April 24, 2015

Community Music School Hosts Free Concert by Multi-Generational Orchestra, April 28


Close to 50 string musicians of all ages will fill the Valley Regional High School stage for the Community Music School’s Sinfonia and String Ensemble Concert on Tuesday, April 28 at 6:30. The concert is free and open to the public.

CENTERBROOK – On Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m., nearly 50 string musicians will take the stage at Valley Regional High School in Deep River for the Community Music School’s Sinfonia and String Ensemble Concert. Ranging in age from 9 to 84, members of the two multi-generational performance groups will play a variety of classical pieces, including works by Vivaldi, Bach, and Dvorak, all under the direction of Martha Herrle.

The free concert is open to the public and sponsored by the Essex Winter Series.

Both Sinfonia, a group of 10 beginning violin, viola, and cello musicians, and String Ensemble, a group of 35 intermediate to advanced players, are a rare breed of orchestra and quite possibly the only of its kind in Connecticut. “There are many youth orchestras and many adult orchestras around the state but I am not aware of any ensembles where all ages are allowed and encouraged to participate,” says Martha Herrle, conductor and founder of both orchestra groups.

Herle continued, “As a musician and a teacher, it is a joy to work with various ages and backgrounds, to have school-age musicians playing alongside adult members. The String Ensemble is a very mixed bag of some very talented people – students, several teachers, an inventor, a physician, a veterinarian, an attorney, a pastor, even two professional opera singers – all who share the same passion for music.”

String Ensemble members come from several shoreline towns (and beyond) to rehearse together at Old Saybrook High School for 26 weeks beginning in September and ending just prior to the annual concert performance. Compared to its modest start in 2002, with just four children and one senior adult, the orchestra’s growth is a testament to its all inclusive policy of being open to all intermediate to advanced string musicians, regardless of age and with no audition requirement.

The orchestra also serves as a great opportunity for family members to share in their musical interests and spend time together. In fact, the current ensemble boasts three sets of mother and child musicians. East Haddam resident Irene Haines and her 16-year old daughter Bridget is one.

“Martha has a special gift. She is able to teach, nurture and direct young, old and everyone in between with varied abilities into an amazing performance,” commented Irene Haines. “I am the luckiest mom in the world as I get to share a stand with my daughter in the viola section – what a great way to spend quality time together!”

Herle received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Hartt College of Music, studying both violin and viola. She spent the following year studying string quartet literature at the University of Connecticut with the Laurel String Quartet. She is the founder of Goodwin Strings, a before-school group violin instructional program for 2nd and 3rd graders at Goodwin Elementary School in Old Saybrook.

She also presents the Community Music School’s weekly music program for the collaborative preschool students at Essex Elementary School and is a teaching artist for Kate’s Camp for Kids. Martha is the founder and conductor of CMS Sinfonia and CMS String Ensemble orchestras, and the Chamber Connections program.

For more information on the Sinfonia and String Ensemble Concert taking place at Valley Regional High School, located at 256 Kelsey Hill Road in Deep River, or other Community Music School events, visit www.community-music-school.org or call 860.767.0026.

The Community Music School, located at 90 Main St. in Centerbrook is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to building community through music since 1983.


Chef Demos Added to Sunday’s ‘Business Expo & Wine Tasting’, All Welcome

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If you’re looking for an afternoon filled with interesting information, melodic music, fabulous food, wonderful wines (and beer) and lively company, the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce invites you to attend their ‘Business Expo & Wine Tasting’ on Sunday, April 26, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Old Lyme Country Club.

A new feature just confirmed at the event is a series of demonstrations by local chefs. These will be held at 3:40 p.m., 4:10 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. when chefs from the Old Lyme Country Club, the Old Lyme Inn and the Black Hall Grille will share some of their secrets.

Chamber President Catherine Frank explains that the purpose of the event is, “To publicize our corner of Connecticut by giving local organizations and businesses the opportunity to promote themselves.”  She comments, “Old Lyme is well known as an art destination – and rightly so – but there’s so much more to our area and this exhibition aims to prove just that.”

Frank notes that each participating business or organization will host an exhibition table with information on their products, programs, upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and more in a convivial, ‘one-stop shopping’ setting.”  Many of the participants will be offering prizes at their tables and there will also be a selection of door prizes.

Guests will be treated to music by the MusicNow Foundation/Nightingale’s Acoustic Cafe while local wineries, including Preston Ridge of Preston, will be featured in the wine-tasting. Stomp N Crush of Clinton will be the featured brewery.


Local businesses already signed up to exhibit at the Business Expo include Vitality Spa, Annunziata Travel, Advantage Personal Training, Innovative Environmental, Healthy Addiction, Help With a Heart, The  Woman’s Exchange, The Bee and Thistle Inn, and Upper Pond Farm.

Institutions and organizations attending include the Florence Griswold Museum, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc., MusicNow Foundation, Musical Masterworks, the Kiwanis Club, Lyme Art Association, and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven.

A delectable cheeseboard filled with an assortment of fine imported cheeses and served with dessert wine.  Shallow dof.Apart from the wine- and beer-tasting, there will be a vast array of food for consumption by guests donated by local restaurants, eateries and the exhibitors.  The Old Lyme Country Club will also host a cash bar.

There is no requirement to be a member of the Chamber to attend, though prospective members are especially welcome.  Tickets at $15 per person (must be over age 21) are available at “The Woman’s Exchange” in the Old Lyme Marketplace or by emailing email@lolcc.com or at the door on the day of the event.  The ticket price includes the wine and beer tasting, food and a free prize ticket.

Each year the Chamber awards a number of scholarships to graduating high school seniors and art students from Lyme and Old Lyme. In fact, the promotional art work for this event (above) was created by Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts graduate Richard Lacey, who is a past Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce scholarship recipient.

For additional information, visit www.visitoldlyme.com

The Old Lyme Country Club is located at 40 McCurdy Rd., Old Lyme, CT 06371.


Taste Tapas, Wine at Old Lyme Inn, Benefits Old Lyme Historical Society

Unwind mid-week with wine tasting and tapas at the Old Lyme Inn on May 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Old Lyme Inn at 85 Lyme Street in Old Lyme.

Sponsored by the Old Lyme Historical Society, tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased at the Webster Bank in Old Lyme, the Old Lyme Historical Society office at the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library or on-line at www.oldlymehistoricalsociety.org.

Support the Old Lyme Historical Society’s mission to collect, preserve, and interpret the rich history of Old Lyme by attending this fun event.


Lyme-Old Lyme HS Alum’s Play Scheduled at Yale University School of Drama

Emily Zemba

Emily Zemba

Four performances of ‘Deer and the Lovers’ by Emily Zemba are scheduled in the Iseman Theatre at Yale University beginning May 8. The play is part of the 10th Annual Carlotta Festival of New Plays.

Zemba, who graduated as a member of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2006, is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama.

Her plays include ‘Uninviting Margaret; Have You Been There?'; ‘But If the Train Comes to Her'; ‘I’m Sorry I Brought up God (Yale School of Drama)'; ‘We Know Edie La Minx Had a Gun  and Look Up, Speak Nicely, and Don’t Twiddle Your Fingers all the Time (Yale Cabaret)’. This year at Yale Cabaret, she co-produced and co-hosted the Third Annual Yale School of Drag.

She is a founding member of “Guided Tour,” a collective which devises and performs site-specific, fairly ridiculous, participatory theatrical tours. Zemba’s work has been developed with The Middle Voice (Rattlestick Theater’s Apprentice Company), Labyrinth Theater Company (One-Act Experiment, 2014), and the Theater Masters National MFA Playwright’s Festival. She is currently a Core Apprentice with The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.

Zemba has mentored with the Yale Co-Op Eugene O’Neill Playwriting Program and MCC Theater’s Freshplay Festival, and taught playwriting at Wesleyan University. A recipient of The Shubert Scholarship, she holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She describes ‘Deer and the Lovers’ as a comedy about being lost in love, lost in the woods, and searching for one’s purpose when life veers off track.


The 10th Annual Carlotta Festival of New Plays runs from May 8 through May 15. Tickets are available through the Yale University School of Drama website.



Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women Host New Art-Inspired Fundraiser at Lyme Art Association, Saturday

Wine-tastingTo celebrate their Golden Anniversary, the ladies of the Lyme Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club (LOLJWC) are popping the cork and putting a twist on their annual art show. The LOLJWC invite the public to join them for their first ever Tasteful Art Celebration – Wine and Beer Tasting on Saturday, April 25, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Lyme Art Association in Old Lyme.

For 50 years, the Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club (LOLJWC) has generously supported local charities and causes throughout the shoreline community. This year, the LOLJWC has selected the playgrounds of Town Woods Park and Cross Lane Park as their main beneficiaries. In addition to the playgrounds, the club will continue to support other local beneficiaries and provide scholarships to graduating Lyme-Old Lyme High School students.

Ticket prices are $45 per person or $75 per couple and can be purchased from any LOLJWC member or at one of these locations: Lyme Art Association, Coffee’s Country Market, The Bowerbird, Salon Pure, or Vitality Spa. Attendees must be 21 years or older.

For additional information, visit the LOLJWC website at www.loljwc.com


Ivoryton Playhouse Looks at (Older) Love in “The Last Romance,” Opens Tomorrow

Rochelle Slovin* and Chet Carlin* in "The Last Romance," which opens at Ivoryton, April 22

Rochelle Slovin* and Chet Carlin* in “The Last Romance,” which opens at Ivoryton, April 22

On an ordinary day in a routine life, an 80-year-old widower named Ralph decides to takes a different path on his daily walk — one that leads him to an unexpected second chance at love. Relying on a renewed boyish charm, Ralph attempts to woo the elegant, but distant, Carol. Defying Carol’s reticence — and the jealousy of his lonely sister Rose — he embarks on the trip of a lifetime and regains a happiness that seemed all but lost.

Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro’s The Last Romance, a bittersweet romantic comedy with a little Puccini and a smidgen of dog treats, opens in Ivoryton on April 22.

DiPietro recently won two Tony Awards for co-writing the musical Memphis, which also received the 2010 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and which will be opening in Ivoryton in August this year. DiPietro is an Ivoryton favorite; his shows I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change(the longest-running musical revue in Off Broadway history), and the Broadway musical All Shook Up were both popular successes at the Playhouse.

Stephen Mir and Chet Carlin* in "The Last Romance"Stephen Mir and Chet Carlin* in “The Last Romance”

Directed by Maggie McGlone Jennings, the cast includes Chet Carlin* as Ralph, whose Broadway credits include Fiddler on the Roof with Theodore Bikel and the National Tour of Sir Peter Hall’s As You Like It; Kate Konigisor*, the Artistic Director of Shakespeare with Benefits, as Rose; Stephen Mir as the Young Man and Rochelle Slovin*, making her Ivoryton debut as Carol and reigniting a theatre career after spending the past 30 years as the Founding Director of the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

The set design is by William Stark, lighting design by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Vickie Blake.

The Last Romance opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 22, and runs through May 10. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Photos by Anne Hudson

  1. Stephen Mir and Chet Carlin*
  2. Rochelle Slovin* and Chet Carlin*

*Indicates member of Actors Equity Association

This production is generously sponsored by Essex Meadows and The Clark Group


New Management Sets Sights on Placing Phoebe’s BookCellar on Community’s Collective Radar

BookCellar co-managers Paulette Zander (left) and Ann de Selding (right) discuss new plans for "the only bookstore in town" with Friends of the Library President Mary Haymann.

BookCellar co-managers Paulette Zander (left) and Ann de Selding (right) discuss new plans for “the only bookstore in town” with Friends of the Library President Mary Haymann.

If you haven’t been to The BookCellar located in the basement of the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library recently, there are more reasons than ever to stop by and visit.  The BookCellar represents a major resource to the community and yet many Old Lyme residents are unaware of its existence.  But now there are more reasons than ever to stop by since the place now has a whole new look with more space for both browsing and sitting, attractive face-out displays and a brand new ’25 cent sale’ section.

The BookCellar management team hard at work.

The BookCellar management team hard at work.

The recently appointed co-managers Paulette Zander and Ann de Selding are well on their way to transforming the BookCellar into one of those delightful little bookshops that have all but disappeared, primarily due the impact of online shopping.  This transformation isn’t really a great surprise when one considers Zander is the former owner of the beloved ‘Happy Carrot’ bookshop in Old Lyme.  Meanwhile, de Selding worked at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts for more than 12 years as the Director of Alumni and Volunteer Relations, meaning that organizing — and reorganizing — is in her DNA.

Books are The BookCellar's business.

Books are The BookCellar’s business.

An ardent book-lover, who previously turned her passion into her business, Zander comments enthusiastically about her new position, “I’m living vicariously through this — just touching and fondling the books is rewarding.”  De Selding elaborates further on Paulette’s involvement in The BookCellar, saying, “Paulette’s legacy [from The Happy Carrot] to this community — and to these books — has morphed into a wonderful continuity for the town.”

Mary Haymann has some fun in the Children's Corner!

Mary Haymann has some fun in the Children’s Corner!

The BookCellar houses upwards of 7,000 books, which include, but are not limited to titles falling under the following sections: History, Classics, Biographies, Gardening, Cooking, and Children & Young Adults and, of course, an enormous supply of fiction and non-fiction.  There’s no question that there’s something for everyone in the BookCellar so Zander and de Selding hope to make The Cellar a frequent stop for book lovers, as well as one that is affordable to all.

In addition to the basement, The BookCellar offers a selection of very gently used books and DVDs for sale in the main lobby of the Library.  Each month features a different theme and, in a nod to the long-awaited season, April’s theme is appropriately Spring Pursuits.

Lift_doorBuilt in 1995, along with a new addition to the Library, The BookCellar operates under the umbrella of the Friends of the Library, the volunteer fundraising arm of the Library.   It is fully staffed and managed by more than 55 dedicated volunteers, including de Selding and Zander.  Friends of the Library President Mary Haymann is enormously appreciative of all the volunteer efforts, noting that they are helping to support what, “… is now really the only bookstore in town.”  Moreover, she stresses, “When you buy a book in The BookCellar, you are supporting the library.  All proceeds from the Cellar go directly to library.”  Every one of the books, DVDs and CDs is donated by local area residents allowing sales from The BookCellar to contribute around a staggering — and most welcome – $20,000 each year to the Library’s budget.

Vintage and rare books are files together.

Vintage and rare books are filed together.

Many of the library volunteers, including Haymann, have made a long-term commitment to the institution.  Haymann has been president of the Friends since 2008, but her involvement with the library goes back much further.  Her father Joseph Dunn was the librarian for 20 years from 1947-67 and her mother, Mae Dunn, followed in his footsteps in the early 70s.

New volunteers are always welcome at The BookCellar and de Selding notes, “The hours are flexible meaning they are as long or short as you choose — and the pay is priceless!”  On a more serious note, she continues, “We would love more folk to join us here – it’s a great work environment.  We never know what the next drop-off of donations will bring, so there are plenty of surprises and treasures in our business.  You can volunteer just a few hours each month and we really have a lot of fun down here.”  If you are interested in volunteering, contact PhoebesBookCellar@yahoo.com or call 860.434.1684 and ask for The Book Cellar for further information.

The Cellar is also able to “pay it forward” by donating thousands of books, which are shipped to Ghana, as well as numerous books to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme for the annual White Elephant Sale; children’s books to the Soup Kitchen (through the Henderson Project); and age-appropriate books to the Lymes’ Senior Center.  The BookCellar will also be present at the Midsummer Festival at the Library, where a huge number of books will be for sale.

Stacking shelves is all in a (volunteer's) day's work.

Stacking shelves is all in a (volunteer’s) day’s work.

Donations of books are welcome year-round.  If you’re currently doing some spring cleaning and have some books to donate, take them to the Library during operating hours* and place them in the box near the elevator on the lobby level.

Zander and de Selding are also planning to start a twice-yearly collection program in May and December, when they will arrange pick-up of books from resident’s homes.  The program is still in its development phase but watch for more details soon in announcements from the library and published on LymeLine.com.

Operating year round, The BookCellar is open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For a limited period of time, the Cellar will be open Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

*The library is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1- a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.  It is closed on Sundays.




Former Lyme-Old Lyme HS Assistant Principal Angeli Appointed Superintendent of Lebanon Schools

Associate School Superintendent Robert J. Angeli will leave the Meriden School District at the end of the school year to take a position as Superintendent of the Lebanon Public Schools starting July 1.  Angeli was assistant principal at Lyme-Old Lyme High School from 2001-05 and still resides in Old Lyme.

“I think it’s a natural progression for me in my career in superintendency,” Angeli said Friday.

Read the full story written by Molly Callahan and published April 10 in MyRecordJournal.com at this link.


Get Ready for ‘Shred-It Day’ on April 25, Benefits Lyme-Old Lyme HS Class of 2015

On Saturday, April 25, the Senior Class of 2015 will shred documents for businesses and individuals. Anyone can bring their papers to the Lyme-OId Lyme High School from 9 a.m. to 12 noon to shred for $10 a bag.

Many people have unwanted papers sitting in boxes or on desks around their house.  The papers could be old tax returns, bank statements, bills, credit card statements, newspapers or school ditto sheets. This fundraiser provides the community an opportunity to securely discard unwanted papers from houses or businesses.

The Class is excited to hold this Shred-it Fundraiser because the demand for secure document shredding services is growing. This fundraiser provides a low cost way to accomplish this community service.

The Class of 2015 has conducted this fundraiser for the last three years.  It has collected over 120 bags of unwanted papers and generated over $1,200 each year.

The Class used the funds for its activities. Class activities included three dances and many community service projects throughout town. This year the Class will use the funds to give a Class gift to the school and pay for end of the year activities such as the senior banquet.


Essex Savings Bank Donates Over $29,000 to 90 Organizations as Part of Community Investment Program

ESSEX – Results of the recent voting by Essex Savings Bank customers who participated in the Bank’s Community Investment Program were announced at a meeting of employees, directors and trustees at the Bank’s Plains Road Office on Wednesday, April 8.

The Top Ten Winners in attendance received special recognition. They were in order by number of votes:

  1. The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries
  2. Forgotten Felines, Inc.
  3. Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Inc.
  4. High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
  5. Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM)
  6. Dog Days Adoption Events, Inc.
  7. The Essex Fire Engine Company No. 1
  8. Bikes for Kids, Inc.
  9. Pet Connections, Inc.
  10. Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, Inc. (VNLV)

The customer balloting portion of Essex Savings Bank’s 2015 Community Investment Program, began on Feb. 2 and concluded on March 2. The program entitles the Bank’s customers to select up to three charities from a list of 90 qualified non-profit organizations. Fund allocations are awarded based on the results of these votes.

Gregory R. Shook, President and Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank stated, “At Essex Savings Bank, we believe the way to move the world forward is by giving back. Our Community Investment Program is designed to provide vital financial support to those organizations that enhance the quality of life in our communities.”

Each year, the Bank donates 10 percent of its net income to non-profit organizations within the immediate market area consisting of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. This year, the Bank has allocated $98,741 to assisting non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to our community and one third of that amount is then voted upon by the Bank’s customers.

According to Thomas Lindner, Vice President and Community Relations Officer for Essex Savings Bank, 6,987 votes were cast this year for a total of $29,620. By year end 2015, the total distribution of charitable funds will reach 4 million dollars since the inception of the Bank’s Community Investment Program in 1996.

Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and subsidiary Essex Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC. Investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities are not FDIC insured, may lose value, are not a deposit, have no Bank guarantee and are not insured by any Federal Government Agency.

Click here to see the full results with voting numbers and amounts donated to each organization.


Middlesex Land Trust & CT River Gateway Commission Announce New Open Space Acquisition in Haddam Neck

haddamNeckMapRaulBrownFINAL031815_v2In February of this year the Middlesex Land Trust, in partnership with the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, purchased 50 acres of open space for permanent protection in Haddam Neck. This new preserve offers breathtaking views across the Connecticut River to Haddam Meadows State Park from a rough path that runs along the base of dramatic cliffs created from the property’s historic use as a quarry.

The Middlesex Land Trust now owns the preserve and is planning to develop a trail system for the public to enjoy for hiking, passive recreation and education. The tract lies along Injun Hollow Road just north of the 585 acres Connecticut Yankee property.

The land has been named the Brainerd Quarry Preserve to reflect the historic importance of the Brainerd Family in Haddam. Daniel Brainerd was one of the 28 founding settlers of Haddam in 1662, and a century later, in 1762, Deacon Esra Brainerd opened a quarry on the now preserved site. The quarry operated for more than 150 years, shipping stone down river to New York and as far south as Maryland, Virginia and New Orleans.

A 2011 study of the history and archeology of the area describes the Brainerds as “a family of entrepreneurs in the forefront of early industry and commerce in the Connecticut River Valley” and recommends the quarry site as “an ideal candidate for use as an outdoor classroom for studies in local history, geology, mining, early American industry, the Industrial Revolution in Connecticut and other related topics for grammar school, high school and college students.”

This significant property along the Connecticut River is now owned and managed by the Middlesex Land Trust, a regional not-for-profit volunteer land conservation organization that, since 1987, has been dedicated to the preservation of open space in northern Middlesex County.

The purchase was initiated by, and made possible through grant funding from the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, a state-local compact that protects the Lower Connecticut River Valley, one of the “most important ecological landscapes in the United States” according to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

A dedication ceremony for the new Brainerd Quarry Preserve and the opening of the preserve to the public is anticipated for the summer of 2015.


Lyme-Old Lyme High School Announces Two Students as 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Candidates

Eric Pan and Kristiana Olson, graduating seniors at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, have been named two of more than 3,900 candidates in the 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The candidates were selected from nearly 3.4 million students expected to graduate from U.S high schools in the year 2015.

Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 51st year, is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.

Over 3,900 candidates were selected for their exceptional performance on either the College Board SAT or the ACT Assessment. In addition, each Chief State School Officer (CSSO) was invited to nominate five male and five female candidates, based on their outstanding scholarship, residing in the CSSO’s jurisdiction. Further consideration is based on students’ essays, self-assessments, descriptions of activities, school recommendations, and school transcripts. A distinguished panel of educators will review these submissions and select 560 semi-finalists in early April.

The Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of up to 32 eminent citizens appointed by the President, will make final selection of the Scholars. They will select one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. students living abroad; 15 students at-large; and up to 20 students from the creative and performing arts. The U.S. Department of Education will announce the Scholars in May.

Scholars will be invited to Washington, DC, for several days in June to receive the Presidential Scholars Medallion at a recognition ceremony and to participate in events and activities.

Eric is the son of Gonghua Pan and Wen He and Kristiana is the daughter of Matt and Cynthia Olson.

For more information about the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, parents and students can call the U.S. Presidential Scholars Office at (319) 688-4345 or send an email to PSP@act.org.


Brett Elliott Appointed New Executive Director at ‘The Kate’

Brett Elliott

Brett Elliott

On Thursday, the Board of Directors of the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (“The Kate”) announced the appointment of Brett Elliott as Executive Director.

Elliott served as ‘The Kate’s’ Interim Director since founding Executive Director Chuck Still announced his departure in December.

Sonny Whelen, President of the Board of Trustees, stated, “We couldn’t be happier having Brett join us as our next Executive Director.  In his position as interim director, Brett has shown us that he has all of the skills and leadership qualities to bring the Kate forward as we continue to expand our role in the community.  This is a very exciting time for all of us”.

Starting in 2012, Elliott spent two years in Chicago where he received his MFA in Arts Leadership from DePaul University, a joint program with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  Elliott produced several projects for Chicago Shakespeare including the world premiere of “Since I Suppose”, a technology driven, live interactive performance developed by Australia’s one step at a time like this. Elliott also spent a brief period in the finance and operations department at Broadway in Chicago.

Elliott is no stranger to Eastern Connecticut or the Kate.  He worked at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center from 2009-2012.   He then found his way to ‘The Kate’ through lighting and production work.

Holding a BA in Theater from Saginaw Valley State University, Elliott is a proud product of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival, an organization, which gave him his start.

“After six years, there is no doubt about the quality, quantity, and variety of entertainment at ‘The Kate'; it truly is a cultural gem on the shoreline,” Elliott stated.  “I am very proud to not only be back at ‘The Kate,’ but to lead this organization at such a vibrant and exciting time.  I look forward to getting to know those in the community, as well as the thousands of patrons that come to the Kate each year,” Elliott concluded.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, ‘The Kate,’ is a non-profit performing arts organization located in the historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ‘The Kate’ 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.


D18 Board of Ed. Hosts Public Hearing Monday on Proposed 2015-16 Budget

The Regional District 18 Board of Education will hold a public hearing on its budget request for the fiscal year July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016 in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Auditorium, 69 Lyme St., Old Lyme, at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 6.

In February, the school board voted to present a $32,547,409 budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which represents a 1.83 percent increase over the current 2014-15 budget.

All interested parties are invited to attend and present their comments or questions.


‘Waves’ on Show at Cooley Gallery

The signature painting by Chandler Davis of his 'Waves' exhibition at The Cooley Gallery.

The signature painting by Chandler Davis of his ‘Waves’ exhibition at The Cooley Gallery.

The Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme is kicking off its spring season with an exhibition of fresh, new wave paintings by Chandler Davis. Waves opens Thursday, April 2.

In the exhibition, the artist returns to his original inspiration of the ocean. Eight large wave paintings of luminous water in a variety of weather and light conditions depict some of the many moods of the ocean. From the depths of Chandler’s imagination and brush comes this remarkable series of waves — reality and abstraction combine to capture the light, motion, and energy of the sea.

Chandler is a missionary for the natural world and, in particular, the sea. He built an international reputation as an artist with his large-scale mollusk sculptures. Some of these can be seen down the street in Old Lyme on the grounds of the Bee and Thistle Inn (www.beeandthistleinn.com ). Chandler’s nautili, conches and mussels, rendered at “human” scale, are significant. A gargantuan mussel at eye level commands consideration, which is exactly the reaction Chandler desires.

If contemporary sculpture is your passion, there is more in Old Lyme at Gil Boro’s Studio 80+ Sculpture Grounds at 80 Lyme Street.

Founded in 1981 and located in the heart of historic Old Lyme, the Cooley Gallery specializes in fine American paintings from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, and select contemporary artists.

Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday10am to 5pm. Call (860) 434-8807 or visit www.cooleygallery.com  for additional information.  The Cooley Gallery is located at 25 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT 06371.


CT River Museum Hosts ‘New Deal’ Art Exhibition

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, will open April 2nd. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allen Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum’s spring exhibit, New Deal Art Along the River, opens April 2. This painting, On the Rail by Yngve Soderberg is a watercolor on paper on loan from the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Lyman Allen Art Museum.

During the depths of the Great Depression, the federal government created work relief programs to put unemployed Americans back to work. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs provided all types of jobs – including opportunities for out-of-work artists. The Federal Art Project (1935 – 1943) paid artists to paint murals and easel art, sculpt, and teach art classes. Their art was always located in a public place such as a school, library, or government building so that all Americans had access to it for inspiration and enjoyment.

The subject matter for much of this artwork is known as the “American Scene” – showcasing regional history, landscapes, and people. The Connecticut River Museum’s new exhibit has selected artwork that represents artists from the Connecticut River Valley, or that depicts views of regional or maritime traditions of the Connecticut River and coastline.

“These paintings offer us a glimpse at Connecticut from sixty years ago,” says Museum Curator Amy Trout. “We think of that time as being dark and depressing, but these paintings show us a vibrant time and place.”

The exhibit contains 20 works of art ranging from pastels, etchings, watercolors, and oils. There are also examples of bas relief work from Essex sculptor Henry Kreis who designed the state’s Tercentenary medal and coin in 1935 under the Civil Works Authority (CWA) funding. The paintings come from area museums such as the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Mystic Arts Center, Connecticut Historical Society, and the Portland Historical Society, among others.

Even though these paintings were originally intended for public viewing, many have found their way into museum storerooms and are rarely seen. “It’s important to get them out on display and remind people of the wonderful legacy that was left to us. It gives us a chance to talk about Connecticut during the 1930s and appreciate the art that gives us greater insight into that period,” says Trout. The artists are also relatively unknown. Many continued in the field of art after the Depression, but few achieved great fame. “They needed to make a living, so many became commercial artists, illustrators, or teachers.”

The exhibition opens Thursday, April 2.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays after Columbus Day. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.

For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to www.ctrivermuseum.org.


RiverQuest Offers Osprey/Eagle Cruises in April

An osprey, returned from his winter spent in the southern hemisphere, feeds his young on the nest.

An osprey, returned from his winter spent in the southern hemisphere, feeds his young in the nest.

Late March into early April is when the Osprey returns to Connecticut from its southern wintering grounds. It is a wonderful sign that spring is here …

The Osprey is a large bird of prey (raptor) with a wingspan up to 6′ that eats fish, hence, it is sometimes referred to as the fish hawk. Connecticut Ospreys migrate south in late August through late September to areas where their food supply will not be affected by frozen rivers and lakes, sometimes as far south as Argentina. Ospreys of breeding age, at least three-years-old, are returning north now to start a new nest or to re-establish and re-build a nest they may have used in previous years.

Ospreys nest along the edges of the lower Connecticut River, from the mouth of the river in Old Lyme/Old Saybrook up river as far as Middletown. There will be activity on the many man-made nesting platforms at the Roger Tory Peterson Preserve near the mouth of the river in Old Lyme and on several other nesting platforms on the river, in “natural” tree settings and on the top of each of the navigational day markers that indicate the river channel. It is also hoped there will be Ospreys nesting on the new Osprey platform placed on the 101-year-old East Haddam Swing Bridge.

A great way to see this nesting activity is by boat. RiverQuest, an eco-tour vessel located at Eagle Landing State Park in the Tylerville section of Haddam is offering several cruises to the general public throughout April to view and learn about the Osprey and other wildlife that may be spotted, including hawks and another famous raptor, the American Bald Eagle.

After disappearing from Connecticut in 1948, the Bald Eagle has made a return and there are several active eagle nests on the river. It will be possible to view two of these nests from RiverQuest and very possibly, see one or more of the local resident Bald Eagles.

Other areas of interest that will be seen on the cruise include the Goodspeed Opera House, Gillette Castle and the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry. The cruises are about 2.5 hours in length and cost $40 per passenger (no children under 10-years-old.) There will be complimentary coffee and tea and a limited supply of binoculars on loan for the cruise.

To learn more about these informative cruises and/or reserve your spot with the easy on-line booking system, visit ctriverquest.com or phone 860-662-0577.


Rep. Carney Tours Bureau’s Sugarhouse, “Tastes Good … Good for the State”

Don Bureau demonstrates part of the maple syrup-making process to Rep. Devin Carney.

Don Bureau (left) demonstrates part of the maple syrup-making process to Rep. Devin Carney.

Bureau’s Sugarhouse & Maple Kettle Korn facility in Old Lyme has been in the business of making maple syrup since 1993, and kettle korn since 1999. State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) said after a tour of the facility on Saturday, March 28, that businesses like Bureau’s help support the state’s agri-business and make a large economic impact here in Connecticut.

Carney, who represents Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook, met with Don Bureau and his family, who showed Carney around the maple sugaring facility, which includes maple trees and kettle korn, along with maple syrup production.

Rep. Carney looks at the maple sugar facility in old Lyme from the outside.

Rep. Carney looks at the maple sugar facility in old Lyme from the outside.

“Bureau’s is producing quality products and helping to shape the future of agriculture here in the state,” Carney said. “This business is a treat for our district –it produces some of the best local products our state has to offer.”

“It tastes good and it’s good for the state,” Carney added.

For more information about Bureau’s Sugarhouse & Maple Kettle Korn, visit http://www.maplekettlekorn.com/aboutus.html


ECSO Concludes Season with April 25 Concert, Features Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, Orff’s Carmina Burana

The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (ECSO) concludes its critically successful 2014-2015 concert series on Saturday, April 25, at 8 p.m., at the Garde Arts Center in New London.

ECSO Music Director, Toshiyuki Shimada, conducts a performance that begins with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 and includes the all-time audience favorite Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus and the Ledyard High School Girls’ Chorus. Featured soloists are soprano, Jurate Svedaite, tenor, Chris Lucier, and baritone, Maksim Ivanov.

Ticket holders are invited to a pre-concert chat at 7 p.m. given by ECSO Music Director, Toshiyuki Shimada and Choral Director, Mark Singleton.

All are also invited to a free post-concert reception hosted by The Friends of the Symphony.

Ticket prices range from $28.80 to $62 with $12 rush tickets for students and active military personnel available after 6 p.m. at the box office on the night of the performance sponsored by Olde Mistick Village and Washington Trust Company. You can purchase tickets on line at: www.gardearts.org or through the Eastern Connecticut Symphony office at 860-443-2876.

Subscriptions are now on sale for the 2015-2016 season.


Old Lyme Land Trust Presents McCulloch Family with Land Saver Award

At its 49th Annual Meeting on March 22, the Old Lyme Land Trust (OLTT) presented its Land Saver Award to the McCulloch Family in recognition of the family’s extraordinary vision and generosity.

Inspired by their mother, “Rook” Metzger McCulloch, who instilled in them the principle of stewardship, and by their love of the land, David and Jean McCulloch, Catherine Taffy Holland and Mary Jean McCulloch Vasiloff donated a conservation easement on 434 acres known as the McCulloch Farm in 2000. The easement, held by The Nature Conservancy, restricts the use and prevents further development of the property.

Lying in the Black Hall River Watershed, the land has extraordinary conservation value. With this portion of the watershed protected, the Great Island tidal marsh complex with its rich and diverse wildlife is protected as well.

Christina Clayton, President of OLLT, noted that Old Lyme residents receive benefits from the donation in addition to the conservation ones. The McCulloch Farm lies along Whippoorwill Road in the center of town and contributes significantly to the rural character of Old Lyme. And the taxpayers remain unburdened by the cost of services that residential development of this large tract would have imposed.

Dr. Robert A. Askins, Katherine Blunt Professor of Biology at Connecticut College, was the guest speaker at the annual meeting. Dr. Askins is a renowned ornithologist and expert on ecology and conservation biology, who recently published a book entitled, “Conservation of Deciduous Forests in New England, Japan and Europe.”

Dr. Askins spoke about the need for a blended approach to the conservation of New England’s forests, in order to protect the greatest number of both plant and animal species. Large tracts of unfragmented forest are necessary for a number of threatened and endangered species, but others, such as the endangered New England cottontail and several species of songbirds, require early successional habitats, such a thickets and grassy openings in the forest canopy.

The OLLT plans to incorporate Dr. Askins’s recommendations into the management plans for its preserves.