December 12, 2018

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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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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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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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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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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Pugliese Accepts Democratic Nomination for 23rd District, Will Challenge Carney in November Election

Last Wednesday, delegates from the 23rd District unanimously nominated Matt Pugliese (fourth from right) as the Democratic candidate for the 23rd State House District. Photo by Janis Esty.

OLD SAYBROOK — On Wednesday, May 16, at a convention held in Old Saybrook at the Vicky Duffy Pavilion, Matt Pugliese accepted the Democratic nomination to represent the 23rd House District in the upcoming November election. The District includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and the southern portion of Westbrook.

Matt Pugliese

Pugliese, a non-profit arts executive, announced his candidacy in early March. He is challenging incumbent Devin Carney-R, who is running for a third term.

He was formally nominated by Karen Brodeur, a member of the Old Saybrook Board of Education.  In her remarks, Brodeur said, “Matt has experience as a business leader, as a community leader, as a civic volunteer, and as a caring husband and father. Matt is focused, disciplined, hard-worker.  He is an empathetic listener.  Matt cares about his family and he cares about his community.”

In accepting the nomination, Pugliese said, “I’m a Democrat. I’ve always believed that the Democratic party valued everyone, especially those didn’t have a voice. I will represent everyone in our community. I believe in communication, in compromise and consensus building. That is the style of leadership and the values I promise to bring to Hartford.”

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd)

Pugliese, the Executive Producer and Managing Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, serves as the Chair of Old Saybrook’s Economic Development Commission.  He holds his BA in Theatre and his Masters in Public Administration, both from UConn.

Pugliese’s formal nomination drew praise and remarks from others in attendance including Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal and Mary Stone from Lyme, who was herself a candidate for the 23rd District in 2014. The delegates in attendance unanimously voted to select Pugliese as the candidate.

Pugliese, who is participating in the public funding option in the Citizen’s Election Program, announced that he had raised the required funds to qualify.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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‘Taking Great Photos With Your Smartphone’ is Topic at Tomorrow’s CT Valley Camera Club Meeting

This photo of palm trees was taken by Peter Glass on a smart phone. Glass is the speaker Monday evening at the CT Valley Camera Club.

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at the Monday, May 7, meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the acclaimed professional photographer Peter Glass, who will give a presentation titled, “Taking Great Photos with Your Smartphone.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme. All are welcome. There is no admission charge.

The quality of smartphone cameras has improved substantially over recent years and their capabilities now extend far beyond what many people use them for currently. In many situations, they work well as valuable stand-ins for bigger, more cumbersome traditional cameras. It therefore is no longer necessary to drag around a big camera for fear of missing that great picture opportunity. A good quality smartphone camera can work almost as well.

In this presentation, Glass will give comprehensive guidance on how to set up and use the camera on your smartphone including which photography apps to install, how to use the camera controls, useful accessories to purchase and helpful smartphone photography techniques.

Glass has been a professional photographer for more than 25 years. He specializes in stock, corporate and editorial photography, with his photos appearing regularly in magazines, advertising brochures, and on book covers. He offers photography classes at local colleges, towns, art associations, libraries, and through his MeetUp group, the Connecticut Photography Workshops (www.meetup.com/Connecticut-Photography-Workshops). Glass holds a Master of Arts degree in Film and Television Production from the University of Texas. His current work can be viewed at www.peterglass.comand www.stockpeterglass.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 this link.

CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at this link.

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Tr-Town Forum Offers Democratic Candidates Opportunity to State Positions, Take Questions

Ned Lamont, a Democratic candidate for Connecticut Governor, addresses the audience at Monday evening’s forum in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  All photos by M.J. Nosal.

Around 100 residents of Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook turned out at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Monday night for a Democratic Candidate Forum arranged by the Democratic Town Committees of the three area municipalities.  Local residents heard from and were able to ask questions directly of: Ned Lamont, candidate for governor (pictured above);

Old Lyme Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium to introduce Denise Merrill.

Denise Merrill, incumbent candidate for secretary of the state;

Shawn Wooden is one of the candidates running for State Treasurer — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) is another.

Shawn Wooden, candidate for state treasurer;

Matt Pugliese will challenge State Rep. Devin Carney (R- 23rd) in the November election.

Matthew Pugliese, candidate for state representative in the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook;

Martha Marx.

Martha Marx, candidate for state senator in the 20th District, and

Lyme Selectman John Kiker (left) listens to Essex First Selectman and candidate for State Senator (20th District) Norm Needleman speak.

Norm Needleman, candidate for state senator in the 33rd District.

The Tri-Town Democratic Town Committees’ event started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted two and a half hours.

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9 Town Transit Faces Bus Cuts, Fare Increases; Encourages Public to Voice Their Opinions

AREAWIDE — 9 Town Transit (9TT) is preparing for a 15 percent reduction of state funding beginning July 1, 2018 with a proposal of service cuts and fare increases.  The agency says the reductions are due to the failure of revenue into the state’s Special Transportation Fund to keep up with expenses.

Under the proposal, bus fares would rise from $1.75 to $2 on bus routes and to $4 on Dial-A-Ride.  This would be the second fare increase in 18 months.

The agency is also proposing multiple service reductions.  They include:

  • Elimination of the senior fare subsidy, which would result in seniors paying a fare on all services for the first time in 37 years.
  • Reducing service on Rte. 2 Riverside, which provides service between Chester and Old Saybrook, by eight hours per weekday.
  • Elimination of all Saturday service.
  • Reducing service on Rte. 1 Shoreline Shuttle by three hours per day (7:30 a.m. trip leaving Old Saybrook, 9 a.m. leaving Madison).

 

Written statements concerning the proposal may be submitted either at the hearing, by email to info@estuarytransit.org or mail.

9 Town Transit is encouraging transit users and supporters to let their state representative and senator know how important 9 Town Transit, Shoreline East or other public transit services are to them.

More information about the possible service reductions and ways to help prevent the funding cuts can be found at www.9towntransit.com/fundtransit.

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Reynolds’ Subaru Donates $30,000 to Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center

Pictured above at the check donation ceremony are (from left to right) Joe Altavilla, District Sales Manager, Subaru of New England; Devin Carney, Connecticut State Representative (R-23rd); Kathryn Wayland, Reynolds’ Subaru; Hayden Reynolds, Reynolds’ Subaru; Laura Martino, Middlesex Hospital; Melissa Ziobron, Connecticut State Representative (R-34th); and Justin Drew, Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center.

 

WESTBROOK — Reynolds’ Subaru in Lyme has donated $30,000 to Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center’s new Westbrook location. The generous donation will ensure that cancer patients have access to the best possible treatments and care team.

Reynolds’ donation was made following the conclusion of Subaru of America Inc.’s Share the Love campaign. Reynolds’ Subaru and the Reynolds’ family, however, have been supportive of Middlesex Hospital for many years.

“As a local business, we feel it is important to give back to our community,” says Hayden Reynolds. “We believe that having medical care on the shoreline makes it easier for our customers, neighbors and family members to get the care they need. The Cancer Center is a great addition to what Middlesex already offers on the shoreline, and we are so pleased to help the Hospital’s efforts.”

Justin Drew, director of the Cancer Center, is very grateful for the support. “We are humbled by the generosity of Reynolds’ Subaru,” he says. “Their support means that Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center patients can access life-saving cancer treatment closer to home, and we thank them for sharing their love with us.”

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Madison Senior Men’s Tennis Club Welcomes New Members of Any Skill Level From All Along Shoreline

Dan Janiak and Will Tuthill confirm it was a pleasure to play.   All photos by Peter Pearce.

“Sometimes you’re looking to play perfect tennis but it’s not going to happen all the time and you have to accept it.”   Andy Murray, professional tennis champion

AREAWIDE — For the men of the Madison Senior Men’s Tennis Organization, the tennis is far from perfect – but that’s not the point. Oh, they may step onto the court feeling sure that today, for just once, it’s all going to come together. But the reality of slower reflexes and an aging body’s aches and pains quickly snaps them back to reality.  The players all accept their shortcomings and can even joke about them; it’s the camaraderie that matters.

For men 60 years or older, the Madison Senior Men’s Tennis group is a great retirement activity and a perfect way to spend two to three mornings a week.  You’ll get exercise, competition, laughter, friendship, caring, and more.

Dave Cassano puts away a volley.

But you don’t have to be retired …

Some players adjust their work schedules to fit in tennis. Along the way, you just may be stimulated by seeing guys in their 80s who can still get around the court and hit winners. As player Greg Fahey said, “I happen to be one of the younger members of the group … all of the members are an inspiration in both physical and mental condition … in the spirit they demonstrate and the example they provide.”

The league is now recruiting new players for both the upcoming summer season as well as next winter’s. There’s no need to worry about your skill level. As octogenarian Tom Dolan told one player who was feeling dejected by his poor play, “Don’t worry about it. Think about the alternative; you could be horizontal.”

Art Paquette hits a forehand while his partner John Kraska watches the play closely.

Players range from beginners to seasoned veterans and span in age from 60 to 88. The league’s steering committee divides them into three groups based on ability, the goal being to slot players into the level in which they are likely to find comfortable, enjoyable play. A wide geographic area is represented, stretching from Hamden and New Haven up to Cromwell and down to Old Lyme.

Matches are all doubles, with partners being agreed upon by the foursome at the start of the match. You will be in a different foursome every match. With the emphasis on recreation and friendship, no standings are kept.

Matches are scheduled year-round, with the summer season running from May through early October and the winter season from October through April. Summer season is outdoors at public and private courts in the Madison/Guilford area; winter season is played indoors at the Madison Racquet and Swim Club. You may choose to play one, two or three days a week.

Article author Tom Soboleski runs down a forehand.

Madison Seniors Tennis is now in its 21st year. It began when a small group of friends, led by John Sadek and Joe Pegnataro of Madison, began playing at Pegnataro’s home court. It now includes more than 70 men and all scheduling is administered through a web-based program.

Whether you’re a high-skilled player or just a beginner, Madison Senior Mens Tennis will happily and comfortably welcome you. “Best thing I’ve ever done,” said Peter Lemley. “I find more often than not, when a player scores a great point, not only his partner, but his opponents will cheer.”  Besides the aforementioned benefits, your ego may get a boost as well. As tennis great John McEnroe has said, “The older I get, the better I used to be.”

If interested in joining, or if you have any questions, the organization can be contacted:

  • By text message or call to: Chris Hill at 203.641.7100, or John Sadek at 203.245.1261

More information is also available on the league’s website at https://sites.google.com/site/mseniortennis/home

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Needleman Announces Support For Initiatives To Promote Tourism

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, who is also a candidate for the 33rd District State Senate seat.

ESSEX — Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman and candidate for the State Senate for the 33rd District, today announced 3his support for new initiatives to promote tourism in Connecticut.

Needleman said: “The most recent data shows that tourism delivers $14.7 billion in annual revenue to the state, and supports 120,000 sector jobs. Every dollar invested in promoting tourism returns three dollars in revenue.

“That’s why I support the initiatives developed by The Connecticut Tourism Coalition. The proposed initiatives are common sense ideas that will enhance our tourism presence, which is key to building revenue:

  1. Create of a 15 member volunteer Tourism Advisory Committee, whose role will be to recommend strategies to the Office of Tourism for maximizing use of tourism funds.
  2. Appoint a Director of Tourism, a new position reporting directly to the governor
  3. Commit 3 percent of all taxable lodging revenue as a sustainable source of tourism funding
  4. Reopen visitor centers, using public or private funds

Needleman continued: “Connecticut is blessed with a wealth of historical, entertainment, lodging and recreation options. It makes sense for us to revitalize and sustain support for tourism. That investment will yield significant financial returns, and make our state more competitive with states that border us.”

The 33rd State Senate District consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and a portion of Old Saybrook.

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Bill to Study State Employee Compensation Moves to Senate

State Senator Art Linares

AREAWIDE — State Senator Art Linares announced that the legislature’s Appropriations Committee has approved a bill he requested to study the long-term financial impact of state employees’ and elected officials’ pay and benefit compensation on the state. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

“Connecticut has been in a state of fiscal crisis for the last several years with budget deficit after budget deficit. This is despite the two largest tax increases in the state’s history,” Sen. Linares said. “We have to look at the state’s fixed costs and why they have gotten so far out of control.”

Sen. Linares said a review of state employee and elected officials compensation could examine ways to save money when the current state employee contract ends in 2027.

“I believe one area that should be considered is capping pension payout at $100,000 a year. The number of retirees receiving pension payments in excess of $100,000 has been growing at an unsustainable rate,” he said. “What do we tell the rank-and-file employees receiving smaller pensions when the pension fund is drained by retirees receiving six-figure payments? We have to make sure the pension plan stays solvent for all retirees.”

Currently, more than 1,400 retirees collect annual pensions in excess of $100,000, Sen. Linares said. The highest paid retiree received more than $300,000 a year.

“Retirement payouts like this were unheard of in the private sector even before most businesses moved away from pensions. Now employees and employers contribute to 401K-type plans,” he said. “We also have to remember that pensions are not the only form of retirement income state retirees receive. They contributed to and can collect Social Security.”

Sen. Linares said he also believes the lowering the expected return on investment in the fund from 8percent to 6 percent should be considered. The 10-year return for the 41 largest state pension funds was 6.59 percent.

“State employees, like their private sector counterparts, work hard to earn the paychecks they receive. We need to ensure that each of them receives the retirement funding they earn, by making sure the pension fund does not run dry due to the excessive pensions of a few,” he said. “I believe a comprehensive review of benefits that includes a $100,000 cap on pensions after 2027 will do that.”

Sen. Linares represents the communities of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

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State Holds Flu Vaccination Day on Saturday; Local Clinics in Saybrook, New London

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

AREAWIDE — In effort to protect the public’s health and reduce the spread of the influenza (flu) virus, which has heavily affected the state, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is teaming up with local health departments to provide free or low cost influenza vaccine at several locations across the state on Saturday, Jan. 27. DPH strongly encourages all Connecticut residents over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot, and is working with local health departments and districts to make it easy to get one.

The full list of clinics and their locations is at this link.

The two clinics in or local to our coverage area, which are open on Saturday, are:

Old Saybrook
CT River Area Health District Office, 455 Boston Post Rd, Old Saybrook (Saybrook Junction)
10am-1pm
860-661-3300 (M-F)

New London
Ledge Light Health District:
216 Broad St. New London
11am-1pm
860-448-4882 (M-F)

You may attend any of the clinics listed regardless of the town you live in. If you have an insurance card bring one with you. Your insurance will be billed a small administration fee, but you will not be charged anything out of pocket. The vaccine is free.

In addition to the schedule below, many local health departments around the state are conducting on-going flu clinics. If you cannot attend one listed, check with your local health department for upcoming flu clinics.  Click here to find your local health department.

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Country School Runners Enjoy Record-Breaking Season

From left to right are Kayla Uzwiak, 8th Grader from Killingworth; Ryan Wei, 8th Grader from East Lyme; and Conor Selfor, 8th Grader from Old Saybrook.

MADISON — While local public high school cross country teams have been building toward their championship races, The Country School’s cross country team has been quietly compiling a season record for the girls of 33 wins and only one loss and 35 wins and four losses for the boys. This is the best record for cross country at the PreSchool-8th Grade Madison independent school since it began offering the sport 20 years ago.

The team competes this Saturday in the Connecticut Middle School State Championships at Wickham Park in East Hartford. Many student-athletes are also looking forward to the Junior Olympics cross country state championship, set to take place on November 12. In years past, dozens of Country School athletes have gone on to qualify for Regional Junior Olympics Championships, with several going on to Nationals, including one, Robbie Cozean of Madison, now a sophomore at Xavier High School, who earned All America status three times and finished 2nd in the United States.

The Country School serves 214 students between the ages of 3 and 14, and with only eight boys and seven girls running cross country, its Middle School teams are typically the smallest teams competing in any race. Head of School John Fixx attributes the success of their athletes to many factors, among them, dedication. The team holds optional practices two or more times a week throughout the year during the off-season, including the summer, while practicing five and even six days a week during the fall cross country season. Inevitably, the entire team shows up, with younger running enthusiasts, and even some parents, opting to join in.

Seen here in action are, from left to right, Christopher Yuh, Madison; Gabriel Goodwin, Old Lyme; Liam Boone, Clinton, and Sam Duffy, Madison.

Another factor is school culture. At The Country School, running is regarded as an activity that is fun, inclusive, and open to all ages. The program begins as early as Kindergarten, when interested runners join a group known as the Flying Owlets, a nod to the school’s mascot, an owl. More than 35 students participate in Flying Owlets, with practices taking place a few times a week. They also have opportunities to compete in road races, Junior Olympics, and other venues. As older students and younger students train alongside each other, more seasoned runners are able to model teamwork and persistence for younger runners. It is not unusual to have a 6-year-old 1st Grader running alongside and listening to a 13-year-old 8th Grader talk about the effort it takes to run repeat 200s or a “ladder” workout on the track.

With a history of strong cross country and excellent academics, the school also has the advantage of attracting strong students who are also strong runners. This year, for example, Conor and Margaux Selfors joined the school, entering 8th and 7th Grades respectively. The siblings, from Old Saybrook, have placed at or near the top in multiple races this fall, adding depth and leadership to the team.

The talent on the team is also homegrown. Eighth Grade co-captain Ryan Wei from East Lyme, a top place finisher in several races this year, has attended The Country School for several years, rising up through the running ladder, and Robbie Cozean, the school’s most successful runner ever, began in PreKindergarten. In addition to his successes at The Country School and at Junior Olympics National, Robbie was named All-Courant Cross Country Runner of the Year as a freshman at Xavier.

In addition to Robbie at Xavier, several Country School runners have gone on to compete at the high school level, making their mark at Choate Rosemary Hall, Pomfret, Westminster, Guilford High School, Daniel Hand, Hamden Hall, St. Paul’s, Cheshire Academy, and Avon Old Farms.

Training so many runners, and working with such a wide age span of athletes, requires many coaches, and The Country School is fortunate to have a team of experienced runners and educators leading the effort. In addition to Head of School Fixx, a former cross country and track captain of Greenwich High School and Wesleyan University who founded the Country School cross country team with Jordan Katz, a former student, 20 years ago, the team benefits from the likes of Laura Morrison. A recent and very fast graduate of SUNY Fredonia who now runs for Southern Connecticut State University, where she is attending graduate school during the evenings, Laura oversees The Country School’s after-school program and also coordinating TEDxTheCountrySchool. Spanish teacher Blair Balchunas, a frequent road racer and half marathoner, is another inspiring member of the coaching staff. Organizational genius and great rapport with runners all ages comes from Beth Coyne, Country School Dean of Student Life and Secondary School Counselor.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is an independent, coeducational day school serving students from across the Shoreline. In addition to a rigorous academic program that seeks to educate the whole child through active, hands-on learning, The Country School is committed to vital offerings in the arts and athletics. Athletic contests are played on the school’s new, state-of-the-art outdoor complex, featuring two full-sized athletic fields, four tennis courts, a basketball court, and the cross country course through the woods that flank the 23-acre campus. The campus is a frequent host for athletic events, including a recent nine-school cross country meet. Although the student body is small in number, The Country School has a long tradition of athletic and academic excellence. This year alone, more than 20 Country School alumni are competing on teams at colleges across the country, including Amherst, Bates, Bryant, College of Charleston, Columbia, Dickinson, Fairfield, Hamilton, Harvard, Kenyon, Middlebury, Northeastern, Northwestern, Princeton, St. Lawrence, Union, the University of Rhode Island, and Villanova. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Shoreline Legislators Attend Bridge Dedication Ceremony

From left to right, back row: State Senator Art Linares; State Representative Jesse MacLachlan; Noel Bishop, First Selectman of Westbrook; James P. Redeker, Department of Transportation Commissioner, and State Representative Devin Carney; front row, Tom Callinan and Sid Holbrook met in Westbrook on Thursday, Oct. 5, to attend the bridge dedication ceremony.

WESTBROOK – Shoreline legislators, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner, local officials and residents all came together on Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Clubhouse North Yard Pilot Point in Westbrook for a bridge dedication ceremony.

During the 2017 legislative session, Carney, MacLachlan and Linares presented proposals to officially name two bridges in Westbrook.

  • House Bill 5573An Act Naming A Bridge in Westbrook “The Singing Bridge” sought to give the bridge over the Patchogue River in Westbrook a permanent name. This historic landmark was constructed in 1925 and had no official name up until now. Due to the sound generated by motor vehicle tires passing over the grid deck, residents nicknamed the bridge “The Singing Bridge.”
  • House Bill 5679An Act Naming A Bridge In Westbrook The “John H. Wilson Bridge” sought to honor John H. Wilson, who passed away in 2015, and was the founder of the Westbrook Historical Society and a veteran of the Korean War.

Both proposals were heard at a public hearing on January 30, 2017 in the legislature’s Transportation Committee and later passed into law during the 2017 legislative session.

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Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center to Hold Open House Today at Second Location

Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center is expanding its services to the Connecticut shoreline and will hold an open house at its second location on October 7 from 10 a.m. until noon.

The new Cancer Center shares space with the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center at 250 Flat Rock Place, Westbrook, and will be a full service, accredited cancer center that will provide Connecticut shoreline residents with care closer to home. The center will begin treating patients in November and will offer all of the same services that patients receive at the Cancer Center’s Middletown location. It will also benefit from Middlesex Hospital’s membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

On Oct. 7, members of the public will be able to tour the new Cancer Center and learn more about the services offered, including cancer treatment, integrative medicine and genetic counseling.

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Award-Winning Photographer Discusses ‘Tools of Travel Photography’ Tonight at CT Valley Camera Club

Shadows of camels and their riders in the Sahara desert in Erg Chebi, Morrocco (Photo by David H. Wells)

AREAWIDE — The guest speaker at next Monday’s (Oct. 2) meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be award-winning photographer/videographer David H. Wells, who will give a presentation titled, “The Tools of Travel 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.

Wells uses whichever technology he feels is most appropriate for the specific situation to create visual narratives. He is based in Providence, RI, affiliated with Aurora Photos and is also a photo-educator. One editor described him as a “… specialist in intercultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light, shadow and sound, stills and video.”

Wells became the photographer he is today by first trying on the styles and/or methods of other well-known and historic photographers. Then he mastered the challenging discipline of color slide film. He fused all of these experiences, over 30-plus years, to develop his own style, built on a mastery of light, exposure and tonality, framing and composition with predictable and consistent control over focus and depth of field.

As a photography educator, he leads students to learn how to master consistently these same elements of photography. He was featured in Photo District News as one of “The Best Workshop Instructors.”

A Sicilian sunset (Photo by David H. Wells)

His project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the years he has worked on assignment for such magazines as Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Sunday New York Times, Time, etc. He also worked for corporations such as Consolidated Natural Gas and DuPont as well as for non-profits such as the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund.

His work has been featured in more than 50 exhibitions and he has taught workshops at the International Center for Photography in NYC and at the Maine Media Workshops. He has received two Fulbright fellowships, a grant from Nikon/N.P.P.A., a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation’s Program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation.

For more information on David H. Wells, visit his website.

Connecticut Valley Camera Club is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The club 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 both sides of 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/. The Club’s 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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State Orders Recount in Republican Primary for 33rd District Probate Judge; Delia Wins by Nine Votes in First Count

Tuesday’s unofficial winner, Anselmo Delia.

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Secretary of State has informed all the towns that comprise the 33rd District Probate Court that they need to conduct a recount of Tuesday’s Republican Primary. The Town of Essex has scheduled their recount on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. at the town hall. Deep River held their recount yesterday, Thursday, Sept. 13. We do not have details of the timing of recounts in other area towns at this time.

Tuesday’s race between the party-endorsed candidate Attorney Anselmo Delia of Clinton and challenger Attorney Kevin Hecht of Old Saybrook ended with a 859-850 win for Delia after all the unofficial results had been declared in the nine towns.

Unofficial results given on the Connecticut Secretary of State’s webpage for towns covered by ValleyNewsNow.com towns are as follows:

Chester: Hecht 23 – Delia 12
Deep River: Delia 24 – Hecht 14
Essex: Delia 79 – Hecht 59
Old Saybrook: Hecht 277 – Delia 46
Westbrook: Hecht 90 – Delia 41.

Results for the remaining towns in the District are:

Clinton: Delia 444 – Hecht 228
Haddam: Delia 140 – Hecht 37
Killingworth: Hecht 78 – Delia 53
Lyme: Hecht 44 – Delia 20.

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Key Bank Westbrook Volunteers Help Beautify the Estuary Senior Center


WESTBROOK/OLD SAYBROOK —
Key Bank’s Westbrook employees, some of whom are pictured above, visited the Estuary Senior Center recently and worked hard cleaning up the outside area, making the place even more beautiful! They have a 27-year tradition of volunteering in the communities they serve.

On behalf of all the seniors that the Estuary Center serves, Estuary board members wish to express their sincerest thanks to all the Key Bank, Westbrook volunteers who donated their time to work at the Estuary facility.

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Estuary Offers Medical Appointment Rides for Seniors

AREAWIDE — The Estuary Senior Center provides transportation to those aged 60 and over for medical appointments, including dialysis, to any medical location beyond the nine-town estuary region such as Branford, New Haven, Middletown, Hartford and New London. With the Center’s Stan Greimann EMOTS program, a driver and car will pick you up, take you to your appointment, and bring you back home. 

For more information on the Stan Greimann EMOTS program, call David at 860-388-1611, X203. Suggested donation of $35 for roundtrip service.

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Shoreline Soup Kitchens Opens New Westbrook Meal Site, All Welcome

AREAWIDE — The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) new Westbrook meal site is open for dinner from 6 to 7 p.m. every Friday.  The site is located at the Westbrook Congregational Church, 1166 Boston Post Road.  All are welcome to attend.

Don’t be shy, bring the whole family and enjoy a meal with wonderful dinner companions and nutritious food. You don’t need to call ahead or “make a reservation.”

Did you know that last year over 900,000 meals worth of food were distributed to individuals and families during The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries grocery distribution program?  And, that over 17,000 nutritious and delicious meals were provided at our 9 meal sites, serving seven days a week?

There are those among us who are hungry and alone. You can change that; you can make a difference in the lives of those who are hungry in body and spirit.  Contact SSKP to learn about the many opportunities to volunteer.

The SSKP offers food and fellowship to the communities of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

The SSKP’s family-oriented meal sites serving nutritious and delicious food are located in Centerbrook, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Old Lyme, Westbrook and Old Saybrook.  And, SSKP food pantries are located in Clinton, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, East Lyme and Westbrook.  Also, provided to those who have limited cooking facilities are heat-n- meals that can be picked up at any of our pantries.

Community support of the SSKP is appreciated.  If you have any questions or for a more information, call 860.388.1988 or email at pdowling@shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

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Reps. MacLachlan, Carney, House Republicans Unveil Revised No-Tax-Increase Budget Proposal

HARTFORD — State Representatives Jesse MacLachlan (R-35th) and Devin Carney (R-23rd) joined their House Republican colleagues May 16 to issue their revised no-tax-increase budget for 2018-19 that eliminates the projected $5 billion budget deficit, increases school funding for all towns, reduces the corporate surcharge and mitigates municipal aid losses by reallocating funds.

“The governor’s revised budget continues to make devastating cuts to our communities to shift money to major cities,” said Rep. MacLachlan. “Our revised budget protects and provides adequate funding to all communities throughout the state. I am proud to also see that our budget closes the deficit by making long-term structural changes. I will continue to work with members of my caucus and with members from across the aisle to find common ground, but I will not vote in favor of a budget that increases taxes or zeros out education funding to our communities.”

“Connecticut cannot afford another budget that raises taxes on the middle class or burdens our small towns. I am proud of the budget that my Republican colleagues and I have put forth as it does not rely on tax hikes or passing huge costs, such as teacher’s retirement, onto municipalities. I am hopeful that Republicans and Democrats in the legislature can work together to restore the fiscal health of Connecticut by passing a common sense budget that will allow our state and its residents to thrive,” said Rep. Carney.

In this current proposal, Republicans revert back to the former Education Cost Sharing formula, while also adding $20 million to the distribution.  In addition, the proposal establishes a $90 million grant in order to ensure that no municipality loses aid compared to the current fiscal year.

Other structural changes include:

  • Implements a strict Constitutional Spending Cap
  • Reduces bond issuance cap from $2 billion to $1.3 billion for each fiscal year
  • Ensures municipalities are held harmless
  • Establishes a wage freeze for state employees, but no layoffs

Republicans now join Democrats and Gov. Malloy at the negotiating table to come up with a final budget plan that can pass both the House and Senate.

For more information on the House Republican budget proposal, visit www.cthousegop.com/budget.

 

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Westbrook Historical Society Hosts Arts and Craft Fair, July 9

WESTBROOK — Westbrook Historical Society hosts its Arts and Craft Fair on Sunday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For information, call 410 490 3223 or 860 399 6100.

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Guilford Savings Bank Supports Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries with ‘Green for Greens’

From left to right, front row, Guilford Saving Bank Branch Manager, Dave Carswell, SSKP Board Member Rick Westbrook, SSKP Executive Director, Patty Dowling, and Guilford Saving Bank Community Development Officer, Lisa La Monte. (back row) Guilford Saving Bank Assistant Branch Manager, Sandra Miller, and Guilford Saving Bank tellers Ryan Donovan and Brandy Reilly.

AREAWIDE — Guilford Savings Bank has awarded a $4,000 grant to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) to purchase fresh produce for needy residents of the shoreline. The grant, called “Green for Greens”, helps assure that local families who come to SSKP’s food pantries will be provided with fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to non-perishable foods.

Lisa LeMonte, Marketing and Community Development Officer at Guilford Savings Bank, shared, “I know I speak for everyone at GSB when I say how proud we are to provide “Green for Greens” that allows The Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries to supplement their budget with funds to purchase additional fresh produce.”

“The support of Guilford Savings Bank and their generous “Green for Greens” is truly a gift to those we serve at our 5 food pantries.  We all know the feeling of eating a fresh crisp apple, or finding a banana in our lunch bag when we are hungry midday.  Because of GSB, those in need will share in that feeling, and on behalf of those we serve, I sincerely thank Guilford Savings Bank for their commitment to providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director.

Founded 28 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

Guilford Savings Bank has been serving the financial needs of the Connecticut shoreline for over 140 years.  Recently named the #1 Community Bank in Connecticut, it is the premier relationship bank, providing banking, lending, wealth management and life insurance solutions for personal, small business and commercial customers. For more information visit www.gsbyourbank.com

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Emily Bjornberg to Speak on Financial Durability at Shoreline League of Democratic Women Meeting Tonight

Emily Bjornberg (center) discusses issues with seniors.

Guest Speaker is Emily Bjornberg, Sr. Exec Assistant for Financial Literacy, Office of the Treasurer, State of Connecticut

AREAWIDE — The Shoreline League of Democratic Women (SLDW) has announced the second guest speaker in their Women@Risk Series covering pressing issues for women and their families. Emily Bjornberg, Senior Executive Assistant for Financial Literacy, Office of the Treasurer, State of Connecticut, will discuss how women can build assets for financial durability. She will also cover Connecticut programs such as CHET (Connecticut Higher Education Trust), CRSA (Connecticut Retirement Security Authority) and ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) trust.

The presentation will be held on Thursday evening, April 20, at 7 p.m., Westbrook Public Library, Community Room on the bottom floor, 61 Goodspeed Drive, Westbrook, CT  06498. An SLDW membership meeting will immediately follow the speaker session. This event is free and open to the Public.

The SLDW (http://www.SLDW.org) is a chapter of the Connecticut Federation of Democratic Women (CFDW), which is a chapter of the National Federation of Democratic Women. The Shoreline League of Democratic Women continues to seek membership from women who live in Clinton, Madison, Guilford, Branford, Killingworth, Old Saybrook, Essex, Westbrook, Chester, Deep River, Old Lyme, and Lyme. SLDW Meetings are held monthly from September through May.

The SLDW is dedicated to educating its members about political and social issues important to women of all ages in the Valley-Shore area. Women in the local district are encouraged to join the SLDW and participate in the organization’s valuable work in the community. Members can be involved in any capacity, whether it is 30 minutes a month, or 30 minutes a year.

As a part of the SLDW educational charter, members will be notified of important pending state and national legislation. For more information, send email to sldworg@gmail.com or contact Belinda Jones at 860-399-1147. Visit their web site at http://www.SLDW.org.

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Vista to Host Spring Open House in Westbrook, Saturday

WESTBROOK — Vista Life Innovations, a nationally accredited post-secondary program for individuals with disabilities, is hosting an Open House on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at its Westbrook campus.

Ideal for prospective students and families, school district officials and educational consultants, Vista open houses have successfully aided many families in beginning the admissions process. This free event will include guided tours of the Dormitory and Residence Hall, information about programs and services provided at Vista, and an opportunity to hear from current Vista students and members about their experiences in the program.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet Vista leadership and staff. Light refreshments will be served.

To RSVP for Vista’s Open House, register online at www.vistalifeinnovations.org/openhouse or contact the Admissions Office at (860) 399-8080 ext. 106.

Vista’s Westbrook campus is located at 1356 Old Clinton Road, Westbrook.

Vista Life Innovations is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is to provide services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success. For more information about Vista, please visit www.vistalifeinnovations.org.

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Potapaug Hosts “American Woodcock” Program This Evening

WESTBROOK — Potapaug Audubon presents “The American Woodcock” at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, at the Stewart B. McKiney National Wildlife Refuge, 733 Old Clinton Rd Westbrook with Patricia Laudano, Naturalist.  Both programs are identical.

A PowerPoint presentation precedes a walk on the grounds of refuge to witness the mating call and flight of this fascinating bird. Dress appropriately.

Call for more information: 860-399-2513.

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Two Organizations Working for Middle East Peace Co-Sponsor Film Series: See ‘An Oasis on the Hill,’ May 18

Members of the Tree of Life group that traveled to Israel-Palestine in March 2017 stand on the front steps of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme’s Meetinghouse on the day of their departure. Others would join the travelers from Ohio, Washington DC, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Hawaii.

Film Series Aims to Educate, Inspire Dialogue About Peace, Justice in Middle East and Beyond

AREAWIDE — Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)-New Haven and the Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOLEF) are jointly sponsoring a film series titled, ‘From the Jordan to the Sea: Israel-Palestine in Film’ at Westbrook Public Library. The series comprises three feature-length films on successive Thursdays, April 27, May 4 and May 11, and a short film on May 18, which will be followed by a “talk-back” with young people recently returned from TOLEF’s  2017 trip to Israel/Palestine and Bosnia.  

All four films will have a start time of 7 p.m. in the Community Room at Westbrook Library. The public is welcome to attend these events.

Tree of Life travelers stand on the roof of the Austrian Hospice in the Old City of Jerusalem as Dr. Reza Mansoor offered an introduction to Islam to the group of 37 travelers, who incorporated Muslim, Jewish and Christian representation.

The film series strives to educate and inspire dialogue by offering diverse perspectives with dramatic heartfelt storytelling. The selected films offer a human face to the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. It is  hoped the series raises questions, challenges some common myths and jumpstarts candid discussion about the complexities of working for peace and justice in the Middle East and in the US as well. 

Details of the program are as follows:

When I Saw You (2012)  93 minutes
Thursday, April 27     

It is 1967. The world is alive with change: brimming with reawakened energy, new styles, music and an infectious sense of hope. In Jordan, a different kind of change is underway as tens of thousands of refugees pour across the border from Palestine. Having been separated from his father in the chaos of war, Tarek, 11, and his mother Ghaydaa, are amongst this latest wave of refugees. Placed in “temporary” refugee camps made up of tents and prefab houses until they would be able to return, they wait, like the generation before them who arrived in 1948. With difficulties adjusting to life in Harir camp and a longing to be reunited with his father, Tarek searches a way out, and discovers a new hope emerging with the times. When I Saw You is the story of people affected by the times around them, in search of something more in their lives. A journey full of adventure, love and the desire to be free. A story of the human spirit that knows no borders. 

Five Broken Cameras (2011)  94 minutes
Thursday,  May 4 
             

 A documentary film co-directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidii.  It is a first-hand account of protests in Bil’in, a West Bank village affected by the Israel West Bank barrier. The documentary was shot almost entirely by the Palestinian farmer who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son. Structured around the destruction of Burnat’s cameras, it follows one family’s evolution over five years of turmoil. The film won a 2012 Sundance Film Festival award and was nominated for a 2013 Academy Award.         

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea (2013)  100 minutes
Thursday  May 11
       

Tal (Agathe Bonitzer) is the 17-year-old daughter of recent French immigrants to Israel who live in Jerusalem. Following a bomb attack on a local café, she throws a bottle into the sea near Gaza with a message asking for an explanation. Naïm (Mahmoud Shalaby), a sensitive but aimless 20-year-old Palestinian living in Gaza, discovers the bottle and tries to answer Tal’s question by initiating an email correspondence. Their mutual suspicion soon develops into a tender friendship.

An Oasis on the Hill (2013)  10 minutes
Thursday May 18  
       

This inspiring documentary follows Omer and Rami, who grew up in Neve Shalom / Wahat al Salam, an Israeli village where Jews and Arabs have peacefully coexisted for over 40 years.                                                 Included with this film will be a “talk back” by young people recently returned from TOLEF’s  2017 trip to Israel/Palestine and Bosnia.  

For more information about the film series, contact TOLEF Coordinator Mary Tomasetti at mary@tolef.org or 860-391-5384 or call Westbrook Library at (860) 399-6422

Directions to Westbrook Library: I-95 to Exit 65. South on Rte. 153 to center of Westbrook, left onto Boston Post Rd (Rte. 1), then left onto Burdick Dr.  Look for the entrance sign to Daniel R. Wren Park. The library will be on your right. The Community Room is located at the back of the Library. Entrance is next to Literacy Volunteers.          

About Jewish Voice for Peace: Jewish Voice for Peace is a national organization with over 65 chapter across the United States, including a chapter in the Greater New Haven area.  JVP supports the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine; self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinians refugees based on principles established in international law; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.

About Tree of Life Educational Fund: Tree of Life Educational Fund is a non-profit organization that provides travel experience, conferences and educational opportunities to help participants to become more enlightened and engaged in making this a more just and peaceful world. The TOLEF’s latest trip to Israel/Palestine and Bosnia took place March 8-24, 2017.

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Gowrie Group Raises a Record $172,919 to Benefit The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

From left to right, the Gowrie Group team of Whitney Peterson, Lindas Dillon, and Carter Gowrie present the donation check to Patty Dowling and Claire Bellerjeau of The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

AREAWIDE — The 2016 Gowrie Group Challenge raised more funds for The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) than ever before – a record breaking $172,919!

The Gowrie Group Challenge is an annual fundraising initiative where Gowrie Group announces a dollar for dollar match to benefit The SSKP. This approach doubles the impact of generous donations from local businesses and individuals. This year, over 400 individuals and companies donated to the challenge which ran two months, from Nov. 15, 2016 to Jan. 15, 2017.

The contributions from this campaign are used to fill the shelves of the SSKP’s five pantries and serve meals to those who are struggling to feed themselves and their families at the SSKP’s eight meal sites along the Connecticut shoreline. Since Gowrie Group began this challenge 13 years ago, over 4 million meals in total have been provided for those in need through the Gowrie Group Challenge.

Gowrie Group kicked off this year’s challenge with their largest gift to date – a $30,000 dollar for dollar matching donation to the SSKP.  Five companies stepped forward as Partner Sponsors to provide additional matching funds: The Safety Zone, LC Doane Company, Tower LabsLenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and BrandTech Scientific.

Spreading the word about joining this effort is vital.  Morning radio personality, Bob Muscatel of WLIS/WMRD, once again generously updated the community throughout the Challenge from his radio station. In addition, Shore Publishing provided a series of print advertisements in local papers across the shoreline.

Carter Gowrie, CEO and Founder of Gowrie Group said “We are very proud that over the past 13 years our community of clients, local business and friends have come together to raise more than a million dollars – $1,322,000 to be exact – to benefit the SSKP through our annual Gowrie Group Challenge.  We look forward to continuing to work together to support those in need along our shoreline.”

Lindas Dillon, a past SSKP board member, volunteer and longtime Gowrie Group employee shared, “It is personally rewarding to be part of this basic needs initiative.  It makes me so thankful to share energy and hope with all our clients, colleagues, neighbors, and friends who support the Gowrie Group Challenge.  I am proud that the success of the Gowrie Challenge brings food, hope, and community to our neighbors in need.”

Gowrie Group was thankful to be the recipient of proceeds from two exciting events.  The “Black Friday Benefit Concert” at The Kate held in November raised $4,767 and the ballet performance of “Ahavah: The Story of Christmas” performed by the Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet and Christian Academy of Dance raised $6,500. Both event proceeds were matched by the Gowrie Group Challenge.

Many Gowrie Group employees not only donate money to the challenge each year, but also donate time and services to soup kitchens across New England year round. Gowrie Group employees host and serve a lunch at the SSKP’s Old Saybrook meal-site each summer.  Additionally, employees work together to host Food-Drives every holiday season at many of Gowrie Group’s other locations including Westbrook CT, Darien CT, Newport RI, Marshfield MA, and Manchester NH.

Patty Dowling, Executive Director of the SSKP shared, “The Gowrie Challenge produces so much positivity – so many in the community come together to benefit something greater than themselves; feeding their neighbors – and with the match that gift becomes even greater.  I am so thankful for the many years of commitment from the leadership and employees at Gowrie Group – SSKP is grateful!”

Gowrie Group and the SSKP are proud of all that they have accomplished in the past 13 years of partnership, and look forward to continuing the annual Gowrie Group Challenges in future years.

Editor’s Notes: i) As one of the nation’s Top-50 independent insurance agencies, Gowrie Group provides total risk management services to individuals and organizations with complex insurance needs. Gowrie Group offers comprehensive insurance solutions matched with trusted advice and a commitment to service excellence. Gowrie Group’s portfolio of offerings includes commercial, home/auto, equine, and yacht insurance, as well as employee benefits solutions and safety services. The company’s 175+ professionals service clients across the US from offices in Westbrook CT, Darien CT, Newport RI, North Kingstown RI, Annapolis MD, Boston MA, and Marshfield, MA. www.gowrie.com or 800.262.8911.  

ii) Since 1989, the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries have been providing food and fellowship to those in need in the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Lyme, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org

iii) 2016 Gowrie Challenge partners and media sponsors were The Safety Zone, LC Doane Company, Tower Labs, Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, and BrandTech Scientific. Media Sponsors: Shore Publishing and WLIS/WMRD.

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CMS Names Marianne Chamberlain, CPA, CMA, as Software Practice Manager

WESTBROOK — Computer Management Services (CMS) today announced the addition of a new staff member to the organization’s headquarters in Westbrook, CT. Marianne Chamberlain has assume the role as Practice Manager for Computer Management Services, LLC., with responsibility for overseeing and managing the Sage software practice.

“The new position will allow us to refine current services, create new initiatives and continue to be a leading provider of business software solutions in the New England area. We are extremely fortunate to add Marianne to our team.” said Harvey Payton, Executive Vice President at Computer Management Services (CMS). “She comes to us with knowledge, skill, experience and energy to enhance our company’s goals and mission.”

Marianne has a strong background in accounting, business management, and technology. Marianne has earned a Bachelor of Science and MBA in Accounting from CCSU and is a CPA and CMA. She also has extensive experience with Sage 100, Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and QuickBooks. She is currently pursuing certification with Sage Software.

Editor’s Note:  Computer Management has specialized in serving wholesale distributors, manufacturers, marine and service organizations throughout the northeast for over 30 years. CMS, with over 70 years of practical experience, has provided solid solutions while extending exceptional service to their diverse client base.  For more information visitwww.cmsct.com or at 1.800.533.0595.

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Find Out the Facts About Marijuana Legalization at Free Workshops, March 15

AREAWIDE — A new generation of children may soon grow up with both alcohol and psychotropic drugs as adult recreation.  If you have an opinion about this, it’s time to get involved.

Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition invites local residents to attend two important workshops about marijuana legalization in Connecticut.  Learn about marijuana and its impact on youth, health and society, and hear the latest information from states that have already legalized it.

The Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council (MCSAAC) is hosting a two-part workshop series to provide facts, hear citizens’ concerns and help participants strengthen their political voices.  Participants will prepare talking points and persuasive testimony to share with legislators in Hartford.  Become knowledgeable and practice talking to others about this critical issue.

Workshop 1: Wednesday, March 8. 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Valley Shore YMCA

Workshop 2;  Wednesday, March 15, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Valley Shore YMCA

Save your space in this free workshop by calling MCSAAC at 860-347-5959 or email betsey@mcsaac.org.

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Letter to the Editor: Thanks to Many From Literacy Volunteers & Retiring LVVS Executive Director

To the Editor:

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) celebrates a successful year with its Holiday Social each year. During the course of the festivities the organization recognizes one volunteer who, through their efforts embodies the values of the agency and who has made an impact on the success of the organization each year. This year LVVS recognized Barbara Erni of Deep River as its “Unsung Hero.”

We are especially grateful to Alex Foulkes and Wilson Castaneda of the Penny Lane Pub for hosting the event, their generosity in providing the facilities, food and servers and for making our guests feel at home for the holidays.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Steffen who again provided a bounty of delicious desserts along with her helper Paula Ferrara. Special gratitude to Joanne Argersinger, the LVVS Board of Directors, our tutors and all those who made the evening special and who helped celebrate my upcoming retirement. I am so grateful and feel privileged to have been the recipient of their guidance, help and good wishes over the years. I am also humbled by their heartfelt gift and recognition.   

Finally, thanks to State Representative Devin Carney, and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna for taking their time out to share the evening with us. And special thanks to State Senators Art Linares and Paul Formica and to the Connecticut Legislature for their recognition and steadfast support for the cause of literacy.   

John J. Ferrara

Editor’s Note: The author is the Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc.

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Scrabble Done Differently, Feb. 23

Like to play Scrabble? Like to, um, bend the rules? “An Evening of Words with Friends — Minus the Electronics” hosted by Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore might be right up your alley!

Come to the First Congregational Church of Madison Meetinghouse at 27 Meetinghouse Lane, Madison, CT. starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb.23, to enjoy the most unique format you have ever seen and some fun, refreshments and prizes!

A donation of $25 per player is requested. Call Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore at 860-399-0280 or visit vsliteracy.org for information.

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Literacy Volunteers Announce Graduation of Fall Training Class of Tutuors

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is pleased to announce the graduation of the Fall training class of tutors.  Tutors are trained through comprehensive nationally accredited workshop sessions held by Literacy Volunteers. On completion of workshop sessions, trainees receive certification as a tutor and are assigned a mentor for support and guidance.

Trained volunteer tutors are matched with students in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading. Tutors carry out our mission of providing one-on-one tutoring to anyone seeking to improve their English skills.

Through our services, students become acclimated to our culture and language resulting in becoming productive, happy, members of our community. There is no cost to the student.

The 2016 Fall class of tutors consisted of Joseph Hines of Branford, Sara Davis and Peg Reyer of Chester, Muriel Moore and Dr. Susan Seider of Clinton, Chip Lowery, Michele Millham and Ron Repetti of Guilford, Susan Hosack of Essex, Sheila Meyers of Ivoryton, Jeanette Kehoe Allen, Beth Baird, Paul Diwik, Dan Mulvey and Susan Graves of Madison, Kathy Lee of Old Saybrook and Brian Clampet of Westbrook.

Tutor training is underwritten by grants from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County and the Westbrook Foundation.

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Literacy Volunteers Offer Original, Affordable Holiday Gift Idea

bag-of_booksAREAWIDE — In the spirit of affordable giving, Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS), CT, Inc. is having a “Bring a Bag and Fill it for $5” December book promotion on specially selected books. The LVVS bookstore has a large variety of hardcover, paperback, and children’s books that include selections by well-known authors and topics such as gardening, crafts, as well as popular fiction.

Buy a bag full and fill a basket or stocking for a special reader or favorite teacher in your life.  Also, this month, all children and young adults can select a book for free! Encourage your youngster to read with this free book promotion only at Literacy Volunteers.

LVVS is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive. Book sale hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-2:00 and the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 10 am-noon.

Visit www.vsliteracy.org or call at 860-399-0280.  All book sales, promotion or otherwise, benefit the LVVS tutoring programs in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading.

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Literacy Volunteers Offer Sale on Self-Help, Cooking, Gardening, Exercise Books Through January

AREAWIDE — January brings new beginnings and a chance to “double down” on some good things as well. Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) features 50 percent off any cooking, gardening, self-help and exercise books in stock to help you keep those New Year’s Resolutions and the organization is continuing its “$5Bucks-a-Bag” promotion on specially selected books as well.

The LVVS bookstore has a large variety of hardcover, paperback, and children’s books that include selections by well-known authors and topics. 

LVVS is located on the lower level of the Westbrook Library, 61 Goodspeed Drive. Book sale hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. until noon.

Visit www.vsliteracy.org or call 860-399-0280.  All book sales, promotion or otherwise, benefit the LVVS tutoring programs in English as a Second Language or Basic Reading.

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Helpers Needed for Literacy Volunteers Fundraising Events

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) are looking for friendly, outgoing people to serve on their fundraising committee. If you are a creative thinker and can commit to helping organize two events, LVVS would welcome your assistance.

Literacy Volunteers serves 11 valley shore towns through one-on-one tutoring programs of English as a Second Language (ESL) and Basic Reading (BR).  Fundraisers benefit these much needed programs.

For more information or to volunteer, contact LVVS at www.vsliteracy.org  or 860-399-0280.

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Republican State Sen. Linares, Democratic Challenger Needleman Spar in 33rd Senate District Debate

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

A view of the debate stage from the rear of the Valley Regional High School auditorium

AREAWIDE — Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook and his Democratic challenger, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman, sparred Monday in a public debate for the 33rd Senate District contest.

More than 150 voters from the 12 district towns turned out for the 90-minute debate held in the auditorium at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, with the question of which candidate represents the “political class” in Connecticut overshadowing the specific issues where the candidates differed, or nearly as often, concurred.

The session was moderated by Essex Library Director Richard Conroy, who selected questions that had been submitted in advance by district voters.

The debate began with a walk-out by Green Party candidate Colin Bennett of Westbrook. Bennett, who has run previously for the seat and participated in all debates during the 2014 campaign, began with an opening statement where he said his goals are to end hunger, provide access to health care, protect the environment and affirm that black lives matter.

Bennett then claimed that Conroy had attempted to exclude him from the debate based on comments at an Oct. 5 debate in Westbrook where he criticized Needleman and urged people not supporting him to vote for Linares. “I don’t want to be where I am not wanted,” Bennett said before walking off the stage. Linares said later he had told Conroy he would not participate in the debate if Bennett was arbitrarily excluded from the outset.

The term political class entered the discussion soon after the opening statement from Needleman, where the three-term first selectman said he had been urged to run the seat this year by the Senate Democratic leadership because they wanted a candidate with experience in business and municipal government. Needleman said he told party leaders he would not be a rubber stamp, and could become their “worst nightmare,” if elected.

Linares, who was first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, scoffed at the claim, questioning why the Senate leadership would provide Needleman with a full-time campaign manager on leave from the caucus staff if they believed his election would be a nightmare. Linares contended Needleman has been a loyal supporter of Democratic “Governor Dan Malloy and the political class,” contributing funds to Malloy’s two gubernatorial campaigns in 2010 and 2014.

Needleman said Linares is the “career politician,” running for the senate seat at age 23 and laying the groundwork for a future campaign for the 2nd District congressional seat or statewide office.

But despite the sharp exchange, the two rivals agreed on several issues, including support for recently approved incentive package for Sikorsky in Stratford, providing some degree of contract preferences for in-state companies, and reducing, or for Linares eliminating, the estate or inheritance tax. The candidates agreed state employee unions would have to make contract concessions on both wages and pensions if the state faces another large budget deficit in 2017.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night's debate.

From left to right, Norman Needleman (D), incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) and Colin Bennett (Green Party) make their opening statements at Monday night’s debate.

Needleman said his experience negotiating contracts with public employee unions in Essex would be helpful in any discussions with state employee unions, though he questioned whether unions could be forced into concession talks. Linares called for mandatory legislative votes on all union contracts, and suggested a need for “additional leverage” to bring unions to the table. “The unions have not come to the table, we’ve tried that, everyone has tried that,” he said.

The candidates differed somewhat on the question of welcoming refugees from war-torn Syria to Connecticut. Needleman said while “vetting is critical,” an arbitrary exclusion based on a refugee’s country of origin or religion is “un-American.” Linares, whose family fled Cuba in the early 1960s, said he would insist on “clearance from the FBI,” because the United States does not have intelligence capabilities in Syria to screen refugees, including those who reach Europe before possible entry in to the United States.

The candidates also differed on possible increases to the state minimum wage, and gun control measures. Needleman said he supports measured increases in the minimum wage, but believes a hike to $15 per hour, as advocated by some Democrats, “is a very bad idea.’ Linares said he favors a national standard for the minimum wage, suggesting that further increases at the state level would hurt small businesses and cost the state jobs. He said the earned income tax credit is a better way to provide assistance to low income workers.

On gun control, Needleman said he is a “2nd Amendment Democrat,” but favors some additional gun control measures. He criticized Linares for opposing legislation approved earlier this year that allows guns to be seized from persons who are subject to a court restraining order where domestic violence is a factor.

Linares said Needleman is “trying to take both sides of the issue,” by referring to gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. Linares said he opposed the temporary restraining order gun bill because it was an “overreach” that takes away due process for gun owners, and discretion for judges.

The 33rd Senate District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.
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Country School Begins Year on High Note with Jump in Enrollment, New Facilities

A new academic year all-school photo  of The Country School taken on the school's new athletic fields.  Photo by Joseph's Photography, Inc.

A new academic year all-school photo of The Country School taken on the school’s new athletic fields. Photo by Joseph’s Photography, Inc.

AREAWIDE – The Country School kicked off the new school year having reached two major milestones before even opening its doors. This summer, the coeducational, independent day school celebrated the opening of its new, state-of-the-art recreational facility and broke ground on the second phase of Shaping the Future, the school’s 60th anniversary campus transformation plan. At the same time, The Country School opened with the highest new student enrollment increase in more than a decade, the 50 new students marking a 66 percent increase over last year’s number.

The school’s 60th anniversary, celebrated during the 2015-2016 school year, was a banner year at The Country School. More than 300 members of the school community came together to donate nearly $2 million to support the school’s campus transformation project and other 60th Anniversary initiatives, including increased scholarship support and programmatic enhancements. This marked the largest one-year gift total in the school’s 60-year history.

The campus improvements completed this summer include two full-sized, side-by-side athletic fields, a baseball and softball diamond, the four-court Rothberg Tennis Center, a full-sized outdoor basketball court, new playgrounds, a reconfigured ropes course, an enhanced cross country course, and more. With these new and expanded facilities, the school was able to welcome more than 200 students to campus this summer for its Summer Fun and Learning camp programs and also to coordinate with Madison Racquet & Swim Club for USTA tennis matches and tennis lessons. This fall, the town of Madison is using the school’s baseball diamond and RUSH soccer its soccer fields.

Phase 2 of the Shaping the Future project, begun in July, moved vehicular traffic to the periphery of campus, creating a pedestrian village for learning at the center. The plan, designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, enhances academic and collaborative opportunities for students and teachers and makes the traffic pattern simpler and safer for all.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 200 students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child. Signature programs such as Elmore Leadership, Public Speaking, STEAM, and Outdoor Education help prepare students for success in high school and beyond. See our community in action during our Fall Open House on Nov. 6, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Letter to the Editor: Literacy Volunteers Say Thanks to Supporters, Sponsors of Recent Fundraiser

To The Editor:

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore’s Wine and Brew Tasting and Auction benefitting the organization’s tutoring program was a rousing success again this year. The event, held on September 29th at the Saybrook Point Pavilion netted funds that will help L.V.V.S. continue the mission of eradicating illiteracy in the valley shore area well into 2017.

Again this year people and organizations came together in a worthy cause. Special thanks to The Clark Group and Whelen Engineering our title sponsors. We are also indebted to Seaside Wine & Spirits of Old Saybrook who provided the evening’s libations. Event sponsors Tower Laboratories, Murphy and Company CPAs, Bogaert Construction, Guilford Savings Bank, Lyman Real Estate, Bob & Madge Fish and Edward Jones Investments of Clinton also deserve recognition for their support and for their continued belief in us.

I cannot thank Elizabeth Steffen enough. She worked so hard to produce the food for the evening, contributed raffle and auction items and still somehow found time to sell tickets and help set up the venue. Similarly, the efforts of board member Paula Chabot, our event organizer, board members Arcangela Claffey, Barb Erni, Bill Guerra and Linda Liptrot, Board Chairman Jack Smith and Madge Fish insured a wonderful and successful fundraiser.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hard work and extra dedication of Administrative Assistant Joanne Argersinger, volunteer Paula Ferrara and the cooperation of the Old Saybrook Park and Recreation Department.  Thank you all so very much!

Finally, thank you to everyone who shared the evening with us and whose support and generosity will warm our students throughout the remainder of this fall and into the New Year.   

Sincerely,

John J. Ferrara
Executive Director Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc.

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Letter to the Editor: Congratulations to Ann Lander on ‘Beacon Award’ for Literacy Volunteers’ Service

To The Editor:

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore is proud to congratulate Ann Lander for winning a Shore Publishing 2016 Beacon Award. Ann is being recognized for her dedication to Literacy Volunteers as a Workshop Leader, Conversation Social facilitator, Tutor, Student Services Coordinator and volunteer at the organization’s fundraisers. Her selflessness and commitment to helping tutors and students improve lives in our shoreline communities for over twenty seven years makes her more than deserving of this recognition. We are so proud to be associated with someone who has made a life, after improving the lives of area children in her teaching career, improving the lives of children AND adults in her “volunteer” career with Literacy Volunteers.

The Beacon Awards recognize a few outstanding individuals who selflessly step up to help fulfill the Shoreline community’s promise as a place of opportunity, wellbeing, and safety for all. Ms. Lander was officially recognized at the annual Beacon Awards Dinner to be held at Water’s Edge Resort & Spa in Westbrook on September 28th. I am honored to speak for the board, staff, tutors and students of Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore in thanking Ann for her service, congratulating her on this award and in extending our best wishes to her in her future endeavors (although we hope she never leaves!)

Sincerely,

John J. Ferrara,
Westbrook.

Editor’s note: The author is the Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore.

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Estuary’s ‘Shoreline Chefs’ Event at ‘Water’s Edge’ Tomorrow Benefits ‘Meals on Wheels’

shoreline_chefs_2016_posterAREAWIDE — The Estuary Council of Seniors in Old Saybrook will sponsor a major fundraiser  Shoreline Chefs, a delicious way to support Meals on Wheels, on Sunday, Sept. 25, at Water’s Edge Resort & Spa, 1525 Boston Post Road, Westbrook, from 3 to 6 p.m.  This savory event features local professional and notable locals cooking up a storm in small plate tastings.

Twenty chefs are expected to participate.  A Beer Tasting by 30 Mile Brewery is included as well as wine from The Wine Cask. Entertainment will be by the Von Zells.  The special guest is author, creator, and Executive Producer of “Let’s Get Cooking with La Befana and Friends,” Kate West.

Tickets are $40 ($45 at the door) and may be purchased in Old Saybrook at the Estuary Council of Seniors, Harbor Light Realty, Harris Outdoors, Pak-it Of Southeastern CT, and Edd’s Place in Westbrook.

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Linares, Needleman to Debate Tonight at Lyme-Old Lyme HS in Hotly Contested 33rd State Senate Race

Essex First Selectman and Democratic candidate for the 33rd District, Norman Needleman

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (D)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

State Senator Art Linares (R)

AREAWIDE — The Day and the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut are hosting a debate from 7 to 8 p.m. this evening, Thursday, Sept. 22, between the candidates running for the 33rd State Senate District — incumbent Senator Art Linares (R) and Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman (D).

Needleman, who is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003, is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares, who is running for a third term.

Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote.

The 33rd State Senate District consists of the Town of Lyme along with the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

Questions for the debate may be submitted in advance to p.choiniere@theday.com. To watch the debate, visit www.theday.com. It will be live streamed and available for viewing until the election. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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Tickets on Sale Now for Literacy Volunteers Sept. 29 Charity Event

A wine basket like this one will be part of Saturday's Grand Raffle.

A wine basket like this one will be part of Saturday’s Grand Raffle.

AREAWIDE — Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore’s Annual Wine and Brew Tasting and Auction Event is set for Thursday, Sept. 29, at 5:30 p.m. at the Saybrook Pavilion in Old Saybrook.  Sponsors and exciting auction items have been added to the lineup.

Sponsors for the event include Seaside Wine & Spirits of Old Saybrook with the Clark Group as this year’s presenting sponsor.

Tickets are $30 per person for an evening of great wines, beers and wonderful food.  Buy tickets or obtain more information by calling 860-399-0280 or go online to www.vsliteracy.org.

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Valley Shore YMCA Offers Fitness Program for Those With Parkinson’s Disease, Starts Oct. 25

The Parkinson Disease program at the Valley Shore YMCA is led by Mary Charlton (left) and Ellen Nichele (right).

The Wellness Program for people with Parkinson’s Disease program at the Valley Shore YMCA is led by Mary Charlton (left) and Ellen Nichele (right).

AREAWIDE — The Valley Shore YMCA is now offering a wellness program specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s disease led by OhioHealth Delay the Disease-certified instructors Ellen Nichele and Mary Charlton.

Delay the Disease™ is an evidence-based fitness program designed to empower those living with Parkinson’s disease by optimizing their physical function, helping delay the progression of symptoms and improving their mental and emotional realities.

“We are so excited to be able to expand this exciting program across our community,” said Chris Pallatto, Executive Director. “One of the Y’s commitments to our community is to reduce the impact of chronic disease.  Delay the Disease is designed to provide the hope and inspiration people need so that the disease does not define them.”

Participants observe improvement in posture, balance, handwriting, mobility, speech volume and daily functional challenges.

“Our goal is to make the benefits of OhioHealth Delay the Diseases classes available to as many people with Parkinson’s disease as possible,” said Ellen Nichele. “You may have Parkinson’s disease, but it does not have you.”

Classes will be offered from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Oct. 25, at the Valley Shore YMCA. Individuals interested in Delay the Disease classes can contact Nichele at 860-399-9622 ext. 121 or enichele@vsymca.org.

For additional information, visit vsymca.org.

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Lyme First Selectman Eno (R) Endorses Needleman (D) for State Senate

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.

Lyme First Selectman Ralph Eno (left) today endorsed Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for State Senator.

LYME – Today, Lyme Republican First Selectman Ralph Eno endorsed Democratic State Senate Candidate Norm Needleman.

“Although I generally try to avoid all things political, given the state of affairs at the state level, I’ve decided to be more public in terms of of the upcoming state senate race,” said Eno. “Norm has my unequivocal support.”

Eno, a Republican, has served as the first selectman of Lyme since 2007 and, with a brief interlude, for 10 years prior to that.

“Norm has the chief elected official experience at the town level that is crucial to being an effective representative,” Eno continued. “We need more small to mid-level town CEOs in the legislature to stand up to laws in Hartford that have terrible unintended consequences for our towns. His work in the public sector paired with his experience as a tried and true business person gives him a leg up to make sure we have the best possible representation given our state’s budget problems.”

“I am endorsing Norm, who is far and away the most qualified candidate for State Senate,” said Eno. “I know him as a man that is collaborative instead of adversarial. He will not be tethered to his political party. He will work on both sides of the aisle and be a team player. And he will be honest with you even when you disagree.”

Norm Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing business. As CEO, he has built the business over the past 37 years to become a leader in its segment, employing 150 people at facilities in Essex and Clinton.

“Ralph has been a great example for me on how to run a small town,” said Norm Needleman. “He’s hands on, hard-working, honest, and always involved. He knows what it takes to run a municipality. It means a tremendous amount to me to receive this endorsement from a man I have viewed as a mentor in so many ways.”

Needleman is in his third term as first selectman of Essex and was first elected as a Selectman in 2003.

“This district has 12 towns with a lot in common and Ralph and I share a common perspective,” continued Needleman. “We both understand the perspective of small towns, the importance of home rule, and that we need fewer mandates and rules from Hartford.”

Needleman is challenging incumbent State Senator Art Linares, who is running for a third term and like Eno, is a Republican. Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote.

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

Click here for audio of the event: http://norm.vote/eno.mp3.

Click here for photos of the event: http://bit.ly/2bZWKDT.

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Public Hearings on Proposed Shoreline East, Metro North Fare Hikes Held in Old Saybrook

Shoreline_East_logoMTA logoAREAWIDE — The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT) is proposing to increase public transit fares for the New Haven Line (Metro North) and Shore Line East rail services.  For example, the proposed one-way fare on Shoreline East from Old Saybrook to New Haven would rise on Dec. 1, 2016, from $6.75 to $7.25.  Similarly, the proposed one-way peak fare on Metro North from New Haven to Grand Central would rise from $22.00 to $23.50 and off-peak from $16.50 to $17.50.

The Department will be holding public hearings to receive comments on the proposed fare changes. Those nearest to Chester, Deep River and Essex, will be on Thursday,  Sept. 1, at Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main St., Old Saybrook from 4 to 6 p.m. and then later on the same evening from 7 to 9 p.m.

The CT DOT is also planning to increase fares for CTtransit and CTfastrak local and express bus services, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit services with effect from Dec. 4, 2016, and to amend the tariffs for bus services to allow for the implementation of a new account-based smart card fare payment system (effective on or after Dec. 1, 2016).

Some other notable proposed increases include:

Old Saybrook to New Haven, ten-trip: $60.75 to $65.25
Old Saybrook to New Haven, monthly: $142.00 to $152.25
Westbrook to New Haven, one-way: $6.25 to $6.50
Westbrook to New Haven, ten-trip: $56.25 to $58.50
Westbrook to New Haven, monthly: $129.00 to $136.50
New Haven to Grand Central, weekly: $149.50 to $158.50
New Haven to Grand Central, monthly: $467.00 to $495.00

To see the proposed increases for Shoreline East fares, click here.
To see the proposed increases for Metro-North New Haven line fares to and from Grand Central Station, click here.
To see the proposed increases for Metro-North New Haven line fares to and from intermediate stations, click here.
To see the proposed increases for CTtransit and CTfastrak fares, click here.

In the event that you are unable to appear in person, you are encouraged to email comments to the DOT at dot.farecomments@ct.gov or through the DOT’s website.

Comments may also be mailed to:
Comment on Fare Changes
Bureau of Public Transportation
2800 Berlin Turnpike
P.O. Box 317546
Newington, CT 06131-7546

The comment period closes Sept. 15, 2016.

In the event you cannot make the public hearing in Old Saybrook and would like to testify in person, see the additional dates and locations below for future public hearings.

Wednesday, Sept. 7
4 pm – 7 pm
Hartford
Hartford Public Library
500 Main Street

Tuesday, Sept. 13
11 am – 2 pm
Meriden
Meriden Town Hall
City Council Chamber
142 East Main Street

Tuesday, Sept. 13
Waterbury
4 pm – 7 pm
Silas Bronson Library
267 Grand Street

Wednesday, Sept. 14
4 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm
Stamford
UConn Stamford Campus Auditorium
One University Place

Thursday, Sept. 15
4 pm – 6 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm
New Haven
New Haven Hall of Records, Room G-2
200 Orange Street

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) also invites readers to raise any questions or comments directly with him at devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423.

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