In son’s memory, father warns of swimming dangers


The late Benjamin Haller died from shallow water blackout, a phenomenon about which his father now raises awareness through a nationwide nonprofit. (Courtesy photo)

By MICHAELA HALNON When Dean Haller learned his 27-year-old son Benjamin drowned in shallow water off the Bahamas, his shock and sadness was mixed with confusion. “[I thought], my son is a certified SCUBA instructor with 1,500 logged dives,” Haller said. “He’s lived on and under the water since he was 11. I don’t get…

Getting a flavor of school



Ice cream socials were common gatherings for Essex students last week. The PTO sponsored three socials, at the Essex Elementary School, Founders Middle School and Essex Middle School. Students had the opportunity to catch up with their classmates, talk to teachers, visit their classrooms, savor some ice cream and venture on the playground. “It’s a…

Painting on: Rare disease can’t slow woman’s passion


"Purple Mountains Majesty" is one of artist Sue Mason's works. (Photo courtesy of Sue Mason)

By MICHAELA HALNON Sue Lawrence Mason gripped a brush, eyes narrowed, as she scanned a lineup of acrylic paints. Curtains were drawn and an air conditioner blasted on the hot Friday afternoon. A painting in progress was taped on the kitchen table in front of her – pink flowers on a field of blue. She…