May 26, 2019

Archives for May 2019

Chester to Hold Vote on Town Budget, Wednesday

CHESTER — The Town of Chester will hold a vote to set the Fiscal Year 19/20 Budget, Wednesday, May 29th 7:30 p.m., in the Chester Town Hall, 2nd floor Community Room. Although Supervision and Region 4 Budget have been previously set, this vote will determine the budget for Chester Elementary School and Municipal Government services.
Budgets are available to view in the Town Clerk’s Office and on the Chester website at www.chesterct.org
Childcare is available at no cost for residents attending the Town Meeting and Budget Vote on May 29th for children ages 5-12 from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Chester Elementary School. Caregivers are experienced Park and Recreation Camp Counselors and are all trained in CPR/First Aid.
Availability is limited to 25 children.
To register for childcare, please fill out the attached program registration form (one for each child) and drop off at Town Hall or email to the Park and Recreation Director at elizabethnetsch@chesterct.org by noon on Friday, May 24, 2019. If your child will need medication during the meeting, please include a copy of the school medication release forms.
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I-Park Open to the Public on National Trails Day, June 1

Painters will be working ‘En Plein Air’ in I-Park on National Trails Day. Photo by Nancy Pinney.

EAST HADDAM — I-Park artists-in-residence program will open its scenic campus to lovers of nature, art and music in observance of Connecticut Trails Day on Saturday, June 1. The grounds will be open from 2 to 6 pm, joining 250 other events in this annual statewide celebration. Rain date will be Sunday, June 2.

Normally closed to the public to ensure the privacy of its resident artists, I-Park’s campus and its 26 trails will be open for strolling, hiking and exploring. Visitors are offered the pleasure of discovering the property’s confluence of woods, fields, waterways and stone walls — as well as the abundance of site-responsive artworks that have been installed on the property since I-Park’s founding in 2001.

Landscape painters from throughout the region will be stationed around the grounds, capturing the beauty of the setting and representing the merger of art and nature that has been a hallmark of I-Park’s residency program.

The Grays, a percussion-based improvisational quartet from Chester that performs original compositions, will be playing from 2 to 4 pm.  Guests are welcome to sit and listen to the music or even bring a picnic lunch.

Since 2002, Mie Preckler has been working on a large-scale, ongoing site intervention, “A Conversation with the Gravel Pit”. Over time she has persuaded the landscape to bend gently to her will, creating Mie’s Trail and exposing the site-specific topography of this previously barren industrial site. Mie returns to I-Park every year to maintain this work and document the subtle changes that have taken place since her last visit. She will lead a guided walk of the trail at 4:30 pm.

This is a free, family-friendly event and reservations are requested. To reserve your space, go to i-park.org. For additional information, write events@i-park,org or call 860-873-2468.

Note that due to the fragileness of the art work and trails, pets are not permitted on the I-Park grounds.

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Lost Dog in Lyme

This beautiful dog, Dexter, is missing.

LYME — Dexter, a 10-year-old dark brown (with white spots) German Shorthaired Pointer mix, has been missing since Thursday afternoon. Dexter is generally friendly, but he may be frightened and disoriented at this point. He was last seen near Hamburg Cove on Wednesday, 5/22/19, and was wearing a collar with nametags and rabies vaccination tag. He also has a microchip.

If you have any information, call Richard Gordon at 617-549-2776 or Andrew Barker at 617-669-7195.

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The Movie Man: ‘Game of Thrones’ Has Ended — What Did YOU Think of the Finale? And Will You Sign the Petition??

Kevin Ganey

“What is dead may never die.”

In spring of 2011 I saw advertisements for an upcoming fantasy show on IMDb, Game of Thrones. I did not pay much attention to it, but it did not take long for me to see its effect on everybody else. It became a phenomenon.

Two years later, South Park aired an episode parodying the affairs of Westeros with the imminent Black Friday as retail’s version of “winter is coming.” I was intrigued and asked around if this show was all that it was hyped up to be. My Christmas list that year included the DVD for the available seasons.

But I did not catch on.

I made it to the third episode and got distracted. This paralleled my fitness life, “I should get back to it, but I’ll need some motivation.”

So, the next several years passed by, and I was always out of the loop when it came to references such as “You know nothing, Jon Snow” and “Hold the door.” I even accompanied a friend to a tattoo parlor as he had the phrase “Valar Morghulis” (All men must die) permanently inked into his body. My other attempts of getting into the series proved to be fruitless, as well. But I was aware that nobody was safe, as George R. R. Martin killed off his characters like it was a bodily function.

Then in 2017, I happened to meet the actor Pedro Pascal through my job, and I had to confess I did not know who he was, and he proceeded to fill me in on his role as Oberyn Martell, but I informed him I had only made it three episodes in. Pascal consoled me saying that I would need to get into the second or third season to get that “hook” that everybody experienced. The next year, I tried watching again, and I made it past the first season, but was distracted (again).

Finally, after taking a position in the night shift, I decided to give it my full attention, and by the end of March 2019, I got “the hook.” After finishing one episode, I would instinctively start the next one, without thinking.

I finally understood what everyone was talking about when they repeated those iconic phrases, and the memes that would perfectly allude to real life events. I would spend hours watching interviews with the cast, particularly Emilia Clarke (her interviews prove that she is a phenomenal actress, nothing like the steadfastly ambitious Daenerys, but someone so silly and adorable that you feel the need to hug her.)

And above all, I was finally ready for the end of the series. HBO opted not to air the eighth and final season in 2018, but rather delayed it another year. Perhaps I can be naïve and think it was cosmically arranged for me to get caught up? But whatever. I had my computer ready to screen each episode after my work was done.

I enjoyed the first three episodes, tearing up when Jamie knighted Brienne, and clenching my grip on the chair as the North battled the armies of the Night King. I was already speculating on how the series would end. It was revealed in the previous season that the supposed bastard Jon Snow was the true heir to the Iron Throne, not Daenerys, the girl we were rooting for the entire time, so how would things turn out?

Would he abdicate in favor of the Mother of Dragons?

Would there be a conflict between the two of them?

And what would become of the malevolent and self-centered Cersei?

Nearly a third of my text messages in the last six weeks dealt with me trading theories with friends and commenting on whether they would work or not. It had to be good, since the show had so many satisfying moments in their conflicts, particularly when Sansa imprisoned the poster boy of sadism, Ramsay Bolton, who tormented her and several others, and had him fed to his own hounds (I was grinning ear to ear and pumping my fists when I watched this transpire.)

But when the last three episodes aired, I did not get the fulfillment I anticipated. To be frank, it was the weakest conclusion to the most intense series I had ever watched. It was almost as if one of Daenerys’ dragons gathered in as much air as he could, cocking his head back, and then thrusting forward to reveal, not a firestorm, but rather a mouth full of sparklers that had replaced his teeth.

Really?

I put so much priority over the course of five years to get myself hooked on the show that had taken the world by storm, and I finally caught on for the lamest conclusion ever. They had us on the hook for over eight years, and they could not provide a fitting conclusion. I sat before my computer, often wondering to myself out loud “How much longer is this?” It’s almost as if their creativity ran dry, and they thought to themselves, “How else are we going to get paid?”

Without giving away any spoilers, I can say, even if it seems arrogant, that this is not the ending we fans deserve. In fact, this is not the ending that the show, in itself, deserves (particularly the actors who have been there since the beginning!)

Yes, this is probably what was bound to happen when George R. R. Martin neglected to publish his final books as the series took the world by storm, having nothing to work with at the end of season five … but David Benioff and D. B. Weiss did manage to make the two following seasons without the use of Martin’s base material.

There is already a petition circulating the internet of fans demanding that the eighth season be tossed away, and a replacement season made in its place. A piece of retroactive continuity (similar to how Halloween’s sequels were done away with, and the 2018 installment is now a direct sequel.) Here is a link to the petition, and should a reader reach a similar conclusion as this review, I would urge them to sign it.

“And now our watch has ended.”

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

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Extensive Summer Program Breathes New Life Into Lyme Academy Campus, While Academy’s Future Still Uncertain

File photo of the Chandler Academic Center at Lyme Academy College prior to its affiliation with the University of New Haven.

OLD LYME — The future of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is one of the big, unanswered questions in Old Lyme at the moment.

In July 2014, the University of New Haven (UNH) announced an “affiliation” with what was then Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in a move that was perceived as likely saving the college from possible closure due its critical financial difficulties.  University of New Haven President Stephen Kaplan said at the time, “We are determined to protect and preserve the mission of Lyme Academy College, retaining the unique qualities that appeal to students seeking an arts degree in an idyllic, rural setting that nurtures creativity,”

Just five short years later, in a move that generated both shock and anger, UNH announced it was pulling out from the college saying it would continue its involvement through the end of the 2018-19 academic year and then divest itself of the institution.  The announcement was made in late August 2018 just as the BFA Class of 2022 was days away from starting their studies, leaving those freshmen students registered at a degree-granting college that would not exist past the end of their first year.

Since that announcement back in August 2018, there has been sparse official communication from either UNH or the Lyme Academy College Board of Trustees as to what is happening to the facility.  This has led to rumor and speculation regarding the future of the academy in Old Lyme and beyond.

Lyme Academy College alumna and teacher Kim Monson, who has led efforts to keep the Academy as a fully operational institution.

But all through this period of uncertainty, a group of alumni led by Kimberly Monson, who is both an alumna of the College and now a teacher there, has been fighting hard to keep the Academy (‘college’ has now been dropped from the name) as a going concern.  Monson is passionate about the mission of the academy to which President Kaplan referred, believing in it with a similar conviction to the academy’s founder, the acclaimed sculptor and musician Elisabeth Gordon Chandler.

Elisabeth Gordon Chandler

Chandler, who was one of Monson’s teachers, founded Lyme Academy of Fine Arts back in 1976 because she was determined to preserve the traditional skills of figurative and representational art, which she felt at that time were in danger of disappearing with the explosion of contemporary art. Chandler’s mission was to educate aspiring artists through a rigorous studio curriculum similar to that followed by the Great Masters.

The Academy became a degree-granting college in 1996 and in 2002 added the word ‘college’ to its name, but, all the while, retained its focus on those traditional skills. The curriculum has always included classes in anatomy and perspective, which have become increasingly rare to find in art schools in the past 40 years.

Monson told LymeLine.com this week that she now finally sees a way forward for Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.  The first part of the plan is to “disentangle” itself from UNH, which is no straightforward task.  The 2014 agreement between the two institutions has not been made public and working out who owns what in terms of the facilities, finances, intellectual property and more is believed to be a both ongoing and complex task. That piece has to be concluded for Lyme Academy to stand proud once again as an independent institution, and timing on when the official ‘separation’ will occur is unclear.

The second piece is the employment of a director for the new institution. The position has been advertised and an announcement on the appointee is expected shortly. Monson believes this will be a major step in re-establishing the academy on a firm footing.

The third and final step is the development of an extensive summer program, which hopefully will provide what Monson describes as “a pathway to sustainability.” Monson and her husband, fellow alumnus and College teacher Michael Viera, have created the program, which kicks off May 29, by working long hours and giving it intense commitment while still fulfilling their current College teaching roles.

There are three segments to the summer program, namely Middle School, Pre-College and Adult.

There will be opportunities to paint ‘en plein air’ for all ages from middle school upwards during Lyme Academy’s Summer Program.

Monson explains that the Middle School Academy is a new venture and something she identified as a real need for that age-group. She points out, “Artists took apprentices of middle school age,” so there is no question that students of that age are ready to learn art fundamentals “in a respectful manner” but laced with fun and physical activity.

Over four weeks, four artists will be studied — one per week — in an exciting, exploratory fashion, which will include learning skills in painting, sculpture, pastels, drawing, collage, and storytelling.  Students can enroll in any or all of the week-long programs, which begin July 8 with Edgar Degas, then follow with Michelangelo (July 15 ), Salvador Dali (July 22) and end with Leonardo da Vinci (July 29.)  Timing for the Monday to Friday program is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the fee for each week is $325.

The Pre-College Academy is an experience in which Monson says, “high school students are treated like college students.” and “immerse themselves in intensive workshops” for a week on each topic.  Students will not only expand their portfolios but also gain a significant advantage over their peers when they enter college.

There are eight programs on offer: sculpture, drawing, oil painting, illustration essentials, world building, animation, toy sculpture, and concept building.  Students can register for any number of classes from one to all eight and fees are $350 or $375 depending on the class.

 

Adult classes range from ‘Open Figure Drawing’ on Saturday mornings to ‘Expanding your Encaustic Horizons’ (July 29-31) to ‘Three Dimensional Forms Meet Wax’ (Aug. 1-2). Other programs include an ‘Etching Workshop’ (June 10-14), ‘Sunset Painting’ (Wednesdays, May 29- June 26) and ‘Watercolor’ (Tuesdays, June 18- July 23).

Master Class Workshops include ‘Walking Tour Townscape Painting Workshop with Michael Viera,’ which Monson describes as a “destination week,” takes place Aug. 19-23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Viera, an accomplished and award-winning artist, will lead his students in the footsteps of the Old Lyme Impressionists and ‘paint the town’ This tour will be enhanced by talks from the Old Lyme Historical Society and a visit to the Florence Griswold Museum.

Sculpture by John O’Reilly, who will teach an Animal Sculpture Master Class Workshop this summer at Lyme Academy.

Two more Master Class Workshops are being offered —  ‘Classical Drawing Boot Camp‘ with Rick Lacey (July 15-19), ‘Printmaking’ with Nancy Friese in June, and ‘Animal Sculpture‘ with John O’Reilly (June 24-28).  Both teachers are extremely talented artists with multiple awards between them. Lacey is a graduate of both Lyme-Old Lyme High School and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. O’ Reilly has a B.F.A. from Columbus College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. from the New York Academy of Art.

‘Helen’ by Rick Lacey, who is teaching a Classical Drawing Boot Camp this summer at Lyme Academy.

Based on the Atelier model, the week-long Classical Drawing Boot Camp, which starts July 15, concentrates the student in lengthy study through direct, focused observation. The morning session is dedicated to the art of cast drawing. Measurements, comparisons and intense analysis emphasize the structure necessary for drawing. The afternoons are dedicated to the study of figure drawing from a life model in a continued pose. Attention is paid to set up and final execution over the course of a week.

Sculpting animals is a time honored tradition to which the Animal Sculpture Master Class (starting June 24) pays homage. The founder of Lyme Academy, Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, began her art career sculpting her beloved dog to cope with her grief after he passed away. Sculpting an animal from direct observation is an invaluable learning opportunity. Comparative anatomy, overall structure and form variations will be explored while choosing the proper gesture or behavior to suit your vision. Workshop participants will sculpt live from a horse or a dog.

Monson urges people considering applying for classes to enroll soon since classes are filling fast. She says with the deep-seated passion of a life-long artist, “People should take time to invest in themselves. They should come learn about their capabilities … learn about what they can do and didn’t know they could do.”

Stressing that all the teachers of these classes are “really good people,” Monson explains this means that not only are they outstanding, established artists, but also that they are dedicated to the Academy and “will put it in its best light.” Many of the teachers, like Monson and Viera, are alumni of the College, the majority of whom have gone on to obtain an MFA at another college. The Middle School Academy is being taught primarily by 2019 graduates of Lyme Academy College.

Regarding the future, Monson says her immediate goal is “to populate the campus” during the summer programs and thus breathe vitality and enthusiasm back into the Academy.  She does not know details of the post-summer plans, but says with conviction, “We deserve to be here because we have so much to offer.”  She believes talks with other institutions are ongoing to see where Lyme Academy might find a synergistic relationship or determine if credits from Lyme Academy might be transferable into a degree-granting institution. Monson also thinks discussions with the Town of Old Lyme are continuing despite the rejection by the Town of the Academy’s application for $90,000 in the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Her unequivocal objective — and that of all the other alumni and board members working hard to find a solution for Lyme Academy once it is separated from UNH — remains “to give it [the Academy] a long-term pathway to success.”

Editor’s Note: Full details of these summer programs including instructors, dates, times, fees, and enrollment information can be found on Lyme Academy’s new website at this link. For further information about these summer programs, contact Kristen Brady by email at kbrady@lymefs.newhaven.edu or telephone at 860-598-5143.

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Centerbrook Architects Presents ‘Three Gardens: Garden Design in the Country House Era,’ Tomorrow

The garden at Naumkeag.

ESSEX — New York Landscape Architect Tracey Miller will present a lively overview of residential landscape and garden design through the lens of three iconic designs from the late nineteenth century: Dumbarton Oaks, Olana and Naumkeag. Part of the ongoing Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series, this talk will take place in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects on Friday, May 17 at 7 p.m.

The Country Place Era occurred at the end of the nineteenth century as many Americans, fortified with newly earned wealth from the industrial revolution, took to the country to build estates. It was a movement more than it was a style and aesthetic preferences varied.

Focusing on Naumkeag, Dumbarton Oaks and Olana Miller will explore landscape design as it relates to history, site, society and client. Studying precedent helps us think about our own designs. One learns from the masters as we study their execution of detail, selection of plants and the techniques they employed to build upon a site’s existing features in order to evoke its ‘spirit of place,’ or Genius Loci.

Miller has a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia. She has been assisting clients with the design and implementation of unique environments for over 20 years.

This talk is free and open to the public.

For more information or to register, call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560.

Centerbrook Architects is located at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook.

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Replacement of Lynn Road Bridge Starts, Detours in Effect

WESTBROOK/ESSEX — The Town of Westbrook will begin the season long replacement of the Lynn Road Bridge over Falls River on or before May 1. The bridge is located at the intersection of Lynn Road and East Pond Meadow Road.

Construction will last from May to December with a detour in place for the duration. In addition, daytime work will periodically reduce East Pond Meadow Road to one lane.

The detour will re-route Lynn Road traffic into Essex via East Pond Meadow Road to Pond Meadow Road to Bushy Hill Road and total approximately three miles.

The project is expected to take six to eight months to complete, but will be reopened as soon as possible.

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Ride the 7th Annual ‘Tour de Lyme,’ Sunday! Still Time to Register, Proceeds Benefit Lyme Land Trust

And away they go … the 7th annual Tour de Lyme takes place this Sunday.

AREAWIDE — Join the seventh annual Tour de Lyme on Sunday, May 19.  For competitive riders, this is a chance to warm up for the cycling season ahead. For others, it provides a wonderful occasion to pedal through Lyme and enjoy the surrounding countryside.  If you are a mountain biker, this is an opportunity to ride through private lands open only for this event.

Everyone – riders, sponsors, and volunteers – will enjoy a post-ride picnic at Ashlawn Farm with popular food trucks, beer and live music.  This year there will be physical therapists to help with any injuries, the always popular massage therapists to loosen tight muscles, and a plant sale to stock up on herbs for the season ahead. There will also be Tour de Lyme shirts for sale.

For complete information and online registration, visit www.tourdelyme.org

Ready to ride!

It’s not a race but a carefully planned series of rides designed to suit every level of skill and endurance. There are four road rides of varying length and degree of difficulty:

  • The CHALLENGE, the name says it all, is 60 miles – a real workout;
  • The CLASSIC, shorter at 25 miles, but still a challenge;
  • The VALLEY Rides pleasant easier rides with fewer hills, 26 miles or 35 miles
  • The FAMILY at just 8 miles designed for riding with children. 

There are also two mountain bike options;

  • the RIDER’S TEST a 26.5 mile ride for serious enthusiasts
  • a shorter, less challenging option.

The Tour de Lyme is hosted by The Lyme Land Conservation Trust.  Since 1966, the Lyme Land Trust has been conserving the unique and historic landscapes of Lyme, Connecticut. During those years, the Lyme rural community has shown that a small population can have a big impact and protect more than 3000 acres of woodlands, working farm fields, and bird-filled marshes. The result is an outdoor paradise – open to all. 

Money raised from the Tour de Lyme will create added opportunities for public enjoyment of the Land Trust preserves while protecting and maintaining what has already been conserved for generations to come. 

The Lyme Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization – registration and donations are tax deductible.

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Where Art Meets Nature: I-Park Hosts Free, Open Studios Events, Sunday

EAST HADDAM — The public is invited to visit I-Park for its first Open Studios of the 2019 season. Guests will be able to meet six of the seven resident artists on Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. I-Park is located at 428 Hopyard Rd. in East Haddam, which adjoins the Devil’s Hopyard State Park.

The facility is generally closed to visitors to give the artists undisturbed time to work on their creative endeavors. But once a month, at the conclusion of each residency, visitors are invited to meet the artists in their studios, attend the presentation segment that features select time-based works, enjoy complimentary refreshments and stroll the trails winding through I-Park’s scenic, art-filled campus.

The studios will only be open from 2 until 3:30 p.m. so guests are encouraged to arrive early so they have enough time to visit all the studios before the 3:30 p.m. presentations.

A reception with refreshments will follow.

I-­Park is an artists-in-residence program offering fully funded residencies in visual arts, creative writing, music composition/sound art, moving image and architecture/landscape design. Since its founding in 2001, I-­Park has sponsored more than 900 residencies, and has developed cross-­‐disciplinary projects of cultural significance and brought them to life in the public domain.

Set within a 450-acre nature preserve, I-­Park has a strong interest in site-responsive and environmental art – and has been the setting for exhibitions, performances, symposia and programs that facilitate artistic collaboration.

Photo collage of the Artists-in-Residence at I-Park for the month of May.

The artists-in-residence are:

Marianne Barcellona is a painter and professional photographer from New York City. Her extensive travels provide raw inspiration for her paintings.

Hugh Livingston is a composer and sound artist from California who creates multi-media installations related to natural and built spaces; he also performs exploratory cello music. His artworks have been installed internationally.

Colette Lucas is a mixed media artist and gardening enthusiast based in New Hampshire. Her botanical motifs are created from a combination of imagination, observation and research.

Tom Nazziola, a New Jersey composer, has had his music featured on virtually every medium in the world of music. From “live film music” to choral and orchestral pieces, his compositions have been performed around the world.

Dominica Phetteplace is a prize-winning Washington (state) poet and writer whose work has appeared in Asimov’s, Zyzzyva, Copper Nickel and Ecotone as well as numerous other publications.

Allison Roberts is a lens-based artist from Oklahoma. She works primarily with photography, video and installation to address memory, place and identity as such are experienced during periods of transition.

Jane Simpson is a mixed media artist from New Hampshire. Her collage and assemblage work is comprised mainly of found paper – made either by mother nature or human ingenuity. Recently she has incorporated graphite drawings inspired by vintage photographs.

Although admission to Open Studios is free, advance reservations are requested. To reserve your space, visit i-park.org. For additional information, email events@i-park.org, call 860-873-2468 or visit i-­‐park.org.

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Main Street Project Committee Hosts Public Presentation of Project Design Tomorrow Evening

CHESTER — There will be a Public Presentation of the project design tomorrow evening, Tuesday, May 14, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall Community Room.

Work is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2020.

Plans are on display at the Chester Town Hall or visit this link to view –
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Talking Transportation: The ‘Port Jeff’ Ferry – Mass Transit Making a Profit

Jim Cameron

Public transportation is a money-losing proposition.  But Connecticut is home to one of the few profitable transit companies in the US.  It’s not CT Transit or Metro-North, both of which are heavily subsidized.  No, the operation that’s squarely in the black is the Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, a.k.a. “the ferry”.

“If you tried to start this ferry company today, you couldn’t do it,” says the ferry company’s Chief Operating Officer, Fred Hall.  Today’s ferry is a legacy of the 1883 cross-Sound service run by PT Barnum.

Hall has been on the boats since 1976 when he worked weekends as a bartender as a “side-hustle” to his advertising job in New York City.  In those days they used to run a Friday and Saturday night “Rock the Sound” cruise leaving Port Jefferson at 10 p.m.  Complete with a live rock band and a lot of drinking (the legal age then was 18), the three-hour cruise drew 600 passengers a night.

From there, Hall was promoted to General Manager of the Bridgeport terminal, Assistant General Manager and finally to Vice President in charge of the entire operation.  And he thoroughly enjoys his work, commuting from his home on Long Island to inspect the three-vessel fleet several times a week.

He’s not alone:  the ferry carries almost 100 daily walk-on commuters, crossing in both directions, who are an important indicator of the economy’s strength to Hall.  “When the numbers of monthly commuter (at $240 per month) are high, that’s a sign of a weakening jobs market because people have to commute long distances to find work,” he observes.

But for cars carried on the ferry, the opposite is true.  “In 2005 we carried 460,000 cars.  In 2018, only 450,000.”  Why?  Because Hall says so many of his repeat customers are using the ferry to get to second homes … beach homes on Long Island or winter ski cabins in New England.

“You can probably fly out West in the winter and get more reliable snow conditions and still save money compared to driving to Vermont,” Hall says of his northbound Long Island customers.

Big changes are coming for the Bridgeport ferry, starting with an annual May fare increase.  Tickets, which used to be sold on board “using carnival tickets on a broom handle,” are now e-tickets sold and scanned before boarding.  If you’re bringing a car, reservations are a must, especially on weekends.  If you show up without a ticket, expect to pay a surcharge, just like on Metro-North.

The ferry company is still working on moving to a new, larger terminal farther east in the harbor, a 19-acre site that will also support a deep-water shipping pier … if the US Army Corps of Engineers dredges the harbor.  But that work is a Catch 22, he says, noting, “They dredge where there’s shipping traffic.  But that traffic depends on dredging.”

The new $35 million ferry terminal will save up to eight minutes unloading and loading the ship and allow foot passengers to board using Jetways.  Depending on permits, this new terminal might open in 2020 – 2021.  The ferry company also hopes to add a fourth ferry to its fleet, built in the US and probably costing $30–40 million.

But long rumored plans to run additional ferry service from New Haven to Port Jefferson LI probably won’t happen, says Hall.  “We just couldn’t find the land [for a terminal],” in New Haven.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

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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Region 4 Budget Referendum is Today

TRI-TOWN — The Region 4 Budget Referendum on the 2019-2020 Budget is being held today, Tuesday, May 7, from 12 noon until 8 p.m.

Vote at the following locations:

Chester: Chester Town Hall Community Room

Deep River:Community Meeting Room of the Public Library, 150 Main Street

Essex: Essex Town Hall auditorium

 

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With Season Start of Essex Steam Train, Important Reminders About Railroad Crossing Safety

AREAWIDE — With the Essex Steam Train season about to begin, motorists are asked to refresh their sense of caution at the many railroad crossings in the lower valley.

At crossings with STOP signs, motorists are required by law to come to a complete stop before the white STOP line, and yield to approaching rail traffic.  At crossings with flashing lights and/or gates, motorists are required to come to a full stop before the white STOP line and wait until rail traffic passes and lights/gates shut off.

Vehicles carrying passengers for hire, as well as vehicles carrying hazardous materials, are required by Federal Law to stop at all railroad crossings at all times, and yield to approaching rail traffic regardless of signs, lights, or gates.

The Valley Railroad will be working in conjunction with law enforcement to reduce a recent increase in unsafe motorist behavior at the Rte. 153/Plains Rd. railroad crossing in Essex. This will entail police surveillance, and may include written warnings and/or fines for motorists failing to heed crossing signals. Fines can start at $129, and points can be assessed against a CT Driver’s License.

Railroad crossings, signals, and train operations are inspected and maintained to strict standards as promulgated by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The final piece of the safety puzzle at crossings is attentiveness and safe action by motorists using the crossings.

Any questions may be directed to Robert Bradway, V.P. Track and Property, The Valley Railroad Company at (860) 964-3422.

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Four Yacht Clubs Host Connecticut River Leukemia Cup Regatta This Weekend


ESSEX — The Essex Corinthian, Essex, Frostbite and Pettipaug Yacht Clubs present the Second Annual Connecticut River Leukemia Cup Regatta, a two-day one-design river regatta scheduled for May 4
and 5.

Following the successful first edition of the Connecticut River One-Design Leukemia Cup in 2018, the 2019 Connecticut River Leukemia Cup Regatta is once again bringing together sailors and their friends from all over the lower Connecticut River and Eastern Connecticut shoreline. This charity event is designed to generate awareness about blood cancers and raise funds to support life-saving research to bring hope to those who are facing the disease. An estimated 1,300,000 Americans currently battle blood cancers. Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed.

Funds raised through the Leukemia Cup Regatta advance the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s mission to cure leukemia, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS carries out its mission by funding leading-edge cancer research; providing information and support services for patients, education for health care professionals, and advocating for patients at national and state levels. Participation in and support of the Leukemia Cup Regatta helps save lives!

Since its inception, the Leukemia Cup Regatta series has raised close to $70 million for life-saving research and patient services, bringing help and hope to patients and their families. At events held at yacht clubs across North America, skippers register their boats and recruit friends and colleagues to help crew and raise funds. Crew members seek donations from friends, family, co-workers and employers to sponsor their boat. National event sponsors also support the Leukemia Cup Regatta, and local businesses are encouraged to act as event sponsors.

The regatta is open to any One Design fleet that has five or more registered boats: Ideal 18, Etchells, MC Scow, Laser, JY15, Club 420, Sunfish, Force 5, etc. Boats that do not form a one-design class will race as a handicap class. Open to adult and junior sailors – written permission from parents or guardians required for skippers less than eighteen (18) years of age must be received before the start of racing.

The two-day event features a post-race party on Saturday hosted by the Essex Yacht Club with food, drinks and music, as well as a silent auction, starting at 5 p.m. The post-race party is open to the public; sailors, power boaters and non-boaters are all welcome to attend! On Sunday, the Essex Corinthian Yacht Club will host an awards reception. Ticket purchase required, includes both parties.

For more information on how to participate in the regatta, support the charity by raising funds or becoming a sponsor, and to purchase party tickets, visit http://www.essexcorinthian.org/2019ctriverleukemiacup.html or http://www.leukemiacup.org/ct

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Musical Masterworks Presents Season Finale Concert This Evening, Tomorrow Afternoon

Cellist Edward Arron

Musical Masterworks will close its 28th season by celebrating the masterpieces of Haydn, Prokofiev and Schubert on Saturday, May 4, at 5 p.m. and on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. at the acoustically perfect First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

This season finale of the 28th season of Music Masterworks features acclaimed husband-wife duo, pianist Gloria Chien and violinist Soovin Kim, who join Edward Arron for a performance of Schubert’s remarkable E-flat Major Trio, one of the great masterpieces from the composer’s final year.

The program will begin with the C Major Trio by ‘Papa’ Haydn, followed by Prokofiev’s F minor Sonata for Violin and Piano.

Individual tickets are available for $40 for adults and $5 for students. Visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

Musical Masterworks returns in October with its 29th season, which will include a celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary featuring his complete quartets during two special three-day concert weekends in March and May 2020.

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‘Free Day’ at Florence Griswold Museum Tomorrow

Exterior view of the Florence Griswold Museum, which hosts a Free Day on Sunday.

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme presents its annual Community Free Day on Sunday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Old Lyme. The event offers free admission to the Museum’s 12-acre campus, and includes family friendly activities and a special appearance by Diana Dulap portraying artist Matilda Browne in the Florence Griswold House from 11am to 4pm.

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

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

On view in the Museum’s Krieble Gallery, the exhibition The Great Americans: Portraits by Jac Lahav asks the question, who are our national heroes? Benjamin Franklin? Rosa Parks? Albert Einstein? Lahav’s nearly seven-foot-tall paintings of 30+ famous figures are a celebration of America layered with references to history, lore, and imagery that shape our understanding of these larger-than-life icons. Through his psychologically complex and sometimes cheeky treatment of iconic figures from politicians to celebrities, Lahav explores the nature of cultural identity.

One day only! Matilda Browne, one of the key members of the Lyme Art Colony, comes to life in this first-person theatrical appearance by writer and actor Diana Dunlap. Enjoy our visitor from yesteryear who was born on May 8, 1869, as she strolls through the Griswold House, telling stories of a life filled with art and adventure from 11am to 4pm.

At 2pm, William J. Mann, awarding-winning biographer, LGBTQ activist, professor, and Director of Central Connecticut State University’s LGBT Center, gives a gallery talk focusing on two figures from the current exhibition, The Great Americans. Mann has made a career of deconstructing the enduring appeal of American icons.

Central to his book The Wars of the Roosevelts (2016), is a fascinating alternative picture of Eleanor, who witnessed firsthand the brutality of politics (her uncle Theodore’s politically expedient destruction of her father Elliott and her husband Franklin’s management of his extramarital affairs), emerging stronger as a result. Moreover, Mann’s discussion of Eleanor’s own outside relationships with both men and women are grounded in a 21st-century awareness. As a professor of LGBT history, he has also considered the legacy of Harvey Milk, openly gay San Francisco Supervisor assassinated in 1978, who has arguably become more famous and important in death than in life.

While at the Museum, families are encouraged to follow scavenger hunt cards in the Florence Griswold House, and uncover art details in the Krieble art gallery with “Can You Find Me” game cards.

Families can pick up the keepsake publication, My Sticker Book Guide to the Florence Griswold Museum. The beautifully illustrated booklet tells the story of Miss Florence and her artist friends. Each time a child visits the Museum, they earn a sticker to complete one of the booklet illustrations. Those who collect all six stickers receive a gift.

From 11am- 4pm, drop in at the Museum’s Education Center for a quick painting lesson before heading down to the river or out in the garden for an afternoon of painting. All materials included. Adventurers of all ages can learn more about nature through a selection of Explorer Kits. All materials included.

Free Day attendees can also visit the Chadwick Art Studio, presented as it would have looked in 1920, the Rafal Landscape Center, as well as the Museum’s gardens and grounds along the Lieutenant River. The award-winning Café Flo will be open for lunch.

A consistent recipient of a Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence, the Florence Griswold Museum has been called a “Giverny in Connecticut” by the Wall Street Journal, and a “must-see” by the Boston Globe. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, the Museum features a gallery for changing art exhibitions, education and landscape centers, a restored artist’s studio, twelve acres along the Lieutenant River, and extensive gardens. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut. Visit FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for more information.

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It’s ‘First Friday’ in Chester! Much to Enjoy at Shops, Galleries, Restaurants

CHESTER — It’s May Daze on the First Friday of May in Chester! With shops and galleries open until 8 p.m. and the start of a big weekend in town, here’s a summary of everything that’s happening during the evening of May 3 in the shops, galleries and restaurants in Chester.

The 6th Annual Pattaconk 1850 BAR & GRILL and Rotary Club of Chester, CT Music Fest and Charity Duck Race activities kick off on Friday with music on the patio and inside, and the Pattaconk’s Scoops & Smiles ice cream shop window opens for the season at 4 p.m. on First Friday.

Little House Brewing Company launches its first Maifest weekend with the official opening of its biergarten and the release of its first Maibock, a strong, malty lager, in a special-edition glass tankard. Supplies are limited, and the festivities continue all weekend long.

Chester Gallery will host artist John Paul Lavertu for a signing of Knock! Knock!, his four-act wordless story that follows the journey of two nameless characters. Lavertu first came to Chester to work with Sol LeWitt while he attended the Art Students League of New York. He’s had exhibits in New York and The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Mass., and has exhibited at the Chester Gallery Postcard Show. Lavertu continues to work for the LeWitt Collection in Chester.

Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery is showcasing some of the artist’s Spring and Summer paintings accompanied by house band Arrowhead.

The shops and artisans in Chester also have plenty on tap to kick off May Daze, including:

• Lark is celebrating its 5th birthday with “Pick-a-Duck” discounts for customers, giveways, and “quackers” and cheese.

• The French Hen is getting a jump on Cinco de Mayo, which is on Sunday, May 5, by serving mini-margaritas on First Friday.

Artwork courtesy of Leif Nilsson. Backyard Azalea Garden, oil 48 x 40 inches

• Shops at the Mill House is launching its first Spring Clearance Sale, with specials throughout its nooks and crannies.

• Dina Varano Gallery is showcasing a new line of pearl jewelry inspired by the beautiful colors and natural shapes of Tahitian, fresh water and baroque pearls.

First Friday also marks the day tickets go on sale for Chester’s 2nd Ladies Sip & Shop, which has been set for Thursday, June 20. Tickets go live on May 3 at 5 p.m. to buy a “swag bag” full of coupons, goodies from town merchants, and the chance for a “Golden Ticket” that will win the lucky recipient a terrific gift. See the Visit Chester CT Facebook page for full details on this shoppin’ and sippin’ event, which drew more than 200 folks to Chester last year. This year’s proceeds will go to support Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut.

In addition to on-street parking in Chester, there is free parking available in the town’s public lots on Main Street by the cemetery, on Water Street and on Maple Street.

More information about First Friday is available on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT or by calling (860) 322-4047.

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Letter From Paris: As Notre Dame Burns, the World Mourns

Nicole Prévost Logan

On April 15, the world watched in shocked awe as the 850-year-old Notre Dame cathedral went up in flames.  The emotion was immediate, intense and spread around the globe.  Crowds of stunned people, who gathered on the banks of the Seine, many in tears, some singing religious hymns, gasped when the flèche (spire), consumed by the blaze, finally collapsed.

The French president decided to postpone an important public address.

Heads of state reacted to the fire in the same manner as if it were a major event in world affairs.

Michael Kimmelman wrote in the New York Times that France, “… Weeps for a Symbol of Paris’s Enduring Identity.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was consumed by flames, April 15.

Why is this venerable monument so loved?  It is for a combination of reasons.  Situated on a strategic location on the Ile de la Cité, it is more than a place of cult but a symbol of a civilization.  A Gallo-Roman basilica or temple stood there in the 4th century when Paris was still Lutetia,  then a Merovingian palace was built by Clovis in the 5th century, which was followed by a Christian church in the 10th century.  The construction of the existing cathedral started in 1132 and was not completely finished until 1345.

Napoleon chose it for his self-coronation. as depicted by Jacques Louis David. in 1807. It was to Notre Dame that Charles de Gaulle went first, after marching down the Champs Elysées, in August 1944. During the funeral of François Mitterand, German chancellor Helmut Kohl could be seen with tears in his eyes.

“There was a great and furious flame rising between the two towers, with whirlwinds of sparks” wrote Victor Hugo in 1832. At that time, Notre Dame   was falling into disrepair and Victor Hugo accomplished the best ever exercise of “com” by writing the novel, “Notre Dame de Paris” (translated into English the following year as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”) to attract attention to the plight of Gothic architecture.  The monument has become an iconic part of the popular culture since.

The 1939 American film,”The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” added to the collective memory by showing the unforgettable Charles Laughton begging for water on the pillory and the 19-year-old gypsy girl Maureen O’Hara helping him.  “Notre Dame de Paris” has been one of the most popular musical comedies in recent years.  Today computer games attract younger populations under the nave.  In this era of globalization, the cathedral has been an obligatory stop for mass tourism, bringing more than 12 million visitors a year to the building.

On a French televised literary program shown the day after the fire, British author Ken Follet was invited to talk about his 1989 best seller, “The Pillars of the Earth,” describing the generation-long construction of a fictional early Gothic church set in the English countryside.

The cathedral has inspired artists, like Turner, Corot, Hopper, Matisse.  In 1909,  Paul Delaunay created a modernistic vision of the city, as seen from the  top of the spire, through movement and light.  Listening to Debussy’s “La Cathedral Engloutie,” one can’t help thinking of  Notre Dame. The opening stark fifth chords describe the calm waters from which the cathedral slowly rose, inspired from a medieval Breton legend.

But the main reason to revere Notre Dame is that, like the Parthenon, it is a perfect example of the canon of architectural beauty. The masters of the 13th century created a well-balanced, light, elegant structure, devoid of unnecessary decorations.  They created a building at human scale.  Unlike some other cathedral, such as the much taller and rather austere Cologne cathedral, for example, the feeling of height is not oppressive because of the elegant archways of the  “tribune” and the “trifonium” and the upper windows pouring light over the six-point vault rib of the nave.  The giant 13th century rosaces (rose stained glass windows of the north and south transept) filter soft red-blue colors.

This is why I, like so many Parisians or visitors, have being seduced by the cathedral.  Once you visit it, it becomes yours.  Aware that I may never see it again, I am holding on to shreds of memories.

A view of Notre Dame before the devastating fire.

In the mid 19th century, the cathedral was showing its age and historian and medievalist architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc,  aged 31, was chosen to lead the restoration starting in 1843 . He first created  stunning drawings, blueprints and watercolors.  Beside repairing the damage of time, he also made some bold additions such as the flèche – completed in 1859 – the gargouilles (gargoyles) and chimeras representing fantastic birds, demons, often used as rain spouts.  Built in Neo-Gothic style, they matched  the original spirit of the structure.

Within 48 hours of the fire, there was an unprecedented outpouring of donations.  French billionaires – Francois Pinault (maker of luxury goods, owner of Christie’s auction house) and Bernard Arnaud (LVMH, Vuitton) – rivaled each other as to whom would donate the most and turn down the tax deductions.

The main loss was the 13th century oak framework under the roof.  When it collapsed, the flèche fell through the nave at the crossing of the transept, leaving a gaping hole. For a while, experts feared the danger of collapse in three particular areas. Then stormy weather, with rain and strong winds, forced the workers  to do a fast and amazing job of protecting the structure.  The ones with mountaineering experience were dispatched to the most difficult places, like pinnacles, to lay down tarps over a temporary frame installed where the roof had been.

Two weeks after the blaze, Benjamin Mouton, former chief architect of Notre Dame commented that the building was still fragile.  Stones were at first dangling in the air.  Work by an expert will have to determine the damage caused, in a great part, by the tons of water the hundreds of firemen hosed on the building to put out the fire. It will take several months just to dry up.  The consolidation process alone will take about four months.

Fortunately the rosaces were not damaged, but to bring them back to their original condition will be a painstaking job: each pane of the stained glass will have to be taken down, cleaned, then stored until reinstalled.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced an international competition.  How to conduct the restoration is causing an ongoing controversy:  whether to duplicate the original building or modernize it by using new technology?  Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect of historical monuments, will arbitrate opposing point of views.  Should Notre Dame freeze in the past or at the same time, should one stay away from wild architectural projects not in keeping with the soul of the cathedral?  One of the main dilemmas is whether to replace the oak framework (called “the forest”) with wood or use another material such as metal — as in Reims cathedral — or concrete and metal as in Chartres?

An army of carpenters,  stone-carvers and glass-blowers will be needed.  Les Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France (nothing to do with the annual bicycle tours), dating back to the Middle Ages, is an association of monastic character, with 80 houses across France, producing the best artisans and craftsmen in the world.  The transmission, through the centuries, of their savoir-faire will be crucial.

Restoration work, as a rule, is overseen by the Ministry of Culture.  But this time the government appointed General Jean-Louis Gorgelin, former army chief of staff, to conduct the work … and on the double.

The day after the fire, Notre Dame, seen from the East on Quai d’Orléans on Ile St Louis,  looked like a wounded bird.  With the roof gone, buttresses seemed disconnected and to be flying in all directions.

Let us hope it will rise again soon in all its former splendor.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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