April 5, 2020

Lyme, Old Lyme Churches Offer Online Services for Palm Sunday

LYME/OLD LYME — In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and in order to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order requiring no public gatherings of more than five people, the churches in Lyme and Old Lyme are again planning online services for this Palm Sunday weekend.

Christ The King added a livestream version of their 5 p.m. mass last Saturday and will be continuing that practice going forward. Christ The King is also livestreaming daily masses at 12 p.m.

Details of this weekends services are as follows:

Christ The King Church:
To view the live stream of the 5 p.m. mass on Saturday, join a Zoom Meeting at:

Meeting ID: 223 857 915
Password: 634317

and for the 10:30 a.m. mass on Sunday, join a Zoom Meeting at:


Meeting ID: 225 302 077
Password: 364282

A new link for Daily Masses will be given soon.

First Congregational Church of Old Lyme:
A link will soon be available for tomorrow’s service. We will post it here as soon as we receive it.
View an update from Senior Associate Minister Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager at this link.

First Congregational Church of Lyme:
Email Pastor Susan Olson at pastorsusanolson@gmail.com or Emily Bjornberg for the URL to view the Sunday, April 5 online service, which will also be streamed onto Facebook live at: https://www.facebook.com/lymechurchct

Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church:
Online services are available at this link.

South Lyme Union Chapel:
Worship services are cancelled Sunday, April 5.


Griswold Says Four Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Old Lyme Now; One Lives in Florida But Used an Old Lyme Address

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold informed us this morning in a text message that there are now four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Old Lyme. They are a 64-year-old female, a 21-year-old female  a 27-year-old male and a 53-year-old female. The latter case listed is the most recently confirmed case, having been identified after Griswold had sent out his update yesterday to town residents stating there were three cases.

Griswold noted that the 21-year-old female was tested in Florida, but used an Old Lyme address although she does not live here. Because she gave the Old Lyme address, Griswold said that Ledge Light Health District must report her as an Old Lyme resident.


Webinar This Morning Offers Info on Habitat Assessments for Landowners, Volunteers

Photo by Linda Waters.

LYME — Audubon Connecticut, the Town of Lyme, Lyme Land Trust,  and partners are offering an opportunity Saturday morning (April 4) for landowners (and volunteers) in the Lyme Forest Block to participate in a free forest habitat assessment.

Join a free webinar (hosted on Zoom) from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. for an overview of the assessment process.

A forest habitat assessment is an inventory of songbird and forest habitat conditions. Audubon-trained volunteers conduct the assessment, and then the assessment and accompanying report become a resource for landowners who want to manage their woodlands with birds in mind.

Landowners are under no obligation to implement recommendations.

Visit this link for more information.

An RSVP is requested. For questions, more information, and to RSVP, contact Kelly Morgan at kelly.morgan@audubon.org or 860-234-7630.


Closures, Cancellations & Postponements in Lyme, Old Lyme, & Locally: Updated Friday

LYME & OLD LYME: Today, we have updated our summary of closures and cancellations in our local area related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have added new information in red.

Please email us at editor@lymeline.com with any additions or corrections.  Many thanks to all who have been updating us regularly done so already.

And PLEASE continue to stay safe and healthy, do not gather in groups of more than FIVE, practice social distancing at all times and keep washing those hands …


The Primary election scheduled for April 28, has been rescheduled to June 2, 2020. Absentee Ballot Applications already received by the Lyme and Old Lyme Town Clerks will be used for the new date. If you would like to request an absentee ballot for the Primary, click here, For more information on the Primary, visit the Town of Lyme website or the Town of Old Lyme website.


Old Lyme Town Hall: Closed to the public, but town hall will be staffed and offices reachable by phone and email. People who need to conduct face-to-face business with a department must call that department to discuss whether they can schedule an appointment. Full details at this link.

Lyme Town Hall: Closed to the public. Residents may contact Town Hall during normal business hours by phone at 860-434-7733 or the Board of Selectmen by email at AsktheLymeBOS@gmail.com. Full details at this link.

Lymes’ Senior Center: Closed until further notice. The town nurse will still remain open at this site Monday to Friday 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Those normally eating lunch at the center will be able to order a lunch “to go” at the Estuary Senior Center in Old Saybrook by calling (860) 388-1611 before 11 a.m. the day before. Those wishing to use this service must go to the Estuary in Old Saybrook to pick it up. Full details at this link.


Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools:

  • All LOL Schools and the Central Office are closed until at least April 20. Staff members are still working and available by phone and email.
  • Breakfasts and lunches are being are being distributed FREE for all students attending LOL Schools regardless of their economic status. Pick up hours are from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in front of the high school. Anyone can pick up a meal provided he/she has the name(s) of the student for whom the meal is intended.
  • The LOL Schools Policy & Communications Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, April 8, at 6 p.m. will be held as planned. The public will be able to view this virtual meeting on the district’s website.

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB): All LYSB programs are cancelled through at least April 20. Programs will be resumed when Lyme-Old Lyme Schools re-open. LYSB staff will be in touch regarding rescheduling and/or refunds when more information is available. Staff members are working on a modified schedule and are available by phone and email. Let them know if they can help your family during this time.

Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center: Closed through April 20, when the situation will be re-assessed to see if the closure needs to continue.

Old Lyme Parks and Recreation Department: All Town of Old Lyme Recreation Facilities will be closed to all team/group use until further notice. These facilities include Town Woods Park, Hains Park and Cross Lane Park.


Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library: Closed to the public until further notice. Staff will continue to answer phone and email inquiries as they are able.  Complete contact information can be found here. In the meantime, readers are encouraged to make use of online collections (e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and more) found on the library website.

Lyme Public Library: Closed to the public until further notice. Library staff will report to work and do their best to help patrons via phone and email. Interlibrary loan service has been suspended due to the large number of libraries in CT that are closed. Digital services are available 24/7 for ebooks, audio books, tv shows, and movies. Library staff will try to assist you in setting up your accounts via phone if you are not already using these services.


Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries has closed all meal sites but maintained their food pantry pick-up service. No registration is required – groceries will be brought outside to client.



See this new listing of take-out options prepared by LYSB staff

Bee and Thistle Inn: Restaurant is closed temporarily until further notice, but is now offering take out, Wednesday-Sunday, 5 to 7:30 p.m. To place your order, call the inn at 860-434-1667. Bee & Thistle Inn staff will gladly bring your order to your car. As always, the safest and cleanest food preparation is being practiced.

Kokomo’s Restaurant & Beach Bar: Open for takeout and delivery options Sunday through Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Call 860-390-6403 or visit http://ow.ly/HYHe50yO8Jx to place your order now and save 20%.

Old Lyme Inn restaurant & Side Door Jazz Club:Both closed until further notice.

The Hideaway: Now offering curb side take-out. Call 860-434-1455 and order. Staff will bring your take-out to your car.

Teddy’s Old Lyme Pizza Palace: Open for pick-up orders only. Use their online ordering system at teddysoldlymepizzapalace.com


Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association has cancelled all visits. Call Cindi Taylor at 860-876-0456 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. if you would like prescriptions picked up.

Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) Contact our regional health center currently by phone at 860-448-4882 and/or e-mail at kmagnussen@llhd.org


9 Town Transit is still running a regular service.  Ridership was normal last week but is down 50 percent this week. May require service to be reduced, but Demand Response will continue regardless.


Florence Griswold Museum: Closed to the public through at least April 30; all programs cancelled during this time.  The Garden Luncheon scheduled for early May has been cancelled.

Lyme Art Association (LAA): LAA galleries are now closed and all programs and events are postponed at least through the end of March. LAA administration are monitoring the situation and will reassess in coming weeks. Staff may be contacted by email, and intermittently by phone.

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts: Campus closed until further notice. Early April class offerings have been postponed with plans to offer them in the fall. Open drawing sessions postponed until the end of March. The Academy is not planning to cancel the classes beginning April 20 at this time, so enrollment is still open. It is also planned to reschedule the first lecture in the portrait series — new date will be posted as soon as it is available. Staff are working at home. If you have any questions, contact stacey@lymeacademy.edu or kimberly@lymeacademy.edu or call  860.434.5232. Egg’stravaganza’ scheduled for Sunday, April 5, has been cancelled.

Musical Masterworks: All concerts for the remainder of the season are cancelled.

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds: The studio and indoor facilities will be closed to the public until further notice. However, individuals are still welcome to stroll the grounds, enjoy nature and view the public artwork outdoors at the Sculpture Grounds, so long as you practice social distancing and other infection reduction strategies as outlined by the CDC. Sculptor Gil Boro has always encouraged visitors to touch and engage with the artwork, however, at this time, he asks that you refrain from all physical contact with the sculptures.


Christ The King Church: All Masses are temporarily suspended in terms of in-person attendance. The 5 p.m. mass on Saturdays and the 10:30 a.m. mass on Sundays are being live-streamed — details for accessing the link are on the church website. Faith Formation classes at Christ the King Church are canceled until further notice. 

First Congregational Church of Old Lyme: Sunday worship services are cancelled until further notice. A service is recorded each week and then posted online each Sunday morning and also disseminated through the church website, Facebook page and email.

First Congregational Church of Lyme:  Email Pastor Susan Olson at pastorsusanolson@gmail.com or Emily Bjornberg for the URL to view the Sunday, April 5 online service, which will also be streamed onto Facebook live at: https://www.facebook.com/lymechurchct

Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church: Worship services are cancelled and will be resumed Sunday, May 17. Online services are available at this link.

South Lyme Union Chapel: Worship services are cancelled until further notice.


Annual CROP Hunger Walk: The walk, which raises money for the Shoreline Food Pantries, scheduled for  Good Friday, April 10,  has been postponed.

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.: All activities suspended until further notice. The Big Barn Bash scheduled for June 13 has also been postponed.

Duck River Garden Club:  A decision on whether to hold the program scheduled for April 28 at Old Lyme Town Hall will be made nearer the time.

Lyme Land Trust: All planned events through April 30 are cancelled. The Tour de Lyme has been postponed until Sunday, Sept. 13.

Potapaug Audubon: All programs cancelled until further notice.

Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC): Center on Halls Road is closed and staff are working from home as RTPEC transitions to a virtual center. Children’s education programs are also suspended, but teacher naturalists are in communication with schools to implement virtual backyard nature programs for children and families. Outdoor field trips are cancelled for the time being; however, they will begin them again as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, if you follow RTPEC on social media, look for their interactive, fun and educational opportunities for all ages.

The Bowerbird: Now offering free curbside pick-up. Phone in your order or order online through their website, selecting “In-Store Pickup” at checkout. Leave a note for curbside pick-up in the comments.

Vitality Spa: Closed temporarily until further notice.


Further afield in the local region:

Connecticut River Museum: Closed until at least April 12. Staff still working either at home or in the museum. RiverFare scheduled for June 4 is postponed. Full details at this link.

Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra: All upcoming events cancelled through April 30. Instrumental Competition (March 14) rescheduled in the summer or early fall. “Spring Strings” (March 28) concert at the Garde Arts Center tentatively postponed to May 23.

Essex Winter Series: April 26 concert cancelled.

Ivoryton Playhouse: Forbidden Broadway Comes to Ivoryton and The Great Gatsby have been cancelled. Tickets still on sale for later shows in the season.

Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, “The Kate”: All performances through April 30 are postponed.

Madison Lyric Stage: Double-bill of Suor Angelica and Erwartung, originally scheduled to take place in late March and early April, has been rescheduled and will now take place June 4-14. For more information, visit madisonlyricstage.org or call 203-215-6329.

Mystic Seaport: Closed through at least March 31.

SECWAC (Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council): All programs cancelled.


Red Cross Holds Blood Drive Today in Old Lyme, Appointments Required; Critical Blood Shortage Exists Due to COVID-19 Crisis

OLD LYME  –  04/02: UPDATED INFORMATION FROM THE AMERICAN RED CROSS. Kelly Isenor, External Communications Manager for the American Red Cross in Connecticut, told us yesterday afternoon that she believes they, “are still trying to add a few more appointments to Old Lyme.” So if you are thinking about donating blood today but do not not have an appointment, we recommend going down to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme anyway to find out what the latest situation is. Thank you in advance!

Isenor had responded Tuesday evening to several questions we had sent her previously. She apologized for the delay but said she had been inundated with inquiries.

She told us:

  1. “We are working to add staff and secure additional appointment slots for the blood drive in Old Lyme.
  2. We are not taking walk-ins [for the Old Lyme Blood Drive.] Appointments are necessary due to the enhanced safety protocols now in place, including the pre-screening of donors before they are allowed into the donation room.

  3. The Old Lyme Drive was moved [from the Town Hall to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme] to accommodate the additional space needed to ensure proper spacing between donor beds, as well as donor chairs in the waiting and refreshment areas.

An American Red Cross Blood Drive will be held Thursday, April 2, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

The American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed now to donate to help patients counting on lifesaving blood. 

Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. 

As the coronavirus pandemic has grown in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have grown at an alarming rate. To date, nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak. These cancellations have resulted in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. More than 80 percent of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at locations of this type.

Here in the Connecticut Region, 46 blood drives have been canceled, resulting in 1,299 fewer blood donations. The Red Cross is adding appointment slots at donation centers and expanding capacity at many community blood drives across the country over the next few weeks to ensure ample opportunities for donors to give. 

Volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need

The Red Cross expects the number of cancellations to continue to increase, which is causing heightened concern for blood collection organizations and hospitals across the country. This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer.

“In our experience, the American public comes together to support those in need during times of shortage and that support is needed now more than ever during this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “Unfortunately, when people stop donating blood, it forces doctors to make hard choices about patient care, which is why we need those who are healthy and well to roll up a sleeve and give the gift of life.” 

The Red Cross is committed to blood drive safety

“We know that people want to help, but they may be hesitant to visit a blood drive during this time. We want to assure the public that blood donation is a safe process, and we have put additional precautions in place at our blood drives and donation centers to protect all who come out,” said Hrouda.

The Red Cross has implemented new measures to ensure blood drives and donation centers are even safer for our donors and staff, including: 

  • Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy.
  • Providing hand sanitizer for use before the drive, as well as throughout the donation process.
  • Spacing beds, where possible, to follow social distancing practices between blood donors.
  • Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.

At each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees already follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection, including:

  • Wearing gloves and changing gloves with each donor.
  • Routinely wiping down donor-touched areas.
  • Using sterile collection sets for every donation. 
  • Preparing the arm for donation with an aseptic scrub.

There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide. 

“Volunteer donors are the unsung heroes for patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions. If you are healthy, feeling well and eligible to give, please schedule an appointment to give now,” added Hrouda. 

Blood donation process

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements. 

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Editor’s Note: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center Launches Fundraising Effort to Overcome Closure Challenges During COVID-19 Crisis

Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center on Lyme Street has launched a fundraiser to help with all its expenses while it is closed during the Coronavirus pandemic.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center (OLCLC) on Lyme St. has announced a fundraising effort to enable it to keep its doors open after the COVID-19 crisis has dissipated.

Due to the recent outbreak of the virus, the OLCLC, which was founded more than 30 years ago by the late and much beloved Connie Pike, was obliged to close for the safety of its families and staff. In line with public schools in Connecticut, it will not reopen until April 20 at the earliest.

Kristen St. Germain, who serves as president of the OLCLC Board of Directors explained the challenges that the organization is facing to LymeLine in an email, saying, “The OLCLC is a non-profit organization and solely funded by tuition and fundraising, Being closed for this amount of time and keeping our staff on payroll and maintaining our monthly expenses could put us out of business within six months.”

The aim of the GoFundMe effort is to ensure that a safe and nurturing environment will be available once more for these children and all the others who attend the Center when the COVID-19 crisis is over.

St. Germain added, “We don’t have a reserve of cash due to our non-profit status and have worked so hard to keep Connie Pike’s legacy going. Connie worked tirelessly to keep this Center around for over 30 years and we are hoping to do the same.” She noted, “We also don’t want to lose our staff at the end of this and have children return to faces they don’t recognize. Some of our staff have been around a long time and we are hoping to keep it that way.”

Putting a personal spin on the situation, St. Germain noted, “The Center helped raise my own three children and many of the teachers’ children in Region 18. We hope it is there to support them all for 30 more!”

The board and staff have opened a GoFundMe page at this link in order to raise money to support the OLCLC and allow it to continue to serve the children and their families in the local area.


Lymes’ Senior Center Offers Free, Temporary Membership to ALL Lyme, Old Lyme Residents: Membership Includes Virtual Exercise Classes

Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Gould. (File photo)

LYME/OLD LYME — In a welcome and positive response to the COVID-19 crisis, Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Gould, has announced today that the Center is now offering free, temporary membership to all residents of Lyme and Old Lyme — not just those 55 and over.

She explains, “This membership would allow you to participate in all of our virtual programs. Currently, we are offering many yoga classes and other exercise classes on Zoom and Youtube, and we will be adding beginner and intermediate country line dancing classes and a Pilates class next week as well.”

Gould notes, “Coronavirus has changed our regular life quite significantly and many of the daily activities that we took for granted can no longer happen for the time being,” adding, “To that end, the Center has begun virtual exercise classes and group get-togethers to help us cope with the isolation we all feel.”

This offer of temporary, free membership to all residents will extend through the duration of the self-isolation period effort and in Gould’s words, is an attempt “to make a difference to all of our neighbors.”  As a member, you will also receive a weekly email with information about the Center’s virtual programs, boredom busters, and the Corona Virus.

If you are interested in a free membership, email seniorcenter@oldlyme-ct.gov with your details.


Old Lyme Announces First Confirmed Case of COVID-19

OLD LYME — Updated 3/31: We learned today from First Selectman Griswold that the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Old Lyme is a female, aged 64.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold announced in a statement published at 11 a.m. Sunday (March 29) morning that, “Old Lyme now has our first confirmed case of a resident who has tested positive for COVID-19,” adding, “We will keep this individual and their family in our thoughts and wish them a full recovery.”

The statement continues, “As this disease has spread rapidly across the state, it is not surprising that our community has been affected as well. This news is not cause for panic. Continue to wash your hands with soap often, avoid crowds, practice social distancing, stay home and limit outside travel, and remember to call and check on your neighbors and loved ones.”

Griswold emphasizes, “The best thing we can do at this juncture is to continue to pull together as a town. If you exhibit any of the signs of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) please be sure to call your doctor right away. Isolate yourself within your home, away from other family members, if possible. If you need to call for emergency services, make sure to let them know the symptoms you are experiencing so they can use personal protective equipment upon arrival.”

Concluding, “We realize that this news is unsettling,” Griswold notes, “We are working on creating a list of mental health resources that will be available on our website for those who need help coping with stress, anxiety, and/or panic. We are keeping all information about COVID-19 on our website. You can also sign up for text alerts by texting OLCOVID19 to 888-777. We will continue communicating updates as we move through these uncharted waters. If you have questions, please get in touch with the Ledge Light Health District.”


Talking Transportation: Memoirs of Metro-North Conductor

Jim Cameron

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to work for the railroad?

That’s what Paul Holland did for 39 years, first with Amtrak, later with Conrail and finally as a conductor on Metro-North.  His self-published “My Life As A Rear End” pays tribute to his time in cabooses, but it’s his commuter rail stories that kept me laughing.

Like the colorful crowd from the psychiatric hospital on the Harlem line who’d escape, often in their pajamas, and ride his trains, obviously unable to pay.  Or the many times he was assaulted by knife-wielding thugs only to be rescued by his 6 ft. 7 in. cross-dressing frequent rider, “Rocky”.

Over the years Holland collected his stories, often scribbling them on seat-checks. Upon his retirement it took him less than a year to pen his “memoirs”, many of which are far too racy to mention in this column.  Let’s just say that the diminutive conductor was very popular with the ladies.  It must have been the uniform.

Because he truly loved his job, and had three kids bound for college, Holland worked six or seven days a week.  Railroad conductors can work split shifts of up to 16 hours a day, and with his overtime, Holland averaged about 80 hours a week.

Some passengers would ask him the stupidest questions, like the riders who would congregate in the front car for a fast exit at Grand Central.  A common query: why can’t you add more cars to the front of the train?

Occasionally, Holland would work the last train to depart Grand Central, the 1 a.m. train making all local stops to New Haven, affectionately known as “The Vomit Comet”.  It was a quiet run, though getting inebriated passengers off at their correct stop was always a challenge.

He also tells the story of the German tourist who had parked his friend’s borrowed car at a remote station, returning late at night to find it had been stripped of all four wheels.  He thought it was the local cops penalizing him for parking without a permit.

Enforcing the rules in ‘The Quiet Car’ was a thankless job, like the time a passenger kevtched about another rider eating a smelly egg salad sandwich.  Not a violation, ruled Holland.

Or the passenger angry about the woman in ‘The Quiet Car’ talking, albeit quietly, on her cellphone.  “Tell her to shut the F up,” said the vigilante.  As Holland approached the woman, he heard her say, “Have a blessed Easter” before hanging up.  Holland returned to the complainant and said, “She’s a nun, but I’ll relay your message.”  As he turned to approach the woman again, the now-penitent passenger raced after him to say, “Never mind”.  Holland said, “He must have gone to Catholic school.”

Holland insists all his stories are true.  “I have witnesses,” he told me.

Retired and living in New Milford, Holland obviously misses his job and his passengers, some of whom he still keeps in touch with.  He says that over the years passengers have changed.  “These days they don’t seem to show any respect (for authority), especially the kids.”

As “the face of the railroad” Holland says he never minded facing angry passengers, upset about delays.  “I just always told them the truth and treated them the way I’d want to be treated.”

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

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


Register Now for ‘Race Against Hunger Virtual 5K’ to Benefit Connecticut Food Bank

WALLINGFORD/OLD LYME/LYME — Connecticut Food Bank and JB Sports are teaming up to host a virtual 5K to help feed Connecticut residents struggling with hunger during this critical time. The Race Against Hunger Virtual 5K will run from April 13 through April 19 and is presented by Stop & Shop.

Event proceeds will help Connecticut Food Bank as it faces increased operational costs to source, transport, and distribute food. In recent weeks, demand for food across Connecticut Food Bank’s network of 600 partners and programs has grown due to job losses and to increased need to have food on hand to sustain households that may need to shelter in place for extended periods.

Race Against Hunger is a virtual event perfectly suited for a time when people are encouraged to avoid crowded public settings. Participants can register and run or walk at any time between April 13 and April 19 at a location of their choosing. Participants complete their run or walk and send in their results and the event coordinator will compile a results database. 

Participants of Race Against Hunger may register any time before April 19 and run at any point between April 13 and April 19. JB Sports and Connecticut Food Bank ask participants to follow current health recommendations and avoid running or walking closer than six feet from anyone during their virtual run or walk.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented economic challenges for our communities,” said Beverly Catchpole, Senior Director of Development for Connecticut Food Bank. “We invite people to join our virtual 5K and help us continue to meet the growing need among our neighbors.”

Race Against Hunger is organized by Connecticut Food Bank and JB Sports.

“As we try to navigate through the challenges that coronavirus has brought to our lives, it is more important now than ever that we work together to help our neighbors whose lives have been impacted,” said Rudy DiPietro, Senior Vice President of Sales & Operations at Stop & Shop. “We are proud to be teaming up with Connecticut Food Bank in the Race Against Hunger to ensure all of our neighbors have access to food and nourishment.”

JB Sports, one of the top event management companies in Connecticut, also coordinates the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race and PLR Shamrock & Roll 5K.

Race Against Hunger is presented by Stop & Shop, with additional support from Webster Bank, Prudential, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, ConnectiCare, IRIS, Barrett Outdoor Communications, 99.1PLR, Star 99.9, WEBE 108, WICC 600, 95.9 The FOX and 94.3 WYBC.

To learn more about Race Against Hunger, visit www.jbsports.com or email kaitlin@jbsports.com

Editor’s Notes:
i) Connecticut Food Bank is committed to alleviating hunger in Connecticut by providing food resources, raising awareness of the challenges of hunger, and advocating for people who need help meeting basic needs. Connecticut Food Bank partners with the food industry, food growers, donors, and volunteers to distribute nutritious food to people in need. The Connecticut Food Bank distributes food through a network of 600 partners and programs in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, and Windham counties – where nearly 270,000 people struggle with hunger. Last year, Connecticut Food Bank distributed food to help provide 22.5 million meals. Visit us on the web at www.ctfoodbank.org, like us on Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter and Instagram

ii) A neighborhood grocer for more than 100 years, today’s Stop & Shop is refreshed, reenergized and inspired, delivering new conveniences for customers. Committed to helping its communities enjoy better food and better lives, Stop & Shop has a longstanding history of giving back to the neighborhoods it serves with a focus on fighting hunger and helping children to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC is an Ahold Delhaize USA Company and employs nearly 60,000 associates and operates over 400 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. To learn more about Stop & Shop, visit www.stopandshop.com


Griswold Asks People Coming to Old Lyme From ‘Possibly COVID-19 Infected Areas’ to Self-Quarantine for 14 Days

Old Lyme First Selectman  Tim Griswold.

OLD LYME — In his March 27 COVID-19 update to all residents, Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold says, “Over the past week we have received questions about summer residents returning early and out of town visitors who possibly have come from COVID-19 infected areas.”

He continues, “In response, we issued a statement on our website asking these residents and visitors to please voluntarily quarantine themselves along with other traveling family members. Ideally, the quarantine period would be 14 days and people should closely monitor their health.”

Griswold stresses, “During this time of emergency, it is even more important that we all be good neighbors to halt the spread of this disease within our community.”

The statement to which Griswold refers states, “Take your temperature two times a day and watch for symptoms.  If you feel sick and have symptoms call ahead to a doctor’s office or emergency room or clinic. Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms.”

Visit this page on LymeLine, Lyme, Old Lyme Leaders, Emergency Services Urge Residents, Visitors to ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’, for more advice from our towns on how to stay safe during this pandemic.


First Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Lyme

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

LYME — Lyme First Selectman Steve Mattson issued a statement at 2:10 p.m. today as follows:

The Connecticut Department of Public Health today confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 within the Town of Lyme.

The first thing I want to say, on behalf of the entire Lyme community, is that our thoughts and prayers for a complete recovery are with this individual, their family and their loved ones.

For the community at large, our main goal continues to be slowing the spread of the virus. The best way to do that is to practice social distancing and to follow the other public health recommendations that have been issued – everything from frequently washing your hands to eliminating all non-essential travel.

For the most up-to-date information on the state’s public health guidance and other resources, residents are encouraged to visit www.ct.gov/coronavirus. We need to take our public health experts’ advice to heart and limit any unnecessary person-to-person contact until further notice. These efforts are essential to help reduce the spread of the virus and limit the number of people who may become infected.

The Town’s COVID-19 Response Team and our Emergency Management Department are continuing to follow the comprehensive emergency response plans we have developed, practiced and refined over many years.

Our first responders – our fire company, our volunteer ambulance service and our Emergency Management Department – are mobilized and ready.

Our volunteer coordination effort has begun in anticipation of furthering outreach to our most vulnerable residents.

We continue to communicate and work closely with the Ledge Light Health District, the State Department of Public Health, the Governor’s office and other state and local partners.

The Town website and Facebook page continue to be updated with the latest public health news and information.

All residents continue to be encouraged to sign up for the Town email list on our website’s home page to receive important public health updates by email.

Our emergency response team will be on the job until it’s over.

We will get through this, together.

Stay Safe. Stay at Home.


Lyme, Old Lyme Leaders, Emergency Services Urge Residents, Visitors to ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’

LYME/OLD LYME — The boards of selectmen of both Lyme and Old Lyme and their respective Emergency Management Services are urging ALL RESIDENTS OF LYME AND OLD LYME AND ALL VISITORS TO OUR TOWNS to follow the guidelines from both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Connecticut.

The Lyme Board of Selectmen state in their most recent Public Health Update, “The main public health goal going forward continues to be slowing the spread of the virus.  The best way to do that is to practice social distancing and to follow the other public health recommendations that have been issued. ”

They continue, “We must all take our public health experts’ advice to heart and limit any unnecessary person-to-person contact until further notice.  These efforts are essential to help reduce the spread of the virus and limit the number of people who may become infected.”

Old Lyme Emergency Services Director David Roberge spoke to LymeLine by phone yesterday and had the same message, saying, “People must follow the CDC Guidelines and practice social distancing, wash hands frequently, and stay home whenever possible, especially when you feel unwell.”  He added that people should cover their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or  elbow when they cough or sneeze and not touch eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean.

The consistent advice from both towns is, in the words of the Governor, “Stay Safe, Stay Home.”



Town of Lyme Closes Public Library, Transfer Station, Hamburg Recycling Center, Town Garage; All Employees To Work from Home

Lyme Public Library is now closed  until further notice in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

LYME — Following the March 21, Governor’s order requiring all non-essential activities to cease, the Town of Lyme is taking the additional steps listed below in an effort to further reduce the exposure of residents and employees to the COVID-19 virus.  Municipalities are considered an essential service and the Town plans to continue operations where possible, though sometimes at a reduced level.

As of yesterday, Tuesday, March 24:

    • The Lyme Public Library will close until further notice. Please follow the Library’s website at www.lymepl.org for instructions regarding the availability of online access to books and other information.
    • All Town Hall employees will be instructed to work from home. Employees will be limited to a few hours each week at the Town Hall to maintain their department’s operations and address any required activities that may be received by U.S. mail. Such visits will be coordinated to assure only one employee is present in the building at any one time. Each department will monitor their emails and do their best to assist residents when possible. The email addresses of the major Town departments can be found on the website at www.townlyme.org/town-departments.
    • The Town’s Transfer Station will close and disposal of landfill materials will not be possible until further notice.
    • The Hamburg Recycling Center will close and recycling will not be possible until further notice.  Residents will either need to hang onto their recyclables for disposal at a future date or dispose of them as household garbage – that is, via their trash service with Jansky Rubbish who will be remaining open and servicing the town.
    • Town Boards and Commissions are instructed to hold any essential meetings via conference call only and encouraged to delay any business that is not mandatory. The Governor’s orders have approved such meetings, provided agendas are published on the Town’s website and provisions are made for interested residents to participate via phone. More information regarding the procedures to be used will be forthcoming and posted on the Town’s website when finalized.
    • The Public Works Department will operate on a reduced schedule and will respond to emergencies only. The Town Garage will be closed.
      Summarizing the situation in light of actions taken previously:
    • Lyme’s first responders – the fire company, ambulance service and Emergency Management Department – have prepared and are on standby should their services be needed.
    • The Town has developed a list of vulnerable community residents, who will be contacted and followed up with on an ongoing basis, in order to ensure that all residents have the support they require. Should an individual resident enter into isolation and wish to be included on this list, email the Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org and provide your name, street address, email address and phone number so that they can be included.
    • A volunteer list has been developed for Lyme residents interested in helping to make follow-up calls to the Town’s vulnerable citizens, and provide additional help that may become needed in the community. If interested in volunteering, email the Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org and provide your name, address, phone number and, if relevant, any specific skills you can offer..

Seidner Announces New Fund to Help Most Vulnerable Residents in Lyme, Old Lyme; All Donations up to $10K to be Matched by Benchmark Wealth Management

Benchmark Wealth Management partners Thomas J. Britt (center, left) and Richard W. Stout III stand with Executive Assistant Aileen Deutermann (left) and Operations Assistant Heather Moore. Benchmark is offering to match all donations to the newly-formed Lyme-Old Lyme Coronavirus Relief Fund up to a total of $10,000. Photo submitted.

LYME-OLD LYME – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new charitable fund has been established to provide financial support to the most vulnerable residents of Lyme and Old Lyme.  The Lyme-Old Lyme Coronavirus Relief Fund will be managed by the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB), in partnership with the Social Services Departments of the two towns.  Early donations have already been put to good use helping vulnerable citizens in both communities with essential needs such as groceries, fuel, diapers and assistance with rent.

Shortly after the fund was established, Benchmark Wealth Management announced it would match all donations on a one-to-one basis up to a total of $10,000.  Asked by email why Benchmark had decided to make such a generous donation, Rick Stout responded, “Tom [Britt] and I live in Old Lyme and have raised our families in the Lyme-Old Lyme community.  Doing good is a tenet of our business philosophy.”  Stout and Britt are the partners of the company.

Stout continued, “Current events will impact everyone, so where and when we can help, Benchmark is committed to doing so,” noting, “Additionally, we are actively supporting area businesses and nonprofits and their employees personally.  Small businesses and their employees, nonprofits, the self-employed and everyone working in the gig or tip-dependent economy is facing great uncertainty.”

He concluded, “Benchmark hopes to spur donations by those who are in a position to do so with our donation and challenge.”

All donations are tax deductible and can be made online at www.lysb.org/covid19.

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Director Mary Seidner comments, “Our communities are working together in unprecedented ways, and it is the hope that this fund will support our vulnerable residents on a path toward stability and recovery.”

Donors or residents with questions are encouraged to contact Seidner at mseidner@lysb.org or 860-434-7208.

Editor’s Note: Benchmark Wealth Management is located at 83 Halls Rd., Ste. 201, PO Box 525, Old Lyme CT 06371. For further information, call 860-434-6890.


Town of Old Lyme Launches ‘Stay Informed’ Program, a ‘One-Stop Information Shop’ for Residents (Roberge)

Old Lyme Emergency Services Director David Roberge. (File photo)

OLD LYME — Updated 2:30pm Old Lyme Emergency Director David Roberge took time out of his hectic schedule yesterday to tell us about the “Stay Informed” campaign launched by the Town in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The aim of the program, in Roberge’s words, is to be, “a one-stop shop for persons looking for information from the Town,” during this challenging period.

He noted that in order to opt in for free text alerts regarding Emergency Notifications and Safety Communications from the Town of Old Lyme, readers should text OLCOVID19 to 888-777. Roberge said, “After signing up, you’ll receive daily text information from us.”

Roberge also mentioned that the Covid-19 Information from Old Lyme Emergency Management page of the Town’s website is where you can find all the supporting information related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The page offers numerous links on the left hand side to external websites or webpages including the State of Connecticut, Town of Old Lyme, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB), Ledge Light Health District, lists of where to obtain take-out meals locally, and how both to get and give help regardless of whether you are an individual or a business. These links all help people answer questions related to their specific needs and basically fall into five categories as follows:

  • Health: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional
  • Commodities: where to obtain/purchase food, meals, products, etc.
  • Transportation: how to travel to and from places
  • Small business: how to request help locally and/or from the state
  • Pet problems: finding a veterinarian, seeking assistance

Roberge explained, “Old Lyme has formed a Task Force with members from the Town, LYSB, Social Services, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, and numerous local non-profits. The whole effort is being approached collectively and communicated via multiple platforms including websites, social media, and printed materials.” He noted, “All the information is being updated as frequently as possible.”

Roberge also recommended that all residents should sign up to receive Official Town E-Alerts if they have not already done so, pointing out that “It’s the easiest way for the Town to communicate with its residents any time — not just in Corona time!”

Stressing, “There are links on the Town website to “Get Help or Give Help” with buttons saying ‘I want to help’ and ‘I’m in need of help,‘ Roberge said,”Anyone should feel they can use these buttons to give or request assistance. We’re doing our very best to help everyone, including the business community.”

His final advice to residents was, “Remember to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and minimize contact with others.” He urged residents to read the information from the State of Connecticut on Covid-19 and follow their recommendations. He ended by echoing Gov. Lamont’s words, “Stay safe! Stay home!”

Editor’s Note: LymeLine.com is proud to be a partner in these efforts and is providing daily updates of Closures & Cancellations as well as all the latest community news. Please keep us updated by emailing editor@lymeline.com with any changes to your business or organization’s situation.



Non-Essential Businesses Must Close by 8pm Monday, DECD Defines ‘Essential’ Businesses That Can Stay Open

LYME/OLD LYME — State Representative Devin Carney (R-23), whose District includes Lyme and Old Lyme, sent us the detailed information announced yesterday by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) regarding which businesses are deemed essential in the state pursuant to Executive Order 7H.

That order had directed all businesses and nonprofit entities in the State of Connecticut to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely employ.

Executive Order 7H also directed that, no later than today, Monday, March 23, at 8 p.m., each non-essential business or nonprofit entity must reduce the in-person workforce at each business location by 100% from pre-state of emergency declaration employment levels.

This order excludes any state or local government agencies, quasi-public agencies, political subdivisions or other entities that do not constitute businesses or nonprofits.

The details announced yesterday by the DECD identify all essential businesses in a docment titled, Business Exemptions for Coronavirus – Executive Order 7H, which includes 12 different categories of businesses.

If the function of your business is not listed as one of the Business Exemptions, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an Essential Business.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should ONLY be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

To request designation as an Essential Business, click here.

Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (e.g. attendant) is deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an Essential Business.

If you have further questions not answered above, submit them to DECD at decd.covid19@ct.gov.

If you have questions for State Rep. Carney, email him at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov or call 800-842-1423.



A la Carte: In This Time of Crisis, We All Need (American Indian) Soup for the Soul

As I write this column, I am using Tylenol to tamp down my fever that spiked to 100.4 last night. I wanted to stay in bed this morning, but Junie, my only cat, had another idea. So I got up, fed her, changed her water dish, added water and ice cubes to my own water bottle, and made tea. I feel much better now. I am quite sure what I have is just a little bug—no sore throat, no headache, no congestion.

I do want to tell you about my two visits to a supermarket the week of the March 9. As you know, I have lots of extra food in my big freezers and plenty in my pantry. What I decided I needed in those two visits was produce, especially onions, and hot dogs and rolls. I have no idea why I have wanted hot dogs but I bought six Hummel, skin-on wieners, and the softest rolls I could find. 

Here is what I didn’t understand: two different men had carts filled to the top with the following: one had at least 10 cartons of Coca-Cola, while the other’s cart included 12 rib-eye or porterhouse steaks …

I didn’t visit the paper aisles: I have plenty of toilet paper, paper towels and napkins. For those who have Wi-Fi and YouTube, look for the Bangor (ME) Police Department and Tim Cotton’s essay on what to use instead of toilet paper. It is a hoot.

As for feeding your family, if your pantry has beans and chicken (or veggie or beef) stock, make soup. If you have a chicken, roast it or boil it with onions, celery and carrots for soup. If your supermarket has rotisserie chickens, after dinner make chicken salad and sandwiches for the next day. If you have some ground chuck, there is chili and pasta. And if you have one of those rib eyes, turn on your grill.

I will be making this soup this afternoon.

Indian Soup

Adapted from a recipe by Sherwood Cadorette from Groton

“This soup has been in my family since the turn of the century,” he wrote, and, remember, he is talking about the 20th century, not the 21st. “Up until 1983, we attributed its origin to my great-great grandmother on my father’s side of the family. She was an [American] Indian. To my amazement, my sister told me that it originated about 1905 when a customer in my grandfather’s barber shop game him the recipe.”

Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium to large onion, peeled and diced
1 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 small can creamed corn
1 cup milk
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
12 saltines, crushed

Place butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and heat until melted. Add onions and turn to coat. On medium-high, saute onions until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and corn; on medium-heat, allow the vegetables to heat, almost to a boil. Add milk and heat for a few minutes. Stir in sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To serve: Place hot soup in four warmed cups or bowls. Crush saltines into each and serve hot.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and also for the Shore Publishing and Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. 


Saint Ann’s Offers Online Link to This Morning’s Service

Saint Ann’s Church, Old Lyme

OLD LYME — In keeping with Coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings, Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church of Old Lyme  is offering an online service this morning. This practice will continue until restrictions are lifted.

Readers can view it at this link.


First Congregational Church of Old Lyme Offers Online Version of This Morning’s Service

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme..

OLD LYME — The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme is practicing social-distancing measures as required by state mandate to limit the spread of the Coronavirus and so is holding its Sunday worship services online for as long as necessary.

Watch this morning’s service at this link and/or read a written version of the sermon titled, “Chaos & Trust: Learning To Walk in the Time of Corona” at this link.

To see the Order of Worship for the service, visit this link.