October 25, 2016

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

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 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.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


If You Oppose the Proposed High-Speed Rail Route, Join SECoast’s Fundraiser This Afternoon at Bee & Thistle

AREAWIDE SECoast, the non-profit group actively and constructively opposing the proposed high-speed rail line through Old Lyme and southeast Connecticut, is holding a fundraiser at the Bee and Thistle Inn on Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.

SECoast.org is a locally-directed special project of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. Since publicly breaking news of the proposed bypass in January, SECoast.org has been working tirelessly as an effective advocate for Old Lyme and the local area by catalyzing growing regional opposition to the bypass.

Thanks to the generosity of the Bee and Thistle’s owner David Rufo, the Inn’s Executive Chef and acclaimed wildlife photographer Kristofer Rowe and singer/songwriter Dan Stevens who is performing at the event, 100 percent of the funds raised on Sunday will go towards mounting a legal defense to the route, which it is anticipated will be announced next week.  The monies raised will help support staffing, digital media and administrative costs of the campaign.

Once that announcement has been made, there are precisely 30 days by law to respond to the preferred route.  SECoast wants to be ready to react immediately to the announcement.

Tickets for Sunday’s event are $50 and fully tax-deductible.  There is also a Sponsor level at $250 and sponsors will receive an autographed Kristofer Rowe photograph.

Donations in any amount are always at welcome at this account or by mail at CT Trust for Historic Trust Preservation, 940 Whitney Ave., Hamden, CT 06517-4002 (make checks payable to CT Trust with “For SECoast” on the face.

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of the work that SECoast has been doing.  Without Greg Stroud and his small band of dedicated individuals, the proposed Old Saybrook to Kenyon by-pass would likely have quietly continued along its probable path to becoming part of the FRA’s Tier 2 preferred route.

We are delighted that Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Joe Courtney, State Senator Paul Formica and State Representative Devin Carney are now all vocally opposed to the route and believe that in no small part relates to the efforts of SECoast.  We hope our Old Lyme Board of Selectmen (BOS) will show their support for SECoast because surely the BOS objectives are identical to those of SECoast?

This fundraiser is your chance to show your appreciation for all the work that SECoast has undertaken so far on behalf of the residents of Old Lyme specifically and, in a broader sense, the people of southeastern Connecticut … and all the work it will take on in the future.  If you choose not to support SECoast, then please don’t feel you have a right to complain about the train route down the line … pun intended!

See you on Sunday!


9 Town Transit Plans Bus Fare Increases; Public Hearing Slated for Tonight in Old Saybrook

9TT 30th Logo RGBAREAWIDE — To help offset a cut in state transit funding, the Estuary Transit District is considering an increase to fare on all 9 Town Transits services.

The proposal would see the cash fare on all routes increase from $1.50 to $1.75. Trips on Dial-A-Ride and off-route would increase from $3 to $3.50.  Multi-ride tickets and monthly passes will increase to $15.75 and $57, respectively.

The fare proposal also includes the agency’s first disabled fare.  It would provide a discounted rate of $0.85 to persons with disabilities.  ETD says this would provide relief to many in the disabled community that heavily rely on public transit.

ETD officials say the increase is necessary due to a prevent service reduction following a statewide cut by the state to transit budgets.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 4 until 6 p.m. at Old Saybrook Town Hall first floor conference room, 302 Main St, Old Saybrook, CT.  Written comments may be submitted until Oct. 14, to Estuary Transit District, 17 Industrial Park Rd, Suite 6, Centerbrook, CT 06409.

For a full listing of the new fare schedule, visit www.9towntransit.com/fares or call 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.


Learn All About ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio … According to Star Trek,’ Today in Saybrook

Tenor Brian Cheney

Tenor Brian Cheney

OLD SAYBROOK — A witty lecture given by internationally acclaimed tenor Brian Cheney and director Josh Shaw entitled “The Abduction from the Seraglio by Mozart … according to Star Trek” is slated for Saturday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m. at the Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook.

This free lecture is sponsored by The Guild of Salt Marsh Opera in partnership with the Acton Public Library.

For more information, call 860-388-2871.


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

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

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (D)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

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

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

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

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

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


Sen. Linares, Senate GOP Unveil Legislative Agenda: “A Confident Future”

Sen. Art Linares and the Connecticut Senate Republicans on Sep. 15 unveiled their policy agenda “A Confident Future” for the 2017 legislative session. From left to right: Sen. Henri Martin, Sen. Kevin Witkos, Sen. Len Fasano, and Sen. Linares. Details of the plan can be found at www.ctsenaterepublicans.com and www.SenatorLinares.com .

Sen. Art Linares and the Connecticut Senate Republicans on Sep. 15 unveiled their policy agenda “A Confident Future” for the 2017 legislative session. From left to right: Sen. Henri Martin, Sen. Kevin Witkos, Sen. Len Fasano, and Sen. Linares. Details of the plan can be found at www.ctsenaterepublicans.com and www.SenatorLinares.com .

AREAWIDE — On Sept. 15, Sen. Art Linares and the Connecticut Senate Republicans unveiled their policy agenda for the 2017 legislative session.

The plan “A Confident Future” presents multiple policy proposals aimed at moving Connecticut in a new direction to grow jobs, renew business confidence, build opportunity, and restore people’s trust in government.

The plan outlines the Republican priorities the caucus will pursue in the 2017 legislative session which begins in January.

“A Confident Future” identifies three main areas Republicans will focus their efforts:

1)      Creating Financial Stability and Predictability. A reliable state with business confidence is the best environment to grow jobs. By reforming the state’s spending and borrowing, Republicans plan to improve the state’s financial health to support a more predictable business environment so that job creators don’t have to worry about what new tax proposals could be awaiting them in bad budget years.

Republican budget proposals include properly funding transportation needs without tolls or new taxes like the mileage tax, reducing the size of state bureaucracy, and making long term structural changes to government. The Republican priorities also include specific tax relief proposals to reduce the burdens on individuals and job creators, such as property tax relief and phasing out taxation of pension income.

2)      Supporting Families and Growing Opportunity. Connecticut’s future depends on supporting our families and creating opportunities for all to succeed. The Republican plan includes policy proposals to strengthen Connecticut cities and help improve life for families in urban areas. It also includes reforms for the state’s child welfare agency, proposes restoring education funding that was cut in recent budgets, protects seniors and the developmentally disabled, and offers new ideas to improve health care and insurance quality and accessibility.

3)      Restoring Trust in Government. The Republican legislative agenda contains proposals to ensure that government operates efficiently and transparently and uses tax dollars as wisely as possible. Proposals include ideas to reduce DMV wait times, eliminate waste, live within our means, strengthen campaign financing laws, and create a more transparent budget writing process.

Sen. Linares 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 and Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bushnell Farm Offers ‘Election Day Cake,’ Cider, Harvest Activities at Free Event, Nov. 5

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.


Public Hearings on Proposed Shoreline East, Metro North Fare Hikes Held in Old Saybrook

Shoreline_East_logoMTA logoAREAWIDE — The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT) is proposing to increase public transit fares for the New Haven Line (Metro North) and Shore Line East rail services.  For example, the proposed one-way fare on Shoreline East from Old Saybrook to New Haven would rise on Dec. 1, 2016, from $6.75 to $7.25.  Similarly, the proposed one-way peak fare on Metro North from New Haven to Grand Central would rise from $22.00 to $23.50 and off-peak from $16.50 to $17.50.

The Department will be holding public hearings to receive comments on the proposed fare changes. Those nearest to Chester, Deep River and Essex, will be on Thursday,  Sept. 1, at Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main St., Old Saybrook from 4 to 6 p.m. and then later on the same evening from 7 to 9 p.m.

The CT DOT is also planning to increase fares for CTtransit and CTfastrak local and express bus services, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit services with effect from Dec. 4, 2016, and to amend the tariffs for bus services to allow for the implementation of a new account-based smart card fare payment system (effective on or after Dec. 1, 2016).

Some other notable proposed increases include:

Old Saybrook to New Haven, ten-trip: $60.75 to $65.25
Old Saybrook to New Haven, monthly: $142.00 to $152.25
Westbrook to New Haven, one-way: $6.25 to $6.50
Westbrook to New Haven, ten-trip: $56.25 to $58.50
Westbrook to New Haven, monthly: $129.00 to $136.50
New Haven to Grand Central, weekly: $149.50 to $158.50
New Haven to Grand Central, monthly: $467.00 to $495.00

To see the proposed increases for Shoreline East fares, click here.
To see the proposed increases for Metro-North New Haven line fares to and from Grand Central Station, click here.
To see the proposed increases for Metro-North New Haven line fares to and from intermediate stations, click here.
To see the proposed increases for CTtransit and CTfastrak fares, click here.

In the event that you are unable to appear in person, you are encouraged to email comments to the DOT at dot.farecomments@ct.gov or through the DOT’s website.

Comments may also be mailed to:
Comment on Fare Changes
Bureau of Public Transportation
2800 Berlin Turnpike
P.O. Box 317546
Newington, CT 06131-7546

The comment period closes Sept. 15, 2016.

In the event you cannot make the public hearing in Old Saybrook and would like to testify in person, see the additional dates and locations below for future public hearings.

Wednesday, Sept. 7
4 pm – 7 pm
Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street

Tuesday, Sept. 13
11 am – 2 pm
Meriden Town Hall
City Council Chamber
142 East Main Street

Tuesday, Sept. 13
4 pm – 7 pm
Silas Bronson Library
267 Grand Street

Wednesday, Sept. 14
4 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm
UConn Stamford Campus Auditorium
One University Place

Thursday, Sept. 15
4 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm
New Haven
New Haven Hall of Records, Room G-2
200 Orange Street

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) also invites readers to raise any questions or comments directly with him at devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423.


Kate’s Camp for Kids Presents “Toys,” Starting Oct. 29

OLD SAYBROOK — 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 winter program and show entitled “Toys!”

This exciting program takes place at The Kate, 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook, and runs for six weekly sessions on Wednesday evenings from 4 to 5 p.m. beginning Oct. 26.  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 “Toys!”  Students will be acting out the personalities of their favorite toys, all the while discovering that “Christmas dreams, large or small, can come true, for one and all.”

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 visitwww.community-music-school.org or call (860)767-0026.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View of the Connecticut River from the "Victoria."

View of the Connecticut River from the “Victoria.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

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

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

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

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


Chestnut Hill Concert Season Ends at ‘The Kate’ Tonight with Works by Prokofiev and More

Violinist Steven Copes, pianist Mihae Lee and cellist Ronald Thomas will be among the performers in the 2016 season of the Chestnut Hill Concerts.

Violinist Steven Copes, pianist Mihae Lee and cellist Ronald Thomas will be among the performers in the 2016 season of the Chestnut Hill Concerts.

OLD SAYBROOK – Now in its 47th season, Chestnut Hill Concerts will present four programs of chamber music this August at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook. The prestigious series is highly regarded, not only for its programming but for the world-class musicians artistic director Ronald Thomas invites for the performances.

This season, an expanded international roster of 16 renowned artists enables the programming of a greater variety of music as well as music written for larger ensembles. Among this stellar musical cast are two artists who are better known as conductors (violinist and violist Scott Yoo and Finnish clarinetist Osmo Vänskä) and five husband-and-wife duos who will perform together.

The concerts will take place on Friday evenings.  Cellist and artistic director Ronald Thomas will host and perform in each program.

In the season finale on Aug. 26, violinists Catherine Cho and Todd Phillips, also a married couple, will perform Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins, followed by Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in G minor with cellist Ronald Thomas and pianist Mihae Lee. The program and the season concludes with Robert Schumann’s monumental Piano Quintet, with Cynthia Phelps, principal viola of the New York Philharmonic and wife of Ronald Thomas, joining the ensemble.

The 2016 Season of Chestnut Hill Concerts is made possible with support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

All concerts are Fridays at 8 p.m. at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate), 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook. Subscriptions to the four concerts are $120 (orchestra) and $100 (balcony). Single tickets are $35 for orchestra seats and $30 for the balcony. To purchase tickets, visit chestnuthillconcerts.org or call 203-245-5736. After July 5, contact the Kate box office at 860-510-0453, or visit www.thekate.org.



Marshview Gallery Hosts Artist of the Month Reception for Marilyn Malcarne, Oct. 21

OLD SAYBROOK — Marshview Gallery  will host a reception for the October Artist of the Month, Marilyn Malcarne, on Friday, Oct. 21, from  5 to 7 p.m. at the Estuary Senior Center, 220 Main St, Old Saybrook CT

Malcarne spent 39 years of her career in the classroom teaching art education. Her experience teaching different levels gave her a  multimedia platform for her own art work.  

She is a certified Milliner having studied at the Fashion Institute of  Technology in N.Y.  She creates her millinery with handmade felts, using the wet felting method. She is also a polymer clay artist. Her main focus in this medium is jewelry making. Painting, clothing design, glass fusing, murals, cement and mosaics are but a few of the mediums that she has worked with. She is on a constant quest to experiment and create with all types of materials.

In her spare time, Marilyn is a mother of three, grandmother of two, Public Relations Officer and photographer for the Deep River Fire Department, marching instructor for the Deep River Junior Ancient Fife and Drum Corps and when time permits, gives classes at her studio.

All are welcome to the reception to meet the artist. Refreshments will be provided.


All Welcome to Join Final SummerSing Monday Featuring Beethoven’s ‘Mass in C’

The sixth and final SummerSing of the season will feature Beethoven’s Mass in C,  with Steve Bruce-Con Brio Choral Society, on Monday, Aug. 15, 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Rd., Old Saybrook. All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work.

The event features professional soloists and is co-sponsored by two shoreline choral groups, Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio.

An $8 fee covers the costs of the event. Scores will be available, but bring yours if you have it and the church is air-conditioned.

For more information call (860) 388-4110 or (860) 434-9135 or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org.


Vista Hosts One-Man Show About Living With Autism at ‘The Kate’ Today

Dane Brandt-Lubart presents, "My Life on the Spectrum, Aug. 10 at 'The Kate.'

Dane Brandt-Lubart presents, “My Life on the Spectrum, Aug. 10, at ‘The Kate.’

OLD SAYBROOK — Vista Life Innovations, a community-based program for individuals with disabilities, is partnering with the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook to present My Life on the Spectrum: A Tuneful Rally today, Wednesday, Aug. 10, at 1 p.m.

Starring 24-year-old New York native Dane Brandt-Lubart, this one-man play combines musical performances with personal narratives about Brandt-Lubart’s experience being on the autism spectrum. The show aims to provide others on the spectrum with hope and encouragement while educating the public about the issues facing individuals with disabilities.

“I’m hoping that those who see the show, not only do they get a great entertainment experience, but I’m hoping they carry this message forward: People with special needs are totally worthy of respect,” Brandt-Lubart says in a video promoting the show.

“My Life on the Spectrum” debuted last October at the famed ‘Don’t Tell Mama’ cabaret venue in Manhattan. The production has been described as inspiring, honest, funny and poignant.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at www.vistalifeinnovations.org/MLotS. For questions, contact Amanda Roberts at(860) 399-8080 ext. 255.

With campuses in Madison, Westbrook and Guilford, Vista has been providing services and resources to individuals with disabilities for over 26 years.


Old Saybrook Schools, Saint John School Announce Free, Reduced Price Meal Policy

school_lunchThe Old Saybrook Public Schools and Saint John School have announced their policy for determining eligibility of children may receive free or reduced-price meals served under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP),  served under the Special Milk Program (SMP).

Local school officials have adopted the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs) for family size and income criteria for determining eligibility.

The income guidelines at this link will be used in Connecticut from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 for determining eligibility of participants for free and reduced-price meals and free milk in the Child Nutrition Programs.

The above income calculations are made based on the following formulas: Monthly income is calculated by dividing the annual income by 12; twice monthly income is computed by dividing annual income by 24; income received every two weeks is calculated by dividing annual income by 26; and weekly income is computed by dividing annual income by 52.  All numbers are rounded upward to the next whole dollar.

Children from families whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  Application forms are available through online registration, on the district website www.oldsaybrookschools.org and are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents.  To apply for free or reduced-price meals , households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Additional copies are available at the principal’s office at each school.]

Only one application is required per household and an application for free or reduced- price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions.  The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purposes of determining eligibility and for administration and enforcement of the lunch, breakfast and milk programs.

Note that the district MAY share your eligibility information with education, health, and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund, or determine benefits for their programs, auditors for program reviews, and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules.  This information may also be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials.  Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

For up to 30 operating days into the new school year, eligibility from the previous year will continue within the same local educational agency (LEA).  When the carry-over period ends, unless the household is notified that their children are directly certified or the household submits an application that is approved, the children must pay full price for school meals and the school will not send a reminder or a notice of expired eligibility.

No application is required if the district directly certifies a child based on a household member receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) program.  All children in these households are eligible for free meal benefits.  Households receiving assistance under the SNAP/TFA programs will be notified of their eligibility and their children will be provided free benefits unless the household notifies the determining official that it chooses to decline benefits.

If any children were not listed on the eligibility notice, the household should contact the district or school to have free meal benefits extended to those children.  Households receiving SNAP or TFA benefits for their children should only submit an application if they are not notified of their eligibility by August 31, 2016.

If a child is not directly certified, the household should complete a free and reduced-price meal application form.  The application for the SNAP or TFA households require the SNAP or TFA case number.  The signature of an adult household member is also required.

Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  Please send in an application or contact the determining official for more information.

When known to the district/school, households will be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the individual child is Other Source Categorically Eligible because the child is categorized as either:  Homeless; runaway as defined by law and determined by the district’s or school’s homeless liaison; or enrolled in an eligible Head Start or pre-kindergarten class as defined by law.  Households with children who are categorically eligible under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs should complete an application and check-off the relevant box.

Questions should be directed to the determining official.  For any child not listed on the eligibility notice, the households should contact the school or determining official about any child also eligible under one of these programs or should submit an income application for the other children.

Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the determining official or school if it chooses to decline the free meal benefits.  If households/children are not notified by the district/school of their free meal benefits and they receive benefits under Assistance Programs or under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs, the parent/guardian should contact the determining official or their school.

Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are categorically eligible for free meals.  A foster parent does not have to complete a free/reduced meal application if they can submit a copy of the legal document or legal court order showing that the child is a foster child.  Additionally, a foster child may be included as a member of the foster family if the foster family chooses to also apply for benefits.  If the foster family is not eligible for free or reduced-price meal benefits, it does not prevent a foster child from receiving free meal benefits.  Note however, that a foster child’s free eligibility does not automatically extend to all students in the household.

Application forms for all other households require a statement of total household income, household size and names of all household members.  The last four digits of the social security number of an adult household member must be included or a statement that the household member does not have one.  The adult household member must also sign the application certifying that the information provided is correct.

Under the provisions of the policy for determining eligibility for free and reduced-price meals, the determining official,  Julie Pendleton, Director of Operations, Facilities and Finance jpendleton@oldsdaybrookschools.org (860) 395-3158 x1013 will review applications and determine eligibility.  If a parent is dissatisfied with the ruling of the determining official, he/she may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. If he/she wishes to make a formal appeal, a request either orally or in writing, may be made to Jan G. Perruccio, Superintendent of Schools, 50 Sheffield Street, Old Saybrook, CT 06475 jperruccio@oldsaybrookschools.org (860)395-3157 for a hearing to appeal the decision.

The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.  Each school and the central office of the school district has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by an interested party.

If a household member becomes unemployed or if household size changes at any time, the family should contact the school to file a new application.  Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for reduced-price meals, free meals, , if the family income falls at or below the levels shown in the Income Guidelines.

Questions regarding the application process may be directed to the determining official at (860)395-3158.

This is the Public Release we will send on August 3, 2016 to the following news media outlets, the local unemployment office, major employers contemplating layoffs, etc.

1. The Hartford Courant 3. New Haven Register
2. The Day 4. CT Department of Labor

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1)  mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)  fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3)  email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


Estuary Gym is Now Silver Sneakers Approved

The Estuary Council of Seniors has announced that The Estuary Gym is a Silver Sneakers well-being fitness location. If you are a member of a Silver Sneaker participating health plan in Connecticut, the Silver Sneakers plan will pay for your membership to the gym.  This does NOT apply to any fitness classes. Silver Sneakers is exclusively for The Estuary Gym.

These benefits are open to anyone 65 years or older or those under 65 who are Medicare insured.  Check your eligibility by contacting Silver Sneakers by phone at 1.866.666.7956 or log onto their website at www.silversneakers.com

Already a Silver Sneaker member? Come to the Estuary Senior Center at 220 Main St., Old Saybrook to complete the gym forms and get enrolled, or call us at 860-388-1611.


Valley Shore YMCA’s 25th Annual Golf Classic Raises Funds for Annual Campaign

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

A smiling group of YMCA golf tournament winners.

The Valley Shore YMCA’s 25th Annual Golf Classic drew a crowd of nearly 100 golfers Monday, July 18th to the Clinton Country Club for a day of “Golfing for a Cause”. The event raised over $45,000 for the Valley Shore YMCA’s Annual Campaign, which funds scholarships for local families and community health initiatives.

The majority raised came from sponsorships, including the Tournament sponsorships of Brown and Knapp Group Benefits; Mr. & Mrs. Leighton Lee IV; Art Linares and Family; Guilford Savings Bank; L.H. Brenner, Inc./Thompson & Peck Insurance; Pat Munger Construction; Wacker Wealth Management; and Whelen Engineering. Supporting sponsors included East Commerce Solutions and Kyocera.

The day of the tournament was a beautiful summer day, sunny with slight breezes in support of the golfers. Additional fun games were held throughout the course to enhance the fun factor, including Longest Drive, Closet to the Pin, Putting and Hole in One contests. Former Y Board President David Brown and Y Board Member Leighton Lee IV co-chaired the event and rallied sponsors, volunteers and prizes.

Committee members and volunteers included Marc Brodeur, Hal Dolan, Lisa LeMonte, Elizabeth McCall, Susan Norton, Melissa Ozols, Matt Sullivan, Tony Sharillo, Marcus Wacker and Jacquelyn Waddock.

No golfer made a hole-in-one for the prized Subaru generously provided by Reynolds’ Garage and Marine.

First Net Score winners were Jeff Knapp, Steph Brodeur, Justin Urbano and Scott Wiley; second place went to Casey Quinn, Paddy Quinn, Chick Quinn and Ryan Quinn.

First Gross winners were the team of David Brown, Jeff Dow, Mike Satti and Shane O’Brien; second place  went to Bob Brady, Geoff Gregory, John Brady and Bobby Edgil.

Chris Pallatto, YMCA CEO, thanked all the golfers and local organizations who came together to make this event possible. “Once again, we had another successful event, made possible by all of our supporters here today.  They all make it possible for the Y to continue to make an impact in our community.”


Enjoy Opera Favorites at Free ‘Opera in the Park’ in Saybrook, Sunday Evening


OLD SAYBROOK – Salt Marsh Opera’s free concert, “Opera in the Park,” will take place on Sunday, July 24 (rain date July 25) at 6:30 p.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green adjacent to the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main St.

World famous singers – tenor Brian Cheney and soprano Sarah Callinan – with accompanist Elena Zamolodchikova will sing opera favorites.

Grab your friends and family, picnic blankets and lawn chairs and get ready for a mesmerizing evening under a canopy of stars.  Arrive early for best seating. The concert will conclude at 8 p.m.

Opera in the Park is sponsored by State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development and anonymous friends of Salt Marsh Opera residing in the Lower Connecticut River Valley.

Connecticut Valley Camera Club Hosts Exhibit in Madison Through Sept. 29

The signature photo for the Connecticut Camera Club's exhibition at Scranton Public Library during September.

“Plowing the Field” taken in Rockport, Maine, by Ed McCaffrey is one of the signature photos for the Connecticut Valley Camera Club’s exhibition at Scranton Public Library during September.

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Valley Camera Club will host a photography exhibit at the Scranton Memorial Library, 801 Boston Post Rd., Madison with an opening reception on Thursday, Sept. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m.  All are welcome to the reception. Viewers will be able to see a variety of photos (open subjects) from 17 local artists from several southeastern Connecticut towns:

Alex Dupuy – Middletown, Ellen Falbowski – Haddam, Dean Rupp – Killingworth, Dama DeManche – Chester, Diane Lindsay – Chester, Elin Dolle – Deep River, Ed McCaffrey – Essex, Richard Spearrin – Essex, Carin Roaldset – Saybrook, Sally Perreten – Saybrook, Stein Roaldset – Old Saybrook, Laura Reynolds – Clinton, Peter Chow – Clinton, Dianne Roberts – Madison, Jim Fennema – Hadlyme, Linda Waters – Salem and Victor Filepp – Gales Ferry.

The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 29.

Meetings are held the first Monday of the month at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, CT (except for the September meeting which will be on Sept. 19.)  The topic for the September meeting will be an educational program on how to have your images printed and framed for exhibits.  New members are always welcome.


State Police Promote Safe Driving Throughout July 4 Weekend; Sobriety Checkpoints, Roving Patrols Planned Locally

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut State Police Public Information Office has issued the following important press release.

As thousands of drivers plan to travel during the upcoming long holiday weekend, Connecticut State Troopers are also preparing to patrol in increased numbers to keep roads and highways safe for all drivers.

Troop F is planning the following roving patrols and checkpoint locations:

06/30/16                         Roving Patrols – Interstate 95 within Troop F patrol area

07/01/16                         Roving Patrols – Rte. 9 and Rte. 66 in town of Middlefield

07/02/16                         Roving Patrols – I-95 exits 56-71

07/03/16                         Roving Patrols – Rte. 9 and Rte. 66 in town of Middlefield

07/03/16                         DUI Sobriety Checkpoint – At Rte. 156 and Ferry Rd. in the town of Old Lyme. This will be in conjunction with the Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit.

07/04/16                         Roving Patrols – I-95 exits 56-71

July 4 is Monday, allowing for extra time for beach outings, cookouts and fireworks. This translates to increased traffic starting as early as Friday, July 1, and continuing through the evening of July 4.  Many will be driving through and around the state of Connecticut for Independence Day events.

State Police will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) starting at midnight on July 3 and running through midnight on July 5.

Troopers will be strategically placed to reduce speed on the highways and roadways during the holiday period. In addition, State Troopers will operate sobriety checkpoints numerous locations throughout Connecticut. Drivers can expect to experience concentrated enforcement operations at locations where a high number of alcohol-involved crashes and incidents.  (Please see attached list.)

As always, State Police consistently work toward preventing accidents – especially fatal crashes – on Connecticut’s roads and highways. Troopers will utilize laser units, and both marked and unmarked State Police cars to enhance safety and to remove all drunk drivers from Connecticut’s roads.

“We need your help. Obeying the rules of the road is everyone’s responsibility. We ask all drivers to buckle up, adhere to the speed limit, put down cell phones, and please be courteous to other drivers,” said Dora B. Schriro, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Colonel Alaric J. Fox, Commander of the Connecticut State Police, added, State Troopers depend on drivers to follow the law. Please do not drink and drive since that is a deadly combination. If you are on the road and drunk driver, please call 911, as this is a true emergency.”

Planning to consume alcohol to celebrate our nation’s birthday? Then please designate a driver so that this festive, enjoyable summer weekend does not turn into a tragedy. Never drink and drive.

During July 4, 2015, weekend, Connecticut State Police issued the following number of summons:  859 for speeding and 33 for driving under the influence.  State Police investigated 170 motor vehicle crashes, with injury and two fatalities.

Troopers also issued 2,461 tickets for other hazardous moving violations.


Estuary’s September ‘Artist of the Month’ is Photgrapher Larry Reitz

This beautiful photo is the signature photo of Larry Reitz's exhibition at the the Estuary gallery opening Sept. 9.

This beautiful photo is the signature photo of Larry Reitz’s exhibition at the the Estuary gallery opening Sept. 9.

The Marshview Gallery at the Estuary artist for September is Larry Reitz.  An exhibition of his work is on show at the Estuary Senior Center, 220 Main St, Old Saybrook CT.  Refreshments will be provided.

He is a mostly self-taught photographer specializing in nature and scenic vistas. His images have won several awards including first placements in New England Camera Club and Land Trust competitions. Reitz’s work can be seen at several outdoor art festivals including prestigious shows in Mystic, Old Saybrook, West Hartford and Niantic.

Reitz is known for capturing vivid light, which makes his images ‘pop’ on canvas. From the moment of capture to presentation of the finished piece to the consumer, all the work is done by Reitz. By operating in this manner he is able to control quality at each step, and in addition, the elimination of commercial printing and framing allows him to offer high quality wall art at very attractive prices. The use of archival materials insures the pieces can be enjoyed by multiple generations.

His work will be on display for the month of September and all are welcome to stop in to view work.

The Estuary Senior Center can be reached at 860-388-1611 for questions about services or programs.


‘Youth Art Booth’ is Marshview’s ‘Artist of the Month’ for August

The Marshview Gallery’s August Artist of the Month is actually a group of young artists featured in Old Saybrook’s “Youth Art Booth” at the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Arts and Crafts Festival.

Sponsored by Old Saybrook Youth and Family Services (OSYFS) and Old Saybrook Healthy Communities Healthy Youth (OS HCHY) the Youth Art Booth features a collection of talented young artists each year working in a variety of media.  Since 2005 approximately 175 young artists (ages 7 through college) have been featured in the booth, gaining a unique opportunity to exhibit and discuss their artwork with patrons and other artists at the Festival.

This group of talented young people credits the excellent art programs in Old Saybrook’s public schools for sparking their interest in the arts.  While a few have also studied at private art schools in the area, others have explored working in different mediums on their own!  The booth curator  says that several of the artists who have been featured in the booth in the past have gone on to major in fine art or art education post high school.

The group’s exhibit includes photography; charcoal and pencil drawings; watercolor and acrylic paintings; as well as beadwork and other crafts.  Subject matter will include Landscapes, Fantasy, Shell Art, Animals, Portraits and more.

Everyone is welcome to join us at the Artists’ Reception on Friday, Aug. 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

The Estuary Council of Seniors is located at 220 Main St., Old Saybrook


Six Fridays of Summer Dance Movies at Acton Library, See ‘Mad Hot Ballroom,’ Aug. 19

013-ginger-rogers-and-fred-astaire-theredlist 2

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire

OLD SAYBROOK – The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting a Summer Dance film series in the Grady Thomas Room on six Fridays running July 8 through Aug. 19 at 1 p.m.

  • Mad Hot Ballroom, an actual documentary of  NYC schoolchildren’s dance competition on Aug. 19.

For more information, call the Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours, or visit on-line at www.actonlibrary.org.  The library is located 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.


Acton Library Screens ‘Mad Hot Ballroom,” Hosts Discussion, Today

Image courtesy of Paramount Vantage

Image courtesy of Paramount Vantage

For the final movie in the Summer Dance Movie Series, Mad Hot Ballroom, Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook welcomes Raeleen St. Pierre of Fred Astaire’s Bloom Ballroom to discuss and demonstrate the benefits of dance after the 1 p.m. showing on Friday, Aug. 19.

Mad Hot Ballroom is a documentary of New York City’s schoolchildren’s dance competition and their introduction to ballroom dances. The film follows a few of the 4th grade students from three of the 60 participating schools tracking their transformation from hesitant participants to enthusiastic dancers of the merengue, rumba, tango, the foxtrot and swing.

Raeleen St. Pierre, Owner and Professional Instructor at Fred Astaire’s Bloom Ballroom, was recently asked by USA Dance to take over a local chapter for Programming in K-12 Schools. USA Dance is a non-profit organization designed to promote social dancing nationwide. She will discuss the four pillars of dance: rhythm, control, balance, and coordination and why dance can help anyone involved in sports by improving kicks, swings, hits, etc.

St. Pierre began ballroom dancing at the age of five with square dancing and round dancing (country western ballroom) with her family. She continued dancing through high school adding baton, gymnastics, and theatre arts into the mix. St. Pierre also studied tap, ballet, jazz, yoga, and tai chi; always pursuing the world of health and fitness, even opening her own fitness coaching business for a time.

Through her adult years, St. Pierre continued her education, attaining degrees in Child Development, English, Psychology and Business Development as well as certifications in group fitness including Zumba, CPR, First Aid and personal training. Dancing, however, remained her passion and she honed her skills while raising a family, incorporating it into her work with children and at risk populations.

In March 2007, she joined a newly opened Fred Astaire Dance Studio. In April 2012 she accepted a position in Old Saybrook. In June 2014, she accepted the General Manager position at Fred Astaire Ridgefield where she managed a staff of six while teaching couples, singles, and children. And last year in July of 2015, St. Pierre was asked to take over the Old Saybrook studio. This has allowed her to combine her love of physical fitness and psychological health with her passion for dance.

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


Senator Formica Honored by AARP for Protecting Seniors

formica pic

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

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

Retire Your Worn American Flags Through June 10


OLD SAYBROOK – State lawmakers Sen. Art Linares, Sen. Paul Formica and Rep. Devin Carney encourage residents to retire their worn American flags from May 31 to June 10.

Drop-off locations include: Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main Street, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, Monday through Friday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The collected flags will be brought to the Old Saybrook American Legion Post 113 for proper retirement.


Vista Presents “Pirates” Musical at ‘The Kate’ This Weekend

Nancy, Brian and Craig are three of the actors in "The Pirates of Penzance" at The Kate.

Nancy, Brian and Craig are three of the actors in “The Pirates of Penzance” at The Kate.

OLD SAYBROOK – A band of pirates will soon invade the stage at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook as part of Vista Life Innovations’ upcoming musical production of “The Pirates of Penzance,” which opens Friday, May 20.

Directed by Pat Souney, this production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic comedy features an original adaptation by Souney and Assistant Director Noah Golden. The story follows Frederic, an orphan who has mistakenly been apprenticed to a bumbling band of pirates, and the hilarity that ensues as a result.

“The comedy varies from clever dialogue to corny puns to slapstick,” said Souney, an Old Saybrook resident. “It is a very funny show and the cast has great fun with it.”

Setting this production apart is its mission to unite the shoreline and Vista communities, which it achieves by featuring an all-ability ensemble of performers from both communities. The cast is comprised of nine community members and 20 Vista members, and ranges from seasoned performers to those making their stage debuts.

Among the actors is Killingworth resident Craig Hines in the role of Pirate King. Hines was introduced to Vista when he was cast in Vista’s first-ever all-ability musical production, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” in 2014.

“What I have enjoyed most about working with the Vista students and members is the way they notice and enjoy the small details,” Hines said. “They are also more genuinely enthusiastic and openly happy to see you and be involved.”

Show times are Friday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.katharinehepburntheater.org or call the box office at 877-503-1286.

This production is funded in part through a grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. Show sponsors include Farmers Insurance, the Wrotnowski Family, the Lee Family, Cornerstone Construction Services, Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc., Bruce Baber, and Laurie Pilcher and Sharon Grogan.

With campuses in Westbrook, Madison and Guilford, Vista Life Innovations is an organization dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.


Nancy, Brian and Craig


Wilson to Read Selection of Shakespeare’s Sonnets at Old Saybrook Library Tonight

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

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

OLD SAYBROOK — A reading and discussion of nine sonnets by William Shakespeare will be held at the Acton Library in Old Saybrook on Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m.  The public is invited to attend and participate in the reading, which will be moderated by Jerome Wilson, ValleyNewsNow.com contributor and a lifetime lover of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Shakespeare is much in the news on both sides of the Atlantic this year since it was the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23, 1616.  Interestingly, it is widely believed that he was born 52 years previously in 1564, also on on April 23.  His date of birth is not a certainty simply because there is no record of his birth, but his baptism in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England, was recorded on April 26, 1564.  In the sixteenth century, baptism generally took place a few days after the actual birth, so scholars acknowledge April 23, 1564 as Shakespeare’s date of birth.

There was a full page article on Shakespeare in the the New York Times on April 23, 2016, and similarly, there have been numerous celebrations of the 400th anniversary of his death in the United Kingdom.  Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 — one of his most famous and many would say, most beautiful — will be among the sonnets read and discussed at the reading. It begins:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,
Thou art more lovely and more temperate,
Rough winds do shake the darling bud of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

Also, included in the reading will be Sonnet 116, which begins:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when its alteration finds,
Or bends to the remover to remove.

Nine sonnets by Shakespeare will be read and discussed at the reading.  At the reading, Wilson will first read the selected sonnet in full.  Next, there will be a general discussion by those attending regarding the sonnet just read. Then, Wilson will once again read the full sonnet.

Copies of the nine sonnets that will be read and discussed at the reading are  available at the Old Saybrook library, and those attending can bring their copies of the sonnets with them to the discussion.

In total, Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets in his lifetime, not to his mention tragedies, comedies and histories. The sonnets that will be discussed at the Old Lyme library meeting on May 19 will be: 2, 18, 30, 33, 73, 106, 116, 130 and 138.


Award-winning “Noises Off!” at ‘The Kate’ Performed by Saybrook Stage, July 14-17

LogoLargeOLD SAYBROOK – The Saybrook Stage Company returns to The Kate with their production of Noises Off! by Michael Frayn from Thursday, July 14, through Sunday, July 17.

It has been said that “once is not enough” to catch all of the jokes and sight gags in Frayn’s hilarious farce Noises Off!

The play opens with a bewildered road company flailing through the dress rehearsal of a flop called “Nothing On” – a silly romantic comedy scheduled to open the next night in a small suburban town. The second act of the play ingeniously presents a backstage view of the same show a month into the run showcasing all the funny drama taking place with the actors – love, lust, jealousy, suspicions and heartbreak. In the final act, the backstage confusion erupts and spills onto the live staged play creating some of the funniest and most outrageous moments of the night.

Noises Off! has often been billed as the funniest farce ever written.

Noises Off! originally opened on Broadway in 1983 to rave reviews and ran for over 550 performances, earning several awards including Best Outstanding Ensemble. It was revived on Broadway in 2001 and again this past year and has won numerous awards. The play is a unique glimpse into the backstage mechanics of rehearsing for a play – made even more real by having the physical set turned around after the first act so the audience can see and experience what happens backstage during a live performance.

The Saybrook Stage Company is pleased to return once again to The Kate in this hilarious comedy directed by Martin Scott Marchitto. This will be their 12th production at The Kate and could prove to be their zaniest yet. More recent previous plays are Rumors, The Wayside Motor Inn, Moon Over Buffalo and this past January to a sold-out audience, Deathtrap.

Performances will be July 14 through July 16 at 8 p.m. and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 17, with a newly added matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 16.

Go to www.thekate.org or call 877-503-1286 and reserve your tickets now.

The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing quality local theater on the Connecticut Shoreline at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Saybrook Stage welcomes actors of all levels and abilities – and anyone who genuinely loves the arts – to come together and share in the experience that only live theater can provide. 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. Visit www.SaybrookStage.org for more information about Saybrook Stage Company.

Saybrook Stage Company cast of "Noises Off!"

Saybrook Stage Company cast of “Noises Off!”


Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna Chastises Both Parties for Current Budget Mess 

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna. Photo from LinkedIn.com

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna. Photo from LinkedIn.com

In an exclusive interview with Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, Jr., on May 2, Fortuna, a Republican, castigated the leadership of both parties for putting the state of Connecticut, “into a budgetary mess.” Fortuna expressed particular alarm that the state’s budgetary shortfall will be over $1.5 billion, “and that’s for this year alone,” he stressed.

“That is $1.5 million,” Fortuna repeated.

Furthermore, Fortuna said that in the next two years, the state’s budgetary shortfall would reach over $4 billion. He commented that a contributing factor to the state budget’s shortfall is, “Retired civil servants are living longer and longer.”


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

State Rep. Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read my letter to Governor Malloy: click here

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

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

To read the governor’s budget proposal: click here

To see the approximately 380 unfunded educational mandates: click here


Old Saybrook Seeks Proposals for Mariner’s Way

old saybrook town sealOLD SAYBROOK – The Town of Old Saybrook is seeking proposals from a team of qualified consultants to further refine plans for Mariner’s Way that will lead to successful redevelopment of this area that encompasses multiple brownfields. This team of consultants should have demonstrated experience in similar planning activities that successfully revitalized an area of a community blighted by brownfields.

Planning activities will include:

Economic/Market Analysis, and Place Branding;

Current Conditions and Site Analysis;

Road and Streetscape Plan; and

Site Reuse/Redevelopment and Façade Improvement Plan.

All elements will include public input from informational meetings and charrettes.

The Town expects the results to yield a final report that refines the concepts established in the Mariner’s Way Plan and outlines specific steps to move the plan forward.

Funding for this project is provided by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The RFP is available on the Town’s website at www.oldsaybrookct.gov. Printed copies of the RFP are available at the Land Use Dept., 302 Main St., Old Saybrook, CT, 06475. The deadline to submit completed proposals is 3 p.m., Thursday, May 12, 2016.


AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER: The Town of Old Saybrook encourages Minority/Women/Small Business Enterprises to respond to the Request for Proposals.


“Operatic Disasters,” a Free and Fascinating Lecture, June 4

Kuslan_James editOLD SAYBROOK – James Kuslan, opera devotee and popular dynamic speaker on operatic topics, will present a lecture entitled “Operatic Disasters” on Saturday, June 4, at 11 a.m. at the Acton Public Library. This event is sponsored by the library and the Guild of Salt Marsh Opera.

With the help of fascinating and some hilariously funny sound clips, Kuslan will explore the challenges of singing opera. According to Kuslan, “My objective is not to ridicule, but to demonstrate that the extreme difficulty of the art form means that an audience in the presence of a superb performance is, in reality, beholding a miracle.”

Kuslan graduated with an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.  He has consulted for the German classical music recording giant, Deutsche Grammophon.

“Operatic Disasters” at the Acton Public Library is free, open to the public and handicapped accessible. For additional information, call 860-388-2871. The Acton Library is at 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.


Public Invited to Opioid Addiction Awareness, Education Forum in Old Saybrook This Evening

carney_posterState Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) along with State Senators Art Linares (R- 33rd) and Paul Formica (R-20th) are hosting an Opioid Addiction Awareness and Education Forum in Old Saybrook Wednesday, March 23, at Acton Public Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

A panel of experts including local representatives and the state officials will discuss addiction and the current heroin and opioid crisis.

All are welcome at this important event.

The library is located at 60 Old Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook.


New Trustees Join the Board at The Kate

kate logoOLD SAYBROOK – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (the Kate) has welcomed three new members to the Board of Trustees that oversees the Kate – Devin Carney, Thomas Gezo and Anne Barosewicz-Mele.

Devin Carney is the Connecticut State Representative for the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.   For several years he has been involved with the Kate’s Oscar Party, where he proudly contributes his grandfather Art Carney’s Oscar to the festivities.

A business coach and consultant, Thomas Gezo has previously managed projects and contracts in his corporate career for high-tech software companies. He is a certified SCORE business mentor and the AVP of the Southern New England Chapter of PMI, responsible for programming in the New London region.  He and his wife, Evelyn, are current volunteers with the Kate.

Anne Bartosewicz-Mele is an energy infrastructure expert, having worked with Northeast Utilities and currently Burns & McDonnell. She has also served on various nonprofit boards, including the Bushnell Park Foundation and Leadership Greater Hartford.

“The staff and the Board of Trustees of the Kate are delighted to welcome the new trustees into the organization,” said the Kate’s executive director, Brett Elliott. “We look forward to combining backgrounds and talents on behalf of the Kate for its long-term mission.”


Marshview Gallery Exhibits Elaine Lifland’s Paintings in May

Elaine Lifland with some of her paintings to be exhibited in Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK – The Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook will exhibit the work of Elaine Lifland during the month of May. An artist reception will be held Friday, May 13, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Elaine Lifland always had a love for painting. Raising a family and having a full-time job meant she waited until retirement to pursue her passion. Her experience began with watercolor, studying with Timothy Clark. Later she was introduced to oil paints and it changed everything for her. She studied at the Art Students’ League in NYC where she lived. She gives credit to instructor Kenneth MacIndoe for encouraging her.

Elaine is a member of the Essex Art Association and the Old Lyme Art Association, where she has won Best of Show. She hopes that her paintings stir your emotions and bring a smile to your face!

All are welcome to attend the reception and meet the artist. Refreshments will be provided. The Estuary Council of Seniors is at 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook.


Acton Library Book Sale Runs Through This Weekend

OLD SAYBROOK – The Friends of Acton Public Library will host their Annual Mini-Book Sale at the library located at 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, on Friday, March 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, March 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and again on Sunday, March 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be a large assortment of all types of books, videos and audio items on the lower level.

The proceeds from the Friends’ Book Sale benefit numerous activities and events at Acton Library throughout the year. Some of these programs have been the children’s Halloween and Christmas parties, musical concerts, plus generous donations toward purchasing new materials for the library.

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

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


New Shoreline Coworking Community Forms

watercoolerAREAWIDE – The number of coworking spaces has increased over 400 percent in the last two years. Coworking is redefining the way we work. Over 20 million Americans work from home, including 90 percent of all freelancers. Coworking provides a more affordable workspace for those just starting a business, or those who work independently, such as solopreneurs and freelancers. Not only offering “office space,” coworking offers amenities such as internet access, as-needed workspace, private space for meetings and small conferences, and a location for community programs and shared learning experiences.

To serve businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers in the towns located in the lower Connecticut River Valley and across the Connecticut shoreline, the Watercooler Coworking Community is being built. Local entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and freelancers are encouraged to attend an informational evening on Tuesday, April 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook.

The purpose of the evening is to bring together coworkers, share ideas and begin to shape the structure of the collaborative workspace. Local economic development professionals and chamber of commerce professionals are also encouraged to attend.

The Watercooler will be the Connecticut Shoreline’s member-sustained, community-supported, collaborative coworking space. When built, The Watercooler will provide a professional, inspirational, and self-sustaining space to grow and nurture freelance businesses and entrepreneurialism. Creatives, entrepreneurs and small businesses of all types will flock to The Watercooler to become a part of the community of local-minded, business-focused folks. http://www.watercoolercowork.com/


Gowrie Group Supports ‘The Kate’ with Annual Sponsorship

OLD SAYBROOK – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Inc. (The Kate) has announced a generous annual corporate sponsorship from Gowrie Group. The sponsorship enables the Kate to continue to develop unique and diverse productions, as it enters into its seventh year of operations as a nonprofit performing arts organization.

Brett Elliott, the Executive Director of the Kate, said, We are thrilled to partner with Gowrie Group this year to produce wonderful entertainment with creativity and wit, just like our namesake.  Carter Gowrie has been instrumental in numerous initiatives here at the Kate, since his time joining the Board of Trustees.  It is with great pleasure that we welcome Carter and the Gowrie Group into the family here at the Kate.”

Carter Gowrie, CEO and founder of Gowrie, commented, “I love the Kate and am excited to be serving on the Board of Trustees. It is very special to have such an active performing arts theatre in our beautiful town, and Gowrie Group is very happy to help support it.”

The Gowrie Group, one of the nation’s Top 50 independent insurance agencies, is located in Westbrook, along with several offices in other New England states.


Vendors and Artisans Sought for May 14 Sale

OLD SAYBROOK – Vendors and artisans who want to showcase their one-of-a-kind treasures, antiques, vintage pieces, arts and crafts and other assorted bric-a-brac during the one-day shopping event, “Junk in the Trunk,” are asked to fill out an application by April 15.

The event will be held on Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Estuary Council of Seniors, 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook, rain or shine.

Application and $30 payment are due by April 15. Call Paul Doyle at (860) 388-1611, ext. 211 or stop by the Estuary Council for an application.


Planning for Resilient Ecosystems: Salt Marsh Program, April 12

OS Salt MarshOLD SAYBROOK – A program on salt marsh advancement and the future of Old Saybrook’s salt marshes will be presented on Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m., at the Vicki G. Duffy Pavilion, 155 College Street, by Dr. Adam Whelchel, director of science for the Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Whelchel will discuss the TNC’s Marsh Advancement Zone Assessment that will be used by policymakers planning for the next 100 years of coastal land use. The program will also include time for questions from those in attendance.

Connecticut is the first state in the nation to complete a future salt marsh assessment down to the individual lot for the entire coastline. Using a model developed in collaboration with the University of Connecticut, the Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Resilience Team has just finished a Salt Marsh Advancement Zone Assessment for all 24 coastal municipalities as well as a comprehensive report for the entire coast. Ultimately, the future of Connecticut’s salt marshes depends on land use decisions and policy implications that will be made based on our ability to predict change over the next 100 years.

The detailed parcel-scale information will provide land trusts, municipal staff, volunteer commissions/boards and private property owners with answers to questions such as: Where and how much salt marsh advancement already occurs on existing open space such as nature preserves, parks, refuges, etc; where and how much salt marsh advancement occurs on currently unprotected and undeveloped parcels; where and how much conflict will there likely be between the built environment roads, airports, schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and daily flooding from tides?

To access the Salt Marsh Advancement Zone Assessments for your community, visit http://coastalresilience.org/project-areas/connecticut-solutions/#Reports, and scroll down.

Come hear Dr. Whelchel explain the Conservancy’s Salt Marsh Advancement Zone Assessment and join in the discussion about the future needs of this resource. Free admission. To find out more, visit the Old Saybrook Land Trust website, oslt.org.


Irmar Foundation Donates $20,000 to Operation Fuel

opfuel-logo-lg1OLD SAYBROOK – The Irmar Foundation/Wayne Eisenbaum Charitable Foundation, located in Old Saybrook, has donated $20,000 to Operation Fuel for its energy assistance program.

Operation Fuel is a private, nonprofit program that provides emergency energy assistance year-round through its statewide network of fuel banks to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly, and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis. For more information on Operation Fuel or to make a donation, go to www.operationfuel.org.


New Train Station Parking Lot Opened with Ribbon Cutting

Rep. Devin Carney, Sen. Paul Formica and Sen. Art Linares (L-R) joined with state transportation officials and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the new 200-space parking lot at the Old Saybrook train station.

Rep. Devin Carney, Sen. Paul Formica and Sen. Art Linares (L-R) joined with state transportation officials and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the new 200-space parking lot at the Old Saybrook train station.

OLD SAYBROOK – On Feb. 4, the new 200-space parking lot at the Old Saybrook train station was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, state DOT Commissioner Jim Redeker, and local elected representatives.

According to a release from Nancy Wyman’s office, the ribbon cutting for “the new $2.5 million rail station expansion in Old Saybrook … celebrates the completion of 200 parking spaces, sidewalks, a bus shelter, and other improvements. The Shoreline East carries about 600,000 passengers per year.”

With the 200 new parking spaces, there are now 324 parking spaces at the station available to commuters, free of charge.

The Shoreline East website further notes: “Free parking is also available to commuters along both sides of 3 North Main Street. Please note overnight parking in this area is prohibited. There is a third, privately owned parking lot located East of the Old Saybrook train station, adjacent to the shops, which allows overnight parking for a fee. An envelope will be left on your car window with which to mail in your payment. Shore Line East is not affiliated with this parking area.”

More information at ShorelineEast.com.