July 4, 2022

Archives for January 2011

Benefit Tri-Town Youth Services as you shop online

Tri-Town Youth Services now has a new and convenient way for people to donate to their organization – through online shopping.

As a non-profit organization, Tri-Town Youth Services relies on state and municipal funding, miscellaneous grants, and support from the community. By registering with Charity Blast, Tri-Town can now benefit from the online shopping you may do at popular sites like Amazon.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com

A “storefront” has been set up for Tri-Town Youth Services with links to online stores, along with coupon deals. Charity Blast donates a small percentage of what you spend to the chosen organization as you shop. It does not cost the customer anything and by simply going to www.charityblast.com/shopfor/787, you will be at the Tri-Town Youth Services storefront.

From there, you can browse for your favorite online shopping sites through the categories listed. Charity Blast then automatically takes care of the rest and lists the percentage of the purchase that will go to Tri-Town Youth Services.
So please bookmark Tri-Town’s storefront and remember to find your favorite sites through Charity Blast. It is an effortless way to support this local organization.

For more information on Charity Blast and how it works you can visit: http://www.charityblast.com/faq

“Essex Ed” to lead Groundhog Parade and kickoff Essex Winterfest Today

In 2010, Essex Ed paid tribute to the 75th birthday of the “King”. This year’s event, scheduled for Sunday, January 30 at 2 pm, will recognize another birthday milestone in the entertainment world.

Essex, CT – Grab your pots and pans and head to Essex Village on Sunday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. for one of the most popular parades of the year and the official kickoff of Essex Winterfest 2011. 

“Essex Ed”, a larger-than-life ground hog, will make his annual pilgrimage from Essex Boat Works to the top of Main Street leading a parade of antique cars, fire trucks, residents, and visitors.  All are invited to join in and encouraged to bring their own noisemakers and ground hog gear to celebrate the day.  Each year, Essex Ed is dressed in special attire to acknowledge a special occasion or person.  Past years have seen Ed dressed as historical figures, athletes, thespians, and musical performers.  This year’s costume is a secret but organizers guarantee that the town will be “tapping its toes” once Ed makes his appearance.  Special musical performances will follow the conclusion of the parade at the top of Main Street. 

Hundreds of people turn out for this annual tradition that was started over 30 years ago by a group of local merchants to wake up the town during the post-holiday doldrums.  Today, the parade is organized by the Essex Board of Trade and is the first event of the seven-week long Essex Winterfest celebration that includes EagleWatch boat tours in February and March, Eagle Flyer train rides and free trolley transit over President’s Day weekend, and the inaugural year for the Essex Go Bragh Parade and Festival on March 19.  For more information, go to www.essexct.com.

Deep River Bookstore Creates Green, Book Buy-Back Web Business

Hanna Cook, Owner of MyBookCart.com

MediaBuster Books of Deep River have been selling used books since 2003, and they care passionately about the environmental impact of discarding used books, so much so that they have now created an online web business which encourages people to sell back their used books instead of throwing them into landfills.

“Many people have books they have finished reading, and they wonder what to do with them”, says Hanna Cook, owner of MediaBuster Books.  “Most people don’t want to throw them out, but sadly, many used books end up in landfills” Cook continues.

So in early 2009  Cook  formed MyBookCart.com, which gives people an easy option of selling back their used books instead of throwing them out when they are finished using them.

MyBookCart.com gives instant offers for used books by typing in the book’s ISBN number. Shipping is free to mail in books, and payment is made by check or PayPal.

MyBookCart.com also has a popular textbook buyback option for college students at the end of each semester.  Students have found that they can receive higher offer quotes for their textbooks compared to the college bookstore, and MyBookCart.com, in most instances, buys back textbooks that the college bookstore isn’t buying. 

“We also have a referral program” Cook says, “where every customer who makes an account with us receives their own referral code.  When a new customer uses their referral code and mails in their books, they get paid 10% of the buyback offer.  This also works well for college students, as we provide college students free flyers and bookmarks that contain their referral code upon request.  College students can request free flyers by e-mailing support@mybookcart.com.  They can hang the flyers around campus and receive the 10% commission payment when fellow students mail in their books/textbooks.”

“Throughout our years of selling used books, we understand what customers want: Fair price quotes, fast payment, good communication, excellent customer service, and an easy to use website. Each day we strive try to find new ways to exceed your expectations” says Cook.

Try the Y for Free Jan 10 – 16

The Valley-Shore Y is initiating a fall membership campaign, Try the Y Free Week from Jan. 10-16. During this free week-long trial, guests can take advantage of full-privilege YMCA member benefits.

Come for one day or for the whole week. Try out an exercise class, work out in the Brady Wellness Center, shoot hoops in our newly renovated gymnasium, or swim in one of our two 25 yard swimming pools. During Try The Y Free Week you will quickly discover how easy it is to take the first step toward a healthy lifestyle for you or your whole family.

On top of their “Try the Y Free Week” Valley-Shore is currently holding registration for winter programs. Session 1 will run from Jan. 3 – Feb. 13 and Session 2 from Feb. 14 – March 27. The following is a listing of Youth and Family Programming:

Youth Sports: Archery, Biddy Basketball, Floor Hockey, Gymnastics, Indoor Soccer League, Instructional Soccer, Youth Basketball, Karate, Kids Rock climbing.

Arts: Acrobatics, Ballet, Hip-Hop Dance, Irish Step Dancing, Piano and Guitar lessons. Private Piano, Guitar, Drums, Voice and Music Theatre is also available! Little Chefs

Teens: Routeen “Music, Dance, Movement”, Saturday Night Y (1/29 Ski Trip, 2/12 Dance, 3/14-18 March Madness Basketball Tournament), College Tours (Fairfield, Sacred Heart, UConn, ECSU, U of New Haven, SCSU, Quinnipiac, Yale.), Teen Leaders Club

For more information classes, times and dates please contact Chris at 860-399-9622 ext. 19 or visit their website for a free copy of their Winter Program Brochure.

The YMCA offers a variety of programs for all ages and abilities that fit everyone’s schedule.
No one is turned away from a YMCA program or membership for the inability to pay. Membership at the YMCA is available to all regardless of race, creed, sex or ability to pay. Financial assistance is funded by our annual Strong Kids campaign.

Visit the Valley-Shore Y and see what you are missing. For more information contact the Valley-Shore Y at 860-399-9622 or visit us on the web at www.vsymca.org.

Essex Rotary Scrabble Tournament

The Essex Rotary Club is holding a Scrabble Tournament on Jan. 18 from 6:30 to 9:00 at Essex Meadows.  Refreshments and Prizes.  Fabulous Family Fun.  Make some memories. 

Proceeds will benefit Literacy Volunteers and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the worldwide eradication of polio.

For tickets and information visit www.essexrotary.com.

Kindermusik Demo Day at the Essex Library, Jan 18

ESSEX – Community Music School and the Essex Library Association will present a free Kindermusik Demo Day on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 with three age-specific lesson times all taking place at the Essex Library, 33 West Avenue.

With more than 25 years experience in early childhood development, Kindermusik is the world’s most trusted name in musical learning. Community Music School faculty member and Kindermusik educator Nancy Thomas will lead engaging and fun sessions for ages 2 to 5 as follows:

10 – 10:40 a.m. Our Time for 2 year olds – children are introduced to singing, moving, listening and playing simple instruments.

11 – 11:40 a.m. Imagine That! For 3 year olds – A wide variety of musical subjects and hands-on projects are introduced through singing, listening, moving and exploring.

1 – 1:40 p.m. ABC Music & Me for 4 and 5 year olds – this newly developed program introduces young musicians to composers, songs, and styles from a variety of genres, such as classical, jazz, and folk.

The workshops are FREE but space is limited. Please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 to register. For additional information about Kindermusik and other programs offered at Community Music School, please call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org.

Tri-Town Youth Services Parent and Infant Social Time

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, January 24, 2011 through Monday, March 14, 2011 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. with a cost of $25.

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

Essex Park & Recreation Winter 2011 Brochure Published

The Essex Park and Recreation department are please to announce their New Program Brochure for Winter 2011 (download from link below) and also to provide a preview to their upcoming Spring Programs. 

New Programs include Girls and Boys Lacrosse Conditioning Clinics starting in Feb. and Early March and 2 new Music Programs, made available thanks to the cooperation of the Fisher Music School of Centerbrook, will be add to their list of EES After Hours Programs.

Returning favorites also include coed volleyball, mad science, computer explorers and karate.

Essex Park and Recreation knows how much everyone likes a Parade…so they are pleased to announce the 1st Annual “Essex go Bragh” Parade and Irish Festival to be held on Saturday March 19. 

Please take a look for all the details & see how you can get involved. It’s sure to be a fun day for everyone!!!!


Deep River Fire Department holds Annual Election of Officers

The Deep River Fire Department held it’s Annual Election Officers on Jan. 5, 2011.  The results of those elections are as follows:

  • Chief:                                     Peter L. Woodcock
  • Deputy Chief:                      Timothy Lee
  • Assistant Chief:                  James Budney
  • Assistant Chief:                  Robert Raymond
  • Chief Engineer:                  Jack White
  • Secretary:                            John Kollmer Sr.
  • Treasurer:                            James Dee Jr.
  • Trustee:                                James Beardsley

If you are interest in becoming a member of the Deep River Volunteer Fire Department please visit the Fire Department website, www.deepriverfd.com, for full details or stop by the firehouse any Wednesday evening with any questions you may have.

Senator Daily in key position to address state’s 20 percent budget deficit

Senator Eileen Daily

Senator Eileen Daily, whose district includes Chester, Deep River, Essex, Haddam and Lyme, has been re-appointed co-chair of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Committee on Finance, Revenue and Banking. She will serve in this position over the next two years.

The committee has the responsibility of preparing the revenue side of the state budget, including imposition of all state taxes and fees. It also proposes and approves all state capital bond authorizations.  In addition, the committee has oversight responsibilities over the state’s Department of Revenue Services and the Division of Special Revenue.

In response to her reappointment the senator said, “Governor Malloy described our state’s current situation as a crossroads of crisis and opportunity, and I look forward to working with the administration and other legislative leaders to address a projected budget deficit approaching 20 percent of the state’s current expenses.”

She said, “I know everyone’s priority is – rightly – to cut spending, but we’re going to have to re-examine a host of tax credits and tax exemptions as well.”  Saying that she welcomed the responsibility “to continue my work and maintain my stewardship of state revenues,” she said that “my watchword guiding any laws pertaining to taxes and fees has always been ‘fairness.’”

Daily is now serving her tenth term as a state senator in the General Assembly. She is also vice-chair of the Public Safety and Security Committee, among other committee assignments.

Community Music School Presents Jazz Ensemble Concert Today


CMS Jazz Ensemble - Performers include Dean Apostoleris, bass; Henry Apostoleris, saxophone; Max Barrezueta, piano; Keir Magoulas and Ben Polito, drums and percussion; Elliot Pillsbury, saxophone; and Erik Simon-Vouritie, saxophone.

CENTERBROOK – The Community Music School, Centerbrook will present two concerts in early January.  The Student Jazz Ensemble will perform on Jan. 9, and the Adult Performing Ensemble and the New Horizons Band of the Connecticut Valley-Shore will perform on Jan. 11.

The  Student Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Tom Briggs, will perform in concert at the Centerbrook Meetinghouse, 51 Main Street, Centerbrook on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m.  A repertoire spanning 50 years will be performed with selections by John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Duke Ellington, and Chick Corea featured. 

Performers include Dean Apostoleris, bass; Henry Apostoleris, saxophone; Max Barrezueta, piano; Keir Magoulas and Ben Polito, drums and percussion; Elliot Pillsbury, saxophone; and Erik Simon-Vouritie, saxophone.  

CMS Adult Performing Ensemble

The Adult Performing Ensemble and the New Horizons Band of the Connecticut Valley-Shore will perform in concert at the Centerbrook Meeting House on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. 

 Under the direction of Tom Briggs, the Performing Ensemble performs music from a wide variety of genres, including traditional, classical, jazz, folk, and pop. The group formed during the fall of 2009 and new members who play any instrument at an intermediate or advanced level are welcome to join. 

 The New Horizons Band is an entry level ensemble designed for adults who have had no prior experience with music or instruments, or those who have been away from it for many years.  There are currently 14 members who play traditional band repertoire, jazz, and Broadway tunes, among other styles. New members are always welcome.

Both concerts are free and open to the public.  Please call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org for additional information.

Essex Boat Launch Project Finished

Cofferdam being removed after completion of Essex boat launch project

ESSEX— The reconstruction of the town boat launch on the Connecticut River at the foot of Main Street is finished, done within the project budget and the time deadlines of a state Department of Environmental Protection permit despite a late start.

First Selectman Phil Miller confirmed the completion at Wednesday’s meeting of the board of selectmen. Miller said a cofferdam used to hold back river water from the construction area has been removed, and the concrete is place for the improved launch area. He said crews with Old Colony Construction of Clinton are now demobilizing the work area.

Miller said town consulting engineers have inspected and approved the work that was completed at a total cost of $152,000. The final cost is about $49,000 over company’s initial bid price of $103,000, partly because of the need to install the steel cofferdam.

Construction was supposed to start in September, but did not begin until early December. The project, which has been advocated by the town’s harbor management commission for more than a decade, was funded by a $191,000 state Small Town economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant.

Miller praised the efforts of the economic development commission, particularly chairman Lee Thompson, in preparing the application that secured the state grant. Selectman Joel Marzi also praised the efforts of the economic development and harbor management panels, but suggested that for future projects of similar size the final bid should be approved by the full board of selectmen, not just the first selectman and an advisory committee of volunteers. “But I’m glad it’s done,’’ Marzi added.

An Elephant for Deep River

Members of Deep River Rotary Club and representatives of Mt. St. John school looking on as the elephant statue is delivered

The news is that an elephant has come to Deep River. It has arrived from Thailand by way of Newport , Rhode Island , and it will be here to stay. And it’s all made possible by the Deep River Rotary Club.

But it is not a live elephant, which would have some difficulty in the winter weather of Connecticut . This one is bronze and will last at least a century, and probably much longer. It’s a statue–about one-sixth the actual size of the living African elephant it depicts. But it will be a reminder to visitors and residents of this river town of the important role played by elephants in the history of Deep River .

The Rotary Club believes that this bronze statue will help to educate young and old about the importance of the ivory trade to the development of industry, commerce, and culture in the Valley Shore area–and particularly Deep River . Here factories prospered, manufacturing piano keys and other ivory products, such as combs and buttons. Long before the development of plastics (of which these items are now made) these products depended on the importing of ivory tusks from Zanzibar and other ports in Africa .

Deep River resident, John LaPlante

The negative side of this story is that our industry depended on the hunting of elephants for their tusks and the use of slaves for the transportation of the tusks. As we remember with gratitude the role of this beautiful animal in the development of our community, we will also remember the price which was paid for our prosperity. The statue will continue to remind us of that story in all its dimensions.

John LaPlante, a resident of Deep River and a member of the Deep River Rotary Club, conceived the idea of bringing this statue to town when he stumbled upon it in the lot at Aardvark Antiques in Newport , R.I. He challenged the club to bring this iconic figure to a place of honor in our community, and he led the financial negotiations to acquire the elephant.

First Selectman Dick Smith and Doug DeCerbo, director of Mt. St. John admiring new elephant statue

First Selectman Dick Smith and members of the town crew traveled to Newport to bring her back, along with a granite block on which she will rest. A welcoming committee of Rotarians was on hand at the Town Hall, along with Marilyn Malcarne and a group of fifers and drummers to create a festive atmosphere.

Robert Johnson, who has been selling real estate in the area for more than 60 years, was on hand, too. He clapped his hands and announced that the would make the first contribution to what will be the Elephant Fund. “I love the statue!” he said. “What a great idea!”

The permanent location for the elephant has not yet been announced. Several locations are being considered, but a formal dedication and celebration will take place in the Spring. “It will be a lot of fund,” said John LaPlante, who recalled that the elephant is a reminder of the prosperous days when Deep River was known as the “Queen of the Valley.” “One thing is for sure. Deep River is becoming Queen of the Valley again. Everybody is noticing that. This is one more way to celebrate that!”

Former Essex Library Director to be Chief Operating Office of Queens Library

Former Director of the Essex Library, Bridget Quinn-Carey

Bridget Quinn-Carey, former Director of the Essex Library from 1999 to 2007, will become the Chief Operating Officer of the Queens Library in New York City effective April 4.  The Queens Library consists of 62 local libraries in the Borough of Queens, and serves a population of 2.3 million.

Ms. Quinn-Carey will hold the number two position at the library. Her predecessor in this position was paid $210,000 a year.

Quinn-Carey is presently the Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System, a position that she took immediately after her service at the Essex Library. The Buffalo/Erie County library system has 37 branch libraries, and the director’s salary is $102,000 a year.  

On the director’s departure, the Chairperson of the board, Sharon A. Thomas, said,    “Bridget has been an amazingly strong leader. Her dedication, energy and expertise have all gone toward making this a better and stronger Library System for everyone.”

While serving as the Director of the Essex Library, Quinn-Carey oversaw a $2.5 million expansion of the town’s library. The building was enlarged from 4,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet, and the expansion included a new children’s area, a new young adult section, an expanded reading area with computers for adults, among other improvements. 

Ms Quinn-Carey received a salary of $70,000 a year while head of the Essex Library. During her service, both the director and the library received an award from the New York Times for the Essex Library being, one of the best small town libraries in the United States. 

Quinn-Carey is married to Attorney James W. Carey and the couple has two daughters. They live in upstate New York.

Westbrook Health Director Named as Interim Health Director for Essex

ESSEX— First Selectman Phil Miller has appointed Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, a physician who serves as health director in Westbrook, as interim health director for Essex as the town advertises the part-time position with a statewide network.

Miller announced the move at Wednesday’s meeting of the board of selectmen, ending an arrangement with the Connecticut River Area Health District that began in October when he appointed Mary Jane Engle, executive director of the three-town district, as acting health director for Essex on a contractual month-to-month basis. Miller said beginning this week Bernstein would perform duties in Essex on an “as needed” basis, with office hours at town hall on Fridays. Miller also announced the town has advertised a part-time health director position, with an annual stipend of $20,000, with the Connecticut Public Health Network.

After Engle began working in Essex last fall, the board of selectmen reviewed a series of options for providing health related services in town, and were poised to hold another public hearing on the option of joining the Connecticut River Area Health District. The district, formed in 2006, is comprised of the towns of Clinton, Deep River, and Old Saybrook, with offices in Old Saybrook.

But the selectmen cancelled the public hearing last month after the directors of the regional health district requested a meeting to discuss alleged problems with the town’s public health files, including soils tests and permit applications for residential septic systems approved in 2009 and last year.

Miller has maintained concerns about the files, including whether septic permits were approved by a certified sanitarian or a registered sanitarian, were overstated by the directors of the regional health district, a five-member board that includes the first selectmen of Clinton Deep River, and Old Saybrook. Essex selectmen did not meet with directors of the health district, and on Dec. 15 cancelled the public hearing on the district that had been set for Jan. 11.
During public comment at Wednesday’s meeting, Wendy Arnold, a town resident who works for the regional health district, questioned Miller on staffing in the local health office. Arnold contended the office is frequently unstaffed, and also asked about the status of Cheryl Haase, a clerk in the office who was placed on paid administrative leave by Miller on Dec. 10.

Miller said he is “not prepared to answer at this point” about Haase’s status, or how long she would remain on administrative leave. Miller said the health office is currently staffed by Darcy Roper, another town employee who had been working part-time in the building office. “We have a person who is processing things,” he said.

Miller said Brad Chaney, a registered sanitarian who also works in Woodstock in the state’s northeast corner, is working part-time in Essex on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He said there is currently no backlog of soils test or septic permit applications.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman Names Martin Heft as Senior Advisor

Chester— Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, assuming the state’s number two job Wednesday, has named former Chester First Selectman Martin Heft as her senior advisor.

Heft, a Chester native, served as the town’s Democratic first selectman from 1993-2005. He served previously as town treasurer. After leaving office, Wyman, who was then state comptroller, hired Heft as her executive assistant.

Community Foundation Announces New Officers and Leaders

New Directors Lyn May (East Haddam) and Gary Salva (Middlefield) - photo courtesy of MCCF

The Middlesex County Community Foundation is proud to announce its 2011 officers, two new Board members and one new Director Emeritus.  Newly elected to serve on the Board of Directors is Lyn May of East Haddam, who is completing two years of a vacant seat. Gary Salva of Middlefield has also been elected to the Board of Directors and will serve a three year term. Both Salva and May will begin their terms on January 1, 2011.  Retired Board member, Ralph Shaw II of Middletown was unanimously elected Director Emeritus.

Lyn May’s career has taken her from Massachusetts to Georgia and around the world, when upon semi-retiring, she moved to Connecticut. She is a celebrated television journalist, reporting and hosting on a broad range of topics. She has held gubernatorial appointments in Massachusetts and Georgia; was Communications Director for the 1996 Olympic Games; and was Executive Director of the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. Ms. May has served on numerous boards and was a founding member of the Lower Connecticut River Forum. She will serve on the Development/Communications Committee.

Gary Salva, who will also serve on the Development/Communications Committee, has long been active in Middlesex County.  He is currently with Sagemark Consulting (Lincoln Financial Advisors/CIGNA Financial Advisors) and has earned Senior Planner Status. Prior to his election to the Board, Mr. Salva served on the Community Foundation’s Development Committee. He is a past member of the Durham Historical Commission and has served on the Durham Economic Development Commission. When not speaking at Estate Planning Seminars and assisting clients, Mr. Salva is an avid car collector and enthusiast.

These two individuals bring a wealth of talent to the Board as the Community Foundation continues to provide grants and training to nonprofit organizations throughout Middlesex County. 

Officers and Directors Appointed

Marcia Kalayjian has been elected as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors. Ms. Kalayjian, a Clinton resident, has served on the Board since 2004, and served two terms as Vice Chair of the Board. She has also served as co-chair of the Development/Communications Committee and chair of the Organizational/Nominating Committee.

Other leaders include: John Biddiscombe, of Durham, who will serve as Vice Chairman.  Mr. Biddiscombe will continue to lead the Grants Committee.  Susan Barrett of Portland will again serve as Treasurer and will also chair the Finance and Investment Committee; and Nancy Fischbach of Deep River continues as Secretary. 

Other Committee Chairs were announced as Deborah Moore of Killingworth, chairwoman of the Development/Communications Committee; Thomas Pastorello of East Hampton, chairman of the Audit Committee; Janice Atkeson of Essex, chairwoman of the Organizational/Nominating Committee; David Director of Cromwell, head of the MCCF Council of Business Partners; Mark Richards of Clinton, chairman of  the Cultivation Committee; and William Chatman of Essex, chairman of the Personnel Committee. 

Other Board members include:  Vincent Capece, Middletown; Sharon Griffin, Durham; David M. Royston, Old Saybrook; Anita Ford Saunders, Middletown; Judith Schoonmaker, Essex; and Richard Tomc of Middletown.

Founding Board Member Honored as Director Emeritus

The Board of Directors honored Ralph Shaw II of Middletown, by electing him Director Emeritus. Mr. Shaw, a founding Board Member of the Community Foundation, served on the Board of Directors for nine years, and as Board Chair for seven of those years. Mr. Shaw’s continued dedication and commitment to the Community Foundation is evident through his continued gift of talent, time and resources. He is truly one of the Good People Doing Great Things in Middlesex County.

Mr. Shaw joins seven others as Director Emeritus.  They are:  Herbert T. Clark III, Essex; Patrick Crowley, Lyme; Robert L. Kirkpatrick, Jr., Jane Stokes McMillan, Willard McRae, all of Middletown; Dave Preston, Old Lyme; and Sari A. Rosenbaum, Portland.

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.

Crossword Puzzle contest at Essex Library

Sharpen your pencils! The Third Annual Justus Paul Memorial Crossword Puzzle Contest will take place at the Essex Library at 12:30 p.m., on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Have fun testing your puzzle solving ability, while competing for great prizes and the possibility of immortality; the winner’s name will engraved on a plaque in the Essex Library’s lobby. Original puzzles will be supplied by New York Times Puzzle Editor, Will Shortz.

You can compete as a single, or team up with a friend. Call the Essex Library to register at 860-767-1560, and stop by any day to pick up copies of practice puzzles.

Essex First Selectman Phil Miller Seeks Democratic Nomination in 36th House District Special Election

Essex First Selectman Phil Miller

AREAWIDE— Essex First Selectman Phil Miller announced Tuesday he would seek the Democratic party endorsement to run for the open 36th House District seat in a special election that is expected in March.

The seat representing the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam becomes vacant Wednesday when James Spallone, the Essex Democrat who has held the seat for the past decade, declines a new term to assume the full-time job of deputy secretary of the state. Spallone, a lawyer, had won re-election for a sixth term in November, defeating Republican Chet Harris of Haddam on a 6,055-4,332 vote.

Miller, the former director of the Bushy Hill Nature center in Ivoryton, was elected to the top job in Essex in 2003. He won a fourth term in the November 2009 town election, defeating Republican Joel Marzi on a 1,437-1,061 vote.

“I look forward to the opportunity of putting over a decade of municipal experience to work serving the people of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam,” Miller said, “With the state facing its greatest fiscal crisis in generations, we need experienced representation that will continue to protect our towns’ interests.”

Miller said he decided to run in the special election after talking last week with Spallone, State Sen. Eileen Daily of Westbrook, and the Democratic town committee chairmen for the four district towns. Miller said if he wins election as state representative in March, he would continue serving as first selectman and hold both positions through the end of his current term in November, but not seek re-election as first selectman in the Nov. 8 Essex town election.

Miller added that if his run for state representative is unsuccessful, he would reconsider whether to run for a new term as first selectman. Endorsements for this fall’s town election will be made at party nominating caucuses in July. Governor Dannel Malloy will set a date for the special election soon after he takes office Wednesday. The special election must be held within 60 days of the vacancy, making Tuesday March 1 a likely date for the four-town vote.

Democratic and Republican nominations for the 36th District seat will be made at conventions later this month by the same party delegates that nominated Spallone and Harris at conventions held last May. Because of the short time frame, there will be no primaries for the party nominations. Candidates who are not endorsed by the conventions would be forced to run as petition candidates if they wish to remain in the race.

There are 15 Democratic delegates, five from Haddam, four from Essex, and three each from Deep River and Chester. No other candidates have announced for the Democratic nomination, though Diane Stock of Haddam is considered another potential candidate. Stock was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for first selectmen of Haddam in 2009, losing the general election after winning the party nomination in a primary.

Miller said he believes he has the support of a majority of the 15 delegates, while adding “it’s my case to make.” Miller said he would appear at a meeting of the Haddam Democratic Town Committee tonight. The four Democratic town committees are expected to hold a joint meeting on Jan. 12 in Essex to hear presentations from Miller and any other prospective candidates.

No candidates have announced for the Republican nomination in the 36th District special election. Essex Republican Selectman Joel Marzi, who is considered likely to make a second run for the town’s top job this year, said he would defer any comment on Miller’s plans until after Miller has won the convention endorsement to become the special election nominee.

Connecticut River Museum and Project Oceanology Team Up Again for EagleWatch 2011

Passengers board Project Oceanology’s Enviro-lab III at the Connecticut River Museum’s dock for eagle viewing boat tours every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in February through mid-March.

Essex, CT — Every year as the temperature drops below freezing and the last holiday decoration is packed away, a new season begins on the Essex waterfront.  Bald Eagles from as far north as Canada migrate to the open waters of the Connecticut River where the fishing is good and the nesting is easy.  In fact, the lower Connecticut River boasts one of the largest concentrations of these majestic birds from mid-January through mid-March, a natural phenomenom which sets the stage for the Connecticut River Museum’s continued expansion of its annual EagleWatch programming.  After a highly successful season last year with first-year partner Project Oceanology, the Connecticut River Museum will again team up with the Groton-based marine science and environmental education organization to provide a dynamic on-water experience.     

Connecticut River Museum Educator Bill Yule guides eagle viewers aboard Project Oceanology’s 65-foot research vessel Enviro-lab III.

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting on February 4 and running through March 13, Project Oceanology’s vessel Enviro-lab III will depart from the Museum’s docks for an up-close view of winter wildlife, Bald Eagles, and other big birds of prey.  Educators from the Museum and Project Oceanology will provide narration while passengers can enjoy viewing from the heated cabin or outside deck area.  In addition, there’s an opportunity to assist in collecting water samples and compiling data for water-quality monitoring programs that are part of an ongoing environmental study with the Museum.  Every boat tour ticket includes free admission to the Museum where the story of the Bald Eagle continues to unfold in the Eagles of Essex exhibit.   

Opening on February 5 and running through March 13, Eagles of Essex tells the full story of why so many bald eagles winter here and how they went from near-extinction to becoming one of the greatest environmental come-back stories in history.  In addition to an interactive eagle nest, exhibitry will illustrate how to identify birds of prey and where the best land-viewing spots are located.  An eagle sighting scoreboard and a “real-time” community photography display will also be featured.  Amateur photographers are invited to submit their digital shots of eagles or other river raptors for inclusion in the exhibit. 

Special programming events will round out EagleWatch 2011.  On Saturday, February 5, drop-in arts and crafts, eagle nest building activities, family gallery tours, birdwatching with binoculars and scopes, and more will be happening from 12 noon to 4 pm in the Eagles of Essex gallery. 

On Saturday, February 12 and on Saturday, March 5 at 1:30 pm, international nature photographer Stan Kolber will present the do’s and don’ts of photographing birds in the wild during a one-hour “Introduction to Bird Photography” workshop.   And on Sunday, February 13 at 3:30 pm at Essex Town Hall, the Connecticut River Museum, together with the Essex Garden Club and the Potopaug Audobon Society, will host a Wind Over Wings live birds of prey demonstration.  Admission is free but seating capacity is limited. 

For a full listing of event details, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open Tuesday – Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm.

Deep River Study Committee Asked to Present 20-Year Plan for Fire Department Building and Equipment Needs

DEEP RIVER— The board of selectmen has asked the newly formed Fire Department Study Committee to develop a 20-year plan for the Deep River Volunteer Fire Department’s equipment and building needs.

The charge for the committee that was approved by the board last week calls for two separate reports over the next six months. The first report, due within three months, or by April, would be a projection of the department’s equipment/apparatus and manpower needs over the next two decades ending in 2031. The second report, due within six months, or by July, would review the department’s long-term needs for facilities, including renovation or expansion of existing buildings, or new construction. ” The report will provide a 20-year facility requirements plan that supports equipment/apparatus identified in phase one,” the charge concludes.

The board decided to establish the fire department study committee last fall, in the wake of last July’s voter rejection of a $2.4 million renovation and expansion plan for the main firehouse at the corner of Union and West Elm streets. The project failed on a 347-312 vote in a July 13 bonding referendum. A more costly $3.7 million building plan for the main firehouse was rejected by a much larger margin in a November 2007 referendum.

First Selectman Richard Smith has said the reports of the study committee would help the selectmen determine whether a third building project proposal for the firehouse is presented to the town’s voters.

The study committee is comprised of four members recommended by the volunteer fire department, and three citizen volunteers picked by the selectmen. Members recommended by the fire department are former fire chief Timothy Ballyntine, David Beradis, John Kollmer and Timothy Lee. Members chosen by the selectmen are Paul Carlson, Peter Terenzi and Steve David. The study committee is expected to hold its first meeting later this month.

Handmade masks and headdresses at Chester Art Opening

Kathryne Wright models her “Day of the Dead” mask, one of her many creations (Photo by Cary Hull)

Kathryne Wright, owner/artist of Hammered Edge LLC Studio & Gallery in the center of Chester, will exhibit a selection of her one-of-a-kind handmade masks and headdresses at Chester Village West in January. The exhibit is part of Chester Village West’s monthly shows of works by Chester artists. Wright’s exhibit opens with a public reception on Friday, Jan. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Since the “birth” of the Hammered Edge Studio & Gallery in September of 1995, Wright has worked toward building a bridge of imaginative access between the Gallery and those curious enough to try their hand at living a more creatively inspired life. She says, “It’s more than just beads and jewelry. The creative possibilities are endless and can apply to all aspects of one’s life. Creativity is also a tool of problem-solving.”

Wright’s creativity led to her design of masks and headdresses about five years ago, when the BRAYCE nonprofit organization (Brazilian and American Youth Cultural Exchange), with offices in Chester and Rio de Janeiro, sought her involvement with their major annual fundraiser, the Samba Rio Benefit Dance, held every February in Chester. Her fascination with masks and costume play became a major part of the Samba Rio and her own efforts in the Gallery. Wright sets the Samba theme, designs the decor for the Parish Hall, where the dance takes place, and with the help of a few more volunteers transforms the hall into the Brazilian Carnival zone now known as Samba Rio. (More information about the 2011 Samba Rio Benefit Dance is at www.brayce.org.)

Kathryne Wright with beads and masks at last year’s Samba Rio Benefit Dance (Photo by Bill Bernhart)

Wright’s masks and headdresses are made in a variety of materials and are endlessly fascinating. People of all ages will enjoy meeting Kathryne Wright and seeing her exhibit at Chester Village West at the opening reception on Jan. 7. Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres prepared by the Chester Village West chef will be served. Following the reception, the exhibit at Chester Village West can be seen daily from 9 to 5.