December 15, 2018

Archives for January 2016

Hadlyme Country Market Has New Look, But Keeps Old Traditions

Hadlyme Country Market has a refreshed and welcoming exterior.

Hadlyme Country Market’s refreshed and welcoming exterior greets customers from near and far. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com.

HADLYME — Looking for a new spot to savor your daily dose of hospitality?

Why not try the new Hadlyme Country Market? Well, it’s not really new, but rather refurbished and restored. The market is, in fact, now much like it was in 1905, a place for locals and tourists alike to gather in the quaint and storied town of Hadlyme, nestled to the north of Lyme in southeastern Connecticut.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare quiet moment together.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare, quiet moment together. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

The owners of the Market — Lisa Bakoledis and Susan Raible Birch — have been working to restore the historic landmark since purchasing the building and business in 2012 and are now proudly celebrating three years in business with the unveiling of their “new” market.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

The Hadlyme Country Market has been a pillar of the riverside since the mid-19th century when steamboats ruled Connecticut. Located near the water, this community center was the hub of commerce and social life. Boaters, locals, and businesspeople came for their market staples and sundries in a traditional neighborhood fashion where everyone knows their neighbor and lends a helping hand.

A photo of Lee Luther Brockway, original owner of the store, circa 1900.

An original postcard circa 1905, from the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store, adorns the mantle.

The mastermind behind the operation was Lee Luther Brockway, an astute businessman and entrepreneur who recognized the boom from steam boating and new business along the river. As soon as he noticed a turn from boating to more land-based transportation with the arrival of automobiles, he picked up the store and moved it to a better locale.

Hadlyme_store_sign

Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

Now conveniently located near the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and Gillette’s Castle, the bustling intersection of Rte. 148 and Rte. 82 (Ferry Rd. and Norwich-Salem Rd. respectively) has been the Hadlyme Country Market’s home since 1905. After decades of transitioning owners and falling under disrepair, Bakoledis and Birch, long-time admirers and locals, purchased the store with a vision for their treasure.

Bakoledis, who worked at the store many times over the years, always felt like it was home; maybe because she lived in the apartment above but more likely because she sensed something special about the neighborhood, the people, and the rich history of the small town market.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.annasawin.com.

The pair quickly went to work planning a remodel that was true to the market’s rich history and architectural integrity. After pouring over archives and records for images, blueprints, and materials, they came up with a plan that would restore the market to its original beauty plus a few modern comforts to attract a new generation of customers.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The market was renovated to its original glory with authentic the turn-of-the-century materials salvaged from local historical buildings. In 2013 the doors were opened to the public and Bakoledis and Birch received an outpouring of locals delighted at the return of an institution. What’s more, the new owners took it upon themselves to run the store as Brockway would have, replete with hospitality, charm, and friendly faces.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cuppa in a peaceful setting.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cup of joe in a peaceful setting.

Two years later, the market continues to upgrade with an exterior restoration to the porch completed this fall, a sweet spot for anyone who enjoys sitting where the sun seems alway to shine. On the menu daily are a wide selection of deli-fresh artisan sandwiches and pot pies along with fresh Ashlawn Farm Coffee, newspapers, breakfast and bakery treats. Continuing Brockway’s tradition, Bakoledis and Birch welcome locals and travelers to enjoy old-fashioned treats, treasures, and conversations in a place everyone can feel at home. Birch sums up the Market’s attraction succinctly when she says, “The Country Market … has a heart like no other.”

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Valley Regional Presents “The Addams Family,” March 11-13

addams family artREGION 4 — Valley Regional Musical Productions will present a new musical comedy, “The Addams Family,” on the weekend of March 11-13 at Valley Regional High School in Deep River.

The musical is based on the characters drawn and made famous by Charles Addams.

Rehearsals have already begun under the direction of Ingrid Walsh. “The Addams Family” features a cast of 73 and a crew of 30 with an additional nine students in the music pit.

Four shows will be presented: Friday, March 11, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 12, at 1 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 13, at 1 p.m.

Tickets for all seats are $12 except for the Saturday matinee, which will be $10. Tickets will be available beginning Jan. 31 at the school, Celebrations, Elephant Crossing, Toys Ahoy, and The Wheatmarket.

“The Addams Family” cast members (L-R): front: Miranda Holland, Nathan Russo; second row: Maggie Walsh, Connor Riordan, James D’Amico, Annie Brown, Jonny Leffingwell; back: Dilan Rojas, Jennifer Roberts, and Mitch Conrad

“The Addams Family” cast members (L-R): front: Miranda Holland, Nathan Russo; second row: Maggie Walsh, Connor Riordan, James D’Amico, Annie Brown, Jonny Leffingwell; back: Dilan Rojas, Jennifer Roberts, and Mitch Conrad

The Valley Regional Musical Program (VRMP) has been under the direction of Ingrid Walsh since 1998 and has been recognized by the Connecticut High School Music Theatre Awards multiple times for such awards as Outstanding Hair and Makeup, Outstanding Sound Design, and Outstanding Actress, among others.

The VRMP won awards for Outstanding Production of the Year in 2012 for “Titanic” as well as Outstanding Chorus in 2012 and 2013. Last year VRMP was honored with the inaugural “The Future of Theatre Award,” recognizing its success in producing the new musical show, “Band Geeks.”

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US Navy Concert Band Performs in New London, March 10

The US Navy Concert Band will give a free concert at the Coast Guard Academy on March 10.

The US Navy Concert Band will give a free concert at the Coast Guard Academy on March 10.

AREAWIDE – The U.S. Navy Concert Band is stopping in New London, one of 23 cities in five states, to perform during its 2016 tour. This is one of the Navy’s signature outreach programs.

The Navy Concert Band performance is scheduled for Thursday, March 10, at 8 p.m. at Leamy Concert Hall, at the Coast Guard Academy, 15 Mohegan Avenue, New London.

The Navy Concert Band, the premier wind ensemble of the U.S. Navy, presents a wide array of marches, patriotic selections, orchestral transcriptions and modern wind ensemble repertoire. As the original ensemble of the Navy Band, the Concert Band has been performing public concerts and participating in high-profile events for nearly 90 years.

One of the U.S. Navy Band’s primary responsibilities involves touring the country. All of the band’s primary performing units embark each year on concert tours throughout specified regions of the country, allowing the band to reach out to audiences in areas of the country that do not have opportunities to see the Navy’s premier musical ensembles on a regular basis. The concerts are family-friendly events, meant to be entertaining to veterans, families, individuals and those interested in joining the Navy.

All Navy Band performances are free and open to the public. No tickets are required. For other dates and other cities where the Navy Concert Band is performing, check the Navy Band website here.

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Talking Transportation: Speed Limits, Safety and Fuel Efficiency

65-mph-speed-limit-signCrawling along I-95 the other day in the usual bumper-to-bumper traffic, I snickered when I noticed the “Speed Limit 55” sign alongside the highway.  I wish …

Of course, when the highway is not jammed, speeds are more like 70 mph with the legal limit, unfortunately, rarely being enforced. Which got me thinking: who sets speed limits on our highways and by what criteria?

Why is the speed limit on I-95 in Fairfield County only 55 mph but 65 mph east of New Haven?  And why is the speed limit on I-84 just 55 mph from the New York border to Hartford, but 65 mph farther east in “the Quiet Corner”?  Why does the eastern half of the state get a break?

Blame the Office of the State Traffic Administration (OSTA) in the CDOT.  This body regulates everything from speed limits to traffic signals, working with local traffic authorities (usually local Police Departments, mayors or Boards of Selectmen).

OSTA is also responsible for traffic rules for trucks (usually lower speed limits) including the ban on their use of the left hand lane on I-95 in most places.

It was the Federal government (Congress) that dropped the Interstate speed limit to 55 mph in 1973 during the oil crisis, only to raise it to 65 mph in 1987 and repeal the ban altogether in 1995 (followed by a 21% increase in fatal crashes),  leaving it to each state to decide what’s best.

In Arizona and Texas that means 75 mph while in Utah some roads support 80 mph.  Trust me … having recently driven 1000+ miles in remote stretches of Utah, things happen very fast when you’re doing 80 – 85 mph!

About half of Germany’s famed Autobahns have speed limits of 100 km/hr (62 mph), but outside of the cities the top speed is discretionary. A minimum of 130 km/hr (81 mph) is generally the rule, but top speed can often be 200 km/hr (120 mph).

Mind you, the Autobahn is a superbly maintained road system without the bone-rattling potholes and divots we enjoy on our highways.  And the German-built Mercedes and Audis on these roads are certainly engineered for such speed.

American cars are designed for maximum fuel efficiency in the 55 – 60 mph range.  Speed up to 65 mph and your engine runs 8 percent less efficiently.  At 70 mph, the loss is 17 percent.  That adds up to more money spent on gasoline and more environmental pollution, all to save a few minutes of driving time.

But even bigger than the loss of fuel efficiency is aerodynamic drag, which can eat up to 40 percent of total fuel consumption.  Lugging bulky roof-top cargo boxes worsens fuel economy by 25 percent at interstate speeds.  So does carrying junk in your trunk (or passengers!):  a 1 percent penalty for every 100 pounds.

Even with cheaper gasoline, it all adds up!

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

Editor’s Note: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. 

You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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Acton Public Library Hosts ‘Music with Miss Martha,’ Fridays

The Children’s Department at Acton Public Library will host ‘Music with Miss Martha’ on the third Friday of every month January through May (except February which will be on the fourth Friday) from 10 to 10:45 a.m. This is a special drop-in musical story time and is most appropriate for ages 3-5. The dates are Jan. 15, Feb. 26, March 18, April 15, and May 20.

For more information, call The Acton Library at 860-395-3184, or visit the library during regular hours: Monday through Thursday 10am – 8:30pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 5pm, and Oct – May on Sundays 1pm – 5pm or visit on-line at www.actonlibrary.org .

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Deadline for Land Trusts’ Amateur Photo Contest Entries is Jan. 31

2013 Land Trust Photo Contest winner by Hank Golet.

This photo by Hank Golet was a winning entry in the 2013 Land Trust Photo Contest.

ESSEX — Five local land trusts invite amateur photographers of all ages to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Land Trusts Amateur Photo Contest. Everyone is welcome to share their love of the natural world by entering their favorite photographs.  Submissions are being accepted until Jan. 31.

A panel of three judges will award prizes in five categories for photographs that best capture the beauty of the scenic countryside, wildlife, plants, and cultural and historic features in the towns of Essex, East Haddam, Lyme, Old Lyme and Salem. Children are encouraged to enter in the Youth category for ages 14 and below. 

Entry Forms are available only by email at photocontest@lymelandtrust.org. A copy of the Contest Rules with details about submission will be included in the reply.

For more information and details for submission go to lymelandtrust.org. http://www.lymelandtrust.org/news/photo-contest/

Cash awards are being funded with the generous support of our sponsors: RiverQuest/CT River Expeditions, Ballek’s Garden Center, Lorensen Auto Group, Evan Griswold at Coldwell Banker, Essex Savings Bank, The Oakley Wing Group at Morgan Stanley, ChelseaGroton Bank, and Alison Mitchell in honor of her late husband John G. Mitchell.

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Essex Land Trust, the Old Lyme Land Trust, Salem Land Trust, and East Haddam Land Trust are sponsoring the event. Previous Land Trusts Photo Contest winning photos are viewable at https://landtrustsphotos.shutterfly.com/.

All of the photographs entered will be displayed and celebrated at the Photo Contest Reception on March 11, at the Lymes’ Senior Center. The winning photographs will be announced at that time.

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CT Valley Camera Club’s Meeting Features Travel Talks, Jan. 25

DEEP RIVER — The Connecticut Valley Camera Club’s January meeting will be held at the Deep River Library (lower level) on Monday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m.

It will feature three members giving illustrated lectures about their visits to China and India (Sheila Wertheimer), Peru (Dianne Roberts), and Australia and New Zealand (Linda Waters).

This meeting is open to the public.  New and prospective members are  especially welcome.

Club meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month at the above time and location.

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Volunteer to Help Those Who Cannot Read, Variety of Openings Available at LVVS

AREAWIDE — If you have some time to volunteer to build a stronger community and help a local non-profit in tutoring area residents to read, write and speak English, you can start helping almost immediately. Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is looking for board members, a treasurer for the organization, tutor trainees and volunteers.

For more information, contact info@vsliteracy.org or call 860-399-0280.

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Vista Teams Up With Penny Lane Pub for ‘Paint Night at the Pub,’ Jan. 25

This snowy landscape will be the subject of the upcoming Paint Night with Vista at the Pub on Monday, Jan. 25th.

This snowy landscape will be the subject of the upcoming Paint Night with Vista at the Pub on Monday, Jan. 25.

AREAWIDE — Vista has announced a new Paint Night experience for the new year. In partnership with the Penny Lane Pub in Old Saybrook, Vista is hosting Paint Night with Vista at the Pub on Monday, Jan. 25.

A social art class led by local artist and Vista staff member Samantha Listorti, Paint Night is open to community members of all artistic ability. From start to finish, Listorti provides step-by-step guidance as participants create a beautiful work of art. No prior painting experience is required.

The class will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Penny Lane Pub, 150 Main St. in Old Saybrook. At the end of the night, participants leave with their finished piece.

The cost is $35 per person and includes one complimentary glass of wine or beer. Food and drink are available for purchase throughout the night. All are welcome.

To register, visit www.vistavocational.org/calendarofevents, or contact Arts Program Manager Amanda Roberts at aroberts@vistavocational.org or (860) 399-8080 ext. 255.

Editor’s Note: Based in Madison and Westbrook, Conn., Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.

For more information about Vista, visit www.vistavocational.org

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Cappella Cantorum to Perform Mozart’s ‘Requiem,’ April 10

AREAWIDE — Late registration and rehearsal for Cappella Cantorum’s performance of Mozart’s Requiem will be Monday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River. All singers are welcome; no auditions are required.

The concert, scheduled for Sunday, April 10, will also feature Mozart’s Regina Coeli. Soloists will be Patricia Schuman, Brian Cheney, Heather Petrie and Christopher Grundy.

Registration can also be done online at CappellaCantorum.org. Membership fee is $50, registration $10 and music $15.

For more information, check the web site or call Barry Asch at 860-388-2871.

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Paint “The Starry Night” with Vista, March 7

Paint like Van Gogh at a gathering sponsored by Vista.

Paint like Van Gogh at a gathering sponsored by Vista.

AREAWIDE – Artists of all abilities can channel famous painter Vincent Van Gogh on Monday, March 7 during Paint Night with Vista at the Pub, a social art class open to the community.

No prior painting experience is required to join the fun. Local artist and Vista staff member Samantha Listorti will guide participants step-by-step as they recreate “The Starry Night,” one of Van Gogh’s most recognizable works. At the end of the night, participants will leave with their finished work.

The class will be held at Penny Lane Pub in Old Saybrook from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $35 and includes one complimentary glass of wine or beer. Food and drink will be available for purchase throughout the evening. Space is limited. To reserve a seat, visit www.vistavocational.org or email Amanda Roberts at aroberts@vistavocational.org.

Paint Night with Vista is one of many community arts classes offered by Vista. For more information about arts classes and programming, contact Amanda Roberts at (860) 399-8080.

Editor’s note: Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success. For more information about Vista, please visit www.vistavocational.org.

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SECWAC Hosts Presentation on Irish Peace Process, March 7

secwacAREAWIDE – The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC), dedicated to educating and engaging Americans on global issues, is hosting a presentation by Ed Moloney on Monday, March 7, at 6 p.m., at  Blaustein Hall, Connecticut College, New London.

Moloney will speak on “The Irish Peace Process: How it Happened and Will It Unite the Country.”

Ed Moloney has been a reporter covering the Northern Ireland situation since 1978. He has been Northern Editor of the Irish Times (1981-85) and Northern Editor of the Sunday Tribune in Dublin (1987-2001).  He has written for a wide range of newspapers and magazines in the United States and Britain including the Washington Post, NY Daily News and the Economist, and has been a frequent commentator on BBC and CNN.  He was Irish Project Director at Boston College and in 2010 wrote Voices from the Grave based on interviews, stored at Boston College, with Catholic and Protestant paramilitary fighters. He also wrote the book, A Secret History of the IRA, and co-authored a celebrated biography of Rev. Ian Paisley in 2006.

SECWAC is a membership organization. Guests are welcome; call (860) 912-5718 or email info@secwac.org to reserve a guest pass.

A reception begins the evening at 5:30 p.m. Following the 6 p.m. presentation, a dinner will be held for a limited number of SECWAC members and guests at a room adjacent to Blaustein Hall. To attend the dinner, a reservation is required; call (860) 912-5718 or email info@secwac.org to make your reservation. All dinner reservations or cancellations must be received 24 hours prior to the program.   Bring your check payable to SECWAC for the total number of your reservations at $35 each.

The next SECWAC program will be on April 12 at Blaustein Hall. Curt Goering, Center for Victims of Torture, will speak on “The Story behind the Syrian Refugee Story: The Need for Rehabilitative Care During Humanitarian Crises.”

Editor’s note: SECWAC is a regional, non-profit membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America and fosters an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.  Its principal activity is to provide a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between its members and U.S. policy makers and other experts on foreign relations. More information at www.secwac.org.

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Old Saybrook Church Hosts a Cappella Sing-off Concert, March 5

The Ruby Fruit a cappella group will participate in the sing-off being held March 5.

‘Ruby Fruit’ a cappella group will participate in the sing-off being held March 5.

OLD SAYBROOK – Two of UCONN’s a cappella groups will perform in a sing-off Saturday, March 5, 7 p.m. at the First Church of Christ in Saybrook, 366 Main St. The Rubyfruits and Extreme Measures will also work with some Old Saybrook High School singers who will also be part of the performance.

Tickets are $15, children eight and under are admitted free. Funds raised will support the church’s 2016 teen mission trip to N.Y.’s Adirondacks. Tickets are available online, www.firstchurchsaybrook.org, in the church office Monday through Friday, or call 860-388-3008.

There is also advertising space available in the program booklet for sponsors, either individuals or businesses. In addition to having a self-designed ad printed in the program, commercial sponsors will be recognized on facebook. Options include a quarter, half or full page space for $50, $125 or $250.

To prepare for the weeklong summer trip, the teens and their families commit to a year-long process which includes group fundraising, socio-economic awareness events, worship service activities and more. While in the Adirondacks, the teens will go out into the community for service work and to immerse themselves in the local culture. Mission trips take place every year with varying destinations, alternating between urban and rural locations. Each teen mission trip is life-changing for the young participants and their chaperones.

Come out to hear some great music performed by young people, and support the work of the teen mission-trippers who seek to make a difference in the lives of those they serve.

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Eversource Notifies Essex Community of 2016 Tree Trimming

 Bruce Glowac, President of the Essex Foundation and Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden admire the new Eastern Red Cedars along West Avenue in Essex. Missing from the photo is Paul Fazzino, Jr., Essex Fire Chief.

File photo of Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden and Bruce Glowac, President of the Essex Foundation.

ESSEX — Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden, has been notified by Eversource that additional tree trimming in the community will begin first quarter of 2016.  Residents will be contacted by the Lucas Tree permissions people starting in January 2016.

These contractors are obliged by the new PURA (Public Utilities Regulatory Authority) regulations and state statutes to notify abutting owners of planned tree work, on or hanging over the public road.  Tree owner approval is required for trees wholly on public property.

Pampel would like residents to know that according to these new statutes, they have the right to accept the planned work, waive their rights to object to the work, modify the work or they can refuse all tree work, if they choose. Those wishing to modify the work or object to the trimming or removal should follow the procedure described in the handouts received from the permissions contact person. This would include contacting the local Tree Warden and the Eversource in writing.

Roads that will be subject to ETT (Enhanced Tree Trimming), which is the most expansive specification, are Laurel Rd. and Dennison Rd. Enhanced Tree Trimming is ground to sky clearance and eight feet from the conductors’ clearance. If more than one quarter of a tree’s leaves have to be removed to satisfy this specification, the entire tree will be requested to be removed.

The following information was provided by Eversource and will be given to each abutting property owner affected by the upcoming tree work:

Year round trimming is “one of the ways we provide safe and reliable electric service”.  By removing potential hazardous growth close to power lines, they provide not only reliable service but also safer physical and visual access for their employees who work on the lines.  Problems can therefore be solved more efficiently.  Eversource states that all work is performed following professional tree care industry standards and best practices.

There are several clearance specifications. You should discuss the specific one that will be used in your area with the permissions contact, who leaves the slip with you.

The trees at risk are:

  • Those trees that can fall on or contact power lines and cause an outage.
  • Tree professionals will determine a tree’s hazardous potential based on species, location, health and structural composition.
  • Eversource arborists will also determine a tree’s risk of causing an outage and prioritize removal accordingly.  If a tree must be removed, it will be cut as low to the ground as possible
  • Critical trimming can occur without permission by the abutting owner if there is evidence that the tree or brush are in direct contact with power lines or have visible signs of burning.  This is “to protect public safety and system reliability.”

Low growing shrubs and grasses will not be removed in order to maintain a low-growing plant community.

Eversource will treat hardwood trees that can re-sprout from a cut stump with an herbicide to prevent regrowth.  As per Eversource, the herbicide has been tested and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  It will be “selectively applied with a handheld spray bottle by state licensed and certified personnel only to the outer edge and side of a stump.”

According to the Connecticut General Statutes (22a-66a), certain herbicide label information must be provided to the property owner where herbicides are used.  Property owners can ask the tree contractor requesting permission for trimming if herbicides will be used and request the herbicidal labels.

Eversource will make available to customers free of charge all cut wood or mulch produced from the tree work.  Larger limbs and tree trunks will be cut into manageable lengths and mulch can be dumped where vehicle access is possible.

In an effort to provide effective communication and better customer service, Eversource will seek property owner approval in advance of the tree work.  They will stop at all homes abutting areas of potential work to provide information and request approval for the trimming.

It is incumbent upon the property owner to read the material carefully, ask questions and/or contact the Eversource permissions contractor listed on the enclosed forms provided to property owners.

For trees that hang over the public right-of-way, you may ask for additional consultation:

  • If you live on a town road, contact your local Tree Warden (Augie Pampel).
  • If you live on a state road, contact the state Department of Transportation (DOT), Commissioner’s Office, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06131

Not granting permission:

  • If a property owner does not wish to grant approval for the proposed tree work, he/she should follow the procedures outlined in the material left by the permissions contact.
  • The Tree Warden will make a decision regarding the scope of tree work for all objections within 10 days of receiving the written objection or after a consultation.
  • Both the property owner and Eversource may further appeal that decision to the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) within 10 days.
  • Contact PURA at 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051.  PURA will hold a mediation session within 30 days of an appeal or an arbitration hearing within 60 days, to reach a resolution.

Per the state statute, no property owner will be billed for damages to Eversource power lines or equipment caused by trees on the owner’s property that fall, regardless of the outcome of an appeal.

Pampel is available to anyone who may have questions, concerns or who require more information about this upcoming tree work. Pampel can be reached via e-mail at augiepampel@att.net or by his mobile phone at 860-388-7209.

Eversource Customer Care Center can be reached at 800-286-2000 or the Eversource Business Contact Center at 888-783-6617.  Eversource can be emailed directly at treeCT@eversource.com.

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Final Chance to See ‘The Magic of Christmas’ at Florence Griswold Museum Today

All ages can enjoy the Palette Christmas Trees.

All ages can enjoy the Artist Trees on display at the Florence Griswold Museum through Jan. 3, 2016.

OLD LYME — The holiday season is always something to celebrate at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Visitors of all ages can enjoy The Magic of Christmas through Jan. 3, 2016.

For over 10 years, visitors from across the region have admired the painted palettes on Miss Florence’s Artist Trees. The idea of contemporary artists creating paintings on artists’ palettes is a nod to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the door and wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s boardinghouse over a century ago.

The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, glass, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises.

Nearly 200 noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon. “What a thrill it is for me to participate in decorating Miss Florence’s Artist Tree this year, joining such a distinguished group of artists who have lent their vision and talents to this important tradition, ” states Artist Russ Kramer of Mystic.

Russ Kramer

‘Winter Visit’ by Russ Kramer of Mystic is one of the new palettes for this year.

He continues, “I think all of us wish we could travel back in time to enjoy Miss Florence’s support and hospitality, and share inspirations with fellow artists around her table. In my palette, Winter Visit, I imagined a weary artist after a long, chilly trip from the city, and the warm welcome he would receive into Miss Florence’s home.”

Georgia native Katie Scarlett Faile was one of nine artists asked to contribute a palette this year. “I was very excited when I was asked to contribute to the Florence Griswold Museum’s annual exhibit,” Faile states. “The museum has become a very special place for me during the three years that my husband and I have been stationed here attached to the USS Virginia.”

FaileMedium

‘Winter comes to FairyLand’ by Katie Scarlett Faile is another palette new for 2015.

As an artist that works in multiple mediums, it was hard for Faile to decide how she wanted to paint her palette. “My first love, is acrylics and fairytale themed work so, Winter comes to FairyLand was a grand opportunity to paint in my favorite subject matter in my favorite medium.”

William Sillin from Sunderland, Mass., created 'The Eye of the Beholder,' using oil on wood palette for the 2015 palettes.

William Sillin from Sunderland, Mass., created ‘The Eye of the Beholder,’ using oil on wood palette for the 2015 palette additions.

The palettes will be displayed on three trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibition, The Artist in the Connecticut Landscape.

In the historic rooms of the Griswold House, visitors can see how families celebrated Christmas in 1910, as historically accurate decorations reveal homespun creativity and the use of surprising materials. The 1910 time period was an important era for the Griswold House. It was the heyday of its use as boardinghouse for the artists of the Lyme Art Colony. Christmas was also Miss Florence’s birthday. She was 60 years old in 1910.

Three designers have created Fantasy Trees

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas. Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectables scones with clotted cream, assorted tea sandwiches, and cookies prepared by Gourmet Gallery, a caterer known for their delicious flavors and impeccable presentations, are accompanied by “Miss Florence’s Tea,” a special blend from Sundial Gardens in Higginum. Miss Florence’s Tea is a special blend of superior Ceylon and China black tea enhanced with a touch of delicate spices. The tea celebrates the camaraderie and creativity of the Lyme Art Colony with each cup.

Other events and programs include special events for families, including a visit from Snow Sister Anna & her Ice Harvester, musical performances, and hands-on crafts for children and adults.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts.

Located on an 11-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open year round Tuesday through Saturday from 10amto 5pm and Sunday 1 to 5pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. For more information, visit the Museum’s website www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

Magic of Christmas Activities

December 2-24
Daily Specials in the Museum Shop
One day you might save on all books or art supplies, the next, maybe everything sparkly or all snowmen. Check FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for a calendar of items and days.

December 4–23, 1-5pm
Elf-in-Residence Days
A new twist on shopping local. Tuesday through Saturday, visitors can meet a different local artisan each day. Speak to them about their craft and pick up a special gift for you or someone on your holiday list.

December 4 – 23
Christmastime Teas
Tuesday through Saturday enjoy an elegant tea of savories and sweets overlooking the wintery splendor of the Lieutenant River. Catered by Gourmet Galley. Seatings at 3pm. Guests enjoy a 10% discount in The Shop. Please call 860-434-5542 x 111 for information and reservations.

Sundays, Dec. 6 through Jan. 3, 1-5pm
Joy in the Making
Each Sunday visitors can create a different holiday craft to take home for themselves or give as a gift. This event is free with Museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Sunday, Dec. 27, 11am to 4pm
Miss Florence’s Birthday Party

Visitors share in this hands-on-creative celebration of Miss Florence’s Christmas Day birthday. Birthday cake and fun celebratory activities to honor the woman who started it all. Miss. Florence would be 165 this year, but age is just a number. From 1 to 4pmApril Brunelle of April’s Balloon Creations will create favorite animals, characters, and super heros at no cost. This event is included with museum admission and children 12 and under are free.

Thursday, Dec. 31, 11am to 3pm
Ode to the New Year: Harp Music by Faith Leitner

The harp was Miss Florence’s favorite instrument. Visitors can see the pne her father brought back for her from England in the Florence Griswold House. Accomplished harpist Faith Leitner will perform in the gallery. A beautiful way to end the year, this event is free with Museum admission.

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Bingo Suspended at Estuary Council for Winter Months

OLD SAYBROOK —  Bingo at The Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. (ECSI) is being suspended for the winter months. Games will be resumed in the Spring – watch for future announcements for exact date and time.

The Estuary Council of Seniors Inc. (ECSI) is a non-profit regional senior center located in the M. Monica Eggert Senior Center on the Connecticut River Estuary at 220 Main Street in Old Saybrook. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life for people 50 years and older.

ECSI is a community resource for the nine-town Estuary region’s residents over 50 years old providing nutrition, transportation, health support services, education opportunities, and socialization. For more information call 860-388-1611 or visit our website at www.ecsenior.org

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Essex Land Trust Lecture Explores ‘What’s Next for the Connecticut River?’

#1-East Haddam Bridge
ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust invites the public to attend a lecture titled, ‘What’s Next for the Connecticut River?’ by Steve Gephard, Supervising Fisheries Biologist responsible for the DEEP’s Diadromous Fish and Habitat, Conservation, and Enhancement programs. The lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan 7, at the Essex Library, 33 West Ave., Essex.

The decades-long resurgence of the Connecticut River’s health has provided us with a chance to make plans for its future. Questions currently under consideration are how to maintain and restore our marshes and adjacent uplands, enhance the fisheries and wildlife, and manage the development of our lands for the benefit of all users? Simultaneously the region must grapple with sea-level rise, more frequent cataclysmic storms, and greater usage of the resources by an expanding population.

Essex resident Steve Gephard will present a slide-illustrated lecture that highlights the great successes of the last 50 years and describes the opportunities and challenges that may lie ahead.

In case of snow cancellation, the talk will be rescheduled for Thursday, Jan. 14.

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The Strangest New Year’s Day Ever

John Guy LaPlante

John Guy LaPlante

We’re pleased to republish a column by John Guy LaPlante today — this column was originally published on Jan 1, 2013, and we thought it would be timely for readers to have a chance to enjoy it again today.

It was the strangest New Year’s Day ever … and I never expect another like it.

All my life, like you probably, I have celebrated New Year’s Day in winter—most often in a cold, icy, snowy winter. Not a Florida winter.

Winter arrives on Dec. 21, of course, and New Year’s Day 11 days later, on Jan. 1.

My saying this seems silly, I know, but I say it for a reason.

My seeing the New Year in, as for you, has often meant stepping outside into freezing cold air that takes my breath away and then suffering in my frigid car until the engine begins to blow in wonderful hot air.

For many decades this was always the way I experienced New Year’s Day.

With just one exception …

That exception came eight years ago when I traveled around the world for five months. Yes, nearly all of it alone—147 days, 20 countries, 36,750 miles by plane, train, and for only $83 per day, with everything included, right down to every snack and phone call and all the visas required. That trip was my present to myself for my then approaching 75th birthday.

It was a grand adventure. More than that, an odyssey. It led to my book, “Around the World at 75. Alone, Dammit!” It’s a book still selling, and in fact, one that got to be published in China in Chinese—well, Mandarin, which is the principal language.

As New Year’s Day approached, I arrived in Durban, South Africa. That’s nearly as far south in Africa as you can go, and I had come a long way, all the way from Cairo near the Mediterranean in the far north.

I arrived on Dec. 28, I think it was, just seven days after the start of winter and three days before the new year dawned. However, I had crossed the Equator to get here and in fact was far south of it.

But the seasons are opposite on the other side of the Equator. Yes, it was December, but it was not winter. Summer had just started here and it was summertime, with long daylight, short nights, shirtsleeve temperatures, even bathing suit temperatures. How remarkable. How wonderful.

Durban is a big city. An impressive city. And I was here to enjoy it . I was lucky. I was staying in a nice hostel right downtown, the Banana Backpackers. Not hotel. Hostel. I was using hostels because they were cheaper (hotels for five months can get expensive) and I got an experience more true to my purpose.

Don’t ask me why that name. I never found out. And I was making friends. And I was making the most of the city, taking in everything I could—its bustling downtown, its historic and tourist attractions, its museums. It’s all in my book.

New Year’s Day was a great celebration here, too. It’s a big day all over the world. I read everything I could in the big Durban daily about activities coming up. English is the official language. There would be all the usual merry-making. I was looking forward to it. Planned to enjoy it as much as I could.

New Year’s Day rose, bright and sunny and warm and beautiful. But none of my senses told me that this was New Year’s Day. This was so dramatically different. But my brain did.

Durban is right on the Indian Ocean, just north of where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans merge below Capetown. Durban has great beaches. I had not glimpsed them yet, but I knew they were gorgeous. I intended to get to them today. They were not far, at the end of a broad avenue that nosed right into them. A cinch. I could get to them in just a few blocks.

But imagine my surprise. My stupefaction. Thousands of people were planning to do the same thing. I noticed that the minute I stepped out of Banana Backpackers. People jammed the street, walking in from various directions.

So many. Amazing. The boulevard was closed to vehicles for the day. People were heading south on it in a broad torrent. They took up the whole width of the street. All going the same way, toward the salt water. Some on bikes but most hoofing it. Carrying all the usual stuff—towels, picnic baskets, folding chairs, parasols, toys. Many with children in hand.

Instantly I saw they were all black. Durban is a typical South African city. It has the usual mix of blacks and whites, but the blacks were there first and predominate. In fact, apartheid had been the law of the land until quite recently. Apartheid mandated the enforced separation of the races, the same as in many places in our U.S.A. when I was young, but even more severely, I’ve read.

Right away I saw this was a black crowd. I could not see any whites. Of course, white people like nice, warm, sunny, summer beaches, too. Why this river of people was all black, I don’t know. And I didn’t find out. I still don’t know. But right away I decided, this is just too much. No way can I walk with them.

I gulped hard. I was so disappointed. But then I braced up. A main reason for this big and crazy adventure of mine–I knew some thought this–was to visit other countries, and the more different the better. I wanted to see what they were really like. I was deliberately staying clear of the heavy tourist areas. I wanted to see the real people in their real everyday life. So how could I chicken out now?

Uptight I was, but I stepped forward and slipped in among them. I saw dark eyes studying me but I looked straight ahead and walked on. I was uncomfortable. Nervous. Apprehensive. I admit it and am embarrassed to say so. I was tempted to drop out and head back to Banana Backpackers. What I was experiencing, of course, was plain, classic culture shock.

My head was battling with my emotions. My head was telling me that 99 percent of these people were good, fine, no-problem people. I knew that this was true of people all over the world. Yellow, brown, red, black, white, mixed. In every country the bad ones—the malicious ones—are a tiny minority. True, too, in our U.S.A.

The only thing these folks had in mind was getting to the beach for a fine New Year’s outing.

My heart made me fearful, insecure, borderline panicky. But I walked on. I was feeling this way because they were so many and they were all black and I wasn’t used to this and there was no other white person around. But on I went.

I wasn’t going to the beach to sun myself or swim. I did like these things back home. I was going because I wanted to see the Indian Ocean and smell the sea air and be part of the festivities and observe everything going on and get some exercise and see what a New Year’s Day was like in this country and how folks enjoyed it.

We got to the beach. A great big, broad stretch of sand. The Indian Ocean stretched out ahead, clear to the horizon, with not even a tiny island in between. A few pleasure boats, yes.

But know what? The Indian Ocean didn’t look a bit different than many other stretches of salt water I have gotten to see. The only reason I knew that this was the Indian Ocean was because I was told it was, period.

What I noticed was the great numbers of people. Right away I thought of Coney Island. Who isn’t familiar with Coney Island? I’ve never been to Coney Island. But I’ve seen the photos of the packed crowds on the Fourth of July.

For sure this huge turn-out would rival Coney Island in the Guinness Book of World Records. And of course all these people were black. But they were behaving just like white people would.

I became more relaxed. I began walking around. I roamed the beach. I made my way between all these people. Families in tight clusters. Kids frolicking and romping and tossing balls. Couples making out. People reading, snacking, applying suntan lotion, snoozing.

Not easy to walk in that loose sand. I made my way down close to the beach and walked along the shore on the packed sand, moist from the outgoing tide. Some people were in the water, swimming, splashing, floating, but quite few. Which is typical on any beach anywhere.

I walked a long way to the left, then a long way back and to the right. Some people looked at me and followed me with their eyes. Most people were too busy. I had my camera and I began sneaking pictures. I learned long ago it was not smart at times to face whoever I wanted to photograph and snap a picture.

I had developed a different way. I would spot someone I wanted to focus on. Then I would turn 90 degrees and face in this new direction. But slowly I would turn my camera back 90 degrees. Very stealthily, all while gazing straight ahead. And click the shutter. Sometimes I missed the shot. But often I got the good candid shot I hoped for. Rarely did anybody catch on.

Now I got bolder. I even walked up to some people. Made sure I smiled. And asked if I could take their picture. Nobody said no.

It was all pleasant. I was happy to be part of this. But this was a film camera. And of course my roll of film got used up.

In all this, I did not come upon another white person. How come? Maybe this was a traditionally black beach. Maybe there was a traditional white beach elsewhere. But I thought of this much later.

Satisfied and content, I walked back to the Banana Backpackers. I quit long before the others did. There were just a few of us heading back. I was happy I had not caved in to my apprehensions and had had what turned out to be a most pleasant experience.

Back at the hostel, I found practically nobody around. That evening I ran into a couple of people and mentioned what I had done. But they were foreign tourists, too. They were interested. But they had nothing to say that enlightened me.

Later I had another thought. It was about black people in the U.S.A. Men and women of all ages born there and grown up there. Like me. Just as much an American citizen as I.

And I thought of the many times when for sure they must find themselves alone among whites. At times they must feel as alone and isolated and apprehensive as I on this New Year’s Day. This is probably a common experience for them in our section of Connecticut where blacks are still a small minority, although the situation is changing a bit. And surely they get used to it, adapt to it, and develop a certain comfort.

I felt these disturbing emotions just for a few hours on just one day. I’m sure some of our blacks back home must feel it frequently, on and on, all their lives.

That New Year’s Day in Durban made me more understanding. More sympathetic. I learned a powerful lesson. And the lesson has stuck. We’re all much alike. Little reason to be nervous among strange.

I’d like to include some of the photos I took that day but they’re not at hand. Sorry.

Happy New Year to you, one and all!

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Essex Savings Bank Donates Almost 2,000 Books to ‘Read to Grow’

Press Release - Essex Savings Bank Donates to Read to Grow (1)ESSEX — Essex Savings Bank has shared the results of its annual holiday donation contest designed to help those less fortunate in the local communities. This year’s event had each of the six branches and the corporate office collecting books for children from infancy to eighth grade for the nonprofit organization, Read to Grow.

Read to Grow promotes building literacy from birth, distributing 130,000 books to children in Connecticut each year. The book-themed displays at each office location ranged from Dr. Seuss to The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

While the contest adds an element of fun to the season, the driving force behind the Bank employees’ enthusiasm was helping children that may not otherwise have the access or opportunity to children’s classic stories. All donations were at the employees’ expense and generated by their goodwill.

As a result of everyone’s efforts, Essex Savings Bank employees delivered 1,829 books to Read to Grow. It is the hope of the Bank’s employees that these books will help make the holiday season a little more joyous for the children of Middlesex County, New Haven County and New London County.

Editor’s Note: Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.

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Friends of Essex Library Thank Holiday Book Sale Supporters

Catharine Wagner and Ellie Champion, decked in their red aprons helping patrons check out at the recent Holiday Sale.

Catharine Wagner and Ellie Champion, decked in their red aprons, helped patrons check out at the recent Holiday Sale.

The Friends of Essex Library, and particularly Peggy Tuttle, Sale Coordinator, wish to thank all the volunteers who worked tirelessly preparing for the Holiday Sale, and all who supported the sale by purchasing many holiday books.

The Friends of Essex Library will be holding a focused sale the month of February. Books with emphasis on aspects of American History will be featured at very attractive prices.  Also on sale will be books appropriate for Valentine’s Day giving.

The Friends also offer at this time of making New Year resolutions, 10 Reasons to become a Friend of Essex Library, as follows:

  1. You’ll meet new friends and stay connected with the old.
  2. Your volunteer efforts strengthen our library and, therefore, our community.
  3. You will feel good about your participation: work a book sale, help shelve books, sort and prepare books for sales.
  4. You will enjoy helping the library’s wonderful staff, and you will be appreciated.
  5. Your volunteer efforts earn money for the library. Gifts from the Friends make a difference.
  6. You can get dusty and dirty while you dig and sort through hundreds of books for the sales, and have fun doing it.
  7. You will increase your awareness of all that is available at the library, and by being a Friend, you become integrated into the workings of the library.
  8. You can hear peals of laughter as you help young minds absorb information in the children’s section.
  9. You will get to wear a red apron as a volunteer at the Sales.
  10. You can join because you don’t HAVE to!
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