February 19, 2017

Essex Winter Series Presents Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band Today

Essex Winter Series Artistic Director Mihae Lee.

ESSEX — Known for its unique concerts of world-class talent and diversity, Essex Winter Series plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary year with a robust schedule for the winter months. The season-opener on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River is a musical tour de force led by Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee.

Lee has carefully curated a program featuring breathtaking music that spans over 600 years. She will be joined by audience favorites William Purvis, Patricia Schuman, Randall Hodgkinson, the Attacca Quartet, as well as emerging young artists.

The concert begins with a celebratory fanfare of Copland, then a high spirited string quartet by Haydn, wonderful cabaret songs and jazz ballads. The first half ends with the ultimate crowd-pleaser, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue arranged for piano four-hands and performed by Ms. Lee and Mr. Hodgkinson.

The second half begins with beautiful Renaissance music for brass, then an aria from the opera Carmen and the finale movement of Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor, both in a passionate gypsy style. The concert will end with a bang with hot jazz performed by Jeff Barnhart, Vince Giordano, Paul Midiri, Joe Midiri, and Jim Lawlor.

The season continues on Feb. 19 with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band performing a centennial celebration of recorded New Orleans Jazz. On March 5, it’s Garrison Keillor and “Stories in Mind, Poems by Heart.” The beloved raconteur, author, and entertainer will share his unique brand of wisdom and humor in what is sure to be an unforgettable afternoon.

Chanticleer, an orchestra of voices, returns to the series on April 2 to perform the program “My Secret Heart” which includes a world premiere by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Cole Porter and Noel Coward standards, and the return of Augusta Read Thomas’ “Love Songs” to the repertoire.

All performances take place on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. with the Jan. 8 and Feb. 19 concerts at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, and March 5 and April 2 concerts at Old Saybrook High School. Individual tickets are $35 and $5 for full-time students with savings offered for subscriptions to all four performances. Seating is general admission. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit www.essexwinterseries.com or call 860-272-4572.

The 2017 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Guilford Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, and Tower Laboratories. Outreach activities are supported by Community Music School and donors to the Fenton Brown Circle.

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Celebrate Winter Today at Chester’s 26th Annual Winter Carnivale

Street entertainers delight the crowds at the Chester Carnivale. File photo by John Stack.

CHESTER — The townspeople of Chester are looking forward to their 26th annual winter celebration, Chester Winter Carnivale, on Sunday, Feb. 19.

That’s when the picturesque small town of Chester is filled with people cheering on ice carvers as they create beautiful sculptures from blocks of ice, while laughing at the antics of street performers and applauding a long parade of new and antique tractors being driven down Main Street by their proud owners. All that, and food, music, art, and shopping too!

Bill Bernhart stands proudly beside his ice carving at the Chester Carnivale in this 2012 file photo by John Stack.

The day begins at 10:30 a.m. when the carvers get started on their ice sculptures. Both professional and student ice carvers will be hard at work, demonstrating their techniques to onlookers while they try to be finished by 1 p.m. for judging.

Meanwhile, the Chester Hose Company, Inc. is holding its annual “Chilly Chili Cook Off” fundraiser. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., go to the Chester Hose Company Fire House at 6 High Street and pay your $5 admission so you can taste all the different chilis cooked and dished out by restaurants, caterers and fire departments. You can vote for your favorite fire department chili, favorite restaurant chili, most original chili, and best dressed chili serving table.  Beverages will be sold. All proceeds go to the Chester Hose Company.

Still hungry? Pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, and lots more will all be available inside and outside the restaurants in town. Also, popcorn and kettle corn.

Just be sure to be back out on Main Street by 2 p.m. for the 15th Annual Chester Tractor Parade. Colorful and rusty, big and small, antique and new, decorated and plain – tractors are driven through the town center in an incredibly long parade. You never knew there were so many tractors in the Connecticut River Valley!

Free activities will keep the whole family entertained for the day. Colorful beads and balloons will be handed out throughout town all day and face painting is available. The Chester Museum at The Mill will be open at no charge, offering a place to explore Chester history. Galleries and shops will be open, many with special events.

Tractors and more tractors descend on Chester on Carnivale day for the Annual Tractor Parade. File photo by John Stack

Chester Winter Carnivale is held rain or snow or shine.  Main Street will be closed to traffic. Free parking is available in the commuter lot on Rte. 148 at the foot of Rte. 9 and in the Roto-Frank parking lot on Inspiration Lane (exit 6) and at Greenwald Industries on Rte. 154 (212 Middlesex Avenue). (Follow the signs.) All lots will be served by courtesy shuttle buses to the town center.

Tractor Parade at a previous year’s Chester Carnivale. File photo by John Stack.

For more information, visit facebook.com/chesterctwintercarnivale or https://finditinchesterct.wordpress.com/

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Local Lawmakers Urge State to Support ‘The Kate’ with Tourism Signage on Rte. 9 and I-95

Rep. Carney (left), The Kate’s Director of Development Dana Foster (center), and Paul Formica (right) at the Jan. 29 public hearing on the proposal to install signs for The Kate on local highways.

Local lawmakers are urging the state legislature to help support the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (‘The Kate’) by passing legislation that would allow tourism signage for the center to be placed on Rte. 9 and I-95.

Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th), Sen. Art Linares (R-33rd) and Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) submitted testimony in favor of House Bill 5574 and spoke before the Transportation Committee to urge fellow lawmakers to support the local theater. ‘The Kate’ is a theater in the Town of Old Saybrook that provides entertainment for the region and is named for Connecticut Hall-of-Famer, multiple Academy Award winner, and former Old Saybrook resident Katharine Hepburn.

“We believe that ‘The Kate’ deserves to have signage along both I-95 and Rte. 9 because it will attract tourists to the theater and create an interest for those passing by the signs,” the lawmakers said in their written testimony, adding, “Similar theaters have signage along various highways throughout the state due to their importance and popularity and ‘The Kate’ is no different.”

They continued, “It is a cultural hub with entertainment that draws people from across the state and the country. It is an economic engine, not only for Old Saybrook, but for the region as a whole and helps nearby businesses like the many restaurants and shops in town. Signage along the highway will only improve the number of tourists to town and we believe it is in the state’s best interest to promote this important theater with the signage suggested.”

Sen. Formica and Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations at The Kate, testify before the Transportation Committee in favor of House Bill 5574 An Act Concerning Signs Indication the Location of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

Sen. Formica testified in person with Dana Foster, Director of Development and External Relations, at ‘The Kate,’ on Jan. 31, before the Transportation Committee on which Rep. Carney is a ranking member.

Foster explained the importance of signage along the highways, saying, “Signage would help our growing audiences navigate the multiple exits to Old Saybrook and help to further attract additional tourists and others to our historical building, great exhibit, and incredible arts and programming.”

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Obituary: Death of Margaret Amy Hoffman (Peggy) Announced

Margaret Amy Hoffman

Margaret Amy Hoffman (Peggy), 95, died peacefully on January 31 in Peterborough after a long period of declining health. 

She was born in Spring Lake, New Jersey on August 24, 1921 to Everard C. Stokes and Phyllis M. (Beavis) Stokes, who had emigrated from England in 1919.  Her father published three books of poetry and was vice president of the Church Fire Insurance Corporation based in New York, which provided insurance to Episcopal churches. Margaret grew up in the coastal town of Sea Girt, NJ graduating from Manasquan High School in 1939, where she had played basketball and tennis. Following a preparatory year at St. Mary’s School in Peekskill, NY she entered Radcliffe College as a chemistry major where she met her husband John L Hoffman, an editor of the Harvard Lampoon and midshipman with the USNR. He was the son of artists Harry and Beatrice Hoffman of Old Lyme, CT. Margaret and Jack went on to have five children, settling first in Old Lyme, CT and then Winchester, MA, before retiring to Amherst, NH in 1984.  As children arrived, her chemistry training gravitated towards kitchen cuisine and her interests shifted to child psychology and sociology. She had always been a champion of the underdog and an advocate for the less fortunate. In midlife she completed a BS in psychology at Northeastern University in 1968 followed by a MSW at Simmons College in 1973.  She served as a clinical instructor at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, was employed as a medical social worker at the Winchester Hospital in MA and then for the rest of her career at Kennedy Memorial Hospital for Children in Boston. There she provided psychosocial assessments of children with a broad spectrum of problems including neurological, emotional, behavioral and developmental issues. She also provided individual and family therapy and was a group leader for the Rehabilitation Unit.

While living in Old Lyme, CT she had been a regular at the Old Lyme Beach Club during the 1940s and 50s. She and her husband were benefactors of the Florence Griswold Museum and the Old Lyme Land Trust, providing the first main portion of the riparian woodland that was to become the Hoffman-Matthiessen-Degerenday Preserve along Sill Lane.               

Following retirement and the move to Amherst, NH she pursued the creative interests she hadn’t had time for while working and raising a family.  She took a variety of art classes and worked hard at developing her natural talent.  She became a skilled artist, working in watercolor, oils, and pastel, and produced beautiful work, mainly flower studies and portraits.  She also took piano lessons and became an excellent pianist, although she was too shy to play in front of people.            

For several years she volunteered for the Friends of the Amherst Town Library and FISH, a group that provides rides to medical appointments.         

Margaret was an avid reader, library patron, and a gardener who thrived on being out in the sunshine maintaining her lovely flower gardens.  She loved dogs and had a number of them over the years.  Earlier in her life she enjoyed horseback riding.  She was adept with a sewing machine and made most of her own dresses (all the while grumbling about what a waste of time sewing was).  She was a devoted mother who frequently said that her greatest joy in life was her children.          

Her beloved husband Jack, a Harvard social anthropologist, died in 1992 after nearly 50 years of marriage.  In the years following his death, she took several trips abroad, traveling to England, France, Spain, and Russia with her sister Mary or via Elderhostel.  In 2002, while attending the Unitarian church in Wilton, she met John Voss of Hollis, NH.  They spent a happy five years in each other’s company until his death in early 2008.  Margaret then moved with her dog Cedric to the RiverMead retirement community in Peterborough NH, where she lived until the time of her death.      

She was predeceased by a son, John L. Hoffman, Jr. in 1957, by both parents, her sister Mary Horn, and her beloved West Highland white terrier, Cedric.  She is survived by her sister Beatrice Miles, her devoted children, David Hoffman and his wife Suzanne of Bivalve, MD and Old Lyme, CT; Stephen Hoffman of Alexandria, VA; Thomas Hoffman and his wife Alexis of Anchorage, AK; and Elizabeth Hoffman and her partner Anthony Iovino of Putney, VT.  She is also survived by her four grandchildren, Molly and husband Mike, Alex and wife Amanda, Michael and wife Cheryl, and James; three great-grandchildren, Sophie, Oliver, and Madelyn; her sister Beatrice Miles, and seven nieces and nephews.           

Margaret was smart, funny, artistic, empathetic, insightful, and generous.  She will be greatly missed.     

Her family would like to thank the staff at RiverMead for their unfailingly patient and loving care.  

She was buried at the Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme, CT.  A family memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations in Margaret’s memory may be made to Westie Rescue of New England, 10 South Washington Street, Norton MA 02766 www.westierescuene.com or your local humane society.   

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9 Town Transit Partners with Google Maps for Online Trip Planning

AREAWIDE — Finding local bus route information just got a whole lot easier.  In fact, you probably already have it available on your smartphone.  Google Maps now includes local bus routes and schedules in its directions feature.

Riders no longer have to read timetables.  They simply enter the date and time that they hope to arrive at their destination and the trip planner will provide three options, showing the amount of time and number of transfers for each option, letting you easily select the most convenient trip.

Google Maps can even provide walking directions, so you can find out exactly how to get to the nearest transit stop or station, and how to get to your destination once you leave the train/bus.  For extra convenience, Google Maps has most locations already stored, so you only need the location name or just a category, such as fast food.

“We are pleased to welcome 9 Town Transit to Google Maps.”, says Ryan Poscharsky, Strategic Partner Manager at Google.  “This partnership shows 9 Town Transit’s commitment to innovating, as well as serving and attracting new riders. Together we can provide useful and accurate information to help people quickly get to where they want to go.”

Another important feature is the ability to plan trips across agencies and modes.  CT Transit New Haven and Hartford, CT Transit Express, Shoreline East and Metro North are all available in Google Maps, so it is easy to plan your trip from Old Saybrook to Hartford, from Manhattan to the outlet malls, or from your Clinton to downtown New Haven.  Google Maps tells you all transfers required along with the connecting agency name and contact information.

“We hope this tool makes it easier than ever to plan your trip by bus or train in our region”, says Joseph Comerford, Executive Director of 9 Town Transit.

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Festival of Women’s Plays Opens 2017 Season at Ivoryton Playhouse, March 3 & 4

IVORYTON:  The Ivoryton Playhouse announces the 2017 inaugural festival of the Women Playwrights Initiative –  Four One Acts by Four Fabulous Women Playwrights. Two evenings of staged readings will take place on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4, at The Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT, followed by discussions with playwrights, actors and directors.

Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m.,  there will be two readings presented. 

Guenevere by Susan Cinoman. Teenagers, Guenevere and Arthur, are best friends–a fierce competitor, she always bests him in sword fights. What will be the outcome when confronted with Excalibur in the stone?

Apple Season by Ellen Lewis. To make arrangements for her father’s funeral, Lissie returns to the family farm she and her brother fled 26 years before. Billy, a neighbor and school friend, comes by with an offer to buy the farm. As memories, needs, and passions are stirred, we learn what happened to the siblings as children, and of Lissie’s startling price for the farm.

Saturday, March 4, at 7 p.m., there will be a further two readings presented.

Buck Naked by Gloria Bond Clunie. Two daughters are thrown into a tizzy when they discover Lily, their 60-plus-year-old mother, has decided to spice up life by tending her back yard garden – “au naturel”!

Intake by Margo Lasher. An arrogant young psychiatrist meets an 80-year-old woman for what he assumes will be a routine examination. During the course of their relationship, he comes to realize how little he knows, and as she reveals her deep love and understanding of her two aging dogs, both doctor and patient learn about life, love, and hope.

Before the performance on Saturday at 5 p.m., the League of Professional Theatre Women will host a panel discussion with the playwrights, moderated by Shellen Lubin, followed by refreshments before the 7 p.m. readings.  If you would like to attend the pre-reading discussion, you must register by Feb. 26, at this link.

To purchase tickets for the Friday, March 3, or Saturday, March 4, readings – each starts at 7 p.m. – call 860.767.7318 or visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Tickets:  $20 adult each night; $15 senior each night; $10 student and LPTW members.

A special two-day pass (tickets for Friday and Saturday night performances for $30) is being offered.  Call the box office at 860.767.7318 to reserve your two-day pass.

The Ivoryton Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT  06442.

For more information about the Women Playwrights Initiative, contact Laura Copland, Director of New Play Development, at laurac@ivorytonplayhouse.org.

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A la Carte: Craving a Crunch? Enjoy These Cashew Butterscotch Bars

Cashew Butterscotch Bars

It has been a while since we had a one-two-almost-three punch snowstorm. On the Wednesday before the storm, I had a meeting at 6 p.m. and then another at 6:30 (I was about 15 minutes late for the second one). In the first, my condo board meeting, we talked about the fact that snow was on its way.

We tried to figure out whether it was really going to be a tough one, or not. I felt it might be a real one, and I was prepared. Plenty of food for the cats (because, after all, they could not care less as long as they had a few warm velour throws, a clean litter box and cans of Fancy Feast to go with their dry food).

I do have a freezer full of people food, but that freezer is in the garage, a good walk easy when the weather is good but possibly not so if it really does snow for hours and hours. As it turned out, it snowed for around 10 hours and I couldn‘t get out of my condo for another half a day (except to shovel a path from my back door to the bird feeders).

But I had decided I wanted to cook.

It is actually my therapy, whether the weather is too hot or too cold, or too snowy. I had gotten chicken thighs from the freezer the day before and bought a big chunk of beef chuck and some ground meat for chili. For two of the recipes I used my slow cooker. I bought my first just  after my first marriage dissolved; my new one I have had for about eight years; I love my slow cooker although I usually sear the meat that will go into the crock pot these days.

The chicken thigh recipe was more work than it was worth  The pot roast was amazing (I added almost everything except the kitchen sink including half a can of Campbell’s tomato bisque from the fridge.) The chili, for which I used a package of Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Fire Chili, was yummy.

But a few days later, I wanted something sweet. Not chocolate, though. I found this recipe I had saved from the New York Times years ago. Boy, are these addictive.

Cashew Butterscotch Bars

From the food section of The New York Times, sometime within the past ten or so years

Yield: 36 bars*

Ingredients:

Two sticks plus 5 and one-half tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus butter for greasing pan
Three-quarter cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) light-brown sugar
1 and three-quarters teaspoons kosher salt
2 and one-half cups all-purpose flour
10 ounces butterscotch chips
One-half cup plus 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon and 2 and one-half teaspoons water
2 one-half cups salted cashew pieces

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-18-inch jelly roll pan, including sides.

2. To make the crust: in a mixer with a paddle or in a bowl with a rubber spatula, best ½ (one-half) plus 2 tablespoons butter and all the brown sugar together until smooth. Stir salt into flour, then add flour to butter and sugar mixture. Mix until dough is well combined but still crumbly; if dough is mixed until a ball forms, crust will be tough.

3. Pat the dough evenly along bottom of buttered pan, taking care not to pack the dough down. Place pan in oven and bake 5 minutes. With a fork, prick dough deeply all over. Return pan to oven and bake until sough is lightly browned, dry and no longer soft to the touch, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack; do not turn off the oven.

4. To make butterscotch topping: In a large saucepan, combine remaining 3 ½ (three and one-half) tablespoons, butterscotch chips, corn syrup and 1 tablespoon plus 2 ½ (two and one-half) teaspoons water. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until butter and butterscotch chips are melted, about 5 minutes. Pour topping over crust, using a spatula to spread, evenly all the way to the corners. Sprinkle cashew pieces on top, pressing down light.

5. Bake until topping is bubbly and cashews are lightly browned, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely before cutting into two-by-three-inch bars.

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Town of Old Lyme Sends 82 Pages of Comments on High Speed Rail Proposal to FRA

This past Monday, Feb. 13, Bonnie Reemsnyder, Old Lyme First Selectwoman, sent comments to the NEC Future Policy Advisor, Rebecca Reyes-Alicea, opposing the Old Saybrook, CT to Kenyon, RI bypass. The comments include in-depth remarks about many areas of concern, including

  • Environmental Issues
  • Geologic Features
  • Noise and Vibration
  • Artistic Significance of Old Lyme
  • Old Lyme Historic District
  • Historic Structures
  • Economic Issues.

As the proposed bypass can cause irreparable harm to the economic, cultural and environmental resources of Old Lyme and the other towns along its route, a strategy team was formed that tapped experts on all of these concerns.  The team comprised:

  • Bonnie Reemsnyder, First Selectwoman, Town of Old Lyme
  • Bennett J. Bernblum, Resident and Attorney (Old Lyme Board of Finance)
  • Michael Brown, Resident and Attorney
  • Jack Collins, Resident and Attorney (Town Attorney)
  • Catherine Frank, Executive Assistant to the First Selectwoman
  • Susan Saltonstall Duncan, Resident & Consultant (Rain Making Oasis)
  • David Duncan, Resident and Architect
  • John Forbis, Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center
  • Sam Gold, Executive Director, Lower CT River Council of Governments
  • Russ Todd, Acoustical Scientist and Engineer, A∙ʹku∙stiks Consulting
  • Claudia Weicker, Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center

The document includes a lengthy list of references to acknowledge these experts.

Read the cover letter from the Old Lyme First Selectwoman at this link.

Read the 82-page supporting report at this link.  Regarding the report, Reemsnyder notes, “We believe that this document will be a guide for the FRA and NEC Future Team to assure that all areas of concern are fully addressed in Tier 2 of the process.”

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Hear ‘A Conversation About Opera’ with Three Area Opera Directors Tonight; All Welcome, Free

Salt Marsh Opera Executive Director Simon Holt is a participant in the discussion ‘A Conversation About Opera,’ Feb. 16, at the Community Music School.

“A Conversation About Opera” with Alan Mann, artistic director of the Opera Theater of Connecticut, Simon Holt, artistic director of the Salt Marsh Opera, and Adrian Sylveen, artistic director of the Connecticut Lyric-Opera / Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m., at the Community Music School in Centerbrook,

The Greater Middletown Concert Association is hosting the panel discussion and Barbara Waterman Arafeh, the Association’s president, will be moderator for the panel’s discussion.

All these three leading Connecticut professional opera companies present fully-staged productions that take place in venues located in one of the state’s newly-designated Arts Regions. This region is one of nine in the state and is overseen for the Connecticut Office of the Arts in Hartford by the Shoreline Arts Alliance, which has headquarters in Guilford.

Towns and cities in this Arts Region are Lyme and Old Lyme along with Branford, Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, East Haven, East Lyme, Essex, Guilford, Haddam, Killingworth, Madison, Middlefield, Middletown, North Branford, Old Saybrook, Portland, Salem and Westbrook.

There is no admission charge for this Feb. 16, program, but those wishing to attend should call 860 343-7555 to reserve seating. Space is limited.

The Community Music School is located at 90 Main St., Centerbrook.

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LOL Chamber Hosts ‘Business After Hours’ at Nightingale’s Today; All Welcome

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools new School-to-Career Coordinator Elizabeth Shoudy.

The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Chamber of Commerce is hosting a very special Business After Hours at Nightingale’s Acoustic Cafe, Lyme Street, Old Lyme, on Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Prospective Chamber members are welcome — this is a great opportunity to see the Chamber in action and evaluate whether you wish to join.

Join Chamber members to network with other local businesses and hear Elizabeth Shoudy, Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) School’s new School-to-Career & Transition Coordinator, speak about all the ways she envisages the LOL Schools and Chamber could forge a stronger and more effective working relationship. 

She plans to discuss job shadow opportunities, the Work Experience Program and the possibility of paid/unpaid internships with local employers, officially known as the Experiential Learning Program. Other options include Career Speakers, when people coming into the high school and discuss the real-world environment of their jobs with students; and Ongoing Work Experience for students receiving support services.

Chamber members can be partners in some or all of these programs and this is a great (and fun!) opportunity to find out more about this new and developing program, which will hopefully have significant benefits for the schools and Chamber … and the whole community. 

Appetizers, wine and soft drinks will be served. There is no charge to attend but an RSVP to email@lolcc.com would be helpful for planning purposes.

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US Institute for Peace President Nancy Lindborg Speaks on ‘Building Peace in a Fragile World’ Today

USIP President Nancy Lindborg

The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) hosts the president of the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Nancy Lindborg on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. She will speak on “Building Peace in a Fragile World” at the Saybrook Point Inn   USIP is an independent institute founded by Congress in 1984 to provide practical solutions for preventing and resolving violent conflicts around the world.

Tickets are $20 for the general public and free for area college and high school students, and SECWAC members; tickets can be obtained at info@secwac.org. (The ticket cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership.)

The event will take place at 6 pm, Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Saybrook Point Inn in Old Saybrook. It will be preceded by a 5:30 pm reception.  Immediately following the presentation, SECWAC members with reservations (made by Friday February 10th) will reconvene for dinner ($35) at the Inn.

Lindborg has spent most of her career working in fragile and conflict-affected areas around the world. Prior to joining USIP, she served as the assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) at USAID. There, she led DCHA teams that responded to the Syria Crisis, the droughts in Sahel and Horn of Africa, the Arab Spring, the Ebola outbreak and other global crises.

Prior to that, Lindborg was president of Mercy Corps, the globally respected organization known for its innovative programs in the most challenging environments. She has held a number of leadership and board positions, including serving as co-president of the board of directors for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition; and cofounder and board member of the National Committee on North Korea.

She is a member of Council on Foreign Relations. She holds a B.A and M.A. in English Literature from Stanford University, and an M.A. in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The presentation is a part of the SECWAC Speaker Series.  SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America.  Its mission is to foster an understanding of issues related to foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate and educational programming.

Through its annual Speaker Series, SECWAC arranges up to 10 presentations a year that provide a public forum for dialogue between its members and experts on foreign relations.  Membership information is available at www.secwac.org.

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Lyme Garden Club Presents Paul Armond Speaking on Genetic Modification of Food

Lyme Garden Club presents a lecture tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. by Paul Armond titled, “Genetically Modifying Our Foods: 10,000 years of experience in altering our food’s genome.”
Since the time humans ceased to be hunter-gathers, we have selected and altered the genetic constitution of both the plants and animals that we eat. This lecture will review the techniques used in the past and provide information on how genetically modified organisms (GMO) were conceived in the 1980s and continue to cause great controversy to date. This talk will contain up-to-date information on the science, regulatory issues and politics on this topic.
Armond is a retired senior director from Pfizer, Inc. While at Pfizer, he was a member of the Department of Plant Genetics and undertook research to improve the agronomic properties of major crop plants such as corn, soybeans and sorghum.
The public is invited to attend the lecture and meet with club members for refreshments before the program. The club meets at the Lyme Firehouse, 213 Hamburg Rd. in Lyme at 9:30 a.m. for refreshments. The business meeting is at 10 a.m. followed by the program at 11 a.m.
All are welcome.
For questions or more information please call Carolyn Reed: (860) 434-5888 or email her: creed1946@comcast.net
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Around 200 Attend Protest Rally Held in Mystic Against Proposed Saybrook-Kenyon Rail Bypass

Around 200 people turned out yesterday despite the dismal conditions to join a protest rally in Mystic against the Tier 1 proposed high speed rail bypass.

MYSTIC — Standing within the pathway of the Federal Railroad Administration’s proposed high speed bypass, more than 200 people gathered Saturday near the red caboose in Olde Mistick Village to speak out against the plan.

The bypass is part of a $130 billion project that is intended to increase capacity, reliability, and speed along the Northeast Corridor …  Click this link to read the full story by Catherine Hewitt and published today on thewesterlysun.com.

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Enjoy New Works, Special Pricing at ‘4 The Love of Art’ on Lyme Street Today

‘Lieutenant River Haze’ (44″ x 32″) by Sandy Garvin will be featured in ‘4 The Love of Art’ on Friday and Saturday at 10 and 25 Lyme Street..

4 The Love of Art is a two-day open house collaboration of four art galleries on Lyme Street this Saturday, Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to  7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 12 from noon to 4 p.m.

Garvin Studio, Judy Friday Gallery and Paynter Fine Art, which are all in the Village Shoppes building at 10 Lyme Street, and Cooley Gallery at 25 Lyme Street invite you to drop in and view some beautiful new work.

Paynter Fine Art is also featuring mixed media artist Moya Aiken in a solo show titled, “On-Line,” in a Saturday night reception, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, Cooley Gallery is showcasing their exciting new acquisitions and both Garvin and Friday Galleries will have special pricing for this weekend on select pieces along with fresh new work.

For more information, visit:
www.sandygarvinfineart.com
www.cooleygallery.com
www.judyfriday.com
www.facebook.com/paynterfineart/

For questions, call 860-391-3088

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Last Chance to see ‘Alice in Wonderland Jr.’ at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, 1pm Today

Members of the cast of Alice in Wonderland Jr. rehearse their roles. From left to right, Emma Boardman as Alice, Caroline Crolius, Elle Myers and Maeve Burrier as Flowers, and Sadie Bowman as Tweedle Dee.

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School’s 2017 student musical is Alice in Wonderland Jr.  Eighty students are involved in the cast and crew of the production that is based on the two novels written by Lewis Carroll in the 1860s and 1870s and the 1951 Disney movie.

Victoria Stout as the Queen of Hearts onstage with students in the ensemble.

Artistic direction is by Laura Gladd, school chorus director, and professional opera tenor Brian Cheney, who lives in Lyme.

Lillian Grethel of Lyme as the White Rabbit, with members of ensemble.

Two new matinee performances have been added this year. Shows are 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, 1 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, and 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12.  All performances are in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, 53 Lyme Street in Old Lyme.

Kate Chaney (in olive green) and Isabella Warren as Small Alice.

Tickets are $8 and can be bought in advance at The Bowerbird in Old Lyme Marketplace or at the door.
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Letter to the Editor: Valley Shore Clergy Association Stands in Solidarity with Immigrants, Refugees

To the Editor:

We, a group of interfaith clergy from many religious streams and beliefs, feel called to express our support for refugees, immigrants, asylum-seekers, and others who wish to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Our sacred texts provide the lens through which we view the world around us; these teachings affirm the following shared values across faith traditions:

• Every single human being is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:28), and we support the integrity and sanctity of every individual.
• We heed the teaching of Leviticus: “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
• We are instructed to “Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18),” and thus to treat others how we wish to be treated.
• We are obligated to follow the prophetic call: “And what does the Eternal require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
• We are reminded of basic human kindness and compassion: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Matthew 25:35)

We are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. We have all known what it is to be the stranger. Safety and security of all is critical, and we understand the importance of appropriate and thorough vetting of all those who wish to be part of America. However, fear cannot dictate our values. Rather, we are reminded again and again that, when we reach out in love and righteousness, we are most secure.

We know all too well what religious bigotry has wrought in the past. History is filled with many reminders of the horrific destruction caused by hatred, persecution, and intolerance. Instead, we share a message of solidarity, understanding, and dialogue.

We denounce any laws or orders based on xenophobia, discrimination, or fear which run counter to our national interests. We are proud Americans, and we hold dear our country’s core beliefs in religious diversity, ideological diversity, and cultural diversity.

We call upon people of faith to represent moral conscience, compassion for all, and an overarching sense of justice and righteousness.

Sincerely,
Valley Shore Clergy Association

Rev. Martha Bays
The Congregational Church in Killingworth, UCC

Rabbi Marci Bellows
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, Chester, CT

Rev. Robin Blundon, Interim Pastor
Northford Congregational Church

The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Fitzsimmons
United Methodist Church of Clinton

Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager, Pastor
First Church, East Haddam

The Rev. Dr. Jonathan H. Folts
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex, CT

Rev. Dr. Jan Gregory-Charpentier, Pastor
First Congregational Church of Westbrook, CT

Brett Hertzog Betkoski
Trinity Lutheran Church – Centerbrook, CT

Reverend Amy Hollis
Winthrop Baptist Church

Rev. Lee A. Ireland
Interim Pastor, United Church of Chester

Rev Charlotte LaForest
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex, CT

Rev. Joy Perkett
First Baptist Church of Essex

Rev. Suzanne Personette
Middlefield Federated Church

Rev. Kenneth Peterkin
First Congregational Church, UCC, Essex, CT

Rev. Geoff Sinibaldo, Pastor

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Old Saybrook, CT

Pastor Les Swenson
St. Mark Lutheran Church, Norwich, CT

Rev. John Van Epps, Pastor
North Guilford Congregational Church UCC

Rev. Cynthia C. Willauer
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, UCC

Pastor Ryan Young
Living Rock Church of Killingworth

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‘Stop The Bypass’ Rally in Mystic Today; Blumenthal, Courtney, Formica and Carney All Slated to Attend

Photo courtesy of Robin Breeding.

A protest rally against the Federal Rail Administration’s proposed high speed rail route through southeastern Connecticut will be held today, Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Olde Mistick Village, 27 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT.  The meeting point for the rally is the Caboose in the north end of the parking lot.

The Hartford Courant yesterday quoted Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., an outspoken opponent of the FRA plan, as follows, “This rally will be absolutely critical in galvanizing a community that is very well-founded in its opposition to a misguided proposal. I’ve called this proposal harebrained and half-baked and that remains true. I’m hoping the new administration will heed this message.”

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, US Representative Joe Courtney (2nd District), State Sen. Heather Somers (R-18th), State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th), State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd), Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons, and Greg Stroud of SECoast and CT Trust are all planning to join the protest.  Stroud is the founder of the non-profit SECoast, which has worked tirelessly to research all aspects of the proposed bypass and campaign objectively against them.

Organizers of the rally include Olde Mistick Village, Westerly Chamber of Commerce, Mystic Chamber of Commerce and many more

For more information, contact Stephenbessette@gmail.com

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Musical Masterworks Hosts Two Concerts This Weekend Featuring Pre-concert Talks

Soprano Hyunah Yu

In February, Musical Masterworks will shine a light on the relationship between Schumann and Brahms, as the elegant soprano Hyunah Yu returns to sing Schumann’s transporting song cycle Frauenliebe und -leben.

Also, as part of a new Musical Masterworks venture, join Edward Arron one hour before the February concerts for an in-depth pre-concert talk about the lives and compositions of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

The February performances are Saturday, Feb. 11, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, an acoustically rich and beautiful venue for chamber music.

To purchase tickets ($35 individual; $5 student), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

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Lyme, Old Lyme School & Town Closures in Effect Today, Parking Ban in Old Lyme From 6am

How much snow will there be tomorrow? File photo by Fran Gumkowski.

UPDATED 5:04am: Due to predictions of 11-14 inches of snow today from Winter Storm Niko, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, Lyme and Old Lyme Town Halls, the Lyme Landfill and Old Lyme’s Transfer Station, Lyme Public Library, and Lymes’ Senior Center are all closed today.  Many other institutions have also announced they will not be opening Thursday.

The Town of Old Lyme has also announced a parking ban from 6 a.m. through midnight today. This will enable snow plows to keep roads clear and safe, and also open for emergency vehicles.

To reach the Town’s Emergency Management Team with storm-related questions/concerns, leave a message at 860.598.0120. Team members will monitor messages and issue updates, which will be posted on LymeLine.com, throughout the day.

In an emergency, call 911.

Make preparations for the storm and stay safe by keeping off the roads for its duration.

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Reemsnyder Speaks Against Proposed High Speed Rail Route at Hartford Hearing

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder testified Monday at a state Transportation Committee hearing on three motions prepared by State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and State Sen. Paul Formica (R-20th) to oppose the Federal Rail Authority’s proposal to build a bypass through southeastern Connecticut that includes a tunnel under the Connecticut River from Old Saybrook to Old Lyme.

Read a full report of the hearing by Kimberly Drelich and published Feb. 6 on theday.com at this link. 

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