February 25, 2018

Special Olympics CT Winter Games Offer an Action-Packed Weekend of Competition, Feb. 24-25

Celebrate the joy and spirit of sports competition and Special Olympics’ 50th Anniversary at the 2018 Special Olympics Connecticut Winter Games, which will be held at multiple venues in Hartford County, Saturday, Feb. 24, and Sunday, Feb. 25. Winter Games offers athletes of all abilities from across the state the opportunity to compete in sports with their peers and teammates after a season of training and preparation.

Winter Games weekend is presented by Eversource Energy – a sponsor of the event for 28 years – and all events are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit soct.org, email specialolympicsct@soct.org or call 203-230-1201.

Winter Games sports, locations and times* include:
Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding
Location: Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort, 99 Powder Hill Road, Middlefield
• Opening Ceremonies – 9:30 a.m. (Saturday)
• Competition – 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Saturday); 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sunday)
• Awards – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Saturday); 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sunday)

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Location: Eversource, 1985 Blue Hills Avenue Extension (Route 187), Windsor
• Parade of Athletes – 9:45 a.m. (Saturday)
• Opening Ceremonies – 10 a.m. (Saturday)
• Competition – 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Saturday); 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sunday)
• Awards – 12:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Saturday); 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sunday)

Figure Skating and Speed Skating
Location: International Skating Center of Connecticut, 1375 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury
• Opening Ceremonies – 10 a.m. (Saturday)
• Competition for Figure Skating – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Saturday); 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Sunday)
• Awards for Figure Skating – 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Sunday)
• Competition for Speed Skating – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Saturday); 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Sunday)
• Awards for Speed Skating – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Sunday)

Unified Floor Hockey and Skills
Location: Pratt & Whitney Hangar, East Hartford
Located off Silver Lane
• Opening Ceremonies – 9 a.m. (Saturday)
• Competition – 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Saturday); 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Sunday)
• Awards – 12 to 3:30 p.m. (Sunday)

Gymnastics
Location: Farmington Valley Gymnastics Center, 5 Northwest Drive, Plainville (Sunday only)
• Opening Ceremonies: 10:30 a.m. (Sunday)
• Competition: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Sunday)
• Awards: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. (Sunday)

As part of Special Olympics’ Healthy Athletes Program, athletes will have the opportunity to participate in activities that teach good nutrition, proper hydration and improving fitness at the Floor Hockey venue on Saturday and Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing on Sunday.

Winter Games weekend is made possible through the support of dedicated volunteers and coaches and the generosity of sponsors. In addition to Eversource, sponsors include Adams Hometown Markets, Griffin Industrial Realty and Powder Ridge – Gold Sponsors, and Atlas Copco, Ferry Law Group, Henkel, MDC, Michels Corporation, Otis Elevator Company, and Pratt & Whitney – all Bronze Sponsors. Farmington Valley Gymnastics and Olsen Construction are Supporting Sponsors and iHeart Radio Connecticut and NBC Connecticut, Media Sponsors.

Special Olympics Connecticut provides year-round sports training and competitions for over 12,000 athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities and Unified Sports® partners – their teammates without disabilities.

Through the joy of sport, the Special Olympics movement transforms lives and communities throughout the state and in 172 countries around the world by promoting good health and fitness and inspiring inclusion and respect for all people, on and off the playing field. (www.soct.org) 

Partner Sponsors: Adams Hometown Markets/IGA Hometown Supermarkets, Dream Ride, ESPN, Eversource Energy, The Golisano Foundation, Law Enforcement Torch Run, NBC Connecticut, TD Bank, United Technologies and WWE.

Year-Round Suppliers: Adams Hometown Markets/IGA Hometown Supermarkets, Campus Customs, The Coca-Cola Company, Connecticut Portable Storage/PODS, Crystal Rock Water and Coffee Company, Dunkin’ Donuts, Guida’s Milk and Ice Cream, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Marcus Communications, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Community Service and WORX.

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Republican Ziobron Joins Race for 33rd State Senate Seat, District Includes Lyme

State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-34th) who has announced her candidacy for the State Senate 33rd District seat.

Republican State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R-34th) has announced her candidacy for the 33rd State Senate District a day after Democratic Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (D) had announced his campaign for the same district. which includes the Town of Lyme.  This is Ziobron’s first run for a State Senate seat while Needleman ran unsuccessfully in 2016 for the 33rd District seat against then incumbent State Senator Republican Art Linares.

Linares is not seeking re-election in 2018 and has announced his candidacy for State Treasurer.

Ziobron is in her third term as State Representative for the 34th District comprising East Hampton, East Haddam and part of Colchester. Needleman is in his fourth as Essex First Selectman.

Ziobron explains in a letter to her supporters that her decision to run for the Senate seat represents, “a change in course,” so that she can rise to , “the greater challenge of serving as State Senator in the 33rdDistrict.” She notes, “This larger, 12-town district includes three towns I’ve been honored to represent — East Hampton, East Haddam and Colchester – and nine more in the Connecticut River Valley that I will be spending many hours meeting new friends and voters this spring.”

Ziobron says in her letter that the reason why she is running is simply, “Because I love the 34th State House District, and the CT River Valley Towns of the 33rd State Senate District, and our entire state – I want to see all of our friends and neighbors prosper.”  She mentions the challenges of the current budget situation and states, “It’s no secret we urgently need to address the state’s chronic over-spending!”

Laying out what she sees as the requirements of the incoming 33rd District State Senator, Ziobron writes, “We need a strong voice in the State Senate who: 1) is a proven fighter and has a reputation for putting their constituents first, fighting full-time for their small town communities, and 2) can immediately and effectively navigate the difficult legislative landscape, with the proven and dedicated commitment needed to focus on the budget, and 3) fights for fiscally conservative policies and has a record of implementing them, with bipartisan support, at the Capitol.”

Ziobron comments that she has, “thought a lot about one question,” which is, “How can I best help my state first survive over the near term, and then thrive over the long term?” She responds to her own question, “No matter which legislative chamber I serve, I will work to protect my district and offer the same high level of constituent service, and active community involvement – along with a laser-like focus on reducing wasteful and unneeded state spending,” concluding, “The bottom line: I can help more people in our state in service as your State Senator.”

Noting how well she knows the 33rd State Senate District, Ziobron describes it as, “an amazing treasure,” saying, “I’ve never imagined myself living anywhere else,” adding, “I’m thrilled for this opportunity to expand my many years of dedicated public service to this beautiful part of the state, I love.”

For more information on Ziobron, visit www.melissaziobron.com

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Norm Needleman Announces Campaign for State Senate, 33rd State Senate District Includes Lyme

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman who yesterday announced a second run for the 33rd State Senate District.

Yesterday, Essex First Selectman and successful businessman Norm Needleman announced his campaign as a Democratic candidate for the 33rd State Senate District, promising to use his business and small town leadership experience to bring people together to get Connecticut back on track.

The seat will be vacant due to the incumbent Senator Art Linares (R) moving out of the District and announcing his candidacy for State Treasurer.

“Leading a small town and building a business taught me that the best way to get things done is to put people and their needs ahead of party politics,” said Needleman. “I respect taxpayers’ dollars because I know how hard you’ve worked to earn them.”

He continued, “That’s why as First Selectman, I brought Democrats and Republicans together, found consensus, solved problems, and kept property taxes among the lowest in the state without cutting services. If elected State Senator for the 33rd District, I will make a clean break from the decades of bickering and harmful policies that have come from Hartford, and I will get Connecticut working for the towns in our district.”

“As an elected town official, I’ve seen the work Norm does as the First Selectman of Essex,” said Colchester Selectman Rosemary Coyle. “Norm governs in a fiscally responsible manner, making sound decisions. His hands-on, small town government experience in the legislature will benefit our communities and help us build a brighter future for our children and families.”

Needleman, who campaigned for the seat in 2016, is currently in his fourth term as Essex First Selectman. He has over 20 years of experience advocating for his small town, having previously served as an Essex Selectman, a member of the Essex Zoning Board of Appeals, and a member of the Essex Economic Development Commission.

Needleman is also a member of the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, helping the 17 member towns coordinate various government functions. He is also a board member of Valley Shore Emergency Communications, a center formed by local pubic safety professionals to handle emergency call processing and dispatching needs for communities throughout the region.

“Building a company from the ground up has given me invaluable experience on how to grow jobs and create a region where businesses want to start and thrive,” said Needleman. “I will be a State Senator who will create good-paying jobs in our towns and throughout Connecticut.”

Needleman founded Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company, 38 years ago. The company has grown to become a leader in its field, employing over 250 people. As a leading CEO in the region, he serves as a board member of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. He is also a board member of Valley Shore Emergency Communications, a center formed by local pubic safety professionals to handle emergency call processing and dispatching needs for communities throughout the region.

“Norm asks the right questions, and is willing to listen to all options,” said Centerbrook businessman and Clinton resident Gary Stevens. “I believe that with Norm’s insight into the way that a successful business (his) is run and considering the wasteful and unnecessary spending habits of the State, he could go a long way to make the government a more responsible entity.” Stevens, an unaffiliated voter who has known Needleman since the 1980s, owns Stevens Excavating, Inc. and has worked with Needleman on numerous projects.

The 33rd State Senate District consists of the Town of Lyme along with the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and a portion of Old Saybrook.

Needleman lives in Essex with Jacqueline Hubbard, the Executive Director of the Ivoryton Playhouse. His two sons and their families also live in Essex.

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CT Farmland Trust Announces Protection of New Mercies Farm in Lyme

Turning the soil with horses at New Mercies Farm.

Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) has recently announced the protection of New Mercies Farm in Lyme, Conn. The development rights were donated by a couple to CFT as part of their master plan for the farm and the community around them: to preserve the land for agricultural use, to provide wholesome food for the community, and to create an opportunity for young farmers to pursue their chosen profession.

New Mercies Farm is a small farm at 4.6 acres, but the compact size does not stop the farm managers from sustaining a 100-member Community Supported Agriculture venture. The farm, close to Beaver Brook and Cedar Lake, contains 100 percent important farmland soils.

In 2012, the Hornbakes purchased the property that was slated to be developed for several homesites. They bought the land to conserve it and created a farm where none was before, New Mercies Farm, named after a hymn.

Deborah is a distinguished sculptor and Rod is a physician. They are lifelong organic gardeners who have owned a cattle farm in the past. That has not stopped them from sharing their love and respect for farming. Rod Hornbake will tell you that, “Supporting young farmers is critical. Young people need and deserve our respect and support.”

After the Hornbakes purchased the property with the idea of protecting it and then selling it to a farmer, they found a beginner farmer with whom to enter into a lease-to-buy arrangement, and then leased the land to Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn. Drown, with her husband Ryan Quinn, already owns Upper Pond Farm one town over. Drown has brought her high energy and passion for excellent, nutritional food to the community just as the Hornbakes had hoped.

“The Hornbake’s goal to preserve a healthy farm then turn the ownership over to young farmers at an affordable cost is an inspiration,” said Elisabeth Moore, CFT’s Executive Director. The organization hopes that more land owners will think about conserving their land in 2018.

Deborah and her husband approached Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) in early 2017 to protect New Mercies Farm.  Although the farm is located in a suburban region ripe for housing developments, the family chose to donate for the development rights. CFT staff facilitated the preservation of the farmland. This is also the smallest farm CFT has protected and one of several vegetable farms. Deborah Hornbake is clear, “By accepting our gift of the development rights, the Connecticut Farmland Trust makes the farm affordable to the farmers.”

After closing, Deborah and Rod Hornbake will sell the protected farm to the young farm couple, Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn, who already manage the land. Drown says, “We are excited to continue the farming tradition in our community. We hope to work within our community to increase the quality and healthfulness of food on people’s plates in their home.” Drowns’ farming style is highly invested in Lyme-Old Lyme’s community and the community responds positively.

Since its founding in 2002, CFT has protected 43 farms, saving 3,364 acres. CFT is a private 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that relies on Connecticut residents to support its operations. CFT is Connecticut’s only statewide land trust, and the only land trust in the state dedicated solely to the protection of agricultural land.

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Volunteers Needed to Help Valley Shore Residents With Literacy Challenges

Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore, CT, Inc. is a private non-profit organization.  Its mission is to train tutors to help residents of the Valley Shore area who wish to improve their reading, writing or speaking English to improve their life and work skills.  This one-to-one instruction is held confidential and is completely without charge to the student.

Tutor training is a 14-hour program conducted over seven sessions held each spring and again in the fall of every year.  The next training session begins March 22 and runs through May 15. Workshop Leaders have developed a comprehensive program that provides prospective tutors the skills and resources to help them succeed.

A background in education is not necessary – just a desire to tutor and a commitment to helping a student improve their skill in basic literacy or English as a Second Language over the period of one year after the completion of training.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, contact the Literacy Volunteers office in the lower level of the Westbrook Public Library by phone at (860) 399-0280 or by e-mail at jargersinger@lvvs.org .  Registration for the spring session is open now.

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CT River Museum Offers Range of Winter Wildlife Programs, Activities

Eagles on Ice: White-headed adult eagles can be seen in numbers along the lower Connecticut River. Photo by Mark Yuknat.

Winter along the Connecticut River brings many things – including cold winds and grey skies.  But the change in seasons also signals a shift in the ecology of New England’s Great River.  The osprey, the swallows and the egrets may be gone, but in their place now are mergansers, goldeneyes, and the highlight – bald eagles.  These once rare, majestic birds can be seen fishing along the unfrozen lower Connecticut River, a testament to one of the greatest environmental recoveries of the last half century.  To highlight these winter wonders, Connecticut River Museum (CRM) has planned a range of programs and activities.

Connecticut River Museum is happy to again partner with Connecticut River Expeditions to offer Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises in February and March.  These popular trips offer visitors a chance to get out on the River in winter to see eagles, as well as other winter species that visit the estuary such as harbor seals.

This seal is relaxing on the Connecticut River ice. Photo by Bill Yule.

Cruises aboard the environmentally friendly R/V RiverQuest provide passengers with a comfortable, heated cabin supplied with hot coffee and tea, as well as binoculars to aid in spotting and narration from a staff naturalist.  These cruises depart Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at various times in the morning and early afternoon, and are $42 per passenger.  Museum members get 10 percent off and group rates are available.

In addition, the Museum will offer its annual Eagles of Essex exhibit, which offers a wealth of information about bald eagles and their return to the lower Connecticut River.  Patrons can try their hand at building an eagle nest, and marvel at life size silhouettes of Eagles and other large raptors, a map showing good shore viewing locations, and other displays.  On the opening day of the season, Saturday, Feb. 3, the exhibit will host Family Activities related to the return of the Eagles from 1 to 4 p.m., free with Museum admission.

On Saturday, Feb. 17 and March 17, award-winning photographer Stanley Kolber returns to CRM to offer his annual Bird Photography Workshop.  Kolber has been photographing birds for years, and takes great pleasure in sharing his experience with aspiring photographers of all levels, through anecdotes, slides, and question and answer.  In addition to helping skills development, his greatest pleasure in giving workshops is the opportunity to kindle and encourage his audience’s interest in the natural world.  He hopes that young people as well as adults will attend the workshops, so that he can impart some of his own enthusiasm to the next generation.  These popular programs are also free with Museum admission.

Species other than Eagles visit our River during the winter months. Photo by Joan Meek.

A Live Birds of Prey Show will be offered on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m.  CRM will partner with Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation Organization for this annual show, which features a bald eagle and several other species of raptors.  Visitors will be able to get an up close look at the birds while learning more about the lifecycle and ecology of these magnificent animals.  This event will be held at the Centerbrook Meeting House and is free to the public.

For a full listing of event details, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.  The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is open Tuesday – Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Connecticut River Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For more information, call CRM at 860.767.8269 or RiverQuest at 860.662.0577.

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Sincere Thanks to the ‘Key Retrievers’ at Old Lyme Town Hall

To the Editor:

I want to let you know what an amazing job Scott D’Amato and Lawrence Galbo did retrieving my keys from the storm drain in front of Town Hall yesterday. It wasn’t an easy job and I don’t know what I would have done if they didn’t do it. Thank you once again.

Thank you also to the women in Town Hall who contacted Public Works.

Sincerely,

Donna Staab,
Old Lyme.

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘Troubles’ by J.G. Farrell

When a world is collapsing all about us, how much are we willing to recognize?

J. G. Farrell’s description of a veteran of the World War I trenches going to Ireland to rejoin a young lady he had met only once in London during the War is an allegory on human inertia and lethargy in the face of rapid change.

In 1919, Major Brendan Archer travels from London to Kilnalough, Ireland, thinking to ask Angela Spencer to join him in marriage, even though he could not remember ever asking her outright to do so. He finds an elusive young lady and a scene of inertia and decay. Ireland has entered the “Troubles” with Sinn Fein pushing for complete separation from the British Empire.

And that Empire is collapsing just as the Majestic Hotel — owned and operated by Angela’s father, Edward, and the scene of the entire novel — is doing the same.

Farrell gives us the Hotel dominated by “dust.” Every page describes dust, “mould,” gloom, creepers, grime, cobwebs, collapsing floors, “man-eating” plants, and an ever-expanding entourage of reproducing cats. One room featured “an enormous greyish-white sweater that lay in one corner like a dead sheep.” The weather wasn’t any better: “it rained all that July,” and the hotel residents complained of the coming  “dreadful gauntlet of December, January, February.”

Both the hotel and Ireland exuded “an atmosphere of change, insecurity and decay.” But the residents continued to follow life’s rituals: prayers at breakfast, afternoon teas, dressing for dinner, and whist in the evening.

Add to this mordant scene the author’s interjection of gloomy news reports from around the world: White Russians and English military supporters being trounced in Russia, victorious Boers in South Africa, a mess in Mesopotamia and Egypt, rebellion in Poland, and, finally, the Indians attempting to remove themselves from British rule.

In the face of all this, the hotel’s owner and operator, Edward Spencer aggravates the Major: “ … his overbearing manner; the way he always insisted on being right, flatly stating his opinions in a loud and abusive tone without paying any attention to what the other fellow was saying.” Does this also describe the Brits in other sections of the world?

The Major remains always a drifter “with the tide of events,” never able to respond, dominated, it seems, by “the country’s vast and narcotic inertia.”

This is a story of the collapse of a hotel, descending at last into ashes, and an allusion to the similar collapse of the British Empire, with the Second World War being its enormous fire. It is a compelling read, one that suggests some connections to the events of the second decade of the 21st century …

Editor’s Note: ‘Troubles’ by J. G. Farrell is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1970.

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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Rod White is Old Lyme’s 2017 ‘Citizen of the Year’

From left to right standing, Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Selectman Chris Kerr, Judy White (Rod’s wife), and First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder celebrate Rod White (seated) being named the 2017 Old Lyme Citizen of the Year.

Noting at Monday (Jan.22) evening’s Annual Town Meeting in Memorial Town Hall that it was always a “joy” to announce the Old Lyme Citizen of the Year, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder then declared that Roderick M. White was the 2017 recipient.

After the applause for White has dissipated, Reemsnyder read the Proclamation that gave the justification for his honor.

Old Lyme’s 2017 ‘Citizen of the Year’ Rod White (seated) is joined by the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen. His wife, Judy, is seated second from right.

She said, “Over the course of his 50+ years in Old Lyme, Rod White has set a high standard for community service. Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Rod graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1950. He spent the next quarter of a century making his mark in the Coast Guard. A faculty member from 1969 to 1974, he served as Dean of Academics from 1974 to 1983. In 1969, he was named the outstanding Naval Engineer of the year, receiving the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Society of Naval Engineers.”

Commenting in more detail on White’s Gold Medal citation, Reemsnyder said it, “refers to “his exceptional analytical skills and technical competence… [and] significant contributions in the advancement of icebreaker design …” It was Rod’s “White Bow” design that made it possible for the SS Manhattan to make the first successful transit of the Northwest Passage by a commercial vessel.”

Reemsnyder drew laughter from the audience of approximately 40 residents when she took a break from the text to mention that reference to White’s invention seemed, “… particularly timely this year in view of the fact that there are currently ice-breakers on the Connecticut River.”

While his wife Judy wiped away a tear, an emotional White spoke to the audience thanking the board of selectmen for the award and declaring his deep fondness of the Old Lyme community.

She continued reading the Proclamation text, saying, “Rod White has used his exceptional skills in our community in so many ways. A founding member of the Harbor Management Commission, he served as Chair from 1988 to 1994, and was elected Registrar of Voters from 1993 to 2004. An active member of the Republican Town Committee, serving as both secretary and vice-chair, he was elected for two terms to the Regional District 18 Board of Education, serving from 1997 to 2005.  Rod was our Town’s representative to the Southeastern Tourism District for many years, and currently serves on the Board of Assessment Appeals, a position to which he was first elected in 2007.”

Rod White (seated) is congratulated by previous Old Lyme Citizens of the Year, Jeff Sturges (left) and Lynn Fairfield-Sonn (right.)

Finally, Reemsnyder mentioned that, “Despite his obviously busy schedule, Rod willingly shared his talents with a larger community, as well.”  She noted that he served as Executive Director for the Eastern CT Foundation for Public Giving, Executive Director of the Coast Guard Foundation, Chair of the Boy Scouts Long Range Planning Committee and as a member of both the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Board and Connecticut’s Olympic Committee.

Reemsnyder added, “He has also been a loyal and active member of the Rotary, an organization synonymous with service, since 1975.” 

With a broad smile, she concluded with the words, “Tonight, we recognize a resident whose name is synonymous with service in our town as we honor our 2017 Citizen of the Year, Roderick M. White.”

Rod White (seated) was joined by numerous friends and relatives to celebrate his new accolade.

When Reemsnyder stopped reading and presented him with the Citation, White was completely overwhelmed and unable to speak for a short time.  With tears still visible on his face, he finally was able to express his deep gratitude for the award, saying, “It has always been an honor to serve this community.”  He commented on how much the evening had meant to him and apologized for being in a wheelchair saying he had fallen and broken his hip and then, in a second accident, his knee.

White spoke again of his love of Old Lyme  and his profound appreciation of the award before the board of selectmen, family, and friends joined him in turn for photos.

Congratulations from all of us at LymeLine.com to Captain White!

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House Democrats Get Jump On Toll Debate

Rep. Antonio Guerrera, who co-chairs the Transportation Committee, speaks during Monday’s press conference on tolls. Photo by Christine Stuart.

Read the full story, which includes a quote by local State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and was published on CTNewsJunkie.com, Jan. 29. at this link.

HARTFORD — Democratic legislative leaders in the House weren’t going to wait for the start of the legislative session to debate electronic tolls. They want to hold a vote and pass it as soon as possible.

“Connecticut residents can’t afford to wait; we must invest in transportation now,” Rep. Antonio Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, said. “Every day we put off making these tough decisions, we risk tragedy on our decaying roads and bridges.”

Guerrera and Rep. Chris Perone plan on …

Editor’s Note:  CTNewsJunkie.com and LymeLine.com are both proud members of the Local Independent Online News (LION) publishers group.  We are glad to offer links to each other’s articles.

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Letter From Paris: Emmanuel Macron Goes to China

Nicole Prévost Logan

At first sight, the January visit of Emmanuel Macron to meet Xi Jinping might have appeared like the futile encounter between David and  Goliath.  But, in fact, it was a well thought-out strategic move and an illustration of Macron’s personal style of diplomacy.

Never before had any French president gone to China so early in his mandate. He timed his visit to seize the opportunity of a world stage left vacant by most of the players.

He came as an European leader, not as a French one. He stepped into the role Angela Merkel  –– still embroiled in internal political negotiations to create a coalition government — had played for many years.

The trip was put under the symbols of history and culture shared by France and China.  Instead of Pekin, it started in Xi-an, Shaansi province, where the discovery of an imperial tomb made world headlines in 1974.  The tomb contained 8,000 terracotta warriors, horses, and chariots, dating back from the golden age of the Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD.)

During her several visits to Asia, German chancellor Merkel had openly blamed the Chinese government for its violation of human rights.  Unfortunately, this method did not bring any positive results. 

french President Emmanuel Macron

Macron chose a more pragmatic approach, limiting his criticisms to subliminal  remarks.  According to analysts, his diplomacy can be described as “Gaullienne.”  At a press conference in 1964, General de Gaulle abandoned his aloof and philosophical tone and declared that, to talk with leaders having opposing views, did not mean having to agree with or condone them.

Linguistics can create difficulties since the key words used be the two sides may have different meanings.  Take for instance the definition of “terrorism.”  For Xi Jinping, it mostly refers to the activity of the autonomists Ouïgours whereas for  Macron it means the bomb attacks inflicted on the French population by radical followers of Daesch.

To conduct diplomacy with China is to enter a minefield.  Two examples.  One does not attack China frontally for its action in the South China seas because the Chinese government considers this region as its private turf.  Macron would like China to help with the efforts of the G5 to fight terrorism in the Sahel but it might become a two-sided sword because interference by China in the region is not really wanted.

On the crucial topic of the nuclear threat coming from North Korea, the French president could only reinforce the European Union (EU) position.  He complimented Xi Jinping for becoming the world leader in the fight against global warming, and for being a staunch defender of the Paris Accord.

Fifty CEOs of leading French companies were part of the trip, which was marked by the signing of enormous contracts.  The Chinese government ordered 134 A320 Airbus commercial  planes.  AREVA, the French multinational specialized in nuclear power and renewable energy, signed an agreement China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to build facilities for the reprocessing of nuclear waste.  The largest existing plant in the world is located in La Hague, near Le Havre.  Cooperation in the agro-business will be developed.  The Chinese enjoy French beef but since 2011 an embargo had been imposed on the imports following the “mad cow” disease.

The surplus of the Franco-Chinese trade balance amounts to $30 billion in favor of China.  Macron wants too re-equilibrate those figures.  His objective is to widen the types of exports beside foodstuff or cosmetics and include digital technology, artificial intelligence and other sectors.

The silk road sounds like a romantic concept, which makes one dream. but in reality it is pharaonic project where the Chinese plan to invest around $1,000 billions to build a network of rail, maritime, land, or air routes to export its products.  Almost needless to say, this project is worrying many … starting with Macron, who declares that the silk road should be a two-way road.  Historically the silk road was developed in the Han dynasty and its starting point was the town of Xi-an (cf. above.)

During the official visit to Pekin of the French presidential couple, it was impossible not to notice the spectacular redcoat (red is a symbolic color in Chinese, meaning happiness) worn by Brigitte Macron.

Translated into Chinese phonetics, the name Macron means “the horse that dominates the dragon.”  Is that perhaps a good omen for Emmanuel Macron?

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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Florence Griswold Museum Offers Art Opportunity to Adults Learning English

Adult English Language learners develop new skills while, in some cases, building on established ones during art classes taught by the Florence Griswold Museum.

Starting in November 2017, Florence Griswold Museum Art Education Director Julie Garvin Riggs and her assistants have been leading art classes with Adult English Language Learners from New London Adult Education.

Exploring new art skills is educational … and fun!

Each month, the art educators present different techniques and mediums such as print making, ceramics, mask-making, and collage to culminate in a show to be held at Expressiones Gallery in May under the direction of Jose Garaycochea.

The students try their hand at creating coil pots with clay.

It is part of the Expressiones’ mission to be a community gallery and an opportunity to “give voice” and “expression” to adults challenging themselves to learn English. The project demonstrates clearly how the students not only grow in their abilities, but also experience great joy as their exposure to art increases. For some, it is their first time creating art or visiting a museum such as the Florence Griswold or both. For others, their baking, cooking, sewing or masonry experience translates well into fine motor skills applicable to art. And for those leading and supporting this project, they find it equally rewarding to see students flourish with their innate or experienced talent.

During the most recent January session, students worked with clay to make coil pots (see photo above), which will air dry before being painted. A number of the bowls were very elaborate and even decorated with snails.
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Op-Ed: In Light of Current Events, Head of The Country School Confirms, Defends School’s Mission

By John D. Fixx, Head of School at The Country School

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a moment in which people in the United States and throughout the world celebrate a gentleman who gave his life striving for equality and the principle that all people are created equal.

Our country has stood for generations as an example of hope for people throughout the world. Many relatives of our families and teachers arrived here recently or generations ago. Some arrived as slaves. Some arrived voluntarily to seek a better life of freedom, opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness.

I am concerned that students have recently been hearing from the White House, the entertainment world, and the sports world that not all people are created equal. I send this letter, therefore, to make it clear how language and actions in the news today are counter to our mission at The Country School — to make it clear that as educators we will honor forthright questions from inquisitive students while striving to respect parental prerogative and disparate political viewpoints. It should not be controversial to deplore language and actions that undermine the bedrock on which the United States has been built and has prospered.

Our students might be reading on their phones and hearing stories about the mistreatment of women in Hollywood, on Olympic teams, and by influential men in broadcasting and elsewhere, while also hearing reports of hateful, racist, dangerous words from Washington that are inappropriate to use anywhere on our campus or use, many would argue, anywhere in a polite, civil society.

The Country School’s mission reads, “We nurture every student’s unique role in the community,” and that means that we value their differences. We live our mission daily by “encouraging students to embrace differences, explore new perspectives, and find common ground in a multicultural world.” We honor this ethos especially through our IDEA (Interpreting Diversity Education through Action) Day and Theme Day workshops, but also every day when we teach empathy and kindness.

I am tremendously proud of The Country School’s increasing diversity, as measured in terms of race, culture, family structures, religion, nationality, socio-economic status, and so forth. Our students’ families come from at least 27 different countries and their parents and grandparents speak some 17 languages at home. Our community spans the world, from Poland to Portugal and from China to Cambodia, from India to Israel to Italy to Ireland to Iceland, from Taiwan to Texas, from Lima to London, from Hungary to Sudan, and from California to Colombia. As educators, we cannot defend the idea that some families’ countries are worse or better than other countries.

Our core values state that our students “practice empathy by considering different perspectives and making all members of the community feel welcomed, included, and respected.” The Country School’s Mission Statement speaks to character and leadership development. As we teach our students in the Elmore Leadership Program, there are many ways to lead, and the best leaders bring disparate groups together to accomplish more than any individual could achieve on her or his own. And as part of the Elmore Leadership Program, we also teach students that leaders should use elegant, elevated language, and they should avoid profanity, misogyny, and similar “locker room” language.

We routinely answer questions as candidly and cleanly as we can, keeping our politics as adults as neutral as possible. I write this not to address specific tax policies or the Russian investigation, or a Mexican border wall, or trade agreements, or North Korean missiles, and so forth.

Rather, I want to make clear that it is part of our leadership mission at The Country School to ensure that our students understand that people can disagree agreeably, can use civil and respectful language, and — whether in Connecticut, Washington D.C., New York, or Hollywood — can always follow our primary school rule:

        1. Be kind.

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1955, The Country School serves 215 students in PreSchool to Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison. See our community in action during our Open House on January 28 from 1-3:30 p.m. Learn more at www.thecountryschool.org.

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A Rally to Remember — Women (Mostly) Gather to Call Attention to Power of Peaceful Protest

Three generations fighting for freedom: from left to right, Dale Griffith of Ivoryton takes time out from the rally for a photo with her five-year-old granddaughter, Eva Levonick, and her daughter (Eva’s mom) Becky Petersen, both of Old Lyme.

More than 400 warmly dressed people gathered Saturday morning under clear skies on the forecourt of the Two Wrasslin’ Cats cafe in East Haddam to stand in solidarity with all the other Sister Marches taking place all over the country … and beyond.  The event was organized by Together We Rise CT (TWRCT) and facilitated by Theresa Govert, founder and chair of TWRCT.

Govert, pictured above, spoke passionately to the assembled crowd, which spanned both age and gender, reminding members that it was precisely one year since President Trump took office and to look back on all the things his presidency had changed and to be cognizant of all the things that are in line for change.  She emphasized the need at all times for peaceful protest and was emphatic about never responding to violence.

Govert is a recently returned United States Peace Corps Volunteer. She served for three years in Botswana, where she worked with her community to organize thousands for a national campaign to end gender-based violence, started a small business as an alternative economic employment opportunity for female sex workers and presented to participants of the White House Mapathon on the importance of free, accessible data.

In 2016, she was selected to receive the prestigious John F. Kennedy Service Award, awarded every five years to six individuals.

Christine Palm gave an impassioned speech to the attentive crowd.

The keynote speaker was Chester resident Christine Palm, who is Women’s Policy Analyst for the General Assembly’s Commission on Women, Children and Seniors and also principal of Sexual Harassment Prevention, LLC.

Palm opened by reminding those gathered that, “One year ago, many people predicted the Women’s March would fizzle out — that we couldn’t sustain the momentum,” but then pointed out that, in fact, the opposite has happened, and, “In this past year, it’s only grown broader and deeper and more ferocious and more inclusive, and now nothing coming out of Washington escapes our notice, or our resistance.”

Noting, “It has not escaped our notice that this administration is defunding programs for veterans, kicking brave transgendered soldiers out of the military, and attacking women’s reproductive rights  that have been in place for decades,” Palm added, “We have paid attention to the fracking, back-stabbing … money-grubbing and gerrymandering,” before declaring, “The Women’s March has grown to encompass it all.”

Recalling the words of the renowned African-American civil rights lawyer Constance Baker Motley, who lived locally in Chester, Palm said, “There appears to be no limit as to how far the women’s revolution will take us,” pointing out, “That’s why we’re all still here, a year later.”

After thanking all those attending for “paying attention to what’s going on in our fractured, frightened world,” and acknowledging the work of all “the new, well organized progressive groups,” Palm expressed her gratitude to, “the hard-core folks who have kept vigil at this enlightened business, Two Wrasslin’ Cats, through rain and sweltering heat, every Saturday, for a year.”

Palm urged everyone not to give up, commenting on the fact that for the older people present, “it seems, we’ve been boycotting, and protesting, and working to right what is wrong,” for a very long time, but she noted, “We are buoyed not only by one another, but in remarkable new ways, by a smart, hardworking and committed group of young people.”  She thanked the Millennials for their “passion and energy,” which she determined, “cannot be overestimated.”

Palm gave a list of practical steps out of which she proposed everyone present could find at least one to follow.  Her suggestions included, “If you’re old enough to vote, do it. Don’t forget the municipal elections, which  have been lost and won by a handful of votes. If you are unaffiliated, please consider registering with a party so you can vote in the primary,” and “If you have a driver’s license and a car, offer to drive an elderly voter to the polls in November.”

She continued, “If you have any disposable income, support candidates you believe in. If you can walk, knock on doors. If you can hear, make telephone calls. If you like to cook, make food for a house party. If you speak a language other than English, offer to translate for an immigrants’ rights group. If you can write, pen an op-ed or a letter to the editor. If you teach, welcome difficult conversations in the classroom.”

Finally, she offered the idea, “If you can speak into a mic, testify at the Capitol,” before closing with the rousing call to all to, “Stay vigilant.  But stay hopeful, too,” and …

Pink “pussy” hats were much in evidence at the rally.

… “Above all, stay together.”

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Reading Uncertainly? ‘The Undoing Project’ by Michael Lewis

No, this is not the story of a baseball team savant, who doubted conventional statistics and reused them with extraordinary success (Moneyball). It is not a personal disclosure of the seamy underbelly of financial markets (The Big Short; Flash Boys; Liar’s Poker).

Rather, it is the story of learning how our minds work, of behavioral economics, and of the unusual and highly prolific working relationship of two Israeli academics, who first met in 1960. It is the story of how an extrovert, Amos Tversky, and an introvert, Daniel Kahneman, stimulated and prodded each other over almost 40 years, first in Israel and then teaching  in the United States on the West coast, then in the Midwest, and finally in the East, uncovering and describing the numerous biases that confuse our thinking.

Each challenged the ideas of the other.

As the author describes an early intellectual collision, “Theories for Amos were like mental pockets or briefcases, places to out the ideas you wanted to keep. Until you could replace a theory with a better theory–a theory that better predicted what actually happened—you didn’t chuck a theory out. Theories ordered knowledge, and allowed for better prediction … But (Amos) left Danny’s seminar in a state of mid unusual for him: doubt. After the seminar, he treated theories that he had more or less accepted as sound and plausible as objects of suspicion.”

Kahneman: his “defining emotion is doubt.”

Tversky:  his interest is psychology: “why people behaved as they behaved, and thought as they thought,” never entirely “rational.”

Kahneman:  “He thought of himself as someone who enjoyed, more than most, changing his mind.”

Tversky: “People live under uncertainty whether they like it or not.”

Kahneman:  “It is the anticipation of regret that affects decisions, along with the anticipation of other consequences. This is why we seem to be instinctively ‘risk averse’.”

Tversky: “Reality is a cloud of possibility, not a point.”

Kahneman:  “The basic rules of undoing, however, apply alike to frustration and regret. They require a more or less plausible path leading to an alternative state.”

Together these two thinkers described the numerous biases that both confuse and enlighten our thinking: hindsight, anchoring, availability, small numbers, context, framing, the endowment effect, and many others. As Lewis explains it, “ they would learn to evaluate a decision not by its outcomes—whether it turned out to be right or wrong—but by the process that led to it. He then concludes: “ … the brain is limited. There are gaps in our attention. The mind contrives to make those gaps invisible to us. We think we know things we don’t. We think we are safe when we are not.”

In 1996, Amos Tversky died. In 2002, Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize, one that almost certainly would have been awarded to Amos as well, had he been alive.

Do read this fascinating story of two thinkers, and go further and read Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011).  And consider my own personal haiku, one that forces me to rethink all the time:

Pause for a moment:
Doubt, then curiosity.
Try another path.

Editor’s Note: ‘The Undoing Project’ by Michael Lewis was published by W. W. Norton, New York, in 2017.

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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Legal News You Can Use: Divorce and Splitting Retirement Accounts

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lyme-Old Lyme Girls Earn Girl Scout Silver Award

The Girl Scout Silver Award recipients gather for a commemorative photo in Old Lyme Town Hall with local dignitaries, who attended the ceremony. From left to right (back row), State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd), CEO of Connecticut Girl Scouts Mary Barneby, Emily DeRoehn, Mackenzie Machnik, Catharine Harrison, Sophia Orteleva, Corah Engdall, Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Old Lyme Selectman Chris Kerr, and Lyme Selectman John Kiker: (front row) Emma Griffith, Riley Nelson, Sadie Frankel, Lillian Grethel, and Paige Phaneuf.

On Sunday, Jan. 7, Emily DeRoehn, Corah Engdall, Sadie Frankel, Lillian Grethel, Catharine Harrison, Emma Griffith, Mackenzie Machnik, Riley Nelson, Sophia Ortoleva, and Paige Phaneuf of Troop 62858 received their Silver Award at Old Lyme Town Hall.

The Silver Award is the highest recognition that can be achieved by Cadette Girl Scouts, and the second highest award a girl scout can receive. Earning the Silver Award is a multi-year process in which girls make a commitment to helping their community. Working alone or in small groups, they identify an issue or problem that they would like to work towards improving. They spend at least 50 hours on the project, which must have an element of sustainability, meaning that once the project is finished, there is something that will carry on in the future.

Sadie, Lillian, Catharine, Emma, and Paige also received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in appreciation for their commitment to strengthening the nation and their communities through volunteer service. The Presidential Volunteer Service Award is given in recognition of those girls that gave 75+ hours to their projects.

Emily, Emma, Catharine, and Mackenzie worked with the kindergarten teachers at Mile Creek School to make fun and educational books that inspire young students to read. These books, focusing on age-appropriate skills as well as respect and kindness, will remain in the classroom for years to come.

Corah and Paige formed a group called Coastal Cleanup to increase knowledge in the community about the hazards trash on beaches poses to people and sea creatures.  They held beach cleanups and created Facebook and Instagram accounts to get the word out about their cause.

Sadie worked with Safe Futures in New London, to raise awareness of the problem of domestic violence within the Lyme-Old Lyme community. She created paperweights and brochure boxes that can be used at events attended by Safe Futures and held a toiletry drive at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School for distribution by Safe Futures.

Lillian, Riley, and Sophia worked with the Nature Conservancy to help the piping plovers, an endangered species of birds that nests at Griswold Point in Old Lyme. They monitored nests,  and produced informational signs that can be posted each year, and created an activity book for children.

The girls were honored to have several dignitaries attend the ceremony. 

  • Devin Carney, Connecticut State Representative for Lyme and Old Lyme presented the recipients with an official citation from the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut.
  • Mary Jo Nosal and Chris Kerr from the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen, and John Kiker from the Lyme Board of Selectmen also presented the girls with a proclamation from the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme.
  • Mary Barneby, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, congratulated the girls on their achievement.

And we would like to add our own congratulations to these fine young ladies on their terrific achievement!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choose an organization that speaks to your soul.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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