December 13, 2019

Old Lyme Girls Defeat NW Catholic 2-0, Advance to Fifth Consecutive Class S State Championship!

The Old Lyme girls gather happily for a team photo with Coach Paul Gleason (at right) after defeating NW Catholic 2-0 at Xavier High School in the Class S State Championship semifinal. Photo by Ally Gleason.

LYME-OLD LYME — Lydia Tinnerello, one of five team captains for Old Lyme, scored twice this evening at Xavier High School to lift #8 Old Lyme to a convincing 2-0 victory against NW Catholic and win the Wildcats a berth in the CIAC Class S soccer state final for the fifth consecutive year. Old Lyme will meet #3 Holy Cross on Saturday at Veteran’s Field in New Britain. Kick-off is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Tinnerello’s first goal found the net just shy of eight minutes into the game and then she followed up in the last minute of the first half with a shot assisted by Abby Manthous. The move that culminated in the second goal had started with a free kick by another team captain Emily DeRoehn. The other captains are Katie Funaro, Melissa Mauro  and Kaylee Armenia.

Paul Gleason’s Wildcats held onto their lead through the second half to the delight of all the spectators who had traveled from Old Lyme to support the team.

After the game, Tinnerello told LymeLine in a text, “I feel great about the game. It was a complete team effort. And I’m really proud of my teammates for always working their hardest.”

GO WILDCATS!

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Old Lyme Fire Dept. Hosts Educational, Fun Open House; Enjoy Our Photo Essay of the Event

All photos by Doris Coleman.

The Old Lyme Fire Department welcomed hundreds of children and their parents, friends or caregivers to its annual Open House held during the evening of Oct. 9. The event was held at the main firehouse located on 69 Lyme Street in Old Lyme.

Activities included

  • Fire safety and firefighting demonstrations.
  • Fire truck rides
  • Bike Rodeo and helmet giveaway
  • Life jacket information from the DEEP
  • CHIP Child ID Program information

Information pertinent to preventing fire-related incidents and home evacuation will be available for all ages.State of the art firefighting apparatus and equipment will also be demonstrated and on display.

Complimentary refreshments were served.

Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel were on hand to answer any questions the public may have to ensure a safer environment for children and adults.

Members of Old Lyme Cub Scout Troop 27 experienced first-hand what it feels like to be inside an ambulance.

Old Lyme Troop 27 Cb Scouts and their leaders posed for this wonderful photo at the OLFD Open House.  The Cub Scouts present included Brayden Boisseau, Quinn Parrot, Avi Hall, Douglas Paonessa, Thomas Calabrese, Evan Garner, Aiden Lapinski, Max Paonessa, Dylan Boisseau, Henry Kyle, Luke Wallen, Woody Goss, Gig Goss, and Paul Taliento. The back row includes, from left to right, Cub Scout leaders Craig Taliento , Jon Goss, Ken Swaney, Doug Garner, and Rob Paonessa.

Emily Griswold takes a closer look at the Old Lyme Fireboat with her son Aiden. Veteran OLFD volunteer and current Old Lyme Citizen of the Year Bob Doyen stands to her right, while Mike McCarthy stands in the fireboat with his son Mason.

One of the Old Lyme ambulances was a popular place to visit during the Open House.

A group of Old Lyme Fire department stalwarts gathered for this photo.  Bob Pierson, second from left, a former OLFD President, came all the way from his and wife Barbara’s new home in North Carolina for the event.

A firefighter-in-training!

Connecticut’s Boating Division was handing out helpful information and advice on life-jacket safety, initial boating courses, refresher courses, and other classes.

These fine ladies of the OLFD Auxiliary were on hand to help with anything and everything during the event. From left to right, Sue Campbell, Barbara Doyen, MaryEllen Jewett, and Judy McCarthy.

Briana Dow (leaning on helium tank) and Erin Pervine are all ready to talk about smoke alarm safety with balloons galore and  handouts for the asking.

The Bike Rodeo and helmet giveaway drew plenty of participants. Dawn Hamilton stands to the left while her grandson Mason Holland of Old Lyme tries on a helmet.

Always a good thing to know how to get out of a window!

Amtrak Police Department certainly presented a smiling face at the event.

Old Lyme Ambulance President Claire Haskins enjoys a well-deserved cup of apple cider.

Volunteer Kaitlin Koshoffer from the YMCA at Westbrook explained swim lesson options to mom Jamie Snurkowski of Old Lyme, who was attending the event with her son Reed.

So much to ask, so much to tell, so much to show …

The Connecticut Freemasons sponsor a child identification program called Connecticut Child Identification Program (CHIP). Standing ready to explain the program to all those interested are, from left to right, John Main, Ryan Proto and his father, Peter Proto.

Youngsters of all ages learned a great deal of useful information … Aiden Griswold and Cooper Staab, both of Old Lyme, were having a great time.

Hats off to the OLFD for putting on such a terrific event … and many thanks again to photographer Doris Coleman!

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“Indispensable, Advocate for All” Cathy Frank Says Fond Farewell to “Perfect Job at the Perfect Place”

At Friday’s celebrations of her retirement after 22 years at Old Lyme Town Hall, Cathy Frank prepares to cut the cake made in her honor. All photos by Mary Jo Nosal except where indicated.

OLD LYME — It was a day filled with joyful memories and deep emotions as colleagues and friends — some who had traveled from far afield — gathered at Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall to say farewell to Cathy Frank at the conclusion of her more than 22 years service as Executive Assistant to the First Selectman/woman.

More than 60 people assembled in the Town Hall Meeting Room for a light lunch and to hear speeches celebrating the woman who has had her finger on the pulse of Town Hall for so many years.

Cathy Frank (left) stands with Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder. Photo by Patti Meyers.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder reminded the audience that back in 1997, when Frank first started working on a temporary basis at town hall, “Bill Clinton was President, John Rowland was Governor, Tim Griswold was First Selectman of Old Lyme … Hit movies from that year were Titanic, As Good as it Gets and Men in Black. Top songs were Candle in the Wind by Elton John, Foolish Games by Jewel, and Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down by Puff Daddy.”

Reemsnyder added, “As Cathy is a fan of the theater, she could probably tell you that The Lion King, 1776 and The Scarlet Pimpernel opened on Broadway that year.”

The cake says it all!

Raising ripples of laughter around the room, Reemsnyder then noted with a broad smile, “… and we were still using typewriters in Town Hall!”

Reemsnyder then  went on to describe how, “In our world at Town Hall, Cathy subtly started working her way into our hearts. Beginning as a part time employee, she was as willing then, as she is now, to help anyone. Over the years, she befriended each of us, including those who are no longer here with us, Treasurer Bea Maclean, Registrar Pat McCarthy, and Town Clerk Irene Carnell. Many of us recall Cathy sitting with Bea poring over the financials and assisting in recording the information when Bea’s eyesight was a challenge.”

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder reads from the long list of Cathy Frank’s accomplishments!

Over the years, Reemsnyder explained, Frank’s hours and duties increased, and she became, “The go-to person for so many things.” Reading from a list that unfurled to reach the floor, Reemsnyder went through some of the projects on which Frank had worked over the years including, “[being a member of] the original IT committee to bring everyone into the computer age … designing a training program that would really work … designing (along with her colleague and close friend Michele Hayes) the Selectman’s office renovations to best provide for the needs of a busy office, resulting in an efficient, functional and beautiful office space … and creating some of the most entertaining and touching tributes and proclamations to others through her renowned writing skills.”

Many Town Hall employees joined the celebrations including Town Clerk Vicki Urbowicz (center.)

Reemsnyder commented that Frank’s, “Writing skills also came in handy for newsletters, press releases and announcements, earning her another duty as Public Information Officer for Emergency Management.”

According to Reemsnyder, “Cathy embraced new technology, but empathized with others on their fear of computers, thus many staff members would go to her with their questions, and she would patiently assist them,” adding, “Cathy has willingly been trained on many topics, including FOI regulations, RFP/RFQ training, Cyber Security, Social Media in Government, and she even wrote a Guidebook for members of Boards, Commissions and Committees – keeping many of us out of trouble!”

Cathy Frank (left) shares a smile with her current boss, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The well-known and ever-popular candy jar on Frank’s desk even drew a mention when Reemsnyder noted, “It is a source of stress relief for all of us in Town Hall – and while you are there, you can have a seat and unload your troubles.” Moreover, Frank has advocated tirelessly for students, organizations, special needs, and every member of town hall Reemsnyder explained, “… with her favorite words being “You can do it,” “You will be alright,” and “Everything will be fine.”

All smiles! Former Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold (R) and current First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (D) stand happily together to celebrate Cathy Frank’s retirement despite the fact Griswold is challenging Reemsnyder to regain his former position in the upcoming Nov. 5 election.

Former Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold, for whom Frank worked during her first 14 years in town hall spoke next and recalled with clear affection that during his tenure, Frank was his “Radar O’Reilley,” alluding, as he explained, to the TV series MASH in which, “the Colonel’s quartermaster anticipated events for the Colonel and kept him on the right path.”

He also noted to smiles that, “her desk was always a mess — just like mine,” but he felt, however, that they were “Kindred spirits” because, ” Not withstanding, we both could find things!”

Griswold also recalled as further evidence of her caring personality, “Cathy liked cats, including the town hall cats, and even helped care for them from time to time.”  He concluded by wishing her, “All success in the next chapter of her life.”

Cathy Frank (center) stands with long-time colleague Michele Hayes (left) and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder.

Hayes, who has worked closely with Frank throughout Frank’s time in town hall, told LymeLine that she is going to miss her dear friend endlessly.  She said, “We’ve been through so much together, our kids went to Lad & Lassie [pre-school] together, she [Frank] was my daughter’s Girl Scout leader, we’ve slept in tents, on museum floors, you name it … together. When you have a problem, she just takes care of things — she’ll help anyone, she’s such a smart person.”

Hayes chuckled when she said that there was actually one good thing coming out of Frank’s retirement, which was that they would be able to have lunch together now — something they haven’t been able to do for 22 years since they have always had to cover the front desk at town hall for each other during their respective lunch-breaks!

Various members of Frank’s family were in attendance at her retirement event including her husband, Kurt Zemba, and also one of her sons, Chris, who is pictured here with his girlfriend, chatting with First Selectwoman Reemsnyder.

Reemsnyder summed up the universal feeling in the room when she said, ” The essence of Cathy Frank has never changed over the last 22 years. She is still the highly intelligent, respected, patient, kind, funny and supportive person that joined the Town Hall crew in 1997.”  The change Reemsnyder did see was that Frank had “defied the saying that “No one is Indispensable” because we are all convinced that you are!”

Cathy Frank says her thank you’s and farewells. Photo by Michele Hayes.

Frank was presented with gifts, cards and a citation from the State of Connecticut declaring Oct. 11, as “Cathy Frank Day.”

By now a clearly emotional Frank started to speak but almost immediately had to request a tissue. She began again saying, “Thank you all for so much kindness over the years that I could not begin to describe. I will miss you all so much. The best thing about this job has been meeting all of you, working with all of you, doing things with all of you.  It really has been a perfect job.”

She went on to explain that she thought her first job out of college at a book publisher’s — since she an English major — had been the perfect job and it “broke my heart when I had to leave.” Then she became a town reporter and concluded that was the perfect job, and again it had broken her heart when she left, but finally she had come to Old Lyme Town Hall and now, without question, found the absolute perfect job.
Frank commented to much laughter that it was “totally unexpected” because she, “… was just filling in until they hired someone,” but said it was now definitely, “the hardest to leave because it had been the longest.”

With her voice breaking and full of heartfelt emotion, she concluded, “This has been a perfect job in a perfect place … and I thank you all so much.”

Editor’s Note: We would like to take the opportunity to echo much of what was said today about Cathy and add our own good wishes to her on her retirement.  She has been one of the strongest advocates and supporters of LymeLine.com over the past 16 years and we thank her most sincerely for that.

 

On a personal note, I must thank Cathy for her unfailing support during so many projects and ventures (and adventures!) in which we found ourselves working together under the various umbrellas of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival, and Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, to name but a few.  As others have said, she was always there, always pitching in, always encouraging and just a wonderful friend and confidante to have at all times.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Cathy, and enjoy your retirement … you deserve it!
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Old Lyme Library’s BookCellar Opens in New Location to Make Space for Library Renovation Project to Begin


The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library’s BookCellar opened in their temporary location at 44 Lyme St. (across the street from the Library) Wednesday, Sept. 18.  Over the past three months, a 10,000 volume bookstore of gently used books and media housed in the basement of the Old Lyme Library has been condensed into this temporary space across the street. The rest of the contents went into storage.

The space is still an art gallery so customers can peruse the art while purchasing books.

BookCellar Co-Manager Joan Overfield notes, “We expect to move back to our renovated space after the New Year. Our 60+ dedicated volunteers staff the BookCellar Wednesdays and Saturdays. Visit us if you are in the area.  Stop by to browse a hand-picked selection of books or drop off your donations during their regular business hours.”

Overfield’s fellow co-manager Claudia Condon adds, “Wednesday was a great day for Phoebe’s!  We are excited to be in our temporary space.  It is very bright and cozy–feels like a little book shop!  Our volunteers are thrilled with the space.  We had steady traffic all day with those bringing donations and shoppers.  Some of the shoppers were Library  patrons, who have been awaiting our reopening–we were closed for a month–and others were new customers strolling down Lyme Street and stopping in to see what we were all about.”

Condon also said enthusiastically, “We think the space will give us excellent retail exposure and maybe some new customers will follow us when we move back to the Library.”

All proceeds from the BookCellar benefit the Library.  The BookCellar is open Wednesdays 10am-6pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm. Parking is on the street or behind Town Hall or the Library. New volunteers are always welcome at the BookCellar — drop in to discuss options with the current volunteers or call the library to find out more at 860-434-1684.

The move has taken place to allow the renovation project at the library to begin.

Yesterday, movers began work on the main floor of the Library.  The room adjacent to the historic Reading Room (housing fiction and biography collections) has been cleared to make way for construction to begin soon.  The attic spaces have been cleared, and most of the artwork has been removed from the Library to keep it safe during the duration of the project.

Phase I of the project will address the spaces listed above, as well as the lower level BookCellar.  The precise start date of the project is yet to be finalized but is expected shortly.

The Library will remain open for the duration of the project, but it is anticipated that some services will have to be reduced or adjusted as the project proceeds. The Library’s website will always have the most current news.
Library Director Katie Huffman, who is eagerly anticipating the start … and end … of the project, comments, “We appreciate your patience as we work to renew our Library.”
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Former Lyme-Old Lyme Superintendent Klein, Now Head of NFA, Appointed President of St. Joseph’s in Trumbull

David Klein

OLD LYME — The former Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools, David Klein, will leave his current position as Head of School at Norwich Free Academy (NFA) at the end of the 2019-20 academic year in order to serve as president of the newly independent St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Conn., a college preparatory Catholic high school.

Klein sent an email to NFA faculty and staff this past Wednesday afternoon announcing his decision to take on ” a new professional opportunity,” and stressing, “This unique professional opportunity found me in July, and I pursued it because it aligns so perfectly with my deep Catholic faith. I was not seeking a new job, and this position is the only one I have sought since I began my NFA tenure in October 2011.”

In his email, Klein also noted, “There is much to accomplish this year, and I will pursue this work with the passion and focus I have demonstrated each day for the past eight years.”

Klein served as superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools from 2000-2008 and then moved to the same position at Madison Public Schools  through 2011 when he joined NFA. He and his wife Patricia still reside in Old Lyme.

Christopher Wilson, Board of Directors Chairperson for St. Joseph High School, announced the news of Klein’s appointment to both the internal and external St. Joseph’s community in a letter, which described Klein as having, “extraordinary experience in community engagement, student services, college preparatory education, institutional advancement, financial management, and administration will serve St. Joseph High School well.”

Wilson added that Klein’s, “career exemplifies a commitment to creating a vibrant educational community that encourages initiative, creativity, and well-being. He values a supportive school culture that fosters caring relationships between adults and young people. David is a leader of exceptional integrity, respect and accomplishment.”

In the same letter, Wilson quoted Klein as saying, “I am deeply grateful for this extraordinary opportunity, and for the trust and confidence of St. Joseph High School’s Board of Directors … Patricia and I are honored and excited to join this exceptional community.”

Klein’s last day at NFA will be June 30, 2020 and he will take up his new position at St. Joseph’s the following day.

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Mercy Alger is Lyme-Old Lyme Schools ‘Teacher of the Year’

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Teacher of the Year Mercy Alger stands with Superintendent Ian Neviaser(left) and Lyme School Principal Jim Cavalieri after her award was announced.

LYME-OLD LYME — Keeping with tradition, the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools ‘Teacher of the Year’ was announced at Convocation on Aug. 27, the day before students were welcomed back to school for the start of the 2019-20 academic year.

Lyme Consolidated Principal Jim Cavalieri named fourth grade teacher Mercy Alger as the recipient of the award reminding the audience of administrators, faculty and staff that it is given to “acknowledge excellence in teaching in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.” Noting that, “As a high achieving district, we have many qualified professionals that meet the criteria for this honor,” Cavalieri went on to point out that nevertheless, “This year’s recipient truly rises above our district’s standard of excellence,” adding that she is, “… on the cutting edge with her instruction.”

Alger joined Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in 2007 and has been spent the last eight years teaching fourth grade in Lyme School. In terms of her classroom abilities, Cavalieri mentioned the sign outside Alger’s door, which reads,”Amazing things happen here.”  He stressed, however, that doesn’t tell the whole story, saying, “Truth be told, that message can’t begin to describe the extraordinary experience that happens in her room,” explaining that Alger has created a “non-traditional classroom space” where “a true community of learners” flourishes.

Cavalieri mentioned that coincidentally Alger’s maiden name was Teachworth, but notes that such a name didn’t necessarily foretell she would be an exceptional teacher. Declaring that Alger was, in fact, “born to teach, with or without her birth name,” he described her as “a creative, energetic, and compassionate teacher, who makes a tremendous, positive impact on all of her students.”

Listing numerous activities that Alger has either initiated or continued, including running the “Look for the Good” project, promoting an after-school writing club, co-directing the fifth grade musical, and serving as adviser to Student Leaders, Cavalieri observed that, “what she does beyond the classroom is as important as what she does within the classroom.”

Describing her as a team player, who supports her fellow faculty members in as many ways as possible, Cavalieri added that she does all this “with such great passion.” Cavalieri summed up Alger as someone who allows each and every student — regardless of ability — to reach their potential, and quoting from a parent concluded, “[Alger] sparks something in everyone: finding their passion, listening for their voice, showing them their strengths, and motivating them to act.”

In her acceptance speech, Alger, who attended Lyme-Old Lyme Schools herself, initially looked back on her own school days saying, “I was raised on this stage, within these walls, on this campus,” and prompted laughter when she added, “I was taught by some of you in these very seats.” With a brief burst of music to accompany her, she then gave her own rendition of the opening lines of John Mellencamp’s famous number, “I was born in a small town, and I live in a small town …”

Throughout her speech, Alger used the theme of small towns and the importance of their communities, recalling, ” I was raised here, on the shoulders of giants and … when I looked back at why all of these giants made such an impact on me, it became so clear; they knew the secret of how to have the best school year yet all along.”  This secret she explained was that, “They all told us stories,” adding, “The act of telling a story does more than just tell a story. It builds trust. Community. … Realness.”

Citing examples of memorable and often amusing moments with several of the teachers present in the auditorium from when she was a Lyme-Old Lyme student, Alger urged her colleagues to “remember the power of sharing our stories,”saying, “As the craziness of assessment schedules hits your desk … I hope you remind yourself daily of the person you are outside of your classroom walls and how much power and value that has within your daily interactions with your students. I hope you soak in weekends, inspiring books, hours spent around a table … so that you may come back on any given Monday with yet another story to tell.”

She concluded by stressing that in the moments when teachers share their own personal stories with students, they will be teaching, “… community, vulnerability, and trust … and in those moments I know we will all rise as giants in this small town and have the best year yet.”

 

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LYSB Hosts Ice-Cream Social to Launch Extensive Fall Activities Program

LYSB Director Mary Seidner shares a moment and a frozen treat with sixth-grader Michael DeFiore at Monday’s Ice-cream Social. Photos by Suzanne Thompson.

OLD LYME — Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) opened its fall season with a well-attended ice-cream social Monday — the day before Lyme-Old Lyme Schools opened.

Mary Seidner, LYSB Director, explained that the main purpose of the event was to promote all the programs that the agency is offering in the fall, which are now open for registration.

Ice-cream, information and fun were the order of the day under LYSB’s tent on Monday!

Early Childhood Programs include:
New playgroups
Bug Club
Music & Movement
Babies Group
Castles & Dragons
Sensory Play · Sign Language · Make It & Take It
… and more.

After School Programs include:
Elementary After School on Wednesdays
Middle School After School on Tuesdays & Thursdays
Engineering After School
Sewing Workshops
Sitter Safety & CPR
Youth Advisory Council (YAC)
REACH (Responsible Educated Adolescents Can Help)
… and more.

Visit this link for full details of all the programs and registration information.

LYSB is located at 59 Lyme St. in Old Lyme. For more information, call 860-434-7208.

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Kick Off a New Year Today

Veteran Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School math teacher Marc Vendetti welcomes students to his classroom during Monday’s Open House. All photos by Suzanne Thompson.

LYME-OLD LYME — Today is opening day for Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools!

An enthusiastic LOL Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser told LymeLine.com, “We are excited about the opening of the 2019-2020 school year.  We look forward to welcoming new and familiar faces to all of our buildings.”

There were so many questions to ask during Open House at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

All the schools were open yesterday for the students to meet their teachers and explore their new classrooms and, in some cases, new schools.

Thirty new hires start working with students at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools today. There are three new staff at Mile Creek School where principal Kelly Enoch takes up her tenure and seven at Lyme Consolidated. Meanwhile at the middle school, five new employees start work and six join the high school.

Monday was an opportunity to check out everything in the foyer at the middle school before the rigors of classroom learning begin.

Positions which stretch across grades include a Behavior Analyst, Pre-K – 8 Math Coach, School Nurse and a Campus Security official.

Smiling Mile Creek School students and alumni join the school’s Library Media Specialist Diana Marchese (third from right) for a group photo.

The all-new, universal Pre-K class for four-year-olds, which opens today at Center School, has taken on six new employees in a variety of capacities. Neviaser commented, “We are particularly excited to begin the new year with our expanded pre-K program and look forward to the joy that will bring to the many families who previously could not benefit from this excellent opportunity.”

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Reemsnyder Firmly Denies Wrongdoing at CT Port Authority, Explains Absence at Transportation Hearing

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

OLD LYME — As has been widely reported, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder did not appear in person at the state Transportation Committee’s hearing regarding the Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) on Tuesday.

She did, however, submit written testimony (published in full at the link below) in which she stated categorically in reference to the purchase by the CPA of photographs from her daughter, “Consistent with the State’s Ethics Code governing conflicts of interest, I had no involvement in any aspect of the sale, including no role in the initial decision, negotiations, payment, bookkeeping, or accounting for the transaction, and I did not benefit in any way financially from the transaction.”

Reemsnyder gave LymeLine.com the following explanation for her absence from the hearing in an e-mail Wednesday evening, in which she said, “I received the “invitation to attend” on Sunday night, as I was away the weekend, and the Town was committing to a bond for the Library. On Tuesday, I had to coordinate the signatures of the Term Sheet to secure the rate that was offered in a bid. So between reviewing the term sheet documents, accepting changes from the bank, and coordinating with the Treasurer for signatures, it tied up my morning.”

She continued, “In addition, I had an afternoon meeting that was already scheduled, and a Board of Finance meeting that night, which I take a considerable time to prepare for,” adding, “I did take the time on Monday, a day that I had a 4 PM Board of Selectmen meeting that I carefully prepare for, to articulate my written testimony.”

Visit this link to read Reemsnyder’s written testimony to the Transportation Committee.

 

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Sound View Sewer Vote in Old Lyme Passes by Over 300 Votes, Pappalardo Says Schism Created: Sound View vs the Town

OLD LYME — The Sound View Sewer Project in Old Lyme passed comfortably by 883 votes to 565, after all votes were double-counted in Tuesday’s referendum. The proposal therefore secured a margin of 318 votes with 61 percent voting in favor of bonding $9.44 million to fund the proposed sewer project and 39 percent voting against.  A total of 1448 residents and/or property owners voted representing less than 30 percent of registered voters.

After the result had been announced, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder commented, “I think the people spoke and it is time to move on to next steps. We made sure that everyone had a chance to vote with a full day of a referendum, absentee ballots available and several public info sessions.”

Sound View Commission Chairman Frank Pappalardo. File photo.

Asked for his reaction to the result, Frank Pappalardo, who is chair of Old Lyme’s Sound View Commission and a director of the Sound View Beach Association, Inc., told LymeLine.com in an email, “Today’s referendum vote in favor of a $9.5 mil bond for sewers is disappointing. I believe that many in Old Lyme were not aware complexities regarding the sewer issue facing Old Lyme and specifically the Sound View area.”

He added, “The cost recovery method of placing the entire burden on a small group of property owners is unprecedented. And to further the concerns are the unrealistic individual property owner costs in excess of $15,000 and reaching over $100,000 for some.”

Pappalardo concluded, “We’ve work so hard to unify the town and beach community and have made great strides. Now with this vote we have created a schism: Sound View vs the Town. And set in motion a number of legal challenges.  There must be a way to find common ground and make this work for all in Old Lyme.”

For a fuller account of the implications of the referendum, read Mary Biekert’s article titled, “Old Lyme voters approve $9.44 million Sound View sewer project,” published this evening on theday.com.

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Opinion: Vote Tuesday in Old Lyme’s Referendum on Sewers, Then Respect the Result

OLD LYME — Tomorrow Old Lyme voters will go the polls to decide whether the Town of Old Lyme should bond $9.44 million to fund the installation of sewers on three streets in Sound View. The facts of the proposal have been widely reported, for example, Mary Biekert of The Day authored a comprehensive article on the subject published Saturday on TheDay.com at this link.

As a community newspaper that cares passionately about the community we serve, we never endorse politicians and rarely choose sides in town referenda. Therefore, we will not be making any recommendation on how you should vote tomorrow, but we will, however, take the opportunity to make a few comments.

This sewer issue has polarized the town with the residents of Sound View understandably not wishing to pay the whole installation cost of sewers saying that is unfair and the cost should be divided between all town residents.  Meanwhile, most townspeople, excluding the Sound View residents, do not see why they should pay for someone else’s sewers when no one would pay to fix their septic system if it failed.

It is important to remember that the Town is under a state mandate to install the sewers and so doing nothing is not an option. The volunteers on the Old Lyme Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA)  have dedicated an incredible number of hours to this project and our impression is that they have no political agenda. Rather, they are simply hard-working individuals trying to solve an extremely challenging problem and we salute their efforts. If the referendum fails tomorrow, there seems to be a fairly general consensus that the costs will rise in any subsequent plan.

Some have argued that the Town, that is, all Old Lyme residents, should be paying for the work in the streets since they are town-owned and the Sound View residents should only be paying for the hook-ups to their houses. This sounds logical but does not seem to follow the precedent set elsewhere in the state, nor significantly in the four other beach associations in Old Lyme that have already signed on for sewers to be installed at their own expense.

We have enormous sympathies for the residents of Sound View, who — if the referendum passes — will have to pay a median cost of over $31,000 to pay off the loan that the Town is taking out on their behalf. This can be paid in full right away or financed over 20 years at 2 percent interest. The key question is what is a home worth after sewers have been installed?  The assumption is that the sewers will increase the value of any house by more than the homeowner has paid. No one other than the owner benefits from that increase in value, but we also recognize many of the houses in Sound View are never sold but passed down from one generation to the next.

Finally, we are intensely distressed by the deep rift opening up once again in our community over the sewer issue. We recall the green ribbons of yesteryear when residents publicly displayed their support of the first school building project brought to referendum by Region 18 to the anger of those who were not in favor of the proposal. Those were difficult days with palpable mistrust and resentfulness on both sides. 

But back then, there was no social media to fuel the argument and too much has been said on the sewer issue on this virtual town square, some of it inaccurate and/or laced with political venom. This mounting tension spilled over into last Monday’s Special Town Meeting at which  procedural confusion sparked some most unfortunate behavior.

There is no place for this in our beloved town so, regardless of how you are going to vote tomorrow, let us quietly and respectfully take our differing opinions to the ballot box … and then treat the result in the same manner.

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Old Lyme’s EDC Working on New Economic Development Strategy for Town, Invites All Residents, Business Owners to Complete Survey

Economic Development Commission Co-Chair and Halls Rd. Improvement Committee member Howard Margules discussed ideas for the future of Halls Rd. with visitors at the recent Old Lyme Midsummer Festival. Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

OLD LYME — Old Lyme Economic Development Commission (EDC) Co-Chair Justin Fuller describes the objective of the commission as being on the one hand, “to ensure the economic condition of our town remains strong.” while, at the same time, “… doing our small part to help maintain the charm and character of Old Lyme, and protect the town’s natural and cultural resources.”

Howard Margules, EDC Co-Chair and a member of the Halls Rd. Improvement Committee, adds that the EDC believes that the town should be pro-active with economic development by attracting new investments and supporting local businesses. He says, “The commission intends to do this by promoting a “smart growth” strategy,” which he explains is focused on the three areas of 1) retaining existing businesses, 2) attracting new investments (especially in available commercial properties that are presently abandoned and/or neglected), and 3) promoting entrepreneurship — since local business owners who live in Old Lyme have a vested interest in the community.

The EDC has identified three activities that will help the town begin the development of a formal economic development strategy, as follows:

  1. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) workshop to obtain input from a variety of stakeholders and determine overarching goals to help guide the prioritization of further collaborative economic development efforts;
  2. Local business survey to learn about their challenges and explore how an economic development strategy could best support their long-term success;
  3. Free informational workshop to help answer questions about economic and community development.

The EDC is working with a nonprofit economic development firm, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) to assist the EDC and the town in implementing these identified goals.

One tool the EDC is using in their efforts is a survey that CERC has developed, which is now being distributed to all Old Lyme residents and/or people who own or operate a business in the town. The survey includes, but is not limited to, input regarding the Halls Road neighborhood.

The objective of the survey, the second of the three activities listed above, is  to encourage local businesses and residents to give their thoughts and feedback on the town’s current and future economic condition.  For example, the EDC would like to understand what attracted both residents and business to Old Lyme in the first place, and what they consider are the most important issues facing the town.

In respect of business owners, the EDC would also like to hear how the town can better support them both now and in the future.

The Old Lyme EDC has asked us here at LymeLine.com to help spread the word about the survey, and we are pleased to do that.

We therefore urge all our readers who either live, work or own a business in Old Lyme to take a few minutes to complete this important online survey by scanning the QR code to the left or visiting www.research.net/r/OldLymeCT

The purpose of the business survey is to 1) gain perspective on how the business community perceives the economic condition of Old Lyme, 2) identify perceived and real challenges that local businesses face, 3) identify companies that are “at-risk” of leaving Old Lyme, and, 4) obtain feedback about how the town can better support businesses to improve business retention and support their long-term success.

The purpose of the resident survey is to obtain feedback about the perceived current economic condition of Old Lyme, and obtain information that will help guide a future economic development strategy for the town.

Asked for his reaction to the increased attention being directed to economic development in Old Lyme, Halls Road Improvement Committee Chairman BJ Bernblum responded, ” “The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen is taking seriously the economic health of the town.  A few years ago it formed the Halls Road Improvements Committee and this year it revitalized the Economic Development Commission.” He continued, “Under the dynamic leadership of co-chairs Howard Margules and Justin Fuller, the EDC is working with the Connecticut Economic Resource Center to analyze the current state of Old Lyme’s economy and to recommend ways to ensure a sound future.”

Bernblum added, “CERC’s first undertaking is a town-wide survey of businesses and residents, critical to getting an accurate understanding of how our taxpayers feel about the status quo and the issues that need to be addressed,” concluding, “I strongly encourage everyone to complete this survey.”

The EDC collaborated with CERC to identify the specific survey questions and CERC will collect the survey results, carry out the analysis, and prepare a summary report.

The survey results, combined with other ongoing initiatives, will help define the town’s economic development strategy. All responses will be kept confidential, and the results will be presented in a final report prepared by the EDC.

 

 

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools SAT Scores Are in Top 12 Statewide in Both Subjects

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

LYME-OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) achieved exceptional results in the statewide SAT results published earlier this week by the Connecticut State Department of Education.

The school placed 10th in the Math and 11th in the English Language Arts (ELA) statewide rankings. Moreover, LOLHS was the only school in New London County to feature in Top 12 with almost all the remaining schools in the Top 12 coming from Fairfield County.

A delighted Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser commented exclusively to LymeLine, ““I am so proud of the hard work our students and staff have put in to make us the only school in our region in the top 12 in SAT scores in the entire state.”

He added, “To consistently remain as the highest scoring school in our region shows that our dedication to the success of students through our in-school SAT preparation program is paying dividends.”

The top tier of Math and ELA statewide rankings were as follows:

Math SAT

  1. Darien School District
  2. New Canaan School District
  3. Westport School District
  4. Ridgefield School District
  5. Wilton School District
  6. Avon School District
  7. Weston School District
  8. Regional School District 09
  9. Glastonbury School District
  10. Regional School District 18

English Language Arts SAT

  1. New Canaan School District
  2. Wilton School District
  3. Westport School District
  4. Darien School District
  5. Ridgefield School District
  6. Weston School District
  7. Regional School District 09
  8. Simsbury School District
  9. Avon School District
  10. Greenwich School District
  11. Regional School District 18

 

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Griswold Placed on November Ballot as Republican Old Lyme First Selectman Candidate

Former Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold

Tim Griswold, who served as Old Lyme First Selectman from 1997-2011, was today officially placed on the November ballot as the Republican candidate for Old Lyme First Selectman.

This followed certification earlier this morning of 189 petition signatures by the Republican Old Lyme Town Registrar Cathy Carter, which involved checking each signature for authenticity and confirming the signer’s current membership of the Republican Party.  Tim Griswold and Barbara Crowley then both pledged that they had witnessed the signatures when they were taken.

The final step in the process occurred when Old Lyme Town Clerk Vicki Urbowicz called the Secretary of State’s Office to notify them of the petition and the number of signatures.  That office then checked there was no candidate already endorsed by the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee and since there was none, the Secretary of State’s Office confirmed that Urbowicz should place Griswold’s name on the ballot using the State Elections Program. Urbowicz has now completed that task.

This means there will be no Republican Primary in September because no other Old Lyme Republicans submitted petitions and today is the deadline submission day.

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Griswold Gathers Over 200 Signatures on Petition to Run as Republican First Selectman in November, State Requires 84

Former Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold

Old Lyme Republican Registrar Cathy Carter

OLD LYME — Former Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy C. Griswold has collected more than 200 signatures on petitions requesting his name be added to the ballot in September as the Republican candidate for First Selectman. Griswold gave the number to LymeLine in an email conversation Sunday and added that there are more petitions out in the community, which he has not picked up yet.

He said he plans to give all the petitions to the Old Lyme Republican Registrar Cathy Carter this afternoon.  She told LymeLine on Friday by phone that once she has received the petitions, she must review each signature to verify it, checking that the person is a legitimate member of the Republican party.

To demonstrate what sometimes happens when people believe they are registered Republicans but, in fact, turn out not to be, Carter gave the example of someone who may have moved out of Old Lyme, then returned, but forgot to re-register their name with the party.

Carter told LymeLine she must submit the petitions and verified signatures to the state by Wednesday, Aug. 7. According to the state’s rules, Griswold needs signatures from five percent of the approximately 1680 registered Republicans in Old Lyme, so the minimum number of signatures required is around 84.

Carter added that a Republican Primary would not be required in September since the Republicans did not endorse anyone for First Selectman in the slate that they have already submitted.  Chris Kerr was endorsed for a second term as Selectman by the Republicans and Griswold has indicated he will campaign with Kerr if he is successful in his efforts to be on the ballot.

See this article, Griswold Petition to Run on November Ballot as Old Lyme First Selectman Has More Than 80 of 85 Signatures Required, Expects to Meet Goal by Tonight, published on LymeLine Aug. 2, for more information.

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Happy 70th Birthday to Old Lyme’s Volunteer Ambulance Association!

All photos by Doris Coleman.

OLD LYME — Members of Old Lyme’s Volunteer Ambulance Association proudly hold the General Assembly Official Citation with which the organization was presented to celebrate 70 years of service to Old Lyme. The citation was presented by State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th) and State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) and stated, “For the past 70 years you have been answering the call of Old Lyme citizens in need, Dedicated individuals and local support have made these past 70 years a success and ensured that Old Lyme has one of the best volunteer companies in Connecticut.”

The citation concluded, “Here’s to another 70 wonderful years and many more! The entire membership [of the Connecticut Congress] extends its very best wishes on this memorable occasion and expresses hope for continued success.”

A day of festivities for family, friends, and neighbors was held at Cross Lane Park to celebrate the occasion.

There was food …

fun…

and there were things to go up …

things to come down …

things to see — like the contents of an ambulance …

things to jump up and down on …

things to read …

things to view …

tickets to sell …

and smiles …

and more smiles …

and still more smiles — this is the Cody family …

and yet more smiles from all ages  all round!

Many thanks to Doris Coleman, pictured above in action, for all the photos!

And finally, thank you Old Lyme Volunteer Ambulance folks and all Emergency Personnel for your dedicated service to our town.

 

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‘A Farmers’ Market’ Opens Saturdays for the Season at Tiffany Farms

Bill Hurtle and Jen Tiffany are preparing to open ‘The Farmers Market at Tiffany Farms’ on June 15.

LYME — It was looking as though Lyme Farmers Market, which has for more than 15 years been a perennially popular destination for both local and regional shoppers, was going to be absent from the landscape this year.

In an exciting turn of events, Jennifer Tiffany and her husband Bill Hurtle have reincarnated the market with a new name and location, and will open for business on June 15.  Tiffany explained in an exclusive interview with LymeLine.com that Bill has fostered the idea of running a farmers market for many years. He hails from Long Island and was used to seeing the numerous farm stands at the side of the road there and longed to do something similar in Lyme.

But there was no inclination to follow through with the plan in any major sense while Lyme Farmers Market was still bustling just up the road on Ashlawn Farm in Lyme.

A view of the iconic Tiffany Farms where the new market is planned.

Their first iteration of Bill’s dream happened last summer when Tiffany started hanging buckets of flowers on the feed bunk by the ‘Ladies in Waiting’ sign at the corner of Sterling City Rd. and Hamburg Rd., where the Holstein cows known as the “Ladies of Lyme” used to congregate. But someone said they thought it was a memorial for the cows which are no longer kept at the farm.

As a result, Tiffany says, they “dragged out“ Tiffany Farm’s old silage cart and placed it on the same corner and Tiffany’s daughter, Lisa Simiola, fashioned a nameplate out of wood calling it “From the Farm.” Tiffany and Hurtle then added farm produce to the flower selection  on the stand, all of which was successfully sold on the honor system.

However, when Tiffany read online that Lyme Farmers Market would not be opening this year, she and Bill saw an opportunity.  Jen is passionate about the current plight of farmers — “they’re a dying breed,” she notes sadly — and wants people to understand that her and Bill’s overarching intent in starting the new farmers market is to help and support farmers.  

Tiffany stresses that this venture is absolutely not a money-making one on their part — they both have full-time jobs so it’s “not their bread and butter,” she explains.  Rather, she sees it a way not only to support farmers, but also to bring life and beauty back to the iconic farm and regenerate the sense of community vibrancy previously associated with Lyme Farmers Market.  Any income from the market will be plowed back into the operation to help fund the overheads.

Opening Day for ‘The Farmers Market at Tiffany Farms’ is Saturday, June 15, and the market will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Tiffany stresses, “All Department of Agriculture, Markets, Department of Health and CT Grown guidelines will apply.”  She is “envisaging the same look as [Lyme Farmers Market at] Ashlawn,” which means there will be neither entertainment nor what she describes as “flea-market-type stuff.”  The aim is a “very classy ” market in Tiffany’s words, focused on Connecticut-grown or-produced items such as dairy, beef, vegetables, herbs, jellies and syrups.

Aerial view of Tiffany farms showing where the Farmer’s Market will be located.

The field generously made available for the market by Susan B. Tiffany — the current owner of Tiffany Farms — is a “secluded area where my grandfather kept draft ponies,” notes Tiffany, adding the layout of the market will involve keeping cars and vendors separate. She and Hurtle are hoping to have a minimum of 10 vendors and says they will be “elated” if the number reaches 20.

The list of vendors who have already signed up for Opening Day includes:

  • Four Mile River Farm
  • Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm
  • Upper Pond Farm (also representing Ashlawn Farm)
  • Sweet Pea Cheese and House of Hayes
  • T.A.L.K. Seafood
  • Fat Stone Farm
  • Dondero Orchards
  • Deep River Farm
  • Wave Hill Breads
  • Beaver Brook Bakery
  • From the Farm

Vendors are still welcome to apply for a spot at “The Farmers Market at Tiffany Farms.”  Vendor applications are available by calling Jennifer Tiffany at 860-434-6239 or 860-575-4730 or emailing jtiffany01@msn.com

Editor’s Note: The Farmer’s Market enjoyed a wonderful Opening Day June 15 with more than 500 people visiting the market. Congratulations to Jen and Bill on such a successful and well-deserved start to their new enterprise.  We heartily commend them for having the courage to take on this venture, the total belief in its mission, and the passion to make it happen.

 

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Griswold Petition to Run on November Ballot as Old Lyme First Selectman Has More Than 80 of 85 Signatures Required, Expects to Meet Goal by Tonight

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder. File photo.

Former Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold. File photo.

UPDATED 08/02, 3:17pm : see text in bold — After their meeting last week to endorse a slate of candidates for the November election, the Old Lyme Republican Town Committee (RTC) entered “No Endorsement” against the position of First Selectman. Just over a week later, former Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy C. Griswold is petitioning to be the Republican candidate and has almost collected the required number of signatures to submit to the state.

Asked in a phone conversation yesterday why he was running, Griswold told LymeLine, “I didn’t plan to run but when I looked around at the recent landscape, it seemed as if someone should mount a challenge for the position of First Selectman. It appeared wrong that the voters didn’t have a choice on the ballot.” Alluding to his previous 14 years as Old Lyme First Selectman, Griswold added with a chuckle, “I think I can still find the office.”

Although he has already been endorsed by the Old Lyme RTC to run as Town Treasurer  — a position in which he already serves — Griswold noted he would be unable to serve as Town Treasurer if he were elected First Selectman in November.

The “recent landscape,” on which Griswold did not elaborate, is presumed to be the request last week from Governor Ned Lamont for incumbent First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder to resign from the position of Connecticut Port Authority Chairman amid growing concerns about how the quasi-state agency has been operating.

Incumbent First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who has already been endorsed by the Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee to run for a fifth term with fellow incumbent Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, shared with LymeLine in an email last night, “Tim and I have worked together on things and run against each other in the past. I will run on my record of accomplishments.”

Christine Gianquinto, Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee Chairman, said in a statement to LymeLine last week, “We believe it is important that she [Reemsnyder] should continue her leadership and the positive progress that has led to significant accomplishments for the benefit of the Town of Old Lyme.”

According to the state’s timeline, Griswold needs signatures from 5 percent (around 85) of the registered Republicans in Old Lyme by Wednesday, Aug. 7.  In order to verify all the signatures for legitimacy, Republican Town Registrar Cathy Carter has requested that signatures be submitted by Monday for her review. She shared with LymeLine today in a phone call that she had also also recommended those collecting signatures should aim at 150 to allow for some signatures being rejected during the review process.

Barbara Crowley, the owner of The Chocolate Shell on Lyme Street, has confirmed to us this morning in a phone call that she collected 54 signatures yesterday while Griswold has confirmed to us in an email shortly after that he has 27, also noting, ” a couple of others also have petitions.”  He added in a further email just an hour ago, “We may hit our goal by the end of today.”

The petition can be signed at The Chocolate Shell today and tomorrow between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.  The store will be closed on Sunday and Monday.

 

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Old Lyme Joyfully Celebrates the Magic of Midsummer Festival

Smile, please! Ryan Catucci of Old Lyme snaps a photo of his daughter Olivia, age 3, and five-year-old son Jameson, who had seized the opportunity to step inside a classic painting on the grounds of the Lyme Art Association during Saturday’s Midsummer Festival. All photos by Suzanne Thompson.

OLD LYME — Oh, what a day!  The 33rd Old Lyme Midsummer Festival was deemed a roaring success judging by the huge crowds drawn to the town yesterday to celebrate the event.

The day began with LYSB’s 5K run …

…and then moved to vintage cars photographed by the young …

…and the not so young!

The Bohemian Fair at the Florence Griswold Museum sported tents in a variety of shades …

… while the gardens drew scores of admirers.

There were tall folks …

… and smaller folks, here working on the community sculpture at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds …

… and four-legged folks!  This is Boomer, who won the Best Trick contest in the Parading Paws competition, posing for a photo!

Photo by Kim Monson.

Sales of art by alumni at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts were brisk …

Photo by Kim Monson.

… while artists took their time to draw or paint the delightfully-clothed model.

In front of the Lyme Art Association, the Old Lyme Land Trust hosted a wonderful display of native pollinator plants and …

… another of live reptiles!  The latter was presented by the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center.

Members of the Halls Road Improvement Committee were on hand to discuss the various proposals that are still in the development stage for making Halls Road an altogether better place.  Howard Margules is seen here hard at work.

Old Lyme Emergency Services Technicians were on hand to answer questions or spring into action …

… as were board members of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce. From left to right, Jean Wilczynski, President Rich Shriver, Heather Gagnon and Dan Henderson.

Kristen Thornton (right) of the Florence Griswold Museum helped youngsters create all sorts of wonderful arts and crafts. Her ‘customers’ included Faye Casey (left), who, with her father James Casey (center), had come all the way from Brooklyn,NY, to attend the Festival.

Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club was ready to sign up new members …

… and The Moonshiners Trio was one of many bands that entertained as part of the Lymestock Music Festival down on the banks of the Lieutenant River.

Big bubbles were the order of the day at the Children’s Museum booth and Jolee Caldwell of Ivoryton clearly excelled at the task.

The range and quality of vintage cars on display at the Lyme-Old Lions Classic Car Show were nothing short of amazing —

… as were the ladies collecting the fees! Hard at work are, from left to right, Bev Pikna, Lesley Chick at the cash register, and Marianne Szreders.  All funds raised at the Car Show are used to fund scholarships awarded annually to Lyme-Old Lyme High School seniors.

A magician entertained in the Hartmann Education Center …

… and the ladies of Lyme Garden Club had all sorts of goodies for sale!

The Mystic Aquarium stand was a very popular feature and there were so many more.
Day slowly turned into night and then the whole event …

Photo by Katy Klarnet.

…ended with a bang!

So now, to conclude, all we can say is, oh, what a day … and night!

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Newly-Independent Lyme Academy Plans Its Re-Birth With Exciting Schedule of Fall Classes

File photo of the Chandler Academic Center at the now independent and renamed Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

As of the end of last month, the renamed Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme became an independent entity once again with all ties to the University of New Haven (UNH) severed. Moreover, contrary to a number of rumors circulating around town, the Academy is not about to close, but rather is entering an exciting new phase in its evolution.

On Thursday, the Lyme Academy Board of Trustees Chairman Steven Tagliatela and the newly-appointed Interim Director of the Academy, Frank Burns, met with The Day to discuss the future of the institution. Also present was Kim Monson, an instructor of sculpture, anatomy and drawing at the school, who has been deeply involved in plans to retain the institution as a viable concern.

Lyme Academy College alumna and instructor Kim Monson who has been intimately involved in efforts to keep the Academy as a fully operational institution and is now designing the fall programs.

Monson was authorized to speak to LymeLine.com after the meeting to share an overview of its content. She explained that the overarching message that Tagliatella gave was that the Academy is most definitely not about to shutter its doors, nor to become a generic “Art Center.” She explained that the upcoming academic year is being treated in many ways as a ‘rebuilding’ year during which the Academy will determine the optimum way to move forward. A new program of serious art classes will begin in late September and Monson stressed there is also a strong desire to re-engage the local community in terms of its role as both students and donors.

A vibrant summer program is currently running at the Academy (visit this link for details) and the curriculum is currently being finalized for regular ‘core’ classes to start in late September. These will all adhere firmly to the original mission of the school as defined by its founder, the late Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, who believed passionately in what Monson describes as “observational training.”

Designed by Monson, these core classes comprising six hours per week for six weeks will be offered in Drawing, Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking. They will be modeled on the format followed by the Arts Student’s League in which students work with a model for the first part of the class followed by time with their instructor when he/she gives feedback.  Monson commented that this is the format followed by Lyme Academy College when she studied there as an undergraduate.

There will also be a Portfolio Prep course held over weekends between late September and November for students aged 14 and up.  Classes will include Art of the Cast (Drawing), The Skull- Sculpture), and Shades of Gray (Value Painting.)

Finally, a number of Masterclasses are planned in subjects including Animal Sculpture and Stone Carving.

Publicity postcard for the upcoming 2019 Senior Studio Summer Exhibition, which opens with a reception, July 19.

Marketing will be key to the success of the Academy’s re-birth and an agency is in the process of being hired.  This agency will be responsible for creating a new, engaging website and all ongoing marketing operations related to the fall classes.

Several of the current faculty are being retained by UNH including Randy Melick, Nancy Gladwell and Roland Becerra, who all predate the UNH take-over. The Academy is looking to retain an MFA-qualified faculty in general.

Monson’s enthusiasm for these new programs is palpable — on a personal basis, she said that she is thrilled to see the Academy “return to its roots.” She also mentioned that there are plans to upgrade the academy’s digital studio — a move she feels will enhance the Academy’s already outstanding art teaching spaces even further. Monson added that partnerships with other art colleges are still being explored.

In terms of the wider spectrum of facilities, Monson described the objective as being “how to best utilize the campus … in order to fulfill Elisabeth’s mission.” The townhouses built across the street from the Academy have been returned to the developer with the expiry of the current lease and the administrative space in the Chandler building will be offered for rent.

The Academy’s Board of Trustees will serve as an active board once again rather than in the advisory capacity in which they acted under UNH’s tenure. Monson paraphrased Tagliatella in describing how the board now felt about their task going forward, saying it was as if, “a weight had been lifted.” After a year of uncertainty about where the academy was going, the path forward is now clear, and perhaps more importantly, Monson noted, the message from the meeting was that there is an overwhelming determination to achieve success.

The first event being held under this new administration is the Opening Reception for the 2019 Summer Senior Studio Exhibition next Friday, July 19, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Chauncey Stillman Gallery at the Academy.The public is welcome to attend and view the work of the 29 graduating students, who have completed an accelerated program in order to complete their BFA’s while the College still held its accreditation.

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read an article by Mary Biekert of The Day, who was present at the meeting with Lyme Academy officials, and describes its content in more detail. The article was published on theday.com yesterday and printed in The Day today.

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