November 16, 2018

Archives for October 2018

Join Essex Land Trust This Saturday to Hike Falls River Preserve, All Welcome

ESSEX — Join former Essex Land Trust President, Chet Arnold, and naturalist Phil Miller on a beautiful autumn walk of the Falls River Preserve this Saturday, Nov. 3.  Meet at 9 a.m. at Falls River Drive in Ivoryton.

The Preserve is a 40-acre peninsula of forest and ledge projecting into Mill Pond on the Falls River. Arnold was one of the key players that helped to secure this property back in the late 1990s … and Miller always entertains and informs due to his vast knowledge of the environment and nature.

The more challenging trails cross over ledges of 800-million-year-old metamorphic schist forming the peninsula’s spine. The Falls River was dammed in the 18th century to provide waterpower to run a gristmill, a sawmill and an iron works over the years.

The land has been used for logging and pasture as recently as the 1930s. The property’s shoreline on the Mill Pond attracts a large variety of birdlife.

Bad weather cancels.

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Norm Needleman (D) Candidate for Senate District #33

Biography

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman

Norm Needleman is currently serving his fourth term as Essex First Selectman. He has over 20 years as a leading advocate for small towns, with experience as a Selectman in Essex, a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Essex Economic Development Commission, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, and Board Member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.

Norm founded Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing company, 38 years ago. He and his two sons have built the company to become a leader in its field, now employing over 250 people.

Q1: What is the biggest problem facing the state, why is it the biggest problem, and what would you do to help solve it?

The state’s most immediate problem is the fiscal crisis brought on by years of mismanagement by administrations of both political parties. The harsh reality is that there is no quick fix. Fundamental change is required in the way we manage the state’s finances.

  1. Stop the blame game. We need cooperation, not finger-pointing. The way out of the financial mess is to stop the political gamesmanship that cripples any real chance for cooperation. Inclusion is the only way to forge the dialogue that can resolve difficult issues. No solution to the financial crisis will result without meaningful participation from all stakeholders.
  2. Start with reliable revenue projections. The state has to live within its means. The budget process should begin with revenue projections that are both reasonable and reliable. Overly optimistic revenue projections have caused budget instability, knee-jerk fixes, and fluctuating funding for our towns, making local budgets unstable and compromising delivery of services.
  3. Recognize that shared sacrifice is required. Interest groups, legislators, and the administration must come to the table recognizing an unavoidable reality: we can’t always get what we want. Not everyone will leave the table happy, but all stakeholders have to share the responsibility for putting the state on the road to financial stability.
  4. Start on the road to a proven long-term solution. Job creation through aggressive economic development is the permanent solution to the state’s financial crisis. We need a comprehensive, long-term plan that will define the path to attracting businesses of all sizes and the high paying jobs that come with them. Those businesses want certainty, not a constant refrain of gloom and doom. When a long-term plan is implemented, our state will regain its status as a place where businesses can grow and prosper.

What do you think of our leadership in Washington?

I’m proud of the work being done by Connecticut’s congressional leaders in Washington, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and Congressman Courtney. They work tirelessly for the benefit of their constituents in our state. Their work exists in sharp contrast to the thoughtless, damaging and rigidly ideological policies of the current administration. In almost every area…taxation, healthcare, women’s rights, trade and tariff policy, the environment, voting rights, education, foreign policy…the current administration has attempted to implement regressive and repressive policies that punish hard working people. In our district and in our state, businesses of all sizes have suffered economic consequences, and individuals have felt the impact in job losses and price increases for goods and services. The price we pay for current administration policies is made worse by the tone-deaf policies on issues like women’s rights, healthcare and voting rights.  I am grateful to Connecticut elected officials in the Senate and the House, who have worked to battle the rising tide of repressive policies that ignore human values, basic rights, and the economic interests of hard working Americans.

So, the short answer to your question about what I think of our leadership in Washington: I’m appalled and dismayed. But I’m not giving up…I’m committed to fighting every step of the way for state policies that insure safety, fairness and opportunity for every individual in our district.

Q3: What policies or infrastructure do you support at the state level for fostering or managing growth in your district?

Make certain that the towns in our district receive their fair share of support from the state. Every year our district sends tens of millions of dollars to Hartford. And every year, we get less and less support in return. I will work to eliminate inequities in state funding, and make certain that every town in our district gets its fair share of support. As importantly, I will support procedures that result in stable state budgets, so our towns can develop municipal budgets with the certainty that support will not fluctuate in mid-course.

Make economic development a priority. Re-building the economic vitality of our state and our district is key to almost every element of the quality of life here, including infrastructure maintenance, education, the environment, and everyone’s favorite, lower taxes.  I will use my experience as a job creator to build a reality-based economic development plan that will make it easier for small and large business to operate and prosper.

Fix the state’s budget process. Partisan bickering, shortsighted legislators, and knee-jerk reactions to profound economic challenges are what got us into our current fiscal mess.  All of that has to change. Revenue projections have to be realistic, the hard decisions about spending priorities need to be reality-based, and the budget development process needs to be inclusive, not exclusionary. In Essex, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents work together to focus on doing more with less. The result: our taxes are lower than 90% of the municipalities in our state. 

Set an example of non-partisan cooperation. I have built my success in business and government based on inclusion, and listening to ideas, regardless of the party affiliation of the source. Partisan politics got us into this mess…clearly it is the way out.

Q4: Why are you running for this position?

My commitment to public service and civic involvement stems from the lessons my father taught me when I worked in his small grocery store in Brooklyn, New York. He said that everyone has a responsibility to make his or her community a better place to live. To quote him: “”You cant just take…you have to give back.”  I have been fortunate in my life. I have built a successful business, and I have a beautiful family (my partner, Jacqueline Hubbard and 5 wonderful grandchildren). Today, I see a crucial need to give back to the towns in our district, and I am at the stage of my life when my experience will allow me to live up to the teachings of my father.

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Melissa Ziobron (R) Candidate for Senate District #33

Biography

State Representative (R-34th) Melissa Ziobron

Melissa Ziobron is a lifelong resident of the  District with an extensive record of community service. She was Assistant Minority Leader and Ranking Member of the legislature’s influential Appropriations Committee. In 2017 she was reappointed to the Environment Committee and newly appointed to the General Law Committee. In 2017 she was named a State Park Champion by Connecticut League of Conservation Voters and Legislator of the Year by Connecticut Citizens Defense League. In 2018 she received the Excellence in Land Conservation award from the Connecticut Land Conservation Council. She previously served on the legislature’s Public Health and Children’s Committee.

Q1: What is the biggest problem facing the state, why is it the biggest problem, and what would you do to help solve it?

We have several problems, but our large budget deficits — built over decades of mismanagement —  is chief among them.  This is an end result brought on by mainly by not funding pension payments. We also have a stagnant state economy, fueled by uncertainty in the legislature’s ability to live within its means and an atmosphere of extreme partisanship that makes collaboration difficult.

We need to work towards a model that changes the way we budget at the Capitol. Democrats have been content to develop a spending package without consideration of revenue. Reorganizing the budget process should be a priority; waiting to vote on a budget until the last few days of session is unacceptable. A Ways and Means Committee would be a possible solution that could be immediately implemented.

Q2: What do you think of our leadership in Washington?

I voted for and support our President.

Q3: What policies or infrastructure do you support at the state level for fostering or managing growth in your district?

I have intimate knowledge of this district because I have lived here all my life. I think environmental conservation is vitally important.  Our state and local municipalities have done great work in protecting open space, the lower Connecticut River valley and the shoreline.

More broadly, I think our region of the state should continue investing and promoting tourism, as this sort of commerce supports thousands of business across the 33rd district. The state should do as much as it can to support and bolster small business, particularly light manufacturing, regional farming and cottage foods.  I helped bring a new Cottage Food law into effect this year, which will be a benefit for small food based entrepreneurs.

Q4: Why are you running for this position?

I love our state and am dedicated to public service.   As A moderate Republican, I feel parity in representation is the key to working our way our of the current state of affairs in Hartford.

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Matt Pugliese (D) Candidate for House District #23

Biography

Matt Pugliese

Matt Pugliese has spent his career working in the theatre industry, beginning at the Ivoryton Playhouse.  He served as Executive Director at Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theatre in Middletown, CT and now as Managing Director/Executive Producer at Connecticut Repertory Theatre. Matt is currently the chair of Old Saybrook’s Economic Development Commission.  In 2012, Matt was named to the Hartford Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list for his professional work and civic involvement. He holds his BA in Theatre and Masters in Public Administration, both from UCONN.  Matt lives in Old Saybrook with his wife Kristen and their two daughters.

Q1: What is the biggest problem facing the state, why is it the biggest problem, and what would you do to help solve it?

I believe the biggest challenge facing the state are the unfunded pension liabilities.  This constrains the budget and the available resources the state has to invest in other projects and priorities. Priorities is the key word. Connecticut has revenue challenges, and we want to grow our economy, not raise taxes.  I’m not talking about spending more money, but spending money where it is important.

We need to get Connecticut’s spending under control. I’ve spent my career in the non-profit sector, where we have to run on tight budgets and maximize service delivery.  I value accountability and transparency.  We also need to recognize that the state’s spending goes into the community. We need to look carefully to not increase other problems and stressors through shortsighted cutting.  We need a strategic approach.  I will work with the non-profit organizations find opportunities to maximize service delivery and support those in need of help, at the best cost possible.

We need to commit funding to the pension liabilities.  They have been unfunded over the last 40 years, by leadership on both sides of the aisle.  I do not believe that we can re-open negotiations on contracts from years ago.  Not without taking on additional expenses in legal fees. We have an ethical obligation to keep the agreement that we made.  The state has already made progress in negotiations, with the new Tier IV employees pensions being approximately 80% funded.  I have experience around the table as part of a collective bargaining negotiation team representing theatres in our collective bargaining agreement with Actors Equity Association. I have experience working to build consensus with my own staff, consisting of members of five different unions.  We need leaders with experience to take on this challenge and work to a solution that respects our workers and our state.

Q2: What do you think of our leadership in Washington?

I’m frustrated with the partisan politics of Washington. The gridlock in Washington is not serving our citizens.  As a parent, I’m disgusted that name calling and unabashed lying have become acceptable tools of leadership and “debate”.  I am proud that Connecticut sends a delegation of Representatives and Senators that work hard both in DC and in their home communities to fight for our communities and our values.

Q3: What policies or infrastructure do you support at the state level for fostering or managing growth in you district?

We can support workforce development, employee retention and small business growth by prioritizing education, healthcare and paid family leave.  These are initiatives that benefit both business and worker, and make Connecticut regionally competitive with our neighboring states.

I support expanding training programs in our community colleges and trade schools that create a highly skilled and education workforce. We want to prepare our young people for the jobs for the future that will provide a good, living wage. This educated workforce is attractive for business growth and development.  Initiatives including expanding advanced manufacturing training programs in the community college system, partnering with private business to make these programs tuition-free.  I support loan-forgiveness initiatives for college graduates that stay in Connecticut.

Providing high-quality, affordable health care is the most volatile cost for a small business.  It is also one of the most important benefits that workers are seeking in employment. I believe in expanding access to the state’s medicaid program and moving to a single-payer system in Connecticut. This can create stability for both businesses and individuals.

Paid family leave is a benefit that people can use throughout life – whether they are starting their family, taking care of a loved one with an unexpected illness or recovering from their own. Providing paid leave in these situations is a burden on a small business. I’ve myself experienced the stress running a small-business when a staff member needed to use FMLA or left because we were unable to provide these benefits. Paid-family leave would be funded by a small payroll deduction that every employee pays.  It is not an additional cost that small business would need to shoulder. Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York all have instituted paid leave systems. We can’t lag behind our neighbors.

Q4: Why are you running for this position?

I’m running for State Representative because I want to serve my community. My wife and I have loved growing up in Connecticut, and we are excited to raise our daughters here.  We need leaders that are going to stand up for good, effective management of our state’s resources, with long-term strategic vision for Connecticut.  We need to protect our environment for future generations, work to reduce income inequality, create a vibrant, strong economy and ensure access to high-quality healthcare.  We need leaders with empathy.  We need leaders that understand the difference between short term wins and long term success.  I want to help Connecticut grow and continue to be a great place to live and work and raise a family. We need leaders that are willing to listen and to learn – and then lead.

I want good governance.  The job of government is to effectively maximize service delivery for our citizens.  I have over a decade of executive leadership experience running non-profit theatre organizations. I ran Oddfellows Playhouse during the recession from 2008 to 2013.  I understand how difficult it is to deliver service to the community while facing decreasing revenues. I have had to make difficult decisions. I have worked hard to keep a staff employed.  We need collaborative leaders that understand communication doesn’t mean talking, it means listening. We need non-partisan leaders that will build relationships, communicate and collaborate to serve our community.

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Devin Carney (R – Incumbent) Candidate for House District #23

Biography

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

Devin Carney is seeking his third term as State Representative for the 23rd District. He currently serves as Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee and also serves on the Environment and Finance Committees. He is co-chair of the bipartisan Clean Energy Caucus and co-founder of the Young Legislator’s Caucus.

He serves on the Board of The Kate and Saye Brook Senior Housing and is a member of both the LOL and Old Saybrook Chambers. He was born and raised in Old Saybrook and lives in Old Lyme with his significant other, Lisa. He works as a Realtor in Old Saybrook.

Q1: What is the biggest problem facing the state, why is it the biggest problem, and what would you do to help solve it?

Connecticut’s fiscal crisis. Connecticut is currently about $89 billion in debt and there seems to be no end in sight.

The four main reasons we are in so much debt is because of unfunded state employee pension liabilities, unfunded teacher’s retirement costs, benefits and healthcare for state employees, and debt service. Decades of mismanagement and kicking the can down the road have led to this massive debt. These ‘fixed costs’ used to only make up about 12% of the budget, now they make up over 30%, so they are crushing the state budget and taxpayers (debt per person is over $50,000).

Solving it requires collaboration across party lines and across town lines. We have to move all new state employees over to a defined contribution-style of pension plan with benefits that more mirror the private sector. I would eliminate overtime from pension calculations – to me, it’s ridiculous that an employee can make more in retirement than they did in base salary, while employed, because they worked tons of OT in their last three years.

Since I have proposed some changes to state employee benefits, it is only right that our political appointees and politicians give back. I would eliminate benefits for life for political appointees and politicians who serve so little time. I’m shocked that people like UConn president Susan Herbst or former disgraced lottery CEO Ann Noble will be getting six-figure pensions and great healthcare for life – paid for by us – while the average person struggles.

The state must also look at zero-based budgeting and, simply, stop spending so much. We don’t need a $10M toll study, we should sell the XL Center, we shouldn’t be bailing out Hartford, and the list goes on. I am proud to have supported real spending and bonding caps to curb this.

Q2: What do you think of our leadership in Washington?

I wish our leadership in Washington would work together more – and that includes Democrats and Republicans. Aside from Joe Courtney, our district doesn’t get a lot of attention from our leadership in Washington with the exception of help defeating the federal rail bypass proposal.

When I first got elected, I contacted Joe Courtney to meet with him because I wanted to discuss working together when we could. I even worked with Joe to get a federal bill proposed to allow Connecticut to sell the Westbrook Welcome Center, which is closed and in disrepair (federal law prohibits it due to an archaic provision from the 1950’s).That’s the type of leadership I bring to the table – willing to work with anyone, regardless of party. Unlike my opponent, I have never used Washington-style smear tactics about anyone from the other party – no matter how much I disagree with them. That’s the leadership-style we desperately need in Washington and Hartford. Integrity matters.

Q3: What policies or infrastructure do you support at the state level for fostering or managing growth in you district?

Connecticut taxpayers have one of the highest tax burdens in the nation and we are losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to other states. Many homeowners in the 23rd either have residency in another state or are seriously considering it because of taxes. Growth can be realized if Connecticut becomes more affordable.

In order to curb the exodus, Connecticut has to strategically reduce taxes in order to better compete with our neighbors and states to the south. I supported reducing the estate tax and reducing pension/social security taxes, which is a start, but more needs to be reduced. Government needs to partner more with the private sector and non-profits to deliver services. Government needs to eliminate mandates on small towns and schools that are unnecessary and add to property tax burdens. I will not support new taxes and was proud to defeat many of Governor Malloy’s proposals for new taxes, including those on cell phones, restaurants, homes and veterinary services.

In order to get growth, the state has to implement policies that encourage business investment and job creation. State government must step aside, stop picking winners and losers, and let the private sector flex its muscle. Too much government bureaucracy and taxes make Connecticut less desirable for investment. At the same time, Connecticut should be focused on training people for in-demand jobs in new technologies, manufacturing, and healthcare by promoting more public-private development initiatives and high school/college training programs. Connecticut is one of the only states not to recover all of its jobs lost in 2008 and that needs to change.

In terms of infrastructure, the DOT needs to focus on improving I-95, particularly in our region, and making it safer. I’m proud, as Ranking Member of Transportation, to have saved precious infrastructure improvement dollars from being cut.

Q4: Why are you running for this position?

I am running for re-election because this state needs proven leaders who will work collaboratively to improve our state’s fiscal situation. There are many issues Connecticut faces, but nearly all of them depend on our fiscal health. I love our district, but I hate seeing what decades of mismanagement and high taxes have done to our state. I’m running because I want our seniors to be able to afford to live here, I want our young people to be able to find jobs here, and I want our quality of life to be the best it can be.

In my four years as State Representative, I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I was a leader in defeating the federal rail bypass proposal that would have devastated Old Lyme. I supported policies to curb our opioid epidemic, defeated a mileage tax proposal that would have crushed taxpayers, and worked to grow our tourism economy. In only my second term, I was named Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee, where I have had a seat at the table of one of the most powerful committees in Hartford.

We cannot afford new taxes, more spending on programs we can’t pay for, or more regulations on businesses.  I opposed Governor Malloy’s proposals on all of this. I stood up for small businesses against taxes, I stood up for seniors to reduce costs, I stood up for veterans to improve healthcare, and I stood up for our local education against illogical mandates.

Integrity matters in this election and I have never – nor will I ever – put party politics or special interests over the people I represent. We deserve a positive, collaborative, independent voice in Hartford and that’s what I will continue to bring if elected to another term.

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Christine Palm (D) Candidate for House District #36

Biography

Christine Palm

Christine Palm is principal of Sexual Harassment Prevention, LLC, which gives anti-discrimination trainings for the corporate, academic and non-profit workplace. Palm served for many years as anti-harassment trainer for Connecticut’s Executive Branch agencies. She was women’s policy analyst for the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors and served as public information officer for the Office of State Treasurer.

She has been a newspaper reporter, high school teacher, marketer of non-profit and cultural institutions, and once owned a bowling alley. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for essay writing.

She and her husband have four sons and live in Chester.

Q1: What is the biggest problem facing the state, why is it the biggest problem, and what would you do to help solve it?

The biggest problem is the state of our economy, which began to tank years ago under previous administrations. Bad policies and irresponsible practices then have resulted in distress now.

The Connecticut I grew up in had a wonderfully diversified economy that stood on five strong “legs”: Manufacturing, Insurance, Defense, Retail/Commercial and Tourism. Many of the companies woven into this fabric were locally owned and run. We have become over-reliant on Fairfield Country hedge funds, have cut tourism spending, and have allowed our once-robust manufacturing sector to falter.

I’m in favor of investing in vocational and technical schools and apprenticeship programs which, when working together with corporations and businesses, will provide a pipeline to employment.

We need to invest in innovative start-ups. For this, I’d also like to see us reapportion the money currently being spent through the “First Five” program in two ways:

First, rather than give $322 million to 15 large companies (as we do now) let’s give smaller (but still critical) seed money to a wider swath of entrepreneurs, and small and mid-sized businesses. Imagine what 320 grants of $500,000 each could do! I would require that an affordable housing component be required, as well as retail activity. These are the two largest drivers of what makes cities and towns attractive to a young, educated workforce.

Secondly, I would use the other half (around $160 million) to defray college debt. With an average debt of $35,000, Connecticut’s young workforce has the third highest burden in the nation. If the State gave that $160 million to 320 companies to help pay off employees’ student loans, nearly 5,000 workers would have a large expense taken care of (and could therefore stay longer at the jobs), and the employer would not have to raise wages in order to compete.

Q2: What do you think of our leadership in Washington?

If by “leadership” we are talking about the president, I believe he is, without a doubt, the worst thing that has happened to our country in generations. He has debased the free press, incited riots and hatred, defended Neo-Nazis, imposed business-busting tariffs, committed sexual assault (and bragged about it), decimated the E.P.A., violated human rights on every front, and is poised to squander the surplus and strong economy he inherited when taking office. What should be of grave concern to our local residents, too, is the fact that his so-called tax cuts will actually add to the burden of middle-class and working families in Connecticut.

If, however, we are talking about our U.S. Congressional delegation, they are a very different story. Rep. Joe Courtney is a personal, lifelong friend and I know first-hand of his integrity and brains. From my work at the Capitol, I have partnered with Sen. Chris Murphy on such important issues as domestic violence reduction and gun safety. They and their Democratic colleagues represent our interests in a moral, effective way.

Q3: What policies or infrastructure do you support at the state level for fostering or managing growth in your district?

Our district is blessed with natural beauty, cultural attractions and vibrant small manufacturers and businesses. We need to invest and protect the interests of all, as we seek ways to attract more business, including retail, to our towns, especially Haddam.

From knocking on people’s doors this summer and fall, I heard over and over again of the need to make the town more vibrant by increasing the tax base, so that middle class families will not continue to bear the brunt of our unequal taxation system.

In addition, we must protect our schools by guaranteeing our fair share of Educational Cost Sharing dollars.

Q4: Why are you running for this position?

From my 10 years in government service as a non-partisan employee of the General Assembly, I saw too many good bills fail because of partisan bickering and the lack of political backbone. I believe we need bold leadership, and to have the chance to represent four river towns is a privilege I take very seriously.

One of my political heroes was Wilbur Cross, who was Connecticut’s governor during the Great Depression. Among his signature achievements were measures related to the abolition of child labor, improved factory safety and the creation of a minimum wage. I think of him when I get discouraged about political inaction and timidity.

Here is a guy who at the height of the worst crisis in memory, inspired people with his optimism: in his famous Thanksgiving address of 1936, he talked about “blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth.”

But he also spoke of the need for “steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth.”

I can’t pretend to have Wilbur Cross’ courage or his wisdom. But in seeking to represent Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam at the Capitol, I promise to strive toward them.

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Bob Siegrist (R – Incumbent) Candidate for House District #36

No responses received.

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The Country School Hosts ‘Open House’ Today; Prospective Students Welcome

The Country School is holding an Open House on Sunday, Oct. 28, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Students interested in attending the school and their families are invited to visit and meet engaged students and dynamic teachers. Hear about the school’s rigorous academic program and commitment to honoring the creativity of childhood.

Learn about their signature programs – STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking – and extensive offerings in the arts and athletics. Tour the school’s transformed 23-acre campus. Hear how their alumni are thriving at top high schools and colleges across the country.

Founded in 1955 and located at 341 Opening Hill Rd., Madison, CT 06443, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool through Grade 8.

To learn more and register for the Open House, visit https://www.thecountryschool.org/admission/open-house.

For information about the school’s $10,000 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8, visit http://www.thecountryschool.org/scholarship.

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Letter to the Editor: Deep River, Essex Voters Have Opportunity to Elect Much-Needed Third Registrar

To the Editor:

Voters in Deep River and Essex will have a chance this year to elect a third registrar. Sean Ames is running as a write-in candidate in Deep River, and Alex Foster is running on the Green Party line in Essex. Under election law, the two major parties are guaranteed a registrar position, but if Ames and Foster get enough votes, they will be
elected, too.

It makes sense to have more than two registrars. The party registrars are elected to protect the interests of their parties, but the largest group of voters (40% in Essex, 45% in Deep River) are unaffiliated or minor party.

Recently, we’ve seen attempts by hackers, whether foreign or domestic, to break into voter databases across the nation. We’ve also seen clerical errors in the voter lists and attempts to remove voters because they share a name similar to another voter.

A third set of eyes is needed to improve the accuracy of the voter lists, to navigate the more complex election procedures mandated by the state, and to watch out for the interests of the growing number of voters who choose not to affiliate with one of the major parties, opting instead to join a third party or no party at all.

Sincerely,

David Bedell,
Wallingford.

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Salary, Other Benefits Become An Issue In Local Senate District

State Rep. Melissa Ziobron                                                               CTNEWSJUNKIE FILE PHOTO

Editor’s Note: We are providing this link to an article by Christine Stuart published on CTNewsJunkie.com Oct. 24, since it pertains to the senate race affecting the towns we cover in ValleyNewsNow.comCTNewsJunkie.com is a fellow member of the Local Independent Online News (LION) publishers national organization and we are pleased occasionally to cross-publish our stories.

HARTFORD, CT — On paper it looks like state Rep. Melissa Ziobron, who is in a pitched battle for a state Senate seat, was the highest paid state legislator in 2017.

Her opponent in the race, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, sent out a press release last week to highlight the fact that Ziobron collected $18,379 in “other” pay last year. That’s on top of a base salary of $32,241 for the part-time lawmaker.

In a phone interview last week, Ziobron said that Needleman is wrong.

Read the full article at this link.

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Local Historical Societies Commemorate End of WWI, Honor Local Veterans in ‘A Patriotic Salute,’ Nov. 4

The Corinthian Band will play patriotic music during the slide show.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and 100 years of women serving in the US military, the historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex will sponsor a program that combines local history, spirited patriotic music and a unique way to honor our veterans.

The area’s historical societies are combining forces to present “A Patriotic Salute,” a digital slide show of images of local veterans over the past 100 years, to be shown on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 3 p.m. at the Deep River Town Hall Auditorium at 174 Main Street, Deep River. The slide show will be presented with musical accompaniment by the Corinthian Jazz Band, performing patriotic music. Historic commentary will be provided by Angus McDonald.

The event is free and open to the public. Handicapped access is available. Refreshments will be served.

Questions? Call 860-558-4701 or go to chesterhistoricalsociety.org.

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How to Teach Kids About Consent, Healthy Relationships; Talk at Deep River Library, Tonight

Jill Whitney, LMFT

DEEP RIVER — The news lately has brought home to all of us how easy it can be for teen sexual experiences to go wrong.  Kids of any gender can be victims of sexual assault – or may even contribute to a culture of sexual harassment and violence if they’re confused about what respect and consent should look like.

Jill Whitney, a licensed marriage and family therapist who writes about relationships and sexuality, will guide parents on how to talk with kids about consent and other sex-related topics.  She will provide:

  • Ideas for getting the conversation started
  • Sample language you can use
  • Ways to deal with strong feelings that may come up for you or your child

Join the conversation on Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Deep River Public Library.  Open to parents of children of any age.  All are welcome.

Registration at tritownys.org would be appreciated for planning purposes.

Resources will also be on hand from the Women & Families Center and the CT Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

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Letter to the Editor: Carney is a Fiscal Champion, Defended his Constituents from Tax Increases

To the Editor:

I am supporting Devin Carney for re-election as our State Representative for Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. He has been the fiscal champion we need in a time of economic uncertainty.

Devin has always stood up for taxpayers in Old Lyme and fought against increases in taxes that would have negatively affected our quality of life. Did you know there were serious proposals to add a new tax every time you brought your dog or cat to the vet? Or serious proposals to add a new statewide tax on anyone who owned a secondary home (there are many in Old Lyme)? Or that the DOT wanted to spend our money on a study to look into a proposal that would tax us every mile we drive?

Has Hartford lost its mind? For the most part, yes. But, thankfully we have a representative who is rising above the insanity and standing up for us.

Devin successfully defeated all of these fiscally irresponsible proposals  and, instead, has focused on and making Connecticut more affordable. He supported reducing taxes on pensions and social security, reducing taxes on small businesses, and reducing government spending.

I hope you will join me on Tues, Nov. 6th in voting to re-elect Devin Carney – a representative taxpayers can be proud of.

Sincerely

Deb Czarnecki,
Old Lyme.

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Essex, Brainerd (Haddam) Libraries Jointly Sponsor State Senate Candidate Debate Tonight at VRHS

AREAWIDE — The Essex and Brainerd (Haddam) Libraries will jointly sponsor two debates in October.  Moderators will be Essex Library Director Richard Conroy and Brainerd Library Director Tom Piezzo.

The first debate took place last Wednesday, Oct. 17, and featured incumbent 36th District State Representative Bob Siegrist (R) and challenger Christine Palm (D).

Democrat Norm Needleman and Republican Melissa Ziobron, candidates for the open 36th State Senate seat, will debate at 6:30 p.m. this evening, Monday, Oct. 22, at Valley Regional High School.  Conroy and Piezzo will once again serve as moderators.

District residents are encouraged to submit questions for the candidates in writing by mailing or dropping them off at either the Essex Library (33 West Ave, Essex, CT, 06426) or Brainerd Library (920 Saybrook Road, Haddam, CT 06438) or by sending them via email to rconroy@essexlib.org or tpiezzo@brainerdlibrary.org. 

In order to be considered for inclusion questions must be relevant to issues facing our state, particularly at the district level, and not constructed in such a way as to favor a particular candidate. 

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Putting the Spotlight on Cheetahs, Raising Funds Locally for Their Conservation, Friday

The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal and Africa’s most endangered big cat. Photo courtesy of CCF.

AREAWIDE — Join Brian Badger, the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s (CCF) Director of Conservation & Outreach, for a talk Nov. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m.  Titled, ‘Cheetah in the Spotlight: Toast to Conservation,’ the talk will take you into the wilds of Africa as Badger discusses key conservation strategies for the endangered cheetah. Badger will speak about the current status of wild cheetah populations and what’s being done to protect Africa’s most endangered big cat.

Badger’s talk will focus on CCF’s innovative conservation methods that address the welfare of both cheetah and human populations over large landscapes. Learn about the highly effective set of integrated programs that work together to achieve CCF’s objective to save the cheetah in the wild.

This is a free event at a private residence. Space is limited so an RSVP required. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

The address in Old Lyme, Conn. will be given upon RSVP registration.

RSVP at this link.

Donations are encouraged to support the Cheetah Conservation Fund programs. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go towards helping to save the cheetah in the wild.

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Talking Transportation: ‘Getting There’ – China’s Transportation Strategy


Quiz question #1:  
What country has the largest interstate highway system in the world?  Hint:  It’s not the United States.

Quiz question #2:  What country has the most miles of high-speed rail?  Hint:  It’s not France or Japan.

The answer to both questions is … China!

China’s superhighways, most of them built since 1984, now cover almost twice as many miles as the US interstates.  And on the rail side, China’s 15,000 miles of high speed rail represents nearly two-thirds of all such rail in the world.

China’s fast trains travel up to 217 mph, linking Beijing to Shanghai (the distance of New York City to Chicago) in a five-hour run.  Trains carrying 1000 passengers each depart at 10 to 15 minute intervals.  Compare that to Amtrak’s Acela, once an hour, carrying 300 passengers at an average of 70 mph.

Sure, China is big.  Though measured in square miles, the US is slightly larger.  But with a population of 1.34 billion, China is huge compared to the US’s 325 million residents.  That means China has a lot more people to move, and they’re investing accordingly.

China spends over $300 billion annually on transportation.  Compare that to the US Department of Transportation’s $80 billion annual spending on highways, rail and air transport.  No wonder we feel like we’re living in a third world country with crumbling roads and obsolete railroads.

But more importantly, China is also investing abroad.  Chinese money is being invested in 68 countries to build highways, ports and railroads to take its exports to market on what it sees as a 21st century Silk Road.

The country’s “Belt & Road Initiative” has pledged $8 trillion in projects for under-developed countries’ projects where it will be able to conduct trade.  These destinations account for 70 percent of the world’s population, 55 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy reserves.

There is already a rail link from China to Europe with daily trains carrying electronics and manufactured goods to Europe.  After unloading, those trains return to China filled with food.  A trip that can take a month by sea now links 35 Chinese cities with a like number of European cities in just 15 days by rail.

On the high seas China is also expanding its reach, building a modern fleet of vessels and investing heavily in port operations in Europe and South America. Containers filled with cell-phones sail out from Chinese ports and much-needed oil sails back.  And where Chinese merchant vessels go, so too will its Navy.  While the US fancies itself as policeman to the world, there’s no way we can keep up.

The US merchant marine has only 175 American-owned vessels flying the US flag while 800 others are registered abroad.  The Chinese government-owned COSCO shipping conglomerate owns 1114 vessels, the fourth largest fleet in the world.  And that’s just one company.

President Trump seems headed to an all-out trade war with China, matching them tariff for tariff and Tweeting regularly about how “unfair” the Beijing government has been to us.

Meanwhile, Washington can’t even pass a domestic infrastructure spending bill to patch up our decrepit roads and rails.  To my thinking, we’re not only getting outspent by China, but clearly out-smarted.  Transportation is about trade and China is clearly planning for the future while we wallow in the past.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

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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Letter to the Editor: Ziobron Challenges Needleman on Negative Campaigning, ‘Double-Dipping’

To the Editor:

While Norman Needleman has been busy spending his own money (to the tune of a $250,000 personal check) for negative TV ads and expensive mailings, I’ve been spending my time knocking on doors every day for the last six months, directly communicating and listening to the people I want to represent at the capital.

Rather than simply run in the merits of his own record, Mr.  Needleman has resorted to doubling down on the negativity, going after me with misleading videos and campaign mailers distorting my record, knowing I have limited resources to push back.  He has even gone so far as to enlist dark money via a nasty political action committee to push out negative information. The people behind this PAC don’t even live in our district.

I’m not even sure Mr. Needleman understands the job he’s trying to buy. When he’s not taking shots at me, he’s repeating old tropes about how Hartford is broken, suggesting that only he can fix it.  Where have we heard that before?

Lastly, there’s Needleman’s stated position on double-dipping from taxpayers. When questioned, he explains he won’t give up his job as First Selectman in Essex.  I’ve been a legislator for 6 years, and I can tell you, even though it only pays as a part time job, it isn’t. I know firsthand that the CEO of a small town is a 60-70 hour a week gig, and that’s when things are quiet. Couple this with Needleman’s abysmal attendance record at the critical River Council of Government meetings, and one can’t help but ask: if elected, which job is going to get his attention?  Voters in the 33rd district deserve someone who isn’t going to treat the job of representing them as a side-hustle.

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,
East Haddam.
Candidate for the 33rd district of the State Seante
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East Haddam Business Association to Host Business Development Expo/Fair, Oct. 30

Registration is now open for the East Haddam Business Association’s (EHBA) Business Development Expo on Tuesday, Oct. 30, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Town of East Haddam’s new Municipal Office Complex, 1 Plains Rd. in Moodus, which will be followed by a networking reception to be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Gelston House, 8 Main St., East Haddam.

New and existing businesses in East Haddam and surrounding towns are encouraged to attend. Topics will include information about customer service, marketing, tourism, project management, business planning, lending, insurance and business start-up basics.

Guest speakers/topics include:

  • Debi Norton, Bravo! Interactive Media/SCORE Mentor – Workshop:
  • SEO Roundtable; Eric Munro, SCORE Mentor ­– Workshop: How to Grow Your Business;
  • Tom Gezo, T Gezo Business Consulting Llc./SCORE Mentor – Workshop: Planning for Success;
  • Jim Jackson, Connecticut Small Business Development Center – Workshop: Consultative Selling;
  • Meg Yetishefsky & Jill Belisle, State of Connecticut – Workshop: How to do Business With the State of Connecticut;
  • Karen Tessman, Connecticut Economic Development Fund – Workshop: Business Financing;
  • Irene Haines, AAA Insurance – Insurance Needs of Small Business;
  • Jennifer Height, Liberty Bank – Financing for Your Small Business;
  • Rosemary Bove, CT Office of Tourism – The Tourism Economy in CT;
  • East Haddam Economic Development Commission – Starting a Business in East Haddam.

This event is free for EHBA members and $15 per person for non-members. Non-members who register before or on the day of the event will receive a one-year EHBA membership for 2019.

In addition, regional businesses are invited to promote themselves through a Business Services Information Fair scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. The fair cost will be $25 to $50 per table depending on the size of the table. EHBA members will receive a discount.

Participants are welcome to attend workshops of their choosing, browse the business services fair, and network with attendees, speakers, and sponsors. Sponsorships and volunteer opportunities are available.

For more information contact: Judith M. Dobai 800-595-4912 or jdobai@ffcsconsulting.com.

Sponsors include: East Haddam News, Cold Spring Farm, Gelston House, Waide Communications, New Inn Kennels, and MoreFIT.

The East Haddam Business Association’s mission is to promote, support and advocate for local businesses through cooperative community outreach. For more information about the EHBA visit ehbact.org. or www.facebook.com/EHBusinessAssociation.

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Letter to the Editor: Correcting Errors in Ziobron Mailer About Needleman

To the Editor:

A mailer arrived at my house this past week that was so full of erroneous implications and information about Norm Needleman that I am compelled to publically (sic) correct some of it.

First, the truth about taxes in Essex:  in Norm’s four terms as First Selectman in Essex, taxes have remained lower than 90% of all other municipalities in the state.  And, this year the property tax rate in Essex was lowered.

Second, the truth about Norm Needleman’s salary:  when state support evaporated, he reduced his salary by 75% and donated the remaining 25% to area charities.  To call it ‘wasteful spending’ is more than misleading …it is an outright lie.

Norm Needleman is as much an “honest Abe” character as I have seen in politics.  He is totally committed to public service.  He has solved Essex’s problems with probity, ingenuity and intelligence and now he wants to bring these character traits and skills to Hartford where, by the way, he will not accept a salary.

Melissa’s Ziobron’s long-term reputation will depend on her taking a stand against  “dark money” slurs against her opponent.  I hope she does.

Sincerely,

Claire K. Matthews,
Essex.

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Needleman, Ziobron to Participate in Senate 33rd District Debate Tonight at Bacon Academy

State Senate 33rd Democratic candidate Norm Needleman.

State Senate 33rd District Republican candidate Melissa Ziobron.

AREAWIDE — The Bacon Academy Young Democrats, Colchester Young Republicans, and the Bacon Academy Debate Club will host a debate for candidates vying to represent the Connecticut State Senate 33rd District. The debate will take place Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Bacon Academy in Colchester, Conn. Admission is free and all are welcome.

From 6:30 to 7 p.m., there will be a meet-and-greet with State Representative candidates in the auditorium lobby. 

From 7 to 8 p.m., the debate will take place in the auditorium with Democratic candidate Norm Needleman, who is currently First Selectman of Essex, and Republican candidate State Rep. Melissa Ziobron, who represents the 34th Connecticut House District.  Incumbent Senator Art Linares (R) is not seeking re-election.

The sprawling Senate 33rd District includes Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

All candidates for the 33rd District State Senate race are welcome to participate in the debate as long as they have filed paperwork to be on the ballot with the Secretary of the State’s office by Oct. 1.

For further information, email mkeho399@colchesterct.org

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Middlesex Chamber Hosts Membership Open House at CT River Museum Tonight with Brad Galiette of Google as Guest Speaker

ESSEX — The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce will host a membership open house & networking reception at the Connecticut River Museum on Tuesday, Oct. 16.  A special welcome is extended to persons in the member towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex.

The event will be held along the banks of the Connecticut River outside the museum under a large tent courtesy of Chamber members Connecticut Rental and the Connecticut River Museum from 5 to 7 p.m. Food and drinks will be served at the event thanks to the sponsorship of Essex Savings Bank.

The kick-off speaker at the open house is Essex native Brad Galiette, Product Manager at Google NYC, where he helps drive the roadmap and execution for Google’s Display and Video Ads products. Growing up in the region, Galiette is passionate about the Middlesex County region and is proud to speak about his experiences as a young professional.

“We’re inviting prospective members to a wonderful evening at the Connecticut River Museum for our member open house and I thank Essex Savings Bank for their sponsorship of this event. We look forward to meeting new members down county and hearing Brad Galiette’s experience at Google,” said President of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Larry McHugh.

The Connecticut River Museum is located 67 Main Street in Essex, CT. To register for the event visitmiddlesexchamber.com.

For more information call 860-347-6924 or email info@middlesexchamber.com

About Brad Galiette: Galiette is a Product Manager at Google NYC where he helps drive the roadmap and execution for Google’s Display and Video Ads products. Previously, he was a member of Google’s Strategy and Operations team where he collaborated with senior leaders to help grow Google’s search and YouTube/video advertising businesses.

Before Google, Galiette was a Senior Associate at McKinsey & Company in its Stamford, CT office where he developed strategies for senior executives at Tech, Media, and Telecom (TMT), Advanced Electronics, and Financial Institutions companies across the US.  He has also spent time at Microsoft in both Product Management and Finance Management roles, which included experience in the company’s CFO office. 

Earlier in his profession, Galiette founded a digital media company and was recognized as a Top Young Entrepreneur by BusinessWeek. Brad holds a BS in Economics and Computer Science, an MS in Computer Science, and an MBA, all from Yale University, and graduated from Valley Regional High School in Deep River.

About Middlesex Chamber: The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is a dynamic business organization with over 2,175 members that employ over 50,000 people. The chamber strives to be the voice of business in Middlesex County and the surrounding area.

From nine geographically based divisions, which meet on a monthly basis throughout Middlesex County, to industry based committees and councils, the Chamber works hard to provide a valuable service to members.

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Essex Library Presents True Story of ‘Lilac Girls’ During French Resistance, This Afternoon; All Welcome

A free, illustrated talk on the Bellamy-Ferriday House & Gardens will be presented by Connecticut Landmarks Educator Jana Colacinto at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Essex Library.

ESSEX — Best-selling author Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls is based on the true story of Caroline Ferriday’s work as a member of the French Resistance and her interest in the fate of the “lapins” (rabbits) – female political prisoners subject to medical testing at the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

Miss Caroline Ferriday

In her debut novel, Kelly transforms the horrors and inhumanities of war into a story of sisterhood and perseverance. Experience Connecticut Landmarks’ Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden through an illustrated lecture and discussion with Landmarks’ Educator, Jana Colacino at the Essex Library on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 3:30 p.m.

Enjoy a visual tour of the 18th-century historic house, built by Rev. Joseph Bellamy and the five-acre site which includes the 18th century residence, barns, and the historic formal parterre garden installed by Miss Caroline Ferriday, a philanthropist and the final resident of the house, and her mother, Eliza Woolsey Ferriday.  While Rev. Bellamy influenced everyday colonial life and preached with religious fervor throughout New England’s “Great Awakening,” Miss Ferriday championed human rights and social justice causes around the globe. 

Details from the lives of these notable residents will be interwoven with lovely images of site. Martha Hall Kelly’s forthcoming prequel, Lost Roses (2019), set in the World War I era, tells the story of Caroline’s mother Eliza and her fight to help Russian refugees displaced by the revolution.

This program is free and open to the public.

For more information or to register, call Essex Library at 860-767-1560. The Essex Library is located at 33 West Avenue in Essex.

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Letter to the Editor: Carney Consistently Demonstrates Commitment to Constituents

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Devin Carney for State Representative, District 23 (Towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook).  Devin was first elected in 2014 and through 2 terms has proven himself a strong advocate for our communities.  Devin was the first elected representative in any town along the shoreline to take a stand on the Federal Railroad Administration proposal to run a bypass through the region. In January 2016 his was the first voice we heard and the first to organize a meeting in the Town of Old Lyme to discuss the issue.  He went on to be a very effective advocate for the large numbers of local and regional community members who stood up against the proposal.

Devin has co-sponsored comprehensive legislation on the opioid crisis. This is a critical issue for our communities. Devin’s careful attention proves again how deeply he cares about this heartbreaking problem which affects far too many in our communities. In addition, Devin has helped to reduce the burden on local businesses by reducing the sales tax on boat sales. He has helped to reduce the propane tax on local homeowners and he has stopped the mileage tax.

As an experienced and effective leader Devin Carney has proven again and again his commitment to his constituents and to working across the aisle for solutions to improve the quality of life in our towns and state. Please join me in re-electing Devin Carney to the State Legislature on November 6th.

Sincerely,

Diane Mallory,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Needleman Thinks, Acts Independently; Works in a Bipartisan Manner for Good of Essex

To the Editor:

The time has come where we all need to get out and vote and try and pick representatives who will lead us out of the partisanship that is causing so much negativity and lack of progress in our governments; local, state and national.

If you saw 60 Minutes on Sunday, September 30th you saw Jeff Flake, a Republican Senator from Arizona and seemingly a reasonable and thoughtful person, admit that if he was running for Senator again, he would have not have reached out to Chris Coons, Democratic Senator from Delaware, to put some sense in the discussions over the allegations of sexual misconduct of Judge Kavanaugh. He stated that there is no longer any reward in politics for acting on personal beliefs and values if those beliefs and values do not fall in line with the political party with which you are affiliated. How sad. While this is a well publicized national issue, the same type of partisan behavior is happening much more quietly on local and state levels. I personally want to respect the person for whom I vote and want to believe that that person will do what he or she thinks is right, not what is being driven through the political party. And accept it that the chosen leader may not always support issues the way I would, but that leaders have a bigger and broader view than I could possibly have for what is good for the state or the nation.

It is for that reason I support Norm Needleman for Senator in the 33rd district. He is a man who follows his own mind and has proven in Essex his willingness to extend past party lines and attempt to do the right thing.

Getting out to vote this election is very important. Find out what you can about candidates, and vote for those who you think are most likely to help solve our local, state and national problems by working with the people and other leaders from all parties. I believe Norm is that person for 33rd district Senator.

Sincerely,

Robert Ward,
Essex.

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Ivoryton Library Association Hosts 5K Pumpkin Chase at Ivoryton Village Park, Saturday

ESSEX — The Ivoryton Library Association will host a 5K Pumpkin Chase on Saturday, Oct. 20, starting at Ivoryton Village Park, 109 Main St.  Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with a kids’ fun run at 8:45 a.m., and a 5K run at 9:15 a.m.

Applications are available at the library across the street from the park (at 106 Main St.) or at wwww.ivorytonlibrary.org, or you can register online at www.aratrace.com. There will be prizes for multiple age groups, as well as prizes for best costumes.

Pre-register by Oct. 18 for $15. Registration on the day of the race is $20. T-shirts are $5, and registration for the kids’ run is $5.

For more information, call Chris Pagliuco at 860-759-6430.

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‘In The Elements’ on View at Chester Gallery Through Nov. 25

‘String Theory’ by Michael Pressman is the signature work of the ‘In the Elements’ exhibition opening at The Chester Gallery, Oct. 5.  Image courtesy of the Chester Gallery.

CHESTER — After a successful reopening by new ownership this past August, the Chester Gallery will present a new show titled, In the Elements, for this fall season.

Opening Friday, Oct. 5, for the Chester community’s First Friday celebration, the exhibit will bring fresh works from standing gallery artists like Sol Lewitt and Richard Ziemann, as well as Sosse Baker, Sheila Barbone, Gil Boro, Stephanie Chubbuck, Rosamund Christison, Sean Kratzert, Michael McLaughlin, Nancy Pinney, Fred Trinkaus, Jerry Weiss and Annie Wildey.

New to the gallery will be works from Ashby Carlisle, Mundy Hepburn, Ella Crampton Knox, Kimberly Monson, Mark Patnode, Michael Pressman and Michael Viera. Also to be featured are the paintings of the late Curt Hanson, a longtime friend and colleague of gallery owner Nancy Pinney. He is dearly missed and is thankfully carried on by his masterful works. 

In the Elements highlightthe innate ability of the artist to capture the nature of this reality, both in the real and the abstract in various mediums including glass and bronze sculptures, weavings, lithographs, photography, mixed media, and paintings. Using the seven elements of art, consciously or otherwise, these artists not only capture but enhance the four elements of life, creating an eclectic assortment of many fine and challenging views of our world.  

The opening reception will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. with live music from local band Low Pagoda in the sculpture garden. 

The Chester Gallery is located at 76 Main Street and is open Wednesday through Saturday (Sundays by chance) from noon to 6 p.m., or by appointment. In the Elements will remain on view through Nov. 25. 

For more information, call (860) 449-3617.

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Letter to the Editor: Needleman, Palm, and Pugliese are Value-Based Candidates

To the Editor:

With less than 50 days to the midterm elections candidates seem to be ramping up with canvassing, lawn signs, and public appearances. As a voter, I am ramping up my interest in the candidates and what they represent. I am looking for value-based candidates who will demonstrate integrity, authenticity, and a commitment to the people they serve. I have had enough of partisan bickering, lies and distortions of the truth, and downright crude behavior. Is it too much to expect truth, dignity, or empathy from our elected officials? I think not.

It is reported that 90% of Republicans approve of President Trump, but that report doesn’t tell the whole story. More accurately, it is 90% of remaining Republicans who approve of him. Yes, many Republicans are abandoning their party because they cannot align with current policies, tactics, or values. Neither can they align with a president who demonstrates little respect for honorable traditions, or who sacrifices national security for his own self serving purposes. The midterm elections seem to pose a conundrum for Republican voters. Do they betray themselves, their party allegiance, stay at home, or attempt to salvage what is left of the party of Lincoln? It seems to me, that casting a vote for Democrats, while counterintuitive, may be the best way to do that.

What better way to send a message to their party leaders than to vote for Democrats who better represent their values. Will you have the courage to make that choice? Norm Needleman, Christine Palm, and Matt Pugliese are local candidates who are honest, competent, and dedicated to the public good. They are committed to improving the economic wellbeing of our community, supporting young families and Seniors, protecting healthcare and the environment, and ensuring school safety. They are value-based candidates who deserve a look.

Sincerely,

Claire Walsh,
Deep River

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Letter to the Editor: Ziobron Confirms her Commitment to ‘Bipartisan Good Faith,’ Explains Her Reasons for Running

To the Editor:

As a moderate, I‘ve been open in my belief in working in a bipartisan good faith. It has been a cornerstone of my philosophy of public service. This was evident in May of 2018, when State Representatives from both sides of aisle spoke, unsolicited, of their experiences working with me in the State House. These comments were public and broadcast on CT-N.   I used those clips in a $375 video to answer the Needleman campaign’s recent spate of vitriolic attacks, soon to be disseminated in a $86,000 TV ad buy.  This is something my opponent can do because, unlike me, he is unrestricted by the rules of our Citizen’s Elections Program.

While out meeting voters in Colchester, a woman’s comment pulled me up short: why was I running at a time of such partisan divide?  My  reaction caught me off guard as much as the question.  I felt tears suddenly welling up and had to take a moment to compose myself.  I wanted to answer with sincerity.  I spoke to her of my passion for our community.  Of my earnest desire to protect our beautiful vistas and natural resources.  My appreciation for the volunteers that make our towns run and how I love our home state.

I can’t ignore how this question touches a recent fault line: in letters to local papers some have expressed upset that I used a personal photo in a campaign mailer that happened to include prominent local Democrats. The photo wasn’t captioned, it was standard campaign material: a picture taken during my tenure as President of Friends of Gillette Castle State Park in 2011 with a newly appointed State official.  It’s regrettable to me how some remain committed to fanatical partisan division at a time when we need to work together.

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,
East Haddam.

Editor’s Note: The author is currently the State Representative for the 34th District and is now the endorsed Republican candidate for the State Senate for the 33rd District.
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Send Us Your Questions for the Candidates, Deadline is Today!

We will shortly be sending questionnaires to the local candidates running for state office in the Nov. 6 election.  We plan to publish their responses on Thursday, Nov. 1.  We invite readers to submit possible questions for the candidates to editor@ValleyNewsNow.com by next Tuesday, Oct. 2.

The candidates to whom we will be e-mailing questionnaires are:

STATE SENATE DISTRICT 33
This District includes Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook.  There is no incumbent since the current state senator for the district, Art Linares, is not running again.

Candidates:
Norm Needleman – Democrat
Needleman is currently first selectman of Essex.

Melissa Ziobron – Republican
Ziobron is currently state representative for the 34th State Assembly District (Colchester, East Haddam, and East Hampton)

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 36
This District includes Chester, Deep River and Essex.

Robert Siegrist – Republican (incumbent seeking his second term)

Christine Palm – Democrat

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 23
This District includes Old Saybrook.

Candidates:
Devin Carney – Republican (incumbent seeking his third term)

Matt Pugliese – Democrat

We look forward to publishing reader’s Letters to the Editor.  We have a strict 350-word limit for these letters and will enforce a two-week break between letters submitted by the same author.

The final day that we will publish letters will be Sunday, Nov. 4: we will only publish new letters on Nov. 5 if they are in response to a letter published on Nov. 4.

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Letter to the Editor: Ziobron’s Record is Impressive, Deserving of Her Election to State Senate

To the Editor:

Melissa Ziobron has been serving as the State Representative for the 34th District for almost 6 years.  Her record is an impressive one.  Now we need her legislative experience in the State Senate.

Since her election in 2016 she has become the Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee, the highest committee position for a Republican member of the House.  She was instrumental in instituting a constitutional spending cap in last year’s bipartisan budget agreement, created a plan to fund the unfunded pensions of state employees, prioritized education funding for small towns, and developed state budgets that didn’t involve tax increases.

Serving on the Environmental Committee throughout her time in the legislature she is passionate about protecting our State Parks and Fisheries and was recognized for her leadership by the CT Land Conservation Council and was named a 2017 Legislative Champion by the CT League of Conservation Voters.

I urge you to go to her website, http://melissaziobron.com/ to read her full background and list of accomplishments. 

Please join me in supporting Melissa Ziobron for State Senate on November 6.

Sincerely,

Adrienne Forrest,
Essex.

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Op-Ed: Needleman Says His Experience, Attitude Are Needed in Hartford, Will Benefit 33rd District

This op-ed was submitted by Norm Needleman, the current first selectman of Essex, who is the Democratic candidate for 33rd District State Senator.

I’ve been First Selectman in Essex for seven years. In all of those years, I’ve delivered a balanced town budget. And in most of those years, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents on our Board of Finance and in our town meetings have unanimously approved the budget.  But as importantly, I am directly responsible for making sure every service funded in those budgets actually happens in the real world, even when state support evaporates. So, every day I directly confront the fallout from the financial crisis in Hartford…not in theory or from the sidelines…but as the core of my responsibility as First Selectman. 

That experience on the front lines of both financial management and service delivery in a small town has given me some insight and perspective on what the towns in our district need in their next state senator. In my view, there are three criteria: first, does the candidate have hands-on experience and real world success in making a small town function and prosper? Second, can you measure the results the candidate has actually delivered? And third, what motivates the candidate to run for the state senate?

I’d like to address those criteria about my own candidacy.

Experience and measurable achievements: If you choose me as your next state senator, I’ll go to Hartford as a leader who has created jobs (225) in his own business, and who has helped make his small town home to over 700 businesses. I’ll go to Hartford as a tax cutter, not a tax raiser…Essex property taxes have remained lower than 90% of the municipalities in our state. I’ll go to Hartford as someone who has streamlined town government to make it more efficient and more responsive.  I’ll go to Hartford as a financial manager who has created years of balanced budgets, and actually been responsible for making those budgets work in the real world. And last but not least, I’ll go to Hartford as a problem solver who has worked every day with Democrats, Republicans and Independents by creating an inclusive decision-making dialogue. 

My motivation for running: I’m not running as a stepping-stone to higher office. I’m not a politician, and I don’t need a job. I want to be your State Senator for two reasons: to help every town in our district get their fair share of support for education and infrastructure improvements; and to help make certain that every individual in every town has a fair and equitable chance to live a safe, healthy, and fulfilling life.

That’s the experience and the attitude I’ll bring to Hartford.

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Explore the ‘Hidden History of Middlesex County’ at Deep River Historical Society’s Carriage House, Oct. 9

DEEP RIVER — Middlesex County has a rich past. From dinosaur tracks and famous authors to the world’s largest gathering of fife and drum corps. But those fascinating facts are just part of the story. Join the Deep River Historical Society (DRHS) and the Deep River Library when local authors Robert and Kathleen Hubbard reveal more hidden mysteries on Tuesday, Oct. 9, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the DRHS Carriage House.

The authors present many unforgettable stories in their recently published book, Hidden History of Middlesex County. They will present slides and discuss their research, which took them to Chester and the other 14 cities and towns of Middlesex County and included conversations with over 100 people who were knowledgeable of the historic people, places, and events that are discussed in the book.

Robert Hubbard is a retired professor at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven Connecticut. Kathleen Hubbard is a retired teacher from the Middletown Connecticut public school system. Both have lived in Middlesex County towns for 30 years. They are the authors of Images of America: Middletown and Legendary Locals of Middletown. In addition, Robert is the author of the recent biography, Major General Israel Putnam, Hero of the American Revolution.

This program is a collaboration between the Deep River Library and the Deep River Historical Society.

For more information, visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.comand click on the monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 1 – 8 pm; Thursday 10 am – 6 pm; Friday 10 am – 6 pm and Saturday 10 am – 2 pm.

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CT Valley Camera Hosts Equine Photographer Tonight, All Welcome

An example of photography by Sarah Grote.

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will host a presentation on Equine Photography by Sarah Grote on Monday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme. The public is welcomed to attend.

Sarah Grote is a lifestyle and nature photographer specializing in projects, equine, and event photography. After 20 years in corporate and nonprofit companies in various operational, development, and managerial roles, she decided to follow her artistic dreams and visions based on her Mom’s inspirational quote, “celebrate everything”.

Since 2014, Sarah has been the photographer for the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum and the Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue (CDHR). Her photos and paintings were selected for CDHR’s juried art show “Save a Horse – Buy Art!” in 2015 and 2017. Her photography was used for the “Demolish or Preserve: The 1960’s at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion” exhibit, which won the most prestigious award given by the American Association of State and Local History.

In 2018, her photos were selected for three juried shows in the Mystic Museum of Art, the Essex Art Association Gallery, and The Voice of Art Gallery. She has been a board member of the Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue organization since 2015.

The CVCC, which was founded in 2002, has a simple mission — to give its members the opportunity to become better photographers.  The ways that the Club achieves this objective include offering a variety of presentations and workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills.  During these popular events, members explore such areas as photographic techniques, computer processing, artistic interpretation and commercial applications, often under the tutelage of a professional photographer.

The CVCC welcomes new members at any time. Meetings are generally held on the first Monday of the month at the Lymes’ Senior Center in Old Lyme.  For more information about the CVCC, visit the club’s website at ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com.

Meeting dates, speakers and their topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at ww.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage.

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