December 11, 2018

Archives for April 2016

The Meadows Brothers Play a ‘Concert in the Garden’

Photo courtesy of the Meadows Brothers

Photo courtesy of the Meadows Brothers

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson hosts another Concert in the Garden on Sunday, April 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. This time the Meadows Brothers will be featured at the Spring Street Studio and Gallery at 1 Spring St., Chester Center.

Ian and Dustin Meadows have been playing music together for most of their lives. In 2011 they made the decision to leave the band they were playing in and strike out on their own as a duo. Their distinct brand of roots music draws inspiration from a huge list of influences; combining folk, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll genres into what the Boston Globe calls “an engagingly twangy sibling sound all their own.”

The brothers’ original songs, which they typically write together, have been praised for their emotive, relatable lyrics and memorable hooks. Several of their tunes have won awards and have been covered by international acts.

Gates open a half hour before the show; first come first seated.  Outside bistro-style seating in the amphitheater; inside the gallery if inclement weather. 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

 

 

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Singers Invited to First ‘Summer Sing’ of the Season: Mozart’s “Requiem,” June 13

mozartOLD SAYBROOK — The first ‘Summer Sing of the season’ will feature Barry Asch of Cappella Cantorum directing Mozart’s “Requiem” on Monday, June 13, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook.

The event, which features professional soloists, is co-sponsored by two shoreline choral groups, Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio.

All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work. Registration is at 7 p.m.; the sing begins at 7:30. An $8 fee covers the costs of the event. Scores will be available, bring yours if you have it. The church is air-conditioned.

For more information, call (860) 388-4110 or (860) 434-9135 or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org.

 

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VRHS Student Art Show on View at Essex Art Association

"Pink Mermaid" by Kasey O'Rourke is one of the pieces to be featured in this year's VRHS Student Art Show

“Pink Mermaid” by Kasey O’Rourke is one of the pieces to be featured in this year’s VRHS Student Art Show

2016 ESAA Poster aREGION 4 – The 2016 Valley Regional High School (VRHS) Student Art Show at the Essex Art Association will be open daily to the public the week of April 11 through April 15, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

The Essex Art Association hosts this show each year and gives away over $1,100 in prize awards to VRHS students.

An opening reception was held Wednesday, April 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

The Essex Art Association is at 10 North Main St., in Essex.

The poster painting (shown on the left) was done by student Morgan Dinwoodie.

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Old Saybrook Seeks Proposals for Mariner’s Way

old saybrook town sealOLD SAYBROOK – The Town of Old Saybrook is seeking proposals from a team of qualified consultants to further refine plans for Mariner’s Way that will lead to successful redevelopment of this area that encompasses multiple brownfields. This team of consultants should have demonstrated experience in similar planning activities that successfully revitalized an area of a community blighted by brownfields.

Planning activities will include:

Economic/Market Analysis, and Place Branding;

Current Conditions and Site Analysis;

Road and Streetscape Plan; and

Site Reuse/Redevelopment and Façade Improvement Plan.

All elements will include public input from informational meetings and charrettes.

The Town expects the results to yield a final report that refines the concepts established in the Mariner’s Way Plan and outlines specific steps to move the plan forward.

Funding for this project is provided by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The RFP is available on the Town’s website at www.oldsaybrookct.gov. Printed copies of the RFP are available at the Land Use Dept., 302 Main St., Old Saybrook, CT, 06475. The deadline to submit completed proposals is 3 p.m., Thursday, May 12, 2016.

 

AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER: The Town of Old Saybrook encourages Minority/Women/Small Business Enterprises to respond to the Request for Proposals.

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Historical Weddings Featured at Deep River Tea

Sue Pire, Essex, with her mother Georgiana Czaplicki of Clinton. The dress was modeled by Katherine “Kat” Irena of Chester. Photo by Susanne Wisner

Sue Pire, Essex, with her mother, Georgiana Czaplicki of Clinton. The dress was modeled by Katherine “Kat” Irena of Chester. Photo by Susanne Wisner

 

DEEP RIVER – The Deep River Historical Society held their third annual Tea on April 9 at the Carriage House on the grounds of the Stone House. This event featured not only delicious food but also a special program that highlighted “Wedding Traditions through Time.”

This was a multi-generational presentation where several granddaughters modeled gowns of their grandmothers or mothers, along with other models. Several vintage gowns that dated back to the 1800s were also on display.

A slide presentation and raffle were also part of the sold-out event.

 

 

 

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Talking Transportation: Why There’s No Wi-Fi On Metro-North

wifi-train-600x397A few weeks ago a friend was showing me his new Chevy Volt.  Not only does the hybrid-electric car get 42 mpg, it has its own Wi-Fi hotspot.  That’s right.  The car is a Wi-Fi device, so kids in the backseat can watch YouTube.

Days later we were on a road-trip from the Maryland shore when we caught the Lewes – Cape May ferry.  Onboard the vessel they offered passengers free Wi-Fi.

Airlines have offered flyers Wi-Fi for years now. Discount bus lines like Megabus have free Wi-Fi.  Even Connecticut’s new CTfastrak commuter bus system to Hartford gives its passengers free Wi-Fi.

But there is no Wi-Fi on Metro-North.  And the railroad says none is planned, even though the new M8 railcars are ready for the needed gear.  And therein lies a story.

Offering Wi-Fi on a moving vehicle usually involves cellular technology.  That’s how the first airline Wi-Fi was offered by companies like Go-Go, though JetBlue and Southwest now rely on proprietary satellite systems, which are much faster (up to 30 mb per second.)

When Amtrak first offered Wi-Fi on its Acela trains between Washington and Boston, they immediately had bandwidth issues.  So many passengers were using their cell phones and tablets, speeds dropped to 0.6 mb per second and the complaints came pouring in.

That’s part of the reason that Metro-North is reluctant to offer Wi-Fi:  if an Acela train carrying 300 passengers can’t handle the online load, how could a 10-car train carrying a thousand commuters?  The railroad has enough complaints as it is.

Metro-North’s experience with on-board communications has left them feeling burned.  Remember years ago when the railroad installed pay-phones on the trains?  Great idea, until a year later when costs came down and everyone had their own cell phone.  Those pay cell phone booths went unused and were eventually removed.

Back in 2006 then-President of MNRR Peter Cannito said Wi-Fi would be built into the new M8 cars, both for passengers and to allow the railcars to “talk” to HQ by beaming diagnostic reports.  The railroad issued an RFP for ideas and got a number of responses, including from Cablevision, with whom they negotiated for many months.  They even initiated on-train testing of Wi-Fi gear on one railcar.

But Metro-North insisted any Wi-Fi would have to cost it nothing, that all the expense and tech risk would be borne by Cablevision or its customers.  And that’s where the negotiations deadlocked.

Today the railroad sees Wi-Fi as just a convenience.  Smart phones and cell-card configured laptops can access the internet just fine, they say, using cellular technology.  But to their credit the railroad is trying to get cell providers to fill in the coverage gaps, for example, in the tunnels and at GCT.

So don’t look for Wi-Fi anytime soon on America’s biggest and busiest commuter railroad.  It’s not seen as a necessity … except perhaps by its passengers who really have no other transportation option.

Jim Cameron

Jim Cameron

About the author: 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, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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Shoreline Fire Departments Raise Food & Funds for Shoreline Soup Kitchens

OS FHFD

Collection of food for Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries at Old Saybrook Fire Department (photo by Shoreline Soup Kitchens)

AREAWIDE – The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries’ 5th Annual Firehouse Food Drive took place on Saturday, April 2, amid often torrential downpours of rain. Despite the wet conditions, with the generosity of the community and many determined volunteers, close to 4,000 pounds of food was collected for local residents in need. Generous supporters also donated over $850, which will provide enough food for more than 2,000 meals. The five fire stations taking part this year included Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Essex, Chester and Clinton.

Firefighter Max Sabrin, with the Old Saybrook FD, helped to bring together members of the media, including radio sponsors Full Power Radio, Miss L from Jammin’ 107.7FM, and News Now 94.9FM; and media coverage from NEWS 8 WTNH and NBC CT News. Gil Simmons, Chief Meteorologist at NEWS 8, WTNH, visited the OSFD headquarters to lend a hand and help spread the word about the food drive. In addition, the Old Saybrook Stop & Shop, Clinton Stop & Shop and Old Saybrook Big Y offered donation areas, manned by firehouse and community volunteers.

Spring is traditionally a challenging time for area food pantries, as there are traditionally fewer food drives. This collection of much needed food and funds will help to fill the shelves at SSKP’s pantries.

“The weather was challenging this year, and we are so thankful for the support of all those who were willing to come out on a rainy Saturday to help our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Patty Dowling, SSKP executive director. “We are so grateful to those who donated and especially to all the fire houses and volunteers that worked so hard at this year’s drive.”

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving 11 shoreline towns. Founded 27 years ago, they accomplish their mission with the help of over 900 dedicated volunteers. Last year SSKP provided food for over one million meals to over 8,000 local residents in need.

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Lecture and Tasting with the Beer Snob in Essex, June 11

Will Siss, 'The Beer Snob'

Will Siss, ‘The Beer Snob’

ESSEX – Will Siss has been writing the “Beer Snob” column for the Waterbury Republican-American since 2005. In 2015 he published the book, “Connecticut Beer: A History of Nutmeg State Brewing,” a profile of the beer breweries in Connecticut, including profiles of the brewers, pubs and restaurants that focus on craft brews.

On Saturday, June 11, at 4 p.m. in the Essex Library, Siss will present an illustrated talk on the current craft beers being produced in Connecticut and will conduct a beer tasting with attendees afterwards. Siss earned a BA in English from Gettysburg College and an MS from the Columbia School of Journalism.
This event is free and open to the public (21 years and over) but seating is limited. Please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 to register and for more information. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Ave. in Essex.
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Community Music School Jazz Ensemble in Concert, June 11

Community Music School Jazz Ensemble

Community Music School Jazz Ensemble

CENTERBROOK – Community Music School will present a concert by the CMS Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Tom Briggs on Saturday, June 11, at 7:30 pm at the Centerbrook Meetinghouse, 51 Main Street, Centerbrook.

The ensemble, comprised of students ages 12 to 17, will perform a mixed repertoire of blues, traditional jazz standards, swing, Latin jazz and one new original song. The concert will feature group ensemble performance with an emphasis on improvisation. The concert is free and open to the public. Please call 860-767-0026 for additional information.

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Wesleyan Professor Gives Talk on “Women in Politics” at Essex Library, June 11

SarahWiliarty 1ESSEX – On Saturday, June 11, at 1 p.m. Wesleyan Government Professor Sarah Wiliarty will give a talk on women in politics, thus helping to put Hillary Clinton’s campaigns for the presidency into some perspective, both internationally and historically. Being related to a male political leader is actually an exceptionally common way for women to gain executive office in many other places. Wiliarty will also talk about what conditions tend to facilitate or hinder women gaining office more generally.

Sarah Wiliarty received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Physics from Harvard University. Her book, The CDU and the Politics of Gender in Germany: Bringing Women to the Party, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010.

This program is free and open to all. Call the library to register in advance: (860) 767-1560. The library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

 

 

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CT River Museum Trustees Visit State Capitol

Connecticut River Museum Board of Trustees Chair Joanne Masin, Sen. Art Linares and Connecticut River Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini.

Connecticut River Museum Board of Trustees Chair Joanne Masin, Sen. Art Linares and Connecticut River Museum Trustee Eileen Angelini.

ESSEX – Historical societies and preservationists from across the state gathered at the State Capitol last month to raise awareness about their organizations’ dedication to promoting Connecticut’s heritage for present and future generations.

The Connecticut River Museum (www.ctrivermuseum.org) was among the groups that travelled to Hartford to speak with Sen. Art Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) and other state lawmakers.

The museum’s mission is to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley. By deepening understanding of the river’s importance to past generations, the museum aims to inspire the stewardship of future generations.

The museum maintains its National Registered buildings on Steamboat Dock in Essex, and provides a spectacular waterfront park as a venue for museum functions, community events and quiet reflection.

 

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Detox Program at Essex Wellness Center Started April 16

Dr. Dana Krete

Dr. Dana Krete

ESSEX – Do you want to increase your energy, lose weight, charge up your immune system and improve your overall health? Have you been trying to improve your diet, decrease your sugar intake and lose weight, but have a hard time sticking with it and staying motivated?

Dr. Dana Krete will lead a four-week group detox program at the Essex Wellness Center starting April 16.

With this program you will be guided, motivated and supported through the detox program that includes a two-week detox that’s both safe and effective, and will leave you feeling re-energized for spring and on track to reach your goals.

You will be using a high-quality, hypoallergenic, user-friendly program that includes two shakes per day, supplements twice per day, and a “clean” meal plus healthy snacks. Meals and snacks will be prepared by you, so they are made of fresh, wholesome ingredients. This means this is not a product-heavy program, but one that uses mostly real food. Dr. Krete will guide you through this process, so you know what foods to eliminate and what foods to include.

Dr. Krete will lead a group talk once per week for four weeks for about an hour to inform you of the process, and so participants can support each other through the process.

Dr. Dana Krete earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Master of Acupuncture at National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Registration with payment in advance is required.   The total cost of the program, including the detox kit and all meetings led by Dr. Krete, is $279.  More information at www.EssexWellnessCtr.com or call Essex Wellness Center at (860) 767-7770.

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Philip Scheffler, “60 Minutes” Executive Editor, Former Essex Resident, Died April 7

philipESSEX – Philip Scheffler, CBS News’ first television street reporter, a documentary producer and the executive editor at 60 Minutes for many years, died April 7, 2016, in New York Presbyterian – Cornell Weill Medical Center. He was 85 and lived in Manhattan. Until recently he also spent much of his time in Essex, Conn., where he had a home for 40 years.

Scheffler retired from 60 Minutes in June of 2003 and had served as a consultant to CBS News up until a few years ago. He was a friend and mentor to Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes.  “Phil was a guiding force behind the success of 60 Minutes for more than two decades,” said Fager.  “Don Hewitt often said he couldn’t have done it without him.  He was a first-class journalist, an admirable human being, and a great friend to many of us.  We will miss him very much.”

Scheffler was a reporter and producer for CBS News for the first half of his five-decade career. He became the senior producer at 60 Minutes in 1980, handling the day-to-day responsibilities – essentially the right hand of the broadcast’s executive producer Don Hewitt. Hewitt named him executive editor later. In this capacity, Scheffler had a direct hand in producing every 60 Minutes report broadcast from 1980 to 2003 – a period during which 60 Minutes was the number-one program in America five times.

Scheffler oversaw the reporting from the field and handled most of the producers’ journalistic issues, enabling Hewitt to focus almost exclusively on shaping the newsmagazine’s stories. When tempers flared in the screening room between Hewitt and one of his correspondents, such as Mike Wallace or Morley Safer, it was the professorial Scheffler, sporting a bow tie and close-cropped beard, who played referee.

Before his senior positions, Scheffler produced 60 Minutes stories over nine seasons for Wallace, Safer, Harry Reasoner and Dan Rather. His first story with Safer was “After Attica,” a look inside a maximum security prison in Colorado broadcast after the horrible riots in the New York prison in 1971.

Hewitt hired him in March of 1951 as a copy boy for “Douglas Edwards with the News,” which Hewitt directed and produced. Debuting in May 1948, that broadcast was the first network television news program, and in 1951, Scheffler became its first street reporter.

His first field assignment was to ask people whether they thought Gen. Dwight Eisenhower should enter politics and run for the Republican presidential nomination. But reporting was only one of the hats worn by early television news people like Scheffler.  Out of necessity, he also invented a makeshift news teleprompter.

Hewitt wanted his anchor, Edwards, to look at the camera instead of his script when reading the news, so he had Scheffler make cue cards. “My first job at CBS Television News,” recalls Scheffler, “was to hand print Douglas Edwards’ copy on two-by-three-foot cue cards. Then, when we were on the air, I would hold them up next to the camera lens and move them up a line at a time for Doug to read. My arms were always tired and sore, so I asked Don if the camera could move in closer. He put on a wide-angle lens and moved the camera to within 10 feet of Doug, and I started typing the copy using wide adding-machine paper and a huge-type typewriter. It was the first crude teleprompter, but I didn’t have the wit to develop it!” said Scheffler in 2001.

In 1953, Scheffler was drafted into the Army and served his two years. During this period, he convinced his superior officer that he could put the Army on television — as long as he could get a few weekends off to film the piece! The result was a feature series in weekly installments he helped produce and write for CBS in which a Korean War recruit was followed through basic training at New Jersey’s Fort Dix.   Scheffler returned to CBS and continued working as writer, reporter and producer for the nightly network news and other regularly scheduled CBS News programs through the 1950s.

The news program, “Eyewitness,” was Scheffler’s next stop, where he served as associate producer and on-air reporter for the half-hour weekly from 1960 to 1963. He briefly served as an associate producer on “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” where he covered the Kennedy assassination, before joining the documentary unit in 1964. There, Scheffler became a producer of documentary and special news broadcasts, including “CBS Special Reports” and “CBS Reports.” He produced more than 100 of them, including: “After 10 Years: The Court and the Schools” (1964), on school integration; “CBS REPORTS: Robert F. Kennedy” (1967), on Sen. Kennedy and his political ambitions; and “The Cities” (1968), about the nation’s urban crisis.

Scheffler’s assignments took him to 47 states and to 50 foreign countries, including Vietnam. He traveled there for six assignments during the war; his output included three two-hour specials on American policy in Southeast Asia, “Where We Stand in Vietnam” (1967), “Where We Stand in Indochina” (1970), and “The Changing War in Indochina” (1971).

CBS News broadcasts that Scheffler worked on, especially 60 Minutes, have received the industry’s highest recognition, including the Peabody, DuPont and Emmy awards. In 1981, he received the Alumni Award for distinguished contributions to journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, from which he received a master’s degree.  As an adjunct professor, he once taught classes there as well.

Scheffler was born Sept. 16, 1930 in New York City and was graduated from the City College of New York. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Linda Weingarten Scheffler, a clinical psychologist, author and retired professor at Hunter College in New York City; his daughter, Ramsay Klaff, of Massachusetts; and a son, Adam, of Chicago.

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Essex to Host Energy Fair & Free LED Light Bulb Swap for Residents, Saturday

ESSEX – On Saturday, April 9,  the Town of Essex and the Essex Citizens for Clean Energy (ECCE) will host an energy fair and free LED light bulb swap for residents. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall.

Essex residents, with identification, may bring up to five incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) light bulbs in any condition and exchange them for new, energy-efficient LED bulbs free of charge.  (Offer is for up to 5 LED light bulbs per household while supplies last.)  Other styles of LEDs and lighting products will be available for purchase at a discounted rate.

A single LED bulb has a life expectancy of 23 years, uses up to 80 percent less energy, and can save homeowners as much as $10 per year versus a traditional incandescent bulb, which has about a 1.5 to 2.5 year lifespan.

Energy experts from Eversource will be on-hand at the light bulb swap to answer questions and provide people with additional information on how they can save money and energy at home, including the popular in-home service, Home Energy SolutionsSM (HES).   There will be an activity for children and alternative fuel cars from local dealers will be on display.

In addition, a variety of energy related information and services will be available from vendors such as Competitive Resources, Ameri Group, Southern Connecticut Gas, and Benedetto Heating & AC.   Representatives from Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) and the Public Utility Regulation Authority (PURA) will be on hand to talk about the electric industry in Connecticut and discuss selecting suppliers to save money on residential electric bills. (Residents may bring a recent electric bill.)

The Town is using a $4,500 grant, earned through participation in Energize Connecticut’s Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program, to fund the exchange.  In October 2012, Essex signed the CEC pledge, committing to make efforts to reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent, attain 20 percent of municipal electricity needs from renewable sources, and take other actions to support the deployment of clean energy by 2018.

Residents and businesses that took advantage of Energize Connecticut energy efficiency solutions helped the community earn the grant and will reap the benefits with this LED giveaway.

For more information about how residents and businesses can save energy and money, visit EnergizeCT.com or call 877.WISE.USE (877-947-3873) or for more information on the Energy Fair & LED Light Bulb Swap visit the ECCE Website at www.essexcitizensforcleanenergy.com, call 860-227-7753 or check  https://www.facebook.com/SXCleanEnergy/

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Sticks from the Past Create Art for the Present; See Them at Saturday’s Reception at Chester Meeting House

David Rau, Chester resident and Florence Griswold Museum Education Director, created this piece from short wooden manicure sticks

David Rau, Chester resident and Florence Griswold Museum Education Director, created this piece from short wooden manicure sticks

CHESTER — What would you do if you were given a pile of 2-inch-long carved wooden sticks to repurpose?

If you’re one of the area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelers, designers (you get the picture), you’d turn those sticks into something unique and/or useful, decorative and/or functional, whimsical and/or practical.

All for the Creative Challenge hosted annually by the Chester Historical Society.

"Inspiration" by Deborah Quinn Munson

“Inspiration” by Deborah Quinn Munson

For this year’s Challenge on Saturday, April 9 (obviously named the Sticks Challenge), the Chester Historical Society uncovered in a local barn boxloads of short wooden manicure sticks made (probably in the 1950s) at the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works, which used to be on Maple Street.

According to Bruce Watrous, whose grandfather started the business along with Oliver Bishop in the 1920s, “The manicure sticks were made from ‘orange wood’ (citrus wood, because it will bend without splintering), mostly from Florida orange trees. Wood was sent from Florida to Maine, turned into dowels and then to Chester. Dowels were cut to different lengths and hand finished with slants or points.”

For the past six or so years, the Chester Historical Society’s Creative Challenge has invited area artists to use artifacts from Chester’s rich manufacturing history to create items for a silent auction and reception to raise funds for the Historical Society. There have been challenges based on hooks from the Brooks Factory, knitting gauges from the C.J. Bates factory, and even rusted pieces “unearthed” from the yard of one of Chester’s earliest houses.

The finished pieces of “sticks” art, jewelry, sculptures, photographs, etc. will be exhibited and sold by silent auction at the Historical Society’s Reception on Saturday, April 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House at 4 Liberty Street.

The reception will feature hearty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from Chester kitchens served with wine and non-alcoholic beverages.

Tickets for the evening are $30. They can be purchased at Chester Gallery and Lark, both in the center of Chester; by calling Sosse Baker at Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822; or at the door.

All the proceeds from the event will benefit the preservation and showcasing of Chester history through the Chester Historical Society and the Chester Museum at The Mill. Information is available on the Society website, www.chesterhistoricalsociety.org or at Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.

“Starry Night” archival digital image by Bill Vollers

“Starry Night” archival digital image by Bill Vollers

 

 

 

 

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Cappella Cantorum Celebrates Mozart in Concert This Afternoon

Daniel Juarez

Daniel Juarez

AREAWIDE — Listen to the magic of Mozart when Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus presents a Mozart Celebration on Sunday, April 10, at 3 p.m., in John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River.

Mozart’s Requiem, Regina Coeli and Ave Verum are the featured choral works.

Featured soloists singing with the professional Cappella Cantorum Chamber Orchestra will be: Patricia Schuman, soprano; Heather Petrie, contralto; Daniel Juárez, tenor; and Christopher Grundy, baritone.

Internationally acclaimed Patricia Schuman, soprano, has performed with Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus, most recently with the production of Fauré Requiem and Schubert Mass in G.

Heather Petrie

Heather Petrie

Hailed as a true contralto, Heather Petrie is becoming a familiar voice throughout the Northeast. She has performed with Cappella Cantorum MasterWorks Chorus, most recently with the production of Bach Magnificat and Vivaldi Gloria.

Praised as a rising star who brings eloquence and musicality to a performance, Christopher Grundy, baritone, has given frequent recitals across the United States of repertoire spanning seven centuries.

A leading resident tenor of the CT Lyric Opera, Daniel Juárez’s operatic credits include Erik in Wagner’s Der Fligende Hollander, Don José in Bizet’s Carmen and other leading tenor roles in many opera programs.

Tickets are $30 (free for age 18 and under), from CappellaCantorum.org or by calling 860-388-2871. A reception follows the performance.

 

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Essex’s Medical Center Closed Almost Two Years Ago, Plans for Empty Building Not Yet Determined

Middlesex Hospital closed its medical facility in Essex on April 28, 2014, and the property has been vacant ever since.

Middlesex Hospital closed its medical facility in Essex on April 28, 2014, and the property has been vacant ever since.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.

It has now been almost two years — April 28, 2014 to be precise — since Middlesex Hospital closed its medical center in Essex. For the present, however, according to Middlesex Hospital’s Director of Public Relations, Peg Arico, there are no specific plans by the hospital regarding the future of the shuttered facility.

Signs threatening prosecution for trespassers stand on the grounds of Middlesex Hospital’s former medical center in Essex.

Signs threatening prosecution for trespassers stand on the grounds of Middlesex Hospital’s former medical center in Essex.  Photo by Jerome Wilson.

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman said in a separate interview that he had learned that Middlesex Hospital had retained an “outside consultant” to explore options for its unused hospital facility in Essex where ‘No Trespassing’ signs stand at the perimeter of the site.       

Some Essex residents have expressed the hope that Middlesex Hospital will soon decide what to do with the unused property noting that the “No Trespassing” signs on Westbrook Rd. are not an especially pleasant way to welcome visitors entering historic Essex.

At the same time, Middlesex Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center patient care facilities in Westbrook, which replaced the Essex clinic, have, in general, been very well received by Essex residents.

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State Reps Observe Safe Haven Day in Westbrook

Carney and McLState Representatives Devin Carney (pictured right) and Jesse MacLachlan (left) held a press conference on April 4 at Middlesex Hospital, Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook to promote and discuss Safe Haven Day.

Last year, lawmakers designated April 4 of each year to be observed as Safe Haven Day to foster awareness of safe havens in Connecticut. The Safe Havens law, which passed in 2000, enables a distressed parent to anonymously leave an infant at a hospital emergency room without fear of prosecution for abandonment, up to 30 days after birth.

Carney (R-23) can be reached at devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423 and MacLachlan (R-35) can be reached at jesse.maclachlan@housegop.ct.gov or at (800) 842-1423.

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“The Three Foragers” Share Their Plant Foraging Tips at River Museum, June 7

3 Foragers BookOn Tuesday, June 7, the Connecticut River Museum will offer the third in a series of talks related to the museum’s current exhibit on invasive species Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water.

This event will focus on edible invasive plants, and will be presented by the family known as ‘the Three Foragers’- Robert Gergulics, Karen Monger and Gillian Gergulics.  The family has been blogging about their wild food adventures in Connecticut for nearly ten years, sharing their photos and recipes online.

Their new book, Adventures in Edible Plant Foraging: Finding, Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Native and Invasive Plants, will be available at the program. They were recently profiled in the March/April 2016 issue of Yankee magazine for their family-friendly foraging and educational philosophy.  Help raise awareness and learn how to help combat the spread of invasive species one bite at a time!  Registration strongly recommended, please call 860-767-8269 to reserve a seat.  This event is free for museum members, and $5 for nonmembers. The program begins at 5:30 p.m.

Invaders: They Come by Air, Land, and Water will be on display through October 10 at the Connecticut River Museum.  An interactive exhibit featuring artwork by Michael DiGiorgio and a videography by WFSB, Invaders aims to educate and entertain while showing the impact that invasive species have had and are still having on our region.

The Connecticut River Museum is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily through Columbus Day and is closed Mondays during the winter.  Three floors of exhibits offer visitors an insight into the history and ecology of New England’s Great River through artifacts and interactive displays, while schooner cruises and kayak rentals allow visitors a chance to get out on the river themselves.

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Open House for Prospective Students at Vista, April 9

Spring Open House - Vista students
WESTBROOK –
Vista Life Innovations, a nationally accredited community-based education program for individuals with disabilities, is hosting an Open House on Saturday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Prospective students, families, school district officials and educational consultants are invited to drop by Vista’s Westbrook Campus, at 1356 Old Clinton Road, to learn about the many programs and services Vista has to offer. Guests will have the opportunity to tour Vista’s dormitory and residence hall, meet Vista staff, and speak with current students and members about their experiences in the program.

Open houses have been an important first step in the admissions process for many current Vista students and their families. To register for this event, visit www.vistalifeinnovations.org/openhouse or contact the admissions office at (860) 399-8080 ext. 106. Guests are asked to register by Tuesday, April 5.

Vista has been providing services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success for over 26 years. Accredited by the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES), Vista has campuses in Westbrook, Madison and Guilford. Its population is comprised of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injuries, intellectual disabilities and ADHD. In 2015, Vista provided services to more than 300 individuals and their families. For more information, visit www.vistalifeinnovations.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letter From Paris: The Immortal Chekhov Rises Again in Paris

Nicole Prévost Logan

Nicole Prévost Logan

Chekhov will never die!

This winter four of his plays appeared on the Paris stages: two short one-act plays (“The Swan” and “The Bear”) at the Studio de la Comédie Française, “Three Sisters” at theTheatre de la Colline and “The Cherry Orchard” at the Theatre de l’Ile Saint Louis-Paul Rey. I chose the latter.

The first time I saw a play by Chekhov was at the Moscow Art Theater (MXAT) in downtown Moscow in the mid 1960s. The production and the reception by the public were electric. In those days, theater was the only possible evasion from a drab and controlled life for Soviet citizens. The audience knew by heart and relished every single line beautifully spoken by the adulated actors. Period clothes, settings and furnishing provided an authentic reconstitution of life in a run-down country estate.

What is amazing is that Anton Chekhov’s plays, written under the Tsarist regime, lasted through the Soviet era, although he depicted members of the idle bourgeoisie, about to disappear from the surface of the earth. Other playwrights were not so lucky. Some of the controversial plays – Bulgakov’s for instance – did not make it through censorship and were suddenly removed from Moscow stages.

Chekhov’s universal message explains why his plays still attract huge audiences around the world — in different languages and re-adapted by directors. His “inward-looking” realism came from a traditional line of dramatic art founded by Constantin Stanislavsky (1863-1938), one of the greatest founders of theater staging and philosophy of all times.

The_cherry_Orchard‘The Cherry Orchard,’ created at MXAT in January, 1904, was Chekhov’s last play. Six months later he died in his Yalta “white house.” Obliged to live far away from Moscow, in the warmer climate of the Crimea because of his tuberculosis, it was hard for him to give long-distance stage directions to his high-spirited wife, actress Olga Knipper.

In the play, Liubov Andreevna Ranevskaya, her daughter Ania, age 17, and adopted daughter Varia, age 30, just returned to Russia from five years spent in France. The family was crippled with debts and the creditors were forcing the sale. A retinue of servants, some of them providing a light touch of vaudeville, and penniless hangers-on, are part of the large household.

The main character is Ermolai Alekseevich Lopakhin, full of energy, ideas, and, apparently money. He is trying to convince Liubov Andreevna to sell the estate with the cherry orchard to a developer who will build small houses for vacationers. But she is not interested in money; if things do not work out, she will return to Paris and live off an inheritance. Lopakhin was a slave or “soul” owned by the Liubov’s family. This former muzhik is now rich and ambitious.

His antithesis is Petr Sergueevich Trofimov, the eternal student who lives in a world of noble ideas, philosophy and poetry. He tells Lopakhin, “Soon you will be a millionaire. Sharks are needed also.” Such archetypes exist in many countries.

The Theater of Ile St Louis is the smallest theater in Paris with only 50 seats. The full cast of 12 characters barely fitted on the tiny stage and looked like giants. The set was limited to two benches and the period clothes to the slim laced-up boots of the women. When, at the end of the play, the spectators heard the chain saw felling the cherry trees and noticed the very old servant forgotten in the locked-up house, the emotion was intense.

I went on feeling that emotion while walking along the rushing grey waters of the Seine river.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

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.

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Small Vessel Permits for 2016 at Bushnell Access Have Reached Maximum Capacity

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ESSEX — Bushnell Access maximum storage capacity of 75 small vessels has been reached. Applications received from this point forward will be placed on a wait list and checks will be returned to the applicants.

Bushnell Access is still open to use for those who wish to bring their craft for the day and take it away at the end of the day.  Should it be determined that additional vessels can be accommodated at some point during the season, which runs from April 1 to Nov. 30, additional permits may be issued.

Direct any inquiries to the Harbor Management Commission email address at HarborManagementCommission@EssexCT.gov.

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Essex Library Explores Women as ‘Uncommon Heroes,’ Series Continues in Coming Months

malalaESSEX – The Essex Library kicked off “Uncommon Heroes,” a series of programs exploring the status of women around the world and right at home in Connecticut, on Feb. 27, with a screening of the film “He Named Me Malala.”

The series continues Wednesday, April 6, at 5 p.m., when Christine Palm from the CT General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women will speak about the pressing issues facing women in our state currently.

More events will be included in the months to come.

Call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 to register or for more information. All of these programs are free and open to the public and advance registration is suggested.

The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Celebrate CT Trails Day in Chester at Cockaponset, June 4,

ct trails dayCHESTER – On the weekend of June 4 and 5, Connecticut is set to host Connecticut Trails Day — the largest National Trails Day (NTD) celebration in the nation with 200-plus free events scheduled statewide.

This annual celebration features activities for everyone, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, running, trail maintenance, kayaking, educational walks, bird watching, letterboxing, and more. These events are guided by knowledgeable volunteers from local hiking clubs, parks and recreation departments, state agencies, conservation organizations, historic groups, education programs and land trusts.

In Chester, join leaders Rob Butterworth and Melissa Evarts on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Pattaconk Reservoir Recreation area in Cockaponset State Forest (S.F.) for an outdoor adventure sponsored by the Bridle Path Conservancy, the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Horsemen’s Club(LCRVHC) and the New England Mountain Biking Association’s Central Connecticut Chapter.

Come and help celebrate the 10th anniversary “Combined Arms” event. For a decade now, trail volunteers of all type have been coming together to make the Cockaponset S.F. trails better for all. This year’s event will be the kickoff to restoring the yellow trail in the Pattaconk Reservoir section of the state forest.

Projects will include painting blazes, trimming back brush and building a new section of trail. Work party attendees will be treated to a cook-out, courtesy of the LCRVHC, and a raffle. This is a volunteer-led event in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Bring clothing, food, water and bug spray suitable for a day out in the woods. Bring loppers if you have them, but tools will be provided.

Preregistration is requested, but not required (it helps with planning for food and tools). Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information, visit www.ctwoodlands.org/ct-trails-weekend/events-2016/chester-trail-maintenance-record-2877

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A la Carte: Celebrate Spring with a Little Lamb Stew

Braised Lamb with Spinach - Gourmet magazine

Braised Lamb with Spinach – Gourmet magazine

Last Saturday, I took a bunch of hamburgers along with some hamburger rolls out of the freezer. It had been a nice week, and I thought I might fire up the grill and pretend it was almost summer. After all, not only were my crocuses up and gorgeous, but so were my little daffodils. I hadn’t seen my lilies of the valley, but it is my birthday flower and, I thought, they would be popping up soon.

Then Sunday happened. By the time I woke up, there had been a little snow but the temp was in the high thirties. I made a chicken soup with carrots and celery and onions, since I was going to drive to Cromwell to see a middle school show directed by Tom Sullivan. His wife, Barbara, and I have become good friends and she mentioned that Tom had a horrible respiratory upset but had been working all week to get the show on the stage. What could I do but make chicken soup for him?

I left the house at 11:30. There had been snow, odd snow, gigantic flakes, maybe hail? I made it to Cromwell, adored the play and, then drove to Norwich to watch the women’s game. No problem driving home and I watched the second game and went to sleep. The cats let me sleep until 9:30. I opened one eye. No, it couldn’t be. Snow! Not one to let a little bad weather stop me, I had to make a decision—would I drive to Connecticut College to hear Bryan Stevenson talk about his book, Just Mercy? Sure, why not? Got there okay but scared myself to death driving home. Once into the kitchen, I tossed the hamburgers and rolls back into the freezer and took out some lamb. Tomorrow I will make lamb stew instead.

Braised Lamb with Spinach
From Gourmet, March 1991

Serves 4-6

8 garlic cloves
1 ½-inch cube peeled fresh gingerroot
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
7 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
3 onions, chopped fine
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chopped drained canned tomatoes
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1 and one-quarter pound fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted lightly

In a blender, purée the garlic and the gingerroot with 1/3 cup water; set aside. In a heavy kettle, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking, then brown the lamb, patted dry, in batches. With tongs, transfer lamb as it is browned to a bowl. To the skillet add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, heat until hot but not smoking, and fry the cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaf, stirring, for 30 seconds, or until the cloves are puffed slightly. Add the onions and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden. Add the garlic purée and cook the mixture, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the liquid is evaporated. Add the cumin, coriander and cayenne, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and yogurt, simmer the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the lamb, salt and 1 cup water.

Bring the mixture to a boil and braise it, covered, in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the lamb is tender. The lamb mixture may be prepared up to this point 2 days in advance. Let the lamb cool, uncovered, then chill it, covered.

At serving time, reheat the lamb mixture. In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch water to a boil, add the spinach, and steam, covered, for 2 minutes, or until wilted. Drain the spinach in a colander.
Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Distribute the spinach over the stew and stir it in gently. Transfer the stew to a heated serving dish and sprinkle with the pine nuts.


Nibbles:  Coney Island Hard Root Beer

One of the perks of writing about cooking, instead of writing restaurant reviews, is that I can go to restaurant press dinners, since being anonymous isn’t necessary anymore.

Last Friday I went with friend Elise Maclay to Tale of the Whale in Stamford. The food was almost all seafood, from tuna tartare (one of my very favorite dishes) to fish tacos and an edgy bouillabaisse with at least five or six different fishes. Did I need dessert? Not really, but along came a Celebration Sundae (with at least a quart of ice cream and toppings), chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches and an adult root beer float. I decided against the first two but fell in love with the float. The next day I stopped at a local liquor store and asked if there was such a thing as adult root beer. I bought a six-pack of Coney Island Hard Root Beer. A 12-ounce bottle is 5.8 percent alcohol. I don’t drink hard liquor (or beer) but, in a tall glass with good ice cream and whipped cream, I could be converted.

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“Operatic Disasters,” a Free and Fascinating Lecture, June 4

Kuslan_James editOLD SAYBROOK – James Kuslan, opera devotee and popular dynamic speaker on operatic topics, will present a lecture entitled “Operatic Disasters” on Saturday, June 4, at 11 a.m. at the Acton Public Library. This event is sponsored by the library and the Guild of Salt Marsh Opera.

With the help of fascinating and some hilariously funny sound clips, Kuslan will explore the challenges of singing opera. According to Kuslan, “My objective is not to ridicule, but to demonstrate that the extreme difficulty of the art form means that an audience in the presence of a superb performance is, in reality, beholding a miracle.”

Kuslan graduated with an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.  He has consulted for the German classical music recording giant, Deutsche Grammophon.

“Operatic Disasters” at the Acton Public Library is free, open to the public and handicapped accessible. For additional information, call 860-388-2871. The Acton Library is at 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.

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Enjoy a Tour of Private Gardens in Essex, June 4

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

ESSEX – On Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., plan to stroll through eight of the loveliest and most unusual private gardens in Essex. Some are in the heart of Essex Village while others are hidden along lanes most visitors never see.  While exploring, you will find both formal and informal settings, lovely sweeping lawns and panoramic views of the Connecticut River or its coves.  One garden you will visit is considered to be a ‘laboratory’ for cultivation of native plants. Master Gardeners will be available to point out specific features, offer gardening tips, and answer questions. We also have several awnings throughout the gardens, some of which provide great shelter from the often heat blistering summer sun. Some of the awnings we have on display throughout the garden can be found here: www.milesaheadblindsandawnings.com.au/awnings-melbourne/

The garden tour is sponsored by the Friends of the Essex Library. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the Essex Library the day of the event.  Cash, checks, Visa or Master Card will be accepted. Tickets can be reserved by visiting the library or by completing the form included in flyers available at the library and throughout Essex beginning May 2.  Completed forms can be mailed to the library.  Confirmations will be sent to the email addresses on the completed forms.

Your ticket will be a booklet containing a brief description of each garden along with a map of the tour and designated parking. Tickets must be picked up at the library beginning at 9:45 a.m. the day of the event.

Richard Conroy, library director, has said, “The Essex Library receives only about half of its operating revenue from the Town. The financial assistance we receive each year from the Friends is critical.  It enables us to provide important resources such as Ancestry.com and museum passes, as well as practical improvements like the automatic front doors that were recently installed.  I urge you to help your Library by helping our Friends make this event a success!  Thank you for your support.”

The tour will take place rain or shine.  For more information, please call 860-767-1560. All proceeds will benefit Friends of the Essex Library.

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Author Sara Ingram Performs at Carriage House, June 2

Sara Ingram, author, and curator Rhonda Forristall discuss the upcoming event to be held at the Carriage House. Photo by Susanne Wisner

Sara Ingram, author, and curator Rhonda Forristall discuss the upcoming event to be held at the Carriage House. Photo by Susanne Wisner

DEEP RIVER – Sara Ingram will act out stories and poems from her published book, Sounds of House and Wood, on Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m. in the Carriage House of the Deep River Historical Society.

Many of Sara’s poems recount her early life growing up in Deep River where her grandmother and mother were the Deep River librarians for a combined total of 50 years. Sara’s father was an early member of the Deep River Historical Society and the driving force in renovating the Carriage House to be used for local events.

Sara has worn many hats as editor, dancer and teacher. She has been involved with literature and arts-related pursuits for many years. She is a certified teacher and has been an instructor of the gifted in Connecticut public schools for over 25 years.

This free event, sponsored by the Deep River Historical Society, is open to the general public also. Light refreshments will be served. Anyone interested in purchasing Sara’s book can have it personally signed by her at the event.

Sounds of House and Wood, published by Antrim House, 2013, celebrates the essence of New England – nature, discovery, family and the four seasons. Please join in an enjoyable and entertaining evening.
Sara Ingram, author, and curator Rhonda Forristall discuss the upcoming event to be held at the Carriage House. Photo by Susanne Wisner

 

 

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Deep River Selectmen Make No Decision on First Selectman Vacancy, Town Department Heads Reporting to Democrat Angus McDonald Jr.

DEEP RIVER— The two remaining members of the board of selectmen, Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. and Republican David Oliveria, Thursday made no decision on appointing an interim first selectman to fill the vacancy created by the March 25 death of longtime Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith.

More than 30 residents filled the meeting room at town hall Thursday as the selectmen held their first meeting since Smith’s death. In a prepared statement, Oliveria said he and McDonald would be working together to manage the town until the appointment of an interim first selectman, who would serve the reminder of Smith’s unexpired 14th term ending on Nov. 20, 2017.

Oliveria said they hope to make an appointment “as soon as possible,” while adding that until then town department heads will be reporting to McDonald, who will be keeping late afternoon office hours at town hall beginning Tuesday.  State statute gives the two remaining selectmen 30 days to appoint an interim first selectman, a period that runs through at least April 22.

If Democrat McDonald and Republican Oliveria cannot agree on an appointment, the statute would also give Democratic elected officials, including Selectman McDonald, the tax collector and the registrar of voters, an opportunity to make an appointment.  McDonald said after Thursday’s brief special meeting that he is “interested” in serving as interim first selectman, but has not yet made a final commitment with the Deep River Democratic Town Committee to accept the appointment.

Elected with Smith in 2011, McDonald is a co-owner of the Angus McDonald Associates engineering firm. McDonald said he is discussing with colleagues at the firm whether he would be able to serve as interim first selectman for the next 20 months. McDonald said he is hopeful the selectmen could vote on an appointment at the board’s next regular meeting on April 12. “We have 30 days and we may need 30 days but I hope not,” he said. The appointment of either McDonald or Oliveria as interim first selectman would create a new vacancy on the board that would be filled under the statutory appointment process. Any appointment of an interim first selectman, or even a new member of the board, could be forced to a special election with a petition signed by at least five percent of the town’s total registered voters, or about 158 voter signatures. The petition would have to be filed with the town clerk within 15 days of any appointment.

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Public Advisory from the Essex Tree Warden

The emerald ash borer adult beetle

The emerald ash borer adult beetle

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) is advising all residents of Connecticut that the emerald ash borer (EAB – agrilus planipennis) has quickly spread throughout Connecticut, making it now part of the federal EAB quarantine. Residents should be aware of this invasive insect and the threat it poses to all ash trees in our community.

The emerald ash borer is a beetle in the buprestid family that is native to Asia.  First discovered in 2002 in Detroit, it has rapidly spread across the US.  It may have first been introduced via wood-packing materials and continued spreading by humans in everything from firewood to rustic crafts.  Because the beetle is a strong flier, it  can spread on its own as well.

CAES describes the adult beetle as metallic green, about ½ inch long. It feeds exclusively on ash trees in the genus Fraxinus.  Tiny, flat, round 1mm long eggs are laid in the bark crevices.  Seven to 10 days later, the eggs hatch and the young larvae begin to feed on the tree’s conducting tissues.  As they feed and grow, the larvae create distinctive tightly-winding ‘serpentine galleries.’  This process quickly stresses and girdles the ash tree.

The emerald ash borer larva

The emerald ash borer larva

During the winter the mature larvae remain in a pupal chamber and pupate in the spring.  The adult beetles emerge by chewing a distinctive 4mm wide D-shaped exit hole.  The adults feed on the margins of the ash foliage prior to mating.  The lifespan is 4-5 weeks, during which time a single female may lay upwards of 60 eggs.

It has been difficult to survey for this pest because of its small size. Some monitoring and trapping methods have been used including purple panel traps. Another is  “biosurveillance” by scientists and volunteers who monitor the nests of a native wasp that specifically hunts buprestids, including EAB.

The overall effect of the ash borer is the decline of the ash trees.  Infected trees are  attacked by woodpeckers who strip bark while trying to reach the larvae.  The eventual loss of ash trees will have ripple effects on other organisms including butterflies and moths as well as wood duck, bob white, purple finch, pine grosbeak and fox squirrels all of which eat the seeds of the ash tree.

To identify an ash tree look for compound leaves and opposite branching.  Ash trees have diamond patterned bark which provides distinct crevices.  Ash seeds are winged, resembling maple pinwheels.  Ash trees do not produce berries.  The ash tree is valued for its combination of strength and flexibility.  It is used as shovel handles, baseball bats and in construction of guitar bodies.

The D-shaped exit holes of the emerald ash borer in an ash tree

The D-shaped exit holes of the emerald ash borer in an ash tree

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Connecticut is seeking to slow the spread of EAB by a quarantine to keep any infested ash materials from leaving Ct. and going to an area that is not infested.  The quarantine targets ash logs, hardwood firewood, yard waste and ash nursery stock.  Also, a ban on the importation of firewood into Ct. through New York or Massachusetts – unless it is properly certified as not coming from an infested area – has been instituted.

Individuals can help in the following ways:

  1. Know what an ash tree looks like and monitor the ash trees you are responsible for.
  2. Act quickly to report any ash trees that are declining and may pose a threat to people or structures.
  3. Be careful when moving firewood or young trees. Use locally obtained firewood.
  4. Notify the Tree Warden of concerns about street or park trees.

Private trees are the responsibility of the property owner.  DEEP encourages owners of ash trees to contact an arborist for further help in monitoring the status of your trees and to use the resources available at the CT Agricultural Experiment Station and DEEP.

According to the CAES, ash trees that are still healthy can be treated for and protected against EAB using commercially available pesticides.  Ash trees that are not treated will eventually die and should be preemptively removed.  Please contact your local arborist for expert advice.

 

The above information has been provided by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. For more information go to the following websites: www.emeraldashborer.info or www.ct.gov/deep or www.ct.gov/caes. Contact Augie Pampel, Essex Tree Warden at: augiepampel@att.net with any questions or concerns.

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Community Screening of “What Got Me Through,” on June 1

WhatGotMeThroughREGION 4 – Last October, tri-town community members’ stories came to life in a play, “What Got Me Through,” on the stage of the Chester Meeting House. The production was the culmination of a year’s work: training a team of story gatherers, interviewing residents who shared their stories of overcoming challenges, the writing of the play by Jules Corriere, and then the theatrical production, led by Jacqueline Hubbard and performed and staged with local cast and crew, all with input also from Community Performance International.

The play was a means of raising awareness about building developmental assets for youth and families in Chester, Deep River and Essex. Many lives were touched by the project.

One performance was recorded. The screening of the video will take place on Wednesday, June 1, at 7 p.m. in the Valley Regional High School auditorium. It will be an opportunity to “see the play again” or, to see it for the first time if you missed it last October.  For further information contact Tri-Town Youth Services at 860-526-3600.

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

 

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Niantic Toastmasters Hold Open House, April 18

Niantic Toastmasters will hold an Open House on Monday, April 18, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Niantic Community Church, 170 Pennsylvania Ave., Niantic.

The club will be presenting a One Act play titled, “To Toast or Not Toast.”  Written by a club member and performed by club members, it shows what it’s like to be in a Toastmasters club. Afterwards there will be a facilitated discussion to answer any questions audience members may have, followed by a cast party with the players and refreshments.  This is a free event.

Toastmasters clubs give people a space to become confident communicators and learn the art of public speaking by doing it.  Twice a month, club members meet to deliver prepared or impromptu speeches, and work on aspects of public speaking such as body language or vocal variety.  Toastmasters clubs provide a safe environment for people who have something to say but might not have the confidence.  Members also learn how to give feedback to energize others to do better the next time.

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Marshview Gallery Exhibits Paintings by Maureen Tarbox in June

AOM 2016 06 Tarbox

OLD SAYBROOK — Maureen Tarbox, a resident of East Haddam, will be exhibiting her paintings at Marshview Gallery in Old Saybrook in June.

Tarbox moved to Connecticut in 2002 when she retired from teaching science. She began plein air painting because of the extraordinary light, beautiful scenery and many opportunities to attend art workshops and classes in southeast CT. She paints with a group called The Brushstrokes, who all share the love of nature and desire to try and recreate on canvas the beauty that surrounds us .

For the past 10 years she has developed her oil painting style  under the guidance of Noel Belton and other talented instructors. She is currently a member of the  Essex Art Association, the Middlesex Art Guild, Brushstrokes and the Connecticut River Watercolorists.

Tarbox loves to paint landscapes, seascapes, old buildings and anything with water. She loves the proximity to the many beaches, woods and historical towns.

All are welcome to attend the artist reception on Friday, June 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.  and meet the artist. Refreshments will be provided.

Marshview Gallery is located in the Estuary Center, 220 Main St., Old Saybrook.

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