AREAWIDE — Winter Storm Niko pounded the Tri-Town region yesterday dropping some 12 inches of heavy, wet snow, thus creating some challenging snow-clearing. It also created some picture-perfect snow scenes like the one captured above.
The opening reception for two exhibitions at the Lyme Art Association (LAA) will be held this afternoon, Sunday, Jan. 29, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the LAA, 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome and admission is free.
The 25th Annual Associate Artist Show and Sale of landscape, portrait, and still life paintings, as well as sculpture by Associate Artist members is currently on view in the Association’s front galleries, and runs through March 10. Pulled and Pressed, which showcases hand-pulled prints by LAA members of all levels and members of Stonington Printmakers Society as invited guests, is on display in the Goodman gallery, and also runs through March 10.
“The Annual Associate Artist Show and Sale highlights the range, creativity, and excellence of our Associate Artist members. This exhibition includes a variety of subjects, media, and styles: paintings or sculptures that capture the range of human emotion, the beauty and grandeur of the Connecticut landscape, or the personal objects and surroundings of everyday life,” states Jocelyn Zallinger, LAA’s Gallery Manager.
The juror of selection and prizes is Patricia Shippee of Old Lyme. Shippee is an accredited senior member of the American Society of Appraisers. Her expertise has been acquired through her corporate business experience, her studies in art history, and as a collector, gallery owner, curator.
“The Pulled and Pressed show in the Goodman Gallery celebrates the beauty of original contemporary representational hand-made prints.” Juror Helen Cantrell, an Old Lyme resident, is a painter and printmaker, an artist member of Boston Printmakers, the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, and the Silvermine Guild of Artists in New Canaan.
The LAA was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community.
The LAA is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.
ESSEX — Eagles, hawks and owls: Essex Land Trust is offering an outing to search for birds of prey that winter in our region on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. The trip will be led by Jim Denham of the Essex Land Trust and Andrew Griswold of the Connecticut Audubon Society.
Meet at the Essex Town Hall Parking Lot. Bring a snack and beverage, binoculars and warm clothes.
Two vans are available to seat the first 15 people who sign up. To reserve, please contact Judy Saunders at: firstname.lastname@example.org by Jan. 31. Inclement weather cancels.
Ceremonies honoring our veterans will be held in Region 4 schools today.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
AREAWIDE — Have you or someone you know been considering starting or expanding your family?
There are many children who absolutely deserve and want to be a part of a loving family.
Invest a few hours of your time and let the Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Coalition Team show you how the adoption process works; all of the support available both pre- and post-adoption; and the rewards of adoption and starting or growing your family.
The Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Coalition Team is bringing together adoption agencies from across Connecticut, the Department of Children and Families, the Heart Gallery and other organizations involved in adoption support services so Connecticut families can learn more about the process of becoming an adoptive parent.
Attend this National Adoption Month Adoption Fair in Southbury on Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at United Church of Christ, 283 Main St North. Representatives from adoption agencies from Connecticut and Massachusetts will be hosting information tables where you can ask questions, pick up information and mingle. There will be speakers representing domestic, international and foster-to-adopt throughout the day.
Refreshments will be available.
For more information, call Annie C Courtney Foundation and ask for Deb Kelleher at 475.235.2184.
For general information, visit www.anniec.org
The annual sales tax holiday week — during which most individual clothing and footwear items costing less than $100 are exempt from state sales tax — will run from Aug. 21-27.
This is the 16th consecutive year in which the state has held the tax holiday week, which always coincides with back-to-school shopping.
“The tax holiday has become a staple of Connecticut’s back-to-school shopping season,” Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan said in a statement. “Many retailers schedule sales … ”
Click here to read the full article by Cara Rosner, which was published Aug. 16 on CTNewsJunkie.com — a member of the Independent Media Network LLC (IMN) of which Shoreline Web News LLC, owner of LymeLine.com, is also a member.
KILLINGWORTH — Chef Paul Barron and Weekend Kitchen team up with Stonewell Farm to host three evenings of farm-to-table dining on Friday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m., plus Saturday, Sept. 17, and Sunday, Sept. 18, both at 5:30 p.m.
Gather some friends and enjoy a glass of wine, great food featuring artisanal pizzas prepared in Stonewell Farm’s wood-fired oven, and live acoustic guitar in an outdoor setting. To cap it off, the evening will conclude with a bonfire in the stone firepit. (Guests are encouraged to BYOB).
Hosts, Andrew Pighills and Michelle Becker, are award-winning garden designers and prior to the meal, will provide tours of the extensive gardens including perennial borders, an espaliered orchard, and the organic kitchen and herb gardens from which much of your meal will be sourced.
The prix-fixe menu includes appetizers, organic salad from Stonewell Farm, unlimited artisanal wood-fired pizzas highlighting locally sourced ingredients with a glass of wine accompaniment, and a dessert made with local, seasonal fruits. Tickets are $75 per person.
For more information and/or to make a reservation, visit this link.
REGION 4 – All John Winthrop students, from Chester, Deep River and Essex, are encouraged to sign up for the book discussion at Chester Public Library on Thursday, July 14, to earn credit for their school’s summer reading requirement.
The group will discuss The Dark Game: True Spy Stories from Invisible Ink to CIA Moles by Paul B. Janeczko.
Students can pick up a copy of the book, while they are available, at the circulation desk at the library to read in advance of the discussion. The discussion will be held at 5 p.m. at the library on July 14. Refreshments will be served.
Preregistration is required and space is limited. Students’ required “notes” will be completed at the discussion.
CHESTER – On Saturday June 25, from 10 a.m. to noon, the Chester Library will present a free workshop on the craft of fly tying and how to fly fish for ages 10 to 15.
The instructors will be Chester resident John Merola and Old Lyme resident Mark Lewchik. John and Mark have both been fly fishing and fly tying since around the age of ten; they are considerably older now! They bring over 80 years of combined experience to the table at this event.
Attendees will learn about the materials and tools of fly tying and then be given the opportunity to tie a fly or two themselves. Next, the group will learn about the basic equipment required for fly fishing with an emphasis on fishing for panfish and trout. Finally, the group will go to the library lawn and learn how to fly cast.
Space is limited to 10 people, so preregister is required. Call the library at 860-526-0018.
AREAWIDE – Senator Art Linares, Senator Paul Formica, Representative Devin Carney will present an AARP Fraud Protection Forum at Estuary Council of Seniors, 220 Main St., Old Saybrook, on Friday, June 24, from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m.
AREAWIDE – HOPE Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing affordable housing options on the shoreline and lower Middlesex County, is hosting a free reception on Wednesday, March 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the River Valley Junction Gallery at Essex Steam Train.
The reception, which is HOPE’s annual “FRIEND Raiser,” is sponsored by Page Taft and Essex Steam Train. The event will include a cocktail hour, complete with appetizers, beer and wine, and is free to all who wish to attend.
HOPE is inviting all interested members of the community to come together and learn about HOPE’s mission to develop affordable housing options along the shoreline. Executive Director Lauren Ashe noted, ”The issue of the need for affordable housing is often surrounded by myths, which we work to dispel. Residents in need of affordable housing may be working full time but unable to make ends meet for their family or they may be young adults who wish to stay or return to the area where they grew up. This evening is about friendship, partnership and educating the community while enjoying a glass of wine and refreshments at an amazing venue.”
Anyone interested in attending can RSVP to Loretta@HOPE-CT.org or by calling 860-388-9513. More information about HOPE at http://www.hope-ct.org/
Editor’s note: Founded in April 2004, HOPE Partnership is a non-profit organization committed to advocating and developing affordable housing opportunities to support families living and working in southern Middlesex County and surrounding towns. HOPE’s purpose is to advocate for and create high-quality rental housing targeted to people earning between 50% and 80% of the local median income.
ESSEX — Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman has purchased a site for a new home on Foxboro Point for $1,375,000. The First Selectman’s property is located immediately to the right of the iconic windmill at Foxboro Point.
In discussing his purchase, Needleman estimated that it will take, “a couple of years,” before he can move into a new home on his Foxboro Point property.
Needleman presently lives in the Book Hill Woods area of Essex.
MADISON – Tara Maloney, a Madison resident and junior at Hopkins School, visited The Country School recently to speak about her experiences at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, D.C. Maloney’s lecture came as part of the Country School’s Elmore Leadership Speaker Series.
A 2013 graduate of The Country School, Maloney was one of 24 students from across the country selected to attend the semester-long program at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership. The school’s mission – “to provide intellectually motivated high school juniors who represent the diversity of the United States with the best possible opportunity to shape themselves into ethical leaders who create positive change in our world” – mirrors the mission of the Elmore Leadership program.
A school-wide initiative at the coeducational, preschool-8th grade independent school in Madison, the Elmore Leadership Program was created to develop students into civic-minded citizens who are prepared to become tomorrow’s leaders. Through a carefully crafted series of activities, programs, and experiences, Country School students are taught strong motivational and analytical skills. They learn the power of teamwork, collaboration, empathetic listening and appreciative inquiry by taking turns leading and letting others lead.
Inviting outside speakers to campus is also an essential component of the Elmore Leadership program, providing students opportunities to be inspired by real-world stories of leadership and decision-making.
The Elmore Leadership Program is named for longtime Country School trustee Robert W. Elmore, a lawyer, educator and organizational development consultant who focused on issues related to listening and leadership.
Founded in 1955, 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.
CHESTER – Chester Land Trust and Chester Public Library are teaming up to sponsor a Plant Sale on Saturday, May 14, featuring locally grown and native plants.
Chester residents are dividing their perennials, digging up their tree seedlings, and potting up extra houseplants to donate to the sale, and Ballek’s in East Haddam is contributing native perennials and mixed vegetable flats. An abundance of clay flowerpots have been donated as well.
All donated plants will be sold at very reasonable prices, with all proceeds from the sale benefiting the Land Trust and the Chester Library.
The sale will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carini Preserve on Water St. (Rte. 154), next to the public parking lot at 20 Water Street. Master gardeners will be on hand to answer your plant care questions. More information is available at the library (860-526-0018).
MADISON – The Country School welcomed 200 educators, parents, and students to campus for a screening of Most Likely to Succeed, the thought-provoking film about the future of education. A panel discussion after the screening featured Tom Scarice, Superintendent of the Madison Public Schools; Douglas Lyons, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools; and Laura Pappano, an award-winning journalist who has written widely about school reform. John Fixx, Head of School at The Country School, moderated the discussion.
Most Likely to Succeed, directed by Greg Whitely, examines the current educational system in the United States and considers the ways it may need to change if it is to prepare the current generation of students for success in the future. The film screening and panel discussion, which were free and open to the public, came as part of The Country School’s Teacher Institute – Partnering with Parents series. As a community dedicated to teaching and learning, The Country School is committed to offering educational opportunities not only to students, but to parents, teachers, and the broader public.
The Country School, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active hands-on learning and a curriculum that focuses on the whole child. In addition to vigorous academics, The Country School is committed to a vital arts program, strong offerings in physical education, and challenging opportunities for growth. Signature programs include STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, and Outdoor Education. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.
Old Saybrook High School Ecology Club will host its 4th Annual Electronics Drive on Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Old Saybrook High School.
Help support the environment as well as local organizations that support young mothers and fathers within the shoreline by donating your old/used electronics and metal recyclables. All donated items will be recycled and redeemed for diapers, formula and other baby needs to help support local single mothers and fathers in the area.
The following items will be accepted:
1. Electronics of any kind including computers, laptops/desktops, tablets, all computer-related gear, old/outdated household appliances (big & small), cell phones, etc.
2. Wires, cables, cords of any kind (i.e.,cell phone chargers, extension cords, computer cables, etc.)
3. Non-working lawnmowers & motors of any kind (i.e., blowers, scooters, generators, saws, vacuums, etc.)
4. Lead batteries of any kind (car, truck, boat, power-wheels)
5. Appliances of any kind (washer, dryer, microwave, stove, AC units, humidifiers)
6. Odds & ends of metal items (chairs, aluminum, copper, iron, file cabinets–all bulk metal)
LYME – Reynolds Subaru and Boats is holding its sixth annual Adopt a Pet event Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We all are looking for the common goal of saving these homeless animals and giving them wonderful lives,” said Hayden Reynolds. “Our past events have brought together the public in more ways than one to help achieve this goal and we are grateful for our customers, community and sponsors who are passionate about helping animals.”
At last year’s event many pets found their new homes and Reynolds Subaru is on a mission to double that this year.
The event will take place at Reynolds Subaru, 264 Hamburg Road, Lyme. There will be complimentary food, refreshments, raffles, and, of course, pets looking for their forever home.
For more information on this event follow www.facebook.com/ReynoldsSubaru or call 860-434-0028.
TRI-TOWN — Calling all toddlers!
Tri-Town Youth Services at 56 High St. in Deep River offers play groups led by Parent Resource Coordinator Allison Abramson. The groups offer a mixture of free play, music, art, and story time. Caregivers have a chance to chat with each other and browse the parent resource library.
Both groups run on Wednesdays from Jan. 6 through March 9. Outstanding Ones meets from 11 to 11:30 a.m. with a cost of $45 for tri-town residents and $55 for non-residents. Terrific Twos meets from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. with a cost of $60 for Tri-Town residents and $70 for non-residents. Register at www.tritownys.org or call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600.
Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex. The organization coordinates and provides resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most. Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org
AREAWIDE – On Friday, Feb. 5, Roto Frank of America, Inc. will present a check for $2,867 to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries. The presentation will be made by Chris Dimou, President and CEO of Roto Frank of America, Inc., and Sue LeMire, HR/General Accounting Manager. The donation will enable the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries to provide enough food for more than 7,350 meals.
The funds were raised during an employee campaign that ran from February to December 2015. After identifying five local charities, employees voted to select the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries as the recipient of their campaign efforts in 2015.
Employees voluntarily elected to make donations via payroll deduction as well as supporting a variety of fundraising events such as bake sales, pancake breakfasts and raffles. In addition to the money raised by Roto Frank employees, the organization also collected and donated more than 300 pounds of canned goods and pasta.
The Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries provides food for families in need through its pantries located in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton, Old Lyme and East Lyme and meal sites in Centerbrook, Essex, Deep River, Chester, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton and Old Lyme.
Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America, Inc. is a Chester-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. For more information, visit www.rotohardware.com.
AREAWIDE – Join in the fun at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) at the annual kids Purim Spiel and Carnival on Sunday, March 20, from 10 a.m. until noon. Kids are welcome to come in costume (Queen Esther, Haman or anything of their choosing) and be part of the Costume Parade. Admission and games are free. Lunch is available for purchase and the proceeds will benefit the Youth Group Program. This is a perfect activity for families with children up to age 12.
CBSRZ is a reform synagogue located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. For more information, contact the office at 860-526-8920. Visit the website at www.cbsrz.org and visit on Facebook at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.
REGION 4 – They’re creepy and they’re kooky! This year’s musical, The Addams Family, will be performed the weekend of Friday, March 11, through Sunday, March 13, at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. The cast, crew and pit are putting the finishing touches on staging, lights and songs as they prepare for opening night. Ingrid Walsh, director, comments, “I’m just speechless and so proud of how much and how far the cast has dared to go to join the Addams Family.
From the dancing and singing to the elaborate scenery, props, makeup and costumes, this is one show that is not to be missed. There are sure to be feelings of nostalgia for those who grew up watching this iconic show.
Performances are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. Tickets are $12 each for all shows, except the Saturday matinee ($10). They can be purchased at Celebrations, The Wheatmarket, Elephant Crossing, Toys Ahoy and Valley Regional. Those with questions can call the school at 860-526-5328 and speak with Tina Stoddard.
REGION 4 — Valley Regional Musical Productions will present a new musical comedy, “The Addams Family,” on the weekend of March 11-13 at Valley Regional High School in Deep River.
The musical is based on the characters drawn and made famous by Charles Addams.
Rehearsals have already begun under the direction of Ingrid Walsh. “The Addams Family” features a cast of 73 and a crew of 30 with an additional nine students in the music pit.
Four shows will be presented: Friday, March 11, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 12, at 1 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 13, at 1 p.m.
Tickets for all seats are $12 except for the Saturday matinee, which will be $10. Tickets will be available beginning Jan. 31 at the school, Celebrations, Elephant Crossing, Toys Ahoy, and The Wheatmarket.
The Valley Regional Musical Program (VRMP) has been under the direction of Ingrid Walsh since 1998 and has been recognized by the Connecticut High School Music Theatre Awards multiple times for such awards as Outstanding Hair and Makeup, Outstanding Sound Design, and Outstanding Actress, among others.
The VRMP won awards for Outstanding Production of the Year in 2012 for “Titanic” as well as Outstanding Chorus in 2012 and 2013. Last year VRMP was honored with the inaugural “The Future of Theatre Award,” recognizing its success in producing the new musical show, “Band Geeks.”
AREAWIDE – The U.S. Navy Concert Band is stopping in New London, one of 23 cities in five states, to perform during its 2016 tour. This is one of the Navy’s signature outreach programs.
The Navy Concert Band performance is scheduled for Thursday, March 10, at 8 p.m. at Leamy Concert Hall, at the Coast Guard Academy, 15 Mohegan Avenue, New London.
The Navy Concert Band, the premier wind ensemble of the U.S. Navy, presents a wide array of marches, patriotic selections, orchestral transcriptions and modern wind ensemble repertoire. As the original ensemble of the Navy Band, the Concert Band has been performing public concerts and participating in high-profile events for nearly 90 years.
One of the U.S. Navy Band’s primary responsibilities involves touring the country. All of the band’s primary performing units embark each year on concert tours throughout specified regions of the country, allowing the band to reach out to audiences in areas of the country that do not have opportunities to see the Navy’s premier musical ensembles on a regular basis. The concerts are family-friendly events, meant to be entertaining to veterans, families, individuals and those interested in joining the Navy.
All Navy Band performances are free and open to the public. No tickets are required. For other dates and other cities where the Navy Concert Band is performing, check the Navy Band website here.
We wish all our readers, advertisers and friends a very Happy New Year 2016.
We hope it brings you and yours peace, good health and happiness.
We thank you sincerely for your support through 2015 and look forward to continuing to serve you in 2016.
CHESTER — For its 42nd season, the Robbie Collomore Music Series will offer all four of its concerts in the fall, between Sept. 27 and Nov. 29. As always, the Collomore Committee, chaired by Martin Nadel, has chosen a mix of music genres for the season. All four concerts will be on Sundays at 5 p.m. in the Chester Meeting House.
Beginning the season, on Sept. 27, is the Barbara and Edmund Delaney Young Artists Concert. Cellist Julia Bruskin debuted with the Boston Symphony at age 17 and now performs as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and internationally as a soloist. She will perform in Chester with her husband, Aaron Wunsch, an internationally known pianist and a member of the Juilliard piano faculty.
Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton takes center stage on Oct. 18. According to the Wall Street Journal, Paxton, age 26, is “virtually the only music-maker of his generation—playing guitar, banjo, piano and violin, among other implements—to fully assimilate the blues idiom of the 1920s and ‘30s.”
The Hot Club of Detroit, a jazz ensemble specializing in the Gypsy jazz sound made famous by guitarist Django Reinhardt, performs on Nov. 8, followed on Nov. 29 by classical guitarist Jorge Caballero. He is the youngest musician and the only guitarist to win the Naumburg International Competition, one of the most prestigious and coveted awards given to performers of any instrument.
Buy a season subscription and save money, plus you’ll be certain you will have a seat even when the concert is sold out. A subscription to all four concerts is just $72 (that’s four concerts for the price of three). Individual concert tickets cost $24. For students from elementary through graduate school, a subscription is $15. A student ticket for just one concert is $5. Tickets can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal. All ticket-holders are invited to stay for a reception after the concert to meet the performers. For more information, check the website or call 860-526-5162.
Photo: Check your calendars and order your season subscription for this year’s Collomore Concerts! All the info is on the website.
Have you ever wondered what is happening under the surface of the Connecticut River? What fish are there and when? And what is being done to protect the fish and their habitat?
RiverQuest receives questions like these about the fish that inhabit our part of the Connecticut River on every cruise it runs. RiverQuest is hosting a Sunset Cruise on Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. with Fisheries Biologist Steve Gephard, which presents an opportunity to have all these questions answered.
Gephard is a supervising fisheries biologist with the State of Connecticut, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Inland Fisheries Division. He is in charge of the Division’s Diadromous (fish that migrate between fresh water and salt water) Fish Program and its Habitat Conservation Program. He has over 35 years of experience with diadromous fish species and fish passage projects.
This will be a relaxing, informational cruise departing from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam, on which guests are invited to bring a picnic, favorite beverage and any “fishy” questions they have.
RiverQuest will depart from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam at 6 p.m. The cost per person is $30. To learn more about this informative cruise and reserve a spot via on-line booking, visit ctriverquest.com or call 860-662-0577.
AREAWIDE — State Representatives Devin Carney (R-23) and Paul Formica (R-20) invite residents to attend a second legislative wrap-up on Monday, July 27.
Legislators will be available to discuss the laws that passed during the legislative session and how these measures will affect area businesses and residents.
Everyone is welcome and the event is free of charge.
The Old Lyme Legislative Update will feature Senator Formica and Representative Devin Carney on Monday, July 27, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, 2 Library Ln, Old Lyme.
Visit www.RepCarney.com for more information and updates.
Editor’s Note: The 23rd General Assembly District includes the Town of Old Saybrook.
AREAWIDE — Music and drama have been linked since Antiquity, when Greek drama evolved from choruses that recited poetry. This year’s Connecticut Early Music Festival program explores music’s relationship to the theatrical modes of tragedy and comedy. From the music of the commedia dell’arte to dramatic and comic moments in Beethoven’s violin sonatas, this year’s concerts demonstrate works of music as works of theater.
The festival offers three pairs of concerts over the first three weekends in June. The Saturday, June 20 concert is at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and the Sunday, June 14 concert was at the La Grua Center in Stonington; all the remaining concerts are at Evans Hall in Connecticut College.
The full program for the final concerts this weekend is as follows:
The Baltimore Consort
MUSICK’S SILVER SOUND: HEAVENLY
HARMONY AND EARTHLY DELIGHT
IN THE BRITISH ISLES, FRANCE, AND SPAIN
Saturday, June 20 – 7:30 p.m.
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
The Baltimore Consort has delighted audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for 35 years. Its mixed ensemble of viols, recorders, plucked-string instruments, and voice could be called “Shakespeare’s Stage Band.” In this spirit, the ensemble performs existing and new arrangements of tunes popular in Shakespeare’s time from England and Continental Europe.
Connecticut Early Music Ensemble
TRAGEDY AND COMEDY IN BACH’S CANTATAS
Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (BWV 12) and
Hercules auf dem Scheidewege (BWV 213)
Sunday, June 21 – 5 p.m.
Evans Hall, Connecticut College, New London
Pre-Concert talk by Dr. Eric Rice – 4 p.m.
All are welcome to attend a reception after the performance
These two cantatas by J.S. Bach both contain ravishing music that the composer saw fit to use in later compositions: BWV 12, a meditation on the afflictions Christians have to endure, became the Crucifixus of the Mass in B Minor, and BWV 213, a dramma per musica written for the birthday of the crown prince of Saxony, was recast as part of the Christmas Oratorio.
The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting a display of Jerry Basil’s toy soldiers for the month of June. Basil has been collecting different kinds of toy soldiers for many years and has an impressive collection.
The Acton Library is open from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.
Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents its summer exhibition, American Waters, in the LAA’s sky-lit galleries from June 12 through July 31. The exhibition will feature work by the country’s premier maritime artists, who are members of the American Society of Marine Artists as invited guests, alongside exciting marine work by LAA artists.
An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Friday, June 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the LAA, 90 Lyme St., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome and refreshments will be served.
Russ Kramer, an internationally recognized marine painter, will jury the exhibition. Kramer comments, “What better place for an exhibition of marine-inspired art than the Lyme Art Association?” continuing, “It is a true landmark in our region’s artistic history, whose proximity to the Lieutenant and Connecticut rivers and Long Island Sound has inspired artists for a century. These new works in the exhibition American Waters are by many of the finest practitioners of marine art working today. To think the same subjects continue to inspire us 100 years later is testament to this area’s enduring, irresistible allure.”
Concurrent with the American Waters exhibition, the LAA presents a large exhibition of Yves Parent maritime paintings. Many of these paintings are of coastal landmarks, recognizable to boaters who have spent time in the waters around the New England coast. This will be the final opportunity to view and purchase paintings from the estate of Yves Parent at the LAA.
Lyme Art Association Board President, Katherine Simmons, states, “American Waters continues an LAA tradition of exhibiting the very best of fine contemporary American marine painting. We are grateful to the members of the American Society of Marine Artists who are joining us as invited guests, and we would especially like to thank our premier media sponsor, The Day, and our presenting sponsor, Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law, along with juror Russ Kramer, for making this exhibition happen.”
The LAA was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Association’s home is a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within a national historic district.
Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.
For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call (860) 434-7802.
The Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting a display of Ed Gorman’s Wood Carvings for the month of May. Gorman has been working with wood for the past seven years.
The Acton Library is open from 10am-8:30pm Monday through Thursday, 9am to 5pm Friday and Saturday, and Sunday, from 1-5 pm through May 17.
On Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10, which is Mother’s Day weekend, Eastern Connecticut Ballet (ECB) will stage two matinee performances of “The Magic Toy Shoppe,” a playful, vibrant ballet that will delight all ages.
Matinees will be held at 3 p.m. on both days in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School auditorium. Each audience member who donates a new toy to the Spring Toy Drive (coordinated by Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau benefiting area children’s hospitals and shelters) will earn a chance to win an American Girl Doll or a prize from the event sponsor, The Bowerbird.
The ballet’s story unfolds in a small shop where, each night after closing time, toys from around the world come to life. The characters include two classic French clowns, dancing Scottish girls, Cossack ponies, a tarantella dancer from Italy, a bevy of fairies and the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio. Dancers also portray ballerina dolls.
Gloria Govrin, artistic director of ECB, coordinates all of this creativity onstage. A soloist with New York City Ballet, who studied with the legendary George Balanchine, she is known for her own imaginative choreography. Where does she turn for inspiration? Govrin says that it all begins with simple listening.
“Whatever I hear in the music is what we’ll do,” she says. She creates each piece to fit the talents and level of each individual dancer or group.
As Govrin explains, a ballet such as The Magic Toy Shoppe is never performed the same way twice. It changes and evolves each time it comes to the stage. Originating as “La Boutique Fantasque,” The Magic Toy Shoppe had its world premiere in London in 1919.
At that time, the dancing of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, choreography by Léonide Massine, melodies by Rossini adapted by Respighi, and colorful sets and costumes by the artist André Derain all combined to give the one-act ballet its charm. According to The Times of London, the audience was “sent off its head with delight” after the first performance. The work continues to captivate audiences today.
After the Old Lyme performances, children are invited onstage to take photos with the dancers, and each will receive a special toy to take home.
Eastern Connecticut Ballet, a school for classical ballet, based in East Lyme, attracts students from more than 40 towns throughout eastern Connecticut. Known for its annual production of The Nutcracker in New London, ECB brings other original works to the stage throughout the year and performs with local orchestras as well.
Advance tickets for The Magic Toy Shoppe are $12 for children and $18 for adults and may be purchased at ECB’s studio, 435 Boston Post Rd. in East Lyme, or The Bowerbird Gift Shop in the Old Lyme Marketplace. Tickets at the door are $14 for children, $20 for adults. Children aged three and under are free if sitting on a parent’s lap.
For more information, call 860-739-7899 or visit www.easternctballet.com.
State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23) and State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20) have cancelled their town hall meeting scheduled for this coming Thursday, April 23, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Acton Public Library, due to a legislative session being called for that day.
They will release an updated date and location for the postponed event at a later date.
If you had a particular question or concern you were hoping to see addressed Thursday, call 1-800-842-1423 or email email@example.com to reach Rep. Carney or call 1-800-842-8800 to reach Sen. Formica.
GROTON, CT — Child & Family Agency is gearing up for its 61st Annual Sale, which has earned a reputation for being one of the “Largest Tag Sales in New England.” Donated items are sorted, boxed and transported to Groton for a bonanza, 3-day fundraiser.
This year’s 61st Annual Sale will be held at Ella T. Grasso Technical High School at 189 Fort Hill Road in Groton from Thursday, April 16, through Saturday, April 18.
Today, Friday, April 17, items are at cost and the sale is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, April 18, opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., when most items are half price.
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 fundraiser. Donations are tax deductible, for which receipts will be issued at the “Intake.”
Proceeds go directly to support the many extraordinary services provided by Child & Family Agency, a non-profit organization that has served Connecticut families for over 200 years. Last year over 17,000 children and their family members in 79 towns were helped by the agency’s staff of 190 dedicated professionals.
For more information about the work of Child & Family, visit www.childandfamilyagency.org.
Try Old Lyme Country Club (OLCC) for the 2015 Season and enjoy full use of a wide range of sports and social activities, including golf, tennis, swimming, dining and more.
A limited number of trial memberships are available for the 2015 Season. This plan offers affordable dues and no first year initiation fee.
MADISON – The Country School presents How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: THE STRAIGHT DOPE FOR PARENTS, an evening of conversation with Dr. Joseph A. Califano, Jr. and Yale University psychiatry experts.
On April 9 at 6 p.m. in The Country School’s DeFrancis Gymnasium, join Dr. Califano, former US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, founder of The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), and author of the new completely revised and updated edition of How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents, as he provides insights on how to help get children through the dangerous decade from 10 to 21, those formative pre-teen, teen, and college years.
Topics covered will include: legalized and synthetic marijuana, social media, the prescription drug epidemic and abuse of ADHD medications, rampant drinking and drug use on college campuses, and the latest findings on the critical connection between teen brain development and substance use.
Dr. Califano’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A session with Yale psychiatry experts, including his daughter, Claudia Califano, MD, Adolescent and Child Psychiatrist, Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center, and a Country School parent; Joseph L. Woolston, MD, Albert J. Solnit Professor of Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center; and Greer Richardson, MD Psychiatrist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University.
The panel will be moderated by Samuel A. Ball, PhD, President and CEO of The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) and Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine.
This event, part of The Country School’s Teacher Institute-Partnering With Parents Initiative, is supported by M.A.D.E. in Madison (www.madeinmadison.org), a coalition of community members striving to promote positive youth development. The evening is free and open to the public, but all attendees are asked to RSVP ahead of time.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org by April 2, 2015, with your name and the number of guests joining you (limit four people per RSVP). All attendees will receive a copy of Dr. Califano’s book. Beverages and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
The Country School thanks Dr. Califano, the panelists and moderator, and M.A.D.E. in Madison for partnering with the school in the search to improve lives through education. Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool through Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus. The Country School is located at 341 Opening Hill Road in Madison. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.
The latest round of “French bashing” has been circulating on the internet, touching a nerve among the French social networks . On January 3rd, Newsweek journalist Janine di Giovanni published on the magazine’s website (Newsweek has ceased to appear on news stands for around a year) an article titled, “Fall of France.” She is a successful correspondent covering the war scene in the Middle East, but her only qualification to write about France is that she has been living in Paris for 10 years. Two days later, the Newsweek editor reiterated its attack on France in another article, this time, “How a Cockerel Nation became an Ostrich.” That article, in fact, repeated the recommendations addressed by the European Commission to the nine countries of the EU (European Union), France among them.
Di Giovanni’s general message is that the decline of France has greatly accelerated under the Socialist government of François Hollande and that the “French model” of a providence state (the author calls it a “nannie state”) is not sustainable. This is not an original point of view and the French themselves are frequently criticizing their own system and trying to modify it. The American-born journalist has written an entertaining and clearly poorly researched article. She backs her arguments with a mixture of true, false and, sometimes, outrageous information, which make the piece quite entertaining.
Challenges, a well-established French weekly magazine dealing with economy, and reliable web sites, such as Decodeurs.com, have gone to the trouble of analyzing point by point di Giovanni’s story.
The most glaring mistakes she makes concern the excessive taxes. She writes: ” Since the arrival of the Socialist President François Holland in 2012, the income tax and social security have rocketed. The top rate is 75 percent and a great many pay in excess of 70percent.” In fact, in 2011 (that is under Nicolas Sarkozy) the top income tax bracket was 43.7 percent and today it is 45 percent. The tax of 75 percent is only paid by the very rich with an income of over one million Euro.
By decision of the Conseil Constitutionnel, the tax of 75 percent is not considered as a separate tax bracket. It has only been paid by 11,960 households. Furthermore, the tax is not paid by the individuals, but by the firm which employs them. Finally the Newsweek journalist may have mixed up income tax with the amount paid by the employer (including social benefits), which resulted in a doubling of the numbers.
Commentators had a field day with some hilarious statements made by di Giovanni. There is no word for entrepreneur in French, she claims. Apparently she forgot that the word entrepreneur is French! Another is quoting the price of a liter of milk as being six euros when it is only 1.33. An online reader commented that the author must shop at the most expensive gourmet Grande Epicerie of the luxury department store of Bon Marché.
From her bourgeois apartment near the Luxembourg garden in the 6th District – the most expensive in the capital – she has a strange perception of what real life is like for the working population. Talking about nurseries, for instance, she writes that they are free, can be found in every neighborhood and provide free diapers. In fact, only some 13 percent of the middle class can afford nurseries and they have to pay roughly 9 percent of their income for using them.
The French seem to regard such “bashing” as stimulating … and it certainly keeps them on their toes.
About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She will write 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 will cover 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.
On Sunday, October 20, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center held the 5th Annual Vista Tour de Shore cycling event. This year’s Vista Tour de Shore featured more than 270 riders on a beautiful fall day and raised significantly more funds than in previous years. Total funds raised exceeded $90,000. The event was sponsored by Essex Printing, Zane’s Cycles, Shore Publishing, Thomson Tours, Wells Fargo, Wilcox Energy, WebNow1, The Tolland Fund, Essex Savings Bank and Gowrie Group.
Starting and ending at the Westbrook Elks Lodge, The Vista Tour de Shore featured rides of 5, 25, 40 and 60 miles throughout the Connecticut shoreline communities. Big names in the world of cycling in attendance at this year’s event included Olympian Tim Duggan as well as USA Cycling’s CEO and President Steve Johnson and Director of Development Steve McCauley.
Net proceeds from the Vista Tour de Shore benefit the Endowment Fund of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, Inc.
Based in Westbrook and Madison, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources on an individualized basis to assist adults with disabilities to live independent and successful lives.
For more information regarding Vista, please visit www.vistavocational.org
There are now two emergency medical centers along the shoreline. One is the “grand daddy of them all,” the emergency medical center in Essex operated by Middlesex Hospital. This medical center has been serving emergency medical patients from its Essex location since 1975.
The second emergency medical center on the shoreline is located in Guilford off I-95 at Exit 59. It is operated by Yale New Haven Hospital, and it opened in 2004.
The Good Old Days for the Essex Medical Center
For decades the emergency medical center in Essex had the shoreline emergency medical center practice pretty much to itself. Patients from Old Lyme to as far as Branford, and all towns in between, had only one choice for emergency medical care, and that was in Essex.
However, after the Guilford center opened in 2004, many Essex patients, especially those from the towns of Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton and Westbrook, had a new alternative. That was the Guilford medical center, which is just off I-95 at Exit 59.
Certainly, it is quicker and easier for residents of these towns to go to the Guilford medical center along I-95 than to go to Essex, whose medical center is reachable only by a twisting local road, three miles down from I-95.
Middlesex Hospital Fights Back
However, Middlesex Hospital could see the handwriting on the wall. It soon realized that an emergency medical center located right off I-95 was bound to attract more emergency medical patients than one several miles away from the Interstate.
So Middlesex Hospital, under the leadership of Executive Vice President Harry Evert, committed itself to building a new emergency medical center in Westbrook, just a short distance from Exit 65 off I-95. It is now being constructed on an expedited basis and is scheduled to open in April 2014.
Although Middlesex Hospital’s new emergency medical center will not be located quite as close to I-95 as the Guilford medical center, there are attractive expansion possibilities at the largely vacant Westbrook site, which are a plus.
Who Invented the Emergency Medical Center Concept?
If you listen to Middlesex Hospital’s plain spoken, Executive Vice President Evert, it was Middlesex Hospital that first developed the idea of building an emergency medical center to serve shoreline communities away from the sponsoring hospital.
Evert says, bluntly, referring to Yale New Haven Hospital’s emergency medical center in Guilford, “They were copying us.” True enough, Yale New Haven Hospital, by building an emergency medical center in Guilford, may well have been “copying” the success of Middlesex Hospital’s emergency medical center in Essex.
However, it is equally true that Middlesex Hospital is now “copying” the concept of the Yale New Haven Hospital, which is to place its new emergency medical center close to an exit off I-95.
Both Hospitals and Patients Are the Winners
Both the two hospitals, as well their shoreline patients, are the winners in this matter. In fact, the only real losers are the residents of Essex. They will soon lose having a major medical care facility right in town.
Furthermore, Essex residents in the future could also lose local access to the physicians’ offices, Middlesex Hospital’s physical therapy center, and other hospital related facilities, which are now clustered around the Essex facility. Although some Essex residents decry the emergency center’s moving out of town, clearly, there is no turning back.
The bottom line is that the shoreline will have by spring of next year two, 24 hour, seven days a week, emergency medical centers, and both will have easy access from I-95.
When I judge a company’s customer service, I look not only at the number and kinds of complaints, but at how the firms respond.
All companies make mistakes, employees have bad days, and there can be communication problems.
But once someone at the top is made aware of a problem, it needs to be resolved real soon to get an A from me.
The following are two examples of companies that deserve praise for the way they have handled complaints:
Mike Bennett of Windsor Locks wrote to me about a beef he had with Puritan Furniture of West Hartford.
Bennett paid $2,000 for what the saleswoman promised was a large, well-built reclining sofa with a matching loveseat two years ago. A month later, a clip that had held a spring failed. Puritan sent a repairman out and fixed it. Sixteen months later the stitching began to unravel on one of the footrests, and then the recliner mechanism wouldn’t work.
“Unfortunately, the sofas have only a one-year warranty on labor. Puritan does not fix sofas, nor do they involve themselves in the process, instead they give you the phone number for someone that does,” Bennett wrote me in his complaint. “I called the repairman and I was told that it was going to cost us $40 just to have someone come look at it, we would then have to pay even more on top of that to have them fix it. I realize that this is not the repairman’s problem and that he surely deserves to be paid for his time, but we do not have hundreds of dollars to spend on fixing our new couch.”
“The people at Puritan were completely unbending when it came to offering any help. They are your best friend when selling you the furniture, but boy are things different when there is a problem! You’re on your own then,” he wrote asking for my advice.
I looked up Puritan on the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) site and saw that the company, which has been in business for more than 70 years, had only a few complaints filed against it and had the highest possible rating.
I suggested to Bennett that he write to the president of the company, Bruce Singer, and to give him a chance to make amends.
“Well, as I expected, your advice was spot-on! I got a phone call from Mr. Singer and he was very pleasant with me. He apologized for my troubles and offered to replace the mechanisms on both sides of the couch, plus fix the stitching in the footrest, all at no charge,” Bennett wrote me.
Town Fair Tire stores have an excellent reputation for customer service. My friend Denis Horgan recently had a relative visiting at his West Hartford home. The relative’s car had flat tire and Horgan, our travel blogger on CtWatchdog.com, took him to the West Hartford store. For $4.95, they fixed the flat; no charge for the two coffees Horgan had.
But that is not the experience that Kevin and Melanie Logan of Colchester had at the Norwich store. The Logans, longtime customers, say they had a terrible encounter on July 30th when the two complained about wear on their tires. They said they got into an argument with the staff and were treated rudely by an employee when they asked for a partial refund, which was denied.
The couple wrote a letter to the company president:
“You need to seriously consider sending in someone qualified to re-train your staff, because this behavior is unacceptable and we simply cannot be the only ones to have been abused by him or others in this location before. I would not be able to rest if I did not bring this to your attention as I not only felt like I was being verbally abused, but his physical demeanor was threatening as well. If I were there alone, without my husband, I would have been not only shocked, but also scared for my own well being. He was menacing, simple as that. He would not provide us with his last name… however he did wear a ring with skulls on it if that helps,” the couple wrote.
No one responded so the couple asked me for my advice. I contacted Rich Allen, customer service coordinator in East Haven, who conceded that the letter did not reach the president. But he quickly reacted, apologized to the Logans for their experience, and offered them a refund much larger than is provided by the firm’s warranty.
Frankly, I think the Logans are still so furious that they won’t be back to Town Fair, but I would recommend the company to anyone that asked.
You can reach The Watchdog at George@connecticutwatchdog.com and he will answer as many emails as he can. Please check out his site, www.ctwatchdog.com for comprehensive consumer, health, finance, media, internet, computer, travel and education tips.
The call from Tyler was scary. He had been in a car accident in a rental car in Montreal and needed money to pay an attorney and fly home.
Dorothy Cheo, 81, of Niantic, was so upset on hearing her grandson was in trouble that she couldn’t think straight.
She quickly went to a local grocery store and wired $935 to Montreal through Western Union.
It was only after receiving the second phone call asking for more money that she began to question whether she had really talked to her grandson.
Nope. According to East Lyme resident state police Sgt. Wilfred Blanchette, she was at least the second local victim of this type of scam in the past year.
Cheo contacted me, asking that I tell her story as a cautionary tale to other parents and relatives, and she had a suggestion that Sgt. Blanchette endorsed: create a secret word for the family to use only if they are in trouble.
Cheo said she fell for the scam because the boy identified himself as Tyler and was coughing so hard it was impossible for her to know that it wasn’t really him. And then, when a second person got on the phone explaining he was Tyler’s attorney, she knew she had to act fast.
“If he had said ‘this is your grandson’ I would have been suspicious,” Cheo told me. “But he said he was Tyler and he sounded sick.”
After wiring the money, Cheo said she called her son, but couldn’t reach him. And the more she thought about it, the less sense it made. Her grandson was only 16 and she wasn’t even aware that he had a driver’s license. And what was he doing in Montreal instead of being in Massachusetts.
So by the time the “lawyer” called back saying he received the $935 but needed more money, she said no.
“Somehow the caller knew my grandson’s name and relation to me, so pretended to be him with a bad cough and desperate sound. Then a so-called lawyer explained that he was in jail in Montreal due to an auto accident that was not his fault.”
She then got contacted her son, who reassured her that Tyler was safe at band camp and had never been in Montreal.
“It was dumb,” she said, “but I was so worried.”
She said if they had set up a secret code word, this would not have happened.
Cheo said she has no idea how the scammers knew her telephone number and her grandson’s name.
She filed a complaint with the East Lyme police, and Sgt. Blanchette said he wasn’t surprised.
With so much personal information on the Internet, he said, it’s easy for crooks to put family information together, especially using sites like Facebook.
But, he said, “so far, how they picked out this family is a mystery.”
He said the first complaint he saw was very similar, where the call also came from Montreal.
“This is the crime wave of the future,” he said, adding that similar scam take place with hijacked email accounts.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST ID THEFT
Thanks to Consumer Reports for its effective suggestions on how to diminish ID theft.
I will start with my personal recommendation, which may be counterintuitive for those who don’t trust the Internet to do on-line banking.
Use on-line banking to pay your bills. Its free (nothing is really free but most banks offer it as long as you meet other requirements like automatic deposits). Effective. You have all your documentation in one place.
And you can set up alerts – this is crucial – to tell you when a new payee is added or a payment is made. It’s a tremendous way to have instant knowledge of what is happening with your bank account.
Other suggestions from CR – the trusted place for consumer tips:
Do not fill out surveys on warranty cards beyond your name and address and product info.
Stop unsolicited pre-approved credit card offers at www.optoutprescreen.com or call 888-567-8688.
Put your name on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call registry at www.donotcall.gov or call 888.382-1222.
When you move only fill out a temporary change of address with the U.S. Postal Service that lasts for six month.
To get your name off mailing lists, go to the Direct Marketing Association’s consumer web site, www.dmachoice.org. Click on “Register for eMPS” to opt out of unsolicited junk email.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse lists data brokers that offer opt-out policies at www.privacyrights.org/ar/infobrokers.htm.
You can reach The Watchdog at George@connecticutwatchdog.com and he will answer as many emails as he can. Please check out his site, www.ctwatchdog.com for comprehensive consumer, health, finance, media, internet, computer, travel and education tips.
Trish Bennett is an award-winning journalist and the former assistant editor of Main Street News. She holds a master of science degree in journalism and was adjunct professor of media history at Quinnipiac University before relocating Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Her latest work appears in the up-coming volume of “This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women” slated for publication in association with National Public Radio this Fall. She can be reached at email@example.com
American poet Robert Frost is famous for—among other things—penning the line, “One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”
Frost’s lines concern a stand of birches observed in winter, bent down, as those trees tend to be, by snow and ice. It is as if, Frost observes, a small boy had shinnied up the trunk, and, with the bravado of the young, reached the end of the tree, and flung himself, clutching its topmost branches, feet-first into the blue winter sky and “ridden” the tree to the ground.
The image of the birch-swinger is a metaphor for the poet’s on-again, off-again relationship with the world: “It’s when I’m weary of considerations,” he writes, “and life is too much like a pathless wood…I’d like to get away from earth awhile, and then come back to it and begin over.”
Now given the fact that it’s July in New England, as opposed to January, I will make bold to offer a seasonal amendment to Mr. Frost and note that, fine as birches are, one could also do worse than be a sitter of porches.
Bear with me, and I may actually get you to believe that homely, un-“hot” objects like birches and porches can actually be the stuff of meaning, allowing us to revel in life rather than merely regarding it as a conquerable commodity or something to be endured.
Porches are ephemera to many modern home builders and largely to the 21st century mindset in which everything seems to require justification via a specific purpose.
Real porches–and here I exclude so-called “three-season rooms” which are made practicable, and therefore justifiable, by insulation or infomercial awnings; and “decks” which many times dangle in space supported only by four by fours and which function as a grilling stations and occasionally collapse, sending bratwurst, steaks and grill person into the sump-pump bog some 18 feet below—are, like summer, short-lived, sloth-inducing, and community-inviting.
And to have one, especially a front porch, is to be blessed.
First, porches represent the once-upon-a-time in architecture. A time when folks strolled streets after dinner; a time when neighbors knew their community as faces and names met over day-to-day dealings; a time when social interaction was spontaneous rather than marked on an agenda three weeks in advance.
So once upon a time, after supper, you spied Fred and Mabel over your flower boxes and invited them up to your porch for ice cream and/or gossip.
Porch furniture, likewise, embodies a largely abandoned approach to existence: It does not warm, vibrate or advertise as orthopedically approved. Rather, it rocks, but back-and-forth; it swings, but in the wind.
So once upon a time, Junior de-camped to the porch and poured over Treasure Island, or Pop left the edging until tomorrow and expended his strength willing Ted Williams to first base while downing a lemonade.
“A good porch,” notes writer Garrison Keillor, gets you out of the parlor; lets you smoke, talk loud, eat with your fingers—without apology and without having to run away from home. No wonder that people with porches have hundreds of friends…Me and the missus float back and forth on the swing, Mark and Rhonda are collapsed at opposite ends of the couch. Marlene peruses her paperback novel in which an astounding event is about to occur…the cats lie on the floor listening to birdies, and I say, ‘It’s a heck of a deal, ain’t it, a heck of a deal.’ A golden creamy silence suffuses this happy scene, and only on a porch is it possible.”
As I said, one could do worse than be a sitter of porches.
Trish Bennett is an award-winning journalist and the former assistant editor of Main Street News. She holds a master of science degree in journalism and was adjunct professor of media history at Quinnipiac University before relocating Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Her latest work appears in the up-coming volume of “This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women” slated for publication in association with National Public Radio this Fall. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org“
Fine, and You?” (Or maybe not so much)
It is the absence of the “fine” in our kids’ lives—deliberation and discernment skills—that worries me:
To the ever-expanding pile of words denuded of practically all meaning, I’d like to add “fine.”
Witness the range of synonyms offered, for example, by my Macbook onboard thesaurus: “very well,” “well,” “all right,” “okay”: which is a little like saying “thriving,” “healthy,” “so-so,” and “breathing, but little else” all mean the same thing.
Show me a med student who maintains that “thriving,” “healthy,” “so-so,” and “breathing but that’s all,” are interchangeable descriptions of a patient’s state, and I’ll show you next week’s road crew member.
What got me ruminating on “fine’s” decline is several recent examples that demonstrate how very absent from our children’s experiences are the word’s other uses. That is, “fine” as in “subtle”; “delicate”; “refined.”
Now before I am accused of advocating that kids be inculcated with the rituals of high tea at four o’clock, and the care and feeding of Granny’s bone china, allow me to explain. Or perhaps paint you some word pictures.
I volunteer in an inner-city Philadelphia school built in the 1920’s. The library, where I help teach first, third and fourth graders is a relatively bright oasis of clean, sturdy tables and raspberry-hued upholstered chairs. Outside the library, strong-armed, alarmed doors keep intruders out of the sunless halls where rusty pipes often leak into containers meant for recycled paper.
To many of my kids, the library can mean “fine” in the sense of an alternative: one of only a few places regularly available to them where nursery rhymes, biographies, and Harry Potter can offer beauty or delicacy in contrast to the gritty realities posed by poverty and absent parents.
Since school began, though, my volunteer friends and I have been alternately surprised, bemused and discouraged by our students’ choice of books.
Call it “elitist” if you will, but we can sigh when there are tug-of-wars over the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Captain Underpants” series while grade- and ability-friendly volumes featuring Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein and Anne Frank seldom get a glance.
Is this “fine” in the sense of just okay (“hey, at least they’re reading”)? Perhaps. Is a steady diet of only pop culture and familiarity helping these kids to develop finer qualities like critical thinking and subtle reasoning? I think not.
And lest you think that disadvantaged kids are the only ones who lack for examples of higher aspirations, come west about nine miles to the quite advantaged Main Line where the children of privilege, like their 8- to 18-year-old counterparts country-wide spend—according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation—more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a smart phone, computer, TV or other electronic device.
For the moment, leave aside concerns of rampant childhood obesity and the 47 percent of “heavy” media users who, according to the study, had mostly C grades or lower.
Instead consider the example of Baby Trey, who, the New York Times related, was parked by his well-meaning mother in front of Baby Einstein videos and “Dora the Explorer.”
“By the time he was 4, he had all these math and science DVDs…and he learned to read and do math early,” said Trey’s mother, Kim Calinan. But now that Trey is 9, Calinan observes, video games have displaced after-school activities, and her son shows little interest in any social interaction or independent exploration—such as reading—that might cut into his gaming time.
“[Heavy media use has] changed young people’s assumptions about how to get an answer to a question,” says Donald F. Roberts, a Stamford communications professor emeritus who is one of the authors of the Kaiser Foundation study. “People can put out a problem…and information pours in from all kinds of sources.”
And as a former communications professor myself, I can attest that even college age students, while they may be whizzes at harvesting factoids, are becoming less and less adapt at culling and discriminating between the finer points in that information avalanche.
To some degree my privileged former students are no further along in their ability to engage in refined, subtle thought than my challenged present charges.
So what we have here may be “fine,” in the sense of “okay” for many: Democracy is not yet threatened by many kids’ hampered ability to reason.
But it is the absence of the “fine” in our kids’ lives, represented by deliberation and discernment skills, that worries me: the impetus to be curious beyond the familiar; to be enlightened beyond the obvious; to consider rather than simply emote; to be educated rather than simply amused.
And absent those fine points of the human experience, we and our children are not fine at all.