January 19, 2018

Women’s Vigil to be Held Saturday in East Haddam


A sister vigil will be held on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Two Wrasslin’ Cats (374 Town Street, East Haddam, CT). For those interested in attending, RSVP’s are requested at this link.

One year after the historic Women’s March on Washington, when millions marched across the world and 500 showed up in East Haddam, this event will be focused on bringing our communities together and moving onto the next stage of the movement. In 2018, the intent is to channel energy and activism into tangible strategies and concrete wins to create transformative social and political change.

There will be a standing vigil (with limited seats available for those who are not able to stand for the duration of an hour) not a march (in order to increase accessibility for people with disabilities and/or small children).

The vigil will be near a sign that says, “Dear Muslims, Immigrants, Women, Disabled, LGBTQ+ folks and People of Color. We love you- boldly & proudly. We will endure. -Shaun King”. Attendees are welcome to bring your own signs and banners.

Theresa Govert, founder and chair of Together We Rise CT (TWRCT), will be facilitating and speaking at the event. She 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.

In 2017, she was one of six women under the age of 40 who received Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) and Young Women Rising‘s The Future is Now Award.

All participants should park at the Rotary Skating Pond or the Upper Parking lot of Town Tavern & Restaurant and walk (approx 30 seconds to the site of the vigil). For those with limited mobility, there will be parking reserved in the parking lot of Two Wrasslin’ Cats (the site of the vigil). Car-pooling is strongly recommended.

The vigil will be held in the parking lot of the Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee shop, so people with children, senior citizens, etc will be able to go inside and warm up during the event.

If you have any questions/concerns/suggestions, email togetherwerisect@gmail.com

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Carney Hosts Office Hours This Evening in Lyme

State Rep. Devin Carney (R- 23rd)

State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

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

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

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

Details of the times and locations are as follows:

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

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

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

Anyone with questions about these events can contact Carney’s office at 860-240-870 or devin.carney@housegop.ct.gov, or Formica at Paul.Formica@cga.ct.gov. You can also sign up for their respective e-news by visiting www.senatorformica.com or www.cthousegop.com/carney.

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

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

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‘So a Bunch of Us Sat Down to Write …’ Listen to a Local Author Panel This Evening at Old Lyme PGN Library

The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library hosts a local author panel Thursday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. at the library, 2 Library Lane, Old Lyme. All are welcome and admission is free.

Join this event to hear members of the Haddam Writers Group read excerpts from their new book, “So a Bunch of Us Sat Down to Write …” an anthology of 42 short works by the nine members. It is a book that reflects on their many voices in fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry. Its memoirs, essays, stories and poetry provide laughter, sadness, reflection and joy.

Copies of this book will be available for signing and purchase  at $14.99.

Light refreshments will be provided.

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‘How The Other Half Loves,’ Presented by Saybrook Stage, Opens Tonight at The Kate; Runs Through Sunday


OLD SAYBROOK —
Alan Ayckbourn’s farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps, “How The Other Half Loves” will have audiences in stitches. Aykbourn enthralls with his clever use of space and time as he intertwines the lives of two very different couples – a perfectly posh upper-class older one and a messy middle class younger one – on the same stage!

As Bob Phillips and Fiona Foster clumsily try to cover up their affair, their spouses’ intervention only adds to the confusion. William and Mary Detweiler – the third couple – find themselves in the middle of the mayhem when they are falsely accused of adultery – with no idea as to how they’ve become involved.

The fact that all three of the men work at the same company – in the same department adds to the fun. The plot culminates in two disastrous dinner parties on successive nights, shown at the same time – on the same stage – after which the future of all three couples is definitely in question.

The fast pace and physical humor of this piece makes this one of Ayckbourn’s funniest and most exciting plays to experience. The play is set in 1969 which allows for plenty of comic routines around landline telephones, distinct class structures and changing sexual mores.

The play originally opened in London in 1970 to rave reviews and ran for over 850 performances – it also opened on Broadway in 1971.

Ayckbourn has spent over 55 years as a theatre director and a playwright. To date he has written 80 plays – the latest of which opened at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough in 2016 – and his work has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the world and has won countless awards.

The Saybrook Stage Company returns once again to The Kate in “How The Other Half Loves” directed by Michael Langlois, who previously directed Saybrook Stage’s “A Piece of my Heart” in January 2013. Their more recent plays include The Farnsworth Invention, Noises Off, Deathtrap, The Wayside Motor Inn, Moon Over Buffalo and this past July, Barefoot in the Park.

Visit www.thekate.org or call 877.503.1286 to reserve your tickets. The play will be performed Jan. 18 , 19 and 20 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m.

Also, visit www.SaybrookStage.org for more information about The Saybrook Stage Company.

The Saybrook Stage Company was founded as a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality local theater on the Connecticut Shoreline at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Saybrook Stage welcomes actors of all levels and abilities – and anyone who genuinely loves the arts – to come together and share in the experience that only live theater can provide. The actors that have been part of The Saybrook Stage Company to date have varied backgrounds and “day jobs” from teachers, artists and homemakers to lawyers, business people and judges.

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Legal New You Can Use: Divorce and Splitting Retirement Accounts

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Host Kindergarten Registration, Jan. 29-30

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Registration for Kindergarten in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools for the fall of 2018 is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 29 and 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lyme Consolidated School and Mile Creek School

Children who will be 5 years old on or before Jan. 1, 2019 are eligible to register for Kindergarten for September 2018.

While you may complete the registration process at either school, your child’s school placement will depend on District attendance zones.

Please bring to registration your child’s

  • Birth Certificate
  • Immunization/Health Records
  • Three forms of proof of residency

If you cannot register on these days or would like additional information, call either school at these numbers to place your child’s name on the Kindergarten list and/or have your questions answered:

  • Lyme Consolidated: 860-434-1233
  • Mile Creek: 860-434-2209

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools look forward to welcoming your child.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Time for Trees to Go Out! Christmas Tree Pick-up Has Started in Old Lyme

The Public Works Department is conducting curbside pick-up of Christmas trees from Jan. 16 through Jan. 26.

No return trips will be made to any neighborhood — trees must be placed at the curb by 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

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Cappella Hosts Late Registration/Rehearsal for Haydn’s ‘Creation,’ Monday

Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus late registration and second rehearsal for its spring concert will take place Monday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River. Use the rear entrance.

Auditions are not required.

The concert will feature Haydn’s masterpiece, “The Creation,” that includes the well-known “The Heavens are Telling the Glory of God.” It will be performed Sunday, April 22, with professional soloists and orchestra with Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera directing.

Registration is $40; music is $13.

For more information visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.

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Old Lyme Annual Town Meeting Scheduled for Jan. 22, Citizen of the Year to be Announced at Meeting

Updated 01/16: At their Jan. 2 Regular Meeting, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen passed a motion to schedule an Annual Town Meeting for Monday, Jan. 22.  The agenda for the meeting will be:

  • To accept the Annual Town Report for the fiscal year July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, as submitted by the Board of Finance.
  • To announce the recipient of the Board of Selectmen’s Citizen of the Year for 2017.
  • A request by the Board of Selectmen to appropriate $200,000.00 for Road Overlay projects as recommended by the Board of Finance.

The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. and be held in the Meeting Hall of Memorial Town Hall, 52 Lyme Street, Old Lyme.

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Tavern Night Returns to CT River Museum, Jan. 26 … With a Taste of Bourbon Whiskey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Save $10 when you buy all three evenings!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Potapaug Hosts “American Woodcock” Program in Old Lyme, Feb. 1

Potapaug Audubon presents “The American Woodcock” on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. at the Old Lyme Town Hall. All are welcome.

The speaker will be Patti Laudano, naturalist and former Potapaug President, who will give a PowerPoint presentation illustrating all the unique adaptations of this elusive and well-camouflaged bird.

For more information or weather update, call 860-710-5811.

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Op-Ed: High Hopes Suggests MLK Day is Appropriate Day to Think About Giving Back to Your Favorite Non-Profit, Hosts Volunteer Orientation 4-7 Today

With the arrival of Martin Luther King Day today, it is worth looking back on the question Martin Luther King Jr. asked of an audience in Montgomery, Ala., in 1957, when he said, “What is life’s most persistent and urgent question?”

Consider that question right now and what your answer would be?

  • How can we achieve world peace?
  • Is global warming real?
  • Which college shall I choose?
  • Is life really a race to nowhere?
  • What is the number 42?

For Martin Luther King, the answer to this question was quite simple: ““What are you doing for others?”

So, in acknowledgement of Martin Luther King Day, High Hopes challenges you to answer that question with a pledge of a specific number of volunteer hours to a local non-profit.

A pledge is a promise, a promise to yourself, to the non-profit and to the many thousands of people who depend on Connecticut’s non-profits every day for human and social services, for therapy and comfort, for clothes and food, sanctuary and safety. By writing down your pledge, it becomes more real, more urgent, more of a commitment, and more achievable than a New Year’s resolution or an unspoken intention at some time in the future.

Choose an organization that speaks to your soul.

We would love you to volunteer at High Hopes, and whatever your future career interest, we can promise a rewarding experience. But wherever you decide to pledge your time, make sure that the organization’s mission speaks to your soul.

At High Hopes, we say “Volunteers give something of themselves and receive back another person’s hopes and dreams.” But while looking for a suitable quote for this piece, we came across this definition taken from the International Volunteer HQ – Volunteer Abroad Pinterest Board(n:) Volunesia – the moment when you forget you’re volunteering to help change lives because it’s changing yours.

Experiencing Volunesia is something we hear again and again from our volunteers.

Our therapeutic equine assisted activities operate year-round, six days a week from morning until evening. Our staff and volunteers work together, forming a vital team that is essential to our ongoing success. Individual reasons for volunteering may differ, but giving of oneself and forming special connections with people and horses creates a common bond for everyone involved in our program.

We could not operate without our volunteers and our needs are many. Our volunteers are all ages, genders, creeds, and ethnicities. Volunteering is giving freely, conscientiously and predictably of your time, but that does not mean to say that you will not benefit just as much, if not more than you give.

High Hopes is a center of excellence for Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies, as well as recognized for its high standard of non-profit management. Trainee Instructors travel from around the world to receive a High Hopes’ Education (we currently have trainees from Bosnia and Australia!) We extend that training to our volunteers through enrichment activities and subsidized training events.

For high school students, we offer an excellent way of demonstrating on-going volunteer commitment. Just one hour volunteering each week is considered of value by college admissions officers. For our participants, it will give them the confidence of a familiar volunteer face each week.

If you are involved in sports and can only volunteer during the summer – that’s no problem. Summer is one of our busiest times when we run five individual weeks of all-abilities, community-focused summer camp, as well as disability-specific programs.

For college students, we know that the experience gained at High Hopes is second to none for those wanting to enter the fields of Early Childhood Education, Human Growth & Development, Nursing, Medicine and Professions Allied to Medicine.

For many of those who have served in the armed forces or are retired, maintaining a connection or continuing to give back is a vital part of staying physically and mentally active.

For homemakers, seasonal visitors and homeschoolers, High Hopes’ flexible programs enable you to commit to a volunteering schedule that suits you, enables you to get out of the house, and build a new and supportive social network.

Ready to learn more?  Then you can make a volunteer pledge to High Hopes at this link or join us for one of our General Orientation and Side-walker Training Sessions on any of these dates:

Monday, Jan. 15: 4 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 3: 1 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 10: 1 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 14: 1 to 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 5: 1 to 4 p.m.

Or join us for a Volunteer Open House on Saturday, March 17, between 10 a.m. and noon. Take a tour of High Hopes, meet our team, talk to an existing volunteer, watch a lesson or discuss a volunteer schedule to suit you.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Host Super Bowl Scholarship Breakfast with Braiden Sunshine, Feb. 4

Old Lyme’s own Braiden Sunshine will perform at the Lions Scholarship Breakfast on Superbowl Sunday.

The annual Super Bowl ‘Scholarship Breakfast’ hosted by the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions promises yet again to be a lively and delicious event this year.

Scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 4, from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lyme-Old Lyme High School cafeteria, this year’s breakfast hosts ‘The Voice’ superstar Braiden Sunshine, who will provide musical entertainment during the event.  Enjoy the Good News Clowns and their balloon creations, face painting and silly antics.

Meanwhile, the school’s award winning Techno Ticks FIRST Robotics Team 236 will also be on hand to demonstrate their new robotic creations up close … and personal!

pancake_breakfast

Feast on a hearty menu of blueberry pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, tater tots, fresh fruit, coffee and OJ. Door prizes include restaurant and salon certificates, and other items donated by local businesses.

During the event, the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions will conduct free, quick, non-contact eye screenings for people 2 to 92 years of age, using “Spot,” an instrument resembling a Polaroid camera. From a distance of three feet, “Spot” checks for six eye diseases, and within seconds it produces a detailed test report.  This state-of-the-art equipment is used in the new Lions’ PediaVision preschool eye screening program.

The Lyme-Old Lyme community is invited to participate in this fun event.  The annual breakfast is the Lions’ primary fundraiser for four $1,500 Lions’ scholarships awarded each year to deserving high school students resident in Lyme or Old Lyme.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for children under 12.  For more information on Lions’ scholarships and the PediaVision program, visit www.lymeoldlymelions.org.

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Talking Transportation: Will the Real ID Act Disrupt Travel?

Something like 1.73 million Americans board airplanes ever day.  And each of them must go through a very necessary screening by the TSA, the Transportation Security Agency.  But beginning in late January 2018, a lot of passengers will be denied boarding because they don’t have the right kind of ID.

You can thank (or blame) the Real ID Act passed by Congress in 2005 after 9/11 to make sure people really are who they claim to be.  As any teen can tell you, it’s too easy to obtain a fake ID.  And if teens can do it, terrorists can also.

Because most people rely on their state driver’s license as ID, it’s been up to the states to gain compliance with the Federal rules.  A lot of those states are not in compliance, but Connecticut has passed the test, sort of.

If you’ve recently renewed your Connecticut license, you know you were given an option:  get a “regular” license or a “verified” ID.  To get a verified license you needed to bring extra proof to the DMV:  a US passport, birth certificate, original Social Security card, etc.

Look at your CT license and you’ll easily see the difference.  If yours has a gold star in the upper right corner, you’re verified.  No gold star, NOT verified … meaning that as of 2020 your license will NOT be enough ID to get you on an airplane.  That license clearly says “Not for Federal Identification.”  But for now, any CT driver’s license will get you past TSA.

Sure, you can always use your US Passport as ID.  It’s the gold standard and requires all kinds of identity proof to be issued.  But if you don’t have a passport and don’t have a gold star on your CT driver’s license, starting in 2020 you’ll have to start thinking about taking Amtrak or driving.

Only about 40 percent of all Americans have a passport.  Compare that to countries like Canada (60 percent) or the UK (70 percent).  Considering the fact that millions of Americans have never even been out of the country, why would they need one?  (PS: Isn’t it amazing how those same people always say the USA is #1 having no point of comparison?)

Leaving aside the paranoids who think that having a passport is an invasion of privacy because they are now embedded with RFID chips containing who-knows-what kind of information about you, we should all have a passport.  And getting one is pretty easy.

There are more than 8,000 Passport Offices in the US, most of them US Post Offices or libraries, which will process applications certain days each month.  But the main Passport Office for our state is in Stamford.  You can also file your application by mail, but only for renewals.  First time applicants must appear in person with all their documentation.

Mind you, US Passports are not cheap: $110 for first time applicants, plus $25 application fee.  Renewals are also $110 and “expedited” passports are an extra $60.

Turn-around time on your application can be anywhere from two to six weeks.  There are also private services that claim to be able to get you a new passport in one day, but they’ll cost you.

So the bad news is:  if you don’t have a passport already, may need one eventually.  The good news is, December is a great time to apply as it’s the Passport Office’s “slow season”, compared to the summer travel rush.  Happy traveling!

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Jim Cameron.

About the author: Former NBC News director and anchor, now a professional communications consultant, Jim Cameron, pictured left, leads workshops on media training, speech and presentations skills and preps clients for analyst briefings and legislative testimony. Jim served for 19 years on the CT Metro-North Rail Commuter Council, is an elected member of the Darien Representative Town Meeting (RTM) and is Program Director of Darien TV79, his town’s government TV station.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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