essex exhibit.

For more information or to make reservations, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269. The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open Tuesday – Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Connecticut River Museum environmental educator, Bill Yule, leads the boat tours and helps participants spot Bald Eagles, wintering hawks and water fowl and other wildlife from the deck of Enviro-Lab III. Photo: Connecticut River Museum.

EagleWatch & Winter Wildlife Cruises include more than just big birds! Passengers often site beautiful winter ducks and even harbor seals. Photo by: Bill Yule.

As Winter Storm Juno Begins, Closings Announced

Chester Library will close at 4 p.m. today due to the inclement weather.

Chester Town Hall Offices and the Chester Library will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 27.

Essex Town Hall will also be closed tomorrow,

Anne Penniman LLC of Essex Receives 2015 CT Landscape Architects Professional Award

The Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (CTASLA) announced the winners of its annual Connecticut Professional Awards competition at the chapter’s annual meeting in December.

Anne Penniman Associates, LLC  of Essex won two awards.  The first was in the  Landscape Architectural Design – Residential category and was an Honor Award for Blast Site Restoration (Private Residence, Essex).  The second was in the Landscape Planning & Analysis category and was a Merit Award for Vegetation/Habitat Mapping and Management Plan for Haversham Property (Private Residence, Westerly, RI)

CTASLA conducts the awards competition each year to recognize excellence in landscape architectural design, planning and analysis, communication, and research. To be eligible, an applicant must be a landscape architect or designer in the state of Connecticut, and the entrant or project location must be based in Connecticut.

“These award-winning projects exemplify Connecticut landscape architects’ skills in designing beautiful spaces that add value to the land, encouraging people to get outside and explore their surroundings while protecting habitat and natural resources,” said Barbara Yaeger, president of CTASLA and principal of B.Yaeger, LLC, of Madison, Conn.

Essex Winter Series Presents Four Concerts in 2015

Essex Winter Series (EWS) will present four diverse and exciting concerts in 2015, including two programs of classical chamber music, a concert of jazz from the early part of the twentieth century, and — for the first time — a world-renowned chamber chorus. Programmed by EWS artistic director Mihae Lee and newly-appointed Jazz Impresario Jeff Barnhart, these concerts offer world-class performing artists and an impressive array of styles and genres.

Three concerts, all Sundays at 3 p.m., follow the season opener on Jan. 11. The Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert on Feb. 8 at Valley Regional High School will feature Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.  On March 1,  Chanticleer, “ An Orchestra of Voices” will perform a program entitled “The Gypsy in My Soul” at Old Saybrook High School. The final concert, on March 29 at Valley Regional High School, will be an exciting program of piano trios, with Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee, violinist Chee-Yun and cellist Julie Albers.

StringFest2 is co-sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank and Essex Meadows.

All tickets to EWS concerts are general admission. Individual tickets are $35; four-concert subscriptions are $120, which represents a $20 saving over the single-ticket price for four concerts. Tickets may be purchased on the EWS website,www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.

 

 

Playhouse’s Hubbard Joins WWI Xmas Eve Truce Centennial Celebration in Europe

Xmas_Eve_football_game_335KB

World War I soldiers transport an injured comrade.

World War I nurses prepare to tend the injured.

World War I nurses prepare to tend the injured.

ESSEX – Ivoryton Playhouse Executive Director Jacqueline Hubbard and her daughters recently took a memorable trip to Europe.

The three of them spent Christmas in Belgium visiting the battlefields of Ypres where they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the extraordinary Christmas Eve Truce, which was observed during World War I in 1914.

As happened in 1914 and 100 years later memorialized in a  2014 Christmas advertisement made by the British grocery chain of J.Sainsbury, a soccer game was played in Ypres in costumes from the war period.

Hubbard notes, “It was an incredibly moving experience.”

She also shared with ValleyNewNow a link to a story that was written by a journalist for an Aberdeen newspaper that accompanied Hubbard and her daughters on the tour. https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/uk/440689/video-watch-re-enactment
-christmas-day-truce-football-match/

View the J. Sainsbury advertisement below:

Essex Teen Receives Award for Fundraising Efforts to Support Shelter Dogs

Jenny Merrick receives her award

Jenny Merrick receives her award

Jenny Merrick, 14, of Essex received an award in December for her fundraising efforts to help save shelter dogs. For the fourth year in a row, Jenny has given up birthday gifts, asking instead for donations for the ‘Red Dog Project,’ a program of ‘Dog Days Adoption Events’ of Old Saybrook.

Jenny is not only an active volunteer, but her donations have helped transport and
provide veterinary care for many dogs from high kill shelters so that they
could find loving and responsible homes.

Dog Days has programs for kids of all ages, for more information or if you would like to volunteer contact info@godogdays.org.

Essex Garden Club Donates to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

Xmas_2014_donation

Pictured packing the food for delivery to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries are Dianne Sexton and Carol Denham.

Essex Garden Club members collected non perishable food items for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) at the club’s annual festivities at Essex Meadows.  Individual members and the club also donated $1,510 to the SSKP, which will be matched by the Gowrie Challenge.

All Five Essex Bonding Authorizations Approved in Low Turnout Referendum

ESSEX— Voters Monday authorized up to 8.085 million in municipal  bonding, approving five separate ballot questions in a low turnout referendum. A total of 257 of the town’s 4,654 registered voters turned out for the 14-hour referendum, along with two property owners who are not registered voters in Essex.

An authorization of $2,845,000 to replace the Walnut and Ivory street bridges in the Ivoryton section had the widest margin of approval, 221-38. A combination of federal and state funds will reimburse 80 percent of the cost of the Walnut Street bridge project, while the much smaller Ivory Street bridge will be paid for entirely by town bond funds.

A $2,815,000 bonding authorization for improvements at Essex Elementary School was approved on a 193-64 vote. The improvements include replacement of the school roof, which will be eligible for partial state funding reimbursement, along with $600,000 for air conditioning at the 61 year-old school.

Improvements to the town  hall, including renovations to the land use offices, at an estimated cost of $1.3 million won approval of a 175-81 vote.  Improvements at the town public works garage, with an estimated cost of $525,000, won approval of a 178-80 vote. Voters authorized bonding of $600,000 to purchase a new fire truck on a 186-71 vote.

First Selectman Norman Needleman said he is pleased the capital projects initiative won voter approval. ” Thanks to everyone that came out and voted and thanks to the committee that did all of the hard work,” he said.
The capital projects plan was developed over the past year by a building committee chaired by Selectman Bruce Glowac. The first bonds are expected to be issued by 2017 for a pay off over 20 years ending in 2037.

‘Simply Sharing’ Eases Transition from Shelter with Furniture, Household Donations

(l-r): Simply Sharing President and Founder Alison Brinkmann shares a special moment with a client from Gilead Community services after helping her move into her new home.

(l-r): Simply Sharing President and Founder Alison Brinkmann shares a special moment with a client from Gilead Community services after helping her move into her new home.

ESSEX – When Simply Sharing President and Founder Alison Brinkmann decided to dedicate her time to a good cause and create an organization that would have a meaningful and lasting impact, she had no idea where that decision would take her.  She did know that she wanted to create a collaborative effort, one with a simple, single mission.

Through her involvement with the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Brinkmann saw the potential to help homeless individuals and families in local communities by building a network of shared services and resources.  After numerous discussions with leaders from area organizations and agencies, it was evident that there was a great need to secure furnishings and household items for those transitioning from shelters to sustainable and supportive housing.

So with a leg up from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, who provided fiscal oversight and funding, the Essex resident launched ‘Simply Sharing’ in April 2012 and has been on the move ever since.

“When someone first moves out of a shelter, the money they’re earning usually doesn’t go very far, and many can’t afford furnishings,” explained Brinkmann, “ A kitchen table and chairs, beds and sheets, pots, pans and dishes – these are basic household goods many of us take for granted. Yet for individuals and families who have been homeless, these basic necessities are, indeed, luxuries.”

While the concept of collecting donated items for redistribution is not a new one, ‘Simply Sharing’ takes a more collaborative, personal partner approach on both ends of the process. The all-volunteer, non-profit organization welcomes material and financial donations from individuals and businesses and then works solely through other qualified non-profit agencies and organizations to identify clients that are in the most need of those donations.

In addition to the furnishings and funds given by residents throughout Middlesex County, ongoing relationships with Bob’s Discount Furniture, Essex Meadows, Gather, and Realty 3 CT have built a solid foundation of additional resources.  Working with Columbus House, Gilead Community Services, The Connection, Inc, Middlesex Hospital and Central Connecticut State University, Simply Sharing has helped well over 50 families get a fresh start in a new home.

That help comes in the well-orchestrated form of Brinkmann and other ‘Simply Sharing’ volunteers making house calls to pick up donations or receiving them at their warehouse space in Essex, cleaning, selecting and organizing goods for the specific needs of identified families, and then delivering and “setting up” the items in the new living space. “It’s the most gratifying part of our work,” added Brinkmann, “ To be able to meet the people you are helping and see their reaction and appreciation for all the good that’s being given to them – it’s hard to keep a dry eye.”

For more information on ‘Simply Sharing,’ visit simplysharing.org, email info@simplysharing.org or call 860-388-7390.

Champions! Valley/Old Lyme Football Defy Odds to Win State Class S-Large

CIAC Class S-Large Champs!

CIAC Class S-Large Champs!  Photo by W. Visgilio.

Congratulations to coach Tim King and his Warriors on an incredible win!

New Britain – Quarterback Chris Jean-Pierre’s four-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds remaining rallied top-seeded Valley Regional/Old Lyme to a 21-20 victory over No. 2 Ansonia in their Class S-Large state championship football game at Willow Brook Park on Saturday morning. Click here to read the remainder of this full initial report of the game by Ned Griffin, which was published in The Day yesterday

And here’s another link to great article about the game.

And, finally, here’s Tim Devlin’s video of all Saturday’s state game highlights.

Essex Zoning Commission has January Public Hearing on Separate Proposals for Bokum Road Life Care Zone

ESSEX— The zoning commission has scheduled a Jan. 26 public hearings on separate proposals to expand and revise regulations for the residential life care zone on Bokum Road. The zone had been established in the 1980s to accommodate the Essex Meadows life care complex that is now the town’s largest taxpayer.

Resident Marc Bombaci has submitted an application for a zone change from rural residential to residential life care for a 35.8-acre parcel that surrounds his 80 Bokum Road residence. Sections of the property on the  west side of Bokum Road abut land owned by Essex Meadows.

Bombaci, represented by local lawyer Campbell Hudson, has also proposed a zoning text amendment that would apply more recent regulations for active adult communities, or cluster-style housing for persons over age 55, to the residential life care zone that refers to housing and services for persons over age 62 The revised regulation would also allow the commission to waive under certain conditions a requirement that 80 percent of all the units in an active adult community must be owned by persons over age 55

Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said if the zone change is approved, Bombaci would have to secure special permit and site plan approval from the commission for any future residential life care or active adult community development on his property.

The commission will also hold a public hearing next month on an application by Essex Glen LLC to revise the residential life care and active adult community regulations for a parcel on the opposite side of Bokum Road that was approved for a 55-unit active adult community development in 2007. The partnership never pursued the development plan that was approved in 2007.

Budrow said the partnership, represented by lawyer Terrance Lomme, is preparing to submit a new application and plan for the property that calls for 22 units in separate buildings. Essex Glen LLC is requesting a revision to regulations for an active adult community that would change the setback requirements that are part of the current regulations.

The change would reduce the front setback requirement from 80-feet to 40-feet, and the side and rear setback rule from 80-feet to 30-feet. Budrow said the change would accommodate a revised development proposal for the property with separate buildings. Lomme, who was re-elected last month as judge of probate for a nine-town region, had represented Essex Glen LLC during the 2007 application process.

Essex Tree Committee Awarded America The Beautiful Grant

Essex Tree-ATB grant 2014 (2)In the fall of 2014, the Essex Tree Committee, was awarded an America the Beautiful (ATB)  grant of $1,186 to plant trees in an effort to advance “urban forestry” as outlined by the ATB grant program.  These competitive grants are made available to municipalities and non-profit organizations by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Division of Forestry (DEEP).  The funding comes from the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry Program and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection described the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as “a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont to cap and reduce power sector CO2 emissions.”  Because of these efforts by RGGI, DEEP Forestry expanded the grant criteria to focus also on reduction of energy use.  Additionally, as a result of the recent storms, focus was placed on roadside tree management.  Invasive insects such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle were of great concern to the grant program as well.

Of the seven categories outlined by the ATB grants (see DEEP Forestry website: www.ct.gov/deep/forestry for more information), the Essex Tree Committee concentrated on: planting or maintaining legacy trees, planting or managing trees to reduce energy consumption or increase carbon sequestration, and the management of roadside trees for storm resistance.

Conforming to the 2014 ATB guidelines, the Tree Committee planted 8 non invasive trees at the following locations:

  1. An English Oak at the corner of Melody and Walnut streets in Ivoryton
  2. A White Oak/Swamp Oak at 44 Walnut St., Ivoryton
  3. A Sunset Maple at 46 Comstock Street, Ivoryton
  4. A Sweet Gum at 6 Donald St., Essex
  5. An English Oak at 46 Dennison St., Essex
  6. An American Hornbeam on the West St. strip, Essex
  7. A Sunset Maple on High St. at the corner of Prospect, Essex
  8. A London Plane (sycamore family) at 168 River Road, Essex.

The grant is a 50-50 grant in which the funding through the state program is matched by an equivalent contribution from the grant recipient.  This matched contribution was made by the Town of Essex in the funding of the purchase and planting of the trees.

The Essex Tree Committee under the leadership of Augie Pampel, completed the above plantings by December 2014.  On December 1, Chris Donnelly, Urban Forestry Coordinator for DEEP Forestry, came to Essex to inspect and approve the plantings in order that the monies from the grant could be awarded to the Essex Tree Committee in accordance with the ATB grant guidelines. One of his tasks was checking the root flares and girdled roots to make sure the trees were not planted too deeply and assure the roots would not strangle the tree in the future. (see below)

Essex Tree-ATB grant 2014

The Essex Tree Committee would like to thank Fred Weber and Associates for their help in planting the trees and all the people who worked with the committee to select the appropriate sites for the trees.

If you would like to make a donation to the Essex Tree Committee or discuss a tree memorial, please contact Augie Pampel at: augiepampel@att.net.

Essex Resident Claims “Frontier” Has Raised Rates, and the Senator Responds

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

Essex resident Robert Kern has written a letter to State Senator Art Linares, complaining that Essex’s new telephone and Internet carrier, Frontier Communications, has raised rates in Essex, when it promised not to do so, after it had acquired local service from AT&T.

Kern in a letter to the Senator wrote that his, “customer bills have gone up despite the pledge by Frontier to keep them the same.” Kern also sent to the Senator, “my recent bills from AT&T and Frontier as an example.”

Making the Case

Kern continued, “Even though the basic line service charge has remained the same, they eliminate a $6.00 monthly ALL DISTANCE promotional credit and added a bogus ‘Carrier Cost Recovery Surcharge’ of $1.99 per month.” As a result,” Kern wrote, “my bill for the exact same services rose from $30.15 to $39.50, an increase of more than 26%.”

“This is outrageous,” Kern wrote the Senator. “Please check this out, as I’m certain customers within your district and across the state are confronted with these unwanted increases in this most basic of utility services.”

Senator Linares’ Response

Promptly responding to Kern’s complaint, the Senator wrote on December 9, “I am bringing your complaint to the attention of state officials.” Also, the Senator advised Kern that, “A Dec. 22 public meeting has been scheduled with executives of Frontier Communications regarding complaints like yours,” and that the meeting would include a public comment section.

The December 22 public meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m., and it will be held at the offices of the Public Utility Regulatory Authority at 10 Franklin Square in New Britain.

The Senator also wrote, “I have found that many frustrated taxpayers are unaware of how to bring their complaints directly to state officials. If you wish to do so on the Frontier issue email PURA at Pura.Executivesecretary@ct.gov and the Office of Consumer Counsel at occ.info@ct.gov.”

The Senator also wrote to Kern, “To file a complaint about Frontier service with the state Department of Consumer Protection, send an email to dcp.fraud@ct.gov,” that includes your contact information and the particulars of your complaint. .

Essex Town Meeting on Proposed $8.085 Million Bonding Plan Adjourns to December 15 Referendum Without Discussion

ESSEX— Voters Monday adjourned a town meeting on a proposed $8,085,000 bonding plan without discussion, setting the stage for an all day referendum on Dec. 15 on a plan that is expected to result in an increase in property taxes beginning in 2017.

About 40 residents, nearly half of them volunteer firefighters, turned out for the required town meeting on a plan that was first presented at a public hearing on Nov. 19. But the meeting was quickly adjourned to the referendum without questions or discussion. No one expressed opposition to any of the components of the bonding plan that will be presented for approval as five separate ballot questions in the referendum.

The bonding plan, developed over the past year by a building committee chaired by Selectman Bruce Glowac, was first presented at a Nov. 19 public hearing.. The plan includes two bridge replacement projects in the Ivoryton section and replacement of the roof at Essex Elementary School, which were identified as priorities at the start of the process, along with several other projects. The components, each presented as a separate yes-or-no ballot question, include $2,845,000 for replacement of the Walnut and Ivory street bridges, $2,815,000 for improvements at the elementary school, $1.3 million for improvements at town hall, $535,000 for improvements at the town public works garage, and $600,000 for purchase of a new pumper fire truck.

The two bridge projects and the school roof replacement are eligible for state or federal funding reimbursement of $2,055,000, leaving town tax payers to finance bonding of up to $3,030,000. The elementary school project also includes $600,000 for air conditioning at the school.

The town is expected to use bond anticipation notes to fund some of the initial projects, with the full 20-year bonds expected to be issued in late 2016 or early 2017. The highest year for debt service payments is expected to be 2017-2018, when the bonding plan is expected to require a 0.49 mill increase in the property tax rate that is currently set at 21.99 mills.

Town Finance Director Kelly Sterner said at the Nov. 19 hearing the 0.49 mill increase would represent about $147 in additional tax for a residential property assessed at $300,000. Debt service costs would begin to drop in 2021, falling off more steeply beginning in 2027 for a final pay off of the bonds in 2037. Polls will be open Monday at the town hall auditorium from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

 

Essex Conservation Commission to Hold Off Lethal Trapping of Beavers

The conservation commission agreed Thursday to defer any possible lethal trapping of beavers in the ponds at Viney Hill Brook Park after hearing objections from dozens of residents at the panel’s regular meeting.

More than 80 residents turned out for the meeting of the commission that supervises the town’s open space lands, with most voicing opposition to the decision at a Nov. 6 meeting to pursue the trapping. The commission in recent months has been discussing damage caused by beavers to trees and trails at the 90 acre park. The commission had authorized some lethal trapping of beaver at the park in March 2011, a decision that drew objections from some residents, but not the public outcry sparked by the latest consideration of the trapping option.

About two dozen residents, including some children and teenagers, spoke in opposition to the option of lethal trapping. Many called the trapping, in which beavers are restrained and held underwater until drowning, as cruel and inhumane. Paul Leach said the method of removal “is unkind and therefore unacceptable,” while Scott Konrad maintained it take the animals several minutes to expire during the trapping. Several residents urged the commission to further investigate options for controlling beaver activity that do not include lethal trapping, with some offering to contribute money to pay for any devices or piping that could control the beaver without trapping.

But some residents, including parks and recreation commission members Jim Rawn and Robert Russo, contended too much beaver activity could impact water quality in the larger of the two ponds that is used as a town swimming area. Rawn said the swimming area was closed for a period in 2001 due to contamination of the water from animal feces, while also suggesting that beaver activity could undermine the man-made dams that help contain the two man-made former sand and gravel quarry ponds.

After hearing more than 90- minutes of public comment, commission members, some reluctant, agreed to hold off any lethal trapping this year to investigate other options for controlling and limiting damage caused by beaver activity. State rules limit beaver trapping to the colder weather months.

First Selectman Norman Needleman, who joined commission members at the table as an ex-officio member, urged the commission to spend additional time exploring other options for beaver control. Needleman also offered the services of the town’s consulting engineer, Robert Doane, to help establish whether the beaver activity truly poses any threat to the structure of the two ponds.

Op-Ed: Let’s Do Something About Essex’s Tacky “Front Door”

Cause for concern:  the bridge carrying Rte. 9 at exit 3 is Essex's "Front Door"

Cause for concern: the bridge carrying Rte. 9 at exit 3 is Essex’s “Front Door”

Look at the “front door” to Essex, Conn.:  Tacky, patch-painted bridges and untamed brush.  Hardly welcoming enticements for visitors, and in sharp contrast to the beautiful center road “gardens” maintained by our beloved, hard working,  Ancient Order of Weeders.

There are two issues here: (1) refurbishment of the bridges themselves and (2) upkeep of the land around the bridges.

(1)   Expense for upkeep of these bridges and surroundings belongs to the Conn. Dept. of Transportation (DOT).  Conversations with the DOT regarding Essex’s tackiness
result in this:  due to budget constraints, repainting these  bridges (lead paint is huge issue) will only happen when the bridge needs major structural rehab.  However, were there grafitti all over the  bridges, the DOT could indeed get out and cover it.  Which is to say, the DOT could make the bridges look good without the necessity of the total overhaul.  But will not.  The solution is simple!  All I need to do is to get out with long-armed spray paint cans (would you join me?) and spell out something gross.  Just kidding.

Underneath the Rte. 9 bridge -- not a pretty picture.

Underneath the Rte. 9 bridge — not a pretty picture.

I challenge the so-called “budget constraints.”  While the DOT has no funds to fix the ugly Essex bridges, it does indeed have budget to mow down, — remove — all greenery in a large divider section on Rte. 9 at Exit 2.  You’ve surely noticed it.   Inquiries with State Rep. Phil Miller indicate the reason for the mowing was that there were invasive trees in that area.  So when or why does the DOT study and determine the quality of greenery on public lands?  Connecticut has a Forestry Dept. within the Department of Environmental Protection that studies and has funds to control such problems. The DOT has funds for invasive tree eradication, but not for tidying up ugly bridges.

A view of the Old Saybrook exit.

A view of the Old Saybrook exit.

As you can see, there is something awry here.  But, as it appears hopeless that such wasteful duplications in our State Government will be fixed soon, if ever, it seems that the only way Essex can get its ‘Front Door’ at Exit 3 spruced up, is by a special allowance to the DOT from State funds specific for “Bridge Beautification.”  I submit that as there are State Small Town Economic Assistance Program ( STEAP) funds granted for upgrades to replace crosswalks, tennis courts and parking lots, there surely are funds available to relieve Essex of its “Tacky Town” appearance.

I-95's Exit 70 offers a beautiful gateway to Old Lyme.

I-95’s Exit 70 offers a beautiful gateway to Old Lyme.

(2)   In contrast to Essex’s bridges and surrounding areas, look at the expansive, elegant and well-mowed plantings at I-95,  Exit 70, Old Lyme.  I hereby ask of the DOT to give Essex equal treatment.  And I hereby request Essex’s First Selectman Norm Needleman to request a State grant to the DOT to speed along this project.  In addition,  I hereby request our state representatives … Phil Miller and Art Linares … to assist in pushing these projects through.

Essex Elementary School Foundation Hosts Haiti Day

Second grader Lyle Pitman works on his Haitian mask.

Second grader Lyle Pitman works on his Haitian mask.

Second and third grade students at the Essex Elementary School were recently treated to Haiti Day, as part of the Justus W. Paul World Cultures program, funded by the Essex Elementary School Foundation.  They learned about Haitian life and culture by making masks and metal art, as well as listening to music performed by the Carnival Trio.  The children will also study India and China.

In early December, the Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF) kicked off its annual appeal.  In addition to the World Cultures Program, this not-for-profit, volunteer organization also provides funds for enrichment programs, such as an iPad lab, a talent show and a mathematician-in-residence.