February 1, 2023

Archives for 2010

SE Connecticut Singles Association over 50 New Year hike

Southeastern CT Singles Assoc invites singles over age 50 to start off the New Year and join us for our 30th Traditional New Year’s Day Hike at Bluff Point State Park in Groton starting promptly at noon.  Non-members should RSVP by 12/30 860-449-8660.

Con Brio Choral Society singer auditions

Con Brio Choral Society (Photo Bob Lorenz)

Old Saybrook, CT – The Con Brio Choral Society, the Shoreline chorus under the direction of Stephen D. Bruce, will hold auditions for new members on Tuesday,  January 4 at 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road. All parts are invited, especially tenors, and an accompanist will be provided. The 50-member chorus, now in its 14th year, presents two major concerts in spring and winter as well as a special children’s concert in Old Lyme. For more details, contact Susan Saltus at 860-767-0090 or view www.conbrio.org.

RiverQuest and CT Audubon offer their Seventh Annual Eagle Cruises from Haddam

RiverQuest – Connecticut River Expeditions and Connecticut Audubon are joining up again in February and March for their Seventh Annual Eagle Viewing Boat Cruises on the Connecticut River. These ever-popular winter cruises will depart from the “New Eagle Headquarters” located at the appropriately named Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam.

Captain Mark of the quiet, environmentally friendly eco-tour vessel RiverQuest says “This will be our second year offering Eagle Cruises from Eagle Landing State Park. Our first year was a complete success and we are excited to again be departing from the beautiful and picturesque Haddam and East Haddam area. Because of our many years of experience on the river, we know exactly where to look for eagles and other wildlife. We hope to expose even more people to this “Winter Wonderland” during the 2011 season.”

Andrew Griswold, Director of Connecticut Audubon EcoTravel and founder of the Connecticut Audubon Society Eagle Festival, has been offering Eagle Cruises on the Connecticut River for 16 years. This will be the seventh year the two organizations have partnered together aboard RiverQuest. “We have many years of knowledge and experience between us. The same naturalists and educators narrate these cruises each year making our trips truly exciting, educational and better each year.” said Griswold. Andrew agrees that departing from Eagle Landing State Park was very successful in 2010 and is looking forward to the 2011 Eagle Cruises.

Eagle Landing State Park is very easy to get to. It is close to Route 9, right off of Route 82 and there is plenty of parking. The park is located directly across the river from the historic Goodspeed Opera House and is just south of the famous East Haddam Swing Bridge, which opened in 1911 and is the 5th longest swing bridge in the world. Gillette’s Castle is 4.5 miles away. Although the castle is closed this time of year, the grounds are open year round for visitors. There are also unique shops and restaurants in Haddam, East Haddam and Chester, all making this area a destination in itself.

Please join Connecticut River Expeditions and Connecticut Audubon aboard RiverQuest for a unique, informative cruise while searching for the majestic Bald Eagle and other winter wildlife along the peaceful lower Connecticut River. Complimentary coffee and tea aboard. Binoculars are available for use during the cruise at no charge.

Numerous weekend and weekday dates and times are available for these 2-hour cruises. For more information or reservations visit RiverQuest at ctriverquest.com, phone 860-662-0577 or CT Audubon EcoTravel at ecotravel.ctaudubon.org, phone 860-767-0660.

Claudia Van Nes at Marshview Artist Reception

Chester artist Claudia Van Nes will be the guest at a reception at the Marshview Gallery in Old Saybrook on Friday Jan. 14 from 5 – 7 p.m.

Chester Artict Claudia Van Nes

Van Nes lives in Chester on the Connecticut River with her husband Gordon. She has been an artist most of her life. Her mother was artistic and encouraged her children to be creative as did her father. She majored in art in college and attended art school in Paris as well but her life took another turn, and she became a journalist, pursuing that career for almost 30 years.

During those years, she took art classes and workshops, mainly drawing and doing watercolors. She retired six years ago and returned to painting with acrylics, took more classes and workshops and paints once a week with a small group of artists.

The subject matter in her paintings is recognizable but her style is more fanciful than realistic. She does some landscapes but mainly paints fruit and vegetables and familiar and humble objects around her home, painting them up close and slightly askew – much like her view of the world. Her website is www.twosisterspaint.com.
All are welcome at 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook to meet Claudia Van Nes at the Marshview Gallery Artist reception. All ages are welcome to join us for this event. Refreshments provided.

Free Tax Season Seminar

Essex library will be offering a free seminar on the new tax laws on Saturday, Jan. 8. from 10 a.m. to noon.

Confused by the new tax laws? Looking for some free professional advice? Come to the Essex Library for a two-hour seminar with tax accountant Trish Maselli of Clear Cut Bookkeeping, and learn what you need to know about the changes in itemizing deductions, capital gains and losses, and more.

Don’t wait for April – it’s closer than you think. Call the Essex Library for more information at 860-767-1560.

Ariande auf Naxos at Essex Library Jan. 7.

American soprano Deborah Voigt stars in the Metropolitan Opera’s Ariadne Auf Naxos, screening as part of the Essex Library’s free Opera @ the Library film series, Friday Jan. at 2 p.m.

The Essex Library’s popular Opera @ the Library series presents the Metropolitan Opera’s sparkling production of Richard Strauss’s Ariande auf Naxos, Friday Jan. 7 at 2 p.m.

 This imaginative, visually lush filmed performance features the great American soprano Deborah Voigt as Ariadne, Natalie Dessay as Zerbinetta, and Nathan Gunn as Harlekin. James Levine conducts the Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus. 

Admission is free, and reservations are appreciated. Please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560.

Woman safe after Knollwood pier rescue in Old Saybrook

The Past Chief of the Old Saybrook Fire Department, David Heiney, responded to an emergency at the Knollwood pier yesterday and played a key role in a dramatic rescue of a woman from the Long Island Sound.

On Wednesday Dec. 29 at 0940 Hrs, the Old Saybrook Fire Department received a 911 call reporting that a female was in the water off the Knollwood Pier in Old Saybrook (Long Island Sound). The Old Saybrook Fire Department, Police Department and Ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

Past Chief David Heiney of the O.S.F.D. responded to the scene in his personal vehicle. When Heiney arrived, he was told that a woman was in the water off the end of the pier. Heiney entered the water to rescue the woman.

Officer James Kiako of the Old Saybrook Police Department arrived on scene and retrieved his rescue rope that is kept in the trunk of his patrol car. Kiako went out onto the pier and threw the rescue rope to Heiney as he was swimming to the victim. Kiako tied the rope to the railing of the pier. Heiney was able to grab onto the rope and swim to the victim.

Firefighter Rebecca Lucas and Kiako went down onto the beach to enter the water to assist Heiney. In the meantime, Heiney had grabbed onto the victim and started to swim to shore. A civilian, Jerry Gintoff was on the pier assisting in the rescue. 

Gintoff took the rope off the railing and pulled Heiney and the victim to the shore.  Heiney was met in the water by firefighter Lucas and Kiako. The woman was pulled from the water and was still breathing.

The victim was transported to the Middlesex Medical Center in Essex by the Old Saybrook Ambulance and treated for hypothermia. Heiney and Lucas were also transported to the Medical Center and were evaluated and released.

Reported by Max Sabin of Old Saybrook

First Selectman says Essex boat launch project to be finished by next week – updated pictures

Essex boat launch under repair - 30 December, 2010

ESSEX— First Selectman Phil Miller said Wednesday the late starting town boat launch project would be completed by next week, within the time deadline specified in the state Department of Environmental Protection permit.

Miller said crews with Old Colony Construction of Clinton are pouring concrete this week for the new boat launch on the Connecticut River at the foot of Main Street. He said removal of a steel cofferdam, which was used to remove river water from the construction area, would be the final step for the project. “This project will be completed to our satisfaction within the parameters of the budget and our permit,” Miller said.

Completion of the project, funded by a $191,000 state Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant awarded last year, had seemed more uncertain soon after construction began earlier this month, with some members of the harbor management commission and economic development commission urging Miller to dismiss the contractor and call the construction bond for the project at a Dec. 16 meeting.

The commission members were irate that Old Colony Construction, which was awarded the contract on a low bid of $103,000 in August, did not start work on schedule in September, when the river tides are lowest. The company did not have all necessary materials on hand to begin work in September, and the start of construction was delayed further through the fall by disputes over whether payment of union prevailing wages was required, and whether a cofferdam that was not part of the initial bid was necessary.

The contractor eventually acknowledged that payment of prevailing wages was required because the project was funded by a state grant, and town officials authorized the cofferdam at an additional cost of about $39,000.

Essex Books Hosts Local Author John Pfarr Thursday Jan. 6

Essex Books is hosting a presentation by John Pfarr about the book, The Inventor’s Fortune Up For Grabs: The Legacy of the Expansion Bracelet by Suzanne G. Beyer and John S. Pfarr, at Gather, 104 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT from noon — 1:00 p.m., Thursday, January 6, 2011. Gather is located across the street from The Ivoryton Playhouse.

In 1913, Great Uncle Art Hadley invented the expansion bracelet, a forerunner of the modern wristwatch band that made it easier for WWI soldiers to carry their timepieces during combat. As a result, he amassed considerable wealth. He passed it on to his children, but when they died, Art’s fortune was up for grabs.

The Inventor’s Fortune Up For Grabs is a true story told through a unique structure – from the perspective of John Pfarr, the attorney who initially felt the group had not a snowball’s chance in hell of winning their case, and that of Suzanne Beyer, an heir to her great uncle’s fortune.

The author will discuss the unique two-voice structure of the book, the historical aspects of Art Hadley and his invention, legal struggles in the case – and how a group of cousins, some of whom had never met, could unite in a life-changing six-year odyssey to claim their inheritance from Uncle Art. Pharr will also talk about his experience of becoming a first time author. The program will include a question and answer period, followed by a book signing.

Attorney John S. Pfarr is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Michigan Law School. Pfarr lives with his wife, Ellen, in Essex, CT. Call Susan McCann, Essex Books, at 860-767-1707 for more details or to RSVP. For more information about the book, visit http://www.theinventorsfortune.com.

Chester fire – Home sustains moderate damage

CHESTER— A house at 6 Wig Hill Road sustained moderate damage in a fire that was reported Wednesday around 8:30 a.m. Fire Chief Charles Greeney Jr. said the fire was reported by a neighbor who observed smoke coming from a corner of the structure.

Greeney said the neighbor banged on the door and alerted the homeowner, Maria Ruberto, who was able to flee the house safely with her two cats. Greeney said about 45 firefighters from the Chester Hose Company and several nearby towns responded, and brought the blaze under control in about an hour. Greeney said local volunteers received assistance from firefighters from Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Westbrook, and Old Saybrook, along with firefighters from the South District Fire Department in Middletown who provided a ladder truck to help extinguish the fire. He said firefighters were able to pump water from a nearby pond to use in dousing the blaze.

Greeney said the house sustained “moderate damage”, and is not habitable at the present time, but could be repaired. He said the fire began in a center wall and had spread in to the attic. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by local fire marshalls.

Boats, Tugs, Steamships & Trains: Stories of Commercial Traffic Along The Connecticut River

Artist Steve Cryan will present “Boats, Tugs, Steamships & Trains: Stories of Commercial Traffic Along the Connecticut River!” at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex on Thursday, January 20 at 5:30 pm.

Essex, CT – The stories of commercial transportation in the Connecticut River Valley will come to life on Thursday, Jan. 20 at 5:30 p.m. when local artist Steve Cryan presents “Boats, Tugs, Steamships & Trains: Stories of Commercial Traffic Along the Connecticut River” at the Connecticut River Museum. 

Using his colorful storytelling technique and vibrant images, Mr. Cryan will treat the audience to a retelling of the days when the River was bustling with various modes of working vessels and transport. 

A special behind-the-scenes tour of the Connecticut River Museum’s 17th Annual Holiday Train Show created by Mr.Cryan will end the program. 

Admission is $5 per person.  Museum members are admitted free.  Please call to reserve a spot. 

The Connecticut River Museum, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley, is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street.  The 17th Annual Holiday Train Show runs through February 13.  For more information on this and other programs, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call (860)767-8269.

Deep River man killed Thursday night in Route 9 crash

DEEP RIVER– The son of a local volunteer firefighter was killed Thursday night in a one-car crash on Route 9 southbound. Gregory Paul Dee, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash that occurred Thursday between exits 6 and 5 of Route 9.

Dee was the son of James Dee, a longtime member of the Deep River Volunteer Fire Department. State Police reported that Dee was a passenger in a 2003 Toyota pickup that was operated by Mark Glowac, 28, of Essex.

Police said Glowac lost control of the vehicle, which crashed in to guardrails around 9 p.m. Thursday.  Police said the truck veered off in to a wooded area in the highway median.

Glowac was later arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The crash remains under investigation by state police. Calling hours for Dee are Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Deep River Congregational Church, with funeral services scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church.

Hartford Foundation Awards $5K to High Hopes to Support Programs

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to support its programs delivering more than 7,300 horsemanship lessons per year to children and adults with disabilities.

The grant will help High Hopes support its mission to improve the lives of people with cognitive, physical and emotional disabilities through the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding and other equine-assisted activities, while serving the therapeutic riding profession through training and education.

“At a time that is difficult for everyone, we are so grateful that the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation has selected High Hopes for such a generous gift,” said Kitty Stalsburg, executive director of High Hopes.  “This gift will be used to help keep our therapeutic horsemanship programs among the best in the country.”

Before his death in 2008, Mr. Garmany, a former executive at Aetna, created a donor-advised fund at the Hartford Foundation through his will. Since then, 27 grants totaling more than $500,000 have been awarded to support more than two dozen nonprofits, including Hartford Hospital, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Connecticut River Watershed Council.

Generous gifts like this have allowed High Hopes to enjoy the significant growth that it has experienced since its inception in 1974, said Stalsburg.  At that time, High Hopes had one instructor, eight riders, ten volunteers, borrowed horses, tack and equipment.  In fiscal year 2009/2010, High Hopes served over 1,800 individuals with the help of 25 horses specifically trained for therapeutic riding and more than 590 volunteers who contributed over 34,000 hours of their time.

“We’ve come a long way since 1974 thanks to our partners, contributors and volunteers.  We look forward to a successful 2011,” said Stalsburg.

High Hopes is one of the oldest and largest therapeutic riding centers in the United States, operating since 1974 and accredited by NARHA (formerly the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) since 1979. High Hopes primarily serves the citizens of Southeastern Connecticut, providing horsemanship lessons to children and adults with disabilities and is committed to providing the highest quality of services to the community. Of the more than 800 programs that are members of NARHA, High Hopes is one of only six centers in the United States approved by NARHA to provide their training courses in therapeutic riding instruction and has trained over 180 instructors from all over the world. High Hopes is located at 36 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme, CT  06371.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for the 29-town Greater Hartford region, dedicated to improving the quality of life for area residents for the past 85 years.  The Foundation receives gifts from thousands of generous individuals and families and, last year, awarded grants of more than $25 million to a broad range of area nonprofit organizations.  For more information about the Hartford Foundation, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.

Old Saybrook Planning Commission to hold second public hearing on Preserve development, January 5

Residents post signs to preserve the land

The Old Saybrook Planning Commission will hold a second public hearing on the controversial proposal to develop the Preserve on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m.  The hearing will be held at the Middle School in Old Saybrook.

The Preserve property consists of  1,000 acres of open space, most of which is located in Old Saybrook along Ingham Hill Road, although 60 acres of the site are located in Essex and a smaller parcel in Westbrook.

The Jan. 5 hearing, like the earlier hearing in early December, will consider a proposal by developer River Sound Development LLC to develop a small portion of the 1,000 acre site along Ingham Hill Road. This new proposal would consist of three developed sites containing 224 units of new housing.  

1,000 acres of vacant land at issue

An earlier development plan of the Preserved a number of years ago, envisioned the construction of 221 new housing units and a new golf course with a club house. Although this proposal was approved by the Old Saybrook Planning Commission in 2005, the Inland Wetland Commission thwarted the plan from going forward because of environmental concerns.  The developers appealed the Wetland Commission’s decision to the courts but to no avail. 

Although Old Saybrook First Selectman Michael Pace declined to take a position on the Preserve’s latest application, noting that the idea to develop the Preserve “has been going on for years,” Essex First Selectman Phil Miller on the other hand is staunchly opposed to the new proposal.

Essex First Selectman Phil Miller

Miller has said, “The Preserve is a 1,000 acre, wet and rocky sponge. The best use of the property is open space.” Development of the property in Miller’s view “is not in the best interests of Old Saybrook or Essex.” 

Miller is also seeking a new purchaser of the Preserve property, who would preserve the land as open space. He recently met with representatives of the Trust for Public Land with this in mind.

Expected to speak against the new application at the Jan. 5 hearing is the Connecticut Fund for the Environment. Others in the past, who have voiced opposition to the Preserve’s development include: local State Senators, Eileen Daily, Andrea Stillman, and Edward Meyer; and State Representatives, James Spallone, Marilyn Giuliano, and Brian O’Connor. U.S. Senator-elect Richard Blumenthal has also expressed his opposition to developing the Preserve.   

Some 60 local residents came out for the first hearing on the proposed River Sound development, and many of them opposed it.

Democrat Spallone leaving 36th District House seat to become Deputy Secretary of the State

Democratic State Rep. James Spallone of Essex

AREAWIDE— Democratic State Rep. James Spallone of Essex is leaving the 36th House District legislative seat he has held for the past decade to become the next deputy secretary of the state.

Secretary of the State-elect Denise Merrill, the House Majority Leader from Mansfield who was elected secretary of the state last month, this week announced that she had picked Spallone for the deputy position, the number two job in the secretary of the state’s office. Spallone, who has held the 36th House District seat since 2000, has co-chaired the Legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee for the past two years .

“Jamie and I have formed a strong partnership over the many years we have worked together to pass numerous laws to strengthen the integrity of our elections and open up our democratic process.  I’m thrilled to be able to continue this partnership, and I no doubt will be relying on Jamie’s intellect and experience as we set out to reform our election laws and improve services for the businesses who register with our state,” said Secretary-elect Merrill at a news conference at the Legislative Office Building to introduce Spallone as Deputy Secretary of the State.

Spallone said Wednesday Merrill offered him the deputy’s job earlier this month. Spallone said he will not be sworn in for a new two-year term when the 2011 General Assembly convenes on Jan. 5, setting up a special election in the district towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam. He was elected for a sixth term on Nov. 2, defeating Republican Chet Harris of Haddam on a 6,055-4,332 vote.

“I am very happy to be joining our new Secretary of the State and honored that she has chosen me to fill this key position in her administration,” said Representative Spallone.  “Clearly, the 2010 election showed us that we have more work to do to improve the way our elections are run in Connecticut.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in the General Assembly and local election officials throughout the state to reform our election process.  As someone who has operated my own law practice and represented small businesses, I also look forward to helping entrepreneurs in Connecticut and working with the Malloy administration to improve the business climate in our state.”

Spallone, a lawyer, was first elected to the seat in 2000, winning the Democratic nomination in a three-candidate primary. The district in 2000 included Old Saybrook and Lyme, towns that were exchanged for Haddam in the 2001 redistricting.  A Deep River native, Spallone and his wife, Alex, are parents of two young children.

The date of the special election will be set by Governor Dannel Malloy after he takes office on Jan. 5. The vote to fill the 36th District seat through the 2012 state election must be held within 60 days, with March 1, 2011 considered a likely date for the special election.

Democratic and Republican nominees for the seat will be picked by the same delegates from the four towns that nominated Spallone and Harris at the district nominating conventions last May. Because of the short time frame, state election law does not provide for a party primary in a special election. A candidate who does not receive the convention endorsement would be forced to run as a petitioning candidate.

Celebrate Miss Florence’s Birthday at the Museum

On Wednesday, Dec. 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Florence Griswold Museum celebrates the birthday of the lady who started it all with Happy Birthday Miss Florence: A Hands-On Creative Party.

Miss Florence Griswold was born on Christmas Day in 1850.  Visitors are invited to the Hartman Education Center for cake and a variety of hands-on projects for all ages and skill levels.  In honor of Miss Florence’s love of the instrument, harpist Faith Leitner performs in the Griswold House from 12-2 p.m.

The Griswold House is decorated for the Christmas of 1910, the height of the Lyme Art Colony.

Visitors can see how very differently the holiday was celebrated a century ago.  Find all the items on the scavenger hunt in the historic house and win a prize.  All activities are free with admission and children 12 and under are always free.

While at the Museum visitors can also enjoy the Magic of Christmas, a holiday tradition of decorated trees, and the exhibition With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley in the gallery. Children and adults alike can play Can You Find Me? gallery games.

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

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year round Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.  Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 students, and free to children 12 and under.

For more information, visit the Museum’s web site at www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542

Atlantic Seafood Market, Old Saybrook’s new landmark fish store

Atlantic Seafood, 4100 Boston Road, Old Saybrook

Whoever heard of a seafood store having a fulltime chef on staff? Well Atlantic Seafood Market, located at 1400 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, has one. His name is Jerry Doran, and he is not only a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, he was once the head chef of the Four Seasons restaurant in Boston.

Owner Lisa Feinman with Chef Jerry Doran

Atlantic Seafood Owner Lisa Feinman says, “Having a trained chef on staff is a huge benefit. He has a critical eye on everything we sell in the store.”

Another unique thing about the Atlantic Seafood is that Feinman does not think it pays to advertise. “I do not believe in advertising,” she says. “What’s important is when someone says that we have a good product, and then this word of mouth will slowly and effectively grow the business.”Feinman, who presently lives in Westbrook, purchased the Atlantic Seafood store as an existing business back in March 2005. Since then she has not only expanded the square footage of the store, but brought the store’s reputation to the point where for the last three years in a row, it has been recognized as the best seafood store along the shoreline by the weekly Shoreline Times newspaper. The store was also voted this year, “Business of the Year” by the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce.Currently, the staff of Atlantic Seafood consists of nine to ten persons, a number of them part time. One of the part timers serving seafood customers is Bob Chase, a licensed Connecticut attorney. Chase says that he “loves working with the product, the fish.” He says he “grew up in Newport and learned about fish from his father.” Chase praises the store as having “a very pleasant working environment.” Also, he maintains a legal practice, while not behind the fish counter.

A seafood delight!

Owner Feinman claims two principal distinctions of her store, “We have a really fresh product, and we are nuts about having no preservatives with our fish.” Another attribute that she touts, “All of our dressings are made from scratch.”

When asked what kind of fish customers prefer throughout the year, Feinman (everyone calls her “Lisa”) ticks off a four-season review. In winter she says the store’s freshly made, hot soups are popular, as is salmon, which is always a favorite. In summer she says that boiled lobsters, steamed clams, swordfish and scallops, as well as other seafood that can be cooked on the grill, are favorites. 

Spring she says “is a big seafood time of year.” In fact, in this season Atlantic Seafood hosts a six week course on cooking seafood, conducted by a number of expert chefs. Customers are welcome to take the course, and the tuition fee is nominal. Then in the fall Feinman says, “Since there is no more grilling outdoors, people are more into comfort food. The favorites are baked fish, like cod and haddock. 

As for her own experience in running a business, Feinman says that she has always been in retail. Also, she says, self confidently, “I always knew I could run a business.” 

To substantiate this, she calls attention to an article about the store, published in a July 2007 issue of the New York Times. The Times wrote about the store, “To have fish any fresher, you would have to catch it yourself.”
Speaking of the freshness of the fish sold at Atlantic Seafood, the Lisa says, “We buy off the boats, and we know the boats we buy from. We also have drivers that pick up our fish in Rhode Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts, and everything is shipped overnight.” 

Then, she repeats what could well be the store’s mantra, “We do not ever put our fish in preservatives.”

Career Column: Buying for Sephora (so the rest of us can buy from Sephora)

My daughter’s boss’s friend’s daughter has what many young women would consider to be “the best job ever.”  She is a buyer for Sephora, the high end cosmetics retailer with well stocked independent store locations in malls all across the United States, Canada, and Europe.  I made it my mission to find out how one goes about getting this job and what the job might entail.  Here’s what I discovered:

The headquarters for Sephora USA is in San Francisco and most corporate level positions are located there.   Posted openings on Sephora’s website include one for an assistant merchandise planner and another for a planning manager.  Although these are not buying jobs exactly, they are closely related.   The assistant planner’s responsibility is to help with the creation of SKU (stock keeping units) forecasts and the placement of orders and requires 1-2 years of corporate retail planning experience.

I also looked at openings for buyers for similar companies and found this list of qualifications for an accessories buyer for Juicy Couture, a brand well known to Sephora shoppers:

  • 8+ years of Buying experience, 2+ years of previous management experience
  • Keen understanding and interest in fashion industry and trends
  • Excellent Retail Math and Excel skills
  • Proven vision for building line plans and assortments(and other qualifications that are less specific to the position and industry). 

I also found out that an associate buyer of dress collections at Saks Fifth Avenue needs 3 – 4 years of business experience and “strong business and financial analysis skills,” among other requirements.  Nothing in the rather long list of requirements for the Saks position had anything to do with a vision or interest in beautiful clothes, but perhaps having such an interest goes without saying.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “Buyers purchase merchandise for resale from wholesalers or manufacturers. Using historical records, market analysis, and their sense of consumer demand, they buy merchandise, keeping in mind their customers’ demand for style, quality, and a reasonable price range. Wrong decisions mean that the store will mark down slow-selling merchandise, thus losing profits.” 

An assistant buyer for natural skin care products for Sephora gave an interview to the website “I Want Her Job” (more about the website below).  She reports that she started out in an unrelated retail business and moved on to become an account coordinator and later an account executive for a manufacturer who sold products to Sephora.  She moved over to Sephora from there.  It is evident from her interview that she loves cosmetics and loves working for the company.  She describes what she does each day this way:  “I help determine the correct assortment of products to carry and how they will be merchandised. I am not just involved in skin care merchandising, but I also work closely with our marketing, education, operations and inventory teams.” 

In sum, to become a buyer in the fashion or cosmetics industries, it is vital to have a good head for numbers and to be motivated to achieve business goals.  A buyer might also work long and unpredictable hours and will need to be able to respond quickly and manage stress well.  For someone who has these qualities and loves the products the industry sells, a career as a buyer could be very exciting.  Like any other good job, it takes a lot of work, persistence, and drive to get there.  Relevant internships and retail sales experience would be a good first step.  A college degree is not always essential, but it is desirable, and a business or merchandising degree could be a requirement for some positions.  According to salary.com, the median annual salary for an experienced buyer in New York is $77,000. 

Career Resource

IWantHerJob.com (www.iwantherjob.com ) is an inspiring website that profiles women who love their jobs.   The site is a pleasure to view, interviews are informative, and women with all kinds of interesting jobs are profiled.  The site is fairly new so hopefully there will be a wider range of jobs profiled over time.  The interview with the assistant buyer for Sephora is here:  www.iwantherjob.com/cassie-cowman/ .

Karen Goldfinger, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Essex, Connecticut.   She specializes in psychological assessment for clinical, educational, and forensic purposes and has a special interest in career assessment.  She and two partners recently established KSB Career Consultants, LLC to provide on line career consultation for clients in Connecticut and New York.   Contact her with questions,  comments, or suggestions for the column at karengoldfinger@comcast.net

Essex selectmen postpone public hearing on Regional Health District

ESSEX— The board of selectman has indefinitely postponed a public hearing on the option of joining the Connecticut River Area Regional Health District amid a dispute with district directors over problems with the town’s public health files and records.

After weeks of reviewing options for providing public health services in Essex, the board earlier this month scheduled a Jan. 11 public hearing on the option of joining the regional health district that is comprised of the towns of Clinton, Deep River, and Old Saybrook. But last week the selectmen cancelled the hearing after receiving a letter from the district’s five member board of directors that called for Essex officials to respond immediately to any and all questions about the public health files.

The letter also indicated the district would not renew a month-to-month contract that has Mary Jane Engle, the Connecticut River Area Regional Health District executive director, serving as a part-time acting health director in Essex. First Selectman Phil Miller had appointed Engle as acting health director in October, a move that prompted a new look at the option of joining the district. The review of options showed the regional health district was the least costly way of providing all public health services for the town, including soils testing that is required for approval of new or modified septic systems.

Selectman Joel Marzi, the Republican who contested Democrat Miller in the 2009 town election, said Tuesday postponing the public hearing on the regional health district “made sense based on the underlying concerns raised by the letter, adding “one should only proceed with a hearing if there is a positive leaning by the board of selectmen.”

Marzi said the selectmen should have agreed to the meeting requested by the health district board of directors in the Nov. 29 letter, and suggested the town could be left without a health director if the regional health district cancels the month-to-month contract with Essex for Engle’s services in early January. State law requires towns to have a designated health director.

Miller said Engle is continuing to serve as acting health director, working at Essex Town Hall at least one day each week. The board of selectmen is expected to discuss the health department issues further at the next regular meeting on Jan. 5.

Senator Daily expresses gratitude for recent meeting on Chester Ferry

To the editor:

I write in praise of the estimated 150 area residents present at the December 16 meeting at the Hadlyme Public Hall to consider future prospects for the Chester-Hadlyme ferry. I was struck by the civil, respectful tone at a gathering with so much potential for emotional flare-ups and reckless rhetoric.

The issue pits the continuance of an historic – even iconic – regional transportation link against the need to reconsider every single aspect of state spending in the face of a daunting projected budget deficit. The state Department of Transportation, working to trim its costs by 15 percent, included the ferry on a list of proposed cuts. So the viability of a 240-plus years old transportation asset, that generated $106,302 last fiscal year but cost $338,706, is under intense scrutiny.

With so many fresh memories of ‘Tea Party’ and ‘tax and spend’ labels bandied about during this fall’s campaigns and with so much partisan bickering now masking as ‘debate’ at the Capitol, it was uplifting to hear one speaker after another calmly and rationally make his or her case for the ferry. Those of us present learned some fascinating family history specific to Hadlyme and the ferry.

Area residents underscored the inconvenience of traveling north or south to the nearest bridges, they reasserted the ecological advantages of the local crossing, and they described the draw of the ferry as a vital part of the local economy. And they did so without making accusations, pointing fingers, or calling names. State officials reiterated the need to bridge a budget gap measured in billions of dollars while also acknowledging the residents’ strong desire to maintain the ferry operation.

It struck me that such level-headed discourse really ought to characterize all meetings of this nature and such thoughtful dialogue is the manner in which issues should always be considered. It reminded me that in my experience as a public official, this really is the only way compromise is reached and progress made.

The residents of the 33rd District routinely make me proud to represent our area in the General Assembly and last Thursday night’s meeting gave further evidence of their penchant for doing so.


Eileen M. Daily
State Senator – 33rd District

Tri-Town Youth Services to sponsor winter parent/caregiver support groups

Tri-Town Youth Services, located at 56 High Street in Deep River, will sponsor a series of winter support groups led by Parent Resource Coordinator, Meredith Adler.  The groups will run from Jan. 5 through March 16, 2011 and are intended for parents/caregivers and their children.

Outstanding Ones for children ages 12 months to 24 months will meet on Wednesdays from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. with a cost of $45 for tri-town residents and $55 for non-residents.

Terrific Twos for children 24 months through 36 months will  meet from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays with a cost of $60 for tri-town residents and $70 for non-residents.

Please call 860-526-3600 for more information and to register.

Miller predicts new Essex boat ramp to be finished by year’s end

The big machines building a small town boat ramp

The new boat ramp under construction at the foot of Main Street in Essex will be finished by the end of this year, according to Essex First Selectman Phillip Miller. Miller is extra sensitive about the $200,000 project, because both he and the town’s Public Works Director David Caroline were “denounced” that the state-funded* project was a boondoggle and would never be completed.

Miller, a Democrat, said that in the next election, “The Republicans are already planning to make the failed boat launch project a campaign issue.” However, Miller said that “a supposedly doomed STEAP project has risen from the ashes, as David and I predicted.”

Essex First Selectman Phil Miller

The First Selectman said in a written statement, “The contractor worked into darkness on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday [Dec. 16, 17, 18 and 19]. It is more than half complete to our satisfaction, and our engineer inspected it on Friday and will do so again today [Dec. 20].”

“In hindsight,” Miller said, “for us to have expected that this job could be done without constructing a cofferdam to hold back the Connecticut River was completely unrealistic. When we were down in the hole lining up the concrete, even at low tide the river was over my head. This morning they were securely working in the midst of a very high tide, and they were high and dry.”

According to Miller only $143,000 of the grant will be spent for the new boat ramp, including the cofferdam. The remaining $57,000 of the grant will be spent on improvement projects on Novelty Lane.

“To all the glooming predictions and false accusations, I say that performance speaks for itself,” Miller said in a statement. “We’ll end up with a quality project done properly to our satisfaction, under budget albeit two-and-a-half months late, and so be it.”  

Miller acknowledged that ultimately the project will not be “a large scale boat launch.” He anticipates that most boats in the area will continue to use the state boat launch in Old Saybrook. However, the First Selectman anticipates that there will be some small boat usage of the new launch, and that it will also serve an at-the-ready facility for the town’s emergency vessels.

One factor that will militate against frequent private use of the new boat launch is that after launching a vessel in Essex there are very few places to park the car that brought the boat. The state boat launch in Old Saybrook of course has a large parking area.

* An earlier version of this article said that STEAP grants were a federal program. This was not correct, they are a state program that grants monies to small towns in Connecticut.

Region 4 returns small surplus to Chester, Deep River and Essex

REGION 4— The  Region 4 Board of Education has returned a small surplus from the 2009-2010 education budget to the district towns of Chester, Deep River and Essex.

A total of $33,690 was left unexpended from the $16.7 million education budget at the close of the fiscal year on June 30. Each town received a share of the surplus based on the town’s average daily membership of students attending Valley Regional High School and John Winthrop Middle School.

The same ADM figure is used to determine each town’s share of the education budget. Essex, with the most students, received a surplus payment of $14,113. Deep River received $10,471. The payment for Chester was $9,106.

Deep River Congregational Church Christmas events

Friday, Dec. 24 ~ Christmas Eve Pageant,  5:30 and 7:00 p.m.

On Christmas Eve for over 50 years, young people from the Deep River Congregational Church have performed the nativity pageant, “Thy Light Is Come.”  Costumed shepherds, angels, and wise men have sung carols and told the Christmas story as envisioned by the late Rev. Walter Euston, former minister of the church.

Friday, Dec. 24~ Candlelight Communion Service, 11:00 p.m.

During the service we share in Communion in the front of the church.  The celebration closes as we light individual candles and sing “Silent Night” together.

Sunday, Dec. 26 ~ A Family Service at 10:00 a.m.  (No 8:30 service)

There is only one service which offers a special story for Christmas, shared by our Rev. Timothy Haut.

Middlesex County Community Foundation provides grant for new windows to Connecticut River Museum

Middlesex County Community Foundation has awarded a $3,000 grant to the Connecticut River Museum from the President’s Discretionary Fund. The award will aid in the purchase of new windows, replacing those which were damaged in the August 11, 2010 fire at the Museum.

The President’s Discretionary Fund was established by an anonymous donor in 2008 for just such a need as the Connecticut River Museum now faces. This donor realized that philanthropy and emergencies do not have set schedules. He wanted the Community Foundation to be able to provide assistance immediately.

“There are times when emergencies arise and quick action is required,” stated Cynthia H. Clegg. “This fund was established to allow for immediate responses to unforeseen situations. The Community Foundation is committed to supporting our nonprofits, not just for the usual, timely, scheduled day-to-day items, but when they are in need, when they need it most.”

The new windows are essential in meeting two very important goals. The windows are exhibit and artifact friendly, offering protection from UV radiation and light exposure. The windows are also operations-friendly, meeting high energy efficiency standards, thus helping the museum meet the costly expenses heating and cooling the exhibit areas.
“The Museum is so appreciative of community organizations like the Community Foundation that have stepped forward to assist in rebuilding,” said Jerry Roberts, Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum. “The museum is coming back greater than ever because of this outpouring of community support.”

Located on the waterfront in historic Essex, the Connecticut River Museum is the perfect place to explore the heritage and experience the wonders of New England’s Great River. Offering art and artifacts, history from Dutch explorers to British raiders, from Native American canoes to the first American submarine, there is something at the Connecticut River Museum to capture every visitor’s interest.

The Middlesex County Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Its two-fold mission is: (1) to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable funds and (2) to support local nonprofit organizations through effective grant making to address community needs. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has provided more than $1.5 million in grants to more than 200 organizations for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements, and for health and human services. For more information call 860-347-0025, email info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org or visit the website: www.MiddlesexCountyCF.org.

True Crime Behind the Headlines at the Essex Library

True Crime is a topic that never gets old, explored endlessly by novelists, headline writers, and Hollywood. Whether you’re a CSI fan, a Cold Case addict, or can’t wait for this month’s James Patterson novel – the Essex Library’s fascinating winter series of lectures on True Crime by true crime fighters promises to be more entertaining than any fiction. Come and hear how the real detectives, forensic pathologists, Mob insiders, FBI agents, anti-trafficking and anti-terrorism experts fight the bad guys in the real world – including a special appearance by the legendary forensic scientist, Dr. Henry Lee.                                                                            

Think the Mob’s a Hollywood myth? Think again! The Mafia, its beginnings in Italy, migration to the USA, and recent major cases, including the Megale case in Connecticut, will be the topic Thursday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m., as the Essex Library presents FBI Agent John Sereno, a career expert on the topic of the real Mafia, not the Sopranos version. Agent Sereno has been with the Bureau for 23 years, in both Connecticut and New York, working mostly in Organized Crime and Narcotics.                                    

Dr. Henry Lee will speak at Essex Town Hall on January 26

Dr. Henry C. Lee, one of the world’s foremost forensic scientists, and a prominent player in many of the most challenging cases of the last 40 years, will speak at Essex Town Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.  Dr. Lee has worked with law enforcement agencies in helping to solve more than 6000 cases. Dr. Lee’s testimony figured prominently in the O. J. Simpson trial, and in convictions of the “Woodchipper” murderer, and he has assisted local and state police in their investigations of other famous crimes, such as the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado, the 1993 suicide of White House Counsel Vincent Foster, and the reinvestigation of the Kennedy assassination. Dr. Lee is currently the Chief Emeritus for the Scientific Services and was the Commissioner of Public Safety for the State of Connecticut for over two years and has served as that state’s Chief Criminalist from 1979 to 2000. A donation of $5 per person will be requested for this program.        

You’ve seen their success stories splashed across the front page — but how does a real Cold Case cop crack a murder when the killer’s trail is long gone? Connecticut’s Violent Crimes Bureau/ Cold Case Unit  Supervisory Inspector Michael Sullivan will share his experiences with the Cold Case Unit on Thursday, Jan. 27 at the Essex Library, revealing their amazing track record and surprising methods. A former Police Captain from the City of New Britain Police Department, Inspector Sullivan did 20 years there with 18 of those years being in the Criminal Investigations Division, and has been an Inspector for 7 years, the last 2 of which have been in the Cold Case Unit.

Ever wondered how the FBI builds a real-life case against a complex criminal enterprise? Retired Special Agent Art Meister has forty years of law enforcement experience, twenty-four of them with the Bureau, where one of his specialties was Enterprise Investigation. During his career with the Bureau, he rose to be the Head of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime in Quantico, Virginia, and was also head of VICAP ( Violent Criminal Apprehension Program), the national behavior-based computer program that helps law enforcement to track and identify serial offenders across the county., You’ll hear fascinating insider insights and case histories about some of the FBI’s biggest busts on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m., at the Essex Library.

The scourge of slavery is very much alive, in this country and across the globe. The modern-day slave is likely to be a woman or child, impressed into forced labor as a sex worker.

Frank N. Barnaba, President of the Barnaba Institute, has worked tirelessly to remove women and children from the devastating world of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Mr. Barnaba founded the Paul & Lisa Program, based in Connecticut, in 1980 and is well known for his efforts in recovering runaway and missing children, often working with federal and local law enforcement agencies. Throughout his career, Mr. Barnaba has lectured at national conferences on sexual exploitation and human trafficking including the White House, the Helsinki Commission and the Mid-Term Review for the Third World Congress. On Thursday, Feb., 10 at 7 p.m., he’ll speak at the Essex Library about his organization’s efforts to end this hideous crime against humanity, the cases he’s been involved with, and his ongoing fight to bring freedom to trafficking’s powerless victims.

We’ve all seen the body scanners and pat-downs that are the new norm in air travel security. But what else are the airlines doing to keep us safe, and just how well do these invasive new measures really work? Airline pilot and professional aviation security consultant Captain Tom Walsh advises airlines on how to stop the bad guys – what works and what doesn’t – and will tell us where the ongoing, ever-changing fight against terrorism from the skies is going next, at the Essex Library on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. Capt. Walsh has over 35 years experience in the field of aviation, is a former USMC Fighter/Attack pilot, and has been employed by Delta Airlines since 1987.  Walsh is also an internationally recognized expert on aviation security and counterterrorism and serves as a consultant on aviation and aviation security projects for the US Government and private firms.  The Senior Aviation Security Consultant for a Washington based firm specializing in risk management, he is currently assisting the Government in a detailed study of the vulnerabilities in the global and US aviation system.

Please call the Essex Library today at 860-767-1560, to reserve your spot for any or all of these programs, as they will fill up fast and space is limited. Fiction will never seem the same!

Essex Hopes to Salvage Troubled Main Street Boat Launch Project

Construction work in progress at Essex boat launch

ESSEX–  First Selectman Phil Miller is hoping to salvage a troubled Main Street boat launch project that began earlier this month, three months behind schedule.

Miller met Thursday with frustrated members of the harbor management commission and the economic development commission to review a series of problems with the project that is funded by a state Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant. The board of selectmen in August awarded a contract for the reconstruction of the boat launch at the foot of Main Street to Old Colony Construction of Clinton. The company, with a price of $103,000, submitted the lowest of six bids received for the project.

Construction workers brave the cold to construct the cofferdam

The work, which requires permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection, was scheduled to begin in mid-September, when tides on the Connecticut River are lowest, and be completed within a month. But in mid-September, company owner Vincent Neri told town officials he had not secured all of the supplies, including galvanized steel and concrete, needed for the project.

Delays continued in October, with disagreements over whether union prevailing wages are required for the project, and whether a cofferdam is needed to hold river water back from the area of construction.

According to Lee Thompson, chairman of the economic development commission, Old Colony Construction initially claimed an exemption from the prevailing wage rule. Town officials maintained payment of prevailing wages to project workers was required because the project is funded by a $191,000 state grant. Neri, who had initially bid the project without a cofferdam, also submitted a change order that contended a steel cofferdam was needed at an additional cost of about $39,000.

Heavy lifting equipment being used for boat launch repairs

The disagreements delayed the start of construction until earlier this month. While agreeing to pay prevailing wages, Neri also requested various exclusions that would halt work during rain and severely cold weather, with no night work. When planning the project in September, town officials had anticipated work to continue at night under lights to allow for completion of the project when river tides were most favorable.

Thompson and other members of the two commissions that have pushed for the new boat launch for several years, questioned whether the late starting project can be completed by a January 12 deadline established by the DEP to protect migrating eagles and fish. Members questioned whether the project could be completed if the current cold weather continues and begins to freeze over the river. Some advocated dismissing Old Colony Construction, and calling a performance bond that was required under the contract.

Miller said lawyers for the town had cautioned that calling the bond would likely bring court litigation that would further delay the project, and possibly jeopardize the state grant. “We’ve been disappointed, there is no doubt about that,” Miller said, adding “we’re on our third good faith effort and we have to give them some time to get this done.”

Miller said the town would not approve any additional change orders, and would call the bond and “go down a different road,” if the project is not finished by the mid-January DEP deadline.

Board of finance chairman James Francis, who attended the meeting , said Old Colony Construction should have been dismissed from the job when it was unable to start work in September. “I see no win in this end game,” he said, adding “this thing is going to fail and we’re going to be in court.”

Miller, noting the project cost remains under the grant amount even with the additional expense for the cofferdam said he remains hopeful the project would be completed by mid-January.

“Where’s the Party” Initiative to Stop Underage Drinking

Resident Troopers from the towns of Essex, Chester, and Deep River, Kerry Taylor, Adam Brown and Christopher Cope are working collaboratively with Tri-Town Youth Services to identify and intervene in underage drinking situations through Party Patrols and Party Dispersals.

“We want to educate both youth and their families about the serious consequences of underage drinking situations happening right in our backyards,” Gail Onofrio, Executive Director of Tri-Town Youth Services said. “We recognize that through education and prevention, we can prevent a tragedy from happening in our communities.”

The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that over half (55.9%) of current drinkers from ages 12 to 20 had used alcohol in the past month in someone else’s home, with 29.2 percent stating that it had occurred in their own home. Close to 70 percent of those interviewed did not pay for alcohol the last time they drank, but cited unrelated people 21 or older, parents, guardians, and other adult family members as main sources.*

This initiative has been funded through the Drug Free communities Program, directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It provides grants of up to $125,000 to community coalitions that encourage citizens to prevent youth substance abuse. For more information or to report underage drinking, drug use or other suspicious activities anonymously please call the Tri-Town TIPLINE at 860-767-4340 x130.

* Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Volume I. Summary of National Findings.

Deep River Selectmen Appoint Fire Department Study Committee

DEEP RIVER— The board of selectmen has appointed a seven member committee to study needs and options for the Deep River Volunteer Fire Department in the wake of last summer’s failed referendum for a $2.4 million firehouse expansion project.

The committee appointed Tuesday, called the fire department study committee, includes four members recommended by the fire department and board of fire commissioners, and three volunteers picked by the selectmen. Members recommended by the fire department are David Berardis, former fire chief Tim Ballyntine, Richard Killmer, and John Kollmer. Members chosen by the selectmen are Paul Carlson, Peter Terenzi, and Steven David.

First Selectman Richard Smith said the committee would perform research necessary to “answer all of the questions,” related to any possible expansion project for the 1961 firehouse located on the corner of Union and Elm streets. Smith said the board of selectmen would adopt a former charge for the committee at its Dec. 28 meeting. Smith said the committee’s study would help determine whether any new proposal for a firehouse expansion is presented to voters in a bonding referendum in 2011.

Voters rejected a $2.4 million expansion plan for the firehouse on a 347-312 vote in a July 13 referendum. The vote last summer was the second rejection of an expansion project for the firehouse, with a more costly $3.7 million plan failing by a much wider margin in a November 2007 referendum.

Smith said the new committee would hold its first meeting in January. He said the panel would begin by preparing a questionnaire that would attempt to gauge what residents are looking for, and how much they are willing to spend, on a firehouse building project. The questionnaire would be mailed to all local box holders sometime early next year.

Essex Park & Rec. Program Details and Sign Up Dates Announced

Essex Park & Rec. Department have announced details for their forthcoming programs for Babysitter Training , and Boys and Girls High School Lacrosse.


Participants will learn how to become safe and responsible babysitters.  This American Red Cross class covers topics such as Basic Child Care, First Aid for breathing and bleeding emergencies, and injury prevention as well as covering other important topics to prepare young adults for babysitting. This is an excellent opportunity to help students build self-confidence as well as job leadership and decision-making skills.

Fee includes a Red Cross Babysitting manual & certificate.

Who: Students ages 11 – 15

Meets: Wednesdays

Time: 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (Last class may extend until 9 p.m.)

Session: Jan. 12, 19, 26 and Feb. 2 (Class is 4 weeks)

Limit: Minimum 6, Maximum15

Location: EES Room #TBA

Fee: $70.00

Instructor: Jennifer Crown


These informal gym sessions will be run by parent volunteers. The general idea is to give the players a local indoor location to work on their stick skills and prepare for the upcoming season. The specific format will depend on participant numbers each week, but will loosely encompass the following: Warm up/stretch, passing drills, stick handling drills, shooting drills, conditioning, cool down/stretch. All stick handling drills and defensive drills will be comprised of 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3 scrimmages. Indoor balls will be provided by the Booster Club, but all other necessary equipment (sticks, helmets, pads) must be provided by the participants

Who: Boys Grades 9-12

When: Tuesdays Jan. 11, 25, Feb. 1, 8, 15, March 1, 8, 15 (8 week Session)

Time: 8 p.m. -9:30 p.m.  Location: Essex Elementary School Gym

Cost: $30

Limit: Max. 20

Instructor: Park and Recreation Parent Volunteers.


These informal gym sessions will be run by parent volunteers. The general idea is to give the players a local indoor location to work on their stick skills and prepare for the upcoming season. The specific format will depend on participant numbers each week, but will loosely encompass the following: Warm up/stretch, passing drills, stick handling drills, shooting drills, conditioning, cool down/stretch. All stick handling drills and defensive drills will be comprised of 1v1, 2v2 or 3v3 scrimmages. Indoor balls will be provided by the Booster Club, but all other necessary equipment (sticks, helmets, pads) must be provided by the participants

Who: Girls Grades 9-12

When: Saturdays Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29, Feb. 5, 12, 19 (7 week Session)

Time: 1:30 p.m.-  3.00 p.m.

Location: Essex Elementary School Gym

Cost: $40 *** includes additional custodial fees

Limit: Max. 20

Instructor: Park and Recreation Parent Volunteers.

To Register, please either complete a program waiver form and return it to: Essex Park and Recreation 29 West Avenue Essex, CT 06442,  or register on line at www.essexct.gov. Registration Deadline: Jan. 4, 2011.

Local Business Imports Olive Oil from Italy

Lisa Tiezzi, founder of Tiezzi Imports LLC

In 2008 local Chester resident Lisa Tiezzi decided she would try and bring a bit of Italy back home.  While on vacation in Tuscany, over a glass of vino, a friend casually asked if she would be interested in importing their olive oil into the USA.

Two years later, as well as being a wife, a mother and a realtor, Tiezzi now also runs her own import company, Tiezzi Imports LLC, which specializes in importing Tutti Amici, a cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany for distribution in Connecticut. “What an amazing transformation my life has taken” Tiezzi says,”but I am enjoying this ride!”

Tutti Amici is produced in a small Tuscan hill town. The manufacturer prides himself on keeping with tradition and using the “cold” press method to remove the skins from the olives. By washing with cold water instead of hot, the olives keep their wonderful taste and nutrients intact. Another benefit of  Tutti Amici is that the oil is only “slightly” filtered, leaving all of the valuable properties for your enjoyment…so if it is cloudy after settling, just give it a good shake and enjoy the flavor!  Tutti Amici’s oil is extracted in Italy from Italian olives, using a large stone wheel.

Since deciding to import Tutti Amici, Tiezzi has been researching the benefits of consuming cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. “It has been an extremely interesting learning experience for me,” Tiezzi says, “recent studies and findings related to the possible risk reduction of colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and dementia are astounding. Studies have also been recorded that cold pressed extra virgin olive oil may also reduce cholesterol”.

Tiezzi now imports around 400 cases/year which she sells on her website (www.tiezziimports.com) and in 18 small boutique shops around Connecticut. They also have small bottles for wedding favors and leather, wood and metal boxes for unique olive oil gifts both personal and corporate. “Our goal is to become a national brand in the USA! You must taste Tutti Amici to appreciate great Italian olive oil” says Tiezzi.

Among the gifts you will find on their website are “Pinzimonio”. These fabulous white ceramic dipping dishes are hand made in Italy.  Designed with the terraced hills of Tuscany in mind, these dishes accept the olive oil a bit deeper in the center making the color of the oil go from darker to lighter as it rises up the grooves.  They are simply wonderful…a great design that goes well with Tutti Amici cold pressed extra virgin olive oil!

Tutti Amici olive oil and gifts can be purchased from their website or from several local stores, including Adams Supermarket and El & Ela in Deep River, Ceramica, The Local Beet, The Wheatmarket and The Herbery in Chester, and  The Weekend Kitchen, The French Hen  and Gather in Essex/Ivoryton.

Last Chance to See “Barnum” Before the Circus Leaves Town!

R. Bruce Connelly (member of Actors Equity) as Barnum and Beverley Galpin as his wife, Chairy. (Picture by Anne Hudson)

A wonderful revival of “Barnum” is currently playing at the Ivoryton Playhouse.  This “heartwarming” circus musical was composed by Cy Coleman of “Sweet Charity” fame and the lyrics were written by Michael Stewart.  The original 1980 Broadway production starred Glenn Close and Jim Dale.

This show is geared toward the family and the whimsical mood set during the pre-show.  As soon as you enter the theater, adults and children alike were treated to laughing clowns, entertaining and interacting with the audience.  Even Scott Wasserman (Ringmaster/Bailey) is making balloon animals for the kids.

The stage has a red circus “big-top” backdrop.  A five-piece band plays in the background and all of the musicians wear circus outfits to fit in with the mood of the show.  

Michael Viao and Sarah Stelzer in the Ivoryton Playhouse production of Barnum

In “There’s a Sucker Born” every minute, Barnum persuades the crowd on the stage to come to his “Greatest Show on Earth.”

R. Bruce Connelly’s energy commands the stage as P.T. Barnum, who he portrays as a dreamer.

Beverly Galpin plays Barnum’s wife, Charity “Chairy” Barnum, who is Barnum’s stubborn, New England-bred wife.  Chairy is often against her husband’s dreams.  How amusing it is when Chairy flips a one-sided coin to make a decision and, “Fate was always on her side.”  Galpin sings the nostalgic “The Colors of My Life,” beautifully. 

Scott Wasserman plays the Ringmaster/Bailey and also serves as the announcer/narrator for Barnum’s actions in a circus-style format  

Justin Boudreau stood out as Tom Thumb.  His rendition of, “Bigger Isn’t Better,” was an entertaining number.
Danielle Cohen was a delight as the Swedish soprano and diva, Jenny Lind while the ensemble consisted of multi-talented clowns, gymnasts, bystanders, and acrobats.

Two of the most enjoyable numbers were, “Come Follow the Band,” (which certainly had the audience tapping their shoes) and, “Join the Circus.”

This show is such fun that you should definitely, “Join the circus” before it packs up the tent and leaves town for good after this Sunday’s evening performance!

Performance times are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $28 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at (860) 767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

A Serious Lecture on Paranormal Occurrences – Ghosts!

The Deep River Historical Society will be presenting a lecture by the Connecticut Paranormal Research Society entitled Paranormal Occurrences – otherwise known as Ghosts, on Saturday Jan. 15 from 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. in the “Carriage House”, on the Historical Society grounds at 245 Main Street, Deep River.

Joseph Franke and Orlando Ferrante from the Connecticut Paranormal Research Society will talk about whether paranormal events actually occur, what modern day technology can be used in an attempt to document them, and how to check to see if the noises you hear in your home are being caused by spirits.

Many more topics will be addressed, including why are the spirits here and can they hurt us, and the presentation will be followed by a question and answer session to raise topics not covered in the lecture.

Reservations are requested (but not required).   Please call (860) 526-9984 and leave your name, phone number and the number of people in your group. For more information, please call Jim Hogan, of the Historical Society, at the same number.

Donations, in appreciation for the lecture will be appreciated but are not required. You will also be welcome to pick up an application to join the Historical Society.

Local CT Resident Travels to Haiti

On Monday local Connecticut resident Tracy Simmons, who lives in Southington and reports on religion as editor of Creedible.com, left for Haiti with a camera, a laptop and a lot of faith, and will be sending back periodic reports of her trip.

Simmons boarded a plane in New York on Monday to visit Carrefour in Haiti, an impoverished neighborhood about 3 miles outside of Port-au-Prince. Simmons says she will be bringing some Christmas spirit with her while also reporting on the community’s progress since the earthquake 11 months ago. Here is her first post of the trip from the airport in New York.  Contine reading Tracey’s report on creedible.com

Support Shoreline Soup Kitchens at The Kate

Give a Little at The Kate in Old Saybrook Saturday Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. This is the 3rd annual benefit concert for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries and every cent goes to the soup kitchen. The goal is 100,000 meals; the need is closer to 300,000.

See performances by Lauren Agnelli, Ebin-Rose, Lara Herscovitch, Moving Target, Jim & Liz Beloff, Jack Caldwell, Eric & Sandra Lichter, Ragweed and Amalgamated Muck.

Presented by The Shoreline Acoustic Underground with The Small Town Concert Series, Wyeth Architects LLC and AcousticMusic.org

Tickets: $20 main floor; $40 balcony. Box office 860.510.0453

Deep River Town Meeting Tuesday on Zoning Board Appointments

DEEP RIVER— A town meeting will be held Tuesday Dec. 14,  at 7 p.m. in the town hall to vote on confirming the reappointment of two members of the planning and zoning commission and two members of the zoning board of appeals.

The board of selectmen on Nov. 23 reappointed Jane Samuels as a member of the planning and zoning commission, and David Basilone as a planning and zoning commission alternate. The board also reappointed Donald Grohs to the zoning board of appeals, and Jerome Scharr as a ZBA alternate.

For towns without municipal charters, state law requies a town meeting vote to confirm appointments to the planning and zoning commission and the zoning board of appeals. The appointments are for a three-year term ending in December 2013. Samuels and Grohs are Republicans, Basilone and Scharr are Democrats. Voters at the town meeting will be asked to approve a new town stormwater runoff ordinance.

Messiah Singalong or Listen at the Kate

Capella Cantorum  will perform “Messiah Singalong or listen”, on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. in The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Art Center, (The Kate) 300 Main St. Old Saybrook, 06475.

The Singalong is open to all, featuring professional soloists under the direction of Barry Asch and accompanied by Deborah Lyon. Bring your Messiah Scores if you have them or they will be provided.

 There is a $10 fee for singers and audience, to cover expenses and with profit going to support The Kate. Singers will sit in sections. The audience is invited to sit in the back, witness the short rehearsal, and then the Sing.

Tickets will be available on-line at www.thekate.org and through the Box Office 877-503-1286, open Tues–Fri 10 a.m. –2 p.m., no reserved seats. For information call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871.

Exhibition of Paintings by Deep River Artist at Acton Public Library

The Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, is exhibiting  paintings by Deep River artist Augusto Lucarelli.  His work will be on display in the library gallery on the main floor through Dec. 27, 2010.

The second floor gallery of the library features the work of Shlomit Ruttkamp of  Westbrook. Ms. Ruttkamp’s drawings in black and white and color will be on display through Jan. 15, 2011.       

For further information, please call 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10.00 a.m. – 8.30 p.m. Friday and Saturday 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. and Sunday 1.00 p.m.- 5.00 p.m.

Essex Elementary School Foundation Announces New Board Members – Launches Annual Appeal

Essex Elementary School Foundation Directors gathered to launch its annual direct mail fundraising appeal on Dec. 1. Pictured from left to right are Stephen Brinkman, Joanne O’Neil, Bill Jacaruso, Chet Kitchings, Deborah O’Donnell, Mary Beth Harrigan, Robin Millen, Kathleen Maher, Linda Reamer, and Sarah Whitney.

Centerbrook, CT — The Essex Elementary School Foundation, a not-for-profit, volunteer organization that provides independent financial resources for worthy educational projects, enrichment programs, and other initiatives at Essex Elementary School, has kicked off its annual fundraising appeal following the recent election of four new members to its Board of Directors.  

Essex residents Sarah Whitney, Phil Reynolds, and Sabele Foster and Essex Elementary School teacher Robin Millen have joined the 16-  member Board.  Bill Jacaruso, formerly Vice President, was also elected President while Phil Reynolds was approved as Vice President. 

On Wednesday, Dec. 1, EESF directors met at the school’s media center to launch the Foundation’s annual direct mail campaign to Essex area residents and businesses.   Last year’s campaign netted over $35,000 with increased participation from the community at large. 

Continued growth in financial support will allow the Foundation to expand the enrichment programs and projects now underwritten by the organization. In October, the Foundation announced grant awards totaling $13,300 for the development and implementation of several programs during the 2010-2011 school year.  $5,000 was approved to fund the Justus W. Paul World Cultures Program, $2300 to fund the Historian-in-Residence Program, $2,000 to fund the Artist-in-Residence Program, and $4000 to underwrite the purchase of one SMART Board.  Additional grant requests will be considered when the Board convenes again in April 2011.    

Since its inception in 1996, the Essex Elementary School Foundation’s primary goal has been to create a significant endowment that can support the school’s strategic vision to be a world-class educational institution.  Each year, 5% of the EESF endowment is allocated for programs and projects proposed by Essex Elementary School administration and staff. 

Past grants have also funded a Scientist-in-Residence program, literacy support materials, equipment for musical and physical education, playground improvements, logical thinking games, and audio/visual equipment. 

For more information about the Essex Elementary School Foundation or to make a tax-deductible donation, go to www.essexelementaryschoolfoundation.org or make checks payable to “Essex Elementary School Foundation” and mail to Essex Elementary School Foundation, PO Box 882, Essex, CT 06426.

Trees in the Rigging Boat Parade Winners Announced

TREES IN THE RIGGING event organizers and boat parade participants from left to right are George Graf, Essex Historical Society; Bill Stevens, TONY M. crew member; Jerry Roberts, Connecticut River Museum; Lee Thompson, Essex Mariner; Jon Manafort owner of TONY M.; Bob Higgins, TONY M. crew member; and Patrick Kilty, owner of ISHKOODAH.

On Friday, Dec. 10, organizers and participants in this year’s Trees in the Rigging boat parade gathered at the Connecticut River Museum to celebrate victory in the annual holiday boat decorating contest. 

The event, held on Nov. 28, featured festively-lit vessels passing in review in front of the Connecticut River Museum on the Essex waterfront. 

Jon Manafort, owner of the TONY M. won first place for converting his 31-foot aluminum workboat into a spectacular holiday locomotive.  He received a wooden boat model donated by the Essex Mariner as his prize. 

Second place was awarded to Dan and Cheryl Malone for their clever “Port & Starboard” light display that covered the 42-foot CHERYL ANN.  A messenger bag donated by Boatique was the second place prize award. 

Third place honors went to Patrick Kilty and Angus MacDonald Jr., owners of the ISHKOODAH, a 37-foot sloop that featured classically-lit rigging and Santa’s sleigh in tow as its dinghy.  They received a Connecticut River Museum membership and CRM burgee. 

Trees in the Rigging is a community event presented annually by the Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Historical Society, and the Essex Board of Trade.

“Save The Ferry” Public Meeting Dec. 16

The Hadlyme Public Hall Association has scheduled a public meeting for Thursday Dec. 16 to discuss the importance of the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and to ask state officials to find ways to assure its continued service to the communities it serves on both sides of the Connecticut River.

The state Department of Transportation has included the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry on a list of possible transportation services that could be curtailed or eliminated next year.

“We understand that the state faces some serious financial problems in the coming years,” said Association President Curt Michael, “but this ferry has been running since before the United States even existed. It’s an historic treasure, and its service is essential to businesses and tourism on both sides of the river. We want to find ways to work with the state so that Connecticut doesn’t lose this important part of its history.”

Michael said state legislators and selectmen representing the communities served by the ferry have been invited to attend the meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hadlyme Public Hall, One Day Hill Road, Lyme. 

Representatives from the Connecticut DOT have also been invited, as well as tourism and economic development officials.

The Hadlyme Hall Association has already collected more than 1,000 signatures on petitions urging the state to retain the ferry service, according to Michael. The petitions will be presented to state officials at the meeting.

The Hadlyme Public Hall Association is a nonprofit community organization that’s nearly 100 years old.  The Hall’s only financial support is from its members and its community events.  It has no government funding.  It is located on Rt. 148 at the intersection of Ferry Road, Day Hill Road and Joshuatown Road one mile east of the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and half a mile west of the intersection of Routes 148 and 82.

Senator Daily Interested in Reassessing Connecticut “tax credits and tax exemptions”

Senator Eileen Daily

Returning recently from a seminar of state budget chairs, hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, State Senator Eileen M. Daily said, “I was particularly interested in one discussion about “a reassessment of tax credits and tax exemptions.”

Although Daily, the State Senate’s chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, declined to specify which Connecticut tax credits and tax exemptions that she was taking a look at, she appeared to hint that some of them could be cut back or even eliminated.

In further comments about the seminar, Daily said, “I’m very fortunate to have had this opportunity to compare and contrast Connecticut’s fiscal condition with that of so many other states and to trade potential remedies to the common theme: bridging the gap between the Government’s many responsibilities and government’s ability to afford and meet these responsibilities.”

She continued. “There is no cookie-cutter formula to apply across-the-board for all states; instead each state will have to consider some combination from the menu of possibilities aired this week.”

The Senator added, “Of special importance will be the growing relationship among budget committee chairs from northeastern states. We already met once with plans to meet again soon, and we are determined to emerge from this economic downturn with a strong regional economy focused on our common interests.”

Daily was careful to note that her expenses for the three-day seminar were paid for by the National Conference of State Legislatures and not the State of Connecticut.

Senator Daily was elected last month for her tenth term in the Connecticut General Assembly.  The General Assembly is scheduled to begin its next session on January 5, 2011.

Bob Johnson the Deep River Phenomenon

Bob and Marilyn Monroe after a performance of the “Legends in Concert Holiday Show” at Foxwoods recently. Impersonators did Dean Martin, Stevie Wonder, Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley, and Marilyn. Afterward they came out to mingle with the audience. Marilyn is really show star Gailyn Addis. A wonderful show. Photo by John LaPlante.

Why do I call Bob Johnson our Deep River phenomenon? Well, for one thing ‘Johnson’ and ‘phenomenon’ rhyme, and I like that. But he really is a phenomenon of sorts.

Bob is really Robert F. Johnson. He is 85. But I think you’d guess 75. Tall, lean, raring to go.  Like most of us octogenarians, he has some complaints…sore back, painful foot. He’s had an operation or two of late. But he’s out and about every day, and still a Dapper Dan. His hair is always slicked down. His sport jacket buttoned. 

Now here’s a startling thing. He has been selling real estate in Deep River and environs for 64 years. It’s a record. Nobody comes close. And he’s still at it. “I like to keep the phone ringing!” he says, chuckling. Bob chuckles a hundred times a day.

He gave a talk about his life at the Deep River Rotary Club not long ago, and he kept the men and women around the big table chuckling also.

But now let me tell you about him the way he told us about himself.

First, I must mention he is a widower. His wife, Rosa Krieger, died three years ago. Alzheimer’s. It’s her picture right away that you see when he opens his wallet—age 39 when it was taken. A beautiful lady. Truly so. He met her at her brother’s in Manchester. He was a friend of Bob’s.  She was German. Visiting from Bavaria.

“I was 40. A bachelor. She was 39.  A bachelorette,” He  chuckles, “I got to take her out only three times.  Before she flew home, she said to me, ‘If you ever come to Germany, Bob, please visit us. She was living with her parents.”

 “I didn’t waste any time.” Chuckles. “I flew over for three weeks and she met me at the airport. I brought an engagement ring with me and she said yes. We were married in her church, which was 800 years old, on Oct. 28. 1965. We flew to Switzerland for our honeymoon. I flew home alone, which I didn’t like. She had to wait two months—legal papers, you know. We were married for 41 years.”

 He brought her to Deep River to live. She managed to adjust. Got to like Deep River and its folks. But she missed home. “We went back nearly every year. I always loved to go visit with her. She had a wonderful family. In fact, I lived there for a year. Beautiful  town. Good people. But I just couldn’t take to it permanently.” No chuckle this time.

Their son is Robert Xaver.  He lives in Killingworth with his wife Janet and children, Emily, Katie, and Lindsey. And their dog, Max. Bob dogsits Max when they go away. Robert X. speaks German fluently. “His mother always spoke German to him. That was a good thing.”

Deep River has always been home, sweet home for Bob. “I was born in my homestead at 14 Lafayette Avenue. I still sleep in the bedroom where I was born and still have the same mattress. Ha-ha!” (Not so about the mattress.) That’s why he calls his agency Lafayette Realty. It’s right around the corner from Main Street, close to Adams Supermarket and the Town Hall. You know what they say in real estate…Location, Location, Location! Bob feels he has the perfect location.

“My father was a big builder. He built our 8-room house in 1914 and he had only one helper. He dug the cellar at night with a lantern. I had two brothers and a sister, but they are gone now.”

His brother Erwin was seven years older. He was born with a short left arm. “It never fazed him. Very clever. Hard worker. A real entrepreneur.” Bob bring him up often. He teamed up with Erwin on many projects.

Erwin had the food concession for the three Pratt Read factories. They made all the working parts for pianos and sold them to piano companies all over the country. At age 15, Bob began selling lunches at the Pratt Read factories. He would start with the big factory on Main Street—now Piano Works Condominium. “I had a cart with sandwiches and drinks. I’d go to each floor and blow my whistle. People would come and buy .A hot dog was 10 cents. A coffee five cents. A ham and cheese sandwich 20 cents. Then I would go to the next factory, which is now Silgan. That is here they built the big transport gliders for World War II.”

He loved selling. Dealing with people. “When I was 15 years old I delivered the Hartford Courant. A few years later, Christmas trees. Also fireworks. Also gravestones.” Chuckles. “I really did. I also drove a taxi in Essex for a while.”
 He went to Deep River Elementary School, then Deep River High School. “I quit in my junior year. I didn’t like school. I enjoyed working and making money.” A chuckle. “But you shouldn’t say that. It’s embarrassing.”

“I always loved horses. When I was 15, I bought my first horse. Learned to ride it. Then a year later my second horse. I loved to ride them. And I rented them out for $1 per hour. Finally I raffled off the second one. I sold tickets for $2 and took in $154. A man in Middletown won it. I owned seven horses in all.

 “Speaking of raffles, at the Chester Fair a couple of years ago I bought an Elks Club $10 ticket for a raffle on a red two-eater convertible. I won it! It was valued at $28,000. No way could I ride that around town! I sold it back to the dealer.

“Speaking of being lucky, here’s another story. In 1938 I was 13 years old. I and two friends—both a bit older–were over by the Baptist Church on River Street. They later became state troopers. It had a large barn around the corner on High Street. . Those two began tossing rotten apples at the barn. What a mess they made. I was blamed, too. But I was just looking. Well, the parents were going to have to paint that side over. Guess what–the 1938 hurricane blew the whole barn down! I was lucky again!”

Some years later he bought a monkey. Susie. Thirty inches tall. But she was not much fun. And she never took to diapers. The messes! Finally Bob took her to a pet store. It would find somebody to love her. The owner called Bob two days later. “Mister Johnson,” he said. “Come pick up your monkey! We do not want her! She is a big, big problem.”
 He first flew across the Atlantic in 1958. Flying to Europe was unusual back then. John Colbert, co-owner of the town’s New Era weekly newspaper, went along. 

 “Propeller planes in those days. Our destination was Copenhagen. A long trip—24 hours from New York. John was looking out the window. He turned and said to me, ‘Bob, the seagulls are passing us!” Chuckle. 

“Just one stop—Iceland for four hours. We were gone for one month. And with the round-trip air fare, the Mercedes Benz we rented, gas food, drinks, trains and buses, the Oktoberfest in Munich, and of course the women (chuckles!!), the total cost for each of us was only $1,000. Things have changed a little since then, haven’t they?” Chuckle.

I myself, your reporter, have lived in Deep River eleven years. One day Bob called. “John,” he said. “Let me show you Deep River.” He wasn’t talking about selling me a place. I already had one. He took it upon himself to take me on a walk up and down Main Street. He had a story to tell at every house.

“That was the movie theatre. That was the A&P store. That was a pharmacy. We had three of them. That was Dr. Devitt’s house. Where Walgreen’s is now. That Devitt Field is named for him. The Whistle Stop was the Bob-O-Lou Restaurant back then. I built it with a pal. We ran it. A soft-shell crab sandwich was 35 cents. We sold the restaurant and went to other ventures.” There have been many.

He took me for a ride down Kirtland Street to the Town Landing on the Connecticut. Then back up River Street to the center of town. He pointed to 18 houses he had sold along that two miles. Two of them twice.

“I took to real estate and devoted myself to it all these many years. My first sale was an eight-room house for $4,000 in 1946. The second one was a two-family with six rooms each for $6,000. Erwin and I developed Castle View Drive in Chester. It was what had been the Kirtland farm. We called it Castle View because you had a nice view of Gillette Castle across the river. Lots went from $1,000 to $2,500. Erwin built the first house to get things moving. A total of 26 houses went up there. Very nice.

“I was a partner with him in building the first motor hotel in Old Saybrook. What we call a motel now. We called it the Old Saybrook Motor Inn but now it’s the Knights Inn.”

When the movie, “It Happened to Jane”, was made in Chester, he rented homes to the stars, Doris Day, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, and others. And I was an extra in the movie. Just one in a in a small background group. I did it for eight days. I had a nice Plymouth sedan. They also wanted it in the movie. I got $8 a day and another $8 a day for my car. It was a lot of fun.”

He is hard put to say how many houses and other buildings and lots and farms he has sold. He showed me a scrapbook. It was filled with newspaper clippings, some brown and fragile. His real estate ads. News stories about his ventures. Photographs. He shakes his head when he sees what real estate prices are nowadays. And is astonished when he sees how many buildings he knew well have been torn down and replaced. “It’s really unbelievable.” He’s phenomenal also in remembering names and dates and prices. They all pop right up.

He’s always up to doing something exciting. “When I was in Florida last winter, the local airport had on display B-24 and B-17 bombers. Those planes helped win World War II. They go all over the country. People go see them and can take a ride in them. I went up for a half hour. How those four engineers roared. That ride cost $400. But sure worth it.”

Many adventurous memories. Once, in Pennsylvania,  down 1,600 feet into a coal mine, then a two-mile trek under a river. Another time, a tour through the largest refinery in the world. In Canada, a visit to a huge pulp mill–trees being converted into rolls of toilet paper!

He and Rosa bought a house on a canal in Stuart, Florida,  near West Palm Beach, and went every year for 27 years. Now his son, Robert X., owns a condo there. Bob visits there. This year his car is being trucked down and he’s flying. “I just don’t like the snow and the ice any more.”

His travel fever was not limited to Europe. He has traveled all over the U.S and up into Canada and Mexico. Twelve islands in the Caribbean. Numerous cruises. Crossed the Panama Canal. “In Mexico I saw eight bulls killed in one afternoon. I never want to see a show like that again.”

He sold two houses last year. They were houses whose owners had died. He expects to handle a couple more like that. He would like some more listings. “I need the challenge,” he said. “And the fun of it. Yep, I like to keep going. Just like the Eveready Battery.”

Probate Court Gives Town Control of Former Nurses Memorial Fund

DEEP RIVER– The probate court has given town officials control over a charitable fund that had been supervised by the former Deep River Public Health Nurses Agency.

First Selectman Richard Smith said Old Saybrook Probate Judge Roger Goodnow decided at a Nov. 29 hearing held in Deep River that the nurses Memorial Fund should be controlled by the town, with Town Treasurer Thomas Lindner expected to be designated as trustee for the fund in a full written decision expected next week. Goodnow assumed jurisdiction over the case after Deep River Probate Judge Patricia Damon, who conducted an initial hearing in July, disqualified herself from the case.

The Memorial Fund, comprised of charitable donations from area residents, was managed for years by the Deep River Public Health Nurses as a charitable fund for needy town residents. The board of selectmen moved to secure control of the fund, which currently contains about $72,000, after voters discontinued further town funding for Deep River Public Health Nurses in a May 18 referendum. Deep River Public Health Nurses, which had coordinated visiting nurse services for the town for decades, formally disbanded with the start of the current fiscal year on July 1. The town has contracted with the Centerbrook-based Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley for visiting nurse and other community health-related services.

Smith said the newly appointed Community Health Board, which held its first meeting last week, would develop criteria and a procedure for disbursements from the fund. He said the fund would continue to be used to provide assistance to needy town residents, for items such as food, fuel, and medicines. He said the first disbursements from the fund would occur next year.

The fund had been frozen during the probate court proceedings, which stretched past the Thanksgiving holiday, when the fund had usually been used to provide turkeys and food baskets to needy residents. Smith said other charitable fund raising efforts, by the Deep River Rotary Club, elementary school students, and a Stuff the Cruiser drive coordinated by town police, had raised about $4,600 that would be dedicated to helping needy residents during the holidays. “All the Thanksgiving baskets went out and we’re in good shape as far as the Christmas baskets also,” he said.

Shoppers pleased with new Adams Market in Deep River

The new Adams Homemarket in Deep River

Bigger, better, with many new items to choose from, the new Adams supermarket in Deep River is off to a good start. Jeffrey Prindle, Store Manager of the new Adams Hometown Market, exudes confidence. “Business is going up,” is the way he puts it.

Located smack in the middle of the Town of Deep River, just across from the Town Hall and the new Walgreen’s pharmacy, the new Adams market added 3,500 square feet to the store’s original 20,000 square foot print. To do so it swallowed up some small shops that were its neighbors.

Indicating the importance of the new Deep River market to the Adams brand, Store Manager Prindle previously served as a District Manager, overseeing no less than nine Adams stores. Now he is concentrating solely on the Adams store in Deep River, and nothing else.

Store Manager Prindle (left) with Bakery Manager Hill (right)

Intense and hardworking, with a broad smile to go with it, Prindle is the epitome of someone who never stops working.  In addition to the 14 hours a day that he typically puts in at the store, he endures a very long commute to his home in Woodstock, Connecticut.

Prindle’s commitment to his job appears all consuming. “I get paid very well,” he says, which may have something to do with his work ethic.

Prindle reels off with pride the new departments at the store. Among them is a new gourmet cake section, which he calls his “decadent space.” The cakes are part of a Bakery Department run by Bakery Manager Jeffrey Hill, which features 20 different kinds of baked goods.

The “decadent space” of gourmet cakes

There is rye bread, which the store bakes from scratch, as well as other baked goods, which arrive at the store half cooked, and whose baking is finished in house.

These “baked-off” goods include bagels, muffins, rolls, artesian bread and six varieties of Ciabatta bread. The only down side for Hill is that he has to get to the store at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, so that he can bake the daily bread.

Other new wrinkles at the store include a dressed-up olive bar, and a “cheese island” that rivals that of Zabar’s in New York City. Also, there is a newly upgraded deli, which sells only top brand, Boars Head Meats.

Seafood is always popular in our Connecticut River valley communities, and Deep River is no exception. To meet this need the new store features fish, “fresh from the docks,” in Prindle’s words.

“Fish, fresh from the dock”

At 7:00 a.m. each morning, the store calls Connecticut Shell in Branford and puts in the day’s order for fish. This order is then delivered to the store between noon and two p.m., and is immediately put out for sale.

Although Prindle maintains, “We have a very good turnover,” usually there are some leftovers. These are sold a second day as well. Then, on the third day that the fish are in the store, it is wrapped and put in a self service section. If the fish does not sell there for one more day, it is discarded.

Reportedly, fresh salmon is far and away the most popular fish. As for live lobsters, the store will cook them for you, a new service.

Floral Department Manager Belinda Prindle

Also, the new Adams store has a spiffed-up Floral Department, headed by Belinda Prindle. She has introduced three new kinds of long lasting, premium roses and makes custom floral arrangements a specialty.

There is also a larger Meat Department, headed by Bob Shove, who is stocking in some very special, prime meats for the holidays. .

Other new innovations include a new “organic produce selection,” and a new, prepared food section featuring, “meal replacements.” Also, there is a new sushi bar.

All told Prindle says the new Adams store has over 3,000 new grocery items and 30 to 40 different kinds of fruits and vegetables.

30 different kinds of fruits and vegtables every day

Deep River’s First Selectman Dick Smith must be very pleased with the positive economic development impact of the new Adams store. According to Prindle, the store has added six new full-time, and 25 to 30 new part-time, positions to the staff at the new store in Deep River.

Winterbloom Tour Visits the Kate

Winterbloom: Antje Duvekot, Anne Heaton, Meg Hutchinson, and Natalia Zukerman

Winterbloom, a group of four successful, internationally-touring singer-songwriters – Antje Duvekot, Anne Heaton, Meg Hutchinson, and Natalia Zukerman will be performing at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 7.00 p.m.

While carving their own paths in indie Acoustic, Folk, Americana, Pop and Singer-Songwriter music, each have celebrated one another’s accomplishments on the road, and fostered the spirit of collaboration in the Boston music scene back at home. A magical show together in December 2008 led them to tour together as “Winterbloom” in November 2009 with a winter/holiday album they recorded called “Winterbloom: Traditions Rearranged.” They received rave reviews to both the fresh new recordings and moving live concerts, prompting them to reunite for the Boston Music Festival and Lilith Fair in the summer 2010.

Back by popular demand this holiday season, Winterbloom will play select shows in the US before a pilgrimage to tour Antje’s homeland Germany as well as the Netherlands in December.

Listen to sample tracks from Winterbloom

Tickets will be $30 if purchased in advance or $35 at the door.  Visit The Kate website for more details.

Chester Selectmen to Form Library Expansion Building Committee

CHESTER– The board of selectmen has agreed to establish a building committee to guide a planned expansion of the Chester Public Library.

The board Tuesday received a former request from the library board of trustees for a building committee that would guide an expansion project through funding approval by voters and construction. The library trustees have spent more than a year reviewing options for improvements to the historic 1906 library building on West Main Street (Route 148).

The review has included a town-wide survey and informational forums where most residents expressed a preference for improving and retaining the existing library building, rather than constructing a new library at a different location.

Molly Lund, secretary of the board of trustees, said the group has focused on a limited expansion of the 2,000 square-foot library building. She said the favored plan, which is still “just a concept,” calls for extending two wings off the back, or south, side of the building. She said the plan would not affect parking for the adjoining Chester United Church of Christ, which owns the land that contains the library building.

Lund said the group has not settled on an exact square-foot size for the expansion, or developed cost estimates for the project. “We need a building committee to take this project forward,” she said.

The selectmen discussed forming a building committee of seven or nine members that would include two library directors, a representative of the board of selectmen or board of finance, and volunteers, particularly residents with experience in architectural design and construction projects. Selectmen and library trustees agreed to recruit volunteers, with a formal appointment and charge for the committee expected in February. The committee would develop the details of an expansion project that could be presented to voters for funding approval, probably involving bonding, in 2001.

Residents interested in serving on the library expansion building committee should contact the selectmen’s office, library trustees, or Librarian Linda Fox.

Charles Stannard is a lifelong resident of Essex, and has covered various Middlesex County towns for two daily newspapers over the past 30 years.  He worked for the Middletown Press from 1979 to 1995 and the Hartford Courant from 1997 through last summer, and covered Chester, Deep River, Essex and Killingworth for the past decade.  Charlie lives in the Ivoryton section of Essex.

The Classic Architecture of Andrea Palladio is the Topic

The Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza, Italy (photo by Giulio Bernardi)

ESSEX, CT – Dr. Victor Deupi, architectural designer, teacher, and writer, will be presenting “The Architecture of Andrea Palladio” as part of the Essex Library’s popular Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series, at Hamilton Hall at Essex Meadows on Friday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. Palladio was the 16th-century Venetian who is widely considered the single most influential figure in all of Western architecture.  Buildings from the Redwood Library in Newport, R.I. to Monticello pay homage to his classical designs. Admission is free; please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560 to register. 

Born in the Republic of Venice in 1508, Palladio practiced architecture that adhered to the classical Roman principles he rediscovered and applied to his works, which included palaces, villas, and churches.  A number of his buildings are protected as part of World Heritage Sites.  His architecture has been valued for centuries as the quintessence of the harmony and calm of the High Renaissance. His teachings are detailed in his many books, which brought him fame both during his life and long afterwards.  He died in 1580.

Mr. Deupi earned his Masters and Ph.D. in architecture from Yale and the University of Pennsylvania respectively and his teaching credits include Notre Dame and the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture in London.  Presently he is teaching design, history, and representation at Fairfield University and the New York Institute of Technology.  He has written extensively about New Urbanism and the humanities underpinning the classical tradition.  Mr. Deupi is also a watercolorist whose work has been exhibited here and abroad (http://www.victordeupi.com/).

Future presenters in the series are, on Friday, Feb. 18, Dariel Cobb, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Hartford, who examines the role of inspiration and authorship in architecture and the arts in a talk titled, “Inspiration and Authorship in the New Millennium.” On Friday, Mar. 18, Landscape designer Louis Raymond conducts an illustrated and animated presentation on that perennial horticultural question “To be Formal – or Not to be Formal.”

Essex Meadows is at 30 Bokum Road in Essex (http://www.essexmeadows.com/directions/).

Community Music School Receives Grant

Community Music School has received a grant of $6,079 from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, a state agency. This grant was awarded through the General Operating Support program and it will help to fund music education and appreciation programs at the School. State grants are awarded through a competitive process. This grant signifies that Community Music School provides a high level of quality in its programs, community service and administrative ability.

Community Music School is a not-for-profit arts organization that has been serving the music education needs of students for more than 25 years. Founded in Essex, CT in 1983, Community Music School has grown steadily over the years and now occupies 6,000 square feet of space in two buildings with 17 studios and small group performance space.  Today, we have nearly 500 students of all ages from Essex and 17 surrounding towns throughout Middlesex, New London and New Haven counties. Our mission is to provide a full range of the finest possible instruction and musical opportunities to persons of all ages and abilities, to increase appreciation of music and to encourage a sense of joy in learning and performing, thus enriching the life of the community.

The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism brings together tourism, historic preservation and the arts. Its mission is to preserve and promote Connecticut’s cultural and tourism assets in order to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the

Please call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org for additional information about Community Music School programs.

Local Fire Departments to participate in Congratulatory Parade for Valley Regional Football Team

On Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 at 1:00 p.m., the Deep River, Essex, Chester and Old Lyme Fire Departments will be holding a Congratulatory Parade in honor of the Valley Regional High School Football Team. The team made it to the Division S State Finals for the first time in the history of the school.
The parade will start at the corner of River and High Street in Deep River and proceed through the center of Town to Church Street. Following the parade there will be a brief presentation and refreshments by the Valley Touchdown Club at the Firehouse. Rain date will be Sunday Dec. 19.