January 31, 2023

Archives for February 2016

Family Pasta Night at Ivoryton Church, April 30

ivoryton cong churchIVORYTON – The Ivoryton Congregational Church is hosting a Pasta Night on Saturday, April 30, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The menu is ziti with meatballs, salad bar, garlic bread, dessert, and coffee or tea or water.

Adults are $10; children ages 6-12, $5; under age 5, free. Reservations are recommended. Call Isobel at (860) 767-8167 or the Church Office at (860) 767-1004.

The church is at 57 Main Street, Ivoryton.

Old Saybrook High School Hosts 4th Annual Electronics Drive, April 30

CaptureOld Saybrook High School Ecology Club will host its 4th Annual Electronics Drive on Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Old Saybrook High School.

Help support the environment as well as local organizations that support young mothers and fathers within the shoreline by donating your old/used electronics and metal recyclables. All donated items will be recycled and redeemed for diapers, formula and other baby needs to help support local single mothers and fathers in the area.

The following items will be accepted:

1.  Electronics of any kind including computers, laptops/desktops, tablets, all computer-related gear, old/outdated household appliances (big & small), cell phones, etc.

2. Wires, cables, cords of any kind (i.e.,cell phone chargers, extension cords, computer cables, etc.)

3. Non-working lawnmowers & motors of any kind (i.e., blowers, scooters, generators, saws, vacuums, etc.)

4. Lead batteries of any kind (car, truck, boat, power-wheels)

5.  Appliances of any kind (washer, dryer, microwave, stove, AC units, humidifiers)

6. Odds & ends of metal items (chairs, aluminum, copper, iron, file cabinets–all bulk metal)

Juniper Foster Art Exhibit on Show at CBSRZ Through April 30

Emerging Worlds I, 2016, 36x36" (Photo: Nazim Khan)

Emerging Worlds I, 2016, 36×36″ (Photo: Nazim Khan)

AREAWIDE – “Juniper Foster has evolved to a place in the artistic community where she and her work can no longer be ignored. There are many paintings and many artists but rarely do paintings arise with such strength of purpose and overwhelming originality.” – Harry Folsom

An opening reception will be held on Sunday, March 13, from 3 to 5 p.m., for one of this year’s most exciting artistic events at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s Main Street Gallery.

New York artist Juniper Foster’s dynamic, unencumbered palette forms a conversation with the canvas, effortlessly draws the viewer into her world, and brings each painting to life, transforming the spectator into a participant whose perspective is free to shift with time and mood.

Her 37 works range in size from 4×4″ to 58×84” and will be on display through April 30.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East King’s Highway in Chester. For more information, visit cbsrz.org or call 860-526-8920.

Observe World Rare Disease Month by Taking the ‘Blindfold Breakfast’ Challenge


What is your most difficult morning challenge? Choosing your outfit for the day? Getting the kids ready for school? Trying not to hurt your arm as you sling the alarm clock across the room?

Beginning Feb. 29, designated World Rare Disease Day because it’s the rarest day of the year, and through March, Rare Disease month, readers are challenged to eat your breakfast — even if it’s just a bowl of cereal — while wearing a blindfold.

Why, you ask? Sofia Sees Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of rare inherited retinal diseases, wants you to challenge yourself to experience just one simple meal without the use of your sight. This is what life is like every day for someone suffering from a rare inherited retinal disease.

Join hundreds of other families, schools, children and celebrities to show us how well you eat your breakfast blindfolded – and then challenge five of your friends! Take a video, take a photo, take a selfie of your experience and share it on social media with the hashtag #blindfoldbreakfast.Sofia Sees Hope will grab the best and share them. Learn more at http://www.blindfoldbreakfast.org/

Sofia Sees Hope is inspired by a young teen with a rare inherited retinal disease, who hopes to someday be able to see the stars at night. The organization is dedicated to making this possible for all those affected by blindness caused by Leber Congenital Amaurosis and other rare inherited eye diseases.Sofia Sees Hope does this by raising funds for:

  • Research into treatments and cures
  • Patient support for diagnosis and treatment
  • Patient and medical community education and outreach
  • Public awareness of inherited retinal disease and treatments

If the Blindfold Breakfast experience inspires you to change someone’s future, visit www.sofiaseeshope.org to make a donation. Follow Sofia Sees Hope on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sofiaseeshope/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/SofiaSees)

Our ‘Movie Man’ Correctly Predicts DiCaprio to Win Academy Award for ‘Revenant’

therevenant10For the love of all that is good and holy in this world, give Leonardo DiCaprio his long-overdue Academy Award!

This was all I was thinking as I sat through Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film, The Revenant. Apart from the infinite number of beautiful shots depicting the American West through virtually all climates, my attention was fixed on the memorable performance of its lead, our boy Leo. This is not the Leo from post-Titanic Leo-mania, whom my cousins fell in love with and helped contribute to James Cameron’s romantic drama’s reigning status as the highest grossing film of all time until 2010.

This is a gritty and horrific depiction of a man who survives a brutal bear attack and must endure the cold of winter in order to trek across the wilderness in order to fulfill a quest for revenge on John Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hardy, who decided to leave him for dead.

This is a memorable performance on DiCaprio’s part. And while its acclaim may not be based in eloquent command of speech, as legendary Shakespearean actors like Olivier, McKellen, Gielgud, or the chilling sophistication of Anthony Hopkins as the cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, DiCaprio’s run as Hugh Glass will forever be etched into our minds due to his conveyance of pain. Foaming at the mouth, shouting through his teeth and unable to make intelligible sounds, lighting gunpowder in an open wound on his neck in order to clot the bleeding, this man, we must believe, truly did survive a bear attack. There is no question.

In fact, he does not speak much throughout the movie as he journeys back home. On top of (spoiler alert) pulling a move in which he imitates Han Solo providing a seriously injured Luke Skywalker shelter in a dead tauntaun in The Empire Strikes Back … give him the Oscar right now!

Another performance that must be recognized is that of Englishman Tom Hardy, who takes on a Southern accent and ultimately gives it a creepy delivery, reminding us of the yokels seen in Deliverance or Errol Childress in the first season of True Detective. Hardy has also lent his unique voice to another character best remembered for his speech,  the villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. It is as if the lack of speech on DiCaprio’s part is made up for by Hardy’s yokel delivery.

My complaint about this film is the depiction of Glass’ journey back to his home fort is a bit dragged out at times, and could have been cut shorter.

Award season is approaching us, and DiCaprio has already won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and he has received his fifth acting-based Academy Award nomination, having already lost to Tommy Lee Jones, Jamie Foxx, Forest Whitaker, and Matthew McConaughey. And we have all seen the internet memes poking fun at his losses, such as placing his head on Mr. Turner in a memorable scene from The Fairly Odd Parents, and losing to Jennifer Lawrence despite being the only listed candidate for an award. Another meme came forward that was not connected to his snubs, but depicted his audience with Pope Francis, in which the Pontiff tells him that he was rooting for the bear earlier in the movie.

Iñárritu may also have a great chance to win his second consecutive Best Director Oscar, having last year won for Birdman. Nobody can argue with his ability to depict the American pioneer life, as well as masterfully paint the picture of Glass’stherevenant10 revenge. But even if Iñárritu wins again, his victory will definitely be overshadowed by the anticipation of Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the finest living actors of our generation.

Kevin Ganey

Kevin Ganey

About the Author: Kevin Ganey has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at LymeLine.com, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.


Social Security Tips: Use Your Extra Day to Leap Into Retirement

It’s leap year and that means one thing – you can add one extra calendar day to your February schedule. Many people are preparing for the upcoming elections. Others might be getting a jump on spring cleaning. What will you do with your extra day?

You could use a few of your extra minutes to check out what Social Security offers at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices. There, you can:
* Apply for retirement, disability, and other benefits;
* Get your Social Security Statement;
* Appeal a recent medical decision about your disability claim;
* Find out if you qualify for benefits;

If you’re planning or preparing for retirement, you can spend a fraction of your extra 24 hours at my Social Security. In as little as 15 minutes, you can create a safe and secure my Social Security account. More than 21 million Americans already have accounts. In fact, someone opens one about every 6 seconds. Join the crowd and sign up today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. With a personalized my Social Security account, you can:

* Obtain an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefits;
* Verify the accuracy of your earnings record – your future benefit amounts are based on your earnings record;
* Change your address and phone number, if you receive monthly Social Security benefits;
* Sign up for or change direct deposit of your Social Security benefits;
* Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax season; and
* Obtain a record of the Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.

And if you have a little time to spare, you can always check out the agency’s blog, Social Security Matters, at blog.socialsecurity.gov. There, you will find guest posts by Social Security experts, in-depth articles, and answers to many of your questions about retirement, benefits, and healthcare. Each post is tagged by topic so you can easily search for what matters most to you.

Leaping from webpage to webpage, you can easily see that Social Security has you covered all year long, not just on that extra day in February.Remember, you can access the Social Security homepage that links to a wide array of online services any day of the week at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Editor’s Note: The author Robert G. Rodriguez is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in New Britain , CT

Inaugural Scrabble Scramble Tournament to Benefit Literacy Volunteers, April 27

AREAWIDE – Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is pleased to announce its Inaugural Annual Scrabble Scramble Tournament on Wednesday, April 27, starting at 5:30 p.m. The event, billed as “An Evening of Words with Friends,” will be held at the First Congregational Church of Madison at 27 Meetinghouse Lane, Madison.

Tables of four people will play cooperatively on a single scrabble board to best other tables in the tournament. This isn’t just another scrabble tournament. You can bribe the Word Judge to get a peek at the dictionary or buy extra tiles to make the triple score word you need to win! Prizes will be awarded to tables with the highest score in each of two rounds as well as an overall winner. Players can join the fun for $25 per person. Coffee and snacks will be provided.

Proceeds from the tournament will benefit Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore English tutoring and workplace literacy programs. Call Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore at 860-399-0280 or go to vsliteracy.org for information and to sign up.

New Shoreline Coworking Community Forms

watercoolerAREAWIDE – The number of coworking spaces has increased over 400 percent in the last two years. Coworking is redefining the way we work. Over 20 million Americans work from home, including 90 percent of all freelancers. Coworking provides a more affordable workspace for those just starting a business, or those who work independently, such as solopreneurs and freelancers. Not only offering “office space,” coworking offers amenities such as internet access, as-needed workspace, private space for meetings and small conferences, and a location for community programs and shared learning experiences.

To serve businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers in the towns located in the lower Connecticut River Valley and across the Connecticut shoreline, the Watercooler Coworking Community is being built. Local entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and freelancers are encouraged to attend an informational evening on Tuesday, April 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook.

The purpose of the evening is to bring together coworkers, share ideas and begin to shape the structure of the collaborative workspace. Local economic development professionals and chamber of commerce professionals are also encouraged to attend.

The Watercooler will be the Connecticut Shoreline’s member-sustained, community-supported, collaborative coworking space. When built, The Watercooler will provide a professional, inspirational, and self-sustaining space to grow and nurture freelance businesses and entrepreneurialism. Creatives, entrepreneurs and small businesses of all types will flock to The Watercooler to become a part of the community of local-minded, business-focused folks. http://www.watercoolercowork.com/

Key Issues Debated by Linares and RiverCOG at State Capitol

Senator Linares Lower CT River Valley COG Meeting 2-24-16 (7 of 22)

AREAWIDE – On Feb. 24 Sen. Art Linares (at far right) joined with members of the Lower CT River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG) at the State Capitol to discuss key issues being debated during the 2016 legislative session. Shown in the photo with him, from left to right, are Haddam First Selectman Lizz Milardo, East Hampton Town Manager Michael Maniscalco and Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee Member and Past Chair Darlene Briggs.

Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook. He can be reached at 800-842-1421 or at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov.

The RiverCOG has 17 member towns, including Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

According to its website, “The RiverCOG brings together local governments to coordinate land use and transportation planning on a regional basis. RiverCOG provides a forum to foster communication and collaboration among its member municipalities in identifying and addressing these and other regional issues.”

RiverCOG has an office at 145 Dennison Road in Centerbrook, and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information about RiverCOG is at www.rivercog.org or by calling (860) 581-8554.

‘Warrior’ Giaconia Signs with UConn

Jack Giaconia, who has signed a Letter of Intent to play football with UConn, was a four-year starter on the Valley/Old Lyme co-op football team. Photo by Laura Matesky, www.lauramateskyphotography.com

Jack Giaconia, who has signed a Letter of Intent to play football with UConn, was a four-year starter on the Valley/Old Lyme co-op ‘Warriors’ football team. Photo by Laura Matesky, www.lauramateskyphotography.com

Lyme-Old Lyme High School senior Jack Giaconia, who was a starter on the Valley Regional/Lyme-Old Lyme ‘Warriors’ co-op football team throughout his high school career, has signed a Letter of Intent to be a preferred walk-on with the UConn Huskies.

A delighted Giaconia, who lives in Lyme, Conn., told LymeLine.com, “For me signing with UConn is a dream come true. I’ve been watching them play on TV since I was like seven years old.”

He explained that prior to signing with UConn, he had quite a number of college options on the table including Endicott, University of New Haven, and also Central, Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities. He noted, “I was also considering going to prep school since I wasn’t getting very much interest from big time Division One schools,” but, “When [Warriors head] coach [Tim] King told me that UConn was interested, I was very excited.”

Now, after a short break following his high school graduation in early June, Giaconia is looking forward to starting his training with the UConn team at the end of June. He explains, “That’s when I start lifting and training with the team.”

Asked if there was anyone he wished to acknowledge in terms of having helped him reach his goal, Giaconia, who stands 6 ft. 4 in. and weighs 330 lb, graciously offered quite a list, saying first, “I want to thank coach King and all the coaching staff for being the best group of coaches a player could ask for.” He then added, “I also want to thank both the Valley and Lyme-Old Lyme school districts because without the co-op being created, I wouldn’t have been able to play for my hometown.”

Giaconia quickly followed up saying, “I also want to thank the Roche family for being so supportive and helpful throughout the recruiting process. And last but not least, I want to thank my family for being my biggest fans and for getting me to this point in my life.”

Congratulations, Jack — we’ll be following your career with great interest!

Talk on Understanding, Using Your Digital Camera, Saturday Morning

ESSEX – The various buttons and modes on your digital camera can be overwhelming and the manual can make learning photography even more frustrating.  The simple answer for many is to put the dial on “Auto” and to snap away, but even that doesn’t seem to cut it sometimes.

On Saturday, Feb. 27, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, local photographer Ashley Gustafson Eng is returning to the Essex Library to guide us through the mysterious buttons on our digital cameras.

Learn to take full advantage of the technology in your hands in a class designed to kick off your photography. You’ll learn what each mode on your dial is used for and how to best apply it to your photography. Additionally, the class will cover the basics and buttons used for exposure and create an understanding of how to use shutter speed, aperture and ISO to capture beautiful photographs.

Ashley Gustafson Eng is a local photographer specializing in weddings and portraiture. Discovering her passion for photography nine years ago, she has been developing her skills since. Capturing moments and memories for their clients in the Northeast and beyond, Ashley and her husband Tim have been building their business, Visual Appeal Studios, for five years.

Admission to this program is free and open to all. Advance registration is suggested; call (860) 767-1560 to register or for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue.

Photo of, and courtesy of, Ashley Eng and her business partner/husband Tim Eng

Photo of, and courtesy of, Ashley Eng and her business partner/husband Tim Eng

Essex Wellness Center Offers Free Presentation on Pain Management, Saturday

Essex Wellness Center at Novelty Ln. in Essex.

The Essex Wellness Center at Novelty Lane in Essex.

ESSEX — Essex Wellness Center presents a “Live Well 2016!” lecture series throughout the winter and spring of 2016.  The series features free 90-minute (60-minute lecture plus 30-minute Q & A) educational lectures presented by various Essex Wellness Center holistic professionals.  All lectures will be held at the Essex Wellness Center Group Space upstairs at 8 Novelty Lane in Essex Village — parking is in the lot and on Main Street.  Pre-registration* is required because space is limited.

The final “Live Well 2016″ lecture during February is scheduled as follows :

Lecture No. 6        Feb. 27       1:30 p.m.

Title and Topic:  “Stop the Suffering! Pain Management with Acupuncture”

Pain.  So many of us suffer with it.  So many of us have tried everything it seems to Make. It. Stop.  This lecture will educate us about acupuncture, why, after thousands of years, it continues to be such a powerful treatment for so many conditions, and how it can help us – naturally!     Alicia DeMartin successfully treats many individuals who come to her seeking relief from:

Orthopedic pain including:
Sports injuries
Musculoskeletal pain
Rheumatoid arthritis
Post orthopedic surgery recovery and pain management
Joint replacements

Joint pain including:
Low back pain
Shoulder pain
Knee pain
Foot pain
Ankle pain
Neck pain
Wrist pain
TMJ pain

Pain conditions including:
Migraine headaches
Abdominal pain
Pelvic and menstrual pain

REGISTER EARLY TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT — this lecture is already filling up!

Presented by:       Alicia DeMartin, MSOM, LAc

Date and Time:    Saturday, February 27, 2016    1:30pm-3:00pm

Alicia DeMartin Acupuncturist

Alicia DeMartin received her BS from The University of Vermont and a MS in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. She discovered a passion for emergency medicine and orthopedics working as a Wilderness EMT and ski patroller at Stowe VT after college. Moving out West to pursue her passion for skiing, horses and an active mountain lifestyle, she successfully utilized the services of an acupuncturist to treat her own orthopedic injuries. Intrigued and healed, she decided to go against the grain of her medical family and enroll in graduate school for Oriental medicine.

DeMartin owned a private practice in Vail, Colorado for six years and has nine years of experience specializing in pain management and orthopedics. Alicia loves working with orthopedic conditions, arthritis, injuries, pain of all varieties and post-surgical rehab, especially joint replacements. DeMartin is currently working towards a Doctorate in Chinese medicine orthopedics and traumatology.

*Pre-registration is required to reserve your seat in these limited-space lectures.   To register online, visit this link, click on ‘Workshops,’  find the lecture for which you wish to register and click ‘Sign Up.’  To register by email or phone, contact info@essexwellnessctr.com or 860-767-7770, .

Senator Invites Comments on New Bill to Eliminate Tax on Social Security Benefits

Sen. Art Linares speaks with a taxpayer at the Haddam Senior Center.

AREAWIDE – Sen. Art Linares is co-sponsoring a bill at the State Capitol that would completely eliminate the personal income tax on Social Security benefits.

Linares said the measure would provide tax relief to seniors across Connecticut. “I think this is a proposal that Democrats and Republicans can find common ground on,” he added.  “I urge seniors and residents of all ages to contact their legislators and urge them to pass this common sense tax relief.”

Linares said a public hearing will be held on the proposal on Friday, Feb. 26.  He said those wishing to submit testimony in favor of the bill can do the following:

·         Email testimony to: FINtestimony@cga.ct.gov.

·         In the email’s subject line, put House Bill 5062.

·         Testimony can be as brief as you like, but should include your name and town.

Taxpayers should feel free to copy Linares on the testimony at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov.

Those who wish to testify in person may attend the hearing on Feb. 26 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.  For detailed information on testifying in person or submitting written testimony, visit www.cga.ct.gov and review ‘Citizen’s Guide/Guide to Testifying’.

Questions may be directed to Linares at 800-842-1421.

House Bill 5062 can be viewed here.

Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Gowrie Group Supports ‘The Kate’ with Annual Sponsorship

OLD SAYBROOK – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Inc. (The Kate) has announced a generous annual corporate sponsorship from Gowrie Group. The sponsorship enables the Kate to continue to develop unique and diverse productions, as it enters into its seventh year of operations as a nonprofit performing arts organization.

Brett Elliott, the Executive Director of the Kate, said, We are thrilled to partner with Gowrie Group this year to produce wonderful entertainment with creativity and wit, just like our namesake.  Carter Gowrie has been instrumental in numerous initiatives here at the Kate, since his time joining the Board of Trustees.  It is with great pleasure that we welcome Carter and the Gowrie Group into the family here at the Kate.”

Carter Gowrie, CEO and founder of Gowrie, commented, “I love the Kate and am excited to be serving on the Board of Trustees. It is very special to have such an active performing arts theatre in our beautiful town, and Gowrie Group is very happy to help support it.”

The Gowrie Group, one of the nation’s Top 50 independent insurance agencies, is located in Westbrook, along with several offices in other New England states.

Literacy Volunteers Need Office, PR Volunteers

AREAWIDE – Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore needs someone to edit and submit news and publicity items to area newspapers, collect clippings and keep records of publicity for the organization.  The schedule is flexible and mostly can be accomplished from home or remotely.

The organization also needs office help doing light clerical work on the computer two to three afternoons each week.

Please call 860-399-0280, stop in the office at 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook, around the back of the Westbrook Library, or fill out an online volunteer application at www.vsliteracy.org.

Yenowich Sisters Share Chester Memories, April 24

Three Yenowich Sisters – Thelma Culver, Matilda Dumbrill and Lillian Bella

CHESTER – The Chester Historical Society will host a free program, “Three Remarkable Sisters,” on Sunday, April 24, at 4 p.m., in the Community Room at Chester Town Hall.

The Yenowich sisters – Lillian Bella, Thelma Culver and Matilda Dumbrill – will reminisce about growing up in Chester in their large Russian family on a farm on Wig Hill. Their memories of their parents and their life on the farm are compelling.

Matilda is the author of the recent book “Makhorka – The Green Cigarette,” a fictionalized memoir about her family. It is described on Amazon’s website as: “Based on real events, MAKHORKA is the epic story of Danya and Mikolai, two young lovers torn apart by the turmoil of turn-of-the-century Russia. With Danya’s help, Mikolai mounts a daring escape from the Tsar’s army and sets out to make a new life in America while Danya stays behind. Alone and fighting to survive the frigid winters with only hope to cling to, Danya is betrayed by those closest to her and must find the strength to overcome their heartless treachery. Years later in 1920s America, Danya’s dreams of love and New World prosperity quickly turn to hardship as the Great Depression catapults her into another desperate struggle to survive. When she uncovers fraud by a respected member of the community, Danya decides to act, not expecting the vicious reaction that threatens to tear her family apart.”

Come and hear a story about a time in Chester that will surprise you. There will be time for questions and for sharing your own memories of the Yenowich family. The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. More information: 860-526-2331.

Country School Invites Community to TEDx Event, Saturday

tedxtcspicMADISON – What do a digital citizenship expert, a team of fourth grade poets, a 20-time Moth StorySLAM champion, and young artists-activists have in common? They are innovators in their respective fields, and are using their creativity to boldly make a difference in local and global communities. They are sharing these ideas at Spindrift, a TEDx event hosted by TEDxTheCountrySchool on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At Spindrift, the first-ever TEDx Youth event planned and organized by students at The Country School, you will hear from speakers who will bring their different ideas and areas of expertise in TEDx talks to the shoreline community. TEDxTheCountrySchool, a team of current students working with Country School alumna Marina Sachs ’07, has collaborated all year to design and plan Spindrift, a day-long event focused on empathetic action, diverse ideas, equitable outcomes and the power of play.

Selected by the TEDx team as the theme of the conference this year, the word “Spindrift” means the perfectly symmetrical part of an ocean wave, the crest of the wave that forms just as the wave is built up enough before it breaks. It’s also the ocean spray that comes off the top of the wave, affected by the wind and how tall the wave is. Metaphorically, it’s an analogy to the present moment – the exciting time that we’re living in, our young age and how we’re poised to make the future into something incredible, how our past experiences affect who we are now and how we can use them to make a better version of ourselves for the future.

This day will include amazing talks given by speakers. Attendees can expect to get involved with tons of hands-on stations. Want to get your hands dirty? Be a part of our tree-planting initiative in celebration of Earth Day. Love playing with LEGOs? Jump in on the big LEGO building station. Ever been to a musical instrument petting zoo? There will be one.

Speakers include storyteller and novelist Matthew K Dicks, tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar, singer-songwriter Geordann Daguplo, poets from the fourth grade at TCS, children’s author Katie Davis, and more.

Register and learn more at www.thecountryschool.org/tedx. This event is open to the public. All ages are welcome, and the event is wheelchair accessible. A suggested donation of $10 per person would be greatly appreciated. Donations may be made online or at the door. Please contact TEDx@thecountryschool.org with questions.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8. Students in Kindergarten-Grade 8 have been working to plan this TEDx event all year. The Country School is located at 341 Opening Hill Road in Madison.

Legal News You Can Use: Is My Case a Personal Injury or Worker’s Compensation Claim?

WorkersCompAs an attorney who practices both Worker’s Compensation and Personal Injury Law, I find that many people are confused as to if and where these systems overlap. Although there are many similarities between these two areas of law, there are a number of significant differences that make the representation of clients in either scenario unique.

Personal injury claims fall under the broad area of law called torts, and arise out of what is known as the “common law.” The “common law” is derived from the English legal system and is essentially a set of laws and rules that have developed over hundreds of years of court and appellate decisions.

It is a body of law that is constantly changing as courts review prior decisions and either affirm, or modify the decisions that came before. Although there are certain statutes (written laws passed by the State and Federal Legislatures) that govern personal injury actions, by and large most personal injury actions are based on common law decisions.

Specific to personal injury actions, it is the law of the land that all individuals or entities (like businesses) owe a duty to all members of society to act in a way that is reasonable and does not intrude on anyone else’s safety. If a person or entity breaches that duty and someone gets injured, that someone (who is now a potential plaintiff) has a cause of actions against the breaching party (now a potential defendant). In these claims the plaintiff must prove that the defendant is at fault. If they win, they are entitled to recover money for both economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and non-economic damages (including pain and suffering).

In Connecticut these claims can be brought in court if the parties cannot agree to a settlement. There the claims can either be tried before a judge or a jury of six. In the alternative, if the parties agree, the claims can be privately mediated outside the court system. If the plaintiff prevails in his or her claim, most often the damages are awarded all in one shot. No matter what though, eventually every case comes to an end by way of settlement or trial and verdict and very rarely will a plaintiff receive any type of compensation until the case is over.

Although a form of lawsuit, Worker’s Compensation is the exclusive remedy for injuries that occur on the job. Claims are brought before the Worker’s Compensation Commissioner and an injured worker cannot sue their employer at common law. Why? Because around the turn of 20th Century, with industrial production in America in full bloom, workers injured on the job had the right to sue their employers for injuries on the job. As the advent of the contingency fee allowed people who could never afford it before, access to the courts, and employers pressured the legal system to come up with theories to limit recovery, something had to give.

It was actually employers (who wanted to be able to cap their potential exposure in the event they were sued) who pushed for Worker’s Compensation laws. Under virtually every Worker’s Compensation scheme injured workers are entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. However, a big difference between Worker’s Comp and personal injury is that Comp is a “no-fault” system. An injured worker need not prove that his/her employer was at fault for his/her injuries. He/she need only prove that they were injured while in the scope and course of their employment. How it happened is relatively unimportant.

If the injured worker can establish that, then they are entitled to benefits. But unlike personal injury, what the injured worker is entitled to is entirely dictated by statute rather than the common law. In addition, because it is “no-fault,” whatever they are entitled to, they receive as soon as it becomes due. The trade-off is that there are built in caps on these statutory benefits.

For example, there is a maximum weekly compensation rate you can receive regardless of how much money you make, and irrespective of how badly you are hurt. Likewise, there are statutory rules governing exactly how much pain and suffering you can receive based on a scheme too complex to explain in this brief article. However, unlike a personal injury suit, a Worker’s Compensation case never has to come to an end. Although Comp cases are often permanently settled, neither side is obligated to do so and the claim could remain open until the death of the claimant.

Regardless of which system you are looking at, as someone who has practiced in both areas for almost 25 years, they represent a good faith attempt to make whole those individuals who unfortunately need to avail themselves of these laws. Although far from perfect, they are part of the fairest and most accessible legal system on the planet.

About the author: Attorney Robert B. Keville is a Director at Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law, the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut. If you have questions about these topics or other injury matters, he can be reached via email at rkeville@sswbgg.com or by phone at (860) 442-4416.

Wadsworth Atheneum Curator to Speak at River Museum Dinner, April 21

Erin Monroe

Erin Monroe

OLD LYME – Erin Monroe of the Wadsworth Atheneum will be the speaker at the Connecticut River Museum’s annual Brenda Milkofsky Curatorial Fund dinner at the Old Lyme Country Club on Thursday, April 21, beginning at 6 p.m.

Erin Monroe joined the Wadsworth staff in 2007 and today serves as the Robert H. Schutz, Jr. Assistant Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture. She entitled her talk, “Pioneering Visions: American Landscape Painters and Their Patrons.”  Using works from the Atheneum’s collections, she will discuss how the emergence of American landscape painting is closely interwoven with the founding of that museum in 1842.  Erin has worked with the Atheneum’s extensive painting collection, which includes Hudson River School, landscapes, portraiture, folk art, American impressionism and modernism, among others.

The Milkofsky Curatorial Fund is restricted to the acquisition and conservation of objects and manuscripts that enhance the historical focus of the Connecticut River Museum’s collections. Purchases from this fund have included the portrait of a Middletown merchant-mariner, a landscape of the oft-painted view of the Ox Bow below Mount Holyoke, the stern board of a Portland-built stone schooner, an Old Lyme hunting scene and a model of a Blue Line tug-boat, among others.

For more information or to make a reservation, please call the Connecticut River Museum at 860-767-8269.


Anti-Aging Event at Essex Wellness Center, April 20

Nikki-Rasmussen 2ESSEX – The Essex Wellness Center is hosting an Anti-Aging Event with Nikki Rasmussen of Yolo Laser Center and Med Spa on Wednesday, April 20, from 4 to 6 p.m. Come learn about the latest anti-aging products available and enjoy great food, fun and prizes. Space is limited to the first 20 reservations.  Everyone must RSVP by April 17.

All attendees will be entered into a raffle to win $400 in products and services. Buy one area of Botox, get second area free (up to $280 value). Each guest who makes a purchase will be entered to win $300 in Med Spa service (subject to medical suitability).

Nikki Rasmussen APRN has had 24+ years in the medical field, with the last nine years solely dedicated to the field of Aesthetic Medicine. She is the owner operator of Yolo Laser Center and Med Spa, an award-winning aesthetic and cosmetic laser facility in Guilford. Her approach to optimal aging is to formulate an individualized, comprehensive program that properly addresses a client’s concerns. She is focused on creating a balanced aesthetic where an individual looks “refreshed” and not “done.” Nikki is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the Dermatology Nurse’s Association and the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses. More information about Nikki at http://www.yolomedspa.com/

Essex Wellness Center is at 28 Main Street, Essex Village. 860-767-7770  or email info@essexwellnessctr.com.

Bring Dinner, Wear Dancing Shoes to Chester Rotary’s Longest Dinner Table Fundraiser, April 23

Bring your own dinner and drinks to the Longest Dinner Table and help support local hunger programs.

Bring your own dinner and drinks to Chester Rotary’s Longest Dinner Table evening in April and help support local hunger programs.

CHESTER – The Rotary Club of Chester continues its long practice of giving back to the Town of Chester and its residents.  Its fund raisers, such as the 4 On The Fourth road race and the Lobster Festival (to be held this year on Sept. 10 at the Chester Fairgrounds) are two of its successful events.

The Longest Dinner Table is a relatively new fund raiser, with the goal of raising funds to benefit local organizations such as the Chester Food Pantry, the Back Pack Program and the Shoreline Soup Kitchens.

This year The Longest Dinner Table is being held Saturday, April 23, at St. Joseph’s Parish Center in Chester from 7 to 11 p.m.  It is an adults only evening consisting of music, food, silent auction and fun.

Buy tickets at $25 each and create your own dinner menu with beverages centered on your theme. Gather your friends and create a themed table with your own decorations. Wear costumes, if you want! After dinner, dance to the rockabilly tunes of Four Barrel Billy, an upbeat local band. Everyone will have a great time and you will be supporting the Rotary’s local programs.

Tickets can be purchased at www.ChesterRotary.org or at the door.

Estuary Region Transportation Options Discussion, April 20

OLD SAYBROOK – The Estuary Council of Seniors will host a program on Wednesday, April 20, at 12:45 p.m. to discuss the transportation options for senior citizens and people with disabilities in the nine-town Estuary region.

Topics will include Riding 9 Town Transit, scheduling trips online, how to apply for a senior fare card, accessibility of transit vehicles, mobility management and travel training.

For more information or to register for the program, call Rob Carlucci at 203-260-9187. Walk-ins are welcome. The Estuary Council of Seniors is located at 220 Main St., Old Saybrook.

Linares Supports Marinas, Opposes Dredging Proposal

Sen. Art Linares

Sen. Art Linares

AREAWIDE – On Feb. 19, Sen. Art Linares testified against a legislative proposal that would complicate harbor dredging and negatively impact Connecticut marinas.

“My district is home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Connecticut,” Linares said in his testimony to state lawmakers on the Environment Committee.  “Coastal towns like Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Clinton. Today, I join with marina owners from my district in expressing serious concerns about Bill 78: An Act Concerning the Disposition of Dredged Materials from Certain Harbors and Ports on Long Island Sound.”

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection joined Sen. Linares in opposing the bill, noting that the proposal seeks to address issues that have already been resolved. An environmentally sensitive plan that is responsive to the need to dredge long-neglected harbors was adopted by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in December.

“The marine trades industry supports more than 7,000 jobs in Connecticut,” Linares said.  “But, like many small businesses across Connecticut, our marinas are struggling. As state legislators, we should be doing all we can to provide these job creators with the flexibility they need in order to help them grow and thrive over the long term.  Dredging is the lifeblood of these businesses.  Dredging provides access to marinas.  That access is key to keeping our marinas afloat.  Policies which impact that ability to dredge will without a doubt impact the scores of marinas in my district and throughout the shoreline.”

Join in the Beowulf Discussions at Chester Library in April

CHESTER – beowulfDespite Woody Allen’s aspersions, Beowulf is an Old English poem well worth reading.

In the hands of discussion leader, Edward Wheeler, the participants in the Chester Library’s discussion series will have an extraordinary look at a society in transition with its heroes and monsters, mead halls and the giving of rings. Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf translation offers both the Old English and contemporary English texts.

Three sessions are planned for Tuesdays, April 12, 19 and 26, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the Chester Library. Registration is required; call 860-526-0018. Books are available at the library on a first come-first served basis.

Chester Library is at 21 West Main St. (Rte. 148) in Chester.

With Trump Still in the News, Essex Resident Recalls When ‘The Donald’ Was His Legal Client

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump on the 2016 campaign trail.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump on the 2016 campaign trail.

Editor’s Note: Donald Trump is front and center in the news today so we’re pleased to run this timely story from our regular contributor, Jerome Wilson, of Jerry’s personal memories of a man with whom he disagreed passionately on the political front, but whom he found to be both friendly and gracious in their business dealings.

ESSEX — A couple of decades ago, the present leading Republican candidate for President, Donald Trump, was a legal client of mine when I was a lawyer at the law firm of Rogers & Well in New York City.

I shall never forget my first personal meeting with Trump. It took place in Trump’s office on the top floor of the Trump Towner on Fifth Avenue in New York City. After gesturing that I take a seat opposite him at his huge desk, Trump started the conversation by asking, “You’re Jewish, aren’t you, Jerry?” I replied that “No,” I was not Jewish.

After this personal exchange, Trump and I turned to discussing legal matters  pertaining to the new apartment complex that he was then building on New York City’s west side.

"The Trump Bouquet"

“The Trump Bouquet”

Following this first meeting, subsequently, on a number of occasions, Trump invited me to join him when he was addressing civic groups in New York City. When I went along, Trump would always very graciously introduce me to the audience. This meant, invariably, that after Trump had finished speaking, a crowd of people would come over to meet me, wanting to speak with someone who was with the famed Donald Trump.

Then, during that period, when I married my wife, Ulla, Trump sent over to us a huge bouquet of flowers, which Ulla immediately referred to as, “The Trump bouquet.”

Looking back as a life-time Democrat, who served as a Democratic state senator in New York at one time, it is exceeding doubtful that I would ever vote for Trump for President, especially since he has now become a Republican.

However, I do recall from those days of long ago that Trump was always a pleasure to work with, and, in fact, if he were now running as a Democrat for President, I could well see why people would support him.

Letter From Paris: Aleppo — an Orientalist’s Nostalgia

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

Agatha Christie stayed there.  So did T.E. Lawrence, King Faysal from Iraq and General de Gaulle: at the famous Hotel Baron in downtown Aleppo, Syria.  At that time, Aleppo was an exotic and cosmopolitan city where Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian cultures coexisted.

A photo of the Citadel at Aleppo taken by Nicole Logan in 1957.

A photo of the Citadel at Aleppo taken by Nicole Logan in 1957.

The medieval citadel, with the most impenetrable “glacis” ever built in history, dominated the town.  Aleppo was a bustling place, which I was able to witness first-hand during a drive from Ankara to Beirut in 1957.  Vienna was just a comfortable train ride away on the Orient Express as early as 1913.

But all this was before the Syrian civil war.

Another photo of the medieval Citadel, which is now in ruins after repeated bombings, from the author's 1957 trip.

Another photo of the medieval Citadel — now partly in ruins after repeated bombings — from the author’s 1957 trip.

Aleppo, like many other historical Syrian cities, is being crushed by daily bombings.  The devastation is concentrated on this region with the intent of cutting off the road to the north toward Turkey.  Today the Bab el Faraj – one of the main squares – is in ruins; the 11th century minaret of the Omayyad mosque lies on the ground among fallen stones; in July 2015, a bomb placed in a tunnel destroyed part of the citadel.  The second largest metropolis of Syria is now a pile of rubble.

In a few magical pages, Mathias Enard, winner of the 2016 French Prix Goncourt for his novel entitled “Boussole” (compass), brings back to life the colorful Aleppo of a bygone era.  His hero, Franz Ritter,  is a Viennese musicologist fascinated by the Orient.  He belongs to the group of  “Orientalists” –  archaeologists, linguists, historians, architects, diplomats, spies – writes Enard, “found side by side at Hotel Baron dabbling in the pleasure of  Arab grammar and rhetoric.”

Enard’s rambling style, oozing with culture, takes the reader from Austria – the outpost of the West on the edge of the Ottoman empire – to the Middle East.  Besieged by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1529, Vienna was threatened for the last time by the Ottoman Empire in 1683 in its final effort to flood the Danube valley.

Refusing to draw bitterness from the century-long tug-of-war with the Turks, Franz the hero of “Boussole” believes in cross-pollination between the Western and the Oriental worlds.  As a musicologist he is able to detect in the works of Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schoenberg or Debussy, the influence of Arabic music’s harmony with its microtones and absence of tonal structure.

"The Moroccans" by Henri Matisse.

“The Moroccans” by Henri Matisse.

There has long been a tradition of literary and artistic attraction by the West toward the Orient.  But it is Napoleon Bonaparte’s military campaign to Egypt (1798-1801), which opened the floodgates  and made the 19th century West smitten with the Orient.

John Singer Sargent's "Smoke of Ambergris",

John Singer Sargent’s “Smoke of Ambergris.”

And so were French poets like Chateaubriand or Arthur Rimbaud.  Painters found inspiration in the Arabic world of North Africa or the Levant.  John Singer Sargent’s 1880 “Smoke of Ambergris” – the emblematic jewel of the Clark museum in Williamstown, the 1909 Vassilly Kandinsky’s “Improvisation 3” and Matisse’s “The Moroccans,” are but a few examples of the East and West symbiosis.

The “Orientalists” could be found around some of cultural centers like the French, German, English or American Institutes in Syria, Lebanon, Beirut or Baghdad.  They were a privileged group, somewhat disconnected from the real world.  With some sarcasm but much honesty, the author acknowledges that the “Orientalists” took advantage of the comfort provided by the law and order of the police state of Hafez el Assad, father of Bachar.  The “Orientalists” lived their dream, Enard writes, “under the amused look of the Syrians.”

At the present time Aleppo is at the epicenter of an imbroglio of violence and destruction and caught in the middle, tragically, are the refugees.

Why do we not take a brief pause and return to a more peaceful time when wars and religious intolerance were not destroying societies?

Nicole 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.

Connecticut Valley Camera Club Features Wildlife Photographer, April 19

Wildlife photographer Kristofer Rowe will be the guest speaker at CCVC on 19 April, 2016 (photo by Kristofer Rowe)

Wildlife photographer Kristofer Rowe will be the guest speaker at CVCC on April 19 (photo by Kristofer Rowe)

The April meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be on Tuesday, April 19 at 7:00 p.m.

The program will feature Kristofer Rowe, a wildlife photographer focusing on osprey, owls and hawks.  You can view some of his photos on Facebook here www.facebook.com/ KristoferRowePhotography/.

For further information, please call Ed McCaffrey at 860-575-4694.

Essex Winter Series Presents Jeff Barnhart & His Hot Rhythm, Sunday

Jeff Barnhart plays Sunday in the next Essex Winter Series concert.

Jeff Barnhart plays Sunday in the next Essex Winter Series concert.

DEEP RIVER — Jeff Barnhart and His Hot Rhythm will celebrate the rollicking jazz and pop styles of the first half of the twentieth century with a concert on the Essex Winter Series on Sunday, Feb. 21, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. Barnhart, the renowned pianist who serves as Jazz Artistic Advisor forEssex Winter Series, will be joined by a band of all-stars, including Anne Barnhart on vocals and flute; Joe Midiri on reeds; Paul Midiri on vibes and trombone; Vince Giordano on bass, tuba, and bass sax; and Jim Lawlor on drums.

Essex Winter Series Concert Director Mihae Lee.

Essex Winter Series Artistic Director Mihae Lee.

Known for both the quality and variety of its concerts, Essex Winter Series, under the artistic direction of Mihae Lee, features one jazz concert each season. Named for a former board member who encouraged the inclusion of jazz in the series, The Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert has become very popular, attracting a large and loyal audience.

The Feb. 21 concert is sponsored by the Clark Group and Tower Laboratories.

Tickets, all general admission, are $35 ($5 for students) and may be purchased online at www.essexwinterseries.com or by phone at 860-272-4572.

Barnhart is an internationally renowned pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, composer (member of ASCAP), educator and entertainer.  He began his professional career at age 14 playing and entertaining four nights a week in a restaurant in his home state of Connecticut. Here he began to learn the classic swing, jazz and ragtime repertoire of the early 20th century.

The 21st century has found Barnhart constantly appearing as a soloist and band pianist at parties, festivals, clubs and cruises throughout the world.  In addition, he leads two bands in the UK: the Fryer-Barnhart International Jazz Band, which concentrates on hot music of the 1920s, and Jeff Barnhart’s British Band, which performs small group swing of the 30’s. Due to his versatility, vast repertoire and vibrant energy, Barnhart is in increasing demand as a participant in international jazz events as either a soloist or as pianist in All-Star Jazz ensembles.

 Among the great musicians in the band is the renowned Vince Giordano on bass, tuba, and bass sax.

Among the great musicians in the Hot Rhythm band is the renowned Vince Giordano on bass, tuba, and bass sax.

In addition to his widely acclaimed solo and band appearances, Barnhart is enjoying great success performing with smaller groups, most notably Ivory&Gold®, a group he co-leads with his talented wife, flutist/vocalist Anne Barnhart. Ivory&Gold® has become a mainstay at many jazz and ragtime festivals throughout the US, the UK and Europe.

Barnhart enjoys playing dual piano and has done so with such jazz luminaries as Ralph Sutton, Neville Dickie, Louis Mazetier, John Sheridan and Brian Holland. In addition to his own label, Jazz Alive Records, Barnhart plays piano and sings on the international labels GHB, Summit-World Jazz Records, Music Minus One, and the two largest jazz labels in the UK, Lake Records and P.E.K. Sound.

In 2006, Barnhart joined the roster of artists featured on the Arbors Records label, with four recordings currently available:  the most recent featuring jazz legends Bob Wilber and Bucky Pizzarelli. Barnhart has recorded as both pianist and vocalist on over 100 full-length albums.

He averages 40 weeks a year on the road, bringing his music to all corners of the globe. Music composer, performer and reviewer Jack Rummel, recently summed up the reason for Barnhart’s popularity, averring, “When it comes to talent, speed, versatility, creativity, mastery of multiple genres and just plain entertaining zaniness, Jeff Barnhart stands alone”.

In addition to his active performance and recording schedule, Jeff is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator.  His double BA in Music and English, combined with his MA in Education, make Barnhart a formidable and entertaining force in the clinic, master class and inspirational speaking forums. In the first quarter of 2015, he and his wife have appeared as clinicians at Lone Star College in Kingwood, TX, The University of Colorado Denver and Mississippi State University.

The remainder of Essex Winter Series concerts are listed below.

All of the concerts are on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. in Deep River. Concerts take place at Valley Regional High School, with the exception of the March 6 concert, which will be presented at John Winthrop Middle School.


March 6: Patricia Schuman, soprano
John Winthrop Middle School

We are delighted to welcome back to our stage the internationally-celebrated soprano Patricia Schuman. Her program, “Winter Romance,” will feature songs of love and loss as well as lighter fare from the great Amer­ican songbook and musical theater. She will be joined by harpist Megan Sesma, pianist Douglas Dickson, and a special surprise guest artist. Ms. Schuman has been engaged by the most distinguished opera houses throughout the world, and has collaborated with many of the foremost conductors and directors of our time. Co-sponsored by Essex Savings Bank and an anonymous foundation

April 3: Fenton Brown Emerging Artists Concert 
New Haven Symphony Orchestra with violinist Tessa Lark
Valley Regional High School

Now in its 121st year of continuous operation, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra is one of the country’s finest regional orchestras. Returning to the series, the orchestra under music director William Boughton will perform Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, Haydn’s “London” Symphony, and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, featuring our 2016 Emerging Artist, Tessa Lark. Lark won the prestigious Naumburg International Violin Award in 2012, and is one of today’s most sought-after young violinists. Co-sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank and an anonymous foundation

All tickets to Essex Winter Series concerts are general admission. Individual tickets are $35. Tickets may be purchased on the EWS website, www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.

More program information, artist biographies and photos are available on the Essex Winter Series website, www.essexwinterseries.com.

Kristen Graves to Perform at Spring Street Gallery, Sunday

kristen grav CHESTER —- Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden, Sunday, Feb. 21, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring Kristen Graves at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St, Chester Center. This monthly concert series highlights eclectic international singer/songwriter artists from cool jazz to blue grass.

Kristen Graves is a singer/songwriter and humanitarian from Green Bay, living in Fairfield, Conn. She was recently listed as part of the “new generation of folk music” in the New York Times and was mentioned in Rolling Stone for her music’s environmental activism. She has shared the stage with Rusted Root, Dar Williams, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary), and the late Pete Seeger.

With catchy songs, a penchant for storytelling, and inspiring lyrics, Graves performs nearly 200 shows a year through the United States and Europe.

On her first visit to the Concert in the Garden series, she will be performing her own original songs as well as some classic folk sing-alongs. You’ll be invited to sing, laugh, cry, and enjoy each other as Graves shares the stories behind her music – from sharing Lincoln Center stage with Peter Yarrow, to sharing lentil soup with Pete Seeger. This is an evening of stories and songs you won’t want to miss.

Read more about Graves at www.kristengraves.com.

Doors open a half hour before the show – first come, first seated. The concert is held inside the gallery this time of year. Sorry, no pets are allowed.

A $20 donation is appreciated. The event is BYOB. Buy your own wine or beer at the Chester Package Store across the street, which is open until 3 p.m.

For more information, call 860-526-2077 or log on www.nilssonstudio.com.


A la Carte: Curried Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie – Terrific Winter Comfort Food

Curried vegetarian shepherd's pie

Curried vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

I bought a 10-pound bag of russet potatoes, planning to make scalloped potatoes for Super Bowl Sunday. Then I didn’t. I looked at the amount of food I made, which included pink beans (because I love pink beans), kidney beans and black beans for chili; lots of tortilla chips for guacamole; cheeseburger pie; and Velveeta and Rotel tomatoes; plus a pie for dessert. We didn’t need any more starch.

But I still have all those potatoes and I want to make mashed potato bread, so I looked for a recipe I could use up at least some of it. In the new Food Network magazine, I spied recipes for Shepherd’s Pie. One called for just veggies. I made it. It is terrific.

As with winter comfort food, I would add more carrots, maybe more mushrooms, maybe more peas. I find turnips a bit sweet (although I’m not sure many other people find that to be true). I like curry so I might add more. I might use some winter squash …

Curried Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
From Food Network magazine, March 2016

Yield: serves 6

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
Kosher salt
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 carrots, chopped
1 small rutabaga, peeled and chopped
1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped
2 leeks (white and light green parts only), sliced one-inch thick, rinsed well
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ cup freshly ground nutmeg
1 ½ cups half-and-half
1 cup frozen peas
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons curry powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and season with salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a separate large saucepan with 6 cups water; add bay leaves, thyme sprigs and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, rutabaga, turnip and leeks; reduce heat to medium low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid, then drain the vegetables. Discard bay leaves and thyme. Pat vegetables dry; set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms; cook until they release their liquid, 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium; cook until liquid is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour, coriander and nutmeg; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in the reserved vegetable liquid and ¾ cup half-and-half. Bring to a simmer; cook until thickened, 3 minutes. Stir in the carrots mixture, peas and lemon zest and juice. Return to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Season with salt and stir in the parsley.

Drain the potatoes and let cool slightly Return to the pot and add the curry powder and the remaining 4 tablespoons  butter and ¾ cup half-and-half. Season with three-quarters salt and mash well.

Spread mushroom mixture in a 3-quart baking dish. Dollop the mashed potatoes on top; spread with back of a spoon. Bake until bubbling around the edges and the topping browned in spots, about 20 minutes. Let rest before serving.

Nibbles:  Pat LaFrieda Hamburgers

I believe very strongly that when a restaurant specializes in a certain kind of food, that is what you should order.  There are two restaurants, one in Guilford (Shoreline Diner and Vegetarian Enclave at 346 Boston Post Road) and one in Mystic (Go Fish at Old Mystick Village), where I order a hamburger because they serve Pat LaFrieda hamburgers.

Pat LaFrieda and Son Meat Purveyors has been in business in New York City for over 90 years. I am sure all their meat is amazing, but the burgers are beyond incredible. I learned about the company when Pat Jr. was on one of Bobby Flay’s Food Network shows. I had one of his burgers at the Shoreline Diner about 10 years ago. And, while I often have fish at Go Fish and used to eat vegetarian at Shoreline Diner, I just love those burgers.  I order mine medium rare. Just thinking about them makes so hungry.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 

Your Book Donations to Literacy Volunteers Earn Dividends

AREAWIDE – Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. in Westbrook is looking for donations of clean books that were loved and now need a new home! If you have books with a copyright date of 2006 or newer that you read and loved and want to see go to a good home, we have the opportunity for you!

Please consider donating those adult or children’s hardcover or soft cover books as well as DVDs or puzzles to Literacy Volunteers at 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. In return, you will receive a certificate for $5 off the purchase of any books in our inventory totaling $10.

You can feel good about your “friends” becoming a part of our family of books, games, puzzles and media items for sale to only the most discriminating buyers who want, like you, to help the cause of literacy.

Anyone interested in more information regarding this program, our upcoming events or any of our services is encouraged to call our office at (860) 399-0280, visit us on the web at www.vsliteracy.org or e-mail us at info@vsliteracy.org.

Opinion: “The Menace in our Midst:” Comments Closed to FRA About Proposed Railtrack Through Old Lyme,

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium at Wednesday's press conference at the Florence Griswold Museum. State officials and some of the signatories of a letter to the FRA denouncing Alternative 1 stand around her.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium at Wednesday’s press conference at the Florence Griswold Museum. State officials and some of the signatories of a letter to the FRA denouncing Alternative 1 stand around her.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 2.28.57 AMIn the space of just a few short weeks, the residents of Old Lyme have become aware of a menace in their midst. Most unusually for these same residents, their response has been to a man (or woman) identical. When that happens in this town — unquestionably, a rare event — you can be sure that, ‘Something is rotten (to misquote Hamlet) in the state of Old Lyme.’

The ‘menace’ in this case is Alternative 1 of the three high-speed railtrack routes proposed by the Federal Railroad Authority (FRA) in their Northeast Corridor (NEC) Future plan.

But let’s backtrack for a second — why is the FRA proposing these new routes? Their objective is, “to improve the reliability, capacity, connectivity, performance, and resiliency of future passenger rail service … while promoting environmental sustainability and continued economic growth.” Let’s say right away that we are fully supportive of this objective — we are huge fans of rail-travel — you cannot grow up in Europe without taking rail travel for granted. The trains there are fast, clean and efficient … they are a way of life. We absolutely wish it were the same in the US.

So what is the difference here? Why has the reaction to Alternative 1 been so strong, so united, so passionate? In case you are unaware, Alternative 1 calls for the high speed rail track to cross the Connecticut River over a new bridge a little higher up the river than at present and then travel to the center of Old Lyme bisecting Lyme Street by eliminating both the western and eastern campuses of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts before turning north and crossing I-95. The 1817 John Sill House, currently owned by the Academy and situated on its campus, would likely be acquired by the FRA by eminent domain and then demolished.

The impact of a high-speed railtrack through that sector of town would be totally devastating for our community, effectively destroying its very heart.

This editorial could now run for pages to explain the full spectrum of impact to Old Lyme of this proposal.

We could discuss the horrific effects on our incredible local environment — one which has inspired artists for generations including some of the greatest impressionist painters in American history and one officially designated as a “Last Great Place.”

We could talk about the untold damage to the storied structures on Lyme Street and list the irreplaceable buildings that will either be completely destroyed or permanently scarred by this new train track construction, many of which are either National Historic Landmarks or on the National Historic Register.

We could mention that Lyme Street is the joyful, bustling hub of our little town — it has a unique personality and touches every aspect of our community life. It is home to our town hall, our public schools, our daycare, our youth services, our library, our churches, our village shops, our art college, our art association (the oldest in the country), and the Florence Griswold Museum (a national institution.) Can you even begin to imagine Lyme Street with a high speed railroad running across it?

And let’s just consider for a minute what this proposal, if implemented, would achieve? Bearing in mind that you can already travel from London to Paris (286 miles) in 2 hours and 15 minutes, would we be able to hop on a train in Old Saybrook and be in Washington DC (334 miles) roughly two hours and 45 minutes later? No, the current travel time of six hours would be reduced by a grand total of 30 minutes to 5 hours and 30 minutes. Unbelievable.

As we said, we could go on for pages but others have kindly taken care of that for us. There was a splendid press conference yesterday, which spelled out the craziness of Alternative 1 from every angle — coldly, clinically and objectively. The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library has a full print copy of the NEC Future tome if you care to read it in its entirety. There are links galore on the Old Lyme Town website to the statement and attachments submitted yesterday (Feb. 10) on behalf of some 20 local organizations to the FRA.

So please read and educate yourself on Alternative 1, but most importantly, please, please write to the FRA with your thoughts. There are many questions as to why and how this proposal was able to be presented without a single public hearing being held closer than 30 miles away from a town on which it was having such a major impact. But that is history now …

The comment period was originally only until Jan. 31, but there was such a huge outcry as the reality of Alternative 1 began to be fully understood that it has been extended to next Tuesday, Feb. 16. The FRA needs to hear from each and every one of us — you don’t need to write an essay, you don’t need to write eloquently, in fact, you don’t really need to write much at all, but you do need to write — today or tomorrow, even the next day, but if you have anything to say about Alternative 1 and want your voice to be heard, you absolutely must write.

There are three ways to contact the FRA:

Online through the NEC website: Submit your comment directly at http://www.necfuture.com/get_involved/

Email: Send comments with attachments to comment@necfuture.com

Snail-mail: Mail your comments to:
NEC Future
U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration
One Bowling Green, Suite 429
New York, NY 10004

We sincerely hope that there will soon be a public forum of some sort where people can ask questions and comment in person but, in the meantime, we say again, PLEASE, PLEASE WRITE TO THE FRA!

Captivating Children’s Musical Delivers Social Message, April 16

polkadot pic
The Ivoryton Playhouse will be producing Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical for schools in Middlesex and New London Counties in April.

This show delivers the message of treating others with dignity and compassion. Polkadots was inspired by the 1957 events of the Little Rock Nine in Arkansas and serves as a colorful history lesson for children, reminding them that our individual differences make us awesome, not outcasts.

It is the story of Lily Polkadot, who has just moved to the “Square’s Only” small town of Rockaway with her mother. As the first Polkadot in an all-Square school, Lily faces the almost impossible task of gaining acceptance from her peers. From daily bullying by mean girl Penelope to segregated drinking fountains, Lily’s quest seems hopeless until she meets Sky, a shy Square boy whose curiosity for her unique polkadot skin blooms into an unexpected pal-ship and a turn of events for the courageous Lily. The show is brought to life with costuming and 14 entertaining musical numbers.

Co-produced by Marc Blakeman, Polkadots was conceived by Douglas Lyons, who wrote the music and lyrics. Lyons, a Connecticut native and graduate of the Hartt School, is a Broadway actor whose credits include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and The Book of Mormon.

Besides the school shows (which include the Chester, Deep River and Essex Elementary Schools), there will also be public performances (suggested for ages 11 and under) on Monday and Tuesday, April 11 and 12, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, April 16, at 2 p.m. Tickets for these public shows $15 all ages (special pricing of groups of 10 and more).

For tickets and information, call the Ivoryton Playhouse at (860) 767-7318 or visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.

Funding for this program provided by Marc Blakeman, the Bauman Family Foundation and Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Trust Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee and Essex Community Fund.

Chester-based Roto Frank of America Donates to Shoreline Soup Kitchens, Pantries

roto frank donationAREAWIDE – On Feb. 5, Roto Frank of America, Inc. presented a check for $2,867 to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries. The presentation was made on behalf of the Roto Frank of America employees by Chris Dimou, President & CEO of Roto Frank of America, Inc., and Sue LeMire, HR/General Accounting Manager of Roto Frank of America, Inc., to representatives of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries, including Board of Directors member Reverend Dr. Jonathan Folts, Executive Director Patty Dowling, and Director of Development and Outreach Claire Bellerjeau.

The funds were raised during an employee campaign that ran from February to December 2015, during which employees voluntarily elected to make donations via payroll deduction, as well as supporting a variety of fundraising events. Roto Frank employees also collected and donated more than 300 pounds of canned good and pasta.

“It’s a great feeling to know that the funds we raised will provide enough food for more than 7,350 meals,“ said Sue LeMire. “We’re pleased to be able to help out a local organization that does such fantastic work for the shoreline communities,” said Chris Dimou.

Based in Essex, the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries provides food for families in need through its pantries located in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton, Old Lyme and East Lyme and meal sites in Centerbrook, Essex, Deep River, Chester, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton, and Old Lyme.

Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America, Inc. is a Chester-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. Roto Frank of America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roto AG, a global company headquartered in Germany, with 13 production plants and 40 subsidiaries worldwide.For more information visit www.rotohardware.com.

AARP CT Volunteers Meet With Carney and Linares at Capitol

From left to right: Rep. Devin Carney, Jean Caron of Old Saybrook, Marian Speers of Old Saybrook and Sen. Art Linares.

From left to right: Rep. Devin Carney, Jean Caron of Old Saybrook, Marian Speers of Old Saybrook and Sen. Art Linares

AREAWIDE – Volunteers from AARP Connecticut met with Sen. Art Linares and Rep. Devin Carney at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Feb. 10 to discuss key issues that will be debated during the 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly.

Sen. Art Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook. He can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov or 800-842-1421.

State Rep. Devin Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District covering Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Carney can be reached at devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov or 800-842-1423.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and older improve the quality of their lives. More information at aarp.org.



Volunteers Needed to Help Valley Shore Residents; Tutor Training Starts March 24

AREAWIDE – Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization.  Our mission is to train tutors to teach Basic Reading (BR) and English as a Second Language (ESL) to residents of the Valley Shore area who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills.  This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a 14-hour program conducted over seven sessions held each spring and again in the fall of every year.  The next training session begins March 24 and runs through May 19. The deadline for applications is Feb. 26.

Our Workshop Leaders have developed a comprehensive program that provides prospective tutors the skills and resources to help them succeed. A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to helping a student improve their skill in basic literacy or English as a Second Language over the period of one year after the completion of training.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, please contact the Literacy Volunteers office by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at jferrara@vsliteracy.org. The Literacy Volunteers office is in the basement of Westbrook Public Library.

Talking Transportation: The Secrets of Riding Metro-North

logoEach week, dozens of people ride Metro-North for the first time.  This week’s column is to let both new and veteran commuters in on the secrets of a successful rail commute.

You can’t take the train if you can’t get to the station, so invest in your commuting future by getting your name on your town’s (and neighboring towns’) waiting lists for annual parking permits. In four or five years, when your name rises to the top of the list, you’ll thank yourself. Meantime, opt for legal day-parking, find a friend to ride to the station with or try biking.  There are free bike racks at most stations.

There’s a science to deciding where on the platform to wait for your train. Many commuters position themselves at the front or rear of the train for a quick get-away when they arrive in Grand Central. Contrarian that I am, I tend toward the center of the train because that’s where there’s a better chance of getting a seat.

Believe me, your commute will be a lot better seated than standing.  Seats are in short supply, so here’s the strategy.  As your train pulls in, scan the cars that pass you and see how the passenger load looks. As the doors open, move quickly inside, eye-ball your target seat and get there fast. Put your carry-ons in the overhead rack and sit down.  If you hesitate, you’re toast and will be a standee.
On trains leaving Grand Central, you may be able to get onboard up to 20 minutes before departure. Take a window or aisle seat on the three seat side. The middle seat next to you will be the last to be filled.

If you didn’t get a seat on boarding, don’t give up. A few people on most trains get off in Stamford, so look for them and position yourself to get their seat before it gets cold. Here’s the secret: intermediate passengers have seat checks with a tear down the middle or a torn corner.  Look for them and just before Stamford, position yourself near their row and, bingo, you’ve got a seat!

Do not make the mistake of boarding a train without a ticket, or you’ll get hit with up to $6.50 penalty for buying a ticket on the train with cash.  But if you’re thrifty, don’t buy a ticket from a ticket window or ticket machine.  No, the cheapest tickets are only available online at www.mta.info. Go for the ten-trip tickets for an additional discount.

Train time is not “your own time,” but shared time. So be considerate of your fellow commuters.  Don’t hog empty seats, use the overhead racks. Keep your feet off the seats. If you must use your cellphone, go to the vestibule.  Be like the Boy Scouts:  anything you carry onto the train (including newspapers, coffee cups, etc.) carry off the train and dispose of properly.

If you’ve got your own “secrets” for a successful commute, send them along and I’ll include them in upcoming columns.  Just e-mail me at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

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

Vendors and Artisans Sought for May 14 Sale

OLD SAYBROOK – Vendors and artisans who want to showcase their one-of-a-kind treasures, antiques, vintage pieces, arts and crafts and other assorted bric-a-brac during the one-day shopping event, “Junk in the Trunk,” are asked to fill out an application by April 15.

The event will be held on Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Estuary Council of Seniors, 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook, rain or shine.

Application and $30 payment are due by April 15. Call Paul Doyle at (860) 388-1611, ext. 211 or stop by the Estuary Council for an application.

Explore Works of Whitman, Dickinson at Essex Library

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

ESSEX – University of New Haven faculty member Chuck Timlin has brought his excellent teaching skills to the Essex Library community on topics such as Chaucer, Beowulf, Wordsworth and Robert Frost.

Now, back by popular demand, he turns his talents to an examination of the poets Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. This series of five seminars will explore the writings of the 19th century’s two greatest American poets. Together, Whitman and Dickinson created an original American poetic tradition as distinct from Britain and Europe’s traditions. They are two of the most remarkably original poets whose influence still resonates deeply with today’s poets around the world.

Join in the discussion at 6:30 p.m. on five consecutive Thursdays, from March 17 through April 14.

These illustrated seminars are free and open to the public. Registration is appreciated. Please call the Library at (860) 767-1560 for more information or to register. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

Social Media for Your Business: April 12 Program at Essex Library

imagesESSEX – One quarter of time spent online is on social networks, from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, to blogs, etc. – every brand needs a social media presence. Before becoming a consumer of a brand, people look for that brand’s social media to gauge if the lifestyle is in line with their personal brand. A true social media community is a seamless environment in which your followers feel personally invested and connected to your brand at all times, creating lasting customer relationships. This is equally true for non-profit organizations. With a few guidelines you can be on your way to becoming the next viral sensation (that’s a good thing).

Regardless of your skill level or budget, join Julia Balfour, LLC experts: Caitlin Monahan, Alyssa Puzzo and Austin Gray at the Essex Library on Tuesday, April 12 at 6 p.m. to learn the where, what, when and how to best use social media for your business or non-profit, including analyzing the return on investment on your various channels.

This program is free and open to all. Please call the Essex Library for more information or to register at 860-767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

Planning for Resilient Ecosystems: Salt Marsh Program, April 12

OS Salt MarshOLD SAYBROOK – A program on salt marsh advancement and the future of Old Saybrook’s salt marshes will be presented on Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m., at the Vicki G. Duffy Pavilion, 155 College Street, by Dr. Adam Whelchel, director of science for the Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Whelchel will discuss the TNC’s Marsh Advancement Zone Assessment that will be used by policymakers planning for the next 100 years of coastal land use. The program will also include time for questions from those in attendance.

Connecticut is the first state in the nation to complete a future salt marsh assessment down to the individual lot for the entire coastline. Using a model developed in collaboration with the University of Connecticut, the Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Resilience Team has just finished a Salt Marsh Advancement Zone Assessment for all 24 coastal municipalities as well as a comprehensive report for the entire coast. Ultimately, the future of Connecticut’s salt marshes depends on land use decisions and policy implications that will be made based on our ability to predict change over the next 100 years.

The detailed parcel-scale information will provide land trusts, municipal staff, volunteer commissions/boards and private property owners with answers to questions such as: Where and how much salt marsh advancement already occurs on existing open space such as nature preserves, parks, refuges, etc; where and how much salt marsh advancement occurs on currently unprotected and undeveloped parcels; where and how much conflict will there likely be between the built environment roads, airports, schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and daily flooding from tides?

To access the Salt Marsh Advancement Zone Assessments for your community, visit http://coastalresilience.org/project-areas/connecticut-solutions/#Reports, and scroll down.

Come hear Dr. Whelchel explain the Conservancy’s Salt Marsh Advancement Zone Assessment and join in the discussion about the future needs of this resource. Free admission. To find out more, visit the Old Saybrook Land Trust website, oslt.org.

Town Committees Reorganize for 2016-18 Term

CHESTER / DEEP RIVER / ESSEX — Democratic and Republican Town Committees for Chester, Deep River, and Essex have reorganized for the 2016-2018 term after party caucuses held in January. The new town committees will pick delegates for state and district nominating conventions in May, and also nominate candidates for the next town elections in 2017.

One new twist in the process this year is a new state law requiring signatures from all prospective town committee members at the time of the caucus. Republicans in Chester and Deep River were unable to secure some signatures in time for the caucus, but will fill out the membership by appointments when the new committees are seated in March.

CHESTER — Chester Democrats have picked a 25-member town committee with six new members, including newly elected First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Trisha Brookhart, Ted Taigen, Jacqueline Stack, Michael Price, Isaac Ruiz, and Susan Wright. Incumbents returning to the town committee are former First Selectman Edmund Meehan, Sandy Senior-Dauer, David Fitzgibbons, Lynne Stiles, Henry Krempel,, newly elected Selectwoman Charlene Janecek, Robert Gorman, Roger Goodnow, Marta Daniels, Lori Ann Clymas.

Chester Republicans picked a 26-member town committee that includes five new members, newly elected Selectwoman Carolyn Linn, Mandy Grass, Chris Fryxell, Meredith Devancy, and Robert Blair, who is the son of former longtime Republican First Selectman Robert Blair. Returning incumbents are Mario Gioco, former Selectman Bruce Watrous, Beverly Watrous, Joyce Aley, Joel Severance, former Selectman Tom Englert, Terri Englert, Karl Ohaus, Tracey Ohaus, Jonui Malcynsky, David Clark, John Hutson, Kristina Seifert, Melvin Seifert, Victor Hoehnebart, Jill Sakidovitch, Brian Sakidovitch, Jamie Grzybowski, Alex Strekel, and Virgil Lloyd.

DEEP RIVER — Democrats have picked a 22-member town committee that is comprised entirely of incumbents. The committee includes Carmela Balducci, Leigh Balducci, Richard Balducci, Stephen Bibbiani Lisa Bibbiani, Richard Daniels Jr. Dorothy DeMichael, Bruce Edgarton, Janet Edgarton, Nancy Fischbach, Joanne Grabek, George Howard, Ann Joy, Jonathan Kastner, Russell Marth, Karol Tulp Magee, Mary Maraschiello, Roy Monte, Valerie Nucci, Mark Reyher, Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., and First Selectman Richard Smith.

Republicans have picked a 15-member town committee that includes two new members, Dale Winchell and Mark Grabowski. Returning incumbents are Greg Alexander, Douglas Dopp, Michelle Grow, Alice Johnson, Town Treasurer Tom Lindner, Doug Nagan, Selectman David Oliveria, Rolf Peterson, Grace Stalsburg, Cynthia Stannard, Rosemary Unan, Donald Routh, and Town Clerk Amy Winchell.

ESSEX — Democrats have selected a 28-member town committee that includes three new members, William French, Ellen Pfarr and Yolanda Lowe. Returning incumbents are John Bairos, Mark Bombaci, Brian Cournoyer, former First Selectman Carl Ellison, Lois Ely, Geraldine Ficarra, Town Treasurer Jim Francis, Frank Hall, Tax Collector Megan Haskins, Campbell Hudson, Jonathan James,,Louise Ketron, Loretta McClosky, State Rep. Phil Miller, First Selectman Norman Needleman, Selectwoman Stacia Llibby, Lon Eeidman, Stanly Sheppard, Mary Ellen Pleva, James Spallone, John Stannard, Claire Tiernan ,Kathleen Tucker, Alvin Wolfgram, and Lawrence Shipman.

Republicans have picked a 25-member town committee that includes five new members The new members are Mary Louise Till, Keith Russell, Lynn Herlihy, John Frese, and Phil Beckman, the party’s unsuccessful nominee for board of selectmen in the 2015 town election. Returning GOP incumbents are  Susie Beckman, Kenneth Biombaci, Herb Clark, Edward Cook, Peter Decker, Ann Dixon, Selectman Bruce Glowac, Robert Fisher, D.G. Fitton,, Adrienne Forrest, John Heiser, James Hill, Jerri MacMillian, Bruce MacMillian, Town Clerk Joel Marzi, Barbara Ryan, David Sousa, Alice Van Dueursen, Gary Van Deursen, and  June Wilson.

Chester Grand List Registers Small Increase

CHESTER – The grand list of taxable property in Chester showed little growth last year. Assessor Loreta Zdanys filed an October 2015 grand list that totals $443,781,440, an increase of $7,954,680, or 0.18 percent, over the 2014 grand list total. The increase would generate about $201,000 in new revenue at the current property tax rate of 25.32 mills.

The increase was smaller than 2014, when the grand list increased by a full one percent after dropping almost 12 percent the previous year with the townwide property revaluation that was completed in 2013. The 2015 list shows small increases in all three categories.

The net real estate total of $400,628,690 is up by $7,579,130 from the 2014 real estate total. The personal property total of $14,842,130 is up by $366,403 from the 2014 personal property total. The motor vehicles total of $28,310,620 is up by a tiny $9,167 from the previous year.

The list of the Chester’s top ten taxpayers is unchanged from recent years. Here are the top ten taxpayers with 2015 assessment totals.

  1. Chester Woods Inc. (Chester Village West) – $14,845,590
  2. Whelen Engineering Co,. Inc. – $6,760,220
  3. Connecticut Water Company – $5,211,140
  4. Eversource Energy Service Company – $4,652,850
  5. Whelen Aviation LLC (Chester Airport) – $3,843,340
  6. The Eastern Corp. – $3,648,140
  7. Roto Frank of America Inc. – $2,467,370
  8. Margaret & Robert Spriglio (Aaron Manor) – $2,237,320
  9. Chester Point Real Estate LLC – $2,079,830
  10. Arthur & Judith Schaller (residential) – $2,045,890

Musical Masterworks Hosts Beethoven Bonanza Over Two Concerts at Weekend

Cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park

Cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park

AREAWIDE — Musical Masterworks continues its celebration of a quarter century of magnificent chamber music at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m.

In a bold break from their traditional programming of repeat concerts, Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park will play two different programs in the Saturday and Sunday concerts, traversing the entire cycle of Ludwig van Beethoven’s works for piano and cello over the two days, providing a fascinating window into the arc of Beethoven’s compositional career.

The two different programs will include three sets of variations and five sonatas as follows:

Saturday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m.

Sonata No. 1 in F Major, Opus 5, No. 1
Sonata No. 4 in C Major, Opus 102, No. 1
12 Variations in F Major on ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’, Opus 66
Sonata No. 3 in A Major, Opus 69

Sunday, Feb. 14 at 3 p.m.

12 Variations in G Major on ‘See the conqu’ring hero comes’, WoO 45
Sonata No. 2 in g minor, Opus 5, No. 2
Seven Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’, WoO 46
Sonata No. 5 in D Major, Opus 102, No. 2

For those who plan to attend both programs, Musical Masterworks is offering a 50 percent discount on tickets to the additional concert.

For more information, call the office at 860.434.2252 or visit www.musicalmasterworks.org to order your additional tickets.

Take a Winter Raptors Field Trip, Saturday

Winter Raptors trip 2015 aAREAWIDE – The Essex Land Trust and the Connecticut Audubon Society are planning a half-day field trip on Saturday, Feb. 13, to look for winter birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and owls.

Connecticut Audubon Society EcoTravel Director Andy Griswold and Land Trust Board member Jim Denham are leading the trip, which will cover the lower Connecticut River Valley region from Deep River and Essex to Old Lyme.

Novice and advanced birdwatchers are welcome. Bring a bag lunch, binoculars and warm clothes. Two vans are available to seat the first 14 people who sign up.

The event takes place from 12 to 4 p.m. Meet at Essex Town Hall parking lot. To reserve, call Judy Saunders at 860-581-8108, or email her at judith.saunders@comcast.net by Feb. 10.  Inclement weather cancels.


Author Bob Steele to Speak on ‘The Curse’ at Essex Congregational Church, Sunday

TheCurse_RHSteele_FrontCoverESSEX – With the Connecticut legislature expected to vote early this year on whether to approve a third casino, Essex author and former U.S. Congressman Bob Steele will speak in Essex on the impact of casino expansion on the state and the nation.  The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14, at The First Congregational Church in Essex, 6 Methodist Hill in Essex Village.

Steele is on an author’s tour regarding his book, The Curse: Big-Time Gambling’s Seduction of a Small New England Town, speaking to some 350 groups across the Northeast.  The book, which has gone into its second printing, is a fact-based novel set against the explosion of casino gambling in Connecticut during the 1990s, when two Indian tribes build the world’s two biggest casinos in the southeastern corner of the state.

WBZ Boston’s Dan Rea calls the novel “powerful” and Connecticut author Martin Shapiro describes it as “compelling and timely … a riveting story of history, money and politics that will make you wonder where America is headed.”

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

The book comes at a time when the Northeast is becoming saturated with casinos and the legislature has created a multi-step process for opening the first of what could eventually be several additional casinos in the Nutmeg State, with the first in the Hartford area.

Steele is chairman of Connecticut-based NLC Mutual Insurance Company and has been a director of numerous other companies, including the American Stock Exchange.  A graduate of Amherst College and Columbia University, he served in the CIA before being elected to Congress, and was a nominee for governor of Connecticut.

For more information, contact The First Congregational Church in Essex at 860-767-8097.

Town Committees in Essex Selected for 2016-18 Term

ESSEX – Democratic and Republican town committees for Essex have reorganized for the 2016-2018 term after party caucuses held in January. The new town committees will pick delegates for state and district nominating conventions in May. They will also nominate candidates for the next town elections in 2017.

Essex Democrats selected a 28-member town committee that includes three new members, William French, Ellen Pfarr and Yolanda Lowe. Returning incumbents are John Bairos, Mark Bombaci, Brian Cournoyer, former First Selectman Carl Ellison, Lois Ely, Geraldine Ficarra, Town Treasurer Jim Francis, Frank Hall, Tax Collector Megan Haskins, Campbell Hudson, Jonathan James, Louisa Ketron, Loretta McClosky, State Rep. Phil Miller, First Selectman Norman Needleman, Selectwoman Stacia Libby, Lon Seidman, Stanley Sheppard, Mary Ellen Pleva, James Spallone, John Stannard, Claire Tiernan, Kathleen Tucker, Alvin Wolfgram and Lawrence Shipman.

Essex Republicans picked a 25-member town committee that includes five new members, Mary Louise Till, Keith Russell, Lynn Herlihy, John Frese, and Phil Beckman, the party’s unsuccessful nominee for board of selectmen in the 2015 town election. Returning GOP incumbents are  Susie Beckman, Kenneth Bombaci, Herb Clark, Edward Cook, Peter Decker, Ann Dixon, Selectman Bruce Glowac, Robert Fisher, D.G. Fitton, Adrienne Forrest, John Heiser, James Hill, Jerri MacMillian, Bruce MacMillian, Town Clerk Joel Marzi, Barbara Ryan, David Sousa, Alice Van Deursen, Gary Van Deursen and  June Wilson.

Deep River Republican and Democratic Town Committees Reorganize for 2016-18 Term

DEEP RIVER – Deep  River’s Democratic and Republican town committees have reorganized for the 2016-2018 term after party caucuses held in January. The new town committees will pick delegates for state and district nominating conventions in May. They will also nominate candidates for the next town elections in 2017.

One new twist in the process this year is a new state law requiring signatures from all prospective town committee members at the time of the caucus. Deep River Republicans were unable to secure some signatures in time for the caucus, but will fill out the membership by appointments when the new committees are seated in March.

Democrats picked a 22-member town committee that is comprised entirely of incumbents. The committee includes Carmela Balducci, Leigh Balducci, Richard Balducci, Stephen Bibbiani, Lisa Bibbiani, Richard Daniels Jr., Dorothy DeMichael, Bruce Edgarton, Janet Edgarton, Nancy Fischbach, Joanne Grabek, George Howard, Ann Joy, Jonathan Kastner, Russell Marth, Karol Tulp Magee, Mary Maraschiello, Roy Monte, Valerie Nucci, Mark Reyher, Selectman Angus McDonald Jr. and First Selectman Richard Smith.

Republicans chose a 15-member town committee that includes two new members, Dale Winchell and Mark Grabowski. Returning incumbents are Greg Alexander, Douglas Dopp, Michelle Grow, Alice Johnson, Town Treasurer Tom Lindner, Doug Nagan, Selectman David Oliveria, Rolf Peterson, Grace Stalsburg, Cynthia Stannard, Rosemary Unan, Donald Routh and Town Clerk Amy Winchell.

Chester Town Committees Reorganize for 2016-18 Term

CHESTER – Democratic and Republican town committees for Chester have reorganized for the 2016-18 term after party caucuses held in January. The new town committees will pick delegates for state and district nominating conventions in May. They will also nominate candidates for the next town elections in 2017.

One new twist in the process this year is a new state law requiring signatures from all prospective town committee members at the time of the caucus. Republicans in Chester were unable to secure some signatures in time for the caucus, but will fill out the membership by appointments when the new committees are seated in March.

Chester Democrats have picked a 25-member town committee with six new members, including newly elected First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Trisha Brookhart, Ted Taigen, Jacqueline Stack, Michael Price, Isaac Ruiz and Susan Wright. Incumbents returning to the town committee are former First Selectman Edmund Meehan, Sandy Senior-Dauer, David Fitzgibbons, Lynne Stiles, Henry Krempel,, newly elected Selectwoman Charlene Janecek, Robert Gorman, Roger Goodnow, Marta Daniels and Lori Ann Clymas.

Chester Republicans chose a 26-member town committee that includes five new members: newly elected Selectwoman Carolyn Linn, Mandy Grass, Chris Fryxell, Meredith Devaney, and Robert Blair, who is the son of former longtime Republican First Selectman Robert Blair. Returning incumbents are Mario Gioco, former Selectman Bruce Watrous, Beverly Watrous, Joyce Aley, Joel Severance, former Selectman Tom Englert, Terri Englert, Karl Ohaus, Tracey Ohaus, Jonui Malcynsky, David Clark, John Hutson, Kristina Seifert, Melvin Seifert, Victor Hoehnebart, Jill Sakidovitch, Brian Sakidovitch, Jamie Grzybowski, Alex Strekel and Virgil Lloyd.

Essex Resident Earns High Honors at Sacred Heart Academy

ESSEX – Sacred Heart Academy Principal Sr. Maureen Flynn, ASCJ recently announced the Honor Roll for the second marking period of the 2015–16 academic year.

Sophie Park of Essex earned high honors this quarter.

Honors are awarded at the end of each quarter to students attaining an average of 3.5 or better. Those students who achieve a grade point average of 3.8 or greater are awarded high honors.

Founded in 1946 by the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacred Heart successfully prepares young women in grades 9–12 for learning, service, and achievement in a global society. Sacred Heart Academy welcomes 500 students from more than 80 schools and 60 towns in Connecticut and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Visit www.sacredhearthamden.org to learn more.