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,
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,
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Acclaimed Canadian Architect Johanna Hurme, a founding partner of the Winnipeg based firm, 5468796 Architecture, will present and discuss her work at the Essex Library on Friday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. The Rice Design Alliance of Houston recently deemed “546” to be “one of the most talented young design firms worldwide.”
Hurme’s portfolio encompasses residential, cultural, civic and even marine projects, among them “The Cube,” which is a gleaming open-air performance venue set against the backdrop of historic warehouses in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. She has also taught design at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba since 2007.
In the past seven years, the firm’s work has skyrocketed to national and international acclaim. It has garnered numerous awards, including Progressive Architecture Awards; Awards for Emerging Architecture & Future Project Award from the Architectural Review; and Awards of Excellence from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. It was featured in Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard issue and represented Canada at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.
Hurme came to Canada from Finland 20 years ago, earning her Masters of Architecture and establishing 5468796 Architecture with Sasa Radulovic in 2007. Working around a single table, the practice unites the diverse knowledge and experience of 12 young professionals. The firm believes that there are opportunities for exploration within every budget, and that each client, user and civic environment deserves an outcome that advances architecture.
Her 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.
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.
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.
The New Horizons Band of Community Music School (CMS) will perform three local concerts this winter. The first concert was on Friday, Jan. 16, at Chester Village West in Chester. The next concert was on Sunday, Jan. 18, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Centerbrook. Finally, the band is performing on Sunday, Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. at Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road in Essex.
The New Horizons Band is part of a national program that was introduced in Rochester, New York in 1991, the brainchild of Roy Ernst of Eastman Conservatory. Today there are about 150 New Horizons bands, choruses and orchestras in the United States and Canada, with thousands of participants. These organizations provide an entry point for adults who have either never studied music or who have been away from it for many years, allowing them to share the joyful experience of recreational music making.
The CMS program has 15 members, who rehearse twice a week under the direction of Patricia Hurley. Brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments are featured and musical selections include film scores, Broadway show tunes, folk music, and works from the American Songbook.
Those interested in the program are invited to attend a rehearsal on Tuesday or Thursday mornings at the Music School. No previous experience is necessary.
All concerts are free and open to the public and offer an opportunity to speak with band members and the director to learn more about the program.
Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30-year-tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. Music School programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.
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.
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.
View the J. Sainsbury advertisement below:
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 email@example.com.
An art exhibit will be held at the Essex Library, 33 Essex Avenue, through the month of January, 2015, featuring guest artist, Maryanne Rupp.
A retired Hospice nurse who has been painting intermittently for most of her life, Rupp been working more seriously at her art over the last five to six years. She works in both oil and pastels, but considers herself primarily a pastelist, enjoying the pure, intense color and spontaneity that is possible with that medium.
Rupp is a signature member of the Connecticut Pastel Society (CPS), Academic Artists, Lyme Art Association, Clinton Art Society, Mystic Art Center, Guilford Art League, and Madison Art Society where she serves on the Board of Directors. She has exhibited with all of the previous associations, being accepted into many of their juried exhibitions over the last eight years.
Rupp has been accepted into the CPS Renaissance in Pastel Juried Exhibit for the last five years. In 2011, she was juried into the New Britain Museum of American Art Member Show, where she had completed their docent training program. She has also been juried into the Academic Artist National Exhibit in 2012 and 2014 as well as into Pastel Painters of Cape Cod in 2012 and 2013.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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:
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)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.”
The Senator also wrote to Kern, “To file a complaint about Frontier service with the state Department of Consumer Protection, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org,” that includes your contact information and the particulars of your complaint. .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
The United Church of Chester is currently looking for a Christian Education Director. See the church website at uccchester.org or email email@example.com or call 860-526-2697 for a job description.
The church’s mission states, “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here at the United Church of Chester, an Open and Affirming Church, and a member of the United Church of Christ.” Each member has the undisturbed right to follow the Word of God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience, under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.
Visit for Sunday morning worship at 10 a.m. or come by the office Tues-Fri 9 a.m.-1 p.m. to find out more about the church.
The mailing address for the church is United Church of Chester Post Office Box 383 29 West Main Street Chester, Connecticut 06412
To the Editor:
It’s distressing to read the several letters about the extermination of the beavers at Vineyard Hill Brook Park. You can be sure the “remedy” chosen to remove the beavers from the park is a last resort, not the first choice, of the park managers. The unfortunate reality is that water in which beaver resides is not healthy, is in fact dangerous, for humans, especially young humans.
Maybe the remedy would be to allow a pond to be developed downstream, somewhere, or some such; there just aren’t a lot of places to which they can be removed any more. The reason Essex has the park is to allow people to swim and play in a potable water body, not just for fun, but also to learn a little about being able to survive in water.
We allow the killing of other animals which are a threat to us, and though it is not my own desire to do this, no one seems to have a better remedy.
Linda Levene, President of the Friends of the Essex Library presented Richard Conroy, Director of the Essex Library with a check for $10,000 at the Annual Meeting of the Library on Wednesday evening October 15. The donation will be used to install new, easy to operate front doors on the Library’s Grove Street entrance. Richard Conroy thanked the Friends for their gift, saying it would be “…appreciated by everyone each time they visit the Library.”
The Friends donation is the result of two very successful fundraising events this Fall: “Our Library Rocks” in September and the annual Fall Book Sale in October.
ESSEX— The board of selectmen has scheduled a Nov. 5 public information meeting on a grant-funded improvement project for a section of Main Street in the Ivoryton village. The session will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at town hall.
The project, which includes four new raised crosswalks, new curbing and sidewalks and some new lighting, is to be funded by a $435,000 grant awarded last year from the state’s Main Streets Investment Fund program. The town has hiredAnchor Engineering Services of Glastonbury to prepare design plans for the improvements.
Selectwoman Stacia Libby, who been coordinating the project said at Wednesday’s board meeting that project engineers would be at the Nov. 5 meeting to review the plans with residents and answer questions. Libby said the plans have been reviewed by the parks and recreation and planning commissions, and had received a favorable response at a recent meeting with members of the Ivoryton Alliance, a group comprised of business and property owners in Ivoryton Village. The preliminary design plans will also be on display at the Ivoryton Library before the Nov. 5 meeting
The plans also include removal of a paved island at the intersection of Main and Summit streets that was constructed in the early 1970s. The removal would create a wider T-shaped intersection that would be safer and more convenient for winter snow plows and fire trucks from the Ivoryton Firehouse on Summit Street. Selectmen are hoping to put the project out to bid by May 2015 for construction next year.
Essex Garden Club has created “Francesca” to compete in this year’s Scarecrow Competition sponsored by the Essex Board of Trade. Pictured left to right are Eve Potts, Mylan Sarner and Sandy French. “Francesca” sits at the entrance to Town Park on Main Street where the Garden Club members recently completed their fall cleanup.
ESSEX— The board of selectmen Wednesday gave a preliminary endorsement to a possible $8 million bond issue for capital projects, adding $600,000 for a new fire truck to a list of projects that had been recommended by an advisory capital projects committee.
The board discussed the capital projects report that was submitted last month for nearly an hour, along with a separate 10-year capital expenditures plan that was submitted by the Essex Volunteer Fire Department. The selectmen crafted a motion to approve a capital projects plan, but deferred a final vote on an exact recommended projects and bonding total to its Oct. 15 meeting.
First Selectman Norman Needleman said the board of finance would begin discussing the capital projects plan at it’s Oct. 16 meeting, with the next step a public hearing on the projects and proposed bonding that would be held in mid-November. He said a referendum vote on a possible bonding authorization for capital projects could be held before the end of the year.
The volunteer fire department last month submitted a 10-year capital expenditures plan that would include possible renovation and expansion of the Ivoryton Firehouse in 2024. The most immediate item on the list is the $600,000 purchase of a new pumper fire truck by 2017 that would replace a 1994 model truck.
Selectmen agreed to add the new fire truck to the capital projects list recommended by the committee, concluding that bond funds should be available to purchase the truck by 2017. The capital projects plan recommended by the committee would require about $6 million in bonding, though the town would be eligible for $2 million in state or federal funding reimbursement for a bridge replacement project and improvements at Essex Elementary School.
The work at the elementary school, including roof replacement and other improvements, would cost about $2.52 million. The two Ivoryton section bridge projects, replacement of the 30 year-old Walnut Street bridge and a much smaller bridge on Ivory Street, are estimated to cost $2.1 million. The plan also includes $1.65 million for renovations and improvements at town hall, and $470,000 for improvements at the town public works garage.
There was no discussion Wednesday on removing any projects from the list recommended by the committee. But Needleman said the list of projects and proposed bonding total would be subject to possible change based on the review by the finance board and input received at the public hearing.
ESSEX — Imagine what a group of residents and staff who cares about its environment can do for a 26-year-old retirement community with 318,936 sq. ft. of space. With lighting upgrades, solar power, geothermal heating, low-flow plumbing and an ozone injection system, among other investments, the result is a resourceful use of water, chemicals and electricity in daily life. Essex Meadows, a lifecare retirement community located at 30 Bokum Road in Essex, Conn., has implemented these green principles, and is proud to announce that the U.S. Green Building Council has recognized the community’s efforts and has given it one of the organization’s highest honors: LEED Gold certification. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an initiative promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize organizations across the country and their efforts to reduce global footprints.
“We’re honored to receive this certification,” said Jennifer Rannestad, Executive Director of Essex Meadows. “We find it very important to make a difference, and now our efforts to do our part have been recognized.”
Senior living communities across the country are making renovations to improve environmental sustainability as a new wave of older adults, with progressive priorities in addition to a desire for the traditional necessities of retirement living, are searching for active, engaged communities to call home. Essex Meadows took the necessary steps to meet changing expectations, which include: installation of a solar power system; geothermal heating and cooling used in new construction; lighting upgrades; extensive HVAC balance testing; non-potable water used in irrigation; new low-flow plumbing fixtures; an ozone injection system added to laundry; a full recycling and green cleaning program; and naturalized meadows for wildlife and reduced mowing. Essex Meadows also purchases locally grown food when feasible, and provides real-time monitoring of the community’s solar power system on its website to show the positive impact the installation is having.
“Our green initiatives are important aspects of what makes Essex Meadows what it is,” Rannestad said. “And these initial principles we’ve implemented are a step in the right direction for us to continue making a difference.”
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program takes into account many factors while considering whether a structure is certified “green.” Categories judged and scored for each building include: Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, and Innovation in Operations.
On September 28th, First Baptist Church in Essex officially installed their new pastor, Rev. Joy Perkett. Participants in the service included Rev. Joe Delahunt, a representative of the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut, Rev. Amy Hollis, a local Baptist pastor and former member of First Baptist Church in Essex and Philip Miller, the state representative for the 36th Assembly District.
Joy Perkett was called by the congregation in early May and her first Sunday was July 13th. She is an ordained minister in the American Baptist tradition and holds a Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work from Boston University. Rev. Perkett is also a Licensed Master Social Worker. Prior to her appointment at First Baptist Church in Essex, she worked as a campaign coordinator around issues of economic justice and as a case manager with people recovering from addiction and mental illness. Rev. Perkett’s vision for ministry is one in which we experience God’s love and peace in our own lives and then go forth and share it with the world. She is passionate about spiritual growth and development as well as meaningful work in the community. She was drawn to First Baptist Church in Essex by the deep, abiding love they share with one another and with the world.
First Baptist Church in Essex was founded in 1811 and built in its current location in 1846. The church’s slogan is “Planting the Seeds of God’s Love since 1811”. One of the notable ways the church planted seeds of God’s love is by envisioning and starting the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries in 1989. Since then, the non-profit has grown to include eight soup kitchens and four food pantries in an eleven town area. First Baptist Church remains active in the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and continues to envision new ways to serve including donating meat for the local food programs and collecting food donations at local grocery stores. The church also fosters relationships and spiritual growth through its book and Bible studies. They meet for worship on Sundays at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the church website at www.fbcinessex.org or call the office at 860-767-8623.
ESSEX — The Essex Historical Society (EHS) has been awarded a $12,500 grant from the 1772 Foundation, in partnership with CT Trust for Historic Preservation, to support restoration work on the Pratt House Museum. The award is part of the 1772 Foundation’s highly competitive matching grant program for historic preservation projects.
The funding will support repair on the Pratt House that was recommended by Building Conservation Associates, Inc. of Dedham, Mass., in its 2012 Architectural Conservation Assessment. These recommendations include: repair of the Pratt House’s exterior foundation, painting the exterior and glazing its windows, repairing gutter work, cleaning the interior of the chimney and replacing a missing door in the cellar.
“We are grateful to the 1772 Foundation for their support,” said Sherry Clark, president of the Essex Historical Society. “With the grant and the matched funding by the Essex Historical Society, nearly all of the necessary repairs and maintenance recommended in the Architectural Conservation Assessment of the Pratt House will be completed.”
The restoration work is scheduled to begin October 2014 and to be complete by May 2015.
The historic Pratt House was built in 1701 and was home to the descendants of Lt. William Pratt, one of the three first settlers of Essex for two centuries. Its barn, traditional herb garden and meadow complete the pastoral setting of a New England farmhouse. The house remained in the Pratt family ownership until 1952, when it was deeded to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now known as Historic New England). In 1985 Historic New England transferred the property and much of its contents to EHS, and EHS has been caring for the property ever since. Visitors are invited to tour the home Fridays through Sundays, from June through September.
About the 1772 Foundation —The 1772 Foundation was named in honor of its first restoration project, Liberty Hall in Union, NJ, which was built in 1772 and is the ancestral home of the Livingston and Kean families. The late Stewart B. Kean was the original benefactor of the 1772 Foundation. The Foundation seeks to continue his legacy throughout the country by helping preserve architectural and cultural history and agricultural landscapes for generations to come. For more information, visithttp://www.1772foundation.org/.
About the Essex Historical Society — The Essex Historical Society seeks to promote awareness and understanding of the people, places and events that have shaped the history of Essex, Connecticut. The Society collects and interprets artifacts and archival material, and provides educational programs and exhibits to bring those interpretations to the community. To house this collection and to provide a window into earlier Essex life, the Society maintains two historic structures: Pratt House (1701) and Hills Academy (1832). Recognizing the importance of the past to our understanding of the present and our planning for the future, the Essex Historical Society advocates the preservation of significant structures and sites that reveal the history of Essex. To learn more, visit the EHS website and follow EHS on Facebook.
In general, Essex is not one of those communities where trash in public places is a problem. Along the length of our Connecticut River shoreline, however, it is another matter. The amount of debris that accumulates along our shores is nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately, there seems to be a never-ending supply of debris along the riverbanks.
The Connecticut River’s steady flow towards its mouth brings with it logs, branches and other organic material that are swept into the river by storms, high tides and occasional flooding. It also brings with it an incredible array of items that have clearly been carelessly allowed to be swept away or dumped outright into the river.
For the past two years the Essex Land Trust has tried to do its part by focusing on cleaning up Essex’s Great Meadow. This past Fall, on a bright and sunny Saturday morning, 65 volunteers dedicated three hours to gathering all kinds of trash including, significant quantities of Styrofoam, bottles, cans, car tires and more.
This effort is part of an annual program sponsored by the Connecticut River Watershed Council Participating. Called the Source to Sea Cleanup, each September communities along the 410-mile length of the Connecticut River dedicate themselves to cleaning up their shoreline. This past year, 2,227 volunteers collected a total haul of 45 tons, which included electrical appliances, furniture, automotive parts, and mattresses, among many other items.
The list of debris collected on the Essex Great Meadow is shown below:
Besides being unsightly, trash in our water bodies has a damaging effect on the environment particularly impacting wildlife and vegetation. One measure of this impact is the decomposition rate of common debris. The following chart illustrate how long items last in our environment, i.e., 200 years for aluminum cans and 450 years for plastic bottles.
The Connecticut River has come a long way from the 1950s when it was called the “best landscaped sewer in the country.” The passage of the Clean Water Act and the ban on DDT in 1972 have done much to help the river recover to a Class B status, meaning that it is safe for all purposes excluding drinking. Turning to the future, our challenge is to build on the progress achieved by ensuring a cleaner and healthier river, one that would harken back to the days when the Algonquians gave it its name, the “quinetucket,” the place of the long tidal river.
The Land Trust intends to repeat the Great Meadow clean up this coming September. The date has already been set: Saturday, September 27 at 9 am. So, mark your calendars!
ESSEX — The Essex Wellness Center has opened its doors at 28 Main Street in the colonial village of Essex, Connecticut.
The first of its kind in or near this idyllic riverfront community, Essex Wellness Center offers a strategically developed range of holistic services in one location. Medical specialties and complementary therapies include naturopathic and Chinese medicine, acupuncture, anti-aging techniques, nutrition for health and weight loss, hypnosis, life coaching, therapy for body image and eating disorders, massage, integrative nurse coaching, mindful meditation, life and business/executive leadership coaching, and counseling for substance abuse and addictions.
Having a team of holistic minded health professionals under one roof is beyond convenient; it allows for assessments and a comprehensive wellness plan for a client who may be experiencing complicated symptoms triggered by anxiety, allergies, burnout, sports injury, or for someone who wants to strengthen their immune system or overcome a struggle with weight, smoking, insomnia, phobias, substance abuse or addiction.
Services and classes at Essex Wellness Center’s waterside locations on nearby Novelty Lane include Tai Chi and Qigong with Master Teacher David Chandler, Pilates, yoga, mindfulness meditation, Reiki, Barre, Zumba and personal and private fitness training.Essex Wellness Center founder and director Heidi Kunzli, MS, LADC, created this consortium of highly experienced holistic providers following the same high standards by which she grew her internationally acclaimed Privé-Swiss mental health retreat program in Laguna Beach, California. Founded 14 years ago, Privé-Swiss maintains a world-renowned reputation for offering clinical excellence through practitioners who deliver exceptional quality in care.
“Bringing the Essex Wellness Center to this enchanting village of Essex is a thrill,” said Kunzli, a Connecticut native and Essex resident. “The charm of this town and natural beauty of the river seem like a perfect fit for our natural approach to healing and maintaining optimum physical and mental health for a long, fulfilling life.”
Program updates, class schedules, new services and news about health and wellness will be posted through facebook.com/ essexwellnesscenter , on Twitter @essexwellnessct and at www.essexwellnessctr.com. Call 860.767.7770 with questions or to make an appointment.
ESSEX— The board of selectmen Wednesday reviewed a conceptual plan for state grant-funded improvements to Main Street in the Ivoryton section that could be put out to bid in the spring of 2015.
The town last year was awarded a $435,000 state Main Street Investment Fund grant for several improvements that would slow traffic through Ivoryton village and create an improved pedestrian environment with four new or improved raised crosswalks. Based on a recommendation from an advisory committee chaired by Selectwoman Stacia Libby, the town earlier this year hired Anchor Engineering Services of Glastonbury to prepare preliminary plans for the project.
One key component of the plan is the removal of a raised island at the intersection of Summit Street and Main Street that was constructed in the early 1970s with little input from the public. The removal would create a wider T intersection for the two streets.
The plan also calls for new curbing and sidewalk, along with the new crosswalks. There would also be several new lantern pole-style streetlights installed on the easternmost end of Main Street, extending lighting that was first installed with state grant funding in 2005. A reconfiguration of the parking area for the Ivorvton Park on the north side of Main Street would add a handful of additional public parking spaces for the village.
Libby said some of the improvements depicted in the plan would require approval from owners of private property on the street. Libby said the conceptual plan is now being reviewed by several town commissions, with a goal of putting the project out to bid by May 2015.
ESSEX— A crowd of more than 70 residents was on hand late Wednesday afternoon as the board of selectmen held a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting for the Town Hall Civic Campus project.
The project, which includes a an expanded and improved parking area for town hall, new tennis courts, and a new handicapped accessible children’s playscape, was funded through a combination of state grand funds with some town funding. Completion of the tennis courts earlier this year marked the final phase for a project hat began last fall with work on the town hall parking lot. Most of the heaviest construction work was done by Xenelis Construction Inc. of Middlefield, with some work completed by town public works employees and sub-contractors.
The town was awarded a $471,500 Small Town Economic Assistance Program, (STEAP) grant for the project in the fall of 2012. Town Finance Director Kelly Sterner said this week the total cost of the project was about $620,000, with the largest components covered by the grant funding, Town funds were used for improvements to the front entrance to town hall on West Avenue, and new crosswalks and sidewalks on Grove Street at the other side of the building. A $10,000 donation from the Bauman Family Foundation paid for lighting for the tennis courts.
Sterner was one of several town employees praised for their efforts on the project by First Selectman Norman Needleman at the ceremony Wednesday. Needleman, who described the project as a “perfect example of state and local partnership,” said Sterner had helped prepare the grant application while also guiding the different sources of funding for the project. He also praised Parks and Recreation Director Rick Audett for his efforts during construction of the tennis courts and playscape at the Grove Street Park that abuts the town hall property.
Also participating at the ceremony Wednesday were two incumbent legislators from different political parties who are seeking new terms in the Nov. 4 election, 36th District Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex, and 33rd District Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook.
Essex Garden Club has announced its new officers. Officers for the for 2014-15 are Linda Newberg, president; Barbara Burgess, first vice president; Dianne Sexton, second vice president; Barbara Hall, recording secretary, Barbara Marden, corresponding secretary; Patricia Mather, treasurer; and Carol Denham, assistant treasurer.
In her opening remarks at the September meeting, Newberg described the club’s agenda and activities for the coming year, and introduced the theme for this year, “A Tribute to You”. She went on to say that the success of the club’s projects is directly dependent on the tireless work of the many club volunteers. These projects include civic beautification, scholarships, and educational and conservation initiatives.
The Town of Essex’s Transfer Station and Recycling Center, which is located a 5 Dump Road in Essex, will adopt new use procedures, effective October 1, 2014. From that date forward, users of the transfer station must either have: 1) a valid official sticker affixed to the windshield of their vehicle, or 2) a pre-paid punch card in hand, before disposing of household garbage and trash at the Essex town transfer station.
Use of the transfer station is limited, exclusively, to the residents of Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton. The transfer station is located in Essex at 5 Dump Road off Route 154. It is also just off Exit 4 of Route 9. The hours of operation at the facility are Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Windshield stickers permitting a year’s unlimited access to the transfer station can only be purchased at the Town Clerk’s office at the Town Hall in downtown Essex. The cost of a one year permit is $125, and $75 for seniors. They can be paid for by cash or check, but not by credit card. The Town Clerk will also sell 10 bag punch cards for $25 a card.
In the addition, the transfer station at 5 Dump Road will sell 10 bag punch cards. which can be paid for by check, credit or debit card, but not by cash.
Supplemental Disposal Fees
Effective October 1, there will also be additional Supplemental Disposal Fees for users of the transfer station. The supplemental fees, which will be collected at the transfer station, will range in price from $5 for the disposal of an old tire, to $20 for the disposal of sleeping furniture. However, there will be no extra Supplemental Disposal Fees for many items, such as antifreeze, computers, leaves or paint.
Payment of Annual Stickers and Punch Cards Online
Essex residents can download the Transfer Station’s Resident Pass Application form by going to the Essex town website at www.essexct,gov. The form on the website is listed under “News & Announcements.” Also available on the Town of Essex Transfer Station & Recycling Center website is a complete roster of Supplemental Waste Disposal fees, effective October 1.
A benefit when purchasing an annual user sticker before October 1, 2014 is that purchasers can begin using the annual stickers immediately, thus giving them some days free of fees before the October 1, 2014, the effective date of the new windshield stickers and punch cards.
In announcing its new waste disposal rules Essex residents were reminded that the annual stickers and punch cards only allow the disposal of household garbage and trash. Information regarding other accepted disposal items can be found in the transfer station’s brochure, which is available at the transfer station, and on its website.
The Betty Pierson Recycling Building
Another service at the Essex transfer station is a recycling center that offers reusable items that Essex residents are offering without charge to their neighbors. Items such as wooden furniture, household items and bicycles in good condition may be left for the use of fellow Essex residents at the center. The items are for personal use only.
Essex residents who wish to pick up these items are restricted to one trip a week to the Betty Pierson Recycling shed. No loitering at the building is permitted, and the staff at the transfer station will enforce these policies.
ESSEX— A lawsuit against the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall Inc. that was filed last December has been withdrawn after a Middlesex Superior Court judge held settlement conferences with the parties. The lawsuit filed by local lawyer Michael Peck included the town because the town remains a fall back owner of the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall property located in the Centerbrook section.
Peck, a veteran and Chester resident, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Michael Bergeron, a town resident who is a Gulf War veteran. Peck claimed in the suit that Begeron had been improperly banned from the property, including a club area where alcoholic beverages are sold, and from local veterans activities. The lawsuit also claimed Essex Veterans Memorial Hall Inc. had lost, and never regained, its status as a non-profit tax exempt organization, and that a majority of the EVM club members are no longer U.S. military veterans.
The town-owned property was donated to returning World War II veterans in 1946 for use as a meeting hall for local veterans organizations. The building has served as a meeting hall for the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post and occasionally other veterans organizations for more than 60 years. The separate club has been in operation during this time for sale of alcoholic beverages to members and their guests.
Peck said this week he withdrew the lawsuit at the end of July after three settlement conferences directed by Middlesex Superior Court Judge Edward Domnarski, who is an Essex resident. Also participating in the sessions was Richard Palladino, an Old Saybrook lawyer retained by EVM Inc. in response to the lawsuit. Peck said town attorney David Royston declined to participate in the sessions.
Peck said the settlement did not result in reinstatement of Bergeron as a club member, but did clarify the legal status of the property and various procedures that are required of EVM Inc.. as a tax exempt not-profit veterans organization. He said EVM Inc. has regained its 501C18 status as a tax exempt organization, and has also pledged to strive to ensure that at least 75 percent of club members are veterans.
After a review by the state Liquor Control Commission, the EVM club retains its liquor license. The club is planning its annual Pig Roast, which is open to the public, for Saturday Sept. 13.
ESSEX— The board of selectmen Wednesday received a long-awaited report on municipal capital building projects. The selectmen deferred discussion to a Sept. 17 meeting on a list of projects that could require more than $6 million in bonding if all of the projects were included in a bonding authorization resolution.
The 22-page report was prepared by a Capital Projects Building Committee that was established the fall of 2013 to carry forward the efforts of a capital projects study committee that was formed in 2012. The committee was chaired by Selectman Bruce Glowac, with members that included Finance Director Kelly Sterner and Leigh Rankin, a former U.S. Coast Guard officer who also serves on the Region 4 Board of Education. The committee worked with the engineering firm CME Associates Inc. of Woodstock to develop preliminary cost estimates for each project.
Glowac said the report lists projects in priority order, and includes projects the committee believes should be addressed by the town looking forward for the next ten years. The top priorities are replacement of the Walnut Street and Ivory Street bridges in the Ivoryton section, along with five improvements at Essex Elementary School, the most important being replacement of most of the school roof.
Cost estimates for the bridge projects are $2.1 million for the Walnut Street bridge, and $450,000 for the Ivory Street bridge. The elementary school projects total $2.52 million, including $1.4 million for the roof replacement, $600,000 for air conditioning at the school, $225,000 for paving work around the front entrance, and $185,000 for improvements to the school media center, including removal of asbestos located under the floor tiles. The town has already expended $110,000 to convert the school to newly available natural gas heating.
The report estimates the Walnut Street bridge replacement and the school roof replacement would be eligible for $2,055,000 in grant funding reimbursement that would reduce the actual expense for town taxpayers.
The report lists six improvements at town hall with a total estimated cost of $1,165,000. Projects include roof replacement-$200,000, 47 new energy efficient windows-$115,000, reconfiguring land use offices-$500,000, air quality improvements-$200,000, bathroom improvements $120,000, and a new fire alarm system that would include a fire suppression system for the town records vault-$30,000.
The report lists three improvements for the town public works garage with a total estimated cost of $470,000. The projects include replacing the roof of the garage that is more than 30 years old-$109,000, a new heating system for the facility-$97,000, and a new two bay garage with a covered storage area for road salt and sand-$264,000.
The selectmen are expected to review the report with the board of finance later this month, and hold one or more public information sessions during the fall before final decisions are made on a bonding authorization resolution that would be presented to town voters for approval in a referendum.
ESSEX — Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Diane H. Arnold to the position of Vice President/Senior Commercial Loan Officer. Mrs. Arnold is responsible for business development and portfolio management, as well as assisting in the growth of the commercial loan department by utilizing her thirty one years of broad banking experience. Mrs. Arnold previously served as the Vice President of Southington Savings Bank from 1993 until 2001 where she managed the credit department. From 1988 to 1993, Arnold served as the Assistant Treasurer and Commercial Loan Officer at Branford Savings Bank. Mrs. Arnold earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Quinnipiac College. She is also a 1990 graduate of the Connecticut School of Finance and Management. Mrs. Arnold is a resident of Ivoryton.
Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.
ESSEX— The Village of Ivoryton has been placed on the National Parks Service National Register of Historic Places in recognition of the number of historic structures in the village and it’s role as a “well preserved company town” from the Industrial era of New England.
The town’s planning commission played a key role in the village’s nomination and inclusion on the National Register, which includes hundreds of historic sites and structures in all parts of the United States. The commission established a subcommittee more than three years ago that surveyed and documented nearly 100 historic structures in the three villages of Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton with assistance from the State Office of Historic Preservation. The effort was aided by the work of the late former Town Historian Donald Malcarne, who wrote several books about the town’s historic in its historic structures.
With more then 200 identified “contributing” structures, the National Register highlights an area roughly bounded by Main St., North Main St., Oak St., Blake St., Summit St. and Comstock Avenue. These streets include many structures tied to the village’s two major industries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the ivory import and manufacturers Comstock, Cheney & Co. and Pratt, Read & Co, Many of the houses in the area were home to immigrants from Germany, Poland, Italy and Sweden that worked in the two ivory processing factories.
Between 1860 and the late 1930s, Ivoryton was a self-sufficient industrial center that was home for more than 600 workers. Both the Ivoryton Library and Ivoryton Playhouse buildings date back to this era.
The addition of Ivoryton village to the National Register represents a tribute to its continuing historic character and contributions to the Industrial Era in New England, but the honorary designation carries no regulatory burden and imposes no obligations on private property owners. There are no restrictions on the use, transfer or disposition of private property, though the designation could open the possibility of funding assistance for restoration of identified historic structures,.
Ballotnews.org ranked the most competitive legislative races in Connecticut on their website today, with the 33rd Senate contest ranked as one of the top four.
The ranking comes a day after Emily Bjornberg, the Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat, was approved by the State Elections Enforcement Commission for a clean elections fund grant ahead of her incumbent opponent Art Linares.
State grants require the candidate to demonstrate significant support behind their campaign, with small contributions required from at least 300 constituents and at least $15,000 raised in the aggregate.
The 33rd Senate contest is one of only four state senate races statewide held by an incumbent to be ranked as competitive on the Ballotnews.org list. The full list can be found at: www.ballotnews.org/ state-legislatures/ legislative-lowdown- identifying-competitive- connecticut-elections-in-2014/
Connecticut’s 33rd State Senate District includes the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook as well as Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.
OLD SAYBROOK –– The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, through the Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Family Foundation, has donated $25,000 to “The Preserve,” a swath of 1,000 acres of coastal forest along the towns of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, Connecticut. As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York and Boston, this land is rich in natural resources, wildlife and habitat that not only offers residents with outdoor recreational opportunities, but also provides an important coastal buffer against storm waters during natural disasters. Residents of Connecticut treasure this 1,000-acre coastal forest as a place to connect with nature close to home. Known locally as The Preserve, the woodland plays an important role in maintaining water quality in Trout Brook and the Oyster and Mud rivers, which feed into the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. The partnership to preserve and protect this natural ecosystem in Connecticut consists of the State of Connecticut, neighboring towns (Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook), and The Trust for Public Land.
“On behalf of my family, we are proud to be able to preserve and protect one of Connecticut’s most sacred ecosystems for generations to come,” said Stephen Tagliatela, Innkeeper/Managing Partner, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa. “It’s always been a founding principle of our family to care and maintain the environment we live in. It’s through our efforts, in cooperation with the Trust for Public Land, Town of Old Saybrook, and Essex Land Trust, that we will conserve this important coastal forest to forever as a natural asset for our region and our state.”
On Tuesday, July 8th, voters in Old Saybrook overwhelmingly approved the purchase of “The Preserve,” which will now be protected in perpetuity as open space for Connecticut residents for generations to come. As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, this 1,000-acre ecosystem will be permanently protected from future development. It will connect to 500 acres of existing town parkland providing expanded opportunities for hiking and viewing a variety of birds and other wildlife.
“We are very grateful that the Tagliatela family has made this very generous gift to support the Campaign to Protect the 1,000 Acre Forest,” said Kate Brown, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land. “This is a wonderful boost that will help us move closer to the fundraising goal and permanent protection of the land.”
The Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Foundation was established in 1997 by North Haven business leader Louis F. Tagliatela. Over the years, the Foundation has donated more than $9 million to support local non-profit organizations including hospitals, schools and churches. In addition, the organization helped establish the Tagliatela School of Engineering at the University of New Haven and the Tagliatela School of Business at Albertus Magnus College.
The Preserve is a 1,000-acre coastal forest located in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, Connecticut. It is the largest unprotected coastal forest remaining between New York City and Boston. The dense canopy of forest and the Pequot Swamp Pond act as a refueling stop for many migratory birds, and the many freshwater seeps on the property are home to amphibian species such as the northern dusky salamander, spotted turtles, and box turtles. Bobcats and fisher cats have also been spotted on the property. The land includes 38 vernal pools, 114 acres of wetlands, headwaters of the Oyster River, and tributaries of the Mud and Trout Brook Rivers. These rivers eventually flow into Long Island Sound.
The property has a fifteen-year history of development proposals, foreclosure, and lawsuits by neighbors and conservationists opposing its development. The land is currently owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings, the holding company that emerged from the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The holding company has agreed to sell the property to The Trust for Public Land for its fair market value of $8.09 million. If protected, this highly unusual intact coastal forest will be preserved and the public will have passive recreational access to the property via trails.
The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environ-mental Protection, the Towns of Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, the Old Saybrook Land Trust, the Essex Land Trust, The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the Alliance for Sound Area Planning, Audubon Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy, and others to raise the funding necessary to protect The Preserve. The goal of the fundraising effort is to raise $10 million to cover the purchase price, costs and stewardship. We expect to raise $3 million via a private fundraising campaign, to supplement $7 million in public funding.
Since it opened 25 years ago, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa has adapted and changed. It has taken a decidedly green direction, winning numerous awards for its often best-in-class green practices, including the first Connecticut inn to be named a Certified Energy Hotel in 2007. The Inn now features SANNO, a full service European spa, as well as Fresh Salt, a restaurant designed by Peter Niemitz that opened to strong reviews in 2011. The property employs more than 260 hospitality professionals in the town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and is among the town’s top employers and economic engines.
Saybrook Point Inn & Spa recently opened its new Three Stories guesthouse adjacent to the main Inn. Thiscompletely renovated Italianate home overlooking Long Island Sound was originally built in 1892 as a single-family home for the prominent engineer William Vars. The property has been fully refurbished and revitalized as a seven-room guesthouse with wrap around porches and private gardens, making it the perfect retreat for couples, families and friends to reconnect, rejoice and create lasting memories and experiences. Each individually designed room features a private balcony, fireplace, fine linens, heated bathroom floors, multiple showerheads, extensive water views, and original artwork by local artists. As a testament to its rich history, each room at Three Stories tells the story of a famed local resident who made sure that the history of the community was well preserved. This includes Katharine Hepburn’s mother, who was a co-founder of Planned Parenthood and leading suffragette, and Anna Louise James, who had the distinction of being one of the first African-American female pharmacists in America and ran the James Pharmacy locally.
About Saybrook Point Inn & Spa
Situated along the picturesque coastal community of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut in the hamlet of Saybrook Point, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa features 82 elegantly appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service spa called SANNO, and a casual fine dining restaurant named Fresh Salt. Luxurious spa amenities include 11 treatment rooms, and diverse menu of services including massages, facials, body wraps, manicures and pedicures. SANNO is a latin word meaning to make sound or to heal. The goal at SANNO is to help guests be well, look well, feel well, and eat well. Fresh Salt diners savor fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Old Saybrook’s most spectacular setting – the spot where the fresh waters of the Connecticut River meet the salt of Long Island Sound. It’s a treasured and historic place, rich in life, and the restaurant reflects that lively diversity. The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa also features the historic Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark yachting dock conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River with easy access to Long Island Sound. The marina is Connecticut’s first designated Clean Marina, featuring friendly concierge service, award-winning onsite cuisine, AAA Four Diamond accommodations, an indulgent spa, and a community-based member-driven health club. It can accommodate vessels from 12 to 200 feet and has received numerous premier Connecticut marina awards. More information is available at www.saybrook.com.
About the Trust for Public Land
Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at www.tpl.org.
OLD SAYBROOK— Voters Tuesday gave overwhelming approval for $3 million in bonding for the town’s share of a planned $8 million purchase of the Preserve property, described as the “1,000 acre forest.” The bonding for the 930 acres located in Old Saybrook was approved on a 2,002-242 vote in an eight-hour referendum.
About 20 percent of the town’s 7,361 registered voters turned out for the referendum, with 115 property owners who are not registered voters in Old Saybrook also casting ballots. The bonding approval is the key element in a combination of funding sources that is expected to lead to a closing on the property by the end of the year.
First Selectman Carl Fortuna said he was not surprised by the huge margin of support. “This has been a generational issue in this town and it’s finally being put to bed,” Fortuna said, adding that he was aware of no organized opposition to the bonding authorization while “there was certainly organized support.”
The parcel, which includes 70 acres in Essex and four acres in Westbrook, is located off Bokum Road and Ingham Hill Road in Old Saybrook and Ingham Hill Road in Essex. The property had been the subject of development proposals dating back to 1999 that once called for over 200 homes and a golf course. It is currently owned by River Sound Development/Lehman Brothers, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers setting the stage for negotiations that led to a purchase plan earlier this year. The purchase negotiations were coordinated by the non-profit Trust For Public Land.
Along with the Old Saybrook contribution, the plan calls for about $3.3 million in state funding and about $1.9 million from the Trust For Public Land. Essex voters will be asked at a July 16 town meeting to approve a $200,000 town funding contribution, with the Essex Land Conservation Trust also contributing through private fund raising. The Essex town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m.at town hall.
Fortuna said the acreage in Old Saybrook would be co-owned by the town and the state. The Essex Land Conservation Trust will own the section of the property in Essex. Fortuna said trails through the vast property should be improved and ready for public use by the summer of 2015.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal came to the Old Saybrook Green on Monday, July 7, to urge Old Saybrook voters to vote “Yes” in a referendum to grant $3 million of town monies to help purchase 930 undeveloped acres in the open land known as The Preserve. The referendum for Old Saybrook voters will be held on Tuesday, July 8, at the Old Saybrook High School gymnasium, and the polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m.
Other public officials urging a “Yes” vote on the July 8 town referendum were: Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, State Representative Phil Miller; and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman.
Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna said in his prepared remarks, “This property has been at the center of attention, good and bad, for 20 years. It is now time for resolution. We are optimistic that enough private and public funds can be raised to purchase the property and preserve The Preserve in its natural state. The Town will work cooperatively with all parties in this effort, including DEEP. Most importantly, I will work for and listen to Old Saybrook’s residents as they decide the future of this parcel.”
State Representative Miller said in his prepared remarks, “We’re grateful to the citizens of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, and our allies, the Trust for Public Land, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Governor Malloy, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, Congressman Courtney, First Selectmen Fortuna and Needleman and the Connecticut legislature. A thousand acres forever preserved. What a rightful thing.”
Essex First Selectman Urges “Yes Vote”
Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman said in his prepared remarks, “Over in Essex, we’re excited about the proposition for acquiring this majestic property. Essex will hold a public hearing and town meeting to approve a $200,000 appropriation for the purchase on July 16 and look forward to joining our neighbors in Old Saybrook in support of this wonderful project.”
The Essex town meeting to consider approval of the town’s $200,000 appropriation to The Preserve’s acquisition will be held at 6:45 p.m. on July 16 at Essex Town Hall.
Other Supporters of Acquisition
Other remarks for the occasion were offered by Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, who said, “Coming off July Fourth weekend, this is an exciting time for Old Saybrook to exercise their patriotic rights and vote to protect this important piece of land here in town.”
Also, Alicia Sullivan, Connecticut State Director of the Trust for Public Land said, “We commend Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for the state’s early funding commitment to this significant landscape. Also, we are grateful to Senator Blumenthal and our congressional delegation for supporting federal conservation programs that the state will use for this acquisition.”
An audience of some 30 to 40 persons attended the pre-vote July 7 rally.
To The Editor:
The OS EDC, which has itself endorsed the acquisition of The Preserve, recently released a letter asking five questions. They deserve a response. In order of importance, they are:
Acquiring The Preserve under the proposed agreement saves Old Saybrook potentially tens of millions of dollars the town would have incurred if development as planned had gone forward—and might still incur if The Preserve is left open to development. Perhaps more important to some residents is that acquiring The Preserve will almost certainly save Old Saybrook money. First, the cost to taxpayers for the bonding required for the town’s share of the purchase price—less than 40%–implies annual property taxes for a median home of $12 to $24 dollars, depending on the form of bonding. So for $1-$2 a month, residents take control of an extraordinarily important 1000 acres, the headwaters of three rivers, a critical source of clean water for the area aquifer, and an environmentally important area. Second, the costs the town now incurs will almost certainly go down. The proposed agreement includes a very substantial permanent endowment (perhaps reaching $1 million) which will provide funds to cover proper management of The Preserve, including trail mapping, trail marking (so folks no longer get lost on the unmarked, tangled trails they now hike), and permit sustainable forestry practices. In addition, because of the partnership with the State, state conservation officers will share the responsibility for policing the area, relieving Old Saybrook police of some of that responsibility. And because the area will now be managed properly, residents in Old Saybrook and adjacent towns no longer face the very real threat of damage to the aquifer and degradation of their water supply—thus again saving potentially thousands of dollars for every household affected. On balance, it is almost certain that town costs will fall by more than the cost of the bonding.
Wen considering costs, beyond the offsetting savings we can immediately recognize, preserving The Preserve will create value for the town and the region. Real estate professionals will tell you that the two things potential home buys ask about are the quality of the schools and access to public open space, whether parks or forests. Multiple studies confirm that towns that acquire and manage significant open space clearly benefit along a host of vectors. Given how well this acquisition is planned, with the creation of an endowment to provide continuous funding and the partnership with State, preserving The Preserve will deliver real value to the town and the region.
The cons? I have been listening intently for nearly a year. I haven’t heard one argument against this initiative that withstood careful scrutiny and thought. I believe that the answers to the OS EDC questions strongly confirms that view.
Acquiring The Preserve and thus preserving it for all time is simply a winner on every count. Old Saybrook will be quite wise to join with the Trust for the Public Lands, the State of Connecticut, and hundreds of individuals who have pledged more than $1 million of their own money to make this happen. Let’s take control of our future: vote “Yes” on July 8.
Fred V. Carstensen
Professor of Finance and Economics
Director, Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis
University of Connecticut
Resident: Old Saybrook
The Connecticut River Museum is pleased to announce that it has received a sponsorship from the Saybrook Point Inn & Marina that will allow Sea Scouts to build a CRM 12 skiff as part of a public three-day workshop in August. The 12’ skiff is reflective of the traditional boats that were built locally in the late 19th and early 20th century. With great versatility, these skiffs were used for fishing, rowing and sailing on the River and in the tidal marshes and tributaries.
After hearing that the Museum was piloting a summer boat building workshop for families and adults, Stephen Tagliatela (2012 “RiverMan” of the Year), managing partner of Saybrook Point Inn & Marina wanted to make a difference by sponsoring a boat that the local Sea Scout crew members could build. Tagliatela’s father was an Eagle Scout and built model power and sail boats. Two of the models won awards in the New York Boat Show of 1939 and are now displayed in Saybrook Point Inn’s restaurant, Fresh Salt. He said “It is important to provide opportunities to our future adults and leaders.” Tagliatela went on to say that “building a boat creates a sense of accomplishment and helps to develop the critical life skills of problem solving and teamwork.”
Since 1912 Sea Scouts has been part of the Boy Scouts of America. Sea Scouts is a coed program offered to young adults 14 years (or 13 years and completed the eighth grade) through age 21. This youth maritime training program is organized to address members’ boating skills and promote knowledge of America’s maritime heritage. The Scout units are called “Ships”. The local Ship out of Westbrook is captained by AJ Maxwell. For more information about Sea Scouts, contact the New England Sea Scout Flotilla Commodore Marshall Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or 860-938-7681. Mr. Parsons is excited to have this opportunity and noted that “we are opening this up to a limited number of parents and teenagers who would like to know more about Sea Scouts.”
The three-day boat building workshop that the Connecticut River Museum is offering for families and adults will be held on August 22 – 24. Participants can either do the workshop as individuals or as a group (up to four people). There is no previous boat building experience required to build one of these kits. However, organizers do expect that participants will have basic woodworking knowledge.
Space is extremely limited for the boat building workshop. Participants must be at least 10 years old (13 if they are doing it as part of the Sea Scout program) and accompanied by an adult. The deadline to register is Monday, July 14. The $1,500 program fee includes all the supplies needed to build the CRM 12, oars, and instruction. By the end of the weekend, participants will have a nearly completed boat (all but paint) that is ready to take home. The basic kit is designed to be rowed. However, a sailing conversion kit and sail is available for an additional cost. Paul Kessinger, owner of Madison Kit Builders, has donated and constructed a CRM 12 that is now on display at the Museum for those interested in seeing the final product. Thanks to the generous donation of Saybrook Point Inn & Marina, there is no cost toSea Scouts. For more information, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.
The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 am – 5 pm. For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.
One of the land marks of the Town of Essex, the Essex Island Marina, will be sold at auction on Tuesday, August 5. The auction will be held at the Essex Island Marina, which is located on its very own island, and which has the address of 11 Ferry Street in Essex. The auction will start at 11:00 a.m.
The Essex Island Marina will be sold at what is called an “Absolute Auction.” This means that the marina will be sold to the winning bidder, regardless of the price, as long as it is over $75,000.
A representative of JJ Manning, the company which is conducting the auction, was asked if this is not a dangerous strategy to open with such a low price. The representative said that in the long run, “having a low, opening price frequently attracts the highest sales price for the property.”
The Essex Island Marina’s property consists of 13.2 plus, acres on a private island on the Connecticut River. The site has 125 boat slips, a gas dock, a repair shop, a laundry, a swimming pool, a dog walk, and inside and outside boat storage facilities. There is also a restaurant on the site. In addition, the sale includes the boats used to take passengers to and from the island, and miscellaneous equipment and leases.
Property Tour on July 22
There will be a tour of the site for prospective bidders on Tuesday, July 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Terms for the winning big include: payment of a 10% certified deposit of the winning bid, due within three business days of auction, and payment of the full price of the bid, 45 days after the close of the auction.
JJ Manning, conductor of the auction, bills itself as, “the leading professional auction marketing firm in the Northeast U.S.” The company is headquartered in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.
Marina Is Presently Family Owned
The present owner of the Essex Island Marina is Wallie Schieferdecker, who lives in Essex. Schieferdecker operates the marina with the assistance of his two daughters, Dawn and Kyle.
Paul Risseeu, the Director of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy in Essex, and who occasionally operates the ferry from the main land to the Essex Island Marina, says that the Essex Island Marina, “is a class operation.” Risseuw also observes that, “the yacht business has been tough lately, because people are moving to owning smaller boats.” Also, “it is part of the five year recession in the country,” he says.
Editor’s Note: Justin J. Manning, President of the Auctioneer Firm J.J. Manning, has provided the following clarification of the auction process: “The auction is Absolute, which means that it sells to the highest bidder, period. The $75,000 is merely the initial deposit made by the buyer on auction day, not the starting bid. This Marina appraised 14 years ago for $1.23 million and would likely appraise today for well over $2 million. The real estate tax appraisal in $1.53 million.”
ESSEX— The board of selectmen has scheduled a July 16 town meeting to vote on a $200,000 appropriation that would be the town’s contribution towards the planned $8.1 million purchased of the 1,000-acre Preserve property that includes 70 wooded acres in Essex. The town meeting vote in contingent on referendum approval in Old Saybrook of a $3 million bonding authorization that would be that town’s contribution to the total land purchase.
Under a plan announced earlier this spring by state and Old Saybrook officials, the $8.1 million for the purchase would be raised through a combination of state grant funds, municipal funds, and private donations raised by the land conservation trust organizations in Old Saybrook and Essex. State grants, including some state bonding, would account for $3 million of the purchase price. Old Saybrook voters will be asked to authorize $3 million in bonding for the purchase in a referendum expected during the first two weeks of July, possibly on July 8. In addition to the proposed $200,000 in town funding, the Essex Land Conservation Trust is expected to provide a matching $200,000, mostly from private donations.
The 1,000 acre forest, the subject of failed development proposals dating back to 1999, can be accessed from either Ingham Hill Road and Schoolhouse Road in Old Saybrook, and from Bokum Road that connects Essex and Old Saybrook. The property became a target for acquisition and preservation as open space after the fall 2008 financial crash that began the Great Recession.
Paul Greenberg, with the Essex Land Conservation Trust, told the selectmen at Wednesday’s meeting that Bokum Road would be the access point in to the property from Essex, with plans to construct a small parking area and trails that would connect to a larger network of trails in the vast Old Saybrook section of the parcel.
First Selectman Norman Needleman said the $200,000 would come from the town’s open space sinking fund, which currently contains about $225,000. Needleman said he believes town voters will support making a contribution to the Preserve purchase project, even though only 70 acres of the property are in Essex. The 70 acres in Essex has been valued at about $700,000 in two appraisals.
After nine years of creating some of the most interesting adult programs on the Connecticut shoreline, the Essex Library’s Programming Librarian, Jenny Tripp, is be retiring from her position effective July 1. During her service at the library Tripp has been the creator of many of the library’s most popular programs.
They include, the “Science for Everyone” series, which included talks on the “Mars Rover,” the concept of “Time Travel,” and a program on the similarities of the actions of human beings and monkeys. As Tripp puts it, “Each of the species [human and monkey] seem to be hard wired to make the same mistakes repeatedly.”
Another popular library program that Tripp created is the “True Crime” series.” This series featured discussions of “cold cases,” an examination of the murder trial of Martha Moxley, and a lecture by Dr. Henry Lee, a noted forensic pathologist, who has reviewed hundreds of cases of foul deeds.
Created Popular Bereavement Group
Another significant accomplishment of Tripp has been her creation of a Bereavement Support Group, which meets twice a month, and which she characterizes as “the program of which I’m most proud.” Roughly a dozen of evolving library patrons attend the sessions of the open group, based on personal need.
Another activity of Tripp has been chairing two of the library’s book clubs. One of the clubs is the Classic Plays Readers Club, which has exhaustively discussed Shakespeare’s plays, and other classic works as well. The next play to be discussed is Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie.
Tripp’s second book club, the Classic Readers Group, has tackled tomes as diverse as The Magic Mountain and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The current selection of the club is The Red and the Black by Stendhal. As if this was not enough, Tripp has also hosts a memoir writing group at the library.
In addition to these activities Tripp has been the editor of the library’s Ex Libris, the Library’s twice-yearly mailed newsletter. When asked about her, likely impossible to find, replacement, Tripp says dismissively that “You really don’t need a trained librarian to do this, just someone with some imagination who is prepared to make a lot of phone calls.”
For all her reputation as the “go to” person on perhaps every aspect of the library, Tripp has been actually a part time employee working only 24 hours a week. As for her own personal background, Tripp was an English major at the University of California (Berkley). She has also worked extensively as a screen writer, and is a lifetime member of the Writer’s Guild of America.
On a personal note about her work at the Essex Library, she says, “I have never held a job this long.”
Library Director Lauds Tripp
Essex Library Director Richard Conroy was fulsome in his praise of Tripp’s work at the library. He said, “She has been one of the key factors in the success of the library this past few years,” He noted that library attendance is up, and that there has been an upgrade as well in the quality of the library’s services.
Conroy especially praised Tripp’s, “intellectually stimulating programs,” singling out the True Crime series, the Science for Everyone series, and her Shakespeare and Classic Book clubs as well. “How do we replace the irreplaceable?” he concluded.
As for her future plans, in addition to helping out at the Essex library from time to time, Tripp says that she is going to engage, “in helping people to write their books.” Asked if this this means she is going to be a professional “ghost writer,” her answer is, “Just call me Casper.”
The Essex Garden Club is pleased to announce the winners of its 2014 scholarships. Scholarships of $1,100 each were award to three Essex students:
Tyler Jaynes, Senior at VRHA, will attend the University of Vermont
Sarah Watson will be a sophomore at Gettysburg College
Allyson Clark will be a freshman at Drew University
Additionally, 13 campership awards of $125 each were given to Essex Park and Recreation Summer session. These will be distributed by Park and Recreation. Three awards of $520 were given to Bushy Hill Nature Center to be distributed by the Center.
The Essex Garden Club congratulates all the winners and thanks the Essex community for its ongoing support which allows the Club to provide these educational opportunities to our students.
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