January 31, 2023

Archives for July 2012

Neal Mayer returns to the Ivoryton Playhouse in Oliver! August 8


Neal Mayer with Tyler Matthew Felsen and Nathan Russo making the transformation into Fagin (Photograph by Anne Hudson)

Ivoryton: No sooner had the curtain gone down on the final moments of Ivoryton’s smash hit HAIRSPRAY, than Neal Mayer was dropping Wilbur’s Hawaiian shirts in the laundry basket and doffing the rags and tatters of that lovable villain, Fagin. In just 10 short days, OLIVER! will open and  the transformation will be complete – goodbye Baltimore and hello London!

Neal has spent his life in the theatre so transformation and quick change are as natural to him as getting up for work in the morning. He has played characters as different as Claquesous in LES MISERABLES on Broadway and Mandy Patinkin in FORBIDDEN BROADWAY. Neal is thrilled to return to the Ivoryton Playhouse where he previously appeared as Harding in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And if you are driving through town, you may catch Neal in his yellow cycling gear on his bike, enjoying exploring our own beautiful corner of New England.

Don’t miss Neal and rest of Dickens’ motley crew in this all-time family favorite, OLIVER! Winner of 4 Tony awards for the original 1963 Broadway production, Lionel Bart’s sensational score includes Food Glorious FoodConsider YourselfYou’ve Got to Pick-a-Pocket or TwoI’d Do Anything,Oom Pah PahAs Long As He Needs Me and many more.

Directed by R. Bruce Connelly, choreography by Kelly Shook and musical direction by John DeNicola. The set design is by Cully Long, lighting design by Doug Harry, and costumes by LisaMarie Harry.

Oliver! opens in Ivoryton on August 8th  and runs through September 2nd  and runs for 4 weeks. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website atwww.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*member of Actors Equity

Regional Council of Governments to Locate Offices in Centerbrook Section of Essex

ESSEX— A 1787 house turned office space in the Centerbrook section will soon become home to the newly established 17-town Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, hosting regional planning services for the 15 Middlesex County towns along with Lyme and Old Lyme.
Linda Krause, director of the Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency, said this week the 5,200- square-foot building at 145 Dennison Road has been selected as the site of offices for the council of governments and the merging regional planning agencies. Krause said the council of governments, using state provided transition funds, would begin renting the structure on August 1, with the council, comprised of the chief elected officials of the 17 towns, to hold its first monthly meeting at the new location later in the month.
With the encouragement of state government, officials began planning early this year for a merger of CRERPA and the Middletown-based Midstate Regional Planning Agency. The combined regional planning agency would be directed by the council of governments comprised of the chief elected officials of the member towns. The area first selectmen, along with the mayor of Middletown, had previously been meeting regularly as a more informal council of elected officials.
Krause said 15 towns have now formally joined the council of governments, with action still pending in Clinton and East Hampton. The organization includes the former Midstate towns of Cromwell, Durham, East Haddam, Haddam, Middlefield, Middletown and Portland, and the former estuary towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Krause said officials in Clinton and East Hampton have confirmed interest in joining the COG.
Krause said she worked with the COG chairman, East Haddam First Selectman Mark Walter, in considering various potential locations for the offices. Krause said the goal was the have the office near Route 9, which she described as the “spine of the region.”
Krause said the vacant Centerbrook building, which previously housed law offices and most recently Clearwater Systems, “is in great shape and does not need a lot of renovations.” The COG and regional planning agency will use the entire building, which has a second floor. Eleven staff members are expected to work in the new office.
Krause said CRERPA would be relocating from its current office at the train station complex in Old Saybrook to Centerbrook during the month of August. The relocation from the Midstate RPA office on DeKoven Drive in Middletown will be completed by the end of September.
Krause said the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments would hold its first meeting at the Centerbrook offices on Aug. 28. Other regional organizations, including the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, will also begin meeting at the Dennison Road location.

Voters Approve $550,000 Fire Truck Purchase at Deep River Town Meeting

DEEP RIVER— Voters at a town meeting Tuesday gave quick approval to a $550,000 appropriation to purchase a reconditioned aerial ladder fire truck, and a related five-year lease-purchase agreement for the purchase. About 35 residents turned out, approving both resolutions on unanimous voice votes without discussion.
The lease purchase arrangement with Sun Trust Leasing Corporation of Towson, Md. was approved last month by the board of selectmen and board of finance. The agreement calls for annual payments of about $118,000, with the annual interest rate set at 2.25 percent.  The first payment would be in July 2013, the start of the next budget year.
First Selectman Richard Smith said the town has worked with the Maryland company on lease-purchase arrangements for three fire trucks and two highway department vehicles in recent years. He said the most recent lease/purchase was paid off this year.
Fire Chief Tim Lee said the reconditioned truck would replace a 1977 ladder truck. Lee said a committee of Deep River Volunteer Fire Department members would now begin shopping for a reconditioned aerial ladder truck, with a goal of acquiring a truck that is less than ten years old. Lee said the exact price would be determined after negotiations with the vendor. He said the department hopes to receive delivery of the truck before the end of the year.

How to prepare for a Walking Marathon – August 9

How should you prepare for a 26 mile walking marathon? You are invited to a TBBCF Walker Training Clinic.

If you want to walk a 6, 13 or 26 mile marathon, there are things you need to do to train for that length walk.  Come to Anytime Fitness, learn about walk training and footwear; take a local 2 mile fitness walk, and find out more about the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation (TBBCF) Walk Across Southeastern CT which will take place on October 6, 2012. Learn about walking as a team and about fundraising opportunities.

The walk training will take place on Thursday, August 9, 2011, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Anytime Fitness, 17 Liberty Way, Niantic, CT. For directions, visithttp://www.anytimefitness.com .  For more information about the TBBCF Walk Across Southeastern CT, visit www.tbbcf.org.  Please call 860-245-0402 to let us know you plan on attending or if you have any questions.

Friends of Gillette Seeks New Officers

The Friends of Gillette Castle State Park, founded in 1998, needs a new president, some officers, and some committee chairs to continue its work in support of the park and the experiences of the some 200,000 visitors that enjoy it every year.

The next Friends meeting will be at the Castle Visitors Center at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, August 9.

“We have a few general volunteers…but we need to portion out job and task descriptions to prevent too many duties from settling too hard on too few people,” said Friends’ newsletter editor John Stratton. “There are openings in activities like our Gift Shop, membership and website management, grant writing, our biannual Easter egg hunt, and as representatives for the park at events.”

The Friends efforts in past years have included funding for park-maintenance equipment, new display frames and cases, video equipment, and the display-restoration of an electric locomotive once used by Mr. William Gillette on his estate’s railway.

The Friends have also helped support a relationship with the East Haddam Stage Company, which this year has performances of “The Speckled Band,” a 1930 Radio Drama on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, July 7-August 12. In addition, the Friends’ volunteer advisors, Tyke and Teddie Niver, continue to re-enact the role of “Mr. and Mrs. Gillette” at the Castle and other events statewide.


Interested individuals are welcome to attend the August 9 meeting, and lend their ideas and assistance to the board.

Rep. Phil Miller Endorses Jim Crawford for State Senate

ESSEX –– State Rep. Philip J. Miller (D-Chester, Deep River, Essex, Haddam), offered his support today to Jim Crawford, the party endorsed Democratic candidate for State Senator from the 33rd District.

“Jim Crawford knows how important it is to protect our local environment and I have no doubt he will be a staunch defender of it,” Miller said, “Jim raised his family here, taught several generations of students here, and ran a family business here for more than two decades,” Miller said.

Rep. Miller is Vice Chair of the General Assembly’s Environment Committee and serves with Crawford in the state House of Representatives. Both are serving their first terms as legislators and have worked closely together as their districts border one another.

Miller pointed to Crawford’s 100% 2012 legislative rating from the League of Conservation voters along with his bipartisan work on the Shoreline Preservation Task Force to protect the shoreline from rising sea levels. He also praised Crawford for his efforts on the Energy & Technology Committee.

“The groundbreaking energy legislation Jim helped to pass last year has put Connecticut on the map as a leader in renewable energy. Dozens of Connecticut renewable energy companies are now growing rapidly thanks to the programs created in that bill.”

Crawford pledged to continue his work to protect the local environment.

“The Connecticut River valley and Long Island Sound are defining characteristics of our region, essential to its character and our local economy in so many ways. I will always make their conservation a top priority,” Crawford said.

The 33rd Senatorial District is comprised of twelve towns which stretch from shore of Long Island Sound up the Connecticut River toward the center of the state. The towns include Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

Deep River Planning and Zoning Approves Special Permit for Expansion of Industrial Building

DEEP RIVER— The planning and zoning commission has approved a special permit for an 8,400-square-foot of the Centerbrook Sales/Eve’s Addiction industrial building at 16 Grove Street in the town’s north end.

The commission approved the permit on a unanimous vote after a public hearing Thursday. Cathy Jefferson, zoning enforcement office, said Monday the conditions on the permit approval are related to completion of recommended fire protection and drainage improvements. The approval will allow company owner Raymond Galeotti to expand the existing 6,600-square-foot building where he has operated the company since 2007. The building is located on a 2.5-acre parcel at the end of Grove Street, a dead-end street extending south off Bridge Street.

Galeotti needed approval from three town land use commissions for the expansion project, including a permit from the inland-wetlands commission and a variance from the zoning board of appeals. A variance was needed because new village district regulations approved by the planning and zoning commission last fall imposed a 2,500-square-foot limit on the size of buildings in the village district, which includes the previous light industrial zone in the north end. The ZBA approved the variance on July 17 after a two-part public hearing than opened on June 19.

Galeotti said Monday construction of the expansion would begin later this year. He said the project would add about five new jobs, with some of the positions to be filled  before construction of the addition begins. The company, which currently employs 20 people, sells jewelry through an internet web site. Light assembly, including setting of stones and engravings, are done at the Grove Street facility.

Fifty-six Fife and Drum Corps on Parade at Deep River’s Ancient Muster, While on the Sidelines Thousands Cheer

Marchers in the muster, all marching in perfect step

On and on they came, the parade of more than fifty, fife and drum corps, playing the old and sacred tunes of our national memory, “the Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “America the Beautiful,” and “It’s a Grand Old Flag.” In keeping with the music were patriotically dressed marchers, wearing the military uniforms of wars gone by, three corner hats, Union blue uniforms of the Civil War, and of the Revolutionary War as well.

A quartet of drummers at the Ancient Muster

In all there was 56 fife and drum corps on parade down Main Street in Deep River on Saturday, July 21. It took the units of the muster over an hour and a half to pass a given point along the parade route.

A close-up of fifers fifing

The annual musters were first started in Deep River back in 1953, which made this the 59th year of these events. Normally, the small town of Deep River has a population of around 5,000. During the muster the town’s population swells by another 5,000, taking into account the marchers and the rows of spectators along the sidelines.

A look at the audience viewing the muster on Main Street, Deep River

In front of Deep River town hall the chairs of muster watchers were four deep. In fact, rows of spectators in chairs and standing stretched from one end of Deep River’s Main Street to another. Adding to the pleasure of the event, the weather was perfect.

Marching fifers, all dressed in white

The Muster Represents U.S. Tradition

The President of the Deep River Annual Muster Committee is Deep River resident Tim Goss. It his committee that organizes the two day muster event.

The Essex Sailing Masters of 1812

The first day of the muster, always on the Friday the day before the march, there is what is called a Tattoo. It is a gathering at which members of the various marching corps can get to know each other. The second day, which always takes place on the third Saturday in July, is the day of the Ancient Muster itself, which features the actual march of the various corps.

In Goss’s mind, “The muster represents the country’s tradition, stretching back to the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.”

The first unit in the muster was the group where Muster President Tim Goss plays the bass drum

Goss, himself, participates in the muster. He plays the bass drum in the first, fife and drum corps in the march. Many of the marching units in the Ancient Muster were formed the 1870’s after the Civil War, when this conflict was still fresh in memory.

The Massachusetts colonial navy unit was founded in 1775

In addition to the tunes of the fifes, and the deep thumps of the drums, on occasion some minor explosions went off, making a bit of noise and smoke.

Leading the Deep River Ancient Muster

Leading off this year’s Ancient Muster were Deep River’s First Selectman Dick Smith and town Third Selectman, Dave OIiveria. Of the muster tradition in Deep River, Smith said, “Personally, I love the muster. It is one of the things that Deep River is known for, and we take pride in it.”

Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith (on left) and Third Selectman Dave Oliveria lead off the Ancient Muster

He continued, “When I am out of town, and I tell people that I am from Deep River, a lot of them ask me, isn’t that where they have the muster?  It is one of the things our town in know by. ”

The Moodus fife and drum corps proudly marching in the muster

Many of the fife and drum corps that took part in the muster were from Connecticut. There were also corps from other New England states, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and as well as from New York and other states. Sometimes there are even overseas groups participating as well.

Political Campaigning among the Muster Crowds

There was also a bit of political campaigning among the swelling crowds before the muster began. Former Congressman Christopher Shays, who is running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, against wrestling figure Linda McMahon, was shaking hands amongst the crowd. When asked why he was running, he said, “I want my party back.”

The Continentals of Camden, New York, which was founded in 1850, marched in the muster

Also campaigning were supporters of Melissa Schlag, who is running for the Connecticut State Senate on the Green Party ticket.

On hand as well was U.S. Navy veteran Pasqual Casanova, age 89, who saw action in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa during World War II. He said that he and his wife Rose love the muster and have been attending for many years.

Another unit in perfect step; this skill is only achieved with constant drilling

To give the reader a real sense of Deep River’s annual Ancient Muster, there follows more photos of this year’s event.

There was a woman’s group in the Ancient Muster parade, and why not?


These muster marchers wore the Union blue uniforms of the U.S. Civil War

Windsor, Connecticut, Fife & Drum Corp joined the muster


Jazz Jam at Ulrich Franzen Home to Benefit Community Music School July 22

A Jazz Jam for musicians and music lovers will take place on Sunday, July 22 at 7 pm with proceeds to benefit the Community Music School. This award-winning Essex residence on Book Hill Road was designed by Ulrich Franzen and offers unparalleled views of the Connecticut River. Tickets are $25 ($15 is tax deductible) and guests will enjoy an evening of music, wine and savory snacks. The featured performer is local jazz musician Julie Blum, a CMS alumnae and 2008 Carolyn Greenleaf Memorial Award winner. Julie is an accomplished musician who has performed professionally throughout Connecticut since 2006. She is best known for her jazz saxophone performances and has appeared on WFSB’s Better Connecticut and at numerous prestigious jazz festivals. Learn more about Julie at her website: www.julieblummusic.com

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

Tickets may be purchased through Community Music School at 90 Main Street, Centerbrook or by calling 860-767-0026.

Meeting Averts Deep River Planning and Zoning Lawsuit

DEEP RIVER— A July 2 meeting has averted a lawsuit between the planning and zoning commission and the zoning board of appeals over the board’s June 19 approval of a variance that would open the door to a used car dealership in a vacant industrial building at 444 South Main Street on the south end of town.

The ZBA on June 19 approved a variance for local resident George Bartlett of the road frontage requirements of zoning regulations as applied to the former Champion Tool & Dye Company site on South Main Street, also known as Route 154. Zoning regulations require at least 150-feet of road frontage for used car dealerships and other uses in the turnpike industrial zone on the south end of town, while the parcel acquired by Bartlett has only 144 feet of road frontage.

The planning and zoning commission, represented by Zoning Enforcement Officer Cathy Jefferson and commission attorney William Howard, opposed the variance appeal at the June 19 public hearing, with Howard contending approval of the six-foot road frontage variance would also be a use variance that exceeded the legal authority of the ZBA. The board approved the variance on a 4-1 vote. Two days later, at its June 21 meeting, the planning and zoning commission directed Howard to file a court appeal challenging the variance approval.

Concerned about the prospect of one town board suing another, with the town paying legal expenses for both sides, First Selectman Richard Smith arranged a July 2 meeting where he was joined by ZBA Chairman Donald Grohs, ZBA attorney David Royston, Jefferson, and Howard.

Smith said Thursday the meeting resulted in the planning and zoning commission agreeing not to pursue a lawsuit against the variance approval, with Bartlett required to file a special permit application with the commission for the proposed used car dealership. The special permit application requires a public hearing, where the commission will hold jurisdiction over all aspects of the used car dealership plan, including the final decision on whether to approve a used car dealership on the site.

Smith said he is pleased the meeting earlier this month was able to resolve the dispute, and avert a lawsuit. “I don’t think boards should be fighting with each other and costing the town money,” he said.

Essex Foundation Is Beneficiary of Funds From Sale of Alice Powers’ House

Alice Powers

Everyone in Essex knew her or knew of her. Alice Powers was a friendly, involved citizen, who during her more than 25 years in town, was deeply involved in dozens of important causes—from the Essex Land Trust, to Garden Club, to the Connecticut River Museum. And she wasn’t just an ordinary member of the organizations she supported.  She served as President of the Essex Land Trust during the years when decisions were being made concerning the Cross Lots property. She served for a number of years as the chair of the Essex Garden Club Scholarship committee, strengthening the club’s commitment to help local youths interested in college careers focusing on environmental and conservation initiatives.

Alice lived in her house on Maple Avenue until the last years of her life, surrounded by her favorite possessions and avidly tending her beautiful gardens and landscaped grounds. The house was left to The Essex Foundation to be used, according to the conservator, Anna Sweeney, as the Foundation saw fit. According to David Hyde, the President of The Essex Foundation, the house has been sold to Paul Angellini and the funds from the sale will be dedicated to furthering the many community activities in which Alice was interested.  The Foundation, which has been in existence since 1970,  is a nonprofit, tax exempt corporation whose purpose is to receive and administer funds and other property to help meet the educational, social, welfare, cultural and civic needs of the citizens of Essex. The Foundation serves as a pool for funds for individual donors. For example, the Bumpy Warner Scout Building Fund administered by the Foundation has been operating the Scout Building on Bushnell Street for many years. The primary purpose of the Foundation is to use funds to help fill needs that are not met by any other sources or organizations.

Alice Powers was born in Troy, New York. She was a graduate of the  Emma Willard School in Troy and went on to graduate from Smith College in 1942.  Before coming to Essex, Alice was a Vice President for Human Resources at Young and Rubicam, one of the largest advertising agencies in the United States, who, in 1951 produced the world’s first color television commercial. She maintained a host of friends from her agency days, some who had summer homes in Essex and who inspired her to retire here.

Alice loved the outdoors. An avid skier, she served for many years on the Board of Directors of the Amateur Ski Club of New York. She was especially fond of the club’s lodge at Mad River Glen in Vermont. Her passion for skiing took her to slopes throughout Europe.  Golfing was one of her favorite summer sports—and she was an active member of the Old Lyme Country Club. The Essex Yacht Club afforded her access to another favorite sport—sailing. She sailed and crewed on all types of sailboats and motor yachts and loved canoeing on the Connecticut River.  And, she loved to travel—her last big trip, when she was 80, was down the Amazon River in South America.

Bequests made to the Foundation may be restricted or unrestricted in nature. Unrestricted gifts are pooled and managed by the Board of Directors to respond to the most pressing needs and to provide the most effective assistance. Restricted gifts designated for a particular purpose, interest or organization are administered in accordance with the donors’ wishes. More information about The Essex Foundation can be found on the web at theessexfoundation.org or by contacting the Board of Directors at PO Box 64, Essex, Connecticut 06426.


Deep River ZBA Approves Variance for Expansion of Grove Street Industrial Building

DEEP RIVER— The zoning board of appeals Tuesday approved a variance that should pave the way for an 8,400-square-foot expansion of an existing industrial building located at 16 Grove Street in the town’s north end.

The variance approval, on a unanimous vote of the board, will allow Raymond Galeotti, owner of Eve’s Addiction/Centerbrook Sales, to proceed to a public hearing before the planning and zoning commission Thursday on a special permit application for the proposed business expansion. The commission’s public hearing begins at 7 p.m. in town hall.

A variance was needed because new village district zoning regulations approved by the commission last November impose a 2,500-square-foot limit on the size of buildings in the village district, which includes the area in the vicinity of Grove Street and Bridge Street that had previously been a light industrial zone.

The ZBA had opened a public hearing on Galeotti’s variance appeal on June 19, but postponed a decision until Tuesday amid questions about the extent of requirements in the new village district regulations. David Royston, the board’s attorney, opened the session by confirming the board had the legal authority to grant a variance on the new building size limit, despite language in the new regulations which implied the requirements were not subject to a variance.

John Bennet, a Chester lawyer representing Galeotti, said Galeotti purchased the industrial building that had been vacant for several years in 2007 with the hope of eventually expanding his business that involves the manufacturing and sales of jewelry items . Bennet said the new regulations with the 2,500-square-foot building size limit impose a legal hardship on a pre-existing non-conforming use. “A few months ago we wouldn’t even have to be here for this,” he said, adding “this is the kind of business that every community would like to have.”

First Selectman Richard Smith, speaking in support of the variance, said he had urged Galeotti to open his business in the 16 Grove St. building five years ago, and last year urged him to pursue a building expansion after neighborhood complaints about tractor trailer trucks that were remaining on the property while waiting to be unloaded. Bennet said the planned expansion would eliminate any need for large delivery trucks to linger on the property.

The expansion project, which has received a required permit from the inland-wetlands commission, calls for an 8,400-square-foot expansion of the existing 6,600-square-foot building on the 2.5-acre parcel at 16 Grove Street, a dead-end street located off Bridge Street.

In approving the variance, the board determined the new regulations imposed a hardship on a legal; non-conforming use, and that the planned expansion conformed with the existing building on the parcel.

Terrance Lomme, Private Lawyer for Private Legal Clients, While Serving as State Judge of Probate

Attorney Terrance Lomme representing a private client before the Essex Zoning Commision

Essex resident Terrance D. Lomme is a busy man.  Not only is he the personal attorney for private clients, such as the New York City developer involved in the Foxboro Point case in Essex, but also Lomme is also a sitting state Judge of Probate, who has exclusive jurisdiction over probate cases in nine Connecticut towns.

It should be noted that Lomme’s representation of private legal clients, while serving at the same time as a Judge of Probate, is perfectly legal under Connecticut state law.

Furthermore, when it comes to any conflicts between his two roles, as private attorney and judge, Lomme says, “I have never had a problem.”  However, he did admit in a recent interview, “I do have to be very sensitive to conflicts, and the appearance of conflicts.”  Also, Lomme said that he had mentioned his position as a Judge of Probate to the private developer of Foxboro point, Frank Sciame, Jr., and, “It was never a problem.”

Judges of Probate Are Paid $110,000 a Year

In addition to the monies that he earns from his private practice of law, as a State Judge of Probate, Terrance Lomme also receives an annual salary of $110,000 a year from the state.  This amount is calculated at 75% of the salary paid to a Connecticut Superior Court judge.

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme in his judicial chambers at Old Saybrook Town Hall

However, judges of the Superior Court, as well as judges of the Appellate Court and Supreme Court, are prohibited from engaging in the private practice of law.  Among these judges, only Judges of Probate are permitted to have private law practices.

Lomme’s Very Public, Private Practice of Law

Terrance Lomme has some high profile clients in his practice of law, as illustrated by his appearance as the private attorney of the would-be developer of Foxboro Point.  Not only did Lomme represent the developer at the at the July 12 meeting of the Essex Planning Commission, he has done the same at five previous hearings as well.

Lomme estimates that there could be two or three more Planning Commission meetings on the Foxboro Point development before all outstanding issues were resolved.  Lomme, himself, will be on hand at every one of these future meetings, as the developer’s private attorney.

Also, on July 16 Lomme appeared before yet another Essex regulatory body, this time it was the Essex Zoning Commission.  Lomme was representing as a private client, the developer of a senior citizens housing development in Essex.  In this appearance Lomme made an extensive presentation, complete with large picture boards that he showed to the commission.  He also participated in an extensive discussion of his client’s application with commission members.

Lomme’s arguments on behalf of his client were successful in this instance, and the Zoning Commission approved the construction of the senior citizen development with certain attached reporting requirements.

Lomme also had a second private client at the July 16 meeting of the Zoning Commission, which was the Foxboro Point developer.  However, the commission deferred consideration of this matter for a future meeting.

Lomme’s Official Duties as a State Judge of Probate

In his official position as a Judge of Probate, Judge Lomme decides probate cases in the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  Also, the judge is assisted in his official duties by a staff of nine clerks.

The Old Saybrook offices of Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme staffed by nine clerks

Lomme’s probate headquarters is located in the Town Hall of Old Saybrook, and it consists of a multi-room suite of offices and an official hearing room.  Whenever there is a probate matter to be adjudicated in the judge’s nine town district, it will be done by Judge Lomme, acting on his interpretation of the law and the facts of the case.

Limits on Practicing Law by Judges of Probate        

Although expressly permitted to engage in the private practice of law, under the state’s Code of Probate Judicial Conduct, there are some general prohibitions that Judges of Probate must obey.  They include a provision that, “A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in the judge’s activities.”

Also, “A judge shall conduct all extra-judicial activities as to minimize the risk of conflict with judicial obligations.”  In addition, the Code includes a specific reference to the fact that a Judge of Probate law, “Can maintain a private law practice.”  Under the Code, there are eight specific Canons that must be obeyed by the state’s Judges of Probate.

Jurisdiction of State Judges of Probate

As for the kinds of cases that the state’s Judges of Probate decide, they are limited although extremely important. Among the powers of Judges of Probate, in addition to the probating of wills, they include passing on the formation and maintenance of Trusts and Estates, as well as overseeing testamentary and living trusts.

Also, a Judge of Probate has extensive jurisdiction over Guardians, Conservators and Civil Commitment cases.  These include the power to appoint the guardians of a child, as well as to order the sterilization of a person of intellectual disability.

In addition, a Judge of Probate like Lomme has jurisdiction over removing children from unfit parents, and hearing the claims of paternity of unwed fathers.  Also probate judges can grant name changes, approve or disapprove of the marriages of persons under the age of 16, and can assist persons in obtaining passports.

And these are by no means all of the significant powers of state Judges of Probate.

Finally, the web site of the Judges of Probate makes the point that, “In carrying out their responsibilities, the probate courts strive to protect the rights of individuals while affording those involved in probate matters an approachable and consumer friendly environment.”

Still, unless there is a change in state law, Judges of Probate such as Judge Lomme will be permitted to continue to represent private legal clients, while at the same time they exercise their important judicial duties.

Mary Ellen Klinck Qualifies for Public Financing

Mary Ellen Klinck, the Democratic candidate for the 33rd district senate seat

Mary Ellen Klinck, the Democratic candidate for the 33rd district senate seat, has met the qualifications for funding under Connecticut’s Citizen Election Program (CEP).

To earn CEP dollars, which help level the political playing field, a senate candidate must raise $15,000, with 300 of the contributors being residents of the 12-town district.

“I have raised more than $15,000 and have more than 300 contributors,” Klinck announced Thursday.  “It was hard work.  I thank all my supporters for contributing so quickly.  Now I can concentrate on talking to the voters about my campaign.”

Klinck has a very diversified resume and has been an active volunteer in Middlesex County for years.  Her past accomplishments include serving as State Commissioner on Aging, as an East Haddam Selectman, as a 33rd District State Central Committeewoman, as Chair of East Haddam’s Democratic Town Committee, and as Chairman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.  Presently, she is Vice-president of the East Haddam Historical Society, and President of the C21 Root Real Estate Agency, having previously owned an insurance office and a restaurant.

Widowed, she is the mother of 3, devoted grandmother of 6, and loyal friend to hundreds of people

“My platform includes home care and housing for Seniors, educational review, college, housing, and energy affordability, environmental and open space protection, job reaction,  and respect for veterans’ rights,”  Klinck said.  “I promise honest leadership, open government, and help for small and medium businesses.”

Latin Grammy Award Winner Fernando Otero to play in Essex July 28

Fernando Otero will play a solo piano concert on July 28, 8:30pm as part of the Book Hill Series at the Ulrich Franzen House designed for Henry and Shavaun Towers, to benefit Community Music Series in Centerbrook, Connecticut. First introduced to series producer Deirdre Towers during the Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center in New York City, Otero was featured in a documentary about the new generation of tango aficionados in TANGO: A STRANGE TURN directed by Mercedes Garcia Guevara in 2004. In deference to the Connecticut Tango Festival which runs July 14-22nd, Otero will play a few tangos for the audience to dance.

Argentine composer and pianist Fernando Otero found his voice as a writer, musician and bandleader when he began to incorporate the indigenous sounds of his native Buenos Aires into his work. On his Nonesuch debut “Pagina de Buenos Aires,” he evokes a feeling of Buenos Aires – something you can sense even if you’ve never been there – through his innovative use of the bandoneon. Now based in New York City, he won the 2010 Latin Grammy Award for best classical music album.

The BBC Music Review said that his music is “Urbane and exotic, surreal and streetwise, and alive with emotion and invention.” The New York Times, as recently as May 16, 2011, praised the “sizzling interpretations of sultry and rhythmically vibrant works by Fernando Otero” played at Symphony Space, New York.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the door or by contacting CMS: http://www.community-music-school.org/contact/administrative.htm. For more information on Fernando Otero, visit http://www.fernandootero.com/ .More on Ulrich Franzen House, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAcvMwcNAl4

Community Music School is an independent, nonprofit school which began as a pilot program in the summer of 1980. Patricia Hurley, the school’s founder and artistic director, had a vision to enrich students’ lives with musical opportunities beyond the public school programs. The 6,000-square-foot facility houses 17 studios. CMS is member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and to follow that organization’s Code of Best Practices

Connecticut River Museum Receives Over $58,000 in Grant Awards

(L-R) Connecticut River Museum Development Manager Phyllis Stillman and Executive Director Jerry Roberts accept $5000 grant award from Middlesex County Community Foundation President and CEO Cynthia Clegg.

Essex, CT – The Connecticut River Museum, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River Valley, has received over $58,000 in grant awards from several organizations and foundations in the first half of this year.  The largest single award was a matching grant of $39,500 from The Connecticut Humanities Council Heritage Revitalization Fund to be used for the Museum’s “The British Raid on Essex Interpretive Initiative”.  The funds will help improve the Museum’s permanent first floor exhibition by upgrading the 1814 British Raid on Essex section for the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and increase its reach to a broader audience through the development of an innovative smart phone app.  An additional $5,000 of funding for the British Raid on Essex Interpretive Initiative was received from the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation and will be used towards matching the Humanities Council grant.

The Middlesex County Community Foundation awarded a $5,000 Communications Challenge Grant for audio/visual equipment enhancements in the Museum’s Boathouse Education Center and for upgrades to the outdoor sound system used for public events held on museum grounds.  Guilford Savings Bank Fund granted $1,600 to underwrite the program costs of the Museum’s annual Family Maritime Day, one of the free outdoor, public events held on August 11.

The Connecticut River Museum was also the beneficiary of a $7,020 Heritage Preservation Conservation Assessment Program grant that funded a comprehensive, third-party assessment of its collections and building, written by two museum and historic preservation experts.  The Heritage Preservation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the United States, provides conservation assessment programs through a cooperative agreement with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street on the historic Essex waterfront.  For more information on the Museum and its exhibitions, events and programs, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860.767.8269.

Children’s Book Author and illustrator Jane Manning at Deep River Library July 18

Children’s Book Author and illustrator Jane Manning will be reading her soon-to-be -released book “Millie Fierce”  Under the Stars at Deep River Public Library on Wednesday July 18 at 8pm, plus other fun things that evening!

CMS Offers New Kindermusik Scholarship Program, Summer Demo Days in July and August

ESSEX – Through a generous grant from the Women’s Initiative Fund of the Middlesex United Way, Community Music School is pleased to offer partial scholarships for the award-winning early childhood development program, Kindermusik. Demonstration and information days are being offered on Tuesday, July 24 and Tuesday, August 14 for families interested in the program. The events are FREE and will take place at Community Music School, 90 Main Street in Centerbrook (next to Essex Elementary School). Demonstrations are scheduled for specific age groups and include:

10 – 10:40 a.m.: Our Time for 18 months to 3 years old – children are introduced to singing, moving, listening and playing simple instruments.

11 – 11:40 a.m.: Imagine That! for 3 to 4 year olds – a wide variety of musical subjects and hands-on projects are introduced through singing, listening, moving and exploring.

1 – 1:40 p.m.: Young Child/ABC Music & Me for 4 to 6 year olds – this program introduces young musicians to composers, songs, and styles from a variety of genres, such as classical, jazz, and folk.

With more than 25 years of experience in early childhood development, Kindermusik is the world’s most trusted name in musical learning. Community Music School faculty member and certified Kindermusik educator Nancy Thomas will lead these engaging and fun music education sessions.

For additional information about the Kindermusik program or for a scholarship application, please contact Community Music School at 860-767-0026 or visit www.community-music-school.org.

Board Picks South Carolina Educator as New Principal for Essex Elementary

ESSEX— The board of education has has picked Scott Jeffrey, currently an assistant principal at an elementary school in South Carolina, as the new principal for Essex Elementary School. The board approved the appointment on a unanimous vote after a final interview with Jeffrey at a meeting Thursday.

Jeffrey, a Connecticut native, will replace Joanne Beekley, who had served as principal at the elementary school for nearly a decade. Beekley was selected on June 7 to become assistant superintendent for the Region 4 Chester-Deep River-Essex school district.
Jeffrey has served for the past two years as assistant principal for an elementary school in Clover, South Carolina, located in York County along the state’s northern border. Jeffrey had worked previously as a teacher at elementary and middle schools in Berlin and Farmington. Jeffrey, who also served as a school athletic director, received his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Central Connecticut State University, and a Master of Education Degree in elementary education from the University of Hartford. He later earned a additional Master’s Degree in Educational Administration at the University of South Carolina.

Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy said the board was impressed with Jeffrey’s “overall knowledge, integrity, compassion, and commitment to excellence,” along with his “exceptional personal style and enthusiasm for elementary school students”. Jeffrey is expected to begin working in Essex later this summer, before the start of the 2012-2013 school year in early September.

Off to the Post Office to complain. Again!

Oct. 20, 1960. A historic event of national significance—the dedication of that remarkable facility. I was there in Providence, covering it for the Worcester Telegram-Gazette. But what a stunt the Providence Journal pulled afterward!

Deep River–I had long forgotten about the enormous Post Office event that took place  way back in 1960. Enormous because important to the whole country. At the left is the special poster designed back then to mark it.

That historic event came back to me yesterday in a strange flash.

I got home from my errands and found a new message on my answering machine.  From AT&T.

A computerized male voice told me AT&T had mailed me an important message and it had been returned as un-deliverable. “This was our second attempt!” the unhappy voice said.

I called that number and of course I waited for somebody to pick up. And waited. And waited. Finally I gave up for now.

My problem with the Post Office was not new. I had gotten three other complaints. I had complained at the Post Office just last week.

Right away I called the Post Office to straighten this out. Busy. Again 20 minutes later. Busy.  I did a bit of work. Called again. Busy. Damn!

I had to go to Old Saybrook. I’d be driving right by the Post Office. I’d stop in.  I was sure I’d have to wait my turn.

To my surprise,  I was alone.  The only clerk was busy checking something. I had been hoping it would be the clerk I had complained to last week. Not so. I waited. Finally she turned to me. “Yes?”

I explained. I gave her my name and address.

Told her that three days ago I had gotten a call from Life-Long Learning in Madison. They had mailed me a check for a talk and it had been returned  as un-deliverable. “What address did you use?” I asked them. They had used the correct address. Strange. Said told me they would re-send me the check. “Sorry for the trouble!” I said.

I told the clerk, “I just got a call from AT&T complaining about the same thing!”

Also told her that twice recently milady Annabelle in California had forwarded mail to me that had been forwarded to her for me from Deep River. True, I had been there with her for a long stretch but had returned home to Deep River three months ago.

And I had given the Post Office notice of those changes of address and proper forwarding instructions.

I also explained something else. “What’s puzzling  is that I am getting mail properly addressed to me. Why just some? Why not all?”

The clerk was all business, “I’ll go and check.” She said it in a tone that told me she was no stranger to such complaints.

She disappeared behind a partition. I waited a couple of minutes. She re-appeared.

She looked triumphant. She had discovered the problem for sure. “What is your address again?” I told her No. 228.

“I just checked with the clerk back there.  She said that just this morning she caught two letters going to you not at 228, but 111. She re-addressed both to 228. That’s the problem! Some people are using the wrong address!”

“No. 111 used to be my address. I lived there until about eight years ago. But the mail that is being returned is from regular billers.  AT&T, for instance. I get mail sent to 228 from At&T every month without a hitch. Why this all of a sudden?”

“You’d better check! I’m sure they’re the cause.”

I believed differently but didn’t say so. I suspected the Post Office was at fault. “I  certainly will check,”  I said. And I added, “We’re all human. We all screw up at times. I undertand that. I’m not angry at anybody. Just irritated.”

“But what you just said is NOT true,” she said stiffly.  “All this mail is being sorted by machines! Not people. By machines!”

“Oh, of course! I had forgotten. I will do some checking at my end. Anyway, we had a good discussion. Thank you for explaining!” And I left.

I went out to my car. Of course. Machines!  How come I didn’t remember that!  I should have. Long ago—52 years ago! — I had written a big story about the very first mail processed by machines in the USA. At the very first automated Post Office in the country.  The one in Providence! The one you saw in that poster up top.

It was such a big event in postal history that the Post Office had issued a special stamp. The stamp showed that very building you saw in the poster.  It was a regular first-class stamp. It sold for four cents! The Post Office sold 833,306 copies of that stamp on the first day.

I was a staffer at the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. The Post Office sent us one news release after another about the automated post office it was building. The world had never seen a post office designed to handle huge hauls of mail by machine. It was always done by human hands. This was a technological break-through. A big deal. It sent those news releases to newspapers everywhere.

It invited newspapers to come to Providence for a preview tour of this phenomenal operation.

Well, I got the assignment. I was a feature writer. This would be a huge feature story. And I was familiar with Providence.  I was born next door to Providence. Had gone off to school in Massachusetts. Then had come home to do graduate work at Brown University. I walked by the Post Office every day to get to Brown at the top of College Hill.

But this post office would be a mile or so away. The old Post Office would remain open. This would be a factory really. The only people in there would be postal workers operating these mammoth machines. The machines would spew out the sorted mail faster than the eye could see. And do it more accuraely.

If it proved itself (and all the officials believed that of course it would), it would be the prototype for others spotted across the country.

I looked forward to the tour. I loved being a feature writer.

Sometimes someone asks, “John, what’s the difference between a reporter and a feature writer?” Good question.

I’ve developed a pat answer that seems to satisfy. “A feature writer is an experienced reporter. Knows how to ferret out all the facts and write them up.  Like a good reporter. But a feature writer adds all the extra little facts and background and ‘color’ that give the story real human interest.”

Feature stories usually run longer. Are not always pegged to a certain event, although this one would be—the opening of this new factory. Top reporters usually cover a beat: police, or education, or politics, or business, or health, and so on. Beat reporters develop deep expertise. Feature writers cover just about anything. And range farther geographically to do their work.         The tour was two weeks before the grand opening day. I was one of a number of press people who showed up. Some of the biggest papers in the country were there. Some of the mid-size papers like mine from throughout southern New England. And little ones from nearby.

The new building was enormous.  It sprawled over 13 acres. It looked very strange. Like an egg carton turned upside down but beautiful in its own way. Big trucks would bring in the mail. Three miles of conveyor belts laced through the place. The specially designed machines would turn the mail face up. Sort it. Cancel it. The the belts would carry it out to the right trucks going to the right places. What a marvel!

We didn’t get to see the factory working. Everything had been set up. Everything was ready. The Grand Opening was coming up, and the mail would stream through from that day on. But we could see by the enthusiasm of the tour officials that this would be smooth and easy. And historic indeed.

The tour ended and all us dispersed, thoroughly impressed. I went back to Worcester and wrote my feature. The Post Office had supplied photos and we used some. My feature would be published  on the big day.

It was truly a grand day. I was not there. I had done my job.

I knew that the main speaker would be the postmaser general himself from Washington, Arthur E. Summerfield. And I knew what he would talk about.  How significant this was. A huge step forward. Progress!

I waited eagerly to see how other big dailies would handle it.  The Providence Journal-Bulletin especially. It was the usual big trio like my paper—meaning it published morning, afternoon, and Sunday editions. Bigger, but not that bigger.

I had another reason. I admired the Journal. Clever people there. I had written for it. It had a fine Sunday magazine. It was called The Rhode Islander. Its editor, knowing my Little Rhody roots, had asked me to come back and drive through Providence on all its numbered routes—Route 1, and 6, and 44, and others. The city had made big changes. I’d tell what I liked, and what I didn’t like if I found such. I did that. And I took the photos to illustrate it.

The headline said something like, “A Rhode Islander returns home and takes a fresh look at Providence.” I don’t remember the exact words. I hadn’t said a word about tis to my family and friends in Rhode Island. My piece was a surprise to them and it created a pleasant stir.

Finally I got a look at the Journal story about the big event. It was a good, straight story, like mine. But the Journal published a follow-up story a few days later. And I saw it. I was shocked. Yes, shocked.  Then I laughed. The Journal had done a clever thing.. But terrible and sneaky in one way. But important in another because it was a true public service.

Some editor had gotten a devilish idea and had pulled it off.

The paper had gone to a lot of trouble.  Had collected all kinds of stamps.  But not one of them was a legitimate postal stamp. They were tax stamps attached to cigarette packs. S & H Green Stamps (if you remember what they were). Other phony stamps of various kinds. The Journal had pasted them on numerous pieces of first-class mail addressed to itself. And waited to see what would happen.

And all this phony mail got processed by those fantastic new machines and got delivered to the paper. All those new workers were too busy running the machines to notice. Wow!

The Journal took pictures of this bad mail, made a montage of them, and published it. The headline said, “New Post Office Processes All the Mail!” Excuse me. I made up that headline. I don’t remember the original. But it was along those lines.

Imagine the consternation…the anger…the fury at the new Post Office!

Maybe scanning machines to detect bogus mail were already part of that factory. If so, they were not working that day. But for certain automated scanning devices  were soon making sure such mischief would be caught. And prosecuted.

Yes, prosecuted. Tampering with the mail is a federal crime. I never heard if the Journal suffered legal headaches because of that stunt. But the paper had made a big point. Machines are only as good as the designers who create them.  And as the workers who run them are trained.

When I go to Providence, sometimes I pass by that big, strange building. Still in service. Always think of the awful start it got. And smile.

Know what? Nowadays any mail mailed from anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in the U.S. passes through a processing center. In our case here, it’s in Wallingford. If I drop a birthday card into the mailbox in front of the Deep River Public Library addressed to a friend three blocks away, that card will pass through Wallingford. Imagine that.

Today’s machines are descendants of those original ones. Better, I’m sure. But the system is still fallible. What isn’t?

So maybe a machine somewhere has been causing my mis-delivered mail. I hope it gets straightened out. I will keep my word to that clerk. I’ll ask folks to make sure they mail to me at 228, not 111. But she’s probably right.

A big coincidence! I just spotted a story in the New London Day. “Even Before Closures, Postal Service in Decline.”  It was a summary of a story in the New York Times by staffer  Ron Nixon. I looked up the original. Much more detail.

Nixon reported many complaints about mail service. From heavy users of the mail. Newspaper and magazine publishers. Utilities. Big fund-raisers. Mass mailing services. Said one business executive, “The problems only seem to be getting worse.” Many people are upset.  So, not only me.

The Post Office does have a major headache.

Have you had problems like mine?

First Congregational Church of Deep River Annual Flea Market August 11

The First Congregational Church of Deep River will have its Annual Flea Market on the Green on Saturday, August 11, 2012 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Many of the 74 spaces have already been reserved, so contact the church as soon as possible  to reserve your spot.  Spaces are 20 x 20 and the price is $30.00.  For more information please call the church at (860) 526-5045 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to request a map and registration form.   You may also email the church office at office.drcc@snet.net or download the form and map from our church website, www.deepriverchurch.org.

The members of the congregation will also have a tag sale inside the Fellowship Hall, and there will be a variety of baked goods for sale.    Refreshments may be purchased throughout the day:  coffee and doughnuts in the morning and hamburgers, hotdogs, and side dishes throughout the day.

Dan Stevens to Perform at Connecticut River Museum on July 19

Essex, CT – On Thursday, July 19, acoustic guitarist Dan Stevens will bring his American Roots style music to the Essex waterfront when he performs at the Connecticut River Museum’s Thursdays at the Docks.  Back by popular demand for a fifth summer season, “Thursdays at the Dock” extends the Museum’s hours by opening the first floor galleries, museum shop and North deck from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm every Thursday from July 12 through August 30.  All are invited to sample the River’s great heritage and natural beauty while enjoying music and refreshments on the waterfront.  Each week, featured area musicians perform a diverse mix of maritime folk, bluegrass, folk rock, and other popular styles.   Stevens, called “Connecticut’s hardest working bluesman” by the New York Times, is an Old Lyme resident who tours incessantly along the East Coast, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Europe.

Admission is $5 per person, museum members are admitted free.  Cash bar and light snacks are available.  For more information on Thursdays at the Dock and other Connecticut River Museum events and programs, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street on the historic waterfront in Essex, CT.


CT League of Conservation Voters Names Phil Miller Legislative Champion

State Representative Phil Miller who 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 Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) has named State Representative Phil Miller, who represents Chester, Deep River, Essex, Haddam in the Connecticut General Assembly, a ‘Legislative Champion’ for fighting proactively to promote the state’s open space plan and advancing the GMO (genetically modified organisms) labeling bill.

“I’m humbled to be so recognized. I am grateful to the people of Haddam, Chester, Deep River and Essex for encouraging me to vote well on conservation issues which help ensure air and water quality in Connecticut. I also want to thank the Speaker of the House, Chris Donovan, for appointing me Vice Chair of the Environment Committee in my first term,” said Rep. Miller, who has received a perfect environmental score two years in a row.

“Phil spent every day ensuring that all significant legislation we supported stayed on the agenda of committees and his chamber. Environment was his top priority this session, and his enthusiasm and support for even the most difficult issues—from GMO labeling to reducing chemical exposure to children to water conservation incentives—really helped make this year a good year for the environment at the Capitol. We applaud his work” said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown.

CTLCV annually grades lawmakers on their environmental voting record. Rep. Flexer received a perfect score of 100% in The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters’ 2012 Environmental Scorecard. This year the scorecard grades legislators’ votes on 15 bills that came up during the 2012 legislative session.

Formed in 1998, the bipartisan CTLCV works on laws that affect Connecticut’s air, water, wildlife, open space, transportation, energy choices, and health.

33rd Senate District Candidates Submit Campaign Finance Reports

AREAWIDE— Democratic state senate challenger Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam has out-raised party endorsed candidate Jim Crawford of Westbrook in the Aug. 14 primary contest to succeed retiring Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily in the 33rd Senate District, but Republican nominee Art Linares of Westbrook has raised more campaign dollars than the two Democrats, according to finance reports filed this week with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Klinck, a longtime party activist who served as state commissioner on aging in the 1980s, had raised $11,098 as of June 30. With expenditures of $1,199, Klinck had a balance on hand of $9,898 at the end of the reporting period. Crawford, a retired teacher who has represented the 35th House District since 2010, raised $5,590. With expenditures of $3,012, Crawford had a balance on hand of $2,577 as of June 30.

Linares, a 23-year-old political newcomer who became the GOP nominee after convention-endorsed candidate Neil Nichols of Essex withdrew from the race, has raised a total of $14,957, including a beginning balance of $6,004 and $7,732 raised during the month of June. With expenditures of $5,355, Linares had a balance of $8,380 on hand at the end of June. Melissa Schlag of Haddam, running on the Green Party line, had raised $4,635 as of June 30. With expenditures of $272, Schlag reported a balance on hand of $4,362 at the end of June.

All of the candidates, including Schlag, reported many $100 contributions. Among the $100 contributors to Klinck are former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd, a part-time East Haddam resident, Nikki O’Neill of East Hampton, widow of former Governor William O’Neill, former East Haddam first selectmen Brad Parker and John Blaschik, former state consumer protection commissioner Mary Heslin of Hartford,  Kenneth and Michele Barber of East Hampton who each donated $100, and Andrew Tierney of East Hampton, who serves as town manager of Hebron.

The $100 contributors to Crawford include retiring Senator Daily and her husband, Jim, of Westbrook, who each donated $100, Democratic State Central Committee member Lon Seidman of Ivoryton, State AFL-CIO director John Olsen and his wife, Janeen, of Clinton, who each donated $100, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman and companion Jacqueline Hubbard of Essex, who each donated $100, and Raymond and Karen Rigat of Clinton, who each gave $100. Rigat, a former Clinton judge of probate, was the unsuccessful challenger for the Democratic nomination for regional judge of probate in 2010.

The $100 contributors to Linares include  former congressman and 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Robert Simmons of Stonington, Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, East Lyme First Selectman and 2nd District congressional candidate Paul Formica, State Senator Scott Frantz of Greenwich, and former state representative Andrew Norton of Colchester. Nichols contributed $50, while his wife, Allison, donated $100. There was a $50 contribution from former congressman Christopher Shays of Bridgeport, the challenger for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in the Aug. 14 primary.

Among the $100 contributors to Schlag were her campaign treasurer Diane Stock, who has run unsuccessfully for first selectman of Haddam as a Democrat and petition candidate, Edward and Anne Schwing of Haddam, who each contributed $100, and Stephen and Patricia Goldblatt of Haddam, who each contributed $100.

The 33rd Senate District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

Klinck Receives Realtor Endorsement

Mary Ellen Klinck, State Senate candidate for the 33rd District, received the endorsement of the Connecticut Association of Realtors and the support of its PAC.  Joseph Christ, chair of the Realtors’ PAC, stated, “We support candidates from all occupations, not just real estate professionals, who possess attributes favorable to free enterprise, private property rights, and housing opportunities and choices.  We seek allies to promote and protect the American Dream.”

Klinck, a realtor for many years, is President of Century 21 Real Estate in East Haddam, where her daughter Kathleen is Vice-President and broker for the office.

Presently on the State Commission on Aging, Klinck has been an East Haddam Selectman, Chairman of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, and for 8 years the State Commissioner on Aging.

“We need honest leadership, open government, job creation, and affordable housing,” said Klinck.  “In addition to the real estate office, I have owned an insurance agency and a good-sized restaurant.  I know the problems and benefits that go with running a successful business.  Other priorities include education, elderly issues, and the environment.

I am pleased with the realtors’ endorsement,” she added, “and will work tirelessly to win the Democratic primary on August 14th and to win the election in November.”

Letters: Some Thoughts on the Abortion Debate

To the Editor:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC Chairwoman, uber progressive, abortion advocate, and heroine of Planned Parenthood claims that if one is “pro-life,” one is, therefore, “anti-woman.”  Her statement invites a conversation.

Eighty percent of Americans are against partial-birth abortion. Does that mean that eighty percent of Americans are anti-woman? Does Schultz realize that poll after poll shows that even those that are working within the parameters of Supreme Court jurisprudence overwhelmingly support restrictions on abortion?

There are also legions of Americans, like myself, whose thinking and conscience have evolved to reject abortion and the decision that makes it a woman’s right. My blind allegiance to “choice” was most assuredly rooted in my background. I grew-up in a Connecticut suburb of New York City where back-alley abortions were a reality. I knew two young girls in my community who were subjected to crude methods of ending their pregnancies. The older sister of a classmate of mine threw herself down the cellar stairs to facilitate the end of her pregnancy. She was, as a result, unable to ever again conceive.

It was an untenable situation in the days before birth control became available for women. In spite of the fact that “the pill” reached pharmacy shelves a few years before abortion became legal, it is of little wonder why so many Americans, acutely aware of gruesome back-alley abortions, stood behind “ choice.” Living in a patriarchal society was an added ingredient to the acceptance of “choice.”  Women were sick and tired of gender double standards and being told what was acceptable of women, by men.

Slowly, over many years, I realized that when feminist lawyers and leaders, in concert with the ACLU, pushed for the right of a woman to abort her unborn child, I began to macerate the truth.

After the Supreme Court overturned all state abortion laws and abortion became a constitutional right, my lexicon concerning babies in the womb changed. I began to refer to the unborn child as a “fetus” and the ending of a human life became “choice.” And later on, viability was added to my lexicon.

It is telling to me that I used euphemisms such as “choice” rather  than abortion.  Little lies that I told myself helped to insulate me from the realities of “choice.” I wonder how many other men and women mimic the pro-choice mindset and in so doing completely disregard the rights of the unborn.

When I allowed myself to think about the number of babies sacrificed in the name of protecting a woman’s right to “choose,” it was chilling.  How many of the millions and millions of babies aborted were baby girls-the very same gender that the leaders and fellow supporters of the women’s movement pledged to protect through “choice.” The aborted babies have had no choice.

As I finally began to tear down the wall that separated me from the truth, I began to challenge my blind support of Roe V. Wade. It is no secret that the number of abortions performed to actually prevent the death of the mother is minimal. It seems that in those extreme cases there are two lives at stake and the decision should be between the doctor and the mom.

The number of pregnancies resulting from rape and incest are diminimus. When these heinous crimes do result in pregnancy and there is not a threat to the mother’s life, adoption is always a better answer than abortion. In these rare occasions, the community and churches must provide financial and psychological help for the victim. Since charitable giving in America is outpacing economic growth, it can be done. As a country we are moving towards rapid response to those in need. We are a caring nation.

Within the rhetoric about protecting women’s lives and privacy, we never hear the facts concerning the physical, the spiritual and the psychic post-abortion trauma suffered by so many women. These are the very same women we pledge to support with “choice.”

If it is truly women’s lives and privacy that propels the pro-choice lobby, why, I wonder, has the emphasis always been on the “right” for a woman to abort.  The emphasis has never been the promotion of and availability of safe and effective birth control, help with adoption, education and the encouragement of parents to keep pregnancy conversations open and honest?

Education should include the knowledge that that a unique human being is created when the sperm fertilizes an egg. The fertilized egg has a complete genetic make-up. It is a life. We know that at seven weeks, eyelids have been formed. By nine weeks the baby sucks her thumb, does flips in the whom and swallows. It is a life

It is not my purpose to judge anyone who has had an abortion. The pro-abortion lobby, emboldened by the Supreme Court, has been aggressive, loud and deceptive. Perhaps, with the most recent scientific discoveries, our society will wake-up and give the completely dependent unborn child the same rights as the completely dependent newborn.

The decision by the Supreme Court regarding abortion is not an inexorable command. Consider what happened to the death penalty for juveniles (Brown) in 2005. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority opinion to strike down the death penalty for juveniles, explained that the “standards of decency have evolved since the case in 1989 when the Supreme Court reached the opposite opinion.” That ruling on the legality of the death penalty for juveniles shows us that a precedent can be overturned. Roe is by no means a settled expectation of society-despite its “super duper” status.

To date there have been millions and millions of abortions performed in the United States. For me, it is a heavy burden to know that I blindly supported an egregious ruling by the Supreme Court- a ruling that has inflicted a hideous scar on the face of American history.


Alison Nichols, M.Div, 
Essex, CT

Deep River Voters to Consider $550,000 Aerial Ladder Fire Truck Purchase at July 24 Town Meeting

DEEP RIVER-— Voters at a July 24 town meeting will consider a proposed $550,000 appropriation to purchase a reconditioned aerial ladder fire truck for the Deep River volunteer Fire Department. The town meeting convenes at 7 p.m. in town hall.

The proposed appropriation and purchase was approved on June 26 by the board of selectmen and board of finance based on a request from the volunteer fire department. The aerial ladder truck, while previously used, is newer than an existing ladder truck the fire department is expected to attempt to resell.

The truck will be purchased under a five-year lease-purchase arrangement with Sun Trust Leasing Corporation. The annual payment from the town will be $118,000 year, with the interest rate for the five-year agreement fixed at 2.25 per cent per year. The town has used similar lease-purchase agreements previously to purchase fire trucks and other heavy equipment.

Release of E-mails About Former High School Principal Eric Rice Leads to Lawsuit Against Regional School District 4

REGION 4— A newspaper article that included e-mails between school staff and administrators about former Valley Regional High School Principal Eric Rice has led to a lawsuit filed by Rice against  the school district, Superintendent of Schools Ruth Levy, and former assistant superintendent Ian Neviaser.

Rice, who resigned as principal in October 2010 after barely two months in the job, filed a lawsuit late last year contending  a release of e-mails and other communications between Levy, Neviaser, and various district staff had violated the terms of an Oct. 18, 2010 “release and resignation agreement” between Rice and the school district. Comments about Rice from the e-mails were included in a June 26, 2011 article in the Hartford Courant about Rice’s “fast, furious fall”, according to the headline, from the principal position. The case is pending in Middlesex Superior Court before Judge Robert Holzberg.

Rice, who had worked previously as principal at a science and technology magnet school in Hartford, was hired as principal for Valley Regional High School in the summer of 2010 to replace Neviaser, who was hired for the assistant superintendent job after two years as principal at the high school. Neviaser left Region 4 at the end of June to assume the position of superintendent of schools for the Region 18 Lyme/Old Lyme school district.

Rice, a Chester resident at the time, had been on the job for less than three weeks when reports surfaced that he had been given a resign-or-be-fired ultimatum from Levy. He resigned from the principal position in mid-October 2010, receiving a $62,150 severance payment from the district and extended health insurance coverage. Levy and members of the Region 4 Board of Education had declined to comment on the reasons for Rice’s departure.

The lawsuit, filed for Rice by the Hamden firm of Gesmonde, Pietrosimore & Sgrinani, contends that by releasing the e-mails and other communications to the Courant, Levy and Neviaser had violated a strict no comment and disclosure provision in the agreement between Rice and the school district. The provision of the agreement barred either party from making “disparaging, negative, false or misleading” statements about any party to the agreement.

The lawsuit maintains the district had never been directly ordered by the state Freedom of Information commission to release the e-mails and other communications to the newspaper. It accuses the district and the two administrators of “breach  of contract”, breach of “a covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” “negligent misrepresentation,”, “defamation”, and “invasion of privacy.” It contends there was a release of information from Rice’s personnel file, and material “that could be considered evaluative”, even though Rice had never been formally evaluated by the school board during his short time on the job.

The lawsuit, which seeks more than $15,000 in damages and legal expenses, contends the release of the e-mails and subsequent newspaper article has prevented Rice from securing new employment as a principal, and caused Rice a loss of reputation and loss of earning capacity that had forced him to accept employment with lower wages and benefits.

Levy declined to comment on the lawsuit when contacted Monday. The most recent activity in the case was a motion to strike filed by the district’s lawyers with the Hartford firm of Shipman & Goodwin.

Sen. Eileen Daily Endorses Jim Crawford for State Senate

WESTBROOK — Incumbent State Senator Eileen Daily (D-Westbrook) announced her endorsement today of Democratic State Representative Jim Crawford to be the next State Senator from the 33rd District, the position from which she is retiring at the end of the year.

Jim Crawford is the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for the seat, having won the Democratic Convention in May. A primary will be held August 14th.
“I am pleased to support Jim Crawford,” said Senator Daily, “He is qualified, experienced, and ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead.  He taught both of my children when they were in school, and in a long and varied career, he has demonstrated good judgment and solid character time and again.”
Crawford spent nearly four decades as a teacher in the Westbrook Public Schools. He served as an officer in the US Army, and in recent years was elected twice as a Selectman for the Town of Westbrook. He currently serves as the State Representative for the towns of Clinton, Killingworth, and Westbrook. He and his wife Elaine also owned a small business, the Maples Motel in Westbrook, for over twenty years.
“Jim brings a great deal of experience to the table, but perhaps his most valuable insight is his perspective as a small business owner. I know that as a State Senator, he will work tirelessly to get our economy back on track and create the good paying jobs we need,” Daily added.
Jim Crawford said, “I thank Senator Daily very much for her support, and for her twenty years of service to our community. I am flattered by her endorsement, and am sure she will have an active retirement. I look forward to working with her on matters of local concern far into the future.”
The 33rd Senatorial District is comprised of twelve towns which stretch from the shore of Long Island Sound up the Connecticut River toward the center of the state. They include: Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

The “Mahogany Memories” Antique and Classic Boat Show, Beneath a Blistering Sun

The waterfront display of antique and classic boats off the Connecticut River Museum docks

It was hot! Oh, it was hot, in the bright noon day sun. No wonder so many visitors and boat owners sought refuge in the shade of a tent, which had been set up on the grounds of the Connecticut River Museum.

Representatives of the boat show’s sponsor, the Southern New England Chapter of The Antique and Classic Boat Society, estimated that between 1,500 to 2,000 visitors would come out to see the show, which was held on Saturday, July 7. However, because the heat, there was never much of a crowd on the docks out on the Connecticut River, where visitors could check out firsthand the floating antiques of a bygone boating world.

Among the antique boats on display were those build by familiar names, such as Chris Craft, Century, Lyman and Gar Wood. However, although the show’s press release promised that “Boat owners will be on hand to talk about their boats,” understandably, many of them could be found in the shaded tent, rather than out beside their boats in the sun.

A Covered Aft Deck Solves the Sun Problem

One boat owner, whose boat was in the show, did not have a problem with the sun. That was because Andy Pye’s 1955, “Seamaster 30,” named “Sabina,” has a fully covered aft deck. This provided ample shade for the boat’s crew and visitors. Pye lives in Chester.

The motor yacht “Sabina” is more a friends and family boat than a true classic. So what, it had the shade

It would of course be a stretch to call “Sabina,” a Mahogany Memory. In fact, the closest thing that this boat gets to “mahogany” is the varnished bright work that frames its large cockpit. Pye said that he paid $3,000 for this comfortable craft, and that when he first bought it six years ago, “it had to be completely redone.”

Now Pye says that he even keeps his boat in the water year round, and in fair weather he is out every weekend with a wide circle of friends and family, and “a lot of kids.” Some of Pye’s favorite destinations are Three Mile Harbor and Cockles Harbor on Long Island.

Also, he likes to go to Montauk, where he says, “We catch lots of stripers.” Affectionately, he says of his boat, “She was raised to fish.”

As for upkeep, he says that his wife, Beth, once asked what was he doing, as he was varnishing the bright work of the boat. He replied that he was varnishing, and his wife then asked if she could to try it.

Now, Pye says, “My wife does all the varnishing .” Asked how many coats she puts on the boat, he answers, “eleven.”

Father and Son with a True “Mahogany Melody”

At least one owner of a true Mahogany Memory vessel was out in the sun, ready talk with passers-by about his vessel. He was Rich Rosselli of Trumbull, who was there with his young son. His boat is called “Castaway,” and it is a 1961 Grady White Hatteras of 17 ½ feet.

Father and son beside their true Mahogany Melody, “Caseway,” and they were by their boat for questions

When he first bought the boat, which he said that he just finished working on the day before, Rosselli said the vessel had cracked frames and rot in the transom. To get the boat up to its present prime condition, Rosselli said he had some help from a local cabinet maker named Jerry Bobela.

Rosselli said he balanced fixing up his boat, and running his own business at the same time. He is in the business, incidentally, of laser welding.

As for his wife he said, “She put up with me while I was working on the boat. She was very understanding and helpful.”  However, he did not say that his wife had said that she was prepared to go out in her husband’s newly restored, Mahogany Melody.

“Rum Runner,” just might have helped bootleggers get their goods to shore during prohibition

In addition to the boats in the water at the antique boat show, a number of the 39 boats in the show were displayed on land. One the boats on display on land was called, “Rum Runner,” and it is a fact that during prohibition many fast, speed boats helped boot legers bring in the liquor from mother ships off shore. However, no one claimed that any of the boats in the show were ever used in this capacity.

The smallest visitor at the show, and is she happy

Essex Planning Commission to Address Foxboro Point Plan on Thursday, July 12

Present water view from Croft property on Foxboro Road

For the fifth time, this Thursday evening, July 12, the Essex Planning Commission will have on its agenda a plan to develop eleven acres of sweeping water front property on Foxboro Point.  The plan before the commission was submitted by a prominent New York City real estate developer and builder, Frank J. Sciame, Jr.

Among Sciame’s completed projects are the redevelopment of the Pierpoint Morgan Library, the Harvard Club in New York City, the Pratt School of Architecture, the Main Branch of the New York Public Library, and the exterior renovation of the Guggenheim Museum. Locally, Sciame has also refurbished the former home of Katherine Hepburn in Old Saybrook. The trademark of Sciame’s firm is, “Where Building is an Art.”

At the Foxboro point site Sciame has proposed the renovation of the existing Croft estate on the property, as well as the building of six new luxury houses constructed in a traditional New England style.

A “Berlin Wall” of Hedges at the Site?

Presently, joggers, bicyclists and walkers along Foxboro Road can enjoy sweeping views of the waters of North Cove and the Connecticut River below. A major bone of contention at recent meetings has been that no matter how tasteful the design of the new houses, soon enough the new home owners would plant monstrous, dense hedges, which would completely obstruct the water views from along the road.

This could mean a veritable “Berlin Wall” of high, thick hedges, as a result of the Sciame development.  A number of private homes, presently, along Foxboro Road have thick high hedges which restrict water views from the road.

Present high hedges with obstructed water views from Foxboro Road

At the commission’s June meeting, the builder’s local counsel, Terrance Loome, Esq., submitted a plan for a “pocket park,” which he said would give viewers from the road, a visual outpost from which they could see the waters below. However, this proposal was greeted with a singular lack of enthusiasm.

The Essex Land Trust Proposal

Also, proposed at the June meeting of the commission was an alternative development plan offered by the Essex Land Trust, which was presented by the group’s President, Bob Nussbaum. Nussbaum first noted that zoning regulations require that developers are required to set aside 20 percent of their development property as “open space.” Nussbaum suggested that to fulfill this requirement that Sciame not build the sixth new house that he is proposing, but rather that this land should be designated as open space.

To date neither the developer nor the commission has commented on this suggestion offered by the Land Trust, although at the June meeting there was a discussion among commission members about converting one of the housing sites in the developer’s plan to open space.

Public Not to Be Heard at July Meeting

One feature of the upcoming July 12 meeting is that the general public will not be allowed to speak, as they have been able to do at previous meetings. Only the commissioners themselves can do the talking this time. However, certainly, attorney Loome will have something to say at the meeting on behalf of the developer.

As for future options, the commission could come up with an alternative plan in place of the developer’s proposal, and give the developer a choice of either accepting it or not. If the developer, Sciame, refused to accept the commission’s plan, that would be the end of the matter, unless the developer wanted to introduce a new proposal, which he could do “without prejudice.”

Or, the commission could negotiate with the developer to see if some common way forward were possible. If this way was chosen, there could be many more meetings with the development of Foxboro Point on the agenda.

Local Author John LaPlante at Essex Library 12 July

Local author John LaPlante, author of 27 Months in the Peace Corps.: My Story, Unvarnished, will talk about his hitch as the Peace Corps’ oldest volunteer at 80 years of age, at the Essex Library on Thursday July 12th  at 7 PM. John, who served in the Ukraine, will reveal the challenges, laughs, and surprises he experienced at a point in his life when many of us think our adventures are over. Books, including his other two works  Around the World at 75. Alone, Dammit! and Around Asia  in 80 Days. Oops, 83! will be available for sale and signing. Join us for this inspiring look at one man’s amazing “second act”.  Please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 for more information or to register.  The Essex Library is at 33 West Avenue.

Thursdays at the Dock Returns for Music & Spirits on Essex Waterfront July 12

Connecticut River Museum’s Thursdays at the Dock on July 12 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

ESSEX – It’s time to gather your crew and head down to the Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock on Thursday evenings for cocktails and music overlooking historic Essex Harbor.  Back by popular demand for a fifth summer season, “Thursdays at the Dock” extends the Museum’s daily hours by opening the first floor galleries, museum shop and North deck from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm starting on July 12 and running through August 30.  All are invited to sample the River’s great heritage and natural beauty while enjoying music and refreshments on the waterfront.  Each week, featured area musicians perform a diverse mix of maritime folk, bluegrass, folk rock, and other popular styles.   A reduced admission price of $5 per person will be charged, Museum members are admitted free.  Cash bar and light snacks will be available.

Jazz duo Tom Briggs and Andy Sherwood will be the featured performers for the July 12 season opener.  Both musicians are currently faculty members of the Community Music School in Centerbrook, each having been with the United States Coast Guard Band for more than 25 years.   Mr. Briggs was the musical director of the Coast Guard Masters of Swing jazz septet while Mr. Sherwood led the Coast Guard Dixieland band.  For more information on Thursdays at the Dock, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street on the historic waterfront in Essex, CT.

Chester Museum at The Mill Views the Civil War from the Home Front

Hannah Watkins, a college student and poet from Chester, recorded three letters written in 1862 by Nancie Ayers, her 20-year-old great-great-great-great-aunt, to her brother, a Civil War soldier. The letters can be heard on SoundSticks at the new exhibit at the Chester Museum at The Mill. (Photo courtesy of Keith Dauer).

After spending the 2011 season viewing the Civil War through correspondence primarily from soldiers at the front to their families and friends back home, the Chester Historical Society is now balancing what was happening at the front with what was happening at home.

Through correspondence, town records, church records and artifacts, a picture of Chester in 1862 emerges in the Chester Museum at The Mill’s new seasonal exhibit, “Beyond the Battlefield.” Featured in the exhibit are letters between a brother and sister, correspondence from a Union surgeon to his wife advising her on gardening necessities at home, records of the local Congregational Church (now the United Church), and the tools and implements used in Chester’s homes and shops. The result is a picture of life at the home front while the Civil War raged in other areas of the country.

The exhibit was chaired by Keith Dauer and Sandra Senior-Dauer. The Dauers, retired history teachers and Chester residents, say that their interest in the Civil War has been growing since they were in college. Keith went to college in Virginia, where he was taught about the “War of Northern Aggression” by a professor who called President Lincoln a “hairy baboon.”

One of the most poignant aspects of the exhibit,  the Dauers say, are the letters between Willis and Nancie Ayers, a brother who saw action in Northern Virginia and was captured by Confederate forces at Chancellorsville in 1863 and his sister who was living in Chester. Portions of her letters have been recorded for the exhibit by Hannah Watkins, the great-great-great-grandniece of Nancie Ayers. Nancie’s words come to life on SoundSticks in the exhibit.

The exhibit also contains Silliman inkwells, which were produced in Chester and carried by hundreds of Union soldiers, so they could write home to their families. Also of interest at the Museum this year is a new Chester history treasure hunt for children and their families.

The exhibit is open to the public for the 2012 season along with the award-winning permanent exhibit, “Streams of Change: Life & Industry along the Pattaconk.” Regular weekend hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through October. Admission is free. The museum is located at 9 West Main Street (Rte. 148) in Chester (exit 6 off Rte. 9).

Chester Historical Society is partnering with five other societies (Middletown, Haddam, East Haddam, Deep River and Old Saybrook) in a two-year joint promotion of the six museums and historical homes titled “Get Lost in Heritage.” Visitors to the sites can enter a drawing for overnight stays at two area inns and receive free “Get Lost” wrist bracelets. Info: www.ctriverheritage.org or 860-526-5765.

Double Eagle Ceremony at Essex Troop 12

Dan Wohlmuth, left, of Essex and Gabriel Bacewicz of Old Saybrook are all smiles as they share the duties of cutting the cake after both were recognized for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout at Essex Troop 12 BSA during a recent ceremony at Centerbrook Meeting House. (Tony Bacewicz Photo)

Boy Scouts of America Troop 12 of Essex recently held a Court of Honor recognizing Gabriel A. Bacewicz and Daniel A.Wohlmuth who both attained the rank of Eagle Scout this year.  The event took place at Centerbrook Meeting House on June 29th and was attended by State Representative Philip J. Miller, State Representative Marilyn Giuliano, Selectman for the Town of Old Saybrook Scott Giegrich and BSA Mattabesett Trail District Advancement Representative Thomas Jump.

Scoutmaster John McGirr presided over the ceremony that was well attended by Troop 12 scouts, family members and friends.

Daniel Wohlmuth, son of Rosa and Carl Wohlmuth of Essex planned and supervised construction of an equestrian bridge at Cockaponset State Forest replacing a previous bridge that had been flooded out by beaver activity. The 32 foot long bridge was constructed with more than 200 volunteer hours and required multiple supports across a running stream to support the weight of a horse and rider. The bridge now enables both horse riders and hikers to traverse the trail without having to ford the stream. Dan is a class of 2012 graduate of Xavier High School and is enrolled at the University of Connecticut where he will pursue a degree in engineering.

Gabriel Bacewicz, son of Juliann and Anthony Bacewicz of Old Saybrook supervised the construction of a greenhouse and garden beds at the John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River that now serves the school’s food and life science programs and is being used by local Girl Scouts to raise vegetables for the local soup kitchen. Gabe is a class of 2012 graduate of Old Saybrook High School and will begin studies in music education at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music this fall.

Letter: Mary Ellen Klinck – Proud to Give Her My Vote

To the Editor:

Most of us have a short list of people they would call if they were in a tight spot and really needed a friend to help.  My list includes Mary Ellen Klinck.  I first met her more than 41 years ago, when she was the real estate agent from whom we bought our house in East Haddam.  Over all these intervening years, there is no one I have known who has given more or worked harder to make her part the world a better place.  Now she is running in a primary for State Senate in the 33rd Senatorial District.  I will be proud to give her my vote because I know she will bring the same energy and commitment to the work of the state legislature.  She has the broad experience of someone who has worked at every level of government, from Selectman to Commissioner of Aging.  The 33rd Senatorial District would be fortunate to have Mary Ellen Klinck represent us in Hartford, where her hard work and experience will make all the difference.


Susan Merrow,
Former First Selectman, Town of East Haddam

Thursdays at the Dock Returns for Music & Spirits on Essex Waterfront July 12

Andy Sherwood and Tom Briggs bring their collaborative jazz style to the Connecticut River Museum’s Thursdays at the Dock on July 12 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Essex, CT – It’s time to gather your crew and head down to the Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock on Thursday evenings for cocktails and music overlooking historic Essex Harbor.  Back by popular demand for a fifth summer season, “Thursdays at the Dock” extends the Museum’s daily hours by opening the first floor galleries, museum shop and North deck from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm starting on July 12 and running through August 30.  All are invited to sample the River’s great heritage and natural beauty while enjoying music and refreshments on the waterfront.  Each week, featured area musicians perform a diverse mix of maritime folk, bluegrass, folk rock, and other popular styles.   A reduced admission price of $5 per person will be charged, Museum members are admitted free.  Cash bar and light snacks will be available.

Jazz duo Tom Briggs and Andy Sherwood will be the featured performers for the July 12 season opener.  Both musicians are currently faculty members of the Community Music School in Centerbrook, each having been with the United States Coast Guard Band for more than 25 years.   Mr. Briggs was the musical director of the Coast Guard Masters of Swing jazz septet while Mr. Sherwood led the Coast Guard Dixieland band.  For more information on Thursdays at the Dock, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street on the historic waterfront in Essex, CT.

Antique and Classic Auto Show Makes Essex a Great Place to be on the Fourth of July

Visitors at the Essex Antique & Classic Car show were greeted by a trio of restored oldies

What a great way to spend the Fourth of July, visiting the Antique and Classic Car Show on Essex Hubbard’s Field! Just wandering around some sixty-five classic motor vehicles on display, and imagining what it was like to drive way back then, was a delight.

Once inside the show there was this Ford “beauty in red”

Organizers of the event were two classic car buffs, Tim Lynch and Wes Bray, both of Essex. Also, some 200 visitors attended the show, and this was the sixth year of such an event.

Antique car show co-founder Wes Bray checks in the incoming vehicles

Among the old cars that were on display was an old Studebaker Automatic owned by Bob Bryant, who said, “I have been addicted to old cars all my life.” Also, Bryant noted that with old cars, since their starting point was in the early 1900’s, it makes it very easy to get your hands around their history.

A Bright Yellow, 1914 Model T at Show’s Entrance

The antique car that many visitors saw first, just as they came into the show, was a bright yellow, “1914 Model T Speedster,” owned by Bruce Robinson. Robinson said that when he retired as a corporate CEO, “My wife wanted me to find something to do to keep me out of her hair.” So he took up owning and fixing up a Model T.

Model T owner Bruce Robinson and his retirement project

The Model T that he had at the Fourth of July show contains both original and newly manufactured parts, the latter off original plans.  Also, Robinson said he added a new starter to the car, although on occasion he still uses the car’s old crank to start the engine.

Also, he makes sure he has plenty of gas in the tank going uphill, since gravity is the only power that gets the gas to run from the tank to the engine.

National Anthem Played at Auto Show

The one formal note at the old car auto show was a pause to hear a recording of the National Anthem. All of those attending faced the flag that flies over Hubbard Field.

There was a pause in the show early on for the playing of the National Anthem

There was a five dollar admission fee for pedestrians attending the show, which will be contributed to the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut. There was also a $15 dollar entrance fee for vehicles entering the show, all of whom were personally greeted by   the event’s co-founders, Tom Lynch and Wes Bray.

The five dollar admission fee was given to the Child and Family Agency

Thunder and Lightning Aborts Ingham Hill Road Site Walk

Bob Doane explains the site plan, while Conservation’s Mary Tucker (with glasses) and others listen

The developer, obviously, wanted to introduce its conservation-friendly plan to build six new houses on 36.4 acres of presently vacant land off Ingham Hill Road in Essex, under the very best of circumstances. But the weather just would not cooperate. Right in the middle of the very first site walk, the clouds opened and drenching rain came down.

The late afternoon of July 1 turned out to be just the wrong time to brief this carefully planned development to two Essex commissions, whose approval is necessary for the project to go forward.

Still, the site walk did proceed at least to the point of allowing members of the Conservation and Planning Commissions, as well as a few neighbors on Ingham Hill Road, to hear initial remarks by Essex Conservation chairperson Kay Tucker and Planning Chairman Tom Donyliw.  Also, there was time for Bob Doane, a local land use engineer, to give a general briefing about various aspects of the proposed development.

Holding a large map before him, Doane showed the commissioners and neighbors just where the six new houses would be located on the site, and he also pointed out highlights of the heavily wooded property. The development site itself is located on the left side of Ingham Hill Road, way down at the end, where the road is blocked from going to Old Saybrook.

Just before the group climbed up into the thick brush of the development site, Doane said to those who followed him, “I hope we have the same number of people that we are starting out with, at the end of the walk as well,” he said, adding with a smile “unless you are voting no.”  This was clearly a not too subtle suggestion that he wanted the commissioners to approve the project, when it officially came before them.

It was up into the woods to visit the site of six new houses

After twenty minutes or so up in the woods the group emerged back out on to Ingham Hill Road. The rain was just beginning to sprinkle, and soon enough, it started to come down in full force. The site walk was over, leaving everyone to find their own shelter. Most likely another site walk will be held at a future date.

And the rains came, ending the site walk, conclusively

It should be noted that in addition to requiring the approval of Essex’s Conservation and Planning Commissions, the developer will also have to have the approval of the town’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, according the town’s Zoning Enforcement Officer Joe Budrow.

Description of the Development Property

The development property, way at the end of Ingham Hill Road in Essex, is presently densely forested. It contains, according to recent photographs, a large pond, wetlands and watercourses, wooded swamps, dense vegetation and at least one or more vernal pools. The developer of the property, River Sound Development LLC, has given the development the name, “River Sound Essex West.”

“River Sound Essex West,” at the left at the very end of Ingham Hill Road

In its application before Essex approving authorities, the developer has promised that River Sound Essex West will leave “more than 74% of the total land area intended to be conserved as open space.” In addition, “River Sound will be conveying a 22.37 acre parcel, 18.64 of which are upland areas, to be preserved as open space in perpetuity.”

These promises like others mentioned below are taken from a summary of the project prepared by one of the developer’s attorneys, Bruce Smith, Esq., of the law firm of Robinson & Cole in Hartford.

Emphasizing the conservation aspect of the development, the summary  characterizes the project as “a six (6)-lot open space preservation subdivision.” In addition, the summary states that the development will adopt a scheme of “clustered housing,” which it asserts will protect “wetlands and [a] vernal pool located on the Property.”

In addition, the project will feature the use of shared driveways for the six housing sites. This driveway design, “further allows for the protection of the natural resources on the Property by reducing the amount of impervious cover and resulting storm water runoff,” the summary states.

Also, noted is that, “The clustered housing facilitates a site design that maximizes solar access for each of the individual house lots.” Furthermore, it states that, “Overall, the open space preservation site design is an ecologically sensitive residential development that compliments the neighborhood’s character.”

Still, Some Neighbors Don’t Like the Project

For all this careful sensitivity to conservation concerns, the reaction of some of the development’s neighbors on Ingham Road was decidedly hostile. “It will never happen,” said Suellen Cuin, who said that she had lived on Ingham Hill Road for the last 15 years, and that she did not want her children to grow up with this development in the neighborhood.

Fellow neighbor, Tracy Lemay, was equally hostile to the developer’s plan for the neighborhood. She said, “This is a very valuable piece of property that needs to be preserved for future generations.”

State Representative Phil Miller Chimes In

Also, State Representative Phil Miller has expressed reservations about the project, while conceding that, “a property owner has a right to develop its own property.” Miller said that his first preference would be for the site to remain undeveloped open space. However, “if it does go forward,” he said that the developer’s present plan “is a little dense.” Miller also noted that the “three vernal springs on the site contribute significantly to the watershed.”

Yet another approach, should the site approval process simply become too difficult for the developer, is the possibility that the Essex Land Trust would buy the undeveloped land from the developer. After such an acquisition the property would remain undeveloped. Essex Land Trust Chairman Bob Nussbaum has evinced an interest in such a possibility, if this opportunity were to arise.

A Bit of History about the Essex Property

Before this current proposal, the Essex property involved in this current application was a small part of the controversial development that was then called The Preserve.  The Preserve was a grandiose plan for the major development of 1,000 vacant acres, mostly located In Old Saybrook.

The Preserve plan, over a decade ago, envisioned extensive new luxury housing, a new l8 hole, golf course, a new club house and many similar accoutrements. The plan met wide local opposition and was ultimately thwarted in the courts. Also, calling a very substantial development of vacant land, “The Preserve,” was always a misnomer, if there ever was one.

Now, the developer appears to have discarded a grand design, and has adopted a different approach. Slowly and carefully, River Sound is seeking to develop its properties both in Old Saybrook and now in Essex. Some might call it, “a nibbling around edges approach.”

No matter what you call it; River Sound Development LLC will have to invest a lot of perseverance to make “River Sound Essex West” a reality.

Serachers Recover Body Thought to be East Hampton Man in Connecticut River

CHESTER- Searchers have recovered a body thought to be that of Dariusz Czarnota, the 37-year-old East Hampton man who had been missing in the Connecticut River since Sunday afternoon. A volunteer searcher spotted the body in the river off Deep River around 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Czarnota disappeared under water around 2:30 p.m. Sunday while swimming from a dock at the Pattaconk Yacht Club to a boat operated by his brother. State police divers had searched the area into the night Sunday and most of the day Monday before calling off the search. Family members had organized volunteers to continue the search Tuesday. The body was found downstream from the location where Czarnota had disappeared under water.

Police and Firefighters Respond to River Drowning in Chester, Structure Fire in Essex

CHESTER/ESSEX— The July 4th holiday week got off to a busy start for area emergency responders, with police and volunteer firefighters responding to a drowning in the Connecticut River off Chester Sunday and a fire that destroyed a house on Deep River Road in Essex Monday.

The fire at 55 Deep River Road, also known as Route 154, was reported by a passing motorist around 11:30 a.m. Monday. Essex Fire Chief Steven Olsen said the house was fully ablaze when firefighters arrived on the scene minutes later. Olsen said about 60 volunteer firefighters from Essex, Chester, Deep River, Old Saybrook and Westbrook had the fire contained within about an hour, despite an explosion that is believed to have been caused by a propane tank in the garage..

No one was in the house at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries to firefighters. Electric power was shut of in the vicinity, including the busy intersection on Main Street in Centerbrook, as firefighters battled the blaze. The house, which is owned by Richard and Joanne Faraci, was a total loss. The house was being rented by a family of four. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by state and local fire marshals.

In the Chester incident, state police divers are expected to resume a search in the Connecticut River Tuesday for 37-year-old Dariusz Czarnota of East Hampton. Police said Czarnota went under water around 2:30 p.m. Sunday while swimming about 50-feet from a dock at the Pattaconk Yacht Club to a boat operated by his brother. Strong currents in the area off the Chester Point Marina are believed to have pulled Czarnota under water.

Dive teams made up of state police and local volunteer firefighters searched the river until after dark Sunday and through the day Monday without finding Czarnota, who remains missing and presumed drowned.