April 19, 2018

Musical Masterworks Ends Season With Concerts Featuring Music of Bach, Schubert & Taneyev

This April, renowned, world-traveling Musical Masterworks veterans will present a program of chamber music treasures to conclude our 27th Season.

Violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti and pianist Adam Neiman will begin the program with J.S. Bach’s Sonata No. 4 for violin and keyboard; then violinist Aaron Boyd and violist Dimitri Murrath will join Artistic Director Edward Arron for Schubert’s seldom-performed B-flat String Trio, an unusually intimate and elegant dialogue among three instruments. 

The finale will feature all five performers coming together to conclude the program – and season – with the titanic and soul-stirring Piano Quintet, Opus 30, by the Russian Romantic-era composer, Sergey Taneyev.

Musical Masterworks will be continuing its popular pre-concert talks before both concerts.  Concertgoers are invited to join Edward Arron one hour before each of the April concerts for an in-depth discussion about the composers and music featured that weekend:  Bach, Schubert and Taneyev.

The April concerts will be held on Saturday, April 28, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 29, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.  Individual tickets are $40 and Student Tickets are $5.

For more information, visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252. 

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2018 Senior Studio Exhibition on View at Lyme Academy College Through May 11

The signature work of the 2018 Senior Studio Exhibition is ‘The Watcher’ by Rani Rusnock, who will graduate with a BFA in Illustration in May.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven hosts an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. this evening in the Chauncey Stillman Gallery for its 2018 Senior Studio Exhibition.  All are welcome.

The seniors whose work is featured in the exhibition are studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and will graduate in May 2018.

The Senior Studio experience at the College allows students to refine their vision and develop a skill set in order to create a body of work that exemplifies their individual interests, talents, and artistic sensibilities.

The 2018 Senior Studio Exhibition reflects the culmination of this project.  Students will be present at the opening reception and available to discuss their work.

The exhibition will be on view in the gallery through May 11.  Admission is free Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The sponsors of the exhibition are Overabove and Saybrook Point Inn/Fresh Salt.

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven is located at 84 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

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Old Lyme Church Offers Sanctuary to New Britain Couple Facing Deportation

Malik Nayeed bin Rehman and Zahida Altaf and their daughter.

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) has agreed to offer sanctuary to Malik Nayeed bin Rehman and Zahida Altaf, a married couple from New Britain – working in close conjunction with two human rights organizations, the Keep Rehman & Altaf Home Advocacy Team and the Connecticut Immigrants Rights Alliance (CIRA).

The church issued a statement today, which was signed by Senior Minister Steve Jungkeit, senior Associate Ministers Carleen Gerber and Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager, which opened, “As a community of faith, we have core theological values that unite us.  These include an affirmation of the dignity and worth of each individual; a commitment to caring for the most vulnerable in our midst; and an emphasis upon the importance of hospitality.  Those values are at the very heart of the Bible, but they also form the beating heart of our democracy.  These are values that bind and animate us.”

Emphasizing, “It is in recognition of those values,” that the church offered sanctuary to the New Britain couple, the statement continues, “It is our shared belief that immigration law, as it is being applied in this couple’s particular circumstances, is unjust. The couple came to the U.S. legally in 2000 on non-immigrant visas, according to federal authorities, but stayed past their visas’ expiration dates.  The couple tried for years to extend their visas and become U.S. citizens, but were misled by an immigration attorney who was later jailed for swindling other clients.”

Noting, “Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, the New Britain city council, the New Britain Democratic Town Committee – as well as human rights organizations that include the Keep Rehman & Altaf Home Advocacy Team, CIRA, Students for a Dream, Action Together and CHANGE – have all joined in the call for federal authorities to postpone the couples’ deportation while lawyers appeal their case,” the statement adds, “Our goal in offering sanctuary to the family is to help slow the deportation procedure down, give the appeals process a chance to work, and provide immigration authorities with an opportunity to recognize the injustices and flaws of the law as it is being applied in this case.

The concluding paragraphs of the statement read: “We believe that, with time and reason and compassion, the couple can receive the full, fair hearing and consideration they deserve – and that justice will prevail and they will be allowed to remain in the U.S. with their five-year-old daughter Roniya (who is a U.S. citizen) and extended family members. Deporting the parents would needlessly tear the family apart. In the meantime, we will be offering a safe, private apartment within our church where they can live while their legal team helps them pursue all avenues of appeal with legal and regulatory authorities.

The final sentences state resolutely, “As a community of faith, we have core values that bind us together.  The practice of hospitality is one such defining value.  We’re proud that our community can enact its commitment in a public manner, demonstrating who and what God calls us to be in this moment.”

 

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And the Winner is … Trivia Bee Creates a Big Buzz in Town!

2018 Trivia Bee champions RTC Elephants, (from left to right, Atty. Mike Miller, LOLHS Class of 2013 alumnus Sam Stadnick, State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and Cliff Johnson) proudly pose with their coveted Bee Trophy.

UPDATED 11:34am: It was a hotly-contested event with brainpower being tested to the extreme.

The 2018 Trivia Bee organized by the Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation (LOLEF) was held Friday evening in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium and saw more than a dozen teams doing battle over challenging questions posed by WFSB News Anchor Eric Parker.

The 3-PEAT team played hard to the bitter end taking the RTC Elephants to three rounds of play-off questions in the ‘Sting Off’ before finally succumbing to the runner-up position.

There were three ‘swarms,’ which involved all the competing teams in a 10-question play-off situation to identify the three finalists, who ultimately were the All-Pro, 3-Peat and RTC Elephant teams.

Concentration was intense among this team’s members whilst working on their answers.

With tension rising in the final round, All-Pro fell out of contention fairly rapidly but 3-Peat and the RTC Elephants kept going neck-and-neck question after question. When finally the last available question was posed, the RTC Elephants secured the win with the correct answer while 3-Peat had to settle for second place after a valiant effort.

Question master and Channel 3 news anchor Eric Parker (standing) and timekeeper Rob Roach kept things under control at all stages.

All funds raised at the event benefit programs and equipment selected by LOLEF for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.

After the winners were declared, the judges, (second from left to right, Martha Shoemaker, and LOL Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser) posed with LOL Education Foundation Board member Liz Rubitski (extreme left.)

The Old Lyme Historical Society’s (OLHS) team, some members of which are pictured below, came dressed in wonderful costumes (but surprisingly did not win the Best Costume award) and also put up a valiant fight in the quiz section to no avail.

And we just had to include a full-length photo of this dashing gentleman …

So to the OLHS team, better luck next year … and to all the competitors, sponsors and the LOLEF, thanks for making an otherwise cold and dull Friday evening into a fun-filled night at which everyone learned something and funds were raised for a worthy cause.

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LOL Chamber of Commerce Invites Applications from High School Seniors for Two Scholarships

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

The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Chamber of Commerce is offering two scholarships this year to high school seniors who are resident in Lyme or Old Lyme and either currently attending an accredited high school or pursuing a home school program.  The scholarships are also open to all students attending Lyme-Old Lyme High School regardless of town of residence.

The two scholarships are the Business Leadership Senior Scholarship and the Senior Scholarship for Promise and Achievement in the Arts.  The Chamber’s intent is to present a single award of $1,000 for each scholarship. The Chamber, however, reserves the right to change the amount of the award and/or to make additional awards if deemed appropriate.

For both scholarships, the applicant must submit the appropriate application form, both of which are available in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Guidance Office or online on the Chamber’s website at this link. The deadline for receipt of applications is midnight on Friday, April 27 — the deadline will be strictly applied.

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

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

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

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

For more information about the LOL Chamber of Commerce, visit www.visitoldlyme.com or call hamber President Oldwen Logan at 860-460-4176.

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D18 Board of Education Meeting Rescheduled to Wednesday, March 14

The Regular Region 18 Board of Education Meeting, which should have been held March 7, has been rescheduled to next Wednesday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. due to the anticipated inclement weather.

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Town Halls, Senior Center, Lyme Transfer Station Closed Today for President’s Day; No Change to Trash/Recycling Schedule in Old Lyme

Both the Lyme and Old Lyme Town Halls will be closed today, Monday, Feb. 19, in honor of President’s Day.  The Lymes’ Senior Center will also be closed.

In addition, the Lyme Transfer Station will be closed, but in Old Lyme, there will be no change to the trash or recycling pick-up schedule.

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Atty. Kelly of Old Lyme Succeeds in Appeal for US Veteran Denied Benefits

Attorney Kristi D. Kelly

Attorney Kristi D. Kelly, who works for Suisman Shapiro of New London and is an Old Lyme resident, recently prevailed in an appeal on behalf of a client for Veterans Disability Benefits filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The veteran applied for service-connected disability benefits in 2014 and was denied service-connection for his claimed ailments at that time.

The denial was appealed in 2015 and has been pending for approximately two years. Attorney Kelly successfully obtained service-connection for all of his ailments and recovered $166,248.13 in back benefits previously denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This successful appeal and recovery of retroactive benefits, as well as monthly benefits going forward, is truly life-changing for this veteran.

For more information about or to contact Atty. Kelly, visit her webpage at this link.

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The End of an Era … but the Journey Continues: Jeff Andersen Retires From the FloGris Museum After 41 Years

Retiring Florence Griswold Museum Director Jeff Andersen stands between State Senator Paul Formica (left) and State Rep. Devin Carney holding the State Citation with which the two legislators had presented him.

There wasn’t a parking spot to be found Sunday afternoon at the Florence Griswold Museum, nor come to that at the Lyme Art Association. And the reason?  Despite torrential rain, it seemed as if the whole town had come out to say a fond farewell to Jeff Andersen, the much beloved Director of the Florence Griswold Museum, who was retiring after an amazing 41 years in that position.

Jeff Anderson stands with Charter Trustee George Willauer and New York Times best-selling author Luanne Rice alongside the Willard Metcalf painting, “Kalmia,” which the board has now dedicated to Andersen in honor of his 41 years service.

The Museum hosted a wonderful party to celebrate Jeff and his wife, Maureen McCabe, and both Marshfield House and the tent situated in the courtyard outside were packed almost to capacity. Federal, state and local dignitaries were there along with Museum trustees, staff, volunteers, friends and pretty much anyone who had ever had a connection with Jeff, Maureen or the Museum — well over 400 people in total.

The formal segment of the event was emceed by Charter Trustee Jeff Cooley, who opened the proceedings by introducing Senator Richard Blumenthal. Describing the Florence Griswold as “a world-class Museum,” Blumenthal went on to present Andersen with a Certificate of Recognition from the US Senate, which he noted to considerable laughter, “was approved by an overwhelming bi-partisan vote.” He thanked Andersen warmly for, “Your immense public service … and your values.”

State Rep. Devin Carney says, “It all started with just one … and that was, you, Jeff.”

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th) and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) stepped up next the podium and Carney noted poignantly, “It all started with just one … and that was you, Jeff.”  Carney was referring to the fact that 41 years ago, Andersen was the Museum’s first — and only – employee whereas now the Museum has 20 staff, 255 volunteers, 3,000 members and 80,000 visitors annually.

Saying, “I truly want to thank you, Jeff, for doing so much good for the economy as a whole,” Carney pointed out that many of the visitors to the Museum, “come, stay and shop,” in Old Lyme and the surrounding area, adding, “You did a great job at the Museum … but you also stopped a train!”  This latter was a reference to the Federal Railroad Administration’s proposal to route a high speed train through the center of Old Lyme, which Andersen actively worked to defeat.

State Sen. Paul Formica reads the Citation from the state in honor of Jeff Andersen.

Formica then presented Andersen with a Citation from the Connecticut House and Senate, which recognized Andersen for his “passionate dedication directing, restoring and revitalizing the Florence Griswold Museum,” noting, “For 40 years you shared your vision and inspired countless volunteers and workers to help fulfill this vision expanding exhibits, gardens and collections making it into the reputable attraction we know today.” The Citation concluded, “We want to thank you for your tireless leadership and congratulate you on your retirement.”

Following the legislators was Old Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who immediately confessed, “Frankly, I have to say I didn’t think there would ever be a time when Jeff wouldn’t be here.”  She continued, “It’s good for him [Jeff] and all of us to be aware of all you have done.  You’re part of our DNA, you’re the heart of our culture,” and then announced that the Town of Old Lyme was declaring Feb. 11 as “Jeff Andersen Day,”  adding to loud applause and much laughter that it was a unanimous vote.

Andersen mingled freely with the more than 400 guests gathered to say their goodbyes.

She read a Proclamation from the Town which stated, “Since he began working with the Museum in 1976, the Florence Griswold Museum has grown from a small seasonal house museum where he was the only staff member to a nationally recognized center for American art.” The Proclamation also noted that, “Jeff is recognized today as the pre-eminent scholar on the historic Lyme Art Colony … and has helped grow the Museum’s modest collection of works of American Impressionism into a deep and distinguished regional collection of American art.”  Describing Andersen as a “visionary Leader,” with a “thoughtful devotion to excellence,” Reemsnyder concluded, still reading from the Proclamation, that Andersen’s, “tireless advocacy for the Museum and its uniquely Connecticut story has transformed the Florence Griswold Museum into one of the state’s most important and beloved cultural destinations.”

Jeff Cooley (center) emceed thw formal proceedings at the party. His wife Betsy stands to his left.

Charter Trustees George Willauer and Cooley then unveiled the beautiful 1905 painting titled, “Kalmia,” by Willard L. Metcalf to which a plaque had been attached stating that it now honored Andersen’s 41 years of service during which he “transformed” the Museum “through his unswerving devotion to preserving the legacy of the Lyme Art Colony.”

Jeff Andersen addresses the at capacity audience.

A clearly emotional Andersen then addressed the audience, which by now was overflowing the tent, saying simply, “We are feeling the love …”  He gave a long list of thank you’s, noting that he and his wife had, “felt such affection and regard since announcing his retirement.” Andersen then shared his opinion that, “whatever you give to the Museum – whether time, talent or money – it is returned to you many fold.”  He said, “Not many get the opportunity to have a career in one place [in his case, from age 23 to 64] and for that I am deeply grateful and humble.  Stressing, “Be assured the future is bright,” he commented almost wistfully, “What an incredible journey this has been … but the journey continues.”

Jeff Andersen and his wife Maureen McCabe applaud the pianist after he played a tune to which they had danced together at the very end of the party.

And with that, Cooley proposed a toast to Jeff and Maureen, glasses were raised, Prosecco was drunk and then vigorous applause and loud cheers erupted all around.

Florence Griswold Museum docent Linda Ahnert points out a detail from the newspaper cutting to fellow doscents.  The cutting announced Andersen’s arrival as the Museum’s first director — and then only employee — 41 years ago.

We here at LymeLine.com can only add our deep and personal thanks to Jeff and Maureen for an extraordinary career in which so much given with such incredible warmth and humility.  Rep. Carney said it best so we’ll end by echoing his words, “The Florence Griswold is truly a treasure, but so are you … Miss Florence would be really proud of you.”

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Body Washed up on Old Lyme Shore Now Identified

State police identified the man whose body washed up on a local shore Monday as a 44-year-old New Britain resident reported missing last year …

Read the full article at this link, Missing New Britain man found dead in Old Lyme. It was written by Lisa Backus and published today on www.newbritainherald.com

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Volunteers Needed to Help Valley Shore Residents With Literacy Challenges

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, 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 22 and runs through May 15. 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 Literacy Volunteers office in the lower level of the Westbrook Public Library by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at jargersinger@lvvs.org .  Registration for the spring session is open now.

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A Rally to Remember — Women (Mostly) Gather to Call Attention to Power of Peaceful Protest

Three generations fighting for freedom: from left to right, Dale Griffith of Ivoryton takes time out from the rally for a photo with her five-year-old granddaughter, Eva Levonick, and her daughter (Eva’s mom) Becky Petersen, both of Old Lyme.

More than 400 warmly dressed people gathered Saturday morning under clear skies on the forecourt of the Two Wrasslin’ Cats cafe in East Haddam to stand in solidarity with all the other Sister Marches taking place all over the country … and beyond.  The event was organized by Together We Rise CT (TWRCT) and facilitated by Theresa Govert, founder and chair of TWRCT.

Govert, pictured above, spoke passionately to the assembled crowd, which spanned both age and gender, reminding members that it was precisely one year since President Trump took office and to look back on all the things his presidency had changed and to be cognizant of all the things that are in line for change.  She emphasized the need at all times for peaceful protest and was emphatic about never responding to violence.

Govert is a recently returned United States Peace Corps Volunteer. She served for three years in Botswana, where she worked with her community to organize thousands for a national campaign to end gender-based violence, started a small business as an alternative economic employment opportunity for female sex workers and presented to participants of the White House Mapathon on the importance of free, accessible data.

In 2016, she was selected to receive the prestigious John F. Kennedy Service Award, awarded every five years to six individuals.

Christine Palm gave an impassioned speech to the attentive crowd.

The keynote speaker was Chester resident Christine Palm, who is Women’s Policy Analyst for the General Assembly’s Commission on Women, Children and Seniors and also principal of Sexual Harassment Prevention, LLC.

Palm opened by reminding those gathered that, “One year ago, many people predicted the Women’s March would fizzle out — that we couldn’t sustain the momentum,” but then pointed out that, in fact, the opposite has happened, and, “In this past year, it’s only grown broader and deeper and more ferocious and more inclusive, and now nothing coming out of Washington escapes our notice, or our resistance.”

Noting, “It has not escaped our notice that this administration is defunding programs for veterans, kicking brave transgendered soldiers out of the military, and attacking women’s reproductive rights  that have been in place for decades,” Palm added, “We have paid attention to the fracking, back-stabbing … money-grubbing and gerrymandering,” before declaring, “The Women’s March has grown to encompass it all.”

Recalling the words of the renowned African-American civil rights lawyer Constance Baker Motley, who lived locally in Chester, Palm said, “There appears to be no limit as to how far the women’s revolution will take us,” pointing out, “That’s why we’re all still here, a year later.”

After thanking all those attending for “paying attention to what’s going on in our fractured, frightened world,” and acknowledging the work of all “the new, well organized progressive groups,” Palm expressed her gratitude to, “the hard-core folks who have kept vigil at this enlightened business, Two Wrasslin’ Cats, through rain and sweltering heat, every Saturday, for a year.”

Palm urged everyone not to give up, commenting on the fact that for the older people present, “it seems, we’ve been boycotting, and protesting, and working to right what is wrong,” for a very long time, but she noted, “We are buoyed not only by one another, but in remarkable new ways, by a smart, hardworking and committed group of young people.”  She thanked the Millennials for their “passion and energy,” which she determined, “cannot be overestimated.”

Palm gave a list of practical steps out of which she proposed everyone present could find at least one to follow.  Her suggestions included, “If you’re old enough to vote, do it. Don’t forget the municipal elections, which  have been lost and won by a handful of votes. If you are unaffiliated, please consider registering with a party so you can vote in the primary,” and “If you have a driver’s license and a car, offer to drive an elderly voter to the polls in November.”

She continued, “If you have any disposable income, support candidates you believe in. If you can walk, knock on doors. If you can hear, make telephone calls. If you like to cook, make food for a house party. If you speak a language other than English, offer to translate for an immigrants’ rights group. If you can write, pen an op-ed or a letter to the editor. If you teach, welcome difficult conversations in the classroom.”

Finally, she offered the idea, “If you can speak into a mic, testify at the Capitol,” before closing with the rousing call to all to, “Stay vigilant.  But stay hopeful, too,” and …

Pink “pussy” hats were much in evidence at the rally.

… “Above all, stay together.”

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Lyme-Old Lyme Girls Earn Girl Scout Silver Award

The Girl Scout Silver Award recipients gather for a commemorative photo in Old Lyme Town Hall with local dignitaries, who attended the ceremony. From left to right (back row), State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd), CEO of Connecticut Girl Scouts Mary Barneby, Emily DeRoehn, Mackenzie Machnik, Catharine Harrison, Sophia Orteleva, Corah Engdall, Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Old Lyme Selectman Chris Kerr, and Lyme Selectman John Kiker: (front row) Emma Griffith, Riley Nelson, Sadie Frankel, Lillian Grethel, and Paige Phaneuf.

On Sunday, Jan. 7, Emily DeRoehn, Corah Engdall, Sadie Frankel, Lillian Grethel, Catharine Harrison, Emma Griffith, Mackenzie Machnik, Riley Nelson, Sophia Ortoleva, and Paige Phaneuf of Troop 62858 received their Silver Award at Old Lyme Town Hall.

The Silver Award is the highest recognition that can be achieved by Cadette Girl Scouts, and the second highest award a girl scout can receive. Earning the Silver Award is a multi-year process in which girls make a commitment to helping their community. Working alone or in small groups, they identify an issue or problem that they would like to work towards improving. They spend at least 50 hours on the project, which must have an element of sustainability, meaning that once the project is finished, there is something that will carry on in the future.

Sadie, Lillian, Catharine, Emma, and Paige also received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in appreciation for their commitment to strengthening the nation and their communities through volunteer service. The Presidential Volunteer Service Award is given in recognition of those girls that gave 75+ hours to their projects.

Emily, Emma, Catharine, and Mackenzie worked with the kindergarten teachers at Mile Creek School to make fun and educational books that inspire young students to read. These books, focusing on age-appropriate skills as well as respect and kindness, will remain in the classroom for years to come.

Corah and Paige formed a group called Coastal Cleanup to increase knowledge in the community about the hazards trash on beaches poses to people and sea creatures.  They held beach cleanups and created Facebook and Instagram accounts to get the word out about their cause.

Sadie worked with Safe Futures in New London, to raise awareness of the problem of domestic violence within the Lyme-Old Lyme community. She created paperweights and brochure boxes that can be used at events attended by Safe Futures and held a toiletry drive at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School for distribution by Safe Futures.

Lillian, Riley, and Sophia worked with the Nature Conservancy to help the piping plovers, an endangered species of birds that nests at Griswold Point in Old Lyme. They monitored nests,  and produced informational signs that can be posted each year, and created an activity book for children.

The girls were honored to have several dignitaries attend the ceremony. 

  • Devin Carney, Connecticut State Representative for Lyme and Old Lyme presented the recipients with an official citation from the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut.
  • Mary Jo Nosal and Chris Kerr from the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen, and John Kiker from the Lyme Board of Selectmen also presented the girls with a proclamation from the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme.
  • Mary Barneby, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, congratulated the girls on their achievement.

And we would like to add our own congratulations to these fine young ladies on their terrific achievement!

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Death of Diana Atwood Johnson Announced; Arts & Open Space Advocate, Avid Birder & Photographer, Philanthropist

Diana Atwood Johnson

Diana Atwood Johnson surrendered peacefully on January 1, 2018 to a rare progressive autoimmune disease that attacked her lungs in 2013. She was the daughter of Edwin Havens Atwood and Barbara Field Atwood (both deceased) and is survived by her stepmother of 50 years, Eileen Atwood, all of Rochester, NY.  Her two brothers, Peter and Ted Atwood, predeceased her. Born in Rochester, New York in 1946, she spent 4 years at Northfield School for Girls and received a BA from Skidmore College in 1976.

Diana founded the Old Lyme Inn in 1976 and built it over 25 years into a nationally renowned restaurant and country inn. At the same time she became involved in her community, helping found Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, the Connecticut River Museum, Mystic Coast & Country Travel & Leisure Council, the Maritime Bank and Trust and the Bank of Southeastern Connecticut. She also served on the Board of Inncom International, a manufacturer of advanced guest room controls, which was sold to Honeywell in 2012.

Diana was passionate about land protection and chaired the Town of Old Lyme’s Open Space Commission for almost 20 years. In addition, she was appointed to the Connecticut State Natural Heritage, Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Review Board in 1997 and spent 19 years as its Chair. Diana served on the board of The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land. Diana was the first person to donate a scenic easement to the State of Connecticut when the Gateway Commission was established in 1973. She was the Chairman of the Board of the Connecticut River Museum, a board member of the Florence Griswold Museum, the Old Lyme Educational Foundation, the Connecticut Restaurant Association and an advisor to the Madry Temple’s Building Committee (New London, CT). She has provided philanthropic advice to all the organizations with which she was involved. As a legacy, she has established funds at the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut to provide scholarships for minorities from New London County with interests in the environment and the arts. She has also established an endowment fund for the 1817 Sill House and a scholarship fund for minorities at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

Diana received notable recognition for her professionalism and community service. In 1996 she received the Industry Image award from the Connecticut Restaurant Association. In 1999 Diana received the Distinguished Advocate for the Arts award from the State of Connecticut. In 2012 she was named citizen of the Year in Old Lyme. In 2014 she was honored with the Community Service award from Northfield School for Girls. In 2015 she received the Dave Engelman Volunteer Benchmark Award from Connecticut Audubon and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of New Haven.

Birds provided much respite during Diana’s health challenges. She became an exceptional nature photographer and had several exhibitions around New London County of her bird photographs.  “Swallow Tales,” her privately published book, presents her photographs of the swallow phenomena on the Connecticut River.  On her birthday in November 2017, the CT Land Conservation Council renamed its amateur photographer photo contest in her honor.

Diana is survived by her nieces, Nan Atwood Stone and Barbara Atwood Cobb and her nephew, Peter Moore Atwood II and their children; her stepson and his wife, Scott and Shelley Johnson and their children Max and Alex Johnson whom she considered her grandsons; Spencer McFadden Hoge, whom she also considered a grandson and his mother Cynthia McFadden along with many dear friends including Luanne Rice, Jane Ghazarossian, Jack Madry, Sarah Blair, Mary Ann Besier, Becky McAdams, Andy Griswold, Mary Jo Nosal,  Teri Lewis and David Pease.

Diana was a direct descendant of many of the early settlers of colonial New England, including the Seldens of Lyme, the Atwoods of Plymouth and Chatham, MA, the Moores of New Hampshire and the Ellwangers of Germany and then Rochester, NY where she was born. Some of her Selden ancestors, who came to Lyme in the late 1600’s, went west along the Erie Canal in the 1800’s thinking it was too crowded in Connecticut!

There will be a memorial service at the Madry Temple Church in New London at a later date in the spring. Donations in Diana’s memory may be made to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund at the Madry Temple Church, 25 Manwaring Street, New London, CT 06320.

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New Start Date for LYSB’s Free, Four-session Substance Abuse Education, Prevention Program for Parents, Jan. 17

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau presents a free, four-session substance abuse education and prevention program for parents on Wednesdays in January (Jan. 17, 24 & 31 and Feb. 7) at 7 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Library.  The start date has been revised from the originally published date of Jan. 10.
This workshop series was developed by LYSB and CASFY to help parents understand substance abuse and its impact on children and youth.
Guest speakers and relevant resource materials will be offered at each session.
This program is free and for parents of children of all ages. Register at www.lysb.org

Topics covered during the workshop series:

  • Current drug trends among youth in CT and US.
  • How to have the drug discussion with your kids
  • Risk factors
  • Marijuana –  what’s the real story?
  • Teachable moments
  • Prescription drugs
  • Paraphernalia and vaping
  • What to do if you suspect your child is using
  • Current laws and school rules regarding substances
  • Resources
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Editorial: During This Bitter Cold, Be a Cold Weather Companion to a Senior

As the new year brings new concerns as another blast of brutally cold air blasts our area, it is a good time to remind people in the region to become a Cold Weather Companion to a local senior – whether they are a loved one, a neighbor or a stranger.

It’s tough enough to cope with this weather, but when you’re a senior, you face even more danger. The drop in degrees has already proved deadly so we urge readers to check-in on seniors to make sure their homes have heat, the fridge is stocked, and prescriptions are filled.

Families taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s should take extra precautions to ensure their loved one doesn’t wander outside in the frigid temperatures. Did you know three out of five Alzheimer’s patients will wander?

Nearly half of all hypothermia deaths happen to people over age 65. Many of these deaths can occur right in their own homes because seniors don’t feel the dip in degrees due to dementia or medication that can affect awareness.

If families don’t live close enough, they should reach out to a neighbor or a caregiver to check on their elderly loved ones.  This simple gesture could make a life or death difference to a senior.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Named to College Board’s AP Honor Roll; One of Only 447 Districts in US, Canada to Earn Accolade

Access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses and AP exam results at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, pictured above, have earned Lyme-Old Lyme Schools a place on the College Board’s 8th Annual AP Honor Roll.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Schools are one of only 447 school districts in the U.S. and Canada placed on the 8th Annual Advanced Placement (AP®) District Honor Roll by the College Board.

To be included on the Honor Roll, Lyme-Old Lyme High School was required to increase the number of students participating in AP courses between 2015 and 2017, while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher. Reaching these goals demonstrates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically-prepared students, who are ready for the AP regimen.

“We are incredibly proud of the hard work of our students, staff, and community in making this recognition a reality. This continues to support our strong reputation as a premier school district in Connecticut and the nation as a whole” said Superintendent Ian Neviaser. “The Lyme-Old Lyme Schools are committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.”

In 2017, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admissions process. Inclusion in the 8th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2015 to 2017, looking across 38 AP Exams, including world language and culture. The following criteria were used.

Districts must:

  • Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;
  • Increase or maintain the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students taking exams and increased or maintained the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students scoring 3+ on at least one AP Exam; and
  • Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2017 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2015 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.

The complete 8th Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found at this link. 

The Lyme-Old Lyme Schools provide a private school experience in a public school setting and accept resident students from both Lyme and Old Lyme as well as non-resident students on a tuition basis.  For more information, call 860-434-7238 or visit www.region18.org

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So Long, Skip! Sibley Steps Down After 16 Years as Old Lyme Selectman

Final Farewell. Old Lyme Selectman Arthur ‘Skip’ Sibley stands for one last time with fellow Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal (left) and First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who together serve as the current board of selectmen through Nov. 30 when Sibley retired from the board.

Current, former and newly-appointed board of selectmen members, other Old Lyme board and committee members, friends, family and Old Lyme townspeople gathered in the Meeting Room at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall Nov. 20 to say farewell to Old Lyme Selectman Arthur “Skip” Sibley, who was stepping down from the board of selectmen after serving what Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder fondly described as, “16 long years.”

Reemsnyder read from a citation presented by the Town of Old Lyme to Sibley noting that, “During Skip’s tenure, he played an integral role in major projects, including a renovated and expanded Memorial Town Hall, and Regional District 18’s renovation of Mile Creek, Center, Lyme Consolidated, and Middle Schools, followed a decade later by a re-designed high school.” She added, “Other projects during his decade and a half of service were the development of Town Woods Park, the closure of our Landfill, Church Corner and  Lyme Street Reconstruction, relocation of the school district’s Bus Barn to a non-residential area, the dredging of the Black Hall & Four Mile Rivers, and the design and construction of a brand new Hains Park Boathouse.”

Continuing her overview of the innumerable changes that had happened in Old Lyme over the past 16 years, Reemsnyder explained, “With Skip as Selectman, Town voters approved the formation of both Open Space and Sound View Commissions and adopted a Code of Ethics as a new Town Ordinance,” adding, “The Town hired its first Finance Director, installed Stop signs at the intersection of Lyme Street and Library Lane, launched a GIS system and a new Town website, and witnessed the consolidation of our Probate Court. We “solarized” the Town and became part of a Health District.”

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder reads a citation from the Town of Old Lyme to Selectman Sibley.

Reemsnyder commented, “With Skip as Selectman, we have bid farewell to Irene Carnell, Town Clerk  for 32 years;  Walter Kent, Assessor for 38 years; and Bea McLean, Town Treasurer for 52 years,” concluding, “Skip Sibley joins that distinguished list of public servants as we thank him for the legacy he leaves after 16 years of service as our Selectman.”

After an extended standing ovation for Sibley, Old Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell rose and spoke warmly of his long friendship with Sibley.  Russell recalled that he and Sibley were at high school together in Middletown, Conn., where their respective fathers served on different boards in the city. Russell described Sibley as “a fighter,” noting, “He’s fought for the Town of Old Lyme,” but saying that, all the while, “It’s been fun [working with Sibley.]

Former Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold, who served “a good many years,” alongside Sibley noted that “When Skip did something, he always did it well … and for the betterment of the town.  Griswold praised Sibley saying, “We can be proud of what has happened to this town.  You weren’t just a part-time guy … you were very involved and knew your stuff.”

Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, who six years ago joined the board on which Sibley and Reemsnyder already served, said, “I looked up to both of you so much … your experience was worth so much.”  She thanked Sibley for his service and then State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) stepped forward to present Sibley with a State Citation sponsored by himself and State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th).

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) presents Selectman Sibley with a citation from the State of Connecticut.

Carney opened by offering Sibley, “Congratulations on your retirement,” which generated a chuckle around the room. Carney continued, “We could use more people like you in Hartford,” adding, “You’ve really focused on making the quality of life better for the townspeople of Old Lyme.”  He then read the citation from the Capitol, which was in recognition of Sibley’s 16 years of service on the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen, and stated, “For the past 16 years, you have worked tirelessly to maintain and improve Old Lyme’s strong quality of life and ensure the people’s voices are heard. Through your years of dedication and hard work as a community leader, you have truly made a difference to so many and helped to make Old Lyme one of the greatest towns in Connecticut.”

Sibley gives his final speech as Selectman of Old Lyme.

After another long standing ovation, Sibley himself addressed the audience thanking them for being there and saying, “It’s been a great run,” but stressing, “It’s been a team … it wasn’t me … I’ve just put together groups of people with different skill sets … it has to be a team effort.”  Sibley spoke warmly of the residents of Old Lyme expressing his view that, “This is a fantastic community,” commenting, “This whole Republican/Democrat thing should melt away in town politics, [because] we’re all looking to spend money wisely.”

 

After all the speeches, Sibley enjoys a moment with his family members and First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder. From left to right, (son) Dustin, (wife) Sheree, (father) Arthur, Skip, Bonnie Reemsnyder, and (daughter) Lexi. Missing from photo, (daughter) Amanda.

A smiling Sibley concluded, “I’m not going away, I’m not moving … I’m going to be available,” adding, “I must thank my family. They’ve put up with a lot of nights [with my absence.] I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

And after yet another standing ovation, the official ceremony ended and the attendees mingled while enjoying some celebratory cake.

Skip stands with his wife Sheree and two of their three children, Lexi and Dustin.

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Lyme Land Trust Announces Appointment of Kristina White as New Executive Director

Kristina White has been named the new executive Director of the Lyme Land Trust. Photo by George Moore

The Lyme Land Conservation Trust has announced that the board has appointed Kristina White as its new executive director to replace George Moore, who has retired.

The Land Trust is very pleased that Moore will be succeeded by long-time Lyme resident, Kristina White. She has been an actively contributing member of the Land Trust’s Board since 2014 and takes over the executive director position after serving for the last 10 years as the Musical Masterworks Administrative Director. White has also been active in community affairs and currently serves as the treasurer of the Lyme Fire Company.

The Land Trust is deeply grateful for George Moore’s service as executive director and his dedication over the last 14 years. He was elected to the Land Trust Board as a director in 2003. In 2007, he was elected board president, and in 2013 the board appointed him as its first executive director. Through his vision and effective management, Moore has helped transform the Land Trust into one of the most active and successful in the state.

Land Trust President, John Pritchard, stated that, “In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Land Trust, the board has elected George as its first Director Emeritus, a position newly created to honor his service. We hope that George will remain a member of the Land Trust family.”

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Opinion: Thanksgiving Musings … Including the Charm of Old Lyme!

On Oct. 13, Johns Hopkins University political scientist Michael Haltzel, PhD delivered remarks at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School on the foreign policy of the Trump administration to the Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC).

Dr. Haltzel has now written a column titled,  Thanksgiving Musings, which was published on huffingtonpost.com today, in which he mentions feedback from that meeting and also notes (astutely, in our opinion!), “There may a nicer place to live than the charming coastal towns of southeastern Connecticut – Old Lyme, Essex, Mystic, Stonington – but I haven’t yet seen one.

Dr. Saltzer’s column opens, “Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays, is upon us. Its historical and religious roots always stir in me a special impulse to reflect on our vast nation, which would be unrecognizable to seventeenth century Pilgrims and Native Americans alike.

I like to tell foreigners that the single most important fact to remember about the United States is the number 326 million – the size of our population …

Read the full text of his thoughtful column at this link.

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