May 26, 2017

Carney, Siegrist Help Clean Up The Preserve

Reps. Robert Siegrist and Devin Carney (right) joined a group of volunteers to help clean up The Preserve on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, in Old Saybrook.

OLD SAYBROOK – State Representative Devin Carney, who represents the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook, and State Representative Robert Siegrist, who represents the communities of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam, participated in a clean-up day at The Preserve on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22.

The group was led by Chris Cryder, who is the Special Projects Coordinator with Save The Sound, and other volunteers were from throughout the state. Both legislators joined the group of volunteers to de-commission redundant trails through sensitive areas.

The Preserve is a work in progress and is still in the early stages of trail design, but will have trails for hikers and mountain bikers in the near future.

For more information visit: https://preserve1000acres.com/about/

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Child & Family Agency’s Essex River Valley Auxiliary Hosts Annual Tag Sale’s ‘Intake Day,’ May 4

Everything but the dog! A well-stocked car of donations for Child & Family’s Annual Tag Sale.

ESSEX — For the uninitiated, Intake Day is a spring ritual, marking a time to find, dust off, clean, repair and donate those valued, but little-used clothing and items in your care, to benefit The Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.

On Thursday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Essex Town Hall on 29 West Avenue, members of the Essex Auxiliary of Child and Family Agency will be standing by to greet and assist with your donated items. Use the Grove Street parking lot entrance. Tax donation letters will be available on site, and specialty art or jewelry items will be appreciated and handled with care. 

If you need assistance with unusual or bulkier items, pick- ups may be able to be arranged in advance by contacting Pat Mackenzie-Thompson at 860-227-7551

The auxiliary will collect, sort, box and then transport your contributions to the New London Armory for a bonanza, three-day fundraiser, which has earned a reputation for being one of the “Largest Tag Sales in New England.” This year’s 62nd Annual Sale will be held May 5, 6, and 7 at a new, yet old  venue – the New London Armory at 249 Bayonet Street New London, CT  06320.

WANTED:  Art work, furniture, decorative items, sporting goods, clothing, jewelry, household items, linens, tools & toys, vintage and antique items, books, food magazines, records & DVDs.

The motto Bring the Best and Leave the Rest has made the town of Essex a standard bearer for “quality” donations which help to provide for an increasingly successful fund raiser. Proceeds go directly to support the many extraordinary services provided by Child & Family Agency, a non-profit organization which has served Connecticut families for over 200 years. 

Today, programs address children’s mental health, physical health care, child abuse prevention, the treatment of family violence, teen pregnancy, childcare, and parent education.  Child-care and out-of-school programs benefit from volunteers who read one-on- one with children, share a hobby, an athletic skill or a special talent with a classroom, are homework buddies or create sets and costumes for their exciting theatre productions.  To join the auxiliary or to volunteer today, please call 860-443-2896.

Your collective donations make a difference every year in the lives of the children and families served, but in times of economic turmoil your support is crucial, helping to stabilize some very fragile lives.  Last year over 18,000 children and their family members from 79 towns were helped by the agency’s staff of 195 dedicated professionals. For more information about the work of Child & Family, visit www.childandfamilyagency.org.

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Essex Meadows Announces Lifelong Learning Affiliation with Wesleyan University, Courses Open to Public Start May 13

Courses Offer Opportunities for Continuing Education, Intellectual Growth and Socialization

ESSEX – Essex Meadows, in affiliation with Wesleyan University, announces a series of lifelong learning sessions hosted by the retirement community. With intellectually stimulating courses geared toward historians, art aficionados and more, these lifelong learning opportunities will promote cultural ties with the community.

Beginning Saturday, May 13, the classes and interactive learning sessions will focus on a host of topics, taught by Wesleyan faculty members. “Research has shown that adults who engage in intellectual and artistic endeavors feel more connected to their local community,” said Susan Carpenter, director of community life services at Essex Meadows.

She continued, “Whether your passion is history, art, or lifelong learning, in general, this affiliation allows us to offer some wonderful opportunities to broaden one’s knowledge base.”

Rick Friswell, associate director of the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning, says the topics will cover a variety of content. “Learning is limitless and we’re excited about the content we’ll be covering at Essex Meadows,” he said. “We’re exploring these important topics in a way that should spark curiosity and discussion, and we’re really excited about this affiliation.”

The first course will focus on World War I, and will include a 1957 film on the topic, as well as lecture and discussion.

These events are open to the public, with costs associated with some of the courses.

Schedule of Courses

  • Saturday, May 13:
    One Day University – The Great War to End All Wars $125
  • Thursday, June 8:
    Lecture – The Epic of Gilgamesh No Charge
  • Wednesday, July 12:
    Field Trip – Yale Center for British Art $45
  • Thursday, September 7:
    Mini Course – Three Places in New England: A Guided Tour Through 19th Century Art and Literature $100
  • Sunday, October 29:
    Melodrama – Dark and Stormy Nights: Gothic Fiction and Romantic Music No Charge

To register, contact Susan Carpenter, director of community life services, at carpenters@essexmeadows.com or 860-767-4578, ext. 5156. Checks should be made payable to Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning. Visit www.essexmeadows.com/events to learn more.

Essex Meadows is located at 30 Bokum Road, Essex, CT 06426.

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

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Council of Seniors is holding a Volunteer Fair/Open House on Wednesday, June 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the center located at 220 Main St, Old Saybrook. The Estuary services those aged 50 and better from Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.

Join the Estuary staff to welcome new Director, Stan Mingione, and enjoy a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. Staff members will be available to give tours of the facility and Fitness Center.  Come learn about the many activities and services and speak with personnel about the numerous volunteer opportunities.

For more information, call 860-388-1611 or visit www.ecsenior.org.

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One Weekend, Three New Eagle Scouts for Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13

Chester/Deep River Boy Scout Troop 13 celebrates three new Eagles Scouts. From left to right, James Rutty, Samuel Rutty, Zane Bouregy. Photo by Michael Rutty.

CHESTER/DEEP RIVER — Troop 13 – Boy Scouts of America would like to congratulate two Chester brothers and one Centerbrook resident on earning the rank of Eagle Scout. These Eagle Scouts completed projects in the towns of Chester and Haddam Neck.    All the work completed benefits residents and visitors to both towns.

To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must earned 21 merit badges and advance through the seven scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to his Troop and service to his community.  One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the Scout’s community, school, or religious institution; all of this work must be completed prior to the young man’s 18th birthday.

James H. Rutty’s  Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to construct a prayer garden patio with benches and peace pole at the United Church of Chester, allowing residents and visitors a place for quiet reflection and prayer. James was awarded the rank at a joint Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony with his brother Samuel on March 18, 2017 at the United Church of Chester.  Since joining Troop 13, James has earned 85 Merit Badges.  James is a junior at Saint Bernard School in Uncasville, CT.

Samuel M. Rutty’s Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to raise funds and construct twenty eight foot wood and concrete memorial benches at the Haddam Neck Fairgrounds, providing attendees a place to rest and enjoy the fair.  Sam was awarded the rank at a joint Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony with his brother James on March 18, 2017 at the United Church of Chester.  Since joining Troop 13, Sam has earned 70 Merit Badges.  Samuel is a freshman at Saint Bernard School in Uncasville, CT.

Zane F. Bouregey’s  Eagle Scout Service Project involved developing and implementing a plan to replace the flagpole, restore the veterans memorial at Cedar Lake and hold a rededication ceremony on December 28, 2016.  Zane was awarded the rank at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor held March 19, 2017 at the Deep River Town Hall.  Since joining Troop 13, Zane has earned 46 Merit Badges.  Zane is a senior at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, CT.

We offer our congratulations to these fine, young men!

Troop 13 Boy Scouts serves the boys ages 11-18 of Chester and Deep River. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help young men develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting these young men to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead. The Boy Scout methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun.

To learn more information about joining Troop 13, contact Scoutmaster Steven Merola at 860-526-9262

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Guilford Savings Bank Supports Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries with ‘Green for Greens’

From left to right, front row, Guilford Saving Bank Branch Manager, Dave Carswell, SSKP Board Member Rick Westbrook, SSKP Executive Director, Patty Dowling, and Guilford Saving Bank Community Development Officer, Lisa La Monte. (back row) Guilford Saving Bank Assistant Branch Manager, Sandra Miller, and Guilford Saving Bank tellers Ryan Donovan and Brandy Reilly.

AREAWIDE — Guilford Savings Bank has awarded a $4,000 grant to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) to purchase fresh produce for needy residents of the shoreline. The grant, called “Green for Greens”, helps assure that local families who come to SSKP’s food pantries will be provided with fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to non-perishable foods.

Lisa LeMonte, Marketing and Community Development Officer at Guilford Savings Bank, shared, “I know I speak for everyone at GSB when I say how proud we are to provide “Green for Greens” that allows The Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries to supplement their budget with funds to purchase additional fresh produce.”

“The support of Guilford Savings Bank and their generous “Green for Greens” is truly a gift to those we serve at our 5 food pantries.  We all know the feeling of eating a fresh crisp apple, or finding a banana in our lunch bag when we are hungry midday.  Because of GSB, those in need will share in that feeling, and on behalf of those we serve, I sincerely thank Guilford Savings Bank for their commitment to providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director.

Founded 28 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

Guilford Savings Bank has been serving the financial needs of the Connecticut shoreline for over 140 years.  Recently named the #1 Community Bank in Connecticut, it is the premier relationship bank, providing banking, lending, wealth management and life insurance solutions for personal, small business and commercial customers. For more information visit www.gsbyourbank.com

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Free Lecture on Global Warming Scheduled at Chester Village West Tonight

CHESTER — Chester Village West, an independent senior living community, launches its Spring Lifelong Learning Program with two free and open-to-the-public talks in April on topics ripped from today’s headlines. Chester Village West is located at 317 W. Main St., Chester, Conn. 06412.

On Monday, April 3, at 4 p.m., Wesleyan University Professor of Government and author John E. Finn, Ph.D. discussed Our Rights of Expression and Religion: Understanding the First Amendment.

Dr. Henry Auer

On Thursday, April 20, at 4 p.m., scientist and Global Warming Blog author Henry E. Auer, Ph.D. will present The Science of Global Warming: Facts and Some Fallacies. Most climate scientists believe that our planet has been warming throughout the industrial period. ​Yet, some others dispute this notion. Dr. Auer will discuss the science of greenhouse warming and assess the extent to which humanity is responsible for it. He will also examine some counter arguments.

Refreshments will be served. Registration is required; seating is limited to 40 people per lecture on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for one or more programs, call 860.322.6455, email ChesterVillageWest@LCSnet.com or visit http://www.chestervillagewestlcs.com/lifestyle/calendar-of-events/.

Upcoming Lifelong Learning lectures at Chester Village West in May and June will include:

Tuesday May 9, 4 p.m.: Ella Grasso, Connecticut’s Pioneering Governor, by Jon Purmont, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus Southern Connecticut State University

Tuesday May 16, 4 p.m.: Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P.T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity by Eric D. Lehman, Ph.D., Professor, University of Bridgeport

Wednesday June 7, 4 p.m.: Nearly everything you need to know about Middlesex Hospital’s Shoreline Medical Center and Shoreline Cancer Center by Middlesex Hospital Marketing VP Laura Martino and Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center Director Justin Drew

Thursday June 22, 4 p.m.: Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker by Author and Journalist Susan Campbell

Located in historic Chester, Connecticut, Chester Village West gives independent-minded people a new way to experience retirement and live their lives to the fullest. Since the community was founded more than 25 years ago, Chester Village West residents have directed and embraced active learning. Within a small community of private residences that offer convenience, companionship, service and security, Chester Village West enriches lives with a comprehensive program that enhances fitness, nutrition, active life, health and well-being. Find out more atchestervillagewestlcs.com; visit the community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChesterVillageWest.

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Emily Bjornberg to Speak on Financial Durability at Shoreline League of Democratic Women Meeting Tonight

Emily Bjornberg (center) discusses issues with seniors.

Guest Speaker is Emily Bjornberg, Sr. Exec Assistant for Financial Literacy, Office of the Treasurer, State of Connecticut

AREAWIDE — The Shoreline League of Democratic Women (SLDW) has announced the second guest speaker in their Women@Risk Series covering pressing issues for women and their families. Emily Bjornberg, Senior Executive Assistant for Financial Literacy, Office of the Treasurer, State of Connecticut, will discuss how women can build assets for financial durability. She will also cover Connecticut programs such as CHET (Connecticut Higher Education Trust), CRSA (Connecticut Retirement Security Authority) and ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) trust.

The presentation will be held on Thursday evening, April 20, at 7 p.m., Westbrook Public Library, Community Room on the bottom floor, 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook, CT  06498. An SLDW membership meeting will immediately follow the speaker session. This event is free and open to the Public.

The SLDW (http://www.SLDW.org) is a chapter of the Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women (CFDW), which is a chapter of the National Federation of Democratic Women. The Shoreline League of Democratic Women continues to seek membership from women who live in Clinton, Madison, Guilford, Branford, Killingworth, Old Saybrook, Essex, Westbrook, Chester, Deep River, Old Lyme, and Lyme. SLDW Meetings are held monthly from September through May.

The SLDW is dedicated to educating its members about political and social issues important to women of all ages in the Valley-Shore area. Women in the local district are encouraged to join the SLDW and participate in the organization’s valuable work in the community. Members can be involved in any capacity, whether it is 30 minutes a month, or 30 minutes a year.

As a part of the SLDW educational charter, members will be notified of important pending state and national legislation. For more information, send email to sldworg@gmail.com or contact Belinda Jones at 860-399-1147. Visit their web site at http://www.SLDW.org.

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Vista to Host Spring Open House in Westbrook, Saturday

WESTBROOK — Vista Life Innovations, a nationally accredited post-secondary program for individuals with disabilities, is hosting an Open House on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at its Westbrook campus.

Ideal for prospective students and families, school district officials and educational consultants, Vista open houses have successfully aided many families in beginning the admissions process. This free event will include guided tours of the Dormitory and Residence Hall, information about programs and services provided at Vista, and an opportunity to hear from current Vista students and members about their experiences in the program.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet Vista leadership and staff. Light refreshments will be served.

To RSVP for Vista’s Open House, register online at www.vistalifeinnovations.org/openhouse or contact the Admissions Office at (860) 399-8080 ext. 106.

Vista’s Westbrook campus is located at 1356 Old Clinton Road, Westbrook.

Vista Life Innovations is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success. For more information about Vista, please visit www.vistalifeinnovations.org.

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Swing! Community Music School Hosts a Swingin’ Spring Benefit, Saturday

Community Music School Gala supporters gather for this photo.

DEEP RIVER – Community Music School (CMS)’s largest annual fundraiser is the CMS Gala and this year will transport guests back to the 30’s and 40’s with Swing! A swingin’ spring benefit for CMS. The greatest hits of the swing era will be performed by faculty and students.

The event takes place on Saturday, April 22, in Deep River at The Lace Factory and includes a lively cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres and silent auction. The party continues with gourmet food stations prepared by Cloud Nine Catering, and fabulous musical entertainment provided by CMS faculty and students.

The eight-piece big band will spark up the dance floor with the great hits from the 30’s and 40’s swing era featuring the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and many more. The music program will feature the jazz expertise of the CMS faculty, along with student and faculty vocalists.

Featured vocal student performers include Courtney Parrish of Westbrook and Barbara Malinsky of Madison. Faculty performers include Joni Gage (vocals), Patricia Hurley (trumpet), Andy Sherwood (clarinet/tenor saxophone), Music Director Tom Briggs (piano), Kevin O’Neil (guitar), Andrew Janes (trombone) and Matthew McCauley (bass), with special guests Jake Epstein (alto saxophone) and Gary Ribchinsky (percussion and vocals).

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with a financial need, as well as weekly music education and music therapy services for students with special needs, and arts education through in-school presentations and community concerts.

Swing! A swingin’ spring benefit for CMS sponsors include Bogaert Construction, Great Hill Development, Guilford Savings Bank, Kitchings & Potter LLC, Maple Lane Farms, Tower Laboratories LTD, World Trading Leather, Angelini Wine LTD, The Clark Group, Ring’s End, Shore Publishing, Whelen Engineering, Thomas H. Alexa – Comprehensive Wealth Management, Brewer Pilots Point Marina, Essex Savings Bank/Essex Financial Services, Jackson Lewis, Madison Veterinary Hospital, Periodontics P.C., Reynolds Garage & Marine, The Safety Zone Tidal Counseling LLC.

Tickets for the evening are $125 per person ($65 is tax deductible). Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org/gala, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling 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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Essex Premiere of Six-Time Emmy-Winning Filmmaker’s ‘Life and Gardens of Beatrix Farrand, Sunday’

Portrait of Beatrix Farrand

The Essex Library will welcome documentary filmmaker and six-time Emmy Award winner, Karyl Evans, who will screen her latest film and discuss Beatrix Farrand’s work with Landscape Architect Shavaun Towers, who also appears in the film. Thescreening will take place on Sunday, April 23, at 3 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects’ office.

This compelling film is the first ever to chronicle the life of Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959), the niece of Edith Wharton and the most successful female landscape architect in early 20th century America. Farrand grew up in the privileged world of the East Coast elite and fought through the challenges of working in a male-dominated profession to design over 200 landscape commissions during her remarkable 50-year career.

The documentary includes never-before-seen archival materials and recent photographs of over 60 Beatrix Farrand related sites, taking viewers on an inspiring journey across the country to explore her personal story and many of her most spectacular gardens.

These sites include Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.; the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden; Garland Farm in Bar Harbor, Maine; the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Bar Harbor, Maine; and her California gardens. The narrated film also includes interviews with Beatrix Farrand scholars.

Photo of garden designed by Farrand at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC.

Karyl Evans’ undergraduate degree is in Horticulture / Landscape Architecture. She earned her Master’s Degree in Filmmaking from San Diego State University. Ms. Evans was a full-time Professor at Southern Connecticut State University for two years, teaching film production and theory. Karyl is a Fellow at Yale University and is one of the organizers of the New Haven Documentary Film Festival at Yale.

Landscape Architect Shavaun Towers PLA, FASLA, graduated from Smith College with a BA in Architecture and received a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a founding Partner of Towers | Golde Landscape Architects in New Haven and has taught at Yale University Schools of Architecture and Forestry as well as the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 

This event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is requested. Please call the Essex Library for more information or to register at (860) 767-1560. The event will be held in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects’ office at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook. Heartfelt thanks to our event co-sponsors: the Essex Garden Club and Centerbrook Architects.

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Con Brio’s Gala 20th Anniversary Spring Concert to be Held in Old Lyme, Sunday

Con Brio Celebrates 20 years!

The acclaimed shoreline chorus, directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce, will be joined by soloists Patricia Schuman, soprano, Clea Huston, mezzo-soprano, Steven Humes, tenor, Matthew Cossack, bass and Associate Music Director Susan Saltus, organ, with the recently augmented Con Brio Festival Orchestra. Con Brio will offer the “best of the best,” — the most beloved pieces from its twenty-year repertoire.  Don’t miss this one!

Beethoven’s Mass in C, sung by Con Brio at Carnegie Hall during its very first year, opens the program.  Composed in 1807, Beethoven was already suffering hearing problems.  And yet he produced a masterpiece, fresh, innovative. Robert Schumann wrote that this Mass, “…still exercises its power over all ages, just as those great phenomena of nature that, no matter how often they occur, fill us with awe and wonder.  This will go on centuries hence, as long as the world, and the world’s music, endures.”

Patricia Schuman, soprano.

Opening the second part of the program is a piece that will stun with its majesty:  the Coronation Anthem of Handel, Zadok the Priest. Then, in a more reflective style, Con Brio presents Brahms’ Trõste mich wieder —one of the most beloved a cappella pieces of all time, showcasing Brahms’ mastery of choral writing.

Mendelssohn’s Heilig and Lotti’s Crucifixus, other well-known motets, will be performed in the round, as has become Con Brio’s custom in the wonderful sanctuary of Christ the King Church. Et in Saecula Saeculorum, from Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus, is an exemplary fugue, even more amazing for having been discovered only in 2005.

Mascagni’s Easter Hymn, the renowned chorus from the Cavalleria Rusticana, is a world-wide, as well as a Con Brio, favorite; internationally acclaimed soprano Patricia Schuman will perform in the magnificent role of Santuzza.

In a lighter vein, Con Brio offers the Ward Swingle arrangement of Bach’s G minor organ fugue, as well as Arlen’s version of Over the Rainbow —an audience favorite since 1939, and When I Fall in Love, by Victor Young, made famous by Doris Day and Natalie Cole recordings.

Matthew Cossack, bass.

Bernstein’s Make Our Garden Grow, the radiant finale from the operetta Candide, is one of his great ensemble numbers, scored for soprano (Cunegonde) and tenor (Candide) soloists, chorus and orchestra.  Celebrating imperfect people who try to do the best they know, the piece has been sung by performers such as June Anderson, Renée Fleming, Jerry Hadley, Barbra Streisand and Judy Collins.

Over two decades, virtually every Con Brio concert has featured audience participation.  Maintaining this tradition, Dr. Bruce will ask the audience to join with Con Brio, in Hairston’s arrangement of the great African-American spiritual, In Dat Great Gittin’ Up Mornin’. Dr. Bruce has taught this to audiences all over Europe; with Con Brio featuring this ever-popular piece in all its six concert tours to Europe — and doubtless again, in its 2018 concert tour to Croatia and Slovenia.

Tickets, $30 adult, $15 student:  online at www.conbrio.org, from any Con Brio member, or by calling 860 526-5399. Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Road, Old Lyme, CT. 4 pm April 23, 2017

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Suzanne Levine Reads from New Poetry Collection at ‘Books & Bagels,’ Sunday Morning

CHESTER — Things are almost never what they seem. Hence, the title of Suzanne Levine’s second book of poetry, “Grand Canyon Older Than Thought,” in which she examines the difference between appearances and reality in her own life, in the lives of others, and in our environment.

The best-selling novelist Amy Bloom says, “Suzanne Levine’s new collection is wry. Moving. Surprising. A little autumnal (in a Parisian way). Like Szymborska, Levine is a poet of consciousness, loving the world while seeing every dark and light inch of it. You can peer in Grand Canyon for a long time and be glad of it.”

The public will have a chance to do this as the poet reads from her book in a free Books & Bagels program on Sunday, April 23, at 9:30 a.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek. (No tickets or reservations required.)

Levine’s first book, “Haberdasher’s Daughter,” also published by Antrim House, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award and she has contributed to many literary publications since earning her MFA at Vermont College.

For many years, the poet lived in Chester, and now resides in New Haven, where she answered questions about poetry and her work.

How did you get interested in poetry?

Middle School was the eye opener for me after we read Homer’s “Odyssey” and the next year Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in Middle English. Those were the days when memorization of passages was required and I loved to recite Chaucer’s tongue twisting Prologue, 

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour. 

Still I did not realize these works as poetry per se but I felt the words and recognized their lyrical value. Words began to matter to me and I felt a definite kinship with them and with their power when used purposefully. 

Who are your mentors, heroes?

Because I am now writing in a form of only 100 words to tell an entire “story” my mentors are Emily Dickinson and Lydia Davis and Anne Carson but I always return to Robert Pinsky, James Wright, W.C. Williams, Billy Collins, Wislawa Szymborska, Sylvia Plath for their awesome ability to ignite emotion even in the hearts of those who are afraid of poetry.

Was the rigor and expense of the MFA worth it all?

For me yes, definitely, those two years studying the craft and reading over one hundred books of poetry and poetics and then presenting a dissertation as well as teaching a class on Yeats gave me a firm foundation on which to stand in the world of writing. I know that I am qualified to offer my opinion in workshops and other situations because of the excellent education I received regarding the craft of writing.

What does poetry offer that prose doesn’t?

Nowadays nothing as they are often indistinguishable from one another

What surprises you most when you read in public?

What surprises me probably surprises most presenters, that people actually show up! Every time I read aloud and actually hear my words versus reading them on the page I see them anew and also see where I could have chosen a better word or changed a line ending and I make note to revisit the work. 

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

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Essex Historical Society Hosts Open House for Volunteers at Pratt House, Sunday

Visit the beautiful grounds of the 1732 Pratt House, a landmark property of Essex Historical Society.

ESSEX — Enjoy history?  Historic interiors?  Meeting new people?  Essex Historical Society cordially invites you to an Open House for Volunteers at the historic 1732 Pratt House on Sunday, April 23, from 2 to 4 p.m.  The event will be held at the Pratt House, 19 West Avenue, Essex.  A short presentation will occur at 2:30 p.m.

Pratt House’s volunteer tour guides or ‘docents’ lead engaging tours for visitors.

The Society would love to introduce you to their volunteer tour guide program or ‘docents’ that will lead to a rewarding experience for you and our history-loving audience.  Come meet their genial, well-informed guides for a private tour of this historic structure.  No experience is necessary and all training is provided.

The Pratt House has served as Essex’s only historic house museum for more than 6o years and serves as the flagship of Essex Historical Society.  The house tells the story of life in an early CT River seaport town through nine generations of one family, many of whom were blacksmiths.

Tours of the house are offered to the public from June – September, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 1 to 4 p.m.; and by appointment.  Beautiful grounds, newly restored kitchen gardens, a community garden, reproduction barn and museum shop make for a memorable visit to this historic landmark.

The Open House for Volunteers is open to the public.  Refreshments will be served

For more info, contact Mary Ann Pleva at 860-767-8560 or visit www.essexhistory.org

 

Captions for Photos:

 

Visit the beautiful grounds of the 1732 Pratt House, a landmark property of Essex Historical Society.

 

Pratt House’s volunteer tour guides or ‘docents’ lead engaging tours for visitors.

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‘Discover Oswegatchie Hills’ in Old Saybrook Library Presentation Tonight

Greg Decker, Friends of OHNP chief steward, points the way through Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme. Decker will be giving the virtual tour of OHNP, terrain, wildlife and plants.

OLD SAYBROOK — Potapaug Audubon presents “Discover Oswegatchie Hills” on Tuesday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Acton Public Library, Old Saybrook with guest speakers Greg Decker and Old Lyme resident Suzanne Thompson, who are both Friends of Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve.

Suzanne Thompson of Old Lyme hiking Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme.

This free program comprises a photo overview of the 457-acre Nature Preserve, which was opened in 2007 by the Town of East Lyme.

For more information, call 860-710-5811.

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Celebrate Earth Day with Tri-Town and Bushy Hill, Sunday

ESSEX — In honor of Earth Day, Tri-Town Youth Services and Bushy Hill Nature Center invite families to get outside and explore nature together on Sunday, April 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. The Nature Center will be open, and Bushy Hill’s expert staff will be on hand to tell you about this very special place in Ivoryton.

The schedule for the event is as follows:

Guided Hike at 1:30 p.m.
Bow Drill Demonstration at 2 p.m.

Bushy Hill Nature Center is located at 253 Bushy Hill Road, Ivoryton

Suggested donation:  $5 toward the Camp Scholarship Fund

Call 860-526-3600 to register.

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‘Circle of Friends’ Students Present African Art Exhibit at Deep River Public Library, June 15

DEEP RIVER — Join Deep River Public Library for a special art exhibit from the students of Circle of Friends Montessori School on Thursday, June 15, from 4 to 6 p.m. After studying African Art this year with their teacher, Chelbi Wade, the students, who range in age from 3 to 6 years of age, created their own works that will be on display for public viewing.

Light refreshments and snacks will be served.

While the art is not for sale, all are welcome to celebrate the achievements of African Art by these budding artists.

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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Madhatters Announce Summer Camps in Chester

CHESTER — Madhatters Theatre Company is now accepting registrations for their summer productions at Chester Meeting House 4 Liberty Street in Chester, Conn.  Camps run Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a performance on Friday.

Junior production ‘Madagascar’ open to ages 6-12 years July 24 through 28.

Senior production ‘Legally Blonde’ open to ages 12-18 years July 31 through Aug. 4.

To register, e-mail madhattersctc@aol.com

For further information, visit www.ctkidsonstage.com/madhatterstheatrecompany

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Copper Beech Inn, Ivoryton Village Alliance Host Whiskey Tasting Tonight to Benefit Ivoryton Illuminations Fund

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Village Alliance, in partnership with The Copper Beech Inn, is hosting a whisky tasting on Saturday, April 15at 6:30 p.m.

The evening will consist of Scottish whiskies paired with food specially prepared by Chef Carlos Cassar. Nigel Manley, a renowned expert in the art of whisky making, will be give an informative and entertaining presentation on the history and craft of “Uisge Beatha” – the water of life.

Nigel Manley

The evening will feature four Scottish whiskies: Auchentoshan – 12-year-old; Macallan – 12- year-old; Lagavulin – 16-year-old, and Sheep Dip.

Seating is extremely limited and reservations are required. The cost is $80 per person – all profits will benefit the Ivoryton Illuminations Holiday Lights Fund.

The Copper Beeech Inn is at 46 Main Street in Ivoryton and is also offering a Whiskey Alliance Dinner Package.  This package is priced at $350 and includes: Overnight stay in a Super Deluxe Room; Admission for two to the Whiskey Dinner; Gourmet a la carte breakfast for two Sunday Morning.

For reservations or further information, visit www.copperbeechinn.com or call 860 767 0330

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Ivoryton Congregational Church Hosts Easter Sunrise, 10am Services; All Welcome

IVORYTON — All are invited to join the Ivoryton Congregational Church at 57 Main Street, Ivoryton, for their Easter Day services as follows:

Easter Sunday, April 16
7 a.m.
A brief Easter sunrise service at the pond behind the church.  This will be followed by an Easter Breakfast to which all are invited.

10 a.m.
Easter Celebration in the sanctuary of the church The story of Easter.  The scripture will be the Easter story in Matthew 28:1-10. The sermon will be “At Dawn.” All are welcome.

Call the church office at 860-767-1004 for more information.

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First Congregational Church of Deep River Hosts Community Sunrise Service, Two Morning Services for Easter

Photo from Unsplash.com by Aaron Burden.

The First Congregational Church of Deep River at 1 Church Street, Deep River is holding the following services on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday, April 16
Community Sunrise Service at Mt. St. John’s Academy, 135  Kirtland Street, Deep River, at 6 a.m.
Easter Sunday, April 16
Two Services:  9 and 10:30 a.m.
Special Family Fellowship Hour: 10 a.m.                 

Visitors are welcome to attend any and all of the services.

For further information, contact the church office at 860-526-5045 or office.drcc@snet.net
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Legendary Adriaen Block Vessel To Land this Summer at Connecticut River Museum

Onrust under sail. Photo courtesy of the Onrust Project.

ESSEX — The Connecticut River Museum has announced that the Onrust, a replica of the first European vessel to explore and chart the Connecticut River, will rediscover the River this summer.

Following Henry Hudson’s 1609 expedition, Dutch captain Adriaen Block was hired to explore the northeastern coastline of America with the intent of establishing trade with Native Americans and claiming parts of the territory for the Dutch Republic.  On his fourth and final voyage (1613-1614), Block’s ship the Tiger was destroyed by fire while in New York Bay.  Block and his crew went to work near Manhattan building a new vessel – the Onrust (launched in New York Bay in April 1614).

The Onrust investigated coastal New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. In the course of his travels, Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River to just north of Hartford (a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound).  He recorded the conditions, the places that he saw, and the native people he encountered. 

The impacts of Block’s travels were many.  Upon his return to Amsterdam in July 1614, Block’s explorations, along with the collective knowledge from other expeditions, were documented in the “Figurative Map of Capt. Adriaen Block” — an incredibly accurate map of the northeast region given the navigation and survey instruments of the day. 

Connecticut River Museum Executive Director, Christopher Dobbs stated “We cannot be more thrilled to host this remarkable vessel that has such historic relevance to our region.”  In fact, as Dobbs notes, Block’s discoveries ushered in dramatic changes.  Most notably, the cultural interchanges (often leading to calamitous consequences) between Native Americans and Europeans, colonization, the founding of New Netherland, and the ecological impacts due to global trade.  It was “at least in part thanks to Block’s work that a Dutch trading post was established in 1624 in Old Saybrook and that Hartford [House of Hope] became New Netherland’s eastern-most trading post and fort.”

The re-creation of the vessel was spearheaded by New York based nonprofit The Onrust Project. Following extensive research, the rediscovery of traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques, and the efforts of over 250 volunteers, the vessel was launched in 2009 at the Mabee Farm Historic Site, Rotterdam, NY.  Board Chair and Executive Director of The Onrust Project, Greta Wagle said “The Onrust is an extraordinary, floating museum.  We are very pleased to collaborate with the Connecticut River Museum and share her important stories with River Valley residents and tourists.”

The Connecticut River Museum will host the Onrust from June 1 through early October.  During this time they will offer cruises and dockside tours.  To find out more details about the Onrust’s summer cruises, charters, and upcoming programs please visit the Connecticut River Museum’s website at ctrivermuseum.org.  You can also discover the Onrust yourself by going to The Onrust Project’s website at theonrust.com.

Interested in becoming a volunteer guide this summer aboard the ship?  Contact the Museum’s Education Department at jwhitedobbs@ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The Museum currently has a special exhibition, Connecticut’s Founding Fish, exploring the story of the Shad.

For more information on exhibits and related programs please contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or visit the website, ctrivermuseum.org.

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Register Now to be Listed on the Chester Town Wide Tag Sale Map; Sale is May 27

CHESTER — All Chester Residents who wish to sell what they no longer need can join their neighbors in participating in the annual tradition of the Chester Town-Wide Tag Sale on Saturday, May 27 (Memorial Day weekend), from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.  For the fifth year in a row, the Chester Republican Town Committee is organizing this 25-year event, which brings thousands of people to Chester for a day of tag sale buying, eating and shopping.

It is easy to do—get on the map that directs the traffic to your doorstep.   To be listed on the map, you must be a Chester resident; if you are a business, your sale address must be in Chester.

Listing forms are available through Kris at kris.seifert@gmail.com and at LARK! In the Town Center.  The listing fee is $10 for residences or businesses or $25 for businesses that wish to include a small 1-1/2” by 1-1/2” advertisement.  Deadline for inclusion in the map is May 25 to enable the printing of the map.   But don’t wait, space fills up quickly.   

To everyone who wants to have a fun and adventurous day in Chester, mark May 27 on your calendar and come to the town-wide tag sale—rain or shine.  As you enter town, you will see friendly volunteers selling maps  (at $1) that will give the locations of everyone who wants to see you.  Spend more time with them and less time trying to find them by randomly driving around– although, that is fun,  too.

Make a day of it and enjoy all that the Town of Chester has to offer.

When you are ready to take a break, restaurants will welcome you with coffee, fresh baked treats, and great food any time of day. The downtown merchants – some of them new like Black Leather, The French Hen, Strut the Mutt and The Perfect Pear – will welcome you with open arms, with shelves stocked with specials, and galleries filled with unique objects of desire.  Don’t forget to pick up a loaf or two of Simon’s well-known bread.

The downtown area is revitalized – check out the new bridge (or bridgework) and sidewalks.  If you want to learn about the town, walk into the Chester Historical Society’s Museum at the Mill in the center of town where you can learn about the Life and Industry along the Pattaconk.  Walk up to the Chester Meeting House or simply stroll about and enjoy the day.

Proceeds from listing fees, map sales, and advertising on the map are used to promote the event throughout Connecticut.  Net proceeds from this event benefit the Chester Republican Town Committee’s general fund.

If you have questions or require more information, email kris.seifert@gmail.com or phone 860-526-8440 / 714-878-9658.

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The Rockfall Foundation Announces 12 Grants for Environmental Projects

AREAWIDE — The Board of Directors and Grants Committee of the Rockfall Foundation are pleased to announce that twelve environmental programs throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley received grants in the latest funding cycle. More than $28,000 was awarded to support environmental education and conservation efforts that will have a combined benefit for nearly 2,000 students and many more adults and families in the region.

“These grants, awarded through a competitive process, support the wonderful work being done in the area of environmental education and conservation throughout our region,” said Marilyn Ozols, President of the Foundation. “We are grateful that the generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to support so many worthwhile programs.”

Environmental education is a priority area for the Foundation and programs that serve and engage children and youth represent the several of those receiving grants. Public schools and non-profit organizations will provide hands-on environmental education programs in Middletown, Durham, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Additionally, several conservation projects and public events will present residents throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley with information on urban farming, removal of invasives, and tree identification, as well as provide volunteer opportunities.

Grantees include:

Indian Hill Cemetery Association – “A Celebration of the Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery” will encourage visitors to utilize Indian Hill Cemetery as a place where they can learn about trees, be inspired by trees, enjoy the view and walk quietly. Tree identification activities, school programs, and the addition of signs will support this effort. $1,000

Van Buren Moody Elementary School – “Moody School Courtyard Nature Enrichment Programs” will train teachers to use the school’s courtyard gardens for education enrichment, thereby increasing the amount of time students spend outside learning about the environment. The program will also involve students and families in maintaining and managing the gardens to create a sense of ownership and connection to the courtyards and the natural world. $1,030

Regional School District 13 Elementary Schools – “Taking the Next Generation Science Standards Outside” will encourage elementary students to engage in the Science and Engineering Practices emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, while exploring the nature trails near their schools and noting problems that could be investigated and addressed. $1,100

Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District – “Urban Farm-Based Education Programs at Forest City Farms: A Farm Days Pilot Project” will promote an ongoing urban agriculture initiative in Middletown focused on improving urban farming conservation practices, building community interest and engagement in farming, developing farming/gardening knowledge and skills, and helping address food insecurity. Hands-on activities will take place at Forest City Farms. $1,500

Middlesex Land Trust and Everyone Outside – “Middlesex Land Trust Preserves: Great Places to Spend Time Outside” will revive and foster an interest in nature by connecting children and families with their local environment through field trips and public trail walks, helping them gain an understanding and appreciation of nature in order to become future stewards of the environment. $1,500

Snow Elementary School – “Outdoor Explorations at Snow Elementary School” will provide students and teachers with hands-on science and nature programs, including teacher training, mentoring and curriculum development leading to greater interest in science and stewardship of the natural world. $1,900

Lyme Land Conservation Trust – “The Diana and Parker Lord Nature and Science Center” to support the planning and development of educationally-focused content that is directed to all ages and will engage school-age children, and to support a unique and interactive interpretive trail within the Banningwood Preserve. $2,000

Valley Shore YMCA – “Farm to Table Specialty Camp,” an innovative new program that will teach children the important life skills of gardening, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and environmental sustainability. $2,225

Macdonough Elementary School – “Macdonough School Takes the Classroom Outside” will provide hands-on science education for K through 5th grade students, including an understanding of the natural world and the local ecosystem, to enhance students’ connection with nature. $2,570

Connecticut River Watershed Council – “European Water Chestnut Strategy for the Connecticut River Watershed” will directly educate more than 250 individuals on how to identify, manage and report European Water Chestnuts; educate thousands of residents about the plant and its threat to our waterways; and involve volunteers in hand removal of documented infestations. $3,500

Connecticut Forest and Park – “Highlawn Forest Invasive Removal and Education Program,” part of a strategic Forest Management Plan, to use the property as a recreation and education asset through careful timbering and an invasive removal process. The program will be a model for environmental planning and will offer a unique opportunity for hands-on environmental education for landowners and municipalities. $4,000

SoundWaters – “Coastal Explorers: A Bridge for Sustainability for Watershed Exploration for Middle School Students” will provide students from Middlesex County with hands-on science education focused on their local estuarine habitats and watershed to encourage a deeper understanding of the natural world via a combination of study and stewardship activities. $6,000

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is named for the large waterfall in Wadsworth Falls State Park. In addition to its grants, the Foundation sponsors educational programs and owns and maintains the deKoven House Community Center. The Rockfall Foundation awards grants annually through a competitive process that is open to non-profit organizations and municipalities located in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. For additional information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.rockfallfoundation.org  or call 860-347-0340.

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The Very Latest … and Most Important … News to Date on the Proposed High Speed Train Route

Amtrak’s ‘Acela’ passes through Rocky Neck State Park on a recent morning.

AREAWIDE — In a major news story published yesterday in the CT Mirror, veteran journalist Ana Radelat summarizes the significant impact that opposition in Connecticut to the proposed high-speed rail route has already had — and is continuing to have.  Radelat quotes Old Lyme’s Greg Stroud, founder of SECoast and now director of special projects for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, who has been at the forefront of this opposition, as saying, “Opposition is growing along the entire shoreline.”

Read Radelat’s story titled, CT rebellion against federal rail plan grows — and may have impact, at this link.

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Vista Partners with Yale Spizzwinks(?) for Concert at ‘The Kate’ Tonight

OLD SAYBROOK — Vista Life Innovations is teaming up with the Yale Spizzwinks(?), America’s oldest underclassman a cappella singing group, to bring their world-renowned sound to The Kate in Old Saybrook on Friday, April 14.

Established in 1914, the Spizzwinks(?) tour three times a year, entertaining audiences across the country and the globe. Past concert highlights include performances at Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, the Connecticut Open tennis tournament, and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. The group has also performed for former Secretary of State John Kerry and pop icon Lady Gaga.

The Spizzwinks(?) maintain a broad repertoire ranging from Top 40 hits and classic rock to jazz standards and spirituals. Beyond exceptional a cappella tunes, the Spizzwinks(?) are known for incorporating a generous dose of choreography and their unique brand of humor into every performance.

Vista, a post-secondary program supporting the personal success of individuals with disabilities, believes in community integration through the arts and is proud to offer this captivating show to the community-at-large.

Tickets for the April 14 concert are available online at www.vistalifeinnovations.org/spizzwinks. The concert will begin at 1:30 p.m. at The Kate, 300 Main Street, Old Saybrook.

For questions, contact Kristin Juaire at 860-399-8080 ext. 236 or at kjuaire@vistalifeinnovations.org.

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Letter to the Editor: Solnit Children’s Center Expresses Thanks to Numerous Individuals, Organizations

To the Editor:

The Albert J. Solnit Children’s Center-South Campus, located in Middletown, CT, would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the following people and organizations that so generously gave of their time and resources:

  • Juliette Linares, Ambassador Scout of Deep River, who donated items for our youth welcome baskets. 
  • Daisy Troops from Higganum and Killingworth for their donation of multiple welcome baskets for our youth residents.
  • North Guilford Congregational Church for their donation of 10 completed fleece blankets.
  • St. Pius Youth Group and Higganum/Haddam Congregational Church who have completed a total of 51 Fleece blankets kits.

Donation for youth welcome baskets from Juliette Linares, Ambassador Scout of Deep River.

Upon admission, each youth that comes to reside at Solnit Children’s Center is given a welcome basket with items such as: shampoo, hand cream, deodorant lip balm, books, a stuffed animal and a homemade fleece blanket. “It’s something we started a few years ago to help personalize their stay,” said Elaine Jackson and Rebecca Brown-Johnsky, Co-Coordinators. “Many of the youth we serve are DCF committed or just away from home for a few months and this is one way to provide them a few comforts.” “Their faces just light up when they see that something was made especially for them,” says Rebecca Brown Johnsky, Speech & Language Pathologist. We are truly in awe of the generosity of the surrounding community.

The Solnit Children’s Center is the only publicly operated psychiatric facility for youth in the state managed by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, and we have served 443 youth in Connecticut. This 74 bed facility with seven living units treats youth ranging from 13 to 17 years of age, and provides mental health treatment services and care for youth who are experiencing extreme emotional and behavioral difficulties. 

If you are interested in becoming involved with our welcome basket program, please contact Elaine Jackson or Rebecca Brown-Johnsky at 860-704-4000.

Sincerely,

Elaine Jackson,

Middletown, CT

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Country School Hosts Tee Off for Scholarship Golf Classic, June 12

A successful foursome at last year’s Golf Classic.

AREAWIDE On Monday, June 12, The Country School will host its Tee Off for Scholarship Golf Classic at the Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club. Proceeds will go to the Founders’ Promise Fund for Scholarship at the school. This event is open to the public.

Since 2012 The Country School Golf Classic has raised over $100,000 for the Founders’ Promise Fund (FPF) for Scholarship. This investment in a child’s future awards need-based scholarships to a wide range of students. Established in 2006 by Allee and Jeff ‘61 Burt P ‘00, ‘03 and their family to honor The Country School’s founders and their desire to help all children reach their full potential, the FPF for Scholarship has helped 173 unique students in the past decade, awarding more than $4.6 million dollars during this time.

This year’s event offers the chance to win a Mercedes with a hole-in-one. Don’t have the best drive? Don’t worry, there will also be a live and silent auction as well as on-the-course prizes so you too can go home a winner or simply join us for dinner at the club.

Join us! thecountryschool.org/giving/tcsgolfclassic #countryclubs

Questions? Contact joanne.arrandale@thecountryschool.org

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Deep River Presents Annual, Fundraising ‘Strawberry Social,’ June 11

strawberry photo

Marian Staye (left) and Gail Gallagher serve up fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream in Deep River. File photo.

DEEP RIVER – The Deep River Historical Society is holding its annual fundraising Strawberry Social on Sunday, June 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. Yes, you can expect fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream … and soft drinks are included too!  There will also be a selection of Berry Basket Surprise items available.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children 5 years and under. The event will include other surprises for the guests.

The event is held in the Carriage House on the grounds of the Deep River Historical Society at 245 Main Street (Rte. 154), Deep River.

For more information, contact Sue Wisner at 860.526.9103.

 

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First 2017 Environmental Forum at CT River Museum Reviews Waterway Manipulations, April 13

This aerial photograph by Tom Walsh shows the manipulation of the River’s natural flow in Turner’s Falls, Mass.

ESSEX — Join the Connecticut River Museum for “Waterway Manipulations”, our first 2017 Environmental Forum on Thursday, April 13, at 5:30 p.m.  Speakers will present issues and include time for discussions about water legislation, the necessity of floodplains and the preservation of the American Beaver. 

Alicia Charamut, Connecticut River Steward at the Connecticut River Watershed Council, will present Water Diversions: An overview of the state’s water planning process, what citizens can expect from the process and how individuals can become involved in water management in finding balance of water-use. 

Chris Campany, Executive Director of the Windham Regional Commission based in Brattleboro, Vermont will present  “Do Unto Those Downstream As You’d Have Those Upstream Do Unto You”:  Preserving and restoring floodwater access to floodplains is essential not only from a scientific and biological perspective, but from a moral perspective as well. 

The final presenter, local Naturalist at The Incarnation Center, Phil Miller will discuss American Beaver: Celebrating a keystone species and the habitat they build for wildlife. The program is sponsored by the Rockfall Foundation.

The Connecticut River Museum is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m.  to 5 p.m.  The Museum currently has a special exhibition, Connecticut’s Founding Fish, exploring the story of the Shad. For more information on exhibits and related programs please contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860.767.8269 or visit the website, ctrivermuseum.org. 

Photo Caption: This aerial photograph by Tom Walsh shows the manipulation of the River’s natural flow in Turner’s Falls, Massachusetts.

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Cappella Cantorum Non-Auditioned Men’s Chorus Hosts Late Registration/Rehearsal Tonight

Music Director/Conductor and co-founder of Cappella Cantorum, Barry B. Asch

AREAWIDE — Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus non-auditioned Late Registration/Rehearsal will be held Monday, April 10, 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 109 Main St. Centerbrook. Rehearsals are on Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School.

Music includes: Wade in the Water, Psalm 84, Brothers Sing On. Hallelujah-Cohen, Spiritual and Broadway. $40.00 Registration, including Music at rehearsal.

The first concert is Sunday, June 11, 3 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church. 56 Great Hammock Rd. Old Saybrook, CT.

Contact Barry Asch at (860) 388-2871 for information.

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Fire House Food Drive Benefits Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries Today

Shoreline Fire Departments hold a food drive Saturday, April 8, to benefit SSKP.

AREAWIDE — For the sixth consecutive year, Connecticut shoreline fire departments will host a one-day food drive on Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to collect non-perishable food for shoreline residents in need.

All donations will go to local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP.)

The SSKP hopes to include all fire departments in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. Fire departments already committed to the event include: Old Saybrook FD, 310 Main Street; (and once again this year, drop-offs will also be accepted by the OSFD at the Stop and Shop in Old Saybrook and Big Y in Old Saybrook); Westbrook FD, 15 South Main Street; Essex FD, 11 Saybrook Road; Clinton FD, 35 East Main Street; North Madison FD, 864 Opening Hill Road; and Chester FD, 6 High Street. All area fire departments are encouraged to participate.

At a time of year when food donations are low, this food drive will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our local communities will have a place at the table. The Soup Kitchens’ five pantries distributed over 1 million pounds of food last year to needy residents. Only 40 percent of this food comes from the CT Food Bank; the remainder must be either purchased or donated, so every item is appreciated.

Last year’s drive brought in close to 4,000 pounds of food, and this year’s goal is 6,000 pounds.

Join the effort by donating food, or by holding a food drive in your neighborhood, workplace, or club, and then bringing it to a participating firehouse on Saturday, April 8. Participating fire departments ask those donating food only to drop off food on Saturday, April 8.

Please do not drop off food before that date.

For more information call (860) 388-1988 or email Claire Bellerjeau at cbellerjeau@shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provide food and fellowship to people in need and educate the community about hunger and poverty, serving 11 shoreline towns. Founded 28 years ago, they accomplish their mission with the help of over 900 dedicated volunteers. Last year SSKP provided food for over one million meals to 8,000 local residents in need.

For more information on volunteering, visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org and get updates on Facebook. The SSKP thanks you for supporting their mission to provide food and fellowship to people in need and educate the community about hunger and poverty.

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Town of Old Saybrook Conducts Coastal Resilience Study, Plans Public Meeting June 7

OLD SAYBROOK — The Town of Old Saybrook is conducting a Coastal Community Resilience Study and Infrastructure Evaluation to improve and facilitate the social, economic and ecological resilience of the Town to the impacts of sea level rise, coastal flooding, and erosion.

Public participation is essential to the process and two public meetings will be held this year. An important goal of each public meeting is to gather public input from community members including local residents, beach associations, local and state officials, and businesses located in flood-vulnerable areas.

The first Public Meeting will be held on June 7, at 6 p.m. at the Old Saybrook Pavilion and the public, business owners and community leaders are all encouraged to attend. This meeting will present the Coastal Resilience Study findings, including the future impacts of sea level rise and flooding relative to community assets:

  • Infrastructure;
  • Essential Facilities;
  • Lifeline Systems/Facilities (e.g., Wastewater Treatment Systems);
  • Natural and Recreational Resources, including Beaches, Coves, Salt Marsh, Shellfish Beds and Open Space; and
  • Social Resources: Neighborhoods, Community Centers and Shelters, Religious Centers, and Schools

Flooding issues related to sea level rise and increasing coastal storm surge will be discussed. The results of high resolution hydrodynamic flood models performed for the project will be presented.

Feedback gathered from the public will be integrated into the Coastal Resilience Study.

The Town of Old Saybrook hired the consulting team GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. GZA’s project subconsultants include Alex Felson Landscape Architects and Stantec.

For further information about the Coastal Resilience Study, contact Christine Nelson, Director of Old Saybrook  Land Use Department at 860-395-3131 or cnelson@oldsaybrookct.gov.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ Tonight in Chester with $525 Give-Away, New Martini, New Art, New Jewelry & More

CHESTER — It’s First Friday again in Chester on April 7.  Most village shops and galleries will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. for this festive evening.

Visitors who come to Chester’s downtown between Friday, March 3 and Friday, April 7 have a chance at winning a March Madness shopping spree worth more than $500. This special promotion kicked off on First Friday in March and ends First Friday in April: shoppers, diners and gallery-goers can pick up a special “Chester” card at any business and each time they buy something, their card will be validated.

Once they’ve made purchases at seven different locations, their card is eligible for the drawing April 7 when the winner will receive $25 gift certificates from each of the eight restaurants and 13 merchants participating.

Every store, gallery and restaurant in town is on board, and the cards are available at each of them.

Suzie Woodward of ‘Lark’ prepares for ‘First Friday’ in Chester.

Completed cards should be turned in to The Perfect Pear at 51 Main Street no later than 5 p.m. April 7 for the grand-prize drawing at 6 p.m. Players can complete more than one card for entry. The winner need not be present to win.

These customers of “Strut Your Mutt” are ready for ‘First Friday.’

The participating restaurants are: The Good Elephant, Otto, Pattaconk 1850 Bar and Grille, River Tavern, Simon’s Marketplace, Thai Riverside, The Villager and The Wheatmarket.

The eligible retail shops and galleries are Black Kat Leather, Dina Varano, Elle Design Studio, The French Hen, Lark, Lori Warner Gallery and Swoon and Maple & Main Gallery, Also: The Perfect Pear, R.J Vickers Herbery, the Chester Bottle Shop, Strut Your Mutt, Matt Austin Studio and Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery.

Tonight, Leif Nilsson will be hosting an Opening Reception for his Watch Hill Paintings at his Spring Street Studio and Gallery, where his band Arrowhead will also be playing.

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Letter From Paris: Thoughts on the First Few Days of Brexit

Nicole Prévost Logan

This was a very good editorial,  civilized and  compassionate.  It avoided throwing oil on the fire, playing the blame game or making doomsday predictions.

On March 30, in le Monde, an editorial appeared under the following title: “An Appeal to London and the 27.”  Actually it was a collective message published simultaneously by The Guardian, Le Monde, La Vanguardia and Gazeta Wyborcza.

One cannot undo 44 years of social, economic and human ties with just a strike of a pen — that was  the four newspapers’ message.   The collateral damage will be felt on both sides of the English Channel.  Three million Europeans live in the UK and more than two million British expats live on the continent. The fate of those five million people is at stake.  

The authors of the editorial suggested the Brexit process should be started on a positive note and tend to the status of the expatriate nationals right away, before starting the negotiation process.

But the day after Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, parted emotionally with the Euroskeptic David Davis British envoy,  the head-on confrontational negotiations started in earnest.

Like a chess player, Theresa May decided that attack was the best strategy and she put the central demands of the UK on the table: first, treat simultaneously the details of the “divorce” and the future of commercial relations between the UK and the European Union (EU); second, organize the future of security cooperation. 

Europe shot back in no uncertain terms.  Angela Merkel said Germany wanted to tackle other matters first and so did Francois Holland,  Donald Tusk and Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for Europe.  The basic position of the Europeans is that no negotiations on free trade should start until the UK has left the EU totally and become a third-party country. 

The European Union (EU) wants discussions to proceed “per phases,” starting with “reciprocal and non discriminatory” guarantees as to the status of the Europeans living the UK and the 60 billion Euros already obligated by the UK to the budget of Europe. An extremely sensitive point will be for the UK to abide by the decisions taken by the European Court of Justice located in Luxembourg.

As far as the negotiations concerning the future relations between the two parties, some topics promise to be particularly stormy, particularly the “social, fiscal and environmental dumping” or whether to preserve the “financial passport” allowing the City of London to sell financial products on the continent.  The Europeans oppose discussions per economic sector, as wanted by Theresa May, and bi-lateral agreements to be signed between the UK and any of the EU members. 

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.

On March 31, Donald Tusk, gave a crucial six-page document to the 27 members of the EU laying down the essential principles of the negotiations to come. The text should be formally accepted by them on April 29 at a summit meeting in Brussels.

Obviously the presidential elections in France will have an impact on the negotiations.   Marine Le Pen applauds an event which will make Europe more fragile.  At the opposite end of the political spectrum, Emmanuel Macron (En Marche party) feels the access to the Common Market  has a price and should be balanced by contributions to the European budget.  François Fillon  (Les Republicains or LR ) supports a firm attitude toward the British demands. He thinks that the Le Touquet agreement needs to be modified and the borders moved from Calais to Dover.

The ideal scenario would be to have the parties agree on these first phases so that discussion on the future should be tackled by the beginning of 2018.

The tone of the difficult negotiations has been set.  It will be a roller-coaster ride for months to come.

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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Celebrate Beavers on International Beaver Day, Saturday

ESSEX — The Essex Conservation Commission is celebrating International Beaver Day on Saturday, April 8.  Rain date is April 9.

The Commission will be hosting tours of Quarry Pond at 6 a.m. (prior to sunrise) and 7 p.m. (prior to sunset).  Beavers are nocturnal animals that tend to sleep during the day.  The ability to see them is best at these times.

Quarry Pond in located in the Viney Hill Brook Park in Essex, CT.  Meet at the parking lot on the end of Cedar Grove Terrace prior to the start time of each tour.

Beavers are known as a Keystone species. A keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. All species in an ecosystem, or habitat, rely on each other.

Come and visit to learn more about Beavers. Sign up by contacting EssexCelebratesBeavers@gmail.com.

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Maple & Main Gallery Hosts Spring Exhibit

‘The Overlook’ by Pam Carlson of Essex is one of the signature paintings of the Spring Exhibition at Maple & Main.

CHESTER –- The opening reception for the Spring Exhibit at Maple and Main Gallery will be Saturday, April 8 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The party includes a wine tasting from 6 to 7 p.m. by Eric Nelsen, owner of the Chester Package Store, and from 6 to 8 p.m., an assortment of appetizers and sweets and wines will be offered.

‘Homophony’ by Gray Jacobik of Deep River is featured in the exhibition. The work is gouache on cradled panel 36x36x2.5,

The show will feature new works by 48 established painters and sculptors ranging from traditional to abstract in a wide variety of sizes, medium and price points.

From April 5 through 30, the art department of Haddam-Killingworth High School will display work in the Stone Gallery with an opening party, April 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. In May, in there will be a special show of 8 x 8 paintings by Maple and Main artists in the Stone Gallery with an opening on First Friday, May 5 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Spring Exhibit opens Wednesday, April 5 and runs through Sunday, June 18.

Maple and Main Gallery is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.; Friday, from noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please visit our webpage: mapleandmaingallery.com or facebook page. 860-526-6065; mapleandmain@att.net.

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Children’s Classic That Still Rings True Today; See ‘The Hundred Dresses’ at Ivoryton, Saturday

IVORYTON – The Hundred Dresses remains as relevant for children today as it was when it was written in 1944. The timeless story by Connecticut author Eleanor Estes, about a young immigrant who gets bullied at school, comes to the stage at the Ivoryton Playhouse on Saturday, April 8, at 2 p.m.

Estes, a Newbery Medal-winning author who lived in West Haven, Conn., tells the story of Wanda Petronski, a second-grader from Poland. Wanda lives way up in a shabby house in Boggins Heights, and she doesn’t have any friends. Every day she wears a faded blue dress, but she tells her classmates that she has a hundred dresses at home — all silk, all colors, velvet, too.

The children at Franklin Elementary don’t know what to make of this peculiar new girl with the strange accent. Soon they make a game of teasing Wanda about her hundred dresses until one day she disappears from school, leaving just an empty seat where she once sat. As feelings of guilt overtake the children, they decide that they must find out what happened to Wanda and make amends for the way they treated her. But is it too late? And how is it that Wanda left behind 100 dresses?

Based on the beloved Newbery Honor Book by Estes, this acclaimed musical adaptation masterfully handles such topics as bullying, friendship and forgiveness. Packed with humor and filled with colorful characters and memorable songs such as “Bright Blue Day,” “Penny Paddywhack” and “Never Do Nothing,” The Hundred Dresses is a time-honored tale that explores the bonds of friendship, the willingness to be yourself and the courage that it takes to stand up to others — even when you’re standing alone.

The Ivoryton Playhouse production will be directed by Daniel Nischan. The cast includes Anna Fagan, Gina Salvatore, Amy Buckley, Erik Bloomquist, Michael Hotkowski, Amy Forbes, Olivia Welch and Jim Hile.

The Hundred Dresses is part of this year’s Ivoryton Playhouse education program for elementary schools, entitled Plays with Purpose. The program teaches social development lessons while exposing children to the art of live theater, many of them attending a live performance for the first time. This year, 1,500 students and teachers will attend with their schools throughout the week of April 3.

The one-time public performance will be held on Saturday, April 8, at 2 p.m., and is best for ages 12 and under. All tickets are $14 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.)

The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

 

Plays with Purpose is supported by The Bauman Family Foundation, the Essex Community Fund and The Community Foundation of Middlesex County’s Council of Business Partners Fund as part of its ongoing Campaign for Bully-Free Communities. It is sponsored by Katrina A. Wall, Essex Dentist.

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Andy Schatz to Receive Social Justice Award at CBSRZ, Saturday

CHESTER/WESTBROOK — Over many years, Andy Schatz has devoted his professional life as a lawyer to civil liberties and social justice – advocating on behalf of health care for the poor, rights for the disabled, improved educational opportunities for minorities, consumer protection and a host of other public causes.

For all these efforts the Westbrook resident has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Philip Scheffler Pursuers of Peace and Justice Award, given by Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

He will be honored at a Shabbat service on Saturday, April 8, at 10:30 a.m., to which the public is invited, and that is followed by a luncheon, the award presentation and a panel discussion on social justice and the news media.

Susan Peck, chair of the committee that selects awardees each year, said, “The CBSRZ community is proud to honor our congregant. We are keenly aware from recent events that constant vigilance is required to preserve and protect civil rights and civil liberties for all, and to promote social justice for those members of our community who are unable to do so on their own.  Through his exemplary work in these areas, Andy Schatz is a hero.  There is no more worthy recipient this award.”

Schatz is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Civil Rights, Civil Liberties Law Review.  He has served over the years in many organizations, including Advocates for the Handicapped, Legal Aid of Chicago, West Hartford Community Television, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, the American Civil Liberties Union, both as a national board and executive committee member, and as president and vice president of the Connecticut chapter.

As a law student and later as a lawyer he pursued successful class action litigation regarding consumer and anti-trust matters, challenges to strip searches of female arrestees, school segregation and government intrusion, and has worked on a wide range of issues involving the rights of prisoners.

He has also been the chair of the CBSRZ Social Action committee over the last five years. With his fellow congregants he has led efforts to alleviate the effects of poverty, including food drives and meal sites for Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, and furnishing apartments for the homeless, clothing drives for children, and similar projects.  In addition, under his leadership, the committee has supported and sometimes led legislative efforts aimed at gun control, children’s rights, and racial justice.

The award is named after Philip Scheffler, a congregant who had a long career at CBS News as a producer and as executive editor of 60 Minutes and who died in April 2016. Andy Schatz is the second recipient of the award.  Martha Stone, of Durham, longtime director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy, was the first.

The panel discussion after the Shabbat service will feature Schatz, along with James Jacoby (former colleague of Scheffler at CBS News), Allan Appel (of the New Haven Independent), and Jeff Cohen (WNPR).

In order to be sure to accommodate all who wish to attend, the congregation asks that those interested to RSVP either by calling the CBSRZ office, (860) 526-8920, or by registering online at www.cbsrz.org.

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See Piano Prodigy Ethan Bortnick at Valley Regional, Thursday; Benefits Sister Cities Essex Haiti


AREAWIDE — Celebrate one year of open doors of the Deschapelles Community Library with world famous piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick.  Don’t miss an exceptional opportunity to see this versatile, teenage piano prodigy coupled with a chance to support the continued education and programs offered by Sister Cities Essex Haiti (SCEH) for the community of Deschapelles, Haiti.

Bortnick will perform at Valley Regional High School (VRHS) on Thursday, April 6, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  Adult general admission is $30 and student general admission is $20. Tickets are available online at this link.

Bortnick was the youngest performer at the 2010 We Are the World for Haiti and has performed for and/or recorded with celebrities such as Elton John, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Josh Groban, Tony Bennet, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli and Gloria Estefan, and has been a guest on Oprah and The Tonight Show.

Recognized by the Guinness World Records as “The World’s Youngest Solo Musician to Headline His Own Concert Tour,” pianist, singer and composer Bortnick has been performing around the world, raising over $40 million for charities across the globe.

In this concert at VRHS, Bortnick will perform a range of music that appeals to people of all ages. Hear songs from The Beatles to Elton John to Broadway, from Chopin to Neil Diamond, from Michael Jackson to Motown to rock ‘n roll, works by great classical composers and everything in between. His show, The Power of Music continues to be one of highest rated specials on PBS.

Sister Cities Essex Haiti is a non-profit organization established in 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Haiti and partners with friends in Deschapelles, Haiti to establish programs, which expand educational and cultural opportunities. The organization’s major project was the creation of a community library, which opened its doors in January 2016. The library has become an integral part of the community of Deschapelles and hosts a variety of programs for children and adults.

Sister Cities Essex Haiti supports other projects including a musical collaboration among musicians and music lovers in southeastern Connecticut and Deschapelles, an early education teacher training project, a cross-cultural exchange project with students from CT, and a tennis project.

Sister Cities Essex Haiti continues to engage in initiatives in southeastern Connecticut that increase awareness of Haiti and its unique culture.

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Chanticleer, “An Orchestra of Voices” Concludes Essex Winter Series’ 40th Anniversary Season This Afternoon

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, perform April 2 in Old Saybrook to conclude Esex Winter Series 40th anniversary season.

ESSEX/OLD SAYBROOK – Essex Winter Series’ 40th anniversary season concludes with Chanticleer, “an orchestra of voices,” performing on Sunday, April 2 at 3 p.m. at Old Saybrook High School, 1111 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.

One of the world’s most renowned vocal ensembles, Chanticleer is an all-male chorus that performed as part of the Series in 2015 to a near sold-out audience, despite snowstorm conditions. This year, they present “My Secret Heart,” a program that invokes images of love across time and space.

In addition to Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, the program highlights two special Chanticleer commissions. They are a brand new work from the pen of Finnish composer Jaako Mantyjärvi, and five evocative and heart-wrenching poems from “Love Songs” of Augusta Read Thomas, featured in the Grammy-award winning CD “The Colors of Love.”

Individual tickets are $35 or $5 for full-time students. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

The 2017 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, and Tower Laboratories. Outreach activities are supported by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Chester Synagogue Hosts Open House Today

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is hosting an open house Sunday, April 2, to learn about their educational opportunities for children and teenagers. Tour the building, meet teachers and watch the students in action as they present our Passover program,The Living Haggadah, for their parents and congregants.

Open house begins at 10 a.m. and the Living Haggadah program begins at 11 a.m. Call the office at (860) 526-8920 with questions or visit cbsrz.org to learn more about the synagogue or their many educational and cultural programs.

CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, CT 06412  

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Potapaug Hosts “American Woodcock” Program This Evening

WESTBROOK — Potapaug Audubon presents “The American Woodcock” at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, at the Stewart B. McKiney National Wildlife Refuge, 733 Old Clinton Rd Westbrook with Patricia Laudano, Naturalist.  Both programs are identical.

A PowerPoint presentation precedes a walk on the grounds of refuge to witness the mating call and flight of this fascinating bird. Dress appropriately.

Call for more information: 860-399-2513.

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‘Million Dollar Quartet’ Opens May 31 at Ivoryton Playhouse

John Rochette* who plays Elvis Presley in the upcoming musical at Ivoryton Playhouse. Photograph by Ivoryton Playhouse

IVORYTON — What would happen if rock-n’-roll legends Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash all got together for one night only to give one of the most epic jam sessions the world has ever known? That’s what happens in Million Dollar Quartet, the Tony-winning musical that brings to life this legendary session that occurred on Dec. 4, 1956 at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tenn.

Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” who was responsible for launching the careers of each icon, brought the four legendary musicians together at the Sun Records studio in Memphis for the first and only time. The resulting evening became known as one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history.

The jam session consisted largely of snippets of gospel songs that the four artists had all grown up singing. The recordings show Elvis, the most nationally and internationally famous of the four at the time, to be the focal point of what was a casual, spur-of-the-moment gathering of four artists who would each go on to contribute greatly to the seismic shift in popular music in the late 1950s.

During the session, Phillips called a local newspaper, the Memphis Press-Scimitar and the following day, an article about the session appeared in the Press-Scimitar under the headline “Million Dollar Quartet”.

The jukebox Million Dollar Quartet written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, brings that legendary night to life with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, betrayal and celebrations featuring an eclectic score of rock, gospel, R&B and country hits including; “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and more.

The Broadway production premiered at the Nederlander Theatre on April 11, 2010, with a cast featuring Eddie Clendening as Elvis Presley, Lance Guest as Johnny Cash, Levi Kreis as Jerry Lee Lewis, Robert Britton Lyons as Carl Perkins and Hunter Foster as Sam Phillips.  The musical transferred to New World Stages in July 2011 and closed on June 24, 2012. A US national tour and International productions followed.

The musical was nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. Levi Kreis won the award for Best Featured Actor for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis.

This production is directed by Sherry Lutken, who was last here in 2015 with Stand By Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story; Eric Anthony is Musical Director; Set Design is by Martin Scott Marchitto and Lighting by Marcus Abbott. Costume Design is by Rebecca Welles

Our production stars: Luke Darnell* as Carl Perkins, Joe Callahan* as Jerry Lee Lewis, Jeremy Sevelovitz* as Johnny Cash, John Rochette* as Elvis Presley, Ben Hope* as Sam Phillips, Jamie Pittle as Fluke, Emily Mattheson as Dyanne and Kroy Presley as Jay Perkins.

Don’t miss the experience of this show live on stage at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Million Dollar Quartet opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on May 31, and runs through June 25, 2017. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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Middlesex Hospital to Create Office Building at Vacant Essex Site of Former Shoreline Medical Center

Middlesex Hospital has now announced plans for its medical facility in Essex, pictured above, which was closed on April 28, 2014, and has been vacant ever since. The proposal calls for renovating the property as a medical office building that will offer physical therapy and occupational medicine. Photo by Jerome Wilson.

ESSEX—Middlesex Hospital will turn its vacant building on Westbrook Road into a medical office building that will offer physical therapy and occupational medicine. The building will house a third department to be named at a later date.

The building has been vacant since the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center moved to its new facility in Westbrook in 2014. Construction plans call for renovating the Essex facility to maximize service offerings, while also ensuring that each department located there has adequate space and the ability to grow.

The Hospital currently offers physical therapy and occupational medicine services at 192 Westbrook Road. Those departments will move into the new office building, and they have all been involved in the project’s planning process.

As part of the project, the medical office building will get a new roof and existing HVAC units will be replaced or rebuilt. Overgrown shrubbery will be removed, the exterior of the building will be painted, and the building will get new signs.

“We are excited to repurpose this building for the people of Essex and residents of surrounding shoreline communities,” said David Giuffrida, the Hospital’s vice president of operations. “This is an opportunity for the Hospital to further invest in its property and to offer several vital services at one location.”

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Explore Vernal Pools, Emerging Life in the Preserve, Saturday


Look what I found, Mom!

ESSEX — Due to late winter weather, the Essex Land Trust’s planned ‘Vernal Pools and Emerging Life in the Preserve’ hike, to be led by ecologist, Bob Russo is being rescheduled to Saturday, April 1.  This hike will give you the opportunity to search for salamanders, frogs and plants emerging from the long winter. During the one and a half hour hike through easy to moderate terrain, Russo will describe the biological and geological features that make the vernal pool areas unique and bountiful.

Bring tall waterproof boots and nets if you have them.  Open to all ages. Bad weather cancels.

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 CT and he lives in Ivoryton, conveniently near the Atlantic White Cedar swamp.

Bob Russo tells a group about vernal pools.

Russo is also the Chair of Essex’ Park and Recreation Commission.

Meet at The Preserve East Entrance parking lot, Ingham Hill Rd., at 9 a.m..

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Environmental Symposium Examines “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” Today in Haddam

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will deliver the keynote address at the March 31 symposium.

AREAWIDE — The Rockfall Foundation and UConn Climate Adaptation Academy present an environmental symposium about changing precipitation patterns on Friday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UConn Middlesex County Extension Office, 1066 Saybrook Road, Haddam.

The focus is “Water: Too Much or Not Enough?” and the symposium will examine shifting patterns that produce extreme weather occurrences from rain bombs to drought. Discussion will include the impacts on communities and a variety of adaptive responses for municipalities, residents, and businesses.

David Vallee, Hydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service’s Northeast River Forecast Center, will give a keynote address “Examining Trends in Temperature, Precipitation and Flood Frequency in the Northeast; A Tale of Extremes.”

Other presenters and panelists will discuss the effects on our personal lives and the communities we live in, including the challenges of managing infrastructure, maintaining adequate water supplies, supporting local agriculture, fighting insect borne disease, and planning for smart design. Participants include:

  • Amanda Ryan, Municipal Stormwater Educator, UConn CLEAR and Michael Dietz, CT NEMO Program Director – Addressing how the type and frequency of storms affects compliance with MS4 requirements and the effectiveness of LID solutions.
  • David Radka, Director of Water Resource and Planning, Connecticut Water Company and Ryan Tetreault, CT Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section – Discussion of public and private water supplies with a focus on how we ensure sufficient clean water for all.
  • Ian Gibson, Farm Manager, Wellstone Farm – Relating the local agricultural experience of a small farmer and how changing precipitation patterns alter the way he farms.
  • Roger Wolfe, Mosquito Management Coordinator, CT DEEP Wetland Habitat & Mosquito Management Program – How best to control changes in mosquito populations caused by heavy rains and periods of drought.
  • Anne Penniman, ASLA, Principal/Owner, Anne Penniman Associates – Insight on how site development (plant material, surface material, drainage) can be modified to better tolerate and accommodate changing precipitation patterns.
  • Kirk Westphal, PE, CDM Smith Project Manager for CT State Water Plan – An update on the development of Connecticut’s first State Water Plan and how citizens can participate in the process.

“The symposium will be of key interest to local elected and appointed officials, land use planners, developers, and town planning and commission members,” said Robin Andreoli, executive director of the Rockfall Foundation. “And the presentations and follow-up discussions should engage all who are concerned with effective community planning.”

To register or for additional information, visit www.rockfallfoundation.org or call 860-347-0340. Support is provided in part by CDM Smith, Xenelis Construction, Milone & MacBroom, and Planimetrics. Proceeds benefit the environmental education programs of the Rockfall Foundation.

The Rockfall Foundation supports environmental education, conservation programs and planning initiatives in the Lower Connecticut River Valley through financial grants and educational programming. Founded in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations. The Foundation owns and maintains the historic deKoven House in Middletown, which is a community center with meeting rooms and office space for non-profit groups.

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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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