February 1, 2023

Archives for October 2011

Churchill: A Celebration of His Life and Accomplishments

Sir Winston Churchill

The Churchill Society of Connecticut, in association with the Essex Library, will present a talk on Churchill; A Celebration of His Life And His Accomplishments by G.R. Barber, President of the International Churchill Society of Canada, on Wednesday, November 16. The talk will be held at Essex Meadows’ Hamilton Hall at 7 p.m., and a wine and cheese reception will precede it at 6:30, courtesy of Essex Meadows. The talk is free and open to all.

Essex Meadows is at 30 Bokum Road in Essex. For more information or to register for this program, please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560.

Artist Nile Barrett Reception at Marshview Gallery

A reception will be held for the artist Nile Barrett at the Marshview Gallery on November 11 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

All of Nile Barrett’s life’s upbringing and experiences are reflected in her art.  The history, nature, fabrics, texture, patterns, beach and so on. Nile often uses photos for her paintings.  When she tried water color she discovered she was hooked. She earned her Masters in Art Recreation from Southern CT University and retired about five years ago from teaching art at the CT Juvenile Training School inn Middletown. Nile is currently enjoying the water color classes with Stan Carver at the Westbrook Senior Center.

Everyone is welcome to attend the reception. Refreshments provided.

Learn to Speak Spanish at the Ivoryton Library

A new class of beginning Spanish has begun at the Ivoryton Library meeting each week on Thursday at 2:15. New members are welcome. The cost of each class attended is $3 and materials are provided. Each class contains grammar exercises and conversation; English is not spoken in the class. Other classes offered at the library are Advanced Spanish and several intermediate and advanced French classes. Call the library for more information at 860-767-1252.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is Looking for Volunteers

Autumn is a time to give thanks for all that we have – wouldn’t you like to give back as well?  Guiding Eyes for the Blind is looking for volunteers who want to give the ultimate gift by raising a future guide dog.

Our dedicated puppy raisers take a puppy into their homes for 14-16 months and provide the puppy with a foundation in house manners, socialization, obedience, and of course love in preparation for its future as a guide.

Guiding Eyes provides vet care and training costs. If you love dogs and have been thinking of a way to give back, now is a great time to get started!  Pre-Placement classes in the Southern CT region begin November 5 in Wallingford. Classes for the Southern CT region are also held in Deep River and Guildford.  Call Regional Manager, Maria Dunne, at (845) 230-6436 or visit www.guidingeyes.org to fill out an application.

Artists and Chairs Wanted!

The Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. is planning a “Painted Chair Auction” for spring.  We are looking for artists and creative people to take a chair and paint it.  We will provide the chair or you may use your own. The chairs will be displayed in the 9 town estuary region communities for about two months, and then auctioned at an event to benefit Meals on Wheels in 10 towns along the shoreline! Artists’ name will accompany the chair and will be listed in the program and on our website! (Lot’s of exposure!)  The Painted Chair Auction will be an Spring evening event with wonderful hors d’Oeurves, wine and music!

At this time we are looking for a couple of people who would like to Co-Chair the event. It’s promised to be lot’s of fun!

Anyone wishing to donate a sturdy, wooden chair can drop it off at the Estuary, 220 Main St., Old Saybrook. Call Sandy for more information and if you would like to paint a chair 860 388-1611

TTYS Sponsors Family Yoga Morning in Deep River

Tri-Town Youth Services, at 56 High Street in Deep River, will sponsor a yoga family fun morning with yoga instructor, Jennifer Ryley-Welsh.  Parents and their children (ages 4 and older) will spend an hour moving, breathing, and laughing together.  No yoga experience is necessary.  The family yoga class will take place at Tri-Town on Saturday, November 5 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.  The cost is $10 per family.  Please call 860-526-3600 to register.

Classical Concert in Killingworth, November 6

"The Little Church in the Wilderness” in Killingworth

A Winter Concert featuring the works of J.S. Bach, Viviani, Cesar Cui and Mendelssohn, among others, will be held at “The Little Church in the Wilderness” in Killingworth on Sunday, November 6 at 4:00 p.m.   Performers will be Susan Paisley on the church’s classic organ, Ronald Moore on the Violin and Viola, and John Holahan on trumpet.

The church is located at 50 Emanuel Road in Killingworth, and following the concert there will be a reception. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children. For information and directions call 860-663-1109, or visit www.churchinthewilderness.org

Frostbite Sailors Brave the Wind and Cold, “all for the love of sailing”

Snow on boats before launching (Photo courtesy of Bob Leary)

In a bright, bright sun, on a cold, cold day, with the wind gusting well over 20 knots, twenty-five hearty sailors raced last Sunday (Oct. 30) for the better part of an afternoon in Essex Harbor.

These Frostbiters, as they call themselves, didn’t seem to mind conditions such as these. For them the more blustery it is, the better. In fact, when it was learned that ten “frostbiting” sailboats had capsized while sailing this afternoon, it was taken as a point of pride, rather than  a demonstration of what some might consider pure foolishness.

Readying the boats in parking lot

There were four kinds of boats in the afternoon’s competition in the cold.  They were: (1) the graceful, 30 foot Etchells, (2) the JY-15’s, (3) the Ideal 18’s, and (4) the one person, single sail Lasers of 13 feet, 9 inches. Most of the boats that capsized during the afternoon races were Lasers, with a few JY-15’s as well.

Single-handed Lasers round a mark

Once a Laser capsizes there is only one person at hand, who can bring the boat back upright, and that is the one man crew. Regular dunking into the water is the primary reason why Laser skippers wear full-bodied wet suits. The wet suit, however, does not keep a capsized sailor’s head from getting wet, and there is always a bit of water leaking down into the wet suit, after the boat and sailor have gone into the drink.

Crew struggles with capsized boat in water (Photo courtesy of Bob Leary)

A Crash Boat, fully motorized, patrols the Frostbite races, manned by  Frostbite Yacht Club Commodore, Scott Baker. If Baker sees that a capsized Laser sailor is having a difficult time righting his vessel, he has the power to send the boat back to the dock, because of the sailor’s evident fatigue. “If they are having trouble, we send them back in,” Baker says.

On this afternoon the Commodore sent three exhausted Laser skippers back to the dock, because of fatigue. In fact, there was such a concern for capsizing Lasers that the crash boat began following them around their course.

The larger Etchells can suffer a variety of breakdowns, such a broken spinnaker pole or traveler, but they are rarely, if ever, ordered back to dock, because of skipper’s fatigue.

As for Sunday’s sailing competition, the Frostbite sailors spoke with real feeling. “It was an awesome, windy day,” said Toby Doyle, who took first place with his Etchells in the afternoon’s races. “We survived,” he added.

An Etchells close-hauled

Other winning skippers were Mathew Wilson, first place of the JY-15’s; Ed Birch, captain of the winning Ideal 18, who is frequently a winning skipper; and Chris Field, the first place Laser skipper, who had only himself to thank for his victory.

As for the weather conditions, Ed Birch said, “It was nasty out there, with big puffs coming up.” A one point Birch said, “We were getting killed out there.”

An Etchells with full spinnaker

For her part Charlotte Posey, who sails an Ideal 18 with her husband, Dennis Posey, she was shocked when her husband said he wanted to go sailing today. They first had to shovel the snow out of their driveway.

The Ideal 18 requires a crew of two, and Charlotte Posey says that she and her husband “are one of the few couples out there who can sail together.”

After the races a former Commodore of the Frostbiters, Rick Harrison, said simply while sipping some hot soup, “It was a day of survival.”

Frostbnite Commodore Scott Baker eating soup after the race

The ultimate arbiter, whenever there is a dispute, is the club’s   Principal Race Officer, Tom Carse. As for the winds this day he termed them, “Very difficult, very puffy.”

Commodore Baker officially termed the day’s weather conditions as, “challenging but not dangerous.” Do the Frostbiters sometimes sail in  “dangerous conditions?” The Commodore answered, “Yes.”

Of the 25 sailboats boats in the races, there were four Etchells, four JY-15’s, 8 Ideals 18’s, and 9 Lasers. After all the boats were pulled out of the water, and stored until next week’s race, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, November 6th, in Essex Harbor, the Frostbiters retired to a local yacht club and some hot soup. Sailing a boat is always a matter of moods, it seems. This past Sunday was one of just pure excitement.

Frostbiters' Race Committee Boat

Democrat Edmund Meehan Faces Common Ground Party Challenge for Open Chester First Selectman Seat

CHESTER— The contest for the open first selectman position puts a longtime public sector employee against a political newcomer running as the first time candidate of a recently formed local third party.

Democrat Edmund Meehan is challenged in the Nov. 8 vote by Andrew Landsman, nominee of the Chester Common Ground Party, a local party established in 2009 that is running its first ticket for board of selectmen this year. Whoever wins, there will be a change in political control at town hall as Chester Republicans are not running a candidate for first selectman after three consecutive municipal elections wins.

The last change occurred in 2005, when Republican Tom Marsh unseated six-term Democratic First Selectman Martin Heft. Marsh, who last year ran for governor as nominee of the Connecticut Independent Party, easily defeated Democratic challengers in 2007 and 2009 before leaving the first selectman seat in August to become town manager in Windsor, Vt. Republican Tom Englert, elected to the board of selectmen with Marsh in 2009, became interim first selectman on Aug. 16, holding the job until the current two-year term ends on Nov. 22. Englert is seeking a second term on the board of selectmen, but no Republicans are running for the top spot.

Democrat candidate Edmund Meehan

Meehan, 66, has been a Chester resident since 1982, but first arrived in the Valley Shore area in the early 1970s as a planner for the Old Saybrook-based Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency. A married father of four sons, Meehan worked as a planner for the City of Hartford before taking his current job as town planner for Newington in 1988. He served as a member and chairman of the town planning and zoning commission in the 1980s and as member and chairman of the board of finance in the 1990s.

Meehan said he was approached by several residents about serving as interim first selectman early last summer, and declined because of his commitment to the Newington job.  But after consulting with his family, Meehan, who was preparing to retire from the Newington job next year, accepted the Democratic nomination for first selectman at the July 27 nominating caucus. Meehan is running with incumbent Democratic Selectman Larry Sypher, who is seeking a second term on the board.

Landsman, 50, arrived in Chester from Burlington in 2007 after 22 years in various sales and management positions with the CIGNA health insurance company. The father of a 20-year-old daughter, Landsman currently works as director of facilities at the local Aaron Manor Skilled Nursing Care Facility. He has served on the inland-wetlands commission and is active with the Chester Rotary Club.

Landsman, an unaffiliated voter, approached town Democrats about running for first selectman, but later agreed to join the Chester Common Ground Party, a local third party established in 2009 that promotes a non-partisan approach to town government. Landsman said he is running for first selectman to bring his “problem solving and leadership skills to the table.” He is running with Glen Reyer, owner of a local information technology company and former member of the planning and zoning commission who helped found the Chester Common Ground Party in 2009. Landsman and Reyer are the party’s first ticket for board of selectmen.

The two rivals agree on the town’s top priority for the 2001-2013 term, and hold similar positions on several potential issues. Meehan and Landsman each said the Main Street Project, a reconstruction of the town’s Main Street to be done in conjunction with two nearby state-funded bridge replacement projects, would be a major focus of the next two years.

Each pledged to work with a recently established volunteer Main Street Committee, contractors, and the state Department of Transportation to make sure the work does not disrupt life and regular business activity in the downtown village.

Neither candidate calls for changes to the structure of town government, such as drafting of a town charter or a four-year term for first selectman and board of selectmen. Meehan said he would always favor the current two-year term , while Landsman said he would consider proposing a four-year term only if residents were calling for the change. “It’s not high on my priority list,” he said.

Both candidates are open to the idea of Chester joining the Connecticut River Area Regional Health District that now serves Clinton, Deep River and Old Saybrook, but only after a detailed study comparing costs and services. Both candidates pledge to be a full time first selectman, while Meehan adds there would be a “transition” from the start of the term next month to the end of the year as he prepares to leave the job in Newington.

Landsman, while acknowledging Meehan is a “very capable candidate,” said he would bring a “stronger passion” for the job, and sales experience that would help boost economic development. Meehan said he has much broader public sector experience from his role in Newington, particularly for large scale projects like the Main Street Project. Meehan said he has coordinated a four-phase $3.5 million streetscape project and “knows the process,” adding “after doing this for 40 years I’ve done a lot of things.”

Both candidates have campaigned door-to-door over the past six weeks, with Common Ground sponsoring two and Democrats four town-wide campaign mailings. Unlike recent contested town elections, there was no public debate this year. Landsman said his campaign requested a debate, but Meehan said the request “came late” at a time when he was very busy with a controversial development proposal in Newington.

Also campaigning door-to-door is Englert, who notes his service as interim first selectman has given him “great experience and background,” to continue on the board of selectmen. Englert said he has a “personal preference” for the top job, but would probably not make a public endorsement. He also discounted speculation the Common Ground group is linked to town Republicans, with Reyer also on the Republican slate as a candidate for board of finance.

“Glen Reyer is running against me and so for that matter is Andy Landsman,” Englert said, adding there has been no effort by town Republicans to promote the Common Ground Party.

The new board of selectmen will be comprised of the winner for first selectman and the top two vote-getters for board of selectmen, a mix that would include the losing candidate for first selectman.


MacMillian and Marzi Can Provide the Leadership Essex Needs

To the Editor:

I support Bruce MacMillian and Joel Marzi for the November 8th Election.

The recession we’ve been living through has been extraordinary in depth and breadth with consequences that have pushed many of us to our limits both financially and personally.  In Essex we have seen shops close and homes foreclosed.  Driven by economic frustration, last spring we witnessed a critique of our town budget not seen in decades.

Some have said Essex has lost its way and is on a slow spiral down.  I disagree.  We are a strong town with good citizens and we will recover.  However, who we choose in this election may determine how long it takes and at what price.

To move forward we’ll need leaders that are open minded, take initiative and can prioritize the needs over the wants, while communicating to us often and effectively.  Through their experience in building businesses, managing operations, and leading town boards MacMillian and Marzi have the leadership and determination to get Essex going again.  Come November vote for MacMillian and Marzi.



Adam Conrad

Antiques Appraisals at Chester Village West – Nov. 5

You’ve been saving those treasures for a long time, maybe even waiting for the right time to sell them for a lot of money. But how much are they really worth?

Satisfy your curiosity when the Chester Historical Society presents its seventh Antiques Appraisal on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Chester Village West retirement community. Six appraisers will be on hand to give you verbal appraisals of your items.

Your mother’s beloved china soup tureen… An oil portrait of your grandmother… A cherry side table… Letters written by your great-great-grandfather… The family Bible… Silver spoons… Gold bracelets and rings…

If you want to know what something is worth, bring it in during the morning of Nov. 5th, any time from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Bring in your antiques – or photographs of the items if they’re too large (if it’s a table or dresser, bring in a drawer too).

Appraisals will cost $5 for each item; you may bring up to  three separate items. All proceeds will benefit the Chester Historical Society. Chester Village West will serve coffee and treats during the morning. Chester Village West has ample parking and easy access (including an elevator) and is at 317 West Main Street (Rte. 148), just before the Chester / Killingworth town line.

The appraisers will be:

Norman and Linda Legassie have been the proprietors of Stepping Stones Antiques and Collectibles in Old Saybrook since 1976. A professional sculptor, Norman’s knowledge of fine art brings a practiced eye to examine treasures. Linda adds many years of experience as a researcher in the fine and decorative arts. Their knowledge encompasses a wide range of subjects from prehistoric to present, including furniture, jewelry, postcards, tools, silver, pottery, and more.

Marsha Malinowski is a Senior Vice President in the Books and Manuscripts Department at Sotheby’s in New York. With an expertise in letters and documents from the fourteenth century to the present in both the historic and literary fields, Marsha has seen a wide array of extraordinary manuscripts during her twenty-five years at Sotheby’s. Always delighted to look at antiquarian books or inscribed first editions, Marsha is a featured appraiser on the Public Television series Antiques Road Show. 

Peggy Maraschiello of River Wind Antiques  & Appraisals in Deep River offers knowledge of antique quilts, textiles and linens, artful and collectible ceramics and pottery, pedigreed glass, silver items, and much more. Peggy is an accredited appraiser with the International Society of Appraisers and a certified appraiser with the Certified Appraisers Guild of America. She has more than 24 years experience conducting estate and liquidation sales for antiques and residential contents.

Edward Swift, a retired member of the American Society of Appraisers, has extensive knowledge about antique furniture, and his specialty is period 1600 to mid-19th century. Ed had his own preservation and restoration business for more than 10 years in Glastonbury, where he was active in the historical society. Now a resident of Chester Village West, Ed continues to support the Chester Historical Society with his expertise.

Alicia Winalski has been the owner of Nyman Jewelers in Old Saybrook since Oct. 1, 2001. With 20-plus years of experience identifying and designing jewelry and the recent change in the gold market, Alicia keeps busy appraising and evaluating customers’ jewelry.



Laurel Hill Cemetery Walk Cancelled

Chester Historian Rob Miceli (shown) and Cheri Ferrari Habersang will lead a walk through Chester's historical Laurel Hill Cemetery on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. The walk, which is sponsored by Chester Historical Society, is free, and refreshments will be served. (Skip Hubbard photo)

The Laurel Hill Cemetery Walk scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled.

It’s a hidden gem! Laurel Hill Cemetery overlooks the Pattaconk Brook and is a beautiful resting place for many of Chester’s past generations, yet many residents have never ventured in.

Do you know when the cemetery was started and how?  Do you know who is there and their importance to Chester’s history?

Chester Historian Rob Miceli and Chester native Cheri Ferrari Habersang, both of whom are longtime members of the Chester Historical Society Board of Trustees, will lead a walk through Laurel Hill Cemetery on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m.  They will talk about the history of the cemetery, and how and when it got started.  They plan to discuss different stones and what the symbols mean on many of them.

There is no admission for this family event, which does involve a short walk with inclines to reach the top of the cemetery.

To participate in the cemetery walk, just meet Rob and Cheri at the cemetery entrance on Main Street (opposite the Chester Gallery). Festive refreshments and treats will be served.

Deep River Selectmen Await Meeting With Town Hall Restoration Association

DEEP RIVER— The board of selectmen is hoping a joint meeting next month with directors of the Deep River Town Hall Restoration Association Inc. will bring consensus on how to complete a long-running restoration of the town hall auditorium and utilize funds donated to the association.

Selectmen met with members of the association board of directors on Sept. 27, urging the association to assist in drafting an updated town meeting resolution and authorization for the association, which was established under a 1981 town meeting resolution and later became a non-profit corporation. Before the joint meeting was held, the board on Oct. 11 adopted a resolution expressing opposition to placing funds held by the association in an irrevocable endowment fund.

Sally Carlson-Crowell told the selectmen at Tuesday’s meeting the group was “a little bit concerned,” about receiving “demands” from the selectmen before the joint session was held. She said directors of the group, including long-time director Ted Mackenzie, had recently discussed dissolving the association based on concern with the direction of the review process.

Selectman Arthur Thompson said the board is not seeking to disband the association, but needs to clarify the future plans of the association and the use of more than $200,000 in donated funds held by the association. The funds were donated by residents to support the restoration of the town hall auditorium, a project that began in the late 1970s.

Most of the funds have been invested on the stock market, with the value shifting in recent weeks based on gains and declines in the market. Thompson said the funds should be held in safer investments, and used to complete all necessary improvements to the town hall auditorium. “I’m not sure the people who donated that money want it to be played on the stock market,” he said.

First Selectman Richard Smith said the board needs to have the association “let us know what you want to do,” to complete all necessary improvements to the auditorium. He suggested the funds held by the association could be combined with some town funding to complete the project. Smith said he has no objections to having a local resident hired by the association continue to coordinate scheduling the use of the auditorium.

Concluding Tuesday’s discussion, Carlson-Crowell said the association directors are “looking forward,” to the joint meeting with the selectmen.


Rep. Miller Votes Yes on Jobs

State Representative Phil Miller is serving his first term representing the 36th Assembly District of Essex, Chester, Deep River and Haddam. He sits on the legislature’s Environment, Human Services, and Public Health Committees.

State Representative Phil Miller (D-Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam) voted for bipartisan legislation today that improves Connecticut’s ability to grow and retain jobs.

“Small businesses drive job growth in Connecticut and today’s legislation gives them the state support they need to truly thrive. Investing more money into Connecticut businesses will put more state residents back to work in stable, good-paying jobs,” said Miller.

Miller said one of the key components of today’s Jobs Bill (HB 6801) is the Small Business Express Package making $50 million a year available to small businesses through incentives, grants and loans.

“We shortened the time it takes businesses to get permits and eliminated the bureaucratic red tape which had gotten in the way of business growth in the state,” said Miller. “I’m proud that we have made it easier for businesses without jeopardizing worker safety or weakening our environmental laws.”

The Jobs Bill also contains short and long-term strategies to help ensure Connecticut’s workforce matches business demand by aligning programs at the state’s vocational high schools, community colleges and universities with the needs of employers, including manufacturing and technology companies.

Some of the key provisions of the Jobs Bill include:

  • Cutting the business entity tax
  • Streamlining the business permitting process
  • Consolidating and increasing the tax credit for new hires
  • A second “First Five” program
  • Remediating old industrial sites/brownfields
  • Computer upgrades to foster seamless communication between business and the state
  • Investments in roads and bridges
  • Replenishing the Manufacturing Assistance Act (MAA)
  • Main Street commercial centers improvement initiative

In addition, the legislature today approved the deal with Jackson Labs to build a $1.1 billion, state-of-the-art research facility at the UConn Health Center campus in Farmington. The State of Connecticut will invest $291 million and Jackson Labs will raise the balance of $860 million for the project.

According to the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), the project is expected to create over 660 new positions at Jackson Labs in Farmington within 20 years. DECD estimates more than 4,600 bioscience jobs would be generated through spin-off companies, and another 2,000 would be added to local service and area retail stores. The project would yield more than 840 construction jobs as well. Most importantly, it represents a critical step in establishing Connecticut as a global hub for genomic research, attracting companies and world-class minds dedicated to the pursuit of diagnostic and therapeutic medical breakthroughs.

News From the Front of Essex’s “Lawn Sign War”

The battle of the lawn signs wages in Essex. The two principal combatants, Republican candidate for First Selectman Bruce MacMillian and Democratic candidate Norman Needleman, are duking it out on a host of private lawns in town.

As to whether the omnipresent signs are a form of visual pollution in the “oh so quaint,” colonial town of Essex, or are a meaningful example of political expression, jealously protected by the First Amendment, is in the eye of the beholder.

For his part Democratic candidate Norman Needleman says, “Signs don’t vote, but our supporters are very enthusiastic about our campaign, and like to show their support by displaying them, that said, I would be quite content if there was an agreement not to have any signs by both parties, because they are wasteful and, when there are too many of them, they tend to be unsightly.”

Republican candidate Bruce MacMillian says about the lawn signs, “I think they are probably a relatively inconspicuous way to get your name before the public. I am concerned, when residents raise an issue about this traditional way of campaigning in local politics. We always get permission of the property owner before we put up our signs, and we get requests from people who want our signs.”

To determine who is ahead in Essex’s lawn sign war, we took an informal count of the candidates’ lawn signs. The two test territories tallied were: (1) along North Main Street and River Road from the Silent Policeman to Heritage Cove, and (2) from River Road up Book Hill Road to the Deep River line.

MacMillian ahead, but not by much

Combining the two tallies the winners are:

Bruce MacMillian, running for First Selectman—18 lawn signs

MacMillian lawn sign at Book Hill Road and River Road

Norman Needleman, running for First Selectman – 16 lawn signs

Needleman lawn sign at top of Book Hill Road

Joel Marzi, running for Selectman – 5 lawn signs
(Marzi’s name also appears on some of MacMillian’s signs.)

Mazi lawn sign on Book Hill Road

Stacia Rice-Libby, running for Selectman – 0 lawn signs
(However, Rice-Libby’s name appears on all of Needleman’s signs.)

John Ackerman, running for Board of Assessment Appeals – 8 lawn signs

These counts are not a definitive test as to who are going to win the elections. Also, in a brief vehicular survey, it appears that whereas lawn sign coverage for the First Selectman’s race in Centerbrook was a tie, in Ivortyton Needleman had plenty of lawn signs in place, whereas MacMillian’s lawn signs had yet to reach the area.

Finally, the goblins that are about on Halloween, October 31, sometimes play havoc with lawn signs. Therefore, both camps will  hold back on a final planting of lawn signs, until after Halloween and before Election Day on November 8.

Supporting Needman, even though the house is for sale

Courtney Approves Iraq Withdrawal Plans by President

A message from Congressman Joe Courtney.

Rep. Courtney and Connecticut's Captain Frank R. DuVerger III in Afghanistan this month

Last week, President Obama announced that all U.S. military personnel will be out of Iraq by the end of the year. Many of our servicemen and women who have been away from their families for too many birthdays, milestones and celebrations during the war will be home this holiday season.

President Obama’s decision to protect U.S. military personnel from unacceptable exposure to prosecution in Iraqi courts and instead execute the final removal of American troops from Iraq is the right decision for both countries. This milestone was achieved through negotiations between our two countries that provided a clear path for the transition of responsibility to the Iraqi government. After eight long years, our brave volunteers have given that country the opportunity to create its own future with a sizable security force and the rudiments of democratic institutions.

With the Fifth Fleet nearby in Bahrain and U.S. bases in Kuwait and Qatar, our ability to respond to any threat to American national security in the region is more than adequate. As the President said, our two nations will continue to have a special relationship for many years to come, built on the sacrifice and effort of our troops. Now is the time to pay particular homage to all who served in Iraq and their families – the “one percent” who have stepped up and volunteered to wear our nation’s uniform through a difficult time in our history.

On the ground in Afghanistan

 Of course, even as American troops leave Iraq, our servicemen and women remain on the ground in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I visited the country, where I was briefed on operations, met with Connecticut troops and top commanders, and learned more about the training of Afghan police and military personnel. Most importantly, General John Allen, commander of U.S./NATO troops, gave an encouraging brief on the planned draw down of U.S. troops: 10,000 this year and 23,000 by the fall of 2012. 48% of the Afghan nation will be under the control of the Afghanis in the near future, and the transition will continue until full control of Afghanistan’s future is in the hands of the Afghan people.

This was my third trip to Afghanistan since coming to Congress, and the progress was plain to see. More girls and young women are traveling to and from school, the education system has improved, and security forces are better trained and better equipped to keep the peace. While there are substantial hurdles left to clear, these are encouraging milestones that demonstrate movement in the right direction.

But to have gotten to this point – a place where real progress is clear – is a testament to the strength, bravery and resolve our military. As the war in Iraq winds down, their hard work has brought us to a place where, after 10 long years, Afghans are on the brink of reclaiming their country and their future.

Veteran’s Day Witnesses to History, Essex Library

Ben Cooper and Henny Simon will speak together on Veteran’s Day, Friday November 11th, at Essex Town Hall, about their experiences in World War II; he as a medic who witnessed Dachau, she as a survivor of the death camps

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Ben Cooper was a young combat medic with the 45thInfantry Division in WWII when he was sent to Germany to be an official witness at the Dachau Concentration Camp, an experience he never spoke of until 1990.

He broke his decades-long silence, he explains, to help today’s youth understand the reality of war, and to bear witness to what he saw at the Holocaust so that it might never be repeated.  Henny Simon,  a German Jew, experienced the horrors of the Ghetto and the death camps from the opposite side; as a internee and survivor.

Today, the two are friends, and speak together on this compelling, ever-relevant topic. The Essex Library is proud to present the fourth in its WITNESSES TO HISTORY series of programs on Veteran’s Day, Friday November 11 at 3 p.m., at Essex Town Hall, with Ben Cooper and Henny Simon.

Please don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to hear history, as told by those who were there to see and live it. This is a program you will never forget. Call the Essex Library to register, or for more information, at 860-767-1560. The Essex Town Hall is located at 29 West Avenue in Essex.

Deep River Park and Rec. Halloween Festivities

Essex Historical Society Presents “Life in a Village”

The Essex Historical Society invites you to attend a program called “Life in a Village” on Wednesday, November 9, from 7-9 pm at Gather, the present name of the Ivoryton Store.

In 1873/1874, Samuel Merrit Comstock built a store in the center of Ivoryton. The Ivoryton Store, later called Rose Brothers served as the anchor for the plan “of a village built around a factory, and a factory around a village” (quote from Houses of Essex by Don Malcarne). The second floor of this structure was known as Comstock Hall where Company and social functions were held until 1911.

The Essex Historical Society invites you to attend a program called “Life in a Village” on Wednesday, November 9, from 7-9 pm at Gather the present name of the Ivoryton Store. The main speaker, Chris Pagliuco, will speak on “putting the transition of Ivoryton from a rural farming community to an industrial village in a larger economic, political and cultural context”. Chris Pagliuco was recently named the Town Historian of the three villages Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton. He will contrast the fundamental differences in the pace, routines and relationships of our daily lives with those of Ivoryton residents 130 years ago. This includes “references to many of the features of the village still present today”.

Marie Negrelli, a resident of the area during the World War II era will bring a personal perspective of Ivoryton village. Marie says she will tell of “growing up in Ivoryton, sharing memories of Ivoryton Grammar School, Ivoryton Playhouse, Ivoryton Store, Pratt –Read, Clarks Pond and Jone’s Store”. She will also bring unique memorabilia and enlargements of her own postcard collection. Marie credits Ivoryton Librarian, Robbie Storms with sharing historical documents to give insight from her memories. Marie will be joined in remembering by her sisters Mary Lombardi and Joann Stone.

The Ivoryton Store has changed in appearance, owners and services and goods offered. However, it represents a glorious example of the Industrial Revolution in the lower Connecticut River Valley. So gather with owner Deanna of Gather as she graciously opens, 104 Main Street, Ivoryton after hours on November 9, to a flood of memories.

‘Sailing Around the World’ with Howard Park

Yachtsman, painter, gallery owner, Howard Park will present the account of his trip around the world at Acton Library, Old Saybrook,  on November 9 at 7.30 p.m.

A resident of Stonington, where he owns and operates the Four Star Fine Art Conservation and Frame Shoppe, Park attended the Masters of Fine Arts program at Tufts University and studied at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA .He continued his studies in France where he won a   National prize in photography. The love of the sea eventually led him to Connecticut to manage a boatyard and raise a family. After restoring Comet, a 52’ yawl. Howard and his wife Rieta sailed 31000 miles following the ancient Square Rigger route from east to west around the world. They set out from Stonington in November 1997 returning in June 2001. His colorful arrangement of photographs and watercolors includes descriptions of the people and places visited.

The public is invited  – For information Call Dot at 860-388-4021

Love for Grown-Ups at Essex Books-Gather

Join Essex books at Gather in Main Street Ivoryton from noon until 1 p.m. on November 10 for a fun talk by author, Tish Rabe, Love for Grown-Ups: The Garter Brides’ Guide to Marrying For Life When You’ve Already Got a Life, co-authored by Ann Blumenthal Jacobs and Patricia Ryan Lampl, .  Who are the Garter Brides?  A sisterhood of women who all wore the same garter at their weddings and got married over the age of 35! This book is one-stop shopping for the mature woman who wants to meet, has met, or is building a relationship with a mature man!

Ms. Rabe will raffle an autographed copy of  Love for Grown-Ups at our event!

To register, simply click on Register Now below or reply to this e-mail.  Tell a friend… and catch the garter wave!  Register Now!

A $5 admission fee may be put toward the purchase of a book.

Thank you for supporting authors, Essex Books, and Gather!

Essex Planning Commission Considers Resubdivision Plan for Toby Hill Road

ESSEX—The planning commission has begun its review of a proposed three-lot resubdivision of a 12-acre parcel off Toby Hill Road in the Ivoryton section.

Last winter, before a formal application was submitted for the proposed development, the potential need for improvements to the intersection of Toby Hill Road and Pond Meadow Road led the board of selectmen to consider the possible abandonment of the section of Toby Hill Road in Ivoryton.

Toby Hill Road is an old town roadway that extends from Pond Meadow Road north to cross the town line and intersect with McVeagh Road in Westbrook. While there has been residential development and road improvements on the Westbrook side, much of the road in Ivoryton is an unimproved gravel or dirt road.

The applicant, Paul Vumbaco of Meriden, owns a total of 34.7 acres on both sides of the Essex-Westbrook town line. Vumbaco has already received approval for a seven-lot subdivision of the 22 acres in Westbrook. He is now seeking approval for a three-lot resubdivision of the 12.38-acre parcel in Essex.

The lots in Westbrook are located on Joseph Circle, a new road extending off Toby Hill Road. The three lots in Essex would be located on an extension of Joseph Circle that would end in a cul-de-sac while also connecting to Toby Hill Road on the Essex side.

The section of Toby Hill Road in Ivoryton currently serves three homes, one in Essex and two located over the town line in Westbrook. The proposed development would also include a dedication of 6.38 acres as open space land. The resubdivision application also seeks a waiver of town regulations to allow one interior lot that would lack road frontage and be accessed from a driveway.

The planning commission opened a public hearing on the proposed three-lot resubdivision on Oct. 13. The commission discussed the need for improvements to the Essex section of Toby Hill Road and the intersection to Pond Meadow Road with representatives of Vumbaco, including an attorney and local engineer Robert Doane. According to minutes from the public hearing, Doane said the width of Toby Hill Road would be increased to 22-feet, and sight lines would be improved on the right side of the intersection to make a right turn.

The commission scheduled a Nov. 5 site walk of the property, with the public hearing continued to the Nov. 10 meeting. As the Westbrook subdivision was under review in that town last winter, the commission had urged the board of selectmen to abandon the 300-foot section of Toby Hill Road in Ivoryton to avoid the possible need for town-funded improvements to the intersection of Toby Hill Road and Pond Meadow Road. Town Planner John Guszkowski had described the intersection as difficult, with “a steep approach from Toby Hill Road, poor sight lines and unfavorable topography.”

After discussion at a meeting last March, the board of selectmen took no action on the planning commission recommendation to abandon the section of Toby Hill Road.


Pettipaug Yacht Club Still Showing Effects of Irene

Debris taken out of the water by club members

Hurricane Irene visited the Pettipaug Yacht Club in a big way on Sunday, August 28, and the club is still feeling the after effects. For one there is literally a parade of floating logs coming down the river, and clogging up with debris the club’s boat ramp to the river.

“We have to clear the boat ramp at least every two days,” says Paul Risseeuw, who is the Director of the club’s Sailing Academy and informal caretaker of the club.  A pile of the debris that has been collected by club members is kept next to the boat ramp. The sizes of some of the pieces taken out of the river by club members are impressive.

However, as Risseeuw admits, some of the whole trees that pull up at the club’s docks are simply too big to handle, Reluctantly, they have to be pushed back into the river to continue their journey towards the sound.

Paul Risseeuw points high water mark at club

When the Irene’s storm water reached its highest, it was up to the second step from the top of the stairs at the club house. The club house itself is on a platform some four feet above the ground, and no water touched the deck.  However, all the grounds of the club were completely submerged during the storm period.

When the water on the grounds reached a certain point although anchored in some fashion, the boats began to float. (All of the boat’s masts and been removed before the storm.) This meant that some 120 boats were floating around during flood periods. The boats afloat included: Blue Jays, 420s, Lasers, as well as several Boston Whalers.

Although anchored to the ground, because of the leeway in their painters, the floating boats began to sway, and a number of them banged into each other. A few boats were damaged in this fashion. Also, a storage shed, where wind surfers had been kept, was badly banged out by wind, water and swinging boats.

However, saved from banging boats on the flooded grounds, were the small Optimist sailboats. They had been stacked on the floor of the clubhouse and were unharmed.

The story was very different for one boat owner at the club, who decided to keep his boat in the water in spite of Irene. It was a big mistake. Early in the storm the boat was flipped over to its side, and a floating tree coming down the river dragged the capsized boat and mooring down the river, and eventually hung up on another mooring. The owner found his boat after a hunt only to learn that the boat’s mast had been broken into three pieces. The boat owner had to hire a floating crane to get his boat out of the water.

Some club grounds still a jumble

Meanwhile the club’s docks completely avoided any damage, although the poles that are driven into the river bottom to hold the docks in place now appear bent. If the poles themselves had failed, it would have meant the loss of the club’s docks.

With the exception of the single boat left in the water, and the only minor damage caused by the boats anchored on the club grounds banging around, the club got away pretty easily from the visit by Irene. As Risseeuw puts it bluntly, “We got away cheap.”

A second chapter to Irene

There was also a week or so later, a second chapter to Irene. Some are calling it, the “Vermont mud slide.” Because of the heavy rains during Irene, the Vermont shore of the Connecticut River, way up north, flushed an enormous amount of sediment, i.e. mud, into the river.

In fact, there was so much Vermont mud coming down the river, the waters out in front of the club turned brown for a number of days.

Also, according to Risseeuw, there was a layer of Vermont mud dumped on the grounds of Pettipaug. There was also a second surge of high water, but nothing on the scale of Irene.

With its grounds scarcely above high tide levels, it is inevitable that future hurricanes will again completely flood the grounds of the Pettipaug Yacht Club.

Entrance sign of the Pettipaug Yacht Club

Risseeuw says that before another hurricane hits, which is inevitable, the club has decided to order all boats off the club grounds, and moved to higher elevations. Whether that means storing them in private driveways, or even in well elevated marinas, it won’t make any difference. “The boats are not going be allowed to be left here,” Risseeuw says.

Also, there will be strict rule that all boats, when a hurricane threatens, must be hauled out of the water, no exceptions. Some sailors simply have to be saved from themselves.


Letters: We can do better than “more of the same”…

To the Editor:

It’s been a new experience, coming from Wyoming, to witness New England governance by town meeting.  With this method of governing comes the requirement of a chief executive to lead in a positive manner.

All the candidates on the Selectman slate have an undeniable affection for the villages of Centerbrook, Essex and Ivoryton that make up the Town of Essex.

The question to answer when deciding which candidate will get your vote on November 8 is simply this:  Is ‘more of the same’ getting your support, or can we do better when it comes to preserving and promoting the rich history and unique character of our blended town?

I believe that we can do better and I would ask that you vote for Bruce MacMillian and Joel Marzi. They will bring a new team to lead our community into a brighter future.


Jerri N MacMillian
8 South Winds Drive
Essex, CT 06426

Architectural Subcommittee of the Essex Planning Commission to Hold Information Meeting

Essex — On Wednesday, November 2, the Architectural Subcommittee of the Planning Commission will hold an information meeting at the Town Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Neil Nichols, Chairman, explained, “This meeting is the last step in completing the mission of the Architectural Subcommittee. It is an informational meeting for town residents describing our work over the past year. ”

Mr. Nichols will narrate the presentation that was developed on our architectural heritage and the planning options that other towns employ to protect their architectural heritage. Also, the general public will see the results of the focus groups that viewed the presentation and discussed planning options.

This summer we conducted four focus groups for residents of each village and one for commercial landowners. The input from residents and commercial business operators provided the basis for the recommendations that the subcommittee has presented to the Planning Commission. These recommendations will be available to the public on the Town website and at the Land Use Office, Town Hall, prior to the meeting.

Handouts of our Mission Statement, our recommendations and a summary of planning options will also be available at the meeting. Mr. Nichols said, “This has been a long but fruitful process that, we believe, can have a positive impact on preserving our architectural heritage. To arrive at this point, we have contacted over 500 of our citizens and had nearly 90 participate in the groups. We look forward to sharing with you what you have told us over the past year.”

For more information, please contact Mr. Nichols at 860-767-1511.

Letters: New Positive Leadership and Cost Containment Needed

To the Editor:

We support Bruce MacMillian for Essex First Selectman and Joel Marzi for Selectman in the November 8th Municipal Election.

Many Essex residents believe the current state of the economy does not warrant conducting business as usual, in terms of town spending. We need new positive leadership from a team who understands the need for cost containment in these difficult times, and who will bring more transparency and clarity to the expenditures undertaken on behalf of the residents of Centerbrook, Ivoryton and Essex.

We hope voters will not vote purely on party affiliation but in the best interest of Essex. We need new ideas and programs to keep our town safe, well-managed and beginning to thrive again. We believe the MacMillian and Marzi team, with extensive corporate and small business experience as well as years working on Essex Boards and Commissions, can accomplish these goals.

Alice & Gary van Deursen

The Woman in Black – One of the Most Terrifying Live Theater Experiences Ever!

From left – Ian Lowe, Steve L. Barron. (photo by Anne Hudson)

Ivoryton:  As the nights are drawing in and Halloween is in the air, who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned ghost story? Especially a ghost story told on the stage of a 100 year old theatre. Well, you’re in luck! The Ivoryton Playhouse is presenting Stephen Mallatratt’s brilliant adaptation of Susan Hill’s classic chiller The Woman in Black from November 2 – 20.  Unanimously acclaimed by the critics and now in its 23rd year in London’s West End, The Woman In Blackis a terrifying trip through time into a tragic and ghostly world where the horrors of the supernatural combine with the power and intensity of live theatre to send shock waves through the audience with splendid thrills and chills.

The Woman In Black was first performed at the Theatre-By-The-Sea in Scarborough in 1987. The original production received rave reviews, paving the way for future productions throughout England. It reached the West End in 1989 where it celebrated its 9000th performance in June of this year.

‘The most brilliantly effective spine chiller you will ever encounter…if you haven’t seen this show yet you are missing a treat’ Daily Telegraph

Set on a lonely English moor, on an isolated causeway, the story has as its hero one Arthur Kipps, an up-and-coming young solicitor who has come north to attend the funeral and settle the estate of Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. The routine formalities he anticipates give way to a tumble of events and secrets more sinister and terrifying than any nightmare: the rocking chair in the nursery of the deserted Eel Marsh House, the eerie sound of pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and, most dreadfully, and for Kipps most tragically, the woman in black.

The Woman In Black is both a brilliant exercise in atmosphere and controlled horror and a delicious spine-tingler – proof positive that that neglected genre, the ghost story, isn’t dead after all. Directed by Maggie McGlone Jennings, the show features Steve L. Barron*, who was last seen in Ivoryton in Driving Miss Daisy, and Ian Lowe*, who is making his Ivoryton debut. Maggie is a veteran director has been seen on the Ivoryton stage in Moon Over Buffalo and Steel Magnolias, but this will be her directorial debut here. Set design is by Tony Andrea, lighting design by Doug Harry, sound by Tate R. Burmeister and costumes by Vicky Blake.

The Woman in Black opens on November 2 and runs November 20 for 3 weeks. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*member of Actors Equity

My Big Idea Brought Back from Washington, D.C.

Library of Congress

Strange the way ideas strike. I like to say that my best ideas strike me in the middle of the night. But I got this one in broad daylight–walking out of our magnificent Library of Congress in Washington last week. It struck me like a bolt of lightning.

Boom! And there it has been at the top of my mind. The idea has been percolating and percolating. I feel I must tell you about it. Yes, must.

Milady Annabelle and I were there on vacation. I own a time-share. What that means is that I own a deed to a fancy apartment in a resort hotel in Myrtle Beach, SC. I own that apartment one week a year. Yes, an actual deed. But I’ve never even seen the place. I can choose the week—so long as I get the jump on the 51 other owners who can claim it one week a year.

Like so many other time-share owners, I swap it. There are numberless other resorts and hotels in the system. It’s easy through a central set-up. I do it with a call or two to an 800 number, or even online. So we can go here and go there. But you must remember: just one week a year.

I must tell you in honesty that a time-share is a lousy financial investment. I wouldn’t buy into it again. But every time we use it, I feel good about it. So it was in Washington last week. A good time!

Actually we were staying in a brand-new city (?) a 30-minute drive from downtown. It’s called Harbor National. Seems to be only 10 years old or so and is still developing. Plunk on the Potomac in Maryland just south of D.C. A total resort community. Very nice hotels along a waterfront strip with all the usual restaurants and galleries and clubs and salons and souvenir shops and apparel boutiques and so on.

A 30-minute commute sounds difficult for me, living retired in small Deep River in this tranquil corner. But it’s considered an easy commute in Washington. We did it every day. It was complicated by construction work, thoughtless drivers, and the tension of driving encircled by cars “cruising” at 75 miles an hour and even higher. Wow!

This visit of ours confirms a long belief. Washington is one of the most attractive tourist cities in the world. I’ve traveled a bit so I feel I can say this. It is so rich wonderful, memorable possibilities.

It’s our national capital, of course, and how impressive it is. So many look-see buildings, from our Congress and Supreme Court and White House right on down to the endless line-up of federal agencies in white marble. So many statues. So many monuments. Parks. Squares. Malls. Circles. Shopping centers. A gamut of restaurants beyond number. So many embassies. So many universities and colleges. So many fabulous museums. Our extraordinary Smithsonian!

When I was a kid, it was customary for high school seniors to go to Washington for a few days as part of graduation. What a good idea. Is it still the custom? I’m not sure. I hope so. Sad to say, the private school that I went to didn’t do that.

But I did get to Washington as a kid. It was a wonderful week. It happened after my sophomore year at Assumption College in Worcester. My classmate and buddy John Tormey and I thumbed there and back! Notice my exclamation point. Today thumbing is a no, no. In fact, illegal in many places. Forbidden on our Interstates—they didn’t exist back then. We were 19. I don’t remember if it was his idea or mine. I suspect mine.

We thumbed for the best reason of all. We had just a few bucks. We made it there in a day—a long day. How lucky we got: one guy carried us for a couple of hundred miles—an entomologist. He had to explain he was a bug scientist. What impressed us is that besides his fascination with insects was that he drove at a steady, relentless 50 miles an hour. Hour after hour. Like a machine.

We rented a room at the YMCA. No hostels back then. Plain but okay. Every day we’d be up and out early. We’d hoof and ride the trolleys and buses. We knew little about the city. We were total strangers. It wasn’t easy finding our way around and getting to places. We saw a lot but too little. We weren’t savvy.

Another memory: On a newsstand I spotted a nudist magazine. “Sunshine & Health” I think it was called. I didn’t know such a magazine existed. Didn’t know some men and women liked to go nude at the beach, in the sun. That was long before Playboy. Lots of photos, but very tame by today’s standards.

Late one night at the Y John caught me with it in my hands. Talk about embarrassment. He has brought it up a couple of times. Just can’t resist. But I remember he grabbed it for himself the minute he could. (In time he was the best man at my wedding, and I at his.)

Just the standing and waiting by the highway and hoping to nab a ride was a worthwhile experience. So was learning how to start and hold a conversation with complete strangers. I look back on it all as a fine and grand adventure. We grew up a lot. I learned more than I ever did in any course.

I’ve been to Washington a few times over the years, and always tried to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible. True for Annabelle also. Yet it’s surprising how little all that has amounted to.

This time we were so lucky in one way. One gorgeous Indian Summer day after another. Could not have been better.  Our first day was daunting. As every school kid learns, Washington was built as a city planned on paper by the French architect and civil engineer Pierre L’Enfant (what a strange name his: it translates to Peter the Child!)

That was an extraordinary event in the history of great cities. Most grow hap-hazardly.

(As I write this, I think of course of our Ivoryton next door to Deep River here. It, too, was planned on paper, every aspect of it—where the factory would be, where the executives would live, where the workers, where the churches would be, where the grocery store, where the library and social club, and so on.)

He would be astounded to see the result today. In a sense the city is a monster. It is so huge. It has so many buildings. And that’s all because we have so many federal agencies and institutions and services and everything else. And so many related private groups of all kinds, each with its headquarters.

The traffic paralysis! Because all of us insist on driving our own car. Which is wonderful. But also terrible. We found the downtown traffic horrendous. This despite the marvelous Metro and remarkable bus system. The parking inadequate.  You have to circle around and search and search for a spot.  There are parking garages, but there are long queues of cars getting in and coming out, especially at rush hours. And expensive!

A blessing was my handicap-parking permit. “What a sad day,” I said to myself when I got my permit from the Connecticut DMV. “It has come to this!” But how much I have gotten to appreciate that permit in these declining years. It was a godsend in Washington.

Our priority was the museums, and particularly the fabulous museums of the Smithsonian Institution, federally supported, as we know. They line both sides of a mall, one great museum after another. All four-star museums for sure. And all free, I believe, even in these days of strained budgets.

Despite our grand intentions, we got to visit only two. One was the History Museum. The other was the Natural History Museum. We went to each on two days. And we spent hours in each.  The exhibits were amazing. So interesting. So well done. So educational. So much fun.

Annabelle and I have similar interests and different ones. That’s natural, isn’t it? So we split up in these grand buildings now and then. I’d go off to one exhibit and she to another. This was to make the most of our time.  Yet both of us got to see only a small part of each museum’s offerings. Imagine that.

When we got tired, we drove around. So much to see. We found our way to this neighborhood and that one. Cruised by the great monuments, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and others.  Experienced Dupont Circle and upscale neighborhoods. We drove bumper to bumper through charming Georgetown. We poked into the sprawling black neighborhood that starts just to one side of Congress.

A must for us there was Howard University.  I believe it is our country’s premier black university, meaning the best-known one planned and built and promoted for blacks. I’ve heard and read about it many times. Who hasn’t? A much larger campus than I expected, with bigger buildings, too, most red brick. And lots of activity. Many students (more than 10,000). And a “Harvard Square” of restaurants and bookshops nearby. I was impressed.

On our drives we spotted the Supreme Court and the Library, of course. On one day we made an attempt at visiting both. No parking spots. We did research and found there was a BIG parking garage within striking distance. It’s on one side of Union Station. And we found there a Circulator bus that could carry us close to both institutions. The Court and the Library are located practically side by side.

It was a long wait getting into the garage at 8:30 a.m. And the only spot we found was on the top floor, which I believe is the top floor. Then a long walk out and through Union Station. But what a fortuitous sight that was. What a big and magnificent building. Worth a visit even if you have no need to catch a train. Recommended!

Then a long walk to the right stop for the Circulator. The Circulator is well named. It circulates through the city. Quite new. Fine buses. Inexpensive. The $1 ride is just 50 cents for a senior. (The garage cost us $22.)

Our first stop was the Library of Congress. We got off nearby. But the Library is three big buildings! We entered the closest one, the Madison, named for James Madison, our fourth president.

Surprise. We had to go through airport-like security to get in. Putting all our possessions into our tray. Everything except having to take off our shoes. We were spared that.

Surprise No. 2. I found the Madison to be just a very large but disappointingly plain everyday working library. A research library mostly—aides doing research for representatives and senators and other officials; men and women writing books.

Our time was limited. What I hoped to see was the Periodicals Room. “I’ll bet they’ll have every American newspaper and magazine in there,” I said to Annabelle. “And from other countries, too.”

We got to the Periodicals Room down a long hallway, then down another. But we weren’t allowed in. We needed a library card! That was Surprise No. 3. And only the highest officials can check out books from the Library of Congress—Surprise No. 4.

The other “secondary” library is the John Adams, named for our sixth president. We never made it to that.

Our priority was the main library, the first of the three, the Thomas Jefferson, honoring the drafter of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and other important documents, and our third president. In fact, it’s his personal library at his home Monticello that became the nucleus of the Library of Congress.

We got in, again after a security search. All Americans are welcomed in. The red carpet is out. Again, the security check.  Finally into that grand and monumental and magnificent building! Huge halls. Great columns. Marble aplenty. Paintings and statues and plaques. And so many visitors.

The Jefferson was designed to make a statement and it succeeds: that the Library of Congress is our national library, the repository of all our copyrighted works, the treasure house of our learning, the fount of our thinking, the finest library of the greatest democracy in the world.

We got started by joining one of the frequent tours, but hearing the leader was too difficult and quickly we set off on our own. Again the exhibits were spectacular.

There is a splendid replica of Jefferson’s library with thousands of his original books. Some were lost but there’s a huge effort to find replacements. I walked from one bookcase to another, scanning the titles.

Amazing the breadth and variety—he was interested in absolutely everything. He had books in many languages. Many in Latin (which I studied long ago). And so very many in French. This interested me. French was my first language, learned on the laps of my parents. I studied it many years, and I speak and write it.

Then the exhibits! Especially “The Founding of Our Nation.” The original documents, mind you. How impressive. I was surprised by the feelings of marvel and appreciation and  pride and gratitude that welled up in me.

We did our best to get a look at everything, but again, much too much. On to the Supreme Court down the street.

And it’s in walking out that I felt that flash of inspiration. My big idea! I’ll tell you about it in a minute. First, about the Supreme Court.

It, too, is a grand building, but on a much smaller scale. It is only 75 years old in its present building. It is so important to us because here, as we know, are pronounced the momentous decisions that at times preserve and protect our society and our lives but at other changes bring changes, some big. The Supreme Court’s decisions shape our nation.

We were directed into the great courtroom itself. At the front on the podium were the chairs for our nine justices, lined up behind the long table. We took seats. A young woman came forward, smiled, and gave us a talk about the court. She did it from memory, timed to an exact 30 minutes, but with enthusiasm and freshness. Very good. I enjoyed her.

We found our way to the cafeteria downstairs. On the way we passed corridors that were gated off. I peered down each one. Was this where Chief Justice Roberts’ office was? Justice Antonin Scalia’s? Ruth Ginsburg’s? No idea.

Nothing elaborate about this cafeteria. It was clear this is where the staff ate, too, not only the tourists. It was now close to the 4 p.m. closing time but we hadn’t had lunch and we made up for it. The food was good and the prices fair—those at the Smithsonian had been shockingly high, at least to my pocketbook. I suspected that the justices did not eat here. My bet was that they were served in their offices. And could order coq au vin or saumon aux champignons if that’s what they wanted.

Finally out we went, happy with our visits. And tired. Another Circulator back to the Union Station garage. Another long line of cars rolling out. Back to our National Harbor Hotel. Again a frustrating ride. So much traffic.

We checked out the next morning and made the long trip home to Deep River by dark.

I found our few days so interesting, so educational, so stimulating, and so important. Annabelle felt the same way. Our time in the capital made us appreciate all the more the grandeur and achievement and success of our country. That’s why that idea sprang to my mind.

I said to myself,  “Every young person should come here and experience this. They should do it as part of their college education. Not when they’re old like us. Such a visit would set them up for life.”

But how to do that?

We should develop a national program. We have thousands of them, it seems. Why not one more?

For the moment let’s call it Summer in Washington. Intended for college students, perhaps in the summer after their junior year. Not just a few days. That wouldn’t be enough. I thought, “Six weeks!”

It would be designed to cram in as much information as possible. About our history. Our democratic and federal form of government. Our guiding principles. The incredible range of our government activities and the ever-expanding role of government in our lives. The changing make-up of our country in numerous ways. Our increasing stature in world affairs. Would be designed to make clear and emphasize our national values. And our duties and responsibilities—and rights and entitlements—as Americans.

And it would have to be fun! That would be an absolute essential.

My son Mark’s summer experience in Europe in 2009 influenced me, I’m sure. He’s a professor at the University of Georgia. He took 24 students to four cities in Europe on a three-week educational tour: Frankfurt, Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague.

Each morning he gave his students a lecture on what they were going to see—a bank, a cathedral, a factory, a museum, whatever. But the emphasis was on business—all the students were business majors, as I recall it.  Then in came a guest lecturer from that city to further explain. Then off they went to look, understand, and appreciate. They also had plenty of fun. A great success.

“Summer in Washington” would be a significant summer. One that would affect the students in good ways for the rest of their lives.

They would room and board at area colleges in universities—just as in the way the wonderful Elderhostel Program started some 40 years ago. They have idle rooms and cafeteria space in the summer.

There would be a broad curriculum of lectures and tours. Every day they would visit a list of important places. The Congress, of course. The Library of Congress. The Pentagon. The National Post Office. The FBI. The Department of the Interior. The Peace Corps! On and on.

Also the Smithsonian museums and other important sites. The Washington Monument. The Lincoln Memorial. The new Martin Luther King Memorial. Arlington National Cemetery.  Ford’s Theatre, where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

Every morning a lecture would precede the tour. The goal would be to explain, explain, explain.  From Monday to Friday, they would listen to a good lecture about what they would soon visit. They would do that visiting in the afternoon. And on the way there and back they would visit important monuments and sites. There are so many of them.

On weekends they would explore the city. Check out various neighborhoods. Drive by the embassies. And so on. Sightsee as much as possible. Rest and relax. But the overall emphasis should be on having fun.  Enjoying the whole thing. Being tourists in the finest meaning of the word. Education is easy when it’s coated with fun.

One week would not do. Much too short.  I thought six weeks would be right. Then I thought that it should be five weeks—five because that way two groups could be scheduled back to back more easily in the summer out-of-school time. With two sessions, more students could come.

It would be expensive. But it would be so worthwhile as a primal educational experience that it would justify the expense. So many students borrow their way through college nowadays. Well, they could borrow a bit more.

And there could be government assistance. After all, this would make all the students better citizens, better Americans, better voters—this at a time when the percentage of active voters year after year is less and less.

And there could be merit scholarships and fellowships.

It would be designed to have a big impact. A mind-opening, life-broadening impact.

It should be developed and publicized as a “must” for every boy and girl who wants a fine education—a liberal education in the finest meaning of the word. Even if what they’re majoring in is scientific or technical.

What I see is not a program of a few hundred students. I’m thinking of thousands every summer. A big program that would have a national dimension, bringing in students from every state and from our big cities and little towns. Not just rich kids. For every promising kid!

Well, it’s a good idea, you will say, but just an idea.

But we are surrounded with great things that were once just ideas.

It’s true of every aspect of our government, of course—our Congress, our Supreme Court, our very United States of America. Our Smithsonian Museum. Just an idea. Just a vision.

Think of our great break-through decisions and programs. The right to vote for every adult American, regardless of income, ownership of property or not. Free public education for all. Our Land-Grant universities. Women’s Suffrage. Social Security. The GI Bill. Medicare. Our Flight to the Moon. Again the Peace Corps—50 years old this year!  On and on. So many. Just an idea. Just a vision.

Every one of our great businesses—Ford, General Electric, Boeing, NBC, Microsoft, Pfizer, Google, The New York Times, Coca-Cola, Walmart, McDonald’s, Amazon.com. On and on. They were just an idea. Just a vision.

Even our tiny businesses. These newspapers without trees, Valleynewsnow.com and lymeline.com and oldsaybrooknow.com. The corner grocery store. Joe’s Barber Shop. The Whistle Stop Restaurant. Just an idea. Just a vision.

So many of our good works. Our many hospitals and  private universities and research centers. The Red Cross. A.A. Goodwill. Seeing Eye Dog. AARP. Mystic Seaport. The Connecticut River Museum. Keyboard Park. On and on and on. Just an idea. Just a vision.

True all over the world.

All started with just an idea. A vague vision.

Will my idea take off? I wish I knew. It’s a raw idea. It needs refining. It needs PR. It needs lobbying. It needs money. It needs enormous leadership. But this is the kick-off. We’ll see.

I welcome your comments, your suggestions, and your criticisms. Send them to me: johnguylaplante@yahoo.com.

“Summer in Washington!” Don’t you wish you could be 20 years old and going to that for five weeks? Wouldn’t you be delighted to have your daughter go? Your grandson?

If you like my idea, you can do your bit right now: email it to all your friends. Ask them to do the same.

Courtney Statement on Drawdown of U.S. Forces in Iraq

October 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joe Courtney today release the following statement after President Obama announced that all U.S. military forces will be withdrawn from Iraq by year’s end:

“President Obama’s decision to protect U.S. military personnel from unacceptable exposure to prosecution in Iraqi courts and instead execute the final removal of American troops from Iraq is the right decision for both countries. This milestone was achieved through negotiations between our two countries that provided a clear path for the transition of responsibility to the Iraqi government. After eight long years, our brave volunteers have given that country the opportunity to create its own future with a sizable security force and the rudiments of democratic institutions.

“With the Fifth Fleet nearby in Bahrain and U.S. bases in Kuwait and Qatar, our ability to respond to any threat to American national security in the region is more than adequate. As the President said, our two nations will continue to have a special relationship for many years to come, built on the sacrifice and effort of our troops. Now is the time to pay particular homage to all who served in Iraq and their families – the “one percent” who have stepped up and volunteered to wear our nation’s uniform through a difficult time in our history.”

Russ Becker and Steve Roane in Concert at CMS Oct 30

CENTERBROOK –Community Music School presents Music on the Spot: Russ Becker & Steve Roane in Concert on Sunday, October 30 at 3:00 p.m. The concert will feature original music for woodwind and string duo and takes place in Studio 15 at CMS, 90 Main Street, Centerbrook. Each of these accomplished musicians has recorded and performed extensively nationally and internationally. This event is free and open to the public. For additional information, please call 860-767-0026.

Community Music School, located in the Centerbrook section of Essex, CT, is a not-for-profit arts education organization offering instrumental and vocal students of all ages outstanding private and group instruction. In addition to long-running programs such as Kindermusik and Jazz and String Ensembles, CMS offers special programs for homeschool students and a full menu of summer offerings. Additionally, a certified music therapist is on faculty offering individual and group Music Therapy services, using music as a tool to reach individualized therapeutic goals for people of all ages and skill levels. For additional information on programs or performances, please call 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org.

Haunted Happenings: CT Ghostbusters Return

The Essex Library is delighted to welcome back researchers from the Connecticut Paranormal Research Society for a special two-hour presentation on “Haunted Happenings”, Friday October 28 at 7 p.m. This program will feature photos and video of their most recent investigations into hauntings statewide, and is not recommended for children under ten. A five dollar donation is requested to help defray the cost of the program, and you can register by calling the Library at 860-767-1560.

The Essex Library is at 33 West Avenue in Essex Village.

Since it was founded and established in 1995 by paranormal researchers Joseph Franke and Orlando Ferrante, the Connecticut Paranormal Research Society has established itself as one of the leading paranormal investigation and research teams in New England. Their programs are very popular, so please call today.

Deep River Rotary Annual Arts, Crafts Pumpkin Fair

Deep River Rotary will be holding their “Annual Arts, Crafts Pumpkin Fair” on Saturday October 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain or shine!) at Marvin Field Deep River, Connecticut, across from Deep River Congregational Church.

There will be a trophy award for Best of Show

Entry Fee: $45.00 arts, crafts, $100.00 for Food Vendors (includes spices/herbal vendors)

Audio Books and E-Books Now Available at Deep River Public Library

Max Rowe of Library Connection will be at Deep River Public Library to answer questions and demo the Overdrive way to checkout audio and ebooks on Tuesday October 25 at 6:30pm.

Overdrive is the newest resource for both downloadable audio books and eBooks. Overdrive downloadables are available to Deep River Public Library users through the library’s membership in Library Connection, a consortium which offers a collection of about 2300 audio books and 950 eBooks to its Connecticut members. The collection is growing constantly but there may still be a wait for high demand titles.

Chester Annual Halloween Pumpkin Festival and Parade

The Merchants of Chester Present The 12th Annual Chester Halloween Festival and Parade, Carved Pumpkin Showcase, and Costumed Art Gallery Opening Reception on Friday, October 28, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Chester Center.

Halloween will be celebrated in style in Chester on Friday, Oct. 28, from 5 to 9 p.m. This will be the twelfth year of the Annual Chester Halloween Festival and Parade and Carved Pumpkin Showcase, presented by the Merchants of Chester. The art galleries, stores, and restaurants will also be open during the evening to welcome visitors and families with special treats.


Chester’s Halloween Parade with Ghoulish Activities and Cemetery Hayrides

Bring a carved pumpkin to our Halloween Headquarters located at Century 21 Heritage Company, 1 Main Street by 5 pm on Friday, October 28th, enjoy the spooky glow during the evening and don’t forget to collect your pumpkin on the way home.

The town’s Halloween Costume Parade will convene at the Maple Street parking lot at 5:30 pm and commence at 5:45 down the hill toward the town’s center. Merchants in the village will keep their doors open a little later to give out treats.

From 6:00 to 8:00, a local DJ will rock the town with spooky serenades in front of Century 21 Heritage Company. Bring your dancing shoes and your grooviest moves. Contest held for Best Costume (adult and child) and Best Pumpkin (spookiest and most beautiful). Prizes generously donated by local shops. Village restaurants and a Healthy Hot Dog Cart will be serving up tasty family fare.

In addition, this year Chester will host the Second Annual Halloween Hayride with other Ghoulish Activities at the Laurel Hill Cemetery on Main Street in Chester from 7 to 10 pm. Climb aboard a hay wagon for a moonlit ride through one of Chester’s historic cemeteries. Cider, doughnuts and chili will be available to benefit the Chester PTO. Cost for a hayride is per person is $4.

Chester, Connecticut is a unique town that holds the past, present, and future in delightful balance. A storybook New England village, Chester is located on the left (port) bank of the beautiful Connecticut River, about 10 miles north of Long Island Sound. The town is renowned for its quaint shops, artist galleries and a variety of fantastic restaurants that all family members can enjoy. Easy to reach by car, rail, air, goatcart, foot, bicycle or boat, a convenient two-hour drive from NYC and Boston, MA, Chester is located at exit 6 on RT 9, which is easily accessible from I95 and I91. Free parking is available at the Maple Street and the Water Street lots.

For general information about this spirited Halloween tradition, please contact Kim at thelocalbeetcoop@gmail.com, come see us at 1 Main Street or phone 860-526-2667. For specific information about particular merchant activities, call them directly, visit their websites, or consult www.Visit-Chester.com, which has a continually updated listing of the towns’ weekend and special events.

The following Chester Merchants will be open from 5:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. on October 28, 2011 unless otherwise noted.

Peekabooquet n. cupcake

4 Water Street 860 526-2225


Join us to celebrate Halloween.Stop by for your halloween treat and get 10%

off purchase. Beautifully hadcrafted sweaters which are

locally made, along with our new collection, Mulberribush up to size 12, are

included at 10% off. Always evolving, always new, you’ll love our stuff.

Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery

One Spring Street 860-526-2077

Halloween Exhibit of a selection of oil paintings of the artist’s garden,

his travels and the Connecticut River Valley by Leif Nilsson on Friday,

October 28, 2011 with a reception from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. This show runs

through November 27th. Open Weekends Noon – 6 pm. Other times by chance or

appointment. Visit anytime on the internet at http://www.nilssonstudio.com


Caryn B. Davis

1 Spring Street, 860-526-5936

Chester photographer Caryn B. Davis will exhibit photographs from her

travels to Italy, Portugal, Martha’s Vineyard, Puerto Rico and Mexico at

the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery at 1 Spring Street in

Chester, CT. For more information contact Caryn B. Davis at 860-526-5936,

or via email at caryn@cbdphotography.com, or visit her website at



CERAMICA invites revelers of all ages to visit the shop Friday evening

from 5:00 to 8:00 … Guess the number of Halloween candies on display !

The closest ‘guesser’ will be announced at 7:30pm Winner will receive our

hand painted “Palio Owl Mug” from Deruta (perfect for drinking your

favorite witch’s brew!)… Note to Dads and Moms:

Don’t be ‘SPOOKED’ about visiting CERAMICA with your little Trick or


We always enjoy seeing your entire family!



CHESTER GALLERY Stop by and enjoy the wonderful art on our walls, some

wine and cheese and straight from NYC the music of the “Wafting Tones”.

Costumes are encouraged! Friday, October 28th. from 6 to 8

76 Main St. Chester 860-526-9822 Tues. thru Sat. 10 t0 5


Maple & Main Gallery of Fine Art

One Maple Street, Chester 860-526-6065


Maple & Main Gallery’s new fall show is now hung with over 200 works by 31

Connecticut artists.Please visit our new small works gallery off the main

floor. We will be welcoming visitors from 5-8pm with refreshments and our

signature candy, M&M’s, for trick or treaters. The gallery is located in a

lovely historic building at the corner of Maple and Main streets.



Connecticut River Artisans

5 West Main Street; Chester 860 526-5575

Please join the Connecticut River Artisans for an evening of Halloween fun

Friday, October 28. Stop by, show off your costumes and partake of some

holiday treats in the newly remodeled Shops at the Mill House as we extend

our hours to 8PM for the Pumpkin Festival and Parade. The Artisans are

featuring Mary Anne Delorenzo (http://www.beachhouseglassbeads.com). The

Gallery at the Mill House is presenting the photographs of Lou Zucchi.



The Local Beet Co-Op, Chester’s own natural foods cooperative, will be

open till 9pm offering treats for the whole family during the Halloween

festivities! We’re excited to see your fun and spooky costumes during this

fun night downtown!


1 Main Street Chester, CT 06412 860.526.COOP (2667)


Dina Varano

27 Main Street Chester 860.526.8866

Join us on Friday, October 28th, for an inspiring evening of spirited drinks,

creative costumes and treats for you and your family. We will be open from


exhibiting our new creations for the season! Stop by and see the village

glowing with pumpkins and join the festivities! Happy Halloween!!



ELLE Design Studio {+ Shop}

5 West Main Street



We welcome the creatures of the night to venture out of the darkness, and

into the heart of Downtown Chester, for a frightfully fun evening of trick

or treating and more! Come visit our “spook-tacular” newly renovated

space, and enjoy some festive refreshments, while perusing our growing

collection of unique home furnishings, accessories, and artwork. Our doors

will be open late, so come on by, if you dare!



Chester Historical Society

9 West Main Street 860-526-2331


Historian Rob Miceli and Chesternative Cheri Ferrari Habersang will lead a

Chester Historical Society-sponsored walk through LaurelHillCemetery(in

the center of town) on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. Some of the families

that will be discussed will be the

Katie Wilcox family, the Sillimans, and the Brookses. There is no

admission for the this family event, which does involve a short walk with

inclines to reach the top of the

cemetery. To participate, just meet at the Main Street cemetery entrance

gates opposite Chester Gallery. Light refreshments will be served.

Chester Selectmen Defer Appointment to Fill Region 4 School Board Vacancy

CHESTER— The board of selectmen has decided to defer the appointment to fill a two-year vacancy on the Region 4 Board of Education until after a new board of selectmen is elected in the Nov. 8 municipal election.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Interim First Selectman Tom Englert presented Mario Gioco as the Chester Republican Town Committee’s recommendation to fill the school board vacancy created by the Oct. 4 resignation of member Richard Strauss. Though Strauss, the board’s treasurer and a member since 2006, is a Republican, the vacancy term ending in November 2013 does not have to be filled by a registered Republican.

Gioco, a certified public accountant, is the chairman of the Chester Republican Town Committee. He is also the chairman and a longtime member of the zoning board of appeals. Gioco’s grown children previously graduated from Mercy.

Democratic Selectman Peter Zanardi, himself filling a vacancy term ending in November, said he has no objections to Gioco as a prospective member of the regional school board, but believes the appointment should be made by the board of selectmen that is elected on Nov. 8. “With the election this close, the new board should own the appointment to this position,” he said.

Democratic Selectman Lawrence Sypher said he agreed with Zanardi, and Englert, a Republican, did not object to deferring the appointment.

The makeup of the board of selectmen is expected to change next month, regardless of the outcome of the Nov. 8 vote. Englert, who became interim first selectman in August after the departure of former first selectman Tom Marsh, is seeking a second term on the board of selectmen, but not running for the top spot.

Edmund Meehan is the Democratic nominee for first selectman, with Sypher seeking a second term as his running-mate. Meehan and Sypher are challenged by two candidates running on the Chester Common Ground Party ballot line, Andrew Landsman for first selectman and Glen Reyer as the running-mate for board of selectmen. The top three vote-getters on Nov. 8 will comprise the board of selectmen through November 2013.

Photography Exhibit at Lemon ‘n Lyme

Early Morning by Edward McCaffrey, Connecticut Valley Camera Club

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club is having a “Member’s Choice” photography exhibit from November 1 through the 30 at Lemon ‘n Lyme (an artisan gift shop and gallery) in the Old Lyme Shopping Center, 19 Halls Rd., Old Lyme, CT.  There will be 69 photos on exhibit and for sale.

Everyone is invited to an Artist’s Reception on Saturday, November 5, 2011 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

The CVCC meets the last Monday of each month at 7:00 pm at the Community Room (lower level) of the Deep River, CT, Library (photographers at all levels are welcome).

Essex Selectmen Seek $32,528 for Emergency Response Items, Plan Relocation of Emergency Operations Center

ESSEX— The board of selectmen Wednesday approved a special appropriation of $32,528 for priority emergency response items while also planning the relocation of the town’s emergency operations center from the ground floor to a vacant second floor area at town hall.

The emergency response items were on a list of needed items prepared by Emergency Management Director William Buckridge and other town officials after a detailed review of the town’s response to Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28. The storm left most of the town without electric power for about five days.

The list, which First Selectman Phil Miller described as “the low hanging fruit that we can move on immediately,” includes a first responder control station for interface with the regional dispatch service at $10,000, a radio repeater unit for the emergency operations center at $8,000, a John Deere hydraulic thumb for brush removal at $4,450 and five portable radios for the volunteer ambulance service at $2,500.

The board approved a special appropriation not to exceed $32,528 to purchase the priority items. After review and approval by the board of finance, the special appropriation would be presented to voters for final approval at a town meeting expected next month.

The board also approved a special appropriation of $12,597 to construct a three-foot overhang on the front of the town garage. The overhang would block a winter ice buildup and falling ice hazard on the front section of the building. This expenditure also requires approval from the board of finance and a town meeting.

The board also agreed to relocate the town’s emergency management center from a ground floor room to the vacant former judge of probate office on the second floor of town hall. Miller said the town’s insurance carrier would pay much of the cost of the relocation, but would not cover any asbestos removal or the cost of any improvements needed to correct the water and mold problem in the current EOC area.

The board agreed to determine a specific town cost for the project at its Nov. 2 meeting that would include the relocation and correcting the water and mold problem in the ground floor area. An expenditure for the project would also need approval from the board of finance and voters at a town meeting.


Obituary: Edward Stanley Wollock, Jr. 10/16/11 Services: 10/22

Edward was born on July 6, 1943 in Middletown. He was the first son of Edward S. Wollock, Sr. and Sophie Stopa Wollock, both of Deep River who went home to be with the Lord ahead of him. He left his life here due to a massive heart attack at home on Sunday, October 16, 2011.

“Eddie” is survived by his wife and best friend; Pamela Witham Wollock, his brother and sister-in-law; Stanley P. and Dianne Wollock of Deep River, his daughter; Sophie Wollock Marsh, son-in-law; Geoffrey Edward Marsh and granddaughters; Allison and Amanda Marsh of Old Lyme, his step-daughter and granddaughters; Dawn Kazimir, Hope Kazimir, and Hannah DeCaro of Montgomery, NY, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law; Harry and Peggy Witham of East Lyme, and a nephew and nieces; Stanley P. Wollock, Jr., Lesley Witham Phaneuf, and Amy Witham Johnston, along with many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Eddie was a man of character and integrity. He was a faithful son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend. Eddie was a giving person who often put the needs of others before his own. He graduated from Valley Regional High School in 1961 and then went on to serve his country in the United States Army. After his honorable discharge, he began a career as a marine mechanic. He worked at Ferry Point Marina in Old Saybrook for his uncle and aunt, Stanley and Phyllis Wollock for 36 years. Eddie’s extensive knowledge of mechanics were an asset to the marina, and he shared his knowledge with anyone who asked.

His great sense of humor, love for boating, fishing and for being out on the waters of Long Island Sound brought many close friends into Pam’s and Eddie’s life. Eddie could be found fishing with family and friends aboard his boats, Flintstone, Flintstone Flyer, Sophie T., Madcap, Last One and Last Call. His talents in mechanics led to his hobby of car restoration. Some cars restored include a 1966 Chevelle Super Sport that he worked on for over two years with his daughter, a 1939 Ford Four-Door Sedan and his most recent project was a meticulously restored 1952 Ford Pickup. He was so pleased to have won “Best in Show”at the Tanger Outlet Car Show to benefit the Middlesex Hospital Cancer Care Center on October 8. He spent countless hours working together with friends and family on their projects as well.

Eddie enjoyed living the quiet life with Pam in the log cabin they built together on a hill in Deep River. They enjoyed working together in the yard and gardens, going cruising together and spending time with their beloved black lab, Star.

Eddie’s last day here included enjoying a piece of Pam’s apple-walnut cake, working with his cousin, Jason Roberts, on his tractor engine, attending his granddaughter’s soccer game, and taking his daughter for a wild ride in the ’52 Pickup. Eddie will be greatly missed by all his family and by all who knew him.

Calling hours will take place on Saturday, October 22nd from 11am to 2pm at Swan Funeral Home in Old Saybrook.  A memorial service will follow at Fountain Hill Cemetery in Deep River

Memorial donations can be made to Deep River Fire Department, Deep River Ambulance, or CT Humane Society.

Deep River Resident Talks about Peace Corps Opportunities Oct. 23

John Guy LaPlante

With summer over, the Acton Public Library will open Sunday afternoons again on Oct. 23 with a special Peace Corps program.

This is its 50th anniversary—it was founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. More than 200,000 Americans have served in more than 100 countries. Celebrations are being held all over the country.

Peace Corps is a proud service—one of Uncle Sam’s most popular. More than 200,000 Americans have served in it. Celebrations are being held everywhere.

Local journalist and recent Peace Corps Volunteer John Guy LaPlante will speak on “Don’t laugh, but Peace Corps may be for you! Yes, you!”

He went in at 77 and at 80 became the oldest Volunteer in the world. “Peace Corps thought it was a deal, but I didn’t,” he says. There are more than 8,000 serving in more than 100 countries.

Peace Corps has been known as a young person’s game. But more than ever it is also inviting older people to join—people 40, 50, 60, 70 years old—“even an old goose like me.”

With reason. Older folks have experience. Wisdom. Maybe a bigger desire to “give back” and “do good for the good of it.”

He became a university teacher in Ukraine. “Ukraine and teaching were just two of the big surprises for me,” he says. “I had many surprises. I want to tell people about them.”

He also likes to tell about the many good things and benefits of Peace Corps—the perks! “It can be a good deal,” he says. “That surprises people.

“As many people get older, so many need a break from their work and their routine after a while. Peace Corps can be a great solution.”

He tells of his experiences—mostly good but some not so good—in his book, “27 Months in the Peace Corps. My Story, Unvarnished,” just published. “My whole, true story,” he emphasizes.

This is a return engagement to the Acton for him. Some will remember his talk about his remarkable solo trip around the world. The library has his book, “Around the World at 75. Alone, Dammit!” on its shelves.

He says, “More people should inject a bit of adventure into their life!”  “Not too hard to do. Consider Peace Corps!”

Emergency Repairs at Chester Meeting House Expected to Cost About $5,000

CHESTER— The emergency fire code repairs that allowed the reopening of the balcony at the historic Chester Meeting House are expected to cost about $5,000. The repairs were completed last weekend, in time to reopen the balcony for concerts held Saturday night and Sunday.

Selectmen Larry Sypher reported on the repairs at Tuesday’s meeting of the board of selectmen. Sypher, a Democrat elected in 2009, had taken an active role in  getting the work completed after the board learned at an Oct. 4 meeting that the closing of the balcony was impacting community groups that use the building, including the popular Collomore Concert Series that had a concert with out-of-state musicians scheduled for Sunday Oct. 16.

The balcony had been ordered closed by Fire Marshall Richard Leighton after an August inspection uncovered various fire code violations in the heavily used building.

Sypher said a second inspection allowed Leighton to specify the exact repairs that would be needed to reopen the balcony. After conferring with Interim First Selectman Tom Englert, Sypher obtained price quotes from local contractors for the emergency improvements.

The local Klausen Construction Company handled structural repairs to the circular staircases leading to the balcony. Indar Stairs, a firm recommended by Klausen, replaced the too-short balcony railings, while Top Notch Electrical Services of Deep River installed new exit sign lighting.

Sypher the bill from Klausen Construction was about $2,200, with the total cost of the repairs expected be less than $5,000. Selectman Peter Zanardi, a former selectman appointed last month to fill a short vacancy, praised Sypher and Englert for working together to get the most critical improvements at the Meeting House completed in less than two weeks. “This was a joint effort where government and the community came together to get this done,” he said.

Alchemy: An Exhibition by Maureen McCabe & Mundy Hepburn

Old Lyme, CT – Alchemy is a dual exhibition of works by assemblage artist Maureen McCabe and neon artist Mundy Hepburn opening at The Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme on October 20th.  Boxed assemblages and neon sculptures will fill the lower gallery with stories and light in an environment of fantasy and imagination. For Mundy neon is a playground of color and movement that has an almost magnetic pull.  Maureen weaves fantastic tales as she composes one-of-a-kind objects inside beautifully crafted boxes.  In tandem Hepburn and McCabe bounce the observer happily between the visceral and literal creating adventures in rational and irrational experience.

Alchemy seemed an appropriate title for this show as alchemical fantasies go back beyond recorded history and the promise of magical combinations becoming greater than the sum of their parts seemed a perfect contemporary setting.

Maureen McCabe is a renowned assemblage artist. Like a bowerbird she is always gathering rare and unusual objects to incorporate into her miniature boxed universes. Maureen is a wry observer of contemporary and academic life. She was nose-to-nose with it during her 40-year professorship of Art at Connecticut College. Her boxes may bring reference a distant myth or ancestral legend or simply be an observation of another irony of life. “Entering Maureen McCabe’s magical and witty world is akin to going down the proverbial rabbit hole. You adjust your sense of scale and free yourself for a leap into a wonderland of profound mystery.” Combining that notion with the “mystical beauty of neon” make for a literally fantastic show at The Cooley Gallery.

Neon artist, Mundy Hepburn is no stranger to the notion of magical concoctions.  His art has been described as “mystical beauty in neon.”  The path opened to him as an 8 year-old child as soon as he saw the glass animals of Paul Geyer at the Guilford Handcraft Fair. Precocious young Mundy was soon melting light bulbs on the Magic Chef. Thirty-five years and numerous exhibitions later he is still experimenting with molten glass and ionized gases. This exhibition with Maureen gave Mundy another context, another stage for his players of light.

For Alchemy The Cooley Gallery is transformed into a visual labyrinth. Some pieces in the exhibition are collaborative: Maureen’s boxes are electrified and punctuated with Mundy’s neon. In other areas the fantastical neon forms cast glowing light onto the assemblages nearby.

This exhibition runs through November 12th.

 Founded in 1981 and located in the heart of historic Old Lyme, the Cooley Gallery specializes in fine American paintings from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, and select contemporary artists.

Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Please call (860) 434-8807 or visit www.cooleygallery.com  for additional information. The Cooley Gallery is located at 25 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT 06371.

Chester Selectmen Appoint a Main Street Committee

CHESTER— The board of selectmen has appointed the final members and approved the charge for a Main Street Committee that will coordinate improvements to Main Street in the downtown village as the state Department of Transportation pursues replacement of two bridges in the vicinity.

The board Tuesday approved a formal charge for 11-member committee. Members were appointed last month, with the final member, local realtor Leslie Strauss, appointed earlier this month. All are volunteers for the panel, which is expected to be active at least through 2013.

The committee includes representatives of the planning and zoning commission, the water pollution control authority, the board of selectmen and Main Street business owners, along with individuals with architectural, engineering, and road construction experience. Other members are Michael Joplin, chairman of the planning and zoning commission, Al Bisacky from the WPCA, Virgil Lloyd, Steve Tiezzi, architect John Schroeder, Charles Mueller, James Zanardi, Charlene Janecek, John King, and Bruce Sypher.

Main Street is also known as Route 148, though the town owns a section from the intersection with Route 154 west to the Main Street bridge. The section of road has been paved over several times, leaving areas where the height of the road pavement exceeds the curb to create drainage problems after heavy rain. Beneath the pavement is old and abandoned infrastructure, including water mains, trolley tracks, sewer lines and outdated storm water drainage.

The town project will include reconstructing the road surface and sidewalks, along with inspecting and possibly removing some of the outdated utilities and infrastructure. The project will be done around the same time as state funded replacements of the Water Street bridge over Great Brook, and the Main Street bridge. Work on the Water Street bridge is expected to begin next year, with the replacement of the Main Street bridge expected in 2013 or 2014.

The town has $419,000 set aside for the project, including $219,000 in the capital budget and a $200,000 state Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant. The total project is expected to cost about $1 million.

The committee, which has already held its first meeting, has been asked to develop and implement a work schedule and budget for the town-funded project, along with coordinating communications and scheduling with the state Department of Transportation during the bridge replacement projects. The committee will coordinate bidding for the town project, while also holding public information forums to keep residents informed about the project. The committee will be the point of contact for contractors, utility companies, and the state DOT.


Seventh Annual Tree of Life Conference on Israel and Palestine to be held in Old Lyme November 5 and 6

Old Lyme, CT –The seventh annual Tree of Life Conference on Israel and Palestine will take place on Saturday and Sunday, November 5 and 6, in Old Lyme, CT, at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL). Open to the public, the interfaith forum is organized by the Tree of Life Educational Foundation (TOLEF) and supported by organizations and individuals committed to peace and justice. Consistent with the six previous conferences, the event will amplify the voices of peacemakers as  it illuminates issues inherent in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict routinely overlooked or under-reported by mainstream media. Special emphasis this year will be on journalism: how well it reports – or avoids – the truth.

In announcing this year’s Conference, the Rev. David W. Good, senior minister of the FCCOL, commented, “The protests of Arab Spring and the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN bring into sharp relief many of the troubling aspects of the conflict we explore in Tree of Life initiatives. The American public is becoming more sensitive to the complicity of the U.S. in the ongoing tension in the Middle East. So this year, while we’ll again take a look at “facts on the ground,” our special focus on journalism, on the new media landscape, will help concerned citizens fill alarming gaps in news coverage of these – and many other — critical issues.”

Opening concert  –  Saturday, November 5 – 5:30 pm

The first of two conference events will take place on Saturday, November 5, at 5:30 pm, when young musicians from Beit Sahour in the West Bank join The Silver Hammer, a rock band from the CT shoreline, in a program of lively music celebrating cross-cultural friendship. Following the concert, attendees will be welcomed at a Middle Eastern dinner provided by The Islamic Center of New London and the Connecticut Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Speaker program: Voices of Conscience and Hope  – Sunday, November 6, 1:30-6:30pm

On Sunday, November 6, from 1:30 to 6:30pm, first-person accounts of peace advocacy under Israeli occupation will be offered by speakers from Israel and Palestine, and working journalists will tell  their “back-stories” of  communicating the truth in a challenging media environment.

Albert Schweitzer Professor of Philosophy at Quinnipiac University and Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, Anat Biletzki, will speak about her activism in many human rights projects in Israel, including B’Tselem – the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Author Mark Braverman will talk about his efforts to project prophetic truths across religious boundaries. Allison McCracken, who has traveled extensively and worked in the West Bank, will share those experiences and report on her current work in Washington, DC with CodePink, a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement. Daoud Nassar, from the Tent of Nations near Bethlehem, will give an account of his efforts to build bridges of reconciliation while trying to save his family farm from appropriation for Israeli settlements. Sahar Vardi, representing the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, will describe the organization’s non-violent tactics in preventing Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories. Ashley Bates, assistant editor of Tikkun magazine, will relate her experiences as a journalist in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, as well as her work with Palestinian and Israeli youth. Palestinian journalist and author of Gaza Mom, Laila El-Haddad, will tell what it’s like to both cover the story of Gaza and live it. Adam Horowitz, of Mondoweiss, a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, will bring a progressive Jewish perspective to the discussion. American journalist and blogger Jared Malsin, detained and deported by Israeli authorities in 2010 while working for Ma’an, a Palestinian news agency, will consider the implications of that experience for working journalists. And Alison Weir, president of the Council for the National Interest. and executive director of If Americans Knew, a non-profit, independent research institute, will describe her work to augment mainstream reporting of the conflict.

Following the program, refreshments will be served at an arts, crafts, and information bazaar at which all conference attendees will be welcomed.

Admission, reservations, information

Both the Saturday concert and the speaker program on Sunday are open to the public. Admission: $20 per event, or $35 for admission to both. Students and persons under age 21 will be admitted free of charge. Advance registration and sponsorship commitments may be made online at www.tolef.org, or through the FCCOL office at 860-434-8686 and fccol@snet.net.

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme is located at the intersection of Ferry Road and Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT.

About the Tree of Life Educational Fund

The Tree of Life Educational Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established by the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme to provide cross-cultural and transnational travel experiences, educational opportunities, and interfaith events at a variety of venues, helping participants to

engage in making this a more just and peaceful world. In addition to their appearances in Old Lyme, this year’s Tree of Life Conference speakers and performers will also make presentations in West Hartford CT, New York City, Cape Cod, Cambridge MA (Harvard University), and Springfield MA. Information on these programs may be found at www.tolef.org.


Websites of featured speakers, organizations:

Ashley Bates www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/contributors/bio-ashleybates

Anat Biletzki http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1498.xml?School=LA&Dept=PO&Person=44007

Mark Braverman markbraverman.org

Laila El-Haddad www.gazamom.org

Adam Horowitz  mondoweiss.net

Jared Malsin jaredmalsin.wordpress.com

Allison McCracken www.codepink.org, www.tolef.org

Daoud Nassar  fotonna.org

Sahar Vardi www.icahd.org

Alison Weir councilforthenationalinterest.org,ifamericansknew.org

The Silver Hammer silver-hammer.webs.com


Deep River’s Dick Smith Endorses Norman Needleman for First Selectman of Essex

Deep River's Dick Smith endorses Essex's Norman Needleman

Deep River’s long serving First Selectman, Dick Smith, has endorsed a fellow Democrat, Norman Needleman, to be First Selectman of Essex. Needleman is waging a hard fought campaign for Essex First Selectman against a Republican challenger.

Smith on the other hand is running for his 12th term as Deep River’s First Selectman with no opposition whatsoever. The Republicans did not even put up a candidate against him.

In endorsing Needleman, Smith said, “Knowledge and experience are always important,” and he noted that Needleman had eight years of town government experience, as Essex Selectman, behind him. Smith said, “Many of the issues in these small towns are the same,” and that this was particularly true of Deep River and Essex.

Smith pointed out that the two towns “share a regional school district, we share the dog pound, and we have a mutual aid agreement in providing fire and ambulance services.”

Smith also said that when it comes to dealing with state government, Needleman would know what “to lobby against,” such as unfunded mandates, and “what to lobby for,” such as state grants. “He would be a great guy to work with” Smith said.

Smith said that he felt that the next few years were going to be particularly tough because of economic conditions. He was clear that he wanted an experienced hand running the town government next door, and that was Norman Needleman.

Talking About the Preschool Years: Anticipating Full Day Kindergarten

What are the implications of full day kindergarten in Region 4?  Will our schools be ready for this transition?  Will my child be ready?  These are some of the questions that are on parent’s minds as the Region steps into full day kindergarten in September 2012.

A panel discussion led by Region 4 administrators and teachers is scheduled for Monday, November 14, 2011 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at Chester Elementary School.  The evening will include panelists: Ian Neviaser, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Danielle Lipkvich, Essex Elementary School Teacher, Mike Barile, Principal of Chester Elementary School, Meredith Adler, Parent Resource Coordinator at Tri-Town Youth Services.  The evening will be facilitated by Linda Hall, Region 4 Regional Board of Education President.

The evening’s presentation is free, due to a grant from Middlesex United Way and is sponsored by the Early Childhood Council of Deep River, Chester and Essex.  The mission of the Council is to sponsor Early Childhood Scholarships for local families in need and to keep our local families informed on topics related to the needs of families with young children.

Other information about the Council is available on our website:  www.earlychildhoodcouncil.com

Vista Tour de Shore cycling event brings in over $40,000!

On Sunday, October 16, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center held the Third Annual Vista Tour de Shore cycling event.  This year’s Vista Tour de Shore boasted around 250 riders and raised over $40,000.

The event was sponsored by Essex Savings Bank, The Gowrie Group, Shore Publishing, Thomson Tours, Wells Fargo and Zane’s World Famous Cycles and featured rides of 25, 40 and 60 miles throughout the Connecticut shoreline

VIP’s in attendance included the CEO of USA Cycling Steve Johnson and world-class rider Evie Stevens of Team Specialized lululemon.

Net proceeds from the Vista Tour de Shore benefit the Endowment Fund of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, Inc.

Based in Westbrook and Madison, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.  Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources on an individualized basis to assist adults with disabilities to live independent and successful lives.  For more information regarding Vista, please visit www.vistavocational.org

Essex Historical Society and Antique Car Enthusiasts Hold Show and Tour on Glistening Sunday Afternoon

Essex Historical Society hosts antique auto show

Cars… antique cars… beautiful antique cars… 40 beautiful antique cars showed up for the “Fall Foliage Antique Motor Tour and Car Show” held on the on the grounds of the Pratt House in Essex on Sunday, October 16.  Sponsored by the Essex Historical Society and the Belltown Antique Car Club of East Hampton, these glistening and shining automotive beauties of days gone by, were truly a sight to see.

Among the participants, behind the wheel of his 1912 Model T Ford “Speedster,” was Bruce MacMillian, who is a serious antique car buff, as well as a modern day politician. MacMillian is presently running for First Selectman of Essex on the Republican line.

However, MacMillian considers his 1912 Motel T as far too precious for campaigning. For that, he puts his 1925 Ford in service, which is getting quite a bit of mileage these days.

Antique auto owner/candidate likes old cars

Also, attending the antique car show and tour was John Beveridge, who is the President of the show’s co-sponsor, the Belltown Antique Car Club. Beveridge, who lives in Essex and has three garages full of old cars, shared some interesting insights as to why some perfectly normal men, and sometimes women, go absolutely nuts about old cars.

One of the reasons is “nostalgia” for the old days, says Beveridge. Another attraction is the relatively simple mechanics of old cars.  “Mechanics are a big part of the attraction for us” he says.

Auto club President John Beveridge

This means that when you have to fix an old car, more likely than not you can fix it yourself. By contrast, “You can’t even open the hood of a modern car,” the antique car leader says.

“These old cars are fun to fix,” and when the job is done, the owner gets “instant gratification,” he reports. In addition, the aesthetic value of an antique vehicle is a big draw for an owner. Also, “There is a wonderful functionality of the vehicles and its parts,” croons Beveridge.

A bright red welcome to the car show

Not only old guys are interested in old cars, according to him, young people are into them as well. Young people are now using the civsvi.com to buy medicine. However, the younger crowd favors “muscle cars,” such as Chevy Cameros and Ford Mustanges. The old guys, if they have the money, favor Bentleys and Jaguars, he says.

Big Red, coming at you

As for the antique auto club, people join not only because of their common enjoyment of old cars, but also because of what the club President calls the “social aspect,” a fancy way of saying being among friends. The club even has a slightly cornball slogan, “Car guys are good guys.”

A more modest entry

The antique auto club holds three events a year. The first is the “Spring Dust-Off Motor Tour; next is the Annual East Hampton Antique Car Show,” which is always held on the first Sunday in August, and, finally, there is the “Fall Foliage Antique Motorcar Tour and Car Show, held this year with the Essex Historical Society.

Black is beautiful!

As for the price of these vehicles, a 1932 Packard “Pheton,” owned by Ralph Herman, who owns Antique Auto Service, goes for $180,000. Herman says that that his company takes care of at least 40 antique vehicles. Club President’s Beveridge’s 1936 Ford would go for $85,000, and he has no intention in selling it.

Off for a grand tour around Essex

Community Education Forum October 27th

To the Citizens of Chester, Deep River, and Essex,

The Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Region 4 Schools Strategic Planning Committee is in the process of reexamining our current goals. The purpose of Strategic Planning is to create long range mission, vision, and goals.

Strategic Planning is most effective when citizens participate in the process of framing a direction for our schools for the next 5 years. The process of creating a strategic plan can be described as the development of a plan that works in concert with our existing Board of Education policies to provide administration and staff the direction they need over an extended period of time toorganize expertise, systems, and resources to achieve the district’s mission.

We are holding a community forum to solicit your thoughts and ideas on October 27, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Valley Regional Auditorium. We would most appreciate your participation in this most important endeavor.


Dr. Ruth Levy, Superintendent of Schools 

Chester Meeting House Balcony Reopened

At the October 4, 2011 Selectman’s Meeting, Chester’s Fire Marshal announced that the balcony level of the Chester Meeting House was officially closed due to a number of Fire Code violations affecting public safety. Immediately touring the facility, the Board of Selectmen agreed to initiate corrective action so upcoming, including the Collomore Series concert 12 days ahead, would be minimally impacted.

Selectman Larry Sypher, with Board of Selectmen approval, immediately sought out and contacted multiple contractors for quotes. The Board of Selectmen agreed to proceed after review of the quotes.

Sypher then contacted Martin Nadel with the Robbie Collomore Music Series and advised him that every effort would be made to complete the work by the 16th. Nadel had suspended their additional ticket sales due to the balcony closing of the Meeting House.

Sypher worked along with Top Notch Electrical Services in Deep River who completed the electrical work and local contractor Jeff Klausen of Klausen Construction Co., who specializes in antique restoration construction for completion of the structural repairs. Indar Stairs, stair and railing specialists, recommended by Klausen, replaced the balcony railings.  Sypher stayed in constant contact over the week with Nadel providing progress reports.

The work was completed by early afternoon on Saturday, October 15, and Fire Marshal Leighton made the final inspection within minutes of the completion and approved the reopening of Meeting House upstairs balcony area.

Nadel was contacted immediately regarding the reopening and the full seating capacity including those 60 balcony seats. Nadel was extremely pleased with Sypher’s hard work and effort and believes the work would never have been completed in time without his diligent supervision and coordination.

Interim Selectman Peter Zanardi agreed and stated, “Sypher’s leadership and efforts were commendable”.

Killingworth Concert Features Ride in the Country for Beautiful Music

Concert performers (left to right) Hugh Ewart, Sandra Hyslop, Leslie Gaman, and David Ewart

Want to get away from the shoreline? Want to hear some beautiful music at your destination?

Then your answer is to attend the “Leaves of Autumn Concert’ at the “Little Church in the Wilderness” at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 50 Emmanuel Road in Killingworth on Sunday, October 23 at 4:00 p.m.

The concert is followed by delicious homemade desserts after two hours-plus of delightful classical music.

Concert organizer and dessert maker Rosemarie Prelinger

Program organizer Rosemarie Prelinger says, “Up in Killingworth we love to have visitors from out of town, especially when we can offer them a classical musical program of the very top rank.” It might be noted that Ms. Prelinger in addition to organizing the concert program also prepares all the desserts after the program.

Compositions by Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven will be performed during the first half of the concert. After the intermission compositions by Kreisler, Richard Straus, Schuman, Debussy, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and an “Autumn Leaves” selection will be played.

Performers at the concert will be David Ewart, violin; Hugh Ewart, violin; Patrick Walsh, violin; Leslie Garman, soprano soloist and piano; Sandra Hyslop, piano; and Isabelle Walsh, violin. Ms Walsh is an eleven year old prodigy.

Frankly, it takes some doing to find the “Little Church in the Wilderness,” because it really is in the middle of nowhere. Here are directions in finding the Emanuel Episcopal Church, its proper name, when driving up Route 9 from the south. .

Get off Route 9 at Exit 9 and take a left turn at the bottom of the ramp on to Route 81. Drive on Rt. 81 until it intersects with Route 148. Turn right on to Rt. 148 and go for about 4 miles. Then take a hard left on to Emmanuel Church Road (a Concert sign will be posted). The church is located in the wilderness quite a ways down the road.

The price to attend is $15 for adults, $10 for students and children are free.