August 24, 2016

Both I-95 Southbound Ramps at Exit 71 Closed for Two Weeks Starting 8/8, Detours in Place

Old Lyme Police patrol the currently closed entrance to the I-95 south bound on-ramp at Exit 71 on Four Mile River Rd.

Old Lyme Police patrol the currently closed entrance to the I-95 south bound on-ramp at Exit 71 on Four Mile River Rd. in Old Lyme.

Updated information from State Rep. Devin Carney:

The closure of Exit 71 on and off ramps for Four Mile River Road (Exit 71) will begin 12 a.m., Aug. 8, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 22.

The reconstruction of the southbound Exit 71 on and off ramps will involve full depth pavement replacement.

Lane Closure/Detour Information

Motorists on I-95 can expect temporary lane shifts and/or closures during the evening between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Motorists utilizing the Exit 71 southbound off ramp to access Four Mile River Rd. should use the off ramp for Exit 72 (Rocky Neck Connector) to Rte. 156 and Four Mile River Rd.

Motorists intending to access I-95 southbound should use Four Mile River Rd. to Rte. 156 to the Rocky Neck Connector and access I-95 Southbound via the Exit 72 on-ramp or use Rte. 1 or Rte. 156 to the Exit 70 on-ramp onto the Baldwin Bridge.

Motorists are encouraged to follow detour signs or use alternate routes.

Motorists are urged to obey the posted speed limit and proceed with caution when driving in this area.


Midsummer Memories of a Magnificent Day … and Night

Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival 2016 began Friday evening when the sun came out after torrential rain earlier in the day …


Concert-goers gathered on the grounds on the Florence Griswold Museum to picnic, visit and await the performance by ‘The Voice’ finalist Braiden Sunshine …


Some decided the Lieutenant River was the perfect spot to listen the music …


The aptly-named Braiden Sunshine and his band gave a terrific performance …


And then it was on to Saturday, which kicked off with the Hawaii-5.0 road race. Almost 300 runners competed in the 5K event, despite the intense heat and humidity …


All along Lyme Street, there were things to see —  including these weavers at the Old Lyme Historical Society, Inc.


… things to do … Scout Cushman posed delightfully in front of the community sculpture at Studio 80, on which people were adding their own designs …


… and things to eat and drink — the lemonade stand at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds was a happy family affair.


A new feature at the Festival this 30th anniversary year was the more than 30 vendors and a stage on which numerous youth musicians played in the field across from Lyme Academy College.  The vendors and performances were hosted by the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce.


The en plein air market at the Florence Griswold Museum was full of everything you can imagine, from flowers and fruit …


… to jewels and jewelry.


Reggae music was the order of the day outside the John Sill House at Lyme Academy College …


And down on the lawn in front of Center School, the fence artists displayed their work and drew customers galore.


Back at Studio 80, another new two-part event happened, first a fashion show by designers Susan Hickman and Anna Lucas followed by an incredible dance/acrobatic display by The Magnaterrestrials.


And this very special day in the Old Lyme calendar ended with a bang when — despite the threat of rain —  the Town hosted another spectacular fireworks display for all to enjoy!


Old Lyme Woman Takes a Personal Adventure to Row Irish in Ireland in Preparation for Currach Regatta in New London, Saturday

Curach rower Maureen Plumleigh stands in front of Old Lyme's Congregational Church wearing one of her delightful, signature hats.

Curach rower Maureen Plumleigh stands in front of Old Lyme’s Congregational Church wearing one of her delightful, signature hats.

During the month of June, I had a personal adventure.

In past summers, I typically have been a member of a team in New London, which rows a currach.  This is a traditional Irish fishing boat, and teams in the Northeast region compete during the summer months.  New London Currach Rowers will host its annual regatta for currach rowing teams throughout the Northeast Region on Saturday, July 30 at the Custom House pier in New London.

For the past six years, I have rowed regularly in the summer in order to make an acceptable showing against teams in the North American Currach Association (NACA) from Albany, Annapolis, Philadelphia, Boston, and Pittsburgh.

A currach is a traditional Irish boat, used both for transporting goods and animals to islands as well as for fishing on rough and stormy seas, now used in competitive Irish events.

A currach is a traditional Irish boat, used both for transporting goods and animals to islands as well as for fishing on rough and stormy seas, now used in competitive Irish events.

I row reasonably well, but anecdotes from the Albany team about participating in an event in Ireland consistently captured my attention   Each year, it was one of those things I longed to try, but always had a good reason to let the event go past.

This year, however, I talked back to the tsk-ing voices, which tossed very good reasons at me of why I should not go.  Why spend the money?  Why go alone?  What if I can’t make the distance?  I couldn’t possibly prepare my body when our New London team had not yet even begun to row for the summer!

But, ultimately, I admitted, I simply wanted it. So, I had to face, and then overcome the resisting voices in my head.  “I’m too old!” was one voice in my head that I couldn’t silence, so I chose to fight back.  Joining a gym and working a tailored plan daily for the month preceding the race taught me that my attitude was more of a problem than my body!

In “three-hand” currach as member of Kildysart Team of Ireland, Plumleigh rows center seat in Ocean to City Festival in early June in Cork, Ireland.

In “three-hand” currach as member of Kildysart Team of Ireland, Plumleigh rows center seat in the ‘Ocean to City’ Festival in early June in Cork, Ireland.

So I went alone, and rowed with a team from Ireland, in the ‘Ocean to City’ Regatta of Cork, Ireland’s river festival on the southern coast of the country.  Our event was a seven nautical mile distance, up the river to its conclusion in Cork’s downtown area.  Many friends and family of the rowers lined the beautiful paths along the river.  Many tourists joined the cheers and shouts of support.

Taking this trip gave me opportunities to learn more about my Irish heritage, to test my energy and my endurance, but, most of all, to simply admit to, and then fulfill, a dream.  This challenge had been on my “Bucket List” for about four years, so I felt a great deal of satisfaction in my successful trip.

Now I’m focused on rowing my best in Saturday’s Regatta of the New London Currach Rowers!  

For more information about rowing, contact Plumleigh at, or visit

Editor’s Note: Boats will launch in Saturday’s Currach Regatta from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in various combinations of rowers from the Custom House Pier on New London’s Waterfront Park. We plan to do a follow-up story with Maureen after this Saturday’s event to find out how she fared in the regatta.  Good luck, Maureen!


The Blue Oar: Enjoy a Tropical Feel at River Eatery in Haddam

Looking across the vibrant patio of 'The Blue Oar' towards the Connecticut River.

Looking across the vibrant patio of ‘The Blue Oar’ towards the Connecticut River.

The soft sunlight of a warm summer evening glistens off the gently flowing river as you sip wine at a pastel-colored picnic table while awaiting your Cajun catfish dinner. No, you’re not in Louisiana; you’re alongside the Connecticut River at the Blue Oar Restaurant in Haddam.

Now enjoying its 20th summer, the Blue Oar resembles more of a summer camp than a restaurant. Built on stilts to protect the kitchen from river floods, the yellow and white wooden structure resembles a children’s treetop playhouse. A trademark of the expansive dining grounds is the colored chairs and tables – pastels of lime green, melon, sky blue, tangerine and creamy yellow.  “It reminds people of the Caribbean or Florida,” says co-owner Jody Reilly. “There’s a relaxed vibe.” 

You can bring your own wine or beer, have a cheeseburger or hot dog with kraut, but your options go far beyond that.  The most popular sandwich is “the chicken, roasted pepper and cheddar,” says Reilly. “They seem to fly out of here. And also the ribs, chowder, and lobster rolls.”

A staple of fixed offerings is supplemented by a number of daily specials. Dinner entrees range from grilled salmon to Jamaican jerk BBQ pork loin. A recent Saturday night featured grilled Cajun catfish with black bean salsa and strips of grilled summer squash. The large fillet was just spicy enough and sat on a generous bed of cool black bean salsa that blended perfectly on the palate. A chilled Italian pinot grigio was the perfect accompaniment.

Appetizers are plentiful and varied. Sautéed mussels, seared scallops and fresh guacamole with house-made tortilla chips are just a few examples. If you’re looking for fried seafood, this isn’t your spot.

A view of 'The Blue Oar' from the Connecticut River.

A view of ‘The Blue Oar’ from the Connecticut River.

With docks along the river, arriving by boat is an option. “We’re a destination,” says Reilly. “A lot of people on boat trips for the day pull in from Sag Harbor or Greenport.”

On a bright, sunny evening, the Blue Oar has a distinct tropical feel. A good weather weekend can bring in up to 600 diners a day, says Reilly. There may be a line, but it moves along and provides conversation and entertainment. As waiters exit the tight kitchen, it resembles a bumper car arcade as they bob and weave through the order line that meanders out the door.

The Blue Oar is open seven days a week from Mother’s Day weekend through September, serving lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Water and soda is available but all alcohol is BYOB.

Note: it is cash only. Credit and debit cards are not accepted. The Blue Oar is located off Rte. 154 about a mile-and-a-half north of exit 7 off Rte. 9. Look for the turn sign.


Lyme’s July 4th Parade — with a High-Tech Twist — Marks Anniversaries of Lyme Ambulance, Camp Claire

Grand Marshal Braiden Sunshine smiles at his admiring followers.

Grand Marshal Braiden Sunshine smiles at his admiring followers. All photos by Lauren Dickey.

The small, personal, home-spun parade that marches proudly over Hamburg Cove each Independence Day has a strong following of adults, kids, and dogs. There are regulars who wouldn’t miss it, making it a part of their annual celebration before moving on to other plans … or not.


Campers from Camp Claire on top of the hill — many wearing T-shirts announcing the camp’s Centennial, which was celebrated June 11 — make up a good portion of the parade, and some of their families discover it for the first time through them. New residents hear about it, come for the first time and become hooked. Boyfriends and girlfriends come along for the ride and are then regulars.

DroneBut this year there was a bit of a twist. The first three cannon blasts were heard at 10:10 a.m., and movement was sighted at the top of the hill. But … what’s that?

A drone?!

Yes, it rose above the trees – which may have been about all it photographed – followed the road, preceding the marchers, and approached the bridge. Then it seemed to disappear as suddenly as it appeared. But it did make some in the crowd wonder—is there anywhere now that we can’t be watched?


As tradition dictates, the parade was led by two soldiers this year, one in Union Army blues, the other in a buckskin-style shirt, tri-corner hat … and shorts? They fired their black-powder rifles at regular intervals to lend excitement to the next car bearing the parade’s Grand Marshal. Who would it be this year? Why, none other than the local high-school student, popular and charming Braiden Sunshine, semi-finalist in NBC’s “The Voice.”  Sunshine waved eagerly to the crowds and seemed to show as much wide-eyed excitement as he did for larger, much more visible venues.


Lyme Park & Recreation came next, followed by a well-crafted sailing ship seemingly afloat on a float; one sailor carried a sign, “In Memory of Doc Irving.” The late, much loved, local resident and pediatrician died last Sept. 15 at age 91; he was a speaker for many years at this parade, dressed in a vintage Naval uniform and throwing teabags into the cove, because, after all, the more famous tea party did not happen in Boston. People in the crowd still miss that speech; perhaps some year soon a new generation will pick up the torch. 


Other marchers included members of the Lyme Garden Club, the Lyme Veteran Memorial Committee, Lyme Fire Department, Lyme Cub Scouts Pack #32, vintage cars, unidentified floats full of kids, and the ever-popular oompah band.


An effective entry was a Model T-style car driven by Uncle Sam and carrying a woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty, holding her torch high. The military half track always driven by Bruce Noyes was there with wife Tammy, but sadly, his father, Jack Senior, was not waving at the crowd this year—we all wish him well.


Marching proudly near the end of the parade were Lyme Ambulance members, marking their 40th anniversary! The members were followed by one of their ribbon-bedecked ambulances.


After free popsicles at the Hamburg Cove Yacht Club (another great part of this tradition), which we finished by 10:30 a.m., many went to the Lyme Public Hall at the top of the street to enjoy a free, interesting display about the ambulance’s history; many letters gave testimony to the warm nature of this service—the hand-holding and follow-up visits provided. A nice testimony to a cadre of people who participate in training and are on call to volunteer their time 24/7 outside of their “regular” jobs to help their community members.


Hometown Parade Draws Large Crowd at Sound View to Celebrate the Fourth

Joann Leishing leads the parade waving her flag while also wearing a flag ... and her omnipresent smile.

Joann Leishing proudly leads the parade waving her flag while also wearing a flag … and her omnipresent smile. All photos by N.B. Logan.

It was a fine day for a parade Saturday … and Sound View Beach Association once again pulled off a great one!


Participants gathered at the north end of Hartford Ave. and then marched south towards Long Island Sound, back up Portland Ave. and across to Swan Ave. The final segment of the parade was the return trip up Hartford Ave. to the Shoreline Community Center.

The Silver Cornet Band played the national anthem at the Hartford Ave. flagpole.

At the foot of Hartford Ave., the Silver Coronet Band struck up a lively rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.


Red, white and blue were everywhere … on the flag bearer …


…on the wonderfully decorated bikes …


… on the patriotic trucks …


… on the fire trucks and other emergency vehicles …


… even on stilts …


… and finally on State Representative Devin Carney (R- 23rd) (left of drummer)  and Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal (right of drummer).

What a great time was had by all!






Friends of Old Lyme Library Honor Outgoing Senior Staff, Friends

Stephanie Romano is leaving the Old Lyme Library to take up the position of Chester Library Director.

Stephanie Romano is leaving the Old Lyme Library to take up the position of Chester Library Director.

The Friends of the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes (OL-PGN) Library gathered for their Annual Meeting Wednesday morning. The OL-PGN Library Board President Alan Poirier opened the meeting by thanking the Friends for running The BookCellar, the Bookworm Ball and the Holiday Book Sales.  Leslie Massa, who serves as President of the Friends, then took the floor to pay tribute to some special “Friends.’ firstly, Jenn Hillhouse who has been the treasurer since 1985, and was retiring from that officer position.

Katy Klarnet (right) and Jenn Hillhouse (center) were both honored at the meeting and Steve Ross (left) was welcomed to the Council of the Friends.

Katy Klarnet (right) and Jenn Hillhouse (center) were both honored at the meeting and Steve Ross (left) was welcomed to the Council of the Friends.

Second in terms of being honored by Massa was Katy Klarnet, who was finishing her term as Secretary. Janet Olsen is stepping into that position for the Friends.

The third person on Massa’s list represented a particularly bittersweet moment for the Friends since Access Services Manager Stephanie Romano is leaving to become the Director of the Chester Library.  Her last day is this Friday, June 24, after serving at the OL-PGN Library for nine years.  The community is invited to drop in on the 24th to wish Romano well and enjoy some refreshments courtesy of the Friends. It is planned to be an open house style, low key event.

BookCellar Co-Director Ann de Selding paid tribute to Library Director Mary Fiorelli, who is retiring in September.

BookCellar Co-Director Ann de Selding paid tribute to Library Director Mary Fiorelli, who is retiring in September.

Massa announced that Mary Fiorelli, who has been with the Library since 1997 and Director since 2000, is retiring this September.  The Friends will announce more on her retirement send-off later. On behalf of the Friends, Ann de Selding gave an inspired tribute to Fiorelli’s stellar service to the library.

Ann Roy read a self-composed poem honoring the two outgoing Library directors.

Ann Roy read a self-composed poem honoring the two outgoing Library directors.

Anne Roy then read a delightful poem she had composed for the two outgoing staff members …

The following new Friends were welcomed to the Council: Suzi Bolduc, Jennifer Harvill, Julie O’Brien, Janet Olsen, Steve Ross and Karen Smith.

Best selling author David Handler reviewed the changes over the years in the life of a reference librarian.

Best selling author David Handler reviewed the changes over the years in the life of a reference librarian.

New York Times best-selling author and Old Lyme resident David Handler wrapped up the meeting with his recollections of the Library before the 1995 expansion, mentioning all the wonderful reference librarian personalities that have graced the halls.  He also spoke to the changing technologies remarking how it is often not appreciated how the reference librarian’s job encompasses so much more than a Google search.


Chester Sunday Market Now Open for the Season

ChesterSundayMarketLogoCHESTER – The Chester Sunday Market opened for the season on Sunday, June 12.  It will now be open on all Sundays through the summer starting at 10 a.m.

The vendors are all listed on the Market’s website (, with links to their websites.  They are:

  • Seven farms bringing produce – Chatfield Hollow Farm, Deep Hollow Farms, Dondero Orchards, Hunts Brook Farm, Sage Hill Farm, Upper Pond Farm and Wellstone Farm.
  • Meat, fish and poultry from Four Mile River Farm, Gourmavian Farms, Maple Breeze Farm and The Local Catch.
  • Beltane Farm bringing cheese & dairy products.
  • Bread from Alforno Restaurant and Howard’s Breads.
  • Plus, flowers and honey and jams and pickles and biscotti from: Hay House, Stonewall Apiary, Little Bird Provision Co. and Biscotti and Beyond.

Live music is lined up for each week, beginning on June 12 with Deep Blue Remedy. The bands play from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the words of the organizers: “The philosophy of the Chester Sunday Market is to bring the community together with local products and to have a good time doing it. It is a weekly town-wide farmers’ market that brings our community together. We invite local vendors to sell produce, meats, cheeses, breads and so much more.  Our goal is to stay local so we can help the smaller farmers in the area. Having all these amazing vendors join us in our lovely little town is a great way to promote our community and see each other. Main Street is closed off for the market giving the patrons the freedom to walk about town. Music is provided along with a bistro area so you can sit and have a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza.”

Market hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Because Main Street is closed to traffic between West Main St. (Rte. 148) and Maple St., shoppers are invited to park in the town public parking lots on Maple Street and at 20 Water St. (Rte. 148). Well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Shops and galleries are open during Market hours and often offer special happenings. You can find late breakfast or lunch at the restaurants in Chester Center, or buy some pizza on the street from one of the vendors, Frank Andrews Mobile Kitchen.

More information about the Chester Sunday Market at: and You can also find out more about Chester at and


Social Security Supports Fight Against Cancer in Several Ways

cancer_sirvivorsIn 2016, more than a million people will be diagnosed with cancer around the world. This alarming statistic affects people and families everywhere.

June 5 was National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States and in support of this day, Social Security encourages getting checkups to provide early detection, raise awareness through education, and recognize the survivors who have gone through this battle or are still living with the disease.

Social Security stands strong in support of the fight against cancer. The agency offers services to patients dealing with this disease through its disability and Compassionate Allowances programs. Compassionate Allowances are cases with medical conditions so severe they obviously meet Social Security’s disability standards, allowing cases to be processed quickly with minimal medical information. Many cancers are on our Compassionate Allowance list.

There’s no special application or form you need to submit for Compassionate Allowances. Simply apply for disability benefits using the standard Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application. Once you are identified as having a Compassionate Allowances condition, they’ll expedite your disability application.

Social Security establishes new Compassionate Allowances conditions using information received at public outreach hearings, from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, from medical and scientific experts, and from data based on our research. For more information about Compassionate Allowances, including the list of eligible conditions, visit  

If you think you qualify for disability benefits based on a Compassionate Allowances condition, visit to apply for benefits.

Editor’s Note: The author Robert G. Rodriguez is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in New Britain , CT


Lyme Farmers Market Now Open for Season, Saturday Mornings

Fresh vegetables galore will be on sale again at Lyme Farmers Market on June 4.

Fresh vegetables galore will be on sale again at Lyme Farmers Market on June 4.

Contrary to an announcement made last year, the Lyme Farmers Market will re-open for the 2016 season on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. at Ashlawn Farm in Lyme. It is the only market in New London County to be held on a working farm and its mission is to promote sustainable agriculture with locally-grown and -produced food, crafts, and specialty products.

New_logoOnce again, vendors from the past 14 years will be present, along with several new ones. Market-goers will enjoy high quality organic produce, along with baked goods, seafood, meats, wine, and handcrafts.

Charles Dahlke and Nick Lussier of The Brazen Youth will perform on opening day.

Mark and Alisa Mierzejewski of Burgis Brook Alpacas will serve as Market Masters, scheduling vendors and coordinating the market field with jewelry designer Melissa Punzalan. Alisa Mierzejewski is also producing the market’s website and weekly newsletter.

In March of last year, Ashlawn Farm owner Chip Dahlke announced that after 14 years of operation, 2015 would be the last season. However,

Dagmars Desserts will be tempting us all once more with their delicious pastries.

Dagmars Desserts will be tempting us all once more with their delicious pastries.

vendors and customers expressed so much interest in keeping the market alive that he reconsidered. Dahlke’s next idea was to reorganize the market as a non-profit entity, able to accept contributions and apply for grants to promote sustainable agriculture.

Mary Stone of Old Lyme offered to undertake the work to incorporate the market as a non-profit and other procedures necessary to re-open, including coordinating the market’s business operations.


Coast Guard to Offer Safe Boating Class in Essex, June 18

As part of its effort to educate the public about safe boating practices, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer a four-hour course on Navigation and Chart Reading at Essex Public Library in Essex on Saturday, June 18.
The course will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the registration fee will be $40 per person. This course is a practical hands-on course on chart reading and navigation, essential skills for any boater. Space is limited and all navigation and chart reading materials will be provided.
For more information or to register, contact Auxiliarist Frank Connolly at or (860) 342-1084. Preregistration is required.
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary has served as the civilian, uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard for over 75 years. The 30,000 volunteer members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary donate millions of hours in support of Coast Guard missions, such as search & rescue, public education and maritime domain awareness. For more information, please visit

Theater Along the River Returns with “Edward III,” June 18

King_Edward_III_from_NPG 1

King Edward III


On Saturday, June 18, the Connecticut River Museum’s Theater Along the River kicks off with the Flock Theatre production of William Shakespeare’s Edward III. This year’s summertime series is once again made possible through the generous support of the Essex Wellness Center.

The Raigne of King Edward the Third (typically abbreviated as Edward III) centers on the life of the eponymous English monarch as he faces the threat of a rebellious Scotland while simultaneously laying claim to the French throne, starting the Hundred Years War in the process. Originally printed anonymously in 1596, the author’s identity has been a subject of some debate, though scholars now generally agree that the play is the work of William Shakespeare collaborating with fellow playwright Thomas Kyd.

According to director Derron Wood, “We are pleased to return for a third year to the Connecticut River Museum. It offers a spellbinding backdrop for outdoor theater and allows us to reach a new audience.”

The Connecticut River Museum’s executive director, Christopher Dobbs, said, “Flock Theatre is a master of Shakespeare. We feel fortunate to offer this level of entertainment at the museum and hope that the audience enjoys the production and its backdrop – the river.” Dobbs was quick to note that the museum is only able to host this event and keep the ticket prices reasonable for all ages to enjoy through the “generosity of lead sponsor, the Essex Wellness Center.” Essex Wellness Center offers a range of holistic-minded health services, including Fitness on the Water, a beautiful, private workout studio.

The museum’s grounds will open at 6 p.m. for picnickers to lay out blankets and chairs. Museum staff encourage the audience to make the picnic part of the experience. In fact, there will be a special prize awarded to the “best” picnic arrangement.

Tickets are $18 for the general public and $10 for children (12 and under) and $12 for Connecticut River Museum members. A cash bar serving beer and wine will be available for theatergoers. No carry-in alcohol is permitted. Tickets may be bought at or at the door starting at 6 p.m. the night of the performance. Curtain opens at 7 p.m., with a raindate of June 19.

A second evening of Theater Along the River will be held on Friday, Aug. 5, when Flock Theatre will be performing Shakespeare’s popular comedy, Taming of the Shrew.

Flock Theatre is a professional, not-for-profit theater company founded in 1989. The company is dedicated to creating original, collaborative and educational theater. Perhaps best known for the long-standing summer Shakespeare in the Arboretum, Flock Theatre performs year-round in a variety of venues, including their winter “nest” at the First Congregational Church, on the New London Pier, at the historic Shaw Mansion Museum and throughout New England.

For more information on the programs, please contact the Connecticut River Museum at 860-767-8269 or visit the website, The museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex.


Singers Invited to First ‘Summer Sing’ of the Season: Mozart’s “Requiem” on June 13

MozartOLD SAYBROOK — The first ‘Summer Sing of the season’ will feature Barry Asch of Cappella Cantorum directing Mozart’s “Requiem” on Monday, June 13, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Road, Old Saybrook.

The event, which features professional soloists, is co-sponsored by two shoreline choral groups, Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio.

All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work. Registration is at 7 p.m.; the sing begins at 7:30. An $8 fee covers the costs of the event. Scores will be available, bring yours if you have it. The church is air-conditioned.

For more information, call (860) 388-4110 or (860) 434-9135 or visit or


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, “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!


Law Enforcement Officers to Carry Torch for Special Olympics Across CT, June 8-10

LETR_Mark_Connecticut_Color_1.1The 30th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut will take place Wednesday through Friday, June 8 through 10, in communities across the state. Officers will volunteer their time to serve as torchbearers and carry the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” through their towns and cities to raise awareness and funds to benefit Special Olympics athletes and inspire communities to accept and respect people of all abilities. To find out more about the Law Enforcement Torch Run, including dates and times it will be coming through your town, visit

Over 1,500 local law enforcement officers are expected to participate in the Run, along with Special Olympics athletes in some areas, and cover more than 530 miles. Spectators are encouraged to come out and cheer on their local officers and show their support for the Special Olympics movement. In addition, and also to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Torch Run in Connecticut, rallies will take place at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Day 1 and at the State Capitol on Day 2 of the Run.

The three-day event will conclude at Southern Connecticut State University on Friday, June 10, when officers will run a “Final Leg” into Jess Dow Field on the university’s campus and light the ceremonial cauldron during Opening Ceremonies for the 2016 Special Olympics Connecticut Summer Games, which begin at 7:15 p.m.

Over 2,400 athletes and Unified Sport® partners are expected to participate in Summer Games and compete in cycling, swimming, soccer, tennis and track & field throughout the weekend at Southern Connecticut State University, 501 Crescent Avenue, New Haven and Hamden Hall Athletic Fields, 225 Skiff Street, Hamden. The public is invited and encouraged to attend Opening Ceremonies and Summer Games events throughout the weekend at no cost.

For more information about the Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Connecticut, visit, email specialolympicsct@soct or call 203-230-1201. And, follow Special Olympics Connecticut and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Law Enforcement Torch Run Platinum Sponsor include Dream Ride, JN Phillips Auto Glass, The Bearingstar Insurance Charitable Fund, Whelen Engineering and WWE. Gold Sponsors are Adams Hometown Markets / IGA Hometown Supermarkets and Papa’s Dodge. Media Sponsors are NBC Connecticut, iHeart Radio Connecticut and the New Haven Register.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Connecticut is one of the movement’s largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicles. This year-round program involves law enforcement officers from across the state who volunteer their time to raise awareness and funds through events including Tip-a-Cops, Cop-on-Tops, and Jail N’ Bail fundraisers.In addition, each year in June, over 1,500 officers and athletes carry the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” through hundreds of cities and towns across the state, and run the Final Leg as part of Opening Ceremonies for the Special Olympics Connecticut Summer Games.




New Location in Old Lyme Announced for CT Valley Camera Club Meetings

“Within a Water Drop” by Diane Roberts, one of the photographs to be exhibited by the CT Valley Camera Club in Chester.

“Within a Water Drop” by Diane Roberts, one of the photographs to be exhibited by the CT Valley Camera Club in Chester.

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club will host all future meetings at the Lymes’ Senior Center on Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of every month. Meetings and exhibits are free and open to the public.

The club will be exhibiting at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek through July 23. Join club members for the opening reception to be held on Sunday, May 15, from 3 to 5 p.m. at 55 East Kings Highway, Chester.

For further information, call Ed McCaffrey at 860-767-3521.


Lyme Library Board President Steps Down After 31 Years

Lyme Library Board President Judith Lightfoot is retiring after more than 30 years service.

Lyme Library Board President Judith Lightfoot is retiring after more than 30 years service.

After more than three decades of service to the Lyme Public Library, Judith Lightfoot has announced her intention to resign as board president this spring. Jack Sulger, a library trustee, will take over from Lightfoot.

Lightfoot’s resignation comes a year and a half after the opening of the library’s new, 6,800-square-foot, state-of-the-art building near Lyme Town Hall, an undertaking she first championed and then helped shepherd through construction and completion.

“Under Judy’s leadership, the library has evolved into a dynamic and modern institution that still retains its small-town charm, and the new library building for which she advocated so passionately for so many years is now a reality,” said Theresa Conley, Lyme Public Library Director. “It has been a privilege to work with and learn from her.”

Lightfoot was first appointed to the Lyme Public Library Board in April 1985 and was elected board president in 1989. During her 31 years of service, the library has won the Award of Excellence for Small Libraries, Excellence in Public Library Service Award, and the Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge Award.

In addition to moving into its new, larger, and more modern headquarters, the library has grown in ways that Lightfoot finds particularly important, becoming a busy, popular destination and gathering space for patrons of all ages. It has also become a community center where the unique qualities of Lyme and its residents can be adequately celebrated and honored.

The new building has several meeting rooms, including a large program room where large-scale events are regularly held, from author talks, poetry readings, and book groups for adults to reading, art, and science programs for children. The library also has a designated archive room, where the Lyme Local History Archives and the town archivist are now headquartered.

Lightfoot, a quintessential people person, was instrumental in inspiring others to support the library, its programs, and its mission. She and her husband, Richard, helped create a series of community-building and fund-raising initiatives for the library, including a popular concert and Mystery Dinner event, a centennial lecture series, panel discussions with local authors, and a tour of Lyme artists’ studios. 

In part through her efforts to promote and honor local talents, the library became the beneficiary of several important donations and collections. The late author Dominick Dunne, a Lyme resident and patron of the library, donated all the videos he had reviewed for the Oscars to the library, and the Jewett family donated 500 gardening books from the collection of the late Tucky Jewett.

The library has also received several important works of art, adding to its impressive collection of paintings by Lyme artists. Recent donations include a Lyme landscape by the late painter Barbara Eckhardt Goodwin and a collection of four collages by Judy Friday, two of the artists featured in the first Lyme Artist Studio Tour. This winter, Elizabeth Enders, featured in the second Lyme Artist Studio Tour, donated a contemporary landscape.

Lightfoot, who moved to Lyme with her husband and four children in 1976, has also served the local and broader community through her work with High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, where she served for many years as president and trustee. In addition, she served as president and trustee of North American Riding for the Handicapped of Denver, President and trustee of Horses and Humans Foundation of Cleveland, President and member of the Westchester, N.Y., Council of Junior Leagues, Secretary and trustee of the Hopkins School, New Haven, and Secretary and director of the Lyme Public Library Foundation.

For her many volunteer efforts, Lightfoot has received several awards, including the James Brady Award from North American Riding for the Handicapped and the Hartford Courant Volunteer of the Year Award. In 1990, she was invited to attend the White House signing of the American with Disabilities Act 1990.

Lightfoot, who has four children and 13 grandchildren, said she feels this is the right time to step down from her position on the library Board. “It has been a pleasure to serve the library for three decades,” she said. “I have so enjoyed watching it grow and thrive, and I am thrilled to be leaving it in the capable hands of my colleagues, Library Director Theresa Conley and incoming Board President Jack Sulger.”


Essex Savings Bank Announces 2016 Community Investment Balloting Results

essex-savings-bank-300x99Results from Essex Savings Bank’s customers recent voting in the Bank’s Community Investment Program were announced at a meeting of employees, directors and trustees at the Bank’s Plains Road Office on April 12. According to Thomas Lindner, Vice President and Community Relations Officer for Essex Savings Bank, 7,206 votes were cast this year for a total of $33,001.

The non-profits that received the top ten number of votes were in attendance for special recognition. They are, in order: Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Forgotten Felines, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Valley Shore Animal Welfare League, Old Saybrook Fire Company Number One, Bikes for Kids, Dog Days Adoption Events, Essex Fire Engine Company Number 1, Tait’s Every Animal Matters (TEAM) and Pet Connections. See full results here.

The customer balloting portion of Essex Savings Bank’s 2016 Community Investment Program began on February 1 and concluded on February 29. The program entitled the bank’s customers to select up to three charities from this year’s list of 80 qualified non-profit organizations. Fund allocations are awarded based on the results of these votes.

Gregory R. Shook, President and Chief Executive Officer of Essex Savings Bank, said, “As we celebrate our 165th year of operation, we are proud to share in our success by giving back. Our Community Investment Program is designed to provide vital financial support to those organizations that enhance the quality of life in our communities.”

Each year the bank donates up to 10 percent of its net income to non-profit organizations within the immediate market area consisting of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme, Madison, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Since the program’s inception in 1996, the bank has donated over $4 million to well over 200 organizations. This year, the bank has allocated $110,000 to assisting non-profit organizations who offer outstanding services to our community and one third of that amount is then voted upon by the bank’s customers.

Editor’s note: Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial, estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Department and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC.


“Invaders” Exhibit Now Open at CT River Museum

Sponsors of the exhibit gathered for a sneak peek prior to the Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water exhibit opening at the Connecticut River Museum. From left to right are: John Lombardo, Stephen Tagliatela, and Viola Tagliatela from Saybrook Point Inn and Spa; Thayer Talbot from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Representative Phil Miller; Cynthia Clegg from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Joanne Masin and Christopher Dobbs from the Connecticut River Museum; Brenda Kestenbaum from Eyewitness News (WFSB); and Tony Marino and Marilyn Ozols from the Rockfall Foundation.

Sponsors of the exhibit gathered for a sneak peek prior to the Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water exhibit opening at the Connecticut River Museum. From left to right are: John Lombardo, Stephen Tagliatela, and Viola Tagliatela from Saybrook Point Inn and Spa; Thayer Talbot from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Representative Phil Miller; Cynthia Clegg from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Joanne Masin and Christopher Dobbs from the Connecticut River Museum; Brenda Kestenbaum from Eyewitness News (WFSB); and Tony Marino and Marilyn Ozols from the Rockfall Foundation.

On Thursday night, March 31, the Connecticut River Museum unveiled its 2016 feature exhibit, Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water. The exhibit explores one of the most significant threats today to the 410-mile-long Connecticut River Valley: invasive species.

Representative Phil Miller was one of many honored public figures and supporters in attendance. Miller said, “I’m thrilled that the State of Connecticut was able to provide some support for this important project and I encourage everyone to come out and see this great show. Building public awareness is a big part of the solution to the problem of invasive species.”

The vibrantly campy, yet serious exhibit was in production for two years and involved numerous organizations including Channel 3 Eyewitness News, the Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, the Connecticut DEEP Marine Fisheries Division, and the Long Island Sound Study. Stunned by the creative energy and theatrical elements of the exhibit, one observer said, “Move over Universal Studios.”

Taking on the feel of a classic, 1950s Ed Wood science fiction monster movie, the exhibit explores the many air, land and water invasive species to our region. Critical environmental, economic and recreational impacts are highlighted and help to answer why we should care about this invasion. More importantly, according to the museum’s executive director Christopher Dobbs, “The exhibit provides information on how we can make a difference by changing our habits, identifying invasive species before they are established, and getting involved with environmental organizations such as local land trusts.”

Stephen Tagliatela, owner of Saybrook Point Inn, said, “We are proud to support this kind of effort. The Connecticut River is one of our great regional and national assets. It is something that brings visitors to the area and it is our duty to ensure its vitality.”

The Invaders exhibit is on public display now through Oct.10. It has been made possible by Presenting Sponsor Long Island Sound Study. Other dedicated sponsors include: Channel 3 Eyewitness News; the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation; the Rockfall Foundation; the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Tourism; the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa; the Edgard & Geraldine Feder Foundation; and the many supporters of the Connecticut River Museum.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley.


Hundreds Vigil for Late First Selectman Richard Smith, Selectmen to Meet Thursday to Discuss Succession

Candles are lit in honor of " a remarkable legacy to service, commitment, and dedication to the people of Deep River." Photo by Kim Tyler.

Candles are lit in honor of Dick Smith’s “… remarkable legacy to service, commitment, and dedication to the people of Deep River.” (Angus McDonald Jr.) Photo by Kim Tyler.

DEEP RIVER — The town showed its affection and appreciation for the late First Selectman Richard H. “Smitty” Smith Monday as hundreds gathered at sunset around town hall in a vigil for the longtime municipal leader who died suddenly Friday at age 65.

Hundreds gathered at Deep River Town Hall yesterday evening to pay tribute to their beloved First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday afternoon.Hundreds gathered at Deep River Town Hall Monday evening to pay tribute to their beloved First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday afternoon.

The vigil, which precedes the funeral for Smith Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Church in Chester, came as the two remaining members of the board of selectman, Democrat Angus McDonald Jr. and Republican David Oliveria, scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to discuss the process for filling the vacancy for the remainder of Smith’s term that runs through November 2017.

A quiet, candlelit moment of contemplation on a life well lived.A quiet, candlelit moment of contemplation on a life well lived. Photo by Kim Tyler.

McDonald, who joined Oliveria to meet with town hall employees Monday afternoon, said the special meeting that begins at 5:30 p.m. in town hall would review “temporary organizational changes to cover leadership in the coming month.” McDonald, who was first elected with Smith in 2011, said he and Oliveria are still discussing who would assume the full-time job of interim first selectman through the unexpired term. The appointment of either McDonald or Oliveria to the top job would also create a new vacancy on the board of selectman.

A boy sets a candle in remembrance of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away last Friday, March 25.During the vigil, a boy places a candle on the town hall steps in remembrance of Deep River First Selectman Dick Smith, who passed away Friday, March 25. Photo by Kim Tyler.

“Dick Smith leaves a remarkable legacy to service, commitment, and dedication to the people of Deep River,” McDonald said. “While we know we can never replace him, we have an obligation to our community to move quickly to fill the vacancy.”

Photo by Kim Tyler.Candles light the faces of those gathered to remember Deep River First Selectman Richard “Smitty” Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Town officials from both political parties joined elected officials from around the state in praising Smith, a Democrat whose 26-year tenure made him one of the longest serving municipal chief elected officials for both Middlesex County and the entire state. A South Carolina native who arrived in Connecticut around 1970, Smith was elected first selectman in 1989, and had been unopposed for a 14th consecutive term in the town election last fall. Smith had also served as a part-time town police officer since 1973.

Candles and roses are held in remembrance of Richard “Smitty” Smith at Monday night’s vigil. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Oliveria, first elected to the board in 2009, said Smith had done “an incredible job as first selectman running all aspects of the town.” Town Treasurer Tom Lindner, a Republican who was elected to the part-time position in 1989, said Smith was “always there for everybody in Deep River.”

State Senator Phil Miller addresses the vigil participants.State Senator Phil Miller speaks at Monday’s vigil. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Speakers at the vigil, where residents of Deep River and other nearby towns held lighted candles and roses in honor of the longtime town leader, recalled Smith’s tireless dedication to the town and its people. Jonathan Kastner, the first selectman’s assistant and friend, said Smith was “a problem solver who somehow found a way to keep adversaries from being too adversarial.” State Rep. Phil Miller, a former first selectman of Essex, said Smith was “a role model for anyone in any kind of public service.”

Photo by Kim Tyler.Remembering a leader who Sen. Phil Miller described as, “a role model for anyone in any kind of public service.” Photo by Kim Tyler.

Smith built a record of accomplishment that changed and improved Deep River during his 26 years as first selectman. There is the row of fully occupied industrial buildings at the Plattwood Park Industrial Area off Rte. 80, a 20-year- development process where Smith earned statewide recognition for using state and federal grant funds to construct buildings for small or start-up businesses as a way to help grow the town’s tax base. One of Smith’s most recent accomplishments was a Main Street redevelopment effort that began in 2005, and concluded in 2009 with construction of a Walgreen’s pharmacy on the former Deep River Inn parcel, along with various streetscape improvements for the entire length of Main Street.

Photo by Kim Tyler.Richard “Smitty” Smith: In Memoriam. Photo by Kim Tyler.

State statute gives the two remaining selectmen up to 30 days from March 26, the day after Smith’s death, to appoint an interim first selectman who would serve until November 2017. The appointment could be forced to a special election by a petition with signatures from five percent of the town’s total voter registration, or about 158 voter signatures, that must be submitted within 15 days after any appointment to fill the vacancy.

Roses in remembrance of Richard "Smitty" Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.Roses in remembrance of Richard “Smitty” Smith. Photo by Kim Tyler.

Editor’s Note: Deep River resident and professional photographer Kim Tyler, who graciously supplied all of the photos published in this article to, has also generously agreed to make many of the photos that she took at the vigil available to our readers at no charge. We applaud her wonderful act of public service. The photos have now been uploaded at this link. For more information about Kim Tyler Photography, visit