April 5, 2020

Lyme, Old Lyme Churches Offer Online Services for Palm Sunday

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

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

Details of this weekends services are as follows:

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

Meeting ID: 223 857 915
Password: 634317

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

https://zoom.us/j/225302077?pwd=M2RQZWhIVnlINmFNSXdBTTl6a3k1dz09

Meeting ID: 225 302 077
Password: 364282

A new link for Daily Masses will be given soon.

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

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

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

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

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Car Parade During Shutdown Demonstrates Strength of Student, Teacher Bonds at Lyme School

The “Teacher Parade” comprising 35 vehicles winds its way through the streets of Lyme.

LYME — Describing it as “one of the most heart-lifting events that I’ve ever been a part of,” Lyme Consolidated School music teacher Melissa Rostkoski explained that the inspiration for the 35-strong car parade that wound through the streets of Lyme on Tuesday afternoon lay in social media.

She had seen a video-clip of a motivational car parade being held “nowhere round here” shortly after Lyme-Old Lyme Schools were closed March 13 due to the COVID-19 crisis and it started her thinking about trying to do the same thing in Lyme.

Rostkoski said she shared the video with her colleague and friend, Lyme School’s Physical Education teacher Bonnie Ambruso, and together they rapidly agreed, “We should do this.”

From there, the two teachers set out to enlist broad parental and faculty support for the idea and gain all the necessary approvals from the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, Police and Fire Departments. Rostkoski noted that after, “lots of back and forth,” a date was set and then the detailed planning really started.

Emily Reynolds, who has two girls at the school and also runs Lyme School’s Facebook page, was soon involved. She said, “I looked at all the Lyme School bus routes and developed a master route,” adding with a smile that it turned out to be an exercise that, “required a PhD in logistics!”

Another parent, Adam McEwen was soon on board and, in Reynolds’ words, “He tested the route,” and moreover, “… it worked!”

Stacey Leonardo, who is president of Lyme School’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and also a Region 18 Board of Education member, joined the effort and Reynolds described how Leonardo, “Put her graphic designs skills to work and developed a flier which we posted to the Lyme PTO pages and shared to all room parents to disseminate to the families.”

Fourth grader Lillian Reynolds expressed one of her concerns regarding the current school closure situation!

Reynolds said that, at that point, the parade concept had “really created a movement within the town.”

A few days prior to the event, Reynolds said, “Old Lyme Fire Department member Jarrod Flagg, who has children at Lyme School, reached out and wanted to help coordinate fire department support.

The Lyme and Old Lyme Fire Departments then went to work, and got drivers and firetrucks ready for the event.” She noted, “Jarrod was really committed to making this a special event for the kids.”

 

Keeping things in the family, so as to speak, the Lyme firetruck driver was Lyme School alumnus Will Firgelewski, pictured above, who graduated from Lyme-Old Lyme High School in 2005.

Finally, in the true spirit of community, the Old Lyme Resident Trooper contacted Rostkoski March 30 and said he too “wanted to be part of it” and would help take care of the safety aspects of the parade.

And so it came to pass that all the Lyme School teachers, Instructional Assistants and nurse, along with Principal Jim Cavalieri gathered in the Rogers Lake parking lot a little before 4 p.m. last Tuesday in preparation for the parade. The route had taken McEwen around a little over an hour when he tested it — this time it took more than twice that length of time.

The streets were filled — but always at a safe social distance — with children and parents holding wonderful, often amusing homemade signs, waving and cheering as the parade of cars filled with their teachers and support staff drove past.  In many cases, the cars were bedecked with balloons and the drivers regularly blew their horns.

Rostkoski said, “It made everyone incredibly happy.  There were definitely some tears.  It was very therapeutic for everyone. We wanted the kids to know that we miss them terribly and would much rather be in a building with them than driving by them.”

Reynolds added, “The turnout was extraordinary. The goal [of the parade] was really to remind all of these young people that even though we are all apart, the amazing teachers of Lyme School are here for them, care about them and will support them through this challenging time. It’s all about connection – we are wired to be connected and this parade achieved that; it made everyone feel part of this special community.”

Cavalieri commented, “My staff wanted to bring a little “normal” back into the students lives. Hopefully this was accomplished as we drove by the smiling faces of the students and parents. We wanted to give them hope during this time of uncertainty. All of the students want to be back in school with their teachers and friends. They just want life to be back to normal.”

Rostkoski was anxious to express her thanks to, “Everyone that made the parade flow so beautifully and kept it safe.”  Cavalieri similarly wanted to give, “A big thank you to the Lyme and Old Lyme Fire and Police for their support and guidance in making this parade so fabulous,” concluding, “We all want to be safe and remain healthy, but we all want to get back to what we do best … being in our classrooms and teaching the kids.”

Editor’s Note: We apologize that we do not know the names of all the students, teachers and parents in these photos. Please send us those details if you wish us to add them. And we received so many wonderful photos from the parade that, contrary to our normal policy of only publishing a limited number of photos with an article, we have published almost all of them!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Old Lyme Board of Finance Denies Lyme Academy’s $15K Budget Request, Seeks More Info

File photo of the Chandler Academic Center, which comprises part of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. The France Foundation now rents 40,000 s.f in the buidling.

OLD LYME — At its regular meeting this past Tuesday (March 24), Old Lyme’s Board of Finance considered a budget request for $15,000 from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. The meeting was held in the town hall but most board members called into the meeting, along with member of the press and public, to avoid the dangers of convening in person and spreading the coronavirus.

It soon became clear that board members were facing a problem in determining whether to approve the request because there was minimal supporting information explaining why the Academy needed the funds and how they were going to use them.

Board of Finance Chairman Andy Russell noted that the only documents received by the board were a Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss statement for the Academy, each for a nine-month period. He mentioned that these showed total assets and endowments at $8.6 million with $1.8 million potentially owed to the University of New Haven (UNH).

Finance Director Nicole Stajduhar noted the Academy’s endowment was listed at $7.4 million of which only $1 milion is unrestricted and that, “The $1.8 million note [to UNH] is still there.” although Russell had commented, “There is an idea it may be forgiven if the property is sold outright.” Stajduhar also highlighted that it appeared the Academy’s $800,000 mortgage had been paid off, though it was not clear by whom.

Board member Bennett (BJ) Bernblum opened discussion of the request saying, “There are lots of questions in my view. These numbers don’t show an entity in dire trouble,” and concluding, “I personally am reluctant to make an award at this point.” He added, however, that he would be willing “to reserve the right” to allocate some monies to the Academy at a later date if more information were presented.

Alternate member Judith Read agreed with Bernblum, saying, “There’s not enough information to justify handing out a $15,000 grant to them.”

Old Lyme First Selectman Tim Griswold was more conciliatory towards the Academy reminding the board the institution was no longer a college and its revenue would consequently be impacted by that situation. He noted the Academy was engaged in an ongoing process of developing a strategic plan, which was,”really a road map going forward,” and commented, “The burn rate through their funds must be extensive.”

Griswold mentioned that the Academy had leased part of its property to The France Foundation, but the Academy’s ability to enter into any further leases was restricted by Old Lyme’s Zoning Regulations, which require the Academy only to lease to educational institutions. He also pointed out that the Academy, like other non-profits, “May need an indication of our support,” in order to apply successfully for grants and other funds, but he conceded, “I guess we need to await something more concrete,” from the Academy in terms of supporting information for the request.

Board member Janet Sturges said she had met with Lyme Academy Interim Director Frank Burns and in the interview, he had conveyed, “Lots of promise … lots of hope,” causing Russell to remind the board, “They’re asking for $15,000. We could give them less.”

Bernblum followed up, saying, “One of the concerns is whether they’re staying in business,” but added, “I think it’s politically wrong to deny them. I would rather postpone.”

That compromise was well received but Stajduhar pointed out the board needed to award something at this point to be what Russell later described as “a placeholder.” Member David Kelsey proposed the board should award $1,000 to the Academy for the 2020-21 financial year and Russell emphasized, “There could be an additional amount,” if more information about the request were presented.

The motion was passed unanimously.

 

 

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First Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Lyme

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We will get through this, together.

Stay Safe. Stay at Home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

As of yesterday, Tuesday, March 24:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To request designation as an Essential Business, click here.

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

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

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

 

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

Saint Ann’s Church, Old Lyme

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

Readers can view it at this link.

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

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme..

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

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

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

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No Church? No Problem … Christ The King Plans to Livestream This Morning’s 10:30am Mass

Chrict the King Church in Old Lyme will live stream its 10:30 a.m. Mass Sunday morning.

OLD LYME — An Executive Order from Governor Lamont aimed at preventing the spread of Coronavirus is stopping the parishioners of Christ the King Church from gathering in their church in Old Lyme this Sunday morning (March 22) to celebrate mass. Undeterred, church members have come up with a novel way to enable all worshippers to celebrate mass together in their separate locations.

Father Joe and Father Walter will concelebrate mass Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. and the service will be livestreamed via the Zoom app. Music will be provided live by Christ the King Music Directot Bill Thomas from his home.

Parishioners can log on from their homes to watch, listen, and participate using a computer, tablet or smartphone. The free Zoom app must be downloaded first and then the following information used to log into the mass:

Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/620789800?pwd=bUpEZmRSdWNpeFRBSXZmSW5RZWtoZz09
Meeting ID: 620 789 800
Password: 078561

As this is the first time an attempt has been made to livestream a mass at Christ the King, patience is respectfully requested if any glitches should occur.

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Lyme Selectmen Issue Call for Volunteers; Also, Info on Help for Vulnerable Residents, How to Stay Informed

Lyme Town Hall

The Lyme Board of Selectmen have issued the following updates:

Call for Volunteers

The coronavirus is the biggest public health challenge Lyme has faced in generations.  The board wants to make sure none of our vulnerable residents are facing this challenge alone.

In preparation for anticipated needs in days ahead, the Town of Lyme is issuing a call for volunteers who are willing and able to help isolated individuals in our community.  We anticipate a need for volunteers who can pick up and deliver groceries, medications and other supplies; and volunteers who can offer ongoing emotional support by phone or email. In the future, there may be additional ways that you can help.

The volunteer coordination effort will be led by our Social Services Director and our Town Clerk, supported by our Emergency Management Department and Second Selectman.

Email the Lyme Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org if you are willing to help.  She will be compiling a list of resident volunteers.  If you have other expertise you think may be valuable in serving others during the coming days, mention that in your email.

Help for Vulnerable Community Residents

The Town of Lyme is continuing its preparations to help its most vulnerable citizens through the days ahead.

The Town has a list of the community’s most vulnerable residents, which has long been maintained by our Social Services Director and the Emergency Management Department. The board wants to make sure, however, that no one who is isolated and vulnerable in the community is overlooked in the coming days.

If you know someone in Lyme who is isolated – or if you, yourself, are a vulnerable individual as a result of your age or other reason – notify the Town Clerk at townclerk@townlyme.org.  If you do not have access to email, call Town Hall at 860-434-7733.

Stay Informed …

The Town website is being updated regularly with the latest news and information.

  • For the latest word on the Town of Lyme’s public health response to the coronavirus, click here.
  • For the current status of town facilities, click here.
  • For other important community updates related to the coronavirus, click here. All residents are encouraged to sign up for the Town email list on the website’s home page to receive important public health updates by email.
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Carney Summarizes Lamont’s Latest Executive Order Detailing Business Restrictions Starting Monday; Also, Gives More COVID-19 General Updates

State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd)

LYME/OLD LYME — State Representative Devin Carney (R-23), whose District includes Lyme and Old Lyme, issued the following statement earlier this morning, which summarizes Gov. Lamont’s most recent Excutive Order and gives other pertinent COVID-19 information.

“Governor Lamont today signed his ninth executive order pursuant to his emergency declaration, taking further actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Connecticut.

This order:

  • Places restrictions on workplaces for non-essential businesses. This goes into effect Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. through Wednesday, April 22, 2020,
  • Under this restriction, all businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state shall employ, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely employ.
  • Non-essential businesses or non-essential not-for-profit entities shall reduce their in-person workforce at any workplace locations by 100% not later than March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

**Important note for businesses who are deemed non-essential**

Any other business may be deemed essential after requesting an opinion from DECD, which shall review and grant such request, should it determine that it is in the best interest of the state to have the workforce continue at full capacity to properly respond to this emergency.

Any essential business or entity providing essential goods, services or functions shall not be subject to these in-person restrictions.

Not later than 8 p.m. on March 22, 2020, the Department of Economic and Community Development (“DECD”) shall issue lawfully binding guidance about which businesses are essential.

Those ESSENTIAL businesses to remain OPEN shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Essential retail, including GROCERY STORES and big-box stores or wholesale clubs, provided they also sell groceries;
  • Food and beverage retailers (including liquor/package stores and manufacturer permittees) and restaurants, provided they comply with previous and future executive orders issued during the existing declared public health and civil preparedness emergency;
  • PHARMACIES, gas stations and convenience stores;
  • Essential health care operations including HOSPITALS, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, elder care and home health care workers,
  • Companies and institutions involved in the research and development, manufacture, distribution, warehousing, and supplying of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology therapies, health care data, consumer health products, medical devices, diagnostics, equipment, services and any other healthcare related supplies or services;
  • Essential infrastructure, including utilities, wastewater and drinking water, telecommunications, airports and transportation infrastructure;
  • Manufacturing, including food processing, pharmaceuticals, and industries supporting the essential services required to meet national security commitments to the federal government and U.S. Military;
  • The defense industrial base, including aerospace, mechanical and software engineers, manufacturing/production workers, aircraft and weapon system mechanics and maintainers;
  • Essential services including trash and recycling collection, hauling, and processing, mail and shipping services;
  • News media;
  • Legal and accounting services;
  • Banks, insurance companies, check cashing services, and other financial institutions;
  • Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations;
  • Construction;
  • Vendors of essential services and goods necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses, including pest control and landscaping services;
  • Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and the provision of goods, services or functions necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the public.

To read this executive order, click here.

To see an update on Connecticut’s coronavirus response efforts, click here.

State launches framework for the donation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

At the direction of Governor Lamont and the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the state has activated a framework for donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection that are utilized by people providing healthcare services.

Members of the public, businesses, and philanthropic organizations that wish to donate these vital materials should fill out the online form located at www.211ct.org/DonationsCOVID19.

United Way 2-1-1 of Connecticut will be working with DPH to collect the input of donation requests and will ensure that donated items are appropriate for the needs of hospitals and long-term care facilities.

The specific items being requested by the state at this time include:

  • N95 Respirators
  • Face Masks/Surgical Masks
  • Face Shields
  • Surgical Gowns
  • Gloves (nitrile, or non-latex)
  • Thermometers
  • Thermometer Covers (if applicable to type of thermometer)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Other Medical Items

This donation framework will remain in place to support additional donation efforts in the future.

Department of Revenue Services extends filing and payment deadlines for personal income tax returns to July 15, 2020

At the direction of Governor Ned Lamont, the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is extending the filing and payment deadline for personal income tax returns 90 days, to July 15, 2020. The extension also applies to Connecticut estimated income tax payments for the first and second quarters of 2020.

This extension for Connecticut personal income tax return filing and payment aligns with the U.S. Treasury’s announcement earlier Friday, where it indicated federal income tax filings and payments would be extended until July 15, 2020.

Connecticut taxpayers who are owed a refund may still file with DRS. The easiest way to file – and the fastest way to receive a refund – is through online filing, including via the DRS online Taxpayer Service Center, which is easy, secure, and free to use. Since Connecticut’s personal income tax return begins with federal Adjusted Gross Income, it is often beneficial to complete one’s federal income tax return first.

Taxpayers are encouraged to visit the DRS website, where additional updates will be posted.

Governor Lamont and DECD speak with 5,000 small business owners and leaders about the impact of COVID-19 on businesses

Yesterday, Governor Lamont and Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) David Lehman hosted a conference call with over 5,000 small business owners and leaders from throughout the state to discuss what the state has done and is planning to do to support businesses impacted by COVID-19. During the call, the governor discussed the state’s new bridge-loan program that is being set up to help small and medium-sized businesses. Details continue to be finalized, and more information is anticipated to be released next week.

To listen to the full audio of the hour-long conference call, visit the state’s COVID-19 business resource page.

Earlier this week, DECD launched the COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit, which will be dedicated to help businesses in Connecticut navigate the resources available to them during this crisis. Small businesses seeking guidance can reach this unit by calling 860-500-2333.

DMV announces series of additional extensions and waivers for vehicle registrations, emissions testing, and other credentials

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today announced that it is adding vehicle registrations, emissions testing, and several other items to the extension period for Connecticut residents with expiring credentials. In addition to extending the expiration date of DMV credentials, late fees associated with eligible expired credentials and compliance issues will also be waived during this extension period.

The extensions announced today apply to vehicle and boat registrations, emissions testing, new residents, disabled parking placards, business licenses, suspension-related matters, inspections, school bus proficiency tests, and flashing light permits.

For specific information on today’s announcements and details about each of these extension periods, click here.

Businesses experiencing issues regarding supply chains, delivery of goods, or business continuity should contact FEMA’s emergency operations center

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection is encouraging businesses in the state that are experiencing issues regarding supply chains, delivery of goods, or business continuity to contact the FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center by emailing NBEOC@fema.dhs.gov. This is a 24/7 operation and they can assist in directing the inquiry to the proper contact.”

State Rep. Carney concludes, “As always, if you have any questions or would like to speak with me about a concern, please email me at Devin.Carney@housegop.ct.gov or call 800-842-1423.”

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Important Updates from Old Lyme Board of Selectmen: How to Volunteer, Request Help, Sign up for Text Notifications, & More

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold

Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal

OLD LYME — (From an update  to the community from the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen) The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen is providing periodic updates for the Old Lyme community as it navigates and plans for what is and will be a challenging time.

Use the links on the Town of Old Lyme website to:

Find information on the

Old Lyme Selectman Chris Kerr

Recent Updates:

• On March 16, 2020 a Declaration of Local Emergency was signed by First Selectman Timothy Griswold. Additionally, the First Selectman issued an Executive Order to close or modify the availability of town facilities.

• Town Hall is closed to the public but staff is available to respond to resident’s needs via phone. Be patient and calls will be returned as soon as possible.

Communication is being enhanced to quickly share important information with the community. SIGN UP FOR COVID-19 EMERGENCY PHONE SMS/TEXT NOTIFICATIONS HERE.

• A task force to oversee the community response is being led by the First Selectman’s Office, the Town of Old Lyme Social Services Department, and the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau. To sign up as a volunteer, click here.

• The First Selectman’s office has arranged a way to hold virtual Board, Commission, and Committee meetings. Any scheduled meetings will be noticed with the Town Clerk as well as listed on the town events calendar.

To date, there are no known cases of Covid-19 in Old Lyme to report. However, as readers are aware, the availability of testing is expected to change this statistic.

The Selectmen’s update concludes, “The health and safety of our community, First Responders, volunteers, and town staff is of utmost importance. Please practice social distancing and avoid unnecessary errands to keep us all safe. One thing we can all do is to continue to be good neighbors. Please safely reach out to folks in your neighborhood. A kind, human voice reminds us that we can and will help each other through this.”

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Death Announced of Old Lyme’s 2017 Citizen of the Year, Captain Roderick M. White

This photo was taken Jan. 22, 2018, on the night that the late Captain Roderick M. White was named Old Lyme’s 2017 Citizen of the Year. From left to right standing are Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Selectman Chris Kerr, Judy White, and then First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who presented the award. Captain White, whose death was announced yesterday, is seated.

OLD LYME — The death of Captain Roderick M. White on March 11, 2020, has been announced. He was 91. A service for White will be held at the United States Coast Guard Chapel with an inurnment in the Columbarium at the Academy. Services will be scheduled when the Academy re-opens.

Captain White was Old Lyme’s 2017 Citizen of the Year and the proclamation announcing that read, “Over the course of his 50+ years in Old Lyme, Rod White has set a high standard for community service. Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Rod graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1950. He spent the next quarter of a century making his mark in the Coast Guard. A faculty member from 1969 to 1974, he served as Dean of Academics from 1974 to 1983. In 1969, he was named the outstanding Naval Engineer of the year, receiving the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Society of Naval Engineers.”

Commenting in more detail on White’s Gold Medal citation, the Proclamation said it, “refers to “his exceptional analytical skills and technical competence… [and] significant contributions in the advancement of icebreaker design …” It was Rod’s “White Bow” design that made it possible for the SS Manhattan to make the first successful transit of the Northwest Passage by a commercial vessel.”

Another photo from the 2017 Citizen of the Year celebrations shows Captain White (seated) being congratulated by previous Old Lyme Citizens of the Year, Jeff Sturges (left) and Lynn Fairfield-Sonn (right.) See more photos of that night at this link.

The Proclamation continued, “Rod White has used his exceptional skills in our community in so many ways. A founding member of the Harbor Management Commission, he served as Chair from 1988 to 1994, and was elected Registrar of Voters from 1993 to 2004. An active member of the Republican Town Committee, serving as both secretary and vice-chair, he was elected for two terms to the Regional District 18 Board of Education, serving from 1997 to 2005.  Rod was our Town’s representative to the Southeastern Tourism District for many years, and currently serves on the Board of Assessment Appeals, a position to which he was first elected in 2007.”

Adding, “Despite his obviously busy schedule, Rod willingly shared his talents with a larger community, as well,”  the Proclamation listed that Captain White served as Executive Director for the Eastern CT Foundation for Public Giving, Executive Director of the Coast Guard Foundation, Chair of the Boy Scouts Long Range Planning Committee and as a member of both the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Board and Connecticut’s Olympic Committee. He was also a loyal and active member of Rotary International since 1975.

Read Captain White’s obituary at this link.

Editor’s Note: We extend our deepest sympathies to Captain White’s family on his passing. We knew him as a kind and gracious gentleman, always ready to help anyone at any time, and a pillar of public service .

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Selectmen Declare State of Emergency for Old Lyme

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold

OLD LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold called this morning to let us know that, at their meeting yesterday evening, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen approved the declaration of a State of Emergency for the Town of Old Lyme. The immediate effect of the declaration is in Griswold’s words, “to keep the public at bay” [from town hall] meaning that the public will no longer have access to Memorial Town Hall from tomorrow onward.

Town hall staff will still be working, however, and reachable by phone and email.  People who need to conduct face-to-face business with a department must call that department to discuss whether they can schedule an appointment.

Griswold said tonight’s scheduled Old Lyme Board of Finance meeting would go ahead as planned but noted that the selectmen are looking into “a service to enable some meetings to be held probably telephonically,” in the future. He explained “the recording of the meeting could then be put online,” and that would “satisfy [Governor] Lamont’s recommendations” regarding not getting together in person for meetings. Griswold stressed, however, that boards, commissions and committees are being “encouraged to postpone” whenever possible unless “there is something they really need to meet for.”

Responding to a question as to why the State of Emergency was justified, Griswold said it gives the board “more flexibiility” and “the ability to take action without a meeting … more quickly and more unilaterally.” He added that it also enables volunteers, who becomes ill [from the virus] to claim Worker’s Compensation and significantly, allows the Town to have a “higher chance of reimbursement” if it spends any unanticipated monies during the crisis.

Asked what his message was to the residents of Old Lyme, Griswold urged them to “follow all the advice we’ve been hearing,” by “being sensible,” and “minimizing social contact with other people.” Saying, “I feel for small businesses and we’re really hoping there will be some relief for them from the Feds or the state,” he noted, “LYSB is going to assist where needed,” and stressed, “We’re all doing the best we can.”

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All Old Lyme Municipal Buildings to be Closed from Wednesday Onwards

File photo of a Flagpole Ceremony at Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall. The Town Hall will be closed to the public from Wednesday, March 18.

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme issued the following announcement this evening:

Due to the threat of the global COVID-19 pandemic, several measures are taking place to protect public safety and limit the spread of the virus within the town.

Town Buildings Closing to the Public

The Town will be closing all municipal buildings to the public on Wednesday, March 18, until further notice. Municipal Town Hall will be staffed and offices will be reachable by phone and email.  A list of phone and email contacts will be available on the Town of Old Lyme COVID-19 home page shortly. People who need to conduct face-to-face business with a department must call that department to discuss whether they can schedule an appointment.

Lymes’ Senior Center Closed, Lunches Offered “To-Go”

The Lymes’ Senior Center will be closed until further notice as of Tuesday 3/17/20.  The town nurse will still be available M-F 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Those who normally eat lunch at the center will be able to order a lunch “to go” through the Estuary Senior Center in Old Saybrook by calling (860) 388-1611 x216 before 11 a.m. on the Monday before the week. Those wishing to use this service can pick it up curbside at the Lymes’ Senior Center on Tuesday’s between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. One reservation will provide five frozen meals. For more information, visit this link.

Public Safety Operations

Old Lyme public safety services including Fire, EMS, and Police are fully functional. If the needs arise to call 911 to report an emergency, advise the dispatcher of any COVID-19 related symptoms or issues that may exist for that call. This will give first responders the ability to better prepare themselves for any type of response. 

Remain Vigilant

During this time it is imperative that all persons practice recommendations provided by public health officials. Those include practicing social distancing, refraining from touching your face, avoiding crowds, using appropriate methods to clean surfaces, and practicing personal hygiene including washing your hands.  

Additional Updates from the Town of Old Lyme

More information will be available shortly on the Town of Old Lyme website and Facebook page, as well at the Town of Old Lyme Emergency Management Facebook page.

As a reminder, here at LymeLine.com, we are updating our list of local Closures & Cancellations daily.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Girls Club Basketball Team Win Prestigious Neil Hoelck Basketball Tournament

Champions! These girls emerged victorious in the recent Neil Hoelck Basketball Tournament held at Waterford High School. From left to right are (back row) Coach Mike O’Brien, Kelly Sheehan, Grace Ferman, Olivia Kelly, Abby O’Brien, Kate Walsh, Samantha Fiske, Coach Sarah Walsh, and Coach Geoff Ferman, (front row) Bronwyn Kyle, Kanon O’Haru, and Natalie Barndt. Not pictured is Morgan Standish. (Photos submitted.)

LYME/OLD LYME — As we currently ride this choppy sea of challenging and frustrating news, here’s a little piece of thoroughly good news to brighten your day!

Over the weekend of March 7 and 8, the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Girls Club Basketball team swept the 7th Grade Division in the 41st Annual Neil Hoelck Basketball Tournament at Waterford High School. The girls defeated Waterford, and New London (twice) in the opening rounds. and then faced Madison in the championship game.

The final was a real nail-biter, but the LOL girls ultimately defeated Madison by 30-28 to win the tournament.

The winning tean proudly display their medals.

Pictured celebrating their victory in the photo above are from left to right, (back row) Abby O’Brien, Kanon O’Haru, Kate Walsh, Olivia Kelly, Grace Ferman, Sam Fiske, Kelly Sheehan, Natalie Barndt, and (front row) Bronwyn Kyle.  Not pictured is Morgan Standish.

All of the girls attend Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

Many congratulations to the team and their coaches!

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Closed Immediately for Minimum of Two Weeks

Lyme-Old Lyme High School will be closed effective immediately along with all other Region 18 Schools and offices.

LYME/OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser announced the closure of all Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in an email that went out to all parents, faculty and staff at 12:30 p.m. today. The closure is effective immediately and will continue for a minimum of two weeks, but warns, “Please be aware that as guidance is updated, this may need to be extended.”

He explains the background to the decision to close the schools as follows, emphasizing how this is a collective decision made by all southeastern Connecticut school superintendents, “On the advice of our local health departments, the school superintendents in southeastern Connecticut have come together to make a decision to put the health of our community (both our school community and the community at large) at the center of our decision to close schools.  We have been advised by local health authorities that the implementation of social distancing measures is a proven science-based intervention that has been shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with communicable disease outbreaks. In the past, communities in which schools closed were able to positively impact and reduce the spread of disease. We felt compelled to make this decision to prevent the spread of illness among our students, staff, and our communities.” 

Neviaser then notes, “We have also been advised that we cannot confirm that this illness will run its course in two weeks, in fact, it is not likely that it will.  We made the determination to make this closure “indefinite” based on that information. This decision was made in consultation with and with the support of the health departments, elected officials, and emergency management professionals.”

Regarding the possibility of distance learning during the closure, the Superintendent states, “There has been much discussion about the concept of distance learning during prolonged absences.  At this time the Connecticut State Department of Education has discouraged school districts from utilizing this approach due to concerns over instructional consistency (especially in the early grades), equity of access both intra-district and inter-district, disruption of special education services, and multiple employee contractual issues.  We will continue, during this school closing, to seek ways to provide supplemental education to our students. Should we need to utilize a distance learning model in the future, we will notify parents, students, and staff members of how this will be implemented.”

He concludes, “While I have no other information to share at this time, I will continue to communicate as we receive updated guidance from our public health officials, the CDC, and state officials.  Please continue to monitor your email to ensure receipt of the most current information. It is my intention to send, at a minimum, a weekly communication as this situation evolves.”

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Closures & Cancellations: Latest News

We are being inundated with closures and cancellations, and so will run all the new ones together in this post and then prepare a summary at the end of the day.

Ivoryton Playhouse: Opening of Forbidden Broadway Comes to Ivoryton scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, has been postponed.

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

South Lyme Union Chapel: Lenten Soup Night, scheduled for Monday, March 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. is cancelled

SECWAC (Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council): March 20 and 26 programs cancelled.

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