January 31, 2023

Op-Ed: Carney Says Proposed State Education Budget Cuts Will Seriously Impact 23rd District

State Rep. Devin Carney

State Rep. Devin Carney

Does Governor Malloy have a problem with communities that succeed? This is a question we need to ask ourselves. Year after year, the schools of the 23rd District work diligently to provide quality education to our youth. Our teachers and administrators add to the success of our state by instilling the proper foundation to produce the industrial, business, and community leaders of tomorrow. Many of our best and the brightest students chose to continue their education in Connecticut – something of which the governor should be incredibly proud. Just last year the valedictorians from Region 18 (Lyme and Old Lyme) and Westbrook as well as the salutatorian from Old Saybrook chose UConn.

We have seen two budget proposals over the past two weeks that would do damage to the schools in the 23rd District. The Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee released an incomplete budget that would cut Education Cost Sharing (“ECS”) funding to the towns in our district by 33 – 56%. This was bad enough. But, under the governor’s updated proposal, the four towns in the 23rd went from receiving a recommended amount of $1,831,496 in ECS funding to $0 for FY 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017). A total of 28 towns were zeroed-out, while many cities, like the governor’s hometown of Stamford, were held harmless. Talk about a shared sacrifice.

These proposed cuts – made at a time when most local Boards of Finance are crafting their own fiscal year budgets – are unfair. The clear lack of respect and care on the governor’s part is alarming. All four towns in the 23rd District will now have funding gaps and may require local property tax increases to offset them. This would add an even greater burden to Connecticut’s taxpayers and Connecticut simply cannot afford to lose additional wealth at this time. However, that’s where these indirect tax hikes would be directed – all 28 communities being zeroed-out are considered ‘wealthy’.

Although these cuts are debilitating to small towns like ours – which already receive far less back from the state than we put in – we must keep in mind that this is only a proposal.

I remain committed to finding a solution with other members of the legislature to address this inequitable cut to our towns and to solving our $930 million deficit. The state wants people to move to Connecticut and one of our best selling points is our top-tier education. While we are faced with many serious and pressing economic issues, predominantly the ongoing budget crisis, great public education is one area on which we can pride ourselves.

I have written a letter to the governor urging him not to turn his back on the children and the taxpayers of the 23rd District and to request that he amend his updated budget and eliminate these cuts. The taxpayers of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook provide a great deal to this state and the deficits would be much, much higher without us. If either the legislature’s or the governor’s cuts are enacted, then it would be only fair that some of the approximately 380 unfunded state educational mandates be eliminated.

Instead of education, the governor and the legislature must look to balance the budget through real structural changes in the way state government is run. Changes could include pension and benefit reform, re-negotiating of union contracts, a moratorium on unnecessary government projects, serious spending and bonding caps, and tighter controls on overtime. When I last checked, many don’t live in Connecticut for bloated government overtime, but they do for our great schools. In fact, it may just be the only thing keeping them here.

To read my letter to Governor Malloy: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the Appropriations budget: click here

To see how Connecticut towns fare under the governor’s budget: click here

To read the governor’s budget proposal: click here

To see the approximately 380 unfunded educational mandates: click here

Musical Masterworks Presents Season Finale Concerts This Weekend

Rieko Aizawa

Rieko Aizawa

Musical Masterworks will present the final concerts in its 24th season of chamber music concerts at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme on Saturday, May 2, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 3, at 3 p.m.

The concerts will feature pianist Rieko Aizawa, violinists Hye-Jin Kim and Jesse Mills; violinist/violist Ara Gregorian, and violist Max Mandel.

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron will perform on cello and serve as host for the concerts.

The program will feature Turina’s Scene Andalouse for Solo Viola, Piano and String Quartet; and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in A Major.

Jesse Mills

Jesse Mills

The program’s finale will be the Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet by French composer Ernest Chausson.

Tickets are $35 with $5 student tickets available at the door. Visitwww.musicalmasterworks.org for tickets and information.

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme is located at 2 Ferry Rd., Old Lyme, CT 06371.

Carney Proposes Ban on Electronic Cigarette Use in Schools, on School Grounds

State Representative Devin Carney

State Representative Devin Carney

OLD SAYBROOK/WESTBROOK: State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23) hopes to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes on school grounds in his bill H.B. 5219. Current regulation is limited to the use of electronic cigarettes by anyone under the age of 18; this legislation, however, would seek to expand upon the current bans to include prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes on school grounds entirely. Schools already ban tobacco-based products, so this would add e-cigarettes to that ban.

“It’s critical that our schools be free from negative influences. Countless studies show that electronic cigarette use among high school and even middle school aged kids is rapidly rising. Not to mention that many kids who would have never tried a traditional cigarette are experimenting with e-cigarettes – especially flavored ones,” Carney said. “The bad habits brought on by them lead to the increased potential for addiction to nicotine-based products in the future.”

A recent Yale study notes that one in four Connecticut high school students have tried an e-cigarette. In addition, 26 percent of students who had reported to have never tried one were interested in trying one in the future.

Carney adds, “The availability of electronic cigarettes and ease at which they can be purchased by minors is a bit unsettling to me. We are fortunate to live in an area where many schools have already taken this initiative – a statewide ban on them on school property will strengthen those initiatives while also ensuring other schools, who may not have banned them yet, will have a ban in place.”

Carney has also proposed other bills including several proposals to lower taxes and increase the overall quality of life for the residents of the 23rd District.

EHS Presents Third Annual Preservation Award to Ivoryton Playhouse!

Town Historian Chris Pagliuco and Ivoryton Playhouse Artistic Director Jaqueline Hubbard with the Preservation Award Photo courtesy of Alison Brinkman)

Town Historian Chris Pagliuco and Ivoryton Playhouse Artistic Director Jaqueline Hubbard with the Preservation Award (Photo courtesy of Alison Brinkman)

Essex On June 23, 2013 at their Annual Strawberry Social, Essex Historical Society presented their Preservation Award to Ivoryton Playhouse.

Held every June, the Annual Strawberry Social always promises a good time, and this year did not disappoint! The weather was in full cooperation for the festivities, which included colonial-themed games, musical entertainment by the Sailing Masters and strawberry shortcake for all.  While attendees were enjoying their dessert, EHS presented the Preservation Award.

Established in 2011, the Preservation Award celebrates a building that has been preserved or restored in accordance with the period in which it was originally constructed. The winner is decided by public vote with the results kept under wraps until the Strawberry Social. Past years’ winners have been Ivoryton Library (2011) and Centerbrook Meetinghouse (2012). Voting was open to the public for the month of May and the tallied votes revealed that Ivoryton Playhouse was the winner by landslide!

Originally built in 1911 as a recreation hall, the Playhouse transitioned to its new role as a summer theater in 1930. The Playhouse suffered ups and downs through the next few decades until 1979, when plans to demolish the building ignited outrage and spurred the creation of the Playhouse Foundation. A non-profit organization, the Foundation is dedicated to preserving the Playhouse and enriching the community.

Over the past 28 years, the preservation and restoration process has completely updated the building, from modern heating and cooling to advanced theatrical technology—but nothing ostentatious or compromising the integrity of its old bones. The Foundation started producing theatre year round in 2006 under Artistic Director Jaqueline Hubbard.

Town Historian Chris Pagliuco and EHS Vice President Susan Malan presented Hubbard with the much-deserved Award at the Strawberry Social. “The Ivoryton Playhouse Foundation is honored to accept this prestigious award from the Essex Historical Society.

Essex Town Historian Chris Pagliuco (right) congratulates a surprised Jaqueline Hubbard (photo courtesy of Alison Brinkman)

Essex Town Historian Chris Pagliuco (right) congratulates a surprised Jaqueline Hubbard (photo courtesy of Alison Brinkman)

Along with providing entertainment and cultural events for the community, a central tenet of our mission is the preservation of the building. It is the primary focus of much of our recent fundraising.” Hubbard said. “We are extremely grateful to the Essex Historical Society for recognizing our work.”

For more information about the Ivoryton Playhouse, visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Essex Historical Society and Essex Park and Rec. Provide Recreational History

Essex Park and Rec campers on the steps of Grove Street Cemetery

Every summer, Essex Park and Recreation educates and entertains kids attending their Summer Camp. Each week-long session boasts a different theme, allowing campers to explore subjects that pique their interest, and each session features a field trip or special event which relates to the theme.

The “Stars and Stripes” session held the week of Independence Day focused on our nation’s past and featured arts and crafts, relay races and other activities related the celebration of our independence.

The field trip treated campers to history a little closer to home: Susan Malan of the Essex Historical Society and Willi Harreys of Essex Park and Rec. led the 27 campers on the ‘Essex Only Freedom Trail,’ immersing them in the tales of times past. Malan guided the group down Prospect Street and used the current landscape to both tell the stories of buildings still standing and illuminate what major changes have occurred. The last stop on the tour – Grove Street Cemetery – provided the campers with a prime example of historical preservation. Meticulously restored in 1996, the cemetery continues to be maintained by the River View Cemetery, Inc. After their stroll into the past and back, the young history buffs picnicked at the nearby Grove Street Park and were left to ponder the past of Essex that Park and Rec Summer Camp exposed them to.

EHS to Announce Preservation Award Winner at Strawberry Social June 25

First Preservation award winner, the Ivoryton Library

Essex, CT– The Essex Historical Society (EHS) have tallied up the nominations for local buildings that have been preserved or restored, keeping intact the town’s historic character. This year’s winner will be presented with the Preservation Award during a picnic dinner and strawberry social at the Pratt House, on Monday, June 25, 2012 (rain or shine).

Kick off the evening at 4:30 pm with a historical stroll of Prospect Street, starting at Pratt House and finishing at Hill’s Academy. Susan Malan will serve as your personal escort, providing a glimpse into the past of the structures along the way. Then step back in time when you step through the doorway of Pratt House where docents will be available for guided tours throughout the night.

After walking up an appetite, come spread your blanket on the Pratt House lawn and settle in for an evening picnic dinner starting at 5:30. Unpack your picnic basket and beverages of your choice, relax and enjoy the simple pleasure of eating under the summer sky. In case of rain, the barn and a tent will provide shelter.

Chris Pagliuco, town historian, will address attendants and illustrate the victorious building’s lifetime before presenting the Preservation Award to the 2012 winner. A good old-fashioned strawberry social will follow with a timeless New England delight, homemade strawberry shortcake!

The Essex Historical Society is a non-profit organization serving Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton. EHS maintains two buildings, Pratt House and Hill’s Academy, and strives to protect the history of the people, places and events that have shaped Essex through the ages.

Contact: Essex Historical Society, PO Box 123, Essex, CT 06426, Ph: 860-767-0681  EHS@essexhistory.net