October 18, 2021

The Merchants of Chester Present the 20th Annual May Daze Night Gallery and Shop Stroll

 The Merchants of Chester proudly carry on their tradition celebrating the arrival of spring with the 20th Annual May Daze Night Weekend Art Gallery and Shop Opening Reception stroll on Friday, May 6, 2011. There will be Shop and Gallery opening receptions for new exhibits and previews in Chester Center from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

“Every May we keep our doors open late on the Friday night closest to May Day to celebrate the arrival of Spring. We have receptions in our galleries, shops, studios and restaurants”, says Leif Nilsson, artist and owner of the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery. “It is a festive evening, where townspeople and visitors are invited to stroll the streets of an antique New England Village to see the latest paintings, photographs, sculptures, fashions and jewelry, to sample baked goods and fine food, and to discover handcrafted decorative accessories and furnishings.”

Chester, Connecticut is a unique town that holds the past, present, and future in delightful balance. A storybook New England village, Chester is located on the beautiful Connecticut River, about 10 miles north of Long Island Sound on the left (port) bank. The town is renowned for its quaint shops, artist galleries, award winning Theatre, and a variety of fantastic restaurants for everyone in the family to enjoy. Easy to reach by car, rail, air, or boat, Chester is conveniently located just a two-hour drive from both New York City and Boston, Massachusetts on Route 9 off of I95 or I91 at exit 6. Free parking is available at the Maple Street and the Water Street lots as well as two-hour limited on-street parking.

The following Chester Merchants will participate in the May Daze Night Receptions on May 6, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

CENTURY 21 Heritage Company 
16 Main Street.
Please join us to celebrate the Grand Re-Opening at our home.  A post Cinco De Mayo fest will be
served Friday night from 5 to 8 p.m.

C & G Apparel and C&G Posters & Prints
3 North Main Street  860 526 3284
We’ll be open late for May Daze. Come find what you didn’t even know you were looking for! Seasonal apparel on the first floor, timeless art upstairs. Regular hours: 12-5 Wednesday-Sunday and 10-5 Chester Market Sundays http://www.cgchester.com

Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art, 1 Maple Street, Chester, CT
www.mapleandmaingallery.com  860-526-6065.  Visit the gallery for a fresh, original spring exhibit sure to inspire you. In our Spring Exhibit you’ll find work by over 30 Connecticut artists in a wide variety of mediums and styles. Maple and Main is proud to welcome new artists Chris Dixon, Bernie McTigue and sculptor Susan Russo. Join us for light refreshments and meet and mingle with our artists.

Connecticut River Artisans Cooperative and The Art Gallery at The Mill House
5 West Main Street, Chester (860) 526-5575 www.ctriverartisans.com. New Hours: April thru December: Tuesday thru Sunday: 11 – 5:30pm.   The Connecticut River Artisans presents Featured Artist Barbara Long of Pot Luck Pottery. Her show runs May 1- 29. Pot Luck Pottery was established in 1995 after retirement from the work force. Barbara’s focus is on functional pottery. She works mainly in stoneware using a small palette of colors. Barbara will be sharing a Reception, on Saturday May 7: 2-5pm, with the May exhibiting artist in The Art Gallery at The Mill House. Christine Ivers is a Master Pastelist with The International Association of Pastel Societies and a Signature Member of Pastel Society of America. Chris brings to life images, of the night, that are caught in time and space. Her love of texture and vibrant pigment captures the imagination and brings to life a world that is many times missed. Christine’s May 1-29 Show is titled “Between The Shadows: Nightscapes”. The Public is always welcome anytime.

Peekabooquet n. cupcake
4 Water Street 860 526 2225. Spring into summer with our precious, unique outfits from Isobella & Chloe. Our new line of outrageously precious, durable thick cotton sweaters is a summer must for cool nights – lobsters, dogs, whales, shamrocks and more.  Our original, unique clothing bouquets are now filled with an entire outfit for your new arrival – still made in USA. Stop by and register for a $25 gift certificate on May Daze May 6, 2011 starting 10a-8p. Always evolving, always new – You’ll love our stuff. http://www.peekabooquet.com

The Al Malpa Photo Gallery
4 Spring Street will be open from 5:00 on. Stop in to enjoy Al’s photos, food, and wine. www.almalpa.com

Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery
One Spring Street (P O Box 261), (860) 526-2077. Opening of the Spring exhibit of oil paintings and drawings of the Lower Connecticut River Valley, the village of Chester, CT, the Artist’s garden, interiors, friends, world travels and Elephants by Leif Nilsson with a reception on Friday May 6, 2011 from 5 – 8 pm. Gallery hours: Saturday & Sunday Noon – 6 pm. Other times by chance or appointment. Visit anytime on the internet at http://www.nilssonstudio.com

Caryn B. Davis Photography will showcase photographs from Italy, the CT River Valley, Mexico, Martha’a Vineyard, Portugal and Old San Juan. The photographs will be on display at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio &
Gallery. For more information contact Caryn B Davis at 860-526-5936, via email caryn@cbdphotography.com, or visit her website at http://www.cbdphotography.com

eo art lab
69 Main St, 860.526.4833
Synesthesia. See the buzz.  Hear the vision.  Smell the talent.  Taste the passion.  Feel the intellect. A group show featuring eo’s renown slate of artists Seth Anderson, Thaddeus Beal, Charles Birnbaum, Heather Mae Erickson, George Fellner, Charlie Goodwin, Elizabeth Gourlay, Julie Gross, Sarah Gustafson, Vaune Hatch, Janet Lage, Mitch Lyons, Pamela Marks, Clarence Morgan, Kelly Jean Ohl, Dana Oldfather, Meg Brown Payson, Marc Petrovic, Carol Prusa, Ross Racine, Thomas Stavovy, and Malcolm Wright. Through May 29, 2011. Mon.-Sat. 10a.m.-6p.m., Sun, noon-6p.m., or by appointment. http://www.eoartlab.com

Lori Warner Studio/Gallery
21 Main Street
We’re especially excited to welcome the new Spring season…with many new arrivals…babies included! Please visit the gallery to see new work our artists and designers have created during the long winter. Including, a new collection from our featured jewelrly designer, Beatrice Lissague. Check our weekly updated website for details. http://www.loriwarner.com

Chester Gallery will be opening its Spring Season Friday May 6th. from 5 – 7, keeping up with its tradition of showcasing artists who live in Chester.  Stop by and see some works by Chester’s newest artist, Gail Mally-Mack.  Also a few signed and numbered LeWitt prints, including The Shul Star and of course Richard Ziemann’s engravings. 76 Main St. Chester Tues. thru Sat. 10 to 5 for more information 860-526-9822 or chestergallery@att.net

Grand opening of the Local Beet Co-op, a natural food cooperative in the heart of Chester with colorful author, Jay Weinstein, signing his book, The Ethical Gourmet; a book celebrating sustainable eating and cooking! Come in and toast our expansion at 1 Main Street and our exciting conversion to CO-OP, a business rooted in the community and owned by its members! Find us at www.thelocalbeetcoop.com

Hammered Edge Studio & Gallery
4 Water Steet, Chester CT. 860-526-1654. www.hammered edge.com. We have relocated to 4 Water Street(Deja-vous!) Celebrate positive change and renewel with us from 5-8 pm on Friday May 6th! We have many surprises in store for you… Please contact Kathryne Wright at the Gallery for more information.

Little Public Comment on No-Tax-Increase Chester Budget

CHESTER— A total $12.55 million town spending plan for 2011-2012 drew a mild reaction Tuesday from a handful of residents at the annual budget hearing. About 20 residents, most currently serving on town boards and commissions, turned out for the hearing at the Chester Meeting House.

The total $12,555,853 spending package includes a $3,668,718 town government budget, a $4,164,069 appropriation for Chester Elementary School, and the town’s $4,723,066 share of the Region 4 education budget.
The town government budget is down by $26,767, or 0.72 percent, from the current appropriation. The town government budget includes a $345,000 capital expenditure fund for 2011-2012, with $270,000 of the amount directed toward road repairs, and $25,000 for roof repairs at the Chester Hose Company Firehouse.

First Selectman Tom Marsh said the town budget maintains all current services, despite the small decrease in total spending. He said the capital expenditure plan, which also includes $50,000 towards the future purchase of a new fire truck later in the decade, “takes care of what we need to take care of” in a year where growth in the grand list of taxable property generated only $33,500 in new tax revenue. “If we had fatter days we could certainly put more money in this account,” he said.

The $4,164,069 budget for Chester Elementary School represents a small $2,824 decrease from current spending for the school. A drop in student enrollment at the K-sixth grade school, from the current 275 students to 266 expected in September, allowed for a reduction of one teacher position, one teacher assistant position, and a part-time para-educator position for a savings of about $110.000.

The budget plan calls for no increase in the current tax rate of 22.11 mills, or $22.11 in tax for each $1,000 of assessed property value. Helping for avoid a hike in the tax rate is a transfer of $145,000 from the town’s undesignated fund balance. The transfer would leave about $1.31 million in the fund balance in June 2012.

There were no calls for changes in the budget plan at the public hearing. The annual budget meeting vote on a spending package for 2011-2012 is expected to be held on Tuesday May 17 at the Meeting House. The Region 4 education budget goes to the voters of Chester, Deep River, and Essex Tuesday in a 12-noon to 8 p.m. referendum.

Historical Hospitality:Enjoy Fine Dining in Chester Private Homes on April 30

Dine in the elegant dining room in one of Chester’s colonials on the Chester Green

The Chester Historical Society is hosting its second “Historical Hospitality,” on the evening of Saturday, April 30. This will be an evening of fine dining in private Chester homes while supporting the Historical Society and the Chester Museum at The Mill.

Enjoy dinner in the newly redesigned apartment kitchen in Chester center owned by a cooking teacher

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, catered by Paula Dutka, at the Maple & Main Gallery of Fine Art at the corner of Maple Street. The historic building, built in 1798, has recently been restored and renovated to accommodate a spacious gallery showcasing local and national artists. It’s a perfect venue to gather and kick off the evening.

At 7 o’clock, everyone heads off to a memorable and unique home in Chester for a creative and gourmet sit-down dinner, along with fine wines. Perhaps you’ll dine at the art-filled home of the Marlboro Man; or enjoy dinner inspired by a recent trip to Istanbul served in the dining room of an eclectic home overlooking the Connecticut River; or eat in an 18th-century farmhouse. Or will you be hosted by a cooking teacher in her newly redecorated village apartment? Will you dine on Indian food prepared in front of you or savor “A Taste of Louisiana” in a geothermal contemporary?

Enjoy an authentic Indian dinner will be created by professional chef David Robertsonin this new kitchen

Professional Chef David Robertson will prepare an authentic Indian dinner in a brand new kitchen.  You will sit at the island, sipping on Mango Lassis,  and watching him prepare Samosas, Pappadums, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Dopiaza, Spinach and Cauliflower Bhaji, and many more dishes.  Eight other private homes in Chester will feature unusual and memorable dinners.

 The event promises to be unforgettable – an opportunity to mix with friends and meet some new friends along the way, to be a dinner guest in one of Chester’s beautiful private homes,  and to support the Chester Historical Society.  The cost is $100 per person (half of which is tax-deductible). Early reservations are recommended. Call Sosse Baker at 860-526-9822.

Chester Community Clean Up Day

Saturday, April 23 will be Chester’s 4th annual Chester Clean Up day. Chester Land Trust will provide coffee & donuts at the Carini Preserve from 10 am to Noon,  – bags will be provided to anyone who would like to pick up road side trash or trash from Chester’s beautiful parks. 

You can help as part of a group or on your own. If your organization would like to help as a group we can assign an area, and direction. For example we need mulch spread at a couple of locations in town; we provide the mulch you provide the effort. A big help that is simple to do is take a walk around your end of town on the 23rd and pick up roadside trash along the way. You can use your own trash bag, or pick up free bags as noted above.

We do ask that you call us at 526-0013 x. 202 and let us know if and where you leave a bag of trash on the side of the road. Our town crew will come by Monday and pick it up. In past years we have picked up a dump truck load of trash on clean-up day!

Chester Zoning Board of Appeals Denies Most Variances for Route 154 Market

CHESTER— In a split decision, the zoning board of appeals had denied most of the variances required for a proposed market in a vacant building at 56 Middlesex Avenue, also known as Route 154.

The board acted unanimously at a March 21 session on two motions after a public hearing where local resident Peter Kehayias and Deep River architect John Kennedy presented plans for the proposed market with a 10-seat cafe area. The plans require a small expansion of the building for a walk in cooler.  The building, located on Route 154 near the intersection with Main Street, has been vacant for more than two years.

Kehayias, a former owner of the Patticonk Restaurant in the downtown village, has been trying for nearly a year to win zoning approval to convert the building into a market. The planning and zoning commission denied a special permit for the market last November, leading Kehayias to file a lawsuit in Middlesex Superior Court appealing the decision.
Eight residents, including former Selectman Peter Zanardi and Edward Ward, chairman of the water pollution control authority, spoke in support of the variances at the March 21 hearing. Kehayias said the market would be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. He said the market would have four full-time employees, and four to six part-time workers.  No one spoke against the plans at the ZBA hearing, where Kennedy noted the building has always had a commercial or retail use.

The board acted on a two-part motion by member Mark Borton, approving an extension or expansion of a non-conforming structure to re-fit the structure, while denying all of the other variances requested by Kehayias. Borton’s motion said the other variances, including a change of use and variances of minimum setback and non-conforming characteristics requirements of zoning regulations, were issues for the planning and zoning commission to decide.
The ZBA decision leaves Kehayias’s lawsuit pending. The planning and zoning commission discussed the case with commission attorney David Royston and First Selectman Tom Marsh in closed sessions on Feb. 17 and March 3. After conferring with Royston, the commission decided not to send a representative to oppose the variance appeals at the March 21 ZBA meeting.

Poets Celebrate National Poetry Month at Chester Public Library

“In Our Words:  Four Local Poets” celebrates the power, beauty, and fun of poetry with a reading at Chester Public Library on Monday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m.

The poets, all with ties to Chester, include Barbara Earle, Tim Napier, Pam Nomura, and Hannah Watkins.  Barbara Earle, who received a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin at age 68, has been writing poetry that reflects her marvelous sense of humor all her life.  She has been known to write more serious poems, as well and takes great joy in both writing and reciting poetry.   

Tim Napier credits his mentor and friend, poet William Meredith, with igniting his love of words when he was a graduate student at Connecticut College.  The fire has continued to burn as Napier, an award-winning poet, taught creative writing at the high school level throughout his career.  He has been published on numerous occasions and is pleased to be at a point in his life where he can devote as much time as he likes to writing.

Pamela Nomura has lived most of her life in Connecticut and Hawaii, places that appear again and again in her poems.  Nomura has been published in a number of journals and magazines and her chapbook, Water and Land by Turns, was published in 2001.  She has given workshops and readings at prisons, shelters, convalescent homes, libraries, museums and universities, and has been in residence at Soul Mountain Retreat, the Blue Mountain Center, and, most recently, in Cape Town, South Africa, where she partnered with U.S. and South African performing artists to work with youth-at-risk.

Hannah Watkins, a sophomore at Middlesex Community College, is one of only five 2011 Connecticut Student Poets recognized by the Connecticut Poetry Circuit.   As part of this elite group, Watkins is on tour reading her original poetry at various colleges in the state and at the Sunken Garden at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Conn. Watkins’ work has been published in Freshwater, The Bethel Bulletin, and her college’s publications: The Flying Horse and Pegasus and will appear in the fall issue of the prestigious creative arts publication, Connecticut Review.

Following their readings, the poets will welcome questions and refreshments will be served.  Register for the program by calling the Library at 860-526-0018.  Chester Library is located at 21 W. Main Street in Chester, CT.

“A Few Good Men” – Womanless Beauty Pageant!

Paul Indorf (Nancy-boy Sinatra) - Photo courtesy of Petru Bester

Chester Rotary will presenting their 1st Annual Womanless Beauty Pageant, “A few Good Men”, on Saturday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at Chester Meeting House, in support of the Chester Community Fund.

The Chester Community fund supports many of our neighbors in need, supplying fuel to heat homes, food for their tables and many other necessities.  The requests for fuel and food are already surpassing this time last year, which makes this an important event.
 
Plan now to enjoy a time of hilarity and laughter!  See “the celebrities” of our community decked out in their finest, all in good fun, to support a cause that does so much for our Chester residents.
 
Please check the Rotary website at www.chesterrotary.org for more information.  Tickets are available at The Package Store, The Hammered Edge and The Villager in downtown Chester.

Variance Hearing for Postponed Chester Market Put Off to March 21

CHESTER—The zoning board of appeals has postponed to March 21 the public hearing on a variance appeal for a proposed organic market on Middlesex Avenue that is the subject of a lawsuit after the planning and zoning commission denied the original special permit application last fall.

Board Chairman Mario Gioco said the hearing that had been scheduled for Monday evening has been postponed to the board’s March 21 meeting at the request of applicant Peter Kehayias.

Kehayias, a local resident, has been trying since last summer to win zoning approval for an organic market in a vacant building at 56 Middlesex Avenue, also known as Route 154. The planning and zoning commission rejected a special permit application for the proposed market last November, leading Kehayias to file a lawsuit appealing the commission’s denial to Middlesex Superior Court. In the lawsuit, Kehayias’s lawyer, Middletown attorney Patricia Farrell, contends that some commission members should have recused themselves from hearing the special permit application because they own property or businesses in nearby Chester village that would face competition from the proposed market.

Kehayias is seeking variances of the minimum setback and non-conforming use/change of use provisions of Chester Zoning Regulations to allow an organic market with a ten-seat cafe area in the vacant structure at 56 Middlesex Avenue.

Chester Zoning Board of Appeals to Consider Proposed Market That was Denied by Planning and Zoning

CHESTER— The zoning board of appeals will hold a public hearing Monday on a proposed organic market in a vacant building at 56 Middlesex Avenue that was rejected by the planning and zoning commission in November as an illegal expansion of a non-conforming use.

The special permit denial led applicant Peter Kehayias to file an appeal in Middlesex Superior Court. Kehayias, a local resident, has now applied for seven variances of zoning regulations that would allow the market with a ten-seat cafe area to go forward. The ZBA hearing convenes at 7:30 p.m. in the Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street.

Kehayias has been trying since last summer to win zoning approval of an organic market in the vacant structure at 56 Middlesex Avenue, also known as Route 154. An initial special permit application that included a ten-seat cafe area was withdrawn in September after some members of the planning and zoning commission suggested Kehayias present a new application without the seating area for on-site consumption of food and other items.

But a revised special permit application without the cafe seating area was denied on a unanimous vote of the panel in November after a public hearing that began in October. Commission members maintained the market would be an illegal commercial expansion of a non-conforming use because the plan called for enlarging the structure to make room for storage coolers. Members voting to reject the application were commission chairman Michael Joplin and members Jon Lavy, Janet Good, Steven Tiezzi, Steven Merola, Errol Horner, and Keith Scherber.

Kehayias, represented by Middletown lawyer Jennifer Farrell, appealed the decision in December with a lawsuit that contends the commission’s decision was arbitrary and an abuse of discretion. The lawsuit also contends that one or more members of the panel should have disqualified themselves from considering the special permit application because they had a “personal interest or bias toward the property and proposed use,” including an alleged previous attempt to purchase the property by one member, and other members’ ownership or business interest in properties in the nearby downtown village.

The lawsuit contends there was a conflict of interest for one or more commission members because the market would provide economic competition for their business interests in Chester village. The 56 Middlesex Avenue structure, which has been vacant for about two years, is located directly across from the intersection of Middlesex Avenue and Main Street leading to the downtown village.

The lawsuit also contends commission members “misled” Kehayias with the suggestion that he submit an application without the cafe seating area, and that one or more members of the panel missed portions of the public hearing and did not review tapes or transcripts of the hearing.

Kehayias is seeking variances of the minimum setback and non-conforming use/change of use provisions of Chester Zoning Regulations.

Chester Selectmen Appoint Library Expansion Committee

CHESTER— The board of selectmen has appointed a nine-member volunteer committee to develop a plan for an expansion of the historic 1907 Chester Library on West Main St.

The committee’s review and recommendations are expected to lead to a proposed building project for the library that could go to the voters for funding approval later this year. Members of the library board of trustees, which has been considering options to expand and upgrade the library for more than a year, had asked the selectmen to establish the committee late last year.

Based on input received in a town wide survey and other factors, the trustees have decided to pursue a renovation and limited expansion of the existing library building, rather that construction of a new library on another site. The library building on West Main St. (Route 148) currently comprises about 2,000 square-feet with about 17,000 volumes.

Appointed to the committee are Selectman Larry Sypher, library trustee Peggy Carter Ward, Patricia Holloway, a librarian in West Hartford, builder Jeff Ridgway, project planner Jean Davies, Clifford Vermilya, a former town manager and library director, Dennis Tovey, an engineer, Lois Nadel, and Michelle Clark.

The charge for the committee that was approved by the board of selectmen at a meeting last week calls for recommendations on assuring full handicapped accessibility, upgrading of all mechanical systems as needed and providing dedicated storage space and an office for the librarian. The charge also calls for the committee to develop a plan that would not reduce parking capacity around the library.

Another key component of the charge calls for the committee to “secure a clear determination of the ownership of the library building and property.” The library is located on a parcel near the United Church of Chester, and some land records indicate the property is owned by the church.

Selectmen requested a determination of the ownership because questions about ownership of the land could hamper the town’s ability to secure bond financing for a building renovation and expansion project. The charge also calls for any proposed alterations of the building to be “unobtrusive and in keeping with the integrity of the existing building.”

Chester Child Care Center Open House

Hands-on Learning - Chester Child Center believes in learning through play and provides a wide range of activities, indoors and out, including early reading and writing, arts, crafts, gardening, and baking.

Chester Child Center will be holding it’s Annual Open House on Thursday, March 10, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Visitors can visit the center,  meet  the teachers and even make a craft. Refreshments will be served.

The Center enrolls children ages 3 to 7 and offers a nursery/preschool program, before and after school programs, as well as part time and full time child care. They have been serving families and children in the community since 1973.

Visit the Chester Child Center to learn how the Center can teach your child about numbers and letters and colors, help develop early reading, writing and  math skills. Enjoy and learn with  Music With Margie and make creative and beautiful art!  Have your child come and learn through play and fun. Our hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Chester Child Center is now accepting registrations for our Summer or Fall Sessions. Please call 860-526-3337 for more information.

Winter Carnivale Warms up the Weather in Chester

Chester Carnivale held yesterday. Despite the bitterly cold temperatures, the streets were crowded with tourists and locals alike (photos by Rachel Berliner)

Chester held its 21st annual Winter Carnivale yesterday.  Despite the bitterly cold temperatures, the streets were crowded with tourists and locals alike.   There was a parade on Main Street and Mardi Gras beads were passed out to add to the festivities.

Theatre fans gathered at the Goodspeed at Chester’s Norma Terris Theatre annual tag sale.  There were props from last season’s shows as well as previous seasons on sale.  Other items included signed posters, various costumes, records, and theatre books. 

In keeping with the spirit of “Carnivale”, the life-sized puppet theatre used by the character Lili in the recent musical, “Carnival!” was also for sale.  Any takers?

The Pattaconk 1850 Bar & Grille served hamburgers and chowder outside its doors.  Simon’s Marketplace offered mouthwatering cookies (especially the chocolate chip- peanut butter ones!), brownies, cupcakes, and breads.  And the Chester Hose Company featured different types of chili at their “Chilly Chili Cook-Off”, which certainly … and forgive the pun … spiced up the day. 

Other fun attractions at the Carnivale included the ice sculpture competition and various street performers roaming the streets.

We can’t wait until next year to see more surprises in store!

‘It Happened to Jane” at Chester Meeting House

This vintage poster promoting ‘a warm, wonderful movie for the whole family’, will be greeting fans when the Chester Historical Society hosts a special viewing of ‘It Happened to Jane’ at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26 at the Chester Meeting House. The town’s historic meetinghouse was a movie site and the rest of Chester became an outdoor studio for this 1959 film which starred Doris Day, Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs.

Take a welcome break from the winter blues with a special free showing of the movie, “It Happened to Jane,” which was filmed during the summer of 1959 at many sites in Chester.  The movie starred Doris Day, Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs, as well as many Chester townspeople.
 
The showing will be at the historic Chester Meeting House at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, with a snow date at the same time on Sun. Feb. 27. 

Called “a warm, wonderful movie for the whole family,” “It Happened to Jane” is a light romantic comedy with many scenes of Chester (including a town meeting in the Chester Meeting House and a parade on Main Street).

There is no admission for the film, and popcorn and a beverage will be sold for just $1.00.  Theater candy will also be sold.

Camp Hazen YMCA Summer Camp Open House , February 27

On Sunday, February 27, Camp Hazen YMCA will host an Open House from 2-4 PM.   Families are encouraged to attend to learn more about summer opportunities for their children.  Camp Hazen YMCA, located at 204 West Main Street on Cedar Lake in Chester, offers one and two week session of both day and resident camp. 

Some sessions already have waitlists so it is imperative for families to plan their summer now.  Camp Director, Danita Ballantyne, states “Attending an Open House provides a valuable opportunity for families to meet the Camp Directors and see the facilities to determine if Camp Hazen is the right choice for their family.” 

Camp Hazen YMCA is committed to helping youth develop valuable life skills through camping experiences that build healthy bodies, open minds and awakened spirits.    Traditional camp activities like swimming, arts and crafts and campfires – along with more unique programs including a Skate Park, Alpine Tower, Mountain Biking and Windsurfing are available for campers.  All activities are designed to ensure that campers are having fun, making friends and learning valuable life lessons such as independence and leadership which are the core ingredients of the camp experience.

Camp Hazen YMCA believes the summer camp experience is a vital part of a child’s development and offers a tier pricing program to make camp affordable for all.  For more information, contact Danita Ballantyne at 860-526-9529 or visit www.camphazenymca.org

The Fifth Annual Samba Rio Benefit Dance Feb. 19 Chester

Samba dancer Quenia Ribeiro

The Fifth Annual Samba Rio Benefit Dance will be held Saturday, Feb. 19, 8 – 11 p.m., at St. Joseph’s Parish Center on Rte. 154 in Chester.

Samba Rio is the ultimate kick-off party for the Chester Winter Carnivale.  Catch that Brazilian beat with Trinity Samba and the José Paulo Brazilian Group and learn samba dance moves with exotic Brazilian performer, Quenia.  Complimentary Brazilian foods and one beverage (including Brazil’s world-famous Caipirinha cocktails, made from scratch) are included in the ticket price.

The doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the dancing starts at 8. The event also features a fabulous silent auction, which will include charming primitive paintings and ethnic items from Brazil, and the opportunity to mark an unforgettable evening with a photograph taken by Diane Sobolewski from Goodspeed.

This year the theme is Flora and Fauna. Come in costume or mask, if desired.   Prizes will be awarded for the best masks, costumes, and samba dancing. If you want a professional costume, Goodspeed Costume Rentals (www.goodspeed.org/rentals) has an extensive and eclectic costume inventory. Discounts are available to Samba Rio ticketholders. Characters & Costumes at 260 River Street, Guilford (203-453-6036) also offers a discount on costume rentals.

Masks can be purchased at The Hammered Edge in Chester Center or at the dance. Those who want to make their own masks or headdresses can find mask forms, accessories, ornaments, and other supplies at Hammered Edge in Chester.

Tickets are $45 in advance, $50 at the door. For groups of eight or more ordering online: the ticket price is $35 per person (complimentary beverage not included). For students with ID: $25 at the door. Tickets are available at www.brayce.org; at The Hammered Edge in the center of Chester, Ivory Pub in Deep River, Aegean Treasures in Essex, Bowerbird in Old Lyme, and KCs in Old Saybrook; or, by check in the mail to BRAYCE, P.O. Box 100, Chester, CT 06412.

Proceeds benefit BRAYCE (Brazilian and American Youth Cultural Exchange), a nonprofit foundation based in Chester, with an office in Rio de Janeiro, provides educational and leadership opportunities for young people from Brazil and the United States. BRAYCE is now in its sixth year.

Chester Grand List of taxable property shows half of one percent increase

CHESTER– The October 2010 grand list of taxable property is up by $436,650, or .50 percent, from the 2009 grand list total, with all of the increase driven by rising values for motor vehicles.

Assessor Loreta Zdanys has filed an October 2010 grand list with a net taxable total of $500,981,070, an increase of $436,650 or half of one percent, from a 2009 grand list total of $500,544,420. Zdanys said the increase would generate only $9,655 in new tax revenue at the current tax rate of 22.11 mills.

All of the increase was driven by the town’s 4,071 motor vehicles accounts. The net total for motor vehicles is $26,649,620, up by $691,940 from a 2009 motor vehicles total of $25,949,480. The increase reflects rising values for all motor vehicles, including used cars and trucks.

The net taxable totals for real estate and personal property are down from the 2009 totals. The town’s 1,814 real estate accounts total $451,775,920, a decrease of $536,980 from a 2009 real estate total of $452,312,200. The net taxable total for the town’s 469 personal property accounts also decreased, with a 2010 personal property total of $16,532,140 down by $485,640 from, a 2009 personal property total of $17,017,780.

The town’s top ten taxpayers remained unchanged from 2009. The top ten taxpayers, with the current assessments, are Chester Woods Inc. (Chester Village West complex on Route 148)- $15,555,470, Connecticut Water Company-$7,374,330, Whelen Engineering Company-$6,475,620, The Eastern Company-$3,950,080, Whelen Aviation LLC (Chester Airport)-$3,851,810, Connecticut Light and Power Company-$3,743,190, Roto Frank of America Inc.-$2,619,750, Arthur and Judith Schaller-$2,447,810, Margaret and Robert Sbriglio-$2,249,480, and Chester Marina LLC-$2,060,000. Schaller and Sbriglio are residential properties on the Connecticut River.

Message from Tom Marsh: Help needed with snow removal in Chester!

Good Morning,

North Main Streer Sign (photo courtesy of Tom Marsh)

They say this is one for the record books, and I believe them. As you know the weather wizards were a little off yesterday as to when the snow would start and how much we would get. The 5 PM start time was actually 9:30 AM and the 6 to 9 inches turned into 14 to 18. Because of the early start our crews have been working since 5am Wednesday. Except for short breaks they have been working straight through. The volume of snow has taken its toll on our vehicles as well. Though all are in service, minor repairs taking them off the road for an hour here and an hour and a half there haven’t helped the situation.

The bottom line is this is an extraordinary situation, and there is no cavalry coming to the rescue. The state as well as every contractor with equipment is out working. If you happen to own a commercial dump truck or a loader and would like to help in the effort please contact the town hall at 526-0013 ext. 202. If leaving a message please provide your name, phone number, and equipment, including model number. We will compile the list and develop a plan of attack.

Our town crew of three, assisted by several outside contractors are working first to make roads passable, meaning in many places one lane. The main goal is to make certain our emergency vehicles can get through the town roads.  Next we will be pushing back what we can to widen the roads. Given the volume of snow that was in place before the storm, there is little room for widening. We will be sanding, and finally digging out with payloaders and trucking the snow. Our standard dump sites are about full so we will have to truck the snow further, making the time between trips longer. 

Main Street, Chester (photo courtesy of Tom Marsh)

As I mentioned after the first storm we know a mailbox or two is going to get smashed and we will be plowing snow back into shoveled driveways. Town vehicles are not available to plow driveways, and sidewalks are not expected to be passable for a day or two.

  • If you do have a medical emergency call 911, we do have plans in place to coordinate a response with fire, ambulance, police and public works vehicles.
  • Remember to keep a passage clear to your oil or gas tank so deliveries are possible.
  • I am sure the mailmen would appreciate the help of shoveling out your mailbox (if you can find it…mine went missing this morning).
  • If you have elderly neighbors or know of anyone else that may have a need or just a person to talk to, give them a call.
  • If you are heading out to the market ask a neighbor if they need anything. Little stuff like that can go a long way. 

I have attached a link for the 9 am Dept of Emergency Mgt. and Homeland Security weather update showing some snow totals. Looking at the NOAA website, Friday, Saturday and next Tuesday all call for a chance of snow. At this rate school won’t be out until the 4th of July.

A sense of humor can go a long way on days like this.

Regards,

Tom

http://www.chesterct.org

Francine Curto exhibit at Chester Village West

"Winters Color" watercolor by Francine Curto

Francine Curto will exhibit her paintings of Chester and the Pattaconk Brook at Chester Village West in February. Her exhibit, titled “The Pattaconk Runs Through It,” is part of Chester Village West’s monthly shows of works by Chester artists.

Francine’s exhibit opens with a reception, open to the public, on Friday, Feb, 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres prepared by the Chester Village West chef will be served. Following the reception, the exhibit at Chester Village West can be seen daily from 9 to 5 until March 10.

Francine says she has found a place in Chester to use her painting as therapy of life, living and reflection of her years in Connecticut. A Visual Merchandise Manager for 37 years, she has been around art from the age of eight, taking art lessons and dreaming of dressing mannequins.

Love of nature shows in her work from various places in which she grew up, from the New Jersey shore and ending up in the Connecticut River Valley where her studio is at her Chester home. The Pattaconk Brook runs through her backyard.

Chester Village West is at 317 West Main Street (Rte. 148), near the Killingworth line.

"Autumn Jazz" pastel by Francine Curto

Case of dismissed Chester Assessor now headed for Superior Court

CHESTER— The case of former town tax assessor Patricia Stevenson, who was dismissed on a 2-1 vote of the board of selectmen last May, is now headed for superior court.

Both the town and Stevenson’s union, Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees AFSCME) are appealing a decision issued in November by the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration. First Selectman Tom Marsh, who updated the selectmen on the case earlier this month, has declined to release the state board’s written decision because it remains under appeal.

But Stevenson, a Killingworth resident who had served as a full-time tax assessor in Chester since 2001, said last week the state order would require the town to pay her the difference between her unemployment compensation and her previous salary from last May through November. Stevenson, who had also served previously as assessor and assistant assessor in Westbrook, had been receiving $31 per hour for a 30-hour week.

Despite the provision for back pay, Stevenson, who is 67, said she wants to appeal the decision because it did not require her return to the job. “I still want to work and I need to work,” she said.

In moving to restructure the assessor position last spring, Marsh had cited a town ordinance that calls for appointing the assessor to a specified term, while the board of selectmen had not acted on a reappointment of the assessor for several years. Marsh also cited cost savings from reducing the hours for a state certified assessor. The board of selectmen, citing the appointment provision, dismissed Stevenson from the job last May on a 2-1 vote, with Democratic Selectman Lawrence Sypher opposed.

After retaining an assessor from Waterford on a part-time basis for several months, the board of selectmen last fall approved an agreement with Loreta Zdanys, the tax assessor for East Haddam, to serve as a part-time assessor for Chester. Marsh said Zdanys is working as assessor in Chester 16 hours per week, at a cost of about $800 per week.
Paul Wallace, staff representative for AFSCME Council 4, said it would be several months before a court hearing is scheduled on Stevenson’s case, with the hearing likely to be held in Hartford or New Britain.

Chester selectmen to hold preliminary forum on town budget

CHESTER— The board of selectmen will hold a forum Tuesday to receive input from residents before preparation of a proposed town budget for 2011-2012. The session begins at 7:30 p.m. in the town meeting house on Liberty St.

First Selectman Tom Marsh said the forum would give residents a chance to express an opinion or ask questions on town finances and spending before the board begins work on a spending plan for the next fiscal year. For the third year, Marsh has also posted a survey on the town website that allows residents to express views on the town budget, including whether the local tax rate is too low or too high.

The board of selectmen and board of financer will present a proposed town government budget to residents at a public hearing in April, with a town meeting vote on the budget to follow in May. One of the largest components of the total town spending package, the Region 4 education budget that funds the operation of Valley Regional High School and John Winthrop Middle School, goes to the voters of Chester, Deep River, and Essex in a May referendum.

Friends of Chester Library Winter Book Sale

While away a winter’s day with a new (to you) book from the Friends of Chester Library used book sale.  The sale begins on Friday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. and will run for two weeks during regular library hours. 

As usual, there will be a wide selection of hardcover and paperback books for both children and adults, offered at great prices, typically ranging from just 2- bits to a dollar!

The Chester Public Library is located at 21 West Main Street in Chester, CT.  Call 860-526-0018 for additional information.  Library hours are Mon 10-8; Tues 2-6; Weds. 10-6; Thurs 2-8; Fri. 10-6; Sat. 10-2.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman Names Martin Heft as Senior Advisor

Chester— Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, assuming the state’s number two job Wednesday, has named former Chester First Selectman Martin Heft as her senior advisor.

Heft, a Chester native, served as the town’s Democratic first selectman from 1993-2005. He served previously as town treasurer. After leaving office, Wyman, who was then state comptroller, hired Heft as her executive assistant.

Handmade masks and headdresses at Chester Art Opening

Kathryne Wright models her “Day of the Dead” mask, one of her many creations (Photo by Cary Hull)

Kathryne Wright, owner/artist of Hammered Edge LLC Studio & Gallery in the center of Chester, will exhibit a selection of her one-of-a-kind handmade masks and headdresses at Chester Village West in January. The exhibit is part of Chester Village West’s monthly shows of works by Chester artists. Wright’s exhibit opens with a public reception on Friday, Jan. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Since the “birth” of the Hammered Edge Studio & Gallery in September of 1995, Wright has worked toward building a bridge of imaginative access between the Gallery and those curious enough to try their hand at living a more creatively inspired life. She says, “It’s more than just beads and jewelry. The creative possibilities are endless and can apply to all aspects of one’s life. Creativity is also a tool of problem-solving.”

Wright’s creativity led to her design of masks and headdresses about five years ago, when the BRAYCE nonprofit organization (Brazilian and American Youth Cultural Exchange), with offices in Chester and Rio de Janeiro, sought her involvement with their major annual fundraiser, the Samba Rio Benefit Dance, held every February in Chester. Her fascination with masks and costume play became a major part of the Samba Rio and her own efforts in the Gallery. Wright sets the Samba theme, designs the decor for the Parish Hall, where the dance takes place, and with the help of a few more volunteers transforms the hall into the Brazilian Carnival zone now known as Samba Rio. (More information about the 2011 Samba Rio Benefit Dance is at www.brayce.org.)

Kathryne Wright with beads and masks at last year’s Samba Rio Benefit Dance (Photo by Bill Bernhart)

Wright’s masks and headdresses are made in a variety of materials and are endlessly fascinating. People of all ages will enjoy meeting Kathryne Wright and seeing her exhibit at Chester Village West at the opening reception on Jan. 7. Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres prepared by the Chester Village West chef will be served. Following the reception, the exhibit at Chester Village West can be seen daily from 9 to 5.

Claudia Van Nes at Marshview Artist Reception

Chester artist Claudia Van Nes will be the guest at a reception at the Marshview Gallery in Old Saybrook on Friday Jan. 14 from 5 – 7 p.m.

Chester Artict Claudia Van Nes

Van Nes lives in Chester on the Connecticut River with her husband Gordon. She has been an artist most of her life. Her mother was artistic and encouraged her children to be creative as did her father. She majored in art in college and attended art school in Paris as well but her life took another turn, and she became a journalist, pursuing that career for almost 30 years.

During those years, she took art classes and workshops, mainly drawing and doing watercolors. She retired six years ago and returned to painting with acrylics, took more classes and workshops and paints once a week with a small group of artists.

The subject matter in her paintings is recognizable but her style is more fanciful than realistic. She does some landscapes but mainly paints fruit and vegetables and familiar and humble objects around her home, painting them up close and slightly askew – much like her view of the world. Her website is www.twosisterspaint.com.
  
All are welcome at 220 Main Street, Old Saybrook to meet Claudia Van Nes at the Marshview Gallery Artist reception. All ages are welcome to join us for this event. Refreshments provided.

Chester fire – Home sustains moderate damage

CHESTER— A house at 6 Wig Hill Road sustained moderate damage in a fire that was reported Wednesday around 8:30 a.m. Fire Chief Charles Greeney Jr. said the fire was reported by a neighbor who observed smoke coming from a corner of the structure.

Greeney said the neighbor banged on the door and alerted the homeowner, Maria Ruberto, who was able to flee the house safely with her two cats. Greeney said about 45 firefighters from the Chester Hose Company and several nearby towns responded, and brought the blaze under control in about an hour. Greeney said local volunteers received assistance from firefighters from Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Westbrook, and Old Saybrook, along with firefighters from the South District Fire Department in Middletown who provided a ladder truck to help extinguish the fire. He said firefighters were able to pump water from a nearby pond to use in dousing the blaze.

Greeney said the house sustained “moderate damage”, and is not habitable at the present time, but could be repaired. He said the fire began in a center wall and had spread in to the attic. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by local fire marshalls.

Local Business Imports Olive Oil from Italy

Lisa Tiezzi, founder of Tiezzi Imports LLC

In 2008 local Chester resident Lisa Tiezzi decided she would try and bring a bit of Italy back home.  While on vacation in Tuscany, over a glass of vino, a friend casually asked if she would be interested in importing their olive oil into the USA.

Two years later, as well as being a wife, a mother and a realtor, Tiezzi now also runs her own import company, Tiezzi Imports LLC, which specializes in importing Tutti Amici, a cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany for distribution in Connecticut. “What an amazing transformation my life has taken” Tiezzi says,”but I am enjoying this ride!”

Tutti Amici is produced in a small Tuscan hill town. The manufacturer prides himself on keeping with tradition and using the “cold” press method to remove the skins from the olives. By washing with cold water instead of hot, the olives keep their wonderful taste and nutrients intact. Another benefit of  Tutti Amici is that the oil is only “slightly” filtered, leaving all of the valuable properties for your enjoyment…so if it is cloudy after settling, just give it a good shake and enjoy the flavor!  Tutti Amici’s oil is extracted in Italy from Italian olives, using a large stone wheel.

Since deciding to import Tutti Amici, Tiezzi has been researching the benefits of consuming cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. “It has been an extremely interesting learning experience for me,” Tiezzi says, “recent studies and findings related to the possible risk reduction of colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and dementia are astounding. Studies have also been recorded that cold pressed extra virgin olive oil may also reduce cholesterol”.

Tiezzi now imports around 400 cases/year which she sells on her website (www.tiezziimports.com) and in 18 small boutique shops around Connecticut. They also have small bottles for wedding favors and leather, wood and metal boxes for unique olive oil gifts both personal and corporate. “Our goal is to become a national brand in the USA! You must taste Tutti Amici to appreciate great Italian olive oil” says Tiezzi.

Among the gifts you will find on their website are “Pinzimonio”. These fabulous white ceramic dipping dishes are hand made in Italy.  Designed with the terraced hills of Tuscany in mind, these dishes accept the olive oil a bit deeper in the center making the color of the oil go from darker to lighter as it rises up the grooves.  They are simply wonderful…a great design that goes well with Tutti Amici cold pressed extra virgin olive oil!

Tutti Amici olive oil and gifts can be purchased from their website or from several local stores, including Adams Supermarket and El & Ela in Deep River, Ceramica, The Local Beet, The Wheatmarket and The Herbery in Chester, and  The Weekend Kitchen, The French Hen  and Gather in Essex/Ivoryton.

“Save The Ferry” Public Meeting Dec. 16

The Hadlyme Public Hall Association has scheduled a public meeting for Thursday Dec. 16 to discuss the importance of the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and to ask state officials to find ways to assure its continued service to the communities it serves on both sides of the Connecticut River.

The state Department of Transportation has included the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry on a list of possible transportation services that could be curtailed or eliminated next year.

“We understand that the state faces some serious financial problems in the coming years,” said Association President Curt Michael, “but this ferry has been running since before the United States even existed. It’s an historic treasure, and its service is essential to businesses and tourism on both sides of the river. We want to find ways to work with the state so that Connecticut doesn’t lose this important part of its history.”

Michael said state legislators and selectmen representing the communities served by the ferry have been invited to attend the meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hadlyme Public Hall, One Day Hill Road, Lyme. 

Representatives from the Connecticut DOT have also been invited, as well as tourism and economic development officials.

The Hadlyme Hall Association has already collected more than 1,000 signatures on petitions urging the state to retain the ferry service, according to Michael. The petitions will be presented to state officials at the meeting.

The Hadlyme Public Hall Association is a nonprofit community organization that’s nearly 100 years old.  The Hall’s only financial support is from its members and its community events.  It has no government funding.  It is located on Rt. 148 at the intersection of Ferry Road, Day Hill Road and Joshuatown Road one mile east of the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry and half a mile west of the intersection of Routes 148 and 82.

Chester Selectmen to Form Library Expansion Building Committee

CHESTER– The board of selectmen has agreed to establish a building committee to guide a planned expansion of the Chester Public Library.

The board Tuesday received a former request from the library board of trustees for a building committee that would guide an expansion project through funding approval by voters and construction. The library trustees have spent more than a year reviewing options for improvements to the historic 1906 library building on West Main Street (Route 148).

The review has included a town-wide survey and informational forums where most residents expressed a preference for improving and retaining the existing library building, rather than constructing a new library at a different location.

Molly Lund, secretary of the board of trustees, said the group has focused on a limited expansion of the 2,000 square-foot library building. She said the favored plan, which is still “just a concept,” calls for extending two wings off the back, or south, side of the building. She said the plan would not affect parking for the adjoining Chester United Church of Christ, which owns the land that contains the library building.

Lund said the group has not settled on an exact square-foot size for the expansion, or developed cost estimates for the project. “We need a building committee to take this project forward,” she said.

The selectmen discussed forming a building committee of seven or nine members that would include two library directors, a representative of the board of selectmen or board of finance, and volunteers, particularly residents with experience in architectural design and construction projects. Selectmen and library trustees agreed to recruit volunteers, with a formal appointment and charge for the committee expected in February. The committee would develop the details of an expansion project that could be presented to voters for funding approval, probably involving bonding, in 2001.

Residents interested in serving on the library expansion building committee should contact the selectmen’s office, library trustees, or Librarian Linda Fox.

Charles Stannard is a lifelong resident of Essex, and has covered various Middlesex County towns for two daily newspapers over the past 30 years.  He worked for the Middletown Press from 1979 to 1995 and the Hartford Courant from 1997 through last summer, and covered Chester, Deep River, Essex and Killingworth for the past decade.  Charlie lives in the Ivoryton section of Essex.

Chester Cub Scout Pack 13 – Scouting For Food Program

Chester Cub Scout Pack 13 Collect Items for Food Pantry

Earlier this month Chester Cub Scouts gathered together to help stock the Chester Food Pantry. 

On Nov. 10, 2010 the Chester Cub Scouts held their monthly Pack Meeting and collected 35 very full grocery bags of non-perishable food to be donated to the Chester Food Pantry.  The food was delivered to Rosie Bininger at the Chester Town Hall on Friday November 12, 2010. 

Chester Cub Scouts Pack 13 have been sponsored by the United Church of Chester since 1940.  The Cub Scout Promise includes the promise to help other people.  Through the Scouting for Food Service Project the Cub Scouts in Chester are encouraged to help with the selection of non-perishable food items that are collected and donated.

Boy Scouts of America has designated the month of November as Scouting for Food month as a National Service Project.  This program has run in Connecticut since 1988 reinforcing the idea that participating in service projects teaches Scouts valuable lessons in citizenship.

For additional information, contact Michael Rutty, Cub Master Pack 13, 860-526-8011

Chester Holiday Night Festival and Town Tree Lighting

Chester Center - snow oil 30 x 36 by Leif Nilsson ©

If you’re looking for holiday magic, look no further than Chester this evening, Dec. 3. Tonight the historic Chester village will be especially festive with the annual tree-lighting and caroling, while all the galleries and shops beckon you in with holiday goodies and lots of holiday inspiration.

The Annual Holiday Night Festival, which is co-sponsored by the Town of Chester, Chester Rotary Club and the Merchants of Chester, will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the Chester Flagpole between Main and Maple Streets with the annual tree-lighting and sing-along. The community will gather to sing carols around the decorated Christmas tree (a songlist is available at www.visit-chesterct.com), and hot chocolate and popcorn will be served. After the sing-along, members of the United Church of Chester choir will be caroling throughout the village, the Chester Boy Scouts Troop 13 will line the streets with luminaries, and Saint Lucia Girls will stroll around with goodies.

The plentiful art and photography galleries of Chester will host new exhibits and the shops will be full of holiday gift ideas. The new 2010 pewter ornament, designed by a Chester artist, will be on sale by the Chester Hose Company and the local merchants.

Free parking is available at the Water Street and the Maple Street parking lots, both a short walk to the center. Limited on-street parking is available as portions of Main Street will be closed to vehicle traffic. More information about Chester can be found at www.visit-chester.com and www.chesterct.org.

Some of the galleries and shops that will be open starting at 5:00 p.m. include:

Al Malpa Photography Gallery
4 Spring St, (860) 558-5499
www.almalpa.com
Stop in to visit with Al Malpa and see his exhibit of photography from the Smokies and closer to home. Enjoy holiday refreshments between 6 and 9 p.m.

Caryn B. Davis
One Spring Street, (860) 526-5936
www.cbdphotography.com
Chester photographer Caryn B. Davis will exhibit recent photographs from her travels to Italy, Portugal, Martha’s Vineyard, Puerto Rico and Mexico at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery at 1 Spring Street as part of Chester’s Annual Holiday Night Town Christmas Tree Lighting and Caroling.

Century 21 Heritage Company
One Main Street (860) 526-1200
We will be hosting Taylor’s Sweet Treats. Taylor will be offering affordable homemade treats for teachers, hostess gifts, or just for fun! A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Arabian Horse Foundation. Please join us for a real treat between 5 – 8 p.m.

Chester Gallery
76 Main Street, (860) 526-9822
Chester Gallery presents its Annual Postcard Show where all art measures 4″ by 6″ or smaller. In addition, see a small selection of signed prints by Sol LeWitt.  Have a glass of sparkling wine from 5 to 7 while viewing art you can take home in your pocket.

Chester Village West
317 West Main Street (on the Chester/Killingworth line)
Continuing its monthly exhibits by Chester artists, Chester Village West is presenting an exhibit of paintings and works on paper by Chester artist Elizabeth Gourlay from Friday, Dec. 3 through Jan. 1.  The public is invited to the opening reception on Dec. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet the artist and enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres prepared by the Chester Village West chef. Following the opening reception, the exhibit at Chester Village West can be seen daily from 9 to 5.

Connecticut River Artisans
5 West Main Street, (860) 526-5575
www.ctriverartisans.com 
We are celebrating our Annual Holiday Show with a second reception from 5 to 8 pm.
This year we have 21 exhibitors, which include Painters, Photography, Paper Mache, Handbuilt and Hand Thrown Pottery, Comical Shadow Boxes, Handsewn Brooches, Soft Sculptures, Stained Glass, Pressed Florals, Fused Glass & Wireworks, Hand Silk-screened Adult Clothing, Handknits, Marbled Silks, Pocketbooks, Wooden Carved Pieces and Pewter and Paper Books & Journals. The Artisans will be serving hot, mulled cider as well as wine and delectable finger foods.  Open every day: 12- 6pm  November and December

Hammered Edge llc Studio & Gallery
14 Main Street, Kathryne Wright Owner/Artist 860-526-1654
www.hammerededge.com
Winter Wonders Open House Friday December 3,2010 from 5 to 9pm.
Celebrate Winter and the gathering together of friends and family. Our collection of world artifacts, jewelry, handmade watches, beads, costume-wear, masks, and accessories will help you find that most wonderful gift to delight. Many of our treasures are fair trade certified from around the globe. Custom jewelry design and repairs are our specialty.

Hitchery Books
4 Water Street, 860-526-8722
Stop by to see our selection of books – the perfect gift for everyone on your list! – or place an order for with us for that hard-to-find present. We’ll be serving up holiday cookies and our special homemade eggnog. Open until 9 pm.

Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery, LLC
One Spring Street, (860)-526-2077
www.nilssonstudio.com
The Holiday Exhibit of a selection of oil paintings of the artist’s garden, the Connecticut River Valley and world travels by Leif Nilsson will open with a reception from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. This show runs through February 18, 2010. Gallery hours: Weekends Noon – 6 pm. Other times by chance or appointment.

Maple & Main Gallery
One Maple Street, 860-526-6065
www.MapleandMainGallery.com
The artists of Maple & Main Gallery invite you to the opening reception of their Holiday Exhibition from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Come and enjoy beautiful artwork from over 30 highly acclaimed Connecticut artists, light refreshments and holiday cheer in our cozy 1790s building. Original artwork is a lasting, heirloom quality gift and Maple & Main offers an intriguing variety of art in many styles, mediums and sizes.

Local Poet Suzanne Levine at the Essex Library

Chester author Suzanne Levine will present her first collection of poetry, The Haberdasher’s Daughter, at the Essex Library on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7 P.M.

Her poetry has appeared in numerous magazines, and she was a nominee for the Pushcart prize, as well as a finalist in the 2009 Midnight Sun Chapbook Competition.

Suzanne teaches the craft of memoir writing with Lary Bloom at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut libraries and community centers.  Suzanne will talk about her writing, read some selections from the book, and books will be available for signing and sale. 

The program is free and open to all, although registration is requested. Please call us at 860-767-1560. The Essex Library is at 33 West Avenue in Essex Village.

Information Session on Health Care Reform at Beth Shalom

An Information Session/ Community Forum will be held at the Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek on Nov. 30 to clarify some of the confusion that exists around the recent Health Care Reform Bill, and to discuss what the implications are for individual residents.

A panel of knowledgeable experts will summarize the key provisions of the bill enacted earlier this year, as well as the Connecticut state reform plan (“SustiNet”) passed in Hartford in 2009. There will be time for questions, comments and discussion.

To RSVP or for further information, please call United Action Connecticut (UACT) at 860.882.3849 or email: uact4change@hotmail.com

 Directions to Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek:

From Rt. 9, Take Exit 6 and drive 2.2 miile east on CT-148 through downtown Chester. Turn left at CT-154 (Middlesex Turnpike N) and go 0 .3 miile to the first right,King’s Highway. Turn right here, drive 0.1 mile and turn left into the CBSRZ parking lot.

“America’s Money Answers Man” to Speak at Chester Guest House Retreat

Jordan Goodman, "America's Money Answers Man".

 CHESTER– Jordan Goodman, the nationally-recognized expert on personal finance known as “America’s Money Answers Man,” will give a free talk at Guest House Retreat & Conference Center in Chester, CT, on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. The presentation, titled “Thriving Financially in Challenging Economic Times,” is part of Guest House’s ongoing public outreach series of free educational events that serve the local community. The seminar will include a Q&A session and will be followed by a free reception where guests can meet the author and media personality. There is a suggested donation of $10. 

Goodman recently appeared on The View with Barbara Walters and is a frequent commentator for NBC’s The Today Show, as well as programs on Fox, CNN, CBS and radio call-in shows across the country. He is the author of 13 bestselling books on personal finance, including the recently released Master Your Debt (John Wiley, January 2010). For many years Goodman reported on up-to-the-minute developments in personal finance for MONEY magazine. “Money dominates most people’s lives. Our financial health is one of the most important aspects of our sense of well-being,” says Goodman. “At a time when Americans are stressed about a lackluster economy and their money seems stretched to the limit, it’s hard to maintain perspective and peace of mind. Yet they may already have the answers to navigating their financial waters successfully. I want to show them how.” 

Goodman will take personal questions from the audience and cover a diverse range of topics, including: the Financial Reform Bill, college loans, creating passive income streams, the real estate market, mortgages, foreclosures, strategic defaults, and the effects of midterm elections on job creation, tax policy and estate planning. 

“Most people pay little attention to the way they interact with money, and this causes a lot of unnecessary suffering,” says Guest House executive director Adam Fuller. “Inquiring into the issues we have around money helps us feel supported in the world. We thought Jordan, who has attended many retreats here, could help us do that.” 

Guest House Retreat & Conference Center, a charming former country inn, opened its doors in May 2008. Today it houses a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational facility that hosts a variety of groups working in the areas of psychology, spiritual work, health and wellness, leadership and teamwork, scientific exploration, and ecological, social and environmental responsibility. 

Vintage Costume Jewelry Expert Comes to Chester

Vintage costume jewelry enthusiast, Gay Sherman, has been collecting for more than 20 years and will visit Chester Public Library with her stunning group of vintage Christmas tree pins, just in time for the season ahead.  

But this is about more than just tree pins, beautiful as they may be.  Gay’s knowledge of costume jewelry is extensive; get set to learn about styles, periods and designers (do the names Coro, Trifari, Hobe’ or Vendome ring a bell?), as well as the care and repair of these enchanting embellishments from days past.

Dig into your jewelry box and bring along an interesting piece.  Learn more about it, see what a difference a good cleaning makes and even receive an informal appraisal, if you’d like.  The value of these pieces may surprise you!  You may also be pleased  to learn how reasonably a favorite, but damaged piece can be repaired.   Come enjoy a cup of tea and share the pleasure of these small treasures.

Gay will present two programs at Chester Public Library on Monday, November 22.  The afternoon program will take place from 2:00-3:30 and an evening session will follow from 7:00- 8:30 PM.  Register by calling the library at 860-526-0018.

Chester Meeting House Players to Present Earth and Sky

The Chester Meeting House Players will be presenting  Douglas Post’s murder mystery “Earth and Sky” at the Meeting House Oct. 29 & 30 and Nov. 5, 6, 12 & 13. 

“Earth and Sky” is a poetic thriller about a would-be poet and part-time librarian named Sara McKeon who’s lover of ten weeks, David Ames, is found dead one hot August morning in the city of Chicago. 

It appears that David, owner and manager of an expensive art-deco restaurant, may have been involved in several illicit activities including kidnapping, rape and murder.  Unable to believe the man she gave her heart to was a killer, and outraged that the police seemed to have closed the book on the case, Sara begins her own investigation of the crime and is led deeper and deeper through an urban labyrinth into a contemporary underworld. 

As the detective story moves forward in time, scenes from the love affair take us back to the moment when Sara and David first met.  Finally the plots converge and Sara finds herself face to face with the person who murdered her beloved. The piece is directed by Debbie Alldredge and features an ensemble of talented area actors.

Ticket prices are $15 for limited reserved seating and $10 for open seating.  To make reservations for both limited reserve and open seating tickets or for additional information and directions please call (860) 526-3684. The Meeting House Players is a not-for-profit community theatre organization.  We pursue the theatre arts with the talents and interests of people throughout Connecticut.

Halloween Celebration in Chester with Parade and Festival

Last Year's Halloween Celebration

Halloween comes early to Chester – this year, it’ll be celebrated on Friday, Oct. 29, from 5 to 9 p.m. As Kim Kellogg, Chester resident and owner of The Local Beet, says, “For many years, the spooky and spunky Chester Halloween Parade and Dance Party has been a favorite community event. Costumed parade-goers wind down Maple Street through Chester’s magical villagescape to arrive at the center where monster mash music fills the air.”

This year, Kim has been instrumental in organizing Chester’s first-ever Halloween Hayrides through the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery off Main Street, to add some “ghoulish family fun to the festivities.” The hayrides will be offered from 5:30 to 9, at a cost of $4 per person. The Chester PTO will sell cider, doughnuts and chili.

The Halloween Costume Parade will convene at the Maple Street parking lot at 6:15 p.m. and commence at 6:30 on a path toward the town’s center. This year’s parade will be led by a clean-burning biodiesel tractor celebrating Chester’s green living, and everyone is invited to join in. From 7 to 9, DJ Shawn will rock the town with spooky serenades in front of The Local Beet. Bring your dancing shoes. Those in costume can enter a raffle to win gift certificates from local shops.

Everyone is encouraged to bring a carved pumpkin to The Hammered Edge, 14 Main Street, by 5 p.m., to help provide a spooky glow during the evening (just don’t forget to collect it on your way home). The art galleries, stores, and restaurants will be open until 9 p.m.to welcome visitors and families with special treats. The Chester Museum at The Mill will also be open all evening, with free admission, so that visitors can see the “Closing of the Barn Door Exhibit,” with paintings and artworks by Chester artists.

This is the 11th year the Merchants of Chester have sponsored this Annual Halloween  Festival and Parade. Consult www.Visit-Chester.com for the continually updated listing of the town’s weekend and special events or call 860-526-5554 for more information. 

The following Chester Merchants will be open the evening of October 29:

Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery
One Spring Street, 860-526-2077
www.nilssonstudio.com
Halloween exhibit of a selection of oil paintings of the artist’s garden, his travels and the Connecticut River Valley by Leif Nilsson with a reception from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. This show runs through Nov. 28. Open Weekends Noon – 6 pm. Other times by chance or appointment.

Caryn B. Davis
1 Spring Street, 860-526-5936
www.cbdphotography.com
Chester photographer Caryn B. Davis will exhibit photographs from her travels to Italy, Portugal, Martha’s Vineyard, Puerto Rico and Mexico at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery at 1 Spring Street. 

Ceramica
Ceramica invites revelers of all ages to visit the shop Friday evening from 5:00 to 8:00…
Guess the number of Halloween candies on display. The closest ‘guesser’ will be announced at 7:30 pm. The winner will receive our hand-painted covered box from Tuscany (perfect for storing your magic potions or vampire ‘dental work’!)
Note to Dads and Moms: Don’t be ‘SPOOKED’ about visiting CERAMICA with your little Trick or Treaters…We always enjoy seeing your entire family !

C&G – Unparalleled Apparel, Seasonal & Timeless
3 North Main Street, 860.526.3284
www.cgchester.com
Treats for all including a grab bag of coupons for 10, 20, 30 and 40% off a favorite item. Also in the grab bag, certificates for a free “Little Brown Bat” print by Jan Cummings, and for “BLUE 2011,” the artful, literate and very long calendar designed by Jan Cummings and Peter Good. Open late on Halloween Night. Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 12 to 5.

Chester Gallery
860-526-9822; chestergallery@att.net
We will be featuring a limited selection of Sol LeWitt prints.  Stop in from 5 to 7 and enjoy a glass of wine. Costumes encouraged!   Hours: Tues thru Sat 10 – 5.   

Chester Historical Society’s Chester Museum at The Mill
9 West Main St., 860-526-2331
www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org
The “Closing the Barn Door” Reception and barn art sale will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 29.  Admission to the museum will be free for the evening.  Come and enjoy refreshments and Chester barn scenes produced by our own Chester artists.  Great holiday presents and 50% of the proceeds go to the Museum.

Connecticut River Artisans
5 West Main Street
860 526-5575
The Artisans are featuring Jane White’s October Show “On The Road Again” with new paintings of New England, which also include house portraits and pet portraits. The Gallery at The Mill House has paintings of Ellie Pringle of Higganum and Renni Ridgeway-Korsemeyer of Old Lyme.  Their show theme is “New England Landscapes.” Refreshments will be served from 5-8pm. 

Dina Varano
27 Main Street, 860-526-8866
http://dinavarano.com
Join us on Friday, October 29 for an inspiring evening of spirited drinks, creative costumes and treats for you and your family.  We will be open from 5-9.  Stop by and see the village glowing with pumpkins and join the festivities!  Happy Halloween!!
 
Goodspeed Musicals – The Norma Terris Theatre
33 North Main Street, 860-873-8668
Join us for the 8 p.m. performance of James and the Giant Peach, a new musical based on the beloved Roald Dahl story, featuring the choreography of Pilobolus.  Known for their startling mix of humor and invention, Pilobolus dancers join the actors to bring to life some of the most imaginative characters ever seen in a musical! Not just for kids; adults will also be fascinated by the imagination and creativity in this production. Tickets $42.

Hammered Edge llc Studio & Gallery
14 Main Street, 860-526-1654
www.hammerededge.com
NIGHT OF THE HAMMERED EDGE! Friday October 29 from 5-8 pm. We are your source for festive costume wear. Choose from among our many masks, exotic hats, funky eyewear, and accessories. Come in costume and/or bring a jack-o-lantern (battery-lit only). There will be treats for all and all are welcome! We specialize in jewelry, beads, buttons, repairs, world artifacts, custom-designed jewelry, masks and headdresses. Jewelry workshops by appointment.

Hitchery Books
4 Water Street, 860-526-8722
www.hitcherybooks.com
Come by and see our collection of Halloween children’s books and get a special Halloween treat! We will be open until 8 p.m. on October 29.
 
Lori Warner Studio/Gallery
860-322-4265
www.loriwarner.com 
We’ll be dressed up in our spooky best. Come visit the gallery with the entire family from 5-9pm. New work unveiled that day and always something creative happening…come see!

Maple & Main Gallery of Fine Art
One Maple Street, 860-526-6065
www.mapleandmaingallery.com
The new Maple & Main Gallery will be exhibiting autumnal-themed paintings throughout the gallery, including our newly renovated downstairs gallery and studio space. We will be welcoming visitors from 5-9 pm with refreshments and our signature candy, M&M’s, for trick or treaters.

Peekabooquet n. cupcake
4 Water Street, 860-526-2225
www.peekabooquet.com
 Join us to celebrate Halloween.  Our unique fall clothing for newborns and toddlers to 6T is arriving weekly.  Winter will be here soon, so come in and see our absolutely adorable hats, mittens and scarves and get 10% off on all outerwear purchases.  And don’t forget to pick up your treat.  Always evolving, always new, you’ll love our stuff – we do.

Chester is a unique town that holds the past, present, and future in delightful balance. A storybook New England village, Chester is located on the left (port) bank of the beautiful Connecticut River, about 10 miles north of Long Island Sound. The town is renowned for its quaint shops, artist galleries and a variety of fantastic restaurants that all family members can enjoy. Easy to reach by car, rail, air, or boat, a convenient two-hour drive from NYC and Boston, Chester is located at exit 6 on Rte. 9, which is easily accessible from I-95 and I-91.

Camp Hazen YMCA Summer Camp Open House Oct. 17

On Sunday, October 17th, Camp Hazen YMCA located at 204 West Main Street on Cedar Lake in Chester will host an Open House from 2-4 p.m.   Families are encouraged to attend to learn more about summer opportunities for their children.  Located in Chester, Camp Hazen YMCA offers one and two week session of both day and resident camp. 

It may only be October, but now is the time to plan your summer to ensure that sessions are available and to research the right camp for your child.  Camp Director, Danita Ballantyne, states “Attending an Open House provides a valuable opportunity for families to meet the Camp Directors and see the facilities to determine if Camp Hazen is the right choice for their family.” 

Camp Hazen YMCA is committed to helping youth develop valuable life skills through camping experiences that build healthy bodies, open minds and awakened spirits.    Traditional camp activities like swimming, arts and crafts and campfires – along with more unique programs including a Skate Park, Alpine Tower, Mountain Biking and Windsurfing are available for campers.  All activities are designed to ensure that campers are having fun, making friends and learning valuable life lessons such as independence and leadership which are the core ingredients of the camp experience.

Camp Hazen YMCA believes the summer camp experience is a vital part of a child’s development and offers a tier pricing program to make camp affordable for all.  For more information, contact Danita Ballantyne at 860-526-9529 or visit www.camphazenymca.org

New Art Gallery in Historic Chester Building – Opening Gala

CHESTER – The 1790s building at the corner of Maple and Main Street, which has old schooner masts as its supporting posts, proof that it was once a ship’s chandlery, has just been transformed into a large, unique art gallery.

Storms of Mercy (above) by one of the gallery artists, Jan Blencowe of Clinton

Aptly named Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Arts, the 2,600 square feet of space on two floors is devoted to a range of art from traditional to impressionistic to abstract all beautifully framed and hung in the stunning, historic space.

The new gallery, which will have its gala opening Thursday, Oct. 21, is collectively owned by 34 successful artists from all over Connecticut. They’ve shown widely and come together to offer a gallery for lover of all kinds of art.

The gallery is also offering classes, workshops, demonstrations and lectures and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays, 11 to 5 p.m.

The gala will be Thursday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. when food and drink will be served and a special exhibit of autumnal paintings by many of the gallery artists will be on display. mapleandmaingallery.com. 860-526-6065.

Chester Historical Society – Celebrate Barns and The Mill

Photograph by Diane Lindsay

The Chester Historical Society is inviting the public to a special “Closing the Season Celebration,” which includes an evening of free admission to Chester Museum at The Mill.  “It’s our way to thank the community for its longtime support of the Society, including our opening of the new museum on May 1,” said President Skip Hubbard. “We have been especially pleased with the enthusiastic comments from our visitors.”
 
The weekend opens with a “Closing the Barn Door” Reception and Barn Art sale from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 29.  Come and enjoy refreshments and Chester barn scenes produced by our own great Chester artists.  Visit the museum for free, plus get a jump start on great holiday presents.  Artists are donating 50% of the proceeds to the Museum. 
 
Chester Museum at The Mill, including the Barn Art exhibit and sale, will also be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., October 30 and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 31, the last day of its successful first season. With the exception of the two days following Thanksgiving, the museum will be closed until May 2011 to allow for creation of new exhibits.

“The Eye Of The Collector: The Jewish Vision Of Sigmund R. Balka” Opens Oct. 10

 

Forty-one pieces from the collection,”The Eye Of The Collector:  The Jewish Vision of Sigmund R. Balka” will be exhibited Sunday, October 10, in Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek’s  Main Street Gallery, located at 55 Kings Highway in Chester.  The exhibit opens a 2:00 p.m. and will be accompanied by a wine and cheese reception.  Both the collector, Sigmund R. Balka, and Hebrew Union College Museum Curator, Laura Kruger will speak.  This free exhibit is open to the public.

One of the great strengths of this collection, which is being cosponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, is that it reflects and records jewish secular and religions experiences in Europe and America and provides a wonderfully informative visual record of Jewish life:  street scenes of Jewish urban  life; the practice of religious life;  expressions of nostalgia for the Old World and acculturation in the New World.

The complete collection, donated to the Hebrew Union College Museum, encompasses over 200 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs and five decades of Balks’s life.  “I don’t think I am anything but a custodian during my lifetime…the art speaks for itself,” says Balka.  “The more public the opportunity to have it speak for itself, the better society is.  Collecting art, curating exhibitions and serving on museum boards are for me as natural as breathing.  It is my link with man’s creative spirit which, in the end, must prevail or we will extinguish ourselves.”

A graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School, Sigmund Balka is General Counsel and Vice President of Krasdale Foods, directs the Krasdale Galleries in White Plains and New York where he has curated over 100 exhibitions by artists around the world.  He has chaired and advised on art exhibitions and acquisitions for major cultural instituions including the Queens Art Museum, Rutgers University and The Judaica Museum.

“The Eye of the Collector” will remain on view at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek through mid January, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Balka returns to the Main Street Gallery, Sunday, November 14th to conduct two walking tours at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m..  Each tour will last 30-45 minutes and accommodate 20 people.  There is no charge and reservations can be made by calling the Temple office at 860-5268920.

Chester Artist Caryn B. Davis Exhibit Starts Oct. 8

Monticchiello, Tuscany, Italy, will be among those showcased at Chester Village West, beginning Oct. 8. The public is invited to the opening reception.

Continuing its monthly exhibits by Chester artists, Chester Village West at 317 West Main Street (Rte. 148) is presenting an exhibit by Caryn B. Davis of photography from Italy, Portugal, Martha’s Vineyard, Puerto Rico and New England this fall. The public is invited to the opening reception on Friday, Oct. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet the photographer and enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres prepared by the Chester Village West chef.

Caryn Davis is a commercial, editorial, architectural, marine, travel and portrait photographer with a studio in Chester. Her photographs have appeared in over 60 national and international publications, and she has numerous exhibitions to her credit. Her work has been written about in photography publications and trade journals including Rangefinder, Studio Photography, Photographer’s Forum and Zoom International. She was also interviewed on WNPR’s “Where We Live” by host John Dankosky about her self-assigned photo-essay “Chester Stories”.

Caryn began her career in the visual arts 24 years ago as a Producer/Writer of television documentaries that aired on the Learning Channel, History Channel, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Showtime, Flix and The Movie Channel. In addition to writing scripts, Caryn also works as a journalist. Her articles have been published in a variety of magazines and newspapers. She is a regular contributor to Ink Magazine (www.inkct.com), a CT-based publication, both as a writer and photographer.

In 1999, Caryn served as a Media Producer with Orbis International, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating blindness worldwide. She traveled to eleven third world countries onboard the Orbis DC-10; the world’s only flying eye hospital, creating teaching videos for doctors and local hospitals. On the weekends, Caryn explored the countries she was visiting, photographing the different people, cultures and landscapes.

Caryn is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers; presents lectures to schools, libraries, organizations and associations; and teaches photography to adults and children. As an avid world traveler to over 35 countries, she enthusiastically and artistically photographs people, places and things at home and abroad.

Following the opening reception, the exhibit at Chester Village West can be seen daily from 9 to 5 until the first week of November.

Governor Rell Announces STEAP Funds for Chester and Deep River

Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today that several Middlesex County towns, including Chester and Deep River, are being awarded grants for projects to fix local roads, repair sewer lines and improve area historic sites. 

The grants, from the Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP), provide financial assistance for projects that encourage economic development and preserve the character of the state’s less-populated towns.   These grants include:

Chester –  $250,000 to extend a water main to the Haddam town line.  “Clean, safe drinking water is imperative, and extending the water main will allow the town to proceed with this essential upgrade,” Governor Rell said.

Cromwell – $200,000 to acquire the former “oil tank farm” and remove existing oil pipes.  Funds will also be used to study the feasibility of a bicycle/pedestrian trail.  “By enabling the town to buy this former industrial facility, we create a win-win scenario for Cromwell,” Governor Rell said.  “We will help to beautify the area and make it more attractive for residents and visitors.  Doing so will in turn help to improve the local economy and the environment.”

Deep River – $150,000 to replace sidewalks and install decorative bricks on Main Street in front of Adams Market.  “The new look on Main Street will bring about a lasting positive effect for Deep River,” Governor Rell said.  “Property values and downtown business activity should be bolstered by the added charm.  The goal is to create foot traffic in the hubs of all of our towns, and this represents a wise investment.”

Durham – $150,000 to reconstruct road culverts on Pickett Lane.  “With two schools situated on this street, we want to be sure that we make it as safe as it can possibly be,” Governor Rell said.  “Reconstructing the culverts will address a pressing need and make sure this heavily traveled route will continue to be serviceable and accessible for years to come.”

East Haddam – $200,000 to renovate a vacant middle school in order to consolidate municipal offices.  “This conversion will serve two purposes,” Governor Rell said.  “Putting a vacant property to good use while consolidating offices will result in savings over time.  That’s good planning that spells good news for local taxpayers over the long run.”

East Hampton – $200,000 to extend the Air Line Trail into Village Center.  The trail begins in East Hampton and stretches for 50 miles through the hills of Connecticut, ending in Thompson. Dating back to the 1800s, the trail originally served as a railroad track for “fast-speed” trains, offering a straight diagonal route through Connecticut – as if the line had been drawn in the air.  “This trail is one of the most scenic in Connecticut, and it makes all the sense in the world to extend it into the center of town,” Governor Rell said.  “Doing so will allow for more cyclists and pedestrians to access area businesses and result in an uptick in activity.”

Haddam – $250,000 to extend a water main from Chester to Haddam.  “Area residents have waited long enough for these improvements,” Governor Rell said.  “Provide clean water to contaminated areas will improve property values and address a lingering unmet need in town.  This project is our priority.”

Killingworth – $150,000 to renovate and develop Parmelee Farm as a historic, cultural and environmental education center. The 132-acre Parmelee Farm was purchased by the Town of Killingworth in 2000. The property is centrally located near the center of town, adjacent to Cockaponsett State Forest and the new Haddam-Killingworth Middle School. The property was unused until 2007 when use as a community garden was approved.  Structures on the property include an 18th century farmhouse, a stone barn, post and beam barn, pole barn and small storage shed.  “The farm connects the community to the natural environment and cultural heritage of Killingworth through education, agriculture, preservation, passive recreation and the arts,” Governor Rell said.  “The property has generated so much enthusiasm in Killingworth, because it has so much potential.  It makes sense to do what we can to help realize that potential.”

Marlborough – $150,000 to build sidewalks and make streetscape improvements in the Village Center area.  “We share Marlborough residents’ goal of creating a pedestrian-friendly Village Center,” Governor Rell said.  “We want to help the develop a charming and accessible New England center area that allows residents and visitors to stroll leisurely through the town as they shop, run errands, and visit local businesses.  The Village Center has the potential to become the historic, commercial, and cultural hub.”

Middlefield – $52,456 to install three solar powered omni directional sirens.  “In an emergency, we need to be certain that area residents are made aware of what is going on,” Governor Rell said.  “By investing in its emergency warning system, Middlefield is investing in the safety and security its town residents.”

Portland – $200,000 for the Brownstone Avenue Extension Project, which will include construction of an open-air pavilion, outdoor amphitheater and restroom facility. “Connecting the village district, the historic quarries and the riverfront areas has been was an instrumental step in Portland’s economic development, and now it is time to take the next step,” Governor Rell said.  “The pavilion and amphitheater will make Portland a true destination and help to turn what was once a dream into reality.”

Chester Organic Market Proposal Withdrawn

CHESTER— A special permit application for an organic foods market in a vacant building at 56 Middlesex Avenue has been withdrawn after the -planning and zoning commission determined that inclusion of plans for a 24-seat cafe area would represent an illegal expansion of a non-conforming use.

Local resident Peter Kehayias withdrew the application soon after the start of a public hearing on Sept. 9. Kehayias had proposed a market that would sell “locally grown organic produce and specialty food items.”

The market would be located in a 4,800 square-foot building at 56 Middlesex Avenue (also known as Route 154) that has been vacant for about two years. The building, located in a residential zone, had previously housed a garage, and most recently marine and bycycle repair shops.

Commission Chairman Michael Joplin advised Kehayias soon after the start of the puiblic hearing that inclusion of plans for a cafe-style seating area where patrons could consume sandwiches and other items purchased at the market could represent an expansion of the non-conforming use that was established for the property by the former L&I Garage that opened in the 1930s, before the adoption of local zoning regulartions.

Joplin noted the previous commercial uses of the structure had sold services and some commodities, but did not include sale of food items for on-site consumption. Joplin urged Kehayias to submit a new application for a basic retail market for sale of produce and other food items, with no on-site seating for patrons. Kehayias withdrew the application before the hearing was opened for comments from the public.

High Spirits at “The Come Home to Chester Days”

The lights were bright, but people’s spirits were brighter during the opening festivities of the 20th Annual Come Home to Chester Days

Crowds outside the Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art

Stores and galleries remained open late to welcome shoppers and visitors alike. Pedestrians crowded the sidewalks (and sometimes the street) outside of lighted windows. 

A giant beet outside of The Local Beet, Groceries for a Green Planet

Stores like The Local Beet offered free samples while other venues, like The Hammered Edge, held special sales. 

A (happy) sale sign in front of The Hammered Edge

 A spoken word artist performed outside e o art lab, drawing an audience of appreciative listeners. 

Spoken word artist against the bright windows of e o art lab

Light and music spilled out of various venues, while a live band performed on the steps of C+G Unparalleled Apparel (first floor) and C+G Posters and Prints (second floor). 

A live band welcomes visitors to C+G

While the streets were less busy by the end of the night, shoppers and visitors still crowded the venues sidewalks. 

Ceramica’s doors are wide open to welcome visitors and shoppers

Peek-a-booquet n. Cupcake is open for business

Art through the windows of Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art

The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery

As the Sign Says - Everything Was Open!

All photos and reporting courtesy of Lauren Dickey

The Annual “Come Home to Chester Days”

The Merchants of Chester will again celebrate the arrival of autumn with the 20th annual Come Home to Chester Days, a weekend of art gallery, shop and restaurant opening receptions in Chester Center on Friday, September 17, 2010 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and exciting events on Saturday, September 18, 2010.

“Every September, we keep our doors open late on the Friday night closest to the Autumnal Equinox to celebrate the beginning of fall. We have receptions in our galleries, shops, studios, and restaurants,” says Leif Nilsson, artist and owner of the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery. “It is a festive evening when townspeople and visitors are invited to stroll the streets of an antique New England village; to see the latest paintings, photographs, sculptures, fashion and jewelry; to sample baked goods and fine food; and to discover handcrafted decorative accessories and furnishings.” Most everything is within walking distance from the Maple Street and Water Street parking lots.

Chester, Connecticut is a unique town known for celebrating art, history, music, fashion, theatre, craft, cuisine & conversation in the magnificent Connecticut River Valley. The town is renowned for its quaint shops, artist galleries, and a variety of fantastic restaurants that all family members can enjoy. Easy to reach by car, rail, air, or boat, a convenient two-hour drive from NYC and Boston, MA, Chester is located at exit 6 on RT 9, between I-95 and I-91.

For general information about the event, contact Leif Nilsson at 860-526-2077. For specific information about particular merchants, call them directly, visit their websites, or consult www.VisitChesterct.com, which has a continually updated listing of the town’s weekend and special events.
The following will be open Friday evening from 5 p.m – 8 p.m. on September 17, 2010 unless otherwise noted.

Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery, LLC
One Spring Street
(860) 526-2077

The Autumn Exhibit featuring Leif Nilsson’s oil paintings of his garden, the Connecticut River Valley, friends and travels, opens on Friday, September 17, 2010 with a reception from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. This show runs through October 24th. Open Weekends from Noon – 6 pm. Other times by chance or appointment. Visit anytime on the internet at www.nilssonstudio.com

Caryn B. Davis Photography
at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery
One Spring Street
(860) 526-5936

Photographer Caryn B. Davis will exhibit photographs from her travels. For more information contact Caryn B Davis at 860-526-5936, through email at caryn@cbdphotography.com or visit her website at www.cbdphotography.com.

Ceramica
36 Main Street
(800) 270-0900

Be sure to visit the Ceramica shop Friday, Saturday and Sunday for our annual “Come Home to Chester” Indoor/Outdoor Sidewalk Seconds Sale Don’t Miss the Fun !!(Cash or Checks for Sale Purchases, please…)
chester@ceramicadirect.com  www.ceramicadirect.com

Connecticut River Artisans Cooperative
5 West Main Street, Chester
(860) 526-5575
    

The Artisans will be featuring Roger Landry September 1 – 30 with his acrylic paintings.   The Art Gallery at The Mill House exhibitors for September 1 – 30 are the 9 Odyssey Painters.  They are: Pat Barone of Clinton, Phyllis Bevington of Chester, Christine Danilowicz of Branford, Gail Estrade of East Lyme, Karen Lipeika of Deep River, Brenda Newbegin of Essex, Carol Robertson of Old Saybrook, Paula Solimene Emery of Killingworth and Maureen Tarbox of East Haddam.  Their Reception is Saturday, September 4: 2-5pm.  The Public is welcome!!
The Artisans – Waterfall Room features paintings by Chien Fei Chiang, Lisabeth Billingsley, Susan Carden-Flicker, Patricia Barone, Dianne Gorrick and Phyllis Bevington.  www.ctriverartisans.com

Grand Opening of the Upbeat Studio
18 Main Street,
(860) 575-0145

Artist Patrice M. Nelson is thrilled to be part of the downtown village and brings her colorful whimsical artwork to Chester! Join the festivities September 17th during the “Come Home to Chester” fanfare with a cheer and a toast to her new UPBEAT STUDIO. Located right above The Local Beet. 18 Main Street 5-8pm. For information call 860 575-0145 or email at meohmy@comcast.net.
 
The Local Beet, Groceries for a Green Planet
16 Main Street (in the village center)
(860) 526-5554

Celebrating the cooling nights of Fall until 8 pm on September 17th..
Stop in for a healthy treat and a chance to win our Peter Good original Beet T-shirt. Healthy foods to feed your family and nurture yourself. Vitamins, Supplements, Natural Remedies, Teas and more than 60 bulk items to scoop.
Open Monday-Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-5 and on Market Sundays. 860. 526.5554. www.thelocalbeetshop.com

Peekabooquet n. cupcake
4 Water Street
(860) 526-2225

Come by and visit our unique boutique for babies and kids, home of the original baby clothing bouquets – the ooh and aah gift.  Peekabooquet n. cupcake is expanding our space to carry more of  our wonderful collection of unique designs in organic and USA made clothing,  with sizes newborn to 5.  We carry lunch boxes and water bottles  that are  BPA, Phthalate and lead free with many books and games to chose from.  To celebrate “Come Home to Chester Days” we are offering a 10% storewide discount Friday September   17.  Always evolving, always new…you’ll love our stuff…..www.peekabooquet.com

Al Malpa Photography Gallery
4 Spring St.
(860) 558-5499

The first anniversary of the Al Malpa Photography Gallery will be celebrated on Come Home to Chester weekend. Al’s exhibit of “The Great Smokies in Springtime” will open at 6 p.m. on Friday. Stop by for desserts and wine anytime during the evening, enjoy the show, and relax on the porch or deck.  www.almalpa.com

Hammered Edge Gallery
14 Main St. Chester, Ct
(860) 526-1654

Welcome Home to Chester!
 Open house hours on Friday are 5-8 pm. Saturday 10-6, and Sunday 9-3 pm. We will be having a Sale Friday Sept. 17 thru Sunday Sept. 19 on finished jewelry,eclectic oddities, books, metalsmithing tools, jewelry supplies, glassware, and plenty more! 
 
Enjoy herbal iced tea and make a donation to the Chester Rotary Polio Fund all weekend while you shop!
Halloween is right around the corner. Come by to start your costume with one of our Fair Trade costume hats, masks, or one of our own one-of-a-kind hand decorated masks! Come let us inspire Your Imagination! Contact Kathryne Wright at 860-526-1654.

The Art Gallery at The Mill House exhibitors for September 1 – 29 are the 9 Odyssey Painters.  They are: Pat Barone of Clinton, Phyllis Bevington of Chester, Christine Danilowicz of Branford, Gail Estrade of East Lyme, Karen Lipeika of Deep River, Brenda Newbegin of Essex, Carol Robertson of Old Saybrook, Paula Solimene Emery of Madison and Maureen Tarbox of East Haddam.  Their Reception is Saturday, September 4: 2-5pm.  Their second reception will be part of “Come Home to Chester” night September 17, 2010 from 5-8 pm.The Public is welcome!!

Lori Warner Studio/ Gallery
21 Main Street
(860) 322-4265

Opening of new work by Carrie Gustafson, Glass. Carrie will be in the gallery Friday evening to unveil her intricately patterned sand blasted glass forms. This solo exhibition is her first body of new work since winning the coveted Smithsonian Museum, Excellence in Glass Award. Two new pieces of furniture by Par Turesson, of Stockholm and Chester will also be unveiled along with other new work. Open Tuesday – Thursday 11-6pm, Friday – Saturday 11-8pm, Sunday 10-4pm. www.loriwarner.com

Maple & Main Gallery of Fine Art
One Maple Street
Chester, CT
(860) 669-3582

Please join us for a Sneak-Peek opening of Chester’s newest art gallery, Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art.  At Maple and Main you will find investment quality art by local, regional and nationally known artists.  Our artists bring to you a diverse mix of mediums and styles ranging from traditional realism to mixed media. You will experience the finest art Connecticut has to offer whether you’re looking for portraits, traditional and plein air landscapes, seascapes, marine art, figurative works or still life. Housed in a charming building built by Samuel Colt and Pardon Stevens in 1798 which uses four tall ship masts as support beams, Maple and Main, located right in the heart of Chester Village, brims with both New England charm and stunning art work.
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/maple-and-main-gallery-of-fine-art.html

Mystic Sisters of Chester
4 Water Street
(860) 526-8022

Mystic Sisters of Chester Antiques and Artful Wares
Please join us Friday evening, September 17th, to kick off “Come Home to Chester Days” weekend. Light refreshments will be served from 5-8 PM.  You’ll enjoy perusing our excellent selection of antiques, hand-knotted Persian rugs and quality estate pieces. We also offer vintage and antique jewelry along with original, handmade designs by CT artisans for your enjoyment. Our handmade goat milk soap has become one of our best selling items throughout the year.
You will not be disappointed in our collection of original art, featuring the outstanding work of watercolorist Pat Kelbaugh and Chester artist Alan Schweitzer, whose stunning mosaics are creating a lot of excitement this year at Mystic Sisters.

So come on in and refresh your home and your senses with something special from Mystic Sisters. You can also get in touch with us through our web site www.mysticsistersct.com

C&G Unparalleled Apparel
3 North Main Street, 1st floor 
(860) 526-3284

Jan’s finds for Fall are arriving daily in our first floor shop, including some unique jackets, shirts and hats for men.
Come find what you didn’t even know you were looking for! And then come upstairs to our new 2nd floor gallery.
Wednesday-Sunday 12-5 . www.cgchester.com

C&G Posters & Prints
3 North Main Street, 2nd floor 
(860) 526-3284

Opened in June, our 2nd floor gallery space showcases a poster collection representing 40 years of Cummings & Good internationally acclaimed graphics, original art, archival print editions and note cards.
Also available by special order are custom decorative marble tiles by Au Grenier Doré. 
Wednesday-Sunday 12-5 .www.cgchester.com

Dina Varano
27 Main Street
(860) 526-8866

Please join us and to celebrate Come Home to Chester on Friday, September 17th, from 5-9 PM.  The store is sparkling with beautiful jewels, collectibles and hand crafted gifts that Dina has carefully chosen from all over the world.  New treasures are arriving daily!  Come have a look.  We are open Tuesday – Sunday 10-6 and Friday evenings until 9 PM.  Visit anytime at www.DinaVarano.com
 

Chester Gallery,
76 Main Street
(860) 526-9822

Chester Gallery presents “Still Working”. Connecticut Fields and Woodlands will grace the Gallery walls showing oil paintings by Forrest Bailey and etching & engraving by Richard Claude Ziemann.  At the ages of 78 both men are “Still Working”.  This show opens on Friday September 17th. with an artists reception from 5 to 7. Show ends October 23rd. Gallery hours are Tues. thru Sat. 10 to 5.  For more information 860-526-9822 or chestergallery@att.net

The Colt House Gallery and Antiques
43 Main Street
(860) 526 9375

Featuring box constructions, wall reliefs, and digital imagery archival prints by Chester artist Bill Vollers. Also a collection of antique toys , folk art,primitives and other collectables. Gallery hours are by appointment or chance. Please contact Bill Vollers at 860 526 9375 vollersdesign@me.com


eo art lab
69 main street
860.526.4833

Maine artist Meg Brown Payson, fresh off exhibitions in New Hampshire and Boston, explores her wild side in “Hydrostatic Pressure”. Payson abstractly explores the “sense making” process, where we humans attempt to order an otherwise disorderly world. Through September 26th. Mon-Sat 10a.m. – 6p.m., Sun noon-6p.m. www.eoartlab.com
 

Chester Historical Society
860-526-2331
 
On Friday, Sept. 17, the Chester Museum at  The Mill will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. during Come Home to Chester night with an exhibit  of farm tools and articles on loan from the Chester Fair Association, and original paintings and photographs of Chester barns, all created by Chester artists. The artwork will be available for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Historical Society. Refreshments will be served.www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org

For Saturday, Sept. 18
 
Chester Historical Society and Chester Land Trust
 860-526-2331
 
On Saturday, Sept. 18, the Chester Historical Society and Chester Land Trust are coming together to present a Celebration of Barns program followed by a Harvest Potluck Supper. Starting at 3 p.m., Chester’s Scouts will raise a small post and beam structure on the town green (or indoors, in case of rain). Everyone is invited to watch and participate. There will be sheep on the green and carding and spinning wool will be demonstrated. At 4 p.m., architectural historian Todd Levine will talk about the history of barn types in Connecticut, and Billy Cadley, a local post and beam barn builder, will talk. At the conclusion of the barn program, the tables will be arranged for the potluck Harvest Supper.  Bring a dish to share from your garden or a dessert or meat course to share. Also bring your own beverages and service. The event is free and open to the public.  For more information, go to www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org or call 860-526-2331. Join us in celebrating Chester’s past and present.

Chester Planning and Zoning Sets Public Hearing on Organic Market

CHESTER— The planning and zoning commission has scheduled a public hearing, Thursday September 9, on a special permit application for an organic market in a vacant building at 56 Middlesex Avenue.

The public hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House on Liberty Street. The panel will also hold public hearings on a special permit application for a Jazzercise studio in vacant space at 3 Inspiration Lane, and a proposed two-lot resubdivision of a 16.75-acre parcel at 49 Wig Hill Road.

Local resident Peter Kehayias is the applicant for the organic market at the property owned by 56 Middlesex Avenue LLC of Cromwell. The vacant building, which most recently housed a bycycle repair shop, is located on the east side of Middlesex Avenue, also known as Route 154, directly across from the intersection with Main Street. Kehayias proposes to sell locally-grown organic produce, including meats and fish, and speciality items.

The proposed Organic Market at Chester would also have an area with “cafe-style seating for 12 to 25 customers.”  The plans call for 19 parking spaces, 17 regular spaces and two handicapped spaces.

Jazzercise currently operates in Deep River, offering classes in exercise and health-related topics. Classes would be held Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the morning, and evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with some Saturday classes. The proposed location is at 3 Inspiration Lane, in a complex owned by the Chester Group LLC.

The proposed resubdivision calls for creating a new 5.43-acre building lot from a parcel at 49 Wig Hill Road owned by Bruce and Mary Rayner. The existing house on the parcel would remain on an 11.3-acre lot. Local zoning regulations require a public hearing for resubdivisions.

Chester Rotary Lobster Festival

The Rotary Club of Chester will host its 40th Annual Lobster Festival at the Chester Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 11 starting at 5:00 PM.

The event will be highlighted by classic double entree dinners featuring Twin Lobster, Twin Steak, or Surf and Turf.  Traditional sides include Corn on the Cob, Baked Potato, Cole Slaw and Rolls.  Soft drinks, bottled water, draft beer and wine will be available for sale throughout the night.   The bands Bittersweet Harmony, Flying Blind & Second Chance will entertain participants with classic tunes until the festival closes at 10:30 pm.

Admission is $40 in advance (by September 5), or $45 for at the gate.  Single entree dinners are $30 and $35.  Children’s hot dog meal tickets will be available at the gate for $5.  Purchase tickets from any Chester Rotarian, Selected Chester Merchants (Hammered Edge LLC Studio & Gallery, Chester Bottle Shop, Chester Package Store, Century 21 Heritage Co., Squiggy’s Lakeside and Chrisholm Marina) or call Bill at 860-526-3672.  

For more data visit the Chester Rotary website:  http://www.ChesterRotary.org/lobsterfestival.html.

Chester Rotarians are dedicated to providing funding and service to local, national and international charitable organizations.  All proceeds from this event support these causes.

“Earth and Sky” Open Auditions in Chester

The Meeting House Players of Chester will be ho0lding open auditions for their upcoming production of Douglas Post’s film noir style mystery “Earth and Sky”.  The auditions will be held at the Meeting House located at 4 Liberty Street in Chester, CT at 7pm on September 8th and September 10th.   “Earth and Sky” is a poetic thriller about a would-be poet and part-time librarian named Sara McKeon who’s lover of ten weeks, David Ames, is found dead one hot August morning in the city of Chicago.  It appears that David, owner and manager of an expensive art-deco restaurant, may have been involved in several illicit activities including kidnapping, rape and murder.  Unable to believe the man she gave her heart to was a killer, and outraged that the police seemed to have closed the book on the case, Sara begins her own investigation of the crime and is led deeper and deeper through an urban labyrinth into a contemporary underworld.  As the detective story moves forward in time, scenes from the love affair take us back to the moment when Sara and David first met.  Finally the plots converge and Sara finds herself face to face with the person who murdered her beloved. 

The cast includes six men, late 20’s to mid 50’s, and three women, early 20’s to mid 40’s.   Directed by Debbie Alldredge, the production dates will be October 29 & 30 and November 5, 6, 12 & 13.   Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script.   For additional information contact Debbie Alldredge at 860-526-3684 or at Deb@DebAlldredge.com.

“Three Cups of Tea” at Chester Library

Images of Pakistan’s people and places taken by Keith Dauer during his travels in the area and a sampling of regional foods will set the stage for a discussion of Greg Mortenson’s inspiring story, ‘Three Cups of Tea’ at Chester Library on September 16.  Chester residents and history teachers Sandy and Keith Dauer will lead this intergenerational program which begins at 6:30 p.m.

 This is one of a series of programs being held as part of Tri-Town Youth Service’s effort urging everyone from elementary school on up to get “On the Same Page” by reading and talking about the same book.  From the picture book, Listen to the Wind, and junior version of Three Cups of Tea, written for 6-8th graders, to audio recordings and large print, there is a version or format of this story for every reader.

 Please call Chester Library at 860-526-0018 to obtain a copy or to register for this program.  The library is located at 21 West Main Street in Chester, CT.

 For Additional Information Contact:  Linda Fox, Chester Public Library, 860-526-0018 or by e-mail at chesterctlibrary@yahoo.com

Barn Celebration during ‘Come Home to Chester Weekend’.

Chester native, Diane Lindsay, photographed many of Chester's old barns for the CT Barn Survey. Her photos will be among those exhibited at the Chester Museum at The Mill beginning Sept. 17.

For centuries, farming was a major component of life in Chester. Today there are still barns, and animals, and harvests reminding us of our past.

On Saturday, Sept. 18, during Come Home to Chester Weekend, two of Chester’s nonprofit organizations – the Historical Society and the Land Trust – are hosting a celebration of barns followed by a harvest dinner in the Chester Meeting House on Goose Hill Road. The event is free and open to the public.

The Historical Society’s Barn Celebration starts at 3 p.m. Chester’s Scouts will raise a small post and beam structure on the town green (or indoors, in case of rain). Everyone is invited to watch and learn. They’ll hear how round trees were turned into square posts and, using early woodworking techniques, they can make the wooden pegs that fasten posts and beams together. The holes for the wooden pegs or “tree nails” used to be made with large augers (Chester had more than a dozen small factories that made augers), and people are invited to try their hand at boring holes.  People are also invited to try their hand at splitting out roof shingles (just the thing needed to protect the barn’s structural frame).

Chester resident Doreen Bickford will bring her sheep and will demonstrate carding and spinning wool.

Beginning at 4 p.m., Todd Levine, the architectural historian who is directing the Connecticut Barn Survey for the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, will give a program about the history of barn types in Connecticut and the importance of their preservation. Chester’s own Barn Survey will be included in his talk. Then Billy Cadley, who builds post and beam structures and recently built the barn at the corner of Rtes. 145 and 148, will speak about his experiences in barn building, the materials and where they come from, new and old tools, and technologies that he uses.

There will be time for questions and answers.

At the conclusion of the barn program, tables will be set for the potluck Harvest Supper, hosted by the Chester Land Trust. Bring a dish to share from your garden or a meat dish or dessert to share. Bring your own beverages and service and enjoy the evening at an old-fashioned supper of home-grown foods.

 Leading into the Sept. 18th events, on Friday, Sept. 17, the Chester Museum at The Mill at 9 West Main Street will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. during Come Home to Chester night with an exhibit of farm tools and articles on loan from the Chester Fair Association, and original paintings and photographs of Chester barns, all created by Chester artists. The artwork will be available for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Historical Society. Refreshments will be served. 

For more information, go to www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org or call 860-526-2331.