July 2, 2022

Archives for February 2012

Essex to Purchase Used Catch Basin Cleaner Truck

ESSEX, CT— The town of Essex will purchase a used catch basin vacuum cleaner truck from a Newington company that currently rents the equipment to area towns for annual cleaning of roadside catch basins.

Voters at a town meeting last week approved spending up to $39,000 to buy the truck from the Acorn/Thompson Company. The approval came on a 12-5 vote, with some residents questioning the purchase of used equipment. The expenditure had been previously approved by the board of selectmen and board of finance. Before the town meeting vote, First Selectman Norman Needleman agreed to have a group of residents, including an experienced mechanic, inspect the equipment at the company headquarters in Newington.

Needleman said Tuesday the group had inspected the equipment last weekend, and provided a written report that supported the purchase. Needleman said owning the catch basin cleaner would “save us money with a very quick payback,” and give the town highway crew more time to work on the catch basins.

Needleman said the town currently rents the truck from the company for two weeks each year at a cost of $6,000. He said the company is going out of business, and selling much of its equipment. Needleman said annual cleaning of storm water catch basins to remove debris is required to insure proper drainage and prevent ponding and flooding of storm water on town roads.
Needleman said the actual cost of acquiring the equipment would be $33,000, with $6,000 deducted from the $39,000 purchase price for the town’s rental of the equipment last year.

Open Sugar House Saturdays at Bushy Hill

Bushy Hill Director Kelly Way, who runs the open houses, working in the Sugar House

Ivoryton, CT The Sugar House at Bushy Hill in Ivoryton will be open for the maple sugaring season starting Saturday February 18 and every Saturday until March 17 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bring the whole family and take part in the syrup making process using sap collected from the trees on the property, taste some samples or stop by to pick up a pint of syrup to go. Trails that cover 700 acres will be open to hike, snow shoe, or cross country ski on as well. The open houses are free to the public and no reservations are required. Different size jugs of the finished maple syrup will be available to purchase.

Bushy Hill at Incarnation Center is located at 253 Bushy Hill Road, Ivoryton, CT. The Sugar House is about 300 yards from the road entrance on the left next to the Activity Center. If you have any questions call (860)767-0848. Visit our website at www.bushyhill.org for more information.


Connecticut River Museum To Host Free Live Birds of Prey Show

The public is invited to come meet Athena, a peregrine falcon who will be featured in the Live Birds of Prey Show hosted by the Connecticut River Museum at Essex Town Hall on Sunday, February 19. Photo courtesy of Horizon Wings.

Essex, CT – If getting up close and personal with live raptors sounds like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, then mark your calendar and set your GPS for 29 West Avenue in Essex on February 19.  The Connecticut River Museum will host Live Birds of Prey from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm at Essex Town Hall.  The show, presented by Horizon Wings, a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center specializing in birds of prey, will introduce the audience to a red-tailed hawk, a peregrine falcon, an American kestral and a barn owl while telling their individual stories of survival and conservation.  With funding support from the Essex Garden Club and Potapaug Audubon Society, the program is free to the public but seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-seated basis.

For those looking for an on-water adventure and a chance to see majestic bald eagles in their winter habitat, the Connecticut River Museum is also offering eagle-viewing boat tours on Fridays at 1:00 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. now through March 11.  Project Oceanology’s 65-foot vessel Enviro-lab III departs from the Museum’s dock for an up-close view of winter wildlife and big birds of prey.  Museum educators provide narration while passengers can enjoy viewing from the heated cabin or outside deck area.  Complimentary coffee and use of binoculars provided.  Every boat tour ticket includes free admission to the Museum where the story of the Bald Eagle continues to unfold in the Eagles of Essex exhibit.

For a full listing of event details, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street.


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Photo  Caption: The public is invited to come meet Athena, a peregrine falcon who will be featured in the Live Birds of Prey Show hosted by the Connecticut River Museum at Essex Town Hall on Sunday, February 19.  Photo courtesy of Horizon Wings.

Essex Grand List up by 0.31 Percent

ESSEX— Assessor Jessica Sypher has filed an October 2011 grand list of taxable property that totals $1,120,279,636, an increase of $3,490,760, or 0.31 percent, over the 2010 grand list total. The increase is expected to generate about $62,764 in new tax revenue at the current tax rate of 17.98 mills.

The increase was smaller than last year, when the grand list jumped by 0.59 percent, but better than 2009, when the grand list dropped by 0.20 percent. Sypher said all of the increase could be attributed to home renovations and additions, along with purchases of new vehicles. The personal property total was down nearly four percent from 2010.

The town’s 3,393 real estate accounts show an assessment total of $1,078,147,120, an increase of $1,669,000, or .14 percent, from the 2010 real estate total. The town’s 7, 548 motor vehicle accounts show an assessment total of $59,432,335, an increase of $3,193,600, or 5.6 percent, from the 2010 motor vehicles total. The 738 personal property accounts show a total of $28,968,231, a decrease of $1,169,640, or 3.88 percent, from the 2010 personal property total.

The list of the town’s top ten taxpayers remained unchanged from 2010. The top taxpayer is the Essex Meadows Inc. retirement community and health care facility on Bokum Road, with an assessment total of $24,672,600. Other top taxpayers with the 2011 assessments are Lee Company $14,499,630, Connecticut Light and Power Company $5,954,470, Griswold Inn LLC $3,852,200, Stephen R. Cline Trustee (five real estate accounts) $3,587,400, Essex Savings Bank $3,306,970, All Waste Inc. (41 personal property and motor vehicle accounts) $3,041,550, Herbert T. Clark (28 personal property, real estate, and motor vehicle accounts $2,945,910, MacBeth Ventures LLC $2,870,000, and River Properties LLC $2,784,820.

Rep. Phil Miller: Free Tax Prep & Filing Help Available

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller, who represents Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam in the Connecticut General Assembly, is encouraging residents to take advantage of free tax preparation services available through the IRS Free File program.

“IRS Free File is a great service to help you easily prepare and file your taxes at no cost,” said Rep. Phil Miller. “I encourage folks who made less than 57,000 last year to take at look at using it.”

Since beginning in 2003, IRS Free File has offered low-to-moderate income taxpayers free access to leading commercial tax preparation software. This year, every taxpayer with a 2011 Adjusted Gross Income of $57,000 or less may visit www.IRS.gov/efile to prepare, complete and e-file their federal and state tax returns at no cost.

Taxpayers may visit the IRS website, www.IRS.gov , and click on the “Free File” icon. Users will find a list of Free File Alliance member companies and may either choose the one that fits their needs or utilize the “help me find a company” tool. After selecting a company, taxpayers will be transferred to the company’s website to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal income tax returns. Three of the 19 participating software companies also offer services in Spanish.

Free assistance in completing Connecticut returns is available from the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) by telephone at (800)382-9463 or in person at their Hartford Office. Residents can also call 2-1-1 to find local tax preparation assistance options.

Phil Miller is serving his first term representing the 36th Assembly District of Essex, Chester, Deep River and Haddam. He is Vice Chair of the legislature’s Environment Committee.

The Eagle Flyer Soars Again

Spotting for Bald Eagles (photo courtesy of Kim Tyler)

Essex, CT – –  In honor of the Bald Eagle’s winter migration South from Maine and Canada to the Connecticut River Valley, Essex Steam Train & Riverboat will operate its 3rd Annual Eagle Flyeron President’s Weekend.

Vintage Diesel Locomotive #0900 will pull the Eagle Flyer out of Essex Station on:

  • Saturday & Sunday, February 18 & 19, 2012 at 11am & 2pm
  • Adults:  $20.00 / Children Ages 2-11:  $15.00  (Free under age 2)
  • Coffee, Tea, & Hot Cocoa available for purchase on board.

Robert Bell, President of The Valley Railroad Company says, “The Eagle Flyer is a unique opportunity for families to adventure out and learn the story of our national symbol, the Bald Eagle.  The Bald Eagle’s wondrous migration South to the Connecticut River Valley is a rare natural event that we’re particularly delighted to share.”

 Bring Your Binoculars or Telescope

The Eagle Flyer will embark on a 2½ hour round-trip along the banks of the Connecticut River to Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam.  This family-friendly eco-excursion offers unique access to winter views of the wildlife and natural beauty that make the Connecticut River Valley “one of the last great places on earth.”

On-Board Naturalist demonstrating Bald Eagle Wing Span (Photo courtesy of Kim Tyler)

Naturalists will provide on-board narration and assist passengers in spotting wildlife, which in past years included bald eagles, hawks, deer and an unexpected harbor seal at Deep River Landing. Unobstructed views of historic landmarks, including Gillette Castle, Goodspeed Opera House and the Swing Bridge, are certain to impress as well.

 Making all Local Station Stops

The Eagle Flyer presents a rare opportunity for community residents to board at their nearby train station. While the Eagle Flyer originates at Essex Station, the train will make Local Station Stops in Deep River, Chester, Hadlyme, Eagle Landing State Park and Goodspeed Station.  Payment at Local Station Stops is cash only; fare will be pro-rated for less-than-full round trips.

For Schedule and Advance Reservations, visit www.essexsteamtrain.com or call 800-377-3987.

Dad & daughter pointing at the exciting wildlife (Photo courtesy of Kim Tyler)

The Valley Railroad Company   

Incorporated in 1969, The Valley Railroad Company opened the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat to the public 40 years ago, in July 1971.  The only steam train and riverboat connection in the United States, Essex Steam Train & Riverboat attracts over 140,000 visitors a year and continues to flourish as a Connecticut icon.  Tour goers enjoy a 2½ 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, Santa Special, North Pole Express and Your Hand on the Throttle.

Chester Grand List up by 0.70 Percent

CHESTER— Assessor Loreta Zdanys has filed an October 2001 grand list of taxable property that totals $502,698,090 an increase of $3,580,619, or .70 percent, over the 2010 grand list total. The increase is expected to generate about $79,000 in new tax revenue at the current tax rate of 22.11 mills.

The increase is slightly larger than last year, when the net grand list was up by .50 percent from the 2009 total, with all of the increase attributed to motor vehicles. The 2011 grand list shows increases in both motor vehicles and real estate, while personal property is down from the 2010 total. The real estate total of $451,502,570 is up by $2,412,905 from the 2010 total. The motor vehicles assessment total of $27,959,970 is up by $1,780,874 from the 2010 total. The personal property assessment total of $16,148,030 is down slightly, by $87,290, from the 2010 total.

The list of top ten taxpayers is unchanged from 2010. The top ten taxpayers in descending order are Chester Woods Inc. (Chester Village West), Connecticut Water Company, Whelen Engineering Company, The Eastern Company, Whelen Aviation LLC (Chester Airport), Connecticut Light and Power Company, Roto Frank of America, Arthur and Judith Schaller, Margaret and Robert Sbriglio, and Chester Marina LLC. Schaller and Sbriglio are residential properties on the Connecticut River.

Musical Masterworks Present Concerts with String Quartet “Brooklyn Rider”

Musical Masterworks will continue its series of chamber music concerts at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme with concerts on Saturday, February 11 at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 12 at 3:00 p.m.  The concerts will feature the string quartet “Brooklyn Rider.”  Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron will perform with the quartet on cello and serve as host for the concerts.

The program will feature musical compositions spanning four centuries, including the Fantasia Upon One Note for Five Instruments by the early Baroque composer Henry Purcell.  Classical era composer Luigi Boccherini’s String Quartet in E Major will also be on the program, along with Beethoven’s String Quartet in c sharp minor, Opus 131.  The program will also include works by Brazilian jazz composer Joao Gilberto; a contemporary work by Italian composer Giovanni Sollima; and an original piece by Brooklyn Rider’s violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen.

Brooklyn Rider is a genre-defying string quartet that combines an eclectic repertoire with a electrifying performance style.  The quartet has performed at venues as varied as Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center to Joe’s Pub in New York. This season the quartet made their Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall in October to great acclaim.

Tickets to the February 11 and 12 concerts are $35 with $5 student tickets available.  For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 860-434-2252 or visit www.musicalmasterworks.org.