June 26, 2017

Saybrook Stage Presents ‘Barefoot in the Park’ at ‘the Kate,’ July 13-15

The cast of ‘Barefoot in the Park’ gather for a photo.

The Saybrook Stage Company presents “Barefoot in the Park” by Neil Simon at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘the Kate,’ July 13 through July 15, at 8 p.m. with matinées July 15, at 2 p.m. and Sunday, July 16, at 3 p.m.

Neil Simon is at his best in this hilarious and touching romantic comedy about a conservative straight-as-an-arrow young lawyer and his free-spirited new bride. They are newlyweds in every sense of the word – still giddy from their over-the-top honeymoon at The Plaza – and now find themselves in a less-than-perfect Greenwich Village fifth-floor walkup in New York City.

The pricey apartment with bad plumbing and in need of a paint job is only the beginning of their rocky happily-ever-after life. The play is clever and funny, filled with snappy dialogue and witty one-liners. – Neil Simon is simply masterful in this 1960’s story of newlywed life.

A rehearsal scene from ‘Barefoot in the Park.’

The comedy unfolds as the couple moves into their new apartment and receives a surprise visit from the bride’s easily-winded, loopy mother and decide to play matchmaker during a dinner with their neighbor in-the-attic – where everything that can go wrong does. The antics just get started as the mother and neighbor surprisingly get along better than anyone expected; while the newlyweds can only argue. The bride thinks the groom is too staid and boring – she wants him to be more spontaneous – and running barefoot in the park would be a nice start!

“Barefoot in the Park” originally opened in 1963 to rave reviews and was nominated for three Tony Awards. The play ran for over 1530 performances making it Neil Simon’s longest running Broadway hit. The New York Times wrote at the time “I don’t think anybody stopped laughing while the curtain was up”.

The Saybrook Stage Company is pleased to return once again to The Kate in Neil Simon’s romantic comedy directed by Jim Hile. This will be their 14th production at The Kate and the second Neil Simon play having performed “Rumors” in July 2014 – the more recent previous plays are Noises Off, Deathtrap, The Wayside Motor Inn, Moon Over Buffalo and this past January, The Farnsworth Invention.

Visit www.thekate.org or call 877.503.1286 and reserve your tickets now. Also, visit www.SaybrookStage.org for more information about The Saybrook Stage Company.

The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality local theater on the Connecticut Shoreline at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Saybrook Stage welcomes actors of all levels and abilities – and anyone who genuinely loves the arts – to come together and share in the experience that only live theater can provide. The actors that have been part of The Saybrook Stage Company to date have varied backgrounds and “day jobs” from teachers, artists and homemakers to lawyers, business people and judges. The Company looks forward to producing many more quality productions at the beautiful venue of The Kate and continuing to thrive in this wonderful, artistic region of Connecticut.

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Estuary Council Hosts Volunteer Fair/Open House Tonight

The Estuary Council of Seniors is holding a Volunteer Fair/Open House on Wednesday, June 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the center located at 220 Main St, Old Saybrook. The Estuary services those aged 50 and better from Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.

Join the Estuary staff to welcome new Director, Stan Mingione, and enjoy a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. Staff members will be available to give tours of the facility and Fitness Center.  Come learn about the many activities and services and speak with personnel about the numerous volunteer opportunities.

For more information, call 860-388-1611 or visit www.ecsenior.org.

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CT Historic Preservation Office Seeks Public Input at Meeting on Statewide Plan, June 27 in Saybrook

The Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is working on a Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan to be completed by the end of the year.

The plan will be a planning document at an intensive level, addressing the treatment of historic and cultural resources across the state. It will serve as a guide for planning and decision making by the SHPO, Towns, agencies, non-profit organizations, and others who may affect these resources.

For southeast Connecticut, there will be a meeting at The Pavilion at Saybrook Point Park, 154 College St., at Saybrook Point, Old Saybrook, CT on Tuesday, June 27, from 7 to 9 p.m.

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Glenn Close to Receive 2nd Annual Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award at Annual Gala, Aug. 26


OLD SAYBROOK —
Acclaimed actress Glenn Close has been named the recipient of the 2nd annual Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award. The award, given by the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, is bestowed yearly upon an individual who embodies the spirit, independence, and character of the legendary actress.

The award will be presented to Close at the organization’s annual Summer Gala on Saturday, Aug. 26.

Close has been nominated for six Academy Awards, won three Tonys and three Emmys, and advocates for mental health issues.  She made her feature film debut in The World According to Garp, for which she received an Oscar nomination. She was subsequently Oscar-nominated for The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons and Albert Nobbs.  For the latter, she was also a producer, co-wrote the screenplay and composed the lyrics for the Golden Globe nominated theme song, “Lay Your Head Down.”

Close won two consecutive Emmys along with a Golden Globe Award, and three SAG nominations for her portrayal of ‘Patty Hewes’ on Damages. She won a third Emmy for her title role performance in Serving in Silence: the Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (for which she also received a Peabody Award as executive producer).

In 1974, Close made her professional, theatre, and Broadway debut in The Phoenix Theatre’s Love for Love, directed by Harold Prince. Over her forty-three year career, she has always returned to the theater, receiving Tony Awards for Death and the Maiden, The Real Thing and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Sunset Boulevard, as well as an Obie Award for The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs. Last spring, Close made her London-West End debut in a new production of Sunset Boulevard, for which she won a London Evening Standard Award and was nominated for an Olivier Award. She is presently starring, to great acclaim, in that same production, on Broadway.

Close’s decision to join the acting profession in part stems from viewing one of the most famous and first ever television interviews with Katharine Hepburn, conducted by Dick Cavett, the inaugural Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award Winner.  Hepburn became an inspiration to Close and Hepburn welcomed this role, finding small ways to support Close through communications and appearances at events honoring Close.

The Aug. 26 Gala at the Kate will take place on the historic Old Saybrook Town Green. The event begins at 6 pm with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails under the tent.  Dinner and dessert by Max Catering will be complemented by live and silent auctions as well as remarks celebrating Close and another tremendous year of arts and culture at “The Kate.“ The Kate will then turn the party up a notch, filling the dance floor with current tunes and crowd favorites and dancers/instructors from the Fred Astaire – Old Saybrook Dance Studio will perform and join the party.

During the event, Close will receive the award, a graceful statuette sculpted in the likeness of Hepburn by Kimberly Monson, an artist and faculty member of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

Numerous sponsorship levels are available, which include a variety of benefits, visibility, and the possibility to meet and greet with Close. The event’s top sponsor may participate in the awarding of the Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award to Close.

Visit http://thekate.org/events/2017KateGala/ for sponsorship details or to purchase tickets.  For more information contact Dana Foster at dana.foster@thekate.org

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center. It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.

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SummerSing Mozart’s Requiem This Evening, All Welcome

Summer Sing Mozart’s “Requiem” this evening at 7 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook. This session will be conducted by Rachael Allen of Westbrook High School. All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work. Professional soloists often participate.

The event is co-sponsored by Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio. A $10 fee covers the costs of the event. Scores will be available, and the church is air-conditioned.

The next Summer Sing on Monday, June 19, will be conducted by Barry Asch of Cappella Cantorum directing the Lord Nelson Mass, by Haydn.

For more information call (860) 767-9409 or (203) 530-0002   or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org

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On Board the ‘Onrust;’ Famed Re-creation of Adriaen Block’s Boat Sails up Connecticut River

The ‘Onrust’ docked at Saybrook Point Inn and Spa.

It was “a momentous occasion,” according to Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs when a group of dignitaries and invited guests gathered to board the re-creation of Adriaen Block’s boat Onrust last Thursday.  Dobbs pointed out that it was, “400 years ago — 403 to be precise” since the original Onrust commenced its exploration of the Connecticut River ultimately exploring it upstream to just a little further north than present-day Hartford — a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound.

Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Chris Dobbs takes a brief break from his duties as host on board the ‘Onrust.’

While overwintering (1613-1614) in New York Bay, the Dutch explorer Block’s first ship, the Tyger (Tiger), caught fire and burned to the waterline.  Working through the frigid winter, Block built a new ship from the salvaged remnants and named it the Onrust, Dutch for ‘Restless.’

It was the first vessel built by Europeans in New York State and the first yacht built in the New World.  In 1614, Block and his crew set off to explore coastal New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island with the intent of developing trade partnerships with Native Americans.  During his time on the water, Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River  

The re-created Onrust was launched in 2009 by The Onrust Project, an all-volunteer non-profit out of New York, which built the vessel after painstakingly researching traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques.  

To reach the Saybrook Point Inn at Old Saybrook, Conn., where the guests boarded the ship, the Onrust followed a similar path to the one that Block took in 1614.  It departed from Kingston, N.Y., traveled to New York Bay, traversed the treacherous Hell Gate, entered Long Island Sound and sailed to the mouth of the Connecticut River. 

While preparations were made to launch, Connecticut River Museum Board Chairman Tom Wilcox told the guests now assembled on board the Onrust, “This is a most auspicious occasion,” and correctly predicted they would have, “a lovely sail.”  Despite an earlier threat of rain, the weather cooperated completely with warm temperatures and clear skies.

Steven Tagliatella, owner of the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, addressed the guests on board the ‘Onrust.’

Another guest on board was Steven Tagliatella, owner of the Saybrook Point Inn, who spoke effusively about the upcoming trip to the Connecticut River Museum describing the Onrust as “a spectacular sight.”  He also took the opportunity to mention the new tourism coalition he has formed to promote tourism in the state, noting that the Onrust offers “a wonderful opportunity” for tourism.

Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodward speaks on the theme of ‘restlessness,’ echoing the name of the boat — ‘Onrust’ translates from the Dutch to ‘restless.’

Walter Woodward, Connecticut’s State Historian, really spoke for everyone aboard when he said, “To be on this boat on this day is so exciting,” but then asked the guests to take themselves back in time to the spring of 1614 when Block brought the boat he had built the previous winter and named Onrust – Restless – to the mouth of the river the natives call Quinitticut. Woodward declared that Block, “was as restless as his little vessel,” explaining, “The 47-year-old trader-explorer was anxious to make up the losses he had experienced the previous winter, when his ship the Tyger had accidentally caught fire.”

Woodward pursued the theme of ‘restlessness’ as he continued, saying, “Then as now, the word restless had many meanings … A generation of restless Europeans … both Dutch and English would come to this river, first in search of trade with the indigenous people, and soon after, in the quest for their land and resources.”

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna (center in sunglasses) chats with a guest during the trip up the Connecticut River.

Woodward added, “Some were restless too in a godly way – troubled in mind and spirit, seeking a place to serve God as their consciences demanded.”

He also noted that, “For those already here, the arrival of the Onrust heralded a new native restlessness – first, as the indigenous people jostled with each other for control of the distribution of European trade goods … and later to fight the efforts of these insurgents to drive them from their homes.”

Jennifer White-Dobbs enjoys the glorious river views with her son (right) and a guest.

Keeping to his theme, Woodward ended with the words, “I know you are restless to get underway, so let me conclude by saying it is a privilege to be here today to mark the moment in time, when Adriaen Block and his Onrust entered the river he named Fresh River, and a world-transforming era of restless change began.”

The Essex Sailing Masters of 1812 greeted the ‘Onrust’ with bright melodies in front of the Museum.

Before introducing the next speaker, Dobbs noted, “The amount of research to build this vessel was amazing,” and also that it had taken, “Around 250 people to build the Onrust.” He explained that the Onrust will be a floating exhibit at the Museum through early October, open for dockside tours, school and Scout programs, along with public cruises and charters.

The guests vigorously waved Dutch flags as the ‘Onrust’ pulled into the Connecticut River Museum’s dock.

Dobbs then presented Emily Boucher, who brought a message from Senator Chris Murphy, which she read aloud to the guests on the Onrust. In the message, Murphy expressed the wish that he could join everyone on the trip, and noted he was pleased with the financial assistance the state had given the Museum which, “was going to allow it [the Museum] to not float away.”

A crew member prepares to fire the cannon to announce the boat’s arrival at the Connecticut River Museum.

Finally the Onrust departed from Saybrook Point inn and sailed serenely up the Connecticut River offering spectacular views in all directions. As the three-man crew prepared for arrival at the Museum during the first hour of the popular RiverFare event, one crew member fired a celebratory cannon. Meanwhile, Essex’s very own Sailing Masters of 1812 provided a cheery, musical fanfare as the historic vessel approached the Museum’s dock. 

It was indeed a wonderful and “momentous” voyage!

For more information on the Connecticut River Museum and the Onrust, visit the Museum’s website.  The Museum extends special thanks to Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa, Essex Meadows, the Sailing Masters of 1812, and The Onrust Project for their efforts in arranging the vessel’s arrival. 

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street in Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River. For a full listing of Museum programs or to buy tickets for the Onrust, RiverFare, and many other events go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

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Kuslan Presents ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ Program Today, Followed by Performance at ‘the Kate’ in HD by The Met

James Kuslan.

Opera devotee and popular lecturer on operatic topics, James Kuslan, will present an informative program on Richard Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier” at the Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd. in Old Saybrook on Saturday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m. This event is sponsored by the Guild of Salt Marsh Opera and the Acton Public Library.

Kuslan is a graduate of Yale University’s School of Drama and has been a voice scout in the United States for the German classical recording giant, Deutsche Grammophon.

“Der Rosenkavalier” is set in Vienna of the past, and regarded as Strauss’s most popular and grandest opera concerns a wise woman of the world who is involved with a much younger lover. It combines comedy, fantasy, and drama. This program is free, open to the public, and handicapped accessible.

The Met in HD at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center features a simulcast of “Der Rosenkavalier” starring Renee Fleming, on May 13, starting at 12:30 p.m.

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See Eastern CT Ballet’s ‘Ballerina Swan/Carnival of the Animals’ at ‘the Kate,’ Two Performances Today


The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “the Kate”, welcomes back Eastern Connecticut Ballet for two performances in one featuring Ballerina Swan and Carnival of the Animals.

A total of four family-friendly performances will be held this Saturday, May 6, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., as well as Sunday, May 7, at 1 and 4 p.m.

Ballerina Swan is based on a new book by New York City Ballet’s Allegra Kent and is choreographed by Gloria Gorvrin, the Artistic Director of Eastern Connecticut Ballet.  Laugh and cry as Sophie the swan follows her dream leaving the safety of her home on the water to experience humorous escapades in the ballet classroom.  The ballet concludes with breathtaking variations from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Complete the unique double-bill family event with Carnival of the Animals.  Lions, birds, and fish will frolic on stage in Camile Saint-Saen’s musical masterpiece.

This promises to be an afternoon of beautiful music and dance.

For more information on tickets for any shows at the Kate, visit www.thekate.org or call the Kate Box Office at 860-510-0453.

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Guilford Savings Bank Supports Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries with ‘Green for Greens’

From left to right, front row, Guilford Saving Bank Branch Manager, Dave Carswell, SSKP Board Member Rick Westbrook, SSKP Executive Director, Patty Dowling, and Guilford Saving Bank Community Development Officer, Lisa La Monte. (back row) Guilford Saving Bank Assistant Branch Manager, Sandra Miller, and Guilford Saving Bank tellers Ryan Donovan and Brandy Reilly.

AREAWIDE — Guilford Savings Bank has awarded a $4,000 grant to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) to purchase fresh produce for needy residents of the shoreline. The grant, called “Green for Greens”, helps assure that local families who come to SSKP’s food pantries will be provided with fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to non-perishable foods.

Lisa LeMonte, Marketing and Community Development Officer at Guilford Savings Bank, shared, “I know I speak for everyone at GSB when I say how proud we are to provide “Green for Greens” that allows The Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries to supplement their budget with funds to purchase additional fresh produce.”

“The support of Guilford Savings Bank and their generous “Green for Greens” is truly a gift to those we serve at our 5 food pantries.  We all know the feeling of eating a fresh crisp apple, or finding a banana in our lunch bag when we are hungry midday.  Because of GSB, those in need will share in that feeling, and on behalf of those we serve, I sincerely thank Guilford Savings Bank for their commitment to providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director.

Founded 28 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

Guilford Savings Bank has been serving the financial needs of the Connecticut shoreline for over 140 years.  Recently named the #1 Community Bank in Connecticut, it is the premier relationship bank, providing banking, lending, wealth management and life insurance solutions for personal, small business and commercial customers. For more information visit www.gsbyourbank.com

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Carney, MacLachlan to Hold Coffee Hours in Westbrook, Saturday

State Rep. Jesse Maclachlan (R-34th)

State Representative Devin Carney

State Rep’s. Devin Carney and Jesse MacLachlan will hold coffee hours in Westbrook at the Westbrook Public Library located at 61 Goodspeed Drive on Saturday, April 1 starting at 10 a.m.

This event will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government or local issues.

Anyone unable to attend, but who would like to speak to either legislator can contact Carney’s or MacLachlan’s office at 800-842-1423 or by email at: devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov andjesse.machlachlan@housegop.ct.gov.

Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District, which includes the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and a portion of Westbrook.

MacLachlan represents the 34th General Assembly District, which includes the towns of Clinton, Killingworth and a portion of Westbrook.

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The Kate Welcomes Spring With Unique Performances, Exciting Partnerships

Spring is here at the Kate … and summer is just around the corner!

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is welcoming Spring in many ways.  As the weather gets warmer and the days longer, the Kate’s performances are intended to brighten your mood.

With a Doors Tribute Band on March 24, and Mary Poppins – the Broadway Musical from March 31 to April 2, through to the simulcast National Theatre Live performance of Obsession featuring Jude Law on June 8,  the Kate hopes to make your Spring shine.  And there are some surprises in store when you find out who is coming for the CPTV series at the Kate in June.

The tent that resides over the patio area of the Kate will be up in early May, heralding in warmer days and soulful nights of great music and events.  Become a member today and come to an evening of networking with area friends and businesses at the Membership Reception on the Kate’s namesake, Katharine Hepburn’s birthday, May 12.

Then get ready for special events under the tent as the summer season approaches along with the Kate’s largest fundraiser, the Summer Gala, which is held in August and honors a special guest award recipient.

“This is going to be an amazing season filled with performers people know and love, as well as performers that will surprise and excite our audiences,” said Brett Elliott, Executive Director of the Kate, adding, “The Kate is coming into its own and we look forward to more people being a part of it all.”

For more information on tickets for any shows at the Kate, visit www.thekate.org or call the Kate Box Office at 860-510-0453.

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Saybrook Point Inn Installs Comcast Business High Speed Internet Services

A view of Saybrook Point Inn from the Connecticut River.

Comcast Business today announced that Saybrook Point Inn, a luxury Connecticut inn featuring elegant accommodations, fine dining and premier spa services, is using Comcast Business Ethernet, Internet, Phone and Video offerings to provide guests with high-quality technology services as well as improve inn operations.

The privately-owned travel destination is located on the Connecticut River at the entrance to Long Island Sound and features more than 100 guest rooms, a full-service spa, fine dining restaurant and marina that can accommodate vessels up to 200 feet. To meet its commitment to environmental conservation, operational efficiency and exceptional guest services, the management team streamlined its technology offerings and implemented Comcast Business Internet to increase the performance for all three of its networks in the marina, office and guest areas.

“Both our social and corporate guests require high-speed internet service, from the visiting yachts in the marina who use it for self-diagnostic marine systems and video applications, to those staying in our inn. Comcast Business provides us with reliable internet as well as phone and video services throughout the property,” said John Lombardo, general manager of Saybrook Point.

He continued, “Leveraging technology allows us streamline operations. We can be more of a high-touch resort because our staff can spend more time interacting and servicing our guests, whether they are visiting for a vacation or attending an event in our ballrooms and conference center.”

Saybrook Point Inn was the first “Green Hotel” designated in Connecticut and is well-known for its eco-friendly practices, several of which rely on technology to meet the property’s green commitment.

Looking across the Saybrook Point Inn’s marina to the accommodations beyond.

In the guest rooms, Saybrook Point implemented Comcast Business’ Q2Q hospitality solution offering guests full voice and video offerings with a specific Saybrook Point default channel to promote various events and news and a second menu channel. These channels eliminate the need for the Inn to print materials for the rooms continuously, thus adding to its eco-friendly mission. Their cogeneration and extensive solar panel system also rely on solid internet services to perform properly.

“Technology offerings including high-speed internet, phone and hi-def video are among the top amenities for resorts such as Saybrook Point Inn to keep guests connected to their families and work during their travels as well as provide entertainment options,” said Michael Parker, regional senior vice president for Comcast’s Western New England Region.

He added, “Saybrook Point Inn is a well-known for its beautiful location, exceptional guest services and commitment to the environment and community. Comcast is fortunate to work with this Inn to provide the high-tech solutions to meet guest needs as well as optimize business operations.”

Additionally, Saybrook Point Inn relies on Comcast Business to strengthen its operations with a 100 Megabit-per-second (Mbps) Ethernet Dedicated Internet line and PRI business phone service for direct dialing around the property.

“Our invoices are processed via an online central accounting system so our efficiency is greatly impacted if the network is slow or offline. Also, our staff offices, printers and copiers are connected through an online shared system, which needs reliable internet,” Lombardo noted.

He commented, “Comcast Business ensures that we are operating at peak productivity. And it has allowed us to implement new guest service systems. For instance, in the dining room, we use iPads and OpenTable to communicate the status of each table in real-time with the hostess station to decrease guest wait times, and we are implementing systems for housekeeping and maintenance departments to both eliminate paper, intrusive radio communication and have better accountability.

Lombardo said, “We also installed two treadmills recently that have built-in Wi-fi capability for internet surfing and access to online special fitness programs.”

Editor’s Notes:

  1. Situated along the picturesque shores of historic Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Saybrook Point Inn, Spa and Marina features a collection of 100 elegantly-appointed guestrooms, 24 villas offering long and short-term rentals, a rejuvenating full-service SANNO spa, and casual fine dining restaurant, Fresh Salt, as well as a unique waterside Lighthouse Suite. In addition, the historic Three Stories and Tall Tales luxury guesthouses offer exquisite rooms that convey the story of famous local residents, including Katharine Hepburn. Saybrook Point also shines with the pristine Saybrook Point Marina, a landmark boating destination conveniently located at the mouth of the Connecticut River with easy access to Long Island Sound. It can accommodate vessels from 12 to 200 feet and has received numerous premier Connecticut marina awards.
    More information is available at www.saybrook.com.
  2. Comcast Business offers Ethernet, Internet, Wi-Fi, Voice and TV solutions to help organizations of all sizes transform their business. Powered by a next-generation, fiber-based network, and backed by 24/7 technical support, Comcast Business is one of the largest contributors to the growth of Comcast Cable. Comcast Business is the nation’s largest cable provider to small and mid-size businesses and has emerged as a force in the Ethernet market; recognized over the last two years by leading industry associations as its fastest growing provider and service provider of the year.
    For more information, call 866-429-3085. Follow on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social media networks at http://business.comcast.com/social.
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30 Plunge Into Frigid Sound to Help Save Plum Island

Plunging for Plovers: these brave souls charged into the freezing waters of Long Island Sound last Saturday to raise awareness of efforts to save Plum Island from sale and preserve the island’s outstanding flora and fauna. Photo by Judy Preston.

Saturday fundraiser brought together conservationists, students, elected officials

A long-planned “polar plunge”-style fundraiser at Old Saybrook Town Beach got a shot of drama from unexpectedly cold temperatures, strong winds, and high waves this weekend.

CFE/Save the Sound’s Chris Cryder, in seal costume, speaks at the press conference. Photo by Laura McMillan.

Students from Old Saybrook High School, area officials, and representatives of a regional environmental organization—some in costumes—packed into a heated school bus for a press conference Saturday morning before running into a frigid Long Island Sound to raise awareness and support for protecting Plum Island.

The “Plum Island Plunge for Plovers” has raised $3,700 for Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound’s multi-year battle to save Plum Island from sale and private development. Donations are still coming in.

“I’ve met thousands of folks all around the Sound who want Plum Island preserved, but this is something else,” said Chris Cryder, special project coordinator for CFE/Save the Sound, decked out as one of the harbor seals that rest on Plum Island’s rocky shore. “To see dozens of people voluntarily turn out in weather like this to make a statement about the island’s importance is inspiring.”

Rosie Rothman, co-president of Old Saybrook High School’s Interact Club, speaks at the press conference prior to ‘The Plunge.’ Photo by Judy Preston.

Rosie Rothman, co-president of Old Saybrook High School’s Interact Club, explained that the plunge was a perfect fit for the Interact Club’s mission of community service and the Ecology Club’s mission of environmental protection.

“Afterwards, we couldn’t feel our toes for a while, but we still had fun,” she said. “With a windchill in the single digits, it was definitely a challenge, but our members still showed up. I think that speaks to our dedication to the cause. It is our hope that our legislators take decisive federal action to protect Plum Island from development that would be detrimental to the wildlife that depends on it, including 111 species of conservation concern.”

“I was very proud to see so many Old Saybrook High School students participate in the polar plunge, on a freezing March day, to support efforts to preserve Plum Island,” said Rep. Devin Carney (Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook). “Plum Island is an important natural resource for the Connecticut shoreline and Long Island Sound. By preserving it, these students, and many others, will be able to enjoy its natural beauty for many years to come.”

And they’re off! The plungers enter the bitterly cold water at Old Saybrook Town Beach. (Photo by Judy Preston)

Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., first selectman for the Town of Old Saybrook, joined the hardy souls jumping into the Sound. Addressing the assembled attendees, he reminded them of the region’s land conversation victory in saving The Preserve, and said, “The Town of Old Saybrook fully supports the conservation of Plum Island and its rightful place in the public domain upon the decommissioning of scientific activities. The importance of Plum Island as a flora and fauna host has been amply demonstrated. It is now time for our legislative and executive branches to swiftly put an end to any speculation that this resource will be privately developed. I applaud the bipartisan efforts to conserve Plum Island.”

These were some of the supporters, who braved the cold to cheer on the plungers. (Photo by Judy Preston.)

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy sent letters in support of the effort.

Plum Island, an 840-acre, federally-owned island in the eastern end of Long Island Sound, is home to threatened and endangered birds like the piping plover and roseate tern, as well as other rare species. Seventy Connecticut and New York organizations work together as the Preserve Plum Island Coalition, partnering with grassroots activists and champions in Congress to halt sale of the island. CFE/Save the Sound has also brought an action in federal court claiming that the government’s decision to sell the island violates numerous federal environmental laws.

Fundraising will remain open through the end of the month. Members of the public may donate to support CFE/Save the Sound’s work at www.bit.ly/plum-plunge.

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“Plum Island Plunge for Plovers” to be Held in Old Saybrook This Morning

Fundraiser and press conference will bring together conservationists, students, elected officials

Aerial view of Plum Island lighthouse. (From Preserve Plum Island website)

Students from Old Saybrook High School’s Ecology and Interact Clubs, and a regional environmental organization are joining forces this Saturday, March 11, to raise awareness and support for protecting rare bird habitat on Long Island Sound.

Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE) and its bi-state program Save the Sound will devote the proceeds of the “polar plunge”-style fundraiser towards the organization’s multi-year battle to save Plum Island from sale and private development.

The event takes place at 10 a.m. on Old Saybrook Town Beach at Great Hammock Rd. (Rte. 154), Old Saybrook.

A piping plover ready to plunge! Image from CFE website.

Plum Island, an 840-acre, federally-owned island in the eastern end of Long Island Sound, is home to threatened and endangered birds like the piping plover and roseate tern, as well as other rare species. Seventy Connecticut and New York organizations work together as the Preserve Plum Island Coalition, partnering with grassroots activists and champions in Congress to halt sale of the island. CFE/Save the Sound has also brought an action in federal court claiming that the government’s decision to sell the island violates numerous federal environmental laws.

A press conference featuring local, state, and likely federal elected officials will kick off the event at Old Saybrook Town Beach, followed by a dash into the frigid Long Island Sound.  Senator Richard Blumenthal (schedule permitting), State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna are all expected to be present.

Prizes will be awarded for the most funds raised and “Best Costume.”

“Plum Island Plunge for Plovers” is open to the public. Members of the public are encouraged to register and set up their own fundraising pages at www.bit.ly/plum-plunge, or support the students’ efforts at this page.

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Letter to the Editor: Old Saybrook Town Officials Says First Priority is Re-Employment of Fortune Plastics Employees

To the Editor:

The announcement by Fortune Plastics of their intended closure in April has left the Old Saybrook and Shoreline Community concerned and disappointed.  Our concern is first and foremost for the over 90 employees of the company who will be losing their employment.  It is also disheartening to see what was once a locally-owned family business leave the State.

Upon hearing the news, our offices began marshaling state and regional resources to work with the company in finding new employment for the workers.  Within a week, the Connecticut Department of Labor Rapid Response Unit organized a Job Fair at Fortune Plastics on March 4.  We also contacted local and regional manufacturers, many with positions to fill.  We will continue to partner with Fortune Plastics to make available any and all human resources in the coming months. 

Fortune Plastic’s 75,000 sf manufacturing facility will also be available for repurpose.  The Town and the Economic Development Commission plan to market the availability of this and other industrial properties so they will be put to back into full and productive use. 

While this is indeed difficult news for all affected employees and the Town, we will continue to be a town that seeks out new business opportunities to benefit workers and residents.

Carl P. Fortuna, Jr. and Susie Beckman
Old Saybrook.

Editor’s Note:  The writers are respectively the First Selectman of Town of Old Saybrook and the
Economic Development Director of the Town of Old Saybrook.

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‘The Kate’ Hosts Annual Fundraising Oscar Party Tonight

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, The Kate, will hold a fundraising benefit on Oscar Night, this Sunday, Feb. 26, beginning at 7 p.m. and continuing until the Oscars are all awarded!  The Oscar Party is The Kate’s annual red-carpet event that honors 12-time Oscar-nominated, four-time-winning theatre namesake, Katharine Hepburn, while also making for a great party.

  • Walk the red carpet.
  • Pose for a photo or two.
  • Bid on an auction item.
  • Hold a real Oscar.

Watch the Oscars live on The Kate’s gigantic screen as you indulge in delicious appetizers, treats, and beverages.  Come and celebrate like a star!

A few individual tickets to attend the event are still available at www.thekate.org or call 877-503-1286.

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

USIP President Nancy Lindborg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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It’s That Time Again! Last Chance to Catch the Insane Insidewalk Sale Today in Saybrook

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There will be bargains galore at this year’s Insane Insidewalk Sale in Old Saybrook.

The-e-list.com presents the Eighth Annual Insane Insidewalk Sale Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28, at 105 Elm St., in the Old Saybrook Shopping Center, just a few doors down from the Stop & Shop grocery store.  The Sale will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.  Admission is $5, which covers entry for both days and the first 25 people to enter the Sale on Friday will have their admission fee waived.

This Sale enables people to shop the best stores and designers on the shoreline in one location at up to 75 percent off — it’s a pop-up specialty mall, featuring over 20 of the best local boutiques and designers offering deals on women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry, gifts, home decor, and kid’s clothing for two days only.

Ann Lightfoot will be selling her beautiful jewelry at the Insane Insidewalk Sale.

Ann Lightfoot will be selling her beautiful jewelry at the Insane Insidewalk Sale.

Exhibitors includeAnn Lightfoot Jewelry, Just Hatched, Mix Design Store, Grace, Ciao Bella, Ella Where She Shops, Lulu’s, Southern Exposure, J. McLaughlin, Dina Varano and many more.

The Insane Insidewalk Sale was conceived in 2008 to help local retailers who were stuck with excess inventory after the financial crash and a dismal holiday season. The-e-list rented a vacant storefront and invited 20 boutiques to sell their wares at deep discounts. It was a huge success for both vendors and attendees and now it’s become a well-established tradition that Shoreline shoppers eagerly anticipate.

For a full list of participating vendors and more information, visit http://theeli.st/2hSrbwT

 

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Old Saybrook ‘Sister March’ Draws Almost 1,000 on Saturday

Baby’s first march — we suspect not Grandma’s!

The march may only have been registered late last week, but almost 1,000 people still turned out Saturday morning in Old Saybrook to join the movement that inspired around three million people across the globe to publicly express their opinions on the rights of women and other minority groups, and in many ways on the new Trump presidency as a whole.

More than 500 people had gathered by 10 a.m. on the Old Saybrook Town Green unsure whether they were just going to simply stand in front of the Town Hall or whether they were actually going to march.

They came from towns all along the shoreline — Guilford, Clinton, Old Lyme, Lyme, East Lyme, and Old Saybrook were all mentioned — and they spanned in age from a few months to others well into their 80s and many wore what had become the signature pink “Pussy Hats.” Many people brought signs ranging from hand-written words painted on pieces of cardboard to an elaborately embroidered banner bearing the words “Not My President.”

Others like Alison Mitchell of Old Lyme fearlessly sat in her wheelchair strongly and stoically making her point.

Around 10:30 a.m., it became apparent that a march was beginning going north up Main St. on the east side towards Boston Post Rd. then crossing over and returning to the Green going south on the west side.  By this time the crowd had swelled by several hundred more and as the demonstrators marched, more and more people joined.

Women were definitely in the majority but there were plenty of men marching too.  There were some chants, “Love Trumps Hate” was a popular one, and songs,”We Shall Overcome” rang out at one point, and overall, it was a cheerful, friendly occasion.  When the clouds cleared and the sun finally broke through on the return leg, marcher Rosemary Barclay of Old Lyme said with a chuckle, “It’s certainly not going to rain on our parade!”

From left to right, some Old Lyme marchers share a smile.

But once wasn’t enough for these intrepid marchers.  Almost as soon as they found themselves back at ‘The Kate,’ they started re-tracing their steps and ultimately completed a second loop. The Old Saybrook Police did a wonderful job stopping the patient traffic so that the marchers could cross Main Street whenever necessary.

By the time of the second circuit, the line of marchers was so long that it snaked down one side of Main St., across the road and then up the other side.  Passengers were getting out of cars to join the march, horns were being sounded regularly — and loudly — in support of the marchers and only one lone pick-up truck with “Trump’ flags was spotted.

At the end of it all, the marchers happily gathered in front of the Town Hall and in communion with all the other marchers across the nation and the world, observed a meaningful moment of silence before peacefully dispersing.

More signs …

… and another …

… and another …

… and another …

David Brown with coffee and a sign …

A previous presidential campaign slogan refocused …

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