March 29, 2017

No Motion at OL Board of Selectmen to Express Formal Opposition to Train Route

There was significant discussion at the Old Lyme Selectmen’s meeting last Monday, July 11, regarding the meeting the previous week on July 7 in Old Lyme, which First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder had attended along with Connecticut Commissioner of Transport James Redeker; State Senator Paul Formica; State Rep. Devin Carney; Pamela Sucato, DOT; Rob Haramut, RiverCOG; Greg Stroud, SECoast; John Forbis; Bennett (BJ) Bernblum; and representatives from Sen. Blumenthal’s, Sen. Murphy’s and Rep. Courtney’s offices.

Neither of the Old Lyme Selectmen had attended and both expressed concern regarding the level of communication to the community. Selectman Arthur “Skip” Sibley said, “People are starving for information,” that it was time, “To start to make this thing more public,” and that he felt it was, “Better to get as much information out the public as possible.”

Reemsnyder said she would post a full account of the July 7 meeting on the Town website* as soon as it had been agreed by State Senator Formica — State Rep. Carney had already reviewed and agreed it.

Selectwoman MaryJo Nosal suggested they should have a motion to clarify to the public their opposition to the proposed railroad route.  Reemsnyder stated, “I’m opposed to the train going through Old Lyme — aerial or tunnel,” but Sibley noted, “We have a train through Old Lyme currently,” adding, “We shouldn’t have a vote when we don’t know what we’re voting against,” saying again that it was “more important” in his opinion, “to get the information out.”  Reemsnyder agreed, saying, “We have to be careful what we vote against.”  Nosal noted for the record, “I do agree with Senator Blumenthal – the proposal is hare-brained.”

Since the meeting, the letter mentioned above has been sent to the FRA by State Senator Formica, State Rep. Carney and Reemsnyder requesting, in part, a public meeting in Old Lyme.

*Also subsequent to the meeting, the account of the July 7 meeting has been posted on the Town website at this link.

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All Three Items Approved at Old Lyme Special Town Meeting; Sound View Construction to Start Later This Year

From left to right standing, Rob Pinckney of the BSC Group, meeting moderator Attorney Marylin C. Clarke and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder listen attentively to a question from the floor.

From left to right standing, Rob Pinckney of the BSC Group, meeting moderator Attorney Marylin C. Clarke and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder listen attentively to a question from the floor.

More than 200 people crammed into the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium Monday evening for the Old Lyme Special Town Meeting called by the board of selectmen to consider three agenda items. Under presiding moderator Attorney Marylin C. Clarke, all three were subsequently passed on voice votes, but not without leaving some residents questioning the result of the first motion.

That motion was to authorize approval for the construction cost of Rte. 156 Bikeway/Sound View Improvements Project in the amount of $877,000.  This total comprised $595,000 for construction; $151,000 for a combination of inspection and municipal services, plus a contingency amount; $65,500 for Department of Transport materials testing, administrative costs and audits; and an additional amount of $65,000 as a buffer to allow for higher than expected bids.

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder explained that a federal grant being administered by the State Department of Transportation will cover 80 percent of the project construction costs of approximately $701,600, leaving a total cost to the town of $175,400.

In a presentation preceding the vote, Rob Pinckney of the BSC Group that served as project designers, noted the project would “employ the ‘complete street’ concept to accommodate all users and enhance safety.” He said it would provide 6 ft. wide sidewalks to the south of the bocce court on Hartford Ave., which are both safe and ADA compliant, adding that it would also allow for improved stormwater drainage and inclusion of “Sharrow BikeWays” for the whole length of Hartford Ave. These latter are lanes on which road markings are used to indicate a shared lane environment for bicycles and automobiles, which indicate, in Pinckney’s words, that “a bicycle has the right to be on the road.”

Pinckney said the proposal also provides for bumpouts, landscaping, banner poles, benches and bike racks.

Reemsnyder stressed that if the project were not approved, the Town would then be responsible for reimbursing $108,000 for charges the Town had already incurred for planning and design work on the project.  The Town had received a grant from the state that reimbursed 80 percent of these costs, but it was contingent on the project being passed.  She noted that if the project were approved, construction would begin in the fall of 2016.

When the moderator opened the floor to questions, the first was whether the project still included a bike route on Rte. 156.  Reemsnyder said that was not the case. The second question was how the implementation of sewers would affect the project. Reemsnyder replied that “new technology” would allow sewers to be installed without damaging the upper surface and that the engineer responsible for their implementation would “have to get the road back to how it was.”

Another questioner asked whether bathrooms were included.  Reemsnyder responded, “We thought they were when we started,” but she went on to clarify that it had transpired that the grant did not cover them to the extent originally envisaged.  Reemsnyder confirmed the committee was still “trying to find ways to address the issue,” which included discussions with the private beach associations.

A question was raised as to whether the vote would be by paper ballot or hand-count, to which no response was given. There were further questions regarding speed limits on Rte. 156 and Hartford Ave. and then Barbara Crowley asked, “What is the town going to do to encourage growth [in Sound View]?  Are there going to be any incentives to promote businesses?” Using the example of a recent report in Mystic where changes to sidewalks have promoted business growth, Reemsnyder stated, “I think this is supporting a better environment down there — both business and environmental.”

Some confusion reigned when the moderator took a voice vote on whether to call the question while a resident was indicating she still wished to ask a question.  With the voice vote approved to call the question, Clarke then rapidly moved to a voice vote on the proposal, which she immediately deemed a victory for the “Ayes.”

A significant number of those present left after the first vote, many pleased with the result but some unhappy about how the voting process had been handled.

The other two motions on the agenda — to authorize the acceptance of Queen Anne Court as a Town road and to appropriate an amount not to exceed $60,000 to cover excess costs of the Resident Trooper Department from the already approved municipal police budget — were both passed by voice votes.

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Students Celebrate Smallness of Their Town but Greatness of Their Class in Lyme-Old Lyme High School Commencement Ceremony

Celebrating receipt of their High School Diplomas in traditional fashion, the Class of 2016 tosses their hats high. Photo by K. StGermain.

Celebrating receipt of their High School Diplomas in traditional fashion, the Class of 2016 tosses their hats high. Photo by K. St.Germain.

UPDATED 06/12: In a ceremony held under a warm sun and clear, blue skies, 99 students received their Lyme-Old Lyme High School diplomas Friday evening.

Celebrate!

Celebrate!

Honor Essayist Alex Bellas reminded the class that everything they had done over the past four years “has been leading you right here, to this very moment.”

Class members patiently wait for their names to be called to receive their diplomas.

Class members patiently wait for their names to be called to receive their diplomas.

He went on to mention the extraordinary bond the class had formed, “as we all shared a common experience within these walls.” Noting that, “small schools like ours often receive mixed reviews from students,” because “everyone knows everything about everyone else,” Bellas turned that negative into a positive pointing out, ” When I walk through the halls of this school, I don’t see a sea of strangers,”  but rather, “complete and unique” individuals to whom he can say ‘Hi.’

He encouraged the Class of 2016 always to remember “all the positive memories” they’ve made with their peers and to “know that this bond we’ve formed as a class will not fade away.”

Amber Bowker receives her diploma from Principal James Wygonik.

Amber Bowker receives her diploma from Principal James Wygonik. Photo by K. Bowker.

Salutatorian Ryan Harty told his classmates, whom he described as, “all brilliant,” that, “We’re not perfect, and we’re going to need to keep improving ourselves if we want to keep up in the real world.” He stressed, however, “We share the virtues of honesty, compassion, and self-awareness,” but stated emphatically, “It is critical that we go one step further and translate those qualities into a quantity of action for the greater good.”

Charlie Dahlke shows his delight after receiving his diploma.

Charlie Dahlke shows his delight after receiving his diploma. Photo by Pam Parker.

He elaborated on that comment saying, “Each and every one of you possesses some talent or predilection that cannot be purchased or acquired through other means,” adding firmly, ” I charge you henceforth to express it to the best of your ability.” Ultimately, his clear and simple advice to the class was, “The world needs originality, not assimilation.”

A proud degree recipient.

A proud degree recipient.

Valedictorian Maria Boyle said that although she was, “excited for college, of course …  I also don’t want to forget all of the memories I have made here in high school.” Most of all, she anticipated she would fondly recall, “the everyday life of this school” filled with “school spirit … throughout the school year.”

Using a quote from Ernest Hemngway, she compared her days at Lyme-Old Lyme High School to a journey, saying, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end,” noting that for her “what I have loved most [about high school] is the journey.”

Commencement speaker Emily Macione stands between graduates Sophia Romeo (left) and Samantha Lee.

Commencement speaker Emily Macione stands between graduates Sophia Romeo (left) and Samantha Lee. Photo by L. Romeo.

Commencement speaker Emily Macione, who had been adviser to the Class of 2016 for all four of their high school years, focused on the success of the class, commenting, “What has impressed me the most is your ability to redefine the typical way we see success, and it has revealed itself in many forms over the past four years.”

Lyme-Old Lyme High School baseball coach Randy St. Germain stands with graduating seniors from this year's varsity team.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School baseball coach Randy St. Germain stands with graduating seniors from this year’s varsity team. Photo by W. Visgilio.

She counseled them that, ” the secret to success is pretty simple … Work hard.  Be kind.”  Macione continued, “Showing that you are willing to work hard, and consistently being kind to others are aspects of your character with an importance that cannot be overstated.” She clarified, ” these qualities are not truly communicable through a resume or a cover letter,” urging the graduates to, “Incorporate hard work and kindness into everything you do, every interaction you have, and that is how you will come to be known.”

Hugs were happening everywhere after the ceremony was over. This one was between Sophia Romeo and

Hugs were happening everywhere after the ceremony was over. This one was between Sophia Romeo and Aliza Hackling.  Photo by L. Romeo.

Macione concluded that if the Class of 2016 followed her advice, “Good things will follow. Success, however you choose to define it, will most certainly follow.”

Members of the Region 18 Board of Education gather for a photo with Superintendent of Schools Ian Neviaser (back row, right).

Members of the Region 18 Board of Education gather for a photo with Superintendent of Schools Ian Neviaser (back row, right).

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Summer Sculpture Showcase 2016 at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds Hosts on View Through Sept. 13

Mega-Dandelion by Gints Grinsberg is the signature piece of Summer Sculpture Showcase at Studio 80 +Sculpture Grounds, which has an Opening Reception Friday, June 10 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Mega-Dandelion by Gints Grinsberg is the signature piece of Summer Sculpture Showcase at Studio 80 +Sculpture Grounds, which has an Opening Reception Friday, June 10 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Gilbert Boro, owner and sculptor at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, will host an Opening Reception for Summer Sculpture Showcase 2016 this coming Friday, June 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.  All are welcome to attend the outdoor reception at which light refreshments will be served. Guests will be free to explore the expansive sculpture gardens and view the more than 100 sculptures on display during the event.

This juried exhibition follows on naturally from last year’s extremely successful Summer Sculpture Showcase 2015, which drew large crowds and had to be extended into October to meet public demand. This new exhibition on the grounds adjoining Boro’s studio and inside the Emily Seward Boro (ESB) Gallery on the property features works created by 17 widely acclaimed sculptors interspersed amongst Boro’s own sculptures, along with works by 13 other contributing artists.  More than 30 sculptors from across the country responded to the Call for Entries submitting some 60 works.

Boro’s Sculpture Gardens are located on 4.5 acres of his residence on historic Lyme Street in the heart of Old Lyme, Conn.  The beautifully landscaped grounds slope down toward the Lieutenant River offering a unique plein air experience for the exhibition, which combines both large- and small-scale contemporary sculptures. Many of the works, which are in a variety of media, are for sale.

The sculptors, whose 25 pieces of work are included in the Showcase, are:
Mark Attebery, Diane Barcelo, Ashby Carlisle, Bryan Gorneau, Gints Grinbergs, Lannie Hart, Jay Hoagland, Deborah Hornbake, Conrad Levenson, Elaine Lorenz, David Madasci, Liza Masalimova, Sui Park, Chris Plaisted,
Bill Vollers, Martha Walker and Melanie Zibit.

The signature piece of the exhibition is “Mega-Dandelion” by Gints Grinbergs.  It is a large — 144” in height, 56” in diameter — yet delicate structure that evokes the intricate design of lace in its welded and stainless steel structure.  Grinbergs explains in his artist’s statement that he looks to nature for inspiration with “interests [that] range from the macroscopic to the microscopic – from flowers and their structure to bacteria and viruses – from the giants of outer space to sub atomic particles.”  He continues, “I build sculptures derived from the universal forms of nature.
All of the sculptures in this series are built from recycled materials … I attempt to transform, up-cycle, these manmade materials into the infinitely more complex forms designed by nature.”

Grinbergs’ work has been featured at various museums and galleries and is included in private and corporate collections throughout North America.

'Water Courses' by Elaine Lorenz is another featured piece in the Showcase.

‘Water Courses’ by Elaine Lorenz is another featured piece in the Showcase.

Created out of cement, fiberglass and paint, Elaine Lorenz’s intriguing “Water Course” comprises three pieces. She states that she has made “sculpture in such diverse materials as wood, metal, concrete, encaustic over a wire armature and ceramic, while maintaining an overall view of nature as a dominant source of energy and influence on her work.”  Lorenz explains her approach in creating art as, “abstract, only alluding to things, relationships or emotions and leaving room for the viewer’s interpretation.”

Lorenz has exhibited her work in numerous group exhibitions and sculpture sites throughout the US and her sculptures are in private, public and corporate collections in numerous states including Alabama, California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. She has been the Vice President of Exhibitions for the Sculptors Guild since 2011.

Jay Hoagland charming ‘Mephisto’s Waltz’ features a viola made out of steel and copper with a kinetic element.  When the integral weathervane at the head of the instrument catches the wind, the bow travels across the strings playing an eerie melody. Hoagland explains the motivation behind his sculpture thus, “I work because the sheer joy of seeing thought turned into material is rejuvenating but my approach is more and more obviously the result of where and who I’ve been.”

'Mephisto's Waltz'is an intriguing piece of kinetic sculpture.

‘Mephisto’s Waltz’is an intriguing piece of kinetic sculpture.

He continues, “I’m inspired by natural science with an injection of humor and contradiction. Inspiration also comes from the minutae of life, the shape of a stone, the footprints of giants like da Vinci, Calder, Giacometti, Gabo, Hepworth, Moore, and Noguchi. Hoagland concludes, “I see my work as a catalyst to understand, and a lens to clarify, my place in the world.”

The jurors for the exhibition were acclaimed sculptors Gilbert V. Boro and Lisa Simonds, and painter Julia Pavone.

Boro has enjoyed an extraordinary and distinguished more than 50-year-career as a successful architect, sought-after international design consultant and an inspiring educator.  With a BFA from Duke University and post-graduate degrees from Columbia University, NYC, his work explores the interplay of space, place and scale in a wide range of media including steel, stone, wood, metal, aluminum and fiberglass.

Sculptor Gilbert V. Boro in his studio.

Sculptor Gilbert V. Boro in his studio.

Working in sculpture has been a compulsion rather than a possibility for Gil.  While mastering the rigors of technical competence, he developed a deep-seated passion for three-dimensional art, which continues to be the influential force behind his creations. He is both inspired and motivated by the creative freedom of sculpting, finding that abstract work is the means to fulfill his vision.  Boro’s sculptures can be found in art centers and public art venues across the US and throughout Europe; they have also been purchased by private collectors, corporations and foundations in both the US and internationally.

"Nest' is one of Gil Boro's most recent pieces.

“Nest’ is one of Gil Boro’s most recent pieces.

Simonds is a visual artist with a BFA in Sculpture from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Conn.  She is currently employed as the Exhibitions Coordinator at Lyme Academy and previously worked as an Independent Exhibitions Installer at Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Conn., for eight years.

Pavone is the co-founder of the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus, and has served as its Curator/Director for the past 24 years.  During her 29-year career, Pavone, who has a BFA from Long Island University in Westbury, N.Y., and an MEd from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., has continued her own work as a painter, while variously serving as a teacher, and guest lecturer, juror and curator for numerous exhibitions.

This Summer Sculpture Showcase offers a unique opportunity for established sculptors to exhibit their work in a different location, while also effectively creating a new exhibition within the Sculpture Gardens.  Boro comments, “I’m delighted to be able to open my grounds to these exceptional sculptors whose work intrigues me.  Each one offers original creative thinking resulting in a combination of contrasting conceptual designs in a variety of media.  I think any visitor to the exhibition is going to be thoroughly engaged by what he or she sees – including children.”

Boro is somewhat unusual as a professional sculptor in that he loves to see folk of all ages directly interacting with his sculptures, noting that he has a strong aversion to exhibitions, “… where people can’t touch my work.”  Apart from attracting visitors to see the works on his grounds, Boro is thoroughly invested in the vibrant Old Lyme arts scene and hopes this exhibition will help cement the town as a summer destination for art-loving visitors from near and far, especially during the town’s Midsummer Festival which this year is on Friday, July 29, and Saturday, July 30.

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds are located at 80-1 Lyme St., less than a minute from Exit 70 on I-95, the Sculpture Grounds are open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Admission is free.  Children, field trips and group visits are all welcome.

For further information, contact 860-434-5957, visit www.sculpturegrounds.com or email studio80sculpturegrounds@gmail.com

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Wildcat Lax Girls Storm Into State Semis

Old Lyme on their way to victory against Ellington High School Thursday.

Old Lyme on their way to victory against Ellington High School Thursday.

Playing at home in unseasonably cool temperatures under cloudy skies, the Old Lyme girls took control of their CIAC Class S state quarterfinal game against Ellington High School Thursday afternoon and ultimately claimed a 17-11 victory.

Coach Emily Macione had nothing but praise for her team “across the board,” saying, “I’m really, really proud of the girls from beginning to end.” She noted that each team member had excelled in every way, “from winning draws and taking care of the ball on offense, to pressuring on the ride and in the midfield, and finally making some clutch defensive stops on the other end.”

Macione pointed out that Ellington was “an opponent we didn’t know” since they do not play in the same conference as Lyme-Old Lyme, so “You never know what’s going to happen … but we did know it was going to be a tough game”

After the final whistle, Wildcat goalie Hannah Guenther shares a group with two fellow team members.

After the final whistle, Wildcat goalie Hannah Guenther shares a group with two fellow team members.

Adding, “Our goalie Hannah Guenther made some incredible saves today, and I just felt like from one end of the other, the girls hustled,” Macione concluded, “Their collective hustle made the difference in who earned the victory.”

Asked about the flow of the game, Macione responded, “In the first half, it was back and forth, but in the second half, we were able to pull away a little more because of that commitment, and how the girls were supporting each other in all aspects of play on the field.”

The Wildcats will now meet Canton, who defeated Weston 12-6 today, on Tuesday, June 7, at a time and place to be announced. This is the third year in a row that Old Lyme have reached the semifinals — they were defeated in the previous two and so Macione and her girls must certainly be hoping the ‘third time’s a charm!’

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Old Lyme Middle School Student Wins National Award in C-SPAN Video Contest

Standing with LOLMS eighth grader Daisy Colvin (center) after she was presented her award are C-SPAN RCommunity Relations Representatives Josgh (left( and Doug Bedig (second from right), LOLMS Principal Michelle Dean (right) and Comcast VP of Public Relations & Community Investment Kristen Roberts (Second from left).

Standing with LOLMS eighth grader Daisy Colvin (center) after she was presented her award are C-SPAN Community Relations Representatives Josh Koning (left) and Doug Hemmig (second from right), LOLMS Principal Michelle Dean (right) and Comcast VP, Public Relations & Community Investment, Kristen Roberts (second from left).

C‑SPAN’s award-winning, 45-foot customized bus rolled into Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School’s (LOLMS) parking lot on Friday, May 20, with two C-SPAN Community Relations Representatives on board. They had arrived to participate in a ceremony honoring eighth grader Daisy Colvin for her award-winning entry in C‑SPAN’s annual student video documentary competition, StudentCam.

The C-SPAN bus at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

The C-SPAN bus at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

The contest, now in its 11th year, requires entrants “to think critically about issues that affect our communities and nation.”  This year, students were asked to create a five to seven minute video documentary on the topic “Road to the White House: What’s the issue YOU most want candidates to discuss during the 2016 presidential campaign?” Colvin’s winning entry was a video titled ‘Gun Control Debate,’ which looked objectively at both sides of the issue.

The whole LOLMS eighth grade gathered in the school’s auditorium and watched attentively while the video was played. Colvin’s video featured Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who advocated for increased gun control, and East Lyme gun shop owner Ron Rando, who presented the opposing argument.

Interspersed with video clips from C-Span.org (which was a requirement for any video submitted to the contest) showing images of mass-shooting locations and lawmakers speaking on both sides of the argument, Colvin created a powerful, objective video.  At the end of the video, she presented her own opinion on the topic, which was that gun laws needed to be enforced and some revisions made to gun laws so that “Together we can make a change.”

C-SPAN Representative Doug Hemmig told the audience that Colvin had done “a wonderful job … and her passion for the subject came through clearly in the video.”

Daisy Colvin displays her certificate of Merit while sitting with Comcast VP Kristen Roberts inside the C-SPAN bus.

Daisy Colvin displays her Certificate of Merit while sitting with Comcast VP Kristen Roberts inside the C-SPAN bus.

C‑SPAN had received 2,887 video submissions from almost 6,000 students in 45 states and Washington.  This represented a record number of entries and Colvin received one of only 150 Honorable Mention awards, something that Hemmig described as “an incredible accomplishment.” Kristen Roberts, Vice President, Public Relations & Community Investment, presented Colvin with a StudentCam certificate of merit and check for $250, and commented that she was “so proud of Daisy.”  Roberts noted that in Old Lyme, C-SPAN, which is available locally through Comcast, is “a great partner” for Comcast.

In a press release, Mike Parker, Regional Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Western New England Region, which is headquartered in Connecticut, said, “Comcast is proud to congratulate Daisy on her StudentCam documentary. It’s a rare opportunity to honor students for thinking critically about issues important in our community and across the nation and we are pleased to recognize her locally for her creative achievement.”

Standing outside the C-SPAN bus are (from left to right) Kristen Roberts, Michelle Dean, Daisy Colvin, Bill Eydman (recuperating after knee surgery) and Josh Koning.

Standing outside the C-SPAN bus are (from left to right) Comcast’s Kristen Roberts, LOLMS Principal Michelle Dean, award winner Daisy Colvin, LOLMS Talented & Gifted teacher Bill Eydman (recuperating after knee surgery) and C-SPAN’s Josh Koning.

Josh Koning, the second C-SPAN Representative, particularly commended the teachers who had assisted Colvin to make her video, saying, “We want to thank the teachers,” adding, “This wouldn’t happen without the teachers.”  Colvin explained that her project had been conceived in her Social Studies class and then she had made the video working with the LOLMS Talented and Gifted teacher, William Eydman. Responding to a question from the C-SPAN team as to what she had learned from making the film, she said, “I realized how many gun crimes there are … and learned the other side of the debate.”

The C‑SPAN Bus, now in its 23rd year on the road, partners with local cable providers to visit schools and community events across the country to promote C‑SPAN’s educational and political resources and programming for students, teachers, and the public. Aboard the Bus, teachers and students experience on-board multimedia technology that showcases C‑SPAN’s programming and resources dedicated to showing the American political process.

As part of her award, Daisy Colvin was given the opportunity to tour the C-SPAN bus.

As part of her award, Daisy Colvin was given the opportunity to tour the technology-filled C-SPAN bus.

Through interactive exhibits, visitors learn about the public affairs network’s in-depth coverage of the U.S. Congress, White House, federal courts, and its signature political program, “Road to the White House,” which provides access to all of the Campaign 2016 presidential candidates and their events from the campaign trail, all without editing, commentary, or analysis.

Visit http://www.viddler.com/v/3613162?secret=95288074 to view Colvin’s ‘Gun Control Debate’ video.

Visit www.studentcam.org to watch all the winning videos for 2016.

Editor’s Note: C‑SPAN.org is a searchable, video-rich site that has every C‑SPAN program aired since 1987. The public can access this extensive online collection — over 218,000 hours of political and governmental footage — for free, and share user-generated video clips by email and social media.

Tune in to C‑SPAN’s public affairs programming on the C‑SPAN Networks, C‑SPAN Radio, and c‑span.org. In Old Lyme, C-SPAN can be seen on Comcast channel 15, C-SPAN2 on channel 86 and C-SPAN3 on channel 190. All funding for C‑SPAN operations, including Bus visits, is provided by local TV providers.

Created by the cable TV industry and now in nearly 100 million TV households, C‑SPAN programs three public affairs television networks in both SD and HD; C- SPAN Radio, heard in Washington, DC, at 90.1 FM and available as an App (Android, iPhone, Blackberry); and a video- rich website offering live coverage of government events and access to the vast archive of C‑SPAN programming.

Visit http://www.c-span.org for coverage and schedules; follow C-SPAN on Facebook/cspan and @cspan on Twitter.

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No Parade in Old Lyme, but Ceremony Inside Still Full of Memorial Day Spirit

View_from_back

Despite the wet weather causing the cancellation of Old Lyme’s traditional parade, more than 100 people still turned out for the Memorial Day ceremony held in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School’s auditorium this morning. William Appleby, Commander of American Legion Post 41 was Master of Ceremonies.

Merv_Roberts_speaks

Old Lyme Fire Department Chaplain Mervin F. Roberts gave a thought-provoking invocation exploring the connections between the Duck River Cemetery, the deceased laid to rest there and their contributions to society in so many ways during their lives.

Salute_while_Select_Singers_sing

Under the leadership of Choral Director Kristine Pekar, Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s Select Singers gave an stirring rendition of the national anthem during which all veterans present saluted.

Andy_Zelek_3rd

The winners of the American Legion/VFW Essay Contest for fifth graders in Lyme and Old Lyme read their essays titled, “What Memorial Day Means to Me.” Andy Zelek, who attends Lyme Consolidated School (pictured above) was awarded the bronze medal as Second Runner-up.

Samantha_Tan_2nd

Samantha Tan, who also attends Lyme Consolidated, was the First Runner-up and received the silver medal from Commander Appleby (left) accompanied by John Cody. (right).

Eli_Brown_1st

Eli Brown, another Lyme Consolidated student, was the gold medal winner.  Each of these students received a medal, a proclamation from the American Legion, a monetary award and will also have a flag flown in their honor over the Congress building in Washington DC.

Braiden_Sunshine_singing

In a special surprise, ‘The Voice’ finalist Braiden Sunshine sang ‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘Amazing Grace,’ for whick he received a standing ovation.

Veteran_of_the_Year

Commander Appleby introduced the 2015-16 Veteran of the Year (center).

Mark_Robinson_Benediction

Wrapping up the proceedings, the Reverend Mark Robinson of Saint Ann’s in Old Lyme gave the Benediction before the flag-bearers filed out of the auditorium.

Marching_out_with_flags

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder connected with, at left, State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th) and State Representative Devin Carney (R- 23rd) after the ceremony.

Bonnie_PaulF_DevinC

And finally …

Wreath

‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.’

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In a First for Old Lyme HS, Sweitzer Named All-American for Girl’s Lacrosse

Sloane Sweitzer in action on the lacrosse field.

Sloane Sweitzer (left) in action on the lacrosse field.

Sloane Sweitzer is having quite a lacrosse season!

Last week she found out she was the first girl in Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s (LOLHS) history to be named an All-American.  Yesterday, she learned  she had been named the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year for 2016, and also made 1st Team All-Conference for 2016.

Sweitzer’s coach, Emily Macione, told LymeLine.com, “There is no first and second [All-American] team anymore; they select one team of girls.  She [Sweitzer] was up against girls from all levels and school sizes across the state,” adding that it, “is obviously a pretty big accomplishment.”

All-American girl's lacrosse player Sloane Sweitzer

All-American girl’s lacrosse player Sloane Sweitzer

Macione continued, “Sloane’s had an incredible senior season thus far and earning this honor is the metaphorical fruit of her labor.  Furthermore, she has worked so hard these past four years, fought back from tearing her ACL last year, and we are just really, really proud of her.”

Sweitzer, who will be attending Bryant University (which plays Division I women’s lacrosse) in the fall, has been a four-year varsity member of the girls’ lacrosse team and is its captain this season.  She was also captain of cross country in the fall and basketball in the winter, and has lettered not only in those three varsity sports during her high school career, but also in soccer.

Sweitzer was the 2016 CIAC female Scholar-Athlete of the Year for LOLHS and to date in her senior season has scored 63 goals, 43 assists, and 91 draw controls. In her remarkable career at LOLHS to date, she has notched 274 goals, 105 assists, and 214 draw controls.  She was named First Team All-State in 2013, 2014, 2015 and will also be in 2016. Similarly, she was named All-Conference in 2013 and 2014 and is expected to do so in 2016.

She missed half of the 2015 season recovering from an ACL tear, so while she did not make All-Conference, she returned in sufficient time to be named All-State.

This evening she will lead her team in the Shoreline Conference final against Old Saybrook at Connecticut College, starting at 7 p.m.

Congratulations, Sloane … and Go Wildcats!

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Old Lyme Boys, Girls Play Double Header in Shoreline Lacrosse Championships Tonight

In what promises to be a really exciting afternoon going into evening, the Old Lyme girls and boys teams will compete consecutively today for their respective Shoreline Lacrosse Championships at Connecticut College.

The second-seeded boys face off against No. 4 Morgan at 5 p.m.  Old Lyme will be defending their title against Clinton-based Morgan, whom they have beaten twice in the regular season.

The top-seeded girls meet Old Saybrook at 7 p.m.  Coming off an unbeaten regular conference season, the Wildcats will be determined to avenge their final second loss to the Rams in the final last year.  The ‘Cats start in the knowledge that they have already defeated Saybrook twice in regular season.

 

Go Wildcats!

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US Men’s Eight with Old Lyme’s Hack as Stroke Wins First Olympic Qualifier in Lucerne, Switzerland; Next — and Critical — Race is Tuesday

The US Men's Eight in action with Austin Hack as stroke. Photo courtesy of usrowing.com

The US Men’s Eight in action with Austin Hack facing the camera as stroke. Photo by Ed Moran, courtesy of usrowing.org

Competition has begin in Lucerne, Switzerland, to determine final rowing qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Austin Hack of Old Lyme is the stroke of the US Men’s Eight and in their first race of the contest earlier today to determine lane placement for Tuesday’s critical final, the US team boat achieved first place.

Quoting from a press release written by Allison Müller and published by USRowing.org, “Calm, flat water welcomed crews to the Rotsee racecourse on Sunday for the first day of the 2016 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta … The U.S. men’s eight won its preliminary race for lanes, holding off a charge from Italy to cross in 5:34.26.”  The US team “took the lead from Australia in the third quarter of the race. Italy sprinted from third place at the red buoys, but fell short, crossing 0.57 seconds behind the United States.”

Müller continues, ““It was good to get it going,” said Ojserkis. “The race went well, and we have some things to improve on. We’ll look to straighten them out for the final. It’s on to the next one, the one that counts.”

Australia finished third in 5:36.10, Poland fourth in 5:39.20 and Spain fifth in 5:44.80. The top two crews in Tuesday’s final earn Olympic qualification. Three rowers return from the 2015 U.S. eight including Hack, Karwoski and Dommer. Ochal and Kasprzyk return from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.”

The other members of the US Men’s Eight crew are coxswain Sam Ojserkis (Linwood, N.J.), Glenn Ochal (Philadelphia, Pa.), Rob Munn (Redmond, Wash.),Mike DiSanto (Boston, Mass.), Steve Kasprzyk (Cinnaminson, N.J.), Alex Karwoski (Hollis, N.H.), Hans Struzyna (Kirkland, Wash.) and Sam Dommer (Folsom, Calif.).

Hack was a member of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2010 and went on to Stanford University, where he continued to excel in both academics and rowing.

Since graduating from Stanford in 2014 with a degree in political science, Hack has been training intensively with the US Rowing Training Center at Princeton in the hopes of achieving his Olympic dream.

Austin is the son of Dr. Gregory and Dr. Barbara Kelly Hack of Old Lyme, both of whom are in Lucerne to watch their son race.

For more information on Austin Hack’s extraordinary career to date, view his profile at this link. 

Good luck on Tuesday, Austin!  Everyone here in your hometown is rooting for you, the US Men’s Eight and the whole US team!

 

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Old Lyme’s Margules Receives Widespread Wins, Awards for his Photos

Thie "Still Life" by Howard Margules was awarded 'Best in Show' in the 'Lights on Westbrook' contest.

This “Still Life” by Howard Margules was awarded ‘Best in Show’ in the ‘Lights on Westbrook’ contest.

Old Lyme resident and amateur photographer Howard Margules has recently been enjoying some significant successes in local photography shows.

This Howard Margules photo won 'Best Use of Color' in the Westbrook photography show.

This Howard Margules photo won ‘Best Use of Color’ in the Westbrook photography show.

He won Best in Show and Best Use of Color awards at the ‘Lights On Westbrook’ show held in March at the Oxford Academy in support of Westbrook Youth and Family Services. Photographers donated their images and there was a drawing in which winning ticket holders could claim photos in an “off the wall” event sponsored by the Water’s Edge Resort and Spa.

'The Side Show' by Howard Margules is a featured photo in the juried CVCC show at the Chester synagogue.

‘The Side Show’ by Howard Margules is a featured photo in the juried CVCC show at the Chester synagogue.

Margules also has three photos juried into the current Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) show at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester, which is on view through July 23. He also has one image juried into the Essex  Art Associations’s current show.

The Voodoo Shop is another image by Howard Margules that was juried into the current CVCC show at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

‘The House of Voodoo’ is another image by Howard Margules that was juried into the current CVCC show at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

Finally, he has first and third place photos in the Coastal Camera Club’s show on view at Gladeview Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, 60 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook through June 25.

Congratulations, Howard!

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Old Lyme’s Hack Selected for Men’s Eight for Olympic Qualifier Regatta in Lucerne

Austin Hack, fourth from left, is hard at work in this file photo of the US Men's U23 Eight.

Austin Hack, fourth from left, is hard at work in this file photo of the US Men’s U23 Eight.

Austin Hack of Old Lyme was named yesterday as one of the men’s eight that will represent the United States at the 2016 Final Qualification Regatta, May 22-24, in Lucerne, Switzerland.  In order to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the team must finish in the top two overall in their races at Lucerne.

Hack was a member of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2010 and went on to Stanford University, where he continued to excel in both academics and rowing.

Since graduating from Stanford in 2014 with a degree in political science, Hack has been training intensively with the US Rowing Training Center at Princeton in the hopes of achieving his Olympic dream.

The remaining members selected for the crew include coxswain Sam Ojserkis (Linwood, N.J.), Glenn Ochal (Philadelphia, Pa.), Rob Munn (Redmond, Wash.),Mike DiSanto (Boston, Mass.), Steve Kasprzyk (Cinnaminson, N.J.), Alex Karwoski (Hollis, N.H.), Hans Struzyna (Kirkland, Wash.) and Sam Dommer (Folsom, Calif.).

For more information on Hack’s extraordinary career to date, view his profile at this link.  He is the son of Dr. Gregory and Dr. Barbara Kelly Hack of Old Lyme, both of whom rowed at college.

Congratulations, Austin, and good luck in Lucerne!

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Is it a Tunnel? An Aerial Structure? Learning the Latest on the Proposed High Speed Railroad Through Old Lyme

A large crowd starts to gather at Studio 80 in Old Lyme in anticipation of hearing the latest on the proposed high speed railroad track.

A large crowd gathered at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme to hear the latest on the proposed high speed railroad track.

More than 80 people gathered in Gil Boro’s Studio 80 on Lyme Street in Old Lyme Sunday afternoon to hear a variety of speakers give updates on the latest developments in the saga involving the Federal Rail Authority’s (FRA) NEC Future’s proposals for an upgraded high speed railroad track from Washington DC to Boston. The event had a lighter side with musical performances from Ramblin’ Dan Stevens, Clayton Allen and friends, and the Localmotives with Eleanor Robinson, the Shrivers and friends.  But the main thrust of the program was to educate and inform the attendees about the status of FRA’s plans … and what to do about them.

Greg Stroud, who has spearheaded the movement to fight Alternative 1 –- the route that travels through the center of Old Lyme – spoke first explaining that in spring 2012, when the FRA first announced a plan to invest in and modernize high speed rail in the northeast corridor, they began with 98 alternatives. He pointed out that back then, “I don’t think you’ll find a single complaint from Old Lyme, “Because not one of these alternatives included plans for running a railroad through the historical district of Old Lyme.”

Greg Stroud makes a point during his presentation in Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.

Greg Stroud makes a point during his presentation in Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.

It was only in November 2015 when the FRA issued their Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that “Old Lyme was mentioned for the first time” in the proposals and by that time, the original 98 alternatives had been narrowed down to just three. Moreover, the route through Old Lyme – the 50-mile bypass running from Old Saybrook to Kenyon, R.I. known as Alternative 1 – featured an “aerial structure’ traversing Lyme Street some 40 ft. above street level. He commented calmly, “This was kind of disturbing.”

The initial comment period for the Tier 1 study closed at the end of January. It was then extended to Feb. 15 and after an extraordinary number of comments from the residents of Old Lyme (1,200 out of a total of 3,000 according to Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder), the FRA introduced the idea of a tunnel going from Old Saybrook and Stroud said, “coming out around Whippoorwill [Rd.]”

Stroud pointed out that although “a tunnel sounds better … we’re a community of marshes .. this Historic District is built on soil and groundwater,” and suggested the audience should Google the word “dewatering.” He said that in order to build a tunnel, “You have to pump the water out of the soil,” noting soil tends to settle, “when you pump out groundwater,” adding, “There really isn’t a nice way to build a tunnel,” and then the comment, “It’s troubling.”

Stressing that he could not say definitively this would happen, Stroud noted that the FRA is unable to do so either.  He mentioned that the FRA is “pretty friendly” and in numerous conversations with involved parties in Old Lyme, the FRA has said consistently that it, “will do the studies afterwards.”

Stroud’s point, however, is that the FRA is currently determining its preferred route for the track based on the feedback it has received to date. It will announce that route in September and then undertake the necessary studies. But, Stroud emphasized, “Once that route is drawn on the map, and if that route runs under, over, or through Old Lyme, it’s going to be enormously difficult and expensive, to erase.”

State Senator Paul Formica (R- 20th, center) and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd, right) listen carefully to an attendee's point.

State Senator Paul Formica (R- 20th, center) and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd, right) listen carefully to an attendee’s point.

Stroud continued that it was important to know where town government and state officials stood on the proposal, noting, “I know where our First Selectwoman [Bonnie Reemsnyder] stands on this,” and adding that from the start, State Representative Devin Carney (R), “took me seriously” and State Senator Paul Formica (R), “was very supportive,” drawing laughter when he confessed, “ And I’m a Democrat!”

But Stroud noted despite the fact, “We’ve back-channeled and we’ve front-channeled … it’s been pretty quiet,” and there has been “Little from [Congressman Joe] Courtney,” and with regard to Senator Richard Blumenthal, Stroud stated emphatically, “We don’t know if he’s with us or against us.” He urged the audience to “get our public representatives to take a stand,” by calling and/or writing to Senator Blumenthal’s office asking him to take a stand in order to, “Get this off the table.”

Pre-addressed postcards were available at the event for attendees to write a personal note to Senator Blumenthal, who Stroud noted is “the most active supporter of high-speed rail in Congress” and the ranking member of the Senate committee in charge of the rail planning process. Stroud said Blumenthal could therefore be enormously influential in the final route decision.

BJ Bernblum reads Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder's statement to the audience.

BJ Bernblum reads Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder’s statement to the audience.

BJ Bernblum then read a statement on behalf of Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who was unable to attend the event. It opened with Reemsnyder thanking all the people who had written to the FRA during the Tier 1 comment period, noting that at a subsequent meeting with the NEC Futures team, “ I believe that our concerns were taken seriously,” adding, “Of those concerns, we were effective in the most important one, and that is the removal of the plan for an aerial structure going through the heart of Old Lyme.”

Reemsnyder noted in her statement, however, “While this is good news, I acknowledge that the idea of a tunnel across the Connecticut River comes with its own set of concerns, which we also addressed in our meeting. The Connecticut River and its estuary are of such vital importance that we must assure that valid research and extreme caution are used in planning this type of work.” She stressed that a team of people from the regional government council (RiverCOG) and some Old Lyme residents “are gathering important data on the Connecticut River to be used if and when the time comes to thoroughly discuss the impact of a tunnel.”

In conclusion, Reemsnyder’s statement said, “We are continuing to keep the communication open with the FRA, our state officials, our Connecticut Delegation and state representatives to advocate for our community and protect our future,” adding, “You can see our summary of our meeting in a letter to the FRA on the town website, along with their response to that summary.”

Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, discusses a point after his presentation.

Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, discusses a point after his presentation.

The third speaker was Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. He commented that from both his perspective in his current position and his prior experience as a municipal government member in the Town of New Scotland, N.Y. that Old Lyme’s town government “was doing the right things,” but stressed, “They need you [the audience],” explaining, “Their effectiveness is bolstered by a grassroots movement.”

He described the positive relationship between the Old Lyme town government and the local environmental, cultural and historical organizations as, “a potent mix” that he felt could be effective in conveying the message that “there are other ways to deliver high speed rail … without the wreckage of going through Old Lyme.”

In similar vein to Stroud, he reflected that, “While the process has been silent (while the FRA considers which option to select as its preferred route), I want to encourage you not to be silent,” adding, “You need to keep pressing home the point that this is not the place for high speed rail.”

Greg Stroud addresses the audience from the mezzanine level where the musicians played during Sunday's event.

Greg Stroud addresses the audience from the mezzanine level where the musicians played during Sunday’s event.

He explained that the Trust has “taken on fiscal responsibility” for the project known as ‘SECoast,’ which is described on its Facebook page as, “An independent nonprofit, partnered with the Connecticut Trust and currently focused on the topic of high-speed rail in Southeastern Connecticut,” with a mission of, “Organizing and educating the public to protect Southeastern Connecticut and the Lower Connecticut River Valley.”

Mackay said the Trust will be “picking up costs” associated with the project and donations to the group can now be accepted. He said information on how to donate to support the project is on the SECoast website and 100 percent of any donation will go to the project and is tax-deductible.

Mackay then cited what he described as a “visionary” Statement of Significance written in 1971 by Margaret Crosby Brown of Old Lyme when the town was applying to establish an historic district. Crosby Brown mentioned, “The town’s long awareness of the necessity for strong stewardship for both the historical and environmental aspects of Old Lyme,” noting at that time, “This is especially so when the destructive forces of accelerated change are all too apparent.”

Concurring with Crosby Brown’s opinion about the “necessity for strong stewardship,” he concluded with the words, “You have something very special here,” adding emphatically, “Let’s press that point.”

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Presentation of Sound View Improvements Draws Praise, Criticism at Lively Meeting

From left to right, Selctwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Sound View Improvement Committee member Angelo Faenza, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (standing), SVIC member Pappalardo and a memebr of engineering member BSC listen to a question from the audience at Monday night's meeting.

From left to right, Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Sound View Improvement Committee (SVIC) member Angelo Faenza, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (standing), SVIC member Frank Pappalardo and a member of engineering firm BSC listen to a question from the audience at Monday night’s meeting.

In a boisterous meeting Monday night held at the Shoreline Community Center on Hartford Ave. Old Lyme, more than 60 people gathered to hear the latest information on the Sound View Improvement Project.  With her fellow members of the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen, members of the Sound View Improvement Committee (SVIC) and representatives of the engineering firm of BSC of Glastonbury seated behind her, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder made a presentation covering where the project stands currently.

Noting that construction is expected to begin after Labor Day this year and continue through early December 2016, then “shut down [and re-start in early 2017] and finish in early spring [2017],” Reemsnyder noted that the final design is “close to going out to bid.”  She anticipates a town meeting this summer on July 16 to approve the Town of Old Lyme’s 20 percent share of the cost of the improvements estimated at $148,000.  The remaining 80 percent of the cost is being funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT).

The improvements, which originally included a park (named Sound View Green) and upgraded restrooms that have both now been removed from the plan due to budget overruns, comprise the reinstatement of horizontal parking on Hartford Avenue, sidewalks expanded from 3 ft. to 6 ft., lighting, plantings, bike racks and the addition of curbs and bump-outs.  The proposed plans do not include the much discussed bike path on Rte. 156 that is planned to connect the Baldwin Bridge with Sound View because Rte. 156 is a state road and therefore, the state must carry out those upgrades.  Reemsnyder noted, “It is likely the town will finish their portion before the state.”

Question time was lively at Monday's Sound View informational meeting.

There was almost a full house at Monday’s Sound View informational meeting.

Reactions to the project ran the gamut from those who were delighted with the proposals to those who expressed anger and frustration about them. Mary Hyland – a seasonal resident of Portland Ave., which runs parallel to Hartford Avenue, whose family has been in Sound View for 70 years – said, “You’re doing a great job,” adding that she was, “Very, very pleased with what’s going on.” In contrast, Deb Corto, whose son, Lenny, operates, “Lenny’s on the Beach” at the southern end of Hartford Ave., complained she would likely lose $72,000 in business “over the season” due to the reduction in the number of parking spaces  resulting from the proposed plans.  She demanded forcefully, “I want the [eliminated] 22 spaces reinstated.”

Frank Pappalardo, a member of the SVIC, countered Corto’s comments pointing out that the owner of the ‘Lenny’s on the Beach’ property, Frank Noe, had written to the committee in support of the proposals.  Pappalardo quoted from Noe’s letter, saying, “The street is in dire need of new sidewalks, better lighting, … these streetscape improvements are well overdue after many years of neglect.”  Noe concluded in his letter that Pappalardo read, “I urge everyone to strongly support the efforts by the Sound View Improvement Committee.”

In contrast, a town resident opposed to the reduction of parking spots complained that on busy summer days at the beach, even with the current number of parking spots, “I can’t park at my own beach.”  He questioned why the committee had not presented any numbers regarding bike usage at Sound View and stated, “[At} Every meeting, if you don’t like what we say, you shut us down.”

Lenny Corto, who operates “Lenny’s on the beach,” asked Reemsnyder, “How can you maintain a new streetscape when you can’t maintain the current one?” continuing, “It’s clear what you’re doing … it’s totally against all commercial business.”

Reemsnyder responded, “I have to disagree with [Corto’s comment about] Public Works’s ability to maintain things,” adding, “This really was an effort to improve the area.”

Dino Dinino questioned why the sidewalk was being increased from 3 ft. to 6 ft. to which Reemsnyder responded that it was a requirement in order to receive the state funding.

Jim Lampos, another member of the SVIC, expressed his support for the proposals saying, “There is incredible potential here.  The Town hasn’t invested here for years. This [the proposal] is going to benefit everybody.” He commented, “Right now, parking is an issue 10 days a year,” adding, “The parking is half empty the rest of the time.”

When Reemsnyder called for a motion to close the meeting, some members of the audience objected with one shouting, “We’re not done,” but the motion was successfully seconded and approved.

After the meeting, Lenny Corto told LymeLine that he agreed, “The street needs work,” but commented, “They’ve cut out the bathrooms, the park, the lighting and they’re still over budget.  All we’re getting is sidewalks, bike paths and trees.”  Meanwhile, Hyland expressed a different opinion to LymeLine about the proposed plans, saying simply, ”It’s about time.”

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Clinton, Trump Win in Both Lyme, Old Lyme

Poll workers tally totals at the Cross Lane FireHouse after voting closed in Tuesday's presidential primary election.

Poll workers tally totals at the Cross Lane FireHouse after voting closed in Tuesday’s presidential primary election.

Reflecting statewide results, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton were the winners in both the Lyme and Old Lyme primaries. Republican Trump’s margin of victory over runner-up John Kasich in Lyme was only seven votes but in Old Lyme, Trump garnered 470 votes to Kasich’s 326. Third-placed Ted Cruz secured 89 votes in Old Lyme and 36 votes in Lyme.

Interestingly, on the Democratic side, using the totals for just Clinton and Bernie Sanders, in a close race again reflecting the state’s position, Clinton secured exactly the same percentage of the vote (52.3 percent) in both towns., defeating Sanders by 18 votes in Old Lyme and seven in Lyme.

The unofficial results in detail were as follows:

Lyme Democrats:

Rocky De La Fuente: 0
Hilary Clinton: 206
Bernie Sanders: 188
Uncommitted: 1

Old Lyme Democrats:

Rocky De La Fuente: 0
Hilary Clinton: 476
Bernie Sanders: 434
Uncommitted: 14

Lyme Republicans:

Ted Cruz: 36
Ben Carson: 4
Donald Trump: 137
John Kasich: 124
Uncommitted: 7

Old Lyme Republicans:

Ted Cruz: 89
Ben Carson: 5
Donald Trump: 470
John Kasich: 326
Uncommitted: 13

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme High School Ranked 8th in State, 429th Nationally by US News & World Report

US News & World Report ranked Lyme-Old Lyme High School 8th in Connecticut in their just published listing of America's Best High Schools.

US News & World Report ranked Lyme-Old Lyme High School 8th in Connecticut in their just published listing of America’s Best High Schools.

LOLHSCementing its position as one of the top high schools in both the state and country, Lyme-Old Lyme High School  (LOLHS) has been named the eighth best public high school in Connecticut by US News & World Report in their listing of “Best High Schools” published this week.  Moreover, LOLHS was ranked nationally at #429 and consequently, as one of the top 500 schools in the country, was awarded US News & World Report’s highest honor of a gold medal.

In terms of its Connecticut ranking, Lyme-Old Lyme had the highest ranking of any school in New London County with the only other schools in the county placed being Waterford High School at #41 and Fitch at #43.  Although three schools in Fairfield County came ahead of Lyme-Old Lyme (Weston, Ridgefield and Wilton at 4th, 5th and 7th respectively),in a remarkable achievement, LOLHS came in ahead of Simsbury, Greenwich and Darien High Schools respectively at 9th, 10th and 11th places.

The top high school in Connecticut was the Connecticut IB Academy in East Hartford , with second place going to the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering at Hartford. Third place went to the Amistad Academy at New Haven and sixth position to Conard High School in West Hartford.

Other shoreline schools which received state rankings were Guilford at 22nd, Daniel Hand of Madison at 29th and Old Saybrook at 30th.  Along with Fitch and Waterford, these schools all were awarded silver medals.

U.S. News evaluated more than 28,000 schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine the top public high schools nationally. Five hundred high schools received gold medals, 2,173 schools earned silver and 3,545 took home bronze in the national rankings. Schools were ranked based on their performance on state assessments, their graduation rates and how well they prepare students for college.  Click here to read full details of the methodology used by US News & World Report.

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After Solid Start, Wildcats End Up Clawing Desperate Overtime Victory

Josh Turkowski makes a shot from the foul line during last night's game against Lyman Memorial.

Josh Turkowski makes a shot from the foul line during last night’s game against Lyman Memorial.

Sixth-seeded Old Lyme appeared to be on their way to an expected victory last night over Lyman Memorial (seeded 27) at half-time when the score stood at 35-22.  Things were still on track at the end of the third quarter when the Wildcats had advanced to a comfortable 45-32 lead.

And then it all fell apart in the fourth quarter when Lyman outscored the ‘Cats  23-10 to force a completely unanticipated and nerve-wracking overtime at 55-55.

Kirk Kaczor’s boys fought back in overtime ably assisted by senior George Doll, who had sat on the bench until the final minutes of the fourth quarter due to an injury.  Doll scored five critical points in overtime, which helped Old Lyme finally claim a 67-60 victory.

Drake Gavin was top scorer for Old Lyme with 19 points, while Matt Watts St-Germain added 16.

Old Lyme now faces No. 11 Coginchaug tomorrow evening at Lyme-Old Lyme High School with a 7 p.m. tip-off.  Despite their lower ranking, Coginchaug defeated the Wildcats in the regular season so the game promises to be intense.

Go Wildcats!

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Lyme P & Z Hosts Public Hearing on Zoning Regulation Amendments

Grape-picking at Sunset Hill Vineyard. On Monday evening, Lyme's Planning and Zoning Commission will consider amendments to its zoning regulations addressing wineries, along with farms and agriculture.

Grape-picking at Sunset Hill Vineyard in Lyme. On Monday evening, Lyme’s Planning and Zoning Commission will consider amendments to its zoning regulations addressing wineries, along with farms and agriculture. Photos by Frank Cabb.

Next Monday, Feb. 29, Lyme Planning and Zoning (P & Z) Commission will host the Public Hearing/Regular Meeting that was previously scheduled for Feb. 8, but had to be cancelled due to the snowstorm that day.  The Feb. 29 meeting will be held at Lyme Consolidated School starting at 7:30 p.m.

The agenda opens with an application by Richard and Kathleen Pfannenstiel for a special permit to construct a boat dock at 65 Cove Rd. in Outer Hamburg Cove, for which there will be first a Public Hearing, and then the application will be considered in the Commission’s Regular Meeting.

But the part of the meeting almost guaranteed to draw a large crowd comes in the next agenda item when the P & Z Commission considers, “Proposed changes to the Lyme Zoning and Subdivision Regulations, which address principally farms, agriculture and farm wineries.” These have been published on the Town’s website at this link.

Lyme’s Zoning Enforcement Officer Bernie Gigliotti explained to LymeLine.com that the Commission has been talking about updating the regulations for a couple of years.  He noted that some two years ago the Town of Lebanon had introduced new regulations to protect and enhance farms and farming, and consequently the Town of Lyme “had been talking about making changes [to its own] regulations ever since.”

Gigliotti commented, however, that the event which really “triggered the action” was the application by the owners of Sunset Hill Vineyard in Lyme for a Special Exception Permit to offer tastings and sell wine at its Elys Ferry Rd. farm.  When the P & Z Commission discussed the application back in November last year, more than 175 residents attended the hearing, but the Commission did not end up rendering a decision on the vineyard’s application.  Gigliotti explained that the reason no decision was taken was many of the speakers — both for and against the proposal —  contended that the Town’s zoning regulations needed to be updated before the application could be considered.

Gigliotti, who freely admitted, “Our regulations were very deficient in how we treated vineyards,” described the combination of circumstances as “A Perfect Storm” in terms of providing a catalyst to move forward with the process of updating the regulations. When the P & Z Commission agreed at the end of the November Public Hearing that the update should be done as soon as possible, vineyard owners Matt Caruso and Donna Moore withdrew their application to await the revision.

Grapes_Hanging_768x466

At Monday night’s P & Z meeting, the Commission will first host a Public Hearing on the proposed amendments to the Town’s zoning regulations.  Speakers for and against the proposal can again be expected since Laura and Kieran Mooney, who live immediately opposite Sunset Hill Vineyard, had issued a statement on behalf of the Lyme Rural Protection Group (LRPG) prior to the postponed Feb. 8 meeting.  The statement said in part, “We do not encourage the re-zoning of residential areas to permit commercial and retail enterprises nor do we support tourism … the group opposes several of the proposed changes and additions to the Town of Lyme Zoning Regulations as they have been currently drafted because we believe that they will fundamentally change the character of the town.”

Gigliotti commented to LymeLine.com that if the changes to the regulations are approved by the Commission Monday evening, Sunset Hill Vineyard will then be able to re-apply for a Special Exception Permit.  He noted the regulations will then be in a much improved form to deal with the application and that the issue seemed to have come down to the sale of wine on the premises. Gigliotti said, “People don’t seem to have a problem with them making wine.”

Those objecting to the proposal contend that it will be allowing a retail business in a part of town that is now solely residential and farming in character, while vineyard supporters have argued that Lyme has successfully retained its rural identity in part precisely because it has encouraged farming enterprises.

Caruso, who moved to Lyme in 1974, told LymeLine.com that selling wine has always been part of the business plan to make the vineyard viable.  He stressed the vineyard would not be hosting weddings, accommodating buses nor opening a café and that tastings will be restricted to ‘Appointment Only’ events from May to October and occasional holidays.

One of the vineyard’s most vocal supporters and a farm owner himself is Chip Dahlke of Ashlawn Farm on Bill Hill Rd. in Lyme. He wrote in a Facebook post prior to the cancelled Feb. 8 meeting, “The Town of Lyme has rewritten its regulations to allow vineyards to operate within the town.  I urge everyone to attend this meeting and support the change of regulations.”  Dahlke continued, “[It] is important to keep the town open for agriculture and maintain its character, not simply to be another elitist community along the shoreline.”

Gigliotti noted that an “overwhelming” number — 91 percent — of respondents to the survey related to the 2014 Lyme Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) were “in favor of promoting and enhancing farms and farming in Lyme.”  He commented that operating a farm requires generation of income and is not something done for “altruistic value.”

The LRPG also cited the POCD in their statement saying, “We would encourage the town to maintain those regulations that currently support farming, agriculture and open spaces,” but points out, “[The POCD] discourages tourism and the development of commercialism, including retail, outside the existing commercially zoned areas in Hamburg and Hadlyme such as those proposed by the change in regulations.”

Gigliotti said he did not know whether the Commission would hold a vote on whether to approve the regulations at next Monday’s meeting.  He said the Commission could vote, but that decision would likely depend on members’ reactions to comments from the public.

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s Giaconia Signs with UConn

Jack Giaconia, who signed a Letter of Intent to play football with UConn last week.

Jack Giaconia, who has signed a Letter of Intent to play football with UConn, was a four-year starter on the Valley/Old Lyme co-op football team.  Photo by Laura Matesky, www.lauramateskyphotography.com

Lyme-Old Lyme High School senior Jack Giaconia, who was a starter on the Valley Regional/Lyme-Old Lyme ‘Warriors’ co-op football team throughout his high school career, has signed a Letter of Intent to be a preferred walk-on with the UConn Huskies.

A delighted Giaconia told LymeLine.com, “For me signing with UConn is a dream come true. I’ve been watching them play on TV since I was like seven years old.”

He explained that prior to signing with UConn, he had quite a number of college options on the table including Endicott, University of New Haven, and also Central, Southern and Western Connecticut State Universities.  He noted, “I was also considering going to prep school since I wasn’t getting very much interest from big time Division One schools,” but, “When [Warriors head] coach [Tim] King told me that UConn was interested, I was very excited.”

Now, after a short break following his high school graduation in early June, Giaconia is looking forward to starting his training with the UConn team at the end of June.  He explains, “That’s when I start lifting and training with the team.”

Asked if there was anyone he wished to acknowledge in terms of having helped him reach his goal, Giaconia, who stands 6 ft. 4 in. and weighs 330 lb, graciously offered quite a list, saying first, “I want to thank coach King and all the coaching staff for being the best group of coaches a player could ask for.”  He then added, “I also want to thank both the Valley and Lyme-Old Lyme school districts because without the co-op being created, I wouldn’t have been able to play for my hometown.”

Giaconia quickly followed up saying, “I also want to thank the Roche family for being so supportive and helpful throughout the recruiting process.  And last but not least, I want to thank my family for being my biggest fans and for getting me to this point in my life.”

Jack is the son of Mark and Monica Giaconia of Lyme, Conn.

Congratulations, Jack — we’ll be following your career with great interest!

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Opinion: “The Menace in our Midst:” Comments Closed to FRA on Old Lyme Proposed Railtrack, But Still Open on LymeLine!

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium at Wednesday's press conference at the Florence Griswold Museum. State officials and some of the signatories of a letter to the FRA denouncing Alternative 1 stand around her.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium at Wednesday’s press conference at the Florence Griswold Museum. State officials and some of the signatories of a letter to the FRA denouncing Alternative 1 stand around her.

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 2.28.57 AMIn the space of just a few short weeks, the residents of Old Lyme have become aware of a menace in their midst. Most unusually for these same residents, their response has been to a man (or woman) identical.  When that happens in this town — unquestionably, a rare event — you can be sure that, ‘Something is rotten (to misquote Hamlet) in the state of Old Lyme.’

The ‘menace’ in this case is Alternative 1 of the three high-speed railtrack routes proposed by the Federal Railroad Authority (FRA) in their Northeast Corridor (NEC) Future plan.

But let’s backtrack for a second — why is the FRA proposing these new routes? Their objective is, “to improve the reliability, capacity, connectivity, performance, and resiliency of future passenger rail service … while promoting environmental sustainability and continued economic growth.”  Let’s say right away that we are fully supportive of this objective — we are huge fans of rail-travel — you cannot grow up in Europe without taking rail travel for granted.  The trains there are fast, clean and efficient … they are a way of life.  We absolutely wish it were the same in the US.

So what is the difference here?  Why has the reaction to Alternative 1 been so strong, so united, so passionate?  In case you are unaware, Alternative 1 calls for the high speed rail track to cross the Connecticut River over a new bridge a little higher up the river than at present and then travel to the center of Old Lyme bisecting Lyme Street by eliminating both the western and eastern campuses of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts before turning north and crossing I-95.  The 1817 John Sill House, currently owned by the Academy and situated on its campus, would likely be acquired by the FRA by eminent domain and then demolished.

The impact of a high-speed railtrack through that sector of town would be totally devastating for our community, effectively destroying its very heart.

This editorial could now run for pages to explain the full spectrum of impact to Old Lyme of this proposal.

We could discuss the horrific effects on our incredible local environment — one which has inspired artists for generations including some of the greatest impressionist painters in American history and one officially designated as a “Last Great Place.”

We could talk about the untold damage to the storied structures on Lyme Street and list the irreplaceable buildings that will either be completely destroyed or permanently scarred by this new train track construction, many of which are either National Historic Landmarks or on the National Historic Register.

We could mention that Lyme Street is the joyful, bustling hub of our little town — it has a unique personality and touches every aspect of our community life.  It is home to our town hall, our public schools, our daycare, our youth services, our library, our churches, our village shops, our art college, our art association (the oldest in the country), and the Florence Griswold Museum (a national institution.)  Can you even begin to imagine Lyme Street with a high speed railroad running across it?

And let’s just consider for a minute what this proposal, if implemented, would achieve?  Bearing in mind that you can already travel from London to Paris (286 miles) in 2 hours and 15 minutes, would we be able to hop on a train in Old Saybrook and be in Washington DC (334 miles) roughly two hours and 45 minutes later?  No, the current travel time of six hours would be reduced by a grand total of 30 minutes to 5 hours and 30 minutes.  Unbelievable.

As we said, we could go on for pages but others have kindly taken care of that for us.  There was a splendid press conference yesterday, which spelled out the craziness of Alternative 1 from every angle — coldly, clinically and objectively.  The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library has a full print copy of the NEC Future tome if you care to read it in its entirety.  There are links galore on the Old Lyme Town website to the statement and attachments submitted yesterday (Feb. 10) on behalf of some 20 local organizations to the FRA.

So please read and educate yourself on Alternative 1, but most importantly, please, please write to the FRA with your thoughts.  There are many questions as to why and how this proposal was able to be presented without a single public hearing being held closer than 30 miles away from a town on which it was having such a major impact.  But that is history now …

The comment period was originally only until Jan. 31, but there was such a huge outcry as the reality of Alternative 1 began to be fully understood that it has been extended to next Tuesday, Feb. 16.  The FRA needs to hear from each and every one of us — you don’t need to write an essay, you don’t need to write eloquently, in fact, you don’t really need to write much at all, but you do need to write — today or tomorrow, even the next day, but if you have anything to say about Alternative 1 and want your voice to be heard, you absolutely must write.

There are three ways to contact the FRA:

Online through the NEC website: Submit your comment directly at http://www.necfuture.com/get_involved/

Email: Send comments with attachments to comment@necfuture.com

Snail-mail: Mail your comments to:
NEC Future
U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration
One Bowling Green, Suite 429
New York, NY 10004

We sincerely hope that there will soon be a public forum of some sort where people can ask questions and comment in person but, in the meantime, we say again, PLEASE, PLEASE WRITE TO THE FRA!

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