November 18, 2017

“The 39 Steps,” Zany Spoof of Hitchcock Movies, Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse

Dan Fenaughty and Larissa Klinger. Photo by Ivoryton Playhouse

Dan Fenaughty and Larissa Klinger. Photo by Ivoryton Playhouse

Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have “The 39 Steps,” a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theater! This two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with nonstop laughs, over 150 zany characters (played by a ridiculously talented cast of four), an on-stage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers and some good old-fashioned romance!

“The 39 Steps” is set in England, just before the war. A young man bored with life meets a woman with a mysterious accent who says she’s a spy and needs to take refuge in his apartment. Murder and mayhem soon follow as our hero is chased across the wild and wooly British countryside, meeting a host of ridiculous characters and climaxing in a death-defying finale! A riotous blend of virtuoso performances and wildly inventive stagecraft, “The 39 Steps” amounts to an unforgettable evening of pure pleasure!

The first version of the play was written by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon for a cast of four actors and funded by a £1,000 Yorkshire Arts Grant. It premiered in 1995 at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, North Yorkshire, before embarking on a tour of village halls across the north of England. In 2005, Patrick Barlow rewrote the script, keeping the scenes, staging and small-scale feel, and in June 2005 this re-adaption premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. In 2006, it opened in the West End and in 2008 it premiered on Broadway to rave reviews. The New York Times proclaimed, “Theatre at its finest!… Absurdly enjoyable! This gleefully theatrical riff on Hitchcock’s film is fast and frothy, performed by a cast of four that seems like a cast of thousands.”

This production introduces Ivoryton audiences to the husband and wife team of Dan Fenaughty and Larissa Klinger, who have both performed these roles before in the national tour. The clowns are played by Ivoryton favorite, David Edwards, and Jonathan Brody, making his Ivoryton debut. All four actors are members of Actors Equity. The play is directed by Erik Bloomquist, a two-time Emmy-nominated writer/director/producer and former Top 200 Director on Project Greenlight. Erik is currently in post-production on the television adaptation of “The Cobblestone Corridor,” a seriocomic mystery series based on his internationally acclaimed short film of the same name. The set design is by Dan Nischan, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Cully Long.

“The 39 Steps” opened at the Ivoryton Playhouse on June 1 and runs through June 19. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $44 for adults; $39 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Ticket prices go up on June 1 to $50 for adults and $45 for seniors, so purchase tickets now for all the summer shows for the best prices. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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They’re Everywhere! All About Gypsy Moth Caterpillars — Advice from CT Agricultural Experiment Station

Gypsy moth caterpillar

Gypsy moth caterpillars – photo by Peter Trenchard, CAES.

The potential for gypsy moth outbreak exists every year in our community.

Dr. Kirby Stafford III, head of the Department of Entomology at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, has written a fact sheet on the gypsy moth available on the CAES website. The following information is from this fact sheet.

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, was introduced into the US (Massachusetts) by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot in about 1860. The escaped larvae led to small outbreaks in the area in 1882, increasing rapidly. It was first detected in Connecticut in 1905. By 1952, it had spread to 169 towns. In 1981, 1.5 million acres were defoliated in Connecticut. During the outbreak of 1989, CAES scientists discovered that an entomopathogenic fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, was killing the caterpillars. Since then the fungus has been the most important agent suppressing gypsy moth activity.

The fungus, however, cannot prevent all outbreaks and hotspots have been reported in some areas, in 2005-06 and again in 2015.

The life cycle of the gypsy moth is one generation a year. Caterpillars hatch from buff-colored egg masses in late April to early May. An egg mass may contain 100 to more than 1000 eggs and are laid in several layers. The caterpillars (larvae) hatch a few days later and ascend the host trees and begin to feed on new leaves. The young caterpillars, buff to black-colored, lay down silk safety lines as they crawl and, as they drop from branches on these threads, they may be picked up on the wind and spread.

There are four or five larval stages (instars) each lasting 4-10 days. Instars 1-3 remain in the trees. The fourth instar caterpillars, with distinctive double rows of blue and red spots, crawl up and down the tree trunks feeding mainly at night. They seek cool, shaded protective sites during the day, often on the ground. If the outbreak is dense, caterpillars may feed continuously and crawl at any time.

With the feeding completed late June to early July, caterpillars seek a protected place to pupate and transform into a moth in about 10-14 days. Male moths are brown and fly. Female moths are white and cannot fly despite having wings. They do not feed and live for only 6-10 days. After mating, the female will lay a single egg mass and die. The egg masses can be laid anywhere: trees, fence posts, brick/rock walls, outdoor furniture, cars, recreational vehicles, firewood. The egg masses are hard. The eggs will survive the winter and larvae hatch the following spring during late April through early May.

The impact of the gypsy moth can be extensive since the caterpillar will feed on a wide diversity of trees and shrubs. Oak trees are their preferred food. Other favored tree species include apple, birch, poplar and willow. If the infestation is heavy, they will also attack certain conifers and other less favored species. The feeding causes extensive defoliation.

Healthy trees can generally withstand one or two partial to one complete defoliation. Trees will regrow leaves before the end of the summer. Nonetheless, there can be die-back of branches. Older trees may become more vulnerable to stress after defoliation. Weakened trees can also be attacked by other organisms or lack energy reserves for winter dormancy and growth during the following spring. Three years of heavy defoliation may result in high oak mortality.

The gypsy moth caterpillars drop leaf fragments and frass (droppings) while feeding creating a mess for decks, patios, outdoor furniture, cars and driveways. Crawling caterpillars can be a nuisance and their hairs irritating. The egg masses can be transported by vehicles to areas where the moth is not yet established. Under state quarantine laws, the CAES inspects certain plant shipments destined to areas free of the gypsy moth, particularly for egg masses.

There are several ways to manage the gypsy moth: biological, physical and chemical.

Biologically, the major gypsy moth control agent has been the fungus E. maimaiga. This fungus can provide complete control of the gypsy moth but is dependent on early season moisture from rains in May and June to achieve effective infection rates and propagation of the fungus to other caterpillars. The dry spring of 2015 resulted in little or no apparent fungal inoculation or spread until it killed late-stage caterpillars in some areas of the state, after most defoliation.

Infected caterpillars hang vertically from the tree trunk, head down. Some die in an upside down “V” position, a characteristic of caterpillars killed by the less common gypsy moth nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV). This was not detected in caterpillars examined in 2015.

Physical controls include removing and destroying egg masses, which can be drowned in a soapy water and disposed of. Another method is to use burlap refuge/barrier bands wrapped around tree trunks so that migrating caterpillars will crawl into or under the folded burlap or be trapped by the sticky band.

There are a number of crop protection chemicals labeled for the control of gypsy moth on ornamental trees and shrubs. There are treatments for egg masses, larvae and adult moths. Detailed information about these chemical treatments is available in the CAES factsheet.

For complete information about the gypsy moth and its management, visit the CAES website and look for the fact sheet on gypsy moth.

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Law Enforcement Officers to Carry Torch for Special Olympics Across CT, June 8-10

LETR_Mark_Connecticut_Color_1.1The 30th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut will take place Wednesday through Friday, June 8 through 10, in communities across the state. Officers will volunteer their time to serve as torchbearers and carry the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” through their towns and cities to raise awareness and funds to benefit Special Olympics athletes and inspire communities to accept and respect people of all abilities. To find out more about the Law Enforcement Torch Run, including dates and times it will be coming through your town, visit www.soct.org.

Over 1,500 local law enforcement officers are expected to participate in the Run, along with Special Olympics athletes in some areas, and cover more than 530 miles. Spectators are encouraged to come out and cheer on their local officers and show their support for the Special Olympics movement. In addition, and also to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Torch Run in Connecticut, rallies will take place at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Day 1 and at the State Capitol on Day 2 of the Run.

The three-day event will conclude at Southern Connecticut State University on Friday, June 10, when officers will run a “Final Leg” into Jess Dow Field on the university’s campus and light the ceremonial cauldron during Opening Ceremonies for the 2016 Special Olympics Connecticut Summer Games, which begin at 7:15 p.m.

Over 2,400 athletes and Unified Sport® partners are expected to participate in Summer Games and compete in cycling, swimming, soccer, tennis and track & field throughout the weekend at Southern Connecticut State University, 501 Crescent Avenue, New Haven and Hamden Hall Athletic Fields, 225 Skiff Street, Hamden. The public is invited and encouraged to attend Opening Ceremonies and Summer Games events throughout the weekend at no cost.

For more information about the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Connecticut, visit www.soct.org, email specialolympicsct@soct or call 203-230-1201. And, follow Special Olympics Connecticut and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Law Enforcement Torch Run Platinum Sponsor include Dream Ride, JN Phillips Auto Glass, The Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund, Whelen Engineering and WWE. Gold Sponsors are Adams Hometown Markets / IGA Hometown Supermarkets and Papa’s Dodge. Media Sponsors are NBC Connecticut, iHeart Radio Connecticut and the New Haven Register.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Connecticut is one of the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicles. This year-round program involves law enforcement officers from across the state who volunteer their time to raise awareness and funds through events including Tip-a-Cops, Cop-on-Tops, and Jail N’ Bail fundraisers.In addition, each year in June, over 1,500 officers and athletes carry the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” through hundreds of cities and towns across the state, and run the Final Leg as part of Opening Ceremonies for the Special Olympics Connecticut Summer Games.

 

 

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Essex Wellness Center Hosts Free Talk, Discussion on Prescription Drug Abuse, This Afternoon

Joanna Crowell, LPC, LADC

Joanna Crowell, LPC, LADC

ESSEX — Abuse of prescription painkillers and opioid drugs has become an epidemic that has worked its way into many Connecticut families.

On Saturday, May 21, at the Essex Wellness Center from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Joanna Crowell, LPC, LADC, psychotherapist, drug and alcohol counselor, will talk about abuse of certain medications – opioids, central nervous system depressants and stimulants – and adverse health effects, including addiction, accidental overdose and death.

When people lose their access to prescription narcotics, they often turn to heroin in both affluent suburbs and inner cities alike. Addiction to prescription painkillers is common and dangerous.

Join this open dialogue and candid discussion that includes a variety of treatment options available to begin the healing process for people in trouble. This event is free, but preregistration is required as space is limited. Call 860-767-7770 or email info@essexwellnessctr.com.

This program is part of Essex Wellness Center’s free Live Well Lecture series. Essex Wellness Center is at 8 Novelty Lane (upstairs), Essex Village.

 

 

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Cappella Cantorum Presents Men’s Chorus Concert, June 11

Cappella CantorumCappella Cantorum Men’s Chorus presents its annual concert on Saturday, June 11, at 8 p.m., at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Rd. Old Saybrook.

The music will include “For the Beauty of the Earth,” “Rutter,” selections from “Guys & Dolls,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Men of Harlech,” “Ride the Chariot,” “Va Pensiero” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Tickets are $20 (age 18 and under are free) and can be purchased at the door or through CappellaCantorum.org. Contact Barry at 860-388-2871 for more information.

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New Location in Old Lyme Announced for CT Valley Camera Club Meetings

“Within a Water Drop” by Diane Roberts, one of the photographs to be exhibited by the CT Valley Camera Club in Chester.

“Within a Water Drop” by Diane Roberts, one of the photographs to be exhibited by the CT Valley Camera Club in Chester.

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club will host all future meetings at the Lymes’ Senior Center on Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of every month. Meetings and exhibits are free and open to the public.

The club will be exhibiting at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek through July 23. Join club members for the opening reception to be held on Sunday, May 15, from 3 to 5 p.m. at 55 East Kings Highway, Chester.

For further information, call Ed McCaffrey at 860-767-3521.

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Enjoy a Tour of Private Gardens in Essex, June 4

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

See this beautiful private garden in Essex on June 4.

ESSEX – On Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., plan to stroll through eight of the loveliest and most unusual private gardens in Essex. Some are in the heart of Essex Village while others are hidden along lanes most visitors never see. While exploring, you will find both formal and informal settings, lovely sweeping lawns and panoramic views of the Connecticut River or its coves. One garden you will visit is considered to be a ‘laboratory’ for cultivation of native plants. Master Gardeners will be available to point out specific features, offer gardening tips, and answer questions.

The garden tour is sponsored by the Friends of the Essex Library. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the Essex Library the day of the event. Cash, checks, Visa or Master Card will be accepted. Tickets can be reserved by visiting the library or by completing the form included in flyers available at the library and throughout Essex beginning May 2. Completed forms can be mailed to the library. Confirmations will be sent to the email addresses on the completed forms.

Your ticket will be a booklet containing a brief description of each garden along with a map of the tour and designated parking. Tickets must be picked up at the library beginning at 9:45 a.m. the day of the event.

Richard Conroy, library director, has said, “The Essex Library receives only about half of its operating revenue from the Town. The financial assistance we receive each year from the Friends is critical. It enables us to provide important resources such as Ancestry.com and museum passes, as well as practical improvements like the automatic front doors that were recently installed. I urge you to help your Library by helping our Friends make this event a success! Thank you for your support.”

The tour will take place rain or shine. For more information, call 860-767-1560. All proceeds will benefit Friends of the Essex Library.

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AAUW Offers Education Grants to Area Women

The Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) is offering a $2000 grant to women who are pursuing undergraduate education. Successful applicants will be awarded $1000 upon registration for the fall semester and $1000 upon successful academic performance and registration for the spring semester. Recipients will be chosen on the basis of personal goals, academic performance and financial need.

Applicants must be 21 years of age or older, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, be pursuing an associate or bachelor degree from an accredited college or university, and reside in Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook or Westbrook.

Applications must be postmarked by May 30. Grants will be announced by July 1.

The American Association of University Women is a national organization whose mission, since its founding in 1881, is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

For information or an application, contact Carolyn Cohen at 860-526-8209 or lcvaauw@gmail.com.

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Areawide Firehouse Food Drive to Benefit Shoreline Soup Kitchens, Saturday

SSKP_FHFD_image_2016

AREAWIDE – For the fifth year, local fire departments are hosting an areawide food drive to collect non-perishable food for area residents in need. The fire stations will be open to receive donations on Saturday, April 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The donations will go to local food pantries run by the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP).

SSKP hopes to include as many fire departments as possible in the 11 shoreline towns they serve. So far, the Old Saybrook, Chester, Essex, Clinton and Westbrook fire departments have committed to the event. All fire departments are welcome to participate.

At a time of year when food donations are low, this food will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our communities will have a place at the table. Last year’s drive raised 5,200 pounds of food.

Join the effort by bringing your donation to a participating firehouse on April 2.

The most needed items are:

Canned meats (tuna, chicken, salmon)

Canned fruits & vegetables

Peanut butter

Canned & boxed meals

Canned or dried beans

Pasta & rice

Cereal

Items not accepted:

Rusty or unlabeled cans

Perishable items

Homemade ttems

Noncommercial packaged or canned items

Alcoholic beverages & mixes

Open or used items

For more information, call (860) 388-1988, email cbellerjeau@shorelinesoupkitchens.org or visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

Editor’s Note: 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. Founded 27 years ago, in 1989, at the Baptist Church in Essex, the agency continues in its mission to feed the hungry in body and spirit. Last year with a small staff and over 900 dedicated volunteers, SSKP served enough food for over one million meals to shoreline neighbors in need.

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Area Students Win Country School Poetry Recitation

Phineas Scott recites his winning poem.

Phineas Scott recites his winning poem.

A panel of judges awarded first place in The Country School’s 60th Anniversary Lois MacLane Poetry Recitation to Phineas Scott, a sixth grader from Haddam. Phineas won the top honors for his masterful presentation of Wilderness by Carl Sandburg.

First held on April 26, 1957, the Lois MacLane Poetry Recitation was created by David T. MacLane, the school’s first headmaster, in honor of his sister, Lois. Each year since 1957, the entire student body has selected, memorized, and recited a poem before an audience. The youngest students recite in groups, and starting in Kindergarten, they recite individually. In Grades 5-8, the recitation is juried, with the top reciters from each grade selected to compete in the finals.

This year, 25 students competed in the finals. Judges, who included previous MacLane winners and finalists, parents of former finalists, and a former Head of School, awarded second place to eighth grader Livi Redding of Branford, reciting I Had a Guinea Golden by Emily Dickinson. Willa Wurzbach, a fifth grader from Killingworth, was awarded third place for her recitation of Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

Among the other finalists were Andre Salkin from Old Lyme, grade 8, and Philip Warren from Old Saybrook, grade 5.

The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison.

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Vista Changes Its Name to Better Reflect Its Expanded Services and Programs

Vista student Julia Kane, Chief Executive Officer Helen Bosch and member Rachael Hoskin (L-R) proudly show off the new organizational logo. Photo: Vanessa Pereira

Vista student Julia Kane, Chief Executive Officer Helen Bosch and member Rachael Hoskin (L-R) proudly show off the new organizational logo. Photo: Vanessa Pereira

Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center, an organization dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities achieve personal success for more than 25 years, will soon take on a new name, Vista Life Innovations.

The name change is part of a long planned rebranding initiative to better align Vista’s name with its expanded service and program offerings.

“Over the past 25 years, Vista has become more than a vocational and life skills center,” said Vista’s Chief Executive Officer Helen Bosch. “We now offer a wide array of services—such as arts programming, benefits and advocacy counseling, and recreation—and we wanted a name that represented who we are as a whole.”

Vista leadership and members of its Board of Directors worked together to come up with a name that reflected the organization’s values, while describing what Vista is without focusing on specific aspects of the program.

Although its name will change, Vista’s mission and focus remain the same. For that reason, it was important that “Vista” remain in the name.

“Our scope of services has changed but we are fundamentally the same—an organization that provides services and programming for individuals with disabilities so they may achieve success,” said Bosch.

The new organizational name will go into effect the week of Feb. 15, along with the launch of a new website.

With campuses in Westbrook, Madison and Guilford, Vista is a community-based education program accredited by the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services. Last year, the organization provided services to more than 300 individuals and their families.

Editor’s Note: Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center 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.vistavocational.org.

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Vista Performs “Pirates of Penzance” May 20-22

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“The Pirates of Penzance” will run May 20 through May 22 at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center — The Kate — in Old Saybrook. Pat Souney will direct.

Editor’s Note: Based in Madison and Westbrook, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center 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, visit www.vistavocational.org.

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‘Frost at the Farm’ Program Returns to Bushnell Farm This Afternoon

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Walter Woodward, State Historian and Robert Frost scholar will return to Bushnell Farm on Sunday, Oct. 4,  for the ‘Frost at the Farm’ program.

Walter Woodward, State Historian and Robert Frost scholar, will return to Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 4 p.m. for the program Frost at the Farm. The program, which includes Robert Frost’s poetry and music, is free and open to the public with on-site parking at 1445 Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook.

This well-reviewed program includes Woodward’s reading, appreciation and sometimes musical interpretation of New England’s favorite poet. Bring your own chair if the weather is fair for this outdoor program; in the case of rain, folding chairs will be set up in the barn.

'Frost at the Farm' will be held Sunday at Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook.

‘Frost at the Farm’ will be held Sunday at Bushnell Farm in Old Saybrook.

The fields, stone walls and apple trees of this 17th century farm are the perfect setting for this outdoor appreciation of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, who contributed so many memorable lines to the American lexicon. The private, 1678 Bushnell Farm is owned by Herb and Sherry Clark of Essex and is open seasonally for public programs. The buildings will next be open on Nov. 7, for the annual Harvest Home event.

Dr. Walter Woodward is an author of scholarly works and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. As State Historian he works with the Connecticut Humanities Council, the Museum of Connecticut History, teachers through the Connecticut Council for Social Studies, and many other organizations. A long-time admirer of Robert Frost, Woodward admits to being an English major in his younger years. Woodward is also an Emmy Award-winning songwriter, who plays guitar. This year he will be joined by a musical foursome, his Band of Steady Habits.

Robert Frost was a four time Pulitzer Prize winner for volumes of his poetry. Although somewhat under-appreciated today, Frost made the phrases, “Good fences make good neighbors” and “Home is the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in,” part of the language. Time magazine called “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” one of the loveliest poems ever written. His poems are said to begin with delight and end with wisdom.

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River COG Announces ‘GrowSMART’ Project to Develop Lower CT River Valley’s Economic Growth Strategy

growsmart logo

Have you heard of RiverCOG?

It’s an acronym for the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, which is an association of 17 towns with each represented by its chief elected official. Its mission involves facilitating solutions and planning between the 17 towns, the State of Connecticut, federal agencies, and nonprofits for land use, transportation, agriculture, emergency management, conservation, and economic development.

One of its key goals is to encourage a safe and open venue to discuss shared regional options and projects. Fulfilling this mission had led RiverCOG to launch a new and exciting project titled, GrowSMART. The purpose of GrowSMART is to research how the region can collaborate to attract workers, and retain and grow businesses while also conserving the natural resources that are so vital to the region’s infrastructure, housing values, and tourism industry.

factory_signAs you drive, walk, or bike around the region in September and October, you will start to notice signs, posters and banners around town such as the one shown to the left or see an advertisements while reading a local newspaper or local online news. The signs or advertisements may ask a question, such as: “Why can’t you find qualified help?” or “Who is going to buy your house”?

Why is RiverCOG asking these questions?

The answer is that its Regional Strategic Economic Growth Committee is working with Ninigret Partners to create a regional economic growth strategy and is seeking your input. RiverCOG invites you to visit the project website at www.GrowSMARTregion.org to learn about its travelling mobile workshop and note dates of the upcoming public forums to which all are welcome

There is also an opportunity at the www.GrowSMARTregion.org website to submit your ideas directly.

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CIRMA Recognizes Estuary Transit District for Promoting Risk Management as an Organizational Priority

town_transit_busThe Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) presented a 2015 Risk Management Achievement Award to the Estuary Transit District for making risk management an organizational priority. Their efforts, led by the District’s Director Joseph Commerford, created a culture focused on the safety of its employees and passengers.

The District established broad-based programs to reduce loss costs, including creating a formal Return-to-Work program, performing facility assessments, reviewing incident reports to identify root causes, and revising procedures.

The achievement award was presented to the Estuary Transit District at CIRMA’s May 22 awards ceremony. CIRMA, the state’s leading municipal insurer, is a member-owned and governed organization that works to empower municipalities, public schools, and local public agencies to better manage risk.

David Demchak, Senior Vice President of CIRMA, said to the audience of almost 100 municipal and school leaders, “Our awards program acknowledges the organizational and the personal commitment our members have made to protect their fellow employees from injury, protect property, and to keep Connecticut’s communities safe.”

CIRMA’s mission is to reduce losses and their costs by improving its members’ understanding of risk and the ways to manage it. CIRMA’s Risk Management Achievement Awards program was begun in 1981 to recognize the risk management and safety initiatives that prevent accidents and make positive improvements in Connecticut communities.

The program has expanded over the years, recognizing achievements in such areas as property management and sustained results. The program provides CIRMA members a forum in which they can share ideas and learn new methods to reduce losses.

CIRMA, owned and governed by its members, operates two risk-sharing pools: the Workers’ Compensation Pool and the Liability-Automobile-Property Pool. It also provides risk management services to self- insured municipalities and local public agencies. Today, CIRMA’s membership includes over 85 percent of the state’s municipalities and has Premiums of $90 million and Assets under management of over $360 million.

For more information about CIRMA’s Risk Management Achievement Award Program, contact George Tammaro, CIRMA Risk Management Supervisor, at gtammaro@ccm-ct.org, or visit www.CIRMA.org.

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Acton Library Hosts Three Job Search Boot Camp Sessions; First on Interview Questions, June 29

CTWORKS Job Search Boot Camp will be held at Acton Public Library in Old Saybrook on three dates this summer as follows:

  • Monday, June 29: to discuss interview questions
  • Monday, July 27 :to discuss job search tools
  • Monday, Aug. 31: to discuss questions to ask employers during the interview

Boot Camp brings area people together who are unemployed or in career transition. These programs are free and presented by CTWORKS.

To register, call the Library 860-395-3184 or email TSells.ctwbs@ct.gov or for more information visit the library online at www.actonpubliclibrary.org.

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Registration Open for Fundraising Valley Shore Y Golf Tournament to be Held July 20

East-Lyme-AS-EnrichmentThe 24th annual Valley Shore Y Golf Classic will be held Monday, July 20, at the Clinton Country Club.

The 24th annual Valley Shore Y Golf Classic will be held Monday, July 20, at the Clinton Country Club.

The event helps raise funds for the YMCA’s Annual Campaign supporting the Y’s scholarships and community health initiatives, which truly impact families in our community. The goal of the tournament is to raise enough funds to ensure no one is turned away from any Y program for the inability to pay.

The foursome entry fee is $1,000 and individual fee is $250. Each entry includes:

  • 18 holes of golf, with a cart for four
  • Buffet lunch
  • Dinner
  • On Course Beverages
  • Prizes and Awards such as Hot Ball Raffle and Hole in One for a car
  • Individual and team prizes
  • Putting Contest

Golfers may find registration information at http://vsymca.org/golf-classic/. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

For additional information, contact Tony Sharillo at tsharillo@vsymca.org or 860.399.9622 ext. 107.

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Community Music School Presents Two Spring Concerts Featuring Three Musical Groups, June 14

The New Horizons band gather for a photo.

The New Horizons band gather for a photo.

The Community Music School (CMS) presents two spring concerts featuring performing ensembles on Sunday, June 14.

Under the direction of Karli Gilbertson, Glee for Grownups presents, “80’s Broadway Extravaganza,” at 1 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Centerbrook. Accompanied by Sue Sweeney, members will perform solo and ensemble pieces. These vocalists rehearse throughout the semester and never disappoint with a fun and lively concert.

Also, on the same day, the New Horizons Band and Baroque Ensemble perform a Concert in the Park at the Gazebo at Deep River Landing at 4 p.m.

The New Horizons Band is a supportive group for beginners or those who have not played an instrument in years. Directed by Paddy Hurley, the group will perform a varied program of marches, Patriotic music, pop and rock, including performances by their Woodwind Ensemble and Brass Quintet.

The Baroque Ensemble is a 12-piece string group comprised of core members of the CMS String Ensemble and directed by Martha Herrle, and they will be playing works by Vivaldi, Bach and more. The rain location for this concert is the Centerbrook Meetinghouse, 51 Main St., Centerbrook.

Both concerts are free and open to the public. Come and meet the directors and members of each ensemble to find out more about the programs.

The CMS offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30-year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. Community Music School programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so that they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives. Visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026 for program information.

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Action-Oriented Old Saybrook Chamber Bolsters Business Environment

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The Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce building serves as a ‘gateway’ to Main Street.

The Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce building serves as a ‘gateway’ to Main Street.

Founded in 1939, the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2014. The more than 500 members are the driving force behind the organization and also form its strong volunteer base. These, in turn, support the Chamber’s two full time employees, Executive Director Judy Sullivan and Member Services Manager Karen Pinette.

Sullivan explains, “Our job is to promote Old Saybrook as a place to work and live and play.” Composed of a diverse group of nonprofits, retail companies, insurance companies, banks, and more, the Chamber unites under their common goals of advancing the economic vitality and improving the quality of life in the community, as well as bringing businesses and new jobs to town.

Executive Director Judy Sullivan

Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judy Sullivan takes a brief break from her work.

With about 25 percent of Old Saybrook businesses as members, the Chamber accomplishes its ambitious goals through a variety of community events including educational programs on topics ranging from networking and email marketing software to social media publicity and customer service. The Chamber also sponsors an annual Chili-Fest to fund the college scholarship program it runs for students resident in Old Saybrook or children of Chamber members, as well as an annual Arts and Crafts Festival, which is being held this year on July 25 and 26.

In addition, the Chamber has initiated the Chamber Mail program by which every new resident receives information about surrounding businesses, and runs the Chamber Dollars program, a gift certificate program involving over 50 businesses. The Chamber also works frequently with nonprofits on community-oriented projects.

Judy&Karen_at_desks_800

The smiling faces of Executive Director Judy Sullivan (left) and Membership Services Manager Karen Pinette greet visitors to the light and airy Chamber building.

An important aspect of the Chamber is that they serve as a link between businesses and governments to facilitate lines of communication. Most recently, at ‘Connecticut Business Day at the Capitol,’ Old Saybrook Chamber representatives spoke to senators and representatives about issues facing businesses in the state, such as Connecticut’s 15 percent occupancy tax.

OS_Chamber_Exterior_rearThe Chamber also helps foster inter-business relationships and once a month, a Chamber Connections event is held. These are casual gatherings at various local businesses, which facilitate networking between — and sometimes even within — businesses.

Sullivan grew up in Old Saybrook and graduated from Old Saybrook High School. When her youngest child started school, she fell into her role at the Chamber, first on a part-time basis and ultimately working her way up to executive director. Sullivan notes, “The hardest part of the job is being careful with each action because somebody might be affected. We constantly have to be aware of the impact of any actions we might take. We always want to leave a positive impact.”

She adds, “I’m really proud of the Chamber — it’s been here a long time. I love promoting the town I grew up in. And I find it so rewarding when we see tangible success in businesses.”

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‘Town’ Category Added to This Year’s Chester Fair Photo Contest, All Welcome to Enter

What makes a town special? Take a picture.

An appealing category, Town Photo, has been added to the annual Chester Fair Photography Contest for 2015. Photos should capture the spirit and/or beauty of any Connecticut town. First, second and third place ribbons and prizes will be awarded.

As a bonus, Events Magazine will be selecting a photo from this category to appear on the cover of one of its quarterly town-wide publications.

This year’s Chester Fair will be held August 28-30 at the Chester Fairgrounds. Full Chester Fair information, including the complete entry guide, can be found at www.chesterfair.org.

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