December 7, 2022

Archives for September 2011

Fall Wine Tasting on the River to Support Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation

Suisman Shapiro, A Thyme to Cook, and Chamard Vineyards will be sponsoring a complimentary wine tasting evening at the Connecticut River Museum on Thursday October 6 from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. to benefit the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation.

A memorable evening including: Wine tasting hosted by your local winery,  Chamard Vineyards, including their flagship estate wines, pre- release tastings of their 2011 Chilean wines and library releases.  Gourmet hors d’hoeuvres graciously provided by A Thyme to Cook Caterers of North Stonington and interesting information on estate planning strategies for this turbulent economy by Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; the event sponsors will be making a donation to the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation on behalf of each guest in attendance. No donations are required at the event.

Schooner Mary E Returns to Steamboat Dock for Daily Cruises

Schooner Mary E sails the Connecticut River daily from Steamboat Dock at the Connecticut River Museumecticut River Museum.

Essex, CT – Now a familiar sight along the Connecticut River, the historic schooner Mary E has returned to her home port at the Connecticut River Museum and hoisted sail for public cruises and private charters for the 2011 season. The 75-foot gaff rigged schooner was built in 1906 in Bath, Maine and believed to be one of the last remaining of her kind.

Now through October 30, the general public can take a 1.5 hour afternoon sail at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. or a 2 hour sunset sail at 6 p.m. and enjoy the natural beauty and cultural heritage of New England’s Great River.  Afternoon cruises which include admission to the museum’s exhibits and galleries are $26 per adult and $16 for children age 12 and under.  Sunset sails are $30 per person, all ages.  Public cruises are not offered on Wednesdays.  Group tours and private charters are also available.    For more information on schedules, fees, and reservations, call 860-767-8269 or go to   The Connecticut River Museum, located at 67 Main Street, on the scenic Essex waterfront.

Departure of Shoreline Clinic Would Not Cost Essex Revenue

ESSEX— The anticipated departure of the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Clinic would not cost the Town of Essex tax revenue because the 10.4-acre site in Westbrook Road is tax exempt.

Tax Assessor Jessica Sypher said Friday the clinic property, including land and buildings, is tax exempt and not included on the town’s grand list of taxable property. Sypher said the property is covered by the state’s Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) program, where the state makes an annual payment to cities and towns for properties on the PILOT list.

The amount, which is subject to change by a vote of the General Assembly, usually equals about 45 percent of the tax revenue that would be generated if a PILOT parcel were included on the grand list. The State of Connecticut recently sent the town a check for $16,032 as the annual PILOT payment for the clinic property

Harry Evert, vice-president of operations for Middlesex Hospital, confirmed this week the hospital is planning to relocate the clinic to a site closer to Interstate-95, either in Old Saybrook or Westbrook. The relocation is not expected to occur until about two years in the future, with the hospital first required to win zoning approval for a site in a different town and then construct the new clinic building at the new location.

Sypher said she believes the town would continue receiving the PILOT payment as long as the property is owned by Middlesex Hospital. The property, which is located in a residential zone, would be assessed and included on the grand list if it was sold to a private interest.

The Shoreline Clinic has operated in Essex since the early 1970s on land that was donated by the late Fred Knapp, a retired industrialist who lived in a house on the pond located near the clinic site.


CT Naturalist: Barred Owl vs. Blue Jay

Connecticut backyards never cease to provide amazing encounters with wildlife. This week we highlight an amazing interaction between a Barred Owl and a Blue Jay.

It’s rare enough to encounter an owl in your backyard, but the feud with the blue jay adds a whole new dimension to this sighting.

A Barred Owl perched above an open lawn at twilight, browsing the grass for small rodents and large insects. But this owl is not alone; there is still enough afternoon light for blue jays to remain active. And when a blue jay discovers an owl, it declares a major turf war.

This blue jay dive bombs, flanks, and screams at the quite Barred Owl.  Although, the owl appears harmless, Barred Owls have been known to feed on blue jays, if the jays are on the ground during the owls hunting hours.

Barred Owls are difficult to find in the wild because of their nocturnal behavior and camouflage plumage. However, of all the owl species, Barred Owls are the most likely to be active during daylight hours.

If pileated woodpeckers are present in the area, there is a good chance a Bard Owl may nest nearby, as owls often take residence in the woodpecker’s abandoned tree cavities.

A Barred Owl has a distinct call that has cadence that resembles the phrase, “”.

Be on the lookout for Barred Owls in your community. They are one of Connecticut’s most amazing birds!

Bereavement Support Group

Middlesex Hospital will be sponsoring a Bereavement Support Group that  will meet at Chester Village West  on the 2nd & 4th Fridays of the month beginning on October 14 at 10:30 a.m.   The meeting will be open to all who wish to attend.

Daniel Halladay – The Remarkable Connecticut Inventor I’ll Bet You Never Heard Of…

For sure Daniel Halladay wasn’t dressed this finely when in his 20’s he was tinkering with what would become the Halladay Self-Governing Wind Machine

Hardly a month ago The New London Day reported how U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had come to the area to preach the importance of building wind turbines practically off our shore. In Block Island Sound, specifically.

In fact, Salazar said the federal government was seeking proposals to develop energy farms out there—energy from wind turbines positioned in the waves quite far out, but within sight of our beaches.

Wind turbines are a hot subject. As we know, they are being built off the coast of Cape Cod right now, despite the all-out fight put up by Sen. Ted Kennedy. He thought they spoiled the view. And spoiled his sailing, I suspect, though that’s hard to believe. Futile fight, I’m glad to say.

I love the Cape, too. But I think the turbines are a smart idea and will be a pretty sight in the distant water.

I love the idea of wind farms. I’ve seen them—big spreads dotted with hundreds of tall turbines—in the West. I think of all the electricity they are producing for us and rejoice.

In fact, I think the turbines are not only beautiful. I consider them a monument to the ingenuity of man.

Reading that story in The Day, suddenly I found myself thinking of Daniel Halladay. I had read about him. He was an inventor right here in Connecticut 150 years ago.

If we have those fine wind turbines today, it’s because of the revolutionary windmill he invented–the windmill that dramatically changed life on farms and ranches in the Midwest and West for the better. In fact, all over the country.

In tiny Ellington up in Tolland County, he developed the machine that became sensational for pumping water. It made possible serious, extensive farming. And raising livestock for commercial sale. In time it got to be used for other purposes also. Farmers and ranchers everywhere put one up.

I’m positive you’re familiar with this windmill. They are an iconic part of the countryside out there. We’ve all seen them in the movies and TV and books and, for many of us, right out of our car window.

There are still many around, smoothly and steadily working.  Still being manufactured. I’ll bet there are still some in Connecticut. In other parts of the world, less developed, they are still common every-day machines.

Well, Daniel Halladay was the Henry Ford of that industry. He developed the machine, manufactured them, and sold them. Made possible the development of all that land. He had little idea what a huge impact his windmill would have when he rolled up his sleeves and went to work on it.

His machine worked fine. So efficient that it worked even in light winds.

Needed no expensive fuel—just some wind. It was affordable. Lasted for years. Needed no tending. It was self-governing! A man could go about his ordinary work with hardly a worry about it. And so adaptable to various purposes. What an amazing machine. Revolutionary.

This water pump was a key invention in the development of that huge chunk of the country. As important as the invention of barbed wire, which made it possible for a man to have a real ranch.

Daniel Halladay was a mechanic. He was born in Vermont, worked in other states, eventually settled in Ellington. A friend, John Burnham, repaired water pumps. The two talked a lot. Burnham gets the credit for suggesting using the wind to power a pump of some kind. But how to do that? Halladay began thinking and tinkering.

In time he developed the concept: a structure with a wind machine at the top. Connected somehow to a pump. Wood was the only material. So wood it would be for 95 percent of it. Not only the tower (it had to be tall for better wind), but also even the vanes at the top. Just a few key parts were iron and steel.

There were few investment bankers back then. He had to finance his project himself as he developed it. And safe to say that he had to squeeze time h from his bread-and-butter to devote to his newfangled machine.

He worked there in Ellington from 1954 to 1963. That’s when he worked all his basic ideas and started making and selling windmills.

Of course, windmills have been doing work for mankind for centuries. People built windmills in many countries. Often they were massive. They used sails to catch the wind, like the sails on a sailboat.

They were great machines in their own right. We’ve all seen paintings and pictures of them. But they took terrific human labor to operate. For one thing, somebody had to be on hand to shift them to face the wind whenever it changed direction. And to take down the sails when the wind got too strong. The machines needed lots of fixing. They were expensive to build. Each one seemed to be one of a kind.

It’s a fact that the Dutch brought windmill technology to America. Right here in our state, when they found their way up what is now our Connecticut River and set up in what now is Hartford.

And even more so when they established a bigger and more permanent settlement for themselves at the foot of the river that they named for their captain. I’m talking of New York City and the Hudson River.

Halladay faced numerous challenges. How to make his windmill simpler? Easier to run? Affordable?

He came up with one clever idea after another. He abandoned the idea of sails in favor of vanes.

He fabricated a “rudder”—a tail, so to speak. As the wind shifted direction, it kept the mill pointed right into it.

Before long he conceived a governor that adjusted the mill’s speed automatically—no danger of spinning out of control and destroying itself. He made it more and more efficient. So good that the windmill could run itself.

And he perfected the pump that would suck up the water, and how the energy should be transferred from the spinning vanes at the top down to the pump.

With the mass-production of steel, Halladay began using that instead of wood. I have seen many steel ones. Never a wooden one.

And it took less steel than wood to erect a strong, long-lasting tower.

And with more efficient production, the price got more reasonable.

Through ingenious and trouble-free linkage, his windmill—“weather vane” became the popular word–sucked the water up, hour after hour, day after day.

That was the main purpose. To provide water for livestock and crops. And very soon, water to refill the steam trains at key stations. Imaginative people put them to work as gristmills for processing grains and cereals, plus other jobs, including some industrial uses.

Burnham, Halladay’s buddy, was a great salesman. He became Halladay’s essential helpmate. They became a team. At first, sales were few.

A big problem was that Connecticut was far from where the new windmills were most useful—the Midwest and beyond. They shifted their operation to Chicago, and eventually Batavia, Illinois. Plunk in the middle of the market! The business became a great success and at its height kept many people working.

Of course, other inventors came up with refinements. Competition grew. Every farmer just had to own one. It was that essential. The human labor that it saved was incalculable.

They say that the greatest labor-saving device in the American home today is the washing machine—first for clothes, second for dishes. Back on the farm and the ranch at that time, it was Halladay’s windmill.

Then came the internal combustion engine.  And the electric generator. In came the Modern Age.

True to his nature, Halladay kept moving. He finished his days in Santa Ana, California, just south of Los Angeles. Many of his windmills got set up in that state.

But I’m glad that he spent his key creative years right here in Connecticut. It’s a pleasure to claim him as one of our greats.

With the development of electricity, people saw that windmills could generate that, too. They adapted Halladay’s machine to do that. Even today some homes way out there beyond utility poles use windmills—small, sophisticated ones–to produce their daily electricity.

Modern windfarm out West. Think of the kilowatts being generated. Salt-water windfarms are entirely feasible. Turbines can be set up in different patterns, of course. Farther apart, for instance.

Then came the marvelous wind turbines of today. All inspired by Halladay’s machine. There will be many more of them.

We should have a great big statue of Halladay here in Connecticut. Up in Ellington certainly. And maybe in Hartford where it would get greater attention. With a plaque on it explaining his giant achievement and his connection with the dramatic events of today.

I agree with what Interior Secretary Ken Salazar came here to preach to us.

The demand for electricity has never been greater. Who ever thought of  $4 gasoline? The electric power companies cannot keep up with demand—they keep reminding us to conserve, conserve! We need to put to work every proven energy-making idea we can think of that is safe.

I think Daniel Halladay—and his buddy John Burnham—would be beside themselves with delight to behold a modern windfarm. Yes, wind turbines even being erected in our coastal waters. How incredible! For a purpose they never envisaged—to harvest the wind to provide ample electricity for all our needs. Electricity—a strange energy they had no idea of when they started out.

No wonder I’d love to see wind turbines off Old Saybrook.

Hey, off the California coast and along the Gulf Coast I’ve seen those big platforms out on the water drilling for oil. I approve. What would we do without them?

Shoreline Medical Center Plans to Move out of Essex

The Shoreline Medical Center, presently located in Essex at 260 Westbrook Road, is planning to move out of town.  Sites in Old Saybrook, just off I-95 at Exit 66, and Westbrook, off I-95 at Exit 65, are among those that have been considered.

One of the candidate sites in Old Saybrook has already been rejected because of ground water problems, according to a spokesperson at Middlesex Hospital.

Middlesex Hospital owns and operates the Essex-based Shoreline Medical Center, which offers emergency services, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, as well as radiology services, including open and closed MRI, high speed CAT scans and mammography, plus a variety of neurology services.

The reason that Middlesex Hospital wants to move the Shoreline Medical Center is, “Currently, the facility’s size and land simply does not offer adequate space to meet our needs,” says Harry Evert, Vice President of Operations for Middlesex Hospital.  He adds, “Middlesex Hospital’s Shoreline Medical Center was established more than 40 years ago, at the urging of local residents in southern Middlesex County, to have closer access to medical care.”

Evert explains, “In order to continue the tradition of providing close access to medical care, the hospital is investigating possible locations to relocate that would provide the easiest access to the largest number of patients throughout the shoreline communities, and allow for expansion of services and new technology,” concluding, “We are currently in the process of searching for a location that would best meet those criteria.”

The present Essex facility, according the Middlesex Hospital’s web site, “Offers quality health care services provided by skilled, caring medical professionals to the over 80,000 community residents we serve.”

Ambulance Service at Shoreline Clinic, Essex

A major factor in driving the move out the Essex, according to Middlesex Hospital sources who wished to remain anonymous, is also that Yale-New Haven Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Guilford, located just off I-95, has proved to be very successful.  It is believed to be the kind of success that Middlesex Hospital would like to emulate with a new facility close to I-95 as well.

The Yale-New Haven Shoreline Medical Center in Guilford offers 24 hours a day, seven days a week emergency services, as well as a blood drawing station, nuclear medicine, a nutrition center, a surgery center and a cancer center, among other specialties.

Random interviews with those going in and out of the present Essex Shoreline Medical Center did not appear to be overly exercised about moving the facility.  Old Saybrook resident Liz Yavrone, who was waiting outside for her daughter, however, did grouse that the present Essex facility was, “Always busy,” and that she, “Never had less than a three hour wait to see a doctor.”

Chester resident Bob Farrar said that going to a new facility in Old Saybrook, if that were the chosen location, “Would be just as handy” for him, as the present Essex location.  “It’s only 10 minutes more,” said an Essex resident, who declined to give her name.

The present Essex-based Shoreline Medical Center has, according to the web site, “Received for the past three years the prestigious Press Ganey Summit Award for three consecutive years of over 95% satisfaction – the only emergency department in Connecticut to be recognized for this achievement.”

The seemingly ever full parking lot at the Shoreline Medical Center in Essex.

Essex Elementary School PTO’s Annual Harvest Festival

Kate and Emily Konrad and Sam and Jack Helsel help get the word out about the annual Essex Elementary School Harvest Festival on Sunday October 2, 12 - 4 p.m.; rain or shine!

Essex Elementary School PTO’s annual Harvest Festival will take place on Sunday October 2, 2011 from noon to 4  p.m.  The event is held rain or shine at the school grounds, 108 Main Street, Centerbrook.

The Harvest Festival is a great way for families with children pre-k to 6th grade to enjoy a fun afternoon and support the PTO at the same time.  Activities include awesome inflatables, cookie decorating, crafts, games, a silent auction, musical cake walk, wonderful foods for lunch and our second annual Harvest Table featuring homemade and home grown goods from parents in the community.

Proceeds help fund the school’s cultural programs, field trip and other on site programs. The Essex Elementary School Parent and Teacher Organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Deep River Selectmen to Seek New Town Meeting Resolution for Town Hall Restoration Association

DEEP RIVER— The board of selectmen will seek a new town meeting resolution and authorization for the ongoing activities of the Deep River Town Hall Restoration Association Inc.

The board met Tuesday with directors of the association that was established as a non-profit corporation in 1979. While the group was involved initially in coordinating general improvements to the historic 1892 town hall, more recent efforts have focused on restoring the second-floor auditorium for broader community use.  A 1981 town meeting vote approved a resolution authorizing the group to coordinate town hall restoration efforts.

William Bouregy, a local attorney who serves on the board of directors, said the association has about $280,000 in various accounts. He said the money is used to fund ongoing improvements to the town hall auditorium, with about $33,700 spent on improvements and stage equipment since 2008. Most of the fund is from donations from town residents, including a large contribution from the Charles Messerschmidt Memorial Trust in 2005.

Bouregy said the association has hired local resident Linalynn Schmelzer as a part-time promoter/manager to promote use of the auditorium by local and area theater groups, while also coordinating use of the auditorium. There are fire code limitations on use of the 130-seat auditorium, with each use authorized under a special permit approved by Fire Marshall Richard Leighton.

Selectman Arthur Thompson said many of the association’s current efforts, including the manager/promoter, are not authorized under the 1981 town meeting resolution, which refers to a plan for building improvements that is largely complete. Thompson said he also has concerns about the ongoing nature of the association’s efforts, noting “at some point, not right now, this authority should end.”

Ted Mackenzie said the volunteer group has pride, but no sense of ownership, of the effort to restore and maintain the town hall auditorium. “We would be very happy to turn the whole ball of wax back over to the town,” he said. Mackenzie added the association does not have sufficient funds to complete all required fire code improvements related to the auditorium.

First Selectman Richard Smith said the board is ready to work with association members in updating the authorization resolution to cover all of the association’s current activities.  Selectman David Oliveria said he views the promoter/manager position as “a good thing if it is authorized.”

The board agreed to hold one or more workshop meetings with association directors to work on updating the town’s authorization resolution. The revised resolution would then be presented to voters for approval at a town meeting.


First-Ever Chester Air and Land Festival Promises a Day of Family Fun This Saturday

Chester, CT — The first annual Chester Air and Land Festival will be held on Saturday, October 1, at the Chester Airport, featuring antique and classic cars, airplanes, antique tractors and a tractor-pull competition.

Gates open at 10 a.m. for the family-oriented festival, which runs to 4 p.m. Admission is only $7 for adults and only $4 for children under 12. Great food and beverages will be available, as well.

Red Bull Racer and aerobatic pilot Michael Goulian will be on hand for autographs and pictures during the festival.
The air-and-land festival is sponsored by the Chester Hose Co., the Chester Pilots Group, Whelen Engineering Co. Inc. and the Rotary Club of Chester.

Parking for the daylong family festival will be available at Whelen Engineering in Chester, Cedar Lake-Camp Hazen in Chester and the Route 9 Exit 6 commuter parking lot at Inspiration Lane. A shuttle bus is available from those locations. Signs will be posted to identify these lots The Chester Airport is located at 61 Winthrop Road in Chester.

In the event of rain, the daylong event will be held the following day,
on Sunday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about the Chester Air and Land Festival, please visit or send an email to

Family Canoe & Kayak on Mill Pond

Naturalist Phil Miller will lead a canoe/kayak trip on Mill Pond, Sundat October 2, from 1 p.m.

The Essex Land Trust invites you to enjoy the beautiful fall colors that can be seen on this paddle, led by naturalist Phil Miller, along with a possible walk on Jean’s Island on Sunday October 2, beginning at 1 p.m.  Open to paddlers of all ages, but basic experience in paddling is required. This event is co-sponsored by the Town of Essex’ Park and Recreation Department and is part of its Essex Great Outdoors Pursuit Program. Park at the canoe/kayak landing on Falls River Drive in Ivoryton. Bad weather cancels.

Jean’s Island is a seven-acre preserve on Mill Pond in the Falls River. The wooded island has an easy, well-marked loop trail and a landing site. Similar to neighboring Falls River Preserve, Jean’s Island provides both a resting place for migrating birds and habitat for the local population, including songbirds and hawks. Swans, ducks and wading birds such as herons and egrets are also plentiful. The pond waters are home to bass, perch, sunfish and catfish.

The Essex Great Outdoor Pursuit has been created by the Essex Park and Recreation Department with the mission of bringing the families of Essex together through positive and healthy outdoor endeavors while increasing the presence and awareness of our local parks, open spaces and preserves to the community. The Essex Land Trust is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this program. For more information about the program, please visit the town website; click on “Park and Recreation”.

For more information about the event please contact Peggy Tuttle at 860-767-7916 or e-mail


Celebrate Oktoberfest in Essex

Celebrate Oktoberfest in Essex with a festive evening of German Beer tasting, hearty German-style hors d’oeuvres, traditional Oom-pah music and Masskrugstemmen, a well-known competitive Bavarian sport.  Venture over to the Essex Island Marina on October 1st, from 4-7pm to join the fun.  Parking is available in front of Essex Boat Works and the Essex Island Marina ferry will shuttle guests over to the island.  Tickets are $20 and may be purchased from Donna Hyde at (860) 767-0061 or at the door.

Essex Oktoberfest Chair, Donna Hyde, said, “I’m excited about this event.  Originally this was going to be a small gathering. It bloomed into an Oktoberfest as I talked with others and we wanted a fun and unique event that provided an opportunity for everyone in town to meet our Republican candidates.  Some of our committee members have attended Oktoberfest in Germany and wanted to incorporate many traditional aspects of an Oktoberfest into the evening, including Masskrugstemmen.”  Masskrugstemmen is the lifting of a mug of beer with one arm, completely stretched out and parallel to the floor. The goal is simple: To hold a filled stein as long as possible.  It is not as easy as some may think.

Essex Oktoberfest is open to the entire community.  Sponsored by the Essex Republican Town Committee, the Oktoberfest will support campaigns for the following Essex candidates:

Bruce MacMillian – First Selectman

Joel Marzi – Selectman

Judy McCann and Adam Conrad – Board of Education

Chris Riley – Region 4 Board of Education

Keith Crehan and Jeff Woods – Board of Finance

John Ackermann – Board of Assessment Appeals


For more information and tickets, contact Donna Hyde (860) 767-0061.

Dalton Ghetti’s Artwork at Lori Warner Studio Gallery in Chester

Photo courtesy of Sloan Howard Photography

The Lori Warner Gallery will be featuring the awe inspiring sculpture of self-taught artist Dalton Ghetti from August 19, 2011 – October 10, 2011.  Dalton patiently and meticulously carves pencils into minutely detailed works of art.  When he began sculpting, he carved large objects; but as a challenge to himself and because of his interest in small living things, he decided to create the smallest carvings that he could see with his naked eyes.  One day, he picked up a working pencil and started carving it and the rest is history.

Lori Warner first saw Dalton’s linked heart pencil at the New Britain Museum of American Art while visiting the museum with her 5 year old son. They were both fascinated by this tiny object as art, but also in the conversation that it started.  “Dalton developed his own artistic expression by taking an ordinary object and finding something creative hidden within it.” said Lori Warner.  “He inspires me to think about things we use every day, how they might be used differently and the many ideas it might express.”

According to Dalton, “My idea is to bring people’s attention to small things, I feel that small is beautiful.”  Most of the pencils he uses are found on the streets and sidewalks. Dalton’s work is a recycling process whereby he turns discarded objects into art.

Photo courtesy of Sloan Howard Photography

To create his sculpture, Dalton holds the pencil in his hand under a strong light source and carves it mostly with a sewing needle and a small, very sharp, triangular metal blade. Whenever he gets inspired, he sculpts in very short intervals of one to two hours per day.  He works very slowly by removing specks of graphite a little at a time.  Therefore, it takes months or sometimes years to complete a sculpture.

On Friday, September 30, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Dalton Ghetti will be at the Lori Warner Studio/Gallery to discuss his work, his inspirations, and the process behind the creation of each sculpture. This event is free and open to the public, reservations are suggested.

For Dalton, sculpting pencils is a hobby and a form of meditation, which requires a lot of patience. His pencil carvings are not for sale. “I don’t do it for money.” says Dalton. “I sculpt pencils mostly for myself; my art comes from my heart.” He plans to donate his life’s work in it’s entirety to a museum with the intention that the collection be kept together and not ever sold. Dalton believes in universal public access to art. We’re pleased to extend his vision and promote his work.

The Lori Warner Studio/Gallery is a unique source for artwork and objects that make a lasting impression.  “My goal is to not just exhibit artist’s work, but rather to foster a collaborative relationship between the gallery and each artist.” said Lori. “I see this as a platform to experiment with new ideas and to expose our featured artists’ work while teaching about the process involved with creating each piece.”  The gallery carries many exclusive pieces and regularly features guest artists that are pioneering creativity in their chosen medium.  The gallery is located at 21 Main Street in Chester, Connecticut.  (860) 322-4265.

The Old Lyme Town Band will have the first rehearsal of its 37th season this evening, Monday, Sept. 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy Rd., Old Lyme.

Under the direction of John LaDone, this 40-member group of musicians range from junior high students to retirees of varying musical abilities, all of whom share a love of ensemble playing.

There is no audition. The group will begin in about a month to gear up for a series of holiday concerts.  All instruments are welcome, with clarinetists and percussionists particularly needed.

For more information, call Michele Dickey at 860-434-8529.

Essex Selectmen Seek Information on Grant for Purchase of Vacant Dealership Site

ESSEX— The board of selectmen is seeking information on a federal grant that could be used to cover most of the cost of purchasing the former Crest Mazda car dealership parcel at 7 Main St. in the Ivoryton section.

First Selectman Phil Miller told the board last week the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a grant that would cover 75 percent of the cost of acquiring former commercial and industrial properties located in a designated flood plain. The car dealership parcel is located in the 50-year and 100-year flood plain for the Mill Pond of the Falls River. The grant program is intended to encourage the conversion of these properties in to designated open space land and parks.

The car dealership, with frontage on the widest section of the Mill Pond, has been vacant since July 2010. The 1.5-acre site has been an automobile dealership since the early 1900s, beginning with the long-running Behrens & Bushnell Buick dealership.
Miller said the grant would cover 75 percent of the expense of acquiring a parcel, with the city or town expected to provide a 25 percent match. The parcel, now owned by the Grand Pacific Holding Corp. of Flushing, N.Y., has been assessed at about $777,000. Miller said there has been little interest shown for the property on the local real estate market.

Selectman Norman Needleman said he would need confirmation the grant amount also covers the cost of converting a property in to a park or designated open space, including any costs related to environmental cleanup. Needleman said the parcel, which is largely paved with one large building, could have environmental contamination issues related to its former use. “We want to be careful about taking on the responsibility of having to clean it up,” he said.

The board agreed to discuss the issue further at a future meeting, while also allowing Miller to spend about $600 for an elevation survey of the parcel that is required for any grant application.

What It’s Really Like to Be A Peace Corps Volunteer?

Deep River resident and journalist John Guy LaPlante recently returned after a full hitch as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV).  He will give his first public talk about his experience at Deep River Public Library September 25 at 3 p.m.  It is free.  Since the meeting room is not large, reservations are suggested.

LaPlante completed the full 27-month term as a PCV.  A surprising number of Volunteers come home early.  Some 8,00 serve in 74 countries.  He was a university teacher in Ukraine — a former Soviet republic striving to make it as a  new democracy– but also did various other things, as is expected of Volunteers.

All are invited to LaPlante’s presentation, especially anyone thinking of joining Peace Corps.  This is its 50th anniversary—a proud year. Many people do consider joining the Peace Corps – young people are always still welcome, but emphasis is now being placed on older, experienced men and women.

LaPlante turned 80 while in service, becoming the oldest Volunteer in the world.  He will talk about the pay, the numerous benefits, the challenges and difficulties, and the pride and the satisfaction.

He is known for his wide-ranging columns published previously in the popular – now defunct – Main Street News and currently in, and  He wrote the just-published book, “27 Months in the Peace Corps—My Story, unvarnished.” John also wrote “Around the World at 75. Alone, Dammit!” and “Around Asia in 80 Days. Oops, 83!” He will sign books and add a personal note if desired.  No obligation to buy.

LaPlante will meet afterward with anyone thinking of joining.  He says, “What I want to do is spread the word about what a good deal Peace Corps can be.”

In the Steps of Giants in Ivoryton Sept. 25


Samatha Talmadge, soprano from Ivoryton, will perform.

Music and walking on Sunday, September 25 at 2 p.m. will celebrate the lives and gifts of recently deceased Giants whose devotion have made gigantic differences to the community, to library programs, and to the archives of the Ivory Trade which gives Ivoryton its name.

Don Malcarne, Edith DeForest, Lausanne Glasener, and Ken Kells have provided the library leadership and service. Each gift has ultimately given us better understanding of our past and shown us how important it is to give.

Brenda Milkofsky, retired Connecticut Museum curator, will lead the walk from the Ivoryton Library, past several historically important homesteads, to the Ivoryton Congregational Church where Samantha Talmadge, an opera soprano, will sing accompanied by Betty Austin at the organ. They will perform favorites of the Giants: “Greensleeves,” “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” “Once in Love with Amy,” “Could I have this Dance,” and music from Ragtime among many other pieces. Refreshments will be at the church.

The walk will include views and discussions of the homes of S. W. Shailer,  Samuel Comstock, and James Conklin.

Long before the Industrial Revolution ivory was considered among the most beautiful and exotic of all natural materials. Originally ivory combs were produced locally. After the Revolutionary War, factories developed and made not only ivory piano keys, but also keyboards, piano actions, and sounding boards.

Malcarne was the Essex town historian who wrote books about historic houses in Essex and Ivoryton that helped raise funds for the Ivoryton Library. DeForest, a Chester resident, was the curator of the Deep River Historical Society’s Stone House Museum. Glasnew and Kells were active in the Ivoryton Library Association.

The gifts of the Giants have helped make this history come to life.

Essex Selectmen to Seek Special Appropriation for Emergency Management Priorities

ESSEX— The board of selectmen has decided to seek town meeting approval later this fall of a special appropriation to pay for priority items needed by the town’s emergency management office, including relocating the emergency operations center to vacant space on the first floor of town hall.

The board Wednesday discussed a list of needed items prepared by emergency management director William Buckridge. The effort was prompted by a review of the town’s response to Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28.

The list includes several items that were lacking in the aftermath of the storm, including an electric generator for the solid waste compactor station, an additional new generator for the town garage, two radio repeaters and additional portable radios for emergency responders, and additional “road closed” signs. The list also includes a relocation of the town emergency operations center from the ground floor to the now vacant former judge of probate office on the east side of the first floor of town hall. The price tag for the total list is $221, 815, including an estimated $50,000 for relocating the emergency operations center.

The board, which will include one or more new members after the Nov. 8 town election, was unanimous in favor of pursuing voter approval of a special appropriation this year to pay for many of the emergency management items.

Selectman Joel Marzi said an appropriation from the town undesignated fund balance should be used to pay for the most important items, including the office relocation. Selectman Norman Needleman, noting that severe weather could occur in any season, said town officials need to convince voters the emergency management items “should be elevated to a level of urgency.”

The board agreed to determine the most important items on the list at its Oct. 5 meeting, and then discuss the needs with the board of finance, which would have to approve any special appropriation to fund the priority items. The issue would then be presented to residents at a public hearing that would be followed by a town meeting to seek voter approval of a special appropriation.

In other business, the board formally awarded a contract for the Novelty Lane Pentway Project to Rebco Management LLC of Old Lyme on a low bid of $19,010. The long planned project will an upgrade the public access walkway off Novelty Lane in the downtown village to a gravel handicapped-accessible walkway leading to the bulkhead on Middle Cove of the Connecticut River. Work on the public access walkway improvement project is expected to begin on Oct. 3 and be completed by the end of October.

Aid for Low Income Residents With Losses from Storm Irene

Low-income Connecticut residents (see financial guidelines below) who incurred disaster-related expenses from Tropical Storm Irene, including loss of income, temporary shelter costs and property repairs, may be eligible for special assistance under the federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby announced September 21.

The Application Period for one-time food benefit assistance for those low-income Connecticut residents who incurred disaster-related expenses from Tropical Storm Irene is September 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 26th and 27thApplications will be available at all 12 Connecticut State Department of Social Services field offices (in Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Willimantic, Norwich, New Haven, Middletown, Stamford, Bridgeport, Danbury, Waterbury and Torrington) from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If eligible, households can receive food aid ranging from $200 for a single adult to $952 for a family of six under the plan developed by the Department of Social Services on behalf of the Malloy Administration.  Benefits will be issued through ATM-style debit cards for purchasing federally-approved items at supermarkets and groceries.

The D-SNAP applications are available only to Connecticut residents not currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP aka food stamps).  (Those who are currently enrolled in SNAP will be receiving a separate benefit if they are eligible).

Those applying under D-SNAP must identify non-reimbursable disaster-related losses incurred during a 30-day period from August 27 to September 25 (loss of income; dependent care; medical or funeral costs; moving or storage costs; temporary shelter costs; and costs to protect, repair or replace property or household items, including self-employment property).

Applicants must also meet financial criteria to qualify for D-SNAP. Take-home income and liquid assets for the period from Aug. 27 to Sept. 25 cannot exceed $2,186 for a single person; $2,847 for a household of two; $3,272 for a household of three; $3,859 for a household of four; $4,254 for a household of five; $4,753 for a household of six; $5,116 for a household of seven; and $5,479 for a household of eight.

Applicants should bring proof of identity, residency, income, assets and storm-related expenses for Aug. 27 through Sept. 25.  Qualified expenses are losses not covered by insurance, disaster relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or other reimbursement.

More information, including an applicant pre-screening tool, is available at  Information about D-SNAP is also available by calling 2-1-1.

New Owner of Essex’s “Silkworm” Hosts Open House

"Silkworm of Essex Village" on Main Street may have changed hands but it remains very much open for business.

Asked if she can believe she owns her own fashion store at the tender age of 22,  Raeann Groves of Old Lyme stands behind the small, exquisitely decorated counter of Silkworm at Essex Village and answers simply, “No.”  She quickly adds though, “But it was always my dream … eventually.”

How does this young, attractive, former Division 1 soccer player, who exhibits a patently clear sense of fashion in her own dress, come to be the owner of this well-respected and popular Essex store?

Groves explains that the story goes back to sixth grade at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School,  when the girls on the soccer team, “Used to dress up on the morning of every game.”  And Groves doesn’t mean in costume, but rather that the soccer girls used to display their solidarity by all going to school dressed in their “best” clothes so they shared a team identity.

Silkworm owner Raeann Groves

For Groves, this was the beginning of a life-long passion for fashion.  Always regarded as a trend-setter dresser through her middle and high school years, Groves graduated with the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2007 and set off for St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia, Pa.  She was not there to study fashion, however, but rather to take a management degree while she pursued the other love of her life, soccer.

Tragedy struck for Groves when at the end of her freshman year after a stand-out season for the school’s varsity team, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).  Although she received the very best surgical attention, she sadly found by the end of her sophomore year that her signature speed had still not returned and playing, “Was just not rewarding anymore.”

That was when she took the decision to return to the other passion in her life and transferred to Philadelphia University to complete a fashion industry management degree.

Groves graduated from there this past May and was accepted into the  J C Penney management training program.  But she rapidly determined, in her words, that, “I wasn’t exploring my potential in the creative field — I thought I could do so much more.”

She especially missed the customer service aspect of retail merchandising, but had not planned to do anything immediate about a career change when she found herself shopping one sunny August day in Silkworm of Essex Village.  Groves was looking for a dress for her upcoming engagement photos  –  she will marry Peter Gianakos, owner of G’s Fitness in Waterford, in June 2012 – but instead, and to her complete surprise, found a business that was for sale.

That shopping trip was on a Sunday and by the following Saturday, Groves — after a series of discussions with her fiancé and family plus a string of meetings with the vendor and landlord — had placed a deposit on the store.  Previous owner Erica Morizio, who still owns Silkworm of West Hartford, has had a very amicable handover to Groves and the sale of the business was finally closed Sept. 12.

Groves is keeping the Silkworm name and still can hardly believe she is now the proud owner of her own “upscale, casually elegant boutique.”  She finds herself working seven days a week, but loving every minute of it … she also offers shopping parties at the store or in private homes, as well as personal wardrobe consultations.

Still dressed impeccably after a long day at the store, a smiling Groves says cheerfully, “For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to own my own store – this really is a dream come true.”

Editor’s Note: Groves is hosting an Open House at the store on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. when wine and hors d’oeuvres will be offered and a 10 per cent discount will be given on a total purchase.  All are welcome.

Seventh Annual “Dogs On The Dock” Scheduled For October 9 in Essex

Dock jumping and best costume are just two of the canine competitions to be held at Dogs on the Dock at the Connecticut River Museum on Sunday, October 9 at 2 pm. Photos taken by Pamela Setchell .

Essex, CT — On Sunday, October 9, the waterfront lawn of the Connecticut River Museum will be “going to the dogs” with the commencement of the Seventh Annual “Dogs On The Dock” parade and competition.  Dog owners and dog lovers alike are invited to attend rain or shine.  Last year more than 50 dogs and a few hundred fans turned out for this uniquely Essex experience.  Dog participant registration starts at 1 pm followed by a lawn parade at 2:00 pm and then individual canine competitions in categories such as best costume, best nautical costume, best owner look-alike, best trick and best dock jumping.  Dock jumping dogs must wear a harness to participate.

The event is sponsored by the Connecticut River Museum and the Essex Board of Trade.  Registration is $10 per dog and $5 for each additional dog with net proceeds being donated to local animal rescue shelters.  All dogs must have a 2011 license and rabies tag to participate.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or visit or

Award Winning Author Carlos Eire at Essex Library

National Book Award-winning author Carlos Eire will speak at the Essex Library Friday, October 7 at 7 p.m. about his two memoirs, Waiting For Snow In Havana, and Learning to Die In Miami. Photo by Jerry Bauer.

The Essex Library is proud to present National Book Award winning author Carlos Eire, who will talk Friday October 7 at 7 p.m. about his two memoirs, Waiting for Snow in Havana, and Learning to Die in Miami.

Both books deal with his youth, first in Cuba, then in the USA, and his immigration with his younger brother and 14,000 other “orphans of Fidel”, to Miami as part of the U.S. Government’s Operation Pedro Pan refugee evacuations. His stories are Dickensian; heart-breaking, funny, and true, and Professor Eire, who’s also the Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University, is a terrific and engaging speaker. Copies of his books will be available for signing and sale.

Please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 for more information or to register for this fascinating talk by one of our foremost memoirists.

Thank you for supporting Tri-Town Youth Services at Taste of the Valley 2011!

Even though Hurricane Irene attempted to derail our persistent committee, the fifth Taste of the Valley, a benefit for Tri-Town Youth Services, was held on September 9, 2011. The event would not have been possible without the generosity and dedication of our participants who provided amazing, innovative appetizers and sweet, delicious desserts as well as fantastic coffee! The attendees of the event awarded Best Overall and the coveted Taste of the Valley Fork to chef, Hernan Yumbla of The Ivory Restaurant for their latin-inspired menu.

The other winners of the 2011 Taste of the Valley awards were as follows: Best Appetizer – Gabrielle’s, Best Dessert – Apple Rehab Saybrook, Best Presentation- Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station, Best Ethnic Food – La Vita Gustosa, Most Creative – Zen Roasters, Best Vegetarian Appetizer – El & Ela’s Fine Foods, and Best Soup – Saybrook Soup & Sandwich Co..

The event would not be possible without our generous sponsors and contributors including: The Clark Group, The Valley Courier, Reid Brothers, Essex Savings Bank, Tower Labs, Fio Partners, Tom Alexa, Roses for Autism, Essex Lions and many other local businesses. Our silent auction, themed “From the Hands of Our Community”, consisted of so many unique items including artwork, quilts, jewelry, and experiences. Thank you as well to our live auction donors including the Old Saybrook Point Inn, Scandinavian Photography, The Upstairs Kitchen, and Southbound Charters. We also thank all of the local business who donated gift certificates.

Thank you as well to all those joined us at the event – it was a great success! The funds raised will help our organization to continue to fulfill its mission – to promote the positive growth and development of youth and families in Chester, Deep River and Essex.

ABOUT – TRI-TOWN YOUTH SERVICES BUREAU, INC. is a nonprofit agency that coordinates, develops and provides services dedicated to promoting the positive growth and development of youth and families in Chester, Deep River and Essex, Connecticut.

Frost at the Farm with Walt Woodward

Bushnell Farm, 1445 Boston Post Rd invites the public to a Robert Frost poetry reading and program, Frost at the Farm with Walt Woodward on Sunday, October 2 , 2011 at 4 p.m. Rain or shine, bring a chair, on-site parking. Free, public invited. Photo by Jody Dole.

Bushnell Farm, a privately owned, historic farm site at 1445 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, will host the public for a program on the poetry of Robert Frost on Sunday October 2 at 4 p.m.

Frost at the Farm with Walt Woodward  is an opportunity to enjoy the works of American poet Robert Frost ( 1874-1963 ) among the stone walls, apple trees and fields of an authentic New England Farm about which Frost often wrote.

Walter Woodward, the State Historian and a Frost scholar, will read the poems, offer an appreciation and some music. Bring a chair or blanket for this free, rain-or- shine program that begins at 4 p.m.  In case of unpleasant weather, the program will be inside. Follow the signs inside the gate for parking.

Robert Frost was a four time Pulitzer Prize winner for volumes of his poetry. Although somewhat under-appreciated today, Frost made “good fences make good neighbors” and “Home is the place where when you go there they have to take you in” part of the language.  Time magazine called “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” one of the loveliest poems ever written. His poems are said to begin with delight and end with wisdom.

Dr. Walter Woodward is an author of scholarly works and is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. As State Historian he works with the CT Humanities, with the Museum of CT History, with teachers through the CT Council for Social Studies, and many other organizations. A long-time admirer of Robert Frost, Woodward admits to being an English major in his younger years.

Bushnell Farm is a 17th century farm site owned and preserved by Herb and Sherry Clark of Essex as an example of pre-industrial agriculture and enterprise. The site is open for school and scouting programs, for seasonal festivals and historical societies, and is one site of summer camp programs for the Connecticut River Museum.

Chester Planning and Zoning Approves Route 154 Market

CHESTER—  The planning and zoning commission has approved plans for a retail market in a vacant structure at 56 Middlesex Avenue, also known as Route 154.

The unanimous vote of approval, taken at a Sept. 8 meeting, ends a nearly 18-month effort by local resident Peter Kehayias to win approval for a market in the building at 56 Middlesex Avenue that has been vacant for several years. The approval is also expected to resolve a lawsuit filed by Kehayias late last year appealing the panel’s November 2010 denial of a previous special permit application for the market.

The initial permit application had called for a 10-seat cafe-style seating area is part of the market. A revised application presented at public hearings in July and August did not include the seating area for on-site consumption of food. Kehayias was appointed as a member of the commission earlier this year, and had recused himself from participating in the review of his latest permit application.

The permit approval has several conditions, including requirements for a landscaped green buffer of plantings on the east side of the property, and fencing around portions of the parcel. The commission directed that no deliveries occur before 8 a.m. or after 3 p.m., with no deliveries on Sundays. The hours for the market, which will sell prepared foods, locally grown produce, meats, poultry and some seafoods, are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Another condition limits the maximum number of employees at the market to six at any one time. The approval specifies that office space on the second floor of the building be an accessory to the market use, with no separate rentals. Another condition specifies there would be no seating on consumption of food at the market.

In other business, the commission has continued to its Oct. 6 meeting the public hearing on a special permit application by DSDM LLC, an affiliate of Uncas Gas Company, for two 30,000-gallon propane storage tanks on a parcel at 25 Airport Industrial Park Road. The panel has approved a separate special permit application from DSDM LLC for a 50-foot-by 80-foot single story building on the abutting parcel at the industrial park that is located off Route 145 on the western side of town.

The proposal for propane storage has drawn opposition from some residents and other business owners at the industrial park, including William Sangster, owner of Unity Mill Engineering, a business that is located near the proposed storage site. Representatives of DSDM LLC have said they would not pursue construction of the building without approval of the related propane storage.

Former Selectman Peter Zanardi Appointed to Fill Chester Selectman Vacancy

CHESTER— After a six-year hiatus, former Selectman Peter Zanardi is back for a short stint on the board of selectmen.

Zanardi, a Democrat who served on the board of selectmen from 1999 to 2005, was appointed last week to fill the open seat on the board. The appointment was approved by Interim First Selectman Tom Englert and Selectman Lawrence Sypher at a Sept. 13 special meeting.

Zanardi will serve the remainder of Englert’s unexpired term ending on Nov. 22. Englert, a Republican first elected in 2009, resigned as a selectman on Aug. 16 to assume the position of first selectman that was left vacant by the departure of former First Selectman Tom Marsh on Aug. 1. Marsh, who had held the top job since 2005, resigned to become town manager in Windsor, Vt. Englert will serve as interim first selectman through Nov. 22.

Englert is on the Nov. 8 town election ballot seeking re-election to another term on the board of selectmen. He is one of five candidates competing for seats on the three-member board in the Nov. 8 vote.

Edmund Meehan is the Democratic nominee for first selectmen, with Sypher seeking a second term as his running-mate. The competition also includes two candidates nominated by the Chester Common Ground Party, Andrew Landsman, running for first selectman, and Glen Reyer, seeking a seat on the board of selectmen as Landsman’s running-mate.

The board’s next regular meeting is Oct. 4.

Connecticut River Museum’s Fall Ball Celebration Expands Reach to Governor’s Residence

Fall Ball Sponsor Greg Shook of Essex Savings Bank, Fall Ball Co-Chairperson Pamela Cunningham, CRM Event Coordinator Cynthia Bulaong, CRM Executive Director Jerry Roberts, and Fall Ball Sponsor and CRM Chairman Maureen O’Grady of Rachel Thomas Associates. Missing from photo is Fall Ball Co-Chairperson Martha Norcia.

Essex, CT – After a year of rebuilding and renovating its 1878 building and grounds damaged by fire, the Connecticut River Museum has announced plans for a 2011 Fall Ball celebration worthy of its accomplishments.  On Saturday, October 15 at 6:00 pm, Fall Ball “Rockin’ on the River…What a Difference a Year Makes”  will take place on the waterfront grounds of the Museum.  The evening promises fabulous food, fine spirits, dancing to music by Brad &Brian, and a live auction of unique experiences and services.  Major Fall Ball sponsors include Essex Savings Bank, Essex Financial Services, Rachel Thomas Associates and Tower Laboratories.  Tickets for the annual gala are $175 per person, all inclusive, with net proceeds to benefit the Museum’s educational programs, exhibits, and waterfront operations.

In recognition of higher level support, a Fall Ball Patrons’ Party will be held on Thursday, October 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at a very special venue – the Governor’s Residence on Prospect Avenue in Hartford.  According to Fall Ball co-chairpersons Martha Norcia and Pamela Cunningham, the Governor’s Residence seemed like a perfect setting to celebrate those sponsors and patrons who support one of the state’s most treasured assets and its stewardship of New England’s Great River.  Patron level tickets are $300 per person and include admission to both events.

To purchase tickets and preview auction items, go to or call  (860)767-8269.  Founded in 1974, the Connecticut River Museum is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the river and its valley.  It is located at 67 Main Street on the historic Essex waterfront.

“Night at the Theatre” A Gala to Benefit Camp Hazen YMCA

Greg Shook and Lynn Giroux of Essex Savings Bank Denise Learned, Executive Director/CEO of Camp Hazen YMCA and Patrick Gingras of Essex Financial Services announce the new date, November 12, 2011 of the 8th Annual Night at the Theatre, a Gala to Benefit Camp Hazen YMCA

Camp Hazen YMCA welcomes Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services, who will join the law firm of Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller and Shah, LLP, as The Gala Sponsors for the 8th Annual “Night at the Theatre” a Gala to Benefit Camp Hazen YMCA.

The Gala will be held on November 12, 2011 at the Goodspeed Musical’s Norma Terris Theatre in Chester and feature the Goodspeed’s original musical production of “Hello! My Baby.”

“Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services, like Camp Hazen YMCA, are committed to providing quality services and programs to our communities,” said Denise Learned, Executive Director of Camp Hazen. “We are happy to welcome them as one of The Gala Sponsors and thank them for their many years of supporting Hazen and the youth we serve.”

Night at the Theatre will begin with a hosted reception and silent auction in the theatre lobby – followed by the original new musical “Hello! My Baby” and ending with dessert and coffee. This will be an exciting evening guaranteed to leave you with a warm heart from the laughing, tapping and clapping and the knowledge that area youth will benefit.

This is Camp Hazen’s only fundraising event with all proceeds benefitting the more than 9,000 children who each year participate in Camp Hazen YMCA’s summer and year-round camping programs.

Tickets for the Gala Evening are $75 and are available by contacting the Camp Hazen YMCA office at 860-526-9529.

CT Naturalist: Caterpillar’s Encore

The month of September provides an encore for butterfly, moth, and caterpillar activity. Although frequently associated with spring and summer, there are many species caterpillar that are active during the autumn, feeding on seasonal plants.

The best places to view caterpillars this autumn are in open fields with plentiful golden rod and/or milkweed. Golden rod is a common host plant to many caterpillars including Asteroids, Loopers, Flower Moths, Tussocks, and more. (See video for two examples of September caterpillars from Connecticut)

Patches of Golden rod can be found in open fields or along the roadside. These locations are easily accessible for family outings with easy hiking trails.

Milkweed is another plant that often grows in open fields. During the autumn it is recognized by its large pod-like seed casings, now bursting open with large dandelion-like seeds. A favorite food of the famous monarch butterfly caterpillar during the summer, the milkweed leaves now serve the Milkweed Tussock caterpillar. They have long hair-like structures called setae that cover their body with bright orange, white, and black colorations.

If you’re planning on taking your children out for an autumnal walk, these caterpillars are easy to find and will provide much gratification for young naturalists to encounter. All caterpillars have a degree of camouflage, but identifying their location and host plants are more than half the challenge. Once discovered, they don’t run away, making them a perfect specimen for children to observe and learn from.

If you can’t make a trip to the parks mentioned above, keep your eyes alert to any area in your community where golden rod is prevalent. You may find some of the most colorful wildlife of the year, rivaling that of the fall foliage that will soon color our landscape.



A Message from Chester First Selectman, Tom Englert

And now there are three… The Board of Selectmen is now back to a full board with the appointment of Peter Zanardi to fill the selectman vacancy created when I resigned from that position to fill the vacant first selectman’s position.  As a life-long resident and former selectman for several terms, Peter brings invaluable experience and knowledge to the board.  Selectman Sypher and I welcome Peter to the Board, look forward to his input, and appreciate his willingness to serve Chester in this capacity.

Tom Englert
First Selectman



The Annual Come Home to Chester Days – Friday and Saturday – September 16 – 17, 2011

Most Shops, Restaurants and Galleries in Chester will be open for the Special Event.

I SPY CHESTER….. more than meets the eye! Stop by their booth at the Sunday Market September 18th  Chester Parks and Recreation and the Chester Public Library are teaming up to present a family activity for all ages! It’s a scavenger hunt….. But, wait! There are puzzles and word games. And did we mention that it’s also a walking tour of Chester? Maps and clues are available at the Chester Library and outside the Parks and Recreation office at Town Hall.

Chester Land Trust ‘s Fair and Harvest Dinner September 17th –   the fair will be held on the Meeting House green from 9 am to 4 pm. Local arts and crafts, environmental, sustainable land use, and alternative energy information will be featured. The Harvest Dinner will follow the Fair and will be served from 5-7 pm inside the Chester Meeting House. Please bring your friends and appetizers and enjoy this event. Tickets are on sale at $16.00 per person.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection – Saturday, September 17th, 9 am to 1 pm, located at 5 Dump Road, Essex

Mission: Relief- Saturday, September 17th  Special sounds for a special cause will be made by Maranatha Band at Valley Regional, sponsored by the United Church of Chester Sound and Spirit Committee. Saturday, Sept. 17. The concert begins at 7 pm, with an introductory reading by Regina Mercedes. Actor and lyricist Peter Walker will be the emcee. The popular band Cantico is the lead-in group.. Tickets are $25 for adults; $15 for students and seniors; $30 at the door. The tickets are available at Ceramica and Simons in Chester; Celebrations in Deep River; Provisions in Essex; and Gather in Ivoryton, or by calling 860-526-2697.

Chester High School Graduates and Associates Reunion –  September 17th Chester High School will hold their 80th Annual School Reunion September 17th in the Fellowship Hall at the United Church of Chester. The two Honor Classes this year are the Class of 1936 and the Class of 1951.

Join the CUB SCOUTS Sign Up Program – September 22 Now is the time to join the fun and excitement of America’s foremost youth program for boys—Cub Scouting. Join Cub Scout Pack 13 in Chester, CT.  A sign-up night will be held at 6:30-8:00 pm on Thursday September 22, 2011 at the United Church Of Chester on West Main Street; Chester, CT.  Fliers with additional details will be distributed via the Community Announcements tab on the Region 4 website at  Also check for more great videos showing the fun that can be had in Cub Scouts.  For more information please contact Pack 13 Cubmaster Michael Rutty at (860) 526-8011 or

EVERYBODY KNOWS Leonard Cohen tribute in CHESTER – September 24   An extra show has been added to benefit the Chester Library — The Small Town Concert Series presents a second night of its popular Leonard Cohen tribute. Including featured performers such as Chester’s own Meg Gister, Rachael Aikens, Dana Takaki, and Amalgamated Muck, the show will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 24th, at the Chester Meeting House, 4 Liberty Street, Chester. Tickets are available at the door; for information call 860-526-4777. Ticket price $25 ($15 for members of local houses of worship, Chester Rotary, Friends of Chester Library, Friends of Killingworth Library, Chester Historical Society, Chester Merchants Association, or with any proof of purchase over $20 at Corner Music in Old Saybrook any Chester business on the day of the show.  Also – if you buy a guitar from this week, bring your receipt and admission for 2 is free!).

Valley Regional To Raise “The Titanic”

Valley Regional Musical Productions announces their spring 2012 musical. In remembrance of the maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic on April 10, 1912, VRMP plans to produce TITANIC, The Musical on March 23-25, 2012, for 4 performances.  With a book by Peter Stone and Music/Lyrics by Maury Yeston, this musical proves to be a majestic and poignant memoir of an incredible historical tragedy.  The musical has no connection to the popular movie.  It takes you from departure day to tragedy, following the lives of many significant passengers and crew.

To help VRMP prepare for this grand voyage, we are asking the community to read about Titanic.  There are numerous books published on the topic, many of them available through your public library, including many young adult and children’s books.  We would love to honor those survivors, remember those lost, and recall the lessons learned.

In addition, if you have any nautical items you would be willing to donate or loan to the production, please contact the Director, Ingrid Walsh at

Auditions for “Home for the Holidays” at the Ivoryton Playhouse

The Ivoryton Playhouse will be holding local auditions for the annual holiday show “Home for the Holidays” on Monday, September 26 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Rehearsal Studio, 24 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT 06409.

Roles are available for 12 adults and 4 children under age 12. One of the children should have some ballet experience.

Auditions are by appointment and actors should bring a picture and resume and prepare a short monologue and a song.  Show runs from December 8 – 18.

For audition appointments, call 860-767-9520 Theatre’s mailing address:  Ivoryton Playhouse, PO Box 458, Ivoryton CT  06442.

Join the Fun! Join Cub Scouting!

Chester—Cub Scouting wants you! Now is the time to join the fun and excitement of America’s foremost youth program for boys—Cub Scouting. Join Cub Scout Pack 13 in Chester, CT.

A sign-up night will be held at 6:30-8:00 p.m. on Thursday September 22, 2011 at the United Church Of Chester on West Main Street; Chester, CT.

Fliers with additional details will be distributed via the Community Announcements tab on the Region 4 website at Also check for more great videos showing the fun that can be had in Cub Scouts.
Designed for boys in Grades 1 to 5, Cub Scouting combines outdoor activities, sports, academics, and more in a fun and exciting program that helps families teach ideals such as honesty, good citizenship, and respect.

The Boy Scouts of America is composed of more than 1.27 million volunteers working together for the sole purpose of helping its more than 3 million youth succeed in life.

For more information please call Pack 13 Cubmaster Michael Rutty at (860)526-8011

Deep River Firehouse Study Includes Alternative Sites for Firehouse

DEEP RIVER— The Fire Department Study Committee has submitted a preliminary report that reviews options for a new or expanded firehouse, including alternate sites for a new firehouse if the town decides not to pursue a renovation and expansion of the existing firehouse building on the corner of Union and Elm streets.

First Selectman Richard Smith said the committee is expected to submit a final report to the board of selectmen in November, a step that would be preceded by a public information meeting where residents would have the opportunity to discuss options for a new or expanded firehouse.

The board of selectmen established the committee late last year to analyze the needs of the Deep River Volunteer Fire Department, and options for a new or expanded firehouse to replace the existing 1961 firehouse. The formation of the study committee came after residents rejected a $2.4 million renovation and expansion project for the existing firehouse on a 347-312 vote in a July 2010 bonding referendum.  A more costly project was rejected by a wide margin in a November 2007 referendum.

Smith said he is pleased the preliminary report included a review of alternative sites, allowing the selectmen and town residents to consider the option of building a new firehouse at a different location.

The report reviews nine alternative sites for a new firehouse. But most of the town owned sites, such as Plattwood Park and Devitt Field, would require a loss of public recreation land. The committee also cautioned that relocating the firehouse too far away from the downtown area could result in changes to the insurance services rating for local property owners. The insurance services rating determines fire insurance rates for properties and a downgrade in the ISO rating would lead to higher rates for property owners.

While the preliminary report made no recommendations, Smith said he is hoping the committee would make a recommendation for a possible firehouse building project in its final report. The recommendation would allow selectmen, and ultimately town voters, to address the firehouse issue in 2013.

Fourth Annual Antique & Classic Car Show Returns to Essex on September 24

This 1930 Packard Roadster owned by Jay Beveridge of Essex is just one of the many classic cars that will be on display at the Essex Automobile Club’s 4th Annual Classic & Antique Car Show on September 24 at Hubbard Field in Essex.

The Essex Automobile Club will host its 4th Annual Antique and Classic Car Show on Saturday, September 24, 2011.  The show has become a highlight of the early fall season here in the scenic Connecticut River Valley town of Essex.   Antique and classic cars from around the state and beyond will be on display at Hubbard Field located at 75 North Main Street.  The event begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m.  Rain date is Sunday, September 25.

According to show co-chairman Terry Lomme, “This is our fourth annual show and every year it gets better. This year we are featuring a class of “woodies”, both foreign and domestic, which will add to the wonderful  antique, classic and exotic cars that we anticipate.”

Automobiles from several eras will be featured, including Brass Era Cars, War Era Cars, Baby Boomer Cars, and sports cars from America and Europe.  People’s Choice Awards will be given to the first and second place entries in multiple domestic and foreign car categories.

Admission is $5.00 per person with children under age 12 admitted free.  Proceeds from the show will benefit Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.   For more information or to register as a show participant, go to or email  All exhibitors must be pre-registered. “Cruise-ins” are not permitted.

Rummage Sale First Congregational Church Essex: Oct. 1

The First Congregational Church in Essex, 6 Methodist Hill, will hold its annual Rummage Sale on Saturday, October 1 at a new time from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., rain or shine. The sale is ending one hour earlier this year, so those interested are encouraged to be at the church early for the best Rummage Sale selection.

Items for sale include finer women’s clothing and accessories, men’s and children’s clothing, jewelry, toys, housewares, linens, paintings, frames, lamps and baked goods. A popular focus of the yearly sale is the “Boutique and Antiques” room, which will again offer rare and unusual gifts and collectibles.

Hamburgers, hot dogs and other refreshments will be available for purchase at the outdoor grill area. All furniture, electronics, small appliances and sporting goods will be sold from the Annex Warehouse at 25 Middlesex Turnpike (next to the Essex Firehouse).

Donations will be accepted at the church in Essex Village at 6 Methodist Hill, from Monday, September 26 through Thursday, September 29. If you have furniture or larger items that you wish to donate and need them picked up, call Mark Foster at 860-391-3328.

For more information, call the church at (860) 767-8097.

Essex Garden Club Presents “A Feast for the Senses”


These are the design inspirations for the floral arrangements at the Essex Garden Club’s Small Standard Flower show. This show takes place at the Essex Art Association at 10 North Main St., Essex, Conn., from Friday September 23 through Sunday September 25.

The show will include floral floor designs complementing paintings, functional table settings featuring arrangements of edible and fresh plant material, and creative designs focusing on glamorous eras. Traditional floral arrangements as well as creations made with a healthy dollop of whimsy will be displayed as well.   Open and free to the public, the show will also feature horticulture, children’s displays and container grown plants.

The location for this flower show, The Essex Art Association, is an Essex gem in it’s own right. Started, in 1946, as a non-profit organization for artists to display their work in a 2 room schoolhouse, the Art Association now proudly exhibits paintings, drawings and other media in it’s excellent exhibition space.  The Essex Art Association’s art displayed during the flower show will reflect “A Feast For the Senses” in a Juried Art Show and the location of the Art Association is steps from the heart of Essex for easy access to restaurants and shopping.




Moving Past Fossil Fuels Toward a Brighter Future and a Healthier Planet

On September 24, 2011 join people from across the state and a fast-growing coalition of civic organizations, faith communities, non-profits and businesses as we converge on New Haven with one common goal: moving past fossil fuels toward a brighter future and a healthier planet. Many towns are hosting events in the morning, and then we’ll all come together on the New Haven Green at 4pm on 9/24 for a rally, critical mass bike ride, music, talkback with local/state political leaders, opportunities to get involved in your community, and a bike-powered outdoor screening of the movie Wall-E!

For the shoreline, we’re planning a ride to the New Haven Green (~30 miles) starting at noon at the Liberty Green in Clinton or, alternately, a ride leaving Clinton at 1:30 for the Guilford Train Station (~12 miles) to catch the 3:13 train to New Haven. Either way, Shoreline East will provide the return trip from the New Haven State Street Station on either the 8 pm or 10 pm train. Anyone who is interested in joining either of these rides, please contact Debbie Lundgren of the Bike & Pedestrian Alliance of Clinton (, 860-669-1077).

Moving Connecticut is part of the global Moving Planet Day organized by the grass-roots climate action group ( For more information on Moving Planet Day, check out The website for ‘Moving Connecticut’ is

Hope you can get moving and join us for a day of action!

Creative Scarecrows Wanted for Third Annual Essex Scarecrow FestiFall

Essex Board of Trade planning committee members scare up a few straw men in preparation for the Essex Scarecrow FestiFall this October. Pictured from l-r: Jim D’Alessio, J. Alden Clothiers, Sandy Brewer, Angelini Wine, Judy Heiser, Essex Board of Trade, Pam Carlson, Essex Art Association, and Robin Andreoli, Community Music School.

Essex, CT – It’s time to get your creative juices flowing and scare up some straw men and women for the Third Annual Scarecrow FestiFall in Essex.  The Essex Board of Trade has announced plans for the return of this extremely popular scarecrow display and Columbus Day Weekend celebration that has attracted and entertained thousands of area residents and visitors alike for the past two years.  Once again, creatively-themed scarecrows made by individuals and businesses will fill lamp posts, lawns, and benches along the village streets of Essex, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton during the month of October while music, games, food, contests, and big screen fun will take place on Saturday, October 8.

All are encouraged to contribute a scarecrow to the display and are invited to attend “how to” workshops for special tips and hands-on assistance in crafting a scarecrow.  The first workshop will be held on Friday, September 23 at the Centerbrook Meeting House located at 51 Main Street in Centerbrook from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.  Bring your own materials or you can purchase a kit including a frame and straw for $15.  The second workshop will be held at Gather located at 104 Main Street in Ivoryton on Friday, September 30.  Please call 860-767-7816 for time and details.  All scarecrow entries must be dropped off no later than Wednesday, October 5 at J.Alden Clothiers located at 17 Main Street in Essex Village.

The FestiFall celebration is scheduled from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Saturday, October 8 at the Essex Town Green on Main Street in Essex Village.  Games, crafts, food, music, raffle prizes, a pie-baking contest, scarecrow contest, and a special big screen presentation of Casper will provide plenty of fun for the whole family.  Admission is free.  For more information on Essex Scarecrow FestiFall activities and events, go to

Novelty Lane Public Access Improvements Planned in Downtown Essex Village

ESSEX— A single under budget bid and agreements with nearby property owners should allow completion next month of the long-planned improvements to the public access walkway off Novelty Lane in the downtown village.

Three bids were opened Monday for the Novelty Lane Pentway Project. The project, planned for nearly two years by the harbor management commission and the economic development commission, would upgrade the narrow public access walkway extending from the end of Novelty Lane to the bulkhead on Middle Cove of the Connecticut River in to an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible walkway.

The project was to be funded with portions of a state $198,000 state grant that was awarded last year. Most of the grant funds were used to pay for construction of the new boat launch on the Connecticut River at the foot of Main Street that was completed last December. About $30,000 in grant funds remained for the Novelty Lane project.

Two of the bids were over the amount of funds remaining for the project; a price of $44,741 from Burnett Landscaping of Salem, and a high bid of $54,395 from Eleuthera Associates LLC of Lebanon. But a low bid of $19,010 from Rebco Management LLC of Old Lyme was within the available funding.

Lee Thompson, chairman of the economic development commission, said the contract would be awarded by the EDC and harbor management panels, subject to approval from the board of selectmen.

Thompson said the improvement project would resolve the issue of a retaining wall constructed along the walkway by the abutting property owner at 15 Novelty Lane, Terrance Lomme, a local attorney who was elected judge of probate last year for the nine town region.

The wall, which encroaches on the public access walkway, has been an issue between Lomme, the harbor management commission and the board of selectmen for more than three years. Thompson said the wall would either be removed, buried, or some combination of the two solutions.

Thompson said Lomme and other property owners on Novelty Lane had agreed to the improvement plan, with town attorney David Royston authorizing the two commissions to seek bids for the project. Thompson said work on the improvements is expected to begin by Oct. 1 for completion by Oct. 28.

Author Karen Piersa at Essex Coffee & Tea

Come and meet author Karen Piersa at Essex Coffee & Tea on Saturday, September 24, 1-3 p.m., and learn about her children’s book, “The Wishing Shell,” illustrated by Susan L. Ramsey.

In this lighthearted, fun tale, a determined boy teaches readers the lesson “Never give up.” Jimmy teaches young readers that when the odds are against you, believe in yourself. Jimmy tries over and over to build “the perfect sandcastle.” His confidence in himself and never-give-up attitude help him to finally achieve his dream.

The Wishing Shell is a book for children of all ages to enjoy. It is a gentle reminder to never give up on your dreams and never stop trying.

About the Author

Karen M. Piersa lives in a coastal Connecticut town with her family. Karen has dedicated her life to her family and helping others. Karen is a director of Worklife Counseling Services and a teacher.

Karen continues her work in Worklife counseling, education/special education while also volunteering her time in the community and schools. Her children and their perseverance in all they do have inspired this book and are a constant reminder that anything is possible.

To register for this event call Essex Books at 860-767-1707.

Community Music School Enrolling Students for Music Education

Community Music School, located at 90 Main Street, Centerbrook, is now enrolling students for its 28th year of music education.

Private lessons, group classes, and music therapy services are offered during the fall semester which runs through January 21. In addition, the very popular Kindermusik early childhood development program and a number of performing ensembles are available, including Cabaret Singers with Karli Gilbertson; Jazz Ensemble with Tom Briggs; Flute Ensemble with Pamela Dubey Allen; and String Ensemble with Martha Herrle.

A complete list of private instruction and group offerings is available online at, by calling 860-767-0026 or visiting Community Music School Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus Concert in East Haddam, Sunday Sept. 18

The Cappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus will perform a concert on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 3 p.m. at the First Church of Christ Congregational of East Haddam, 499 Town St., East Haddam.

The 35-member male chorus is conducted by Barry Asch and accompanied by Susan Sweeney. The concert, to benefit First Church, features: Chattanoonga Choo Choo; Little Innocent Lamb; Bashana Haba’ah; Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal; Soon and Very Soon; Solos, and The Hill Top Four, (Barbershop Quartet) will also perform.

Tickets are $15 at the door; Advanced Sale Tickets $12, can be purchased or reserved by calling: 860-537-2052 or 860-526-1038, or picked up: at Goodspeed Station Country Store-Haddam; Wild Geese Gift Shop-Colchester; Celebrations-Deep River; Simon’s Market-Chester.

2011 Essex Rum Challenge Regatta Delivers Strong Winds and Competition

2011 Essex Rum Challenge Regatta (photo courtesy of Matt Myers).

Essex, CT– On Saturday, July 30, the waters of Long Island Sound off Saybrook Point was the setting for Essex Yacht Club’s annual Essex Rum Challenge Regatta sponsored by Gosling’s Rum.  Under a bright sun and strong winds, 35 boats competed in this Eastern Connecticut Sailing Association sanctioned event that included both Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker classes with Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) divisions for each

Place finishers for the individual classes and divisions were Spinnaker Class 1: first place won by SECRET, owned by Bruce Kuryla, second place won by DRAGONFLY, owned by Skip Young, and third place won by SNOW BIRD, owned by Paul von Maffei;  Spinnaker Class 2: first place won by WOLVERINE, owned by Dave Nauber, second place won by SLAINTE, owned by Mark McCarthy, and third place won by SCORPION owned by Larry Hennessey; Cruising Class 3, first place won by HOT FUDGE, owned by Richard Glussman, second place won by ARIRANG, owned by Craig Schrauf, and third place won by NUNNEHI, owned by Mark Dixon;  Cruising Class 4, first place won by MENTOR, owned by Mark Kondracky, second place won by ANYWAY, owned by MJ Lewandowski, and third place won by CELEBRATION, owned by Jeff Going.

Known for competitive racing and serious post-event festivities for the past two decades, the Essex Rum Challenge has become a centerpiece of Long Island Sound summer regattas, attracting large fleets of participants from the tri-state area and beyond, and is one of five qualifying races for the Long Sand Shoal Cup.  For more information and official race results, go to

Come Meet the Chester Common Ground Candidates

The Common Ground Ground fund raiser, previously cancelled due to the hurricane, has been rescheduled for Sunday, September 18, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Those interested are invited to join the group at Peg and Glenn Reyer’s house for an informal gathering.  Their candidate for First Selectman, Andrew Landsman, and many other of the candidates who will be on the November ballot will be there.  This is a great opportunity to meet them in person and discuss issues important to you and the Town of Chester.

This fund raising event will help raise money to enable increased communicate with the town before the November local election.  Light snacks and beverages will be served.  A $10 donation per person is requested.  PLEASE RSVP IF YOU INTEND TO COME.


PLACE: 88 Goose Hill Road

DATE: Sunday, September 18, 2011

TIME: 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

For more information, and to donate online, please visit

Former Pratt, Read & Company Complex Sold to Firm Planning Storage of Architectural Artifacts

ESSEX— The former Pratt, Read & Company piano factory complex has been sold to a firm that will use the site for storage of architectural artifacts and remains.

The 18.5-acre parcel on Main Street in the Ivoryton section, with seven brick buildings encompassing 150,900-square-feet, was sold on July 19 by Piano Factory Business Park of Windsor, Vt. to Ivory LLC. The sale price listed with the town assessor was $350,000.

Ivory LLC is a new partnership established by Evan Blum, owner of a company called Demolition Depot/ Irreplaceable Artifacts. The company, with retail centers in Middletown and New York City, recovers and resells ornamental architecture and artifacts from historic structures that are scheduled for demolition.

Blum had been present at an auction of the property held on June 16, but at the time did not offer the minimum bid price of $350,000 that was established by Piano Factory Business Park. There were no other bidders at the auction.

Blum said this week he has begun “cleaning up and patching holes, in the vast complex in preparation for bringing in items for storage and possible display.”We’re going to set it up and make it look nice,” he said, adding “I think it will be a good use for everyone.”

Blum said his company has the largest collection of “vintage plumbing” in their world, along with antique doors, lighing fixtures, clocks, and ornamentations from historic buildings. Many of the items will be stored at the Ivoryton complex. Blum said it would take him six months to a year to reach full utilization of the complex.

The piano factory complex has played an important role in the history of Ivoryton. The complex, constructed in the late 19th century, was where Pratt, Read & Company turned African ivory in to piano keys, a use that gave the village of Ivoryton its name. Most of the complex has been vacant since the late 1980s.


Cross Lots Memories: A Walk Back in Time

Eve Potts will be presenting A Walk Back in Time at Essex Town Hall on September 14 (photo courtesy of Rita Christopher)

Eve Potts, longtime Essex resident and noted writer, will present a slide show and talk about the history of Cross Lots, the Essex Land Trust’s 16-acre “downtown open space” on Wednesday, September 14 at 7.30 p.m. at Essex Town Hall.

There will be plenty wonderful photos and of good stories about the original owners, the Cheney family. She will be joined in a panel discussion by Jean Leuchtenberg and others who were instrumental in the acquisition of this Essex Land Trust gem.  New informative signs to be installed in Cross Lots will also be on display on this occasion.

Eve Potts has been writing about medical subjects for more than 30 years. She has served as a medical writer and consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services and to many medically oriented companies and institutions. Her particular area of expertise is in making difficult medical information easily understood. Her interest in historic preservation is represented by authorship of the book, Westport: A Special Place.

Co-sponsored by the Essex Historical Society. Refreshments served. Plenty of parking at the Essex Town Hall parking lot. For more information about the event please contact Peggy Tuttle at 860-767-7916 or e-mail

Courtney statement after Obama jobs speech

Congressman Joe Courtney

Congressman Joe Courtney released the following statement on Thursday after President Obama’s jobs speech to a joint session of Congress:

“Washington’s focus veered off course with the unnecessary, distracting debate over the debt ceiling. With today’s speech, we are rightly focusing where we should have all along: on creating jobs and protecting our economic recovery.

“President Obama presented some positive initiatives tonight. I am particularly pleased that he will change refinancing rules to help homeowners who are current in their payments qualify for a lower mortgage. As I have repeatedly stated, we got into this downturn because of a falling housing market, and, in the end, a recovery will not happen without addressing that root cause. This change, which does not require Congressional action, will provide real, immediate benefits.

“I am also pleased by the President’s targeted tax breaks aimed at helping our small businesses grow and add jobs, as well as his focus on infrastructure investment. This spending will provide a quick uptick in jobs and has long-term benefit as well. Maintaining ports and harbors, fixing highways, and growing rail systems are essential steps toward getting our economy back on track.

“However, there are other large, bold ideas still on the table. Last month, American manufacturers set a record for exports, but their true potential is unrealized today because of bureaucratic red tape that prevents them from selling products even to allies. Eliminating these restrictions – some of which date back to the Cold War – would help local companies like BNL Industries in Vernon add new jobs, while still safeguarding national security.”

Earlier today, Congressman Courtney spoke on the House floor, and urged House Republican leaders to tackle big issues, including jobs, and to add additional work days to Congress’ work schedule. The GOP House floor schedule currently includes just five full days of work for the remainder of September.

Click here to watch video clip of Courtney speaking on the House floor.

Essex Selectmen Review Storm Response, Consider Purchase of Needed Items

ESSEX— A detailed review of the town’s response to Tropical Storm Irene has led the board of selectmen to consider expedited purchase of items that were needed in the wake of the August 28 storm, including additional generators and “road closed” signs.

First Selectman Phil Miller announced at Wednesday’s meeting that selectmen had met earlier in the day with more than a dozen emergency responders, Red Cross volunteers and Region 4 school officials for a detailed review of the town response to the storm. Along with ambulance, fire department and police personnel, participants at the review included Public Works Director David Caroline, Emergency Management Director William Buckridge, Region 4 Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy and Region 4 Building and Grounds Director Bruce Glowac, and Dennis Welch, operations manager at the Essex Meadows retirement community and health care center on Bokum Road.

Levy and Glowac had worked with representatives of the American Red Cross to run the emergency shelter at John Winthrop Middle School that served residents of the district towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex for a week after the storm.

Miller said the review led to a determination of several items that were needed after the storm. Needed items include an electric generator for the solid waste transfer station, new radios for Essex Volunteer Ambulance personnel and the harbor master, additional cell phones for emergency personnel, and additional “road closed” signs. Miller said the town has only four “road closed” signs, while nearly a dozen were needed last week.

Miller said the storm also confirmed the need to relocate the town emergency operations center from the ground floor of town hall to the now vacant former judge of probate office on the west side of the building’s first floor. Selectmen had discussed a possible reuse of the judge of probate office, which has been vacant since January, previously this year. The existing ground floor space for the EOC is plagued by mold and moisture conditions.

Selectman Norman Needleman asked Miller to prepare a “comprehensive list of what we need” for discussion at the board’s next meeting on Sept. 21. Selectman Joel Marzi said he is prepared to support an appropriation from the contingency fund to purchase high priority items as soon as possible. “This was the rainy day that you use a rainy day fund for,” Marzi said.


Guy Zone: A Free Self Development Program for Boys Aged 12-15 at Essex Library

Guy Zone is a free 8 week self development program for boys aged 12-15.  This program explores diverse topics with different presenters each week that emphasize health, leadership, sports, peer pressure, altruism, career development, finances and more.

Join the group on designated Mondays at the Essex Library: September through November at 6:30 p.m. Due to the nature of this program, we are unable to accept more than 12 participants. Attendees must participate in each session in order to take part in our special project with ESPN studios. If you or someone you know might be interested in joining us, call or email Jessica today. (860) 767-1560 or


The Schedule.

Week 1 – September 12

Introduction with John McGirr: Getting to Know the Group

Week 2 – September 19

Leadership with Camp Hazen Counselor Rhino Merrick

Week 3 – September 26

Volunteerism with Fire Capt. Don Schumacher and the Essex EMS Department

Week 4 – October 3

Ideas about the Future and Job Interviews with Education Solutions

Week 5 – October 17

Finances and Savings in the Virtual World with Marla Bogaert of Essex Savings Bank

Week 6 – November 6

A Special Project with ESPN studios

Week 7 – November 14

Cooking and Nutrition with Chef Thomas Peterlik from local Farm Dinners and the Valley Regional School District

Week 8 – November 21

Group Conclusion with John and the Group


A generous grant given to us by the Middlesex County Community Foundation has made this program possible. Many Thanks!