March 29, 2017

Lyme Public Hall Celebrates Earth Day with Town-Wide Clean Up, April 1-23

The Lyme Public Hall Association and the Town of Lyme are sponsoring a town-wide roadside clean-up April 1 through 23 in celebration of Earth Day.  Plastic trash bags will be available free to the public at the Hadlyme Country Store at the corner of Ferry Road and Rte. 82.  Bags can also be obtained at the Reynolds Store at 254 Hamburg Rd. (Rte. 156) in Lyme, the Lyme Public Library, and the Lyme Town Hall.

Residents are invited to collect litter that has accumulated along the roads over the winter months. The Town of Lyme will pick up bags left along the road side. Trash bags will be available after April 1.

For more information call 860 526-8886 or email wdenow@comcast.com.

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Old Lyme Churches Host Community Dinner to Raise Awareness, Support for Syrian Refugee Family Resettlement in Lyme, Saturday


The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Christ the King Church and Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church will hold a joint community dinner – featuring a smorgasbord of traditional Syrian foods and dishes – at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at Christ The King Church. The aim of the dinner is to help raise awareness and support for the churches’ efforts to resettle a second family of Syrian refugees in Lyme.

There is no charge to attend and enjoy the community dinner; admission is free.  An offering will be taken up during the meal to allow anyone who would like to contribute to the churches’ ongoing Syrian family relocation efforts to do so.

The meal will be prepared by members of the Hamou family – the first family of Syrian refugees that the churches helped resettle to the Old Lyme community last year – and served with the assistance of congregation members.

The churches encourage residents who would like to attend the dinner to RSVP via email to any of the church offices:  FCCOL, fccol@fccol.org; Christ the King Church, ctkoldlyme@aol.com; Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church, office@saintannsoldlyme.org.

Steven Jungkeit, Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

In announcing the community dinner, FCCOL Pastor Steve Jungkeit said, “The images of the horrific refugee crisis in the Middle East have touched the hearts of so many of us in Old Lyme.  We were proud to link arms with our friends at Christ the King Church and Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church to sponsor the resettlement of the Hamou family – to help the family into a new home, schools and jobs here in Old Lyme.”

Jungkeit continued, “It’s been a rewarding experience for everyone involved.  And now the Hamou family is joining with us to help our churches rescue another Syrian refugee family from warfare and persecution.  I am incredibly proud of the community of Old Lyme and invite everyone to join us for this fund-raising dinner.”

For more information, visit FCCOL at www.fccol.org, Christ the King Church at https://www.christthekingchurch.net, and Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church at http://saintannsoldlyme.org.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women Announce ‘Juleps & Jockeys’ Fundraiser, May 6

Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club (LOLJWC) has announced its major fundraiser for 2017.

Come place your bets and watch the Kentucky Derby with the LOLJWC at Juleps & Jockeys, which will be held at the Lyme Art Association on Saturday May 6, from 5:30 p.m.

Drink, eat, dance and, of course, bid on some great silent auction items.  All proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit the Lyme-Old Lyme Love Your Playground Project. Tickets are now available at this link.

Silent auction items are starting to arrive — check out the Juleps & Jockeys page to see all the great items already donated.

Do you have any goods that you would be willing to donate to the silent auction or would you care to be a sponsor?  There is a wide array of sponsorship levels.

Contact LOLJWC at loljrwomensclub@gmail.com for more information.

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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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Lyme Library Presents ‘Up Close with Raptors,’ March 25

Blue Moon Raptors is an organization geared to rehabilitate ill, injured, and orphaned birds of prey in order to return them back to their natural habitat when possible. Rose Cresi, founder of Blue Moon Raptors, will give a presentation at Lyme Public Library, Saturday, March 25, at 2 p.m. at which she will have several live birds with her – two kestrels (who have been brought to her from Maine for rehabilitation), a barn owl and two other birds of prey. She will discuss the birds, rehabilitation of the birds and in addition, talk about the important role the birds have in our ecosystem.

In addition, Cresi will cover what we can do to preserve the environment so raptors may continue to enrich our planet.

All are welcome at the Library, 482 Hamburg Rd./Rte. 156, Lyme.

Call 860-434-2272 for more information and to register.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce Invites Applications from High School Seniors for Two Scholarships


One Scholarship Recognizes Business Leadership, Second is for Promise and Achievement in the Arts

The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Chamber of Commerce is offering two scholarships this year to high school seniors who are resident in Lyme or Old Lyme and either currently attending an accredited high school or pursuing a home school program. The two scholarships are the Business Leadership Senior Scholarship and the Senior Scholarship for Promise and Achievement in the Arts.  The Chamber’s intent is to present a single award of $1,000 for each scholarship. The Chamber, however, reserves the right to change the amount of the award and/or to make additional awards if deemed appropriate.

For both scholarships, the applicant must submit the appropriate application form, both of which are available in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Guidance Office or online on the Chamber’s website at www.visitoldlyme.com.

For the Business Leadership Senior Scholarship, the applicant must have demonstrated achievement in economics, business, technology, or a closely related area; be entering college in fall 2017 to pursue a career in a business-related field, and demonstrate the use of his/her skills in a community setting that requires an ability to balance and integrate academics with community service and/or paid employment: for example, in an internship, a part-time job, a business or a nonprofit organization.

For the Senior Scholarship for Promise and Achievement in the Arts, the applicant must have demonstrated achievement in the arts; be entering college in fall 2017 to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts or equivalent degree at a recognized art school or college, and demonstrate the use of his/her skills in a community setting that requires an ability to balance and integrate art and academics with community service and/or paid employment: for example, in an internship, a part-time job, a business or a non-profit organization.

The LOL Chamber of Commerce Scholarship program has awarded over $33,000 in scholarships and grants to local students since its inception. The Chamber Scholarship Fund is supported through donations to CMRK clothing donation bins located in Lyme and Old Lyme: at the Lyme Firehouse, behind The Bowerbird, at 151 Boston Post Rd., and on Rte. 156 at Shoreline Mowers.

For more information about the scholarship program, contact LOL Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs Russ Gomes at russgo@2289@aol.com or  Olwen Logan at olwenlogan@gmail.com or 860.460.4176.

For more information about the LOL Chamber of Commerce, visit www.visitoldlyme.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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Women Playwright’s Initiative Taking Shape at Ivoryton Playhouse, Director Submissions Now Sought

In February 2016, Laura Copland, Director of Play Development, and Jacqui Hubbard, Executive/Artistic Director of The Ivoryton Playhouse, began talks about creating a safe environment for women playwrights to workshop their plays with professional actors and directors. The Ivoryton Playhouse is excited to announce the 2017 inaugural festival of the Women Playwright’s Initiative. The workshopping festival runs from Feb. 26 to March 4, 2017. Staged readings of the winning scripts will take place on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4, 2017 at The Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT, followed by discussions with playwrights, actors and directors.

A call for one act plays went out on the League of Professional Theatre Women’s website and was picked up across the country. By the submission deadline of Sept. 15, the Initiative received 183 scripts. The scripts hailed from all over the United States and Canada, even Israel.

For Ms. Copland, who read all of the plays, this experience has been humbling and inspiring. “All these women!  All these women expressing in dialogue and conflict, their passion, intelligence, yearning, anger, hurt, love, and humor. Women are a force! It has been my honor to read their work.”

The time constraints of one week rehearsal and two nights of staged readings permitted no more than two hour-long plays, and two shorter plays. After wrenching deliberation, thirteen plays were under consideration. Many fascinating plays with potential had to be eliminated. The small committee included Ms. Copland, Ms. Hubbard, Susan McCann, Box Office Manager at The Ivoryton Playhouse, Margaret McGlone Jennings, director, teacher and actor and Brooks Appelbaum, director and theatre critic.

Four terrific plays were selected. The committee is proud of the choices and looks forward to working with the playwrights, cast, and directors in what we hope will be a successful inaugural season of the Ivoryton Playhouse’s Women Playwright’s Initiative.

The Playhouse is now seeking submissions from local directors. The deadline for resume submissions is Nov. 30, 2016. Submit to Laura Copland at laurac@ivorytonplayhouse.org. (Calls for local actors will be in January, 2017.)

For more information about the Women’s Playwright Initiative, contact Jacqueline Hubbard, Executive Director, The Ivoryton Playhouse, at 860-767-9502 or jhubbard@ivorytonplayhouse.org

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It’s Thanksgiving … so Let’s Talk Turkey

As you busy yourself making plans for today’s feast, we would like to wish all our readers a very Happy Thanksgiving and to republish a pertinent article about the evolution of this quintessential American meal that our good friend — and wonderful writer — Linda Ahnert of Old Lyme wrote for us back in 2007.

Who Doesn’t Love Thanksgiving?

Giving thanks_bookA few years ago, a book entitled “Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie” was published.  The co-authors are Kathleen Curtin, food historian at the Plimoth Plantation, Mass., and Sandra L. Oliver, food historian and publisher of the newsletter “Food History News.”

The book is a fascinating look at how an autumnal feast evolved into a “quintessential American holiday.”

Most Americans, introduced to the story of the Pilgrims and Indians during childhood, assume there is a direct link between the traditional holiday menu and the first Thanksgiving.  But we learn from the book that many of those food items—such as mashed potatoes and apple pie—were simply impossible in Plymouth, Mass., in 1621.  Potatoes were not introduced to New England until much later and those first settlers did not yet have ovens to bake pies.

What we do know about the bill of fare at the first celebration in 1621 comes from a letter written by colonist Edward Winslow to a friend in England:  “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.”

Later 90 Indians joined the party with “their great king Massasoit whom for three days we entertained and feasted.”  Then the Indians “went out and killed five deer which they brought to the plantation.”

So venison was a principal food on the menu.  It also seems safe to assume that mussels, clams, and lobsters (all in plentiful supply) were served as well.   According to other journals of the colonists, the “fowl” that Winslow described were probably ducks and geese.  But wild turkeys were also bountiful in 1621, and so it is very likely that they were on the Pilgrims’ table.  Thank goodness for that.

Throughout the New England colonies, it became common to proclaim a day of thanksgiving sometime in the autumn.  In period diaries, there are many descriptions of food preparation—such as butchering and pie baking—followed by the notation that “today was the general thanksgiving.”

By the 19th century, Americans were taking the idea of a “thanksgiving” to a whole new level.  The religious connotations were dropping away in favor of a holiday celebrating family and food.  Roast turkey had become the centerpiece of these fall celebrations.

Turkeys, of course, were native to North America.  (Benjamin Franklin, in a letter, had even proposed the turkey as the official U.S. bird!)  And turkey was considered to be a fashionable food back in the mother country.  Just think of the significance of turkey in Charles’ Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”  When Scrooge wakes up in a joyful mood on Christmas morning, he calls to a boy in the street to deliver the prize turkey in the poulterer’s shop to the Cratchit family.  (Earlier in the story, the poor Cratchits were dining on goose.)

It is thanks to a New England woman that Thanksgiving became an American holiday.  Sarah Hale was a native of New Hampshire and the editor of “Godey’s Lady’s  Book,”  a popular women’s magazine.  She lobbied for years for a national observance of Thanksgiving.  She wrote editorials and sent letters to the president, all state governors, and members of Congress.

Finally, in 1863, she convinced Abraham Lincoln that a national Thanksgiving Day might help to unite the Civil War-stricken country.   The fourth Thursday in November was now officially on the American calendar.

Connecticut’s own Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this description of a New England Thanksgiving in one of her novels—“But who shall . . .describe the turkey, and chickens, and chicken pies, with all that endless variety of vegetables which the American soil and climate have contributed to the table . . . After the meat came the plum-puddings, and then the endless array of pies. . .”

The autumnal feast became a national holiday, but each region of the country put its own spin on the menu.   Not to mention that immigrants have also added diversity.  The result is a true “melting pot” of America.  The second half of “Giving Thanks” contains recipes that reflect what Americans eat for Thanksgiving in the 21st century.

In the South, for instance, the turkey might be stuffed with cornbread and there would be pecan and sweet potato pies on the table.  In New Mexico, chiles and Southwestern flavors may be added to the stuffing.

There’s the “time-honored traditional bread stuffing” recipe.  There’s also one for a Chinese American rice dressing and directions for a Cuban turkey stuffed with black beans and rice.  Desserts run the gamut from an (authentic) Indian pudding to an (exotic) coconut rice pudding.  Old-fashioned pumpkin pie is included as well as the newfangled pumpkin cheesecake.

But no matter what food items grace our Thanksgiving tables, it seems that we all end up stuffing ourselves silly.  Perhaps overeating started at that very first harvest celebration in 1621.  In Edward Winslow’s letter describing the feast with the Indians, he noted that food was not always this plentiful. But he wrote his friend in England “ … yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

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Honoring Veterans Throughout Our Community

Poppy-Royal_British_Legion's_Paper_Poppy_-_white_backgroundLyme-Old Lyme Schools are open today with each school hosting a program to honor our veterans as follows:

Lyme Consolidated School
1:00 -2:00 pm: Tea
2:00- 3:10 p.m: Town Meeting Assembly

Mile Creek School
2:00 p.m: Assembly and Tea

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School
8:00-9:00 am: Breakfast
9:00-10:00 am: Assembly

Lyme-Old Lyme High School
10:30-11:15 am: Reception/refreshments followed by assembly

Both the Lyme and Old Lyme Town Hall offices along with the Lymes’ Senior Center and Old Lyme Transfer Station are closed today in honor of Veterans’ Day.

There is no change to the trash and recycling pick-up schedule in Old Lyme.

 

 

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Old Lyme Historical Society’s ‘Now & Then’ Calendar Now on Sale

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-8-51-21-amThe Old Lyme Historical Society (OLHS) will be hosting a Community Event this afternoon at their building at 55 Lyme Street from 4 to 6 p.m. to mark the release of the 2017 ‘Now & Then’ Community Calendar.
The 2017 calendar will be available for sale, refreshments will be served, music will be provided by Skip Beebe and weaving demonstrations will also be given by the Connecticut Handweavers Guild Area 4. A door prize will also be offered.
All are welcome and admission is free

For more information, visit www.olhsi.org.

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Literacy Volunteers Honor Volunteers with November Book Sale

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore (LVVS) honors volunteers everywhere with its November book sale. Volunteers are eligible for free books.

You make it possible by purchasing one book at full price and receiving another one free. As a bonus, LVVS will donate a free book to any volunteer who visits during the month of November.

Stop in and see what LVVS is all about — come browse, or just say “Hi”.

The organization is located in the lower level of Westbrook Library,  61 Goodspeed Dr. off Rte. 1. The sale is open from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and 1st and 3rd  Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Visit www.vsliteracy.org  or call 860-399-0280 for more information.

Finished with your book?  Consider donating it to LVVS — all books in good shape 2006 or newer are gratefully accepted.

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