May 20, 2018

Registration Still Open at Ride Start for Today’s ‘Tour de Lyme’ Cycling Fundraiser

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 www.tourdelyme.org

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 kristina.white@lymelandtrust.org or 860-434-5051

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Old Lyme to Hold Annual Budget Meeting Tomorrow

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen will host the Annual Budget Meeting on Monday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium at 18, Lyme Street in Old Lyme.  Agenda items, which may be voted on at the meeting, include:

  • The adoption of the budget for the fiscal year July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019, as recommended by the Old Lyme Board of Finance.
  • A proposal that taxes in the Town of Old Lyme on Real Property and Personal Property will be paid in two equal semi-annual installments with the first payment due on July 1, of this year and the second payment due on Jan. 1, 2019.  Any taxes of less than $100 for the year will be due in one payment on July 1, of this year and any taxes in any amount owed for vehicles will be due in one payment on Jan. 1, 2019.
  • A proposal that the Old Lyme First Selectwoman is authorized to execute the “Old Lyme Fire Department, Inc. And Old Lyme South End Volunteer Ambulance Association, Inc. Retirement Plan,” amended and restated effective Jan. 1, 2018 (“Plan”), and the “Amended And Restated Trust Agreement For The Old Lyme Fire Department Inc. And Old Lyme South End Volunteer Ambulance Association, Inc. Retirement Plan” (“Trust”). This proposal also authorizes the First Selectwoman, the Board of Selectmen and the Town of Old Lyme and/or their respective designees, without need for additional approval by the Town Meeting, to exercise all rights and perform all duties given them by the Plan and the Trust, including:
    • appointment of a Pension Committee and of a Trustee(s),
    • making of agreements with the trustee(s),
    • making of amendments to the Plan and/or to the Trust and any agreements made in relation thereto.
  • A proposal that the sum of $80,000 should be appropriated for use by the board of selectmen to pay expenses incurred by the Town as a result of the need to amend and restate the Plan and create the Trust (as defined above.)
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Shred Unwanted Documents During Lyme-Old Lyme HS Class of 2018 Fundraiser, May 26

On Saturday, May 26, the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2018 will shred documents for businesses and individuals. Anyone can bring their papers to the Lyme-OId Lyme High School parking lot from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to shred for a donation.

Many people have unwanted papers sitting in boxes or on desks around their house.  All documents will be shred immediately at the high school  The papers could be old tax returns, bank statements, bills, credit card statements, newspapers or school ditto sheets.  This fundraiser provides the community an opportunity to securely discard unwanted papers from houses or businesses.

“We are excited to hold this Shred-it Fundraiser because the demand for secure document shredding services is growing.  This fundraiser provides a low cost way to accomplish this community service,” said Louis Zubek, a high school math teacher and adviser to the Class of 2018.

Last year, this high school class conducted this same fundraiser.  It collected over 120 bags of unwanted papers and generated over $1,200.

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OLRA/Blood Street Sculls Hosts National ‘Learn to Row Day’ in Old Lyme, June 2

Looking for an excuse to escape the gym and spend time outdoors? Head to Rogers Lake in Old Lyme on Saturday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., when the Old Lyme Rowing Association/Blood Street Sculls will be hosting National Learn to Row Day at their new boathouse at Hains Park.

On this day, more than 75 rowing clubs around the country will open their doors to the public and offer an introduction to the sport of rowing. Learn to Row Day events are not only an ideal opportunity for someone who’s curious about the sport to give it a try, but this regional event is also a chance to build friendships and social networks. Activities vary from club to club, but the day generally includes introductory coaching of the fundamentals of the stroke and basic drills used to coordinate movement.

Organized by USRowing, the national governing body for the sport, National Learn to Row Day is a chance to meet people that will serve as mentors in a fun, pressure-free environment.

Getting in shape, trying something new, enjoying the outdoors or meeting new people in the community – whatever the reason, learning about the sport of rowing can be an unforgettable experience and have the potential to be a life-long endeavor. The organizers note, “Learn to Row Day is a wonderful opportunity to see first-hand what rowing is all about. It’s a great low-impact sport for people of all ages, and all abilities, from those rowing for the first time, to highly skilled rowers.”

For more information, visit www.usrowing.org and/or www.oldlymerowing.org or email mmrowing2004@gmail.com

Register online for Learn to Row Day at this link.

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Lyme Land Trust Hosts CT Trails Day Walk, June 2

This photo shows an example of young successional forest in Lyme. Photo by Wendy Hill.

The Lyme Land Trust will host a walk to celebrate CT Trails Day on Saturday, June 2, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The location will be Lyme Land Trust’s Slawson Preserve, Nehantic State Forest and adjacent properties in Lyme, Conn.  The focus of the walk will be the Bunny Habitat Restoration Project Phase 2.

Lisa Wahle, the “Bunny Lady” and young forest habitat restoration specialist; Mark LaCasse, Master Wildlife Conservationist; and Emery Gluck, CT DEEP Division of Forestry, will lead a walk to explore Phase 2 of the ongoing process to improve the land for the benefit of the threatened New England cottontail rabbit and other species that depend upon young forests.

On last year’s walk, the results of Phase 1 were seen:- the vegetation regrowth on 25 acres of private property adjacent to the preserve that had been cleared of mature trees several years ago.

In the fall of 2017, the Land Trust began Phase 2: the harvest of trees from the Slawson Preserve.

The Land Trust, private landowners, and the State have agreed to harvest mature trees over a 6- to 10-year period to create an environment that is suitable for species that live in a young forest environment. As the cleared areas grow back, it will create the desirable brushy environment where the bunnies find food and protection from predators.

Staggering the treatments will ensure that this successional habitat is available for a longer time. This process is beneficial to more than 50 species of greatest conservation need including prairie warbler, ruffed grouse, indigo bunting, American woodcock, wood turtle, and blue spotted salamander.

Reservations are recommended though not required.  For further information or to reserve your place, email openspace@lymelandtrust.org

Rain cancels.

Parking is available at 435 Hamburg Rd (Rte 156), Lyme, CT. Follow the dirt driveway to the parking area. Permission has been given to park at the end of this long, private driveway for this special event only. No dogs please.

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University of New Haven Announces $1.1 Million Bequest from Diana Atwood Johnson to Lyme Academy

The late Diana Atwood Johnson.

The University of New Haven announced yesterday that Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, one of the University’s six colleges, has received a $1.1 million bequest from the estate of Diana Atwood Johnson, a longtime benefactor.

The gift will support three initiatives:

  • The Sill House, a historic building encompassing studio space, the Lyme archives, and the Sill House Gallery, will receive $500,000.
  • An additional $500,000 will go toward scholarships that benefit minority students.
  • The remaining $100,000 will support the Diana Atwood Johnson Leadership Award, presented annually to a senior at Lyme who shows great promise and exemplifies the values of the institution.

Atwood Johnson, who died in January, served on Lyme’s Board of Trustees. As chair, she was the driving force in helping Lyme earn its initial accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and she played a key role in initiating the affiliation that made Lyme the University of New Haven’s fifth college.

“Diana Atwood Johnson was a pillar in our community and involved in every element of Lyme over the past three decades,” said Todd Jokl, dean of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts. “Her generosity over those decades in both her leadership and her generous financial contributions will enable us to provide support for our diverse student body, attract the strongest art students to Lyme, and continue to support our campus buildings. Most of all, Diana leaves a legacy that will remain a strong part of this institution in perpetuity.”

In addition to this donation, Lyme has received nearly $3 million in gifts in the past five months as part of its capital campaign.

Founded in 1976 in scenic Old Lyme, Conn., Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts is a community of emerging and established artists.

Its Bachelor of Fine Arts program offers drawing, illustration, painting, and sculpture, attracting some of the brightest and most talented artists from around the world. Offering one of the most immersive fine arts educations available, Lyme students grow individually through intensive engagement with their craft and lively, profound exchanges of ideas and work.

For more information, visit www.newhaven.edu/lyme.

The University of New Haven, founded on the Yale campus in 1920, is a private, coeducational university situated on the coast of southern New England. It’s a diverse and vibrant community of more than 7,000 students, with campuses around the country and around the world.

Within its five colleges, students immerse themselves in a transformative, career-focused education across the liberal arts and sciences, fine arts, business, engineering, and public safety and public service. More than 100 academic programs are offered, all grounded in a long-standing commitment to collaborative, interdisciplinary, project-based learning.

For more information, visit www.newhaven.edu.

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Affordable Housing Application Hearings Postponed to June 5

At the request of the applicant, the Public Hearings originally scheduled for Monday, May 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Old Lyme Town Hall for the Affordable Housing Applications for 18-1 and 18-2 Neck Road for 23 and 14 units respectively (both formerly known as 16 Neck Rd. and now known respectively as River Oak Commons I and II) have been postponed to Tuesday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

The applicants are Graybill Properties, LLC, and Neck Road HOPE Housing, LLC.

Visit this link to read a related Op-Ed on this topic.

 

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Op-Ed: SECoast Questions Proposed HOPE Development in Old Lyme

Organization Stresses Support of Affordable Housing

This Op-Ed was written by Gregory Stroud, Executive Director, SECoast

This photograph shows a representation of Hope Partnership’s ‘model’ Ferry Road development six years after completion.  Photo by Gregory Stroud.

No doubt by now, most of you have heard of the Hope Partnership housing development planned for 16 Neck Road. It’s a subdivided property tucked in beside the northbound I-95 exit 70 into Old Lyme, a wooded 12.5 acre lot with a steep entrance road, and a long stretch of deep-water access to the Long Island Sound. The property once assessed for $1.2 million, was purchased by a local developer on December 31, 2015 for a relative song—$455,500.

As things stand today, our expectation is that the purchaser, Graybill Properties, will keep and develop the back two lots for private houses, with river views and water access, and will sell the front two lots facing Neck Road for development as “affordable housing,” all told perhaps 37 or 41 two- three- and four-bedroom units, twelve buildings, and 113 parking spaces.

The development falls under a state law, commonly known as 8-30g, which doesn’t exactly give for-profit and non-profit developers carte blanche, but it does place a heavy burden of proof on local government to stop them, if a town fails to meet a very narrowly-tailored threshold of 10 percent deed-restricted affordable housing stock. Old Lyme currently stands at 1.56 percent, and by this method of counting, it’s not at all clear that the town can or will ever meet or sustain the minimum threshold of affordability.

To be sure, affordable housing has a checkered 30-year history in Connecticut, with often wealthy enclaves successfully gaming the system to shirk their statutory responsibilities, and sometimes unscrupulous developers gaming the system to build luxury apartment complexes, and harvest tax advantages, wherever profitable. In our particular case, we feel confident in saying that neither is the case, but that does not mean our current debate has not been colored on various sides by these broader frictions and frustrations.

Proponents of the project have at times avoided a serious discussion of the project by out-of-hand dismissing legitimate local concerns as NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard)—a form of name-calling rather than logical argument. Opponents of the project have frequently suggested darker motives for the development, without evidence. Town leaders have pitched the project as an effective defense against less scrupulous developers, despite the obvious truth that this project will not nearly allow Old Lyme to meet its near-impossible 10 percent obligation. There has no doubt been anger and ugliness, and more than a few transitory facts and figures in and around the project. We can do better.

Although we have significant and still unaddressed questions concerning the genesis of this project, the methods for choosing and advancing this project, how it fits into broader unstated plans of profit, funding, and development for Old Lyme, nevertheless we are confident that the two primary organizations behind it—Old-Saybrook-based Hope Partnership, and their statewide partner The Women’s Institute—are motived not by profit, but by a genuine, if perhaps overriding, philanthropic mission.

Nor does Old Lyme—despite its reputation among some as a haven of wealth and privilege—have a history of skirting the law or blocking affordable housing projects. In fact, in this case First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, have invited and actively encouraged the development of this project in Old Lyme. We have little doubt that many in Old Lyme will bend over backwards to help see this project to completion.

But now putting all that aside, we are left with two basic questions: Is this a ‘good’ project? And do our concerns about health, safety, or other legally reviewable matters, clearly outweigh a need for affordable housing?

To the first question, we say largely not. To the second question, we say that it remains unresolved. For this reason, while we have decided to remain neutral at present on this project—we will neither promote, nor actively endeavor to block it—it is our view that the project leaves such substantial details and questions unresolved that it would constitute an act of negligence for zoning, planning, wetlands, or other town commissions to give this project approval, or even conditional approval, without significant additional scrutiny and assurances.

To this end, we spent more than two hours on May 2 with board and staff members of Hope Partnership, and The Women’s Institute, which was followed by numerous hours reviewing evident and serious issues of pedestrian and traffic safety, fire code, environmental, and other concerns. We followed up with an additional nearly hour-long conversation with Kristin Anderson, the development manager for the project, as part of The Women’s Institute. We remain deeply, and sincerely troubled by the project, and the feasibility of addressing these concerns.

We leave our detailed criticism to later public comment, but that said, it is telling we think, that the bulk of assurances which we did receive, regarding the goodness, the compliance with fire code, and the traffic and pedestrian safety of the project, are premised on a series of troubling and doubtful assumptions as follows:

  • that some un-proposed and unfunded redevelopment of Rte. 156 and Halls Road may in the future allow for safe pedestrian access between the development and the nearby Halls Road Shopping District;
  • that the 2018 State Building and Fire Safety Codes would drop a mandate for sprinklers by a vote in the legislature on July 1;
  • that CTDOT will alter the traffic signs and the terminus of Exit 70 in a manner, and time, which will allow for safe vehicle access to the site.

To be frank, all that we are really sure of here, is that this project has sailed through a number of planning, zoning, and wetlands meetings, with the strong backing of elected local officials, an array of ephemeral facts and arguments, an ever-growing scope, and a heck of a lot of good intentions.

But for all the good intent, the stubborn present reality of this project remains an essentially regressive model of suburban tract housing, with no clear safe access on foot, by bicycle, school bus, or public transit, awash in blacktop, skirting requirements of septic within the watershed and at the mouth of the Connecticut River, exempted from requirements of open space for land which will later be developed, and by an Old Lyme Plan of Conservation and Development, which is two sentences from nonexistent.

This is a project, as currently drawn, which reaches toward a lower common denominator of fire code. If requirements for sprinklers are dropped, should we cheer? It’s a plan at present, which encourages children to play inside, and burdens struggling families with the necessity of two cars.

Of course, no project can meet every ideal measure, and many families happily live out their days without sidewalks and within suburban tract housing. Should we hold affordable housing to a higher standard? Aren’t affordability and good intentions, reason enough? It’s an argument more often we’ve seen used for hot dogs and hamburgers in school lunches.

The reality is that 16 Neck Road is not just a housing development, it’s the entrance to the town. 16 Neck Road is the first step, a driving force, a funding source and point of leverage for a much larger unspoken and questionably-coordinated redevelopment of Old Lyme. Are we in such a rush, that without any real detail, this is how we choose to begin? 

Believe me, the public hearing on May 14 isn’t just another hoop, it’s the moment when Hope Partnership and the Town of Old Lyme decide whether to pull the trigger.

We say, yes to affordable housing in Old Lyme, but only with a better affordable plan.

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘Moonglow’ by Michael Chabon

This is, at one and the same time, a work of fiction and the author’s actual family history, selectively combined and embellished. It is the story of Michael Chabon’s grandfather and grandmother, recreated as a totally engaging novel, covering more than five decades in Germany, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York City, Florida and California.  He “recreates” these two antecedents, beginning with his grandfather’s work with the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) in Germany in the waning day of World War II, followed by the meeting with his grandmother in Baltimore two years later, and then their fractured lives thereafter.

The key lies in Chabon’s candid Author’s Note: “In preparing this memoir, I have stuck to the facts except when facts refused to conform with memory, narrative purpose, or the truth as I prefer to understand it.” He went on later: “To claim or represent that I retain an exact or even approximate recollection of what anyone said so long ago would be to commit the memoirist’s great sin.” And so his imagination is unleashed …

This is a history, or really even slightly connected stories about his grandparents and their lives in these United States, as they allowed their interconnected emotions to respond to ever-changing stimuli. As Chabon confesses, perhaps there is nothing such as a defined “self”: “Maybe ‘self’ was a free variable with no bounded value.”

Chabon is rich with descriptive phrases. (1) a priest’s cassock: “White dust patterned the black cassock in big splotches like continents or the spots on a cow.”

(2) “The small room was all cross-hatchings of shadow like a lesson in shading a sphere, an arc of darkness wrapped around a circle of gray with a bright spot a bit off-center.  The bright spot was my grandmother; all the light in the sad little room seemed to be radiating from her.”

And describing his father reminded me of John le Carre’s father: ” … my big-talking, sweet-talking, fast-talking father was in and out of courtrooms, tax dodges, marriages, and my life … ” And as Chabon concludes, “That was only human, the common lot. But once your dream revealed itself, like most dreams, to be nothing but a current of raw compulsion flowing through a circuitry of delusion and lies, then that was the time to give it up.” His grandfather’s was with Wernher von Braun and space exploration.

Finally, a curious note. The chapter heads are safety matches formed into roman numerals. But two matches are lit, one in Chapter XX describing an O.S.S. excursion, and the other heading Chapter XXV, when his grandfather heads off to jail.  The connection: I do not know.

A rich and completely engrossing story!

Editor’s Note: ‘Moonglow’ by Michael Chabon was 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. 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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A la Carte: Bake the Best Big, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

Big and chewy oatmeal raisin cookies

A few days after I made banana bread (about six overripe bananas I had, to which I added five overripe ones from Noank friends), I decided it was time to make cookies. (By the way, all four of the banana breads left my homes to friends’ kitchens, because I didn’t want to eat them.) Alter all, I had already thawed two pounds of unsalted butter and, while looking for the chocolate chips (wafers, actually), I saw an unopened package of cinnamon chips and an unopened package of candied ginger.

So I searched for my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe and could not find it under any headings—oatmeal, cookie, cinnamon, nothing. And it wasn’t in my paper file, either. Is it possible I never wrote about them? Anything is possible, I guess, so I found the same book I had used for the banana bread and didn’t even have to use the index; I just leafed through the nearly 600 pages and it opened to Big and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies. I have probably made that recipe so many times that it had three or four different stains on it and maybe some of the pages were damp too.

As with many recipes, I double this one. They freeze beautifully. I pay little attention to raisins (not crazy about raisins, anyway) and for this recipe I use those two ingredients I love: cinnamon chips and candied ginger. How much of each?  The recipe calls for one and a half cups of raisins, so I use 1 cup of cinnamon chips and half a cup of candied ginger; I chop the latter coarsely with a sharp knife. But you can use any combination for this recipe or none at all if you just want a delicious oatmeal cookie

Big and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

From The Best Recipe by editors of Cook’s Illustrated (Boston Common Press, 1999)

Yield: about 18 large cookies

1 and one-half cup all-purpose flour
One-half teaspoon salt
One-half teaspoon baking powder
One-quarter teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
One-half pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar*
1 cup granulated sugar*
2 large eggs
3 cups rolled oatmeal
1 and one-half cups raisins (optional)

Adjust oven racks to low and middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. (I use Silpat instead of parchment.)

Whisk flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg in medium bowl.

Either by hand or with electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars, beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture with wooden spoon or large rubber spatula. Stir in oats and optional raisins (or chips or candied ginger or dried cranberries).

Working with generous 2 tablespoons of dough each time, roll dough into 2-inch balls. (I often make smaller cookies.) Place balls on parchment- lined cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between each ball.

Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. (Halfway through baking, turn cookie sheet from front to back and also switch them from top to bottom.) Slide cookies, on parchment, to cooling rack. Let cool at least 30 minutes before peeling cookies from parchment.

*I have found that three-quarter cups of both sugars is plenty sweet enough

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Talking Transportation: Transport Cuts Will Hurt Us All

For weeks I’ve been writing about the CDOT’s impending bus and rail service cuts and fare hikes and their profound impact on commuters, local businesses and real estate values.  But with just weeks to go, the folks who can prevent this pain… our legislature… seem to be doing nothing.

 The deadline is July 1 this year when proposed CDOT cuts will go into effect:   A 10 percent fare hike on Metro-North will be matched with elimination of off-peak trains on the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branch lines as well as Shore Line East.

How are local officials responding?  By complaining that the proposed cuts on them aren’t fair.  “Don’t cut my mass transit, cut someone else’s!”, seems the plaintiff cry.  “Why is my bus service being cut but Hartford and Stamford’s isn’t?,” one official asked me.

I told him he was asking the wrong question.  Instead he should be asking why any bus or train service was being cut.

It’s as if a crowd was trapped in a burning building with one narrow fire escape and everyone’s screaming “I deserve to survive. Let the others get burned” while nobody is working to douse the flames.

The answer isn’t to push away the pain onto others but to turn off the pain at its source.

Legislators can easily stop CDOT’s plans by just raising the gasoline tax four cents a gallon and diverting the car sales tax into the Special Transportation Fund.  Instead, they’re blaming everyone but themselves for the mess they got us into.

Remember:  it was the legislature that pandered to voters by lowering the gasoline tax 14 cents a gallon in 1997, a move that cost the STF $3.4 billion in lost transportation spending that could have repaired roads and fixed bridges.

Now the Republicans are so focused on the fall campaign they’re deceiving voters in a “big lie” PR move only Sean Spicer could enjoy: trying to argue that proposed highway tolls are “taxes”.

They are not.  Tolls would be a user fee, paid only by those who drive on those roads.  Train fares aren’t taxes, are they?  You only pay those fares if you take the train.

Do Republicans really think voters are that stupid?  Apparently so.

The pols are also piling on the CDOT for being late in opening the new Hartford Line, the commuter rail line between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield.  Our legislature can’t even deliver a budget on time, let alone understand the complexity of a $769 million railroad construction project that’s taken over a decade.

It’s not by chance the Republicans are known as the “party of no”.  For all their complaining they have offered no new ideas nor embraced the ones that thoughtful observers think are obvious:  asking motorists to pay their fair share with gasoline taxes and tolls.

Metro-North riders already pay the highest commuter rail fares in the US, fares that have risen 53% since the year 2000 … while motorists haven’t seen a gas tax increase in 20 years. How is that fair?

If the July 1 service cuts and fare hikes go into effect, commuters should know it’s their legislature that’s to blame.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

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Join a Farm Memoir Writing Workshop in East Haddam, Sunday

Write about your favorite farm memory on Sunday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cold Spring Farm in East Haddam. No previous writing experience is necessary. Participants will tour the farm for inspiration and ideas, and create a short, factual memoir essay and art based on a past or actual event day farm experience.

This workshop is a feature of Cold Spring Farm’s Goats and Notes event. For more information or to purchase  tickets, visit www.coldspringfarmtickets.yapsody.comwww.coldspringfarmct.com or EmailSrwaide@cs.com.

This event cost of $95 includes snacks, lunch, beverages, and workshop materials. Bring your own notebook or laptop, photographs, or other inspirational materials, if you’d like. This workshop is designed for people 18 and older. Space is limited to 25 participants.

Susan R. Waide is the workshop’s instructor. She teaches memoir writing at the Middlesex Institute for Lifelong Education (MILE) at Middlesex Community College and other locations. In addition, she is a member of the National Association of Memoir Writers and has taught undergraduate courses at the University of Hartford and Connecticut Community Colleges.

Waide is a guest speaker and workshop presenter at high schools, colleges, businesses, chambers of commerce, and national writers/communication conferences.  She has a Master of Arts degree in Communication from University of Hartford and Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Journalism from the University of Connecticut.

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Own a House in the Old Lyme Historic District? Nominate it for “Homes for the Holidays” Tour, Raise Funds for OLCLC

Calling all homeowners in the Old Lyme Historic District: Does your home have historic significance? Is your home architecturally interesting?  Do you have a knack for interior design? Are you interested helping a valued community non-profit in raising funds?

If you answered Yes to any of these questions, then nominate your home to be featured in “Homes for The Holidays,” The Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center’s (OLCLC) biennial fundraiser on Dec. 8, 2018!

The OLCLC is now accepting applications from Old Lyme Village homeowners who are interested in learning more about this important fundraiser and would like their home to be considered for this year’s tour.

In order for the Home Tour to be a true walking tour, homes should be located on Lyme Street or on any of its side roads north of Rte. 156 between Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and Johnnycake Hill Road (including Elizabeth Lane, Library Lane, Dunns Lane, Elm Street, Lee Street, Beckwith Lane, Academy Lane, Ferry Road, Lieutenant River Lane, Bittersweet Lane, Duck River Lane, McCurdy Road, Lyme Street, and Johnny Cake Hill Road near McCurdy Road).

Additionally, OLCLC Home Tour search committee members will be visiting Village home owners in May to hand out applications and to solicited homes.

Share your community spirit and help make this year’s Home Tour the best ever by nominating your distinctive home today.

For more information, contact Alison Zanardi at (860) 434-1728, ext. 1 or email alison_baasp@comcast.net.

Editor’s Note: The Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center is a non-profit NAEYC-accredited early childhood school and child care center. OLCLC seeks to provide a secure, safe, and happy environment that fosters the natural development of the whole child from 6 weeks of age to grade five for families in the Lyme/Old Lyme and surrounding communities. For more information visit www.olclc.com.

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District 18 Budget Passes Easily in Both Towns

Voters approved the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools proposed $33.3 million budget by a substantial margin in both Lyme and Old Lyme.  In Lyme, there were 141 Yes votes and 21 No votes while in Old Lyme, 267 residents voted Yes and 90 voted NO.

The total number of votes across both towns supporting the budget was 408 while a total of 111 rejected it, which represents a 78.6 percent majority in favor of the budget and 21.4 percent voting against it.

Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, stated via e-mail, “We appreciate the continued support of both towns and will continue to work to provide a top notch educational experience for all the students in our district.”

Turnout was exceptionally low in both towns.  In Old Lyme, where there are 5,639 registered voters according to the Democrat Deputy Registrar of Voters Sylvia Peterson, a total of 6.33 percent of registered voters turned out to vote.

The now approved budget for the 2018-19 school year is $34,298,528 representing a 1.97 percent increase over the current year.

Neviaser and LOL Schools Board of Education Chair Mimi Roche stated in the March Focus on Education newsletter to the community that this budget allows for a significant increase in the cost of employee health insurance, “… yet continues to maintain all of our award-winning academic and extracurricular offerings, which are commensurate, and oftentimes superior, to both public and private schools throughout Connecticut.”

Neviaser and Roche said, “This budget supports our commitment to:

  • Continued adherence to class size guidelines. •
  • Reduction of staff to account for an enrollment decline at the elementary and middle school levels. •
  • Continuance of existing academic and extracurricular activities. •
  • Adjustments for anticipated changes in the special education population. •
  • Adequate funding for maintenance and repair of buildings and grounds. •
  • Scheduled replacement of technology and equipment. •
  • Program improvements that are consistent with high academic and operational standards.

Three facilities projects are included in the budget:

  • gaining commission approvals for an artificial turf field
  • replacing the Center School gymnasium floor
  • replacing the Mile Creek fuel oil tank.

Similarly, two program improvements are included:

  • Next Generation Science Standards curricular support/training
  • technology infrastructure advancements.

For further information on the proposed budget, visit this link for a copy of the 2018-19 budget.

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Lifestar Called to Accident on I-95 in Old Lyme; Highway Closed in Both Directions

A Lifestar helicopter prepares to land on I-95 northbound near Flat Rock Hill Rd. in Old Lyme.  Photos by N.B. Logan.

A Lifestar helicopter transported an injured victim from an accident between a car and a motorbicycle on I-95 northbound this afternoon.  The highway was closed in both directions.

Emergency workers attend casualties from this afternoon’s accident on I-95 northbound.

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Completion of Sound View Streetscape Celebrated with Cake, Pizza, Ribbon-Cutting … and Smiles!

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and Sound View Commission Chairman Frank Pappalardo stand with their ribbon-cutting scissors and symbolic beach construction toys during the celebrations.  Photo by MJ Nosal.

Around 30 people were present yesterday on Hartford Ave. in the Sound View section of Old Lyme to celebrate the completion of the streetscape improvements on Hartford Avenue at Sound View.  The project, for which expenses were refunded up to 80 percent by a federal transportation grant, included new sidewalks, ADA accessible ramps, drainage, a bike lane, bump-outs, decorative posts and paving.

All the members of the Sound View Improvement Committee (SVIC), except Arthur ‘Skip’ Sibley who had a prior engagement, were present.  Chairman Mary Jo Nosal presented each of them — Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, Sound View Commission Chairman and SVIC member FFrank Pappalardo, Angelo Faenza, Jim Lampos, John McDonald and Rob Haramut of RiverCOG — with symbolic beach construction toys.

Old Lyme Selectwoman and Sound View Improvement Committee Chairman Mary Jo Nosal cuts the cake celebrating the completion of the Sound View streetscape.

Other distinguished guests were representatives from the state Department of Transport and the Inspector Engineer from the construction company WMC.

Dee and Jerry Vowles, who are the owners of The Carousel Shop, and Lenny Corto who manages Lenny’s on the Beach, joined a number of other Hartford Ave. residents at the celebrations.

Due to the ongoing threat of rain, after the ceremonial ribbon cutting outside on Hartford Ave., the celebratory speeches and consumption of pizza from Teddy’s and cake had to be relocated to the Shoreline Community Center.  In her speech, Reemsnyder commended Nosal and her committee for their enormous efforts to see the long-awaited project through to completion.

 

 

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New Interior Design, Home Décor & Antique Store Opens in Old Lyme

Beautiful fabrics, cushions and interior furnishings fill the Artemisia store in Old Lyme.

Artemisia is a new destination shop on Lyme St. behind The Cooley Gallery in Old Lyme specializing in fine textiles, pillows, antiques and decor items for the home from the team of Rosemarie Padovano and Marcello Marvelli. 

Padovano is an artist and interior designer, and Marvelli is an art dealer and art historian from Florence, Italy. Together, they share a mutual love of art and design. They started the Artemisia Inc. in New York City in 2012 and recently moved it to Old Lyme.

The shop will feature a selection of unique objects and furniture that reflect their design sensibilities as well as the sophisticated collection of pillows, placemats, and ottomans that are designed and produced by Artemisia. Featured in all of the most important décor magazines, they are a trusted resource for some of the finest interior designers worldwide.

The Artemisia shop will also feature a collection of antique fabrics (Ikat and Suzani, and European silk velvets) as well as unique antique furniture, lamps, and objects selected with a discerning and fresh eye.

The shop is also the location of Studio Artemisia, a full service interior design firm led by Padovano and Marvelli.  Together they create soulful interiors with a refined and artistic mix of modern and antique furnishings.  Vibrant colors and luxurious fabrics are paired with a cultivated selection of antiques, adding visual excitement and warmth to every project. 

Padovano and Marvelli seek a cultured atmosphere in all they design, honoring both past and present.  They have designed residential interiors for clients in New York City, Westchester County, Miami and Connecticut.

Padovano and Marvelli are restoring a 1755 colonial house and Olmsted Brothers historic garden in Old Lyme.

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Democratic Candidates Come to Town: Old Lyme Forum Offers Opportunity to State Positions, Take Questions

Ned Lamont, a Democratic candidate for Connecticut Governor, addresses the audience at Monday evening’s forum in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.  All photos by M.J. Nosal.

Around 100 residents of Lyme, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook turned out at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Monday night for a Democratic Candidate Forum arranged by the Democratic Town Committees of the three area municipalities.  Local residents heard from and were able to ask questions directly of: Ned Lamont, candidate for governor (pictured above);

Old Lyme Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder stands at the podium to introduce Denise Merrill.

Denise Merrill, incumbent candidate for secretary of the state;

Shawn Wooden is one of the candidates running for State Treasurer — State Senator Art Linares (R-33rd) is another.

Shawn Wooden, candidate for state treasurer;

Matt Pugliese will challenge State Rep. Devin Carney (R- 23rd) in the November election.

Matthew Pugliese, candidate for state representative in the 23rd District, which includes Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook;

Martha Marx.

Martha Marx, candidate for state senator in the 20th District, and

Lyme Selectman John Kiker (left) listens to Essex First Selectman and candidate for State Senator (20th District) Norm Needleman speak.

Norm Needleman, candidate for state senator in the 33rd District.

The Tri-Town Democratic Town Committees’ event started at 6:30 p.m. and lasted two and a half hours.

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Community Comes Out to Celebrate Cross Lane Playground Opening

From right to left, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Bob Dunn, Love Your Playground Committee member and Columbia Cascade Company Sales Manager (the company from which the playground equipment was purchased) David Catalino, and Love Your Playground Chairman Anna Reiter celebrate after cutting the ribbon declaring the new playground officially open.

The warmth of the sun was reflected in the smiling faces all around as more than 100 people of all ages gathered to celebrate the official opening of the Cross Lane Playground last Thursday.

The playground was the dream child of a small but dedicated group of, primarily, women, who had worked tirelessly for several years to make the universally-accessible playground a reality.  Calling their committee the “Lyme-Old Lyme Love Your Playground” group, they were all members of the Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club (LOLJWC), which supported them throughout the project.

The finished playground, which comprises various features making it accessible to physically challenged children, is set upon a rubber tile surface offering additional safety to all.  It also includes a see-saw, slides, climbing bars, rope ladders and swings.  A fence and plantings are planned later in the year.  The total cost of the playground was $200,000, $50,000 of which was raised by the LOLJWC and the remainder given by the Town.

After cutting the ceremonial ribbon, ‘Love Your Playground’ Chairman Anna Reiter thanked everyone — “our sponsors and the community” — for coming. Then in words that vastly understated the enormous effort that had gone into the creation of the playground, she summed up the process the group had followed as simply, “We dreamed it up … and we got it done.”

She singled out Old Lyme resident David Catalano, who was not only the playground equipment sales manager for Columbia Cascade Company (the company that supplied the equipment) but also had served on the committee, for special thanks.  Reiter noted he had not only been primarily responsible for “putting the playground in,” but also had “put up with us changing our minds … regularly.”

From left to right, David Catalino (Sales Manager for Columbia Cacade Company and Love Your Playground Committee member), Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, Love Your Playground Chairman Anna Reiter, and Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Bob Dunn.

An effusive Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Bob Dunn spoke next, expressing his deep appreciation to all the members of the Playground Committee, and saying, “I’m so proud to see a group of people with an idea about something long overdue making it happen.”  He added, “I think your reward is all the smiles on the faces of all the children and parents here.”

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder offered, “Special thanks to the Junior Women who started the whole thing. They came to the town a couple of years ago and really have done all the heavy lifting.”  She noted, “What you see here today is what they’ve done — it’s a demonstration of what can happen when a community works together,” and then commented to laughter, “Plus they stayed within budget.”

Colorful balloons decorated the playground for the opening celebrations.

Reemsnyder also gave special praise to Catalano commenting, “He worked so hard,” and declaring, “This wouldn’t have happened without him.”  In the same breath, she added sincere thanks to Reiter, who had spearheaded the project from its inception.

With youngsters all around itching to try all aspects of the playground, Reemanyder drew the formal proceedings to a close with an invitation to all to go and “Enjoy the playground” … an invitation that was readily accepted!

 

 

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Legal News You Can Use: Spousal Support Could be Affected by Tax Law Changes

Sponsored Content by Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law.  From property division to spousal support, financial issues have been some of the most significant factors for Connecticut couples going through a divorce. Alimony payments are already a contested issue in many divorces, leading to lengthy negotiations and even court battles. Spousal support issues could become even more complex, however, following the adoption of changes to the U.S. tax code in Dec. 2017.

While each state has an individualized approach to spousal support, there has also been a uniform federal tax approach to the finalized payments. In federal tax law, the payer of alimony has been able to deduct those payments from their income taxes. Meanwhile, the recipient of spousal support reports the income and pays taxes on it alongside their other income. However, as of Jan. 1, 2019, this situation will flip as alimony payers will no longer be eligible for a tax deduction. On the other hand, support recipients will no longer need to pay taxes on the income received.

This is expected to have a variety of impacts on the alimony payments that emerge from negotiations and court orders. The overall payments may be lower as the tax burden will now make those support bills much more expensive for the payer. For the recipient, the funds will no longer be eligible for investment in an Individual Retirement Account restricted to taxed income.

The changes are sending some couples to a family law attorney to seek advice about the impact of the changes and to act quickly to finalize a divorce in 2018 prior to the new law’s effective date. A divorce lawyer may be able to provide representation for a spouse seeking a divorce on a wide range of contentious matters, including child custody, spousal support and property division, to achieve a just settlement that protects a divorcing spouse’s assets.

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

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