Restoration of Historic Killingworth Congregational Church Marks 200-Year Church-State Divide

KILLINGWORTH — The dome ceiling of the Congregational church is 200-year-old plaster.  From inside the sanctuary, the only sign of concern is a water stain near the base of a wall where the plaster has started to crack.  It’s not a superficial issue.  After climbing a narrow staircase into the steeple, the keys – the plaster that oozes between cracks in the wooden structure, keeping the rest of the plaster in place – have broken off. That’s what needs to be secured, said Charlie Smith, co-chair of the Killingworth Congregational Church’s fundraising committee.  “If a piece of the plaster falls,

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Musical Masterworks Adds a Managing Director, Sketches Plan for Coming Season

OLD LYME — “I’ve been making budgets for 40 years,” said Lawrence Thelen, the new managing director for Musical Masterworks, who will oversee budgeting, budget management and long term strategic planning for the 30-year-old nonprofit.  “The organization is tremendously strong right now and so it’s my goal to maintain that,” he said by phone on Thursday. “When I produced [an] off-Broadway show, or even at Goodspeed, or when I was artistic director, you’re constantly making budgets. You’re always making sure that you don’t go over budget because that’s how theaters close. It’s the easiest way that theaters close.” Thelen has

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Director Sam Quigley Talks Lyman Allyn, Accreditation

NEW LONDON — The Lyman Allyn Art Museum will reopen at half capacity on June 30 and offer free admission to visitors until Labor Day.  “We thought people might need a little extra incentive to come into a public space. We all recognized that we’re all a little nervous and we wanted to let people know that we’re doing everything we can to make it safe and healthful,” said Sam Quigley, director of the museum, by telephone on Wednesday. “We wanted to eliminate any hurdles so that people could come in and really just take advantage of what we are,

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Action Amusements Readies for a “Very Different Year” at Ocean Beach Park in New London

NEW LONDON — With a brush in his hand, Jeff Mullen dabbed white paint onto the metal framework of his “new” ferris wheel at Ocean Beach Park last week. “It’s a nice wheel. We just put some new pins on it. It’s just a matter of touching it up here and there and it should be ready to go,” said Mullen, who owns Action Amusements at Ocean Beach Park. “The wheel itself is from the 1940s and the base is 1965. We found it up in New York. A friend said it might be available, so we bought it and

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Rail-Bikes, the Latest Hit Attraction for the Valley Railroad Company in Essex

The Valley Railroad Company in Essex has halted operation of its popular Essex Stream Train and Riverboat rides while the state adjusts to life with COVID-19, but is instead offering, for a limited number of dates this summer, a novel rail-bike experience along the scenic lower Connecticut River. “The rail-bikes were going to be one of our season opening events, but it was originally slated to just be in an addition to the things we’re already doing,” said Valley Railroad Company Vice President Rob Bradway. “It was never anticipated that the rail-bikes would be the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat

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New Haven-based Therapist Launches Online Dungeons & Dragons for the Young and Autistic

Talking to Daniel Allen, a 37-year-old recreational therapist with a short but remarkable history of working with children, in Ethiopia in the Peace Corps, for Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang and at Yale New Haven, you pretty immediately understand that this is a person who loves the offbeat imaginative side of childhood learning. A self-described “proud nerd,” Allen took the leap from part-time work at Yale New Haven’s Child Psychiatric Inpatient Unit to start Dragon Haven, a new online service that uses games like Dungeons & Dragons to help children build social skills and cope with anxiety. “I

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The Garde Arts Center Launches Virtual Screenings for Audiences in Southeast Connecticut

NEW LONDON — The giant screen of its movie house went dark mid-March, but the Garde Arts Center is now offering a virtual program that lets audiences screen specially curated films at home. Steve Sigel, executive director of the Garde, said that the new Garde Virtual Cinema is an unusual arrangement benefiting both the venue screening the film and the studio that made the film. “There are a number of studios that are partnering with movie theatres and art houses, who share the proceeds,” he said. “Magnolia Pictures contacted us. We’ve done screenings of their films in our theatre so

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CT Examiner’s Sunday Puzzle

Congratulations to Renwick Griswold for the win! All the prizes are delayed with COVID-19, but they will fabulous! Have this week’s solution? Send it to editor@ctexaminer.com Last week’s solution

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Music at the Red Door Hosts an Intimate Pop-up Recital with Christa Rakich on Harpsichord

In a stirring noontime pop-up concert on a recent Wednesday, Christa Rakich performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s French Suite #5 in G, BWV 816 on the harpsichord as part of Music at the Red Door, a series of online performances hosted by St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford, CT. Rakich, a masterful interpreter of J. S. Bach’s work on a variety of keyboard instruments, has a lifetime of experience performing this piece. Rakich first learned it as a high school student. “It is a very old and very dear friend,” Rakich says. “Having grown up with it, it has revealed

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CT Examiner’s Sunday Crossword

138 clues — and every letter in the alphabet with the exception of Q and X — in a 21 by 21 square. Every Sunday, each week’s winner receives a fabulous prize (eventually). Send your completed puzzle to editor@ctexaminer.com Solution for May 3, 2020

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The Holy Grail of Backyard Pizza

On my fourth go – with supermarket dough no less – I had achieved (or at least glimpsed) the Holy Grail of backyard pizza, a Neapolitan-style pizza in just under 90 seconds, telltale leopard-spotting on the cornicione, a bit of char on the undercarriage. As a personal expression, I was turning out in these first attempts pizza competitive with the best in the state. After twenty years of pizza making and all sorts of stoves and stones and grills – none actually better than a cheap grad school Magic Chef that melted the kitchen linoleum each time it came up

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Gathering Online for Dance at New Haven’s Neighborhood Music School

With a click, you put yourself on-screen. There you are, in a square in your home. The squares begin to multiply. One by one, people enter, two or five or a dozen squares. Each person springs up in a basement, living room, dining room, bedroom… You greet each other from your boxes, a little shyly, you’re still getting used to this private-public fishbowl. The teacher greets everyone. She waits a few minutes for stragglers, then begins. You stand with a hand on a makeshift barre. Feet in rotated first position, arms rounded in low fifth position. The accompanist’s keyboard tinkles

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Friday Marks Start of Ramadan for Muslims Across Coastline Connecticut

Muslims across Connecticut begin fasting for Ramadan with sunrise on Friday, and congregations, communities, and businesses around the state are grappling with how to celebrate a holy month imbued with a communal spirit at at time when mosques and most other public spaces are closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. “This will be the most unique Ramadan of our lifetimes because none of us have lived through this and we hope that we don’t have to again,” said Imam Omer Bajwa, Muslim chaplain for Yale University. Abdul-Rehman Malik, a journalist and guest lecturer in Islamic Studies at Yale

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McAloon’s Debut Paints Nature in Chords and Complex Harmony

Singer-songwriter Octavia McAloon paints sweeping scenes of natural phenomena — think mountain skylines, rocky stream beds, starlit nighttime skies. “If the aurora borealis could get in not only through your eyes, but through your ears, what would it sound like?” she asks. “Two triads, that kind of go with each other, but that fade in and out against each other, which I think has the aurora’s effect of lights appearing and disappearing,” she answers, in chords. On her debut album, “With Breath of Wind,” set to drop Friday, McAloon supplies her own personal choir for lead vocals — some songs

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High Hurdles as Restaurants are Forced to Adapt to an Uncertain Future

As the restaurants struggle to stay open and adapt to an uncharted future social landscape and uncertain timeline, the state-mandated closure of full-service dining rooms has decimated much of the food service industry.   Since March 16, when Gov. Lamont’s ordered a halt to eat-in service at restaurants across the state, restaurants without a substantial preexisting takeout business have seen a drop in sales of between 70 and 90 percent, said Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association by phone Monday. Dolch said that in Connecticut 8,500 restaurants employing about 160,000 workers make up 10 percent of the

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Easter Orders… Flowers, Roasts, Sweets, and Hot Cross Buns

OLD LYME — “It’s a way for them to connect and say hello and happy Easter and still feel like the holiday is still coming,” said Barbara Crowley, owner of the Chocolate Shell, who is providing a customized, shippable “Easter basket in a box” as well as regular Easter baskets this coming week.  “I fill the boxes as if it were an Easter basket. I put the grass in there and everything. I try to give the person what they’re asking for and they give me a price range to work within and I fill it depending on roughly the

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‘Tis the Season: The Original Sazerac

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The earliest American cocktails, or most of them, cobblers, old-fashioneds, juleps, sazeracs — all dating to some time prior to the Civil War — combine a base spirit, often brandy or whiskey, a bit of sweetener in the form of simple syrup or a sugar cube, herbal bitters, and more or less garnish. 3 oz rye whiskey, a sugar cube soaked with angostura bitters, muddled with a bit of fruit, built with enough additional ice so that it no longer floats, and you have an classic old-fashioned. With a copious fruit garnish, you have a cobbler. Drop the fruit garnish,

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Turkey for Thanksgiving, Lamb for Easter

With Easter rapidly approaching many of us are planning a holiday feast and deciding whether to serve a ham, roast beef, or salmon… there are so many choices. Growing up in a Catholic family, we ate leg of lamb, roasted, usually well done, with a little pink meat close to the bone, always served with lots of mint jelly. At some point in my childhood my Aunt Maria and Uncle Alfred Zambelli grew tired “schlepping” all the way out to Riverside — an hour by train — and our family, my three sisters, my parents and I, would make the

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Chad Browne-Springer Gives “Intimate, Extraordinary” Performance Across COVID-19 Isolation

So much has erupted out of music and performance in the last two weeks, as we come to grips with a surreal world of COVID-19 isolation. Live-streamed shows, multi-voice and instrumental pieces recorded and assembled remotely, and improvisational jams via Zoom. After a time, we’ll all be able to sit together in one place and play and listen to music again. But even so, there will be a new normal. I’ve been tuning in to The Quarantined Series, organized by Sarah B. Golley to highlight original Connecticut musicians, live-streamed from their homes. Last week I got a chance to hear

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After a Decade of Explosive Growth, Small Breweries in Connecticut Take Stock

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“Breweries are destinations, they are really experiences. But of even more pressing significance is to support local and drinking local. It’s easy to go to your grocery store and pick up a macro-brand beer but that’s not going to help anybody in Connecticut,” said Phil Pappas, executive director of the Connecticut Brewers Guild by phone on Wednesday.  In less than 10 years, the craft brewing industry has grown exponentially to over 100 breweries and about 6,000 jobs across Connecticut. Prior to 2012, there were only about 12 to 15 breweries in the state, Pappas said.  “These are all relatively new

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