May 22, 2019

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Remembering Chip

Chip Dahlke

UPDATED 12/12: There is now a wonderfully appropriate  commentary on Chip’s passing at this link,
written (we presume) by his children.

We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Chip Dahlke’s passing this past weekend.  Chip, who founded the Lyme Farmers Market back in 2001 — or thereabouts, was a larger-than-life character with an even bigger heart.

There have been numerous Facebook tributes at this link recalling Chip’s friendship, wit, kindness, and the fact he was “one of a kind.”  One writer said wistfully — undoubtedly expressing a sentiment shared by many — that, “Summer Saturdays will not be quite the same.”

We do not have any details of his obituary or services at this time, but will publish both as soon as they are received.

Mary Stone, who was intimately involved in the continuation of the Market once Chip decided to move into the background of the operation, told LymeLine, “Chip loved his children and Ashlawn Farm. He regarded the farm as a town treasure to be shared with all of us at concerts in the field, farm-to-table dinners, the Tour de Lyme, and the Lyme Farmers Market.”

She added, “Chip ran the Market out of his back pocket, where any paperwork resided. For 14 years, he coordinated vendors and musicians and publicity with little apparent effort. The Market had been started as a way to draw more customers to the coffee shop, but it soon became apparent that the coffee shop drew people to the field. In the Market newsletter, he gained many fans with his curmudgeonly skewering of trends, fads, local vendors, and a reliable rant against over-pampered pets and kale in any form.”

Stone summed up Chip beautifully in these words, saying, “He was a true original, a devoted father and friend, who loved to share his home and land.”

A Note from our Publisher: On a personal note, we would like to add that Chip was an early and fervent supporter of LymeLine.com.  Back in 2004, he summoned me to Ashlawn Farm to explain in his own inimitable way that he respected our efforts and wanted to know how he could help. 

He started contributing a monthly financial column and then continued to advertise the Lyme Farmers Market with us (when he didn’t really need to!) for many years. 

His support when we were just a fledgling business was not only extremely generous but also incredibly important to us in terms of convincing us that we were doing something worthwhile. We will be forever indebted to Chip for giving us such tangible — and intangible  — support.

We send our sincere condolences to Chip’s family on his passing and agree with so many others that the world will just not be the same without him.

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Our Top 10 Most Read Stories of 2018

In 2018, our LymeLine year was dominated by stories related to the affordable housing proposal on Neck Rd., which prompted one of the largest town meetings in our experience and drew opinions across the spectrum. Six of our 10 most read stories related to that topic including two Letters to the Editor and three Op-Ed’s.

Interestingly though, in our review of the most read stories of 2018, it was not one of those many articles that attracted the highest readership but rather the one relating to the recent passing of Chip Dahlke, shown in the photo at right, which was such a great and tragic shock to so many in our community.

Pam Russell (left) and daughter Lisa in a photo taken early in 2018. Lisa was the victim of a serious accident in spring 2018.

In fact, the affordable housing stories do not enter the rankings until #3 on our list of 10 following our story about another tragic event — the horrific accident that befell Lisa Russell in Boston and the subsequent blood drive held in Old Lyme in her honor. Lisa’s dad Andy is long-time chair of the Old Lyme Board of Finance, mom Pam is a language arts teacher in Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and Lisa graduated in 2007 from Lyme-Old Lyme High School.

The affordable housing article in third place was, in fact, not a report on that packed meeting but rather a Letter to the Editor from some local members of the clergy on the subject.

This photo shows the black bear that was seen in Hadlyme. Photo by E & J Bjornberg.

Other significant stories in our Top 10 Most Read Stories were the death of a sheep by a black bear in Lyme and the announcement by University of New Haven just days before the fall semester was due to begin that they were pulling out of Lyme Academy leaving the college with an uncertain future.

Our full listing of our most read stories of 2018 is as follows:

  1. Remembering Chip Published 12/11/18
  2. Community Comes Out in Force to Support Blood Drive Honoring Lyme-Old Lyme HS Grad Lisa Russell Published 7/08/18
  3. Letter to the Editor: Old Lyme Clergy Speak Out in Support of Affordable Housing Published 6/09/18
  4. Black Bear Kills Sheep in Lyme, Residents Warned to Take Precautions; DEEP Notes Black Bears Rarely Aggressive to Humans Published 9/30/18
  5. Boisterous Crowd Packs Middle School Auditorium to Listen to, Give Opinions on HOPE’s Affordable Housing Proposal Published 6/08/18
  6. Op-Ed: SECoast Questions Proposed HOPE Development in Old Lyme Published 5/11/18
  7. Op-Ed: ‘A Project Without Solutions’: SECoast Director Questions Possible Approval of HOPE’s Affordable Housing Proposal Published 9/12/18
  8. Letter to the Editor: Two “Inescapable Facts” About Affordable Housing in Old Lyme Published 6/10/18
  9. University of New Haven to Stop Granting Degrees at Lyme Academy in 2019 Published 8/27/18
  10. Op-Ed: HOPE Explains Background, Process to Their Affordable Housing Proposal in Old Lyme Published 5/24/18
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