September 21, 2017

Tickets Now Available for 44th Season of Collomore Concerts in Chester

The Claremont Trio opens the 44th season of the Collomore Concerts on Sept. 24.

CHESTER — For its 44th season, the Robbie Collomore Music Series will offer all four of its concerts in the fall, between Sept. 24 and Nov. 26. These will be on Sundays at 5 p.m. in the historic and charming Chester Meeting House. It is now the time to buy your season subscription.

Beginning the season, on Sunday, Sept. 24, is the Claremont Trio, brought to Chester as the Barbara and Edmund Delaney Young Artists Concert. Called “one of America’s finest young chamber groups,” these three young women have performed worldwide to great acclaim, both as a trio and as individual soloists. One reviewer wrote, “Their exuberant performance and gutsy repertoire… was the kind of fresh approach that keeps chamber music alive.” Their Chester concert will feature sonatas by Bach, Debussy, Britten and Rachmaninoff.

Internationally renowned Jason Vieaux and Julien Labro pair up on classical guitar and bandoneon on Oct. 15.

In recent years, Jason Vieaux and Julien Labro have thrilled Collomore Concert audiences separately – Jason playing classical guitar in a solo concert and Julien playing accordion with the Detroit Hot Club. When the Collomore committee heard they had joined forces touring, playing the guitar and bandoneon, they jumped at the opportunity to have them return to Chester on Sunday, Oct. 15.  You can expect something “entertaining, fun, exciting, virtuosic in the unusual pairing of these two instruments. The program contains some modern classical, world music from Brazil and Argentina, and even some pop music.”

Latin Jazz comes to Chester on Nov. 5, with the Curtis Brothers Quartet featuring Ray Vega, percussionist.  The Curtis Brothers Quartet takes bold steps towards a modern Latin Jazz sound, fearlessly pushing their musical approach into new territories. Their unique rhythmic concept is what separates them from most other jazz quartets. All of their music, original or not, is based on the percussive concepts that they have accumulated through their various musical experiences.

And on Nov. 26, the soulful songs of the Gullah culture will be brought to life by Ranky Tanky, a five-piece band of native South Carolinians who mix the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B. They’ve been called “infectious, intoxicating and exotic” with
“frisky and hypnotic rhythms with a bone-deep mix of spirituals and gutbucket blues.”

Buy a season subscription now and save money, plus you’ll be certain you will have a seat even when a concert is sold out. A subscription to all four concerts is just $98. Individual concert tickets cost $28. For students from elementary through graduate school, a subscription is $15 ($5 per concert). Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased online at www.collomoreconcerts.org using PayPal. All ticket-holders are invited to stay for a reception after the concert to meet the performers. For more information, check the website or call 860-526-5162.

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Lori Warner Gallery Hosts Ann Lightfoot Jewelry Summer Studio Sale Today

Jewelry by Ann Lightfoot will be on sale at the Lori Warner Gallery in Chester today.

The Lori Warner Gallery in Chester hosts the annual Ann Lightfoot Summer Studio Sale today, Saturday, Aug. 12, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with new pieces arriving on Sunday, Aug. 13, 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. (Chester Sunday Market 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Another selection of Ann Lightfoot jewelry, all on sale today at the Lori Warner Gallery in Chester.

In appreciation of their customers’ loyal support and enthusiasm, Lori Warner and Ann Lightfoot invite you to the Ann Lightfoot Jewelry Summer Studio Sale at the Lori Warner Gallery in Chester. Find a curated mix of samples, one-offs, past seasons’ pieces, as well as many designs offered exclusively at this event, all at deeply reduced prices. A large assortment of original pieces not only appropriate for summer, but year round.

 

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Townwide Tag Sale Today in Chester

townwide tag sale 1

CHESTER — Chester’s 27th Annual Townwide Tag Sale takes place today, Saturday, May 27 – sales open at 8 a.m. and end by 3 p.m.(or earlier). The event is rain or shine.

You’ll find well over 50 tag sales throughout the entire town of Chester, in residences and businesses.

As you enter town, you will see friendly volunteers selling maps (a $1) that will give you the locations of everyone hosting a tag sale. Spend more time with the maps and less time trying to find the sales by randomly driving around– although, that is fun,  too.

Make a day of it and enjoy all that the Town of Chester has to offer.

When you are ready to take a break, restaurants will welcome you with coffee, fresh baked treats, and great food any time of day. The downtown merchants – some of them new like Black Leather, The French Hen, Strut the Mutt and The Perfect Pear – will welcome you with open arms, with shelves stocked with specials, and galleries filled with unique objects of desire.  Don’t forget to pick up a loaf or two of Simon’s well-known bread.

‘Ready to Bargain in Southern France’ by BL Taylor of Essex is one of the paintings included in the Unframed Art Show at Maple & Main Gallery today.

A one-day show of unframed, original art by Maple and Main artists will be held today in conjunction with the Townwide Tag Sale when over 150 works on paper, board and canvas will be offered from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The show will be under a tent at the gallery entrance and on the porch and offers visitors a chance to buy paintings for less and choose their own frames to complement their homes. Visit Mapleandmaingallery.com to view a selection of works in the show.

The downtown area is revitalized – check out the new bridge (or bridgework) and sidewalks.  If you want to learn about the town, walk into the Chester Historical Society’s Museum at the Mill in the center of town where you can learn about the Life and Industry along the Pattaconk.  Walk up to the Chester Meeting House or simply stroll about and enjoy the day.

The first such event of its kind in the Lower Connecticut River Valley, the Chester Townwide Tag Sale was started by a group of Chester merchants in the mid-90’s and was run by the Merchants Group for several years.  In 2003, the Chester Historical Society took over the event and ran it for the next seven years.  The event is now organized by Chester Republican Town Committee, who have been running it for the past five years.

Proceeds from listing fees, map sales, and advertising on the map are used to promote the event throughout Connecticut.  Net proceeds from this event benefit the Chester Republican Town Committee’s general fund.

If you have questions or require more information, email kris.seifert@gmail.com or phone 860-526-8440 / 714-878-9658.

For more information, contact Kris Seifert at (860) 526-8440 or kris.seifert@gmail.com.

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Leif Nilsson to Donate Half Cost of Purchased Artwork to Lyme Land Conservation Trust Thru May 21

CAT# 3406 Hamburg Cove Oil 24 x 54 inches Leif Nilsson Summer 2016 ©

Acclaimed artist Leif Nilsson is donating half of the price of any painting in his Spring Street Studio in Chester to the Lyme Land Conservation Trust from now through May 21, 2017.

The most convenient way to proceed is to first view his work on the artist’s website and then either visit the studio or contact them by phone at (860) 526-2077 to arrange your purchase.

To be eligible for a tax deduction on 50 percent of the purchase price, payment must be made in two parts. You need to provide the Nilsson Studio with either a check payable to the Lyme Land Trust or your credit card information we can use to charge your account for half the price. The other half will be handled by Nilsson Studio.

The Spring Street Studio & Gallery is located at 1 Spring Street, Chester, CT 06412.

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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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CT Port Authority Chair Tells Lower CT River Local Officials, “We’re All on One Team”

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River but still deep in discussion are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) Board Member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

Enjoying a boat ride on the Connecticut River, but still finding time for discussions, are (from left to right) Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Old Lyme First Selectwoman and Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) board member Bonnie Reemsnyder, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr.

There was an overarching message both throughout the Connecticut Port Authority’s (CPA) meeting in Old Lyme’s Town Hall Thursday afternoon and during a subsequent boat ride on the MV ‘Victoria’ for members and local officials on the Connecticut River.  It was, in the words of CPA Chairman Scott Bates, that, “We’re absolutely committed to river communities.”

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town's needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

Scott Bates, CPA Chairman, receives input regarding the town’s needs from Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman.

In addition, while sailing from Essex down to Old Saybrook and then back up to Hamburg Cove on a perfect afternoon, Bates stressed, “Part of our mission is protecting these beautiful waters … and the quality of life we have here while preserving access to the river.”

View of the Connecticut River from the "Victoria."

View of the Connecticut River from the “Victoria.”

Bates noted that to have “five local officials (Chester First Selectwoman Lauren Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald Jr., Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, all of whom were on board, and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, who was unable to join the trip) “involved” was a really positive sign in terms of  “building a coalition.”  This, Bates explained, was key to the development of a strategic plan for the CPA—something the Authority has been charged with preparing with a deadline of Jan. 1, 2017.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

Gathered for a photo are (from left to right) CPA board member John Johnson, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, CPA Chairman Scott Bates and Old Lyme First Selectwoman and CPA board member Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The  CPA is a relatively new quasi-public agency created in 2014 with board appointments made in 2016.  Bates said the agency was responsible for 35 coastal communities and with this trip, he would now personally have visited 28 of them. Since the CPA has not created a strategic plan previously, Bates said he is determined, “to include everyone,” in the process, adding that he regards part of the Authority’s mission to be “getting small town and big cities together.” and, in turn, “to make great things happen for our state.”

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the 'Victoria.'

Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Jr. (left) chats with RiverCOG Executive Director Sam Gold aboard the ‘Victoria.’

Apart from Bates and the four local First Selectmen and Selectwomen, also on board were Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG) Executive Director Sam Gold, River COG Deputy Director and Principal Planner J.H. Torrance Downes, CPA Board of Directors member John Johnson and Joe Salvatore from the CPA.  Reemsnyder is also a board member of the CPA.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder and Johnson.

Connecticut Port Authority staff member Joe Salvatore points out a river feature to Reemsnyder, Bates and Johnson.

At the earlier meeting in Old Lyme, Downes had given a presentation to CPA members to introduce them to the Lower Connecticut River during which he had described the geography of the estuary, noting it had, “very little industry and very little commercial development.”  He described it as a “really prime area for bird migration” and highlighted numerous points of scenic beauty.

J.H. Torrance Downe, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

J.H. Torrance Downes, Deputy Director of River COG, takes in the view of the Connecticut River.

Bates noted one of the CPA’s responsibilities is to pursue state and federal funds for dredging and, while sailing under the Baldwin Bridge towards the Connecticut River’s mouth where several tributaries join the main river, Reemsnyder commented that Old Lyme had been a beneficiary of a $1.6 million state grant for dredging two of those tributaries — the Black Hall and Four Mile Rivers.  She noted that it had been a successful exercise thanks in part to Salvatore, who had, “held our hand through the whole project.”

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the 'Victoria.'

John Johnson, CPA board member (right) checks in with the captain of the ‘Victoria.’ Joe Salvatore stands at rear.

Johnson, whose life and business career according to the CPA website, have “a common underlying element: the coastal waters,” also confirmed the benefits of a dredging program, saying, “There is a need for depth of water — both elements, marine and maritime, need depth of water.”  Still on the dredging issue, Bates said he had met separately with Old Saybrook First Selectman Fortuna and told him that he could have “whatever he needs to keep the mouth of the Connecticut River open.”

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

John Johnson (left) and Bonnie Reemsnyder (right), both CPA board members, chat with the CPA Chairman Scott bates.

Reemsnyder took a minute to commend Bates for his leadership of the CPA, saying, “Scott has given focus to coastal communities,”  while Johnson added, “We are blessed with our new chairman.”

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

The quiet, untouched beauty of Hamburg Cove.

Glancing around at the numerous boats docked both in marinas and on the river itself,  Reemsnyder remarked, “Add up the money in these boats … [they represent] lots of economic drivers.”  On the same theme, Bates noted that the state is marketing its ports for the first time using “national expertise” in some cases with the aim of moving “more people and goods in and out of Connecticut.”  He added, “We have some great assets [in terms of ports in the state] but we could do more.”

Eyes on the Cove -- guests on the 'Victoria' gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

Eyes on the Cove — guests on the ‘Victoria’ gaze at the view across the calm waters of Hamburg Cove.

As the “Victoria’ pulled gently back into dock at Essex Yacht Club, Bates summarized the benefits of the boat trip saying that by spending time with these local leaders, he had been able to “see their waterfronts, assess their needs,“ and gain an “appreciation of the vitality of the Lower Connecticut River basin,” emphasizing one more time, “This is really about pulling together as a state … we’re all on one team.”

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Lori Warner Gallery Hosts ‘ART-ISTRY’ Featuring Work of David Rau from Flo Gris: Opening Reception Tonight

Detail from a featured work by David Rau in the ART-ISTRY exhibition opening Oct. 1 at the Lori Warner Gallery.

Detail from a featured work, ‘Untitled,’ by David Rau in the ART-ISTRY exhibition opening Oct. 1 at the Lori Warner Gallery.

ART-ISTRY, featuring new work by David D. J. Rau and Christopher B. Steiner, opens Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Lori Warner Gallery in Chester with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. to which all are welcome.  On view will be three-dimensional assemblage pieces by Rau, and limited edition prints and original photomontage works by Steiner.

This exhibition will be a very special one since the Lori Warner Gallery invites artists to exhibit their work once per year and the selection process is highly competitive.

David D.J. Rau’s Vintage Hardware Drawer series, was inspired by 14 antique drawers that originally held screws, bolts, and plugs (according to the various labels). Rau transforms them into miniature surreal stage sets using vintage and antique pieces collected over the years. Inspired by the past, his aesthetic combines vintage photography, tattered paper, intriguing ephemera, and antiques into humorous, ironic, and most importantly, beautiful scenes. 

Rau is the Director of Education & Outreach at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn. Responsible for the public programs and making connections between the art and history and the Museum’s visitors. Rau holds a masters degree in Art History and a certificate of Museum Studies from the University of Michigan. Rau has worked at Cranbrook Art Museum.

Detail from "The Fall of Suburban Man" by Christopher Steiner.

Detail from “The Fall of Suburban Man” (2016) by Christopher Steiner.

Christopher B. Steiner has always been partial to artists with “a deep sense of wit and (twisted) humor.” His work has been described as “irreverent parody with a twist of dark absurdity.” Steiner deconstructs iconic or cliché images and well-rehearsed art-historical traditions in order to invite alternative readings. These interventions are meant to surprise, delight, destabilize, and sometimes even shock. His intent is to “reinvigorate familiar images by bringing to them new perspectives and insights through unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur visual tropes”.

Steiner holds an undergraduate degree from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University. He is the Lucy C. McDannel ’22 Professor of Art History and Anthropology at Connecticut College, where he also serves as Founding Director of the Museum Studies Program.

Steiner is also a member of the board of trustees of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, where he was also Interim Director in 2003-04. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Boards of both the Florence Griswold Museum and the Bellarmine Museum at Fairfield University.

The exhibition will be on view through Dec. 1, and is free and open to the public. The Lori Warner Gallery is located at 21 Main St. in Chester, Conn.

For further information, call 860-322-4265, email gallery@loriwarner.com and visit www.loriwarner.com or www.facebook.com/loriwarnergallery/

eum; the Henry Ford Museum and The Currier Gallery of Art. Rau also teaches Museum Studies at Connecticut College.

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Chester Sunday Market Now Open for the Season

ChesterSundayMarketLogoCHESTER – The Chester Sunday Market opened for the season on Sunday, June 12.  It will now be open on all Sundays through the summer starting at 10 a.m.

The vendors are all listed on the Market’s website (http://chestersundaymarket.jimdo.com), with links to their websites.  They are:

  • Seven farms bringing produce – Chatfield Hollow Farm, Deep Hollow Farms, Dondero Orchards, Hunts Brook Farm, Sage Hill Farm, Upper Pond Farm and Wellstone Farm.
  • Meat, fish and poultry from Four Mile River Farm, Gourmavian Farms, Maple Breeze Farm and The Local Catch.
  • Beltane Farm bringing cheese & dairy products.
  • Bread from Alforno Restaurant and Howard’s Breads.
  • Plus, flowers and honey and jams and pickles and biscotti from: Hay House, Stonewall Apiary, Little Bird Provision Co. and Biscotti and Beyond.

Live music is lined up for each week, beginning on June 12 with Deep Blue Remedy. The bands play from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the words of the organizers: “The philosophy of the Chester Sunday Market is to bring the community together with local products and to have a good time doing it. It is a weekly town-wide farmers’ market that brings our community together. We invite local vendors to sell produce, meats, cheeses, breads and so much more.  Our goal is to stay local so we can help the smaller farmers in the area. Having all these amazing vendors join us in our lovely little town is a great way to promote our community and see each other. Main Street is closed off for the market giving the patrons the freedom to walk about town. Music is provided along with a bistro area so you can sit and have a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza.”

Market hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Because Main Street is closed to traffic between West Main St. (Rte. 148) and Maple St., shoppers are invited to park in the town public parking lots on Maple Street and at 20 Water St. (Rte. 148). Well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Shops and galleries are open during Market hours and often offer special happenings. You can find late breakfast or lunch at the restaurants in Chester Center, or buy some pizza on the street from one of the vendors, Frank Andrews Mobile Kitchen.

More information about the Chester Sunday Market at: Facebook.com/ChesterSundayMarket and http://chestersundaymarket.jimdo.com/. You can also find out more about Chester at Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT and Facebook.com/AlwaysonSundayinChester.

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Take Chester Historical Society’s Creative Challenge with 1950s Manicure Sticks

The Chester Historical Society invites you to take its Sticks Challenge based on these “orange sticks” made by the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works around 1950. More information at the Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822. Photo by Skip Hubbard

The Chester Historical Society invites you to take its Sticks Challenge based on these “orange sticks” made by the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works around 1950. More information at the Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822. Photo by Skip Hubbard

AREAWIDE – The Chester Historical Society is inviting anyone who likes a challenge to participate in its sixth Creative Challenge linking Chester history and art.

This spring, those accepting the 2016 Sticks Challenge will be given a bagful of short wooden manicure sticks, made from Florida citrus trees and shaped at the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works on Maple Street around 1950.

As with last year’s Hooked Again! Challenge based on hooks from Chester’s M.S. Brooks factory, this spring’s Sticks Challenge is for area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelry designers, and all others with a creative mind.

The sticks are available at Chester Gallery in Chester Center (860-526-9822). The artists’ entrance fee of $30 includes a bagful of the sticks and two tickets to the Sticks Challenge Silent Auction & Reception on Saturday, April 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.

All proceeds from the silent auction help the Chester Historical Society preserve Chester history and maintain the Chester Museum at The Mill.

For more info on the Historical Society and this year’s Creative Challenge, visit www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.com or Facebook.com/ChesterCTHistoricalSociety

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Celebrating a Year of ‘Pearls and Plaid’

The charming exterior of 'Pearls and Plaid" in Haddam, Conn.

The charming exterior of ‘Pearls and Plaid” in Haddam, Conn.

Just a few weeks ago, on Nov. 12, local Haddam boutique “Pearls and Plaid” celebrated its first birthday. The store is located just a few shops down from the Goodspeed Opera House by the Haddam Bridge, making it a popular destination for tourists as well as regular townies.

The tiny store is packed with clothing draped on walls and mirrors, spread on top of and underneath chests and drawers, and hung on pipes. Kristin Lemley, who is both an employee and sister of owner Caroline Lemley, comments,“From the start she (Caroline) really didn’t want it to be a typical clothing store with racks and shelves. We wanted it to be interesting to look at and always changing.”

A peek inside the store.

A peek inside the store.

Kristin, who lives in Essex while sister Caroline is a Killingworth resident, has followed the project from the very beginning.  She notes enthusiastically, “I think the store is unique because of the wide variety of people who shop there,” adding to prove her point, “Parents will come in and buy things for their eight-year-old daughters … but my grandma also shops there.”

The store’s professed style is, “Where northern prep meets southern charm,” and its inventory certainly lives up to its logo. Rompers, dresses, jewelry, and various accessories are the most popular items in the store, and new items arrive just as quickly as the old ones sell out.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

A veritable treasure trove of items are always on sale at competitive prices.

‘Pearls and Plaid’ is a great example of the local businesses that are the heart and soul of our small communities. These businesses bring the community together and provide a more intimate experience than larger scale corporations. Just as we rely on them to bring character to our local communities, they rely solely on our support to maintain their status.

Let’s commit to keep the charm and personality in our small towns by supporting ‘Pearls and Plaid’ and all the other small businesses in our local area to ensure many more anniversaries are celebrated!

Editor’s Note: Pearls and Plaid is located at 4, Norwich Rd., East Haddam, CT.  Its regular opening hours are Tue-Fri: 12 to 6 p.m., Sat: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, Call 860.876.7328.

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Old Lyme Appraisal Experts Join Chester’s “Antiques Roadshow” This Morning

Norman and Linda Legassie, of Old Lyme, have been the proprietors of Stepping Stones Antiques LLC in Old Saybrook since 1976 and longtime antiques appraisers.

Norman and Linda Legassie, of Old Lyme, have been the proprietors of Stepping Stones Antiques LLC in Old Saybrook since 1976 and longtime antiques appraisers.

Old Lyme residents Norman and Linda Legassie and Jeffrey Cooley will be among the 11 appraisers at the Chester Historical Society’s 12th Antiques & Jewelry Appraisal on Saturday, Nov. 7, at St. Joseph’s Parish Center, 48 Middlesex Avenue (Rte. 154) in Chester, from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Over the years, people from all over the state have learned that Chester Historical Society’s annual appraisal event offers what they need – many knowledgeable and professional appraisal experts, an easily accessed venue, and helpful and friendly volunteers.

This year, Norman and Linda Legassie, Old Lyme residents who own Stepping Stones Antiques in Old Saybrook, are generalists, appraising everything from silver to furniture to musical instruments and much more.

Jeff Cooley

Jeff Cooley

Jeffrey Cooley, longtime owner of the renowned Cooley Gallery on Lyme Street, will appraise art.

Douglass Bjorn is a generalist from Stonington and Peggy Maraschiello, another generalist well known for her expertise in textiles and more, is the longtime owner of River Wind Antiques in Deep River.

Three appraisers focus on jewelry (both vintage costume jewelry and gems) and all timepieces. They are Paul Indorf of CT Jewelry Appraisers, Gay Sherman Weintz (vintage costume jewelry) and Garry Craig of The Timekeeper in Wallingford.

Books and manuscripts are the expertise of Orville Haberman of CT River Books, glass and oil lamps are seen by John Newman of Deep River, and Steve Lutar of Guilford Coin Exchange specializes in coins and currency (and silver by weight).

Bring up to three separate items to be appraised. Verbal appraisals will cost $10 for the first item; $20 for two items; or $25 for three items. All proceeds will benefit the programs and museum of the Chester Historical Society. There is ample parking and handicapped access, and seats for while you wait.

Details about all the appraisers and directions to the Nov. 7 event are at www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org. Have questions? Call 860-558-4701 or email ChesterCTHistoricalSociety@gmail.com.

Captions

Norman and Linda Legassie, of Old Lyme, have been the proprietors of Stepping Stones Antiques LLC in Old Saybrook since 1976 and longtime antiques appraisers.

Jeffrey Cooley, owner of The Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme, will be one of the featured appraisers at the Chester Historical Society’s Antiques & Jewelry Appraisal event on Saturday morning, Nov. 7.

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Lori Warner Gallery Hosts Ann Lightfoot Jewelry Summer Sale Today

A plethora of jewelry by Ann Lightfoot.

A plethora of jewelry by Ann Lightfoot.

In appreciation of their customers’ loyal support and enthusiasm, Lori Warner and Ann Lightfoot have teamed up to host the Ann Lightfoot Jewelry Summer Studio Sale on Saturday, Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

AnnLightfootSale15_earrings

Earrings by Ann Lightfoot.

Find a curated mix of samples, one-offs, past seasons’ pieces, as well as many designs offered exclusively at this event, all at deeply reduced prices.

A portion of all sales will help fund the art programs in local public schools through the Lori Warner Gallery Scholarship Fund.

The Lori Warner Studio/Gallery is a unique source for artwork and objects that make a lasting impression. The gallery exhibits a small number of exclusive and award winning work and regularly hosts informal events featuring their represented artists and designers.

The gallery is located at 21 Main St. in Chester, Connecticut. For more information, visit www.loriwarner.com or call (860) 322-4265.

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Chester Synagogue to Host Rare Discussion Today of Jewish Organizations Response to Palestinian BDS Movement

Since 2005, Palestinian organizations have increasingly called for worldwide support for a movement to boycott, divest from and sanction (BDS) Israel. Although this movement has gained some support in the United States, particularly on university campuses, it has also engendered sharp responses from American Jewish organizations – so sharp that they have consistently refused to appear on the same program as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an organization which supports the BDS movement, to avoid providing any air of legitimacy to JVP and the BDS discussion.

On Saturday, May 30, from 1 to 4 p.m., Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester will host representatives of two American Jewish organizations with opposing views on BDS – J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace. In a forum titled “Can We Talk – BDS, the Jewish Response and Anti-Semitism,” the role of BDS in the Middle East peace process will be explored.

Speaking in favor of the BDS movement will be Robert Gelbach, co-chair of the New Haven chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, co-convener of the Connecticut BDS coalition, and retired professor of political science from Southern Connecticut State University. Learn more about JVP at jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

Speaking against the BDS movement will be Shaina Wasserman, New England Regional Director for J Street, a Jewish organization which describes itself as “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.”

Audience questions will be highlighted, and there will be time for audience opinions as well.

Andy Schatz, chair of the Social Action Committee of CBSRZ, which is sponsoring the forum, stressed the significance of this discussion not only because of what it may clarify about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also for what it says about the Jewish community in the U.S. “We think it is critical for Jewish communities and organizations to discuss openly these tough and uncomfortable issues to reach better solutions, and we are grateful for J Street for being willing to discuss the issue directly with JVP, which the other organizations we invited continued to refuse.”

He continues, “This discussion is another in the CBSRZ’ series of forums ‘celebrating diversity,’ as we think diversity of opinion within the American Jewish community is critical not only to reach those better solutions but to make clear American Jews are not some monolithic body but millions of people with oft-divergent views on issues large and small.”

Schatz noted that some of the topics likely to be discussed include:

  • Is boycott, divestment or sanction ever appropriate against democratic countries, and is any different standard appropriate as to Israel?
  • Can the BDS movement play a legitimate or positive role in the peace process in the Middle East?
  • Is the BDS movement inconsistent with support for Israel, a Jewish state, or a two-state solution?
  • Are boycotts, divestments or sanctions, which impact people and not just governments, inconsistent with religious values?
  • Is anti-Semitism increased by the BDS movement and/or by the refusal of most Jewish organizations to address it?
  • What should be the role of the American Jewish community and organizations in the debate over Israel’s future?

CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. There is no charge for this event, but to ensure adequate seating, register by sending an email to the CBSRZ office (bethshalom@snet.net) or calling 860-526-8920. Light refreshments will be provided.

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See the Results of ‘The Chester Creative Challenge,’ April 11

David Rau’s “Bull Market” for this year’s Hooked Again! Creative Challenge to support the Chester Historical Society was inspired by two hooks, commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange in the 1970s and made in Chester by M.S. Brooks & Sons.

CHESTER – This spring the Chester Historical Society is hosting its fifth annual Creative Challenge, dipping back into Chester’s roots as a manufacturing town. For five years, area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelers, and all others with a creative mind have accepted the challenge to use artifacts from Chester’s rich manufacturing history to create items for a silent auction and reception to raise funds for the Chester Historical Society.

This is just another great example of making history current, the ‘then and now’ that is often part of the Society’s exhibits at Chester Museum at The Mill.

Those accepting the 2015 Hooked Again! Challenge issued by the Historical Society are working with assorted sample hooks, handles and hardware, which were still enclosed in small sealed manila envelopes, from Chester’s former M.S. Brooks & Sons factory.

“Hooked on Mandalas” by Bill Vollers is a framed, signed, archival digital image.

“Hooked on Mandalas” by Bill Vollers is a framed, signed, archival digital image.

The finished pieces of art, jewelry, sculptures, photographs, etc. will be exhibited and sold by silent auction at the Historical Society’s Reception on Saturday, April 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House.

The reception will feature hearty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from Chester kitchens served with wine and non-alcoholic beverages.

Tickets for the evening are $30 and will be limited. They can be purchased at Chester Gallery and Ceramica, both in the center of Chester, or by calling Sosse Baker at Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822.

All the proceeds from the event will benefit the Chester Historical Society and its programs, including Chester Museum at The Mill. Information is available on the Society website, www.chesterhistoricalsociety.org or at Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.

Caption:

Caption:

Caption: To create “Hooked on Amazonite,” Donna Carlson used Amazonite stone and the special order hooks created for The Tigers Den by M. S. Brooks.

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Nilsson Offers Five Day Painting Workshop in August

Leif Nillson painting outdoors

Leif Nillson painting outdoors

Acclaimed local artist Leif Nilsson is offering a five day painting workshop from Aug. 3 to 7, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for $500 per student.

This workshop will explore the lower Connecticut River Valley’s landscape, its architecture and the light that reveals it through a combination of one shot “alla prima” paintings and by further developing other canvases over the course of several days, all on location in the open air.

Nilsson’s medium of choice is oil paint but he is familiar with other media such as pencil, pastel, watercolor and acrylics, so participants are asked to bring whatever they are comfortable using.

Subjects during the course may include painting the Village of Chester, Nillson’s studio garden (possibly with a live model) and the Connecticut River.

Throughout each day, he will provide a variety of tips and suggestions from how to set up one’s equipment and choosing a composition to learning how to see more through squinted eyes through formal and spontaneous demonstrations and individual discussions.

Technical assistance with drawing, perspective, proportions, color mixing and application will be offered as students work on their own paintings and as the need arises.

A general materials and suggested equipment list will be provided upon registration.

The daily schedule for the course will be:

9 a.m. to noon: Meet at a predetermined location at 9am and work until noon.

Noon to 1 p.m.: Take an hour break for lunch. Students are responsible for providing their own lunch. Chester has some excellent markets for eating in and take out.

1 to 5 p.m.: Start up again at 1 p.m. at an agreed upon location and work until 5 p.m.

Students are welcome to start earlier and work later if they’d like to without me present.

Nillson and his wife Caryn Davis, who is a professional photographer, will host one or two informal dinner parties at their home and gallery during the week to welcome students, share in lively discussions and view everyone’s work.

A list of local motels, B&Bs and Inns is available at: http://www.visitchester.com/chester/merchants/inns_and%20_B_and_Bs.html

A 50 percent non-refundable deposit of $250 is required by May 15, 2015 to secure a place. If the workshop is cancelled, the deposit will be refunded in full.

For more information, visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com/classes/index.html

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“House of Cards” Director to Speak at CBSRZ, Feb. 1

John David Coles

John David Coles

Connecticut fans of Netflix’s addictive phenomenon ‘House of Cards,’ can get a rare inside look into how this series on the struggle for power in Washington is made.

Executive producer/director John David Coles will speak at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester at 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 1, just weeks before the long-awaited Feb. 27 release of season 3. No tickets are required and the event is free of charge as part of the synagogue’s 100thanniversary cultural arts programming.

‘House of Cards’ stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Spacey, playing a sinister Frank Underwood, aims to beat back enough enemies to rise to the White House. A Washington Post reviewer noted that the “back stabbing, bed hopping, betraying, compromising and scandal mongering” captures ageless, Shakespearean themes. Coles and the creative team based the story on a 1990 BBC television miniseries and earlier book by Michael Dobbs, but let the actors and story craft fresh approaches to the ethics and psychology of power.

Coles is an award-winning director and producer known for evocative material with compelling performances from some of today’s most respected actors. He has enjoyed success in features, television and theater while his production company, Talking Wall Pictures, has focused on the development of cutting edge feature and television projects.

Coles shot his first full length 16mm film at age 17 – a wry update of “Casablanca” re-imagined in a high school. While at Amherst College he directed a documentary about the school that was aired on PBS, and soon after was making short films for Saturday Night Live.

He then went on to become an editor on Francis Coppola’s “Rumble Fish” and “The Cotton Club.” His feature directorial debut, “Signs of Life,” starred Beau Bridges, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Mary Louise Parker. The film won the International Critics Prize at Deauville and launched a prolific and versatile directing career.

In television, Coles is one of the few directors who is equally adept at both drama and comedy. He has directed numerous Emmy Award-winning series ranging from “Sex and the City” to “The West Wing,” and many other notable shows such as “Justified,” “Damages,” and “Bates Motel.” Coles recently directed A&E’s “Those Who Kill” with Chloë Sevigny, and the new Starz original series Power.

His success as an episodic director allowed Coles to begin a producing career and one of his first projects, “Thief,” led to Andre Braughers’ Emmy award for Best Actor. Other executive producer credits include hit drama “Elementary,” “Unforgettable,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” with Jeff Goldblum, “3LBS” with Stanley Tucci, “New Amsterdam,” and the drama “Wonderland,” a critically acclaimed series that addressed the frail boundaries of insanity within a New York City hospital’s psychiatric ward.

Coles continues to write and create original dramas through Talking Wall Pictures, which produced the CBS drama “Songs in Ordinary Time” (based on the Oprah Book Club pick) starring Sissy Spacek and Beau Bridges and co-created and executive produced the series “Crash and Burn.” Talking Wall has developed numerous projects with HBO, CBS, New Line, IFC, Bravo and worked with numerous distinguished writers, including Academy Award nominated Mike Weller (“Hair”), Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright (“Quills”), Kate Robin (“Six Feet Under”) and Ann Peacock (“Nights in Rodanthe”).

In the theater world, Coles was a member of the Circle Rep Lab and an alumnus of Wynn Handman at the American Place Theater. His Off-Broadway credits include directing the critically acclaimed play “The Impostor” starring Austin Pendleton and Calista Flockhart, as well as “Johnny Suede,” starring Tom DiCillo.

Coles lives in New York with his wife Laura and his children, ­­­­­Sam and Jessica. He is a Sundance Director’s Lab Alumni, and teaches at the Columbia University Graduate Film Program.

Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. Founded 100 years ago, CBSRZ translates as House of Peace Seeking Justice. Pegged as a “cultural center and architectural landmark” by the Jewish Ledger, CBSRZ goes by the moniker “ancient and cool” because of its pioneering fusion of renewed tradition with spiritual learning, cultural expression, and prayer labs. Located on the Connecticut River, it is the only public building ever designed by the internationally renowned artist Sol LeWitt. Find more information, 860-526-8920 or www.cbsrz.org or www.ancientandcool.com.

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‘Sweet Honey in the Rock’ to Perform in Chester Today

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SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK, photo by Dwight Carter

Luring the Grammy Award nominated and internationally adored African-American singers, Sweet Honey in the Rock, to perform during the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend was a dream of Miriam Gardner-Frum, longtime director of the Chester concert series, Music & More. The concert will be held on Sunday, Jan. 18, at 3 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ).

There are many ways to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, but one of the most meaningful, Gardner-Frum thought, would be through the uplifting harmonies of Sweet Honey in the Rock, or as one music critic wrote, “The Gold Standard … their voices are all fabulous, and they unite to create a sound so pure and smooth and homogeneous that is does not seem humanly possible.”

Over the years, Gardner-Frum has brought many remarkable musicians to Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ), and she saw her opportunity with Sweet Honey when she read that the group had received an award from Common Ground, an organization that recognizes exceptional efforts in humanitarian work.

As a supporter of Common Ground’s work, Gardner-Frum saw the stars aligned – potentially. “I thought how amazing it would be to have them here in our beautiful synagogue. They combine two exceptional features – great a capella music that lifts hearts even as it calls attention to great injustices of our world. This seemed a natural fit for us at CBSRZ. Through our Social Action efforts, we do much work along those lines as well.”

But theory and practice are not easy to reconcile. For Gardner-Frum, there were logistics to address in both scheduling and agreeing the performance contract.

“When I first contacted their agent, it didn’t seem possible that we could do this, but we worked with them, and they were very helpful, and here we are … I am grateful for their flexibility, and that they are eager to come to a synagogue and help spread the message of love that Dr. King expressed.”

Carol Maillard, one of the founding members of the group and still singing with it, says that Sweet Honey has celebrated Dr. King’s birthday in concert many times, but never in a synagogue. She says, “We’re very excited about coming and we hope that folks will come with an open mind and heart. We hope they’ll feel uplifted and won’t be afraid to show they’re having a good time.”

The name of the performance group was indeed derived from a song, based on Psalm 81:16, which tells of a land so rich that when rocks were cracked open, honey flowed from them.

Sweet Honey in the Rock is rooted in African-American history and culture. The ensemble educates, entertains and empowers its audience and community through the dynamic vehicles of a cappella singing and American Sign Language interpretation for the Deaf and hearing impaired. Sweet Honey’s audience and community comes from diverse backgrounds and cultures throughout the United States and around the world, and includes people of all ages.

Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, spiritual leader of CBSRZ, says this concert is a perfect way to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. “We honor him every year because of the Jewish People’s historical commitment to the struggle for human rights. But more importantly, we recommit ourselves to the ongoing work of demanding justice and equal treatment for all people living in this country.”

Tickets for the general public are $30 and advance ticket purchases are highly recommended. For more information, call CBSRZ at 860.526.8920.

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Old Lyme Residents to Assist Today in Appraisal Event at Chester Historical Society

Norm & Linda Legassie, generalists

Old Lyme residents Norman and Linda Legassie (center and left in photo respectively) assist with an appraisal.

Norman and Linda Legassie, longtime owners of Stepping Stones Antiques LLC in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme residents, are among the eleven professionals who will be appraising antiques and jewelry at the Chester Historical Society’s 11th appraisal event on Saturday, Nov. 8, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, in Chester.

A professional sculptor, Norman’s knowledge of fine art brings a practiced eye to examine treasures. Linda adds many years of experience as a researcher in the fine and decorative arts. Their knowledge encompasses a wide range of subjects from prehistoric to present, including furniture, jewelry, postcards, tools, silver, pottery, and more. Norman is a Senior Professional Appraiser (SPA) with the National Association of Professional Appraisers.

The other generalist appraiser on Nov. 8 will be Tom Perry of One of a Kind Antiques (www.OneOfaKindAntiques.com). The other eight appraisers have specialties. They are: Garry Craig of The Timekeeper (watches and clocks); Orville Haberman of CT River Books (books and ephemera); Paul Indorf of Connecticut Jewelry Appraisers (fine jewelry and gemstones); Steve Lutar and Dave Passamano of Guilford Coin Exchange (coins, currency, and stamps); Tom Medlin of Essex (American furniture of the 18th and 19th centuries, American paintings, and base metals, especially brass candlesticks); John Newman of Deep River (American-made glass and Aladdin oil and electric lamps); and Gay Sherman Weintz (vintage and antique costume jewelry).

Each attendee may bring up to three separate items to be appraised. If the item is too large to carry, bring photographs (if it’s a table or dresser, bring in a drawer too). Verbal appraisals will cost $10 for the first item; $20 for 2 items; or $25 for 3 items. All proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Chester Historical Society and the Chester Museum at The Mill.

The appraisal program will be at St. Joseph’s Parish Center, at 48 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 154) in Chester. There is ample parking and handicapped access. More information, including directions to the event, is on the website, ChesterHistoricalSociety.org, or email your questions to chestercthistoricalsociety@gmail.com or call 860-558-4701.

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Connecticut River Gateway Commission Donates $5,000 To “The Preserve” Fund

Connecticut River Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody presents a $5,000 contribution to The Preserve Fund to Kate Brown (center), Trust for Public Land Project Manager for “The Preserve” acquisition. On the far left is Commission Vice Chair Nancy Fischbach, and on the right are Commission Secretary Madge Fish & Treasurer Margaret (“Peggy”) Wilson.

Connecticut River Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody presents a $5,000 contribution to The Preserve Fund to Kate Brown (center), Trust for Public Land Project Manager for “The Preserve” acquisition. On the far left is Commission Vice Chair Nancy Fischbach, and on the right are Commission Secretary Madge Fish & Treasurer Margaret (“Peggy”) Wilson.

The Connecticut River Gateway Commission has contributed $5,000 to the Trust for Public Land Campaign to Preserve the 1,000 Acre Forest

The donation will help ensure that the parcel known as The Preserve in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, and Essex will be permanently protected as forestland and wildlife habitat.

The Gateway Commission was established in 1973 to administer the Connecticut River Gateway Conservation Zone.  Eight towns in the lower Connecticut Valley including Lyme and Old Lyme along with Chester, Deep River, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam and Old Saybrook joined together in a compact to create the Conservation Zone in order to protect the scenic, historic and environmental resources of the lower Connecticut River.

Although not within the Conservation Zone, The Preserve lies within the lower Connecticut River watershed.  It is the last thousandacre coastal forest between New York and Boston and includes the headwaters of streams that flow into the Connecticut.

The Commission believes that its protection is important to the ecological health of the watershed and the river.

According to Gateway Commission Chairman Melvin Woody “The Gateway Commission is gratified to join in this vital preservation project.”

For more information about the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, visit  www.ctrivergateway.org or contact J. H. Torrance Downes at (860) 581-8554, or email him at tdownes@rivercog.org.

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Wyman, Bjornberg, Stone Hold Press Conference Today to Discuss Women’s Rights

Emily Bjornberg (D)

Emily Bjornberg (D)

Later today, Thursday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m., Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg will hold a press conference on the front steps of the Town Hall in Clinton, Conn., to discuss the importance of supporting candidates who will stand up for women’s rights in the upcoming Nov. 4 election.  Wyman and Bjornberg will be joined by State House Candidate Mary Stone of Old Lyme, and many other concerned women and local residents.

Bjornberg’s opponent was recently endorsed by a conservative organization that is trying to roll back a wide variety of rights for women in Connecticut.

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