February 24, 2018

UConn Professor Discusses ‘Puerto Rico: Wrecked by Storms and Politics’ at SECWAC, March 5

Professor Charles Venator-Santiago

The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) will host Charles Venator-Santiago, Associate Professor of Public Law and Latino/a Politics at the University of Connecticut, to speak at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 5, at Crozier Student Center at Connecticut College in New London.

Venator-Santiago will discuss how Puerto Rico’s constitutional status informs the U.S. response to the devastation of the island’s infrastructure by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which also caused a humanitarian crisis. This catastrophe has been exacerbated by both the federal and island government’s response to the crisis. This talk will provide an overview of Puerto Rico’s territorial status and examines the island’s future.
A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the main event will begin at 6 p.m. The presentation is a part of the SECWAC Speaker Series. SECWAC meetings are free to members (half-year membership February-June is $37.50/year; $12.50/year for young professionals under 35).  Walk-ins are $20 for the general public (non-members; the $20 cost can subsequently be applied towards a SECWAC membership). SECWAC membership is free for area college and high school students.
Immediately following the presentation, SECWAC meeting attendees have the option for $35 to attend a dinner with the speaker at Connecticut College.  Reservations are required by Friday, March 2, at 860-912-5718.
Charles R. Venator-Santiago is a Associate Professor of Public Law and Latino/a Politics at the University of Connecticut with a joint appointment in the Department of Political Science and El Instituto. He has earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has researched the history of U.S. territorial law and policy with a primary focus on Puerto Rico.
His most recent book is Puerto Rico and the Origins of U.S. Global Empire: The Disembodied Shade (Routledge 2015) (Reviewed and Recommended by CHOICE: http://bit.ly/1Qh9frH). He is also the author of Are Puerto Ricans Really American Citizens?March 2, 2017; The Conversation (reprinted in The Observer, TIME, U.S. News and World Report, Univision, Salon, AP and other venues) (280,000+ reads). Available at: https://theconversation.com/are-puerto-ricans-really-american-citizens-73723
Professor Venator-Santiago has provided research and academic support to Puerto Rican and Latino/a organizations in Hartford and Connecticut during the past decade. He is currently working on a series of projects to provide support to Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans migrating to Connecticut. He is the Secretariat of the Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA) at El Instituto, University of Connecticut.

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). The organization dates back to 1999, and has continued to arrange 8-10 Speaker Series meetings annually, between September and June. The meetings range in foreign affairs topics, and are hosted at venues along the I-95 corridor, welcoming members and guests from Stonington to Old Saybrook, and beyond.

SECWAC’s mission is “to foster an understanding of issues of foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate, and educational programming.” It provides a forum for nonpartisan, non-advocacy dialogue between members and speakers, who can be U.S. policy makers, educators, authors, and other experts on foreign relations. Learn more at http://secwac.org.
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Potapaug Audubon Presents ‘Blanding’s Turtle’ at Old Lyme Town Hall, March 8

Blanding’s turtle.

Potapaug Audubon presents “Blanding’s Turtle” on Thursday, March 8, at 7 p.m. at the Old Lyme Town Hall, 52 Lyme St. with guest speaker, Emilie Wilder of Zoo New England.

This endangered species, named for William Blanding, the early Philadelphia naturalist who first described it, needs help. The hatchlings are being protected and then raised by school children.

Come learn about this unique project and a turtle about which you’ve probably never heard.

For more information, call 860-710-5811.

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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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LOL Education Foundation’s Annual Trivia Bee Will ‘Buzz’ Again, March 16

full_5738The Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation’s (LOLEF) 6th Annual Trivia Bee will be held Friday, March 16, at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.
Local businesses, community organizations and neighborhoods are invited to enter teams of four into this adult trivia contest, arguably the most “bee-dazzling fun-draiser” in The Lymes! Admission is $200 for each team.  Full details of the contest and rules are at this link.
Each team will be given a list of trivia topics in advance of the Bee. Teams are encouraged (but not required!) to choose a fun team name and dress in costume. The evening will be hosted by LOLEF and there will be entertainment and prizes galore for the audience between rounds.
The winning team from each round will participate in a championship round. Teams will compete for the Honey Cup, a perpetual trophy, as well as the honor of being crowned Lyme-Old Lyme’s Trivia Bee Champion. Prizes will also be awarded for the Best Team Costume and Best Team Name.
Spectators are encouraged to cheer on their favorite teams in person. Audience admission to the Bee is free.
Refreshments, local honey and tech-raffle tickets will be available for purchase.
The LOLEF supports innovative educational initiatives throughout our schools and community. Thanks to community support, the LOLEF has donated over $160,000 since its inception in 2006. The LOLEF works closely with, but is independent of, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.
The LOLEF counts on the success of fundraisers such as the Trivia Bee to keep the Foundations’ grants program vibrant.
Businesses and organizations are invited to enter a team of their own or, if they prefer, to sponsor a team made up of teachers and or students from our local schools.
If you would like to participate in the Bee or become a corporate sponsor, contact Nicole Wholean at 860-434-6678. The registration fee is $200 per team. Click here to register online.    Click here to download a registration form.
Anyone participating is encouraged to upload one of these pictures to their Facebook profile or timeline cover. The organizers would like to have the whole town buzzing!
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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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Preserve Closures in Lyme During Deer Firearm Hunting Season Have Begun, Continue Through Dec. 19

The following Preserves in Lyme will be closed Monday through Friday through Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 except to licensed hunters with valid consent forms from the Town of Lyme Open Space Coordinator: Beebe Preserve, Chestnut Hill Preserve

  • Eno Preserve
  • Hand Smith
  • Honey Hill Preserve
  • Jewett Preserve
  • Mount Archer Woods
  • Pickwick’s Preserve
  • Plimpton Preserve.

These preserves, owned by the Town of Lyme or the Lyme Land Conservation Trust, will be open on Saturdays and Sundays during this hunting period as no hunting is allowed on weekends. The hunting program is fully subscribed.

For more information on the hunting program in Lyme, visit this link.

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Musical Masterworks Debuts Internationally Acclaimed ‘Ehnes Quartet’ in Old Lyme, Dec. 2-3

This December, Musical Masterworks will debut internationally acclaimed violinist James Ehnes and the Ehnes Quartet on Saturday, December 2nd at 5 p.m. and Sunday, December 3rd at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Hailed as “an important new force in the chamber music arena” with a “dream-team line-up” (Strings), the Ehnes Quartet is comprised of four renowned string musicians: violinists James Ehnes and Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill, and Musical Masterworks’ own Artistic Director, cellist Edward Arron.

Formally established in 2010, the members of the Ehnes Quartet have played chamber music together in various formations for more than 20 years. The quartet’s highly refined, sensitive and expressive performances have delighted audiences and critics across North America, Europe, and Asia, and have made them one of the most sought-after chamber groups performing today.

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 December concerts for an in-depth discussion about the composers and music featured that weekend:  Haydn, Bartók and Beethoven.

Musical Masterworks’ 27th season continues through April 2018.  To purchase a mini-subscription of any three concerts ($100 each) or individual tickets ($40 individual; $5 student), visit Musical Masterworks at www.musicalmasterworks.org or call 860.434.2252.

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Joshuatown Bridge Renovation Project Continues in Lyme

The project to repair and repaint the Joshuatown Bridge in Lyme, which spans the Eight Mile River, is expected to start this week. The Town of Lyme anticipates the project will take approximately three weeks to complete.

Although one-lane closures may be required for limited periods, detours should not be necessary and the flow of traffic should not be affected significantly.

The Town of Lyme reminds everyone to be especially vigilant while traveling both near and across this bridge, and also to be aware of the presence of the project workers.

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Lyme Land Trust Celebrates Opening of Brockway-Hawthorne Preserve

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.

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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