September 19, 2021

Local Clinicians Interpret the Landscape

Renni Ridgeway-Korsemeyer "Evening on the Sound"

Renni Ridgeway-Korsmeyer, a psychotherapist from Old Lyme, and Eleanor Pringle, a psychiatrist in Higganum, are presenting their art interpretations of the New England landscape in an exhibit at the Mill House gallery in Chester.  The show will open on October 1 and extend until October 28.  A reception to which the public is invited will be on Saturday, October 2 from 2-5pm. The Mill House Gallery is located at 5 West Main Street in Chester.  It is open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 5pm.

Eleanor Pringle "September"

Della Rocco Granted Accelerated Rehabilitation on 2009 Charges

CHESTER— The case against Charles “Chuck” Della Rocco, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for first selectman in 2009, has been resolved with a judge’s decision to grant him accelerated rehabilitation on charges of second degree forgery and third degree larceny.

Della Rocco, 42, of 6 Bartkiewicz Road, was arrested by state police on a court warrant on Nov. 5, 2009 on charges related to an alleged illegal sale of a Ford pick up truck he had borrowed from neighbors Peter and Cheryl Lynch in July 2009. Only days earlier, Della Rocco, a former police officer in Old Saybrook, had been soundly defeated in the town election by Republican First selectman Tom Marsh.

Della Rocco was the Democratic nominee against Marsh, who earlier this year left the Republican Party to run for governor as the nominee of the Connecticut Independent Party.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford granted Della Rocco’s request for accelerated rehabilitation at an Aug. 13 court session in Middletown. Della Rocco in June had dismissed the attorney who represented him since the arrest, Hartford lawyer Paul Spinella.

Under the state’s accelerated rehabilitation procedure, a defendant’s criminal charges may be dismissed from the record if the individual does not violate any other state laws for a specified time period. Accelerated rehabilitation is a one-time option for the defendant. Clifford set a May 13, 2011 cout date to review Della Rocco’s case.

Chester Selectmen to Make Decision on Assessor as Labor Complaint Looms

CHESTER— The board of selectmen is preparing to make decisions on the tax assessor position as a complaint by the former assessor heads to a hearing before the state Board of Labor Relations.

The hearing on a complaint filed by Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) on behalf of former assessor Patricia Stevenson is scheduled for Thursday at the State Board of Labor Relations offices in Wethersfield. Stevenson, a Killingworth resident who has served as a full-time tax assessor for a decade, was dismissed by the board of selectmen in May.

The board acted on a 2-1 vote, with Democratic Selectman Lawrence Sypher opposed, after town attorney John Bennet determined the assessor job was an appointed position with a four-year term. The selectmen had not voted on an appointment for Stevenson since 2005.

First Selectman Tolm Marsh, with support from Republican Selectman Tom Englert, decided to explore cost savings in the assessor’s office, including the possibility of sharing an assessor with another town. Stevenson maintains she is a town employee and union member, regardless of appointment or reappointment. The selectmen in June hired Michael Bekech, the tax assessor in Waterford, to staff the Chester office for eight to ten hours per week.
Marsh said last week Bekech has determined the Chester assessor should work 18 hours per week, a reduction from the 27 to 30 hours per week the town has funded in past years. “We’re still deciding how to do it,” he said, adding the options include hiring a part-time assessor, or sharing an assessor with another town.
Marsh said he expects the board to make decisions on the future of the assessor position in September. Bekech continues working in Chester as the part-time interim assessor.

Transit District Receives Grant for Hybrid Vehicles

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that 9 Town Transit (9TT), a service of the Estuary Transit District, is a recipient of a 2010 Connecticut Clean Fuel (CCF) program grant.

The intent of the CCF program is to improve air quality, reduce dependency on petroleum based fuels and enhance public awareness of alternative fuel-based technologies in the automotive and transportation industries by providing incentives for public entities in Connecticut to adopt clean fuel technologies.

Funding for CCF is awarded to the state by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and allocated to each of Connecticut’s two Ozone Non-Attainment Areas.  The New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area, which includes the Estuary region, was awarded a total of $968,000.  9TT received $119,760 for the hybrid drive systems of three vehicles.

9 Town Transit will combine the funding with Rural Transit funding from the DOT to purchase a hybrid Ford Escape and two hybrid 12 passenger buses.  The hybrid buses will be the first light-duty hybrid buses in the state, making 9TT one of only a handful of transit districts in the country with such vehicles.

The hybrid drive system is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 25 to 30%, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, cut greenhouse gas emissions and lower fuel costs.  The transition to hybrid vehicles is part of a larger initiative by 9TT to promote the environmental benefits of public transit.

The Estuary Transit District provides public transit service via the fleet of 13 buses to Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook through its 9 Town Transit service.

Connections are provided to New Haven, Middletown, Hartford and New London/Norwich bus services as well as Shoreline East Commuter Rail.  All services are open to the general public with no age or disability restrictions.

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

They’re Collecting Pennies for Peace

Left to right are Heidi Samuelson, Katie Wright, Leslie Strauss, Tom Marsh, Sherrie Coleman, Rachel Ryan, Nicole Dolan .

Tri-town area businesses and stores are collecting pennies for the next two months to benefit the Pennies for Peace program of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute established by Greg Mortensen, author of “Three Cups of Tea.”

The book, and its two editions for younger readers, is the subject of Tri-Town Youth Services’ Community Read this summer. Pennies for Peace was initiated to teach children the rewards of working together to bring hope and educational opportunities to children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where one penny buys a pencil.

Shown in the photo, left to right, are Chester businesspeople Heidi Samuelson, New Alliance Bank; Katie Wright, Hammered Edge Gallery; Leslie Strauss, Century 21; Tom Marsh, Chester First Selectman; Sherrie Coleman, eo Art Lab; and Rachel Ryan, Rachel Ryan’s Fitness; with Nicole Dolan of Tri-Town Youth Services. More information about the community read is at www.tritownys.org

Marsh, Other Independent Candidates Qualify for the Fall Ballot

CHESTER–Chester First Selectman Tom Marsh has secured a line on the Nov. 2 ballot for his run for governor as the nominee of the Connecticut Independent Party.

Marsh and five other Connecticut Independent Party candidates submitted more than the required number of petition signatures from registered voters by an Aug. 4 deadline and have been confirmed for the ballot by the Secretary of the State’s office. The candidates and about 50 friends and supporters celebrated the successful ballot access effort Tuesday evening with a gathering at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Essex.

The candidates for statewide office were required to submit petition signatures from at least 7,500 registered voters. Marsh said Wednesday after nearly 11,500 signatures were submitted by the deadline.

Marsh, elected first selectman in 2005 as a Republican, had announced in January that he was running for the Republican nomination for governor. But in April Marsh announced he would pursue his candidacy in the general election as the nominee of the Connecticut Independent Party, a Waterbury based group that has elected members of the Waterbury Board of Alderman and has town committees in several Waterbury area towns.

Marsh is running with Cicero Booker as the candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Booker, an African-American, is a former Waterbury police officer who currently serves on the city’s Board of Alderman. Booker also successfully petitioned for a spot on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Other candidates on the ballot include Michael Telesca for secretary of the state, and Andrew White for treasurer. Telesca, of Waterbury, is a property manager who also serves as chairman of the party. It is important for a party to buy medicines from reliable companies like the Calonmedical. White, of Ridgefield, is a financial analyst who was initially a candidate for the Republican nomination for treasurer.

The party currently has two candidates for U.S. Senate with separate ballot lines. John Mertens, a college professor from West Hartford, has the ballot line of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, a grouping created by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman after he was defeated by Ned Lamont in the 2006 Democratic Primary for the U.S. Senate nomination. The Connecticut for Lieberman Party already had ballot status left over from Lieberman’s 2006 general election victory but is no longer affiliated with Lieberman.

Warren Mosler holds the Connecticut Independent Party ballot line for U..S. Senate. Mosler, a financial commentator from Middletown, began the year as a candidate for the Democratic nomination.

Giuliano Hosts Forum for Home-Based Businesses

State Representative Marilyn Giuliano

State Representative Marilyn Giuliano and the Connecticut Dept. of Economic and Community Development )DECD) are hosting a Home-Based Business Networking Forum on Wednesday, Aug. 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Old Saybrook High School.

The keynote speaker will be Commissioner Joan McDonald of the DECD.

Meet other home-based business owners and learn how government can work for you.

To register or for further information, contact Marilyn Giuliano at Marilyn.Giuliano@cga.ct.gov

Delia Names Campaign Team for Probate Race

Republican judge of probate candidate Anselmo Delia has announced town coordinators and a team of advisors for the fall election contest in the new nine-town probate court district.

Delia, a Clinton lawyer, was nominated for judge of probate at a convention in May. He faces a contest with Democrat Terrance Lomme,, an Essex lawyer who won the party nomination in a primary last week. Lomme defeated Raymond Rigat, a Clinton lawyer who served three terms as the local probate judge in his hometown.

Delia has coodinators in each district town, including Republican town chairman Mario Gioco in Chester, former First Selectwoman Virginia Zawoy in Clinton, Margot Gamerdinger in Deep River, Lynn Faulstick in Essex, Margo Chase-Wells in Haddam, Republican town chairman Rowland Ballek in Lyme, Gerri Lewis in Old Saybrook, and John Ferrara in Westbrook. The coordinator in Killingworth is Gerlad Lucas, a former first selectman who is also serving as campaign manager.

“Now that the Democratic Primary is over, we have an opponent, and it’s time to begin the general election campaign,” Delia said. “These are truly super people, literally the best and brightest experienced in campaigns and will be an extraordinary asset as we go forward.”

Delia also announced four prominent area Republicans who will be serving as “senior advisors” for his campaign. The group includes Ferrara of Westbrook, a former member of the Republican State Central Committee, Robert and Madge Fish of Old Saybrook, and Edward Munster of Haddam. Robert Fish is the current town treasuredr of Old Saybrook, and a former selectman who served several months as interim first selectman in 1997. Madge Fish is president of the Old Saybrook Republican Women’s Club.

Munster is a former state senator for the 33rd Senate District, which overlaps most of the new probate court district. Munster served one term in the State Senate, from 1990-1992, before making three unsuccessful runs for U.S. Congress in the 2nd District of eastern Connecticut in 1992, 1994, and 1996. In Munster’s run for the State Senate in 1990, he was the convention-endorsed candidate who defeated Delia in a Republican primary.

Connecticut River Museum Starts Fire Damage Cleanup, Establishes Donation Fund, Plans Reopening

A fire that began on the steamboat dock damaged the Connecticut River Museum

Essex, CT — After a fire broke out late Wednesday evening and caused severe damage to the Connecticut River Museum’s historic 1878 Steamboat Warehouse building and dock, museum officials have begun cleanup efforts and established a fund for financial donations for repair and restoration expenses.

While the prompt response and preparedness of volunteer fire crews from Essex and surrounding towns saved the building and all of the invaluable artifacts and treasures inside, heavy smoke and water damage did occur. The Connecticut River Museum Fire Fund has been established to help rebuild, restore and return the museum and dock to full operation. Donations may be mailed to: Connecticut River Museum Fire Fund, 67 Main Street, Essex, CT, 06426 or made online by going to www.ctrivermuseum.org.

River cruises aboard the Schooner Mary E have been operating on a regular schedule without interruption and will continue through the Fall foliage season with daily sails at 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm, and 6:00 pm.

The exhibit galleries, now temporarily closed, will open over a staggered timeline. The Museum gift shop and the main floor gallery exhibit On the Great River, which showcases the Turtle submarine and the 1814 British Raid on Essex, should be open to the public within a week.

The Boathouse Gallery and Education Center is scheduled to reopen by mid-September while the second floor gallery boasting a brand new exhibit opening is planned for sometime in October. The third floor exhibit space, which experienced the most damage, will be the last to open with the 17th Annual Holiday Train Show on November 19.

The Museum’s annual Family Maritime Festival has been postponed to Saturday, August 21 and will now include a special tribute to all of the firefighters who battled the blaze and minimized the damage. The public is invited to an afternoon of free maritime games, sea chanteys, schooner deck tours, rope making and more on the Museum’s lawn from 1:00 pm- 4:30 pm. At 5 pm, a free concert featuring sea chanteys by Freemen of the Sea and folk rock by Amalgamated Muck will take place and include a special presentation to honor members of area fire departments.

For more information or to reserve a schooner cruise ticket, call (860)767-8269. The Connecticut River Museum, located at 67 Main Street on the historic Essex waterfront, is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the natural beauty and cultural heritage of New England’s Great River.

Chester Planning and Zoning Approves Plans for Building at Airport Industrial Park, Supermarket Withdrawn for Revisions

The planning and zonining commission has approved plans for a new building at the Airport Industrial Park, while a proposal for a supermarket at a vacant building on Route 154 has been withdrawn for revisions.

The commission last week approved a special permit allowing Hull Management LLC to construct a 50-foot-by 50-foot steel building at the industrial park off Route 145. The panel acted after a public hearing where the project drew no objections. The company performs engineering design and prototype manufacturing for machine products.

A special permit application from 56 Middlesex Avenue LLC and John Defrino for a Bliss supermarket in the vacant commercial building at 56 Middlesex Avenue, also known as Route 154, was withdrawn before the scheduled Aug. 5 public hearing. Judy Brown, zoning enforcement officer, said a new special permit application is being prepared for an organic market in the building. She said a public hearing on the plan is expected in September.

Inaugural Saybrook Bike/Walk Takes Place Oct. 2

The first annual Saybrook Point Bike Tour and Walk Benefiting LiveStrong and Valley-Shore YMCA will be held Saturday, Oct. 2, at historic Fort Saybrook Memorial Park in Old Saybrook.  Registration begins at 9 a.m.  Event goers have three options in which to participate:

◦a 50K bike tour beginning at the Park that passes through the scenic towns of Essex, Deep River and Chester along the Connecticut River, returning to Saybrook Point with spectacular views of Long Island Sound at the finish.
◦a 10K ‘loop’ around Saybrook Point taking in the same wonderful views.
◦a 5K walk that will begin at Fort Saybrook and cross South Cove to the picturesque Borough of Fenwick before returning to the park.
This family-oriented event will provide important cancer awareness information from health professionals as well as highlighting southeastern Connecticut’s first cancer survivors’ fitness program called Hope Is Power.  Hope Is Power is a new program run by Valley-Shore YMCA that is designed to help cancer survivors regain their physical fitness and sense of well being.

A 12-week session is currently underway and a new session will begin in September.  The program includes cardiovascular, strength and relaxation techniques to combat the effects of cancer treatment.  The program is open to all adult cancer survivors, and is free of charge.

Proceeds from this event will benefit The Lance Armstrong Foundation and Valley-Shore YMCA, both 501 (C) (3) charitable organizations.

Click here for more information and to register for the event.  Registration closing date is Sept. 25, at 2 p.m.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek Offers Parents’ Workshop for High Holy Days

Rabbi Goldenberg to teach how to make holy days meaningful for families

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester will conduct a pre-High Holy Days workshop, “Making the High Holy Days Meaningful and Workable For You and Your Kids” on Sunday, August 29 at 7:00 p.m. The workshop, which will be held at a home in Madison, is designed to help parents prepare for Rosh Ha Shonah and Yom Kippur, the most sacred of Jewish religious holidays.

Rabbi Goldenberg said, “Whether a parent raising Jewish children was raised Jewish or not, it can be an overwhelming challenge to make the experience meaningful for all family members.” She will be offering tips on what to do at home and how to plan time at synagogue in order to get the most out of these important days. The holidays will be celebrated in September.

To RSVP and for directions, please contact Wendy in the CBSRZ office at bethshalom@snet.net or 860-526-8920.

Lomme & Rigat Face Off Tuesday In Democratic Primary

Two lawyers from Clinton and Essex, each with experience as a local probate judge, face off Tuesday in a primary for the Democratic nomination for judge of probate in the new nine-town regional probate district that becomes effective in January.

Terrance Lomme of Essex won the party endorsement at the May nomninating convention, besting a field of six candidates that included Raymond Rigat of Clinton, the convention runner-up and challenger in the primary. After six ballots in which other candidates were eliminated, Lomme won the endorsement over Rigat on a 23-14 delegate vote. The new probate district includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.

Lomme, 62, has been a practicing lawyer for 30 years and is the most recent past president of the Middlesex County Bar Association. A Westport native, Lomme lived in Haddam and East Haddam before moving to Essex in 1993. He was the elected judge of probate in East Haddam from 1990-1993, leaving a year before the four-year term expired when he moved from East Haddam to Essex. Lomme is married to Bette Shea Lomme, a middle school teacher in East Haddam.

Rigat, 45, has lived in Clinton since childhood. Rigat has been a lawyer since 1990, including three years as a judge advocate lawyer in the U.S. Navy. He was elected judge of probate in Clinton in 1998 and has served three terms in the position, defeating Republican challengers in 2002 and 2006. Rigat and his wife, Karen, are the parents of children ages 14 and 10.
Both candidates pledge to serve as a full-time regional judge of probate if elected, transitioning out of private practice as the new court becomes operational. The most significant differences to emerge during a quiet campaign with no formal debate have centered on which candidate has the best experience and qualifications for the position.

Rigat said his three full terms as judge of probate in Clinton, the largest town in the district, has provided him with the broadest experience. “It makes you a more closer listener,” Rigat said, contending he has “considerably more experience than Terry Lomme.” Rigat also claims extensive experience with juvenile court cases.

But Lomme maintains his additional decade as a lawyer, along with the service as a judge in East Haddam, has given him broader experience in probate law. Lomme also contends he has a greater knowledge of the towns in the new district. “I have had cases at every court in the new district and I know all of the current judges and clerks,” he said.

Lomme has received endorsements from Democratic town committees in Chester, Deep River, Lyme, Killingworth and Old Saybrook. Rigat has the endorsement of the town committee in Clinton.

Rigat said Friday he has campaigned door-to-door at about 400 homes in Killingworth, Westbrook, and Old Saybrook, while also sending three mailings to all registered Democrats in the district. Lomme said he has campaigned at numerous local events in the nine towns over the past two months, and at municipal solid waste transfer stations in Essex, Killingworth, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Lomme has also sent mailings, and purchased campaign space on three large roadside billboards in Deep River, Haddam, and Westbrook.

According to the campaign finance report for the period ending July 27, Lomme has raised a total of $19,519, with expenditures of about $18,900. Lomme has largely financed his own campaign through personal donations and loans, though he recently received a $500 donation from Sharon Clark of Essex.

Rigat’s finance report for the period ending July 27 was not available Friday, though a report for the period ending on July 10 showed Rigat had contributed $6,732 in personal funds for his campaign.

The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Republican nominee Anselmo Delia in the Nov. 2 election. Delia, a Clinton lawyer, was uncontested for the GOP nomination at the May 6 convention.

The new judge will take office in January for a four year term ending in 2014, with an annual salary of $110,000. The regional probate court will be located in Old Saybrook.

Chester Planning and Zoning to Hold Public Hearing on Two Special Permit Applications

CHESTER–The planning and zoning commission has scheduled an August 5 public hearing on special permit applications for two projects that could boost economic development in town. The hearings convene at 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House on Liberty St.

An application from Airport Industrial Park LLC (owner), and Hull Management LLC (applicant) calls for a 50-foot by 50-foot steel building on a one-acre parcel at the Airport Industrial Park off Route 145. The company provides engineering development and prototype manufacturing for machine products that are sold to other companies. The site plan includes parking four to five employees and two to three visitors, and predicts “light to moderate” truck traffic for delivery and shipping of products and materials.

A second special permit application seeks approval for a Bliss Supermarket in a vacant building at 56 Middlesex Avenue (Route 154) near the intersection of Route 154 and Main Street. The commercial parcel is owned by 56 Middlesex Avenue LLC, the applicant is John DeFrino.

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Meeting for New Members

The Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will hold an informal meeting for new and prospective members on Wednesday, August 18 from 5 – 7 PM at the Hamburg Cove Yacht Club in Lyme.  This meeting will provide an opportunity to learn more about AAUW’s mission and our local Branch activities.  Light refreshments will be served.  The Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of AAUW draws its membership from Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Essex, Deep River, Chester, Killingworth, Hadlyme, Lyme, and Old Lyme.  For more information, contact Deborah Rie (860) 628-1160

Summer Children’s Shows at the Ivoryton Playhouse

From a press release:

The Ivoryton Playhouse continues the tradition of Friday morning Children’s shows with some familiar stories and some new.

July 23rd: Madhatters Children’s Theatre presents Robin Hood: An adaptation of the classic story of robbing the poor to give to the rich.

July 30th: Crabgrass Puppet Theatre presents Jabberwocky. Explore the magical world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, where you’ll meet wondrous creatures like the mimsy borogrove, the frumious bandersnatch, and the dreaded Jabberwock!

August 13th: Goowins Balloowins: Madcap balloon artist, Allynn Gooen, invites audience members into his stories as they become the actors, while he creates their sets, props, and costumes and other crazy objects from balloons.

August 20th: The Ivoryton Playhouse Interns present The Bully Goats Griff. Children will delight in this light-hearted, funny show.

All performances are at 11am and all tickets are $12. There will be an additional 1pm show of Robin Hood and The Three Bully Goats Griff.

Tickets are $12 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton

Democratic Probate Candidates Are Self Funding So Far

AREAWIDE— The two rivals for the Democratic judge of probate nomination in the new nine-town diostrict are self-funding their campaigns, at least as far as the campaign finance reports filed this week for a period ending July 10.

Terrance Lomme, an Essex lawyer, and Raymond Rigat, the three-term incumbent judge of probate in Clinton, are competing in an Aug. 10 primary in the district that includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Lomme won the party endorsement over an initial field of six candidates at the May 11 nominating convention. The primary winner will face Republican nominee Anselmo Delia, a Clinton lawyer, in the Nov. 2 election.

According to finance reports for the period ending July 10, Lomme has accepted no donations and funded his campaign with personal donations totalling $12,320. Rigat has funded his campaign with personal donations totalling $6,732.

Lomme has expended about $7,000 for three roadside billboards, including one on Route 154 in Deep River. Lomme has also expended $5,000 for campaign assistance from the Glastonbury public relations firm of Cashman & Katz. The firm had also assisted Essex Judge of Probate Deborah Pearl, a Republican, in 2006 when she was challenged for re-election by local attorney James Carey.

Rigat has expended about $3,740 on postage for a recent campaign mailing to all registered Democrats in the district, and $1,166 to Technique Printers of Clinton for campaign materials.
The new judge of probate takes office for a four-year term in January at a regional probate court to be located in Old Saybrook. The consolidation of local probate courts in to regional probate districts was required under legislation approved by the General Assembly.

Chester to Honor Pillars at August 8th Picnic

Five Chester Residents Honored for their Contribution to the Community

Five longtime Chester residents will be honored at a town-wide picnic at 4:30 p.m., on Sunday, August 8, for their contributions to the community’s quality of life.

The third annual Chester Pillars event, to be held on the green at the Meeting House ., will celebrate the work of:

Debra Calamari: town clerk, volunteer for the women’s auxiliary of the Chester Hose Company, the Chester Historical Society and other organizations.

Rick Holloway: longtime member of the Chester Conservation Commission, Wetlands Commission, Chester Land Trust, and also on boards for the Robbie Collomore concert series, Camp Hazen, and the United Church of Chester.

Meg Gister: music teacher at Chester Elementary School who has introduced the joy of music to hundreds of children and greatly expanded the school’s band. Meg is also choir director at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

Mike Rutty: secretary and player representative of the Chester Little League, Cub Scout master and organizer of many of the Scouts’ community projects and former trustee of United Church of Chester.

Leif Nilsson, chair of the Chester Merchants Associations, artist whose work features local scenes, gallery owner, and perpetual promoter of Chester’s great assets.

The picnic and award ceremony will feature music by Liquid Groove, comprised of Chester performers Chris Devlin Brown, Justin Good, Hans Lohse, and Rich Tortorigi. Attendees are invited to bring their own picnic dinners, a dish to share for the community table and there will be access to a grill provided by the Chester Hose Company.

The Chester Pillars committee is composed of representatives from several sponsoring organizations, including Chester Rotary, Land Trust, Historical Society, Library, Town Hall, Hose Company, St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, United Church of Chester and Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.

Area Democratic Town Committees Hosting Event with Endorsed Candidates in Old Saybrook

From a press release:

Endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy has been invited to join other Democratic state candidates at a family-style Meet-the-Candidates rally on July 24th, in Old Saybrook. The event, sponsored by Democratic town committees of Old Saybrook, Essex, Old Lyme, and Chester, and others, is billed as a chance for voters and their families to meet and talk with their candidates before the Democratic primary on August 10th.

The rally will be held at Clark’s Field, across from Past Vita on Elm Street, between 4 and 6 p.m. Admission and food will be free, and there will be some activities for children. For further information, call Lee Rowley at 860-304-6956.

Middlesex County Community Foundation Announces Mascot Contest for the “ARF! Animals: Respect and Friendship” Fund

From a press release:

Dogs, Cats, Birds, Fish, Horses, even Llamas and Ferrets, any one of hundreds of companions could be the first annual mascot of the Middlesex County Community Foundation’s “ARF! Animals: Respect and Friendship” Fund.

In 2008, a Middlesex County family of animal lovers established ARF! Animals: Respect and Friendship, an endowed, community based Fund dedicated to helping animals and their human friends in Middlesex County. This family believes that we have a strong responsibility and obligation to preserve the basic dignity that comes with sharing the world with all living creatures. They also believe that pets, in particular, provide unqualified love, true companionship and, in some cases, essential services to the disabled, elderly and those in need. The Fund aids local nonprofit organizations that care for animals and funds such things as shelter and comfort; training animals and people for shared gifts of companionship; therapy and assistance; rescue, protection and adoption; prevention of cruelty; and services to the disabled.

MCCF is searching for that special pet to focus attention on the efforts of a fund designed to support organizations doing great work in the area of animal welfare and care. “Animals play a vital role in our quality of life and well-being. There are so many stories just waiting to be told about the love and companionship our pets provide,” said Cynthia Clegg, President and CEO of Middlesex County Community Foundation. “An annual mascot for the ARF! (Animal: Respect and Friendship) Fund will bring those stories to the forefront and emphasize how animals help us all.”

The winner of the ARF! contest will be featured in Community Foundation newsletters, brochures, the annual report, the website and other informational venues. The mascot will also be featured in “ARF!” notes about educational events and programs, featured stories, animal-related tips, and other items throughout the year.

A group of volunteer judges will review and vote on the submissions. The winner of the “ARF! Mascot Contest” will be announced at a special event on Thursday, August 26, 2010 at the Centerbrook Meeting House, located in the Centerbrook section of Essex, CT. Special guest William Berloni (William Berloni’s Theatrical Animals), a widely recognized expert in animal behavior, dedicated advocate of rescue work, and well-known animal trainer for stage and screen, will announce the winner of the contest and speak on the topic of animal welfare and companionship. (Mr. Berloni’s credits include numerous Broadway productions, including the original Sandy in ANNIE, CAMELOT with Richard Burton, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL. He and his handlers have provided animals of all species and sizes for Broadway, off Broadway, national tours, regional theaters, special events, the New York City Ballet, movies and television. He is the author of three books, the most recent, BROADWAY TAILS, is published by Globe Pequot Press. Mr. Berloni is currently the Director of Animal Behavior for the Humane Society of New York and is involved in helping animals that need homes. Visit Mr. Berloni’s Website at www.theatricalanimals.com.)

Prizes will be given in other categories as well, including “Top Dog,” “Purrfect Feline,” “Largest Companion (Pet),” and “Oldest Friend.” Further details about contest requirements and submissions may be found at www.MiddlesexCountyCF.org, e-mailing questions to Info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org, or calling 860.347.0025.

MCCF is accepting story submissions from Middlesex County residents Friday, July 9, 2010 through Wednesday, August 4, 2010.

Stories should be no longer than one page in length and may be accompanied by up to two photographs. Submissions can be e-mailed to Info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org or mailed to Middlesex County Community Foundation, 211 South Main Street, Middletown, Connecticut 06457. All stories and photos submitted may be used by MCCF in newsletters, e-news updates, reports, website pages and other marketing and public relations venues.

Valley Shore YMCA Sponsoring a Free Dinner and Movie Night

From a press release:

The Valley-Shore YMCA will be hosting a free dinner and movie night for the community this summer at their location on 201 Spencer Plains Road in Westbrook on July 16th starting at 7:00 p.m.

A family film will be played on a large screen theater by the Pavilion of the YMCA for that good old outdoor summer family feel. This summer experience will be FREE to the community.

Dinner will include grilled food, refreshments, popcorn and other snacks.

“The YMCA cares about its community and we would like to be part of and provide a place where the
community can come together. We will create a safe and fun experience for everyone to enjoy”
mentions Paul Mohabir, CEO of the Valley-Shore YMCA.

For more information about this event please visit their website at www.vsymca.org or call 860-399-9622

Read as a Community to Help Our Youth

When you open your book at the beach this summer, chances are good that you’ll be “on the same page” as the person in the next beach chair. Chester, Deep River and Essex residents of all ages are being given the first-ever opportunity this summer to participate in a community read of “Three Cups of Tea” or its companion books for young readers.

Chosen by community ballot, “Three Cups of Tea” has been described as a remarkable adventure story and “proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the world.”
Community reads have become very common throughout the country. “People can go for days at a time not talking to anyone outside their immediate family,” said Nancy Pearl, director of the Washington Center for the Book. “There are precious few opportunities for people of different ethnic background, economic levels or ages to sit down together and discuss ideas that are important to them.”

The goal of this summer’s “On the Same Page” community read, sponsored by the Healthy Communities ∙ Healthy Youth initiative, is to change that. Funded through Middlesex United Way, the Healthy Communities ∙ Healthy Youth initiative in Chester, Deep River and Essex focuses on building youth developmental assets (the building blocks or ingredients for a young person’s success). “The more assets a young person possesses, the more likely he or she will be emotionally healthy and successful in life.” The feeling of community – having a caring neighborhood, other adult relationships, positive family communication and support – is one essential component of these developmental assets, according to the Asset Development Strategy Team, which is leading the Healthy Communities Healthy Youth efforts.

That’s where the community read program comes in. Being “On the Same Page,” according to the Asset Development Strategy Team, will “enrich and enhance community and family connections and engage our youth as contributing members to their community while sparking an interest in reading. Through exploring a common theme, bonds will be built, strengthening a feeling of community within our three towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex.”

For those of you who don’t know the book, “Three Cups of Tea” is the true story of mountain climber Greg Mortenson, and how he has changed the lives of 58,000 school children (many of whom are girls, otherwise denied schooling) in his quest to bring education to Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s rural villages. He started the work after his 1993 attempt to climb Pakistan’s K2 mountain. After becoming separated from other climbers in his group, Mortenson ended up in a village where he was cared for by the residents. During his recovery, he noticed the children did not have a school building or any learning materials and that they used sticks to write their lessons in the dirt, and he vowed to return to build them a school.

There are three versions of the book, geared to all reading levels and all generations – from grandparents down to preschoolers. For adults, there’s “Three Cups of Tea: One man’s mission to promote peace…One school at a time.” There’s a Young Readers edition, “Three Cups of Tea: One man’s journey to change the world – One Child at a time,” and a picture book version, “Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea.”

The Asset Development Strategy Team (made up of Dr. Ruth Levy, Phil Miller, Rev. Tim Haut, Mary Hambor, Gail Onofrio, Laura Kasprow, Marjorie Russell, Jane Cavanaugh, Gina Sopnewski, Barbara Vandehei, and Justyna St. Onge) says, “We would like to invite you to participate in whatever way you would like – from reading the book with your child – to helping us create meaningful experiences around it – to participating in those experiences.” Discussion groups for the book are being arranged for each of the towns this summer.

Anyone who wants to offer a place for a discussion group is asked to contact Gail Onofrio at Tri-Town Youth Services (860-526-3600) by June 30. Some groups will be for adults, some for families. The committee is also trying to establish a blog so people can “discuss” the book from anywhere this summer. Options for a culminating event in October and doing something with Pennies for Peace are still being considered.

Fathers and Their Childfren: A Photo Essay by Steve Nadler

“Fathers and Their Children,” a photography show inspired by a sense of frustration, is on display through July at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, in Chester.

 Nadler, an Essex resident, says, “For the past several years I have been engaged in a very personal photographic project. ‘Fathers and their Children’ came to me as a result of my feeling that both the media and the entertainment industry depict fathers in very negative terms.

“There are a number of TV shows that make fun of the bumbling father figures that never seem to be engaged with their children’s lives. It occurred to me that I could, in my own way, make a statement that directly contradicted the accepted wisdom that fathers were not as capable as mothers of having meaningful relationships with their children. I know many fathers who are dedicated to raising their children and enjoyed spending time with them.

“I learned a few things along the way that made me realize that there are many different ways that fathers relate to their children. The one thing all the fathers had in common, however, was their capacity to engage in fun activities. Absent the stress of their daily lives and happy to be spending time with their children, these fathers became mischievous and fun –loving while playing board games or doing pull ups on a swing set. I also learned that mothers are much better at scheduling activities than fathers, but once those fathers are pointed in the right direction they execute beautifully.”

This is the third exhibit for Nadler at CBSRZ, whose first show was in Greenwich Village in 1976. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. For more information, hours or directions, please call the synagogue office at 860-526-8920.

Space Still Available for the Management Re-Employment Workshop June 24th

The First Selectmen of Chester, Essex and Deep River, Tom Marsh, Phil Miller and Richard Smith, respectively, are offering a special all-day Management Re-employment Workshop, sponsored by Workforce Alliance, the regional workforce investment board for South Central CT. The workshop is for job seekers with backgrounds in professional and supervisory/management positions. The workshop topics include: Targeting your job search Short and long-term strategies, and Internet – Friend and Foe.

The workshop, led by Laura Collins of Collins Group, a Human Resources consulting and training firm, will be held in Chester Town Hall, Thursday, June 24 from 9:30a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Residents who are interested in participating should email: info@workforcealliance.biz. Or call Robert Fort at 203-624-1493 x242. Seating is limited, so please respond asap. All requests will receive replies.

Chester Selectmen Hire Interim Assessor

CHESTER— The board of selectmen has hired Michael Bekech, a 12-year assessor in Waterford, as the town’s part-time interim tax assessor at least through the end of June.

The board voted unanimously to hire Bekech at a meeting earlier this year. He is expected to work in Chester about seven hours per week at a rate of $45 per hour.

While there was unanimity on the selection of an interim assessor, the board was divided last month over the non-appointment, or dismissal, of Patricia Stevenson, a Killingworth resident who had worked as the assessor in Chester for the past decade. Selectmen acted on a 2-1 vote, with Democratic Selectman Lawrence Sypher favoring a reappointment of Stevenson, with Independent First Selectman Tom Marsh and Republican Selectman Tom Englert opposed.

Town attorney John Bennet had determined the assessor job was an appointed position with a four-year term, though the board had not acted on an appointment for the position since 2005. Marsh has said he is seeking cost-savings in the assessor’s office that could include sharing a part-time assessor with another town.

Stevenson maintains she has been a member of the town employees union local , Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal employees (AFSCME), regardless of appointment or reappointment. The union is expected to file a contract grievance over the board’s action on Stevenson.

90th Anniversary Celebration for Camp Hazen YMCA

Founded in 1920, Camp Hazen YMCA will mark 90 years of service to generations of children and teenagers with a family orientated 90th Anniversary Celebration for alumni, camper families, and friends to be held on, Saturday, August 7, 2010.

This fun filled day will feature camp and waterfront activities, special events, time to renew friendships and end with a campfire and candlelighting ceremony. Camp Hazen YMCA was founded on the shores of Cedar Lake in Chester, CT by the Connecticut YMCA. This group of businessmen was spearheaded by state senator and retired publisher Edward W. Hazen, of Haddam, who donated the original camp property.

The 1920 parent brochure stated Camp will provide a place where young men will “Live in the great out doors, rub shoulders with fellows, learn the secrets of the woods, imbibe the spirit of the campfire, learn the lessons of nature and the God of Nature, with experiences which send him back home thrilled for higher attainments in his own life and conduct.” The camp served boys and young men for its first 59 years, and became coeducational in 1979.

The 90th Anniversary Celebration will provide opportunities for staff and camp alumni, camper families and the community to renew friendships, refresh memories of camp, and see how Hazen has changed since their last visit.

Bring your bathing suit, hiking boots, climbing shoes, family and friends and be prepared for an exciting day at Camp Hazen YMCA. Registration begins at 11:00 am. All activities, picnic lunch and dinner are included in the registration fee: $25.00 per individual or $50.00 per family. For information office@camphazenymca.org or call Camp Hazen YMCA at 860-526-9529.

Michael J. Gregg 07/14/2010

View the obituary courtesy of  The Hartford Courant

90th Anniversary Celebration for Camp Hazen YMCA

A Camp Hazen Brochure

Founded in 1920, Camp Hazen YMCA will mark 90 years of service to generations of children and teenagers with a family orientated 90th Anniversary Celebration for alumni, camper families, and friends to be held on, Saturday, August 7, 2010.

 This fun filled day will feature camp and waterfront activities, special events, time to renew friendships and end with a campfire and candlelighting ceremony. Camp Hazen YMCA was founded on the shores of Cedar Lake in Chester, CT by the Connecticut YMCA. This group of businessmen was spearheaded by state senator and retired publisher Edward W. Hazen, of Haddam, who donated the original camp property.

The 1920 parent brochure stated Camp will provide a place where young men will “Live in the great out doors, rub shoulders with fellows, learn the secrets of the woods, imbibe the spirit of the campfire, learn the lessons of nature and the God of Nature, with experiences which send him back home thrilled for higher attainments in his own life and conduct.” The camp served boys and young men for its first 59 years, and became coeducational in 1979.

The 90th Anniversary Celebration will provide opportunities for staff and camp alumni, camper families and the community to renew friendships, refresh memories of camp, and see how Hazen has changed since their last visit.

Bring your bathing suit, hiking boots, climbing shoes, family and friends and be prepared for an exciting day at Camp Hazen YMCA. Registration begins at 11:00 am. All activities, picnic lunch and dinner are included in the registration fee: $25.00 per individual or $50.00 per family. For information office@camphazenymca.org or call Camp Hazen YMCA at 860-526-9529.

DEP Biologist to Present on Bat Die-Off in Chester, August 15th

From a press release:

Mark your calendar for Sunday, August 15th from 4-6 pm at the Chester Meeting House in Chester, CT for a special program “What is killing the bats, and why does this affect us?” a presentation by Jennie Dickson, Supervising Wildlife Biologist at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

Dickson has been surveying caves in Connecticut tracking the mortality rates of sickened bats and will speak on the disease and research for causes and cures. Come and learn about ways you can help the DEP conserve wildlife. Refreshments will be served.

Email smhaig@snet.net for more information.

Genevieve S. Howell 07/08/2010

View obituary courtesy of The Hartford Courant

Read as a Community to Help Our Youth

By Cary Hull

Three Cups of Tea is this Summer's Community Read

When you open your book at the beach this summer, chances are good that you’ll be “on the same page” as the person in the next beach chair. Chester, Deep River and Essex residents of all ages are being given the first-ever opportunity this summer to participate in a community read of “Three Cups of Tea” or its companion books for young readers.

Chosen by community ballot, “Three Cups of Tea” has been described as a remarkable adventure story and “proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the world.”
Community reads have become very common throughout the country. “People can go for days at a time not talking to anyone outside their immediate family,” said Nancy Pearl, director of the Washington Center for the Book. “There are precious few opportunities for people of different ethnic background, economic levels or ages to sit down together and discuss ideas that are important to them.”

The goal of this summer’s “On the Same Page” community read, sponsored by the Healthy Communities ∙ Healthy Youth initiative, is to change that. Funded through Middlesex United Way, the Healthy Communities ∙ Healthy Youth initiative in Chester, Deep River and Essex focuses on building youth developmental assets (the building blocks or ingredients for a young person’s success). “The more assets a young person possesses, the more likely he or she will be emotionally healthy and successful in life.” The feeling of community – having a caring neighborhood, other adult relationships, positive family communication and support – is one essential component of these developmental assets, according to the Asset Development Strategy Team, which is leading the Healthy Communities Healthy Youth efforts.

That’s where the community read program comes in. Being “On the Same Page,” according to the Asset Development Strategy Team, will “enrich and enhance community and family connections and engage our youth as contributing members to their community while sparking an interest in reading. Through exploring a common theme, bonds will be built, strengthening a feeling of community within our three towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex.”

For those of you who don’t know the book, “Three Cups of Tea” is the true story of mountain climber Greg Mortenson, and how he has changed the lives of 58,000 school children (many of whom are girls, otherwise denied schooling) in his quest to bring education to Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s rural villages. He started the work after his 1993 attempt to climb Pakistan’s K2 mountain. After becoming separated from other climbers in his group, Mortenson ended up in a village where he was cared for by the residents. During his recovery, he noticed the children did not have a school building or any learning materials and that they used sticks to write their lessons in the dirt, and he vowed to return to build them a school.

There are three versions of the book, geared to all reading levels and all generations – from grandparents down to preschoolers. For adults, there’s “Three Cups of Tea: One man’s mission to promote peace…One school at a time.” There’s a Young Readers edition, “Three Cups of Tea: One man’s journey to change the world – One Child at a time,” and a picture book version, “Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea.”

The Asset Development Strategy Team (made up of Dr. Ruth Levy, Phil Miller, Rev. Tim Haut, Mary Hambor, Gail Onofrio, Laura Kasprow, Marjorie Russell, Jane Cavanaugh, Gina Sopnewski, Barbara Vandehei, and Justyna St. Onge) says, “We would like to invite you to participate in whatever way you would like – from reading the book with your child – to helping us create meaningful experiences around it – to participating in those experiences.” Discussion groups for the book are being arranged for each of the towns this summer.

Anyone who wants to offer a place for a discussion group is asked to contact Gail Onofrio at Tri-Town Youth Services (860-526-3600) by June 30. Some groups will be for adults, some for families. The committee is also trying to establish a blog so people can “discuss” the book from anywhere this summer. Options for a culminating event in October and doing something with Pennies for Peace are still being considered.

Olga Krutsinger 06/29/2010

View obituary courtesy of  The Hartford Courant

Alice E. Broadhurst 06/25/2010

View obituary courtesy of The Hartford Courant