October 17, 2017

Lyme-Old Lyme VFW Hosts Dinner Raffle at Christ the King, Oct. 28

Lyme-Old Lyme Annual VFW will host a Dinner Raffle at Christ The King Hall at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28.  All are welcome.

Raffle prizes include cash, vacation timeshare, a private airplane ride, Callaway golf clubs and more.

Admission is $25 per person or $10 for children under 12.  Call John Donnelly at 860-904-0676 for tickets.

Ed Shyloski, Commander,Lyme-Old Lyme VFW Post 1467, notes, “We own no bar, no building; we just do good works” especially for
Vets In Need.

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G.I.R.L. ™ Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts Launches to Mobilize Civic Action; Provides Tools for Public, New Badge for Youngest Members

STATEWIDE – Girl Scouts of Connecticut and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) have launched the G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts,* a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. The multiyear effort celebrates the Girl Scout legacy of civic engagement, and for the first time ever, GSUSA is sharing free, expert-curated civic engagement resources beyond its 2.6 million members. The resources are derived from Girl Scout programming that has driven generations of girls over the past century to become leaders.

Introduced at G.I.R.L. 2017, a gathering of girls and women from around the world, including 41 Girl Scouts and adults from Connecticut, the G.I.R.L. Agenda makes it simple to access civic engagement resources that are tailored to prepare every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to stand up for what they believe in. The tools provide a roadmap for how people can take action in ways such as challenging unfair policies, mobilizing communities to support important causes, and meeting with public officials and community leaders to educate them about key issues The G.I.R.L. Agenda will give hundreds of thousands of girls and adults tangible ways to take civic action on topics of their choosing.

Also part of the initiative, Girl Scouts announces its new Good Neighbor badge for Daisies (girls in grades K–1). It joins the organization’s existing Citizen badges—Celebrating Community, Inside Government, Finding Common Ground, Behind the Ballot, and Public Policy—which engage girls in age-appropriate activities involving community service, public policy, government, voting, and more.

“We always hear that girls want to be active in public policy and learn how to advocate for positive change, so this is a great way to give them the resources they need to stand up for what they believe in and help make our world a better place,” said Girl Scouts of Connecticut CEO Mary Barneby.

Learn more about these resources on www.GIRLagenda.org. To sign up for Girl Scouts or to sign up as a volunteer, visit gsofct.org/join.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut are more than 41,000 members strong – over 27,500 girls and over 14,000 adults – who believe that every girl can change the world.

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Lyme Public Library Foundation Presents ‘King Cole: The Songs of Cole Porter,’ Nov. 4 

Photo by Joe Standart of a previous ‘Six of Clubs’ concert at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The Lyme Public Library Foundation presents King Cole: The Songs of Cole Porter on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 5 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. Performed by Six of Clubs, conceived and narrated by Nick Firth, and produced by John Hargraves, the concert will feature an evening of classic Cole Porter tunes to benefit the Lyme Public Library Foundation.

A reception will follow the concert at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

Patron tickets, including the concert and reception, are available for $100. Tickets for the concert alone are $40. Learn more at http://www.lymepl.org/special-events.htm.

The Foundation expresses sincere gratitude to the event sponsors and underwriters, Sunset Hill Vineyards, Reynolds’ Garage & Marine, and Novak Brothers Landscaping.

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Lyme Land Trust’s Brockway-Hawthorne Opening Celebration Postponed to Next Sunday, Oct. 22

Explore the beautiful trails of the Brockway Hawthorne Preserve, Oct. 14.

The Lyme Land Trust hosts an opening celebration for its newest property, the Brockway-Hawthorne Preserve, at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 22.  Meet at the Brockway-Hawthorne Preserve Parking Lot, Brush Hill Rd. in Lyme.

This 82-acre nature preserve has been developed with hiking trails that traverse all the significant places from savannah-like terrain bordered by stone walls to some of the last remaining hemlock stands in Lyme. Parts of the trails meander along Whalebone Creek with wonderful rocky outcroppings and crossings on bridges built by Dominion Power Station volunteers.

See this stone wall in the Brockway Hawthorne Preserve.

The trails connect with the existing system at the Ravine Trail, which, in combination with Selden Creek Preserve, offers an extensive network of trails with many diverse habitats.[/caption]

After the ribbon cutting, join Ralph Lewis former State of CT geologist and Tony Irving, forest ecologist for a short walk “Talk and Walk” looking at the long- and short-term land-use history of the preserve.  See how bedrock and glacial geology shaped the land, thus dictating how it has been worked over the centuries.

For more information, email Info@LymeLandTrust.org

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Open House at Lyme Local History Archives, Oct. 21, to Feature WWI documents from Lyme Families

On Saturday, Oct. 21, from 1 to 3 p.m., special displays at the Lyme Local History Archives will showcase World War I (WWI) letters,documents and photographs saved by Lyme families.  Letters now in the Archives written by five Lyme soldiers give a picture of the last years of the war in Army posts in Georgia and on the front lines in France.

Also on view will be Archives materials from 1917–1918 including Lyme Grange minutes, which record local concerns on the home front.  Resources for researching  Connecticut relatives who served in the war will be displayed.

In 2016, the Archives began a two-year project to solicit documents, letters or photographs related to World War I from Lyme families.  A number of families responded by donating WWI materials or allowing scans of documents.  The Open House will highlight these materials new to the Archives as well as WWI materials given by previous donors.

The Lyme Local History Archives are located in the Lyme Public Library at 482 Hamburg Rd  (Rte. 156) in Lyme, Conn.

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Collins of Old Lyme Named a ‘Best Lawyer in America’ … Again

Attorney John A. Collins, III of Suisman Shapiro.

John A. Collins, III of Old Lyme has again been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2018. Collins is an attorney specializing in the field of Personal Injury Litigation at Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law in New London.

Two of Collins’s fellow attorneys at Suisman Shapiro, Matthew E. Auger and Robert B. Keville , were also named in the Best Lawyers listing — Auger in the practice area of Medical Malpractice Law and Keville in the area of Workers’ Compensation Law.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

“For more than a third of the century,” says CEO Steven Naifeh, “Best Lawyers has been the gold standard of excellence in the legal profession.” President Phil Greer adds, “We are extremely proud of that record and equally proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these exceptional legal professionals.”

Collins has successfully obtained verdicts or public settlements up to $10 million on behalf of injured victims over a 30-year law practice. He currently serves as the Managing Partner of Suisman Shapiro. The Connecticut Bar Foundation honored Attorney John A. Collins, III, in 2005 with his selection as a Life Fellow. “Selection as a Fellow requires demonstrated superior legal ability and devotion to the welfare of the community, state and nation, as well as to the advancement of the legal foundation”. Source: Connecticut Bar Foundation.

Auger handles serious personal injury cases, including wrongful death claims, automobile collisions, slip and falls, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and product liability. Mr. Auger is a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate with the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is also a Captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the United States Naval Reserve and is a Judge of the Gaming Disputes Court for the Mohegan Tribe of Indians in Connecticut.

Keville is a Director who concentrates in Worker’s Compensation and Civil Litigation. Mr. Keville is a member of the Connecticut Bar, both State and Federal. He is also a member of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Keville’s practice focuses on the representation of injured workers in State and Federal Worker’s Compensation forums, as well as serious personal injury claims. He has tried numerous cases to conclusion and has appeared before various Appellate tribunals, up thru and including the State of Connecticut Supreme Court.

Editor’s Note: Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law is the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut. It is located at 2 Union Plaza, P.O. Box 1591, New London CT 06320. Phone: (860) 442-4416. For further information, visit www.suismanshapiro.com

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Rep. Carney Applauds the Passage of a New Opioid Bill Signed on ‘International Overdose Awareness Day’

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) stands at left as Governor Malloy signs the new opioid bill.

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23) attended a bill signing of Public Act 17-131, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse at the Hartford Public Library on Thursday, Aug. 31. Joining him were many legislative colleagues, local officials and advocates, who all stood in support of the legislation that seeks to curb the growing opioid crisis in Connecticut.

This ceremonial bill signing took place as the state took part in “International Overdose Awareness Day.”

From Jan. 1, 2015 through Aug. 2, 2016, Connecticut recorded 800 deaths due to overdose. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives unanimously expands upon legislation passed in 2016 and 2015, and includes some of the following aspects:

  • Instructs the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council to convene a working group to study substance abuse treatment referral programs that have been established by municipal police departments to refer persons with an opioid use disorder or who are seeking recovery from drug addiction to substance abuse treatment facilities;
  • Reduces the maximum opioid drug prescription for minors from 7 days to 5 days and maintains current law that allows a prescribing practitioner to exceed the limit for chronic pain, palliative care or acute pain if necessary as long as it is documented in the medical record
  • Requires individual and group health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment, as defined by American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) so that those looking for help cannot be turned away due to insurance issues;
  • Increases data sharing between state agencies regarding opioid abuse or opioid overdose deaths;
  • Increases security of controlled substances prescriptions by requiring scheduled drugs be electronically prescribed;
  • Allows patients to file a voluntary non-opioid form in their medical records indicating that they do not want to be prescribed or administered opioid drugs.

“Today, I was proud to stand with both Republicans and Democrats alongside Governor Malloy to enact bipartisan legislation that will help in the fight against opioid addiction. Opioid addiction is something that affects every community in our state, including every town within the 23rd District,” said State Rep. Devin Carney, continuing, “While drug addiction is not new, the addition of fentanyl into the equation is causing people from across the state to lose their lives at an alarming rate.”

Carney added, “Everyone, including me, knows someone who has been affected by drug addiction, whether it’s a parent, child, grandchild, or friend and I believe our society must continue working to battle this or we will continue to see lives taken far too soon.”

He noted, “I applaud the State of Connecticut for being a leader in this area and legislators from across the political spectrum for joining together to work towards solutions in an attempt to combat this growing epidemic. I also want to thank those within my community who have worked so hard to educate, communicate, and share their stories about drug addiction.”

Connecticut is expected to see more than 1,000 accidental drug-related deaths in 2017.

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Rogers Lake Drawdown to Begin After Labor Day

Every leap year, Rogers Lake is scheduled to be lowered in the fall so that landowners can perform any maintenance at the waters edge. But this did not happen in 2016 due to the drought.

Because of this, the drawdown will take place this fall (2017) as follows:

  • The drawdown will start after Labor Day and the full drawdown of a maximum of 14 inches should occur by mid-September.
  • The drawdown will be maintained from mid-September to Nov. 1.

The Rogers Lake Authority can be contacted at Rogers-Lake-Authority@googlegroups.com

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Old Lyme Town Hall Gets a Facelift

Painters from Martinez Painting work on the upper sections of Old Lyme Town Hall.

During 2007-2008, Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall was renovated and an addition built, providing ADA accessibility and mechanical upgrades as well as expanded space. The results pleased both staff and visitors but that was nearly 10 years ago, and in some areas, the paint on the older portion of the facility failed to adhere.

It also became apparent that many of the plantings along the building were too close to the exterior siding and this, in combination with the passage of time, caused a number of areas of rot and deterioration.

The front entrance of the Old Lyme Town Hall is being refreshed with a new coat of paint.

This summer, the exterior of the building was power-washed and the deteriorated skirt and corner boards (which contained lead-based paint) were removed. These latter will be replaced with material that resists rot and is appropriate for use at or near ground level.

All remaining surfaces will be scraped, encapsulated and will receive two coats of fresh paint.

Even the flag pole gets a fresh coat of paint!

The contractor for project, which started Aug. 1 and should be completed by Sept. 10, is Martinez Painters of Clinton, Conn. 

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CT Trust Warns $1.1 Billion Susquehanna Bridge Project Might Set Unacceptably Low Bar for Environmental Protection in CT

Rendering of Susquehanna Bridge Project. Source: David Anderson, “Deadline approaches for comments on Susquehanna rail bridge replacement”, April 6, 2017, Baltimore Sun.

A June 26 announcement by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that the $1.1 billion Susquehanna Bridge Project on the Northeast Corridor in Maryland poses “no significant impact,” drew sharp comment from Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, who warned that such a decision could set an unacceptably low bar for mitigating historic, cultural and environmental resource impacts from future high speed rail projects in Connecticut.

The proposed rail bridge replacement project bisects the National-Register-listed Havre de Grace Historic District in Maryland, comprised of approximately 1000 historic structures, many from the 18th century, on the banks of the Susquehanna River, and was reported in the Baltimore Sun on June 26, 2017.

“FRA determined that the most comprehensive level of environmental review was not needed for this $1.1 billion dollar rail project in the midst of a historic coastal community in Maryland,” noted Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust. “Connecticut and Rhode Island communities caught in the cross-hairs of FRA’s bypass proposals should be concerned for the signal sent by this Maryland project – the process ahead may not yield the protections that communities want for themselves.”

Since the FRA released draft plans on November 15, 2015 to expand new high-speed railroad corridors across coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island, under a federal planning process called “NEC Future,” the Connecticut Trust, and its grassroots partner SECoast, have led a campaign to counter FRA’s insensitive approach to transportation planning for the Northeast Corridor routes through Connecticut.

“FRA’s plan represents a once-in-a-generation decision that will fundamentally shape the communities, economies and ecology of coastal southern New England,” explained Gregory Stroud, Director of Special Projects at the Connecticut Trust, and co-founder of SECoast. “The only sure way to protect our communities from these types of impacts is to fully remove these projects from the Record of Decision.”

The FRA is expected to announce a long-delayed Record of Decision for NEC Future this summer, finalizing a blueprint for the Northeast Corridor which will shape infrastructure decisions and investment through 2040, or later. The current blueprint has been in place since a similar process completed in 1978. The Northeast Corridor, which connects cities between Washington, D.C. and Boston, is the nation’s busiest rail corridor.

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Reemsnyder, Nosal Seeking Re-election to Old Lyme’s Board of Selectmen in November

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, a Democrat, plans to run again in November for the position she has held for the past five and a half years.

In an exclusive interview with LymeLine.com, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (D) has announced her intention to run for a fourth term in November of this year along with fellow incumbent Democratic Selectwoman MaryJo Nosal, with whom she has campaigned successfully for the past three elections.

Reemsnyder told LymeLine.com that she felt she and Nosal together had accomplished a great deal during their tenure by focusing on four broad areas of action.  These were, firstly, projects, which she described as, “Getting things done;” secondly, setting up systems “that will continue on after our tenure,”in a wide variety of areas; thirdly, “support initiatives that add to the quality of life for everyone in Old Lyme;” and finally, “improving customer advocacy and support.”

Democrat MaryJo Nosal will run again in November for the position of Old Lyme Selectwoman.

Reemsnyder went on to give detailed examples of activities she and Nosal had successfully completed under each heading.  In the ‘Projects’ category, she mentioned the Rogers Lake Dam and associated fish ladder, closure of the Town’s landfill, improvements at Sound View including new sidewalks, ADA crosswalks, paving, and parking payment kiosks, and the rebuilding of the Fred Emerson Boathouse at Hains Park.  She noted that the Sound View Improvements Project was 80 percent funded by a federal grant and the boathouse project 50 percent funded by a STEAP grant.

Under the systems heading, Reemsnyder highlighted how the introduction of centralized purchasing in town hall and enhanced cleaning schedule of town buildings had improved service without raising costs.  She also noted that maintenance improvements have resulting in the hiring of a Facilities Manager, who oversees a regular maintenance schedule on all town buildings and improvements in the grounds around town hall. The introduction of new technology under Reemsnyder’s watch has allowed online permit processing for land use permits, including building, zoning, fire marshal and possibly, in the future, health.

In terms of quality of life projects, Reemsnyder cited Lymes’ Senior Center improvements that have resulted in the hiring of a full time Senior Center Director and increased usage of the facility each year by seniors in Lyme and Old Lyme.  She also mentioned the installation of art displays in town hall, the introduction of a ‘No Smoking’ policy in town buildings and beaches, the increased use of town hall space for community meetings, and the establishment of the Rogers Lake Weeds Committee.

Finally, in the improving customer advocacy and support category, Reemsnyder listed some of her and Nosal’s achievements as the increase in the Town’s surplus from 16 to 23 percent, an improvement in work relations with both the Town of Lyme and Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, the establishment of two special funds — one for road improvements and the second for town buildings — to plan for the future maintenance and unexpected costs, and finally the vigorous opposition to the proposed high-speed rail bypass through Old Lyme.

Asked why she was running again, Reemsnyder said there are still a number of projects in the works that she and Nosal, “want to see through.” She said these include the Academy Lane Fire Dock, Sound View improvements, wastewater management in Sound View, the Mile Creek bridge and the LED street-lighting project.

Reemsnyder continued, “I think I have been very pro-active for people,” commenting, “I have been very communicative,” before adding, “When people call, I try to respond as soon as possible.”

And then she concluded cheerfully, “And most important, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve really enjoyed serving the people of Old Lyme.”

Editor’s Note: It should be noted that Reemsnyder supplied us with a lengthy list of her administration’s achievements, but we were only able to include a selection of them in this article.

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Welcome to Our Summer Intern, Jacob Ballachino

Jacob Ballachino

We are delighted to introduce our newest intern, Jacob Ballachino, to our readers.  Jacob, who lives with his family in Old Lyme, has completed two years at UMass Amherst where he is a communications and journalism major. He is going to be working for LymeLine.com throughout the summer covering news and events in Lyme and Old Lyme.

Jacob is especially interested in sports and entertainment and so hopes to be writing some stories for us focused on those areas.  He’s already written a couple of great pieces for us, one about the Tour de Lyme and the other about A Woman’s Exchange, and we think he’s off to a flying start!

Asked why he wanted to intern for LymeLine.com, Jacob responded, “I hope to gain first-hand experience in reporting and also to build personal connections with a diverse group of local community members.”

If you have any news tips or story suggestions for Jacob, you can contact him directly at jballachino@umass.edu and if you see him around town, make sure to say hi to him.

Finally,  welcome on board, Jacob — we’re so pleased you’ve joined our team!

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Sun Shines Brightly on Another Highly Successful ‘Tour de Lyme’ Cycling Event

Off they go! Bike riders start their choice of Tour de Lyme route.

Nine hundred and fifty cyclists from all around the area woke up on Sunday morning to the early spring sun shining down on the registration tables of the 5th annual Tour de Lyme. The event started and finished at the beautiful Ashlawn Farm on Bill Hill Rd. in Lyme, Conn., for the third consecutive year. Participants could choose between a myriad of different rides both through the trails of Nehantic Forest, Beckett Forest, and Mount Archer or through the winding roads of Lyme.  The event even offered an eight-mile family ride.

First started by John Pritchard five years ago, this year’s Tour de Lyme hosted by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust was a huge success and through registration fees and charitable donations, the land trust is able to maintain and expand the beauty of Lyme’s forestry and wildlife. In an effort to keep the town of Lyme as rural and well-maintained as possible, the Tour de Lyme is clear proof that a small organization can have a big impact.

Musicians entertain during the post-ride picnic at Ashlawn Farm.

The start times of each individual ride were staggered with the intention that all riders arrive back at the picnic around the same time to enjoy live music, several unique food trucks, and even physical therapy free for anyone who participated in the ride.

The 950 riders had a choice of four different routes on the road, and two routes through the woods. Brian Greenho, Tour de Lyme Mountain Bike Director and course designer, took time out from his busy schedule on Sunday to talk more with me about the event. He explained that has been heavily involved with the mountain bike aspect of the tour since its commencement, helping adapt the routes in order to make it more attractive to the riders.

Riders set off enthusiastically from Ashlawn Farm in Lyme on the mountain bike route.

Greenho noted that by obtaining one-day permission to use land from six private land owners, “The Tour de Lyme provides an opportunity for riders to get out into the trails and explore all three forests [Nehantic, Beckett, and Mount Archer] with hundreds of other riders,” adding that this is, “… something that would be inconceivable any other day of the year. Plus it gives the riders a chance to see the land that [Lyme Land Conservation Trust President] John Pritchard and the Trust itself work so hard to protect.”

Year-on-year participant growth in the Tour de Lyme can be seen through each of its first five occurrences. The Lyme Land Conservation Trust intends to keep the event going — and growing — in years to come and in a clear validation of that goal, it certainly seemed that all this year’s riders left the 2017 event enthusiastic for the next.

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Danenhower Read Announces Bid for Old Lyme First Selectwoman in November Election, Kerr to be Running Mate


Judith Danenhower Read

Judith Danenhower Read has announced that she is running for the position of Old Lyme First Selectwoman in the upcoming November 2017 election and Chris Kerr will be joining her in a bid for the post of Old Lyme Selectman.  The Old Lyme Republican Town Committee has not yet made any formal endorsements for the November elections, but Read notes that she and Kerr will be campaigning as Republicans.

In a brief press release, Read says, “Old Lyme needs an effective management / leadership team to run our community. We [Read and Kerr] bring 40 plus years of small business experience and a common sense approach.”

She adds, “We deliver results.  We have good relationships with many groups in our community and are looking forward to building more.”

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CT Audubon RTPEC Offers Estuary Explorations Saturday Mornings

Osprey in flight. Photo by Brock Graham.

AREAWIDE — The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is offering a new program of Saturday morning field trips to natural areas along the lower Connecticut River starting May 6.

Estuary Explorations will be led by PhD ecologist Paul Spitzer, a protégé of internationally recognized naturalist and painter, Roger Tory Peterson. Each exploration will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the possibility of extending the field tripinto the afternoon, depending on the participants’ interest.

The fee for each field trip is $30 per person ($25 per student) and registration is required. To register, visit this link.

Estuary Explorations will give participants a chance to learn about the Lower Connecticut River Estuary’s ecosystems and wildlife as the year progresses from the peak bird migratory season of May, through high summer, and into the late fall.

Paul Spitzer. Photo courtesy of Paul Spitzer.

Spitzer has designed the programs to follow in the footsteps of one of the 20th century’s most famous naturalists, field guide author and illustrator Roger Tory Peterson, who spent his adult life painting in his studio in Old Lyme and examining the flora and fauna of the Connecticut River Estuary and the world.

Spitzer will showcase some of Peterson’s favorite natural sites and share his extensive knowledge of the ecology of the region. Spitzer plans to lead these explorations at a “Thoreauvian saunter,” moving slowly to appreciate many of the birds, plants, and insects that Peterson once enjoyed.

While Old Lyme tends to be recognized for its scenic views and historic artist colony and arts culture, it is also situated at an important ecological hub in New England — the meeting of the waters. In this species-rich estuary, the fresh water of the vast Connecticut River and Long Island Sound mix, resulting in a wealth of natural life.

Spitzer learned his natural history while growing up in the Connecticut River Valley. He is a graduate of Old Lyme High School and continued up the river to attend Wesleyan University. He later earned his PhD in ecological sciences from Cornell University.

More recently, he has studied the now substantial Connecticut River Estuary Osprey colony as a “biomonitor” of migratory menhaden abundance, the Osprey’s preferred food source. Spitzer advocates for sustainable management practices of this keystone fish for its ecosystem, economic, and societal functions.

Working alongside Spitzer will be Old Saybrook native, Jim Arrigoni. Arrigoni has worked as a fisheries biologist in Washington State and developed protocols to evaluate stream water quality in Hong Kong. Most recently, he has taught cultural and aquatic ecology classes at Goodwin College, and he is currently completing a PhD on the conservation value of restored wetlands.

Spitzer has studied Ospreys for 50 years, his research beginning here in the Connecticut River Estuary. By the 1970’s, the impact of DDT in the ecosystem whittled the local Osprey colony down to one active nest. Spitzer was instrumental in the recovery of this important keystone species to these waters.

“The Connecticut River Ospreys are our iconic story of revival from the brink,” said Spitzer. “These guided and educational field trips will open a world of discovery about nature’s profusion in this extraordinary bioregion.”

“Migrant and resident species of the estuary watershed are particularly exciting to observe in May. I will provide up-close and expansive views of the natural world from salt marshes to Yellow Warblers in particularly beautiful places.”

After meeting at the Old Lyme I-95 Park and Ride (Exit 70), participants will enjoy three hours of ecological exploration followed by a brown bag lunch and guided discussion in the field.  Spitzer is also willing to offer optional afternoon sessions gauged by the stamina and interest of the participants.

Beyond the four Saturdays in May, the field trips will occur monthly through November.

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Dedication Ceremony for New Boathouse Celebrates Old Lyme’s Decades-Long, Continuing Passion for Rowing

Surrounded by VIPs at the Dedication Ceremony for the Fred Emerson Boathouse, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder cuts the ribbon to declare the boathouse officially open.  Photo by Tanya Patten.

More than 100 people gathered Saturday morning at Hains Park on the shores of Rogers Lake  to join a ceremony to dedicate the recently completed Fred Emerson Boathouse.  All joined by a love of rowing, they were there to celebrate the official opening of the boathouse, which is the new home for boats owned by Lyme-Old Lyme Schools and the Old Lyme Rowing Club/Blood Street Sculls.

Old Lyme Rowing Association/Blood Street Sculls President Greg Hack spoke to the assembled crowd expressing thanks to many individuals and organizations saying, “On behalf  of  the over 150 athletes who will row on Rogers Lake this year, I would like to express how thrilled we are that the new Boathouse is now complete.  We all feel a deep sense of gratitude to the people of the Town of Old Lyme, and to the State of Connecticut, for their support throughout this project.”

Construction of the boathouse was initially funded by a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant for $478,000, which was awarded in July 2013, and then subsequently Old Lyme residents approved a request from their board of selectmen in October 2014 for an additional $405,000 to be taken from town funds.  The proposed renovations were intended to make the boathouse ADA accessible, and provide sufficient space to store all the boats owned by Lyme-Old Lyme High School, the Old Lyme Rowing Club/Blood Street Sculls and Old Saybrook High School.  There will also be space available to carry out equipment maintenance and repair.  Renovation of the basketball court and new bathrooms, which would be accessible to the public, were also included in the project.

Hack continued his words of gratitude thanking Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, “for her leadership and unwavering support during all phases of the project … [Old Lyme Selectman] Skip Sibley, a former collegiate rower who shared our dream of a new boathouse when it was first just a sketch on a cocktail napkin … and [Old Lyme Selectwoman] MJ Nosal for her enthusiasm and support.”

He also thanked Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser and Athletic Director Hildie Heck, “for their support, and for recognizing how important the sport of rowing has been for Lyme-Old Lyme High School.”

Turning to the members of the Boathouse Hains Park Improvement Committee (BHPIC), Hack commended, “their tireless work, and in particular [the efforts of] our co-chairs Paul Fuchs and Paul Gianquinto.  Paul F brought tremendous expertise on rowing matters to the project, and Paul G brought intimate knowledge of construction procedures that were oh so valuable, not to mention his incredible dedication and tenacity throughout the project.”

Hack also thanked Nina Peck, “our architect, for creating a wonderful plan for the new building that is both attractive and highly functional.”

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser commented, “We are grateful to the Town of Old Lyme for pursuing the STEAP grant that helped support the construction of the new boathouse. This structure will allow our rowing programs to continue to grow and allow us to build upon our past successes. The new boathouse will provide much needed support for our student rowers for many years to come.”

Old Lyme Selectman Skip Sibley addresses the crowd at the Fred Emerson Boathouse Dedication.  Photo by Tanya Patten.

Sibley gave a brief history of the man after whom the boathouse is named, Fred L. Emerson Jr. of Lyme. Sibley noted Emerson was an avid rower who founded and financed crew programs at more than 60 high schools, colleges and private clubs throughout the nation. In Connecticut alone, Sibley mentioned, Emerson is solely responsible for the creation of programs at the East Lyme High School, the Coast Guard Academy, Old Lyme High School, Connecticut College, Simsbury High School, and the Middletown High School.  Emerson also gave strong support to university crew programs at Wesleyan, Trinity and Yale , and school crew programs at Choate, the Thames River Sculls, South Kent, and Gunnery.

Emerson was born and raised in Upstate New York where his father founded a prosperous shoe company. He started his rowing career at the Culver Military Academy in Indiana, and later captained the rowing squad at the University of Wisconsin Class of ‘32.  Sibley noted that, while competing for the Badgers, Emerson became aware of the challenges of financing a rowing program when his own varsity career was impacted by budget restrictions. This lesson inspired Emerson later on in his life to support fledgling rowing programs generously.

Sibley submitted that Emerson was widely regarded a champion of the underdog, who sponsored women’s crew long before Title IX established the legal requirement for equity across the genders.

Sibley went on to share the origins of Rogers Lake rowing, drawing his information from a number of sources.  He commented that the catalyst for US Women’s Rowing was when the U.S. announced their plan for a women’s rowing team to compete in the 1976 Olympic Games scheduled to be held in Montreal.  At that time, women’s rowing was still in its infancy — the US announcement precipitated a quantum leap in the sport onto the national stage.

Sibley explained that in February 1971 Emerson connected with Connecticut College rowing coach C. Bart Gullong.  They organized the first meeting of women’s rowing coaches from across the country and this marked the inception of the New England Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges.

The following spring, in May 1972, the New England Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges (NEAWRC) held its first regatta on Rogers Lake in Old Lyme, thanks in great part to the generosity of Emerson, who designed the 1,000-meter course, donated boats to many of the participating schools, and provided almost all of the financial backing for the event. One eight from each institution was allowed to participate, with the Princeton crew emerging victorious.

In 1974, the name of the organization was changed to the Eastern Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges (EAWRC) and 19 teams took part in the first race known as the EAWRC Sprints on Lake Besek in Middlefield, Conn.  (The schools participating were Barnard, Boston University, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Drexel, MIT, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Middletown High School, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Radcliffe, Rhode Island, Syracuse, Washington, Wellesley, Williams, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Yale.)

Because this was the first year in which five or more women’s teams from the Ivy League participated in a championship event, this 1974 regatta is generally seen as marking the beginning of championship competition for women in any sport, in any Division I conference. Radcliffe won that event and is thus considered the first Ivy League and EAWRC champion.

Sibley concluded, “Fred’s ‘can do’ philosophy of building programs and his passion to share the benefits of rowing amongst all skills will endure for ever. And this new boathouse bearing his name is certainly a testament to that.”

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) addresses rowing enthusiasts of all ages who attended Saturday’s Dedication Ceremony. Photo by Sheree Sibley.

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) and BHPIC Co-chair Paul Fuchs also spoke enthusiastically about the boathouse and its future impact on the local rowing programs.  Fuchs noted that Saturday, June 3, is National Learn To Row Day and for the fourth year, this event will be celebrated at Fred Emerson Boathouse by opening its doors to everyone to try rowing at no cost.

Before the speeches ended and the celebrations began, Hack summed up the joy and excitement of the occasion saying, “Over 50 years ago, Fred Emerson first coached young people out of the original boathouse on Blood Street.  Since then we have grown and achieved new levels of enthusiasm and success in what are truly community-based programs.  I am hopeful that Fred would be pleased with what we have built here together.”

He concluded, “I thank the people of Old Lyme and all who were involved in the project for their vision and for their understanding about how rowing helps to make the Town of Old Lyme such a unique and special place.  We pledge to be good stewards of this new facility for decades to come.”

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CT Camera Club Hosts Exhibit in Old Lyme Town Hall

‘The Beauty of Burano’ by N.B. Logan is one of the featured photos in the CT Camera Club’s exhibition currently on view at Old Lyme Town Hall.

There will be a photography exhibit by the Connecticut Valley Camera Club from May 1 to June 29, at the Old Lyme Town Hall, 52 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.  A total of 30 photos are on display with an opening reception on Saturday, May 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. which is free and open to the public.

The Connecticut Valley Camera Club, founded in 2001, has a prime directive of encouraging, accommodating, and implementing multiple photographic experiences for our members. Photographers of all levels are welcome. With the overall intent of improving our skills, members share information about techniques and equipment, as well as provide mutual support in evaluation of each other’s images.

The club meets on the first Monday of each month at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme. Visitors are welcome. To learn more about the club visit their website and Facebook page

 

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I-95: Exit 70, 72 Ramp Closures Continue

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced the following dates scheduled for ramp closures related to Project 104-164, Safety Improvements I-95.  The CTDOT says these closures are necessary for the safety of the traveling public and the contractors work force during the milling, reconstruction and paving of the ramps due to the widths and curvatures.

1. Southbound Exit 72  Off Ramp  – April 24 & 25, 2017 *
2. Southbound Exit 72 On Ramp –  April 24 & 25 ,2017 *
 
*These two ramps will not be closed concurrently, but as Exit 72 Off opens then Exit 72 On will close.
 
3. Southbound Exit 70 Off Ramp – May 1, 2017
4. Northbound Exit 70 On Ramp – May 12, 2015
5. Northbound Exit 71 On Ramp – May 15 & 16, 2017
6. Northbound Exit 71 Off Ramp – May 15 & 16, 2017
7. Northbound Exit 72 Off Ramp – May 17 & 18, 2017  
 
Detours for all ramps will be posted and signed so that the minimum inconvenience to the traveling public will occur.  All closures will be between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
 
The project does not foresee the need to close the Northbound Exit 70 Off Ramp or Southbound Exit 70 On Ramp as the widths will allow milling operations with traffic access.
 
These dates may change as conflicts arise or due to weather related issues. Emergency vehicle access will be given the highest priority in these locations.
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Guilford Savings Bank Supports Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries with ‘Green for Greens’

From left to right, front row, Guilford Saving Bank Branch Manager, Dave Carswell, SSKP Board Member Rick Westbrook, SSKP Executive Director, Patty Dowling, and Guilford Saving Bank Community Development Officer, Lisa La Monte. (back row) Guilford Saving Bank Assistant Branch Manager, Sandra Miller, and Guilford Saving Bank tellers Ryan Donovan and Brandy Reilly.

AREAWIDE — Guilford Savings Bank has awarded a $4,000 grant to Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) to purchase fresh produce for needy residents of the shoreline. The grant, called “Green for Greens”, helps assure that local families who come to SSKP’s food pantries will be provided with fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to non-perishable foods.

Lisa LeMonte, Marketing and Community Development Officer at Guilford Savings Bank, shared, “I know I speak for everyone at GSB when I say how proud we are to provide “Green for Greens” that allows The Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries to supplement their budget with funds to purchase additional fresh produce.”

“The support of Guilford Savings Bank and their generous “Green for Greens” is truly a gift to those we serve at our 5 food pantries.  We all know the feeling of eating a fresh crisp apple, or finding a banana in our lunch bag when we are hungry midday.  Because of GSB, those in need will share in that feeling, and on behalf of those we serve, I sincerely thank Guilford Savings Bank for their commitment to providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director.

Founded 28 years ago, The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries provides food and fellowship to people in need and educates the community about hunger and poverty, serving the Connecticut shoreline towns of Essex, Chester, Clinton, Madison, Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Lyme, Old Lyme, Killingworth, Westbrook and Deep River.

Guilford Savings Bank has been serving the financial needs of the Connecticut shoreline for over 140 years.  Recently named the #1 Community Bank in Connecticut, it is the premier relationship bank, providing banking, lending, wealth management and life insurance solutions for personal, small business and commercial customers. For more information visit www.gsbyourbank.com

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With Final Decision on NEC Future Near, CT Trust Pushes CT DOT for Clear Statement on Elimination of Rail Bypasses

With just weeks remaining before the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) completes a five-year NEC Future planning process, finalizing a ‘once-in-a-generation’ blueprint for rail travel and investment along the Northeast Corridor, advocates of historic, cultural and environmental resources in Connecticut are responding warily to recent statements from Connecticut DOT and FRA officials.

“Connecticut DOT now refers to ‘aspirational recommendations’ for the high-speed rail corridor in Connecticut,” noted Daniel Mackay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust. “As this process nears completion, it is critical that the public and municipal officials realize that any language in the Record of Decision which references proposed bypasses in New London and Fairfield counties, as well as in Rhode Island, leaves the door open for these projects in the next stages of planning. It is imperative that FRA and Connecticut DOT permanently bar the door against these destructive bypass proposals.”

The Trust released a copy of a Feb. 10 email to Richard Andreski, Bureau Chief for Public Transportation, calling for state and federal agencies to remove all references to the proposed Old Saybrook to Kenyon (RI) from the forthcoming NEC Future Record of Decision. The Trust also asked for a commitment from both FRA and CT DOT that the Old Saybrook to Kenyon bypass not be reconsidered or reintroduced as planning for NEC Future moves forward. The Trust further warned that the proposed New Rochelle (NY) to Greens Farms bypass in Fairfield County requires a separate Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which should only be amended to NEC Future if warranted following more careful consideration.

In an April 12 letter to FRA Acting Administrator Patrick Warren, Senator Richard Blumenthal drew attention to fresh public concerns regarding previously-overlooked plans by FRA to double to four tracks the existing rail footprint between Branford and Guilford, east of New Haven. Senator Richard Blumenthal urged the agency to “engage in thorough discussions and dialogue” with impacted residents, warning that “it is imperative that these concerns be addressed immediately” given the expected release of the NEC Future Record of Decision.

Following a pattern repeated in other communities in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the proposed Branford to Guilford rail expansion came to the attention of residents in the region, only after the release of finalized maps of the FRA’s ‘Preferred Route’ on Dec. 16, 2016. In recent weeks, six preservation and environmental groups have written to the FRA to express concern, including the Branford Historical Society, Branford Land Trust, Stony Creek Association, Guilford Preservation Alliance, Guilford Land Conservation Trust, and Hyland House.

Despite these concerns, Gregory Stroud, Director of Special Projects at the Connecticut Trust, made clear that he is hopeful for a positive outcome after nearly 16 months of advocacy on the issue. “On the merits, we believe we’ve made a compelling case that FRA delivered a terrifically flawed plan, with too many impacts, and too few benefits for Connecticut.” Stroud pointed to strong bipartisan support from representatives at the local, state, and federal levels, in both Rhode Island and Connecticut, for dropping planned bypasses, and for investments in the existing Northeast Corridor.

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