October 1, 2016

‘Children of the Stone/Dal’Ouna Ensemble’ Performs in Old Lyme Tonight as Part of National Tour

Ramzi Aburedwan (third from right) stands with the other members of the Dal'Ouna Ensemble that will be performing in Old Lyme on Sept. 30.

Ramzi Aburedwan (third from right) stands with the other members of the Dal’Ouna Ensemble that will be performing in Old Lyme on Sept. 30.

OLD LYME — The Tree of Life Educational Fund presents a performance by Ranzi Aburedwan and his Arabic-French Dal’Ouna Ensemble in a program of music and book-readings on Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

This event is part of the national concert and book tour of Children of the Stone/Dal ‘Ouna, which celebrates Palestinian musician and educator Ramzi Aburedwan and his belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives and resist oppression. The tour corresponds with the paperback release of Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land (Bloomsbury, April 2015/paperback March 2016) by Sandy Tolan, author of the international bestseller, The Lemon Tree.

Featured in concert will be the powerful music of Ramzi Aburedwan and his Arabic-French Dal’Ouna Ensemble and the Lebanese singer, Abeer Nehme : a dynamic fusion of Palestinian Arab folk, classical, jazz and world music.   Ensemble members include renowned composer, violist and buzouk player Ramzi Aburedwan and percussionist Tareq Rantisi from Palestine, oud player Ziad Ben Youssef from Tunisia, Edwin Buger from Yugoslavia on accordion. Michael Dabroski will join the group with his Palestinian violin, and there will be readings from Sandy Tolan’s book, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land.

Children of the Stone tells the dramatic story of Ramzi Aburedwan’s life growing up in an occupied Palestinian refugee camp and his transformation from a stone throwing youth of the first intifada, to a talented musician studying at the Edward Said Palestine National Academy of Music and a French Conservatory and his final return to Palestine to realize his life’s dream of founding a music school, Al-Kamandjati that has centers in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. He views Al-Kamandjati and related projects with international musicians as a combination of safe haven, creative resistance, and trauma therapy for the least fortunate Palestinian children, many living in refugee camps.

World-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma said this about Sandy Tolan’s book:“In a world where so much popular fiction depicts life in a dystopian world, it is refreshing to have this non-fiction account that reflects one individual’s belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives. Congratulations to Sandy Tolan for bringing us the story of Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, his philosophy and his personal mission to make a difference.  His story is proof of the famous words of Margaret Mead –‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’”.

All are welcome to attend this concert and book-reading.  General admission is $10 at the door.  Admission is free to students and those aged under 21.

The concert and book tour features two additional locations in Connecticut as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 24; 7 pm Yale University, CT

Monday, Sept. 26; 7 pm UConn, Storrs, CT

For more information, visit www.tolef.org or call the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme at 860.434.8686

The Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOL) a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation was established by The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme to provide cross-cultural and transnational travel experiences, interfaith conferences and educational opportunities to help participants to become more enlightened and more engaged in making this a more just and peaceful world in which to live.

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The Movie Man: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is an Unexpected Delight

kubo-main_0Truly, if you enjoy learning about ancient mythology, you will enjoy watching Kubo and the Two Strings, brought to you by Laika, the filmmakers behind Coraline and The Boxtrolls. With an all-star-studded cast that includes Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, and Star Trek actor/turned social media personality George Takei, this stop-motion animation film does not disappoint.

We are told the story of Kubo, a young one-eyed boy, who cares for his ill mother by transforming paper into origami masterpieces through his shamisen (a string instrument indigenous to Japan). After staying out past dark (as he was warned against many times), his mother’s sisters destroy his village and attempt to take his remaining eye.

Upon escaping the terror of his aunts, Kubo comes across the incarnate version of his wooden monkey (voiced by Ms. Theron) brought to life by his own mother’s magic, and eventually Beetle (Mr. McConaughey), who join him on a quest to retrieve the armor worn by his father, a Samurai warrior.

The film often invoked reminders of ancient mythology, in which the character is forced to embark on a quest, accompanied people who are both reasonable and unreasonable, in which the protagonist must locate something precious in regards to the parent he never knew, who was a great warrior and up to whose image he seeks to live. This ranges from classical mythology to modern entertainment (think of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, prior to learning his father was the enemy he was fighting all along [not spoiling anything about this film, disclaimer] or even Telemachus, son of Odysseus in The Odysessy.)

Perhaps what is most rivaled by its story and performances is its original score, which I have no doubt will at least be nominated by many award shows this upcoming season.

It was released in 3D, a trend in movies that I do not understand. Despite being a family-friendly film, I would caution those who have very young children from seeing this. One of the main themes revolves around the title character missing an eye and his grandfather and aunts seeking retribution on his life or his remaining eye, as well as there being some frightening images and scary scenes.

But anybody above the PG-warned audience will find this movie to be an ultimate delight.

Kevin Ganey

About the Author: Kevin Ganey has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at LymeLine.com, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.

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Linares, Needleman to Debate Tonight at Lyme-Old Lyme HS in Hotly Contested 33rd State Senate Race

Essex First Selectman and Democratic candidate for the 33rd District, Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (D)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

AREAWIDE — The Day and the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut are hosting a debate from 7 to 8 p.m. this evening, Thursday, Sept. 22, between the candidates running for the 33rd State Senate District — incumbent Senator Art Linares (R) and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (D).

Needleman, who is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003, is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares, who is running for a third term.

Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote.

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

Questions for the debate may be submitted in advance to p.choiniere@theday.com. To watch the debate, visit www.theday.com. It will be live streamed and available for viewing until the election. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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Lyme First Selectman Eno (R) Endorses Needleman (D) for State Senate

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.

LYME – Today, Lyme Republican First Selectman Ralph Eno endorsed Democratic State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman.

“Although I generally try to avoid all things political, given the state of affairs at the state level, I’ve decided to be more public in terms of of the upcoming state senate race,” said Eno. “Norm has my unequivocal support.”

Eno, a Republican, has served as the first selectman of Lyme since 2007 and, with a brief interlude, for 10 years prior to that.

“Norm has the chief elected official experience at the town level that is crucial to being an effective representative,” Eno continued. “We need more small to mid-level town CEOs in the legislature to stand up to laws in Hartford that have terrible unintended consequences for our towns. His work in the public sector paired with his experience as a tried and true business person gives him a leg up to make sure we have the best possible representation given our state’s budget problems.”

“I am endorsing Norm, who is far and away the most qualified candidate for State Senate,” said Eno. “I know him as a man that is collaborative instead of adversarial. He will not be tethered to his political party. He will work on both sides of the aisle and be a team player. And he will be honest with you even when you disagree.”

Norm Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing 150 people at facilities in Essex and Clinton.

“Ralph has been a great example for me on how to run a small town,” said Norm Needleman. “He’s hands on, hard-working, honest, and always involved. He knows what it takes to run a municipality. It means a tremendous amount to me to receive this endorsement from a man I have viewed as a mentor in so many ways.”

Needleman is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003.

“This district has 12 towns with a lot in common and Ralph and I share a common perspective,” continued Needleman. “We both understand the perspective of small towns, the importance of home rule, and that we need fewer mandates and rules from Hartford.”

Needleman is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares, who is running for a third term and like Eno, is a Republican. Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote.

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

Click here for audio of the event: http://norm.vote/eno.mp3.

Click here for photos of the event: http://bit.ly/2bZWKDT.

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World Renowned Horse Whisperer, Animal Communicator at East Haddam This Weekend

Anna Twinney with her own rescue, Aria, at her home in Elizabeth, Colo.

Anna Twinney with her own rescue, Aria, at her home in Elizabeth, Colo.

EAST HADDAM — Everyone talks to their dog. Those of us with pets, have had casual “conversations” with our furry, feathered, or even finned friends. It’s human nature to chat. We’ve likely bent Rover’s ear too long over trivial irritations that happened at work or lamenting the tedious commute home. Our pets have long been victims of our mindless self-talk and keepers of our deepest secrets.

But what if you could have a real conversation with your animal companion?  What if you knew what they were really thinking or saying …

World renowned animal communicator and horse whisperer, Anna Twinney would say, “The only thing stopping you is your own beliefs of what is truly possible. You absolutely can know.”

On Sept. 9-11, Twinney will lead a group of animal lovers at Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam on a journey to tap into their inherent abilities. Animal Communication is not supernatural, but a natural way of communicating with animals and even people.  Animals communicate telepathically with one another all the time — we just need to reawaken those intuitive senses to explore this extraordinary skill.

Twinney is sought out all over the world by concerned pet and horse owners hoping to find answers to behavioral issues, health problems and other mysteries.

Her own journey into animal communication began over two decades ago.  Having unlocked this missing piece of the puzzle, Twinney knew that she had to share her knowledge. Now known the world over for her exceptional abilities, specific, verifiable methods and extensive knowledge of horses, Twinney often found animal communication techniques helpful during her work with horses as well.

“The language of the horses, called Equus, is almost completely non-verbal. While horses have the ability to vocalize and they do use it … the nuances of their language is in the subtitles only seen by those fluent in the language,” Twinney explains.

The “Evening of Animal Communication” workshop is truly a step through the wardrobe into a world that most people only dream of.

To learn more about Animal Communication, Twinney and the event at Ray of Light Farms, visit ReachOuttoHorses.com or to learn more about Ray of Light Farms and the rescue efforts there, visit www.RayofLightFarms.org.

A portion of the proceeds from Twinney’s workshops will be earmarked to support the ongoing horse rescue and rehabilitation at Ray of Light.

Anna Twinney with her own rescue, Aria, at her home in Elizabeth, Colorado
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FRA to Host Public Meeting Today in Old Lyme on Proposed Rail Route; Submit Questions, Comments in Advance

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is planning to host a meeting in Old Lyme regarding the proposed high-speed rail route next Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School auditorium, 69 Lyme St., Old Lyme, CT.  It will last about 1.5 to 2 hours, and the FRA will give a short presentation to clarify the process and address misstatements.

Then the FRA representatives will have a roundtable discussion about the NEC Futures Draft EIS with local and state leaders. The meeting will be open to the public in an effort to allow residents and businesses to hear the discussion.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, along with local selectmen and elected officials, have been invited to the meeting.  Congressman Joe Courtney is able to attend until 5 p.m. and CT Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker will be there for the entire meeting.

The Town of Old Lyme requests that comments and questions be submitted to selectmansoffice@oldlyme-ct.gov prior to the meeting so that they may be addressed at the roundtable discussion.  It will also be possible to submit questions at the meeting for discussion by the participants.

Reemsnyder recommends arriving early since the meeting will begin promptly at 4:30 p.m.

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CT Port Authority Chair Tells Lower CT River Local Officials, “We’re All on One Team”

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River but still deep in discussion are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) Board Member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River, but still finding time for discussions, are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) board member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

There was an overarching message both throughout the Connecticut Port Authority’s (CPA) meeting in Old Lyme’s Town Hall Thursday afternoon and during a subsequent boat ride on the MV ‘Victoria’ for members and local officials on the Connecticut River.  It was, in the words of CPA Chairman Scott Bates, that, “We’re absolutely committed to river communities.”

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town's needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town’s needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

In addition, while sailing from Essex down to Old Saybrook and then back up to Hamburg Cove on a perfect afternoon, Bates stressed, “Part of our mission is protecting these beautiful waters … and the quality of life we have here while preserving access to the river.”

View of the Connecticut River from the "Victoria."

View of the Connecticut River from the “Victoria.”

Bates noted that to have “five local officials (Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, all of whom were on board, and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, who was unable to join the trip) “involved” was a really positive sign in terms of  “building a coalition.”  This, Bates explained, was key to the development of a strategic plan for the CPA—something the Authority has been charged with preparing with a deadline of Jan. 1, 2017.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The  CPA is a relatively new quasi-public agency created in 2014 with board appointments made in 2016.  Bates said the agency was responsible for 35 coastal communities and with this trip, he would now personally have visited 28 of them. Since the CPA has not created a strategic plan previously, Bates said he is determined, “to include everyone,” in the process, adding that he regards part of the Authority’s mission to be “getting small town and big cities together.” and, in turn, “to make great things happen for our state.”

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the 'Victoria.'

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the ‘Victoria.’

Apart from Bates and the four local First Selectmen and Selectwomen, also on board were Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG) Executive Director Sam Gold, River COG Deputy Director and Principal Planner J.H. Torrance Downes, CPA Board of Directors member John Johnson and Joe Salvatore from the CPA.  Reemsnyder is also a board member of the CPA.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder and Johnson.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder, Bates and Johnson.

At the earlier meeting in Old Lyme, Downes had given a presentation to CPA members to introduce them to the Lower Connecticut River during which he had described the geography of the estuary, noting it had, “very little industry and very little commercial development.”  He described it as a “really prime area for bird migration” and highlighted numerous points of scenic beauty.

J.H. Torrance Downe, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

J.H. Torrance Downes, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

Bates noted one of the CPA’s responsibilities is to pursue state and federal funds for dredging and, while sailing under the Baldwin Bridge towards the Connecticut River’s mouth where several tributaries join the main river, Reemsnyder commented that Old Lyme had been a beneficiary of a $1.6 million state grant for dredging two of those tributaries — the Black Hall and Four Mile Rivers.  She noted that it had been a successful exercise thanks in part to Salvatore, who had, “held our hand through the whole project.”

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the 'Victoria.'

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the ‘Victoria.’ Joe Salvatore stands at rear.

Johnson, whose life and business career according to the CPA website, have “a common underlying element: the coastal waters,” also confirmed the benefits of a dredging program, saying, “There is a need for depth of water — both elements, marine and maritime, need depth of water.”  Still on the dredging issue, Bates said he had met separately with Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna and told him that he could have “whatever he needs to keep the mouth of the Connecticut River open.”

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

Reemsnyder took a minute to commend Bates for his leadership of the CPA, saying, “Scott has given focus to coastal communities,”  while Johnson added, “We are blessed with our new chairman.”

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

Glancing around at the numerous boats docked both in marinas and on the river itself,  Reemsnyder remarked, “Add up the money in these boats … [they represent] lots of economic drivers.”  On the same theme, Bates noted that the state is marketing its ports for the first time using “national expertise” in some cases with the aim of moving “more people and goods in and out of Connecticut.”  He added, “We have some great assets [in terms of ports in the state] but we could do more.”

Eyes on the Cove -- guests on the 'Victoria' gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

Eyes on the Cove — guests on the ‘Victoria’ gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

As the “Victoria’ pulled gently back into dock at Essex Yacht Club, Bates summarized the benefits of the boat trip saying that by spending time with these local leaders, he had been able to “see their waterfronts, assess their needs,“ and gain an “appreciation of the vitality of the Lower Connecticut River basin,” emphasizing one more time, “This is really about pulling together as a state … we’re all on one team.”

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘House of Lost Worlds’ by Richard Conniff

House_of_Lost_WorldsFor this month, a local author! Richard Conniff is a science writer, a contributor to The New York Times, and a resident of Old Lyme. He’s also a graduate of Yale University, one reason for his interest in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, which is now celebrating its first 150 years.

It is the story of a museum and its directors, explorers, paleontologists, ecologists, anthropologists, biologists, ornithologists, primatologists, plus a few reactionaries and, of course, 14 million specimens. It is also the story of large egos listening to “the mute cries of ages impossible to contemplate”(some 50 million years).

He explores five themes: (1) a teaching dream of leaders at the start (George Peabody, the original donor, for whom “education was (his) Rosebud”), (2) the “grandiose personality” of O. C Marsh, its first director, (3) the demolition and movement of the original building in 1905 and its effects, (4) the rise of anthropology and ecology as sciences, and (5) the invitation to go see for yourself.

So how should we pronounce the name: “Pee-body” as Yalies and the donor said it, or “Pee-buh- de” as denizens of Cambridge slur the word?

The egos predominate, highlighting the single-mindedness and secrecy of many collectors.  Hiram Bingham, the sleuth of Machu Picchu, the “lost” Incan city, was one of the most notable. As the author notes, “if paleontologists were as aggressive as brontosauri they would have eaten each other.” In many respects they did: “Maybe academic life merely gives its verbally inclined thinkers the freedom to brood about it for too long, speak it too loudly, and pursue vengeance with wrath-of-God vigor.” They make this history continually exciting and amusing.

The Peabody Museum has expanded into a teaching, research, and study institution, whose practitioners take isolated pieces from the past (human, animal, mineral) to create a logical “story” to help guide us toward the future. But today they face modern visitors, “jaded and smartphone-addled, (who) expect special effects and instantaneous answers almost everywhere.”

In 1866, when the Peabody was created, there was no sign of a “Sixth Extinction” (now forecast by Elizabeth Kolbert), no “climate change,” only 32 million people in these United States (versus 320 million today), and only 1 billion on this earth (now 7.4 billion.)  Can the interest in and funding for museums like the Peabody, their teaching and research, help us alter our behavior for a more favorable future?

Like Alice, I am “curiouser and curiouser,” so I am off to the corner of Whitney Avenue and Sachem Street in New Haven to explore for myself …

Editor’s Note: House of Lost Worlds by Richard Conniff is published by Yale Univ. Press, New Haven 2016.

Felix Kloman_headshot_2005_284x331-150x150About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

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Blumenthal Discusses Proposed High Speed Rail Route with Community Leaders Friday Morning in Old Lyme

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (File photo)

OLD LYME — Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder issued the following announcement Thursday, Aug. 11:
Senator Richard Blumenthal will be meeting in the Old Lyme Town Hall Meeting Hall, Friday, Aug. 12, at 10:30 a.m. This will be a roundtable discussion with community leaders from area towns, though the public is welcome to attend.

“After recent issues raised by the USDOT’s concept for future rail service in Connecticut and the operation of rail service by Amtrak, Senator Blumenthal will meet with municipal leaders to hear their concerns and ideas for the future of rail service along the shoreline from the Connecticut River to the Rhode Island border. This discussion will help inform Senator Blumenthal on the impact of federal policies on local communities and determine how he may assist the town leaders.”

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Essex Library Hosts Local Author James Benn to Discuss his Latest Novel, ‘The Blue Madonna’, Sept. 29

bluemadonnaESSEX — The Essex Library is honored to welcome back James Benn in celebration of the release of his 11th Billy Boyle mystery that Lee Child declares “is a must-read series.”

Publishers Weekly says of Blue Madonna: “The suspenseful story line, set on the eve of the Normandy invasion in 1944, will keep readers turning the pages … Benn movingly depicts Nazi cruelties that Boyle and his comrades witness.”

On Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library, Benn will describe fascinating details from the actual events that he researched for the book’s plotlines and more about the upcoming books in the Billy Boyle series.

James Benn

James Benn

Benn, a resident of Hadlyme, CT, worked in the library and information technology field for more than thirty-five years before he started writing full-time. One lesson he says that’s helped him greatly as an author is a quote from Oscar Wilde: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s pants to a chair.” Copies of his books will be available for purchase and signing.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560.

The Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

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Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival Kicks Off With Concert by Braiden Sunshine Tonight, Multiple Events on Lyme Street Tomorrow

The crowd settles in to enjoy the Friday night concert at the Florence Griswold Museum.

The crowd settles in to enjoy the Friday night concert at the Florence Griswold Museum.

The 30th anniversary of the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival, a summertime favorite for thousands that has now become a signature event in the lower Connecticut River Valley, takes place Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30. The event opens with a Kickoff Concert Friday, July 29, and follows up with daytime festivities Saturday, July 30, on Lyme Street in the historic Old Lyme village center. The Festival promotes the arts, music, and culture, drawing on Old Lyme’s history as a home to a number of artists including those in the original Lyme Art Colony.

Art exhibitions, art demonstrations, and musical performances are just part of the celebration, with specialty shopping, children’s activities, and a wide variety of food vendors rounding out the offerings.

The Midsummer Festival was first held in 1986 as a way to celebrate the local arts during the height of the summer season. Jeff Andersen, Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, approached institutional neighbors including the Lyme Art Association, the Bee & Thistle Inn, the Old Lyme Inn, and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, to provide a festival that included art shows, a “Stars and Stripes” concert, artist demonstrations and a “Turn of the Century Fair” complete with lawn games and a Victorian ice cream cart.

Now in its 30th year, the Midsummer Festival has 13 community partners, including the Town of Old Lyme. “Even as the festival has grown in visitation and offerings, it has stayed true to its mission of highlighting the cultural identity of Old Lyme,” notes Florence Griswold Museum Director Jeff Andersen. “There is always a great mix of new events with everyone’s favorites.”

Visitors to this year’s festival will find perennial festival favorites including art sales, hands-on activities for children, a dog show, and musical performances, while enjoying new offerings including a vendor market by the Chamber of Commerce, a fashion show in a sculpture garden and a guided tour of the Town Hall’s art collection.  A full schedule of events and list of vendors can be found at OldLymeMidsummerFestival.com

Friday, July 29 festivities

Old Lyme's own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the Festival's free Kick-off Concert at the Florence Griswold Museum on Friday, July 29.

Old Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the Festival’s free Kick-off Concert at the Florence Griswold Museum on Friday, July 29.

The traditional kickoff concert takes place Friday, July 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Florence Griswold Museum. This year’s concert features The Voice sensation 16-year old singer/song writer Braiden Sunshine and his band Silver Hammer. With a national following as a semi-finalist on Season 9 of NBC’s The Voice, Sunshine brings to the stage his version of much-loved rock classics as well as his own original compositions.

Visitors can find their spot on the lawn along the Lieutenant River and enjoy an evening of free music. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner or purchase food from Rough House Food Truck and NoRA Cupcake Truck, both on-site for the evening. The concert is sponsored by All Pro Tire Automotive and the Graybill Family.

Prior to the concert, the Florence Griswold Museum is open for free from 5 to 7 p.m. Visitors can enjoy the summer exhibition, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement and tour the historic Florence Griswold boardinghouse.

Saturday, July 30 festivities

There's always a vast array of flowers, fruit and vegetables at the 'En Plein Air' market on Saturday at the Florence Griswold Museum.

There’s always a vast array of flowers, fruit and vegetables at the ‘En Plein Air’ market on Saturday at the Florence Griswold Museum.

On Saturday, June 30, the festival spans 11 locations along Lyme Street, the heart of Old Lyme’s historic district – the Florence Griswold Museum, the Lyme Art Association, the Old Lyme Inn, the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven, Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds, the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce vendor fair at 77 Lyme Street, the Old Lyme Historical Society, Patricia Spratt for the Home, the “Plein Air Fence Painters” on Center School lawn, Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall, Inc., and the Old Lyme-PGN Library.

Festival Partner High Hopes Therapeutic Riding will be at the Museum’s site providing an educational, equine-themed arts and crafts children’s activity. Festival Partner Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau will be the host site for a morning 5K run.

Sponsors of the Festival include premium sponsors Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Pasta Vita, Inc., and Yale New Haven Health/Yale New Haven Hospital. Media sponsors include The Day Publishing Company and Shoreline Web News, LLC, publisher of LymeLine.com and ValleyNewsNow.com.

Enjoy the artwork of the 'Plein Air' artists in front of Center School.

Enjoy the artwork of the ‘Plein Air’ artists in front of Center School.

Each location will offer a variety of events and activities. In addition to art exhibitions and art sales at six of the locations, food vendors and specialty food trucks will provide a wide-range of options at each location. Artisans will market their wares at locations including the OL-PGN Library, the Chamber of Commerce vendor market, and the traditional French-styled market and artisan fair at the Florence Griswold Museum. New partner Patricia Spratt for the Home will offer its popular warehouse sale of table linens and pillows.

Children’s activities are a popular way for families to stop and enjoy the festival offerings, and can be enjoyed at multiple locations. There will be musical performances at the Chamber’s music stage, Lyme Academy and at the Old Lyme Inn where Mass-Conn-Fusion will perform with refreshments for sale under the tent.

New events this year include a fashion show by Hygienic Art resident artist Susan Hickman and acclaimed designer Anna Lucas at Studio 80, tours of Town Hall’s art collection, weaving demonstrations at the Old Lyme Historical Society, a visit from Rey to meet future Jedi-in-training at the OL-PGN Library, and a display of snakes and turtles by Linda Krulikowski (known as Old Lyme’s “Snake Lady”) at the Lyme Art Association.

Meet the oxen from Cranberry Meadow Farm on the lawn of the Lyme Art Association.

Meet the oxen from Cranberry Meadow Farm on the lawn of the Lyme Art Association.

Art demonstrations including sculpture and painting will take place throughout the day at Lyme Academy. Details and times for special events including a dog talent show, and an impressive roster of musical performances throughout the day can be found at www.OldLymeMidsummerFestival.com.

Most activities begin at 9 a.m. and continue through 4 p.m. Parking is available at Old Lyme Marketplace (46 Halls Rd.), Florence Griswold Museum (special festival parking entrance at 5 Halls Rd.), and the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (69 Lyme St.) Two shuttle buses run between these locations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit  www.OldLymeMidsummerFestival.com.

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Closed-Door Meeting on High Speed Rail Proposal Held July 7 in Old Lyme; Update From SECoast

The following was posted July 10 on the SECoast (the non-profit fighting the high-speed rail proposal that impacts Old Lyme) Facebook page:

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker (Photo from ConnDOT)

“Thursday, July 7th, from 1:30 to 4:00 pm, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker held a closed-door meeting at the Old Lyme Town Hall. The invitation list included: First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, State Rep. Devin Carney, State Sen. Paul Formica, Rod Haramut for RiverCOG, Gregory Stroud for SECoast, James Redeker, Pam Sucato, Legislative Director at the Connecticut DOT; Tom Allen, for Sen. Blumenthal’s office; Emily Boushee for Senator Murphy; John Forbis and BJ Bernblum. Despite requests by SECoast, statewide partner Daniel Mackay of Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation was not invited to attend. Officials from the Federal Railroad Administration, and project consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff did not attend.

Prior to the meeting, Stroud circulated a series of questions for Commissioner Redeker and a request for a public meeting to be held in Old Lyme. These questions are included below.

In over two hours of talks, Commissioner Redeker claimed little knowledge of current FRA planning. Redeker declined to explain mid-February internal emails between Redeker and aides, uncovered through Freedom of Information laws, indicating knowledge of such plans in mid-February. Redeker also declined to host or request a public meeting in New London County, and referred such requests to the FRA.

Asked by SECoast if he would agree to provide responses or follow-up answers to the submitted questions, Redeker replied, “Nope.” Asked whether this refusal was a matter of willingness or a matter of ability, Redeker suggested both. Asked whether he could answer any of the questions, Redeker responded yes to only Question 9.

During discussion, Redeker did indicate a slightly more accelerated decision-making process at FRA. He suggested a mid-August announcement of FRA plans, and a Record of Decision that would formalize plans by the end of 2016. Redeker also emphasized the importance of FRA plans, including the coastal bypass, to insure funding and to maximize future flexibility for state and federal officials. Redeker held out the possibility of significantly expanded commuter rail service, but when given the opportunity, made no assurances that an aerial structure through the historic district in Old Lyme was off the table.

Tom Allen, representing Senator Blumenthal’s office, gave a formal statement. Allen explained that the evidence uncovered in mid-February email came as “a surprise,” and promised to “push” for a public meeting by the end of the month, and if not, by the end of the year.

Earlier in the day, Redeker attended a large gathering of state and local officials in New London in recognition of the newly-created Connecticut Port Authority. This gathering carried over into the smaller closed-door meeting in Old Lyme, referenced above.

Questions:

1. In response to the release of internal Conn DOT emails, Spokesman Judd Everhart stated that “the DOT still is awaiting a decision from the FRA on a ‘preferred alternative’ for an upgrade of the corridor.” Should we conclude from this statement that the SECoast press release is incorrect? To your knowledge, has Parsons Brinckerhoff or the FRA either formally or informally “selected a vision, or even potential routes, for the Northeast Corridor”? And if so, when?

2. What is the current time frame for selecting a preferred alternative, preparing the Tier 1 Final EIS, the formal announcement and securing a ROD? And where are we, as of 7/7, on this time line?

3. If a Kenyon to Saybrook bypass is selected as part of the preferred alternative, and subsequent study concludes that a tunnel is infeasible, will the FRA and Conn DOT rule out any possible reversion to a bridge or aerial structure at or near Old Lyme?

4. Given that the Kenyon to Old Saybrook bypass is usually understood as the defining feature of Alternative 1, what is the significance of placing this bypass instead into an Alternative 2 framework? To your knowledge, has Parsons Brinckerhoff or the FRA, either formally or informally, selected Alternative 2 with modifications as the preferred alternative?

5. To your knowledge, does Parsons Brinckerhoff, the FRA or Conn DOT have more detailed maps of the proposed Kenyon to Saybrook bypass? And are you willing to provide them to us?

6. In your discussion of “4 track capacity to Boston,” should we understand this to mean a 2 track bypass in addition to the 2 lines existing along the shoreline?

7. Given that the Kenyon to Saybrook bypass was a relatively late addition to the NEC Planning process, do you feel comfortable that the bypass has received sufficient public and professional scrutiny to be included as part of a preferred alternative? Can you explain the genesis and inclusion of the bypass after the original 98 plans had been pared down to 3 action alternatives?

8. Conn DOT email released as part of a FOI request suggests a lack of formal and informal outreach to Old Lyme and RiverCog prior to the close of the initial comment deadline, when compared to formal and informal outreach statewide to nonprofits, mayors and Cogs. Please clarify the timing and extent of outreach to the region impacted by the proposed bypass, and to Old Lyme in particular.

9. What can we do to help you in the ongoing NEC Future process in southeastern Connecticut and to prevent these sorts of difficulties from cropping up in the future?”

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Final Day of OL Church’s White Elephant Sale Today, Opens at 8am: Most Items Half Price

Patiently waiting for the bell to chime.

Patiently waiting for the bell to chime.

This is a very special year for the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme because the Ladies Benevolent Society is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the perennially popular White Elephant Sale (WES). The sale will be held on Friday, July 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday, July 9, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Always a big draw are the huge number of bikes for sale at bargain prices.

Always a big draw are the huge number of bikes for sale at bargain prices.

The first rummage sale was held in one room of the church in 1920 and raised $200, which was a surprisingly large amount of money at the time.  In 1936, the name White Elephant Sale was given to the annual event and has been used ever since thus creating this 80th anniversary.  During the 1950s, the sale briefly expanded to include a country fair, horse show, and square dance, but, in recent decades, the sale adopted its current format and has become the two-day tradition we know today.

For those new to the town or folk who have never participated, this is one of the main events on both the town and church calendars.  It all starts with the intake period when unwanted items from your house or yard – perhaps your basement, attic or closets — can be dropped off at the church.  For a full list of items that can be accepted and also, those that cannot, visit the church’s website at www.fccol.org and click on White Elephant Sale and then Intake List.

Intake begins this year on Thursday, June 23, and runs daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Friday, July 1.  There will also be three evening intake sessions from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, Tuesday, June 28, and Thursday, June 30.

And they're off! The annual White Elephant Sale starts each year on the first strike of 9 a.m. on the designated Friday.

And they’re off! The annual White Elephant Sale starts each year on the first strike of 9 a.m. on the designated Friday.

Garage, tag and rummage sales may be every day affairs, but few – if any — can match the size and color of this one.  The sale items are organized into some 24 departments with everything from sporting goods to boutique items, books to furniture, art to electronics, dishes to shoes, clothes and toys to antiques and tools – all spread out in separate departments in tents and inside the church.

The WES has grown so large that it has become a true “community event” since many of the donations are from non-church members and a significant number of the volunteers are also from outside the church. Large crowds line up to wait for the church’s bell to strike at 9 a.m. on the Friday when the sale begins. The second day starts earlier at 8 a.m. but still draws a substantial crowd since most departments offer their remaining items at half-price on the Saturday.

The sale raises an extraordinary amount of money — almost $80,000 in 2015 — for missions and good works both locally and throughout the world.  Some of the beneficiaries include food pantries, health organizations, family support centers, children’s programs, literacy volunteers, affordable housing, and disaster relief worldwide.

For more information about the sale, to arrange pick-up of large items  or if you would like to volunteer to help in any capacity — whether with intake, the sale itself, or clean-up — call the church office at 860.434.8686.

See you at The Sale!

For more information about the church or ladies’ benevolent Society, contact 860.434.8686 or fccol@fccol.org or visit orwww.fccol.org

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Emails Confirm High Speed Rail Through Old Lyme

We received the following as a press release from SECoast on June 29. It has been published on the organization’s Facebook page and website with the supporting documentation, which for technical reasons, we are currently unable to publish.

Emails obtained by SECoast as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, indicate that the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) decided four months ago to route the next generation of high speed rail infrastructure on a new bypass through Old Lyme and eastern coastal Connecticut. They have yet to announce this decision publicly.

Gregory Stroud, executive director of SECoast, a nonprofit collaborative on issues of preservation in Southeastern Connecticut and the Lower Connecticut River Valley, obtained internal Connecticut Department of Transportation emails from Commissioner James Redeker to Public Transportation Chief James Andreski which appear to confirm FRA   plans for a Kenyon, Rhode Island to Old Saybrook, Conn., high speed rail bypass through Old Lyme in or adjacent to the I-95 corridor. These plans would also include a separate New Haven to Springfield, Mass., route as part of a newly “modified” NEC Future: Alternative 2 proposal.

Within two days of the close of public comment, agency emails indicate that the FRA had committed to a coastal bypass route through Connecticut. Redeker writes on Feb. 18, 2016, that “after spending a few hours with the team, David Carol tells me the NEC Future team … will be leaving the Kenyon bypass for the spine to Boston, because they are completely focused on delivering four-track capacity to Boston.”

Carol, a former Old Lyme resident, is heading efforts by Parsons Brinckerhoff to develop high speed rail between Boston and Washington, DC. The multinational engineering and design firm, a veteran of such projects as the Big Dig in Boston, and the Raymond E. Baldwin bridge at the mouth of the Connecticut river, is leading a state and federal project, dubbed NEC Future, to modernize high speed rail along the Northeast Corridor.

The possibility of a Kenyon to Saybrook bypass, a surprise late addition to past evaluations of high speed rail, has provoked widespread concern and opposition from citizens and organizations in the region, and prompted roughly 1200 public comments to the Federal Railroad Administration out of 3000 from across the United States.

Old Lyme is internationally recognized as the home of American Impressionism, and the FRA’s initial proposal called for a new rail bridge and elevated tracks through the picturesque marshes and heart of the town’s National Register Historic District.

Further emails, after a Feb. 26, 2016 Northeast Corridor Commission meeting of private, state, and federal officials at Parsons Brinckerhoff headquarters in Manhattan, appear to confirm a long-standing decision to route the rail project through Old Lyme in modified form as a tunnel. Andreski informed Redeker and other state transportation officials, that the FRA project manager in charge, Rebecca Reyes-Alicea,“explained the various adjustment [sic] they were making in response to public comments. For example the Old Lyme Kenyon Bypass concept is being modified. Hartford Line [sic] will be included as an additional feeder spine …. Rebecca stated they recognize more work is need on the alternative concepts …. Still I believe they are pressing forward on Alternative 2 with the mods decribed [sic] above.”

“This routing decision will have a major impact on the historic, cultural and environmental resources of Connecticut’s eastern seacoast communities,” said Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. “The FRA and its consultants settled on a preferred route four months ago – it’s long past time they meet the residents of the region face to face to address numerous concerns about where and how they propose to build this industrial-scale transportation infrastructure, and how they will protect the resources that make these Connecticut communities unique.”

Stroud called on the FRA and Parsons Brinckerhoff to delay the decision on a preferred route until after the project had passed public and environmental scrutiny. “Due diligence can’t follow decision-making in a multi-billion dollar project such as this,” Stroud stated. “These plans for a Kenyon to Saybrook bypass were not part of the original 98 alternatives announced by the federal government in 2012. They have not undergone the same level of agency or public scrutiny as other routes.”

He added, “not one single environmental study has been conducted to determine the feasibility or impact of a tunnel under the Connecticut River estuary or under Old Lyme’s National Register Historic District. Plans for crossing the Thames River are undefined. Not one public meeting on this project has been held in New London or Middlesex counties or southern Rhode Island.”

The state and federal-level conversations captured in these emails occurred several weeks prior to a private March 11, 2016 meeting between David Carol and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, aides and other local officials. These emails obtained by SECoast as part of a May 22, 2016 Freedom of Information Act request, funded in part by donations from the local community, are the first public confirmation of FRA plans for high speed rail along the Northeast Corridor.

Two additional Freedom of Information Act requests filed earlier with the Federal Railroad Administration on April 4, 2016 remain unfilled.

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Hear the Best Youth Music Around at ‘LymeStock 2016’ Today at Ashlawn Farm

The Brazen Youth will be headlining Lymestock 2016 at Ashlawn Farm on Sunday

The Brazen Youth will be headlining Lymestock 2016 at Ashlawn Farm on Sunday

MusicNow Foundation, Inc. is hosting the 3rd Annual Lymestock 2016 Father’s Day concert and picnic at Ashlawn Farm in Lyme on Sunday, June 19, from 12 to 7 p.m.  The festival will present New England’s award-winning young artists with local, aspiring youth opening the performances.  Gates open at 11:30 a.m.  Children are welcome.

Highlights this year will be a performance by Rumblecat, who received the 2016 New England Music Award for ‘Best in the State of Vermont’, and Brazen Youth, recipients of ‘New England’s Radar Music Award 2015.’ Additionally, performances by Joe Holt of Brooklyn, New York and ‘Radar Music Winner’ James MacPherson and the Bonzai Trees will highlight the day of music.

Joe Holt is another big name that will be performing on Sunday at Lymestock 2016.

Joe Holt is another big name that will be performing on Sunday at Lymestock 2016.

Opening performances by local emerging artists, Sophia Griswold and Connected, Drew Cathcart and Blind Fool, The Modern Riffs, and Julia Russo will take the stage for a day of music, food and fun on the farm for Father’s Day.

Hamburgers and hot dogs along with lunches, desserts and summer refreshments will be available for sale or guests can pack their own.

Lymestock 2016 will benefit Youth in Music mission initiatives of the MusicNow Foundation, Inc.
(www.musicnowfoundation.org) serving southeastern Connecticut and beyond.  The concert picnic is
presented in collaboration with Ashlawn Farm, Pavoh.org and sponsored in part by LymeLine.com, the Bee and Thistle Inn, and iCRV Radio — among others.

MusicNow Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the support of live music to engage, educate and enrich young artists through performance opportunities, enrichment workshops, and collaborative mentorships / internships to nurture creative and artistic development.

Advance tickets can be purchased in advance at Nightingale’s Acoustic Café at 68 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Conn. or by calling (860) 434-1961. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.  Gate tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.

For more information, call (860) 434-1961 or email info@musicnowfoundation.org

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Sunshine to Sing at Inaugural Osprey Festival Saturday in Sound View, Old Lyme

Standing by one of the osprey nests being used to promote this Saturday's Osprey Festival are board members of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce (from left to right) Mark Griswold, Jan Ayer Cushing, Doug Lo Presti and Joann Lishing.

Standing by one of the osprey nests being used to promote this Saturday’s Osprey Festival are board members of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce (from left to right) Mark Griswold, Jan Ayer Cushing, Doug Lo Presti and Joann Reis Lishing.

Family-Oriented Event Features ‘The Voice’ Finalist Braiden Sunshine, Art Lectures, Kid Contests, Vendors Galore  … and More

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce is hosting a new ‘Osprey Festival’ at Sound View this coming Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.  This is an exciting, family-oriented seaside festival that honors the majestic osprey and celebrates many of the great aspects of Lyme and Old Lyme.

The Chamber is partnering with the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Osprey Nation, the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven, and the MusicNow Foundation to bring together art, music, nature and events.

Osprey_Festival_logo_cropped

This inaugural annual event is designed to kick-off the summer season and attract residents from our two towns as well as the surrounding communities. Mark your calendars now for what promises to be an enjoyable, entertaining and educational event.

A portion of Hartford Ave. in Sound View will be closed off for the festival.  The morning and early afternoon will be focused on young families with free carousel rides, kid’s competitions, school bands, and young local musicians. At the same time, a great variety of vendors will be selling their wares on Hartford Ave.

The afternoon will be geared towards the older population in Lyme and Old Lyme with lectures from world-renowned speakers on art and nature including artist Michael DiGiogio giving a field demonstration and talk at 12 p.m., and ornithological expert Dr. Paul Spitzer speaking at 2:15 p.m. on ospreys in the Lower Connecticut River.

The afternoon’s activities will also feature a bocce contest – sign up your team by emailing info@ospreyfestival.com – and sandcastle-building competition.  The bocce tournament winning team receives $250 in prizes from Black Hall Outfitters.

Old Lyme's own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the evening at the Osprey Festival.

Old Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine will perform in the evening at the Osprey Festival.

As the evening rolls in, the tone will change to create a night for all ages with some top- notch local bands, and some special games in the street. Old Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine – a finalist in the most recent popular TV series of “The Voice” – will present a concert at 7 p.m.

Other musical groups that will be featured include the United States Coast Guard Band at 3:45 p.m., Java Grove at 6 p.m., Ramblin’ Dan and the Mellowmen at 5 p.m., Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Jazz Catz at 3:10 p.m., MusicNow Foundation’s Youth Showcase at 1:10 p.m., and some special guests from Charles Music School’s Adult Rock Band at 11:15 a.m.

Platinum sponsors of the Festival include ASP Productions LLC, Black Hall Outfitters, Connecticut Rental Center, iCRV Radio and Shoreline Web News LLC – publisher of LymeLine.com and ValleyNewsNow.com.  Host sponsors include the Connecticut Audubon Society, Nightingale’s Acoustic Café and Lyme Academy College of FineArts.

For more information, visit www.ospreyfestival.com or email info@ospreyfestival.com.

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Discover the “Art of Growing Food” with Celebrated Author Ellen Ecker Ogden, Friday; Benefits Child & Family

Ellen Ecker Ogden will speak at Child & Family's Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon on June 17 at Old Lyme Country Club.

Ellen Ecker Ogden will speak at Child & Family’s ‘Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon’ on June 17 at Old Lyme Country Club.

Are you tired of tasteless tomatoes, half-ripe honeydews, or limp lettuce? Do you worry what else might be on the produce you purchase at grocery stores?  If you’ve considered growing your own food so it will be fresh, natural, and ready when you want it (without a trip to the store!), then spend an afternoon with acclaimed food and garden writer Ellen Ecker Ogden, who will present “The Art of Growing Food” as the featured speaker at Child & Family Agency’s Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon.

Ecker Ogden is the Vermont-based author of The Complete Kitchen Garden, The Vermont Country Store Cookbook, and The Vermont Cheese Book, among others.  She is also co-founder of The Cook’s Garden seed catalog, a small family seed business dedicated to finding the best-tasting European and American heirloom vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and she lectures widely on kitchen garden design. Her articles and designs have been featured in such national publications as Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, and the New York Times.

Child & Family Agency’s Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon takes place on June 17, 2016, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Old Lyme Country Club (I-95, exit 70).  The event begins with a book signing by Ogden at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch at noon; Ogden will then give her talk, in which she will outline her six steps for successful garden design, based on classic garden design principles.

At the end of her presentation, Ogden will raffle off a one-and-a-half-hour vegetable garden consultation. Tickets are $50, and may be obtained by mailing a check to P.O. Box 324, Old Lyme, CT  06371 (include name, address, phone, email), or by visiting www.childandfamilyagency.org.  Questions? Call 860-443-2896 or email CFA.LOLAuxiliary@gmail.com. Seating is limited.

The Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon is presented by the Lyme/Old Lyme Auxiliary of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, who bring you the Lyme/Old Lyme Garden Tour every other year. (The next Lyme/Old Lyme Garden Tour will take place next year, in June 2017.) Meanwhile, with this year’s Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon, you can satisfy your garden cravings and help children and families at the same time!

Proceeds from the Kitchen Garden Author Luncheon benefit the programs and capital projects of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping at-risk children in the context of their families. With a staff of more than 190 dedicated professionals and a service area covering 79 towns in New London, Middlesex, and New Haven counties, Child & Family Agency is the largest private, nonprofit children’s service provider in southeastern Connecticut. In 2015 more than 18,000 children and their families received services from Child & Family Agency. Find out more at www.childandfamilyagency.org or call 860.443.2896.

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Cappella Cantorum Present Men’s Chorus Concert in Old Lyme, June 26

Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus drawing inspired in St. Paul Lutheran  Church in a 2005 concert, drawn by Madeleine Favre of Deep River.

Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus drawing inspired in St. Paul Lutheran
Church in a 2005 concert, drawn by Madeleine Favre of Deep River.

Cappella Cantorum presents a Men’s Chorus Concert, Sunday, June 26, at 7:30 pm, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme at 2 Ferry Rd. Old Lyme, CT 06371.

The music will include When the Saints Go Marching In, Guys & Dolls Selections Order My Steps, Men of Harlech, Ride the Chariot, For the Beauty of the Earth, Barbershop Favorites and Va Pensiero.

Tickets are $20 at the door or online at CappellaCantorum.org. Ages 18 and under are free.  

For more information, contact Barry at 860-388-2871 or barrybasch@gmail.com.

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See ‘Blooms with a View’ at Florence Griswold Museum This Weekend, ‘En Plein Air’ Impressionist Painting Demo Today

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts a celebration of the site’s historic gardens featuring special events, displays, demonstrations, and family activities. From June 3 through 12, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests.

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts a celebration of the site’s historic gardens featuring special events, displays, demonstrations, and family activities. From June 3 through 12, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests.

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts a celebration of the site’s historic gardens featuring special events, displays, demonstrations, and family activities. From June 3 through 12, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests.

A favorite event during GardenFest is Blooms with a View: A Display of Art & Flower. From June 10 through 12, visitors can enjoy a display of stunning arrangements created by 15 talented floral artists that interpret works of art in the special exhibitions, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement. These floral interpretations play off the colors, line, shapes, and subject matter of the artwork in masterful ways. Blooms with a View is included with Museum admission.

On Sunday, June 12, from 1 to 4 p.m., watch Connecticut Impressionist Dmitri Wright create an Impressionistic painting in the gardens of the Museum. Working “en plein air,” Wright will demonstrate the steps involved in going from blank canvas to a garden rendered in color and light. These events are included with Museum admission.

The seventh annual GardenFest at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is a 10-day celebration of the site’s historic gardens, featuring special events, displays, demonstrations, and family activities. From June 3 through 12, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests. Most events are included with Museum admission. Children 12 and under are always free.

This year’s exhibition provides the perfect accompaniment to the Museum’s historic landscape, gardens, and the activities surrounding GardenFest. The Florence Griswold Museum is the only New England venue for the exhibition, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887–1920. Organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Artist’s Garden tells the story of American Impressionists and the growing popularity of gardening as a leisure pursuit at the turn of the 20th century.

After enjoying the exhibition, visitors can walk the Museum’s 13 acres and through the restored 1910 garden. “Miss Florence’s” lovingly tended garden was a favorite subject for many of the artists of the Lyme Art Colony who stayed at her boardinghouse. One of the paintings on view in the exhibition, William Chadwick’s On the Piazza, ca. 1908 shows a female model posing on the side porch of the boardinghouse. A walk to the Lieutenant River provides further examples of vistas painted by the nature-loving artists.

Talented floral artists display stunning arrangements created to interpret works of art in the special exhibitions, The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement. June 10 through June 12 at the Florence Griswold Museum.
Talented floral artists display stunning arrangements created to interpret works of art in the special exhibitions, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement. June 10 through June 12 at the Florence Griswold Museum.

GardenFest includes a variety of activities for families. In addition to the weekly Discovery Sunday activities, when visitors are given supplies and invited to paint in the gardens or down by the river and then pick a project from the Art Cart for further fun and exploration, during GardenFest visitors of all ages can enjoy fun garden-themed events.

Other events include:

Lecture: Producing Pictures without Brushes: American Artists and Their Gardens

Anna O. Marley, Curator of Historic American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Exhibition

Sunday, June 5, 2pm

$7 (members $5)

Join Marley, the curator of the original version of the exhibition, for a discussion of the role American artists played in both the stylistic development of this American version of Impressionism as well as their impact on the Garden Movement.


Hands-On Photography Workshop

Craig Norton, Photographer and Master Teaching Artist

Tuesday, June 7, 6pm-9pm

$12 (members $10)

Join photographer and master teaching artist Craig Norton for a digital camera photographic workshop focusing on the gardens. Working in the golden light of pre-twilight, participants will learn the basics for mastering images of the garden before taking their own images for constructive critiques. Come learn all your camera can do. Light refreshments included. Participants should bring their own digital camera.


Presentation: Herbs for Hearth and Health

Leslie Evans, Historian and Museum Director, Avery-Copp House Museum, Groton, CT

Wednesday, June 8, 10:30am-2:30pm; presentations at 11am and 1pm

Cost to attend: Included with Museum admission

Join historian Leslie Evans for a presentation on the historic importance of herbs in cooking and medicine as well as how they can be used today. Participants in the presentations will learn the historic uses for both common as well as lesser-known herbs before creating their own herbal vinegar and fragrant sachet. Herbal infused snacks and beverages will be available for tasting. Between presentations, Evans will be available to answer questions and offer additional information.


Lecture: Gardening with Kids: Opening Eyes and Doors

Karen Bussolini, Garden Coach, Writer, and Photographer

Thursday, June 9, 2pm

$7 (members $5)

Our yards – gardens, landscaping, and wild places – offer boundless opportunities for learning through the senses. At a time when so many children – and adults too – suffer from “nature deficit disorder,” obesity, ADHD, and other problems, connecting with nature is more important than ever. Typical suburban landscapes don’t supply the needs of either wildlife or children and can be downright toxic to both. In this talk Bussolini shows – and gets people to think about – easy ways to make the whole yard a safe place rich with sensory stimulation, with rich opportunities for imaginative play, discovery and just plain fun.

Garden lovers are invited to enjoy Café Flo Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11:30am-2:30pm and from 1-3:30pm on Sundays. Menu items are garden-fresh and family friendly. Dine on the veranda overlooking the Lieutenant River or pick up a basket and blanket and picnic along the river.

GardenFest celebrates the Museum’s historic gardens and orchard that are the subject of so many paintings by the Lyme Art Colony artists. Landscape Historian Sheila Wertheimer guided the Museum in the restoration of the gardens and site to its appearance circa 1910. Miss Florence’s garden can be characterized by what is referred to today as a “grandmother’s garden” in which masses of flowers were informally arranged in bordered beds close to home. Varieties of hollyhock, iris, foxglove, heliotrope, phlox, cranesbill, and day lilies were among the many perennials that made up her garden.

The Museum is located on a 13-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme at 96 Lyme Street, exit 70 off I-95. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. For more information, visit FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

An additional garden event…

Connecticut’s Historic Gardens announces the 12th annual Connecticut’s Historic Garden Day, Sunday, June 26. These 15 delightful places, scattered throughout Connecticut, offer visitors an opportunity to explore many types of gardens while their historic homes further delight and educate. A variety of special events and activities are planned for the day. Hours, activities, and prices vary by location.

At the Florence Griswold Museum, besides strolling the historic landscape and gardens, visitors are invited to pick up supplies to paint in Miss Florence’s garden or down by the Lieutenant River. The can also enjoy the Museum’s Art Cart, filled with outdoor activities that encourage exploration of the historic landscape. Outdoor activities are free from 12 to 4pm. Museum admission applies to House and Gallery, $10 adults, $9 seniors, $8 students and children 12 and under are free. The House and Gallery are open from 1 to 5pm.

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Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds Hosts Summer Sculpture Showcase 2016 Through Sept. 13

Mega-Dandelion by Gints Grinsberg is the signature piece of Summer Sculpture Showcase at Studio 80 +Sculpture Grounds, which has an Opening Reception Friday, June 10 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Mega-Dandelion by Gints Grinsberg is the signature piece of Summer Sculpture Showcase at Studio 80 +Sculpture Grounds, which has an Opening Reception Friday, June 10 from 5 to 7 p.m.

OLD LYME — Gilbert Boro, owner and sculptor at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, will host an Opening Reception for Summer Sculpture Showcase 2016 this coming Friday, June 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.  All are welcome to attend the outdoor reception at which light refreshments will be served. Guests will be free to explore the expansive sculpture gardens and view the more than 100 sculptures on display during the event.

This juried exhibition follows on naturally from last year’s extremely successful Summer Sculpture Showcase 2015, which drew large crowds and had to be extended into October to meet public demand. This new exhibition on the grounds adjoining Boro’s studio and inside the Emily Seward Boro (ESB) Gallery on the property features works created by 17 widely acclaimed sculptors interspersed amongst Boro’s own sculptures, along with works by 13 other contributing artists.  More than 30 sculptors from across the country responded to the Call for Entries submitting some 60 works.

Boro’s Sculpture Gardens are located on 4.5 acres of his residence on historic Lyme Street in the heart of Old Lyme, Conn.  The beautifully landscaped grounds slope down toward the Lieutenant River offering a unique plein air experience for the exhibition, which combines both large- and small-scale contemporary sculptures. Many of the works, which are in a variety of media, are for sale.

The sculptors, whose 25 pieces of work are included in the Showcase, are:
Mark Attebery, Diane Barcelo, Ashby Carlisle, Bryan Gorneau, Gints Grinbergs, Lannie Hart, Jay Hoagland, Deborah Hornbake, Conrad Levenson, Elaine Lorenz, David Madasci, Liza Masalimova, Sui Park, Chris Plaisted,
Bill Vollers, Martha Walker and Melanie Zibit.

The signature piece of the exhibition is “Mega-Dandelion” by Gints Grinbergs.  It is a large — 144” in height, 56” in diameter — yet delicate structure that evokes the intricate design of lace in its welded and stainless steel structure.  Grinbergs explains in his artist’s statement that he looks to nature for inspiration with “interests [that] range from the macroscopic to the microscopic – from flowers and their structure to bacteria and viruses – from the giants of outer space to sub atomic particles.”  He continues, “I build sculptures derived from the universal forms of nature.
All of the sculptures in this series are built from recycled materials … I attempt to transform, up-cycle, these manmade materials into the infinitely more complex forms designed by nature.”

Grinbergs’ work has been featured at various museums and galleries and is included in private and corporate collections throughout North America.

'Water Courses' by Elaine Lorenz is another featured piece in the Showcase.

‘Water Courses’ by Elaine Lorenz is another featured piece in the Showcase.

Created out of cement, fiberglass and paint, Elaine Lorenz’s intriguing “Water Course” comprises three pieces. She states that she has made “sculpture in such diverse materials as wood, metal, concrete, encaustic over a wire armature and ceramic, while maintaining an overall view of nature as a dominant source of energy and influence on her work.”  Lorenz explains her approach in creating art as, “abstract, only alluding to things, relationships or emotions and leaving room for the viewer’s interpretation.”

Lorenz has exhibited her work in numerous group exhibitions and sculpture sites throughout the US and her sculptures are in private, public and corporate collections in numerous states including Alabama, California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. She has been the Vice President of Exhibitions for the Sculptors Guild since 2011.

Jay Hoagland charming ‘Mephisto’s Waltz’ features a viola made out of steel and copper with a kinetic element.  When the integral weathervane at the head of the instrument catches the wind, the bow travels across the strings playing an eerie melody. Hoagland explains the motivation behind his sculpture thus, “I work because the sheer joy of seeing thought turned into material is rejuvenating but my approach is more and more obviously the result of where and who I’ve been.”

'Mephisto's Waltz'is an intriguing piece of kinetic sculpture.

‘Mephisto’s Waltz’is an intriguing piece of kinetic sculpture.

He continues, “I’m inspired by natural science with an injection of humor and contradiction. Inspiration also comes from the minutae of life, the shape of a stone, the footprints of giants like da Vinci, Calder, Giacometti, Gabo, Hepworth, Moore, and Noguchi. Hoagland concludes, “I see my work as a catalyst to understand, and a lens to clarify, my place in the world.”

The jurors for the exhibition were acclaimed sculptors Gilbert V. Boro and Lisa Simonds, and painter Julia Pavone.

Boro has enjoyed an extraordinary and distinguished more than 50-year-career as a successful architect, sought-after international design consultant and an inspiring educator.  With a BFA from Duke University and post-graduate degrees from Columbia University, NYC, his work explores the interplay of space, place and scale in a wide range of media including steel, stone, wood, metal, aluminum and fiberglass.

Sculptor Gilbert V. Boro in his studio.

Sculptor Gilbert V. Boro in his studio.

Working in sculpture has been a compulsion rather than a possibility for Gil.  While mastering the rigors of technical competence, he developed a deep-seated passion for three-dimensional art, which continues to be the influential force behind his creations. He is both inspired and motivated by the creative freedom of sculpting, finding that abstract work is the means to fulfill his vision.  Boro’s sculptures can be found in art centers and public art venues across the US and throughout Europe; they have also been purchased by private collectors, corporations and foundations in both the US and internationally.

"Nest' is one of Gil Boro's most recent pieces.

“Nest’ is one of Gil Boro’s most recent pieces.

Simonds is a visual artist with a BFA in Sculpture from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Conn.  She is currently employed as the Exhibitions Coordinator at Lyme Academy and previously worked as an Independent Exhibitions Installer at Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Conn., for eight years.

Pavone is the co-founder of the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus, and has served as its Curator/Director for the past 24 years.  During her 29-year career, Pavone, who has a BFA from Long Island University in Westbury, N.Y., and an MEd from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., has continued her own work as a painter, while variously serving as a teacher, and guest lecturer, juror and curator for numerous exhibitions.

This Summer Sculpture Showcase offers a unique opportunity for established sculptors to exhibit their work in a different location, while also effectively creating a new exhibition within the Sculpture Gardens.  Boro comments, “I’m delighted to be able to open my grounds to these exceptional sculptors whose work intrigues me.  Each one offers original creative thinking resulting in a combination of contrasting conceptual designs in a variety of media.  I think any visitor to the exhibition is going to be thoroughly engaged by what he or she sees – including children.”

Boro is somewhat unusual as a professional sculptor in that he loves to see folk of all ages directly interacting with his sculptures, noting that he has a strong aversion to exhibitions, “… where people can’t touch my work.”  Apart from attracting visitors to see the works on his grounds, Boro is thoroughly invested in the vibrant Old Lyme arts scene and hopes this exhibition will help cement the town as a summer destination for art-loving visitors from near and far, especially during the town’s Midsummer Festival which this year is on Friday, July 29, and Saturday, July 30.

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds are located at 80-1 Lyme St., less than a minute from Exit 70 on I-95, the Sculpture Grounds are open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Admission is free.  Children, field trips and group visits are all welcome.

For further information, contact 860-434-5957, visit www.sculpturegrounds.com or email studio80sculpturegrounds@gmail.com

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Comment Period on Draft NE Regional Ocean Plan Open Through July 26

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 7.00.37 AM
AREAWIDE — The Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) has released the draft Northeast Regional Ocean Plan for public review and comment. The only public comment meeting in Connecticut was held June 8 in Old Lyme, but other meetings in northeastern states are scheduled as detailed in this link.

Several years of public engagement, scientific study and data analysis, and collaboration have led to this draft, and the RPB looks forward to hearing the feedback of everyone who is interested in the future of New England’s ocean and its resources.

The RPB is seeking feedback on this draft Plan. The public comment deadline is July 25, 2016, and you can comment on each chapter electronically at each chapter landing page, in-person at any of the upcoming public comment meetings, through the comment form below, or by submitting written comments to:

Betsy Nicholson, NE RPB Federal Co-lead
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office
55 Great Republic Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930-2276.

You may also provide comments by sending an e-mail to:
comment@neoceanplanning.org.

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Senator Formica Honored by AARP for Protecting Seniors

formica pic

Left to right: AARP State Advocacy Director John Erlingheuser, Sen. Formica, and AARP Volunteer Joanne Davis of Waterford.

On May 20 at the East Lyme Senior Center, Sen. Paul Formica was presented with a Legislative Achievement Award from the Connecticut AARP.  The award recognized Sen. Formica’s advocacy in protecting consumers from unaffordable expenses for essential energy services. Formica represents Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem and Waterford. For more information, go to www.aarp.org or www.senatorformica.com.
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New Location Announced for CT Valley Camera Club’s Meetings

"Within a Water Drop" by Diane Roberts, one of the photographs to be exhibited by the CT Valley Camera Club in Chester.

“Within a Water Drop” by Diane Roberts, one of the photographs to be exhibited by the CT Valley Camera Club in Chester.

AREAWIDE – The Connecticut Valley Camera Club will host all future meetings at the Lymes’ Senior Center on Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of every month. Meetings and exhibits are free and open to the public.

The club will be exhibiting at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek through July 23.

For further information, call Ed McCaffrey at 860-767-3521.

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Lyme Land Trust Hosts ‘Tour de Lyme’ Today; Event Also Benefits ‘Bikes For Kids’

Tour de Lyme riders cycle past Grassy Hill Church

Tour de Lyme riders cycle past Grassy Hill Church

The Lyme Land Trust inaugurated Tour de Lyme in 2013 as an annual bike ride to raise funds to support its mission of preserving and protecting environmentally important land in Lyme. More than 725 riders participated last year.  It is being held this year on Sunday, May 15.  For more information about the Tour de Lyme and to register, visit this website.

The Tour de Lyme is intended for all to enjoy. It is not competitive (there are no “races” or timed finishes), but rather is designed as a way to showcase and celebrate the preservation of Lyme’s spectacular natural beauty. While some of the courses will be challenging, there are others intended for casual cyclists, and there is even a family ride.

Departure times are designed so that all riders will return to Ashlawn Farm for lunch at about the same time.

Details of the ride options are as follows:

The Challenge– 60 miles – The name says it all. Changes we have made are sure to please returning riders. A few more beautiful miles, a hill or two eliminated but still a challenge. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Challenge Ride 2016. Ride departs at 8:00am. Follow red arrows.

The Valley35 – 35 miles –The popular Valley rides are less hilly than the Classic. The Valley35 is a longer version of the original with the northern loop of 9 added miles along beautiful roads. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Valley 26&35 Rides. Ride departs at 9:00am. Follow green arrows.

The Valley26 – 26 miles – A scenic fun ride. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Valley 26&35 Rides. Ride departs at 9:30am. Follow green arrows.

The Classic – 25 miles – Shorter than The Challenge but still challenging. Ride departs at 9:30am. Detailed cue sheet here and a map of the Classic Ride 2016. Follow blue arrows.

The Family – 8 miles – ideal for families riding with children. For returning riders, please note we have reversed the route direction to avoid confusion at some turns. Ride departs at 10:15am. The Family Ride cue sheet here and a map of the Family Ride. Follow purple arrows.

The Church Goers Ride – 7.6 to 8.8 miles – After services, approximately 11:45am riders leave Old Lyme Congregational and Christ the King and meet up with other riders at Saint Ann’s and then ride to Ashlawn Farm. Follow purple arrows. Detailed cue sheet and map coming soon.

To register for any of the rides listed above, visit http://www.tourdelyme.org/register/

Join the fun of the Tour de Lyme!

Join the fun of the Tour de Lyme!

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust announced it is pleased to again host used bike drop offs along with Reynolds Subaru for Bikes for Kids, Old Saybrook, CT. Any sized donated bike is welcome.

Reynolds Subaru, 286 Hamburg Road (Rte. 156), Lyme, Conn., is accepting used bike donations from May 9 to May 21, 2016.

Registered riders for the Tour de Lyme can drop off used bikes for donation on May 15, 2016 on arrival at Ashlawn Farm’s parking lot prior to signing in for their cycling event.

Bikes for Kids is a charity organization that collects, refurbishes and distributes bikes primarily to kids, teenagers and some adults to CT families in need. All refurbished bikes are distributed with new cycling helmets.

Bikes for Kids since its founding in 1989 has collected, refurbished and distributed 18,000 bikes to families primarily in the inner cities of New Haven, New London, Middletown and Hartford. Bikes for Kids efforts extend beyond CT and include deliveries to Bell Harbor, New York, Haiti and 30 mountain bikes to Tanzania.

John Pritchard, President of the Lyme Land Trust the organizer of the Tour de Lyme, said “Bikes for Kids is one of our area’s outstanding outreach organizations. We’re delighted again to serve as a host site along with Reynolds Subaru for used bike donations.”

David Fowler, President of Bikes for Kids, and a former science teacher in Lyme Old Lyme’s Middle School, indicated we put people on wheels who would either be walking or not really going anywhere at all. “Last year we delivered almost 1,400 bikes and with the help of the Tour de Lyme collected 150 bikes in the last two years. We hope to deliver and collect more this year.”

The motivating factor of Bikes for Kids’ Founder was “every kid needs a bike”.

For Early Bird home pick-up contact: Dave Fowler, 860-388-2453 or davefowler05@gmail.com

Or drop offs can be made from May 9 to May 21, at Reynolds Subaru, 286 Hamburg Road ( Rte 156), Lyme, CT 06371.

For additional information on the Tour de Lyme go to www.tourdelyme.org; for Bikes for Kids, www.bikesforkidsct.org

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Lyme Land Trust Seeks to Preserve Whalebone Cove Headwaters

Lyme Land Trust Preservation Chairman Anthony Irving, kneeling, and Vice President Don Gerber next to Whalebone Creek in the proposed Hawthorne Preserve in Hadlyme.

Lyme Land Trust Preservation Chairman Anthony Irving, kneeling, and Vice President Don Gerber next to Whalebone Creek in the proposed Hawthorne Preserve in Hadlyme.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust has announced a fund raising drive to protect 82 acres of ecologically strategic upland forest and swamp wildlife habitat in Hadlyme on the headwaters of Whalebone Cove, one of the freshwater tidal wetlands that comprises the internationally celebrated Connecticut River estuary complex.

The new proposed preserve is part of a forested landscape just south of Hadlyme Four Corners and Ferry Road (Rt. 148), and forms a large part of the watershed for Whalebone Creek, a key tributary feeding Whalebone Cove, most of which is a national wildlife refuge under the management of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Land Trust said it hopes to name the new nature refuge in honor of William Hawthorne of Hadlyme, whose family has owned the property for several generations and who has agreed to sell the property to the Land Trust at a discount from its market value if the rest of the money necessary for the purchase can be raised by the Land Trust.

“This new wildlife preserve will represent a triple play for habitat conservation,” said Anthony Irving, chairman of the Land Trust’s Preservation Committee.

“First, it helps to protect the watershed feeding the fragile Whalebone Cove eco-system, which is listed as one of North America’s important freshwater tidal marshes in international treaties that cite the Connecticut River estuary as a wetland complex of global importance. Whalebone Creek, one of the primary streams feeding Whalebone Cove, originates from vernal pools and upland swamps just south of the Hawthorne tract on the Land Trust’s Ravine Trail Preserve and adjacent conservation easements and flows through the proposed preserve. Virtually all of the Hawthorne property comprises much of the watershed for Whalebone Creek.

“Second, the 82 acres we are hoping to acquire with this fund raising effort represents a large block of wetlands and forested wildlife habitat between Brush Hill and Joshuatown roads, which in itself is home to a kaleidoscope of animals from amphibians and reptiles that thrive in several vernal pools and swamp land, to turkey, coyote, bobcat and fisher. It also serves as seasonal nesting and migratory stops for several species of deep woods birds, which are losing habitat all over Connecticut due to forest fragmentation.

“Third, this particular preserve will also conserve a key link in the wildlife corridors that connects more than 1,000 acres of protected woodland and swamp habitat in the Hadlyme area.” Irving explained that the preserve is at the center of a landscape-scale wildlife habitat greenway that includes Selden Island State Park, property of the US Fish & Wild Life’s Silvio O Conte Wildlife Refuge, The Nature Conservancy’s Selden Preserve, and several other properties protected by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust.

Map showing the location of the proposed Hawthorne Preserve.

“Because of its central location as a hub between these protected habitat refuges,” said Irving, “this preserve will protect forever the uninterrupted access that wildlife throughout the Hadlyme landscape now has for migration and breeding between otherwise isolated communities and families of many terrestrial species that are important to the continued robust bio-diversity of southeastern Connecticut and the Connecticut River estuary.”

Irving noted that the Hawthorne property is the largest parcel targeted for conservation in the Whalebone Cove watershed by the recently developed US Fish & Wildlife Service Silvio O Conte Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

Irving said the Land Trust hopes to create a network of hiking trails on the property with access from both Brush Hill Road on the east and Joshuatown Road on the west and connection to the Land Trust’s Ravine Trail to the south and the network of trails on the Nature Conservancy’s Selden Preserve.

Irving said there is strong support for the Land Trust’s proposal to preserve the property both within the Hadlyme and Lyme communities and among regional and state conservation groups. He said letters of support have come from the Hadlyme Garden Club, the Hadlyme Public Hall Association, the Lyme Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Agency, the Lyme Planning and Zoning Commission, the Lyme Open Space Committee, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, the Lyme Garden Club, the Lyme Public Hall, The Nature Conservancy, The Silvio O Conte Refuge, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and the Friends of Whalebone Cove, Inc.

He reported that between Hawthorne’s gift and several other pledges the Land Trust has already received commitments of 25 percent of the cost of the property.

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Free Day For All at FloGris, May 7

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7, at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7, at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum presents its annual Community Free Day on Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Old Lyme. The event offers free admission to the Museum’s 11-acre campus, and includes family activities as well as two performances by Master Storyteller Tom Lee.

Storyteller Tom Lee

Storyteller Tom Lee

“Our Community Free Day is a great way for all ages to spend the day at the Museum,” stated David D.J. Rau, Director of Education and Outreach. “The fun and educational activities planned for this year are a wonderful introduction for the many first-time visitors we get on this annual day.”

Museum-goers visiting the original Florence Griswold House are treated to guides sharing stories of the Lyme Art Colony artists who stayed with Florence Griswold in the boardinghouse over 100 years ago. The house, decorated as it was in 1910, includes the original paintings that artists created on the door and wall panels of the house.

On view in the Museum’s Krieble Gallery is Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum. The exhibition details the growth of the Museum’s art collection over the past forty years, including a range of American art from the Tonalist style of the late 1800s to today’s modern Abstraction.

Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum, will be on view on Community Free Day, May 7 at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum, will be on view on Community Free Day, May 7 at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Community Free Day attendees can also visit the Chadwick Art Studio, presented as it would have looked in 1920, the Rafal Landscape Center, as well as the Museum’s gardens and grounds along the Lieutenant River.

Family-Fun on Community Free Day

Community Free Day highlights family enjoyment of the Florence Griswold Museum. In addition to performances by Tom Lee, the Museum offers a special family craft activity in the Hartman Education Center from 11am to 4pm.

On May 7, Community Free Day visitors will hear about life in an artists' boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

On May 7, Community Free Day visitors will hear about life in an artists’ boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

While at the Museum, families are encouraged to follow scavenger hunt cards in the Florence Griswold House, and uncover art details in the Krieble art gallery with “Can You Find Me” game cards.

A historic center for American art, the Florence Griswold Museum is considered the Home of American Impressionism. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95.

For additional information contact the Museum at 860-434-5542 or www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org.

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Is it a Tunnel? An Aerial Structure? Learning the Latest on the Proposed High Speed Railroad Through Old Lyme

A large crowd gathered at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme to hear the latest on the proposed high speed railroad track.

A large crowd gathered at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme to hear the latest on the proposed high speed railroad track.

More than 80 people gathered in Gil Boro’s Studio 80 on Lyme Street in Old Lyme Sunday afternoon to hear a variety of speakers give updates on the latest developments in the saga involving the Federal Rail Authority’s (FRA) NEC Future’s proposals for an upgraded high speed railroad track from Washington DC to Boston. The event had a lighter side with musical performances from Ramblin’ Dan Stevens, Clayton Allen and friends, and the Localmotives with Eleanor Robinson, the Shrivers and friends. But the main thrust of the program was to educate and inform the attendees about the status of FRA’s plans … and what to do about them.

Greg Stroud, who has spearheaded the movement to fight Alternative 1 –- the route that travels through the center of Old Lyme – spoke first explaining that in spring 2012, when the FRA first announced a plan to invest in and modernize high speed rail in the northeast corridor, they began with 98 alternatives. He pointed out that back then, “I don’t think you’ll find a single complaint from Old Lyme, “Because not one of these alternatives included plans for running a railroad through the historical district of Old Lyme.”

Greg Stroud makes a point during his presentation in Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.

Greg Stroud makes a point during his presentation in Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.

It was only in November 2015 when the FRA issued their Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that “Old Lyme was mentioned for the first time” in the proposals and by that time, the original 98 alternatives had been narrowed down to just three. Moreover, the route through Old Lyme – the 50-mile bypass running from Old Saybrook to Kenyon, R.I. known as Alternative 1 – featured an “aerial structure’ traversing Lyme Street some 40 ft. above street level. He commented calmly, “This was kind of disturbing.”

The initial comment period for the Tier 1 study closed at the end of January. It was then extended to Feb. 15 and after an extraordinary number of comments from the residents of Old Lyme (1,200 out of a total of 3,000 according to Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder), the FRA introduced the idea of a tunnel going from Old Saybrook and Stroud said, “coming out around Whippoorwill [Rd.]”

Stroud pointed out that although “a tunnel sounds better … we’re a community of marshes .. this Historic District is built on soil and groundwater,” and suggested the audience should Google the word “dewatering.” He said that in order to build a tunnel, “You have to pump the water out of the soil,” noting soil tends to settle, “when you pump out groundwater,” adding, “There really isn’t a nice way to build a tunnel,” and then the comment, “It’s troubling.”

Stressing that he could not say definitively this would happen, Stroud noted that the FRA is unable to do so either. He mentioned that the FRA is “pretty friendly” and in numerous conversations with involved parties in Old Lyme, the FRA has said consistently that it, “will do the studies afterwards.”

Stroud’s point, however, is that the FRA is currently determining its preferred route for the track based on the feedback it has received to date. It will announce that route in September and then undertake the necessary studies. But, Stroud emphasized, “Once that route is drawn on the map, and if that route runs under, over, or through Old Lyme, it’s going to be enormously difficult and expensive, to erase.”

State Senator Paul Formica (R- 20th, center) and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd, right) listen carefully to an attendee's point.

State Senator Paul Formica (R- 20th, center) and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd, right) listen carefully to an attendee’s point.

Stroud continued that it was important to know where town government and state officials stood on the proposal, noting, “I know where our First Selectwoman [Bonnie Reemsnyder] stands on this,” and adding that from the start, State Representative Devin Carney (R), “took me seriously” and State Senator Paul Formica (R), “was very supportive,” drawing laughter when he confessed, “ And I’m a Democrat!”

But Stroud noted despite the fact, “We’ve back-channeled and we’ve front-channeled … it’s been pretty quiet,” and there has been “Little from [Congressman Joe] Courtney,” and with regard to Senator Richard Blumenthal, Stroud stated emphatically, “We don’t know if he’s with us or against us.” He urged the audience to “get our public representatives to take a stand,” by calling and/or writing to Senator Blumenthal’s office asking him to take a stand in order to, “Get this off the table.”

Pre-addressed postcards were available at the event for attendees to write a personal note to Senator Blumenthal, who Stroud noted is “the most active supporter of high-speed rail in Congress” and the ranking member of the Senate committee in charge of the rail planning process. Stroud said Blumenthal could therefore be enormously influential in the final route decision.

BJ Bernblum reads Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder's statement to the audience.

BJ Bernblum reads Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder’s statement to the audience.

BJ Bernblum then read a statement on behalf of Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who was unable to attend the event. It opened with Reemsnyder thanking all the people who had written to the FRA during the Tier 1 comment period, noting that at a subsequent meeting with the NEC Futures team, “ I believe that our concerns were taken seriously,” adding, “Of those concerns, we were effective in the most important one, and that is the removal of the plan for an aerial structure going through the heart of Old Lyme.”

Reemsnyder noted in her statement, however, “While this is good news, I acknowledge that the idea of a tunnel across the Connecticut River comes with its own set of concerns, which we also addressed in our meeting. The Connecticut River and its estuary are of such vital importance that we must assure that valid research and extreme caution are used in planning this type of work.” She stressed that a team of people from the regional government council (RiverCOG) and some Old Lyme residents “are gathering important data on the Connecticut River to be used if and when the time comes to thoroughly discuss the impact of a tunnel.”

In conclusion, Reemsnyder’s statement said, “We are continuing to keep the communication open with the FRA, our state officials, our Connecticut Delegation and state representatives to advocate for our community and protect our future,” adding, “You can see our summary of our meeting in a letter to the FRA on the town website, along with their response to that summary.”

Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, discusses a point after his presentation.

Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, discusses a point after his presentation.

The third speaker was Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. He commented that from both his perspective in his current position and his prior experience as a municipal government member in the Town of New Scotland, N.Y. that Old Lyme’s town government “was doing the right things,” but stressed, “They need you [the audience],” explaining, “Their effectiveness is bolstered by a grassroots movement.”

He described the positive relationship between the Old Lyme town government and the local environmental, cultural and historical organizations as, “a potent mix” that he felt could be effective in conveying the message that “there are other ways to deliver high speed rail … without the wreckage of going through Old Lyme.”

In similar vein to Stroud, he reflected that, “While the process has been silent (while the FRA considers which option to select as its preferred route), I want to encourage you not to be silent,” adding, “You need to keep pressing home the point that this is not the place for high speed rail.”

Greg Stroud addresses the audience from the mezzanine level where the musicians played during Sunday's event.

Greg Stroud addresses the audience from the mezzanine level where the musicians played during Sunday’s event.

He explained that the Trust has “taken on fiscal responsibility” for the project known as ‘SECoast,’ which is described on its Facebook page as, “An independent nonprofit, partnered with the Connecticut Trust and currently focused on the topic of high-speed rail in Southeastern Connecticut,” with a mission of, “Organizing and educating the public to protect Southeastern Connecticut and the Lower Connecticut River Valley.”

Mackay said the Trust will be “picking up costs” associated with the project and donations to the group can now be accepted. He said information on how to donate to support the project is on the SECoast website and 100 percent of any donation will go to the project and is tax-deductible.

Mackay then cited what he described as a “visionary” Statement of Significance written in 1971 by Margaret Crosby Brown of Old Lyme when the town was applying to establish an historic district. Crosby Brown mentioned, “The town’s long awareness of the necessity for strong stewardship for both the historical and environmental aspects of Old Lyme,” noting at that time, “This is especially so when the destructive forces of accelerated change are all too apparent.”

Concurring with Crosby Brown’s opinion about the “necessity for strong stewardship,” he concluded with the words, “You have something very special here,” adding emphatically, “Let’s press that point.”

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Egyptologist to Present Lecture in Old Lyme This Afternoon

Kent Weeks (photo from www.ancient.co.uk)

Kent Weeks (photo from www.ancient.co.uk)

OLD LYME – On Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m., Dr. Kent R. Weeks, a world-famous Egyptologist, will be giving a lecture at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

Dr. Weeks, a part-time Old Lyme resident and the subject of the cover article in the February 2016 edition of INK magazine, is known for his discovery of the Tomb of Ramses II in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt.

His Old Lyme lecture will focus on recent developments in archaeology in the Valley of the Kings. He will also discuss his groundbreaking success in the creation and development of a local library for Luxor residents. Initially established as an information center for visiting archaeologists and conservationists, the library has expanded to become a unique local cultural center attracting a wide audience of Egyptian mothers, children and young students. A man of many talents, Dr. Kent Weeks is an energetic and engaging speaker.

The event is free, but a suggested donation of $10 per person will be gratefully accepted.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School is located at 69, Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

 

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Musical Masterworks Celebrates Conclusion of its 25th Season This Afternoon

Violinist Chee-Yun

Violinist Chee-Yun

Musical Masterworks’ 25th Anniversary Season will end with a burst of excitement as eight extraordinary musicians perform works of Richard Strauss, Bartók, Mendelssohn and contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima. The last concert of this season, which will feature veteran violinist Chee-Yun, will be held Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m.

The anniversary season will be celebrated with a free 25th Anniversary Party after the final concert on May 1, to which all ticket buyers will be invited.

The finale of each concert will be one of the best-loved works in the chamber music repertoire: the Mendelssohn Octet.It promises to be a wonderful conclusion to the group’s first quarter century.

Artistic Director, Edward Arron commented, “I feel privileged to be the curator of this unique concert series. As the years go by, I continue to be inspired by the beauty of the Congregational Church, the art of chamber music, the artistry of my colleagues, and the warmth of our audience.”

To learn more about Musical Masterworks, visit www.musicalmasterworks.org. This summer information will be posted about the 26th season, which begins in October 2016.

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Lyme Art Association Hosts Opening Reception This Evening for Two New Shows

Del-Bouree Bach's 'The Good Life' is one of the signature paintings of the 2016 Elected Artist's Exhibition.

Del-Bouree Bach’s ‘The Good Life’ is one of the signature paintings of the 2016 Elected Artist’s Exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents the annual showcase of the best new works of art by Elected Artists Members. These artists are professionals of note and significance whose works are known, collected, and exhibited throughout the country, as well as along the Shoreline. The LAA hosts an opening reception for this show and Body Language, displaying artwork based on the human figure in all its forms, on Friday, April 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. All are welcome and admission is free — come and meet the artists, enjoy the music and celebrate fine art.

The 95th Annual Elected Artist Exhibition and Body Language are both on view through June 3, 2016.

Also on view in The Art Market is an unjuried show featuring an entirely new collection of affordable smaller works. All artwork on display is for sale.

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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Musical Masterworks Celebrates Conclusion of 25th Season This Weekend

Chee-Yun

Chee-Yun

OLD LYME – Musical Masterworks’ 25th Anniversary Season will end with a burst of excitement with eight extraordinary musicians performing works of Richard Strauss, Bartók, Mendelssohn and contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima.

The last concerts of this season will be held Saturday, April 30, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 1 at 3 p.m.  The anniversary season will be celebrated with a free 25th anniversary party after the final concert on May 1, to which all ticket buyers are invited.

“Our special 25th Anniversary Season will culminate on April 30 and May 1 with Mendelssohn’s glorious Octet for Strings, led by Musical Masterworks’ beloved veteran violinist, Chee-Yun,” said Artistic Director Edward Arron.  “I feel extraordinarily privileged to be the curator of this unique concert series. As the years go by, I continue to be inspired by the beauty of the Congregational Church, the art of chamber music, the artistry of my colleagues and the warmth of our audience.”

To learn more about Musical Masterworks, visit www.musicalmasterworks.org.

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It’s 400 Years Since The Bard Died: ‘The New Consort’ Remembers Him Saturday in Word, Song

‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

AREAWIDE — ‘The New Consort’ will present a concert commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare on Saturday, April 23, at St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme.

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 23, St. Ann’s of Old Lyme presents a special musical program, Much Ado About Music: 400 Years of Shakespeare Set to Song.

The_New_Consort_singing_from_behind

Another view of ‘The New Consort’ in song.

In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, this musical celebration of the Bard’s enduring legacy will be performed by The New Consort, a project-based vocal ensemble directed by baritone and Old Lyme native Brian Mummert.

William Shakespeare, 4/23/1564 – 4/23/1616

William Shakespeare, 4/23/1564 – 4/23/1616

The evening’s hour-long program will include music written by English composers of Shakespeare’s time, settings of Shakespeare’s texts by a variety of more recent composers, and readings from some of his greatest plays and sonnets.

St. Ann’s is particularly excited to present the world premiere of When He Shall Die, composed specifically for The New Consort on this occasion by Lyme resident and Wesleyan emeritus faculty member Sarah Meneely-Kyder. The concert aims to celebrate the life and work of this great artist, whose characters and stories continue to wield influence across our culture to this day.

The_New_ConsortWinners of the 2015 American Prize in Chamber Music, The New Consort was founded in 2014 and has quickly made embracing stylistic contrasts one of its hallmarks: from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary and non-classical works, nothing is off limits. Members of The New Consort come together in shoreline CT for an intensive week of rehearsals leading up to each set of concerts.

The group’s singers have appeared in venues including Washington’s Kennedy Center and New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and have performed in ensembles ranging from the Choirs of Trinity Wall Street and the National Cathedral to Chanticleer, but relish the opportunity that The New Consort presents to collaborate with each other as chamber musicians.

Admission is a suggested donation of $20 for adults and $5 for children aged 12 and under. The performance will begin at 5 p.m. and doors open at 4:30 p.m. Audience members are invited to meet members of The New Consort at a reception following the concert.

Saint Ann’s is an Episcopal parish in Old Lyme, Conn., where the rector The Reverend Canon Mark Robinson and the temporary assistant rector The Reverend Patricia Hames invite and welcome all visitors to this family-friendly event. Saint Ann’s is located at 82 Shore Rd. (Rte. 156), two miles off I-95, Exit 70. Parking is adjacent to the church.

For reservations and more information, contact Kathy Rowe at 860-434-1621, via email at office@saintannsoldlyme.org, or visit Saint Ann’s online at www.saintannsoldlyme.org.

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Con Brio Presents a ‘Simply Dazzling’ Spring Concert Today

Mihae Lee

Mihae Lee

AREAWIDE – Con Brio, the shoreline’s all-auditioned chorus, offers its spring concert on Sunday, April 17, at 4 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, assisted by Associate Music Director Susan Saltus and accompanied by the Con Brio Festival Orchestra, the chorus will be joined this year by world-renowned pianist Mihae Lee, known to many in the area as the artistic director of the Essex Winter Series. Critics have described her playing as “simply dazzling.”

Vocal soloists include Danielle Munsell Howard and Laura Gladd, soprano; Donna Bishop-Seaton, contralto; Ransom Bruce and Bill Sorensen, tenor; and John Dominick III, bass.

The concert opens with two well-paired pieces: Dvorak’s Te Deum and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia.  Commissioned to write a piece in 1891 in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, Dvorak composed the Te Deum and performed it at his first concert in New York as director of the National Conservatory of Music.  This liturgical hymn to God has been described as one of the most “spectacular” of Dvorak’s compositions.

Often considered a precursor to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Choral Fantasia premiered in 1808 at what might be considered the greatest of classical concerts ever performed, an hours-long concert that included the premiers of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony (The Pastoral), and the first public performance of the Fourth Piano Concerto. The Fantasia develops as a series of variations on a theme, which prefigures that of the last movement of the Ninth Symphony, composed some years later.

Dominick-252x300

John Dominick III

For the second half of the concert, Con Brio will sing pieces that it will share with local choruses in Portugal and Spain during its sixth European tour in May. Pieces include Alice Parker’s great traditional arrangement of a fine early American hymn, “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal”; Rachmaninoff’s beloved setting of the Ave Maria, “Bogoroditse Devo”; the Portuguese song, “Eu vou, eu vou” and the Spanish song, “Te Quiero.” The concert ends with two rousing pieces for audience participation: “Praise His Holy Name” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Tickets at $30 adults, $15 students, are available at www.conbrio.org, from any Con Brio member, or by calling 860-526-5399.

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Op-Ed: Carney Says Proposed State Education Budget Cuts Will Seriously Impact 23rd District

State Rep. Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney

Does Governor Malloy have a problem with communities that succeed? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Year after year, the schools of the 23rd District work diligently to provide quality education to our youth. Our teachers and administrators add to the success of our state by instilling the proper foundation to produce the industrial, business, and community leaders of tomorrow. Many of our best and the brightest students chose to continue their education in Connecticut – something of which the governor should be incredibly proud. Just last year the valedictorians from Region 18 (Lyme and Old Lyme) and Westbrook as well as the salutatorian from Old Saybrook chose UConn.

We have seen two budget proposals over the past two weeks that would do damage to the schools in the 23rd District. The Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee released an incomplete budget that would cut Education Cost Sharing (“ECS”) funding to the towns in our district by 33 – 56%. This was bad enough. But, under the governor’s updated proposal, the four towns in the 23rd went from receiving a recommended amount of $1,831,496 in ECS funding to $0 for FY 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017). A total of 28 towns were zeroed-out, while many cities, like the governor’s hometown of Stamford, were held harmless. Talk about a shared sacrifice.

These proposed cuts – made at a time when most local Boards of Finance are crafting their own fiscal year budgets – are unfair. The clear lack of respect and care on the governor’s part is alarming. All four towns in the 23rd District will now have funding gaps and may require local property tax increases to offset them. This would add an even greater burden to Connecticut’s taxpayers and Connecticut simply cannot afford to lose additional wealth at this time. However, that’s where these indirect tax hikes would be directed – all 28 communities being zeroed-out are considered ‘wealthy’.

Although these cuts are debilitating to small towns like ours – which already receive far less back from the state than we put in – we must keep in mind that this is only a proposal.

I remain committed to finding a solution with other members of the legislature to address this inequitable cut to our towns and to solving our $930 million deficit. The state wants people to move to Connecticut and one of our best selling points is our top-tier education. While we are faced with many serious and pressing economic issues, predominantly the ongoing budget crisis, great public education is one area on which we can pride ourselves.

I have written a letter to the governor urging him not to turn his back on the children and the taxpayers of the 23rd District and to request that he amend his updated budget and eliminate these cuts. The taxpayers of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook provide a great deal to this state and the deficits would be much, much higher without us. If either the legislature’s or the governor’s cuts are enacted, then it would be only fair that some of the approximately 380 unfunded state educational mandates be eliminated.

Instead of education, the governor and the legislature must look to balance the budget through real structural changes in the way state government is run. Changes could include pension and benefit reform, re-negotiating of union contracts, a moratorium on unnecessary government projects, serious spending and bonding caps, and tighter controls on overtime. When I last checked, many don’t live in Connecticut for bloated government overtime, but they do for our great schools. In fact, it may just be the only thing keeping them here.

To read my letter to Governor Malloy: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the Appropriations budget: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the governor’s budget: click here

To read the governor’s budget proposal: click here

To see the approximately 380 unfunded educational mandates: click here

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Musical Masterworks Hosts Chamber Music Concert This Afternoon

Edward Arron hosts and performs in this weekend's Musical Masterworks concerts.

Edward Arron hosts and performs in this weekend’s Musical Masterworks concerts.

Musical Masterworks 25th Anniversary Season continues today at 3 p.m. with a repeat of yesterday’s concert.  The versatile and talented pianist, composer, and host of NPR’s acclaimed program “From the Top,” Christopher O’Riley, along with violinist, Tessa Lark, who has delighted Masterworks audiences over the years, will be featured.  O’Riley and Lark will join Edward Arron in a diverse program spanning four centuries — from Bach to Dvorák and Ravel, to Arvo Pärt and O’Riley.

“Our special season will culminate on April 30, and May 1, with Mendelssohn’s ‘Octet for Strings,’ led by Musical Masterworks’ veteran violinist, Chee-Yun,” noted Arron. “I feel extraordinarily privileged to be the curator of this unique concert series. As the years go by, I continue to be inspired by the beauty of the Congregational Church, the art of chamber music, the artistry of my colleagues, and the warmth of our audience.”

The anniversary season will be celebrated with a free gala party after the final concert on May 1, to which all ticket buyers will be invited.

To purchase individual tickets ($35 individual; $5 student) to this 25th season, visit Musical Masterworks’ new website at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

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Inaugural Meeting of ‘Friends of Whalebone Cove’ Set for Today, Group Plans to Protect Famous Tidal Wetland

The newly formed friends of Whalebone Cove are working to prevent this sort of activity in the waterways.

The newly formed ‘Friends of Whalebone Cove’ are working to preserve and protect the Cove’s fragile ecosystem.

A new community conservation group to protect Whalebone Cove, a freshwater tidal marsh along the Connecticut river in Hadlyme recognized internationally for its wildlife habitat, will hold its first organizational meeting this coming Sunday, March 6.

Calling the group “Friends of Whalebone Cove” (FOWC), the organizers say their purpose is to “create a proactive, community-based constituency whose mission is to preserve and protect the habitat and fragile eco-systems of Whalebone Cove.”

Much of Whalebone Cove is a nature preserve that is part of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge (www.fws.gov/refuge/silvio_o_conte) under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFW). The Refuge owns and manages 116 acres of marshland in Whalebone Cove and upland along its shores.

Prior to being taken over by USFW, the Whalebone Cove preserve was under the protection of The Nature Conservancy.

As part of the Connecticut River estuary, the Cove is listed in the Ramsar Convention on International Wetlands (www.ramsar.org) as tidal marshlands on the Connecticut River that constitute a “wetlands complex of international importance.”

The Ramsar citation specifically notes that Whalebone Cove has one of the largest stands of wild rice in the state. Except at high tide, most of the Cove is open marshland covered by wild rice stands with relatively narrow channels where Whalebone Creek winds its way through the Cove to the main stem of the Connecticut River.

Brian Slater, one of the group’s leaders who is filing the incorporation documents creating FOWC, said the creation of the organization was conceived by many of those living around the Cove and others in the Hadlyme area because of increased speeding motor boat and jet ski traffic in the Cove in recent years, damaging wetland plants and disrupting birds and other wildlife that make the Cove their home.

Slater said “Our goal is to develop a master plan for protection of the Cove through a collaborative effort involving all those who have a stake in Whalebone Cove – homeowners along its shores and those living nearby, the Silvio O. Conte Refuge, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), hunters, fishing enthusiasts, canoeing and kayaking groups, Audubon groups, the Towns of Lyme and East Haddam, The Nature Conservancy, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, the Lyme Land Conservation Trust, the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, and others who want to protect the Cove.”

“Such a plan”, said Slater, “should carefully evaluate the habitat, plants, wildlife and eco-systems of the Cove and the surrounding uplands and watershed and propose an environmental management plan that can be both implemented and enforced by those entrusted with stewarding the Cove and its fragile ecosystems for the public trust.”

FOWC has written a letter to Connecticut DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee asking that he appoint a blue ribbon commission to conduct the research and develop the management plan. FOWC also asked that Commissioner Klee either deny or defer approval on any applications for new docks in the Cove until the management plan can be developed and implemented. Currently there are no docks in the Cove.

2014-06-06 10.37.22_motorboat

“We are very concerned that the installation of docks permitted for motor boat use will greatly increase the amount of motorized watercraft in the Cove,” said Slater. “There’s already too much jet ski and speeding motorboat traffic in the Cove. Those living on the Cove have even seen boats towing water skiers crisscrossing the wild rice plants at high tide. Something has to be done to protect the birds and marine life that give birth and raise their young in the Cove.”

Slater urged all those “who treasure Whalebone Cove and the many species of birds, turtles, fish, reptiles, amphibians, beaver, and rare flora and fauna that make their home in it to attend the meeting, whether they live in the Hadlyme area or beyond.”

Expected to be at the meeting will be representatives from USFW, DEEP, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and several other conservation organizations.

The meeting will be at 4 p.m., Sunday, March 6, at Hadlyme Public Hall, 1 Day Hill Rd., in Lyme, which is at the intersection of Ferry Rd. (Rte. 148), Joshuatown Rd., and Day Hill Rd. Representatives from the Silvio O. Conte Refuge will make a short presentation on the history and mission of the Conte Refuge system, which includes nature preserves throughout the Connecticut River Valley in four states.

Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call 860-322-4021 or email fowchadlyme@gmail.com

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Reading Uncertainly: ‘The Wild Places’ by Robert Macfarlane

The_Wild_Places_by_Robert_MacFarlaneLast year, at our son’s suggestion, I read and reviewed with enthusiasm Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways (2012), his recounting of extensive walks in Great Britain, Spain, Palestine, and Tibet (see LymeLine.com review of Oct. 12, 2014) That led me to his Landmarks(2015), and now to an earlier work, The Wild Places.

What begins as a eulogy for our disappearing wilderness becomes an elegy, even a celebration of remoteness, privacy and “the wild.” But the reply of the wild, wherever he finds it, at the remote corners of the British Isles or in his own Cambridge backyard, is “reports of my demise are premature!”

Macfarlane, a don at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, mixes remarkable research, reading and language, to explore both geographic and intellectual wildness. On his perambulations, he is always picking up small rocks, leaves, stems, feeling them, admiring them, and saving them for his library. He links every trek with apt, far-ranging quotations from a global entourage of writers. And his words, what words …

Consider:

  • “ideas like waves have fetches.”
  • The sky a “slurless blue”
  • The “grain of the mind”
  • “a row of hawthorns quaffed eastwards by the onshore winds”
  • the “krekking of a raven”
  • “small waders – knots, plovers, turnstones – form their palping jellyfish-like shoals”
  • “a gang of rooks chakked over the corn stubble”
  • “I had a heptic memory, too.”
  • A rock that was “knapped out.”

Do you recognize any of the places he visited: Ynys Enlli (Scotland), Coruisk (Isle of Skye), Rannoch Moor (near Glencoe), Black Wood (east of Rannoch Moor), Cape Wrath (Scotland north coast), the Holloways (Dorset), Orford Ness (Suffolk), and Burren (north of County Clare, Ireland)? Macfarlane comes to acknowledge that wildness is often found close to home. How many of us know Hog Pond (the old name), Cedar Pond, Brown Hill, Joshua Rocks, Whalebone Creek, Nickerson Hill, Moulson’s Pond, Oliver’s Hole or Rat Island?

Wildness, to this professor, is “a quality to be vanquished and to be cherished.” It has “implications of disorder and irregularity” but it is also “an expression of independence from human direction . . . containing an energy both exemplary and exquisite.” Wild places remind us “of the narrow limits of human perception, of the provisionality of (our) assumptions about the world.” Our response: “a brief blazing perception of the world’s disinterest” in what we humans have created — they give us “this sense of the human presence as being something temporary.”

Fellow wanderers appear. Macfarlane asks a “Helen” to join a walk seeking birds: falcons, tiercels, ospreys, goshawks, and peregrines. None other than Helen Macdonald, also a professor at Cambridge, whose H Is For Hawk I enjoyed earlier this year.

The Wild Places reminded me of my own traipsing along the public footpaths of West Sussex and the South Downs, in the fall of 1978, and along the wanderwegs of St. Gallen and the Appenzell in Switzerland in the 1980s and 1990s. Plus the trails of Nehantic State Forest in the 1990s …

Macfarlane suggests wildness is an attribute to be carefully enjoyed, with both sight and sound: “rooks haggled in the air above the trees … the noise of the wood in the wind; a soft marine road. It was the immense compound noise of friction – of leaf fretting on leaf, and branch rubbing on branch.”

His admonitions: listen and look. Wildness may be close at hand.

Editor’s Note: The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane was published by Penguin, New York, 2007.

Felix Kloman_headshot_2005_284x331-150x150About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

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Opinion: “The Menace in our Midst:” Comments Closed to FRA About Proposed Railtrack Through Old Lyme,

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium at Wednesday's press conference at the Florence Griswold Museum. State officials and some of the signatories of a letter to the FRA denouncing Alternative 1 stand around her.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium at Wednesday’s press conference at the Florence Griswold Museum. State officials and some of the signatories of a letter to the FRA denouncing Alternative 1 stand around her.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 2.28.57 AMIn the space of just a few short weeks, the residents of Old Lyme have become aware of a menace in their midst. Most unusually for these same residents, their response has been to a man (or woman) identical. When that happens in this town — unquestionably, a rare event — you can be sure that, ‘Something is rotten (to misquote Hamlet) in the state of Old Lyme.’

The ‘menace’ in this case is Alternative 1 of the three high-speed railtrack routes proposed by the Federal Railroad Authority (FRA) in their Northeast Corridor (NEC) Future plan.

But let’s backtrack for a second — why is the FRA proposing these new routes? Their objective is, “to improve the reliability, capacity, connectivity, performance, and resiliency of future passenger rail service … while promoting environmental sustainability and continued economic growth.” Let’s say right away that we are fully supportive of this objective — we are huge fans of rail-travel — you cannot grow up in Europe without taking rail travel for granted. The trains there are fast, clean and efficient … they are a way of life. We absolutely wish it were the same in the US.

So what is the difference here? Why has the reaction to Alternative 1 been so strong, so united, so passionate? In case you are unaware, Alternative 1 calls for the high speed rail track to cross the Connecticut River over a new bridge a little higher up the river than at present and then travel to the center of Old Lyme bisecting Lyme Street by eliminating both the western and eastern campuses of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts before turning north and crossing I-95. The 1817 John Sill House, currently owned by the Academy and situated on its campus, would likely be acquired by the FRA by eminent domain and then demolished.

The impact of a high-speed railtrack through that sector of town would be totally devastating for our community, effectively destroying its very heart.

This editorial could now run for pages to explain the full spectrum of impact to Old Lyme of this proposal.

We could discuss the horrific effects on our incredible local environment — one which has inspired artists for generations including some of the greatest impressionist painters in American history and one officially designated as a “Last Great Place.”

We could talk about the untold damage to the storied structures on Lyme Street and list the irreplaceable buildings that will either be completely destroyed or permanently scarred by this new train track construction, many of which are either National Historic Landmarks or on the National Historic Register.

We could mention that Lyme Street is the joyful, bustling hub of our little town — it has a unique personality and touches every aspect of our community life. It is home to our town hall, our public schools, our daycare, our youth services, our library, our churches, our village shops, our art college, our art association (the oldest in the country), and the Florence Griswold Museum (a national institution.) Can you even begin to imagine Lyme Street with a high speed railroad running across it?

And let’s just consider for a minute what this proposal, if implemented, would achieve? Bearing in mind that you can already travel from London to Paris (286 miles) in 2 hours and 15 minutes, would we be able to hop on a train in Old Saybrook and be in Washington DC (334 miles) roughly two hours and 45 minutes later? No, the current travel time of six hours would be reduced by a grand total of 30 minutes to 5 hours and 30 minutes. Unbelievable.

As we said, we could go on for pages but others have kindly taken care of that for us. There was a splendid press conference yesterday, which spelled out the craziness of Alternative 1 from every angle — coldly, clinically and objectively. The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library has a full print copy of the NEC Future tome if you care to read it in its entirety. There are links galore on the Old Lyme Town website to the statement and attachments submitted yesterday (Feb. 10) on behalf of some 20 local organizations to the FRA.

So please read and educate yourself on Alternative 1, but most importantly, please, please write to the FRA with your thoughts. There are many questions as to why and how this proposal was able to be presented without a single public hearing being held closer than 30 miles away from a town on which it was having such a major impact. But that is history now …

The comment period was originally only until Jan. 31, but there was such a huge outcry as the reality of Alternative 1 began to be fully understood that it has been extended to next Tuesday, Feb. 16. The FRA needs to hear from each and every one of us — you don’t need to write an essay, you don’t need to write eloquently, in fact, you don’t really need to write much at all, but you do need to write — today or tomorrow, even the next day, but if you have anything to say about Alternative 1 and want your voice to be heard, you absolutely must write.

There are three ways to contact the FRA:

Online through the NEC website: Submit your comment directly at http://www.necfuture.com/get_involved/

Email: Send comments with attachments to comment@necfuture.com

Snail-mail: Mail your comments to:
NEC Future
U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration
One Bowling Green, Suite 429
New York, NY 10004

We sincerely hope that there will soon be a public forum of some sort where people can ask questions and comment in person but, in the meantime, we say again, PLEASE, PLEASE WRITE TO THE FRA!

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Musical Masterworks Hosts Beethoven Bonanza Over Two Concerts at Weekend

Cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park

Cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park

AREAWIDE — Musical Masterworks continues its celebration of a quarter century of magnificent chamber music at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m.

In a bold break from their traditional programming of repeat concerts, Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park will play two different programs in the Saturday and Sunday concerts, traversing the entire cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven’s works for piano and cello over the two days, providing a fascinating window into the arc of Beethoven’s compositional career.

The two different programs will include three sets of variations and five sonatas as follows:

Saturday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m.

Sonata No. 1 in F Major, Opus 5, No. 1
Sonata No. 4 in C Major, Opus 102, No. 1
12 Variations in F Major on ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’, Opus 66
Sonata No. 3 in A Major, Opus 69

Sunday, Feb. 14 at 3 p.m.

12 Variations in G Major on ‘See the conqu’ring hero comes’, WoO 45
Sonata No. 2 in g minor, Opus 5, No. 2
Seven Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’, WoO 46
Sonata No. 5 in D Major, Opus 102, No. 2

For those who plan to attend both programs, Musical Masterworks is offering a 50 percent discount on tickets to the additional concert.

For more information, call the office at 860.434.2252 or visit www.musicalmasterworks.org to order your additional tickets.

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AAUW Presents Awards to Three Students

AREAWIDE — The Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently presented spring semester educational grants to three local students who are pursuing higher education. Each student received the second $1000 of their total $2000 grant covering the full academic year 2015-2016.

The recipients are Megan Davis, a sophomore from Lyme who is majoring in English Education at the University of Connecticut at Storrs; Alexis Henry, a senior from Old Saybrook who is a biomedical engineering major at the University of Connecticut at Storrs; and Amanda Matulis, a sophomore from East Haddam who is majoring in radiological technology at Middlesex Community College in Middletown and is a second year recipient of this award. This is the sixth consecutive year that the Lower Connecticut Valley Branch has granted educational awards.

The AAUW is a national organization that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education.

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Hadlyme Country Market Has New Look, But Keeps Old Traditions

Hadlyme Country Market has a refreshed and welcoming exterior.

Hadlyme Country Market’s refreshed and welcoming exterior greets customers from near and far. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com.

HADLYME — Looking for a new spot to savor your daily dose of hospitality?

Why not try the new Hadlyme Country Market? Well, it’s not really new, but rather refurbished and restored. The market is, in fact, now much like it was in 1905, a place for locals and tourists alike to gather in the quaint and storied town of Hadlyme, nestled to the north of Lyme in southeastern Connecticut.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare quiet moment together.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare, quiet moment together. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

The owners of the Market — Lisa Bakoledis and Susan Raible Birch — have been working to restore the historic landmark since purchasing the building and business in 2012 and are now proudly celebrating three years in business with the unveiling of their “new” market.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

The Hadlyme Country Market has been a pillar of the riverside since the mid-19th century when steamboats ruled Connecticut. Located near the water, this community center was the hub of commerce and social life. Boaters, locals, and businesspeople came for their market staples and sundries in a traditional neighborhood fashion where everyone knows their neighbor and lends a helping hand.

A photo of Lee Luther Brockway, original owner of the store, circa 1900.

An original postcard circa 1905, from the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store, adorns the mantle.

The mastermind behind the operation was Lee Luther Brockway, an astute businessman and entrepreneur who recognized the boom from steam boating and new business along the river. As soon as he noticed a turn from boating to more land-based transportation with the arrival of automobiles, he picked up the store and moved it to a better locale.

Hadlyme_store_sign

Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

Now conveniently located near the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and Gillette’s Castle, the bustling intersection of Rte. 148 and Rte. 82 (Ferry Rd. and Norwich-Salem Rd. respectively) has been the Hadlyme Country Market’s home since 1905. After decades of transitioning owners and falling under disrepair, Bakoledis and Birch, long-time admirers and locals, purchased the store with a vision for their treasure.

Bakoledis, who worked at the store many times over the years, always felt like it was home; maybe because she lived in the apartment above but more likely because she sensed something special about the neighborhood, the people, and the rich history of the small town market.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.annasawin.com.

The pair quickly went to work planning a remodel that was true to the market’s rich history and architectural integrity. After pouring over archives and records for images, blueprints, and materials, they came up with a plan that would restore the market to its original beauty plus a few modern comforts to attract a new generation of customers.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The market was renovated to its original glory with authentic the turn-of-the-century materials salvaged from local historical buildings. In 2013 the doors were opened to the public and Bakoledis and Birch received an outpouring of locals delighted at the return of an institution. What’s more, the new owners took it upon themselves to run the store as Brockway would have, replete with hospitality, charm, and friendly faces.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cuppa in a peaceful setting.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cup of joe in a peaceful setting.

Two years later, the market continues to upgrade with an exterior restoration to the porch completed this fall, a sweet spot for anyone who enjoys sitting where the sun seems alway to shine. On the menu daily are a wide selection of deli-fresh artisan sandwiches and pot pies along with fresh Ashlawn Farm Coffee, newspapers, breakfast and bakery treats. Continuing Brockway’s tradition, Bakoledis and Birch welcome locals and travelers to enjoy old-fashioned treats, treasures, and conversations in a place everyone can feel at home. Birch sums up the Market’s attraction succinctly when she says, “The Country Market … has a heart like no other.”

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SECWAC Hosts Presentation on Irish Peace Process, March 7

secwacAREAWIDE – The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC), dedicated to educating and engaging Americans on global issues, is hosting a presentation by Ed Moloney on Monday, March 7, at 6 p.m., at  Blaustein Hall, Connecticut College, New London.

Moloney will speak on “The Irish Peace Process: How it Happened and Will It Unite the Country.”

Ed Moloney has been a reporter covering the Northern Ireland situation since 1978. He has been Northern Editor of the Irish Times (1981-85) and Northern Editor of the Sunday Tribune in Dublin (1987-2001).  He has written for a wide range of newspapers and magazines in the United States and Britain including the Washington Post, NY Daily News and the Economist, and has been a frequent commentator on BBC and CNN.  He was Irish Project Director at Boston College and in 2010 wrote Voices from the Grave based on interviews, stored at Boston College, with Catholic and Protestant paramilitary fighters. He also wrote the book, A Secret History of the IRA, and co-authored a celebrated biography of Rev. Ian Paisley in 2006.

SECWAC is a membership organization. Guests are welcome; call (860) 912-5718 or email info@secwac.org to reserve a guest pass.

A reception begins the evening at 5:30 p.m. Following the 6 p.m. presentation, a dinner will be held for a limited number of SECWAC members and guests at a room adjacent to Blaustein Hall. To attend the dinner, a reservation is required; call (860) 912-5718 or email info@secwac.org to make your reservation. All dinner reservations or cancellations must be received 24 hours prior to the program.   Bring your check payable to SECWAC for the total number of your reservations at $35 each.

The next SECWAC program will be on April 12 at Blaustein Hall. Curt Goering, Center for Victims of Torture, will speak on “The Story behind the Syrian Refugee Story: The Need for Rehabilitative Care During Humanitarian Crises.”

Editor’s note: SECWAC is a regional, non-profit membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America and fosters an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.  Its principal activity is to provide a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between its members and U.S. policy makers and other experts on foreign relations. More information at www.secwac.org.

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Final Chance to See ‘The Magic of Christmas’ at Florence Griswold Museum Today

All ages can enjoy the Palette Christmas Trees.

All ages can enjoy the Artist Trees on display at the Florence Griswold Museum through Jan. 3, 2016.

OLD LYME — The holiday season is always something to celebrate at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Visitors of all ages can enjoy The Magic of Christmas through Jan. 3, 2016.

For over 10 years, visitors from across the region have admired the painted palettes on Miss Florence’s Artist Trees. The idea of contemporary artists creating paintings on artists’ palettes is a nod to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the door and wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s boardinghouse over a century ago.

The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, glass, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises.

Nearly 200 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon. “What a thrill it is for me to participate in decorating Miss Florence’s Artist Tree this year, joining such a distinguished group of artists who have lent their vision and talents to this important tradition, ” states Artist Russ Kramer of Mystic.

Russ Kramer

‘Winter Visit’ by Russ Kramer of Mystic is one of the new palettes for this year.

He continues, “I think all of us wish we could travel back in time to enjoy Miss Florence’s support and hospitality, and share inspirations with fellow artists around her table. In my palette, Winter Visit, I imagined a weary artist after a long, chilly trip from the city, and the warm welcome he would receive into Miss Florence’s home.”

Georgia native Katie Scarlett Faile was one of nine artists asked to contribute a palette this year. “I was very excited when I was asked to contribute to the Florence Griswold Museum’s annual exhibit,” Faile states. “The museum has become a very special place for me during the three years that my husband and I have been stationed here attached to the USS Virginia.”

FaileMedium

‘Winter comes to FairyLand’ by Katie Scarlett Faile is another palette new for 2015.

As an artist that works in multiple mediums, it was hard for Faile to decide how she wanted to paint her palette. “My first love, is acrylics and fairytale themed work so, Winter comes to FairyLand was a grand opportunity to paint in my favorite subject matter in my favorite medium.”

William Sillin from Sunderland, Mass., created 'The Eye of the Beholder,' using oil on wood palette for the 2015 palettes.

William Sillin from Sunderland, Mass., created ‘The Eye of the Beholder,’ using oil on wood palette for the 2015 palette additions.

The palettes will be displayed on three trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibition, The Artist in the Connecticut Landscape.

In the historic rooms of the Griswold House, visitors can see how families celebrated Christmas in 1910, as historically accurate decorations reveal homespun creativity and the use of surprising materials. The 1910 time period was an important era for the Griswold House. It was the heyday of its use as boardinghouse for the artists of the Lyme Art Colony. Christmas was also Miss Florence’s birthday. She was 60 years old in 1910.

Three designers have created Fantasy Trees

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas. Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectables scones with clotted cream, assorted tea sandwiches, and cookies prepared by Gourmet Gallery, a caterer known for their delicious flavors and impeccable presentations, are accompanied by “Miss Florence’s Tea,” a special blend from Sundial Gardens in Higginum. Miss Florence’s Tea is a special blend of superior Ceylon and China black tea enhanced with a touch of delicate spices. The tea celebrates the camaraderie and creativity of the Lyme Art Colony with each cup.

Other events and programs include special events for families, including a visit from Snow Sister Anna & her Ice Harvester, musical performances, and hands-on crafts for children and adults.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts.

Located on an 11-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year round Tuesday through Saturday from 10amto 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. For more information, visit the Museum’s website www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Magic of Christmas Activities

December 2-24
Daily Specials in the Museum Shop
One day you might save on all books or art supplies, the next, maybe everything sparkly or all snowmen. Check FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for a calendar of items and days.

December 4–23, 1-5pm
Elf-in-Residence Days
A new twist on shopping local. Tuesday through Saturday, visitors can meet a different local artisan each day. Speak to them about their craft and pick up a special gift for you or someone on your holiday list.

December 4 – 23
Christmastime Teas
Tuesday through Saturday enjoy an elegant tea of savories and sweets overlooking the wintery splendor of the Lieutenant River. Catered by Gourmet Galley. Seatings at 3pm. Guests enjoy a 10% discount in The Shop. Please call 860-434-5542 x 111 for information and reservations.

Sundays, Dec. 6 through Jan. 3, 1-5pm
Joy in the Making
Each Sunday visitors can create a different holiday craft to take home for themselves or give as a gift. This event is free with Museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Sunday, Dec. 27, 11am to 4pm
Miss Florence’s Birthday Party

Visitors share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Birthday cake and fun celebratory activities to honor the woman who started it all. Miss. Florence would be 165 this year, but age is just a number. From 1 to 4pmApril Brunelle of April’s Balloon Creations will create favorite animals, characters, and super heros at no cost. This event is included with museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Thursday, Dec. 31, 11am to 3pm
Ode to the New Year: Harp Music by Faith Leitner

The harp was Miss Florence’s favorite instrument. Visitors can see the pne her father brought back for her from England in the Florence Griswold House. Accomplished harpist Faith Leitner will perform in the gallery. A beautiful way to end the year, this event is free with Museum admission.

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Valley-Old Lyme Warrior Football Alumnus Fairfield-Sonn Named All-American

All American Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn stands with his proud parents, Lynn and Jim Fairfield-Sonn of Old Lyme.

D3Football.com All-American footballer Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn stands with his proud parents, Lynn and Jim Fairfield-Sonn of Old Lyme.

Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn, who graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School in 2012 and now attends Amherst College where he is a senior safety on the College’s football team, was named to the 2015 D3football.com All-America team, and earned recognition on the Third Team Defense. Fairfield-Sonn played a key role on the Valley-Old Lyme Co-op football team while attending high school in Old Lyme.

Fairfield-Sonn became the fifth member of the Amherst football team to garner All-America praise from D3football.com. In addition to his most recent accolade, Fairfield-Sonn was also named to the D3football.com All-East Region First Team Defense, the New England Writers Division II/III All-New England Team and the NESCAC All-Conference First Team Defense.

Fairfield-Sonn also picked up two yearly awards and was named the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, while also claiming the Joseph P. Zabilski award – which is announced by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and recognizes New England’s top offensive and defensive players for Division II and III.

Congratulations, Jimmy!

Click here to read the full article on which this article is based. The original article was first published on the Athletics section of the Amherst College website.

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Celebrating a Year of ‘Pearls and Plaid’

The charming exterior of 'Pearls and Plaid' in Haddam.

The charming exterior of ‘Pearls and Plaid’ in Haddam, Conn.

Just a few weeks ago, on Nov. 12, local Haddam boutique “Pearls and Plaid” celebrated its first birthday. The store is located just a few shops down from the Goodspeed Opera House by the Haddam Bridge, making it a popular destination for tourists as well as regular townies.

A peek inside the store.

A peek inside the store..

The tiny store is packed with clothing draped on walls and mirrors, spread on top of and underneath chests and drawers, and hung on pipes. Kristin Lemley, who is both an employee and sister of owner Caroline Lemley, comments,“From the start she (Caroline) really didn’t want it to be a typical clothing store with racks and shelves. We wanted it to be interesting to look at and always changing.”

The store’s professed style is, “Where northern prep meets southern charm,” and its inventory certainly lives up to its logo. Rompers, dresses, jewelry, and various accessories are the most popular items in the store, and new items arrive just as quickly as the old ones sell out.

‘Pearls and Plaid’ is a great example of the local businesses that are the heart and soul of our small communities. These businesses bring the community together and provide a more intimate experience than larger scale corporations. Just as we rely on them to bring character to our local communities, they rely solely on our support to maintain their status.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

Let’s commit to keep the charm and personality in our small towns by supporting ‘Pearls and Plaid’ and all the other small businesses in our local area to ensure many more anniversaries are celebrated!

Editor’s Note: Pearls and Plaid is located at 4, Norwich Rd., East Haddam, CT. Its regular opening hours are Tue-Fri: 12 to 6 p.m., Sat: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 860.876.7328.

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‘Deck The Walls’ on Show at Lyme Art Association

‘Village Morning' by Barbara Lussier is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

‘Village Morning’ by Barbara Lussier is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association’s (LAA) festive art exhibition and sale, Deck the Walls, opened Nov. 27 and is on show through Jan. 8, 2016. An opening reception featuring live music will be held next Friday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is free and all painting purchases from 5 p.m. on Dec. 4 through 5 p.m. Dec. 5 will be tax-free.

More than 200 original works of art by member artists will be on display and priced to sell as holiday gifts. Artwork by newly inducted LAA Elected Artists will be featured in their own exhibition in the Goodman Gallery.

'Curious' by Kim Muller-Thym is featured in 'Deck the Walls.'

‘Curious’ by Kim Muller-Thym is featured in ‘Deck the Walls.’

“For Deck the Walls, the Lyme Art Association features a wide variety of appealing subjects at affordable prices that are great for holiday shopping. We hope to help solve those gift giving dilemmas – a beautiful piece of artwork is always appreciated!” says Jocelyn Zallinger, Gallery Manager.

The LAA is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 12 to 5 p.m., and by appointment. The building is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Road.

Call (860) 434-7802 for more information, or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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Old Lyme Town Band Gives Holiday Concert in Deep River Tonight

OL Town Band 01

Old Lyme Town Band

The Old Lyme Town Band will be performing a holiday concert in the Deep River Town Hall this evening at 7 p.m.  All are welcome and admission is free.

Other holiday concerts by the band in the local area through Dec. 16 are as follows:

OLTB

Visit OldLymeTownBand.org for more details.

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Reading Uncertainly: ‘The Social Conquest of Earth’ by Edward O. Wilson

SocialConquest_Mech.inddWho are we?

This has been the eternal question of our curious and self-reflective species. Paul Gauguin, in Tahiti in 1897 in his final painting, expanded this question into three: D’ou Venons Nous? Que Sommes Nous? Ou Allons Nous?  (Where do we come from? What are we? And where are we going?) As the weather cools, it is time for some serious reading …

Edward O. Wilson, the noted Harvard chronicler of ants, has embarked on a trilogy to try and answer all three. The first, The Social Conquest of Earth, addresses the Gauguin threesome in short, pithy chapters, easy for today’s creatures accustomed to electronic social networks. No Proustian rambling for him!

“We have created a Star Wars civilization,” he begins, “with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.” His argument, which represents the story of the evolution of social life and its driving forces, is controversial.

It goes like this: “The social conquerors of Earth” dominate today, but they include not only homo sapiens but also ants, bees, wasps, and termites, species that are possibly more than 100 million years older than us (we emerged several 100,000 years ago, only spreading across this globe over the past 60,000 years). It is altogether probable that these other “eusocial species” — less than two percent of  the one million known species — will remain long after we disappear.

Our human condition is both selfish and selfless: “the two impulses are conflated … the worst of our nature coexists with the best, and so it will ever be.” Our “hereditary curse” is “our innate pugnacity … our bloody nature (in which) individuals prefer the company of others of the same race, nation, clan, and religion.”

Wilson continues, “The biological human mind is our province. With all its quirks, irrationality, and risky productions, and all its conflict and inefficiency, the biological mind is the essence and the very meaning of the human condition.”

In answering the question, “What are we?” Wilson explores the origins of culture, language, cultural variation, morality, honor, religions and creative art, suggesting “human beings are enmeshed in social networks.” And in these networks, we express our “relentless ambivalence and ambiguity … the fruits of the strange primate inheritance that rules the human mind.”

Wilson submits that religions are logical hallucinations in response to the ever-unanswered question, determining that, “ … religious faith is better interpreted as an unseen trap unavoidable during the biological history of our species. Humankind deserves better … than surrender and enslavement.”

The final chapter of this engrossing and illuminating exploration asks, “Where are we going?” Do we have free will? Wilson answers his question thus: “We are free as independent beings, but our decisions are not free of all the organic processes that created our personal brains and minds. Free will therefore appears to be ultimately biological.” Are we social creatures? Wilson suggests, ” … group selection (is) the driving force of where we have been and where we are going.”

We, a convoluted and introspective species, live in an “extremely complex biosphere” in which we must respect the “equilibrium created by all the other species, plants, animals, and microorganisms around us.” Failure to do so may mean our collapse or even that of the entire system.

But Wilson concludes on an optimistic note, saying, “Earth, by the twenty-second century, can be turned, if we so wish, into a permanent paradise for human beings, or at least the strong beginnings of one.”

This first philosophical exploration of human existence has been followed by the second, The Meaning of Human Existence, published in early 2015, and the third, The End of the Anthropocene will follow shortly.

Together they require serious reflection.

Editor’s Note: The Social Conquest of Earth, by Edward O.Wilson was published by W. W. Norton & Co., New York 2012.

Felix Kloman_headshot_2005_284x331-150x150About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

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Hadlyme Hall Fine Art & Crafts Show Runs Through 4pm Today

drawing_of_hallThe 14th annual Fine Art & Craft Show at Hadlyme Public Hall will be held over Thanksgiving weekend from Friday through Sunday. The event features artist Brian Keith Stephens from Old Lyme, Conn.

at_the_showAdmission for Saturday and Sunday is free. The show is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

A variety of artists — many local — will be exhibiting mixed media, holiday home décor, photography, oil and watercolor paintings, stoneware, wood carvings, jewelry, pottery, and sculpture.

All the artists have been asked to prepare “Small Wonders” in order to be able to offer some pieces that are affordable for all and suitable for holiday gift lists.

A full listing of the artists exhibiting is given below

 

Phyllis Bevington – Oil On Canvas

JoAnna Chapin – Watercolors

Linda Elgart – Oils & Enhanced Giclees

Paula Emery – Oils & Collages

Maureen Girard – Mixed Media

Matthew Goldman – Prints, Books, & Cards

Bud Haines – Handcarved Birds

Bonnie Bryne LeMay – Oil Paintings

Jill Beecher Matthew – Palette Knife Oils

Thomas McLean – Oil Paintings

Ron Olansen – Oil Paintings

Cora Preibis – Oil Paintings

Erin Reemsnyder – Photography

Maureen Tarbox – Oils & Watercolors

Lisa Tellier – Oils & Watercolors

Amy Amelia White – Oil on Canvas

Paul Maulucci – Wooden Bowls

Julliet Rutigliano – Eclectic Sterling Jewlery

Paula Goldman – Silver Circle Herbals

Frank Michael Winiski – Metal Sculpture

Marcy Furphy – Mayflower Soap

Laurie Gelston Alt – Ceramic Sculpture

Nancy McKinnon – Ballek’s Nursery

Hadlyme Garden Club

Loreen O’Neil – Handmade Felted Bags

For further information, click here.

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Happy Thanksgiving … and Let’s Talk Turkey

We wish all our readers a very happy Thanksgiving holiday and are pleased to republish an article that our good friend Linda Ahnert wrote for us in 2007 to celebrate Thanksgiving that year, but it it still as topical today as then.

Who Doesn’t Love Thanksgiving?

Giving thanks_bookSeveral years ago, a book entitled “Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie” was published. The co-authors are Kathleen Curtin, food historian at the Plimoth Plantation, Mass., and Sandra L. Oliver, food historian and publisher of the newsletter “Food History News.”

The book is a fascinating look at how an autumnal feast evolved into a “quintessential American holiday.”

Most Americans, introduced to the story of the Pilgrims and Indians during childhood, assume there is a direct link between the traditional holiday menu and the first Thanksgiving. But we learn from the book that many of those food items—such as mashed potatoes and apple pie—were simply impossible in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. Potatoes were not introduced to New England until much later and those first settlers did not yet have ovens to bake pies.

What we do know about the bill of fare at the first celebration in 1621 comes from a letter written by colonist Edward Winslow to a friend in England: “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.”

Later 90 Indians joined the party with “their great king Massasoit whom for three days we entertained and feasted.” Then the Indians “went out and killed five deer which they brought to the plantation.”

So venison was a principal food on the menu. It also seems safe to assume that mussels, clams, and lobsters (all in plentiful supply) were served as well. According to other journals of the colonists, the “fowl” that Winslow described were probably ducks and geese. But wild turkeys were also bountiful in 1621, and so it is very likely that they were on the Pilgrims’ table. Thank goodness for that.

Throughout the New England colonies, it became common to proclaim a day of thanksgiving sometime in the autumn. In period diaries, there are many descriptions of food preparation—such as butchering and pie baking—followed by the notation that “today was the general thanksgiving.”

By the 19th century, Americans were taking the idea of a “thanksgiving” to a whole new level. The religious connotations were dropping away in favor of a holiday celebrating family and food. Roast turkey had become the centerpiece of these fall celebrations.

Turkeys, of course, were native to North America. (Benjamin Franklin, in a letter, had even proposed the turkey as the official U.S. bird!) And turkey was considered to be a fashionable food back in the mother country. Just think of the significance of turkey in Charles’ Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” When Scrooge wakes up in a joyful mood on Christmas morning, he calls to a boy in the street to deliver the prize turkey in the poulterer’s shop to the Cratchit family. (Earlier in the story, the poor Cratchits were dining on goose.)

It is thanks to a New England woman that Thanksgiving became an American holiday. Sarah Hale was a native of New Hampshire and the editor of “Godey’s Lady’s Book,” a popular women’s magazine. She lobbied for years for a national observance of Thanksgiving. She wrote editorials and sent letters to the president, all state governors, and members of Congress.

Finally, in 1863, she convinced Abraham Lincoln that a national Thanksgiving Day might help to unite the Civil War-stricken country. The fourth Thursday in November was now officially on the American calendar.

Connecticut’s own Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this description of a New England Thanksgiving in one of her novels—“But who shall . . .describe the turkey, and chickens, and chicken pies, with all that endless variety of vegetables which the American soil and climate have contributed to the table . . . After the meat came the plum-puddings, and then the endless array of pies. . .”

The autumnal feast became a national holiday, but each region of the country put its own spin on the menu. Not to mention that immigrants have also added diversity. The result is a true “melting pot” of America. The second half of “Giving Thanks” contains recipes that reflect what Americans eat for Thanksgiving in the 21st century.

In the South, for instance, the turkey might be stuffed with cornbread and there would be pecan and sweet potato pies on the table. In New Mexico, chiles and Southwestern flavors may be added to the stuffing.

There’s the “time-honored traditional bread stuffing” recipe. There’s also one for a Chinese American rice dressing and directions for a Cuban turkey stuffed with black beans and rice. Desserts run the gamut from an (authentic) Indian pudding to an (exotic) coconut rice pudding. Old-fashioned pumpkin pie is included as well as the newfangled pumpkin cheesecake.

But no matter what food items grace our Thanksgiving tables, it seems that we all end up stuffing ourselves silly. Perhaps overeating started at that very first harvest celebration in 1621. In Edward Winslow’s letter describing the feast with the Indians, he noted that food was not always this plentiful. But he wrote his friend in England “ … yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

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