March 21, 2018

Republican Ziobron Joins Race for 33rd State Senate Seat, District Includes Lyme

State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-34th) who has announced her candidacy for the State Senate 33rd District seat.

Republican State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-34th) has announced her candidacy for the 33rd State Senate District a day after Democratic Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (D) had announced his campaign for the same district. which includes the Town of Lyme.  This is Ziobron’s first run for a State Senate seat while Needleman ran unsuccessfully in 2016 for the 33rd District seat against then incumbent State Senator Republican Art Linares.

Linares is not seeking re-election in 2018 and has announced his candidacy for State Treasurer.

Ziobron is in her third term as State Representative for the 34th District comprising East Hampton, East Haddam and part of Colchester. Needleman is in his fourth as Essex First Selectman.

Ziobron explains in a letter to her supporters that her decision to run for the Senate seat represents, “a change in course,” so that she can rise to , “the greater challenge of serving as State Senator in the 33rdDistrict.” She notes, “This larger, 12-town district includes three towns I’ve been honored to represent — East Hampton, East Haddam and Colchester – and nine more in the Connecticut River Valley that I will be spending many hours meeting new friends and voters this spring.”

Ziobron says in her letter that the reason why she is running is simply, “Because I love the 34th State House District, and the CT River Valley Towns of the 33rd State Senate District, and our entire state – I want to see all of our friends and neighbors prosper.”  She mentions the challenges of the current budget situation and states, “It’s no secret we urgently need to address the state’s chronic over-spending!”

Laying out what she sees as the requirements of the incoming 33rd District State Senator, Ziobron writes, “We need a strong voice in the State Senate who: 1) is a proven fighter and has a reputation for putting their constituents first, fighting full-time for their small town communities, and 2) can immediately and effectively navigate the difficult legislative landscape, with the proven and dedicated commitment needed to focus on the budget, and 3) fights for fiscally conservative policies and has a record of implementing them, with bipartisan support, at the Capitol.”

Ziobron comments that she has, “thought a lot about one question,” which is, “How can I best help my state first survive over the near term, and then thrive over the long term?” She responds to her own question, “No matter which legislative chamber I serve, I will work to protect my district and offer the same high level of constituent service, and active community involvement – along with a laser-like focus on reducing wasteful and unneeded state spending,” concluding, “The bottom line: I can help more people in our state in service as your State Senator.”

Noting how well she knows the 33rd State Senate District, Ziobron describes it as, “an amazing treasure,” saying, “I’ve never imagined myself living anywhere else,” adding, “I’m thrilled for this opportunity to expand my many years of dedicated public service to this beautiful part of the state, I love.”

For more information on Ziobron, visit


Norm Needleman Announces Campaign for State Senate, 33rd State Senate District Includes Lyme

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman who yesterday announced a second run for the 33rd State Senate District.

Yesterday, Essex First Selectman and successful businessman Norm Needleman announced his campaign as a Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, promising to use his business and small town leadership experience to bring people together to get Connecticut back on track.

The seat will be vacant due to the incumbent Senator Art Linares (R) moving out of the District and announcing his candidacy for State Treasurer.

“Leading a small town and building a business taught me that the best way to get things done is to put people and their needs ahead of party politics,” said Needleman. “I respect taxpayers’ dollars because I know how hard you’ve worked to earn them.”

He continued, “That’s why as First Selectman, I brought Democrats and Republicans together, found consensus, solved problems, and kept property taxes among the lowest in the state without cutting services. If elected State Senator for the 33rd District, I will make a clean break from the decades of bickering and harmful policies that have come from Hartford, and I will get Connecticut working for the towns in our district.”

“As an elected town official, I’ve seen the work Norm does as the First Selectman of Essex,” said Colchester Selectman Rosemary Coyle. “Norm governs in a fiscally responsible manner, making sound decisions. His hands-on, small town government experience in the legislature will benefit our communities and help us build a brighter future for our children and families.”

Needleman, who campaigned for the seat in 2016, is currently in his fourth term as Essex First Selectman. He has over 20 years of experience advocating for his small town, having previously served as an Essex Selectman, a member of the Essex Zoning Board of Appeals, and a member of the Essex Economic Development Commission.

Needleman is also a member of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, helping the 17 member towns coordinate various government functions. He is also a board member of Valley Shore Emergency Communications, a center formed by local pubic safety professionals to handle emergency call processing and dispatching needs for communities throughout the region.

“Building a company from the ground up has given me invaluable experience on how to grow jobs and create a region where businesses want to start and thrive,” said Needleman. “I will be a State Senator who will create good-paying jobs in our towns and throughout Connecticut.”

Needleman founded Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company, 38 years ago. The company has grown to become a leader in its field, employing over 250 people. As a leading CEO in the region, he serves as a board member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. He is also a board member of Valley Shore Emergency Communications, a center formed by local pubic safety professionals to handle emergency call processing and dispatching needs for communities throughout the region.

“Norm asks the right questions, and is willing to listen to all options,” said Centerbrook businessman and Clinton resident Gary Stevens. “I believe that with Norm’s insight into the way that a successful business (his) is run and considering the wasteful and unnecessary spending habits of the State, he could go a long way to make the government a more responsible entity.” Stevens, an unaffiliated voter who has known Needleman since the 1980s, owns Stevens Excavating, Inc. and has worked with Needleman on numerous projects.

The 33rd State Senate District consists of the Town of Lyme along with the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and a portion of Old Saybrook.

Needleman lives in Essex with Jacqueline Hubbard, the Executive Director of the Ivoryton Playhouse. His two sons and their families also live in Essex.


CT Farmland Trust Announces Protection of New Mercies Farm in Lyme

Turning the soil with horses at New Mercies Farm.

Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) has recently announced the protection of New Mercies Farm in Lyme, Conn. The development rights were donated by a couple to CFT as part of their master plan for the farm and the community around them: to preserve the land for agricultural use, to provide wholesome food for the community, and to create an opportunity for young farmers to pursue their chosen profession.

New Mercies Farm is a small farm at 4.6 acres, but the compact size does not stop the farm managers from sustaining a 100-member Community Supported Agriculture venture. The farm, close to Beaver Brook and Cedar Lake, contains 100 percent important farmland soils.

In 2012, the Hornbakes purchased the property that was slated to be developed for several homesites. They bought the land to conserve it and created a farm where none was before, New Mercies Farm, named after a hymn.

Deborah is a distinguished sculptor and Rod is a physician. They are lifelong organic gardeners who have owned a cattle farm in the past. That has not stopped them from sharing their love and respect for farming. Rod Hornbake will tell you that, “Supporting young farmers is critical. Young people need and deserve our respect and support.”

After the Hornbakes purchased the property with the idea of protecting it and then selling it to a farmer, they found a beginner farmer with whom to enter into a lease-to-buy arrangement, and then leased the land to Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn. Drown, with her husband Ryan Quinn, already owns Upper Pond Farm one town over. Drown has brought her high energy and passion for excellent, nutritional food to the community just as the Hornbakes had hoped.

“The Hornbake’s goal to preserve a healthy farm then turn the ownership over to young farmers at an affordable cost is an inspiration,” said Elisabeth Moore, CFT’s Executive Director. The organization hopes that more land owners will think about conserving their land in 2018.

Deborah and her husband approached Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) in early 2017 to protect New Mercies Farm.  Although the farm is located in a suburban region ripe for housing developments, the family chose to donate for the development rights. CFT staff facilitated the preservation of the farmland. This is also the smallest farm CFT has protected and one of several vegetable farms. Deborah Hornbake is clear, “By accepting our gift of the development rights, the Connecticut Farmland Trust makes the farm affordable to the farmers.”

After closing, Deborah and Rod Hornbake will sell the protected farm to the young farm couple, Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn, who already manage the land. Drown says, “We are excited to continue the farming tradition in our community. We hope to work within our community to increase the quality and healthfulness of food on people’s plates in their home.” Drowns’ farming style is highly invested in Lyme-Old Lyme’s community and the community responds positively.

Since its founding in 2002, CFT has protected 43 farms, saving 3,364 acres. CFT is a private 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that relies on Connecticut residents to support its operations. CFT is Connecticut’s only statewide land trust, and the only land trust in the state dedicated solely to the protection of agricultural land.


CT River Museum Offers Range of Winter Wildlife Programs, Activities

Eagles on Ice: White-headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River. Photo by Mark Yuknat.

Winter along the Connecticut River brings many things – including cold winds and grey skies.  But the change in seasons also signals a shift in the ecology of New England’s Great River.  The osprey, the swallows and the egrets may be gone, but in their place now are mergansers, goldeneyes, and the highlight – bald eagles.  These once rare, majestic birds can be seen fishing along the unfrozen lower Connecticut River, a testament to one of the greatest environmental recoveries of the last half century.  To highlight these winter wonders, Connecticut River Museum (CRM) has planned a range of programs and activities.

Connecticut River Museum is happy to again partner with Connecticut River Expeditions to offer Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises in February and March.  These popular trips offer visitors a chance to get out on the River in winter to see eagles, as well as other winter species that visit the estuary such as harbor seals.

This seal is relaxing on the Connecticut River ice. Photo by Bill Yule.

Cruises aboard the environmentally friendly R/V RiverQuest provide passengers with a comfortable, heated cabin supplied with hot coffee and tea, as well as binoculars to aid in spotting and narration from a staff naturalist.  These cruises depart Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at various times in the morning and early afternoon, and are $42 per passenger.  Museum members get 10 percent off and group rates are available.

In addition, the Museum will offer its annual Eagles of Essex exhibit, which offers a wealth of information about bald eagles and their return to the lower Connecticut River.  Patrons can try their hand at building an eagle nest, and marvel at life size silhouettes of Eagles and other large raptors, a map showing good shore viewing locations, and other displays.  On the opening day of the season, Saturday, Feb. 3, the exhibit will host Family Activities related to the return of the Eagles from 1 to 4 p.m., free with Museum admission.

On Saturday, Feb. 17 and March 17, award-winning photographer Stanley Kolber returns to CRM to offer his annual Bird Photography Workshop.  Kolber has been photographing birds for years, and takes great pleasure in sharing his experience with aspiring photographers of all levels, through anecdotes, slides, and question and answer.  In addition to helping skills development, his greatest pleasure in giving workshops is the opportunity to kindle and encourage his audience’s interest in the natural world.  He hopes that young people as well as adults will attend the workshops, so that he can impart some of his own enthusiasm to the next generation.  These popular programs are also free with Museum admission.

Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months. Photo by Joan Meek.

A Live Birds of Prey Show will be offered on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m.  CRM will partner with Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation Organization for this annual show, which features a bald eagle and several other species of raptors.  Visitors will be able to get an up close look at the birds while learning more about the lifecycle and ecology of these magnificent animals.  This event will be held at the Centerbrook Meeting House and is free to the public.

For a full listing of event details, visit or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open Tuesday – Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Connecticut River Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For more information, call CRM at 860.767.8269 or RiverQuest at 860.662.0577.


Sincere Thanks to the ‘Key Retrievers’ at Old Lyme Town Hall

To the Editor:

I want to let you know what an amazing job Scott D’Amato and Lawrence Galbo did retrieving my keys from the storm drain in front of Town Hall yesterday. It wasn’t an easy job and I don’t know what I would have done if they didn’t do it. Thank you once again.

Thank you also to the women in Town Hall who contacted Public Works.


Donna Staab,
Old Lyme.


Tavern Night Returns to CT River Museum, March 23

On Friday, Jan. 26, the Connecticut River Museum brings back its popular 1814 Tavern Night.  This lively 19th century evening will take place at the museum’s historic Samuel Lay House overlooking scenic Essex harbor.  The house will be transformed into a candlelit riverside tavern from the War of 1812. 

The evening includes a bourbon whiskey tasting hosted by Highland Imports, songs by noted musician Don Sineti, tavern games, and a food pairing of early American cuisine provided by Catering by Selene.  Additional wine and beer will be available at the cash bar.

Folk singer Don Sineti will play and sing some rousing tunes at Tavern Night.

Sineti is a folksinger, songwriter, part-time sea chantey man (with one of the most powerful voices on the Eastern Seaboard!), and long-neck, 5-string banjo picker.  For over 20 years, he has entertained with his boundless energy, to deliver rousing renditions of songs from the days of wooden ships and iron men.  With a booming voice and a hearty laugh, he shares his music with audiences of all ages.

There are three candle lit evenings planned.  Two additional Tavern Nights will be held; 

  • March 23 – Heritage Wines and Port Tastings with folklorist Stephen Gencarella & historian Chris Dobbs; Music by Joseph Mornealt
  • April 27  – Olde Burnside Brewing Company beer tastings; music by Rick Spencer, Dawn Indermuehle & Chris Dobbs. 

Save $10 when you buy all three evenings!

Tastings take place at 6 and 8 p.m.  Space is limited and reservations are required.  Call to reserve tickets at 860-767-8269 or visit  Tickets are $24 for museum members or $29 for the general public (must be 21 or older and show valid ID).  Includes bourbon whiskey tasting, light bites, and entertainment.  The evening is sponsored in part by Catering by Selene, Connecticut Rental Center and Bob’s Centerbrook Package Store.

The Connecticut River Museum is located at 67 Main Street, Essex and is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM and closed on Mondays until Memorial Day. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for students, $6 for children age 6-12, free for children under 6.  For more information, call 860-767-8269 or go to


Op-Ed: In Light of Current Events, Head of The Country School Confirms, Defends School’s Mission

By John D. Fixx, Head of School at The Country School

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a moment in which people in the United States and throughout the world celebrate a gentleman who gave his life striving for equality and the principle that all people are created equal.

Our country has stood for generations as an example of hope for people throughout the world. Many relatives of our families and teachers arrived here recently or generations ago. Some arrived as slaves. Some arrived voluntarily to seek a better life of freedom, opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness.

I am concerned that students have recently been hearing from the White House, the entertainment world, and the sports world that not all people are created equal. I send this letter, therefore, to make it clear how language and actions in the news today are counter to our mission at The Country School — to make it clear that as educators we will honor forthright questions from inquisitive students while striving to respect parental prerogative and disparate political viewpoints. It should not be controversial to deplore language and actions that undermine the bedrock on which the United States has been built and has prospered.

Our students might be reading on their phones and hearing stories about the mistreatment of women in Hollywood, on Olympic teams, and by influential men in broadcasting and elsewhere, while also hearing reports of hateful, racist, dangerous words from Washington that are inappropriate to use anywhere on our campus or use, many would argue, anywhere in a polite, civil society.

The Country School’s mission reads, “We nurture every student’s unique role in the community,” and that means that we value their differences. We live our mission daily by “encouraging students to embrace differences, explore new perspectives, and find common ground in a multicultural world.” We honor this ethos especially through our IDEA (Interpreting Diversity Education through Action) Day and Theme Day workshops, but also every day when we teach empathy and kindness.

I am tremendously proud of The Country School’s increasing diversity, as measured in terms of race, culture, family structures, religion, nationality, socio-economic status, and so forth. Our students’ families come from at least 27 different countries and their parents and grandparents speak some 17 languages at home. Our community spans the world, from Poland to Portugal and from China to Cambodia, from India to Israel to Italy to Ireland to Iceland, from Taiwan to Texas, from Lima to London, from Hungary to Sudan, and from California to Colombia. As educators, we cannot defend the idea that some families’ countries are worse or better than other countries.

Our core values state that our students “practice empathy by considering different perspectives and making all members of the community feel welcomed, included, and respected.” The Country School’s Mission Statement speaks to character and leadership development. As we teach our students in the Elmore Leadership Program, there are many ways to lead, and the best leaders bring disparate groups together to accomplish more than any individual could achieve on her or his own. And as part of the Elmore Leadership Program, we also teach students that leaders should use elegant, elevated language, and they should avoid profanity, misogyny, and similar “locker room” language.

We routinely answer questions as candidly and cleanly as we can, keeping our politics as adults as neutral as possible. I write this not to address specific tax policies or the Russian investigation, or a Mexican border wall, or trade agreements, or North Korean missiles, and so forth.

Rather, I want to make clear that it is part of our leadership mission at The Country School to ensure that our students understand that people can disagree agreeably, can use civil and respectful language, and — whether in Connecticut, Washington D.C., New York, or Hollywood — can always follow our primary school rule:

        1. Be kind.

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 215 students in PreSchool to Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. See our community in action during our Open House on January 28 from 1-3:30 p.m. Learn more at


Cappella Hosts Spring Concert Featuring Haydn’s ‘Creation,’ April 22

Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus will present their spring concert, Sunday, April 22. The concert will feature Haydn’s masterpiece, “The Creation,” that includes the well-known “The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God.”

It will be performed with professional soloists and orchestra with Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera directing.

For more information visit or call 860-526-1038.


Carney Hosts Office Hours This Evening in Lyme

State Rep. Devin Carney (R- 23rd)

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

State Rep. Devin Carney will hold office hours in a number of locations in the 23rd District between Thursday, Jan. 11 and Thursday, Jan. 18. This evening, he will be at the Lyme Public Library, Community Room, located at 482 Hamburg Road from 6 to 7 p.m.

These sessions will provide constituents with an opportunity to ask questions or share their ideas and concerns about state government.

State Senator Paul Formica  joined State Rep. Carney at the Old Lyme and Old Saybrook Office Hours.

Details of the times and locations are as follows:

Old Lyme: Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, located at 2 Library Lane from 7 to 8 p.m.

Old Saybrook: Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Acton Public Library, Grady Thomas Room, located at 60 Old Boston Post Road from 6 to 7 p.m.

Lyme: Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Lyme Public Library, Community Room, located at 482 Hamburg Road from 6 to 7 p.m.

Anyone with questions about these events can contact Carney’s office at 860-240-870 or, or Formica at You can also sign up for their respective e-news by visiting or

State Rep. Carney represents the 23rd General Assembly District that covers Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.

State Senator Formica represents the 20th State Senate District that includes Old Lyme along with Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville (part), New London, Old Saybrook (part), Salem, and Waterford.


Legal News You Can Use: Divorce and Splitting Retirement Accounts

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Suisman Shapiro Sponsored Post — When Connecticut couples divorce, one piece of property they may need to divide is a retirement account. This might be what is known as a qualified plan, including a 401(k), or it might be an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or another non-qualified plan. There are different regulations for dividing these types of accounts.

With a qualified plan, if a person withdraws a portion of the money and gives it to a spouse, that money will be taxed and may be considered an early withdrawal. This can lead to a significant reduction in the final amount. However, if the couple gets a document known as a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), the tax and early withdrawal penalty will be waived.

A couple can have a QDRO for an IRA, though it is not necessary to avoid tax. Furthermore, there will still be a penalty for early withdrawal for people under a certain age. Other specific regulations may differ across company plans or pensions, and a couple may want to look into these regulations. It is important not to assume that the process will be straightforward nor that it will not incur penalties or fees. Furthermore, the QDRO must be prepared accurately as it can be a costly document that becomes even more expensive if there are errors.

One option for couples who do not want to go through the trouble or expense of splitting a retirement account is for one person to keep the retirement account and the other person to take another valuable asset. This might be the home or an investment account. However, it is important that the values of these assets be assessed accurately. This means taking both taxes and penalties into account as well as the liquidity of the asset. For example, a bank account could be more liquid than a retirement account while maintenance and insurance are among the costs of a home that should be considered.

The Law Firm of Suisman Shapiro focuses on this area of the law. If you are seeking experienced legal guidance for a divorce in Connecticut, contact Attorney Robert Tukey to arrange an initial consultation with an experienced eastern Connecticut divorce lawyer.


Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce Names Looney December’s ‘Business Student of the Month’

Lyme-Old Lyme High School Assistant Principal Jeanne Manfredi presents Lyme-Old Lyme High School junior Patrick Looney with his award as the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce December 2017 Business Student of the Month. Leslie Traver, Lyme-Old Lyme High School Business Department Chair, joined the celebrations.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School junior Patrick Looney has been named the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce ‘Business Student of the Month’ for December 2017.

The Chamber’s ‘Business Student of the Month’ program continues the Chamber tradition of recognizing members of the junior class for demonstrating outstanding initiative in and out of the classroom.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce established the N. Rutherford Sheffield Memorial Award for Entrepreneurial Promise & Achievement for Lyme-Old Lyme High School juniors in 1999 as a way to honor Mr. Sheffield, a member of the Chamber for over 50 years who was highly regarded in our Lyme-Old Lyme community.

Since its inception, nearly 35 juniors at Lyme-Old Lyme High School have been recognized through this program.

(photo, l-r: Jeanne Manfredi, Lyme-Old Lyme High School Assistant Principal;
Leslie Traver, Lyme-Old Lyme High School Business Department Chair;
Patrick Looney, Lyme-Old Lyme High School junior and Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce December 2017 Business Student of the Month)


East Lyme Public Trust Honors Departing Members, Welcomes New Ones at Feb. 27 Meeting

Pat and Jack Lewis, who are retiring as directors of the East Lyme Public Trust.

At their first meeting of 2018  on Feb. 27, the East Lyme Public Trust Foundation will be recognizing the work of departing directors – Pat and Jack Lewis.  The Lewises have served on the foundation since its inception in 1995.

For the past five years, they have served on the Publicity Committee of The Promise of Tomorrow’s Trees projectEach year they would take on the task of delivering posters to all of the businesses on Niantic Main St.   In 2016, they both were also crucial organizers of the Boardwalk Re-dedication. Their enthusiasm and counsel, during 23 years of volunteer service, will be sorely missed.

At this meeting, the East Lyme Public Trust Foundation will also welcome a new Vice-President, Jessica Todd-Director of Finance at Chelsea Groton Bank. Todd, who has a Master’s degree in Accounting from Bryant, is also the Treasurer of the East Lyme Middle School PTA.  In addition, she is on the Sponsorship Committee of the East Lyme Little League. Todd will be replacing John T. Hoye.

Hoye has served as Vice-President since 2003. Throughout those years, he has worked closely with Past President Bob DeSanto, in the development of the boardwalk and the re-construction process. He served as Master of Ceremonies at the first dedication of the Board Walk in 2005 and the Re-dedication in 2016.

In addition, he was instrumental in organizing the group of non-profits of the Public Trust Foundation, The Rotary, the Lions, and the Parks and Rec. Department, to raise money to build the Band Shell at McCook Park, which was dedicated in 2017. Hoye will remain as a Director of the Foundation.

Other new members are Jo-el Fernandez, who works for the State of CT Department of Children and Families, Sandy Greenhouse, who is a primary care physician in Gales Ferry, Rasa Clark, a real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, and Ted Norris, President/owner of Pamlico Group, LLC, a marketing and branding firm specializing in the marine and fishing industries.

Continuing officers are Joe Legg- President, Michelle Maitland-Secretary, and Kathie Cassidy-Treasurer.

The Foundation meets every fourth Tuesday of the month in the Olive Chendali Room in the East Lyme Community Center building.  The public is always welcome to attend these meetings.


Repair Work on Lyme St. Burst Water Pipe Continues, Hoped to be Completed Over Weekend to Allow All Affected Buildings to Open Tuesday

Work continues to try and repair the burst pipe, which has caused Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall, Center School, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau,  the Lyme Street Firehouse, and the Old Lyme Historical Society to be closed for the past two days, since none of the buildings had a water supply due to the pipe failure.

It is hoped that the repair will be effected in time for all those institutions to open at the normal time on Tuesday, Jan. 16, after the holiday on Monday.

We will post any updates on the situation as they become available during the weekend.



Today’s Goodwin Trail Hike in Hartman Park with Lyme Land Trust is CANCELLED

Turtle Rock on Bald Nubble by Wendolyn Hill

1/14 Update: Due to icy trail conditions, this hike has been cancelled.

Start the New Year off with a moderately easy 2.6 mile walk in the woods. Everyone is welcome. Don’t forget your walking stick. Meet at the trailhead to the Goodwin Trail at Hartman Park Gungy Road.

Hikers will car-pool to the Holmes Road Parking lot in East Lyme and then hike the portion of the Goodwin Trail from the Holmes Road Parking Lot in Nehantic State Forest through Hartman Park back to Gungy Road, led by Wendolyn Hill, Lyme Land Trust board member and Town of Lyme Open Space Coordinator.

Hikers will visit the old CCC camp foundations, pass ancient colonial ruins and pause to appreciate the view from the beloved Bald Nubble on the red trail at Hartman Park. A snack will be provided. Bring water or something to drink.

The Richard H. Goodwin Trail, overseen by the Eightmile River Wild & Scenic Coordinating Committee, is a an extended trail system crossing four towns: East Haddam, Salem, Lyme and East Lyme. In the future, the goal is to connect to other existing trail systems in surrounding towns.

Dr. Richard H. Goodwin (1911-2007) was president of the Nature Conservancy from 1956 to 1958 and again from 1964 to 1966. The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, was started in 1951, and Dr. Goodwin was one of its founders. Since then, it has protected 15 million acres of land in the United States and 102 million acres in 29 other countries.

Inclement weather cancels.

Reservations appreciated at

Directions from Rte. 156 in Lyme: Take Rte. 156 to Beaver Brook Road. Travel about 2.7 miles on Beaver Brook Road. Turn left onto Gungy Road. Travel about 1.5 miles. Park along the road.


Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Offers Teacher/Naturalist-led Hikes Saturdays in January

This Saturday, Jan. 13, learn about the birds that overwinter here in Southeastern Connecticut while on a hike in Old Lyme led by CT Audubon. Photo by Amelia Graham.

Join one of the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center’s teacher-naturalists every Saturday in January at 9 a.m. for fresh morning air and a naturalist lesson as the group hikes in a different location each week.

These hikes are free to Connecticut Audubon members; $5 non-members.


Wonderful Wetlands at Watch Rock
Saturday, January 20, 9 a.m.

This walk will focus on natural cleaners of nature, we will discuss carbon sinks, decomposers, and natural filters like shellfish, moss, mushrooms, estuaries and more. Led by Morgan Allen.

Salt Marsh Ecosystems at Rocky Neck
Saturday, January 27, 9 a.m.

Connecticut has its fair share of salt marshes. They are both beautiful and crucial to many animals. Learn about why these habitats are important to a wide range of species. Led by Joe Attwater.

To register for any of the walks or for more information, visit this link.


Courtney Hosts Town Hall Meeting in Waterford Today to Discuss New Tax Laws, Listen to Resident’s Concerns

Rep. Joe Courtney

Congressman Joe Courtney will hold a public town hall-style meeting today at 10 a.m. in the Waterford Town Hall auditorium to hear local residents’ concerns about the newly passed tax overhaul.  All are welcome.  Doors open at 9:30 a.m.

He will discuss the recently passed GOP tax law — the largest such change in tax law in 30 years — and its potential impact on Connecticut residents. Courtney’s office has heard from thousands of residents from across the Second Congressional District concerned about how the new tax law will affect their families, businesses, and communities.

The Waterford Town Hall auditorium is located at 15 Rope Ferry Rd, Waterford.

Courtney represents the 2nd Concressional District, which includes both Lyme and Old Lyme.


Chelsea Groton Bank Awards Grant to East Lyme Public Trust to Improve Accessibility to Niantic Boardwalk

The award was presented by Jessica Todd, Vice President & Comptroller, Chelsea Groton Bank. Shown receiving the award are David Putnam, E.L. Parks and Recreation Director, and Kathie Cassidy, Treasurer- E.L. Public Trust Foundation.

As part of their fall grant cycle, the Chelsea Groton Bank has awarded to the East Lyme Public Trust Foundation $1,500 to be used toward the purchase of an ADA compliant beach accessibility surface mats to allow wheelchair access to the Niantic Boardwalk beaches.

Since 1999, The Chelsea Groton Foundation has provided over $2.3 million in total grants to the community. These grants are awarded to organization that impact the region in health, human and social services, education, economic development, and arts and culture.

Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank noted, “Through the Chelsea Groton Foundation, we are able to support non-profits who play a critical role in our communities.”

Kathie Cassidy is the chairperson, who has organized the project to install mats on the beach. She commented, “It is the desire of the East Lyme Public Trust Foundation to make Niantic Bay Beach and Hole in the Wall Beach a wheelchair-accessible, friendly place. We want to allow people with mobility impairment to visit and enjoy these beaches.”

Cassidy is continuing to solicit grants from other entities for this project. The Public Trust Foundation is hoping to have the mats installed this spring.


State OSWA Nature Photo Contest Renamed to Honor Old Lyme Resident Diana Atwood Johnson

Launched in 2016, the Open Space Watershed and Land Acquisition (OSWA) photo contest has been re-named in honor of Old Lyme resident Diana Atwood Johnson, an avid bird photographer who recently stepped down as the Chair of Connecticut’s State Natural Heritage, Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Review Board, having served in that position for 19 years.

The contest is intended to provide a venue for amateur nature photographers to celebrate the OSWA program, display their work, and provide Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC) and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) with new materials for our publications and communications.

Entrants are invited to submit up to three digital high resolution photos featuring OSWA properties for consideration (1280 x 960 pixels minimum).

The winners of each category will be displayed at the 2018 Connecticut Land Conservation Conference, in Connecticut Wildlife (the official bimonthly publication of the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources), DEEP’s Open Space Annual Report and website, and CLCC’s website, e-communications and other promotional materials.

All entries must be received by Monday, Feb. 5, 2018.

Any questions? Contact Kathy at

The Town of Old Lyme congratulates Diana Atwood Johnson, 2011 Citizen of the Year and chair of the Old Lyme Open Space Commission, on this most recent honor.


Courtney Releases Statement on Final GOP Tax Overhaul

Congressman Joe Courtney

Yesterday, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), whose Congressional District includes Lyme and Old Lyme, released the following statement after the GOP released the final draft of a tax overhaul that was negotiated between Republican leadership in the House of Representatives and Senate:

“It’s no surprise that the Republicans are introducing their massive tax overhaul late on a Friday because this entire process has been one secret, backroom deal after another,” said Courtney. “They want to get this bill passed before the holiday break because they need to get it done before the American people know what hit them.”

He continued, “This bill is one gigantic gift for corporations and the wealthiest Americans in exchange for next to nothing for average middle-class and working families. Passage of this bill will create a new structural deficit that is a prelude to an assault on Social Security and Medicare, which Speaker Ryan has brazenly promised.”


Carney Earns 100 Percent Voting Record for 2017 Legislative Session

State Rep. Devin Carney

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23),, whose district includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and the southern section of Westbrook, earned a 100 percent voting record for the 2017 legislative session according to recently released data from the House Clerk’s office. There were 417 votes cast during the 2017 regular session and special session. This marks Carney’s third year in a row with a perfect voting record.

“It is my duty to be present for every vote and I am glad to have accomplished that for the third year in a row,” said Rep. Carney. “My first priority is to ensure that the people of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook always have a voice in Hartford.”

Rep. Carney currently serves as the top House Republican on the Transportation Committee and is also a member of the Environment Committee and the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.

The next regular legislative session will convene in February 2018.

For an overview of important legislation addressed in the 2017 legislative session visit the Office of Legislative Research Acts for 2017.pdf

Anyone with questions, ideas or concerns about state-related issues can contact Rep. Carney’s office at or 860-240-8700.