November 18, 2017

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

Greg Stroud

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

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

Keep everything crossed at this point, dear readers!

Read Radelat’s full article at this link.

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

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

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

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

For more details, contact maren@snet.net.

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Remembering Walter Kaylin: “Already a Legend”

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

Walter Kaylin 06.28.1921 – 02.15.2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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9 Town Transit Partners with Google Maps for Online Trip Planning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greatest Gains for Seniors

Volunteering has health benefits — especially for seniors!

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

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

Studies in UK

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

Impact on Chronic Illness and Longevity

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

A United Health Group survey showed these striking figures:

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

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

Come Join the Common Good Gardens

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

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

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

Common Good Gardens by the numbers

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

Many hands make light work at the Common Good Gardens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Victims Involved in Stabbing at Big Y Identified

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Estuary Center Seeks Volunteers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Evening Dance Class Offered Thursdays at the Estuary Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Recycling in Old Lyme: Getting Rid of Mattresses

mattresses
LymeLine.com is pleased to be publishing a series of articles written by Old Lyme’s Solid Waste & Recycling Committee that lay out best recycling practices.  To date, the committee’s articles have covered Old Lyme’s curbside trash and recycling programs; the safe disposal of medications; and paint recycling.  This article covers the recycling of mattresses and box springs.

The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), which is the trade association for the mattress industry, estimates that 35 to 40 million new mattresses and box springs are sold in the United States every year, and at least 15 to 20 million are discarded.

Unfortunately, mattresses are really hard to throw out; there is just no easy way to dispose of them.  They are difficult to land-fill because they can’t be easily compressed and crushed; they pose challenges for incinerators.

So, disposal of mattresses and box springs at the end of their useful life was difficult for towns to manage. Hartford estimated that mattress disposal cost that city about $400,000 in 2010.  Consequently, they are often illegally dumped and found on vacant lots and roadsides.  As a matter of fact, there was a mattress lawn ornament right here in Old Lyme on Rte. 156. It was only recently removed after gracing our roadside for several months. (Thanks, neighbor!)

Connecticut passed comprehensive mattress stewardship legislation in 2013 (the first state to do so.)  Similar to paint, the law requires mattress manufacturers to establish programs to manage unwanted mattresses and box springs; and, like paint, a fee is assessed at the point of sale to fund the program.  California and Rhode Island have since passed similar mattress stewardship laws.

The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) was formed by ISPA to operate recycling programs in the states that have such laws. Connecticut’s program launched in May, 2015.  “Bye Bye Mattress” (really!) is the recycling program established by MRC. They provide haulers that pick up and transport mattresses and box springs from drop-off sites to recycling centers. Our local drop-off site is Old Lyme’s transfer station.  There are currently mattress recycling facilities in East Hartford and Bridgeport; ours extends to East Hartford.  Mattresses get recycled through the state’s recycling program regardless of when they were purchased.  Note that most mattress retailers will remove your old mattress on delivery of new.

The industry estimates that nearly 90 percent of used mattress and box springs’ components can be recycled — the metal springs, foam, wood and fibers — and made into new useful products.

Before putting this topic to rest, it’s worthwhile to mention the issue of bed bugs. Infested mattresses require special handling.  If you have concerns regarding bed bugs you can find information and guidance from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection at http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2714&q=482160&deepNav_GID=1645%20#BedBugs or the Connecticut Coalition Against Bed Bugs at http://www.ct.gov/caes/cwp/view.asp?a=2826&q=437580.

Our next few articles will cover the proper recycling of electronics, tires, and bulky items like appliances and furniture.

If you have questions or comments, contact Leslie O’Connor at alete1@sbcglobal.net or Tom Gotowka at TDGotowka@aol.com.

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Nancy Larson Foundation Opens Applications for 2016 Education Scholarships

The Nancy Larson Foundation is currently accepting applications from college upperclassmen and graduate students preparing to be elementary school teachers.

The Nancy Larson Foundation, which is headquartered in Old Lyme, is dedicated to helping promising students majoring in elementary education.

Since its inception in 2006, the Foundation has awarded more than 50 scholarships to students across the country.

Eachyear the Foundation awards at least five $1,000 scholarships to deserving college students who excel in the classroom and their communities.

Nancy Larson is the author of two nationally successful curriculum programs: Nancy Larson® Science K–4 and Saxon Math K-4.

She feels that it is critical to support the development of young teachers who shape children’s minds and better position our country to become a leader in science and math.

“We want to provide a helping hand to aspiring teachers who have worked hard to position
themselves for anoutstanding career,’’ said Larson. “The Foundation works to positively affect the quality of education forthousands of students taught over the lifetime of our Nancy Larson Foundation Scholars.” Juniors, seniors, and graduate students who have declared an elementary education major are invited to apply.

They should submit a personal narrative about why they want to teach and what will make them excellent teachers.

Applicants are also asked to include community service activities as well as experiences they have had working with children. Applications are accepted from Oct.1 through Nov. 15, 2016. Applications must be completed in full and postmarked by Nov. 15 to be considered.

Scholarship recipients will be notified by Dec. 31, 2016.

Larson, a former teacher and curriculum director, has dedicated her life to advancing elementary education. Her original Saxon Math K–4 program  was developed because teachers needed a classroom-­tested math program that would prepare children for advanced math classes. In recent years, Nancy has used the same approach to develop Nancy Larson Science for kindergarten through fourth grade students.

The program was written to provide in ­depth science content in an easy-to-­teach format.

To learn more about the Nancy Larson Foundation and this scholarship opportunity, visit http://nancylarsonfoundation.org.

The Nancy Larson Foundation, founded in Old Lyme, CT, has a history of 10 years awarding prospectiveelementary educators scholarships to encourage and support their education. The Nancy Larson Foundation awards scholarships to the top entries.

For entry deadlines and requirements, or more information on the Foundation, visit http://nancylarsonfoundation.org.

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