August 21, 2017

OS Library Hosts Ann Nyberg to Discuss Her Book on Katharine Hepburn at OS Library Tomorrow

OLD SAYBROOK — Ann Nyberg, author and Emmy nominated WTNH-TV anchor and reporter, hosts a conversation about her recently published book, “Remembering Katharine Hepburn: Stories of Wit and Wisdom About America’s Leading Lady” at Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 11 a.m.

Nyberg is a founding member and the Vice President of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate) also in Old Saybrook.  Her book reflects the life of Miss Hepburn “through personal remembrances from the people whose lives she influenced.”

Nyberg’s zest and zeal for all things Connecticut and Kate will make this a captivating conversation.

Ann Nyberg

For more about Nyberg and her work, visit her popular website “Network Connecticut.”

This program is free and open to the public but registration is strongly recommended.

Nyberg will sign copies of “Remembering Katharine Hepburn,” which will be available for sale.

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Rockfall Foundation Invites Nominations for Local Environmental Champions

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2017 Environmental Awards, which recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses for environmental efforts that contribute to the quality of life in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Two categories of awards include the Distinguished Service Award and Certificates of Appreciation in the areas of preservation, conservation, restoration, or environmental education.

Awardees are recognized at the Rockfall Foundation’s annual meeting and grants celebration in November. Nominations must be submitted by September 15, 2017 and a form can be downloaded at www.rockfallfoundation.org or one can be requested by calling 860-347-0340.

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through public programs and grants.
In addition, the Rockfall Foundation operates the historic deKoven House Community Center that offers meeting rooms and office space for non-profit organizations.

For additional information about the 2017 Environmental Awards or the Rockfall Foundation, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

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Shoreline Bus Schedule Change Announced Effective Aug. 14

OLD SAYBROOK — 9 Town Transit is planning schedule changes to its Rte. 1 bus service between Old Saybrook and Madison.  The changes, which reduce the number of daily trips by two, begin Monday, Aug. 14.

The district began a public comment process in March in response to reductions in subsidies from the Connecticut Department of Transportation.  Through the process, 9 Town Transit was able to identify trips that impacted the least amount of people.  Still, as many as 50 people’s daily travel will be impacted by these changes.

“We understand the impact these changes have on our community,” says Joseph Comerford, Executive Director of 9 Town Transit, “but when our subsidies are reduced, we must cut back service to remain financially stable.”

Comerford says the district pushed off the changes as long as possible, while they worked with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and legislators in an attempt to secure the necessary funding.  With a new fiscal year beginning, the district felt it could no longer delay the changes.

Additional information and schedules are available at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 860-510-0429.

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Old Saybrook’s Gengras Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Skip Gengras. Photo credit: J. Fiereck Photography.

OLD SAYBROOK — Skip Gengras of Gengras Motor Cars of Old Saybrook, a member of the Greater Hartford community, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Awards in recognition of his longtime contributions to business and community. Three other people were similarly honored.

“Each of these individuals has made a significant impact on our region,” Joe Zwiebel, president and publisher, Hartford Business Journal, said. “We commend this year’s honorees on their achievements. They are wonderful examples of how one person can drive change, inspire achievement and help an organization to reach new levels of success.”

Apart from Gengras, the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award winners are:

  • Andy Bessette, Travelers

  • Cheryl Chase, Chase Enterprises

  • Margaret Lawson, independent consultant

During the awards breakfast honorees participated in a panel discussion moderated by Richard Sugarman, President, Hartford Promise, during which they shared lessons, highlights and wisdom gleaned from their careers.

The 2017 Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented by Hartford Business Journal with the support of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (presenting sponsor); UConn School of Business (education leadership sponsor); and, The Pita Group (event sponsor). Event partners include: Bond Ballroom, Rider Productions, Merritt Graphics, J. Fiereck Photography, The Perfect Promotion and Co-Communications Marketing and Public Relations.

Hartford Business Journal is the only audited weekly, subscription-based business publication in Connecticut. Whether it’s market trends, the latest merger news or an update on state government, this award-winning weekly is the “must read” for area business leaders. Hartford Business Journal has a total readership of 31,000 affluent and educated business decision makers in the 61 towns that make up Metro Hartford. For more information, visit www.hartfordbusiness.com or call 860.236.9998.

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Asch Retires from Cappella Cantorum After 47 Years, Holt Appointed New Music Director

Barry Asch is retiring after 47 years at the helm of Cappella Cantorum.

AREAWIDE — Co-founder, music director, and conductor of Cappella Cantorum, Barry B. Asch, has announced his retirement from the Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus.  Asch has conducted the MasterWorks Chorus for 47 years during which time over 65 major choral works have been performed. 

The inaugural performance was March 1970 with Schubert’s Mass in E Flat.  Asch formed the popular Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus in 1977, and the SummerSings series in 1987.  Both events still continue.

The Eighth Annual Messiah Sing or Listen in 2016 at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center was nearly filled to capacity.  This favorite holiday tradition was conducted and organized by Asch.  ‘The Kate’ will host the ninth annual event on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017.

Group sessions and vocal classes have been offered to Cappella members with renowned soprano Patricia Schuman and tenor Brian Cheney.

Asch began Cappella Cantorum’s European Concert Tours in 1981.  The tours are currently organized by member Patricia Hill of Madison.

Simon Holt has been named the new Musical Director of Cappella Cantorum.

A highlight of Cappella Cantorum was performing five concerts at Carnegie Hall, New York City with Mid-America Productions.  This opportunity was initiated by Asch.

Cappella Cantorum has represented 20 communities throughout southeastern Connecticut.

Simon Holt, artistic director of Salt Marsh Opera and director of music at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme will be the new music director of the Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus.

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9 Town Transit to Reduce Shoreline Shuttle Service from Aug. 14

OLD SAYBROOK — After extensive review of public comments and ridership data, 9 Town Transit is planning to reduce service on the Shoreline Shuttle beginning Aug. 14. The reduction was made necessary by a reduction in state funding.

9 Town Transit has worked very closely with legislators and CTDOT in an attempt to restore funding, but to date has been unsuccessful.

Beginning Aug. 14, the 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. trips from Old Saybrook to Madison, and the 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. trips from Madison to Old Saybrook will be discontinued.

New schedules will be available on buses. Plan to adjust your travel accordingly.

9 Town Transit sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience this will cause to our customers.

9 Town Transit understands the importance of this route to the many people who use it, but must operate within the budget provided.

9 Town Transit stresses it is not too late to contact your state legislators at 800-842-1421 (state senator) and 800-842-1423 (state representative) to voice your concerns about these service cut-backs.

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Bingo is Back at the Estuary Council Thursdays, Doors Open 5:30pm


OLD SAYBROOK —
Beginning June 15 and continuing through Nov. 9, Bingo is back at The Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. (ECSI) and open to all ages. Game play begins at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The Estuary Council is located at 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook.

Join in on the fun for this weekly event.  Admission, including game package, is $12 per player. Cash prizes with the progressive jackpot maximum payout of $1,000 (increases $100 each week.)  

For more information, call 860-388-1611 or visit www.ecsenior.org

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Ready for Some Football? Old Saybrook Conditioning Camp Attracts More Than 40 Youngsters

More than 40 students in Grades 2through 8 participated in the four-day football conditioning camp held at Old Saybrook High School.

OLD SAYBROOK — The coaches from Old Saybrook High School and Old Saybrook Westbrook Youth Football & Cheer (OSW) recently partnered with the Town of Saybrook Parks and Recreation Department to host a four-day football conditioning programming for children from 2nd through 8th grade.

Youth from several towns on the shoreline participated in warm-up exercises and performed drills to learn the fundamentals of football and hone their skills.

Intensity and enthusiasm were evident at all times during the camp.

Coach Ryan Percival founded the program to help shoreline youth learn the fundamentals in a safe and non-competitive environment.

Subsequent to the Old Saybrook High School football coaches and staff joining ranks with the OSW coaches, the program swelled this year to more than 40 participants.

Coach Rob Marone summed up the philosophy of the program, “It’s all about the kids.  We teach skills, but we also emphasize safety, listening, teamwork and respect.”

For more information on the upcoming season or to register for football or cheerleading, visit oswyouthfootball.com.

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Estuary Seeks Line Dancing Instructor

OLD SAYBROOK — The Estuary Council at 220 Main St. in Old Saybrook is looking for a line dancing instructor.

Are you looking for a way to give back to the community? Looking for a volunteer opportunity? The Estuary has a fun group of seniors who love to line dance but need an instructor.

For more information, call Deb at 860-388-1611, ext. 204.

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Take a Tree Swallow Cruise With the OS Land Trust, Sept. 15

AREAWIDE — The Old Saybrook Land Trust (OSLT) hosts a tree swallow watching cruise Sept. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. on the vessel Adventure located at Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam.  The cruise will be run by Connecticut River Expeditions.

For the past 14 years, Connecticut River Expeditions have taken individuals and groups to a special spot on the Connecticut River where hundreds of thousands of tree swallows gather. After spending the day miles away, the swallows return each night to sleep in the reeds. They gather at sunset and perform aerial ballets forming an amazing display of art, coordination and cooperation.

Over the years, Captains Mark and Alex have found the best way to maneuver the boats to allow perfect views from open decks. Travel on Adventure, a newly refurbished classic riverboat with flexible seating that ensures everyone gets optimal “up close and personal” viewing.

Enjoy the entire evening aboard. You will spend about three to five hours on the water. There is so much to see while cruising along the river. Many birds are migrating through the area now; last year we saw a record number of Bald Eagles and Great Egrets.

On-board naturalist(s) will educate you on the swallow phenomenon and all the other wildlife we see.

On the return cruise home, there is time to chat with others and experience the river at twilight, blending into night. The OSLT will be serving appetizers and you are able to bring your own picnic basket or snacks and your favorite “beverage” to enjoy on this special cruise. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars (or borrow a pair of our binocs)!

This is a small group experience that is unique each sailing. This is a fundraising event to benefit the OSLT Scholarship, which is awarded each year to a graduating Old Saybrook student pursuing Environmental Studies.

Cost: $50 per person. Limited seating. Reservations can be made by emailing oldsaybrooklandtrust@oslt.org

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Saybrook Stage Presents ‘Barefoot in the Park’ at ‘the Kate’ Through Saturday

The cast of ‘Barefoot in the Park’ gather for a photo.

OLD SAYBROOK — The Saybrook Stage Company presents “Barefoot in the Park” by Neil Simon at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘the Kate,’ July 13 through July 15, at 8 p.m. with matinées July 15, at 2 p.m. and Sunday, July 16, at 3 p.m.

Neil Simon is at his best in this hilarious and touching romantic comedy about a conservative straight-as-an-arrow young lawyer and his free-spirited new bride. They are newlyweds in every sense of the word – still giddy from their over-the-top honeymoon at The Plaza – and now find themselves in a less-than-perfect Greenwich Village fifth-floor walkup in New York City.

The pricey apartment with bad plumbing and in need of a paint job is only the beginning of their rocky happily-ever-after life. The play is clever and funny, filled with snappy dialogue and witty one-liners. – Neil Simon is simply masterful in this 1960’s story of newlywed life.

A rehearsal scene from ‘Barefoot in the Park.’

The comedy unfolds as the couple moves into their new apartment and receives a surprise visit from the bride’s easily-winded, loopy mother and decide to play matchmaker during a dinner with their neighbor in-the-attic – where everything that can go wrong does. The antics just get started as the mother and neighbor surprisingly get along better than anyone expected; while the newlyweds can only argue. The bride thinks the groom is too staid and boring – she wants him to be more spontaneous – and running barefoot in the park would be a nice start!

“Barefoot in the Park” originally opened in 1963 to rave reviews and was nominated for three Tony Awards. The play ran for over 1530 performances making it Neil Simon’s longest running Broadway hit. The New York Times wrote at the time “I don’t think anybody stopped laughing while the curtain was up”.

The Saybrook Stage Company is pleased to return once again to The Kate in Neil Simon’s romantic comedy directed by Jim Hile. This will be their 14th production at The Kate and the second Neil Simon play having performed “Rumors” in July 2014 – the more recent previous plays are Noises Off, Deathtrap, The Wayside Motor Inn, Moon Over Buffalo and this past January, The Farnsworth Invention.

Visit www.thekate.org or call 877.503.1286 and reserve your tickets now. Also, visit www.SaybrookStage.org for more information about The Saybrook Stage Company.

The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit organization 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.

The 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.

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Salt Marsh Opera Presents ‘Opera in the Park’ in Old Saybrook, Sept. 1

Sarah Nordin

OLD SAYBROOK — Salt Marsh Opera presents their annual event of well-known opera selections and musical theatre, “Opera in the Park,” on Friday, Sept. 1, at 6:30 p.m. on Old Saybrook Town Green, adjacent to the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main Street.

Bring family and friends, blankets and chairs, and even relax with a picnic dinner.

Professional performers Sarah Nordin, mezzo-soprano and Tyler Putnam, bass will delight you with glorious music under the stars.

Nordin has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, toured Japan, and the Geneva Light Opera Company.

Tyler Putnam

Putnam has appeared with Opera Omaha, St. Petersburg Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and the Little Opera Theatre of New York.

This event is free, but a $10 donation is suggested to cover expenses.

Rain date is Saturday, Sept. 2, at 6:30 p.m.

For additional information, visit www.saltmarshopera.org

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Enjoy Family Night Tonight at Acton Public Library

OLD SAYBROOK — Join Acton Public Library for a session of Laughter Yoga with Robert Rivest Thursday, June 29 at 6:30 p.m

Laughter Yoga combines interactive laughter exercises with deep, centering breaths and calming movements. It is a joyful way to connect with others and laugh your blues away! Best for ages 4 and up. This event is free and no registration is required.

Generously sponsored by the Friends of Acton.

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Key Bank Westbrook Volunteers Help Beautify the Estuary Senior Center


WESTBROOK/OLD SAYBROOK —
Key Bank’s Westbrook employees, some of whom are pictured above, visited the Estuary Senior Center recently and worked hard cleaning up the outside area, making the place even more beautiful! They have a 27-year tradition of volunteering in the communities they serve.

On behalf of all the seniors that the Estuary Center serves, Estuary board members wish to express their sincerest thanks to all the Key Bank, Westbrook volunteers who donated their time to work at the Estuary facility.

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Glenn Close to Receive 2nd Annual Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award at Annual Gala, Aug. 26


OLD SAYBROOK —
Acclaimed actress Glenn Close has been named the recipient of the 2nd annual Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award. The award, given by the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, is bestowed yearly upon an individual who embodies the spirit, independence, and character of the legendary actress.

The award will be presented to Close at the organization’s annual Summer Gala on Saturday, Aug. 26.

Close has been nominated for six Academy Awards, won three Tonys and three Emmys, and advocates for mental health issues.  She made her feature film debut in The World According to Garp, for which she received an Oscar nomination. She was subsequently Oscar-nominated for The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons and Albert Nobbs.  For the latter, she was also a producer, co-wrote the screenplay and composed the lyrics for the Golden Globe nominated theme song, “Lay Your Head Down.”

Close won two consecutive Emmys along with a Golden Globe Award, and three SAG nominations for her portrayal of ‘Patty Hewes’ on Damages. She won a third Emmy for her title role performance in Serving in Silence: the Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (for which she also received a Peabody Award as executive producer).

In 1974, Close made her professional, theatre, and Broadway debut in The Phoenix Theatre’s Love for Love, directed by Harold Prince. Over her forty-three year career, she has always returned to the theater, receiving Tony Awards for Death and the Maiden, The Real Thing and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Sunset Boulevard, as well as an Obie Award for The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs. Last spring, Close made her London-West End debut in a new production of Sunset Boulevard, for which she won a London Evening Standard Award and was nominated for an Olivier Award. She is presently starring, to great acclaim, in that same production, on Broadway.

Close’s decision to join the acting profession in part stems from viewing one of the most famous and first ever television interviews with Katharine Hepburn, conducted by Dick Cavett, the inaugural Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award Winner.  Hepburn became an inspiration to Close and Hepburn welcomed this role, finding small ways to support Close through communications and appearances at events honoring Close.

The Aug. 26 Gala at the Kate will take place on the historic Old Saybrook Town Green. The event begins at 6 pm with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails under the tent.  Dinner and dessert by Max Catering will be complemented by live and silent auctions as well as remarks celebrating Close and another tremendous year of arts and culture at “The Kate.“ The Kate will then turn the party up a notch, filling the dance floor with current tunes and crowd favorites and dancers/instructors from the Fred Astaire – Old Saybrook Dance Studio will perform and join the party.

During the event, Close will receive the award, a graceful statuette sculpted in the likeness of Hepburn by Kimberly Monson, an artist and faculty member of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

Numerous sponsorship levels are available, which include a variety of benefits, visibility, and the possibility to meet and greet with Close. The event’s top sponsor may participate in the awarding of the Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award to Close.

Visit http://thekate.org/events/2017KateGala/ for sponsorship details or to purchase tickets.  For more information contact Dana Foster at dana.foster@thekate.org

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center 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.

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Acton Library Hosts Summer Oscar Series: See ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ Aug. 25

Lights. Camera. ACTON!

The Acton Public Library at 60 Boston Post Rd., in Old Saybrook presents an 89th Oscar Winning Series this summer on 2nd and 4th Fridays in July and August at 1 p.m. The remaining schedule is as follows:

Aug. 25: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (PG-13)

For more information, call The Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10am – 8:00pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 5pm or visit online at www.actonlibrary.org

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Environmental Program Looks To ‘Foster Future Stewards’ in Lower CT River Valley

From left to right, Peter and Elsie Patton, Marilyn Ozols, president, and Robin Andreoli, executive director. Photo by Joan Levy Hepburn.

LOWER CT RIVER VALLEY – The Rockfall Foundation recently announced the launch of a special campaign to commemorate 45 years of environmental grant making and support programs for students in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The Fostering Future Stewards campaign will fund environmental education for kindergarten through 8th grade students with multi-year grants to schools for school-time, after school or summer programs.

Consecutive years of funding will allow educators to continue programs that introduce and sustain environmental literacy and the continuity of those programs will greatly benefit students.

The Foundation looks to raise $45,000 over two years and the campaign is off to a very positive start, thanks in large part to Peter and Elsie Patton of Middletown. Two of the Foundation’s most ardent supporters, the Pattons were the first to come forward with a leadership gift of $5,000 to the campaign.

“We are grateful to Peter and Elsie for inspiring others through their passion for this cause and their generous gift,” said Robin Andreoli, the Foundation’s executive director. “With a commitment from our Board of Directors, we have already achieved twenty-five percent of our goal and have heard from many friends in the community who support the project.”

Established in 1935, the Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest non-profit environmental organizations and is the steward for the historic deKoven House Community Center in Middletown. The Foundation receives support from donors with a passion for the environment and connects them to local programs that help make the Lower Connecticut River Valley a better place to live.

Annual grant awards provide funding for local environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives. The Foundation also presents educational public programs throughout the year, which include symposia and public forums, informal networking opportunities, and family hikes.

For the past 45 years, the Rockfall Foundation’s grant making has supported and promoted outstanding environmental programs delivered by non-profit organizations, schools, and municipalities throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The first grants awarded in 1972 provided a total of $5,000 to support four planting projects in Essex, Old Saybrook, and Chester. Since then, the Foundation has helped to fund 350 programs with awards totaling nearly half a million dollars.

For information about the Rockfall Foundation or how to contribute to the Fostering Future Stewards fund, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

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Estuary Council Hosts Volunteer Fair/Open House Tomorrow

OLD SAYBROOK — The Estuary Council of Seniors is holding a Volunteer Fair/Open House on Wednesday, June 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the center located at 220 Main St, Old Saybrook. The Estuary services those aged 50 and better from Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.

Join the Estuary staff to welcome new Director, Stan Mingione, and enjoy a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. Staff members will be available to give tours of the facility and Fitness Center.  Come learn about the many activities and services and speak with personnel about the numerous volunteer opportunities.

For more information, call 860-388-1611 or visit www.ecsenior.org.

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Acton Library Presents ‘History of the 1950s & 60s Through Music’  with Marc Black, Saturday

OLD SAYBROOK — Marc Black, recent inductee into the NY Chapter of the Blues Hall of Fame, has created an engaging and humorous program … and an opportunity for the audience to relive this colorful time in our history. 

In his Saturday, June 17 presentation from 3 to 4 p.m., Black uses a wide range of popular songs including surprising favorites like Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, great rock tunes like Blue Suede Shoes, and moving folk songs like Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind.

And now, the program, which is part of the library’s Summer Concert Series, is being offered with a slide show that will slide you right back in time.  This thought-provoking, multi-media show is bound to get everyone singing and feeling good about where we are…and where we’ve been.

If you have any questions, visit www.actonlibrary.org or call the library at 860-395-3184 during service hours of: Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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SHPO Hosts Public Meeting on Statewide Historic Preservation Plan, June 27

OLD SAYBROOK — The Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is working on a Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan to be completed by the end of the year.

The plan will be a planning document at an intensive level, addressing the treatment of historic and cultural resources across the state. It will serve as a guide for planning and decision making by the SHPO, Towns, agencies, non-profit organizations, and others who may affect these resources.

For southeast Connecticut, there will be a meeting at The Pavilion at Saybrook Point Park, 154 College St., at Saybrook Point, Old Saybrook, CT on Tuesday, June 27, from 7 to 9 p.m.

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Volunteers Needed to Control Invasive Plant in Local Rivers

Water chestnut is an invasive plant that is easy for volunteers to remove & keep under control. Join CRC for upcoming volunteer events to learn about & remove this invasive plant.

AREAWIDE — There is an emerging threat to the Connecticut River and the waters within its basin that any boater, paddler, angler or property manager can help control. European water chestnut (Trapa natans) is an aquatic invasive plant that spreads rapidly, covering bodies of water with dense foliage impeding recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming.

The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), formerly Connecticut River Watershed Council, is hosting a variety of opportunities this summer for residents to learn more and help remove this threat.

Quick and thorough action must be taken to prevent this plant from taking over because water chestnut reproduces exponentially. “The good news is that this plant is easy to identify, it reproduces only by seed, and pulls up easily,” notes Alicea Charamut, River Steward for the Connecticut River Conservancy.

She continues, “It can be managed by trained volunteers. For small to moderate infestations, no chemicals or equipment are needed other than willing volunteers in canoes, kayaks, and shallow draft boats. This work offers an opportunity for those of us who love our rivers, lakes and ponds to give back to them in a fun and easy way.”

There are two opportunities to learn to identify and report the plants. CRC hosted an information session at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex on Tuesday, June 13, and will do so again at LL Bean at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor on Friday, June 19. Both events are at 6:30 p.m. There will be a brief presentation, live plants on display, and plenty of time for questions.

Charamut is also available to give talks to groups within the Connecticut River watershed, who want to bring this information to their organization or club.

Paddlers and boaters can also help CRC manage known infestations. Five hand-pulling events are already scheduled for the floating meadows of the Mattabesset River in Middletown and Keeney Cove in Glastonbury in June and July with more to be scheduled as new infestations are reported. The work is fairly easy, a little dirty and very rewarding. Supplies are provided. Those who wish to attend need only bring their boat and PFD.

In addition, CRC is coordinating a River Sweep of the Connecticut River, its coves and ponds to scout for this invasive plant. “Because the seeds from these plants can last for up to twelve years, knowing where these plants have been found is crucial. In order to effectively control the spread of these plants we must monitor locations where they have been found each year and have as many eyes on the water as possible.” Paddling and boating groups can adopt a section of the river to scout for plants on or around Saturday, June 24.

“It will take a community of those who care coming together to help control this plant,” says Charamut. The Connecticut River Conservancy joins many partners in the effort to control water chestnut in the Connecticut River watershed. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Lower Connecticut River Council of Governments, Jonah Center for Earth and Art, Connecticut River Museum, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station are all active participants working to help control this aquatic invasive plant.

More groups are encouraged to join the effort. Much of the work in the lower Connecticut River Valley here in Connecticut is possible thanks to a generous grant from the Rockfall Foundation.

For more information about education and volunteer opportunities to help control European water chestnut, visit www.ctriver.org/get-involved or contact Alicea Charamut at acharamut@ctriver.org.

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On Board the ‘Onrust,’ Famed Re-creation of Adriaen Block’s Boat Sails up Connecticut River

The ‘Onrust’ docked at Saybrook Point Inn and Spa.

ESSEX —  It was “a momentous occasion,” according to Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs when a group of dignitaries and invited guests gathered to board the re-creation of Adriaen Block’s boat Onrust last Thursday (June 1.)  Dobbs pointed out that it was, “400 years ago — 403 to be precise” since the original Onrust commenced its exploration of the Connecticut River ultimately exploring it upstream to just a little further north than present-day Hartford — a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound.

Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs takes a brief break from his duties as host on board the ‘Onrust.’

While overwintering (1613-1614) in New York Bay, the Dutch explorer Block’s first ship, the Tyger (Tiger), caught fire and burned to the waterline.  Working through the frigid winter, Block built a new ship from the salvaged remnants and named it the Onrust, Dutch for ‘Restless.’

It was the first vessel built by Europeans in New York State and the first yacht built in the New World.  In 1614, Block and his crew set off to explore coastal New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island with the intent of developing trade partnerships with Native Americans.  During his time on the water, Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River  

The re-created Onrust was launched in 2009 by The Onrust Project, an all-volunteer non-profit out of New York, which built the vessel after painstakingly researching traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques.  

To reach the Saybrook Point Inn at Old Saybrook, Conn., where the guests boarded the ship, the Onrust followed a similar path to the one that Block took in 1614.  It departed from Kingston, N.Y., traveled to New York Bay, traversed the treacherous Hell Gate, entered Long Island Sound and sailed to the mouth of the Connecticut River. 

While preparations were made to launch, Connecticut River Museum Board Chairman Tom Wilcox told the guests now assembled on board the Onrust, “This is a most auspicious occasion,” and correctly predicted they would have, “a lovely sail.”  Despite an earlier threat of rain, the weather cooperated completely with warm temperatures and clear skies.

Steven Tagliatella, owner of the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, addressed the guests on board the ‘Onrust.’

Another guest on board was Steven Tagliatella, owner of the Saybrook Point Inn, who spoke effusively about the upcoming trip to the Connecticut River Museum describing the Onrust as “a spectacular sight.”  He also took the opportunity to mention the new tourism coalition he has formed to promote tourism in the state, noting that the Onrust offers “a wonderful opportunity” for tourism.

Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodward speaks on the theme of ‘restlessness,’ echoing the name of the boat — ‘Onrust’ translates from the Dutch to ‘restless.’

Walter Woodward, Connecticut’s State Historian, unquestionably spoke for everyone on the boat when he said, “To be on this boat on this day is so exciting,” but then asked the guests to take themselves back in time to the spring of 1614 when Block brought the ship he had built the previous winter and named Onrust – Restless – to the mouth of the river the natives call Quinitticut.  Woodward declared that Block, “was as restless as his little vessel,” explaining, “The 47-year-old trader-explorer was anxious to make up the losses he had experienced the previous winter, when his ship the Tyger had accidentally caught fire.”

Woodward pursued the theme of ‘restlessness’ as he continued, saying, “Then as now, the word restless had many meanings … A generation of restless Europeans … both Dutch and English would come to this river, first in search of trade with the indigenous people, and soon after, in the quest for their land and resources.”

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna (center in sunglasses) chats with a guest during the trip up the Connecticut River.

Woodward added, “Some were restless too in a godly way – troubled in mind and spirit, seeking a place to serve God as their consciences demanded.”

He also noted that, “For those already here, the arrival of the Onrust heralded a new native restlessness – first, as the indigenous people jostled with each other for control of the distribution of European trade goods … and later to fight the efforts of these insurgents to drive them from their homes.”

Jennifer White-Dobbs enjoys the glorious river views with her son (right) and a guest.

Keeping to his theme, Woodward ended with the words, “I know you are restless to get underway, so let me conclude by saying, “ It is a privilege to be here today to mark the moment in time, when Adriaen Block and his Onrust entered the river he named Fresh River, and a world-transforming era of restless change began.”

The Essex Sailing Masters of 1812 greeted the ‘Onrust’ with bright melodies in front of the Museum.

Before introducing the next speaker, Dobbs noted, “The amount of research to build this vessel was amazing,” and also that it had taken, “Around 250 people to build the Onrust.”  He explained that the Onrust will be a floating exhibit at the Museum through early October, open for dockside tours, school and Scout programs, along with public cruises and charters.

The guests vigorously waved Dutch flags as the ‘Onrust’ pulled into the Connecticut River Museum’s dock.

Dobbs then presented Emily Boucher, who brought a message from Senator Chris Murphy, which she read aloud to the guests on the Onrust.  In the message, Murphy expressed the wish that he could join everyone on the trip, and noted he was pleased with the financial assistance the state had given the Museum which, “was going to allow it [the Museum] to not float away.”

A crew member prepares to fire the cannon to announce the boat’s arrival at the Connecticut River Museum.

Finally the Onrust departed from Saybrook Point inn and sailed serenely up the Connecticut River offering spectacular views in all directions. As the three-man crew prepared for arrival at the Museum during the first hour of the popular RiverFare event, one crew member fired a celebratory cannon.  Meanwhile, Essex’s very own Sailing Masters of 1812 provided a cheery, musical fanfare as the historic vessel approached the Museum’s dock. 

It was indeed a wonderful and “momentous” trip!

For more information on the Connecticut River Museum and the Onrust, visit the Museum’s website.  The Museum extends special thanks to Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa, Essex Meadows, the Sailing Masters of 1812, and The Onrust Project for their efforts in arranging the vessel’s arrival. 

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street in Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River. For a full listing of Museum programs or to buy tickets for the Onrust, RiverFare, and many other events go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

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Vista’s ‘Man of La Mancha’ Dazzles at the Kate

The cast of ‘Man of La Mancha’ gather for a celebratory photo.

AREAWIDE — A unified cast of performers with and without disabilities worked together to achieve the “Impossible Dream” by bringing Vista Life Innovations’ production of Man of La Mancha to life on stage at the Kate in Old Saybrook May 19, 20 and 21.

Starring a cast of 10 performers from the greater shoreline theater community and 16 members of Vista Life Innovations, this production of Dale Wasserman’s Tony Award winning musical drew more than 600 audience members during its three-day run.

More than 50 community members and over 50 Vista students and members participated in the production in various roles, including set and costume design, lighting, sound, pit orchestra and ushering.

Directed by Pat Souney, Man of La Mancha marked Vista’s fourth all-inclusive musical production and second to play at The Kate.

This production was funded in part through a grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/River View Cemetery Fund. Show sponsors included Farmers Insurance, the Wrotnowski Family, the Lee Family, Cornerstone Construction Services, Bruce Baber, Guilford Savings Bank, and Laurie Pilcher and Sharon Grogan.

With campuses in Madison, Westbrook and Guilford, Vista Life Innovations is a nationally accredited post-secondary program that has been supporting the personal success of individuals with disabilities for over 27 years.

Editor’s Note: Vista Life Innovations 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 www.vistalifeinnovations.org.

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Have Lunch with Weatherman Scot Haney at the Estuary, July 31

OLD SAYBROOK — The Estuary Council of Seniors, 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook announces a new and exciting program, “Lunch with Pat” featuring special guests.

“Lunch with Pat” begins at noon. Lunch reservations are required by calling the Estuary Council at 860-388-1611 x216 no later than 11 am the day before the event.

On Monday July 31, Scot Haney will be the Estuary’s special guest and speaker. Haney is WFSB Channel 3 Meteorologist, Journalist, and Co-Host of “Better CT.” An Ice Cream Social with Scot will conclude the program. This event is hosted and coordinated by Estuary Board Member Patricia Schneider.

The program is open to the public.  The building is handicapped accessible.

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SummerSing Faure’s ‘Requiem,’ July 31

AREAWIDE — SummerSing “Bill of Rights” by Neely Bruce on Monday, June 26, 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook. This session will be conducted by Neely Bruce of Wesleyan University . All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work.

The event is co-sponsored by Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio. Scores will be available, a $10 fee covers the costs of the event. The church is air-conditioned and handicapped accessible.

For more information call (860) 767-9409 or (203)530-0002  or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org

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Estuary Offers Medical Appointment Rides for Seniors

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Senior Center provides transportation to those aged 60 and over for medical appointments, including dialysis, to any medical location beyond the nine-town estuary region such as Branford, New Haven, Middletown, Hartford and New London. With the Center’s Stan Greimann EMOTS program, a driver and car will pick you up, take you to your appointment, and bring you back home. 

For more information on the Stan Greimann EMOTS program, call David at 860-388-1611, X203. Suggested donation of $35 for roundtrip service.

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Shoreline Soup Kitchens Opens New Westbrook Meal Site, All Welcome

AREAWIDE — The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) new Westbrook meal site is open for dinner from 6 to 7 p.m. every Friday.  The site is located at the Westbrook Congregational Church, 1166 Boston Post Road.  All are welcome to attend.

Don’t be shy, bring the whole family and enjoy a meal with wonderful dinner companions and nutritious food. You don’t need to call ahead or “make a reservation.”

Did you know that last year over 900,000 meals worth of food were distributed to individuals and families during The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries grocery distribution program?  And, that over 17,000 nutritious and delicious meals were provided at our 9 meal sites, serving seven days a week?

There are those among us who are hungry and alone. You can change that; you can make a difference in the lives of those who are hungry in body and spirit.  Contact SSKP to learn about the many opportunities to volunteer.

The SSKP offers food and fellowship to the communities of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

The SSKP’s family-oriented meal sites serving nutritious and delicious food are located in Centerbrook, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Old Lyme, Westbrook and Old Saybrook.  And, SSKP food pantries are located in Clinton, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, East Lyme and Westbrook.  Also, provided to those who have limited cooking facilities are heat-n- meals that can be picked up at any of our pantries.

Community support of the SSKP is appreciated.  If you have any questions or for a more information, call 860.388.1988 or email at pdowling@shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

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Reps. MacLachlan, Carney, House Republicans Unveil Revised No-Tax-Increase Budget Proposal

HARTFORD — State Representatives Jesse MacLachlan (R-35th) and Devin Carney (R-23rd) joined their House Republican colleagues May 16 to issue their revised no-tax-increase budget for 2018-19 that eliminates the projected $5 billion budget deficit, increases school funding for all towns, reduces the corporate surcharge and mitigates municipal aid losses by reallocating funds.

“The governor’s revised budget continues to make devastating cuts to our communities to shift money to major cities,” said Rep. MacLachlan. “Our revised budget protects and provides adequate funding to all communities throughout the state. I am proud to also see that our budget closes the deficit by making long-term structural changes. I will continue to work with members of my caucus and with members from across the aisle to find common ground, but I will not vote in favor of a budget that increases taxes or zeros out education funding to our communities.”

“Connecticut cannot afford another budget that raises taxes on the middle class or burdens our small towns. I am proud of the budget that my Republican colleagues and I have put forth as it does not rely on tax hikes or passing huge costs, such as teacher’s retirement, onto municipalities. I am hopeful that Republicans and Democrats in the legislature can work together to restore the fiscal health of Connecticut by passing a common sense budget that will allow our state and its residents to thrive,” said Rep. Carney.

In this current proposal, Republicans revert back to the former Education Cost Sharing formula, while also adding $20 million to the distribution.  In addition, the proposal establishes a $90 million grant in order to ensure that no municipality loses aid compared to the current fiscal year.

Other structural changes include:

  • Implements a strict Constitutional Spending Cap
  • Reduces bond issuance cap from $2 billion to $1.3 billion for each fiscal year
  • Ensures municipalities are held harmless
  • Establishes a wage freeze for state employees, but no layoffs

Republicans now join Democrats and Gov. Malloy at the negotiating table to come up with a final budget plan that can pass both the House and Senate.

For more information on the House Republican budget proposal, visit www.cthousegop.com/budget.

 

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Rockfall Foundation Hosts Fundraising ‘Sustainable Seafood Soiree,’ May 24

From left to right, Robin Andreoli, executive director of the Rockfall Foundation and Nat, Sariah, and Kate Novick of Killingworth look forward to the Sustainable Seafood Soiree on May 24 to benefit environmental education programs in the Lower Connecticut River Valley.

AREAWIDE – The Rockfall Foundation and the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative present a “Sustainable Seafood Soiree” on Wednesday, May 24, to raise awareness of locally farmed oysters with proceeds to benefit the Foundation’s grants and environmental education programs. This unique event will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the beautiful and “Green Lodging Certified” Saybrook Point Inn, 2 Bridge Street, Old Saybrook.

Steven Plant of Connecticut Cultured Oysters will speak about the Noank Aquaculture Cooperative’s efforts as responsible shellfish farmers. Member farmers focus on growing some of the finest oysters in the Northeast, including Mystic Oysters and Thimble Island Oysters. Attendees will enjoy an abundant oyster raw bar, hors d’oeuvres and beverages on the patio overlooking the majestic marina, surrounded by fresh salt air and breathtaking views.

Proceeds will support environmental education programs of the Rockfall Foundation, including the “Greening Kids” grant program with the goal of nurturing future environmental stewards. The program funds environmental literacy activities offered in schools and by several non-profit organizations throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The Rockfall Foundation is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations, founded in 1935 by Clarence S. Wadsworth, and is headquartered in Middletown.

Tickets are $75 per person and advanced registration is encouraged by calling the Rockfall Foundation at 860-347-0340 or by visiting www.rockfallfoundation.org. The event is generously supported by Guilford Savings Bank and Attorney John Boccalatte and Dr. Michele Salonia.

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Eastern CT Ballet Performs ‘Ballerina Swan/Carnival of the Animals’ at ‘The Kate’ This Weekend


The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “the Kate”, welcomes back Eastern Connecticut Ballet for two performances in one featuring Ballerina Swan and Carnival of the Animals.

A total of four family-friendly performances will be held this Saturday, May 6, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., as well as Sunday, May 7, at 1 and 4 p.m.

Ballerina Swan is based on a new book by New York City Ballet’s Allegra Kent and is choreographed by Gloria Gorvrin, the Artistic Director of Eastern Connecticut Ballet.  Laugh and cry as Sophie the swan follows her dream leaving the safety of her home on the water to experience humorous escapades in the ballet classroom.  The ballet concludes with breathtaking variations from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Complete the unique double-bill family event with Carnival of the Animals.  Lions, birds, and fish will frolic on stage in Camile Saint-Saen’s musical masterpiece.

This promises to be an afternoon of beautiful music and dance.

For more information on tickets for any shows at the Kate, visit www.thekate.org or call the Kate Box Office at 860-510-0453.

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Marshview Artists Exhibit in Marshview Gallery Through July

OLD SAYBROOK — The Marshview Artists are a talented group of seniors who gather together on Tuesday mornings at the Estuary to paint and enjoy their passion for art.  While skill levels vary, many belong to local art societies and have won prizes for their work.

Using a variety of mixed media, watercolors, acrylics, and oils, they paint what interests them. For some, it’s flowers, for others it’s landscapes. Whatever they work on, they are able to critique each other in a friendly way which has led to friendships and also encouraged individual growth.

The group looks forward to this opportunity to showcase their work in the Estuary Marshview Gallery and hopes art lovers will drop by to see the exhibit and take time to visit.

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Old Saybrook Hosts 5th Annual Green-up Day Today

Green-up Day volunteers gather for a photo with some of their collected trash. File photo.

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 and started the annual event, Old Saybrook Green-up Day.

Join Casertano, friends and neighbors in this effort Saturday, April 29 for the 5th annual Green-up Day. The rain date is Sunday, April 30.

Trash is everywhere …

Volunteers may collect trash individually in their own neighborhoods, or meet up with others at the Green-up Meet-up on the Green, at 8 a.m. before heading out.

Busy weekend? Take a bag along on your rounds, fill it up, and throw it away at one of the event’s convenient locations. It’s a great example for kids to see everyone working together to keep their favorite places, and the roads to them, clean.

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.

Everyone can help in a small way, or a big way, to prevent roadside litter from becoming a town eyesore. Litter is also a threat to inland waterways and Long Island Sound.  Even doing something as simple as walking around one neighborhood, an individual can have a significant impact on the heath of the area’s beaches, rivers, and estuaries.

To volunteer, or for more information about how you can help, visit www.osgreenup.weebly.com, www.facebook.com/OldSaybrookGreenUpDay, or email bcasertano@comcast.net.

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Acton Library Announces Annual Poetry Contest Winners

AREAWIDE — The Acton Public Library will hold Poetry Night Wednesday, April 26, at 7 p.m. concluding its 23rd Annual Poetry Competition.  Winning poets will read their compositions and receive their awards. The public is invited to attend.

The panel judges for this year’s competition were Barbara Batt of Old Saybrook, Mary Guitar of Lyme, Susan Murphy of Madison, Mary Volk of Old Saybrook, and Jane Ulrich of Guilford. Chief judges were Patricia O’Brien, Old Saybrook’s Poet Laureate, and Nancy Meneely of Essex.

The evening, celebrating National Poetry Month, and the poets’ prizes are sponsored by the Friends of Acton Library. All submitted poems will be on display in the library through May.

The library is open Monday through Thursday 10-8:00, Friday and Saturday 10-5.

Contest winners are:

ADULT PRIZES

1st PRIZE                  My Father by Mike Augusta of Deep River
2nd PRIZE                How She Left by Lorraine Riess of Higganum
3rd PRIZE                Tar by Mike Augusta of Deep River

GRADES 9-12 PRIZES

1st PRIZE                  Parental Boogie by Sophie Spaner of Deep River
2nd PRIZE                 Escape by Stefanie Guo of Madison
3rd PRIZE                 Turns Black When Wet by Julia Collins of Old Saybrook

GRADES 7-8 PRIZES

1st PRIZE                    Snowflakes by Mackenzie Kapp of Old Saybrook
2nd PRIZE                  An Alphabet of Self Reflection by Mia Katz of Branford
3rd PRIZE                   Seeds by Sophie Burdick of Deep River

GRADES 4-6 PRIZES

1st  PRIZE               Moon Haikus by Van Lampos of Old Lyme
2nd PRIZE               Rude Awakening by Sheila Northrup of Madison
3rd PRIZE TIE        Time by Margo Katz of Branford
Oak Tree by Philip Warren of Old Saybrook

GRADES 1-3 PRIZES

1st PRIZE                  Butterfly by Hannah Belknap of Old Saybrook
2nd PRIZE                Valentine’s Day by Toyba Barasz of Old Saybrook

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Carney, Siegrist Help Clean Up The Preserve

Reps. Robert Siegrist and Devin Carney (right) joined a group of volunteers to help clean up The Preserve on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, in Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK – State Representative Devin Carney, who represents the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook, and State Representative Robert Siegrist, who represents the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam, participated in a clean-up day at The Preserve on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22.

The group was led by Chris Cryder, who is the Special Projects Coordinator with Save The Sound, and other volunteers were from throughout the state. Both legislators joined the group of volunteers to de-commission redundant trails through sensitive areas.

The Preserve is a work in progress and is still in the early stages of trail design, but will have trails for hikers and mountain bikers in the near future.

For more information visit: https://preserve1000acres.com/about/

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Guilford Savings Bank Supports Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries with ‘Green for Greens’

From left to right, front row, Guilford Saving Bank Branch Manager, Dave Carswell, SSKP Board Member Rick Westbrook, SSKP Executive Director, Patty Dowling, and Guilford Saving Bank Community Development Officer, Lisa La Monte. (back row) Guilford Saving Bank Assistant Branch Manager, Sandra Miller, and Guilford Saving Bank tellers Ryan Donovan and Brandy Reilly.

AREAWIDE — Guilford Savings Bank has awarded a $4,000 grant to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) to purchase fresh produce for needy residents of the shoreline. The grant, called “Green for Greens”, helps assure that local families who come to SSKP’s food pantries will be provided with fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to non-perishable foods.

Lisa LeMonte, Marketing and Community Development Officer at Guilford Savings Bank, shared, “I know I speak for everyone at GSB when I say how proud we are to provide “Green for Greens” that allows The Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries to supplement their budget with funds to purchase additional fresh produce.”

“The support of Guilford Savings Bank and their generous “Green for Greens” is truly a gift to those we serve at our 5 food pantries.  We all know the feeling of eating a fresh crisp apple, or finding a banana in our lunch bag when we are hungry midday.  Because of GSB, those in need will share in that feeling, and on behalf of those we serve, I sincerely thank Guilford Savings Bank for their commitment to providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director.

Founded 28 years ago, 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.

Guilford Savings Bank has been serving the financial needs of the Connecticut shoreline for over 140 years.  Recently named the #1 Community Bank in Connecticut, it is the premier relationship bank, providing banking, lending, wealth management and life insurance solutions for personal, small business and commercial customers. For more information visit www.gsbyourbank.com

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‘Discover Oswegatchie Hills’ in Old Saybrook Library Presentation Tonight

Greg Decker, Friends of OHNP chief steward, points the way through Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme. Decker will be giving the virtual tour of OHNP, terrain, wildlife and plants.

OLD SAYBROOK — Potapaug Audubon presents “Discover Oswegatchie Hills” on Tuesday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Acton Public Library, Old Saybrook with guest speakers Greg Decker and Old Lyme resident Suzanne Thompson, who are both Friends of Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve.

Suzanne Thompson of Old Lyme hiking Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme.

This free program comprises a photo overview of the 457-acre Nature Preserve, which was opened in 2007 by the Town of East Lyme.

For more information, call 860-710-5811.

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The Rockfall Foundation Announces 12 Grants for Environmental Projects

AREAWIDE — The Board of Directors and Grants Committee of the Rockfall Foundation are pleased to announce that twelve environmental programs throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley received grants in the latest funding cycle. More than $28,000 was awarded to support environmental education and conservation efforts that will have a combined benefit for nearly 2,000 students and many more adults and families in the region.

“These grants, awarded through a competitive process, support the wonderful work being done in the area of environmental education and conservation throughout our region,” said Marilyn Ozols, President of the Foundation. “We are grateful that the generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to support so many worthwhile programs.”

Environmental education is a priority area for the Foundation and programs that serve and engage children and youth represent the several of those receiving grants. Public schools and non-profit organizations will provide hands-on environmental education programs in Middletown, Durham, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Additionally, several conservation projects and public events will present residents throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley with information on urban farming, removal of invasives, and tree identification, as well as provide volunteer opportunities.

Grantees include:

Indian Hill Cemetery Association – “A Celebration of the Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery” will encourage visitors to utilize Indian Hill Cemetery as a place where they can learn about trees, be inspired by trees, enjoy the view and walk quietly. Tree identification activities, school programs, and the addition of signs will support this effort. $1,000

Van Buren Moody Elementary School – “Moody School Courtyard Nature Enrichment Programs” will train teachers to use the school’s courtyard gardens for education enrichment, thereby increasing the amount of time students spend outside learning about the environment. The program will also involve students and families in maintaining and managing the gardens to create a sense of ownership and connection to the courtyards and the natural world. $1,030

Regional School District 13 Elementary Schools – “Taking the Next Generation Science Standards Outside” will encourage elementary students to engage in the Science and Engineering Practices emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, while exploring the nature trails near their schools and noting problems that could be investigated and addressed. $1,100

Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District – “Urban Farm-Based Education Programs at Forest City Farms: A Farm Days Pilot Project” will promote an ongoing urban agriculture initiative in Middletown focused on improving urban farming conservation practices, building community interest and engagement in farming, developing farming/gardening knowledge and skills, and helping address food insecurity. Hands-on activities will take place at Forest City Farms. $1,500

Middlesex Land Trust and Everyone Outside – “Middlesex Land Trust Preserves: Great Places to Spend Time Outside” will revive and foster an interest in nature by connecting children and families with their local environment through field trips and public trail walks, helping them gain an understanding and appreciation of nature in order to become future stewards of the environment. $1,500

Snow Elementary School – “Outdoor Explorations at Snow Elementary School” will provide students and teachers with hands-on science and nature programs, including teacher training, mentoring and curriculum development leading to greater interest in science and stewardship of the natural world. $1,900

Lyme Land Conservation Trust – “The Diana and Parker Lord Nature and Science Center” to support the planning and development of educationally-focused content that is directed to all ages and will engage school-age children, and to support a unique and interactive interpretive trail within the Banningwood Preserve. $2,000

Valley Shore YMCA – “Farm to Table Specialty Camp,” an innovative new program that will teach children the important life skills of gardening, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and environmental sustainability. $2,225

Macdonough Elementary School – “Macdonough School Takes the Classroom Outside” will provide hands-on science education for K through 5th grade students, including an understanding of the natural world and the local ecosystem, to enhance students’ connection with nature. $2,570

Connecticut River Watershed Council – “European Water Chestnut Strategy for the Connecticut River Watershed” will directly educate more than 250 individuals on how to identify, manage and report European Water Chestnuts; educate thousands of residents about the plant and its threat to our waterways; and involve volunteers in hand removal of documented infestations. $3,500

Connecticut Forest and Park – “Highlawn Forest Invasive Removal and Education Program,” part of a strategic Forest Management Plan, to use the property as a recreation and education asset through careful timbering and an invasive removal process. The program will be a model for environmental planning and will offer a unique opportunity for hands-on environmental education for landowners and municipalities. $4,000

SoundWaters – “Coastal Explorers: A Bridge for Sustainability for Watershed Exploration for Middle School Students” will provide students from Middlesex County with hands-on science education focused on their local estuarine habitats and watershed to encourage a deeper understanding of the natural world via a combination of study and stewardship activities. $6,000

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is named for the large waterfall in Wadsworth Falls State Park. In addition to its grants, the Foundation sponsors educational programs and owns and maintains the deKoven House Community Center. The Rockfall Foundation awards grants annually through a competitive process that is open to non-profit organizations and municipalities located in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. For additional information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.rockfallfoundation.org  or call 860-347-0340.

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Vista Partners with Yale Spizzwinks(?) for Concert at ‘The Kate’ Tonight

OLD SAYBROOK — Vista Life Innovations is teaming up with the Yale Spizzwinks(?), America’s oldest underclassman a cappella singing group, to bring their world-renowned sound to The Kate in Old Saybrook on Friday, April 14.

Established in 1914, the Spizzwinks(?) tour three times a year, entertaining audiences across the country and the globe. Past concert highlights include performances at Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, the Connecticut Open tennis tournament, and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. The group has also performed for former Secretary of State John Kerry and pop icon Lady Gaga.

The Spizzwinks(?) maintain a broad repertoire ranging from Top 40 hits and classic rock to jazz standards and spirituals. Beyond exceptional a cappella tunes, the Spizzwinks(?) are known for incorporating a generous dose of choreography and their unique brand of humor into every performance.

Vista, a post-secondary program supporting the personal success of individuals with disabilities, believes in community integration through the arts and is proud to offer this captivating show to the community-at-large.

Tickets for the April 14 concert are available online at www.vistalifeinnovations.org/spizzwinks. The concert will begin at 1:30 p.m. at The Kate, 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook.

For questions, contact Kristin Juaire at 860-399-8080 ext. 236 or at kjuaire@vistalifeinnovations.org.

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Fire House Food Drive Benefits Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries Today

Shoreline Fire Departments hold a food drive Saturday, April 8, to benefit SSKP.

AREAWIDE — For the sixth consecutive year, Connecticut shoreline fire departments will host a one-day food drive on Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to collect non-perishable food for shoreline residents in need.

All donations will go to local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP.)

The SSKP hopes to include all fire departments in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. Fire departments already committed to the event include: Old Saybrook FD, 310 Main Street; (and once again this year, drop-offs will also be accepted by the OSFD at the Stop and Shop in Old Saybrook and Big Y in Old Saybrook); Westbrook FD, 15 South Main Street; Essex FD, 11 Saybrook Road; Clinton FD, 35 East Main Street; North Madison FD, 864 Opening Hill Road; and Chester FD, 6 High Street. All area fire departments are encouraged to participate.

At a time of year when food donations are low, this food drive will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our local communities will have a place at the table. The Soup Kitchens’ five pantries distributed over 1 million pounds of food last year to needy residents. 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 brought in close to 4,000 pounds of food, and this year’s goal is 6,000 pounds.

Join the effort by donating food, or by holding a food drive in your neighborhood, workplace, or club, and then bringing it to a participating firehouse on Saturday, April 8. Participating fire departments ask those donating food only to drop off food on Saturday, April 8.

Please do not drop off food before that date.

For more information call (860) 388-1988 or email Claire Bellerjeau at cbellerjeau@shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provide food and fellowship to people in need and educate the community about hunger and poverty, serving 11 shoreline towns. Founded 28 years ago, they accomplish their mission with the help of over 900 dedicated volunteers. Last year SSKP provided food for over one million meals to 8,000 local residents in need.

For more information on volunteering, visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org and get updates on Facebook. The SSKP thanks you for supporting their mission to provide food and fellowship to people in need and educate the community about hunger and poverty.

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Town of Old Saybrook Conducts Coastal Resilience Study, Public Meeting June 7

OLD SAYBROOK — The Town of Old Saybrook is conducting a Coastal Community Resilience Study and Infrastructure Evaluation to improve and facilitate the social, economic and ecological resilience of the Town to the impacts of sea level rise, coastal flooding, and erosion.

Public participation is essential to the process and two public meetings will be held this year. An important goal of each public meeting is to gather public input from community members including local residents, beach associations, local and state officials, and businesses located in flood-vulnerable areas.

The first Public Meeting will be held on June 7, at 6 p.m. at the Old Saybrook Pavilion and the public, business owners and community leaders are all encouraged to attend. This meeting will present the Coastal Resilience Study findings, including the future impacts of sea level rise and flooding relative to community assets:

  • Infrastructure;
  • Essential Facilities;
  • Lifeline Systems/Facilities (e.g., Wastewater Treatment Systems);
  • Natural and Recreational Resources, including Beaches, Coves, Salt Marsh, Shellfish Beds and Open Space; and
  • Social Resources: Neighborhoods, Community Centers and Shelters, Religious Centers, and Schools

Flooding issues related to sea level rise and increasing coastal storm surge will be discussed. The results of high resolution hydrodynamic flood models performed for the project will be presented.

Feedback gathered from the public will be integrated into the Coastal Resilience Study.

The Town of Old Saybrook hired the consulting team GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. GZA’s project subconsultants include Alex Felson Landscape Architects and Stantec.

For further information about the Coastal Resilience Study, contact Christine Nelson, Director of Old Saybrook  Land Use Department at 860-395-3131 or cnelson@oldsaybrookct.gov.

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Chanticleer, “An Orchestra of Voices” Concludes Essex Winter Series’ 40th Anniversary Season This Afternoon

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, perform April 2 in Old Saybrook to conclude Esex Winter Series 40th anniversary season.

ESSEX/OLD SAYBROOK – Essex Winter Series’ 40th anniversary season concludes with Chanticleer, “an orchestra of voices,” performing on Sunday, April 2 at 3 p.m. at Old Saybrook High School, 1111 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.

One of the world’s most renowned vocal ensembles, Chanticleer is an all-male chorus that performed as part of the Series in 2015 to a near sold-out audience, despite snowstorm conditions. This year, they present “My Secret Heart,” a program that invokes images of love across time and space.

In addition to Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, the program highlights two special Chanticleer commissions. They are a brand new work from the pen of Finnish composer Jaako Mantyjärvi, and five evocative and heart-wrenching poems from “Love Songs” of Augusta Read Thomas, featured in the Grammy-award winning CD “The Colors of Love.”

Individual tickets are $35 or $5 for full-time students. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

The 2017 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, and Tower Laboratories. Outreach activities are supported by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Environmental Symposium Examines “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” Today in Haddam

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will deliver the keynote address at the March 31 symposium.

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation and UConn Climate Adaptation Academy present an environmental symposium about changing precipitation patterns on Friday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UConn Middlesex County Extension Office, 1066 Saybrook Road, Haddam.

The focus is “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” and the symposium will examine shifting patterns that produce extreme weather occurrences from rain bombs to drought. Discussion will include the impacts on communities and a variety of adaptive responses for municipalities, residents, and businesses.

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will give a keynote address “Examining Trends in Temperature, Precipitation and Flood Frequency in the Northeast; A Tale of Extremes.”

Other presenters and panelists will discuss the effects on our personal lives and the communities we live in, including the challenges of managing infrastructure, maintaining adequate water supplies, supporting local agriculture, fighting insect borne disease, and planning for smart design. Participants include:

  • Amanda Ryan, Municipal Stormwater Educator, UConn CLEAR and Michael Dietz, CT NEMO Program Director – Addressing how the type and frequency of storms affects compliance with MS4 requirements and the effectiveness of LID solutions.
  • David Radka, Director of Water Resource and Planning, Connecticut Water Company and Ryan Tetreault, CT Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section – Discussion of public and private water supplies with a focus on how we ensure sufficient clean water for all.
  • Ian Gibson, Farm Manager, Wellstone Farm – Relating the local agricultural experience of a small farmer and how changing precipitation patterns alter the way he farms.
  • Roger Wolfe, Mosquito Management Coordinator, CT DEEP Wetland Habitat & Mosquito Management Program – How best to control changes in mosquito populations caused by heavy rains and periods of drought.
  • Anne Penniman, ASLA, Principal/Owner, Anne Penniman Associates – Insight on how site development (plant material, surface material, drainage) can be modified to better tolerate and accommodate changing precipitation patterns.
  • Kirk Westphal, PE, CDM Smith Project Manager for CT State Water Plan – An update on the development of Connecticut’s first State Water Plan and how citizens can participate in the process.

“The symposium will be of key interest to local elected and appointed officials, land use planners, developers, and town planning and commission members,” said Robin Andreoli, executive director of the Rockfall Foundation. “And the presentations and follow-up discussions should engage all who are concerned with effective community planning.”

To register or for additional information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340. Support is provided in part by CDM Smith, Xenelis Construction, Milone & MacBroom, and Planimetrics. Proceeds benefit the environmental education programs of the Rockfall Foundation.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through financial grants and educational programming. Founded in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation owns and maintains the historic deKoven House in Middletown, which is a community center with meeting rooms and office space for non-profit groups.

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Next Acton Library Film Screening, May 26

OLD SAYBROOK  — The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting two film series on Fridays beginning this January and running through May of 2017 using new film projection equipment and a new 12 ft. movie screen in the Grady Thomas Room.  All are welcome to both series. Admission is free.

“Explore the World Through Arts and Adventure” will run second Fridays at 1 p.m. and will include films that explore other countries and cultures through various art forms such as dance and music, and through adventure. Details of the series are as follows:

Jan. 13: An American in Paris
Feb. 10: Seven Years in Tibet
March 10: White Nights
April 7: Out of Africa (first Friday due to April 14th closing)
May 12: to be a announced on the APL website and in the library.

“The School Series” will run fourth Fridays also at 1 p.m. and will include artistically and historically educational films. Local school groups will be invited to join for these films at Acton. Details of the series are as follows:

Jan. 27: Fantasia
Feb. 24: Constitution USA with Peter Sagal
March 24: O. Henry’s Full House
April 28: Selma
May 26: to be announced on the APL website and in the library.

For more information, call The Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10am – 8:00pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 5pm or visit on-line at www.actonlibrary.org .

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30 Plunge Into Frigid Sound to Help Save Plum Island

Plunging for Plovers: these brave souls charged into the freezing waters of Long Island Sound last Saturday to raise awareness of efforts to save Plum Island from sale and preserve the island’s outstanding flora and fauna. Photo by Judy Preston.

OLD SAYBROOK -– A long-planned “polar plunge”-style fundraiser at Old Saybrook Town Beach got a shot of drama from unexpectedly cold temperatures, strong winds, and high waves this weekend.

CFE/Save the Sound’s Chris Cryder, in seal costume, speaks at the press conference. Photo by Laura McMillan.

Students from Old Saybrook High School, area officials, and representatives of a regional environmental organization—some in costumes—packed into a heated school bus for a press conference last Saturday morning, March 11, before running into a frigid Long Island Sound to raise awareness and support for protecting Plum Island.

The “Plum Island Plunge for Plovers” has raised $3,700 for Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound’s multi-year battle to save Plum Island from sale and private development. Donations are still coming in.

“I’ve met thousands of folks all around the Sound who want Plum Island preserved, but this is something else,” said Chris Cryder, special project coordinator for CFE/Save the Sound, decked out as one of the harbor seals that rest on Plum Island’s rocky shore. “To see dozens of people voluntarily turn out in weather like this to make a statement about the island’s importance is inspiring.”

Rosie Rothman, co-president of Old Saybrook High School’s Interact Club, speaks at the press conference prior to ‘The Plunge.’ Photo by Judy Preston.

Rosie Rothman, co-president of Old Saybrook High School’s Interact Club, explained that the plunge was a perfect fit for the Interact Club’s mission of community service and the Ecology Club’s mission of environmental protection.

“Afterwards, we couldn’t feel our toes for a while, but we still had fun,” she said. “With a windchill in the single digits, it was definitely a challenge, but our members still showed up. I think that speaks to our dedication to the cause. It is our hope that our legislators take decisive federal action to protect Plum Island from development that would be detrimental to the wildlife that depends on it, including 111 species of conservation concern.”

“I was very proud to see so many Old Saybrook High School students participate in the polar plunge, on a freezing March day, to support efforts to preserve Plum Island,” said Rep. Devin Carney (Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook). “Plum Island is an important natural resource for the Connecticut shoreline and Long Island Sound. By preserving it, these students, and many others, will be able to enjoy its natural beauty for many years to come.”

And they’re off! The plungers enter the bitterly cold water at Old Saybrook Town Beach. (Photo by Judy Preston)

Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., first selectman for the Town of Old Saybrook, joined the hardy souls jumping into the Sound. Addressing the assembled attendees, he reminded them of the region’s land conversation victory in saving The Preserve, and said, “The Town of Old Saybrook fully supports the conservation of Plum Island and its rightful place in the public domain upon the decommissioning of scientific activities. The importance of Plum Island as a flora and fauna host has been amply demonstrated. It is now time for our legislative and executive branches to swiftly put an end to any speculation that this resource will be privately developed. I applaud the bipartisan efforts to conserve Plum Island.”

These were some of the supporters, who braved the cold to cheer on the plungers. (Photo by Judy Preston.)

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy sent letters in support of the effort.

Plum Island, an 840-acre, federally-owned island in the eastern end of Long Island Sound, is home to threatened and endangered birds like the piping plover and roseate tern, as well as other rare species. Seventy Connecticut and New York organizations work together as the Preserve Plum Island Coalition, partnering with grassroots activists and champions in Congress to halt sale of the island. CFE/Save the Sound has also brought an action in federal court claiming that the government’s decision to sell the island violates numerous federal environmental laws.

Fundraising will remain open through the end of the month. Members of the public may donate to support CFE/Save the Sound’s work at www.bit.ly/plum-plunge.

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Kuslan Presents ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ Program, Followed by Performance at ‘the Kate’ in HD by The Met, May 13

Opera devotee and popular lecturer on operatic topics, James Kuslan, will present an informative program on Richard Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier” at the Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook on Saturday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m. This event is sponsored by the Guild of Salt Marsh Opera and the Acton Public Library.

Kuslan is a graduate of Yale University’s School of Drama and has been a voice scout in the United States for the German classical recording giant, Deutsche Grammophon.

“Der Rosenkavalier” is set in Vienna of the past, and regarded as Strauss’s most popular and grandest opera concerns a wise woman of the world who is involved with a much younger lover. It combines comedy, fantasy, and drama. This program is free, open to the public, and handicapped accessible.

The Met in HD at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center features a simulcast of “Der Rosenkavalier” starring Renee Fleming, on May 13, starting at 12:30 p.m.

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Batman Flies In to Acton Library This Morning to Host a Meet & Greet Story Time

OLD SAYBROOK — Batman is coming to the Acton Public Library Saturday, March 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m! Join the Children’s Library for a free interactive story, glitter tattoos, photo-ops, and games with Batman.

Light refreshments provided.

Best for children ages 3- to 10-years-old.

Register online or call 860-395-3184.

This program is sponsored by Friends of Acton Library.

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Join the ‘Common Good Gardens’ to Discover the Benefits of Volunteering; Orientation Meeting Today

OLD SAYBROOK — Each year, the Common Good Gardens in Old Saybrook raise nearly four tons of fresh vegetables and fruit, and then then donates them to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries  And they do it entirely with volunteers – volunteers who have kept it going and improved it for 15 years.

You’re probably thinking, “How unselfish … doing all that work to benefit other people,” and they are for sure.  But, according to new research, volunteers are also on the receiving end of some amazing benefits; and most likely, they don’t even know it.  They just know that they feel better when they leave the garden.

Never too young … all ages can volunteer at the Common Good Garden.

Solid data on the benefits of volunteering has appeared in a variety of current publications, ranging from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health Letters, to a review from the Corporation for National & Community Service, which states,

On average, volunteering 40 to 100 hours per year increases personal satisfaction and happiness, decreases depression, improves functional capacity; and results in fewer illnesses and a longer life span.

Similar articles from the Huffington Post, Atlantic Monthly as well as research released by Johns Hopkins, The London School of Economics and University of Exeter Medical School have all told a similar story.

Greatest Gains for Seniors

Volunteering has health benefits — especially for seniors!

While there are potential gains to be had for high-schoolers and middle-aged persons, the greatest gains related to volunteering are for those 65 and older.  Some researchers suggest this greater gain for seniors may be because they start out lower before volunteering. Their health may not be as good as that of younger people or they may have lower self-esteem and more social isolation due to retirement.  Even if that proves true, starting to volunteer at an earlier adult stage seems to correlate with fewer health issues later in life.

Regarding functional capacity, the Hopkins study showed improved brain function associated with activities that get you moving and thinking at the same time.  As for happiness, though some of the happiness data is based on self-reporting alone, other data show hormone levels and brain scan activity consistent with physiologic changes associated with happiness.

Studies in UK

In addition to the improvements shown above, a large review of nearly 25,000 articles in the UK notes increased coping ability, better parenting skills and richer personal relationships.

Impact on Chronic Illness and Longevity

Several studies examined in particular the impact for those with chronic illness. They found that these volunteers reported decreased pain and depression. People with a prior heart attack also had lower incidences of depression after volunteering.

A United Health Group survey showed these striking figures:

  • 25% reported volunteering helped them live better with chronic illness
  • 76% reported feeling healthier
  • 78% reported lowered stress levels
  • 94% reported improved mood
  • 96% reported an enriched sense of purpose

Finally U.S. census data confirms that those states with high volunteer rates show greater longevity and lower rates of heart disease.

Come Join the Common Good Gardens

There’s always room for an extra pair of hands …

Come join us at the Common Good Gardens.  Whatever your age, level of health, or skill set, there’s a way for you to contribute while benefiting from volunteering.

Yes, gardeners are needed to plant, weed and harvest, and beginners are always welcome. But also needed are people with computer skills, carpentry skills, writing and speaking skills;   people who can drive a car to deliver produce; leaders to organize small groups and work with public schools; people who love nature or are excited about nutrition, and folk who want to help experiment with natural ways to deter pests or make soil richer.

Common Good Gardens by the numbers

  • 14: Number of years garden has been in existence (2002-2016)
  • July 7, 2011: Date the garden incorporated and received non-profit 501(c)3  status
  • 10: Number of Board members
  • 220,000: Total pounds of produce grown, collected and delivered 2004-2016 through garden volunteer efforts
  • 50: Number of core active volunteers (gardeners, drivers, other)
  • 3,000: Number of volunteer hours donated annually
  • 1/2 acre: Size of garden located at rear of Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main Street, Old Saybrook
  • 22: Number of different varieties of fruits and vegetablesgrown at the garden during 2016
  • 6,900: Pounds of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • $17,200: Dollar value of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • 7: Number of farm stands that donate excess produce to garden for distribution to pantries in 2013.

Many hands make light work at the Common Good Gardens.

Current volunteers at the Common Good Gardens encourage you to get involved so that together, a healthy future for the garden, ourselves, and our shoreline community can be created.

If interested, contact Common Good Gardens at PO Box 1224, Old Saybrook, CT 06475 or call Barbara Standke at 860-575-8645 with questions, or to sign up for the annual new volunteer orientation on March 11.

Editor’s Note: The authors of this piece, Kate Wessling and Barbara Standke, are respectively Common Good Gardens President and Common Good Gardens Volunteer Coordinator.

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Letter to the Editor: Old Saybrook Town Officials Says First Priority is Re-Employment of Fortune Plastics Employees

To the Editor:

The announcement by Fortune Plastics of their intended closure in April has left the Old Saybrook and Shoreline Community concerned and disappointed.  Our concern is first and foremost for the over 90 employees of the company who will be losing their employment.  It is also disheartening to see what was once a locally-owned family business leave the State.

Upon hearing the news, our offices began marshaling state and regional resources to work with the company in finding new employment for the workers.  Within a week, the Connecticut Department of Labor Rapid Response Unit organized a Job Fair at Fortune Plastics on March 4.  We also contacted local and regional manufacturers, many with positions to fill.  We will continue to partner with Fortune Plastics to make available any and all human resources in the coming months. 

Fortune Plastic’s 75,000 sf manufacturing facility will also be available for repurpose.  The Town and the Economic Development Commission plan to market the availability of this and other industrial properties so they will be put to back into full and productive use. 

While this is indeed difficult news for all affected employees and the Town, we will continue to be a town that seeks out new business opportunities to benefit workers and residents.

Carl P. Fortuna, Jr. and Susie Beckman
Old Saybrook.

Editor’s Note:  The writers are respectively the First Selectman of Town of Old Saybrook and the
Economic Development Director of the Town of Old Saybrook.

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Town of Old Saybrook Hosts Second Public Meeting Tonight on Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan

OLD SAYBROOK — The Town of Old Saybrook is working on a “Brownfields Area-Wide Revitalization (BAR) Plan” for Mariner’s Way (Rte. 1 East between Saybrook Junction’s Town Center and Ferry Point’s Marina District) that builds on the Town’s 2014 Mariner’s Way Plan. This effort, the Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan, will identify ways to support a new identity for Mariner’s Way and create action steps to revitalize the area and better connect this corridor from Town Center to the Connecticut River.

There will be a second public meeting on Thursday, March 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Hunter Ambulance, 309 Boston Post Rd., at which CivicMoxie, the Town’s consultants, will share and discuss preliminary ideas for streetscape, pedestrian/bicycle connections, and land use concepts.

Come and be a part of the conversation to help make this part of Mariner’s Way a more appealing place to live, work, shop, and play.

For future news and notifications of meetings, Sign Up for Mariner’s Way updates: www.oldsaybrookct.org/Pages/OldSaybrookCT_EconomicDev/index.

Questions can be directed to: Susan Beckman, Economic Development Director: susan.beckman@oldsaybrookct.gov or (860) 395-3139.

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‘Kate’s Camp for Kids’ Presents ‘ARF!’, Rehearsals Begin March 15

AREAWIDE – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Community Music School are partnering again under the umbrella of their performing arts summer camp, Kate’s Camp for Kids, to present a spring program and show entitled “ARF: A Canine Musical of Kindness, Courage and Calamity!”

This exciting program takes place at The Kate, 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook, and runs for six weekly sessions on Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 5 p.m. beginning March 15.  Launched in 2013, Kate’s Camp for Kids is a performing arts camp for children in grades K-5 incorporating music, dance, theater, and visual art.

Directed by Martha Herrle, a 15-year-member of the Community Music School faculty and certified Kindermusik educator, this year’s camp theme will be “ARF!”  Students will be acting out the personalities of their favorite canine characters from Doggie Town including General German Shepherd, the singing Dalmatians, and Rover the mutt. Featuring five original songs and easy-to-learn rhyming dialog, the program culminates in a lively performance for friends and family.

Tuition for this camp is $125 and scholarships are available for families with a financial need.

For additional information and to register, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.

Learn more at visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.

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