December 17, 2018

Essex Garden Club Recognized for Civic Work

Essex Garden Club (EGC) Civic Committee Chairs (past and present) pose holding their civic awards with EGC President Augie Pampel.  From left to right are Janice Strait, Suzanne Tweed, Pampel, Barbara Powers and Liz Fowler.

ESSEX — The Essex Garden Club (EGC) was recently recognized by the Federated Garden Clubs Of Connecticut for its civic work maintaining parks, traffic islands and especially the fundraising used for the planting of trees, shrubs and perennials.

This is part of the ongoing effort of the EGC Civic Team that helps support the mission to create civic beautification in our community and promote educational opportunities for our members and the general public.  

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Letter from Paris: Riots Fuel ‘Yellow Vest’ Rebellion Against Macron’s Reforms, Stir Memories of May ’68

Editor’s Note: We are watching events in Paris today with deep dismay. Nicole Logan’s topical column gives her opinion on the background to the tense situation unfolding there.

Nicole Prévost Logan

France is in a tailspin.  

The crisis started with the fury against the seven-cent tax hike on diesel fuel. The movement of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) spread like wildfire through the social networks as they blocked the roads all over France. For three weeks in November, the demonstrators congregated in Paris each Saturday. Their confrontation with the police culminated in scenes of violence, which shocked the world: Place de l’Etoile obliterated by the smoke of tear gas, graffiti desecrating the Arc de Triomphe, and a policeman being attacked near the monument.  

Riots have been occurring in cities all over France but are centered on Paris. File photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash

Since the Champs Elysées and the Place de la Concorde were cordoned off by the police, the casseurs (hooligans) spilled over Avenue Kleber and Avenue de la Grande Armee, where they looted shops and set fire to six buildings. Hundreds were wounded and 412 demonstrators arrested. By the day’s end, a picture of desolation remained with the smoldering remains of 35 cars and streets littered with whatever was used as a projectile by the radicalized mob.

The tension is mounting. The government seems unable to contain it. The gilets jaunes are widening their demands to lower all taxes, raise salaries and retirements as well as the dissolution of the National Assembly. At this point they will not stop short of the resignation of Macron. 

It is an unprecedented, unstructured popular anger directly aimed at the president.  The opposition parties – with much glee – are surfing on this tsunami.

The government is making concessions to meet people’s demands. Unfortunately these concessions always arrive too late. The more the government concedes, the more the gilets jaunes demand, apparently comforted by their success.  On Dec. 4th, Prime Minister Edward Philippe announced a six-month freeze on fuel and utility taxes followed by their cancellation the same evening. And the price tag of this measure? Four billion euros. This was the first admission of defeat by the Macron team – a measure very hard to swallow since it went against its own environmental principles. 

What are the causes of this crisis? Mistakes made by a president attempting to reform the country from the bottom up? Ungovernable French people? Perhaps a combination of both.

During the first 16 months of his mandate, Macron undertook structural reforms  to turn France into a modern and competitive country. These reforms dealt with political institutions, the labor code,  the impressive — but somewhat antiquated — railroad system or  SNCF (Societé Nationale des Chemins de Fer), crowded universities  by abolishing a chaotic and ridiculous entrance selection by lottery. 

But French people do not like changes and are attached to their privileges, tax niches and social benefits acquired over decades. An attempt at reforming the system was bound to face an uphill battle .

All these reforms were part of a general plan — a vision — which the president had placed at the core of his electoral campaign and on the basis of which he had been elected. in 2017. He gave himself five years to achieve his goals. 

Unfortunately for him the people wanted immediate results. He wanted to raise the French economy and society from the bottom up and encourage the active population. This was different from a “trickle down” process, but was not perceived as such by the French.  Soon the label,”President of the Rich,” was firmly attached to him.

Macron’s strategy was to consult with trade unions, elected local officials or business people at the Elysée Palace before making any decisions.

Apparently tetanized by the fast pace of the president’s method, the population seemed at first to accept the reforms. But gradually, overwhelmed by the sheer number of new regulations, taxes, or reforms facing them them every morning, its discontent started as an underground rumble until it finally exploded. The last drop was the additional tax on diesel. 

Overall, the French population is justified in its revolt against an unbearable tax burden. France is the world number one champion of taxes with 48 percent of its Gross Domestic Product coming from tax revenues versus 40 percent in the other European countries and less than 30 percent in the US.  One of the buzz expressions among the gilets jaunes is “ras le bol” (meaning “we are totally fed up.”) There are hundreds of hidden taxes in France. For example, did you know that here, one has to pay a tax on “oiseaux de companie” (pet birds)?

The French have a special craving for social justice as shown in their attitude toward the Impot de Solidarite sur la Fortune (ISF) or wealth tax. Macron had split that tax between property wealth — which he retained — and financial holdings such as stocks. In order to encourage investments — particularly on green energy — he created a “flat tax” of only 30 percent.  What he did was misunderstood by the public opinion and may be scrapped soon.    

Today Macron’s room to maneuver is very small.  Since the opposition has no leader to replace him, where is the country going?  Cohn Bendit, the hero of May 1968, the largest French uprising in the past 50 years, gave a frightening prognosis, “I see the present movement in France as a possibly the first step toward totalitarianism, headed by an illiberal despot.” 

The situation is evolving by the hour.  More demonstrations of force are already planned …

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Talking Transportation: An Open Letter to Ned Lamont

Dear Ned:

Well, you did it.  Congratulations on your election.  And my condolences.  The easy part of politics is over:  getting elected.  Now comes the hard part:  being Governor.

I hope you and your transition team are already working on that budget that’s due in three months.  There’s a lot of red ink ($4 billion) that needs to be mopped up.  And don’t forget those $80 billion in unfunded pensions.  But I’m sure you’ve got the solutions, right?  That’s what you promised voters, anyhow.  So have at it.

But as you are cutting and slashing, may I be so bold as to make a few suggestions on the transportation front?  Your campaign assured us you’d fix our roads and rails, so I’m sure you have your ideas.  But let’s see if these are of any help.

1)    KEEP YOUR COMMISSIONER:   Jim Redeker has been CDOT Commissioner since 2011 and nobody knows better what’s working and what isn’t.  He’s clearly the smartest guy in the room and you need his experience and talents.  Let’s not lose him to another state.

2)    FIX THE TRAINS FIRST:  You can’t keep high wage earners (and tax payers) living in Connecticut if Metro-North continues its downward slide.  Getting trains back up to speed and on-time is crucial to the state’s economy.

3)    THEN IMPROVE BUS SERVICE:  I hope you realize that the CTFastrak bus rapid-transit system is hugely important and not the “waste of money” your opponent claimed.  Not everyone in this state owns a car.  For the 15 million riders of that busway since it opened, those buses mean being able to get to their jobs.  That is what we want, right… people working?

4)    RIDE MASS TRANSIT:  You campaigned at train and bus stations, now why not get onboard?  Set an example by taking the train from Greenwich to Hartford and riding the bus with your constituents.  See the conditions first hand.

5)    GET GOING WITH TOLLS:  We both know they’re inevitable, despite your opponents’ “tolls are a tax” lie during the campaign.  Let’s stop losing revenue to out-of-staters and truckers and make them pay for driving on our roads.  Start with tolling trucks, though I doubt that’s legal.

6)    HONOR THE LOCKBOX:  Voters have spoken loudly!  The Special Transportation Fund is now padlocked.  Don’t you dare think about picking that lock or letting the Legislature touch those funds for anything but transportation.

7)    PLEASE BE HONEST:  You and your opponents glossed over the tough issues in the campaign, making vague, general comments about improving our lives.  You got the job, so now don’t give us any BS.  Tell us about the hard choices to come.  Embrace the FOI act.  Be open and transparent … and honest.  We’re adults.  We can take it.

8)    DON’T ABUSE THE MAJORITY:  Once again the Democrats are in full control in Hartford.  That’s a lot of power in a few hands and your party’s record on “reaching across the aisle” isn’t great.  Our problems can only be solved with bi-partisan cooperation, so please set the best example.

That’s enough for now.  Get some rest, maybe even a vacation, and we’ll talk again in the coming months.

Best wishes,

Jim Cameron
“The Train Guy”

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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Return of ‘The Movie Man’: ‘Beautiful Boy’ Reveals Realities of Relationships Controlled by Addiction

Editor’s Note: We welcome Kevin Ganey back to LymeLine.com. We have missed his stimulating, thought-provoking, intensely personal reviews of movies and are thrilled he has returned

Author’s Note: It seems that in the last two years, I’ve fallen off the edge of the earth when it comes to keeping up with current films. In this time, I’ve skipped the Oscars, and have not even watched trailers to highly anticipated future features. I’m also too intimidated to watch whichever new Marvel film has been released, due to fear of being unable to follow the story. But I have spent a great deal of time immersing myself in older ones, and I owe a great deal to the Criterion Collection for this. But make no mistake, I intend to continue critiquing films for the readers situated in the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound.

The cover of the book on which the movie is based. Image: SODIL

I left the screening of Beautiful Boy in a depressed mood.

The film, starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet, depicts the relationship of a father and son, David and Nic Sheff, during the latter’s tumultuous period of drug addiction. While many fans of Dunder-Mifflin’s greatest regional manager will take delight in seeing that Nic’s mother is played by none other than Amy Ryan (Michael Scott’s wife), this will not contain any of the goofy humor we saw on the iconic sitcom. It deals with the gut-wrenching and horrific truths of what addiction is.

This is a true story, based on the memoirs of both father and son.

It captures the grim reality of addiction. From Nic’s days of smoking weed (with his father, on occasion) to his bodily dependency on heroin and crystal meth. In several points, Nic gets sober (at one point lasting over a year without using anything), only to fall into relapse.

The film captures the ugly truth of addiction’s harm to the user, and to the user’s loved ones; depicting Nic stealing prescription medicine from his girlfriend’s family, as well as taking the only money his younger half-brother has (a mere $8).

Along with addiction, this film also brilliantly depicts the relationship between David and Nic. We get to see things through David’s perspective as he watches his son spiral out of control and sends him to rehab time after time after time. We clearly see David’s frustration as he wants what is best for his son, whom he loves more than everything.

While I never struggled with drug addiction, I could see myself in Nic pleading to David in regards to numerous subjects, asking his father to have faith in him, and David’s stern responses, all in vigilance to protecting Nic’s well-being. For once, I could understand the mindset in which my parents denied my numerous requests throughout youth, and I could see the arrogance in the “What do they know?” reaction I would give.

This is not a film to see on the basis of pure entertainment. I could hardly imagine any filmmaker with a sound conscience taking addiction as a subject with the intent of making a light-hearted humorous project. I was also dissatisfied with the story’s editing and basic setup.

Without giving away the ending, I was unable to perceive the narrative had finished until the credits began to roll. The performances were stellar, and I would not be surprised if any of the cast receives award nominations, Chalamet, in particular.

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Needleman Wins 33rd Senate District After Recount, This Time by 83 Votes

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE — Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman has been declared the winner of the 33rd State Senate District by 83 votes after a nail-biting recount involving all the towns in the district, which include Chester, Deep River, Essex, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

He was originally announced as the victor by 303 votes but a subsequent correction in Essex’s vote count reduced the margin of victory to a number that requires a recount by Connecticut law.

Asked his reaction to the recount result, Needleman responded, “I welcomed the recount, because it assured everyone that every vote cast was counted. I am grateful to the election workers throughout the district who worked so hard to make the recount fair and accurate. We can now move on to the task of being the credible advocate the towns in our district badly need in Hartford.”

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Recount Called in 33rd State Senate District Race

AREAWIDE — Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office said on Thursday that another state Senate race will be subject to a recount.

State election officials said a recent correction to a reporting error in Essex has put the contest for the 33rd District [which includes the Town of Lyme] within a margin that requires a recount. The new tally leaves Essex’s Democratic First Selectman Norm Needleman leading East Haddam Republican state Rep. Melissa Ziobron by 137 votes.

John Heiser of the Essex Registrar of Voters office said …

Read the full article by Clarice Silber, which was published today on CTMirror.com, at this link.

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Letter From Paris: Thoughts on an Historic Day of Respectful Remembrance … and Distressing Disrespect

Nicole Prévost Logan

Editor’s Note:  We are delighted to welcome back Nicole Prévost Logan after her traditional break from writing while she summers in Essex, Conn.  She has now returned to Paris just in time for the centennial celebrations of the end of World War I, on which she provides an insightful commentary in this column.

Paris was the center of the world on November 11 – the 100-year anniversary of the Armistice of World War I.  Struggling against a strong wind and in pouring rain, 70 world leaders walked toward the Arc de Triomphe on a deserted Avenue des Champs Elysées – a striking image on an historical day.

The ceremony, taking place by the tomb of the unknown soldier, was magnificently choreographed by the French president Emmanuel Macron.  It was solemn and sober.  Not intended to be a show of triumphalism, it did not include a military parade.

The president only reviewed only some of the elite military academies: students from Ecole polytechnique, wearing bicornes (two-pointed hats), and from St Cyr (equivalent to West Point) with their emblematic “casoars” of red and white feathers, as well as students from the air force and naval academies.  The ceremony was to be essentially both an homage to the millions who died and a reminder of the importance of reconciliation and peace.

The timing of the proceedings was synchronized to the minute: at 11 o’clock  all the bells of France tolled, the five Mirages of the patrouille de France flew twice over the Place de l’Etoile in impeccable formation leaving tricolor strands of smoke in the sky.  The sounds of Sonnerie aux Morts (The Last Post) and other bugle and drums pieces added their somber touch. 

Whereas most of the foreign leaders had ridden busses from the Palais de l’ Elysée to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the American and Russian presidents as well as the Israeli prime minister were driven all the way in their cars for security reasons.  The honorable guests gathered under the transparent awning and waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Finally the armored car of Donald Trump, in a convoy of 53 vehicles carrying 700 security agents and US government officials, appeared at the bottom of the Champs Elysées.  The American president had a chance for a photo op alone in front of the other heads of State.  

The seating on the first row must have ben a nightmare for the protocol people.  Trudeau was far enough from Trump and protected from him by the King of Morocco and his son.  Trump was next to Angela Merkel.  A few minutes later Vladimir Putin arrived (according to a Russian radio commentator, he had been kept in his car for 20 minutes until the Trumps were settled.)  He took his place next to Brigitte Macron.  Trump broke into a broad smile for the first and only time of the weekend as he greeted Putin.

The visit of the American president to France had started on a sour note.  He distorted what Macron had said  during his November 10 interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.  In a furious tweet, he said that he found the French president’s comment about building an independent European military force “insulting.”  In fact, Macron had never used the words “against the US.”

A cultural and emotional program started with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma playing a Sarabande of the Suite No.5 in C minor by Johann Sebastian Bach and ended with the 17-minute long Ravel Bolero, performed by the European Union Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.  A group of young people of all nationalities read excerpts form diaries written by a few French poilus (soldiers) among the 1.4 million killed during the Great War.  The message was the transmission of memory through the future generations.

Macron was born in Amiens, a provincial town in the heart of the devastated regions of France during World War I.  His four great-grandfathers fought there.  In his speech, the French president spoke with emotion of the battlefields he visited during the seven days prior to the centennial, saying, “I walked on the grey earth where so many soldiers were buried, which is today covered by innocent nature.” 

One of the highly symbolic moments of that week was in the clearing of Rethondes when Merkel (the first time ever for a German chancellor) and Macron sat side by side in the train car where the armistice was signed  November 11, 1918.

In the second part of his speech Macron, portrayed himself as a patriot.  Nationalism, he said, has nothing to do with patriotism and is, in fact, its betrayal.  Withdrawal within one’s borders is harmful for the rest of the world, he added.  The anger of Trump was becoming increasingly tangible as he heard those words, his face frozen in a  pouting expression.  One might describe the speech as outright provocation, but it was well-deserved .

The chasm between Trump and Macron grew deeper in the afternoon.  A Peace Forum had been scheduled at La Villette for business people, NGOs, associations and also political leaders, with the objective of  promoting multilateralism.  The American president chose not to attend.

TV viewers were treated to a surreal split screen: on one side Trump speaking at the American cemetery of Suresnes, near Paris, to honor some of the 116,000 Americans who fell during the Great War and on the other, Merkel giving the inaugural speech at the Forum, in which she supported Macron’s vision of an European army to be created in the distant future.

The American president intensified his flurry of angry tweets after his return to the US and threatened France with increased taxes on its wine exports.  In a November 15 interview held on the French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, the French president commented: ‘I do not answer tweets. I believe in mutual respect between allies.’

How unfortunate that such a solemn commemoration was hijacked by low-level diatribe.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

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Letter to the Editor: Needleman Says, “The Election Is Over … Let’s Get To Work”

To the Editor:

The voters of the 33rd District have chosen me to be their advocate in the State Senate for the next two years. The depth of my gratitude to the voters and to the hundreds of volunteers who helped throughout the campaign is beyond my ability to express.

The electioneering is finished, and now we will confront the hard work: get the state back on track, and secure a fair share of support for the towns in our district.  My opponent and I differed in our approach to addressing those issues, but we agreed that the core challenge is restoring the state’s financial health and economic vitality. There is no quick fix, but in my view the path we must travel is clear.

First, we have to bridge the partisan divide that stands in the way of good ideas and sensible solutions. Partisan politics have crippled our state, and it should be obvious by now that retreating to an ideological corner is lethal to the kind of cooperation we badly need. As I said throughout the campaign, I will work with anyone who is committed to finding real solutions, regardless of political affiliation.

Second, renovating our approach to developing revenue projections and budgets is vitally important, but is not the only component of the path to recovery. As importantly, the state needs a comprehensive economic development plan that clearly defines strategies and tactics for creating jobs. We need a plan that builds a compelling and durable appeal to businesses of all sizes…a plan that creates a marketing and communications framework for coalescing the state’s many attributes and advantages into a compelling message. Without a comprehensive plan, the road to economic vitality will be random and reactive, instead of well directed and focused.

Third, I will tirelessly advocate to make certain that every town in our district receives its fair share of support from Hartford. The perspective I have gained from real world experience in budgeting and managing town and business operations will add both credibility and impact to the voice our towns have in the State Senate.

But we also need to address issues that go beyond the state’s finances. We can never stop advocating for measures that address the quality of life in our towns: women’s issues; primary, secondary, and higher education; benefits to our seniors; support for small businesses; and job training for the thousands of unfilled, high paying technical and manufacturing jobs.

I make the same pledge to those who voted for me and to those who didn’t: I will listen to your concerns, I will give you straight answers, and I will never stop working for you. The challenges and the issues that concern you will always be my focus.

It is time to bridge the partisan gap and start on the road to finding solutions. I’m optimistic, because I believe all of us recognize that we have to set aside our differences and truly work together.  That’s the approach and the attitude I will bring to Hartford as your state senator.

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and support.

Sincerely,

Norm Needleman,
Essex.

Editor’s Note: The author is the first selectman of Essex and state senator-elect for the 33rd Senate District.

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Democrat Challenger Palm Defeats Republican Incumbent Siegrist in 36th District

State Representative-Elect (D-36th) Christine Palm.

AREAWIDE — Democrat Christine Palm defeated one term-incumbent State Rep. Robert Siegrist (R) by 6,930 votes to 6,592 in the 36th House District.  The District includes the towns of Essex, Chester, Deep River and Haddam.

Asked her reaction the result, Palm told ValleyNewsNow.com, “There are those who will say that speaking in terms of “red” and “blue” is counterproductive. But there’s no question that Democrats and Republicans approach problem-solving differently.”

She continued, “My job now is to represent all four towns in a way that is authentic, respectful of differences, and driven by both passion and pragmatism. Enlightened public policy always takes into account the needs of all people — regardless of where they fall on the economic spectrum.”

Palm concluded, “And while I will never please everyone, I intend to be a pro-active leader for all the towns in our district.”

 

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Reflecting State Result, Deep River Splits Vote Almost Evenly Between Lamont, Stefanowski; Lamont Ahead by 101

DEEP RIVER — Note these are unofficial results.  We also hear unofficially that Question 2 has passed statewide.

GOVERNOR

Lamont/ Bysiewicz: 1,279

Stefanowski/ Markley: 1,178

Griebel/Frank: 125


US SENATE:

Murphy: 1,584

Corey: 942

Lion: 17

Russell: 14


US HOUSE:

Courtney: 1,662

Postemski: 829

Reale: 16

Bicking: 29


STATE SENATE:

Needleman: 1,525

Ziobron: 1,035


STATE HOUSE:

Palm: 1,377

Siegrist: 1,171


SECRETARY OF STATE:

Merrill: 1,475

Chapman: 993

Gwynn: 17

DeRosa: 29


TREASURER:

Wooden: 1,439

Gray: 1,021

Brohinsky: 27


CONTROLLER:

Lembo: 1,435

Miller: 1,063

Passarelli: 17

Heflin: 16


ATTORNEY GENERAL:

Tong: 1,351

Hatfield: 1,139

Goselin: 31

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Essex Results Give Big Wins to Local Democrats Needleman, Palm

ESSEX– Note these are unofficial results.  We also hear unofficially that Question 2 has passed statewide.

GOVERNOR

Lamont/ Bysiewicz: 2,147

Stefanowski/ Markley: 1,990

Griebel/Frank: 220


US SENATE:

Murphy: 2,562

Corey: 1,632

Lion: 24

Russell: 7


US HOUSE:

Courtney: 2,804

Postemski: 1,422

Riele: 28

Bicking: 38


STATE SENATE:

Needleman: 2,798

Ziobron: 1,543


STATE HOUSE:

Palm: 2,378

Siegrist: 1,926


SECRETARY OF STATE:

Merrill: 2,451

Chapman: 1,755

Gwynn: 29

DeRosa: 32


TREASURER:

Wooden: 2,372

Gray: 1,815

Brohinsky: 39


CONTROLLER:

Lembo: 2,374

Miller: 1,795

Passarelli: 31

Heflin: 36


ATTORNEY GENERAL:

Tong: 2,250

Hatfield: 1,972

Goselin: 50

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Murphy Easily Wins Re-election


U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy speaks to supporters Tuesday night. Photo by Douglas Healey for CTNewJunkie.

Editor’s Note: We are providing this link to an article by Jack Kramer published on CTNewsJunkie.com Nov. 6, which covers Senator Chris Murphy’s victory.  CTNewsJunkie.com is a fellow member of the Local Independent Online News (LION) publishers national organization and we are pleased occasionally to cross-publish our stories.

HARTFORD, CT — U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy easily won a second term Tuesday night defeating Republican challenger Matthew Corey.

Murphy was declared the winner shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Early results showed him with a 3-2 margin over Corey.

Read the full article at this link.

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Carney Claims Victory in 23rd House District

State Rep. Devin Carney

OLD SAYBROOK — On Facebook, State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23) has posted news of his victory over Matt Pugliese by 7129-5690 votes.

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Essex Foundation Expands Gateway Beautification 

Sullivan Lawn Service crew members focus on the task at hand – the planting of 15,000 daffodil bulbs at Sunset Pond along West Avenue in Essex thanks to the efforts of The Essex Foundation and its project partners.

ESSEX – The legacy of the late Elizabeth “Diz” Callender continues to enhance the Essex landscape. Through a generous bequest to The Essex Foundation upon her passing in 2014, funding support is now fueling the addition of daffodils along the West Avenue entrance into Essex village.

The first phase of the daffodil project was completed this October with 15,000 bulbs planted in a 3,000 square foot section of turf between Sunset Pond and West Avenue, and blooms expected this spring. Sullivan Lawn Service was hired to provide the planting services. The second phase of the daffodil project will be completed next fall, and includes expanded bulb planting in the Sunset Pond area as well as at the Rte. 153/154 gateway intersection.

The idea for the project came from the fact that Diz Callender enjoyed planting daffodils. Additional funding is coming from The Paul Foundation (owners of the Sunset Pond property), Centerbrook Properties, and individual donors.

A truckload of daffodil bulbs are at the ready to be planted at Sunset Pond along West Avenue in Essex thanks in part to a bequest to The Essex Foundation by the late “Diz” Callender.

The gateway beautification project, which also included the installation of 12 Chanticlear Pear trees and over 300 evergreen and perennial ornamentals at the intersection of Rte. 153 and Rte. 154, is a good example of the types of community efforts supported by The Essex Foundation; projects that are somewhat unique, require quick action, and have an immediate impact.

The Essex Foundation was founded in 1970. It is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Essex residents. The foundation is funded through donations from the community and strives to fill needs not met by other organizations or sources. In general, funds are granted for special purposes, including buildings, equipment, land, and programs, but not to recurring expenses.

More information can be found at www.theessexfoundation.org.

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


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

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

The answer to both questions is … China!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

Jim Cameron


About the author:
 Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the Editor:

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,
East Haddam.

Editor’s Note: The author is currently the State Representative for the 34th District and is now the endorsed Republican candidate for the State Senate for the 33rd District.
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Letter to the Editor: Ziobron’s Record is Impressive, Deserving of Her Election to State Senate

To the Editor:

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Adrienne Forrest,
Essex.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CRT Offers Early Registration for Annual Energy Assistance Program

AREAWIDE — Income-eligible residents in Hartford County and Middlesex County are encouraged to apply now through the Community Renewal Team’s (CRT) Energy Assistance program to get help paying for their home-heating bills this winter.

“Winter may be a few months away, but it is never too early to start planning how you will pay your home-heating bills,” says Patricia Monroe-Walker, Director of Energy Services for CRT. “We are happy to help eligible families make sure that they have the resources to heat their homes properly throughout the winter.”

Low to moderate-income households in Hartford and Middlesex Counties may be eligible for help paying their utility or fuel bills. Home heating includes oil, natural gas, electricity, propane, kerosene, or wood. Even if heat is included in the cost of rent, tenants may be able to receive a one-time cash payment.

CRT’s Energy Assistance program helps thousands of families in Connecticut every year. In 2017, the program served nearly 20,000 eligible households in Hartford and Middlesex Counties.

More information about how to apply for energy and weatherization assistance is available on CRT’s website at:
http://www.crtct.org/en/need-help/energy-a-weatherization or by calling their 24-hour automated attendant at 860-560-5800.

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NARAL Pro-Choice America Endorses Needleman For State Senate

Essex First Selectman and 33rd State Senate District candidate Norm Needleman.

AREAWIDE — NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the nation’s leading women’s health advocacy organizations, has announced its endorsement of Norm Needleman for the State Senate seat from the 33rd District in Connecticut.

The objective of NARAL Pro-Choice America candidate endorsements is to, “elect champions who don’t just pay lip service to values of reproductive freedom, but who truly fight for them…and help defeat those who want to roll back the clock on our rights.”

In accepting the endorsement, Needleman said: “We must continue our efforts to make certain that women have the right to choose how and when to raise a family, that paid family leave is assured, and that pregnancy discrimination is erased from the workplace. The endorsement by NARAL-Pro-Choice America is deeply gratifying. It strengthens my longstanding commitment to insure that basic reproductive rights are guaranteed to all women in or district, our state, and our nation.”

Needleman is the Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, which consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business to become a leader in its field, employing over 225 people.

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All Youth — Boys and Girls — Invited to Join Chester/Deep River Cub Scout Pack 13

CHESTER & DEEP RIVER – Cub Scouting wants you!

Now is the time to join the fun and excitement of America’s foremost youth program for boys and girls — Cub Scouting. 

Cub Scouting is for boys and girls in the kindergarten through fifth grades. The program combines outdoor activities, sports, academics, and more in a fun and exciting program that helps families teach ideals such as citizenship, character, personal fitness, and leadership.

For more information, visit www.beascout.scouting.org and enter your zip code for more information, also at http://chesterdeeprivercubpack13.scoutlander.com

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Letter to the Editor: Democrat Pugliese Represents a Fresh, Viable Alternative in House 23rd District Race

To the Editor:

Matt Pugliese offers a refreshing, non-partisan voice in the state House of Representatives for Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Matt brings business experience from the non-profit sector where he has managed tight budgets and competing union interests to deliver theatrical arts to communities in Middletown and at U Conn. Matt has been recognized for his business acumen by the Hartford Business Journal 40 under 40.

As a resident of Old Saybrook raising a young family, Matt knows first hand the importance of supporting education, working women and families. With his courage to speak up for policies that make sense, Matt has earned the endorsements of Moms Demand Gun Sense, CT Chapter of National Organization of Women and Planned Parenthood.

Connecticut has distinguished itself as a leader in gun control and voting equality. To retain these advances, our legislature needs to be controlled by those willing to stand up for these values. Connecticut needs to become a leader in business and the arts. Matt Pugliese has the experience and fortitude to be our next leader.

Sincerely,

Candace Fuchs,
Old Lyme.
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Centerbrook Architects Promote Deep River Resident Batt to Associate

Daniel Batt

ESSEX – Centerbrook Architects & Planners has announced that Daniel Batt, AIA, LEED AP has been promoted to associate.

A graduate of Miami University in Ohio and the Rhode Island School of Design, Batt is just shy of 10 years with Centerbrook. His diverse résumé includes having served as the project manager for built projects such as the expansion of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and the new Red Barn at Mitchell College.

Batt, a Deep River resident, is currently the project manager for Rocky Corner, Connecticut’s first cohousing development that is now under construction. He is also managing a project currently in planning for The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Stamford.

“Dan is one of the most well-rounded architects I’ve worked with,” said Centerbrook Principal Jim Childress, FAIA. “Not only is he a creative and thoughtful designer, but he’s excellent at delivering a project on-time and on-budget. He really knows how to keep the water out.”

Centerbrook also announced that its architectural staff is now 90-percent licensed with David Peterson most recently passing the Architect Registration Examination. The other latest licensees on the design staff include Aaron Emma, Hugo Fenaux, Anna Shakun and Aaron Trahan.

Centerbrook Architects & Planners is a firm conceived in 1975 as a community of architects working together to advance American place-making and the craft of building. A collaborative firm with an exceptional history of building, Centerbrook is known for inventive design solutions that are emblematic of its client and their traditions.

Centerbrook’s designs have won 380 awards, including the Architecture Firm Award, a distinction held by only 36 active firms nationwide. Centerbrook is currently designing for clients in seven states, Canada and China.

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Letter to the Editor: Protection of the Environment is Good for the Economy

To the Editor:

We in the lower Connecticut Valley live in one of the world’s “last great places”. But can we afford to protect the environment if it raises our taxes and costs us jobs and money? This question always comes up around election time but it is based on an incorrect assumption and it leads to the wrong answer. For a state like Connecticut with its knowledge based economy, the environment is actually good for the economy.

China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it is a leader in the environmental technology. Some of the wealthiest places on earth (Germany, Denmark, California) are the most environmentally conscious. Solar voltaic installers and wind turbine service technicians are projected to be among the fastest growing occupations in the United States. Connecticut is home of some of the pioneers of the future (the fuel cell industry) and has some of the best resources in the world for the green economy; e.g.: the Connecticut Green Bank (the first in the nation) and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. Our own locality has initiatives such as Sustainable Essex and the Chester Energy Team and engines of sustainability such as Centerbrook Architects and Noble Power Systems. All of this is in addition to the tourist industry which brings jobs and money to the area as well as making it a nice place to live. These signs are telling us something – that the future belongs to the clean and the efficient.

You don’t need to be a member of the Sierra Club or a follower of the Pope’s Encyclical to care about the environment. It is good enough to care about turning “Green to Gold” (to quote from the book by Dan Esty of Yale). The green economy is the wave of the future and if jobs and money are what we want, we ought to get on board or we will lose BOTH our environment and our economy.

Sincerely,

Frank Hanley Santoro,
Deep River.

 

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New Driver Education School Opens Serving Local Area, ‘APC Driving’ Offers a “Boutique” Approach

Brent and Suzanne Thompson stand outside the doors of the newly-opened APC Driving in the Old Lyme Marketplace. Brent co-founded the business with Chris Robson. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME — APC Driving has opened its doors at 19 Halls Rd. in the Old Lyme Marketplace near The Hideaway, offering driver education programs for teens and adults, as well as advanced driver training. Co-founder Brent Thompson, who lives in Old Lyme, explains, “We didn’t want to be like any other driving school … we hope to develop more of a lifestyle approach [to driving.]”

This photo of the exterior of APC Driving in the lower left shows its prime location in the Old Lyme Marketplace next to the Hong Kong II restaurant.

Chris Robson is the other co-founder and he has over 25 years of experience as a professional race car driver and instructor.  Both men share a lifelong passion for all things automotive or in Thompson’s own words, “We’re both ‘Gearheads.'”

A small selection of Chris Robson’s extensive racing trophies and memorabilia decorates the walls.

Thompson grew up in Texas and Colorado and graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  A sales and marketing executive with years of experience leading teams across the U.S., Canada and Australia, Thompson has had a life-long passion for cars.  Working with the Franklin Mint and its die cast car models division in the 1990s, he created, negotiated and executed marketing programs with world-class partners in historic and collectible automotive fields.  He moved on to executive management in the men’s clothing industry.  

When Thompson’s employer was bought out by competitor in 2016, he decided to get off of corporate travel treadmill and see what he could create locally.  He maintains his full competition license with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and is chief motorsports correspondence for the Auto Chat Show podcasts, which has a subscriber base of over 100,000 listeners.

APC Driving co-founders Brent Thompson (left) and Chris Robson stand together on a racetrack in Brazil after Robson had completed a race there. Photo submitted.

Robson, APC Driving’s chief driving instructor, grew up in a racing family in the quiet corner of Connecticut.  A former chief driving instructor at Performance Motorsports Karting School in Columbus, Ohio, he has over 100 U.S. and international podium finishes in recognized racing organizations and over 25 years of professional racing and instructor experience.  Thompson describes Robson affectionately as, “the real deal behind the wheel,” noting, “The kids love him!”

Chris Robson drives through rain in this race. Photo submitted.

Asked how the idea of opening a driving school was conceived, Thompson explains, ” Chris and I met at a business networking event in West Hartford in 2017. Small talk quickly turned to cars and racing, so we set about figuring out how to create a business.”

The spacious teaching area will never accommodate more than 10 students at any one time.

 
He continues, “We’re taking a boutique approach to teaching people how to drive, with small classes of never more than 10, personalized assessments of their skills, abilities and confidence levels, and providing the training they need,” said Thompson, adding, “Whether you’re first learning to drive, want to have a safer commute or simply like to drive, the skills that you can learn at APC Driving will help you achieve your goal.” 

Both men take safe driving seriously.  Robson seeks to teach young drivers precision and control at the wheel, not speed and thrills.  Thompson’s academic approach to driver education focuses on building a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding what it takes to be safe and happy behind the wheel at any level.  The business partners also both have daughters, so Thompson notes sanguinely, “We have a vested interest. We look at safe driving from the perspective of parents, too.”

The driving simulator is a real boon to the business.

The office that APC Driving occupies is spacious and comfortable.  It is divided into a reception area and a teaching space while a driving simulator occupies one corner, retail sales another and advanced driving programs another.  The walls are covered with automobile-associated artwork and maps, and a large display case houses a number of Robson’s trophies and a fascinating selection of his his racing paraphernalia. Thompson comments, “Everything is fluid,” meaning the artwork and memorabilia will change regularly and as retails sales of clothing, equipment and model cars expand, he anticipates increased inventory necessitating more space being given over to them.

Brent Thompson sometimes mans the reception desk when he’s not teaching.

Brent is married to local writer and radio personality Suzanne Thompson, who is assisting APC Driving with their publicity and promotional planning.  Suzanne explains with a smile, “I’m more into kayaking and gardening than cars,” noting she hosts a weekly radio show about gardening and nature on WLIS 1420 AM/Old Saybrook and WMRD 1150 AM/Middletown and writes regularly for The Day and its weekly publications on environmental matters.  Suzanne stepped back from corporate communications in 2005 to raise her family, and since then she has served on Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau board for six years and in June became a board member of Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce.

Suzanne describes herself and her husband as “a couple of misplaced Midwesterners, who enjoy Connecticut’s New England feel and coastal shoreline.”  The Thompsons moved to Old Lyme in 2002 and have two daughters, who both attend Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.

Looking into the APC Driving area, one can see the teaching one on the left and the advanced skills program area at the rear.

 
APC Driving is licensed by the State of Connecticut to teach the eight-hour Teen Drug and Alcohol and 30-hour Full Course classroom sessions for 16-17 year-olds, including the mandatory two-hour Parent Class, as well as classes for 18-year-olds and adults seeking their Connecticut Driver’s License.  These include behind-the-wheel training with a certified APC Driving instructor in an APC car. 
 
The school also offers specialized training for new and licensed drivers to prepare them to drive on today’s roads.  Students can master their parallel and other parking challenges in PARK IT, hone their big-city driving skills in RUSH HOUR, or sign up for additional Individual Driving Hours.  APC Driving also offers PRIMETIME for mature or senior drivers and in-car training for anyone who needs help understanding all of the technologies in today’s cars. The AUTO SELECT program helps people choose and purchase their vehicle.
 
Courses and training are described on APC Driving’s website, www.apcdriving.com, where parents and students can see the class schedule and register online.  Classes are held Monday through Friday and the school offers flexible hours for in-car instruction.  APC Driving is open Monday through Friday10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call for an appointment. 
 
APC Driving is a subsidiary of Accelerated Performance Coaching, LLC.
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Jeannine Lewis Sworn In as Judge of Probate for Saybrook District

Atty. Jeannine Lewis is sworn in as Judge of Probate for Saybrook Probate District by Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna.

On Monday, July 23, Essex Attorney Jeannine Lewis was sworn in as the next judge of probate for the Saybrook Probate District in a ceremony held on the town green in Old Saybrook. The swearing-in was performed by Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl P. Fortuna, Jr.

Attorney Lewis was elected in November to fill the remaining term of Hon. Terrence B. Lomme, who retired the same week after eight years in service to the district. The Saybrook Probate District encompasses the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Killingworth, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Attorney Lewis has focused her legal career on the types of cases typically handled by the probate court. She is particularly concerned with ensuring that the rights of the most vulnerable individuals who appear before the court are respected and upheld including the rights of the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, and minor children. She has been actively involved in educating other attorneys regarding elder law and estate planning as immediate past chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Elder Law Section Continuing Legal Education Committee. 

In addition, she is a contributing author of the manual used online by Connecticut’s Probate Court Administration to help train attorneys on how to properly represent clients in probate court. As a result of these accomplishments she was appointed to the Probate Court Administration’s Conservatorship Guidelines Committee, which developed standards of practice for Connecticut conservators that were published on July 1 of this year.

As a 17-year-resident of Essex, Lewis is also an active community member. She is a board member for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries and has been a meal site server for the organization for more than 10 years. In addition she is a community lecturer on end-of-life issues and the pro bono attorney for Sister Cities Essex Haiti.

Judge Lewis is running unopposed in the upcoming November election for a full four-year term as probate judge for the Saybrook Probate District.

For more information about Lewis and her qualifications, visit www.lewisforprobate.com.

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Chester Resident Margaret Wilson Honored as a Member of 2018 Class of 60 Over 60

Margaret Wilson of Chester was recently named a member of the 2018 Class of 60 Over 60.

CHESTER — Chester resident Margaret Wilson was recently honored as a member of the 2018 Class of Connecticut’s 60 Over 60. She was celebrated at a reception and ceremony at Duncaster, the Hartford area’s first LifeCare community.  Over 200 people, including family, friends and admirers of the honorees celebrated her accomplishments. The event was sponsored by The University of Hartford’s The Hartt School whose students also provided the music throughout the event.

“We were so honored that almost all of the members of this year’s class were able to attend,” said Duncaster CEO Michael O’Brien.  “We are pleased that, for the second year, we had the honor of showcasing some of the state’s most influential individuals who are age 60 or better.  We are overwhelmed with the contributions each member of the Class of 2018 has made to the world; the people they touch every day and their families.”

“It is truly a pleasure to nominate Margaret Wilson for this recognition. Margaret is Vice President/President-elect of the Resident Board of Masonicare at Chester Village. A woman of many interests and gifts, she unselfishly shares them with the community-at-large,” so begins the nomination of Margaret Wilson by Masonicare’s Executive Director, Annie Hoefferle.

For the past 20 years, Margaret has served as treasurer of the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, which is a state-local compact dedicated to the protection of the 30-mile Lower Connecticut River Valley. She also serves on the town of Chester’s Conservation Commission, is a monthly volunteer at the YMCA’s Camp Hazen in Chester and authors a weekly “Envirotrips” column.

After her retirement, Margaret continued to volunteer on nature and environmental projects at Chester Elementary School where she was a substitute teacher. Her retirement also allowed her to attain her Master Gardener status through UCONN.

Her nominator enthusiastically concludes, “With her passion for the environment and continued love of learning and serving, Margaret is truly deserving of this recognition.”

The search for 60 individuals began in January.  Nominations came in from across Connecticut from people who wanted to honor those who had contributed to their businesses, the arts scene, the local and international nonprofit community and their families.  They were selected by a panel of judges that included three members of the first class of Connecticut’s 60 Over 60: Molly Gavin, President of Connecticut Community Care, Inc.; Kathleen Miller Murphy, Board Member, Simsbury Library and Terry Borjeson, State of Connecticut, Pardons and Paroles Board Member.

The search for the 2019 Class of Connecticut’s 60 Over 60 will begin in January.

For profiles of the members of the 2018 Class of 60 Over 60, go to: duncaster.org/60-over-60-winners.

Editor’s Note:  Duncaster, the Hartford area’s first LifeCare community, is located minutes from West Hartford and Simsbury in Bloomfield CT.  This boutique Life Plan Community sits on 94 acres.  While catering to the active and engaged in independent living neighborhoods, Duncaster also offers options for those seeking assisted living, memory care, long-term care and rehab services (all private) in intimate settings. Duncaster was voted the Best Retirement Community by readers of Hartford Magazine and the Connecticut Law Tribune.  Residents have a role in governance and sit on the board – a rare distinction. For more information, visit http://www.Duncaster.org or call (860) 380-5005.

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Middlesex Hospital Opens Renovated Essex Facility

Middlesex Hospital leaders celebrate the opening of the renovated Shoreline Medical Center. From left to right, Lori Pascarelli, Manager of Occupational Medicine, Jackie Calamari, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Matthew Lundquist, Chief of Occupational Medicine, David Giuffrida, Vice President of Operations, Brian Taber, Physical Rehabilitation Director, Donna Stroneski, Vice President of Human Resources and Robin Copperthwaite, Rehabilitation Supervisor.

ESSEX — Middlesex Hospital has opened its renovated building at 252 Westbrook Road in Essex.

The building was once home to the Shoreline Medical Center, which moved to 252 Flat Rock Place in Westbrook in 2014. On July 10, Middlesex Hospital’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine Department and its Physical Rehabilitation Department began seeing patients at the renovated facility.

The Physical Rehabilitation Department, which includes the Hospital’s physical and occupational therapy programs, has several offices located throughout Middlesex County. The department’s office at 192 Westbrook Road in Essex is now closed due to the department’s move to the renovated space.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine also moved from 192 Westbrook Road. As such, Middlesex Hospital no longer has any offices located at that address.

When it renovated 252 Westbrook Road, Middlesex installed new exterior wall framing, insulation, siding and a new roof. The inside of the building was rebuilt and includes a new HVAC system, ceiling, lighting, flooring and finishes. By doing this work, Middlesex invested in its facility, in the services it offers and in the Essex community.

“We are so excited to open this renovated facility,” says Middlesex President and CEO Vincent G. Capece, Jr. “This building will give our Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Physical Rehabilitation departments a new home. It will give them the space and resources to continue doing what they do best—caring for our community.”

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Essex Library Receives $20,000 Gift

The Friends of Essex Library recently presented Library Director Richard Conroy with a $20,000 check.

ESSEX — The Friends of the Essex Library presented a $20,000 check to library Director Richard Conroy at their Annual Meeting held on June 13.  This generous gift was made possible thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers who put in countless hours organizing book sales, and working on highly successful fund raisers such as the “Festival of Dinner Parties” held in the fall of 2017 and recent tour of “Our Friends Gardens.” 

“Quite simply, the Library could not offer the level of services we provide if it weren’t for the vital financial support we receive from our Friends” said Conroy, who marveled at how vibrant the organization has become over the past few years.  He offered special thanks to outgoing Friends President Jo Kelly for being “the sparkplug” that has kept the group on task during her tenure.  He also mentioned that he looked forward to working with incoming President Suzy Baird. 

In addition to their usual fall and spring book sales the Friends are hard at work planning upcoming fund-raising events such as a Swallow Cruise in September, and Library Mini-Golf in January.  To learn more about the Friends, or how to become one, visit their webpage at: www.youressexlibrary.org/friends/.

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Letter From Paris: Exhibition Explores Work of American Female Artist in Male World of French Impressionism

Nicole Prévost Logan

“Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) was the most French of all American artists,” said art historian Jerome Coignard.  She was the only woman – along with Berthe Morisot – to be recognized by the Impressionist movement and therefore permitted to show her works in their annual Salons. 

A rare photograph of Mary Cassatt — supposedly the only photograph for which she ever posed.

For 40 years she developed a personal and artistic friendship with Edgar Degas, which was somewhat surprising considering Degas was well known for his misogyny.  Her long association with the famous art merchant Paul Durand Ruel, especially after he opened a gallery on Madison Avenue, increased the exposure of impressionism in the US.

The Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris is currently holding a retrospective exhibition of monographs by Mary Cassatt titled, ‘An American Impressionist in Paris.’  It is a long overdue recognition of an artist whose works are found mostly in the US, but who is better known in France.  Jacquemart-André is one of the most elegant art galleries in Paris.  It was built in the 1860s as one of the townhouses of the imperial aristocracy in the “plaine Monceau” (an area of Paris in the 17th arrondissement.)

The property is slightly set back from Boulevard Haussmann, and on the upper level, opens up onto a vast courtyard under the watchful eyes of two stone lions.  The magnificent residence, with its eclectic furniture, boiseries (wood wall paneling), fireplaces and Gobelins tapestries, used to attract thousands of guests from the high society.

In the West Wing of the Metroplitan Museum in New York, paintings by Cassatt are hung in a gallery exclusively reserved for the works of other women.  Cassatt might have been upset by this apparent patronization by critics and art historians toward domestic scenes created by women.  She might have deemed it unfair because painters like Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) or Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) are famous for their paintings inspired by the intimacy of the home. 

Art historian Guillaume Morel comments that the many mother and child scenes painted by Cassatt were, in fact, more feminist than it appears at first.  He writes that she may have found herself endowed with a mission to represent scenes to which men did not have access.  Her “maternity scenes” effectively propelled her into modernism.

La Loge (The Theatre Box) by Mary Cassatt.

At the turn of the 20th century, women were tied to their homes, seemingly leading an indolent existence limited to feminine activities, primarily the care of small children.  They almost never ventured onto the public place – like a café, race track or a prostitute’s haunt.  The subject in “La Loge (The theater box)” (1878) is a departure from this tradition: a self-assured woman is by herself looking through her opera-glasses, and apparently unconcerned by the male spectator staring at her from another balcony.

Even in France, the obstacles inflicted on women artists were enormous: they were neither allowed in the Ecole des Beaux Arts nor were naked models permitted in their art classes.  Women could not copy the grands maitres (Old Masters) in museums like the Louvre.

The special talent of Cassatt was to have overcome these obstacles by taking advantage of her place in the privileged class, traveling extensively and establishing contacts with members of the artistic elite such as Isabella Stewart Gardner (Boston), Alfred Atmore Pope (Connecticut) or Henry Walters (Baltimore.)

From a very young age, she rebelled against the formal teaching offered in the few fine art institutions open to women.  She hated the idea of learning her craft through the use of castings and copies.  She showed an intrepid personality when she told her father she wanted to pursue her artistic education in Europe.  Her father admonished her, saying, “I would rather see you dead.”

And her response to her father’s threat?  She went anyway.

Cassatt was born in Pittsburgh into a well-to-do family.  Her father was an investment banker and her mother was educated in a school created by a former chambermaid of Marie Antoinette.  At the age of seven, she sailed for the first time to Europe with her family.  David McCullough, in his superb book titled The Greater Journey, published in 2011, describes the luxury steamers carrying less than 300 privileged passengers, who could afford the crossing in comfortable accommodations in an “interior richly embellished with satin wood, gilded ceilings … and indoor plumbing.”

The co-curator of the present exhibit held in Paris,  Nancy Mowell Mathews, rejects the expression “woman Impressionist.”  She comments, “Mary Cassatt did not paint differently from other Impressionists.  What she had in common with them was her taste for rough sketches, the unfinished feel of strokes and her daring cadrages (framing of the subject) mostly used in photography or  cinematography.”

‘The little girl in the blue armchair’ was painted in 1878 by Mary Cassatt.

Cassatt’s models – mostly members of her family – do not pose in a stilted attitude, but appear relaxed and natural.  In “The little girl in a blue armchair” (1878), the little girl is literally sprawling on a big, shapeless, overstuffed blue armchair.  And so is the small boy looking at us in the painting called, “Woman sitting with a child in her arms. 

‘The Cup of Tea’ is a classic Impressionist work by Mary Cassatt.

“The Cup of Tea “(1880) is an unsurpassed exercise in Impressionist virtuosity.  Fast brush strokes  and the rejection of details are sufficient to render volumes.   The dramatic contrast between the fluffy, pink dress and the black of the solid armchair creates a strong composition.  In 1879, Cassatt was officially accepted in the Impressionist Salon.  The two following decades marked the summit of her career. 

Although Cassatt painted mostly in oils and pastels, Degas had also detected her exceptional talent as both draughtsman and engraver.  Her eaux-fortes (etchings) constitute a large part of her works, while “La Toilette” and “The letter ” (both dated 1891) show signs of japonism.  The engraving process with a pointe-sèche (dry point) is a painstaking and dangerous process since acid is used.

She was the friend of the most influential American feminists and joined their movement for equality, which had started in the US in 1840.  Toward the end of her life, she increasingly devoted her time to counseling American art collectors.  Among them was her close friend Lousine Hvenmeyer, wife of wealthy sugar baron, who owned more than 2,000 Impressionist works. 

After spending 60 years in France, she died in her estate, the Chateau de Beaufresnes in Le Mesnil Théribus, north west of Paris, although interestingly, she never took French nationality.

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Letter to the Editor: State Rep., Now State Senate Candidate, Ziobron Reviews Recent Activities

To the Editor:

The 2018 legislative session is now behind us. A bipartisan budget was passed that reflects the difficult realities facing Connecticut. This budget begins to address our future in a more realistic and balanced
fashion. We need to stay this course, now more than ever.

This was my sixth legislative session. I’m hopeful that we will continue to bring forward fiscally conservative budget-balancing efforts in the next session and beyond. We cannot revert to the business as usual mindset that has plagued Hartford for decades.  As we transition from spring to summer, my attention is naturally
shifting to my campaign to serve the 12 towns of the 33rd District.

Here’s a recap of recent activities:

Over the last few weeks, I made a point to meet with individuals and businesses in the southern portion of the district, including Essex, Clinton, Westbrook and Old Saybrook. In addition, I have also met with voters at budget referendums in East Hampton, Old Saybrook, Clinton and Portland. The expressed voter concerns — which I share —center on controlling the cost of living and making our state more competitive. I was pleased to hear strong support for my work towards balancing our state budget, reducing wasteful spending and fighting against unnecessary tax increases.

I also visited with the great folks at Petzold’s Marine Center in Portland and joined State Rep. Christie Carpino during office hours at Quarry Ridge Golf Course. Key topics included cutting government red tape and concern about the effort to place tolls on our state highways. I rounded out this tour by highlighting the Airline Trail system with events in Colchester and East Hampton.

For more campaign information please visit my campaign website melissaziobron.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,
State Representative 34th District
East Haddam, East Hampton, Colchester.

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Essex Garden Club Awards Scholarships to Area Students

ESSEX — The Essex Garden Club recently awarded college scholarships to three area students, as follows:

  • Elizabeth Beckman of Ivoryton, a 2018 graduate of Valley Regional High School, will attend the University of New Hampshire to study Environmental Law and Conservation. 
  • Annie Brown of Essex, who attends the University of Vermont, is pursuing a major in Elementary Education with a minor in Environmental Studies.
  • Daniel Taylor of Ivoryton attends Vassar College, where he is majoring in Biology.

The Garden Club is also proud to provide “camperships” to help young children from Essex, Ivoryton and Centerbrook attend local nature camps. This year, funds were given to the Essex Parks and Recreation Summer Program for 25 children to attend their nature and science sessions.  Additional funding was given to the Bushy Hill Nature Center to enable four students to attend their day camp.

The Essex Garden Club sincerely thanks all who support the annual May Market. This is the club’s only fundraising event and the proceeds enable the Club to offer these scholarships each year.

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Ziobron Endorsed Unanimously by Republicans as Candidate for 33rd State Senate District

AREAWIDE — State Representative Melissa Ziobron (R-34) was the unanimous choice for more than 40 Republican delegates at a nominating convention. Delegates from 12 towns gathered at East Haddam’s Old Town Hall on May 14 and enthusiastically endorsed Ziobron for the position.

Nominating Ziobron was current State Senator Art Linares, Jr. (R-33) of Westbrook.

“Melissa has been an incredibly effective representative, both in Hartford and in her district; I am honored to place her name into nomination,” said Linares.

Linda Grzeika of Colchester seconded Linares’s motion, stating that she resides in a part of Colchester not located in Ziobron’s district.

“I’m thrilled that she will finally represent all of Colchester as our state senator,” said Grzeika.

In her acceptance speech, Representative Ziobron promised that she would be a tireless campaigner.

“All of you are going to see a lot of me over the next seven months,” stated Ziobron. “I love the Connecticut River Valley and the shoreline and I can’t wait to be your voice in Hartford.”

Ziobron currently represents the towns of Colchester, East Haddam, and East Hampton. She is currently serving her third, two-year term in the State Legislature.

Linares was first elected in 2010; he is seeking the Republican nomination for state treasurer.

The 33rd District encompasses the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook (part), Portland, and Westbrook.

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Sing for Joy! Cappella Cantorum Hosts Vocal Camp in Old Saybrook, July 23-27

AREAWIDE — Bring the joy of singing to your summer by attending Cappella Cantorum’s Summer Vocal Camp July 23 to July 27 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Great Hammock Road in Old Saybrook.

Founder of the Salt Marsh Opera and Cappella’s music director Simon Holt and nationally known tenor Brian Cheney will lead instructive sessions on improving singing skills and how to sing in a choral environment.

Physical therapist Bonnie Brenneman will talk on strengthening diaphragm muscles to improve breathing.

Each evening will consist of two workshops – one in vocal production and one in music theory. A short concert will be given by participants at the end of the week. Camp will be limited to 100 singers. Anyone interested in improving their singing from high school students to adults are encouraged to come and perfect their art.

The church is air conditioned. Cost will be $85. For more information or to register, visit CappellaCantorum.org. or e-mail wrspearrin@yahoo.com.

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Acton Public Library Offers Teen Summer Reading Program

Attention readers in Grades 6 to 12!

Join Acton Public Library’s Teen Summer Reading Program by registering with Wandoo Reader on our Library website, to track each book you read this summer. For every book you read, you will have a chance to enter an online weekly raffle for a $10 gift card. And remember, audiobooks count as reading too.

The Summer Reading Program runs from June 15 through August 4.  You can register through the library’s website at actonlibrary.org. This program is free and open to all.

A special program for teens, Snakes of Connecticut, will take place on Wednesday, July 25, at 6:30 p.m. Riverside Reptiles is bringing eight live snakes that are native to Connecticut. Learn about all 14 species of snakes that reside in our state through an informative Powerpoint presentation. Then meet eight indigenous snakes, including the Northern Copperhead.

This program is only open to teens, young adults, adults or serious students in grade 6 and above only, and is not open to children. Register at actonlibrary.org or by calling 860-395-3184.

This program is generously sponsored by the Friends of Acton Public Library.

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Showcase Your Collection at Deep River Public Library

DEEP RIVER — Do you have a collection that you’d like to show off? Consider booking space at the Deep River Public Library to showcase your collection for the community to enjoy.

The Deep River Library has two display cases of varying size.  The library is always looking for more collections to display. If you have one to share, call or drop by the library to schedule a date to display your collection!

For more information,  visit http://deepriverlibrary.accountsupport.com and click on our monthly calendar, or call the library at 860-526-6039 during service hours: Monday 1 – 8pm; Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm; Wednesday 12:30 – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 6 pm; and Saturday 10 am – 5 pm.

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‘Run for Something’ Endorses Matt Pugliese for Connecticut General Assembly

Matt Pugliese

Matt Pugliese has received the endorsement of Run for Something (RfS), the groundbreaking organization that recruits and supports strong voices in the next generation of progressive leadership.

“I am excited and honored to be endorsed by Run for Something. Hearing about the work that was being done by this organization to help encourage candidates to step forward was a motivating force in my own decision to run for office. I want to work to make a difference in our community.  This is a crucial moment in our state and our nation. I’m proud to be among the candidates stepping forward,” said Pugliese.

“RFS endorses candidates on two major criteria: heart and hustle. That’s what defines viability to us,” said Ross Morales Rocketto, RFS co founder. “These are candidates who are going to work hard to run grassroots, community-led campaigns. We are a critical time in history and the momentum these candidates generate will have a lasting impact for years to come.”

A selection of statistics from RfS are:

  • 40 first or second time candidates endorsed this month
  • RFS has endorsed 409 candidates total, from 45 states. 256 candidates have upcoming elections.
  • Campaign budgets range from $3000 to $300,000
  • Win numbers range from 645 to 100,000 votes

The endorsement process includes an extensive internal review with background check, staff interview and insight from local state experts.

Amanda Litman and Ross Morales Rocketto launched RfS on Jan. 20, 2017 with a premise to help young diverse progressives to run for down-ballot races in order to build a bench for the future. RfS aims to lower the barriers to entry for these candidates by helping them with seed money, organization building, and access to trainings needed to be successful. So far, about 18,000 young people from across the country have signed up as candidates and gained access to RfS resources.

Run for Something recruits and supports talented, young people who advocate for progressive values now and for the next 30 years, with the ultimate goal of building a progressive bench.

Matt Pugliese is running for State Representative in the 23rd District.  Pugliese is a non-profit theatre arts administrator and Chair of the Old Saybrook Economic Development Commission.  He holds his Masters in Public Administration from UCONN and lives in Old Saybrook with his wife and their two daughters. Learn more at mattpugliesect.com and at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at mattpugliesect.

For more information, visit www.runforsomething.net

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Talking Transportation: Connecticut: Love It or Leave It

The recent debate over tolling our highways should remind us of just how divided our state has become.  Not red vs. blue and not even just upstate vs. downstate.  The real divide is between those who commute by car vs. those who take mass transit.

I’ve written for years about the fact that riders on Metro-North pay the highest commuter rail fares in the US, and those fares will only keep going up.  Most rail riders have little choice, especially if headed to New York City.  What are they going to do … drive?

Yet every time the fares go up … and they have increased 55 percent since 2002 … ridership goes up as well.  Why?  Because conditions on the highways keep getting worse and worse.

But those who chose to drive, or must because there’s no viable mass transit option, seem literally to hate rail commuters.  I think it’s jealousy.  During the tolls debate, the venom was dripping and one Tweet in particular hit home.

“Just because your commute (by train) is so expensive doesn’t mean mine (by car) should be too (because of tolling),” read the post.

The driver had clearly missed the point.  We aren’t looking for tolls to subsidize rail fares, just to get motorists to pay for the upkeep of their roads and bridges before we have another Mianus River Bridge collapse, which we will.

But it gets worse.

The anti-toll forces now sound like Howard Beale, the deranged newsman from the movie “Network” who was “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.”   Doubtless, much of this is directed at Governor Malloy who enjoys (suffers from?) the lowest popularity rating in the history of polling.  Sure, the economy of our state is in bad shape.   But Malloy didn’t create this economic mess.  He just inherited it and mishandled it.

And it will get far worse, whoever succeeds Malloy in the fall.  The solutions will be few and all will be painful.  Forestalling tolls and gasoline taxes today won’t stop the bridges from rotting.

But this opposition to tolls or modest gasoline tax increases to pay for roads has now been taken to a maniacal pitch predicting that “everyone is leaving the state,” conditions are so bad.   That’s fine with me.

I was recently at our town dump and saw a young man unloading a bunch of items.  “My parents are moving,” he told me.  “Everyone is leaving Connecticut!” he exclaimed.

“Really?”, I asked.

“It’s all Malloy’s fault,” he said, sounding like a Pied Piper leading a caravan down I-95 to some Promised Land.

I asked him one question:  “Did your parents sell their house?”   “Sure,” he said.  “And at a profit over what they paid for it.”

“Well,” I said, “I guess not everyone is leaving.  Your folks are moving out and someone else is moving in.”  Someone who wants to live here.

To those who hate it so much living in Connecticut, I extend an invitation:  please leave.  Enjoy your low-tax destination.  And don’t forget to pay those highway tolls as you drive down I-95 through NY, NJ, etc.

But enough already with the “I hate Connecticut” mantra.  Some of us actually like living here.  And losing ‘the haters” will only mean fewer cars on our roadways.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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Needleman Applauds State Aid to Essex for Valley Shore Emergency Communications

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman stands with Paul Fazzino, President of Valley Shore Emergency Response after the announcement was made.

ESSEX — After years of planning and local town coordination, the Valley Shore Emergency Communications received critical state funding to upgrade emergency communications for numerous towns in the region. 

The State Bond Commission approved $1.25 million in grant-in-aid to the Town of Essex on behalf of the Valley Shore Emergency Communications, Inc. The funding will be used for upgrades to the outdated emergency radio dispatch system serving 11 towns. The upgrades will interconnect all member towns and allow coordination with adjoining systems to allow for better communication for police, fire and ambulances.

“I want to thank the tremendous work of the various public safety departments to make today a reality,” said Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman. “Throughout this process we worked together to bring our local emergency communications into the 21st century. This new funding will strengthen the safety of our towns and allow our public safety employees to better serve our communities.”

Valley Shore Emergency Communications serves the towns of Chester, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Old Lyme, and Westbrook. 

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Family Wellness: New Beginnings

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth.  Every year in New England nature reminds us of this.  Crocuses emerge, the landscape turns from brown to green and many animals have their babies: foxes, otters and black bears, just to name a few. 

I look fondly back on my grandmother’s stories about lambing season in Ireland.  Human babies are born year round, of course, but my thoughts went this month from lambs to human babies. 

Not only is birth the start of a new life but it is the start of a new (or newly reconfigured) family.  It is often a time of unimaginable joy, but it is also a time of stress.  Stress is defined as, “… bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.”

Few could argue that a new baby alters an existent equilibrium in ways that are delightful and challenging at the same time.  A new member (in this case tiny and cute) affects the family identity in that constellation in a whole array of ways: emotionally, physically, socially and economically.  All the resources, whether few or many, need to be allocated differently.

Just as adolescence has been described as the transition from childhood to adulthood, the transition to motherhood has been called “matrescence” by anthropologists — for more information, visit this link.  A similar term for the transition to fatherhood does not exist as far as I know, though it has received attention in both academic and popular circles and the media, with online forums such as fathersforum.com. Similarly some attention has been given to the transition to grandparenthood and “older-sibling-hood.”  (I am waiting for an especially gifted and precocious 3-year-old to blog about the challenges of losing attention to a tiny usurper in the house.)

Societies and cultures around the world have different constructs that help or hinder the development of a new family.  These constructs range from policies (paid parental leave) to the practical matters (village and neighborhood folks bringing food to the new family). 

Looking at and understanding how we can support families in transition at this stage of the family life cycle and the stressors that they face (stress being a challenge to equilibrium, not positive or negative) can only be a good thing.

Betsy Groth

Betsy Groth is an APRN, PMHS – BC and a pediatric nurse practitioner with advanced certification in pediatric mental health.

She is a counselor, mental health educator and parent coach in Old Lyme and writes a monthly column for us on ‘Family Wellness.’

For more information about Betsy and her work, visit Betsy’s website at betsygroth.com

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Palm Unanimously Chosen as Democratic Candidate for 36th District

Democratic Town Committee chairs and delegates for Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam gather for a photo after unanimously endorsing Christine Palm (center, in marine blue) as their candidate for the 36th District.

CHESTER — Christine Palm has won the unanimous endorsement of delegates in the four towns comprising the 36th General Assembly District: Chester, Essex, Deep River and Haddam. The Democrat running for state representative accepted the nomination at her convention, held May 16 in the Brainerd Memorial Library, Haddam.

Palm has also received the endorsement of U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney, who represents the Second Congressional District.

“I’ve known Christine my whole life, and I can’t think of anyone better prepared to lead,” Courtney said. “I can’t say emphatically enough how excited I am about her candidacy and I really hope the citizens of those four great communities come out strongly and support her, because the minute she’s elected and sworn into office, she’ll become one of the leaders in the General Assembly, which is so important to our state, especially now.”

Palm, who is running on a platform that includes economic security for working families, healthcare for all, safeguards for older adults, and environmental protection, thanked the delegates for their unity.

“Democrats in our four beautiful towns have really pulled together this year and I’m grateful for their faith in me and their desire to see meaningful, lasting change at the Capitol,” Palm said, continuing, “These are perilous times for democracy, as policies out of Washington continue to erode families’ wellbeing, imperil the safety of our school children, and roll back environmental protections that have been in place for decades.”

Palm explained, “I’ll fight for policies that enhance the safety and security of all our citizens, not just those in the one percent of the income bracket. This is an enlightened region where people hold sensible economic policies and compassion for our less fortunate neighbors in equal regard, and they know these are not mutually exclusive ideals.”

Palm owns a small business — Sexual Harassment Prevention, LLC, which gives trainings to the corporate, academic and non-profit workplace. She has 10 years’ experience in government as women’s policy analyst for the General Assembly’s Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, and communications director for its predecessor agency, the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. She is a former newspaper reporter and high school teacher.

In the upcoming November election, Palm will challenge incumbent State Representative Bob Siegrist (R), who is running for a second term.

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Norm Needleman Wins Democratic Nomination for 33rd District Sate Senate Seat

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman.

AREAWIDE — Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman has been nominated as the Democratic Party State Senate candidate for the 33rd District. 

Delegates from Democratic Town Committees in the 12 towns comprising the 33rd District met on Monday, May 21, at the Gelston House in East Haddam to select a candidate. Needleman was nominated by acclimation on the first ballot. 

Needleman accepted the nomination, and defined his approach to addressing issues facing towns in the district: “We need a state senator who has the temperament, the credibility, and the experience to rise above partisan bickering and generate the ideas that solve problems. Over the years, I have fostered consensus-building that gets things get done in the real world. Job creation, balanced budgets, low taxes, treating people fairly and infrastructure improvements define my accomplishments as an elected official.”

He continued: “I’m not here to advance my political career, or to lay the groundwork for higher office. I can’t be bought by any organization or special interest. I will be a state senator driven by the desire to do the right thing for the people and towns in our district, and I will do the hard work necessary to address the deep and abiding problems in our state.”

In placing Needleman’s name for nomination, Michelle Gilman, a resident of Colchester, said: “I have learned a lot about Norm in the years we have collaborated on the issues facing our towns’ families. I know that he will be the advocate and partner we so badly need in the state senate. I know that he will fight for investments in education and investments in our communities. I know that he will make certain that the towns in our district get their fair share from Hartford. And just as important, I know he will lead across party lines to address the challenges facing our state.”

Needleman’s nomination was seconded by two prominent Democrats from the district: Emily Bjornberg, 2014 nominee for the 33rd State Senate Seat, and Stacia Libby, four-term Selectman in Essex.

commented, “When no one is watching, Norm is a quiet friend to myriad marginalized folks within his community. He quietly provides meals and housing. He quietly provides jobs and friendship. He quietly, yet unapologetically, fights for the humanity of his fellow man. He is a pillar of his community without being a boast and he is a successful driver of the local economy without being a brag.”

Libby, who has worked as an elected official alongside Needleman for eight years, noted, “What I have learned about Norm pales when compared to what I’ve learned from Norm. He taught me through his actions what it means to be a true leader. Norm is compassionate, intelligent and diplomatic. He listens. He considers all sides and viewpoints. Then he seeks solutions that are fair, balanced and in the best interest of our community.”

Needleman has 20 years of public service experience in Essex, including four terms as First Selectman. During his tenure as First Selectman, he led economic development initiatives that made Essex home to over 700 businesses. He balanced budgets and made infrastructure improvements while maintaining one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing company employing 150 people, located in Essex. His two sons co-manage the company with him.  He lives in Essex with his partner, Jacqueline Hubbard, Executive Director of the Ivoryton Playhouse.

The 33rd State Senate District consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and a portion of Old Saybrook.

For further information, contact Campaign Manager Ed Tedeschi at et@edted.com or (917) 734-9460.

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Carney Receives Republican Nomination for Re-Election to the 23rd District

Celebrating Devin Carney’s unanimous endorsement as Republican candidate for the 23rd District are, from left to right, Cathy Carter, Dave Evers, Dan Montano, Carney, and Jackie Miano.

OLD SAYBROOK — State Representative Devin Carney received the unanimous endorsement of the Republican delegates representing Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and coastal Westbrook at the 23rd District convention on Wednesday, May 16. The convention was held at the Teresa Mulvey Municipal Building in Westbrook.

“It is truly an honor to be nominated for a third term by the Republicans of the 23rd District,” said Carney. “I have worked incredibly hard over the past four years as State Representative and always put the people of the district first. In these past two terms, I have advocated for small businesses and small towns, opposed massive tax increases, and worked across the aisle in order to achieve the best legislative results for the people of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Connecticut still faces significant budgetary hurdles, so I plan on continuing to work to stabilize government finances while helping  to create an economic environment that provides opportunity for all.”

Carney was nominated by Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna.

“As First Selectman of Old Saybrook, I often interact with the state legislature on issues that affect small towns and I always know I can count on Devin,” Fortuna said. “In these past four years, Devin has always stood up for his municipalities by supporting local education, pushing back against unnecessary unfunded mandates, and opposing legislation that would negatively affect the quality of life in shoreline Connecticut.”

In only his second term, Carney was named the highest ranked House Republican of the Transportation Committee where he has advocated for roadway improvements, local public transportation, and highway safety. In addition, he used that role to campaign against the Federal Railroad Administration’s NEC Future plan bypass, which would have devastated Southeastern Connecticut.

“Serving in leadership on the Transportation Committee has given me the unique opportunity to fight for local transportation concerns, including Shore Line East and 9-Town Transit, and also to call attention to issues that affect the region such as I-95 safety and the FRA’s NEC Future proposal,” added Carney.

Carney also serves on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and the Environment Committee. Last year, Carney was recognized by the Connecticut Counseling Association with their “Legislative Service Award” for his work in support of licensed professional counselors and for supporting efforts to curb elder abuse and to combat the state’s opioid epidemic.

Carney also co-founded the legislature’s bipartisan Young Legislators Caucus and the bipartisan Clean Energy Caucus. Carney is active in many community organizations including serving on the Board of Trustees at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, on the Board of Saye Brook Village senior housing, and as a member of both the Old Saybrook and Lyme-Old Lyme Chambers of Commerce.

“As the next phase of the election begins, I look forward to discussing my accomplishments and bringing my message of fiscal stability and economic growth to each and every doorstep in the 23rd District,” said Carney.

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Essex Announces Mill Rate Reduction for Fiscal Year 2018-2019

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman. (File photo)

ESSEX – First Selectman Norman Needleman has announced that Essex taxpayers will notice a reduction in the tax bills they receive in June.  With the unanimous approval of the proposed town budget at Town meeting on Monday, May 14, the Essex Board of Finance took up the task of setting the mill rate.  First Selectman Needleman carried a message from the Board of Selectmen recommending the board of finance consider a mill rate reduction.

Several favorable factors enabled the board of finance to consider the mill rate reduction.  These include the growth in the Town’s grand list, the passage of the State budget, a reduction of the Town’s cost share of Region 4 education budget, as well as a reduction at Essex Elementary School, and the Town’s strong fund balance position.  The board of finance voted to reduce the mill rate from the current rate of 21.96 mills for fiscal year 2017-2018 to 21.85 mills for fiscal year 2018-2019.  This represents a reduction of 0.11 mills or -0.5 percent.

“This is a responsible budget and one that I am very proud of. Essex is a vibrant and welcoming community and I am pleased we were able to lower the mill rate while maintaining the exceptional level of Town services that our residents expect and deserve,” said Needleman.

Copies of approved budgets are available on the Finance Department page of the town website at this link.

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Pugliese Accepts Democratic Nomination for 23rd District, Will Challenge Carney in November Election

Last Wednesday, delegates from the 23rd District unanimously nominated Matt Pugliese (fourth from right) as the Democratic candidate for the 23rd State House District. Photo by Janis Esty.

OLD SAYBROOK — On Wednesday, May 16, at a convention held in Old Saybrook at the Vicky Duffy Pavilion, Matt Pugliese accepted the Democratic nomination to represent the 23rd House District in the upcoming November election. The District includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and the southern portion of Westbrook.

Matt Pugliese

Pugliese, a non-profit arts executive, announced his candidacy in early March. He is challenging incumbent Devin Carney-R, who is running for a third term.

He was formally nominated by Karen Brodeur, a member of the Old Saybrook Board of Education.  In her remarks, Brodeur said, “Matt has experience as a business leader, as a community leader, as a civic volunteer, and as a caring husband and father. Matt is focused, disciplined, hard-worker.  He is an empathetic listener.  Matt cares about his family and he cares about his community.”

In accepting the nomination, Pugliese said, “I’m a Democrat. I’ve always believed that the Democratic party valued everyone, especially those didn’t have a voice. I will represent everyone in our community. I believe in communication, in compromise and consensus building. That is the style of leadership and the values I promise to bring to Hartford.”

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd)

Pugliese, the Executive Producer and Managing Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, serves as the Chair of Old Saybrook’s Economic Development Commission.  He holds his BA in Theatre and his Masters in Public Administration, both from UConn.

Pugliese’s formal nomination drew praise and remarks from others in attendance including Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal and Mary Stone from Lyme, who was herself a candidate for the 23rd District in 2014. The delegates in attendance unanimously voted to select Pugliese as the candidate.

Pugliese, who is participating in the public funding option in the Citizen’s Election Program, announced that he had raised the required funds to qualify.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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Essex Joins Sustainable CT

ESSEX — On May 3, the Essex Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to join Sustainable CT, an exciting new initiative to support the environmental resiliency of Connecticut’s cities and towns. The statewide initiative, created by towns for towns, includes a detailed menu of sustainability best practices, tools and resources, peer learning, and recognition.

Over the past 15 years Essex has made great strides in reducing the energy consumption and carbon footprint of its residences and municipal buildings.  This is an ideal time to focus on improving the environmental outlook of Essex in other areas.

A newly named Sustainable Essex Committee, formerly Essex Citizens for Clean Energy, will focus on strategies to balance environmental protection, economic development, and social objectives to meet the needs of today without compromising the quality of life for future generations. 

“It’s important to continue efforts toward greater sustainability, not only for the potential grant opportunities, but also because we need to be good stewards of the incredible environment we are surrounded by so that future generations can enjoy all that this community has the potential to offer,” said First Selectman  Norm  Needleman.

The Sustainable CT initiative involves nine categories that towns need to improve upon and earn points toward becoming certified as a sustainable municipality, which opens the door to receiving grants for further improvements. There is no cost to participate and communities will voluntarily select actions that meet their unique, local character and long-term vision. 

The initiative was developed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.  Three Connecticut philanthropies – The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation, and the Common Sense Fund – have supported the program’s development and launch.

“We are thrilled that Essex has passed a resolution to join Sustainable CT. The program builds on many current success stories in our communities to create and support more great places to live, work, and play,” said Lynn Stoddard, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy.  “We are looking forward to working with the Town as they pursue Sustainable CT certification.”

For more information on Sustainable CT, visit the program’s website at www.sustainablect.org.

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Letter to the Editor: Thanks to Donors from Essex Garden Club’s ‘May Market’ Silent Auction Committee

To the Editor:

On Saturday May 12th in Town Park the Essex Garden Club held its 66th May Market. The Silent Auction Committee of May Market would like to thank our area merchants, friends, and artists for the incredible generosity they showed in supporting this year’s Silent Auction. They are:

Abby’s Place Restaurant, Acer Gardens, Ashleigh’s Garden, Bartlett Tree Experts, Blue Hound Cookery & Taproom, Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store, Connecticut River Museum, Cooper & Smith, Copper Beech Inn, Ron Cozzolino, De Paula Jewelers, Earth and Fire Art Studio, Essex Chocolatier and Coffee Bar, Essex Winter Series, Goodspeed Musicals, Haystacks, Ivoryton Playhouse, Wendy and John Madsen, Charlotte Meyer Design, Melanie Carr Gallery, Al Moncovich, Musical Masterworks, New Earth Acupuncture, Olive Oyl’s, Patricia Spratt for the Home, Perfect Pear, Eve Potts, Savour Café & Bakery, Saybrook Country Barn, Scotch Plains Tavern, 1738 Farm, That’s the Spirit Shoppe, The Essex, The Valley Railroad Company, Gay Thorn, Truffle Shots, Weekend Kitchen, and Weltner’s Antiques and Art.

With thanks to them all.

Sincerely,

Dawn Boulanger, Genie Devine, Barbara Hall, Marily MacKinnon
The Essex Garden Club May Market Silent Auction Committee

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Town of Essex Conducts State Mandated Real Estate Revaluation

ESSEX – The Town of Essex has begun the state mandated revaluation project. Connecticut law requires municipalities to conduct a general revaluation at least once every five years. The revaluation will be effective with the Oct. 1, 2018 Grand List. Vision Government Solutions has been awarded the contract to assist the Town with the process.

If your property sold within the last year a representative from Vision will be visiting your property in the near future. Each employee of Vision will carry proper identification and a letter of introduction. Their vehicles have also been registered with the Essex Police Department.

Homeowners, be advised that the Vision employees will request access to your home to ensure accuracy of the information. While the assessor encourages you to allow access, you are not required to do so. As always, do not let anyone into your home without the proper identification.

If you are unsure, you may contact the Assessor’s Office at 860-767-4340 x124 or the Essex Police Department at 860-767-1054 for verification.

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VRHS Students Present a Custom-Made Equipment Box for the Town of Essex Fire Marshal Vehicle

Valley regional High School students who worked on the project are from left to right: Jared Hart, Josh Donahue, Quinn Kobe, Marcus SantaMaria, Andrew Persico, Ben Rosenberg, Chris Donohue, David Uphold, Cayla Sperzel, and Sam Wollschleager.

ESSEX — First Selectman Norm Needleman and Fire Marshal John Planas would like to give special thanks to the Valley Regional High School Students who worked to fabricate a custom-made wooden equipment box for the Fire Marshal vehicle.

On Monday, April 30, the students presented to the Town of Essex the equipment box for the vehicle. The box was designed to contain and organize a wide variety of the necessary tools, protective clothing, and supplies that the Fire Marshal needs to perform tasks such as routine inspections to emergency assistance.

This photo shows the custom-made box in situ in the Fire Marshal’s vehicle.

This project was a collaborative effort of the Town of Essex and Valley Regional High School students and faculty.

Norman gave special thanks to the students, their teacher JL Kopcha, Principal Mike Barile, and Superintendent Dr. Ruth Levy.   He noted that this was an excellent example of the practical benefits of the school’s vocational curriculum and active citizenship to support critical Town functions.

Students in photograph, from left to right, are:  Jared Hart, Josh Donahue, Quinn Kobe, Marcus SantaMaria, Andrew Persico, Ben Rosenberg, Chris Donohue, David Uphold, Cayla Sperzel, and Sam Wollschleager

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