December 12, 2018

Archives for March 2015

Deep River Town Meeting Authorizes Additional $1.1 Million for Sewer Expansion Project

DEEP RIVER — Voters at a town meeting Thursday authorized an additional $1.1 million in funding for a sewer expansion project that had been approved as a $4 million project by a May 2013 town meeting. Like the initial $4 million, the funding comes as a combination of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant and loan funds. About 20 voters braved lingering snow to turn out for the meeting, with the funding authorization approved on a voice vote with two opposed.

The additional funding for the project was approved by USDA late last year after bids that were opened last summer came in above the $4 million in approved funding. The project was rebid, with the board of selectmen in September selecting  B&W Paving and Landscaping of Mystic on a base bid of $3,610,000.

The higher than anticipated bids forced selectmen to defer some elements of the project that will now be covered by the $1.1 million in additional funding that includes a $495,000 grant and a 20-year $605,000 loan The resolution approved Thursday also authorizes the town to borrow funds in advance of reimbursement by the federal grant and loan funds.

The additional funds will allow completion of the full north end sewer expansion project that will offer municipal sewer service to about 120 residential properties in the Kirtland Street-River Street area. The additional funding will pay for an extension of sewer service to properties on five small connecting streets off Kirtland and River streets, including Fairview Avenue, Old River Street, River Lane, Phelps Lane, and Read Street.

First Selectman Richard Smith said the town has the option of accepting B&W Paving’s original alternate bids for the additional work, or rebidding this segment of the project. Preliminary construction work that began in November is expected to resume next month.

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Is Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman Running for a Third Term? That is the Question 

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman stands beneath a new awning at the parking lot of Essex Town Hall

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman stands beneath a new awning at the parking lot of Essex Town Hall

If you listen to Essex’s First Selectman, Norman Needleman, he will tell you that — really, truly — he has not made up his mind, whether to run for a third term as First Selectman of Essex … or not.  It must be acknowledged that Needleman’s first two terms as Essex First Selectman have been noteworthy, especially, as regards upgrading the public landscape of the Town of Essex. Needleman’s accomplishments in this area include:

  • Essex Town Center
    Needleman has created and supervised a major upgrade of the Town Center of Essex. New improvements include: (a) reconditioning of Essex’s two tennis courts, (b) building a new and imaginative Essex playscape for children, which has proved to be very popular for young and old alike, (c) a new Town Hall parking lot with parking spaces clearly and precisely lined, and (d) new landscaping of the grounds in the front of Town Hall.Furthermore, Needleman was instrumental in raising significant new monies to help pay for these improvements. The total cost of the upgraded Essex Town Center was $700,000 with $480,000 of that amount raised through a Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant initiated by Needleman to help pay for the costs.
  • Ivoryton Main Street Upgrade
    Needleman also raised $400,000 from a second STEAP grant to pay for a major upgrade of the town center of Ivoryton. The improvements will include new cross walks and parking areas, along with a general reconfiguration of the Ivoryton town center. The final plans for the  Ivoryton improvements have been completed so now it is a question of implementing them.If Needleman runs successfully again for Essex First Selectman, he will be able supervise the construction of these already-funded Ivoryton improvements. If on the other hand, he chooses not to run, a new Essex First Selectman would be in charge.
  • Centerbrook Improvements
    Upgrading of the town center of Centerbrook is another town improvement under consideration by Needleman. If this project were to go forward, he says there would most likely be an effort to obtain yet another state STEAP grant to pay for it.  Considering Needlman’s success in obtaining approvals for STEAP grants for both Essex and Ivoryton, it seems likely that he may be able to do so again for this initiative.

Needleman’s Private Job in Essex  

Headquarters of Tower Laboratories LTD, in Essex Industrial Park

Headquarters of Tower Laboratories LTD, in Essex Industrial Park

In addition his public position as First Selectman of the Town of Essex, Needleman is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tower Laboratories, LTD. “Tower Labs,” as it is called in abbreviated form, is a sizeable private company that has no less than 250 employees.

The company specializes in the manufacturing of health and beauty aids, which are sold worldwide. The headquarters of the company is located in two building in the Essex Industrial Park, and the company also has two other locations.

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Letter to the Editor: The Reign of the Nuancers

To the Editor:

The Kings and Queens of nuance have deluded themselves into believing that the delicate difference perceived by any of the senses (nuance) gives them a superior ability to make decisions. It appears, however, that nuance is running rough-shod over any semblance of wisdom coming from the Obama administration.

The nuancers are deflecting the reality that worldwide murderous Islamic jihadists are intent on killing all who do not believe in their revolutionary ideology; they are bound by an imperative to fight to kill infidels till death.

This administration’s tag-team of haughty wizards have offered nothing of value. Their fanciful ideas and statements are alarming and devoid of intellectual honesty. Deputy spokesperson for the Department of State, Marie Harf, posits that the extremists are driven by economic deprivation and need jobs — really?

John Kerry, the emperor of nuance, offers the ludicrous statement that the world is “safer than ever.” Kerry hardly inspires confidence in those of us who hear direct threats, witness barbarous immolation and beheadings and understand what is motivating the slaughter. Does Kerry even know that 2014 was the deadliest year for terror attacks in forty-five years?

All of this nonsense is coming from the same administration who made the incogitable decision to trade Bowe Bergdahl, the deserter, for five high-value Taliban prisoners. And why does this administration continue to cuddle-up to Foreign Nationals who continue to break immigration laws. One can only imagine, because we just do not know, how many jihadists are slipping through the borders.

Is the current accommodates approach to Iran another decision influenced by nuance? The last time I checked, Iran was the leading sponsor of State Terrorism and too close to having nuclear capabilities. They would love the “deal” being contemplated by this White House. The “geniuses” are beginning to scare me. They believe that the just war is the war against “global warming” (the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on humankind) and refuse to accept that radical Islamists are driven to wipe out Christians, Jews and moderate Muslims who are, in their minds, infidels.

There are no shades of gray here. The nuancers need to get off their high horse, stop the verbal acrobatics, get a grip and LEAD.

Sincerely,

Alison Nichols,
Essex, CT

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Letter From Paris: Greece Given Four Month Debt Deal Extension … But Then What?

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

During the last week of February 2015, intense negotiations took place between the Greek government and the three members of the “Troika” – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Central European Bank (CEB) and the Eurozone. On Feb. 27, the Bundestag, by a massive majority, approved the four month extension of aid to Greece.

It looked very much like a “déjà vu”scenario: Greece deep in debt, Greece kept alive thanks to several rounds of loans, Greece repeating its promises to curb public spending, and put a stop to fraud, corruption and tax avoidance. The creditors, however, wanted to give the new government of Alexis Tsipras. a chance to prove itself. The objective was to strike a compromise between austerity reforms and measures granting some respite to the most vulnerable segment of the population. The Greek government had five days left before running out of money.

Greek President Alexis Tsipras

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Greece joined the Eurozone on Jan. 1, 2001. Before 2000, the Greek deficit was about 13 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP.) By some miracle, in order to meet the criteria for joining the European Union (EU), the deficit was brought down to 3 percent, or more precisely to 3.07 percent. Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other organizations, pondered over the figures. The situation was confusing, especially after the Goldman Sachs experts helped Greece with some “creative accounting” by deducting currency swaps and derivatives amounting to 2.8 billion from the calculation of the deficit.

Before 2012, Greece’s creditors were mostly private banks, such as the Société Générale in France. In March of that year, the banks agreed to cancel 70 percent of their loan or 107 billion. In 2010 and 2012, the “Troika” granted two rounds of loans, amounting respectively to 110 and 141 billion. Germany supports 30 percent of the Greek loan, France 23 percent (or 40 billion) and Italy 20 percent. The participation of the Eurozone members is proportional to the size of their population. The loans’s maturity is 30 years, 10 percent of the loan carries zero interest and the remainder has interest as low as 2 percent in 2015. It is important to note these facts in order to counter a lot of disinformation available on the internet.

The discussions, held in Brussels, went well until the disastrous final press conference when the new Greek minister of finances Yanis Varoujakis posturing as a cool Bruce Willis, (to use the Le Monde expression) first demanded that the “Troika” change its name and then asked for a “restructuring” of the debt. His tour of European capitals, ending in Berlin (where he should have started) was not much appreciated by the German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schauble, who commented, “We agreed not to agree.” Varoujakis retorted, “We did not even agree not to agree.”

At a time when refugees and migrants try desperately to reach Europe, the immigration policy of the Tsipras’s recently-elected Syriza party is quite unsettling. Their plan calls for the retention centers, where refugees and migrants have been held until now, to be turned into “open centers;” to grant citizenship to 150,000 second generation children born in Greece; and to provide housing, schooling and medical care. How are these programs going to be financed? The wall built to protect the border between Turkey and Greece fell into disrepair after recent floods. Maintaining this wall is not a priority announced the government.

There is pretty much a consensus about Greece’s inability to ever pay back its debt. The creation of the European Funds of Stability and Finances in 2013 to “mutualize” the debt will help Europe absorb the Greek default with more serenity.

But it is far from a done deal. In four months, before your know it, there will be fierce opposition to write off the debt. Countries like Portugal or Spain are struggling through austerity and are are not about to continue bailing out Greece.

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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TTYSB Encourages Residents to Get Involved in the ‘Year of the Story’

TTYS placemat
Have you noticed the “2015: Year of the Story” placemats at some of your favorite restaurants in the tri-town area, including Moravella’s, Pattaconk, The Villager and Wheat Market in Chester;  DaVinci Pizza, The Ivory, and the Whistle Stop in Deep River; and Centerbrook Pizza in Essex?

Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau (TTYSB) is grateful for the support of these businesses in getting out the word about this year’s Community Story project. Individual adults and youth are also stepping up to participate in this story-making process. Each person, whatever their involvement, does make a difference.

Do you want to pass on your knowledge, experience, sense of resilience and possibility? What has it meant for you to be part of the Tri-Town community?

TTYSB encourages everyone to beciome involved in this project to celebrate our community through stories

How?

First, consider the most challenging thing you had to face while growing up; how did you manage to overcome it? Then tell your story to a trained story-gatherer—many of these volunteers are your friends and neighbors and they will be collecting stories through April, 2015. After that a professional playwright will be turning our community members’ stories into a one-act play. T

Then during the summer of 2015, volunteer to become a member of the cast, crew or audience for the community performance to be held on Oct. 2, 3 and 4th. Three performances, two evening shows and a matinee, will ensure that every community member will get a chance to attend.

Finally, explore additional ways to build assets, community connections and supportive relationships for the benefit of individuals, families and the community throughout 2015 and beyond.

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Photo Exhibit Featuring Architects as Traveling Photographers on View at Centerbrook Firm

Exhibit taken in Thailand by Alan Paradis.\

Photo taken in Thailand by Alan Paradis.\

Architects like to travel and usually pack their cameras when they do, and they often see and capture things that others miss. Centerbrook’s peripatetic staff have collected their printed observations from across the globe, and are displaying them in the Drill Bit Gallery at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main Street in Centerbrook, CT.

“The World According to Architects” is free to the public, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the firm’s offices, which are located in a former factory building that produced metal augurs. It runs March 9 through Labor Day.

Subject matter ranges from graffiti in Thailand and a Hawaiian beach, to a riotously colorful Jamaican fishing village and downtown Essex with a double rainbow arching over the Connecticut River Museum.

More than two dozen prints, one by each photographer, are displayed, augmented by five video screens that allow visitors to view hundreds more images taken by the exhibitors. Photographs of buildings such as Jean Nouvel’s stunning Torre Agbar in Barcelona, a chapel in the Alps, and a red barn in Amish Country are complemented by scenes of nature, people, and striking landscapes, such as a skerry (small rocky island) in Norway. One photo captures the rocks on Bermuda’s Horseshoe Bay Beach that appear to be acknowledging the ocean that helped to shape them.

“This exhibit follows on the heels of an architects’ watercolor show.” said Centerbrook Partner Mark Simon. “It is rare that you find such a large group of visually sophisticated people, and we are delighted to showcase their extraordinary talent in yet another medium.”

The exhibit was organized by Matt Montana, head of the Drill Bit Gallery, and curated by Derek Hayn, the firm’s Graphic Designer, and Patrick McCauley, Master Model Maker and Product Designer. Founded in 1975, Centerbrook Architects has a staff of 66 people.

Exhibit taken in Essex by Brian Adams

Photo taken in Essex by Brian Adams

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CBSRZ Hosts Community Passover Seder, April 4; Reserve by March 20

Do you remember the smell of Grandma’s Matzah Ball soup simmering on the stove as she prepared for Passover seder?

If you are looking for an opportunity to reconnect with your Jewish heritage, make a call to learn about Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ)’s Community Passover Seder at the synagogue in Chester.

The seder will be on the second night of Passover, Saturday, April 4, starting at 6 p.m.  The family-style seder, led by Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg and Cantorial Soloist Belinda Brennan, will stimulate lots of discussion, participation, and singing.

The meal, as prepared by Bob and Linda Zemmel, owners of Alforno Restaurant, will include delicious brisket, chicken, homemade matzah ball soup and many side dishes.  There will also be kid-friendly options.

Call the CBSRZ office at860-526-8920 for information on prices and to make a reservation.  Reservations are required no later than March 20.

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Letter to the Editor: Save Our Historic Chester Library

To the Editor:

Regarding the proposed new Chester Library, I think abandoning our exquisite building for a new library/community center is a mistake. It will never come close to what we already have. Amenities or not, I would be saddened to see a likely generic visitor-center type structure as a replacement. The Library Board is ignoring their own surveys from the community, where the preference was “resoundingly to stay in the current location.”

The present library building still could be adapted to accommodate the needs of this small but unique town. A community center could be developed in the underutilized town hall, or a more modest new one built at North Quarter Park. We already have the Meeting House, Town Hall, and Elementary School for meetings and events.

The Chester Library is a well-loved, beautiful, historic building in a perfect spot. The funds requested may be better spent in possibly purchasing the land the building is on, and applying for historic preservation grants. We should work with what we have, and not abandon this 1907 building which was generously given by S. Mills Ely to be Chester’s library, as a memorial to his parents. It is an icon of this town.

The Board and some people want a new building and feel this is the best solution, it may be, (if the community wants it), but this move also comes with great aesthetic loss and financial cost, an additional burden on Chester taxpayers, not to be taken lightly.

Sincerely,

Karin Badger,
Chester.

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Deep River Elementary Celebrates ‘Read Across America’

ReadAcrossAmerica_1

The students of Deep River Elementary School are celebrating ‘Read Across America’ this week. This event began Monday, March 2, with a celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and will continue throughout this week with a variety of activities to promote the love and joys of reading.

ReadAcrossAmerica_2

The week-long event culminates on Friday, March 6, with a school Town Meeting when all the students, staff, administrators, family and friends will gather together to celebrate ‘Read Across America.’

ReadAcrossAmerica_3

Now in its 18th year, the National Education Association’s (NEA) year-round Read Across America program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.  Its mission is to build a nation of readers.

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