January 19, 2020

Roto Frank of America Hosts Red Cross Blood Drive, March 16

red_cross_templateCHESTER – Two Chester-based businesses – Roto Frank of America and The Pattaconk 1850 Bar & Grille – are teaming up to host a blood drive on Wednesday, March 16 at Roto Frank of America on 14 Inspiration Lane in Chester.

Coordinated by Sue Lemire, HR/General Accounting Manager at Roto Frank of America, the blood drive, which will run from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., is open to anyone who wishes to donate.

 This “Give a Pint, Get a Pint” promotion follows these guidelines:

 All presenting donors will be eligible for the promotion;

 Free pint offer is valid March 18, 2016—March 25, 2016;

 Limit one free pint per blood donor, not transferrable;

 Blood donors under the legal age of 21 are eligible for one free ice cream cone;

 Limited amount of donation appointments available, promotion is first come, first serve.

“This is a great way for our employees and members of the community to help the American Red Cross in a simple, yet effective way,” said Sue Lemire. “Blood donors with all types, particularly O-negative, A-negative and B-negative blood, are needed and we encourage everyone to make an appointment to donate blood.”

Blood donors are literally lifesavers as donated blood is critical to medical successes, especially emergencies. A single hour-long donation can potentially save three lives. To schedule an appointment for donation, call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org.

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Hadlyme Country Market Has New Look, But Keeps Old Traditions

Hadlyme Country Market has a refreshed and welcoming exterior.

Hadlyme Country Market’s refreshed and welcoming exterior greets customers from near and far. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com.

HADLYME — Looking for a new spot to savor your daily dose of hospitality?

Why not try the new Hadlyme Country Market? Well, it’s not really new, but rather refurbished and restored. The market is, in fact, now much like it was in 1905, a place for locals and tourists alike to gather in the quaint and storied town of Hadlyme, nestled to the north of Lyme in southeastern Connecticut.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare quiet moment together.

Hadlyme Country Market owners Susan Raible Birch (left) and Lisa Bakoledis (right) share a rare, quiet moment together. Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

The owners of the Market — Lisa Bakoledis and Susan Raible Birch — have been working to restore the historic landmark since purchasing the building and business in 2012 and are now proudly celebrating three years in business with the unveiling of their “new” market.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

Original postcard circa 1905 during the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store.

The Hadlyme Country Market has been a pillar of the riverside since the mid-19th century when steamboats ruled Connecticut. Located near the water, this community center was the hub of commerce and social life. Boaters, locals, and businesspeople came for their market staples and sundries in a traditional neighborhood fashion where everyone knows their neighbor and lends a helping hand.

A photo of Lee Luther Brockway, original owner of the store, circa 1900.

An original postcard circa 1905, from the era when Lee Luther Brockway owned the store, adorns the mantle.

The mastermind behind the operation was Lee Luther Brockway, an astute businessman and entrepreneur who recognized the boom from steam boating and new business along the river. As soon as he noticed a turn from boating to more land-based transportation with the arrival of automobiles, he picked up the store and moved it to a better locale.

Hadlyme_store_sign

Photo by Anna Sawin, www.annasawin.com

Now conveniently located near the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and Gillette’s Castle, the bustling intersection of Rte. 148 and Rte. 82 (Ferry Rd. and Norwich-Salem Rd. respectively) has been the Hadlyme Country Market’s home since 1905. After decades of transitioning owners and falling under disrepair, Bakoledis and Birch, long-time admirers and locals, purchased the store with a vision for their treasure.

Bakoledis, who worked at the store many times over the years, always felt like it was home; maybe because she lived in the apartment above but more likely because she sensed something special about the neighborhood, the people, and the rich history of the small town market.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.

The renovated interior retains its old world charm with a fresh, new look.annasawin.com.

The pair quickly went to work planning a remodel that was true to the market’s rich history and architectural integrity. After pouring over archives and records for images, blueprints, and materials, they came up with a plan that would restore the market to its original beauty plus a few modern comforts to attract a new generation of customers.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The deli offers a tempting array of choices daily. Photo by Alyssa Puzzo.

The market was renovated to its original glory with authentic the turn-of-the-century materials salvaged from local historical buildings. In 2013 the doors were opened to the public and Bakoledis and Birch received an outpouring of locals delighted at the return of an institution. What’s more, the new owners took it upon themselves to run the store as Brockway would have, replete with hospitality, charm, and friendly faces.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cuppa in a peaceful setting.

Room with a view: customers enjoy their morning cup of joe in a peaceful setting.

Two years later, the market continues to upgrade with an exterior restoration to the porch completed this fall, a sweet spot for anyone who enjoys sitting where the sun seems alway to shine. On the menu daily are a wide selection of deli-fresh artisan sandwiches and pot pies along with fresh Ashlawn Farm Coffee, newspapers, breakfast and bakery treats. Continuing Brockway’s tradition, Bakoledis and Birch welcome locals and travelers to enjoy old-fashioned treats, treasures, and conversations in a place everyone can feel at home. Birch sums up the Market’s attraction succinctly when she says, “The Country Market … has a heart like no other.”

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Zuckerbraun Joins Essex Savings Bank as VP, Trust Officer

David Zuckerbraun

David Zuckerbraun

ESSEX — Essex Savings Bank has announced the addition of David Zuckerbraun as a Vice President and Trust Officer.

“We are delighted that Mr. Zuckerbraun has joined us as Vice President & Trust Officer and will be working under the leadership of Ms. Moira Martin, Senior Vice President, Senior Trust Officer. His reputation, depth of experience and involvement in the community will be an asset for our Trust Department and will expand our strong focus on exceptional levels of client service,” stated Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank.

Zuckerbraun joins the Essex Savings Bank Trust Department after 21 years of service with The Washington Trust Company, most recently as Vice President, Senior Fiduciary Officer. His responsibilities included managing large and complex trust relationships, the settlements of complex estates, the management of departmental risk through document review, litigation oversight and assistance in the development of fiduciary policies and procedures carried out and followed by trust administration staff.

Prior to his time at Washington Trust, he was a practicing attorney for more than 10 years.

Zuckerbraun received his B.A. from Union College and his J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law. He is the past president of both the Rhode Island Estate Planning Council and the Estate Planning Council of Southeastern Connecticut. He has also served as chairman of the James and Mary Shea Foundation, president of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, treasurer of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, treasurer of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, and Vice President of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center.

Essex Savings Bank offers a full complement of trust services including trust and wealth management, estate administration and settlement, charitable trusts and private foundations, and custodian and escrow services. Trust officers are always available to meet for a no-obligation consultation.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Dep

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Essex Savings Bank Donates to Non-Profits

ESSEX — Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank announced the completion of distribution from the Directors’ portion of the Community Investment Fund. Total distributions for the year will amount to $100,000 and will surpass $4 million since the program’s 1996 inception of distributing 10% of after tax net income. Donations for this portion have been allocated to the following non-profit organizations.

Angel Charities, Inc. * Camp Hazen YMCA * The Chester Historical Society, Inc. * Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. * Community Foundation of Middlesex County * Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock * The Deep River Historical Society * Essex Historical Society * Florence Griswold Museum * The Ivoryton Library Association * Ivoryton Village Alliance * Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center & Theatre * Lawrence & Memorial Hospital * Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts * Lyme Art Association * Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau * MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation, Inc. * Madison Land Conservation Trust * Middlesex Hospital * Middlesex United Way * The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association, Inc. * Rotary Club of Essex Foundation * Tri-Town Youth Service Bureau, Inc. * Valley Shore YMCA * Vista (Vocational Independent Supported Transitional Alternative).

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.

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9 Town Transit Unveils New Slogan      

AREAWIDE — This spring, 9 Town Transit (9TT) asked the public to help with a new slogan for the region’s bus system.  After reviewing the nearly 50 submissions, the district now has a new tag line.

“We wanted something that conveyed the impact public transit has on people’s lives.” explains 9TT Chairperson Leslie Strauss, “We think ‘connecting your Connecticut’ does just that.”

The winning entry came from Alejandro Callirgos, a local freelance copywriter.   He stumbled across the contest on Google.  “I liked the idea of public transportation that connects so many Connecticut towns and neighbors”, explains Callirgos.

The district plans to use the new slogan to help promote public transit, and will use it on most marketing materials.  As the winner, Callirgos received forty transit ride tickets which he will be donating to a local charity to make transportation a little easier for those in need.

9 Town Transit provides service to all parts of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, with connections to New Haven, New London and Middletown. All services are open to the general public.  Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Estuary Transit District Recognized by CIRMA for Making Risk Management an Organizational Priority

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) presented a 2015 Risk Management Achievement Award to the Estuary Transit District for making risk management an organizational priority. Their efforts, led by the District’s Director Joseph Commerford, created a culture focused on the safety of its employees and passengers.

The District established broad-based programs to reduce loss costs, including creating a formal Return-to-Work program, performing facility assessments, reviewing incident reports to identify root causes, and revising procedures.

The achievement award was presented to the Estuary Transit District at CIRMA’s May 22 awards ceremony. CIRMA, the state’s leading municipal insurer, is a member-owned and governed organization that works to empower municipalities, public schools, and local public agencies to better manage risk.

David Demchak, Senior Vice President of CIRMA, said to the audience of almost 100 municipal and school leaders, “Our awards program acknowledges the organizational and the personal commitment our members have made to protect their fellow employees from injury, protect property, and to keep Connecticut’s communities safe.”

CIRMA’s mission is to reduce losses and their costs by improving its members’ understanding of risk and the ways to manage it. CIRMA’s Risk Management Achievement Awards program was begun in 1981 to recognize the risk management and safety initiatives that prevent accidents and make positive improvements in Connecticut communities. The program has expanded over the years, recognizing achievements in such areas as property management and sustained results. The program provides CIRMA members a forum in which they can share ideas and learn new methods to reduce losses.

CIRMA, owned and governed by its members, operates two risk-sharing pools: the Workers’ Compensation Pool and the Liability-Automobile-Property Pool. It also provides risk management services to self- insured municipalities and local public agencies. Today, CIRMA’s membership includes over 85 percent of the state’s municipalities and has Premiums of $90 million and Assets under management of over $360 million.

For more information about CIRMA’s Risk Management Achievement Award Program, contact George Tammaro, CIRMA Risk Management Supervisor, at gtammaro@ccm-ct.org, or visit www.CIRMA.org.

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Roto Frank of America Hosts Manufacturer’s Meeting at Chester HQ

Chester First Selectman spoke at the event.

Chester First Selectman Ed Meehan gave welcoming remarks at the event.

CHESTER — Addressing the challenges of the growing availability of number of jobs with higher level manufacturers in the state and developing skilled workers to fill those positions was the focus of a special meeting for members of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Manufacturing Council on May 27, hosted by Roto Frank of America, Inc. at the company’s North American headquarters in Chester, CT.

Chris Demou (left) and Larry McHugh

Roto Frank of America President & CEO Chris Demou (left) and Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh

The well-attended event attracted more than a dozen manufacturing companies i nMiddlesex County, as well representatives from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. After welcoming remarks by Chester First Selectman Ed Meehan, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh, and Roto Frank of America President & CEO Chris Dimou, attendees listened to presentations from members of the University of Connecticut and the German American Chamber of Commerce.

Lawrence Silbart

Lawrence Silbart

Lawrence K. Silbart, MPH, Ph.D., UConn’s Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, discussed highlights of UConn’s Next Generation Connecticut, an initiative designed to expand educational opportunities, research, and innovation in the STEM disciplines at UConn over the next decade, which includes a new 125,000 square-foot Technology Park facility.

Anson Ma, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, in UConn’s Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department, addressed the audience on UConn’s additive manufacturing initiatives, with a focus on the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center and the learning opportunities for students in realizing the full potential of additive manufacturing for metals, plastics, and biomaterials.

Tom Dzimian, Director, Career Services of the German American Chamber of Commerce, discussed skills and innovation strategies that have been developed and used successfully in Germany and which can be used to strengthen U.S, manufacturing training programs.

Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America, Inc. is a Chester, Connecticut-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. Roto Frank of America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roto AG, a global company headquartered in Germany, with 13 production plants and 40 subsidiaries worldwide.

Roto Frank of America offers solutions for North American and European hardware applications, has an extensive product line including its renowned X-DRIVETM casement and awning window systems, sash locks, window-opening- control-devices, sliding patio door systems, and European window and door hardware, among others.

For more information, visit www.rotohardware.com

The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber in the state, with more than 2,200 members and encompassing nine geographically-based divisions throughout Middlesex County. The Chamber hosts a number of large-scale events, such as the Middlesex County Business to Business Expo, member breakfasts and dinners featuring notable speakers, including U.S. Senator John McCain and UConn President Susan Herbst.

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Action-Oriented Old Saybrook Chamber Bolsters Business Environment

OS_Chamber_from_front

The Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce building serves as a ‘gateway’ to Main Street.

OLD SAYBROOK — Founded in 1939, the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2014. The more than 500 members are the driving force behind the organization and also form its strong volunteer base. These, in turn, support the Chamber’s two full time employees, Executive Director Judy Sullivan and Member Services Manager Karen Pinette.

Sullivan explains, “Our job is to promote Old Saybrook as a place to work and live and play.” Composed of a diverse group of nonprofits, retail companies, insurance companies, banks, and more, the Chamber unites under their common goals of advancing the economic vitality and improving the quality of life in the community, as well as bringing businesses and new jobs to town.

Executive Director Judy Sullivan

Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judy Sullivan takes a brief break from her work.

With about 25 percent of Old Saybrook businesses as members, the Chamber accomplishes its ambitious goals through a variety of community events including educational programs on topics ranging from networking and email marketing software to social media publicity and customer service. The Chamber also sponsors an annual Chili-Fest to fund the college scholarship program it runs for students resident in Old Saybrook or children of Chamber members, as well as an annual Arts and Crafts Festival, which is being held this year on July 25 and 26.

In addition, the Chamber has initiated the Chamber Mail program by which every new resident receives information about surrounding businesses, and runs the Chamber Dollars program, a gift certificate program involving over 50 businesses.  The Chamber also works frequently with nonprofits on community-oriented projects.

Judy&Karen_at_desks_800

The smiling faces of Executive Director Judy Sullivan (left) and Membership Services Manager Karen Pinette greet visitors to the light and airy Chamber building.

An important aspect of the Chamber is that they serve as a link between businesses and governments to facilitate lines of communication. Most recently, at ‘Connecticut Business Day at the Capitol,’ Old Saybrook Chamber representatives spoke to senators and representatives about issues facing businesses in the state, such as Connecticut’s 15 percent occupancy tax.

OS_Chamber_Exterior_rearThe Chamber also helps foster inter-business relationships and once a month, a Chamber Connections event is held. These are casual gatherings at various local businesses, which facilitate networking between — and sometimes even within — businesses.

Sullivan grew up in Old Saybrook and graduated from Old Saybrook High School. When her youngest child started school, she fell into her role at the Chamber, first on a part-time basis and ultimately working her way up to executive director. Sullivan notes, “The hardest part of the job is being careful with each action because somebody might be affected. We constantly have to be aware of the impact of any actions we might take.  We always want to leave a positive impact.”

She adds, “I’m really proud of the Chamber — it’s been here a long time. I love promoting the town I grew up in. And I find it so rewarding when we see tangible success in businesses.”

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Essex Savings Bank Donates Over $29,000 as Part of Community Investment Program

ESSEX — Results of the recent voting by Essex Savings Bank customers who participated in the Bank’s Community Investment Program were announced at a meeting of employees, directors and trustees at the Bank’s Plains Road Office on Wednesday, April 8.

The Top Ten Winners in attendance received special recognition.  They were in order by number of votes:

  1. The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries
  2. Forgotten Felines, Inc.
  3. Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Inc.
  4. High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
  5. Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM)
  6. Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc.
  7. The Essex Fire Engine Company No. 1
  8. Bikes for Kids, Inc.
  9. Pet Connections, Inc.
  10. Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, Inc. (VNLV)

The customer balloting portion of Essex Savings Bank’s 2015 Community Investment Program, began on Feb. 2 and concluded on March 2. The program entitles the Bank’s customers to select up to three charities from a list of 90 qualified non-profit organizations. Fund allocations are awarded based on the results of these votes.

Gregory R. Shook, President and Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank stated, “At Essex Savings Bank, we believe the way to move the world forward is by giving back. Our Community Investment Program is designed to provide vital financial support to those organizations that enhance the quality of life in our communities.”

Each year, the Bank donates 10 percent of its net income to non-profit organizations within the immediate market area consisting of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. This year, the Bank has allocated $98,741 to assisting non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to our community and one third of that amount is then voted upon by the Bank’s customers.

According to Thomas Lindner, Vice President and Community Relations Officer for Essex Savings Bank, 6,987 votes were cast this year for a total of $29,620. By year end 2015, the total distribution of charitable funds will reach 4 million dollars since the inception of the Bank’s Community Investment Program in 1996.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary Essex Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value, are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

Click here to see the full results with voting numbers and amounts donated to each organization.

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The-e-list Presents Final Day of the Insane Insidewalk Sale

Jewelry by Ann Lightfoot is always a popular item at Insane Inside Sidewalk Sales.

Jewelry by Ann Lightfoot is always a popular item at Insane Inside Sidewalk Sales.

OLD SAYBROOK: The-e-list.com, a weekly email newsletter and website about the best food , fashion and fun on the Connecticut Shoreline written by Lyme resident Erica Tannen, presents the Sixth Insane Insidewalk Sale tomorrow and Saturday in the Old Saybrook Shopping Center (next to Stop & Shop) at 105 Elm St.

Erica Tannen

Erica Tannen

The sale will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 per person.

The sale is a pop-up specialty mall, featuring 20 of the best local boutiques and designers selling their wares with prices discounted up to 75 percent. Snap up incredible deals on women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry, gifts, home decor, and kid’s clothing for two days only.

For more information and a list of participating vendors, visit http://theeli.st/14navDR

For questions, email info@the-e-list.com

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Essex Savings Bank Announces 2015 Community Investment Program Ballot

AREAWIDE: Gregory R. Shook, President & Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank announced today, “We are extremely proud of the contribution milestone we are reaching in support of our Community Investment Program in our 164th year.”

The Bank annually commits 10 percent of its after tax net income to qualifying organizations within the immediate market area consisting of  Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  This program provides financial support to over 200 non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to the ever-increasing needs of our communities.

By the end of the year, a total of $4,000,000 will have been distributed since inception in 1996.  Essex Savings Bank customers determine 30 percent of the fund allocations each year by voting directly for three of their favorite causes, charities or organizations who have submitted applications to participate.  Ballots will be available at all Essex Savings Bank Offices between Feb. 2 and March 2 to determine the allocation of funds.

The Bank’s Directors, Senior Officers, Branch Managers and Essex Financial Services, Inc., the Bank’s subsidiary, will distribute the remaining 70%.

Organizations (90) qualifying to appear on the 2015 ballot include:

Act II Thrift Shop, Inc.
Bikes for Kids, Inc.
Brazilian and American Youth Cultural Exchange (BRAYCE)
Bushy Hill Nature Center
Camp Hazen YMCA
Cappella Cantorum, Inc.
CDE (Chester, Deep River, Essex) Cooperative Nursery School
Chester Elementary School-Parent Teacher Organization (PTO)
Chester Historical Society
Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc.
The Children’s Tree Montessori School
Common Good Gardens, Inc.
Community Music School
Con Brio Choral Society, Inc.
Connecticut Audubon Society Eco Travel
The Country School, Inc.
Deacon John Grave Foundation, Inc.
Deep River Ambulance Association, Inc.
Deep River Elementary PTO, Inc.
Deep River Fire Department
Deep River Historical Society, Inc.
Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps, Inc.
Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc.
Essex Community Fund, Inc.
Essex Elementary School Foundation, Inc.
Essex Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, Inc.
Essex Fire Engine Company #1
Essex Historical Society, Inc.
Essex Land Trust, Inc.
Essex Library Association
Essex Winter Series, Inc.
Florence Griswold Museum
Forgotten Felines, Inc.
Friends In Service Here (F.I.S.H.)
Friends of Hammonasset, Inc.
Friends of Madison Youth
Friends of the Acton Public Library
Friends of the Chester Public Library, Inc.
Friends of the Lyme Public Library, Inc.
Friends of the Lymes’ Senior Center, Inc.
Graduation Night, Inc. – Old Saybrook
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
Hope Partnership, Inc.
Ivoryton Library Association
Ivoryton Playhouse Foundation, Inc.
Literacy Volunteers – Valley Shore, CT, Inc.
Lyme Ambulance Association, Inc.
Lyme Art Association, Inc.
Lyme Consolidated School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO)
Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Inc.
Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation
Lyme/Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club (LOLJWC)
Lyme Public Hall Association, Inc.
Lyme Public Library Foundation
Lymes’ Elderly Housing, Inc. (Lymewood)
Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau
Madison Historical Society, Inc.
Maritime Education Network, Inc.
Musical Masterworks, Inc.
Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center, Inc.
Old Lyme Fire Department
Old Lyme Historical Society, Inc.
Old Lyme Land Trust, Inc.
Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association
Old Lyme Rowing Association, Inc.
Old Lyme South End Volunteer Ambulance Association, Inc.
Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association, Inc.
Old Saybrook Education Foundation
Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Inc.
Old Saybrook Historical Society
Old Saybrook Land Trust, Inc.
Pay Forward, Inc. (aka Pay4ward.org)
Pet Connections, Inc.
Potapaug Audubon Society
The Region 4 Education Foundation, Inc. (R4EF)
Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation
Scranton Library, Madison (aka E.C. Scranton Memorial Library)
The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries
Simply Sharing, Inc.
Sister Cities Essex Haiti, Inc.
Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM)
Tracy Art Center, Inc.
Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau, Inc.
Valley Baseball-Softball Booster Club, Inc.
Valley-Shore YMCA
Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, Inc. (VNLV)
Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, Inc.
Westbrook Project Graduation, Inc.
Westbrook Youth and Family Services, Inc.
The Woman’s Exchange of Old Lyme, Inc.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Lower Connecticut River Valley with six offices in Chester, Essex (2), Madison, Old Lyme, and Old Saybrook.  Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.  Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value, are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

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Anne Penniman LLC of Essex Receives 2015 CT Landscape Architects Professional Award

The Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (CTASLA) announced the winners of its annual Connecticut Professional Awards competition at the chapter’s annual meeting in December.

Anne Penniman Associates, LLC  of Essex won two awards.  The first was in the  Landscape Architectural Design – Residential category and was an Honor Award for Blast Site Restoration (Private Residence, Essex).  The second was in the Landscape Planning & Analysis category and was a Merit Award for Vegetation/Habitat Mapping and Management Plan for Haversham Property (Private Residence, Westerly, RI)

CTASLA conducts the awards competition each year to recognize excellence in landscape architectural design, planning and analysis, communication, and research. To be eligible, an applicant must be a landscape architect or designer in the state of Connecticut, and the entrant or project location must be based in Connecticut.

“These award-winning projects exemplify Connecticut landscape architects’ skills in designing beautiful spaces that add value to the land, encouraging people to get outside and explore their surroundings while protecting habitat and natural resources,” said Barbara Yaeger, president of CTASLA and principal of B.Yaeger, LLC, of Madison, Conn.

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Nautilus Architects of Lyme Receives ‘Best Of Houzz 2015’ Award

Pool house on Cove Rd. designed by Nautilus Architects

Pool house on Cove Rd. designed by Nautilus Architects

Nautilus Architects of Lyme, Conn., has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Design & Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. This modern design studio was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014.

Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community.

Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects, says, “I encourage my clients and those considering any building/renovation project to use Houzz as a way to discover design ideas that work.”

Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz, comments, “Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project.”  She comments, “We’re delighted to recognize Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects, among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Nautilus Architects and Chris Arelt at this link.

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Liberty Bank Foundation Donates $5,000 to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

From left to right, Leigh-Bette Maynard, manager of Liberty Bank’s Essex and Old Saybrook offices, Patty Dowling, Executive Director of The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, and Skip Marquardt, Raymond James Financial Services and SSKP Board of Trustee member.

From left to right, Leigh-Bette Maynard, manager of Liberty Bank’s Essex and Old Saybrook offices, Patty Dowling, Executive Director of The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, and Skip Marquardt, Raymond James Financial Services and SSKP Board of Trustee member.

The Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded a $5,000 grant to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) to support the purchase of food from the CT Food Bank.

“SSKP is so grateful for the generous support we receive from the Liberty Bank Foundation. This donation helps assures that people in need on the shoreline have a place to turn for food and fellowship.  With these funds specifically we will be able to distribute enough food at our pantries for over 13,150 meals. On behalf of all those we serve, I thank The Liberty Bank Foundation for supporting our local neighbors in need,” said Patty Dowling, executive director of SSKP.

“The need for services continues to be more critical than ever during the current economic conditions,” said Leigh-Bette Maynard, manager of Liberty Bank’s Essex and Old Saybrook offices.  “A need exists in every community including the Shoreline.  Liberty is proud to be a long-time supporter of Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries.”

Since its inception in 1997, the Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded almost $7.9 million in grants to nonprofit organizations within Liberty Bank’s market area.  The foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for people of low or moderate income by investing in three areas:  education to promote economic success for children and families; affordable housing; and nonprofit capacity building.  Along with its grantmaking, the foundation strives to foster the convening and collaboration of nonprofits, funders, business, and government to address community issues.

Founded in 1989, SSKP provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

Established in 1825, Liberty Bank is Connecticut’s oldest mutual bank, with almost $3.5 billion in assets and 48 banking offices throughout the central, eastern, and shoreline areas of the state.  As a full-service financial institution, it offers consumer and commercial banking, home mortgages, insurance, and investment services.  Rated outstanding by federal regulators on its community reinvestment efforts, Liberty maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement.

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Essex Printing Winner In New England Regional Awards of Excellence Competition

The announcement was made on April 4 during the Printing Industry of New England (PINE) Industry Awards Gala with hundreds of industry professionals in attendance. PINE’S Awards of Excellence Competition attracts over 200 entries from 41 printing and imaging companies across New England competing in a variety of printing and graphic communications categories.

Essex Printing won Awards of Recognition for the printing of Essex Savings Bank’s 2013 calendar. A panel of judges with extensive experience in printing and print production examined a wide range of work submitted. Each entry was judged anonymously on its own merit in a category with similar printed pieces.

“We are very proud to have won this competition because it confirms our commitment to our clients that we provide an outstanding level of quality printing, William McMinn, President”.

For more information please contact Essex Printing at 860-767-9087

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Chester Company Receives Turnaround Performance Award

Chris Dimou, CEO/President of Roto Frank of America receives the coveted “Turnaround Performance Award” from Parent Company Roto Frank AG and the Executive Board Members. (From left to right: Mr. Leonhard Braig, Chief Technical Officer, Michael Stangier, Chief Financial Officer, Chris Dimou CEO/President of Roto Frank of America, and Dr. Eckhard Keill, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Roto Frank AG

CHESTER, CT— February 19, 2012 — Roto Frank of America, Inc. was recently recognized with a special “Turnaround Performance Award” from its parent company Roto Frank AG. The ceremony took place beginning of February during the Group’s Leadership Conference in Berlin, Germany. Mr. Chris Dimou, Roto Frank of America CEO and President accepted the award from the Executive Board on the company’s behalf.

The Turnaround Performance Award, which is given by Roto Frank AG on the occasion that a Roto Group Company makes dramatic improvements. The Executive Board recognized significant progress in the areas of strategy, market approach, sales, cost structure, inventory, and change management. “The decision to honor Roto Frank of America with this award derived also from the fact that Roto has been dramatically reversing the negative trend which was in place up until 2009,” concludes Dr. Eckhard Keill, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for Roto Frank AG.

According to Chris Dimou, Chief Executive Officer of Roto Frank of America, “Despite the downturn in the building and construction industry and such difficult economic times, the Roto team here in the United States and Canada has persevered and made tremendous strides over the past two years. By growing our Sales by almost 40% the last couple of years, we have gained important market share and prepared the ground for future growth. We are deeply honored by this unique Performance Award, appreciative of the Group’s continued support, as well as our employees’ dedication and hard work.”

About Roto Frank of America

Founded in 1979, Roto Frank of America is a Connecticut-based manufacturer of window and door hardware. The company, which offers solutions for North American and European hardware applications, has an extensive product line including its renowned  X-DRIVE™  casement and awning hardware, NT Tilt & Turn, TITAN sliding patio door, Flip Lock positive action lock, DR10 adjustable hinge, Patio Life lift & slide, and 6080 fold & slide, among others.

About Roto Frank AG

Roto Frank AG was founded in Stuttgart, Germany in 1935 by the inventor of tilt & turn hardware, Wilhelm Frank. In 1950, the company moved to a facility in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, a suburb of Stuttgart where it is still headquartered today. Two divisions comprise the Roto Group: Hardware Technology for Windows and Doors and Roof Windows and Solar Technology.  As one of the world’s largest OEM suppliers, Roto Frank AG employs more than 4,000 people and currently operates twelve manufacturing facilities as well as 40 sales subsidiaries and sales partners worldwide.

For more information about Roto’s services or products please contact:  Roto Frank of America, Inc., 14 Inspiration Lane, Chester, CT 06412.  1-800-243-0893 or visit www.rotohardware.com

Photo caption: Chris Dimou, CEO/President of Roto Frank of America receives the coveted “Turnaround Performance Award” from Parent Company Roto Frank AG and the Executive Board Members. (From left to right: Mr. Leonhard Braig, Chief Technical Officer, Michael Stangier, Chief Financial Officer, Chris Dimou CEO/President of Roto Frank of America, and Dr. Eckhard Keill, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Roto Frank AG.

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Essex Savings Bank to Contribute $255,700 to Charity

Essex Savings Bank President & CEO Gregory R. Shook

Essex, CT, January 17, 2012 – Gregory R. Shook, President & Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank announced today, “We are extremely proud to report available contributions of $255,700 from our Community Investment Program in our 161st year.”  The Bank annually commits 10% of its after tax net income to qualifying organizations within the immediate market area consisting of  Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  This program provides financial support to over 200 non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to the ever-increasing needs of our communities.  By year end, a total of $3,416,700 will have been distributed since inception in 1996.  Essex Savings Bank customers determine 30% of the fund allocations each year by voting directly for three of their favorite causes, charities or organizations who have submitted applications to participate.  Ballots will be available at all Essex Savings Bank Offices between February 1 and March 15 to determine an allocation of $76,710.  The Bank’s Directors, Senior Officers and Branch Managers distribute the remaining 70%, or $178,990.

Organizations (94) qualifying to appear on the 2012 ballot include:

Act II Thrift Shop, Inc. ▪ Adams World Foundation for Dyslexic Children ▪ Brazilian and American Youth Cultural Exchange (BRAYCE) ▪ Bushy Hill Nature Center ▪ Call to Care Uganda, Inc. ▪ Camp Hazen YMCA ▪ Center School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) ▪ Chester Historical Society ▪ Chester Land Trust, Inc. ▪ Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. ▪ Community Music School ▪ The Company of Fifers and Drummers ▪ Con Brio Choral Society, Inc. ▪ Connecticut Audubon Society Eco Travel ▪ The Connecticut River Museum at Steamboat Dock ▪ The Country School, Inc. ▪ Deacon John-Grave Foundation, Inc. ▪ Deep River Ambulance Association, Inc. ▪ The Deep River Ancient Muster Scholarship Trust ▪ Deep River Fire Department ▪ Deep River Historical Society, Inc. ▪ Deep River Junior Ancient Fife & Drum Corps, Inc. ▪ Deep River Land Trust, Inc. ▪ Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc. ▪ Essex Ambulance Association, Inc. ▪ Essex Community Fund, Inc. ▪ Essex Elementary School Foundation, Inc. ▪ Essex Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, Inc. ▪ Essex Fire Engine Company No. 1 ▪ Essex Garden Club, Inc. ▪ Essex Historical Society, Inc. ▪ Essex Land Trust, Inc. ▪ Essex Library Association ▪ Essex Winter Series, Inc. ▪ Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. – Meals on Wheels ▪ Florence Griswold Museum ▪ Forgotten Felines, Inc. ▪ Friends of Hammonasset, Inc. ▪ Friends In Service Here (F.I.S.H.) ▪ Friends of the Acton Public Library ▪ Graduation Night, Inc. – Old Saybrook ▪ High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. ▪ Hope Partnership, Inc. ▪ Ivoryton Library Association ▪ Ivoryton Playhouse Foundation, Inc. ▪ The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Inc. ▪ Literacy Volunteers – Valley Shore, CT, Inc. ▪ Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts ▪ Lyme Ambulance Association, Inc. ▪ Lyme Art Association, Inc. ▪ Lyme Consolidated School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) ▪ The Lyme Fire Company, Inc. ▪ Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Inc. ▪ Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation ▪ Lyme-Old Lyme Safe Graduation Party, Inc. ▪ Lyme Public Hall Association, Inc. ▪ Lyme Public Library, Inc. ▪ Lymes’ Elderly Housing, Inc. (Lymewood) ▪ Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau ▪ Madison Ambulance Association, Inc. ▪ Madison Community Services, Inc. ▪ The Madison Foundation, Inc. ▪ Madison Historical Society, Inc. ▪ Madison Land Conservation, Inc. ▪ Maritime Education Network, Inc. ▪ Musical Masterworks, Inc. ▪ Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center, Inc. ▪ Old Lyme Fire Department, Inc. ▪ Old Lyme Historical Society, Inc. ▪ Old Lyme Land Trust, Inc. ▪ Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association ▪ Old Lyme Rowing Association, Inc. ▪ Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association, Inc. ▪ Old Saybrook Education Foundation ▪ Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Inc. ▪ Old Saybrook Historical Society ▪ Old Saybrook Land Trust, Inc. ▪ Old Saybrook Youth & Family Services Foundation, Inc. ▪ The Region 4 Education Foundation, Inc. (R4EF) ▪ Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation ▪ Ryerson School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) ▪ Scranton Library, Madison (E.C. Scranton Memorial Library) ▪ The Shoreline Soup Kitchens ▪ Strong Center at the Surf Club, Inc. ▪ Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM) ▪ The Touchdown Club, Inc. (Valley Regional High School/Old Lyme Football) ▪ Tracy Art Center, Inc. ▪ Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau, Inc. ▪ Valley Shore Animal Welfare League ▪ Valley-Shore YMCA ▪ Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, Inc. (VNLV) ▪ Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, Inc. ▪ Westbrook Youth and Family Services, Inc. ▪ The Woman’s Exchange of Old Lyme, Inc.

 Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Lower Connecticut River Valley with five offices in Essex (2), Madison, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme.  Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.  Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value, are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

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Departure of Shoreline Clinic Would Not Cost Essex Revenue

ESSEX— The anticipated departure of the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Clinic would not cost the Town of Essex tax revenue because the 10.4-acre site in Westbrook Road is tax exempt.

Tax Assessor Jessica Sypher said Friday the clinic property, including land and buildings, is tax exempt and not included on the town’s grand list of taxable property. Sypher said the property is covered by the state’s Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) program, where the state makes an annual payment to cities and towns for properties on the PILOT list.

The amount, which is subject to change by a vote of the General Assembly, usually equals about 45 percent of the tax revenue that would be generated if a PILOT parcel were included on the grand list. The State of Connecticut recently sent the town a check for $16,032 as the annual PILOT payment for the clinic property

Harry Evert, vice-president of operations for Middlesex Hospital, confirmed this week the hospital is planning to relocate the clinic to a site closer to Interstate-95, either in Old Saybrook or Westbrook. The relocation is not expected to occur until about two years in the future, with the hospital first required to win zoning approval for a site in a different town and then construct the new clinic building at the new location.

Sypher said she believes the town would continue receiving the PILOT payment as long as the property is owned by Middlesex Hospital. The property, which is located in a residential zone, would be assessed and included on the grand list if it was sold to a private interest.

The Shoreline Clinic has operated in Essex since the early 1970s on land that was donated by the late Fred Knapp, a retired industrialist who lived in a house on the pond located near the clinic site.

 

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Shoreline Medical Center Plans to Move out of Essex

The Shoreline Medical Center, presently located in Essex at 260 Westbrook Road, is planning to move out of town.  Sites in Old Saybrook, just off I-95 at Exit 66, and Westbrook, off I-95 at Exit 65, are among those that have been considered.

One of the candidate sites in Old Saybrook has already been rejected because of ground water problems, according to a spokesperson at Middlesex Hospital.

Middlesex Hospital owns and operates the Essex-based Shoreline Medical Center, which offers emergency services, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, as well as radiology services, including open and closed MRI, high speed CAT scans and mammography, plus a variety of neurology services.

The reason that Middlesex Hospital wants to move the Shoreline Medical Center is, “Currently, the facility’s size and land simply does not offer adequate space to meet our needs,” says Harry Evert, Vice President of Operations for Middlesex Hospital.  He adds, “Middlesex Hospital’s Shoreline Medical Center was established more than 40 years ago, at the urging of local residents in southern Middlesex County, to have closer access to medical care.”

Evert explains, “In order to continue the tradition of providing close access to medical care, the hospital is investigating possible locations to relocate that would provide the easiest access to the largest number of patients throughout the shoreline communities, and allow for expansion of services and new technology,” concluding, “We are currently in the process of searching for a location that would best meet those criteria.”

The present Essex facility, according the Middlesex Hospital’s web site, “Offers quality health care services provided by skilled, caring medical professionals to the over 80,000 community residents we serve.”

Ambulance Service at Shoreline Clinic, Essex

A major factor in driving the move out the Essex, according to Middlesex Hospital sources who wished to remain anonymous, is also that Yale-New Haven Hospital’s new Shoreline Medical Center in Guilford, located just off I-95, has proved to be very successful.  It is believed to be the kind of success that Middlesex Hospital would like to emulate with a new facility close to I-95 as well.

The Yale-New Haven Shoreline Medical Center in Guilford offers 24 hours a day, seven days a week emergency services, as well as a blood drawing station, nuclear medicine, a nutrition center, a surgery center and a cancer center, among other specialties.

Random interviews with those going in and out of the present Essex Shoreline Medical Center did not appear to be overly exercised about moving the facility.  Old Saybrook resident Liz Yavrone, who was waiting outside for her daughter, however, did grouse that the present Essex facility was, “Always busy,” and that she, “Never had less than a three hour wait to see a doctor.”

Chester resident Bob Farrar said that going to a new facility in Old Saybrook, if that were the chosen location, “Would be just as handy” for him, as the present Essex location.  “It’s only 10 minutes more,” said an Essex resident, who declined to give her name.

The present Essex-based Shoreline Medical Center has, according to the web site, “Received for the past three years the prestigious Press Ganey Summit Award for three consecutive years of over 95% satisfaction – the only emergency department in Connecticut to be recognized for this achievement.”

The seemingly ever full parking lot at the Shoreline Medical Center in Essex.

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New Owner of Essex’s “Silkworm” Hosts Open House

"Silkworm of Essex Village" on Main Street may have changed hands but it remains very much open for business.

Asked if she can believe she owns her own fashion store at the tender age of 22,  Raeann Groves of Old Lyme stands behind the small, exquisitely decorated counter of Silkworm at Essex Village and answers simply, “No.”  She quickly adds though, “But it was always my dream … eventually.”

How does this young, attractive, former Division 1 soccer player, who exhibits a patently clear sense of fashion in her own dress, come to be the owner of this well-respected and popular Essex store?

Groves explains that the story goes back to sixth grade at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School,  when the girls on the soccer team, “Used to dress up on the morning of every game.”  And Groves doesn’t mean in costume, but rather that the soccer girls used to display their solidarity by all going to school dressed in their “best” clothes so they shared a team identity.

Silkworm owner Raeann Groves

For Groves, this was the beginning of a life-long passion for fashion.  Always regarded as a trend-setter dresser through her middle and high school years, Groves graduated with the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2007 and set off for St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia, Pa.  She was not there to study fashion, however, but rather to take a management degree while she pursued the other love of her life, soccer.

Tragedy struck for Groves when at the end of her freshman year after a stand-out season for the school’s varsity team, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).  Although she received the very best surgical attention, she sadly found by the end of her sophomore year that her signature speed had still not returned and playing, “Was just not rewarding anymore.”

That was when she took the decision to return to the other passion in her life and transferred to Philadelphia University to complete a fashion industry management degree.

Groves graduated from there this past May and was accepted into the  J C Penney management training program.  But she rapidly determined, in her words, that, “I wasn’t exploring my potential in the creative field — I thought I could do so much more.”

She especially missed the customer service aspect of retail merchandising, but had not planned to do anything immediate about a career change when she found herself shopping one sunny August day in Silkworm of Essex Village.  Groves was looking for a dress for her upcoming engagement photos  –  she will marry Peter Gianakos, owner of G’s Fitness in Waterford, in June 2012 – but instead, and to her complete surprise, found a business that was for sale.

That shopping trip was on a Sunday and by the following Saturday, Groves — after a series of discussions with her fiancé and family plus a string of meetings with the vendor and landlord — had placed a deposit on the store.  Previous owner Erica Morizio, who still owns Silkworm of West Hartford, has had a very amicable handover to Groves and the sale of the business was finally closed Sept. 12.

Groves is keeping the Silkworm name and still can hardly believe she is now the proud owner of her own “upscale, casually elegant boutique.”  She finds herself working seven days a week, but loving every minute of it … she also offers shopping parties at the store or in private homes, as well as personal wardrobe consultations.

Still dressed impeccably after a long day at the store, a smiling Groves says cheerfully, “For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to own my own store – this really is a dream come true.”

Editor’s Note: Groves is hosting an Open House at the store on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. when wine and hors d’oeuvres will be offered and a 10 per cent discount will be given on a total purchase.  All are welcome.

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Laughter is the Breast Medicine…

Essex Books and Gather will be hosting  humorist and breast cancer survivor, Eileen Kaplan, as she talks about her book, “Laughter is the Breast Medicine,” on Thursday, Sept 22, noon-1 p.m., at Gather, 104 Main Street, Ivoryton (across the street from the Ivoryton Playhouse).

Eileen shares comfort to others through sharing her story and finding the humor in life.  This is the perfect way to get ready for Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. All are welcome.

To register email Susan McCann at essexriver@comcast.net or call 860-767-1707

For more details of Eileen Kaplan’s book click here

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Abby’s Place, New Entry on Essex’s Dining Scene

Putting up the new sign for Abby's Place

Tired of the same old, same old in Essex dining? Then you have to try Abby’s Place. Named for food service entrepreneur, Abby Miner of Essex, Abby’s Place is perched above Essex’s Brewer Dauntless Shipyard, where the old Crow’s Nest restaurant used to be.

But the crows are gone. At the new Abby’s Space restaurant everything is fresh and sparkling, with new tables and chairs, a totally redesigned interior, top of the line new appliances in a redesigned kitchen, a totally new fire protection system and air conditioning throughout the 700 square foot, indoor restaurant space.

Outdoors there is an adjoining restaurant space of 800 square feet for those who prefer their dining “en plein air.” The view looks out at busy boatyard. With both indoor space and the outdoor porch combined, Abby’s Place can accommodate as many as 75 diners.  Off season, when only the inside space is feasible, 35 diners people can be seated at one time.

Abby’s Place, which first opened its doors on August 10, is well on its way to becoming a local favorite. Many times, according to Abby Miner, both restaurant spaces, indoor and outdoor, there is almost every seat taken. In fact, on one occasion the restaurant served 96 lunches over a single lunchtime period.

Prideful Abby Miner at Abby's Place

Presently, Abby’s Place is open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends, but not yet for dinners. Dinners are scheduled to begin in late September.

This is the present schedule:

Breakfast is served from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Tuesday thru Friday,

Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Tuesday thru Friday,

Brunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

A favorite on the breakfast and brunch menus is “3 pieces of French toast soaked in an orange infused batter cooked to golden brown served with Vermont maple syrup” with a choice of bacon, baked ham or sausage links with fresh fruit at $8.95.

Also, there is an eggs and veggie sauté with tofu at breakfast and brunch at $10.50.

In addition, for breakfast there are special “named” omelets, for persons who were in indispensible in launching the new restaurant. They include the “Earl of Essex,” a corned beef hash omelet, named after Earl Fowler, who stained the tables and chairs of the new restaurant. There is also the “Dauntless,” a button mushroom omelet, named for the landlord, the Brewer Dauntless Shipyard in Essex.

Sparkling indoor setting at Abby's Place

Other signature omelets include: “Cory’s Gold,” a lobster meat omelet, named after plumber Cory Binkowski; “Jason’s Argonaut,” a  meat and Swiss omelet, named after Jason Dickey, right hand man; Denver Hal, a ham omelet with all the trimmings, named for Hal Holcomb, who provided the art works; and Jamison’s Kitchen Sink, an omelet with everything in it, named after dishwasher Jamison Fielder.

There is also a children’s menu with five choices at breakfast, lunch and brunch at $5.95.

Also, very commendably, Abby’s Place has excellent handicap access with a newly build handicap ramp for those with disabilities.

Currently, Abby’s Place does not have a liquor license, but the proprietor expects to get one in mid-September.

The very special ingredient of Abby’s Place is the enthusiasm of its owner, Abby Miner. “I am so excited,” she says, “This is what I have always wanted to do. This is my place,” she says, eyes glistening. “The whole experience has been transformational. I have put my absolute heart and soul into it.”

She continues, “I have taken charge of every aspect – presentation, quality of food, friendliness and professionalism of the staff,” singling out for special mention head waitress Robin Burkhardt.

She is so grateful to those who helped set up the restaurant. “People have come out of the woodwork to help us,” she says. “It is amazing how much help I have received.”

So intense is Abby Miner’s emotion about her new venture, she quotes what one of her friends said. “Abby has found her place with Abby’s Place,” is how it goes.

Frontporch crowd at Abby's Place

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Free Workshops for Growing Your Business

Essex — To help area businesses improve performance, increase sales, and prepare for the future, Essex Savings Bank, along with its subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, is offering a series of free business workshops, titled “Grow Your Business”.  The workshops, which will be held on September 21, October 5, October 26, and November 16, are open to all businesses and will be taught by local business development experts.  Attendees must register for these informative events by contacting Linda Jaconette at 860-767-4414 or at essexsavings@essexsavings.com.  For full details, visit www.essexsaving.com.

The first workshop, “Developing Your Business” will be held on Wednesday, September 21 at 5 p.m. at The Water’s Edge in Westbrook, CT.  John W. Rafal, founder, president, and chief executive officer of Essex Financial Services will discuss strategic planning, building networks, increasing sales, restructuring spending and financing.

On October 5, Ed Gumbrecht, chief operating officer and principal of the Gowrie Group, will discuss “Emerging Business Risks”, as well as how to prepare for and manage these risks and other marketplace changes.  He also will explain why proper protection is essential for business success.  This seminar will be held twice, at 7:30 a.m. at Essex Savings Bank’s boardroom (35 Plains Road, Essex) and at 5:30 p.m. at the Essex Financial Services’ upper conference room (99 Durham Road, Madison).

The October 26 workshop will be on “Family Business Succession: The Smooth Hand-Off” by Amelia Renkert-Thomas, president of Family Navigation Strategies, LLC. This discussion will help better position business owners to handle emergencies and transitions without harming business performance.  This seminar will be held twice, at 7:30 a.m. at Essex Savings Bank’s boardroom (35 Plains Road, Essex) and at 5:30 p.m. at the Essex Financial Services’ upper conference room (99 Durham Road, Madison).

On November 16, the workshop will be a “Women’s Business Forum” covering three separate topics:  “Securing Financing and Business Planning” (led by Carolyn Welch, vice president and loan officer at Connecticut Community Investment Corporation); “Current Issues in Workplace Law” (led by Jennifer Chobor, J.D., owner, Chobor Consulting, LLC); and “Maximizing Retirement Planning Options for Business Owners” (led by Theresa Donatelli, financial advisor, Essex Financial Services, Inc.). This important forum will be held twice, at 7:30 a.m. at Essex Savings Bank’s boardroom (35 Plains Road, Essex) and at 5:30 p.m. at the Essex Financial Services’ upper conference room (99 Durham Road, Madison).

Since 1851, Essex Savings Bank has been a “safe financial harbor” for individuals, families, and businesses along the Connecticut shoreline. Today, the bank provides checking, savings, loans, trust and wealth management services, along with a full range of investment services through it’s subsidiary Essex Financial Services, Inc.  Its five branches are located in Essex, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

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Essex Savings Bank Announces Management Promotions

Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors have approved the following management promotions.

 

Laureen Sullivan

Laureen A. Sullivan of Old Saybrook as Vice President.  She was elected Corporate Secretary in 2005, a role she still maintains.  Employed at Essex Savings Bank since 1990, Ms. Sullivan has over 26 years of banking experience and has held various positions at Essex Savings Bank.  Prior employment was with Saybrook Bank & Trust.  Mrs. Sullivan earned her Associates Degree in Accounting from Bay Path College and is a 1998 graduate of the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.

 

Angela Moates

Angela Moates of Bozrah as Assistant Secretary.  Prior to joining Essex Savings Bank in 2003, Moates was an intern for Raymond James Financial Services in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Ms. Moates earned both her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Master of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Florida.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline with five offices in Essex (2), Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.  Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary Essex Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC.  Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value, are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

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Essex Savings Bank Recycles Income to Non-profits

Essex — Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank announced that non-profit community organizations will receive $97,341 from the Directors’ portion of the Bank’s Community Investment Program.  The Bank annually commits 10% of its after tax net income to qualifying organizations.  In April 2011, the Bank donated $73,127 to 83 non-profits who participated in the customer preference balloting at the Bank.  By year end 2011, $243,740 will have been allocated to over 200 organizations bringing the total distribution since the inception of the program in 1996 to $3,159,887.

The Directors’ portion of the fund will be donated to the following:

Adopt A Library Program (Assessment Area)          $6,341

– Allows nine libraries within eight of the Bank’s assessment area towns to subscribe to eight new magazines of their choice

Camp Hazen YMCA (Chester)         $5,000

-2012 Healthy Kids Day Sponsor

The Chester Historical Society, Inc. (Chester) $2,000

-Help underwrite the cost of three newsletters

Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. (Essex)            $1,250

-Sponsor Lyme/Old Lyme Garden Tour & Essex Holiday House Tour Gala (Co-Sponsor with Essex Financial Services, Inc., Total cost of $2,250)

Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc. (Essex)            $5,000

-Toward funding of newsletter and Annual Report

Connecticut Audubon Society (Essex)                            $1,000

-Eagle Watch 2011/Eagle Boats Program (Boat Cruises)

The Deep River Historical Society (Deep River)                        $800

-Toward mailing of Society’s newsletters and flyers for special activities

Essex Land Trust (Essex)                                $2,500

-Fund three newsletters (2012 edition of “Essex Woods & Waters”)

Essex Library Association (Essex)                            $2,000

-Help offset the cost of producing the print version of “Ex Libris” newsletter

Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. (Old Saybrook)                        $2,500

-Underwrite a portion of the mailing expenses for monthly newsletter, “The Estuary Gazette”

Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme)                            $1,750

-Co-Sponsor “Major Donor” Reception (Co-Sponsor with Essex Financial Services, Inc., Total cost of $3,500)

Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme)                            $5,00

-Co-Sponsor “The Magic of Christmas” in 2011  (Co-Sponsor with Essex Financial Services, Inc., Total cost of $10,000)

Goodspeed Musicals (Chester/East Haddam)                        $5,000

-2011 Show Sponsorship of “Cutman” at The Norma Terris Theater, Chester

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. (Old Lyme)                    $5,000

-2011 Co-Sponsor “Here Comes the Mummies” (Co-Sponsor with Essex Financial Services, Inc., Total cost of $10,000)

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. (Old Lyme)                    $2,500

-Help underwrite the cost of producing both the printed and electronic newsletters and maintaining and developing the website during 2011-2012 fiscal/academic year

Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center & Theatre (Old Saybrook)            $5,000

-Taste of Old Saybrook/Eileen Ivers Festival

Literacy Volunteers – Valley Shore, CT, Inc. (Westbrook)                $2,000

-Publishing and mailing the quarterly newsletter, “Tutor”

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (Old Lyme)                    $3,250

-Co-Sponsor the 2011 Scholarship Party (Co-Sponsor with Essex Financial Services, Inc., Total cost of $6,500)

Lyme Art Association (Old Lyme)                            $1,75

-Presenting Sponsor of the 2011 New England Landscape Invitational Exhibition, Primary Sponsor of the Weekly E-blasts (Co-Sponsor with Essex Financial Services, Inc., Total cost of $3,500)

The Lyme Public Library, Incorporated (Lyme)                        $1,200

-Fund annual cost of Library’s newsletter

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) (Old Lyme)                    $5,000

-Fund newsletter, “Youth Connections” both printed and online

MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation, Inc. (Old Lyme)                $2,000

-Fund newsletter, “Evelyn’s Wishes”

The Madison Historical Society (Madison)                        $5,000

-Toward underwriting the costs of publishing the Society’s quarterly newsletter

Middlesex County Community Foundation, Inc. (MCCF)  (Middletown)            $5,000

-Reception and “Showboat” Co-Sponsor (Becky Thatcher Riverboat cruise followed by the musical, “Showboat” at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam on September 7, 2011) (Co-Sponsor with Essex Financial Services, Inc., Total cost of $10,000)

Middlesex County Community Foundation, Inc. (MCCF)  (Middletown)            $4,000

-John A. Barr, Jr. Fund, Sponsor MCCF’s two printed newsletters and multiple e-newsletter for 2011

The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association, Inc. (Old Lyme)        $2,500

-Costs associated with two printed and electronic newsletters for 2012

Tri-Town Youth Service Bureau, Inc. (Deep River)                    $5,000

-Toward printing and distribution of three issues of Agency newsletter

Valley-Shore YMCA (Westbrook)                            $5,000

-Exclusive naming rights for “Healthy Kids Day” 2012

Valley-Shore YMCA (Westbrook)                            $2,500

-Lead funder of the “Afterschool Enrichment Program” for the 2011-2012 school year

Westbrook Youth and Family Services, Inc. (Westbrook)                    $500

-Toward printing and mailing of two Bureau newsletters

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline with five offices in Essex (2), Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.   Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

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Trustees and Directors Elected and Strong Financials Reported at Essex Savings Bank

Essex Savings Bank President & CEO Gregory R. Shook

Mr. Kenneth Gibble, Chairman of Essex Savings Bank announced the election of Directors and Trustees at the Bank’s 160th annual meeting held July 25, 2011 held at the Saybrook Point Pavilion in Old Saybrook, CT.  Incumbents Gregory R. Shook, David R. Speirs, Bruce Glowac and Leighton Lee III were re-elected to the Board of Directors for a three year term.  Incumbents Gregory R. Shook, David R. Speirs, Kenneth Gibble, Richard C. Swan, Denise Learned and Jane Marsh were re-elected as Trustees for a five year term.

Mr. Gregory R. Shook, Bank President and CEO, reported on the financial condition of the Bank for the first nine months of the fiscal year and said, “It is gratifying to state that the Bank continues to prosper – particularly in our 160th celebratory year. Our earnings remained strong and ahead of last year which was one of our most profitable years in history.  Assets increased by $7.3 million even after paying down Federal Home Loan Bank borrowings by $7 million.  Deposits increased by $12.5 million while capital increased by $2.9 million to over $36 million far exceeding requirements.  We continue to report that our credit quality remains ahead of peer and believe we are in the best possible position for the challenges and opportunities of the current economic environment.”

Mr. John W. Rafal, President of Essex Financial Services, said, “Despite challenging economic conditions, assets under management increased by $700 million to $3.4 billion from last year.  Mr. Rafal stated that Essex Financial Services is now one of the top 15 independent broker dealers in the country in managed assets.  He also reported a record breaking increase in income of 68% compared to the same period last year.

Mr. Granville Morris, Senior Vice President, Senior Trust Officer discussed the excellent growth and changes occurring within the trust department.  He noted that recent local market changes make Essex Savings Bank Trust Department more accessible to clients and their advisors.  “We believe the independent, professional and nimble services offered by our Trust Department with local decision making will allow us to remain competitive in this arena,” stated Mr. Morris.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank has offices in Essex (2), Madison, Old Saybrook and Old Lyme.  Essex Financial Services, Inc. is a member of FINRA, SIPC and is a subsidiary of Essex Savings Bank.

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Shoreline Bus Ridership Up 19%

Soaring gas prices combined with several other factors to boost ridership on the shoreline’s 9 Town Transit bus service by 19% during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011.

9 Town Transit Executive Director Joseph Comerford contributes the growth to expanded service hours and improved awareness of the service. “I think we’ve really gotten the word out that our service is not just for seniors, and we’ve expanded our hours to make commuting to work a real possibility.”

Since 2009, 9 Town Transit has also expanded the reach of its services. Public bus service is now available from Old Saybrook to New Haven, New London, Middletown and Hartford. And with a fare of just $1.25, many commuters have been lured in by the cost savings over near $4 per gallon gasoline prices. “Our growth has primarily been amongst riders ages 5 – 59, who have grown to 80% of our ridership from about 30% just two years ago, and most of those are commuting to work or school,” says Comerford.

All of these factors contributed to a total annual ridership of over 73,000 passenger trips, the highest in 9TT’s 30 year history, and a two year increase of 40%.

Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Tish Rabe Children’s Book Author at Essex Books

Essex Books will be hosting bestselling children’s book author, Tish Rabe, at Essex Coffee & Tea Company, 51 Main Street, Essex, on Saturday, August 13, 1-3pm.  Please contact Essex Books at 860-767-1707 for more information.

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Estuary Transit District Celebrates Launch of New Hybrid Electric Bus

Richard Cabral, Chairman of ETD, cuts the ribbon to celebrate the launch of two new hybrid electric minibuses.

A small group of elected officials, Estuary Transit District (ETD) Board members and community partners gathered in Old Lyme this morning to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of 9 Town Transit’s two, new hybrid electric minibuses.  These are the first hybrid minibuses of their size in New England and were purchased with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the Connecticut Clean Fuels Grant Program.

The ribbon was cut by ETD Chairman Richard Cabral and the ceremony was attended by several local First Selectmen and by State Senator Andrea Stillman (D-20th) whose district includes East Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, New London, Montville, Salem and Waterford,  and by State Representative Phil Miller (D-36th), whose district includes Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam.  Miller also currently serves as Essex First Selectman.

The new minibuses are 22 feet long and hold 14 passengers in a comfortable, air-conditioned environment and are fully accessible to persons with disabilities, safely accommodating two wheelchairs.  They also have on-board security cameras for passenger safety and GPS tracking technology to improve on-time performance.

The vehicles are powered by smaller than usual gasoline engines supplemented by an electric motor.  Below 15 mph the vehicle is powered fully by electricity.  Above 15 mph an on-board computer blends gas and electric power to optimize efficiency.  The result is cleaner emissions, a quieter ride, and a 20% reduction in gas consumption.  “That’s significant,” said John Forbis, ETD Board Member, “since our overall annual gasoline bill for running the fleet is around $250,000.”

Each new bus cost $123,706, part of which was funded by the ARRA ($67,924)  and the remainder funded by the Connecticut Clean Fuels Program ($55,780).  “We have funds for three new hybrid buses next year” said Joe Comerford, Executive Director, ETD, “ I am excited that we at ETD are at the forefront of technology.”  When the entire fleet is converted to hybrid vehicles ETD expects to save more than $60,000/year in operating expenses.

Chairman Cabral paid tribute to Comerford’s contribution to the project saying, “All that has happened with 9 Town Transit is due directly to Joe Comerford – he has brought us eons ahead.”

 

 

 

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Fashionable First Ladies and Their Influence on Fashion and World Affairs

Author L.S. Johnson discusses her new book,"Fashionable First Ladies: First Ladies and their Influence on Fashion and World Affairs" on Thursday, July 28

Author L.S. Johnson will give a lecture about her book, Fashionable First Ladies: First ladies and their influence on fashion and world affairs, at Gather, 104 Main Street, Ivoryton, on Thursday, July 28, noon-1 p.m., hosted by Essex Books.  In the book, Johnson chronicles the historic and dramatic lives of six first ladies and their influence on fashion and world affairs.

America’s first ladies have exhibited creativity, character, and style as they developed from young women to arbiters of fashion throughout American history.  As these women triumphed through political and personal adversity, they carried themselves with dignity and forged new and inspirational roles for women around the world. 

Presented in this book are the lives of six first ladies (Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Mary Todd Lincoln, Nancy Reagan, Harried Lane, Frances Folsom Cleveland, and Mamie Eisenhower) who revered fashion and its transformational power to impact global affairs.  Their rich narratives are accompanied by over 60 rarely seen photographs and illustrations.

Johnson began her studies of history, art, and fashion while in the University of Maine’s European academic program. She has shared her passion for these subjects throughout her life as high school teacher and college professor. 

The $5 admission fee may be put toward the purchase of Fashionable First Ladies.  Please call Essex Books at 860-767-1707 to reserve your space.

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Two Major Retailers Closing on Main Street in Essex

Left Bank Gallery: CLOSED

Two major retailers, the Left Bank Gallery and The Peddler, are closing their doors on Main Street in Essex. The Left Bank Gallery, which has been leasing 5,000 square foot space has already been vacated.

The Paul brothers, who own the Griswold Inn in Essex, among other properties, own the space on which the Gallery once stood.

The Peddler retires

The second Main Street property shutting its doors is The Peddler, a fixture in Essex since 1964. The current owner of the store, who has owned the business for the past 21 years, is Patricia Stepanski, an Essex resident.

Stepanski says that she will keep her store open through this summer, but will close in the fall. Presently, she is offering 25% off the original price on all merchandize. There are big signs in the windows proclaiming the “Retirement Sale.”

Over the years Stepanski’s business plan has been “to cater to those who live in the area” as well as tourists. Tourists frequently want something “characteristic of New England, such as hand-made pottery and hand-blown glass,” she said.  

The retiring owner also said that she “appreciated everybody’s past patronage and will miss being a part of the village of Essex.” As for closing she said, “It was time.” She added, “The traffic was way down, attributable to the fact that people are not travelling that much.”

Peddler's Stepanski

Also, she blamed a loss of business, “due to the fact that there are more offices in town now, rather than retail spaces.” By “offices” she said she meant “real estate offices.” Presently, there are five real estate offices on Main Street in Essex: Coldwell Banker, William Pitt-Sotheby’s, Prudential, the Mitchel Agency and Page Taft.

“Six or seven years ago, we had three times as many retail spaces,” she said. “It is a crime as to what happened.” She found particularly troubling the departure of the Clipper Ship Book Store, and more recently Essex Books.

She also said that Essex was not getting as many tour buses as it once did, and she blamed that on the national economy.

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“Howard’s Bread,” always a big hit at the Sunday Chester Market

Howard Kaplan at the Sunday Chester Market

Baking is “not what I do for a living,” says Chester resident Howard Kaplan. Still, he admits, that baking bread “is a passion.” Kaplan satisfies this passion by baking, and offering for sale, a wide selection of homemade breads, which he sells under the label of “Howard’s Bread.”

The best and easiest place to buy “Howard’s Bread” is at the Sunday Chester Market, which takes place on a “car free” Main Street in the center of town. Hours for the Sunday market are from ten in the morning until one in the afternoon, and the season lasts from May to October.

Kaplan sells a wide variety of breads at the market from a comfortably shaded, one man stall. On display beside him are more than a dozen kinds of bread to choose from. While selling his bread Kaplan keeps up a steady conversation with his customers. 

Picking out just the right kind of of bread

In fact, buying “Howard’s Bread” at the Chester Market is a bread making tutorial, as the bread maker carefully explains to his customers the differing tasting qualities of his breads.  

One particular favorite of “Howard’s Bread” is the “bialy,” which he says is often called the Jewish English Muffin.  According to Kaplan, “bialys” were created in the Polish town of Bialystok, which before World War II had a large Jewish population. “Some of them managed to escape,” Kaplan says, which means that the popular “bialy” lives on.   

As for his “bialys,” Kaplan notes that Chester’s popular River Tavern caries them, serving them only with smoked salmon. Kaplan also says with a twinkle that he has “turned on” many, many “non-Jews” to learn to love the bialy.

However, Kaplan has far more than just bialys to offer his customers. At a recent Sunday Chester Market his hand-printed menu sign read, “Baguette, Epi, Rye Raisin Walnut, Multigrain, Multigrain with Cranberries, Date-Oat, Rosette, Olive Boule, French Sourdough, Honey Whole Wheat, Fougasse (Olive & Blue Cheese Walnut), Bialys, and Rye.”  Typical prices are five dollars for a loaf of French Sourdough and six-fifty, for six of his bialys.

Another major event at which “Howard’s Bread” is sold, takes place at the annual Market  en Pleine Aire of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme. The market is held on the museum grounds the last Saturday of July (July 30 this year) and it attracts some 8,000 people.

In the basement bakery of Howard Kaplan

Kaplan does an exceptionally good business at the museum’s annual market. According to him, he opens for business at nine o’clock, “and I am sold out by eleven.” Also, he says that at times there is a line of 30 people waiting to buy his bread selections.

When dealing with this jostle of bread buyers Kaplan says that he tries “to ration the number of breads that people can buy.” There is a back up for those who miss the boat in buying “Howard’s Bread” at the open markets. Selections are also available at Fromage in Old Saybrook and the Cheese Shop in Centerbrook.  

Kaplan makes all of the many varieties of “Howard’s Bread” in his 1,000 square foot basement at his home on a hilltop in Chester.  Using every square inch of the floor space, his baking operation has almost an industrial feel. On hand are numerous racks yawning for finished bread, large ovens, huge freezers and giant mixing machines, all in a space brightly lit by bare light bulbs.

Sometimes Kaplan’s Ireland-born wife, Pauline, who he met at a baking class at the local Chester synagogue, helps her husband with the baking. However, most of the work of baking the bread is done by Kaplan, working alone. 

Sometimes his output is huge. “I am baking 37 dozen bialys Friday,” Kaplan said recently, “and I can sell them all in one day.” 

The day's memu of "Howard's Bread"

Kaplan is totally professional in the making his bread, which he admits is “hard work.” His bread making tasks include making and mixing of the dough, weighing the dough and forming it by hand, placing the formed dough into ovens, and of course making sure he takes the loaves out on time. Kaplan’s goal is to bake five different kinds of bread each week.

Kaplan avers that he learned many of his bread baking techniques in Paris, and also he was tutored by Master Class bakers from among some of the best bakers in the world. Kaplan is also a member of the prestigious Bread Bakers Guild of America. Also, on occasion Kaplan himself volunteers to give bread baking classes.

 Kaplan even has an instruction sheet, which he gives to customers, on “BRINGING HOWARD’S BREAD BACK TO LIFE. After setting forth the oven temperatures necessary to resuscitate baguettes, fougasses and “other shapes,” he suggests a “TEST FOR DONENESS,” which involves, artfully, tapping the crust with a fingernail.

There is of course another part of Howard Kaplan’s life besides bread making. He is, professionally, a very successful financial advisor with one of the nation’s leading investment firms.

We meant to refrain from saying that in his financial advisor capacity that Kaplan is working with a different kind of “dough,” but the temptation was just too great.

Lining up for "Howard's Bread"

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State Transit Funding Cuts Hit Estuary Region

In an attempt to balance the upcoming state budget, one area that will see severe cuts is the state’s Municipal Grant Program.  The $4 million program, which provides funds to municipalities and transit districts for senior and disabled transportation, was reduced by 25%.

At a time where the population of persons age 65 and over is expected to increase by 25% in the next 10 years, these cuts may leave many seniors and persons with disabilities stranded.  Those in suburbs and rural areas without access to public bus routes may face the largest transportation challenges, since many of these areas only transportation option is Dial-A-Ride programs funded by the Municipal Grant Program.

In the shoreline region, 9 Town Transit (9TT) funds 60% of its Dial-A-Ride service with Municipal Grant Program funds.  Executive Director Joseph Comerford says that while 9TT has been working hard to prevent service reductions, customers will see some service cuts on Saturdays.  “We were able to absorb some of the cuts to avoid disruptions to our weekday service, but the severity of the funding cuts mean we can’t get through next year unscathed,” Comerford said.

Beginning July 1, 9TT will no long offer Dial-A-Ride services on Saturdays.  In addition, dispatchers will no longer be available on Saturdays, meaning trips cannot be booked or bus information obtained by phone.  Instead, any calls on Saturdays will be directed to voicemail and returned on Monday when the dispatch center re-opens.  The Shoreline Shuttle and Riverside Shuttles will continue to run on Saturdays on the regular Saturday schedule.

“We do not like the idea of not providing customer service by phone when we are running bus service on Saturdays, however it was the only way to avoid deeper service reductions which would have impacted weekdays, when the majority of our customers travel,” says Comerford.

Comerford said that although no one will be available to answer routine calls on Saturday, customers will be able to contact a manager in an emergency situation during the hours of bus service and trip reservations may be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online at www.9towntransit.com.  He also said that 9TT will closely monitor the budget throughout the year and make additional cuts to the Dial-A-Ride program if necessary to remain within budget unless the state can find the funds to restore all or part of the cuts.

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RAZZ! Essex Village’s Newest Shop Opens July 1

RAZZ! Essex village’s newest shop at 2B Cross Street, will open on July 1st. Although RAZZ! could easily be called the littlest store in the village, don’t be fooled by its tiny stature. The store’s owner, Maryanne Edwards, along with her daughter, Kathryn Wentworth and niece, Jackie Russo-Boudinot have made a commitment to offer a fresh variety of gifts and treasures for the discerning visitor or frugal local. “We took our customers into consideration when defining our inventory,” said Kate. “We want to offer ‘something for everyone’ like our sign says.”

Maryanne, who resides in Bolton with her husband, Robert, has owned her own businesses for over thirty years, but retail is a new adventure for her. “We love the shoreline and the opportunity to open here aligned perfectly with our timing. We are really excited about this!” RAZZ! will feature a wide array of items for adults and children, including boaters and dog lovers. “Essex has some great established businesses that we intend to compliment,” said Edwards.

Russo-Boudinot has been a resident of Centerbrook for about eight years and approached her aunt with the idea of a retail store. “She was leery because of the economy and I understand that; however, when we began talking about focusing on gifts and items that everyone in this economy could afford, she was on board!”

“Our goal is to bring some unique products to town and to offer a bit of a different twist on some that are already here,” said Jackie. “I’m most excited about the “SX” charm we have created that will fit on the famous name charm bracelets like Pandora. We haven’t even opened the doors and already have reserves for the charm! I love it and think that most will find it a good memento of their time here.”  

“We’re just the right size to be able to refresh our inventory often and we hope that will continue to draw folks back to check out what’s new,” Kate said. “When we’re asked what we will sell, it’s difficult to answer because we don’t want to sound trite, we want people to come see for themselves.”  “I want to be able to have customers say to me, ‘Mary I’m looking for such and such’, and if I don’t have it, I’ll certainly find out about getting it.”

RAZZ! will be open according to the general business hours in the village; however, will extend their hours for village activities such as the concert series and other events.

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9 Town Transit Earns National Top Honors

On Wed., June 8, the Estuary Transit District, better known as 9 Town Transit, in Centerbrook, Conn., received the Rural System of the Year award at this year’s Community Transportation Association Expo in Indianapolis. The Community of Transportation Association of America (CTAA), celebrating its 25-year anniversary, organized the event.

The award is given each year to the transportation agency that provides service in a non-urban area with a population of less than 50,000. The award is given to a transit operation that has presented innovative and creative services within the community, and has displayed exceptional responsiveness to its customers’ and community needs.  The district was selected from amongst the 4,000 member agencies.

“This is a great honor and we are very proud to have received this award,” said Joe Comerford, executive director, Estuary Transit District/First Transit. “This was a group effort and I greatly appreciate the work my staff has done over the years to achieve this recognition.”

CTAA was most impressed with the implementation of new technology and 9 Town Transit’s (9TT) ability to expand services despite the current economic climate.  Over the past two years, 9TT has implemented a GPS based dispatching system, text message alerts to passengers, online trip booking and pass sales, and regular updates through various social media outlets.  With the help of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, 9TT has also been able to add new services to Middletown and New London from Old Saybrook, as well as add hours to existing services to accommodate commuters.  The efforts have caused ridership to grow almost 40% during this period.

The award is especially gratifying considering 9TT’s financial difficulties in the not so distant past. In 2006, the district had depleted its reserve funds and was forced to request additional funding from its member towns.  Many member town First Selectman joined the district’s Board of Directors to help stabilize the district, and transit management company First Transit was hired to provide professional management.

9 Town Transit provides service to all parts of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, and all services are open to the general public.  Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Centerbrook Architects

Finally I had the oppotunity to see Centerbrook Architects.  I’ve lived in these parts for 20 years and been aware of its reputation. I have long been intrigued and would have loved a tour of the place but never had the chance.

Well, it came up on a recent Sunday at an open house it held—but only for the 50 first responders.

I had heard about it only the day before. No opportunity to call in. I arrived at the announced 12 noon on the dot. I was admitted because of a no-show. Thank you, Mr., Mrs., or Ms no-show.

Centerbrook Architects is plumb in the heart of tiny Centerbrook. The village, part of Essex, is little known outside our area. But what is interesting is that Centerbrook Architects is known all over the country as leaders in its business. That business is planning and designing buildings and getting them built.

Buildings of all kinds. University buildings. Business offices. Laboratories. Government buildings. Museums. Hotels and resorts. Research centers. Libraries. Prestigious buildings for prep schools. You name it. Often for the biggest names in their fields. Even houses. Usually for people not widely known but of considerable means.

Why was I so interested? Centerbrook Architects has been the winner of countless awards, honors, and testimonials. It is featured time and again in books and magazines for excellence, reliability, and all-around good value. Its fees are said to be steep, but the word is it delivers a lot for the bucks it commands.

It has been in business for more than 50 years. Started in New Haven by Charles Moore, who was in his late 30’s, the dean of the school of art and architecture at Yale. With three young men who were his employees, all Yalies. It moved to Centerbrook in 1969. It has grown and prospered more than they ever expected, I think. It changed names a couple of times and became Centerbrook Architecrts in 1983.

It employs some 60 people nowadays, which makes it mid-size in their industry. Looking at a list of its clients and the variety and grandeur of their projects is an eye-popping experience. There are thick volumes full of gorgeous pictures and fascinating descriptions of their jobs.

Perhaps you know: it is housed in an ancient and nondescript factory building at 67 Main Street. Famous locally in it day as “The Bit Shop.” You wouldn’t look at it twice in driving by. But surprise—besides its reputation in architecture, Centerbrook Architects has transformed the old factory into an exemplar of high-tech energy conservation and utilization.

It is as green as green can be. Imagine, it even has a rooftop garden designed primarily for energy efficiency–but a nice place for a picnic lunch or a drink after quitting time on Friday. Its efforts at conservation have also won it good press.

It can be argued that this quiet operation nestled between Main Street and the Falls River is due the major credit for whatever fame little Centerbrook may have today. Many people in other states know the village only as the headquarters of Centerbrook Architects, and travel here solely for that reason.

Once in, I made my way up the long, ancient, creaky stairs to a big room. It was crowded. Obvious why only 50. That’s how many chairs could be squeezed in. I found a seat at the very back. Not good. I wanted to hear every word.

William Grover

A man stood at the front facing us. Behind him was a wall-size projection screen. He was old enough to be a retiree, it seemed–like many of us in the audience. In fact, if there were young people present, I didn’t spot them. He was dressed like us, meaning casually. Slacks, open-necked shirt, sleeves rolled up.  A bit reserved, but friendly. Definitely in command.

He was William H. Grover. “Bill” Grover. And that’s the way he seemed to be addressed by everybody, just “Bill.” He is 73 now. He was one of the four partners who founded the firm in 1969. He was 31 then, the oldest of them save for Charles Moore, the dean , whose idea it was.

They were tired of the urban lifestyle,  the parking problems there, and the crime. Bill Grover landed a job to design a subdivision of nice houses in Deep River close to the Connecticut River. Like the others in the firm, he was on the look-out for a suitable and cheap property that could be fixed up and provide the better professional and personal setting they were hoping for. He spotted the Centerbrook Manufacturing Company shop on Main Street. Yes, the firm’s home today.

It had an old, old history. Located there on the falls of the Falls River because it could provide the waterpower for its machinery. Way back, there had been a gristmill there, at that spot to use the river for the power it needed.

Centerbrook Manufacturing was an iron works—the developer and manufacturer of fine auger bits. These were the clever, spiral-shaped knives a s carpenter would use with a hand brace to make circular holes in wood. These beautiful tools are collectors’ items mostly today. That explains why it was called The Bit Shop.

It was a noisy and crowded place. Big machine tools. Forges. Massive hammers.  Pulleys and shafts and flapping belts. It provided a livelihood for artisans and workers and their families for many decades. It had just closed down.

The four eager architects dickered for the building and got it. The machinery and left-over supplies and junk were still there. They were talented and inspired and knew they’d have to roll up their sleeves and work hard. They got it cleaned up. Their capital was short and they got their infant business up and  rolling and finally growing with classic sweat equity. That’s the way it was for years and years.  “But fun, too!’ Bill said.

For many years they rented out surplus space. They had people running antique shops in there, lawyers, writers, this and that. Finally the firm took all the space.  They knocked down sheds and out buildings, and in 1982 they had big help from Mother Nature—more about this in a minute. In fact, what Mother Nature served up could have been a deathblow.

The solar panels that now cover the front roof give a clue. But they give little indication of how the gritty old factory has been transformed into a comfortable and efficient and hugely interesting white-collar work place. More about that soon, too. But it’s obvious it is still a very old building though finely maintained. The brick walls. The high ceilings. The huge beams. I was thrilled by the many ultra-modern features Bill kept talking about. But the feeling that I was in a  factory building  erected in the 19th Century never left me.

I suspect none of the four had any idea of the success their beehive would achieve. That’s what it was, a beehive of creativity. And is.

Since its start, planning and designing have been its core efforts. But in time it introduced a whole package—everything needed to get a building built. Fund-raising know-how for their clients, for instance. Some of these projects cost millions.

Yes, Bill Grover is retired now, I found out. I heard a younger architect speak of him as “partner emeritus.” He was running this open house, which was being held at the request of the Essex Land Trust. I believe most in the audience were Land Trust people. Later I found out he’s been a board member a long time–in fact, he’s a past president.

There were half a dozen staff architects in the room. Not a single one in a business suit, by the way. One told me they had volunteered to help at this open house as hosts and guides.. It turns out there are 45 architects on the staff. The other 15 people are support staff.

The whole open house was slated for one hour. And Bill did cover the whole fascinating story from A to Z in one hour. He has a wry humor, and he kept sparking laughter with a deadpan funny remark at the end of an explanation about the place.

At the end we were broken into groups of 10 for a walk through the rambling place. Each led by an architect. I was in the fifth group, the last. The one led by him, which made me happy. Many questions were being asked and we’d pause here and there a minute as he explained and pointed out. He was generous about answering. All very interesting. So we stragglers left 15 minutes or so after the hour was up. I believe I was the last one out.

Here are some of the things we saw on the tour. Two large, sprawling rooms where the architects work–the “drafting rooms.” The size of a gym, say. Nobody has a private office, not even the partners. They are all out in the open. Each, from the most senior to the newest,  is in a work space 7 by 9 feet, with desk, work tables, bookcases and files, computer equipment, everything needed around him or her. Yes, nowadays women are architects, too. But the separating walls are only about chest high.

The architect has a sense of having an office. Yet there’s a feeling of equality. But as you enter, or stand in your place, you can see everybody in the room at a glance, and what they’re doing.

Bill said this makes for better use of the space. It also makes it easy to confer with one another. Saves walking. Promotes all-around efficiency. I understood immediately. Right away I thought of  the city room of the  big newspaper where I used to toil . I could see it would be hard here for anybody to loaf. Nearby we saw conference rooms for small meetings, and for meetings with clients.

Bill took us into a room where the plan of a building was projected onto a big screen. With clicks of a computer mouse, Bill could flip the building so that we could see it from the ground, or from the air. On any side. He could slice through the building at any point, lengthwise or sideways, and show us all the construction details. Amazing.

“Most of the work is done by computers nowadays. CAD, it’s called—computer-aided design. Saves times and money. But we still do a lot of sketching with a pencil. That’s how we develop ideas. With quick sketches.”

He took us into the library, which was filled with hundreds and hundreds of books and magazines. And with a professional librarian, mind you. “It’s not efficient for an architect to come into here and poke around looking for something. The librarian can do it faster and better for us.”

He took us into the computer room. Computers and monitors and components filled shelves all around. Three experts work here, one a planner, one a programmer,  and the third a Mister Fix-It. Understandable. The building is jammed full with computers. Knock off the electricity and in an hour the place would be paralyzed.

He took us into the Model Room. Every client wants to see the plans being created for his building transformed into a real, three-dimensional model. With walls, roof, windows, doors, everything. This shop is where these precise models get built by an expert model-maker on staff. Looking at plans is rarely enough. 

Bill picked up a tiny model of a chair and held it in the palm of his hand. “We’re designing an auditorium. Well, we even designed the chairs for it. This is one of them. We can make a hundred of them—as many as we need, and put them in place for the client to get a realistic view.” Again, all possible with the power of the computer.

He led us into the Sample Room. Here are samples of all kinds of things that go into a building … all kinds of lumber, bricks, glass, flooring, ceramics, plastics, on and on. An architect can enter and study the stuff and make informed decisions.

He led us into a beautiful room at the back end of the building. Large windows looked out on the Falls River and the great dam just a hundred yards away, the water splashing over it, the pretty pond behind it.

“There was a lot of discussion about whose office this should be. Everybody would love a place like this. Well, nobody’s, we decided. “We have meetings in here.”

He took us into the basement. He wanted to show us the hydropower plant, installed by the firm. Did so proudly. Remember that the old grist mill used the Falls River for power? Well, so does Centerbrook Architects. Just a percentage, however, the extent possible. Just outside is the big dam that makes possible the pond behind it. It’s the water drop here that makes all this possible.

He went on to show us the state-of-the-art geothermal pump. The water in the pond has different temperatures near the surface and near the bottom. In the summer the water is cooler at the bottom. In the winter, warmer at the bottom. The pump takes advantage of this differential. It sucks in water to help heat the building in the winter, and cool it in the summer.  Bill’s delight in the system was obvious to all of us.

He kept coming back to that subject time and again. Energy conservation! The effort started slowly nearly 40 years ago. It intensified as the firm experimented and got smarter about it. Today Centerbrook Enterprise is a practical laboratory of how much can be achieved in husbanding energy. More important than ever as prices skyrocket and there is increasing talk of scarcity.

He took us up to the roof—the flat part, that is. This is where the garden is. On one side is patio furniture. But the primary purpose was to save energy and make the building more comfortable. This was achieved with plantings that provide insulation. He talked about “sedum.” Not a word known to me. Sedum is a plant perfect for this. Requires very little care.  It grows in 4-inch-deep polyethylene trays.

Got to mention the solar panels. They made big news when installed in 2006. They cover every inch of the various roofs where they could be practical. Again we saw how much they meant to him.

Centerbrook Architects has used every trick in the book that has proven its value. It recycles everything that it can. It makes all the compost it can. It has put sun-control film on its windows. It has installed lights everywhere in the building that can maximize its energy gain. One thing I noticed is that one side effect is that they give the place a more industrial look than some people might like.

He said that in total these efforts provide about 25 percent of the firm’s needs. All this started back in 1973—the historic gasoline crunch! “Save Energy” became the national cry!

Fortuitously, the firm got a job to design the biggest solar-heating building in the state. Also a house commissioned by NASA that would employ every bit of energy-saving technology known at that time. it picked up know-how bit by bit. I got the feeling if some proven new technology comes up, Centerbrook Architects will put it to use for itself here in a jiffy.

Now about Mother Nature’s big wallop. June 6, 1982—The Big Flood!  Huge rains. The Falls River ran over…. a catastrophe all the way down from Bushy Hill Lake at Incarnation Center (its dam fractured), down through Ivoryton into Centerbrook. Houses were swept away. The landscape upturned. Huge damages. The flood hit Centerbrook Architects and swept away a big building and six smaller ones. 

“A calamity! But we rebuilt. We rebuilt the big building. It’s one of our drafting rooms now. We raised it  by four feet.to protect it in the future.

“What is incredible is that we never thought of re-locating.  We stayed right here. It turned out to be an opportunity to make many things better.”

There were other crises over the years. Years of lean business. Our present recession has taken a big toll. Centerbrook Architects had to take the painful step of laying off 30 people, most of them architects. We all  do what we have to do.  Things are easing.

Bill is the only left of the original four. He is – now partner emeritus.. The other current partners are Jefferson B. Riley of East Haddam, Chad Floyd of Essex,  James C. Childress of Essex,  and Mark Simon of Stony Creek, all of long tenure.

The firm takes pleasure in many things. One of them is its long relationship with many clients. One is Quinipiac University, a newcomer in this corner of the world famous for institutions of higher learning of excellence. Quinipiac, located in Hamde, has been a client for 25 years. One project after another. It’s remarkable how the university is gaining in scope, stature, and reputation. It now has a law school. It will open a medical school in two years. Centerbrook Architects has had an important role in these efforts.

As you can tell, I delighted in the tour. Centerbrook Architects brings honor to us. But know what? To me Centerbrook Architects is a paradox.

The buildings it creates for sites all over the country are breathtakingly fresh and modern. The firm is known as high tech and even avant-garde.  You know just by looking at them that they are the last word in sound construction, handsome design, and real value. Yet its quarters that support all this work still look like … well, the old Bit Shop.

I asked one architect how clients react when they visit here. “They like it,”  he said with a smile. “They’ve heard about this. They’re interested in coming and seeing for themselves.”

It’s basic to Centerbrook Architects’ quirky charm, you might say.

If you’ve reached this far down in my report, obviously you are interested. A suggestion for you: go to www.centerbrook.com. You’ll be able to take a virtual tour of just about everything I saw. Maybe more. You’ll be fascinated.

The big thing you’ll miss is Bill Grover.

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Essex Saving Bank’s Shook Named Finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year

Essex Savings Bank President & CEO Gregory R. Shook

Essex Savings Bank has announced that Gregory R. Shook, President & CEO is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 New England Award finalist.  According to Ernst & Young LLP, the awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. 

Award winners will be announced at a special gala event on 15 June 2011 at the Boston Renaissance Waterfront Hotel.

Shook commented, “I am honored to provide additional recognition to Essex Savings Bank for our team effort during the past decade as we celebrate our 160th anniversary year of service and trust to our community.”

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Program celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.  The program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 140 cities and more than 50 countries throughout the world.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur of the Year National Award. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur of the Year overall National Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on Nov. 12, 2011. The awards are the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies, which will be held Nov. 9–13, 2011.

Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards are pleased to have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a national sponsor.  In New England sponsors include Boston Magazine, J. Robert Scott, Marsh, Nixon Peabody, RR Donnelley and Regan Communications Group.

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9 Town Transit Celebrates 30th Anniversary

May 2011 marks thirty years since the creation of the Estuary Transit District, operator of 9 Town Transit.  To celebrate this major milestone, 9 Town Transit will host events and offer promotions throughout the month.

On May 13, 9 Town Transit will host an anniversary celebration at 12:00 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.  Several local and state officials will be on hand to commemorate the occasion.  Free refreshments will be provided, along with free anniversary hats and other promotional items.

Although it may be 9 Town Transit’s birthday, it will be the transit passengers who will get a gift. On May 13, fares on all regular routes will be just $0.30.  Off-route and Dial-A-Ride fares will remain full price.  In addition, throughout the month of May, anyone purchasing a 9 Town Transit ticket book or monthly pass will receive a free clip-on ticket and change holder.  Tickets and passes can also be purchased at area Stop & Shop stores and Adam’s Market in Deep River.

9 Town Transit provides service to all parts of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, and all services are open to the general public.  Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Centerbrook Architects’ Building and Grounds Tour

The Essex Land Trust is pleased to announce the upcoming tour of one of our communities most regarded enterprises. Centerbrook Architects staff members will lead a guided tour of the building and grounds on Sunday May 15 starting at 2 p.m.

This tour will focus on the historic site and its modern use of award-winning and groundbreaking energy conservation measures. The tour will consist of two floors with stairways between and will last about an hour. There will be a brief slide show.

Attendance is limited to 50 visitors and there are some restrictions for handicapped visitors. Reservations must be made in advance by calling Thea Putnam (860-767-3231) or emailing to tconv@mac.com by May 12. Park at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main Street in Centerbrook. Essex Land Trust programs are supported by a grant from The Rockfall Foundation, Middletown, Connecticut.

Centerbrook Architects was conceived in 1975 as a community of architects working together to advance American place-making and the craft of building. From the beginning, its work has spanned from planning and architecture to details that make buildings memorable.

The firm’s nineteenth-century compound of mill buildings, a former wood boring bit factory, is both the firm’s home and its vital center of experimentation where design is enriched by many streams of influence. An in-house theater hosts lectures and symposia on many topics, including how to make places distinct and how to perfect the craft of building.

A collaborative firm with an exceptional history of building, Centerbrook performs many other services such as project management, planning, interior design, sculpture, landscape and site design, industrial design, furniture and lighting design, fund raising, and graphic design. All are done from Centerbrook’s historic compound on the Falls River in Centerbrook, Connecticut. For more information regarding Centerbrook Architects please log onto their website: www.centerbrook.com/

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As Gas Prices Soar, Bus Ridership Rises

With gasoline prices now topping $4.00 per gallon, shoreline residents are turning in record numbers to public transit to ease the pain at the pump.

Last month, ridership on 9 Town Transit (9TT), the shoreline’s public bus system, reached an all time high 7,600 trips.  The increase, 30% higher than in March of 2010, is being attributed to high gas prices combined with improved service hours.

“We recently expanded the hours of most of our routes to accommodate commuters,” says Joseph Comerford, Executive Director of 9TT.  “The change has made it possible to travel to and from work by bus in our region.”

In addition to extended hours of service, 9TT has expanded its service area in the past two years.  Bus service is now available from Old Saybrook to Middletown and New London.  Free transfers can also be made to New Haven, Norwich, and Hartford. 

With fares ranging from $1.25 to $2.50, public transit can offer users significant savings.  Discounted tickets and passes can also be purchased at area Stop & Shop stores and Adam’s Market in Deep River. 9TT provides service to all parts of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, and all services are open to the general public.

Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Essex Savings Bank President & CEO Gregory R. Shook Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 New England Award Semifinalist

Essex Savings Bank President & CEO Gregory R. Shook

Essex Savings Bank today announced that President & CEO Gregory R. Shook is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 New England Award semifinalist. According to Ernst & Young LLP, the awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.  Gregory Shook was selected as a semifinalist from nearly 60 nominations by a panel of independent judges. Award winners will be announced at a special gala event on June 15, 2011 at the Boston Renaissance Waterfront Hotel.

“I am honored to be able to provide additional recognition to Essex Savings Bank for our team effort during the past decade – particularly as we celebrate our 160th anniversary year of service and trust to our community,” noted Gregory Shook.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Program celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 140 cities and more than 50 countries throughout the world.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur of the Year National Award. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the overall Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year National Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on November 12, 2011. The awards are the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies, which will be held November 9–13, 2011.

Sponsors
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards are pleased to have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a national sponsor.

In New England sponsors include Boston Magazine, J. Robert Scott, Marsh, Nixon Peabody LLP, RR Donnelley, and Regan Communications Group.

Essex Savings Bank is a $290 million, FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with five offices in Essex (2), Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.  Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department with $210 million in managed assets, and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC, $3 billion in managed assets.

About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year®
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in more than 50 countries.

About the Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services.  Worldwide, our 141,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young LLP is a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited operating in the U.S.  For more information about our organization, please visit www.ey.com.

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Successful Women Invest In Themselves

While caring for others—spouse, children and parents —many women neglect to make themselves a priority. Creating sound financial goals can be a smart first step toward taking care of yourself—and can potentially help put you in a better position to support those most important to you.

This event is sponsored by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and will take place in Essex on May 11 at 5.30 p.m – 7.30 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, May 11 , 2011
Time: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: 64 South Main Street, Essex

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Boston Fed Names Essex Savings Bank Exec. to New Advisory Board

Greg R. Shook, President & Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has appointed 12 members, including  local bank executive Greg R. Shook, President & Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank, to an adisory council formed in response to new regulations.

Each Federal Reserve Bank across the country is establishing a First District Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC) in response to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The councils will represent the perspective of smaller financial institutions and provide input on the economy and lending conditions, among other issues, according to a statement.

The First District’s 12 CDIAC members represent commercial banks, thrift institutions and credit unions with assets less than $10 billion. Members, which are from each of the six New England states, will meet three times annually.

The following members were appointed:

  • Gregory Shook, president/CEO, Essex Savings Bank, Essex
  • James W. Blake, president/CEO, HarborOne Credit Union; Brockton, Mass.
  • Tom Caron, president/CEO, Bank of Easton; North Easton, Mass.
  • Christopher Oddleifson, president/CEO, Rockland Trust Co.; Rockland, Mass.
  • Bill Stapleton, president/CEO, Northampton Co-Operative Bank; Northampton, Mass.
  • Jane Walsh, president/CEO, Northmark Bank; North Andover, Mass.
  • John J. Dwyer, Jr., president/CEO, New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU); Williston, Vt.
  • Michael L’Ecuyer, president/CEO, Bellwether Community Credit Union; Manchester, N.H.
  • Gregg R. Tewksbury, president/CEO, Savings Bank of Walpole; Walpole, N.H.
  • Peter Judkins, president/CEO, Franklin Savings Bank; Farmington, Maine
  • Joseph J MarcAurele, president/CEO, Washington Trust; Westerly, R.I.
  • Merrill Sherman, president/CEO, Bank Rhode Island; Providence, R.I.

Stapleton will serve as District One’s representative to the national CDIAC, which will meet twice a year to advise the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., according to a statement. The Federal Reserve Board announced in October it was forming the CDIAC to replace the Thrift Institutions Advisory Council.

The first meeting of the District One CDIAC was held on March 1.

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Daily pleased with new commuter rail cars; commuter advocacy group praises state officials

State Senator Daily and the CT Rail Commuter Council, a state commuter advocacy group, both had words of praise for state officials, who have just put into service a brand new rail car on the New Haven line. 

Acknowledging “sometimes frustrating delays,” Senator Daily said, “We look forward to taking delivery of additional new cars soon, with safe and comfortable rides to and from New York.” She added, “The timetable for running M-8 trains for Shore Line East passengers remains uncertain, but my understanding is that an extra measure of patience will be rewarded, when we’re able to ride these new trains at last.”

CT Rail Commuter Council Chairman Jim Cameron

Commuter Council Chairman Jim Cameron, who rode on the first M-8 train in service from Stamford to Grand Central, said, “I personally congratulate the Metro North and Connecticut Department of Transportation officials … They  deserve a lot of credit for their diligence in testing these cars and finally getting them in service.”

Cameron noted that originally it was hoped that the new cars would be in service in 2009, which then slipped into 2010, and now into early 2011. However, he said, “With the first of eight cars having passed their 4,000 error-free miles of testing, the hope is that more trains sets will be added in coming months.” 

According to the commuter group chairman, the builder of the new rail cars, the Japanese firm, Kawasaki, “is supposed to deliver ten new cars per month, and Metro North estimates that 80 cars will be in service by the end of 2011.” “But it will be three years before all 380 of the new cars are delivered,“ he said.

Accounting for the delay in bringing the new cars into service, Senator Daily said that some of it can be “readily explained by the transition from Governor Rell’s administration to Governor Malloy’s.” Also, she cited as reasons for the delay, the “testing of new M-8 rail cars,” and “ironing out problems of new cars on old tracks.”

View more pictures of new car’s first official train ride below (courtesy of  the CT Rail Commuter Council), including a photo of the new bathroom on the train.

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State introduces first new rail car on the New Haven line; Sen. Daily hails new commuter rail funding

Exterior of new M-8 commuter rail car.

The first of the long awaited new rail cars for Connecticut commuters has been put into service on the New Haven line on March 1, according to the state Department of Transportation. The new rail cars are called the “M-8”s.

In announcing this development, DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said, “We are purchasing a total of 380 new M-8’s and they will be coming in all the way through 2013.” He added, “Some of the M-8’s will be used on the Shore Line East, but that won’t be until later in the game.” 

In a related development State Senator Eileen Daily praised the state Bond Commission’s recent approval of new funding for the “imminent delivery of new rail cars to improve service for Metro North and Shore Line East passengers.” She also has hailed “approved funding for a new rail maintenance facility in New Haven to ensure that the state protects its investment in these new cars.”

Senator Daily also said that the new bond allocations would provide funds for “the next step toward an overhaul of the Shore Line East station in Westbrook, which has already included property transfers and a lot of improvements.” She also said, “Shore Line East stations in Branford, Guilford and Old Saybrook will also be upgraded as a function of this bond allocation.”

The Senator added that “literally thousands of construction and related jobs are expected to be retained or created as a result of these transportation investments.”

Interior of the new M-8 commuter rail car.

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Commenting Capability Suspended Indefinitely

The mission of ValleyNewsNow is to offer an independent, objective community news source for Chester, Deep River and Essex.  The ability to comment on articles is not integral to that mission, but we offered it to readers in the belief that it would enrich the site. 

However the escalating number of offensive comments and personal attacks that are appearing on the site is not only contrary to our commenting policy but also offending many of our readers and we no longer deem it to be aligned with our vision for the publication.

We are therefore closing down the comments section for all articles effective immediately and would suggest that those who wish to comment publicly on a matter send a letter to the editor, which will be published at our sole discretion, in accordance with our letters policy.

Nigel & Olwen Logan,
Shoreline Web News LLC.

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Page Taft Real Living Welcomes Peg Sterling

Peg Sterling

Essex, CT — Page Taft Real Living is pleased to announced that Peg Sterling has joined their Essex office.

 “Dedication and service are essential in real estate, and Peg has over 42 years of experience in business, holds her broker’s license, and has a vast knowledge of what the shoreline area has to offer her clients.” says Karen Stephens, Owner/Broker of Page Taft Real Living. “We welcome Peg to Page Taft and very pleased to have her. She will be a great addition to the Essex team.”

Page Taft Real Living specializes in providing real estate services in Essex and the Shoreline area. Peg Sterling will be working in our Essex Office, located at 35 Main Street. She may be reached by telephone at 860-767-5390 or 860-304-3486; or via e-mail at psterling@pagetaft.com.

Page Taft Real Living has 3 offices serving the Shoreline area. Its main office is located at 89 Whitfield Street, Guilford and the telephone number is 203-453-6511.

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Sunday in the Kitchen with Dorie Greenspan

Dorie Greenspan at the podium during her presentation at Congregation Beth Shalom in Chester.

Rachel Berliner, who is an intern with Shoreline Web News LLC from Old Saybrook High School, had the opportunity to meet a very special lady recently. Rachel attended a presentation by nationally acclaimed cookbook writer Dorie Greenspan and then after the presentation, Ms. Greenspan graciously agreed to be interviewed by Rachel.

Dorie Greenspan is a James Beard award-winning cookbook author.  On Sunday, Jan. 16, “foodies” had the opportunity to savor her experiences of Parisian life and food at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s “Books and Bagels” event held at the Chester synagogue.  Greenspan inspired the large audience with her stories of Parisian “joie de vivre” and food prepared in a myriad of ways.

I was honored to have the opportunity to interview Ms. Greenspan after her presentation.  I asked her about the famous chefs she has worked with and the inspiration for her newest book “Around my French Table.”

RB: How long did it take you to put “Around my French Table” together?

DS: I teasingly say it took me 30 years because it’s really a record of my experience in France.  I worked on the book for four years.

RB: What was it like for you to work with Julia Child? What are your favorite memories and/or recipes of that time?

DG: I have so many ‘Julia’ recipes.  She was extraordinary.  She was the same person as she was on television.  She was always warm and encouraging.  Julia wanted women in the kitchen.  She counseled people to go to college and finish school.  She thought it was really important.  I was so lucky to work with her.

Ms. Greenspan is a very expressive lady!

RB: What was it like to work with Daniel Boulud?  What is your favorite memory of that time?

DG: The “memory” was how we put “the book” together (“Café Boulud Cookbook: French-American Recipes for the Home Cook”).  He (Daniel) had closed his restaurant and was rebuilding it.  It was August and all of the cooks were off.  He called about eight cooks [back to the restaurant] and said, “Okay, we’re going to work.  We’re going to come into the kitchen and create this book in teams.”  The whole restaurant was a construction site, but the kitchen was still usable.  He put together teams of two, about 10 teams.  Every morning, we would come in and there was a list of recipes we would have to create.  He would be around telling us what to do and how he wanted it done.  We would cook all day and as a dish would finish, everybody would stop and we would all taste it together.  Daniel has a great way of being a leader.

RB: Would you like to have your own show on PBS/Food Network?

DG: I like working on television, but I don’t know if I would have a show.

RB: How did you choose the recipes for the book?

DG: It’s interesting.  A lot of my recipes essentially come from three places: the food that I cook, food my friends cook, and food my friends who are chefs serve in their restaurants.  I wanted to show “a snapshot” of what food is like in France today.  I wanted to have the food you would “nibble” before you eat … things you would have as an “hors d’oeuvres.”  I knew what I wanted my chapters to be.   The great fun was saying, “I have these chapters.  All of my favorite recipes are going to go in there.” You get to put in (the cookbook) what you love most.  You also have to balance it so you don’t have a hundred chicken recipes and two for beef.  It’s that balance: what would make the most interesting recipes for readers and home cooks.

The audience was captivated by Ms. Greenspan's tales.

RB: Which region of France do you prefer?

DG: There are so many regions.  They “hold on” to their cuisine.  It’s wonderful that the traditions remain.  I liked the hearty food of the southwest of France.  I love the pastries from Alsace.  It’s hard to say.  I love the salted butter from Brittany … Bretagne.  I love gougères (cheese puff pastries) from Burgundy.

It was a pleasure talking to Ms. Greenspan.  She was such a kind and gracious lady.  I just have two more things that I want to say to her now — “Merci,” and “Bon Appétit!”

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Essex Savings Bank reports strong earnings

Essex, CT— Essex Savings Bank held its semi-annual Trustees Meeting Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 at the Bank’s Plains Road office in Essex.  Bank Chairman, Mr. Kenneth Gibble, welcomed the attendees and stated that he was proud to preside over a meeting where traditional banking still produces positive results.

Mr. Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO, reported on the Bank’s performance for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, “I am pleased to report that we had one of our best and most profitable years in the history of the Bank with earnings of $2 million.  Core deposits rose 8% and our credit quality remained better than peer.  Our capital increased by $2.86 million – remaining more than double the requirement of the FDIC for the Bank to be considered well capitalized.  Recently, we sent out a news release that underscores our success – we will again be distributing another quarter of a million dollars representing 10% of our after tax net income to worthy non- profits.  By year end, we will have contributed to the community in excess of $3.2 million over the past 15 years.  Our new financial service branch in Madison is having great success and is ahead of our projections.  We are also proud to report that our Trust Department, led by superb professionals, Granville Morris and Moira Martin, has brought assets under management to over $200 million and revenues to record levels.”  Shook noted that total Bank assets grew $16 million to $287 million as capital increased to $35 million.

Mr. Charles R. Cumello, Jr., Vice President of Essex Financial Services, reported strong earnings.  Gross revenue for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010 was $11.2 million.  Assets under management grew to $3 billion at fiscal year end.  Mr. Cumello said, “The firm welcomed new clients who appreciate the independence and service they receive and the referral based practice continues to expand from centers of influence, such as accountants, lawyers and trust and Bank clients.”  He also noted that in February 2010, Barron’s magazine named Essex Financial Services’ President , John  W. Rafal the #1 Independent Financial Advisor in Connecticut.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851.  The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with five offices in Essex (2), Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.   Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc, Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

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Essex Zoning Commission approves Centerbrook pastry shop

ESSEX— The zoning commission has approved a special permit for a pastry shop in the small shopping plaza at 31-33 Main St. in the Centerbrook section. The panel approved the permit after a public hearing Monday.

William and Jacqueline Von Ahnen, residents of the Ivoryton section, will open the shop in a vacant space on the west side of the four-unit complex. The couple have worked previously at the Copper Beach Inn in Ivoryton and the now closed DuGlace Bistro restaurant in Deep River.

Joseph Budrow, zoning enforcement officer, said no one spoke in opposition to the pastry shop at Monday’s hearing. Joining the Von Ahnens at the hearing were representatives of JMB Properties LLC, the Cheshire partnership that owns the shopping plaza.

The commission imposed several conditions on the permit intended to limit on-site co0nsumption of food. The conditions include no tables and chairs, and no serving of prepared meals. Another condition requires that deliveries to the front of the shop be made after 2 p.m.

The new pastry shop is expected to open late next month or in March. The commission last October approved a permit for a cheese shop at the complex that opened in December. Other businesses at the plaza are a breakfast/lunch restaurant and a liquor store.

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