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February 19, 2019  |  

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Person of the Week

Publications

Valley Courier

Valley Regional High School grad Carolyn Blicharz DMD is happy to be back in familiar territory practicing alongside her dad, Dr. Ernest Reamer. As for the dimples on her cheeks that people have remarked on ever since she was a child, patients sitting in her dental chair rarely comment. “Usually I’m wearing a mask,” she explains. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Carolyn Blicharz: It’s Time

Published Feb. 13, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Carolyn Blicharz has found a way to be a part of a public speaking contest without having to open her mouth.

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Valley Courier

Noted Chester civil rights activist Marta Daniels will present a program on Constance Baker Motley, the first black woman to become a federal judge and a major (if overlooked) figure in U.S. history, at a Chester land Trust chili dinner on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Sharing Constance Baker Motley’s Early History

Published Feb. 06, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Goodness knows it is hard to keep a secret in a small town, but Marta Daniels has one—though she won’t have it for long. She is going to tell all on Thursday, Feb. 21 at a Chester Land Trust program at the Chester meeting house. The event, including a pre-program chili dinner, is a fundraiser for the Chester Land Trust.

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Valley Courier

Valley Regional High School alum Kevin Alvord will bring his acting talents back to the stage as part of the upcoming production of the musical Newsies from Friday, March 8 to Sunday, March 10. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Kevin Alvord: Backstage

Published Jan. 30, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Kevin Alvord is going to shave his red beard, let his trimmed mustache grow to a full-handlebar extravaganza, put on a frock coat and for three days in March, become President Theodore Roosevelt.

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Valley Courier

A lifelong singer, Bob Johnson took a half-century hiatus from playing the trombone, but he’s back at it now as a member of the New Horizons Band.  Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Bob Johnson: Overcoming the Odds

Published Jan. 23, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Victorian novelist Charles Dickens, who created such memorable fictional orphans as Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, could have written the story about the early years of Bob Johnson’s life.

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Valley Courier

Former Essex resident Roseann Ventimiglia now calls Chester home, and she’s quickly established community ties through activities like leading the Friends of the Chester Public Library annual book sale. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Roseann Ventimiglia: Buy the Book

Published Jan. 16, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Roseann Ventimiglia said yes. The result is that she is the new head of the upcoming book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Chester Public Library. And there is more that is new. For the first time the sale will be held at the United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, rather than in the library basement. The four-day sale will take place from Friday, Jan. 18 through Monday, Jan. 21.

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Valley Courier

In a short time in Essex, Susan Hosack has become an active community volunteer, including co-helming the upcoming Putt Fore the Library mini-golf fundraiser for the Essex Library. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Susan Hosack: Book a Round of Golf

Published Jan. 09, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Surely, it was fate. Pulling open the holiday table favor known as a Christmas cracker or a Christmas popper, Susan Hosack found a tiny plastic golf club and a miniature green to go with it.

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Valley Courier

Deep River native Shane Lindner was recently back in town with reports from his recent 2,653-mile through-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from the Mexican to Canadian borders. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Shane Lindner: Going for a Walk

Published Jan. 02, 2019 08:30 a.m.

Everybody has their own way to finish the sentence, “Happiness is…” but few people’s idea of happiness would match Shane Lindner’s. For him, happiness is a tattered pair of hiking shorts, a leaky one-person tent, and a 2,653-mile walk.

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Valley Courier

Kim Thomas’ 15 minutes of fame came this summer when the Lifetime Channel used her Centerbrook bakery Savour as a set for the film A Very Nutty Christmas. Even better, she says? She herself never had to go on camera. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Kim Thomas: Picture This

Published Dec. 19, 2018 08:30 a.m.

The old song “You Oughta Be in Pictures” applies to Kim Thomas—sort of. It’s not Kim who actually was in a movie; it was her bakery, Savour in Centerbrook, that was a central location for A Very Nutty Christmas, a Lifetime Channel Christmas movie.

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Valley Courier

“Nature never stops,” according to Suzanne Burns, which is likely why this new director of education at the Connecticut River Museum has a busy winter season ahead of her. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Suzanne Burns: Telling the River’s Story

Published Dec. 12, 2018 08:30 a.m.

What links Pittsburg, New Hampshire, a town with a population of 813 at the Canadian border, and the valley shore area of Connecticut? Even if the New Hampshire town is not a familiar name, there is a powerful connection: the Connecticut River. Pittsburg is where the river rises and some 406 miles later it runs into Long Island Sound not far from the Connecticut River Museum in Essex where Suzanne Burns is the new director of education.

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Art Davies, with his grandchildren Erin, Noah, Emma, and Paige, is preparing for the big Lions Club tree sale to be held at Deep River Hardware. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Art Davies: What’s Christmas Without a Tree?

Published Dec. 05, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Art Davies says there are some 43,000 different kinds of items in a hardware store. But in Deep River Hardware, which Art owns, for the first three weeks of December there will be 43,001. The extra category is a seasonal favorite: Christmas trees.

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Valley Courier

Cathy Shanley is one of the many volunteers helping to string together one of the region’s most cherished holiday traditions, the Ivoryton Illuminations, which starts on Saturday, Dec. 1. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Cathy Shanley: Lighting the Night

Published Nov. 28, 2018 08:30 a.m.

If you wanted to find Cathy Shanley any Saturday since early October, there was only one place to look: the barn where the lights for Ivoryton Illuminations are stored.

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Valley Courier

A self-described introvert, Karen Burzin has stretched out of her comfort zone since getting her start in acting with the Ivoryton Players, which will stage its final show, 4 Beekman, on Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Karen Burzin: Getting into the Act

Published Nov. 21, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Karen Burzin was not in her elementary school class play; she was not in her middle school play, nor her high school play.

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Valley Courier

Dan Batt displays the chair he designed for the reception area at Centerbrook Architects, where he is an associate. The chair’s build reflects his designing philosophy: combining an efficient use of resources with comfort and a striking aesthetic. 

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Daniel Batt: Effectively Efficient

Published Nov. 14, 2018 08:30 a.m.

On a recent morning, a visitor to Centerbrook Architects stood with 3-D glasses, not simply viewing, but virtually walking through a meditation garden Dan Batt is in charge of designing for the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in Stamford. The 3-D experience, gravity-defying but also vertigo-inducing, was an introduction to the different ways 21st-century technology enables architects to work.

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Valley Courier

A pilot since his college days, Al Reeser flew trans-Atlantic transport planes for the Air Transport Command during World War II. Now 99 and living at Essex Meadows, he’s still finds opportunities to take flight. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Al Reeser: Up, Up and Away

Published Nov. 07, 2018 08:30 a.m.

World War II is a chapter in a history text for most people today, but for Al Reeser of Essex, it is real life memories. During the Second World War, Al, who is now 99, was a co-pilot flying for the Air Transport Command (ATC), which flew supplies from the United States to war zones and flew wounded back to the United States.

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Valley Courier

Though officially retired as an instructor at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Holly Ridgway is still a dedicated volunteer who’s helping organize the upcoming High Hopes Holiday Market on Sunday, Nov. 11. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Holly Ridgway: Horse Power

Published Oct. 31, 2018 08:30 a.m.

When she was seven years old, Holly Ridgway had her future all figured out. She wanted to emulate everything her older brother did.

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Valley Courier

Jane Deuse Cable and the American Legion Post 97 in Chester have been plans for honoring veterans in the coming weeks. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Jane Deuse Cable: Let’s Hear it for Veterans

Published Oct. 24, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Jane Deuse Cable left active service in the United States Navy in 1971, but she is still on active duty—but this time for veterans. She is the adjutant of American Legion Post 97 in Chester.

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Valley Courier

The past 25 years have breezed by for CDE Preschool teacher Donna May. In a world that has seen substantial changes in that time period, she notes that much of what pre-schoolers want and need has stayed the same. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Donna May: Preschool Never Gets Old

Published Oct. 17, 2018 08:30 a.m.

No matter what the newest fads and the most up-to the minute toys, Donna May says there are some time-tested favorites in pre-school that resist the pressure of current fashion.

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Valley Courier

Fritz Jellinghaus’s lifetime of efforts to promote the arts in civic life have long been appreciated and sometimes even applauded, such as with his recent Governor’s Patron of the Arts Awards for his commitment to the Connecticut Arts Council. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Fritz Jellinghaus: The Art of Supporting the Arts

Published Oct. 10, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Life, as its practitioners know, has its good days and some days with far more challenging moments

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Valley Courier

The Chester Fife & Drum Corps 150th Anniversary Muster on Sept. 22 was bittersweet for Frenchy Cordeau, who made the major gathering something of a personal milestone, retiring as drum major and business manager of the corps.

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Frenchy Cordeau: A Major Decision

Published Oct. 03, 2018 08:30 a.m.

C’mon, admit you may have imagined it: leading the parade, marching as the drum major with hat and baton at the head of, well, 76 trombones.

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Valley Courier

Tom Wilcox has stepped up to serve as an interim director of the Connecticut River Museum (CRM) as the museum board seeks a permanent director. With a background directing a Maine maritime museum and long service (in two stints) to the CRM Board of Directors, it’s a role he’s ready to fill. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Tom Wilcox: New Man River

Published Sep. 26, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Tom Wilcox once thought he was retired. But that was then. This is now.

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Valley Courier

Attorney Terry Lomme doesn’t wear his affection for cars on his sleeve—instead he displays it throughout his Essex office. Terry recently retired as the probate judge for the Old Saybrook District. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Terry Lomme: He’s Got Will Power

Published Sep. 19, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Where there’s a will, there’s a…relative. Just ask Terry Lomme, the recently retired judge of probate in the Old Saybrook district, which includes nine towns: Old Saybrook, Essex, Deep River, Chester, Westbrook, Clinton, Killingworth, Lyme, and Haddam. Terry, who was required to retire at the mandatory age of 70, is a longtime Essex resident.

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Valley Courier

Lol Fearon and his wife Charlene are co-chairs of the United Church of Chester house tour on Saturday, Sept. 29. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Lol Fearon: Opening Doors in Chester

Published Sep. 12, 2018 08:30 a.m.

If you speak the language of the Internet, you understand LOL: laughing out loud, or maybe lots of laughs, but in Chester, Lol means something entirely different.

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Valley Courier

Barbara Simone is excited about the upcoming Cruise, Blues & Brews Fundraiser to benefit the At-Risk Boys’ Fund. Photo courtesy of Barbara Simone

Barbara Simone: Helping At-Risk Boys with Upcoming Cruise, Blues & Brews Fundraiser

Published Sep. 05, 2018 08:30 a.m.

While Barbara Simone and her husband, Bill Guerra, don’t have any children of their own, much of their lives is devoted to helping boys in need.

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Valley Courier

A literal lifetime of camp experience has kept Camp Hazen YMCA an engaging home for Alex Learned. He’ll also represent his hometown in the upcoming Tri-Town Vintage Base Ball Tournament sponsored by the Chester, Deep River, and Essex historical societies on Sunday, Sept. 16. Photo by Zoe Roos/The Courier

Alex Learned: A Man About Camp

Published Aug. 29, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Alex Learned has spent 27 years at Camp Hazen, either as a camper or a member of staff.

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Valley Courier

The list of music series Ann Drinan directs is almost as expansive as her résumé as a violist. In addition to serving as managing director of the Chestnut Hill Concerts at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook and the managing director of the Orchestra of New England in New Haven, she is the new managing director of the Robbie Collomore Concert Series, which returns to Chester in September, October, and November.

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Ann Drinan: Taking Notes

Published Aug. 22, 2018 08:30 a.m.

If, as Shakespeare wrote, music is the food of love, Ann Drinan surely doesn’t have to worry about nourishment. Ann is the new managing director of the Robbie Collomore Concerts at the Chester Meeting House.

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Valley Courier

Ted Taigen has retired from an illustrious career as a UConn biology professor who served as academic advisor to the men’s basketball team. He’s now putting his talent to work with the Chester Rotary Club, which returns the annual Lobster Fest to the Chester Fair Grounds on Saturday, Sept. 8. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Ted Taigen: Get the Butter, Get the Bib, It’s Lobster Time!

Published Aug. 15, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Snap, Crackle, and Pop! Okay, it’s not Rice Krispies, but the advertising slogan works just as well for the Chester Rotary Lobster Fest.

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Valley Courier

As Ivoryton Library’s assistant director and director of Children’s Services, Elizabeth Bartlett is able to merge her love of music, gardening, and books (and design and several more interests) to help foster kids’ curiosities. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Elizabeth Bartlett: By the Book

Published Aug. 08, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Wisdom doesn’t go out of style, so what Roman orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote some 2,000 years ago works well for Elizabeth Bartlett today: If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero did and so does Elizabeth Bartlett. (Okay, Latin enthusiasts, here it is: Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, deerit nihil.)

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Valley Courier

Chester therapist Chris Carlin specializes in helping teenagers, and is able to draw from the lessons of a very tough childhood to help let patients (and their parents) know that failure is not the end. Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Chris Carlin: Overcoming the Odds

Published Aug. 01, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Sometimes a blow on the head can be a blessing, at least in the long term.

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Valley Courier

Changing his major from musical theater and dance to exercise science gave Casey McKeon a new set of skills, but it hasn’t changed his commitment to sharing his talents with the residents at Essex Meadows, where he has worked since he was 16. 

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Casey McKeon: Witness Fitness

Published July 25, 2018 08:30 a.m.

So, Casey McKeon of Chester, meet Charles Atlas. If you are a certain age, no explanation is needed.

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Valley Courier

From commercials and vocal performance to makeup and stained glass, Joell Jacob is an artist accomplished in a stunningly wide range of media.

Photo by Rita Christopher/The Courier

Joell Jacob: Doing it All

Published July 18, 2018 08:30 a.m.

Want a make-up artist? A hair stylist? An actor? A singer? An author? A ukulele player? A voice artist to read books for CD? A stained glass craftsman?

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