January 31, 2023

Town Picnic Honors 2011 Chester Pillars this Sunday

Six Chester residents form the 2011 class of Chester Pillars — selected for work that has helped improve the quality of life in our community. They will be honored at a town-wide picnic (bring your blankets and baskets) at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, August 14, at the Meeting House.

Honorees are Bruce Watrous, Peter Walker, Beth Mularski, Nancy Freeborn, Lauren Agnelli and Matthew Male.

Live music will be provided by several musicians who have played in the Small Town Concert Series. The Chester Hose Company will once again provide grills for public use. In case of rain (perish the thought), the festivities will be held inside the Meeting House.

For more information, call Suzanne at 860.526.9401.

No Primaries for Municipal Offices in Chester, Deep River or Essex

Despite caucus contests for some top party nominations, there will be no primaries for positions on the municipal election ballots in Chester, Deep River, or Essex.

Town clerks in the three towns reported Wednesday that no one had filed petitions for the Sept. 13 municipal primary date by the 4 p.m. deadline.  Likewise, no petition candidates emerged for any of the top municipal petitions by the Wednesday deadline.
There were contests for party nominations in Deep River and Essex. In Deep River, former selectman and Democratic Town committee endorsed candidate Russell Marth was edged for the board of selectmen nomination at the July 20 Democratic caucus by planning and zoning commission member Angus McDonald Jr. McDonald defeated Marth at the caucus on an 18-15 paper ballot vote, but Marth, who served a single term on the board of selectmen from 2007-2009 after winning election in 2007 as the nominee of the Deep River Independent Party, decided not to contest MacDonald in a primary.

There will be no contests Nov. 8 for the board of selectmen in Deep River, with Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith uncontested for a record 12th term.  Incumbent Republican Selectman David Oliveria is seeking a second term and McDonald is on the ballot as Smith’s Democratic running-mate.

In Essex, Democratic Selectman Norman Needleman and running-mate Stacia Libby will face off in the Nov. 8 election with Republican nominee Bruce MacMillian and one-term Republican Selectman Joel Marzi. Democratic First Selectman Phil Miller, in office since 2003, is not seeking re-election.

Needleman and Libby, a former Republican, were challenged at the July 25 Essex Democratic Town Committee endorsement session by Anthony Chirico and Linda Savitsky, but Chirico and Savitsky pledged that evening not to wage a primary after Needleman and Libby won the committee endorsement. MacMillian was challenged at the July 20 Republican caucus by Leigh Rankin, but Rankin pledged not to wage a primary after MacMillan won the caucus on a 36-24 paper ballot vote.

In Chester, Democrat Edmund Meehan is competing for the open first selectman seat with Andrew Landsman, running as the nominee of the Chester Common Ground Party. There is a Nov. 8 contest for board of selectmen between Incumbent Democratic Selectman Lawrence Sypher, incumbent Republican Selectman Tom Englert, and Glen Ryer, running as the selectman nominee of the Chester Common Ground Party.

Chester Republicans did not nominate a candidate for first selectman to succeed three-term Republican-turned Independent First Selectman Tom Marsh, who resigned Aug. 1 to become town manager in Windsor, Vt. Republicans had nominated only a partial Nov. 8 election slate at the July 25 caucus, and indicated they would seek to fill out their slate with additional candidates nominated through a primary petition. But Town Clerk Debra Calamari reported there were no petitions filed for additional Republican candidates by the Wednesday deadline.

Chester Holiday Night Festival and Town Tree Lighting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chester Organic Market Proposal Withdrawn

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

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

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

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

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

High Spirits at “The Come Home to Chester Days”

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

Crowds outside the Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A live band welcomes visitors to C+G

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

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

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

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

The Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery

As the Sign Says - Everything Was Open!

All photos and reporting courtesy of Lauren Dickey

The Annual “Come Home to Chester Days”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

36 Main Street
(800) 270-0900

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dina Varano
27 Main Street
(860) 526-8866

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

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

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

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

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

eo art lab
69 main street

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

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

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

“Three Cups of Tea” at Chester Library

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

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

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

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

Barn Celebration during ‘Come Home to Chester Weekend’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There will be time for questions and answers.

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

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

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

Chester Selectmen to Make Decision on Assessor as Labor Complaint Looms

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

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

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

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