August 18, 2018

Vote for Fred! Hearing-Impaired Brooke of Old Lyme is One of Three National Finalists for ‘Focus on People’ Award

Fred Brooke of Old Lyme is the founder of AngelRide and one of the three finalists for the Oticon ‘Focus on People’ award.

Frederick Brooke of Old Lyme is a finalist for a national award.

The Oticon Focus on People Award celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of individuals with hearing loss, and Brooke is one of the top three individuals across the country in the Adults category.  His final placement in the Awards now depends on online votes, which are open through Aug. 24.

Brooke doesn’t let his hearing loss slow him down.

In 2001, inspired by 12-year-old Angel Uihlein, he swam across Long Island Sound, raising enough money for Angel’s mom to stay at home with her seriously-ill daughter.  AngelSwim continued over the following years, as Brooke swam 850 miles along the coast of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine to reach the Canadian border, all to benefit sick children.

In 2004, Brooke and his partner Lynn McCarthy started AngelRide, a trans-Connecticut (135 miles, two-day) charity bicycling event with nearly 100 percent of the money raised donated to The Hole in the Wall Camp, founded by actor Paul Newman for children too sick to go to conventional camps.

The money raised enabled the camp to start a Hospital Outreach program that sends specially-trained employees to enrich the lives of children in oncology wards. Today, AngelRide is an annual Memorial Day event that has raised more than $5.75 million to benefit hospitalized children.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Oticon Focus on People Awards, the first national awards program recognizing individuals who challenge outdated stereotypes and demonstrate that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a difference. Through the awards program, Oticon continues its mission to raise awareness and open doors of opportunity for people with all degrees of hearing loss.

The other two finalists in the Adult category for this year’s Focus on People Awards are Garth Baker of Twin Falls, Idaho and Clare Wolf of Rubicon, Wis.

“For 20 years, the Oticon Focus on People Awards program has brought inspiring individuals into our lives, and this year is no exception,” says Nancy Palmere, Director of Consumer Marketing and Public Relations. “We’re honored to introduce the country to our finalists and celebrate how they defy the stigma of hearing loss. Each story is unique and we encourage people to visit our website to cast a vote.”

Voting is open through Aug. 24, and the results will be announced in October. All finalists receive a cash prize. First place winners also receive a donation to a charity of their choice.

To vote and to learn more about the awards, visit www.Oticon.com/FOP.

Share

New Driver Education School Opens Serving Local Area, ‘APC Driving’ Offers a “Boutique” Approach

Brent and Suzanne Thompson stand outside the doors of the newly-opened APC Driving in the Old Lyme Marketplace. Brent co-founded the business with Chris Robson. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME — APC Driving has opened its doors at 19 Halls Rd. in the Old Lyme Marketplace near The Hideaway, offering driver education programs for teens and adults, as well as advanced driver training. Co-founder Brent Thompson, who lives in Old Lyme, explains, “We didn’t want to be like any other driving school … we hope to develop more of a lifestyle approach [to driving.]”

This photo of the exterior of APC Driving in the lower left shows its prime location in the Old Lyme Marketplace next to the Hong Kong II restaurant.

Chris Robson is the other co-founder and he has over 25 years of experience as a professional race car driver and instructor.  Both men share a lifelong passion for all things automotive or in Thompson’s own words, “We’re both ‘Gearheads.'”

A small selection of Chris Robson’s extensive racing trophies and memorabilia decorates the walls.

Thompson grew up in Texas and Colorado and graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  A sales and marketing executive with years of experience leading teams across the U.S., Canada and Australia, Thompson has had a life-long passion for cars.  Working with the Franklin Mint and its die cast car models division in the 1990s, he created, negotiated and executed marketing programs with world-class partners in historic and collectible automotive fields.  He moved on to executive management in the men’s clothing industry.  

When Thompson’s employer was bought out by competitor in 2016, he decided to get off of corporate travel treadmill and see what he could create locally.  He maintains his full competition license with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and is chief motorsports correspondence for the Auto Chat Show podcasts, which has a subscriber base of over 100,000 listeners.

APC Driving co-founders Brent Thompson (left) and Chris Robson stand together on a racetrack in Brazil after Robson had completed a race there. Photo submitted.

Robson, APC Driving’s chief driving instructor, grew up in a racing family in the quiet corner of Connecticut.  A former chief driving instructor at Performance Motorsports Karting School in Columbus, Ohio, he has over 100 U.S. and international podium finishes in recognized racing organizations and over 25 years of professional racing and instructor experience.  Thompson describes Robson affectionately as, “the real deal behind the wheel,” noting, “The kids love him!”

Chris Robson drives through rain in this race. Photo submitted.

Asked how the idea of opening a driving school was conceived, Thompson explains, ” Chris and I met at a business networking event in West Hartford in 2017. Small talk quickly turned to cars and racing, so we set about figuring out how to create a business.”

The spacious teaching area will never accommodate more than 10 students at any one time.

 
He continues, “We’re taking a boutique approach to teaching people how to drive, with small classes of never more than 10, personalized assessments of their skills, abilities and confidence levels, and providing the training they need,” said Thompson, adding, “Whether you’re first learning to drive, want to have a safer commute or simply like to drive, the skills that you can learn at APC Driving will help you achieve your goal.” 

Both men take safe driving seriously.  Robson seeks to teach young drivers precision and control at the wheel, not speed and thrills.  Thompson’s academic approach to driver education focuses on building a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding what it takes to be safe and happy behind the wheel at any level.  The business partners also both have daughters, so Thompson notes sanguinely, “We have a vested interest. We look at safe driving from the perspective of parents, too.”

The driving simulator is a real boon to the business.

The office that APC Driving occupies is spacious and comfortable.  It is divided into a reception area and a teaching space while a driving simulator occupies one corner, retail sales another and advanced driving programs another.  The walls are covered with automobile-associated artwork and maps, and a large display case houses a number of Robson’s trophies and a fascinating selection of his his racing paraphernalia. Thompson comments, “Everything is fluid,” meaning the artwork and memorabilia will change regularly and as retails sales of clothing, equipment and model cars expand, he anticipates increased inventory necessitating more space being given over to them.

Brent Thompson sometimes mans the reception desk when he’s not teaching.

Brent is married to local writer and radio personality Suzanne Thompson, who is assisting APC Driving with their publicity and promotional planning.  Suzanne explains with a smile, “I’m more into kayaking and gardening than cars,” noting she hosts a weekly radio show about gardening and nature on WLIS 1420 AM/Old Saybrook and WMRD 1150 AM/Middletown and writes regularly for The Day and its weekly publications on environmental matters.  Suzanne stepped back from corporate communications in 2005 to raise her family, and since then she has served on Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau board for six years and in June became a board member of Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce.

Suzanne describes herself and her husband as “a couple of misplaced Midwesterners, who enjoy Connecticut’s New England feel and coastal shoreline.”  The Thompsons moved to Old Lyme in 2002 and have two daughters, who both attend Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.

Looking into the APC Driving area, one can see the teaching one on the left and the advanced skills program area at the rear.

 
APC Driving is licensed by the State of Connecticut to teach the eight-hour Teen Drug and Alcohol and 30-hour Full Course classroom sessions for 16-17 year-olds, including the mandatory two-hour Parent Class, as well as classes for 18-year-olds and adults seeking their Connecticut Driver’s License.  These include behind-the-wheel training with a certified APC Driving instructor in an APC car. 
 
The school also offers specialized training for new and licensed drivers to prepare them to drive on today’s roads.  Students can master their parallel and other parking challenges in PARK IT, hone their big-city driving skills in RUSH HOUR, or sign up for additional Individual Driving Hours.  APC Driving also offers PRIMETIME for mature or senior drivers and in-car training for anyone who needs help understanding all of the technologies in today’s cars. The AUTO SELECT program helps people choose and purchase their vehicle.
 
Courses and training are described on APC Driving’s website, www.apcdriving.com, where parents and students can see the class schedule and register online.  Classes are held Monday through Friday and the school offers flexible hours for in-car instruction.  APC Driving is open Monday through Friday10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call for an appointment. 
 
APC Driving is a subsidiary of Accelerated Performance Coaching, LLC.
Share

Jeannine Lewis Sworn In as Judge of Probate for Saybrook District

Atty. Jeannine Lewis is sworn in as Judge of Probate for Saybrook Probate District by Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna.

On Monday, July 23, Essex Attorney Jeannine Lewis was sworn in as the next judge of probate for the Saybrook Probate District in a ceremony held on the town green in Old Saybrook. The swearing-in was performed by Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl P. Fortuna, Jr.

Attorney Lewis was elected in November to fill the remaining term of Hon. Terrence B. Lomme, who retired the same week after eight years in service to the district. The Saybrook Probate District encompasses the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Killingworth, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Attorney Lewis has focused her legal career on the types of cases typically handled by the probate court. She is particularly concerned with ensuring that the rights of the most vulnerable individuals who appear before the court are respected and upheld including the rights of the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, and minor children. She has been actively involved in educating other attorneys regarding elder law and estate planning as immediate past chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Elder Law Section Continuing Legal Education Committee. 

In addition, she is a contributing author of the manual used online by Connecticut’s Probate Court Administration to help train attorneys on how to properly represent clients in probate court. As a result of these accomplishments she was appointed to the Probate Court Administration’s Conservatorship Guidelines Committee, which developed standards of practice for Connecticut conservators that were published on July 1 of this year.

As a 17-year-resident of Essex, Lewis is also an active community member. She is a board member for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries and has been a meal site server for the organization for more than 10 years. In addition she is a community lecturer on end-of-life issues and the pro bono attorney for Sister Cities Essex Haiti.

Judge Lewis is running unopposed in the upcoming November election for a full four-year term as probate judge for the Saybrook Probate District.

For more information about Lewis and her qualifications, visit www.lewisforprobate.com.

Share

Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Hosts Classic Car Show During Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival, July 28

This year’s Classic Car Show sponsored by the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions will be held on the grounds of the Bee and Thistle Inn on Saturday, July 28.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Classic Car Show will be held on Saturday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the grounds of the Bee & Thistle Inn, Lyme St, Old Lyme, next to the Florence Griswold Museum, between I-95 Exits 70 and 71.

There will be 14 classes shown as well as a ‘People’s Choice’ award.

Admission is $5 for spectators and $10 for show car registration (includes admission for driver and one passenger).  

The Lions will serve their usual fare, including bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and fries.  All proceeds benefit Lions charities.

To pre-register your car for the event, visit the Car Show Registration at this link. Your $10 registration fee is not due til the day of the show.

The Car Show is now part of the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival, where you will find art exhibitions, music and dance, family fun, and wonderful artisan cheeses and breads.

Directions: From the north, take I-95, exit 71, right onto Four Mile River Road, left onto Route 1 South, which becomes Lyme Street.  You will find the Bee & Thistle Inn on your right. From the south, take I-95, exit 70, go left onto Route 156, take a right onto Halls Road, then a left onto Lyme Street (Route 1, Boston Post Road). the Bee & Thistle Inn will be on your left.

Rain Date: Sunday, July 29.
 
Car owners: arrive by 9 a.m. Flea Market vendors: set up before 9 a.m. 

Share

Healthy Food, Farming is Focus of Tomorrow’s Child & Family’s ‘Farm to Fork’ Benefit Event


Traditional plowing methods are used at New Mercies Farm where the June 16 ‘Farm to Fork’ event will be held.

AREAWIDE — How much do you know about the food you eat?  Do you know where it was grown, or how was it planted, cultivated, and harvested? Were any harmful chemicals used? How healthy was the soil it grew in? Or the water that nourished it?

Farm to Fork: The Sustainable Life is a day spent at a local, family-owned farm learning about sustainable farming, organic practices, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and how all of this works together to provide healthy, clean, and locally grown food to our families, restaurants, schools, markets, and shops. It takes place on Saturday, June 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Mercies Farm in Lyme.

Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn, the owner/operators of New Mercies Farm and the farmers at Upper Pond Farm in Old Lyme, are opening New Mercies Farm to us for this one-of-a-kind experience. Baylee and Quinn are both educated farmers, with degrees in biology, education, and sustainable food systems, and apply that knowledge to their farming practices. But farming is more than a job for them; it’s a way of life.

Drown was raised on a dairy farm in Michigan; and Quinn, a Lyme native, grew up surrounded by farmland. Their goal is to feed their community with healthy, beautiful, and tasty produce and to do this in the most ecologically sustainable way. Baylee and Quinn will share with us how they do this and why, while they discuss such topics as the importance of soil health, natural ways to fight pests, how to combat erosion, and more.

Farm to Fork attendees will tour the farm fields and hoop houses where produce is growing at various stages of development. You’ll see the farm in action — and may even get your hands dirty! Presentations on CSAs, displays on nutrition and organic foods, and planting demonstrations will offer valuable information that you can take with you to use in your own garden or to inform the food choices you make and improve the quality of the food your family consumes.
And for a true “farm to table” experience, attendees at Farm to Fork will also enjoy (included with their ticket) a delicious boxed lunch, creatively catered by Coffee’s Country Market of Old Lyme, which will incorporate ingredients grown at this very farm.
Farm to Fork: The Sustainable Life takes place on Saturday, June 16, from 11am to 3pm, rain or shine.  Advance tickets for Farm to Fork are $45, which includes tours, talks, presentations, and a boxed lunch. 
NOTE: Tickets are limited to 200, and advance purchases are strongly encouraged. Ticket availability cannot be guaranteed on June 16. (Tickets purchased on June 16, IF AVAILABLE, will be priced at $50. Tickets are available now online by visiting http://www.childandfamilyagency.org/event/farmtofork/ and clicking on the Eventbrite link; or download an order form and send a check (made out to Child & Family Agency) to P.O. Box 324, Old Lyme, CT 06371.

Questions?  Email cfa.lolauxiliary@gmail.com.  Follow us on facebook at www.facebook.com/events/2034637750188871/.

 

Proceeds from Farm to Fork will benefit the programs and projects of Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to nurture children and families to develop their strengths through service, partnership, and advocacy. With offices in New London, Essex, and Groton, and a professional staff of 170, Child & Family Agency is the largest nonprofit children’s service provider in southeastern Connecticut.
Share

Letter to the Editor: State Rep., Now State Senate Candidate, Ziobron Reviews Recent Activities

To the Editor:

The 2018 legislative session is now behind us. A bipartisan budget was passed that reflects the difficult realities facing Connecticut. This budget begins to address our future in a more realistic and balanced
fashion. We need to stay this course, now more than ever.

This was my sixth legislative session. I’m hopeful that we will continue to bring forward fiscally conservative budget-balancing efforts in the next session and beyond. We cannot revert to the business as usual mindset that has plagued Hartford for decades.  As we transition from spring to summer, my attention is naturally
shifting to my campaign to serve the 12 towns of the 33rd District.

Here’s a recap of recent activities:

Over the last few weeks, I made a point to meet with individuals and businesses in the southern portion of the district, including Essex, Clinton, Westbrook and Old Saybrook. In addition, I have also met with voters at budget referendums in East Hampton, Old Saybrook, Clinton and Portland. The expressed voter concerns — which I share —center on controlling the cost of living and making our state more competitive. I was pleased to hear strong support for my work towards balancing our state budget, reducing wasteful spending and fighting against unnecessary tax increases.

I also visited with the great folks at Petzold’s Marine Center in Portland and joined State Rep. Christie Carpino during office hours at Quarry Ridge Golf Course. Key topics included cutting government red tape and concern about the effort to place tolls on our state highways. I rounded out this tour by highlighting the Airline Trail system with events in Colchester and East Hampton.

For more campaign information please visit my campaign website melissaziobron.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,
State Representative 34th District
East Haddam, East Hampton, Colchester.

Share

Ziobron Endorsed Unanimously by Republicans as Candidate for 33rd State Senate District

AREAWIDE — State Representative Melissa Ziobron (R-34) was the unanimous choice for more than 40 Republican delegates at a nominating convention. Delegates from 12 towns gathered at East Haddam’s Old Town Hall on May 14 and enthusiastically endorsed Ziobron for the position.

Nominating Ziobron was current State Senator Art Linares, Jr. (R-33) of Westbrook.

“Melissa has been an incredibly effective representative, both in Hartford and in her district; I am honored to place her name into nomination,” said Linares.

Linda Grzeika of Colchester seconded Linares’s motion, stating that she resides in a part of Colchester not located in Ziobron’s district.

“I’m thrilled that she will finally represent all of Colchester as our state senator,” said Grzeika.

In her acceptance speech, Representative Ziobron promised that she would be a tireless campaigner.

“All of you are going to see a lot of me over the next seven months,” stated Ziobron. “I love the Connecticut River Valley and the shoreline and I can’t wait to be your voice in Hartford.”

Ziobron currently represents the towns of Colchester, East Haddam, and East Hampton. She is currently serving her third, two-year term in the State Legislature.

Linares was first elected in 2010; he is seeking the Republican nomination for state treasurer.

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

Share

Major Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition on View in Old Lyme

Looking across Gilbert Boro’s Sculpture Grounds towards his own Studio 80, the sculptures shown in the photo are all by Boro himself.

OLD LYME — Gilbert Boro, owner and curator of Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, will host Summer Sculpture Showcase 2018: An Exhibition of Unique Landscape Sculptures on his property in the center of this historic town. Boro’s towering studio is also on the beautiful four-and-a-half acre landscaped grounds, as well as his home.

Featuring 20 works by both established, nationally renowned sculptors, as well as fresh new faces, the summer-long show opens June 4. A meet-the-artist opening reception is set for Saturday, June 9 from 5 to 7 p.m., which will feature a live jazz band and a performance by David Dorfman Dance. There is no charge for admission and all are welcome.

Competition to exhibit was keen, with 120 submissions from around the country. Entries were evaluated for concept, execution, creative process, artistry, and how it would fit in the landscape. Boro, a nationally acclaimed sculptor in his own right, hosts this annual show to provide a venue for both young and mid-career sculptors to showcase their work to a diverse audience.

Boro also holds a firm conviction that art and viewer should be interactive. His Sculpture Grounds are an environment where viewers are not only permitted – but encouraged – to touch sculptures. “I really think that three-dimensional art should be handled, touched, pushed, and experienced in three dimensions,” he says. “It’s the only way you can understand it.”

The exhibitors accepted for the Summer Sculpture Showcase embrace this concept. Acclaimed exhibitor artists from Connecticut, the northeast region, and around the country are represented in the show.

‘Lustration’ by Sarah Haviland is one of the features works in Summer Sculpture Showcase 2018.

New York sculptor Sarah Haviland, who received a Fulbright Award to study in Taiwan this fall, had two pieces selected: Lustration, a contemplative female figure of aqua resin and mirrors, and Seraphim Mirror, a butterfly-shaped wall hanging created with galvanized mesh, resin, and a mirror. Haviland’s abstract work explores female identity and is exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Aether by Andreas von Huene is on display at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.

Miguel Castillo Hernao, a native of Colombia, evolved to sculpting after university studies in literature and philosophy. Hernao explores geometry, color and repetitive forms in his works composed of stone, wood, metal and plexiglass. His seven-foot tall entry, Composition #28, is formed of painted riveted aluminum.

Chicago artist Ruth Aizuss Migdal’s bold and striking Radiate, standing more than eight feet tall, also plays with female forms and is composed of patinated bronze gilded with gold leaf.

Connecticut-based artists include Deborah Hornbake, whose Running Man is a fusion of wood, pipe, copper tubing, wire and stones; Eric Camiel, who has works in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and The Library of Congress, and whose film work has received numerous Emmy and Academy Award nominations, will have his aluminum sculpture, Sail Dream, on display; and Denis Folz’s monumental 11- foot steel sculpture, Feathered Resting Spot.

Boro is committed to supporting and exhibiting promising new artists. This year he presents Shelli Weiler as the featured indoor artist, with her photography exhibit titled Intimate Exchange. Weiler, a native of Scarsdale, NY, is studying photography at Wesleyan University in Middletown. Her photography explores the deep hidden character of people through ground-breaking and provocative poses and settings. Boro is presenting her work in the small, freestanding ESB Gallery, created in honor of his late wife, Emily.

Situated halfway between Boston and New York, Summer Sculpture Showcase 2018 is set on Boro’s four-and-a-half acre estate in the heart of Old Lyme’s historic village. In addition to special exhibits, the permanent display consists of approximately 100 works strategically placed around the park-like grounds.

Now in its 14th year, the Sculpture Grounds host more than 5,000 visitors a year. Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic to the cafe. The grounds are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, year-round, admission is free, and touching the sculptures is encouraged.

The show runs through Oct. 26 and is curated by Gilbert Boro, and Exhibitions Coordinator and photographer, Christina Goldberg.

For more information about Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds, visit www.sculpturegrounds.com. The David Dorfman Dance group performs and holds workshops around the country and will be in residence at Conn College in New London June 6-11.

Share

Family Wellness: New Beginnings

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth.  Every year in New England nature reminds us of this.  Crocuses emerge, the landscape turns from brown to green and many animals have their babies: foxes, otters and black bears, just to name a few. 

I look fondly back on my grandmother’s stories about lambing season in Ireland.  Human babies are born year round, of course, but my thoughts went this month from lambs to human babies. 

Not only is birth the start of a new life but it is the start of a new (or newly reconfigured) family.  It is often a time of unimaginable joy, but it is also a time of stress.  Stress is defined as, “… bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.”

Few could argue that a new baby alters an existent equilibrium in ways that are delightful and challenging at the same time.  A new member (in this case tiny and cute) affects the family identity in that constellation in a whole array of ways: emotionally, physically, socially and economically.  All the resources, whether few or many, need to be allocated differently.

Just as adolescence has been described as the transition from childhood to adulthood, the transition to motherhood has been called “matrescence” by anthropologists — for more information, visit this link.  A similar term for the transition to fatherhood does not exist as far as I know, though it has received attention in both academic and popular circles and the media, with online forums such as fathersforum.com. Similarly some attention has been given to the transition to grandparenthood and “older-sibling-hood.”  (I am waiting for an especially gifted and precocious 3-year-old to blog about the challenges of losing attention to a tiny usurper in the house.)

Societies and cultures around the world have different constructs that help or hinder the development of a new family.  These constructs range from policies (paid parental leave) to the practical matters (village and neighborhood folks bringing food to the new family). 

Looking at and understanding how we can support families in transition at this stage of the family life cycle and the stressors that they face (stress being a challenge to equilibrium, not positive or negative) can only be a good thing.

Betsy Groth

Betsy Groth is an APRN, PMHS – BC and a pediatric nurse practitioner with advanced certification in pediatric mental health.

She is a counselor, mental health educator and parent coach in Old Lyme and writes a monthly column for us on ‘Family Wellness.’

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

Share

Memorial Day Parades Planned Throughout Local Area, Monday

Memorial Day parades will be held at the following locations and times:

Chester:

The Annual Memorial Day Parade and Exercises in Chester is planned for Monday, May 28, at 9 a.m. with Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Watrous serving as Parade Marshal.
All service people, interested groups and residents are invited to participate. Your participation in the traditional Memorial Day Parade is encouraged and welcomed.
The formation of units will start at 8:30 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Parish Center on Middlesex Avenue. Parking will be on the right side of the parking lot and parade formation will be on the left. Upon arrival, Marchers will check in with Bruce Watrous for parade positioning.
Support the Town’s military members – past and present – and take part in making this event a special day of remembrance.

Essex:

The Essex Memorial Day Parade will commence on Memorial Day, May 28, at 9 a.m. from the Foot of Main, Essex Village. This year’s Grand Marshal will be Walt Budney.

The parade will follow a three-mile route as it makes the following stops to pay respects: Riverview Cemetery, First Baptist Church, Town Hall, Centerbrook Cemetery, and the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall. There will be a short ceremony at Essex Veterans Memorial Hall at the conclusion of the parade (aprox. 11:15am) followed by complimentary food items and an Open House.

If weather precludes a parade, ceremonies will be held at Essex Town Hall at 9:30 a.m. and Essex Veterans Memorial Hall at 11am followed by complimentary food items and an Open House. All interested marching parties or those that need transportation please contact Alex Breen 609.805.7146.

Old Saybrook:

Dockside naval ceremony with a rifle salute at the Saybrook Point Pavilion, 155 College Street, at 9 a.m. Monday, May 28, followed by a wreath laying ceremony on the Connecticut River. 

Memorial Day Parade will kick off at Elm Street at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28, travel across Rte. 1 to Main Street, and proceed to the Veterans Memorial Monuments on the Town Green for the memorial program.

Westbrook:

Memorial Day Parade steps off at the Riggio Building by the Town Green at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28. In case of rain, the parade route will be shorter, but will not be cancelled.

Share

Norm Needleman Wins Democratic Nomination for 33rd District Sate Senate Seat

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman.

AREAWIDE — Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman has been nominated as the Democratic Party State Senate candidate for the 33rd District. 

Delegates from Democratic Town Committees in the 12 towns comprising the 33rd District met on Monday, May 21, at the Gelston House in East Haddam to select a candidate. Needleman was nominated by acclimation on the first ballot. 

Needleman accepted the nomination, and defined his approach to addressing issues facing towns in the district: “We need a state senator who has the temperament, the credibility, and the experience to rise above partisan bickering and generate the ideas that solve problems. Over the years, I have fostered consensus-building that gets things get done in the real world. Job creation, balanced budgets, low taxes, treating people fairly and infrastructure improvements define my accomplishments as an elected official.”

He continued: “I’m not here to advance my political career, or to lay the groundwork for higher office. I can’t be bought by any organization or special interest. I will be a state senator driven by the desire to do the right thing for the people and towns in our district, and I will do the hard work necessary to address the deep and abiding problems in our state.”

In placing Needleman’s name for nomination, Michelle Gilman, a resident of Colchester, said: “I have learned a lot about Norm in the years we have collaborated on the issues facing our towns’ families. I know that he will be the advocate and partner we so badly need in the state senate. I know that he will fight for investments in education and investments in our communities. I know that he will make certain that the towns in our district get their fair share from Hartford. And just as important, I know he will lead across party lines to address the challenges facing our state.”

Needleman’s nomination was seconded by two prominent Democrats from the district: Emily Bjornberg, 2014 nominee for the 33rd State Senate Seat, and Stacia Libby, four-term Selectman in Essex.

commented, “When no one is watching, Norm is a quiet friend to myriad marginalized folks within his community. He quietly provides meals and housing. He quietly provides jobs and friendship. He quietly, yet unapologetically, fights for the humanity of his fellow man. He is a pillar of his community without being a boast and he is a successful driver of the local economy without being a brag.”

Libby, who has worked as an elected official alongside Needleman for eight years, noted, “What I have learned about Norm pales when compared to what I’ve learned from Norm. He taught me through his actions what it means to be a true leader. Norm is compassionate, intelligent and diplomatic. He listens. He considers all sides and viewpoints. Then he seeks solutions that are fair, balanced and in the best interest of our community.”

Needleman has 20 years of public service experience in Essex, including four terms as First Selectman. During his tenure as First Selectman, he led economic development initiatives that made Essex home to over 700 businesses. He balanced budgets and made infrastructure improvements while maintaining one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing company employing 150 people, located in Essex. His two sons co-manage the company with him.  He lives in Essex with his partner, Jacqueline Hubbard, Executive Director of the Ivoryton Playhouse.

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

For further information, contact Campaign Manager Ed Tedeschi at et@edted.com or (917) 734-9460.

Share

Pugliese Accepts Democratic Nomination for 23rd District, Will Challenge Carney in November Election

Last Wednesday, delegates from the 23rd District unanimously nominated Matt Pugliese (fourth from right) as the Democratic candidate for the 23rd State House District. Photo by Janis Esty.

OLD SAYBROOK — On Wednesday, May 16, at a convention held in Old Saybrook at the Vicky Duffy Pavilion, Matt Pugliese accepted the Democratic nomination to represent the 23rd House District in the upcoming November election. The District includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and the southern portion of Westbrook.

Matt Pugliese

Pugliese, a non-profit arts executive, announced his candidacy in early March. He is challenging incumbent Devin Carney-R, who is running for a third term.

He was formally nominated by Karen Brodeur, a member of the Old Saybrook Board of Education.  In her remarks, Brodeur said, “Matt has experience as a business leader, as a community leader, as a civic volunteer, and as a caring husband and father. Matt is focused, disciplined, hard-worker.  He is an empathetic listener.  Matt cares about his family and he cares about his community.”

In accepting the nomination, Pugliese said, “I’m a Democrat. I’ve always believed that the Democratic party valued everyone, especially those didn’t have a voice. I will represent everyone in our community. I believe in communication, in compromise and consensus building. That is the style of leadership and the values I promise to bring to Hartford.”

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd)

Pugliese, the Executive Producer and Managing Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, serves as the Chair of Old Saybrook’s Economic Development Commission.  He holds his BA in Theatre and his Masters in Public Administration, both from UConn.

Pugliese’s formal nomination drew praise and remarks from others in attendance including Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal and Mary Stone from Lyme, who was herself a candidate for the 23rd District in 2014. The delegates in attendance unanimously voted to select Pugliese as the candidate.

Pugliese, who is participating in the public funding option in the Citizen’s Election Program, announced that he had raised the required funds to qualify.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Share

Still Time to Register for Tomorrow’s ‘Tour de Lyme’ Charity Cycling Event

Ready to ride!

Join the sixth annual Tour de Lyme on Sunday, May 20.  For competitive riders, this is a chance to warm up for the cycling season ahead. For others, it provides a wonderful occasion to pedal through Lyme and enjoy the surrounding countryside.  If you are a mountain biker, this is an opportunity to ride through private lands open only for this event.

Everyone — riders, sponsors, and volunteers — will enjoy a fabulous post-ride picnic at Ashlawn Farm with popular food trucks, local vendors and live music.  This year there will be physical therapists to help with any injuries, the ever-popular massage therapists to loosen tight muscles, and a plant sale to stock up on herbs for the season ahead.

For complete information and online registration, visit www.tourdelyme.org

And away they go …

It’s not a race but a carefully planned series of rides designed to suit every level of skill and endurance. There are four road rides of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty:

  • The CHALLENGE — the name says it all — is 60 miles, a real workout
  • The CLASSIC — shorter at 25 miles, but still a challenge
  • The VALLEY Rides — pleasant, easier rides with fewer hills, 26 miles or 35 miles
  • The FAMILY at just 8 miles designed for riding with children. 

There are also two mountain bike options; the RIDER’S TEST — a 26.5 mile ride for serious enthusiasts and a shorter, less challenging option.

The Tour de Lyme is hosted by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust.  Since 1966, the Lyme Land Trust has been conserving the unique and historic landscapes of Lyme, Conn. During those years, this rural community has shown that a small population can have a giant impact and protect almost 3000 acres of woodlands, working farm fields, and bird-filled marshes. The result is an outdoor paradise, open to all. 

Funds raised at this event will create added opportunities for public enjoyment of the preserves in Lyme while protecting and maintaining land, which has already been conserved for generations to come. 

The Lyme Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization — registration and donations are tax deductible.

For more information, contact Kristina White at kristina.white@lymelandtrust.org or 860-434-5051

Share

‘Taking Great Photos With Your Smartphone’ is Topic at Tomorrow’s CT Valley Camera Club Meeting

This photo of palm trees was taken by Peter Glass on a smart phone. Glass is the speaker Monday evening at the CT Valley Camera Club.

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at the Monday, May 7, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the acclaimed professional photographer Peter Glass, who will give a presentation titled, “Taking Great Photos with Your Smartphone.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme. All are welcome. There is no admission charge.

The quality of smartphone cameras has improved substantially over recent years and their capabilities now extend far beyond what many people use them for currently. In many situations, they work well as valuable stand-ins for bigger, more cumbersome traditional cameras. It therefore is no longer necessary to drag around a big camera for fear of missing that great picture opportunity. A good quality smartphone camera can work almost as well.

In this presentation, Glass will give comprehensive guidance on how to set up and use the camera on your smartphone including which photography apps to install, how to use the camera controls, useful accessories to purchase and helpful smartphone photography techniques.

Glass has been a professional photographer for more than 25 years. He specializes in stock, corporate and editorial photography, with his photos appearing regularly in magazines, advertising brochures, and on book covers. He offers photography classes at local colleges, towns, art associations, libraries, and through his MeetUp group, the Connecticut Photography Workshops (www.meetup.com/Connecticut-Photography-Workshops). Glass holds a Master of Arts degree in Film and Television Production from the University of Texas. His current work can be viewed at www.peterglass.comand www.stockpeterglass.com.

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

For more information, visit the club’s website at this link.

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

Share

Free Day For All at FloGris Today

The Florence Griswold Museum’s Gallery Garden will be in full bloom during “Free Day” on Sunday.

The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme presents its annual Community Free Day on Sunday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Old Lyme. The event offers free admission to the Museum’s 13-acre campus, and includes family friendly activities and a special appearance by Brian Miller Magic at noon and 2:00pm.

Brian Miller will perform at the FloGris on Sunday.

“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 Miss Florence 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 are two exhibitions. Pen to Paper: Artists’ Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art and PS: Letters from the Lyme Art Colony. The exhibitions reveal the beauty and intimacy of the craft of letter writing. Examples of the artist’s work hang beside selected letters.

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 6, 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.

Families can pick up the keepsake publication, My Sticker Book Guide to the Florence Griswold Museum. The beautifully illustrated booklet tells the story of Miss Florence and her artist friends. Each time a child visits the Museum, they earn a sticker to complete one of the booklet illustrations. Those who collect all six stickers receive a gift.

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 6, at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

From 11am- 4pm, drop in at the Museum’s Education Center for a quick painting lesson before heading down to the river or out in the garden for an afternoon of painting. All materials included. Adventurers of all ages can learn more about nature through a selection of Explorer Kits. All materials included.

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. The award-winning Café Flo will be open for lunch.

Artists and adventurers of all ages can enjoy painting outside in the gardens and learning more about nature through a selection of Explorer Kits. All materials included.

 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. 

Be one of the first to pick up the newest keepsake publication, My Sticker Book Guide to the Florence Griswold Museum. The beautifully illustrated booklet tells the story of Miss Florence and her artist friends. Each time a child visits the Museum, they earn a sticker to complete one of the booklet illustrations. Those who collect all six stickers receive a gift.

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.

Editor’s Note: The recipient of a Trip Advisor 2016 Certificate of Excellence, the Florence Griswold Museum has been called a “Giverny in Connecticut” by the Wall Street Journal, and a “must-see” by the Boston Globe. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, the Museum features a gallery for changing art exhibitions, education and landscape centers, a restored artist’s studio, thirteen acres along the Lieutenant River, and extensive gardens. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut. Visit FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for more information.

Share

Tr-Town Forum Offers Democratic Candidates Opportunity to State Positions, Take Questions

Ned Lamont, a Democratic candidate for Connecticut Governor, addresses the audience at Monday evening’s forum in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  All photos by M.J. Nosal.

Around 100 residents of Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook turned out at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Monday night for a Democratic Candidate Forum arranged by the Democratic Town Committees of the three area municipalities.  Local residents heard from and were able to ask questions directly of: Ned Lamont, candidate for governor (pictured above);

Old Lyme Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium to introduce Denise Merrill.

Denise Merrill, incumbent candidate for secretary of the state;

Shawn Wooden is one of the candidates running for State Treasurer — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) is another.

Shawn Wooden, candidate for state treasurer;

Matt Pugliese will challenge State Rep. Devin Carney (R- 23rd) in the November election.

Matthew Pugliese, candidate for state representative in the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook;

Martha Marx.

Martha Marx, candidate for state senator in the 20th District, and

Lyme Selectman John Kiker (left) listens to Essex First Selectman and candidate for State Senator (20th District) Norm Needleman speak.

Norm Needleman, candidate for state senator in the 33rd District.

The Tri-Town Democratic Town Committees’ event started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted two and a half hours.

Share

Tri-Town DTC’s Host Democrat Candidate Forum Tonight in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — The Tri-Town Democratic Town Committees (DTCs) – the DTCs of Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook – have announced that they will present a Democratic Candidate Forum on Monday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

The event is free and open to the public; all registered Democrats from the three towns are encouraged to attend.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the forum will start at 6:30 p.m.

The Tri-Town DTCs have invited a slate of candidates that they believe to be of greatest interest to the three area communities, DTCs and local delegates. At the forum, the candidates will present brief statements on their platforms and then take questions from DTC delegates.

The candidates invited to attend include:

Candidate for U.S. Senate:
Chris Murphy

Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives:
Joe Courtney

Candidates for Governor:
Susan Bysiewicz
Sean Connolly
Jonathan Harris – TENTATIVELY CONFIRMED
Ned Lamont – TENTATIVELY CONFIRMED

Candidate for CT Secretary of State:
Denise Merrill – CONFIRMED

Candidates for State Treasurer:
Dita Bhargava
Shawn Wooden – CONFIRMED

Candidates for State Attorney General:
Paul Doyle
Claire Kindall – CONFIRMED
Christopher Mattei – TENTATIVELY CONFIRMED
William Tong – TENTATIVELY CONFIRMED

Candidate for State Comptroller:
Kevin Lembo

Candidate for State Representative:
Matthew Pugliese – CONFIRMED

Candidates for State Senator:
Martha Marx – CONFIRMED
Norm Needleman – CONFIRMED

The Tri-Town DTCs hope each candidate who has been invited to attend will be able to do so. The group will provide updates on who is confirmed as attending on the Facebook pages of the Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook DTCs.

Share

Reynolds’ Subaru Donates $30,000 to Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center

Pictured above at the check donation ceremony are (from left to right) Joe Altavilla, District Sales Manager, Subaru of New England; Devin Carney, Connecticut State Representative (R-23rd); Kathryn Wayland, Reynolds’ Subaru; Hayden Reynolds, Reynolds’ Subaru; Laura Martino, Middlesex Hospital; Melissa Ziobron, Connecticut State Representative (R-34th); and Justin Drew, Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center.

 

WESTBROOK — Reynolds’ Subaru in Lyme has donated $30,000 to Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center’s new Westbrook location. The generous donation will ensure that cancer patients have access to the best possible treatments and care team.

Reynolds’ donation was made following the conclusion of Subaru of America Inc.’s Share the Love campaign. Reynolds’ Subaru and the Reynolds’ family, however, have been supportive of Middlesex Hospital for many years.

“As a local business, we feel it is important to give back to our community,” says Hayden Reynolds. “We believe that having medical care on the shoreline makes it easier for our customers, neighbors and family members to get the care they need. The Cancer Center is a great addition to what Middlesex already offers on the shoreline, and we are so pleased to help the Hospital’s efforts.”

Justin Drew, director of the Cancer Center, is very grateful for the support. “We are humbled by the generosity of Reynolds’ Subaru,” he says. “Their support means that Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center patients can access life-saving cancer treatment closer to home, and we thank them for sharing their love with us.”

Share

Con Brio Choral Society Presents “Mass for Troubled Times” Tomorrow in Old Lyme

Soprano Louise Fauteux

AREAWIDE — In times of angst and uncertainty, nothing helps heal the soul like the experience of glorious uplifting choral music performed live.

So for those in search of a respite from the world of today and a healing moment, come hear Franz Joseph Haydn’s response to the trials of his era, the Lord Nelson Mass also called a Mass for Troubled Times, performed by the 70 voices of the Con Brio Choral Society.

Haydn’s chief biographer, H.C. Robbins Landon, has written that this mass “is arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition.”

The mass calls for four soloists and this concert features four of the best. Con Brio welcomes for the first time soprano Louise Fauteux, and returning favorites of Con Brio audiences, Clea Huston, Contralto; Terrence Fay, Tenor; and Christopher Grundy, Baritone – performing with the Con Brio Festival Orchestra under the baton of Dr. Stephen Bruce.

The concert is on Sunday, April 15, at 4 p.m., at Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Lane, Old Lyme, CT.

Soprano Louise Fauteux has performed in a solo role in Peer Gynt with the New York Philharmonic and actor John de Lancie, on a tour in Venice with DeCapo Opera and with the Fairfield County Chorale. The Hartford Courant described her performance in Un Ballo in Maschera with Connecticut Concert Opera as a “pert, boyish Oscar” with “clarion tone in her two showpiece arias and a soaring top in the great Act I ensemble.”

Contralto Clea Huston

Contralto Clea Huston has a unique and powerful voice, “with formidable virtuosity over a wide range” (The Boston Globe) and “her mezzo-soprano voice is nothing less than spectacular in its power, agility and beauty” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Ms. Huston enjoys both the concert and operatic stage where she has performed across the country and internationally. Highlights of her solo symphonic engagements include a Wagner program with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Verdi’s Requiem with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra; a few of her many opera roles include the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Jo in Little Women and La Principessa in Suor Angelica.

Lauded as a “musical polymath” by the New London Day, Tenor Terrence Fay is enjoying a burgeoning career as a tenor soloist and an active choral artist while also serving as principal trombonist of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theater of Connecticut, and assistant principal trombonist of the New Haven Symphony. As tenor soloist, he has performed with the Eastern Connecticut and New Haven Symphony Orchestras, the Greater Middletown Chorale and Con Brio.

Tenor Christopher Grundy

Baritone Christopher Grundy has performed as a soloist throughout North America and Europe in opera, oratorio and recital. In the title role of Don Giovanni a reviewer said he “made an impact in the part, vocally and dramatically.” As the baritone soloist in Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, he “brought eloquence and musicality to the performance.” Connecticut soloist appearances include with the Stamford Chorale, Fairfield County Chorale, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Orchestra New England and Con Brio.

The concert’s second-half will open with C. Hubert H. Parry’s grand anthem I Was Glad, written for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 and performed at coronations and royal weddings ever since. The next two pieces honor the host countries for Con Brio’s upcoming European tour: a Slovenian piece, Handl’s Ascendit Deus, long a standard in Renaissance choral literature, and a fun Croatian nonsense song, Terezinka.

As in every Con Brio concert, two eight-part pieces for double choir, Regina Coeli Laetare by Victoria and Dona Nobis Pacem by Rheinberger, will be performed in the round, with singers arrayed all around the Sanctuary of Christ the King church.

Rounding out the program will be Unclouded Day arranged by Shawn Kirchner, Mack Wilberg’s arrangement of Homeward Bound, Somewhere from Bernstein’s West Side Story, and two American pieces, one performed by the Ladies of Con Brio – Rosephanye Powell’s Still I Rise, and by the Gentlemen of Con Brio, Coney Island Baby/We All Fall.

For the rousing ending to the program, the Con Brio chorus, the four soloists and the Con Brio Festival Orchestra will perform the twelve-part Grand Finale from Act III of Verdi’s opera Falstaff.

Tickets for the performance are $30 each, $15 for students. Purchase them in advance online at www.conbrio.org or call 860-526-5399.

Share

Needleman Announces Support For Initiatives To Promote Tourism

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, who is also a candidate for the 33rd District State Senate seat.

ESSEX — Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman and candidate for the State Senate for the 33rd District, today announced 3his support for new initiatives to promote tourism in Connecticut.

Needleman said: “The most recent data shows that tourism delivers $14.7 billion in annual revenue to the state, and supports 120,000 sector jobs. Every dollar invested in promoting tourism returns three dollars in revenue.

“That’s why I support the initiatives developed by The Connecticut Tourism Coalition. The proposed initiatives are common sense ideas that will enhance our tourism presence, which is key to building revenue:

  1. Create of a 15 member volunteer Tourism Advisory Committee, whose role will be to recommend strategies to the Office of Tourism for maximizing use of tourism funds.
  2. Appoint a Director of Tourism, a new position reporting directly to the governor
  3. Commit 3 percent of all taxable lodging revenue as a sustainable source of tourism funding
  4. Reopen visitor centers, using public or private funds

Needleman continued: “Connecticut is blessed with a wealth of historical, entertainment, lodging and recreation options. It makes sense for us to revitalize and sustain support for tourism. That investment will yield significant financial returns, and make our state more competitive with states that border us.”

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

Share

Bill to Study State Employee Compensation Moves to Senate

State Senator Art Linares

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares announced that the legislature’s Appropriations Committee has approved a bill he requested to study the long-term financial impact of state employees’ and elected officials’ pay and benefit compensation on the state. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

“Connecticut has been in a state of fiscal crisis for the last several years with budget deficit after budget deficit. This is despite the two largest tax increases in the state’s history,” Sen. Linares said. “We have to look at the state’s fixed costs and why they have gotten so far out of control.”

Sen. Linares said a review of state employee and elected officials compensation could examine ways to save money when the current state employee contract ends in 2027.

“I believe one area that should be considered is capping pension payout at $100,000 a year. The number of retirees receiving pension payments in excess of $100,000 has been growing at an unsustainable rate,” he said. “What do we tell the rank-and-file employees receiving smaller pensions when the pension fund is drained by retirees receiving six-figure payments? We have to make sure the pension plan stays solvent for all retirees.”

Currently, more than 1,400 retirees collect annual pensions in excess of $100,000, Sen. Linares said. The highest paid retiree received more than $300,000 a year.

“Retirement payouts like this were unheard of in the private sector even before most businesses moved away from pensions. Now employees and employers contribute to 401K-type plans,” he said. “We also have to remember that pensions are not the only form of retirement income state retirees receive. They contributed to and can collect Social Security.”

Sen. Linares said he also believes the lowering the expected return on investment in the fund from 8percent to 6 percent should be considered. The 10-year return for the 41 largest state pension funds was 6.59 percent.

“State employees, like their private sector counterparts, work hard to earn the paychecks they receive. We need to ensure that each of them receives the retirement funding they earn, by making sure the pension fund does not run dry due to the excessive pensions of a few,” he said. “I believe a comprehensive review of benefits that includes a $100,000 cap on pensions after 2027 will do that.”

Sen. Linares represents the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Share

SECWAC Hosts Presentation Tomorrow on ‘Northeast Asia at the Crossroads?’

Prof. Alexis Dudden, PhD

AREAWIDE — On Thursday, April 12, the Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council presents Professor of History at the University of Connecticut Alexis Dudden, PhD, and who will speak on Northeast Asia at the Crossroads?  

A reception starts at 5:30 p.m.in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and the presentation begins at 6 p.m.

Dudden’s topic will consider today’s fluid and complex situation in Northeast Asia with a special emphasis on Korea.

Following the presentation, join the speaker, guests, and fellow members for a meal at Old Lyme Country Club. The cost is $35 per person.

Call 860-912-5718 or email info@secwac.org to make your reservation (vegetarian option available if reserved in advance). Checks payable to SECWAC or credit card payment are accepted before the meeting by Courtney Assad.

Alexis Dudden is a Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. She holds a BA (magna cum laude) from Columbia University, and MA and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago. She is the author of several books and academic articles on Japan and Korea. She is currently writing a book about Japan’s territorial disputes and the changing meaning of islands in international law.

In a WNPR interview in 2017, Dr. Dudden commented that part of the North Korean leadership’s strategy for survival goes back to the end of the Soviet Union, and, specifically to the execution of the Romanian leader Nicolau Ceaucescu, as well as to the Bush “Axis of Evil” speech in 2002, which prompted the Kim regime to accelerate the development of nuclear technology.

How this meshes with the rise of China and the status of Japan is captured in her interview in The Diplomat in 2015, when she commented, “Today we see the return of the more traditional world order in East Asia, one that is increasingly focused around China. The dominance of Japan that shaped the 20th century is fading and the impact of the ‘Western powers’ is less critical, at least in the popular imagination.”

The presentation is a part of the SECWAC Speaker Series. SECWAC meetings are free to members (half-year membership February-June is $37.50/year; $12.50/year for young professionals under 35). Walk-ins are $20 for the general public (non-members; the $20 cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership). SECWAC membership is free for area college and high school students.

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). The organization dates back to 1999, and has continued to arrange 8-10 Speaker Series meetings annually, between September and June. The meetings range in foreign affairs topics, and are hosted at venues along the I-95 corridor, welcoming members and guests from Stonington to Old Saybrook, and beyond. SECWAC’s mission is “to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.” It provides a forum for nonpartisan, nonadvocacy dialogue between members and speakers, who can be U.S. policy makers, educators, authors, and other experts on foreign relations. Learn more at http://secwac.org.

Learn more at secwac.org.

Share

Family Wellness: Screens, Media and Family Life

How invasive is technology in our lives?  Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

The idea for this column came from a LymeLine.com reader, but there is also a general clamor for information about this topic that I am privy to in my work with families.

Anna and Rosalie Shalom were the picture of old school, imaginative play in their West Orange, New Jersey, home. The two, 5 and almost 3, labored in harmony at their task, preparing an elaborate pretend dinner to be served at the tiny table in their playroom. They set out play plates. They loaded them up with wooden fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. They sat down, ready to dig in. Ah, but first: they whipped out their pretend cell phones to make sure that no pressing pretend calls or texts required their attention. Their parents cringed. Where had they learned that? (See this article published in Time magazine about raising the screen generation)

Well, Anna and Rosalie aren’t in any imminent danger, but we probably understand why this was cringe-worthy for their parents.  I did observe real imminent danger posed by cell phone use just the other day – a young person almost struck by a car while crossing a busy Boston street, chatting on her phone.  (Coincidentally, I was on my way to a conference where topics around children’s phone, screen and media use abounded.)

So how have screens, phones and media affected family life?

Let’s start with a little context to this question.  According to The Moment, a time tracking app with nearly 5 million users, the average person spends four hours per day interacting with his or her cell phone.  The amount of time children 8-years-old and younger spend on phones or tablets had increased 10 fold between 2012 and 2017, according to a study by Common Sense, which also found that in 2017, 42 percent of kids in the same age group had their own mobile device, up from only 1 percent in 2011. I have to admit to shock and knee jerk dismay at these numbers.  It should be noted that TV usage still predominates for young people’s consumption of media. 

I think we all can think of many ways technology has made our lives easer.  What in the world did we do in the past when our car broke down on the road?  When Junior did not know what time play practice finished up?  When grandmother fell?

Media and technology are here to stay.  So what concerns do families have about media use?  Or “problematic media use,” as many psychologists have termed media use that interferes with “RL” (real life)? 

Real life includes when toddlers learn to play with each other (there is some evidence that excessive screen time results in decreased social and emotional development in young children).  Real life also includes the development of closeness and trust, learning logical reasoning, abstract thought, problem solving and creativity (see this story published in the Wall Street Journal about how cell phones hi-jack our minds).  Real life includes separating from parents during freshman orientation (see this article published in the New York Times about the mental health of college freshmen). 

So yes, there is evidence that excessive media use and dependency can interfere with “RL.”  But there still remains much research to do into the “who, what, when, why and how much” questions concerning family media use and screen time.

So what are we families to do while we wait for more research?  Families need to self-monitor as best they by can looking at their media usage and real (family) life.  Commonsensemedia.org may provide some help for us, as perhaps can Anya Kamenetz’s new book, The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life.

I tend to be a bit of a technophobe, but will end on a positive note:  My son, a “digital native,” and my elderly mother bonded over his expertise in technology and her fear and ignorance of all things digital – enhancing both their “RLs” and strengthening their relationship.

Betsy Groth

Betsy Groth is an APRN, PMHS – BC and a pediatric nurse practitioner with advanced certification in pediatric mental health.

She is a counselor, mental health educator and parent coach in Old Lyme and writes a monthly column for us on ‘Family Wellness.’

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

Share

High Hopes Holds Open House for Prospective Volunteers Today

One of the many tasks that volunteers undertake at High Hopes is to side-walk horses while program participants ride.

OLD LYME — There is a place in Old Lyme where people of all ages come together with a very special herd of therapeutic horses to improve the lives of people with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities.

On St. Patrick’s Day – Saturday, March 17 – between 10 a.m. and noon,  the community is invited to join the staff at High Hopes to find out about a wide range of volunteering opportunities this spring and summer.

“Although we hold programs all year round,” says Volunteer Manager, Amy Tripson, “summer is one of our busiest times when we open High Hopes to the wider community through five weeks of all-inclusive horse camp as well as providing our regular programs. We are looking for volunteers of all ages but would like to encourage middle and high school students (aged 14 or older), seasonal residents, and active retirees in particular. Just one hour a week, or one week during summer camp can make all the difference to one of our campers.”

At the Open House, classes will be running, and the volunteer team will be on hand to answer questions, discuss the types of volunteer jobs available, and create a schedule to suit you.

“No experience with horses is needed,” says Marie Manero, “we provide general orientation and side-walker training for all of our volunteers, and those that want to do more work with the horses can take additional training opportunities in horse-handling and barn activities.”

Over the course of a year High Hopes, an internationally recognized therapeutic riding and horsemanship center, relies on the help of over 650 volunteers to supplement its small staff and provide programs for a wide range of individuals and groups, as well as support its fundraising activities.

Participants include children and adults with physical disabilities, veterans living with PTSD, children grieving the loss of a parent, families recovering from domestic violence and individuals and their families supporting a loved one with a life-long cognitive disability. High Hopes serves over 60 towns in Connecticut and beyond, works with 10 different school districts and a variety of different agencies from across the state. In the summer, High Hopes staff also provide an off-site program at Harkness Camp in Waterford.

If your organization supports community activities and you would like to bring a group of volunteers to High Hopes for the day, the High Hopes volunteer team would also like to talk to you.

For more information, to meet a few volunteers, and/or to express interest in this event, visit https://highhopestr.org/event/volunteer-open-house/

Share

Musical Masterworks Presents Mozart Piano Quartets, Mozart-Inspired Music in Concerts This Weekend

Violinist Tessa Lark

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks presents two concerts this coming weekend, Saturday, March 11, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 12, at 3 p.m. at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, an acoustically rich venue.

The concerts will juxtapose both of Mozart’s masterful Piano Quartets with two Mozart-inspired works from the twentieth century.  

The performance will feature violinist, Tessa Lark, who has delighted Musical Masterworks audiences with her virtuosity; pianist Jeewon Park; and Musical Masterworks stalwarts violinist Dimitri Murrath and cellist Edward Arron, who is also the Musical Masterworks Artistic Director.

To purchase tickets ($35 individual; $5 student), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

Share

Rebooting New England: What Do YOU Think? Op-Ed from SECoast

On Tuesday, Feb. 27 we [SECoast] participated in a round table in New Haven hosted by New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, with 40 or so others to discuss alternatives to NEC Future high-speed rail planning. Attendees included administrators from Yale and Trinity college, Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) head Kristina Newman-Scott, former CTDOT Commissioner Emil Frankel, engineer Foster Nichols, among others. The project is being organized by former RPA head Bob Yaro, and former DECD head Kip Bergstrom. You can download the 50 mb 200+ page document here.

In the most simple terms, the plan resembles NEC Future Alternative 3.2, with high-speed rail service heading north, rather than east from New Haven, and then east from Hartford, through Storrs, to Providence. Yaro and Bergstrom are specifically offering “Rebooting New England,” as they call it, as an opportunity to avoid the impacts (and opposition) through southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island to NEC Future planning. It also includes the audacious idea of a tunnel across the Sound.  Here’s an illustration:

And while NEC Future was tailored for the needs of the largest cities along the Northeast Corridor, Yaro and Bergstrom have rather crafted a plan which also benefits inland and mid-sized cities along the corridor, by drawing from similar efforts in Great Britain to connect Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle, in the north, to London.

You can find an hour-long video presentation of the project from last July to the Lincoln Institute here. Given the current lack of funding, it’s an ambitious plan, but a serious one, worth serious consideration. SECoast’s Gregory Stroud will be meeting with project leaders again on Thursday for further discussions. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to take a look at the project, and tell us what you think.

About those Transit hearings…

With Connecticut’s Special Transportation Fund on the verge of insolvency, and the Malloy administration proposing a first wave of drastic cuts, and fare increases, to train and bus service to take effect on July 1, [detailed here], the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been holding hearings over the last three weeks across Connecticut, and (more surprisingly) in Massachusetts.

SECoast board and staff members attended a February 28 hearing in New London, where a diverse group of 50 or so members of the public — young and old, poor and well-to-do, African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and White — offered relatively muted criticism of proposed fare increases, together with broad and pointed opposition to proposed service cuts. [Take a look at Kim Drelich’s  coverage for The Day here].

In turn, CTDOT commissioner James Redeker presented a persuasive case for increased revenues and investments, including two-cents yearly increases over seven years to the gasoline tax, and new tolling along the state’s major roadways, to avoid these unsustainable cuts to transportation.

This all made for good theater for the Malloy administration, but also missed an essential purpose of such hearings, which is not just to allow the public the chance to air its grievances, but also to take part meaningfully in the decision-making process. As far as the latter goes, meaningful public participation requires a level of transparency which has been lacking in the materials provided. And we have significant concerns that these proposals have been presented as simply mandated, rather than as the result of limited, but real choices made behind closed doors.

In much this vein, RiverCOG executive director Sam Gold briefly outlined lengthy written comments and opposition to the proposed cuts. Gold questioned the fairness of cuts to towns like Old Saybrook, which played by the rules, embraced CTDOT priorities, and heavily invested in transit-oriented development (TOD). Gold further questioned the priorities and motivation of CTDOT cuts which would spare CTDOT’s own CTTransit, while falling heavily on towns like New London with municipal-supported (and controlled) transit. We agree.

In contrast to an earlier hearing in Stamford, where elected officials have faced criticism for cutting a lengthy line to present comments, few elected officials turned up in New London. State Rep. Devin Carney, ranking member on the Connecticut General Assembly Transportation Committee, was a notable exception.

We strongly encourage you to write to CTDOT by March 16 with your comments. Just click here.

Widening I-95

On Feb. 22, as part of a larger coordinated rollout by the Malloy administration of revenue proposals, announced project cuts, service cuts, and fare increases, CTDOT reintroduced targeted plans to widen I-95 through Fairfield County and southeastern Connecticut. Kim Drelich covers the announcement for The Day, here, you can also find coverage in the Hartford Courant, and in the Yale Daily News here.

While we appreciate the need to improve safety and reduce congestion on I-95, we have several concerns about the announcement. Most importantly, whether you are for or against proposals to widen I-95, by failing to release the actual studies, and by providing the public with only summary findings, CTDOT is depriving the public of a chance to meaningfully participate in a decision on the topic.  In southeastern Connecticut, we are left to wonder whether this latest plan differs materially from earlier planning proposed in 2005, which would require significant takings and environmental impacts. In Fairfield County, we are left to wonder about the impacts to the densely settled corridor.

In the case of the National Historic Landmark Bush-Holley house for example, it appears that while keeping to the existing right of way, and to CTDOT property, such widening could still significantly impact properties alongside the corridor, with enormous potential impacts to the property, and to ongoing projects  by the Greenwich Historical Society.

Take a look at a graphic we produced by cross-referencing the released graph of potential land use, with project parameters, and mileage markers:

We are of course encouraged that the plan keeps as much as possible to the existing right of way, and to CTDOT property, but we’d like to know much more about the actual impacts and plans for construction at the Mianus river crossing in particular. Such plans are simply too important to made behind closed doors, and without timely and sufficient public scrutiny. And they obviously make little or no sense when paired with transit cuts that would send thousands of additional commuters onto I-95.

SECoast has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to obtain planning documents. We [SECoast] will let you know, when we know more about these plans …

Editor’s Note: We also urge readers to write to CTDOT by March 16 with your thoughts on the first wave of drastic cuts, and fare increases, to train and bus service to take effect on July 1.  Just click 

Share

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share

The End of an Era … but the Journey Continues: Jeff Andersen Retires From the FloGris Museum After 41 Years

Retiring Florence Griswold Museum Director Jeff Andersen stands between State Senator Paul Formica (left) and State Rep. Devin Carney holding the State Citation with which the two legislators had presented him.

OLD LYME — There wasn’t a parking spot to be found Sunday afternoon at the Florence Griswold Museum, nor come to that at the Lyme Art Association. And the reason?  Despite torrential rain, it seemed as if the whole town had come out to say a fond farewell to Jeff Andersen, the much beloved Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, who was retiring after an amazing 41 years in that position.

Jeff Anderson stands with Charter Trustee George Willauer and New York Times best-selling author Luanne Rice alongside the Willard Metcalf painting, “Kalmia,” which the board has now dedicated to Andersen in honor of his 41 years service.

The Museum hosted a wonderful party to celebrate Jeff and his wife, Maureen McCabe, and both Marshfield House and the tent situated in the courtyard outside were packed almost to capacity. Federal, state and local dignitaries were there along with Museum trustees, staff, volunteers, friends and pretty much anyone who had ever had a connection with Jeff, Maureen or the Museum — well over 400 people in total.

The formal segment of the event was emceed by Charter Trustee Jeff Cooley, who opened the proceedings by introducing Senator Richard Blumenthal. Describing the Florence Griswold as “a world-class Museum,” Blumenthal went on to present Andersen with a Certificate of Recognition from the US Senate, which he noted to considerable laughter, “was approved by an overwhelming bi-partisan vote.” He thanked Andersen warmly for, “Your immense public service … and your values.”

State Rep. Devin Carney says, “It all started with just one … and that was, you, Jeff.”

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th) and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) stepped up next the podium and Carney noted poignantly, “It all started with just one … and that was you, Jeff.”  Carney was referring to the fact that 41 years ago, Andersen was the Museum’s first — and only – employee whereas now the Museum has 20 staff, 255 volunteers, 3,000 members and 80,000 visitors annually.

Saying, “I truly want to thank you, Jeff, for doing so much good for the economy as a whole,” Carney pointed out that many of the visitors to the Museum, “come, stay and shop,” in Old Lyme and the surrounding area, adding, “You did a great job at the Museum … but you also stopped a train!”  This latter was a reference to the Federal Railroad Administration’s proposal to route a high speed train through the center of Old Lyme, which Andersen actively worked to defeat.

State Sen. Paul Formica reads the Citation from the state in honor of Jeff Andersen.

Formica then presented Andersen with a Citation from the Connecticut House and Senate, which recognized Andersen for his “passionate dedication directing, restoring and revitalizing the Florence Griswold Museum,” noting, “For 40 years you shared your vision and inspired countless volunteers and workers to help fulfill this vision expanding exhibits, gardens and collections making it into the reputable attraction we know today.” The Citation concluded, “We want to thank you for your tireless leadership and congratulate you on your retirement.”

Following the legislators was Old Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who immediately confessed, “Frankly, I have to say I didn’t think there would ever be a time when Jeff wouldn’t be here.”  She continued, “It’s good for him [Jeff] and all of us to be aware of all you have done.  You’re part of our DNA, you’re the heart of our culture,” and then announced that the Town of Old Lyme was declaring Feb. 11 as “Jeff Andersen Day,”  adding to loud applause and much laughter that it was a unanimous vote.

Andersen mingled freely with the more than 400 guests gathered to say their goodbyes.

She read a Proclamation from the Town which stated, “Since he began working with the Museum in 1976, the Florence Griswold Museum has grown from a small seasonal house museum where he was the only staff member to a nationally recognized center for American art.” The Proclamation also noted that, “Jeff is recognized today as the pre-eminent scholar on the historic Lyme Art Colony … and has helped grow the Museum’s modest collection of works of American Impressionism into a deep and distinguished regional collection of American art.”  Describing Andersen as a “visionary Leader,” with a “thoughtful devotion to excellence,” Reemsnyder concluded, still reading from the Proclamation, that Andersen’s, “tireless advocacy for the Museum and its uniquely Connecticut story has transformed the Florence Griswold Museum into one of the state’s most important and beloved cultural destinations.”

Jeff Cooley (center) emceed thw formal proceedings at the party. His wife Betsy stands to his left.

Charter Trustees George Willauer and Cooley then unveiled the beautiful 1905 painting titled, “Kalmia,” by Willard L. Metcalf to which a plaque had been attached stating that it now honored Andersen’s 41 years of service during which he “transformed” the Museum “through his unswerving devotion to preserving the legacy of the Lyme Art Colony.”

Jeff Andersen addresses the at capacity audience.

A clearly emotional Andersen then addressed the audience, which by now was overflowing the tent, saying simply, “We are feeling the love …”  He gave a long list of thank you’s, noting that he and his wife had, “felt such affection and regard since announcing his retirement.” Andersen then shared his opinion that, “whatever you give to the Museum – whether time, talent or money – it is returned to you many fold.”  He said, “Not many get the opportunity to have a career in one place [in his case, from age 23 to 64] and for that I am deeply grateful and humble.  Stressing, “Be assured the future is bright,” he commented almost wistfully, “What an incredible journey this has been … but the journey continues.”

Jeff Andersen and his wife Maureen McCabe applaud the pianist after he played a tune to which they had danced together at the very end of the party.

And with that, Cooley proposed a toast to Jeff and Maureen, glasses were raised, Prosecco was drunk and then vigorous applause and loud cheers erupted all around.

Florence Griswold Museum docent Linda Ahnert points out a detail from the newspaper cutting to fellow doscents.  The cutting announced Andersen’s arrival as the Museum’s first director — and then only employee — 41 years ago.

We here at LymeLine.com can only add our deep and personal thanks to Jeff and Maureen for an extraordinary career in which so much given with such incredible warmth and humility.  Rep. Carney said it best so we’ll end by echoing his words, “The Florence Griswold is truly a treasure, but so are you … Miss Florence would be really proud of you.”

Share

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

Betsy Groth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share

Musical Masterworks Hosts Japanese Pianist Rieko Aizawa in Old Lyme Concerts This Weekend

Japanese pianist Rieko Aizawa

AREAWIDE — This month, Musical Masterworks welcomes back three-time Grammy nominee and Musical Masterworks veteran, Todd Palmer on clarinet.  Joining Palmer and Musical Masterworks Artistic Director, Edward Arron on cello, will be Japanese pianist Rieko Aizawa, who has been praised by the New York Times for an “impressive musicality, a crisp touch and expressive phrasing.”

The concerts will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and will feature music by Beethoven and Chopin.  Concertgoers will also hear from an international cast of composers including Poulenc (France), Svante Henryson (Sweden), Glinka (Russia), and Piazzolla (Argentina).

Musical Masterworks’ 27th season continues through April 2018.  To purchase a mini-subscription for any three concerts ($100 each) or individual tickets ($40 individual; $5 student), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

Share

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

Desert Pincushion by Charles Mazel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share

CT Valley Camera Club Presents Talk on How to Photograph National Parks, Mar. 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share

Madhatters Hosts Auditions for ‘Annie,’ Saturday

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

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

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

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

Share

Final Days to Enjoy ‘The Magic of Christmas’ at Florence Griswold Museum

Father and son enjoy the beautiful Palette Christmas Trees at the ‘Magic of Christmas’ exhibition

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 from Dec. 1 – 31. 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!

This beautiful palette titled Road Less Traveled, 2017 was painted by Beverly Schirmeir of Westbrook, Conn.

Nearly 200 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon.  “My first visit to the Florence Griswold Museum was profound and literally changed the course of my work, explains artist Stephanie Marzella from Johns Island, SC.  “It was my first awareness of the American tonalist movement. I began to paint what I feel, not what I see. I am forever grateful for the day I walked into that museum. When asked to contribute a palette I was truly honored.”

This design titled My New Christmas Bonnet, 2017 by Denise Flynn of Great Barrington, Mass., is one of this year’s new palettes.

Artist Denise Flynn, who lives in Great Barrington, MA says, “I was born and raised in Connecticut and still retain a great love for my state.  After a trip to Old Sturbridge Village as a ten-year-old child, I was completely taken by New England in its early days. I envision that ‘my lady’ felt very much at home in any Connecticut town in the Victorian era.”

The palettes will be displayed on three trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibitions,

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 will create elaborate Fantasy Trees in the Florence Griswold House.

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas. Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectable 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. Teas are held December 5 through 23 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3 to 5pm. New this year – two seating on Saturday, 12 to 2pm and 3 to 5pm.

Other events and programs include special events for families, including a visit from Periwinkle the faerie and hands-on crafts for children and adults.

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

The town of Old Lyme and its merchants continue the merriment with “Light Up Old Lyme,” with a schedule of holiday activities in the historic town. Learn more about specials from local shops and restaurants at the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce website, VisitOldLyme.com.

Located on a 13-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 from10am to 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

New this year, Museum Store Sunday Nov. 26 from 1 to 5pm.
Similar to Small Business Saturdaythis celebration puts the spotlight on mission-related products found in museum stores. On this day, all items are 15 percent off (25 percent for museum members).

Dec.1-24
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.

Dec. 5 – 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. Guests enjoy a 10 percent discount in The Shop. Reservations required, call 860-434-5542 x 111 for information and reservations.

Sundays, Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 from 1 to 5pm
Joy in the Making
Each Sunday visitors can experience the joy of making a hand-made card or ornament during the weekly drop-in creative programs. Fun for all ages. This event is free with Museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Periwinkle will entertain all ages in three shows on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Saturday, Dec. 9, shows at 11:30am12:30pm, and 1:30pm
Periwinkle the Faerie
Join Periwinkle, Peri to her friends, for an afternoon of story and song, with fun hands-on craft in-between shows. A sister to Tinkerbell, Peri is a frost-talent faerie who thrives in the cold of the winter woods. Crafts will have a snowy and frosty theme, perfect-for-gift-giving.

Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2pm
Old Christmas and Winter Traditions of Long Ago
 Join musician Thomas Hooker Hanford for songs and stories.

Thursday, Dec.14, 5:30 to 7pm
Art•Bar Happy Hour

Combine creativity and cocktails! Enjoy an evening making winter paper lanterns. Get friends together or come make new ones! For adults 21+. $25. Register online at FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org

Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2pm
Gallery Talk
Director of Education and Outreach David D.J. Rau speaks about Miss Florence’s Artist Trees in the Gallery. This event is free with Museum admission.

Wednesday, Dec. 27 from 11am to 3pm
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.

Faith Leitner will play her harp in the afternoon on Dec. 31.

Sunday, Dec. 31, from 1 to 5pm
Ode to the New Year: Harp Music by Faith Leitner
The harp was Miss Florence’s favorite instrument. Visitors can see the one 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.

Share

Celebrate Miss Florence’s Birthday Party Today at FloGris Museum

Florence Griswold celebrated her birthday on Christmas Day.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts Miss Florence’s Birthday Party tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Visitors can share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Birthday cake and fun celebratory activities will be on offer to honor the woman who started it all.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday from10am to 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.

Share

Rebekah Beaulieu Appointed Director of the Florence Griswold Museum

Becky Beaulieu is the new Executive Director of the Florence Griswold Museum.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., has announced the appointment of Rebekah (Becky) Beaulieu as Director of the Museum. With a distinguished career that traverses both art museum and historic site administration, Beaulieu has most recently been the Associate Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine. She begins her new role on Feb. 19, 2018.

Beaulieu was selected from a highly qualified pool of candidates after a rigorous national search led by a committee of trustees. She follows Jeffrey Andersen, who has served as the Museum’s Director for the past 41 years. Beaulieu and Andersen will briefly work together in February to effect a smooth management transition.

“It was important for us to get this right,” states Ted Hamilton, President of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “We’ve not had to look for a director in over 40 years and we were very fortunate to find a wonderful candidate that is such a good fit for the institution. Not only is Becky’s academic record outstanding, but she comes with the highest of recommendations as well. We’re all looking forward to welcoming her aboard.”

“I am thrilled to lead the Florence Griswold Museum into its next chapter,” notes Beaulieu. “The Museum has experienced tremendous growth during Jeff Andersen’s remarkable tenure, and I look forward to working with board, staff, and volunteers to continue its upward trajectory. It is my honor to join the Florence Griswold Museum family.”

As the Associate Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Beaulieu managed all administrative activities including staffing, finances, communications, visitor experience, and operations. Besides being well versed in the administration of an art museum, Beaulieu has experience managing historic sites. As the first Executive Director of the Winchester Historical Society (MA), Beaulieu managed operations for the Society and its cultural site, the Sanborn House Historical and Cultural Center. This breadth of experience makes her an exceptional fit for the Florence Griswold Museum.

The Museum has grown from an historic house museum to a place-based art museum featuring a modern gallery for temporary exhibitions of American art; education and landscape centers; and the National Historic Landmark Florence Griswold House (1817), interpreted today as the boarding house of the Lyme Art Colony. The Museum is located on thirteen acres along the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme.

“Becky is a consummate museum professional who understands well the value of cultural institutions in our communities,” states Anne Collins Goodyear and Frank H. Goodyear, Co-Directors of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. “As the Associate Director at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, she has played an important role in expanding the number of exhibitions and programs we offer and has worked closely with her colleagues to broaden access to the Museum and its collections. She will be greatly missed at Bowdoin. We wish her every success in this new chapter in her professional life and congratulate the Florence Griswold Museum on selecting a great new leader.”

Beaulieu brings an outstanding educational background to her new post.  She holds a B.A. in American Studies from George Washington University. She earned two Masters degrees, one in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and another in Arts Administration from Columbia University, before completing her Ph.D. in American and New England Studies at Boston University.

Beaulieu is committed to local community service. She serves as Trustee for the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick, Maine and was appointed to the Public Arts Commission and Historical Commission Review Board there. Dedicated to the museum field as a whole, she is involved in numerous professional organizations. She serves as a board member of the New England Museum Association, a faculty member of the American Association for State and Local History’s Seminar for Historical Administration, and a Peer Reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

In addition, she has been an Accreditation/MAP Peer Reviewer
for the American Alliance of Museums, where she is also a board member for the Historic Houses and Sites Network. “When I first met Becky, my impression was ‘this woman is one to watch,’” remembers Dawn Salerno, Deputy Director for Public Engagement & Operations at the Mystic Museum of Art. “The next year, I was recruiting her for the board of the New England Museum Association, where I’m thrilled to have her as a colleague. And now I couldn’t be happier to have her as a colleague in Connecticut.” Beaulieu and Salerno are working with Mark S. Gold as editors of The State of Museums: Voices from the Field, to be published in the fall of 2018 for the hundredth anniversary of the New England Museum Association.

Beaulieu has written, edited, or contributed to books and scholarly journals in her field. Besides her former position as the Managing Editor for Modern Intellectual History, an academic journal published by Cambridge University Press, Beaulieu has written Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums (2017), which outlines the basic tenets of organization and financial management for small museums. Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has hailed this book as a “superb” contribution to the field.

“Becky values the identity of the Florence Griswold Museum as a place where art, nature, and history intersect,” remarks John E. Noyes, Chair of the Search Committee. “She also understands how important it is to grow, to reach new audiences, and to develop new initiatives.”

Looked to as a leader in the art and history communities, Beaulieu has spoken at local, regional, and national events, conferences, and symposia, including annual conferences of the New England Museum Association, the College Art Association, and the National Council for Public History.

Beaulieu will relocate to the area with her husband Patrick Ford.

A trustee-led search committee composed of eight members with diverse backgrounds in business, academia, and the arts led the process. The committee’s members were John E. Noyes (Chair), Andy Baxter, Jeffrey W. Cooley, David W. Dangremond, Frank W. (Ted) Hamilton, Andrea Griffis Inglis, Lee Pritchard, and Carolyn Wakeman. The search process was coordinated by Naree Viner, Principal, Nonprofit Practice, New York for the executive search firm Korn Ferry.

The Florence Griswold Museum has been called a “Giverny in Connecticut” by the Wall Street Journal, and a “must-see” by the Boston Globe. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, with its unique collection of painted doors and walls left by the members of the Lyme Art Colony, the Museum has renowned collections of American art, including the Hartford Steam Boiler Collection presenting three centuries of art associated with Connecticut. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut. Visit FlorenceGriswoldMusuem.org for more information.

About the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
The collections of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art are among the most comprehensive of any college museum in the United States. The Museum is housed in the landmark Walker Art Building designed in 1894 by Charles Follen McKim, and features murals by John La Farge, Kenyon Cox, Elihu Vedder, and Abbott Thayer. The Museum is the centerpiece of Bowdoin’s vibrant arts and culture community and offers a wealth of academic and educational programs. Visit Bowdoin.edu/art-museum for more information.

Share

Old Lyme Town Band Gives ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ Tonight at ‘the Kate’

AREAWIDE — The Old Lyme Town Band will perform their ‘Holiday Pops Concert’ at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘The Kate,’ in Old Saybrook on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m.

‘The Kate’s’ program information states, “Nothing says the holidays like the Old Lyme Town Band playing some festive selections for the season.”

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children and available at this link.

Visit OldLymeTownBand.org or thekate.org for more details.

Share

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, call 860-526-5399.

Share

Death of Barbara (Seim) Hill Announced

Barbara (Seim) Hill, Sept. 7, 1925 – Dec. 1, 2017

Barbara (Siem) Hill

Barbara (Seim) Hill, 92, passed away peacefully at home, Bay Village, Sarasota, Florida on December 1, 2017. She was born in Bridgeport, CT September 7, 1925, daughter of Harry E. and Vera (Bertilson) Seim. She obtained her nursing degree from Simmons College. Her beloved husband of 64 years, Nicholas S. Hill IV, predeceased her in 2012.  She retired from a nursing career which culminated in 16 years as Supervisor of the Visiting Nurses Association in Old Saybrook. She resided in Old Lyme for 34 years, where she raised her six children, then Old Saybrook for 31 years, before moving to Sarasota, Florida.

Barbara will be remembered for her sweet kindness, her brightness of spirit and her determination to make the world around her a better place, which she passed on to her children and everyone she met. She saw the positive in every situation. “She was the best mother and grandmother in the world” and she will be dearly missed.

She is survived by her children: Pamela Vernon of Quechee, Vermont; Nicholas S. Hill V (Sophia) of Sherborn, MA; Penny Hill (Larry Wild) of Sarasota, FL; Wendolyn Hill (Richard Sutton) of Lyme, CT; Melinda Hill (Mark Yuknat) of Haddam, CT; and Jeffrey Hill (Sherry) of Old Saybrook, CT.  She is also survived by 9 grandchildren: Kayt and Colin Vernon, Kyra and Alyssa Hill, Hester and Isabel Sutton, Alex Yuknat, Bethany Benak and Samantha Hill; and four great-grandchildren; and her best friend, Ann Daum.

There will be a private service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Visiting Nurses Southeastern CT: VNASC, 403 N Frontage Road, Waterford, CT 06385or Planned Parenthood of Southwest Florida, 736 Central Avenue, Sarasota, Fl 34236.

Online Guest book located at www.wiegandbrothers.com

Share

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

‘Native Girls in Ethiopia’ by Bobbi Lane.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share

Musical Masterworks Presents Second Concert This Afternoon

Violinists James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill, and Musical Masterworks’ own Artistic Director, cellist Edward Arron perform in this weekend’s concerts.

OLD LYME — This December, Musical Masterworks debuts internationally acclaimed violinist James Ehnes and the Ehnes Quartet on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Hailed as “an important new force in the chamber music arena” with a “dream-team line-up” (Strings), the Ehnes Quartet is comprised of four internationally-renowned string musicians: violinists James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill, and Musical Masterworks’ own Artistic Director, cellist Edward Arron.

Formally established in 2010, the members of the Ehnes Quartet have played chamber music together in various formations for more than 20 years. The quartet’s highly refined, sensitive and expressive performances have delighted audiences and critics across North America, Europe, and Asia, and have made them one of the most sought-after chamber groups performing today.

Pre-Concert Talks 

Musical Masterworks continues its popular pre-concert talks before both concerts.  Concertgoers are invited to join Edward Arron one hour before each of the December concerts for an in-depth discussion about the composers and music featured that weekend:  Haydn, Bartók and Beethoven.

Share

Reading Uncertainly? ‘Lab Girl’ by Hope Jahren

This month, let’s try an intensely introspective autobiography of a botanical scientist, wrapped in a biography of trees, flowers, and plants.

Hope Jahren, a professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, writes the clear, coherent, and engaging story of her upbringing in Minnesota, her education, travel and work in California, Georgia, Maryland, and Hawaii, intermixed with her study and analysis of the history and lives of plants and trees. And she apparently has a photographic memory as she recalls detailed conversations with her teachers, students, science mates and husband.

But, early on in my reading, I had a nagging question: does this intense self-analysis and self-reflection indicate something else?

Jahren finally acknowledges being a “manic-depressive woman” four-fifths of the way through her writing. She is consumed with her love of and study of plants: it dominates her life.

Fellow human beings? She acknowledges an early debt to her science-minded father, but never mentions him again after her first pages. Her scientific partner, Bill, is never granted a last name, nor is her husband, Clint. And none of those three is mentioned in her credits. She devotes one of the longest chapters to the birth of her son, but he remains nameless (mentioned only as “my toddler” and “my son.” Note he is not “our” son.)

But her often lyrical phrases continue to delight you as a reader, “a leaf is a platter of pigment strung with vascular lace,” and “vines are hopelessly ambitious,” and “being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life.” Hers is a two-part, parallel story of intense curiosity – her science and her life.

Her self-analysis close to the end reads as follows:

“I’m good at science because I’m not good at listening. I have been told that I’m intelligent, and I have been told that I am simple-minded. I have been told that I am trying to do to much, and I have been told that what I have done amounts to very little. I have been told that I can’t do what I want to do because I am a woman, and I have been told that I have only been allowed to do what I have done because I am a woman. I have been told that I can have eternal life, and I have been told that I will burn myself out into an early death. I have been admonished for being too feminine and I have been distrusted for being too masculine. I have been warned that I am far too sensitive and I have been accused of being heartlessly callous.

But I was told all these things by people who can’t understand the present or see the future any better than I can. Such recurrent pronouncements have forced me to accept that because I am a female scientist, nobody knows what the hell I am, and it has given me the delicious freedom to make it up as I go along. I don’t take advice from my colleagues, and I try not to give it. When I am pressed, I resort to these two sentences: You shouldn’t take this job too seriously. Except for when you should.”

If that doesn’t arouse your curiosity to read this book, I don’t know what will!

Jahren’s conclusion, “Our world is falling apart quietly.” And her more optimistic recommendation: go plant a tree once a year! Which is exactly what my wife and I have done in our 24 years in Lyme, Conn. We’ve planted 13 Evergreens, four Red Maples, three Acacia, two Apples, one Japanese Maple, and one Witch Hazel. Yes, we’ve cut down an apple savaged by a hurricane, plus two small apples, but the latter were promptly replaced with two pears!

Do read Hope Jahren … and plant a tree.

Editor’s Note: ‘Lab Girl’ by Hope Jahren is published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2016

Felix Kloman

About 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.

Share

Hadlyme Hall Artisans Show Continues Today


The 16th Annual Artisan Show at Hadlyme Public Hall will be held over Thanksgiving weekend from Friday through Sunday.

Hadlyme Public Hall

Kick off your holiday shopping by coming to support local artists, community spirit, and tradition. This annual venue of local artists and artisans will include oil and watercolor fine art, handmade jewelry, cement décor, pottery, and many other mediums as well as new exhibitors.

Buy Raffle Tickets at the show for ‘one of a kind’ raffle prizes.

at_the_showThe show opens with a reception on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.  The show is then open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  on Sunday.

Admission is free on all three days.

For further information, click here.

Share

This Weekend’s Foliage Folk Festival in Hadlyme Raises Funds to Tackle Opioid Epidemic in our Communities

AREAWIDE — Gather your friends and head on down to Hadlyme for the First Annual Foliage Folk Festival. A two-day event full of music, craft vendors, art, food trucks and valuable education on tackling the opioid epidemic in our communities at the Hadlyme Public Hall on Friday, Oct 20, from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, Oct 21, from 4 to 10 p.m.

Accidental overdose is the leading cause of death of Americans under 50, surpassing car accidents. And this year, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner projected that CT will likely have more than 1,000 people die from drug overdoses, a skyrocketing figure when compared to 2012, when fatal overdoses totaled 357.

But still, only 1 in 10 Americans with a substance use disorder receives treatment and research shows that stigma keeps people from getting the treatment they need. Help us #stopthestigma, get connected to resources to help the people you love while also having a fun-filled night!!

The event features local talent such as Honey Hill (East Haddam/Brooklyn), The Brazen Youth (Lyme), Noons Quarry (East Haddam), The Wallace Trio (Guilford) and acts from Brooklyn and Boston.

All proceeds raised will be donated to organizations working to address the opioid epidemic in Connecticut. Tickets are $25 per night per adult, $40 for a weekend pass, $10 for people 17 and under and free from kids under 6.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit our website at foliagefolkfestival.org or call Theresa Govert at 860-817-3115.

Share

Lyme Art Association Hosts ‘Palate to Palette,’ a Delicious, Fun-filled Fundraiser, Tonight

AREAWIDE — Lyme Art Association (LAA) hosts a delicious and art-filled fundraiser, ‘Palate to Palette,’ Oct. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Enjoy a sumptuous offering by the area’s top restaurants and caterers, plus a variety of craft beer and wine.

The event includes a silent auction featuring works of art specially created by LAA member artists as well as celebrity artists.

Tickets are $45 for LAA members, or $50 for guests.

Share

‘Pour for a Pup’ at New Reynolds’ Building Raises Funds for CT Pound Pups, Tonight

Renee DiNino and friend.

LYME — Reynolds’ Subaru will be hosting Pour for a Pup event Saturday, Oct.14, to help support the Connecticut pound pups. The event will take place in Reynolds’ brand new state of the art facility. All are welcome.

This charity event will have wine and beer tastings from Tony’s Package Store and Staehly’s Farm, Tito’s has offered to provide cocktail tastings, fun auction items will be available, Best of Everything Country Gourmet will be catering the event, and DJ Boppers will be providing music!

Vice president of the CT Animal House, Jude Levin, states “Pour for a pup, yep that’s right! Come join us for a fun night with a wine and beer tasting, delicious food, awesome DJ “Boppers”, and the beautiful and gracious Renee DiNino who will be our Mistress of Ceremonies. All proceeds go directly to help the CT Pound dogs in need!”

The event will take place 6:30-10 p.m. at Reynolds’ Subaru, 268 Hamburg Road, Lyme CT. To purchase your tickets at $35 per person come to Reynolds’, Malloves Jewelers, or visit www.ctanimalhouse.org.

Share

Award-Winning Photographer Discusses ‘Tools of Travel Photography’ Tonight at CT Valley Camera Club

Shadows of camels and their riders in the Sahara desert in Erg Chebi, Morrocco (Photo by David H. Wells)

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at next Monday’s (Oct. 2) meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be award-winning photographer/videographer David H. Wells, who will give a presentation titled, “The Tools of Travel Photography.” The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn.  All are welcome.

Wells uses whichever technology he feels is most appropriate for the specific situation to create visual narratives. He is based in Providence, RI, affiliated with Aurora Photos and is also a photo-educator. One editor described him as a “… specialist in intercultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light, shadow and sound, stills and video.”

Wells became the photographer he is today by first trying on the styles and/or methods of other well-known and historic photographers. Then he mastered the challenging discipline of color slide film. He fused all of these experiences, over 30-plus years, to develop his own style, built on a mastery of light, exposure and tonality, framing and composition with predictable and consistent control over focus and depth of field.

As a photography educator, he leads students to learn how to master consistently these same elements of photography. He was featured in Photo District News as one of “The Best Workshop Instructors.”

A Sicilian sunset (Photo by David H. Wells)

His project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years he has worked on assignment for such magazines as Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Sunday New York Times, Time, etc. He also worked for corporations such as Consolidated Natural Gas and DuPont as well as for non-profits such as the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund.

His work has been featured in more than 50 exhibitions and he has taught workshops at the International Center for Photography in NYC and at the Maine Media Workshops. He has received two Fulbright fellowships, a grant from Nikon/N.P.P.A., a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation’s Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation.

For more information on David H. Wells, visit his website.

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

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

Share

In Tight Contest, Valley-Old Lyme Swim Team Ultimately Falls to H-K

On Sept. 28 at Haddam-Killingworth, the co-op swim team of Lyme-Old Lyme and Valley competed against Haddam-Killingworth. Despite a strong performance by Old Lyme-Valley, Haddam-Killingworth won the meet in the end with a score of 76 to 61.

Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme placed first in the following races:
-medley relay (Kim Beradis, Kaeleigh O’Donnell, Lily Cox, and Connie Pan)
-200 yard freestyle (Lily Cox)
-200 yard individual medley (Kaeleigh O’Donnell)
-100 yard freestyle (Connie Pan)
-500 yard freestyle (Lily Cox)
-200 yard freestyle relay (Kim Beradis, Kaeleigh O’Donnell, Lily Cox, and Connie Pan)
-100 yard backstroke (Kim Beradis)
-100 yard breaststroke (Kaeleigh O’Donnell)

Haddam-Killingworth came first in the 50 yard freestyle (Kiera Bragdon).

Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme notched second in the 50 yard freestyle (Connie Pan).

Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme divers Anna Donato and Britney Detuzzi earned Honorable Mentions in the 50 yard freestyle coming in respectively 5th and 6th.

Share

Musical Masterworks, Community Music School Announce Scholarship Recipient

From left to right, Alden Murphy and Abigail Nickell stand with Musical Masterworks scholarship winner Giovanna Parnoff at the piano.

AREAWIDE — Musical Masterworks and Community Music School are pleased to announce the recipient of the first Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas.

Giovanna Parnoff, already an accomplished pianist and exceptional sixth grade student from Old Lyme, was presented with the scholarship by Alden Murphy, President of Musical Masterworks and Abigail Nickell, Executive Director of Community Music School.

“We are so pleased to honor Nancy’s memory with an award to one of her very own students, in partnership with another of her most beloved arts organizations.’ said Nickell.  Nancy Thomas was a devoted staff member of Musical Masterworks for nearly 25 years.   “It is particularly fortuitous that Giovanna, as a life-long student of Nancy Thomas, is the first winner of this scholarship; we couldn’t be more pleased,” added Murphy.

Giovanna has attended The Community Music School since she was six months old. She discovered her love of music through Kindermusik and Kate’s Camp programs and eventually started individual piano instruction under the tutelage of Nancy Thomas at the age of 3.

She has received perfect scores at the New London Piano Festival organized by the Middlesex/New London Chapter of the Connecticut State Music Teacher’s Association. Giovanna is a member of Mensa and Intertel, two high IQ societies and was recently inducted into the Junior Mensa Honor Society for her academic performance, leadership skills and volunteerism/community service.

Giovanna has been accepted into Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, Stanford University’s Gifted and Talented Program, and Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. She is a competitive foil fencer, and has been coached for six years by the Fencer’s School of CT.

Giovanna is an award-winning poet, having seen her work published in “The Mensa Bulletin” and “The Young American Poetry Digest.” She lives in Old Lyme with her parents, Dr. John Parnoff and Ms. Monique Heller, and her younger sister, Mattea, who is also a piano student at The Community Music School.

The Musical Masterworks Scholarship in Honor of Nancy D. Thomas provides the tuition for a middle school student to take music lessons, 30 minutes each, for one full year at Community Music School.  The scholarship will be awarded annually for the next four years.  To be eligible, the candidate must be a student of classical voice or instrumental music and reside in Middlesex County or New London County.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 34-year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity, and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  Learn more at www.community-music-school.org or call 860.767.0026.

Musical Masterworks brings to Southern New England world-class chamber music performances and outreach programs which attract, entertain, and educate a diverse audience. Now planning its 27th season, Musical Masterworks offers five weekends of performances from October through May in Old Lyme.  Learn more by visiting www.musicalmasterworks.org or by calling 860.434.2252.

Share

State Orders Recount in Republican Primary for 33rd District Probate Judge; Delia Wins by Nine Votes in First Count

Tuesday’s unofficial winner, Anselmo Delia.

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Secretary of State has informed all the towns that comprise the 33rd District Probate Court that they need to conduct a recount of Tuesday’s Republican Primary. The Town of Essex has scheduled their recount on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. at the town hall. Deep River held their recount yesterday, Thursday, Sept. 13. We do not have details of the timing of recounts in other area towns at this time.

Tuesday’s race between the party-endorsed candidate Attorney Anselmo Delia of Clinton and challenger Attorney Kevin Hecht of Old Saybrook ended with a 859-850 win for Delia after all the unofficial results had been declared in the nine towns.

Unofficial results given on the Connecticut Secretary of State’s webpage for towns covered by ValleyNewsNow.com towns are as follows:

Chester: Hecht 23 – Delia 12
Deep River: Delia 24 – Hecht 14
Essex: Delia 79 – Hecht 59
Old Saybrook: Hecht 277 – Delia 46
Westbrook: Hecht 90 – Delia 41.

Results for the remaining towns in the District are:

Clinton: Delia 444 – Hecht 228
Haddam: Delia 140 – Hecht 37
Killingworth: Hecht 78 – Delia 53
Lyme: Hecht 44 – Delia 20.

Share