April 25, 2017

Florence Griswold Museum Director Jeffrey Andersen to Step Down After Successor is Chosen

Jeff Andersen, Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, will step down from the position he has held for more than 40 years when a successor has been selected.

After over 40 years of service to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., Director Jeff Andersen is planning to step down after a new director is appointed. Ted Hamilton, President of the Board of Trustees, announced that a comprehensive national search will be undertaken in the months ahead, overseen by a committee of trustees and coordinated with an executive search firm.

“Jeff Andersen has guided the growth of this museum with equal measures of vision and attention to detail,” Hamilton said. “He sees things clearly and stays focused on long-term goals.  Jeff charted a course for the Florence Griswold Museum to become a singular American art institution based on its history as an artist colony.  He inspired our trustees, staff, and volunteers to dedicate themselves toward this mission. Under his leadership, the Museum has become known for its compelling exhibitions and innovative educational programs.”

A fifth-generation native of Northern California, Andersen began his career at the Museum after completing his M.A. in Museum Studies from Cooperstown Graduate Program in Cooperstown, N.Y. During his tenure, the Florence Griswold Museum evolved from a seasonal attraction with one staff member and fewer than 1,000 visitors per year to an accredited art museum with 20 staff members, 225 dedicated volunteers, nearly 80,000 visitors annually, and over 3,000 members.  Early on, Andersen helped establish an endowment fund for the institution, which now funds one-third of the Museum’s annual operating budget of $2.6 million.

Working closely with teams of trustees and professional colleagues, Andersen led a transformative, decades-long campaign to reacquire the original Florence Griswold property with the goal of creating a new kind of American museum based on the site’s history as the creative center of the Lyme Art Colony.  Reunifying the historic estate, much of which had been sold during the 1930s, took seven different real estate transactions, culminating in 2016 with the purchase of the last private parcel of the original estate.

Supported by capital campaigns that raised over $20 million collectively, the Museum implemented master plans to reconstruct historic gardens, relocate the William Chadwick artist studio, build education and landscape centers, and open the Robert and Nancy Krieble Gallery, an award-winning modern exhibition, collection, and archives facility designed by Centerbrook Architects.  In 2006, the Museum completed the restoration of the National Historic Landmark Florence Griswold House (1818) as a circa 1910 boardinghouse of the artists’ colony.  Located along the banks of the Lieutenant River, the Museum’s 13-acre historic site now forms an essential part of a visitor experience that integrates art, history, and nature.

As part of his duties, Andersen has organized exhibitions for the Museum and written extensively about American artists in Connecticut. For a museum of its size, the Florence Griswold Museum has been active in publishing scholarly books and catalogues to accompany many of its exhibitions.  Beginning in 1983, Andersen established a close relationship with The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company on behalf of the Florence Griswold Museum, assisting the company in assembling a major collection of 190 paintings and sculptures by American artists associated with Connecticut.

In 2001, Hartford Steam Boiler donated the entire collection to the Museum, where it serves as a centerpiece of ambitious collection, exhibition, and education programs revolving around diverse expressions of American art from the eighteenth century to the present day.  Works from this collection by such artists as Ralph Earl, Frederic Church, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, and others have been lent to over forty museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The National Gallery, London.

Over the years, Andersen has been a leader in the cultural community, serving on numerous non-profit boards, such as Connecticut Humanities and the New England Museum Association, and working as a peer accreditation reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums. In 2004, he received the Public Service Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  In 2016, Andersen was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New England Museum Association (NEMA).  “Throughout his career, Jeff has been an inspirational leader at the Florence Griswold Museum, on the NEMA board, and through all of his community service,” said NEMA Executive Director Dan Yaeger.

“It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to be a part of this Museum,” Andersen reflected.  “What I am perhaps most proud of is the deep sense of loyalty and camaraderie that is felt amongst our staff, trustees, volunteers, and members. In many ways, it echoes what Florence Griswold and the original Lyme artists had with one another. In this spirit, I know that everyone will give their full support to the next director to help the Museum flourish in the years ahead.”

Andersen, who lives in Quaker Hill, Connecticut, is looking forward to spending more time with his family in California and traveling with his wife, the artist Maureen McCabe, who was a longtime professor at Connecticut College. Andersen intends to stay active in the art world and in the community at large.

The Florence Griswold Museum has been called a “Giverny in Connecticut” by the Wall Street Journal and a “must see” by the Boston Globe.  Its seasonal Café Flo was just recognized as “best hidden gem” and “best outdoor dining” by Connecticut Magazine. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut.   Visit www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for more information.

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Essex Seeks Public Input on Town’s Housing Needs, Invites Readers to Complete Survey

ESSEX — Many Connecticut municipalities are devoting attention to whether they have the right mix of housing choices. Longtime residents are interested in downsizing out of larger single-family homes, adult children would like to return to town after college, and many businesses are looking for housing nearby for their workforce at prices that are attainable.

The Essex Planning Commission, which recently completed an update to the comprehensive Essex Plan of Conservation and Development, has a special interest in housing in the Town of Essex. The Commission believes that a wider array of housing opportunities will be important to maintaining Essex’s special vibrancy and competitiveness as a residential community.

Along with the Board of Selectmen, Economic Development Commission, and Essex Housing Authority, the Planning Commission is interested in the public’s perspective of Essex’s housing situation.

Readers are therefore invited to take this brief survey to help these boards and commissions understand your perspective, address your interests and concerns, and ensure that your views help share any efforts the Town may undertake in this area.  The link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EssexHousing and readers can also find it on the Town of Essex website at www.essexct.gov under News and Announcements.

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Lyme Academy College Donates Historic Document Collection to Lyme Art Association

Elisabeth Gordon Chandler at work.

OLD LYME — Yesterday Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts made a formal presentation of a collection of historic documents and original exhibition catalogs to the Lyme Art Association (LAA.) The event took place at the LAA’s historic building on Lyme Street immediately prior to the opening of the Association’s A Show in Four Acts exhibition.

This remarkable collection was part of the estate of Elisabeth Gordon Chandler (1913-2006), who not only founded the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, but was also previously president and a long-time member of the Lyme Art Association. The Archives Committee of Lyme Academy College has spent several years assembling and preparing this gift of history to the Lyme Art Association.

The collection being donated includes a comprehensive collection of Lyme Art Association exhibition catalogs including a 1909 8th annual exhibition pamphlet listing the artists Childe Hassam and Willard Metcalf and also, a 1921 20th annual exhibition booklet, which was the inaugural exhibit in the new Charles A. Platt designed gallery. In addition, there are catalogs of the spring watercolor exhibits, which began in 1925, along with the autumn exhibitions, beginning in 1933.

Many letters and documents related to Elisabeth Gordon Chandler’s time as Lyme Art Association president from 1975-1978 and tell of her productive time during a transformative era in the Association’s history. Important documents relate to the ‘Goodman Presentation Case’ of 1928, a collection of 35 small artworks by early Lyme Art Association members. An original copy of Charles A. Platt’s “General Specifications for the Art Gallery” of July 1920 is included with this collection, which gives a detailed outline of the plans for the gallery.

Elisabeth Gordon Chandler

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (originally named Lyme Academy of Fine Arts) was founded by members of the Lyme Art Association in 1976 during the time Chandler was President. The school was based on preserving the time-honored traditions and disciplines of training in the fine arts.  Founded as an Academy, it became an accredited College in 1996, and in 2014 became a College of the University of New Haven (UNH), when UNH acquired the College.

Lyme Art Association dates back to 1902, when a group of tonalist painters, led by the New York artist Henry Ward Ranger (1858-1916), were asked to hold a two-day exhibition in August at Old Lyme’s Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library. The artwork exhibited consisted entirely of landscapes depicting the local countryside, painted while they boarded at the home of Florence Griswold (1850-1937). It is believed that Lyme Art Association is the nation’s oldest continuously exhibiting art group in the country.

A nationally recognized portrait sculptor, Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, was a regular exhibitor at the Lyme Art Association, and she became vice-president in 1974 and, president in 1975. With a goal of obtaining tax-exempt status for the association, and continuing the teaching and traditions of representational art, she set to work to create an art school in the basement of the gallery building.

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Cappella Cantorum Presents Medleys from Phantom, Les Mis, Choral Showcase, Sunday

Drawing by Madeline Favre of Deep River of Cappella Cantorum inspired by a performance in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Old Saybrook.

DEEP RIVER — On Sunday, March 26, Cappella Cantorum will present Medleys from Phantom of the Opera & Les Miserables & A Choral Showcase,  including: He Watching Over Israel, How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place, Precious Lord, Take my Hand and Down by the Riverside.

The performance will start at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River 06417. A reception will follow the concert. Tickets are $25 at the door or online at www.CappellaCantorum.org 

For more information, call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871.

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CT River Artisans Co-op Hosts Open House for Artists

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Artisans Co-op is hosting an Open House for artists on Sunday March 26, from 1 to 3 p.m.

 If you are a Connecticut artist and looking for a new venue to showcase your work, the Co-op could be it.  Located in Essex, Conn., the Connecticut River Artisans Co-op is a well-known tourist attraction and shopper’s destination.

Established in 1980, this Co-op believes it is the oldest Co-op in the state.  Stop in, enjoy the refreshments, chat with one of our artists and find out what they are all about.  Compare the advantages of belonging to a Co-op verses consigning your work or selling at shows.  Bring your portfolio, pictures or samples of your work as jurying will take place that day.

The Co-op is looking for all handcrafted, art inspired work.  Items must be quality originals made by the artists.  No imports, wholesalers or reps.  There will be no jurying of jewelry, candles or soaps at this time.

Call CT River Artisans at 860 767 5457 or Gay Petruzzi Ritter 860 578 9595 with any questions.

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Lyme Art Association’s ‘Exhibition in Four Acts’ Now on View

Alan James, Essex Steam Train Sketch, watercolor (Industrious America)

Four new exhibitions, each with a different theme, will be on view in the Lyme Art Association (LAA)’s beautiful historic galleries from March 17 through April 28.  A Contemporary Look, Holding Still, Industrious America, and LAA Faculty run concurrently.  An opening reception for all four exhibitions will be held on Sunday, March 26, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Exhibition in Four Acts is one of the most dynamic and exciting exhibitions that the LAA , bringing together four distinct types of representational art.  Industrious America showcases the work of talented artist members who set out to celebrate American industry and the man-made landscape.  A Contemporary Look is an exhibition of abstracted, yet still representational work.

Jerry Caron, By Way of Bejing, oil (Holding Still)

Holding Still features still life works in all mediums …

Hollis Dunlap, A Day at Ashlawn Farm, oil (LAA Faculty)

and LAA Faculty features work by our outstanding and talented studio instructors. Each exhibition is shown in one of the four skylit galleries in our historic building.

Spring Burst, mixed media (Contemporary Look)

“A visit to the Lyme Art Association to see the Exhibition in Four Acts feels like visiting four different galleries.  There is a variety and a shift in mood as you move from one gallery to the next,” states gallery manager, Jocelyn Zallinger.  “This show also allows a visitor to focus on each genre in a way that is not possible in other exhibitions.”

The opening reception for all four exhibitions is free to the public, and will be held on Sunday, March 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the gallery, located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Conn.

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district.

Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday12 to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org

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High Hopes Offers “VetTogether” Family Day Open House, Sunday

AREAWIDE — High Hopes, IAVA, Equus Effect and Team RWB Groton are hosting a “VetTogether” Family Day Open House at High Hopes on Sunday, March 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

High Hopes will present an introduction to the Equus Effect Program  during which attendees will spend around 90 minutes interacting with the horses and enjoying time with fellow Connecticut veterans and families.

This program, which takes place on High Hopes’ 120-acre property in Old Lyme, introduces veterans, families and High Hopes supporters to working with horses and will be followed by lunch.

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding is located at 36 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme CT  06371

RSVP at the IAVA Event Page

For more information, contact Megan Ellis at mellis@highhopestr.org

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Learn From the Dog Listener at Deep River Library, May 24

Want to better understand your canine best friend? Join us for an evening with Certified Dog Listener, Phil Klein, on Wednesday, May 24, 6 – 8:00 p.m. at the Deep River Public Library.

Learn how canines see the human world, as well as all the underlying reasons for your dog’s behaviors. Topics to be covered include nervousness, barking, aggression, jumping, chewing, separation anxiety and proper leash training. Discover simple dog-friendly changes that can transform your dog and improve your relationship with your furry friend.

Registration is not required for this program. Free and open to all.

For more information, visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on our monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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Essex Library Presents ‘The Interactions Between Stars and Their Planets’ Tomorrow with Dr. Wilson Cauley

Wesleyan Post-Doctoral Astronomy Researcher Dr. Wilson Cauley

ESSEX — “Are we alone?”

Recent headlines from NASA confirm scientists’ discovery of the existence of three planets firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. We now know of thousands of planets around stars other than our Sun.

These extra-solar planets, or exoplanets, are highly diverse and exist in almost every conceivable form. In order to fully understand these exciting objects, we also have to learn about the stars they orbit and how the stars can impact the evolution of their exoplanet satellites.

On Saturday, March 25, at 1:30 p.m. at the Essex Library, Wesleyan postdoctoral researcher in astronomy, Wilson Cauley will talk about this relationship for a variety of different types of exoplanetary systems, including what these interactions imply for exoplanet atmospheres and the potential for life to thrive on these alien worlds.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, call the Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.

 

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Join a Knitting Class Tomorrow at Deep River Public Library

combination knitting tutorial

Learn the art of knitting with veteran crafter, Wendy Sherman at the Deep River Public Library on Saturday, March 25, at 1 p.m.

Knitting is a terrific way to create useful objects, relax and meet other makers.

This class will go over all the fundamentals of knitting, including how to cast-on, bind-off, and the basic knit and purl stitches. The program will cover choosing patterns, needles and yarn, as well as discuss useful online resources.

Registration is required for this program and limited to 10 participants. All ages welcome. If possible, please bring your own needles, size 6 to 9 and a skein of smooth worsted weight yarn, wool or wool blend. Some supplies will be available for purchase.

For more information, visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on the monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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High Hopes Hosts Chili Open House Tomorrow

High_Hopes_Chili_Open_HouseOLD LYME — Looking to get involved, make new friends and make a difference?

Join High Hopes Therapeutic Riding for their Chili Open House on Saturday, March 25, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their facility in Old Lyme.  The event is open to members of the community to give them an opportunity to learn about one of the top therapeutic riding centers in the nation, while enjoying chili with all the fixings.  Bring a buddy and meet High Hopes’  “Buddy”, the horse.

This open house is informal, child-friendly, and your visit can be as long, or short, as your schedule allows.

Those looking to make a difference in the lives of High Hopes’ participants can learn about volunteer opportunities. There are frequent openings for sidewalkers, office help, barn assistance, special event planning and more..

It’s not too early to think about summer and camp staff will be on hand to talk about the High Hopes range of 2017 summer camp programs, which start in July.

High Hopes is located at 36 Town Woods Road in Old Lyme.  RSVP to 860-434-1974 to help us in chili-making planning.

For more information and directions call 860-434-1974 or visit www.highhopestr.org.

High Hopes is one of the oldest and largest therapeutic riding centers in the United States, operating since 1974 and accredited by PATH Intl. (formerly the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) since 1979.

Annually, High Hopes serves over 1,700 individuals. Assisted by over 675 volunteers and a herd of 27 horses specifically trained for therapeutic riding, High Hopes is committed to providing the highest quality of services to the community. Of the more than 800 programs that are members of PATH Intl., High Hopes is one of only six centers in the United States approved by PATH Intl. to provide their training courses in therapeutic riding instruction and has trained instructors from all over the world.

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Tri-Town Youth Services Hosts Mother-Daughter Night Out, Tuesday

AREAWIDE — Tri-Town Youth Services invites local 5th grade girls and their mothers or caregivers to attend a special program with Health Educator, Patty Cournoyer on Tuesday, March 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the John Winthrop Middle School Library.

One of Tri-Town’s most popular programs, “Getting Ready for the Change,” gives mothers and daughters an opportunity to talk about all of the changes that take place as the girls become young women.  Cournoyer will facilitate a fun, informative, interactive and sometimes humorous discussion about puberty.  She will create a safe, comfortable environment and give moms and daughters ideas to help them keep talking to one another, even when it’s a little uncomfortable.

The program fee is $25 per mother-daughter pair and space is limited to 12 pairs.  Call 860-526-3600 to reserve your spot or register online at  www.tritownys.org.

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SECWAC Presents UConn Professor Pieter Visscher Tonight Speaking on ‘Lithium in the Andes’

Professor Pieter Visscher

OLD LYME — The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) presents Pieter Visscher — professor of marine sciences at the University of Connecticut and director of the university’s Center for Integrative Geosciences — speaking on “Lithium in the Andes” at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School on Tuesday, March 21, at 6 p.m.

His presentation will explore the ecological, economic and geopolitical impact of the world’s largest lithium mines – which are located in the Andes and provide more than 600,000 tons of this metal annually for use in lithium batteries.  Mining of these lithium reservoirs makes a significant impact on the fragile Andean ecosystem.

The mining process requires substantial amounts of water, yet many of the mines are located in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on the planet.  While the Chilean government works with mining companies and local populations on conservation efforts, significant socio-economical, ecological and political tensions remain.

Tickets are $20 for the general public, and free for area college and high school students and SECWAC members; tickets can be obtained at info@secwac.org. (Ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership.)  Reporters are welcome to attend as guests of the SECWAC Board.  (Interested reporters should contact Paul Nugent at info@secwac.org or 860-388-9241.)

The event will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. reception.  Immediately following the presentation, SECWAC members with reservations (made at least 24 hours in advance) will reconvene for dinner ($35) at the Old Lyme Country Club.

Prior to joining the university, Visscher worked for Hawaii’s Oceanic Institute, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School and the US Geological Survey.  He is a founding member of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute.

Funders of his research have included NASA, NSF, NIH, EPA and DOE. His current research focuses on biosignatures (changes in rock or atmosphere that provide evidence for life).

Visscher holds graduate degrees in chemistry, environmental law and microbiology from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.  He is currently a Fulbright Specialist and travels extensively to Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, where he is involved in conservation issues.

The presentation is a part of the SECWAC Speaker Series.  SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America.  Its mission is to foster an understanding of issues related to foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate and educational programming.

Through its annual Speaker Series, SECWAC arranges up to 10 presentations a year that provide a public forum for dialogue between its members and experts on foreign relations.  Membership information is available at www.secwac.org.

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Leif Nilsson Celebrates Lyme Land Conservation Trust’s Golden Anniversary with 50:50 Offer

CAT# 3406 Hamburg Cove Oil 24 x 54 inches Leif Nilsson Summer 2016 ©

CHESTER/LYME — It’s time to celebrate the Lyme Land Conservation Trust’s Golden Anniversary!

Buy a box of matches, a print or a painting owned by Leif Nilsson at the studio between March 17 and May 21 and 50 percent of the purchase price will be donated to the Lyme Land Conservation Trust by making two payments; one for 50 percent of the price plus sales tax to the studio and one for the remaining 50 percent to the Lyme Land Conservation Trust.

Click here to preview Leif’s art. 

The Spring Street Studio & Gallery is located at 1 Spring Street, Chester, CT 06412.  Studio Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m., by appointment, or other hours call 860-526-2077.

 

 

 

 

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Celebrating her 99th, Mary Vidbergs is Justifiably ‘Queen for a Day’

Happy 99th birthday, Mary !

It may have been one of the coldest days of the year last Sunday, March 12, but nothing was going to stop Mary Vidbergs’ family from celebrating the long-time Essex resident’s 99th birthday in style.

Mary arrived around 11 a.m. at the top of Main Street and was promptly presented with a large bouquet and ‘crowned’ with a tiara.

The family — some of whom braved the bone-chilling temperatures in lederhosen — had planned a surprise for Mary, which involved driving her from the top of Main Street in a horse-drawn carriage down to the Griswold Inn.

Dr. John Pfeiffer of Old Lyme (third from right, front row, in the photo above), who is Mary’s son-in-law as well as Old Lyme’s Town Historian, is well-known for his penchant for wearing shorts in all weathers around town!

She may be 99, but Mary was determined to enjoy the view from her carriage!

Despite the sub-zero temperatures, Mary smiled continuously through the whole adventure and insisted at the end of her ride on thanking the horses for their labors.

An ever-cheerful Mary waved goodbye to the crowd before entering the Griswold Inn where all her family joined her for what we’re sure was a wonderful family party.

Happy 99th, Mary, from all your friends at ValleyNewsNow.com — we’re looking forward to your 100th already!

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Community Music School Announces Pacheco-O’Donnell as Greenleaf Music Award Winner

Santiago Pacheco-O’Donnell

CENTERBROOK — The selection committee for the Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund of Community Music School (CMS) has chosen guitarist, vocalist, and pianist as the recipient of the Spring 2017 Carolyn R. Greenleaf Music Award.

This award is given each semester to a middle or high school student who has demonstrated exceptional musical ability and motivation.

The award is for a semester of private lessons at Community Music School in Centerbrook and Santiago has chosen to study guitar with CMS’s guitar instructor, John Birt.

An Honor Freshman of Xavier High School, Santiago received his first guitar from his grandmother when he finished first grade, and he’s been playing unstoppably since then. He has attended CMS since 2012, as a guitar student of John Birt for the last four years.

He also studies piano and voice with Greta Moorhead and recently joined the Jazz Ensemble with Tom Briggs. His favorite band is The Beatles.

Outside of CMS, he has played in musicals at St John School in Old Saybrook, performing as a solo singer in last year’s performance. Aside from music, he enjoys soccer, basketball, and archery. Santiago is also an avid photographer and has received many awards at the Chester Fair.

Last summer he volunteered in the children’s section of the Essex Public Library and has been a big supporter of the Valley Shore YMCA’s Community Garden which provides vegetables for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

The Carolyn R. Greenleaf Memorial Fund was established at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County in 2008 by her friends to honor Greenleaf’s dedication to music and education. The Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Music Award is open to students of Middlesex County and the Lymes and is awarded twice a year.  It is entirely based on merit and is the only such award at Community Music School.

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which provides a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, increasing appreciation of music and encouraging a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.

Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Working with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments since 1997, the Community Foundation has provided 850 grants totaling more than $2.5 million to organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities,  environmental improvements, and for health and human services. 

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30 Plunge Into Frigid Sound to Help Save Plum Island

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rep. Bob Siegrist Holds Workshop Monday to Learn How to Lower Your Electric Bill

Rep. Bob Siegrist

AREAWIDE  — The public is invited to meet with State Rep. Bob Siegrist (R-36th) and rate specialists from the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) for an informative workshop to learn how to lower your electric bill on Monday, March 20 at the Deep River Public Library located at 150 Main St., Deep River.

The event will run from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

All interested residents are encouraged to attend and to bring a recent copy of their electric bill.

Rate specialists from PURA will be on hand to lead the event and assist with questions.

Rep. Siegrist (Robert.Siegrist@housegop.ct.gov) represents Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.  He can be reached at 800 842 1423  or on the web at www.RepSiegrist.com.

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Nancy Ballek Mackinnon Presents ‘What’s New? Trends in the Gardening World’ Tonight at Essex Library

Nancy Ballek Mackinnon

ESSEX — ‘Edible, Native, & Sustainable’ are the three themes that keep recurring in the 2017 gardening narrative. On Thursday, March 16at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library, Nancy will discuss these and other trends in garden design and horticulture. Explore new and old varieties for beautiful and productive gardens. This event is co-sponsored with the Essex Garden Club.

Nancy Ballek Mackinnon is a partner in Ballek’s Garden Center in East Haddam, Conn., located on a farm that has been in the family since 1662. Her first three credits in horticulture were earned on a trip to Scandinavia in 1974, with her mother Anita, learning innovative methods at nurseries and municipal gardens. She received a degree in environmental horticulture and landscape design from the University of Connecticut graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1978, and joined Ballek’s Garden Center soon after.

The family’s eclectic and wide-ranging horticultural interests are reflected in her selection of products for sale, everything from garden statuary to thousands of species of annuals and perennials.

Ballek Mackinnon is the author of the “The Gardener’s Book of Charts, Tables & Lists: A Complete Gardening Guide” created to make it easier for horticulturists to select the right plant for the right place.

This program is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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‘The Maccabeats’ to Perform in Chester at CBSRZ, Sunday

The Maccabeats, who will be performing at CBSRZ, March

CHESTER — The Maccabeats, a singing group that set a record for a video going viral (more than 10 million hits in eight days), and that performed for President Barack Obama in the East Room and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion, will bring their unique brand of harmony, humor, and musical inventiveness to Chester on Sunday, March 19, at 5 p.m., at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

David Zeleznik, producer of the synagogue’s Music & More series, says, “The Maccabeats are an a cappella group from the heart of Brooklyn that started at Yeshiva University with incredibly hunky young men, terrific voices, and a good dose of humor that is the closest thing to a Jewish youth sensation these days. And adults should not feel left out, these guys are just plain fun and joyous.” See video of The Maccabeats at https://www.youtube.com/user/MaccabeatsVideos.

The group, with its name inspired by the Maccabeats, heroes of the Chanukah story, became literally an overnight sensation during the holiday season in 2010.  It used a tune by Taio Cruz, “Dynamite,” and turned it into “Candlelight,” a playful Chanukah celebration — “I flip my latkes in the air sometimes, saying ‘ay-oh,’ spin the dreidel” — that it went viral so fast that it soon became number one on the Billboard Comedy Digital Track Charts.

The Maccabeats have followed up with a variety of songs and albums that have reinvented Jewish music, and have been cheered by audiences on five continents. Recently, the group released another video, this one reinterpreting the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton” as a Jewish story.  https://youtu.be/u3UubcYj49k

A sell-out crowd is expected so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. Advance general admission tickets are $35 for adults (or $40 at door, pending availability) and free admission for children 16 and under.  As always at Music & More concerts, ticket price includes an after-concert reception and an opportunity to meet the band.

For tickets and more information, see www.cbsrz.org, or call the synagogue office at (860) 526-8920.

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Essex Library Hosts Speaker Celebrating 300 Years of Connecticut’s Remarkable Women, May 15

ESSEX — Kathryn Gloor, Executive Director of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame will present “Celebrating 300 Years of Connecticut’s Remarkable Women” at the Essex Library on Monday, May 15, at 7 p.m.  Gloor will present an interactive multi-media program about some of our state’s most remarkable women.

Be inspired as you learn about well-known figures like Ella Grasso, Katharine Hepburn and Marian Anderson and lesser known heroines like Maria Sanchez, Barbara McClintock and Hannah Watson. This presentation will introduce you to the Hall, its mission and programs, and give you a panoramic view of some of its 115 Inductees from across all fields of endeavor, from politics and sports to the arts and sciences.

The Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame is an educational outreach organization whose mission is to honor publicly the achievement of Connecticut women, preserve their stories, educate the public and inspire the continued achievements of women and girls.

Gloor has spent more than 15 years raising awareness and support for the causes she loves, including education, women’s rights, and cultural organizations. Most recently she served as Director of Development at Westport Country Playhouse. She has also held leadership positions at Planned Parenthood, Mercy Learning Center, and Oberlin College, among others, and has been a presenter at professional conferences and meetings on topics such as securing major gifts, organizing for success, and leveraging board relationships.

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RiverQuest Offers Osprey/Eagle Cruises on Connecticut River From Haddam

An osprey on its nest is an imposing sight.

Late March into early April is when the Osprey returns to Connecticut from its southern wintering grounds. It is a wonderful sign that spring is finally here.

The Osprey is a large bird of prey with a 4’6” to 6’ wingspan that eats only fish, hence, it is sometimes referred to as the Fish Hawk. Ospreys migrate south for the winter months to areas where their food supply will not be affected by frozen rivers and lakes. They settle down in the southern US, Central America, South America, and have been seen as far south as Argentina. Ospreys of breeding age are returning north now, to start a new nest or to re-establish a nest they may have used in previous years.

There are many Osprey nests along the lower Connecticut River, from the mouth of the river in Old Lyme/Old Saybrook up river as far north as Middletown. There will be activity on the many man-made nesting platforms at the Roger Tory Peterson Preserve in Old Lyme and on other platforms located along the Connecticut River, in “natural” tree settings and on the top of each of the large navigation aids that mark the river channel.

A great way to see this nesting activity is by boat.

RiverQuest, an eco-tour vessel located at Eagle Landing State Park in the Tylerville section of Haddam is offering several cruises to the general public throughout the month of April to view and learn about the Osprey and other wildlife that may be spotted, including hawks and another famous raptor, the Bald Eagle.

After disappearing from Connecticut in 1948, the Bald Eagle has made a return and there are several active eagle nests on the river. Two of these nests will be visible from RiverQuest and we will most likely see one or more of our resident Bald Eagles.

Other areas of interest that will be seen on our cruise include the Goodspeed Opera House, Gillette Castle and the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry. The cruises are approximately 2.5 hours in length and cost $40 per passenger (no children under 10-years-old.) There are binoculars on board for loan during the cruise and complimentary coffee and tea. To learn more about these informative cruises and to reserve your spot with our easy on-line booking, please visit: ctriverquest.com or call the RiverQuest  phone: 860-662-0577.

Osprey/Eagle Cruise Dates:

Saturday, April 1: 1:30pm

Saturday, April 8: 10:00am

Saturday, April 15: 4:00pm

Thursday, April 20: 1:30pm

Sunday, April 23: 1:30pm

Saturday, April 29: 4:00pm

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Winter Storm Stella

First snow plow of the day … there surely will be many more.

Winter Storm Stella is here.

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency meaning a statewide travel ban is in effect. Region 4 Schools, Essex, Chester and Deep River Schools, Town Halls and Libraries, and many businesses from the size of Pfizer, Inc. downwards are closed.  Events galore have been cancelled and a parking ban is in effect on all town roads in Essex from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. today.

In the event of a real emergency, call 911.  

State and local officials urge residents to stay off the roads during the storm … and stay safe.

Latest weather reports, however, predict Southeastern Connecticut will not now experience the brunt of the storm with the snow turning first to sleet and then rain later this morning.

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Ivoryton Library Hosts Immigration Exhibition This Afternoon

This photo shows a Comstock, Cheney & Co. recruiter with newly arrived immigrants at Ellis Island c. 1890.

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Library presents Immigration: A Tiny Town’s Bonanza on Sunday, March 12, from 3 to 5 p.m. This is the latest exhibit in the series An Intimate History of Ivoryton and will showcase the growth of our village on the strength of the immigrants who came to work at Comstock, Cheney and Co. between 1890 and 1915.

Photographs and other materials will be on display.

Have you been interested in looking into your own background? There will be ongoing demonstrations of ancestry.com and an opportunity to ask questions about the service.

Is your family a part of Ivoryton’s story? Come and share your memories. If you have photographs or other memorabilia that you would like to include in this exhibit as either a donation or a loan, contact Elizabeth Alvord at the library at 860-767-1252 or by email at ealvord@ivoryton.com.

The Ivoryton Library is located at 106 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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Musical Masterworks Mixes Mozart Originals with 20th Century Adaptations

Edward Aaron and Jeewon Park

Musical Masterworks favorites Jeewon Park, Tessa Lark and Dimitri Murrath join Edward Arron in a performance of Mozart’s piano quartets this afternoon at 3 p.m. in the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Before each quartet, a late twentieth century work by a Soviet era composer will be performed

The concert opens with Mozart’s String Trio fragment in G Major, K. 562e, Anh. 66, followed by Arvo Pärt’s haunting Mozart-Adagio for Piano Trio (1992/1997), arranged from the slow movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata, K.280.

This precedes Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor, K. 478.

Then Alfred Schnittke’s humorous salute to Mozart in Moz-Art à la Haydn for Violin and Viola (1977) is the prelude to Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, K. 493.

For more informatiion and to purchase tickets, visit http://musicalmasterworks.org/concerts/march-11-12-2017/

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See a ‘Lincoln Center Local’ Screening of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ Ballet at Essex Library Today

Maria Kochetkova in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet. (© Erik Tomasson)

ESSEX — On Saturday, March 11, at 1:30 p.m. the Essex Library will host the Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance screening of San Francisco Ballet: Romeo & Juliet recorded at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco on May 7, 2015.

With its passionate choreography, spine-tingling swordsmanship, and celebrated score by Sergei Prokofiev, this colorful and emotional retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has packed houses around the world. Helgi Tomasson’s bravura interpretation of the Bard’s greatest tragedy “lifts Shakespeare’s complex and familiar language off the gilded pages and translates it into lucid classical choreography that is visceral, fresh, and ultimately sublime.” (Huffington Post.)

This Lincoln Center Local screening program is generously funded through the support from the Oak Foundation and The Altman Foundation.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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

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

Light refreshments provided.

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

Register online or call 860-395-3184.

This program is sponsored by Friends of Acton Library.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greatest Gains for Seniors

Volunteering has health benefits — especially for seniors!

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

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

Studies in UK

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

Impact on Chronic Illness and Longevity

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

A United Health Group survey showed these striking figures:

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

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

Come Join the Common Good Gardens

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

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

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

Common Good Gardens by the numbers

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

Many hands make light work at the Common Good Gardens.

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

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

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

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Middlesex Hospital to Present Future Plans for Vacant Essex Hospital Site at Wednesday’s BOS Meeting

The site on Plains Rd. in Essex where the former Shoreline Medical Center was located.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.


ESSEX —
Middlesex Hospital, which owns the currently vacant buildings and site on Westbrook Rd. in Essex where its Shoreline Medical Center was previously located, will present future plans for the site at the Essex Board of Selectmen’s meeting scheduled to be held March 15, at Essex Town Hall. The meeting will be begin at 7 p.m., and is open to the public.

David Giuffrida, PE, Vice President of Operations at Middlesex Hospital and Laura Martino, Vice President of Marketing, Development & Community Programs at Middlesex Hospital, have requested an opportunity to present the hospital’s future plans for the site at the meeting, notes Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman.
The original Shoreline Medical Center on Westbrook Rd. in Essex was closed when the hospital opened the new Shoreline Medical Center on Flat Rock Place in Westbrook in 2014.
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Letter to the Editor: Old Saybrook Town Officials Says First Priority is Re-Employment of Fortune Plastics Employees

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Take a (Vernal Pool) Hike in The Preserve, May 6

Hikes are fun for all ages.

ESSEX — Essex Land Trust is hosting a hike in The Preserve’s Vernal Pools on Saturday, May 6, starting at 9 a.m.  

Join ecologist and Ivoryton resident Bob Russo on a hike in The Preserve in search of salamanders, frogs, and plants emerging from the long winter.  He will guide hikers to a few of The Preserve’s vernal pools and describe the biological and geological features that make these areas so unique and bountiful.

Russo is a soil scientist, wetland scientist and ecologist, who frequently played in swamps while growing up. He works for a small engineering company in Eastern Connecticut, lives in Ivoryton and is also chair of the Essex Park and Recreation Commission.

Meet at The Preserve’s East Entrance parking lot on Ingham Hill Rd., Essex. The hike will last one and a half hours. 

The terrain is easy to moderate.  Bring boots.  Open to all ages.  Bad weather cancels.

For further information, contactJim Denham at jgdenham@gmail.com or 860-876-0306.

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‘Save the Monarchs!’ Learn How to Plant a Butterfly Habitat Garden, Monday

Nancy DuBrule-Clemente

ESSEX — The Essex Garden Club and the Essex Land Trust are sponsoring an Open Program titled “Save the Monarch!” on Monday, March 6, at 2 p.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 14 Prospect Street, Essex.  Come and learn about their fascinating life cycle and what you can do to encourage their continued survival by planting butterfly habitat gardens.

The presentation will be by Nancy DuBrule-Clemente of Natureworks Horticultural Services, an organic garden center and landscape service. Nancy and her crew have become Monarch experts.

DuBrule-Clemente is the owner of Natureworks Horticultural Services, an organic garden center, landscape design, consultation, installation and maintenance service in Northford, CT.

Started in 1983, the Natureworks crews and retail store have sold and used only organic fertilizers and pest control products since the business began.  Education is the primary focus of Natureworks. Emails, handouts, website, social media posts and web videos, articles for local newspapers and magazines, talks to groups and radio interviews all combine to spread the word about organic and sustainable practices.

DuBrule-Clemente graduated from the Ratcliffe Hicks School of the University of Connecticut with a degree in Floriculture. She is the coauthor (with Marny Smith) of A Country Garden for your Backyard, published by Rodale Press in 1995. She is the author of Succession of Bloom in the Perennial Garden, self-published in 2004, is a former board member and past president of NOFA/CT and is currently on the board of the CT Nurserymen’s Foundation.

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Letter From Paris: Another Presidential Race, But French-Style This Time, Filled With Pride, Passion, Power, Intrigue

Nicole Prévost Logan

The presidential campaign in France is undergoing a series of twists and turns, often spectacular, sometimes violent.  Traditional politics are going through a crisis and may come out rejuvenated from the turmoil.  The rest of Europe is watching the developments with anxiety because its future is at stake.

By the end of February, five candidates were still in the race: François Fillon, winner of the right wing primary and candidate of Les Republicains or LR (The Republicans), Benoit Hamon, who won the Socialist primary, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, gauche de la gauche (far left), Marine Le Pen, president of the ultra right wing Front National (National Front) and Emmanuel Macron, independent, and head of the party he named, En Marche! (Let’s go!)

And then there were five … from left to right, the candidates still running in the French Presidential election are Jean-Luc Melenchon, Benoît Hamon, Emmanuel Macron, François Fillon and Marine Le Pen.

“Penelopegate” has been covered with glee by the media around the world.  It all started with the suspicion that François Fillon had been paying his British wife Penelope for fictitious jobs as his ’employee’ for more than two decades.  Until the three independent investigating judges have determined whether she did work or not, Fillon is presumed innocent.  But whatever they find, the damage has been done to the candidate, who had run on the ticket of a man of integrity.

Actually Fillon is not entirely to blame, he is just a product of the system. The main problem in France is the opaque system of generous perks granted the legislators.  A deputy receives about 13,000 euros monthly (base salary and allowances) and an “envlop”of 9,100 euros to pay for a maximum of five assistants parlementaires (parliamentary assistants).  The British receive twice as much and the Germans 130 percent more.  Members of the US Congress receive 10 times that amount and are allowed a staff of 18 people.  By hiring his wife and two children,  Fillon was using the privilege of nepotism to the hilt, which is increasingly unacceptable to public opinion.

He appeared even more blatantly as a member of a privileged caste when answering questions on the media. His defense strategy went through several stages.  At first he appeared arrogant, bristling at any questioning of his entitlement and of his wife’s right to work (with the tax-payer’s money).  Second stage: “I offer my apologies but I have done nothing wrong.” Third : “I am the victim of a conspiracy intended to destabilize my campaign ” . Fourth: “only Bercy (where the ministry of finances is located) can be the source of all the accusations.” His last resort was to ask his lawyers to discredit the financial prosecutor as not being competent to handle the case.

Marine Le Pen is in more trouble with justice than Fillon and has a number of pending lawsuits against her. She is clever enough to uses this situation to reinforce the admiration of her unshakable supporters.  She is being sued for using the European parliament’s budget to pay her assistants parlementaires who should be working in Strasbourg, not in Paris.   Her other cases include fraud linked to misappropriations of funds during electoral campaigns.

In a recent three-hour-long TV talk show, she displayed her skills as a sharp, articulate and smooth speaker.  Answering questions fired at her from all sides.  Winning arguments was no problem for her.  It is hard to understand how she manages to appeal so easily to people with her populist ideas while omitting to point out the financial and economic disastrous consequences her program would have for France.

The conditions were now favorable – the right and far right candidates being embroiled with justice, a divided socialist party not likely for the first time since 1974 to reach the final ballots – for Emmanuel Macron to continue his meteoric ascent.  And he is using that open road with passion.  On Feb. 22, he accepted with enthusiasm the offer of a coalition from the president of the centrist MoDem (democratic movement).  This was a perfect fit between François Bayrou, a politically-wise older man, and Macron, a 39-year-old, brilliant, highly educated, former minister of  finances and economy, although never elected.  Bayrou declared, “My priority will be to guarantee the moralization of French politics,” a promise which could not be more topical.

Macron’s style is very different from the  other French politicians.  He smiles a lot and is warm and friendly.  The project he just laid out is not harsh and does not sound like a punishment. For a man as young as he is, what he proposes is surprisingly down to earth and realistic.  His priority is to modernize the system, simplify the  regulations, and decentralize the decision process.  He introduces many innovating measures, which may go against the entrenched privileges of some French.

He is counting on the suppression of 120,000 posts of civil servants to reach his goal of a 60 billions economy.  Nothing like the choc therapy proposed by Fillon to eliminate 500,000 posts.

As a good economist, he has two sound proposals: one is to lower corporate taxes from 33.3 percent to 25 percent to be in sync  with the average European rates.  Another proposal  makes a great deal of sense: stop penalizing people for making investments.  By lowering high taxes on their capital, the French may stop hiding their savings under their mattresses.

To tackle the endemic French unemployment, he intends to make sure that the allowances are linked to the efforts demonstrated by job seekers to find a job. 

Macron unveiled his project to an audience of 400 journalists on March 2.  The other candidates were very quick to pull his project to shreds.  Vicious messages circulated in the social networks trying to demolish him, particularly for having worked for the Rothschild bank. No French president has ever been able to carry out even a small portion of Macron’s proposed  reforms.  The fight will be ruthless.

Fillon’s situation is becoming more unsustainable by the hour.  An indictment is probable. A growing number of his team have jumped ship.  He is determined not to quit the race.  The name of Alain Juppe, who came second in the primary, is being mentioned as a substitute.

Only 50 more days until the first round of elections on April 23, and still no way out of the crisis — probably one of the worst France has ever lived through.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole LoganAbout 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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Essex Corinthian Yacht Club Hosts Jim Lynch, Author of ‘Before The Wind,’ May 4

Author Jim Lynch

ESSEX — To help kick off the Essex boating season, the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club (ECYC) will host award winning author Jim Lynch to read and discuss his book, “Before the Wind” on Thursday, May 4, at 7 p.m. at the club.  

The club is located at 19 Novelty Lane in Essex.   The book talk is open to the public.

Sail Magazine says, “In ‘Before the Wind’, author Jim Lynch tells the engaging tale of the Johannssens, a sailing family that’s like a distillation of all the eccentric, funny and cranky sailors you’ve ever met.”

The reviewer continues, “All too many writers have failed to convey both the technicalities and the spiritual joys of sailing in a manner that will engage the uninitiated without alienating the experienced, but lifelong sailor Lynch carries it off with this enjoyable read.”

For questions, contact Jean Little, ECYC manager, at 860-767-3239 or ecyc@essexcorinthian.org

For more information about the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, visit www.essexcorinthian.org

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Festival of Women’s Plays Continues Tonight at Ivoryton Playhouse

IVORYTON:  The Ivoryton Playhouse announces the 2017 inaugural festival of the Women Playwrights Initiative –  Four One Acts by Four Fabulous Women Playwrights. Two evenings of staged readings will take place on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4, at The Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT, followed by discussions with playwrights, actors and directors.

Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m.

There will be two readings presented:

Guenevere by Susan Cinoman. Teenagers, Guenevere and Arthur, are best friends–a fierce competitor, she always bests him in sword fights. What will be the outcome when confronted with Excalibur in the stone?

Apple Season by Ellen Lewis. To make arrangements for her father’s funeral, Lissie returns to the family farm she and her brother fled 26 years before. Billy, a neighbor and school friend, comes by with an offer to buy the farm. As memories, needs, and passions are stirred, we learn what happened to the siblings as children, and of Lissie’s startling price for the farm.

Saturday, March 4, at 7 p.m.

There will be a further two readings presented:

Buck Naked by Gloria Bond Clunie. Two daughters are thrown into a tizzy when they discover Lily, their 60-plus-year-old mother, has decided to spice up life by tending her back yard garden – “au naturel”!

Intake by Margo Lasher. An arrogant young psychiatrist meets an 80-year-old woman for what he assumes will be a routine examination. During the course of their relationship, he comes to realize how little he knows, and as she reveals her deep love and understanding of her two aging dogs, both doctor and patient learn about life, love, and hope.

Before the performance on Saturday at 5 p.m., the League of Professional Theatre Women will host a panel discussion with the playwrights, moderated by Shellen Lubin, followed by refreshments before the 7 p.m. readings.  If you would like to attend the pre-reading discussion, you must register by Feb. 26, at this link.

To purchase tickets for the Friday, March 3, or Saturday, March 4, readings – each starts at 7 p.m. – call 860.767.7318 or visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Tickets:  $20 adult each night; $15 senior each night; $10 student and LPTW members.

A special two-day pass (tickets for Friday and Saturday night performances for $30) is being offered.  Call the box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your two-day pass.

The Ivoryton Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT  06442.

For more information about the Women Playwrights Initiative, contact Laura Copland, Director of New Play Development, at laurac@ivorytonplayhouse.org.

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Join a ‘Building Bridges for Justice Activism Teach-In’ Today in Hadlyme


AREAWIDE — It is said that “knowledge is power,” that facts matter, and that for all of us to be effective activists, we need to enhance our knowledge and build our skills.  Therefore, Together We Rise – Building Bridges for Justice, is hosting an Activism Teach-In on Saturday, March 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Hadlyme Public Hall.

Experts from across Connecticut will speak from their experience and speak on the following topics:

  • How to Talk to Your Legislator &  Make An Impact- Michele Mudrick
  • The Lives of Undocumented Kids in CT & How to Help- Edwin Colon
  • Demystifying the State Budget & Fight for Children- Derek Thomas
  • Intersectionality 101

Parking will be available on the street near the Hadlyme Public Hall.  No handicap access available.  An ALS interpreter will be present.

A lunch break is scheduled and it is suggested that participants bring a bagged lunch. Bagged lunches may be ordered from the following:  Two Wrasslin’ Cats at (860) 891-8446, Grist Mill Market at (860) 873-3663, and Higher Grounds at (860) 615-6112.  Place your order by March 3 and let these partnering businesses know that you will be attending the Activism Teach-In when you place your order. Coffee, tea, and water will be available during the Teach-In.

To register (space is limited) and for more information, visit: Together We Rise – Building Bridges for Justice at togetherwerisect.com

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Movie of the Moment? See ‘1984’, at Deep River Library This Afternoon; Free Admission

DEEP RIVER — See the topical and iconic film, 1984, based on the book of the same name by George Orwell at the Deep River Public Library on Saturday, March 4, at 2 p.m.

This classic dystopian film stars the late John Hurt’s character, Winston Smith as he attempts to resist against the bleak and loveless existence of the totalitarian state of Oceania. This groundbreaking work explores the consequences of a world where every thought is monitored and every human instinct is forbidden.

No registration is required. Running time for this film is 113 minutes.

For more information, visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on the library’s monthly calendar or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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Essex Meadows Named One of Best Retirement Homes in Nation by US News & World Report

ESSEX – Essex Meadows Health Center, part of the continuum of Essex Meadows Life Care Community, is celebrating an 8th consecutive year of being rated as one of the top health services and skilled nursing providers in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Essex Meadows Health Center scored a 5-Star rating on all points of the survey, one of the most trusted in the country. Based on the scoring criteria, the center rated in the top 13 percent of skilled nursing and senior health care providers across the nation.

“We’re extremely humbled and honored by this distinction,” said associate executive director Kathleen Dess. “Our residents can go on knowing they live in one of the best retirement environments nationwide, and our team members can enjoy some well-deserved recognition for the work they do each day.”

The work Dess refers to has included Essex Meadows Health Center leading the way on an innovative program known as Reading 2 Connect, which has shown proven results in the area of helping those with various forms of dementia continue to enjoy a passion for reading.

Additionally, the community has been involved in programs like the Audubon’s Bird Tales, allowing them to make use of the nearly 1,000-acre preserve located nearby, and the Music and Memory program for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“The 5-Star rating is really about getting things right for our residents in every aspect of quality living,” said Dess. “From providing unparalleled food quality in our dining room to the short-term rehab we offer, our team members are truly among the best in the field of senior living.”

The U.S. News and World Report ratings are based on information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Editor’s Note: Since 1988, Essex Meadows has provided a lifestyle of dignity, freedom, independence and security to older adults from Connecticut and beyond. A community offering full life care, Essex Meadows, located conveniently on the Connecticut River near the mouth of Long Island Sound, prides itself on a financially responsible and caring atmosphere. Essex Meadows is managed by Life Care Services®™, a leading provider in life care, retirement living. For more information on Essex Meadows, visit the community’s website or call 860-767-7201.

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Ivoryton Library Hosts Fundraising Trivia Night Tonight at Centerbrook Meetinghouse

IVORYTON — Clear your calendars for Saturday, March 4, for an exciting Trivia Night, a fundraiser for the Ivoryton Library. Hosted by the folks at What Trivia!, this is a fun show to be held at the historic Centerbrook Meetinghouse.

An ideal way to stay warm on a March winter night and be with your friends, make a couple of new friends, and get some mileage from your stock of trivia, this event is completely interactive. Are you a walking library of trivia? Do you have random pieces of knowledge that have lodged themselves in your brain, just waiting to be unearthed? This is your opportunity to make all that useless stuff you know work for you. There’s something for everyone: the artistic crowd, the creative media types, the scholarly, the sports minded, and the rest of you guys.

Teams are made up of four to eight people so sign up as soon as possible as a team, or even as a single. Answers aren’t blurted out, they’re written down and if you don’t know an answer, best scenario is to guess. Points are awarded, wagered and, perhaps, lost. Lots of very interesting prizes will be awarded.

There will a cash bar and light fare for $25 a head, ahead of time, and $30 at the door. The fun stuff starts at 7:00pm, see you there!

For more information, visit www.ivoryton.com or call the Ivoryton
Library at 860 767-1252.

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Author Talk with Yale Professor Dr. Paul Freedman on ‘Ten Restaurants That Changed America,’ Monday

ESSEX — From Delmonico’s to Sylvia’s to Chez Panisse, a daring and original history of dining out in America as told through 10 legendary restaurants. Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ‘s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself.

Paul Freedman, the Chester D Tripp Professor of History at Yale University, will give an illustrated talk at the Essex Library on Monday, March 6, at 5 p.m.

Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation.

Dr. Paul Freedman

Freedman also treats us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered mid-century, on-the-road dining, only to be swept aside by McDonald’s.

Lavishly designed with more than 100 photographs and images, including original menus, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a significant and highly entertaining social history. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing.

Professor Freedman specializes in medieval social history, the history of Catalonia, comparative studies of the peasantry, trade in luxury products, and the history of cuisine. Freedman earned his BA at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MLS from the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He received a Ph.D. in History at Berkeley in 1978. His doctoral work focused on medieval Catalonia and how the bishop and canons interacted with the powerful and weak elements of lay society in Vic, north of Barcelona. Freedman taught for 18 years at Vanderbilt University before joining the Yale faculty in 1997.

This program is free and open to the public. Call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Essex Garden Club Offers Environment-Related Scholarship

ESSEX – The Essex Garden Club is pleased announce that applications are available for scholarships to be awarded in June, 2017.

To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must be:

  1. a resident of Essex, Centerbrook or Ivoryton, CT
  2. a high school senior or undergraduate/graduate college student
  3. have a “B” or better GPA
  4. be planning to pursue studies related to the environment in an accredited two-year or four-year institute of higher learning. Fields of study may include: Agriculture, Biology, Ecology, Horticulture, Forestry, Environmental Science and Engineering.  Closely related subjects may also apply: Land Conservation, Landscape Design, Nursery Management.

Application forms are available from Guidance Counselors at Valley Regional High School, or essexgardenclubct.org. The deadline for receipt of applications is April 24, 2017. For more information call 860-581-8206.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Update From Essex Tree Warden on Gypsy Moths 2017

Gypsy moth caterpillars – photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES

AREAWIDE — The 2016 report on the gypsy moth from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) indicates the extent of the 2016 gypsy moth outbreak.  The heaviest outbreaks were concentrated in 4 eastern counties: Middlesex, New London, Windham and Tolland Counties.  CAES has published both a map and an updated fact sheet on their website at this link.

Those areas that suffered extensive defoliation in 2016 should expect a large hatch of caterpillars in 2017.  The egg masses in these areas are numerous and widespread.

As the caterpillars age and move into the later instars, they will defoliate the trees and shrubs, particularly oak trees, but also apple, birch, poplar and willow.  However, if there is enough rain this spring (May-June), the E. maimaiga fungus may be activated and provide complete control of the caterpillars. If the NPV virus spreads throughout the caterpillar population, the caterpillars may be killed as they become crowded.

The visible egg masses can be removed from accessible locations, drowned in a container of soapy water and disposed of safely.

Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden,  advises residents to stay vigilant, remove eggs masses if possible  and contact  local arborists to discuss alternative treatments as caterpillars reappear.

Pampel is also available for questions/concerns at: augiepampel@att.net.

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Want to Turn Photos into Fine Art? CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Speaker to Tell You How, May 1

‘Tuliptini’ by Patty Swanson.

The next meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will feature a presentation by Patty Swanson, Fine Art Photographer from West Hartford, CT.   The meeting will be held Monday, May 1, at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, CT

Patty writes: “Get inspired! Have you considered having a gallery show of your artwork but don’t know how to go about it? Or maybe there’s a particular image you think might work nicely hanging in a gallery? Do you have a lot of landscape, animal, and still life images that need a little boost or enhancement?”

She continues, “Spend the evening with award winning and fine art photographer Patty Swanson! She will talk about how to turn a photograph into fine art, how to get your work into a gallery, and how to make your artwork sellable. Patty’s photographic fine art has exhibited and sold in galleries around the Hartford area.”

She can be reached at swannycat@sbcglobal.netwww.facebook.com/pattyswansonphotography  or through her website at www.pattyswanson.com.

‘Letting Go’ by Patty Swanson.

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers.  The Club offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help our members expand their technical and creative skills.  Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.

The club draws members up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook;  from East Hampton to Old Lyme;  and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at  http://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com.

ConnecticutValley Camera Club meeting dates, speakers / topics and other notices are published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage/

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Enjoy Family Pasta Night at Ivoryton Congregational Church, April 29

IVORYTON — A Family Pasta Night will be held at The Ivoryton Congregational Church, 57 Main Street, Ivoryton on Saturday April 29, offering continuous servings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Admission prices are as follows: Adults: $10, Children 6-12: $5 and Under 5’s: Free

Reservations are recommended.

The menu is: ziti & meatballs, salad bar, garlic bread followed by dessert with coffee, tea, and water.

For reservations and further information, call Isobel @ 860-767-8167 or the Church Office @  860-767-1004

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Stonewell Farm Hosts Two-Day Workshop on Dry Stone Wall Building, April 29, 30

Andrew Pighill’s work includes outdoor kitchens, wine cellars, fire-pits, fireplaces and garden features that include follies and other whimsical structures in stone.

Andrew Pighill’s work includes outdoor kitchens, wine cellars, fire-pits, fireplaces and garden features that include follies and other whimsical structures in stone.

KILLINGWORTH — On April 29 and 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily,  Andrew Pighills, master stone mason, will teach a two-day, weekend long workshop on the art of dry stone wall building at Stonewell Farm in Killingworth, CT.

Participants will learn the basic principles of wall building, from establishing foundations, to the methods of dry laid (sometimes called dry-stacked) construction and ‘hearting’ the wall. This hands-on workshop will address not only the structure and principles behind wall building but also the aesthetic considerations of balance and proportion.

This workshop expresses Pighill’s  commitment to preserve New England’s heritage and promote and cultivate the dry stone wall building skills that will ensure the preservation of our vernacular landscape.

This workshop is open to participants, 18 years of age or older, of all levels of experience. Note the workshop is limited to 16 participants, and spaces fill up quickly.

You must pre-register to attend the workshop.  The price for the workshop is  $350 per person. Stonewell Farm is located at 39 Beckwith Rd., Killingworth CT 06419

If you have any questions or to register for the workshop, contact the Workshop Administrator Michelle Becker at 860-322-0060 or mb@mbeckerco.com

At the end of the day on Saturday you’ll be hungry, tired and ready for some rest and relaxation, so the wood-fired Stone pizza oven will be fired up and beer, wine and Pizza Rustica will be served.

About the instructor: 

 Born in Yorkshire, England, Andrew Pighills is an accomplished stone artisan, gardener and horticulturist. He received his formal horticulture training with The Royal Horticultural Society and has spent 40+ years creating gardens and building dry stone walls in his native England in and around the spectacular Yorkshire Dales and the English Lake District.

Today, Pighills is one of a small, but dedicated group of US-based, certified, professional members of The Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA) of Great Britain. Having moved to the United States more than 10 years ago, he now continues this venerable craft here in the US, building dry stone walls, stone structures and creating gardens throughout New England and beyond.

His particular technique of building walls adheres to the ancient methods of generations of dry stone wallers in his native Yorkshire Dales. Pighills’ commitment to preserving the integrity and endurance of this traditional building art has earned him a devoted list of private and public clients here and abroad including the English National Trust, the English National Parks, and the Duke of Devonshire estates.

His stone work has been featured on British and American television, in Charles McCraven’s book The Stone Primer, and Jeffrey Matz’s Midcentury Houses Today, A study of residential modernism in New Canaan Connecticut. He has featured  in the N Y Times, on Martha Stewart Living radio, and in the Graham Deneen film short  “Dry Stone”, as well as various media outlets both here and in the UK, including an article in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Yankee Magazine.

Pighills is a DSWA fully qualified dry stone walling instructor. In addition to building in stone and creating gardens, Pighills teaches dry stone wall building workshops in and around New England.

He is a frequent lecturer on the art of dry stone walling, and how traditional UK walling styles compare to those found in New England. His blog, Heave and Hoe; A Day in the Life of a Dry Stone Waller and Gardener, provides more information about Pighills.

For more information, visit www.englishgardensandlandscaping.com

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Acton Library Screens “Selma,” April 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Stop Ageism Now!’ Forum Scheduled at Essex Library Tonight at 5:30pm

ESSEX — St. Luke’s Community Services, a non-profit in Middletown, is co-hosting a ‘Stop Ageism Now! forum’ at Essex Library this evening, Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

This open community conversation will look at ageism in terms of:

  • Prejudicial attitudes toward older people old age and/or the aging process;
  • Discriminatory practices against older people;
  • Institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about aging.

Ageism is an often overlooked barrier that exists across most communities in the U.S. Ageism puts unfair limitations on older adults’ abilities to live to their fullest potential and devalues them as individuals (Source: www.stopageismnow.org).

As part of the Middlesex County Gatekeeper Program mission to advocate for successful aging and independence, St. Luke’s is committed to building awareness, breaking down stereotypes and challenging attitudes to Stop Ageism Now.

In the upcoming months, the organization will campaign to Stop Ageism Now as well as in the coming years work to create a culture in Middlesex County whereby the life experiences and achievements of older individuals are celebrated. Their ultimate goal is to bring back the belief that aging is a natural part of life and not a problem to be solved.

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Annual Pancake Supper Today at All Saint’s, Ivoryton, Benefits Refugee/Immigrant Organization

ESSEX — Because of the extraordinary challenges faced by refugees in the present climate, All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Ivoryton plans to dedicate the proceeds of its annual pancake supper, to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, to the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services of Connecticut (IRIS). This event is open to the general public and will take place at the Deep River Congregational Church, at 1 Church Street, Deep River, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Ashley Makar, the Director of Community Co-Sponsorship at IRIS and a graduate of Yale Divinity School, will speak about the organization’s work and the plight of refugees, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. followed by a pancake supper from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Tickets are $10.00 and can be obtained from area churches, Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe
Zedek, at the door, and online at https://pancakesuppertobenefitiris.eventbrite.com.

If you have questions about the event or would like to volunteer services, contact John Yrchik, chair of this event, at jyrchik@comcast.net.

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