January 31, 2023

Archives for August 2010

Finian’s Rainbow At The Ivoryton Playhouse

Ivoryton: Here is where you should head this summer to warm your soul with infectious song, exuberant dancing, jokes both lovably corny and unexpectedly fresh, and of course the satisfying pairing of boy meets girl (as well as leprechaun meets human!)

Finian’s Rainbow (Book by E.Y Harburg and Fred Saidy, lyrics by Harburg and music by Burton Lane) was first produced on Broadway in 1947. It ran for 725 performances. Several revivals and a 1968 film version followed with Fred Astaire, Petula Clark and Tommy Steele. A recent Broadway revival was very well received by the press – the NY Times called it “a welcome picker upper” with “beautiful music and memorable songs”

In this whimsical, magical, still contemporary fable-with-a social-conscience, Finian McLonergan (Bruce Connelly*), his daughter Sharon (Kathleen Mulready*), followed by a leprechaun named Og (Michael Nathanson*), travel from Glocca Morra, Ireland to Rainbow Valley in the mythical state of Missitucky, USA. Finian has “borrowed” Og’s crock of gold to plant in the soil near Fort Knox so it will grow and make him rich. But Og wants it back, for without it all the Glocca Morra leprechauns will lose their magic powers and the crock of gold, which grants wishes, will turn to dross.

A highly original story unfolds, at once magical and all too real, filled with a strange and delightful cast of characters including Susan (Tessa Grunwald), who is mute and “talks’ by dancing; Senator Rawkins (Larry Lewis), an old Southern bigot whose world turns upside down; and Woody (John Rochette*), the All American boy who can charm the birds from the trees and Sharon into his arms!

The show is filled with irresistible music Old Devil Moon, How are things in Glocca Morra?, Look to the Rainbow and the timely When the Idle Poor become the Idle Rich

Finian’s Rainbow is directed by Julia Kiley, musical direction by John DeNicola with a set design by Tony Andrea, lights by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Pam Puente.

Finian’s Rainbow opens on August 11 and runs thru September 5 for 4 weeks. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $38 for adults, $33 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.

Chester Inland Wetlands Commission

Title: Chester Inland Wetlands Commission
Location: Meeting House
Start Time: 7.00 pm
Date: Sept 13, 2010

Chester Planning and Zoning

Title: Chester Planning and Zoning
Location: Meeting House
Start Time: 7.30 pm
Date: Sept 9, 2010

Chester Republican Town Committee

Title: Chester Republican Town Committee
Location: Community Center
Start Time: 7.00 pm
Date: Sept 9, 2010

Chester Democratic Town Committee

Title: Chester Democratic Town Committee
Location: Town Hall
Start Time: 7.30 pm
Date: Sept 9, 2010

Chester Board of Selectmen

Title: Chester Board of Selectmen
Location: Town Hall
Start Time: 7.00 pm
Date: Sept 7, 2010

Chester Park and Recreation Commission

Title: Chester Park and Recreation Commission
Location: Town Hall
Start Time: 7.00 pm
Date: Sept 7, 2010

Chester Conservation Commission

Title: Chester Conservation Commission
Location: Town Hall
Start Time: 7.30 pm
Date: Sept 1, 2010

Essex Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission

Title: Essex Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission
Location: Town Hall, Room A
Start Time: 7.30 pm
Date: Sept 14, 2010

Essex Sanitary Watse Commission

Title: Essex Sanitary Watse Commission
Location: Town Hall, Room, B
Time: Follows WPCA meeting
Date: Sept 13, 2010

Essex Water Polution Control Authority

Title: Essex Water Polution Control Authority
Location: Town Hall, Room, B
Start Time: 4.30 pm
Date: Sept 13, 2010

Essex Conservation Commission

Title: Essex Conservation Commission
Location: Town Hall, Room, B
Start Time: 7.30 pm
Date: Sept 9, 2010

Essex Planning Commission

Title: Essex Planning Commission
Location: Town Hall, Room A
Start Time: 7.30 pm
Date: Sept 7, 2010

Essex Board of Selectmen

Title: Essex Board of Selectmen
Location: Town Hall, Room A
Start Time: 7 pm
Date: Sept 15, 2010

Essex Park and Recreation Commission

Title: Essex Park and Recreation Commission
Location: Town Hall Auditorium
Start Time: 7 pm
Date: Sept 1, 2010

Region 4 Goes Back to School Today

REGION 4— Region 4 schools open today for the 2010-2011 academic year with a new principal at Valley Regional High School and 21 new teachers (most replacing retiring teachers) for the five schools in Chester, Deep River, and Essex.

Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy Thursday praised the efforts of district custodians in preparing the school buildings for opening day. “All of our buildings are ready for children to walk in to and they look absolutely spectacular,” she said. “Our staff is ready and we’re excited about the new school year.”

The principal job at the high school opened up after Ian Neviaser, an Essex resident who had served as principal since 2008, was selected as the district’s new assistant superintendent. Eric Rice, a Chester resident who worked previously as principal of a science and engineering magnet school in Hartford, was selected for the principal job in July.

Peter Foxen, a Rocky Hill resident who has worked for the past decade in the Portland school system, is the new associate principal at John Winthrop Middle School. Thomas Peterlik of Deep River is the new director of food services for the school district.

An early retirement incentive program offered last winter to generate savings in the education budget led to the retirement in June of 17 veteran teachers. Nearly all of those positions have been filled, along with a handful of new positions that were created to meet shifts in student enrollment.

New teachers at the high school include John Harris-social studies, Maryann Donagher-art, Christopher Allegretti-math, and Deborah Montenegro-chemistry. New hires for the middle school include John Woitovich-special education, Matthew Mesite-math, Kathryn Ryan-math, and Cara Rothman as the new director of the school’s library/media center.

Diana Mirante is a new second grade teacher at Essex Elementary School. New teachers at Chester Elementary School include Nicole Larson-grade 4, Kelsey Parente-grade 3, Brian Klasner-teacher’s assistant, and Lori Lenz-art. The new teachers at Deep River Elementary School are Brian Drinkard-physical education, Jennifer Raney-grade 6, Rachel Anderson-grade 5, Jill Shakun-grade 1, and Catherine Miller- remedial reading and language.

Kristin Menard is the new reading and language consultant at Deep River Elementary School.

Three new teachers were hired for the supervision district, providing services for more than one school, including Gary Stevens-art, Dina Monaco-special education, and Angela Fachini-foreign language. There are also six new para-educators, including Jodi Azzinaro, Jill Joes, Kristie Scanlon, and Allison Quagan at Deep River Elementary School, and Lynn Fishkind and Suzanne deJongh at Essex Elementary School.

Levy said the new television station will be in full operation at the high school this year, providing video coverage of athletic events and other school programs. Work is also expected to begin during this school year on a solar photovoltaic unit to be located on the roof at the middle school. The project, which will be paid for by grant funds, is expected to reduce energy costs for the school.

Essex Board of Selectmen

Title: Essex Board of Selectmen
Location: Town Hall, Room A
Start Time: 5 pm
Date: Sept 1, 2010

Essex Republican Town Committee

Title: Essex Republican Town Committee
Location: Town Hall, Room A
Start Time: 7 pm
Date: Sept 8, 2010

Essex Economic Development Commission

Title: Essex Economic Development Commission
Location: Town Hall, Room A
Start Time: 4 pm
Date: Sept 8, 2010

Essex Planning Commission – Architectual Design Sub-Committee

Title: Essex Planning Commission – Architectual Design Sub-Committee
Location: Town Hall, Room A
Start Time: 7.30pm
Date: Sept 7, 2010

Amy Bloom to Speak at Beth Shalom on September 26

Amy Bloom, nationally acclaimed author of the newly released collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, will speak at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester on Sunday, September 26 at 9:30 a.m. Bagels and coffee will be served.

Bloom is the author of two novels and three collections of short stories and is a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, among many other publications and has won a National Magazine Award. The New York Times Book Review wrote about her novel Love Invents Us, “She writes lyrically and describes complicated emotional states with great sensitivity and tenderness.”

Bloom lives in Connecticut and taught at Yale University for the last decade. She will now be Wesleyan University’s Writer-in-Residence.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out, will be available for signing at the program. “Books & Bagels,” a free series, is produced by the CBSRZ Program Committee. Other authors and books to be presented in 2010 are: Roya Kakakian, Journey to the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran on October 17; Suzanne Levine, The Haberdasher’s Daughter on December 12; and Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table on January 16.

The public is invited to attend. For and further information, call 860-526-8920.

Essex Pratt House Nears End of Season

ESSEX – The historic Pratt House Museum will be open a few more weekends for tours, giving visitors a glimpse at how a prominent Essex family lived in the 1700s.

This is a chance to view some of the museum’s collections including “courting mirrors,” small mirrors with painted borders of leaves and flowers given by men to the women they were courting, and redware – a type of earthenware owned by the earliest English settlers.

The house, at 19 West Ave., was home to seven generations of the Pratt family from 1701 to 1915. The gambrel-roofed house is furnished with 18th and 19th century antiques including a fine collection of chairs.

The house is operated by the Essex Historical Society and is open Saturdays and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. through September. Admission is free but donations are accepted. For more information about the house, go to www.essexhistory.org.

Talking Transportation: The Lessons from Katrina

We were all awe-struck five years ago watching the coverage of the rescue efforts in the Gulf following hurricane Katrina.  But did we learn anything from that tragedy.

Remember:  our annual hurricane season is well underway and storm activity peaks around this time each year.  And we ready for “the big one”?

Consider the following:

1)  Transportation Means Survival: The difference between those who lived and died in New Orleans was based on access to transportation.  When told to evacuate, those with cars did.  Those without couldn’t and were stranded.  The lack of public transportation along the Gulf Coast left the “disadvantaged” as just that… dis-advantaged, and maybe dead.

How would those living along the Connecticut coast be evacuated if a category four hurricane were threatening us?  Join the crawl on I-95?  Take Metro-North?  Or hunker down at a local mall.  How many of our towns have adequate shelter or emergency supplies?

Is Amtrak ready, along with Metro-North, to deploy its fleet to evacuate the hundreds of thousands threatened by a hurricane?  Doubtful.

2)  Our Classless Society Isn’t:   The victims of Katrina weren’t characterized as much by race as by economic class.  Being able to afford to live away from the flood plain and have access to private transportation both cost money.  This isn’t about race:  you don’t have to be Black to be poor.

But after Katrina, then-President Bush’s mother, Barbara, was touring the Katrina refugee camps in Houston.  She commented that, given the squalor of their former New Orleans homes, these victims of Katrina were actually better off than before.  Then she added “it’s kind of scary that they might all want to stay in Texas.”

Where would Connecticut’s refugees flee after an evacuation?  And how long would they be gone pending recovery and rebuilding?   Gold Coasters perhaps could drive their SUV’s up to familiar ski country in New England. But where would the Hispanic, Haitian and Black populations of Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport go… and would they also be made to feel like so many dust bowl Oakies when they arrived at refugee camps?

3)  Our Government Is Incompetent: Katrina and 9/11 showed us that our government can’t do a damn thing to protect its citizens.  One might excuse a surprise terrorist attack, but a long anticipated, well-scenarioed hurricane?  Not a chance.

At the time of Katrina, 75 percent of FEMA’s budget was being spent on anti-terrorism efforts, even though acts of nature present the real danger to most Americans. Gobbled up into the Homeland Security Agency, FEMA had lost all clout, competence and most of its budget.  “Brownie” may have been doing a “helluva job”, but would his successor do any better five years on?

Ask any old-timer about the Hurricane of 1938 which devastated New England that September.  It still ranks as the worst natural disaster to ever hit our state.  True, the human toll was compounded because we had no notice of the coming storm.  But even with sufficient time to evacuate, a storm of that size would devastate this state, especially our most expensive homes built along the coast.  Santayana said: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Have we really learned the lessons of Katrina?

JIM CAMERON has been a commuter out of Darien for 19 years.  He is Chairman of the CT Metro-North / Shore Line East Rail Commuter Council, and a member of the Coastal Corridor TIA and the Darien RTM.  Read his column on LymeLine every other Monday.  You can reach him at Cameron06820@gmail.com or www.trainweb.org/ct .  For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

Local Clinicians Interpret the Landscape

Renni Ridgeway-Korsemeyer "Evening on the Sound"

Renni Ridgeway-Korsmeyer, a psychotherapist from Old Lyme, and Eleanor Pringle, a psychiatrist in Higganum, are presenting their art interpretations of the New England landscape in an exhibit at the Mill House gallery in Chester.  The show will open on October 1 and extend until October 28.  A reception to which the public is invited will be on Saturday, October 2 from 2-5pm. The Mill House Gallery is located at 5 West Main Street in Chester.  It is open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 5pm.

Eleanor Pringle "September"

Della Rocco Granted Accelerated Rehabilitation on 2009 Charges

CHESTER— The case against Charles “Chuck” Della Rocco, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for first selectman in 2009, has been resolved with a judge’s decision to grant him accelerated rehabilitation on charges of second degree forgery and third degree larceny.

Della Rocco, 42, of 6 Bartkiewicz Road, was arrested by state police on a court warrant on Nov. 5, 2009 on charges related to an alleged illegal sale of a Ford pick up truck he had borrowed from neighbors Peter and Cheryl Lynch in July 2009. Only days earlier, Della Rocco, a former police officer in Old Saybrook, had been soundly defeated in the town election by Republican First selectman Tom Marsh.

Della Rocco was the Democratic nominee against Marsh, who earlier this year left the Republican Party to run for governor as the nominee of the Connecticut Independent Party.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford granted Della Rocco’s request for accelerated rehabilitation at an Aug. 13 court session in Middletown. Della Rocco in June had dismissed the attorney who represented him since the arrest, Hartford lawyer Paul Spinella.

Under the state’s accelerated rehabilitation procedure, a defendant’s criminal charges may be dismissed from the record if the individual does not violate any other state laws for a specified time period. Accelerated rehabilitation is a one-time option for the defendant. Clifford set a May 13, 2011 cout date to review Della Rocco’s case.

Chester Selectmen to Make Decision on Assessor as Labor Complaint Looms

CHESTER— The board of selectmen is preparing to make decisions on the tax assessor position as a complaint by the former assessor heads to a hearing before the state Board of Labor Relations.

The hearing on a complaint filed by Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) on behalf of former assessor Patricia Stevenson is scheduled for Thursday at the State Board of Labor Relations offices in Wethersfield. Stevenson, a Killingworth resident who has served as a full-time tax assessor for a decade, was dismissed by the board of selectmen in May.

The board acted on a 2-1 vote, with Democratic Selectman Lawrence Sypher opposed, after town attorney John Bennet determined the assessor job was an appointed position with a four-year term. The selectmen had not voted on an appointment for Stevenson since 2005.

First Selectman Tolm Marsh, with support from Republican Selectman Tom Englert, decided to explore cost savings in the assessor’s office, including the possibility of sharing an assessor with another town. Stevenson maintains she is a town employee and union member, regardless of appointment or reappointment. The selectmen in June hired Michael Bekech, the tax assessor in Waterford, to staff the Chester office for eight to ten hours per week.
Marsh said last week Bekech has determined the Chester assessor should work 18 hours per week, a reduction from the 27 to 30 hours per week the town has funded in past years. “We’re still deciding how to do it,” he said, adding the options include hiring a part-time assessor, or sharing an assessor with another town.
Marsh said he expects the board to make decisions on the future of the assessor position in September. Bekech continues working in Chester as the part-time interim assessor.

Transit District Receives Grant for Hybrid Vehicles

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that 9 Town Transit (9TT), a service of the Estuary Transit District, is a recipient of a 2010 Connecticut Clean Fuel (CCF) program grant.

The intent of the CCF program is to improve air quality, reduce dependency on petroleum based fuels and enhance public awareness of alternative fuel-based technologies in the automotive and transportation industries by providing incentives for public entities in Connecticut to adopt clean fuel technologies.

Funding for CCF is awarded to the state by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and allocated to each of Connecticut’s two Ozone Non-Attainment Areas.  The New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area, which includes the Estuary region, was awarded a total of $968,000.  9TT received $119,760 for the hybrid drive systems of three vehicles.

9 Town Transit will combine the funding with Rural Transit funding from the DOT to purchase a hybrid Ford Escape and two hybrid 12 passenger buses.  The hybrid buses will be the first light-duty hybrid buses in the state, making 9TT one of only a handful of transit districts in the country with such vehicles.

The hybrid drive system is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 25 to 30%, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, cut greenhouse gas emissions and lower fuel costs.  The transition to hybrid vehicles is part of a larger initiative by 9TT to promote the environmental benefits of public transit.

The Estuary Transit District provides public transit service via the fleet of 13 buses to Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook through its 9 Town Transit service.

Connections are provided to New Haven, Middletown, Hartford and New London/Norwich bus services as well as Shoreline East Commuter Rail.  All services are open to the general public with no age or disability restrictions.

Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

“ShoreTalk – People, Trends, & Lifestyles” on Channel 19

“ShoreTalk – People, Trends, & Lifestyles” Airs at 7:30pm, Wednesday Evenings, on Channel 19

Dr. Kathleen Skoczen

Westbrook, CT – August 16, 2010 – “ShoreTalk – People, Trends, and Lifestyles” is a new local lifestyle TV program hosted by Dr. Kathleen Skoczen. The 30-minute TV program airs on Wednesday evenings on Channel 19, a Comcast Public Access Channel reaching Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Essex, Centerbrook, Ivoryton, Deep River, Chester, Haddam, Killingworth and Durham. ShoreTalk – People, Trends, and Lifestyles is educational, entertaining, and introduces fresh viewpoints and local expertise on a variety of topics. Ms. Skoczen will host personalities, newsmakers, entrepreneurs, experts, and people making a difference in the community. Skoczen joins Belinda Jones, a marketing and PR executive, to co-produce Shore Talk.

Anchorwoman Dr. Kathleen Skoczen, Ph.D. is a professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies specializing in international health, medicine, human rights and women’s issues. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic where she worked on Community Development implementing a project that brought water and sanitation to rural villages, as well as completing several Women in Development (WID) initiatives.  In 1998, she founded and now advises the Southern Connecticut State University Amnesty International chapter.  Dr. Skoczen conducts research internationally and presents papers at conferences around the world. She is a graduate of the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University and lives in Clinton, CT with her husband and two sons. 
For more information on ShoreTalk, visit our website at www.ShoreTalk.org, send an email: ShoreTalk@gmail.com, or call 860-399-1147.

Essex Finance Board Sends Town Clerk Request Back to the Selectmen

ESSEX— The board of finance Thursday declined to act on Town Clerk Frances Nolin’s request for additional hours for her office assistant, sending the issue back to the board of selectmen.

Nolin, represented by Chester lawyer John Bennet, asked the board to approve about $10,000 in additional funding to bring her assistant, Dana Novorio, back to a 30-hour work week. First Selectman Phil Miller had reduced the assistant’s hours to 20 hours-per-week in March 2009 as a cost saving measure. Five hours, to a 25-hour-week, were restored in the current town budget that became effective July 1.

Nolin, represented by Bennet, had appeared before the board of selectmen on July 7 to seek approval for a restortation of the 30-hour-week. Bennet said Nolin has had difficulty in performing all of the duties of the office without the additional hours for an assistant. He said Nolin could be forced to reduce the hours for the office, which is currently open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, if the hours were not restored.

A 30-hour-week for Novorio would also recover her some fringe benefits as a full-time employee. Before the reduction in hours, she had received a $3,000 payment in lieu of health insurance, which Novorio has through her husband’s coverage.

Bennet said Nolin is seeking additional funding of $9,933, including the $3,000 payment in lieu of coverage, $5,933 in salary, and an additional $1,000 for other part-time help if needed during the 2010-2011 fiscal year. He said Nolin does not want to reduce hours for the office, but could be forced to without additional hours for the assistant.

James Francis, finance board chairman since 2003, said Nolin’s request was the first the board had received without a prior approval of the expenditure by the board of selectmen. “This is the first time someone has come to us directly,” he said.

Board member Campbell Hudson also questioned whether the board should act on a funding request that had not been approved by the selectmen. Hudson added that budget appropriations for town offices should only be changed in the “most extreme cases,” particularly less than two months in to a fiscal year.

First Selectman Phil Miller said he had offered to restore Novorio to a 28-hour week, three additional hours, though the selectmen did not vote on the additional hours on July 7 because Nolin had indicated she would not accept the compromise suggestion. Miller acknowledged the town clerk is an elected official “with a certain degree of autonomy,” adding “she can close on Fridays if she wants and then explain it to our citizens.”

Bennet said Nolin would bring her request back to the board of selectmen, and seek a formal vote on a specific additional appropriation. “We’re not going to try to upset that procedural applecart,” he said.

CT Watchdog: How to Protect Yourself Against ID Theft

The call from Tyler was scary. He had been in a car accident in a rental car in Montreal and needed money to pay an attorney and fly home.

Dorothy Cheo, 81, of Niantic, was so upset on hearing her grandson was in trouble that she couldn’t think straight.

She quickly went to a local grocery store and wired $935 to Montreal through Western Union.

It was only after receiving the second phone call asking for more money that she began to question whether she had really talked to her grandson.

Nope. According to East Lyme resident state police Sgt. Wilfred Blanchette, she was at least the second local victim of this type of scam in the past year.

Cheo contacted me, asking that I tell her story as a cautionary tale to other parents and relatives, and she had a suggestion that Sgt. Blanchette endorsed: create a secret word for the family to use only if they are in trouble.

Cheo said she fell for the scam because the boy identified himself as Tyler and was coughing so hard it was impossible for her to know that it wasn’t really him. And then, when a second person got on the phone explaining he was Tyler’s attorney, she knew she had to act fast.

“If he had said ‘this is your grandson’ I would have been suspicious,” Cheo told me. “But he said he was Tyler and he sounded sick.”

After wiring the money, Cheo said she called her son, but couldn’t reach him. And the more she thought about it, the less sense it made. Her grandson was only 16 and she wasn’t even aware that he had a driver’s license. And what was he doing in Montreal instead of being in Massachusetts.

So by the time the “lawyer” called back saying he received the $935 but needed more money, she said no.

“Somehow the caller knew my grandson’s name and relation to me, so pretended to be him with a bad cough and desperate sound. Then a so-called lawyer explained that he was in jail in Montreal due to an auto accident that was not his fault.”

She then got contacted her son, who reassured her that Tyler was safe at band camp and had never been in Montreal.

“It was dumb,” she said, “but I was so worried.”

She said if they had set up a secret code word, this would not have happened.

Cheo said she has no idea how the scammers knew her telephone number and her grandson’s name.

She filed a complaint with the East Lyme police, and Sgt. Blanchette said he wasn’t surprised.

With so much personal information on the Internet, he said, it’s easy for crooks to put family information together, especially using sites like Facebook.

But, he said, “so far, how they picked out this family is a mystery.”

He said the first complaint he saw was very similar, where the call also came from Montreal.

“This is the crime wave of the future,” he said, adding that similar scam take place with hijacked email accounts.


Thanks to Consumer Reports for its effective suggestions on how to diminish ID theft.

I will start with my personal recommendation, which may be counterintuitive for those who don’t trust the Internet to do on-line banking.

Use on-line banking to pay your bills. Its free (nothing is really free but most banks offer it as long as you meet other requirements like automatic deposits). Effective. You have all your documentation in one place.

And you can set up alerts – this is crucial – to tell you when a new payee is added or a payment is made. It’s a tremendous way to have instant knowledge of what is happening with your bank account.

Other suggestions from CR – the trusted place for consumer tips:

Do not fill out surveys on warranty cards beyond your name and address and product info.

Stop unsolicited pre-approved credit card offers at www.optoutprescreen.com or call 888-567-8688.

Put your name on the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call registry at www.donotcall.gov or call 888.382-1222.

When you move only fill out a temporary change of address with the U.S. Postal Service that lasts for six month.

To get your name off mailing lists, go to the Direct Marketing Association’s consumer web site, www.dmachoice.org. Click on “Register for eMPS” to opt out of unsolicited junk email.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse lists data brokers that offer opt-out policies at www.privacyrights.org/ar/infobrokers.htm.

You can reach The Watchdog at George@connecticutwatchdog.com and he will answer as many emails as he can. Please check out his site, www.ctwatchdog.com for comprehensive consumer, health, finance, media, internet, computer, travel and education tips.


Essex Summer Story Times Are A Huge Success!

The Essex and Ivoryton Libraries have been conducting some fun and unique story times for children this summer. The two libraries have partnered with the Essex Park and Recreation Department and are reading stories to children outside every Wednesday in July and August at 10am at the Viney Hill Brook Park on Hillside Drive in Essex.

The children will listen to several stories read by Elizabeth Alvord of the Ivoryton Library and Judie McCann or Jessica Branciforte of the Essex Library, and then do a simple craft at the picnic tables. It has been a nice cool place to do story time, even during all the heat and humidity this summer. And the families even get to go swimming after story time.

The Essex Library is celebrating its 10th year of Sleepy Time Stories on the lawn of the CT River Museum at 6:30pm on Thursdays. Judie McCann has been reading stories on the lawn of the museum since the summer of 2001. She brings her blanket and spreads it out for all to share. It has become quite popular through the years with local and visiting families. And the CT River Museum now has “Thursdays on the Docks” from 5:30-7:30, a popular evening of cocktails, live music, and light snacks served up on the North Deck while the main floor galleries are open for perusal.

Please contact the Essex Library at 767-1560 or jmccann@essexlib.org for more information.

Art of Duane Perreault on Display at the Essex Library

Innsbruck Café is among the works of artist Duane Perreault on display at the Essex Library throughout September.

The drawings of Moodus artist Duane Perreault will be on display at the Essex Library through the month of September. Duane Perreault is a self taught pen and ink illustrator who works in the pointillist style. He works with mechanical pens and watercolor inks, mixing the colors himself.

While small in scale, the drawings are full and lush, and leave the observer marveling at his ability to render so much information in so little space. Duane works from his own photographs, his subjects ranging from beautiful landscapes to industrial images. Equally adept at both, Duane’s drawings invoke a natural sense of intimacy between the artist and the viewer.

The show is open to the public during regular library hours. The Essex Library is at 33 West Avenue.

Upcoming Programs From Tri-Town Youth Services

Tri-Town Youth Services, located at 56 High Street in Deep River, will sponsor an upcoming Parent and Infant “Social Time”. The program is for parents/caregivers and newborns through 12 months. The group will run Monday September 27, 2010 through Monday December 6, 2010 from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm with a cost of $25.

Additional fall support groups will be held this fall and winter, led by Parent Resource Coordinator Nicole Dolan. The groups will run September 29 through December 8, 2010 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 am 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 10:00 to 11:00 am on Wednesdays with a cost of $60 for tri- town residents and $70 for non-residents.

They’re Collecting Pennies for Peace

Left to right are Heidi Samuelson, Katie Wright, Leslie Strauss, Tom Marsh, Sherrie Coleman, Rachel Ryan, Nicole Dolan .

Tri-town area businesses and stores are collecting pennies for the next two months to benefit the Pennies for Peace program of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute established by Greg Mortensen, author of “Three Cups of Tea.”

The book, and its two editions for younger readers, is the subject of Tri-Town Youth Services’ Community Read this summer. Pennies for Peace was initiated to teach children the rewards of working together to bring hope and educational opportunities to children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where one penny buys a pencil.

Shown in the photo, left to right, are Chester businesspeople Heidi Samuelson, New Alliance Bank; Katie Wright, Hammered Edge Gallery; Leslie Strauss, Century 21; Tom Marsh, Chester First Selectman; Sherrie Coleman, eo Art Lab; and Rachel Ryan, Rachel Ryan’s Fitness; with Nicole Dolan of Tri-Town Youth Services. More information about the community read is at www.tritownys.org

Don’t Let Comcast Outsource Community TV

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to Supporters of Public Access Channel 19

We are kicking off our StayLocal19 grassroots initiative and need your help to spread the word! The next Cable Advisory Board meeting is set for Tuesday, August 24, 7 pm at the Westbrook Town Hall, 866 Boston Post Road (Route1), in the large meeting room. We need your support to:

1) Get Citizens to attend the Aug. 24 Cable Advisory Board Meeting – Please reach out to your neighbors, friends, selectman, and concerned citizens. We need volunteers (team captains) from each town to lead the charge. There are various talking points below to urge folks to get involved to stop the “outsourcing” of the management of our channels/studio to an organization outside of our community. If an interested citizen can not attend the meeting, please have them write a letter, sign it, and bring it with you to the meeting.

2) Sign our StayLocal19 online petition – This is our grassroots call-to-action! Please urge all concerned citizens to go online and sign our petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/staylocal19/

3) Write a Letter to the Editor ASAP

Everyone’s help is greatly appreciated. Let’s get this initiative started!

Belinda Jones,
Westbrook, CT

Lyme Democrats Hosts Annual Picnic at Yacht Club, Candidates From Across the State Expected

The Lyme Democratic Town Committee will hold its annual picnic on Saturday, Aug. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Hamburg Cove Yacht Club, 13 Cove Road in Lyme.

Most of the politicians running state wide as well as those running locally will be in attendance.  “This is an excellent opportunity for people to meet candidates on an informal basis and quiz them on any topics of interest,” says Steve Mattson, Vice Chairman of the Town Committee.

Tickets to the event are $15, parking is free and refreshments will be served.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, or ordered in advance by sending a check to Claire Sauer, Treasurer, 47 Mitchell Hill, Lyme, CT 06371

Marsh, Other Independent Candidates Qualify for the Fall Ballot

CHESTER–Chester First Selectman Tom Marsh has secured a line on the Nov. 2 ballot for his run for governor as the nominee of the Connecticut Independent Party.

Marsh and five other Connecticut Independent Party candidates submitted more than the required number of petition signatures from registered voters by an Aug. 4 deadline and have been confirmed for the ballot by the Secretary of the State’s office. The candidates and about 50 friends and supporters celebrated the successful ballot access effort Tuesday evening with a gathering at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Essex.

The candidates for statewide office were required to submit petition signatures from at least 7,500 registered voters. Marsh said Wednesday after nearly 11,500 signatures were submitted by the deadline.

Marsh, elected first selectman in 2005 as a Republican, had announced in January that he was running for the Republican nomination for governor. But in April Marsh announced he would pursue his candidacy in the general election as the nominee of the Connecticut Independent Party, a Waterbury based group that has elected members of the Waterbury Board of Alderman and has town committees in several Waterbury area towns.

Marsh is running with Cicero Booker as the candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Booker, an African-American, is a former Waterbury police officer who currently serves on the city’s Board of Alderman. Booker also successfully petitioned for a spot on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Other candidates on the ballot include Michael Telesca for secretary of the state, and Andrew White for treasurer. Telesca, of Waterbury, is a property manager who also serves as chairman of the party. It is important for a party to buy medicines from reliable companies like the Calonmedical. White, of Ridgefield, is a financial analyst who was initially a candidate for the Republican nomination for treasurer.

The party currently has two candidates for U.S. Senate with separate ballot lines. John Mertens, a college professor from West Hartford, has the ballot line of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, a grouping created by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman after he was defeated by Ned Lamont in the 2006 Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate nomination. The Connecticut for Lieberman Party already had ballot status left over from Lieberman’s 2006 general election victory but is no longer affiliated with Lieberman.

Warren Mosler holds the Connecticut Independent Party ballot line for U..S. Senate. Mosler, a financial commentator from Middletown, began the year as a candidate for the Democratic nomination.

Between Us: The $40K Binge

By Trish Bennett

Only 30% of students enrolled in liberal arts colleges graduate in four years.

Some years before the term “helicopter parent” insinuated itself into the lexicon of higher learning, a father and mother took to the road.

Among the flotsam and jetsam of “college necessities” crammed into the Ford Country Squire station wagon was their son and heir who, perhaps for the first time in his 18-year existence, had—at his father’s insistence—organized his own belongings without his mother’s aid.

Roughly an hour into the four-hour trek to school, dad squinted into the rear view mirror, scanned the hodge-podge of electronic and sports equipment and the vacuum cleaner (mother’s one allowed input), and dryly inquired, “Michael, where are your clothes?”

Having put in time a) as an undergrad; b) as a parent of undergrads; and c) as an undergrad professor, I’ve evolved the thesis that parents of college students often confuse the proverbial brake and the spur when dealing both with their students and the institutions they’re attending.

That is, the tendency can be to obsess over picayune details and to snooze at the helm when confronted with issues that may threaten their students’ success and wellbeing.

Reading Craig Brandon’s new book “The Five Year Party” well before the car departs for campus can be a helpful beginning. Subtitled, “How Colleges Have Given Up On Educating Your Child and What You Can Do About It,” Brandon’s book makes some bold and disturbing accusations.

Among them: That many universities fail to exact minimal standards of scholarship (as in read the material, complete the assignments, participate in discussion); dumb-down grade averaging; and, by becoming de-facto education-free zones, thus over charge parents for under-serving their students.

(The book’s title refers to studies noting that today, only 30% of students enrolled in liberal arts colleges graduate in four years.)

Further, Brandon, a former education reporter as well as a former college instructor, notes that many campuses are so awash in sex, drugs and alcohol that they make National Lampoon’s 1978 classic “Animal House” look like a nursery school romp.

Alas—and here’s where the spur/brake confusion comes in—many Class of 20-Something parents tacitly accept the idea that their kids’ “rites of passage” include such infantile behaviors, and that they’re powerless to do anything about it: as if pulling the purse strings closed was not an option.

At the same time, if parents do get wind of unacceptable or failing grades (it’s an “if” because the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act passed in 1974 makes grade reports the property of all students over age 18)), the same people who turn the blind eye to their kids flagrant waste of tuition dollars often aim righteous indignation at professors who reward their students’ non-study habits with C’s or D’s rather than A’s or B’s.

Prior to setting off for campus, then, it might be useful if both parents and students examined closely their expectations for the university experience.

To expect hard-working adults to furnish unlimited sex, drugs and rock n’ roll to their progeny at the rate of $40,000-plus-a-year might, for example, be considered a tad excessive.

It’s also reasonable that parents are entitled to some evidence that, in return for hard-earned dollars spent on her behalf, their child is returning that enormous favor and working diligently toward the purpose of college, which is to learn to think.

To exact such minimal standards of a student is hardly helicoptering; it is responsible parenting.

So much for the spur.

As to the brake: It’s also responsible, as Brandon notes, for parents to hold universities to their stated purpose of education. A trenchant question parents might want answered, Brandon thinks, is how many of a given college’s professors send their children to their own institution.

If the term “responsibility” has cropped up several times in this piece, it’s because I think it’s time that the on-going bad behavior by  some universities, students and parents comes to a halt.

If universities, in the quest for enrollment dollars, decline to exact minimal scholastic standards and turn blind, deaf and dumb to outrageous, even dangerous undergraduate behaviors, then they should retool tuition and call it a cover charge, restyle themselves social clubs, and replace professors with professional bouncers.

If students actually confuse “trying hard” with producing decent scholarship, and regard gratification bingeing as a means to that end, then they should defer college until they can discern the difference.

If parents doff their roles as mentors and leave value instruction to high schools and colleges, then parents leave themselves little recourse to demand credible grades, much less adult behaviors, from their offspring.

“Responsibility,” after all, means accepting obligations and making good on them. It’s about owning our own actions. And finally—how novel when discussing education—
responsibility is about being smart.

Trish Bennett is an award-winning journalist and the former assistant editor of Main Street News.  She holds a master of science degree in journalism and was adjunct professor of media history at Quinnipiac University before relocating Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.  Her latest work appears in the up-coming volume of “This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women” slated for publication in association with National Public Radio this Fall.  She can be reached at pwbennett@verizon.net

Connecticut River Museum News

After a fire broke out on the evening of August 11 and caused severe damage to the Museum’s historic 1878 Steamboat Warehouse building and dock, staff began cleanup efforts and plans for reopening.  While the prompt response and preparedness of volunteer fire crews saved the building and all of the invaluable artifacts and treasures inside, heavy smoke and water damage did occur.  The Connecticut River Museum Fire Fund has been established to help rebuild, restore and return the museum and dock to full operation.  Donations may be mailed to: Connecticut River Museum Fire Fund, 67 Main Street, Essex, CT 06426 or made online by going to www.ctrivermuseum.org.  

The Museum’s Annual Family Maritime Festival has been postponed to Saturday, August 21 and will now include a special tribute to all of the firefighters who battled the blaze and minimized the damage.   River cruises aboard the Schooner Mary E are operating without interruption.
The exhibit galleries, now temporarily closed, will open over a staggered timeline.  The Museum gift shop and the main floor gallery should be open to the public within a week.  The Boathouse Gallery and Education Center is scheduled to reopen by mid-September while the second floor gallery, boasting a brand new exhibit, is planned to open sometime in October.  The third floor exhibit space, which experienced the most damage, will be the last to open with the 17th Annual Holiday Train Show on November 19.  
Jerry Roberts, Executive Director of the Connecticut River Museum comments, “We are ever grateful for the amazing efforts of firefighters from Essex, Deep River, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook and for the outpouring of support from individuals, organizations, and businesses throughout our greater community.  We promise to restore this jewel of the Connecticut River to a pristine condition that will serve many generations to come”. 
On behalf of the CRM Staff and Trustees, THANK YOU!

Jerry Roberts
Executive Director

Connecticut River Museum

“Blast From The Past” by Kinky Friedman

Richard S. “Kinky” Friedman almost defies description. 

A renaissance man and possible hysterical realist* (think Tom Robbins Still Life With Woodpecker); he is a singer, writer, columnist and ocasional politician.  (He ran as an independent for Governor of Texas in 2006 and received 12.6% of the vote…)

He is primarily known, by me, as a member of Don Imus’ irreverent entourage.  In an effort to force my better half to read my columns I capitulated to reading/ reviewing the male coup de foudre that is Blast From The Past.

I admit to liking it and finding much of it to be enticing enough to read the other one I took out, but it is definitely male humor. Fart jokes are the least of it.  Jamieson Whisky, public sex, genitalia, drugs, and the other staples of male humor are accounted for in bulk.

Despite being a tad traumatized (I am truly a prudy girl no matter how much I try to overcome it ), Kinky captures the dark insightfulness I like so much in David Sedaris.  (10.10.08)

Looking closely at something is always going to provoke and subsequently educate, more than a glossing over can. Kinky is brave enough to look under the rug and face what he finds.

Kinky is obviously a smart man and I liked his casual usage of literary references, many of which he left to hang in the breeze rather than over-explain.  (Reichenbach Falls 12.20.08).

I wouldn’t liken Blast From The Past to L”Elegance du Herisson (9.5.09)  in its thoughtful asides, but it isn’t a horse of an entirely different color either.  There are many bits that give one pause and deserve closer attention.  Abbie Hoffman’s cultural detritus for one …

There are also small gems like his mention of an idiot drunk in the bar named Myers who thinks of opening a British food shop in the Village.  “Most ridiculous idea I ever heard … whole idea’s a pipe dream.  Never happen.” **

I also loved the bar they frequent called the EAR because two of the bars on the B burned out.

Actually, the more the think about it the more I realize how good it it.  Possibly my mamby-pamby attitude is altering?   Am I becoming more indulgent of bathroom humor and private parts?  Nah.

… but I am going to pick up A Case of Lone Star.  Let’s see how Kinky does with that …

*Hysterical Realism, also called recherche postmodernism and maximalism is a literary genre of strong contrast between elaborately absurd prose, plots or characters and precisely specific social phenomena.

 **Myers of Keswick
634 Hudson Street (between Horatio and Jane St.)
New York NY 10014
Phone: (212) 691-4194
Fax: (212) 691-7423
Mail: info@myersofkeswick.com
MON – FRI: 10am – 7pm
SAT: 10am – 6pm
SUN: 12noon – 5pm 
(One of the best little shops around. Truly.)

Jennifer Petty Mann grew up in New York City, moved to London, England, then back to Boston, and is now happily ensconced on the EightMile river in Lyme with three little ones.  A former teacher, window dresser for Saks, and designer, she is taking her love of books to the proverbial “street.” 

Giuliano Hosts Forum for Home-Based Businesses

State Representative Marilyn Giuliano

State Representative Marilyn Giuliano and the Connecticut Dept. of Economic and Community Development )DECD) are hosting a Home-Based Business Networking Forum on Wednesday, Aug. 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Old Saybrook High School.

The keynote speaker will be Commissioner Joan McDonald of the DECD.

Meet other home-based business owners and learn how government can work for you.

To register or for further information, contact Marilyn Giuliano at Marilyn.Giuliano@cga.ct.gov

Construction to Begin in September for New Essex Boat Launch

ESSEX– Construction is expected to begin on Sept. 8 for a new town boat launch to the Connecticut River at the foot of Main Street.

The long-awaited project will be funded by a state Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant awarded in September 2009. The town had unsuccessfully applied for grant funding for the boat launch project in 2007 and 2008.

The work will be done by Old Colony Construction of Clinton, which was selected last month from 12 bidders for the project. The Old Colony Construction bid was $92,000. David Caroline, the town’s director of public works, will supervise the project.

The new boat launch will be larger than the existing one, and similar in design to the state boat launch located under the Baldwin Bridge in Old Saybrook. Town officials have been planning for a new boat launch for years, contending the existing one can not accommodate larger boats and is difficult to use at low tide.

First Selectman Phil Miller said the work must be done between Sept. 8 and Oct. 29 to avoid impacting the nesting schedule for bald eagles on nearby Notts Island. The town dock will be closed during the construction period, along with sections of the turnaround circle at the end of Main Street. Most of the construction work will be done during periods of low tide.

Delia Names Campaign Team for Probate Race

Republican judge of probate candidate Anselmo Delia has announced town coordinators and a team of advisors for the fall election contest in the new nine-town probate court district.

Delia, a Clinton lawyer, was nominated for judge of probate at a convention in May. He faces a contest with Democrat Terrance Lomme,, an Essex lawyer who won the party nomination in a primary last week. Lomme defeated Raymond Rigat, a Clinton lawyer who served three terms as the local probate judge in his hometown.

Delia has coodinators in each district town, including Republican town chairman Mario Gioco in Chester, former First Selectwoman Virginia Zawoy in Clinton, Margot Gamerdinger in Deep River, Lynn Faulstick in Essex, Margo Chase-Wells in Haddam, Republican town chairman Rowland Ballek in Lyme, Gerri Lewis in Old Saybrook, and John Ferrara in Westbrook. The coordinator in Killingworth is Gerlad Lucas, a former first selectman who is also serving as campaign manager.

“Now that the Democratic Primary is over, we have an opponent, and it’s time to begin the general election campaign,” Delia said. “These are truly super people, literally the best and brightest experienced in campaigns and will be an extraordinary asset as we go forward.”

Delia also announced four prominent area Republicans who will be serving as “senior advisors” for his campaign. The group includes Ferrara of Westbrook, a former member of the Republican State Central Committee, Robert and Madge Fish of Old Saybrook, and Edward Munster of Haddam. Robert Fish is the current town treasuredr of Old Saybrook, and a former selectman who served several months as interim first selectman in 1997. Madge Fish is president of the Old Saybrook Republican Women’s Club.

Munster is a former state senator for the 33rd Senate District, which overlaps most of the new probate court district. Munster served one term in the State Senate, from 1990-1992, before making three unsuccessful runs for U.S. Congress in the 2nd District of eastern Connecticut in 1992, 1994, and 1996. In Munster’s run for the State Senate in 1990, he was the convention-endorsed candidate who defeated Delia in a Republican primary.

Connecticut River Museum Starts Fire Damage Cleanup, Establishes Donation Fund, Plans Reopening

A fire that began on the steamboat dock damaged the Connecticut River Museum

Essex, CT — After a fire broke out late Wednesday evening and caused severe damage to the Connecticut River Museum’s historic 1878 Steamboat Warehouse building and dock, museum officials have begun cleanup efforts and established a fund for financial donations for repair and restoration expenses.

While the prompt response and preparedness of volunteer fire crews from Essex and surrounding towns saved the building and all of the invaluable artifacts and treasures inside, heavy smoke and water damage did occur. The Connecticut River Museum Fire Fund has been established to help rebuild, restore and return the museum and dock to full operation. Donations may be mailed to: Connecticut River Museum Fire Fund, 67 Main Street, Essex, CT, 06426 or made online by going to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

River cruises aboard the Schooner Mary E have been operating on a regular schedule without interruption and will continue through the Fall foliage season with daily sails at 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm, and 6:00 pm.

The exhibit galleries, now temporarily closed, will open over a staggered timeline. The Museum gift shop and the main floor gallery exhibit On the Great River, which showcases the Turtle submarine and the 1814 British Raid on Essex, should be open to the public within a week.

The Boathouse Gallery and Education Center is scheduled to reopen by mid-September while the second floor gallery boasting a brand new exhibit opening is planned for sometime in October. The third floor exhibit space, which experienced the most damage, will be the last to open with the 17th Annual Holiday Train Show on November 19.

The Museum’s annual Family Maritime Festival has been postponed to Saturday, August 21 and will now include a special tribute to all of the firefighters who battled the blaze and minimized the damage. The public is invited to an afternoon of free maritime games, sea chanteys, schooner deck tours, rope making and more on the Museum’s lawn from 1:00 pm- 4:30 pm. At 5 pm, a free concert featuring sea chanteys by Freemen of the Sea and folk rock by Amalgamated Muck will take place and include a special presentation to honor members of area fire departments.

For more information or to reserve a schooner cruise ticket, call (860)767-8269. The Connecticut River Museum, located at 67 Main Street on the historic Essex waterfront, is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the natural beauty and cultural heritage of New England’s Great River.

Benn Launches New Book in His Hometown Library

A new mystery by Connecticut author James R. Benn has garnered wide praise in advance of its official publication date of Sept. 1, earning a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly calling it “stellar”.

Benn will be kicking off the release of RAG AND BONE with a Book Launch Party on Friday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m. at the Lyme Public Library, 482 Hamburg Rd., in Lyme.

There will be a brief presentation and reading, refreshments, and books for sale and signing.

RAG AND BONE: A Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” is the fifth title in a mystery series set within the Allied high command during World War Two.  RAG AND BONE has received superlative early reviews:

In its review, Publishers Weekly says, “Stellar…Benn excels at depicting the impact of war on London–the bricks from bombed buildings piled neatly on the streets, families living in Tube stations, “the odor of the Blitz.” Destruction aside, Billy never forgets that “Even in the midst of war, murder is unacceptable.”  —

Bill Ott of BOOKLIST notes, “Benn shrewdly combines the political cat-and-mouse game with the murder investigation, offering a fascinating glimpse of the wartime intelligence world…his portrayals of the individual lives affectged by the global machinations reflect an almost Graham Greene-like feel for nuance.”

RAG AND BONE takes the series main character, Billy Boyle, to London where he is called on to investigate the murder of a Soviet official.  There is reason to believe the murder is connected to the recent discovery of mass graves in the Katyn Forest, where thousands of Polish officers were executed by the Soviets. The revelations endanger the uneasy alliance between the Soviets and other allied powers, and Billy finds himself in a diplomatic minefield as the investigation suggests his best friend, Kaz, may have been involved.

Demonstrating that the past is never truly gone, earlier this year the president of Poland and many others were killed in a plane crash on their way to a commemoration of the Kaytn Forest Massacre in Russia. The decisions made over seventy years ago are still claiming lives today.

Soho Press publishes the series, and is planning a national author tour in October.

James R. Benn lives in Lyme, Connecticut.

For more information about the books and scheduled events, visit www.jamesrbenn.com

Fundraiser Sunday Benefits Old Saybrook Mom with Cancer


Lisa Kiako of Old Saybrook, with her 11-year-old-daughter Tiffany

A Family Fun Day fundraiser will be held rain or shine next Sunday, Aug. 15, from 12 to 4 p.m. at Clark Memorial Field (at Exit 67 off I 95, opposite Pasta Vita) to benefit Lisa Kiako of Old Saybrook, pictured left with her 11-year-old-daughter Tiffany. 

Kiako is the 43-year-old single mother of Tiffany, who she co-parents with her former husband and best friend, Jim Kiako – a member of the Old Saybrook Police Dept. 

Lisa has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis – two different types of cancer.

Lisa will be leaving for Little Rock, Ark., the day after the fundraiser to have her second stem cell transplant from her own stem cells.  She is an ultrasound technician at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, but due to her illness, she is no longer able to work.  Lisa has no sick or vacation days remaining.

To add to her stress and financial burden, her basement was flooded when she was in Arkansas during her previous treatment and she lost everything in the finished basement.

There will be food, fun and entertainment at the fundraiser. 

Tickets (suggested donation is $10 for adults and $5 for children aged 12 and under) are available from the Ultrasound Department at L & M Hospital or by calling 860-908-3858, 860-388-4271, or 860 388-7818.

For more information, email Gail Koos Antoniac at gail79@aol.com

Quick Reaction Saves CT River Museum from Wednesday Evening Fire

A quick response and a used ladder truck purchased by the Essex Volunteer Fire Dept. last year saved the historic Connecticut River Museum from a fast moving fire Wednesday night.

The fire in the riverfront museum at the foot of Main Street was reported by boaters around 9:20 p.m. Essex volunteer firefighters, already gathered at the nearby firehouse for a training session, arrived on the scene within minutes to find the east side of the three-story building that faces the river ablaze. Essex firefighters were quickly joined by volunteers from Deep River, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. About 75 firefighters and a dozen fire trucks and emergency vehicles responded to the blaze.

Susan Daniels, marketing director for the museum, said firefighters inside the building were able to cover and save all of the museum’s artifacts and exhibits while other firefighters battled the fire that was burning on the exterior east side of the building. The museum has about 75 exhibits on the history of the lower Connecticut River, including a painting of the British raid on Essex in 1814 and a replica of the Turtle, a small submarine that was used during the American Revolution.

Essex firefighters deployed a ladder truck to extinguish fre that had begun to burn through the roof on the east side of the building. The Essex Volunteer Fire Department purchased the 1994 Sutphen Corp. ladder truck from the Palm Beach, Florida Fire Department for $234,000. The truck arrived in Essex last November.

Selectman Joel Marzi, who was in the downtown village when the fire began, said the ladder truck and the skills of the volunteer firefighters saved the building. “I think that truck paid for itself last night,” he said.

Fire Marshall Keith Nolin agreed the ladder truck was very helpful in allowing firefighters to douse the blaze from above. Nolin said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, though he has determined it started under the dock that abuts the east side of the building.

Nolin said firefighters had the blaze under control by 11 p.m. and remained on the scene until around 1 a.m. He said the fire does not appear to be of suspicious origin.

Daniels said crews from Bogaert Construction of Essex have already begun securing the damaged area and repairing the roof. She said exhibits have been moved  to allow crews to clean the interior of the building from smoke and water damage.

“It could have been much worse,” she said. “The fire department responded quickly and they came prepared to put out a museum fire. We are very grateful for their phenominal response.”

Daniels said insurance is expected to cover most of the cost of repairs, with the museum expected to reopen in September. She said schooner cruises on the Mary E and other outdoor activities will continue while repairs are underway.

The Connecticut River Museum was founded in 1974 by a group of area residents who obtained a loan that allowed the purchase of the Steamboat Dock building for $200,000. The building was constructed as a warehouse for steamboats in 1878, and later operated as a restaurant called the Upper Deck in the 1960s and early 1970s.

The museum formally opened in May 1982, though some areas of the building had opened to the public for exhibits in the late 1970s. The museum attracts about 10,000 visitors each year and has a staff of 12 full and part-time employees.

Lomme Wins Probate Primary

Terrance Lomme, an Essex lawyer, won the Democratic nomination for judge of probate in the new nine-town area district Tuesday, defeating challenger Raymond Rigat of Clinton by about 550 votes.

Lomme, 62,  had captured the party endorsement over a field of six candidates at the nominating convention in May. Rigat, who has served as judge of probare in Clinton since 1998, was the convention runner-up. The new probate district includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.

Nearly complete unofficial results show Lomme with 2,223 votes to 1,666 votes for Rigat. The only precinct missing from these totals is the Haddam Neck section of Haddam, located on the east side of the Connecticut River.

Lomme carried seven of the nine towns, losing to Rigat by a wide margin in Clinton and narrowly in Westbrook. Lomme, who collected the results with wife Bette at his law office on Plains Road in Essex, claimed victory around 9:15 p.m. after receiving the numbers from Westbrook.

Lomme said he is pleased with the primary victory. “Attorney Rigat was a worthy opponent who ran a good race and now we look forward to November,” he said. Rigat could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Unofficial results for the towns are Chester: Lomme-225—Rigat 76, Clinton:– Lomme-148—Rigat-575, Deep River: Lomme–269—Rigat–74. Essex:–Lomme–410–Rigat–170, Haddam: (excluding Haddam Neck) Lomme–302—Rigat–184, Killingworth:Lomme–193—Rigat–144, Lyme: Lomme–105–Rigat–51, Old Saybrook: Lomme–429—Rigat—222, and Westbrook: Lomme–142—Rigat–170.

Lomme will face Republican nominee Anselmo Delia, a Clinton lawyer, in the Nov. 2 election. The new regional judge of probate takes office in January at a court to be located in Old Saybrook.

Polls Open Tuesday Morning for Primary Voters

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday for Democratic and Republican primaries. Democrats will select party nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, secretary of the state, and the new office of regional judge of probate. Republicans will select nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator, 2nd district congress, and attorney general.

Democrats in Chester, Deep River, and Essex will be selecting a nominee for the nine-town regional judge of probate, choosing between party-endorsed candidate Terrance Lomme, an Essex lawyer, and challenger Raymond Rigat, the current judge of probate in Clinton. Polling places are Chester Town Hall, the Deep River Public Library community room, and Essex Town Hall.

Chester Planning and Zoning Approves Plans for Building at Airport Industrial Park, Supermarket Withdrawn for Revisions

The planning and zonining commission has approved plans for a new building at the Airport Industrial Park, while a proposal for a supermarket at a vacant building on Route 154 has been withdrawn for revisions.

The commission last week approved a special permit allowing Hull Management LLC to construct a 50-foot-by 50-foot steel building at the industrial park off Route 145. The panel acted after a public hearing where the project drew no objections. The company performs engineering design and prototype manufacturing for machine products.

A special permit application from 56 Middlesex Avenue LLC and John Defrino for a Bliss supermarket in the vacant commercial building at 56 Middlesex Avenue, also known as Route 154, was withdrawn before the scheduled Aug. 5 public hearing. Judy Brown, zoning enforcement officer, said a new special permit application is being prepared for an organic market in the building. She said a public hearing on the plan is expected in September.