September 26, 2016

Old Lyme Residents Vote Tomorrow on Sound View Project Cost Increase, Joining Ledge Light at Special Town Meeting

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen has announced a Special Town Meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School to consider and vote on four items.

The first is to authorize approval of $911,100 for the construction cost of the Rte. 156 Bikeway/Sound View Improvements Project. Although $877,000 was approved by residents for this project in July of this year, according to an article by Kimberly Drelich published today (Sept. 24) on theday.com, “Reemsnyder said the bids for the project came in higher than expected” and an increase in the budgeted amount is now required.

This project has changed significantly since it was first introduced when it included bathrooms and a park (Sound View Green.)  Those items have been eliminated for cost reasons and the bikeway on Rte. 156 has also been dropped since Rte. 156 is a state road, which means the project falls under the state’s jurisdiction.

(See Editor’s Note below for related articles on the Sound View project.)

The second agenda item Tuesday is to authorize the Town to join the Ledge Light Health District (LLHD). Steve Mansfield from LLHD gave a presentation Aug. 29 at a Public Hearing attended by around 20 people, who were evenly divided in terms of being for or against the proposal. Mansfield will give another presentation prior to Tuesday’s vote.

Concerns raised by participants at the hearing included not having a Sanitarian readily accessible in Old Lyme thus creating the need to travel to New London to connect with a Sanitarian, a possible increase in wait times for inspections, and an increase in costs to users in some cases. An example of the latter is that in the case of restaurants, LLHD fees are based on classification whereas the Town of Old Lyme’s current fee structure relates to seating capacity.

The board of selectmen, which is supporting the proposal, cites benefits for the town, which include having the current health department employee based in Old Lyme for at least half her time initially to assist with the transition and the provision of a consistent range of services.  The selectmen also note that Ledge Light offers more officials, who individually specialize in different areas of expertise, and can provide the public with information and quality services in a timely manner.

If the motion is approved, the Town will have a two-year commitment to LLHD with the town’s representation on the LLHD Board based on the town’s population.

The third and fourth agenda items relate to the Town granting easements for entry and exit to a number of properties on Boston Post Rd. in the Rogers Lake area.

Editor’s Note:  Articles previously published on LymeLine.com related to the Sound View project include:
All Three Items Approved at Old Lyme Special Town Meeting; Sound View Construction to Start Later This Year   Published 07/18/16
Rte. 156 Bikeway/Sound View Improvements Proposal: The Case For and The Case Against Published 07/18/16
Presentation of Sound View Improvements Draws Praise, Criticism at Lively Meeting Published 04/28/16

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Old Lyme Debate Sees Linares, Needleman Disagree Sharply on Some Issues, Agree on Others

Norm Needleman (left) and Art Linares

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman (left) and Sen. Art Linares answered questions on a variety of topics in last night’s debate.

The candidates vying for the 33rd State Senate District seat met last night in front of a relatively small audience of around 75 in the somewhat rarefied atmosphere of Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS).  Rarefied because not a single resident of Old Lyme can vote for either candidate since Old Lyme is part of the 20th State Senate District currently represented by Republican Paul Formica.

Nevertheless, The Day and the Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce selected LOLHS as the location for the first debate of the season in the high profile 33rd State Senate race.  Two-term incumbent Sen. Art Linares (R) faced off against challenger Norman Needleman (D), who is in his third term as first selectman of Essex, in a gentlemanly debate conducted entirely from seated positions.

Linares was first elected in 2012 to the 33rd State Senate District seat, which was held for two decades by the late former State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. He won a second term in 2014, defeating Democrat Emily Bjornberg of Lyme on a 22,762-17,326 vote. Needleman was first elected as an Essex Selectman in 2003

Linares&Needleman

The Day’s Editorial Page editor Paul Choiniere (center in photo above) moderated the debate assisted by retired Day Deputy Managing  Editor Lisa McGinley and Day Staff Writer Brian Hallenback.

The constant theme of both candidates’ responses was the need for the state to control spending and to increase jobs, but they expressed different routes towards achieving that goal interspersed with regular jabs against their respective opponent.

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Linares, pictured above, opened the latter theme by saying, “Desperate people do desperate things,” when asked about charges from Needleman that he (Linares) had used constituent names and addresses inappropriately.  Linares said, “They [his opponents] want us to focus on desperate things,” rather than the state’s real problems such as, “Every day we have businesses leaving the state,” declaring emphatically, “I am ready to stand up and fight for you.”

A question about whether the candidates supported the Citizen’s Election Program (CEP) drew one of the most heated exchanges with Linares saying candidates should be encouraged to fund their own election campaigns because, “the CEP is running a deficit year after year.”  Needleman responded immediately, “That’s an absurd and ridiculous statement,” adding that the CEP has proved to be a “leveling-field.”

The issue of a third casino in Connecticut also showed a sharp difference in the candidate’s positions with Linares supporting the proposal in order to “intercept tourists on their way to [the new MGM casino in] Massachusetts,” which he predicted would otherwise take potentially up to $100 million out of state.  Needleman said unequivocally, “I would not support the expansion of casinos in Connecticut.”

Responding to a question about Linares’s March 2016 vote against a measure to reduce the state’s budget deficit, Needleman declared, “That vote pushed me over the edge to run,” and that he was “perplexed,” when he had determined that Linares was one of the three senators who had voted against the proposal.  Linares countered that he had, “stood up against that budget because I knew the next day it would be in deficit,” adding, “We didn’t make the kinds of structural change needed,” concluding firmly, “I’m proud that I stood up against Dan Malloy’s budget.”

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Needleman, pictured above, then accused Linares of being something Needleman confessed he had been described as himself when much younger by a teacher, namely, “A master of the obvious.” Needleman agreed, “We all know now we need structural reform,” but argued, “That stand needed to be taken,” long before the actual vote.

The candidates were in relative harmony regarding the recent Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that education funding needs to be more equitable, both agreeing, in Linares’s words, “The legislature must find a fair and concise way to fund education,” and, in Needleman’s, “The judge should not legislate from the bench.”

Similarly, Needleman and Linares found common ground on the subject of how the state should improve its fiscal position with the former saying that the state needed to “control spending and increase jobs,” while the latter added, “… and end wasteful spending.”

Asked which Presidential candidate they were voting for, Needleman mentioned first, “I’ve never seen an election like this one,” then said, “I support Hilary Clinton … albeit at times, reluctantly.” In turn, Linares stated, “I’m voting for Donald Trump,” adding, “I’m voting Republican down the line this year,” commenting, “Our country and our state needs to change direction.”

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The candidates responded to several further questions including ones about the ease with which the state can sell or swap state-owned land, how the state should create jobs and the state’s response to the opioid crisis.

In his closing statement, Linares said his goal was, “to take Connecticut to the top again,” since under six year of Malloy’s leadership, “”I have seen the state move backwards.”  He explained that Connecticut Republicans have a plan to achieve that objective called, “A Confident Future,” and urged the audience to review it.

Taking his turn, Needleman said, “I started as a cab driver in New York – I have paid my dues,” adding, “Relationships mean everything to me. I am always telling the truth and not reverting to scripted talking points.” He concluded, “Glory has no role for me.”

Norm Needleman had a significant crowd of supporters, who stood outside the High School prior to the debate.

Norm Needleman had a significant crowd of supporters, who stood outside the High School prior to the debate.

Editor’s Note: The 33rd State Senate District consists of the Town of Lyme along with the Towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and part of Old Saybrook.

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‘Bound for the Sound’ Road Race Benefits Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation

And they're off! Runners participating in last year's 10K start the race.

And they’re off! Runners participating in last year’s 10K take their first steps in the race.

The Lyme–Old Lyme Education Foundation’s (LOLEF) 5th annual Bound for the Sound Road Race takes place next Saturday, Sept. 24, starting at 8 a.m., on Hartford Ave., in the Sound View area of Old Lyme.

Runners can choose between a 10K or 5K course, or a one-mile Fun Run. The course travels through the scenic, easy terrain of South Lyme. All proceeds from the race benefit the Foundation’s educational programs in the Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools.

Runners of all ages are welcome, including those in strollers. Register for the race at http://lolef.org or in person before the race. Registration is $35 for adults, $10 for high school students and younger, with faculty and staff of the Region 18 Schools receiving a $10 discount off the registration fee.

Mary Stone, LOLEF President, commented, “We draw a great crowd each year, especially for the 10K. It’s one of the few 10K races in the region: the course is beautiful and runners really love it.” LOLEF race organizer Chris Staab added, “It’s a great community event that supports public education while promoting health and wellness.”

The LOLEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors from the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme.

The LOLEF’s mission is to create, continue, and enhance the valuable educational programs above and beyond those traditionally provided by the Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools. The Foundation aligns its work with the District’s strategic planning process to encourage innovative and effective learning opportunities for students of all ages. It raises and distributes funds to enhance enrichment programs, support innovative teaching and learning, and build educational partnerships between Lyme-Old Lyme students and the community.

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Learn All About ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio … According to Star Trek,’ 11am in Saybrook

Tenor Brian Cheney

Tenor Brian Cheney

OLD SAYBROOK — A witty lecture given by Old Lyme resident and internationally acclaimed tenor Brian Cheney with director Josh Shaw entitled “The Abduction from the Seraglio by Mozart … according to Star Trek” is slated for Saturday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m. at the Acton Public Library, 60 Old Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook.

This free lecture is sponsored by The Guild of Salt Marsh Opera in partnership with the Acton Public Library.

For more information, call 860-388-2871.

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National Concert & Book Tour by ‘Children of the Stone/Dal’Ouna Ensemble’ Comes to Old Lyme Friday

Ramzi Aburedwan (third from right) stands with the other members of the Dal'Ouna Ensemble that will be performing in Old Lyme on Sept. 30.

Ramzi Aburedwan (third from right) stands with the other members of the Dal’Ouna Ensemble that will be performing in Old Lyme on Sept. 30.

The Tree of Life Educational Fund presents a performance by Ranzi Aburedwan and his Arabic-French Dal’Ouna Ensemble in a program of music and book-readings on Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

This event is part of the national concert and book tour of Children of the Stone/Dal ‘Ouna, which celebrates Palestinian musician and educator Ramzi Aburedwan and his belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives and resist oppression. The tour corresponds with the paperback release of Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land (Bloomsbury, April 2015/paperback March 2016) by Sandy Tolan, author of the international bestseller, The Lemon Tree.

Featured in concert will be the powerful music of Ramzi Aburedwan and his Arabic-French Dal’Ouna Ensemble and the Lebanese singer, Abeer Nehme : a dynamic fusion of Palestinian Arab folk, classical, jazz and world music.   Ensemble members include renowned composer, violist and buzouk player Ramzi Aburedwan and percussionist Tareq Rantisi from Palestine, oud player Ziad Ben Youssef from Tunisia, Edwin Buger from Yugoslavia on accordion. Michael Dabroski will join the group with his Palestinian violin, and there will be readings from Sandy Tolan’s book, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land.

Children of the Stone tells the dramatic story of Ramzi Aburedwan’s life growing up in an occupied Palestinian refugee camp and his transformation from a stone throwing youth of the first intifada, to a talented musician studying at the Edward Said Palestine National Academy of Music and a French Conservatory and his final return to Palestine to realize his life’s dream of founding a music school, Al-Kamandjati that has centers in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. He views Al-Kamandjati and related projects with international musicians as a combination of safe haven, creative resistance, and trauma therapy for the least fortunate Palestinian children, many living in refugee camps.

World-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma said this about Sandy Tolan’s book:“In a world where so much popular fiction depicts life in a dystopian world, it is refreshing to have this non-fiction account that reflects one individual’s belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives. Congratulations to Sandy Tolan for bringing us the story of Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, his philosophy and his personal mission to make a difference.  His story is proof of the famous words of Margaret Mead –‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’”.

All are welcome to attend this concert and book-reading.  General admission is $10 at the door.  Admission is free to students and those aged under 21.

The concert and book tour features two additional locations in Connecticut as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 24; 7 pm Yale University, CT

Monday, Sept. 26; 7 pm UConn, Storrs, CT

For more information, visit www.tolef.org or call the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme at 860.434.8686

The Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOL) a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation was established by The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme to provide cross-cultural and transnational travel experiences, interfaith conferences and educational opportunities to help participants to become more enlightened and more engaged in making this a more just and peaceful world in which to live.

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CT Fund for the Environment Annual Meeting to be Held Sunday in Hartford

Engaging and educating communities for preservation of the Long Island Sound tidal estuary

save_the_sound_logoSave the Sound is celebrating National Estuaries Week Sept. 17 – 24 with a series of interactive and educational events throughout the Long Island Sound region. This annual celebration of estuaries—the vital coastal zones where freshwater rivers meet salty seas—is sponsored by Restore America’s Estuaries and its member organizations including Save the Sound.

This year’s events call attention to the many benefits of thriving coastal ecosystems, including how estuary conservation efforts support our quality of life and economic well-being.

“The Long Island Sound estuary is not only where freshwater rivers meet the saltwater Atlantic, but where wildlife habitat meets beaches and boating, and where modern industry meets traditional oystering,” said Curt Johnson, executive director of Save the Sound, which is a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE).

Johnson continued, “All over the country, estuaries are the lifeblood of coastal economies. From serving as natural buffers to protect our coastlines from storms to providing unique habitat for countless birds, fish, and wildlife, estuaries deserve our protection and our thanks.”

Save the Sound is celebrating estuaries with a number of events this week, including the release of a new video, a presentation on Plum Island at the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library and the CFE/Save the Sound annual meeting:

Thursday, Sept. 22

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Aerial voew of Plum Island lighthouse. (From Preserve Plum Island website)

Aerial view of Plum Island lighthouse. (From Preserve Plum Island website)

Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator for Save the Sound and Outreach Coordinator for the Preserve Plum Island Coalition, will host Preserving Plum Island for Future Generations, a special presentation on the importance of conserving the wildlife habitats and historic buildings of Plum Island, New York.

Plum Island flanks Plum Gut in the Long Island Sound estuary’s eastern end, where fast-moving tides create highly productive fishing grounds. The talk is part of a multi-week series featuring photographs and paintings of Plum Island, and lectures on its ecology, geology, and history.

  • Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, 2 Library Lane, Old Lyme, Connecticut
  • 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Register by calling the library at 860-434-1684.

Sunday, Sept. 25

The Annual Meeting of Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound will take place in the Planet Earth exhibit at the Connecticut Science Center. The event is open to the public with registration, and will feature a keynote address from Curt Spalding, administrator of EPA’s New England Region. Spalding is a leader in combatting nitrogen pollution and in climate change resilience planning efforts for New England.

To celebrate the contributions of volunteers to restoring the Long Island Sound estuary, Save the Sound has released a new video of a habitat restoration planting at Hyde Pond in Mystic. Following removal of the old Hyde Pond dam and opening 4.1 miles of stream habitat for migratory fish last winter (see time lapse video here), in May about 30 volunteers planted native vegetation along the Whitford Brook stream bank, under the direction of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, CT DEEP’s Fisheries division, and Save the Sound staff.

Find more information on the project’s benefits and funders here.

Look for the planting video on Save the Sound’s website, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

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Recycling in Old Lyme: Dealing With Left-Over Paint

paint_cansOld Lyme’s Solid Waste & Recycling Committee is publishing several articles that lay out best recycling practices. The committee has covered the town’s current curbside program, and the safe disposal of prescription and over-the counter medications in previous articles. This article covers paint recycling.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 10 percent of all paint purchased in the United States is left-over – around 64 million gallons annually. This left-over and unused paint can cause pollution when disposed of improperly and, in the past, was costly for municipalities to manage. 

So, Connecticut enacted a paint stewardship law in 2011, which required that paint manufacturers assume the costs of managing unwanted latex and oil-based paints, including collection, recycling, and/or disposal of unwanted paint products. Connecticut was the third state in the country to pass paint legislation, following Oregon and California.

As a result of the paint stewardship law, a non-profit program was rolled out in 2012 by the American Coatings Association, which is a trade group of paint manufacturers. The program is funded by a fee paid by the consumer at the time of purchase.

“PaintCare” has resulted in a network of drop-off locations for that left-over paint (now 142 sites in the state.) Locations near Old Lyme include Sherwin Williams in Old Saybrook, True Value Hardware in East Lyme, and Rings End Lumber in Niantic. PaintCare now operates in the nine states that have enacted paint stewardship laws. There is no charge at the drop-off site. As noted, the program is wholly funded by fees assessed at the point of sale.

PaintCare drop-off sites accept latex and oil-based house paints, primers, stains, sealers, and clear coatings like shellac and varnish. All of these must be in the original container (no larger than five gallons) with the original printed label and a secured lid (i.e., no open or leaking containers.)  They do not accept aerosols, paint thinners, mineral spirits, and solvents.

You should review the PaintCare website (http://www.paintcare.org) before loading your trunk with your left-over paint.  The site has a complete list of accepted and non-accepted paint products and any drop-off limits.

What happens to the excess paint after drop-off?  PaintCare’s haulers move the paint from the drop-off sites to their facility for sorting. Their goal is to then recycle as much as possible according to a policy of “highest, best use”.

Most of the oil-based paint is taken to a plant where it is processed into a fuel and then burned to recover the energy value.

Clean latex paint (i.e., not rusty, dirty, molding or spoiled) is sent to recycling facilities and reprocessed into “new” paint; most latex paint that doesn’t contain mercury or foreign contaminants can be processed into recycled-content paint.

There are two types of recycled paint: re-blended and re-processed. Re-blended paint contains a much higher percentage of recycled paint than re-processed paint (which mixes old paint with new paint and other new materials).

Paint that is nearly new and in good condition is given to charitable organizations for re-sale. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores also accept clean surplus paints.

According to the PaintCare 2014 Annual Report, 240,798 gallons of used paint were collected in the first year of the program; 81 percent of the latex paint was recycled into recycled-content paint, 4 percent ended as a landfill cover product, 6 percent was fuel-blended, and 9 percent was unrecyclable and sent to landfill as solids. All of the oil-based paint was used for fuel.

Our next article covers the recycling of mattresses.

If you have questions or comments related to this article or recycling in general, contact Leslie O’Connor at alete1@sbcglobal.net or Tom Gotowka at TDGotowka@aol.com.

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LAA Hosts Delicious, Art-Filled Fundraiser, Oct. 20; Tickets on Sale Now

Palate to Palette Image

Enjoy a sumptuous offering of fine food by the area’s top restaurants and caterers, plus a variety of local beer and wine at Palate to Palette, a delicious and art-filled fundraiser for the Lyme Art Association (LAA). This event, which takes place, Thursday, Oct. 20, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. includes a silent auction featuring specially created works of art plus a live auction, entertainment … and a surprise appearance by a famous artist of old!

“What’s more fun than a fall night, celebrating great art by wonderful artists, fabulous food from local establishments and live music, all in support of our local Art Association. The LAA supports and showcases fine representational art and holds dear the rich history in which we were founded.  In support of this great organization, please join us for this wonderful event,” comments the Palette to Palate Chair.

Your palate will be pleased with fine food from A Thyme to Cook, Ashlawn Farm, Cloud Nine Catering, Coffees Country Market, Fromage Fine Foods & Coffee, Gourmet Galley, Lillian’s Café, Moxie Bar & Restaurant, Old Lyme Inn, and The Public House Restaurant.

This special evening includes live music by Buffalo Jr. Band as well as an appearance of a famous artist of old by Back Stage Players.

Reservations for Palate to Palette are $50 per person ($45 for LAA members).

For additional information on Palate to Palette and to make a reservation, visit www.LymeArtAssociation.org or contact LAA’s Director of Development Gary Parrington at gary@lymeartassociation.org.

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 the town’s historic district.

Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 12 to 5 pm, 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.

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Boathouse Construction Hits Early Snags: First Round of Change Orders Totals Almost $100, 000

Members of the Boathouse/Hains Park Improvements Committee gathered in Old Lyme Town Hall's mezzanine conference room for last Monday's meeting.

Members of the Boathouse/Hains Park Improvements Committee gathered in Old Lyme Town Hall’s mezzanine conference room for last Monday’s Special Meeting.

Members of the Boathouse/Hains Park Improvements Committee (BHPIC) clashed repeatedly at a Special Meeting held last Monday (Sept. 12) in the Old Lyme Town Hall.  Tensions were high since work on the boathouse — which had begun in mid-August — had been subject to various delays and cost increases.

The delays had arisen after it was determined that the existing foundation on which it had been planned to construct the new boathouse, was not strong enough for the new building. This, in turn, meant significant additional costs were about to be incurred to demolish and rebuild the foundation.

The old boathouse has been demolished and construction has begun on the boathouse at Hains Park.

The old boathouse has been demolished and construction has begun on the boathouse at Hains Park.

The first item on the agenda was to review a draft project budget, which had been requested some three weeks previously by Old Lyme’s Finance Director Nicole Stajduhar and Old Lyme Town Treasurer Timothy Griswold.

Paul Gianquinto, BHPIC Co-Chairman, had distributed a draft budget dated Sept. 8, to the committee but Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Robert Dunn maintained the document, “… is not a budget.”  He described it as an “expenditure budget” and contended that the committee should not move forward with any further expenditures until a “proper budget” was not only established but also agreed with Stajduhar and Griswold.

Dunn declared unequivocally, “This project has escalated to anything beyond what we thought.”  To support that contention, he noted the original project budget of $883,000, which was approved by the town at an Oct. 6, 2014, meeting (based on numbers agreed by the BHPIC on Sept. 30, 2014) showed $44,000 budgeted for the architect, but he noted that number now stands at over $63,000.

Similarly, Dunn said the estimated (proposed and committed) construction costs for Phase 1 (construction of the boathouse) had risen from the budgeted amount of over $533,000 to over $706,000, representing a 30 percent increase. The original number ($533,900) had been presented to the community in a update by the Old Lyme Selectmen on Jan. 25, 2016.

Construction equipment being used during the project stands on the site in front of Rogers Lake.

Construction equipment being used during the project stands on the site in front of Rogers Lake.

The project is funded by a State of Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant in the amount of $478,000, which was approved in 2013, and an additional $405,000 that was approved at the Oct. 6, 2014, Old Lyme Special Town Meeting.  An additional $50,800 was raised from private donations and added to the funds for the project.  The total available for the project is therefore $933,500.

Dunn explained his major concern regarding the cost overruns relates the fact that as costs rise beyond the original budget for Phase 1 (boathouse construction), the amount remaining for the items that benefit the broader community (Phase 2) diminishes.  That amount related to Phase 2, which the Old Lyme Selectmen noted in their Jan. 25, 2016, update to residents was $219,988, was intended for upgrades to the bathrooms, improvements to the parking lot and a community gazebo.

With the cost overruns to date, Dunn contended that the project was now “ … going up to over one million dollars.” Throughout the meeting, there was general agreement that costs had risen on the project and that, as First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder said, “We have to look for savings wherever we can.”

Old Lyme Town Treasurer Tim Griswold (standing) makes a point during the meeting.

Old Lyme Town Treasurer Tim Griswold (standing) makes a point during the meeting.

Dunn made a motion to table all further expenses until the committee had established a budget that was approved by the Town’s Finance Director and Treasurer.  During discussion of the motion, Gianquinto stated, “A budget was never approved or established by the town.”  Griswold, who was in the audience, noted, “After the project was approved at town meeting, [it would be expected] a budget would be prepared that would build in all allocations and expenditures.”

Griswold added that since the project had changed substantially subsequent to the town meeting (the second floor has been removed due to requirements related to the building being considered an “educational facility”) and “the scope of the project became less, [one] would think the committee would prepare a new budget.”

Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Director Don Bugbee, who is a voting member of the BHPIC, commented, “This is a hot-button topic. The committee needs to be fiscally responsible to the town.” He added, “A lot of people ask me questions [about the budget] and I can’t answer them.”  Gianquinto countered firmly, “I believe this is a budget.”

A new foundation must now be laid for the boathouse.

A new foundation must now be laid for the boathouse.

Griswold offered to work with Gianquinto to prepare a budget that included the additional information required to monitor actual expenses against proposed line item budgeted amounts so that, in Griswold’s words, “As costs increase, the budget would say you’re getting close to the maximum budget … [thus ensuring] there is no wolf at the door.”

There was considerable heated discussion about what the cost would be if the project were stopped, which was the predicted result of Dunn’s motion. Dunn said he hoped a budget could be agreed the next day, but Gianquinto was adamant, “The committee needs to make decisions tonight and to move forward.”

Bugbee asked what would happen if there were insufficient funds to “do a bathhouse.” Gianquinto responded that there were three possibilities — to collect additional funds, to reduce cost of the boathouse through value engineering or to place the bathhouse in the capital plan and treat it as a separate project.  Reemsnyder pointed out that a similar situation had arisen with the Sound View project, which had originally included restrooms and a green, but that for cost reasons those items had now been removed from the plans.

When the vote was taken on the motion, it was defeated five to one with BHPIC Co-chairmen Gianquinto and Paul Fuchs voting against it joined by Old Lyme Rowing Association Chairman Gregory Hack along with BHPIC members John Parker and Philip Carney.  Dunn voted in favor of the measure and Bugbee abstained.

hains_pk_sign_292x194After that vote, which enabled the committee to proceed with discussion of the draft budget that Gianquinto had prepared, Griswold commented, “You know a large expense is looming,” pointing out that “This is a snapshot as at right now — there’s no mention of a $100,000 change order.” Gianquinto submitted, “We can add additional lines,” to which Griswold responded, “[To prepare a budget] you will have to tell me… things that might come up.”

The change order Griswold mentioned was to demolish and replace the foundation. When it was discussed at the previous week’s Old Lyme Selectmen’s meeting, an amount of approximately $110,000 was being considered, but Gianquinto had negotiated during the ensuing week with the contractor and achieved a cost reduction to a little over $103, 000.  He stated he was not happy to be paying the amount but did not feel there was much choice.  That change order was approved along with one to delete the cupolas from the boathouse, which saved $5,900, and two others relating to hardware, which both will result in small credits to the budget totaling just over $1,000.

At the end of the meeting, Old Lyme Selectwoman MaryJo Nosal commented it had been, “A very tough meeting.”  She thanked all the members for their patience and Griswold for being there to help explain and resolve the budget matters.  Finally, she concluded, “The community wants this done.  We are a leader in this [type of project.]  Let’s get it done.”

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Talking Transportation: Don’t Blame Malloy for the Fare Hikes

metro-north-railroad-620x400Sure, it was sleazy of Governor Malloy and the CDOT to release news of a proposed five percent fare hike on Metro-North on a Friday afternoon in July, hoping nobody would notice.  But the more I dig into the proposal, the more I realize the Governor and CDOT are not to blame.

It’s the Connecticut legislature that’s really responsible for this fare hike.

Lawmakers this session left the Governor with a $192 million budget shortfall and every other branch of government has taken budget cuts and layoffs as a result.  Now it’s transportation’s turn to feel the pinch.

Pol’s on both sides of the aisle tell me Malloy could have saved millions by facing down the state employees’ unions and their rich benefits package.  Could’ve, maybe should’ve … but didn’t.

So now we’re looking at a five percent hike in train fares on Metro-North and Shore Line East and a 16 percent boost in bus fares starting in December.  Plus closing ticket windows, reduced maintenance and fuel savings.  And that’s just on the transit side.

Highway work will also be cut, hiring postponed and less salt purchased for the winter.  Service areas will be closed overnight and the volunteers who work in the Visitor Centers will be fired. Welcome to Connecticut!

So when you calculate the impact of all these cuts on your commute, by road or rail, call your State Rep and Senator and ask “why”?

Why are they allowing the Special Transportation Fund to run dry due to the dwindling revenues from the gas tax?

Ask Senate Majority leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and the usually pro-transportation Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) why they have opposed alternative funding mechanisms like the VMT (Vehicle Miles Tax), calling it “dead on arrival” before it was even explained, let alone studied.

Ask your elected officials what their plan is to pay for our existing transportation network, let alone expand it by the $100 billion Malloy has suggested.  They won’t have an answer.

Why?  Because they are running for re-election this November.  And none of them has the guts to tell you the truth:  we will all have to pay more to drive or commute by rail … as you’ll find out after the election when they approve new taxes.

What can we do in the meantime (aside from holding them accountable during the campaign)?  There have been some public hearings in September on the fare hikes with more to come* … and we should all turn out.

It will be political theater, but cathartic.  Commuters will rant and the folks from CDOT will listen and then do what they proposed.  Aside from cutting train service, a fare hike is about the only option.

And, of course as upstate lawmakers constantly remind us, those of us living on the “gold coast” are all millionaires, and we can afford it, right?

*9 Town Transit will hold a public hearing on its proposed price increases Thursday, Sept. 29, in Old Saybrook Town Hall at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Jim Cameron - Chairman of the CT Metro-North / Shore Line East Rail Commuter Council

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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750+ Volunteers Clean Beaches from Norwalk to New London Including Griswold Point in Old Lyme

Kendall Perkins displays a skull she found during Save The Sound's Coastal Clean-up Day held yesterday at White Sand Beach.

Kendall Perkins displays a skull she found during Save The Sound‘s Coastal Clean-up Day held yesterday at White Sand Beach.

Save the Sound, a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the environment, organized 31 cleanups across Connecticut’s shoreline this weekend. The efforts are part of International Coastal Cleanup, which brings together hundreds of thousands of people each year to remove plastic bags, broken glass, cigarette butts, and other trash from the world’s shores and waterways. One of the areas included in the cleanup effort was from White Sand Beach to the tip of Griswold Point in Old Lyme.

The event was founded by Ocean Conservancy in 1985, and Save the Sound has served as the official Connecticut coordinator for the last 14 years.

save_the_sound_logo“We didn’t plan it this way, but I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the 31st anniversary of International Coastal Cleanup Day than with 31 cleanups!” said Chris Cryder, special projects coordinator for Save the Sound. “The cleanup just keeps growing, in Connecticut and worldwide. We have some terrific new and returning partners this year, including the SECONN Divers, folks from the U.S. District Court, multiple National Charity League chapters, and many more.”

Cryder continued, “The diversity of the groups involved really reflects the truth that ocean health affects all of us. Clean beaches and oceans are safer for beachgoers and boaters, they’re healthier for wildlife that aren’t eating plastic or getting tangled up in trash, and they’re economic powerhouses for the fishing and tourism industries.”

The cleanups are co-hosted by a wide array of local partners including high schools, youth groups, and scout troops; churches; boaters and divers; watershed associations, park stewards, and land trusts. Twenty-eight cleanups will be held Saturday, with three more on Sunday and others through mid-October, for a total of 70 cleanups statewide.

Based on the estimates of cleanup captains, between 750 and 900 volunteers were expected to pitch in on Saturday alone. Last year, a total of 1,512 volunteers participated in Save the Sound cleanups throughout the fall. They collected more than three tons of litter and debris from 58 sites on Connecticut beaches, marshes, and riverbanks.

Over the event’s three-decade history, 11.5 million volunteers have collected 210 million pounds of trash worldwide. Every piece of trash volunteers find is tracked, reported to Save the Sound, and included in Ocean Conservancy’s annual index of global marine debris. The data is used to track trends in litter and devise policies to stop it at its source.

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Christ The King Church Hosts ‘Harvest Fun Day’ Today

All the fun of the fair will be happening Saturday at Christ the King's Harvest Fun Day.

All the fun of the fair will be happening Saturday at Christ the King’s Harvest Fun Day.

Harvest Fun Day takes place at Christ the King Church on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features the King’s Rummage Sale, a silent auction, a bake sale, kids’ games and crafts, great food, and an autumn plant sale.

Harvest Fun Day celebrates Autumn in Old Lyme, Sept. 21

There’s something for everyone at the King’s Rummage Sale on Saturday.

The Rummage Sale, bake sale, and plant sale will continue Sunday morning (Sept. 18), 9 a.m. to noon (while supplies last).

Visit www.christthekingchurch.net for directions.

For more information, call 860-434-1669.

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Old Lyme Historical Society Hosts Popular Antique Appraisal Event Today

A member of the Old Lyme Historical Society looks on as Carol Brevard of Brevard Appraisal and Estate Services examines an antique candelabra at the Old Lyme Historical Society’s antiques appraisal event “Vintage!” in March 2013.

A member of the Old Lyme Historical Society looks on as Carol Brevard of Brevard Appraisal and Estate Services examines an antique candelabra at the Old Lyme Historical Society’s 2013 antiques appraisal event.

The Old Lyme Historical Society will hold their highly popular Annual Antique Appraisal event on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall, 52 Lyme St., in Old Lyme.

Experienced and well respected appraisers will be on hand to give verbal assessments of articles brought in by the public. They include:

  • OLHSI_Antique_Poster_2016Jeffrey Cooley, owner of the Old Lyme-based Cooley Gallery, whose speciality includes American art including 19th Century Hudson River School and American Impressionism.
  • Nancy Hoffman, who is a specialist in early country items and textiles, as well as linens, quilts, primitive country furniture and decorative pieces.
  • Joy Ruskin Hanes and Lee Hanes, owners of Hanes & Ruskin Antiques, both of whom have extensive experience in appraising 18th and 19th Century high-style furniture.
  • Edwin Nadeau, Jr., who has been the owner/operator of Nadeau’s Auction Gallery for over 34 years. He has been in the antiques business for 46 years, and has conducted many speciality and general sales in jewelry, and fine furniture. His daughter Heather, has been his appraisal assistant for many years.
  • Curt Wendler, owner of Curt Wendler Rare Books in Old Saybrook, CT has 30 years experience in buying and selling fine books. In addition to books, he will examine autographs, photos, posters and other ephemera.
  • Alice Winalski has been the owner of Nyman Jewelers in Old Saybrook since 2001, and has more than 20 years experience appraising customer’s jewelry. She is also a talented and creative jewelry designer.

The public is encouraged to bring photos in of any items, which they wish to have appraised that are too difficult to transport. Take multiple shots from all angles including any identifying signatures.

There are modest fees for the appraisal: $7 for one item, $14 for two items, and $20 for three items.

The 2016 Appraisal event is sponsored by Acorn Financial Services, All-Pro Automotive, Headlines Unisex Salon, James Meehan, Art & Design, Pasta Vita, M.J. DeRisio, William Pitt/Sotheby’s, Past OLHSI Board member, Sennheiser, Shore & Country Real Estate, and Shoreline Web News LLC, Publishers of LymeLine.com & ValleyNewsNow.com

Student volunteers from the Lyme-Old Lyme High School History Club will be helpers throughout the afternoon.

Refreshments will be served. There will also be door prizes, and musical entertainment.

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It’s ‘Save the Sound’ Coastal Clean-up Weekend! Volunteer to Help at White Sand Beach Today

save_the_sound_logoSave the Sound, a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the environment, is hosting coastal clean-ups at 70 sites across Long Island Sound’s Connecticut shoreline throughout September and October.

One of the clean-up sites is White Sand Beach to Griswold Point in Old Lyme where work will start today Sept. 17, at 9 a.m.  St. Ann’s Church in Old Lyme is co-hosting the clean-up. Members of the public are invited to register for cleanups here.

The clean-ups, co-hosted by local partners including civic associations, youth groups, churches, clubs, and environmental organizations, are part of the International Coastal Cleanup. This year’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day is tomorrow, Sept. 17. Twenty public cleanups are expected on Saturday, with two more on Sunday and others through mid-October. There are also additional private clean-ups.

Ocean trash threatens the health of beach-goers, birds, sea turtles, fish, and marine mammals, and damages economic activity such as tourism and the fishing industry. Every piece of trash volunteers find is tracked, reported to Save the Sound, and included in Ocean Conservancy’s annual index of global marine debris.

Ocean Conservancy founded ICC 31 years ago, and Save the Sound has been the official Connecticut coordinator since 2002. Over the event’s three-decade history, 11.5 million volunteers have collected 210 million pounds of trash worldwide.

In 2015, Save the Sound brought together 1,512 volunteers at 58 cleanups to remove over three tons of litter and debris from Connecticut beaches, marshes, and riverbanks.

For a complete list of public coastal clean-ups happening in Connecticut throughout September and October, visit Save the Sound’s blog.

Selected additional clean-ups on Saturday, Sept. 17 are:

  • Long Wharf Nature Preserve, New Haven. 10:00am – 2:00pm. With the New Haven Land Trust.
  • Branford Point Park, Branford. 9:00am – 12:00pm. With Yale Environmental Health Sciences and the East Shore District Health Department.
  • Hammonasset State Park, Madison. East Beach 9:00am – 12:00pm, West Beach 9 – 11:00am. West Beach with Friends of Hammonassett.
  • Ocean Beach Park, New London. 10:30am – 12:00pm. With the Cedar Island Marina Research Lab.

A selected clean-up on Sunday, Sept. 18 is:

  • City Pier, New London. 9:00am – 12:00pm. Underwater dive cleanup with the SECONN Divers.
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Celebrating Additions to Town Woods Playground Made Possible by Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women

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The Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women (LOLJWC) have been earnestly fundraising for sometime to collect sufficient funds to pay for new playground equipment at both Town Woods and Cross Lane Parks. Yesterday, the club hosted an event to celebrate the completion of their additions to the Town Woods playground, one of which was the exciting climbing frame pictured above.

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The LOLJWC ladies served delicious ice cream in many flavors to all courtesy of Cherrystones to Go.

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This young man especially enjoyed this new piece of equipment installed by the LOLJWC!

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Lyme-Old Lyme ‘Love Your Playground’ Chairman Anna Smith Reiter said a few words to mark the official opening of the additions to the playground that the club had funded.  She welcomed everyone and thanked all those who had supported their efforts.

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Congratulations to the LOLJWC on this tremendous effort, which continues now with this GoFundMe page where the club is fundraising for the playground equipment at Cross Lane Park.

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State Representative Devin Carney (left) came to celebrate and found time to chat with Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Chairman Robert Dunn.

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Old Lyme Town Clerk Eileen Coffee joined the celebrations with her granddaughter Hannah.

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Everyone there — and a whole lot more folk who could not be there — “loves this playground!”

Town_Woods_Playground

These gentlemen — from left to right, Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Chairman Bob Dunn, Old Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell and Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Director Don Bugbee — have all supported the LOLJWC efforts and were on hand to celebrate the opening.

balloonssky

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OL Library & St. Ann’s Host Art Show, Lecture Series on Plum Island

This signature painting for the 'Natural Beauty of Plum Island' exhibition is by John Sargent.

This signature painting for the ‘Natural Beauty of Plum Island’ exhibition is by John Sargent.

The Old Lyme–Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library and St. Ann’s Church announce their collaborative program series,The Natural Beauty of Plum Island: Sea, Seals  Sunsets and More beginning in September. The partnership will hold concurrent art exhibits and a lecture series.

The first art opening reception at the OLPGN Library will be held on Friday, September 16 from 5 to 7 p.m.  St. Ann’s will host an art opening luncheon reception at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18 following services.

In addition to the art exhibitions, a lecture series to educate the public about the island’s history, habitat and its preservation will be presented. The public is invited to attend the events and experience an amazing breadth of images of Plum Island in acrylics and pastels by painter John Sargent and photographs by Robert Lorenz.  The two exhibits will run until Nov. 23.

Experience the unprecedented access given to Sargent and Lorenz that allowed them to create works depicting beaches, rocky shorelines and coves, wildlife and the occasional visitors who come by boat and ferries. Sargent is a retired art teacher with a studio at his Quaker Hill home and Lorenz a retired commercial photographer, who divides his time between Old Saybrook and New York City.

The lecture series offers four distinct perspectives on the island by experts who will share their insights and knowledge of its importance to our region.  All programs begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Note the location for each lecture.

Thursday, Sept 22 at OLPGN Library:

Preserving Plum Island for Future Generations” by Chris Cryder, Special Projects Coordinator for Save The Sound and Outreach Coordinator for the

Thursday, Oct 6 at Saint Ann’s Church:

Survey of the History of Plum Island” by Amy Folk, Collections Manager Southold Historical Society and co-author of the book “A World Unto Itself, The Remarkable History of Plum Island, New York”.

Thursday, Oct 27 at OLPGN Library:

Plum Island’s Place in the Geological History of Southern New England” by Ralph Lewis  Connecticut State Geologist Emeritus, and currently part-time Officiate of The Long Island Sound Resource Center  at the University of Connecticut- Avery Point   and a professor in residence in the Marine Studies Department  at UCONN- Avery Point.

Thursday, Nov. 10 at Saint Ann’s Church:

Plum Island’s Biodiversity, Birds, Bats, Bugs, and Basking Seals” by Matthew D. Schlesinger, PhD, Chief Zoologist New York Natural Heritage Program and Adjunct Assistant Professor, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Registration is expected for all lectures.

For programs at the Library, visit www.oldlyme.lioninc.orgfor the online calendar of events or call 860-434-1684 and ask for the Reference Desk. To register at St. Ann’s Church, call 860-434-1621 or email office@saintannsoldlyme.org.

The Library is located at 2 Library Lane, off Lyme Street in Old Lyme. Hours are Monday and Wednesday, 10am to 7pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 10am to 6pm; Friday, 10am to 5pm and Saturday, 10am to 4pm.

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9 Town Transit Plans Bus Fare Increases; Public Hearing Slated for Sept. 29 in Old Saybrook

AREAWIDE — To help offset a cut in state transit funding, the Estuary Transit District is considering an increase to fare on all 9 Town Transits services.

The proposal would see the cash fare on all routes increase from $1.50 to $1.75. Trips on Dial-A-Ride and off-route would increase from $3 to $3.50.  Multi-ride tickets and monthly passes will increase to $15.75 and $57, respectively.

The fare proposal also includes the agency’s first disabled fare.  It would provide a discounted rate of $0.85 to persons with disabilities.  ETD says this would provide relief to many in the disabled community that heavily rely on public transit.

ETD officials say the increase is necessary due to a prevent service reduction following a statewide cut by the state to transit budgets.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 4 until 6 p.m. at Old Saybrook Town Hall first floor conference room, 302 Main St, Old Saybrook, CT.  Written comments may be submitted until Oct. 14, to Estuary Transit District, 17 Industrial Park Rd, Suite 6, Centerbrook, CT 06409.

For a full listing of the new fare schedule, visit <a href=”http://www.9towntransit.com/fares”>www.9towntransit.com/fares</a> or call 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.

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Read This Well-Researched Op-Ed on the High Speed Rail Proposal from The Courant

This excellent op-ed titled, “Don’t Let Amtrak Tear Through Shoreline Villages,” was published today on the courant.com.  The author is Robert M. Thorson, who is a professor at the University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

The op-ed begins:

“Late last month, more than 500 enraged citizens crammed into an auditorium in the sleepy hollow of Old Lyme to beat up on bureaucrats from Washington. Led by a gang of national and state senators, representatives, mayors, first selectmen and business leaders, they lambasted the Federal Railroad Administration for proposing a new high-speed rail corridor through southeastern Connecticut and western Rhode Island.

The topic was Amtrak‘s Acela Express …”

Click here to read the column in full.

 

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Old Lyme’s O’Hanlon Named a ‘Mentor of the Year’ by Robinson+Cole Law Firm

Edward (Ted) O'Hanlan

Edward (Ted) O’Hanlan

Robinson+Cole recently recognized eight lawyers for pro bono work, community service, mentoring, and promoting an inclusive work environment. Included among them was Edward (Ted) V. O’Hanlan of Old Lyme, who was one of three lawyers to be presented with the Robinson+Cole Mentor of the Year Award.

This award recognizes and honors lawyers throughout the firm for their outstanding guidance, support, and encouragement of fellow lawyers in their pursuit of professional growth. The other two lawyers receiving the award were Nuala E. Droney and John B. Lynch Jr.

Robinson+Cole is a service mark of Robinson & Cole LLP, an Am Law 200 firm with 200 lawyers in nine offices serving regional, national, and international clients, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. For more information, please visit www.rc.com.

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Webster Bank Selected as NEDA’s Business of the Year

Webster Bank has announced it has been chosen as the Business of Year by the Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA). The award was presented Sept. 12 during NEDA’s annual conference in New Haven, Connecticut.

John Guy, executive vice president and director of business banking, accepted the award on Webster’s behalf and spoke at the conference. “Over the years, our vision has grown, our mission has evolved, but our core values have remained the same – helping businesses and consumers achieve their financial goals,” said Guy. “This is about making communities where we live and work safer, stronger, and more vibrant through strong business relationships; and as they prosper, so will we.”

The award is given each year to a regional for-profit company that has shown outstanding and continued commitment to the economic well-being of the communities it serves. It also recognizes initiatives related to labor/workforce development, entrepreneurship, and overall understanding and support of local economic development issues.

Based in Liverpool, New York, NEDA was founded in 1956 as the Northeastern Industrial Developers Association. As a professional resource for economic developers, it has promoted professional economic and industrial development throughout the Northeast and has championed effective, innovative economic development practices for the past 60 years.

Webster Bank is a leading regional bank serving businesses and consumers in the northeast and celebrating its 80th anniversary.

Webster Financial Corporation is the holding company for Webster Bank, National Association. With $25.1 billion in assets, Webster provides business and consumer banking, mortgage, financial planning, trust, and investment services through 176 banking centers and 347 ATMs. Webster also provides telephone banking, mobile banking, and Internet banking.

Webster Bank owns the asset-based lending firm Webster Business Credit Corporation; the equipment finance firm Webster Capital Finance Corporation; and HSA Bank, a division of Webster Bank, which provides health savings account trustee and administrative services. Webster Bank is a member of the FDIC and an equal housing lender. For more information abou

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