May 20, 2018

CT Valley Camera Club Presents Talk Tonight on How to Photograph National Parks

Photographer Chris Nicholson at Acadia National Park (Photo courtesy of Steven Ryan)

AREAWIDE: The guest speaker at the Monday, Mar. 5 meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the acclaimed photographer and author Chris Nicholson, who will give a presentation titled “Photographing National Parks.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

Chris Nicholson is a photographer and writer based in southern Connecticut and New York City. Formerly a magazine editor for ten years, he has worked on a freelance basis since 2004, with his camerawork focused primarily on the travel and sports genres. His writing and photographs have been published in over 30 magazines and several books.

Nicholson works in a primarily conservative style, believing that ideal composition is simple, strong and powerful. He has covered locations in Australia and throughout the continental United States (especially in New England, which he considers to be one of the most aesthetically unique regions of America).

Throughout his career he has studied the American national parks. Whether for assignments, publishing projects or personal work, Nicholson travels to national parks several times per year for photography. Over the past two decades he has paid particular attention to Acadia, Everglades, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, Olympic, Shenandoah and Yellowstone, visiting and photographing those seven a combined 26 times.

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

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com/. CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage.

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Essex Winter Series Continues This Afternoon with Program Featuring Acclaimed Baritone David Pittsinger

David Pittsinger

ESSEX — Essex Winter Series’ 2018 season continues on March 4 with bass-baritone David Pittsinger. in a program to include music by Bach, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Handel, and selections from the American Songbook that celebrate the American spirit.

The Quodlibet Ensemble, a New York-based string chamber orchestra of young, dynamic artists presents a range of great music, from the Baroque to the modern day performs April 8. Their program will include Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, as well as music by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Nathan Schram.

All performances take place on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. with the Feb. 18 and April 8 concerts at Valley Regional High School, Deep River; and the March 4 concert at John Winthrop Middle School, Deep River. Seating is general admission and tickets may be purchased by visiting www.essexwinterseries.com or calling 860-272-4572.

The 2018 Essex Winter Series season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, Tower Laboratories, and BrandTech Scientific. Media sponsor is WSHU Public Radio and outreach activities are supported by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Tavern Night Returns to CT River Museum, March 23

ESSEX — On Friday, Jan. 26, the Connecticut River Museum brings back its popular 1814 Tavern Night.  This lively 19th century evening will take place at the museum’s historic Samuel Lay House overlooking scenic Essex harbor.  The house will be transformed into a candlelit riverside tavern from the War of 1812. 

The evening includes a bourbon whiskey tasting hosted by Highland Imports, songs by noted musician Don Sineti, tavern games, and a food pairing of early American cuisine provided by Catering by Selene.  Additional wine and beer will be available at the cash bar.

Folk singer Don Sineti will play and sing some rousing tunes at Tavern Night.

Sineti is a folksinger, songwriter, part-time sea chantey man (with one of the most powerful voices on the Eastern Seaboard!), and long-neck, 5-string banjo picker.  For over 20 years, he has entertained with his boundless energy, to deliver rousing renditions of songs from the days of wooden ships and iron men.  With a booming voice and a hearty laugh, he shares his music with audiences of all ages.

There are three candle lit evenings planned.  Two additional Tavern Nights will be held; 

  • March 23 – Heritage Wines and Port Tastings with folklorist Stephen Gencarella & historian Chris Dobbs; Music by Joseph Mornealt
  • April 27  – Olde Burnside Brewing Company beer tastings; music by Rick Spencer, Dawn Indermuehle & Chris Dobbs. 

Save $10 when you buy all three evenings!

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

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM and closed on Mondays until Memorial Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for students, $6 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org

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Letter From Paris: ‘The Donald’ and Europe Grow Further Apart

Nicole Prévost Logan

In February 2017, the European Union (EU) members, gathered at the Malta summit, were flabbergasted by President Donald Trump’s hostile attitude toward the United States’s traditional allies.  One year later the world has adjusted in the opinion of the seasoned diplomat Hubert Vedrine, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997-2002).  The French diplomat commented, “One has to get over our initial disbelief as to the unpredictable and apparently erratic policy of the 45th president of the US.”

The European opinion of Trump is not monolithic.  One has to differentiate between the North and South:  heavily indebted Greece and Germany with a flourishing economy will have opposite opinions.  The same divide exists between East and West: for example, nationalist and authoritarian countries like Poland will view Trump differently from the liberal Netherlands.

The Europeans resent Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement leaving a wide open boulevard for China to become the champion defender of the environment.  Last January, the announcement made by the controversial Ryan Zinke, US Secretary of the Environment, that he would allow oil and gas drilling near almost all US coasts from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico was considered a mistake.  The French oppose the position of Trump’s administration on the use of coal and other fossil fuel as sources of energy.  France has closed all its coal mines and does not even allow fracking for oil or gas exploration in fear of endangering the environment.

President Donald Trump

The recent financial and tax reforms introduced by the US president were characterized as a fiscal war with the rest of the world by economist and professor Philippe Dessertine.   On Jan. 26,  2018 at the Davos World Economic Forum, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), criticized those measures by saying that, subsequent to creating benefits in the short term, they would ultimately impact world  financial vulnerability.  She believes that the increase in both liquidity and the budget deficit, will eventually cause a sudden drop in the stock market.  It is interesting to note that a few days after her speech, the Dow tanked and began a new cycle of high volatility.

French economists commented that lowering corporate taxes to 21 percent in the US – not that far from the 12.5 percent of Irish tax heaven – is placing the competitiveness of countries like France at a disadvantage.  It will take five years of arduous effort by French President Macron to lower French corporate taxes to 25 percent.  The French Minister of Economy and Finances, Bruno Lemaire, criticized these reforms for technical reasons.  He commented that they will penalize European subsidiaries located in the US and also be an incentive for American companies located in France to relocate to the US.

According to French economist Thomas Piketty, 68.1 percent of the US income tax reduction will benefit just 1 percent of the population, thereby increasing the already exisiting inequalities even further.  For Gerard Courteois, editorial writer of the French national newspaper Le Monde, there is an incoherence in the statement,”Make America great again,” particularly in the use of the word “again.”  Does it apply to the boom years after World War II when it actually was a time of high taxes and international trade?

Trump’s foreign policy is scrutinized by French diplomats and geopoliticians.  Vedrine describes the American president’s policy in the Middle East as a disaster.  Trump has created a confrontational axis with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey against Iran and managed to freeze the Israel-Palestine peace process.  Regarding the European Union (EU), Trump’s objective seems to be its deconstruction.  Trump applauded Brexit and asked “Who is next?”  To European satisfaction, Congress has blocked the confirmation of a Europhobe nominee as US Ambassador to the EU.  The post has not been filled to date.

Trump’s diplomacy is not sophisticated.  It is a bully approach, forever brandishing the threat of more and greater sanctions, whether in the Ukraine, Iran or Korea.  Punitive measures are even taken by Trump toward the Palestinians.  He intends to suspend financial aid because they refuse to sit at the negotiating table.

French diplomats prefer pragmatism and negotiations.  Dominique de Villepin, former foreign minister (2002-2004) and prime minister (2005-2007), believes, for instance, that one has to accept the fact that North Korea is a nuclear power and entice that country to join the international community by helping  its economic development .

However, Vedrine says one should not blame Trump for everything.  Being realistic, France and Europe are not at the center of the world today.  If the US is stepping back, it is a chance for Europe to regain its autonomy.  Villepin suggests that Europe needs to break away from US guardianship .

At the annual Munich conference on security, participants showed for the first time their intention to step up the defense of the EU.  Last year Trump had scolded NATO members for not paying their share leading to the irritation of Washington today.  To put a stop to transatlantic polemics, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, wanted to be conciliatory and declared, “The increase in the European defense budget will reinforce the NATO European pillar.”

Judging from this non-exhaustive list of disagreements, relations between Trump and Europe are not particularly warm right now — in fact, one might be tempted to conclude they are well on the way to just plain bad.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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9 Town Transit Faces Drastic Funding Cuts From State, Seeks Help From Readers to Prevent Them

AREAWIDE — For decades, transportation programs in Connecticut have been funded by a tax on gasoline and diesel fuels that goes into the Special Transportation Fund (STF.)  The 25 cent gas tax has not changed since 2000, while vehicles have become more fuel efficient, both of which combined have resulted in a significant decrease in revenues.

Without action from the legislature, the Connecticut Department of Transportation warns that there will not be enough funding coming into the STF to cover the expenses of the state’s transportation system.  As a result, 9 Town Transit would see a 15 percent reduction in funding in 2018 and a 50 percent reduction of funding in 2019.

9 Town Transit has asked ValleyNewsNow.com to let its readers know that a 15 percent reduction of state funding beginning July 1, 2018 would result in changes such as fare increases, elimination or reduction of bus routes and reduced Dial-A-Ride service.  In addition, a 50 percent reduction of state funding beginning July 1, 2019 would result in changes such as additional fare increases, elimination of most bus routes, elimination of Saturday service and elimination of Dial-A-Ride service.

These changes would have a significant impact on the more than 100,000 trips made each year on these services.  Hundreds of area residents would be stranded, and unable to get to work, school and medical appointments.

9 Town Transit is therefore asking our readers who are transit users and/or supporters to let their state representative and senator know how important 9 Town Transit, Shoreline East and/or other public transit services are to them. We urge our readers to support all these transportation programs in those ways and also to share this message with others, who may not read ValleyNewsNow.com.

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

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CT DOT Schedules Public Hearings Tomorrow in Chester & New London on Proposed Rate Hikes, Service Reductions for Local Bus, Rail, Ferry Services

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Department of Transportation will conduct public hearings on proposed public transit fare increases for bus, rail and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit services; and proposed service reductions to the New Haven Line, New Canaan Line, Danbury Line, Waterbury Line and Shore Line East rail services.
The nearest hearing to the ValleyNewsNow.com coverage area on these proposed changes will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the New London City Hall Council Chambers, 181 State St.  The snow date is Wednesday, March 7, at the same time and location.  There are also hearings scheduled at New Haven (2/20) and Hartford (2/22.)

Additionally, information meetings will be held on proposed Connecticut River ferry fare increases.  The hearing for those will also be on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Chester Town Hall Conference Room, 203 Middlesex Ave., Chester. The snow date is Tuesday, March 6, at the same time and location.

No bus or ADA paratransit services reductions are proposed at this time.

If approved, a rail fare increase would take effect in three phases:

  • 10 percent on July 1, 2018
  • 5 percent on July 1, 2020
  • 5 percent on July 1, 2021, for a cumulative total of 21.28 percent.

A 14.3 percent, or 25-cent, bus fare increase would take effect on July 1, 2018.

Rail service reductions would also take effect on or about July 1, 2018; no bus service changes are proposed at this time.

A $1 increase in the car fare for the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury and Chester-Hadlyme ferries is also proposed.

The rail service proposals include significant reductions to off-peak and weekend rail services on the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branch rail lines, and elimination of off-peak and weekend service as well as significant reductions in peak period service on Shore Line East.

Proposed Bus Fare Increases (pdf)

Proposed Rail Fare Increases

   New Haven Line Proposed Fares to/from Grand Central Terminal – July 2018 (pdf)

   New Haven Line Proposed Fares to/from Grand Central Terminal – July 2020 (pdf)

   New Haven Line Proposed Fares to/from Grand Central Terminal – July 2021 (pdf)

   New Haven Line Proposed Intermediate Station Fares – July 2018 (pdf)

   New Haven Line Proposed Intermediate Station Fares – July 2020 (pdf)

   New Haven Line Proposed Intermediate Station Fares – July 2021 (pdf)

   New Haven Line UniTicket Proposed Fares 2018-2021 (pdf)

   Shore Line East and UniRail Proposed Fares – July 2018 (pdf)

   Shore Line East and UniRail Proposed Fares – July 2020 (pdf)

   Shore Line East and UniRail Proposed Fares – July 2021 (pdf)

   Hartford Line Proposed Fares – July 2018

   Hartford Line Proposed Fares – July 2020

   Hartford Line Proposed Fares – July 2021

Proposed Rail Service Reductions

   New Haven Line and Branch Line Weekday Service Reductions – July 2018 (pdf)

   New Haven Line and Branch Line Weekend Service Reductions – July 2018 (pdf)

   Shore Line East Service Reductions – July 2018 (pdf)

Proposed Ferry Fare Increase (pdf)

Service and Fare Equity (SAFE) Analysis (pdf) (available 2/20/18)

Public hearings on the proposed bus and rail fare increases and rail service reductions, and informational meetings on ferry fare increases, will be held as follows:

In case of inclement weather, public hearings or informational meetings that need to be re-scheduled will be announced through local media and on the CTDOT website at www.ct.gov/dot

At these hearings, CTDOT will provide information and accept public comments about the fare and service proposals and the Service and Fare Equity (SAFE) Analysis.  The SAFE Analysis evaluates the proposed changes to determine if they will cause a disparate impact to minority populations or have a disproportionate burden on low income populations.

The proposed fare increases and service reductions may be viewed on the Department’s website at www.ct.gov/dot/farecomments. The Service and Fare Equity (SAFE) Analysis is available for public review as of Friday, Feb. 16. Note the SAFE will not be available until Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Written comments on the proposed fare changes must be received by March 9, 2018 at COMMENT ON PROPOSED FARE AND SERVICE CHANGES, Bureau of Public Transportation, P.O. Box 317546, Newington, CT 06131-7546 or via e-mail to dot.farecomments@ct.gov

The meeting facilities are ADA accessible. Language assistance may be requested by contacting the Department’s Office of Rail at (203) 497-3374 at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting. Persons with a hearing and/or speech disability may dial 711 for Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). Language assistance is provided at no cost to the public, and efforts will be made to respond to timely requests for assistance. 

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Welcome to Betsy Groth, our new ‘Family Wellness’ Columnist

Betsy Groth

We are delighted to welcome Betsy Groth to our stable of writers today. She is an APRN, PMHS – BC and a pediatric nurse practitioner with advanced certification in pediatric mental health.  She is a counselor, mental health educator and parent coach in Old Lyme and will be writing a monthly column for us on ‘Family Wellness.’  

In this introductory column, she explains the background to her column and some of the subjects she will be covering. 

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

Family is defined by Merriam Webster as, “the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children; also: any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family.” But we all know in today’s society, family is defined more broadly both theoretically and practically speaking.

Wright and Bell (2009) define family as a group of individuals bound by strong emotional ties, a sense of belonging and a passion for being involved in one another’s lives. There is usually a generational aspect to our definition of family and a sense of development over time. We think of families that are couples, families with young children, families with older children, families that have launched the younger generation, and families caring for aged members.

There is no universally accepted definition of wellness. It has been described as “… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” This state of being is a lofty goal for any individual or family!  But it can be a sought after goal, the “ball” on which we all keep our eye.

Development as an individual and as a family has some built-in challenges to wellness, in addition to the joys to be found at each stage. There are also some often unexpected challenges and struggles, such as illness in a family member, academic struggles, financial difficulties, strained relations within the family.

This monthly column will explore factors in family and individual wellness, and approaches to maintain the goal of optimal wellness. Topics will include stress and anxiety in children and adolescents (next month), caring for aging parents, coping with chronic illness, raising children in a competitive society, and adjusting to first time parenthood.

And of course, I am always listening to families and the areas that they would like addressed in these columns, so please drop me a line at betsy.groth.aprn.pmhs@gmail.com if there’s anything in particular you would like me to discuss.

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Republican Ziobron Joins Race for 33rd State Senate Seat

State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-34th) who has announced her candidacy for the State Senate 33rd District seat.

Republican State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-34th) has announced her candidacy for the 33rd State Senate District a day after Democratic Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (D) had announced his campaign for the same district. which includes the Town of Lyme.  This is Ziobron’s first run for a State Senate seat while Needleman ran unsuccessfully in 2016 for the 33rd District seat against then incumbent State Senator Republican Art Linares.

Linares is not seeking re-election in 2018 and has announced his candidacy for State Treasurer.

Ziobron is in her third term as State Representative for the 34th District comprising East Hampton, East Haddam and part of Colchester. Needleman is in his fourth as Essex First Selectman.

Ziobron explains in a letter to her supporters that her decision to run for the Senate seat represents, “a change in course,” so that she can rise to , “the greater challenge of serving as State Senator in the 33rdDistrict.” She notes, “This larger, 12-town district includes three towns I’ve been honored to represent — East Hampton, East Haddam and Colchester – and nine more in the Connecticut River Valley that I will be spending many hours meeting new friends and voters this spring.”

Ziobron says in her letter that the reason why she is running is simply, “Because I love the 34th State House District, and the CT River Valley Towns of the 33rd State Senate District, and our entire state – I want to see all of our friends and neighbors prosper.”  She mentions the challenges of the current budget situation and states, “It’s no secret we urgently need to address the state’s chronic over-spending!”

Laying out what she sees as the requirements of the incoming 33rd District State Senator, Ziobron writes, “We need a strong voice in the State Senate who: 1) is a proven fighter and has a reputation for putting their constituents first, fighting full-time for their small town communities, and 2) can immediately and effectively navigate the difficult legislative landscape, with the proven and dedicated commitment needed to focus on the budget, and 3) fights for fiscally conservative policies and has a record of implementing them, with bipartisan support, at the Capitol.”

Ziobron comments that she has, “thought a lot about one question,” which is, “How can I best help my state first survive over the near term, and then thrive over the long term?” She responds to her own question, “No matter which legislative chamber I serve, I will work to protect my district and offer the same high level of constituent service, and active community involvement – along with a laser-like focus on reducing wasteful and unneeded state spending,” concluding, “The bottom line: I can help more people in our state in service as your State Senator.”

Noting how well she knows the 33rd State Senate District, Ziobron describes it as, “an amazing treasure,” saying, “I’ve never imagined myself living anywhere else,” adding, “I’m thrilled for this opportunity to expand my many years of dedicated public service to this beautiful part of the state, I love.”

For more information on Ziobron, visit www.melissaziobron.com

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Letter From Paris: Book That Wins France’s Top Literary Prize Raises Chilling Questions About WWII History

Nicole Prévost Logan

Coincidence or not ?

The prestigious French literary Prix Goncourt came out came just a few weeks before the election of 31-year-old Sebastian Kurtz as chancellor of Austria.  Many would say that election marked another step by the European Union along the road toward nationalism.

The topic of the novel is the Anschluss.  With devastating sarcasm the author, Eric Vuillard, puts the magnates of German industry on trial for profiting from the Nazi regime and the Austrian people for welcoming the invading German army on March 12  1938. The title itself is ironic since L’Ordre du Jour – which translates as ‘the order of the day’ or ‘the agenda’ – refers to a democratic assembly, which in the book will soon be abolished by Hitler.

It is a very short book (only 150 pages) printed in an unusual miniature format.  But it is a striking story, beautifully written, leading the reader through shocking scenes in which cruel humor is mixed with great despair.  Vuillard, is also a film maker, which explains the way he stages the story as seen through a camera, with colorful images, a sound track, leading actors and supporting crowds.

The action starts on February 20th, 1933, in Potsdam.  Twenty-four managers of the German industry – Gustav Krupp, Wilhem von Opel, Günther Quandt, Kurt Schmitt and others – are waiting in the ante-chamber of the Reichstag at the pleasure of its president, Hermann Goering.  The 24 grey-haired gentlemen, dressed in formal black or brown coats, with stiff shirt collars and striped pants, resemble the bare trees lining the Spree river in the winter.

Goering is late but the visitors wait patiently.

When he finally shows up, the guests raise like lizards on their hind legs.  Hitler – appointed chancellor just one month before – makes his entry and greets his guests.  At the end of the meeting, as expected from them, the managers obsequiously make their meager contribution of several millions Deutschmarks to help the Nazi war effort.

Vuillard turns the Anschluss into a farce. Using threats, lies, and brutal intimidation, Hitler manipulates the Austrian chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg, making him totally helpless, bulldozed by the Nazi timetable.

February 12, 1938, is the second decisive date in Vuillard’s story.  Hitler has invited Schuschnigg for a secret lunch at Berchtesgaden, his mountain retreat in the Bavarian Alps.  It is an ominous sequence.  When the doors close behind the guest, the reader feels a sense of foreboding.

Overwhelmed by the hypnotic personality of Hitler, Schuschnigg caves in and has to agree to all his  demands: appointment of the Nazi Seyss-Inquart to the post of minister of the Interior;  amnesty of those condemned for the assassination of the Austrian chancellor Dollfuss in 1934; rehabilitation of all national socialist officials.  Having said that, Hitler reaffirms the independence of Austria.  Wasn’t that the ultimate?  asks Vuillard.

On the eve of the planned invasion, Mr and Mrs Ribbentrop (he is the German foreign minister) are invited to dinner at Downing Street.  The author describes in detail the menu of French cuisine and the wine list.  The conversation is light and animated.  All seem interested in tennis and the performance of Bill Tilden, who won the Davis cup seven times.

Toward the end of the dinner, a staff member brings a note to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who becomes preoccupied.  Vuillard writes: “Winston Churchill opens his big cocker spaniel eyes.”  The Chamberlains are getting impatient but, out of sheer British politeness, do not show it.  Guests start leaving but the Ribbentrops linger on, saying endless goodbyes.

The camera jumps to the car where the German couple is now on its way home.  They burst out laughing.  They knew all along what was in the note … German troops have just crossed the Austrian border.

The story reaches its climax when the German forces are ready to pounce on Vienna on March 12, 1938.  The sky is a bright blue but it is freezing cold.  The Panzers are massed by the border but a problem arises — they run out of gas and a monumental traffic jam occurs.  It is hard to pull out a tool kit by the side of the road in sub-zero temperatures.

Hitler, who at first was elated by the prospect of entering Vienna with cheering crowds waving small flags and  blond-braided, young girls throwing flowers at the German soldiers, is now stuck on the road along with hundreds of armored cars.  When an army experiences a breakdown en route, ridicule is guaranteed.

Hitler cannot contain his anger and keeps shouting. By dusk, his Mercedes reaches Linz, the town where he spent his youth.  On March 15, the poor Austrian population, abused, but finally submissive, stands in front of Sisi’s palace to hear Hitler’s hoarse voice vociferate insults.  In a referendum, Austrians voted 99.7 percent in favor of the annexation by the Reich.

What happened to the 24 captains of industry we met in 1933?

During the war years, they made an incredible amount of money by employing cheap labor from Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, Buchenwald or Dachau.  They may have died of old age, but their empires live on, stronger than ever … BMW, BASf, Bayer, IG Farbem, Siemens, Tellefunken, Opel, and Thyssen-Krupp.

Exaggerated or not, the fact is that such a novel gives the reader a major jolt.  It is a literary feat, which revives dark moments of history that one should never forget.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Norm Needleman Announces Campaign for State Senate, First Selectman and Business Leader to Run for 33rd State Senate District

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman who yesterday announced a second run for the 33rd State Senate District.

ESSEX, CT — Today, Essex First Selectman and successful businessman Norm Needleman announced his campaign as a Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, promising to use his business and small town leadership experience to bring people together to get Connecticut back on track.

The seat will be vacant due to the incumbent Senator Art Linares (R) moving out of the District and announcing his candidacy for State Treasurer.

“Leading a small town and building a business taught me that the best way to get things done is to put people and their needs ahead of party politics,” said Needleman. “I respect taxpayers’ dollars because I know how hard you’ve worked to earn them.”

He continued, “That’s why as First Selectman, I brought Democrats and Republicans together, found consensus, solved problems, and kept property taxes among the lowest in the state without cutting services. If elected State Senator for the 33rd District, I will make a clean break from the decades of bickering and harmful policies that have come from Hartford, and I will get Connecticut working for the towns in our district.”

“As an elected town official, I’ve seen the work Norm does as the First Selectman of Essex,” said Colchester Selectman Rosemary Coyle. “Norm governs in a fiscally responsible manner, making sound decisions. His hands-on, small town government experience in the legislature will benefit our communities and help us build a brighter future for our children and families.”

Needleman, who campaigned for the seat in 2016, is currently in his fourth term as Essex First Selectman. He has over 20 years of experience advocating for his small town, having previously served as an Essex Selectman, a member of the Essex Zoning Board of Appeals, and a member of the Essex Economic Development Commission.

Needleman is also a member of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, helping the 17 member towns coordinate various government functions. He is also a board member of Valley Shore Emergency Communications, a center formed by local pubic safety professionals to handle emergency call processing and dispatching needs for communities throughout the region.

“Building a company from the ground up has given me invaluable experience on how to grow jobs and create a region where businesses want to start and thrive,” said Needleman. “I will be a State Senator who will create good-paying jobs in our towns and throughout Connecticut.”

Needleman founded Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company, 38 years ago. The company has grown to become a leader in its field, employing over 250 people. As a leading CEO in the region, he serves as a board member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. He is also a board member of Valley Shore Emergency Communications, a center formed by local pubic safety professionals to handle emergency call processing and dispatching needs for communities throughout the region.

“Norm asks the right questions, and is willing to listen to all options,” said Centerbrook businessman and Clinton resident Gary Stevens. “I believe that with Norm’s insight into the way that a successful business (his) is run and considering the wasteful and unnecessary spending habits of the State, he could go a long way to make the government a more responsible entity.” Stevens, an unaffiliated voter who has known Needleman since the 1980s, owns Stevens Excavating, Inc. and has worked with Needleman on numerous projects.

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

Needleman lives in Essex with Jacqueline Hubbard, the Executive Director of the Ivoryton Playhouse. His two sons and their families also live in Essex.

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Letter From Paris: The Seine is Flooding … Again

Nicole Prévost Logan

The Paris floods crested Friday, Jan. 26, at almost six meters, therefore slightly lower than in June 2016 . They did not even make the ‘Top 10’ among the most destructive floods of the past 100 years. The monster flood of 1910 saw the river’s level rise eight meters and 60 centimeters.  However, the inhabitants in the communities upstream from the city, who have been underwater for days and have now been flooded twice in 18 months, were certainly entitled to call it a natural disaster brought on by the global warming.

The submerged tree and lamp post in the foreground show the depth of the flooding on the Seine.  The Hotel de Ville stands at right in the background while the Ile de la Cité is at right. Photo by Stylvia Logan.

Monumental work has been done in the past century to protect the capital and the resultant price is paid by the surrounding areas.   Paris is such a strategic place that it has to be protected by a system of locks and reservoirs, both up and down stream. Besides, France is endowed with numerous waterways and this is particularly true in the Paris basin.  The Seine’s tributaries — Marne, Yonne, Aube and Loing — flow toward Paris.  In the case of extreme precipitation, these small rivers easily overflow and submerge their unprotected banks.  The small towns of Champagne, Moret or Thomery, only 30 minutes by train south of Paris, had disappeared underwater by midweek.

The banks of the Seine are submerged while the Cathedral of Notre Dame still stands proudly in the background. Photo by Sylvia Logan.

In prehistoric times, the Seine was a shallow stream, indolent and undisciplined, moving its bed all over the place.  The most northern of its secondary beds followed what is today the ring of Grands Boulevards and flowed from the Bastille, along the hills of Buttes Chaumont and Montmartre, and back down to the main channel below the hill of Chaillot.   On the Left Bank, the Seine also had a secondary bed, which used to flow under the modern Boulevard Saint Germain. 

The restaurant ”Calife,” which is moored in the middle of the river near the Pont des Arts, is flooded.  Photo by Sylvia Logan.

Between 1991 and 1993, excavations prior to the building of the new Bercy district, brought to light spectacular remains of human settlements on the banks of the wandering Seine river.  Neolithic pirogues dating back to more than 3,000 years BC are exposed today in the Orangerie of the Carnavalet museum. They are the oldest found in Europe.

The construction of massive stone quays in Paris started in  the 14th century.  In 1991, they became part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

By midweek , as the peak of the floods approached, there was no panic among the city officials, engineers and technicians, but a feverish activity to prevent disaster.  By way of precaution, the RERC running along the river, was closed until the end of the month.  Already the treasures exposed on the lower levels of the Louvre and Orsay museums had been moved to safe locations.  The great danger was that the dense network of cables, pipes and wiring, providing gas, electricity and internet, and lying eight floor deep underground would be reached  by the water.

Crowds gather above the famous Zouave statue on the Pont de l’Alma. Photo by Karen Logan

Curious onlookers have been following the progress of water on the statue of the Zouave at the Pont de l’Alma.  The statue was placed below the bridge in 1836 to mark one of the battles at Alma, near Sebastopol, during the Crimean war (1853-56.) 

The Zouave at the Pont de l’Alma has been a point of reference for the severity of Seine floods for centuries.. Photo by Karen Logan

The  coalition of France, England and the Ottoman Empire wanted to put a stop to the expansionist policy of the Russian Tsar Alexander II (1856-1881.) The Zouaves were part of the Algerian light brigade in the days of French Algeria — their bright red baggy pants were famous. 

Down he goes!  As the waters rise, the Zouave at the Pont de l’Alma disappears deeper into the River Seine. Photo by Karen Logan

Although not very reliable – since the statue was raised by 40-80 centimeters  in 1970 – the Zouave remains the most popular indicator of the severity of the floods in Paris.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Red Sox Invite VRHS Students to Submit Applications for 2018 Service Scholarship

AREAWIDE – For the 8th consecutive year, the Boston Red Sox Foundation is seeking submissions from inspiring senior students, who are dedicated to making a positive impact in their communities, for the New England Red Sox Service Scholarship. The annual scholarship honors academically-inclined high school seniors who have demonstrated a commitment to community service. Those selected will receive a $1,000 college scholarship and recognition during a special pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park.

“We are continually inspired by high school students’ charitable endeavors and seek to recognize and reward their ongoing dedication to promoting social good,” said Linda Henry, Red Sox Foundation Board Member. “We are very pleased with the growth of the Service Scholarship program and we are eager to hear about this year’s seniors who are going above and beyond in their communities.”

The Red Sox Service Scholarship, presented by Jenzabar and sponsored by Ford Motor Company Fund, was first introduced in New Hampshire in 2010 and has since expanded to honor students in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont as well. This year, the Scholarship Program will be available to students in more than 200 schools throughout New England.

Submissions for Connecticut seniors are due Feb.16, 2018.

For more details and to apply visit, redsoxfoundation.org/service-scholarships.

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Letter From Paris: Emmanuel Macron Goes to China

Nicole Prévost Logan

At first sight, the January visit of Emmanuel Macron to meet Xi Jinping might have appeared like the futile encounter between David and  Goliath.  But, in fact, it was a well thought-out strategic move and an illustration of Macron’s personal style of diplomacy.

Never before had any French president gone to China so early in his mandate. He timed his visit to seize the opportunity of a world stage left vacant by most of the players.

He came as an European leader, not as a French one. He stepped into the role Angela Merkel  –– still embroiled in internal political negotiations to create a coalition government — had played for many years.

The trip was put under the symbols of history and culture shared by France and China.  Instead of Pekin, it started in Xi-an, Shaansi province, where the discovery of an imperial tomb made world headlines in 1974.  The tomb contained 8,000 terracotta warriors, horses, and chariots, dating back from the golden age of the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD.)

During her several visits to Asia, German chancellor Merkel had openly blamed the Chinese government for its violation of human rights.  Unfortunately, this method did not bring any positive results. 

French President Emmanuel Macron

Macron chose a more pragmatic approach, limiting his criticisms to subliminal  remarks.  According to analysts, his diplomacy can be described as “Gaullienne.”  At a press conference in 1964, General de Gaulle abandoned his aloof and philosophical tone and declared that, to talk with leaders having opposing views, did not mean having to agree with or condone them.

Linguistics can create difficulties since the key words used be the two sides may have different meanings.  Take for instance the definition of “terrorism.”  For Xi Jinping, it mostly refers to the activity of the autonomists Ouïgours whereas for  Macron it means the bomb attacks inflicted on the French population by radical followers of Daesch.

To conduct diplomacy with China is to enter a minefield.  Two examples.  One does not attack China frontally for its action in the South China seas because the Chinese government considers this region as its private turf.  Macron would like China to help with the efforts of the G5 to fight terrorism in the Sahel but it might become a two-sided sword because interference by China in the region is not really wanted.

On the crucial topic of the nuclear threat coming from North Korea, the French president could only reinforce the European Union (EU) position.  He complimented Xi Jinping for becoming the world leader in the fight against global warming, and for being a staunch defender of the Paris Accord.

Fifty CEOs of leading French companies were part of the trip, which was marked by the signing of enormous contracts.  The Chinese government ordered 134 A320 Airbus commercial  planes.  AREVA, the French multinational specialized in nuclear power and renewable energy, signed an agreement China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to build facilities for the reprocessing of nuclear waste.  The largest existing plant in the world is located in La Hague, near Le Havre.  Cooperation in the agro-business will be developed.  The Chinese enjoy French beef but since 2011 an embargo had been imposed on the imports following the “mad cow” disease.

The surplus of the Franco-Chinese trade balance amounts to $30 billion in favor of China.  Macron wants too re-equilibrate those figures.  His objective is to widen the types of exports beside foodstuff or cosmetics and include digital technology, artificial intelligence and other sectors.

The silk road sounds like a romantic concept, which makes one dream. but in reality it is pharaonic project where the Chinese plan to invest around $1,000 billions to build a network of rail, maritime, land, or air routes to export its products.  Almost needless to say, this project is worrying many … starting with Macron, who declares that the silk road should be a two-way road.  Historically the silk road was developed in the Han dynasty and its starting point was the town of Xi-an (cf. above.)

During the official visit to Pekin of the French presidential couple, it was impossible not to notice the spectacular redcoat (red is a symbolic color in Chinese, meaning happiness) worn by Brigitte Macron.

Translated into Chinese phonetics, the name Macron means “the horse that dominates the dragon.”  Is that perhaps a good omen for Emmanuel Macron?

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Understanding Your Best Friend: Phil Klein, Certified Dog Listener Speaks at Essex Library, Feb 10

ESSEX — Phil Klein will present a kind and lasting methodology for gaining your dog’s cooperation based on its instincts. Learn how canines see the world and the underlying reasons for unwanted behaviors like hyperactivity, destructive chewing, incessant barking, toileting in the house, jumping on guests, and aggression.

Learn the four main areas of canine communications, including the leadership signals that will eliminate or minimize these behaviors and turn your dog into a relaxed, joyful companion. Bring your questions, but not your dog for an informative, fun event at the Essex Library on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.

Klein’s path to becoming a Dog Listener started when his family rescued a special dog named Abby from Labs4Rescue.  At the time, he had no idea about the journey he would be privileged to take with Abby.  Abby’s behavioral challenges were the motivation for Klein to learn a lot more about dogs and find a way to help Abby overcome her fears. 

In the process,Klein discovered Jan Fennell, The Dog Listener who had developed a revolutionary method for training dogs based on their instincts.  In April 2009,Klein attended Jan Fennell’s Foundation and Advanced Canine Communications courses, thereby becoming a Certified Dog Listener. 

Through in-home consultations, volunteer work with Labs4Rescue and other rescue organizations, and public talks,Klein has been honored to help hundreds of dog owners and their dogs.

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

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Community Music School Hosts Free Preview Week Through Friday

Community Music School, located at 90 Main Street in Centerbrook and 179 Flanders Road in East Lyme, welcomes the general public to enjoy a variety of music programming during Free Preview Week scheduled for Jan. 29 through Feb. 2, 2018.

Children and adults are invited to schedule a free 30-minute preview lesson, and sample a vast array of programs for all ages including private and group lessons, Suzuki violin, adult cabaret, senior band, string ensembles, music therapy, Kindermusik, and more.

The public is welcome to observe any group class or ensemble during Free Preview Week.

Community Music School is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.mMonday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Those interested in a 30-minute preview lesson can schedule it by calling 860-767-0026 or emailing info@community-music-school.org.

Musical instruction is available for all ages, all abilities, and all genres.

For additional information, visit www.community-music-school.org/programs, call 860-767-0026, or email info@community-music-school.org.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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See a Live Raptor Presentation by ‘A Place Called Hope’ at Essex Meadows, Saturday

A member of A Place Called Hope holds a Snowy Owl during a recent demonstration.

ESSEX — Want to get a close up look at live birds of prey?

The Essex Land Trust hosts A Place Called Hope, Inc., a raptor rehabilitation and education center specializing in the rescue and care of Connecticut’s wild injured, orphaned or ill birds of prey, Saturday, Feb. 3, at 2 p.m. at Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Rd., Essex.

The goal of this volunteer-based organization is to preserve wildlife for the future by protecting wild raptor species and promoting an understanding of how we as humans can lessen conflicts with wildlife in our very own backyards. Handlers share resident raptor species with the public for a unique up close experience as each bird shares its own personal story of survival.

All ages welcome.

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Pfeiffer Presents Final Lecture in Winter Series on Natural, Industrial and Maritime History This Afternoon

Falls River Cove during the spring floods.  Courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Essex Historical Society, Essex Meadows and Essex Land Trust co-sponsor, “Follow the Falls River: Natural, Industrial and Maritime History,” this year’s Annual Winter Lecture Series.

ESSEX – Explore Essex’s rich history along the Falls River in the popular Winter Lecture Series presented by Essex Historical Society (EHS), Essex Meadows and Essex Land Trust (ELT), Sundays, Jan. 14, 21 and 28, at 3 p.m. Each illustrated talk will feature in-depth discussion of the resources – natural, human or industrial — along the waterway that ties together the town’s three villages. 

Titled, “Follow the Falls,” the series is part of a year-long collaborative program between EHS and ELT.  All lectures are held at Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, at 3 p.m. on those Sundays.  The programs are free and open to the public. 

The series begins on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 3 p.m. with “Falls River Cove Estuary,” led by naturalist Phil Miller of Bushy Hill Nature Center.  Mr. Miller will describe the flora, fauna and ecology of the Falls River Estuary and will elaborate on the area’s natural resources that were ideal for settlement by both Native and European populations. 

On Sunday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m., Brenda Milkofsky will present “Enterprise and  Industry Along the Falls River,” an examination of the mills, forges, cottage industries and larger manufacturies all powered by this dammable waterway with its natural falls.  Ms. Milkofsky, the Founding Director of the CT River Museum, elaborates on the work of Bill Grover, a partner in Centerbrook Architects, a firm located on the site of various industries.  She will explain how the development of all three of Essex’s villages depended upon harnessing the Falls River’s waterpower.  

The series concludes on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 3 p.m., as Dr. John Pfeiffer, Professor Emeritus, Archaeology, Wesleyan University, will address the historic Williams Shipyard at Falls River Cove and Osage Trails Preserve. Dr. Pfeiffer will explain how the shipbuilding complex’s foundations still lie beneath the river’s silt.  Examining the site in detail paints a vivid picture of early interdependent maritime trades, all operated by one family from 1790-1845 – a thriving, pre-industrial complex paralleling the village’s growth as a seaport community. 

All lectures are held in beautiful Hamilton Hall, Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Road, Essex.  Free and open to the public.  More information can be found at www.essexhistory.org or by calling Essex Historical Society, 860-767-0681.

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‘Essex Ed’s Identity Will be Revealed in Today’s Annual Groundhog Day Parade on Main St., Essex

Groundhog fun at a previous parade.

ESSEX — Grab your pots and pans and head to Essex Village this afternoon, Sunday, Jan. 28, at 2 p.m. for one of the most popular parades of the year.

“Essex Ed”, a larger-than-life ground hog, will make his annual pilgrimage from Essex Boat Works on Ferry Street up to the top of Main Street leading a parade of antique cars, fife & drum corps, residents, and visitors.

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

All are invited to join in and encouraged to bring their own noisemakers and ground hog gear to celebrate the day.

Each year, Essex Ed is dressed in unique attire to acknowledge a special occasion or person. As always, this year’s costume is a secret but organizers guarantee that it will be a “huge hit” when Ed makes his appearance.

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CT River Museum Offers Range of Winter Wildlife Programs, Activities

Eagles on Ice: White-headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River. Photo by Mark Yuknat.

ESSEX — Winter along the Connecticut River brings many things – including cold winds and grey skies.  But the change in seasons also signals a shift in the ecology of New England’s Great River.  The osprey, the swallows and the egrets may be gone, but in their place now are mergansers, goldeneyes, and the highlight – bald eagles.  These once rare, majestic birds can be seen fishing along the unfrozen lower Connecticut River, a testament to one of the greatest environmental recoveries of the last half century.  To highlight these winter wonders, Connecticut River Museum (CRM) has planned a range of programs and activities.

Connecticut River Museum is happy to again partner with Connecticut River Expeditions to offer Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises in February and March.  These popular trips offer visitors a chance to get out on the River in winter to see eagles, as well as other winter species that visit the estuary such as harbor seals.

This seal is relaxing on the Connecticut River ice. Photo by Bill Yule.

Cruises aboard the environmentally friendly R/V RiverQuest provide passengers with a comfortable, heated cabin supplied with hot coffee and tea, as well as binoculars to aid in spotting and narration from a staff naturalist.  These cruises depart Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at various times in the morning and early afternoon, and are $42 per passenger.  Museum members get 10 percent off and group rates are available.

In addition, the Museum will offer its annual Eagles of Essex exhibit, which offers a wealth of information about bald eagles and their return to the lower Connecticut River.  Patrons can try their hand at building an eagle nest, and marvel at life size silhouettes of Eagles and other large raptors, a map showing good shore viewing locations, and other displays.

On the opening day of the season, Saturday, Feb. 3, the exhibit will host Family Activities related to the return of the Eagles from 1 to 4 p.m., free with Museum admission.

On Saturday, Feb. 17 and March 17, award-winning photographer Stanley Kolber returns to CRM to offer his annual Bird Photography Workshop.  Kolber has been photographing birds for years, and takes great pleasure in sharing his experience with aspiring photographers of all levels, through anecdotes, slides, and question and answer.  In addition to helping skills development, his greatest pleasure in giving workshops is the opportunity to kindle and encourage his audience’s interest in the natural world.  He hopes that young people as well as adults will attend the workshops, so that he can impart some of his own enthusiasm to the next generation.  These popular programs are also free with Museum admission.

Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months. Photo by Joan Meek.

A Live Birds of Prey Show will be offered on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m.  CRM will partner with Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation Organization for this annual show, which features a bald eagle and several other species of raptors.  Visitors will be able to get an up close look at the birds while learning more about the lifecycle and ecology of these magnificent animals.  This event will be held at the Centerbrook Meeting House and is free to the public.

For a full listing of event details, 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. The Connecticut River Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For more information, call CRM at 860.767.8269 or RiverQuest at 860.662.0577.

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State Holds Flu Vaccination Day on Saturday; Local Clinics in Saybrook, New London

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

AREAWIDE — In effort to protect the public’s health and reduce the spread of the influenza (flu) virus, which has heavily affected the state, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is teaming up with local health departments to provide free or low cost influenza vaccine at several locations across the state on Saturday, Jan. 27. DPH strongly encourages all Connecticut residents over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot, and is working with local health departments and districts to make it easy to get one.

The full list of clinics and their locations is at this link.

The two clinics in or local to our coverage area, which are open on Saturday, are:

Old Saybrook
CT River Area Health District Office, 455 Boston Post Rd, Old Saybrook (Saybrook Junction)
10am-1pm
860-661-3300 (M-F)

New London
Ledge Light Health District:
216 Broad St. New London
11am-1pm
860-448-4882 (M-F)

You may attend any of the clinics listed regardless of the town you live in. If you have an insurance card bring one with you. Your insurance will be billed a small administration fee, but you will not be charged anything out of pocket. The vaccine is free.

In addition to the schedule below, many local health departments around the state are conducting on-going flu clinics. If you cannot attend one listed, check with your local health department for upcoming flu clinics.  Click here to find your local health department.

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Cappella Hosts Late Registration/Rehearsal for Haydn’s ‘Creation’

AREAWIDE — Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus late registration and second rehearsal for its spring concert will take place Monday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River. Use the rear entrance.

Auditions are not required.

The concert will feature Haydn’s masterpiece, “The Creation,” that includes the well-known “The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God.” It will be performed Sunday, April 22, with professional soloists and orchestra with Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera directing.

Registration is $40; music is $13.

For more information visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.

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Op-Ed: In Light of Current Events, Head of The Country School Confirms, Defends School’s Mission

By John D. Fixx, Head of School at The Country School

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a moment in which people in the United States and throughout the world celebrate a gentleman who gave his life striving for equality and the principle that all people are created equal.

Our country has stood for generations as an example of hope for people throughout the world. Many relatives of our families and teachers arrived here recently or generations ago. Some arrived as slaves. Some arrived voluntarily to seek a better life of freedom, opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness.

I am concerned that students have recently been hearing from the White House, the entertainment world, and the sports world that not all people are created equal. I send this letter, therefore, to make it clear how language and actions in the news today are counter to our mission at The Country School — to make it clear that as educators we will honor forthright questions from inquisitive students while striving to respect parental prerogative and disparate political viewpoints. It should not be controversial to deplore language and actions that undermine the bedrock on which the United States has been built and has prospered.

Our students might be reading on their phones and hearing stories about the mistreatment of women in Hollywood, on Olympic teams, and by influential men in broadcasting and elsewhere, while also hearing reports of hateful, racist, dangerous words from Washington that are inappropriate to use anywhere on our campus or use, many would argue, anywhere in a polite, civil society.

The Country School’s mission reads, “We nurture every student’s unique role in the community,” and that means that we value their differences. We live our mission daily by “encouraging students to embrace differences, explore new perspectives, and find common ground in a multicultural world.” We honor this ethos especially through our IDEA (Interpreting Diversity Education through Action) Day and Theme Day workshops, but also every day when we teach empathy and kindness.

I am tremendously proud of The Country School’s increasing diversity, as measured in terms of race, culture, family structures, religion, nationality, socio-economic status, and so forth. Our students’ families come from at least 27 different countries and their parents and grandparents speak some 17 languages at home. Our community spans the world, from Poland to Portugal and from China to Cambodia, from India to Israel to Italy to Ireland to Iceland, from Taiwan to Texas, from Lima to London, from Hungary to Sudan, and from California to Colombia. As educators, we cannot defend the idea that some families’ countries are worse or better than other countries.

Our core values state that our students “practice empathy by considering different perspectives and making all members of the community feel welcomed, included, and respected.” The Country School’s Mission Statement speaks to character and leadership development. As we teach our students in the Elmore Leadership Program, there are many ways to lead, and the best leaders bring disparate groups together to accomplish more than any individual could achieve on her or his own. And as part of the Elmore Leadership Program, we also teach students that leaders should use elegant, elevated language, and they should avoid profanity, misogyny, and similar “locker room” language.

We routinely answer questions as candidly and cleanly as we can, keeping our politics as adults as neutral as possible. I write this not to address specific tax policies or the Russian investigation, or a Mexican border wall, or trade agreements, or North Korean missiles, and so forth.

Rather, I want to make clear that it is part of our leadership mission at The Country School to ensure that our students understand that people can disagree agreeably, can use civil and respectful language, and — whether in Connecticut, Washington D.C., New York, or Hollywood — can always follow our primary school rule:

        1. Be kind.

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 215 students in PreSchool to Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. See our community in action during our Open House on January 28 from 1-3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Connecticut and Climate Change … What’s Happening? Find Out Tonight at Essex Town Hall

ESSEX — On Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. in Essex Town Hall, Connecticut Sea Grant College Program Education Educator Juliana Barrett, Ph.D. will explore climate change impacts for Connecticut over the next 100 years, information and tools that are available on the subject, and adaptation strategies to improve our resilience.  All are welcome to this free lecture sponsored by the Essex Land Trust.

Hurricanes Irene and Sandy showed just how vulnerable coastal Connecticut is to storm damage and flooding. These events challenge communities to come up with adaptation strategies to deal with impacts from climate.

Barrett’s work focuses on climate adaptation and resilience as well as habitat management and restoration working with Connecticut’s municipalities, NGO’s and state and federal partners. She has developed numerous tools and websites for coastal and inland residents on native plantings and habitats.

Barrett has a doctorate in plant ecology from the University of Connecticut and is a co-author of the Vegetation of Connecticut. She recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary with the University of Connecticut.

Essex Town Hall is at 29 West Ave., Essex.

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Volunteers Needed to Help Valley Shore Residents With Literacy Challenges

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization.  Its mission is to train tutors to help residents of the Valley Shore area who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills.  This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a 14-hour program conducted over seven sessions held each spring and again in the fall of every year.  The next training session begins March 22 and runs through May 15. Workshop Leaders have developed a comprehensive program that provides prospective tutors the skills and resources to help them succeed.

A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to helping a student improve their skill in basic literacy or English as a Second Language over the period of one year after the completion of training.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, contact the Literacy Volunteers office in the lower level of the Westbrook Public Library by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at jargersinger@lvvs.org .  Registration for the spring session is open now.

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Community Music School Hosts Cheese Rolling & Taste of Italy Fundraiser, Feb. 10

Rolling the cheese is so much fun!

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS) will present their second annual Taste of Italy fundraiser with a lively game of Italian cheese rolling on Feb. 10, 2018 at Angelini Wine in Centerbrook. Event proceeds will benefit scholarships and outreach programs at Community Music School.

This event is presented by Guilford Savings Bank and includes fine Italian wines, cheese, antipasto, and a full spread of authentic, homemade Italian food. Guests will test their bowling skills with a little friendly competition in a rousing party game of cheese rolling, a tradition in many parts of Italy.

What is cheese rolling, anyway?  It’s a hilarious Italian game similar to bowling … but with a wheel of Pecorino! Guests are encouraged to join the fun, either on the sidelines or in the middle of the action. Winner takes home the cheese.

Over the past few years, CMS has partnered with Angelini Wine to present unique benefit events that blend the arts with intimate guided tastings offered behind the scenes at the Angelini warehouse. Guilford Savings Bank joined as presenting sponsor in 2014 and Lewitz, Balosie, Wollack, Rayner & Giroux LLC is also on board as a partner this year.

Tickets are $65 per person and include all food, wine, and game entry. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit www.community-music-school.org/cheese or call CMS at 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. The School’s programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives. Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call (860) 767-0026.

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Acclaimed Photographer Charles Mazel Discusses Fluorescence Photography at CVCC Meeting, Monday

Desert Pincushion by Charles Mazel.

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at the Monday, Jan. 15 meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the acclaimed photographer Charles Mazel, who will give a presentation titled “Fluorescence Photography.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

For Charles Mazel, photography was initially a tool to document his exploration of underwater fluorescence. SCUBA diving at night with an ultraviolet light and customized camera gear, he photographed fluorescing marine organisms, especially corals in the Caribbean.

His discoveries and images led him into a scientific career researching fluorescence underwater and developing equipment to observe, document, and measure it, with photography as a key tool for communication.

Mazel’s underlying fascination with fluorescence has broadened into an exploration of the phenomenon wherever it may occur in the world around us. His involvement with the Bedford Center for the Arts Photography Group provided feedback from colleagues and professionals that has led to a new focus on the artistic aspects of fluorescence.

Mazel’s underwater fluorescence images were featured in a solo show in MIT’s Strobe Alley and in a two-person show at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. He has had individual images, from both below and above water, in a curated show at the Joyce Goldstein gallery in SoHo and in juried exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Bedford Public Library, and the Providence Center for Photographic Arts.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.

The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com/. CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

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Madhatters Hosts Auditions for ‘Annie,’ Saturday

AREAWIDE — Madhatters Theatre Company is currently accepting appointments for auditions for their spring production of ‘Annie’.  Auditions will be held at Lyme’s Youth Service Bureau 59 Lyme Street in Old Lyme on Saturday Jan. 6, 2018 by appointment only.  This production is open to ages 6-18 years of age.

Rehearsals will be held in Old Lyme on Saturdays with show week the week of May 15, 2018 at Chester Meeting House.

To schedule an appointment or if you have any further questions, e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com or call (860) 395-1861.

For more information, visit www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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Essex Winter Series Features Acclaimed Baritone David Pittsinger, March 4

ESSEX – Essex Winter Series’ 41st season continues on March 4, renowned vocalist David Pittsinger performs a program of Bach, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Handel, and selections from the American Songbook. Pianist Simon Holt will accompany him.

The Quodlibet Ensemble, a New York-based string chamber orchestra of young, dynamic artists presents a range of great music, from the Baroque to the modern day on April 8. Their program will include Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, as well as music by Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Nathan Schram.

All performances take place on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. with the Jan. 7, Feb. 18, and April 8 concerts at Valley Regional High School; and the March 4 concert at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 John Winthrop Middle School Road, Deep River. Seating is general admission and tickets may be purchased by visiting www.essexwinterseries.com or calling 860-272-4572.

The 2018 Essex Winter Series season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, Tower Laboratories, and BrandTech Scientific. Outreach activities are supported by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Essex Library Presents Baldwin on Burne-Jones’ ‘Le Chant d’Amour’ and the Pre-Raphaelite Dream, Monday

Burne-Jones’ ‘Love Song,’ dated from 1868 will be the subject of a lecture by Prof Robert Baldwin at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Following the Romantics, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood took up four thematic arenas which were newly spiritualized since 1790: 1) the late Medieval Catholic past which the Pre-Raphaelites elevated to the highest level, 2) Woman as a refined, emotionally and spiritually intelligent object of male devotion, 3) an unsullied, pre-industrial Nature usually shown as a refined garden, a pastoral meadow, or a lush forest, and 4) the Arts themselves, especially music, poetry, painting, and architecture.

On Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library, Associate Professor of Art History, Robert Baldwin, will explore Burne-Jones’ painting, Le Chant d’Amour, as it combines all four arenas in a particularly rich composition.

Historically, it returned to an imaginary chivalry where “true love” existed far from mercenary London with its modern marriages of convenience. In its gender configuration, it placed a pure, glowing, aristocratic woman on an artistic pedestal against a distant cathedral and flanked by two male worshippers. As a landscape, it removed itself from the ugliness of modern London into a twilight arcadia combining a garden and a pastoral meadow. And aesthetically, it featured music, the art form universally hailed in the nineteenth century as more spiritual, universal, and emotionally charged.

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

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Happy New Year!

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

We wish all our readers, advertisers and friends a very Happy New Year 2018.

We hope it brings you and yours peace, good health and happiness.

Thank you for all your support this past year and we look forward to serving you with even stronger coverage of the towns of Chester, Essex and Deep River next year.

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Season’s Greetings

Christmas-Bow-Picture_512x384We wish all our readers and advertisers a wonderful, peaceful and enjoyable holiday season.

Thank you for all your support this past year and we look forward to serving you with even stronger coverage of the towns of Chester, Essex and Deep River next year.

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Enjoy a Fundraising ‘Ivoryton Playhouse Christmas Radio Hour’ with David Pittsinger & Friends Tonight

David Pittsinger performs in ‘The Man of La Mancha.’ File photo.

IVORYTON — World-renowned artist David Pittsinger will be performing a holiday show on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. An old fashioned Christmas celebration of holiday standards and sacred songs featuring David with his wife, Patricia Schuman and Carly Callahan, Katie Weiser and Charlie Widmer.

Set in a 1940s radio station, the show will take you back to the days when the radio had pride of place in the living room and the family gathered round in the evening to listen to their favorite shows. Baby, it’s gonna be cold outside so come on down to the Ivoryton Playhouse to warm your heart with music we all know and love.

This concert is a benefit for the 106-year-old Playhouse to further its mission to provide theatre of the highest quality to the residents and visitors to our community.

Tickets for this special event are $50. Seating is limited; call the theatre box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your seat for these two special events.  The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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Climb Aboard Essex Steam Train’s ‘Santa Special,’ Saturday

Such fun aboard the Santa Special!

ESSEX — All aboard the Santa Special for a one-of-a-kind, daytime holiday experience. Make sure you’re camera-ready for that special moment when Santa and Mrs. Claus visit each child! Enjoy the spirit of the season as you relax with family and friends aboard festive railway cars adorned with vintage decorations.

•       Tickets are $24/coach, $40/first class (individual armchair seats with cash beverage service). Reindeer Breakfast upgrade is available on Santa Special days from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for $15 adults / $5 children (age 1-6).
•       Dates: November 24-26December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23
•       Departure times: 9:30 a.m.10:00 a.m.11:00 a.m.11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. & 1 p.m.
•       Rudolph and Pablo the Penguin will be on board to spread holiday cheer.
•       Each child receives a small holiday gift from Santa’s Elves!
•       Special Christmas performance by Sunny Train on Nov. 24, 25, 26 and Dec. 2,3,9,10,16,17, and 23. Shows are at 9:30, 10 & 11:30 am12:15 and 1 pm.
•       Write and Mail your “Letter to Santa” at Santa’s Post Office.
•       Take your family pictures in Santa’s sleigh.
•       Visit “Create a Card!” Station
•       Enjoy fresh baked cookies & other goodies in the Klaus Kitchen.

Visit essexsteamtrain.com/seasonal-excursions/santa-special for tickets and more information!

Tickets:
https://essex-steam-train-riverboat.myshopify.com/collections/select_santaspecial-11-2017
Location: Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, 1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT, 06426
Contact: Pam Amodio
Phone: 860.767.0103
Email: pamodio@essexsteamtrain.com
Price range: $24-$55. $24/coach, $40/first class. Reindeer Breakfast upgrade available for $15/adult, $5/child (age 1-6)

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Letter From Paris: Deaths of Two Icons Leave a Nation in Mourning

Nicole Prévost Logan

From Les Invalides to the Champs Elysees, intense emotion grips France at the passing of two iconic personalities.

Within 24 hours France lost two familiar figures: Jean d’Ormesson, 92, man of letters, and Johnny Hallyday, 74, the popular singer who, for almost 60 years, enthralled millions of fans. The intensity of the emotions was incredible. For a week, politics, wars, economic crises, were suspended and replaced by an immense sadness, which united the nation. No matter how different the two men were, they shared a great simplicity and the gift of connecting with the people.

It is not unusual for the French to express their collective grief in the public place. In 1885, two million people attended the national funerals of Victor Hugo. Simone Weil, the courageous woman who showed exceptional fortitude in her public life by being a pioneer of the right to abortion, received the highest honors by being laid to rest in the Pantheon. In 1963, a human tide surged toward the Pere Lachaise cemetery to say goodbye to Edith Piaf.

Count Jean d’Ormesson

Count Jean d’Ormesson, at age 48, was the youngest “immortal” to enter the Academie Française – a literary institution created by Louis XIII to uphold the French language. He died as the dean of that 40-members council. Son of a French ambassador, d’Ormesson was part of the French aristocracy, with degrees in history and philosophy. He directed the conservative daily Le Figaro, became a prolific writer, publishing a book per year, with the last one completed three days before his death. His smiling face and piercing blue eyes were a familiar sight for the viewers of countless televised literary shows, such Bouillon de Culture, Apostrophe or La Grande Librairie.

An elegant conversationalist, he spoke with wit, lightness, and optimism. His remarks, studded with literary quotes, included gems of uplifting philosophy, such as,”Life is beautiful because we are lucky to die”, and “In the New Testament, the myth of the Wandering Jew is condemned to immortality by Jesus.”

During the strikingly sober ceremony, in the courtyard of the Invalides, a small group of guests, representing the world of politics and culture, stood stoically, whipped by a glacial wind. The eulogy given by French president Emmanuel Macron, matched the literary sophistication of the deceased academician.

Johnny Hallyday was a monument in France with an amazing longevity. From the first time he appeared on the stage at age 17, this blond, tall young man became an adulated performer and he remained a star for almost 60 years. For millions of fans, his disappearance meant the loss of a chunk of their own life. Fighting lung cancer for several years, in spite of the terrible pain, he continued performing until the very end. People thought he was indestructible, hence the extreme shock people felt when they learned about his death on Dec. 6th.

Abandoned by his father at the age of eight months, Hallyday did not grow up in the security of a proper family but bounced around from one relative to another. A cousin gave him his stage name.

Facts about his career are staggering: more than 28 million spectators attended the 3,300 concerts he gave in 40 countries; he sold 110 million records. He had a real talent in choosing the best composers and song writers, which allowed him to produce 1,000 songs, many of them in Gold albums.

Johnny Hallyday

Hallyday went through all the styles of music from rock n’roll, pop, blues, soul, country, and hard rock. Among the best known hits is, “Ah Marie, si tu savais, tout le mal que l’on m’a fait” (Ah, Marie, if you only knew how much they hurt me) about a young man, fighting in the WWI trenches and writing to his fiancee.

It is a paradox that, in spite of his love for the US, that country barely knew him. Driving full speed on his Harley Davidson with his buddies from the Midwest to California was one of his greatest pleasures. He sang with Sammy Davis Junior. Michel Berger wrote for him a song called “On a tous quelque chose de Tennessee” (We all have something of Tennesse.) The lyrics recall lines from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

He spent the last 10 years of his life in Los Angeles, Calif., with Tom Hanks and Ben Affleck as neighbors and only returned to France to perform in concerts. Some of his concerts became giant productions of a size never seen before. The absolute zenith of his career was right after France won the soccer World Cup in 1998 when Hallyday flew over the Stade de France by helicopter and was lowered into the hysterical crowd.

The public funeral of Hallyday was an incredible spectacle offered to millions of fans. The cortege moved slowly down the Champs Elysees, led by a white coffin. This was followed by a caravan of black limousines filled with family, close friends and dignitaries and then – even for people who do not particularly like motorcycles – the incredible sight of 700 bikers, who had come from all over France.

On the steps of the Madeleine church, President Emmanuel Macron, paid his respects to the rock star and invited the crowd to bid farewell to “Mr. Johhny Hallyday.”

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International Hosts Holiday Dinner & Fundraiser Tonight

AREAWIDE —  The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International has announced that Jonna Gerken, President of the Society of Women Engineers, will be its guest speaker at the new chapter’s first Holiday Dinner and Fundraiser. The event, open to the public, will take place on Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. at Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant, 22 Chesterfield Rd, East Lyme. Buffet Dinner is $40 and for Students it is $30. There will be a Silent Auction.

For tickets or to donate an item, contact Deb Moshier-Dunn atDebM0727@sbcglobal.net or 860-444-9247

Gerken will address STEM (Science, Technology Engineering Math) and how young girls and women can achieve economic independence by pursuing careers in those fields. Jonna Gerken is a manager in manufacturing engineering for Pratt & Whitney. She oversees the program chief manufacturing engineers in their work to ensure all engine components meet manufacturing readiness levels appropriate to their life-cycle stage.

Gerken holds a B.S. in industrial and management engineering and an MBA in technology development, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a life member of SWE, a senior member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, and an associate value specialist with SAVE International. She received the 2016 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award from the Connecticut Science Center, the 2014 STEP Award from the Manufacturing Institute, the 2011 Pratt & Whitney Diversity and Inclusion Award, the 2006 SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award, and was a 2004 New Faces of Engineering Finalist for IIE. The Society of Women Engineers has nearly 40,000 members worldwide.

The Connecticut Shoreline Club of Soroptimist International was chartered in February 2017. Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. CT Shoreline members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls.

Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, such as the Live Your Dream award to support women who are supporting their families and the Dream It, Be It program to empower middle and high school girls. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit www.soroptimist.org or www.liveyourdream.org.

The Dec. 13 event will feature a silent auction with gift certificates, baskets and artwork. Funds raised will support the club’s programs and scholarships. The chapter welcomes new members. To learn more, ‘like’ Soroptimist International Connecticut Shoreline on Facebook or visit www.soroptimistner.org.

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Artist Annie Averill Displays Her Work at Essex Library During December

Artwork by Annie Averill will be on display throughout December at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Annie Averill is a self-taught artist, who was raised free-range in Carbon Canyon, Malibu, Calif., in the company of her three sisters and her donkey Lulabelle.  She attended California Institute of the Arts, did graphic design at several art magazines in LA, and later started a business doing hand-painted clothing and fabrics for New York Designer Alexander Julien as well as major California retailers.

Averill later moved to Amsterdam, where she started an enterprise hand-painting Irish linens in China patterns for Gumps department store in San Francisco.

Averill now works from her studio at home, in the company of any number of dogs.  She has broadened the scope of her work to include murals, hand painted tiles, and a whimsical assortment of fish and fantasy painted on reclaimed wood. Her work is an extension of her quirky personality.  She combines art history and elements of the sea and shore, with a liberal dash of humor, to make art that is beautiful, fun and accessible, and occasionally even practical.

Averill’s artwork can be viewed at the Essex Library throughout the month of December during its normal operating hours.

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Understanding Your Best Friend: Phil Klein, Certified Dog Listener Speaks at Essex Library, Feb 10

ESSEX — Phil Klein will present a kind and lasting methodology for gaining your dog’s cooperation based on its instincts. Learn how canines see the world and the underlying reasons for unwanted behaviors like hyperactivity, destructive chewing, incessant barking, toileting in the house, jumping on guests, and aggression.

Learn the four main areas of canine communications, including the leadership signals that will eliminate or minimize these behaviors and turn your dog into a relaxed, joyful companion. Bring your questions, but not your dog for an informative, fun event at the Essex Library on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.

Klein’s path to becoming a Dog Listener started when his family rescued a special dog named Abby from Labs4Rescue.  At the time, he had no idea about the journey he would be privileged to take with Abby.  Abby’s behavioral challenges were the motivation for Klein to learn a lot more about dogs and find a way to help Abby overcome her fears. 

In the process,Klein discovered Jan Fennell, The Dog Listener who had developed a revolutionary method for training dogs based on their instincts.  In April 2009,Klein attended Jan Fennell’s Foundation and Advanced Canine Communications courses, thereby becoming a Certified Dog Listener. 

Through in-home consultations, volunteer work with Labs4Rescue and other rescue organizations, and public talks,Klein has been honored to help hundreds of dog owners and their dogs.

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

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Ivoryton Playhouse’s Holiday Show ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Runs Through Sunday

From left to right, Moira O’Sullivan, Daniel Nischan and Sarah Kozlow rehearse their roles in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life!’ Photo by Jacqui Hubbard.

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse Holiday Show opens on Dec. 7, and runs until Dec. 17. It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry was inspired by the classic American film by Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life. This production is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. Five actors perform the dozens of characters in the radio play as well as produce the sound effects.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play premiered in 1996 at Stamford Center for the Arts in Stamford, Conn., and has since been produced around the country to great critical acclaim

The play works like a fable, sort of a “Christmas Carol” in reverse: Instead of a mean old man being shown scenes of happiness, we have a hero who plunges into despair. As fans of the movie know, George has grown up in Bedford Falls, an idyllic small town, determined to get out. He plans to see the world and build skyscrapers or something else huge when he grows up but circumstances keep him at home.

When the accidental loss of $8,000 leaves George on the verge of disaster, he contemplates killing himself and is saved by Clarence, George’s slightly bumbling 292-year-old guardian angel. By showing George what Bedford Falls and numerous loved ones would have been like if George had never been born, Clarence manages to turn him around. Lifted from a suicidal depression, George Bailey is a man with a reawakened appreciation of his life and the people he loves.

It all happens on Christmas Eve, and of course, an angel gets his wings.

Bursting with feel good holiday spirit, It’s a Wonderful Life is traditional, family friendly entertainment for all ages.  Directed by Sasha Bratt, this show is an antidote to cynicism and a love letter to good old fashioned Christmas fun. Musical Director is Frank Natter and the cast includes Playhouse Associate Artistic Director, Daniel Nischan, as George Bailey, Norm Rutty, David Cardone, Moira O’Sullivan, Rick Malone, Sara Kozlow, Michael Hinton, Addison Marchese, Antonia Marchese and Finnian Boyles. Set design by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, sound by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Elizabeth Cipollina.

Make the Playhouse part of your family holiday tradition this year.  Come and visit the village of Ivoryton, decorated with over 500,000 Christmas lights – have dinner and take in a great show at the Playhouse.

Performance times are Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and evening performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at  7:30 p.m.There is also a Wednesday matinee on Dec. 13and a Saturday matinee on Dec. 16.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $32 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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Child & Family Hosts Essex Holiday House Tour Today

File photo of a beautifully decorated home from the 2015 tour.

ESSEX — Saturday, Dec. 9, will highlight a memorable stroll through Essex, one of New England’s most picturesque towns, for its 14th biennial holiday house tour.  Created and organized by the Essex Auxiliary of the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern CT, the tour consists of seven distinctive private homes beautifully decorated for the holidays, the Essex Historical Society properties, and the Connecticut River Museum with Steve Cryan’s special holiday train show.  The Essex Art Association will also offer free chili.

Home base for the tour will be the Essex Town Hall at 29 West Avenue, where tickets may be purchased or picked up, and where there will be a large Boutique with vendors offering clothing, jewelry, gifts, home décor items, holiday arrangements and other alluring items.  Several drawings for donations by the vendors will be held here at the end of the day, and, during the day, Santa’s Café will offer snacks and refreshments.  The Boutique will be open from 9:30 to 5:00, and admission is free.

Tickets for the tour are $30 in advance, $35 the day of the tour.  Checks payable to Child & Family Agency may be sent to:  Essex Holiday House Tour, 168 River Road, Essex, CT 06426.

Tickets are also available in advance at www.childandfamilyagency.org; at the Griswold Inn Store, One North Main, and Walker Loden in Essex; Centerbrook Cheese Shop in Centerbrook; Saybrook Country Barn in Old Saybrook; Lark in Chester; Celebrations in Deep River; Bowerbird in Old Lyme; Walker Loden in Madison and New Haven; and the Child & Family Agency in New London, (806)443-2896, ext. 1403.

All proceeds from the tour go to funding Child & Family Agency’s programs addressing the mental health, educational, and healthcare needs of children and their families to promote the well-being and development of all children.

Services are offered from birth through high school in southeastern Connecticut and include child guidance, early childhood development, and after-school academic, recreational, and artistic activities.  Adult services include parenting education as well as prevention training for scholars and professional practitioners.  Healthcare services address both physical and mental health issues facing children.  Office-based, community-based, and home-based mental health services are available from New Haven to Stonington, and 14 school-based health centers provide healthcare options to children in Waterford, New London, Groton, Norwich, and Stonington. Child Guidance centers are based in Essex, New London, and Groton.

Last year, with a professional staff of more than 190, Child & Family provided services to over 18,000 children and their families in 79 towns in New Haven, Middlesex, and New London Counties.

In other words, your enjoyment of the Essex Holiday House Tour will benefit thousands of children in our neighborhoods, so come and help us celebrate the holidays by exploring lovely historic homes, including a mansion, in a picture-book setting!

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‘Con Brio’ Presents its Christmas Concert in Old Lyme This Evening, Tomorrow

Danielle Munsell Howard is the soprano at the Con Brio Christmas Concerts this weekend.

Con Brio presents two performances of its acclaimed Christmas Concert this weekend on Saturday evening, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m., both at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Imagine sitting in the center of the bright, high-ceilinged space of Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. The music begins. First from behind you. Then to your left, your right, up in front. It is surround-sound live – provided by the voices of the Con Brio Choral Society arrayed around the great space.

As each of 19 – yes, nineteen! –  parts begin to sing, the sound moves from place to place, the voices echoing one another, harmonizing and weaving a musical fabric that envelopes you.

It’s not like any other Christmas concert you have ever attended … unless you have been to one of Con Brio’s Christmas Concerts before. Attend one of this year’s concerts and experience a musical treat to calm your mind and move you into the Christmas spirit.

Under the baton of Dr. Stephen D. Bruce, Con Brio will perform with the professional 31-piece Con Brio Festival Orchestra, and soprano soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, acclaimed by Opera News Online for her “bright, pretty timbre and remarkable facility.”

Con Brio has sung many Magnificats over the years but Rutter’s setting manages to maintain the traditional approach to the well-known text while infusing it with lush contemporary harmonies and textures. Soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, has a voice well-suited to expressing the wonderment of Mary. The choral movements range from the delicacy of Esurientes (The poor) through the power of Fecit potentiam (He has shown strength) to the thrill of the Gloria Patri.

Stunning is the word often used to describe Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on This Shining Night. Its glistening harmonies and melodies so clearly express poet James Agee’s text and the magic of a December night. In 2007, two years after this piece was composed, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Lauridsen the National Medal of the Arts, the highest artistic award in the United States.

Two pieces will be sung in the round—now a Con Brio tradition. The chorus loves to take advantage of the spacious and acoustically exceptional sanctuary of Christ the King Church. First will be the a cappella, eight-part, antiphonal motet, In Dulci Jubilo, by 15th century composer Michael Praetorious. That will be followed by the 19-voice Buccinate (Blow the trumpet), by Giovanni Gabrieli.

Other pieces include Fum Fum Fum in a playful arrangement by Mack Wilberg; Pietro Yon’s familiar Gesu Bambino which will feature the soprano soloist; Still, Still, Still in a special arrangement for chorus and harp; perennial favorite Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (Lo, How a Rose); Hodie Christus natus est (Today Christ is born) is one of the greatest renaissance motets; and Claude Debussy’s spritely and expressive Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain (Winter, you are nothing but a villain).

Also, Con Brio will perform a rousing arrangement of the famous spiritual, Go Where I Send Thee. The concert will close with Stephen Mager’s wonderful arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily on High, which starts with a simple rendition of the familiar melody, accompanied by winds, and slowly transforms it into a thrilling finale featuring the full orchestra.

As always, each Christmas concert will include carols for audience participation.

Con Brio, over 70 voices strong, is the Shoreline’s auditioned chorus, known for the variety of its repertoire, and the strength of its programming and musical skills. Since it was founded in 1997, Con Brio has performed regularly to a growing and loyal local audience. Singers hail from more than 15 towns: from East Haven to Mystic and from Old Saybrook to Moodus. The choir has made six overseas concert tours, with the most recent to Portugal and Spain in 2016. The seventh will be to Slovenia and Croatia in May/June 2018.

Follow Con Brio on Facebook @conbriochoral or visit www.conbrio.org

Tickets are $30 each, $15 for students. Purchase them in advance online; major credit cards are accepted.

For more information, call 860-526-5399.

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Letter From Paris: A Six-Month Performance Review for Emmanuel Macron

Nicole Prévost Logan

Six months into his mandate, French President Emmanuel Macron has been working at a dizzying pace to fulfill his campaign promises.

Hubert Vedrine, former minister of foreign affairs and expert in international and strategic affairs, made the following comment : “Emmanuel Macron immediately embodied the stature of a chief of State. ”

“The French people are impossible to reform”, said Macron during his campaign.  This is why he set out not to reform but to transform France from top to bottom.  First he brought “parity” men/women into the government. 

The “moralization” of the two legislative chambers was his second objective, which meant bringing an end to the opaque system of financial privileges long enjoyed by the deputies.  Like a breath of fresh air, the professional politicians who, since the beginning of the fifth Republic, had been playing musical chairs, faded away .They were replaced by influential members of the civil society, without any political experience.

Emmanuel Macron

As a rule, the French do not really like to work during the summer.  Breaking with that tradition, Macron spent four months talking with the trade unions.  He invited – separately – the leaders of the different groups (CGT, FO, CFDT)  in order to hear their demands and make his own proposals.

The result was amazing.

The loud manifs (street demonstrations), which traditionally are the main tool of the trade unions, rapidly run out of steam.   On the basis of the summer negotiations, changes in the labor code were formulated into executive orders before becoming law.

Macron used the same strategy – divide and conquer – to defuse the revolt of the mayors. 

There are 36,000 municipalities in France.  Some of the communes are tiny with as few as 200 inhabitants, and feel unfairly treated as compared to the large and wealthy urban centers like Paris, Lyons or Marseille. When Macron announced he would drastically slash down the dotations (subsidies) made by the State, the local officials went up in arms. 

What did Macron do? 

He invited 1,500 mayors to the Elysée Palace and developed his plan to help the small communes .

Thanks to his work experience in the financial and business world, he focused on a crucial economic problem: the cost of French labor is not competitive enough. The main reason?  The cost of labor is bloated by the inclusion of “social charges.” Macron plans to have the entire population share the burden by paying a general tax.  The other pillar of his financial program is to stop demonizing capital income by reducing the tax to a flat rate of 30 percent  – a win-win system to encourage the French population to invest.

Emmanuel Macron has been described as having a velvet smile contrasting with the steely expression of his blue eyes. From the youthful, exuberant attitude he projected during the electoral campaign, he has evolved into the image of an authoritarian leader. He delegates the day-to-day running of the country to his prime minister Edouard Philippe, who is doing his job efficiently and with discretion.  This leaves Macron time to address the big picture, particularly regarding the new place of France on the world stage.

On Sept. 26, in a major speech at the Sorbonne, Macron showed his unwavering ‘Europhile’ vision. He proposes a ‘re-invention’ of Europe with action led by countries willing to make changes. To ensure the future of the Eurozone, he proposes a single budget, a ‘Super Minister’ of economy and the creation of a European IMF. He wants a “protective Europe” in relation to workers and consumers. He believes strongly in giving a central role to culture in defining the European identity.

During his visit to Abu Dhabi for the inauguration of the new Louvre museum on Nov. 8, Macron met with “MBS” (Saudi Arabia prince Mohammed Ben Salmane ) and with “MBZ” (Abu Dhabi crown prince, Mohammed Bin Zayed)  A feverish round of diplomacy took place in which the president succeeded to  “exfiltrate” the Sunni Lebanese minister Saad Hariri from Saudi Arabia and acted as a mediator in the growing fracture of the Persian Gulf.

On Nov. 28,  after a two-hour speech to 800 students of the Ouagadougou University, in Burkina Faso, the Q and A session turned into an hilarious exchange. “Can you help us fix the frequent power outages on the campus?” asked a student. “But this is not my responsibility,” Macron answered, “Ask your president to deal with this problem.” The reaction of his audience – was at first a roar of laughter then deafening applause. A symbolic detail of the Macron’s visit to Africa was that he was accompanied on his trip by leaders of recent  start-ups instead of the CEOs of large companies such as Areva or Total.

The three-day visit to Africa in late November was an opportunity for the French president to break, not only with the colonial era, but also with the neo-colonial era of Françafrique launched by General de Gaulle in 1960.  At a summit meeting held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where the discussions at the summit meeting dealt mostly with the immigration crisis, Macron initiated a partnership whereby Europeans and Africans should share responsibilities.  Macron did not mince words when he told his audience : “The passeurs (smugglers) are not European, my friends , they are African.”

At a time when Angela Merkel is vacillating and Brexit is looming, the role of Emmanuel Macron in Europe is crucial. 

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Community Music School Hosts Holiday Concert at VRHS, Sunday

The CMS String Ensemble will perform at the 2017 Holiday Concert.

AREAWIDE – ‘Tis the season of celebration and the Community Music School’s (CMS) Holiday Concert scheduled to take place on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. at Valley Regional High School’s auditorium.  Free and open to the public, this community-wide annual event brings together faculty and students to perform vocal and instrumental holiday favorites.

This family-friendly concert will include performances by the Community Music School New Horizons Band, Suzuki Violin Group, Americana String Band, and full String Orchestra, in addition to some beautiful solo piano holiday music performed by CMS’s top students.  Music Director Tom Briggs has arranged a special Holiday Jazz Ensemble to play some contemporary holiday favorites including “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Christmas Time is Here,” and more.

Bring your family and enjoy some of the best music of the season!

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

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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Community Renewal Team Accepting Submissions for 2018 National Arts Program Through Jan. 11

AREAWIDE — For 27 years, Community Renewal Team (CRT) has served as the sole host in the state of Connecticut for the annual National Arts Program® (NAP), providing an opportunity for local artists to showcase their art within the community.

Professional artists, along with youth, teens, amateurs and intermediate artists from Middlesex and Hartford counties are invited to submit their work now for the 2018 art show, which will be on display at Capital Community College (950 Main Street in Hartford, CT) from Jan. 19 – Feb. 7, 2018.

All forms of visual arts are accepted for this show; from paintings and photographs to sculptures, crafts and textiles.

Applications are being accepted until Jan. 11, 2018, and it is free to submit work for the show.

The NAP provides materials and funding for this visual art exhibit, including cash awards totaling $3,450.

More information about how to get involved in the 2018 National Arts Program is available on the CRT website at http://www.crtct.org/en/events/national-arts

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CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Award-Winning Travel Photographer at Tomorrow’s Meeting

‘Native Girls in Ethiopia’ by Bobbi Lane.

AREAWIDE: The guest speaker at the Monday, Dec. 4, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the award-winning travel photographer Bobbi Lane, who will give a presentation titled “Travel Portraits: Capturing Light and Life.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lyme’s Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome.

Photographing people anywhere, home or abroad, presents many challenges to the traveling photographer. The technical concerns about light, camera angle and lenses, backgrounds, selective focus, and composition can sometimes overshadow the importance of making a connection with another human being. Honoring, respecting and communicating with your subject are the first steps to making a meaningful and storytelling photograph. Language barriers can be overcome with a smile, a great attitude and tone of voice, allowing you to communicate without words.

It’s imperative to use good lighting techniques, both natural and with flash, to create the mood and description of the scene and capture the essence. Patience and observation help the photographer choose the right time and place to capture the subject appropriately.

Lane will share her many tips and multiple experiences in both the common place and exotic locations. This presentation will help photographers connect with people, develop a deeper understand of what all humans have in common, and assist them in making photographs that emotionally affect and enlighten the viewer.

Lane is an award-winning commercial photographer specializing in creative portraits in studio and on location for editorial, corporate, and advertising accounts. Lane’s multi-faceted approach to photography incorporates over 40 years of technical experience with innovative artistic interpretation. Lane’s honest and fun connection with her clients allows them to feel relaxed and authentic.

Come on this journey, laugh and cry with Bobbi and her travels to Ethiopia, Myanmar, Venice for Carnival, Turkey, Hong Kong, Dubai and Oman and discover the keys to making great portraits.

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

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com. CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

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Essex Library Hosts ‘Best of Enemies,’ Discussion Follows with Tanenhaus, Pressman, Wednesday

ESSEX — The Emmy Award-winning documentary, Best of Enemies, recounts the legendary debates between conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and liberal Gore Vidal held in 1968 by ABC Television as part of their coverage of the national Democratic and Republican conventions. The film captures the dramatic context of American politics and culture that year and shows how the rancorous sparring in the debates inaugurated a revolution in television programming that not only survives but thrives today.

The film will be screened at the Essex Library on Dec. 6, at 6:30 p.m. Following the screening, Sam Tanenhaus, who appears as a commentator in the film, and Michael Pressman will discuss the Buckley-Vidal debates in the context of the ’68 election and the political issues of the day, how it was covered by the media, how the tenor of the debates and ratings for ABC affected future television coverage and gave rise to a Point/Counterpoint-style of television programming, and how the debate degenerated into the infamous name-calling.

Sam Tanenhaus, the author of bestsellers “The Death of Conservatism” and “Whittaker Chambers,” is working on a biography of William F. Buckley Jr. He was editor of the New York Times Book Review from 2004 to 2013.

Michael Pressman spent more than 30 years as a national broadcast journalist for both ABC News and NBC News, on programs that included: ABC News 20/20, Dateline NBC, the Brokaw Report, and the Today show. Mostly working in “long-form”—news magazines and documentaries—as a producer, director, and writer, he is the recipient of the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award, Emmy, and Cine Golden Eagle awards.

Admission is free and open to the public for this special event. Advance registration is suggested. Please call the Essex Library to register or for more information at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Christmas Craft Fair Today at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex

ESSEX — Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Essex will host its annual Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be a silent auction, a basket raffle, children’s gift buying table, face painting, a craft table, bake sale and a café for lunch, coffe and bagels.

Come to our old-fashioned church fair, and catch the spirit of this beautiful season, and Christmas shopping without the stress.

Our Lady of Sorrows Church is at 14 Prospect St. Essex, CT

For more information, call Our Lady of Sorrows, 860-767-1284

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Essex Land Trust Leads Archaeology Hike Today in The Preserve

A trail through ‘The Preserve.’

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust is organizing an exploratory hike of The Preserve from the perspective of archaeologists Nicholas Bellantoni and Lucianne Lavin. Come see the landscape “through the eyes of an archaeologist” on Saturday, Dec. 2, starting at 9 a.m. in the West Parking Lot at end of Ingham Hill Rd., Essex.

Archeologists look at the land a little differently from most people, so they will share what they see of the stone built environment and the cultural use of the land people may not see. Learn the secrets of past lifeways and land use. Bad weather cancels.

Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni serves as the emeritus state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center at the University of Connecticut. He has been excavating in North America for over 40 years.

Lucianne Lavin is Director of Research and Collections at the Institute for American Indian Studies, a museum and research and educational center in Washington, CT. She is an anthropologist & archaeologist with over 40 years of research and field experience in Northeastern archaeology and anthropology.

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Cora Preibis’ Artwork on Show at Essex Library Through February

This still life by Cora Priebis is the signature work of the artist’s show at Essex Library.

ESSEX — Cora Preibis has been drawing and painting since she was a child. Although art was not her primary field of study, she has always been interested in art.  She started painting more consistently after her retirement from Middlesex Community College, where she was the Coordinator of the Tutoring Center and also an adjunct faculty member.

She has always been fascinated with the watercolor medium, the flow of the paint, the spontaneous nature of watercolor, as well as the delicacy which can be achieved.  Cora enjoys painting florals, landscape, and still life paintings.  She has studied with a number of wonderful artists over the years.

Her professional affiliations are with the Essex Art Association, Clinton Art Association and Middletown Art Guild, from which she has received a number of awards.  She is also an elected member of the Connecticut Watercolor Society.  She has also participated in many juried shows throughout Connecticut.

Her work can be viewed at the Essex Library during its regular hours of operation throughout the month of February 2018.

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Letter From Paris: André Derain: Major Artist, “Fauvism” Champion Featured in Parisian Retrospective

Nicole Prévost Logan

André Derain usually evokes cheerful scenes of sailboats bobbing up and down in the bright colors of a Mediterranean fishing port.

Actually, Derain (1880-1954) is a complex artist, who had a strong influence on the evolving avant-garde movements at the start of the 20th century.  The Pompidou Center is currently holding a retrospective titled, “Derain – 1904-1914. The radical decade.”

The curator of the Pompidou exhibit, Cecile Debray, comments, “Derain is the founder with Matisse of Fauvism and an actor of Cezanne’s Cubism with Picasso.” Never before had the artist been attributed such a crucial role. Derain was not only the link between the masters — Gauguin and Van Gogh — and the next generation of artists, but also an explorer of new sources of inspiration, including primitive Italians, along with African and Oceanic art. 

To quote Gertrude Stein (the writer and art collector famous on the cultural Parisian scene in the 1920s and 1930s), “Derain was the Christopher Columbus of modern art, but it is the others who took advantage of the new continents”

Not interested in the career of engineer planned for him by his father, the young Derain preferred to spend all his time at The Louvre, copying  the classics. He shared a studio with his friend Vlaminck on the Chatou island northwest of Paris where he was born. His first paintings had as subjects the Seine river, its banks and bridges, and the activities of workers. He displayed a distinctive technique of fast brush touches, (slightly different from “pointillism“), innovative plunging views and cropping, which give  his works the spontaneity of photographic snapshots.

“Collioure, the drying of the sails'” by André Derain.

In the summer of 1905, he spent the summer in Collioure with Matisse and was dazzled by the Mediterranean light. Derain defined light as the negation of shadow.  He writes, “Colors become cartridges of dynamite casting off light.”  The room VII of the 1905 Salon d’Automne, called “la cage aux fauves,” caused a scandal, (fauves mean wild animals.)  In 1907, the Russian art collector Ivan Morozov acquired Derain’s paintings from the merchant Ambroise Vollard for the sum of 600 francs.

The following summer,  Derain continued to work with Matisse at l’Estaque, near Marseille. His compositions became more structured, with strong lines, volumes, perspectives and plans.  He still used arbitrary colors.   

‘London’ by Andre Derain.

During two visits to London, he became fascinated by the bustling traffic of barges and tugboats on the Thames. He used the puffs of smoke mixed with the mist to decline all shades of whites. He found a new inspiration in the representation of water and sky. The apotheosis is an almost abstract sunset with the sun breaking through the dark clouds as if putting the sky on fire.

In 1910, Derain is part of the Cubist movement as shown in his representation of the village of Cagnes – an assemblage of cubes with red roofs scattered on a hilly landscape made of geometric lines and volumes of dense vegetation.

The versatility of Derain seems to be boundless. He played the piano, was  a professional photographer, and enjoyed fast cars (he owned 11 Bugattis.)  Using his virtuosity as a draughtsman, he created illustrations for humor publications along with stage and costume designs (for Diaghilev and the Russian ballets.)

The dance” by André Derain.

Before leaving the exhibit, the visitor will be stunned by The Dance, 1906 – a large (185 x 228 cm) decorative composition of three women undulating in a luxuriant forest.  The work is rarely seen, since it belongs to a private collection.  Derain was inspired by a poem by Apollinaire and called it L’Enchanteur pourrissant (the rotting magician) about three fairies looking for Merlin’s tomb. The gestures of the dancers are reminiscent of Egyptian and Indian art, and could have inspired Nijinsky’s choreography. The mysterious vegetation and the hidden meaning of a snake and a multicolored parrot infuse the ritual scene with symbolism.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Carol Stroll Down Main Street, Then See ‘Trees in the Rigging’ Today

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights. Photo by Jody Dole.

ESSEX – Kick off the holiday season in Essex with the annual Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Lighted Boat Parade.   The Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Board of Trade, and the Essex Historical Society combine to present this annual event that includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down Main Street where spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns or flashlights and join in with the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars.

Participants can gather at the Essex Town Hall at 4 p.m. The stroll steps off at 4:30 p.m. beginning on West Avenue and ending at the Connecticut River Museum with a parade of vessels dressed out in holiday lights and passing in review along the Connecticut River.  Santa and his elves will arrive by one of the parade boats for visits with children on the lawn of the Connecticut River Museum. The Connecticut River Museum will also be open that evening for all to attend the 24th Annual Holiday Train Show at a reduced admission of $6.

Register Your Boat for the Lighted Boat Parade

A critical and crowd-pleasing part of this free community event is the parade of boats dressed in holiday lights that sail along Essex’s waterfront. The decorated boats are part of a friendly competition.  A modest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize will be awarded to the best dressed boats. Winners will be invited to receive their prize and participate in a photo-op on Monday, Nov. 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum.

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 p.m. from the south end of Essex Harbor. To register, send emails to: kperkins@ctrivermuseum.org. Information should include: vessel name; type of boat and description; owner(s) name; contact information (phone and preferred email); decorating scheme (if known at time of registration). Registration must be received by Monday, Nov. 20 at 4:30 p.m.  

To make your own lanterns at home:
Step 1: fill an empty aluminum can with water and freeze. This will make it easier to punch holes for the design in the can.
Step 2: using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the can to make a connect-the-dots style picture of a holiday design. Use plenty of holes to allow the light to shine through.
Step 3: punch two holes near the rim to attach a wire handle.
Step 4: after the ice is melted, attach a votive or other small candle to the inside bottom of the can.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860.767.8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

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