March 21, 2018

Enjoy Irish Music This Evening at the Old Lyme-PGN Library

Fiddler Jeanne Freeman and singer/guitarist Dan Ringrose will play Irish music at the OL-PGN Library starting at 6 p.m. this evening.

Continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this evening at 6 p.m. at the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library when the Celtic duo of fiddler Jeanne Freeman and singer/guitarist Dan Ringrose will play Irish music for the enjoyment of library patrons.  All are welcome, there is no admission fee and no registration is required.

Freeman’s playing has been described as, “effortlessly virtuosic,” and Ringrose’s voice has been described as, “stunning.”  Together, they bring a lively freshness to traditional and original tunes and songs, along with stories, poetry, and humor.
Both on the faculty of the Connecticut Academy of Irish Music, they have been featured on CT Public Television, at the Greater Hartford Irish Festival, and in many other venues. Enjoy the music and songs of the Emerald Isle as they help celebrate everything Irish in Old Lyme!

Chamber Welcomes MCCD as Speaker at Tomorrow’s Dinner Meeting

Join members of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce at their next Monthly Dinner Meeting at Stella’s Restaurant & Pizzeria on Wednesday, March 21. All members, prospective members and other interested parties are welcome.

Cocktails and business networking begin at 6 p.m., with a three-course dinner starting at 7 p.m. The cost is $25 per person and the dinner choices are as follows:

Everyone will receive a side Caesar salad  and fresh bread for the tables
Pennette – Italian sausage, peppers, onions, tomatoes, fresh basil and spinach in a garlic chardonnay sauce, tossed with penne. **Can be made vegetarian
Grilled Shrimp Scampi – grilled shrimp & tomatoes n a garlic lemon basil wine sauce served with linguine
Chicken Piccata – baked breaded chicken breast topped with capers with a EVOO and lemon wine sauce served with penne pasta
Fallen Chocolate Cake
Ricotta Cheese Cake

The guest speakers are members of the Mentoring Corps of Community Development (MCCD).  This group, which operates in both Lyme and Old Lyme, does an enormous amount of ‘good works.’  It promises ot be an exciting presentation since everyone is looking forward to hearing what MCCD has achieved to date and what the group plans to do in the future.

New members can join the Chamber and current members can renew at the meeting. Annual membership is still only $50, payable to Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce.

Seating is limited. Make payment for a dinner reservation at this link on the Chamber website or send details by email to email@lolcc.comDinner selections must be received by end of day on Tuesday, March 20, and payment can either be made online or by check brought to the meeting.

Questions? Contact Chamber President Olwen Logan at


Talking Transportation: Citizen Anger About Imminent Transport Funding Cuts Needs to be Directed at Legislature

In recent weeks I’ve been criss-crossing the state talking to folks about our transportation crisis:  the proposed fare hikes on trains and buses coupled with service cuts on the branch lines, and the multi-billion spending cuts at CDOT.

I call it the “Winter of our discontent” magical misery tour.

From Woodbridge to New Canaan, from Old Lyme to West Haven, I’ve talked to crowds large and small, explaining what’s going to happen July 1 and why.  Most folks knew something about our impending doom, but they all left unhappy about the cuts’ specific impact on their lives.

Like the First Selectwoman from Old Lyme who said taxpayers were going to have to spend $600,000 repairing a local bridge because, for the third year in a row, CDOT doesn’t have enough money to share with municipalities.

Or the manager of The Roger Sherman Inn in New Canaan who said she’d probably have to close if off-peak train service was cut on the branch, making it impossible for her cooks and waiters to get to work.

But the culmination of all these presentations was last Tuesday night’s public hearing in Stamford before an SRO crowd of 200+ angry residents.  I’d come more to listen than talk, but couldn’t resist and used my allotted three minutes to ask…

“What are we doing here?  Why are we at this hearing when nothing that you or I say tonight will do anything to change the inevitability of these fare hikes and service cuts?  This may be cathartic, but it’s just political theater.  The folks you should really be talking to are not from CDOT but your State Rep and State Senator.  The legislature created this funding problem and only they can fix it.  If they raise the gas tax and get serious about making motorists pay their fair share, none of these service cuts or fare hikes will happen”.

I was speaker number 11 of more than 80 who signed up to speak.  Some of them waited 4 hours for their few minutes in front of the mic.

But not the politicians.  As State Rep’s arrived, they were whisked by the CDOT Commissioner to the front of the speaker’s line, jumping the queue.  The Commissioner is no fool.  He knows who controls his budget and it isn’t the old guy with a walker complaining about the buses.

When the pols spoke it was the usual platitudes but no new ideas.  “Don’t raise fares, find other funding sources,” said one.  What funding sources?  To their credit, some of the pols did stay to listen, but others (including at least one gubernatorial hopeful) did their grandstanding and split.

One State Rep did have the guts to poll the crowd on their appetite for raising the gasoline tax and tolling our roads, both of which got loud support, much to his surprise.  The people have spoken so now’s the time for action.

By the way … what kind of message does it send when scores of New Canaan residents go to the Stamford hearing to oppose rail service cuts but take a chartered bus instead of the train?

People are angry.  But they need to direct their anger not at the CDOT but at the legislature, holding them accountable for their inaction.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, visit


Lyme-Old Lyme High School Presents ‘Once Upon a Mattress,’ Opens Thursday

Reharsing a number from the show are, from left to right, Hannah Morrison, Lauren Mitchell, Katie Reid, Haley Stevens, Emma Bass, Heather McGrath, and Grace Edwards.

Hear ye, hear ye! The dates for the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) spring musical are rapidly approaching and the whole community is invited!

This year, the Old Lyme Players are tackling the classic comedy Once Upon a Mattress. The musical reveals the untold stories of The Princess and the Pea as the audience discovers that the “lost princess” was actually royalty in the swamp lands, not a girl wandering through a storm, who stumbled upon the castle.

Princess Winnifred, nicknamed “Fred,” falls in love with the dapper Prince Dauntless and must pass the Queen’s virtually impossible royalty test before she and Dauntless can get married, but Queen Aggravain plots to sabotage Fred so that she and Dauntless cannot be together. Meanwhile, Lady Larken and Sir Harry, an unmarried couple living in the kingdom, are expecting a child, and they wait anxiously for the royal wedding since no one in the kingdom is allowed to get married before Prince Dauntless.

The musical is directed by Jim Motes with musical direction by Kristine Pekar, choreographed by Bethany Haslam, and conducted by Jacob Wilson. The show also features sets by William Allik along with costumes created and organized by Denise Golden.

Once Upon a Mattress stars Natalie Golden as Princess Winnifred, Caroline LeCour as Queen Aggravain, Jacob Olsen as Prince Dauntless, and Lauren Mitchell as the Minstrel. Additionally, the show features Sean Spina as the king, Elyza Learned and Liam Clark as Lady Larken and Sir Harry, Haley Stevens as the Jester and Sophia Griswold as the Wizard

The cast auditioned for the show in December and has been rehearsing weekdays from 2:45 to 5:30 p.m. with additional Sunday choreography rehearsals from 4 to 6 p.m. The company has devoted a great deal of time and energy to the production and is eagerly anticipating sharing the production with the audience.

Old Lyme Players encourage audience members to arrive ready to sit back, relax and enjoy this lighthearted musical comedy set in a fairy-tale world, which the cast and crew magically create onstage.

Once Upon a Mattress opens at LOLHS on Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m.  There are also 7 p.m. performances on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24.  In addition, there is a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on the Saturday.

Tickets, sold online at this link  and at the door, are $12 for students and senior citizens and $15 for adults. For more information, call the high school at 860-434-1651.


Family Wellness: Screens, Media and Family Life

How invasive is technology in our lives?  Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

The idea for this column came from a reader, but there is also a general clamor for information about this topic that I am privy to in my work with families.

Anna and Rosalie Shalom were the picture of old school, imaginative play in their West Orange, New Jersey, home. The two, 5 and almost 3, labored in harmony at their task, preparing an elaborate pretend dinner to be served at the tiny table in their playroom. They set out play plates. They loaded them up with wooden fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. They sat down, ready to dig in. Ah, but first: they whipped out their pretend cell phones to make sure that no pressing pretend calls or texts required their attention. Their parents cringed. Where had they learned that? (See this article published in Time magazine about raising the screen generation)

Well, Anna and Rosalie aren’t in any imminent danger, but we probably understand why this was cringe-worthy for their parents.  I did observe real imminent danger posed by cell phone use just the other day – a young person almost struck by a car while crossing a busy Boston street, chatting on her phone.  (Coincidentally, I was on my way to a conference where topics around children’s phone, screen and media use abounded.)

So how have screens, phones and media affected family life?

Let’s start with a little context to this question.  According to The Moment, a time tracking app with nearly 5 million users, the average person spends four hours per day interacting with his or her cell phone.  The amount of time children 8-years-old and younger spend on phones or tablets had increased 10 fold between 2012 and 2017, according to a study by Common Sense, which also found that in 2017, 42 percent of kids in the same age group had their own mobile device, up from only 1 percent in 2011. I have to admit to shock and knee jerk dismay at these numbers.  It should be noted that TV usage still predominates for young people’s consumption of media. 

I think we all can think of many ways technology has made our lives easer.  What in the world did we do in the past when our car broke down on the road?  When Junior did not know what time play practice finished up?  When grandmother fell?

Media and technology are here to stay.  So what concerns do families have about media use?  Or “problematic media use,” as many psychologists have termed media use that interferes with “RL” (real life)? 

Real life includes when toddlers learn to play with each other (there is some evidence that excessive screen time results in decreased social and emotional development in young children).  Real life also includes the development of closeness and trust, learning logical reasoning, abstract thought, problem solving and creativity (see this story published in the Wall Street Journal about how cell phones hi-jack our minds).  Real life includes separating from parents during freshman orientation (see this article published in the New York Times about the mental health of college freshmen). 

So yes, there is evidence that excessive media use and dependency can interfere with “RL.”  But there still remains much research to do into the “who, what, when, why and how much” questions concerning family media use and screen time.

So what are we families to do while we wait for more research?  Families need to self-monitor as best they by can looking at their media usage and real (family) life. may provide some help for us, as perhaps can Anya Kamenetz’s new book, The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life.

I tend to be a bit of a technophobe, but will end on a positive note:  My son, a “digital native,” and my elderly mother bonded over his expertise in technology and her fear and ignorance of all things digital – enhancing both their “RLs” and strengthening their relationship.

Betsy Groth

Betsy Groth is an APRN, PMHS – BC and a pediatric nurse practitioner with advanced certification in pediatric mental health.

She is a counselor, mental health educator and parent coach in Old Lyme and writes a monthly column for us on ‘Family Wellness.’

For more information about Betsy and her work, visit Betsy’s website at


A la Carte: St. Paddy’s Day Recipes for Any Day

Irish soda bread

Remembering St. Patrick’s Day is easy since my second oldest grandchild was born in Massachusetts on the day before St. Patrick’s Day.

When we heard that Sydney had peeked into this world early that morning of March 16, we drove as quickly as we could, legally, and were at the hospital, without breakfast, in less than two hours. I had grabbed a few clementines and I peeled them and we ate them on the way up. Our daughter-in-law, Nancy, was holding this gorgeous baby girl, as proud father, Peter, sat next to her bed.

While Doug and I stared in wonder at all three of them, Nancy waited until I sat, then handled swaddled Sydney into my arms. As I touched her face, wondering how such a beautiful baby might be in my arms, she turned her little mouth and sucked on my finger. It must have been the clementines, but she has loved oranges ever since.

That little baby graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in biomedical engineering and now lives in Boston, working on software for a computer start-up. I thought it might be fun to drive to Boston and meet Syd and her parents for dinner, until I realized that the last place I wanted be the day before St. Patrick’s Day might be Boston.

So, I will make a corned beef with vegetables (I’m not wild about the corned beef, but I love cabbage and carrots) and serve it with Irish soda bread and a grape nut pudding, the last must have been created in Boston, as corned beef was, too.

Irish Soda Bread

From Breads, Rolls and Pastries (Yankee Books, a division of Yankee Publishing Inc., Dublin, NH, 1981)
Yield: Makes 1 loaf
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons caraway seed (optional)
1 cup raisins, currants or Craisins (optional)
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk soured with 1 tablespoon white vinegar for 10 minutes)
Melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking sheet or loaf pan with melted butter.

Sift together flour, soda, sugar and salt. If used, blend in seeds and raisins and mix well. Stir in buttermilk to form soft dough (like biscuit dough). Turn out onto floured surface and knead gently for 1 minute. Roll into a ball and flatten top to form a loaf about 9 inches in diameter. With a floured butter knife or spatula, cut top of dough about one-inch deep into equal sections (one cut north and south through the center, the other east and west through the center. Place in baking sheet, brush with melted butter and bake 30 to 40 minutes.

Grape Nuts Custard

2 eggs
One-eighth teaspoon salt
one-third cup sugar
One-half teaspoon vanilla
2 cups light cream (you can use heavy cream)
2 tablespoons butter
One-quarter cup Grape Nuts cereal

Butter an 8-inch square pan and put aside. (You can double the recipe and butter a 9-inch by 13-inch pan.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla, and set aside.
Scald cream with butter.
Add about one-quarter cup of scalded milk to egg mixture, whisking quickly. Add another quarter cup of cream, again whisking. (This “tempers” the eggs so they don’t become scrambled eggs.) Add the rest of the cream, whisking.
Pour entire mixture into buttered pan. Sprinkle Grape Nuts evenly on top. Do not mix in.
Place the pan into a larger pan to which you have pour warm water half way up the smaller pan (this larger pan with water is called a “bain Marie,” or water bath). Place the bain Marie in oven until custard is set in the middle, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and bring to room temperature; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


‘Exhibition in Four Acts’ on Show at Lyme Art Association

Four new exhibitions, each with a different theme, will be on view in the Lyme Art Association (LAA)’s beautiful historic galleries from March 18. “A Show in Four Acts” features a separate exhibition in each gallery: Interiors/Exteriors, Animal Kingdom, Holding Still, and Faces and Forms run concurrently.  An opening reception for all four exhibitions will be held on Sunday, March 18, from 2 to 4 p.m.

“A visit to the Lyme Art Association to see the A Show in Four Acts feels like visiting four different galleries.  There is a variety and a shift in mood as you move from one gallery to the next,” states gallery manager, Jocelyn Zallinger.  “This show also allows a visitor to focus on each genre in a way that is not possible in other exhibitions.”

The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district.

Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday12 to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802 or visit


LYSB’s 33rd Annual ‘Youth Art Show’ on View at Lyme Academy Through March 24

Sculpture by Mya Johnson

The 33rd Annual Youth Art Show is currently on view in the Sill House Gallery at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts of the University of New Haven located at 84 Lyme Street. All are welcome.

Sponsored by Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB), the show features work by more than 150 students in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools from Kindergarten through Grade 12, including many pieces that have recently won impressive awards in state and local competitions.

The show is on view daily except for Sunday, March 18, through Saturday, March 24.  The Sill House Gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  Admission is free.

For more information, contact Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau at 860-434-7208 or visit


Registration Now Open for 6th Annual Tour de Lyme Charity Cycling Event

Ready to ride!

Join the sixth annual Tour de Lyme on Sunday, May 20.  For competitive riders, this is a chance to warm up for the cycling season ahead. For others, it provides a wonderful occasion to pedal through Lyme and enjoy the surrounding countryside.  If you are a mountain biker, this is an opportunity to ride through private lands open only for this event.

Everyone — riders, sponsors, and volunteers — will enjoy a fabulous post-ride picnic at Ashlawn Farm with popular food trucks, local vendors and live music.  This year there will be physical therapists to help with any injuries, the ever-popular massage therapists to loosen tight muscles, and a plant sale to stock up on herbs for the season ahead.

For complete information and online registration, visit

And away they go …

It’s not a race but a carefully planned series of rides designed to suit every level of skill and endurance. There are four road rides of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty:

  • The CHALLENGE — the name says it all — is 60 miles, a real workout
  • The CLASSIC — shorter at 25 miles, but still a challenge
  • The VALLEY Rides — pleasant, easier rides with fewer hills, 26 miles or 35 miles
  • The FAMILY at just 8 miles designed for riding with children. 

There are also two mountain bike options; the RIDER’S TEST — a 26.5 mile ride for serious enthusiasts and a shorter, less challenging option.

The Tour de Lyme is hosted by the Lyme Land Conservation Trust.  Since 1966, the Lyme Land Trust has been conserving the unique and historic landscapes of Lyme, Conn. During those years, this rural community has shown that a small population can have a giant impact and protect almost 3000 acres of woodlands, working farm fields, and bird-filled marshes. The result is an outdoor paradise, open to all. 

Funds raised at this event will create added opportunities for public enjoyment of the preserves in Lyme while protecting and maintaining land, which has already been conserved for generations to come. 

The Lyme Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization — registration and donations are tax deductible.

For more information, contact Kristina White at or 860-434-5051


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about the scholarship program, contact LOL Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs Russ Gomes at or  Olwen Logan at or 860.460.4176.

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


Major Preservation Project Now Underway at Lyme Art Association, Gifts Made by April 30 Matched

Removing old dilapidated shingles and rotted millwork on the west side of the Cooper-Ferry Gallery over the Studio.

In 1914, the American Impressionist painters of Old Lyme formed an association and dreamed of building their own gallery to exhibit their work. For the sum of one dollar, Ms. Florence Griswold deeded a portion of her property to the artists; where, in 1921, the Lyme Art Association (LAA) Gallery opened its doors.

Sadly, nearly a century later, this landmark gallery had the same shingles, deteriorated and literally falling off the building, and rotted woodwork coming apart.

There was simply no choice; the three Rs – repair, restoration, and renovation – had to begin.

But makeovers take money, and so the LAA’s Second Century Capital Campaign was launched to bring the historic building back to life. Generous contributions have put the Association close to the $364,000 goal, and the progress of the project has been amazing.

“Just as the original artists raised money to open the Lyme Art Association’s doors, we, too, find ourselves working to ensure that our historic landmark gallery will thrive for the next 100 years,” said Kathy Simmons, Board President of the Association. As of mid-February, generous donations have brought the Association to within $68,292 of their $364,000 goal.

First course of cedar shingles going up on the west side of Goodman Gallery.

Restoring this building is important for so many reasons. Today the LAA continues its commitment to advance the cause of representational fine art, while maintaining and preserving its historic building and galleries. It is a vibrant art center and gallery where professional and developing artists mount major exhibitions year-round – open to the public and free of charge. The Association also has a robust schedule of art classes, workshops and lectures. The landmark means a great deal to artists, those who appreciate art and, of course, the community.

“The Lyme Art Association takes immense pride in its cultural, educational and historical significance in our community,” explained Gary Parrington, LAA’s Development Director. “We are grateful for the financial support we have received already, and are excited to showcase the progress thus far made possible by our donors.”

“For those who give by April 30th, your gift will be doubled by a generous couple. Every donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000,” Parrington points out.

Carrie Walters, Capital Campaign Chair, Board Member, and the “go-to person” for the exterior restoration stated, “I’m honored to have the position because it’s a wonderful building. It’s been the source of incredible art for so many years and it just deserves to exist for many more.”

Simmons said, “The Lyme Art Association building, designed by world-renowned architect Charles Platt, is an integral part of Old Lyme’s historic district and stands as a reminder of Old Lyme’s important place in the history of American art.” She adds, “Every day, I am inspired by the thought that as we repair and restore the exterior of this grand, historic building, we honor Old Lyme’s place in the history of American art.”

We encourage our readers to visit the gallery, see the immense progress, the stellar job and quality of work, and to be part of this major preservation project. Parrington points out that generous gifts from donors today will help complete the exterior restorations.

The LAA, located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Rd., is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

For more information, call (860) 434-7802 or visit


Legal News You Can use: It Takes Two – Except When You’re in a Single Car Accident

Sponsored post:  One misconception people have about motor vehicle accidents is that “It takes two” – two or more vehicles to justify a claim.

Some drivers are embarrassed to say they were injured while sitting alone in their cars – as if it makes them appear foolish.

In truth, there are several major categories of single-car accidents – many of which involve negligence by a third party, even there’s no third party visible.

Here’s how it happens

  • A truck drops material on the road and drives on. You hit the lumber, or gravel, or boxes of merchandise and lose control. It’s a single vehicle accident because the truck is long gone.
  • A farm neglected to maintain its fences and several dairy cows wander onto the freeway.
  • The highway department failed to patch a pothole, or failed to erect a sign warning drivers about it.
  • Your mechanic, rotating your tires, replaced all the lug nuts but left two loose.
  • The “phantom collision”: another driver forces you off the road and into a utility pole without realizing it, and speeds away.
  • A county snow plow deposits a load of snow onto the highway, instead of carting it away.

Not every single-vehicle injury leads to a claim. If you fall asleep at the wheel and drive into a tree, that’s probably on you.

What sets these accidents apart is that you don’t file a claim against the other party’s insurance carrier. Instead, you present claims to your own insurer.

Much depends on whether your insurance policy contains a clause protecting you against actions by uninsured motorists, hit-and-runs, weather-related accidents and other situations. Most insurance policies do contain these low-cost protections.

You may learn, to your chagrin, that your auto insurance company does not rush to pay your medical expenses after a single-car accident injury. If they can deny, delay or diminish your claim, they will do so.

That’s when it’s advisable to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side and ready to go to bat for you.

The Law Firm of Suisman Shapiro focuses on this area of the law. Visit their website at this link for more information.



Carney (R) Seeks Third Term as State Representative, Democrat Pugliese Announces Challenge

State Rep. Devin Carney

UPDATED 3/7 10:09pm: Devin Carney, a Republican who ran unopposed for a second term in 2016, has announced his intention to seek a third term as State Representative for the 23rd General AssemblyDistrict, which includes the towns of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and coastal Westbrook. But this November, Carney will be challenged by Old Saybrook resident and Democrat Matt Pugliese.

Pugliese, a non-profit arts executive, notes in a press release that, “The frustration that our community feels is palpable.  The community wants change, wants new voices.  I’m running for state representative to help lead that change.   I’m a listener, and a leader who believes in building consensus, finding compromise and getting things done.”

Carney, who works as a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Old Saybrook. explains his decision to seek a third term in a press release in this way, “Over these past two terms, I have always put the people of the 23rd District first.This community is everything to me. I was raised here and I understand the unique values and needs of my constituents. In these difficult and divisive times, it is important that the state has leaders with a proven track record of putting people over politics and who will work together to get Connecticut’s fiscal house in order.”

Matt Pugliese.

Pugliese, a resident of Old Saybrook, has spent his career working in the non-profit theatre industry, beginning at the Ivoryton Playhouse.  He served as the Executive Director at Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theatre in Middletown, CT and now is the Executive Producer at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, based on UConn’s Storrs campus. Pugliese holds his BA in Theatre (’04) and his Masters in Public Administration (’17), both from UCONN. Pugliese said, “My work in the arts has been about activism.  It is about bringing together diverse audiences and creating opportunities for dialogue.  That is how we solve problems.  Every day running a theatre is about creative, problem solving and strategic thinking. The intersection of the arts and government – that is community.  That has been my professional career for 15 years.”

A lifelong resident of the district, Carney graduated from Old Saybrook Public Schools and currently lives in Old Lyme. He is the Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee, meaning he is the highest-ranked House Republican on the committee, and he serves on the Environment Committee and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. In addition, Carney chairs the bipartisan Clean Energy Caucus, was the founding House Republican of the bipartisan Young Legislators Caucus, and serves on both the bipartisan Tourism Caucus and bipartisan Intellectual and Developmental Disability Caucus. He has also served as the Connecticut House Republican State Lead for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.

Pugliese comments in the release, “Non-profit organizations need to run efficiently and effectively.  We know how to get the most out of every dollar.  My experiences in the non-profit sector in Middlesex County really opened my eyes to the incredible need we have in our community.  We have young people and families facing the most extreme and basic risks.  But we also have incredible resources in our community to draw upon.  That is what makes our district a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family.”

Over his first two terms, Rep. Carney says he advocated for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, seniors, tourism, small business, local public education, and improving I-95. In 2015, he voted against the second largest tax increase in Connecticut’s state history. In 2017, he voted against the SEBAC agreement, but supported the bipartisan budget compromise in October.

Pugliese’s community involvement includes Old Saybrook’s Economic Development Commission since 2015, of which he was recently elected Chairperson.  He served on the Board of Directors for the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce for two years.  He served as the co-chair of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County Live Local Give Local 365 initiative when it was launched in 2011.  In 2012, Pugliese was named to the Hartford Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for his professional work and civic involvement.

Carney’s community activities include serving on the Board of Trustees at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and the Board of Directors at Saye Brook Senior Housing. He is a member of both the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce and the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce, a lector at Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook, and serves on both the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee as a member and the Old Saybrook Republican Town Committee as an honorary member.

Public education is a key issue for Pugliese. He comments in the release, “When I think of our communities, I think of our strong public education systems. I will fight for the funding we deserve from Hartford necessary to support our schools.  I believe we need to invest in our higher education system. We want to have a vibrant university system to educate our young people, ensure their access to this education, and keep them here as part of our workforce in Connecticut.”

Commenting on his achievements in the past four years, Carney says, “I have pushed back against drastic tax increases to residents, defeated a federal rail proposal that would have devastated the region, supported bipartisan initiatives to combat our opioid crisis, and fought Governor Malloy’s proposal to push teacher pension costs onto local school districts. I have always put the taxpayer first and engaged with the community.”

Pugliese is an advocate for paid family leave, ensuring rights for women and minorities and championing arts, culture and tourism.  He adds, “Part of the identity of our community is the incredible cultural resources we have in the 23rd district. These resources drive tourism, which is critical to the economy of the towns in our region.  We need to ensure the viability of our cultural assets, and the public infrastructure needed to support tourism.”

Carney highlights in his press release, “I have never missed a vote,” adding, “Connecticut is at a crossroads and our residents and businesses cannot afford the same tax-and-spend policies that have put the state into this mess. It is imperative Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook continue to have a strong voice at the table during this tough fiscal reality.”


Rebooting New England: What Do YOU Think? Op-Ed from SECoast

On Tuesday, Feb. 27 we [SECoast] participated in a round table in New Haven hosted by New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, with 40 or so others to discuss alternatives to NEC Future high-speed rail planning. Attendees included administrators from Yale and Trinity college, Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) head Kristina Newman-Scott, former CTDOT Commissioner Emil Frankel, engineer Foster Nichols, among others. The project is being organized by former RPA head Bob Yaro, and former DECD head Kip Bergstrom. You can download the 50 mb 200+ page document here.

In the most simple terms, the plan resembles NEC Future Alternative 3.2, with high-speed rail service heading north, rather than east from New Haven, and then east from Hartford, through Storrs, to Providence. Yaro and Bergstrom are specifically offering “Rebooting New England,” as they call it, as an opportunity to avoid the impacts (and opposition) through southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island to NEC Future planning. It also includes the audacious idea of a tunnel across the Sound.  Here’s an illustration:

And while NEC Future was tailored for the needs of the largest cities along the Northeast Corridor, Yaro and Bergstrom have rather crafted a plan which also benefits inland and mid-sized cities along the corridor, by drawing from similar efforts in Great Britain to connect Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle, in the north, to London.

You can find an hour-long video presentation of the project from last July to the Lincoln Institute here. Given the current lack of funding, it’s an ambitious plan, but a serious one, worth serious consideration. SECoast’s Gregory Stroud will be meeting with project leaders again on Thursday for further discussions. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to take a look at the project, and tell us what you think.

About those Transit hearings…

With Connecticut’s Special Transportation Fund on the verge of insolvency, and the Malloy administration proposing a first wave of drastic cuts, and fare increases, to train and bus service to take effect on July 1, [detailed here], the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been holding hearings over the last three weeks across Connecticut, and (more surprisingly) in Massachusetts.

SECoast board and staff members attended a February 28 hearing in New London, where a diverse group of 50 or so members of the public — young and old, poor and well-to-do, African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and White — offered relatively muted criticism of proposed fare increases, together with broad and pointed opposition to proposed service cuts. [Take a look at Kim Drelich’s  coverage for The Day here].

In turn, CTDOT commissioner James Redeker presented a persuasive case for increased revenues and investments, including two-cents yearly increases over seven years to the gasoline tax, and new tolling along the state’s major roadways, to avoid these unsustainable cuts to transportation.

This all made for good theater for the Malloy administration, but also missed an essential purpose of such hearings, which is not just to allow the public the chance to air its grievances, but also to take part meaningfully in the decision-making process. As far as the latter goes, meaningful public participation requires a level of transparency which has been lacking in the materials provided. And we have significant concerns that these proposals have been presented as simply mandated, rather than as the result of limited, but real choices made behind closed doors.

In much this vein, RiverCOG executive director Sam Gold briefly outlined lengthy written comments and opposition to the proposed cuts. Gold questioned the fairness of cuts to towns like Old Saybrook, which played by the rules, embraced CTDOT priorities, and heavily invested in transit-oriented development (TOD). Gold further questioned the priorities and motivation of CTDOT cuts which would spare CTDOT’s own CTTransit, while falling heavily on towns like New London with municipal-supported (and controlled) transit. We agree.

In contrast to an earlier hearing in Stamford, where elected officials have faced criticism for cutting a lengthy line to present comments, few elected officials turned up in New London. State Rep. Devin Carney, ranking member on the Connecticut General Assembly Transportation Committee, was a notable exception.

We strongly encourage you to write to CTDOT by March 16 with your comments. Just click here.

Widening I-95

On Feb. 22, as part of a larger coordinated rollout by the Malloy administration of revenue proposals, announced project cuts, service cuts, and fare increases, CTDOT reintroduced targeted plans to widen I-95 through Fairfield County and southeastern Connecticut. Kim Drelich covers the announcement for The Day, here, you can also find coverage in the Hartford Courant, and in the Yale Daily News here.

While we appreciate the need to improve safety and reduce congestion on I-95, we have several concerns about the announcement. Most importantly, whether you are for or against proposals to widen I-95, by failing to release the actual studies, and by providing the public with only summary findings, CTDOT is depriving the public of a chance to meaningfully participate in a decision on the topic.  In southeastern Connecticut, we are left to wonder whether this latest plan differs materially from earlier planning proposed in 2005, which would require significant takings and environmental impacts. In Fairfield County, we are left to wonder about the impacts to the densely settled corridor.

In the case of the National Historic Landmark Bush-Holley house for example, it appears that while keeping to the existing right of way, and to CTDOT property, such widening could still significantly impact properties alongside the corridor, with enormous potential impacts to the property, and to ongoing projects  by the Greenwich Historical Society.

Take a look at a graphic we produced by cross-referencing the released graph of potential land use, with project parameters, and mileage markers:

We are of course encouraged that the plan keeps as much as possible to the existing right of way, and to CTDOT property, but we’d like to know much more about the actual impacts and plans for construction at the Mianus river crossing in particular. Such plans are simply too important to made behind closed doors, and without timely and sufficient public scrutiny. And they obviously make little or no sense when paired with transit cuts that would send thousands of additional commuters onto I-95.

SECoast has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to obtain planning documents. We [SECoast] will let you know, when we know more about these plans …

Editor’s Note: We also urge readers to write to CTDOT by March 16 with your thoughts on the first wave of drastic cuts, and fare increases, to train and bus service to take effect on July 1.  Just click here.


Letter From Paris: Annual ‘Salon de l’Agriculture’ Prompts a Peek into Farming in France

Nicole Prévost Logan

The Salon de l’Agriculture (agricultural fair) is the most popular event of the year in Paris.  For two weeks, the Porte de Versailles is turned into an oversize farm   Four thousand animals – bovines, pigs, sheep and fowl – move in for the delight of both children and adults.  It is the largest agricultural show in Europe.

The French are emotional about their relationship with the countryside and never forget that they share a common rural ancestry and that, just a few decades ago, 25 percent of the population lived and worked on the land. The fair is an opportunity for rural and urban communities to get together and have a good time.

Food is a big attraction at the fair.  Thirty seven restaurants offer culinary specialties from each region: trip à la mode de Caen (tripe cooked in cider and calvados), boeuf bourguignon,  tartiflette (Savoyard gratin with Reblochon cheese, cream and pork), Toulouse cassoulet , bouillabaisse and hundreds more dishes, accompanied by the best wines.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets the much-admired cow named Haute at the Salon de l’Agriculture.

Entertainment reaches its height with the competition for the best animal. This year the star of the show is Haute, a 700 kilo blonde cow of the Aubrac breed raised in Aveyron (a volcanic plateau in the south west), whose big black eyes are made-up with mascara.  Haute has a pedigree in the same way as a racehorse and her offspring are already in line to compete in the 2024 fair – the same year that the Olympics will be held in Paris. 

From the air, the French landscape looks like a beautiful tapestry with colored patches of fields, woods and clusters of roofs huddled around a church steeple. Behind this idyllic picture, it is hard to believe that there is a tough world of fierce competition, hard work, and for some, a struggle to survive . 

Among the 450,606 working farms in France to-day, many of them are small with less than 10 hectares (one hectare is equivalent to 2.47 acres.) Their owners find it hard to make a living. The average income of a farmer is 1,525 euros for month and can be as low as 500 euros, which is well below the poverty threshold.  There are many reasons for this. 

Food today represents only 20 percent of a family budget as compared to 34.7 percent in 1960.   The agri-business and chains of supermarket distributors, in order to increase their profit margin, force the farmers to sell their milk or meat at rock-bottom prices.

Farmers are deep in debt because of the necessity to invest but they have ways to show their anger and frustration, such as pouring manure or truck loads of raw eggs on public squares.  Another effective way is for them to launch an operation escargot (snail offensive.) They bring their five-mile an hour tractors on the highways with the expected result.   

European farmers could not survive without financial subsidies from Brussels.  In 1962, the Politique d’Agriculture Commune (PAC — Common Agricultural Policy) was set up by the European Union (EU) to assist and guide the agriculture of  its members.  The PAC is the second largest item in the EU budget and one of its pillars.  Methods and objectives have changed over the years.  

For a while, it requested farmers to lay fallow their cultivated land.  Quotas for milk were stopped in 2015 and sugar in 2017.  Today the PAC is putting more emphasis on the development of organic food and protection of farmers against the climatic vagaries.  France is the leading agricultural country in Europe with production valued at 71 billion ahead of Germany (56.7 billion), Italy (54.2 billion) and Spain (49 billion.) France remains the top beneficiary of financial assistance from the PAC. 

Most Europeans are hostile to the use of pesticides.  Brussels wanted to set a 10-year-moratorium on the use of the herbicide Glyphosate.  Macron fought and demanded three years.  Finally Brussels decided on a period of five years. 

In France, Monsanto has become the prime bad guy.  Europeans are also against genetically-modified food and the addition of hormones and antibiotics in meat.  The French are getting very finicky about the traceability of products   A couple of years ago, horse meat was found in prepared food produced in Eastern Europe.  The French public went up in arms.   Since then, on every package or can, the geographic origin of the product has to be indicated.

Macron, during his visit to the Agricultural Fair asked the crowd, “Did you know that that 70 percent of the meat you eat in French restaurants is imported?  It makes no sense when French meat is probably the best in the world.”  The president is not a protectionist but, in his eyes, free trade agreements have to be equally  beneficial for both sides.  At present, the signing  of  the Mercosur Treaty between Europe and four South American countries is stalled, leaving Europeans worried.

It is a “must” for each French president to visit the fair.  Macron outdid all his predecessors by mingling with the crowd for more than 12 straight hours.  Always eager to explain his policies, he did not hesitate to plunge into the fray and engage in heated discussions with angry farmers. 

The day before the opening of the Salon, Macron had invited 700 young farmers to the Elysees palace.  As always, his method was not to promise financial assistance, but help his guests find creative solutions to make their farms more competitive.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.


Rep. Carney Declares Testifies to Government Administration and Elections Committee,

Rep. Carney testifies Feb. 26 in support of SB 180: An Act Requiring Executive and Legislative Review of Certain Quasi-Public Agency Contracts.

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) testified during a public hearing of the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) Committee on Monday, Feb. 26, in support of SB 180: An Act Requiring Executive and Legislative Review of Certain Quasi-Public Agency Contracts. This proposal would require greater executive and legislative oversight of quasi-public agency contracts by requiring the submission of certain contracts to the Attorney General and relevant legislative committee

Rep. Carney said, “Connecticut is currently in the midst of a fiscal crisis due to overly generous employee contracts and poor management of said contracts. Folks throughout this state are feeling the pinch of higher taxes and poorer state services while at the same time reading about quasi-public agencies giving away six-figure salaries and bonuses without any oversight from the General Assembly.”

He continued, “It is time to change that culture and this legislation, if passed, would allow the people to have a voice before contracts over $100,000 are approved.”

While testifying before the GAE Committee Rep. Carney pointed to the Connecticut Airport Authority and the CT Lottery as two examples of this current issue with “quasi-public” agencies.

Rep. Carney said that this proposal would allow for more transparency and oversight, which Connecticut residents desperately need as they are feeling the burden of the state budget and, at times, asked to pay more.

He added, “There is no reason these quasi-public agencies are allowed to avoid tough questions about their practices and provide answers surrounding bloated pay and benefits while others are asked to cut and save wherever possible.


Letter From Paris: ‘The Donald’ and Europe Grow Further Apart

Nicole Prévost Logan

In February 2017, the European Union (EU) members, gathered at the Malta summit, were flabbergasted by President Donald Trump’s hostile attitude toward the United States’s traditional allies.  One year later the world has adjusted in the opinion of the seasoned diplomat Hubert Vedrine, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997-2002).  The French diplomat commented, “One has to get over our initial disbelief as to the unpredictable and apparently erratic policy of the 45th president of the US.”

The European opinion of Trump is not monolithic.  One has to differentiate between the North and South:  heavily indebted Greece and Germany with a flourishing economy will have opposite opinions.  The same divide exists between East and West: for example, nationalist and authoritarian countries like Poland will view Trump differently from the liberal Netherlands.

The Europeans resent Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement leaving a wide open boulevard for China to become the champion defender of the environment.  Last January, the announcement made by the controversial Ryan Zinke, US Secretary of the Environment, that he would allow oil and gas drilling near almost all US coasts from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico was considered a mistake.  The French oppose the position of Trump’s administration on the use of coal and other fossil fuel as sources of energy.  France has closed all its coal mines and does not even allow fracking for oil or gas exploration in fear of endangering the environment.

President Donald Trump

The recent financial and tax reforms introduced by the US president were characterized as a fiscal war with the rest of the world by economist and professor Philippe Dessertine.   On Jan. 26,  2018 at the Davos World Economic Forum, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), criticized those measures by saying that, subsequent to creating benefits in the short term, they would ultimately impact world  financial vulnerability.  She believes that the increase in both liquidity and the budget deficit, will eventually cause a sudden drop in the stock market.  It is interesting to note that a few days after her speech, the Dow tanked and began a new cycle of high volatility.

French economists commented that lowering corporate taxes to 21 percent in the US – not that far from the 12.5 percent of Irish tax heaven – is placing the competitiveness of countries like France at a disadvantage.  It will take five years of arduous effort by French President Macron to lower French corporate taxes to 25 percent.  The French Minister of Economy and Finances, Bruno Lemaire, criticized these reforms for technical reasons.  He commented that they will penalize European subsidiaries located in the US and also be an incentive for American companies located in France to relocate to the US.

According to French economist Thomas Piketty, 68.1 percent of the US income tax reduction will benefit just 1 percent of the population, thereby increasing the already exisiting inequalities even further.  For Gerard Courteois, editorial writer of the French national newspaper Le Monde, there is an incoherence in the statement,”Make America great again,” particularly in the use of the word “again.”  Does it apply to the boom years after World War II when it actually was a time of high taxes and international trade?

Trump’s foreign policy is scrutinized by French diplomats and geopoliticians.  Vedrine describes the American president’s policy in the Middle East as a disaster.  Trump has created a confrontational axis with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey against Iran and managed to freeze the Israel-Palestine peace process.  Regarding the European Union (EU), Trump’s objective seems to be its deconstruction.  Trump applauded Brexit and asked “Who is next?”  To European satisfaction, Congress has blocked the confirmation of a Europhobe nominee as US Ambassador to the EU.  The post has not been filled to date.

Trump’s diplomacy is not sophisticated.  It is a bully approach, forever brandishing the threat of more and greater sanctions, whether in the Ukraine, Iran or Korea.  Punitive measures are even taken by Trump toward the Palestinians.  He intends to suspend financial aid because they refuse to sit at the negotiating table.

French diplomats prefer pragmatism and negotiations.  Dominique de Villepin, former foreign minister (2002-2004) and prime minister (2005-2007), believes, for instance, that one has to accept the fact that North Korea is a nuclear power and entice that country to join the international community by helping  its economic development .

However, Vedrine says one should not blame Trump for everything.  Being realistic, France and Europe are not at the center of the world today.  If the US is stepping back, it is a chance for Europe to regain its autonomy.  Villepin suggests that Europe needs to break away from US guardianship .

At the annual Munich conference on security, participants showed for the first time their intention to step up the defense of the EU.  Last year Trump had scolded NATO members for not paying their share leading to the irritation of Washington today.  To put a stop to transatlantic polemics, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, wanted to be conciliatory and declared, “The increase in the European defense budget will reinforce the NATO European pillar.”

Judging from this non-exhaustive list of disagreements, relations between Trump and Europe are not particularly warm right now — in fact, one might be tempted to conclude they are well on the way to just plain bad.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.


Talking Transportation: Why I Support Malloy’s Plan for Tolls, Gas Taxes

Am I the only person in the state who thinks Gov Malloy’s plan for tolls and gas taxes makes sense?  Probably.  But let me try once again to overcome the usual objections and explain why Malloy’s plan is fair and necessary.

No, tolls are users fees.  Train fares aren’t taxes, are they?  If you don’t want to pay a few pennies a gallon more for gasoline, don’t drive.  Join us on the train and pay the highest commuter rail fares in the US.  There is no free ride.

That may be your perception.  But in 1997 when legislators cut the sky-high gas taxes by 14 cents, why didn’t they tell us that would lose us $3.7 billion in needed transportation funding?  The bill has come due.

Sure, but it doesn’t go to fixing the roads.  That’s a town / city tax.  If you don’t like it, tell City Hall.

Not so anymore.  Connecticut’s 39 cents per gallon tax is third highest in the Northeast, trailing Pennsylvania (59 cents) and New York (44 cents) and just ahead of New Jersey (37 cents).

And just where in the Constitution does it say that?  This isn’t the pioneer West:  we’re talking about I-95 and the Parkways!  Driving is not like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet.  Think of the new paradigm as an a la carte restaurant where you pay for what you eat.

Another myth since the days of the “fiery truck crash” in Milford in 1983.  Tolls don’t require barriers or booths anymore.  They’re electronic gantries over the highway reading your EZPass or license plate without slowing down.

Maybe, for the first week.  Then people will decide if they want to waste time in traffic or pay a few cents to get where they’re going.

Because raising the gasoline tax can be done in weeks.  But tolls will take 2-4 years to install and by then upwards of half of all cars will be electric, paying no gas tax.  Why should a Tesla driver get a free ride?

Sure, something like 34 percent of all traffic in Connecticut is from out-of-state.  But building tolls just at our borders is unconstitutional (and unfair).  We can offer a discount to Connecticut residents, but can’t charge those driving through our state while we pay nothing.

True, money has been regularly “reapportioned” from the Special Transportation Fund for years, by Rowland and Rell as well as Malloy.  You’ll get the chance to stop that in November when there’s a referendum question on the ballot for a “lock box” on the STF.

That may be so, but the SEBAC contracts were just renegotiated and approved by the legislature, so how do we undo that before the STF goes belly-up next year?

Sorry to see you go.  But when you say goodbye, remember you’ll have to pay tolls to NY, MA or RI on your way out.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, visit


Watch Recording of Old Lyme’s Blight Ordinance Info Meeting on Comcast Community Channel

The Informational Meeting on the Town of Old Lyme’s Proposed Blight Ordinance was recorded and will be aired on Public Access Channel 14.

Broadcasts will take place for the next several weeks on Sundays at 5 p.m. and Thursdays immediately following the board of selectmen meeting,