February 13, 2016

Essex Historical Society Presents Program on E.E. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Brand, Today

Printing area, ground floor of new office 1929

This 1929 photo shows the printing area and ground floor of the then new E.E. Dickinson office. Image courtesy of the Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — The 20th century was a time of great change and growth in the manufacturing and marketing of American products. The E.E. Dickinson Company, an Essex-based producer of Witch Hazel, was one of the most successful in dominating the national market and becoming a household name. The fascinating story of the birth of the Dickinson brand will be presented by the Essex Historical Society on Sunday, Jan. 24, at 3 p.m. in the original 1924 corporate office building — now Wells Fargo Advisors — at 31 North Main St. in Essex.

Image courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Image courtesy of Essex Historical Society.

Local historian Brenda Milkofsky will address the complex, well-timed marketing efforts of the E.E. Dickinson Company, providing historical perspective on the local and national impact of the company’s growth.

A variety of Dickinson advertising and marketing artwork will be highlighted along with images that illustrate the company office environment and processes. Tours of the building’s public areas, including the gracious 1920s lobby, will be given following the program.

This lecture is part of a series of special events celebrating the Essex Historical Society’s 60th anniversary and the E.E. Dickinson Company legacy. The program is free and open to the public.

More information can be found at www.essexhistory.org or by calling 860-767-0681.

 

 

 

 

 

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Region 4’s $53,350 Year-End Surplus to be Returned to Member Towns, Applied to R4 Sinking Funds

REGION 4 — On Jan. 7, 2016, the Region 4 Board of Education received the final audit of the 2014-15 school year that reflects a surplus of $53,350 at the close of the school year.

“The results of this year’s audit are great news, given the significant financial challenges the board and administration faced last year,” said Chris Riley, chairman of the Region 4 Board of Education. “Dr. Levy and her team are to be commended for their continued commitment to both our students and our taxpayers.”

Under a policy adopted last year, the Region 4 Board voted to return 50 percent of the surplus to the member towns and apply the other 50 percent toward capital sinking funds.

Funds will be returned to member towns based on the student population in John Winthrop Middle School and Valley Regional High School as follows:

  • Town of Chester: $6,439
  • Town of Deep River: $8,267
  • Town of Essex: $11,969
    TOTAL $26,675
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Essex First Selectman Lauds Area Firefighters for Quelling 24-Hour Blaze at Calamari Recycling

A view of the Calamari Recycling facility after the flames had subsided.

A view of the Calamari Recycling facility after the flames had subsided.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.

ESSEX — Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman in an official statement on Jan. 16 praised area firefighters for quelling on Jan. 6, “one of the worst and longest burning fires in Essex in decades,” which occurred at the Calamari Recycling Co. Inc. at 20, Dump Rd., in Essex. In an article by Karena Garrity published Jan. 12 in the weekly Valley Courier newspaper and on Zip06.com, it was reported that to tame the blaze, “it was estimated that more than 150 firefighters from more than 15 different fire departments,” were on the scene.

In his statement published on the Town of Essex’s website, Needleman praised, “The rapid and well organized response from Essex Firefighters, Police and Public Works, as well as mutual aid efforts of firefighters from other towns. These highly trained individuals worked together like a well-oiled machine throughout, even when exhaustion set in.” Needleman added, “Services from in and out of our Town came to our rescue and helped to minimize the impact of this fire. The Town of Essex can’t thank you all enough.”

Over a dozen fire departments from the surrounding area played a role in extinguishing the fire at the Calamari scrap metal recycling facility, and it took over 24 hours for the firefighting units ultimately to quell the blaze.

Although there were no reports of injuries as a result of the fire, the Valley Courier newspaper article reported that flames at the facility, “created thick billows of clouds of smoke for several days, causing town and school officials in the area to take precautions in regard to air quality conditions.” The Valley Courier also reported, “Student at Essex Elementary School were held inside for recess on Jan. 7 and 8 to ensure safety, and the Department of Environment and Energy Protection visited the area to conduct air quality testing, ”which turned out to be in the safe quality range.”

According to the Valley Courier’s report, “The fire started in the construction and demolition debris building, one of the four buildings on the Calamari Recycling property,” and that, “the cause of the fire was thought to be a spark from a cardboard bailer.” Also reported in the article was that, “Essex firefighters as well as members of  the Essex Public Works Department stayed on the scene for 28 straight hours.”

In addition, the Essex Public Works Department set up a warming center for firefighters and supplied more than 500 gallons of diesel fuel to tanks for the engines that were on the scene.

The fire on Jan. 6 at the recycling facility was the “the worst fires in 60 years,” according to a Calamari Recycling staff member, who declined to give her name in an interview on Jan. 19.  As for the status of the investigation of the fire, “the insurance people were looking at it,” she said, declining to give further details.

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LVVS Hosts Important Presentation Tonight on Refugee Crisis, Pathways to Citizenship,

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) will host a presentation on refugees and the paths to citizenship on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of Westbrook’s Public Library. The presentation will feature Claudia Connor CEO of the International Institute of Connecticut and Alicia Kinsman, who is the Director and Managing Attorney of the organization’s Immigration Legal Services Program.

The International Institute of Connecticut, based in Bridgeport, CT (IICONN) is the state’s leading nonprofit provider of integrated legal and social services to new immigrants and refugees.  Kinsman will address immigration issues and explain the various immigration processes that would be relevant to LVVS clients and Connor will explain the refugee admissions process, the security screening process and the refugee resettlement program.

Refreshments will be served.

The event is free but readers are encouraged to reserve as seating is limited. Contact the office by phone at 860-399-0280 or email at info@vsliteracy.org 

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CT River Museum Begins EagleWatch, Winter Wildlife Boat Tours

Connecticut River Museum environmental educator Bill Yule leads the boat tours and helps participants spot Bald Eagles, wintering hawks and waterfowl and other wildlife from the deck of EnviroLab III. Photo: Connecticut River Museum

Connecticut River Museum environmental educator Bill Yule helps visitors spot Bald Eagles, wintering hawks and waterfowl and other wildlife from the deck of EnviroLab III. Photo: Connecticut River Museum

AREAWIDE – The Connecticut River Museum, in partnership with Project Oceanology, will begin its annual EagleWatch and Winter Wildlife boat tours aboard the EnviroLab III on Friday, Jan. 29.

Winter is the best time for seeing Bald Eagles in Connecticut, and the best place to see them is from a boat on the Connecticut River. Connecticut has more than 80 year-round resident breeding eagles, but in winter the number can swell to 150 as rivers and lakes freeze farther north.

Eagles are not the only attraction for winter wildlife viewing, as other raptors like marsh hawks, Peregrine falcons and snowy owls can be spotted from the river. Ducks, loons, harbor seals and other wildlife all become more visible in the austere beauty of the winter riverfront landscape.

From Jan. 29 through March 13, boat tours will be offered on Fridays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Each tour on the EnviroLab III is 90 minutes long. You can stand out on the deck looking for wildlife or relax in the heated cabin with complimentary coffee and watch the river through the windows. Naturalists will narrate the trip and help you spot the eagles and other wildlife.

For more information or to make reservations, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269. The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Though Losing a Leader, Pettipaug Yacht Club Will Keep Teaching the Young to Sail   

Pettipaug Sailing Academy sailors putting their boats in the water in a recent sailing season

Pettipaug Sailing Academy sailors putting their boats in the water in a recent sailing season.

ESSEX — With the death last November of Paul Risseeuw, who for over 50 years led the sailing programs at the Pettipaug Sailing Academy, some asked will this mean the end of an immensely popular program for teaching young people to sail.

However, according to the club’s Vice Commodore Kathryn Ryan, this is not going to be the case. “In response to this loss,” Ryan said in a statement, “the Pettipaug Board of Governors has increased our effort to provide the best sailing program in the area. Many talented officers of our club have come forward to step up their involvement to guarantee a smooth transition to 2016. Our top priorities are safety, learning, providing talented instructors, as well as equipment and facilities, and, of course, fun on the water.”

Ryan continued, “I have been elected to the role of Vice Commodore, which includes the duty of Chairman of the Pettipaug Sailing Academy.” Also, she noted, “I have been involved with the Pettipaug Sailing Academy for the last eight years, as my own children have come through the program.”

Ryan Introduces Ann Courcy, Club Sailing Director for 2016

In introducing Ann Courcy, the club’s new sailing director, Ryan noted, “Ann is a Deep River resident who had firsthand knowledge of our program, not only though her work with us, but also as a parent of two former and two current students. We are fortunate to have someone with Ann’s working knowledge of our program and our club on board for the coming year.”

Ryan went on to note that the club is presently accepting registrations for the summer of 2016, and that the application form can be found on the club’s web site. She added, “We will also be looking for help from parent volunteers through the season, so please consider sharing your talents, when we send out our request for help. Together we can continue to offer a high quality program for our junior sailors.”

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Essex Saving Bank’s Honan Receives ‘New Leaders in Banking’ Award

Shawn P. Honan, CPA.

Shawn P. Honan, CPA

Shawn P. Honan, CPA, has been named one of 13 ‘New Leaders in Banking’ for 2015 by the Connecticut Bankers Association. Honan is entering his 25th year at Essex Savings Bank — starting as an Accounting/Operations manager, Honan has worked his way up through the management ladder of Essex Savings Bank to the point where he is now Senior Vice President, Treasurer, and Chief Financial Officer, and is an essential part of the four-person senior management team.

He enjoys serving the community including spending 10 years coaching Little League baseball and softball while also serving as the Treasurer of the organization for most of those years and is also active both in his local church parish, including serving on the Vestry as Treasurer for four years, as well as serving the broader church throughout the state.

“I am proud to say Shawn has been an integral part of the success of our Bank. He is a thoughtful colleague who has helped shape our balance sheet and assisted in building a business that is sustainable. I enjoy strategizing with him and have appreciated his counsel and friendship,” stated Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank.

“I am honored and truly flattered to have been nominated for and chosen to receive this award. My sincere thanks to President Shook and the Board of Directors for their support and confidence in me. I consider it a privilege to serve this great institution and the financial needs of the people and businesses in our communities,” said Honan.

The awards are presented by the Connecticut Bankers Association and Connecticut Banking magazine and the ‘New Leaders In Banking’ honorees were chosen by an independent panel. To be eligible, an individual must work in a Connecticut bank, be an outstanding employee, manager, or business leader and make a notable impact within their bank or community.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.

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Enjoy ‘Always on Sunday in Chester’ on Sundays Through Spring

Geoffrey Vollers, brother of Bill Vollers of Chester, will exhibit his handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47 in Chester Center during January.

Geoffrey Vollers, brother of Bill Vollers of Chester, will exhibit his handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47 in Chester Center during January.

CHESTER — Does January already have you feeling down? Come to Chester Center where the businesses are celebrating “Always on Sunday in Chester!” all winter and spring.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, there will be a watercolor demonstration at Maple and Main Gallery, an exhibit of miniature handmade wooden castle sculptures at Gallery 31-47, the annual winter sale at C&G Unparalleled Apparel, a concert at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery, the 20-foot-long Bloody Mary Bar at the Pattaconk, and more fun throughout the Chester Center businesses. And to warm you up in this cold weather, stop in at Ceramica for a cup of hot cider, Dina Varano for a cup of tea and Lark for hot chocolate on a stick!

Bivenne will give a gallery talk and demonstration in watercolor at Maple and Main Gallery beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 17.

Bivenne will give a gallery talk and demonstration in watercolor at Maple and Main Gallery beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 17.

At Maple and Main Gallery, at noon, artist Bivenne will give an informal demonstration in watercolor focusing on enhancing the element of light in a painting. Bivenne will also point out this effect in a few of the works in the gallery in a short stroll and chat preceding her demonstration at 11:30 a.m. A noted artist and popular local watercolor instructor, Bivenne has won multiple prestigious awards. Her work is widely collected and her demonstrations always informed and illuminating. Enjoy three kinds of tea and cookies at the gallery while enjoying the gallery talk and demonstration.

Bill Vollers, owner of Gallery 31-47 in Chester, will exhibit the work of his brother, Geoffrey Vollers, who owns a studio in Rockland, Maine. Geoffrey’s miniature castles have been displayed in the windows of Tiffany & Co in New York. His work, which also includes painting and stained glass windows, has been shown in numerous galleries and in private collections.

Also in Chester on Jan. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., bluesman Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Clayton Allen will play at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery. In a melding of diverse blues styles, Stevens and Allen have forged a unique sound, representing a wide variety of traditionally based fingerpicking with a tinge of primitive blues and early blues rock and roll. A $20 donation is requested at the door. BYOB. More info at nilssonstudio.com/events.

Free parking is available on Sundays at First Niagara Bank and the town lot on Water Street; at Norma Terris Theatre on North Main Street; and the Maple Street and Laurel Hill Cemetery parking lots.

Stay informed about Always on Sunday happenings through Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT; Facebook.com/AlwaysonSunday; or FindItInChesterCT.wordpress.com.

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Afro-Semitic Experience to Perform in Chester Today at 5 p.m.

Afro Semitic Experience by Fletcher Oakes April 2014

Photo courtesy of Fletcher Oakes (April 2014)

CHESTER — For 18 years, the Afro-American Experience has delighted audiences throughout the U.S. with their unique blend that prominent critic, Ramos, calls as “a whoopin’, hollerin’, testifyin’ celebration of multicultural soul music.” Their music reflects peace and joyous diversity. It is the same music that the great jazz critic Nat Hentoff referred to thus, “Never before have I heard this lyrically powerful fusion of Jewish and jazz souls on fire.” This music is coming to Chester during the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. birthday weekend.

The group opens the eighth — and most ambitious season yet — of Music & More at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m.  The season also features, among other groups, the internationally renowned Paul Winter Consort.

David Zeleznik, the new producer of the series, wanted to build on the synagogue’s record of creating special concerts that showcase diversity during the congregation’s annual commemoration of Dr. King’s birth.

As he explains it, “Last season, we had enormous success with Sweet Honey in the Rock. Their powerful soaring voices raised the roof and transported the river valley and shoreline community to their transcendent vision of a brighter future. For this season we wanted to recreate that sense of healing, grace, and inclusiveness within our sacred space through the power of musical performance.

“When we started planning this season back in June 2015, little did we know of the divisive tone that would now pervade our social and political discourse. Afro-Semitic Experience, which has recorded popular eight albums that speak to diversity, provides an antidote by showing how folk music of disparate cultures can meld and blend to joyous effect.

“That this is the group’s 18th year of existence is also meaningful at such a time.  The number 18, or ‘chai’ (in Hebrew) has special significance meaning ‘life’ in Judaic tradition. So, this is Afro-Semitic Experience’s ‘chai year’ and they are back to the beginning, celebrating the life of Martin Luther King with us.”

Zeleznik has also engaged the group to participate in the “More” part of Music & More. Prior to their performance they will be engaging with the community’s youth in a series of musical and performance workshops.

As customary at Music & More events, a reception follows, which is included in the ticket price.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  To reserve tickets ($25 for adults, and no charge for children under 16) or a spot in the workshop, or for more information about the upcoming season (which also includes Caravan of Thieves, The Paul Winter Consort, and The String of Pearls Big Band), contact the CBSRZ office at 860-526-8920 or bethshalom@snet.net or visit our website at cbsrz.org.

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Community Music School Jazz Ensemble Presents Concert This Evening

CMS Jazz Ensemble members Nolan Serbent of Killingworth (l) and Arthur Masiukiewicz of Essex (r); photo courtesy of Joan Levy Hepburn)

CMS Jazz Ensemble members Nolan Serbent of Killingworth (l) and Arthur Masiukiewicz of Essex (r). Photo courtesy of Joan Levy Hepburn.

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School (CMS) presents a concert by the CMS Jazz Ensemble on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Centerbrook Meetinghouse, 51 Main St., Centerbrook. The ensemble, comprised of students ages 13 to 17, will perform a mixed repertoire of blues, jazz standards, traditional swing, and Latin jazz. Directed by Tom Briggs, the CMS Jazz Ensemble is now in its 19th year.

Briggs is a retired member of the US Coast Guard Band and former musical director of the Coast Guard Masters of Swing. He is a well-known percussionist, pianist, and composer and has been on the CMS faculty since 1985. The concert is free and open to the public.

Call 860-767-0026for additional information.

Editor’s Note: Community Music School is a not-for-profit arts organization offering innovative programming for infants through adults, building on a 30 year tradition of providing quality arts programs for residents of shoreline communities. CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives. Additional information can be found at or www.community-music-school.org .

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Bear-y Interesting: Learn About Black Bears in CT at Essex Library Talk, Jan. 26

blackbearBlack bear sightings are increasing every year, even in Connecticut’s shoreline towns, as their preferred habitat expands as farmlands revert to forest.

Master Wildlife Conservationist (MWC) Paul Colburn will present an illustrated talk on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Essex Library. This presentation will focus on the natural history of black bears in CT, an overview of black bear habitat, diet, behavior, and current research efforts.  Colburn will also provide recommendations for optimum coexistence with our black bear population especially as the recent warm weather has delayed hibernation.   

Colburn is a graduate of Master Wildlife Conservationist Program which is a Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) adult education program that trains participants in the fields of wildlife management, natural history and interpretation. The purpose of the program is to develop a volunteer corps capable of providing education, outreach, and service for state agencies, environmental organizations, libraries, schools, and the general public. Paul recently retired from a long and successful career in technology. 

In addition to his work as a MWC he volunteers for the Red Cross, Wesleyan University Admissions, AARP, The Connecticut Sports Foundation, and A Place Called Hope (raptor recovery and rehab).  Colburn holds a BA from Wesleyan University and served honorably in the United States Army. 

This talk is free and open to the public. Advance registration is recommended; call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Wesleyan Univ. President to Address Impact of ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement Tonight

CHESTER — This year we have heard university campuses across the country echoing with the voices of protestors calling for a stronger response to racism in the university community.  Meanwhile, tensions on campus have sparked an important conversation about the role of free speech, freedom of expression and political correctness. 

Yale University faculty member Erika Christakis resigned after igniting protests when she said that students should be free to push boundaries with Halloween costumes, even to the point of offense. And at Wesleyan University, student leaders voted to cut funding to a campus newspaper after it published an Op-Ed criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement.

Are we watching the next stage of the Civil Rights movement unfolding on our college campuses?  Have we arrived at a place as Americans where we can finally talk about race and racism in a way that may lead to a deep transformation of our culture?  Or has it gone too far?  What is the role of open dialogue and free speech, especially in an academic environment?

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will mark the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Friday evening, Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m. when Wesleyan University President and CBSRZ congregant, Dr. Michael Roth will address these questions. Roth will speak during the annual Erev Shabbat service honoring Dr. King.  This service will also include Civil Rights songs led by the CBSRZ choir, under the direction of Meg Gister.  

Refreshments will follow.  All are welcome.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  For more information, call the CBSRZ office 860-526-8920 or visit www.cbsrz.org.

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Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Hosts Meeting, Jan. 20

TRI-TOWN — The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition will hold its next meeting at Tri-Town Youth Services at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is a grassroots organization whose membership is open to all who live or work in the tri-town area who are concerned about substance abuse and committed to its prevention.

Many “sectors” of the community are represented on this council: schools, youth serving organizations, law enforcement, government, civic groups, parents, students, the faith community and health care to name a few.

At the January meeting, Deep River Resident Trooper Dawn Taylor will present on current drug trends in our area. Future meeting dates for this year are March, 9, and May 18.

For further information, please call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600.

Editor’s Note: Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex. We coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.  Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org

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Medical Marijuana Production, Sale Public Hearing at Chester’s P & Z Meeting Tonight

CHESTER — The public hearing held by the Town of Chester’s Planning and Zoning Commission at their December meeting to discuss an Amendment to Zoning Regulations in reference to adding new Section 117 Medical Marijuana Dispensary and Production was continued to the Commission’s next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 14, at Chester Town Hall at 7:30 p.m.

There was no discussion during the public hearing on Dec. 10 for this petition as a quorum of Commission members, who were present at the start of the public hearing the previous month, was not present.

During the public hearing on Jan. 14, residents will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendment to zoning regulations detailed above regarding the production and sale of medical marijuana in Chester.

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Meeting House Players to Hold Final Round of Open Auditions Tonight

CHESTER — The Meeting House Players will host the second evening of open auditions for Tracy Letts’ 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play “August: Osage County”.  Auditions will be held at 7 p.m. tonight in the Meeting House located at 4 Liberty St. in Chester, Conn.

The play’s 13-member ensemble includes a range of ages and ethnicities including six woman playing characters aging in range between mid-20’s and late 60’s and six men playing characters aging in range between mid-30’s and mid 70’s as well as one young women able to play a 14-year-old.

Note that this play contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script.

Directed by Lenore Grunko, the production opens at the Meeting House in Chester on Friday, April 29, and continue on April 30 and May 6 & 7.  Week-night rehearsals will begin the week of March 7.

For additional information, contact Lenore Grunko at lenoregrunko@yahoo.com.

Editor’s Note; The Meeting House Players is a not-for-profit, all volunteer community theatre organization pursuing the theatre arts with the talents and interests of individuals throughout Connecticut.

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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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Hadlyme Country Market Has New Look, But Keeps Old Traditions

Hadlyme Country Market has a refreshed and welcoming exterior.

Hadlyme Country Market’s refreshed and welcoming exterior greets customers from near and far. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com.

HADLYME — Looking for a new spot to savor your daily dose of hospitality?

Why not try the new Hadlyme Country Market? Well, it’s not really new, but rather refurbished and restored. The market is, in fact, now much like it was in 1905, a place for locals and tourists alike to gather in the quaint and storied town of Hadlyme, nestled to the north of Lyme in southeastern Connecticut.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare quiet moment together.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare, quiet moment together. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

The owners of the Market — Lisa Bakoledis and Susan Raible Birch — have been working to restore the historic landmark since purchasing the building and business in 2012 and are now proudly celebrating three years in business with the unveiling of their “new” market.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

The Hadlyme Country Market has been a pillar of the riverside since the mid-19th century when steamboats ruled Connecticut. Located near the water, this community center was the hub of commerce and social life. Boaters, locals, and businesspeople came for their market staples and sundries in a traditional neighborhood fashion where everyone knows their neighbor and lends a helping hand.

A photo of Lee Luther Brockway, original owner of the store, circa 1900.

An original postcard circa 1905, from the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store, adorns the mantle.

The mastermind behind the operation was Lee Luther Brockway, an astute businessman and entrepreneur who recognized the boom from steam boating and new business along the river. As soon as he noticed a turn from boating to more land-based transportation with the arrival of automobiles, he picked up the store and moved it to a better locale.

Hadlyme_store_sign

Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

Now conveniently located near the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and Gillette’s Castle, the bustling intersection of Rte. 148 and Rte. 82 (Ferry Rd. and Norwich-Salem Rd. respectively) has been the Hadlyme Country Market’s home since 1905. After decades of transitioning owners and falling under disrepair, Bakoledis and Birch, long-time admirers and locals, purchased the store with a vision for their treasure.

Bakoledis, who worked at the store many times over the years, always felt like it was home; maybe because she lived in the apartment above but more likely because she sensed something special about the neighborhood, the people, and the rich history of the small town market.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.annasawin.com.

The pair quickly went to work planning a remodel that was true to the market’s rich history and architectural integrity. After pouring over archives and records for images, blueprints, and materials, they came up with a plan that would restore the market to its original beauty plus a few modern comforts to attract a new generation of customers.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The market was renovated to its original glory with authentic the turn-of-the-century materials salvaged from local historical buildings. In 2013 the doors were opened to the public and Bakoledis and Birch received an outpouring of locals delighted at the return of an institution. What’s more, the new owners took it upon themselves to run the store as Brockway would have, replete with hospitality, charm, and friendly faces.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cuppa in a peaceful setting.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cup of joe in a peaceful setting.

Two years later, the market continues to upgrade with an exterior restoration to the porch completed this fall, a sweet spot for anyone who enjoys sitting where the sun seems alway to shine. On the menu daily are a wide selection of deli-fresh artisan sandwiches and pot pies along with fresh Ashlawn Farm Coffee, newspapers, breakfast and bakery treats. Continuing Brockway’s tradition, Bakoledis and Birch welcome locals and travelers to enjoy old-fashioned treats, treasures, and conversations in a place everyone can feel at home. Birch sums up the Market’s attraction succinctly when she says, “The Country Market … has a heart like no other.”

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Essex Winter Series Kicks Off 2016 Concert Season Today with Juilliard String Quartet, Pianist Mihae Lee

ESSEX — Essex Winter Series has announced the artists and programs for its 2016 season. Designed by Artistic Director Mihae Lee for its quality and variety, this 39th season promises to be an exciting one, all four very different programs by world-class artists. Enjoy great chamber music, hot jazz, expressive vocal music, and the thrill of a full orchestra.

All of the concerts are on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. in Deep River. Concerts take place at Valley Regional High School, with the exception of the March 6 concert, which will be presented at John Winthrop Middle School.

Pianist Mihae Lee.

Essex Winter Series Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee.

Jan. 10: The Juilliard String Quartet with pianist Mihae Lee
Valley Regional High School

One of the country’s most revered string quartets will be joined by our artistic director in a program of three favorites from the classical repertory: Mo­zart’s “Dissonance” Quartet, Beethoven’s String Quar­tet in F major, Op. 135, and the monumental F minor Piano Quintet of Brahms. The Juilliard members are violinists Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes, violist Roger Tapping, and cellist Joel Krosnick, who will perform his 41st and final season with the quartet before his retirement later in 2016.  Co-sponsored by Northstar Wealth Partners

Feb. 21: Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert 
Jeff Barnhart and His Hot Rhythm
Valley Regional High School

Jeff Barnhart, our jazz artistic advisor, has thrilled EWS audiences for years with his performances of hot jazz. The renowned pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, re­cording artist, composer, educator, and entertainer will perform seminal jazz and pop standards from the first half of the 20th century with a top-notch band: Scott Philbrick on trumpet, banjo, and guitar; Joe Midiri on reeds; Paul Midiri on vibes and trombone; Anne Barnharton flute and vocals; Vince Giordano on bass, tuba, and bass sax; and Jim Lawlor on drums. Co-sponsored by The Clark Group and Tower Laboratories

March 6: Patricia Schuman, soprano
John Winthrop Middle School

We are delighted to welcome back to our stage the internationally-celebrated soprano Patricia Schuman. Her program, “Winter Romance,” will feature songs of love and loss as well as lighter fare from the great Amer­ican songbook and musical theater. She will be joined by harpist Megan Sesma, pianist Douglas Dickson, and a special surprise guest artist. Ms. Schuman has been engaged by the most distinguished opera houses throughout the world, and has collaborated with many of the foremost conductors and directors of our time. Co-sponsored by Essex Savings Bank and an anonymous foundation

April 3: Fenton Brown Emerging Artists Concert 
New Haven Symphony Orchestra with violinist Tessa Lark
Valley Regional High School

Now in its 121st year of continuous operation, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra is one of the country’s finest regional orchestras. Returning to our series, the orchestra under music director William Boughton will perform Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, Haydn’s “London” Symphony, and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, featuring our 2016 Emerging Artist, Tessa Lark. Lark won the prestigious Naumburg International Violin Award in 2012, and is one of today’s most sought-after young violinists. Co-sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank and an anonymous foundation

All tickets to Essex Winter Series concerts are general admission. Individual tickets are $35; four-concert subscriptions are $120, which represents a $20 saving over the single-ticket price for four concerts. Tickets may be purchased on the EWS website, www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.

More program information, artist biographies and photos, and much more is available on the Essex Winter Series web site, www.essexwinterseries.com.

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Deadline for Land Trusts’ Amateur Photo Contest Entries is Jan. 31

2013 Land Trust Photo Contest winner by Hank Golet.

This photo by Hank Golet was a winning entry in the 2013 Land Trust Photo Contest.

ESSEX — Five local land trusts invite amateur photographers of all ages to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Land Trusts Amateur Photo Contest. Everyone is welcome to share their love of the natural world by entering their favorite photographs.  Submissions are being accepted until Jan. 31.

A panel of three judges will award prizes in five categories for photographs that best capture the beauty of the scenic countryside, wildlife, plants, and cultural and historic features in the towns of Essex, East Haddam, Lyme, Old Lyme and Salem. Children are encouraged to enter in the Youth category for ages 14 and below. 

Entry Forms are available only by email at photocontest@lymelandtrust.org. A copy of the Contest Rules with details about submission will be included in the reply.

For more information and details for submission go to lymelandtrust.org. http://www.lymelandtrust.org/news/photo-contest/

Cash awards are being funded with the generous support of our sponsors: RiverQuest/CT River Expeditions, Ballek’s Garden Center, Lorensen Auto Group, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Essex Savings Bank, The Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, ChelseaGroton Bank, and Alison Mitchell in honor of her late husband John G. Mitchell.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust are sponsoring the event. Previous Land Trusts Photo Contest winning photos are viewable at https://landtrustsphotos.shutterfly.com/.

All of the photographs entered will be displayed and celebrated at the Photo Contest Reception on March 11, at the Lymes’ Senior Center. The winning photographs will be announced at that time.

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TTYS Offers Pediatric First Aid, CPR, Babysitting Training Course, Starts Jan. 20

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services is offering a Pediatric First Aid and CPR course along with a Babysitter Training Certificate program.  This course provides a great opportunity to help youth aged 12-17 build self-confidence as well as  gain leadership and decision-making skills. Completion of this course is a plus on a Job Bank application.

The $75 fee includes instruction, books and certificate.

The winter session will be held on Wednesday evenings, Jan. 20, 27 and Feb. 3. All classes will be held 6 to 8 p.m. at Tri-Town Youth Services, 56 High St. in Deep River.  Classes fill quickly, so prompt registration is encouraged – online (www.tritownys.org) or by calling 860-526-3600.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex. The organization coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.  Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org

 

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CT Valley Camera Club’s Meeting Features Travel Talks, Jan. 25

DEEP RIVER — The Connecticut Valley Camera Club’s January meeting will be held at the Deep River Library (lower level) on Monday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m.

It will feature three members giving illustrated lectures about their visits to China and India (Sheila Wertheimer), Peru (Dianne Roberts), and Australia and New Zealand (Linda Waters).

This meeting is open to the public.  New and prospective members are  especially welcome.

Club meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month at the above time and location.

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Volunteer to Help Those Who Cannot Read, Variety of Openings Available at LVVS

AREAWIDE — If you have some time to volunteer to build a stronger community and help a local non-profit in tutoring area residents to read, write and speak English, you can start helping almost immediately. Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is looking for board members, a treasurer for the organization, tutor trainees and volunteers.

For more information, contact info@vsliteracy.org or call 860-399-0280.

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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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Cappella Cantorum to Perform Mozart’s ‘Requiem,’ April 10

AREAWIDE — Late registration and rehearsal for Cappella Cantorum’s performance of Mozart’s Requiem will be Monday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River. All singers are welcome; no auditions are required.

The concert, scheduled for Sunday, April 10, will also feature Mozart’s Regina Coeli. Soloists will be Patricia Schuman, Brian Cheney, Heather Petrie and Christopher Grundy.

Registration can also be done online at CappellaCantorum.org. Membership fee is $50, registration $10 and music $15.

For more information, check the web site or call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871.

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Tri-Town Youth Services Hosts New Toddler Play Groups Through March

TRI-TOWN — Calling all toddlers!

Tri-Town Youth Services at 56 High St. in Deep River offers play groups led by Parent Resource Coordinator Allison Abramson.  The groups offer a mixture of free play, music, art, and story time.  Caregivers have a chance to chat with each other and browse the parent resource library.

Both groups run on Wednesdays from Jan. 6 through March 9.  Outstanding Ones meets from 11 to 11:30 a.m. with a cost of $45 for tri-town residents and $55 for non-residents.  Terrific Twos meets from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. with a cost of $60 for Tri-Town residents and $70 for non-residents.  Register at www.tritownys.org or call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600.

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex. The organization coordinates and provides resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.  Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org

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Eversource Notifies Essex Community of 2016 Tree Trimming

 Bruce Glowac, President of the Essex Foundation and Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden admire the new Eastern Red Cedars along West Avenue in Essex. Missing from the photo is Paul Fazzino, Jr., Essex Fire Chief.

File photo of Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden and Bruce Glowac, President of the Essex Foundation.

ESSEX — Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, has been notified by Eversource that additional tree trimming in the community will begin first quarter of 2016.  Residents will be contacted by the Lucas Tree permissions people starting in January 2016.

These contractors are obliged by the new PURA (Public Utilities Regulatory Authority) regulations and state statutes to notify abutting owners of planned tree work, on or hanging over the public road.  Tree owner approval is required for trees wholly on public property.

Pampel would like residents to know that according to these new statutes, they have the right to accept the planned work, waive their rights to object to the work, modify the work or they can refuse all tree work, if they choose. Those wishing to modify the work or object to the trimming or removal should follow the procedure described in the handouts received from the permissions contact person. This would include contacting the local Tree Warden and the Eversource in writing.

Roads that will be subject to ETT (Enhanced Tree Trimming), which is the most expansive specification, are Laurel Rd. and Dennison Rd. Enhanced Tree Trimming is ground to sky clearance and eight feet from the conductors’ clearance. If more than one quarter of a tree’s leaves have to be removed to satisfy this specification, the entire tree will be requested to be removed.

The following information was provided by Eversource and will be given to each abutting property owner affected by the upcoming tree work:

Year round trimming is “one of the ways we provide safe and reliable electric service”.  By removing potential hazardous growth close to power lines, they provide not only reliable service but also safer physical and visual access for their employees who work on the lines.  Problems can therefore be solved more efficiently.  Eversource states that all work is performed following professional tree care industry standards and best practices.

There are several clearance specifications. You should discuss the specific one that will be used in your area with the permissions contact, who leaves the slip with you.

The trees at risk are:

  • Those trees that can fall on or contact power lines and cause an outage.
  • Tree professionals will determine a tree’s hazardous potential based on species, location, health and structural composition.
  • Eversource arborists will also determine a tree’s risk of causing an outage and prioritize removal accordingly.  If a tree must be removed, it will be cut as low to the ground as possible
  • Critical trimming can occur without permission by the abutting owner if there is evidence that the tree or brush are in direct contact with power lines or have visible signs of burning.  This is “to protect public safety and system reliability.”

Low growing shrubs and grasses will not be removed in order to maintain a low-growing plant community.

Eversource will treat hardwood trees that can re-sprout from a cut stump with an herbicide to prevent regrowth.  As per Eversource, the herbicide has been tested and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  It will be “selectively applied with a handheld spray bottle by state licensed and certified personnel only to the outer edge and side of a stump.”

According to the Connecticut General Statutes (22a-66a), certain herbicide label information must be provided to the property owner where herbicides are used.  Property owners can ask the tree contractor requesting permission for trimming if herbicides will be used and request the herbicidal labels.

Eversource will make available to customers free of charge all cut wood or mulch produced from the tree work.  Larger limbs and tree trunks will be cut into manageable lengths and mulch can be dumped where vehicle access is possible.

In an effort to provide effective communication and better customer service, Eversource will seek property owner approval in advance of the tree work.  They will stop at all homes abutting areas of potential work to provide information and request approval for the trimming.

It is incumbent upon the property owner to read the material carefully, ask questions and/or contact the Eversource permissions contractor listed on the enclosed forms provided to property owners.

For trees that hang over the public right-of-way, you may ask for additional consultation:

  • If you live on a town road, contact your local Tree Warden (Augie Pampel).
  • If you live on a state road, contact the state Department of Transportation (DOT), Commissioner’s Office, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06131

Not granting permission:

  • If a property owner does not wish to grant approval for the proposed tree work, he/she should follow the procedures outlined in the material left by the permissions contact.
  • The Tree Warden will make a decision regarding the scope of tree work for all objections within 10 days of receiving the written objection or after a consultation.
  • Both the property owner and Eversource may further appeal that decision to the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) within 10 days.
  • Contact PURA at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051.  PURA will hold a mediation session within 30 days of an appeal or an arbitration hearing within 60 days, to reach a resolution.

Per the state statute, no property owner will be billed for damages to Eversource power lines or equipment caused by trees on the owner’s property that fall, regardless of the outcome of an appeal.

Pampel is available to anyone who may have questions, concerns or who require more information about this upcoming tree work. Pampel can be reached via e-mail at augiepampel@att.net or by his mobile phone at 860-388-7209.

Eversource Customer Care Center can be reached at 800-286-2000 or the Eversource Business Contact Center at 888-783-6617.  Eversource can be emailed directly at treeCT@eversource.com.

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Final Chance to See ‘The Magic of Christmas’ at Florence Griswold Museum Today

All ages can enjoy the Palette Christmas Trees.

All ages can enjoy the Artist Trees on display at the Florence Griswold Museum through Jan. 3, 2016.

OLD LYME — The holiday season is always something to celebrate at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Visitors of all ages can enjoy The Magic of Christmas through Jan. 3, 2016.

For over 10 years, visitors from across the region have admired the painted palettes on Miss Florence’s Artist Trees. The idea of contemporary artists creating paintings on artists’ palettes is a nod to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the door and wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s boardinghouse over a century ago.

The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, glass, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises.

Nearly 200 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon. “What a thrill it is for me to participate in decorating Miss Florence’s Artist Tree this year, joining such a distinguished group of artists who have lent their vision and talents to this important tradition, ” states Artist Russ Kramer of Mystic.

Russ Kramer

‘Winter Visit’ by Russ Kramer of Mystic is one of the new palettes for this year.

He continues, “I think all of us wish we could travel back in time to enjoy Miss Florence’s support and hospitality, and share inspirations with fellow artists around her table. In my palette, Winter Visit, I imagined a weary artist after a long, chilly trip from the city, and the warm welcome he would receive into Miss Florence’s home.”

Georgia native Katie Scarlett Faile was one of nine artists asked to contribute a palette this year. “I was very excited when I was asked to contribute to the Florence Griswold Museum’s annual exhibit,” Faile states. “The museum has become a very special place for me during the three years that my husband and I have been stationed here attached to the USS Virginia.”

FaileMedium

‘Winter comes to FairyLand’ by Katie Scarlett Faile is another palette new for 2015.

As an artist that works in multiple mediums, it was hard for Faile to decide how she wanted to paint her palette. “My first love, is acrylics and fairytale themed work so, Winter comes to FairyLand was a grand opportunity to paint in my favorite subject matter in my favorite medium.”

William Sillin from Sunderland, Mass., created 'The Eye of the Beholder,' using oil on wood palette for the 2015 palettes.

William Sillin from Sunderland, Mass., created ‘The Eye of the Beholder,’ using oil on wood palette for the 2015 palette additions.

The palettes will be displayed on three trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibition, The Artist in the Connecticut Landscape.

In the historic rooms of the Griswold House, visitors can see how families celebrated Christmas in 1910, as historically accurate decorations reveal homespun creativity and the use of surprising materials. The 1910 time period was an important era for the Griswold House. It was the heyday of its use as boardinghouse for the artists of the Lyme Art Colony. Christmas was also Miss Florence’s birthday. She was 60 years old in 1910.

Three designers have created Fantasy Trees

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas. Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectables scones with clotted cream, assorted tea sandwiches, and cookies prepared by Gourmet Gallery, a caterer known for their delicious flavors and impeccable presentations, are accompanied by “Miss Florence’s Tea,” a special blend from Sundial Gardens in Higginum. Miss Florence’s Tea is a special blend of superior Ceylon and China black tea enhanced with a touch of delicate spices. The tea celebrates the camaraderie and creativity of the Lyme Art Colony with each cup.

Other events and programs include special events for families, including a visit from Snow Sister Anna & her Ice Harvester, musical performances, and hands-on crafts for children and adults.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts.

Located on an 11-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year round Tuesday through Saturday from 10amto 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. For more information, visit the Museum’s website www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Magic of Christmas Activities

December 2-24
Daily Specials in the Museum Shop
One day you might save on all books or art supplies, the next, maybe everything sparkly or all snowmen. Check FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for a calendar of items and days.

December 4–23, 1-5pm
Elf-in-Residence Days
A new twist on shopping local. Tuesday through Saturday, visitors can meet a different local artisan each day. Speak to them about their craft and pick up a special gift for you or someone on your holiday list.

December 4 – 23
Christmastime Teas
Tuesday through Saturday enjoy an elegant tea of savories and sweets overlooking the wintery splendor of the Lieutenant River. Catered by Gourmet Galley. Seatings at 3pm. Guests enjoy a 10% discount in The Shop. Please call 860-434-5542 x 111 for information and reservations.

Sundays, Dec. 6 through Jan. 3, 1-5pm
Joy in the Making
Each Sunday visitors can create a different holiday craft to take home for themselves or give as a gift. This event is free with Museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Sunday, Dec. 27, 11am to 4pm
Miss Florence’s Birthday Party

Visitors share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Birthday cake and fun celebratory activities to honor the woman who started it all. Miss. Florence would be 165 this year, but age is just a number. From 1 to 4pmApril Brunelle of April’s Balloon Creations will create favorite animals, characters, and super heros at no cost. This event is included with museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Thursday, Dec. 31, 11am to 3pm
Ode to the New Year: Harp Music by Faith Leitner

The harp was Miss Florence’s favorite instrument. Visitors can see the pne her father brought back for her from England in the Florence Griswold House. Accomplished harpist Faith Leitner will perform in the gallery. A beautiful way to end the year, this event is free with Museum admission.

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Essex Land Trust Lecture Explores ‘What’s Next for the Connecticut River?’

#1-East Haddam Bridge
ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust invites the public to attend a lecture titled, ‘What’s Next for the Connecticut River?’ by Steve Gephard, Supervising Fisheries Biologist responsible for the DEEP’s Diadromous Fish and Habitat, Conservation, and Enhancement programs. The lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan 7, at the Essex Library, 33 West Ave., Essex.

The decades-long resurgence of the Connecticut River’s health has provided us with a chance to make plans for its future. Questions currently under consideration are how to maintain and restore our marshes and adjacent uplands, enhance the fisheries and wildlife, and manage the development of our lands for the benefit of all users? Simultaneously the region must grapple with sea-level rise, more frequent cataclysmic storms, and greater usage of the resources by an expanding population.

Essex resident Steve Gephard will present a slide-illustrated lecture that highlights the great successes of the last 50 years and describes the opportunities and challenges that may lie ahead.

In case of snow cancellation, the talk will be rescheduled for Thursday, Jan. 14.

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Essex Savings Bank Donates Almost 2,000 Books to ‘Read to Grow’

Press Release - Essex Savings Bank Donates to Read to Grow (1)ESSEX — Essex Savings Bank has shared the results of its annual holiday donation contest designed to help those less fortunate in the local communities. This year’s event had each of the six branches and the corporate office collecting books for children from infancy to eighth grade for the nonprofit organization, Read to Grow.

Read to Grow promotes building literacy from birth, distributing 130,000 books to children in Connecticut each year. The book-themed displays at each office location ranged from Dr. Seuss to The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

While the contest adds an element of fun to the season, the driving force behind the Bank employees’ enthusiasm was helping children that may not otherwise have the access or opportunity to children’s classic stories. All donations were at the employees’ expense and generated by their goodwill.

As a result of everyone’s efforts, Essex Savings Bank employees delivered 1,829 books to Read to Grow. It is the hope of the Bank’s employees that these books will help make the holiday season a little more joyous for the children of Middlesex County, New Haven County and New London County.

Editor’s Note: Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.

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Friends of Essex Library Thank Holiday Book Sale Supporters

Catharine Wagner and Ellie Champion, decked in their red aprons helping patrons check out at the recent Holiday Sale.

Catharine Wagner and Ellie Champion, decked in their red aprons, helped patrons check out at the recent Holiday Sale.

The Friends of Essex Library, and particularly Peggy Tuttle, Sale Coordinator, wish to thank all the volunteers who worked tirelessly preparing for the Holiday Sale, and all who supported the sale by purchasing many holiday books.

The Friends of Essex Library will be holding a focused sale the month of February. Books with emphasis on aspects of American History will be featured at very attractive prices.  Also on sale will be books appropriate for Valentine’s Day giving.

The Friends also offer at this time of making New Year resolutions, 10 Reasons to become a Friend of Essex Library, as follows:

  1. You’ll meet new friends and stay connected with the old.
  2. Your volunteer efforts strengthen our library and, therefore, our community.
  3. You will feel good about your participation: work a book sale, help shelve books, sort and prepare books for sales.
  4. You will enjoy helping the library’s wonderful staff, and you will be appreciated.
  5. Your volunteer efforts earn money for the library. Gifts from the Friends make a difference.
  6. You can get dusty and dirty while you dig and sort through hundreds of books for the sales, and have fun doing it.
  7. You will increase your awareness of all that is available at the library, and by being a Friend, you become integrated into the workings of the library.
  8. You can hear peals of laughter as you help young minds absorb information in the children’s section.
  9. You will get to wear a red apron as a volunteer at the Sales.
  10. You can join because you don’t HAVE to!
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Essex Garden Club Brings Holiday Spirit to Essex, Thanks Residents for Support

Xmas policeman 2015
In preparation for the holidays, the Essex Garden club members decorated merchant window boxes and tubs of the villages of Essex as well as the town park gazebo on Main Street. Using a variety of evergreen cuttings from members and other generous donors from the community, designers helped the town put on a festive face for the “Trees in the Rigging” held in November, and the Holiday stroll in December.

The “Silent Policeman” was decorated this year (from left) by Lumie Han, Gay Thorn, Eve Potts, Kirsten Wendell, Sandy French, Mylan Sarner and Liz Fowler. Thanks to both Liz Fowler and Suzanne Tweed for their efforts in coordinating the day of decorating.

Finally, The Essex Garden Club would like to thank the Essex community for its continued support, especially during their spring May Market and extends best wishes to all the resident of Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton for a Healthy and Happy New Year.

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Essex Garden Club Donates to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

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ESSEX — Essex Garden Club members collected nonperishable food items for the Shoreline soup Kitchens and Pantries (SSKP) at the club’s annual festivities at Essex Meadows.

Individual members and the club donated $1,705 to the SSKP, which will be matched by the Gowrie Challenge. The total weight of the  food donation was 376 lbs.

Pictured packing the food for delivery are Barbara Campbell and Nina Thurston.

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Valley-Old Lyme Warrior Football Alumnus Fairfield-Sonn Named All-American

All American Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn stands with his proud parents, Lynn and Jim Fairfield-Sonn of Old Lyme.

D3Football.com All-American footballer Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn stands with his proud parents, Lynn and Jim Fairfield-Sonn of Old Lyme.

Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn, who graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School in 2012 and now attends Amherst College where he is a senior safety on the College’s football team, was named to the 2015 D3football.com All-America team, and earned recognition on the Third Team Defense. Fairfield-Sonn played a key role on the Valley-Old Lyme Co-op football team while attending high school in Old Lyme.

Fairfield-Sonn became the fifth member of the Amherst football team to garner All-America praise from D3football.com. In addition to his most recent accolade, Fairfield-Sonn was also named to the D3football.com All-East Region First Team Defense, the New England Writers Division II/III All-New England Team and the NESCAC All-Conference First Team Defense.

Fairfield-Sonn also picked up two yearly awards and was named the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, while also claiming the Joseph P. Zabilski award – which is announced by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and recognizes New England’s top offensive and defensive players for Division II and III.

Congratulations, Jimmy!

Click here to read the full article on which this article is based. The original article was first published on the Athletics section of the Amherst College website.

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Friends of Essex Library Holiday Book Sale Continues Through Wednesday

Holidaysalepicture
ESSEX — The Friends of Essex Library are preparing for their Holiday Book Sale, featuring books in pristine condition suitable for gift giving, stocking stuffers, and hostess gifts—all with very attractive pricing.  Also included in the sale will be adorable Teddy bears, Essex Library canvas tote bags, seasonal CD’s and DVD’s.

The sale will run from Monday, Nov. 23, through Wednesday, Dec. 23, at the Essex Library, 33 West Ave., Essex.  For more information, see the library’s website at www.youressexlibrary.org.

The proceeds from this sale will support the Friends ongoing projects, special programs, and activities making the library a better experience for all who enter the newly installed doors, which were a gift from the Friends of Essex Library.

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Vista Hosts Day Program Open House, Jan. 19

Day Program members Yan Qin Keller and Josh Buglione participate in a painting activity. Photo by Vanessa Pereira.

Day Program members Yan Qin Keller and Josh Buglione participate in a painting activity. Photo by Vanessa Pereira.

WESTBROOK & MADISON — Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, a nationally accredited community-based education program for individuals with disabilities, is hosting an Open House for its Day Program on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Vista’s Day Program is a structured experiential day program in a peer-based setting. Participants in the Day Program enjoy a fulfilling and active schedule that includes work experiences, arts programming, group instruction, fitness, social skills training, outings and more.

The Day Program Open House will include a guided tour of Vista’s Madison Campus as well as the opportunity to meet Vista leadership and hear from current Day Program members about their experiences. This free event is ideal for families, friends, school district representatives and Department of Developmental Services caseworkers, but is designed for anyone interested in learning more about the program.

Based in Madison and Westbrook, Vista has been assisting individuals with disabilities achieve personal success for over 25 years. Accredited by the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES), Vista provides an array of services to over 300 individuals and their families. Its population is comprised of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injuries, intellectual disabilities and ADHD.

To RSVP for the Day Program Open House, contact Vanessa Pereira at vpereira@vistavocational.org. Registration is also available online at www.vistavocational.org.

Vista’s Madison Campus is located at 107 Bradley Road, Madison

Editor’s Note: Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success. For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Leif Nilsson Hosts Ramblin’ Dan Stevens & Clayton Allen at ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Jan. 17

Dan Stevens (Photo courtesy of Caryn B Davis)

Dan Stevens (Photo courtesy of Caryn B Davis)

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another ‘Concert in the Garden’, Sunday, Jan. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring bluesmen Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Clayton Allen at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

In a melding of diverse blues styles, Stevens and Allen have forged a unique sound, representing a wide variety of traditionally based fingerpicking with a tinge of primitive blues and early blues rock and roll. Clayton’s raw energy and emotional delivery contrast with Stevens’s soulful approach creating a dynamic mix. A dose of Diddly Bow and Cigar Box guitar backed with a driving rhythm and gospel influenced vocals convey a rock bottom authenticity. They recently won the Connecticut Blues Challenge and will be representing the state at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Gates open half hour before the show — first come first seated.  The concert is held inside the gallery this time of year.

Sorry, no pets allowed.

A $15 donation is appreciated.  The event is BYOB – buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 3 p.m.

For more information, call 860-526-2077 or log on www.nilssonstudio.com

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Donna Scott’s Slim-down Challenge Begins at Essex Wellness Center, Jan. 9

Essex Wellness Center

Essex Wellness Center’s ‘Fitness on the Water’ facility.

Essex Wellness Center welcomes new challenge from new manager

The River Valley Slim-Down Challenge, now in its fifth year, begins Jan. 9, 2016. It combines exercise and nutrition with a sense of competition and a chance to win some big bucks – all with the goal of losing a few pounds as we head into 2016.

The River Valley Slim-down Challenge was created by Donna Scott, CPR, WLS, formerly of IFoundFitness in Deep River, who has recently been named as Manager of Essex Wellness Center’s Fitness on the Water facility on Novelty Lane in Essex Village.  Scott is certified as a Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She is also AFAA-Certified as a personal trainer, Zumba and Mad Dogg spin instructor.

“The River Valley Slim-down Challenge has enough elements to keep people motivated to shed those pounds they’ve been thinking about. Built-in incentives keep participants on track, and the camaraderie to improve personal health is fantastic,” said Scott. “The Challenge isn’t only about losing weight; it also helps to improve balance, flexibility and overall fitness.”

To join the challenge, participants pay an entry fee of $65 and then agree to take a minimum of two weekly Fitness on the Water group classes such as yoga, spin, barre, bootcamp workout, Zumba, or one weekly personal training session. The entry fee includes an initial wellness assessment and nutrition workshops throughout the 12-week period as well as fitness tips, advice and supervision from Donna Scott.

The entry fee goes towards a jackpot, which also gets a boost from small “penalty fees” incurred when a participant misses a weigh-in or gains instead of loses weight in a particular week.

The prize jackpot will be divided by the three top “losers” in terms of body weight percentage. In addition to the jackpot, top ranking winners receive prizes from local businesses including Essex Wellness Center massages, and more.

“Everyone who has entered in the past has lost weight and feels better about themselves, which is the greatest reward of all,” says Scott.

To join the 2016 River Valley Slim-Down Challenge, call 860-581-8225 or email donna@essexwellnessctr.com The Challenge runs Jan. 9 through April 2, 2016. Participants may enter individually or as a group with friends or colleagues. Sign-up before Jan. 9 and receive a three-class pass to Essex Wellness Center’s Fitness on the Water.

To learn more about Essex Wellness center, visit www.essexwellnessctr.com or facebook.com/essexwellnesscenter.

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Lorraine Lieberman Honored as LVVS 2015 “Unsung Hero”

LVVS's 2015 'Unsung Hero' Lorraine Lieberman

LVVS’s 2015 ‘Unsung Hero’ Lorraine Lieberman. Photo courtesy of Joanne Argersinger.

WESTBROOK — Lorraine Lieberman of Killingworth was awarded this year’s Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) “Unsung Hero” award at the annual LVVS Holiday Social on Dec. 8. Her many contributions throughout the years have helped both tutors and students to improving English language skills and the quality of life in our shoreline communities.

Lieberman is an active tutor, tutor interviewer and tutor contact person for the organization.  Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is most grateful for her dedication, service and ‘always going the extra mile’ in the cause of literacy.

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Celebrating a Year of ‘Pearls and Plaid’

The charming exterior of 'Pearls and Plaid' in Haddam.

The charming exterior of ‘Pearls and Plaid’ in Haddam, Conn.

Just a few weeks ago, on Nov. 12, local Haddam boutique “Pearls and Plaid” celebrated its first birthday. The store is located just a few shops down from the Goodspeed Opera House by the Haddam Bridge, making it a popular destination for tourists as well as regular townies.

A peek inside the store.

A peek inside the store..

The tiny store is packed with clothing draped on walls and mirrors, spread on top of and underneath chests and drawers, and hung on pipes. Kristin Lemley, who is both an employee and sister of owner Caroline Lemley, comments,“From the start she (Caroline) really didn’t want it to be a typical clothing store with racks and shelves. We wanted it to be interesting to look at and always changing.”

The store’s professed style is, “Where northern prep meets southern charm,” and its inventory certainly lives up to its logo. Rompers, dresses, jewelry, and various accessories are the most popular items in the store, and new items arrive just as quickly as the old ones sell out.

‘Pearls and Plaid’ is a great example of the local businesses that are the heart and soul of our small communities. These businesses bring the community together and provide a more intimate experience than larger scale corporations. Just as we rely on them to bring character to our local communities, they rely solely on our support to maintain their status.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

Let’s commit to keep the charm and personality in our small towns by supporting ‘Pearls and Plaid’ and all the other small businesses in our local area to ensure many more anniversaries are celebrated!

Editor’s Note: Pearls and Plaid is located at 4, Norwich Rd., East Haddam, CT. Its regular opening hours are Tue-Fri: 12 to 6 p.m., Sat: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 860.876.7328.

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Follow the Stars Through Chester’s Holiday Festival, Tonight

Maple and Main Gallery, located across from the town Christmas tree, will be serving wine, appetizers and chocolates. Music will be provided by Sibling Thrivarly until 8 p.m. Enter the free drawing for an oil painting, “Star Gazing,” by Faye Mylen of Fairfield, her interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh's painting, “Starry Night.” The painting shown here of Chester’s own Starry Night is by Barbara Rossitto, a Galelry artist.

Maple and Main Gallery, located across from the town Christmas tree, will be serving wine, appetizers and chocolates. Music will be provided by Sibling Thrivarly until 8 p.m. Enter the free drawing for an oil painting, “Star Gazing,” by Faye Mylen of Fairfield, her interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, “Starry Night.” The painting shown here of Chester’s own Starry Night is by Barbara Rossitto, a Gallery artist.

Follow the stars through Chester’s Holiday Festival, tonight

“Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars,” Frank Sinatra sang. We can’t promise you the moon, but you can certainly play among the stars during Chester’s Starry Night Stroll on Friday, Dec. 4.

The annual Holiday Festival in Chester Center will be dazzling with starry specials and activities. The picturesque historic village will be beautifully decorated for the holidays and the streets will be lined with luminaries. Saint Lucia Girls will walk around offering cookie treats. Carolers will stroll through the village on their way to the town’s Christmas tree, which will be lighted at 6 p.m. while the community gathers for a sing-along.

All evening, the shops and galleries will offer light refreshments and beverages while you browse. At the Chester Gallery  the annual Postcard Show, where all art is 4×6 inches or smaller, will open with a champagne reception. Leif Nilsson will preview his new works of the Connecticut River Valley and his gardens beginning at 5 p.m. Bill Vollers is reopening Gallery 31 • 47, exhibiting new work in an expanded gallery space. Refreshments will be served.

Lori Warner Studio & Gallery will host a reception for Mandy Carroll-Leiva’s new small collection of champagne diamonds serving as the foundation and inspiration. Visit the Dina Varano Gallery to see the unveiling of Dina’s new collection created especially for this holiday season. On this special themed Starry Night, an original hand-painted, starry holiday card will be given away with every purchase.

The 4 Water Street businesses are offering prize drawings, sales, refreshments.

And that’s just a sampling of what’s happening on Starry Night in Chester!

Free parking is available in the Water Street and the Maple Street parking lots, both a short walk to the center.

 

 

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‘Deck The Walls’ on Show at Lyme Art Association

‘Village Morning' by Barbara Lussier is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

‘Village Morning’ by Barbara Lussier is one of the signature paintings of the exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association’s (LAA) festive art exhibition and sale, Deck the Walls, opened Nov. 27 and is on show through Jan. 8, 2016. An opening reception featuring live music will be held next Friday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is free and all painting purchases from 5 p.m. on Dec. 4 through 5 p.m. Dec. 5 will be tax-free.

More than 200 original works of art by member artists will be on display and priced to sell as holiday gifts. Artwork by newly inducted LAA Elected Artists will be featured in their own exhibition in the Goodman Gallery.

'Curious' by Kim Muller-Thym is featured in 'Deck the Walls.'

‘Curious’ by Kim Muller-Thym is featured in ‘Deck the Walls.’

“For Deck the Walls, the Lyme Art Association features a wide variety of appealing subjects at affordable prices that are great for holiday shopping. We hope to help solve those gift giving dilemmas – a beautiful piece of artwork is always appreciated!” says Jocelyn Zallinger, Gallery Manager.

The LAA is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 12 to 5 p.m., and by appointment. The building is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Road.

Call (860) 434-7802 for more information, or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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Ivoryton Hosts Sixth Annual Illuminations Extravaganza Tomorrow Evening

Tree4IVORYTON — Looking for a different way to celebrate Christmas? Then head down to Ivoryton for the Sixth Annual Ivoryton Illuminations on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The entire village of Ivoryton will be participating in this Holiday Extravaganza with carol singing, Santa’s Grotto, Holiday Bazaar, and culminating with the arrival of Santa and the lighting of the states’ largest living Christmas Tree at 6:30 p.m.  Ivoryton will be lighting up the holiday with over 300,000 lights throughout the village.

Family activities include writing letters to Santa and cards to our soldiers at the Ivoryton Library; Christmas Craft making and visits with Santa in the Playhouse (bring your camera if you want a picture!); a Holiday Bazaar featuring community and local church groups in the Fire House; Six Summit Gallery is featuring 100 pieces of fine art for gift giving (and free poster or book with purchase) as well as special events at The Ivoryton Tavern, Blue Hound Cookery and Taproom, The Copper Beech, Elephant Crossing, Hammered Edge, The Ivoryton Inn and Porky Pete’s BBQ & Brew.

Music will be provided by The Sweet Adeline’s and other local musicians who will be playing at various locations throughout the village.

Free parking will be available at the First Congregational Church and The Copper Beech Inn with a shuttle bus service to the village. The Illuminations will shine brightly through Jan. 5, and visitors can tune their car radios to 101.5FM and watch as the lights dance to the music.

This event is supported entirely by volunteers and sponsors including Essex Lions, Essex Savings Bank, Valley Courier, Riggio & Sons General Contractors, Wilcox Tree Service and Essex Rotary Club.

If you would like to experience some real Christmas cheer, then come and join the party in Ivoryton, the brightest village in Connecticut!

For more information, visit www.ivorytonalliance.org

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Old Lyme Town Band Gives Holiday Concert in Deep River Tonight

OL Town Band 01

Old Lyme Town Band

The Old Lyme Town Band will be performing a holiday concert in the Deep River Town Hall this evening at 7 p.m.  All are welcome and admission is free.

Other holiday concerts by the band in the local area through Dec. 16 are as follows:

OLTB

Visit OldLymeTownBand.org for more details.

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Letter from Paris: ‘Francofonia’ Explores German Attitude to Louvre Art During Occupation, but with Broader Message

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

Like irritating mosquitoes on a hot summer afternoon, three fighter planes of the German Luftwaffe fly over a majestic and impregnable Louvre museum.  This is the opening image of Francofonia, a documentary reflecting on art and the courage of men fighting to protect it against forces of destruction.  A most appropriate and needed interlude at this particularly tense time for the humanity.

Although labeled a documentary, Francofonia – a Russian-German-French production – is part newsreels, part fiction, part poetic images. The film, directed by the well-known Alexander Sokurov, won an award at the September 2015 Venice Film Festival.

Count Wolff Metternich, a German officer of Prussian origin, walks down a vaulted hallway. He is there to meet  Jacques Jaujard, the French director of the Louvre.  The two men are stiff and on their respective guards.  Metternich asks Jaujard, “Do you speak German?” “No,” responds Jaujard, “The answer is, I am very French.”

A scene from 'Francophonia.' Image courtesy of Films Boutique.

A scene from ‘Francophonia.’ Image courtesy of Films Boutique.

Ironically both men are on an identical mission.  In 1939, most of the Louvre’s art work, including the “Victory of Samothrace” – the museum’s most illustrious treasure – was removed by the staff and hidden in the cellars of French castles.  Metternich had done precisely the same thing with the collections of the Cologne cathedral before the start of the war.

With an element of pathos, Sokurov imagines the visit of German military to  the Louvre.  Did they realize it was an empty place except for Assyrian winged bulls and other monumental sculptures, which might have been left on purpose to act as the watchdogs of an idea?

Two iconic guides take us through the deserted Grande Gallery.  A fat-bellied Napoleon, behaving like the host, points at the David’s painting of his coronation.  “This is me,” he says proudly. But  it is with irony that Sukurov shows “Napoleon crossing the Alps” by Delaroche as an undignified and tired man riding a mule  rather than the dashing rider imagined by David.  Our other guide, Marianne, wearing the distinctive Phrygian bonnet, repeats over and over  “Liberté,  égalité, fraternité.”

Sukorov accompanies us through an empty museum filled with the memory of treasures now gone.  A hand touches the diaphanous finger tips of a statue;  Clouet’s delicate portraits come alive;  and so do Millet’s peasants, sitting  by the fire, their deeply-lined faces showing their exhaustion.  The greyish, almost sepia, quality  of the photographs adds to the eerie feeling.

The camera moves in and out of the Louvre and depicts difficult scenes, which demand pause for thought.  A tanker is struggling in the fury of the Baltic. Will the works of art it carries in its containers survive or be crushed by the waves?  The frozen body of a well-dressed little girl lying on a street during the siege of Leningrad evokes the human suffering caused by war.

Francofonia is a complex film, which can be read on several levels.  It came on the Paris screens not long after the blasting of Palmyra and other archaeological sites by Daesh (ISIS).  The message is crystal clear — art, which is the legacy of our civilization, is too precious to die.

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Cappella Cantorum Presents a Holiday Festival with Chorus & Brass, Sunday

Christmas-musicCome and celebrate the holidays at Cappella Cantorum’s Holiday Festival concert with chorus and brass, Sunday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River.

The concert will feature John Rutter’s ‘Gloria,’ Daniel Pinkham’s ‘Christmas Cantata,’ Hanukah songs, selections for brass and a carol sing.

Barry B. Asch is the Music Director and Conductor, Deborah Lyon is Assistant Music Director and Accompanist and Patricia Hurley serves as Cappella Cantorum Festival Brass Manager.

Tickets purchased in advance are $30 and are available at CappellaCantorum.org or by calling (860) 577-2950. Tickets at the door are $30, students $5 (cash or check only).

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Biographer Discusses Life & Times of Playwright Eugene O’Neill at Essex Library, Thursday

Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O’Neill

ESSEX — The Essex Library invites you to meet with Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, Robert M. Dowling for a talk on the life of Eugene O’Neill and a signing of his biography: Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts on Thursday, December 3rd at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library. The Irish Times calls the book “a powerful narrative”, and it has won praise from The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, Booklist, Provincetown Arts, and Publishers Weekly.

Dowling’s extensively researched book recounts O’Neill’s tumultuous life and highlights how the stories O’Neill told for the stage are interwoven with the events in the playwright’s own life.

Robert M. Dowling is a professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He serves on the board of directors of the Eugene O’Neill Society and on the board of The Eugene O’Neill Review.

Books will be available for sale and signing through Essex Books. This program is free and open to all. Please call the Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Start the Season with ‘Trees in the Rigging’ Community Carol Sing & Boat Parade, Today

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights.

Boats in the annual Trees in the Rigging Lighted Boat Parade are decorated with holiday lights.

ESSEX  Kick off the holiday season in Essex with the annual Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Lighted Boat Parade on Nov. 29.   The Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Board of Trade, and the Essex Historical Society combine to present this annual event that includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down Main Street where spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns or flashlights and join in with the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars.

Participants can gather at the Essex Town Hall at 4 p.m. The stroll steps off at 4:30 p.m. beginning on West Ave. and ending at the Connecticut River Museum with a parade of vessels dressed out in holiday lights and passing in review along the Connecticut River.  Santa and his elves will arrive by one of the parade boats for visits with children on the lawn of the Connecticut River Museum. The Connecticut River Museum will also be open that evening for all to attend the 22th Annual Holiday Train Show at a reduced admission of $6.

Register Your Boat for the Lighted Boat Parade

A critical and crowed-pleasing part of this free community event is the parade of boats dressed in holiday lights that sail along Essex’s waterfront. The decorated boats are part of a friendly competition.  A modest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize will be awarded to the best dressed boats. Winners will be invited to receive their prize and participate in a photo-op on Monday, Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum.

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 p.m. from the south end of Essex Harbor. To register, send an email to crm@ctrivermuseum.org. Information should include: Vessel name; Type of boat and description; Owner(s) name; Contact information (phone and preferred email); Decorating scheme (if known at time of registration). Registration must be received by Monday, Nov. 24 at 4:30 p.m.

Make your Own Parade Lantern

Carolers can make their own lanterns for the parade.  Step 1: fill an empty aluminum can with water and freeze. This will make it easier to punch holes for the design in the can. Step 2: using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the can to make a connect-the-dots style picture of a holiday design. Use plenty of holes to allow the light to shine through. Step 3: punch two holes near the rim to attach a wire handle. Step 4: after the ice is melted, attach a votive or other small candle to the inside bottom of the can.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, call 860.767.8269 or visit www.ctrivermuseum.org.

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Ring in the Season in Chester Today

On Sunday, Nov. 29 Chester will “Ring in the Season” at its first Holiday Market of 2015. The town criers will ring out the news of what’s happening in town that morning.

On Sunday, Nov. 29 Chester will “Ring in the Season” at its first Holiday Market of 2015. The town criers will ring out the news of what’s happening in town that morning.

Once again Chester Center will welcome the holidays with its annual Holiday Market on four Sundays, Nov. 29 through Dec. 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stroll through the picturesque historic Chester village while shopping the market of local growers and producers of artisan baked goods, jams and jellies,  fall vegetables, fresh seafood and meats.

Want fresh seafood? Local Catch will be at the Chester Holiday Markets each week with a wide selection.

Want fresh seafood? Local Catch will be at the Chester Holiday Markets each week with a wide selection.

To add to the holiday spirit, Chester shops, restaurants and galleries will be dressed up in their holiday finery and offering special holiday happenings. On Sunday, Nov. 29, the Holiday Market theme is “Ring in the Season,” so you’ll find ding-a-ling discounts in some shops and town criers ringing out the news of what’s happening in town.

Buy Chester! Chester Rotary hats, Chester Historical Society books about Chester, Chester ornaments from every year including the new one – all will be sold at Chester’s Holiday Markets.

Buy Chester! Chester Rotary hats, Chester Historical Society books about Chester, Chester ornaments from every year including the new one – all will be sold at Chester’s Holiday Markets.

A schedule of each week’s happenings will be at Facebook.com/ChesterSundayMarket and Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT and will also be available at the market.

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Hadlyme Hall Fine Art & Crafts Show Runs Through 4pm Today

drawing_of_hallThe 14th annual Fine Art & Craft Show at Hadlyme Public Hall will be held over Thanksgiving weekend from Friday through Sunday. The event features artist Brian Keith Stephens from Old Lyme, Conn.

at_the_showAdmission for Saturday and Sunday is free. The show is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

A variety of artists — many local — will be exhibiting mixed media, holiday home décor, photography, oil and watercolor paintings, stoneware, wood carvings, jewelry, pottery, and sculpture.

All the artists have been asked to prepare “Small Wonders” in order to be able to offer some pieces that are affordable for all and suitable for holiday gift lists.

A full listing of the artists exhibiting is given below

 

Phyllis Bevington – Oil On Canvas

JoAnna Chapin – Watercolors

Linda Elgart – Oils & Enhanced Giclees

Paula Emery – Oils & Collages

Maureen Girard – Mixed Media

Matthew Goldman – Prints, Books, & Cards

Bud Haines – Handcarved Birds

Bonnie Bryne LeMay – Oil Paintings

Jill Beecher Matthew – Palette Knife Oils

Thomas McLean – Oil Paintings

Ron Olansen – Oil Paintings

Cora Preibis – Oil Paintings

Erin Reemsnyder – Photography

Maureen Tarbox – Oils & Watercolors

Lisa Tellier – Oils & Watercolors

Amy Amelia White – Oil on Canvas

Paul Maulucci – Wooden Bowls

Julliet Rutigliano – Eclectic Sterling Jewlery

Paula Goldman – Silver Circle Herbals

Frank Michael Winiski – Metal Sculpture

Marcy Furphy – Mayflower Soap

Laurie Gelston Alt – Ceramic Sculpture

Nancy McKinnon – Ballek’s Nursery

Hadlyme Garden Club

Loreen O’Neil – Handmade Felted Bags

For further information, click here.

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Concert in the Garden Features Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet, Dec. 13

Leif Nilsson Concert in the Garden will feature the Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet on Sunday December 13 from 4-6 pm.

Bistro style seating in the Gallery.  Gates open half an hour before the show.  First come – first seated.

BYOB (Shop at the Chester package store across the street!)

Suggested donation $10.

Michelle Walker Jazz Quartet

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Armed with a provocative, whiskey-soaked tone, New York based jazz vocalist Michelle Walker is a charismatic and very versatile singer that uses an artful blend of blues, bebop, swing and soul with playful rhythmic expressiveness. She bends the lines and pushing the boundaries of jazz vocal art with rich colors and adventurous flexibility. She moves easily from a dark, deep tone to a mid-range, swinging lilt. In her upcoming release, Love Misery, Michelle brings together a collection of jazz standards, original songs and her arrangements of contemporary pop tunes effortlessly with her own genre-bending style. Mike Joyce of The Washington Post says “Walker….has seductive charm…” A Stunner in Concert. Dave Nathan of All About Jazz says “…[Walker]…she has an extraordinary degree of musicality….” Michelle is often compared to Cassandra Wilson, Nina Simone and Betty Carter in style and tone. Over the past 10 years, her group has toured internationally and has been a premier performer at Festivals, Concert Halls and Performing Art Centers including the lighting of the White House Christmas Tree.

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