Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tolland Antiques Show slated for April 10

The 50th Golden Anniversary Tolland Antiques Show, a benefit for the Tolland Historical Society, will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 10 at Tolland Middle School, 1 Falcon Way, according to a release.
"This distinguished show features 18th- and 19th-century American furniture, accessories, textiles, rugs, prints, folk art, paintings, red ware and early iron," the release said. "Many items are of museum quality."
"More than 65 dealers from throughout New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland make this show one of the premier events in the Northeast dealing in early Americana," the release noted.
“It is really known as the best little country show because of the quality of the people who exhibit there,” local dealer Steve Kochenburger of Willington Antiques said, also in the release
Show Director Kathy Bach, who is also the president of the Society, said that the show is great both for collectors and browsers.
“Many of these dealers are interested collectors themselves and have a wealth of knowledge about the items they are selling," she said in the release. "With this level of expertise present, it is a good place for someone who wants to learn more about antiques.”
The show is the major fundraising activity for the Society each year, the release said.
Proceeds support the three historical society museums in Tolland; the Old Tolland County Jail & Museum, the Old Tolland County Courthouse, both located on Tolland Green, and the Daniel Benton Homestead, a pre-Revolutionary War home located on Metcalf Road, the release said.
Proceeds "also defray the cost of the many programs that the Society sponsors in the community, especially in the school system related to curriculum."
All booths are sold, and there is a waiting list.  For more information about the show, contact Bach at 860-872-7716 or on the website or on the Society’s Facebook page.

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Veterans Fund-Raising Kick-off event

A fundraising event for veterans will kick off from 6 to 9 p.m. April 8 at the Branford Art Center Gallery, 1229 Main St, according to a release.
The event is free and open to the public and will initiate the weekend long Gallery Hop Fund-Raiser for Veterans, the release said. 

On April 9, and April 10, participants will visit each of the eight participating galleries from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to use their raffle tickets for prizes and bid in silent auctions for paintings by the veterans. 

The artist veterans will be at the gallery openings from 1 to 3 p.m., the release said.  Refreshments will be served all day.

Proceeds will go to the individual veterans who created the art, at the “Giant Steps” Art therapy program at the West Haven Veterans Hospital. the release said.

Gallery Hop raffle tickets are available at the BAC Gallery. Contact Yvonne Gordon-Moser 860-334-4642 or

Also in the release:

"Yvonne Gordon-Moser of the Branford Art Center and Meg Giannotti of Artfish42 in Milford have joined forces with several Art Galleries across the shoreline to raise funds and awareness" for veterans who use art as a "means of healing and enjoyment."
"She and Meg Giannotti of Artfish42 have spearheaded the Gallery Hop for Veterans taking place on April 9 and 10, 2016. 100% of the monies collected will go to the VA "Giant Steps" Program for materials needed by the Veterans."
Galleries involved in the Gallery Hop are The Branford Art Center of Branford, The Bird Nest Gallery and Salon Suites of Guilford,  Maple and Main of Chester, Cindy Stevens Fine Arts  of Clinton, and the  Clinton Art Gallery.   These are all North of the Q bridge. South of the Q bridge we have Artfish42 in Milford, the Firehouse Gallery of Milford, the Davis Gallery of Orange and the E Street Gallery of Derby, the release said.
Ted Aub a local Veteran’s advocate will be collecting veterans artwork which will be displayed at each of the galleries.
Passports with maps and the participating galleries locations will be available for purchase for $20.  Each passport comes with five chances to win a piece of art or gift valued at at-least $50, the release said.  A grand prize for those who complete the Hop by visiting each gallery over the weekend worth $200 will be raffled. Different Items will be located at each of the galleries, the release said.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Orange Historical Society Musuem Shop is open Saturdays

​ORANGE - The Orange Historical Society would like to remind all that there's only one more shopping day at the Orange Historical Society Museum and Antique Shop before Easter and "there are plenty of guest gifts on display as well as a wealth of gift items for the upcoming holiday season," according to a release.
This is "to say nothing of the weddings and gifts needed for that perfect bride or
bridesmaid," the society also notes in the release. 
The museum shop is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"The shop is really a treasure trove of antiques and collectibles second to none.  If you have shopped antique shops before, you won't be disappointed," the release noted.
The shop is at  in 605 Orange Center Road, Orange.
For information call 203 795-3016.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Check out The Audubon Shop birdwalks at Hammonassett

American Oystercatcher at Hammonasset Beach State Park, by Jerry Connolly

Birdwalks at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison
The Audubon Shop begins its 30th Annual Spring Bird Walks at Hammonasset Beach State Park from 8 to 10:30 a.m. on April 9, and runs them every Saturday through June 18, according to a release

"See migratory shorebirds, songbirds, and birds of prey" on the walk, the release said.

Hammonassett Beach State Park in Madison "is widely regarded as the premier birding area in Connecticut. Approximately 240 species of birds occur there annually, in its diverse habitats of marsh, open water, woodland, grassland and shoreline," the release said.

Beginners are welcome. No need to pre-register. Bring binoculars (rentals available).
Meet each Saturday at The Audubon Shop, 907 Boston Post Road, Madison at 7:50 a.m., the release said.

Carpool to the park. $5 per person charge.  For more information call 203-245-9056.

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Learn about maple syrup and more at the New Haven Museum

Connecticut author and maple-sugar devotee David Leff will "bring his infectious enthusiasm for all things maple-y" to a free presentation based on his newest book, “Maple Sugaring: Keeping it Real in New England” at 6 p.m. March 29, at New Haven Museum, according to a release.
"A former maple sugarmaker and board member of the Connecticut Maple Syrup Producer’s Association, Leff writes and speaks of the art and science of America’s favorite sweet with a passion that is positively lyrical," the release said.  "While examining everything from the political to the environmental aspects of the topic, Leff will offer a look at real-life maplers, including some in Connecticut, and reveal how the ancient industry that originated with Native Americans persists in the 21st century."
During the presentation, Leff  "will share stories of some of the sugarmakers he’s met over the years, sharing their expertise, insights, and anecdotes about their experiences in the business. Noting that it is the process, not the product, which sustains them, Leff points out that for many, sugaring seems to evoke a spirituality entwined with and manifest through physical work. Lucky for us, as it takes 40 gallons of sap to create a single gallon of syrup," the release said.
 For more information visit or or call 203-562-4183.

Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post were contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

President Obama and Taoiseach Kenny at the White House

Me and the Taoiseach last year at Qunnipiac
The following, shared unedited here, was released by the White House today. It is "Remarks by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Prime Minister Kenny of Ireland at St. Patrick's Day Reception"
Read on:  
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Hello, folks!  Welcome to the White House.  Folks, my name is Joe Biden.  I work for Barack Obama.  (Applause.)  And I have the great honor of introducing our next three guests. 
In 1963, President Kennedy addressed the Irish parliament and said, “Our two nations, divided by distance, have been united by history.”  Today we celebrate that shared heritage that has defined so many of us as individuals, and it’s defined our country, as well.
     And it’s clear why this day is so important to many of you, and to me and the President, who have ancestors who are from Ireland, who left behind everything to find a new home and find a place in that Promised Land -- America.  In the face of oppression, they held strong, strong, strong beliefs.  They planted deep roots, and they looked to the future.  It’s the immigrant story of all who came here. 
And the truth is that the greatest contribution the Irish brought to this country is a set of values:  hard work, family, a sense of community, pride, faith, and idealism. 
     My mother had an expression -- and I mean this sincerely -- she talked about being Irish was about family, faith, but most of all, it was about courage.  She said, because without courage, you cannot love with abandon.  And to be Irish is to be able to love with abandon -- to be able to dream. 
     Oscar Wilde said, “Yes, I’m a dreamer, for a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight.  And his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”  Millions -- millions -- of Irish men and women look to that dawn, and they forge their dreams into the foundation stones that literally formed this great nation of ours, all believing in something that defines America in a single world.  The uniqueness of this country, in my view, can be summed up in one word.  We're all about possibilities.  Anything -- anything -- is possible.
     That's who we are as Americans.  In my view, that's the Irish of it.  I felt it.  My family has felt it.  All of you have felt it.  And the three people I’m about to introduce, they have felt it, as well.
     Ladies and gentlemen -- my friend, the President of the United States, Barack Obama; the Taoiseach of Ireland, Enda Kenny; and his wife, Fionnuala.  (Applause.)
     THE PRESIDENT:  Welcome to the White House, everybody.  (Applause.)  Happy St. Patrick’s Week.  Once again, today is not technically St. Paddy’s Day.  And once again, this does not seem to bother any of you one bit.  (Laughter.)  But if you are lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.  (Applause.) 
This, of course, is one of my favorite events.  I get to welcome my people.  (Laughter and applause.)  And the Obamas of Leinster are nothing if not welcoming.  We’ve got “trad.”  We’ve got pints of black.  It’s up to you to provide the “craic.”  (Applause.) 
This is my eighth St. Patrick’s Day as President.  And this is my 25th set of St. Patrick’s Day remarks as President.  This is true.  When you include the speeches I’ve given in Dublin and Northern Ireland, we are pushing 30.  But, fortunately, the Irish are not short on inspiration.
Everybody here is Irish -- I am positive of it.  There’s some particularly “indomitable Irishry” in the house.  But we are thrilled to once again host Taoiseach Enda Kenny.  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  His wife, Fionnuala -- give her a bigger round of applause.  (Applause.)  And we are in the presence of one of America’s great Irish-American heroes -- Vice President Joe Biden.  (Applause.) 
Blessed are the peacemakers -- and from Northern Ireland, we welcome their first female First Minister, Arlene Foster -- (applause) -- and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.  (Applause.)  The UK’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers is here.  Give her a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  And Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan -- they’ve done a great job of representing their governments in the negotiations that led to the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements.  So we're very proud of them.  (Applause.) 
And former Senator Gary Hart, as Secretary Kerry’s personal representative, has done an extraordinary job representing America -- (applause) -- along with our Consul General in Belfast, Dan Lawton.  Thank all of you.  (Applause.) 
In addition, our Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Matthew Barzun, is here, as is our Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley. (Applause.)  As you can see and hear, although Kevin has only been in Ireland for 18 months, he has crammed in almost eight years of work.  One of his legacies will be his “Creative Minds” initiative, in which he’s been busy connecting the next generation of Irish and American leaders who will be singing in this room someday.  So, thank you, Kevin.  Your Mayo grandparents would be proud.  (Applause.) 
And one of the warmest women you’ll ever meet is Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, Anne Anderson.  (Applause.)  I'm going to embarrass Anne for a second.  A few days ago, she became the first woman ever admitted into the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.  (Applause.)  And to underscore what a big deal this is, only one other person ever has been “adopted” into that society. This is true -- it was this guy right here, George Washington.  So you are keeping good company, Anne.  Congratulations.  (Laughter.) 
Our Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, is also here.  And she may have made the longest trip.  And although Caroline never likes to draw attention to herself, she’s out here somewhere.  (Applause.)  Obviously, Caroline’s family will forever represent the centrality of Irish heritage to our American story. 
There’s a whole brood of Irish-American members of Congress here, as well, including from Caroline’s family -- Joe Kennedy, who’s a new father to a baby girl.  (Applause.)  That's worth congratulating.  You can't beat daughters.  If anyone is in need of a good song, Joe Crowley has one of the finer singing voices in Washington.  (Laughter.)  But, Joe, please wait until I'm done speaking.  (Laughter.) 
Now, some of you may have seen a front page of the Galway City Tribune last summer that blared, in huge print, “He’s On the Way!  Hopes that Obama will make Paddy’s Day speech in Eyre Square.”  I don't know how this rumor got started.  It might have been somebody on my staff who just wanted another trip to Ireland.  (Laughter.)  But I do have joyous memories of my own trips to the Emerald Isle.  And Ireland really is, as Seamus Heaney described it -- a place that can “catch the heart off guard and blow it open.”  Most of all, I remember how the Irish people made me feel so at home -- like my cousin Henry, and his pubkeeper, Ollie, who are here again today.  (Applause.)  There you go!  They’re around here somewhere. 
So I now understand what President Kennedy meant when he said that once he couldn’t run again, he’d endorse the Democratic candidate who would promise to appoint him ambassador to Ireland. (Laughter.)  I would like to point out I have not yet endorsed -- (laughter.)  A certain commitment, quietly made, would not hurt.
Of course, for the Irish, home is everywhere.  And perhaps no other country in the world is more “everywhere” than the United States.  We are braided together in so many ways, America and Ireland.  We’ve been for centuries, through history and bloodline.  We’ve waged war side by side.  We’ve waged peace side by side.  We are family and we are friends.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Proclamation.  And I’m struck with how ahead of its time the proclamation was.  It was a daring document; one which its authors were very particular to address to “Irishmen and Irishwomen.”  It’s built around “religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities,” and “cherishing all the children of the nation equally.”
Cherishing all the children of the nation equally.  That's a vision statement 100 years ago, and it would be a visionary statement today.  It's a universal value, like the ones in America’s own founding documents, that compels us to continually look forward; that gives us the chance to change; that dares us, American and Irish alike, to keep toiling towards our better selves.
Cherishing all the children of the nation equally means striving to make sure they grow up with equal rights and equal opportunities.  And I should point out that Ireland, last year, legalized marriage equality, and a month later, America was proud to join you.  (Applause.)  This year, New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is allowing Irish LGBT groups to march for the very first time.  (Applause.)  As Ambassador Anderson has said, “Irish America is making a statement:  There are no second-class citizens, no children of a lesser God.”
Cherishing all the children of the nation equally means making our immigration system smarter and fairer and more just.  I think of something powerful that the Taoiseach said here a few years ago about people “waiting to be herded into ships; mothers soothing children, perhaps not even their own; husbands calling for wives, and wives calling for husbands -- two peoples who would cross that single dividing ocean, the Irish to freedom; the Africans to slavery.”
My own daughters have the blood of both peoples, Irish and Africans, running through their veins.  And that makes them something more powerful -- it makes them Americans.  All of us come from someplace else.  America is made of generations of men and women who crossed oceans and borders to come here, some in extraordinarily dire circumstances.  Tireless waves of immigrants -- from Ireland, yes, but also Italy and Germany, from Russia and China, Southeast Asia, from Latin America and Africa.  And many set down roots and became some of our most influential citizens.
We encourage the latest generation of eligible immigrants -- some 8.8 million permanent residents, including many Irish -- to take the same step in their American journey.  Many are students who, except for the circumstances of their birth, are as American as my own daughters, as Joe’s children and grandchildren -- students who bravely came out as undocumented in the hopes that they could earn the right to become citizens and make a difference in the country that they love. 
Our neighbors, our classmates, our friends -- they did not come here in search of a free ride.  They came to work, and to study, and to serve in our military, and above all, to contribute to our success.  That is the American Dream.  And the American Dream is something that no wall will ever contain.  (Applause.) 
Cherishing all the children of the nation equally means nurturing a lasting peace in Northern Ireland.  Eighteen years of peace means a whole generation has grown up living the dreams of their parents and grandparents.  To travel without the burden of checkpoints, or roadblocks, or soldiers on patrol.  To enjoy a sunny day free from the ever-present awareness that violence could blacken it at any moment.  To befriend or fall in love with whomever they want.  And while so many of you in this room negotiated the terms of peace, the fate of peace is up to our young people.  After all, 18 years of peace means that peace can vote now.  So we have to keep setting an example, through our words and our actions, that peace is a path worth pursuing. 
The Irish author, Colum McCann, who America now claims as our own, I understand is here today.  Where are you, Colum?  He’s an excellent writer.  He may be -- he’s all the way in the back. I love his books.  There he is right there.  (Applause.)  Colum once wrote, “Peace is indeed harder than war, and its constant fragility is part of its beauty.  A bullet need happen only once, but for peace to work, we need to be reminded of its existence again and again and again.” 
That’s what so many of you have worked to do -- again and again and again.  And the world has noticed.  As I said in Belfast, hope is contagious.  And you’ve designed a hopeful blueprint for others to follow.  You’re proof of what’s possible. I’m very proud that my administration has played a part in helping you to make hope one of your greatest exports.  (Applause.) 
In closing, on the occasion of my final St. Patrick’s Day with all of you --
AUDIENCE:  Nooo --
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I mean, we may meet in a pub in Dublin or something.  (Applause.)  I'm saying, in the White House.  (Laughter.)  And my 30th set of remarks for an Irish audience, I’d like to close with a poem from an Irishwoman, Eavan Boland, that she wrote about a 30th anniversary.
this is the day to think of it, to wonder:
all those years, all those years together --
the stars in a frozen arc overhead,
the quick noise of a thaw in the air,
the blue stare of the hills -- through it all
this constancy:  what wears, what endures.
To the constancy of our enduring friendship.  May Ireland and America forever cherish and brilliantly sustain all our sons and daughters equally. 
Happy St. Paddy’s Day, everybody.  Goodnight and may joy be with you all. 
Let me now introduce our honored guest, Taoiseach Kenny.  Please, come to the stage.  (Applause.) 
PRIME MINISTER KENNY:  (Speaks in Irish.)  Thank you, and you're all welcome. 
Mr. President; Mr. Vice President; Mr. Flannigan; First and Deputy First Minister; Ambassadors; ladies and gentlemen:  When I was outside, I said to the President, it’s not often you get the chance of speaking with the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, and my wife.  (Laughter.) 
     PRESIDENT OBAMA:  There she is.
     PRIME MINISTER KENNY:  And so I said, the election is over in Ireland.  There are a few things I want to say about it.  So I’m going to speak for two hours.  (Laughter.)  That was just a fleeting thought.  (Laughter.) 
     Thank you, Mr. President.  It gives Fionnuala and myself, on behalf of the people of Ireland, the greatest of pleasure to mark St. Patrick’s Day/Week/time with you, a special time for the Irish family worldwide. 
And let me again thank you, President, for all the times we've been here, for the warmth of your hospitality, the generosity of your time, and the continued interest that you and your administration have shown for Ireland and Northern Ireland. Gary Hart, George Mitchell, Joe Biden, Kevin O’Malley, everybody -- thank you.  (Applause.)
     And actually the bowl of shamrock is more important than it looks because it’s a symbol.  It’s a link.  It’s a symbolic link, a symbolic claim going back these many St. Patrick’s Days.
     Now, you all know what happened.  A teenager was taken away from his home.  He was transported to Ireland.  He was put into slavery, mind sheep on a hillside.  He was a shepherd, yes, but he was also a slave.  And those who made him a slave had no idea that in time and in the process, they were also making him the saint and symbol of a nation.
     Similarly, years later, having returned to the scene of his slavery, he picked up a little three-piece, piece of greenery, just to illustrate an idea.  You will understand that this was in the days before PowerPoint displays and so on.  And to St. Patrick, the shamrock was just a handy little piece of greenery, just a prop.  No more than that.  And that tiny piece of greenery became the quintessence, the instantly recognizable brand of a modern nation.  And more, here in this White House, designed by James Hoban, from Dublin, it has become a yearly reminder of the ties that bind our two nations.  And the ties that bind America and Ireland are ties of blood and kinship; ties of trade and tradition; ties of hopes and dreams. 
     Mr. President, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to you for your outstanding leadership over the last seven years, to thank you for all you've done for Irish-U.S. relationships in that time.  (Applause.)
     Sir, Mr. President, you came into office at the most challenging times in terms of the global economic situation.  And I believe that your steadfast and courageous leadership played a huge role in ensuring that the global recession did not become a global depression.  (Applause.) 
Leadership requires courage.  Ultimately, that's what politics is about -- the triumph of hope over hate.  Because when hate is deployed, it doesn't just diminish those who deploy it, it diminishes all of us.  Whereas hope, hope is that golden currency that never devalues, that never tarnishes.  And hope -- and not hatred -- was what animated the dreamers and the patriots in the 1916 rebellion in Dublin.  Hope -- not hatred -- was what animated great Presidents, like Lincoln, to turn enemies into friends. 
     Very many of the Irish found hope in America.  They found opportunity.  They found challenge.  And they found a society that valued hard work and that valued contribution.  They became police officers, nurses, firefighters, domestic servants, dockers, coal miners, railroaders, and so on.  They built bridges and railways and docks and skyscrapers.
     During my time as Taoiseach, we’ve reached out to the Irish diaspora as never before to see more of those descendants of those who left coming back to experience a new Ireland, where, in the words of Seamus Heaney, hope and history rhyme.
     So, although a small country, we’ve always been committed to making a big difference in the world.  We know that any contribution that we can make to tackling global problems such as terrorism, hunger, climate change, can only be achieved through strong global partnership.
     I want to applaud publicly President Obama’s tireless efforts on the world stage in promoting dialogue, common sense, and partnership in the pursuit of peace and a sustainable future for humanity.  (Applause.)
     Ask any of the 35 million Americans who now have the hope and the realization of health assistance in their time of need, and they can answer, Barack Obama delivered that for me.  (Applause.)
     In conclusion, let me again mention 1916.  As many of you know, the United States is the only country that was specifically mentioned in the 1916 Proclamation.  The signatories recognized, as they said, the support of our exiled children in America, a reference to the many millions of our people in this country who supported the cause of Irish freedom for generations.  The inscription is on the bowl:  Our exiled children in America.
     Let me just conclude on this.  What St. Patrick did, whether he realized it or not, was actually the quintessence of great leadership -- or should I say, in the words of one more eloquent and more famous than I, the audacity of hope, and the determination to leave the world better than he found it, just like President Barack Obama.  (Applause.)
     And so now it is my pleasure and my privilege on behalf of the people of our country and the 70 million Irish people all over the world, to present this bowl of shamrock, tried and tested, to President of the United States Barack Obama.
     Thank you all very much.  Hope you have a wonderful evening.  (Applause.)
                             END           6:26 P.M. EDT

Nick Bellantoni to share ‘Deeply Human’ archaeology stories

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