April 21, 2018

Lyme Public Hall, Town of Lyme Celebrate Earth Day with Town-wide Clean Up Through April 22

The Lyme Public Hall Association and the Town of Lyme are sponsoring a town-wide roadside clean-up April 1 through 22 in celebration of Earth Day.  Plastic trash bags will be available free to the public at the Hadlyme Country Store at the corner of Ferry Road and Rte. 82.  Bags can also be obtained at the Reynolds Store at 254 Hamburg Road (Route 156) in Lyme, the Lyme Public Library, and the Lyme Town Hall.

Residents are invited to collect litter that has accumulated along the roads over the winter months. The Town of Lyme will pick up bags left along the road side. Trash bags will be available after April 1.

For more information visit lymepublichall.org or email wdenow@comcast.com.


Tickets on Sale Now for Community Music School’s 35th Anniversary Gala, April 27

Making plans for this year’s 35th anniversary CMS gala are, from left to right, CMS Music Director Tom Briggs, CMS Trustee and Gala Sponsor Bruce Lawrence of Bogaert Construction, CMS Trustee and Gala Sponsor Jennifer Bauman of The Bauman Family Foundation, and CMS Executive Director Abigail Nickell.

Community Music School’s (CMS) largest annual fundraiser is the CMS Gala and this year the organization is  celebrating its 35th anniversary with For the Love of Music! The event takes place on Friday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. in Deep River at The Lace Factory and includes fabulous musical entertainment provided by CMS faculty and students. Enjoy cocktail jazz and an exquisite dinner show, as well as gourmet food, dancing, silent auction, fine wines and more.

Featured faculty and student performers include Music Director Tom Briggs, Noelle Avena, John Birt, Amy Buckley, Luana Calisman-Yuri, Audrey Estelle, Joni Gage, Silvia Gopalakrishnan, Martha Herrle, Ling-Fei Kang, Barbara Malinsky, Matt McCauley, Kevin O’Neil, Andy Sherwood, and Marty Wirt.

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with financial need, as well as weekly music education and music therapy services for students with special needs.

For The Love of Music sponsors include The Bauman Family Foundation, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Bogaert Construction, Clark Group, Essex Savings Bank, Essex Financial Services, Grossman Chevrolet Nissan, Guilford Savings Bank, Jackson Lewis, Kitchings & Potter, Maple Lane Farms, Reynold’s Subaru, Ring’s End, Shore Publishing, Thomas Alexa Wealth Management, Tidal Counseling LLC, and Tower Labs LTD.

Early bird tickets for the evening are $125 per person ($65 is tax deductible) by April 13 and $135 thereafter. Event tickets include hors d’oeuvres, gourmet food stations, wine and beer, live music, and dancing. Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org/gala, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 35 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. The CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  To learn more, visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)-767-0026.


Evan Visgilio of Old Lyme Places at Special Olympics Vermont Winter Games

Evan Visgilio stands proudly for a photo after winning a fistful of awards at the Vermont Special Olympics and being named Vermont Special Olympics Rookie of the Year.

Evan Visgilio of Old Lyme returned from the Vermont Special Olympic Winter Games in Mendon, Vt., with a Participation  Ribbon, a Seventh Place Finish and a Sixth Place Finish.  He was also named Vermont Special Olympics Rookie of the Year.

Pico Mountain located in Mendon, Vt., hosted the Vermont Special Olympics Winter Games the weekend of March 19-20.  Evan, who skies for The Hermitage at Haystack Team, participated in Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G events, winning a Participation Ribbon in Slalom, a Seventh Place Ribbon in Giant Slalom and a Sixth Place Ribbon in the Super G.  Evan advanced to Intermediate Division 3 this year. He was born with Down Syndrome and has been skiing for eight years.

Evan, who is 14-years-old, lives in Old Lyme with his parents John and Wendy Visgilio, as well as his siblings Brenna, Will and John.  Evan attends Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School where he is in 8th Grade.

He trains at The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain in Wilmington, Vt., with his coaches Scott Serota, Corey Robinson and Kate Riley.


Reading Uncertainly? ‘Mountains of the Mind’ by Robert Macfarlane

Have you ever been mesmerized by a mountain?

I have … Mount Fuji, from the waters of Suruga Wan, Mounts Rainier and Baker from Puget Sound on a cloudless day, and even Mount Kearsarge in central New Hampshire when I actually climbed it with some of our family.

What is it about mountains that seem to entrance our minds?
Robert Macfarlane, a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, gives us a meditation on these heights, an enthralling “mental stimulation that explores why “the unknown is so inflammatory to the imagination.”  And why is it that almost every “prophet” of all our religions has ‘habitually been up mountains … to receive divine counsel”?
What is ‘”the mesmerism of high places”?  He explains: “ … the urge to explore space – to go higher – is innate in the human mind” and “ … the visionary amplitudes of altitude felt like the approximations of divine sight  … the spell of altitude.”
He writes “when we look at a landscape, we do not see what is there, but largely what we think is there … We read landscapes” as interpreted “in the light of our own experience and memory, and that of our shared cultural memory.”  In other words, landscapes are “romanticized into being,” mountains most of all.
“Contemplating the immensities of deep time, you face in a way that is both exquisite and horrifying, the total collapse of your present, compacted to nothingness by the pressures of pasts and futures too extensive to envisage … [plus] the appalling transience of the human body.”
Macfarlane’s chapters explore geology, fear, glaciers, heights, maps, theology, and conclude, inevitably, with Mount Everest and the attempt of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine in 1924. The author himself is also a climber as well as a student of mountains.
He cites John Ruskin with the idea that “risk-taking – scaring yourself – was, provided you survived, a potent means of self-improvement.”
“This is the great shift which has taken place in the history of risk.  Risk has always been taken, but for a long time it was taken with some ulterior purpose in mind: scientific advancement, personnel glory, financial gain.  About two and a half centuries ago, however, fear started to become fashionable for its own sake.  Risk, it was realized, brought its own reward: the sense of physical exhilaration and elation which we would now attribute to the effects of adrenaline.  And so risk-taking – the deliberate inducement of fear — became desirable; became a commodity.”
Macfarlane concludes, “mountains return to us the priceless capacity for wonder.”  He continues, “In ways that are for the most part imperceptible to us, we all bend our lives to fit the templates with which myths and archetypes provide us. We all tell ourselves stories, and bring our futures into line with these stories, however much we cherish the sense of newness, or originality, about our lives.”
Finally, “at bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent convictions – so easy to lapse into – that the world has been made for humans by humans.”
So, encourage your doubts and go climb a hill!

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.


A la Carte Goes Colorful with Crispy Cod with Chorizo, White Beans and Cherry Tomatoes

Crispy cod with chorizo, white beans and cherry tomatoes.

Back in January, I was invited to a dinner party. The food was incredible, beginning with an appetizer of a seared sea scallop, topped with shredded duck and enveloped with a sunny yellow hollandaise and an arugula in subtle vinaigrette. As an “intermission,” there was glorious white lasagna which melted in our mouths. The entrée was beef and carrots in Borolo, silken mashed potatoes and fresh green beans with pine nuts.

The chef had also sent to our tables of 12 a freshly made bread that had been low risen for two days before it was put in the oven. There were two desserts—one a cassata (a traditional Sicilian cake) and soufflé. All the savory dishes were created by Tom Cherry, who spent a lot of time and love on that dinner, although his real job is plastic surgery. The desserts were created by Bette Hu, who calls herself “just a home cook.” Actually, these two may be just “home cooks,” but, truth be told, I am a home cook. These two people are true artists.

I have said before that real chefs can make magic with a few pans, a few sharp knives and a working stove. While Tom and his wife Lynn have a Viking stove in emerald green with eight to 10 burners on his cooktop and a few ovens at his disposal, he could do that in my galley kitchen and electric stove. I, on the other hand, would need his Viking to be that proficient. As I left that evening, I tried to figure out how I could sneak that Viking into my car. I couldn’t/t!

People often ask me what I consider most important to have in a kitchen. In my last house in Old Lyme, I could hold 20 people in the kitchen as I cooked, had a 42-inch cooktop with six gas burners, two ovens and a warming drawer. The granite counter held 10 and part of the counter was four inches below the regular one, so I could make pastry without making my shoulders ache. My pantry took up another room.

Today I have a fair amount of counter space and a nice deep kitchen sink, but the cooktop has four electric burners, there are two ovens but one is very shallow and most of my pantry is in the hallway closet, along with coats. I have a lot of counter-top appliances, but I have learned how to use those electric burners so that they do not ruin the good pans I have collected over the years.

What I need most in my kitchen these days are my knives (on a magnetic bar so the knife block doesn’t take up counter top), those good pans and Silpat liners for my many, many nested sheet pans, the last of which I use often.

In a recent edition of Rachael Ray Everyday, I saw a recipe for a cod that can be made in a sheet pan that fits in my shallow oven. 

Crispy Cod with Chorizo, White Beans and Cherry Tomatoes

From Rachael Ray Everyday, February, 2018

Yield: serves 4

2 cans (15 to 15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed
8 ounces cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved
5 ounces cured chorizo, casing removed and meat chopped into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
One-half teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil
One-half cup panko
1 tabelspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley plus one-quarter cup coarsely chopped
4 boneless, skinless cod fillets, 5 to 6 ounces each
3 tablespoons tartar sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss beans, tomatoes, chorizo, garlic and crushed red pepper with 2 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon salt and one-quarter teaspoon freshly ground pepper.

In a shallow bowl, toss panko and 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper. Brush the tops and sides of the cod fillets with tartar sauce. Press the tops and sides of the fillets into the panko mixture until coated. Arrange the fish to the center of the baking sheet. Arrange the bean mixture in an even layer around the fish.

Bake until panko is golden and the fish flakes easily with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the coarsely chopped parsley and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.


Madison Senior Men’s Tennis Club Welcomes New Members of Any Skill Level From All Along Shoreline

Dan Janiak and Will Tuthill confirm it was a pleasure to play.   All photos by Peter Pearce.

“Sometimes you’re looking to play perfect tennis but it’s not going to happen all the time and you have to accept it.”   Andy Murray, professional tennis champion

For the men of the Madison Senior Men’s Tennis Organization, the tennis is far from perfect – but that’s not the point. Oh, they may step onto the court feeling sure that today, for just once, it’s all going to come together. But the reality of slower reflexes and an aging body’s aches and pains quickly snaps them back to reality.  The players all accept their shortcomings and can even joke about them; it’s the camaraderie that matters.

For men 60 years or older, the Madison Senior Men’s Tennis group is a great retirement activity and a perfect way to spend two to three mornings a week.  You’ll get exercise, competition, laughter, friendship, caring, and more.

Dave Cassano puts away a volley.

But you don’t have to be retired …

Some players adjust their work schedules to fit in tennis. Along the way, you just may be stimulated by seeing guys in their 80s who can still get around the court and hit winners. As player Greg Fahey said, “I happen to be one of the younger members of the group … all of the members are an inspiration in both physical and mental condition … in the spirit they demonstrate and the example they provide.”

The league is now recruiting new players for both the upcoming summer season as well as next winter’s. There’s no need to worry about your skill level. As octogenarian Tom Dolan told one player who was feeling dejected by his poor play, “Don’t worry about it. Think about the alternative; you could be horizontal.”

Art Paquette hits a forehand while his partner John Kraska watches the play closely.

Players range from beginners to seasoned veterans and span in age from 60 to 88. The league’s steering committee divides them into three groups based on ability, the goal being to slot players into the level in which they are likely to find comfortable, enjoyable play. A wide geographic area is represented, stretching from Hamden and New Haven up to Cromwell and down to Old Lyme.

Matches are all doubles, with partners being agreed upon by the foursome at the start of the match. You will be in a different foursome every match. With the emphasis on recreation and friendship, no standings are kept.

Matches are scheduled year-round, with the summer season running from May through early October and the winter season from October through April. Summer season is outdoors at public and private courts in the Madison/Guilford area; winter season is played indoors at the Madison Racquet and Swim Club. You may choose to play one, two or three days a week.

Article author Tom Soboleski runs down a forehand.

Madison Seniors Tennis is now in its 21st year. It began when a small group of friends, led by John Sadek and Joe Pegnataro of Madison, began playing at Pegnataro’s home court. It now includes more than 70 men and all scheduling is administered through a web-based program.

Whether you’re a high-skilled player or just a beginner, Madison Senior Mens Tennis will happily and comfortably welcome you. “Best thing I’ve ever done,” said Peter Lemley. “I find more often than not, when a player scores a great point, not only his partner, but his opponents will cheer.”  Besides the aforementioned benefits, your ego may get a boost as well. As tennis great John McEnroe has said, “The older I get, the better I used to be.”

If interested in joining, or if you have any questions, the organization can be contacted:

  • By text message or call to: Chris Hill at 203.641.7100, or John Sadek at 203.245.1261

More information is also available on the league’s website at https://sites.google.com/site/mseniortennis/home


Contest Announced for Sound View Beach Display Banner Design(s), Entries Due by April 30

The Town of Old Lyme and the Sound View Commission have announced a friendly competition for display banner designs for Sound View Beach. The Sound View improvements project includes four banner poles placed on Hartford Avenue, which can accommodate banners measuring approx. 2ft. wide by 3ft. tall. The banners can be viewed from both sides, therefore up to eight panels can be approved. Panels can be duplicated or there can be eight different designs. The banners will be displayed from Memorial Day to mid-September.

The Town and the Commissione are soliciting designs for the banners. Although the concept for design is fairly open, it should be welcoming, colorful and unique to Sound View. Sound View is Americas First Public Beach, established in 1892, and is a Registered Connecticut Historic Place.

All design entries must be received by April 30, 2018, allowing time for selection and custom ordering of the banners.

Design entries can be sent by mail to Selectmans Office, 52 Lyme St., Old Lyme, CT 06371 or via email to selectmansoffice@oldlyme-ct.gov. If chosen, an electronic version suitable for printing will be required.

For further information and any questions, email selectmansoffice@oldlyme-ct.gov with the Subject Line: Sound View Banner Design.

All entries will be displayed at Old Lyme Town Hall during the month of May.


Sen. Blumenthal Visits Pakistani Couple Seeking Sanctuary at Old Lyme Church

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (left) speaks in the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme Sunday after meeting with the Pakistani couple Malik Naveed Bin Rehman (center) and Zahida Altaf (right), who have been served with a deportation order.

UPDATED  03/26: Senator Richard Blumenthal visited Malik Naveed Bin Rehman and Zahida Altaf in sanctuary yesterday afternoon at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme to show support and to discuss ways to support their case.

Malik Naveed Bin Rehman and Zahida Altaf, who were ordered by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to leave the United States by Monday, March 19, 2018, have taken sanctuary at the church. This act of compassion offered to a family in need – with the support of many community leaders,  is meant to give the justice process more time to work while all avenues of appeal are exercised in the pursuit of relief in their case.

Malik and Zahida’s request for a stay has gathered the support of Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy, Congresswoman Esty, Representative William Tong, South Windsor Mayor Dr. M Saud Anwar, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart,  the New Britain City Council, and Meriden City Councilman Miguel Castro.

On March 14, in a show of support and protection, the New Britain City Council unanimously passed a resolution urging Officer Brophy; the Acting Field Office Director of ICE, to reconsider the couple’s removal date.

Other supporters include the advocacy team composed of CCSU students, families that have faced similar deportation battles before; such as members of the Cardoso family of New Britain and the Ramos family of Meriden.

Humanitarian groups such as CIRA, Action Together CT, CT Shoreline Indivisible, ACLU People Power, and more have rallied in support also.

Update: Visit this link to read a full report of yesterday’s event titled Sen. Richard Blumenthal Visits New Britain Couple Taking Refuge In Old Lyme Church written by Matthew Ormseth and published yesterday, March 25, on www.courant.com.


‘March For Our Lives’ Draws Hundreds of Protesters in Old Saybrook

All photos by Valerie Chapman.

OLD SAYBROOK — People of all ages from across southeast Connecticut gathered on Main Street in Old Saybrook yesterday to march in support of action against gun violence and in solidarity with some 800 other marches taking place worldwide.  Those who had marched in the January 2017 Women’s March in Old Saybrook estimated that the crowd for yesterday’s event was substantially larger than the 2017 one.

The signs people held were many and various …

… but the message was loud …

… and clear.

Spirits were high …

… but the questions remain unanswered …


Cappella Cantorum to Perform Haydn’s ‘Creation,’ April 22

Franz Joseph Haydn

Celebrate Earth Day and the creation of this beautiful planet by attending Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus’ performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Creation” on Sunday, April 22, 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River.

Simon Holt will lead the chorus, professional soloists and orchestra. Soloists will be internationally known Bass David Pittsinger, Tenor Brian Cheney and Soprano Sarah Callinan.

Haydn’s oratorio depicts the creation of the world from darkness and chaos to the creation of light, order and harmony. It is considered one of Haydn’s finest works.

Tickets are $25 purchased in advance, $30 at the door. For more information or tickets, visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.


Lyme-Old Lyme HS Students Walk Out in Sympathy with Parkland Victims, in Support of Tougher Gun Laws

All photos by Matthew Crisp.

Despite bone-chilling temperatures, almost every student that was able walked out of Lyme-Old Lyme High School on Wednesday, March 14 — precisely one month after a lone gunman shot and killed 17 students and faculty with an assault gun at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The students gathered on the field outside the high school and stood in silence with signs in their hands, often with arms linked.

Junior Shannon Nosal thanked the assembled students “for participating in this historic event … the guest speakers, Liz Richards for directing the choir, and Emily Rivera and Maddie Zrenda for planning this event.”

Nosal said, “I hope that by coming to together today we can find some peace through this tragedy and leave feeling unified as a school, community, and generation.”

She explained that each student would be given an orange wrist band as they left the ceremony — the wristbands bore the words either ‘Choose compassion’ or ‘Never again.’

Nosal concluded by saying, “By wearing these wrist bands you are not only continuing to remember the Parkland victims, but reminding yourself and everyone to continue to make Lyme-Old Lyme High School a more inclusive, comforting, and protective place.”

LymeLine Opinion: Our thanks to Matthew Crisp for the evocative photos and kudos to all the students who organized and/or participated in this event.  One only has to look at the faces in these photos to know that this was a somber, meaningful ceremony.  Kudos also to the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ administration for permitting the students to express themselves in this way.


Lyme-Old Lyme HS Alumnus Arrested After Making “Disturbing” Snapchat Post

A recent graduate of Lyme-Old Lyme High School was arrested early Wednesday evening after posting a comment of Snapchat saying, “no survivors.”

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser issued a statement to all parents later the same evening in which he described the comment as “disturbing.”  He went on to explain in the statement, “While there was no direct threat, we did feel it necessary to contact the police who immediately responded to our concern.  Through their investigation, the police have determined that there is no reason to believe that this statement presents a threat to our schools.  That being said, the individual who posted this comment was arrested as a result of their behavior and is no longer allowed on school grounds.

Neviaser continued in his statement, “This incident is a perfect example of how important it is for all of us to remain vigilant.  I commend the students who came forward and immediately reported this to adults who were able to alert the authorities.”

He concluded, “We hope that this information will dispel any rumors that may arise from this situation.  Our number one priority is keeping our students and staff safe and we will continue to work closely with the local and state police to ensure this.”


Letter From Paris: Visit to Franco-American Museum in Blerancourt Sparks Review of Relationship Between the Two

Nicole Prévost Logan

La Fayette nous voilà (La Fayette, here we are) are the famous words General John J. Pershing , commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, is supposed to have pronounced  on July 4, 1917 during the commemoration near the tomb of the Marquis de La Fayette at the Picpus cemetery in Paris. The entry of the Americans in World War I was a way to return the favor to the French for being an ally throughout their history. The Franco-American museum in Blerancourt, in a concrete way, furthered this enduring amity.

From the outbreak of the war even before America declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, a segment of US public opinion, wanted the country to enter the conflict. Among the Americans living in Paris (there were 100,000 of them at the time), private associations such as the American Field Service,  intellectuals, writers, and artists offered to join the allied cause. Many young people volunteered as ambulance drivers.

Many volunteers served in ambulances like this one on display in the Museum of Blerancourt during the Great War.

One of them was Anne Morgan (1873-1952)  third daughter of  John Pierpont Morgan, Sr., banker and art collector.

Anne Morgan

She started raising funds to equip the French army as early as 1915, and in 1917 chose the village of Blerancourt, which was in the midst of total devastation, to carry out her humanitarian aid to the wounded soldiers and civilian population. 

The Aisne department (a department in France is the US equivalent of a county) was one of the worst hit battle fields. It is sadly remembered for being the scene of three bloody campaigns all called Chemin des Dames in 1914, 1916 and 1917 . In April 1917 alone, 100,000 French soldiers died on that front. 

Morgan worked from the barracks she erected on the terraces of the Chateau de Blerancourt – a grand 17th century private residence built by the architect who designed the Luxembourg Palace, for Marie de Medicis.  In 1919, Morgan bought the ruins of the chateau and started its restoration. In 1923, she created the association of the Friends of Blerancourt and the following year founded what was to become the Franco-American Museum.

The restored 17th century elegant rooms of the chateau are quite fitting for the historical part of the museum.  French explorers -Jacques Cartier, Father Jacques Marquette-Cavelier de la Salle, Champlain and others  – left their trace in the geography books of the New World. Their names are still vivid but the lands they discovered – from Canada to Louisiana – have long severed ties with France.  Only the St Pierre et Miquelon archipelago remained part of the mother country.

La Fayette was the first Frenchman to enlist in the War of Independence in 1777. With a great deal of panache, in October 1781, the 6,000 men of Count of Rochambeau, joined the Continental Army of George Washington, later the fleet of Admiral de Grasse encircled the English forces.  The combined effort ended in the victorious battle of Yorktown and the rendition of the British.  

Was its support in the conflict beneficial to France?  Some historians do not think so.  Claude Moisy, former president of Agence France Press  (AFP), journalist and specialist in the political history of the US, is one of them and goes as far as to believe that France was caught in a fool’s game.  

During a talk Moisy gave to the France-England Association in 2007, he described the sequence of events, as he sees it: the US Congress had promised not to sign a separate peace with the English, but it did on November 30 ,1782, after secret negotiations.

The real objective for the American government was to resume, as soon as possible, trade and economic relations with Great Britain.  Washington had dispatched Benjamin Franklin to Paris. He soon became the coqueluche (the rage) of the Paris society and suspiciously close to it. The author describes Paris at that time as a “panier de crabes” (can of worms), crawling with spies and foreign agents.

The final peace treaty was only signed 10 months later in September 1783, with the participation of Holland and Spain.

2018, – the year of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the Great War- started appropriately with the “Cesars” selecting Au Revoir Là Haut, as best film and best director.  It is based on the 2013 Prix Goncourt novel by Pierre Lemaitre. Two soldiers- nicknamed “poilus” during the Great war-  experience the horror of trench war, including being buried alive .  (the writer may have been inspired by what happened to the poet and art theoretician  Guillaume Apollinaire, who was buried alive three times, underwent trepanation and died in 1918.).  The story continues after the war, when the two heroes, traumatized and disfigured by injuries, witness the sordid traffic of war memorials.

The Chateau de Blerancourt makes a charming picture.

The Blerancourt museum  is a lovely, luminous building,, located at about two hours drive north-east of Paris. The World war I activities of Anne Morgan -including her ambulance, uniform, wartime memorabilia and mobile library- are brought back to life. 

The Art department has just been renovated and contains more than 400 works. The collection  includes paintings by impressionist Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent and many others.  The arrival of American troops in St Nazaire was caught in Art Deco style by French artist Jean Emile Laboureur in 1918.  Singer and dancer Josephine Baker, appears on the cover of the “Revue Nègre“.  She was born in St Louis, joined the Resistance and is an idol in France.

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

Nicole Prévost Logan

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

Jim Cameron

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

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com


Family Wellness: Screens, Media and Family Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Betsy Groth

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

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

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


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

Irish soda bread

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

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

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

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

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

Irish Soda Bread

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

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

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

Grape Nuts Custard

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sculpture by Mya Johnson

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

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

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

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


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

Ready to ride!

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

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

For complete information and online registration, visit 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