July 2, 2022

Archives for March 2016

Donna Martin Performs at Spring Street Gallery, March 20

Donna Martin

Donna Martin

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden on Sunday, March 20, from 4 to 6 p.m., this time featuring singer/songwriter Donna Martin 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.

Donna Martin redefines the boundaries of contemporary folk with her guitar skills that range from finger style to flat picking to groove-oriented rhythms. With her soulful voice and compelling lyrics, she is hailed by Performing Songwriter magazine as “a songwriter whose stories are colored by powers of observation” and the Town Crier Cafe in New York described her as “an exquisite songwriter with a superb voice.”

After two decades of touring the Northeast and sharing the stage with the likes of Charlie Daniels and Nicolette Larson, opening for Alabama and a Lilith Fair performance alongside Bonnie Raitt and Sara McLachlan, Martin has emerged as a well-honed performer. From sitting toe to toe at a picking party with Guy Clark who remarked that if the songs Martin was playing were truly her first, “the rest could be scary,” to being plucked out of the new songwriters showcase at the NY Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in the early ‘90s and placed on the main stage between the Saturday night headliners, there is no doubt that once seen, this songwriter makes a big impression. More about Donna Martin on her website, www.donnamartin.com.

Gates open a half hour before the show — first come first seated.  Indoor bistro-style seating in the gallery. 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

Chester Library Installs “Computer Bar,” Thanks to Community Collaborative Efforts

joe at computer bar 1CHESTER – The Chester Public Library is always praised for its friendly and personable staff and its historic building.

But it never won any accolades for its computers. Make that “computer,” singular. Yes, for years there has been only one public computer for years at the Chester Library because the building is so small and on such a limited budget, that squeezing in a second computer was out of the question. Library patrons were frustrated. They’d come in to use the computer and find someone else working on it. Or, if working on it, feel they needed to rush to finish for a person who was waiting. The librarians were frustrated too, because their everyday goal is to see that all visitors to the library are able to accomplish their missions.

But last year, Library Director Linda Fox received a $5000 donation from a library patron who said she wanted Linda to go “a little crazy” in spending it – something out of the box.

Linda conceived of the idea of a “computer bar,” a counter-height workspace for two computers, with two stools, and with pullout drawers for audiobooks. Steve and Karen Bradley, owners of the Chester-based Pondside Kitchens and Hearth, said yes indeed, they could custom design it to fit in the present library building and be movable to a future building.

The computer bar was custom designed by Pondside Kitchens to include drawers for the audiobook collection.

The computer bar was custom designed by Pondside Kitchens to include drawers for the audiobook collection.

The Friends of Chester Public Library, a 501c3 nonprofit group, applied for a grant from the Middlesex County Community Foundation for the funds needed to make the computer bar a reality. The grant requested – and won – was for $4687.

Fast forward to this week. The computer bar was installed, the wiring done and the all-in-one computers, purchased through the town’s technology supplier CT/Comp, are operating. Two people have been able to work side by side. And no one has had to wait! And there are even USB charging stations for mobile devices.

The Computer Bar at Chester Library.

The Computer Bar at Chester Library.

“I am absolutely thrilled!” said Linda Fox. “The computer bar will make such an incredible difference for everyone who uses the library. It’s the result of tremendous community collaborative effort – from the anonymous donor to the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/Sherry and Herb Clark Family Fund and River View Cemetery Fund, Pondside Kitchens and Hearth, and the Friends of the Library – everyone was so generous to make this happen.”

Editor’s note: The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the people of the County, now and in the future, by developing endowments, making grants that have impact and assisting donors in meeting their philanthropic objectives. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has awarded 1,564 grants totaling more than $4.7 million for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements and for health and human services. More at middlesexcountycf.org

Linares Welcomes Gillette Castle, Friends of CT Parks to State Capitol

SenatorLinaresFriendsofCTStateParks3-9-16 281 new On March 9, Sen. Art Linares (center) welcomed representatives from Connecticut State Parks to the State Capitol to mark State Parks Day. Discussions focused on ways to preserve, protect and enhance Connecticut’s state parks, including Gillette Castle State Park. This year, Linares is part of a first-of-its-kind effort to amend the state Constitution to better ensure protection of state-owned forests, parks, farmland and other conservation lands.

He is shown here with Harold Niver and Theodora Niver at the State Capitol. The Nivers bring William Gillette and his wife, Helen, to life in an entertaining and informative performance at Gillette Castle State Park. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, but Holmes was brought to life by William Gillette. Gillette also put together the “costume” – the hat, pipe, lens and cape – that we associate with Holmes to this day.

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

Kate’s Summer Camp for Kids Opens for Registration

Kate's Camp, 2015

Kate’s Camp, 2015

OLD SAYBROOK – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Community Music School present Kate’s Camp for Kids, a performing arts summer camp program, which will be held at The Kate, 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook, from July 11 to Aug. 5.

Launched in 2013, Kate’s Camp for Kids is a state-licensed arts camp for children ages 5 to 10 years old incorporating music, dance, theater, and visual art in weekly sessions that culminate in a performance for family and friends. A diverse range of activities is offered on a rotating basis to ensure a fresh experience for even the most frequent camper.

Directed by Nancy Thomas, a 20-plus-year member of the Community Music School faculty and certified Kindermusik educator, the camp features four, one-week sessions that meet Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuition for each camp week is $260 and scholarships are available for families with a financial need.

Each week of camp has a different theme. On July 11-15, “In a Galaxy Not So Far Away,” explores the music by composer John Williams made famous in the “Star Wars” movies. July 18-22 is “Dreamcatcher,” an original musical story of peace, harmony and joy. July 25-29, “Hats!”  features a clever rhyming script and songwriting; and Aug. 1-5, “We Haz Jazz,” which will explore the work of great jazz musicians.

Kate’s Camp for Kids is generously supported by the Boody Family Fund, the Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, NewAlliance Foundation and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/River View Cemetery Fund.

For additional information visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026.

Carney, Formica Advocate for Connecticut Tourism

tourism caucus press

AREAWIDE – On March 15, a newly formed alliance met at the State Capitol in Hartford to push for more reliable funding for Connecticut’s tourism industry. Area legislators are investigating the formation of a tourism caucus, in order to have an open discussion about tourism funding.

Shown here, from left, are: State Senator Paul Formica (R-20); Viola and Stephen Tagliatela, owners of the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa in Old Saybrook;  Brian J. Freeman, Manchester Community College student; and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23).

For more information about the Connecticut Tourism Coalition and how to get involved, please visit www.tourismCT.com.

Tara Maloney, Country School Alumna, Delivers Elmore Leadership Talk

Tara Maloney speaks with Country School students

Tara Maloney speaks with Country School students

MADISON – Tara Maloney, a Madison resident and junior at Hopkins School, visited The Country School recently to speak about her experiences at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, D.C. Maloney’s lecture came as part of the Country School’s Elmore Leadership Speaker Series.

A 2013 graduate of The Country School, Maloney was one of 24 students from across the country selected to attend the semester-long program at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership. The school’s mission – “to provide intellectually motivated high school juniors who represent the diversity of the United States with the best possible opportunity to shape themselves into ethical leaders who create positive change in our world” – mirrors the mission of the Elmore Leadership program.

A school-wide initiative at the coeducational, preschool-8th grade independent school in Madison, the Elmore Leadership Program was created to develop students into civic-minded citizens who are prepared to become tomorrow’s leaders. Through a carefully crafted series of activities, programs, and experiences, Country School students are taught strong motivational and analytical skills. They learn the power of teamwork, collaboration, empathetic listening and appreciative inquiry by taking turns leading and letting others lead.

Inviting outside speakers to campus is also an essential component of the Elmore Leadership program, providing students opportunities to be inspired by real-world stories of leadership and decision-making.

The Elmore Leadership Program is named for longtime Country School trustee Robert W. Elmore, a lawyer, educator and organizational development consultant who focused on issues related to listening and leadership.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

Letter From Paris: The Trump Phenomenon – a View From Europe     

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

Editor’s Note: With a pivotal day happening today in respect of the Republican Presidential Primary, we feel this latest article by our columnist from Paris is perfectly timed. Nicole Prévost Logan lives in Essex, CT, during the warmer months and winters in Paris, France. For these reasons, she is ideally placed to write a commentary on the ‘Trump Phenomenon’ through European eyes … but with American understanding. She also she has a lifetime of diplomatic service behind her and we venture to suggest that she understands the complexities of foreign diplomacy significantly better than several of the current US Presidential candidates!

Public opinion in Europe continues to follow the US 2016 elections in real time. The interest went up a notch after “Super Tuesday” — for election analysts, it is a campaign unlike any other. They describe it as a contest between moderates and radicals rather than between Democrats and Republicans. Donald Trump’s performance intrigues every one and is being closely scrutinized by both seasoned and brand new election-watchers.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Trump does not fit in with the traditional image of a GOP candidate. Commentators here label him as a “national populist” combined with a vision of the American dream, i.e., you too can become rich like me. French ambassador Bujon de l’Etang writes that Trump is not a real Republican since he advocates an interventionist government which would take such protectionist measures as taxes on imports.

Journalist Andre Bercoff, interviewed on France-Inter, described Trump’s campaign as an “Uberization” of the society — or elimination of the middle man and rejection of the Establishment and along with that, of course, Washington.

According to the French observers, Trump is a demagogue and as such, does not want to leave anyone by the side of the road. His discourse is full of contradictions and vascillates, depending on the situation.

Just a few examples … he wants to build a wall to stop mass immigration from the south but not at the expense of the Hispanic votes, and besides, he is now leaning toward selective immigration in order to attract brains.

Is he pro-life or not ? The answer is yes and no.

To win over the workers, he will help them by stopping the outsourcing of jobs. He feels the middle class has not profited from the growth of the economy stating that only 1 percent of the population did.

He does not seem to have worked out a foreign policy with any resemblance of the subtlety of diplomacy.

Thus far, his black and white remarks are rather frightening.

His tax plan is a mixture of unrealistic and sound ideas. He thinks that hedge fund managers should be taxed more and forced to repatriate the billions of dollars they have stashed away in off-shore accounts. He declared that couples earning less than $5,000 per month should not be taxed .

How long will Donald Trump be able to keep his lead in the race ? If he does, would he have a lasting power? An analyst here commented that Silvio Berlusconi (the former Italian Prime Minister) – a very comparable politician – lasted eight years in power.

Trump is the mirror of the rising populist movements in many countries: Viktor Orban in Hungary, increasing populist opposition in several German ‘Landers’, 40 percent of favorable votes for the ‘Front National’ in France, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey and many others. The surge of migrants is the main cause of the closing of borders within the European Union (EU).

Professor Nicole Gnesotto, Board President of the National Defense Graduate School, “It would be a catastrophic scenario if the next presidential elections were to bring populist leaders in the US, France and Germany.”

Nicole LoganAbout 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.

Shop for “Junk in the Trunk” at Senior Center, May 14

estuary council logoOLD SAYBROOK – The Estuary Council of Seniors is hosting a “Junk in the Trunk Sale” on Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Vendors and artisans will sell their one-of-a-kind treasures, antiques, vintage pieces, arts and crafts, and other assorted bric-a-brac during this one-day shopping event. All ages are welcome!

Food will be available for purchase. There will also be music, a gift drawing, tours of the Senior Center, and much more. The event will be held rain or shine.

The Estuary Council of Seniors is at 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook. Call 860-388-1611 for more information.

Chester Plant Sale to Benefit Land Trust and Library, May 14

flower pots 2 web

CHESTER – Chester Land Trust and Chester Public Library are teaming up to sponsor a Plant Sale on Saturday, May 14, featuring locally grown and native plants.

Chester residents are dividing their perennials, digging up their tree seedlings, and potting up extra houseplants to donate to the sale, and Ballek’s in East Haddam is contributing native perennials and mixed vegetable flats. An abundance of clay flowerpots have been donated as well.

All donated plants will be sold at very reasonable prices, with all proceeds from the sale benefiting the Land Trust and the Chester Library.

The sale will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carini Preserve on Water St. (Rte. 154), next to the public parking lot at 20 Water Street. Master gardeners will be on hand to answer your plant care questions. More information is available at the library (860-526-0018).

Chester Plant Sale Benefits Land Trust & Library, May 14

Just a few of the most recent perennials(Echinacea and Rudbeckia) donated to the Chester Plant Sale. So many more on their way!

So many perennials are being donated to Chester’s Plant Sale, scheduled for May 14. It opens at 10 a.m., but may open earlier! Park in the town parking lot at 20 Water St.


CHESTER – Chester Land Trust and Chester Public Library are teaming up to sponsor a Plant Sale on Saturday, May 14, featuring locally grown and native plants.

Chester residents are dividing their perennials, digging up their tree seedlings, and potting up extra houseplants to donate to the sale. Many of them are potted in clay flowerpots, which once were used on an orchid farm in Haddam. An area garden center is contributing native perennials and mixed vegetable flats.

All donated plants will be sold at very reasonable prices, with all proceeds from the sale benefiting the Land Trust and the Chester Library.

The sale will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carini Preserve on Water St. (Rte. 154), next to the public parking lot at 20 Water Street. Master gardeners will be on hand to answer your plant care questions. More information is available at the library (860-526-0018).

Explore the Artistry of Bosch at Essex Library, May 14

boschESSEX – This year marks the 500th anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch’s death, which brings renewed interest in his extraordinary creativity.

Join Connecticut College Art History Professor Robert Baldwin on Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. at the Essex Library for an entertaining examination of Bosch’s work.

Bosch revolutionized early Renaissance art by turning away from traditional Christian images such as Madonnas and saints. In the Garden of Earthly Delights, the Haywain and the Seven Deadly Sins, Bosch painted secular, encyclopedic scenes of everyday life (framed with moral allegory) and fantastic scenes of sexual fantasy and hellish punishment. Although seemingly poles apart, his naturalism and fantasy were both part of a secular, Renaissance aesthetic that understood artistic seeing as both empirical and playful, as a process rooted in the study of the natural world and in the display of visual interpretation and artistic mind.  In the Renaissance world of art, seeing was ultimately connected to artistic invention. Among the ironies, Bosch’s artistry allowed him to convert medieval sin and hellish punishment into visually appealing luxury objects for pleasure-loving aristocrats while bringing the artist fame and fortune.

The Essex Library program is free and open to the public. 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.

Help your friends celebrate their first baby

Posted: March 14, 2019

All new-parents need a good laugh. They are probably tired because of the white nights they are spending when the baby has difficulties in finding their sleep. If one of your friends has recently become a parent then you should offer them a gift that will make them have a good laugh. And let’s face it finding gifts for new babies is a difficult task because very few times you match the taste of the new parents. Sure, you can buy them a cute onesie or a parenting book, but they have probably received dozens of them.

Becoming a parent is a stressful thing, and your friends definitely need comic relief and you can help them cheer up with the gifts you bring. Here is a list with some of the funniest things you can offer to new parents.

Start with accessories

Sometimes it is easier to find some baby accessories that will make the adults laugh. The number one accessory you can find is a baby dumbbell, it weighs less than a pound but it will cheer up the parents every time they will see the little one pumping iron like a gym passionate.

In the accessories category is also included the beer bottle. Yes, everyone knows that the baby is drinking milk or tea but a cute undercover will make them look hilarious. And if you do not like beer there are countless alcoholic-inspired bottles you can offer to the parents to spice up the way their baby looks.

Everyone knows that when you want to make the baby stop crying you offer them a binkie. If the little one is known for being silent only when they have a binkie you can check the market and find one that looks like a moustache. If they have a baby girl then you can opt for a Botox lips binkie, the little one will look bomb from a small age.

You want to buy them outfits

If you still want to offer them clothing items but you do not want to choose the classic onesie you can find online some crazy but useful items. First, you know that before walking, the baby will crawl. And because they are already on the floor why not offering them a baby mop outfit like the one you can find here. The outfit is made from a soft and breathable fabric but it will make the baby look adorable while they dust the floor.

In addition, if you want to take the outfit gift a step further then you can get them a tortilla swaddle, especially if the parents are known for being food lovers. What is cuter than a baby looking like a burrito?

Have you ever seen a baby who does not spill food? Neither we. You can add a comic touch to this activity, all babies do with a funny bib. If you know what the super power of the baby is then you can customise a bib with their superhero name on it.

Birding and Nature Walk in Essex, May 14

#5-Essex Meadows Walk - 2013

ESSEX — May is the optimal time to see and hear the many birds that have returned from wintering in points south. Many will be singing and claiming nesting territories.

On Saturday, May 14, at 9 a.m., come explore the grounds of Essex Meadows and the adjacent Preserve where 70 acres belong to the Essex Land Trust. ELT Board Member and birder Jim Denham will lead a casual one and a half hour stroll that coincides with the peak of spring bird migration. Easy to moderate walking on trails.

All levels of knowledge are welcome. Essex Meadows will provide refreshments at the conclusion of the walk.  Bad weather cancels. Meet at Essex Meadows Main Building Entrance.

Public Invited to Opiate Abuse Forum for Shoreline Communities, 5pm Tonight


AREAWIDE – A free public forum and panel discussion on the growing problem of opiate abuse in Middlesex County will be held at Westbrook Library on Monday, March 14 at 5 p.m., sponsored by the Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council (MCSAAC).

Connecticut loses hundreds of citizens every year to opiate overdoses. Thousands more are addicted and still more are in recovery. “Heroin-related overdose deaths zoomed in one year from 174 to 387, a 122 percent increase,” said Betsey Chadwick, director of MCSAAC. “In this public forum we’ll look at who is most vulnerable, and how we can contain, reduce and help prevent the problem.”

Five people will serve on the panel. State’s Attorney Peter McShane and State Trooper Wayne Buck will discuss the sources of excess opiates including doctor-shopping, pill peddling, the diversion of narcotics and heroin sales and what they’re doing about it.

Panelist J. Craig Allen, MD will talk about trends in painkiller use, how it can lead to addiction and heroin, and doctors’ response to the crisis.

CT Department of Mental Health & Addiction Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon will speak about resources for treatment at the state level.

Rounding out the panel will be a young person in recovery from opioid addiction (Aware Recovery Care), describing the slow journey back from addiction.

The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. The Westbrook Library is at 61 Goodspeed Dr., in Westbrook. Use the rear entrance. For more information contact Betsey Chadwick at MCSAAC by calling 860-347-5959 or via email at betsey@mcsaac.org.

Editor’s note: MCSAAC is recognized by the State of Connecticut as a Regional Action Council, devoted to the prevention and reduction of alcohol and drug abuse, especially among youth. It is a Council of the Middlesex County Business Industry Foundation, Inc., an affiliate of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.


They’re Creepy, They’re Kooky…Last Chance to see ‘The Addams Family’ This Afternoon at Valley HS

Joseph’s Photography, show photographer, provided this photo to give an idea of what to expect from this award winning program. Front row left to right: Jonny Leffingwell, Miranda Holland, Nathan Russo, Maggie Walsh; Back row left to right: James D’Amico, Zane Bouregy, Mitch Conrad and Annie Brown.

Starring in The Addams Family at Valley Regional: front row (L-R): Jonny Leffingwell, Miranda Holland, Nathan Russo and Maggie Walsh; back: James D’Amico, Zane Bouregy, Mitch Conrad and Annie Brown. Photo by Joseph’s Photography.

REGION 4 — The countdown to show time has begun. This year’s musical at Valley Regional High School in Deep River is The Addams Family and it will open for the weekend from Friday, March 11, through Sunday, March 13, .

The cast, crew and pit are putting the finishing touches on staging, lights, and songs as they prepare for opening night. Ingrid Walsh, director, comments, “I’m just speechless and so proud of how much and how far the cast has dared to go to join The Addams Family.

This is one show that is not to be missed from the dancing and singing to the elaborate scenery, props, makeup and costumes. There are sure to be feelings of nostalgia for those who grew up watching this iconic show. 

Performances are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m. Tickets are $12 each for all shows, except the Saturday matinee, which are $10 each. Tickets can be purchased at Celebrations, The Wheatmarket, Elephant Crossing, Toys Ahoy and at the high school.

For further information, call the school at 860 526-5328 and ask for Tina Stoddard.

CT Beer From a “Beer Snob” Angle at Chester Museum at the Mill, 2pm Today

Will Siss, 'The Beer Snob'

Will Siss, ‘The Beer Snob’

CHESTER – “Ever since it was a British colony, Connecticut has loved beer.”

So writes Will Siss, Connecticut’s “Beer Snob,” in his recent book, Connecticut Beer: A History of Nutmeg State Brewing (The History Press).

When he’s not teaching at a middle school, Will tastes and reviews and talks about beer. (Not a bad life!) He has been writing the “Beer Snob” column for the Republican-American in Waterbury since 2005, so he has seen the latest resurgence in Connecticut craft brewing up close.

“The Beer Snob” will be in Chester on Sunday, March 13, at 2 p.m. for a free program, followed by a tasting of several Connecticut beers.

After his recent presentation at the West Haven Public Library, librarian Amanda Gilbertie said, “Will Siss gave a fascinating presentation on the history of Connecticut brewing. He was warm, funny, and engaging. He brought three absolutely delicious beers for tasting and offered some really interesting tidbits about the history of those beers and the art of beer tasting.”

His program, which is for ages 21 and up, will be at the Chester Museum at The Mill, 9 West Main St., hosted by the Friends of Chester Public Library.

Will’s book, which focuses on the many ups and downs of Connecticut 7930-CONN-cvr.inddbrewing history, from the lows of Prohibition to the highs of the 2012 breakthrough that brought many wonderful breweries to the state, will be available for purchase after the program.

Parking is limited at the Chester Museum, so park at the Chester Library at 16 West Main Street or in the town’s public parking lot at 20 Water Street.

For more information, contact the Chester Library at 860-526-0018 or Facebook.com/ChesterCTPublicLibrary.

To learn more about Will Siss, visit www.beersnobwrites.com or @BeerSnobWrites.

A Right to Aid in Dying? CBSRZ Hosts Forum This Morning to Examine Issues, All Welcome

AREAWIDE – It’s been called the Right to Die, Aid in Dying, Death with Dignity, Assisted Suicide – it’s sometimes called murder. To what extent does a terminally ill person, possibly facing pain and suffering for the rest of a short life, have the right to receive assistance from doctors and others to end his/her life? What does religion say about the issue? Five states now have protection for doctors assisting terminally ill patients to die in such circumstances, and it is under discussion in the Connecticut legislature.

On Sunday, March 13, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, the Social Action Committee of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek will sponsor a forum to examine these issues.

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg of CBSRZ and retired Reverend Kathy Peters, formerly of the United Church of Chester, will discuss religious perspectives on the issue.

The group will then watch The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, a 38-minute film nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary in 2010, which tells the story of how the former governor of the State of Washington, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, led the successful referendum for Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.

“The highlight of the morning,” said the Social Action Committee, “will be breaking into small groups to discuss this intensely personal and important issue, because it is our many personal and family experiences, as well as our diverse backgrounds, which make each of us the expert on this topic.”

This forum is part of an ongoing series of social action forums on embracing diversity of people and ideas. It is open to the public at no charge.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.  Please contact the CBSRZ office (860-526-8920) to get background materials in advance of the forum if you wish to attend.

Musical Masterworks Hosts Chamber Music Concert This Afternoon

Edward Arron hosts and performs in this weekend's Musical Masterworks concerts.

Edward Arron hosts and performs in this weekend’s Musical Masterworks concerts.

Musical Masterworks 25th Anniversary Season continues today at 3 p.m. with a repeat of yesterday’s concert.  The versatile and talented pianist, composer, and host of NPR’s acclaimed program “From the Top,” Christopher O’Riley, along with violinist, Tessa Lark, who has delighted Masterworks audiences over the years, will be featured.  O’Riley and Lark will join Edward Arron in a diverse program spanning four centuries — from Bach to Dvorák and Ravel, to Arvo Pärt and O’Riley.

“Our special season will culminate on April 30, and May 1, with Mendelssohn’s ‘Octet for Strings,’ led by Musical Masterworks’ veteran violinist, Chee-Yun,” noted Arron. “I feel extraordinarily privileged to be the curator of this unique concert series. As the years go by, I continue to be inspired by the beauty of the Congregational Church, the art of chamber music, the artistry of my colleagues, and the warmth of our audience.”

The anniversary season will be celebrated with a free gala party after the final concert on May 1, to which all ticket buyers will be invited.

To purchase individual tickets ($35 individual; $5 student) to this 25th season, visit Musical Masterworks’ new website at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

St. Patrick’s Celebration Today Benefits Ivoryton Playhouse


Michael McDermott

IVORYTON – On Sunday, March 13, at 3 p.m. at the Centerbrook Meeting House, join Ivoryton Playhouse favorite Michael McDermott and his group, Cead Mile Failte, to celebrate Celtic culture and heritage through stories and song.

The afternoon will be filled with traditional Irish music including “That’s An Irish Lullaby,” “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms,” “Star Of The County Down,” “Carrickfergus” and, of course, “Danny Boy.”

irish woman 1

Kathleen Mulready

McDermott will be joined by Kathleen Mulready, an Ivoryton Playhouse favorite who starred in Finian’s Rainbow and shared the stage with McDermott in The Irish… and How They Got That Way.

McDermott has been seen many times at the Playhouse – most recently in The Bells of Dublin: The Carol of the Bells. He has been performing with Cead Mile Failte for several years and says, “‘Cead Mile Failte’ means ‘a hundred thousand welcomes’ in Irish Gaelic.  This has always been a saying that has warmed and inspired my heart and is especially meaningful for me here in Ivoryton, which is like my second home.”

He continues, “For me, the month of March is a time of renewed hope, that feeling of spring just around the corner.  We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and feel the weather change with the old saying, ‘in like a lion out like a lamb’ when strong gusts of wind push out winter and warmer, greener days are joyfully welcomed.  Because of this inspiration from nature, combined with my deep love for Irish music, the group Cead Mile Failte was formed.  As a group, we strive to create that feeling in our concerts – the feeling that all are welcomed to share in the stories and music that the Irish tell so well.  At our concerts you will find friendly hospitality, good conversation, and great music – a hundred thousand welcomes!”

Tickets for the St. Patrick’s Celebration are $30 and include light refreshments after the concert. For tickets and information, call 860-767-7318. Seating is limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

Photos by Michael McDermott

Augie Pampel to lead Essex go Bragh Irish Parade, Saturday

The 5th Annual Essex go Bragh Parade will be held March 12.

The 5th Annual Essex go Bragh Parade will be held March 12.

ESSEX — Many local organizations, led by Grand Marshal Augie Pampel, will be celebrating “All Things Green” at the Fifth Annual Essex go Bragh Irish Parade, on Saturday, March 12.

Mary Ellen Barnes, Park and Recreation Director, said, “Every parade needs a Grand Marshal, and the Essex go Bragh Parade is no exception! We have had some tremendously distinguished individuals serving that honored position in the past. Last year Essex Park and Recreation Commission was proud to announce that Augie Pampel would serve as 2015 Grand Marshal.  However, thanks to a couple of mid-March snow storms, our parade was canceled and Mr. Pampel could not serve.  We are hoping that with a little Irish Luck on March 12, 2016, the parade will return with Augie leading the way!”

Barnes continued, “Mr. Pampel has been living and contributing to the Essex community for many years.  He has worked tirelessly as the Town of Essex Tree Warden since 1994.  He is a proud member of the Essex Garden Club and was instrumental in securing Keep America Beautiful Grants, used for tree restoration throughout the three villages. We are tremendously honored by Augie Pampel’s participation in our 5th Annual Essex go Brag Parade as Grand Marshal.”

The parade steps off from Essex Town Hall at 10:30 a.m. The parade route is down West Avenue to Main Street, turning onto Ferry Street. Marching groups must arrive by 10 a.m. For more information about participating in the parade, contact Mary Ellen Barnes at 860-767-4340 x100 or mbarnes@essexct.gov.

In case of severe weather, the parade will be held on March 13.

Chester’s Oldest Home, the Dunk House, on Market

Known locally at the Dunk House, this antique Cape Cod-style home is priced at $595,000.

Known locally at the Dunk House, this antique Cape Cod-style home is priced at $595,000.

CHESTER – The oldest home in Chester, built in 1672, is on the market with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.

Named after the property’s first owner, the Thomas Dunk Homestead is a Cape Cod-style residence that has been thoughtfully restored and expanded over the years.

Located just steps away from Chester’s historic village center, this four-bedroom, three-bath home underwent a complete renovation in 1976 by former owner and retired historian Jean Simmons. The undertaking involved a total rebuild using the structure’s original timbers, beams, floor boards and wall planks. Insulation was also installed throughout the home’s ceilings, walls and floors. The exterior was re-sided with clapboard and a new roof was added, while interior walls were plastered in the authentic, period style and the aging central fireplace was replaced.

Not long after, a local attorney purchased the home, developing plans for a reproduction barn addition based on a 1700s design. The 1,100 square-foot expansion provided space for a two-car garage and an upstairs suite with a full bath, ideal for an office, in-law apartment, guest suite or rental. Utilities were also upgraded, and cedar shake shingles were added on the roof.

The residence is currently home to French-born local artisan and former chef of the popular Simsbury restaurant, Metro Bis. Claude Martin, and his wife, Catrin, have continued the tradition of historically correct improvements and maintenance on the now 340-year-old structure, and have recently completed a kitchen renovation. The space was expanded to include a second rear kitchen area, adding granite counters, locally crafted shelving, pot racks and even subway doors and seating discovered from the early Parisian metros.

Artisans at heart, the Martins additionally transformed the property’s previous barn addition into a studio, which houses the Thomas Dunk gallery. This space serves as Martin’s fine art restoration studio, where he conserves, cleans and restores oil paintings with classic tools and 21st-century technology.

Outside, the property is bordered by a gently flowing stream, as well as a private and peaceful rear patio that is surrounded by English-style gardens complete with perennials, flowering trees and landscape lighting.

The property is represented by Essex agent Tim Boyd, and offered at $595,000. For more information on the property, located at 16 North Main Street, please visit the firm’s website here.

Editor’s note: The information used in this article came from a release from William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Black Bears in Connecticut,” an Essex Library Program on May 11

blackbearESSEX – Black bear sightings are increasing every year, even in Connecticut’s shoreline towns, as their preferred habitat expands as farmlands revert to forest. Master Wildlife Conservationist Paul Colburn will present an illustrated talk on Wednesday, May 11, at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library.

This presentation will focus on the natural history of black bears in our stateand will provide an overview of black bear habitat, diet, behavior, and current research efforts.  Colburn will also provide recommendations for optimum coexistence with our black bear population.

Paul Colburn is a graduate of Master Wildlife Conservationist Program, is a Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) adult education program that trains participants in the fields of wildlife management, natural history and interpretation. The purpose of the program is to develop a volunteer corps capable of providing education, outreach and service for state agencies, environmental organizations, libraries, schools and the general public.

This talk is free and open to the public. Advance registration is recommended; please call the Essex Library at (860) 767-1560. The library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.




Letter to the Editor: Many Reasons to Support Bob Siegrist’s Candidacy

To the Editor:

I was thrilled to hear Bob Siegrist will be running again in 2016 as the Republican House Candidate for the 36th district! I have personally know Bob for over 10 years and in that time he has been nothing but a hard-working, upstanding, and motivated individual who cares deeply for politics, people and making a positive change. He is easy to talk to and a good listener who makes you feel heard.

From the time I met Bob, he was talking about how he wanted to be involved with Republican politics… Two years ago he seriously began that journey by running for the 36th State House. He has practical, realistic views and ideas and is truly for the people of Haddam, Chester, Deep River and Essex. He wants to make sure their voices are heard. Let’s congratulate Bob on another race and wish him the best this coming year!


Sarah Mathis,
Haddam Neck.

A la Carte: Chicken Salad from Poached Chicken Tenders

chicken salad photo 2In early February, the members of Groton’s Board of Education met for its retreat. Since I am a new member, I was truly excited to sit with my fellow members along with the superintendent and assistant superintendent. I didn’t actually realize that many of us are new members, since some are two-year members and some four-year members. Each is elected and, in many cases (including mine), the roles changed from Democrats to Republicans.

I thought there might be some partisan bickering (see Trump and all the Republican skirmishes and Clinton-Sanders disagreements), but in Groton it was non-partisan before the election and after. I liked the concept of a retreat, off the record and into a new venue, this year at the Submarine Museum. For four hours we newbies asked questions for which the superintendents and the veteran members had answers.

Best of all was the food. I agreed to make the desserts, which everybody enjoyed. (Restaurant  owners know that if the meal is mediocre, delicious desserts can save the day.) But Andrea Ackerman, former Groton teacher and principal, handled the savories. I think it is fun to make pastries and sweet stuff, but when I smell cabbages and quiches, I begin to salivate. I especially like standby dishes that include twists and turns that I never thought would work.

Andrea’s chicken salad was my favorite. For me, chicken salad (and I do love chicken salad) is always the last thing I make with the roasted chicken that goes from Sunday dinner, to a chicken and gravy sandwich, to an omelet with vegetables and chicken, and, three days later, chicken salad. For Andrea, it is the first meal, which begins with poached chicken tenders. And she says it is even better the next day.

Chicken Salad
From Andrea Ackerman, Ed.D.,  Nonaka resident and assistant chair of the Groton School Board

As with most savory dishes, this is approximately how Andrea makes it.  If you like more of one thing or less of another, taste as you go.

Yield: serves 2 (for dinner) or 4 (for lunch)

1 pound chicken tenders
Sprinkle with garlic salt, steam and let cool. Cut into ½-inch cubes.

1 cup mayonnaise (she likes Cain’s but I’m sure Hellman’s would be fine)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Garlic salt/garlic powder/pepper
1 full teaspoon celery seed

Cubed chicken
1 small onion, diced
1 or 2 celery stalks, diced
¼ cup dried cranberries (or Craisins)
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼  cup chopped walnuts
Season to taste with garlic salt/garlic powder/pepper

Fold in dressing. Add more mayonnaise if it seems dry.

Again, these measurements are good guesses, and everything tastes better the next day.

Nibbles: New (to me) Restaurants

I don’t write restaurant reviews anymore. Mostly I cook, write about cooking and eat my own food. I do go out to eat, but often only to restaurants I love. But in a one-week span, I ate at two new restaurants and one I reviewed almost 25 years ago.

The nearly-three-decades-old restaurant is the Willimantic Brewing Company in Willimantic. It is bigger, as is the menu. We shared barbecued pork sliders and chicken pesto sliders. Both were luscious.

At a new place in Norwich, These Guys, I had a superb Caesar salad, a roast vegetable grilled cheese sandwich and, instead of fries, I had a side of Brussels sprouts. All terrific.

At Smokash, in Uncasville, I had pierogis, kielbasa and sauerkraut. Two days later I ordered it again and took it to a Polish friend who was in the hospital.

Restaurants are alive and well, even north and west of the shoreline.

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. 

Estuary Council Offers Support Groups, Classes

estuary council logoAREAWIDE – The Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook has support groups that meet several times a month at the center located at 220 Main St., Old Saybrook. Better Breathers meets the first and third Thursdays at 1:30 p.m., Diabetes Support the second Thursday of each month at 9 a.m., Stroke Support the first Monday each month at 12:45 p.m., Caregiver Support the first Wednesday at 1 p.m., and Chronic Illness the last Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m.

A Tai Chi for Seniors class meets Wednesdays at 10:45 a.m. The fee is $5 a class on a walk-in basis. It is designed with the 50-plus age group in mind. Tai Chi can help improve one’s overall health and well-being. If you have issues with balance, joint pain or stress, this could be the class for you.

Several yoga classes meet regularly at the Senior Center. Gentle Yoga and Chair Yoga are offered by certified instructors, classes are walk-in, ongoing and open to anyone age 50 and up. Wear loose-fitting clothing and come join the fun.

For more information, call the Estuary Council at (860) 388-1611 ext. 204 or visit the website at www.ecsenior.org.

The Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. – Regional Senior Center serves Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.


Senator Linares Visits Middlesex Community College

linares photoSen. Art Linares (center) visited Middlesex Community College to speak to students in Jane Stamler’s political science class on March 8. Linares discussed his duties as a state senator and the reasons why he chose public service.  He urged the students to consider ways in which they can serve their communities.  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 and at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov.

TTYS Host Mental Health First Aid Training, May 10 and 17

Tri-Town Youth Services, in collaboration with Rushford Center and with funding from Middlesex United Way and Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services, will offer the 8-hour training certification course, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in two parts from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Deep River Public Library, Community Room, on May 10 and 17.  Teaching a five-step action plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions and secure appropriate care for the individual, MHFA introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments.  This CPR-like program is effective in improving trainees’ knowledge of mental health disorders, reducing stigma, and increasing the amount of help provided to individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis or developing a mental health concern.

With preference to residents and employees of Middlesex County, anyone can take the 8-hour Mental Health First Aid course – including first responders, faith community leaders, human resource professionals, teachers, individuals who typically work, with the general public, parents, other concerned citizens, etc. – to help them identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.

For more information or to register, please call Christine Culver at 203-630-5261 or email her at Christine.culver@hhchealth.org

Tri-Town Youth Services supports and advances the families, youth and communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex.  We coordinate and provide resources needed to make positive choices, reduce substance abuse, and strengthen the relationships that matter most.  Discover programs and information for families, as well as opportunities for community collaboration at www.tritownys.org

YMCA ‘Grow Fit’ Program Aims to Keep Teens and Tweens Active After School

pho_facilymcaAREAWIDE – The Valley Shore YMCA has just launched a new non-competitive fitness program for children ages 11 to 18, thanks to a generous donation from the Brady Family Foundation.

Grow Fit is fitness-based training for small groups (five per group).  The objective is to keep teens and tweens active after school, provide healthy social interaction and aid in battling obesity and related health issues.  Participants will experience improved endurance, strength, coordination, energy and self-esteem.  Held Monday through Friday, participants are able to choose to attend the 3 or 4 p.m. session each day.

Grow Fit is led by David Fernandes, a member of the US National Champion Rugby Team in 2015 who played in the Premier Soccer League. He has a degree in physical education and kinesiology, so Grow Fit participants will experience a high-quality training program.  Along with his athletic accomplishments, David is also the director for the Westbrook Park & Rec Summer Camp Program.

“David has the perfect set of experiences to lead Grow Fit,” remarked Ellen Nichele, wellness coordinator for the Valley Shore Y. “He brings a wealth of athletic, health and wellness knowledge while being able to relate and make connections with children. He will ensure Grow Fit is fun and a program that kids will want to be a part of.”

Grow Fit will be held in the Valley Shore Y’s Health and Wellness Center. Students will utilize the weight room, cardio room and functional training room. Outdoor activities will be incorporated, weather permitting.  The fee for unlimited sessions per week is $85 per month for Y members and $170 per month for folks not members of the Y.

Any questions, please call Ellen Nichele at 860-399-9622 ext. 121 or email enichele@vsymca.org.

May Breakfast and Mother’s Day Gift Fair, May 7

ESSEX – On the day of the May Market in Essex Village, Saturday, May 7, the First Congregational Church in Essex, UCC, is sponsoring a May Breakfast from 6:30 to 10 a.m. in the church’s Fellowship Hall, 6 Methodist Hill in Essex.

The breakfast is a tradition that dates back nearly one hundred years. A complete breakfast will be prepared and served by church members. The menu includes pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, coffee, tea, juice and homemade muffins. The cost is $7 for adults and $3 for children under 12. Tickets are available at the door.

New this year is the Mother’s Day Gift Fair, held during and after the May Breakfast, from 6:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Choose from a selection of gifts priced from $10 to $40 that includes breakfast, Italian dinner and personal beauty gift baskets; handcrafts including jewelry, aprons, silk scarves and colorful handbags; fine chocolates and home-baked pies; exotic shells; and Sfera and Montouck fine linens. A silent auction will feature gift certificates to area merchants.

Proceeds from the breakfast and gift fair go to support the missions of the church. For more information, call the Church Office at 860-767-8097.


Cooking it up! Members of the First Congregational Church in Essex preparing for the Mother's Day Gift Fair and May Breakfast on May 7 are: (l to r) Lillian Mosa, Rick McGrath, Audrey Lyons and Judy Greene, all of Essex; and Joan Hill of Ivoryton. Photo courtesy of Delcie McGrath.

Members of the First Congregational Church in Essex preparing for the Mother’s Day Gift Fair and May Breakfast on May 7 are: (l to r) Lillian Mosa, Rick McGrath, Audrey Lyons and Judy Greene, all of Essex; and Joan Hill of Ivoryton. Photo courtesy of Delcie McGrath.

Celebrate International Pilates Day, May 7, in Westbrook

pilates picWESTBROOK – Fitness on the Water, the shoreline’s newest state-of-the art Pilates studio owned by Essex Wellness Center, is now open at 1921 Boston Post Road (Trolley Square) in Westbrook. A grand opening, plus free classes will be offered on Saturday, May 7, International Pilates Day, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Pilates reformer and tower demos will occur throughout the morning as well.

The schedule is:

8 – 8:45 a.m.     Mat Pilates

9 – 9:45 a.m.     Barre (using the ballet barre)

10 – 10:45 a.m. Mat Pilates (using bands and foam rollers)

11 – 11:45 a.m. Barre (using the ballet barre)

Prizes from area businesses and Essex Wellness Center will be raffled off, with 100 percent of proceeds going to SARAH. Additional donations of any amount will also be accepted on May 7 for SARAH. SARAH serves Connecticut and the shoreline communities, providing early intervention, life skills, residential support and employment support for adults with intellectual and other disabilities.

Coffee and refreshments will be provided by Ashlawn Farm Coffee in Old Saybrook.

International Pilates Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of May throughout the world. Pilates is known to improve posture and balance, core strength and stability, flexibility, stamina and an overall feeling of wellness. Pilates provides a low-impact full-body workout and is suited for beginners as well as athletic cross training.

For more information, visit www.essexwellnessctr.com or www.fitnessonthewater.com or call (860) 767-7770 or (860) 391-8735.


FloGris Offers Free Admission to All, Saturday, May 7

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7.

Families are invited to create hands-on crafts during Community Free Day on May 7.

OLD LYME – The Florence Griswold Museum presents its annual Community Free Day on Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event offers free admission to the museum’s 11-acre campus on Lyme Street in Old Lyme, and includes family activities as well as two performances by Master Storyteller Tom Lee.

A performer for all ages, Lee will present “Mysteries at the Museum: Stories That’ll Make You Think” at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. With training in classical theater, Lee has been performing in museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art for over 15 years (www.tomleestoryteller.com). The museum will also offer a special family craft activity in the Hartman Education Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a scavenger hunt, and a “Can You Find Me” art hunt.

“Our Community Free Day is a great way for all ages to spend the day at the museum,” said David D.J. Rau, Director of Education and Outreach. “The fun and educational activities planned for this year are a wonderful introduction for the many first-time visitors we get on this annual day.”

Museum-goers visiting the original Florence Griswold House are treated to guides sharing stories of the Lyme Art Colony artists who stayed with Florence Griswold in the boardinghouse over 100 years ago. The house, decorated as it was in 1910, includes the original paintings that artists created on the door and wall panels of the house.

On view in the museum’s Krieble Gallery is “Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum.” The exhibition details the growth of the museum’s art collection over the past 40 years, including a range of American art from the Tonalist style of the late 1800s to today’s modern Abstraction.

Community Free Day attendees can also visit the Chadwick Art Studio, presented as it would have looked in 1920; the Rafal Landscape Center; as well as the museum’s gardens and grounds along the Lieutenant River.

A historic center for American art, the Florence Griswold Museum is considered the Home of American Impressionism. The museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95. For additional information contact the museum at 860-434-5542 or visit  www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org.

flo gris 2

Visitors will hear about life in an artists’ boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum.

Visitors will hear about life in an artists’ boardinghouse at the Florence Griswold Museum.

Essex May Market Set for May 7, Rain or Shine

Essex Garden Club members prepare for the annual May Market

Essex Garden Club members prepare for the annual May Market

ESSEX – Mark your calendars for the Essex May Market, Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, in the town park on Main Street in Essex Village.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, there will be herbs and herbal gift creations as well as the Garden Club’s famous garlic salt, made from a closely guarded secret recipe since 1953.

Always the star of Essex May Market are the ever-popular Members’ Plants.  People have been coming to Essex on May Market day for years from all over New England to take advantage of the healthy plants dug and nurtured by the Garden Club members.  These plants include perennials, groundcovers, grasses and shrubs dug and potted by club members.  An early sell-out in the Members’ Plants area each year are the many varieties of tomato plants grown from seed.  There will be 300 tomato plants, including many heirloom varieties guaranteed to grow in our climate. There will also be a colorful assortment of annuals and hanging baskets for sale.  Knowledgeable Garden Club members will be available to help with any questions on caring for the plants.  Back by popular demand this year is the all-natural compost available for sale.

The “Treasures” section is a great place to find gently used pieces of jewelry, garden pieces, planters, books, children’s items, gardening tools and a mix of odds and ends. The Silent Auction will have an incredible array of goods and services donated from many generous merchants. Local CT breads and honey will be for sale.

The May Market Café offers donuts and coffee starting in the morning and light lunch fare at midday.

May Market is the Garden Club’s only annual fundraising event.  Proceeds support civic improvement projects, such as beautifying town parks and traffic islands in Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton.  Plantings are also purchased for the Essex Town Hall, Town Park and for public schools serving Essex students.  Funds also provide scholarships for high school seniors and college students, summer camperships for young students, and educational programs for Essex Elementary School and John Winthrop Middle School.

Author Speaks on ‘Revolutionary Trees & Birth of America’ at Essex Library

Eric Rutkow-JacketESSEX— On Monday, March 7, at 2 p.m. in Essex Town Hall, the Essex Land Trust and the Essex Garden Club will be jointly hosting a lecture by author Eric Rutkow, whose book “American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation” tells the extraordinary story of the relationship between Americans and their trees across the entire span of the nation’s history.

As symbols of liberty, community, and civilization, trees are perhaps the loudest silent figures in America’s complicated history. Without trees, there would have been no cities, ships, railroads, stockyards, wagons, barrels, furniture, newspapers, rifles, or firewood.  In an entertaining and informative presentation, Rutkow re-conceives America’s historical relationship with the trees and forests that shaped the development of the nation.

Rutkow is renowned as a “promising young historian.” He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, who has worked as a lawyer on environmental and corporate issues. He currently splits his time between New York City and New Haven, Conn., where he is pursuing a doctorate in American history at Yale. ‘American Canopy’ is his first book.

Essex Art Association Juried Exhibition Opens May 6

ESSEX – The Essex Art Association will open its 2016 season with the exhibition themed “Story Lines.” This show is juried for entries as well as for awards. The juror, Suzanne Siegel, is a Connecticut artist living and working in Guilford. A total of $1700 in award money will be given to exhibiting artists for their work in various media.

Each season five EAA artists are selected by a juror to exhibit their work in the EAA’s small “Exit Gallery” (labeled such because the EXIT sign for the gallery is located directly above the entrance to that small gallery!).

"Revelation" - Judith Osborne

“Revelation” – Judith Osborne

The Exit Gallery artist during this first exhibition is Judith Osborne. As an artist working with poems and spiritual texts, Judith is interested in both verbal and non-verbal ways of knowing and understanding. By continually returning to the space where verbal and non-verbal meet, she sinks more deeply into the meaning (intended and otherwise) of her chosen texts. She has titled her exhibit, “Staining the Wind.” To view more of Judith’s work, visit jboart.com.

The “Story Lines” exhibition opening will be held Friday, May 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. Both exhibits are open at no charge to the public, May 7-28.

The Essex Art Association Gallery is located in the sunny yellow building in the center of Essex at 10 North Main Street. Gallery hours are 1-5 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays. For more information, call 860-767-8996.


Gallery Openings & Receptions at May Daze Night, May 6

CHESTER – On Friday evening, May 6, when Chester Center celebrates its annual May Daze Night, two of Chester’s well-known art galleries will be hosting opening receptions from 5 to 8 p.m.

Leif Nilsson will have a reception for his exhibit of his new gouache paintings done in the United Kingdom this spring. Gouache is a new medium for him to explore, Leif said, adding, “Especially for traveling, it dries so quickly and is easy to move around with.” The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery is at One Spring Street. More information at http://www.nilssonstudio.com

"Spring in Chewstoke, England" - gouache, 7 x 11 inches by Leif Nilsson 2016 ©

“Spring in Chewstoke, England” – gouache, 7 x 11 inches by Leif Nilsson 2016 ©

Chester Gallery, at 76 Main Street, opens “Housing for the Birds,” with bird houses by Hans Lohse, works on paper by Elizabeth Gourlay, and etching and engraving by Richard Ziemann. Meet the artists at the reception till 8 p.m. This show will remain up through the summer.

Photo by Tracey Kroll

Photo by Tracey Kroll

Chester’s May Daze Night also includes store events and refreshments throughout the Center. At 8 p.m., stay for some street dancing to music by DJ Gary Torello, in celebration of the almost done Main Street Bridge reconstruction. Watch for more information at Facebook.com/visitchesterct or Finditinchesterct.wordpress.com.

WWII Veteran and Author Speaks in Deep River, May 6


DEEP RIVER – To commemorate Memorial Day 2016, the Adult Fellowship of the Deep River Congregational Church welcomes an American hero, Dave Mann, on Friday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m.

Now age 90, Dave Mann has written a book, “What I Fought For,” about his experiences in World War II.

He went to war just days after his 18th birthday, not fully understanding what he was getting into. He was young, green, inexperienced. He didn’t even shave. When he came back three years later, he had seen horrendous battle, lost countless buddies, and cheated death more than once. He did shave now, but very carefully…around the scars. David Mann won a Purple Heart, survived the attack on D-Day, fought the Battle of the Bulge, and still gets a lump in his throat each time he sees our flag.

Today, this former radio personality and much sought-after national speaker speaks out about the war, about peace, about the American flag, and about what it means to love your country so much you would do it all over again. His book will be available for purchase that evening.

To attend, please call the church office at 860-526-5045. The Deep River Congregational Church is in the center of Deep River, on Rte. 154.

Essex Winter Series Presents Patricia Schuman in “Winter Romance” Today

Patricia Schuman

Patricia Schuman

AREAWIDE – Essex Winter Series will present the internationally renowned soprano Patricia Schuman on Sunday, March 6, at 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River. In a delightful program entitled “Winter Romance,” featuring music by Romantic-era early twentieth-century composers as well as selections from musical theater, Ms. Schuman will be joined by pianist Douglas Dickson and harpist Megan Sesma for the performance.

Ms. Schuman has appeared at the most distinguished opera houses throughout Europe and the United States, including the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, La Scala, the Salzburg Festival, and the Metropolitan Opera among many, many others. She has performed frequently on the Essex Winter Series, often with her husband, bass David Pittsinger, and is an audience favorite.

“Winter Romance” includes music for soprano and piano by three Spanish composers – Manuel de Falla, Reveriano Soutullo and Geronimo Gimenez – as well as three songs by Sergei Rachmaninoff and music by Antonin Dvorak.  The harp will be featured in three songs by English composer Benjamin Britten.

A special guest artist, also known for a brilliant operatic career, but whose identity will not be revealed until the performance, will sing opera duets by Offenbach and Delibes with Patricia Schuman.

“I decided on the theme of ‘Winter Romance’ for this program,” says Patricia Schuman, “because I feel that after the gray, silent days of winter, one needs the lush romanticism of Rachmaninoff and Dvorak, as well as the passion of de Falla. I added the Britten pieces as a contrast, since they are yin and yang, brittle and poignant at the same time.”

She continues, “Much of the music I selected is based on the folk music of the country from which it comes. De Falla has Spanish dances as the format for his seven popular songs; Britten arranges Irish popular melodies by Thomas Moore into soulful ballads. The Rachmaninoff and Dvorak are simply gorgeous romantic songs. Interspersed with the songs are some arias and operatic duets with my ‘special surprise guest.’ I think it will be an inhalation of passion fruit after the bare landscape of winter.”

The March 6 concert is co-sponsored by Essex Savings Bank. The piano sponsor is Essex Meadows.

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.

Inaugural Meeting of ‘Friends of Whalebone Cove’ Set for Today, Group Plans to Protect Famous Tidal Wetland

The newly formed friends of Whalebone Cove are working to prevent this sort of activity in the waterways.

The newly formed ‘Friends of Whalebone Cove’ are working to preserve and protect the Cove’s fragile ecosystem.

A new community conservation group to protect Whalebone Cove, a freshwater tidal marsh along the Connecticut river in Hadlyme recognized internationally for its wildlife habitat, will hold its first organizational meeting this coming Sunday, March 6.

Calling the group “Friends of Whalebone Cove” (FOWC), the organizers say their purpose is to “create a proactive, community-based constituency whose mission is to preserve and protect the habitat and fragile eco-systems of Whalebone Cove.”

Much of Whalebone Cove is a nature preserve that is part of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge (www.fws.gov/refuge/silvio_o_conte) under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFW). The Refuge owns and manages 116 acres of marshland in Whalebone Cove and upland along its shores.

Prior to being taken over by USFW, the Whalebone Cove preserve was under the protection of The Nature Conservancy.

As part of the Connecticut River estuary, the Cove is listed in the Ramsar Convention on International Wetlands (www.ramsar.org) as tidal marshlands on the Connecticut River that constitute a “wetlands complex of international importance.”

The Ramsar citation specifically notes that Whalebone Cove has one of the largest stands of wild rice in the state. Except at high tide, most of the Cove is open marshland covered by wild rice stands with relatively narrow channels where Whalebone Creek winds its way through the Cove to the main stem of the Connecticut River.

Brian Slater, one of the group’s leaders who is filing the incorporation documents creating FOWC, said the creation of the organization was conceived by many of those living around the Cove and others in the Hadlyme area because of increased speeding motor boat and jet ski traffic in the Cove in recent years, damaging wetland plants and disrupting birds and other wildlife that make the Cove their home.

Slater said “Our goal is to develop a master plan for protection of the Cove through a collaborative effort involving all those who have a stake in Whalebone Cove – homeowners along its shores and those living nearby, the Silvio O. Conte Refuge, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), hunters, fishing enthusiasts, canoeing and kayaking groups, Audubon groups, the Towns of Lyme and East Haddam, The Nature Conservancy, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, the Lyme Land Conservation Trust, the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, and others who want to protect the Cove.”

“Such a plan”, said Slater, “should carefully evaluate the habitat, plants, wildlife and eco-systems of the Cove and the surrounding uplands and watershed and propose an environmental management plan that can be both implemented and enforced by those entrusted with stewarding the Cove and its fragile ecosystems for the public trust.”

FOWC has written a letter to Connecticut DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee asking that he appoint a blue ribbon commission to conduct the research and develop the management plan. FOWC also asked that Commissioner Klee either deny or defer approval on any applications for new docks in the Cove until the management plan can be developed and implemented. Currently there are no docks in the Cove.

2014-06-06 10.37.22_motorboat

“We are very concerned that the installation of docks permitted for motor boat use will greatly increase the amount of motorized watercraft in the Cove,” said Slater. “There’s already too much jet ski and speeding motorboat traffic in the Cove. Those living on the Cove have even seen boats towing water skiers crisscrossing the wild rice plants at high tide. Something has to be done to protect the birds and marine life that give birth and raise their young in the Cove.”

Slater urged all those “who treasure Whalebone Cove and the many species of birds, turtles, fish, reptiles, amphibians, beaver, and rare flora and fauna that make their home in it to attend the meeting, whether they live in the Hadlyme area or beyond.”

Expected to be at the meeting will be representatives from USFW, DEEP, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and several other conservation organizations.

The meeting will be at 4 p.m., Sunday, March 6, at Hadlyme Public Hall, 1 Day Hill Rd., in Lyme, which is at the intersection of Ferry Rd. (Rte. 148), Joshuatown Rd., and Day Hill Rd. Representatives from the Silvio O. Conte Refuge will make a short presentation on the history and mission of the Conte Refuge system, which includes nature preserves throughout the Connecticut River Valley in four states.

Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call 860-322-4021 or email fowchadlyme@gmail.com

“Connecticut History’s Bad Boys” Annual Lecture Series in Essex Concludes Today

ESSEX – Explore the dark side of the state’s past this winter at “Connecticut History’s Bad Boys,” a lecture series presented by Essex Historical Society and Essex Meadows on Sundays at 3 p.m.

The series concludes on Sunday, March 6, as Eric D. Lehman, author of Homegrown Terror: Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London,  discusses how Connecticut native Benedict Arnold and 1,600 British soldiers and loyalists captured Fort Griswold and burned down the settlement of New London in 1781, and explores how and why Arnold betrayed his countrymen and killed his neighbors.

Cover of “Homegrown Terror,” courtesy of Eric Lehman

Cover of “Homegrown Terror,” courtesy of Eric Lehman

These illustrated talks will be held at Essex Meadows, 30 Bokum Rd., and are free and open to the public. Each program will feature in-depth discussion about our state’s shadowy characters, such as spies, rum-runners and traitors, placing them in historical context with their equally dark and mysterious times along Connecticut’s Shoreline.

Lehman, a professor of creative writing at the University of Bridgeport, has widely published fiction, travel stories, essays and nonfiction.

More information can be found at www.essexhistory.org or by calling Essex Historical Society, 860-767-0681.

“Getting Ready for Change” Program, May 5

REGION 4 – Patricia Cournoyer runs her “Getting Ready for Change” program for fourth and fifth grade girls and their female caregivers on Thursday, May 5, at 6:30 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School library. This program costs $25 and admission is limited to 12 families.  Please call Tri-Town Youth Services at 526-3600 to register.

Letter From Paris: Cameron Obtains (Some) Concessions From Europe in Effort to Prevent ‘Brexit’

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

After 30 hours of negotiations at the European Council on Feb. 18-19, British Prime Minister David Cameron could claim some measure of victory in terms of the new concessions he obtained from the European Union (EU) to make Britain’s special status even more favorable. It is clear that he had to appear victorious in order to impress his electorate and convince Eurosceptics in his country to change their mind and vote against the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union — dubbed ‘Brexit’ — at the June 23 referendum. Cameron is obliged to hold the referendum as part of his election platform.

As he left, Cameron declared “I do not like Brussels.” A French analyst commented that was a strange way to convince his own people not to leave Europe. Although the talks lasted through the night, the process was, in fact, surprisingly rapid. There are two possible reasons for this: Cameron believed England’s economy would lose more from a ‘Brexit’ than Europe, so he had to be flexible in his demands. Furthermore, the British prime minister was fortunate to benefit from the presence of a Europe busy with more serious problems such as the migrant crisis or the surge of populism.

Since 1973 — the date of its entry into the European Union under the pro-European government of then Prime Minister Edward Heath — the United Kingdom has had one foot in Europe and one foot out: it is not part of the Eurozone, nor of the Schengen space and it did not adhere most of the fundamental principles inscribed in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. For a long time, it benefited from a special status within the EU.

British Prime Minister David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron

The demands Cameron just presented to the European Council were therefore intended to reinforce that different treatment regarding social benefits for migrant workers, independence of ‘The City’ (the financial center of London) from European financial regulations, refusal of a “Supra State” infringing upon British sovereignty, and the right to refuse further integration of the EU.

The debate over a possible ‘Brexit’ is asymetric. For England, Europe is basically a profitable market for more than 40 percent of its exports. For the core and early members of the EU – Germany, France, Benelux, Italy – the arduous construction of Europe over decades since the 1950 European Steel and Coal Community (ECSC) is an ideal and has long-term objectives.

For Europe, to part with England would have dangerous consequences by creating precedents regarding the other 27 EU members’ requests. Cameron’s suggestion to use “red cards” to give the right to national parliaments to oppose the decisions made in Brussels if they could gather 54 percent of the votes was turned down, lest it lead toward the unraveling of the European structure.

The reactions and the final comments of the main players at the negotiations were mixed.Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, called the text of the agreement “honest.”Donald Tusk,Head of the European Council, approved “a done deal.” Germany’s President Angela Merkel was putting all her energy to block a Brexit, overlooking the big English deficit (larger than that of France) and departing from the harsh words she had for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the height of the Greek debt crisis.

French President François Hollande acted as a mediator during the proceedings and also fought against the Brexit. Cameron was taken aback by Hollande’s determination to set as a red line a right of veto by Britain over the decisions taken by the Eurozone. England has only a “droit de regard” (a right to look), in the same way as the other 19 non-Eurozone members.

Cameron does not want “The City” to submit itself to European regulations and lose its beneficial tax position. The “single bookrule” of the Central European Bank (ECB) should apply to Britain without making any exception, stressed Hollande. However, England is obtaining a “discount” on the funds it paid the ECB to help with the Eurozone crisis. A letter, co-signed by the 200 largest British companies, warned Cameron against ‘Brexit.’ When the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced he was a partisan of “Brexit,” the English pound lost 2.4 percent against the US dollar – its lowest level since 2009.

For 20 years, from 1993 to 2013, the foreign-born population in Britain has more than doubled from 3.8 to 8.3 million.In the London area, 39 percent of the population is of foreign origin. A few thousand workers from Eastern Europe were expected but, in fact, 850,000 Poles arrived.This explains why Britain is protecting itself from the recent waves of immigration .

By a bilateral agreement signed at Le Touquet in 2003, England and France placed the border at the Gare du Nord railroad station in Paris. This is where all the border controls take place before boarding the Eurostar train to London. But the Le Touquet agreement did not foresee the 2015 and 2016 arrival of close to 6,000 migrants on the French side of the English Channel (called La Manche by the French) near Calais. What if ‘Brexit’ became a reality? Would the border move to Dover on the English coast? That is perhaps a strong argument against ‘Brexit’!

A frequently acrimonious attitude between England and Europe does not reflect the deep ties they share. Many British people own houses or come for the weekend to le Touquet. Go to a town market in a Perigord village and one is surrounded by people speaking English. For the two million British people living on the continent, ‘Brexit’ is a very real threat.

Nicole LoganAbout 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.

Screen-Free Family Fun with Tri-Town Youth Services, May 4 & 5

screen freeREGION 4 – To celebrate National Screen-Free Week, Tri-Town Youth Services is partnering with two local libraries to offer Screen-Free Family Fun.

Young children and their parents are invited to the Ivoryton Public Library for free vision screenings and art activities inspired by Andy Warhol on Wednesday, May 4, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.  The Essex Lions Club will conduct vision screenings with a sophisticated camera that can detect seven major eye deficiencies.

Tri-Town Youth Services invites all kids ages five and up for crafting and storytelling with projects from the book, Show Me a Story, by Emily Neuburger.  Gather at the Essex Public Library after school on Thursday, May 5, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. to make “story stones” and learn the art of bookbinding.  The afternoon will wrap up with some collaborative storytelling fun.

Both of these screen-free programs are free and open to the public.  Call Tri-Town at 860-526-3600 for more information.

Area Students Win Country School Poetry Recitation

Phineas Scott recites his winning poem.

Phineas Scott recites his winning poem.

MADISON – A panel of judges awarded first place in The Country School’s 60th Anniversary Lois MacLane Poetry Recitation to Phineas Scott, a sixth grader from Haddam. Phineas won the top honors for his masterful presentation of Wilderness by Carl Sandburg.

First held on April 26, 1957, the Lois MacLane Poetry Recitation was created by David T. MacLane, the school’s first headmaster, in honor of his sister, Lois. Each year since 1957, the entire student body has selected, memorized, and recited a poem before an audience. The youngest students recite in groups, and starting in Kindergarten, they recite individually. In Grades 5-8, the recitation is juried, with the top reciters from each grade selected to compete in the finals.

This year, 25 students competed in the finals. Judges, who included previous MacLane winners and finalists, parents of former finalists, and a former Head of School, awarded second place to eighth grader Livi Redding of Branford, reciting I Had a Guinea Golden by Emily Dickinson. Willa Wurzbach, a fifth grader from Killingworth, was awarded third place for her recitation of Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

Among the other finalists were Andre Salkin from Old Lyme, grade 8, and Philip Warren from Old Saybrook, grade 5.

The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison.

Historic ‘Dickinson Mansion’ in Essex Reduced to $2.79M

The sale price of the historic Dickinson Mansion on North Main Street in Essex has just been reduced to $2,790,000. Photo by J. Wilson.

The sale price of the historic Dickinson Mansion on North Main Street in Essex has just been reduced to $2,790,000. Photo by J. Wilson.

ESSEX — Close to the very heart of downtown Essex, the imposing Dickinson mansion is now being offered for sale with a substantial reduction from its original asking price. The historic mansion is located close to the town center of Essex and its street address is 21 North Main Street.

Originally built in 1841 by a local merchant, the landmark property is also closely connected to the family that created and produced Dickinson Witch Hazel. Edward E. Dickinson bought the mansion property in 1888 and the mansion stayed in the Dickinson family until 1971.

The 20-room mansion, which today has 10 fireplaces and many artisan-crafted details, has been re-created in the Greek revival style and sits on a 0.62 acre site. The expansive mansion has 20 rooms, four bedrooms, four bathrooms and two entertainment rooms.

The original sales price for the property was reduced, according to Jeanne Rutigliano, managing broker of Coldwell Banker in Essex, because in her view, “Many home buyers looking in the shoreline area are seeking water-frontage.”   

The Dickinson Mansion has an attractive side entrance with distinctive columns.

The Dickinson Mansion has an attractive side entrance with distinctive columns.

The current owners of the Dickinson Mansion are Famah Sells and Greg Hoffman, who bought the property in 2000. “It’s a beautiful, great house, and we’ve done a lot to improve it,” Sells wrote in a recent summary of the property, adding, “We have opened our home numerous times for community and charity events.”

In regard to restoring the property, Sells said, “We tried to do restorations versus reconstruction. We kept as many of the original details as possible. That’s what the beauty of this house is.” 

The present owners also noted, “The interior of the mansion has been meticulously restored and updated without compromising the integrity of the original structure. Every space from the formal living room and the 1,000 square foot master suite, to the kitchen’s double pantries and the state-of-the art home theater is filled with imaginative details.”

Among recent improvements at the Dickinson Mansion are the installation of high velocity air conditioning and a “commercial grade” generator.

Now the hope is for a sensitive buyer to purchase this unique Essex property.

Meet Human Books at Human Library Forum at CBSRZ, Sunday – All Welcome

human library poster VNN
The town of Chester will be the home of a “first” in Connecticut – the first Human Library Forum – on Sunday, March 6.

Born in Denmark and brought to the Chester Public Library in 2014 by Sue Zirlen, the Human Library provides a place where the “books” are living people who volunteer to share their stories, passion and/or life experiences with members of the community.

On March 6, the Human Library Forum invites attendees to experience the world of “human books” first-hand by providing an opportunity for one-on-one conversations with a “book” that piques their interest.

The forum is being held at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester, in conjunction with the synagogue’s Books & Bagels monthly programs, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Following a brief introduction to the Human Library concept, attendees will have an opportunity for several 20-minute conversations with the “books.” The “book” titles are:

The Buzz in Chester – Backyard Beekeeping

Surviving and Thriving as an Adult College Student

The Ukelele

Patchwork and Quilting

Tap Your Trees!

Why Isn’t Our Economy Growing Faster?

Fantasy Sports

Nonviolent communication

Eating Wheat and Gluten Free

Girl – Woman – Widow

The Human Library and Me

Sustainable Buddhist

Refugee – Filmmaker – Photographer

The Human Library Forum is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served during the morning. The forum will conclude around 11:30 a.m. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is at 55 East King’s Highway, off Rte. 154, in Chester.

For more information, call Chester Library at 860-526-0018 or CBSRZ at 860-526-8920 or visit Facebook.com/ChesterCTPublicLibrary.

Sinfonia and String Ensemble in Free Concert, May 3

Community Music School's String Ensemble in concert

Community Music School’s String Ensemble in concert

DEEP RIVER – On Tuesday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m., nearly 50 string musicians will take the stage at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River for the Community Music School’s Sinfonia and String Ensemble Concert. Ranging in age from eight to eighty-four, members of the two multi-generational performance groups will play a variety of classical pieces, including works by Bach, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, as well as popular movie music, fiddle tunes and pop, all under the direction of Martha Herrle. The concert is free and open to the public.

Sinfonia and String Ensemble members come from several shoreline towns (and beyond) to rehearse together at Old Saybrook High School for 26 weeks beginning in September and ending just prior to the annual concert performance. Compared to String Ensemble’s modest start in 2002, with just four children and one senior adult, the orchestra’s growth is a testament to its all-inclusive policy of being open to all intermediate to advanced string musicians, regardless of age and with no audition requirement.  It also serves as a great opportunity for family members to share in their musical interests and spend time together.

For more information, go to www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026. The Community Music School, located at 90 Main Street in Centerbrook, is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to building community through music since 1983.

Essex Wellness Center Offers Free Lecture on How to Detox, March 12

Have you ever thought about doing a detox but not sure if it’s worth it, or how to do it? Dr. Dana Krete will discuss the pivotal role the liver plays in our overall health and well being, why periodic detoxes are important, and how to go about doing one that will fit in with your life. Dr. Krete will be offering a four-week Group Detox Program starting in April.

Presented by:       Dr. Dana Krete, Naturopathic & Chinese Medicine, Acupunturist

Date and Time:   Saturday, March 12,  2016    1:30-3:00pm

Format:                 60 Minutes Lecture followed by 30 Minutes Q&A

Place:                     8 Novelty Lane, Upstairs, Essex Village

Cost:                       FREE         Pre-registration required as space is limited.  Go to:  https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=255686     Click on:  “Workshops”, Find the Lecture you wish to sign up for and click “Sign Up”     or  Email info@essexwellnessctr.com or call 860-767-7770 to pre-register.

About the Presenter:

Dana Krete ND

Dr. Dana Krete earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Master of Acupuncture at National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. In addition to her in-depth knowledge of Naturopathic and Chinese medicine, she also has a background in health and fitness as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, triathlete and Division I college scholarship athlete.

Dr. Krete uses a multidisciplinary approach to treatment including acupuncture, Chinese and Western herbs, homeopathy, nutritional supplements, and especially enjoys providing nutritional counseling.

Staying true to the roots of both Chinese and Naturopathic medicine, every patient is treated as a whole person and as an individual. She enjoys treating patients of all ages and, as a mother of two, she is very happy to see children in her practice. She has experience treating a vast array of medical conditions from colicky infants and children with ear infections to autoimmune conditions, diabetes and mood issues such as anxiety and depression.

She also has a particular interest in treating hormonal imbalances including PMS and menopause, digestive disorders, fatigue, anxiety, depression and insomnia, and also musculoskeletal pain including sciatica, low back and neck pain. With her extensive interest and knowledge in nutrition and fitness, she also works with HMHB to help patients whose primary goal is weight loss or optimizing wellness.

Essex Wellness Center Expands Services to Include Advanced Health & Longevity

Essex Wellness Center at Novelty Ln. in Essex.

Essex Wellness Center at Novelty Ln. in Essex.

Essex Wellness Center is now offering specialized longevity services geared toward the 50+ crowd interested in aging well physically, mentally and emotionally.

The nation’s 90-and-older population nearly tripled over the past three decades, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and National Institute on Aging, and that trend continues to grow.

“While aging puts a person at risk for several health issues, illness and disability are not inevitable,“ said Essex Wellness Center Founder Heidi E. Kunzli, MS, LADC, adding, “Working on your health now improves the odds for good health later. Advancing age requires advanced health strategies to increase longevity with a high ‘active life expectancy.’ This is a projection of how long a person will stay independent, healthy and well.”

Unmanaged aging can adversely affect quality of life with conditions resulting in:

  • Insomnia
  • Memory decline
  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Chronic pain
  • Circulatory issues
  • Acute or chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Poor self esteem and body image
  • Dwindling energy
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Medication side effects and interactions
  • Cancer, hypertension and other aging-related diseases

If this isn’t what you see for yourself as you acknowledge the passage of time, Advanced Health & Longevity offers an array of evidence-based integrative interventions that include complete functional testing and assessments, nutrition consultation, one-on-one stress management, acupuncture, specialized therapeutic massage, hypnosis, health coaching, fitness programming, injectables, facial enhancements and other advanced aesthetics, body wraps, scrubs and more.

Naturopathic physicians Dana Krete, ND, and Derrick Schull, ND, lead a team of highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioners, each of whom is highly regarded as being “the best of the best” in their specific field. Both Drs. Krete and Schull treat conditions related to the “dis-ease” of aging.

While Dr. Krete is known for her work with functional assessment and natural treatment for chronic conditions, nutrition, supplements, specially formulated tinctures and Chinese medicine, Dr. Schull’s work has been focused on treating pain and discomfort related to the neuromuscular and skeletal systems. He is also proficient with physical therapy techniques, neurofeedback and craniosacral therapy. Acupuncturist Alicia DeMartin, LAc, specializes in orthopedic conditions such as arthritis, injuries and post-surgical pain following joint replacement.


Advanced Health & Longevity is located directly behind Essex Wellness Center’s anchor location at 28 Main Street in Essex Village with free off-street parking. New patients are being accepted for primary care and a la carte services. Essex Wellness Center is happy to complement care received through a patient’s existing medical professionals and specialists. Some major insurance is accepted; check with your insurance provider.

For more information, call 860.767.7770 or visit essexwellnessctr.com.

Essex Wellness Center, located at 28 Main Street and 8 Novelty Lane in historic Essex Village, Connecticut, was founded in 2014 to provide personalized wellness programs through a wide range of holistic and complementary therapies that help people attain long-lasting health improvement. The Center attracts visitors from the Connecticut shoreline and Connecticut River Valley areas as well as destination travelers looking for a day or weekend of self-improvement classes and one-on-one coaching. For information, visit www.essexwellnessctr.com or call 860.767.7770.

Talking Transportation: Cross Country by Amtrak

An Amtrak dining car, from the Amtrak blog

An Amtrak dining car, from the Amtrak blog

A recent business trip took me to Dallas on a crowded, turbulent 3 ½ hour flight from LaGuardia. But the return trip was a real treat:  two days and nights on Amtrak, for free.

Riding a lot of Acela trains in the Northeast Corridor, I’ve built up a ton of Amtrak Guest Rewards points, augmented by their co-branded credit card. So when I checked my calendar and the Amtrak website, I saw an opportunity to enjoy a leisurely ride home in a full bedroom, meals included, gratis.

The long distance trains I rode from Dallas to Chicago (The Texas Eagle) and Chicago to Washington, D.C. (The Capitol Ltd) were all “Superliners”, i.e., double-deck cars with a variety of accommodations, including coaches and sleeping cars.

Each train also had a diner and an observation car, though the sightseeing through Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois wasn’t exactly memorable. But the second leg of the trip through the hills and river valleys of Pennsylvania and Maryland was gorgeous. “Fly over” country sure looks different from an elevation of about 20 feet.

My bedroom was equipped with a big couch that folded down into an almost queen-sized bed, surprisingly comfortable for sleeping. The private commode doubled as a shower.

Firing up my radio scanner, pre-set to the railroads’ frequencies, I followed the action as the conductor and engineer received instructions from a dispatcher hundreds of miles away.

The food was good, all cooked to order, and included in my first class fare. Dining was communal, one of the fun parts of train travel:  getting to meet real folks from across the U.S., chatting about their travels, their work – everything except politics.

In Chicago and Washington D.C., where I had time between train connections, I enjoyed Amtrak’s “Metropolitan Lounge” for first class passengers, complete with free Wifi, snacks and priority boarding. I also had time to explore those cities’ beautifully restored train stations jammed with commuters, Amtrak passengers, shops and restaurants.

To their credit, Amtrak does a great job with their money-losing long distance trains. The service is truly First Class, the ride smooth and, for the most part, on time (thanks to a heavily padded timetable).  We had only two small delays… one caused by another Amtrak train colliding with a truck at a grade crossing (no injuries), the other by a boulder on the tracks that needed to be removed.

Because demand is high and the supply of sleepers is low, fares for long distance Amtrak trains are pricey and booked many weeks in advance. Roundtrip airfare from New York to Dallas is as low as $230.  But one-way on Amtrak is $299 in coach and $700+ in a roomette.  Of course with Amtrak it’s like getting two nights of hotel plus meals, but to me it’s well worth it.

So next time you’re planning a long distance trip, turn it into a journey. Take the train!

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


The Country School Hosts Screening of “Most Likely to Succeed” and Panel Discussion

MADISON – The Country School welcomed 200 educators, parents, and students to campus for a screening of Most Likely to Succeed, the thought-provoking film about the future of education. A panel discussion after the screening featured Tom Scarice, Superintendent of the Madison Public Schools; Douglas Lyons, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools; and Laura Pappano, an award-winning journalist who has written widely about school reform. John Fixx, Head of School at The Country School, moderated the discussion.

Most Likely to Succeed, directed by Greg Whitely, examines the current educational system in the United States and considers the ways it may need to change if it is to prepare the current generation of students for success in the future. The film screening and panel discussion, which were free and open to the public, came as part of The Country School’s Teacher Institute – Partnering with Parents series. As a community dedicated to teaching and learning, The Country School is committed to offering educational opportunities not only to students, but to parents, teachers, and the broader public.

The Country School, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active hands-on learning and a curriculum that focuses on the whole child. In addition to vigorous academics, The Country School is committed to a vital arts program, strong offerings in physical education, and challenging opportunities for growth. Signature programs include STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, and Outdoor Education. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.


The panel discussion featured (L-R) Douglas Lyons, Laura Pappano, Tom Scarice and John Fixx

The panel discussion featured (L-R) Douglas Lyons, Laura Pappano, Tom Scarice and John Fixx