April 19, 2018

Together We Rise CT Holds a ‘March For Our Lives’ in East Haddam

In support of students across the country, a March For Our Lives event will be held at Two Wrasslin’ Cats, 374 Town Street, East Haddam, on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Hosted by Together We Rise CT – Building Bridges for Justice, the event will be one of more than nearly 700 world-wide.

March For Our Lives was created, inspired, and led by students who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of school shootings. March For Our Lives believes the time to take action is now.

Students across the country are leading the way, and Together We Rise CT is proud to follow their lead. All are welcome to join them for a peaceful vigil of commemoration, featuring youth speakers and music, as everyone stands together in non-violent witness. Participants are requested to bring peaceful signs or banners only — and no pets.

RSVP at http://act.everytown.org/event/march-our-lives-events_attend/8903. If you wish to volunteer or have questions, e-mail togetherwerisect@gmail.com.

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Last Chance to See ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ at Lyme-Old Lyme High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.”

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POSTPONED to 4/10: Chamber Welcomes MCCD as Speaker at Next Dinner Meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions? Contact Chamber President Olwen Logan at editor@lymeline.com

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LYSB Hosts Community Forum on Vaping Tonight

Vaping paraphernalia

Lyme Youth Service Bureau’s (LYSB) recent survey shows alarming rates of youth vaping in Lyme and Old Lyme. In response, LYSB will host a Community Forum on Youth Substance Use on Monday, March 19, at 7 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium to learn more about this growing trend that is popular among teens nationwide.  This is a rescheduled date due to last week’s snowstorm.

A Youth Panel comprising students from Lyme-Old Lyme Schools will participate in the forum to offer insights into the behavior of Lyme-Old Lyme youth in the context of substance use and abuse.

The evening will include:

  • a vaping presentation
  • results of the recent youth survey
  • Q & A with the youth panel
  • available resources

All are welcome to attend this free — and important —  forum.

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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

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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.

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It’s LOL Education Foundation’s Annual Trivia Bee Tonight

full_5738The Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation’s (LOLEF) 6th Annual Trivia Bee will be held Friday, March 16, starting at 7 p.m. prompt at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

Local businesses, community organizations and neighborhoods are invited to enter teams of four into this adult trivia contest, arguably the most “bee-dazzling fun-draiser” in The Lymes!

Full details of the contest and rules are at this link.

Teams are encouraged (but not required) to choose a fun team name and dress in costume. The evening will be hosted by LOLEF and there will be entertainment with prizes galore for the audience between rounds.

Fighting off stiff competition, the Lyme firemen were the ultimate winners of the coveted Trivia Bee trophy in 2016.

The winning team from each round will participate in a championship round. Teams will compete for the Honey Cup, a perpetual trophy, as well as the honor of being crowned Lyme-Old Lyme’s Trivia Bee Champion. Prizes will also be awarded for the Best Team Costume and Best Team Name.

Spectators are encouraged to cheer on their favorite teams in person. Audience admission to the Bee is free.

Refreshments, local honey and tech-raffle tickets will be available for purchase.

The LOLEF supports innovative educational initiatives throughout our schools and community. Thanks to community support, the LOLEF has donated over $160,000 since its inception in 2006. The LOLEF works closely with, but is independent of, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.

The LOLEF counts on the success of fundraisers such as the Trivia Bee to keep the Foundations’ grants program vibrant.

Businesses and organizations are invited to enter a team of their own or, if they prefer, to sponsor a team made up of teachers and or students from our local schools. Admission is $200 for each team.

If you would like to participate in the Bee or become a corporate sponsor, visit this link for all the information relating to the event or call Roger Nosal at 860-434-0814 with questions.

Visit the Facebook page for the event at this link.

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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

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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

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Lyme-Old Lyme High School Hosts Open House Today for Prospective Students

Students hard at work in a Chinese class at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, where it is a popular elective subject.

Next Thursday, March 15, Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) welcomes prospective students who do not currently attend a Lyme-Old Lyme School and/or their parents to visit the high school during Spring Open House.

In order to offer a customized experience for each prospective student and/or their parents, interviews are being offered throughout the day to accommodate varying schedules. Each meeting with a school counselor will be preceded by a student-led tour of the high school. This format is intended to allow all attendees an opportunity to gain a general overview of the school and interact with current students, as well as to obtain answers to individual questions and information on curriculum, student opportunities and more.

In December 2017, Lyme-Old Lyme High School was named to the 8th Annual Advanced Placement (AP®) District Honor Roll by the College Board. Only 447 schools were named to this prestigious list in the United States and Canada. Superintendent Ian Neviaser noted, “This continues to support our strong reputation as a premier school district in Connecticut and the nation as a whole” adding, “The Lyme-Old Lyme Schools are committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.”

Lyme-Old Lyme High School hosts an Open House for prospective Students, March 15

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools were also named #18 in Niche.com’s ranking of 2018 Best School District in Connecticut, which gave them the top spot in New London County, and in Niche.com’s ranking of 2018 High Schools with Best Teachers in Connecticut, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools came in 10th.

In 2016, LOLHS took 6th place statewide in terms of SAT results, with average scores significantly above the state average in all disciplines, while in April 2015, Lyme-Old Lyme High School was awarded the 185th spot nationally and the 5th place statewide in Newsweek‘s annual list of Americas Top High Schools.

Facilities at the high school are exceptional with state-of-the-art technology implemented throughout the building thanks to a $49 million renovation project completed in 2014. The math, science, language, and technology and engineering areas, along with the art, music, drama and athletic facilities are now of a quality and sophistication that resembles a college environment, rather than a high school.

View from inside the Commons atrium at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

Current enrollment at LOLHS is 475 students from Grades 9 through 12 and the average class size is between 15 and 20. The school offers a full spectrum of core subjects taught in-house, including 17 Advanced Placement subjects, and also an extensive range of classes taken online.  Students also have the option to pursue the acclaimed Techno-Ticks robotics program along with more than 35 other extra-curricular clubs including High School Bowl, Mock Trial, and Key Club.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School enjoys widely acclaimed music, drama and art programs, which have been recognized with numerous awards both at the state level and nationally. The school’s athletic program has similarly received innumerable honors over the years and is proud to have several past, present and future Olympians among its alumni.

The colleges attended by LOLHS graduates include a wide range of Ivy League and top-tier schools each year. Complementing the academic success of the students, the high school faculty is renowned for their commitment and dedication to the students with most having obtained a sixth year teaching qualification.

If you would like to attend this informative event, please call Glynis Houde at 860-434-2255 to schedule your appointment.

For further information, contact Tracy Lenz, Director of Guidance, at 860-434-2255 or lenzt@region18.org or James Wygonik, Principal, at 860-434-1651 or wygonikj@region18.org.

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Old Lyme Meetings, Scheduled for Tonight, Postponed Due to Storm; LOL Schools Closed

Due to today’s winter storm, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools are closed and tonight’s Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) and Board of Finance (BOF) meetings have been cancelled.

The WPCA meeting will now be Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m.in the Meeting Hall at Memorial Town Hall.

The BOF meeting will be held Tuesday, March 20, at 7 p.m. in the Meeting Hall at Memorial Town Hall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, call (860) 434-7802 or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

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

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

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

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

Here’s how it happens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

State Rep. Devin Carney

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

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

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

Matt Pugliese.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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D18 Board of Education Meeting Rescheduled to Wednesday, March 14

The Regular Region 18 Board of Education Meeting, which should have been held March 7, has been rescheduled to next Wednesday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. due to the anticipated inclement weather.

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

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

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

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

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

About those Transit hearings…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Widening I-95

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CT Valley Camera Club Presents Talk Tonight in Old Lyme on How to Photograph National Parks, All Welcome

Photographer Chris Nicholson at Acadia National Park (Photo courtesy of Steven Ryan)

The guest speaker at the Monday, Mar. 5 meeting of the Connecticut Valley Camera Club (CVCC) will be the acclaimed photographer and author Chris Nicholson, who will give a presentation titled “Photographing National Parks.”  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Rd., Old Lyme, Conn. All are welcome and there is no charge for admission. Potential members are especially welcome.

Chris Nicholson is a photographer and writer based in southern Connecticut and New York City. Formerly a magazine editor for ten years, he has worked on a freelance basis since 2004, with his camerawork focused primarily on the travel and sports genres. His writing and photographs have been published in over 30 magazines and several books.

Nicholson works in a primarily conservative style, believing that ideal composition is simple, strong and powerful. He has covered locations in Australia and throughout the continental United States (especially in New England, which he considers to be one of the most aesthetically unique regions of America).

Throughout his career he has studied the American national parks. Whether for assignments, publishing projects or personal work, Nicholson travels to national parks several times per year for photography. Over the past two decades he has paid particular attention to Acadia, Everglades, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, Olympic, Shenandoah and Yellowstone, visiting and photographing those seven a combined 26 times.

The CVCC is dedicated to offering its membership the opportunity to become better photographers. The group offers a variety of presentations and interactive workshops to help members expand their technical and creative skills. Photographers of all levels of experience are welcomed.  The club draws members from up and down the river, from Middletown to Old Saybrook; from East Hampton to Old Lyme; and along the shoreline from Guilford to Gales Ferry.

For more information, visit the club’s website at https://ctvalleycameraclub.smugmug.com/. CVCC meeting dates, speakers/topics, and other notices are also published on the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CTValleyCameraClubPage.

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