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November
9

Should you get a home inspection after your offer is accepted? You're not just buying that beautiful master suite or stone-lined fireplace, "You're also buying any problems lurking in the walls, crawl space or the attic," says home inspector, Bill Loden, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).  The home inspection is your chance to avoid those problems or, at least, use the results to negotiate with the seller to pay for repairs.

A typical inspection starts at the roof and ends at the foundation with stops in between at every major house system (plumbing, electrical, heating and septic etc).  Most, also include tests for radon gas and water safety.  A good inspection, by a professional inspector to the standards set by the American Society of Home Inspectors, costs about $500 and takes two to three hours, depending on the size and the age of the house.  Oh, and don't skip inspections on new construction.  Just because something is new doesn't mean it's flawless.  

After you receive the detailed findings, you'll need to evaluate whether there are any deal-breakers such as serious structural defects.  You may want to handle minor fixes yourself to avoid nitpicking with the seller.  For cases in between, water-damaged carpet, for example, consult with your agent.  You can ask the seller to pay for repairs or give you credit at closing so that you can choose the contractors and materials you prefer.  So, should you do a home inspection?  The answer is, ABSOLUTELY!!

July
19

 

Art @ The Dump Kicks Off Cornwall's Social Season

By Lisa Green

To those who are considering moving to the Rural Intelligence area, be advised that "town dump" is not a place to be avoided. In many towns, it's where you meet your neighbors, get the gossip and, on occasion, pick up some one-of-a-kind artwork.

In fact, the town dump (more formally known as the transfer station) in Cornwall, Conn. is the site of "the beginning of the social season of Cornwall," says Gail Jacobson, referring to the town's annual Art @ The Dump event, which, this year happened April 21-22. It's an art "show" sponsored by the Cornwall Association that the whole town gets behind, even those who insist "I'm not really an artist." There are no rules or regulations. The only caveat: your work has to be made from recycled items.

In the past, people have created (and sold) a bubble wrap alligator, a Tyvek wedding dress and garden art made from metal castoffs.

"We've done themes like a trash-en show, a shoe re-do and recycled instruments," Jacobson says. "One year, the historical society donated old mannequins and people made lamps out of them." In recent years, a fair amount of entries have come from young men who are welding garden ornaments. This year's jumpstart is "Books Reimagined," but that's only a suggestion.

Art @ the Dump is open to anyone from anywhere — information and entry forms are available on the website. Artists get there early on Saturday and hang or otherwise display the work and set their own prices.

Now in its 18th year, Art @ The Dump is a fundraiser for the art department of the Cornwall Consolidated School. Over the years, the event has funded digital cameras, artist-in-residence programs and supplies.

"It was my idea," admits Jacobson, an artist herself, whose exhibit "All Over the Map" is currently on display at Souterrain Gallery. "Before I moved to Cornwall, I was president of the Ridgefield, Conn. Guild of Artists. A man called Art Green ran the dump. I thought, hmm, 'Art, at the dump.'" When I saw that in Cornwall the dump was kind of a social scene, I thought of an art show, and the recycling officer offered to help."

Earth Day was only six days away, so the event was put together in a hurry without standard art show rules and regulations. "We had so much fun and it worked great without any rules, so we've continued that way," she says.



Cornwall's transfer station is on Route 4, and, says Jacobson, it's a little hard to find, so balloons and old refrigerator doors will be signs directing trash takers and art buyers to the site. The actual "show" is sited just opposite the transfer station, where a sand shed, cleaned up by the road crew, serves as a gallery.
       
Each year, there's a People's Choice award. The good news, says Jacobson, is whoever wins first prize is, well, the winner. The bad news? The winner has to make three prizes for the next year. Recycled, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

April
7

You are invited to attend KentPresents, the nation's most exciting – and intimate – ideas festival. For three days in August, you can attend talks and mingle with some of the top thought leaders in the country. We are excited to announce we have 60 speakers confirmed for this year's event and are adding more weekly. Here are a few of the new faces:

 

                                     
                 Lesley Stahl                              Jeh Johnson                     Eva Moskowitz
                60 Minutes  CBS News           Former United States               Founder and CEO
                 Correspondent                  Secretary of Homeland        Success Academy Schools
                                                                 Security
                                                 
                     Hitlon Als                           Neha Narula                         Harold McGee
              Staff writer and theater         Director, Digital Currency     Author, "On Food and Cooking"
              critic. The New Yorker           Initative, MIT Media Lab

                                           
               Robert Zimmer                         Steve Moore                          Ellen Stofan
            President, University           Author and Economic Policy      Director National Air and Space
                  of Chicago
             Analyst, The Heritage Foundation  Museum, former Chief Scientist NASA

                                                                                                    

                                                                                                        

You can keep up with all the new speakers here as they're added over the coming weeks.

 

 

And of course we're bringing back a few past stars we just couldn't leave out:

                                             
           Kristen Clarke                                Darren Walker                        Henry Kissinger
   President and Executive Director       President Ford Foundation       Former Secretary of State
      Lawyer's Committee for Civil
           Rights Under Law


One of the great things about KentPresents is that in today's world, we'll never run out of topics to discuss. In addition to the perennials, e.g., politics, threats abroad, healthcare issues, tech disruptors, economic outlook and more, here are some new topics that we guarantee will stimulate your thinking:

 

The Race to Find Planet 9

From the scientist who helped kill Pluto, the old ninth planet, the story of why he's confident a new Planet 9 is out there, and how he hopes to be the first to find it.

 

Psychedelics... Psychedelics?

Yes, they've come a long way from Timothy O'Leary's day. Michael Pollan has just published a new book out on it, and he'll update "turn on, tune in, drop out."

 

 

April
7

 

 

Connecticut's Sharon Playhouse has announced the appointment of Alan M-L Wager as the theatre's new artistic director and Robert Levinstein as the new managing director. The duo will be responsible for the management and programming of the 2018 season and beyond.

Wager and Levinstein bring with them years of production experience. In 2011, the two founded 22Q Entertainment, the company behind Off-Broadway's Would You Still Love Me, and Always...Patsy Cline in Los Angeles, among many other productions.

The 2018 season will be announced shortly.

Wager and Levinstein succeed outgoing artistic director Johnson Henshaw and managing director George Quick, who oversaw a bold new season at the Sharon this past summer. While the 2017 director-driven season saw a steady flow in ticket sales, it also caused some controversy, with one production almost shut down.

"Robert and Alan are the ideal team for the Playhouse," says Emily Soell, Board Chair in a press statement. "Their knowledge of and love for classical and contemporary musical theatre is impressive, no question. Their enthusiasm for all things 'theatre' is exhilarating. But, at the end of the day it was their understanding of our culture and the embrace of our mission and vision for our future that sold our Board and me."

"Robert and I look forward to bringing back mainstage shows and specialty events that will excite and engage this thriving theatrical community," Wager comments.

For more information on the Sharon Playhouse visit SharonPlayhouse.org.

February
3

KENT is the CENTER for ART in NW CT!

 

 

Morrison GallerySalvador Dali exhibit thru Feb. 11.   Gallery Hours:  Wed. - Sat. 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 PM. For more info, visit  morrisongallery.com or call 860.927.4501

 

Kent Memorial Library ~   Redux:  A selection of artwork by local artist and acupuncturist Jessica Ifshin through Feb. 26.  Click here for more info.  32 North Main Street.   kentmemoriallibrary.org or call 860.927.3761.

 

The Good Gallery ~"Reflections" by Martha Wakeman.  Gallery hours:  Daily 10 AM to 5 PM.  thegoodgallerykent.com  4 Landmark Lane on the Kent Green. 860.927.5065.

 

Eckert Fine Art Through Feb. 17Got cabin fever? Come warm the soul, bring yourself to art....featuring new acquisitions from a private collection including artists Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.    Gallery Hours:   Thursday & Friday 10:00 - 5:00 PM, Sat 11:00 - 5:00 PM, Sunday & Monday 1:00 - 5:00 PM, Tuesday & Wednesday CLOSED. 12 Old Barn Road. For more info visit eckertfineart.com or call 860.592.0353.

 

James Barron Art/Kent~   Gallery Hours:  Wed. thru Sun. 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM & by appointment.  4 Fulling Lane. For more info, call 917-270-8044 or visit jamesbarronart.com.

   

  1. David Herman Gallery ~ Stainless steel sculptures by W. David Herman.  Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat 12-5 pm & Sun 12-4 pm.  25 Kent Green Blvd. 845.242.0807.  Visit wdavidherman.com for more info.

 

Kent Art Association ~  CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.  23 South Main Street.  For more info please call 860.927.3989 or visit kentart.org

January
31

Brewery Boom

by Kathryn Boughton

 

It started decades ago with the slow-food movement. That morphed into the Farm to Plate movement and admonitions to "eat locally." With that sensibility raised, the movement inched inexorably forward to include those things we drink, leading to an explosion in local craft breweries.

"The growth in local brewers is directly related to farm-to-table, back-to-local movement," said Bill Heaton, co-founder of Big Elm Brewing in Sheffield MA. "People are really concerned with where their food and drink come from. And people are also back to the concept of supporting your town."

He explained the phenomenon. "One hundred years ago, everything you purchased came from your town—then we had strip malls and everyone traveled somewhere else to do their shopping. We can clearly see those going away with Amazon consuming our country. But now you see more emphasis on supporting local communities. With food, you see more people involved in CSAs, looking for food that has only traveled 40 miles rather than 200. And people are doing the same with what they drink."

Tom Crowell, co-founder of Chatham Brewing Company in Chatham NY agreed. "The whole buy-local movement blows over into beverages," he said. "You see it not only in craft breweries, but in local distilleries and cideries."

The nature of the craft beer drinker has changed over the years, however. Heaton said that in the 1990s, craft breweries were a "novelty." "It was a matter of who had the biggest flavor or the most alcohol. People wanted the newest, craziest beer."

He is encountering a more informed consumer. "Now people know whether they like a hoppy beer or they don't. And people are still experimenting—a whole thing with sour beers is becoming popular. Ten years ago, there was a really small niche of beer drinkers that liked sour beers. If you were a beer geek, you would check it off your list, but not really like it. Now, there are breweries that only make sour beers."

Craft breweries, wineries and distilleries fit nicely into the tristate culinary vibe, where restaurants tout chefs who work only with the finest local produce, where trips to local farms for pick-your-own adventures constitute summer entertainment, and where summer visitors browse farm markets for the ripest tomato or the plumpest ear of corn. But Crowell wonders about the future of the burgeoning brewing business.

"We are kind of a veteran in the craft brewing business," he said. "We have been here for 11 years and we have seen some peaks and valleys in the business. When we started there were a couple of breweries in Albany and in Hudson Valley, now every other week there is another opening."

"There are a lot of new little breweries—what they call nano-breweries. We will have to wait and see what happens with them—where they will find a comfortable size and whether they can make a living at the size they are. Are there enough craft consumers to support all the new craft breweries? I think we will have to look locally for customers."

Some of that has to do with the strict rules states impose on how alcoholic beverages can be distributed. Massachusetts, for instance, says that any beer imported from out-of-state must be handled by a distributor. This cuts Chatham Brewery out of the nearby Berkshires market, a fact that worries Crowell not at all. "We are comfortable where we are now," Crowell said.

The oldest community in the Berkshires, Sheffield, has one of the newer breweries, Big Elm Brewing. Bill Heaton said the decision to locate there had to do with the town's reception of his business proposal. He and his partner, Christine Heaton, looked for locations from North Adams to Sheffield. "Most towns didn't want a brewery," he said. "Everyone thinks they are big, stinky factories—which is not the case. When we found this location, I ran to the Town Hall and it was our best experience in the Berkshires. The town is very embracing and we love it."

Christine Heaton is the brewmaster, one of the very few women brewmasters in the U.S. "She was a chemist before she got her diploma as a brewmaster," said Heaton. "She is very talented—science heavy and brewer savvy. She comes up with the recipes."

The brewery is now five years old and distributes its wares state wide, in Rhode Island and in western Connecticut all the way to Long Island Sound, as well as through its local taproom. "People can come and sample, buy a pint and hang out," Heaton said. "We offer tours and are family and dog friendly. We do not serve food—that is the next phase—but only for limited things. We did the brew pub thing before and we don't want to be a restaurant."

Meanwhile, down in New Hartford CT, Chris and Christine Sayers are struggling to keep ahead of the phenomenal growth of their Brewery Legitimus. When they opened in 2016, Sayers said the brewery had "a decent capacity to handle growth." They are now moving toward their second expansion. Last summer they established a patio for patrons and the current expansion will nearly double their taproom and production area.

Sayer discovered brewing while living and studying in Belgium. He prepared for years, working for beverage distributors and for Duvel Moortgat, a Flemish family-controlled brewery, learning how ale is made. Later he took an MBA program at the University of Hartford.

"I was razor-focused," he said in a previous interview. "I was the guy who wanted to start a brewery and I was really getting my business plan down."

His attention focused on Connecticut, a state that was playing catch-up with the brewery boom. It is only a few years since Connecticut passed legislation allowing people to buy beer at a brewery. The brew-pub model allows sales through multiple streams of revenue," he said.

Sayers and his wife started building toward their business in 2010, deciding on Litchfield County as the right location. Their business model allows visitors to buy growlers of beer to drink onsite or take home and to experience flights of beers onsite to sample the taste of each of the styles brewed. Visitors can also bring in their own food and eat and drink at four large farmhouse tables. Food trucks are regularly onsite.

 

 

 

Some breweries in the region are:
Barrington Brewery
420 Stockbridge Road
Great Barrington MA
413-528-8282

Brewery Legitimus
283 Main Street
New Hartford CT
860-810-8894

Chatham Brewing Company
59 Main Street
Chatham NY
518-697-0202

Furnace Brook Winery
508 Canaan Road
Richmond MA
800-833-6274

Kent Falls Brewing
33 Camps Road
Kent CT
860-398-9645

 

January
18

On January 21 at 2 pm, Noble Horizons welcomes United States District Court Judge William F. Kuntz and former 17-year ACLU president, author and law professor Nadine Strossen for a discussion of Strossen's new book, "Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship."

Nadine Strossen was the first woman to lead the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation's largest and oldest civil liberties organization, which she served as President from 1991-2008. When she stepped down as ACLU President, three Supreme Court Justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and David Souter) participated in her farewell and tribute luncheon. She remains a member of the ACLU's National Advisory Council and is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Strossen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and met classmate William Kuntz, her interviewer on January 21.

Kuntz was nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court by Barack Obama and confirmed unanimously in 2011. Prior to his appointment as the Federal Judge for the Eastern District of New York, Kuntz practiced law for 33 years and taught at Brooklyn Law School. He graduated with an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Kuntz and Strossen have homes in the Tri-State region.  Bain Real Estate was the selling brokerage firm for Strossen's home.

Strossen and Kuntz will discuss issues raised in Strossen's book, including whether hate speech laws violate our constitutional guarantee of free speech; the fine line between protected and punishable hate speech and whether hate speech laws actually provoke the feared harms of hate speech. Questions from the audience will also be considered.

November
30