Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Sound Person of the Week

Valley Courier

Essex Library Board of Trustees President Kathy Bonomi wants to know what residents really think about their library. Photo courtesy of Kathy Bonomi

Kathy Bonomi: RSVP Please!

Published May 05, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Kathy Bonomi is looking for some answers. Kathy, president of the Essex Library Board of Trustees, is eager for Essex residents to respond to the brief community survey that is part of the Essex Library’s strategic planning process.

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Valley Courier

Deep River artist Lesa Marino learned long ago never to say “No” to an opportunity, which goes a long way to explaining how Deep River Elementary School now has a mascot. 

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Lesa Marino: Meet the Mascot

Published April 28, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Lesa Marino couldn’t have anticipated what would come from ringing Lauren Feltz’s doorbell last fall. All she planned was a welcoming gesture to a new resident of the neighborhood.

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Valley Courier

Essex Rotary member Elizabeth Rieder is a senior research scientist at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Elizabeth Rieder Fights Disease by Day, Supports Community at Night

Published April 21, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Everybody knows about foot-in mouth-disease. Who hasn’t said something they immediately wish they could take back?

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Valley Courier

Noting the disruption that the Class of 2021 has endured, Sarah Waterhouse is proud to chair the Safe Graduation Party Committee that will ensure Valley Regional High School’s graduates have a fun (and safe) way to celebrae. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Sarah Waterhouse: Planning the Party

Published April 14, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Sarah Waterhouse is working very hard planning a party for more than 100 people, but she won’t even be a guest. Sarah is chair of the committee planning the Safe Graduation Party that follows the graduation ceremony at Valley Regional High School.

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Valley Courier

After four years in the Deep River Town Clerk’s Office, Joyce Berardis has moved upstairs to serve as executive assistant to the first selectman. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Joyce Berardis: A New Job at Town Hall

Published April 07, 2021 08:30 a.m.

There’s something unexpected at the Selectman’s Office in Deep River Town Hall.

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Valley Courier

Gale Dilger (left), pictured with her late daughter Alexandra, has with her husband Patrick formed the Alexandra Dilger Award to assist young adults with neuro-disabilities in overcoming challenges. Photo by Patrick Dilger

Gale Dilger: A Very Special Award

Published March 31, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Gale Dilger has had one of life’s most demanding challenges: turning the memory of her daughter Alexandra, who died in 2018 at the age of 21, into an ongoing force for creative accomplishment.

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Valley Courier

Drawing on a career as a triage nurse rapidly offering advice on a wide range of health concerns, Carol Flaim is intent on being fully prepared as Deep River’s new Municipal Ethics Commission starts its charge under her leadership. Photo courtesy of Carol Flaim

Carol Flaim: Something New in Deep River

Published March 24, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Carol Flaim is doing something in Deep River that nobody has ever done before.

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Valley Courier

Charlene Fearon and her husband Lol are leading the effort to bring an open-air meeting space to Chester Elementary School. Photo courtesy of Charlene Fearon

Charlene Fearon: Saying Thank You

Published March 17, 2021 08:30 a.m.

When Charlene Fearon and her husband Lol told Tyson Stoddard, the principal of Chester Elementary School, they wanted to do something for the school as a thank you gift after the graduation of their grandson Mason, Stoddard suggested that perhaps some outdoor equipment or basketball hoops would be nice.

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Valley Courier

The community recently celebrated Carroll “Gil” Gilson’s 105th birthday with a car parade past his home at Kirtland Commons. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Carroll Gilson: Age is Just a Number

Published March 10, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Carroll Gilson was born before America entered World War II in 1941; he was born before the stock market crash of 1929; he was born before speakeasies, bathtub gin, and flappers doing the Charleston.

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Valley Courier

The Town of Essex has a new head for a new Planning & Zoning Department, Carey Duques. Photo courtesy of Carey Duques

Carey Duques: Planning Ahead

Published March 03, 2021 08:30 a.m.

When you are new to a job, you want to start to recognize familiar faces. Carey Duques, however, has learned to recognize half faces.

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Valley Courier

Deep River’s Don Paulson has had a storied career in plastics that allowed him to travel the world and recently landed him in the Plastics Hall of Fame. Photo by Michelle Parr Paulson

Don Paulson: He Knows This Joke

Published Feb. 24, 2021 08:30 a.m.

It is the iconic moment in an iconic movie: the moment in The Graduate when a neighbor, paddling around in a swimming pool, stops long enough to give Dustin Hoffman, playing 20-something Ben Braddock, one-word of career advice: plastics.

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Valley Courier

Phase 1b of the COVID vaccine rollout has posed challenges for many recipients, but in Chester, Kim Megrath and her team of volunteers are working to ensure everyone eligible is aware of their options. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Kim Megrath: A Shot’s That’s on Target

Published Feb. 17, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Kim Megrath knows what the present moment’s biggest questions are, because she is helping find the answers. So here goes: Do you have an appointment for a shot yet? How did you manage to get one?

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Valley Courier

Alex Johnson is stepping up from secretary to president of the Sister Cities Essex Haiti board. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Alexandra Johnson: A Haitian Connection

Published Feb. 10, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Some 1,600 miles separate Essex, Connecticut from the rural community of Deschapelles, Haiti, but they are linked by Sister Cities Essex Haiti (SCEH), an Essex-based group that supports a number of programs in Deschapelles, including something the rural community would likely never have been able to afford on its own: a library.

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Valley Courier

After starting on a path of community service as a boy scout growing up in Essex, Matt Herman continues to serve the community, now as emergency management director in Deep River. Photo courtesy of Matt Herman

Matt Herman: Planning for Emergencies

Published Feb. 03, 2021 08:30 a.m.

By the time he was 15, Matt Herman knew community service would be a big part of his life.

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Valley Courier

James Baker is a Chester graphic designer and business owner who’s also known to many as husband of State Representative Christine Palm (D-26). Photo courtesy of James Baker

James Baker: The Art of the Political Spouse

Published Jan. 27, 2021 08:30 a.m.

By now, you have probably heard about Doug Emhoff. That is Doug Emhoff the second gentleman, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris.

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Valley Courier

Artist and animal welfare advocate Cari Jansen has, with her partner Garret Sands, turned Spruce Ledge Tree Farm into a working farm and a place for creativity to flourish. 

Photo courtesy of Cari Jansen

Cari Jansen: I Think That I Shall Never See...

Published Jan. 20, 2021 08:30 a.m.

It happens every year after the holidays are over: What to do with the tree?

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Valley Courier

As vice president for programs and operations at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Thayer Talbott has seen the community step up to help neighbors in need during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Thayer Talbott

Thayer Talbott: It’s All About Community

Published Jan. 13, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Thayer Talbott gets to do something special at work: Give away money.

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Valley Courier

Chester cheerleader Mandy Carroll is helping the merchants’ group spread the word about the “magical, creative” town through T-shirts, Instagram, and the Internet. 

Photo courtesy of Mandy Carroll

Mandy Carroll: The Merchant of Chester

Published Jan. 06, 2021 08:30 a.m.

Mandy Carroll says she should have seen it all coming at the beginning on 2020 when she was asked to design the T-shirt for Chester Rotary’s Four on the Fourth race.

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Valley Courier

A self-described Chester cheerleader, Carol LeWitt is one of the local stakeholders behind the Chester Leadership Fund. Photo courtesy of Carol LeWitt

Carol LeWitt: An Opening to the Future

Published Dec. 23, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Closing down in the face of COVID-19 was an unexpected problem. Opening up once again, though most welcome, has its challenges, too. And it is those challenges to which Carol LeWitt has been devoting time and energy.

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Valley Courier

Retired banker Jack Frost is deeply invested in making the local community a better place, particularly for those with developmental challenges. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Jack Frost: Help is on the Way

Published Dec. 16, 2020 08:30 a.m.

When Jack Frost retired five years ago, he changed his business card. In his professional career, it read Banker. In retirement, he changed it to read Helper. When people ask him what that means, his answer is succinct: “I help.”

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Valley Courier

In a year when a personal touch has often been missing, Margaret Morgan is ensuring those who receive a Christmas dinner from the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries also receive a gift bag intended to make an extra connection. 

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Margaret Morgan: Better to Give

Published Dec. 09, 2020 08:30 a.m.

It’s the time for gifts—not only the gifts on Santa’s list but the things that come without asking: calendars in all sizes, decals from groups that recipients supported, embossed pencils from different organizations.

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Valley Courier

Ivoryton’s Josh Harp is one of the volunteers behind the annual Ivoryton Illuminations celebration, which will continue to light up the green this year, though without the traditional kickoff event. Photo courtesy of Josh Harp

Josh Harp: Flip the Light Switch

Published Dec. 02, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Josh Harp is the volunteer who climbs the ladder to put up the holiday lights for the Illuminations show on the Ivoryton Green. And why is that?

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Valley Courier

Essex Garden Club Vice President Dagmar Miller is putting her floral decorating experience to work for the club as it prepares for its annual sale of holiday table decorations on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27 and 28. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Dagmar Miller: Flower Girl

Published Nov. 25, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Dagmar Miller knows the truism of the season: If this is Thanksgiving, it is time to decorate for Christmas.

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Valley Courier

Camp Hazen’s Carolyn Learned is helping helm the Take a Chance on Chester raffle, which concludes on Sunday, Dec. 13. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Carolyn Learned: A Chance Worth Taking

Published Nov. 18, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Carolyn Learned would like you to take a chance—not just any chance, but a chance on Chester. And this chance and not really so chancy; it’s designed to be a winner all the way around.

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Valley Courier

Middlesex Habitat for Humanity has a strong ally in Essex’s Clara Miller.

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Clara Miller: Home Sweet Home

Published Nov. 11, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Let’s start this story with a quiz about the Wizard of Oz: What does Dorothy say when she wakes up in her bed in Kansas after her adventures in the land of Oz? Remember? It’s “There’s no place like home!”

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Valley Courier

Deep River’s Linalynn Schmelzer is intent on bringing dance to unexpected stages.

Photo courtesy of Linalynn Schmelzer

Linalynn Schmelzer: Shall We Dance?

Published Nov. 04, 2020 08:30 a.m.

You can dance in a ballroom, on a stage, or even at a high school prom, but that’s not where Linalynn Schmelzer was dancing.

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Valley Courier

Though the pandemic required some unforeseen adaptations, Tula McDougal has opened an ice cream shop in chester with her daughter Christiana Barabe. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Tula McDougal: The Sweet Life

Published Oct. 28, 2020 08:30 a.m.

Here’s an easy question: What’s the most popular ice cream flavor? Yes, it’s vanilla, says Tula McDougal, who with her daughter Christiana Barabe has recently opened Honeycone, an ice cream shop on Chester’s Main Street.

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Valley Courier

Anonymously helping neighbors in need is on way Colin Bennett likes to give back to the Deep River community. Photo courtesy of Colin Bennett

Colin Bennett: It’s All About Community

Published Oct. 21, 2020 08:30 a.m.

When he needed a used refrigerator, Colin Bennett did what any media savvy Gen-Xer would do: He put the word out of Facebook.

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Valley Courier

Behind the desk at the Essex Library, Child and Teen Librarian Christina Carpino is working to assist patrons despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

Photo courtesy of Christina Carpino

Christine Carpino: Never Too Young for a Good Book?

Published Oct. 14, 2020 08:30 a.m.

A good book lingers in the memory. Christina Carpino, the new children and teen librarian at the Essex Library, knows that

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Valley Courier

As part of Camp Hazen YMCA’s efforts to keep kids safe and engaged when COVID protocols kept them out of the classroom, Nicole Fauteux was there to help students from nine different school districts stay on task. Photo courtesy of Nicole Fauteux

Nicole Fauteux: No More Back to School

Published Oct. 07, 2020 08:30 a.m.

It’s coming to an end, but Nicole Fauteux has spent the fall doing something she never anticipated, going back to school. At 27 and a graduate of the University of New Haven, Nicky thought she was all done, but not only did Nicky go back to school, she went back as far as elementary school.

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