June 18, 2019

Carney Hosts Office Hours in Lyme, June 18; New Time, 5-6pm

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Reps. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and Jesse MacLachlan (R-35th) along with State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) will hold Office Hours throughout the 23rd District on various dates between June 10 and 27.

These events will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government, local issues and the 2019 legislative session which will come to a close on June 5.

The remaining Office Hours schedule is as follows:

Lyme
NOTE TIME CHANGE!
Tuesday, June 18, from 5 – 6 p.m.
State Rep. Carney
Lyme Public Library
Community Room
482 Hamburg Rd.

Old Saybrook
NOTE DATE CHANGE!
Monday, June 24, from 8 – 9 a.m.
State Rep. Carney
Vicky G. Duffy Pavilion
155 College St.

Westbrook
Thursday, June 27, from 6 – 7 p.m.
State Rep. Carney & State Rep. McLachlan
Westbrook Public Library
Community Room
61 Goodspeed Dr.

Anyone unable to attend, but who would like to speak to Rep. Carney may contact his office at 800-842-1423 or by email at: devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov.

Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District, which includes the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and a portion of Westbrook.

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CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Renowned Photographer George Fellner Tomorrow: All Welcome

George Fellner will give a talk titled “Pictures at an Exhibition: A Mindset for Creative Photography” on June 3 at the CT Valley Camera Club

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at the Monday, June 3, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be professional photographer George Fellner, who will give a talk titled, “ Pictures at an Exhibition: A Mindset for Creative Photography.” The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome. There is no admission charge.

This program explores the characteristics and attributes that make a photograph successful.  While there are numerous categories and genres of subject material, there are nonetheless certain common denominators that can be implemented for making a good photograph.  One can determine a preferred genre as well as a theme that relates to a personal frame of reference for creating a body of work.

Specifically, there is a set of criteria that can be defined as objectives.  For example, an image should have impact and possess a certain attraction that is both compelling as well as captivating for the viewer.  A creative expression that is unique and imaginative, helping to convey a message is paramount for a photograph that is intended to leave a lasting impression.

Furthermore, drama and emotion have the propensity to affect the viewer’s experience.  The elements of composition certainly are a part of the equation, as well as the technical understanding of proper lighting, color balance, resolution, detail, contrast, tonal gradation, among other specific aspects.

Through a discussion of concepts, strategies, and process, George Fellner presents a mindset for creative photography.  His use of visual examples helps to illustrate the positive and negative aspects of a photograph in a descriptive and revealing manner.  The intent is to provide an understanding of what makes a photograph creative and what is involved in judging images in a photo show.  Ultimately, as photographers, we all strive to learn what works for Pictures at an Exhibition.

George Fellner

As a photographer and architect, Fellner is committed to a dual life-path involving visual discovery and design, relating to both the natural and built environments.  He has been presenting photography programs to camera clubs, art guilds, professional organizations, historical societies, community groups, and schools since 2004.  His subjects include landscape, architecture, travel, and elements of nature.

Fellner received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Florida.  Now, with over 30 years as principal of Fellner Architects, he continues to utilize his design sensitivities for creative photography.

Fellner’s photographs have been published in books, journals, magazines, newspapers, and travel guides.  INK Publications magazine (Feb 2013) featured the article Photographer George Fellner: Architect for Body and Spirit.  The book Artists’ Homes and Studios (2015) by E. Ashley Rooney features Fellner’s studio, art, and creative process.  He wrote and published his first book Imaginary Realms: The Visual Language of Stones and Crystals (2016).

His latest book Essence of Architecture in East Haddam: Expressions of a Connecticut River Town is being published in May of 2019.

Fellner’s work has been exhibited in art galleries and museums, both in group shows and solo shows.  A series of his images are exhibited in permanent art collections at the Yale School of Medicine, the Jackson Laboratory at the University of Connecticut, and the NYC offices for Nature Genetics, an international science journal.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.  The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

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

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CT Shoreline Fire Departments Host Food Drive Today; Benefits Shoreline Soup Kitchens

AREAWIDE — For the eighth year in succession, Connecticut shoreline fire departments will host a one-day food drive on Saturday, April 27, to collect non-perishable food for shoreline residents in need.

The local fire stations will be open to receive donations of non-perishable food on April 27, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All donations will go to local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP). This year’s annual food drive will feature NEWS8 WTNH as a new media sponsor and also marks the 30th anniversary of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, which is proudly celebrating its three decades of service since it opened its doors to those in need in 1989, hopes to include all fire departments in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. Fire departments already committed to the event to receive donations at their stations include:

  • Old Saybrook Fire Department, 310 Main Street (and also OSFD food drop-offs at the Stop & Shop in Old Saybrook and the Big Y in Old Saybrook)
  • Westbrook Fire Department, 15 South Main Street
  • Essex Fire Department & Colonia Market, 11 Saybrook Road
  • Clinton Fire Department, 35 East Main Street and Stop & Shop, Clinton
  • North Madison Fire Department & Roberts Food Market, 864 Opening Hill Road
  • Chester Fire Department, 6 High Street 
  • Deep River Fire Department, 58 Union Street

Several other fire departments are expected to participate, as well. Watch for announcements on the Shoreline Soup Kitchens’ website at www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org. All area fire departments are encouraged to participate.

In addition, the Essex Savings Bank on Main Street in Old Saybrook is joining the food drive this year and is accepting food during regular business hours until noon on Saturday, April 27.

At a time of year when food donations are low, this food drive will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our local communities will have a place at the table. The Soup Kitchens’ five pantries distributed over 1 million pounds of food last year to needy residents. Only 40 percent of this food comes from the Connecticut Food Bank; the remainder must be either purchased or donated, so every item is appreciated.

Last year’s Shoreline Food Drive brought in almost 4,000 pounds of food and more than $700 in donations. This year’s Shoreline Food Drive’s goal is 6,000 pounds of non-perishable food to help those in need.

Join the effort by donating food, or by holding a food drive in your neighborhood, workplace, or club, and then bringing it to a participating shoreline firehouse. Participating fire departments ask those donating food to only drop off food on April 27. Do not drop off food before that date.

The most needed food items are: 

  • canned tuna
  • soup
  • fruits
  • juice and vegetables
  • peanut butter & jelly
  • pasta, sauce and rice
  • breakfast cereal and oatmeal

This year for your convenience, checks made payable to SSKP (with “FD Drive” in the memo field) can be dropped off, as well, on April 27.

Those items not accepted for the food drive include:

  • rusty or unlabeled cans
  • perishable items
  • homemade items
  • non-commercial packaged or canned items
  • alcoholic beverages and mixes
  • open or used items

This year’s food drive will feature local TV and radio personalities, including Gil Simmons, Chief Meteorologist for WTNH News Channel 8, and talk-show host Lee Elci, the morning personality on his popular Lee Elci Show on 94.9FM News Now-Stimulating Talk. Both Simmons and Elci will be joining firefighters and volunteers on Saturday morning collecting food items at Old Saybrook Fire Headquarters at 310 Main Street. Elci will host a live broadcast from Old Saybrook Fire Department Headquarters at 310 Main St. during this year’s annual food drive.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, as well as the shoreline fire departments, extend their thanks to Stop & Shop of Old Saybrook and Big Y in Old Saybrook, along with Mirsina’s Restaurant on Main Street in Old Saybrook, for their generous donations to this year’s food drive.

In addition to WTNH News Channel 8 as the food drive’s newest media partner, other media partners include 94.9FM News Now-Stimulating Talk, Soft Rock WBMW 106.5, and Jammin’ 107.7 FM. 

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Legislators, Superintendents, Residents Express Universal Opposition to Forced School Regionalization

Special to ValleyNewsNow.com

Sitting in the front row of the audience at Monday night’s forum on school regionalization were local school superintendents (from right to left) Ian Neviaser (Lyme-Old Lyme), Pat Ciccone (Westbrook) and Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook.)

Over 100 people turned out for an Education and Regionalization Forum at Old Saybrook Middle School on Thursday, April 11. The event was hosted by Rep. Devin Carney, (R-23rd), with Senators Paul Formica, (R-20th), and Norm Needleman, (D-33rd).

While the two parties differ on Connecticut road tolls, all three local officials said they are against forced regionalization of school district bills proposed by Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, Senators Bob Duff and Cathy Osten, Deputy President Pro Tempore, and by Governor Ned Lamont.

Rep. Carney said there was an enormous public outcry by small towns and school districts, thousands of pieces of testimony received and hundreds of people, including students from Region 18 schools, who testified in March hearings.  While this probably means that the idea of aligning school districts with recently consolidated probate districts is not advancing, the matter of reducing and reallocating education costs is very much still alive, and pieces of proposed legislation could still become law.

“Nothing is truly ever dead until we gavel out at midnight on June 5,” Rep. Carney said, explaining the state legislative process and timelines of the ongoing session in Hartford. 

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) addresses the audience Monday night while (left) State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) awaits his turn to speak. Almost hidden from view, State Sen. Norm Needleman (D-33rd) stands to Rep. Carney’s right.

Of the six bills introduced that address regionalization of schools or services, three have been passed by the Education Committee and further action could be taken on them:

  • Governors Bill 874 establishes an appointed Commission on Shared School Services that is charged with developing shared school services recommendations, requires boards of education (BOEs) to report on currently shared school services and requires regional BOEs to post online monthly current and projected expenditures and to submit information to their town’s legislative body. The commission would issue a report in December 2020, recommendations could be binding on towns and districts. Because of costs of setting up a commission, the bill has been referred to Appropriations Committee;
  • HB 7350 requires regional education service centers (RESCs) to distribute an inventory of goods and services to member BOEs, and the Department of Education (DOE) shall develop a report of best practices by RESCs for regional cooperation. (LEARN, at 44 Hatchetts Hill Road in Old Lyme, is a RESC);
  • SB 1069, proposed by Sen. Needleman, which allows the DOE to study the effects of towns working together as Local Education Agencies, is intended to encourage voluntary regional cooperation and maximize efficiencies and cost savings without being mandated to become regional school districts.

Superintendents Ian Neviaser (Lyme-Old Lyme), Jan Perruccio (Old Saybrook), and Pat Ciccone (Westbrook) addressed how their districts have been sharing services and resources to reduce costs while maintaining the quality of curriculum along with educational, extracurricular and sports activities and programs.  Standard practices include health and dental insurance, energy, financial software, food service and supplies, plus student transportation for specialized programs.

Old Saybrook, Westbrook and Region 4 (Chester, Deep River and Essex plus the three elementary schools for each of those towns, which are not part of Region 4) school districts already share staff, Perruccio said, in an arrangement that has the flexibility to change yearly based on each districts’ demographic needs.

Perruccio said she was alarmed that the forced regionalization bills showed a lack of regard and understanding of how school districts are already sharing resources with a focus on quality of education.

Ciccone cited how the districts are coordinating to provide professional development for their teachers, and how Westbrook’s school facilities, sports programs and fields are utilized by the Town Parks and Recreation Department and local YMCA. The schools and town share legal and financial services support, as well. 

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser stands at the podium during Monday evening’s forum.

“There is a money issue here, we need to be frank about it,” said Neviaser, pointing out that significant redistribution of wealth from school districts with higher property values and tax base already occurs. 

Fifty-one percent of New London’s school budget is paid by the state, he said., as is over 60 percent of Norwich’s, 33 percent of Montville’s and 14 percent of East Lyme’s school budgets. Meanwhile, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools receive less than one percent of operating expenses from the state.

“There was no mention of improving educational outcomes in these regionalization proposals,” commented Tina Gilbert of Lyme. “It is because of our school district’s focus on that, we are in the top four in the country in education.  There is no discussion of parent involvement in schools; we are not wealthy or privileged people, we chose to live in this school district for our children.  What it takes to build [highly performing schools] is parent involvement, working with parents.”

When asked if they moved to their town because of the quality of the schools, a high number of people in the audience raised their hands.

While the majority of questions and comments addressed specifics of proposed legislation, the overarching issue of state fiscal problems and how to address government spending arose. Lyme and Old Lyme residents were some of the most vocal about the impact of proposed legislation on property values, taxes and the quality of local school districts.

“The majority of the state doesn’t have a problem, town government works in Connecticut, but Hartford is not responsible,” said Curt Deane of Lyme, pointing out a seven-page summary of education service-sharing produced by LEARN in February.  “The initial [regionalization] proposals would have raised my property taxes by 50 percent overnight. Taxes go up, property values go down. People have to understand, this is going to hit our property taxes and hit hard. This isn’t going to go away.” 

“We can’t be a state with only great little towns and not great cities,” Sen. Needleman said, citing imbalances of health care outcomes and school performance between wealthier communities and the state’s large cities. He continued, “While we don’t want to mess up what we have, we can’t turn our backs on the disparities.”

The legislators encouraged voters to speak up, write letters, follow grassroots organizations such as Hands Off Our Schools or form their own group to express concerns to elected officials.

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Rep. Carney, Local School Superintendents Host Forum Tomorrow on School Regionalization, Education

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) in conjunction with the School Superintendents from Lyme-Old Lyme (Ian Neviaser), Old Saybrook (Jan Perruccio) and Westbrook (Pat Ciccone) invite the public to attend an informational forum regarding education and school regionalization Thursday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. at Old Saybrook Middle School Auditorium, 60 Sheffield St., Old Saybrook.

This event, which is free and open to the public, will provide an update on the status of state legislation affecting local public education, including forced regionalization. School regionalization has been a major topic of discussion during the 2019 legislative session, and this event will allow area residents to share their concerns, get their questions answered, and discuss potential alternatives.

For further information and any other concerns regarding state government, email State Rep. Carney at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov or call 800-842-1423.

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Essex Winter Series’ Presents ‘Chanticleer’ This Afternoon in Old Saybrook

The final concert in this season’s Essex Winter Series will feature ‘Chaticleer.’

Essex Winter Series’ presents Chanticleer, the Grammy Award-Winning ensemble dubbed an orchestra of voices, on Sunday, April 7, at 3 p.m. at Old Saybrook High School, 1111 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook.

They are celebrating the ensemble’s 40th anniversary with the program, Then and There Here and Now, which contains music by some of Chanticleer’s favorite composers. From Palestrina and Victoria to Mason Bates and Steven Stucky, with lustrous examples of the South American baroque, as well as audience favorite arrangements by Jennings, Shaw and others. This program reflects the expansive aesthetic and seamless virtuosity in ensemble singing which have been Chanticleer’s hallmark for four decades.

Essex Winter Series is honored to be part of Chanticleer’s anniversary year and concludes its season with this fabulous program.

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

The 2019 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, Masonicare at Chester Village, Tower Laboratories, Guilford Savings Bank, and BrandTech Scientific.
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Shoreline Arts Alliance Now Accepting Applications for ‘Scholarships in the Arts: Top Talent’

Kayla Bryan, who was last year’s Instrumental Music Scholarship winner, is shown above performing in the 2018 Top Talent Showcase. Photo © Judith L. Barbosa.

AREAWIDE — Shoreline Arts Alliance announces the opening of applications for the 39th annual Scholarships in the Arts: Top Talent. This program is open to juniors and seniors residing within Shoreline Arts Alliance’s 24 town region and who want to pursue an education in the arts. Applicants can apply in seven different categories of study. The winner in each category will receive a $1,000 scholarship for continuing education and/or supplies as well as a mentorship from a professional artist in the winners chosen field. Applications are now available on the website and will be open until April 24, which will be followed by in-person auditions, interviews, and portfolio reviews on May 3 and 4.

Applications for the scholarships can be found on the Shoreline Arts Alliance website. Applications can be submitted online or through a mail-in form. An in-person audition, interview, and/or portfolio review is required for each application and will take place at the ACES Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, CT on May 3 and 4, 2019. These in person auditions/interviews/portfolio reviews give the students the opportunity to learn about presenting themselves and their art before a jury of professionals.

Students who reside in the 24-town-region (region includes all of Middlesex County, Madison, Guilford, North Branford, Branford, East Haven, Lyme, East Lyme, Old Lyme, and Salem) and are interested in the arts are encouraged to apply. The categories are, Theatre, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Creative Writing, Dance, Visual Art, and, our newest category, the Jeffrey Dobbs Scholarship for Excellence in Painting.

These seven categories are judged by professional, working artists in each field of study. These professionals pay special attention to detail, to the students commitment to the art form of their choosing, and give valuable feedback to each student. Judges choose a winner in each category and they may also choose a special recognition in any given category. Winners and special recognition winners will be asked to participate in a showcase on May 14 at Evergreen Woods.

The Scholarship in the Arts program is meant to educate, encourage, enrich, and engage the students through audition practice, interview practice, and valuable feedback from professional artists. Students who are serious about their careers in the arts will be given important lessons on interviewing, preparing a portfolio for review, and auditioning. This preparation, in a safe and judgement free environment, will allow the students to feel comfortable in future interviewing/auditioning/portfolio review processes.

Visit www.shorelinearts.org/top-talent to learn more about this program, find submission information, and to download the application or apply online. A $25 non-refundable fee is required for each application. Contact Shoreline Arts Alliance for further information by emailing office@shorelinearts.org or calling 203.453.3890.

Editor’s Note: Shoreline Arts Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)3 based in Guilford, CT. Shoreline Arts Alliance is the state appointed arts council for a 24 town region including all of Middlesex County, East Haven, Guilford, Madison, Branford, North Branford, Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, and East Lyme. Shoreline Arts Alliance’s mission is to Transform Lives through the Arts and we do so by educating students, encouraging artists, engaging the community, and enriching the cultural landscape of the Shoreline and beyond. Shoreline Arts Alliance offers free programs and services across the State of Connecticut. To learn more about these programs, visit www.shorelinearts.org or contact office@shorelinearts.org or 203.453.3890

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Sen. Needleman, Rep. Carney and Mclachlan Host Community Conversation in Westbrook

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

AREAWIDE – State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd) and State Representatives Devin Carney (R-23rd) and Jesse MacLachlan (R-) will hold a Community Conversation event with the public this evening,  Wednesday, April 3. The event is scheduled to be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Westbrook Town Hall’s Multimedia Room, located at 866 Boston Post Rd. in Westbrook.

Sen. Needleman’s 33rd District includes Lyme, and State Rep. Carney’s 23rd District includes Lyme and Old Lyme.

Sen. Needleman and Reps. MacLachlan and Carney will discuss the state budget with members of the public, among a number of other important legislative issues.

“Getting out into the community is so important, as I can hear from the public first-hand about what issues impact them the most,” said Sen. Needleman. “There are a number of significant topics this legislative session, including bills dealing with school regionalization, which deserve our attention. I’m looking forward to sitting with Representatives MacLachlan and Carney to hear directly from Westbrook.”

“The 2019 legislative session is well underway and many people have been asking about topics ranging from the budget, taxes, tolls and school regionalization,” said Rep. Carney. “I am grateful that residents continue to take advantage of these types of events, am looking forward to discussing these and many other issues with folks in Westbrook on April 3 alongside Senator Needleman and Representative MacLachlan. I encourage all residents to attend this event or to reach out to my office with any legislative concerns.”

“I look forward to hearing from residents about some of the hot button issues including tolls, the forced regionalization of schools and the several tax increase proposals,” said Rep. MacLachlan. “It’s important for residents to have the opportunity to share their thoughts about legislation that will have a significant impact on their daily lives.”

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Sen. Needleman Welcomes State Bonding for Old Saybrook Police Camera Reimbursements

OLD SAYBROOK — State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd) announced yesterday that the State Bond Commission is expected to approve a significant reimbursement to the Old Saybrook Police Department for its purchase and implementation of police body cameras and video storage devices today.

The State Bond Commission will issue a total of $2.63 million to seven municipalities’ police departments in return for their investments in body cameras and video storage devices. Of that bonding, $56,639 in reimbursements is allocated for the Old Saybrook Police Department.

“Our police departments are making steps toward transparency, allowing for a better relationship with the public, and it’s great to see Old Saybrook’s first responders will receive a reimbursement on their investment,” said Sen. Needleman.

“The State’s fiscal assistance with offsetting some of Old Saybrook’s body and cruiser camera costs is welcomed,” said Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, “especially during a time when communities both large and small seek to have their Law Enforcement Agencies utilize technology to both enhance their operations, add efficiencies, and build trust with the citizens they are sworn to protect through transparency and accountability.”

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Gov. Lamont Amends Education Proposal on Shared Services; Encourages School Collaboration, Reallocation of Resources to Classroom

Governor Ned Lamont (D)

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR NED LAMONT– Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is submitting revised language to the General Assembly on his proposal encouraging shared services in Connecticut schools. The new proposal, which was developed in collaboration with stakeholders, addresses concerns raised by members of the community while continuing to encourage collaboration and shared services among schools. The governor said that he agrees with many constituents who do not want their school districts to be forced to consolidate operations and is hopeful that the modifications to his proposal address those concerns.

Unlike other proposals, Governor Lamont’s legislation does not force school consolidation. Rather, his bill uses school construction bonds and other funds to incentivize communities to explore cost savings, but does not force regionalization.

“The truth is that our students and teachers are not getting the adequate resources they need in the classroom,” Governor Lamont said. “Sharing certain back-office administrative services and purchasing costs is more efficient for certain schools, and my bill is intended to highlight and incentivize those efficiencies. I’ve also heard the concern that school districts need independence to make the decisions they feel are best. My revised proposal seeks to strike that balance through a collaborative process that preserves the feisty independence of our towns while providing them the tools they need to accomplish our shared vision of focusing resources on the classroom.”

As an example, North Carolina uses one contract for school software throughout the entire state, however in Connecticut there are 170 different contracts and the state is paying a premium. The governor’s proposal creates a bipartisan commission on shared school services, made up of education stakeholders from across the state including parents, teachers, superintendents, and school board members. That commission has no power to force the adoption of its recommendations, but will look around and outside the state to issue advisory reports on how districts can best share services and prioritize money for students and teachers. The towns and the people’s elected representatives will be able to draw on the recommendations that make sense in their local contexts.

The revised language in governor’s proposal:

  • Ensures regional diversity by requiring each of the governor’s six appointees come from a different RESC service area
  • Underscores the non-binding nature of the commission’s recommendations
  • Eliminates requirements that the commission consider redistricting and regionalization in its reports

The legislation, SB 874 – An Act Concerning Education Initiatives and Services in Connecticut, is currently pending in the education committee. The same language is included in HB 7192 – An Act Concerning Municipal and Regional Opportunities and Efficiencies, which is pending in the planning and development committee.

**DownloadProposed revised language to SB 874

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Needleman Proposes New School Regionalization Plan

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE — Yesterday State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd) proposed a new plan for school regionalization. His proposal would create legislation tailored to help school districts and municipalities cooperate to share services and resources on their own terms, in contrast to recent legislation that would mandate school changes.

Needleman appeared with East Haddam Selectman Robert Smith, Chester First Selectman Laurent Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Essex Board of Education member Lon Seidman, Portland First Selectman Susan Bransfield and CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice McCarthy.

Watch this news clip from NBC to see a summary of what Needleman proposed.

The 33rd Senatorial District includes the Town of Lyme.

Today a public hearing will be held at 11 a.m. in Hartford on HB 7192, AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL AND REGIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AND EFFICIENCIES, a Governor’s Bill dealing generally with regionalization and shared services for local governments

Sections 7-10 of the bill are the same as Sections 1-4 of SB 874, the Governor’s Bill on school regionalization and shared services. If you have already submitted testimony to the Education Committee on school regionalization bills, this is an opportunity to comment before a different committee specifically on SB 874.

– Make sure to read the four sections of HB 7192 (again) and comment on them specifically (of course, you may also comment on any other sections you choose).

– Include only HB 7192 (same as first sections of SB 874) in your testimony, as this is the only language from the three school regionalization bills that is before Planning & Development.

Written testimony should be submitted by 9 a.m. to PDtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Sign-up to speak between 9 and 10 a.m. (lottery) in Room 1D.

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Op-Ed: Forced Regionalization of Our Schools Will be a Disaster For Our Communities

This op-ed was submitted by Tina C. Gilbert of Lyme. It was also sent as a letter to State Senators Paul Formica  (R-20th) and Norman Needleman (D-33rd), and State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd.) Gilbert has children in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools and is Vice-President of LCN USA located in Deep River, Conn.  

I am seriously concerned about the lack of awareness and sense of urgency in the Lyme-Old Lyme communities regarding the proposed Bills to force school regionalization, specifically Bill 454 (SB 738). It is a grave mistake for any tax payer in Lyme or Old Lyme  to think this doesn’t affect them just because they don’t have children attending the schools. We know the chances of this getting approved are strong, if not, at this point, unavoidable.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the recent BOE meeting where I would have addressed my concerns. At the BOE meeting I understand that it was said that Region 18 had “good representation” at last Friday’s hearings on the proposed bills. We had, from my count, 5 children and 5 adults (2 without their children) at the hearing. The town of Wilton, conversely, had well over 100 – if not 150 constituents there. That is good representation. The hearing required three overflow rooms apart from the primary hearing room. Each of them packed with floors occupied by children. I could be mistaken, but I believe that is a very rare occurrence.

Next week, the Committee will vote on whether these Bills move forward. If they vote to move forward, the consequences to our two communities will be devastating and irrevocable. Our local BOE is concerned about the attrition rate of students in Region 18. However, imagine if you will the entire school population coming from the Town of Lyme no longer attending the Middle School or High School. No amount of marketing for out-of-region students or pre-K applicants is going to fill that void. What then are the effects? Jobs gone. Shared programs gone (LYSB). Culture, history, community …. compromised. Taxes increased. Residents leaving. Property values tanking. Parents putting themselves into debt to send their children to whatever private school they can find.
The Town of Old Lyme will follow the Probate system and will be regionalized with East Lyme, Salem and Montville. There will be a regionalized BOE and one Superintendent (that means 3 lose their jobs.) Governor Lamont specifically called out wanting to reduce the number of Superintendents. East Lyme is a large and powerful school. I don’t think it takes a deep thinker to figure out who is going to have more power in the new regionalized district.
We live in the Town of Lyme. We moved here from Deep River so that our children would be in the Region 18 schools. With this forced Regionalization, Lyme will join Deep River, Chester, Essex, Haddam and Killingworth. Children from the farthest reaches of Lyme will be bussed across the river to attend schools there. Bus rides will be well over an hour. Parents who want to be active in their children’s schooling will be challenged with having to follow suit and drive either over the bridge to Rt 9 (and soon pay tolls to do so) or over the bridge in Haddam.  My husband and I recently moved our business to Deep River, so we know how time consuming it is to come back to Lyme Consolidated in the middle of the day for a school event. This is the first year of the last seven that our children have been in the school that we’ve missed nearly every program. Frankly it would be easier for us to have our kids going to school on the other side of the river. But we don’t want that – we moved here for the quality of the education.
From the hearing and follow up discussion, it has become clear that the Forced Regionalization concept is in fact not about the state saving money. The Committee members supporting the legislation made their opinions on that clear. And a Bill supporter who has the ears of these members (including the Chair) put it succinctly as follows:
“Connecticut has too many school districts, and the richest ones are fortresses that have pulled all the ladders up after them while the poorest sink deeper and deeper. Town-based school districts drive wealth inequality and force towns to compete against one another instead of cooperating. Worst of all, they embody institutionalized and systemic racism. They enforce de facto segregation, which is the toxic legacy of redlining and exclusionary zoning, and we will never be able to move forward until that changes.”
In summary, this infers that we residents of Lyme and Old Lyme are a bunch of privileged racists who only want the best for their children and none for others. This tired tactic is offensive and reprehensible.
I am happy that there is broad bipartisan support against these Bills. But that’s not enough. If these Bills fail, the Governor has proposed his own Bill SB 874 with 32 pages of detail on a very powerful school consolidation commission that will make decisions that may or may not have to be put to vote by the legislators. The Governor stated he will sign it into law. There is also discussion of a new Regional Tax layer – to add to our Federal, State and Local taxes – to support all of this.

In the end, Forced Regionalization equals Forced Equalization equals Forced Marginalization. The sum is Disaster to our communities.
The word needs to get out to our communities, so at the very least they are educated on the subject and not blind-sided when they learn of the fate of their children’s education or are shocked when they see their future tax bills.
How can we make this happen? How can we get the word out? We have very little time.
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Sen. Needleman Joins Essex Town Planner in Support of GIS Expansion Bill

John P. Guszkowski, Essex Town Planner and Government Relations Officer for CCAPA, listens intently while Sen. Norm Needleman (D-33rd) testifies on the hearing related to streamlining GIS systems across the state. Photo submitted.

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined with John P. Guszkowski, Essex Town Planner and Government Relations Officer for the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA), to advocate for legislation Sen. Needleman proposed on streamlining access to geographic information systems across the state. If enacted, the bill would create a more overarching system of access for towns and cities to access the technology and benefit from its use.

Senate Bill No. 550, “An Act Concerning Geographic Information Systems,” would make geographic information system tools and software available to municipalities at a low cost. It was heard Wednesday at public hearing in front of the Planning and Development Committee.

Geographic Information System tools, also known as “GIS,” are digital maps and layouts of geographic areas that can be used by municipalities for a number of purposes, most commonly surveying and land usage planning.

While Connecticut is a small state, current GIS practices indicate that every town in Connecticut has a separate contract, and contractor, for individual use. This process is inefficient, as each town must negotiate separate contracts, and leaves some aspects of the technology unused. Individuals looking to compare geography in two bordering towns have to open two separate services to access it, even if the land is separated by just the town border.

“This is the recipe for poor planning, wasted and duplicative efforts, and a lack of cohesiveness in inter-municipal development and conservation efforts,” said Guskowski in testimony during the public hearing, speaking on behalf of the CCAPA. “It is impossible, under this current system, to know authoritatively, how far along we are, as a state, toward our various conservation and open space preservation goals.”

“Having the state take a leadership role in unifying and coordinating these efforts … is a relatively low cost way to facilitate a major step forward for Connecticut,” Guszkowski continued.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) additionally supported Senate Bill No. 550 on Wednesday. “Given the current budget situation and the prospect of additional reductions in state aid,” CCM said in written testimony, “municipalities are already being forced to consider increases in local property taxes or reducing current services, it is important to make access to the GIS technology affordable to municipalities. Such systems provide opportunities to find efficiencies in information exchanges on land use and other issues between state, regional and local planners and decision makers.”

“We don’t need to have 169 solutions to one common problem,” added Sen. Needleman. “A state-wide GIS system would control costs, allowing the state to negotiate on behalf of towns, and create a more efficient platform, reducing more than a hundred points of access into just one. That would allow towns and cities across the state to work together and collaborate, using this collected information to improve their communities and our state as a whole. I am happy to see the committee consider this bill, and I look forward to working in coming months to make sure it passes.”

Editor’s Note: State Senator Norm Needleman was first elected in 2018 to represent the 33rd Senate District which consists of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and part of Old Saybrook. Needleman is also the first selectman of Essex, a role he has held for four terms, and the founder of Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company that employs over 250 people.

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‘The Kate’ Hosts Dazzling Oscar Night Party Tonight

OLD SAYBROOK – The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (the Kate) transforms into a glittering, Hollywood-esque venue for its Oscar Night Party on Sunday, Feb. 24, beginning at 7 p.m. at the center located at 300 Main St., Old Saybrook. This annual red-carpet fund raising event honors the Kate’s 12-time Oscar Nominated, 4-time-winning namesake and makes for an entertaining evening.  Proceeds support quality performing arts and cultural presentations at the Kate throughout the year.

“We always look forward to this event to celebrate Katharine Hepburn’s achievements,” said Brett Elliott, Executive Director. “This year is extra special as we’ll be rooting for our friend and 2017 Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award recipient, Glenn Close, who is nominated for Best Actress for ‘The Wife’.”

Delicious hearty hors d’oeuvres and desserts are provided by Fresh Salt and a cash bar is available throughout the evening as the 91st Academy Awards ceremony airs live in surround sound on the Kate’s big screen. Guests will walk the red carpet, pose for photos, and have the chance to hold a real Oscar, thanks to Devin Carney, state representative and grandson of the late award-winning actor Art Carney. Carney is emcee for the event and a member of the Kate’s board of trustees.

An auction and raffle add to the fun of the evening, as well as Becker’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook’s “Mystery Red Box” activity. Sixty jewelry boxes wrapped in vibrant red paper and white bows are available for purchase with each box containing a Becker’s gift certificate and one grand prize box holding a beautiful piece of jewelry.

The Oscar Night Party is sponsored by H&R Block of Old Saybrook, Secor Volvo, Becker’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry of Old Saybrook, Comcast, Gulick & Co., Pough Interiors, and Saybrook Point Inn Marina & Spa.

For information and tickets for all shows at the Kate, visit www.thekate.org or call 860-510-0453.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center.

It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.

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Key Healthcare Bills Introduced by Needleman, Move Forward

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE — State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) has endorsed the advancement of two bills he introduced to the General Assembly this week. On Feb. 13, the Public Health Committee voted to draft two healthcare bills, Senate Bill No. 4, “An Act Concerning the Affordability and Accessibility of Prescription Drugs,” and Senate Bill No. 394, “An Act Concerning Quality Health Care for Women.”

“I’m encouraged to see these bills moving forward,” said Sen. Needleman. “Everyone deserves the same level of healthcare, no matter your gender, your race, your income. These bills help bring us closer to that reality.”

Senate Bill No. 4 is intended to make prescription medications more affordable for Connecticut consumers. According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which focuses on fiscal and economic challenges in the United States, prescription drug spending has grown from $12 billion and 5 percent of total healthcare costs in 1980 to $330 billion and 10 percent of healthcare costs by 2016, and that amount is expected to nearly double in the next decade.

“The ever-rising increase in prescription drug costs hurts everyone, creating a financial drain that negatively impacts the young and old alike,” said Sen. Needleman. “We need to push for a solution to this problem, and this legislation will be the first step toward that. By making prescription medication more affordable for everyone, we can preserve not only our physical health, but our economic health as well.”

Senate Bill No. 394 is designed to give women additional protections against unfair health and wellness mandates. Harvard Medical School said in 2017 that many health and wellness mandates are still lacking for women compared to men, with examples including that 70 percent of chronic pain patients are women, yet 80 percent of pain studies are conducted on men, and that women are seven times more likely than men to be misdiagnosed and discharged in the event they have a heart attack.

“If we believe in fairness, we believe in equal treatment, and yet all too often women don’t receive the same treatment,” said Sen. Needleman. “With this legislation, we counteract these flaws and move closer toward the equality we deserve.”

Editor’s Note: State Senator Norm Needleman was first elected in 2018 to represent the 33rd Senate District, which consists of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and part of Old Saybrook. Needleman is also the First Selectman of Essex, a role he has held for four terms, and the founder of Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company that employs over 250 people.

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CT Valley Camera Club Hosts Presentation on Equine Photography This Evening

The portfolio of Sarah Mote, who will speak tonight at the CT Valley Camera Club, includes this photo.

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will host a presentation on Equine Photography by Sarah Grote on Monday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme. The public is welcomed to attend.

Sarah Grote is a lifestyle and nature photographer specializing in projects, equine, and event photography. After 20 years in corporate and nonprofit companies in various operational, development, and managerial roles, she decided to follow her artistic dreams and visions based on her Mom’s inspirational quote, “celebrate everything”.

Since 2014, Grote has been the photographer for the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum and the Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue (CDHR).  Her photos and paintings were selected for CDHR’s juried art show “Save a Horse – Buy Art!” in 2015 and 2017.

Her photography was used for the “Demolish or Preserve:  The 1960’s at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion” exhibit, which won the most prestigious award given by the American Association of State and Local History.

In 2018, Grote’s photos were selected for three juried shows at the Mystic Museum of Art, the Essex Art Association Gallery, and The Voice of Art Gallery. She has been a board member of the Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue organization since 2015.

The CVCC, which was founded in 2002, has a simple mission — to give its members the opportunity to become better photographers.  The ways that the club achieves this objective include offering a variety of presentations and workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills.  During these popular events, members explore such areas as photographic techniques, computer processing, artistic interpretation and commercial applications, often under the tutelage of a professional photographer.

The CVCC welcomes new members at any time. Meetings are generally held on the first Monday of the month at the Lymes’ Senior Center in Old Lyme.

For more information about the CVCC, visit the club’s website at ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com.  Meeting dates, speakers and their topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at ww.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage.

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Needleman Announces Bill To Hold Utilities Accountable

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE – Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) announced that he has submitted a bill that would hold utility companies accountable to better serve their customers, requiring them to improve their response times after power outages and increase vital staffing.

“An Act Concerning Utility Response Times For Restoration of Electric Service and Utility Minimum Staffing Levels,” Senate Bill No. 469, would require companies to restore electric service on an improved schedule after power outages, also requiring them to establish minimum staffing levels for line crews.

“In the last several years, response times to perform repair work after storms and outages by utility companies like Eversource have grown precipitously, causing significant delays in restoring power to Connecticut residents and businesses relying on it,” Sen. Needleman said. “It’s no coincidence, I believe, this comes as Eversource continues to reduce its repair staff and equipment, instead increasingly relying on private contractors from outside of their system. Without adequate staff, in the event of severe weather, Eversource will waste time and inconvenience customers.”

The bill’s announcement comes as Eversource is requesting a rate increase from the Public Utilities Regulation Authority, according to the Hartford Courant, citing the increased costs of repairing systems after severe storms. If that rate increase passes, the average customer could see their bill jump $1.85 per month or more than $20 annually as soon as this year.

“Why should Eversource receive a rate increase for this work when it drags its heels doing it in the first place? Connecticut taxpayers and businesses were already inconvenienced when their power remained off for days during these storms, and they shouldn’t be punished twice,” Sen. Needleman said. “If Eversource had invested in effective weather responses in the past, instead of reducing staff and equipment to save money, they wouldn’t need to ask for $150 million in repairs.”

“Businesses lose money every second their power remains out,” Sen. Needleman said. “As a business owner myself, I know these problems first-hand. My manufacturing plant in Michigan has lost power one time in 14 years, while my manufacturing plant in Centerbrook sometimes loses power for no reason at all. Connecticut needs to attract businesses, and unstable electrical systems will only drive them away.”

According to the Energy Information Agency, Connecticut residents are already charged the third-highest rates for electricity in the country in both price and expenditure.

“Eversource should provide the services it already pledges to its customers, not be rewarded for failing to implement adequate weather-related response and repair strategies,” Sen. Needleman said. “When Connecticut taxpayers are already charged one of the highest prices in the country for electricity, they should feel confident their service will remain stable, not prepare for days of outages whenever severe storms rear their head. S.B. 469 will hold Eversource and other utility providers accountable for the services their customers deserve.”

Editor’s Note: State Senator Norm Needleman was first elected in 2018 to represent the 33rd Senate District which consists of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and part of Old Saybrook. Needleman is also the first selectman of Essex, a role he has held for four terms, and the founder of Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company that employs over 250 people.

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

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

Rehearsing “Other Desert Cities’

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

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

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

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

The cast of Other Desert Cities gathers for a photo .

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Season’s Greetings

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

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

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

To the Editor:

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Norm Needleman,
Essex

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

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‘Con Brio’ Presents Second Holiday Concert This Afternoon

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

Danielle Munsell Howard, soprano.

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

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

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

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

Louise Fauteux, soprano

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

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

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

Allison Messier, mezzo-soprano

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Carney Claims Victory in 23rd House District

State Rep. Devin Carney

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

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We Asked, They Answered: The Candidates Respond to Our Questions

In keeping with a long tradition and in the interests of increasing voter knowledge prior to next week’s critically important mid-term elections, we asked all the candidates, whose districts include some or all of the towns in our coverage area, to send us a brief biography and photo, and answer four questions that we posed to them. The questions came from you — our large and diverse community of readers. We were overwhelmed by the sheer number of questions you sent to us, which we interpret as a clear sign of the level of interest in this election, and are extremely disappointed we could not include more of your questions.

We are pleased to report that five of the six candidates responded to our questionnaire and are delighted now to publish their responses.  We would like to express our sincere thanks to the candidates for taking the time to answer our questions and for adhering to our strict word deadlines — 100 words for the bio and 300 words for each response.

The questions were:

  1. What is the biggest problem facing the state, why is it the biggest problem, and what would you do to help solve it?
  2. What do you think of our leadership in Washington?
  3. What policies or infrastructure do you support at the state level for fostering or managing growth in you district?
  4. Why are you running for this position?

The candidates are:

House District #23 (includes Old Saybrook)

Devin Carney (R – Incumbent)

Matt Pugliese (D)

House District #36 (includes Chester, Deep River and Essex)

Bob Siegrist (R – Incumbent)

Christine Palm (D)

Senate District #33  (includes Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook)

Norm Needleman (D) Essex First Selectman

Melissa Ziobron (R) State Rep. House District #34

Click on the candidate’s name above to read their biography and responses to our questions.

For the record and again in keeping with a long tradition, we will not be making any candidate endorsements.

Happy reading … and voting!

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Meehan’s Presidential Memorabilia Display at Acton Library Ends Nov. 7


OLD SAYBROOK — From Oct. 1 until Nov. 7, the Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook will be hosting a display of James Meehan’s presidential memorabilia in their atrium display case. 

The Acton Public Library is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. (starting Oct. 14.)

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Letter to the Editor: Vote Yes on Q2 on Nov. 6 to Protect our Public Lands

To the Editor:

As a strong supporter and user of Connecticut’s wonderful state parks, forests, farmlands and other state-owned recreational and conservation lands (in our area, Nehantic State Forest and Rocky Neck, Harkness and Hammonassett State Parks, just to call out a few of them), I write in support of the public land conveyance constitutional amendment that will appear on our November 6 ballot as Question #2. I urge my friends and neighbors to vote YES. This ballot measure alone is worth a  trip to the polls.

Many people assume that our state-owned recreational and conservation lands are safeguarded for the public forever. Sadly, this is not the case. As things stand now in Connecticut, the state legislature, by simple majority vote,  can sell, swap or give away these lands to private companies or local governments just as it can any other properties that the state owns.
The number #2 ballot proposal, if adopted, would change this. It would amend the state constitution to require a public hearing and a 2/3 vote before the state legislature could take such action. Thus, while not providing absolute protection for publicly-accessible and much-loved  lands, the measure would require direct public input on their fate. It would create an open and transparent process preventing back-room deals.
For many in our community, state parks and forests are our only way to experience nature and the outdoors. For all of us, our state lands are beautiful and unique; they nourish body and soul. They also contribute substantial revenue to the state and to the localities in which they are located.
Please join me in voting YES on ballot question 2 on November 6.

Sincerely,

Christina E. Clayton,
Old Lyme.
Editor’s Note: The author is a former president of the Old Lyme Land Trust.
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Norm Needleman (D) Candidate for Senate District #33

Biography

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman

Norm Needleman is currently serving his fourth term as Essex First Selectman. He has over 20 years as a leading advocate for small towns, with experience as a Selectman in Essex, a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Essex Economic Development Commission, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, and Board Member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.

Norm founded Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing company, 38 years ago. He and his two sons have built the company to become a leader in its field, now employing over 250 people.

Q1: What is the biggest problem facing the state, why is it the biggest problem, and what would you do to help solve it?

The state’s most immediate problem is the fiscal crisis brought on by years of mismanagement by administrations of both political parties. The harsh reality is that there is no quick fix. Fundamental change is required in the way we manage the state’s finances.

  1. Stop the blame game. We need cooperation, not finger-pointing. The way out of the financial mess is to stop the political gamesmanship that cripples any real chance for cooperation. Inclusion is the only way to forge the dialogue that can resolve difficult issues. No solution to the financial crisis will result without meaningful participation from all stakeholders.
  2. Start with reliable revenue projections. The state has to live within its means. The budget process should begin with revenue projections that are both reasonable and reliable. Overly optimistic revenue projections have caused budget instability, knee-jerk fixes, and fluctuating funding for our towns, making local budgets unstable and compromising delivery of services.
  3. Recognize that shared sacrifice is required. Interest groups, legislators, and the administration must come to the table recognizing an unavoidable reality: we can’t always get what we want. Not everyone will leave the table happy, but all stakeholders have to share the responsibility for putting the state on the road to financial stability.
  4. Start on the road to a proven long-term solution. Job creation through aggressive economic development is the permanent solution to the state’s financial crisis. We need a comprehensive, long-term plan that will define the path to attracting businesses of all sizes and the high paying jobs that come with them. Those businesses want certainty, not a constant refrain of gloom and doom. When a long-term plan is implemented, our state will regain its status as a place where businesses can grow and prosper.

What do you think of our leadership in Washington?

I’m proud of the work being done by Connecticut’s congressional leaders in Washington, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and Congressman Courtney. They work tirelessly for the benefit of their constituents in our state. Their work exists in sharp contrast to the thoughtless, damaging and rigidly ideological policies of the current administration. In almost every area…taxation, healthcare, women’s rights, trade and tariff policy, the environment, voting rights, education, foreign policy…the current administration has attempted to implement regressive and repressive policies that punish hard working people. In our district and in our state, businesses of all sizes have suffered economic consequences, and individuals have felt the impact in job losses and price increases for goods and services. The price we pay for current administration policies is made worse by the tone-deaf policies on issues like women’s rights, healthcare and voting rights.  I am grateful to Connecticut elected officials in the Senate and the House, who have worked to battle the rising tide of repressive policies that ignore human values, basic rights, and the economic interests of hard working Americans.

So, the short answer to your question about what I think of our leadership in Washington: I’m appalled and dismayed. But I’m not giving up…I’m committed to fighting every step of the way for state policies that insure safety, fairness and opportunity for every individual in our district.

Q3: What policies or infrastructure do you support at the state level for fostering or managing growth in your district?

Make certain that the towns in our district receive their fair share of support from the state. Every year our district sends tens of millions of dollars to Hartford. And every year, we get less and less support in return. I will work to eliminate inequities in state funding, and make certain that every town in our district gets its fair share of support. As importantly, I will support procedures that result in stable state budgets, so our towns can develop municipal budgets with the certainty that support will not fluctuate in mid-course.

Make economic development a priority. Re-building the economic vitality of our state and our district is key to almost every element of the quality of life here, including infrastructure maintenance, education, the environment, and everyone’s favorite, lower taxes.  I will use my experience as a job creator to build a reality-based economic development plan that will make it easier for small and large business to operate and prosper.

Fix the state’s budget process. Partisan bickering, shortsighted legislators, and knee-jerk reactions to profound economic challenges are what got us into our current fiscal mess.  All of that has to change. Revenue projections have to be realistic, the hard decisions about spending priorities need to be reality-based, and the budget development process needs to be inclusive, not exclusionary. In Essex, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents work together to focus on doing more with less. The result: our taxes are lower than 90% of the municipalities in our state. 

Set an example of non-partisan cooperation. I have built my success in business and government based on inclusion, and listening to ideas, regardless of the party affiliation of the source. Partisan politics got us into this mess…clearly it is the way out.

Q4: Why are you running for this position?

My commitment to public service and civic involvement stems from the lessons my father taught me when I worked in his small grocery store in Brooklyn, New York. He said that everyone has a responsibility to make his or her community a better place to live. To quote him: “”You cant just take…you have to give back.”  I have been fortunate in my life. I have built a successful business, and I have a beautiful family (my partner, Jacqueline Hubbard and 5 wonderful grandchildren). Today, I see a crucial need to give back to the towns in our district, and I am at the stage of my life when my experience will allow me to live up to the teachings of my father.

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Melissa Ziobron (R) Candidate for Senate District #33

Biography

State Representative (R-34th) Melissa Ziobron

Melissa Ziobron is a lifelong resident of the  District with an extensive record of community service. She was Assistant Minority Leader and Ranking Member of the legislature’s influential Appropriations Committee. In 2017 she was reappointed to the Environment Committee and newly appointed to the General Law Committee. In 2017 she was named a State Park Champion by Connecticut League of Conservation Voters and Legislator of the Year by Connecticut Citizens Defense League. In 2018 she received the Excellence in Land Conservation award from the Connecticut Land Conservation Council. She previously served on the legislature’s Public Health and Children’s Committee.

Q1: What is the biggest problem facing the state, why is it the biggest problem, and what would you do to help solve it?

We have several problems, but our large budget deficits — built over decades of mismanagement —  is chief among them.  This is an end result brought on by mainly by not funding pension payments. We also have a stagnant state economy, fueled by uncertainty in the legislature’s ability to live within its means and an atmosphere of extreme partisanship that makes collaboration difficult.

We need to work towards a model that changes the way we budget at the Capitol. Democrats have been content to develop a spending package without consideration of revenue. Reorganizing the budget process should be a priority; waiting to vote on a budget until the last few days of session is unacceptable. A Ways and Means Committee would be a possible solution that could be immediately implemented.

Q2: What do you think of our leadership in Washington?

I voted for and support our President.

Q3: What policies or infrastructure do you support at the state level for fostering or managing growth in your district?

I have intimate knowledge of this district because I have lived here all my life. I think environmental conservation is vitally important.  Our state and local municipalities have done great work in protecting open space, the lower Connecticut River valley and the shoreline.

More broadly, I think our region of the state should continue investing and promoting tourism, as this sort of commerce supports thousands of business across the 33rd district. The state should do as much as it can to support and bolster small business, particularly light manufacturing, regional farming and cottage foods.  I helped bring a new Cottage Food law into effect this year, which will be a benefit for small food based entrepreneurs.

Q4: Why are you running for this position?

I love our state and am dedicated to public service.   As A moderate Republican, I feel parity in representation is the key to working our way our of the current state of affairs in Hartford.

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Letter to the Editor: Carney is a Fiscal Champion, Defended his Constituents from Tax Increases

To the Editor:

I am supporting Devin Carney for re-election as our State Representative for Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. He has been the fiscal champion we need in a time of economic uncertainty.

Devin has always stood up for taxpayers in Old Lyme and fought against increases in taxes that would have negatively affected our quality of life. Did you know there were serious proposals to add a new tax every time you brought your dog or cat to the vet? Or serious proposals to add a new statewide tax on anyone who owned a secondary home (there are many in Old Lyme)? Or that the DOT wanted to spend our money on a study to look into a proposal that would tax us every mile we drive?

Has Hartford lost its mind? For the most part, yes. But, thankfully we have a representative who is rising above the insanity and standing up for us.

Devin successfully defeated all of these fiscally irresponsible proposals  and, instead, has focused on and making Connecticut more affordable. He supported reducing taxes on pensions and social security, reducing taxes on small businesses, and reducing government spending.

I hope you will join me on Tues, Nov. 6th in voting to re-elect Devin Carney – a representative taxpayers can be proud of.

Sincerely

Deb Czarnecki,
Old Lyme.

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Needleman, Ziobron to Participate in Senate 33rd District Debate Tonight at Bacon Academy

State Senate 33rd Democratic candidate Norm Needleman.

State Senate 33rd District Republican candidate Melissa Ziobron.

AREAWIDE — The Bacon Academy Young Democrats, Colchester Young Republicans, and the Bacon Academy Debate Club will host a debate for candidates vying to represent the Connecticut State Senate 33rd District. The debate will take place Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Bacon Academy in Colchester, Conn. Admission is free and all are welcome.

From 6:30 to 7 p.m., there will be a meet-and-greet with State Representative candidates in the auditorium lobby. 

From 7 to 8 p.m., the debate will take place in the auditorium with Democratic candidate Norm Needleman, who is currently First Selectman of Essex, and Republican candidate State Rep. Melissa Ziobron, who represents the 34th Connecticut House District.  Incumbent Senator Art Linares (R) is not seeking re-election.

The sprawling Senate 33rd District includes Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

All candidates for the 33rd District State Senate race are welcome to participate in the debate as long as they have filed paperwork to be on the ballot with the Secretary of the State’s office by Oct. 1.

For further information, email mkeho399@colchesterct.org

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

To the Editor:

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Melissa Ziobron,
East Haddam.

Editor’s Note: The author is currently the State Representative for the 34th District and is now the endorsed Republican candidate for the State Senate for the 33rd District.
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Send Us Your Questions for the Candidates, Deadline is Today!

We will shortly be sending questionnaires to the local candidates running for state office in the Nov. 6 election.  We plan to publish their responses on Thursday, Nov. 1.  We invite readers to submit possible questions for the candidates to editor@ValleyNewsNow.com by next Tuesday, Oct. 2.

The candidates to whom we will be e-mailing questionnaires are:

STATE SENATE DISTRICT 33
This District includes Chester, Deep River, Essex and Old Saybrook.  There is no incumbent since the current state senator for the district, Art Linares, is not running again.

Candidates:
Norm Needleman – Democrat
Needleman is currently first selectman of Essex.

Melissa Ziobron – Republican
Ziobron is currently state representative for the 34th State Assembly District (Colchester, East Haddam, and East Hampton)

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 36
This District includes Chester, Deep River and Essex.

Robert Siegrist – Republican (incumbent seeking his second term)

Christine Palm – Democrat

STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 23
This District includes Old Saybrook.

Candidates:
Devin Carney – Republican (incumbent seeking his third term)

Matt Pugliese – Democrat

We look forward to publishing reader’s Letters to the Editor.  We have a strict 350-word limit for these letters and will enforce a two-week break between letters submitted by the same author.

The final day that we will publish letters will be Sunday, Nov. 4: we will only publish new letters on Nov. 5 if they are in response to a letter published on Nov. 4.

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CT Valley Camera Hosts Equine Photographer Tonight, All Welcome

An example of photography by Sarah Grote.

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will host a presentation on Equine Photography by Sarah Grote on Monday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme. The public is welcomed to attend.

Sarah Grote is a lifestyle and nature photographer specializing in projects, equine, and event photography. After 20 years in corporate and nonprofit companies in various operational, development, and managerial roles, she decided to follow her artistic dreams and visions based on her Mom’s inspirational quote, “celebrate everything”.

Since 2014, Sarah has been the photographer for the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum and the Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue (CDHR). Her photos and paintings were selected for CDHR’s juried art show “Save a Horse – Buy Art!” in 2015 and 2017. Her photography was used for the “Demolish or Preserve: The 1960’s at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion” exhibit, which won the most prestigious award given by the American Association of State and Local History.

In 2018, her photos were selected for three juried shows in the Mystic Museum of Art, the Essex Art Association Gallery, and The Voice of Art Gallery. She has been a board member of the Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue organization since 2015.

The CVCC, which was founded in 2002, has a simple mission — to give its members the opportunity to become better photographers.  The ways that the Club achieves this objective include offering a variety of presentations and workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills.  During these popular events, members explore such areas as photographic techniques, computer processing, artistic interpretation and commercial applications, often under the tutelage of a professional photographer.

The CVCC welcomes new members at any time. Meetings are generally held on the first Monday of the month at the Lymes’ Senior Center in Old Lyme.  For more information about the CVCC, visit the club’s website at ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com.

Meeting dates, speakers and their topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at ww.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage.

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Middlesex Coalition for Children Hosts Candidate Debate in Middletown, Oct. 11

AREAWIDE — The Middlesex Coalition for Children will host a 2018 Candidate Forum, Oct 11, from  9 to 10:30 a.m. at deKoven House in Middletown.Candidates running for office for State Senate and State Representative for
Middlesex County seats will be present.

In this panel discussion-style event, candidates will be asked questions about their views on issues that affect children and families in Middlesex County

All are welcome and admission is free.

Confirmed guests include:
Anthony Gennaro
Irene Haines
Madeline Leveille
Matt Lesser
Norman Needleman
John-Michael Parker
Matthew Pugliese
Quentin Phipps
Colin Souney
Linda Szynkowicz
Melissa Ziobron

Candidates are still in the process of confirming and this list will be modified as confirmations are received. Check the Facebook event page for the updates.

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

To the Editor:

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Candace Fuchs,
Old Lyme.
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Renowned Wildlife Photographer Speaks Tonight on Photographing Birds, Other Wildlife at CT Valley Camera Club Meeting; All Welcome

Shawn Carey, who took this photo, will speak tonight at the Connecticut Valley Camera Club meeting at the Lymes’ Senior Center on tips taking nature photos.

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at the Monday, Sept. 17, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the renowned wildlife photographer Shawn Carey, who will give a talk titled, “ Photographing Birds and Other Wildlife in New England and Beyond.” The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn.

All are welcome and there is no admission charge.

Over the last 10 years, bird and wildlife photography has seen a surge in popularity—thanks in large part to vast improvements in digital technology. Digital cameras are better, easier to use, and more affordable than ever. But how do you choose the right one? And once you have the camera, what’s next? Where do you go? When should you get there? And how do you turn those great views you’re getting into memorable images that truly capture the moment?

Don’t panic: wildlife photographer and educator Shawn Carey has you covered. Join Carey as he expertly guides you through these topics and shares some tricks of the trade to help you truly enjoy your experience.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Carey moved to Boston, Mass. in 1986 and has been photographing birds and other wildlife for over 20 years. He’s been teaching wildlife photography for Mass Audubon for the past 18 years. On the board of directors for Eastern Mass HawkWatch where he serves as their Vice President, he is also on the advisory board for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and Mass Audubon Museum of American Bird Art.

“I love the natural world,” Carey says, “if it walks, crawls, flies, swims or slithers … I’ll photograph it!”

Carey’s work can be viewed on his website at www.migrationproductions.com.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.  The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

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

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Ann Nyberg to Receive 3rd Annual Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award at the Kate’s Summer Gala, Saturday

Ann Nyberg. Photo by Lora Karam Photography.

Ann Nyberg, Connecticut’s longest-serving, full-time female news anchor/reporter will receive the 3rd annual Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award. The award is given by the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (the Kate) to an individual who embodies the spirit, independence, and character of the legendary actress and will presented to Ann on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Kate’s annual Summer Gala in Old Saybrook.

A resident of Madison, Nyberg is WTNH-TV’s longest-serving anchor/reporter in station history and has been nominated for multiple Emmys. In addition to anchoring several evening newscasts, she also produces and hosts the show Nyberg an on-air and online show she developed to share people’s stories with the masses.

In November of 2015, Nyberg was inducted into the prestigious Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Boston/New England Chapter – an honor given to television professionals who have made significant contributions to their community and to the vitality of the television industry. In 2017, Nyberg was recognized, during the year of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine’s 150th anniversary, as a woman of success who pays it forward.

Nyberg has been a storyteller her entire life, which all started with a diary her mother gave her for Christmas when she was just 8-years-old, and the rest is history. As she says, “I never met a story I didn’t want to tell.” Her first book, Slices of Life, A Storyteller’s Diary debuted in October 2015, and is based on her diary. Her second book, released October 2016, is on the legendary Connecticut film actress, Katharine Hepburn. It is called Remembering Katharine Hepburn: Stories of Wit and Wisdom About America’s Leading Lady.

Nyberg began her journey in broadcast journalism immediately following graduation from Purdue University, where she earned a degree in journalism. She was a television journalist in Indiana and Oklahoma before making Connecticut her home. She and her husband have three daughters and two dogs, Henry Watson, a rescued Coon Hound and Mr. Trip Meeshu, a Golden Retriever.

Nyberg feels strongly about philanthropy and in 1993 she founded the Toy Closet Program at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. Thousands of toys and other items are given to children of all ages to help ease their trauma. A lover of the arts, she is a Trustee of the Kate, the only theater in the world named after the iconic four-time Academy Award winning Connecticut actress. Nyberg is also the only honorary female member of the Walter Camp Football Foundation, which raises thousands of dollars for charity every year.

An advocate for all things local, Nyberg’s website Network Connecticut spotlights people and places, small businesses and innovators and entrepreneurs all over the state. She also owns a boutique in Madison, called Annie Mame, where she carries several Connecticut-made goodies to help small businesses push ahead. The name of her shop is in tribute to her favorite movie, Auntie Mame which came out in 1958 and starred Waterbury native, Rosiland Russell.

The Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award, which will be presented to Ann Nyberg on Saturday.

The Kate’s August 25th Gala takes place on the historic Old Saybrook Town Green at 6 pm and includes a cocktail hour with silent auction and dinner by Max Catering. Ann will receive the award, a graceful statuette in the likeness of Hepburn by Kimberly Monson, an artist and faculty member of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. An exciting auction and live music and dancing round out the evening. GSB Wealth Management, a subsidiary of Guilford Savings Bank, is the Executive Producer sponsor for the event.

For additional information and/or to order tickets at $275 per person and up, visit www.thekate.org or call 860-510-0453.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center. It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.

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Chestnut Hill Chamber Music Concert Series Finale is Friday at the Kate


OLD SAYBROOK — Now in its 49th season,Chestnut Hill Concerts will present four programs of chamber music this August at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook. The prestigious series is highly-regarded, not only for its programming, but also for the world-class musicians that artistic director Ronald Thomas invites for the performances.

The concerts will take place August 3, 10, 17, and 24, all Friday evenings at 8 p.m. Cellist and artistic director Ronald Thomas will host and perform in each concert.

The Aug. 3 concert features Ronald Thomas performing the 5th Bach Cello Suite. The remainder of the concert presents John Novacek’s Rags for Violin and Piano, and the Brahms Piano Quartet in  G minor, Op. 25. In addition to Ronald Thomas, artists include Steve Copes, violin; Matthew Sinno, viola; and Randall Hodgkinson, piano.

On Aug. 10, Chestnut Hill presents two string sextets and a string quartet. Chestnut Hill welcomes the Amernet String Quartet, whose members include Misha Vitenson, violin; Franz Felkl, violin; Michael Klotz, viola; and Jason Calloway, cello. The quartet will perform Schubert’s String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 125, No. 1. The quartet will be joined by Vivek Kamath, viola and Ronald Thomas, cello to perform two string sextets: Richard Strauss’ String Sextet from Capriccio, Op. 85 and Tchaikovsky’s String Sextet Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70

The program on Aug. 17 presents music by Debussy, Kodály, and Dvořák. Ronald Thomas and Mihae Lee will perform Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano; Catherine Cho, violin, Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, violin, and Todd Phillips, viola will perform Kodály’s Serenade for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 12; and the ensemble will perform Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81.

The season finale on Aug. 25 explores the music of Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Schumann, including the rarely-heard Horn Quintet in E-flat by Mozart, K. 407, written for one violin and two violas. The concert also includes Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 49 and Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 47. This performance introduces Frank Huang, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, to the Chestnut Hill audience, and brings back some of its favorite performers: William Purvis, horn; Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu, violin and viola, Cynthia Phelps, viola; Ronald Thomas, cello; and Mihae Lee, piano.

The 2018 season of Chestnut Hill Concerts is made possible with support from the Connecticut DECD Office of the Arts.

All concerts are Friday nights at 8 p.m. at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate), 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Subscriptions to the four concerts are $140 (orchestra) and $120 (balcony). Single tickets are $40 for orchestra seats and $35 for the balcony. Kids and teens come free. To purchase tickets, contact The Kate’s box office at 860-510-0453, or visit www.thekate.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The driving simulator is a real boon to the business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the Editor:

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

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

Here’s a recap of recent activities:

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Acton Public Library Offers Teen Summer Reading Program

Attention readers in Grades 6 to 12!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Pugliese

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

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

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

A selection of statistics from RfS are:

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit www.runforsomething.net

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Memorial Day Parades Planned Throughout Local Area, Monday

Memorial Day parades will be held at the following locations and times:

Chester:

The Annual Memorial Day Parade and Exercises in Chester is planned for Monday, May 28, at 9 a.m. with Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Watrous serving as Parade Marshal.
All service people, interested groups and residents are invited to participate. Your participation in the traditional Memorial Day Parade is encouraged and welcomed.
The formation of units will start at 8:30 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Parish Center on Middlesex Avenue. Parking will be on the right side of the parking lot and parade formation will be on the left. Upon arrival, Marchers will check in with Bruce Watrous for parade positioning.
Support the Town’s military members – past and present – and take part in making this event a special day of remembrance.

Essex:

The Essex Memorial Day Parade will commence on Memorial Day, May 28, at 9 a.m. from the Foot of Main, Essex Village. This year’s Grand Marshal will be Walt Budney.

The parade will follow a three-mile route as it makes the following stops to pay respects: Riverview Cemetery, First Baptist Church, Town Hall, Centerbrook Cemetery, and the Essex Veterans Memorial Hall. There will be a short ceremony at Essex Veterans Memorial Hall at the conclusion of the parade (aprox. 11:15am) followed by complimentary food items and an Open House.

If weather precludes a parade, ceremonies will be held at Essex Town Hall at 9:30 a.m. and Essex Veterans Memorial Hall at 11am followed by complimentary food items and an Open House. All interested marching parties or those that need transportation please contact Alex Breen 609.805.7146.

Old Saybrook:

Dockside naval ceremony with a rifle salute at the Saybrook Point Pavilion, 155 College Street, at 9 a.m. Monday, May 28, followed by a wreath laying ceremony on the Connecticut River. 

Memorial Day Parade will kick off at Elm Street at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28, travel across Rte. 1 to Main Street, and proceed to the Veterans Memorial Monuments on the Town Green for the memorial program.

Westbrook:

Memorial Day Parade steps off at the Riggio Building by the Town Green at 10 a.m. Monday, May 28. In case of rain, the parade route will be shorter, but will not be cancelled.

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