January 19, 2019

Third Annual ‘Women’s March on Washington’ Sister Vigil to be Held This Morning in East Haddam

AREAWIDE — Together We Rise – Building Bridges For Justice has announced that East Haddam, Conn., is again registered as an Official Sister Event location for Connecticut, along with Hartford and Kent, for the Jan. 19, 2019, Third Annual Women’s March:#WomensWave March on Washington.

Together We Rise will join more than 650 sister events/marches throughout the World, when an outdoor gathering and vigil will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee House & Café, located at 374 Town St. in East Haddam, CT at the junction of Rtes 82 and 151.

Those interested in participating in the Together We Rise Jan. 19 Sister Event vigil should register by going to  https://www.womensmarch.com/2019/ and clicking on Sister Events, and entering zip code 06469. 

Participants are encouraged to arrive early. Parking Monitors will be on site to direct participants to parking venues near Two Wrasslin’ Cats.  Parking in Two Wrasslin’ Cats parking lot is available only to those with disabilities. 

Speakers at the Together We Rise Vigil in East Haddam will include Christine Palm, Marta Daniels and Ella Briggs.

Palm is the newly elected State Representative for the 36th Legislative District covering Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam. A lifelong Connecticut resident and progressive Democrat, her social justice advocacy began in high school when she marched with Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Palm’s work has culminated in her strong desire today to champion public policy that reflects the aspirations and concerns of people in the lower Connecticut River Valley.

Palm has been a journalist, high school teacher, communications manager, and small business owner. Most recently, she has served as Women’s Policy Analyst for the General Assembly’s Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, a group that advocates for policies that enhance the safety and economic security of these three under-represented populations. Before that, she was Communications Director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. 

Daniels is a writer, activist, and public historian. Her 35-year professional career has focused on expanding and improving civic engagement in public policy issues on peace, justice, and the environment.

She was director or co-director of half a dozen national and state educational organizations and also served as a consultant for several environmental and humanitarian organizations. Daniels is the author of several books on peace, many research papers and hundreds of articles and op-eds on peace and disarmament, and US-Soviet relations.

Daniels lives in Chester and is an active member of the Chester Democratic Town Committee, the Historical Society, and the Land Trust.

Briggs is the 2019 Connecticut Kid Governor.  She is a 5th grader at Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary Magnet School in Avon, CT.  Ella lives with her family in East Hampton.

In addition to these speakers, music will be provided by Thomasina Levy and Diane Adams. Levy was Connecticut State Troubadour for 2005 and 2006. An award-winning mountain dulcimer player, singer, poet and songwriter, her performances weave together traditional and contemporary folk music.

Adams is a local musician, who has performed at a variety of public events celebrating justice and equality including Together We Rise’s 2018 March for Our Lives event.

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Letter from Paris: Picasso’s Early Years on View in Blue … and Pink

Nicole Prévost Logan

In October 1900, Picasso – at age 19 – arrived at the Gare d’Orsay in Paris from Barcelona. So, it is appropriate that the Orsay Museum would host an exhibition about the young Spanish artist.

The blockbuster, which opened in the autumn of 2018, was called “Picasso. Bleu, Rose” and refers to the 1900-1906 years. It is a long overdue theme, never before treated in France.

For several reasons, this period is unique among Picasso’s long career. It reveals the precocious virtuosity of such a young person as a draughtsman;
never again will he express such intense emotions; Harlequin — a main character from the Commedia del’arte — is introduced for the first time and will remain his double throughout his life’s work. The image at right shows “Arlequin with an acrobat” (1905) portrayed as a young and emaciated boy.

Between 1900 and 1904, Picasso made several trips between Spain and Paris, until he settled permanently in the French capital where he rented a studio, along with other artists, in a dilapidated building baptized the Bateau-Lavoir (washhouse.)

He liked to hang around at the tavern of Els Quatre Gats (Four Cats) in Barcelona where he met Catalan friends – such as Santiago Rusinol or Ramon Casos. The exhibit shows hundreds of the small portraits and sketches, sometimes humorous, that he created at full speed.

With a voracious curiosity, he would watch the colorful, loud crowds at cabarets, bordellos, night clubs or caf’concs (cafés with a music hall performance) of Montmartre.

Toulouse Lautrec was his idol.

Like him, Picasso depicted the dejected night-life customers stunned under the effect of absinthe. “Arlequin and his companion” (1901, Pushkin museum, Moscow) shown at left represents a couple totally alienated from each other, sitting at a bistro table, with vacuous expressions on their faces.

The man is Harlequin, dressed in his usual costume with lozenges.

The “Portrait of Gustave Coquiot” (1901, Musee d’art moderne, Paris) at right is emblematic of this garish night life. The collector and art critic is depicted as a well-fed individual, with half naked girls dancing in the background, his mouth snarled in a lecherous grimace, under an insolent mustache.

But those years were lean years for Picasso. Both in Barcelona and in Paris Picasso lived in utter poverty.

This was the height of his “Blue Period” — the color of the bottom of the abyss. Beggars, orphans, the poor — Picasso showed his empathy for all of them.

He would take for models the former prostitutes incarcerated at the Saint Lazare prison in Barcelona, where many were dying of venereal diseases .

One usually links the Blue Period with the death of his close friend Casagemas in 1901 The painting at left of the young Catalan artist on his death bed, (1901, Musee Picasso, Paris) is realistic and shows the bullet wound on his temple after he committed suicide. The feverish multicolor strokes around the candle are reminiscent of van Gogh’s technique.

Abject poverty did not prevent Picasso from leading a lively, bohemian life among artists, poets, writers in the Montmartre district of the French capital, which was the center of the artistic world at that time.

The German art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler immediately discovered the genius of Picasso. Things started looking up when art merchant Ambroise Vollard bought several of his paintings. His melancholy disappeared when he fell passionately in love with Fernande Olivier, one of his many companions whose body and face he kept deconstructing.

The distinction between Blue and Pink Periods is rather artificial. Sadness lingered on through both periods.

Pink became predominant when the artist became interested in the circus world. Several times a week he would go to the cirque Medrano. But unlike other artists like Seurat, Rouault or Matisse, he was not interested in the spectacles per se but rather in what happened backstage and in the miserable existence of the acrobats.

In “Acrobate a la boule,” a frail adolescent is trying to keep his (her) balance on a round ball watched by a heavy set acrobat sitting on a massive cube. Art historians give a deep meaning to the scene, to the contrast between the spiritual world, taking risks, being continually in motion with the stability of life grounded in the earth.

In the summer of 1906, Picasso’s life took a new turn. Being with Fernande on the hillside village of Gozolf, he seemed totally happy, enjoying the sun and inspired by the pink and ochre color of the clay. He discovered the Iberian sculptures of the fifth and sixth centuries BC influenced by Phoenician and Greek cultures as well as 12th century medieval sculptures.

His art seems to be changing course. In “Deux Nus” (1906, MOMA), shown at right, the bodies of the naked women, are deformed, with disproportionate legs and heavy torso. Picasso was ready for another discovery … African art.

Matisse showed him an African statuette in the apartment of Gertrude and Leo Stein. Picasso was stunned.

As a result, after numerous sketches, (the Steins bought most of them when Picasso was still unknown), Picasso produced the ‘Demoiselles d’Avignon’ (1907, MOMA), which remains probably the most important painting of the 20th century.

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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‘Choosing Love’ in Deep River; Information Panel Discussion at DRES, Jan. 24

DEEP RIVER — Deep River Elementary School (DRES) has launched the Choose Love Program for grades K-6 this year. This comprehensive Social Development Curriculum fuses Social Emotional Learning with Character Education, Positive Psychology, Mindfulness, Neuroscience and Emotional Intelligence. 

Students are learning the Choose Love Formula: Courage + Forgiveness + Gratitude + Compassion-in-Action = Choosing Love. 

On Thursday, Jan. 24, DRES invites parents and members of the community to learn more about the tenets of the Choose Love Program and how it is being implemented at the school. This meeting will be held at the Deep River Elementary School Gymnasium from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For planning purposes, RSVP for the event to Tri-Town Youth Services @ 860-526-3600

There will be a variety of Make & Take Activities for participants to gain hands-on experience with the lessons and gain useful tools to try at home.

The evening will conclude with an Informational Panel Discussion with members of the DRES school community and Tri-Town Youth Services. The panel will discuss the program as a whole and each panelist will address how the program fits within the classroom, school, home and broader Deep River community. 

Tri-Town Youth Services will provide information about the free Choose Love at Home online course. Throughout the month of February, Tri-Town Youth Services will also be hosting a Choose Love at Home Study Group on Thursday evenings.

Details of the Jan. 24 event are as follows:
Location:

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Late Registration Tonight to Sing Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ with Cappella Cantorum in April 14 Concert

Cappella Cantorum logo

AREAWIDE — Join the Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus for registration and its first rehearsal of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” on Monday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m., at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River (use rear entrance).

The lyricism and use of orchestral and choral color in “Elijah” reflect Mendelssohn’s genius as an early Romantic composer.This inspiring work will be performed in concert Sunday, April 14, at John Winthrop with professional orchestra and soloists.

Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera will direct. All singers and high school students are welcome; auditions are not required.

Registration is $50 plus cost of music. Late registration is the following Monday, Jan. 14, same time and place. Singers may register on-line or in person at John Winthrop.

For more information, visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.

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Public Hearing to be Held Tomorrow for 9 Town Transit’s Proposed New Service for Disabled

AREAWIDE — 9 Town Transit (9TT) is planning to begin offering ADA paratransit service along the 641 route in February of 2019. This new service will be offered to individuals who have a disability that prevents them from using the fixed route.

ADA paratransit is a reservation-based origin-to-destination service similar to our Dial-A-Ride program. It must be booked at least one day in advance and has a 30-minute pick-up window. The cost is twice that of the equivalent fixed-route fare, currently $3.50 each way.

Unlike 9TT’s Dial-A-Ride, which is open to the general public, ADA Paratransit is only available to people with a disability that have gone through an application process.

ADA Paratransit offers the same hours as Route 641, making it available Monday through Friday 6:20 a.m. until 7:50 p.m. and Saturday 7:20 a.m. until 6 p.m., which is beyond that of Dial-A-Ride.

ADA Paratransit is only available within 3/4 mile of Route 641. This includes the section of 641 serving Madison. Any trip with an origin or a destination beyond this area would remain a Dial-A-Ride trip.

There will be a public hearing on Jan. 15, 2019 at 3 p.m. at 17 Industrial Park Rd, Suite 6, Centerbrook, CT, 06409. 9TT will hear comments and answer questions about their proposed ADA plan and paratransit.

Comments may also be submitted in writing by Jan. 25, 2019 by email to info@estuarytransit.org or mail to address above.

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State Rep. Palm Hosts Next “Listening Session” Jan. 22

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

AREAWIDE — Christine Palm, State Representative-for the 36th District (covering the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam), took the Oath of Office Wed., Jan. 9, at the State Capitol. Palm is one of 151 members of the House (the lower chamber of the General Assembly), each of whom represents approximately 23,000 people.

Palm ran as a progressive Democrat who was cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party, and stood for economic security for all workers, affordable healthcare, school excellence, gun safety, enhanced women’s rights and environmental protections. 

Palm has now started meeting with constituents in various locations in her district. She intends to hold these “listening sessions” in coffee shops in each of the four towns in the 36th District during the month of January.

After that, she will hold at least one meeting per month, rotating times and locations throughout the district, including libraries, assisted living facilities and town halls. Residents of any town are always welcome to attend a meeting in another town.

For the month of January meetings are as follows:

Friday, Jan. 11: The Villager, Downtown Chester, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. https://www.thevillagerchester.com/

Tuesday, Jan. 15: The Nook, 1610 Saybrook Rd., Tylerville (Haddam), 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 22, Savour, Spencer’s Corners, Centerbrook (Essex), 10:00-11:00 a.m. http://www.thesavourcafe.com/

Wednesday, Jan. 23, Whistle Stop Café, Main Street, Deep River, noon to 1:00 p.m. https://www.facebook.com/whistlestopcafect/

“It’s very important to me to hear from the residents – both those who voted for me and those who did not,” Palm said. “Too many people feel government is out of touch with them – that it’s an inaccessible monolith.

She continued, “That’s not the kind of government I want to serve in and I intend to be as responsive as possible. Not only do our residents deserve a State Representative willing to hear their concerns, I need them, too; talking with folks is a great source of inspiration for me. Through casual conversations, I’ve already gotten some ideas for changes we need to make so that government better represents the people. So, I am grateful to all those willing to meet and share their ideas, concerns and experiences with me.”

Once Palm is sworn in, her official State of Connecticut email, phone number, website and Facebook page will go live and she will make them public. For now, residents of any of the towns she serves are welcome to call her on her cell phone at 860-836-2145.

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New York Philharmonic String Quartet and Mihae Lee Open Essex Winter Series 42nd Season This Afternoon

New York Philharmonic Pricipal String Quartet, 11/26/16. Photo by Chris Lee

ESSEX – Essex Winter Series’ 42nd season begins with a stunning program of Haydn, Dvorak, and Schumann performed by the New York Philharmonic String Quartet and Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River.

The New York Philharmonic String Quartet comprises four Principal musicians from the Orchestra, including Concertmaster Frank Huang; Principal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl Staples; Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps; and Principal Cello Carter Brey. The group formed in January 2017, during the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season, and made its debut as the solo ensemble in John Adams’s Absolute Jest in March 2017.

The Quartet will start the program with the delightful Haydn Quartet Op. 72, No. 2 and end the first half with the iconic Dvorak’s “American” Quartet. Mihae Lee will join them for the brilliant Schumann Piano Quintet in the second half. 

Essex Winter Series’ season continues on Feb. 17 with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring the Midiri Brothers Sextet with special guest Jeff Barnhart performing the music of reeds giants Benny Goodman, Jimmy Noone, Artie Shaw and more.

On March 17, violinist Tai Murray (the 2019 Fenton Brown Emerging Artist) joins the New Haven Symphony Orchestra under the direction of William Boughton for a program featuring Mozart, Prokofiev, Barber, and Hadyn.

The final concert of the series is Chanticleer, known around the world as “an orchestra of voices,” celebrating their 40th year with a program of favorites composers, from Palestrina and Victoria to Mason Bates and Steven Stucky, as well as audience favorite arrangements by Jennings, Shaw and others on April 7.

All performances take place on Sundays at 3 p.m. with the January and March concerts at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River; the February jazz concert at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 John Winthrop Middle School Road, Deep River; and the April concert at Old Saybrook Senior High School, 1111 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook.

Seating is general admission and tickets may be purchased by calling 860-272-4572 or visiting www.essexwinterseries.com.

The 2019 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, Masonicare at Chester Village, Tower Laboratories, Guilford Savings Bank, and BrandTech Scientific.

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Reading Uncertainly: ‘The Fifth Risk’ by Michael Lewis

Is our government too bloated, too intrusive, too expensive?

Is it a “swamp” that needs to be drained if we are to survive?

Michael Lewis, the author of such jewels as Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short, Flash Boys (see my review of 12/15/2014) and The Undoing Project (see my review of 1/22/2018), has been stimulated by the election of Donald Trump and Trump’s “willful ignorance” and “subsequent incoherence” to step back and take a serious look at a few departments of our government.

Lewis has selected the work of the Departments of Energy  (controlling nuclear waste), Commerce (predicting the weather), and Agriculture (assuring food safety), and using in-depth discussions with selected government servants illustrates what is seldom acknowledged – the long-term contributions of much of what goes on at the federal level.

Part of the problem in Lewis’ word is that we have ”two million federal employees taking orders from four thousand political appointees. Dysfunction is baked into the structure of the thing …”

He leads this analysis with the words of John MacWilliams, the Department of Energy’s “first ever chief risk officer.” MacWilliams offers his top four risks as the threat of nuclear disaster, North Korea, Iran, and protecting our electrical grid from cyber-terrorism.

But topping all four is the broader inadequacy of “project management” in the US. MacWilliams states, “managing risks (is) an act of the imagination. And the human imagination is a poor tool for judging risk … They (humans) are less good at imagining a crisis before it happens—and taking action to prevent it.”

Lewis goes on to explain, “ … the risk a society runs when it falls into the habit of responding to long-term risks with short-term solutions,” results in, “ … the innovation that never occurs, and the knowledge that is never created.” He concludes, “We need doubtful and forever curious students of possibilities.”

Lewis’ answer is that the long-term and continuing government work of managing the risks of nuclear waste, unusual weather, and food safety has been successful … if not exceptional.

But is this work threatened by the current administration?

To Lewis, “Trump’s budget … is powered by a perverse desire—to remain ignorant.” And that seems to have led to “a rift in American life … between the people who are in it for the mission and the people who (are) in it for the money.”

So what is “risk”?

Lewis quotes David Friedman, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who says, “Risk is uncertainty about the outcome.” We can never be certain of what will occur, but we can certainly try to be.

And that leads to his final sentence, “It’s what you fail to imagine that kills you.”

A most provocative and coherent analysis.

Editor’s Note: ‘The Fifth Risk’ by Michael Lewis is published by W. W. Norton, New York 2018.

Felix Kloman

About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction, which explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farm Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His late wife, Ann, was also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visited every summer.

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Saybrook Stage Presents ‘Other Desert Cities’ at the Kate, Opens Thursday

OLD SAYBROOK — The non-profit production company The Saybrook Stage Company will be performing Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities live at the Kate in Old Saybrook from Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 17-19, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 20, at 2 p.m.

Rehearsing “Other Desert Cities’

Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz is a poignant play about the strong bond and love of family that overcomes any differences that exist between individual family members. This thoughtful, relevant play will have you sharing tears of laughter, sadness and joy as you become immersed in the heart-wrenching yet heart-warming story of the Wyeth family.

What is the price a family will pay to protect their good name? What is the price parents will pay to protect their children? These difficult questions are addressed in this wonderful and funny play!

It’s Christmas Eve 2004 and Brooke Wyeth is returning home to Palm Springs after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas with her parents, her brother and her aunt.

Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family’s history – a wound her parents don’t want reopened. In effect, she draws a line in the sand and dares them to cross it.

The cast of Other Desert Cities gathers for a photo .

A realistic story about family struggles and conflicts – The New York Times is quoted as describing this play as “The most richly enjoyable new play for grown-ups that New York has known in many seasons … Mr. Baitz makes sure our sympathies keep shifting among the members of the wounded family portrayed here. Every one of them emerges as selfish, loving, cruel, compassionate, irritating, charming and just possibly heroic … leaves you feeling both moved and gratifyingly sated.”

Other Desert Cities opened on Broadway in November 2011 and received critical acclaim in addition to many awards including a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as Tony Award nominations for Best Play; Best Actress and Best Scenic Design.

Visit www.thekate.org or call 860.510.0453 to reserve your tickets.

Also, visit www.SaybrookStage.org for more information about The Saybrook Stage Company

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Essex Land Trust Hosts Talk on Amphibian Habitat in CT, Jan. 24

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust hosts Dr. Tracy Rittenhouse, (pictured left) an Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at UCONN, Thursday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m. at Essex Town Hall, 29 West Ave. The title of her talk will be, ‘Amphibian habitat in CT: Is there enough for populations to persist?’

She will define amphibian habitat and discuss whether or not there is enough habitat in Connecticut to maintain amphibian population for future generations. Learn about amphibian habitat and improve your understanding of habitat in general.

Rittenhouse has a BS from University of Wisconsin-Madison and MS and PhD from University of Missouri-Columbia. She studies where wild animals live and how they travel through habitats. The snow date for this event is Jan. 29.

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SE CT Legislators Including Sen.-Elect Needleman, Submit Bill To Allow Online, In-Person Betting at CT Casinos

Press Release) State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) and members of the Southeastern Connecticut legislative delegation have submitted a bipartisan bill for the 2019 legislative session that would amend Connecticut’s existing state laws to allow for online and in-person sports betting at Connecticut casinos.

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman

The proposed law would include age and location verification requirements designed to block online access to persons under the age of 21 from betting on sports.

Since last May, when the United States Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law banning sports wagering, eight states now offer legalized sports betting, including nearby Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. New York has passed enabling legislation but has not yet instituted sports betting, and several other U.S. states – including Connecticut – are now considering it.

Rhode Island – which just launched sports betting in November – estimates it will collect $11.5 million in new state revenue in its first seven months of operation.

“Connecticut needs to play catch-up with surrounding states if we’re serious about modernizing our existing gaming industry. Fortunately, we can do that with a relatively simple regulatory fix,” said Sen. Osten, who represents Ledyard and a portion of Montville, home to Connecticut’s two Native American tribes that already operate gaming casinos.

She continued, “The U.S. Supreme Court decision last year paved the way for the expansion of private-sector sports betting, and I think Connecticut is in a good position to take advantage of that. We have the infrastructure with the tribal casinos, we can use the new revenue, and we’ve got bipartisan support. This should be an early session success story.”

“Neighboring states are already ahead of Connecticut on sports betting, but I think it’s an issue we can quickly catch up on that will have positive employment, economic and revenue impacts on Connecticut, “ said Sen.-elect Norm Needleman (D-Essex). 

He noted, “Two of Connecticut’s top-10 largest employers will benefit from this bill. The U.S. Supreme Court has already cleared the way legally, so I believe it’s incumbent on us as state policymakers to do what’s necessary to remain relevant and profitable in a rapidly expanding new national industry.”

The bill, with the current working number of LCO 578, is co-sponsored by Sens. Osten, Steve Cassano, Paul Formica, Heather Somers, and Sen.-elect Needleman, and by state Reps. Ryan, Christine Conley, Emmett Riley, Joe de la Cruz, Susan Johnson, Doug Dubitsky, Mike France and Holly Cheeseman.

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Professional Nature Photographer to Speak Tonight at CT Valley Camera Club Meeting

The guest speaker at the Monday, Jan.7, 2019 meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be professional nature photographer Michael Milicia. He will give a presentation titled, “Focus on Sharpness”.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome. There is no admission charge.

Capturing fine detail is often a critical element of a successful image. This presentation will explore a variety of tools and techniques which help to maximize image sharpness.  Milicia will take an in depth look at the many features and tuning options of today’s autofocus (AF) systems and how to best take advantage of them.

Other topics to be covered will include live view AF, mirrorless AF, back button focus, tripods and heads, long lens technique, handholding, and microfocus adjustment.

Milicia’s love of the outdoors is rooted in his time growing up in the rolling hills of rural Western Pennsylvania. After earning a Computer Science degree at Carnegie-Mellon University, he embarked on a 27-year-career as a Software Engineer which included stints at IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Hewlett-Packard, as well as graduate studies at Syracuse University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

In 2005, he left the software industry to pursue a second career as a Nature Photographer specializing in birds and wildlife.

He strives to create images that include an artistic element and have an aesthetic appeal that transcends their role as natural history documentation.  Motivated by a love of nature, Milicia has a fascination with wildlife, and the never-ending challenge of finding that perfect combination of good light, cooperative subject, attractive setting, and beautiful background that allows him to create an artistically pleasing image. 

His passion for photography is rivaled only by his passion for teaching photography. During his years as a Software Engineer, he was continually faced with the need to analyze complex subjects and break them down in a well organized, step-by-step manner that made them easier to understand and communicate.

He finds that this approach also works quite well when teaching the technical aspects of photography. He enjoys teaching at all levels, whether it is helping beginners get acquainted with the world of digital photography or helping more experienced photographers take their images to the next level.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed. 

The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Mystic.

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com. CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage.

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Sign up for Spanish! Classes Start Thursday at Ivoryton Library

IVORYTON — Sign up for weekly beginning Spanish classes starting at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at. Ivoryton Library, 106 Main St., in Ivoryton.

The teacher is Sara Bendetto, and the cost is $10 a class.

Register by calling the library at 860-767-1252.

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Kyle Zrenda Joins Suisman Shapiro as Firm’s Newest Associate

AREAWIDE — Kyle J. Zrenda has joined Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law as an associate on the firm’s civil litigation team, practicing in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and insurance health care law.

Attorney Kyle J. Zrenda

Prior to joining Suisman Shapiro, Attorney Zrenda was an associate at Vigorito, Barker, Patterson, Nichols and Porter, LLP in New York where he focused his practice on construction site accidents, premises liability, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and health care law. Attorney Zrenda represented physicians, nurses, medical groups, hospitals, property owners, general contractors, and subcontractors throughout New York and Connecticut.

“We are pleased to welcome Kyle Zrenda to Suisman Shapiro,” said Managing Director John A. Collins, III. “Kyle just obtained an outstanding result in Bridgeport Superior Court and we know that his trial experience will further enhance our litigation team’s approach to aggressively representing our clients.”

Zrenda is Connecticut native who graduated from East Lyme High School. He received his B.A. from Boston College in 2010 and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2013, where he was an Associate Editor of the Quinnipiac Law Review.

Attorney Zrenda was admitted to the New York Bar in 2013, the Connecticut Bar in 2014, and is also admitted to practice in the Federal District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of New York. In 2017 and 2018, Attorney Zrenda was listed by Super Lawyers as a New York Metro “Rising Star” in the area of personal injury.

Suisman Shapiro is the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut, serving the community for over 75 years with a wide range of legal services.

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Chester Celebrates ‘First Friday’ Tonight

This painting of Chester’s own ‘Starry Night’ is by Barbara Rossitto.

CHESTER – Chester’s First Friday festivities on Friday, Jan. 4, are a great way to kick off the new year with art exhibits, holistic health professionals and some post-holiday sales and deals. Downtown shops are open until 8 p.m., and many of your favorite Chester restaurants will have drink and appetizer specials.

Look for exhibitions at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery and The CHESTER GALLERY (76 Main Street); discussions with wellness advocates and samples and sales of essential oils and other products at Kismet Chester & GKD Designs (11 Main Street) and Lark (4 Water Street); and holiday specials at The French Hen (14 Main Street),Shops at the Mill House (5 West Main Street) and The Perfect Pear (51 Main Street).

In addition to on-street parking in Chester, there is free parking available in the town’s public lots on Main Street by the cemetery, on Water Street and on Maple Street.
More information about First Friday is available on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT or by calling (860) 322-4047.
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Needleman Appointed to Leadership Roles on Two Key State Senate Committees

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

AREAWIDE — State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman (D-Essex) today announced in a press release that he has been appointed Senate Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, and Senate Vice Chair of the Banking Committee. 

“The towns in our district have gained a leadership presence in policy development for finance, technology, and energy infrastructure,” said Needleman. “My experience in government and business financial management, and my years of working with major utilities and energy providers directly applies to the work of both committees. I look forward to bringing common sense ideas to these important issues.”

The Energy and Technology Committee formulates policies relating to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, energy-related planning, and technology issues. The committee works closely with energy and technology services and utilities, which include electric utilities and cable TV service.

The Banking Committee develops policies relating to consumer credit and lending, business finance, the Department of Banking, all banks, credit unions, securities sales, fraternal benefit societies and secured and unsecured lending.

Needleman expects additional committee assignments to be announced in the near future. He officially begins his State Senate term on Jan. 9 of the coming year. 

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With Approach of Brexit Deadline, a New Conundrum Emerges as UK Grows More Divided, EU More United

Nicole Prévost Logan

It was a close call for Theresa May and probably the most difficult time of the 900-odd days of the Brexit negotiations. 

On Monday, Dec. 10, her proposed “deal” faced opposition from all sides. Several of her ministers had already resigned: Boris Johnson,  Dominic Raab and David Davis, successive Secretaries of State for Brexit. Even her own Tory party was divided. 

Europhile Jo Johnson, brother of Boris, refused the terms of her “deal.” On the left, the Labor Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, wanted to remain in Europe, but within a large customs union, to maintain trade relations and be in control of immigration. Both Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (DUP), on whom May’s Conservatives rely for a majority in parliament, preferred  a “Norway plus” formula. 

A coup de theatre occurred in the House of Commons on Dec. 12: the leader of the conservative Brexiters, Jacob Rees-Mogg, led a motion of no confidence against the prime minister. She won by 200 votes to 117. This vote meant  a reprieve for May until Jan. 21, 2019 to make a final decision on the “deal.”  She cannot drag out the timetable indefinitely, however, since the process has to be completed before the European elections on May 26.  

During that fateful week, in a desperate effort to save her plan, the British Prime Minister raced from the House of Commons to make hasty visits to the European countries most sympathetic to her ideas such as The Netherlands or Germany.  She returned to London and made a statement in front of 10 Downing Street on a cold winter night, cheered a little by a Christmas tree standing nearby. On Dec. 13, she was back on the continent to attend a meeting of the European Council hoping to wrench out a few more concessions from the weary Europeans.

She returned to the UK empty-handed.

May warns that “no deal” would be catastrophic for the UK.  She says that only by achieving a deal can the UK hope to preserve its independence and remain in control of its economy and borders. The Brexiters’ argument is that during the transition period, which starts on March 29, 2019, the UK will remain within the EU Custom Union, unable to sign bilateral cooperation agreements with other countries and forced to make financial contributions, while having no say in the decision-making process.

The 27 EU members ratified the hefty 600-page withdrawal document of the UK after smoothing out a few thorny issues. One is the administration of the Gibraltar enclave.  Spain had to be satisfied lest it used its veto. The other one dealt with the demands by fishermen from France,  Denmark and a few other countries to retain access to the waters — rich in fish — around the British Isles.  Until today, they have been allowed to do so as per the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

But by far the most crucial point is the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  Both the UK and the EU want a “backstop” — a device designed to maintain the UK with the EU Customs Union until a trade agreement is signed — but for different reasons. For Brussels, it is a non- negotiable red line, a temporary measure, like an insurance to be applied during the transition period scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2020. Ireland does not want to see the re-emergence of the bloody conflict, which finally ended on Good Friday 1998.  

Theresa May wants a legally-binding text agreement that proposes a backstop to prevent the return of a physical border. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and his team are ready to make adjustments to create a “backstop” more palatable to the British, saying, “Let us be imaginative and creative.”  He now offers other solutions such as setting up control points about 10 miles from the border in industrial buildings .  

On the whole, the 27 European Union (EU) members are displaying an exceptional show of unity, which may come as a surprise for outside observers.  One would  expect the EU to be tough with the UK to prevent a possible ‘domino effect’ inspiring others to leave a continent already torn between populism and nationalism. 

In fact, the exact opposite is happening. and none of the 27 seem willing to leave Europe. In France, Marine Le Pen changed her mind quickly about keeping the Euro.  In Greece, Prime Minister Tsipras and his Syriza party are not in conflict with Brussels any longer.  The Italian government has agreed to reduce its deficit in accordance with the EU rules.  Eastern Europeans appreciate greatly the assistance they receive from Brussels and also the protection the latter gives them against their Russian neighbor They do not show any intention of leaving the EU.. 

The scenario of a new referendum is gaining ground.  Since the European Court of Justice has just declared that a EU member state can unilaterally withdraw its intention to leave the Union, the task of the “Remainers” would be simplified. If they win the referendum, it will be back to square one — an outcome generally favored by the Europeans. 

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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Season’s Greetings

Christmas-Bow-Picture_512x384We wish all our readers and advertisers a wonderful, peaceful and enjoyable holiday season.

Thank you for all your support this past year and we look forward to serving you with even stronger coverage of the towns of Chester, Essex and Deep River next year.

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Letter to the Editor: Needleman’s 2019 Resolution is to be 33rd District’s ‘Common Sense Advocate’

To the Editor:

The holiday season is a time when we enjoy good cheer and look forward to the promise of a bright new year. It is a time when we resolve to do the things that didn’t get done in the old year, and fix the things that need fixing.  

For me, the coming year will be both demanding and promising. On January 9, I will be sworn in to represent the 33rd district in the State Senate, a responsibility that brings with it significant challenges and exciting new opportunities. That’s why my only resolution this year is to be the common sense advocate the towns in our district need and deserve. As your voice in the state senate, I will keep you posted on progress in addressing the issues that concern all of us.

Meanwhile, I hope we can all enjoy the festive spirit and good will that make the holiday season so enjoyable. I wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year. 

Sincerely,

Norm Needleman,
Essex

Editor’s Note: The author is the State Senator Elect for the 33rd District.

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Holiday Boutique Today Benefits Tri-Town Youth Services, Other Local Youth Organizations

Wrap up your gift shopping at the Holiday Boutique on Wednesday! Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

AREAWIDE — A Holiday Boutique will be held  Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Old Lyme Country Club, 40 McCurdy Rd., Old Lyme.  It is is open and free to all community members.

The event will benefit Tri-Town Youth Service Bureau, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, and Old Saybrook Youth & Family Services.

The Holiday Boutique features 18 vendors from Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Florida, and has something for everyone on your list. Items for sale will include jewelry, gifts, hand bags, scarves, soaps, ties, florals and so much more.

The high-end vendors include:

  • CatchAll from Westport
  • Pinky’s from Greenwich
  • The Calvert Collection
  • Nat Fry Woodworking from Haverford, PA
  • Old Lyme’s Allie Fiscus
  • Three Islands from Westerly
  • Lowebows Bowties
  • Patrice Collection from Darien
  • Stix & Stones from Hartford
  • Carlisle clothing and Mali jewelry from New York
  • The Patrice Collection from Darien
  • Katherine Clarkson Studio
  • Tucci Designs from Stonington
  • Savor and Cortland Park from Essex
  • Maggie Lee Designs from Lancaster, PA
  • Cynthia Slack Designs from Bonita Springs, FL
  • Farm to Bath from Thompson
  • Alka’s Indian gifts
  • Make-up demonstrations by Clippers of Guilford.

A luncheon buffet will be available $18.

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SECWAC Hosts Local Independent Expert Tonight, Presents “Cuba, the Conflicted Isle”

Rob Hernandez will give a presentation on Cuba at the next SECWAC meeting.

AREAWIDE — The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) hosts Rob Hernandez to speak on ‘Cuba, the Conflicted Isle: can it reconcile its past while creating a new future?’ at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Old Lyme Country Club, 40 McCurdy Road, Old Lyme, CT.

Hernandez, an international business consultant and lecturer on global issues for the National Geographic, universities and corporations, will discuss the current status of Cuba in the context of its historical relationship with the United States. Specifically, he will recount the long and often tortured history of U.S.-Cuba relations, describe the reality on the ground today, and discuss possible solutions to the five decades of seemingly irreconcilable differences between the two neighbors.

Born in the U.S. but raised in Spain and Cuba—and Essex, Hernandez has worked extensively around the world for more than 40 years. An ecologist by education, he spent his early career doing field research and documenting through film and photography many of the world’s more remote places, work that has appeared in many leading global publications.

As part of those endeavors, he spent a year in Africa filming a television special on lions and, in his early twenties, spent two years circumnavigating the Pacific and Indian Oceans in a 29 ft. sailboat.  Since then he has continued to lead numerous expeditions to Africa, the Arctic and Antarctic, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and South America, among others.

This led to a 30-year career at the National Geographic Society (NGS) where he served in numerous capacities, including senior editor of the National Geographic magazine, head of Strategic Planning, and later as Senior Vice President, founder and head of the Society’s International Publishing Division.  In that role, he established NGS offices in more than 35 countries and published books, magazines, maps, DVDs, websites and a broad range of other digital media in over 40 languages.  Totally committed to NGS’s non-profit missions, he was also heavily involved in the scientific, educational, and conservation initiatives of the organization.

Most recently, he completed his career at the Walt Disney Co. where he ran Disney’s Magazine Publishing Worldwide Co. producing more than 400 local-language magazine titles and other publications for sale throughout the globe.

Now semi-retired, he lives in Essex and works as an international business consultant and lecturer on global issues for the National Geographic, universities, and corporations. He has traveled to Cuba often in the last three decades and looks forward to sharing with his insights about this enigmatic island.

Immediately following the presentation, SECWAC meeting attendees have the option for $35 to attend a dinner with the speaker at the Old Lyme Country Club. Dinner reservations are required by Thursday, Dec. 6, at 860-912-5718.

A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the main event beginning at 6 p.m. The presentation is a part of the SECWAC 2018-2019 Speaker Series. For non-members, tickets ($20) may be purchased at the door; ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership. Attendance is free for SECWAC members (and their guests). Membership September 2018 through June 2019 is $75; $25 for young professionals under 35; free for area college and high school students.

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). The organization dates back to 1999, and has continued to arrange eight to 10 Speaker Series meetings annually, between September and June. The meetings range in foreign affairs topics, and are hosted at venues along the I-95 corridor, welcoming members and guests from Stonington to Old Saybrook, and beyond.

SECWAC’s mission is “to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.” It provides a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between members and speakers, who can be U.S. policy makers, educators, authors, and other experts on foreign relations. Learn more at http://secwac.org.

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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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‘Con Brio’ Presents Second Holiday Concert This Afternoon

AREAWIDE — How do you get into the holiday spirit? Why not ease into the season by experiencing the joy of uplifting seasonal music at a Con Brio Choral Society December concert. The second will be on Sun., Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. You’ll hear glorious choral music, trumpet fanfares, and even get the chance to sing your favorite carols along with the singers at the concert’s end.

Danielle Munsell Howard, soprano.

Three professional soloists – Danielle Munsell Howard, soprano; Louise Fauteux, soprano; and Allison Messier, mezzo-soprano – will join the 66 voices of Con Brio and the Con Brio Festival Orchestra under the baton of Dr. Stephen Bruce. To open the concert – and herald the holiday season – four trumpets will perform Jan Zelenka’s Fanfares for four trumpets and timpani.

The choral program that follows will feature two baroque pieces performed with soloists and orchestra. The first piece, one new to most, is Czech composer Jan Zelenka’s Te Deum for double chorus. A new edition of this long-lost Baroque masterwork prompted Con Brio to program it. Zelenka knew J.S. Bach and at least once, stayed at Bach’s house in Leipzig, and also knew Telemann and other famous musicians of the time.

The other baroque piece is likely more familiar, the first movement of J.S. Bach’s Cantata 63, Christen ätzet diesen Tag, composed for the First Day of Christmas, 1713.

Soloist Danielle Munsell Howard, soprano, has been praised by Opera News Online for her “bright, pretty timbre and remarkable facility.” She has performed as soloist with the American Bach Soloists, Amherst Early Music Festival, Boulder Bach Festival, the Yale Collegium Soloists, Princeton Pro Musica and a number of contemporary choral and chamber ensembles. Her New York debut singing Melagro in Gluck’s La Corona at Merkin Hall was enthusiastically received, critically acclaimed in the New York Times and recorded live for Albany Records.

Louise Fauteux, soprano

Soloist Louise Fauteux enjoys a diverse career in the arts devoted to education and performance. Her versatility as a soprano includes a performance of Peer Gynt with the New York Philharmonic and actor John De Lancie and a tour of Venice with DiCapo Opera and the Fairfield Chorale. She has also performed as soloist with New Haven Chorale, Concora, the Farmington Valley Chorale, the Connecticut Master Chorale and the Connecticut Chamber Chorus.

Soloist Allison Messier, mezzo-soprano, has performed as an oratorio soloist in numerous major works including the Mozart Requiem with the Clearlakes Chorale in the New Hampshire Lakes Region, the Rachmaninov Vespers with the Boston Russian Choir; Dvorak’s Mass in D and Mass in Time of War with the Bermuda Chamber Choir. Her opera credits include Dido in Dido and Aeneas and La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica with Piccola Opera NH, as well as other works.

As in past years, Con Brio will sing two pieces in the round while the singers are arrayed around the Sanctuary. The first piece is Quem Vidistis Pastores by Richard Dering and the second, Hodie Christus Natus Est by Giovanni Gabrieli. For many regulars, the eight-part early music pieces sung in the round are a highlight of each Con Brio concert.

Allison Messier, mezzo-soprano

Also on the program is Ola Gjeilo’s Serenity (O Magnum Mysterium) and Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria, both written for eight parts, Mary Had a Baby, arranged by Craig Courtney, I Saw Three Ships arranged by Mack Wilberg, and Sir Christémas, arranged by William Mathias.

The concerts are on Friday evening, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. and on Sunday afternoon, at 3 p.m. at Christ the King Church at 1 McCurdy Lane, Old Lyme, CT. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased in advance at www.conbrio.org or by calling 860-526-5399.

Con Brio Choral Society is a classical, all-auditioned chorus drawing its 66 singers from 15 towns extending along the Connecticut River from Old Saybrook to Deep River and East Haddam and along the shoreline from Guilford to Mystic.

The group performs with the Con Brio Festival Orchestra and professional soloists under conductor Dr. Stephen Bruce.

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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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SECSEWAC Hosts Local Independent Expert to Present, “Cuba, the Conflicted Isle,” Tuesday

Rob Hernandez will give a presentation on Cuba at the next SECWAC meeting.

AREAWIDE — The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) hosts Rob Hernandez to speak on ‘Cuba, the Conflicted Isle: can it reconcile its past while creating a new future?’ at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Old Lyme Country Club, 40 McCurdy Road, Old Lyme, CT.

Hernandez, an international business consultant and lecturer on global issues for the National Geographic, universities and corporations, will discuss the current status of Cuba in the context of its historical relationship with the United States. Specifically, he will recount the long and often tortured history of U.S.-Cuba relations, describe the reality on the ground today, and discuss possible solutions to the five decades of seemingly irreconcilable differences between the two neighbors.

Born in the U.S. but raised in Spain and Cuba—and Essex, Hernandez has worked extensively around the world for more than 40 years. An ecologist by education, he spent his early career doing field research and documenting through film and photography many of the world’s more remote places, work that has appeared in many leading global publications.

As part of those endeavors, he spent a year in Africa filming a television special on lions and, in his early twenties, spent two years circumnavigating the Pacific and Indian Oceans in a 29 ft. sailboat.  Since then he has continued to lead numerous expeditions to Africa, the Arctic and Antarctic, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and South America, among others.

This led to a 30-year career at the National Geographic Society (NGS) where he served in numerous capacities, including senior editor of the National Geographic magazine, head of Strategic Planning, and later as Senior Vice President, founder and head of the Society’s International Publishing Division.  In that role, he established NGS offices in more than 35 countries and published books, magazines, maps, DVDs, websites and a broad range of other digital media in over 40 languages.  Totally committed to NGS’s non-profit missions, he was also heavily involved in the scientific, educational, and conservation initiatives of the organization.

Most recently, he completed his career at the Walt Disney Co. where he ran Disney’s Magazine Publishing Worldwide Co. producing more than 400 local-language magazine titles and other publications for sale throughout the globe.

Now semi-retired, he lives in Essex and works as an international business consultant and lecturer on global issues for the National Geographic, universities, and corporations. He has traveled to Cuba often in the last three decades and looks forward to sharing with his insights about this enigmatic island.

Immediately following the presentation, SECWAC meeting attendees have the option for $35 to attend a dinner with the speaker at the Old Lyme Country Club. Dinner reservations are required by Thursday, Dec. 6, at 860-912-5718.

A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the main event beginning at 6 p.m. The presentation is a part of the SECWAC 2018-2019 Speaker Series. For non-members, tickets ($20) may be purchased at the door; ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership. Attendance is free for SECWAC members (and their guests). Membership September 2018 through June 2019 is $75; $25 for young professionals under 35; free for area college and high school students.

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). The organization dates back to 1999, and has continued to arrange eight to 10 Speaker Series meetings annually, between September and June. The meetings range in foreign affairs topics, and are hosted at venues along the I-95 corridor, welcoming members and guests from Stonington to Old Saybrook, and beyond.

SECWAC’s mission is “to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.” It provides a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between members and speakers, who can be U.S. policy makers, educators, authors, and other experts on foreign relations. Learn more at http://secwac.org.

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Puccini, Saint-Saens Featured at Cappella Cantorum Concert This Afternoon

Tenor Brian Cheney will be a soloist in the Dec. 2 Cappella Cantorum concert.

DEEP RIVER — Bring in the spirit of the holiday season by attending Cappella Cantorum’s Christmas Concert Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, One Winthrop Road, Deep River.

Cappella’s Masterworks Chorus will perform Puccini’s “Messa Di Gloria” and Saint-Saens’ “Christmas Oratorio,” two glorious works from the late 1800s.

Featured soloists will be soprano Abigail Paschke, tenor Brian Cheney and baritone Paul Fletcher. Simon Holt will direct the chorus and professional orchestra.

Tickets are $30 purchased in advance, $35 at the door.

Puccini is best known for his later works, the operas “Tosca,” “La Boheme,” “Madama Butterfly” and “Turandot.” His “Messa Di Gloria” was composed earlier but is no less masterful. Saint-Saens is perhaps best known for his opera “Samsun et Dalila” and “The Swan” from his “Carnival of Animals.”

For more information or tickets, visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.

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Musical Masterworks Presents ‘Winterreise’ ConcertThis Afternoon

Cellist Edward Arron and pianist Jeewon Park

AREAWIDE — Musical Masterworks will ring in the winter with the beautiful song cycle by Franz Schubert titled Winterreise — which translates to a winter’s journey – on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m.

Baritone, Randall Scarlata and pianist, Jeewon Park will perform this remarkable piece of music.

Join Artistic Director, Edward Arron, one hour before each concert for a pre-concert talk about Schubert’s life and his composition of this masterpiece.

Musical Masterworks’ season runs through May 2019.  Mini subscriptions are available for $100 each or individual tickets are $40 for adults and $5 for students. visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

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State Senator-Elect Needleman Hosts First Office Hours, Thursday in Colchester

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman

State Senator-elect Norm Needleman (D-Essex) is inviting the public to ask questions, share their concerns and meet their new state senator during his  first public office hours to be held Thursday, Dec. 6, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the McDonald’s restaurant at 375 South Main Street in Colchester.

For the past 30 years, Sen.-elect Needleman has been the owner and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a pharmaceutical business which employs more than 150 Connecticut residents.  Sen.-elect Needleman serves as a board member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and he is also currently serving his fourth term as the first selectman of Essex

Beginning Jan. 9, 2019, Sen.-elect Needleman will represent more than 100,000 Connecticut residents in the 33rd State Senate District, which includes the Town of Lyme along with Chester, Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Deep River, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

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Join a “Hands-On” Workshop Monday to Design a Holiday Topiary Arrangement

LYME — Back by popular demand, Nancy Ballek will again host a demonstration and workshop at Lyme Public Library on designing a topiary arrangement to adorn your homes for the Holidays. This hands-on workshop is by pre-registration only at a cost of $20 per participant. (All supplies will be provided.)
Class size is limited to 25 participants. This event is sure to sell out quickly, so sign up promptly.

Call 860-434-2272 or email programreg@lymepl.org to register.

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It’s Small Business Saturday, so Shop Local Today!

Launched by American Express in 2010, when small businesses were suffering from an economy in a recession, Small Business Saturday was created to encourage people to Shop Small and take more holiday
shopping to local businesses that make our communities strong.

Our friends at the-e-list have prepared a list of local businesses offering special deals for Small Business Saturday, which you can find at this link.

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Enjoy ‘Trees in the Rigging,’ Community Carol Stroll, Tomorrow

Buddy the Elf stands aboard one of the vessels in last year’s Lighted Boat Parade. Photo by CT River Museum.

ESSEX — Kick off the holiday season tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 25, in Essex with the annual Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Lighted Boat Parade!

The Connecticut River Museum, the Essex Board of Trade, and the Essex Historical Society combine to present this annual event that includes a traditional, lantern-lit carol stroll down Main Street where spectators are invited to bring their own lanterns or flashlights and join in with the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars. 

Participants can gather at the Essex Town Hall at 4 p.m. The stroll steps off at 4:30 p.m. beginning on West Ave. and ending at the Connecticut River Museum with a parade of vessels dressed out in holiday lights and passing in review along the Connecticut River. 

Judges view the ‘Trees in the Rigging’ parade. Photo by CT River Museum.

Santa and his elves will arrive by one of the parade boats for visits with children on the lawn of the Connecticut River Museum. The Connecticut River Museum will also be open that evening for all to attend the 25th Annual Holiday Train Show.

New for this year’s land parade will be “Boat Floats” or small watercraft on trailers that are decorated for the holidays and can be towed down Essex’s streets.  Members of the public are welcome to decorate their own boat to be pulled or walked down the parade route.  This addition is starting small-scale – so folksy, homemade and low-budget will suit the spirit of the parade perfectly.  Rowboats, kayaks and canoes will all work, too. 

Contact Essex Historical Society to register your “Boat Float” and receive important driving and parking info: 860-767-0681 or mjosefiak@essexhistory.org

The essence of this free community event is the parade of boats dressed in holiday lights that sail along Essex’s waterfront in a friendly competition.  Prizes will be awarded to the top three best dressed boats.  Winners will be invited to receive their prize and have their photo taken on Monday, Nov. 26, at 4:30 p.m. at the Connecticut River Museum.

Join the on-the-water fun and register your boat for the lighted boat parade.  Registration is required to participate in the boat parade that usually begins around 5:15 p.m. from the south end of Essex Harbor.  To register, send emails to: akyff@ctrivermuseum.org. Information should include: vessel name; type of boat and description; owner(s) name; contact information (phone and preferred email); decorating scheme (if known at time of registration).  Registration must be received by Monday, Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m.

To make your own lanterns at home: 

  • Step 1: fill an empty aluminum can with water and freeze. This will make it easier to punch holes for the design in the can.
  • Step 2: using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the can to make a connect-the-dots style picture of a holiday design. Use plenty of holes to allow the light to shine through.
  • Step 3: punch two holes near the rim to attach a wire handle.
  • Step 4: after the ice is melted, attach a votive or other small candle to the inside bottom of the can.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm.  For more information, call 860.767.8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

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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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Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Hosts ‘Turkey Walk,’ Saturday

LYME — Take a Turkey Walk on Saturday !

Join a guide from the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center on Saturday, Nov. 24, from 9 to 10 a.m. for their yearly post-Thanksgiving walk at the Jewett Preserve in Lyme. Topics of discussion will include turkeys, Thanksgiving and more during this relaxed hour-long walk while enjoying the fall foliage and outdoor family time.

Register at https://www.ctaudubon.org/2018/10/register-turkey-walk/

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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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Charles Sennott, Founder of The GroundTruth Project, to Speak at SECWAC Meeting, Wednesday

Seen here reporting in Afghanistan, Charles Sennott will be the speaker at the SECWAC meeting at Connecticut College on Wednesday

AREAWIDE — The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) hosts Charles M. Sennott on Wednesday, Nov. 14  when he will speak on “GroundTruth in a Post-truth Era,” at 6 p.m. The talk will be held in the Ernst Common Room at Blaustein Hall in Connecticut College.

An award-winning foreign correspondent and founder of The GroundTruth Project, Sennott will discuss the work of this non-profit news organization around the world. Specifically, Sennott will look at the assault on a free press in the US and globally and how it is impacting international coverage. A crisis in journalism is becoming a crisis for democracy.

Sennott is an award-winning correspondent, best-selling author, and editor with 30 years of experience in international, national and local journalism. A leading social entrepreneur in new media, Sennott started GroundTruth in 2014, and in 2017 launched the non-profit organization’s new, local reporting initiative, Report for America.

Reporting on the front lines of wars and insurgencies in at least 20 countries, including the post-9/11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the 2011 Arab Spring, Sennott began his career in local news covering cops, courts, and municipal government. Sennott’s deep experience reporting led him to dedicate himself to supporting and training the next generation of journalists to tell the most important stories of our time.

Sennott is also the co-founder of GlobalPost, an acclaimed international news website.

Previously, Sennott worked for many years as a reporter at the New York Daily News and then the Boston Globe, where he became Bureau Chief for the Middle East and Europe, and a leader of the paper’s international coverage from 1997 to 2005.

Sennott has also served as a correspondent for PBS Frontline and the PBS NewsHour. He has contributed news analysis to the BBC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC and others. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the main event beginning at 6 p.m. The presentation is a part of the SECWAC 2018-2019 Speaker Series. For non-members, tickets ($20) may be purchased at the door; ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership. Attendance is free for SECWAC members (and their guests). Membership September 2018 through June 2019 is $75; $25 for young professionals under 35; free for area college and high school students.

Immediately following the presentation, SECWAC meeting attendees have the option for $35 to attend a dinner with the speaker at Tony D’s Restaurant, New London. Reservations are required at 860-912-5718.

The Ernst Common Room at Blaustein Hall, Connecticut College, 270 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT 06320. (MAP HERE)

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). The organization dates back to 1999, and has continued to arrange eight to 10 Speaker Series meetings annually, between September and June. The meetings range in foreign affairs topics, and are hosted at venues along the I-95 corridor, welcoming members and guests from Stonington to Old Saybrook, and beyond.

SECWAC’s mission is “to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.” It provides a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between members and speakers, who can be U.S. policy makers, educators, authors, and other experts on foreign relations. Learn more at http://secwac.org.

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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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Deep River Public Library Holds Mayflower STEM Challenge, Thursday

DEEP RIVER — The Deep River Library will be holding a Mayflower STEM Challenge geared toward children in grades 2 – 4 on Thursday,  Nov. 15, from 4 to 5 p.m. Registration is required for this event.

Participants will be split into two teams and will work cooperatively through a series of tasks to complete the challenge. Students will need to be able to add decimals, work though a simple engineering task as a team and crack a rebus code to follow the clues.

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

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All Active, Retired Military Invited to Join Tri-Town Veteran’s Day Parade Today

TRI-TOWN — Tri-Town Veteran’s Day Parade kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11, down Main St in Deep River.

All active duty and veterans are welcome to march.

Muster at 12:30 p.m. behind Deep River Elementary School.

Ceremony follows at the Memorial Green.

Listen for all church bells to ring at 11 a.m. throughout the towns in observance of the 100th anniversary of Armistice.

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Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm Hosts 29th Annual ‘Farm Day’, Nov. 24; All Welcome

Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm Annual ‘Farm Day’ always draws a large number of visitors.

LYME — Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm will host their 29th Annual ‘Farm Day’ on Saturday November 24th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 139 Beaver Brook Rd. in Lyme, Conn. The annual event is a Lyme tradition, bringing families together to celebrate the heritage of the 101-year-old farm.  The open house ‘Farm Day’ is a free event and features activities for people of all ages.

The Sankows invite the public to see the animals; including over 600 sheep, learn the history of the Sankow farm, and to discover how the farm products are produced and used.   Suzanne Sankow says “Stan and I continue to encourage families to learn the importance of farming and local agriculture.  We greatly enjoy seeing the next generations explore the farm, pet a cow, try a sheep’s cheese or just have fun being outdoors before the winter cold arrives”.

Activities for the family include wagon hayrides, wool spinning and sock making demonstrations.  Live music will be performed by The Locomotives, a folk/blues/rock band, who will be playing songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s in addition some originals.

Visitors can shop from a few local vendors including Four Root Farms who will be onsite selling holiday wreaths and swags made with all-Connecticut grown evergreens, rose hips and berries.

The Farm Market and Wool Shop will be open during the event and will feature a variety of artisanal sheep and cow’s milk dairy products and meats as well as new wool products including wool socks, pillows, blankets, capes and sweater capes. Complimentary tastings of sheep’s and cow’s cheese will be available including the Award-Winning BIG E ‘Best in Class’ Feta Pesto.

Lamb and chicken sausage sandwiches, Abbey, Pleasant Cow and Pleasant Son mac & cheese, lamb and white bean chili, chicken corn chowder, hot chocolate and cider will be available for purchase.

Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm, is a 175 acres sheep and dairy farm located in Lyme, CT.  The 101 year old farm is home to a dozen Jersey Cows alongside the 450-600 sheep – Frislands, Romneys and natural coloreds.

Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm is the largest sheep farm in Connecticut and the only licensed producer of sheep’s milk in Connecticut.  They make and sells artisanal sheep and cow’s milk cheeses as well as yogurts, milk, and gelato.

The Wool Shop on the farm features wool garments including socks, scarves, sweaters, hats, vests, and blankets as well as cones of yarn made from their own wool. They offer fresh lamb meats at their farm store beside homemade entrees such as white bean chili and lamb curry stew.

Visit www.beaverbrookfarm.org for more information.

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Collomore Concert Series Concludes With ‘Andes Manta,’ Nov. 25

The ‘Andes Manta’ group from the Ecuadorian Andes will play the final Collomore Concert, Nov. 25.

CHESTER — The Collomore Concert Series wraps up its 45th season at the Chester Meetinghouse on Sunday, Nov. 25, with music of the Ecuadorian Andes, played on more than 35 traditional instruments by the music group Andes Manta.

The vibrant and powerful music of Andes Manta is a joyous celebration of daily life. Songs and festivals mark the blessing of a house, the birth of a child, and the cycles of planting and harvesting. Energetic music and dance animate religious festivals blending pre-Colombian and Catholic rituals.

Natives of the Ecuadorian Andes, the four Lopez brothers – Fernando, Luis, Bolivar, and Jorge – form the group.  They are well known all over America for their virtuosity and extraordinary performances. From Carnegie Hall to the Discovery Channel, the National Cathedral to Lincoln Center and in hundreds of schools and universities, their powerful and moving performance has received standing ovation after standing ovation.

As one presenter said, “The crowd would not let them stop. These guys are magic.”

A selection of the instruments played by ‘Andes Manta.’

The four brothers learned their traditional folk music as it has been learned for thousands of years, passed from father to son, and brother to brother. They have played the entire range of Andean instruments since their childhood, but each has specialties.

Fernando specializes in strings, and most often plays guitar, the bandolin, and the charango. Luis is a noted virtuoso on the charango and the quena, the Andean flute. Jorge specializes in the Andean stringed instruments, while Bolivar is a noted wind musician and the featured performer on the ronadador, an Ecuadorian panpipe that is unique in the world for the “chordal” note that it produces.

The Sunday, Nov. 25, concert will be at 5 p.m. at the Chester Meetinghouse, 4 Liberty St., Chester. A reception follows the concert so you can meet the four brothers.

Read more about Andes Manta on the website, www.collomoreconcerts.org. Tickets for the concert are $30 (students, $5). Tickets can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal, or call (860) 526-5162.

The Collomore Concert series is under the auspices of the Chester Historical Society.

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High Hopes Holds ‘Holiday Market’ Today with All New ‘Tasting Center’

Last year’s Holiday Market at High Hopes drew huge crowds.

AREAWIDE — On Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day, High Hopes will host its 8th Annual Holiday Market with more than 60 carefully curated vendors  coming together with food trucks, kids’ activities, a wine and beer tasting tent, and a whole barn full of holiday spirit, to benefit over 1,750 children, teens and adults. Artisans come to the market to share their wares and help High Hopes to raise friends; the High Hopes Holiday Market is also the organization’s opportunity to share what they do.

Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., over 3,000 visitors will come through the farm gates in search of holiday inspiration. They’ll find something for everyone on their list from handmade silver jewelry to unique up-cycled clothing, woolly socks to silk scarves, goat soap to homemade honey, babies’ gifts to coffee table books, and cheese makers to chocolatiers. But it’s not just about shopping … the Market is a fun day out for the whole family.

Thanks to Market Partner, Benchmark Wealth Management of Old Lyme, entry to the market remains free with a non-perishable food item for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries. Last year High Hopes was the largest single-day collection point with our visitors donating over 3,000 lbs of food just in time for the Holidays.

Grab a group of friends and your “Passport” to Taste the World. Grand Wine & Spirits will be piquing your palate with a selection of wines and beers from each of 12 different producing regions across the world. The Gourmet Galley Catering will be tempting your taste buds with seasonal small-bites, holiday treats and a raw oyster bar.

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online for $20 (a 33 percent saving, which also means you get fast-tracked into the tent on the day.) Tickets on the day will be $30 on a first-come-first-served basis. State or Federal photographic I.D. will be required for all entrants. Tickets are available at this link

As well as vendors, there will be kids’ activities, information about High Hopes 2019 Summer Camps, and some of the hottest food trucks on the Shoreline. Take the time to walk the beautiful “runway” and meet the High Hopes special herd of therapy horses.

Stop one of the many volunteers and find out why they joined with over 650 others this past year to help High Hopes deliver over 12,000 equine-assisted activities and therapies to over 1,500 children and adults who come through the organization’s programs, celebrating “ability not disability.”

Nov. 11 is Veterans’ Day, and thanks to our community partner MassMutual, veterans will be able to take some time out, browse some helpful resources, watch “Mark’s Story” and enjoy cider donuts and piping hot Omar Coffee in the Veterans’ Tent.

For more information and to register for the raffle or Passport to Taste the World Tent, visit this link.  

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Ivoryton Library Hosts Screeching Hawk, Other Mohegan Tribe Guests, Today

ESSEX — November is National Native American Heritage Month.

On Sunday, Nov. 11, Ivoryton Library welcomes Screeching Hawk and other guests from the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut. She will bring and discuss jewelry, baskets and other crafts, as well as regalia. Screeching Hawk will also demonstrate tribal dances.

Join the Ivoryton Library at 4 p.m. for this exciting program. For more information, call the library at 860-767-1252.

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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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‘The Queens of the Golden Mask’ at Ivoryton Strikes a Topical Chord … With a Warning

Gerrianne Genga, Sarah Jo Provost and Ellen Barry perform in ‘The Queens of the Golden Mask.’ Photo by Jonathan Steele.

IVORYTON – It is summer, 1961, and in Celestial, Ala., it’s hotter’n a blister bug in a pepper patch.  It is especially steamy in the kitchen of the Sage household where the matriarch, Ida, has gathered her friends around her to meet the new girl in town.  How will Rose from Ohio fit in with the ladies of Celestial who bake pies, sell Avon and belong to the Ku Klux Klan?

The Queens of the Golden Mask, a world premiere currently being performed at the Ivoryton Playhouse, runs through Nov. 18. Carole Lockwood’s brand new play pulls aside the Cotton Curtain to reveal a hidden piece of history that tells a little-known story and also raises a warning. The normalizing of hate is dangerous and toxic – not only to the objects of the hatred but eventually destroying those who are unwittingly caught up in its comfortable complacency.

The play is based on the experiences of Elizabeth H. Cobbs/Petric Smith, who wrote the autobiographical Long Time Coming: An Insiders Story of the Birmingham Church Bombing that Rocked the World. Smith’s work provides more than an insider’s account of one of the most atrocious events of the civil rights era; it is also the personal journey of a woman inside the world of the most extreme opponents of racial justice.

In the violent world of the Klan, women were subservient; men beat their wives with impunity in order to sustain white male supremacy. Most women were partners in the goal of maintaining white supremacy but there were many who, quietly and with great moral courage, put their lives on the line. This is their story.

Lockwood is an actor and writer, who has performed all over the country, on and off Broadway, but it was a challenge from David Mamet that prompted her to sit down and write a play — she has been writing ever since.

Lockwood has written five plays; Basic CableThe Lone Star Princess; and three scripts based in the civil rights movement, “the girls” of Red Tears (the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church), The Mary Band Road Show (the Selma-to-Montgomery March) and The Queens of the Golden MaskUp on the Roof (rooftops after Hurricane Katrina) is currently in the works.

The cast includes Bonnie Black*, Bethany Fitzgerald*, Jes Bedwinek, and Anna Fagan, who have all previously appeared at Ivoryton, and Ellen Barry*, Gerrianne Genga* and Sarah Jo Provost* who will be making their Ivoryton debut.

The production is directed by Jacqueline Hubbard, Ivoryton’s Artistic Director, with set design by Daniel Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Elizabeth Saylor Cipollina.

Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

There will be a talk back with the cast and director plus guests after each performance on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Tickets are $55 for adults; $50 for seniors; $25 for students and $20 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

(Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

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Musical Masterworks’ MMModern Presents ‘Quinteto Latino’ This Evening at Centerbrook

‘Quinteto Latino’ will perform Friday, Nov. 9, in the Centerbrook Meeting House.

CENTERBROOK — Experience contemporary chamber music featuring Quinteto Latino tomorrow evening (Friday, Nov. 9) in a Musical Masterworks’ Modern concert starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Centerbrook Meetinghouse. Whether exploring new twists on traditional folk songs or premiering works by living composers, these five musicians blend both the vibrant colors and vigorous rhythms of Latin American music through the tones of the flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, and bassoon.

Admission is $35 and student admission is $10. Admission includes a reception prior to the concert at 5:30 p.m.; the concert begins at 6:30 p.m.

After the performance, continue your evening with a $40 per person Prix Fixe dinner at the new Los Charros Cantina at The Essex in Centerbrook. Price includes choice of appetizer, tacos, dessert and house margarita. Only available to MMModern concertgoers. Make your dinner reservation by calling The Essex at 860.237.4266 and reference MMModern.

This special performance has been generously sponsored by The Howard Gilman Foundation, Clark Group, Phyllis M. McDowell, Tower Labs and Wade Thomas.

For full details and to purchase tickets, visit Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

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Needleman Wins 33rd State Senate District by 303 Votes

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman

State Representative (R-34th) Melissa Ziobron.

AREAWIDE — Melissa Ziobron, Republican Candidate for the 33rd State Senate District and outgoing House Representative for the 34th District, called her opponent to concede the race just after noon today.

According to the Connecticut Secretary of State, Mr. Needleman leads by 303 votes, or 0.58 percent, which is just 0.08 percent over the 0.5 percent threshold that would trigger an automatic recount.
Rep. Ziobron stated “I am very proud of the race that I ran and grateful for the tremendous effort from my campaign staff and volunteers. We worked hard, earned every vote and did not give an inch of ground.”
Rep. Ziobron concluded: “I want to thank everyone who has supported me, both in this race and elsewhere, most especially my family.”
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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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