March 20, 2018

‘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

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

For more information, call 860-526-5399.


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.


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 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 or call (860)767-0026.


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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: 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


Garden Club Decorates Essex for the Holidays

Hard at work on decorations for the Town of Essex are, from left to right, Diane Sexton, Pat Mather and Renate Houchin.

ESSEX — In preparation for the holidays, members  of the Essex Garden Club decorated merchant window boxes,  and tubs of the villages of Essex using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community.

Decorating the “Silent Policeman” are, from left to right, Gay Thorn, DeeDee Charnok and Sandy Meister.

The “Silent Policeman” has been decorated with layers of evergreens, berries and lights. The gazebo also has been decorated with garlands and lights.

The Essex Garden Club has helped the town put on a festive face for Trees in the Rigging on Nov. 26, and the Holiday Stroll on Dec. 1.


Enjoy, Explore Festively-Decorated Pratt House Today

ESSEX — Got a houseful for Thanksgiving Weekend? Then skip the malls and deck the halls!

Join Essex Historical Society as members usher in the holidays at the beautifully decorated Pratt House, 19 West Ave., Essex, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m.

Learn about life in an early seaport town from our knowledgeable guides. The house will evoke scenes from Christmases past, decorated with locally-sourced materials. Guided tours are free. The Museum shop will be open for holiday gifts.

For more information, visit or call 860-767-0681.


Local Historical Societies Open Today

Entertain the kids during the Thanksgiving break with a visit to one or more of the local museums. It’s a great chance to get them away from one of their electronic devices.

AREAWIDE — College students home over the Thanksgiving break? House guests who have eaten more turkey than they wanted to and looking for something to do? Free entertainment and getting to know more about our local towns can all be accomplished during the extended hours at the Chester, Deep River and Essex historic museums and houses. Such a welcome alternative to dealing with crowds at the malls!

For the fifth year in a row, the historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex are helping you entertain your guests on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Chester Historical Society president Skip Hubbard said, “This year will be the fifth year our museums have been open over Thanksgiving and it’s become a popular thing to do.  Some people even visit more than one of the three sites. The combination of free admission, rekindling memories and learning more about the local area can be hard to resist.”

The Chester Museum at The Mill, at 9 West Main St., Chester, will be open both Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House, at 245 Main Street in Deep River, will be open on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Essex Historical Society’s historic Pratt House, located at 19 West Avenue in Essex, also will be open to visitors Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

We wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all our readers, their families and friends — we hope you all enjoy a wonderful day!


Letter From Paris: To Be or Not To Be [Independent] — The Catalonian Question

Nicole Prévost Logan

The tentative attempt by Catalonia to secede from Spain has failed – at least for now.  But the attachment of the Catalan people to their identity is so strong that the fight for independence is far from over.  The Catalonian regional elections on Dec. 21 are likely to take place in a very agitated, if not violent, context.

The province of Catalonia has just lived through its worst political crisis in decades.  On Aug. 17, the terrorist attack in Barcelona that killed 13 people and injured 113 left the population of that city badly shaken.  On Oct. 1, a referendum showed how divided the population was with 90.2 percent voting for independence … but with a participation rate of only 45 percent.  For several days, the two protagonists – Mariono Rajoy, prime minister of Spain and Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan President – faced off each other, avoiding any dialogue.

Then on Oct.17,  the separatist members of the Catalan parliament announced the declaration of independence by 70 votes to 10.  The situation became untenable for Puigdemont.  He surreptitiously left the country to reappear in Brussels.  For the first time ever, Article 155 of the constitution was activated — Madrid issued an arrest warrant for Puigdemont for espousing rebellion and placed the province under strict supervision. 

This map shows the location of Catalonia in Spain.

How does one explain the fierce nationalism of the Catalan people?  It is deeply anchored in their history.  Until the early 16th century, the county of Barcelona was at the center of power in Spain and closely united to the Aragon crown.  After the War of the Spanish Succession, the Catalans had to surrender to the Bourbons on Sept. 11, 1714.  The Catalonians remember that heroic battle by naming that day their National Day, calling it Diadia.  The civil war from 1936 to 1939, followed by 39 years of Franco’s fascist dictatorship, crystallized even further the Catalonians’ dream of autonomy.   

The European Union (EU) is keeping silent and uninvolved in what it considers as an internal problem for Spain.  Doomsday commentators had predicted that other regions of Europe such as Venetia, Lombardy or Corsica, would emulate Brexit. It is interesting to note that  Spain never recognized Kosovo for fear that Catalonia would follow suit.

When democracy was reinstated by King Juan Carlos, a new constitution and special self-rule status were granted to the Basque country, Catalonia and Cerdanya in 1978.  It is hard to understand why Catalonia did not accept the  favorable  terms offered by Madrid.  The ETA (Basque independence movement) did thus putting an end to their armed resistance, which had lasted for more than 50 years.

A visit to Barcelona helps understand the dynamic, feisty, almost turbulent temperament of the Catalan people.  Just mingle with the crowds on La Rambia – the heart of the city – or discover the extravagant architecture of Anton Gaudi in the Sagrada Familia cathedral. 

Catalonia can claim three artists, all larger than life and with strong personalities.  Joan Miro, the abstract artist creator of distinctive playful forms, was extremely proud of his Catalan origins.  Picasso spent several years as a teenager in Barcelona.  In 1905, he found the models for his “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” among the prostitutes of a small street by that name located near the port.  The surrealist Salvador Dali went totally wild with the design of his museum in Figueres, his hometown.

Unfortunately, the project of the Catalan separatists did not take into account the long-term problems.  By early November of this year, 2,000 companies and banks had already left the province: tourism is being affected: the stock market has plummeted, and if Catalonia were to secede from Spain, it could not become part of the EU. 

In the simplest of terms, Catalonia may now, as a result of the most recent developments, find itself in a worse situation than before its declaration of independence.

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.


Help Winterize Cross Lots Preserve Tomorrow with Essex Land Trust

ESSEX — Cross Lots lovers come help Essex Land Trust put this land trust preserve to bed for the winter, get a mild work out and connect with your neighbors in a beautiful setting.

The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m., at Cross Lots Preserve, 40 West Ave., Essex.

Refreshments will be served. Bring rakes, blowers, etc. Families welcome. Dogs too.

Rain date: Sunday, Nov. 19.


It’s Holmes for the Holidays! Final Weekend to see ‘The Game’s Afoot’ at Ivoryton Playhouse

Hard at work in a rehearsal for ‘The Game’s Afoot’ are, from left to right, Katrina Ferguson, Michael Iannucci, Molly Densmore, Erik Bloomquist, Craig McDonald and Maggie McGlone Jennings. Photos by Anne Hudson.

IVORYTON – On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Ivoryton Playhouse continues the Halloween season with a murderously funny thriller set in William Gillette’s Connecticut Castle – Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot.

It is December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his theatrical portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears.

In the vein of the best “whodunit” murder mysteries, the plot takes many twists and turns. The dialogue is witty and face-paced; there’s suspense within the laughter and even when you think you’ve figured out who the bad guy is, you will start to question yourself when the plot takes an unexpected twist.

An intense moment during a rehearsal for Victoria Bundonis and Craig McDonald.

The Cleveland Examiner writes about The Game’s Afoot, “From the intriguing opening mini play within a play to the surprise last scene a split second before final curtain, The Game’s Afoot gives you everything you love about great live theatre. Billed as a comedy thriller you will find yourself swept along for a wild and funny ride.”

The Game’s Afoot is directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Jacqueline Hubbard and features Ivoryton favorites Erik Bloomquist, Victoria Bundonis*, Katrina Ferguson*, Michael Iannucci*, Maggie McGlone Jennings and Beverley J. Taylor, as well as Craig McDonald*, making his Playhouse debut as William Gillette and Molly Densmore* as the beautiful Aggie.

Set design is by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, sound by Tate R. Burmeister and costume design by Kathleen T. Gephart.

The Game’s Afoot opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse runs through Nov. 19. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

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

*denotes member of Actors Equity



Essex Library Presents Master Wildlife Conservationist on ‘Coyotes in CT,’ Jan. 16

Paul Colburn will speak about eastern coyotes at Essex Library, Jan. 16.

ESSEX — The Essex Library welcomes back Master Wildlife Conservationist Paul Colburn on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. with his latest presentation, which focuses on the history of coyotes in Connecticut. The illustrated lecture will include an overview of coyote habitat, diet, behavior, and reproduction. Colburn will also provide practical recommendations for optimum coexistence with our coyote population.  Coyote artifacts will be shared with the audience.

Colburn is a graduate of the Master Wildlife Conservationist Program (MWCP) and certified Master Wildlife Conservationist (MWC).  MWCP is a Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) adult education program that trains volunteer participants in the fields of wildlife management, natural history and interpretation.

The purpose of the program is to develop a volunteer corps capable of providing education, outreach, and service for state agencies, environmental organizations, libraries, schools, and the general public.  

In addition to his work as a MWC, Colburn volunteers for the Red Cross, and Wesleyan University Admissions. He has served on the Board of Directors of Special Wishes Inc., an organization devoted to assisting families facing life threatening childhood diseases. He is past President of Residents Advocating Conservation, has been active in local politics, youth athletics and served on many local boards and commissions.  His interests include the outdoors, nature, hiking, biking, technology, politics, and travel.  

Colburn holds a BA from Wesleyan University and served honorably in the United States Army.

This program 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 Avenue in Essex.


Essex Elementary School Foundation Kicks Off Annual Appeal

The Essex Elementary School Foundation (EESF) is kicking off its annual appeal and needs your help.  This not-for-profit, volunteer organization provides funds for enrichment programs and tools at EES.  Examples include a 3D printer, an iPad lab, the Justus W. Paul World Cultures Days and an Engineering with Legos program.

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, members met in the school’s media center to stuff envelopes, all part of the foundation’s annual direct mail campaign to Essex area residents and businesses.  In the photo above, board members Chet Kitchings, Marta Collins, Sarah Whitney, Linda Reamer and Bill Jacaruso are seen stuff envelopes.

Send donations to Essex Elementary School Foundation, P.O. Box 882, Essex, CT 06426.


Flag Tribute to Veterans with Lymes’ VFW Post #1467 This Morning in Essex

ESSEX — A short Flag Tribute to Veterans will be held this morning at 10 a.m. in the Essex Town Park across from Saint Johns Episcopal Church assisted by 15 members of the Lymes’ VFW Post#1467 in their Uniform of Blues and Grays with VFW caps & white gloves.
All are welcome to come and stand in tribute to the flag of the United States of America.  The ceremony is anticipated to last around half an hour.
The outline of the ceremony is as follows:
– Opening of Funeral Flag (1 minute)
– Opening Prayer Lymes’ VFW Post #1467 Chaplain Capt. (Ret) Larry Olsen (2 minutes)
– “Amazing Grace” Recorded Music (2:30 minutes)
– Lymes’ VFW Post Rifle Volley followed by TAPS
– Echo TAPS by Charles and Susan DeLinks in honor of those who died in service to our country (3 minutes)
– Scottish Bag Pipe marching music (2 minutes)
– Playing of Armed Forces Medley: Service members invited to come up, touch the flag, and stay with their left hand as their theme is played (5 minutes)
– Pledge of Allegiance Led by St. Johnʼs Youth (2 minutes)
– “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood Recorded Music (4 minutes)
– The United States National Anthem Recorded Music (2 minutes)
– Dismissal: Observe silence while the flag is folded (3 minutes)

Community Music School Faculty Gives Annual Concert Today

Community Music School faculty member Russ Becker will perform in the school’s upcoming annual Faculty Concert.

CENTERBROOK – On Sunday, Nov. 12, members of the Community Music School faculty come together to perform an array of chamber music and other works at 3 p.m. at the Centerbrook Meetinghouse, 51 Main Street, Centerbrook. This annual event offers the community a unique glimpse into the wealth of talent and experience of the Music School’s faculty as they collaborate on a wide variety of selections.

The concert is free and open to the public and a meet-and-greet reception immediately follows. At-will donations are gratefully accepted.

Among the works to be performed are Horn Concerto no. 4 by Mozart, Sonatina for Clarinet by Rozsa, Jaqueline’s Tears by Offenbach,Contrasts for Solo Vibraphone by Briggs, The Godfather Suite by Rota, and Libertango by Piazzolla.  Performers include Andrew Sherwood on clarinet, Tom Briggs on vibraphone, Bruce Larkin on recorder, John Birt on guitar, Audrey Estelle on piano, Christine Coyle on cello, Nathan Pawelek on French horn, Patricia Hurley on trumpet, and Ling-Fei Kang on oboe.  The concert will feature several original works by Community Music School faculty, some for the first time.

For additional information, call 860-767-0026 or visit

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. 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 visit or call (860)767-0026.


Democrats Sweep First Selectmen Positions Across Tri-Town Region, Republican Fortuna Keeps Top Job in Saybrook

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (File photo)

AREAWIDE — Perhaps reflecting the mood of the country in Tuesday’s elections, Democrats locally retained control of the majority of seats of government in the Tri-Town area.

Democrat incumbent Norm Needleman convincingly won a fourth term as First Selectman in Essex with an almost 2 to 1 majority of 1,509 votes over Republican challenger Vin Pacileo’s 772.  Needleman is joined again on the board of selectmen by fellow Democrat Stacia Libby (1,204 votes) and Republican Bruce Glowac (1,047 votes)

Needleman’s 737 majority over Pacileo was far higher than the 80-vote margin he achieved over Glowac in 2015, and also in 2011 when, in his first contested election, he defeated Bruce MacMillian by over 400 votes. Needleman was uncontested by town Republicans for a second term in 2013.

Glowac had previously served as first selectman from 1991-1995.

In Deep River, where all three board of selectmen candidates were unopposed, incumbent Democrat Angus L. McDonald, Jr. won 804 votes to be returned as first selectman. He is joined by fellow Democrat incumbent Duane Gates (D) with 601 votes and newcomer William L. Burdick (R), who polled 360 votes.

Democrats Lauren Gister (left) and Charlene Janecek (File photo)

Chester saw another incumbent Democrat Lauren Gister re-elected to the position of first selectwoman with a strong showing of 797 votes, representing a more than 2 to 1 margin over Republican challenger Carolyn Linn (360 votes). Gister’s fellow incumbent Democrat Selectwoman Charlene Janecek, who polled only 32 votes less than Gister, also retains her seat on  the board.  The third member of the board will be Republican James Grzybowski, who defeated Linn by just three votes.

The only Republican success in the area was incumbent Carl Fortuna’s re-election in Old Saybrook with 1,911 votes over Democrat Stephen Sheehan, who polled 1,220 votes. Joining Fortuna on the board will be Republican Scott Giegerich  (1,688 votes) and Democrat Carol Conklin with 1,398 votes.


Tri-Town Veterans Day Parade to be Held Tomorrow

TRI-TOWN — Tri-Town Veterans Day Parade kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. from behind the Deep River Elementary School, travels down High Street to Main Street and then onto the memorial for a wonderful ceremony.

All veterans are welcome to join the parade.

All are invited to watch the parade and honor the veterans.


Potapaug Audubon Hosts Annual Bird Seed Sale Tomorrow

ESSEX — Potapaug Audubon’s Annual Bird Seed Sale takes place on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Essex Fire Station Parking Lot, 11 Saybrook Rd Essex.  The sale will offer a great range of choices.

To pre-order call 860-767-9763 or stop by to buy.


Letter From Paris: Sexual Harassment Scandal in US Reverberates Around the World

Nicole Prévost Logan

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal exploded in the Hollywood world, last September, who could have ever expected  the groundswell it is sending around the world, or at least the Western world.  All of a sudden, in the media, the social networks, and all the way up to the highest political spheres of government, it has triggered a deluge of testimonies from women who have been the victims of all forms of unpunished harassment and kept silent until now.  Debates and commentaries are occupying the news by storm.

In Le Monde of Oct. 22,  a headline in huge letters read, La Parole Liberée (The liberated voice.)  A psychologist writes, “Today shame seems to have changed camp.”  What took place in  the workplace,  the street and on public transport, is now being brought out in the open.  This situation has been going on for a long time.  Years ago, my three daughters were boarders in an American high school in Rome.  Their description of the behavior of Italian males preying on women was almost a caricature of what seems to be a national pastime.

A hashtag, crudely worded, #balancetonporc (expose your pig), created by a French journalist living in New York turned viral within five hours.  It is a website where women can talk anonymously and denounce their rapist.  The slogan #moiaussi (equivalent to #meetoo  in the US) provoked millions of reactions.  It is not the creation of a feminist group, but just happened spontaneously.    

In the French workplace, one of five women was subjected to harassment in 2014 but only 5 percent brought their case to justice.  In 2016, 216,000 complaints were registered.  A majority of women plaintiffs lose their job in the process.

Harvey Weinstein

The complicity of men as co-workers or business collaborators contributes to the vulnerability of the victims.  The rapid downfall of Harvey Weinstein can be explained by his failing company and the disappearance of his supporters.    

On Oct. 26, the deputies of the European parliament in Strasbourg voted overwhelmingly (by 580 votes to 10, with 26 abstentions) in support of a resolution condemning all forms of harassment.  A legal inquiry has just been launched to investigate the numerous cases involving  5,000 parliamentary assistants (mostly female.)

Bringing aggression and rapes by an influential personality into the open is like a bombshell.  Such is the case of Tarik Ramadam – a Swiss Islamic scholar of Egyptian origin – accused by two women.  Grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder, he teaches the precepts of radical Islam from his Qatari-financed chair at Oxford.  One can imagine the ripple effect the recent accusations of rape will have on the large audiences of followers, who consider him as a guru. 

This week the retrospective of Roman Polanski ‘s films was met with demonstrations in Paris.  Although a brilliant movie director,  who showed his last film at the Cannes Festival, his way of denying  and belittling the women accusing him of rape, makes it difficult to separate the artist from the man.

Marlen Schiappa, the French Secretary of State for Equality between Women and Men, is working on legislation to criminalize street harassment.  However, like other societal problems, new legislation will not be enough to sanction this unacceptable reality, but when millions of women break the taboos by speaking up, this may bring about real change.

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.


Photographer Carin Roaldset’s Work on View at Essex Library Through November

‘Falling Cloud’ is one of Carin Roaldset’s featured photographs at Essex Library’s exhibition of her work.

ESSEX — Carin Roaldset grew up on a farm in Sweden and spent years in Germany and Norway before settling in Connecticut.  Her images have been featured on note cards, magazines and in Chamber of Commerce booklets and ad pieces.  She is also the chosen artist for Essex Savings Bank’s 2018 calendar and has illustrated the books A Measure of Joy – Opening to the Energy of Reiki by Gary Stinnet; Here After, Poetry by Mary Volk and Letters from Cornfield Point by Sally Ann D’Aquila.

Nature plays a major role in Roaldset’s life, and she eventually turned to photography to illustrate and share that joy.  “My photographs are mostly close-ups, representing positive emotions” she explains.  “I like to combine common objects and nature.  Texture, lines and simplicity are all important to me.  Clean images, often with an element of surprise, are what I strive to achieve in many of my photographs.”

Roaldset’s photographs and paintings have been displayed at juried shows at the Essex Art Association, Valentine H. Zahn Community Gallery, West Hartford Art League, and the Slater Memorial Museum’s Artists’ Exhibition.   She has also had several solo shows on the shoreline.

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

Roaldset will be on hand for a reception that will be held at the Library on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 12 until 2 p.m. 


Letter From Paris: The State of the Continent – A Snapshot of European Politics

Nicole Prévost Logan

Is the far right forging ahead in Europe?

The political landscape of the European Union (EU) has shifted somewhat to the right during the past few months.  At the core of this trend is the fear of losing one’s identity following the recent surge of migrants.  Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to open wide Germany’s borders – and hence Europe’s – has had a lasting impact.  Max Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign  Relations, based in London, has suggested that the trauma resulting from the decision for Europeans can be compared to that of the 9/11 attack for Americans.

Sebastian Kurz

In Austria , the legislative elections, held on Oct. 17,  gave 31.5 percent of the votes to the conservative People’s Party (OVP) led by Sebastian Kurz.  At age 31, Sebastian Kurz may become the youngest ever Chancellor of that small alpine country of eight million people with a robust economy.  He is not xenophobic nor racist and disapproves of anti-semitism.  However, Kurz may have to strike an alliance with the far right Freedom Party (FPO), which finished in third place behind the declining social democrats (SPO).

To understand Austria, one needs to remember a few facts: it  has been subjected to a flux of Kosovar and Bosniac refugees following  the late 1990s conflict in the Balkans;  it has never been a colonial power and does not have a bad conscience with regard to the economic fate of sub-Saharan migrants. According to French political commentator Christine Okrent, Austria has never gone through the process of “denazification” and considers itself to have been a victim during World War II.  The nostalgia of its past as part of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian empire still lingers.

Andrej Babis

To complete this snapshot of European politics, the Oct. 20 and 21 legislative elections in the Czech Republic saw Andrej Babis’ party arrive in first place. The 63-year-old tycoon – nicknamed Trump 2 –  proclaims to be anti-immigration, but pro-Europe and pro-NATO. He shares his ideas with the other members of the central European “Visegrad group” (Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.)

Angela Merkel, after her somewhat disappointing results in the last September elections, is reaching out to the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Greens in order to give her Christian Democrat party (CDU) a comfortable majority. These negotiations may keep her off the front stage until the end of the year.   

In France, Marine Le Pen has practically collapsed after the disastrous debate against Emmanuel Macron on May 3 between the two rounds of the presidential elections. She has become an inaudible adversary in the National Assembly.  Marion, her even more right-wing niece, was clever enough to jump ship last spring.  Marine’s co- president, highly educated Florian Philippot, was ejected from the National Front (FN).  Several legal pursuits for financial “improprieties,” both for her activities as European deputy and in France, are still looming against her. 

After six years of being in the limelight , Marine Le Pen is now in the process of redefining herself. 

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.


‘Genealogy & DNA: Just the Basics’ at Essex Library, Nov. 14

ESSEX — Having your DNA done for family research is all the rage these days but many folks aren’t sure about how to go about doing it and what the results will tell them.  Join Essex Library’s genealogy specialist, Norma Wright, on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Library for an introductory discussion on DNA.  She will briefly discuss what DNA is, what the different types of tests are, and where you can purchase the tests.  Finally, using her results as a guide, she’ll explain what you may see when you get your results.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information or to register, call the Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.


Tomorrow, Essex Library Hosts Ellen Madere Offering Organizing Tips for the Holidays

A free, illustrated talk on organizing for the holidays will be presented by organizing consultant Ellen Madere at 4 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Essex Library, 33 West Ave. Madere will focus on how to reign in decorations; shape up gift wrappings; declutter so decorations shine; and delegate the stress out of the holidays. Photo by Nina Subin.

ESSEX — It’s that time of year again; the holidays that bring together family and friends are just around the corner. This year, why not take advantage of professional organizer Ellen Madere’s great advice for getting your home prepared for the celebrations so you can de-stress, relax and actually enjoy them?

On Saturday, Nov. 4, at 4 p.m. at the Essex Library, Real Simple’s “Ask The Organizer” Madere will present tips for holiday organizing including how to: reign in decorations; shape up gift wrappings; declutter so decorations shine; and delegate the stress out of the holidays. Before moving to Old Lyme, Madere spent many exciting years working as a picture editor for the likes of Fortune, Psychology Today, Rolling Stone and Esquire.

This program 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.



Essex Library Hosts Essex First Selectman Candidate Forum Tomorrow

ESSEX — On Thursday, Nov. 2, the Essex Library will sponsor a forum to provide local citizens with an opportunity to hear from candidates vying against each other in this year’s election for First Selectman. Incumbent Norm Needleman and challenger Vin Pacileo will appear at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall auditorium.  Essex Library Director Richard Conroy will serve as moderator.

The format will be a free flowing discussion between the two based on questions submitted in advance by Essex residents.  Potential questions can be dropped off in person at the Library; sent via email to; or by US mail to: Essex Library, 33 West Avenue, Essex, CT 06426.  Questions should be relevant to issues that pertain to Essex, and not reflect a bias toward either candidate.

In a new twist from the debates sponsored by the Library in the past, cards will also be available at the door that can be used by those who attend the forum to write questions for the candidates.  The final two questions asked will be selected from the pool of possibilities submitted in that manner.  Pre-registration is not necessary to attend, but call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 with any questions related to the forum.


Voting Ends Today in Essex’s Scarecrow Festival

Gru and the Minions made an appearance at the 2015 Scarecrow Festival. Photo by Elizabeth Cadley.

ESSEX — The scarecrows are coming!

The Essex Board of Trade will host the annual Scarecrow Festival on Saturday Oct. 14.  Local merchants and community organizations as well as individual residents and families all contribute life-size straw figures for the event. The goal is to have enough scarecrows for all the lampposts on Main Street in Essex and Ivoryton.

Judy Heiser of the Essex Board of Trade notes, “It’s never been a problem to get them; people are really enthusiastic about this.” The scarecrows come in all sorts of garbs, from lacy wedding dresses to Cub Scout uniforms from the local troop. Restaurants often make chef scarecrows. Heiser described the scarecrows fashioned by the Essex Hardware, which has put several straw men in front of its building, as “a bit gory, very interesting, and very hardware store-ish.”  This year there are themes as well: Best Town Spirit, Most Creative, Most Beautiful, Most Original, and Scariest.

The scarecrows need to be delivered to Jim D’Alessio at J. Alden Clothiers on Essex Main Street by Oct. 4.  Once they are installed, everyone is encouraged to visit and vote for their favorites!  Ballots are available at participating merchants in town.  Scarecrow voting will take place until Oct. 29, with winners announced on the 31st.

Scarecrow Festival Activities

On Oct. 14 from 12 to 4 p.m., there will be music, games, food and activities all along Essex’s Main Street. As you stroll the street and enjoy the scarecrows be sure to:

  • Drop in to Main Street Park for a bowl of the Congregational Church’s chili and music (10:00-2:00) from the Shiny Lapel Trio (12:00-1:30) ;
  • Enjoy a Revolutionary Ale at the Griswold Inn Tap Room and take home a complimentary pint glass;
  • Hear folk singer Larry Kaplan from 2 to 3:30 p.m. outside Toy’s Ahoy;
  • Play games on the lawn at the Connecticut River Museum;
  • Enjoy a cannoli from Cannoli on the Run food truck;
  • Browse the Village Shops, and more!

The Essex Board of Trade includes virtually every type of business within the three villages that comprise Essex Township.  The EBOT organizes many of the events in Essex that have been family traditions for years.  The EBOT also supports numerous non-profit organizations by offering them low cost memberships and assists them in their various events and causes. For more information about the Essex Board of Trade, its programs, and members, visit

Photo Captions:

  1. Inspiration for designs comes from movies, Halloween themes, and even famous musicians! Photo by Elizabeth Cadley.

Siegrist Votes for Bipartisan Budget That Restores Education, Municipal Funding

State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R-36th)

AREAWIDE – State Representative Robert Siegrist (R – 36th) voted Thursday for a bipartisan budget that averts Gov. Malloy’s proposed education cuts to cities and towns, and installs structural municipal mandate reform.

Noting that this bipartisan state budget puts an end to a four-month standstill, Siegrist commented, “I have to admit that there are some aspects in this budget that I do not stand by, but all-in-all there are many aspects in this budget that I do support. This budget is a compromise to move Connecticut forward. This budget restores municipal aid and education funding to our towns and will avoid a tax increase that we inevitably would incur if the governor’s draconian cuts went into effect. I believe this budget will provide Connecticut with relief and it builds a strong foundation as we attain fiscal stability.”

Budget highlights include:

  • Enacts the constitutional spending cap that was first approved by voters in 1992
  • Imposes a $1.9 billion cap on borrowing, $500 million less than what was borrowed last year
  • Restores municipal and education funding cut by the Governor’s executive order
  • Protects core social services, such as day care funding and programs for developmentally disabled
  • Supports seniors by phasing in a tax exemption on social security and pensions
  • Imposes a state employee hiring freeze
  • Limits state union contracts to being no longer than 4 years
  • Provides municipal mandate relief by reducing construction costs, reforming the arbitration process, and providing greater transparency to boards of education budgets

The budget also excluded a variety of proposals discussed during the budget process, including:

  • Sales tax increase
  • Income tax increase
  • Tax on cell phones
  • Restaurant tax
  • Business tax increase
  • Shifting teachers pensions on to municipalities

The plan passed the Senate 33-3 Wednesday evening and by 126-23 in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The budget now awaits action from the governor.


Essex Steam Train & Riverboat Announces ‘Visions of the Holidays’ Art Contest

ESSEX — Call for Artists!

Design the front of a holiday greeting card and be eligible to have your original artwork displayed on the walls of River Valley Junction for the holidays.

The contest will be judged for three age groups – adult, young adult (ages 12-18), and youth (ages 7-11).

Visit the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat website and look under  “Specials” for contest details. Submit your entry by Oct. 25, 2017.

Winners will be announced on Oct. 26, 2017.

Prizes will be awarded in all categories.

For further information contact Pam Amodio at 860-767-0103, Ext 217 or email at


Change of Location for Ivoryton Congregational Church Worship Services

IVORYTON — Worship Services for the Ivoryton Congregational Church are now being held at the First Congregational Church, 6 Methodist Hill, Essex, from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. with Rev. John Van Epps, Pastor.

Fellowship follows the worship service.

All are welcome.

Bible Study is held on Tuesday mornings from 11-noon in the parlor of the Essex Congregational Church with Rev. John Van Epps facilitating.

All are welcome.


Essex Steam Train & Riverboat Welcomes Reservations for Groups to ‘Carol for a Cause’

AREAWIDE — This holiday season brings a new program – “Caroling For A Cause” to the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat.

Created as an opportunity for local non-profits, school groups, families, church choirs and other organizations to raise funds for their favorite charity, this program will also bring additional cheer and holiday spirit to the railroad’s Reindeer Breakfast and Santa Special events.

As “street-singers for donations,” groups volunteering to sing their favorite holiday songs will keep 100 percent of the donations they collect to give to the charity of their choice.  Additionally, as thanks for their participation, the Essex Steam Train will also make a $100 donation to the chosen charity.

Two-hour performance slots are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., on a first-come, first-served basis.

Professional training or talent are not required – only an enthusiasm for the holiday season and a desire to help a worthwhile charity.

For further information or to reserve your group’s spot, contact Pam Amodio at 860-767-0103, Ext 217 or email at


Join Essex Land Trust for CT River Geology Cruise, Wednesday

State Geologist Ralph Lewis gives one of his popular lectures.

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust has announced a Geology Cruise on the Connecticut River, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 1:30 p.m., Following his lecture on the Geologic History of the Lower Connecticut River Valley back in April, former Connecticut state geologist Ralph Lewis will lead a trip down the Connecticut River to explore ancient geological formations. A certified professional geologist with 40 years of experience, Ralph Lewis is also co-author on the “Glacial Geologic Map of Connecticut and Long Island Sound Basin”.

Essex Land Trust will be cruising with RiverQuest and setting out from Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam CT. Reservations are required: $30/person.

Contact only Judy Saunders by emailing:

Limited spaces available. BYO picnic/beverage. Bad weather cancels.


CT River Museum Hosts Naturalization Ceremony for 50 Immigrants from 26 Countries

The Honorable Robert Richardson, United States District Judge Magistrate, District of Connecticut administered the oath taking, in which 50 people from over 20 different countries became United States citizens.

ESSEX — On Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 11 a.m., the Connecticut River Museum hosted a naturalization ceremony for 50 immigrants from around the world. The ceremony took place on the Museum’s main lawn, directly overlooking the Connecticut River.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) presented candidates for naturalization to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.  The Honorable Robert Richardson, United States District Judge, District of Connecticut, administered the Oath of Allegiance to America’s newest citizens during the naturalization ceremony.

This young gentleman was waiting so patiently for his mom to become an American citizen. Photo by Phyllis Stillman.

Honored guests and speakers included: The Honorable Robert Richardson, United States District Judge Magistrate, District of Connecticut; Joe Courtney, U.S. Representative; Norm Needleman, First Selectman of Essex; Robert Siegrist, State Representative; and Yanira Rios, Research Aid & Outreach Organizer for the office of U. S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.  Along with the dignitaries, the John Winthrop Middle School’s 8th grade chorus, under the direction of Laura Traver, led participants in singing the national anthem and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”.

The Museum’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs said “We are honored to host this special, life-changing ceremony. It feels fitting that a River that delivered and became the home of so many immigrants over the centuries continues to be a place that welcomes these new citizens to our great country.”

The candidates came from the following countries:

Dominican Republic
El Salvador
South Korea
United Kingdom

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

For a full listing of Museum programs and exhibits, visit or call 860-767-8269.


Artist-Run Contemporary Gallery Opens in Essex Village

‘Summer Series 1’ is one of the signature works in ‘Cool & Collected’ opening at the new Melanie Carr Gallery, Oct. 21.

ESSEX – Melanie Carr Gallery will host a grand opening featuring its inaugural exhibition of Cool & Collected, a group exhibition of 14 contemporary artists on view at 1 North Main Street (across from the Essex Art Association) from Oct. 21 through Dec. 3. The opening reception will be Saturday, Oct. 21, from 4 to 7 p.m.

This exhibition will highlight the work of artists in Carr’s collection including Mary Dwyer whose historical portrait paintings revolve around historic lore and her love of early portraiture paintings; Kevin Van Aelst whose cerebral photographs consist of common artifacts and scenes from everyday life, which he rearranges into various forms, patterns, and illustrations; Bombay born artist Rashmi Talpade’s photomontages are amalgamations of reconstructed landscapes that reflect the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures.

‘Untitled’ by Matthew Best.

The exhibition also includes mesmerizing graphite drawings by Thea Wilcox Ciciotte; Robert Gregson’s geometric drawings which stem from his love of architecture; Matthew Best’s collages deal with power, gender, and authority; Kathleen Jacobs’ landscape paintings reveal nature’s abiding beauty, grace and order; Artist Ben Parker delights in his masterful folded paper constructions.

Conceptual artist David Borawski’s Blast drawings will be on view, puppeteer and artist Kimberly Van Aelst’s combines her love of science, nature, and art, Suzan Shutan’s Tar Roofing Paper pieces straddle the worlds of two and three dimensions; University of Connecticut Professor of Art John O’Donnell’s works on paper utilize appropriated images and objects relating to art history, popular media and consumer culture; and Margaret Vaughan who appropriates imagery from the fashion and porn industry states “my works fit in the fine line between lust and revulsion.”

Carr’s studio will occupy the back of the gallery. Works on paper of gallery artists will be available in the Flat Files; a ten-drawer cabinet of flat drawers that will allow more intimate works on paper available for sale in addition to the artwork on view. Also, there will be a dedicated space to serve as a hand’s on mark-making lab for visitors of all ages. Visitors are invited to explore different artist’s materials as a way to demystify and encourage the process of drawing, encourage creativity, develop a deeper understanding, appreciation, and interest in art.

Melanie Carr is a Connecticut-based artist who received her MFA from the College of Art and Design at Lesley University in 2011. Carr began her studies in visual art after serving in the United States Navy. After 10 years at the New Britain Museum of American Art as a Director/Curator, Carr is now Adjunct Professor at Central Connecticut State University and recently joined the staff at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, University of New Haven.

Melanie Carr

Carr’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Soapbox Gallery, NY, Stockman Gallery, New Britain, CT, City Arts on Pearl, Hartford, CT, Westport Arts Center, Westport, CT, and Pegasus Gallery, Middletown, CT. In addition, Carr’s work was included in numerous group exhibitions nationally. Carr has work in the collections at the New Britain Museum of American Art, The Loomis Chaffee School, and the Boston Public Library, as well as many private collections.

Susan Malan, Essex Economic Developer comments, “Essex is thrilled that Melanie Carr is opening a new art gallery at 1 North Main Street.  Her spirit and enthusiasm is bountiful and her gallery will add to the energy of Essex Village.  Melanie also chose Essex as her hometown – highlighting that Essex is a great place to live and work!”

Douglas Hyland Director Emeritus New Britain Museum of American Art notes, “As a respected curator, experienced arts administrator, and talented artist, Melanie Carr is ideally suited to found and operate an art gallery.  I look forward to her exhibitions as I know they will reflect her deep understanding and appreciation of our region’s burgeoning contemporary art scene.”

For more information, email or call 860.830.6949

Editor’s Note: Melanie Carr Gallery is an artist-run project space dedicated to the practice, exhibition, and sale of contemporary art. The goal of Melanie Carr Gallery is to promote the importance of contemporary art and examine its impact on society while providing its artists greater exposure to new audiences. All are welcome. “artisnotdecoration  #theworldneedsmoreartists #neverenoughart  #collectart #ctartist #artsharpensthemind


Letter to the Editor: Democrats Are Costing Our Towns Too Much, Vote Republican, Nov. 7

To the Editor:

We already know what a disaster the Democratic Party has imposed on us through overspending, and we can only expect more of the same from them by reelecting them to office. It’s time to take a different path, time to write tomorrow’s history, time to think ahead to our future and the future of our children, time to vote Republican.

There’s nothing progressive about:
High Taxes
High cost of living
High unemployment
Businesses moving out of State
Lost jobs
Lack of jobs for new college graduates

And there’s nothing progressive about Progressive Democrats.

It’s time to make a quality of life change for the better, time to put the doom and gloom behind us.
It’s time to vote out those Progressive Democrats that are responsible for this financial mess.
We just can’t afford them anymore. Remember who came down from his perch in Hartford to have lunch with
Norm in Essex this past summer. Remember who said he didn’t have to raise taxes because the state was in great shape before he got reelected. Norm say’s Essex is in good shape financially now, but what will he say on November 8th.

Let’s skip the November 8th surprise and Vote for Vin Pacileo, 1st Selectman on November 7th in Essex, and Carolyn Linn and James Grzybowski in Chester.

Please join me, a proud Republican in voting for the Republican Candidates this November 7th. It could be a life changing event with lower taxes.
Thank You.


Peter Arseneault,
Editor’s Note: The author is the chairman of the Haddam Republican Town Committee.


St. John’s 75th Annual Rummage Sale Continues Today

The ‘Essex Attic’ is always a popular attraction at St. John’s Annual Rummage Sale!

ESSEX — Once again it’s time to come down to Essex and ‘RUMMAGE!”   Visit the 75th Annual Rummage Sale at St. John’s Episcopal Church and find the treasures you have long been seeking.

The Sale will be on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20, and 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  It is a huge sale – this year there are lots of excellent furniture, small appliances, clothing – modern and vintage, books, etc., including hundreds of items under $10.

Come across a real fashion find in the Boutique.  “Essex Attic” has exceptional treasures and of course there is really cool costume jewelry.  The Silent Auction is just remarkable.

Cider and donuts will be available, and on Saturday there will also be a bake sale, plus hot dogs.

The Church is located at the corner of Main & Cross Streets, Essex, CT 06426 – opposite the park. For more information call the church office at:  860-767-8095


Community Music School Hosts Master Clarinetist to Teach Technique Intensive Today

Clarinetist Ken Lagace will lead a full day clarinet workshop, Oct. 21.

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School presents master clarinetist Ken Lagace, who will lead a full day of workshops on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 10 4 p.m., focusing on intermediate/advanced level clarinet technique on a wide range of topics.  The intensive will be hosted on Community Music School’s main campus in Centerbrook and will cost $95, with lunch included.   Register online at or by calling 860-767-0026.

The morning session will include in-depth information on clarinet reeds, including how to select them, maintain them, fix them, properly play them, and even how to make them. The afternoon session will provide an introduction to Lagace’s signature REALM method, which stands for Reed, Embouchure, Air, Ligature, and Mouthpiece.  This method teaches players to achieve an excellent sound with flexibility, range, control, and many other aspects of good clarinet performance.

Each session will be followed by a chance for the participants to experiment with their newly learned skills. During the final session, participants will be broken into two or more groups where they can apply their new techniques in a chamber ensemble setting, with feedback from Lagace and other clarinet instructors.

Lagace received his Bachelor of Music degree at Hartt College of Music (CT) in 1960.  He studied with Keith Wilson at Yale in 1955, Bernard Portnoy in New York City from 1958 to 1960.  He served as a member of the US Coast Guard Band and studied with Kalmen Opperman in New York City from 1962 to 1966. He instructed at the Hartt College of Music (CT) from 1966 to 1987. Under the tutelage of Kalmen Opperman, Lagace learned to make his own reeds and reface clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces which has become a skill he willingly shares with his peers.

He was a member of the Hartford (CT) Symphony Orchestra from 1966 to 1987 playing Assistant Principal Clarinet, Bass Clarinet and Eb Clarinet. He was Principal Clarinetist in the Hartford (CT) Chamber Orchestra from its inception until 1987.  His performances include many on TV and Radio, and at Lincoln Center (NYC) and Carnegie Hall (NYC) with the Hartford Symphony.  He also made a CD recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Hartford (CT) Chamber Orchestra in 1976.

In 1987 Mr. Lagace abandoned the clarinet to program computers and in 2008 after retiring, dusted off the clarinet and is enjoying being back in the clarinet world again.


About Community Music School

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. 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 visit or call (860)767-0026.


Centerbrook Architects Presents Lecture on Cuban, Russian Design

Photo by Ann Thompson.

The next presentation in the Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series is, The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!’  On Friday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. Centerbrook Architects Principal Jim Childress, FAIA will take the audience on a whirlwind illustrated tour in The Cube at their office of some of the best architecture, new and old, from Cuba, St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Enjoy images of wonderful examples of mid-century modern houses in Cuba, and some of the best contemporary architecture in Russia including the Boris Eifman Dance Academy, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and the renovated French Impressionist wing of the Hermitage Museum.

Childress has won more than 60 design awards including the American Institute of Architects 1998 Architecture Firm Award. In 1994, he was selected as one of the decade’s “40 National Architects under 40” by the Architectural League of New York and Interior Magazine. 

He was invested, for design, into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 2001 and recognized for Professional Achievement by the Rhode Island School of Design at their 2005 Commencement. He is a long-standing member the National AIA Committee on Design, serving on its Advisory Group and as the 2015 Chair.

This presentation is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register.

Centerbrook Architects office is located at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook.


Artful Living Invites Students to Submit Original Short Plays for Possible Production at ‘The Kate,’ Scholarship Award

AREAWIDE — Artful Living, Killingworth’s multi-generational community theatre, is seeking original scripts of short plays from Connecticut high school students.  This new program, Playwrights For Tomorrow, offers students the opportunity to win a scholarship and have their play produced on stage at Old Saybrook’s Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate) on April 29, 2018.

Plays will be reviewed by a panel of theatre professionals. Selected playwrights will be offered the opportunity to collaborate with directors and other theatre artists in the staging of their plays.  Submission Deadline is Jan. 8, 2018.

For full details and an application form, visit


Letter to the Editor: Connecticut May be Crumbling, But Essex is in Good Hands

To the Editor:

Recently the question was asked, “Where’s Norm Needleman?”

I know the answer. He is right here in Essex, doing good things for the town of Essex, governing cooperatively, giving generously and thinking proactively. I may not agree with everything that he has done, but I do beleive Norm Needleman is THE choice for Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton. We need to continue doing exactly what he, Stacia Rice-Libby and Bruce Glowac have been doing right alongside the Boards of Finance and Education and the various commissions of our town. While Connecticut crumbles around us, we are seeing new development, public land acquisition, improvements to our infrastructure, buildings and programs, all at a very reasonable cost to the taxpayers.

I pay taxes in Essex, I volunteer in Essex, I live in Essex. The cooperation and consideration of the leadership here in our town, on both sides of the political divide, show just how easy it is to get things done when reasonable people put differing labels aside and work towards a common goal.

Leave aside the derisiveness of state and national politics, and focus right here at home.

I am both proud to live and in a town as well managed and governed as Essex.


Don “DG” Fitton,


Letter to the Editor: Pacileo Will Fight for Essex, Confront Malloy for Fair State Funding,

To the Editor:

I endorse Vin Pacileo for First Selectman of Essex.

Under the Malloy Budget, Education Cost Sharing Grant for Essex will be 0. I don’t know why the Governor’s Budget would pass on his irresponsibility to Towns and Cities. Education for goodness sake! Isn’t that a bi-partisan issue? Vin Pacileo vows to confront the Governor for fair state funding. I agree with him.

Contrast this with our present First Selectman who wants to use our “rainy day fund” to close the loss. Isn’t that just giving up? Surely, there are other things we need to fund in Essex, perhaps an even larger amount to fund the pension, or the Library or the Fire Department. Personally, I believe our present First Selectman should join those Selectmen and Mayors working to force Governor Malloy to find other means to solve Connecticut’s budget crises. After all the Governor would listen to someone who gave a substantial donation to his campaign. Governor Malloy shows that he is not bi-partisan, since he vetoed a bi-partisan budget that was passed in the General Assembly. He might listen to a Democrat.

Since, I served on the Board of Education In Portland, I know that our state has burdened the towns and cities with expensive unfunded mandates for years. In a article, dated September 15, 2017, Norm said, “ if re-elected he will continue to fight the proliferation of unfunded mandates.” He has the “bully pulpit” now. Why not fight now? This is not just a state issue, it effects Essex. Change Starts Locally.

I want a First Selectman who will fight for Essex. Vin Pacileo is that man. I urge you to vote for Vin Pacileo on November 7.


Lynn D. Herlihy,


Legal News You Can Use: Why Many Car Accidents Happen Close to Home

Part of the reason many accidents occur near home is because driving in familiar places can cause drivers to rely on memory instead of what is happening around them. This auto-pilot phenomenon can prevent people from remaining vigilant while driving, potentially causing them to miss important visual cues. It is imperative that drivers combat this phenomenon by staying awake and alert as unpredictable elements, such as other drivers, crossing animals or mechanical failure, can always cause an accident. However, because others are also likely driving on auto-pilot, motorists should also ensure that they always buckle their seat belt no matter how far they are driving.

Further, fatal car accidents are more likely to occur at certain times of times of the day, particularly when workers are heading home or when residents are out running errands. For example, 16 percent of fatal accidents that occurred in 2013 took place between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.. Further, 31 percent of car accidents in 2013 occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight.

Car accidents that occur on interstates, local highways or even rural roads can result in serious injuries or even death. If the accident occurred due to another driver’s negligence or risky driving habits, those who suffered injuries could seek compensation for the damages they sustained in the incident, including recovering the cost of their medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. However, some insurance companies may attempt to settle the claim for less than what the injured individuals need. In such an event, filing a lawsuit against the at-fault motorist with an attorney’s help might be advisable.

The Law Firm of Suisman Shapiro focuses on this area of the law.
Sponsored post.


Essex Historical Society Hosts Antique & Classic Car Show & Tour Today

ESSEX — Start your engines!

From sleek vintage roadsters to classic muscle cars, Essex Historical Society’s Antique & Classic Car Show highlights the best of automotive history.  All photos courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Essex Historical Society (EHS) is partnering with Essex Automobile Club & Antique Auto Service to present the 7th Annual Antique & Classic Car Show & Tour Sunday, Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  This annual event combines the best in viewing classic cars, followed by a fall foliage tour around the area.

Held on the beautiful grounds of the historic Pratt House, 19 West Ave., Essex, the car show welcomes all antique and classic cars 25 years and older, with no entrance fee.  Exhibiting cars may arrive after 10:30 a.m.  The general public is welcome to attend this family-friendly, free event.  Onsite refreshments will be available for purchase, provided by Porky Pete’s Catering.

See antique cars of all kinds on Saturday, Oct. 15.

Since it will be the height of fall foliage season, exhibitors are welcome to join in a driving tour of area attractions, to enjoy autumn’s beauty in the Valley/Shore area for a late season ride.  The tour will begin around 12 p.m., maps will be provided and the touring cars will return to the Pratt House grounds.  The show will remain open for those who do not participate in the tour.   Visitors are welcome to explore the grounds and reproduction barn of the 1732 Pratt House.

Join your fellow car-enthusiasts for this lovely day in Essex as that weekend also features the decorated Scarecrows On Main Street.   For more information, visit or 860-767-0681.

There is no rain date for this event.


Last Day to see ‘I Hate Musicals: The Musical’ at Ivoryton Playhouse

Equity member Stephen Wallem plays the lead in Ivoryton Playhouse’s upcoming production of  “I Hate Musicals: the Musical.”

ESSEX — Simpsons’ television writer and producer Mike Reiss is back in Ivoryton with his hilarious world premiere of I Hate Musicals: The Musical. It’s the story of a cranky comedy writer trapped in the rubble of an LA earthquake.  His life is playing out before his eyes in the form of a musical — and he hates musicals …  With numbers sung by everyone from Sigmund Freud and Satan, will he learn to be less cranky?

Previews for I Hate Musicals: The Musical begin Sept. 27 and then the show opens at the Playhouse Sept. 29 and runs through Oct. 15.

Stephen Wallem*, a SAG Award-nominated actor best known as Thor Lundgren for seven seasons on the Emmy-winning Showtime series “Nurse Jackie”, will lead the cast as Alvin, the comedy writer. Stephen worked as a stage actor and After Dark Award-winning cabaret singer in Chicago before moving to New York to make his television debut on “Nurse Jackie.” Other television appearances include Randall on Louis CK’s surprise limited series “Horace and Pete” and Chad on “Difficult People.”

I Hate Musicals: The Musical features new music composed by Walter Murphy, composer of the 70’s classic A Fifth of Beethoven (which was included in the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever. The play is one man’s zany ride through relationships with mothers and fathers, analysts and wives and with a host of surprising characters making unexpected appearances. Ultimately, the story is a traditional one about life, love, show business, and the importance of being kind.

Reiss, who is writer and producer for the long running TV show, The Simpsons, also created the animated series The Critic; the webtoon Queer Duck and worked on the screenplays for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Horton Hears a Who!; The Simpsons: The Movies; and, My Life In Ruins. Ivoryton audiences turned out in droves in the June 2013 for his hilarious play, I’m Connecticut, which was a huge popular and critical success and Comedy is Hard in September of 2014 with Micky Dolenz and Joyce DeWitt.

Directed by James Valletti, the cast includes Playhouse favorite R. Bruce Connelly*, and Will Clark, Sam Given*, Amanda Huxtable*, Ryan Knowles*. The set design is by Dan Nischan, lighting by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Elizabeth Cipollina.

Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

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


Essex-based ‘Overabove’ Expands with Opening of West Coast Office 

The staff of OverAbove gather for a group photo in front of their premises at the Witch Hazel Works in Essex.

ESSEX – Overabove, a strategic marketing and communications firm based in Essex, Conn., has expanded its business footprint and enhanced its offerings with the opening of a Los Angeles office. The firm’s new office is located in Manhattan Beach on the Manhattan Beach Studios’ Media Campus – a facility where media arts, studio production, new technology and ideas converge.

The creative space is just south of Hollywood and bustling with the kind of activity at the heart of Overabove’s culture and services. Seasoned industry leader Tara Walls has been appointed to lead the firm’s new office.

As Head of Entertainment for Overabove, Walls will draw upon nearly 25 years of experience in the Hollywood entertainment industry to connect brands with television shows, feature films and talent. She’ll leverage industry relationships and tap her experience in brand integration and promotional partnerships, as well as with music and influencers, to craft customized entertainment partnerships to elevate brands of all sizes. She’ll also create original content to give brands exposure.

Walls’ depth of experience in identifying and structuring relationships between Hollywood properties and brands will bring strong added value to Overabove’s clients. While Walls only recently joined Overabove in a formal capacity, she’s been an extension of the Overabove team for more than a decade – collaborating with the firm on a number of entertainment partnerships for shared clients.

A resident of Los Angeles, Walls joins the Overabove team after serving as executive vice president of brand integrations & entertainment partnerships at FRUKT and Rogers & Cowan. She previously worked as a product placement executive at two Hollywood film studios.

“We are thrilled that our business footprint will now reach from coast to coast and that our new office is in such an ideal, exciting location – spearheaded by someone as talented and experienced as Tara,” said Ralph Guardiano, principal and co-founder of Overabove. “We know that these enhancements will greatly benefit our clients’ strategic and creative plans and look forward to seeing the results.”

John Visgilio, principal and co-founder of Overabove with Guardiano, added, “The opening of our West Coast office along with Tara’s hiring is part of our continued evolution to keep our clients’ brands above the noise, make our offerings as extensive and accessible as possible, and tap new growth opportunities.”