September 27, 2016

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.

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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.

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9 Town Transit Plans Bus Fare Increases; Public Hearing Slated for Sept. 29 in Old Saybrook

AREAWIDE — 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.

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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 .

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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.

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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
Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street

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

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

Wednesday, Sept. 14
4 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm
Stamford
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.

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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.”

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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

Opera_at_the_Park

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.
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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.

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‘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

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

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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.

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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 .

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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.
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Retire Your Worn American Flags Through June 10

american-flag-2a

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.

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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

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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.

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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!”

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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.”

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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

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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/

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Marshview Gallery Exhibits Cindy Fiano Photography in April

AOM Cindy Fiano April 2016aOLD SAYBROOK – During April, local photographer Cindy Fiano will exhibit her works at the Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. – Regional Senior Center in Old Saybrook.

Cindy’s photography is inspired by serene seascapes and graceful birds located on the beaches and marshes in Old Saybrook and nearby shore towns. She spends countless hours walking the many area beaches.

Her biggest inspiration has been to capture and share the beauty in the common that often gets overlooked. Seagulls are a favorite subject. Cindy calls seagulls “intelligent, clever and extremely adaptable.” She appreciates that she can always count on them being on the beach no matter what the weather conditions are.

A reception to see Cindy’s photographs and to meet her will be held on Friday, April 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

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

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Free Tax Preparation Help Available Until April 12

AREAWIDE — Low- and moderate-income families can receive free tax preparation in Middlesex County. Households with income up to $53,000 are eligible for free tax preparation assistance now through April 12 at local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites, and households with income of up to $62,000 can prepare their taxes free online at myfreetaxes.com.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is an official IRS program, and all tax preparers are trained and certified to ensure that low- to moderate-income families receive the refunds and credits that they have earned, including the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credits and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

Appointments are required and are being offered during the evenings and on Saturdays in downtown Middletown. To make an appointment, dial 2-1-1 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or visit 211ct.org.

Individuals should bring a check or bank statement for direct deposit of their refund. Direct deposit is the quickest way to receive the refund, usually within 7 to 14 days.

When attending their pre-scheduled appointment, individuals should bring: valid photo ID for yourself and your spouse; social security cards or ITIN for everyone in the household; birth dates for everyone in the family; documentation for all income; interest and dividend statements; documentation for deductible education expenses and student loan payments; total amount paid for child care as well as day care provider’s tax identification number and address; property taxes paid, including automobile taxes; evidence of health care coverage in 2015; a copy of last year’s federal and state income tax returns, if available; and the current year’s tax package if available.

In 2015 the two VITA sites in Middletown helped more than 570 local households file their taxes for free and returned $773,120 back to taxpayers in the Middletown area. The sites are coordinated by the Middlesex VITA Coalition, a partnership of Middlesex United Way and the North End Action Team. The coalition receives support from the Connecticut Association of Human Services.

Households with income up to $62,000 last year can prepare their state and federal taxes for free at myfreetaxes.com. MyFreeTaxes tax filing software is provided by H&R Block and is sponsored by United Way, with a grant from the Walmart Foundation.

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Robert Langer Art Exhibit at Marshview Gallery in March

AOM March 2016 Bob Langer estuaryOLD SAYBROOK – During March, the Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors will feature the art of Robert Langer. A reception to meet the artist will be held Friday, March 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. All are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

Robert Langer is a graduate of Art Instruction Inc. with a diploma in commercial art. He studied at Paier College in Hamden for two years and is an elected member of several shoreline art societies.  He has taught classes in pastel at Artisans Harbor in Old Saybrook and is currently teaching at Indian River complex in Clinton. His subject matter and media vary, but pastel, oil and acrylic are his favorites and animal illustration is his forte. During the summer he takes small groups out on location to paint plein air subjects. His work has been exhibited in banks, libraries and galleries along the shoreline.

The Marshview Gallery at the Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc., 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook, is open daily, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. All ages are welcome to view the gallery.

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The Insane Insidewalk Sale Continues Tomorrow in Saybrook

There will be bargains galore at this year’s Insane Insidewalk Sale in Old Saybrook.

There will be bargains galore at this year’s Insane Insidewalk Sale in Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK — The-e-list.com presents the Seventh Annual Insane Insidewalk Sale Friday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Jan. 30, at 105 Elm St., in the Old Saybrook Shopping Center, just a few doors down from the Stop & Shop grocery store. The Sale will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $5, which covers entry for both days and the first 25 people to enter the Sale on Friday will have their admission fee waived.

This Sale enables people to shop the best stores and designers on the shoreline in one location at up to 75 percent off — it’s a pop-up specialty mall, featuring over 20 of the best local boutiques and designers offering deals on women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry, gifts, home decor, and kid’s clothing for two days only.

Ann Lightfoot will be selling her beautiful jewelry at the Insane Insidewalk Sale.Ann Lightfoot will be selling her beautiful jewelry at the Insane Insidewalk Sale.

Exhibitors include Ann Lightfoot Jewelry, Just Hatched, Mix Design Store, Grace, Ciao Bella, Ella Where She Shops, Lulu’s, Southern Exposure, J. McLaughlin and many more. For a full list of participating vendors, visit http://theeli.st/1MOsmSy

The Insane Insidewalk Sale was conceived in 2008 to help local retailers who were stuck with excess inventory after the financial crash and a dismal holiday season. The-e-list rented a vacant storefront and invited 20 boutiques to sell their wares at deep discounts. It was a huge success for both vendors and attendees and now it’s become a well-established tradition that Shoreline shoppers eagerly anticipate.

Last January, more than 1,500 enthusiastic shoppers turned out for the Insane Insidewalk Sale. Bargains were snatched up from the likes of Southern Exposure, Silkworm, Stonewear and many more. Erica Tannen, creator and publisher of The-e-List commented, “It was a delight to meet and gab with e-list readers face-to-face,” adding, “I snagged a few steals myself: perfect wineglasses at Mix, de rigeur stretchy fleece leggings from Grace, and a hilarious but too-cozy-for-words hat/scarf/mitten combo (with ears) from Ciao Bella!”

Tannen continued, “It [the 2015 Sale] was the best one yet, and I’ll chalk it up to the enthusiastic crowds and happy vibe. It was a joyful place: vendors were thrilled to clean out their excess stock, shoppers were excited to score extreme bargains.” She noted, “The real fun was in the communal dressing room. Women of all ages, shapes and sizes stripped down to their skivvies and swapped clothes, opinions and advice. Unlike most solitary dressing room experiences (Oh, no! Whose thighs are those?), if you needed a boost to your self esteem, you got it there.”

She concluded, “[The 2015 Sale] left me nostalgic for the days when we shopped en masse versus all alone with a computer screen. Online shopping is handy but will never deliver instant gratification and community like the Insane Insidewalk Sale [does].”

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State Legislators Came to Old Saybrook to Listen and Share

legislatorsAREAWIDE – Three state legislators, Rep. Devin Carney, Sen. Paul Formica and Sen. Art Linares (shown above, left to right), held open office hours on Jan. 25 at the Saybrook Point Pavilion.

The state legislators updated taxpayers on the key issues that will be debated in the 2016 legislative session at the State Capitol. Several area residents turned out for the public meeting to get their questions answered.

Those who could not attend may contact Carney at 800-842-1423 and Formica and Linares at 800-842-1421.

The legislative session runs through May.

 

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Wildlife Photographers Presentation at Old Saybrook Land Trust Meeting, March 20

Wood Duck - Anders Ogren photo

Wood Duck – Anders Ogren photo

 OLD SAYBROOK – Local photographers Kristofer Rowe and Anders Ogren will share their wildlife photography during a free public program on Sunday, March 20, from 3 to 5 p.m., at Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main St., Old Saybrook.

This is a great opportunity to learn about the birds, ducks and other creatures that inhabit our local marshes, waters and forests. Rowe and Ogren will also let you in on their secrets for getting the dramatic up close and personal shots they are becoming famous for.

Old Saybrook Land Trust board member Chris Cryder will provide an update on activities in the Preserve, OSLT President Mike Urban will give an update on OSLT activities, and officers will be elected for the coming year.

This is a family-friendly program offered by the Old Saybrook Land Trust Board in conjunction with their annual meeting. The program is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information about the Old Saybrook Land Trust, visit oslt.org, or send an email to oldsaybrooklandtrust@oslt.org. Links to the photographers’ websites and facebook pages are also available at oslt.org.

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AAUW Presents Awards to Three Students

AREAWIDE — The Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently presented spring semester educational grants to three local students who are pursuing higher education. Each student received the second $1000 of their total $2000 grant covering the full academic year 2015-2016.

The recipients are Megan Davis, a sophomore from Lyme who is majoring in English Education at the University of Connecticut at Storrs; Alexis Henry, a senior from Old Saybrook who is a biomedical engineering major at the University of Connecticut at Storrs; and Amanda Matulis, a sophomore from East Haddam who is majoring in radiological technology at Middlesex Community College in Middletown and is a second year recipient of this award. This is the sixth consecutive year that the Lower Connecticut Valley Branch has granted educational awards.

The AAUW is a national organization that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education.

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Acton Public Library Hosts ‘Music with Miss Martha,’ Fridays

The Children’s Department at Acton Public Library will host ‘Music with Miss Martha’ on the third Friday of every month January through May (except February which will be on the fourth Friday) from 10 to 10:45 a.m. This is a special drop-in musical story time and is most appropriate for ages 3-5. The dates are Jan. 15, Feb. 26, March 18, April 15, and May 20.

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

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Vista Teams Up With Penny Lane Pub for ‘Paint Night at the Pub,’ Jan. 25

This snowy landscape will be the subject of the upcoming Paint Night with Vista at the Pub on Monday, Jan. 25th.

This snowy landscape will be the subject of the upcoming Paint Night with Vista at the Pub on Monday, Jan. 25.

AREAWIDE — Vista has announced a new Paint Night experience for the new year. In partnership with the Penny Lane Pub in Old Saybrook, Vista is hosting Paint Night with Vista at the Pub on Monday, Jan. 25.

A social art class led by local artist and Vista staff member Samantha Listorti, Paint Night is open to community members of all artistic ability. From start to finish, Listorti provides step-by-step guidance as participants create a beautiful work of art. No prior painting experience is required.

The class will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Penny Lane Pub, 150 Main St. in Old Saybrook. At the end of the night, participants leave with their finished piece.

The cost is $35 per person and includes one complimentary glass of wine or beer. Food and drink are available for purchase throughout the night. All are welcome.

To register, visit www.vistavocational.org/calendarofevents, or contact Arts Program Manager Amanda Roberts at aroberts@vistavocational.org or (860) 399-8080 ext. 255.

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

For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Old Saybrook Church Hosts a Cappella Sing-off Concert, March 5

The Ruby Fruit a cappella group will participate in the sing-off being held March 5.

‘Ruby Fruit’ a cappella group will participate in the sing-off being held March 5.

OLD SAYBROOK – Two of UCONN’s a cappella groups will perform in a sing-off Saturday, March 5, 7 p.m. at the First Church of Christ in Saybrook, 366 Main St. The Rubyfruits and Extreme Measures will also work with some Old Saybrook High School singers who will also be part of the performance.

Tickets are $15, children eight and under are admitted free. Funds raised will support the church’s 2016 teen mission trip to N.Y.’s Adirondacks. Tickets are available online, www.firstchurchsaybrook.org, in the church office Monday through Friday, or call 860-388-3008.

There is also advertising space available in the program booklet for sponsors, either individuals or businesses. In addition to having a self-designed ad printed in the program, commercial sponsors will be recognized on facebook. Options include a quarter, half or full page space for $50, $125 or $250.

To prepare for the weeklong summer trip, the teens and their families commit to a year-long process which includes group fundraising, socio-economic awareness events, worship service activities and more. While in the Adirondacks, the teens will go out into the community for service work and to immerse themselves in the local culture. Mission trips take place every year with varying destinations, alternating between urban and rural locations. Each teen mission trip is life-changing for the young participants and their chaperones.

Come out to hear some great music performed by young people, and support the work of the teen mission-trippers who seek to make a difference in the lives of those they serve.

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

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

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

Tickets are $36; to purchase, visit http://www.habitatmiddlesex.org/about_us/news/260

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

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

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

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

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

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy addresses the large audience.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy addresses the large audience.

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

US Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks.

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

State Representative Phil Miller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on the 2015 football and cheerleading programs, visit www.oswyouthfootball.com.

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