April 28, 2017

Center For Hospice Care Receives $22,000 Contribution From Reynolds’ Subaru Through ‘Share The Love Campaign’

Displaying the giant ‘Share The Love’ check from Reynold Subaru to Center for Hospice Care are, from left to right, Ken Scanzio, Subaru of New England District Representative, Kathryn Reynolds Wayland, Owner of Reynolds’ Subaru, Sean Mitchell, Director of Development for Center for Hospice Care, Sally Markko, Development Specialist for Center for Hospice Care, G. Hayden Reynolds, Owner of Reynolds’ Subaru and Nora Morrissey, Reynolds’ Subaru Sales Manager.

Center for Hospice Care recently received a generous contribution in the amount of $22,000 from Reynolds’ Subaru of Lyme. Reynolds’ Subaru selected Center for Hospice Care as its Hometown Charity for the 2016 Subaru Share the Love Campaign. For every new Subaru that was sold from Nov.17-Dec. 31, 2016, customers could select one of four national charities or Center for Hospice Care as the recipient of a $250 donation.

“It was incredibly touching to see so many of our customers select Center for Hospice Care during this promotion,” said G. Hayden Reynolds, owner of Reynolds’ Subaru.  “It’s the largest charitable contribution ever given by our company in our 150+ years in business!”

“Whatever else we can do to help promote Center for Hospice Care and their mission in Southeast Connecticut is very important to us,” said Kathryn Reynolds Wayland, owner of Reynolds Subaru.  “Their services go far beyond the patient and assist family members with grief counseling services, pet therapy and Expressive Arts.”  “It is the hope at Reynolds’ Subaru that through the Share the Love program, we will bring Center for Hospice Care’s story and meaningful work to more residents in our community.”

“We are truly honored and grateful for this contribution by the Reynolds’ family and Reynolds’ Subaru,” said Carol Mahier, President and CEO of Center for Hospice Care. “The Reynolds’ are truly a kind, generous and community centered business that goes out of their way to help many needy causes. Their support of our organization through this amazing donation is greatly appreciated and humbly accepted.”

For the Reynolds family of Reynolds’ Subaru, the selection of Hospice is very personal. The family lost their father, Gary, very suddenly to a brain tumor three years ago, and Center for Hospice Care assisted their family with many aspects of his care. The Reynolds family made the decision to bring Gary home for his end-of-life care, but could not have done so without the support of Center for Hospice Care. Without the guidance of hospice, the level of care received would not have been possible.

 

Since 1985, Center for Hospice Care has served more than 12,000 patients. We are the largest hospice in Southeastern Connecticut and the only hospice provider that delivers all the care and services needed by patients and their families – including extended group and individual bereavement counseling to anyone who needs it, free of charge. Our staff is the most qualified and experienced in the field and is augmented by more than 150 specially trained volunteers who provide companionship to our patients and respite to their families.

Center for Hospice Care would like to express its sincere appreciation and gratitude to Reynolds’ Subaru and the Reynolds Family for their support of our organization and mission. For more information on this exciting partnership, contact Sean Mitchell at SMitchell@hospicesect.org or call 860.848.5699.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation Hosts Trivia Bee Tonight; Free Entry for Spectators

Photos courtesy of S.Crisp, LOL Education Foundation. David Rau of the Flo-Bees holds his correct answer high to the delight of his teammates.

David Rau of the ‘Flo-Bees’ holds his correct answer high to the delight of his teammates during the 2013 contest.

Trivia Bee logo

The Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation’s (LOLEF) 5th Annual Trivia Bee will be held Friday, April 28, at 7 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium.  This is a not-to-be-missed night of fun, frivolity and intellectual challenge!

Eric Parker of WFSB Eyewitness News will emcee, and Superintendent Ian Neviaser will head the judging team. Engaging questions will cover science, sports, popular culture, geography, and local history.

Local businesses, community organizations and neighborhoods are invited to enter teams of four into this adult trivia contest. Team registrations are now being accepted. Each four-member team registration costs $200.  For registration information, visit www.lolef.orgClick here for the registration form.

Admission to the contest spectators is free and all are welcome.

Questions are chosen from categories including science, sports, history, popular culture, current events, and geography, to engage participants and audience members. Teams are encouraged (but not required) to choose a fun team name and dress in costume.

The Lyme Public Library Bees' name went to their heads in last year's contest!

Photos courtesy of LOL Education Foundation.
The Lyme Public Library Bees’ name went to their heads in the 2013 contest!

The winning team from each round will participate in a championship round. Teams will compete for the coveted “Honey Pot” trophy, a perpetual trophy, as well as the honor of being crowned Lyme-Old Lyme’s Trivia Bee Champion. Prizes will also be awarded for the best team name and best team costume.

Spectators are encouraged to cheer on their favorite teams in person. Contests will be held during the event for the audience.

Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase.

Trophy

The ‘Honey Pot’ trophy awarded to the Trivia Bee champions.

The Lyme–Old Lyme Education Foundation’s mission is to foster individual growth that comes from continuous lifelong learning. It funds innovative pilot enrichment programs throughout the community, from early childhood through adult education at the Lymes Senior Center.

In 2017, the Foundation has funded the “Science in Nature” program by the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center. Third, Fourth and Fifth-graders at Mile Creek and Lyme Consolidated Schools experience science class in the nearby Mile Creek and Eight Mile River Preserves. They are taught to actual scientific equipment to measure temperature, soil moisture, and make observations about environmental factors and wildlife habitation. This program also introduces students and their teachers to Next Generation science standards.

The Foundation also just funded programming for the 2018 Spring Into Arts program, conducted once every three years for Lyme–Old Lyme Middle School students.

The Foundation’s 12-member all-volunteer board reviews grant applications from the Lyme-Old Lyme school district and local non-profits. Fundraising also includes the “Bound for the Sound” 5K-10K road race in September, and an annual fundraising appeal on its website, LOLEF.org.

Businesses and organizations are invited to enter a team of their own or, if they prefer, to sponsor a team made up of teachers and or students from our local schools.

If you would like to participate in the Bee or become a corporate sponsor, contact Mary Stone at stonehawkins@aol.com or 860-434-7754

Click here to visit the LOLEF Facebook page.

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Old Lyme Library Hosts Half Price BookCellar Sale Tomorrow, Also Local Author Discussion

The Old Lyme Library’s BookCellar is a treasure trove of books, all competitively priced — and every single one will be half that price on Saturday, April 29!

There are two exciting events being held at the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library on Saturday, April 29.  Kicking things off from10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the Phoebe’s BookCellar Half-Price Sale and then at 1 p.m., join a book discussion with a local author.

If you have never been to the BookCellar — or haven’t been recently — now is your chance to get some incredible bargains on books, DVDs, CDs and audio books.  The BookCellar is a volunteer-run, used bookstore operating on the lower level of the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library.  With over 10,000 books in all genres, including History & Biography, Fiction & Mystery, Children’s, Fine Art and Rare & Collectible books.  All proceeds from the BookCellar benefit the Library.

Plan your visit to the BookCellar so that you can enjoy the local author book discussion, which the library is hosting at 1 p.m.  Cynthia Parzych presents a program in which she will discuss her latest book titled, “Connecticut Made”, which is a new guidebook extolling the virtues of homegrown products by Connecticut craftsmen, artisans and purveyors.

Connecticut Made is a unique guidebook and local resource full of hundreds of things to find and buy, crafts to discover, factories to explore, and history to uncover––all made in Connecticut. Organized by product type, categories include ceramics/pottery, clothing/accessories, furnishings/furniture, glassware, home décor, jewelry, specialty foods, toys/games, and so much more. Together, these homegrown establishments help make up the identity of the Nutmeg State and are part of the larger fabric of what is distinctively New England.

Cynthia Parzych

Born and educated in Connecticut, Parzych is a writer, book publisher, editor and professional chef. She lives in Glastonbury where she runs her publishing company and a food business. She utilizes the produce grown on her property and sourced locally to make sauces, soups, pesto, pickles, vinegars, jams and marmalades all sold from her house and farm stand.

Autographed copies of Connecticut Made will be available for purchase at a discount following the talk.

About the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library: The Library is located at 2 Library Lane, off Lyme Street. Spring hours are Monday and Wednesday, 10 AM to 7 PM; Tuesday and Thursday, 10 AM to 6 PM; Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM. For more information, call 860-434-1684 or visit www.oldlyme.lioninc.org

Parking at the Library: If the Library’s parking lot is full, additional spaces are available on Lyme Street. There is also a parking lot behind the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall across the street from the Library.

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LOL Chamber of Commerce Invites Applications from High School Seniors for Two Scholarships; Deadline is Tonight

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 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 www.visitoldlyme.com.

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

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

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

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

For more information about the LOL Chamber of Commerce, visit www.visitoldlyme.com.

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‘Non-Citizens’ Rights’ Workshop to be Held in Old Lyme Tomorrow to Help Refugees, Immigrants Understand Their Legal Rights,

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL), the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) and the Westbrook Early Childhood Council (WECC) will hold a joint workshop designed to help refugees, immigrants and other non-citizens understand their rights under state and federal laws on Saturday, April 29, at 9:30 a.m in FCCOL’s Sheffield Auditorium.

A “non-citizen” is any individual who does not currently possess U.S. citizenship – including legal permanent residents; refugees; asylum seekers; people who have permission to come here to work, study or travel; and people without legal immigration status of any kind.

The workshop is open and free to anyone who would like to attend.  A Spanish-speaking lawyer will be on hand to share legal expertise and answer questions.

In announcing the workshop, FCCOL Senior Minister Steve Jungkeit commented, “As a people of faith, we have core values that unite us. These include a spirit of generosity and compassion, of hospitality and grace, of humility and kindness; an affirmation of the dignity, worth, sanctity and belovedness of each individual; and a commitment for caring for the most vulnerable in our midst.  We are proud to link arms with our friends at Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau and Westbrook Early Childhood Council to offer this workshop to help local non-citizens, their families and friends.”

For more information, visit FCCOL at www.fccol.org; LYSB at www.lysb.org and WECC at www.westbrookfamilies.org.

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Impact of Sea Level Rise Locally is First Topic in Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Spring Lecture Series, Tuesday

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) Spring 2017 Lecture Series presents three powerful lectures during early May:

Tuesday, May 2, 5 p.m. Old Lyme Town Hall:
David Kozak, Senior Coastal Planner from CT DEEP, will address the impact of sea level rise, specifically on the Connecticut River Estuary and Tidal Wetlands.  Kozak is the project manager for applying the Sea Level Affecting Marsh Migration (SLAMM) model to Connecticut’s shoreline to evaluate the potential response of our coast’s natural and built environments to sea level rise.  He will address the origins of our coastal marshes, the physical and biological processes that sustain them, how they contribute to the health of the estuary, how they defend against rising sea levels, and how we can breach their migration barriers.  His work also incorporates the latest sea level rise forecasts, which project sea level rise to be accelerating and to rise higher than previously thought.

Piping Plover by John J. Audubon.

Tuesday, May 9, 4 p.m. Essex Meadows: 

Kimberly Damon-Randal, for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, will discuss the rediscovery of the Atlantic sturgeon in the Connecticut River Estuary and NOAA’s designation of the Connecticut River as a critical habitat for the threatened and endangered Atlantic sturgeon.

Tuesday, May 16, 5 p.m., Lyme Art Association:
Dr. Gregory Nobles is a historian and author of the new biography, John Jay Audubon, The Nature of the American Woodsman . This lecture discusses J.J. Audubon, the naturalist and painter, as well as the rise of citizen science.

These lectures continue RTPEC’s tradition of  attracting leading scientists, artists and authors to lecture on interesting vital topics and critical issues on the Connecticut River Estuary and its watershed. Members of RTPEC are also working with Kimberly Damon-Randall to have a “Meet a Scientist event at the Lyme Consolidated School with the 5th grade class.

The RTPEC also plans to meet the explosive demand for their Science in Nature Education Programs in Middlesex County (Essex Elementary School) and New London County (Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, New London Harbor Elementary School, and East Lyme Elementary School). These are provided with the assistance of numerous private donors, the Kitchings Family Fund at The Community Foundation for Middlesex County, The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut,, and the Rockfall Foundation.

To date, the” outdoor classrooms” have included Hammonasset State Park, Old Lyme Land Trust’s Mile Creek Preserve and Lyme Land Conservation Trust’s Jewett and Pleasant Valley Preserve. In the Spring, RTPEC will also access natural areas of the City of New London.

This  Spring, RTPEC thanks the following partners for their support:
(a) Connecticut River Museum

(b) Town of Old Lyme

(c) Essex Meadows

(d) Lyme Art Association

(e) National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

(f) Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

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Lyme Girl Scout Troop #63632 Celebrates Installation of ‘Little Free Library’ for the Community

The Girl Scouts involved in the creation of the Little Free Library, all of whom attend Lyme School, gather for a group photo. From left to right, Hoshena Gemme, Emma Rose Arelt, Ella Keim, Ava Gilbert, Jen Datum, Chloe Datum and Christy Cooper.  Photos by Barbara Arelt unless otherwise stated.)

A dedication ceremony was held Sunday, April 23, for a Little Free Library that has been installed in the side courtyard of the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) courtesy of local Girl Scout Troop #63632.  The new Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange.

The Girl Scout Troop, which is primarily comprised of girls currently in 4th grade at Lyme Consolidated Elementary School, earmarked annual cookie sale profits to design, build, install and maintain a Little Free Library at their host site, the LYSB on Lyme Street.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

If you take a book (or two) from a Little Free Library, you do not need to return that specific book. However, in order to keep the Little Free Library full of good choices for the whole neighborhood, the next time you swing by the Library, bring a few books to share.  Little Free Library book exchanges function on the honor system; everyone contributes to ensure there are always quality books inside.

Last fall the Girl Scouts and their troop leader, Jennifer Datum, voted to proceed with the Little Free Library project to demonstrate the Troop’s appreciation for their community and to build teamwork skills. The Library will be stocked initially with books from Troop members’ personal collections. The girls will also be responsible for its monthly maintenance.

Chris Arelt (right), owner of Nautilus Architects, who donated the design of the Library, stands with his wife Barbara and daughter Emma Rose in front of the newly-installed Library. Emma Rose is a member of Troop #63632.

Because LYSB is located in the village of Old Lyme, the Little Free Library design needed to be reviewed and approved by the town’s Historic District Commission.  Two Troop members, Chloe Datum and Ava Gilbert, presented the Commission with a classic design donated by Old Lyme architect Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects, father of Troop member Emma Rose Arelt.

Construction of the library included quality materials generously donated by Rings End in Niantic. The design was built and installed by Gary Lankerd, a master carpenter based in Waterford.  Additional details were implemented by Philip Schaller, owner of Signs & Digital Graphics in Deep River.

Many of the people involved in the project attended the dedication ceremony. From left to right, Gary Lankerd (Lankerd Custom Carpentry), Christopher Arelt (Nautilus Architects), Bonnie, LYSB Director Mary Seidner, Jen Datum (Girl Scout Troop leader) and John Forbis (Old Lyme Historic District Commission.) Photo by Mary Seidner.

The Troop’s dedication and reception ceremony was for everyone involved in this project, including leaders from the Old Lyme community and the Girl Scout Council. The Troop also expressed their thanks to Mary Seidner, Director of LYSB, who was instrumental in supporting both the Troop and this community service project.

Under the direction of Troop leaders, the Girl Scouts will be submitting the Little Free Library project for the Girl Scouts Bronze Award, which is the highest award a Junior can earn.  Working toward obtaining this award demonstrates their commitment to helping others, improving their community and the world, and becoming the best they can be.

For more information about Girl Scouts of Connecticut, visit www.gsofct.org

For more information about the Little Free Library program, visit LittleFreeLibrary.org

For more information about Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, visit lysb.org.

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Child and Family Agency Collecting Donations for Annual Sale in Old Lyme, Tuesday

How does it look? Intake for Child & Family's Annual Sale is Tuesday in Old Lyme.

How does it look? Intake for Child & Family’s Annual Sale is Tuesday in Old Lyme.

The Lyme/Old Lyme Auxiliary of the Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut has scheduled its Intake for donations to the Agency’s 63rd Annual Sale.

Donations will be accepted for one day only in Old Lyme on Tuesday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, in the Sheffield Auditorium on Ferry Rd. This will be the only day to bring items for donation in Old Lyme.

Items accepted include furniture, art work, men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing; books, records, CDs and DVDs; toys and sporting goods; small appliances; household items; linens; jewelry; tools; and more.

All items must be in very good condition, i.e., clothes and linens must be clean with no holes or stains, and appliances must be working. If you require assistance with donating large items, contact the agency at 860-443-2896.

Child and Family Agency’s 63rd Annual Sale will be held at the New London Armory on Bayonet St. in New London, May 11–13.  Prices on Thursday, May 11, will have a premium (+25 percent), Friday, May 12, will be regular price and Saturday, May 13, will be 50 percent off in most departments.

Other drop-off locations for the sale are as follows:

East Lyme/Niantic
Wednesday April 26th 9 – 3
Saint Matthias Church – East Lyme

Groton
Tuesday May 2nd
Noon to 6 p.m.
City of Groton Municipal Building

Mystic/Noank/Stonington
Wednesday May 3rd 10 – 3
St. Patrick’s Church – Mystic

Essex
Thursday May 4th 10 – 6
Essex Town Hall

New London/Waterford
Saturday May 6th 9 – 2
St. Joseph School, New London

For more information on the sale, call 860-443-2896 or visit http://www.childandfamilyagency.org

Child and Family Agency is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being and development of all children and their families, with emphasis on the unmet needs of children lacking physical, emotional, and intellectual care and nurturing.

With offices in New London and Essex, and programs in children’s health care, child abuse, family violence, teen pregnancy, parent education, and child guidance, the Child and Family Agency is the largest nonprofit children’s service provider in Southeastern Connecticut.

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Tickets on Sale Now for Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s ‘Juleps & Jockeys’ Fundraiser, May 6

Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club (LOLJWC) hosts its major fundraiser for 2017 in a little over a week’s time.

Come place your bets and watch the Kentucky Derby with the LOLJWC at Juleps & Jockeys, which will be held at the Lyme Art Association on Saturday May 6, from 5:30 p.m.

Drink, eat, dance and, of course, bid on some great silent auction items.  All proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit the Lyme-Old Lyme Love Your Playground Project. Tickets are now available at this link.

Silent auction items are starting to arrive — check out the Juleps & Jockeys page to see all the great items already donated.

Do you have any goods that you would be willing to donate to the silent auction or would you care to be a sponsor?  There is a wide array of sponsorship levels.

LymeLine.com is proud to be a sponsor of this great event.

Contact LOLJWC at loljrwomensclub@gmail.com for more information.

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Singles Social Connections Offers Variety of Early Summer Events

Singles Social Connections is a social club for singles in Connecticut with non-profit 501(c) status from the IRS.  Their goal is to give singles the opportunity to meet new people, have fun, and network.  The following upcoming events are all sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

MAY 13  (Saturday)  SINGLES MINIATURE GOLF at the Safari Golf, 2340 Wilbur Cross Highway, Berlin in the afternoon at 2 p.m.  Come join the group for a fun time.  Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before, everyone is only playing for fun.  Later, there will be refreshments.  Admission $8.  To reserve, call Gail at 860-582-8229.

MAY 27  (Saturday)  SINGLES MEMORIAL WEEKEND PICNIC at Gail’s beach cottage, 46 Swan Avenue, Sound View, Old Lyme at 2 p.m.  For picnic, bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert, if no food, pay extra $5.  Dues-paying Members $10, Guests $15.  To reserve, call Gail in Bristol at 860-582-8229 or Old Lyme 860-434-6426.

JUNE 2  (Friday)  SINGLES HAPPY HOUR at the Tuscany Grill, 120 College Street, Middletown starting at 5 p.m.  If the weather is nice, seating may be outside on patio.  Come after work and mingle with old and new friends.  There is no charge.  For more information, call Gail at 860-582-8229.

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Reading Uncertainly: Chaos Monkeys: ‘Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, by Antonio Garcia Martinez

Let’s face it, we are all, every one of us, irrevocably married to this new and all-pervasive technology. We are computers and they are us. So isn’t it time that we learn something more about its source?

Antonio Garcia Martinez takes us on a four-year, inside-tour of Silicon Valley and San Francisco, an autobiography of life in the Valley: long-winded, discursive, sarcastic, cynical, opinionated, and always hilarious.

Martinez, an admitted “gleeful contrarian,” presents fascinating characters with enormous egos, from Zuck (Mark Zuckerberg), Sheryl (Sandberg), and Gokul (Gokul Rajaram); from start-ups to abrupt shutdowns; along with the organizations that shaped his life: University of California-Berkeley, Goldman Sachs, AdCharm, AdGrok, Facebook, Twitter, and, at last, Ayala, a cutter at anchor at Orcas Island in Puget Sound, prior to her escape into the Pacific Ocean. And people as well — since he is also a human being — including several female partners and two young children.

So exactly what is this “Valley?”

“It’s a society,” the author explains, “in which all men and women live in their own self-contained bubble, unattached to traditional anchors like family or religion, and largely unperturbed by outside social forces like income inequality or the Syrian Civil War.

‘Take it light, man’ elevated to life philosophy. Ultimately, the Valley attitude is an empowered anomie turbo-charged by selfishness, respecting some nominal ‘feel-good’ principals of progress or collective technological striving, but in truth pursuing a continual self-development refracted through the capitalist prism: hippies with a capitalization table and a vesting schedule.”

Wow!

His characters display both greed and credibility: they “ … spend their lives in a blizzard of meetings interspersed with email breaks.”

And what are the “chaos monkeys” of his title? They are the “software tools to test a product or a website’s resilience against random serve failures.” Beware the system!

Yet Martinez sees this mélange as being composed of human beings after all, noting, “The tech start-up scene for all its pretensions of transparency, principled innovation, and a counter-culture renouncement of pressed shirts and staid social convention, is actually a surprisingly reactionary crowd.” It is one “wired on caffeine, fear, and greed at all times.” And Facebook, Twitter, and Google have become “all-consuming new” religions. Technology is the Soma of our time.

Despite this cynicism, Martinez cannot help but admire Mark Zuckerberg: “I submit he was an old-school genius, the fiery force of nature possessed by a tutelary spirit of seemingly supernatural provenance that fuels and guides him, intoxicates his circle, and compels his retinue to be great as well …  The keeper of a messianic vision that, though mercurial and stinting on specifics, presents an overwhelming and all-consuming picture of a new and different world … the church of a new religion.”

The author suggests we consider similar leaders in history: Jefferson, Napoleon, Alexander, Joseph Smith, Jim Jones, and L. Ron Hubbard. The leaders and followers in the Valley are simply part of that natural human urge to believe and to be part of something bigger than oneself.

But the Martinez story doesn’t fade into a glowing future. Following Robert Frost’s admonition, the author in early 2016 concludes “a man occasionally reaches a fork in life’s road.”

His last sentence predicts a completely different future: “Thus do I bow off this stumbled-upon stage, hopefully forever, and disappear into the heaving swells of the Pacific Ocean, the only such sanctuary from social mediation we’ll soon have left.”

Sail on, skipper! I give you joy of your decision.

Editor’s Note: ‘Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley’ by Antonio Garcia Martinez, is published by HarperCollins, New York 2016.

Felix Kloman

About the Author: Felix Kloman is a sailor, rower, husband, father, grandfather, retired management consultant and, above all, a curious reader and writer. He’s explored how we as human beings and organizations respond to ever-present uncertainty in two books, ‘Mumpsimus Revisited’ (2005) and ‘The Fantods of Risk’ (2008). A 20-year resident of Lyme, he now writes book reviews, mostly of non-fiction that explores our minds, our behavior, our politics and our history. But he does throw in a novel here and there. For more than 50 years, he’s put together the 17 syllables that comprise haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry, and now serves as the self-appointed “poet laureate” of Ashlawn Farms Coffee, where he may be seen on Friday mornings. His wife, Ann, is also a writer, but of mystery novels, all of which begin in a bubbling village in midcoast Maine, strangely reminiscent of the town she and her husband visit every summer.

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Letter From Paris: Erdogan Wins Presidential Superpower in Turkey’s Rigged(?) Referendum

Nicole Prévost Logan

The good news about the victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the April 16 referedum, increasing his constitutional powers to govern, is that  his accession to the European Union (EU) has become more unlikely.  If he wins another referendum on whether to restore the death penalty, that will be “crossing the red line,” French president François Holland said and it will remove permanently his demand for membership from the negotiating table.

The electoral campaign for the referendum took place in a country traumatized by several bomb attacks.  It left little room for the opposition to express its opinions.  Acts of intimidation were observed in many voting booths.

In the Netherlands the campaign to gather votes of Turkish expatriates, was particularly  unwelcome at a time when the country was having its own elections. Unhappy with the decision of the Dutch authorities not to allow the Turkish diplomats off the plane, the Turkish government called The Hague the “Nazi capital of Europe” and their action, “barbarian.”

It pretended to be shocked by Angela Merkel’s violation of freedom of expression because political rallies by the Turks were cancelled in Germany.  The Turkish expats in Europe voted overwhelmingly in favor of the referendum.

On April 13, violent riots took place at a soccer match in Lyon for the Europa League quarter final.  Thirty five hundred Turkish supporters of the Besiktas club had bought tickets. But it turned out that 20,000 more, coming from other European countries, had somehow got into the stadium without disclosing their identity.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the referendum with a 51.3 percent majority.  In the 18 articles of the new constitution, the principle of separation of powers – executive, judiciary and legislative – has disappeared. The president governs by executive orders whenever he wants.  There is no longer a prime minister. The president  designates ministers and high officials, chooses most of the judges. Parliament will be dissolved and all the new deputies will belong to AKP, the islamo-conservator party of “justice and development.” The president could potentially be in power until 2019.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Erdogan lost the support of the middle classes of the three main cities – Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.  A sort of a slap in the face for a man who grew up in Istanbul, was its mayor and considers it as his stronghold, “commented Bernard Guetta, a journalist specializing in geopolitics.  The  European Commission urged Turkey to seek the “broadest possible consensus.”

Anyone who has traveled in Turkey knows that it is made of two different worlds.  The president finds his supporters in the first group:  firstly, poor farmers living in remote areas of the Anatolian plateau without much in common with the population on the coastal regions who have always had contacts  with the West, through trade in the Aegean Sea or the Mediterranean. And secondly, the working class living in the outskirts of the cities.  Their shabby houses are the first ones to collapse during recurrent earthquakes.  The polluted air in industrial areas can reach unbearable levels.

At the other end of the spectrum one finds Roberts College, the oldest American School abroad still in its original location.  It was founded in 1863.  Among its alumni are many of the international elites who have shaped this region of the world .

In the 1950s, Turkey was one of the countries benefiting from the Marshall Plan.  In 1952 it became a valued member of NATO thanks to its strategic geographic location.  This was an invaluable role to play.  But even the relationship of Turkey with NATO is tense to-day.

Dorothee Schmid, head of the Contemporary Turkey program at the Institut Français pour la Recherche Internationale (IFRI), comments: “Turkey advances in the fog.  It is not compatible with international organizations  and its statute at NATO is under question.”

Erdogan  considers himself the heir of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, which  spread as a crescent from central Europe, the Middle East to the Mediterranean shores of North Africa from 1299 to 1922.

The Turkish president may have also be looking  further back in history to the Hittite empire.  In the second milennium BC it was one of the two great powers in the Middle East, competing with Egypt until the decisive battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC against Ramses II.  The cyclopean walls and massive gate flanked by two sitting lions still standing to-day in Hattusas, or modern village of Bogäzköy,  give an idea of the mighty Hittite empire.

The Turkish president  seems to be driven by his thirst for power:  every two years or so there are either general elections or referendums.  The pull toward autocracy provokes an escalade of tension between the ruler and the people.  During the 2011 revolution, the protest on Tahir Square lasted for 18 days and was followed by a tough repression.  Since  the putsch attempt of July 2016, 1,500 military have been put on trial and tens of thousands arrested or lost their jobs.

Megalomania is another trait of the Turkish president.  He lives in a palace 30 times the size of the White House; he is planning to build the longest bridge in the world over the Dardanelles and a mosque so big that it will be seen from any point in Istanbul.

The priority for Erdogan today is to prevent the unification of the Kurds living both in Turkey and Syria.  The ongoing conflict has caused heavy losses in the two camps and much hatred.  The violence has had an impact on the economy.  Tourism has plummeted  down by 30 percent since last year.  “Turkey feels threatened,” says Ahmet Insel, Turkish economist and specialist on that country.

The agreement between Turkey and the EU *regarding the flux of refugees across the Aegean Sea seems to be working out: in 2015, 10,000 migrants crossed the sea as compared to only 43 to-day.  Insel says, “It is in no one’s interest to put an end to this agreement.”  The 3.5 million refugees now living in Turkey seem to be adjusting after going through difficult times.  The Turkish government is even thinking of offering them citizenship.

Marc Pierini, former French ambassador to Turkey comments, “Turkey remains a major actor in the area.”  Nevertheless it is frightening to see the leverage power Erdogan holds over the EU and by way of an almost tangible demonstration of that power, the question discussed by specialists on the France-Culture radio channel on April 8, 2017, was, “How the exacerbated nationalism of Erdogan will impact the geopolitical imbroglio?”

* see “Letter from Paris,” March 19, 2016

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.

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Old Lyme Town Budget Calls for 3.26 Percent Increase, Requires 0.55 Mill Rate Increase to 21.75

Old Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell presents the Town’s proposed 2017-18 budget at Monday night’s meeting.

Around 30 residents showed up for Monday night’s public hearing in the Old Lyme Town Hall Meeting Room of the Town’s proposed budget of $36,355,031 for the 2017-18 fiscal year.  The proposed budget presented by Old Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell, which includes $26.5 million for Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools, represents a 3.26 percent increase over the 2016-17 approved budget.

The Towns of Lyme and Old Lyme divide the LOL Schools’ budget of $33,634, 371 between them based on percentages representing the respective number of students that each town has attending LOL Schools. The total LOL Schools budget for both towns reflects a 0.49 percent increase over the current year, but when translated exclusively to the Old Lyme budget, the sum represents a 3.65 percent increase over the current year’s figure.

Old Lyme’s general government and capital budgets, which make up the balance of the Town budget (excluding the school budget), total $9,819,829 representing a 1.84 percent increase over the current year.  This number comprises $8,774,129 for general government and $1,045,700 for capital spending.

Russell summarized key increases and decreases in the the two sections of the budget, noting that regarding grants to non-profits , “The only one to receive an an increase is the Old Lyme Library.”  He commented on the subject of Debt Service that “The only debt that the Town has relates to the Town Hall,” and that the period remaining on the debt is seven years.

The two largest single items in General Government capital expenditures are replacement of the Cross Lane Playground equipment ($150,000) and renovations to the bathrooms at Hains Park (also $150,000.)

The former expense was the reason that many in the audience attended the meeting.  Stacy Winchell, Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club President, which has been working to raise money for the playground, commented in an email after the meeting, “As we have been working diligently for three years in bringing a safe and all-accessible playground to Cross Lane, we wanted to represent to the public that we continue to support and contribute to the return of a playground at Cross Lane.”

Renovations to the Hains Park bathrooms were originally included in the boathouse plans but now needed additional funding.

Another project which received increased funding ($10,000) was a feasibility study to determine the viability of a sidewalk from Town Woods Park to Rte. 1/Boston Post Rd.

Old Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell answers a question about the Town’s proposed 2017-18 budget at Monday night’s meeting.

Russell said the board of finance was proposing to take, “$800,000 out of surplus to soften the blow to taxpayers,” but adding, “$600,000 was taken out of surplus for each of the last two years … but not needed last year.”  Adding, “We probably won’t need it this year,” he noted that the mill rate for 2017-18 is scheduled to increase from 21.2 to 21.75 mills, an increase of 2.58 percent.

Russell cited three examples of how the mill rate will impact property owners.  The first was for a house appraised at $347,200 and assessed at $243,000.  This homeowner paid $5,152 in property taxes in 2016-17, but will pay $5,285 under the proposed mill rate next year.

His second example related to a house appraised at $540,200 and assessed at $378,100.  This homeowner paid $8,016 in property taxes in 2016-17, but would pay $8,224 next year under the proposed budget.

Russell’s consistent message throughout the presentation was that the board always pursues a course that errs on the conservative side.  As a result, he explained, the town enjoys the highest credit rating possible.  Additionally, he noted that the board uses a predicted collection rate on taxes of 98.25 percent whereas the rate is, in fact, typically over 99 percent.

When public comment opened, one resident asked if the cameras being installed in police cars would be transferable between vehicles and Russell  confirmed they would.

Former Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold, who is now town treasurer,  stated, “The Hains Park bathhouse is a controversial issue.” He agreed the bathrooms “need to be fixed,” but said, “The question should have gone to a Town Meeting … to be aired fully.”  Griswold suggested it was now, “… lost in the budget.”

Russell responded that the question had been much discussed by the board and in the end, members had decided that since, “The Town had approved bathrooms and the boathouse,” the board should now add the necessary funds for the bathrooms into the budget.  David Kelsey commented from the floor that this new sum to fund the bathrooms is now, “… buried in the budget.”  Judith Read also questioned the boathouse project funding asking whether there was a surplus in hand on the boathouse project and if monies for the bathrooms were originally included in the boathouse project.

After the close of public comment, Russell said the proposed budget will now go forward for approval by residents at a town meeting to be held May 15.

Prior to that, Lyme and Old Lyme residents will vote separately in a referendum on the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools $33.6 million budget to be held May 2. Voting will take place from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in both towns and the results from each town are combined to determine if the budget has passed.  Voting in Old Lyme will be held in the Cross Lane Firehouse.

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Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet, Old Lyme’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Logo - DEA

Since the first Lyme-Old Lyme Drug Take Back event in 2011, citizens have returned more than 500 pounds of medications to prevent misuse.

On Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lyme Street Fire House, the Community Action for Substance Free Youth (CASFY) Coalition will give residents another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinets. Twenty seven percent of seniors at Lyme-Old Lyme High School report it would be “very or sort of easy to obtain a prescription drug without your own prescription.”  (Lyme-Old Lyme Youth Survey, Dec. 2015). You have the opportunity to return unwanted medications at this bi-annual event, so that you don’t inadvertently contribute to someone’s misuse of a drug.

Should you miss this Drug Take Back event, you can dispose of your medications at Drug Drop Boxes located in area police stations including Troop F in Westbrook and the East Lyme Police Station in Niantic.

The misuse of prescription pain relievers and tranquilizers is more prevalent in the U.S. than use of all types of illicit drugs, except marijuana.  These medications are readily available in many home medicine cabinets and are easily diverted, misused and abused.

According to the Center for Disease Control, drug overdose deaths now kill more Americans than car crashes.  Prescription pain pills are driving the increase in overdoses.  Studies show that the majority of young people who abuse medicines obtain their supply from family and friends.

This event is co-sponsored by CASFY Coalition, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, Old Lyme Police Department, Troop F State Police, and Old Lyme Fire Department,

For more information about the Drug Take Back event, or CASFY Coalition, contact LYSB at 860-434-7208 or visit www.lysb.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Golf Tournament Swinging With Opportunity for Lyme Consolidated School, May 6

Lyme Consolidated School will host its Second Annual Golf Tournament and 19th Hole Event on Saturday, May 6. The event is hosted by the Lyme Consolidated School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO), a non-profit group that works to support the Lyme Consolidated Elementary School that serves students of Lyme and Old Lyme, Conn., through volunteerism, parent involvement and funding activities, programs and materials for the students and staff of the school. Net proceeds from the tournament will go to the school PTO.

The tournament will be hosted on the beautiful grounds of Fox Hop Yard Golf Course located in East Haddam, just minutes from the Lyme Consolidated School.

There will be a BBQ lunch and a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. The golf will include several contests on the greens including a $10,000 putting contest. The PTO is grateful to their sponsors: Reynolds Subaru, Mohegan Sun, Holth & Kollman LLC, Sapia Builders Corp., River Valley Periodontics & Implant Dentistry, Novak Brothers, Ashlawn Farm Coffee, All-Pro Automotive, Brown & Knapp Insurance, Benchmark Wealth Management and Julia Balfour LLC.

The festivities will continue after golf into the early evening at “On the Rocks” at the Fox Hop Yard Golf Course where golf awards, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails (cash bar) will be enjoyed.  Non-golfers are invited to join in the fun as well from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wonderful silent auction items will be available such as original jewelry by Ann Lightfoot, Lady Gaga tickets, Yankee Tickets and more.

The Lyme PTO offers an array of special activities that help the children of our community flourish. Each year the PTO offers roughly 20 enriching programs for K to 5th grade, such as Curiosity Shop, where children can choose from a variety of specialty workshops held in an after school program or school assembly cultural events such as African American storytelling. PTO also hosts the Circle of Giving, in which families and students in need are helped during the holiday season and our hallmark Veteran’s Day Tea, Staff Appreciation Day and many field trips for all classes to name a few.

In order to have a successful tournament, sponsors are needed to offset the costs. The PTO is looking for local community members and businesses to support the event by being one of the Hole Sponsors, and, of course, golfing!

A single player registration is $150.00, which includes a BBQ lunch, 18 holes of golf, golf carts, use of the golfing facility and a ticket to the 19th Hole Event & Silent Auction. Non-golfing guests can also attend the 19th Hole Event & Silent Auction for $50.00 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. There are many other opportunities for local community members and businesses to support the event such as tee signs for $100.00.

The PTO is also looking for silent auction items and volunteers. Contact Josh Grenier at lymepto@gmail.com.

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Column: Connecticut Charity Devoted to Uplifting African Villages

Editor’s Note: Local resident Tom Soboleski has written several great stories exclusively for LymeLine.com and ValleyNewsNow.com, so when we saw this compelling story by him in the New Haven Register on March 24, we requested their permission to republish it. Having received that permission, we are now pleased to republish this important story here.

Gathering water in Africa. Courtesy Water Works for Africa

Imagine you could not take a shower every day – because there is no water.

Imagine brushing your teeth without water.

Imagine you had no faucet in your house – because there is no water nearby.

Gathering water in Africa. Courtesy Water Works for Africa

Imagine walking two miles and standing in lines with fights breaking out to obtain whatever water you could. Then carrying it back home in jugs weighing 41 pounds. And the water is dirty and likely has bacteria.

You might say you’d never live there. But some people have no choice. This is their homeland. You might ask why don’t they move. To understand, you’d have to be in their shoes.

These are the conditions in villages of the Chikwawa district, in southern Malawi, Africa. There are numerous villages throughout Malawi in the same circumstances. The time and energy required to obtain life’s most basic need consumes daily life. It is traditional in their culture for women and children to fetch the water. This typically can take four to five hours a day. Men stay home to tend their meager gardens and livestock.

The water, when it’s available, is in shallow wells about 5 to 6 feet square and of similar depth. Because it’s basically in open pits, livestock and wild animals also drink from it. They have no other source. They may also urinate or defecate in or near it. So any water collected has to be boiled before it can be used for drinking, cooking or bathing.

A charity based in New Haven, Malawi Farmers Inc., has dedicated itself to bringing reliable, clean water to the villages of Chikwawa. Formed last year, MFI’s core mission is to help lift these villagers out of poverty. Providing them a source of sustainable, safe water would have a huge impact on village life. Drinking, cooking and washing would no longer be risky. It would allow kids to stay in school and fathers to get jobs. It would mean plentiful crops and healthier livestock. It would mean they could sell crops and create better living conditions.

“You can’t do anything without water,” says Sam Powell, president of Malawi Farmers Inc. The villagers of Chikwawa “are stricken not only with a drought,” he says, “but when they have water, it’s unreliable in terms of it’s not always available or only in limited amounts. The surface water is contaminated. They don’t have deep-water wells. The water’s unhealthy, there’s no sanitation there. There’s animal refuse and human waste.”

There is ample clean water deep underground, but the lack of technology and economic wherewithal prevents it from being tapped. “The water is there,” Powell says. “They can’t access it.”

MFI is working with another non-profit, Water Wells for Africa, or WWFA, based in California, which will identify well locations and hire contractors in Africa to do the drilling and installation. “We’ve partnered up with them,” Powell says, “because they have the expertise in the drilling, the topography, the government’s situation.”

WWFA has been installing wells in Africa for 20 years. Once a well is installed, they will also train local villagers on how to maintain and repair it. Designing it to be rugged enough to not break down is a prime consideration, given that parts would not be readily available in a remote village. “The type of well we want to drill is deep, it’s sustainable,” Powell says. “It’s mechanical, it’s not digital, it doesn’t require any electricity.”

Powell became aware of the water crisis in southern Malawi through his work at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford, where he’s been volunteering for several years. Three years ago a new chaplain, the Rev Austin Phiri, was assigned to the hospice. Austin is a native of the village of Chokani and came to the U.S. six years ago, he says, “because I wanted to experience a different way of doing ministry.”

Father Austin says the water crisis in his country is acute but the Malawi government provides little help. “Every day in my country the people complain we have no running water. The government depends on donors from outside,” to address infrastructure problems, he says. “At the moment there are a number of problems the government is facing. The government is completely broke.”

Appeals to the United Nations have been unsuccessful, Austin says. Proposals have been submitted but the response is always that the UN is involved in innumerable projects and it is unable to help.

Malawi is a land-locked country about the size of Pennsylvania, with a population of nearly 13 million. Annual per capita income was $340 in 2015 according to the World Bank. “In these desperately poor areas of low density and subsistence farming,” Austin says, “it’s less than that. A dollar a day is a lot of money there.”

People begin standing in line at 3 a.m.. “We are so hopeful that there will be a day when things will be improved in my home village,” he says. “They won’t be fighting to get water. There’s always fighting because everybody wants to get good water.”

During the dry season from May to October, there is virtually no rainfall in Malawi. Contaminated water is a leading cause of diarrhea, dysentery and cholera, contributing to nearly 9,000 deaths per year, including 4,500 children under 5, according to the World Bank. Worldwide, diarrhea diseases contribute to more than a million deaths per year of children under 5, according to UNICEF.

Powell says that working with Austin at the hospice and listening to his stories inspired him to do something. “For several years we have been talking about how desperate the plight of those people are. A lot of families are occupying hours and hours and hours of their day just sourcing out water and not doing anything else that’s productive. The infusion of a few dollars in Malawi to drill a simple well – so people can at least water their gardens and drink a glass of clean healthy water – will have a startling effect.”

MFI’s ambition goes well beyond a few wells. It has partnered with a farmer’s group in Malawi to coordinate efforts and identify the most acute needs. Once villages have sustainable healthy water, MFI plans to advise villagers on ways to become more efficient and productive with their farming and upgrade their tools and methods. “This will allow for marketing their crops to produce income,” Powell says. “Right now it’s subsistence farming. Eventually, hopefully with a rich water supply, they will be able to generate income so that their standard of living will rise.”

Through appeals to friends and family, MFI has raised enough money to drill its first well in the village of Chokani during the upcoming dry season. The average cost of a deep water well is $7500, but that can vary widely depending on the local geography, the depth, and the underground geology. The group is holding its first fundraiser, an Italian dinner with entertainment, on March 19 at St. Paul’s Church Hall in West Haven, CT. Tickets can be purchased directly from their website through this link.

Water is something the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens take for granted. With a twist of your hand, it’s there on demand. For people in the villages of Chikwawa, that would be a luxury. Just installing a permanent well to pump clean water on demand, “will change their whole standard of living,” Powell says. “Their health, their longevity, their prospects for the future. You’ll be able to see the effects; you’ll be able to feel the effects, almost immediately. We have no paid staff. Every dollar that comes in to us will be for drilling.”

MFI is a 501c3 charity recognized by the state of Connecticut and the federal government.

For more information, go to www.malawifarmersinc.org.

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Shining a Light on a Humble Hero: Success of Stroud’s Grassroots Efforts Against High Speed Train Proposal Highlighted

Greg Stroud

The CT Mirror has published an article today by veteran journalist Ana Radelat, titled His grassroots rebellion stops a federal railroad plan in its tracks, which looks at Greg Stroud of Old Lyme as an individual and the impact of his campaign regarding the northeastern section of the proposed high-speed railroad route from Washington DC to Boston — an impact that is looking increasingly likely to result in the removal of the Old Saybrook-Kenyon bypass from the proposed route.

In response to Radelat’s question in the article, “It seems the Federal Railroad Administration is going to change its plan. Are you confident you have won this battle over the bypass?” Stroud responds, “I’m cautiously optimistic and increasingly confident about the Kenyon to Old Saybrook bypass.”

Keep everything crossed at this point, dear readers!

Read Radelat’s full article at this link.

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Rockfall Foundation Announces 12 Grants for Environmental Projects, Recipients Include Lyme Land Conservation Trust

The Board of Directors and Grants Committee of the Rockfall Foundation are pleased to announce that twelve environmental programs throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley received grants in the latest funding cycle. More than $28,000 was awarded to support environmental education and conservation efforts that will have a combined benefit for nearly 2,000 students and many more adults and families in the region.

“These grants, awarded through a competitive process, support the wonderful work being done in the area of environmental education and conservation throughout our region,” said Marilyn Ozols, President of the Foundation. “We are grateful that the generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to support so many worthwhile programs.”

Environmental education is a priority area for the Foundation and programs that serve and engage children and youth represent the several of those receiving grants. Public schools and non-profit organizations will provide hands-on environmental education programs in Middletown, Durham, Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. Additionally, several conservation projects and public events will present residents throughout the Lower Connecticut River Valley with information on urban farming, removal of invasives, and tree identification, as well as provide volunteer opportunities.

Grantees include:

Indian Hill Cemetery Association – “A Celebration of the Trees of Indian Hill Cemetery” will encourage visitors to utilize Indian Hill Cemetery as a place where they can learn about trees, be inspired by trees, enjoy the view and walk quietly. Tree identification activities, school programs, and the addition of signs will support this effort. $1,000

Van Buren Moody Elementary School – “Moody School Courtyard Nature Enrichment Programs” will train teachers to use the school’s courtyard gardens for education enrichment, thereby increasing the amount of time students spend outside learning about the environment. The program will also involve students and families in maintaining and managing the gardens to create a sense of ownership and connection to the courtyards and the natural world. $1,030

Regional School District 13 Elementary Schools – “Taking the Next Generation Science Standards Outside” will encourage elementary students to engage in the Science and Engineering Practices emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards, while exploring the nature trails near their schools and noting problems that could be investigated and addressed. $1,100

Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District – “Urban Farm-Based Education Programs at Forest City Farms: A Farm Days Pilot Project” will promote an ongoing urban agriculture initiative in Middletown focused on improving urban farming conservation practices, building community interest and engagement in farming, developing farming/gardening knowledge and skills, and helping address food insecurity. Hands-on activities will take place at Forest City Farms. $1,500

Middlesex Land Trust and Everyone Outside – “Middlesex Land Trust Preserves: Great Places to Spend Time Outside” will revive and foster an interest in nature by connecting children and families with their local environment through field trips and public trail walks, helping them gain an understanding and appreciation of nature in order to become future stewards of the environment. $1,500

Snow Elementary School – “Outdoor Explorations at Snow Elementary School” will provide students and teachers with hands-on science and nature programs, including teacher training, mentoring and curriculum development leading to greater interest in science and stewardship of the natural world. $1,900

Lyme Land Conservation Trust – “The Diana and Parker Lord Nature and Science Center” to support the planning and development of educationally-focused content that is directed to all ages and will engage school-age children, and to support a unique and interactive interpretive trail within the Banningwood Preserve. $2,000

Valley Shore YMCA – “Farm to Table Specialty Camp,” an innovative new program that will teach children the important life skills of gardening, harvesting produce for themselves and others, and environmental sustainability. $2,225

Macdonough Elementary School – “Macdonough School Takes the Classroom Outside” will provide hands-on science education for K through 5th grade students, including an understanding of the natural world and the local ecosystem, to enhance students’ connection with nature. $2,570

Connecticut River Watershed Council – “European Water Chestnut Strategy for the Connecticut River Watershed” will directly educate more than 250 individuals on how to identify, manage and report European Water Chestnuts; educate thousands of residents about the plant and its threat to our waterways; and involve volunteers in hand removal of documented infestations. $3,500

Connecticut Forest and Park – “Highlawn Forest Invasive Removal and Education Program,” part of a strategic Forest Management Plan, to use the property as a recreation and education asset through careful timbering and an invasive removal process. The program will be a model for environmental planning and will offer a unique opportunity for hands-on environmental education for landowners and municipalities. $4,000

SoundWaters – “Coastal Explorers: A Bridge for Sustainability for Watershed Exploration for Middle School Students” will provide students from Middlesex County with hands-on science education focused on their local estuarine habitats and watershed to encourage a deeper understanding of the natural world via a combination of study and stewardship activities. $6,000

Founded in 1935 by Middletown philanthropist Clarence S. Wadsworth, the Rockfall Foundation is named for the large waterfall in Wadsworth Falls State Park. In addition to its grants, the Foundation sponsors educational programs and owns and maintains the deKoven House Community Center. The Rockfall Foundation awards grants annually through a competitive process that is open to non-profit organizations and municipalities located in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. For additional information or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.rockfallfoundation.org  or call 860-347-0340.

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The Very Latest … and Most Important … News to Date on the Proposed High Speed Train Route

Amtrak’s ‘Acela’ passes through Rocky Neck State Park on a recent morning.

In a major news story published today in the CT Mirror, veteran journalist Ana Radelat summarizes the significant impact that opposition in Connecticut to the proposed high-speed rail route has already had — and is continuing to have.  Radelat quotes Old Lyme’s Greg Stroud, founder of SECoast and now director of special projects for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, who has been at the forefront of this opposition, as saying, “Opposition is growing along the entire shoreline.”

Read Radelat’s story titled, CT rebellion against federal rail plan grows — and may have impact, at this link.

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