May 27, 2017

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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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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Save The Date for Estuary Volunteer Fair/Open House, June 21

AREAWIDE — 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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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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Acton Library Presents ‘History of the 1950s and 60s Through Music’  with Marc Black, June 17

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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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, Plans 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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‘The Kate’ Hosts Annual Fundraising Oscar Party Tonight

OLD SAYBROOK — The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, The Kate, will hold a fundraising benefit on Oscar Night, this Sunday, Feb. 26, beginning at 7 p.m. and continuing until the Oscars are all awarded!  The Oscar Party is The Kate’s annual red-carpet event that honors 12-time Oscar-nominated, four-time-winning theatre namesake, Katharine Hepburn, while also making for a great party.

  • Walk the red carpet.
  • Pose for a photo or two.
  • Bid on an auction item.
  • Hold a real Oscar.

Watch the Oscars live on The Kate’s gigantic screen as you indulge in delicious appetizers, treats, and beverages.  Come and celebrate like a star!

A few individual tickets to attend the event are still available at www.thekate.org or call 877-503-1286.

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Sen. Linares Proposes Electoral College Vote for 2nd Congressional District

Sen. Art Linares gives testimony in the Connecticut Senate.

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) on Wednesday testified before the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee in support of a bill he proposed to give the 2nd Congressional District its own vote in the Electoral College.

SB 133, An Act Concerning The Electoral College Vote Attributed To The State’s Second Congressional District, was submitted by Sen. Linares as a way to give a voice and more visibility to the people and businesses of the 2ndCongressional District.

During his testimony, Sen. Linares said that while people know the Naval Submarine Base and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, other areas of the district don’t get much notice.

“Presidents and vice presidents are customary speakers at Academy graduations. Members of Congress tour the facility that is the United States Navy’s primary East Coast submarine base,” Sen. Linares said. “However, during presidential primary and election years, the Second Congressional District and its important facilities are passed by. I’d like to change that.”

Sen. Linares said his bill would use the popular vote in the district to determine what candidate would get the Electoral College vote from the district. In addition to possibly generating more interest from presidential candidates, he said the bill would give the 2nd Congressional District the attention the unique area deserves,

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

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Free Dance Class Offered Mondays by The Estuary for Those with Parkinson’s Disease

OLD SAYBROOK — The Estuary Council of Seniors 220 Main St. Old Saybrook has partnered with Rehab Concepts physical therapy to offer a free class to those folks living with Parkinson’s disease.

The Class meets Mondays at 1 p.m. and offers participants the opportunity to, boost confidence, and focus all your senses on movement and balance.

The class instructor is Rose Costanzo, a physical therapist who specializes in Parkinson’s therapy.

To register, call 203-458-6268

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Take a Mat /Chair Adaptive Yoga Class at the Estuary, Fridays

OLD SAYBROOK — The Estuary Council of seniors 220 Main St Old Saybrook has a new yoga class that meets on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and the cost is $6 a class

The class is designed for individuals who find it a challenge to get up and down from the floor in a yoga class. You will use a chair, yoga mat and other props to enable safe adaptations of yoga poses that will help build confidence, strength and flexibility.

Bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothing

For more information, email yogakeepsmefit@gmail.com or call Rachel Baer at 860-859-7217

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9 Town Transit Partners with Google Maps for Online Trip Planning

AREAWIDE — Finding local bus route information just got a whole lot easier.  In fact, you probably already have it available on your smartphone.  Google Maps now includes local bus routes and schedules in its directions feature.

Riders no longer have to read timetables.  They simply enter the date and time that they hope to arrive at their destination and the trip planner will provide three options, showing the amount of time and number of transfers for each option, letting you easily select the most convenient trip.

Google Maps can even provide walking directions, so you can find out exactly how to get to the nearest transit stop or station, and how to get to your destination once you leave the train/bus.  For extra convenience, Google Maps has most locations already stored, so you only need the location name or just a category, such as fast food.

“We are pleased to welcome 9 Town Transit to Google Maps.”, says Ryan Poscharsky, Strategic Partner Manager at Google.  “This partnership shows 9 Town Transit’s commitment to innovating, as well as serving and attracting new riders. Together we can provide useful and accurate information to help people quickly get to where they want to go.”

Another important feature is the ability to plan trips across agencies and modes.  CT Transit New Haven and Hartford, CT Transit Express, Shoreline East and Metro North are all available in Google Maps, so it is easy to plan your trip from Old Saybrook to Hartford, from Manhattan to the outlet malls, or from your Clinton to downtown New Haven.  Google Maps tells you all transfers required along with the connecting agency name and contact information.

“We hope this tool makes it easier than ever to plan your trip by bus or train in our region”, says Joseph Comerford, Executive Director of 9 Town Transit.

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Local Lawmakers Urge State to Support ‘The Kate’ with Highway Tourism Signage

Rep. Carney (left), The Kate’s Director of Development Dana Foster (center), and Paul Formica (right) at the Jan. 29 public hearing on the proposal to install signs for The Kate on local highways.

OLD SAYBROOK -– Old Saybrook lawmakers are urging the state legislature to help support the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (‘The Kate’) by passing legislation that would allow tourism signage for the center to be placed on Rte. 9 and I-95.

Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th), Sen. Art Linares (R-33rd) and Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) submitted testimony in favor of House Bill 5574 and spoke before the Transportation Committee to urge fellow lawmakers to support the local theater. ‘The Kate’ is a theater in the Town of Old Saybrook that provides entertainment for the region and is named for Connecticut Hall-of-Famer, multiple Academy Award winner, and former Old Saybrook resident Katharine Hepburn.

“We believe that ‘The Kate’ deserves to have signage along both I-95 and Rte. 9 because it will attract tourists to the theater and create an interest for those passing by the signs,” the lawmakers said in their written testimony, adding, “Similar theaters have signage along various highways throughout the state due to their importance and popularity and ‘The Kate’ is no different.”

They continued, “It is a cultural hub with entertainment that draws people from across the state and the country. It is an economic engine, not only for Old Saybrook, but for the region as a whole and helps nearby businesses like the many restaurants and shops in town. Signage along the highway will only improve the number of tourists to town and we believe it is in the state’s best interest to promote this important theater with the signage suggested.”

Sen. Formica and Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations at The Kate, testify before the Transportation Committee in favor of House Bill 5574 An Act Concerning Signs Indication the Location of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

Sen. Formica testified in person with Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations, at ‘The Kate,’ on Jan. 31, before the Transportation Committee on which Rep. Carney is a ranking member.

Foster explained the importance of signage along the highways, saying, “Signage would help our growing audiences navigate the multiple exits to Old Saybrook and help to further attract additional tourists and others to our historical building, great exhibit, and incredible arts and programming.”

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Sen. Linares Named Co-chairman of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Caucus

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) File photo.

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares (R-33) has been named Co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Caucus. The caucus advocates the interests of individuals with IDD and their families.

“Mahatma Gandhi said that a society will be measured by how it has treated its most vulnerable citizens,” Sen. Linares noted. “We must leave a legacy where individuals and families dealing with IDD are able to live full and complete lives. I am proud to be asked to take a leadership role in a caucus tasked with such important work.”

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-34) commented that he knows advocating for those impacted by IDD is an important issue for Sen. Linares.

“Sen. Linares is an energetic lawmaker and in this new role he will be an active ambassador to families and advocates, working hard to make their voices heard at the Capitol,” Sen. Fasano said, adding, “To best serve these families, we need to learn about the challenges they face every day. Sen. Linares will play a key role in that dialogue.”

Sen. Linares stressed that as the General Assembly faces a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit for the next fiscal year, legislators must do their best to support the needs of Connecticut’s IDD residents.

“State spending must be brought under control, but that doesn’t mean we balance the budget at the expense of those with disabilities,” he said.

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

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Old Saybrook ‘Sister March’ Draws Almost 1,000 Peaceful Protesters

Baby’s first march — we suspect not Grandma’s!

AREAWIDE — The march may only have been registered late last week, but almost 1,000 people still turned out Saturday morning in Old Saybrook to join the movement that inspired around three million people across the globe to publicly express their opinions on the rights of women and other minority groups, and in many ways on the new Trump presidency as a whole.

More than 500 people had gathered by 10 a.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green unsure whether they were just going to simply stand in front of the Town Hall or whether they were actually going to march.

They came from towns all along the shoreline — Guilford, Clinton, Old Lyme, Lyme, East Lyme, and Old Saybrook were all mentioned — and they spanned in age from a few months to others well into their 80s and many wore what had become the signature pink “Pussy Hats.” Many people brought signs ranging from hand-written words painted on pieces of cardboard to an elaborately embroidered banner bearing the words “Not My President.”

Others like Alison Mitchell of Old Lyme fearlessly sat in her wheelchair strongly and stoically making her point.

Around 10:30 a.m., it became apparent that a march was beginning going north up Main St. on the east side towards Boston Post Rd. then crossing over and returning to the Green going south on the west side.  By this time the crowd had swelled by several hundred more and as the demonstrators marched, more and more people joined.

Women were definitely in the majority but there were plenty of men marching too.  There were some chants, “Love Trumps Hate” was a popular one, and songs,”We Shall Overcome” rang out at one point, and overall, it was a cheerful, friendly occasion.  When the clouds cleared and the sun finally broke through on the return leg, marcher Rosemary Barclay of Old Lyme said with a chuckle, “It’s certainly not going to rain on our parade!”

From left to right, some Old Lyme marchers share a smile.

But once wasn’t enough for these intrepid marchers.  Almost as soon as they found themselves back at ‘The Kate,’ they started re-tracing their steps and ultimately completed a second loop. The Old Saybrook Police did a wonderful job stopping the patient traffic so that the marchers could cross Main Street whenever necessary.

By the time of the second circuit, the line of marchers was so long that it snaked down one side of Main St., across the road and then up the other side.  Passengers were getting out of cars to join the march, horns were being sounded regularly — and loudly — in support of the marchers and only one lone pick-up truck with “Trump’ flags was spotted.

At the end of it all, the marchers happily gathered in front of the Town Hall and in communion with all the other marchers across the nation and the world, observed a meaningful moment of silence before peacefully dispersing.

More signs …

… and another …

… and another …

… and another …

David Brown with coffee and a sign …

A previous presidential campaign slogan refocused …

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Application Deadline for Environmental Leadership Scholarship is Wednesday

logoAREAWIDE — Applications are now being accepted for the Virginia R. Rollefson Environmental Leadership Scholarship, a $1,000 award to recognize a high school student who has demonstrated leadership and initiative in promoting conservation, preservation, restoration, or environmental education.

Students residing in Middlesex County, Lyme or Old Lyme are eligible to apply.

The scholarship is presented by the Rockfall Foundation and applications must be submitted by noon on Wednesday, Feb. 1. For a copy of the application or for more information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Established in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations whose mission is to be a catalyst– bringing people together and supporting organizations to conserve and enhance the county’s natural environment. Rockfall awards grants each year to organizations, schools and municipalities, and sponsors educational programs and symposia.

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‘Sister March’ Supporting ‘Women’s March on Washington’ in Old Saybrook Today

OLD SAYBROOK — We have just heard that a ‘Sister March’ has been announced in Old Saybrook on Saturday.  This ‘Demonstration in Support of the Women’s March in D.C.’ starts at 10 a.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green and runs through 2 p.m.

The information on the ‘Sister Marches‘ website states, “We invite anyone who’d like to demonstrate support for the Women’s March, occurring in Washington D.C. and throughout the country, to join us in front of the Old Saybrook Town Green on the day of the march, Saturday, January 21, any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.”

The invitation continues, “We encourage you to bring posters or banners calling for equal rights for women and for all
persons entitled to fair and equitable treatment, regardless of their sex, orientation, age, race or creed.”

For more information and to RSVP, visit this link: https://actionnetwork.org/events/demonstration-in-support-of-womens-march-in-dc?source=email&

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Wayne Eisenbaum Charitable Foundation Donates $20,000 to Operation Fuel

OLD SAYBROOK — The Wayne Eisenbaum Charitable Foundation (previously called IRMAR) of Old Saybrook, has donated $20,000 to Operation Fuel for its energy programs.

Now in its 40th year, Operation Fuel is a statewide nonprofit program that provides emergency energy assistance year-round to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly, and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis.

Individuals who need energy assistance should call 211.

For more information on Operation Fuel or to make a donation, go towww.operationfuel.org

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Saybrook Stage Presents “The Farnsworth Invention” at ‘The Kate,’ Continues Through Sunday

The cast of ‘The Farnsworth Invention.’

The invention of television comes to life in “The Farnsworth Invention” live at The Kate from Jan. 19 through Jan. 22 – a fast-paced electric play written by Aaron Sorkin; who brought us such great television as “The West Wing”, “The Social Network” and “The Newsroom.” His high energy writing style makes for an enjoyable evening of theatre.

It’s 1929. Two ambitious visionaries race against each other to invent a device called “television.” Separated by 2,000 miles, each knows that if he stops working, even for a moment, the other will gain the edge. Who will unlock the key to the greatest innovation of the 20th century: the ruthless media mogul or the self-taught Idaho farm boy?

This compelling story moves at lightning speed as two very different groups attempt to transmit a moving picture at the speed of light. The play is packed with every possible emotion – love, deceit, compassion, death, ambition and power – all intertwined as these two industry giants fight for the ultimate prize of being named the father of television!

“The Farnsworth Invention” opened on Broadway in 2007 and the Chicago Sun-Times described it as “ a firecracker of a play in a fittingly snap, crackle and pop production … the drama has among its many virtues the ability to make you think at the same time it breaks your heart.” The play has a cast of over 20 people who play over 60 roles which makes for a quick moving storyline from scene to scene.

The Saybrook Stage Company is pleased to return once again to The Kate in this quick-paced drama directed by John Pike. This will be their 13th production at The Kate and will be the largest cast to take the stage to date – the more recent previous plays are Deathtrap, Rumors, The Wayside Motor Inn, Moon Over Buffalo and this past January to a sold-out audience, Noises Off.

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

The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing quality 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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Reynolds Subaru Presents NADA ‘Ambassadors Grant’ to Estuary’s MOW Program in Memory of Gary Reynolds

Kathryn Wayland, Owner Reynolds Subaru, is pictured presenting Paul Doyle, Estuary Council Executive Director, with a check for $1,000. Standing to the left is G. Hayden Reynolds, Owner Reynolds Subaru.

Kathryn Wayland, Reynolds Subaru owner, is pictured presenting Paul Doyle, Estuary Council Executive Director, with a check for $1,000. Standing to the left is G. Hayden Reynolds, Reynolds Subaru owner.

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Council of Seniors recently received, through Reynolds Subaru, the Ambassadors Grant from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) in memory of Gary Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Garage & Marine Inc. in Lyme, CT.  Gary Reynolds was well known for his distinguished career in the automotive retail industry and his generosity in our local communities.  He served on the board of directors of the NADA, representing franchised new car and truck dealers in Connecticut until his passing in 2013.

The Reynolds family designated the Estuary Council of Seniors to be the recipient of the Ambassadors Grant in memory of Gary and in addition to the award of $500, the Reynolds family matched the grant with an additional $500.

The Estuary is pleased to accept this wonderful grant from the NADA and gift from the Reynolds family in memory of Gary Reynolds in continuing support of the Estuary’s Meals on Wheels program.  This past fiscal year the Estuary delivered over 70,000 meals to Meals on Wheels recipients in the nine town Estuary region including Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook & Westbrook.

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Acton Library Hosts Exhibition by Daniel Dahlstrom Through Jan. 25

Dan Dahlstrom demonstrates his painting techniques at the library.

The Acton Public Library at 60 Old Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook, presents an exhibit of oil paintings by Daniel Dahlstrom of Chester. Dahlstrom brings his works to the library gallery and the second floor Grady Thomas room through Wednesday, Jan. 25.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, at 11 a.m., Dahlstrom will host a meet and greet featuring a demonstration of his painting.

For further information, call 860-395-3184 or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10 – 8, Friday and Saturday 10 – 5.

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Republican Sen. Art Linares Wins Third Term in 33rd District

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) File photo.

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) File photo.

AREAWIDE — Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook was re-elected for a third term Tuesday , defeating his Democratic challenger, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, by a decisive margin in the 12- town 33rd District.

Linares, 28, carried at least six district towns, including Clinton, East Haddam, East Hampton, Portland, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.

Neeedleman, 65, carried Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Lyme. The margin in Deep River was a close 12 votes 1,268 for Needleman to 1,256 for Linares,. Results were still outstanding as of 10 p.m. from Haddam and Colchester. Excluding those two towns, the total vote was 22,950 for Linares to 17,643 for Needleman.

Linares, was first elected in 2012, taking the seat that had been held for the previous two decades by the late former State Sen. Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,673-17,326 vote.  Needleman is serving his third term as first selectman of Essex.

Linares claimed victory around 9:30 p.m., entering the ballroom at Water Edge Resort in Westbrook to cheers from about 100 supporters. “Not bad for a close race in the 33rd, I mean how big do we have to win by,” he quipped. Linares offered special thanks to his younger brother, Ryan, who has managed his three winning election campaigns .
Needleman greeted supporters at the Ivoryton Tavern in Essex.
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Bushnell Farm Offers ‘Election Day Cake,’ Cider, Harvest Activities at Free Event Today

Bushnell Farm has an authentic 17th century house where visitors can catch a glimpse of busy seasonal life on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 11am-4pm at Harvest Home, a free, family event. Photo by Jody Dole

Bushnell Farm has an authentic 17th century house where visitors can catch a glimpse of busy seasonal life on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 11am-4pm at Harvest Home, a free, family event. Photo by Jody Dole

Bushnell Farm, the 22 acre, 17th century site in Old Saybrook will be open on Nov. 5, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. with autumn activities that reflect the seasonal rhythm of daily life at this Valley-Shore farmstead. The event at 1445 Boston Post Rd. is free and open to the public with on-site parking. 

To celebrate the end of this campaign year, there will be Election Day cake in the oven of the 1678 farm house and demonstrators will be pressing apples for cider outside. Visitors can hear about the vast differences between Connecticut elections in colonial times and today.

The Bushnell family would be busy processing their apples, corn, vegetables and butchered beef into stores that could be preserved for the winter, so there will be several examples of food preservation taking place. The weaver in the Loom House will be working as will the blacksmith in the Forge.

Visitors can take a wagon ride around the Farm and stop near the Grove that is home to an Indian wigwam and there will be opportunities to compare and contrast their fall preparations with those of their English neighbors. 

Bushnell Farm is owned by Herb and Sherry Clark of Essex and is open to the public for seasonal events. The site is used for school programs, Scout campouts and for the Connecticut River Museum’s Summer Camp.

For further information, call the Curator at (860) 767-0674.

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Sally Rothenhaus is Estuary’s ‘Artist of the Month’ for January

Artwork by Sally Rothenhaus is on display during January at the Estuary Senior Center.

Sally Rothenhaus is a photographer and designer of unique photo gifts. Her photography journey began when she was 13- years-old and joined a photography club where she had access to a well-equipped darkroom and the technical and life wisdom of the other members who showed her how to ‘see’ in a way that extracts the interesting forms that are all around us, including in those places that are often overlooked.

Her preferred subjects are the large and small details found in nature, and the warmth and history of old things and people. You can see these themes in her ‘Pressing the Ancestors’ pieces; art panels, birdhouses, and jewelry.

‘Pressing the Ancestors’ transfers your original images (without any harm) into the surface of metal panels that are beautiful and extremely durable. The panels can be enjoyed anywhere, including humid environments and can be easily cleaned with no harm to the panel. Putting those images on jewelry and other artifacts is a great way to take those stories with you and to share them with others.

Meet Rothenhaus and tell her your stories at the Marshview Gallery Artist Reception on Friday, Jan. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Estuary Council of Seniors, 220 Main St, Old Saybrook.  All are welcome.

Light refreshments are served.

View her work online at www.cShoresal.com or photos.cShoresal.com.

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Public Invited to Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan Kick-Off Meeting, Nov. 3

OLD SAYBROOK — The public is invited to participate in the Kick-Off Meeting for the Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan on Nov. 3. The goal of the meeting is to gather input from residents, businesses and property owners about revitalizing Rte. 1 East, the area between the Old Saybrook Town Center and Ferry Point, also known as Mariner’s Way. Hunter’s Ambulance is hosting the meeting at its location 309 Boston Post Rd. on Mariner’s Way. Doors open at 5 p.m.; the meeting runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

This is the first public meeting of several planned by CivicMoxie, the consultant hired to assist the Town with developing the Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan. This process will refine the Mariner’s Way Plan adopted by the Town in 2014 to guide the revitalization of Mariner’s Way. A grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) provided funding for the consultant.

To read more about the project, visit http://www.oldsaybrookct.org/Pages/OldSaybrookCT_EcoDevelCommission/way

To participate in advance of the meeting, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/OSMarinersWay

The Town of Old Saybrook adopted the Mariner’s Way Plan in 2014 as its guide to revitalizing the section of Rte. 1 East from Saybrook Junction at the Town’s Center to the marina district at Ferry Point. Since 2014, the Town actively pursued funding opportunities to implement the Mariner’s Way Plan successfully receiving three grants thus far to move the plan forward:

  1. A Brownfields Assessment Grant this grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) allowed the Town to investigate the existence and extent of environmental contamination on nine properties located on Mariner’s Way. The ultimate goal is to provide potential developers with information about existing contamination to estimate clean-up costs.  The assessment will be completed in the first quarter of 2017.
  1. A Making Places Grant – this grant from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation funded a market feasibility study of the historic Shoreline Trolley Power House to determine what uses would be best suited for the building. The study was completed in 2015.
  1. The Brownfields Area-Wide Revitalization (BAR) Grant – this grant, also from DECD, is funding the Mariner’s Way Discovery + Action Plan project which will refine the concepts in the 2014 Mariner’s Way Plan with the help of resident, business and property owner input. Concepts to be refined include (but are not limited to): the types of development and businesses desired and the feasibility of their success; the design of buildings and the streetscape; and branding and marketing.
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Republican State Sen. Linares, Democratic Challenger Needleman Spar in 33rd Senate District Debate

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

AREAWIDE — Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook and his Democratic challenger, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, sparred Monday in a public debate for the 33rd Senate District contest.

More than 150 voters from the 12 district towns turned out for the 90-minute debate held in the auditorium at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, with the question of which candidate represents the “political class” in Connecticut overshadowing the specific issues where the candidates differed, or nearly as often, concurred.

The session was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, who selected questions that had been submitted in advance by district voters.

The debate began with a walk-out by Green Party candidate Colin Bennett of Westbrook. Bennett, who has run previously for the seat and participated in all debates during the 2014 campaign, began with an opening statement where he said his goals are to end hunger, provide access to health care, protect the environment and affirm that black lives matter.

Bennett then claimed that Conroy had attempted to exclude him from the debate based on comments at an Oct. 5 debate in Westbrook where he criticized Needleman and urged people not supporting him to vote for Linares. “I don’t want to be where I am not wanted,” Bennett said before walking off the stage. Linares said later he had told Conroy he would not participate in the debate if Bennett was arbitrarily excluded from the outset.

The term political class entered the discussion soon after the opening statement from Needleman, where the three-term first selectman said he had been urged to run the seat this year by the Senate Democratic leadership because they wanted a candidate with experience in business and municipal government. Needleman said he told party leaders he would not be a rubber stamp, and could become their “worst nightmare,” if elected.

Linares, who was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, scoffed at the claim, questioning why the Senate leadership would provide Needleman with a full-time campaign manager on leave from the caucus staff if they believed his election would be a nightmare. Linares contended Needleman has been a loyal supporter of Democratic “Governor Dan Malloy and the political class,” contributing funds to Malloy’s two gubernatorial campaigns in 2010 and 2014.

Needleman said Linares is the “career politician,” running for the senate seat at age 23 and laying the groundwork for a future campaign for the 2nd District congressional seat or statewide office.

But despite the sharp exchange, the two rivals agreed on several issues, including support for recently approved incentive package for Sikorsky in Stratford, providing some degree of contract preferences for in-state companies, and reducing, or for Linares eliminating, the estate or inheritance tax. The candidates agreed state employee unions would have to make contract concessions on both wages and pensions if the state faces another large budget deficit in 2017.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night's debate.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night’s debate.

Needleman said his experience negotiating contracts with public employee unions in Essex would be helpful in any discussions with state employee unions, though he questioned whether unions could be forced into concession talks. Linares called for mandatory legislative votes on all union contracts, and suggested a need for “additional leverage” to bring unions to the table. “The unions have not come to the table, we’ve tried that, everyone has tried that,” he said.

The candidates differed somewhat on the question of welcoming refugees from war-torn Syria to Connecticut. Needleman said while “vetting is critical,” an arbitrary exclusion based on a refugee’s country of origin or religion is “un-American.” Linares, whose family fled Cuba in the early 1960s, said he would insist on “clearance from the FBI,” because the United States does not have intelligence capabilities in Syria to screen refugees, including those who reach Europe before possible entry in to the United States.

The candidates also differed on possible increases to the state minimum wage, and gun control measures. Needleman said he supports measured increases in the minimum wage, but believes a hike to $15 per hour, as advocated by some Democrats, “is a very bad idea.’ Linares said he favors a national standard for the minimum wage, suggesting that further increases at the state level would hurt small businesses and cost the state jobs. He said the earned income tax credit is a better way to provide assistance to low income workers.

On gun control, Needleman said he is a “2nd Amendment Democrat,” but favors some additional gun control measures. He criticized Linares for opposing legislation approved earlier this year that allows guns to be seized from persons who are subject to a court restraining order where domestic violence is a factor.

Linares said Needleman is “trying to take both sides of the issue,” by referring to gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. Linares said he opposed the temporary restraining order gun bill because it was an “overreach” that takes away due process for gun owners, and discretion for judges.

The 33rd Senate District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.
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See a “Ballet Spooktacular” at ‘The Kate,’ Sunday

Spooktacular_Dancer-247x300OLD SAYBROOK — Treat children of all ages to family-friendly Halloween fun with Eastern Connecticut Ballet’s “Ballet Spooktacular” at The Kate.  Special effects and bewitching costumes set the stage for spirited performances of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Dancing Bones, and Halloween Waltz.

Children are invited to wear their costumes to parade on stage, trick-or-treat throughout the decorated theater and pose for spellbinding photos with the dancers.

Performances will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 and 16, at 1 and 4 p.m.  Tickets to Ballet Spooktacular are $18 for adults and $12 for children (age 12 and under) and are available through The Kate box office at 877-503-1286.

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Country School Begins Year on High Note with Jump in Enrollment, New Facilities

A new academic year all-school photo  of The Country School taken on the school's new athletic fields.  Photo by Joseph's Photography, Inc.

A new academic year all-school photo of The Country School taken on the school’s new athletic fields. Photo by Joseph’s Photography, Inc.

AREAWIDE – The Country School kicked off the new school year having reached two major milestones before even opening its doors. This summer, the coeducational, independent day school celebrated the opening of its new, state-of-the-art recreational facility and broke ground on the second phase of Shaping the Future, the school’s 60th anniversary campus transformation plan. At the same time, The Country School opened with the highest new student enrollment increase in more than a decade, the 50 new students marking a 66 percent increase over last year’s number.

The school’s 60th anniversary, celebrated during the 2015-2016 school year, was a banner year at The Country School. More than 300 members of the school community came together to donate nearly $2 million to support the school’s campus transformation project and other 60th Anniversary initiatives, including increased scholarship support and programmatic enhancements. This marked the largest one-year gift total in the school’s 60-year history.

The campus improvements completed this summer include two full-sized, side-by-side athletic fields, a baseball and softball diamond, the four-court Rothberg Tennis Center, a full-sized outdoor basketball court, new playgrounds, a reconfigured ropes course, an enhanced cross country course, and more. With these new and expanded facilities, the school was able to welcome more than 200 students to campus this summer for its Summer Fun and Learning camp programs and also to coordinate with Madison Racquet & Swim Club for USTA tennis matches. This fall, the town of Madison is using the school’s baseball diamond and RUSH soccer its soccer fields.

Phase 2 of the Shaping the Future project, begun in July, moved vehicular traffic to the periphery of campus, creating a pedestrian village for learning at the center. The plan, designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, enhances academic and collaborative opportunities for students and teachers and makes the traffic pattern simpler and safer for all.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. See our community in action during our Fall Open House on Nov. 6, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Walmart Foundation Grant Funds Purchase of New Industrial-Size Dishwasher at ‘The Estuary’

dishwasherOLD SAYBROOK — Through a generous grant from the Walmart Foundation of $25,000, the Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook has been able to replace its aging dishwasher with a state of the art replacement.  The 15-year old machine had been doing its best, but it was becoming an increasing challenge to find replacement parts for the aging machine and also simply to repair it.

The Estuary applied for a grant through the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program and was awarded the money to cover purchase of the new machine and its installation, including the necessary updates to plumbing and electrical, and reworking the stainless table surround to accommodate the new machine.  (See photo at left.)

The new machine is a much higher efficiency model and uses about one third of the water compared to the old machine and is Energy Star-rated for increased utility efficiency.  It also has a higher per load speed and capacity so more dishes can be done in less time.  In addition, it is a high temperature sanitizing machine, which eliminates the need for costly chemicals also.

The Estuary is the regional senior center serving the towns of Clinton, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.  The Estuary served over 55,000 meals in its Meals on Wheels Program last year and served over an additional 20,000 meals at its three congregate meal sites in the nine-town region.  The center also hosts a full range of services, instructional classes, exercise and fitness programs, and opportunities for socialization to local seniors.

The Estuary Council of Seniors extend special thanks to the Walmart Foundation for making possible the purchase and installation of this new piece of equipment — and all the resultant clean dishes for years to come!  The Estuary believes that Walmart is a great community partner in the mission to help those locally in need. 

To find out more about the Estuary Council of Seniors, visit the center at 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook, or www.ecsenior.org or call (860) 388-1611.

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Go Boldly Where No Opera Has Gone Before! See ‘The Abduction From the Seraglio’ This Weekend

Brian Cheney of Old Lyme is the lead tenor in the performance.

Brian Cheney of Old Lyme , pictured standing above, is the lead tenor in the performance.

It’s warp speed ahead in this exuberant production of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio. Recast as a Star Trek parody, this grand opera plays this October in Old Saybrook and Mashantucket, CT.

Stardate 14-20.27. The beauteous Konstanze and her lovely maid, Blonde have been whisked away by pirates to the Klingon slave markets. Captain Belmonte and crew track their beloved companions to a harem, but how will they ever steal the women away from the now enraptured Selim and slave master, Osmin?

Director Simon Holt says, "'The Abduction from the Seraglio' is a perfect opera to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary!”

Director Simon Holt says, “‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’ is a perfect opera to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary!”

Commissioned by the Emperor Joseph II, The Abduction from the Seraglio premiered in July 1782 to wide acclaim. The new translation―heavy on laughs and iconic lines―was written by stage director Josh Shaw and premiered in March 2015 to sold-out audiences. Along with Klingons and alien slave girls, favorite characters from the much-loved original series sing and dance their way through Abduction accompanied by a 21-piece orchestra.

The opera is full of action of every kind!

The opera is full of action of every kind!

The Abduction from the Seraglio brims with vocal fireworks featuring some of the most thrilling arias and ensembles in all of opera,” explained Salt Marsh Opera Artistic Director Simon Holt. “No substantial knowledge of either opera or Star Trek is required. It’s a perfect opera for first timers and a perfect way to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary!”

Sung in English, the opera will run just over two hours with an intermission.  The leading man in the performance is tenor Brian Cheney of Old Lyme, who on the rare weeks home from his professional singing career that takes him all over the country, sings in the choir at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

A scene from 'The Abduction of Seraglio.'

A scene from ‘The Abduction of Seraglio.’

The Abduction from the Seraglio is playing at The Pequot Museum Auditorium (110 Pequot Trail Mashantucket, CT) on Friday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online at www.saltmarshopera.org or by calling Salt Marsh Opera at 860.535.0753.

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Sen. Linares, Rep. Carney Say DOT Fare Hikes Symbolize CT’s “Unsustainable Path”

Sen. Art Linares (at podium) on Sept. 1 joined with Rep. Devin Carney (seated in second row) and area commuters attended a public hearing at Old Saybrook Town Hall to testify against the State Department of Transportation’s proposed fare hikes on Connecticut rail commuters. 

Sen. Art Linares (at podium) on Sept. 1 joined with Rep. Devin Carney (seated in second row) and area commuters attended a public hearing at Old Saybrook Town Hall to testify against the State Department of Transportation’s proposed fare hikes on Connecticut rail commuters.

AREAWIDE — Sen. Art Linares and Rep. Devin Carney issued the following statements regarding the state’s decision to hike rail and bus fares Dec. 1 despite vocal opposition from lawmakers and angry commuters:

“Rep. Carney, area commuters and I attended the Sept. 1 fare hike public hearing at Old Saybrook Town Hall to send a clear message,” Sen. Linares said.  “That message was that the overall cost of living in Connecticut continues to grow and grow.  From state tax hikes to health care expenses, costs keep going up year after year.  I hear this every day from people in the communities I represent.

He continued, “That’s why I asked the DOT to not increase fares.  That request fell upon deaf ears, and it really shows how the voices of working families and people on fixed incomes are not being heard by our state government.  Tax hike after tax hike.  Rate hike after rate hike. Fare hike after fare hike.  We need to change course.  We need to get off this unsustainable path.  Rep. Carney and I will continue to be voices for taxpayers and commuters until our message is heard in Hartford.”

Rep. Carney commented, “My concern with the fare hike is twofold. First off, I believe the process was flawed.  The DOT held several public hearings and the point was to hear how this proposal would impact the people. Across the state there was overwhelming opposition to this plan, yet it seems those views fell on very deaf ears and it appears the DOT was just paying lip service. Second, as I stated in my comments, I understand fare hikes will occur from time to time, but rail fares have risen drastically since 2012 due to similar hikes over the past four years.”

He added, “These perpetual increases are unfair to commuters – especially the working class. Utilizing Shoreline East and Metro-North, as opposed to further clogging I-95, is something that the state should promote and encourage – yet I worry that some people may soon be priced out of using these trains as an option.”

Sen. Linares (Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov) represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.  He can be reached at 800 842-1421 or on the web at www.SenatorLinares.com.

Rep. Carney (Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov) represents Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  He can be reached at 800 842 1423 or on the web at www.RepCarney.com.

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