December 6, 2022

‘The Country School’ Hosts Open House Tomorrow Afternoon

Field Day fun at The Country School. Students attend the school from Lyme, Old Lyme, Branford, Essex, Guilford, Madison and many other towns.

MADISON, CT – On Sunday, Oct. 30, The Country School in Madison, Conn., will host an Open House from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Pre-School through 8th Grade families are invited to tour the campus and speak with faculty, families, and administration to learn why parents have trusted their children’s education to The Country School for 68 years.

At 1:30 p.m., there will  be a Kindergarten Readiness Info Session. Assistant Head of School Beth Coyne will facilitate a discussion about how The Country School assesses student readiness, how it meets the needs of all learners, and what you can do to support your child between now and their first day of Kindergarten.

Panel members will include Kindergarten teachers, Beatrice Brett and Chester Sharp, Pre-Kindergarten teacher Karen Chiaia, School Counselor Jennifer Butler, and Reading Specialist Jennifer Hornyak.

Additionally, in honor of The Country School’s 65th Anniversary, the board of trustees is offering merit scholarships to students applying for admission to Grades 4through 8. The recipients of the merit scholarships will be selected on the basis of academic merit and personal promise as demonstrated by performance on school records, in an interview with the Head of School, and on a Merit Scholarship test.

Merit scholarships are awarded to new students and are renewed each year that the students are enrolled at The Country School, provided the recipients stay in strong academic standing and consistently demonstrate good citizenship.

It is The Country School’s expectation that the merit scholarship recipients will contribute significantly to the life of The Country School, creating a stronger overall experience for all students. To learn more and to register for our 65th Anniversary Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8, visit https://www.thecountryschool.org/admission/tuition-and-financial-aid/merit-scholarships.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving over 215 students in Pre-School through Grade 8.

To learn more and register for Open House, visit https://go.thecountryschool.org/open-house/.

CT Dept. of Public Health Reports Monkeypox Cases in State Rise to 11, None in Middlesex County to Date

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued July 14 by CT DPH and sent to LymeLine by Ledge Light Health District. As of July 17, the number of monkeypox cases in Connecticut has increased to 12 per CDC data 

HARTFORD, Conn.— The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has announced that a total of 12 Connecticut residents have been diagnosed with monkeypox.

All 11 of these patients are between the ages of 20 and 50, and reside in Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford counties. The majority of these patients have not been hospitalized.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 2022 US Map & Case Count includes an updated count of monkeypox cases throughout the country.

Connecticut’s first case was announced on July 5.

“Monkeypox spreads through close prolonged contact with an infected person. This might include coming into contact with skin lesions, or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD.

She added, “Residents who are concerned about fever, swollen glands, and a new rash, should contact their health care provider.

Diagnostic testing for monkeypox is now available from commercial laboratories, including LabCorpMayo Clinic, and Quest, and providers can order testing from these laboratories as they would order other diagnostic tests. Testing is available through the State Public Health Laboratory, Monday-Friday.

Although anyone can get and spread monkeypox, the current cases are primarily spreading among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. For those who have multiple or anonymous sex partners, their likelihood of monkeypox exposure is high.

Due to the state’s current low case count, Connecticut has not received a substantial allotment of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government at this time. More doses are expected in the coming weeks.  

Vaccination may be recommended for those who:

Are close personal contacts of people with monkeypox (post-exposure prophylaxis)
May have been exposed to the virus
May have increased risk of being exposed to the virus, such as people who perform laboratory testing to diagnose monkeypox

“At the present time, our top priority is ensuring access to post-exposure prophylaxis and then expanding to a larger pool of atrisk persons when our vaccine supply allows us to do so,” explained Commissioner Juthani.

For those seeking treatment or additional information on the vaccine and antivirals, contact your health care provider or call the DPH Epidemiology Program at (860) 509-7994 or (860) 509-8000 after hours.

For more information about monkeypox, visit the CDC monkeypox webpage and the DPH monkeypox webpage.

Letter From Paris: From Macron v1 to Macron v2: France Negotiates Turbulent Times 

Editor’s Note: We are delighted to welcome back Nicole Prévost Logan. Today she offers a detailed analysis of happenings in the French political landscape, saying, “A lot has happened in France in the past two months and I felt it important to write about what is not making the headlines.”

Nicole Prévost Logan

Surreal political developments are taking taken place in France. 

Barely had President Emmanuel Macron been reelected on April 24 with 58.5 percent of the votes on the second round of the majority ballot that a vote of no confidence against the newly appointed prime minister Elizabeth Borne was already announced as well as a possible dissolution of the Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly).

Three ministers which had been appointed in the new Cabinet just six weeks earlier had to step down losing their seats in the legislative elections.  Two strong supporters of Macron – Richard Ferrand, President of the National Assembly and Christophe Castaner, the former president of the majority party – had to resign.

What had seemed like a victory for Emmanuel Macron, when he was reelected for a second five-year mandate turned into a cold shower brought on by the outcome of the Legislative elections.  The far left party was quick to describe it as a déroute (total collapse.) 

French President Emmanuel Macron.

Presidential elections had been held on April 10 and 24. The legislative elections on June 12 and 19 changed the aspect of the National Assembly, (incidentally, note the remarkable number of 577 ‘deputés‘ in France as compared to only 435 in the House of Representatives). The number of seats of Macrons’ party, La République en Marche or LREM, was  reduced from 346 to  to 246. It has now only a “relative majority” and is short 44 seats to reach the absolute majority of 289. 

For five years the Presidential party was in control, but now it has to share its power with the opposition. Making compromises is not in the DNA of French politics. This is an unprecedented situation when the government needs to supplement its relative majority.  Quite a difference from a country like Germany where Olaf Shultz was able to strike an alliance with four parties. 

The new Assemblée Nationale is now basically made up of three competing blocks:  LREM, NUPES (New Union Political Economic and Social)  and the Rassemblement National or RN. 

Jean Luc Mélanchon, head of the far left parti La France Insoumise or LFI,  led an active campaign  between April and June to create an anti Macron coalition.

It bore fruit.

He was able to pull together the forces of the Socialists, the Europe Ecologie les Verts or EELV, the Communist Party and his own radical LFI together under the name of NUPES for a total of 131 deputés. It is not a party but a fragile coalition, which could fall apart at any time. Its main objective is to block Macron’s action . 

Marine LePen. 1922 photo published under Creative Commons Public Domain Mark 1.0.

The most striking change in the parliament was the spectacular surge of the RN, from seven seats in the previous Assembly to 89 today. Even the RN leader Marine Le Pen was stunned. She had expected 60 seats at most.

After her disastrous performance in the debate against Macron in the 2017 presidential elections, Le Pen had kept a low profile in the recent electoral campaigns.

And it paid off.

She has also been helped by the collapse of the far right camp of Erik Zemmour, who was left with only 7 percent of the vote in the Presidential elections. 

In the past Le Pens’ electoral base was limited to small areas in the north of France and in the south east. Now she has supporters in the entire country. The RN is progressively changing from being a pariah to becoming “acceptable,” … but one should always be cautious with Le Pen and not overlook the fact that she was in Moscow, cozying up to Putin and seeking his help in obtaining a loan. 

When she suggested her aim was to emulate the politics of Viktor Orban as a model, it is a clear red flag that, under a liberal veneer, she is still a true populist. 

On July 4, Macron introduced his definitive and reshuffled cabinet. Overall it included a number of unknown faces, with several technocrats, specialized in their field. 

For example Braun, a doctor-ER specialist was nominated to tackle the huge problem of health, public hospitals, access to medical treatment which has disappeared in many regions away from the urban centers.

Another specialist is Olivier Klein, mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, a popular neighborhood, former socialist, to handle housing and urban issues.

Pap Ndiaye is the new Education minister. A historian, born in France, of African descent, he is highly educated and a graduate of the University of Virginia. He is the symbol of diversity and the egalité des chances (equal opportunities).  He is being criticized by some for entering his children in the elite- and expensive-Ecole Alsacienne private school on the Left Bank (full transparency — four of my grand children attended that school.) 

The Borne 2 Cabinet has a total of 42 members, including 16 ministers, 15 ministres delegués and 10 secretaires d’Etat.  Three heavyweight ministers retained their positions:  Bruno Lemaire, with an expanded Ministry of Economy and Finances,  Gerald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior and Eric Dupond -Moretti, as minister of Justice.  Moretti is a heavy set, often regarded as a bully, but a brilliant, though controversial, criminal defense lawyer.

The “feminization” process is showing mixed progress : there are only five women ministers versus 11 men. Nine of the 10 of the Secretaires d’Etat (Secretaries of State) are women. Therefore it still looks like that women occupy lower positions than men.

However, one should point out that some women are now holding key posts:  Elizabeth Borne as Prime Minister, Yaël Braun-Pivet as President of the National Assembly,  Aurore Bergé, as president of the LREM.

Foreign Affairs and European Affairs are now the domain of Catherine Colonna, a career diploma and a former ambassador to the UK . This was a surprising move because the post had been held for many years by Jean-Yves Le Drian, an old-timer, who had served in the government since the Francois Holland government. 

The ongoing problems with sexual harassment had some impact with the appointment of ministers. Heavily-handicapped Damien Abad, minister of Solidarity, was denounced by four women for rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault and had to resign probably under the influence of the new Prime Minister. Sexual scandals could not be tolerated any longer, said Borne, and the principle of “exemplarity” would be applied.

This raised the question whether Eric Cockerel , LFI, the newly appointed head to the key post of the Assembly Finances Committee, might be brought under investigation on the accusation by a former Gilet Jaune (yellow jacket) militant, for improper sexual behavior. A complaint by a woman for improper sexual behavior is still outstanding. The far left NUPE so far has paid not attention to that complaint. Incidentally, Cockerel ‘s unlikely profession is as an organizer of the famous Vendée Globe, the only round-the-world solo sailing race. 

But the prime minister may not tolerate that double standard for long. 

The #Metoo movement is still going strong here.

Macron was criticized (as usual) for being too slow in creating his Cabinet, for dragging his feet. Public opinion resented the fact that the French president seemed to be always addressing the population between two doors, on his way abroad, or from the tarmac of an airport. 

It is true that Macron has been busy with international affairs particularly during the six months as president of the Council of the EU From January to June 2022 .  

The 27 EU members take turns leading this body on a rotating basis every six months. (Note: the Council of the EU is not to be confused with the European Council where EU leaders meet quarterly to discuss broad policy matters. At the writing of this article the Czech Republic is heading the Council of the EU.

On July 2, a superb documentary — produced by France 2, one of the main French public TV channels — was released. It is titled “Macron,  l’Europe et la Guerre.”

The film showed how intense the French president ‘s involvement has been in the crisis created by the war in Ukraine.   Conversations with Putin were listened to, recorded and analyzed at the Elysées Palace and the Quai d’Orsay round the clock. 

The documentary does not consist of staged interviews but rather gives the viewer the opportunity to share the spontaneous reactions of the government’s inner circle. This is diplomacy in action. 

Using the familiar “tu” of the French language, one witnesses a sometime intimate exchange with Putin, who at one point tells Macron he has to leave to go to an ice hockey match. 

Macron is in Moscow on Feb. 7. the situation was more incendiary than in 2008 or 2014. 

On Feb. 8, Macron is in Kiev and spends three hours with Zelensky in the Maryinsky Palace. 

Six days before the onset of the Russian invasion, Putin declared, “The war games have come to an end.”T

Three days before Feb.  24, Putin announces the independence of Donetsk and Lujhansk. 

On Feb. 22, Macron is instrumental in setting European sanctions against Russia. Macron states, “We are here to help Ukraine not to topple the Russian government.

On June 23, France strongly supports giving Ukraine the official status of candidate to membership in the EU. An incredible nine-hour train ride through a country at war, brings Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Sholz and Mario Dragui to Kiev.

The film shows that, no matter how futile it may have appeared, it was an extraordinary effort on the part of the French president to maintain the dialogue open with a Russian leader unwavering in his objective of total destruction of a country.  

Is France ungovernable ?  

Will politics be a wrestling match between the Executive and the Legislative Chambers from now on?

Macron will have to be a real “artist” if he wants to be able to  make compromises with an unbending opposition. The problem is that the president, having been elected by universal suffrage, is still perceived as acting as “Jupiter”.

At the beginning of his second mandate he excluded both the extreme partiers RN and NUPEs from a possible coalition.  Les Republicains, (center right) or LR refused to act as the” spare tire” of the government.  The NUPEs threatened to introduce  a vote of no confidence even before the government unveiled its program.  In other words, if the system is to function as a parliamentary democracy, the lack of an absolute majority will force both sides to abandon the posturing game.

The power center of gravity has moved: public opinion is now the arbiter.  

What tools does the government has to govern without the support of the Assembly ? In fact it has more power than appears at first sight :The main tool is the article 49-3, equivalent of Executive Orders in the US.

In 1988, under Francois Mitterand, the Prime Minister Michel Rocard used it 28 times during the first three years,  then  39 times during the following five years under the second mandate. 

Today the rules have changed: only one 49-3 is allowed  during a parliament’s session.

Two other tools exist: it is not easy to dissolve the Assembly since 2/3 , or 289 of the votes are needed.  Besides, Article 47 stipulates that in the event  the budget is not voted upon within 70 days , the government may act by Executive Order.

The government faces a daunting task.

The priority is to manage the pouvoir d’achat  or purchasing power, in order to cope with the rising cost of living including energy and food essentials makes it is urgent to help the poorest households, which cannot make ends meet. 

A Green deputy violently attacked Macron, saying that he does not understand anything about environment. He even wants to dig into the deepest depth of the ocean, she said. But Macron understands the urgency of the environment problems very well, also but he has to set priorities.

Whenever people get hungry the situation becomes explosive. Threatening famine was the main cause of the “Arab Spring” in the early 2010s. 

Bruno Lemaire comments about the dire economic situation of France. Inflation is now 5.8%, a little less than in other European countries because France has dis-industrialized and increased its services sector. The interest on the public debt used to be negative, but now it is 2% and growing. This interest will this year will be 55 billion Euros, an increase of 45% or 66% in two years. 

The debt has reached 120% of the GDP.

The BCE  (Central Bank of Europe) is drying up its buying of sovereign debts of the EU member states. This is the end of quoiqu’il en coûte (no matter the cost ), which became necessary with COVID. 

The RN proposes to lower the TVA (value added tax)  from 20% to 5% , to raise the minimum wage to 1,500 euros per month  These proposals are totally unrealistic and would drive France’s economy into the wall very quickly.

While Russia has made 60 billion Euros selling its gas and oil, it cost Europe a great deal to declare embargo on energy from Russia since it has to buy it – at a higher cost from other countries. 

At the G7 meeting in Bavaria, in late June, Macron condemned the profiteurs de Guerre (war profiteers) who make millions. He pointed out Total, which increased its profits by 48% this year, or CMA CGM, the third largest container shipping company (headquarters in Marseille and in Norfolk Virginia ) made 56 billion Euros in profits in 2021. 

EDF, the electricity and gas supply giant and the big companies of the CAC 40 also made huge profits. 

In the UK, the government imposed a 25% windfall tax on oil and gas producers to support the poorest households. 

Will France do the same?

It is in this climate of mounting economic and social problems that Elizabeth Borne, the new Prime Minister, made her general policy speech at the Assemblée Nationale on July 6. It was an impressive performance and was received with flying colors by most. Not phased by a loud and sometime rowdy Chamber, she was firm and showed her authority.  Without discussing specifics of the government’s program, she set the tone and method of her future actions.  

She had already held conversations with all political groups and intends to continue in the Fall. She made it clear that substantive decisions will be made in a consensual manner, that the government will show a back bone but at the same time reach out for compromises. 

What a contrast with what happened to Edith Cresson in 1991-1992 – the only other woman Prime Minister in France!   For 11 months, she was the non-stop target of sexism in the Assembly, the street and the media.The Guignols puppet show satirizing French politics made fun of her day after day. 

Borne, a civil engineer by profession, is the product of the elite school Polytechnique,  has held several ministerial posts, and showed her talent of tough negotiator during the months of talks with the powerful Cheminots or railroad workers of the SNCF  (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français). She was able to combine her no-nonsense attitude with a personal tone, saying, “I owe a lot to the Republic, she said, since I am a pupille de la Nation (a ward of the State). Her father, a Polish Jew and a survivor from Auschwitz, committed suicide when she was 11.    

Borne knows her stuff. She touched on important topics: security, police, agriculture, vulnerable women — particularly if single parents,  in need of health care, etc.  Her remark about the French would have to work “a bit more” provoked loud protests by a good chunk of the deputés.

Disorder is not an option, she said. 

She made an important announcement: the government intends to nationalize EDF, which manages the nuclear plants and is heavily in debt. Currently the State owns 85% of the shares. One percent is held by the staff and 14% by individuals and institutions.  

This will give more room to the government to maneuver. The objective of the Macron government is a reduction in nuclear power by 50% by 2035 and a carbon-free country by 2050.  

In 1960, under General de Gaulle, France became the fourth most important nuclear power in the world. France’s nuclear power underwent a surge during the 1973 OPEC oil crisis. 

Today there are 56 plants in France with an average age of 37 years. Half the plants are closed due to routine maintenance or defects. By 2020 France had 70% of the power plants in Europe, Slovakia had 53%, Ukraine 51% and Hungary 48%.

There have been problems with the construction of the fourth generation EPR (water-pressurized plant) of Flamanville.  Macron wants France is to become a leader in low-carbon-energy using small modular reactors and green hydrogen. 

The largest and most advanced experimental project on nuclear fusion or ITER is under construction in the south east of France managed by a collaboration of 35 European countries.

The transition between the first and the second mandate of Macron will not be easy . “Do not expect things to go smoothly,” commented Borne.    

One must trust the ability of Macron to adjust. Between a president, who is on a permanent crusade to promote a stronger EU and a pragmatic prime minister to work on the home front, one is entitled to be optimistic. 

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

Musical Masterworks Announces Season Starting Oct. 23 in Person; Arron Stepping Down as Artistic Director, Lark to Replace Him

Musical Masterworks Artistic Director Edward Arron is stepping down at the end of the 2021-22 season. Photo by Hak-Soo Kim.

AREAWIDE — Musical Masterworks (MM) will be back in person this fall for their 31st season with an array of professional chamber music concerts programmed by Artistic Director Edward Arron. The concerts will take place in MM’s traditional home at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Alden Rockwell Murphy, who serves as MM Board President, comments, “It will be wonderful to be back in community, where we can experience the joy of sharing this music together.”

The MM Digital Brochure provides details about the upcoming season, which is filled with performances by Masterworks veterans, as well as some exciting debut performances. The first concert will take place Saturday, Oct. 23.

This season Edward Arron’s final season as Artistic Director will be celebrated. He says in the MM brochure that he feels, in order to allow for fresh ideas for Musical Masterworks, it is time for him to step down.

Violinist Tessa Lark will replace Edward Arron as MM Artistic Director for the 2022-23 season.

Arron has chosen violinist Tessa Lark as his successor. Lark will serve as Artistic Director Designate this season; she will be performing at and co-hosting four out of the five MM concerts.

Regarding COVID-19 safety protocols in respect of the reopening, MM, together with the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, will be monitoring and adhering to CDC and CT guidance throughout the season. Musical Masterworks will be in touch via email prior to each concert to ensure that you are aware of current attendance guidelines so you can safely enjoy their performances.

Musical Masterworks commits to continue to be vigilant in making the health and safety of their musicians, audience and staff a priority as the (hopeful) return to normalcy continues.

Learn to Row an Irish Currach on Rogers Lake, Free Program Offered Saturday

Learn to row an Irish currach on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Hains Park in Old Lyme.

AREAWIDE — Learn to row Irish … remember, you don’t need to be Irish to row Irish!

Readers are invited to try out the ancient art of Irish Currach Rowing, Saturday, Oct. 16, at Hain’s Park, Rte. 1/Boston Post Rd. in Old Lyme from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

An Irish currach is a traditional vessel made of wood lathe and covered in canvas. Currachs date back several thousand years.  They were used for trade among islands, between islands and mainland and along coastal mainland villages. The relatively light (for their size) fishing/trade boats, which could withstand high swells, have been streamlined in design for rowing competitions.

Veteran and newcomer rowers are all welcome. Pre-register before Oct. 15, and sign the waiver. Request the forms from row.currach.nl@gmail.com. Pre-register and also take an introductory lesson to receive a free team t-shirt.

The organizers suggest that attendees should bring gloves.

There is no obligation to join the group — simply come and try out currach rowing. Free coffee will be available to rowers and newcomers.

For more information, contact row.currach.nl@gmail.com

This event is sponsored by New London Currach Rowers with support from the Ancient Order of Hibernians of New London County and the Irish Coastal Club.

Essex Land Trust Launches ‘Name That Preserve’ Contest, Entries Due by Sept. 15 


ESSEX —
The Essex Land Trust is excited to offer readers a chance to know our preserves and town properties testing your knowledge by identifying the location of some of our favorite spots. So, it’s time to go outside and explore some of Essex’s OpenSpace areas.

Prizes will be given to the top 10 individuals, who achieve the most accurate entries. This event is called the ‘Name That Preserve’ contest, although it might also be described as a scavenger hunt. 

This is the idea: the Essex Land Trust has created a photo album with pictures grouped into four categories.

  • Structures (bridges, stairs, steps, bog walks)
  • Stones & Stone Walls (significant boulders, split rocks, memorial boulders, geodetic markers)
  • Relaxation Spots (a place to sit down, relax and enjoy one’s surroundings)
  • Notable Views (locations that feature an inspirational view)

Explore land trust and town properties, look for the sites featured in the pictures and correctly identify the property name.

To participate, fill out the entry form and submit to the land trust email address: info@essexlandtrust.org.

Entries must be received by 09/15/21.

To access the entry form, visit this link.

Barry of Essex Scores Her First Ever Hole-in-One

Hollis Barry, Co-Chairperson Old Lyme Country Club Women’s Golf League, scored a hole-in-one at the club on July 1.

OLD LYME — During Thursday Women’s League Play on July 1, Hollis Barry of Essex, Conn., scored a hole-in-one on the 3rd hole. Barry is co-chairperson of the Old Lyme Country Club Women’s Golf League (OLCC WGA.)

Barry’s drive on the par three hole landed on the green and rolled into the cup.  This was her first hole-in-one.

With a 16.5 handicap, Hollis has been a life-long golfer. As the new co-chairperson, Barry has advocated for making the OLCC WGA a program that fosters friendships and promotes women’s golf as a relaxing and fun activity for all levels of players.  She encourages healthy competition and the learning of all aspects of the game. 

Greg Shook, Essex Savings Bank, President & CEO, to Retire July 31

Gregory R. Shook, who is retiring as President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank, after 22 years  at the helm.

ESSEX — Gregory R. Shook, President and CEO of Essex Savings Bank, will retire after 22 years at the helm and a career spanning 47 years in banking. He is the longest serving President and CEO in Connecticut and will retire on July 31.

A Westport, Conn., native and  Madison resident, Shook began his career as a management trainee in 1974 in a  subsidiary of Philadelphia National Corporation, Signal Finance and Mortgage, Fairfax,  Va. He managed their Cleveland office and then became a Vice President at State Home Savings in Bowling Green, Ohio.

In December 1984, he joined First Federal Savings of Madison, Conn. In 1987, he joined Branford Savings Bank where he rose to  Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary and was named Interim President and CEO where he found a right’s offering used for manufacturing companies to successfully raise capital to support the bank’s continued existence via a 1991 stock offering.

Highlights of his career include being elected by his peers and serving five years as a Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, a $62 billion bank, from  2015 – 2019. He was also appointed to serve on the first two years of the Federal Reserve of Boston Community Depository Institution Advisory Committee (CDIAC)  mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act to provide input from Banks under $10 billion to the Federal Reserve system.  

Professional associations have included the Connecticut Bankers Association, legislative committee, executive committee and the American Bankers Association Mutual Institutions Advisory Committee. He serves on the Board of Essex Savings Bank and Essex Financial Services. Following his retirement, he will continue to serve on the  Essex Savings Bank Board of Directors.

He is a corporator of the Middlesex Health  Care System (parent of Middlesex Hospital). He is also on the advisory committees of  the Community Music School and the leadership counsel of the Middlesex Coalition on  Housing and Homelessness.  

In 2011 Shook received the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished  Citizen Award and was elected Chairman in 2016 and continues to serve on its Executive Committee and its Board of Directors.

He has been recognized by numerous organizations for his dedication to community service and has served on non-profit boards and advisory committees. He was a finalist in the New England Division of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program in 2009. He has been a featured speaker for a variety of seminars and radio shows.  

During his tenure, Essex Savings Bank grew its assets from $110 million to over $525  million, expanded its physical footprint from four to six branches, participated in the  growth of assets under management or administration of Essex Financial Services from $700 million to $3.2 billion and Essex Trust from a de novo to $871 million and has  rolled out new technology and capabilities leading the Bank through the pandemic.

He  is the 17th President since 1851. The Bank is currently celebrating 170 years of service and trust to the community.  

Shook commented, “The best part of Banking is building long term relationships and I am so appreciative of  everyone’s support and trust over the years. I am extremely proud of what we’ve been  able to accomplish together for both our customers and the communities in which we serve. It has been both my great privilege and honor to work with so many dedicated  and talented people – the absolute best.”

Looking to the future, Shook said, “I am confident that Essex Savings Bank will continue to garner new relationships and remain an outstanding business serving the  personal and business banking, trust and investment needs of the community. On Aug. 1, I am pleased to turn the business over to Diane Arnold, formerly our Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer as she will be our 18th President and CEO,  who is poised to lead this business to new heights.”

During the month of July, Shook will be looking forward to wishing many of his customers, friends and colleagues a fond farewell as he embarks on his next voyage.  

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

Ivoryton Playhouse Reopens its Doors with ‘Murder for Two’

IVORYTON — The Ivoryton Playhouse will open its doors for a five-play season on July 8.

Murder For Two by Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian is a blend of music, mayhem and murder! In this hilarious 90-minute show, two performers play 13 roles—not to mention the piano—in a witty and winking homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries.

The New York Times calls it “Ingenious! A snazzy double-act that spins out a comic mystery animated by funny, deftly turned songs.”

Murder For Two was developed at the Adirondack Theatre Festival and 42nd Street Moon. Chicago Shakespeare Theater presented the World Premiere Production in May, 2011, which was extended four times and ran for more than six months. Kinosian and Blair were recognized with a 2011 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Musical.

Everyone is a suspect in Murder For Two – Ian Lowe*, who was last seen in Ivoryton in The Woman in Black — plays the detective, and Joe Kinosian* plays all 13 suspects and they both play the piano.

A zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, this 90-minute whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with laughs.

The show is directed and choreographed by Wendy Seyb, the set is designed by Martin Marchitto, lighting by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Elizabeth Saylor.

Murder For Two opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse July 8 and runs through Aug. 1, 2021. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. There will be one Thursday matinee on July 8.

The safety of the audience is the primary concern. Face masks are required at all times in the theatre. There is no intermission and no concessions will be sold. Eating and drinking are not allowed in the theatre. Socially-distanced  seats mean there are only 96 seats in the theatre for your comfort and protection.  To view the socially-distanced seating plan, follow this link.

The second show in the 2021 Summer Season will be:

HAVING OUR SAY:  THE DELANY SISTERS FIRST 100 YEARS
by Emily Mann, adapted from the book “Having Our Say”
Aug. 12 – Sept. 5
A beautiful, funny and heartfelt family drama based on the bestselling memoir of Bessie and Sadie Delany – trailblazers, activists and best friends.

More shows will be announced soon.

Tickets are $55 for adults, $50 for seniors, $25 for students and are available on June 14 by calling the Playhouse box office at 860.767.7318. Tickets are not available online. Visit the website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org for more information. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

Gardening Tips from ‘The English Lady’ for June ‘… the Month God Invented, Since Spring is a Tough Act to Follow’

“Cast ne’er a clout till May is out” is the medieval English saying means do not put away your long johns until May is over; well, we certainly have had a few very cool nights recently, which is just wonderful … allowing sleeping with the windows open.

I cannot remember the last time we had a real spring like the one we are experiencing this year, with plenty of rain. May is typically a dry month, although with the effects of global warming, no weather is typical these days. However, this beneficial rain is wonderful for all the spring plant growth happening in the beginning of the growing season.

Peonies by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash.

I am so in awe of the miracle of Mother Nature; the symbiotic relationship between plants and others of God’s creatures. As I look out of my window into my field, I can see the buds opening on my long stand of peonies, which brings to mind just one of those symbiotic relationships — the friendly partnership between ants and peonies.  

I am often asked “Maureen, should I worry about ants on my peonies?” The answer is “That’s not a problem, lots of ants on the peonies just demonstrate that you have healthy plants with big buds producing more nectar and therefore attract the ants”.

Make sure Peonies get plenty of water and after blooming, apply a light dose of organic 5-10-5 fertilizer and check the soils PH it should be between 6.5 and 7.0.  It is hard to ruin a good peony border but you can err in the fertilizing process, so go easy on the organic aged manure (never thought I would say that) and apply just the light dose of fertilizer — to reiterate apply the fertilizer after blooming.  

Now, in June, I pinch off the side-buds on my large stand of peonies, thus ensuring big blooms on the rest of the plant.  

On the subject of ants; if you see them “let them live,” because often their presence indicates that we have aphids around and ants feed off aphids; they are very useful creatures.

Another very useful creature in the pest wars; is the lowly toad so I always put out some toad houses (which you can purchase from the garden center) around and about in your borders.  You can also use an old clay pot that is cracked and make sure that the crack is two to three inches wide for the door so the toad can enter. Also put a small saucer as a floor under the pot with some rocks, which you keep damp, so that your friendly bad-bug-eater has his or her ideal home environment.

MULCH:

Mulch your gardens in June; when the ground has warmed up to about 45 or 50 degrees. When you mulch, be careful mulching around trees; do not get the mulch any closer than four inches from the trunk, as any closer it can promote rot and disease in the tree itself. Also trees that are mulched too deeply near the trunk invite mice and other rodents to come nest and then gnaw on the trunk.  

The garden as a whole can be mulched to a depth of between two and three inches. I prefer fine hardwood mulch in the dark brown color but no dyed red mulch please … keep the garden looking natural and not like a Disney theme park.

ROSES:

An ‘Evelyn’ rose by David Austin, the author’s favorite.

June is the month when Roses begin to bloom. I prefer David Austin roses that I find are the most trouble free roses, are repeat bloomers and have wonderful fragrances. Some of my favorites are A Shropshire Lad, a soft peachy pink, Abraham Darby with blooms in apricot to yellow, Fair Bianca a pure white, Heritage, a soft clear pink. My absolute favorite is Evelyn, pictured at right, which has giant apricot flowers in a saucer shape and the fragrance is second to none with a luscious fruity tone, reminding me of fresh peaches and apricots.  

Feed your roses with an organic rose food called Roses Alive, which you can obtain from “Gardens Alive” on the internet, feed them once a month until mid August, then stop feeding so they can go into a slow dormancy.

Japanese beetles are very attracted to roses, so any Japanese beetle traps should be placed far away from your borders on the perimeter of the property. Or check TheEnglishLady.com on the Organic Products page for other solutions to the beetles and other unwanted pests.    

A tip for keeping cut roses fresh: cut the roses in the morning before 10 am, just above a five leaf cluster and place stems in a container of lukewarm water.  Inside the house recut the stems under warm running water, forming a one and a half inch angular cut, then place in a vase filled with warm water.  Do not remove the thorns on cut roses, I have found this practice reduces their indoor life by as much as three days.  

HYDRANGEAS:

These need plenty of water, (in the fields they were originally found close to water being a wetland plant before they were introduced into our gardens), also organic aged manure, good ventilation, organic fertilizer and full sun.

Wisteria in full bloom is always a sight to behold. Photo by Alyssa Strohman on Unsplash.

WISTERIA:

Regular pruning through spring and summer is the main factor to help this arrogant vine to flower — and by that I mean several times during the season. Prune every two weeks at least six inches on each stem.  

CLEMATIS:

If you have a wilt problem with clematis, you notice it early because the shoots wilt and die. Unfortunately this disease is impossible to cure, as it is soil-borne. Therefore you cannot plant another clematis of that species in that area but you can plant the Viticella clematis selection; these are vigorous, free flowering blooms and are not susceptible to wilt.  Some good choices in this variety are Blue Belle, Etoile Violette (both are purple) and Huldine, which is a white,  

CONTAINER GARDENS:

If you have room for one pot, you have room for a number — placed close together in different shapes and sizes, they can create your own miniature garden. Apart from regular pots, the most unexpected objects make really interesting containers. A friend, who cut down trees this past winter, left the stumps and hollowed them out to make containers — one large and two smaller stumps together — a really interesting combo.  

At the same time look in your basement, shed or barn to see if you have an old wheelbarrow, which, even if it has a wheel missing, will present an unusual angle as a planter. Or you may come across a large chipped ceramic jar — I, in fact, have an old two foot tall ceramic vinegar container, replete with a hole where the vinegar tap was inserted, ideal for drainage, which will look great on my newly-painted blue bench next to my red milk shed.  

LAWN CARE:

Do not forget to add organic grub control through July, so that you keep down the mole infestation; remember no grubs, less food for the moles.  

POWDERY MILDEW:

Keep an eye open for powdery mildew, especially after a rain and the humidity returns.  In a sprayer, mix two tablespoons of baking soda, two tablespoons of vegetable or horticultural oil in a gallon of water and spray the mildew.  Summer phlox is particularly prone to this affliction; I recommend Phlox Miss Lingard or Phlox David, white ones of the species, these are the most mildew resistant.  

Monarda, commonly known as Bee Balm, is also affected by the mildew; the one I have found to be the most resistant is Cambridge Scarlet. Do be careful when introducing Monarda into the garden; they, like Purple Loosestrife and Evening Primrose are extremely invasive and can take over your entire border.  

On the subject of invasive plants, if you plant mint, plant it only in containers, otherwise mint will spread throughout your borders.  

I hope these tips are useful to you in this busy time of year in the garden and I’ll see you in the garden or on my website next month.

Contact Maureen at maureenhaseleyjones@gmail.com

About the author: Maureen Haseley-Jones, pictured left, is a member of a family of renowned horticultural artisans, whose landscaping heritage dates back to the 17th century. She is one of the founders, together with her son Ian, of, The English Lady Landscape and Home Company. Maureen and Ian are landscape designers and garden experts, who believe that everyone deserves to live in an eco-conscious environment and enjoy the pleasure that it brings. Maureen learned her design skills from both her mother and grandmother, and honed her horticultural and construction skills while working in the family nursery and landscape business in the U.K. Her formal horticultural training was undertaken at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey.

Ivoryton Playhouse Hosts Free Concert at Westbrook Outlet Mall, Saturday

Ryan Bloomquist and Morgan Morse. Photo by Brief Cameo Productions.

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Playhouse presents a free concert at Six Summit Gallery in the Westbrook Outlet Mall on Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. All are welcome.

A collaboration between the Ivoryton Playhouse and Brief Cameo Productions, Songs From The Elephant’s Trunk is a celebration of live performance, featuring concert selections both honoring the Playhouse’s past successes and looking ahead to a bright and hopeful future.

Featuring nine professional singers and musicians, the concert will include songs from Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Oliver, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and many more.

This concert is made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.

Visit the Playhouse website or Facebook page for more information.

After Year of Closure, Gillette Castle Interior Re-opens to Public 

Harold “Tyke” and Theodora “Teddie” Niver – appearing as William and Helen Gillette – stand on the terrace overlooking the Connecticut River at the century-old home of the late Connecticut actor. After a year of pandemic-imposed closure, the structure has re-opened for the 2021 season. Photo courtesy of Kelly Hunt, Capture the Moment Photography.

EAST HADDAM, Conn. – For the first time since late 2019, Gillette Castle has re-opened and will be available for public visits during Gillette Castle State Park’s regular opening hours, park officials said. 

Because of the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mansion built a century ago by the late stage actor William Gillette remained closed throughout 2020 in accord with Connecticut’s official policy for all indoor facilities associated with state parks. 

The park’s grounds are open from 8 a.m. until sunset daily, offering visitors a chance to use the park’s varied hiking trails, stroll around Gillette’s unique home and perhaps spot the eagles that frequently nest with their young along the river at many times of the year. 

Self-paced tours of the structure are to be conducted from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, with each day’s final tour starting at 4 p.m. After Labor Day, tours will be conducted only on weekends through Columbus Day. Tickets are $6 and may be obtained at the Castle entrance on the day of visit. 

State officials report that ticket sales will also be available for pre-purchase for up to 12 individuals for specific time slots at 15-minute intervals. To guarantee a slot, advance purchase is recommended. To pre-reserve, guests in time will be able to check online at the Reserve America website (tinyurl.com/4ty5e59p) under “Gillette Castle State Park Tours.” 

In anticipation of the official opening May 29, a limited “soft opening” of the structure’s interior one week earlier allowed park officials and tour guides to practice their presentations with members of the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park, who received a “sneak peek” in exchange.

Most Connecticut state park buildings, museums, nature centers and other enclosed structures were opened on Memorial Day weekend. Under the state’s guidelines, six feet of social distancing must be maintained at all times while inside park buildings. Masks will be required inside the structure, regardless of vaccination status.

“The home of William Gillette is the true centerpiece of this wonderful park, and it was frustrating for us not to be able to share this jewel’s inner beauty and wonders with everyone,” said Lynn Wilkinson, president of the Friends organization. “Now, thanks to a lot of hard work by many people, we’re excited to say that it’s ready to go back on display.”

The park is nestled between the towns of East Haddam and Lyme. Many of its trails follow a former railroad bed created for a narrow-gauge track installed by the late Connecticut stage actor, who built his castle-like home atop one of the Seven Sister Hills along the river. 

Trail maps and videos of the estate may be found on the Friends website at www.gillettecastlefriends.org. Those interested in becoming a Friends member may sign up online or download a mail-in application form at the website, or direct their questions to info@gillettecastlefriends.org or (860) 222-7850. 

The organization’s mission includes the preservation, restoration and conservation of the historic structure and its scenic grounds. The all-volunteer, nonprofit group works in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Memberships help to finance park and structural improvements while preserving the estate and Gillette’s legacy.

Essex Land Trust Hosts Annual Concert in the Park, Saturday

ESSEX — Need an outdoor outing to leave the COVID-19 confinement behind?

The Essex Land Trust is hosting a live music concert Saturday, June 12, from 5 to 7 p.m.  at the Main Street Town Park in Essex. The concert will feature Melaena, a band that has been built on a foundation of musicianship, showmanship and professionalism mixed with raw talent.

The event is intended as a BYO picnic and concert.  Bring chairs, blankets. Relax or Dance! 

Melaena is a 6-piece cover band based out of Norwich, CT whose sole mission is to execute music that “makes you want to dance.” For over 30 years, Melaena has been performing songs from every decade, from Top 40 to Motown to classic rock to current hits; ranked as one of the top covers and wedding bands in the area. 

While the concert will be outdoors, it is asked that participants maintain social distance throughout the event.

Bad weather cancels. 

For any additional information, email info@essexlandtrust.org.

Essex Land Trust Hosts Canoe/Kayak Trip to South Cove, Saturday

ESSEX — Want to explore Essex’s South Cove?

On Saturday, June 12, from 1 to 3 p.m. take the opportunity to bring your kayak or canoe for an early summer trip to South Cove, led by the Essex Land Trust’s Jeff Croyle.

Meet at the public boat launch below Essex Town Park, on Main Street Essex. No advance registration required but participants need to sign a waiver starting at 12:30 p.m. and launch their own boats prior to the 1 p.m. departure.

A safety boat will accompany.

Bad weather cancels.

As the event will be exclusively outdoors, COVID regulations are not in force and facemasks are optional.

For any additional information, email info@essexlandtrust.org.

Drive-Thru Vaccination Clinic in Old Saybrook This Afternoon; No Appointment Required

Photo of COVID-19 vials by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash.

OLD SAYBROOK — Still not vaccinated against COVID-19?

Help achieve immunity in the community by going to a drive-through vaccination clinic at Old Saybrook Middle School (OSMS), Thursday, May 6, from 3:30 to 8 p.m. You will not need to exit your car to receive the vaccine.

No appointment is required and you can choose which vaccine to receive: Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

You can even choose which snack to enjoy — a hot dog or a hamburger!

The OSMS is located at 60 Sheffield St., Old Saybrook.

See a Bounty of Boats, Coastal Exhibitors at CT Spring In-water Boat Show at Essex This Weekend

ESSEX — The 5th Connecticut Spring Boat Show will take place April 30, May 1-2, at Safe Harbor Essex Island, located in Essex, CT.  The in-water boat show will raise funds for Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C), a non-profit organization supporting cancer care, education, prevention and research.  Sails Up 4 Cancer will benefit from 50% of ticket sales proceeds.

This boat show brings together members of the boating industry to share some of the latest innovations in boating while supporting a great cause.  Show attendees will have an ideal opportunity to compare different boats, dealers and options in one beautiful location.

A unique feature of the in-water show offers interested boat buyers select opportunities for sea trials throughout the weekend; thus, giving prospective buyers a unique ‘try-before-you-buy’ experience. The show will follow all state and local guidelines to ensure a safe experience when visiting the show, rain or shine.

Visitors will enjoy seeing a wide range of new and brokerage, power and sail models of all sizes, 20ft to larger than 65ft from Azimut, Brig, Burger, Chris Craft, Destino, Duffy Snug Harbor, Eastern, Everglades, Excess Catamarans, Grand Banks, Hinckley, Island Packet, Jenneau, Jupiter, Limestone, Nordstar, Oceanis, Ocean Master, Sea Hunt, Southport, USMI 11 Meter Naval Special Warfare RIB, Viking, and many other leading boat brands!

In addition to boats on the docks, the show will have yacht brokers, gear, artists, accessories, and service companies on the lawn.

Exhibitors include: Boatique USA, Brewer Yacht Sales, Candock Modular Docks/Suzuki Marine, Captain Morgan’s Boat Training and Charters, LLC, Caryn B Davis Photography Connecticut Waters, Conversations with Classic Boats, Chester Point Marina, Chestnut Health Navigation, Current Boating Education, Eastern Yacht Sales, Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, Hook’d Fishing Gear Co., Hydrangea Blue Design, InnSeason Resorts, Ipswich River Craft, McMichael Yacht Brokers, Ltd., Ram Jack, Renewal by Andersen of Southern New England, Sails Up 4 Cancer, Windcheck Magazine, Yelena Talamekki Designs and more.

Safe Harbor Essex Island Marina is located on a 13-acre private island, accessed by a complementary ferry service, and offers 125 slips accommodating vessels up to 200’. The resort marina is family friendly and offers food and beverages, along with live music throughout the weekend.

Historical Downtown Essex is located on the Connecticut River, a few short miles from Long Island Sound. The small waterfront town is a boating, sailing and tourist destination featuring quaint shops, markets, and restaurants. Bring your family and friends out to enjoy this sea-side boat show.

The show is a production of WindCheck Magazine and hosted by Essex Island Safe Harbor Marina.  Show sponsors include BMW, Essex Boat Works, Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, Gowrie Group, Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA).  Visit www.ctspringboatshow.com for specific event details. Contact Ben Cesare of WindCheck Magazine at ben@windcheckmagazine.com for dealer and vendor application information.

Three-day tickets will be offered at $20 per adult and free for children 13 and under, granting access to the show all weekend long.  Fifty percent of the proceeds will benefit Sails Up 4 Cancer, a non-profit organization and local charity who distributes funds to families impacted by cancer.  Advance tickets can be purchased by visiting:  https://www.windcheckmagazine.com/shop/.

Free parking is available.

Sails Up 4 Cancer (SU4C) is a non-profit organization based in Mystic, Connecticut. SU4C has been dedicated to supporting cancer care, education, prevention and research along the Shoreline and Southeastern regions of Connecticut. To learn more, go to SU4C.org.

Letter From Paris: Restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral Symbolizes Hope for France, the World

Nicole Prévost Logan

April 15, 2021 was the second anniversary of the fire, which ravaged Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and also the day when France reached 100,000 deaths from COVID-19. President Emmanuel Macron of France stressed that the reconstruction of the cathedral will be the symbol his country’s rebound from the pandemic.

Before giving the latest update of the most recent restoration process, here is a recap of what has been achieved over the past two years. The scope of the work is enormous.

For a long time, whenever I used to walk around the church prior to the 2019 fire, I had noticed that there was always scaffolding somewhere on  the church. It was a reminder for visitors that the cathedral was very old and fragile.

Throughout the centuries, it had suffered many fires and disasters. But the 2019 fire was the most catastrophic of all. It was a miracle that the cathedral survived that last tragedy.

After the fire, with hardly a square inch of the stone building still visible under so much scaffolding, wooden frames, plastic wrapping, tarp covers, and other protective contraptions, it was almost no longer recognizable. It ended up looking like a sick old bird.

View of the cathedral showing some of the extensive scaffolding. Photo by Nicole Prévost Logan.

The gables and pinnacles at the end of the north and south transepts were in danger of toppling over with the force of the wind. Workers, dangling in the air like alpinists were doing their perilous job of wrapping the carved stones. Hovering over the cathedral cranes and other heavy machinery made the church look as if it was under perfusion.

The stained-glass windows were taken down and replaced by what looked like giant French doors. The collapse of the 19th century spire over the nave had left an enormous gaping hole at the crossing of the transept. Water – regardless of whether it is rain or the power spray used by firefighters – can cause lots of damage. It penetrates the stones, destroying the mortar between them .

The fire obliterated the roof. The lead dripped, spread and left a thick layer of toxic dust everywhere. For months, no one could go inside the cathedral because of the danger from the lead dust and also from the debris falling from the broken vault. A lonely robot, directed by remote control, was able to clear up the charred remains.

The organ and the three rose windows were thankfully preserved, but they will, however, require  lengthy restoration. The 7,800 pipes of the largest organ in the word have been pulled apart and so have been all the stained-glass pieces.

The stunning South Rose window in the cathedral. Photo by Nicole Prévost Logan.

It is particularly comforting to know that the Rose Window at the south end of the transept is intact. Given the light of the sun throughout the day, it is the Rose Window, which gives the cathedral its beautiful warm glow. Notre Dame would not be the same without the scenes of the triumphant Christ depicted through that magnificent window. In 1250, Louis IX, or Saint Louis, donated it after the end of the second crusade.

The April 15, 2019 fire left the cathedral in danger of collapse — in fact, it was a touch-and-go situation. The most urgent step was to consolidate the structure

A gothic cathedral is like a house of cards:- if one side weakens, the whole thing collapses. Because of its daring height and the fact that the outside walls are weakened by several tiers of windows, the structure is fragile.

The medieval master carpenters were real geniuses when they designed the 28 flying buttresses to reinforce the strength of the walls. An arch or beam extends from the walls of the church to a pier against the lateral forces arising from the roof and pushes the walls outwards.

Ken Follett in his 2002 book, The Pillars of the Earth, wrote a gripping story of the 12th century monks attempting to do something never done before, failing many times and starting all over again.

The earliest buttresses of Notre Dame date from the 12th century. They are massive and fairly close to the main structure. Later, during the flamboyant gothic period in the 14th century, the spans of the flying buttresses are longer and more decorated.

The first phase of the restoration — preservation and protection — lasted 15 months. President Macron appointed General Jean Louis Georgelin, former chief of staff under President Sarkozy, to supervise the work.

This photo shows the cathedral’s 14th  century flying buttresses prior to the fire. File used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The 28 damaged buttresses were reinforced by fitting custom-made wooden “centering frames” under each one of them. Each one of the buttresses had different dimensions, hence the fitting required utmost precision.

Then started the most difficult and dangerous operation: dismantling the scaffolding, which had been erected in May 2018 to repair the crumbling spire created by 19th century architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.

That scaffolding had melted, creating an ugly- and mean-looking black mass of 40,000 metal pieces glued together. Rope access workers (called cordists in French) had to pick the pieces by hand one by one, hanging from ropes high in the air. Sensors were placed under that unstable mass.

At one point the alarm sounded. Everybody fled. To disentangle that mass was like playing a giant pick-up sticks game, which involves removing sticks without disturbing the rest of the pile.

Twice the restoration work on the cathedral was interrupted: first when the scare caused by the lead contamination forced all activities to stop. Workers had to wear white haz-mat suits with masks connected to supplies of filtered air. They looked as clumsy as moon walkers.

Subsequently, the lock-down caused by the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 shut down operations for three months.

Five days before the fire, as a result of a near-miracle, the 10 ft. tall copper statues of the apostles and evangelists, climbing up the bases of the spire were air-lifted for restoration. Parisians enjoyed watching the ballet in the sky.

The statues are being restored in two workshops located near Perigueux. It takes four month to restore one statue. Pending the completion of the cathedral, all these art works will be exhibited  at the museum of architecture on Place du Trocadero.

This rooster was on top of the spire. It is now exhibited in the Museum of Archaeology. Photo by Nicole Prévost Logan.

The rooster, pictured left, which used to sit at the top of the spire, will remain in the museum.  A replica will replace it.

Late in June 2020, chief architect Philippe Villeneuve climbed on an inspection tour of the cathedral. He was able to access the top of the vaults, which by then had been cleared of most of the debris.

Villeneuve was pleased to see that the limestone of the vault had resisted the damage caused by the fire itself as well as the water to extinguish the fire. For him, it was a milestone and he declared that the structure was now safe.

The first phase of conservation was over and one could look forward to the restoration to be launched at a later date.

In July 2020 came the decision everybody was waiting for. After months of deliberation and heated discussions between architects, historians and restoration professionals across the globe about how the future Notre Dame would look, a consensus was reached.

Based on a 300-page paper presented by Villeneuve and with the support of the public opinion, it was decided that the cathedral would be returned to its original appearance:- a spire identical to 1859 Viollet-le-Duc’s creation; a lead roof; and a wooden framework to support the roof.

A large part of the restoration work will be carried out using the methods of 13th century builders. Fortunately this type of savoir faire is kept alive in France thanks to a guild of crafted artisans, who are trained as Compagnons du Devoir.

All restoration will be done respecting the safeguards established by ICOMOS (the International Council for Monuments and Sites) founded by the Venice Charter of 1964 to protect historic monuments.

In 1991, UNESCO placed Notre Dame and the banks of the Seine within the area considered as part of the world heritage.

Within 24 hours of the fire, pledges to pay for the restoration poured in and reached close to one billion Euros. The two richest men in France raced to be the highest bidder. François Pinault pledged 100 million and refused to accept tax deductions. Bernard Arnault beat him with a sum of 200 million.

Arnault is the head of the LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) luxury goods and champagne empire. The readers of this area might be interested to know that Antoine, one of the Arnault’s five children, is building a “cottage” in the Fenwick peninsula in Old Saybrook. He is married to Russian super-model Tatyana.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris prior to the fire. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

At the two year mark since the fire, it is fitting to give the most recent update on the restoration process of Notre Dame. The task concerns the strengthening of the cathedral’s vault and the preparation of the future wooden framework, which will support the roof.

The scope of this phase to secure the building should be completed by next summer. It is just gigantic.

Most of the cathedral’s interior is now encased in metal scaffolding. An umbrella-like tarp has been installed above the gaping hole, where the spire once stood, for protection against the rain.

The vaults connecting the crossing of the transept were covered with platforms to enable rope-access workers to complete their job of removing the last fallen debris. This operation is still ongoing.

Most of those debris — stone, metal, glass — have been cleared up, analyzed, and used toward the creation of a 3D model, which is a replica of the original architecture and guiding the restorers in their mission.

Wooden scaffolding is being installed to stabilize the fragile areas of the cathedral’s vault, particularly the vaults adjacent to the crossing of the transept. Stonemasons apply plaster to the gaps and the exposed ends of the stones. They reinforce the most damaged areas with fiberglass.

The next step will be the insertion “of half-hangers” (also called “centring frames”)  under the six-rib vaults in the choir, the north transept and the nave. Note that the spire  crashed toward the West, onto the nave.

Above the vault and under the roof, other major work is in progress. The reconstruction of the 12-14th century wooden framework, called “the forest” is being prepared. Made-to-measure “half-hangers” and large-size triangular frames are being wedged under the roof to support it.

One thousand of the best oak trees have already been picked out in several French forests. A CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) study of the use of timber led to surprising conclusions. Those conclusions differ from what one often reads in non-scientific publications.

The 13th century trees were much younger and smaller than often stated:  60 years, 39 ft. in height, and 12 ins. in diameter. Furthermore, the trees were not left to dry for 18 months but were used while still green, after being felled.

From the top of the cathedral, President Macron, accompanied by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot expressed huge thanks to the hundreds of people involved in the restoration: carpenters, scaffolders, rope access technicians, crane operators, master glassmakers, restorers, stonemasons, archaeologists, researchers and donors.

Macron reiterated his vision of the cathedral reopening to worship by 2024 in time for the Olympic games, while acknowledging the fact that the complete restoration will probably take several years longer.

A glimmer of hope is much needed for the weary French population. The latest curfew at 6 p.m., which applied to the whole country, should be lifted in early May, with café and restaurant terraces reopening by mid-May — that should really boost morale!

With Rise in COVID-19 Case Rates, CT DPH Urges Residents Not to Travel; Continue Mask-Wearing, Social Distancing

CT DPH emphasizes Continued vigilance and adherence to mitigation measures, including masks and social distancing, is key.

HARTFORD, CT – The State Department of Public Health (DPH) is reminding residents to remain vigilant against COVID-19 as case rates have risen over the last two weeks.

Connecticut DPH has moved several Connecticut towns that had been seeing falling or stable COVID-19 case rates back into Red Alert status, as the average daily case rate for COVID-19 has increased statewide to 25 cases/100,000 residents per day.

Over 90 percent of the Connecticut population, including the residents of Chester and Deep River, live in a town with an average daily case rate of over 15 cases per 100,000 residents (e.g. red alert towns). It is estimated that 40 percent of these new cases are the B.1.1.7 variant.

While case rates have decreased among persons age 70 and older, they have plateaued or increased among all other age groups. The age group with the highest case rates are 20– to 29-year-olds.

The county with the highest case rate is New Haven County at 31.8/100,000. The towns with the highest case rates are located in the Waterbury/Naugatuck Valley area; Waterbury has the second highest case rate in the state at 43.4/100,000.

For the latest town map and other COVID-19-related data, click here.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased over the last week with 456 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as of today.

Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including those known to be more transmissible, are circulating in Connecticut and put people, who are not fully vaccinated, at increased risk of infection, serious illness, and death.

Continued vigilance and adherence to mitigation measures, including masks and social distancing, is key.

In addition, Connecticut residents considering travelling during the upcoming spring break season are urged to review CDC’s travel guidance, which continues to recommend against traveling at this time.

Connecticut DPH urges residents to get vaccinated if eligible or when you become eligible. The department also reminds residents that you are not fully vaccinated until 14 days after the entire vaccination regimen.

Editor’s Note: This report is based on a press release issued by CT DPH and distributed by Ledge Light Health Department.

Explore Vernal Pools, See Emerging Life in ‘The Preserve,’ Saturday

Jim Russo helps a youngster identify a find from a vernal pool in The Preserve.

ESSEX, OLD SAYBROOK — Essex Land Trust hosts a hike Saturday, March 27, in The Preserve to explore, ‘Vernal Pools and Emerging Life.’

Bob Russo, ecologist and Ivoryton resident, is once again leading a hike in the Preserve to help you search for salamanders, frogs and plants emerging from the long winter. He will describe the biological and geological features that make the vernal pool areas unique and bountiful. 1½ hours duration.

Russo is a soil scientist, wetland scientist and ecologist who frequently played in swamps while growing up.

Meet at 10 a.m. at The Preserve East entrance parking lot, off Ingham Road.

Easy to moderate terrain.

Bring tall waterproof boots and nets if you have them. 

Open to all ages.

Bad weather cancels.

For further information, contact Jim Denham at 860-876-0306 or jgdenham@gmail.com. 

 

Musical Masterworks Presents Mozart, Bach & More in March Concert, Tickets to View Video on Sale Now

Randall Scarlata

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks welcomes Randall Scarlata, baritone, along with Jeewon Park, on piano and Edward Arron on cello for their March concert video, which will be filmed on the stage of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The concert video will feature the music of Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Schumann.

This performance will be filmed in mid-March and the link to the virtual concert will be made available to ticket buyers on March 27.  The video can be enjoyed for three weeks and watched as many times as one wishes. 

Ticket holders will be able to experience Musical Masterworks as an intimate concert experience, providing a virtual front row seat, featuring the excellence of the performers’ artistry.

Musical Masterworks season finale performance will be filmed in May when will welcome back favorite artists, Gilles Vonsattel on piano and Tessa Lark on violin.

Musical Masterworks’ season runs through May 2021.  To purchase individual video tickets ($40 each), or student tickets ($5 each), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or email admin@musicalmasterworks.org.

Applicants Sought for Award Supporting Young Adults with Autism, Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

Alexandra Dilger

AREAWIDE — An annual award for young adults who have faced challenges while working toward a personal goal is being offered by A Little Compassion, Inc., an area non-profit that works to change the lives of individuals with autism, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.

The organization operates The Nest Coffee House in downtown Deep River, providing employment and social opportunities for young adults with disabilities and increasing public awareness that they are vital and valuable community members. 

The Alexandra Dilger Award provides support for recipients aged 18 to 30 from a Lower Connecticut River Valley community, helping them continue to progress toward the attainment of their goals, such as becoming an illustrator or musician, attending college or starting a small business.

The application process includes the completion of a brief nomination form by the individual themselves or an adult community member. Finalists will participate in a friendly conversation with the nomination team.  

The award was established by Gale and Patrick Dilger of Deep River in memory of their daughter, Alexandra, who lived a rich and full life despite struggles with depression and anxiety throughout her teenage years and into her early 20s.  At the time of her passing at age 21 in November, 2018, Alexandra was working on her undergraduate degree at Landmark College in Vermont, with the intention of progressing to graduate school. 

“Our hope is that this award will represent a step toward greater independence and accomplishment for young adults who, like Alexandra, have wrestled with personal challenges, but have a goal in mind and are determined to achieve it,” the Dilgers said. 

Last year’s inaugural Alexandra Dilger award was presented to three young area adults: Jillian Noyes, of Old Saybrook, seeking to become an independent filmmaker, received specialized driving lessons, courtesy of Next Street Driving School.  Andre Foristall of Higganum received a laptop to help him with his computer science studies at Middlesex Community College and Evan Merenda of Madison also received an upgradable computer that will assist him to study bioinformatics at Landmark College, Vermont.

The deadline for nominations for the 2021 award is April 23 and the award recipients will be notified in May. More information and nomination forms are available at www.alittlecompassion.org or call 203 641-8656.

Coral Reefs are Topic of Opening Virtual Lecture in RTPEC’s 2021 CT River Series, Tomorrow

AREAWIDE  — Throughout the past challenging year, the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC), which is is part of Connecticut Audubon Society, has still found many ways to continue its work in environmental education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

It has offered small group programs like bird walks and owl prowls, a virtual Connecticut River ecology course, seasonal nature crafts for kids via Zoom, and more.

The RTPEC continues its mission with the announcement of their Spring 2021 Connecticut River Lecture Series.

A mainstay of the organization’s adult programming, the Connecticut River Lecture Series introduces scientists, researchers, writers, and artists who inform us about the biodiverse coastal and estuarine ecosystems of our region and planet.

In 2021, the RTPEC will celebrate the series’ seventh year with Zoom presentations from three prominent scientists, each focusing on a critical environmental issue. The programs are free, but registration is required and space is limited.

All the programs start at 6 p.m.

Thursday, March 11
Coral Reefs: Rainforests and Canaries of the Sea
Mark Hixon, Ph.D., Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Dr. Mark Hixon

A leading expert on coral reefs, Dr. Hixon will discuss what is happening to them, why they are important, and how we can help preserve them.

Mark Hixon is the Sidney and Erika Hsiao Endowed Chair in Marine Biology and Chair of the Zoology Graduate Program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. His research analyzes what determines the number of fish in the sea, how so many species naturally coexist, and how marine reserves and artificial reefs help conserve sea life and enhance fisheries.

A Fulbright Senior Scholar, Aldo Leopold Fellow, and Fellow of the International Coral Reef Society, Dr. Hixon serves on the editorial boards of multiple scientific journals. Past chair of both the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee for NOAA and the Ocean Sciences Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation, Mark has given TED talks and appeared on the PBS TV show “Saving the Oceans.”

Details of the second lecture are as follows:

Thursday, April 8
Butterflies: Monarchs, Migrations, and Conservation
Robert Michael Pyle, Ph.D., conservation biologist and author of The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, will be interviewed by Evan Griswold.  

As a foremost authority on butterflies and other invertebrates, in 1971 Dr. Pyle founded The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world through the conservation of butterflies and all invertebrates and their habitats.

Evan Griswold will interview Dr Pyle about his life’s work on invertebrates and monarch butterfly migration and conservation.

Robert Michael Pyle grew up and learned his butterflies in Colorado. He earned his Ph.D. in butterfly ecology at Yale and worked as a conservation biologist in Papua New Guinea, Oregon, and Cambridge, England.

He has written 22 books including The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, winner of the 1987 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing and the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award. His book about Pacific Northwest forests and origins of the legends of Sasquatch was recently made into a movie.

Dr. Pyle has also published a book of poetry and his newest book, Nature Matrix, is a collection of essays, expressions of a life immersed in the natural world.

Evan Griswold, a Yale School of The Environment/School of Forestry classmate of Dr. Pyle’s, is a former Executive Director of the Connecticut Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and a prominent Connecticut conservationist.

Details of the third and final lecture are as follows:

Thursday, April 29
The Secret Life of Plankton: The Base of the Marine Food Web
Hans Dam, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Connecticut

Plankton, a single cell organism, is the base of the marine food web. Hans Dam will speak about the evolutionary ecology of plankton and its vulnerability to climate change. He will describe the macro-power of its micro-organisms and his efforts to better understand the invisible life teeming in a tablespoon of river or Sound water.

Hans Dam is a biological oceanographer interested in the ecology and evolution of planktonic organisms: tiny creatures that control the biology of the sea. His current research focuses on how copepods, the most abundant animals on Earth, adapt to the ocean’s warming and acidification.

Another area of work is the evolutionary “arms race” between grazers and toxic plants. Dr. Dam has published more than 100 papers and trained a generation of oceanographers. He has also spent 20 years advising the State of Connecticut about water quality in Long Island Sound.

This year’s Lecture Series includes a special offer: a dinner available for pick-up on the day of the event prepared by renowned chef Ani Robaina, formerly chef to the Gates foundation, and currently owner and chef at Ani’s Table. The cost is $75.

For additional information and Zoom registration, visit https://www.ctaudubon.org/rtp-programs-events/ or call 860-598-4218.

Musical Masterworks Video of February Concert Now Available for Viewing

Rieko Aizawa plays the piano in the February ‘Musical Masterworks’ concert.

OLD LYME — Musical Masterworks welcomes Rieko Aizawa on piano, Todd Palmer on clarinet and Edward Arron on cello for their concert video, which was filmed from the stage of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The concert video features the music of Mozart, Bernstein, Kenji Bunch and Brahms

This performance was filmed in mid-February and the link to the virtual concert is now available to ticket buyers.  The video can be enjoyed for three weeks and watched as many times as one wishes. 

Ticket holders can experience Musical Masterworks in a whole new way: the audio-video production team creates an intimate concert experience, providing a virtual front row seat, featuring the performers’ exceptional artistry.

In March and May, Musical Masterworks will feature a selection of favorite artists, including baritone Randall Scarlata, Gilles Vonsattel and Jeewon Park on piano and Tessa Lark on violin, performing music from Bach to Corigliano.

The Musical Masterworks season runs through May 2021. 

To purchase a video mini-subscription ($100 each), individual video tickets ($40 each), or student tickets ($5 each), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call

Essex Financial Adviser Tim Furgueson Named to Forbes’ List of ‘Best-In-State Wealth Advisers’

ESSEX — Essex Financial has announced that Tim Furgueson has been selected to the 2021 Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list, which honors top performing wealth management and financial planning advisors in each state.

Shook Research conducts several national rankings of wealth advisors each year on behalf of Forbes. In 2020, over 32,000 nominations were received. This year’s Best-In-State Wealth Advisors consists of top-ranking advisors who were nominated by their firms and then researched, interviewed and assigned a ranking within their respective states by the Shook organization.

“I’m honored to be recognized by a top publication like Forbes.  This would not be possible without the support I have from the entire Essex Financial team and the clients who place so much trust with me and our firm,” says Furgueson.

“We are delighted and very proud that Tim has been selected to this prestigious list of Forbes Wealth Advisors” said Charles R. Cumello, Jr., President and CEO of Essex Financial. “Tim has very effectively managed risk to help his clients reach their financial planning goals. I look forward to his evolving efforts in this area, as well as his overall leadership in the years ahead”.

Furgueson is a Financial Advisor in the Essex office of Essex Financial. He has over 25 years of experience in the industry. He resides in Essex, Conn. with his wife and children. He is very involved in the community through his work as Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of Essex.

 

American Job Centers of Eastern Connecticut to Host Virtual Hiring Event, Thursday

AREAWIDE — The American Job Centers of Eastern Connecticut will host a virtual hiring event Thursday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Zoom, allowing individuals seeking new employment opportunities to interview for manufacturing, health care, warehouse and customer service jobs, among others.

Job openings available will include hands-on manufacturing roles, personal care attendant roles and other positions working in transportation, logistics and driving.

For a complete list of job openings, and to register for the event, visit https://ewib.org/American-Job-Center-EAST/Virtual-Events; upon registering, you will be contacted to select a time slot and get meeting details.

Interviews will take place over Zoom in 15-minute, one-on-one formats.

State Senators Needleman, Formica Discuss Energy, Technology Priorities on Lee Elci Show, Now Available on Demand

Senators Norm Needleman, left, and Paul Formica from a 2019 television appearance. Photo submitted by Sen. Needleman’s office.

AREAWIDE — This past Monday, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) and State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) joined Lee Elci’s talk show on Radio 94.9 News Now for an extended, detailed discussion of the Energy & Technology Committee’s 2021 priorities and focuses. The Senators came together in a bipartisan fashion to discuss pressing issues driving their decisions and thoughts as the 2021 legislative session begins in earnest.

“I’m glad I was able to join Senator Formica and Lee to discuss this session’s many focuses,” said Sen. Needleman. “From the cost of energy to pursuing renewable sources of generation to looking into company and corporate practices, the Energy & Technology Committee is dedicated to tackling a number of vital and important issues in the coming months. I think Monday’s conversation helped us ensure we’re focused on what matters most – what’s best for the people of Connecticut.”

“Thank you to Lee Elci for opening up an hour of his show to discuss energy issues in Connecticut with Senator Needleman and me,” said Sen. Formica. “The important and challenging work of the state’s Energy & Technology Committee continues to attempt to balance generation and supply in a bipartisan way to benefit the citizens and ratepayers of Connecticut. It was great to share part of that process with the listeners of the Lee Elci show. I look forward to further, in depth conversations on energy.”

Monday’s discussion on the Lee Elci Show is available on-demand in recorded format on Elci’s SoundCloud page, located here. On the Jan. 25, broadcast, available here, the discussion between the Senators and Elci begins at around roughly the 2-hour 58-minute mark.

SECWAC Host Authors of New Book on James Baker, “The Man Who Ran Washington,” Tonight

Peter Baker and Susan Glasser discuss their new book about James Baker III in a presentation hosted by SECWAC Wednesday evening.

AREAWIDE — The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) present Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, respectively of The New York Times and The New Yorker, to speak on “The Man Who Ran Washington, The Life and Times of James A. Baker III,” Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m.

Baker and Glasser discuss their new biography of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and his impact on Washington and the world.

From the end of Watergate to the end of the Cold War, Baker had his hand in almost every major event in the capital, from running five presidential campaigns and managing Ronald Reagan’s White House to negotiating the reunification Germany and dealing with the collapse of the Soviet empire.

But his story is also the story of Washington and how it has changed over the years.

Copies of the book may be purchased from R.J Julia Independent Booksellers in Madison, CT, at this link: https://www.rjjulia.com/book/9780385540551.

This virtual event is free for members, guests $20, registration is required. The link to join will be emailed with your registration confirmation.

Essex Savings Bank Announces New President & CEO

ESSEX— The Board of Directors of Essex Savings Bank is pleased to announce that Diane Arnold, Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer of Essex Savings Bank, will be assuming the role of President and CEO in July 2021, upon the retirement of current President and CEO Gregory Shook.

Mr. Shook has served in his role for 21 years overseeing steady growth in deposits and loans, geographic expansion, the development of the Trust Department with over $600 million in assets, and integration with Essex Financial Services, its wholly-owned wealth management subsidiary with over $2.8 billion of managed assets. In addition to inheriting Mr. Shook’s role, Ms. Arnold will also serve on the Board of Essex Savings Bank, and on the Board of Essex Financial Services, Inc. 

Douglas Paul, Chairman of the Essex Savings Bank Board of Directors, stated, “Greg Shook has been an exemplary leader, and our Board engaged in a very extensive and comprehensive process to select his successor. Ms. Arnold is an outstanding choice with the attributes and qualities necessary to propel Essex Savings Bank into the next era of banking as a leading community bank.” 

Ms. Arnold began her banking career in 1983 and she worked in a variety of departments at two different banks before joining Essex Savings Bank in 2002, where she ultimately rose to her current position.

During her 19 years at the bank, she has been particularly influential in developing the commercial loan portfolio and in mentoring many individuals. She has been involved in a number of community organizations for many years, and in 2017 she received a Women of Fire Award, recognizing key female leaders in the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors.

Ms. Arnold earned a B.S. degree in Economics from Quinnipiac College and is also a graduate of the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.

“I am honored to have been selected by the Board to assume the role of President and CEO upon Greg Shook’s retirement,” said Ms. Arnold. “I look forward to building upon our solid foundation of serving the local community and continuing to flourish in an ever-changing banking environment.”

Mr. Shook stated: “I am so pleased the Board has selected Diane Arnold as the next President and CEO and the first woman to serve in this role at our institution. I have known Diane for many years and look forward to working with her to insure a smooth and successful transition.”  

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

Death Announced of Rev. David Galen Johnson, Former Minister of Visitation at Deep River Congregational Church

Reverend David Galen Johnson

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Reverend David Galen Johnson, 79 and United Church of Christ minister, died at home in Portsmouth, NH of late-stage cancer on Monday, January 11, 2021.

He was born on June 5, 1941, in Philippi, WV, the first son of Glen Galen Johnson and Clarice Louise (Gainer) Johnson, and moved to Little Rock, AR, at age 10. A high school senior the year that Little Rock schools were closed in the wake of Brown vs Board of Education, David (like many of his classmates) graduated from a high school away from home. He married one of those classmates, Lyla Gibb, on September 8, 1960.

David earned a BS in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and began his professional life at Westinghouse as a manufacturing engineer and production foreman. Taking leave from that role, he fulfilled his Army Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) commitment, and was stationed in Heilbronn, Germany.

After earning an MBA from Ball State University, David enjoyed early career success with TempRite, a division of Aladdin Industries. From a base near London, England, he built the European business by engaging sales managers in key countries. Together, they became the “Big 5” and life-long friends. Subsequently, he held a variety of sales & marketing leadership roles before launching his own executive search business called Galen Giles Group. He brought his professional talents and passion for international understanding to his position on the Board of Directors of the American Field Service (AFS).

Yet it was not until later in life that David heard his true calling to spread God’s word as a minister. With the unfailing support of his wife Lyla, he earned his Master of Divinity from Andover-Newton Seminary at the age of 68. He pursued his formal calling as the Minister of Visitation at Deep River Congregational Church (CT) while also living his purpose as a hospice spiritual counselor for Masonicare. Later, he served as the Interim Minister at Epping Community Church (NH) — a role he described as his favorite job ever.

Away from work, David pursued hobbies such as virtual game playing back when “virtual” meant mailing monthly paper “orders” for the strategy board game Diplomacy. One of his great joys in life was playing poker with the same group of friends for almost 40 years, as well as playing (and winning)  just about any card or board game with family. Additionally, he dedicated himself to community theater, was part of a Murder Mystery troupe, and most recently was a role player at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth.

Yet David would have described his greatest passion and achievements as his 60-year marriage to the only love of his life, Lyla, and the raising of their four children. Together, he and Lyla sought to give them “roots and wings,” and recently David articulated that in this, they had been successful.

David is survived by his wife, Lyla G. Johnson; his children Glen R. Johnson and wife N. Gaye Johnson of East Point, GA, Katherine Johnson Armstrong and husband Robert A. Armstrong II of Charlotte, NC, E. William (Bill) Johnson, MD and wife Reiko K. Johnson, MD of Newfields, NH, Elizabeth Johnson Levine and wife Adele A. Levine of Silver Spring, MD; 10 grandchildren and two great-grand children; and brothers Mark A. Johnson and G. Douglas Johnson, both of Heber Springs, AR.

A Virtual Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, January 24th at 1:00 p.m. (this event will be online only, details will follow on here soon, if you know you would like to attend please email info@kentandpelczarfh.com to receive details when they become available.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to maintain the historic North Church in Portsmouth, NH or The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. To sign an online condolences book, and for updates and more information, please contact  Kent & Pelczar Funeral Home & Crematory at https://www.kentandpelczarfh.com/ or +1 603-659-3344.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Dr. Alicia Farrell Announces Free Online Parenting Webinars Series in February 2021

AREAWIDE — Cognitive psychologist and national keynote speaker, Dr. Alicia Farrell, has announced a four-session webinar series to address common challenges that parents face in raising children in today’s environment.

Titled, How to Raise a Well-Adjusted, Confident, Self-Reliant and Civil Adult in a Crazy Mixed-Up World, the free webinar series, being held in February, goes beyond the challenges of the pandemic to address four main areas of parenting concerns including:

  • Stress, anxiety and perfectionism
  • How to recognize it in your children and what to do about it
  • Technology: how it is affecting our children and what to do about it
  • Parenting: how to communicate, set boundaries, place age-appropriate expectations and allow for natural consequences at any age
  • Drugs and alcohol with a focus on marijuana: how to talk to your kids about the facts, the fiction and their future.

“Life has been coming at us for quite some time– pre-COVID, COVID and likely, post-COVID – for you, me, everybody. But you know who is suffering most? Our children. It’s breaking my heart. We have to sort this out.” says Dr. Farrell in her blogpost announcing the series.

She continues, “Time is precious so I want everyone who is interested to know that each of the four webinars will be packed full of essential knowledge and practical tools that can be applied right away.  They are designed to stand alone so you can choose to attend one, two, three or all four webinars depending on your needs.”

Asking, “Doesn’t everyone want to survive this challenging time with children who have more grit, resilience and are better equipped to handle their future adult lives?” Dr. Farrell adds, “I felt compelled to offer this free four-part series online to reach a larger audience than I do on my couch every day and, with the global adaptation to services like Zoom, I hope to inspire a greater number of people to influence positive change in our children’s lives.”

Registration is required for each of the free sessions and is available on Farrell’s website at aliciafarrellphd.com  The four sessions are offered Wednesdays, Feb. 3, 10, 17 and 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Alicia Farrell is an accomplished Cognitive Psychologist, former University Professor, National Keynote Speaker and Founder of Clearview Consulting. For over 20 years, Dr. Farrell has counseled hundreds of clients on how to get back to basics to achieve their life goals and personal well-being. Her clients have ranged in age from 13 to 98. She has worked with individuals, couples, parents, families and professionals.

She also brings 10 years of corporate experience to her work.  In 2019 Dr. Farrell was recognized with a ‘Women of Excellence Award’ by the Shoreline Chambers of Commerce in Connecticut.  For more information visit: www.aliciafarrellphd.com

Happy New Year 2021!

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash.

We wish all our readers, advertisers and friends a very Happy New Year 2021.

We hope it brings you and yours peace, good health and happiness.

We thank you sincerely for your support through the challenging year of 2020 and look forward to continuing to serve you in what we hope is a far better 2021!

Letter From Paris: After 47 Years, UK Leaves EU with ‘Thin’ Post-Brexit Deal

Nicole Prévost Logan

After 47 years of co-habitation, the UK has left the European Union (EU) with a “thin” post-Brexit deal.

An end-of-year need for holiday food delicacies, such as caviar, lobster or foie gras, a panic to run short of fresh produce like lettuce, combined with the Covid-19 procedure slowing down the traffic, caused spectacular chaos with thousands of trucks lining up on highways or parked in Kent’s makeshift areas.  It was a sort of a preview of what a no-deal Brexit would bring.

The atmosphere in the country was unreal.

On Christmas Eve at four in the afternoon, the news broke: The UK and the European Union (EU) have reached an agreement on a narrow trade deal.  There will not be a “hard Brexit” as everybody had feared, with a brutal departure of the British Isles from the continent.  The two sides will remain friends and look forward to building up a commercial partnership and intensifying cooperation in transport, security, police, nuclear power, research and many other areas.

An 11th hour agreement

Reaching an agreement was quite an accomplishment. As late as Dec. 20, the mood was grim on both sides of the English Channel. On that date I wrote an article, entitled: “Betting on a “thin” Brexit deal”.

As follows, is part of my article:

Time is running out.  The transition period, which followed the departure of the UK from the EU on Jan. 31, 2020, is ending on Dec. 31.  If the two sides – UK and EU – do not reach an agreement by then, the “hard Brexit” will feel like falling off a cliff. The alternative is a “soft” Brexit.

On Dec. 13, 2019 , Boris Johnson led a successful campaign, the problem is that he based that campaign on three fateful words: “Get Brexit done”  He locked himself in an impasse,  making it hard for him to negotiate further.  He is under pressure from all sides to satisfy the hard-Brexiter Tories, the business circles rejecting Brexit for fear of a tariff war and  public opinion increasingly against a departure from the EU.   

The impossibility to bridge the positions from both sides of the Channel is clear:  the differences are more than deep. They are existential.  

For the British, sovereignty is paramount and the constraints of the Single Market unacceptable. The EU lies on the principles of the “Schengen Space”, consisting of free movement of people, capital, goods and services. Those principles constitute the main asset of the Single Market and are sacred, declared Christine Okrent, a French seasoned journalist and an authority on foreign affairs.

One should not forget that the UK has never been part of the Schengen “Space” nor of the Eurozone.

“Zanny” Minton  Beddoes, editor-in-chief of the Economist describes the negotiators as “playing on their voters’ audiences”.  It may be true in England, but definitely not in the EU. The EU is not budging from its core proposals, and its 27 members remain totally united. It would be miscalculation on Johnson’s part to count on the EU backing down.  

A hard Brexit would be a lose-lose proposition, but the UK would be more affected. Half its trading activities are with Europe, its economy is intertwined with Europe’s, as Beddoes pointed out. In contrast, Brexit has ceased to be a priority for the EU, commented Christine Okrent

In an interview, Michel Barnier, chief negotiator of the EU, declared that a nine month transition was too short. Most trading agreements take at least five years. He said: “Two prerequisites are needed: a free and fair competition (no “Singapore on the Thames”) and a reciprocal access to markets and waters.” 

I predict – and am going out on a limb now – that enough concessions will take place on both sides to reach a “thin” deal (to use Beddoes’ words ) allowing  the negotiations to continue after Dec. 31.  More time is needed to create a tailor-made arrangement to satisfy the UK and help it access the Customs Union or the European Economic Area (EEA), like Norway.  

Those were my predictions on Dec. 20.

Back to Dec. 24, when the post-Brexit “deal'” was reached. What was fascinating on that historical day, was to hear, in real time, the comments coming from all sides of the political spectrum as well as the reactions from the general public.

Boris Johnson was exulting, raising his arms in a victory gesture. The trilingual Ursula von der Leyen , president of the European Commission was the one to announce (in excellent French) that, “a good, fair, and well balanced” deal has been reached.  Towering over her Michel  Barnier added his voice to the official announcement.  It was thanks to his fairness and persistence, that he made the deal happen.

Boris Johnson declared: “We have kept our promise. We have taken back the control of our economy. Freed from the EU Single Market bureaucracy, we can act very fast. The rapid vaccination program is an illustration of this. Our relationship with the EU will be comparable to the one between Canada and the EU (CETA).”

This is not exactly accurate however because CETA makes it easier to export both and goods and services, whereas the post-Brexit deal does not include the suppression of tariffs on services. The most important thing for Johnson was to say, “I have done it”.  He did succeed unlike other prime ministers – Thatcher, Major, Cameron, May – who failed in their attempts.

Denis MacShane, member of parliament  (MP), minister of State for Europe under Tony Blair,  and former part of the Labor party said, the population had had enough and wanted to turn the page of the Brexit.

A professor of the French School of Political Sciences, was lukewarm about the deal.  The accord does not warrant taking the champagne out to celebrate, he said.  To lose one member of the EU is a loss, a form of “disintegration”

Reuters press agency announced that the British Parliament was expected to approve the deal. Both Houses will be recalled to sit on the decision on Dec. 30.  Johnson has a comfortable majority of 364 out of 650 in the House of Commons.  Many of the 200 Labor party, will vote in favor of the agreement since they supported the post-Brexit trade deal  from the beginning.

The European Parliament will make its decision known in 2021 . The agreement text will have to be translated into 23 languages before being  approved by the 27 EU member states.

A 1,246-page agreement

It will take a while to fully comprehend the complex and lengthy text.

Professor Anand Menon,  director of “the UK in a changing world” Think Tank, commented that the lifting of tariffs and quotas will favor the EU since it is where it has a surplus. France has a surplus of 12 billion in her trade balance with the UK. The biggest amount is food products. 150,00 French companies export them to the UK.  Furthermore 80 percent of food and wine transit through France to reach Great Britain.

Quotas and tariffs will not be imposed on products. However, custom and various administrative formalities and procedures at the borders might become cumbersome for both sides. Times will be difficult in the short term for British companies and a cost of 4 percent of the GDP  is expected.

However, from now on the UK will be free to reach bilateral agreements with outside countries, such as New Zealand for the import of meat.

Tariffs will remain on the services . With the post-Brexit deal, the UK becomes a third country in regards to the EU,  80 percent of its economy is immaterial and tied to services and therefore not part of this post-Brexit deal. In order to exercise its financial activities  and access to the Single Market or the Customs Union, the  “passporting” (meaning selling financial services freely) will no longer be an option unless the UK joins the EEA, as Norway has done.

The main sticky point will be to preserve the level playing field and guarantee fair competition on both sides of the Channel.. This will be resolved by the principle of “managed divergence” the parties reserving the right to retaliate.  In other words any hope of creating a “Singapore on Tames “will be under strict scrutiny by the EU.

Dominic Raab, cabinet minister and conservative MP declared  that the provisions included in the agreement  are not the end of the story. The “deal” is a living document that will need to be revisited in the future. The rules will  evolve. As an example, a system is put in place to settle litigations and will be re-examined in four years.  Next February there will be more rules. Raab added that for the next five or six years the UK will be working on re-establishing new ties with Europe.

On a positive note for Boris Johnson: the UK will not be bound by judgments made by the European Court of Justice

The Irish border

The Irish premier Micheal Martin approved the fact that a hard border between the two Irelands was avoided ; The Common Travel Area with Great Britain will be maintained ; the deal preserves Ireland’s position in the Single Market, he said, it will avoid quotas and tariffs imposed on farmers, businesses and exporters.  Varadkar, another Irish politician seems also satisfied with the deal.  Northern Ireland will remain effectively in the EU ingle Market.   Custom checks will take place in the Irish Sea instead of on land. Sea.

Still unknown but likely to emerge soon  is the question of Scotland.  Premier Nicola Sturgeon lashed out at the agreement within minutes.  In 2016 62% of  the Scots voted to remain in Europe.  The Flag of Scotland still flew above the Parliament.  Scotland will probably not wait for the spring to organize another referendum.

Fishing rights

Johnson declared: we have regained the control of our waters.  Although it represents a minute part of the GDP of both sides , this issue occupied a major place in the negotiations because it is essentially the symbol of the British sovereignty.  Barnier knows a lot of about fishing rights.  He was minister of Agriculture and Fishing from 2007 to 2009.

There will be “fishing committees” implementing a control.  BJ demanded that 80 percent of the proceeds from the fishing industry be return to the UK.  He got 25 percent, during a transition period of five and a half years.  He will grant 100 millions of British pounds to help the fishermen.

The fish catch by the European last year was worth 650  euros last year.  The British waters are richer in fish population than the European waters. The Brits don’t eat much fish. They sell back most of their catch to the EU.   During his speech BJ was wearing a tie covered with fish.

The devil is in the details and annoying changes are going to take place. There will be no more mutual recognition of professional qualifications.  British doctors, architects, veterinarians, engineers will have to seek new certification.

The freedom of movement will disappear, and a visa will have to be obtained for a stay longer than 90 days.  An EU pet passport will cease to be valid.

The Erasmus student exchange program will not include the UK any more.  Instead of a fee of 170 they pay in European universities, foreign students studying in the UK will be charged tens of thousands pounds.  To work in England, a permit will be required. In other words a post-Brexit deal will not be “business as usual”.  There will be many changes.

On the last day of 2020, Sky News announced that Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley Johnson, was asking for the French nationality.  He is French on his wife’s side and very much of a Europhile.  In a book coming out later in January, author Christian de Bourbon-Parme has written a biography of Johnson.

Surprisingly, we learn that his name was not Boris but Alexander,  that he lived in Belgium when his father was working for the European Commission in 1973.  In the book Johnson is depicted as a person full of humanity.  He always loved Europe, was very attached to it, but not the EU.

In spite of of the enthusiastic attitude of the British prime minister, the mood was rather somber on both sides of the Channel.

Michel Barnier commented ” There was no winner in this deal. We all lost”.  And Ursula von der Leyen added a lyrical note: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

King to Stay as Valley/Lyme-Old Lyme Football Team Coach, Resignation Request Rescinded by Region #4

AREAWIDE — Region #4, which comprises the middle and high school-age students of Chester, Deep River and Essex, has rescinded its request for football coach and gym teacher Tom King to submit his resignation.

A joint statement issued just before 7 p.m. Monday evening and signed by both King and Region #4 Superintendent Brian J. White says, “As the Superintendent and Head Football Coach, we recognize that during the time of the Covid19 pandemic our communities and schools have put in place measures as recommended by the Department of Public Health to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and community members.”

It continues, “Through discussion, we have come to an understanding about the extent of the coach’s involvement in an independent team of Region 4 football players. Coach King does understand as a role model, the concerns about community perception regarding his involvement with this team.”

The statement then notes, “We both understand and accept that as educators and professionals we have a special responsibility to our students, staff and community during a pandemic and that we must place safety above all else. It is in this spirit, that the request for Coach King to resign from the position of head football coach has been rescinded.”

In conclusion, the statement looks to the future, saying, “Moving forward we will collaborate to provide the ongoing leadership necessary to support our students, staff and communities and the importance of the values of respect, kindness and concern for each other. We are committed to working together to build a bridge within our
community in a manner that serves the best interest of Valley Regional High School and the towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex.”

Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) students play football on the VRHS ‘Warriors’ team in a formalized co-operative arrangement, which has been in place for some 10 years. Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained, however, that the co-op arrangement did not mean LOL Schools had any involvement in the recent actions of the Region #4 Superintendent.

Neviaser said by email on Sunday, “In our current cooperative football agreement with Valley Regional, Region #4 employs the head coach. Therefore, any action or proposed action is independent of the Region #18 [Lyme-Old Lyme Schools] Board of Education.”

According to news reports, the issue that had prompted White to ask for King’s resignation was King’s presence at an Independent Football League practice held in Lyme, which included players from both VRHS and LOLHS. The League was formed in response to the cancellation of the high school football season by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Since he is the VRHS/LOLHS football coach, King was not permitted by Region #4 to coach in the Independent Football League. According to numerous reports, King submitted he complied with that ruling and many witnesses have substantiated that statement. King has been head football coach at Valley Regional High School since 1997/

A petition started by the captain of the VRHS/LOLHS co-op football team Jack Cox on change.org, requesting that King should retain his positions at Valley Regional High School garnered 2,885 signatures.

Region 4 Asks Valley-Old Lyme Co-op Football Coach to Resign

Action from a Warriors game against Old Saybrook played on the Lyme-Old Lyme Varsity Field in 2016. File photo,

AREAWIDE — The press and social media are currently swirling with articles*, opinion pieces* and comments relating to the requested resignation of the extremely popular Valley Regional High School (VRHS) football coach and gym teacher Tim King by the Region #4 Superintendent Brian White.

Region 4 comprises the middle and high school-age students of Chester, Deep River and Essex; each of the three towns operates their own elementary schools.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) students play football on the VRHS ‘Warriors’ team in a formalized co-operative arrangement, which has been in place for some 10 years. Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained, however, that the co-op arrangement does not mean LOL Schools had any involvement in the recent actions of the Region #4 Superintendent.

Neiaser said by email, “In our current cooperative football agreement with Valley Regional, Region #4 employs the head coach. Therefore, any action or proposed action is independent of the Region #18 [Lyme-Old Lyme Schools] Board of Education.”

According to news reports, the issue that prompted White to ask for King’s resignation was King’s presence at an Independent Football League practice held in Lyme, which included players from both VRHS and LOLHS. The League was formed in response to the cancellation of the high school football season by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Since he is the VRHS/LOLHS football coach, King was not permitted by Region #4 to coach in the Independent Football League. According to numerous reports, King submits he complied with that ruling and many witnesses have substantiated that statement.

Neviaser noted in his email, “Region #18 has no involvement in any independent sports programs that are not a part of our annual budget.”

The captain of the VRHS/LOLHS co-op football team Jack Cox started a petition on change.org, requesting that Tim King should retain his positions at Valley Regional High School. As at 12 a.m., Nov. 23, more than 2,760 people had signed the petition.

Editor’s Note: *Articles and opinions referenced for this article include:
Three local teams to compete in 11-on-11 Independent Football League by Ned Griffen, published Oct. 23, by The Day.

Players, parents upset that Valley/Old Lyme coach King being forced to resign by Ned Griffen, published Nov. 21, by The Day.

Coach asked to resign for involvement in independent football league by Sean Patrick Bowley, published Nov. 21, in the New Haven Register.

Tim King has the community — and the truth — on his side by Mike DiMauro, published Nov. 23, by The Day.

Valley Regional high school coach asked to resign by school district for involvement in independent football league formed during the pandemic in The Courant.

Region 4 Moves to Distance Learning Through Nov. 30

TRI-TOWN — Region 4 Superintendent Brian J. White sent out the following message to the Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Region 4 School Community this afternoon (Nov. 9):

Due to multiple positive cases of Covid-19 currently impacting our schools, we have made the decision, in consultation with Connecticut River Area Health District and the Town of Essex Health Department, to transition all schools to full, remote e-learning until November 30, 2020.

At the time of this communication, our school system has 23 staff members and 123 students PreK-12 required to quarantine with various return dates. We are also actively investigating multiple, new cases in partnership with our local health departments.  In addition to concerns about spread within the schools and the need for further contact tracing and quarantine requirements, we are experiencing staff shortages related to these cases that impact our in-person operations. 

Students and staff are asked to participate in remote learning until Monday, November 30th.  All non-instructional and essential staff are to await further instructions from their building principal or department supervisor.  Grab and Go meals will be available for pick up outside the school on Friday and Monday 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Staff and community members who encouraged to take advantage of free Covid-19 testing available in Old Saybrook. For additional details please see this flyer: FREE Coronavirus Testing.  Testing is also now available at the Old Saybrook location for free Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We will communicate further updates as they become available.  Our buildings will be closed to the public until further notice, however, our front main office staff in each school will be available if you need to call or communicate with the schools.

Thank you for continued patience and understanding during these uncertain times.

 

Sincerely,

 

Superintendent of Schools

Election 2020: State Results & Interactive Visuals

STATEWIDE — Our Local Independent Online News (LION) colleagues at CTNewsJunkie.com have prepared a couple of interactive maps of the State Senate and House results for readers to explore. Use the toolbox to group and sort Senate/House districts by political party and demographic characteristics.

Here is the State Senate map.

Here is the CT House of Representatives map.

Related articles at CTNewsJunkie.com can be found at:

Dems Post Gains In Legislative Seats While Some Key Republicans Hang On
By CTNewsJunkie Published Nov. 4, 2020 12:48am

Senate Democrats Strengthen Majority
By Hugh McQuaid Published Nov 4, 2020 1:47pm

Win a Subaru! High Hopes Hosts a ‘Raffle for a Cause’

A 2020 Subaru Forester 2.5i is the first prize in this year’s Raffle for a Cause sponsored by High Hopes of Old Lyme, CT and Reynolds Subaru of Lyme, CT.

OLD LYME — High Hopes Therapeutic Riding is holding a raffle in which the first prize is a 2020 Subaru Forester 2.5i. The second prize is an Apple i-Pad Mini and the third an Amazon Echo Show. Reynolds Subaru of Lyme is High Hopes’ raffle partner for this event.

All proceeds from the raffle benefit the programs at High Hopes.

Tickets are $50 each, two for $90, four for $180 or five for $225.

The raffle will be drawn during a live feed at noon on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. Winners will be notified immediately following the drawing. Ticket holders need not be present to win.

All federal, state and local taxes on prizes are the winner’s responsibility.

Visit this link for full details of the raffle.

Buy your tickets at this link!

Local State Senate, House Candidates Respond to our Questions

  1. What do you believe are currently the three most pressing issues in the state of Connecticut?
  2. From the three issues you cite in your response to Question1, identify the one that you think is the most pressing and explain your choice. Then expand on steps you believe should be taken to resolve it and how you could contribute to that resolution process?
  3. What personal characteristics do you embody that justify why people should vote for you?

We gave a 350-word limit for the response to each question to which each candidate strictly adhered: we are most appreciative of that.

We are delighted that all the candidates responded to our questions in a timely manner. We thank them sincerely and are pleased to publish their responses today accompanied by their respective biographies and photos.

We should also state that, again in keeping with our long-held policy, we will not be making any candidate endorsements.

Click on the links below to read each candidate’s responses:

CT State Senate, 33rd District 

Norm Needleman (D – incumbent)

Brendan Saunders (R)

CT House of Representatives, 23rd District 

Devin Carney (R- incumbent)

David Rubino (D)

The Country School Hosts Virtual Open House Tonight, Register for Link

Fifth grade lessons at The Country School continue outdoors with teachers Kerri Kelly and Dan Kollmer. The school hosts a Virtual Open House, Oct. 26.

MADISON, CTThe Country School (TCS) is hosting a Virtual Open House on Monday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m.

Register to meet engaged students and dynamic teachers. Learn about the school’s rigorous academic program;  Signature Programs of STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Global Citizenship, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking; rich offerings in the arts and athletics; and TCS’s $15,000 65th Anniversary Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves students in Pre-School through Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison, Conn.

The Country School honors students’ creativity, sense of wonder, and intellectual curiosity. The school’s integrated curriculum aligns rigorous academics with a commitment to character and leadership development.

Learn more and register for the Oct. 26 Virtual Open House at www.thecountryschool.org.

Letter to the Editor: Palm is Best Choice for 36th District Due To Her Traits, Skills, Issues for Which She Stands ; She’s In It For Us, Not Herself

To the Editor:

Christine Palm is the best choice for the 36th District because of her traits, skills and the issues she stands for. She is a powerfully effective speaker and writer. She actively reaches out to constituents for our opinions and to offer assistance. Before Covid she arranged many gatherings in our towns to listen to us, answer questions and propose solutions. Since Covid she has tried to reach us with phone calls and email to keep us informed and make herself available to help.

On the issues, she has stood up for insurance to cover pre-existing conditions, for lower prescription drug costs, for sensible gun safety, for expanding services to veterans, improving education opportunities, womens’ rights and more. I have known her to challenge leadership to get things right. She is in this for us, not for herself.

Sincerely,

Kate Wessling,
Higganum.

Letter to the Editor: Saunders in 33rd Embodies ‘Compassion, Wisdom, and Joy’

To the Editor:

Abraham Lincoln said, “before the age of forty, God is responsible for our face, and after the age of forty, we are responsible for our face.” Just looking at Brendan Saunders’ face, the gentleman running for senate in the 33rd district, you will understand what Lincoln meant. Saunders’ face radiates compassion, wisdom, and Joy.

Saunders’ wisdom presents itself with his laser focus and deep understanding of the difficulties of balancing one’s budget in the over-taxed, Democrat-run State of Connecticut. He has pledged to work diligently to cut wasteful spending and cutting Connecticut’s obscene taxes. Deep reforms of energy companies are high on his” fix-the problems” agenda.

Probably the most crucial issue is his devotion to our First Responders. He has pledged to oppose any policies aimed at defunding the police. It takes wisdom to think beyond the emotional and understand the dire ramifications of any such short-sighted legislation or tyrannical edict by a Governor.

Joy. Unlike so many “seasoned elected officials,” Saunders is a joyful human being. What could be better for the 33rd district than a happy warrior fighting for us while armed with acute wisdom and deep compassion? Same old, same old endorsement of the policies that have driven Connecticut into a fiscal mess makes no sense.

Sincerely,

Alison Nichols, M.Div.,
Essex.

Essex Steam Train Issues Cautionary Reminder on Safety at Railroad Crossings

Photo by Essex Steam Train & Riverboat.

ESSEX — The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat has issued a reminder to friends and neighbors in the Lower Connecticut River Valley that train frequency will be increasing during October through December on their tracks in Essex, Deep River, Chester, and Haddam.

In particular, daytime train activity will be increasing on tracks between Chester and Goodspeed Station in Haddam. 

When approaching STOP signs, motorists and pedestrians are legally required to come to a complete stop at the white stop line, and yield to any approaching rail traffic.

When facing flashing lights and/or gates, crossing users must STOP and wait for trains to pass/lights and gates to shut off.

Additionally, pedestrians, bicycles, and motorized vehicles are never allowed on railroad tracks except at a legal crossing location. Emergency contact phone numbers are located at all railroad crossings in the event of problems. The railroad is working with local law enforcement on issues of motorist compliance at crossings throughout the valley.

For further information, contact Rob Bradway, Vice President of Track and Property, at 860-964-3422.

A la Carte: Mushrooms by the Million? Soup is the Solution!

Lee White

This weekend, friends from Lyme offered a pound of freshly picked shiitake mushrooms for eight dollars a pound. I asked if I could get two.

So this is a very short paragraph … I am going to give you two mushroom soup recipes, both of which are incredible. You can use shiitake mushrooms (whose woody stems should be discarded), cremini, or other varieties.

One is easy; one takes a little longer. With the easy one, once cool. puree it, if you like. You may double both recipes and they freezes beautifully.

Mushroom soup is always delicious. Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash

Easy Mushroom Soup

Yield: 6 Servings

2 tablespoons butter
½ pound sliced mushrooms
¼ chopped onions
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ freshly ground black pepper
2 cans low-salt chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half cream

Cook on medium-heat mushrooms and onions until tender, about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper and 1 can broth; stir until smooth and add to the mushroom mixture. Stir into until smooth. Add the other can of broth and bring to a boil. Cook until thick, 2 minutes. Reduce heat, add cream and stir until flavors are blended, 15 minutes.

Potage Crème de Champignons

From Charles Virion’s French Country Cookbook (Hawthorn Books Inc., New York, 1972)

Yield: serves 8

5 cups canned chicken consommé or stock
1 small bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh parsley
1 sprig thyme
1 ½ cup fresh mushrooms
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small onions, chopped fine
3 tablespoons flour
3 egg yolks*
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Madeira wine (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (for garnish)

Simmer stock with bay leaf, parsley and thyme for 10 minutes. Remove herbs. Set aside.

Slice mushrooms (I buy them sliced and they are already cleaned). Saute mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter until mushroom liquid evaporate. Do not scorch the mushrooms or the taste will be bitter. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Clean skillet with a paper towel; over medium high heat, saute the onions in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter.

When onions are tender and transparent, add flour and stir constantly s that the butter is well blender with the flour.

Cook mixture slowly for 3 or 4 minutes, then start adding the stock, a little at a time, until you have a smooth white sauce. Add mushrooms and cool (I keep a few mushrooms aside to garnish the soup.) If you think the mixture is too thick, add a little bit more of the stock.

After the mixture is cooled enough, put the entire mixture through the blender until smooth. (Only pour enough of the mixture into the blender until is it one-half full; if necessary, do this in batches.)

Beat together the cream and the egg yolks. When soup is ready to be served, reheat it gently. When very hot, but not boiling, add the egg yolk-cream mixture, stirring until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. 

You can now add the optional Madeira, if you wish. Pour soup into bowls and garnish with parsley and reserved mushrooms.

*I mixed the cream with the whole eggs, forgetting to use only the egg yolks. It didn’t seem to make a difference.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.

Needleman Endorsed by Independent Party in Re-Election Bid to State Senate

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE — State Senator Norm Needleman has accepted the endorsement of the Independent Party as he continues his quest for re-election to the Connecticut State Senate.

Sen. Needleman, who announced his candidacy last winter, was unanimously renominated by the Democratic Party to run in the 33rd Senate District. First elected in 2018, Sen. Needleman represents the towns of Colchester, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

“I’m proud and excited by the Independent Party’s endorsement of my campaign,” said Sen. Needleman. “The Independent Party represents an electoral system that encourages different points of view. As someone who is results-oriented and who believes in common-sense solutions, I believe that listening to different points of view works in the best interests of my constituents That’s the mindset I will take back to Hartford if I’m re-elected in November.”

Sen. Needleman serves as Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, and has recently taken the lead in developing the “Take Back Our Grid Act” which will hold utilities more accountable to ratepayers in Connecticut.

In addition, Sen. Needleman is Vice Chair of the Planning and Development Committee and a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding, Transportation and Commerce Committees.

Sen. Needleman founded and runs a manufacturing company, Tower Laboratories in Centerbrook, and is currently serving his sixth term as First Selectman of Essex.

Join Essex Land Trust for an Outdoor Hike This Morning at Johnson Farm

ESSEX — The Essex Land Trust is starting up its outdoor hikes, with the first to Johnson Farm, Sept. 19, at 10 a.m. Hikers will discover the new pollinators’ meadow at Johnson Farm, a 49-acre property of fields and forest in Ivoryton.

There is new field of goldenrod, which with any luck, will be resplendent yellow, providing a natural resource for many bees, butterflies, moths and dragonflies, members said in a statement.

The trail system includes a woodland trail through the deciduous forest located on the east side of the property. An intermittent stream runs through the northern boundary of the property which also includes a vernal pool. The farm is a wonderful reminder of Connecticut’s farming heritage.

The property’s elevation ranges from 90 ft to 250 ft., which provides spectacular views northeast to the Connecticut River Valley, members said.

Valley Regional High School Graduates 11 Eagle Scouts

The Valley Regional High School Class of 2020 graduating Eagle Scouts gather for a photo. Front row (from left to right) Edward Lenz, Sean Davis, Jared Hart, Anthony Joia. Middle row (from left to right) Michael Raymond, Gavin Hauswirth, Ryan Shasha. Back row (left to right) Joseph Thomas, Sam Rutty, Carl Neubert III, and Gehrig Beighau. Photo by Michael Rutty.

TRI-TOWN — Belated congratulations to the 11 members of the Valley Regional High School Class of 2020 for earning the Eagle Scout rank!

Having 11 Eagle Scouts in this year’s graduating class is over double the national average for youth earning the highest rank in Scouting. Earning the Eagle Scout rank is an outstanding and prestigious achievement that takes many years of work to complete.

The Eagle Scouts are members of Troop 12-Essex, Troop 13-Chester/Deep River, and Troop 38-Westbrook.

Valley Regional High School Class of 2020 Eagle Scouts, their service project and the year they earned the Eagle Rank:
Gehrig Beighau – Troop 12 – WWII Lego Diorama at American Heritage Museum – 2019,
Sean Davis – Troop 13 – Bushy Hill Nature Center Amphitheater Improvements – 2020,
Jared Hart – Troop 13 – United Church of Chester Sign Roof & Lighting Improvements – 2020,
Gavin Hauswirth – Troop 13 – McKinney Nature Center Observation Platform – 2020,
Anthony Joia – Troop 13 – Plattwood Park Walking Trail – 2019,
Edward Lenz – Troop 13 – John Winthrop Middle School Farm Classroom Arbor with Benches – 2019,
Carl Neubert III – Troop 13 – Hamburg Fairgrounds Directional Signs – 2020,
Michael Raymond – Troop 13 – CT State Police K-9 Obstacle & Training Course – 2020,
Samuel Rutty – Troop 13 – Haddam Neck Fairgrounds Memorial Benches – 2017,
Ryan Shasha – Troop 12 – Essex Veterans Memorial Hall Step Replacement – 2020,
Joseph Thomas – Troop 38 – Westbrook Town Green Conduits – 2019.

To become an Eagle Scout, a Scout must earn twenty one merit badges and advance through the seven Scout ranks by learning Scout and Life skills while simultaneously providing leadership to their Troop and service to their community. One of the final requirements for the Eagle Rank is to show leadership in and complete a service project that benefits the Scout’s community, school, or religious institution; all work must be completed prior to the Scout’s eighteenth birthday.

Boy Scouts of America serves the youth ages 11-18. The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America is to help youth to develop their character and life skills all while having fun. There is much emphasis placed on assisting the Scouts to develop into strong healthy citizens who will lead our communities and country in the years ahead.

The Boy Scout of America methods help to promote these ideals through the challenge of putting them into practice with the Troop Program. This is done in a way that is both challenging and fun.

Letter From Paris: Back to Normal in France? Not Quite …

Nicole Prévost Logan

A Cannes Film Festival turned virtual,  the Roland Garros tennis tournament and Tour de France bicycle race both postponed until September?  France will definitely not be the same this  summer!

Tourism and culture are two of the main sectors of French economy and the pandemic has inflicted a direct blow on both of them.  Hundreds of festivals, sport events, art shows, plays, and concerts or activities linked to historical monuments had to be drastically reduced, presented behind closed doors, or totally cancelled, putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work .

But you would not think there is a virus going around when you see the way the French behave.

In Paris, restaurants and bistros spread their terraces across the sidewalks and into the streets.  They mark their space with bushes and flower beds.  Beach umbrellas add color to the scene.  Taking advantage of the warm weather, Parisians hang out outside.

Away from the cities, the French have been seeking  the calm of the countryside, enjoying family gatherings and organizing barbecues with  friends .

Young people could barely wait for the end of the lockdown to have fun in Paris … to huddle on the banks of the Seine or the Canal St Martin, to congregate in open spaces and dance into the night, or to flock to discotheques.  Meanwhile, St Tropez, down on the Riviera coast in the far south of the country, became a particularly hot spot.

People were reluctant to take the subways and, as a result, car traffic has surged.  Bicycles have taken over Paris.  It is likely that this trend will persist, virus or not.

Barely out of the lockdown, one thing was on everybody’s mind … the next vacation.  Every day the media tempted the viewers with sights of clear waters, beaches, and cool mountain trails.  This year the French seem to have rediscovered their own country and become the only tourists there.

It was to be expected that such behavior would have an impact on the evolution of the pandemic.  Clusters have multiplied throughout the country, which led to the specialists warning that the virus was still active.

But the present situation is quite different from what it was at the height of the crisis back in March and April.  The number of  deaths, or severe cases, being treated in the hospitals remains very low.  A general lockdown appears to be out of the question today.

Hospitals are better prepared and treatments made easier for the patients.  Masks and testing are more available.  Central government and local authorities adjust their policies to manage the pandemic in a more flexible way.  For instance, as of this week , Paris and several other large cities require masks to be worn outside in crowded areas.

From this overview of the pandemic in France, let us now change scenery and take a look at some highlights of life in France and Europe over these past months …

Every six years in France, the people are riveted by municipal elections. There are 36,000 communes in France headed by a maire assisted by a conseil municipal. The wide spectrum goes from the highly political Paris town hall, employing 40,000 people — Jacques Chirac headed that institution before becoming president of France — to the tiniest mairie.

The small village on the Dordogne, where one of my daughters lives, had been dormant for the past four decades with an unopposed maire at the wheel. This year however, things were different. The ballot took place in a heated atmosphere.  Participation was high. The scene was like a microcosm of French politics … and the maire was defeated.

In early July, Edouard Philippe stepped down as prime minister. A growing feeling of insecurity and violence has damaged the authority of the French executive. President Macron decided that a major reshuffle was required to bring new faces and methods and thus energize the government prior to the next presidential election.

Even a new voice was welcome. Jean Castex comes from the Pyrenées region and has a southern accent, which the French usually associate with vacations on the Mediterranean. Castex nevertheless is a product of the élite schools, a graduate of Ecole Nationale  d’Administration (ENA). As a high-ranking official, he has held key positions at the very center of power at the Elysée Palace.  He is an old pro — although he does not sound like one.

Over in Poland, Ardrzej Duda, leader of the conservative party Droit et Justice (PIS), was reelected as president on July 12.  The very small margin of his victory – 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent – suggests that it is only a question of time until a liberal, pro-European movement, possibly headed by Rafal Trzaskowski, defeats the authoritarian executive.

In Italy, meanwhile, after 14 months of the disastrous government of populist Matteo Salvini, Giuseppe Conte brought  appeasement as a centrist prime minister, who works well with Brussels.

At 5.30 a.m. on July 22, the 27 members of the European Union (EU) met  in response to a Franco-German initiative.  It was the longest summit in EU history.  Arduous  negotiations produced a  stimulus of 390 billion Euros in subsidies and 360 billion in loans.

The recovery plan of the EU — labeled “Next Generation EU”– is ambitious.  At its core is  a  “Green Pact.”

The plan, which will be implemented gradually along with each year’s budget, includes support of the health system, innovation assistance to viable companies, aid to farmers and fishermen, and 100 billion to help pay for widespread partial unemployment.

Banking rules will be made more flexible to facilitate the borrowing by entrepreneurs.  Right now the European Central Bank (CBE) enjoys a high credit rating, which helps the borrowing process. Margrethe Verstager , Executive Vice President of the EU Commission, will promote a Digital Single Market.

Alstom — a French multinational company operating in rail  transport markets — bought the Canadian company Bombardier.  The merger will create a rival to the giant China Railway Construction  Corporation (CRCC). China is continuing to make inroads in Europe and just invested in Portugal’s trams.

Overall the numbers of the European economic recovery are impressive:  together Brussels plus the 27 EU national governments will inject 40,000 billion Euros into the economy — far more than the US or even China

The “frugals”– the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Finland — fought tooth and nail against transfers of funds from the richer North to the South.  Dutch prime minister Mark Rutt stressed that the 750 billion Euros were not a blank check to weaker economies like Italy’s  — whose vertiginous debt is 240 percent of its GDP — but an investment plan to be controlled by Brussels.

Concessions had to be made.  The “frugals” received a rebate in their annual contribution to the European budget.  But the real beneficiaries are Poland and Hungary, who keep receiving money in spite of their frequent violation of the rule of law.

Recent developments show how fragile — but also resilient — the EU is.  Even the “Eurosceptics” do not want to let go of  their profitable membership in the “club .” But the real strength of the EU is that it constitutes a huge market, the largest trading block of the world.  The richer EU economies need the tariff-free Single Market.  Germany relies particularly on Lombardy  for its exports.  Maybe the EU should learn from  Alexander Hamilton who advocated the “mutualization” of the sovereign debts of the States to make the federation stronger?

And finally … on Aug. 21, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel met at the medieval Fort de Brégançon, the summer residence of French presidents.  On this late summer day, they seemed to enjoy this picturesque spot on the Mediterranean  to meet for five working hours.  They reiterated the unity of their policy at this complicated time.

At unprecedented speed, France and Germany led the EU in its mediation to support the protests following the Belarus elections.  They also acted swiftly also in flying Alexei Novalny, who is in a coma, to a hospital in Germany for treatment of a possible poisoning by the Russian government.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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

Letter to the Editor: State Rep. Palm Displays “Enduring Commitment to Healthcare Issues”

To the Editor:

In State Representative Christine Palm, we in the 36th Assembly District have a strong leader active in our best interests. We are represented by someone who is consistently caring in thought, word, and deed.

In a recent Op-Ed (Seven Ways We Can Come Out of the Coronavirus Crisis Stronger, Hartford Courant, April 15, 2020), Representative Palm indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic has illuminated the inequities of access and quality of healthcare. She also alerted us to the needs of essential workers who have given so much and who need our support. Ms. Palm recommended how public policy can serve us collectively in this current public health crisis. Representative Palm truly listens to the needs of her constituents and builds effective legislative networks to achieve solutions.
Her contribution to passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act is another example of her advocacy for constituents and her leadership.

As a Family Physician, I appreciate her enduring commitment to healthcare issues and her efforts to secure a more equitable healthcare system for all.

Sincerely
,
Kate Wessling, M.D.
Higganum, CT 06441

Richard Wyman Appointed Community Music School Executive Director, “Thrilled to Come Home”

Dr. Richard Wyman, the new Executive Director of the Community Music School based in Centerbrook.

CENTERBROOK — Dr. Richard Wyman has been appointed the new Executive Director of the Community Music School (CMS) located in Centerbrook. He took over the reins of the organization in the mid-May after serving for several years as Musical Masterworks General Director.

Wyman has a long history of involvement in both playing and conducting music professionally along with community-based music learning. He began his music studies at the prestigious Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., where he obtained his undergraduate degree in music education and then moved to the University of Illinois to pursue a masters degree in music.

Subsequently, he moved back East when he joined the US Coast Guard (CG) Band  as a baritone saxophonist in the late 1990s. Back then, Wyman also taught saxophone for a number of years at CMS but in 2004, he was appointed Assistant Director of the USCG band and opted to focus on his new position along with studying conducting at the University of Connecticut where he earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts.

In his role as USCG Band Assistant Director, Wyman led educational concerts for thousands of students.

After retiring from the SCG in 2018, Wyman first took the position with Musical Masterworks and now he has come full circle back to the CMS.  He is still continuing his music education, however, since he is currently studying arts administration at UConn.

Wyman says he is, “Thrilled to ‘come home’ to CMS,” and is looking forward to all the challenges and opportunities that the job offers. These latter involve continuing to run the school’s teaching program online and running the spring “Friends of Note” campaign, which is devoted to “COVID-19 Relief” for CMS through the summer. He points out that a gift to this $50K campaign will, “Provide payroll (for staff and instructors), mortgage payments, maintenance of our facilities, and … most importantly, support of the wonderful instruction and music-making,” by CMS faculty and students.

Asked to explain his passion for both music and music education, Wyman says, “Throughout my adult life, I’ve become increasingly obsessed with understanding music’s essential role in the living of a fulfilling life,” noting, “Whether it was through performing as saxophonist in amusement parks (which he did at both Disney World and Busch Gardens many years ago), conducting/hosting USCG Band educational performances, or witnessing the joy music brings to members of the CMS “New Horizons” Band.”

Wyman lives in Old Lyme with his clarinetist/pianist wife Erin and their three boys, the eldest of whom has just graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS). The younger two are respectively at LOLHS and Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and all three, in Wyman’s words, “Study music as important parts of their educations and lives.”

Editor’s Note: Community Music School is located at 90 Main St., Building 4, Centerbrook, and also 179 Flanders Rd., Ste. 3 East Lyme. For more information on CMS, call 860-767-0026 or visit the school’s website. If you wish to donated to the “Friends of Note’ campaign, call Wyman at 860-767-0026 to discuss giving opportunities, or donate online at cmsct.org/support.

Incumbent State Sen. Needleman Nominated Unanimously to Run Again for 33rd Senate District Seat

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE — (Based on a Press Release released by Sen. Needleman’s office) On May 22, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) was unanimously endorsed for re-election to the 33rd State Senate District by Democratic delegates.

First elected to the State Senate seat in 2018, Sen. Needleman represents the towns of  Colchester, Chester, Clinton, Essex, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Portland.

Needleman will be challenged by Republican Brendan Saunders, who is running for the Senate for the first time, although he has been involved in numerous Republican campaigns. Saunders received unanimous endorsement for his candidacy at the Republican District Convention, May 18,

“The need for strong, effective leadership in the State Senate has never been more important than now, due to the crisis created by COVID-19,” says Sen. Needleman in the press release announcing his endorsement, noting, “In my time at the General Assembly, I’ve worked in a bipartisan manner to tackle our most difficult challenges. More now than ever, I believe that inclusive, non-partisan dialogue is what’s needed to solve tough problems. This ‘makes sense perspective characterizes my approach to representing our district in the State Senate.”

He continues, “That’s why I’m anxious to continue my service at the Capitol to help our state recover from this once-in-a-century crisis.  Doing so requires knowledge of town operating procedures, experience in managing local resources and skill in business planning. As your State Senator, I’m utilizing my expertise in those areas to help constituents and small businesses navigate state and federal assistance programs, as well as connect people with the resources they need to sustain their livelihoods and support their health during the pandemic.”

Sen. Needleman serves as Deputy President Pro Tempore, Senate Chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, Vice-Chair of the Planning & Development Committee, and is a member of the Commerce, Finance Revenue & Bonding, and Transportation Committees.

He also serves as First Selectman of the Town of Essex.

Sen. Needleman has been instrumental in the passage of a bill bringing wind energy generation to Connecticut. This legislation enables up to 40 percent of future energy needs to come from carbon-free renewable energy and creates a new industry for Connecticut. Needleman states it could add as much as $2 billion to the state’s economy, bringing with it thousands of skilled, well-paying jobs.

Citing other successes benefiting the 33rd District that he has supported, Needleman mentions allowing first responders, police officers, and firefighters to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and assisting passage of a bill raising the age of access for tobacco products from 18 to 21, protecting youths from addiction.

Needleman also sponsored and enacted legislation holding energy companies accountable for prompt responses to power outages and formulated policy solutions to protect rivers and lakes from invasive species.

As founder and CEO of Connecticut-based Tower Laboratories, Needleman has created over 100 well-paying manufacturing jobs directly in the 33rd Senate District.