May 22, 2017

Lyme Public Hall Association’s Annual Meeting Features Presentation on Antique Gravestones, Community Potluck Dinner

Join the Lyme Public Hall Association for its Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, for a talk on Cherub Stones of Lyme: 1720 – 1805. Jim Beers, Lyme Public Hall board member, will discuss his research into the itinerant stone carvers who decorated the headstones in the town’s graveyards.

The program is free and open to the public.  Everyone is invited to bring a potluck dish to share.

The Lyme Public Hall is located at 249 Hamburg Road (Route 156) in Lyme, Connecticut.  For more information, visit www.lymepublichall.org, or call 860 526-8886.

The Lyme Public Hall Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation of Lyme’s history, culture, and community through the preservation and use of the historic hall, its archives and historical programs.

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‘USA and Russia: Is Trust Ever Possible?’ Local Author, Dick Shriver, To Speak at Saint Ann’s Church, June 11

Former US Department of Defense official and Old Lyme resident Dick Shriver will speak at Saint Ann’s, June 11.

Saint Ann’s Church in Old Lyme, Conn., has announced that Dick Shriver, local resident, author, and former U.S. Department of Defense Official, will share remarks and recollections under the title, USA and Russia: Is Trust Ever Possible? based on his global work experience captured in his recently published book, Glimpses of an Uncharted Life (iUniverse Editor’s Choice), at Saint Ann’s Church on Sunday, June 11, at 5 p.m.

A book of reminiscences and reflections, Glimpses of an Uncharted Life, shares what Shriver and his wife, Barbara, gleaned from living overseas for 15 years and what they learned about the life and the people under communism and among countries recovering from the collapse of tyranny.

Shriver will discuss the current relationship between the United States and Russia by drawing reference to his own compelling experiences during the end of The Cold War.  Shriver’s many accomplishments during his time abroad included the creation of a new legal system for Estonia and creating thousands of private sector jobs in an independent Ukraine.  There will be a question-and-answer session after the lecture.

A reception for the author and a book-signing event will follow the presentation in the Griswold Room at saint Ann’s.  Shriver’s new book, Glimpses of an Uncharted Life (hardcover: $33.95 and softcover: $23.95) will be offered for sale at Saint Ann’s Church during the reception.  The Shrivers will generously donate $5 per book sold to Saint Ann’s Church.  Signed copies of Shriver’s book are now for available for pre-sale, by check or cash, at Saint Ann’s Parish Office during office hours.

To reserve a seat for this timely and relevant discussion of the past, present and future relationship of the United States and Russia, contact Kathy Rowe at 860-434-1621 or register online with Eventbrite @ Dick Shriver Event.

Shriver lives in Old Lyme, Conn., with his wife Barbara. They are active in the community as members of Saint Ann’s Parish. Dick is a founder and board member of the Mentoring Corps for Community Development and coach of Ticks Girls Lacrosse. He is former Warden of Saint Ann’s Vestry and Executive-in-Residence at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Barbara is engaged in pastoral care at St. Ann’s and sings with the Valley Shore Sweet Adelines a Cappella group.

Editor’s Note: Saint Ann’s is an Episcopal parish in Old Lyme, Conn., where the Rector, The Reverend Canon Mark K. J. Robinson welcomes all visitors. Saint Ann’s is located at 82 Shore Road (Rte. 156), two miles off I-95, Exit 70. Parking is adjacent to the church. For information, contact Kathy Rowe at 860-434-1621, via email at office@saintannsoldlyme.org, or visit Saint Ann’s online at www.saintannsoldlyme.org.

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Potapaug Presents ‘Bears in CT’ at Old Lyme Town Hall, June 1

Potapaug Audubon presents “Bears in Connecticut” on Thursday, June 1, at 7 p.m. at the Old Lyme Town Hall, 52 Lyme St, with guest speaker Paul Colburn, DEEP, Master Wildlife Conservationist.

This talk will focus on the natural history, habitat, diet, behavior, population and reproduction of bears, plus the current research efforts and practical recommendations for coexistence between the black bear and humans.

Black bear artifacts will be on display.

For more information, call 860-710-5811.

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Dedication Ceremony for New Boathouse Celebrates Old Lyme’s Decades-Long, Continuing Passion for Rowing

Surrounded by VIPs at the Dedication Ceremony for the Fred Emerson Boathouse, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder cuts the ribbon to declare the boathouse officially open.  Photo by Tanya Patten.

More than 100 people gathered Saturday morning at Hains Park on the shores of Rogers Lake  to join a ceremony to dedicate the recently completed Fred Emerson Boathouse.  All joined by a love of rowing, they were there to celebrate the official opening of the boathouse, which is the new home for boats owned by Lyme-Old Lyme Schools and the Old Lyme Rowing Club/Blood Street Sculls.

Old Lyme Rowing Association/Blood Street Sculls President Greg Hack spoke to the assembled crowd expressing thanks to many individuals and organizations saying, “On behalf  of  the over 150 athletes who will row on Rogers Lake this year, I would like to express how thrilled we are that the new Boathouse is now complete.  We all feel a deep sense of gratitude to the people of the Town of Old Lyme, and to the State of Connecticut, for their support throughout this project.”

Construction of the boathouse was initially funded by a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant for $478,000, which was awarded in July 2013, and then subsequently Old Lyme residents approved a request from their board of selectmen in October 2014 for an additional $405,000 to be taken from town funds.  The proposed renovations were intended to make the boathouse ADA accessible, and provide sufficient space to store all the boats owned by Lyme-Old Lyme High School, the Old Lyme Rowing Club/Blood Street Sculls and Old Saybrook High School.  There will also be space available to carry out equipment maintenance and repair.  Renovation of the basketball court and new bathrooms, which would be accessible to the public, were also included in the project.

Hack continued his words of gratitude thanking Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, “for her leadership and unwavering support during all phases of the project … [Old Lyme Selectman] Skip Sibley, a former collegiate rower who shared our dream of a new boathouse when it was first just a sketch on a cocktail napkin … and [Old Lyme Selectwoman] MJ Nosal for her enthusiasm and support.”

He also thanked Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser and Athletic Director Hildie Heck, “for their support, and for recognizing how important the sport of rowing has been for Lyme-Old Lyme High School.”

Turning to the members of the Boathouse Hains Park Improvement Committee (BHPIC), Hack commended, “their tireless work, and in particular [the efforts of] our co-chairs Paul Fuchs and Paul Gianquinto.  Paul F brought tremendous expertise on rowing matters to the project, and Paul G brought intimate knowledge of construction procedures that were oh so valuable, not to mention his incredible dedication and tenacity throughout the project.”

Hack also thanked Nina Peck, “our architect, for creating a wonderful plan for the new building that is both attractive and highly functional.”

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser commented, “We are grateful to the Town of Old Lyme for pursuing the STEAP grant that helped support the construction of the new boathouse. This structure will allow our rowing programs to continue to grow and allow us to build upon our past successes. The new boathouse will provide much needed support for our student rowers for many years to come.”

Old Lyme Selectman Skip Sibley addresses the crowd at the Fred Emerson Boathouse Dedication.  Photo by Tanya Patten.

Sibley gave a brief history of the man after whom the boathouse is named, Fred L. Emerson Jr. of Lyme. Sibley noted Emerson was an avid rower who founded and financed crew programs at more than 60 high schools, colleges and private clubs throughout the nation. In Connecticut alone, Sibley mentioned, Emerson is solely responsible for the creation of programs at the East Lyme High School, the Coast Guard Academy, Old Lyme High School, Connecticut College, Simsbury High School, and the Middletown High School.  Emerson also gave strong support to university crew programs at Wesleyan, Trinity and Yale , and school crew programs at Choate, the Thames River Sculls, South Kent, and Gunnery.

Emerson was born and raised in Upstate New York where his father founded a prosperous shoe company. He started his rowing career at the Culver Military Academy in Indiana, and later captained the rowing squad at the University of Wisconsin Class of ‘32.  Sibley noted that, while competing for the Badgers, Emerson became aware of the challenges of financing a rowing program when his own varsity career was impacted by budget restrictions. This lesson inspired Emerson later on in his life to support fledgling rowing programs generously.

Sibley submitted that Emerson was widely regarded a champion of the underdog, who sponsored women’s crew long before Title IX established the legal requirement for equity across the genders.

Sibley went on to share the origins of Rogers Lake rowing, drawing his information from a number of sources.  He commented that the catalyst for US Women’s Rowing was when the U.S. announced their plan for a women’s rowing team to compete in the 1976 Olympic Games scheduled to be held in Montreal.  At that time, women’s rowing was still in its infancy — the US announcement precipitated a quantum leap in the sport onto the national stage.

Sibley explained that in February 1971 Emerson connected with Connecticut College rowing coach C. Bart Gullong.  They organized the first meeting of women’s rowing coaches from across the country and this marked the inception of the New England Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges.

The following spring, in May 1972, the New England Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges (NEAWRC) held its first regatta on Rogers Lake in Old Lyme, thanks in great part to the generosity of Emerson, who designed the 1,000-meter course, donated boats to many of the participating schools, and provided almost all of the financial backing for the event. One eight from each institution was allowed to participate, with the Princeton crew emerging victorious.

In 1974, the name of the organization was changed to the Eastern Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges (EAWRC) and 19 teams took part in the first race known as the EAWRC Sprints on Lake Besek in Middlefield, Conn.  (The schools participating were Barnard, Boston University, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Drexel, MIT, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Middletown High School, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Radcliffe, Rhode Island, Syracuse, Washington, Wellesley, Williams, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Yale.)

Because this was the first year in which five or more women’s teams from the Ivy League participated in a championship event, this 1974 regatta is generally seen as marking the beginning of championship competition for women in any sport, in any Division I conference. Radcliffe won that event and is thus considered the first Ivy League and EAWRC champion.

Sibley concluded, “Fred’s ‘can do’ philosophy of building programs and his passion to share the benefits of rowing amongst all skills will endure for ever. And this new boathouse bearing his name is certainly a testament to that.”

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) addresses rowing enthusiasts of all ages who attended Saturday’s Dedication Ceremony. Photo by Sheree Sibley.

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) and BHPIC Co-chair Paul Fuchs also spoke enthusiastically about the boathouse and its future impact on the local rowing programs.  Fuchs noted that Saturday, June 3, is National Learn To Row Day and for the fourth year, this event will be celebrated at Fred Emerson Boathouse by opening its doors to everyone to try rowing at no cost.

Before the speeches ended and the celebrations began, Hack summed up the joy and excitement of the occasion saying, “Over 50 years ago, Fred Emerson first coached young people out of the original boathouse on Blood Street.  Since then we have grown and achieved new levels of enthusiasm and success in what are truly community-based programs.  I am hopeful that Fred would be pleased with what we have built here together.”

He concluded, “I thank the people of Old Lyme and all who were involved in the project for their vision and for their understanding about how rowing helps to make the Town of Old Lyme such a unique and special place.  We pledge to be good stewards of this new facility for decades to come.”

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Lyme Girl Scout Troop #63632 Celebrates Installation of ‘Little Free Library’ for the Community

The Girl Scouts involved in the creation of the Little Free Library, all of whom attend Lyme School, gather for a group photo. From left to right, Hoshena Gemme, Emma Rose Arelt, Ella Keim, Ava Gilbert, Jen Datum, Chloe Datum and Christy Cooper.  Photos by Barbara Arelt unless otherwise stated.)

A dedication ceremony was held Sunday, April 23, for a Little Free Library that has been installed in the side courtyard of the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) courtesy of local Girl Scout Troop #63632.  The new Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange.

The Girl Scout Troop, which is primarily comprised of girls currently in 4th grade at Lyme Consolidated Elementary School, earmarked annual cookie sale profits to design, build, install and maintain a Little Free Library at their host site, the LYSB on Lyme Street.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

If you take a book (or two) from a Little Free Library, you do not need to return that specific book. However, in order to keep the Little Free Library full of good choices for the whole neighborhood, the next time you swing by the Library, bring a few books to share.  Little Free Library book exchanges function on the honor system; everyone contributes to ensure there are always quality books inside.

Last fall the Girl Scouts and their troop leader, Jennifer Datum, voted to proceed with the Little Free Library project to demonstrate the Troop’s appreciation for their community and to build teamwork skills. The Library will be stocked initially with books from Troop members’ personal collections. The girls will also be responsible for its monthly maintenance.

Chris Arelt (right), owner of Nautilus Architects, who donated the design of the Library, stands with his wife Barbara and daughter Emma Rose in front of the newly-installed Library. Emma Rose is a member of Troop #63632.

Because LYSB is located in the village of Old Lyme, the Little Free Library design needed to be reviewed and approved by the town’s Historic District Commission.  Two Troop members, Chloe Datum and Ava Gilbert, presented the Commission with a classic design donated by Old Lyme architect Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects, father of Troop member Emma Rose Arelt.

Construction of the library included quality materials generously donated by Rings End in Niantic. The design was built and installed by Gary Lankerd, a master carpenter based in Waterford.  Additional details were implemented by Philip Schaller, owner of Signs & Digital Graphics in Deep River.

Many of the people involved in the project attended the dedication ceremony. From left to right, Gary Lankerd (Lankerd Custom Carpentry), Christopher Arelt (Nautilus Architects), Bonnie, LYSB Director Mary Seidner, Jen Datum (Girl Scout Troop leader) and John Forbis (Old Lyme Historic District Commission.) Photo by Mary Seidner.

The Troop’s dedication and reception ceremony was for everyone involved in this project, including leaders from the Old Lyme community and the Girl Scout Council. The Troop also expressed their thanks to Mary Seidner, Director of LYSB, who was instrumental in supporting both the Troop and this community service project.

Under the direction of Troop leaders, the Girl Scouts will be submitting the Little Free Library project for the Girl Scouts Bronze Award, which is the highest award a Junior can earn.  Working toward obtaining this award demonstrates their commitment to helping others, improving their community and the world, and becoming the best they can be.

For more information about Girl Scouts of Connecticut, visit www.gsofct.org

For more information about the Little Free Library program, visit LittleFreeLibrary.org

For more information about Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, visit lysb.org.

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Singles Social Connections Offers Variety of Early Summer Events

Singles Social Connections is a social club for singles in Connecticut with non-profit 501(c) status from the IRS.  Their goal is to give singles the opportunity to meet new people, have fun, and network.  The following upcoming events are all sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

MAY 13  (Saturday)  SINGLES MINIATURE GOLF at the Safari Golf, 2340 Wilbur Cross Highway, Berlin in the afternoon at 2 p.m.  Come join the group for a fun time.  Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before, everyone is only playing for fun.  Later, there will be refreshments.  Admission $8.  To reserve, call Gail at 860-582-8229.

MAY 27  (Saturday)  SINGLES MEMORIAL WEEKEND PICNIC at Gail’s beach cottage, 46 Swan Avenue, Sound View, Old Lyme at 2 p.m.  For picnic, bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert, if no food, pay extra $5.  Dues-paying Members $10, Guests $15.  To reserve, call Gail in Bristol at 860-582-8229 or Old Lyme 860-434-6426.

JUNE 2  (Friday)  SINGLES HAPPY HOUR at the Tuscany Grill, 120 College Street, Middletown starting at 5 p.m.  If the weather is nice, seating may be outside on patio.  Come after work and mingle with old and new friends.  There is no charge.  For more information, call Gail at 860-582-8229.

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A Little Humor in Celebration of The Bard’s Birth- and Death-Day

Today is not only St. George’s Day (the equivalent for England of St. Patrick’s Day for Ireland) but also both William Shakespeare’s birth- and death-day. Well, to be honest, the latter is a definite while the former is one which, to quote from Wikipedia, “has proved appealing to biographers.”  It is known for sure that Shakespeare was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon in England on April 26, 1564, and so the April 23 date has simply been deduced from that.

In honor of the great Bard, we are delighted to publish this delightful submission from our good friend and book reviewer Felix Kloman and his wife Ann of Lyme.  This is sure to put a smile on the faces of all our Shakespeare-ophiles!

Memories of Yorick

Late last fall, a scrawny young mouse named Yorick politely asked to spend the winter with us, providing entertainment and conversation in return for a modest meal each day. We greeted him with enthusiasm, and shared stories . But, of late he has seemed much fatter and far hungrier. We fed him more and, of course, warned him not to go into the pantry, where we had set a trap for some rapacious relatives. He didn’t follow our advice.

Alas, poor Yorick!

 

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Shining a Light on a Humble Hero: Success of Stroud’s Grassroots Efforts Against High Speed Train Proposal Highlighted

Greg Stroud

The CT Mirror has published an article today by veteran journalist Ana Radelat, titled His grassroots rebellion stops a federal railroad plan in its tracks, which looks at Greg Stroud of Old Lyme as an individual and the impact of his campaign regarding the northeastern section of the proposed high-speed railroad route from Washington DC to Boston — an impact that is looking increasingly likely to result in the removal of the Old Saybrook-Kenyon bypass from the proposed route.

In response to Radelat’s question in the article, “It seems the Federal Railroad Administration is going to change its plan. Are you confident you have won this battle over the bypass?” Stroud responds, “I’m cautiously optimistic and increasingly confident about the Kenyon to Old Saybrook bypass.”

Keep everything crossed at this point, dear readers!

Read Radelat’s full article at this link.

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Overeaters Anonymous Sponsor Workshop on ‘Twelve Steps to Recovery,’ April 29

Overeaters Anonymous of Southeastern Connecticut Intergroup is sponsoring a workshop on the Twelve Steps to Recovery Saturday, April 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Saint David’s Episcopal Church, 284 Stoddards Wharf Road in Gales Ferry.

The workshop leader will guide participants through the Twelve Steps, focusing on the first 164 pages of the Big Book.  Overeaters Anonymous is based on the steps, principals, and program of Alcoholics Anonymous, substituting the word “sober” for “abstinent.” The workshop is open to anyone who wants to refrain from compulsive overeating behaviors and choices.

There is no registration necessary and no fee for this program, but a goodwill offering will be accepted.  Participants should bring their own bag lunch and their own Big Book. Additional Big Books will be available for purchase or loan for use during the workshop. 

For more details, contact maren@snet.net.

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Remembering Walter Kaylin: “Already a Legend”

Walter Kaylin, 95, a 52-year-resident of Old Lyme, died peacefully Feb. 15, 2017, at Apple Rehab in Guilford, Conn., after a long period of declining health. His two daughters were by his side. We published Mr. Kaylin’s obituary at this link. This column by Randall Beach, Walter Kaylin’s son-in-law, was first published March 11 in the New Haven Register and on the NHRegister.com at this link, “Randall Beach: The amazing Walter Kaylin, already a legend,” We are pleased to republish it here with the permission of the New Haven Register.

Walter Kaylin 06.28.1921 – 02.15.2017

When I picked up the ashes of my father-in-law, Walter Kaylin, last Monday morning at the crematorium in Wallingford and drove back to New Haven with him beside me, I thought about his wonderful life and his never-ending stories.

Listen, you would have to expect vivid, funny stories from a guy whose wild tales were in anthologies entitled “He-Men, Bag Men & Nymphos” and “Weasels Ripped My Flesh.”

Walter wrote those during the late 1950s and ‘60s for pulp magazines such as “For Men Only,” “True Action” and “Stag.”

He spun sagas of macho men on dangerous tropical islands rescuing damsels and plugging the bad guys. Many of them were war-related. Check out the title of his contribution to “Men” magazine, July 1966: “The Black Lace Blonde, the Yank Jungle Fighters and the Chicom Plot to Grab the Mid-Pacific.”

Walter’s colleagues in that New York City office were other tough-nut writers such as Mario Puzo, who would go on to write “The Godfather” and Joseph Heller, who later wrote “Catch-22.”

Bruce Jay Friedman, another of Walter’s peers, noted Walter was nothing like the characters he concocted.

“He looked like a divinity student, always buttoned up,” Friedman recalled on the backside of one of Walter’s anthologies. “Then the stories would come in. They were special — seamless and outrageous and wonderful. I think of him as a treasure.”

But Walter didn’t achieve the literary fame later accorded to those other writers. His two books, “The Power Forward” and “Another Time, Another Woman,” didn’t sell and quickly went out of print.

But at the age of 92, when he was living at Apple Rehab in Guilford, unable to walk, Walter saw those two anthologies get published, thanks to pulp fiction enthusiasts Robert Deis and Wyatt Doyle.

“It means a lot to me,” Walter told me when I asked him how it felt to finally get such recognition.

But he never took himself too seriously. He added with a sly smile, “I was reading those stories in bed last night and I was shocked at how savage they were. I was thinking, ‘My God! Could this be me?’”

Walter got a lot of his source material during World War II, when he was a radio operator in the Signal Corps of the U.S. Army, stationed in the Philippines. He didn’t see much combat but he met a lot of unforgettable guys and “dames.” He recalled they were gorgeous, “all of them with mouthfuls of gold teeth.”

Because Walter grew up in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium, he watched Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in action. When Gehrig was mired in a batting slump, Walter wrote him a letter, telling him not to worry, the hits would soon start coming again. Gehrig wrote back, thanking him. I wish Walter had held onto that reply. But he certainly remembered it well.

Even when he was in his 90s, in a bed or his chair at the Guilford rehab center, he could still recall seeing those fabled Yankees and others of that era — Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays — playing for the local ball clubs. He also told us he saw Satchel Paige pitch after that star in the Negro leagues finally got a chance to play in the majors.

Walter and his wife, Peggy Kaylin, loved living in New York but they also enjoyed getting out of town with their young daughters, Jennifer and Lucy. In the late 1950s, they began spending weekends in a beach-side cottage in Old Lyme. Eventually, they got weary of the Sunday night drives back to the city and they moved to Old Lyme to live there year-round.

But Walter never stopped writing. Jennifer, the woman I married, recalls hearing him typing away in a room adjacent to the kitchen and later in his office upstairs, where he had an expansive view of the shoreline.

When he wanted to take a break from his writing, he walked into the sun room on the first floor, sat down at the piano and played in his unique style: a rolling, rollicking, free-wheeling boogie woogie outpouring that was delightful.

During his four years at Apple Rehab, he kept a succession of typewriters in his room and he was constantly thinking of story ideas, then getting them most of down on paper.

We have been sorting through his many correspondences and story fragments and came upon a letter he wrote to an editor at “The New Yorker” magazine.

“At age 90 I’m working on a highly unusual novel,” he wrote. “‘Hear the Chant of the Jungle’ centers on the relationship between 23-year-old Paulie Ohlbaum of the Bronx and a considerably older, incredibly tall Watusi woman, Roz, who emerged from Rwanda (Congo) to take care of him for the first two years of his life, then disappeared and has rematerialized 20 years later. By this time Paulie and his older brother, Luther, own and run a motel, Owl’s Eye, in Connecticut, on the Sound.”

Walter went on for a couple of pages, continuing to weave the imaginative scenario. He concluded the letter: “Does this interest you? If so, I’d be happy to send you the first section, which concludes with Roz getting set to meet Paulie for the first time in 20 years.”

We couldn’t find the editor’s response, if there was one. But it didn’t matter much to Walter. He kept writing anyway, up until the final week or two of his life. That’s an inspiration for all of us to keep going.

He also kept playing the piano. Apple Rehab has a community room where residents gather and there’s a piano in the corner. Walter spent a lot of time seated there in his wheelchair, entertaining everyone within earshot.

Over the last year or two, Walter would sometimes hold up the bent, arthritic fingers of his right hand and complain he couldn’t play piano as freely as he had in previous years. But that never stopped him.

He loved movies, especially the classics from his prime. A month or two ago, my wife and I went to Best Video and rented “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” for him. We watched it together at Apple. After it ended, Walter exclaimed, “That was some picture!” It would be the last one he ever saw.

We also supplied Walter with Heaven Hill, his favorite Bourbon whiskey. He always enjoyed a little glass of it just before dinner time.

That community room, and I’m sure all of Apple Rehab itself, is quieter now, some of the life gone out of it. There are many people, besides us, who miss hearing Walter play and miss his stories.

His four grandkids, who he was so proud of, also dearly miss him. My younger daughter Charlotte posted a message that ended: “Papa, the world is already a little less cool without you.”

He made it to 95. As he often told us in his final year, he had done enough. He was ready to go. His wife had died in 2010.

Walter had few regrets; he didn’t dwell on such stuff. He had enjoyed life. For many years, he had sat with Peggy on the beach, sipping cocktails while listening to his jazz records playing from inside their home. As he watched the sun slowly set over the water, Walter always said, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

One day this spring we will scatter his ashes in that idyllic playground where life couldn’t get any better.

Contact Randall Beach at rbeach@nhregister.com or 203-680-9345.

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Visgilio of Old Lyme Wins Silver, Bronze Medals in Vermont Special Olympics

Evan Visgilio of Old Lyme stands on the podium proudly wearing the silver medal that he won in the Vermont Special Olympics.

Evan Visgilio of Old Lyme returned from the Vermont Special Olympic Winter Games held this past weekend (March 3-6) in Woodstock, Vt., with a fourth place ribbon, along with a Bronze and a Silver Medal.

Suicide Six located in Woodstock, Vt., hosted the Vermont Special Olympics Winter and Visgilio, who was a member of the Hermitage at Haystack Team, participated in his first ever Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G events. By the end of the competition, Visgilio had won an impressive collection of awards taking fourth place in Slalom, and winning a Bronze Medal in the Giant Slalom and a Silver Medal in the Super G.

Evan, who is 13-years-old, lives in Old Lyme with his parents John and Wendy Visgilio, along with his siblings Brenna, Will and John. Evan attends Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School where he is in  seventh Grade.

Evan was born with Down Syndrome and has been skiing for seven years. This was Evan’s first year competing in the Vermont Special Olympics. He trains at The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain in Wilmington, Vt., with his coaches Scott Serota, Corey Robinson and Kate Riley.

Many congratulations to our friend and neighbor, Evan, from all of us at LymeLine.com!

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9 Town Transit Partners with Google Maps for Online Trip Planning

AREAWIDE — Finding local bus route information just got a whole lot easier.  In fact, you probably already have it available on your smartphone.  Google Maps now includes local bus routes and schedules in its directions feature.

Riders no longer have to read timetables.  They simply enter the date and time that they hope to arrive at their destination and the trip planner will provide three options, showing the amount of time and number of transfers for each option, letting you easily select the most convenient trip.

Google Maps can even provide walking directions, so you can find out exactly how to get to the nearest transit stop or station, and how to get to your destination once you leave the train/bus.  For extra convenience, Google Maps has most locations already stored, so you only need the location name or just a category, such as fast food.

“We are pleased to welcome 9 Town Transit to Google Maps.”, says Ryan Poscharsky, Strategic Partner Manager at Google.  “This partnership shows 9 Town Transit’s commitment to innovating, as well as serving and attracting new riders. Together we can provide useful and accurate information to help people quickly get to where they want to go.”

Another important feature is the ability to plan trips across agencies and modes.  CT Transit New Haven and Hartford, CT Transit Express, Shoreline East and Metro North are all available in Google Maps, so it is easy to plan your trip from Old Saybrook to Hartford, from Manhattan to the outlet malls, or from your Clinton to downtown New Haven.  Google Maps tells you all transfers required along with the connecting agency name and contact information.

“We hope this tool makes it easier than ever to plan your trip by bus or train in our region”, says Joseph Comerford, Executive Director of 9 Town Transit.

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Health, Happiness and the Benefits of Volunteering; Join the ‘Common Good Gardens’ to Discover Them!

Each year, the Common Good Gardens in Old Saybrook raise nearly four tons of fresh vegetables and fruit, and then then donates them to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries  And they do it entirely with volunteers – volunteers who have kept it going and improved it for 15 years.

You’re probably thinking, “How unselfish … doing all that work to benefit other people,” and they are for sure.  But, according to new research, volunteers are also on the receiving end of some amazing benefits; and most likely, they don’t even know it.  They just know that they feel better when they leave the garden.

Never too young … all ages can volunteer at the Common Good Garden.

Solid data on the benefits of volunteering has appeared in a variety of current publications, ranging from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health Letters, to a review from the Corporation for National & Community Service, which states,

On average, volunteering 40 to 100 hours per year increases personal satisfaction and happiness, decreases depression, improves functional capacity; and results in fewer illnesses and a longer life span.

Similar articles from the Huffington Post, Atlantic Monthly as well as research released by Johns Hopkins, The London School of Economics and University of Exeter Medical School have all told a similar story.

Greatest Gains for Seniors

Volunteering has health benefits — especially for seniors!

While there are potential gains to be had for high-schoolers and middle-aged persons, the greatest gains related to volunteering are for those 65 and older.  Some researchers suggest this greater gain for seniors may be because they start out lower before volunteering. Their health may not be as good as that of younger people or they may have lower self-esteem and more social isolation due to retirement.  Even if that proves true, starting to volunteer at an earlier adult stage seems to correlate with fewer health issues later in life.

Regarding functional capacity, the Hopkins study showed improved brain function associated with activities that get you moving and thinking at the same time.  As for happiness, though some of the happiness data is based on self-reporting alone, other data show hormone levels and brain scan activity consistent with physiologic changes associated with happiness.

Studies in UK

In addition to the improvements shown above, a large review of nearly 25,000 articles in the UK notes increased coping ability, better parenting skills and richer personal relationships.

Impact on Chronic Illness and Longevity

Several studies examined in particular the impact for those with chronic illness. They found that these volunteers reported decreased pain and depression. People with a prior heart attack also had lower incidences of depression after volunteering.

A United Health Group survey showed these striking figures:

  • 25% reported volunteering helped them live better with chronic illness
  • 76% reported feeling healthier
  • 78% reported lowered stress levels
  • 94% reported improved mood
  • 96% reported an enriched sense of purpose

Finally U.S. census data confirms that those states with high volunteer rates show greater longevity and lower rates of heart disease.

Come Join the Common Good Gardens

There’s always room for an extra pair of hands …

Come join us at the Common Good Gardens.  Whatever your age, level of health, or skill set, there’s a way for you to contribute while benefiting from volunteering.

Yes, gardeners are needed to plant, weed and harvest, and beginners are always welcome. But also needed are people with computer skills, carpentry skills, writing and speaking skills;   people who can drive a car to deliver produce; leaders to organize small groups and work with public schools; people who love nature or are excited about nutrition, and folk who want to help experiment with natural ways to deter pests or make soil richer.

Common Good Gardens by the numbers

  • 14: Number of years garden has been in existence (2002-2016)
  • July 7, 2011: Date the garden incorporated and received non-profit 501(c)3  status
  • 10: Number of Board members
  • 220,000: Total pounds of produce grown, collected and delivered 2004-2016 through garden volunteer efforts
  • 50: Number of core active volunteers (gardeners, drivers, other)
  • 3,000: Number of volunteer hours donated annually
  • 1/2 acre: Size of garden located at rear of Grace Episcopal Church, 336 Main Street, Old Saybrook
  • 22: Number of different varieties of fruits and vegetablesgrown at the garden during 2016
  • 6,900: Pounds of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • $17,200: Dollar value of produce grown at the garden in 2016 season
  • 7: Number of farm stands that donate excess produce to garden for distribution to pantries in 2013.

Many hands make light work at the Common Good Gardens.

Current volunteers at the Common Good Gardens encourage you to get involved so that together, a healthy future for the garden, ourselves, and our shoreline community can be created.

If interested, contact Common Good Gardens at PO Box 1224, Old Saybrook, CT 06475 or call Barbara Standke at 860-575-8645 with questions, or to sign up for the annual new volunteer orientation on March 11.

Editor’s Note: The authors of this piece, Kate Wessling and Barbara Standke, are respectively Common Good Gardens President and Common Good Gardens Volunteer Coordinator.

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Literacy Volunteers Seeks Tutors, Registration Open Now for Next Training Program

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS), CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization.  Its mission is to train tutors to help residents of the Valley Shore area who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills.  This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a 14-hour program conducted over seven sessions held each spring and again in the fall of every year.  The next training session begins March 23 and runs through May 9. Literacy Volunteers Workshop Leaders have developed a comprehensive program that provides prospective tutors the skills and resources to help them succeed. A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to helping a student improve their skill in basic literacy or English as a Second Language over the period of one year after the completion of training.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, contact the LVVS office in the basement of Westbrook’s Public Library by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at jferrara@vsliteracy.org Literacy Volunteers are registering for the spring session now and the deadline for applications is March 2, but only a few more slots are available.

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Can You Help? Rob Wallace of Old Lyme Urgently Needs O+/- Living Liver Donor

Gathered together in this photo are Rob Wallace and his wife Lori (center and second from left respectively) and their three children.

As the creator of specialized glassware for scientific research, Rob Wallace has used his unique talents to contribute to over 30 years of medical breakthroughs. The Old Lyme resident now finds himself relying on the medical community – and his own community – to help him overcome his battle with liver cancer.

Doctors have told Wallace that his best chance for a healthy future is a liver transplant from a living donor, and his family is searching for someone who can give them that gift. Though doctors had him placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in the summer of 2016, it is unlikely Wallace’s condition will remain stable long enough for him to receive a donation that way.

Wallace and his wife, Lori, are asking their community to help them find a living donor with Type O blood, either positive or negative. Doctors will transplant a section of the donor’s liver, and both the donor’s and Wallace’s liver will grow back to normal size within a few weeks. Potential donors are urged to contact the Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center to find out if they may be a match.

Since his diagnosis, Wallace has channeled the resulting anxiety into his glass blowing, establishing the artistic studio Arch One Design in Old Saybrook. The jewelry and decorative pieces he creates are both a creative outlet and a way to fund the research with which he is so familiar. “I want to help support the research,” Wallace said, “Not only by making the glass researchers need, but also by contributing part of the proceeds of my art to the American Liver Foundation.”

The couple has three children in the Lyme-Old Lyme School system, and Lori Wallace is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher.

For more information on becoming a living donor for Rob Wallace, visit the family’s website at www.robsjourney.com or call the Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center at 866-925-3897.

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Victims Involved in Stabbing at Big Y Identified

Lifestar lands in the Old Lyme Marketplace Sunday afternoon after a stabbing at Big Y.

 

Updated 1/11/17: The Hartford Courant has released the names of the two people involved in the fatal stabbing incident at Big Y on Sunday afternoon.  One of the victims subsequently died from his injuries and the other, who is from Old Lyme, is in Yale-New Haven Hospital with serious injuries.

The Courant’s story by Kathleen McWilliams is at this link: http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-old-lyme-fatal-stabbing-big-y-0110-20170109-story.html

Published 1/8/17:  WFSB News Channel 3 is reporting that one person is dead and another injured following an incident inside the Big Y store in Old Lyme earlier this afternoon.  Lifestar was called to transport the injured victim.

News anchor Kevin Hogan’s story is at this link.  Follow Kevin on Twitter @newspeddler

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Estuary Center Seeks Volunteers

Volunteers are needed at the Estuary Senior Center, 220 Main St, Old Saybrook. The Center has a variety of opportunities for volunteers.

Join the Thrift Shop team, pack or deliver Meals on Wheels, drive someone to a medical appointment, or greet guests at the Welcome Desk.

The Estuary’s Volunteer Coordinator will meet with you to discuss your interests and availability and find the best fit for you. Even a few hours a week can make a big difference.

The Estuary’s many vital services and programs would not be possible without the volunteers who donate their time and talent to us. Community service hours can be fulfilled by volunteering with the Estuary.

For more information, call Judy at 860-388-1611 x203 or visit www.ecsenior.org

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$16 Million Gift From Old Lyme Sisters Benefits Birds, Animals and Environment

Sisters Mary Janvrin (right), who had lived in Old Lyme prior to her death in Chester, Conn., and Natalie Janvrin Wiggins of Old Lyme, whose $16 million bequest to two Community Foundations will benefit birds, animals and the environment.

Janvrin sisters’ legacy leaves $8 million each to two community foundations.

Mary Janvrin and Natalie Janvrin Wiggins shared a life-long love of ornithology and nature that eventually turned into a tremendous legacy.

Natalie, 88, who lived in Old Lyme, passed away in May 2010.  Mary, 91, had also previously been a resident of Old Lyme but was living in Chester, Conn., at the time of her death on Sept. 29, 2016. Upon Mary’s passing, her trust set into motion the establishment of two funds that will make lasting contributions to bird and animal welfare, and the preservation of their natural environment.

The Mary Janvrin and Natalie Janvrin Wiggins Fund for Birds, Other Animals and Nature will bring $8 million each to the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut (CFECT) and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC). For generations to come, these funds will amplify the wildlife and environmental conservation efforts supported by these grantmakers.

“I greatly enjoyed working with Mary Janvrin, and also with her sister, Natalie Janvrin Wiggins, who passed away in 2010,” reflected attorney Suzanne Kitchings of Kitchings & Potter. “I feel privileged to have helped Mary create this important plan, which will carry out the sisters’ wishes to benefit birds, animals and the environment in perpetuity.”

Janvrin’s gift is the second largest for CFECT. Its largest gift was a $10 million bequest from Peter Letz in 2014, also to benefit animal welfare and the environment. Preserving the environment and advancing animal welfare are two of CFECT’s four strategic focus areas.

“Mary Janvrin’s generous bequest will help us have greater impact on the well-being of our region,” explained Maryam Elahi, President and CEO of CFECT. “Because this new fund covers all of Eastern Connecticut, we will be able to forge partnerships and tackle critical projects throughout our region, as well as in collaboration with CFMC.  

“Mary and her sister Natalie cared deeply about preserving the species and spaces that make Connecticut a wonderful place to live,” shared Moira Martin of Essex Savings Bank’s Trust Department, which serves as the executor of the Janvrin estate. “We in the Trust Department are tremendously proud to have been given the opportunity to work with such generous and passionate clients as Mary and Natalie, whose gift will both stimulate new conservation efforts and energize existing conservation programs for the wildlife, lands and people in our region.”

“For professional advisors like Suzanne and Moira, serving the interests of their clients is at the heart of the matter. When those interests include a generous legacy like the Janvrin sisters’, what an honor and delight for community foundations to put that thoughtful vision into action,” concluded Elahi.

Editor’s Note: Serving 42 towns and comprised of 465 charitable funds, the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut (CFECT) puts philanthropy into action to address the needs, rights and interests of the region. CFECT stewards an endowment of more than $60 million and has awarded more than $39 million in grants and scholarships to area nonprofits and students since its founding in 1983. To learn more, visit cfect.org.

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Evening Dance Class Offered Thursdays at the Estuary Council

The Estuary Regional Senior Center at 220 Main St., Old Saybrook, has a Ballroom Dance Class that meets Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. The six-week class is $10 a class or six classes for $50.

It is a fun way to spend an hour and you can join with or without a partner.

For more information, call Amy at 860-227-5211

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Child & Family Agency of SE Connecticut Honors Volunteers at 44th Annual Meeting

Mary Dangremond (left) and Amanda Rutledge (at podium)were honored by the Child and Family Agency for their tireless volunteerism in support of the organization.

Named two of four ‘Volunteers of the Year’, Mary Dangremond (left) of Old Lyme and Amanda Rutledge , formerly of Old Lyme and now of Old Saybrook, were honored by the Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut for their tireless dedication in support of the organization.

Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut honored its volunteers at its 44th Annual Meeting. The award ceremony, held Nov. 15 at the B.P. Learned Mission, recognized individuals who have donated their time and talents to support the work of the Agency- promoting the well-being and development of all children and their families.

Dr. Manuel Rivera, Superintendent of New London Public Schools, delivered the keynote address before a packed room of Child and Family Agency staff, Board of Directors and volunteers.

Dr. Manuel Rivera, Superintendent of New London Schools, was the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting.

Dr. Manuel Rivera, Superintendent of New London Schools, was the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting.

Child and Family Agency honored volunteers in three award categories: the Child and Family Agency Volunteer of the Year Award, the Lillian Erb Award for outstanding service at the Annual Sale, and the 2016 Auxiliary Volunteers of the Year Awards.  Staff members were also recognized for their years of service to the Agency.

“The backbone of Child and Family Agency is the partnership between our 650-plus auxiliary volunteers, our Board, and our 190-plus dedicated staff, all of whom believe that children’s health and well-being are of paramount importance to our communities,” said Rick Calvert, Chief Executive Officer, Child and Family Agency. “It is an honor to work with such a generous, talented group of people,” Calvert said.

Mary Dangremond, Lois Geary, Ellie Krusewski and Amanda Rutledge received the Child and Family Agency Volunteer of the Year for their many years of service, especially as co-chairs of the Child and Family Agency Annual Sale.  All have served on the Board of Directors, have chaired or co-chaired the auxiliary and other major initiatives on behalf of the Agency.

SFC Trevor Evans, of the Army National Guard, was awarded the Lillian Erb Award.  SFC Evans has demonstrated outstanding service for Child and Family Agency, especially during the Annual Sale.

2016 Auxiliary Volunteers of the Year Awards were presented to Judi and Tom Mitchell, Beebe Miller, Carole Mackin, Laurie Walker, Carol Connor, and Earline Goebel for their service with the East Lyme, Essex River Valley, Groton, Lyme-Old Lyme, Mystic/Noank/Stonington, and New London-Waterford Auxiliaries.

The Agency wishes to thank outgoing board members Sally Crawford, Mary Dangremond, Carole Mackin and Jen Daly McFadden as well as welcome Donetta Hodge, Jerome Fischer and Julie Stone to the board.

Child & Family’s mission is to promote the well-being and development of all children and their families, focusing in particular on the unmet needs of children lacking physical, emotional and intellectual care and nurturing. Programs deal with children’s mental health, child abuse prevention, the treatment of family violence, teen pregnancy, children’s health care, childcare, and parent education. Last year families were served in 79 towns in New Haven, Middlesex, Windham and New London Counties, the Child & Family Agency service region.

Visit the Agency’s website to learn more, volunteer, or donate: www.childandfamilyagency.org

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