July 4, 2022

Archives for October 2011

Congressman Courtney Questions Panetta on Strategic Value of Submarines

On October 13 at a  hearing of the House Armed Service Committee, Congressman Joe Courtney questioned Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on his views of  the strategic value of submarines in the light of the critical role of submarines in recent events in Libya.

Watch the exchange below:

Area Towns to Receive New Solid Waste Disposal Offers From Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority

The solid waste disposal contracts with the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority for Essex, Deep River, Chester, and dozens of other Connecticut towns will expire in November 2012.

The pending expiration brought CRRA President Thomas Kirk and Peter Egan, Director of Operations and Environmental Affairs for the regional trash authority, to the regular meeting of the board of selectmen last week to discuss new options for municipal solid waste disposal contracts after the current long-term contracts expire on Nov. 15, 2012.

Essex was one of the first towns to sign on when the regional trash authority was formed in the mid-1980s. All of the other lower Middlesex County towns, including Chester and Deep River, also joined, and Essex became the site for a regional solid waste transfer station located on Dump Road off Route 154, just south of the Essex-Deep River town line.

The transfer station, which has been in operation for more than two decades, compacts trash from 13 area towns for hauling to the CRRA Mid-Connecticut incinerator in Hartford. The incinerator generates electricity by burning the trash. A total of 70 state cities and towns use the Hartford facility. CRRA also processes recyclables, such as glass and metals, for the area towns.

Egan said the non-profit authority is offering towns several options for trash disposal after 2012. A 15-year contract that ends in 2027 is expected to have the lowest disposal fee, $59.50 per ton. The fee would be $61 per ton if towns decide to have an early opt-out provision in the contract.

Area towns are currently paying a disposal fee of $69 per ton. CRRA would also continue to process recyclables from the member towns. The contracts would also have a fuel surcharge if the price of diesel fuel rises above $5 per gallon. The fuel surcharge would add 6.5 cents per ton for every 10 cents per gallon over $5.

Egan said a new operator for the incinerator and sorting of recyclables, along with higher payments for electricity generated, would allow the lower disposal fee. But he added the exact disposal fee for the new contracts would not be established until February.

Egan said the authority would be asking cities and towns to make decisions on the new contracts after the exact disposal fee is set in February. A town meeting vote would be required for Essex to approve any new contract with CRRA.

Despite the location of the regional transfer station in Essex, the town would also have the option of contracting with another trash authority for solid waste disposal. Another trash incinerator is located in the eastern Connecticut town of Lisbon. The Lisbon incinerator, which opened in 1995, serves Middletown, which is a co-owner of the facility.

Connecticut River Museum Community Forum to Explore Safety of Our Water Post ‘Irene’

Essex, CT —  In the weeks following Tropical Storm Irene, flooded storm drains, sewerage treatment overflows and general runoff has changed the River dramatically.  The potential effects on well water and public water systems will be the focus of a free community forum “Our Water – How Safe Is It?”  hosted by the Connecticut River Museum on Thursday, October 20  from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.  All are invited to join Museum staff for a lively discussion with Andy Fisk, Executive Director of the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and others as they explore the status of our water quality in relationship to both long and short-term pollution concerns. Light refreshments will be served.  The program is free of charge but those planning to attend are asked to call (860)767-8269 prior to the forum to reserve a seat.   The Connecticut River Museum, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its surrounding valley, is located at 67 Main Street on the Essex waterfront.  For more information on this or other Museum programs and events, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.


Talking Transportation: What’s in a Name?

Don’t be too jealous, but as you read this I’m enjoying a rail adventure in Europe… almost two weeks of riding some of the fastest and best trains in the world… my idea of a real holiday.

As I prepare my itinerary, I’m struck by how well the Europeans “brand” their service.  There is, of course, “Eurostar”, the popular train between London and Paris via “the Chunnel”.  There’s also “Thalys” from Paris to Brussels and Amsterdam, and “Lyria”, a super-fast service from Paris to Switzerland using French TGV’s.

All of these trains sound a lot more exciting than “Acela”, Amtrak’s best effort at high speed rail.  As one-time Amtrak President David Gunn once said, “Everyone knows what Acela is… it’s your basement.”

Amtrak still has some named trains though they are pale shadows of their historic namesakes:  the Silver Meteor and Silver Star to Florida, The Lakeshore Limited to Chicago, The Adirondack to Montreal.

The New Haven Railroad used to name its trains:  The Merchants Ltd., The Owl, The Patriot and Senator.  When Amtrak inherited The Owl, a night train from Boston to Washington, they renamed it “The Night Owl”.  But it was so slow and made so many stops, it was better known as “The Night Crawler”.  It’s long gone.

It may well be that Acela will seem like a slow-poke if a new project takes wing: a maglev train linking New York and DC.  Out of the blue this week I got an online survey from a company testing names for the proposed service.

Among the options I was asked to grade:  “Maglev”, “Quicksilver”, “Aero” and “Magenta”.  Really… magenta?  But clearly these planners know that before they could even propose such a service, it needs an identity.  (PS:  I think this project has zero chance of ever being built, but it’s nice to know someone is thinking bigger and better than Amtrak).

Even stations’ names can evoke grandeur:  Grand Central Terminal (not station!) says it all… big, NY Central and a dead-end.  South Station and North Station in Boston give you a sense of location, like Paris’ Gare de Nord and Gare de L’Est. And Gare de Lyon tells you one of the big cities where the trains are coming from.

On Metro-North most of the station names align with the towns where they are located.  But Westport residents insist on calling their station “Saugatuck”.  And I wish I knew how Green’s Farms got its name.  Coming this fall, “Fairfield Metro” will arrive.

Though it doesn’t name its trains, some Metro-North Bombardier-built cars carry  names tied to Connecticut lore:  The Danbury Hatter (alluding to the city’s old industry), The Ella Grasso (named after our former Governor) and my favorite, The Coast Watcher.

And even before Amtrak, America’s railroads similarly named many cars, especially sleepers, parlor cars and diners.  The long-distance, double-deck Superliners carry the names of the states and such historic figures as A. Phillip Randolph, founder of the Pullman porters union.

So the next time you’re on some generic, 30+ year old Metro-North car known only by a number, think of how much more glamorous your commute could be on a car and train with a name like “The Silver Streak” or “The Weary Commuter”.

JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 20 years.  He is Chairman of the CT Metro-North / Shore Line East Rail Commuter Council, and a member of the Coastal Corridor TIA and the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CTRailCommuterCouncil@gmail.com  or www.trainweb.org/ct

Essex Library to Honor Ann “Boo” Penniman

The Essex Library invites the public to a reception in honor of Anne “Boo” Penniman, the former Library Director, at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, October 17. The Penniman family has commissioned an oil portrait of Boo for the Library, which will be unveiled at the reception. The portrait was painted by William Benson. Mr. Benson’s work has been shown in the Rochester Memorial Art Museum, the Arnot Museum in Elmira, and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University, and his portraits have been collected by numerous worldwide organizations, colleges, and families.

During “Boo” Penniman’s tenure as Director, the Essex Library moved from its original site on South Main St. to its present location on West Avenue. Boo used her considerable organizational talents to oversee the seamless transition to the new Library.  Once ensconced in the new facility, Boo instituted many other changes that led to the Library’s developing into the information and cultural hub of Essex.  After her retirement, “Boo” and the Penniman family remained very active supporters of the Library, and “Boo” is currently the honorary chairperson of the Library’s 21st Century Campaign.  Please RSVP to the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 if you would like to attend.

The public is also invited to stay for the Library’s Annual Meeting, which will be held immediately afterward at 7 p.m.

Annual 5K Road/Trail Race Benefitting Ivoryton Library – Oct 22

The Second Annual Run Local/Read Local 5K Road and Trail Walk/Run benefiting the Ivoryton Library and sponsored in part by Tower Laboratories, Ltd, will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2011.  The race will start near the Library at 9:15 a.m. and meander through parts of historic Ivoryton, into Falls River Farms and the Falls River Preserve before returning to the Library. This event is part of the Essex Great Outdoor Pursuit in conjunction with the Essex Park and Recreation Department and the Essex Land Trust.

The 2010 race was a great success, fun for families and competitors alike. Participants came from all parts of New England and included many residents from Ivoryton, Centerbrook, and Essex Village.  This year we are looking forward to even more competitors of all ages.  And more costumes!

The “Pumpkin Run” will start at 8:45 am in Ivoryton Park for children 8 years & under. All Pumpkin Runners will receive ribbons and be given pumpkins that can be painted after their race.

Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. for all walkers and runners. There will be chip timing and a faster start.  Awards will be given to the top male and female 5k runners, the top male and female 5K walkers, top 3 male & female runners in 10 year age groups (no duplicates), and the best Halloween costume, male, female, and  group.

ENTRY FEE:  (IF POSTMARKED BY OCT. 15, 2010): $23-5K WALK or RUN AFTER OCT. 15, 2010:  $25 FOR THE 5K RUN / WALK

PUMPKIN RUN: $5 per child.

The first 400 entrants for the 5k will be given tee-shirts.  Parking for the participants will be available at designated locations as you enter town.

Please join us rain or shine in creating another successful and memorable event for this community and for the Ivoryton Library.

Any Questions or to Volunteer, contact Cathy Bishop at 860-767-0354 or cbishop56@sbcglobal.net. Applications are available on the Ivoryton Library website (www.ivoryton.com) or at the Library.  Register on line @ http://register.www.fasttracktiming.com.  Please make checks or money orders payable to the Ivoryton Library.


Ghosthunting 101 for Kids Workshop

Put it on your calender! Haunted New England Paranormal is coming to Deep River Library Saturday October 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Learn about the paranormal from a group that has 27 years of experience then investigate a building full of history.  Come join us at the library. For ages 10 and up. For more info please call the library at 860-526-6039.

Vista’s 3rd Annual Tour de Shore Cycle Event

Vista’s 3rd Annual Tour de Shore Cycle Event will take place Sunday October 16, 2011 in Westbrook, CT!

Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, Inc. is pleased to announce the 3rd Annual Tour de Shore Cycle Event taking place on Sunday, October 16. Proceeds from the Tour de Shore benefit the Endowment Fund of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center.

This year’s cycling event features a fun ride and rides of 60, 40 and 25 miles.  All rides start and end in Westbrook Center behind the Westbrook firehouse.  Last year more than 200 riders participated in this fundraising event.

Of particular note to cyclists is that Steve Johnson, President of USA Cycling is participating in this year’s event and riding in the 60-mile ride!

All rides have routes with plenty of beautiful Connecticut back roads and shoreline views.  All participants receive cue sheets and route maps.  The event concludes in Westbrook with a barbecue, a raffle drawing and awards ceremony.

For more information, or to register for this year’s, event please visit www.vistatourdeshore.com or call Susan Bradley at 203-318-5240.

Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, Inc. is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting adults with neurological disabilities to live independent and successful lives.  For more information about Vista, please visit www.vistavocational.org.

Duck! Asteroids Are Spotted at Essex Library

In Northern Arizona near Winslow, Meteor Crater is the result of a collision between a piece of an asteroid traveling at 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth approximately 50,000 years ago. Learn about the current threat to earth from asteroids at Essex Library, Thursday October 20 at 7 p.m..

Frequently featured as threats to earth in science fiction, asteroids and comets strike terror in the human mind. And for good reason: at some point in the future, one of the chunky rocks or icy mud balls will almost certainly slam into Earth and alter the course of history. Such an impact 65 million years ago is generally believed to have killed off the dinosaurs, and a collision with sufficient force today could cause devastating tsunamis, or create an “Impact Winter”, massive clouds of dust in the stratosphere that would block out the sun. What are the immediate risks, and what can humankind do about them?

Join CCSU Professor of Astronomy Kris Larsen for an informative illustrated talk about what’s coming at us from outer space, and science’s race for new technologies that could divert or destroy them, Thursday October 20 at 7 p.m. This program is part of our Unnatural Disasters series on natural sciences.  For more information or to register for these programs, call the Essex Library at 860—767-1560. All programs are free and open to the public.

Town Republicans Lead Democrats in Campaign Funding for Nov. 8 Election

ESSEX— Republican first selectman nominee Bruce MacMillian has raised more campaign funding dollars than Democratic candidate Norman Needleman, according to campaign finance reports for a three-month period ending Sept. 30.

MacMillian, a retired business executive running for board of selectmen with incumbent Republican Selectman Joel Marzi, has raised a total of $9,195 for the MacMillian for First Selectman candidate committee. The committee reported expenditures of $1,269, with a balance on hand of $7,925 as of Sept. 30. Town Republicans have also done limited fundraising for the Essex Republican Town Committee, raising a total of $1,593, with expenditures of $515 as of Sept. 30.

Needleman, a local businessman who has served on the board of selectman since 2003, is seeking the top job on a ticket with Stacia Rice Libby as the candidate for board of selectmen. The Needleman-Libby 2011 candidate committee has raised a total of $6,175, with expenditures of $2,717 and a balance on hand of $3,457 as of Sept. 30. The Essex Democratic Town Committee filed a short form campaign finance report for the July-September period.

MacMillian contributed $1,000 for his campaign, the maximum allowed by law. Other large donors include Yong Huo of Guilford $500, with local residents Lynn Richardson and Chad Floyd each donating $300. There were several $250 or $200 donations from town residents, including $250 from former First Selectman Bruce Glowac, Linda Dwyer, Geoffrey Herter, Estelle Zahn, John Beverage, and Karen Migliaccio. There were $200 donations from Burton Karp, Chester Kitchings, Peter Shanley, Joseph Bardenheier, and Marzi. Lawrence Doyle of Vero Beach, Fla. donated $150.

A total of 27 town residents each donated $100 to the MacMillian campaign, including former 33rd District State Senate nominee Neil Nichols, John Orr, Adrienne Forrest, James Richard, Alison Nichols, Joseph Ackerman, George Mayer, Lee Thompson, Linda Newber, Nancy Ackerman, Terry Stewart, Frank Wolcott, Donna Hyde, Timothy Lynch, Joanne O’Neil, Rives Potts, Carolyn Timmerman, Yvonne Haynes, Cynthia David, Mary Jones,  Arthur Meister, Patricia Doylin, Janet Peckinpaugh, Steven Bancroft, Jean Fisher, and Joseph Montana. Also Vivienne Gorra of Madison $100 and Bernard Grabowski of Bristol $100.

Needleman and his companion, Ivoryton Playhouse Executive Director Jacqueline Hubbard, each donated $750 to the campaign. The candidate’s son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Katie Needleman of Ivoryton, also each contributed $750. Other large donations include $500 each from residents Joseph and Elizabeth DeFelice, and $250 donations from resident Geraldine Ficarra and Stanley Prymas of Deep River. Carol Macelwee donated $200. Nine town residents each contributed $100 to the Needleman-Libby Committee, including First Selectman Phil Miller, Robin Chapin, Larry Shipman, Caitlin Riley, Roseann Vertimiglia, William Buckridge, Lee Thompson, Mark Reeves, and Beverly Taylor. Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook also donated $100.


Fall Foliage Antique Motorcar Tour and Car Show

The Essex Historical Society and the Belltown Antique Car Club invite the public to the Fall Foliage Antique Motorcar Tour and Car Show on Sunday October 16, 2011 at the Pratt House Museum on West Avenue in Essex.

In addition to members of the Belltown Antique Car Club, the event will host participants from The Essex Car Club, The Crankin’ Yanks, and the Model A Ford Club of Connecticut.

The public is invited to see the cars as they gather on the grounds of the Pratt Museum at 10 am.  A lucky raffle winner will win a ride along in one of the antique cars for the motor tour that will start at 11am and drive from Essex to Killingworth and through Chester and Deep River back to the Pratt House in Essex.

The public is invited to bring a picnic and enjoy the antique cars on display on the grounds of the Pratt House Museum following the tour at 1p.m.

Admission is free.

For more information and car registration contact John Beveridge at beveridge18@att.net or Susan Malan at couper2006@yahoo.com

Chester Democrats Hold Edge in Municipal Election Funding

CHESTER— Town Democrats have a small edge over their Chester Common Ground Party challengers in campaign fundraising, according to campaign finance reports for the period ending on Sept. 30.

The Chester Democratic Town Committee, backing a ticket led by Edmund Meehan for first selectman and incumbent Selectman Lawrence Sypher for board of selectmen, had raised a total of $3,350 as of Sept. 30. The town committee began the period with a balance of $1,400, and raised $1,950 in individual contributions between July and September. The committee reported expenditures of $1,385 and a balance on hand of $1,965 as of Sept. 30.

The largest contribution was $1,000 from Robert Gorman, who is on the party ticket as a candidate for board of finance. Meehan, who currently works as the town planner in Newington, and his wife, Margaret, each donated $100, with Brendon Meehan, the couple’s son, donating $250. Other large donations came from local attorney Michael Peck $150, Selectman Peter Zanardi $100, and Jack Burke of Newington $100.

The Chester Common Ground Party, backing a ticket of Andrew Landsman for first selectman and Glen Reyer for board of selectmen, had raised a total of $2,541 as of Sept. 30. The fledging party, which was established in 2009 and is running its first ticket for board of selectman this year, began the period with a balance of $450 and raised $2,091 in individual contributions between July and September. The party reported expenditures of $828, with a balance on hand of $1,712 as of Sept. 30.

The largest contribution was $500 from local resident Kathleen Hall, and $300 from Robert Phillips of Simsbury. Landsman and Reyer each contributed $100, along with town residents Fred Barclay, Carol Kuzaro, and Robert Babicz. Robert Sbaglio of Stratford donated $100.

Meehan and Landsman are competing in the Nov. 8 town election for the first selectman seat left open by the departure in August of former Republican-turned independent First Selectman Tom Marsh. Town Republicans did not nominate a candidate for first selectmen, though incumbent Republican Selectman Tom Englert is seeking a second term on the board of selectmen.

Englert was appointed as interim first selectman in August following Marsh’s departure. Town Republicans reported a balance of $1,528 as of the July campaign finance filing.

Jean Horn Caron – Marshview Gallery Artist Reception

Marshview Gallery is pleased to announce Jean Horn Caron as their October artist.  A reception will be held at the Marshview Gallery on Friday October 14 from 5 – 7 p.m.

Jean Horn Caron retired from a successful career as a Private Banker a few years ago. She has always been an art lover and collector and it seemed only natural that she should begin to draw and paint. She began painting just four years ago, initially as a self-taught artist.

Her inspiration came from her Grandfather who was a talented portraitist. In addition, she grew up in Queens, New York City where from an early age she frequented the world renowned art museums.

Jean has studied with Jan Blencowe, Chien Fei Chiang, Jane Sibley and Bernie McTigue. She is continuing her study with Bernie McTigue. She has exhibited at Essex Art Association, Gallery One and Mystic Art Center.

She is diverse in her choice of media and paints in watercolor, pen, pastel and acrylic. Many of her pieces are multi-media. Her subjects range from landscape to architecture. In addition, she enjoys cartooning and produces unique greeting cards.

Please join us at 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook to meet Jean Horn Caron at the Marshview Gallery Artist reception. All ages are welcome to join us for this free event. Refreshments are provided.


Deep River Voter Registration Deadlines

Voter registrations will be held on Saturday, October 22 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and on Tuesday November 1 in Deep River Town hall.

Deadline for new voters is October 25 by mail and November 1 in person. Limited registrations will be held on Monday November 7 from 9 a.m. – 12 noon for those whose qualifications as to age, citizenship or residence are attained after November 1.

Any questions call 860 526-6059 or 860 526-9213

Joanne Grabek /M. Brownlee Registrars.

Riders Beware: The FRIGHT TRAIN returns in 2011!

The Fright Train will pull out of Essex Station: October 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, and 31. Trains depart into the deep, dark night at 6:30pm and 8:00pm.

Essex, CT– – It’s a mystical, foggy evening… there’s a strange feeling in the air…….. It’s the anniversary of the horrific train wreck of 1925 on the Valley Railroad line…. and you’re traveling aboard the Fright Train! Will the restless souls and ghosts from this terrible tragedy appear?

That’s the creepy backdrop for a ghoulish Halloween journey aboard Essex Steam Train & Riverboat’s 2nd annual Fright Train. For Tweens (Ages 8+) and Adults who dare to ride, the Fright Train will pull out of Essex Station: October 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, and 31. Trains depart into the deep, dark night at 6:30pm and 8:00pm.

According to Bob Bell, President of The Valley Railroad Company, “The Fright Train goes beyond just another scary Halloween event. This is a professionally created show that intertwines the fictional legend of a romantic love story and the gory train wreck of 1925.”

The Fright Train is produced in collaboration with Essex Steam Train & Riverboat’s “theater-in- the-rectangle” partner, Riverway Studio located in East Haddam, CT. Susan Dee, Marketing Manager at Essex Steam Train & Riverboat says, “Our ongoing collaborative relationship with Riverway Studio enables Essex Steam Train & Riverboat to enhance its overall entertainment
experience for special events such as the North Pole Express, The Valley Railroad Circus Train & Big Top Show and Murder Mystery trains. The Fright Train is yet again another example of quality entertainment . . . and a great way to gather with family and friends to celebrate Halloween.”

Tickets for The Fright Train are $20.00 per person and are available online at www.essexsteamtrain.com. Recommended for Tweens, Ages 8 and up, and Adults. Event is approximately 1 hour long and includes Coach Seating only.

Incorporated in 1969, The Valley Railroad Company opened the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat to the public 40 years ago, in 1971. The only steam train and riverboat connection in the United States, Essex Steam Train & Riverboat continues to flourish as a Connecticut icon and vibrant tourist destination, attracting over 140,000 visitors a year. Tour goers enjoy a 2.5 hour narrated
journey through the scenic Connecticut River Valley. Special events include: The Eagle Flyer, Day Out With Thomas, The Valley Railroad Circus Train & Big Top Show, Murder Mystery, Fright Train, Santa Special, North Pole Express and Your Hand on the Throttle.

For more information and directions contact Essex Steam Train & Riverboat at 800.377.3987 or visit www.essexsteamtrain.com.

Deep River Rotary’s Unusual Double-Header Starts 10am This Saturday!

 “Join the parade! Wear crazy hats! Hold hands! Celebrate and have fun!”

That’s the Deep River Rotary Club’s invitation to one and all for its double-header celebration on Saturday, Oct. 15. That’s the day that the club is calling Heritage Day. Also, Elephant Day!

Said Hedy Watrous, club president, “It’s all about elephants and their tusks.  Their tusks were all-important to us at one time. Gave work to a lot of our people. Made our town Queen of the Valley..!”

The first celebration will be at the Town Landing at the foot of Kirtland Street at 10 a.m. The club will re-dedicate the scenic deck that was its gift to the town 20 years ago. That’s where the tusks arrived from Africa.

The second will be the unveiling and dedication of the elephant statue the club is giving to the town. That will be at 11 a.m. on the Main Street side of the Town Hall.

Said John LaPlante, chairman of the project for the club, “These are big events for anyone who takes pride in our town’s unique history. We’re making them educational. And fun!”

The parade will be from the Town Landing to the Town Hall. It will be an informal, hop along, limp along, everybody-welcome parade. The town’s great pride, the terrific Junior Ancients Fife and Drum Corps, will lead the way.

“The more, the merrier,” he said. “Come join us whatever your age. We mean it about the crazy hats.  Make your own! Try making a fantastic paper hat!

“And bring along your dog, your pony, your monkey!”

After the elephant is dedicated, the Stone House will open its doors wide from noon to 2 p.m.

Jeff Hostetler, president of the Deep River Historical Society, said, “We have great exhibits about the elephants and their tusks and all the things we made from them and how that led to our great piano industry. So many people in town have never seen these marvelous exhibits. Come enjoy them. This is a free day.”

Richard Strauss Resigns From Region 4 Board of Education

CHESTER— Richard Strauss has resigned from the Region 4 Board of Education, leaving a vacancy through 2013 that will be filled by an appointment of the board of selectmen.

Strauss, a Republican, had already served previous terms on the Region 4 board and the board of finance when he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in January 2006. He was elected to a full six-year term in 2007.

Strauss had served in recent years as board treasurer. As a member of the board’s finance committee, he had worked to improve financial accounting of the district education budget that funds the operations of Valley Regional High School and John Winthrop Middle School.

The board of selectmen will appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of the unexpired term ending in November 2013. The replacement does not have to be a registered Republican.

“Dogs on the Dock,” a Smashing Success at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex

The packed lawn of the Connecticut River Museum for "Dogs on the Dock"

It was a perfect day, just a perfect day. A perfect day for dogs, a perfect day for dog owners, and a perfect day for those who came to watch some of the finest local specimens in the dog department of the animal kingdom.

"Wilber," wearing the costum of a construction worker; owned by Gil Page of Moodis

The setting was the spacious side lawn of the Connecticut River Museum, and almost every inch was packed with people and their pooches.  An estimated 200 people, maybe more, were in attendance. Sign up time for those wishing to enter their dogs in the completion began at 1:00 p.m., and the dog show itself started promptly at two, again on a perfect Sunday afternoon.

"Ottis," dressed like a rooster; owned by Gretchen Corwall of Essex

In a nice touch the $10 fee for entering dogs in the show will be donated to a local animal shelter.

First off on the program was the Grand Parade of the competing canines. Granted the dogs in competition did not have the tortured contours or the snobby demeanor of the entrants of, say, the Westminster Dog Show.

The Grand Parade of dogs and owners around the museum

But this is Essex, Connecticut, after all. The gorgeous outdoor feel of the place, bathed in bright sun and smiling onlookers, beats the atmosphere of a big city dog show hands down.

"Piggy and Pouchee," owned by Cathy Jackson of Essex

Dogs were eligible to compete in eight categories at the Essex competition, and the winners were: (1) Best nautical costume, “Lucky,” owned by Sally and Don Ratchford; (2) Best other costume, “Buddy,” owned by Anne Baldwin; (3) Best dog trick, “Brewer,” owned by Scott Bratz; (4) Best “look alike” dog and master, “Juicy,” owned by Raeann Groves; (5) Best big dog, “Monroe,” owned by Rani Hayvu; (6) Best small dog, “Molly,” owned by Barbara Leven; (7) Best sea dog, “Hazmat,” owned by Sally and Don Ratchford;and (8) Best water jumper, “Kokomo,” owned by Shane (last name lost in the waves).

Jerry Roberts, the Top Dog at Connecticut River Museum (with bull horn) managed the event

This is the seventh annual “Dogs on the Dock” event sponsored by the Connecticut River Museum and the Essex Board of Trade. Since the event again attracted over 50 competing dogs, and literally hundreds if spectators, most assuredly, there will be another similar event next year.

Winner of jump and swim competition for dogs

Needleman: A Businessman and a Community Leader

Letter To the Editor:

Running a business and running a local government are two very different things, but as we face increasing challenges it’s important that Essex’s next First Selectman has experience in both.  That’s why I’m supporting Norm Needleman and his running mate Stacia-Rice Libby.

Norm built his company Tower Labs from scratch into a major manufacturer of pharmaceutical products that employs about 100 people right here in Essex.  He also has volunteered for our  community on a number of boards and commissions over the last two decades, currently serving as a Selectman since 2003.  Norm has contributed greatly to the success of a number of organizations in and around our community, including the Ivoryton Playhouse and the Rushford Center.

His work was not done alone.  Norm is a team builder and someone who is driven by his love of this community.  He will continue the bi-partisan spirit of cooperation that our town has fostered throughout its history.  Our town needs his leadership in the years to come, and that’s why Norm has earned my vote.


Stanley Sheppard
7 Mikes Terrace
Ivoryton, CT 06442


Miller’s Record is a Big Factor in Needleman’s Race for Essex First Selectman

Norman Needleman is Phil Miller's candidate for First Selectman, that's for sure

In some ways it feels like Norman Needleman is running as an incumbent. Of course that is not the case; because Phil Miller has been Essex’s First Selectman for the past eight years.

Still there is a strong sense of continuum in Needleman’s run for Essex’s top spot. Reflecting this, Needleman says that, if elected, his first priority would be “to continue the quality of life and character of the Town of Essex,” as it has been under Miller.

Furthermore, as if both he and Miller were responsible, Needleman says, “I am very proud that over the years we have produced, reasonable, fiscally responsible budgets for our town that have allowed us to maintain the quality of life and reasonable tax burden that we have come to expect in Essex.”

Also, Needleman goes out of his way to praise Miller for his success in getting over $2 million dollars in special capital grants for the town, which among other things have paid for new streets and sidewalks and funded the installation of new boat ramps to the Connecticut River.

Norman Needlman and running mate, Stacia Rice-Libby, with the "silent policeman" at the Essex roundabout

Broadening the continuum theme, Needleman says that he wants to preserve “the spirit of volunteerism that makes Essex so great,” and that he wants to work “in a bipartisan and collaborative manner, when addressing challenges that may occur,” all part of Miller’s legacy.

However, not everything would be the same, if Needleman follows Miller as First Selectman. For example, Needleman characterizes himself as “fiscally conservative and socially progressive,” and that his “top area of focus in leading the town will be to balance the ongoing need for fiscal responsibility with the need to provide an appropriate level of services for all residents.”

Whereas Miller’s passion for preserving the environment will no doubt continue in his work as State Representative, Needleman’s emphasis for the town will be more directed towards fiscal responsibility.

A unique element in Norman Needleman’s candidacy is whether or not he intends to continue, at least to some degree, in growing the business of the private company that he founded some 30 years ago, Tower Laboratories, if he is elected First Selectman.  Tower has its headquarters in Essex’s Industrial Park, and it employs over 100 people in Essex.

On her own, Rice-Libby checks out the new sweet shop on Essex Main Street

Initially Needleman was hinting that he would still be involved in managing his company, even while serving as First Selectman. He was saying such things as, “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person;” and “I have always been able to juggle a number of responsibilities, and the role of First Selectman will certainly be on the top of my priority list.”

But now he has changed his tune, stating flatly that if elected, he would be a “full-time First Selectman.”  As regards his private business, Needleman says, “I have been able to remove myself from the day-to-day operation of the business.”

In addition to this pledge to be a full time First Selectman, Needleman brings to his candidacy an impressive record of investing in projects that benefit the town. For example, he and a partner bought the abandoned Centerbrook Meeting House, saving it from decay, or the wrecker’s ball. According to Needleman the purchase price for the Meeting House was $555,000, and restoration costs are in the neighborhood of $200,000.

Similarly, Needleman stepped up and purchased the fraying Doanes Airport for $750,000, and to date he has spent $200,000 in upgrading the facility. Asked why he did so, he says that he wanted “to preserve the airport, and I did not want someone else doing something crazy.”

Finally, in the category of good works, in partnership with Jacqueline Hubbard, whom he terms his “better half,” Needleman is behind the restoration of a signature town landmark, the Ivoryton Playhouse. Officially, Needleman serves as Treasurer of the Playhouse Foundation, and he was responsible for getting a $600,000 loan from the federal government’s Rural Development Fund to upgrade the venue.

In addition to his past service as a Selectman, Needleman has served as a member of the Essex Economic Development Commission and the Essex Zoning Board. Also, he has received a number of civic awards, including the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen Award and the Middlesex County United Way CEO Leadership Award.

Needleman has two adult sons, Mathew and Daniel, and two stepdaughters, Kate and Rosie Hubbard.

Summing it all up, Needleman says, “A lot of people have told me that I’m crazy for wanting the job of First Selectman, but the facts of the matter are that I know what it takes to run the town. I love this town, and I am committed to maintaining our position as one of America’s best small towns.”

The Needleman - Rice-Libby team make a stop at the popular Aggies restaurant in Ivoryton

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts Offers Tours on Columbus Day

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is offering continuous tours on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Prospective students are invited to drop by for a tour of the campus with an Admission Representative and also to check out the exciting Studio Faculty Exhibition.

No registration is necessary.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts continues the academic tradition of figurative and representational fine art while preparing students for a lifetime of contemporary creative practice.  Students develop intellect and imagination, intensity of observation, sound craftsmanship, individual initiative and creativity, as well as depth of interpretation of ideas through artistic expression.

The College, which is located at 84 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, Conn., offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing, Illustration, Painting, and Sculpture; a Post-Baccalaureate program; a Three-year Certificate; an active Continuing Education program including a Pre-College program; and is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the National Association of the Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the Connecticut Department of Higher Education.

For further information, call 860-434-5232 or visit www.lymeacademy.edu

Bruce MacMillian, Republican Candidate for First Selectman, to Address “Blight” Problem in Essex


MacMillian in front of North Main Street "blight" house

Bruce MacMillian, Republican candidate for First Selectman in Essex promises to solve the town’s blight problem, if he is elected this coming November. MacMillian, a retired, senior executive of the Travelers Insurance Group, recently made a tour of three of Essex’s “blight spots.”

MacMillian across from old Sunoco station

The three were: (1) the sign-splattered former Sonoco gas station at the south end of Main Street in Centerbrook; (2) a rock-piled property of L.C. Doane across the street from the old Sunco station; and (3) the  “blight” house at the corner of North Main Street and New City Street in downtown Essex.

MacMillian points out that presently he can do nothing about the blight problem, because he “does not have the authority” that he would have, if he were the First Selectman. Still, he is very clear as to what he would do about the problem, if elected to the town’s top job.

First and foremost MacMillian says he would “personally contact” the respective owners of all the town’s blighted properties. He would then “use the powers of my office to pressure and partner with the property owner to put their property in presentable order.” (MacMilliam is adamant in his preference of speaking personally with the property owners; he says that speaking with the real estate agents of the properties would be a waste of time.)
MacMillian would also invite the blight property owners to come into town “to visit their eyesores.”

MacMillian by L.C. Doane rock pile

“To put pressure on the property owner, I would tell them that the town is considering adopting a blight ordinance which will include a blight tax,” he said. This “blight tax” would be imposed on properties deemed to be blight, and so designated, a fine of 10 times the property’s current tax rate would be levied. This fine would remain in effect “until the property is made respectable.

“I would stress to the owner that the adoption of this ordinance can be avoided, if the owner voluntarily and immediately cleans up the property. I would partner with the owner by offering town assistance in the clean up. This assistance would vary depending on each situation.

“If this pressure/partnership approach doesn’t work, then I would propose that a blight ordinance be drafted, discussed and adopted,” MacMillian says.

The number one campaign issue

Speaking about his campaign, MacMillian feels that “the number one issue is that the town needs a full time First Selectman.” Underscoring this need he says, “You can see how hard it is for Phil Miller, who is now both First Selectman and State Representative, to juggle two jobs at the same time.”

MacMillian notes that First Selectman Phil Miller once publicly expressed his gratitude to him. As reported in the Hartford Courant, dated October 6, Miller said of MacMilian that he was “grateful for the really stellar service he has given to the town and the residents of Essex Court.”

Miller was referring to MacMillian’s work as the acting Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Essex Housing Authority in connection with the then troubled Essex Court, the town’s 36 unit facility for the elderly.

At the time Essex Court “was in shambles” MacMillian’s said, and under his leadership “the outstanding lawsuits were settled, a management company was hired to run the complex, and grant money was received to improve the facility.” It was these steps that garnered the praise of First Selectman Miller.

MacMillian’s business background

As for his business background, MacMillian was President of the International Operation of the Travelers Insurance Group, running a $400 million revenue generating business operation, in 41 countries with a staff of over 2,500. Since his retirement from Travelers, MacMillian has created two small start-up businesses’ One of them developed software to run an ambulatory surgery center, and the other was an online provider of continuing education in the insurance field. Both have now been sold.

As for his current race for First Selectman of Essex he says, “This is the toughest job interview that I have ever had.” He says he campaigns door to door almost every night.

The candidate also says that he is “used to making things happen,” and that he is working very hard to make his election “happen.” Also, he says that he makes it a practice to answer every e-mail and telephone call that he receives.

MacMillian defines himself as “very customer service focused which helped with my business success, and an approach that I would follow as First Selectman.” “My goal for Essex is to be a comfortable, affordable, business friendly, educational minded town which promotes a free exchange of ideas.”

With a fondness for old cars, MacMillian’s official campaign vehicle is a 1925 Ford Model T, Depot Hack, which these days should be a common site around the town.

By the Motel T (left to right) Bruce MacMillian, Republican candidate for Essex First Selectman; Susie Beckman, Secretary, Essex Republican Town Committee; Ed Cook, Chairman, Essex Republican Town Committee, and Essex Selectman Joel Marzi, who is running for re-election.

Chester and Essex First Selectman Candidates Appear Before Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce

DEEP RIVER— The four rivals competing for the first selectman job in Chester and Essex appeared Friday before the Chester, Deep River and Essex Division of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.

The candidates, Democrat Edmund Meehan and Common Ground Party nominee Andrew Landsman for Chester, and Democrat Norman Needleman and Republican Bruce MacMillian for Essex, were each given five minutes for presentations at the meeting held at Mount St. John School in Deep River. There is no contest in the Nov. 8 election for the top spot in Deep River, where Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith is unopposed for a record 12th term.

Meehan, a 40-year Chester resident who has served previously on the planning and zoning commission and board of finance, said he was running for the open first selectman seat “to keep Chester as it is.” Meehan said his past experience in town government, and employment history as town planner for Newington, ensures “there won’t be any need for on the job training.”

Landsman, a five-year resident who currently works as facilities manager for the local Aaron Manor Skilled Nursing Facility, said he has a “passion for the town,” that led him to step forward to run as the nominee of the Chester Common Ground Party, a local political party that formed in 2009 that is running its first ticket for board of selectmen this year. Chester Republicans did not nominate a candidate for first selectman.

Needleman, who has served on the board of selectmen since 2003, said he was running to continue progress made in Essex under the administration of Democratic First Selectman Phil Miller, who was elected state representative for the 36th House District earlier this year and is not seeking a new term as first selectman. Needleman said he would be a “full-time first selectman,” despite his role as founder and president of Tower Laboratories, a local manufacturing company . “I have been able to remove myself from the day-to-day operation of the business,” he said.

MacMillian, who serves on the board of directors for Middlesex Hospital, said he would bring decades of business management experience to the job of first selectman “managing the town’s physical and human resources.” MacMillian said he would also be “the town’s chief salesperson,” while seeking to develop a “bipartisan approach” to town government.

Friday’s joint appearance for the candidates is expected to be one of only a handful planned before the Nov. 8 vote. Needleman and MacMillian will face off in a more formal campaign debate on Nov. 1 at the Essex library. No debate has yet been scheduled for the Chester contest, though a campaign debate has been held in most recent contested elections for the town’s top job.



Fate of Old Essex School House in Church’s Hands

The 1920's old school house way up on Prospect Street

Whether a 1920’s vintage Essex school house should be reduced to rumble, and even turned into a parking lot, is solely in the hands of the property’s owner, the “Our Lady of Sorrows” Roman Catholic Church, located at 14 Prospect Street in Essex.

In the view of Essex Town Historian Christopher Pagliuco the old school house “is a symbol of the town’s commitment to education.” Furthermore, Pagliuco sees the old school as “a bridge to the town’s past,” when school houses were located in town and easily walked to by school children.

Essex Grammar 2: The student body at the school many years ago

On August 16 a long time member of the Essex Historical Society, Eve Potts, filed a formal request to restrain the church from tearing down the old school building for a ninety day period, and her request for a stay was granted. However, the 90-day hold expires on November 13.

In the meantime Potts is sounding the alarm that the old school building should not be destroyed, “before a thorough survey has been made to determine if there are other uses for it.” “Demolition in itself is costly,” she says, “and the green thing to do is to save the building that is standing rather than to demolish it to fill in yet another landfill.”

The old school house abuts land owned by the Town of Essex, and in Potts’ view, “The future needs of the Town for additional space make it doubly important that we all take a good look at this building before it is turned to rubble.” She also points out, “Many similar school buildings throughout the state have been preserved and put to new uses.”

John Guszkowski, consulting Essex town planner, however, is not too sanguine about retrofitting the old school into a new use as condo apartments. He estimates that to adapt the 13,000 square foot, school building into condos could cost as much $2 million dollars.

“From a strictly market perspective the numbers do not make a lot of sense,” Guszkowski says, and in his view “unless some financing support falls out of the sky, this may not be a battle we can win.”

Although this conclusion casts considerable doubt on a sustainable commercial reuse of the property, another scenario that could be a non-commercial reuse of the old school house building.

There is a precedent. Right next to the old school house is a building, which presently houses the Essex Historical Society, which itself was once slated to be torn down and turned into parking.

“Only after a public outcry was the building saved,” says Potts. In addition to housing the Historical Society and its archives, this building, which once housed Hills Academy, serves as a public meeting and gallery space.

The welcome sign of "Our Lady of Sorrows" Roman Catholic Church. The church owns the old school house property

As for the “Our Lady of Sorrows” church’s position about preserving the old school house, it is keeping its own counsel. Essex Town Historian Pagliuco has written letters to both the Pastor of the church, the Reverend Paul Gaumond, and to Bishop Michael R. Cote of Norwich, in whose diocese the property is located, as to the church’s plans for the old school house. However, Pagliouco has not received an answer to either of his letters. Nor has the church answered press inquiries on the subject.

Meanwhile the clock is ticking …


See related articles:

Written objections delay Highland Hall Demolition in Essex

Highland Hall – A Part of the Town’s Cultural History

Historic and Architectural Resource Survey Should be Made of Highland Hall

Church Seeks Permit For Demolition of Highland Hall, Former Elementary School Turned Nursing Home


Lori Warner Studio/Gallery Hosts Trunk Show featuring Mandy Carroll-Leiva’s Jewelry

The Lori Warner Gallery is pleased to feature Mandy Carroll-Leiva’s one-of-a-kind jewelry collection at a trunk show on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22 from 11am – 8-pm.

Join designer Mandy Carroll-Leiva in the gallery to view her stunning Fall collection.  Mandy will also be available to work with you to customize your own design, appointments are welcome. Mandy draws inspiration from the exquisite materials with which she works.  She is always searching for new and stunning combinations that will empower it’s wearer with a sense of beauty, strength and femininity.  Mandy’s designs are all created in her studio in Chester, Connecticut. Mandy grew up in Chester, and went on to study metals the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she graduated with honors and a BFA in jewelry/crafts.  She then relocated to New York City where she worked for five years as a production manager for a well known, upscale and artistic jewelry company.  Later, she returned home to the area she loves to launch her own jewelry line.

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


Rockfall’s Symposium to Explore CT’s Future Food Security

The Rockfall Foundation presents its 25th Annual Symposium on October 13, 2011, 8:30 am to 12:15 pm at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook. The symposium is being co-sponsored this year by Middlesex Hospital and Essex Savings Bank.

The theme this year is, “Our Future Food Security: National Issues, Local Response.” Through presentations, panel discussion and audience conversation, participants will explore such questions as:  in an era of global peaks in availability of oil, water and healthy soils, how can Middlesex County plan and reclaim its agricultural legacy to create a healthful, sustainable food system and  maximize community self-reliance?

Mark Winne

Keynote speaker will be Mark Winne, who has worked for 40 years in Connecticut and New Mexico as a community food activist, writer, and trainer. He will speak on: “America’s Food System: A Cause for Concern, A Time for Action.”Susan Campbell, award-winning columnist with the Hartford Courant, will moderate a follow-up panel discussion and audience conversation focusing on local food production and consumption options, and the development of community food policy plans and councils.

Panel members include: David Zemelsky, Co-owner of Star Light Gardens, Durham; Nicole Berube, Executive Director at City Seed, New Haven &Board Member of New Haven Food Policy Council; John Guszkowski, AICP, LEED-AP, Partner, Director of Planning, CME Associates & Board President & CEO at Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation &Development Area, Inc.; and Izzi Greenberg, Executive Director, North End Action Team (N.E.A.T.) and manager of North End Farmer’s Market in Middletown.

The symposium will be followed by an optional sandwich buffet lunch at Grace Episcopal Church and a tour of Common Good Gardens led by Claudia Van Nes. This will be The Rockfall Foundation’s 25th annual symposium.  Rockfall is a private foundation that supports environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives in Middlesex County Established in 1935, it is one of Connecticut’s oldest environmental organizations whose mission is to be a catalyst– bringing people together and supporting organizations to conserve and enhance the county’s natural environment. The foundation awards grants each year to grassroots organizations, elementary schools, college interns and municipalities, and continues to hold and manage open space property in the county.Program details, brochure  and registration information are available on The Rockfall Foundation’s website www.rockfallfoundation.org.

Saturday, Oct. 15, is Elephant Day in Deep River!

“This is where the Elephant Statue will be!” Deep River Rotarians often get asked “Where will the elephant be put?” The answer is, “Right in front of the Town Hall on the Main Street side! Right across from Adams.” Pointing where are (from left) Rotarians Rev. Tim Haut; project chairman John LaPlante; Tinder Baser; president Hedy Watrous; and Skip Routh (photo courtesy of Gina Sopneski).

After much planning, the dedication of the Deep River Rotary Club’s elephant statue will take place Saturday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m.

It will  be the climax of two ceremonies that morning to celebrate the town’s unique  ivory heritage. Six sites for the elephant were proposed. The Town Hall won out.

“The statue is our gift to the people of the town,” said club president Hedy Watrous.

“Children will love it,” she said. ”Everybody will love it.  What other town in the country can have an elephant as its mascot?”
The statue  shows a big, wide-eyed African elephant about  to take a step forward. It has its trunk raised and pointed forward. That’s  because it’s a fountain. It spurts water from its trunk.

“This is all about elephants,” she said.“Elephant ivory from Africa!. How that became our big industry in town—ivory products of many kinds and piano keyboards. In Ivoryton also. That’s why we felt a statue of an elephant was so important.”

She promised the ceremony will be interesting.

The main speaker will be Brenda Milkofsky. She is an expert on the history of Ivoryton and Deep River. She is the retired senior curator of the Connecticut River Museum where she served as founding director.

One hour earlier, at 10 a.m., a separate ceremony will be held at the Town Landing. It will be the re-dedication of the Scenic Deck overlooking the Connectiuct River. The deck was the contribution of the Rotary Club when the Town Landing was built as a park in 1990-91.

The main speaker at that one will be Jeffrey Hostetler, president of the Deep River Historical Society. Its museum—the Stone House—has long been recognized for its excellent exhibits on ivory and piano-making.

John Guy LaPlante, the chairman for the project, said, “The Town Landing is where the ships loaded with tusks from Zanzibar in Africa arrived. Then the tusks were delivered to our factories to keep hundreds of our people working.”

The club never got around to dedicating its scenic deck back then.

LaPlante said the two ceremonies will be “short but sweet.”  He added, “Much of what we are doing has been made possible by the Town. The Town has cooperated in every way.Very supportive. First Selectman Dick Smith has been a big help.We are grateful.”
As a special tie-in, the Deep River Historical Society is inviting everyone to enjoy its exhibits about ivory and pianos.

Hostetler said the Stone House will be open from noon to 2 p.m. People can stroll or ride over after the Town Hall ceremony. No charge.

The Deep River Junior Ancients Fife and Drum Corps will play at both ceremonies.

Michele Roise, its director, said it will also play during an informal parade planned from the Town Landing to the Town Hall.
Everybody is invited to join in the celebration and the parade. Children especially.

“Bring the kids!” LaPlante said. “We want them to know. We want them to be proud.  Elementary school kids. High school kids. College kids.”

Ivoryton folks are warmly invited. Also members of the Deep River Lions Club, present and past.

LaPlante said, “The beautiful gazebo at the Town Landing was the contribution of our friends, the Lions. Their gazebo and our scenic deck are enjoyed by many people, as we know. And will be for many more years to come.

“We’re planning the two ceremonies as a great double-header!”

Many townspeople helped to transform the Town Landing into the gem that it is today. It was a big community effort.

“We invite everybody who worked on that to come down!”

Viva Italy! At Essex Library

Essex Library will be holding a Columbus Day-related special program,with a musical introduction to the rich history and culture of Italy, featuring singer and story teller Professor Enzo Boscarino, Thursday October 13 at 7 p.m.  

Singing folksongs, playing the guitar, and sharing historical and cultural anecdotes, Professor Boscarino takes you on an entertaining and educational tour of the “Boot”, the cradle of so much of the wealth of western civilization.

The program is free and open to the public; a five dollar donation is requested to help us defray expenses.  Please call the Essex Library to register or for more information, at 860-767-1560.

Camp Hazen YMCA Summer Camp Open House Sunday, October 9

On Sunday, October 9, Camp Hazen YMCA will host an Open House from 2-4 p.m.   Families are encouraged to attend to learn more about summer opportunities for children.   Now is the time to plan for the summer of 2012 and research the right camp for your child.  Camp Director, Kath Davies, states “Attending an Open House provides a valuable opportunity for families to meet the Camp Directors and see the facilities to determine if Camp Hazen is the right choice for their family.”

Located on Cedar Lake in Chester, Camp Hazen YMCA offers one and two week session of both day and resident camp.  Camp Hazen provides children with a community of positive role models who nurture children to ensure that they are successful, have fun, make friends and develop life skills such as independence and leadership.   Campers may choose traditional camp activities like swimming, arts and crafts and campfires – along with more unique programs including a skate park, alpine tower, mountain biking and windsurfing.  All activities are designed to ensure that campers will not only have fun, but also learn how to get along with others, feel part of a community and become confident in trying new things both at camp and at home and school after camp.

When asked why she sent her child to Camp Hazen YMCA, a camper parent reported, “Generation “Pop Culture” kids today need a wholesome experience like one provided at Camp Hazen!!! No focus on mastering gadgets, instead, developing important life skills….socialization, coping, independence and confidence, to name a few. Terrific role models at Camp Hazen!!!”

Camp Hazen YMCA believes the summer camp experience is a vital part of a child’s development and offers a tier pricing program to make camp affordable for all.  For more information, contact Danita Ballantyne at 860-526-9529 or visit www.camphazenymca.org

See the Connecticut River Valley from the Air!

Aerial image courtesy of Tom Walsh

The Rotary Club of Chester is selling scenic airplane flights donated by the Chester Pilots Group at $125.00 per flight.  Each flight ticket is good for either two adults or one adult and two children.

Flying time is approximately 25 minutes in total and will be based at the Chester Airport.  Flights will be scheduled for October 8 and 15 or by appointment.

More information is available at www.chesterrotary.org.  Purchase flight tickets from Chester Rotary President Kathryne Wright at the Hammered Edge Gallery at 4 Water Street in Chester (phone 860-526-1654) or through any Chester Rotarian.  Tickets will also be available for purchase at the Chester Air and Land Festival on October 1st.

Rotary Club of Essex Fall Wine and Beer Tasting

The Essex Rotary Club will be holding their 5th Annual Fall Wine Tasting at the Connecticut River Museum on Friday, October 14 from 6 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.  to benefit local charities and service organizations as well as our Rotary Scholarship Foundation.

This fabulous event will feature wines from around the world accompanied by paired cheeses and hors d’oeuvres.  There will also be selected MicroBrews and Live Entertainment.  So, bring your friends and spend the evening at the lovely Connecticut River Museum.

Tickets are available at Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store or online at  www.essexrotarywinetasting.com  For Information Call:  John Mulligan @ 860-490-8262.

Fire Code Inspection Leads to Closing of the Balcony at Chester Meeting House

CHESTER— A recent fire code inspection uncovered violations that have led to the closing of the balcony at the historic Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street.

Fire Marshall Richard Leighton, accompanied by Old Lyme Fire Marshall David Roberge, appeared before the board of selectmen Tuesday to review the violations that were discovered in an August inspection of the town-owned building. Leighton said the most serious deficiencies are related to the balcony, particularly a guardrail near the first row of seating that is too low, and handrails along the two circular staircases leading to the balcony that take up too much space from the walkways of the stairs.

The Chester Meeting House was renovated and restored by the town through the 1980s and 1990s. It is now used by a variety of community groups, including community theater and concert series. The town uses the building for town meetings and other public meetings that attract a large crowd. The designated capacity is 101 persons on the first floor and 60 persons for the balcony.

Leighton said the code improvements required for the balcony to be put back in to use could probably be completed in the near future with available town funds, while other improvements, such an upgraded fire alarm system for the entire building, would likely have to wait for funding in the 2012-2013 town budget. Also needed are additional exit signs and new lighting for outside the building.

The closing of the balcony has already impacted two groups that use the meeting house on a regular basis, the Meeting House Players, a community theater group, and the Robbie Collomore Concert Series. The Meeting House Players were forced to cancel a recent show, while the Collomore Series has an Oct. 16 performance date for which tickets, including balcony seats, have already been sold. Both groups pay the town a fee to use the building.

The board agreed to meet with Leighton and Roberge to establish short-term, and long-term, plans to complete the required fire code improvements. Interim First Selectman Tom Englert said “we take this seriously and we’ll certainly move to get this corrected as soon as possible.” But Englert noted even the improvements related to the balcony would require “some engineering work,” before the town could seek bids and hire a contractor to complete the work.

Selectman Lawrence Sypher advised representatives of the two groups at the meeting that appropriating funds, seeking bids, and hiring a contractor would likely take several weeks and probably could not be done before the end of the month.


Talking Transportation: The Malloy ‘Tax’ On Commuters

If a mugger came up to you on the street and said “I’m going to poke your eyes out!”, but then he only kicked you in the groin, would you think better of him?

That’s what Metro-North commuters are asking themselves now that CDOT has decided on 15.25% fare hike spread over the next three years instead of the 16.4% hike first proposed.  Are we supposed to be grateful?

To their credit, CDOT held eight public hearings around the state to gauge commuter response to their plan.  Hundreds turned out, 99% of them saying there was no justification for a fare increase in light of worsening service.  But having asked the public for their views, the CDOT chose to ignore them.

Mind you, this fare hike is not really coming from the CDOT.  It’s actually a creation of Governor Malloy and his budget team.

At every monthly meeting over the past two years the CT Rail Commuter Council asked CDOT if there were plans for a fare increase.  Each month they said “no”, until this spring during the budget process.

When the Governor’s concessions package was initially rejected by state employees, Malloy came out with “Plan B”, a painful collection of service cuts and fee increases (including a fare hike) that hit everyone in the state.  That got the state workers to reconsider and eventually they agreed to concessions and avoided layoffs.  But when the unions said yes, “Plan B” didn’t go away, especially the Metro-North fare hike.

So these fare increases are not to cover the cost of running the railroad but to balance the state budget.  What they amount to is nothing less than a “tax” on commuters, an attractive target with few alternatives.

Our fares are already the highest of any commuter railroad in the US.  Now they’ll be even higher.  Even the railroad’s own computer models suggest these higher fares will reduce ridership.

There are plenty of ways for Metro-North to save money without a fare hike, like collecting all the tickets on the trains.  For years the CT Rail Commuter Council has been asking the railroad to get conductors to do their job.  By their own estimates, the railroad acknowledges millions of dollars in lost revenue from uncollected fares.

Instead of collecting all the tickets, the railroad adopted new rules which make tickets expire sooner, leaving many riders with tickets that are now worthless.  Buy a ten-trip ticket and it’s worth zero in six months if you haven’t used it.  Meanwhile, passengers board trains at Stamford every day and get a free ride to Bridgeport because conductors aren’t doing their job. Their free ride is paid for by those with tickets.

Remember:  Metro-North works for the CDOT.  Why the state chooses to look the other way while the railroad abuses passengers in this way is a question best answered by Governor Malloy, the CDOT’s boss.

At a time when the state should be doing all it can to create and keep jobs in the state… and keep taxpayers from moving to NY or NJ… it’s astounding that Governor Malloy chooses instead to make the cost of commuting more expensive, not less.

This fare hike is just another nail in the coffin of Connecticut’s economic growth.

JIM CAMERON has been a Darien resident for 20 years.  He is Chairman of the CT Metro-North / Shore Line East Rail Commuter Council, and a member of the Coastal Corridor TIA and the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CTRailCommuterCouncil@gmail.com  or www.trainweb.org/ct


Potapaug Audubon Program on Deer Population & Control for Your Home Essex Town Hall

Potapaug Audubon is sponsoring a program, “Deer Population & Control for Your Home” on Thursday, October 6 at the Essex Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. with guest Speaker, Howard Kilpatrick, CT DEEP Biologist.

Learn how our state manages deer population. Refreshments served. Free Program. For more info: 860-399-9673.

Essex Blood Drive at Town Hall, Friday, Oct. 7

A blood drive will be held at Essex Town Hall on Friday October 7 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Paul Sullivan, the CEO of Connecticut Blood Services at American Red Cross, has said that “In Connecticut, we actually find ourselves in a situation year after year where we have to bring in blood from other parts of the country”.  Dr. Mary O’Neill, V.P. of the Northeast Division of Red Cross Blood Services, wrote on Sept. 20 that “The situation has become more critical because the recent severe weather has further impacted blood collections”.  Blood supplies across the country are at extremely low levels and are continuing to decline.

As an illustration of how much blood is needed, there are 30 acute care hospitals in Connecticut.  One of these, the blood bank at Yale which takes care of the needs of Smilow Cancer Hospital as well as the other parts of the Yale-New Haven Hospital, transfuses 9,000 patients a year.  (Each pint of blood is processed into components which can transfuse three patients). The net of all this is that your help is needed.

The next blood drive will be at Essex Town Hall is Friday, October 7.  If you can schedule an appointment between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. either call the Red Cross at 800-733-2767, visit their website at www.RedCrossBlood.org, or email rlevene2@comcast.net.  Please encourage friends and neighbors to join this effort.  If this date is not convenient for you, other drives in this area can be found on the Red Cross website. If you are a first-time donor, the website will describe the procedure so that you can get comfortable with the process.  As an added incentive, Carla’s Pasta is offering a coupon for a free Pronto Pasta to all presenting donors.

Cooley Gallery Holds Exhibition of Paintings by Artists from Old Lyme Art Colony

Old Lyme, CT – The Cooley Gallery is thrilled to announce “192” an exhibition and sale of paintings by artists from the Old Lyme Art colony.  The Old Lyme Art Colony boasted myriad artists and characters whose great love was painting their surroundings in the company of their peers.

Back in the early 1900s plein air painting adventures to farmer’s fields were as common as a sojourn to Europe. “Sketches” were painted on a standard size, 12” x 16”, panel or board that easily fit in their pochade box. A pochade box is a compact, portable painting studio in a small box. “pochade” is a French word meaning “quick (color) sketch”. Traditional pochade boxes were characterized by simple elements: a hinged lid which functions as an easel, the middle half as the palette in a slide out drawer and storage in the lower section.  The portability and convenience of the pochade box turned any circumstance into a subject for painting since the studio traveled with the artist. This exhibition of paintings measuring 12”x 16” show resolved works of art  big enough to capture the essences of the scene and small enough to be completed in one or two sittings.

The exhibition “192” displays paintings by a number of artists of the Old Lyme colony with subjects as close as their backyards to Venice, Italy, Maine, New Hampshire and beyond. “192” (the square inch area of a 12” x 16”) was a perfect space to capture the color, mood, spirit of place. All priced under $10,000, these paintings represent great value and great art.

“192” is on view through October 20th.

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.

Thomas E. Fuller Eagle Scout Memorial Fund Established

Thomas E. Fuller

In memory of 1936 Chester Eagle Scout Thomas E. Fuller (1918 – 2007), a memorial fund was established to provide assistance to young men in the Scouting program.

Fuller was an Army  WWII Veteran who later served Chester on the Board of Selectmen , Post Commander of the American Legion and a member of the Knights of Columbus.   The fund was established in 2007 at his passing by the family to always remember his love for Scouting.   Funds have been used to provide camperships and repairs to Scout Headquarters on Cedar Lake Road.

Donations may be made in his memory to the Thomas E. Fuller Eagle Scout Memorial Fund, c/o Troop 13 BSA, P O Box 65, Chester CT 06412.

Former Chester First Selectman Urges Support for Meehan and Sypher

Letter to the Editor:

During my tenure as Chester’s First Selectman I had the pleasure of working with Ed Meehan and Larry Sypher.  As candidates for Selectmen, they bring a long term town commitment and a vast knowledge of municipal government with them.

They have both served on the Board of Finance, an integral part of understanding the town’s finances.  They have shown prudent fiscal responsibility and accountability through our budget process.  Their experience will establish us receiving the best services for the best price.

Ed is a town planner and Larry has served on Planning and Zoning.  Together their experience will allow for the best quality of life to our residents and businesses, while understanding the guiding principles for our future.

Both have been committed to Chester.  The Sypher’s have been around since their dairy farm.  The Meehan’s moved here in 1982 and have raised their four boys through our school systems.  Both have been involved locally on boards, commissions, local organizations and their jobs.

Ed Meehan and Larry Sypher head the Democratic Ticket for November 8th.  Together with the entire slate they bring what Chester needs ~ Experience and Leadership.

Join me in Voting on November 8th, Row A …Ed Meehan, Larry Sypher and the entire team!
Martin L. Heft
Former Chester First Selectman

September 30,  2011

Connecticut River Museum “going to the dogs”

Quite literally, Essex’s prestigious Connecticut River Museum will be overrun with canines at the annual “Dogs on the Dock” parade this coming Sunday, October 9, down at the docks of the museum. Sign up time for the event is at 1:00 p.m., and the grand parade of pouches is an hour later at 2:00 p.m.

At last year’s event over 50 parading dogs participated before a crowd of several hundred human spectators. According to the Museum’s Executive Director, Jerry Roberts, an even greater number of dogs and spectators are expected this year.

Sponsors of the “Dogs on the Dock” parade are the Connecticut River Museum and the Essex Board of Trade, and this will be the seventh annual “Dogs on the Dock” event.

At the parade awards for dog participants will be given for: the best nautical costume, the best overall costume, the best “look alike” dog and master, the best dog trick and best dog jumper. Only dogs wearing proper harnesses can participate in the dog jump competition.

There is a $10 registration fee per dog, which is reduced to $5 for each additional dog on parade. All monies collected will be lovingly donated to local animal shelters.

Dogs not properly licensed with rabies tags will not be permitted to participate.  For further information contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860-767-8269.

Middlesex Hospital Opens New Primary Care Office in Old Saybrook

Primary Care offices at 154 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Main Street in Old Saybrook has a new addition. It is the recently completed and fully finished Middlesex Hospital Primary Care office, located at 154 Main Street. There is ample parking behind the new office.

The new Old Saybrook office is part of Middlesex Hospital’s primary care network, and the hospital has similar offices in Chester, Essex, Westbrook and Madison.

Physicians practicing at the new office in Old Saybrook include, Adam Perrin, M.D. Perrin is a board-certified Family Medicine and Sports Medicine practitioner, and he has a special interest in treating patients with asthma, and in alternative medicine techniques.

The Primary Care givers on Main Street: (l to r) Lucinda L. Hautaniemi, M.D.; Adam E. Perrin, M.D.; and Lauryn Slomkowski, A.P.R.N.

Also, practicing at the new Old Saybrook office is Lucinda Hautaniemi, M.D., who is board-certified in Family Medicine. She has a special interest in asthma, as well adolescent, pediatric, women’s health and geriatrics care.

Arthur McDowell, III, M.D., Vice President, Clinical; Affairs, Middlesex Hospital, said in connection with the opening of the new primary care office in Old Saybrook, “Our primary care doctors in Old Saybrook, as in other locations, are caring and compassionate healthcare providers, who take great pride in establishing special connections with their patients.

“Often they are the cornerstone of care for patients, who are seeking specialists, coordinating services, and monitoring chronic diseases. Generally, our primary care physicians can offer a lifetime of care for their patients,” he said.

Appointments at the new Middlesex Hospital Primary Care offices in Old Saybrook can be made by calling 860-395-1212, or dropping the offices at 154 Main Street. Also, Middlesex Hospital publishes an electronic newsletter, which provides the latest information about its services at www.middlesexhospital.org

Candidates to Square Off at Essex Town Hall Debate

Norman Needleman

Bruce MacMillian

The candidates for the office of Essex First Selectman, Mr. Bruce MacMillian and Mr. Norman Needleman, will square off at Essex Town Hall on Tuesday November 1 at 7:30 p.m., in a debate organized and sponsored by the Essex Library.  Also participating will be candidates for Second Selectman, Stacia Rice-Libby, and Joel Marzi. All are welcome to attend.

Do you have a question for the candidates? Questions can be submitted to the Essex Library, whose director, Richard Conroy, will screen them to ensure that they do not favor any particular point of view. All questions addressed in the debate will come from the public, and must be submitted in advance; none will be taken from the floor.

If you’d like to submit a question, you can do so in several ways. You can stop by the Essex Library in person, or call the  Library (860-767-1560). You can submit your questions on the Essex Library’s FaceBook page, or email them to staff@essexlib.org. You can also go to the Essex Library website, at www.essexlib.org, click on the “About Us” tab, click “Contact”, and submit a question in that way. All questions must include the sender’s name and contact information, please, for verification.

Region 4 Board Approves Four-Year Contract With School Custodians

REGION 4— The Region 4 Board of Education has approved a new four-year contract with the union bargaining unit for school custodians that extends from last July to June 30, 2015.

The board last week approved the contract with Local 1303-086 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Negotiations for the contract had begun in the spring. The contract covers nine custodians working at Valley Regional High School and John Winthrop Middle School.

Garth Sawyer, business manager for Region 4, said the  contract provides a 1.5 percent wage increase retroactive to July 1 for 2011-2012. The contract provides a two percent wage increase for each succeeding year, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015.

While receiving a pay increase, custodians will be paying more for health insurance coverage and prescription drugs. The cost share for annual medical insurance premiums will increase from the current 13.5 percent for 14 percent this year. The employee cost share will increase to 15 percent in 2012-2013, 16 percent in 2013-2014, and 16.5 percent in 2014-2015.The employee co-pay for medical office visits will rise from $20 to $25 in 2012, with the hospitalization co-pay increasing from the current $100 to $200. Employee co-pays for prescription drugs will also increase.

Essex Garden Club Announces New Officers for 2012-2014

Essex Garden Club Board Members for 2012 include, left to right, Nancy Hudson Treasurer, Judith Winkler, Recording Secretary, Carol Denham, President, Linda Newberg, 1st Vice President and Dianne Sexton, Corresponding Secretary. Missing are Augie Pampel, 2nd Vice President and Ellie Wetmore, Assistant Vice President.

The new officers for the Essex Garden Club are Carol Denham, President, Linda Newberg, 1st Vice President, Augie Pampel, 2nd Vice President, Judith Winkler, Recording Secretary, Dianne Sexton, Corresponding Secretary, Nancy Hudson, Treasurer and Ellie Wetmore, Assistant Treasurer.

After officially taking the EGC gavel on September 12, 2011, Carol Denham spoke of the Garden Club’s important legacy over the past 60 years. The Garden Club undertook its first project in 1952 to clean up a plot of land, strewn with rubbish and used for parking, effectively blocking the view of Middle Cove.  This land has since become the Town Park, “a jewel that provides a beautiful outdoor space for all to enjoy.”  The Park continues to be a central focus for the Garden Club members who maintain and add to the grounds annually.

The new President described the Club’s major fundraiser, “May Market” as a principal funding source for the other significant contributions the Club makes to the Town of Essex.  These include:  civic beautification of the town, scholarships to young people, and educational and conservation initiatives.  The Club’s production of garlic salt continues to be a “recipe for success.”

Carol emphasized the consistency of purpose with which the Club has maintained its focus over the past 60 years.  “As we celebrate ourselves and those who came before, let us, let us remember that what we do has had a huge impact on the quality of life in our community.  Our hard work does make a difference; we have a good thing going, so let’s keep it up….Who knows what we will accomplish next!”