February 18, 2017

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

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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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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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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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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State Public Hearing on Proposed Rail Route to be Held Today in Hartford; Carney Urges Residents to Testify in Person or by E-mail

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

UPDATED 12:17am: (in red italics): The legislature’s Transportation Committee is hosting a public hearing today on various transportation issues, including three bills related to the Federal Rail Authority’s (FRA) proposed bypass through southeastern Connecticut.

The first objects to the proposal to build a new high speed railroad bypass through southeastern Connecticut.  The second requires municipal approval by town referendum for such a scheme to move forward and the third prohibits the state from spending any funds on such a proposal unless it has received municipal approval.

The public hearing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building – 300 Capitol Ave, Hartford. State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) is encouraging constituents and local elected officials to voice their opinions and concerns. ”

He stresses, however, “Due to high interest from across Southeastern Connecticut (and possibly Rhode Island), I am anticipating a large turnout for the public hearing on Monday. Public hearings can last a very long time, so I want to remind folks that they can submit written testimony to TRATestimony@cga.ct.gov if they cannot attend or cannot spend, potentially, several hours waiting to testify.”

Carney represents the 23rd district, which encompasses the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and a portion of Westbrook.

The Committee will hold a public hearing on a variety of bills including three mentioned above and described in more detail below that State Rep. Carney and State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th) drafted. The hearing will give individuals the opportunity to speak about a number of transportation concerns facing the state.

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

The following bill proposals were drafted by both Carney and Formica, and will be heard during the public hearing:

HJ 54 RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION’S PROPOSAL TO CONSTRUCT AN ALTERNATIVE AMTRAK ROUTE THROUGH SOUTHEAST CONNECTICUT

This bill proposal objects to the proposal by the FRA regarding construction of a bypass on the Northeast Corridor rail line between Old Saybrook, Connecticut to Kenyon, Rhode Island through the scenic and historic towns of southeast Connecticut.

SB 253 AN ACT REQUIRING MUNICIPAL APPROVAL OF CHANGES TO RAIL SERVICE

Carney, the leading Republican lawmaker on the legislature’s Transportation Committee, said: “Many of our constituents felt that their concerns were not properly considered and that the FRA was trying to ram this bypass proposal through without a proper public hearing from those most affected by it. We agree. So, we drafted this proposal which would require municipal approval, through referendum, for any changes to commuter rail service through an impacted community.”

SB 263 AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL APPROVAL OF CHANGES TO RAIL SERVICE

This bill proposal pairs with SB 253 in that it prohibits the state from expending funds on rail projects that did not receive municipal approval through a referendum.

Carney added, “I would encourage you to support these concepts and express your thoughts on how you feel the FRA process has gone thus far and any concerns you may have.”

To find a complete list of relevant bills on the agenda for Monday’s public hearing, visit: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/TRAdata/pha/2017pha00206-R001230TRA-pha.htm

For information on how to testify visit: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/content/yourvoice.asp.

Email written testimony in Word or PDF format to TRAtestimony@cga.ct.gov.

Anyone with questions about bills or the public hearing process can contact Rep. Carney’s office at (800) 842-1423 or by email to Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools 2017-18 Proposed $33.6M Budget Approved Unanimously by Board, Reflects Lowest Increase on Record

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

At a Public Forum held Wednesday evening, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser presented a budget for the 2017-18 school year of $33,634, 371 reflecting a 0.49 percent increase over the current year.  The Region #18 Board of Education subsequently approved the budget unanimously at their regular meeting, which followed immediately after the forum.

Asked via e-mail Thursday morning for his thoughts on the budget, Neviaser told LymeLine.com, “We are proud to present the lowest budget increase on record for Region #18.  While the increase is exceptionally low, this has been achieved through savings that do not impact any of our existing programs or services. ”

He added, “Detailed information will be available in the upcoming budget edition of the Focus on Education newsletter, which will be delivered to homes as an insert in The Lyme Times in early March.”

At Wednesday’s forum, Neviaser explained the budget was set to support the objectives outlined in the Strategic Plan by:

  • Preserving and building upon the high standards of education in Lyme-Old Lyme while remaining fiscally responsible to our communities
  • Supporting the ongoing renewal of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and staff development activities in response to the expectations of state and national standards.
  • Continuing to plan and provide technology infrastructure and applications that are consistent with highly effective and efficient programming and operational standards.
  • Maintaining high facility standards for all district buildings and grounds.
  • Maintaining a dynamic and responsive approach to programming needs and mandates in special education.
  • Maintaining both compliance and reasonableness in response to state and federal mandates.

He noted that budget increases include certified and non-certified salaries, instructional programming, and administrative services while decreases include costs for benefits, special education and debt service.

Neviaser stressed that while showing only a minimal increase, the operations/program budget still reflects:

  • Continued adherence to class size guidelines
  • Reduction of staff to account for enrollment decline
  • Continuance of existing academic and extracurricular activities
  • Adjustments for anticipated changes in the special education population
  • Adequate funding for maintenance and repair of buildings and grounds
  • Scheduled replacement of technology and equipment
  • Program improvements that are consistent with high academic and operational standards

He also highlighted that, again despite only a marginal increase in the overall budget, several new programs were being implemented and a selection of facilities being upgraded. Program improvements include a new/updated elementary math program, technology infrastructure advancements and replacement of staff computers.  

Facility upgrades include installation of window AC units at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and Lyme School​; addition of main campus pathway lighting​; increasing the number of security cameras​; installation of a concrete lacrosse practice wall​ and replacement of the fuel oil tank at Lyme School​.

Further presentations of the budget will be held in the upcoming months, during which time the public can submit comments on the budget to the superintendent. A district budget hearing and referendum are tentatively set respectively for Monday, May 1, and Tuesday, May 2.

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Sen. Linares Named Co-chairman of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Caucus

State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) File photo.

State Senator Art Linares (R-33) has been named Co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Caucus. The caucus advocates the interests of individuals with IDD and their families.

“Mahatma Gandhi said that a society will be measured by how it has treated its most vulnerable citizens,” Sen. Linares noted. “We must leave a legacy where individuals and families dealing with IDD are able to live full and complete lives. I am proud to be asked to take a leadership role in a caucus tasked with such important work.”

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-34) commented that he knows advocating for those impacted by IDD is an important issue for Sen. Linares.

“Sen. Linares is an energetic lawmaker and in this new role he will be an active ambassador to families and advocates, working hard to make their voices heard at the Capitol,” Sen. Fasano said, adding, “To best serve these families, we need to learn about the challenges they face every day. Sen. Linares will play a key role in that dialogue.”

Sen. Linares stressed that as the General Assembly faces a projected $1.4 billion budget deficit for the next fiscal year, legislators must do their best to support the needs of Connecticut’s IDD residents.

“State spending must be brought under control, but that doesn’t mean we balance the budget at the expense of those with disabilities,” he said.

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

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Old Lyme Author Jen Petty Hilger Launches Her First Book, “Thisbe, Queen of Adventure”

This Saturday, Feb. 4, Lyme Public Library will be celebrating Take Your Child to the Library Day. Join the fun between 12 and 2 p.m. when local author and Old Lyme resident Jen Petty Hilger will be signing copies of her first published picture book, Thisbe, Queen of Adventure.

We spent a little time with Jen Petty Hilger to find out why she wrote her first book about chickens. She explained, “Last spring I decided I’d lived long enough without chickens. Always wanted them … not really great on Park Avenue in New York City, but now the time was right.”

She continued, “We took all six kids and picked out six chickens … Thisbe, Henrietta, Georgie, Molly, Charlotte and Europa. All girls.” adding that the brood comprised, “Two Buff Orpingtons. Two silver- laced Wyandottes and two Cuckoo Morans.”

Checking on the chicks.

Hilger says emphatically, “It was love at first sight. They were three-days-old and lived inside in a box for nine weeks, adding, “When they were old enough we built a beautiful coop but they still came in for visits and I started thinking about how fast they were growing up and how much fun they had roaming around.”


Then, just like that, she says,”One day the whole story of their sweet little childhoods popped into my head and I wrote Thisbe.”


“Who is Thisbe?” we asked, and Hilger patiently explained, “Thisbe is an egg who dreams of adventure. She is the Queen of Adventure. As she grows, her mama takes her on little adventures about the yard. She is delighted by her world. The flowers and bugs and other birds. She is awestruck by the wonders of her surroundings.”

Is this ‘the Queen of Adventure’?

What happened next?  Hilger says she started on the illustrations (see below) and then put together a dummy of her children’s story.”

And how did she come to be a published author?  “Well …” Hilger says with a broad smile, “After months of back and forth with the publishers, we had a mock-up … and then the book!”

To add a personal note here, Jen Petty Mann (as she was then) wrote book reviews for us for years.  She was an extraordinarily talented writer from that side of the book cover, if you’ll forgive the expression, so it comes as no surprise to us that she’s now gone inside and written her own book.  We just can’t wait to get our hands on a copy … and review it ourselves!

Many congratulations, Jen!

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Health, Happiness and the Benefits of Volunteering; Join the ‘Common Good Gardens’ to Discover Them!

Each year, the Common Good Gardens in Old Saybrook raise nearly four tons of fresh vegetables and fruit, and then then donates them to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries  And they do it entirely with volunteers – volunteers who have kept it going and improved it for 15 years.

You’re probably thinking, “How unselfish … doing all that work to benefit other people,” and they are for sure.  But, according to new research, volunteers are also on the receiving end of some amazing benefits; and most likely, they don’t even know it.  They just know that they feel better when they leave the garden.

Never too young … all ages can volunteer at the Common Good Garden.

Solid data on the benefits of volunteering has appeared in a variety of current publications, ranging from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health Letters, to a review from the Corporation for National & Community Service, which states,

On average, volunteering 40 to 100 hours per year increases personal satisfaction and happiness, decreases depression, improves functional capacity; and results in fewer illnesses and a longer life span.

Similar articles from the Huffington Post, Atlantic Monthly as well as research released by Johns Hopkins, The London School of Economics and University of Exeter Medical School have all told a similar story.

Greatest Gains for Seniors

Volunteering has health benefits — especially for seniors!

While there are potential gains to be had for high-schoolers and middle-aged persons, the greatest gains related to volunteering are for those 65 and older.  Some researchers suggest this greater gain for seniors may be because they start out lower before volunteering. Their health may not be as good as that of younger people or they may have lower self-esteem and more social isolation due to retirement.  Even if that proves true, starting to volunteer at an earlier adult stage seems to correlate with fewer health issues later in life.

Regarding functional capacity, the Hopkins study showed improved brain function associated with activities that get you moving and thinking at the same time.  As for happiness, though some of the happiness data is based on self-reporting alone, other data show hormone levels and brain scan activity consistent with physiologic changes associated with happiness.

Studies in UK

In addition to the improvements shown above, a large review of nearly 25,000 articles in the UK notes increased coping ability, better parenting skills and richer personal relationships.

Impact on Chronic Illness and Longevity

Several studies examined in particular the impact for those with chronic illness. They found that these volunteers reported decreased pain and depression. People with a prior heart attack also had lower incidences of depression after volunteering.

A United Health Group survey showed these striking figures:

  • 25% reported volunteering helped them live better with chronic illness
  • 76% reported feeling healthier
  • 78% reported lowered stress levels
  • 94% reported improved mood
  • 96% reported an enriched sense of purpose

Finally U.S. census data confirms that those states with high volunteer rates show greater longevity and lower rates of heart disease.

Come Join the Common Good Gardens

There’s always room for an extra pair of hands …

Come join us at the Common Good Gardens.  Whatever your age, level of health, or skill set, there’s a way for you to contribute while benefiting from volunteering.

Yes, gardeners are needed to plant, weed and harvest, and beginners are always welcome. But also needed are people with computer skills, carpentry skills, writing and speaking skills;   people who can drive a car to deliver produce; leaders to organize small groups and work with public schools; people who love nature or are excited about nutrition, and folk who want to help experiment with natural ways to deter pests or make soil richer.

Common Good Gardens by the numbers

  • 14: Number of years garden has been in existence (2002-2016)
  • July 7, 2011: Date the garden incorporated and received non-profit 501(c)3  status
  • 10: Number of Board members
  • 220,000: Total pounds of produce grown, collected and delivered 2004-2016 through garden volunteer efforts
  • 50: Number of core active volunteers (gardeners, drivers, other)
  • 3,000: Number of volunteer hours donated annually
  • 1/2 acre: Size of garden located at rear of Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main Street, Old Saybrook
  • 22: Number of different varieties of fruits and vegetablesgrown at the garden during 2016
  • 6,900: Pounds of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • $17,200: Dollar value of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • 7: Number of farm stands that donate excess produce to garden for distribution to pantries in 2013.

Many hands make light work at the Common Good Gardens.

Current volunteers at the Common Good Gardens encourage you to get involved so that together, a healthy future for the garden, ourselves, and our shoreline community can be created.

If interested, contact Common Good Gardens at PO Box 1224, Old Saybrook, CT 06475 or call Barbara Standke at 860-575-8645 with questions, or to sign up for the annual new volunteer orientation on March 11.

Editor’s Note: The authors of this piece, Kate Wessling and Barbara Standke, are respectively Common Good Gardens President and Common Good Gardens Volunteer Coordinator.

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Community Music School Hosts Open House

The Community Music School’s Jazz Ensemble gives regular concerts throughout the local area.

Community Music School (CMS), located in the Spencer’s Corner professional complex at 90 Main St. in Centerbrook, welcomes the general public to visit during Open House Week Jan. 30 to Feb. 3. Children and adults can tour the School’s studios, meet teachers and staff, enjoy a free preview lesson, and learn about a vast array of programs for all ages including private and group lessons, guitar, jazz and string ensembles, music therapy services, Kindermusik, and more.

Community Music School is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Those interested in a 15-minute preview lesson are requested to call 860-767-0026 for scheduling.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 30-year-tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. The School’s 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.

For additional information, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860-767-0026.

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Two New Exhibitions on View at Lyme Art Association

‘Sentinels’ is one of the signature paintings of the 25th Annual Associated Artist Show on view at the Lyme Art Association.

The 25th Annual Associate Artist Show and Sale of landscape, portrait, and still life paintings, as well as sculpture by Associate Artist members is currently on view in the Association’s front galleries, and runs through March 10.  Pulled and Pressed, which showcases hand-pulled prints by LAA members of all levels and members of Stonington Printmakers Society as invited guests, is on display in the Goodman gallery, and also runs through March 10.

“The Annual Associate Artist Show and Sale highlights the range, creativity, and excellence of our Associate Artist members. This exhibition includes a variety of subjects, media, and styles: paintings or sculptures that capture the range of human emotion, the beauty and grandeur of the Connecticut landscape, or the personal objects and surroundings of everyday life,” states Jocelyn Zallinger, LAA’s Gallery Manager.

The juror of selection and prizes is Patricia Shippee of Old Lyme. Shippee is an accredited senior member of the American Society of Appraisers.  Her expertise has been acquired through her corporate business experience, her studies in art history, and as a collector, gallery owner, curator.

“The Pulled and Pressed show in the Goodman Gallery celebrates the beauty of original contemporary representational hand-made prints.” Juror Helen Cantrell, an Old Lyme resident, is a painter and printmaker, an artist member of Boston Printmakers, the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, and the Silvermine Guild of Artists in New Canaan.

The LAA was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community.

The LAA is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call860-434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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The Country School Hosts Open House Today

The Country School is holding an Open House today, Sunday, Jan. 29, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The events offers the opportunity to meet engaged students and dynamic teachers and hear about the rigorous academic program at the school with its commitment to honoring the creativity and exuberance of childhood.

Learn about the school’s signature programs – STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking – and its rich offerings in the arts and athletics. Tour the recently renovated 23-acre campus, with its new outdoor athletic complex. Hear where alumni have continued their education at top high schools and colleges across the country and how they have thrived at these institutions.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving students in PreSchool through Grade 8.

To learn more and register, visit http://www.thecountryschool.org/admission/open-house.

For information about the $10,000 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8, visit http://www.thecountryschool.org/scholarship.

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Literacy Volunteers Seeks Tutors, Registration Open Now for Next Training Program

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS), CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization.  Its mission is to train tutors to help residents of the Valley Shore area who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills.  This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a 14-hour program conducted over seven sessions held each spring and again in the fall of every year.  The next training session begins March 23 and runs through May 9. Literacy Volunteers Workshop Leaders have developed a comprehensive program that provides prospective tutors the skills and resources to help them succeed. A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to helping a student improve their skill in basic literacy or English as a Second Language over the period of one year after the completion of training.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, contact the LVVS office in the basement of Westbrook’s Public Library by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at jferrara@vsliteracy.org Literacy Volunteers are registering for the spring session now and the deadline for applications is March 2, but only a few more slots are available.

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The Country School Offers $10,000 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship

A new academic year all-school photo of The Country School taken in September 2016 on the school’s new athletic fields. Photo by Joseph’s Photography, Inc.

In honor of The Country School’s 60th Anniversary, the school’s Board of Trustees is providing a $10,000 merit scholarship to a student applying for admission to Grades 4-8 for the fall of 2017. Additional scholarships will be offered to students entering those grades based on applicants’ qualifications and/or need.

This will be the third 60th Anniversary Merit Scholarship awarded in celebration of The Country School’s founding six decades ago. An 8th Grader from Lyme won the first 60th Anniversary Scholarship, while a 4th Grader from Madison was the second recipient. In addition, other students received partial scholarships after applying for the merit scholarship.

Head of School John Fixx will share information about the 60th Anniversary Scholarship program on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 12:30 p.m. in conjunction with the school’s Winter Open House (taking place from 1 to 3:30 p.m.). While students sit for the Merit Scholarship test, parents will have the opportunity to tour campus and speak directly with faculty members, current parents, and administrators. To learn more and register, go to http://www.thecountryschool.org/scholarship.

The recipient of the $10,000 Merit Scholarship will be selected on the basis of academic merit and personal promise as demonstrated by merit scholarship testing, school records, and an interview. Finalists will be asked to write an essay describing how a Country School education might benefit them and will be invited to spend a day on campus. The scholarship recipient will be notified in early March.

On Jan. 29, visitors will learn about the academic program and the wide academic, artistic, athletic, and leadership opportunities on campus. They will also learn about The Country School’s six-decade history of preparing graduates for the strongest independent secondary schools and high school honors programs in the area. Families will receive the impressive list of where Country School graduates attend college and hear how the Secondary School Placement Office assists families in attracting similar scholarship support for secondary school.

The 60th Anniversary Scholarship is for a new student and is renewed each year that the student is enrolled at The Country School, provided the recipient stays in strong academic standing and consistently demonstrates good citizenship. It is The Country School’s expectation that merit scholarship recipients will contribute significantly to the life of the School, creating a stronger overall experience for all students.

Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent day school serving 200 students in PreSchool through Grade on its 23-acre campus in Madison. In celebration of the school’s 60th anniversary, the campus has been undergoing a major transformation, with the installation of new athletic fields, tennis courts, and playground areas completed last year and a reconfiguration of campus infrastructure and outdoor common spaces taking place this year.

For more information, contact Pam Glasser, Director of Admission and Curriculum, at 203-421-3113, extension 122, or pam.glasser@thecountryschool.org. You may also learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Carney, Formica Hold Office Hours Today in Old Lyme

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and State Senators Paul Formica (R-20th) will hold office hours in Old Lyme at the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, located at 2 Library Ln. in Old Lyme on Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

This session will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government and the 2017 Legislative Session.

For more information, contact Carney’s office at 800-842-1423 or devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov.

Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District that includes Lyme and Old Lyme along with Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.

Formica represents the 20th State Senate District that includes Old Lyme along with Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville (part), New London, Old Saybrook (part), Salem, and Waterford.

 

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Letter From Paris: Extraordinary ‘Shchukin Collection’ Currently on View in Paris Attracts Massive Crowds

Nicole Prévost Logan

It is the first time ever that the masterpieces of the Russian art collector Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin have traveled abroad as a collection.  Until now only separate works have been seen in the West.  In the 1979 “Paris-Moscow” major retrospective at the Pompidou Center – a huge exhibition from Soviet state museums –  there was no mention anywhere of the origin of the art works.

It was not until  2010 at the “Matisse Malevich” exhibit held at the Hermitage Amsterdam that the French canvasses were identified as follows: “Origin: Museum of Modern  Western Art, formerly from the collection of Sergei Shchukin.”  So, it is a first to see more than half of the entire collection in Paris today.  Almost unnecessary to say that the astronomical insurance cost covering such important objects could only be afforded by Bernard Arnault, the 14th richest man in the world and CEO of LVMC (Louis Vuitton and Moët and Chandon).*

The Fondation Louis Art Museum in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris where the Shchukin exhibition is currently on display.

The thrill of seeing for the first time works from well-known artists – Monet, Derain, Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and others – explains why the exhibit is attracting such huge crowds, happy to be in familiar territory.  The well-organized flow of people meanders through the Frank Gehry’s whimsical structure of glass panels seemingly billowing in the wind.  At each of the four levels, one catches spectacular vistas of the Eiffel Tower and Paris with its cluster of skyscrapers in the Defense business district or the vast wooded expanse of the Bois de Boulogne.

The wealthy textile merchant Shchukin was – with his friend and rival Ivan Morozov – the most illustrious Russian art collector at the turn of the 20th century.  He went into exile in France after the 1917 revolution and died there in 1936.  His collection was nationalized  and later divided between the Pushkin museum of Fine Art in Moscow and the Hermitage in St Petersburg, and then vanished into Siberian storage.  During the Cold War, the works were returned to Moscow, but remained in boxes.  By the 1960s, they gradually reappeared.

Shchukin was an avid and methodical collector.  Following the example of his older brothers (in a family of 10), he started collecting in the 1880s.  He acquired  paintings from the leading art merchants in Paris, such as Ambroise Vollard, Durand Rueil or the Swiss  Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler.  He had an exceptional ability to detect talent.  For instance, by including the constructivist Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves, 1905, he revealed how well he understood the importance of Cezanne (26 paintings) as the spiritual father of modern art.

The organizers of the exhibit reproduced the way the canvasses were hung in Shchukin’s Moscow residence in a touhe touche fashion, that is touching each other all the way to the ceiling.

‘Pink Studio’ by Henri Matisse, 1911.

He had a special relationship with Henri Matisse and became his sponsor, commissioning  many of his 57 paintings, among them La Danse, the largest (8’6″x 12’10”) and most beautiful version of which is today on view at the Hermitage.  The painting had caused a scandal at the Salon d’Automne of 1910.  The Desserte dominates one of the rooms at the Vuitton exhibit with its decorative floral shapes and fruits scattered on a rich red background of a table dropping vertically and merging with the wall. 

‘Peasants picking apples’ by Natalian Goncharova, 1911.

His acquisition of Picasso’s works (54 canvasses) is particularly interesting.  At first  he was repelled by them, particularly by the cubist period.  Stephane Guegan, French art critic and curator at Orsay, wrote, “Shchukin compared the analytic cubism of Picasso to buckets of crushed glass.”  But gradually, he grew to appreciate the brutal forms,  such as Femme tenant an eventail (woman holding a fan) 1907.  He shared with Gertrude Stein the attraction for the preparatory studies to the seminal Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907 .

‘Woman with a fan’ by Pablo Picasso, 1908.

Shchukin was eager to show his works and educate the public.  He turned his residence into a museum that was open several days a week.  Among the visitors were the members of the Russian avant garde. They were  stunned by what they saw.  In less than 10 years not only the talented young Russian artists assimilated Western  art but were able to grow from it and create suprematism, neo-primitivism, cubo-futurism, etc. 

The Vuitton exhibit offers a sampling of the works by the extraordinary generation of Russian artists on the eve of World War I : Casimir Malevich, Larionov, Tatlin, Klioune, Rodchenko and the acclaimed female artists: Goncharova, Popova, Rozanova, Exter, Popova, or Udaltsova. 

Shchukin heirs did not try to receive financial compensation for the art taken away by the Soviet government.   All they wanted was to restore their grandfather’s memory,  the recognition for his genius and avoid breaking up the collection among different owners. 

One century later they may have fulfilled their wish. 

Editor’s Notes:
i)   This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

ii) *See Nicole Logan’s previous article published  on ValleyNewsNow.com, Jan. 22, 2016.
iii) ‘Icons of Modern Art – The Shchukin Collection’ is on display at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which is housed in a Frank Gehry building in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, France through Feb. 20, 2017.

Nicole LoganAbout the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Old Lyme Selectmen Announce LOLHS Life Skills Program Members as 2016 Citizens of the Year

Citizens of the Year 2016 (students, aides and teacher Leslie O’ Connor at right) gather for a photo in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium with former Citizens of the Year Jeff Sturges (2011), Lynn Fairfield-Sonn (2014) and Mary Seidner (2015) (second, third and fourth from right respectively), Peter Cable (2013 – second from left) and the board of selectmen (Selectman Skip Sibley, Selectwoman MaryJo Nosal and First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, first, third and fourth from left respectively.)

Noting that the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen was doing “something just a little bit different,” this year in terms of the Citizen of the Year announcement, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder introduced the 2016 recipients as not one person in the traditional manner, but rather a group of people.   She went on to name Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s (LOLHS) Life Skills & Transition Program Teachers, Aides & Students as the 2016 Citizen of the Year at the Old Lyme Annual Town Meeting held last night in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School (LOLMS) auditorium where around 50 people had gathered.

Reemsnyder explained, “A wonderful thing happens regularly in town hall,” and then added, reading from the 2016 Citizen of the Year citation, “Members of our community may be unaware of the important role played in our community by the teachers, assistants/job coaches, and especially the students from Regional District 18’s Life Skills program.”

She continued, “It has been nearly 10 years since the Town first began working with student interns from Lyme-Old Lyme High School. The relationship has been considered a success for the students and has proven invaluable for the Town.”

Adding, “Historically, Regional District 18 contracted with outside agencies to provide vocational experiences and transition services to students with Individual Education Plans,” Reemsnyder noted, “The decision made a decade ago to bring vocational experiences “home” to Old Lyme meant significant financial savings to the district and created a unique opportunity for our community. The Town Hall internships alone represent over 3,000 work hours.”

Old Lyme resident and LOLHS Special Education teacher Leslie O’Connor was coordinator of the Life Skills program when the Town Hall internship program was developed. Pointing out that, “The program was considered a chance for our community to really be a community,” Reemsnyder commented, “And, because of the success of the Town Hall internships, many other organizations and businesses have also welcomed Life Skills interns: OLPGN’s Book Cellar, the Big Y, Lyme Academy College, the Nearly New Shop, Elements florist, Old Lyme Veterinary Clinic, Bee & Thistle Inn, Rivers End Bait &Tackle, and Gladeview among them. Local attorney Greg Carnese has offered to develop a job in his office for interns.”

Reemsnyder added, still reading from  the citation, “Students have worked alongside the Regional District’s maintenance staff as landscapers. In the Life Skills program, students work as the High School’s recycling technicians, and have run small businesses including making and selling gift tags, dog treats, and jars of tomato sauce and soups. They have also catered staff luncheons and meetings. According to Leslie, our community has supported them by buying every product offered.”

Reemsnyder cited one task that has stood out in terms of the award saying, “With the help of job coaches Elaine Niles, Gina Wohlke, and Elizabeth Watrous Stopa, Town Hall interns Taylor Saunders, Kelly Mastrianna, Leah Migliaccio, and Alexa Agostine took on the mammoth, ongoing task of converting paper records into electronic ones.”

A delighted Bilal Mahal receives his Citizen of the Year award from Selectwoman MaryJo Nosal

Bilal Malik was also given high praise by Reemsnyder for performing an ADA accessibility assessment of the Town Hall. Reemsnyder described this project as, “work that continues to guide us through necessary changes to the building.” 

Reemsnyder also acknowledged the exceptional role that her Executive Assistant Catherine Frank had played in both the establishment of the program in town hall and in its ongoing support and management.

In conclusion, Reemsnyder stated, “The students have gained vocational skills, practiced invaluable social and communication skills, and been able to create some impressive resumes,” while at the same time, “Through our work with the young interns, we have gained an appreciation for the dedication and caring of their teachers and job coaches, and a life-changing awareness of the limitless potential of our most exceptional citizens.”  

The students present were given flowers and a certificate each and along with their job coaches and teacher Leslie O’Connor, they were all given a standing ovation.

O’Connor graciously spoke on behalf of the students and the coaches thanking the board of selectmen for the award.  She also thanked all the businesses and organizations that have welcomed interns from the program into their places of work, adding with a smile that she would be happy to welcome any new businesses or organizations into the program immediately

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