April 18, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme Town Government Needs to be Managed Better, Outsourced Less

To the Editor:

Issue: Poor management from the First Selectwoman’s office may result in the outsourcing of Old Lyme’s police services to the Town of East Lyme.

Background:  Over the last few years poor decisions have created low morale within the ranks of our Town’s police.  This has led to the filing of numerous grievances that cost the Town thousands of dollars and resulted in the resignation of two police officers – 33% of our local force.  To make matters worse, our First Selectwoman did not replace the officers for 14 months!

Consequence:  Countless shifts were not manned or were filled by State Troopers at about double the hourly rate of our own police.  Unfilled shifts put the citizens of Old Lyme at risk and put our police at risk, due to inadequate backup.  Police legal costs last year were an astonishing $31,000, and the Selectman’s legal budget was overspent by 60%.

Solution:  The solution to the police issue is better management; not outsourcing or spending thousands of dollars on lawyers.  Jude Read and Chris Kerr will supply that better management and are committed to improving morale and keeping our police services LOCAL.

Action:  Vote for Jude Read, First Selectwoman, and Chris Kerr, Selectman, on November 7th.

Sincerely,

Timothy Griswold,
Old Lyme

Editor’s Note: The author was First Selectman of the Town of Old Lyme from 1997-2011.

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Letter to the Editor: Wayland Has All The Required Qualities To Excel As Lyme First Selectman

To the Editor:

Being the first selectman in a small town comes with unique challenges. The first selectman is expected to cheerfully solve issues ranging from taxes and zoning, to neighborhood disputes and unsightly guardrails.

In order to be a successful first selectman of a small town, one must not only be a problem solver, but he or she must also be kind, patient, and understanding. This is why I know that Mark Wayland will excel when it comes to the job. His endless knowledge on the Town of Lyme, his compassionate, caring nature, and his no-nonsense intelligence will help him solve any problem that comes his way, big or small.

William T. Koch Jr.,
Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is a former first selectman of Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Re-elect Reemsnyder, Nosal So They Can Continue Doing Good For Old Lyme

To the Editor:

For 6 years, the community of Old Lyme has benefited from services of Bonnie Reemsnyder as First Selectwoman and Mary Jo Nosal as Selectwoman. This team of dedicated businesswomen has  brought modern business practices to town hall and installed a culture of transparency. They have shown the courage to face contentious issues, such as the long- delayed beach septic problem, and have attracted state substantial money to enhance our parks, beaches and rivers.  By far the most significant achievement is that the Reemsnyder- Nosal team stared down the hapless federal government’s ill-conceived railroad bypass project, and turned it around in its tracks. We can all agree that the initial plan concocted by the FRA would have destroyed this community’s most valuable asset, and left the town an economic and social wreck.

Professionalism and diligence in forming and presenting a convincing argument against the bypass turned that train around. Relationships forged over the years with state and federal officials were critical in achieving this community-saving victory. Don’t throw away the respect Reemsnyder and Nosal have worked so hard to build. It will continue to serve us well. Vote Reemsnyder and Nosal on November 7.

Sincerely,

Candace Fuchs,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Change At Top Will be Good For Old Lyme, Read Is Right For Selectman’s Job

To the Editor:

The Old Lyme Selectman’s election will soon be upon us and it’s time for a change. “Time for a change” is not just a typical or trite campaign slogan but a concept that is at the very core of our system of democracy. Change brings fresh and innovative ideas to our government. Jude Read embodies the change that is needed for Old Lyme. She comes from the private sector and is filled with community spirit for our town. She exemplifies the character of our founding fathers.

From the beginning of our nation, leaders thought of their efforts as community service. Washington, Jefferson and Adams all had a life outside of government. They knew what it was like to run a farm, tend to a business or hone a skill. They brought their successful experiences into government service and that is exactly what Jude Read will do.

Today, unfortunately, elected officials look at their office, whatever it might be, as a lifelong job. Most would agree that this is not a formula for good government and it follows that continuing the current administration in Old Lyme will not be best for our town.

Change can only be good if it is a change for the better and brought by a thoughtful person. That person is Jude Read. She is a strong, practical and down to earth person. Her experience is deep and varied. Here is someone who served on the Old Lyme School Board, the Old Lyme Board of Finance, the Old Lyme Historical Society Board and is presently on the MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation Board.  I have worked with Jude and can assure all that she will bring her years of experience, her grasp of the Town’s needs and her no nonsense, realistic approach to bear beginning on her first day in office and every day thereafter. I guarantee that Jude will take good care of the people of Old Lyme.

Sincerely,

Siesel (Bud) Canaday,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Local VFW Thanks Graybills, All-Pro for Helping Veteran in Need

To the Editor:

Recently we had a local veteran that was in a serious financial situation when his car was damaged beyond repair. Our Veteran’s Post contacted All Pro and the Graybill’s stepped up. They put this veteran in a car at less than full book value; allowing us to pay the remainder of the price. Not many dealers would take a loss, but the Graybill’s at All Pro are always willing to help the community and in this case, a combat veteran.

As we remember Veterans Day, it is nice to have such friends in our town.

Sincerely,

David Griswold,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is a member of the Lyme-Old Lyme VFW Post 1467.

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Letter to the Editor: Experience of Read-Kerr Makes Them Right Team to Lead Old Lyme at Critical Time

To the Editor:

I am writing to urge my fellow residents to join me in voting for Jude Read and Chris Kerr this Tuesday, November 7th.  Jude and Chris have been committed, engaged people serving on the board of finance, board of education, planning commission, to mention just a few organizations they have given their time and expertise (sic).  I believe we need a renewed commitment to local governing: we need to be very careful about such considerations as having East Lyme run our police department and we need to evaluate if other regionalization decisions like getting rid of our health staff is still right for the town.  Jude and Chris are the right folks to get Old Lyme back on track, and their experiences running local small businesses provides them with great skills for excellent leadership.

Sincerely,

Don Willis,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Re-elect Reemsnyder, a Regional Thinker who Achieves Real Results

To the Editor:

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder was informed of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) plan to run high-speed rail from Old Saybrook to Kenyon, R.I. shortly before a public hearing in Hartford in January 2016.  Bonnie attended the hearing, submitted testimony and a written statement, and initiated a process to stop the plan–one that would ravage Old Lyme and degrade the entire Southeastern CT region.

That August a public meeting in Old Lyme, chaired by Bonnie, brought together the FRA, government officials and more than 500 concerned shoreline citizens.

That meeting conveyed, through thoroughly civil discourse, universal public opposition to the plan.

Ultimately the democratic process won and the FRA abandoned the bypass plan.  Bonnie deserves enormous credit for this result.  Throughout, Bonnie’s ability to reach across party lines, to think regionally, to work with state and federal officials and to mobilize the public, enabled her to mount an effective campaign benefitting the entire shoreline. 

State-level budget problems indicate that local officials will increasingly have to work regionally to address emerging infrastructure, conservation and education issues. Bonnie’s leadership in stopping the ill-conceived FRA plan clearly demonstrated that she has the skills needed for Old Lyme in the coming years.  I urge her re-election on November 7.

Sincerely,

Peter Cable,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Former Republican First Selectman Eno Endorses Democrat Mattson for Lyme First Selectman

To the Editor:

This November, Lyme will experience its first contested election for the Board of Selectmen in more than a decade.  If Lyme is to maintain its longstanding tradition of fiscal responsibility and attendant low mil rates, it is imperative that the next First Selectman be thoroughly conversant with the budget development process, as well as its implementation and management.  A positive relationship history working with Lyme’s Board of Finance will be key as well.

Over the years, Lyme has had a history of electing candidates with the skills and experience necessary to provide the best possible outcomes for the town, regardless of his or her political pedigree.  History bears out the fact that this time-tested practice has served Lyme extremely well – keeping counterproductive, divisive politics out of the management of local government on both a day-to-day and long-term basis.

Steve Mattson is the First Selectman candidate most qualified to lead Lyme for the next two years.  He has a comprehensive grasp on all facets of the budget process and has developed critical thinking and administrative skills over his years of service on multiple town boards and commissions to both lead Lyme and protect its interests from the misguided interference of a foundering state government, which puts all Connecticut’s small towns at risk.  This experience will be key to preserving Lyme’s cherished rural character and quality of life at this critical juncture in the state’s history.

I urge voters to set aside partisan considerations and hold true to the proven practice of doing what is best for Lyme. That means voting for Steve Mattson for First Selectman this November.

Sincerely,

Ralph Eno,
Readfield, Maine.

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Letter to the Editor: Vote Read/Kerr to Increase Old Lyme Town Hall Transparency

To the Editor:

As an unaffiliated voter in Old Lyme, the upcoming election for Selectmen is particularly important.

Seeking to fund the extension of a town project, largely with state money, without a guarantee for the money from the state is putting the “cart before the horse”……..The state has been broke for years.

Case in point: The rearranging/bump outs/sidewalks/repaving of Hartford Avenue in anticipation of state funding to connect with the exit 70 off ramp of I-95-N, (4+ miles), for a pedestrian/bike/greenway lane was “pie in the sky”. 

Foreseeable bad timing, as Hartford Avenue will have to be torn up again to install the upcoming sewer lines.

There are numerous other examples …….      

The town needs more timely public knowledge dissemination about project planning, coupled with increased town hall transparency allowing government to function more smoothly.

We need selectmen who will be better at, “minding the store.”

Vote common sense.

Vote READ/KERR November 7th

Sincerely,

Sloan Danenhower,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the husband of First Selectman candidate Judith Read.

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Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme Needs Reemsnyder, Nosal to Continue Their Honest, Ethical, Fiscally Responsible Approach

To the Editor:

With election day in Old Lyme less than 3 weeks away, we are writing in support of the candidacy of incumbents Bonnie Reemsnyder and Mary Jo Nosal.

Old Lyme has enjoyed honest and ethical, and fiscally responsible leadership during their terms of public service. They communicate well with residents and schedule hearings and town meetings for most large and/or costly projects. Any changes in project scope or schedule are also thoroughly communicated to residents.

They are willing to consider and present regional alternatives or partnerships for some services when cost or availability of resources is at issue. We’ll only mention a few key projects delivered over the past two years. These include the boat house, the Sound View streetscape, and a focus on the health of Rogers Lake.

However, the “Mother of All Projects” was the successful fight against the Federal Railroad Administration’s (per Senator Blumenthal) hair-brained and half-baked project that would have decimated our historic district.

Bonnie rallied a team that expanded the issue from Old Lyme to all of Southeast Connecticut. The team eventually included Old Lyme residents; environmental groups; elected representatives from the communities impacted by the plan; and our State and Federal Legislators. FRA’s plan was scrapped.

Their professionalism was clearly demonstrated in the recent debate. They were factual and complete in their answers and conducted themselves with courtesy and without rancor.

We are concerned, however, that Old Lyme’s RTC had adopted some of the tactics employed by some members of the national republican party in that debate: i.e.,the actual facts don’t really matter and, lacking those, throw out a stray insult or half-truth here and there.

Please Join us in support of Bonnie and Mary Jo.

Sincerely,

Christina J. Gotowka,
Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Reemsnyder, Nosal Comprise a Hardworking, Experienced Team

To the Editor:

As we approach our municipal elections and prepare to decide who will run our local communities for the next two years, we should all reflect on those qualities that we want our leaders to exhibit.

Old Lyme has been fortunate to have had Bonnie Reemsnyder and Mary Jo Nosal focus their seemingly boundless energy on improving our community for the past six years.

Bonnie and Mary Jo have devoted countless hours meeting residents in order to get to know them and understand their concerns.  They have made great strides in involving more members of our community in our governance, believing that working together is critical to addressing the many issues facing our small coastal town and the broader regional community.  Our Boards and Commissions reflect the very real work they have put into supporting and encouraging more participation from all residents of our town.  Their collaborative natures, strong leadership and get-it-done attitudes have proven to be exactly what Old Lyme needed.

I urge Old Lyme residents to join me in voting for the experienced and hardworking Reemsnyder & Nosal team on November 7th.  Keep Old Lyme moving forward toward a future we can all be part of and proud of.

Sincerely,

Jean Wilczynski,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: First Selectman Candidate Read Has Long History of Volunteerism, Successful Small Business Management, Community Involvement

To the Editor:

I have known Jude Read and her husband Sloan Danenhower for over 34 years and enthusiastically endorse Jude’s candidacy for first selectman of Old Lyme. Always an active community member, Jude has volunteered with the Board of Education, the Board of Finance, MacCurdy Salisbury Educational Foundation and the Old Lyme Historical Society. She is not only active, she is always up to date with Old Lyme’s agendas and ready to implement projects with her steady hand, and outstanding leadership.

I have had the pleasure of working alongside Jude on various committees over the years and have seen firsthand that she is a true team player. She listens to all sides of an issue, gives full consideration and works toward a constructive and well-executed response. Her effervescent personality and genuine love of our town is obvious to all who meet her. Jude believes that our many talented residents are a vital resource for running the town and that by working together, there is no need to outsource services vital to the community.

Jude and her family have strong ties to this community; as a parent, she volunteered in school projects, led a Girl Scout troop and instilled the value of community involvement in her two children, Megan and Sloan (Will). A successful small business manager and owner, Jude not only manages people, but is able to create adaptable budgets with a keen eye (and a calculator).

Jude believes that an informed and involved community makes a strong and healthy community, and I couldn’t agree more. Please join me and vote for Jude Read and Chris Kerr on November 7th.

Sincerely,

Jane Schellens,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme Needs a Change of Leadership

To the Editor:

I have been approached over the last three months by people inquiring about our town RTC support for Jude Read and Chris Kerr for our selectmen, two excellent people with a long history of civic service.  I have had the pleasure to serve with both on the Board of Finance, and I have very strong respect for their management abilities and their independent thinking.  We will need both here in Old Lyme as we continue to navigate large town issues.

In the last four years, we have had such major items as sewers, control of health services, unsatisfactory police service, and blighted properties in need of improvement.  In each of these cases, we still need long-term solutions, after several years.  Many solutions proposed involve loss of local control of what seem to be fundamentally local responsibilities for a town our size.

Jude and Chris each have successful small business experience.  Their skills equip them well for the change in leadership needed to reduce nonessential initiatives or grant-driven work and focus on projects identified as priorities by the Old Lyme voters.  I urge voters to join me in voting November 7th for Jude and Chris!

Sincerely,

J. David Kelsey,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the chair of the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee.

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Letter to the Editor: Do Old Lyme Republicans Embrace the National Republican Agenda?

To the Editor:

As you consider Republican candidates in local elections, it should be questioned whether these candidates endorse the national platform of bigotry, ignorance and hypocrisy. The SECT association of RTCs campaign kickoff featured keynote speaker Michelle Malkin, whose latest book suggests that the Japanese internment camps of the 1940s should be reinstituted for our Muslim citizens.

Do SECT voters trust leaders supported by a party that denies climate change, when the shoreline has the most to lose ? Do SECT voters support leaders whose party denies the value of scientific investigation and seeks to deny healthcare for millions of Americans, particularly when some of our biggest employers are engaged in scientific research to cure disease ?

In Old Lyme, our community has opened our hearts, our wallets and our attics to welcome two Syrian refugee families to our community. Are we going to embrace leaders who have endorsed platforms of bigotry and hate ?

Before you decide that racist agendas are not in our backyard, ask if you are willing to take a risk on someone beholden to the Republican party, whose campaign kickoff event has already shown where their allegiance lies.

Sincerely,

Candace Fuchs,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: First Selectmen Candidates Should Focus on Positive Future for Old Lyme, Not Negative Past

To the Editor:

This November Old Lyme will be having a municipal election. Either the incumbent Bonnie Reemsnyder, a Democrat, will prevail, or Judith Read, a Republican, will become First Selectwoman.

I am a native born resident of Old Lyme, and have happy memories of spending summers riding my bike, having ice cream at James Pharmacy ( a dime bought you a generous scoop of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry), and listening to katydids.. Old Lyme is a special place where civility and responsible citizenship can still prevail, and change is slow and measured ever since it was established as a “plantation” in the 1665 Loving Parting agreement with Saybrook Colony.

In my opinion, civility and openness is needed more than ever in this forthcoming election. It troubles me when I hear sotto voce that Bonnie did nothing about possible train tracks running through the center of town, or cares nothing about our beach communities, or about improvements on Halls Road.  I have been at meetings convened by our First Selectwoman at which these serious matters were discussed. The 85 page report sent to the DOT attests to her hard work at getting qualified professionals to weigh in on a poorly conceived route for express train tracks.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if we went back to the League of  Women Voters forums (remember them?) where the candidates outline specific plans for the Town, not what evil things the other candidate has done to destroy the Town. Perhaps we could get national news coverage which would be beamed directly to Capital Hill in Washington. Old Lyme could even set a trend for problem-solving. As my grandchildren might say “what a concept”.

Sincerely,

Alison C. Mitchell,
Old Lyme.

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Letter to the Editor: Premise for Clergy’s Call for Compassion to Refugees Questioned

To the Editor:

Ever since I read the letter from the Valley Shore Clergy Association (published in the VNN in February) something has been niggling me. I just reread the letter. Although I agree with the Clergy’s call for compassion with regard to refugees and the undocumented living and working in America, I can’t help wondering why this group did not speak- out between 2009 and 2016 while Barak Obama deported more than two and one half million of the undocumented living in this country? Perhaps I missed their protest. If I did, I apologize.  If there were no protestations from this clergy group before now, I am led to the conclusion that the Genesis of their letter is partisan politics-not the WORD.

While I support a path to legalization for the undocumented living and working in America, I also understand why so many Americans, who have no hint of bias, want those who came here illegally, criminals or not, to be deported; laws are laws they say. It seems schizophrenic to me to kick people out of this country who came here during the Obama “catch and release” program. If I wanted to come into this country to seek a better life and I faced the prospect of waiting in line for years- versus facing a wink and a nod because of America’s border Gestalt, I think, if I had the grit, I would take my chances. It is a bit like a parent telling a child not to smoke pot and then leaving pot on the kitchen table in plain sight.

Sincerely,

Alison Nichols, M.Div.,
Essex.

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Letter to the Editor: Valley Shore Clergy Association Stands in Solidarity with Immigrants, Refugees

To the Editor:

We, a group of interfaith clergy from many religious streams and beliefs, feel called to express our support for refugees, immigrants, asylum-seekers, and others who wish to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Our sacred texts provide the lens through which we view the world around us; these teachings affirm the following shared values across faith traditions:

• Every single human being is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:28), and we support the integrity and sanctity of every individual.
• We heed the teaching of Leviticus: “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
• We are instructed to “Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18),” and thus to treat others how we wish to be treated.
• We are obligated to follow the prophetic call: “And what does the Eternal require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
• We are reminded of basic human kindness and compassion: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Matthew 25:35)

We are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. We have all known what it is to be the stranger. Safety and security of all is critical, and we understand the importance of appropriate and thorough vetting of all those who wish to be part of America. However, fear cannot dictate our values. Rather, we are reminded again and again that, when we reach out in love and righteousness, we are most secure.

We know all too well what religious bigotry has wrought in the past. History is filled with many reminders of the horrific destruction caused by hatred, persecution, and intolerance. Instead, we share a message of solidarity, understanding, and dialogue.

We denounce any laws or orders based on xenophobia, discrimination, or fear which run counter to our national interests. We are proud Americans, and we hold dear our country’s core beliefs in religious diversity, ideological diversity, and cultural diversity.

We call upon people of faith to represent moral conscience, compassion for all, and an overarching sense of justice and righteousness.

Sincerely,
Valley Shore Clergy Association

Rev. Martha Bays
The Congregational Church in Killingworth, UCC

Rabbi Marci Bellows
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, Chester, CT

Rev. Robin Blundon, Interim Pastor
Northford Congregational Church

The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Fitzsimmons
United Methodist Church of Clinton

Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager, Pastor
First Church, East Haddam

The Rev. Dr. Jonathan H. Folts
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex, CT

Rev. Dr. Jan Gregory-Charpentier, Pastor
First Congregational Church of Westbrook, CT

Brett Hertzog Betkoski
Trinity Lutheran Church – Centerbrook, CT

Reverend Amy Hollis
Winthrop Baptist Church

Rev. Lee A. Ireland
Interim Pastor, United Church of Chester

Rev Charlotte LaForest
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex, CT

Rev. Joy Perkett
First Baptist Church of Essex

Rev. Suzanne Personette
Middlefield Federated Church

Rev. Kenneth Peterkin
First Congregational Church, UCC, Essex, CT

Rev. Geoff Sinibaldo, Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Old Saybrook, CT

Pastor Les Swenson
St. Mark Lutheran Church, Norwich, CT

Rev. John Van Epps, Pastor
North Guilford Congregational Church UCC

Rev. Cynthia C. Willauer
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, UCC

Pastor Ryan Young
Living Rock Church of Killingworth

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Letter to the Editor: Old Saybrook Town Officials Says First Priority is Re-Employment of Fortune Plastics Employees

To the Editor:

The announcement by Fortune Plastics of their intended closure in April has left the Old Saybrook and Shoreline Community concerned and disappointed.  Our concern is first and foremost for the over 90 employees of the company who will be losing their employment.  It is also disheartening to see what was once a locally-owned family business leave the State.

Upon hearing the news, our offices began marshaling state and regional resources to work with the company in finding new employment for the workers.  Within a week, the Connecticut Department of Labor Rapid Response Unit organized a Job Fair at Fortune Plastics on March 4.  We also contacted local and regional manufacturers, many with positions to fill.  We will continue to partner with Fortune Plastics to make available any and all human resources in the coming months. 

Fortune Plastic’s 75,000 sf manufacturing facility will also be available for repurpose.  The Town and the Economic Development Commission plan to market the availability of this and other industrial properties so they will be put to back into full and productive use. 

While this is indeed difficult news for all affected employees and the Town, we will continue to be a town that seeks out new business opportunities to benefit workers and residents.

Carl P. Fortuna, Jr. and Susie Beckman
Old Saybrook.

Editor’s Note:  The writers are respectively the First Selectman of Town of Old Saybrook and the
Economic Development Director of the Town of Old Saybrook.

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Letter to the Editor: Town Attorney Urges Residents to Review Old Lyme’s Response to FRA’s Tier 1 High Speed Rail Proposal, Send Comments to FRA Before March 1

To the Editor:

On December 16, 2016, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released its Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) concerning NEC Future – the proposed plan to shorten the travel time between Washington, D.C. and Boston via high-speed rail. The FRA’s plan includes building a tunnel under the Connecticut River and Old Lyme and significantly altering routes to straighten out the tracks between Old Saybrook and Kenyon, Rhode Island.  This plan will have devastating impacts on the environment, as well as potential damage to some of our historic buildings and our home and commercial values.

A strategy team was convened by Bonnie Reemsnyder, our First Selectwoman, to build the case for why the proposal included in the Final Tier 1 EIS is an unacceptable option. After many weeks of research with some the country’s leading authorities on the environment, estuary, threatened species, acoustics, vibration and other issues, this team submitted the below-referenced 82-page response to the FRA on February 14, 2017.

I strongly urge Old Lyme residents to review the town’s cover letter and comments to the FRA found at the links given here.

We are totally supportive of infrastructure improvements that will support safe and efficient rail service, but those can and should be achieved without the dramatic route changes proposed in this EIS.  Please consider sending your own comments to the FRA immediately.  The FRA noted that it “will consider feedback received on the Tier 1 Final EIS in developing the Record of Decision (ROD). The FRA will accept and review feedback on the NEC FUTURE Tier 1 Final EIS until the publication of the ROD, which is not anticipated prior to March 1, 2017”.

Please call town hall at (860) 434-1605 x212 if you have further questions.  You may send your comments by email to: info@necfuture.com, or by mail to:

NEC FUTURE
U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration
One Bowling Green Suite 429
New York, NY 10004

It is likely that comments received after March 1st will not be considered so please act quickly!

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jack Collins, on Behalf of the Old Lyme NEC Future Strategy Team,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author was a member of the Old Lyme NEC Future Strategy Team.

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Letter to the Editor: Valley Shore Clergy Association Stands in Solidarity with Immigrants, Refugees

To the Editor:

We, a group of interfaith clergy from many religious streams and beliefs, feel called to express our support for refugees, immigrants, asylum-seekers, and others who wish to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Our sacred texts provide the lens through which we view the world around us; these teachings affirm the following shared values across faith traditions:

• Every single human being is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:28), and we support the integrity and sanctity of every individual.
• We heed the teaching of Leviticus: “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
• We are instructed to “Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18),” and thus to treat others how we wish to be treated.
• We are obligated to follow the prophetic call: “And what does the Eternal require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
• We are reminded of basic human kindness and compassion: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Matthew 25:35)

We are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. We have all known what it is to be the stranger. Safety and security of all is critical, and we understand the importance of appropriate and thorough vetting of all those who wish to be part of America. However, fear cannot dictate our values. Rather, we are reminded again and again that, when we reach out in love and righteousness, we are most secure.

We know all too well what religious bigotry has wrought in the past. History is filled with many reminders of the horrific destruction caused by hatred, persecution, and intolerance. Instead, we share a message of solidarity, understanding, and dialogue.

We denounce any laws or orders based on xenophobia, discrimination, or fear which run counter to our national interests. We are proud Americans, and we hold dear our country’s core beliefs in religious diversity, ideological diversity, and cultural diversity.

We call upon people of faith to represent moral conscience, compassion for all, and an overarching sense of justice and righteousness.

Sincerely,
Valley Shore Clergy Association

Rev. Martha Bays
The Congregational Church in Killingworth, UCC

Rabbi Marci Bellows
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, Chester, CT

Rev. Robin Blundon, Interim Pastor
Northford Congregational Church

The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Fitzsimmons
United Methodist Church of Clinton

Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager, Pastor
First Church, East Haddam

The Rev. Dr. Jonathan H. Folts
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex, CT

Rev. Dr. Jan Gregory-Charpentier, Pastor
First Congregational Church of Westbrook, CT

Brett Hertzog Betkoski
Trinity Lutheran Church – Centerbrook, CT

Reverend Amy Hollis
Winthrop Baptist Church

Rev. Lee A. Ireland
Interim Pastor, United Church of Chester

Rev Charlotte LaForest
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex, CT

Rev. Joy Perkett
First Baptist Church of Essex

Rev. Suzanne Personette
Middlefield Federated Church

Rev. Kenneth Peterkin
First Congregational Church, UCC, Essex, CT

Rev. Geoff Sinibaldo, Pastor

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Old Saybrook, CT

Pastor Les Swenson
St. Mark Lutheran Church, Norwich, CT

Rev. John Van Epps, Pastor
North Guilford Congregational Church UCC

Rev. Cynthia C. Willauer
First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, UCC

Pastor Ryan Young
Living Rock Church of Killingworth

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