November 26, 2015

Children’s Fall Story Times at Acton Public Library

The Fall Session of drop-in Story Times at Acton Public Library will begin the week of Tuesday, September 8 and end on Friday, December 11, 2015. All programs are free and open to all. No registration is required.


Wednesday mornings

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Drop in and share stories, songs and simple rhymes together. A program for children             age 0 – 2 and their families. Stay and socialize after the story time with our special toddler toys.


Wednesday mornings

11:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Expand your baby’s story time experience with a 1/2 hour of social time immediately following Wiggle Bookworms. Parents and caregivers can mingle as babies enjoy social play with toys provided by the Library.


Thursday evenings

6:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Wear your pajamas to this drop-in evening story time with simple craft.                                    For kids ages 2-6 with their families .


Friday mornings:

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

A drop in preschool story time for children ages 3-5. Have fun sharing stories, music and a craft together. (A special Music with Miss Martha will take place on the 3rd Friday of every month. See below.)


3rd Friday of every month

10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

Sept. 18; Oct. 16; Nov. 20 and Dec. 18.

Join Miss Martha from the Community Music School for a special musical story time! Ages 3-5.

About our Story Times:

All story times are drop-in, free and open to all. No registration is required.

Although each program is designed for the specific developmental needs of its

intended age group, siblings are welcome to attend with their parent or caregiver.

Our Story Time Goals Are:

  • To foster a love of language and books.
  • To develop early literacy with stories, movement, and music.
  • To provide young children with an early group experience.
  • To foster parent connections through shared story and play experiences.

Come and share the love of books and music with us this fall

Middlesex Habitat for Humanity Hosts ‘Happy Hour’ Tonight at Saybrook Pavilion

OLD SAYBROOK — The Middlesex Habitat for Humanity Special Events Committee, staff and board of directors will be hosting Happy Hour at the Old Saybrook Pavilion Aug. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be wine and beer, hors d’oeuvres donated by Cloud Nine Catering and Catering by Selene, NoRA cupcakes, music and raffles to raise money to help us dig and pour the foundation on Summer Street in Portland, CT.

This event is part of  the Foundation’s larger campaign, $60k in 60 days  (#60kin60days) which ends Sept. 6.

Tickets are $36; to purchase, visit

Malloy, Blumenthal Join Celebrations Marking 15-Year Effort Culminating in Protection of ‘The Preserve’

Governor Dannel Malloy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal cut the ribbon. (L to R: Carl Fortuna, Old Saybrook First Selectman, Alicia Sullivan, CT State Director of the Trust for Public Land, State Representative Brendan Sharkey, Speaker of the House, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Will Rogers, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, State Representative Phil Miller).

Governor Dannel Malloy (third from left) and US Sen. Richard Blumenthal (second from right) cut the celebratory ribbon at yesterday’s event.  Also pictured from left to right are Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, CT State Director of the Trust for Public Land (TPL) Alicia Sullivan, State Representative Brendan Sharkey (D-88) who is also Speaker of the House, TPL President & CEO Will Rogers and State Representative Phil Miller (D-36.)  All photos by Nigel Logan.

OLD SAYBROOK — Governor Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal joined over 200 state and local officials, and local residents at a reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony in Old Saybrook on Thursday to celebrate the permanent protection of “The Preserve,” the 1,000 acre coastal woodland recently acquired primarily by the state and the Town of Old Saybrook. The Essex Land Trust also owns some 70 acres in Essex.

Hosted by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), the celebration was held at the Great Cedars (West) Conservation Area on Ingham Hill Rd. in Old Saybrook where a large tent was erected to provide seating, a refreshment area and space for a band. All guests other than VIPs were ferried on school buses from the M & J Bus Depot on Ingham Hill Rd. to the site.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy addresses the large audience.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy addresses the large audience.

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna spoke briefly followed by Governor Dannel Malloy. “The Preserve is no longer the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, because it’s now protected,” said Malloy, stating emphatically, “This is a monument to Connecticut and who we are and what we are … part of history is now permanently preserved.”

US Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks.

Blumenthal enthused, “There is no way to describe in words the stunning beauty of this land,” continuing, “It will now be enjoyed by our children and our children’s children.” Prompting ripples of laughter, he also apologized with tongue in cheek to, “… all the golfers who will never have the benefit of playing on the golf courses,” that were once planned for the area.

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller (D-36) has been deeply involved in the project to protect ‘The Preserve.’

Also sharing the celebration and offering thanks to the many thousands of individuals and organizations who helped make saving “The Preserve” possible were Connecticut State TPL Director Alicia Sullivan; Speaker of the House and State Representative Brendan Sharkey (D-88); State Representative Phil Miller (D-36); DEEP Policy Director Jessie Stratton; and TPL President and CEO Will Rogers.

Crowds gather to celebrate the successful conservation of 'The Preserve' at Great Cedars, Old Saybrook

Crowds gather to celebrate the successful conservation of ‘The Preserve’ at Great Cedars, Old Saybrook.

Refreshments, speeches and award presentations were followed by a ceremonial ribbon-cutting by Governor Malloy and Senator Blumenthal against the striking back-drop of the green trees of “The Preserve” and a brilliant blue sky.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (left) chats with State Representative Phil Miller after the ribbon-cutting.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (left) chats with State Representative Phil Miller after the ribbon-cutting.

The celebration marks the culmination of 15 years of hard work, fund-raising and collaboration by an enormous number of individuals, local, state and federal organizations and public figures. Blumenthal remarked that he was reminded of a favorite quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt the ability of a small group of intelligent, committed people to change the world – it is the only thing that ever has.”

Rounding off the official part of the ceremony, Rogers noted, “The Trust for Public Land has always referred to ‘The Preserve’ project as the Holy Grail,” adding with a broad smile, “We have now found the Holy Grail.”

OSW Youth Football, Cheerleading Buys Safety Equipment Thanks to Major Sponsors, Westbrook Foundation

Safety Coach Jeff Miller ensures a proper fit of the top-rated Xenith helmet on an 8th grade OSW player. Photo by Michael Yermenson.

Safety Coach Jeff Miller ensures a proper fit of the top-rated Xenith helmet on an 8th grade OSW player. Photo by Michael Yermenson.

OLD SAYBROOK/WESTBROOK — Old Saybrook Westbrook Youth Football and Cheerleading (OSW) has received a special boost to the start of their new season thanks to financial support from their major sponsors for the season coupled with a grant from the Westbrook Foundation.  Funds from these sources have enabled OSW to purchase state-of-the-art safety equipment for the 3rd, 6th and 8th grade football teams.

With the support of Yale New Haven Hospital’s Old Saybrook Medical Clinic, Bridgepoint Mortgage, and a generous grant from The Westbrook Foundation, this year OSW adds Kerr collars and Gyro caps to improve player safety.  The Kerr Collar is a functional transfer energy system worn by the player, which has a demonstrated track record of reducing impact to the neck and head during a collision. Gyro Kevlar supplemental pads further reduce impact severity.

Westbrook personal trainer Jeff Miller has served as the OSW Safety Coach for the past seven years.  He attends coaching clinics across the country to support and implement OSW’s commitment to safety including those held at the University of Alabama, UCONN, FBU (Football University) and USA Football.

Indianapolis-based USA Football is the sport’s national governing body, leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport to establish important standards rooted in education.

The purpose of OSW is to teach the fundamentals of football and cheerleading emphasizing a commitment to players and their families to put safety first by ensuring that participants are outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment that has been properly certified, inspected and maintained. All coaches and assistant coaches are Heads Up trained and certified.

In addition to safety, OSW supports an all-inclusive philosophy by not excluding participants based upon athletic ability or financial circumstance.  The Westbrook Foundation grant enables OSW to offer scholarships to those in the community who wish to participate but have limited resources.

Old Saybrook Westbrook Youth Football and Cheerleading promotes good sportsmanship, teamwork, the highest moral and physical standards, as well as the importance of scholarship and academic achievement.

For more information on the 2015 football and cheerleading programs, visit

Join a ‘Summer Sing’ in Saybrook, Monday

OLD SAYBROOK — Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio will sponsor a Summer Sing Monday, Monday, Aug. 10, 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook featuring Haydn’s ‘Lord Nelson Mass.’ This session will be conducted by Steve Bruce, Con Brio Chorual Society.

Professional Soloists will perform the solos and all singers are welcome.

An $8 fee covers the cost of the event. Scores will be available, and the church is air-conditioned.

For more information, call (860) 767-9409 or (203) 245-6947 or visit or

Acton Library Hosts Job Search Boot Camp; Interview Questions, Aug. 31

CTWORKS Job Search Boot Camp will be held at Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook on three dates this summer as follows:

  • Monday, June 29: to discuss interview questions
  • Monday, July 27 : to discuss job search tools
  • Monday, Aug. 31: to discuss questions to ask employers during the interview

Boot Camp brings area people together who are unemployed or in career transition. These programs are free and presented by CTWORKS.

To register, call the Library 860-395-3184 or email or for more information visit the library online at

Last Day of Acton Library’s Annual Book Sale is Today

booksOLD SAYBROOK — The Friends of Acton Public Library host their Annual Book Sale at the library located at 60 Old Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook, Thursday through Saturday, July 16-18. Saturday’s sale hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be a large assortment of all types of books, videos and audio items on the first and second floors.

The proceeds from the Friends’ Book Sale benefit numerous activities and events at Acton Library throughout the year.  Some of these programs have been the family concerts, children’s Halloween and Christmas parties, summer reading program for children, young adults and adults, and the annual poetry contest.

Also, the Friends’ fund-raising supported the cost of a new large screen television for the program room, book carts, copier and the various museum passes.

Take a minute out of your day to stop by the library and support the Friends while selecting some inexpensive summer reading and video for those long summer days and nights.

For further information, call the library at 860 395-3184 during library hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See “Moon Over Buffalo” by Saybrook Stage at ‘The Kate,’ Runs Thru Sunday

The cast of 'Moon Over Buffalo.'

The cast of ‘Moon Over Buffalo.’

OLD SAYBROOK — The Saybrook Stage Company takes you back to the 1950’s with Ken Ludwig’s hilarious play “Moon Over Buffalo” performed live at The Kate from July 16 through July 19.

This fast-paced comedy takes place in one of the country’s most traditional theater’s located in Buffalo New York during the early 1950’s. “Moon Over Buffalo” is a laugh out loud comedy about a seasoned group of traveling actors trying to survive despite the recent success of television and film.

Howard Roz shows his surprise in this scene from the play.

Howard Roz shows his surprise in this scene from the play.

The play centers around an older married couple given one last shot at real stardom – the famous movie director, Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee performance and if he likes what he sees they could be cast in an upcoming major motion picture. And this is when the fun really starts – anything that could go wrong does go wrong – from the husband’s dalliance with a young actress, to their daughter’s clueless fiancé, to their deaf, elderly stage mother who hates her son-in-law more than anything. All these mishaps will make you cry with laughter as the antics unfold.

“Moon Over Buffalo” originally opened on Broadway in 1995 to rave reviews – “Stuffed with comic invention, running gags and a superb sense of absurdity, this is truly a loveletter to live theatre.”

The production received several Tony nominations and ran for over 300 performances.

Martin Scott Marchitto directs 'Moon Over Buffalo'

Martin Scott Marchitto directs ‘Moon Over Buffalo’

The Saybrook Stage Company is pleased to return once again to The Kate in this hilarious comedy directed by Martin Scott Marchitto. This will be their 10th production at The Kate and could prove to be their funniest yet – previous plays are Our Town, 12 Angry Men, The Dining Room, You Can’t Take It With You, A Piece of My Heart, Enchanted April, Almost Maine, Rumors, and most recently this past January to a sell-out audience, The Wayside Motor Inn.

Visit or call 877.503.1286 to reserve tickets.

For more information about Saybrook Stage Company, visit

Editor’s Note: The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing quality local theater on the Connecticut Shoreline at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Saybrook Stage welcomes actors of all levels and abilities – and anyone who genuinely loves the arts – to come together and share in the experience that only live theater can provide. Actors that have been part of The Saybrook Stage Company to date have varied backgrounds and “day jobs” from teachers, artists and homemakers to lawyers, business people and judges. The Company looks forward to producing many more quality productions at the beautiful venue of The Kate and continuing to thrive in this wonderful, artistic region of Connecticut.

LVVS Seeks Press Relations Volunteer

AREAWIDE — Volunteer for a non-profit that makes a difference in meeting the literacy needs of our community.

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) needs someone to edit and submit news and publicity items to area newspapers, collect clippings and keep records of publicity for our organization.  The schedule is flexible and mostly can be accomplished from home or remotely.

Give LVVS a call at 860-399-0280, stop in or fill out the volunteer application on their website at

LVVS is located at 61 Goodspeed Dr., Westbrook, around the back of the Westbrook Library.

Acton Library Hosts ‘Hotel’ Movie Series; Next Screening Aug. 17

OLD SAYBROOK — The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting a Hotel Film Series on the third Monday in July and August at 6:30 p.m.

On Aug. 17, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ will be shown.

For more information, call the Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Oct to May on Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. or visit online at

Artists for World Peace Host 3rd Annual Dance for Peace

Dance For Peace
OLD SAYBROOK — Artists for World Peace will present its 3rd Annual Dance for Peace on Saturday, June 27, at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate), 300 Main St., Old Saybrook, Conn. (860-510-0473).

A reception and pre-show performance begins at 7 p.m.; show time begins at 8 p.m.

Eight celebrated local and regional dance companies will be featured, as well as the International Peace Belt.

Since 2003, the Peace Belt has traveled to over 28 countries on five continents, and has been worn during hundreds of artistic performances and sacred ceremonies.

Join Artists for World Peace as they celebrate the creative spirit in the name of peace.

For online tickets, visit <
or call The Kate Box Office at 877-503-1286.

For more information about Artists for World Peace, visit: or contact Wendy at 860-685-1789

Acton Library Offers Summer Computer Class for Novice Seniors, Aug. 4

OLD SAYBROOK — Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook is offering two introductory computer classes this summer. The second will be on Tuesday, Aug. 4, starting at 6 p.m.

These classes are designed for seniors who have little-to-no computer experience and are looking to start the journey to being computer literate.  The course will cover basic keyboard and mouse and hardware tutorials, as well as an introduction to the Windows OS.

The class will be conducted by the library’s reference librarian, and there will be assistance provided by teen tech tutors provided by the Old Saybrook Rotary Club.

There is limited seating so contact the library at 860-395-3184 or to register or visit in person.

Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook Hosts Father’s Day Barn Concert Today

Craig Edwards

Craig Edwards will give a concert with the Root Farmers at Bushnell Farm on Father’s Day.

OLD SAYBROOK — Take Dad to Bushnell Farm on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21, for a free concert of toe-tapping, rural American music by Craig Edwards and the Root Farmers.

The 22-acre grounds with eight buildings will open at 3 p.m. with the concert being held from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Bring your chair or blanket. Free parking is on site at 1445 Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook.

Gauggel is Marshview Gallery’s July Artist of the Month

Robert Gauggel

Robert Gauggel

OLD SAYBROOK –The Marshview Gallery features the photography of Robert Gauggel during the month of July.  He has an eye for capturing nature and has won several awards for his work.  Gauggel has donated many of his photographs to local nature centers along the shoreline for use in their educational programs.

Pilgrim Landing by Robert Gauggel

Pilgrim Landing by Robert Gauggel

A resident of Clinton, Conn., Gauggel prides himself in matting and framing without the aid of a computer.

Hooded Merganser by Howard Marguel

Hooded Merganser by Robert Gauggel

The Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council, 220 Main St. in Old Saybrook is open daily, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Windsurfer by Robert Gauggel

Windsurfer by Robert Gauggel

All are welcome to join an Artist Reception on Friday, July 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

OSHS Senior Nochera Presents $1,400 Check to Vista from Senior Project Endeavors

Sam Nochera (center) meets students at Vista's Westbrook Campus after delivering the proceeds from youth football clinics he organized to benefit Vista.

Sam Nochera (center) meets students at Vista’s Westbrook Campus after delivering the proceeds from youth football clinics he organized to benefit Vista.

OLD SAYBROOK — Sam Nochera, a soon-to-be graduate of Old Saybrook High School, turned his senior project into an opportunity to benefit Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, an organization he came to know four years ago through his love of sports.

For his project, Nochera teamed up with the Old Saybrook Parks and Recreation Department and Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OSW) Football to host youth football Spring Training clinics on May 30 and June 7. All proceeds from the clinics—nearly $1,400— were donated to Vista and will benefit the Ed Gallant Financial Aid Fund, which provides scholarship opportunities to individuals in Vista’s programs.

“Vista made a big impact on me,” said Nochera, who was introduced to Vista students and members in 2011 through basketball. “It’s a great cause and I wanted to give back.”

clinic group

For at least two seasons, Nochera joined Vista members for casual games of basketball at Daisy Ingraham School in Westbrook. The experience, he said, was rewarding and enjoyable. It also stuck with him over the years. So much so, Nochera wrote his senior research paper on individuals with disabilities transitioning out of high school—which led him back to Vista.

Nochera, an alumni of the OSW program, has been playing football since he was 8-years-old. The Spring Training clinics, which catered to second through eighth-graders, allowed Sam the perfect opportunity to raise awareness for two programs he cares about.

This fall, Nochera is headed to Tulane University in New Orleans, where he plans to pursue a double major in International Relations and Finance.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, visit

Old Saybrook HS Senior Nochera Partners with OSW & OS Park & Rec to Benefit Vista

spring camp_kids_playing

OLD SAYBROOK — More than two dozen boys and their families met in Clark Park this past Sunday to get ready for the 2015 football season.  The Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OSW) Youth Football Clinic is an annual event, but this year’s clinic was much more than spring training.
spring camp 1-1
Old Saybrook High School (OSHS) senior Sam Nochera chose the OSW clinic as his senior project and has directed all the proceeds to benefit the Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center where Nochera has been a volunteer since 2011.  Nochera was joined by several OSW coaches and a few of his OSW football buddies – Connor Eastman, a senior at Eastern Connecticut State University, Brendan McElhone, a junior at Western Connecticut State University, and Ethan Casberg, a fellow OSHS senior heading to the University of Connecticut in the fall.
The boys had a chance to train and try out the new tackling dummy while parents had the opportunity to talk to coaches and board members as wellas see the equipment and level of commitment to player safety.
Nochera chose the project to benefit the program he credits with teaching him dedication and perseverance.  “I want the kids to take away from my project that with hard work and perseverance they will be able to accomplish their goals whether on the football field or another facet of life. And that helping and giving back to something you truly support is always a good move.”
spring camp_group_pic
This coming fall Nochera starts his freshman year with a double major in International Relations and Business at Tulane University, La.
A second clinic will take place on Sunday, June 7, from 9 to 11 a.m.
For more information or to register, visit
To donate, make checks payable to Vista with the notation Ed Gallant Financial Aid Fund.
To register for the 2015 OSW Football & Cheer season, visit

Action-Oriented Old Saybrook Chamber Bolsters Business Environment


The Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce building serves as a ‘gateway’ to Main Street.

OLD SAYBROOK — Founded in 1939, the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2014. The more than 500 members are the driving force behind the organization and also form its strong volunteer base. These, in turn, support the Chamber’s two full time employees, Executive Director Judy Sullivan and Member Services Manager Karen Pinette.

Sullivan explains, “Our job is to promote Old Saybrook as a place to work and live and play.” Composed of a diverse group of nonprofits, retail companies, insurance companies, banks, and more, the Chamber unites under their common goals of advancing the economic vitality and improving the quality of life in the community, as well as bringing businesses and new jobs to town.

Executive Director Judy Sullivan

Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judy Sullivan takes a brief break from her work.

With about 25 percent of Old Saybrook businesses as members, the Chamber accomplishes its ambitious goals through a variety of community events including educational programs on topics ranging from networking and email marketing software to social media publicity and customer service. The Chamber also sponsors an annual Chili-Fest to fund the college scholarship program it runs for students resident in Old Saybrook or children of Chamber members, as well as an annual Arts and Crafts Festival, which is being held this year on July 25 and 26.

In addition, the Chamber has initiated the Chamber Mail program by which every new resident receives information about surrounding businesses, and runs the Chamber Dollars program, a gift certificate program involving over 50 businesses.  The Chamber also works frequently with nonprofits on community-oriented projects.


The smiling faces of Executive Director Judy Sullivan (left) and Membership Services Manager Karen Pinette greet visitors to the light and airy Chamber building.

An important aspect of the Chamber is that they serve as a link between businesses and governments to facilitate lines of communication. Most recently, at ‘Connecticut Business Day at the Capitol,’ Old Saybrook Chamber representatives spoke to senators and representatives about issues facing businesses in the state, such as Connecticut’s 15 percent occupancy tax.

OS_Chamber_Exterior_rearThe Chamber also helps foster inter-business relationships and once a month, a Chamber Connections event is held. These are casual gatherings at various local businesses, which facilitate networking between — and sometimes even within — businesses.

Sullivan grew up in Old Saybrook and graduated from Old Saybrook High School. When her youngest child started school, she fell into her role at the Chamber, first on a part-time basis and ultimately working her way up to executive director. Sullivan notes, “The hardest part of the job is being careful with each action because somebody might be affected. We constantly have to be aware of the impact of any actions we might take.  We always want to leave a positive impact.”

She adds, “I’m really proud of the Chamber — it’s been here a long time. I love promoting the town I grew up in. And I find it so rewarding when we see tangible success in businesses.”

Music & Memory Documentary Film Screening, Panel Discussion at ‘The Kate’ Tomorrow

An Alzheimer’s patient reacts to music of "The Beach Boys.” Photo courtesy of BOND360

An Alzheimer’s patient reacts to music of “The Beach Boys.” Photo courtesy of BOND360

OLD SAYBROOK – Community Music School, the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter, and The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center present a screening of the award-winning documentary film “Alive Inside” on Tuesday, June 2, at 7 p.m. at The Kate, 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by phone at 860-767-0026 or in person at Community Music School, 90 Main Street, Centerbrook; or by visiting

“Alive Inside” follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he demonstrates music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short.

The documentary visits family members who have witnessed the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones, and offers illuminating interviews with experts including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin. Many will remember the viral video “Henry Wakes Up!” – a clip from the film that shows a 92-year old nursing home resident enthusiastically responding to music.

The evening will include a brief performance by the New Horizons Band and post-screening panel discussion with experts in the field of memory loss. The New Horizons Band is a program of the Music School that offers active adults the opportunity to play music with their peers in a supportive environment.

This film is not rated, but is recommended for ages 13 and up.

For additional information, contact Community Music School at 860-767-0026.

Editor’s Notes: Community Music School offers innovative educational music programming and music therapy led by a board-certified music therapist for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 70,000 people in Connecticut. The Alzheimer‘s Association provides services to those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias; advocates for policy change and research funding; and advances research toward prevention, treatment and a cure. The Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter’s main office is in Southington, with regional offices throughout the state in Hamden, New Milford, Norwich, and Norwalk. To learn more contact the Connecticut Chapter at

Summer Reading Programs Announced at Acton Public Library

OLD SAYBROOK — This summer Acton Library is celebrating the joy of reading with our summer reading programs for adults, teens and children from June 18 to July 30.

Summer Reader is the statewide online summer reading log for all levels.

Follow the link on the library’s website at www. Sign up at home or in the Library to track your minutes or books…write and share reviews…and earn prizes!

For Adults: Escape the Ordinary  with the adult summer reading program. Register either in person or online and select books to read of your choosing. If you register online, you will enter titles read. If you register in person, you will fill out a raffle ticket for each book read. Drawings will be held weekly for gift cards to local businesses. The more books you read, the more chances to win!

Check the library website at for the link to sign up via “Summer Reader”, or stop by to register in person.

For Teens: Unmask!  for students entering Grades  6-12. Welcome to “Summer Reader” the statewide online summer reading log.  Follow the link on our website at www. to sign up…track your books…write reviews…and enter a chance to win gift cards to local businesses.
For Kids: Make your summer sizzle with our summer reading program “Every Hero Has a Story  for children birth to grade 5.  Track 20 minute blocks of time reading or being read to and earn Acton Reading Bucks . Remember, all reading counts, including being read to, or reading to someone else.

Earn an Acton Reading Buck for every 20 minutes of reading time to “spend” on prizes at Acton’s General Store.

Weekly fun: All programs are free and drop-in. Please note: children under age 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

  • Crafternoons on Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Supplies are provided by the library.  Suitable for all ages.
  • Picnic Story Times, Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Bring a blanket and your  lunch to eat indoors while listening to a story.  Best for ages 2 – 5.
  • Family Nights! Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. Entertaining and educational family performers.
  • Story Time with Rocky the Rock Cat and guest reader Phyllis DaCorte                                                    on Friday, July 17 at 10:30 a.m.  Great photo op!
  • It’s Theater Time! with Judy Potter. Listen to a story and learn how to act it out.
    July 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Best for ages 3-7. Please register.

Kindermusik on Wednesday, July 1, 10 – 10:45 a.m. for toddlers 18- 48 months, with caregiver. Introduce your child to the wonderful world of music. A fun class filled with singing and dancing.

All programs are free and drop-in unless otherwise noted. Children under age 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

Family Nights 

Thursdays, June 18 – July 30 from 7 to 8 p.m.

  • June 18: Summer Reading Program kick-off event! Family Dance Party with DJ Dave! DJ Dave will get the whole family rockin’ and rolling with the greatest dance party music ever.
  • June 25: Horizon Wings: Experience the thrill of being up close to a magnificent eagle, hawk,  and owl. Be inspired about their stories of survival, explore fascinating facts about each species and learn what you can do to help them.
  • July 2: Family MoviePaddington (2015, Rated PG; 95 mins.)   Free popcorn.
  • July 9: Nappy’s Puppets: Entertaining shadow puppet theater featuring the classic tale of  Jack and the Beanstalk.
  • July 16: Riverside Reptiles: Jeepers Creepers! Encounter some creepy looking creatures. See and touch a variety of reptiles, amphibians, arachnids and insects.
  • July 23: Magic of Christopher: Chris has the right mix of comedy, impressive  magic and one liners to keep the kids howling and the parents chuckling.
  • July 30: Robert Rivest Mime Theater: Comic mime Robert Rivest will lead you on a fun, upbeat journey of everyday heroes, superheroes, and heroes from Greek Mythology. Get a chance to learn mime and create a new hero on the spot.

Special appreciation is extended to the Friends of the Acton Library for sponsoring all of the Family Night performers, the summer reading prizes and gift cards. Without their hard work and dedication, the summer reading program would not be possible.

For more information, go to the library’s website at  or call the library at 860-395-3184 during  library hours: Monday- Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Sundays from June – September.

Memory Care Community at Saybrook at Haddam Dedicated to Helen Shulz

The family of Helen Shultz of Old Saybrook gathered at The Saybrook at Haddam for the unveiling of the personalized plaque to commemorate her position as Safe Harbor’s first memory care resident.  Pictured here next to the plaque, left to right, are: Dan Sullivan, Richard Shultz, Judy Sullivan, Peter Sullivan, Bob Shultz, and Matthew Shultz. Two of Helen’s sons, John Schultz of Staten Island, N.Y., and Mark Shultz of Mequon, Wis., were unable to attend.

The family of Helen Shultz of Old Saybrook gathered at The Saybrook at Haddam for the unveiling of the personalized plaque to commemorate her position as Safe Harbor’s first memory care resident.  Pictured here next to the plaque, left to right, are: Dan Sullivan, Richard Shultz, Judy Sullivan, Peter Sullivan, Bob Shultz, and Matthew Shultz. Two of Helen’s sons, John Schultz of Staten Island, N.Y., and Mark Shultz of Mequon, Wis., were unable to attend.

HADDAM – The Saybrook at Haddam has dedicated its Safe Harbor neighborhood to its very first memory care resident, Helen Shultz of Old Saybrook, who lived at the specialized community throughout its inaugural year.  Members of the Shultz family joined the retirement community at a brief ceremony on May 6 to unveil a personalized plaque placed in Safe Harbor in honor of Helen’s memory.

Helen’s children attended the ceremony with their families.  Her daughter, Judy Sullivan, who is executive director of the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce, was joined by husband, Dan, and son, Peter; Bob Shultz of Hudson, New Hampshire, attended with his son Matthew from Avon, Conn.; and Richard Shultz came from Norwich, Conn.

During the celebration, Helen’s children expressed their appreciation for the care she received at The Saybrook at Haddam – and for the tremendous support the community offered their own families.

“When a loved one suffers from a memory illness, the family is forced into quite a learning curve,” Judy Sullivan said.  “The entire team at The Saybrook at Haddam walked us through that process, helping us understand Mom’s new ‘world,’ how to have patience, and most importantly how to continue enjoying each moment we had with her.  We are indebted to this community for their care, kindness and expertise and are so honored to have Mom forever be a part of Safe Harbor.”

Helen actually moved into The Saybrook at Haddam in 2011 a few weeks before Safe Harbor was completed.  As soon as the doors officially opened, she moved over to Safe Harbor.  During this time, The Saybrook at Haddam was working to build awareness of its unique and personalized approach to helping those suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory-related illnesses, and the Shultz family was the first to put its faith and trust into this new community.

“We owe a debt to the Shultz’s as well, as they were the first to recognize and trust in our approach to memory care,” Kathy Ryan, executive director of The Saybrook at Haddam, said.  “Of course, since Helen was our only resident for a short time, she essentially had one-on-one care and really stole the hearts of our entire community. I like to say she was ‘holding court,’ because she always had a group around her listening to stories, sharing meals, and meeting her every need with lightning speed.  Although we have grown tremendously since those days, Helen helped shape the quality and personality of the community we have become.”

Staff members who cared for Helen also shared warm memories of their premier resident, talking with fondness and laughter about their experiences with her.  They enjoyed her “no-nonsense” style, which likely was a result of the 40 years Helen worked as owner of the successful Shultz Appliance and TV retail shop in Old Saybrook.
Staff appreciated her real sense of family and knew they had made an impact when Helen began treating Safe Harbor like her home.  This was considered a milestone since Helen’s home in Old Saybrook was immensely important to her as the epi-center of very large family holidays, gatherings and memories.
“Safe Harbor really did become her home, and for us that was the true blessing,” Sullivan said.  “If there was a silver lining in Mom’s illness, it was getting to know everyone at The Saybrook at Haddam.  This plaque forever memorialized our connection to this community, and reinforces our hopes that other families find solace and reassurance here as they navigate through the difficult maze of memory loss.”
Editor’s Note: The Saybrook at Haddam ( is one of the region’s premier assisted living, retirement, and memory care communities; it offers 106 apartments for individuals or couples.  The manor is located in Haddam, Conn., with proximity to major highways, medical services, restaurants and entertainment venues.  Private tours are being scheduled, and applications for residence are available by calling 860-345-3779.

Marshview Gallery Features Art of Anita Price During May

OLD SAYBROOK — The Marshview Gallery features the watercolor and oil paintings of Anita Price during the month of May.  Price obtains her inspiration from New England’s beautiful homes and gardens as well as its unique shoreline. European travel has also inspired her.

A resident of Mystic, Price holds a degree in fine arts and is always studying and experimenting.  Her work can be seen in shows and galleries along the Shoreline.

The Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council, 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook is open daily, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm, and on Saturdays from 8 am – 12 noon.

Perennially Popular ‘Celtic Tenors’ Perform at ‘The Kate’ Tomorrow

The Celtic Tenors perform at the Katharine Hepburn Theater on Wednesday.

The Celtic Tenors perform at the Katharine Hepburn Theater on Wednesday.

OLD SAYBROOK — The Celtic Tenors — a three-man vocal group comprising Matthew Gilsenan, James Nelson and Daryl Simpson — are back! Direct from Ireland, they will be performing favorite Irish and popular tunes on Wednesday, May 13, at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center at 7:30 p.m.

The trio has been weaving together an eclectic repertoire of Celtic, operatic and popular songs for audiences worldwide since 2000.  What began as three talented friends gathering on the operatic stage has become an international and touring sensation that transcends the trio’s classical roots and embraces folk, pop and various other dimensions of musical genres.

Whether playing a neighborhood cathedral or major concert halls in international cities like New York, Amsterdam or Shanghai, you are assured of a professional, sparkling and most of all, good humored performance. Their range extends from beautiful Celtic songs like the haunting Danny Boy to exhilarating opera classics like Nessun Dorma.

The group was signed this summer to Decca/Universal Records and is currently in the studio recording a new album being produced by Charles Fisher, an award winning producer of hits in Australia and overseas for decades, with 12 Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Awards to his name, including a Special Achievement for his Lifetime Contribution to Australian Music. His credits include Savage Garden, The Hoodoo Gurus, Olivia Newton-John and many more.

The Celtic Tenors last CD release, Feels Like Home, celebrated the uplifting music of Ireland, Scotland , England and Wales , while borrowing a few songs from other cultures along the way. “We cross a lot of borders when we travel, but we find that people all over the world are similar in many ways. Almost everyone is open to good music and an uplifting message. We have so many great fans around the globe,” says James Nelson.

For tickets, call 860 510 0473 or visit for tickets.

For more information on the Celtic Tenors, visit

RiverQuest Teams up with Old Saybrook Boy Scout Troop for Selden Island Clean-up

With the backdrop of the Goodspeed Opera House, the Old Saybrook Scouts gather for a photo to display the fruist of their labors after their trash pick-up efforts on Selden Island.

With the backdrop of the Goodspeed Opera House, the Old Saybrook Scouts gather for a photo to display the fruist of their labors after their trash pick-up efforts on Selden Island.

HADDAM/OLD SAYBROOK — It was a sunny, warm day with a little breeze.  The Connecticut River was inviting as always in the eyes of Captain Mark and Mindy Yuknat, the owners of the eco-tourism vessel RiverQuest.

On Saturday, May 2, they invited Boy Scout Troop 51 from Old Saybrook to help with what they hope to become an annual event called, “The 1st Annual Selden Island Clean-up.”

For years Captain Mark has been navigating the Connecticut River.  RiverQuest offers guided tours throughout the year, educating the public about the river and its rich history, wildlife (eagles and ospreys), flora and fauna.  On this day RiverQuest was bringing the Scouts, leaders and volunteers out to Selden Island for a clean-up and a campout.

These Boy Scouts are hard at work on Selden Island.

These Boy Scouts are hard at work on Selden Island.

With the help of the CT DEEP staff located at Gillette Castle, they acquired a camping permit and plenty of trash bags.  Phil Yuris, the park maintainer, was excited to help.  He was very grateful for all the work that was done by the group and hopes that more groups will get involved in the future. As he had hoped, it was a very positive experience for all.

Scoutmaster Dan Sullivan had originally presented the “clean-up” idea to the boys and they were very enthusiastic.

“What a great experience this was, not only for the 16 Scouts, but, also for the four accompanying adults as well. “ Sullivan said, “This was a very different trip for us and all the boys walked away with a very positive experience.  I believe every one of them will take away a new appreciation of the motto “Leave No Trace” and leave everything better than they found it.”

He continued, “We were also able to have all the boys work on earning two merit badges over the weekend, Bird Study and Nature, thanks to  John Ogren from the Old Saybrook Land Trust.  These lessons along with the Clean-up effort hopefully will foster a lifelong appreciation of our environment.”

On Sunday, with about enough trash to fill a pickup truck, they headed back to RiverQuest’s berth at Eagle Landing State Park.  Mindy Yuknat stated, “The Connecticut River starts in a beaver pond in New Hampshire near the Canadian border.  It is cleaner than it ever has been, but there is always room for improvement.  It is amazing how much debris and trash is deposited on the river banks. “

Captain Mark said, “It was a fun weekend and we are already talking about another trip this year.  We hope to get more Scout troops and other groups involved and we hope to get better equipment to help us remove and transport larger items like tires.”

For more information about Selden Neck State Park, visit

For more information about Old Saybrook BSA Troop 51, visit

For more information about RiverQuest, visit

For more information about Mark Yuknat, visit or call 860-662-0577.

Tributary Mill Allows OSHS Interns to Experience Environmental Preservation Efforts First-hand 

Gathered for a photo are, from left to right, Tyler Clinton, Ashley Bright, Gray Tripp, Morey Tripp, and Jim Tripp.

Gathered for a photo are, from left to right, Tyler Clinton, Ashley Bright, Gray Tripp, Morey Tripp, and Jim Tripp.

The Tributary Mill has stood strong in the heart of Old Lyme since 1672. Originally used to grind grains such as corn and wheat, the mill often became referred to as Rooks Mill in honor of Edward Rooks, an American impressionist who was enthralled with the mill’s beauty, which has since been the subject of many paintings.

The Tributary Mill in Old Lyme.

The Tributary Mill in Old Lyme.

Purchased by Fran Tripp in 1981, her son Jim and his wife Sandra created the Tributary Mill Conservancy (TMC) that exists today from the original foundation. A nonprofit organization that strives to merge science and art through the conservation of the unique tributary ecosystem, the TMC has serviced its surrounding community in innumerable ways.

The waterfall at the mill.

The waterfall at the mill.

Operated by Jim, a carpenter, and Sandra, a high school chemistry teacher, as well as a variety of additional volunteers of all ages, the TMC works closely with a variety of environmentally oriented organizations such as the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Mystic Aquarium, and the Quebec-Labrador Foundation.

Smile for the camera! Ashley Bright holds a turtle.

Smile for the camera! Ashley Bright holds a turtle.

During the summer and fall seasons, the TMC focuses its energies on trapping and collecting data from snapping turtles by conducting blood tests, fecal tests, and collecting the leeches found on the turtles for further testing.

In addition, National Geographic recently donated a large number of cameras to put on the backs of the snapping turtles to further track them.

Ashley and Tyler work on transferring the baby salmon.

Ashley and Tyler work on transferring the baby salmon.

In the winter, the TMC turns its attention to hatching Atlantic salmon eggs given to them and regulated by the DEEP. An endangered species, the Atlantic salmon thrive in the unique ecosystem found at the TMC.

The highly efficient filtration system used by the TMC to hatch the eggs, which was engineered by Jim Tripp himself, has resulted in an 18 percent death rate for the eggs, significantly lower than the average 20 percent death rate. The eggs, once hatched, are then released into the surrounding Connecticut River tributaries.

In the spring, the TMC collects data on glass eels. Estimating the number of eels migrating up the Mill Brook as well as weighing trapped eels gives them valuable data, which they then send to the DEEP.

Eels galore!

Eels galore!

The Conservancy also focuses on educating and involving the community in their work. Along with offering tours for school groups ranging from elementary to high schoolers, the Conservancy also provides hands on learning opportunities for middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students.

Old Saybrook High School seniors Ashley Bright and Tyler Clinton have been deeply impacted by their time at the preserve, which has inspired both of them to pursue careers in environmental science and engineering.

Ashley, who has been interning at the TMC since September, said, “I never expected to get so much out of a high school internship. I feel like I’ve been part of their family. It’s amazing that I’ve been able to do what I’ve done here as a high school student, and I know this experience is something I’ll always remember.”

Tyler, who has been interning at the TMC for two years, echoed Ashley’s sentiment, saying, “I have a second family here,” before going on to praise the kindness of Jim and Sandra Tripp. “They do this out of the kindness of their hearts. They really care about conserving the ecosystem and helping it thrive.”

Jim Tripp notes, “Our original goal was to make a prototype of a mill that could be emulated throughout the area because our location here on the river is such a great place to do wildlife work.”

For more information about the Tributary Mill Conservancy, visit or email Donations to the nonprofit can also be made through the TMC website.

With Protection of The Preserve, Partners Secure Historic Conservation Gain

Conservation acquisition of almost 1,000-acre coastal forest in Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook expands Connecticut’s conservation legacy and is the culmination many years of work.

OLD SAYBROOK, CT—A coalition led by The Trust for Public Land and including The Nature Conservancy today announced protection of The Preserve, a huge swath of undeveloped forest located primarily in Old Saybrook.

To support this project, The Nature Conservancy will hold a conservation easement over almost 900 acres of The Preserve.

Over the years, the Conservancy was involved in many efforts with partners to protect the land. In the end, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) took the lead and, in 2013, negotiated The Preserve’s acquisition from River Sound Development LLC. TPL secured $10 million for project costs with financial commitments from the state, Old Saybrook, Essex and many public and private donors. The state and Old Saybrook are sharing ownership, with the Essex Land Trust owning 70 acres in Essex. The state will hold an easement over the acreage in Essex.

“Helping protect a place of this magnitude is an opportunity that simply does not come around often. When it does, you take it,” said Frogard Ryan, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “It’s gratifying for the Conservancy to be able to play a crucial role in this milestone—a success that adds substantially to Connecticut’s remarkable legacy of conservation.”

The Preserve is an extraordinary expanse of forest, wetlands and vernal pools. It includes the headwaters of the Oyster River. It is a stopover spot for migratory birds and provides habitat for dozens of animal and plant species.

“The Preserve was the last remaining opportunity in Southern New England to protect a block of coastal forest this large,” Ryan said. “We’re inspired—and galvanized for the future—by the leadership and vision of the many partners who made this achievement possible.”

In 2014, to provide extra protection for public lands, the Connecticut General Assembly gave the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection authority to grant protective easements over state park and forest land to nonprofit organizations. Lawmakers also granted authority for an easement over The Preserve. Because of the Conservancy’s experience, the state, TPL and Old Saybrook asked the Conservancy to hold that easement.

The Conservancy is thrilled to be able to accept the easement and is grateful for financial support for long-term costs from TPL and philanthropist Joan Livingston Tweedy, her family and their Tortuga Foundation.

“This is an iconic conservation success story, and we’re honored to play a part in it,” said Sarah Pellegrino, land protection and strategies manager for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. “The Trust for Public Land, the Tortuga Foundation, the state of Connecticut, the towns of Old Saybrook and Essex, Connecticut Fund for the Environment: The list goes on. So many people have played a part in making this dream a reality.”

David Sutherland, government relations director for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut said: “Connecticut’s conservation community long has been working to preserve this property. Through years of hopes and setbacks, the impact of raging real estate markets and the weight of global financial forces, The Preserve and the wildlife that lives on it has endured. This acquisition will enable them to continue to thrive for decades to come.”

Tidy the Town! Old Saybrook Hosts 3rd Annual ‘Green Up Day’, Today

April 25 is Old Saybrook's 3rd Annual Green Up Day!

April 25 is Old Saybrook’s 3rd Annual Green Up Day!

OLD SAYBROOK – In 2013, Old Saybrook resident and runner, Bill Casertano, noticed the mounting litter along the roadside. He decided to do something about it by starting the annual event, Old Saybrook Green Up Day.

Join Castertano in this effort this coming Saturday, April 25, for the 3rd annual Green Up Day, kicking off at 8 a.m. The rain date is Sunday, April 26.

Community members will once again head-out to all parts of town, anytime throughout the day, to clean up the abundant litter found everywhere from school grounds and parking lots to marshes and parks.

Playground trashBusy day? Take a bag to the park, Little League Opening Day, the Park and Recreation’s fishing derby, or wherever your day takes you, fill it up, and throw it away. It’s a great example for kids to see everyone working together to keep their favorite places, and the roads to get to them, clean.

Collect trash individually in your own neighborhood, or meet up with others at the Green Up Meet Up on the green, 8 a.m. before heading out.

Free garbage bags are available at the Town Hall Parking Lot, Town Park on Schoolhouse Road and the Town Beach Parking Lot. Full bags may be returned to these locations as well.

Join us as we take this critical step in preventing roadside litter from becoming not only a blight on our town, but a threat to our inland waterways and Long Island Sound.  By simply walking your neighborhood, you could have a significant impact on the litter around town, which eventually finds its way to our beaches, rivers, and estuaries.

To volunteer, or for more information about how and where you can help “green up”, visit the Old Saybrook Green Up Day website,,, or email

Carney, Sen. Formica to Hold Joint Town Hall Meeting Thursday in Old Saybrook

Rep. Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney

State Senator Paul Formica

State Senator Paul Formica

OLD SAYBROOK — State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23) and State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20) invite residents of the 23rd district to attend a joint Town Hall meeting on Thursday, April 23, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Acton Public Library, 60 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook

Both legislators will be available to answer questions about state government and discuss major issues defining the 2015 legislative session.

For more information and updates. visit or

St. John School Produces “Twinderella”

OLD SAYBROOK — More than 30 fifth to eighth graders formed the cast and crew of the St. John School Drama Club production, “Twinderella,” led by their coaches, Sister Gabriela (2nd grade teacher) and Ann Corcoran (5th grade teacher), assisted by St. John School alumnae, Molly Sullivan.

More information about the great performance is available on St. John School website at

Congratulations to the cast and crew!

Local Fire Departments Host Areawide Food Drive Today

Food donations collected last year are gathered beside an Old Saybrook firetruck

Food donations were collected in Old Saybrook last year by the Old Saybrook Fire Department.

AREAWIDE — For the fourth year, local Fire Departments are hosting an area-wide food drive to collect non-perishable food for area residents in need.

The fire stations will be open to receive donations of non-perishable food on Saturday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The donations will go to five local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP).

SSKP hopes to include as many fire departments as possible in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. So far, the Old Saybrook, Chester, Killingworth, Clinton, Niantic and Westbrook fire departments have committed to the event. All fire departments are welcome to participate.

At a time of year when food donations are low, this food will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our communities will have a place at the table.

The Soup Kitchens’ five pantries combine to distribute approximately 17,000 pounds of food every week. Only 40 percent of this food comes from the CT Food Bank; the remainder must be either purchased or donated, so every item is appreciated. Last year’s drive raised 6,500 pounds of food. Join the effort by bring your donation to a participating firehouse on April 11.

The most needed items are:

Canned Meats (tuna, chicken, salmon)

Canned Fruits & Vegetables

Peanut Butter

Canned & Boxed Meals

Canned or Dried Beans

Pasta & Rice


Items that cannot be accepted:

Rusty or Unlabeled Cans

Perishable Items

Homemade Items

Noncommercial Packaged or Canned Items

Alcoholic Beverages & Mixes

Open or Used Items

For more information call (860) 388-1988 or or visit

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River. Founded 26 years ago, in 1989, at the Baptist Church in Essex, the agency continues in its mission to feed the hungry in body and spirit. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served almost 950,000 meals worth of food to shoreline neighbors in need.

Old Saybrook HS NHS Hosts Food Drive Today for Shoreline Soup Kitchen

OLD SAYBROOK — The Old Saybrook High School’s National Honor Society hopes to involve the town in their fundraiser for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen by encouraging Old Saybrook residents to leave a bag filled with non perishable foods at the end of their driveways on the morning of Saturday, April 11.

Students will be picking up the donations from 8 am to 9 am. All are also encouraged to drop off any additional donations at the left entrance of Old Saybrook High School any time between  8am and 10am.

Suggested items include canned tuna, jam/jelly, canned vegetables, canned foods, pasta, rice, cereal, and other canned foods.

All donations are much appreciated- be sure to try and support this wonderful cause!

Students Support Meals on Wheels, ‘Blizzard Bag’ Drive a Great Success

OLD SAYBROOK – ‘Meals on Wheels’ in the Nine-Town Estuary region are provided to seniors along the Shoreline exclusively by The Estuary Council of Seniors and delivered by dedicated volunteers. Their volunteers brave all kinds of weather, from extreme heat to thunderstorms to snow.  They go out of their way to ensure that the nearly 200 clients have meals and a friendly visit each weekday.  However, there are days when weather conditions make it impossible to deliver meals and provide that all important personal visit.

An essential part of the Meals on Wheels program is to make certain homebound seniors have food in the case of emergency when delivery is not possible. The emergency meal is a day’s worth of shelf-stable food items, which is provided at no charge to clients. Each time meal delivery is canceled, the emergency meal is replenished.

This year, Old Saybrook students held the first annual “Blizzard Bag Drive”, collecting non-perishable food items for the emergency “Blizzard Bag” food for Meals on Wheels clients. These Blizzard Bags replaced the former pre-packaged emergency meals.  Each Blizzard Bag was decorated by local students and included a personal item for the recipient.

A meals on Wheels spokesperson commented, “The students did an outstanding job reaching out to our community and local businesses to generate incredible support of our homebound neighbors. Thank you to everyone who helped us with this first annual “Blizzard Bag” drive.”

If you, or anyone you know age 60 years old or better, need Meals on Wheels, call Carol Adanti at 860-388-1611, x217 for details.

‘First Mondays:  Get Plugged in’ Course for Seniors Being Held at Saybrook Library

Join Acton Public Library for First Mondays: Get Plugged In from 1 to 2 p.m. starting May 4.  The library is offering beginner’s workshops on computer literacy.
Spring topics will include email and internet security as well as Facebook (June  1).

These free sessions are targeted primarily at seniors, but all are welcome.

Brett Elliott Appointed New Executive Director at ‘The Kate’

Brett Elliott

Brett Elliott

OLD SAYBROOK — The Board of Directors of the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (“The Kate”) has announced the appointment of Brett Elliott as Executive Director.

Elliott served as ‘The Kate’s’ Interim Director since founding Executive Director Chuck Still announced his departure in December.

Sonny Whelen, President of the Board of Trustees, stated, “We couldn’t be happier having Brett join us as our next Executive Director. In his position as interim director, Brett has shown us that he has all of the skills and leadership qualities to bring the Kate forward as we continue to expand our role in the community. This is a very exciting time for all of us”.

Starting in 2012, Elliott spent two years in Chicago where he received his MFA in Arts Leadership from DePaul University, a joint program with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Elliott produced several projects for Chicago Shakespeare including the world premiere of “Since I Suppose”, a technology driven, live interactive performance developed by Australia’s one step at a time like this. Elliott also spent a brief period in the finance and operations department at Broadway in Chicago.

Elliott is no stranger to Eastern Connecticut or the Kate. He worked at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center from 2009-2012. He then found his way to ‘The Kate’ through lighting and production work.

Holding a BA in Theater from Saginaw Valley State University, Elliott is a proud product of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival, an organization, which gave him his start.

“After six years, there is no doubt about the quality, quantity, and variety of entertainment at ‘The Kate’; it truly is a cultural gem on the shoreline,” Elliott stated. “I am very proud to not only be back at ‘The Kate,’ but to lead this organization at such a vibrant and exciting time. I look forward to getting to know those in the community, as well as the thousands of patrons that come to the Kate each year,” Elliott concluded.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘The Kate,’ is a non-profit performing arts organization located in the historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ‘The Kate’ has been renovated with public funds from the town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center.

It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.

‘Paws and Read’ at Acton Public Library, Saturdays

OLD SAYBROOK — Calling all kids! Bring your favorite book or use one of the library’s to read to Hazel, a sweet Border Collie mix who will be at the Acton Public Library on select Saturdays waiting for you to read to her.

Hazel is a certified therapy dog who is trained and fully insured and will be accompanied by her handler. She is an Allan’s Angels Therapy Dog (AATD), which is a chapter of  The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Call and register for a 15-minute reading session on Saturday, April 18 beginning at 10 a.m., first come, first served. Free and open to all ages.

For more information, call 860-395-3184 during service hours: Monday – Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Acton Library Seeks Kid’s Collections for New Display Case

OLD SAYBROOK — The Acton Public Library is looking for your display for their new Children’s Display case. If you have a collection you would like to share for a month, you can sign up in the Children’s Department or call the Library.

Some popular examples of collections to display might be: Star Wars; My Little Pony; dinosaur figures; Silly Bands; teddy bears; keychains; models; or Legos. Sign up today to reserve your month now.

If you have any questions, call the library at 860-395-3184 during service hours of: Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Last Chance to See ‘West Side Story’ at Old Saybrook High School Tonight

Rehearsals for West Side Story are in full swing at Old Saybrook High School.

Rehearsals for West Side Story are in full swing at Old Saybrook High School.

The Old Saybrook High School (OSHS) Drama Department is excited to welcome one and all to their production of West Side Story that will be playing Thursday through Saturday, March 26 to 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Saybrook High School Auditorium.

Working on costumes is a balancing business!

Working on costumes can be a balancing business!

Written and produced through the combined efforts of Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins and set in 1950’s New York City, West Side Story is a classic tale of romance and tragedy in which the Puerto Rican Sharks face off against the all-American Jets.  It is based loosely on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and follows the story of how, amid rivalry and violence, two high ranking members in opposing gangs fall in love and ultimately hope to inspire an end to the prejudice.

Jeanne Proctor, director of the musical and head of the OSHS Drama Department, expressed her excitement for the upcoming show, commenting, “We’ve got a great group of senior leaders, and it’s also going to be my husband Dan’s last production supervising the build crew, so it’s going to be a great last accomplishment for us all.” She went on to discuss the technical aspects of the show that make it hard to pull off, including the score, rhythm, choreography, and vocal challenges it presents to the students, noting,“It’s going to require a new level of precision from us — it’s a challenge, but we’re very excited.”

Senior Kara Newell who is both playing the female lead of Maria and choreographing part of the show for her senior project said, “This show is challenging in a different way from what we are used to – it’s very dance heavy, and everyone’s really trying their best with the choreography.  I’ve never seen us be this far along in any show this early in the year.  We still have a lot to do, but I can already tell it’s going to be a great way to end my senior year.”

Measuring carefully to set the stage.

Measuring carefully to set the stage.

As for what you should expect if you go see West Side Story, Jeanne Proctor added, “We’re embracing the challenge to make it uplifting. Our goal is for the audience to be in cathartic tears by the end of the show.”

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the door or through the school at (860) – 395 – 3175.

Old Saybrook’s Troop 51 Welcomes Four New Eagle Scouts


Celebrating their accession to the rank of Eagle Scout are (from left to right) Reggie Walden, Eric Mitchell, Will Burton, and Robert O'Shaughnessy.

Celebrating their official induction to the rank of Eagle Scout are (from left to right) Reggie Walden, Eric Mitchell, Will Burton, and Robert O’Shaughnessy.

During a ceremony held March 13, at the Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook, Boy Scout Troop 51 celebrated their four newest eagle scouts: Old Saybrook High School seniors William Burton, Eric Mitchell, Robert O’Shaughnessy and Reginald Walden (pictured above.)

To earn the prestigious title of Eagle Scout, the four Boy Scouts earned a wide variety of merit badges over a span of many years. The final requirement was to complete a culminating project that gave back to the community; each went above and beyond, committing over 100 hours of work to their respective projects.

William Burton’s Eagle Scout project was making flag retirement boxes. The wooden reciprocals were placed at the Acton Library, the Elks Club, and the Submarine Veteran’s Club in Groton for people to dispose of the ashes of flags that have touched the ground or been otherwise disrespected. “I’d like to thank the Boy Scout leaders and all of those who helped me with my project, especially my mother and father,” said Burton.

Eric Mitchell decided to build a pergola for the Old Saybrook Historical Society outside the General William Hart House for his Eagle Scout project. The aim of constructing the pergola was to help beautify the town. Mitchell commented, “I was really excited to learn about carpentry, and for that and all of the other skills I’ve gained through Boy Scouts, I’m really thankful.”

Robert O’Shaughnessy chose cleaning up several locations around town and then placing geocaches in them as his Eagle Scout project. Locations include other scout’s Eagle projects, as well as three in the town park. O’Shaughnessy’s goal was to promote ecotourism in Old Saybrook, as well as bring attention to the scouting program. An appreciative O’Shaughnessy said, “The scout leadership in our troop is incredible, and I’d like to thank them for all of the really cool opportunities I’ve had thanks to Boy Scouts.”

Reginald Walden refurbished the area around the Grace Episcopal Church where attends church and also his scout meetings are held. For his Eagle Scout project, he planted bulbs, replaced unsafe playground equipment, built a bench, and more. Walden explained, “I’ve learned a lot about teamwork, and I know that without boy scouts, I would not be the same person I am today.”

Many congratulations to these fine young men!

Dog Days Hosts Adoption Event in Clinton Saturday

RedDogRiccoDog Days Adoption Events is hosting a Red Dog Project shelter dog adoption event at Petco in Clinton on Saturday, March 21, from 12 to 3 p.m.

The Red Dog Project is a collaboration of Dog Days Adoption Events and the Connecticut Department of Corrections. Dogs have been fostered at York Correctional Institute and taught basic manners and socialization.

All adoptable dogs can be seen online at or the Facebook page of Dog Days Adoption Events. Adoption applications may be submitted online to expedite processing the day of the adoption event.

For more information about event, call Dog Days at 1-800-653-3134.

Old Saybrook Student Takes First Place in Southern CT Science & Engineering Fair

Andrew Pan (right) stands on the podium with the other winners at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.  Photo credit:

Andrew Pan (right) stands on the podium with the other winners at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair. Photo credit:

In a remarkable achievement, Old Saybrook High School senior Andrew Pan won first place in the Health and Medicine category at the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair on Feb. 7 for his research project entitled, “Elevated Levels of Interleukin-8 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers induce Cell Survival During Chemotherapy.”

Pan’s first research experience was the summer before his junior year when he went to intern with the drug development company his father works for in Shanghai called Astrazeneca.  “It was my first exposure to research,” said Pan. “It was a lot of fun and it really intrigued me.”

After his summer with Astrazeneca, he knew he wanted to continue on with his scientific research the summer before his senior year.  “One of my friends who is a year above me had done research at Yale over the summer the year before and recommended it, so I contacted Professor Rong Fan because his work looked really interesting to me.”  Professor Fan’s work, which has been garnering a lot of attention, involves helping to detect variations between various cells to help aid the diagnosis of diseases like cancer.  Pan added, “Cancer is really fascinating scientifically because it’s a very complex, intricate micro environment working together against yourself – I’m curious about these types of things.”

“Researching under Professor Fan’s direction was great – he’s a very relaxed and quiet person.  I worked with Jonathan Chen, a grad student who was studying non small cell lung cancer for his thesis project and under his direction, I was investigating a variant of lung cancer which affects smokers and nonsmokers equally,” said Pan.  Specifically, he focused on a type of protein called interleukin-8 which affects how cancer cells move and grow.

Pan continued, “At first I was assigned a small sub project.  It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to study, but while Jon was gone for a couple weeks working with a lab from another school, I started to focus on a sub-population of cells emitting comparatively higher rates of interleukin-8 by comparing 2,300 individual cell samples – it was really tedious, but fun.”

Andrew Pan (left) stands with his mentor on his winning project, Yale graduate student, Jonathan Chen.

Andrew Pan (left) stands with his mentor on his winning project, Yale graduate student, Jonathan Chen.

He continued, “What I found was that the high producers of interleukin-8 were potentially serving as tumor drivers, something several other studies have confirmed experimentally.”  He went on to explain that blocking interleukin-8 in particular cells had the potential to help prevent cancer and improve upon the current delivery method so that treatments would work faster.  “I’m hoping  my research will help to identify targets for treatment,” said Andrew.

It was this research that he presented to the judges of the Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair.  “I had a poster, and I talked for 15-30 minutes about my research and answered some of the questions the judges had,” said Pan.  “The whole process was a lot of fun, but I never thought I’d win.  There were so many great projects, and it was so interesting seeing the research other students were doing.”

As for winning, he said, “It was really fun to present to the judges; my favorite part of the whole process was presenting my research and being able to share and learn – and it was nice to get recognition not just for myself, but for Old Saybrook High School as well.”

“On its own, my research is one small factor and won’t revolutionize anything, but hopefully building on it will help cancer research progress in the future,” said Pan, adding, “I’m really thankful to my friend for mentioning his research and encouraging me to try it, to the Professor for allocating time and resources for me, to my teachers for letting me leave school early so I could get to the lab on time, and especially to Jon for letting me tag along on his project – he used a lot of time to train me.”

As for what he’ll do next, Pan noted, “I’m going to present my research again at UConn, as well as Quinnipiac University for the next portion of the competition called the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair that’s statewide, and I’m planning on either writing a research paper or co-authoring one with Jonathan.”

He is also starting a Research Initiative Program to encourage rising juniors and seniors in Old Saybrook High School who are interested in experiencing hands-on experience scientific research.  “Everyone else at the competition came from schools with established research teams, so I’d love to be able to set something up like that for Saybrook so more people can have the experience I had,” said Pan.

Pan’s longer term plans involve him continuing to research a wide variety of things.  “I’m really interested in engineering – specifically, nanotech applied to medical technology, as well as designing devices for microfluidic platforms for the detection and diagnosis of cancer.  I’m also interested in drug development, and potentially tissue engineering or ophthalmology, but the main diseases I’d like to focus on are cancer, HIV, and neurodegenerative diseases because my family has been personally impacted by them.  I’d also love to work with Jon again and investigate some questions previous research brought up.”

Laughing, he added, “It’s really hard to condense everything I’m interested in into a short list.”  One is left with the clear impression that this extraordinary young man will have a long ‘To Do’ list for quite a while!

Acton Public Library’s ‘Oscar Movie Series’ Continues with ‘Good Will Hunting,’ April 20

Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting an Oscars “then and now” movie series featuring a variety of movies with Oscar awards on third Mondays from March through May at 1 p.m.

The program for the series is as follows:

April 20: Good Will Hunting

May 18: The Theory of Everything

For more information, call The Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10am – 8:30pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 5pm, and Oct – May on Sundays 1pm – 5pm or visit on-line at .

Also, visit for movie ratings and recommendations.

Oh, What a Winter … and More on the Way!

Old Saybrook Town beach

Old Saybrook Town Beach.  All photos by Adina Ripkin.

After a snowless first half of winter, the weather finally seemed to catch up with itself as recent snow storms have swept through the northeast.

Piles of cleared snow at the junction of Main Street and Pennywise Lane in Old Saybrook

Piles of cleared snow at the junction of Main Street and Pennywise Lane in Old Saybrook

Storms on Jan. 26 and 27 and then again during the first weekend in February have left snow accumulated throughout Connecticut, especially along the shoreline.

A snowy scene in Saybrook

A snowy scene in Saybrook

Although we dodged the most recent storm, which hit much harder in inland Connecticut and neighboring Massachusetts, bitterly cold weather is just around the corner according to the weather forecasters.

Footsteps_to_the_church_OSIt may seem to have been an endless winter, but no records have been broken here to date — unlike in Boston, Mass., where snowfall accumulation totaled well over 70 inches in January alone!

With more snow and freezing temperatures expected over the next couple of weeks, Shoreline residents are bracing themselves once again for more shoveling, hot chocolate, and picturesque drives!

Stay safe … and warm … and enjoy!

Carney Proposes Ban on Electronic Cigarette Use in Schools, on School Grounds

State Representative Devin Carney

State Representative Devin Carney

OLD SAYBROOK/WESTBROOK: State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23) hopes to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes on school grounds in his bill H.B. 5219. Current regulation is limited to the use of electronic cigarettes by anyone under the age of 18; this legislation, however, would seek to expand upon the current bans to include prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes on school grounds entirely. Schools already ban tobacco-based products, so this would add e-cigarettes to that ban.

“It’s critical that our schools be free from negative influences. Countless studies show that electronic cigarette use among high school and even middle school aged kids is rapidly rising. Not to mention that many kids who would have never tried a traditional cigarette are experimenting with e-cigarettes – especially flavored ones,” Carney said. “The bad habits brought on by them lead to the increased potential for addiction to nicotine-based products in the future.”

A recent Yale study notes that one in four Connecticut high school students have tried an e-cigarette. In addition, 26 percent of students who had reported to have never tried one were interested in trying one in the future.

Carney adds, “The availability of electronic cigarettes and ease at which they can be purchased by minors is a bit unsettling to me. We are fortunate to live in an area where many schools have already taken this initiative – a statewide ban on them on school property will strengthen those initiatives while also ensuring other schools, who may not have banned them yet, will have a ban in place.”

Carney has also proposed other bills including several proposals to lower taxes and increase the overall quality of life for the residents of the 23rd District.

HOPE of OS, OL Affordable Housing Merge; Host ‘Friendraiser’ at Cooley, Tonight

hope-partnership-logoHOPE Partnership of Old Saybrook is consolidating with Old Lyme Affordable Housing and, to celebrate, they are planning a “Friendraiser” on Thursday, Jan. 29, from 5:30-7 p.m. at The Cooley Gallery, 25 Lyme St., in Old Lyme.

This free event is an opportunity to enjoy fine art, food, wine and fellowship, while viewing a video about the HOPE Partnership and listening to a brief presentation. All are welcome, but an RSVP to 860.388.9513 or would be appreciated to facilitate planning.

The mission of the HOPE Partnership is to develop, educate and advocate for affordable housing options in Southern Middlesex County and surrounding shoreline towns.

Old Saybrook Land Trust Contributes $30,000 Toward Preserve Purchase

 (l-r) Old Saybrook Land Trust President Joe Nochera and Treasurer Mike Urban present Alicia Sullivan and Lori Fernand (l-r) of The Trust for Public Land with a check for $30,000 toward The Preserve purchase. Photo by Bob Lorenz, taken at The Preserve trailhead on Ingham Hill Rd., Old Saybrook.

(l-r) Old Saybrook Land Trust President Joe Nochera and Treasurer Mike Urban present Alicia Sullivan and Lori Fernand (l-r) of The Trust for Public Land with a check for $30,000 toward The Preserve purchase. Photo by Bob Lorenz, taken at The Preserve trailhead on Ingham Hill Rd., Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK – Old Saybrook Land Trust (OSLT) President Joe Nochera, and Treasurer Mike Urban recently presented Alicia Sullivan and Lori Fernand of the Trust for Public Land (TPL) with a $30,000 donation toward the purchase and preservation of the 1,000 acre Preserve.

For more than a year The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and their partners including the OSLT, have worked to secure state, town and private funds toward the purchase of this large tract of coastal forest.

Public financial commitments have added up to significant funds toward the $10 million goal. The state committed to $3.3 million, Old Saybrook voters approved $3 million, Essex is working to raise funds for the 70 acres in Essex through a town fund and a state grant sought by the Essex Land Trust. TPL has also received large private donations.

Despite this success, State Director for the TPL Sullivan says $1.13 million is still needed by the December 2014 closing date.

According to Urban, “In addition to those from of our regular members and donors, we received funds from a number of people who indicated the funds should be used toward The Preserve purchase. We matched those funds with $15,000 that we have received over time through our Annual Fund and Membership drives. The purchase speaks to our cause, it’s the biggest land acquisition that will come up in our lifetime.”

“We’re working to purchase the property, and working to make sure we can fulfill the dream people have had to make it publically accessible. That includes things such as trailheads, parking, restroom facilities and trail work,” Fernand, TPL’s Associate Director of Philanthropy, said.

If you would like to donate online visit, or Mail checks to The Trust for Public Land, 101 Whitney Avenue, 2nd Floor, New Haven, CT 06510. Call 203-777-7367, ext. 6, for more information. Donations are tax deductible.

“This is our opportunity to preserve, for all and forever, the huge coastal forest in our very midst. This chance may never come again.  Let this be our legacy to generations yet unborn.” Bill Childress, Campaign Committee Chair.

Ballot News Ranks Connecticut’s 33rd Senate Race One of Most Competitive Statewide


Emily Bjornberg, Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat ranked the most competitive legislative races in Connecticut on their website today, with the 33rd Senate contest ranked as one of the top four.

The ranking comes a day after Emily Bjornberg, the Democratic candidate for the 33rd Senate Seat, was approved by the State Elections Enforcement Commission for a clean elections fund grant ahead of her incumbent opponent Art Linares.

State grants require the candidate to demonstrate significant support behind their campaign, with small contributions required from at least 300 constituents and at least $15,000 raised in the aggregate.

The 33rd Senate contest is one of only four state senate races statewide held by an incumbent to be ranked as competitive on the list.   The full list can be found at: state-legislatures/ legislative-lowdown- identifying-competitive- connecticut-elections-in-2014/ 

Connecticut’s 33rd State Senate District includes the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook as well as Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.


Saybrook Point Inn & Spa Donates $25,000 to The Preserve

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old SAybrook.

Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK —– The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, through the Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Family Foundation, has donated $25,000 to “The Preserve,” a swath of 1,000 acres of coastal forest along the towns of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, Connecticut.  As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York and Boston, this land is rich in natural resources, wildlife and habitat that not only offers residents with outdoor recreational opportunities, but also provides an important coastal buffer against storm waters during natural disasters.  Residents of Connecticut treasure this 1,000-acre coastal forest as a place to connect with nature close to home. Known locally as The Preserve, the woodland plays an important role in maintaining water quality in Trout Brook and the Oyster and Mud rivers, which feed into the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. The partnership to preserve and protect this natural ecosystem in Connecticut consists of the State of Connecticut, neighboring towns (Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook), and The Trust for Public Land.

“On behalf of my family, we are proud to be able to preserve and protect one of Connecticut’s most sacred ecosystems for generations to come,” said Stephen Tagliatela, Innkeeper/Managing Partner, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa. “It’s always been a founding principle of our family to care and maintain the environment we live in. It’s through our efforts, in cooperation with the Trust for Public Land, Town of Old Saybrook, and Essex Land Trust, that we will conserve this important coastal forest to forever as a natural asset for our region and our state.”

On Tuesday, July 8th, voters in Old Saybrook overwhelmingly approved the purchase of “The Preserve,” which will now be protected in perpetuity as open space for Connecticut residents for generations to come. As the largest unprotected coastal forest between New York City and Boston, this 1,000-acre ecosystem will be permanently protected from future development. It will connect to 500 acres of existing town parkland providing expanded opportunities for hiking and viewing a variety of birds and other wildlife.

“We are very grateful that the Tagliatela family has made this very generous gift to support the Campaign to Protect the 1,000 Acre Forest,” said Kate Brown, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land. “This is a wonderful boost that will help us move closer to the fundraising goal and permanent protection of the land.”

The Louis F. and Mary A. Tagliatela Foundation was established in 1997 by North Haven business leader Louis F. Tagliatela. Over the years, the Foundation has donated more than $9 million to support local non-profit organizations including hospitals, schools and churches. In addition, the organization helped establish the Tagliatela School of Engineering at the University of New Haven and the Tagliatela School of Business at Albertus Magnus College.

The Preserve is a 1,000-acre coastal forest located in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, Connecticut. It is the largest unprotected coastal forest remaining between New York City and Boston. The dense canopy of forest and the Pequot Swamp Pond act as a refueling stop for many migratory birds, and the many freshwater seeps on the property are home to amphibian species such as the northern dusky salamander, spotted turtles, and box turtles. Bobcats and fisher cats have also been spotted on the property.  The land includes 38 vernal pools, 114 acres of wetlands, headwaters of the Oyster River, and tributaries of the Mud and Trout Brook Rivers. These rivers eventually flow into Long Island Sound.

The property has a fifteen-year history of development proposals, foreclosure, and lawsuits by neighbors and conservationists opposing its development. The land is currently owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings, the holding company that emerged from the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The holding company has agreed to sell the property to The Trust for Public Land for its fair market value of $8.09 million. If protected, this highly unusual intact coastal forest will be preserved and the public will have passive recreational access to the property via trails.

The Trust for Public Land is working in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environ-mental Protection, the Towns of Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook, the Old Saybrook Land Trust, the Essex Land Trust, The Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the Alliance for Sound Area Planning, Audubon Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy, and others to raise the funding necessary to protect The Preserve. The goal of the fundraising effort is to raise $10 million to cover the purchase price, costs and stewardship. We expect to raise $3 million via a private fundraising campaign, to supplement $7 million in public funding.

Since it opened 25 years ago, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa has adapted and changed. It has taken a decidedly green direction, win­ning numerous awards for its often best-in-class green practices, including the first Connecticut inn to be named a Certified Energy Hotel in 2007. The Inn now features SANNO, a full service European spa, as well as Fresh Salt, a restaurant designed by Peter Niemitz that opened to strong reviews in 2011.  The property employs more than 260 hospitality professionals in the town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and is among the town’s top employers and economic engines.

Saybrook Point Inn & Spa recently opened its new Three Stories guesthouse adjacent to the main Inn. Thiscompletely renovated Italianate home overlooking Long Island Sound was originally built in 1892 as a single-family home for the prominent engineer William Vars. The property has been fully refurbished and revitalized as a seven-room guesthouse with wrap around porches and private gardens, making it the perfect retreat for couples, families and friends to reconnect, rejoice and create lasting memories and experiences. Each individually designed room features a pri­vate balcony, fireplace, fine linens, heated bathroom floors, multiple showerheads, extensive water views, and original artwork by local artists. As a testament to its rich history, each room at Three Stories tells the story of a famed local resident who made sure that the history of the community was well preserved. This includes Katharine Hepburn’s mother, who was a co-founder of Planned Parenthood and leading suffragette, and Anna Louise James, who had the distinction of being one of the first African-American female pharmacists in America and ran the James Pharmacy locally.

About Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

Situated along the picturesque coastal community of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut in the hamlet of Saybrook Point, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa features 82 elegantly appointed guestrooms, a rejuvenating full-service spa called SANNO, and a casual fine dining restaurant named Fresh Salt. Luxurious spa amenities include 11 treatment rooms, and diverse menu of services including massages, facials, body wraps, manicures and pedicures. SANNO is a latin word meaning to make sound or to heal. The goal at SANNO is to help guests be well, look well, feel well, and eat well. Fresh Salt diners savor fresh, seasonal and local cuisine served in Old Saybrook’s most spectacular setting – the spot where the fresh waters of the Connecticut River meet the salt of Long Island Sound. It’s a treasured and historic place, rich in life, and the restaurant reflects that lively diversity. The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa also features the historic Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark yachting dock conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River with easy access to Long Island Sound. The marina is Connecticut’s first designated Clean Marina, featuring friendly concierge service, award-winning onsite cuisine, AAA Four Diamond accommodations, an indulgent spa, and a community-based member-driven health club. It can accommodate vessels from 12 to 200 feet and has received numerous premier Connecticut marina awards. More information is available at

About the Trust for Public Land

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at


Old Saybrook Gives Overwhelming Approval for $3 Million Preserve Land Purchase

Polling taking place at the Old Saybrook High School (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Polling taking place at the Old Saybrook High School (photo by Jerome Wilson)

OLD SAYBROOK— Voters Tuesday gave overwhelming approval for $3 million in bonding for the town’s share of a planned $8 million purchase of the Preserve property, described as the “1,000 acre forest.” The bonding for the 930 acres located in Old Saybrook was approved on a 2,002-242 vote in an eight-hour referendum.

About 20 percent of the town’s 7,361 registered voters turned out for the referendum, with 115 property owners who are not registered voters in Old Saybrook also casting ballots. The bonding approval is the key element in a combination of funding sources that is expected to lead to a closing on the property by the end of the year.

First Selectman Carl Fortuna said he was not surprised by the huge margin of support. “This has been a generational issue in this town and it’s finally being put to bed,” Fortuna said, adding that he was aware of no organized opposition to the bonding authorization while “there was certainly organized support.”

The parcel, which includes 70 acres in Essex and four acres in Westbrook, is located off Bokum Road and Ingham Hill Road in Old Saybrook and Ingham Hill Road in Essex. The property had been the subject of development proposals dating back to 1999 that once called for over 200 homes and a golf course. It is currently owned by River Sound Development/Lehman Brothers, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers setting the stage for negotiations that led to a purchase plan earlier this year. The purchase negotiations were coordinated by the non-profit Trust For Public Land.

Along with the Old Saybrook contribution, the plan calls for about $3.3 million in state funding and about $1.9 million from the Trust For Public Land. Essex voters will be asked at a July 16 town meeting to approve a $200,000 town funding contribution, with the Essex Land Conservation Trust also contributing through private fund raising. The Essex town meeting is scheduled for 7 town hall.

Fortuna said the acreage in Old Saybrook would be co-owned by the town and the state. The Essex Land Conservation Trust will own the section of the property in Essex. Fortuna said trails through the vast property should be improved and ready for public use by the summer of 2015.

Supporters of the referendum near the polling station (photo by Jerome Wilson)

Supporters of the referendum near the polling station (photo by Jerome Wilson)


Blumenthal Urges “Yes” Vote for $3 Million Towards Purchase of ‘The Preserve’


U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at July 7 rally for a “yes vote” at July 8 referendum

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal came to the Old Saybrook Green on Monday, July 7, to urge Old Saybrook voters to vote “Yes” in a referendum to grant $3 million of town monies to help purchase 930 undeveloped acres in the open land known as The Preserve. The referendum for Old Saybrook voters will be held on Tuesday, July 8, at the Old Saybrook High School gymnasium, and the polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m.

Other public officials urging a “Yes” vote on the July 8 town referendum were: Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, State Representative Phil Miller; and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman.

Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna said in his prepared remarks, “This property has been at the center of attention, good and bad, for 20 years. It is now time for resolution. We are optimistic that enough private and public funds can be raised to purchase the property and preserve The Preserve in its natural state. The Town will work cooperatively with all parties in this effort, including DEEP. Most importantly, I will work for and listen to Old Saybrook’s residents as they decide the future of this parcel.”

State Representative Miller said in his prepared remarks, “We’re grateful to the citizens of Old Saybrook, Essex and Westbrook, and our allies, the Trust for Public Land, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Governor Malloy, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, Congressman Courtney, First Selectmen Fortuna and Needleman and the Connecticut legislature. A thousand acres forever preserved. What a rightful thing.”

Essex First Selectman Urges “Yes Vote”

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman said in his prepared remarks, “Over in Essex, we’re excited about the proposition for acquiring this majestic property. Essex will hold a public hearing and town meeting to approve a $200,000 appropriation for the purchase on July 16 and look forward to joining our neighbors in Old Saybrook in support of this wonderful project.”

The Essex town meeting to consider approval of the town’s $200,000 appropriation to The Preserve’s acquisition will be held at 6:45 p.m. on July 16 at Essex Town Hall.


Senator Blumenthal takes time to chat with Democratic State Senate candidate, Emily Bjornberg, at referendum rally

Other Supporters of Acquisition

Other remarks for the occasion were offered by Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, who said, “Coming off July Fourth weekend, this is an exciting time for Old Saybrook to exercise their patriotic rights and vote to protect this important piece of land here in town.”

Also, Alicia Sullivan, Connecticut State Director of the Trust for Public Land said, “We commend Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for the state’s early funding commitment to this significant landscape. Also, we are grateful to Senator Blumenthal and our congressional delegation for supporting federal conservation programs that the state will use for this acquisition.”

An audience of some 30 to 40 persons attended the pre-vote July 7 rally.

Letter: Responding to the OS Economic Development Commission on The Preserve

To The Editor:

The OS EDC, which has itself endorsed the acquisition of The Preserve, recently released a letter asking five questions.  They deserve a response.  In order of importance, they are:

  1. Cost to the taxpayer.   In short, very little and perhaps nothing at all.  Read on.

    Acquiring The Preserve under the proposed agreement saves Old Saybrook potentially tens of millions of dollars the town would have incurred if development as planned had gone forward—and might still incur if The Preserve is left open to development.  Perhaps more important to some residents is that acquiring The Preserve will almost certainly save Old Saybrook money.  First, the cost to taxpayers for the bonding required for the town’s share of the purchase price—less than 40%–implies annual property taxes for a median home of $12 to $24 dollars, depending on the form of bonding.  So for $1-$2 a month, residents take control of an extraordinarily important 1000 acres, the headwaters of three rivers, a critical source of clean water for the area aquifer, and an environmentally important area.  Second, the costs the town now incurs will almost certainly go down.  The proposed agreement includes a very substantial permanent endowment (perhaps reaching $1 million) which will provide funds to cover proper management of The Preserve, including trail mapping, trail marking (so folks no longer get lost on the unmarked, tangled trails they now hike), and permit sustainable forestry practices.  In addition, because of the partnership with the State, state conservation officers will share the responsibility for policing the area, relieving Old Saybrook police of some of that responsibility.  And because the area will now be managed properly, residents in Old Saybrook and adjacent towns no longer face the very real threat of damage to the aquifer and degradation of their water supply—thus again saving potentially thousands of dollars for every household affected.  On balance, it is almost certain that town costs will fall by more than the cost of the bonding.

    Wen considering costs, beyond the offsetting savings we can immediately recognize, preserving The Preserve will create value for the town and the region.  Real estate professionals will tell you that the two things potential home buys ask about are the quality of the schools and access to public open space, whether parks or forests.  Multiple studies confirm that towns that acquire and manage significant open space clearly benefit along a host of vectors.   Given how well this acquisition is planned, with the creation of an endowment to provide continuous funding and the partnership with State, preserving The Preserve will deliver real value to the town and the region.

  2. Why the State is interested in assuming more than 40% of the purchase price: Connecticut has, since the early 1970s, taken a very strong bipartisan interest in preserving open space and improving environmental quality.  Perhaps some remember when the lower Connecticut River was heavily polluted and the target of quite embarrassing coverage by the New York Times.  The river is now remarkably clean and a major asset to the region.  Moreover, the Federal government provides significant financial incentives and support for these kinds of initiatives, which are so important to sustaining and strengthening a healthy natural environment.
  3. Has anyone approached Lehman Brothers directly?  I don’t know; I suspect not.  Frankly, Old Saybrook could acquire very little by trying to “go it alone” with its $3 million.  Buying two fifths of The Preserve appears absurd on its face—it avoids none of the potential costs the town would incur if the balance of the land were then developed (new school, new police and fire stations, roads and bridges to maintain—a frightening potential cost)—and captures almost none of the benefits.  It would not achieve environmental protection nor guarantee against degradation of the aquifer with the threat to the three rivers that draw on The Preserve; it would not create well-managed public access; it would not provide an endowment to provide funding to manage and maintain the property.  It is an approach that would have secured virtually no benefit but left the town open to potentially massive expenses in the future.
  4. Is hunting allowed?  Just as with the existing 500-acre Gleason property that Old Saybrook owns, state law does permit “regulated hunting” on these kinds of open spaces.  But Old Saybrook has never permitted hunting on the Gleason property, and it is unlikely that the town would permit it on The Preserve.  Moreover, given that this a state statutory requirement, if the issue ever did emerge—and there is no reason to anticipate that it will, as it has never come up with the Gleason property—then modifying the state law would be quite straight forward.   Besides, leaving The Preserve in private hands would make hunting in all forms much much more likely—just as leaving it in private hands runs the very significant risk of future developments that will impose significant continuing costs on the town.
  5. What are the pros and cons?  The comments above point to multiple pros.  Whether your interest is in environmental protection, assuring access to high quality water (the aquifer), avoiding degradation to rivers flowing form The Preserve, having easy access to a wide array of passive recreational activities, making the region more attractive to potential residents, or simply preserving the forest canopy which mitigates global warming (the NE is an important carbon sink, especially during some months), acuiring The Preserve for a comparatively small sum makes eminent good sense.  And then add the shared responsibility (and costs) with the state and the first-ever dedication endowment in support of a part or open space, and it is extremely hard to find an argument against this acquisition.

    The cons?  I have been listening intently for nearly a year.  I haven’t heard one argument against this initiative that withstood careful scrutiny and thought.   I believe that the answers to the OS EDC questions strongly confirms that view.

Acquiring The Preserve and thus preserving it for all time is simply a winner on every count.  Old Saybrook will be quite wise to join with the Trust for the Public Lands, the State of Connecticut, and hundreds of individuals who have pledged more than $1 million of their own money to make this happen.  Let’s take control of our future: vote “Yes” on July 8.


Fred V. Carstensen

Professor of Finance and Economics
Director, Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis
University of Connecticut

Resident: Old Saybrook

Five New Eagle Scouts for Old Saybrook’s Boy Scout Troop 51

Eagles at candles

Old Saybrook’s Boy Scout Troop 51 gathered on April 6, 2014 at Grace Church to celebrate their five newest Eagle Scouts. The five new Eagle Scouts are Jack Frysinger, Daniel Puttre, Cody Walden, Joshua Chang and Timothy Foley. These fine young men received the Eagle Scout award, Boy Scouting’s highest honor that is achieved by just 5% of the Boy Scouts in the nation. Each of these new Eagles have spent years in scouting performing community service, earning merit badges, and helping to teach younger scouts camping and leadership skills. Additionally, each of these young men planned and executed an Eagle project to better the community.

Jack Frysinger chose to rehabilitate the pavilion at Town Park for his Eagle project. With the help of many scout and adult volunteers, he removed the broken supports for the old benches and installed and painted new benches outfitted with sturdy supports. He and his team also repainted the upright roof columns, replaced missing rocks in the stone foundation, and cleaned out years’ worth of trash and debris. Currently a senior at Old Saybrook High School, Jack will attend Northeastern University in the fall to study Computer Science.

Daniel Puttre’s Eagle Project was to refurbish the decking, steps, and ramp entrance to Old Saybrook Youth & Family Services. Dan enlisted the help of scouts and community members to complete his project. It entailed removing and replacing the wooden handrails and several balusters, sanding and staining all the wood surfaces, painting the metal handrails and the caution marks, and replacing the safety striping. Dan will graduate from Old Saybrook High School in June, and will attend Keene State College in the fall to study Sustainable Product Innovation and Design

Joshua Chang renovated the trailhead and restored the fishway near the Crystal Lake dam for his Eagle project. His project involved installing a drainage pipe and filter fabric under the trail, spreading gravel, sand, and round stones and placing large paving stones over the trail. The fishway in the trailhead area, which allows fish swimming upstream to access the lake to spawn, was damaged in the flood of March 2010. The restoration of the fishway included recovery of surge stones that were washed down stream by the flood and rebuilding of several weirs in the fishway. Joshua is completing his freshman year at Old Saybrook High School and plans to remain active in scouting for the remainder of his high school career.

Cody Walden’s Eagle Project was to further protect Long Island Sound by building and installing Fishing String Recyclers to help birds, fish, and turtles remain tangle-free from fishing line disposed of in the Sound. The recyclers were placed at major spots in town: the Causeway, Dock and Dine, Gardiner’s Landing, North Cove, Town Dock and three marinas in the Town of Old Saybrook. Cody is a senior at Old Saybrook High School and will graduate in June. Cody will attend Keene State College in the fall to major in History and Political Science.

Tim Foley’s Eagle Project was to refurbish the seawall, sidewalk and grassy area at Gardiner’s Landing in Old Saybrook. Tim and his team of fellow scouts also received assistance from the Old Saybrook Land Trust and Public Works. The project included filling large crevices and holes with riprap stone; covering the area with stabilizing tarp; adding topsoil and planting grass. Additionally, Tim installed a permanent pole for a fishing line collector. Tim is a senior at Old Saybrook High School, graduating in June. Tim will attend the University of Vermont in the fall to study engineering.

These new Eagle Scouts are grateful to their fellow scouts, leaders, adult volunteers, and family and community members for their assistance and guidance throughout their years in scouting and during their Eagle projects.  Troop 51 extends a heartfelt thank you to Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook, for their many years of support and sponsorship.  Old Saybrook is very fortunate to have such a successful program to guide and build independent young leaders. If your son would like to join Troop 51 or if you are interested in supporting this program, please contact Scoutmaster Bill Hart , or Committee Chairman John Puttre at 860-388-6116.