August 7, 2020

Isaias Moving Faster Than Expected, Impact Anticipated 1-8pm; All Old Lyme Public Beaches Closed Today

The projected track of Tropical Storm Isaias courtesy of The Weather Channel.

OLD LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold announced at yesterday evening’s board of selectmen’s meeting that, in light of the impending arrival of Tropical Storm Isaias, all public beaches in Old Lyme would be closed today, Tuesday, Aug. 4.

This decision was taken during a meeting Monday morning of representatives from the beaches and all the town’s emergency services. Another meeting will be held this morning to review the situation.

Griswold explained the closure, saying, “Tides are supposed to run two to three feet above normal” during the storm and, “As the waves start mounting, we don’t want to have to shoo everyone off the beach.”

Noting, “The territory on the east [of the storm] is expected to get more wind, less rain,” he added, “This is not a hurricane … We’re hoping it will be a wind event,” but still suggested “People should check their yards … and get their umbrellas down … and stay safe.”

Old Lyme Emergency Management reported at 6 a.m. this morning, “T.S. [Tropical Storm] Isaias is moving faster than expected and this has moved up the time of impact by 2 hours for our area … The most likely timing for the tropical storm force winds is now from 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM. The primary threat from Isaias will be from strong winds …”

Visit this link to read the most recent update from Old Lyme Emergency Management in full.

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Filed Under: Lyme, Old Lyme, Town Hall

Lyme Reports Five New Cases of COVID-19, Another Case in Old Lyme Also Confirmed Taking Total to 23

July 29, 2020 by Leave a Comment

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

LYME/OLD LYME — UPDATED 11:15am: Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) confirmed to LymeLine.com in an email Tuesday evening (July 28) that five new COVID-19 cases have been identified in Lyme taking the cumulative total in that town to six.

Stephen Mansfield, LLHD Director of Health, gave the following details of the confirmed cases in Lyme to date:

  1. Male, age 34
  2. Female, age 61
  3. Female, age 34
  4. Male, age 1
  5. Male, age 34
  6. Male, age 20

Mansfield has confirmed that the 34-year-old male in the list above is the original case, which had been previously identified.

Earlier today (July 28), Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold notified LymeLine by text that a new case of COVID-19 had also been confirmed in Old Lyme. This latest case is a 20-year-old male.

This is the 23rd confirmed COVID-19 case in Old Lyme; in addition, there are two fatalities. Nine of these surviving cases are male and the remaining 14 are female. The two fatalities were a 61-year-old female and an 83-year-old male.

Yesterday, in a press release, Governor Ned Lamont and Department of Public Health (DPH) Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre S. Gifford expressed concern with recent COVID-19 outbreak clusters among teens and young adults in Connecticut, stating, “Statistics from Connecticut and elsewhere show that 18 to 29-year-olds represent substantial numbers of new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.” Both Lyme and Old Lyme have recent cases of 20-year-olds testing positive for COVID-19.

To demonstrate the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine.com has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes both fatalities.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
May 113
May 1515
May 2616
June 817
June 1018
June 1419
June 2221
June 2422
July 1722
July 2823

Details of all Old Lyme’s confirmed surviving cases to date are now as follows:

  1. Female, age 64
  2. Female, age 21
  3. Male, age 27
  4. Female, age 53
  5. Female, age 61
  6. Female, age 29
  7. Male, age 40
  8. Male, age 53
  9. Female, age 60
  10. Male, age 48
  11. Female, age 85
  12. Female, age 95
  13. Female, age 20
  14. Female, age 43
  15. Female, age 48
  16. Male, age 70
  17. Male, age 67
  18. Female, age 68
  19. Male, age 73
  20. Male, age 21
  21. Female, age 48
  22. Female, age 34
  23. Male, age 20

Griswold has previously noted that the 21-year-old female with a confirmed case (#2 in the list immediately above) 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.

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Filed Under: Lyme, News, Old Lyme

Another COVID Case in Old Lyme

July 27, 2020 by 3 Comments

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold confirmed to LymeLine by text, Saturday, July 25, that a new cases of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Old Lyme. This latest case is a 34-year-old female.

This is the 22nd confirmed COVID-19 case in Old Lyme; in addition, there are two fatalities. Eight of these surviving cases are male and the remaining 14 are female. The two fatalities were a 61-year-old female and an 83-year-old male.

To demonstrate the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine.com has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes both fatalities.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
May 113
May 1515
May 2616
June 817
June 1018
June 1419
June 2221
June 2422
July 1722
July 2823

Details of all Old Lyme’s confirmed surviving cases to date are now as follows:

  1. Female, age 64
  2. Female, age 21
  3. Male, age 27
  4. Female, age 53
  5. Female, age 61
  6. Female, age 29
  7. Male, age 40
  8. Male, age 53
  9. Female, age 60
  10. Male, age 48
  11. Female, age 85
  12. Female, age 95
  13. Female, age 20
  14. Female, age 43
  15. Female, age 48
  16. Male, age 70
  17. Male, age 67
  18. Female, age 68
  19. Male, age 73
  20. Male, age 21
  21. Female, age 48
  22. Female, age 34

Griswold has previously noted that the 21-year-old female with a confirmed case (#2 in the list immediately above) 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.

Lyme’s first and only confirmed case is a 34-year-old male.

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Filed Under: Old Lyme

Sound View Donuts on Sale at Weekend, Proceeds Benefit Shoreline Community Center

July 26, 2020 by Leave a Comment

OLD LYME — The Sound View Beach Association, Inc. (SVBA) in Old Lyme is a community organization and usually only holds events from Memorial Weekend to Labor Day. However, due to restrictions from the Coronavirus pandemic, the SVBA is unable to hold their usual activities this year.

The SVBA’s main fundraiser is selling doughnuts on Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day.
The freshly-made, delicious doughnuts will be on sale at the Shoreline Community Center, 39 Hartford Ave, Old Lyme, from 7 to 10 a.m. or until sold out.

It is now possible to preorder the donuts. The Advance Donut Order Form is at this link.

There are three ways to place your order:

  1. If you would like a Word document of the form, request it via email from Gail Fuller at gfuller2@aol.com
  2. Print the form, complete it, scan it and return it to gfuller2@aol.com
  3. Email gfuller2@aol.com with your name, beach address, phone number, details of order, and which day you will be picking them up (Saturday, Sunday or Labor Day.)

Advance orders must be picked up by 9 a.m. on the day requested. The order cannot be guaranteed after 9 a.m.

All sale profits benefit the Shoreline Community Center.
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Filed Under: Community, Old Lyme

Savor the Delights of ‘The Farmer’s Market’ at Tiffany Farms This Morning

July 25, 2020 by 1 Comment

View of the Farmer’s market at Tiffany Farms.

LYME —‘The Farmer’s Market at Tiffany Farms’ in Lyme is open this Saturday, July 18, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Jennifer Tiffany, who runs the market with her husband Bill Hurtle, told LymeLine by phone on Thursday, “We really struggled with whether to open at all this year, but in the end, we decided that we’re not going to let the community down, we’re not going to let the farmers down and we’re not going to let our family down.”

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

The pair therefore continued with their plans to open the market but putting new guidelines into place in view of the COVID-19 situation. They are asking all prospective visitors to the market to, “wear a mask” and also — in a delightful turn of phrase — “to keep one cow-length apart.” Tiffany adds that they hope people will also recognize the need, “to stay home if you are not feeling well.”

“The Heart Seen ‘Round Lyme” looks out at the community from the silo at Tiffany Farms.

And as a visual for the positive attitude they would like to convey to the community, Tiffany noted that the silo at the farm now has a huge heart — which was painted by her daughter Lisa Simiola — affixed to it thanks to the volunteer efforts of Wilcox Tree Experts. Tiffany said that Wilcox, “helped their neighbors lift the “Heart Seen ‘Round Lyme.”

Tiffany and Hurtle have gathered together a diverse collection of vendors, which include

Editor’s Note: We wish Jen and Bill the very best on Opening Day and throughout the season, which lasts until mid-October.

Visit this link to read an article we published last year about the inaugural season at The Farmer’s Market.

 

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Filed Under: Business, Lyme

Watch Rock Preserve in Old Lyme Closed Weekends Through Labor Day Due to Environmental, Safety Violations

July 25, 2020 by Leave a Comment

A hazy view across the Connecticut River taken from the Elizabeth B. Carter Watch Rock Preserve. Photo by Edie Twining.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Land Trust (OLLT) Board of Trustees has announced that the Elizabeth B. Carter Watch Rock Preserve in Old Lyme will be closed to all visitors from 7:30 p.m. on each Friday until 8 a.m. the following Monday from June through August. On Labor Day weekend, it will remain closed until 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

These closures are to address continued preserve use violations, which damage the environment and pose safety concerns.

The board states in a press release, “This decision to limit access to Watch Rock has been a difficult one. We recognize that the beautiful Watch Rock setting has long provided significant enjoyment for many visitors who abide by the posted rules.”

A view looking south down the Connecticut River with the Elizabeth B. Carter Watch Rock Preserve on the left shore. Photo by Edie Twining.

The release continues, “However, increasingly frequent and serious incidents of littering, OLLT signage vandalism, theft of newly planted native shrubs, open campfires, and late evening loitering have necessitated visitor access restrictions during the weekend periods when most of these issues occur.”

Noting, “This situation will be closely monitored, including by the police,” the board adds,  The effectiveness of the summer weekend closures will be evaluated to determine if additional steps are needed to prevent misuse and harm to this conservation land.”

In closing, the board says, “We are grateful for the continued understanding and support of all visitors, especially our members.”

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Filed Under: News, Old Lyme, Outdoors

Vitality Spa Reopens Aug. 1 with New Protocols in Place, Now Taking Appointments

July 22, 2020 by Leave a Comment

The welcoming exterior of Vitality Spa at 14 Lyme St. in Old Lyme. The spa reopens Aug. 1.

OLD LYME — “We’re so excited to be reopening our doors on Aug. 1,” Vitality Spa owner Lindsay Eisensmith says enthusiastically. Her business on Lyme St. in Old Lyme has been closed since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but reopening the spa was not simply a matter of changing the sign on the door.

Eisensmith explained that in order to reopen safely and in accordance with the Governor’s guidelines, the spa has found it necessary to make a significant number of changes.

Pointing out, “When a client enters, the spa will have a very different look since we have streamlined our space and put new protocols in place,” she adds,”We’re following the State-mandated guidelines and the American Massage Therapy Association recommendations to protect our clients and our staff.”

Although the spa is currently closed, appointments can still be made either online at vitalityspa.com or by phone at 860-434-1792.

Some of the changes that have been implemented involve a client’s arrival. Under the new arrangements, a client must call from outside the spa to say he/she has arrived and once inside the building, spa staff will carry out a symptom review and temperature check at the door. Eisensmith stresses, “We will not be applying any cancellation penalty if an appointment must be cancelled at that point.”

Staff will wear masks at all times when working with clients under the new protocols.

There will no longer be a reception area inside the spa and, in light of the current news, it will come as no surprise that face masks are required for all clients, while staff wear masks and goggles or a face shield.

Precautions regarding the use of rooms include a system whereby they are alternated so that no two clients are treated in the same space consecutively. Similarly, room recovery time has been extended to allow all surfaces to be sanitized/disinfected thoroughly after every use.

Eisensmith also mentions that HEPA filters are in operation during treatment sessions for air purification and also that massage tables and face cradles will have plastic protective covers beneath the sheets to allow for thorough disinfecting between clients.

In terms of general cleanliness for both the staff and clients, touchless soap and towel dispensers. and sanitizing stations are now provided.

Business Manager Jill Stranger stands behind the new plexiglass shield at the Vitality Spa front desk.

Finally, Eisensmith notes that a plexiglass shield has been installed at the reception desk to ensure personal protection during the check-out process.

With all these changes now in place, Eisensmith is excited to greet her clients again and says that, despite all the new protocols, “They can be assured that not only are our services still outstanding, but our therapists remain as skilled as ever.”

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Filed Under: Business, News, Old Lyme, Top Story

Old Lyme Selectmen Vote to Cancel Midsummer Fireworks Slated for July 25

July 19, 2020 by 2 Comments

No fireworks this year after all — the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday to cancel the midsummer event planned for July 25.

OLD LYME — At an Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s Special Meeting held Tuesday, July 14, the selectmen voted by a 2-1 majority to cancel the fireworks display, which they had previously approved to be held on Saturday, July 25.

Griswold told LymeLine by phone Thursday morning that plans were in progress to hold the fireworks –“the school was on board,” and, “we had got the application going,” when “We received word that the Governor was postponing Phase 3″ of the state’s reopening plan.” Griswold explained that this meant the crowd would have to be reduced to 500, so he had to the Governor’s Senior Adviser Jonathan Harris and asked whether, “there could be any accommodation for a larger number.”

Harris wanted to know if there would be two viewing areas and felt if that were the case, “there might be some latitude.” Griswold determined there were two such areas if one considered the areas behind the middle and Center Schools as separate entities.

When the selectmen met on Tuesday to discuss moving forward with the plans, concerns were raised which included the possible “redundant services” if there were two areas, and ultimately, although Griswold continued to maintain the situation would be manageable, the vote went against him.

Griswold (R) was the sole vote supporting the motion to continue with the fireworks while Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal (D) and Selectman Chris Kerr (R) voted against the motion.

Griswold stressed to LymeLine that the vote was specifically to not hold the fireworks on July 25, meaning it left the door open for them to be rescheduled to a later date. In reality, however, Griswold stated, “I don’t have confidence it will be rescheduled.”

He defended his vote saying, “I thought it would be a nice thing for people to come and enjoy … It’s a great show and would be a nice diversion when so many things are cancelled.” He conceded though, “We might lose some of the crowd [due] to social distancing [requirements,] and said, “I can understand the reluctance [to go ahead.]”

Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal told LymeLine in a text message that she was, “… personally disappointed that the Board of Selectmen had to cancel a cherished community event,” adding, “However, it is the prudent decision given the Covid-19 crisis and State guidelines to keep our community safe.”

Griswold concluded optimistically, “Hopefully, we can have it [the fireworks] back on the schedule for next year.”

 

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Filed Under: Community, Old Lyme, Town Hall

Re-Opening Plans for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in Fall Include Mandatory Mask-Wearing, Physical Distancing, Cohorting

July 17, 2020 by Leave a Comment

What will a classroom look like in Lyme-Old Lyme when schools reopen in the fall?

LYME/OLD LYME — “The only constant in these plans will be flexibility,” said Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser during a phone conversation with LymeLine.com on Wednesday while discussing the numerous changes that will be implemented in the upcoming fall semester at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in order to for them to reopen safely.

Neviaser started by explaining that the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has recently issued a 50-page plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which requires each town or Regional School District in Connecticut to submit a fall 2020 reopening plan incorporating the state’s guidelines to the CSDE by July 24. The state plan calls for reopening all schools in the state to all students in the fall of this year.

Noting that two district committees — ‘Operations’ and ‘Remote Learning’ — are currently working on preparation of this LOL Schools’ reopening plan, Neviaser said he intended to share it with parents towards the end of July or early August. He stressed that this plan would be the district’s overall plan and that individual school plans are currently being drawn up by the school principals in association with a team of teachers and parents at each school.

Neviaser explained that the Remote Learning Committee is looking at models for hybrid learning (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and the Operations Committee is responsible for, “Everything else … which includes buses, masks, health,” and more.

After the district-level plan has been distributed, Neviaser said a survey would be sent out to parents including questions such as whether their children would be returning to school; traveling to school by bus; and using the school’s lunch service.

Key points of the reopening plan are that:

In response to a question about whether students will be required to return to school, Neviaser said, “Allowances will be made for families to participate remotely.” He added that he had participated in a call set up by the LOL Schools’ accrediting body, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), with a number of  schools in other countries, which have already been through the COVID-19-related return-to-school process. Their experience was that roughly “20 percent of students did not return initially” but that after two to three weeks, that number had risen to almost 100 percent.

Neviaser commented, “We’re hoping for the same phenomena here.”

On the subject of buses, Neviaser noted strict protocols would be in place to promote physical distancing on board school buses but the use of buses will be discouraged whenever possible, saying, “If someone can drive you in[to school], we’d prefer they drive in.”

Explaining ways in which physical distancing will be implemented in the schools, Neviaser said, “We’re changing the traffic patterns in the high school so that all hallways are one-way.”

He also noted that arrangements for school lunches would be markedly different from previous years with all elementary age children (K-5) eating lunch in their classrooms while middle schoolers would eat with their grade in two different locations — the gym and the cafeteria — with 40 to 45 students physically spaced in each space.

Meanwhile at the high school, the number of lunch waves would be doubled from two to four thus reducing the number of students at each wave with provisions being made to allow the students to sit further apart. Neviaser also mentioned that all students will be encouraged to bring their own lunch to school whenever possible.

Asked whether LOL Schools would have a sports program in the fall, Neviaser responded, “We’re following CIAC [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference] guidelines … and our intention is to have sports.” He noted that a letter would soon be going out to parents from the LOL Athletic Director, Hildie Heck, saying that at this point students, “will go through the regular process” for sports sign-up’s. Neviaser added though, “As we get more information, we will adjust if necessary.”

Art and Technical Education classes are presenting special challenges in terms of the planning due to the use of shared materials. Neviaser said, “We’re working on trying to address those things,” adding that students will be required to wear protective gloves when appropriate, for example when using a drill but not an electric saw. He also noted that music classes — both instrumental and choir — require detailed planning with an increasing awareness of the nature of virus transmission.

“We’re buying a lot of disinfectant wipes,” Neviaser commented, “… and students will be cleaning up after themselves whenever possible.”

Asked what the plan is should anyone in the schools appear COVID-19 symptomatic, Neviaser replied that the individual would be moved to the Isolation Room by the appropriately protected school nurse (there will be an Isolation Room in each school) and then, “The school will follow the recommendations of Ledge Light Health District and proceed on the advice of the school district’s Medical Adviser.” He said the precise response to each individual and the associated quarantine requirements will be determined “on a case by case basis.”

In response to a question regarding the greatest concern he is currently hearing from parents and the broader community, Neviaser didn’t hesitate to respond, “Mask-wearing … especially for younger children.” He pointed out that presently, “The state’s expectation is that all children wear masks.” This would therefore include pre-schoolers but Neviaser noted that he, along with numerous other superintendents, around the state has raised further inquiries about masks requirements for that age cohort and a response from the state is still pending.

Neviaser also remarked that a new aspect of school life will be introduced in September when “mask-breaks” become a regular feature of the academic day. During these breaks, students will be permitted to remove their masks.

Throughout the conversation, Neviaser stressed repeatedly that these plans could change in the time leading up to the start of school and also once school has started. Saying,”We’re doing a lot of planning now but we’re prepared to change at any time,” he added, “We can shift to a hybrid plan [a combination of in-school and remote learning] or a completely remote plan,” as circumstances dictate.

He concluded, “Flexibility is key.”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read the previous article by Olwen Logan published July 11, titled, Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

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Filed Under: Lyme, News, Old Lyme, Schools, Top Story, Uncategorized

Another COVID Case Reported in Old Lyme Raising Total to 23 Including Two Deaths

July 3, 2020 by Leave a Comment

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold confirmed to LymeLine by text message Monday, June 29, that another new case of COVID-19 has been reported in Old Lyme. This additional confirmed case is a 48-year-old female.

There are now 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme plus two fatalities. Eight of these surviving cases are male and the remaining 13 are female. The two fatalities were a 61-year-old female and an 83-year-old male.

To demonstrate the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine.com has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes both fatalities.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
May 113
May 1515
May 2616
June 817
June 1018
June 1419
June 2221
June 2422
July 1722
July 2823

Details of all Old Lyme’s confirmed cases to date are now as follows:

  1. Female, age 64
  2. Female, age 21
  3. Male, age 27
  4. Female, age 53
  5. Female, age 61
  6. Female, age 29
  7. Male, age 40
  8. Male, age 53
  9. Female, age 60
  10. Male, age 48
  11. Female, age 85
  12. Female, age 95
  13. Female, age 20
  14. Female, age 43
  15. Female, age 48
  16. Male, age 70
  17. Male, age 67
  18. Female, age 68
  19. Male, age 73
  20. Male, age 21
  21. Female, age 48

Griswold has previously noted that the 21-year-old female with a confirmed case 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.

Lyme’s first and only confirmed case is a 34-year-old male.

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Filed Under: Lyme, Old Lyme, Top Story

Old Lyme Library Celebrates Phoebe’s 122nd Birthday with Ice Cream, Smiles

June 24, 2020 by Leave a Comment

All photos by Martha Shoemaker.

OLD LYME — The Phoebe Griffin Noyes (PGN) Library in Old Lyme celebrated its 122nd birthday yesterday by serving 122 ice creams — well, actually it was around 200!

Smiling library staff and volunteers were out in force on the grounds of the PGN Library fronting onto Lyme St. waving signs …

… saying how pleased they were to see community members again and encouraging those who were driving or walking by to stop and accept a brown bag, which contained …

… an ice cream and a book mark about this year’s Read. Explore. Learn! summer program.

Ably supported by the Old Lyme Police Department, people of all ages cheerfully accepted brown bags from staff.

Phoebe herself, aka Mary Dangremond, stopped by to take in the festivities. Dangremond has been portraying Phoebe for many years at numerous events.

Established as a free public library in 1897 and dedicated in 1898, the building construction was funded by the generous gift of Charles H. Ludington in honor of his mother-in-law, Phoebe Griffin Noyes.
In the photo above, Eleanor Hufford carefully hands a bag to Library Director’s daughter Maggie Huffman.

Asked how she felt the event had gone, Library Director Katie Huffman replied enthusiastically, “It was such a heartwarming day! …

… We were so pleased to share a bit of fun with the community and to say thanks for their support. And of course, it was fabulous to see some of our patrons after all these months of isolation!”

The ice cream was supplied by the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe and …

… sponsored by the Old Lyme Historical Society and the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce.

The PGN Library itself remains closed to the public due to COVID-19 and ongoing interior renovations.

If you need assistance using their online resources, help connecting to local or regional services, or general research assistance, call 860-598-0490 and a staff member will assist you from home.

The Library will begin accepting returns on Monday, July 6. All returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours in compliance with state and CDC requirements.

Due to this, the book drops will remain closed, but materials may be dropped off at the Library during the following times:

The PGN Library staff and board anticipate reopening in a limited capacity later in July once the shelving and collections are back in place.

 

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Filed Under: Community, News, Old Lyme, Top Story

Old Lyme Records Second Fatality From COVID-19, Confirmed Cases Rise to 19

June 22, 2020 by Leave a Comment

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold confirmed to LymeLine by text message late afternoon June 19 that one fatality and one new case of COVID-19 have been reported in Old Lyme. The fatality was an 83-year-old male and the additional confirmed case is a 68-year-old female.

There are now 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme plus two fatalities.

In an effort to clarify the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes both fatalities.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
May 113
May 1515
May 2616
June 817
June 1018
June 1419
June 2221
June 2422
July 1722
July 2823

Details of all Old Lyme’s confirmed cases to date are now as follows:

The fatalities, which are in addition to the confirmed cases listed above, were a 61-year-old female and the newly-reported 83-year-old-male.

Griswold has previously noted that the 21-year-old female with a confirmed case 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.

Lyme’s first and only confirmed case was a 34-year-old male.

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Filed Under: Old Lyme, Top Story

Joyful Car Parade After Lyme-Old Lyme HS Drive-Up Graduation May Have Started a New Tradition

June 14, 2020 by Leave a Comment

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to include some photos in this essay taken by professional photographer Kim Tyler. If you would like to access her photo gallery of the ceremony, visit this link. The gallery will be available for three months after publication  for online ordering. Kim, who is an alumni of Lyme-Old Lyme High School, is now a sought-after photographer, and proud to call many Lyme and Old Lyme residents clients.

OLD LYME — It was unlike any graduation ceremony witnessed in Old Lyme previously.

Commencement ceremonies for the Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Class of 2020 took seven full hours starting at 10 a.m. on Friday. The handful of dignitaries on the stage wore not only their traditional gowns but also face-masks adorned with a Wildcat pawprint.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Each graduating student — wearing a face-mask — drove up to the appointed place in front of the high school with their family and closest friends — also all wearing masks — and in no more than two cars per student.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Honor Essayist Theodore ‘Teddy’ Wayland smiles broadly after receiving his diploma.

Students were allowed to remove their masks after receiving their diplomas for family members to snap a few quick photos.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

Photo by Kim Tyler.

The faculty were out in force – but socially distanced — lining the high school roadway all wearing masks but not gowns, holding signs and enthusiastically cheering on the students.

 

There were no speeches nor songs and no bands nor bouquets, there was no choir nor crowd, no marching in nor marching out, and no celebratory turning of tassels nor tossing of caps … and yet this will probably go down as one of the most memorable of all commencement ceremonies.

Normally, on the evening of graduation, the graduates are whisked off to an all-night party at a secret location. That obviously could not happen this year and so instead a group of parents of the seniors organized a car parade for the graduates.

The appropriately decorated cars gathered at Town Woods Park and then the cars under the watchful eye of the Old Lyme Police and supported by the Lyme and Old Lyme Emergency Services, began their journey up Town Woods Rd., right onto Boston Post Rd., then south down Lyme St. and McCurdy Rd.

The atmosphere was charged and the roads were lined with well-wishers.

Sirens were blaring, horns were honking and signs and balloons were everywhere.

The community was thrilled to be able to celebrate the student’s success after such a challenging year. The universal message both spoken person-to-person and on social media was that this parade should become an integral part of future graduations.

How wonderful that after all the disappointment of not having a traditional graduation ceremony, something may have been born that will become a staple in Lyme-Old Lyme High School Commencements of the future!

Sincere thanks to our army of photographers: Kathryn Wayland, Lynn Fairfield-Sonn, Susan Irwin, Michele Dickey, and Michellee Spiers.

We’ll add more photos, a video, and the pre-recorded speeches Sunday morning. Come back and see us  then! Meanwhile, enjoy this wonderful video taken by Old Lyme Volunteer Fireman James Oldfield of the parade from the top of the Old Lyme Fire Department ladder.

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Filed Under: Lyme, News, Old Lyme, Schools, Top Story

Hundreds Turn Out to Join Peaceful March, Rally for Racial Justice in Old Lyme

June 8, 2020 by 2 Comments

Hundreds gathered on the lawn in front of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme to hear a number of speakers after marching down Lyme Street from Memorial Town Hall.

UPDATED 06/08: Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, we did not have a reporter at this event. We have compiled the following article from emails, text messages and photos received from numerous participants. We are extremely appreciative of so many people’s assistance and support.

OLD LYME — “I was amazed!”

That was the reaction of Anna Reiter to the rally and march for racial justice in Old Lyme, which took place Saturday in Old Lyme. Reiter, who had pulled together the event in just a few days, added, “We had an astounding number of people participate (several estimates placed that number at around 500) … I was humbled by how many people joined together to show a commitment to fighting systemic racism and racial injustice.”

A press release issued prior to the event stated”The goal of the march and rally is to allow the community to stand together against racial injustice and offer opportunities for community members to realize that microagressions are things that we can learn about and correct in our everyday lives.”

Marching down Lyme Street.

Participants gathered in front of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall, many carrying signs and placards supporting the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, and almost all wearing masks and maintaining social distance. They then proceeded peacefully down Lyme Street to the lawn in front of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Photo by Emily Gerber Bjornberg.

There they listened to speakers from a variety of backgrounds including Rev. Dr. Steve Jungkeit (see photo above) of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, who gave us this summary of his speech:

First, I named some of what we had been feeling over the last weeks: grief, mourning, outrage, pain, confusion, and yes, a tiny bit of hope that this will at last be an opening toward meaningful change.

I also acknowledged another feeling, or question: what it means to hold an event like this in a predominantly white space, and whether such an act has integrity.  The previous day I had been at events in Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport, and I said that it’s high time that those of us who live in majority white spaces get out and march in places like that.  It’s also high time that we yield to black leadership.

But then I said that I did think an event like this was appropriate in Old Lyme.  Because we recognize systemic racism is a problem that underlies all of our communities, affecting all of our lives in one form or another.  And we have work to do on that front in Old Lyme.

Finally, I shared that four years ago, a group from the church traveled throughout the American South, learning the history of the civil rights movement, some of it horrific, some of it very inspiring.  When we returned, we did a conference at the church on a Sunday afternoon, and throughout that day, we had Black Lives Matter signs on the church lawn.  The response that day was swift, and furious (by a few, not by many): “Take those things down!”  

And so I asked the crowd if they were finally ready to affirm those words in Old Lyme.  I asked if we could say them loud, even and especially in a predominantly white space.  And so we did.  Black Lives Matter, we shouted.  I can’t tell you how powerful that was, and how meaningful.

Last thing: at the close of the rally, I shared something that I had heard from some of the black leaders in Bridgeport.  “To all the white folks out there,” they said, “don’t ask the black community to do your work for you.  White folks and white communities have their own work to do around racism.”  And so I concluded the rally by telling everyone that it was time to get to work.

Another speaker was Emily Gerber Bjornberg from the First Congregational Church of Lyme, who shared these words with us:

I started by saying that I would speak from the heart and that this was a personal topic for me. But the most powerful sign I saw all week said, “All mothers were summoned when he called out for his mama.” I used to live and work in South Africa, which is a country that has been openly healing from racial divisions for decades. And I used to ask them,“What’s your secret? How do we get Americans to dialogue race.”

And I will never forget what they told me.

They told me that the powerful had to learn one lesson that they never forgot in the movement, and that is this: “You do not mess with the moms.”

I ended with this: On Dec. 31, 2016, in Washington, a Sikh activist Valarie Kaur gave an address that has become my single favorite address of these times. In it she described her Indian father’s journey to the US a century ago which included racism, xenophobia, and ultimately even imprisonment. Her telling of his story was clearly meant to remind her audience that Americans have stood together in the face of darkness before.

But she ended her speech with the following:

“Yes, Rabbi, the future is dark. On this New Year’s Eve, this watch night, I close my eyes and see the darkness of my grandfather’s cell. And yet I can feel the spirit of ever rising optimism within him.

So the mother in me asks – what if? What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead but a country waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?

What if all our grandfathers and grandmothers are standing behind us now, those who survived occupation and genocide, slavery and Jim Crow, detentions and political assault? What if they are whispering in our ears, “You are brave.” What if this is our nation’s greatest transition?

What does the midwife tell us to do? Breathe. Push. Because if we don’t push, we will die. If we don’t push, our nation will die. Tonight we will breathe. Tomorrow, we will labor in love.

Photo by S. Irwin.

State Representative Devin Carney sent us the full text of his speech:

As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his Letter From a Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Recent injustices in Minneapolis, Louisville, and Brunswick, GA have an impact on towns like Lyme and Old Lyme. We must each take responsibility for our own biases, we need to confront racism and bigotry, and work to stop police brutality.

In the black community, parents give “The Talk” to their children about how to interact with the police. I cannot imagine what that is like to give or receive that talk and I don’t think many of us here can. We need to get to a place in our society where black families feel comfortable and safe enough where that talk is no longer necessary. It will require a lot of communication, collaboration, and listening on our part.

When I was growing up in Old Saybrook, my mother gave me a talk. My mother is Jewish and grew up in a working-class family in New Rochelle, NY in the 50’s and 60’s. She talked to me about the evils of racism, the evils of discrimination, the evils of hatred. Those are the types of talks we need more of in households in communities like Lyme and Old Lyme. Those are the types of talks that will lead to healing and will help to end this terrible plague called racism.

When we leave here today and go on with our daily routine, and weeks and months go by, we cannot forget George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Amadou Diallo, and so many others. Because their lives mattered. Their families matter. Justice matters. Equality matters. Black Lives Matter.

Similarly, Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal shared her speech with us:

Thank you for coming out today, on a Saturday afternoon, in the middle of a pandemic, because you know exposing systemic racism and police brutality is not convenient and is not without personal risk. 

It requires difficult conversations, education, reflection and facing the uncomfortable reality that, for a variety of reasons, many Americans have turned a blind eye to injustice in our American communities. 

With this truth in mind, I am going to end with a prayer by Father Richard Rohr, aptly called “Prayer For Our Community.” I hope it will direct our thoughts, our intentions, and our future actions in our community.

“O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. 

Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. 

Listen to our heart’s longings for the healing of our world. 

Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.

The final speaker was Human Rights Attorney David Rubino, who is also the Democratic candidate for the 23rd House seat in November’s election. He also gave us the full text of his speech:

Photo by S. Irwin.

First, I want to thank Reverend Steve Jungkeit and Anna Reiter for helping to organize this event, and all of our speakers for agreeing to participate. It’s a testament to our strength as a community that we could come together like this on such short notice to address an issue that is, by its nature, so very difficult to address.

My name is Dave Rubino and I am human rights lawyer. Most of my work has been in far off lands with oppressive rulers and helpless, frightened populations. I’ve met with people who were tortured by their governments to elicit false confessions. I knew people who were killed, by members of their own government – not because of what they did, but because of who they were. What happened to George Floyd is the kind of thing I used to see day after day. And when I would come home at the end of the day, I would often think how grateful I was to be an American.

In those moments, what I failed to fully consider or think about was, how very different the American experience is for people of color. How the solace I found in systems and institutions that were designed by people like me, may not be felt by people who aren’t like me. As a white man, I cannot claim to truly comprehend the rage and pain and sorrow and fear that African Americans feel today. But I know that it’s there. And I know that it has been there for years, for decades, for centuries. And the reason it is there is because we have a system that is broken. Or maybe it was never built the right way to begin with. But it’s a system that has consistently oppressed people of color economically, educationally, politically, and physically. And it has to stop. Because there are too many George Floyds to count.

I won’t suggest that anything we say today or anything we collectively do today will move the needle. The only way we move the needle is to make today the first step in our journey. And to realize that no matter how long that journey takes, and no matter how treacherous the road becomes, we have to keep walking forward.

I think most anyone who watched the video of George Floyd’s last moments probably had a similar reaction to me. I felt horrified and saddened, but more so I felt defeated. Like there was nothing I could do and no way to change this.

But a moment like this, and an event like this, gives me hope. Look around you. We are a group of people who for the most part on the surface have very little in common with George Floyd. Yet we stand here together as a community to say this must end. We speak together with a common voice, standing shoulder to shoulder and proclaiming to people of color, we see you, we hear you, we stand with you.

I think this is a great first step in our journey. But we can’t stop here. Today we are allies. Allies to a cause that is desperately in need of sincere affirmation and support. The next step is to move beyond that. To go from being an ally to being an advocate. And there are some very concrete ways to do that.

First, we need to educate ourselves. Read Ta Nahesi Coates. Read Ibram Kendi. Read Michelle Alexander or James Baldwin. Read any number of authors who have written on the subject of race and who can give you insight into an experience you may not personally have.
Second, donate. There’s an official George Floyd Memorial Fund. There’s the NAACP legal defense fund. The ACLU. All of these groups are fighting for racial justice and all of them need your support.

Third, we must use our voices. Call your leaders. Call your Senators, your congressmen, your state and local officials and tell them how you feel about this. Ask them what they’re doing about this. Write to them. Write letters to the editor. Post your views on social media. When you see hateful rhetoric, push back.

Photo by S. Irwin.

But use your voice. If you want to know the power of your voice, just look what happened in the lead up to today. Opponents of this cause tried to silence it from the outset: first trying to discredit this event as a politically motivated stunt, and then trying to scare people away from coming by spreading overtly racist rumors about potential violence that was expected. They don’t want us to talk about these issues because our message is too strong and our voice is too powerful.

Finally, vote. The U.S. has some of the worst voter turnout in the world. And all the speeches in the world won’t change a thing if we don’t vote. Vote like your life depended on it because someone’s almost assuredly does. The change we need is systemic. It’s born of laws and regulations and court rulings. True, it is fueled by our passion, it is amplified by our voices, but it can only truly take hold if we rewrite the rules.

We have experienced a tragedy and it is up to us to decide how to respond. Bobby Kennedy said, “Every time you stand up for an ideal, you send forth a tiny ripple of hope.” Let’s turn that ripple into a tidal wave.

Let’s be the change we want to see in the world.

Reiter told us that other speakers included:

  • Joesph Kazadi and his daughter Maryam. Reiter wrote, The Kazadi family has been living in Old Lyme for two years. They are black and were refugees from the Congo.  Joseph spoke of what it meant for him to come here and really leaned on the messages in all of our most meaningful documents – the Constitution, the National Anthem, etc. to remind us what our country is supposed to believe in — that this country strives to be the land of the free and teaches our students that we live with liberty and justice for all. His daughter gave a similar sentiment but from the perspective of a young woman moving here in high school. She gave a message of hope for the future.
  • Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager
  • Rev. Dr. Anita Schell of St. Ann’s Parish
  • Timothy Griswold, Old Lyme First Selectman

At the conclusion of the rally, all the participants knelt down together for a moment of silence to honor the black lives that have been lost to violence and racism.

The crowd listens to a speaker. Photo by L. Fairfield-Sonn.

Some of the reactions to the march and rally were as follows:

Bjornberg wrote, “[It was a] Powerful day.”

Carney said, “I was proud of Lyme and Old Lyme for standing up against racial injustice and the fact that so many within these communities want to be part of the solution.  I look forward to getting to work with my colleagues in Hartford on solutions and ways we can move forward as a state.”

Nosal wrote, “I was really pleased to see the large turn-out at the Old Lyme rally. It was amazing. People of all ages were present.  I have to thank those who organized such a moving event. Clearly, despite the pandemic, people needed to come together and take a knee against systemic racism and the police brutality we all witnessed with the murder of George Floyd.”

Rubino wrote: “I was proud to see so many people come out in support of George Floyd and racial justice. We should never be silent about things that matter, and the number of people who chose to stand up to injustice yesterday made me proud.”

Reiter wrote, “I hope that everyone who attended went home and talked about the march and what the speakers said.  I hope they make a plan to help make change happen.  We wanted to start conversations and motivate people in our communities to do something different – because racism is literally and figuratively choking this country and it needs to stop.”

She concluded, “I am thoroughly exhausted, it has been a whirlwind few days, but I am so proud of this community and so thankful to be a part of it.”

Photo by L. Fairfield-Sonn.

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Filed Under: News, Old Lyme, Top Story

Governor Changes Graduation Ceremony Rules, But Lyme-Old Lyme HS Commencement to Stay as Planned with Parent, Student Support

June 5, 2020 by Leave a Comment

The traditional hat toss will not happen this year for the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2020 but plans have been made for a ‘Drive-up Graduation’ ceremony instead. File photo by Kim Tyler.

LYME/OLD LYME — It’s just a week until the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) High School Class of 2020 graduates on June 12. Detailed plans for this year’s unusual commencement ceremony, which involves a drive-up event due to COVID-19 restrictions, had already been made when Governor Lamont announced this past Wednesday that outdoor graduations for a maximum of 15o students at one time would be permitted from July 6 onward.

Asked whether Lyme-Old Lyme Schools had any plans to change the format for their ceremony, Superintendent Ian Neviaser explained that there had been two separate virtual meetings held via Zoom with parents of seniors and similarly two separate meetings with students when graduation options and plans were discussed in detail. “We had a completely open conversation,” he noted.

The parent meetings involved around 60 families on the first call and roughly 75 families on the second while approximately 25 students attended each of their meetings. The overwhelming consensus at all four meetings was that people were on board with the drive-up graduation, which has now been planned in detail.

Neviaser pointed out that Region 18 still awaits official notification from the Governor’s office of the revised guidelines and that with only a week and two days to go after the announcement was made and before the planned graduation date of June 12, it was extremely short notice to consider making a change. Moreover he noted many students already had plans in July with respect to college, jobs, and vacations .

Emphasizing that with 127 graduates, LOL Schools could never have held a single ceremony — as is done traditionally — because the Governor’s 150-person restriction would not permit that, he concluded, “The vast majority are excited about next week’s ceremony … they did not want to push graduation off … they all want to get some closure.”

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Filed Under: Lyme, Old Lyme, Top Story

Work Starts on Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Tennis Courts, End Date Scheduled Early August

June 4, 2020 by 2 Comments

All photos by Mary Jo Nosal.

OLD LYME — Work on the six Lyme-Old Lyme Schools tennis courts at the central campus on Lyme Street began yesterday.

Superintendent Ian Neviaser told LymeLine, “We are installing post tension concrete courts over the old courts,” clarifying,  “No paving [is] involved.”

The work is being done by Classic Turf Company, LLC and is expected to be completed by early August at a cost of  $431,772.

Take a look at this video to see the construction in action.

 

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Filed Under: Lyme, News, Old Lyme, Schools, Top Story

Peaceful Protest Held in Old Saybrook Showed Solidarity Against Police Brutality on African-Americans

June 4, 2020 by Leave a Comment

Gathered in front the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, several hundred people listened to several speakers.  All photos by Alex Kratzert.

OLD SAYBROOK — Several hundred people of all ages from the local area, including Lyme and Old Lyme, turned out yesterday evening in Old Saybrook to hold a vigil.

State Senator Norman Needleman (D-33rd) addresses the crowd from the steps of ‘the Kate.’

According to a press release from the Town of Old Saybrook, the focus of the vigil was, “To standing for justice and show solidarity with citizens from all over the country as they protest police brutality on our fellow African-American citizens.”

One man’s powerful message.

Speakers at the event included State Senator Norman Needleman (D-33rd), Paul Formica (R-20th), State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd), Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., Maryam Elahi, President of the Community Foundation of Southeast Connecticut, and the Rev. Dr. Steve Jungkeit of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Reverend Dr. Steve Jungkeit (top right, wearing hat)) of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme speaks to participants at the event.

The group marched up and down Main Street and also gathered for remarks outside the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Center for the Arts, known as “the Kate.”

Marching for a cause.

Almost all participants wore masks and social distancing was encouraged.

Signs were held high as the protesters crossed Main Street in Old Saybrook.

A second event is planned this coming Sunday, June 7, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Town Green at 302 Main Street when a peaceful protest and march for Black Lives Matter is planned.

The words on the placards spelled out the intent of the event.

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Filed Under: News, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Top Story

No Memorial Day Parade in Old Lyme This Year, Just a Small Cemetery Service — But Here’s The Homily From Mervin Roberts

May 25, 2020 by Leave a Comment

This wreath was placed last year in front of the Memorial Stone in Duck River Cemetery. File photo by John Ward.

OLD LYME — There will be no Memorial Day parade in Old Lyme this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In our opinion, it’s a sad but sensible decision.

A small ceremony will be held at Duck River Cemetery at 11 a.m. when local veterans, representatives of the emergency services, and town dignitaries will gather to place a wreath by the Memorial Stone, which stands in front of the flagpole at the cemetery.

Those gathered there this morning will pay their respects, “To all who served and sacrificed so we could enjoy lasting freedom.” These are the words inscribed on the Memorial Stone along with these details, “Dedicated by American Legion Post 41, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1467, and the People of Old Lyme.”

Mervin Roberts, Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department since 1960.

Mervin Roberts, who has served as the Chaplain of the Old Lyme Fire Department for 50 years, normally gives the homily towards the end of the service when the cemetery is packed with parade participants and onlookers.

There will be no crowd this year but before Roberts knew the parade was going to be cancelled, he had already prepared the homily. He anticipated this might be his final homily since he is feeling a little frail — we should add that Roberts is 98-years-young!

There is a possibility he will attend the ceremony this morning and read the homily, but since the majority of townspeople will not be there, a video has been made of Mr. Roberts reading the homily, which we are proud to publish below.

We have also received a copy of the text of the homily, which we are similarly honored to publish here (in italics):

As I review my previous Memorial Day homilies, I’ve come to realize that there is a pattern unfolding.  Taken together, they help to tell us why we are here again in this cemetery. I’ve had the occasion, and the challenge, to explore with you how and why we voluntarily meet here on this designated day to celebrate the lives and mourn the passings of preachers, teachers, siblings, parents, ancestors, neighbors, heroes, government officials, duck hunters, bird watchers, conservation commissioners, friends, lovers, spouses, artists, musicians, fishermen, cow farmers and others.

Truly a web of life.

There were people I knew who sometimes quit too soon and some who might have done better if they quit sooner. Perhaps it is our very individual differences that are a clue to our overall success as a species.  Certainly we are not all alike. In this world full of predators, parasites, and unforeseen diseases, if we were all alike, we would all have succumbed to whatever it was that struck.

But that has not been the case and somehow I suspect our fate lies elsewhere.

So let’s revel in glories of our various lives, our music and other arts, our religious faiths and, high on my list, our love for each other, for certainly what others have done for us should be an inspiration to all to keep up their good work. Here in Lyme and Old Lyme we have homes or resting places of so many people who lived here and left us with something to remember them by.  Let me mention a few in no particular order:  

They are not alone. 

From my own life, I would recount just one example.  My late wife Edith and I had born to us six children, the last being William John, named for one of his grandfathers.  Billy had Down syndrome. He was loving, kind, generous, sociable, and academically very limited. We could have had him live in an institution as was the common practice at that time, but instead we kept him home.  Here the Lyme Old Lyme Board of Education provided as much help as he could benefit from and, lo and behold, limited as he surely was, we, his family and our neighbors accepted him for what he was.

Now Dick and Jane Bugbee knew us. Dick and I were both duck hunters. Dick painted houses.  Jane taught piano. Although our homes were about one-half mile apart, Billy would occasionally meander over to visit Jane.  We didn’t take him there, or even show him the way or even suggest his movement.  He just found his own way and Jane would phone Edith that her son Billy was there having a cup of tea, and when he was through, Jane would see him start on his own way back home. 

No alarm of lost child, no social worker, no emergency, just Billy Roberts visiting for a cup of tea.  This is but an example of how this web of life worked for us. We certainly owe the people of Old Lyme our gratitude for everyone’s help. 

Incidentally, Billy was a strong supporter of the Old Lyme Fire Department and was elected an Honorary Member. 

On a personal note, I’ve been a member of this same Department since 1960, but now frail in my 98th year, I can no longer remain active as Chaplain. This, then, will probably be my last homily. 

I thank you for the opportunity to serve.

And to wrap up our coverage of this strange Memorial Day, visit this link to watch a wonderful video of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Bands playing “Taps for Band” by Thomas Knox and Jari Villanueva. We assume the video was made during the time the school was closed and the students were following a distance learning schedule — a time that continues to this day.

Many congratulations to Band Director Joseph Wilson and all the students that participated in this excellent performance!

Enjoy … and have a very Happy (socially- distanced) Memorial Day!

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read At Age 98, Mervin Roberts Looks Back Over 50 Years of Service as Chaplain of Old Lyme Fire Department written by Michele Dickey and published May 24, 2020 on LymeLine.c0m.

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Filed Under: Old Lyme, Town Hall

Old Lyme Board of Finance Approves $38.8 Million Budget for 2020-21, Mill Rate Up 0.79 Mills

May 20, 2020 by Leave a Comment

OLD LYME — On Monday evening, the Old Lyme Board of Finance unanimously approved the proposed $38,805,674 town budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting was held virtually using a WebEx platform with members of the boards of finance and selectmen, and also several members of the public and press participating.

This year in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont in Executive Order 7I waived the requirement for towns and school districts to vote on budgets by “any in-person budget adoption requirements,” including town meetings or referenda. The board of finance was therefore able to approve the budget with a vote of their members rather than hold the traditional town meeting at which the public votes on the budget.

Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell gave a Powerpoint presentation of the budget highlighting areas of significant change in both revenues and expenditures. He noted the budget was marginally lower than the one presented at the April public hearing due to Lyme-Old Lyme Schools reducing their total budget to $34.7 million at their final presentation. Based on the respective student population percentage  in each town, Old Lyme pays $27.7 million of the LOL Schools’ budget with the Town of Lyme paying the remainder.

Stating that although the proposed mill rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year of 23.2 represented an increase over the current year’s mill rate of 22.41, Russell noted that the town would draw $800,000 from its surplus to prevent a higher increase. He pointed out that although the town’s budget has decreased slightly this year over last year, the grand list has fallen significantly due to the recent revaluation.

There were no questions asked about the budget during public comment but Russell said he had a received a question by email from a resident of Stonewood, who wanted to know how the board might deal with the financial stress on households caused by the pandemic, which, in turn, could affect their ability to pay their property taxes.

Russell responded that the budget had been developed for the most part before the pandemic struck but the board had subsequently “picked some capital items out” of the budget, but equally they “don’t want them to pile up.” He said the board would be watching the rate at which property taxes are paid and “if we have to make modifications during the budget year, then we’ll do that.”

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold reminded residents that the board had agreed to a low interest rate of 3%  as proposed in an Executive Order by Gov. Lamont on delinquent property taxes from August through October. He noted though that the interest rate “snaps back to 18%” at the end of October.

Read a detailed report on the meeting by Mary Biekert and published in ‘The Day’ May 19, at this link.

 

 

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Filed Under: Old Lyme, Top Story, Town Hall

Lyme Board of Finance Approves $10.7M Budget, No Change to Current Year’s Mill Rate

May 13, 2020 by Leave a Comment

LYME — The Town of Lyme’s proposed 2020-21 budget of $10,688,087 was passed unanimously Tuesday evening at a meeting of the Lyme Board of Finance, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Typically a town meeting would have been required to vote on the budget, but this year, in light of the COVID-19 situation, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont in Executive Order 7I waived the requirement for voting on town or school budgets by “any in-person budget adoption requirements,” thus leaving boards of finance free to pass town and/or school budgets by a member vote at one of their meetings.

After the budget was approved, the board of finance went on to set a mill rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year of 19.95, which reflects no change from the current year’s rate.

Asked by email after the meeting how he felt about the successful passing of the budget, Lyme Board of Finance Chairman Dan Hagan said, “The Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance did a great job developing a 20-21 budget that reflects the values of Lyme – strong support for education, open space, and fiscal responsibility.”

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Filed Under: Lyme, Top Story, Town Hall