October 1, 2022

Rowe Stepping Down from Top Job at Lyme Academy, Board Launches Search for Managing Director

Mora Rowe has announced she will be stepping down from her current role as Executive Director of Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in September.

OLD LYME — Mora Rowe, who currently serves as the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts Executive Director, has announced her intention to step down from the position this month. Consequently, the Academy has launched a search for a Managing Director to oversee the Academy’s finances, facilities, and operations on its nine-acre campus in Old Lyme, C0nn.

Rowe contributed to planning the reopening of the Academy in fall 2021. She initiated necessary upgrades to the facilities, hired administrative staff, secured numerous grants for the organization, re-engaged with the Lyme/Old Lyme community, and planned several events on campus.

Rowe’s efforts supported the work of the Co-Artistic Directors, Jordan Sokol and Amaya Gurpide, to revive Lyme Academy’s mission to teach the foundational skills of drawing, painting, and sculpture in the figurative tradition.

Most recently, Rowe is credited with the design and merchandising of de Gerenday’s Fine Art Materials and Curiosities, which opened on the Academy’s campus at the end of June.

“I am grateful to have been a part of the relaunch of this storied Academy,” Rowe comments, “and to have worked alongside supportive and dedicated staff, the board of trustees, and community members. I feel confident that Lyme Academy is in a strong position to move forward into a bright and promising future.” Rowe will wrap up her tenure at Lyme Academy in September. Along with her departure, the title Executive Director will be retired.

With Rowe’s resignation, the board of trustees voted to establish the new role of Managing Director, and to begin an immediate search for a person who will be responsible for the overall operations of the Academy and support the work of the Artistic Directors, Sokol and Gurpide, as they expand the artistic offerings at Lyme Academy.

“The Board of Trustees evaluated other arts organizations to determine the best leadership structure for Lyme Academy,” adds Michael Duffy, Lyme Academy Board Chairman.

He continued, “The Managing Director title is one you see at places like the Goodspeed Opera, the Ivoryton Playhouse, and elsewhere, particularly when the role is partnered with an Artistic Director. Moving forward, the Academy’s Artistic Directors, the husband-and wife team of Jordan Sokol and Amaya Gurpide, will report directly to the board alongside a Managing Director who, once hired, would be expected to start sometime this fall.”

The search for Managing Director is launching at the same time as many new artistic and educational offerings at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts. In August, the Academy announced a new Youth Program, directed by Old Lyme-native Rick Lacey, which begins in early September.

New classes, workshops, and an all-level Studio Immersion Program are planned to begin in October, along with the much-anticipated return of the full-time Core Program students.

Lastly, the Academy will be launching a new Sculpture Program in late 2023, after hiring a new Sculpture Chair this fall.

The search for a Managing Director will be led by Laura Hansen, Senior Search Consultant for DRG Talent Consulting, a national search and talent management firm serving nonprofits, schools, foundations, and social impact corporations.

Those interested in learning more about the position, or who wish to apply, are invited to visit the DRG website (drgtalent.com) or to contact Hansen directly at lhansen@drgtalent.com. The Academy expects to begin reviewing applications in October, with a hire in late fall 2022.

Editor’s Notes: i) This article is based on a press release issued by Lyme Academy.

ii) The mission of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is to teach the foundational skills of drawing, painting, and sculpture in the figurative tradition. By its commitment to training students in these skills and an engagement with contemporary discourse, the Academy will empower a new generation of artists. Through its programs, the Academy is committed to enriching the cultural life of the community. As an extension of programming, the Academy has recently announced the opening of de Gerenday’s Fine Art Materials and Curiosities, a new shop offering art supplies and giftable objects from around the globe.

For more information, visit lymeacademy.edu.

Suisman Shapiro Attorneys Collins, Berryman — Both of Old Lyme — Named ‘2023 Best Lawyers in America®’

Seven Suisman Shapiro Attorneys Named to 2023 Best Lawyers in America® and Ones to Watch ® Lists

Attorney James P. Berryman

Attorney John A. Collins III

NEW LONDON, CONN.Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law have announced that James P. Berryman and John A. Collins III have been named to 2023 Best Lawyers in America®. Both attorneys live in Old Lyme, and Suisman Shapiro serves as the Town of Old Lyme’s Attorney.

Atty. Berryman focuses on Workers’ Compensation Law on behalf of Claimants and Atty. Collins specializes in Personal Injury Litigation on behalf of Plaintiffs.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

“Best Lawyers was founded more than 40 years ago to recognize the exceptional accomplishments of top legal professionals,” says Best Lawyers CEO Phil Greer. “We are proud to continue to present the most respected, unbiased legal awards worldwide.”

Best Lawyers has earned the respect of the profession, the media and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries. For the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, more than 12.2 million votes were analyzed to identify the top legal talent, as identified by their peers.

Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers based on professional expertise and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

Apart from Berryman and Collins, four additional Suisman Shapiro attorneys were named to the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America®  list:

  • Michael A. Blanchard – Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Theodore Heiser – Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Jeffrey W. Hill – Family Law and Family Law Arbitration
  • Robert B. Keville – Workers’ Compensation Law – Claimants

Additionally, Kyle J. Zrenda was recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America® , which recognizes associates and other lawyers who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States

Editor’s Notes: i) Suisman Shapiro is the largest law firm in eastern Connecticut, providing residents and businesses from New Haven to Providence with a full range of legal services.  The firm was established more than 75 years ago and is firmly rooted in the community. For more information visit suismanshapiro.com or call (800) 499-0145.

ii) This article is based in part on a press release issued by Suisman Shapiro Attprneys-at-Law.

FRA Announces $65.2 Million Grant for New CT River Bridge Between Old Lyme, Old Saybrook

This photo shows the Amtrak bascule bridge between Old Lyme, Conn. (to the left) and Old Saybrook, Conn. (to the right) in the open position. This image by Denimadept is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Second $20M FRA Grant Supports Phase 1 (Two of Seven) of CT DOT’s Plan to Replace Power Substations Along New Haven Line

HARTFORD, CT/OLD LYME – On Aug. 18, Gov. Ned Lamont and Connecticut’s Congressional delegation announced that Connecticut has been awarded two grants totaling more than $85.2 million from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for major infrastructure improvement projects on the Northeast Corridor.

The funds will be used for two significant capital projects that improve safety and reliability along the Connecticut-owned New Haven Line and the Amtrak-owned Shore Line East, ensuring no disruptions occur along the Northeast Corridor. They are being awarded under the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grant Program.

The first grant, in the amount of $65.2 million, will support the replacement of the existing Amtrak-owned Connecticut River Bridge between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme with a modern and resilient new moveable bridge.

The project will improve safety, reliability, and trip time. Maximum speeds will increase from 45 miles per hour on the current span up to 70 miles per hour. The increase to 70 mph afforded by a more modern miter rail design will be a marked improvement: however, speed restrictions on the curves on either side of the Connecticut River Bridge will still be required but will be optimized to achieve maximum impact.

The existing 115-year-old Connecticut River Bridge poses a significant risk of long-term disruption to the Northeast Corridor due to its age and condition. The bridge was opened in 1907 and is the oldest rolling lift bascule span bridge between New Haven, Conn. and Boston, Mass.

The bridge spans the Connecticut River 3.4 miles north of the mouth of the Long Island Sound. It serves the Northeast Corridor main line and is used by Amtrak’s intercity service, Shore Line East (SLE) commuter rail service, and freight operators. Approximately 38 Amtrak trains, 12 CTDOT (SLE) trains, and six Providence and Worcester Railroad trains travel across the bridge each weekday, a total of 56 trains per day.

The bridge has a movable span that is raised up to allow boats to pass. The Connecticut River Bridge fails to open and close properly, which has led to cascading delays to rail and maritime traffic. Due to its age and deteriorated condition, the operational reliability of the existing bridge is at high risk.

The new bridge will be built along a new southern alignment, with an offset of 52 ft. from the centerline of the existing bridge to the centerline of the new bridge.

The replacement bridge will maintain the two-track configuration and existing channel location and provide a moveable span with additional vertical clearance for maritime traffic. Delays from bridge openings will be significantly reduced, and Amtrak will realize maintenance savings from the new structure.

This grant marks the second Federal-State Partnership program contribution toward the project since an additional $65.2 million was awarded in fiscal year 2020. The Connecticut Department of Transportation and Amtrak will provide a 38 percent match of the grant.

The second grant, in the amount of $20 million, will support phase one of the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s overall plan to replace the seven power substations along the New Haven Line, beginning with the replacement of the first two.

These substations have not been repaired or renovated since the 1980s.

The upgraded substations will be more reliable, more energy efficient, and less costly to maintain. The aging power infrastructure poses a significant risk of rail service disruption, and maintaining the assets is essential to ensuring reliable train service for passengers.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont commented, “We all know how critical the Northeast Corridor is for job creation, economic growth, and environmentally friendly transportation. Our administration has a vision for faster, more reliable, and greener public transportation, and we are doing everything possible to make that vision a reality. Thanks to these grants, that reality is moving one step closer.”

In a joint statement, the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation said, “The Northeast Corridor is one of the busiest rail lines in North America, with more than 144,000 commuters using the New Haven Line and Shore Line East daily to travel to work or visit family.”

The statement continues, ” This critical Federal Railroad Administration funding will provide desperately needed improvements to the New Haven Line and Shore Line East, paving the way for more reliable and faster public transportation. This important investment in Connecticut upgrades the power supply and removes a major chokepoint along Shore Line East by replacing the outmoded, deteriorating Connecticut River Bridge.”

Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti noted, “We appreciate the Federal Railroad Administration’s ongoing support of Connecticut’s rail infrastructure, which will help improve safety and reliability along the Northeast Corridor.”

Dennis Newman, executive vice president of strategy, planning and accessibility for Amtrak, stated, “Amtrak is grateful to the Federal Railroad Administration for awarding two grants totaling more than $85.2 million to fund critical infrastructure projects on the Northeast Corridor in Connecticut – the New Haven Line Power Program and Connecticut River Bridge.”

He added, “The funding from these grants will help modernize the infrastructure in the state and improve the reliability of both commuter and intercity train services to provide a better travel experience for Connecticut residents and visitors.”

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued Aug. 18, from the Office of CT Gov. Ned Lamont, and information published on the Amtrak.com website about the Connecticut River Bridge.

‘The Farmers Market at Tiffany Farms’ is Open Today, New Addition This Year is ‘Community Outreach’ Tent

View of the Farmer’s Market at Tiffany Farms.

LYME — ‘The Farmers Market at Tiffany Farms’ in Lyme will open today from 9 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. with fresh farm produce, baked goods, seafood, maple syrup, and more on sale.

Jen Tiffany stands proudly in front of the 2020 Farmers Market that she and her husband Bill Hurtle will host again this summer at Tiffany Farms.

This Farmers Market, which evolved from the Lyme Farmers Market of yesteryear, is a perennially popular destination for both local and regional shoppers.

Jennifer Tiffany and her husband Bill Hurtle run the market and are excited this year to introduce “Community Service” and “Hospitality” tents.  

For the Community Outreach tent, Tiffany explains, “We will be compiling a list of approximately 20 different organizations and providing one group per week with the market venue as a form of outreach.”

She stresses, “The idea is to not promote sales of their product or enhance collection of donations. It’s quite simply to provide the selected group a platform giving them the opportunity to spread their cause — in other words, to say, “Here we are and this is what we are all about.”

The hospitality tent, Tiffany explains, will be a resting spot for those who just need to sit a spell, noting, “We had some very faithful, strong-willed but physically-challenged visitors attending the market last year and this tent will be out of respect for them.”

A view of the iconic Tiffany Farms where the Farmers Market will be held.

Tiffany notes, “All Department of Agriculture, Markets, Department of Health and CT Grown guidelines will apply.”  She aspires to the same look as [Lyme Farmers Market at] Ashlawn,” with the aim being to offer a “very classy ” market, focused on Connecticut-grown or-produced items such as dairy, beef, vegetables, herbs, jellies and syrups.

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

The list of full-time vendors this year includes:

  • Chatfield Hollow Farm

  • Dondero Orchards

  • Falls Brook Farm

  • Fat Stone Far

  • From the Farm

  • Maple Breeze Farm

  • Marna Roons

  • TALK Seafood

  • Tiffany Farms Pasture Raised Beef

  • Traveling Italian Chef

  • Upper Pond Farm

  • Wave Hill Breads

Guest Vendors include:

  • Confections by Toni-Marie
  • Mostly Nuts
  • Simply Sweet by Elana

High Hopes is August Beneficiary of Old Lyme ‘Big Y’s Community Bag Program,’ Aims to Reduce Single-Use Plastics  

OLD LYME – This year, local community non-profits are more in need of support than in any other time in the recent years’ past. Now shoppers can give back to the local community and help to reduce single-use plastics by purchasing a special reusable bag at Big Y.

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. has been selected by the Old Lyme Big Y store leadership as the benefiting non-profit in the Big Y Community Bag Program for the month of August.

The Big Y Community Bag Program is designed to give back to the local community with every reusable bag purchased.  This program offers a way for shoppers to give back as part of the regular weekly routine.

High Hopes will receive a $1 donation for every $2.50 reusable Big Y Community Bag purchased at the Big Y in Old Lyme. 

When asked her reaction to High Hopes being selected as this month’s beneficiary, Kitty Stalsburg, Executive Director of High Hopes said, “We are thrilled to be participating in this innovative program that makes it possible for shoppers to give back to local non-profits while reducing single-use plastic in the environment. We appreciate the community support in this important initiative to make a difference.”

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. is a non-profit based in Old Lyme, CT. Founded in 1974, High Hopes works to foster a community where horse and human interactions improve lives. Learn more about High Hopes by visiting highhopestr.org.

For more information about the Big Y Community Bag Program, visit bigy.bags4mycause.com.

Old Lyme’s Florence Griswold Museum Director Beaulieu Leaving to Become President/CEO of Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art

Florence Griswold Museum Director Rebekah Beaulieu is leaving to take up a position as President/CEO of the Taft Museum of Art  in Cincinnati, Ohio.

CINCINNATI, OHIO/OLD LYME, CONN.—The Taft Museum of Art’s board of directors has announced the selection of Rebekah (Becky) Beaulieu as the museum’s next Louise Taft Semple President and CEO.

Beaulieu is currently the director of the Florence Griswold Museum, an American Alliance of Museums accredited National Historic Landmark, house museum, and modern exhibition space dedicated to American art, history, and landscape in Old Lyme, Conn.

Since Beaulieu’s appointment in 2018, she has made substantive changes in the depth of programming and connection to the community.

Beaulieu also serves as an accreditation commissioner for the American Alliance of Museums, as the vice president of the New England Museum Association, and as the treasurer of the American Association for State and Local History.

Beaulieu’s work has received recognition as the author of Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) and Endowment Essentials for Museums (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022).

Raised in Milwaukee, Beaulieu holds a PhD from Boston University in American and New England Studies with her dissertation Historic House Museums and America’s Urban Midwest offering underrepresented scholarship in the field.

Beaulieu also holds a masters in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a masters in Arts Administration from Columbia University and a bachelors in American Studies from The George Washington University.

In addition to her current roles, she has also held positions at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (Brunswick, Maine), the Milwaukee County Historical Society (Milwaukee, Wis.), and Lookingglass Theatre Company (Chicago, Ill.)

The current Florence Griswold Museum Director Rebekah (Becky) Beaulieu will take up the position of President/CEO of the Taft Art Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio (pictured above) starting Sept. 19, 2022. Photo by Ryan Kurtz.

“We are delighted to welcome Becky as the next President and CEO of the Taft, and excited to have her and her husband Patrick become part of our vibrant community in Cincinnati,” says Jill T. McGruder, board of director’s vice chair. “Becky will bring her impressive skills in community engagement, staff support and financial management to the museum at an important moment in its history, having recently celebrated our bicentennial and preservation of our landmark home.”

This appointment marks a critical era for the Taft, whose world-renowned collection and regional legacy make it an important national treasure. Beaulieu will build upon the organization’s community-centered engagement and excitement following the museum’s Bicentennial Infrastructure Project, sparking a renewed creative energy around the unique cultural gem.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Taft Museum of Art and look forward to collaborating with its visionary board of directors and exceptional staff to steward the museum into its exciting next chapter as a beacon of 21st century preservation and engagement. It is a true honor to be selected to lead an institution that is renowned for its commitment to excellence, and to join the dynamic arts community of Cincinnati,” says Beaulieu.

Beaulieu will officially join the museum as Louise Taft Semple President and CEO on Sept. 19, 2022.

The board-appointed selection committee conducted a nationwide search, retaining executive search consultants Museum Search & Reference, LLC.

Editor’s Notes: i) The press release above was issued Aug. 1, 2022 by the Taft Museum of Art.
ii) Tucked away in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, the Taft Museum of Art is a living landmark where art and history are everywhere you look. Built around 1820 as a private home for several of Cincinnati’s most prominent citizens, the Taft Museum of Art is now one of the finest small art museums in America and holds National Historic Landmark status for its historic house and Duncanson murals. For more information, visit taftmuseum.org.

Old Lyme Residents Unanimously Approve $2.1M in ARPA Spending in Special Town Meeting

Selectwoman Martha Shoemaker presents the recommendations from the American Rescue Plan Committee at Tuesday evening’s Special Town Meeting. Photo by Phil Parcak.

OLD LYME – At Tuesday evening’s Special Town Meeting, Old Lyme taxpayers voted unanimously to approve a final disbursement of $2,120,593 in the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The payout includes over 60 individual disbursements addressing 10 key recommendations such as supporting the economic recovery of Old Lyme’s small businesses and supporting public health services.

The vote came following the June 21, 2022 recommendations of the Town’s Boards of Selectmen and Finance.

The Town previously approved $41,622 at the March 21, 2022 Special Town Meeting. The Town has now allocated its total ARPA funding from the Federal Government, as required within the stated deadline.

In September 2021, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen appointed a committee of a dozen townspeople representing a cross-section of concerns including health and human services, emergency services, business, and tourism. The “ARP Committee” began its work a month later with one of its first tasks being to conduct a survey of residents and business leaders and develop two application processes.

Subsequently, following the submission of almost 80 economic recovery and community initiative grant applications, the ARP Committee created a set of recommendations for the board of selectmen that included distributing up to $10,000 in ARPA funds to 33 individual businesses and nonprofits for economic recovery, and more than 30 initiatives that would serve Old Lyme in its ability to move forward from the pandemic, while better preparing for the future.

Approved initiatives include $275,000 for a new ambulance for Old Lyme’s volunteer ambulance organization, $114,160 toward four years of increased mental health services provided through Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, and $55,000 to repair the Swan Brook outlet’s wood outfall, an issue that has caused flooding in the Miami Beach and Hawks Nest communities.

Old Lyme Town Clerk Vicki Urbowicz read the motion ahead of the vote in the Special Town Meeting held Tuesday evening. Attorney Victoria Lanier (seated at left) moderated the meeting.

Some initiatives receiving funding will result in fun and innovative ways for organizations to provide services to Old Lyme residents. 

The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library will receive $6,350 to fund a mobile/outdoor children’s library service with the purchase of a Library e-assist Book Bike. The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, a center of the Connecticut Audubon Society, can expect to receive $157,095 toward its anticipated children’s science discovery and environmental learning center.

Initiatives to address the local economy by bringing visitors back to Old Lyme include $137,599 toward renovations to the Sound View Community Center, $30,875 toward Black Hall Outfitter’s targeted tourism marketing to watersport enthusiasts, $8,000 toward the 2023 Midsummer Festival, and $2,700 for additional outreach efforts by the Town’s Economic Development Commission.

The full list of approved economic recovery grants and community initiatives can be found at this link.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold felt the grants addressed a broad set of ideas and needs. “The American Rescue Plan Committee took into account a broad range of needs and concerns and addressed them in a rational and unprejudiced way.”

Griswold continued, “These recommendations not only bring funding to individual businesses and organizations that make up the fabric of our community, but also help the Town itself move forward from a time that challenged our ability to provide important public services.” 

In addition to the recovery grants and initiative concepts submitted by Town organizations, the ARP Committee voted to recommend to the Town the allocation of $20,000 to the Town’s Social Services Discretionary Fund to help residents during hardship. The Committee also recommended that any funds not expended by a grant recipient or the Town itself by the Federal deadline of December 2026 be redirected to the Discretionary Fund.

The set of recommendations voted on by the Town Tuesday evening also includes up to $20,000 in administrative, outreach, and legal costs associated with the ARPA funding and up to $20,000 in fees to a consultant hired by the Town to review and recommend the economic recovery grants following his appraisal of applicants’ financial losses.

Thomas Gotowka, Old Lyme American Rescue Plan Committee Chairman, said the Committee met the charge put forward and could be proud of its work. “I am very pleased at how well we [the Committee] covered the community landscape. The list reflects Old Lyme’s needs, as seen in responses to our survey; and an objective appraisal of each application or proposed initiative,” Gotowka said.

He further noted that the Committee had in place several safeguards to avoid any conflict of interest and worked to meet “the requirements and mandates of the legislation.”

About 60 Old Lyme residents were in attendance at the Special Town Meeting Tuesday evening. Following Selectwoman Martha Shoemaker’s presentation of the ARP Committee’s recommendations, those in attendance voted unanimously to approve the package.

Griswold noted that grants to businesses and organizations will be made once the Town receives its second and final ARPA installment, which is anticipated shortly. Letters to grant recipients will go out in the coming weeks.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued by the ARP Committee.

Old Lyme Special Town Meeting to be Held Tonight; Approval of Disbursement of $2.1M Federal ARPA Funds to 23 OL Small Businesses, 10 Non-Profits & More, on Agenda

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen will hold a Special Town Meeting this evening, Tuesday, July 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Hall at the Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall at 52 Lyme St.

This meeting will consider and act upon the following single agenda item:

Whether to approve the disbursement of $2,120,593 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, as outlined in the report of the Old Lyme American Rescue Plan Committee  (APRC) report dated June 21, 2022, and as recommended by the Old Lyme Boards of Selectmen and Finance on June 21.

The Special Town Meeting will be conducted in person only.

Copies of the proposed ARPA disbursements are available in the Town Clerk’s office and on the Town of Old Lyme website.

In summary, the disbursement recommendations are as follows:-

  1. 23 small businesses (< 500 employees per the US Treasury Department) applied for and met the requirements to receive grants up to $10,000, having substantiated pandemic-related economic loss occurring between March 3, 2021 and April 1, 2022. Twenty-two of the 23 grants recommended are for $10,000.
  2. 10 nonprofit organizations (501c3) applied for and met the requirements to receive grants up to $10,000, having substantiated pandemic-related economic loss occurring between March 3, 2021 and April 1, 2022. Eight of the 10 grants recommended are for $10,000.
    Community Initiative Grants are recommended in the following categories:
  3. Investment in and support mental health services or public health services to assist Old Lyme residents (seven projects)
  4. Reinvestment in Old Lyme government services that were deemed essential during the pandemic (such as emergency services) to ensure future preparedness (11 projects)
  5. Investment in current and future infrastructure challenges such as clean water and sewer/waste treatment (two projects)
  6. Investment in town-wide broadband (internet) improvements and/or cell services (one project)
  7. Investment in early childhood care, and education (three projects)
  8. Investment in bringing visitors to our Old Lyme attractions, restaurants, shops, and accommodations (six projects)
  9. Investment in affordable housing to meet the needs of those working and living in Old Lyme (one project)
  10. Provision (direct and indirect) of financial assistance to Old Lyme families and households having difficulty recovering from pandemic losses (two projects)

In addition to the 10 recommendation categories above, the American Rescue Plan Committee has included in its recommendations:

• Reserving up to $20,000 to cover fees by an independent consultant retained to administer the Economic Recovery Grant applications (this expenditure was approved by the Town in its 3/21/22 Town Meeting)

• Reserving up to $20,000 in legal, outreach, and administrative costs associated with the survey and application, and granting processes.

Read the full details of all the proposed projects/beneficiaries to receive grants at this link.

Essex Savings Bank Announces 2022 Community Investment Program Ballot Results, High Hopes of Old Lyme Takes #8 Spot

ESSEX, CT – Essex Savings Bank has announced the results from its recent customer voting efforts in the Bank’s Community Investment Program (CIP). The balloting  portion began Feb. 1, and concluded Feb. 28.

The program, which is now in its 27th year, entitles the Bank’s customers to select up to three charities from this year’s list of 74 qualified non-profit organizations. Fund allocations are awarded based on the results of these  votes.

Since inception in 1996, the ballot portion of the Bank’s CIP has provided nearly $1.6  million to over 200 nonprofit organizations. Of that, over $628,000 has gone to the top 10 recipients, which include vital programs such as the Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry (26  times) and High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. (26 times). 

According to Diane H. Arnold, President & CEO of Essex Savings Bank, a total of $90,235 was  made available through this year’s CIP ballot portion. She commented, “COVID has had a detrimental effect on nonprofit fundraising efforts both locally and nationwide. It has also created and exacerbated hardships for many throughout our community and beyond.”

Arnold continued, “As such, I am especially pleased that  the Bank’s CIP is able to provide over $250,000 in total to support our local nonprofits in fulfilling  their important missions this year.”

Since inception, the program will have provided over $5.25  million to nonprofits throughout the area. 

For more information on the Community Investment Program, the annual ballot and Essex Savings  Bank, visit www.essexsavings.com. 

Results of Essex Savings Bank Customer Balloting Community Investment Program 2022

Organization  Amount Awarded 
The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Inc.  $8,203
Forgotten Felines, Inc.  $4,525
Valley Shore Animal Welfare League  $4,124
The Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. – Meals on Wheels  $4,102
Essex Fire Engine Company No. 1  $3,009
Old Saybrook Fire Department Number One, Inc.  $2,407
Camp Hazen YMCA  $2,318
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.  $2,251
Essex Library Association  $2,229
Deep River Ambulance Association, Inc.  $2,185
Visiting Nurses of The Lower Valley, Inc.  $1,939
The Chester Hose Company Incorporated  $1,895
Essex Land Trust, Inc.  $1,761
Ivoryton Playhouse Foundation, Inc.  $1,761
Valley Shore YMCA  $1,739
Vernon A. Tait All Animal Adoption, Preservation and Rescue Fund, Inc.  $1,739
A Little Compassion / The Nest Coffee House  $1,672
Chester Historical Society  $1,672
Ivoryton Library Association  $1,605
Old Lyme Fire Department, Inc.  $1,583
FISH (Friends in Service Here)  $1,538
Connecticut Cancer Foundation, Inc.  $1,315
Friends of Hammonasset, Inc.  $1,271
Essex Historical Society, Inc.  $1,226
Lyme Ambulance Association, Inc.  $1,204
Old Lyme Land Trust, Inc  $1,159
Deep River Historical Society, Inc.  $1,137
Lyme Fire Company  $1,048
Valley Soccer Club Inc.  $1,048
The Connecticut River Foundation at Steamboat Dock  $1,025
Tri-Town Youth Services  $959
Friends of Acton Library  $914
Friends of Chester Public Library  $892
Region 4 Education Foundation, Inc. (R4EF)  $892
Chester Land Trust  $869
Common Good Gardens, Inc.  $869
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Inc.  $869
Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau  $869
Deep River Land Trust, Inc.  $825
Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association, Inc.  $825


Deep River Junior Ancient Fife and Drum Corp. $802 

Old Saybrook Land Trust, Inc.  $780
SARAH, Inc.  $780
Madison Ambulance Assoc., Inc. Dba Madison Emerg. Medical  Svces  $758
Community Music School  $736
Literacy Volunteers Valley Shore CT  $736
Lyme Old Lyme Food Share Garden  $736
Lyme Public Hall & Local History Archives, Inc.  $713
Angel Charities, Inc.  $691
Sister Cities Essex Haiti, Inc.  $646
Essex Winter Series  $624
Old Lyme Historical Society, Inc.  $624
The Ivoryton Village Alliance  $602
Con Brio Choral Society  $557
Essex Community Fund, Inc.  $535
Westbrook Youth and Family Services, Inc.  $535
Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation, Inc.  $513
Sailing Masters Of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps, Inc.  $513
Vista Life Innovations, Inc.  $490
Westbrook Historical Society, Inc.  $446
HOPE Partnership, Inc.  $424
Cappella Cantorum, Inc.  $401
Lyme Art Association, Inc.  $401
Essex Elementary School PTO  $334
Lymes’ Elderly Housing, Inc. (Lymewood)  $334
Old Saybrook Education Foundation  $312
Westbrook Project Graduation, Inc.  $290
Act II Thrift Shop, Inc.  $245
E.C. Scranton Memorial Library  $245
Guilford Youth Mentoring  $245
Brazilian American Youth Cultural Exchange (BRAYCE)  $223
The Country School, Inc.  $201
CT Waverunners  $178
Sound View Beach Association, Inc.  $112
Totals  $90,235


Editor’s Note: Essex Savings Bank is a FDIC insured, state chartered, mutual savings bank established in 1851. The  Bank serves the Connecticut River Valley and shoreline with six offices in Essex (2), Chester, Madison,  Old Lyme and Old Saybrook providing a full complement of personal and business banking. Financial,  estate, insurance and retirement planning are offered throughout the state by the Bank’s Trust Division,  Essex Trust and wholly-owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, Inc., a Registered Investment  Advisor.

Has the Pandemic Affected You or Your Business? Old Lyme Opens Applications for ARPA Grants to Businesses, Nonprofits, Town Entities

UPDATED 12:15pm — see changes in red: The Town of Old Lyme has formally announced two new ways for Old Lyme small businesses and nonprofits to seek American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

Today the Town released two grant applications, in which organizations can either seek economic recovery or create community initiatives to address the negative impact of the pandemic.

The deadline for application submissions to either grant is May 2, 2022.

Applicants for the “Economic Recovery Grant” will submit information substantiating any pandemic-related economic losses between March 3, 2021 and April 1, 2022 per the restrictions of the Federal funding. The Economic Recovery application is for small businesses and for 501( c)-3 or 501( c)-19 nonprofit organizations located in Old Lyme.

The maximum amount granted under the Economic Recovery Grant will be $10,000.

A separate grant will be available for businesses and nonprofit organizations, who wish to apply for a “Community Initiative Grant.” This grant is for those organizations seeking funding for programs and initiatives that will help address the negative impact of the pandemic and create new transformative opportunities in Old Lyme.

Initiatives can address issues such as mental health, early childcare, infrastructure, and tourism & business patronage, among others. Funds must be expended and final reports submitted to the Town prior to Dec. 31, 2026.

The Community Initiative Grant is also open to Town of Old Lyme Government Boards, Commissions, and Departments with initiatives that meet the objectives of the funding.

Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for both an Economic Recovery Grant and a Community Initiative Grant.

Outside of these two grants, all pandemic relief services for individuals and households will continue to be coordinated through the Town of Old Lyme Social Services Office.

Old Lyme residents who have suffered economic loss due to the pandemic are encouraged to contact the Town of Old Lyme Social Services Office at 860-434-1605 x228 or socialservices@oldlyme-ct.gov. 

The Economic Recovery Grant applications will be assessed by an outside consultant, who has been hired to oversee the grant process. The consultant has provided a similar oversight process to other Connecticut towns including East Windsor and Somers. 

The Town’s ARPA Committee will finalize the recommendations for both grant categories and submit them to the Town’s Board of Selectmen for approval. The Town will share its grant decisions on its website. 

The two grant programs are just one aspect of the Town’s total spending of the $2.162 million received in ARPA funds. The remaining funds will be allocated to town projects in the coming months. The Town’s ARPA Committee will assess the total volume of requested small business and nonprofit grants before voting on the funding cap for each category.

“The results from last December’s community survey indicated that many Old Lyme organizations had been impacted financially by the pandemic,” said Thomas Gotowka, Chairperson of the Town’s ARPA Committee.

He continued, “We now want to identify those small businesses that were hit the hardest, and those organizations that re-directed their resources in order to help us get through the crisis; and assist them with funds from Old Lyme’s grant programs.”

The fillable-pdf applications are now available at www.OldLyme-ct.gov.

Printed applications are available at the reception desk in the Old Lyme Town Hall foyer entrance.

Applications can be submitted online, postal mailed, or brought to the Town’s secured lockbox via the instructions on the application.

A complete set of rules and regulations governing the funding can be found on the application.

For more information, contact ARPA@oldlyme-ct.gov.

Old Lyme’s EDC Offers Congratulations to ‘The Stumble Inne’ with Celebratory Ribbon-Cutting

Celebrating the ribbon-cutting at The Stumble Inne are (front row, from left to right) Selectman Matthew Ward, EDC Chair Cheryl Poirier, Cyndie Caramante, Kaisea Caramante, Jim Caramante, Selectwoman Martha Shoemaker, First Selectman Tim Griswold, and EDC Member MJ DeRisio. Standing in the back row are (from left to right) EDC Members Wendy Russell and Mona Colwell, and (far right) John Stratton. All photos by Alan Poirier.

OLD LYME — The luck of the Irish held back the rain for Thursday’s ribbon cutting at The Stumble Inne on Halls Road. The Caramante family, who own the sports bar and grille and its new expansion, were celebrated for their investment in the Old Lyme community with their second food establishment in Old Lyme’s business district.

The ribbon cutting was conducted by the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission (EDC), who have begun the program to bring attention to new business in town.

First Selectman Tim Griswold and EDC Chair Cheryl Poirier both made short remarks as part of the program, each highlighting the contribution owners Jim and Cyndie Caramante make to the community. Griswold noted the many quiet days the Caramante’s stayed open for “take-out service only” at their restaurant, The Hideaway, during the height of the pandemic.

Owner Jim Caramante prepares to cut the ceremonial ribbon at The Stumble Inne with members of his family, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen and members of the Old Lyme Economic Development Commission (EDC) in attendance. Cheryl Poirier, EDC Chair, holds the Certificate of Appreciation from the EDC that was subsequently presented to the Caramante’s.

Poirier also noted during her remarks that the day marked both the Caramante’s commitment to Old Lyme, as well as the patrons’ commitment to supporting Old Lyme businesses such as The Stumble Inne. “It’s also a testament to all of you here today, supporting our small businesses.”

The Caramante’s have been Old Lyme business owners almost 20 years since they first purchased The Hideaway from the retiring owner, Carl Lutender. Jim worked for the Lutender’s at The Hideaway a number of years before the ownership transition.


Cyndi and Jim Caramante pose for a photo with their daughter Kaisea, who is holding the certificate presented by the Economic Development Commission. Mona Colwell, who is a member of the EDC, stands in the rear.

Jim and Cyndie became residents of Old Lyme when their oldest child was just becoming school-aged. “We moved to Old Lyme for the school system, and I started to work for the Lutenders, who were just great people. Now my kids are grown and live here in Old Lyme. We’ve grown roots here. I’ll never leave Old Lyme.”

And when the town went quiet during the long 2020 pandemic shutdown, the Caramante’s experienced the gratitude of the community that they have nurtured here over the years. “Customers were coming in buying thousands of dollars in gift certificates just to show their support,” Jim said. “People would come in just to sit with Cyndie and do puzzles with her while she waited for take-out orders to come in.”

The newly-opened pool room at The Stumble Inne.

When The Public House closed on Halls Road during the pandemic, the Caramante’s saw it as a chance to create a place for a younger crowd than is represented by their loyal customer base at The Hideaway. They soon opened The Stumble Inne featuring live music on the weekends, karaoke and trivia nights, and now a brand new pool room. “It’s a different vibe from The Hideaway and so there is something for everyone, “ Caramante said.

Caramante added, “Everyone’s been so supportive in town of The Stumble. The first night here was madness — it was packed.”

Following the official remarks of the day, a group of about 30 people including the Caramante’s daughter Kaisea and other extended family and friends moved outside for the official ribbon-cutting with Jim Caramante holding the ceremonial scissors. Cyndi then accepted a certificate of appreciation from the EDC.

“The EDC is committed to supporting our businesses in Old Lyme,” said Poirier. “We’re hoping to continue to highlight new businesses with ribbon-cuttings, and are excited to highlight all of our businesses on our new website ExploreOldLyme.com. We are a group of volunteers, appointed by the Town, and will do our best to support our business community.”

Editor’s Note: For more information about The Stumble Inne, visit https://www.restaurantji.com/ct/old-lyme/the-stumble-inne

‘Estuary’ Magazine of Old Lyme Celebrates Second Anniversary with Spring 2022 Edition 

The cover of the Spring 2022 ‘estuary’ magazine.

OLD LYME — Estuary Magazine, Life of the Connecticut River, founded in 2020 by Estuary Ventures of Old Lyme, Conn., celebrates its second anniversary with the publication of its Spring 2022 issue available by subscription or at select retail venues the first week of March. 

Estuary is a unique publication and the only magazine dedicated to the watershed of the Connecticut River, an area twice the size of the state itself.

The source of the 409-mile-long river is near the Canadian border in New Hampshire; it flows down along the border between New Hampshire and Vermont, passing through western Massachusetts and central Connecticut to the estuary, below Middletown, Conn., with Old Saybrook and Essex on the west side, and Old Lyme and East Haddam on the east side. 

Estuary covers the watershed: its history, wildlife, plant life, recreation, conservation, restoration, art and culture.  The people and the future of the Connecticut River are captured in fascinating articles and award-winning photography.

A magazine has thus been created to reflect the rich diversity of the Connecticut River valley, its people, and its potential with content directed to the interests of the more than 2 million people, who live in the watershed. 

“We want our readers to enjoy the Estuary experience and learn through the stories, photographs and other images.,” says Dick Shriver, founder and publisher of the magazine.

He adds, “With regard to conservation and restoration, we believe that as more people learn about the challenges faced by the watershed in lay terms, more people will volunteer and contribute talent and other resources to the care of this special natural resource.”

Estuary’s readership now numbers in the thousands, more than double the number a year ago.  Advertising pages have also more than tripled in the past year.

“Our advertising partners understand and applaud Estuary’s mission and their support demonstrates their commitment to protect, preserve and restore the Connecticut River watershed,” explains Laura Lee Miller, Director of Advertising for estuary.

A story on the Lyme Land Trust can be found in the Spring 2022 edition of ‘estuary’ magazine.

Estuary works closely with the CT River Conservancy (CRC) in Greenfield, Mass.  Headed by Dr. Andrew Fiske, CRC and estuary collaborate to support the work of CRC and other non-profits operating for the benefit of the watershed.  

Thanks to a grant directed to help the magazine, all 700 participants in Lyme Land Trust’s May 22 event, the Tour de Lyme, will receive a free copy of the Spring 2022 issue.  

“The magazine itself is the best marketing tool we have,” notes Shriver, “and the more copies we can put in peoples’ hands, the more support we will have for Estuary and awareness of the work to be done.” 

An example of the type of articles found in estuary is this piece by the late Eleanor Robinson, titled, Meeting of the Waters.

Estuary magazine, is published quarterly and is available in print and online for $40 per year (four issues).  Subscribe now or give as a gift. For either option, visit this link:  https://estuarymagazine.com/subscribe/

High Hopes Appoints New Chief Development Officer

Liz Burton is the new Chief Development Officer at High Hopes.

OLD LYME — High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. has appointed Liz Burton as their new Chief Development Officer in January 2022.  Burton has over 20 years of experience in diverse professional environments, nonprofit leadership and strategic relationship engagement.

Burton’s experience in corporate relationships will be instrumental in supporting existing and fostering new community collaborations.

She looks forward to leading High Hopes in its critical fundraising endeavors as she follows in the footsteps of Sara Qua, who successfully guided the High Hopes Development Team for the past 16 years.

This next year will be one of outreach,  relationship-building and strengthening High Hopes through collaborative partnerships.

High Hopes is located at 36, Town Woods Rd. in Old Lyme, Conn.

Editor’s Note: High Hopes is a premier therapeutic riding center and international instructor-training site, accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) since 1979. It has served people with physical, emotional and developmental disabilities for more than 40 years, offering year-round programs in equine assisted activities, including therapeutic riding, carriage driving and equine learning program.

High Hopes offers experiential learning through outreach programs, an integrated summer camp program and a variety of volunteer opportunities. The organization serves over 1800 people with disabilities each year, underwriting over 70 percent of all lesson costs and providing financial aid to 100 percent of its participants.

To learn more about High Hopes programs and participants or to volunteer, visit www.highhopestr.org.

‘Old Lyme (Formerly Christiansen) Hardware’ Starts New Year With New Name, New Owners, New Hours!

Old Lyme’s newest female business owner, Jessie Talerico, stands with her father, Richard, in the former Christiansen Hardware, now known as Old Lyme Hardware. The store will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting tomorrow,  Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. All photos by Suzanne Thompson.

OLD LYME — Transitions are underway this week at Christiansen – make that Old Lyme – Hardware, as previous 26-year owners Bill and Nancy Christiansen hand off the keys to the Talerico family.

“Keeping it COVID!” A celebratory elbow-bump marks the official hand-over of the business from current store owner Nancy Christiansen (left) to new principal owner Jessie Talerico. The Christiansens have owned and operated the store for the past 26 years, but it was held in Nancy’s name following Bill’s official ‘retirement.’

Starting tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, Old Lyme Hardware will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, to see what are the optimal hours to be open for customers and while initial renovations are underway. A soft re-opening is planned for March.

With a background in hospitality and restaurants, Jessie, and her father Richard, who continues working in construction in Connecticut, are looking for Old Lyme Hardware to help customers find solutions – whether it’s tracking down an exotic drawer pull, fixing a screen or window or ordering a special part.

Jessica (Jessie) Talerica will be the new face of the business, getting to know her customers and helping them find what they are looking for in the store.

The new owners have already come up with ideas for original offerings and activities involving other local businesses – from a Saturday morning Coffee with a Handyman, to reconfiguring the back of the store to accommodate a garden center section. They welcome carrying plants grown by local wholesalers, too.

Stop by and say hi to the new owners and let them know what you’re looking for in a local hardware store. They are keen to meet the community’s needs.

It’s a family affair! A photo on the wall of Old Lyme Hardware pictures its new owners, the Talerico’s, from left to right, Jonathan, who is Jessie’s brother and a policeman in Michigan, father Richard, who works in construction in Connecticut, and Jessie who will be running the store.

In coming weeks, keep an eye out for a 1952 Ford F1 Old Lyme Hardware pick-up truck in the parking lot, watch for decorative indoor changes that harken back to hardware stores of the past, and watch carefully to see what else transpires in Old Lyme’s newest ‘old’ business.

Editor’s Note: Many readers will remember Bill Christiansen not only from Christiansen Hardware but also as a talented guitar played (he took up the instrument at age 12) and long-time member of the popular ‘String of Pearls’ band. 





Old Lyme’s Hall’s Rd. Improvements Committee Presents an Update for the Community, Offers New ‘Overlay Zone’ to Ease Property Owner Concerns

The Halls Road Improvements Committee is working diligently to create an improved environment for everyone along this stretch of the road between Rte. 156 and Lyme St.

OLD LYME — The Halls Road Improvements Committee (HRIC) is currently working on three key areas of the Halls Road Master Plan, as follows:

  • rezoning the commercial district for future private development
  • grant applications for public improvement
  • signage along Halls Road.

Grants and re-zoning will require some additional funding to pay for outside technical expertise in particular areas. 


The initial re-zoning application for the Halls Rd. Village District was withdrawn on Nov. 8, in part to permit the committee to make significant revisions. 

The Village District proposal addressed the recommendations of the Master Plan but created nonconformity issues for existing properties. To meet the concerns of property owners, the committee is adopting a more flexible approach by creating a new Overlay Zone.

This new approach maintains the current C-30s zone, allowing owners to make changes to existing structures within the old regulations. If they wish to take advantage of the new opportunities, they can do so under the Overlay Zone, which permits the development of multi-family residential complexes mixed with commercial properties. 

Elements of the original Village District proposal will be included within the Overlay Zone, such as buildings set close to Halls Rd. with commercial uses on the first floor and residential allowed above or beyond the roadway.

The Overlay Zone offers incentives for residential and commercial development along Halls Rd. that not only yield greater profit for property owners but also increase Old Lyme’s tax base in the district.

Over time, this rezoning will create a vibrant, walkable, bike-able, mixed-use neighborhood focused on serving the retail and small-scale residential needs of Old Lyme. 


The grants subcommittee will be applying for several grants to help implement the public improvements for landscaping, sidewalks, bikeways, lighting, and new crosswalks.

The largest grant from the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program (LOTCIP) is state-funded and will be reviewed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT.)

The BSC Group, which the Town of Old Lyme engaged to create a formal Halls Road Plan, has introduced CT DOT to the plans, but the LOTCIP review will be DOT’s first official review of the HRIC plans.

With the full master plan and engineering details in hand, CT DOT will be prepared to approve or suggest changes to create what they call “complete streets” along Halls Rd.

The committee expects to apply by late 2022 with a goal to secure a grant by 2023-2024.  

Additional grants for trails and connections will be applied for as early as January 2022. These focus on funding for the new pedestrian bridge and trails from Lyme Street and across the Lieutenant River.


The signage subcommittee is looking to clean up the roadway signage that has gone untended for many years. This would include straightening out sign posts and/or removing repetitive signs with the goal of making way-finding clear and attractive. 


In January, the committee will seek additional funding to cover the cost of legal help (both for zoning language and for easements along the proposed path), and for additional work from BSC Group (again, for both zoning and grants). 

Editor’s Notes: i) The HRIC welcomes comments on these revised proposals at hallsroadcommittee@oldlyme-ct.gov.  Also, if you would like to help with any aspect of the committee’s work, contact the HRIC at hallsroadcommittee@oldlyme-ct.gov.

ii) This article is based on a press release issued by the HRIC.

Christensen’s Hardware Changes Hands After 26 Years, Talericos to Take Ownership in New Year

OLD LYME — After serving the community for more than 26 years, Bill and Nancy Christensen from Christensen’s Hardware located at 54 Halls Rd. in Old Lyme have decided to pass the reins onto new owners Jessica Talerico, her brother Jonathan, and their father Richard.

Editor’s Note: We will have more on this story soon.

Old Lyme Resident Hartmann’s Company, Elm Tree Communities, Breaks Ground on Upscale, 56-Unit Development in Haddam

Jeff Hartmann of Old Lyme (fourth from right) participates in the groundbreaking for the upscale, 56-unit, multifamily community named Blueway Commons in Haddam, which Hartmann’s company, Elm Tree Communities, is planning. Photo credit: Elm Tree Communities.

“We welcome Mr. Hartmann and Elm Tree Communities’ new Blueway Commons development as an integral part of the [economic] growth [that Haddam is experiencing.]” (Haddam First Selectman Robert McGarry)

OLD SAYBROOK Last Friday, Dec. 10, Elm Tree Communities (ETC) announced that it had broken ground on Blueway Commons, an upscale, 56-unit multifamily community in Haddam, Conn.

Old Lyme resident Jeff Hartmann, founder and CEO of Elm Tree Communities. Photo courtesy of J. Hartmann.

Old Lyme resident Jeff Hartmann is the founder and CEO of ETC, a private real estate company headquartered in Old Saybrook.  Elm Tree Communities pursues real estate development and investment opportunities throughout the Northeastern U.S.

With more than two decades in CFO, COO, and CEO capacities, Hartmann now develops, implements, and oversees ETC’s development strategy and all capital markets activities in his capacity as ETC President.

Hartmann’s career, which began at at PricewaterhouseCoopers, spans the landmark casinos of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in Connecticut and Ocean Casino in New Jersey.

Blueway Commons will consist of three two-story buildings and a state-of-the-art resident clubhouse. The project is slated to open in the winter of 2022, with preleasing to begin in the summer of 2022.

Located east of Exit 7 off Rte. 9 and 12 minutes north of I-95, the development is convenient to the Amtrak and Shoreline East trains. The complex is 15 minutes south of Middletown and I-91.

Blueway Commons is being built on Brookes Court adjacent to Rte. 154, and will consist of 56 upscale apartment homes. Conveniently located near the popular downtown Chester, nearby stores and restaurants include Adams Market, Stop and Shop, CVS, Dunkin, Cumberland Farms, The Blue Oar, Little House Brewing Company, and more.

The development is also located near the iconic Swing Bridge that links Haddam and East Haddam. It will offer residents an outdoor lifestyle near the Connecticut River with kayaking, biking trails, and waterfront dining in the surrounding area.

“This development will offer the first modern apartments in Haddam – with complete lifestyle amenities, like the health and fitness clubhouse, a co-working lounge, a community room for events, and an outdoor patio contribute to the resort-like setting and overall sense of place,” said Hartmann.

Blueway Commons will provide an attractive home for young professionals, families, and empty-nesters no longer needing a large residence. Offering a variety of floor plans to cater to an array of lifestyles, the development will feature one- and two-bedroom options ranging from 815 to 1180 sq. ft. with smart technology throughout the complex.

In 2012, the Connecticut River was declared the first National Blueway, after which Blueway Commons is named, and from which the development draws its inspiration. The upscale development is intended to offer residents a resort experience with innovation, community, wellness, and a connection to the natural environment.

The project will be completed over a 15-month construction period, with the first residents scheduled to move in in the winter of 2022.

Blueway Commons property’s community amenities will include:

  • 2,500 square foot community center.
  • Secure package system for residents.
  • Digital access control systems throughout the community
  • A state-of-the-art fitness center.
  • Co-working spaces and a lounge area.
  • A community gathering room for resident use.
  • An outdoor lounge area with grills and fire pits.
  • The community will be pet-friendly and feature an outdoor pet exercise area.

Haddam First Selectman Robert McGarry commented: “We are excited about the economic growth that Haddam is experiencing, and we welcome Mr. Hartmann and Elm Tree Communities’ new Blueway Commons development as an integral part of that growth.”

Gary Coursey & Associates of Atlanta, Georgia, is the project architect, and The Associated Construction Company of Hartford, Conn., is construction manager. Elm Tree Communities has contracted with Real Page and Lease Labs as the technology partners for the development.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued by Elm Tree Communities.

‘The Bowerbird’ Announces Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden as Recipient for 2022 Gift Wrap Donation Program, Presents $3K Check to 2021 Recipient, ‘Safe Futures’

The Bowerbird owner, Chris Kitchings (left) presents a donation check to Margaret Soussloff, C.O.O. of Safe Futures, which is headquartered in New London, Conn.

OLD LYME — The Bowerbird of Old Lyme has selected as the recipient of the proceeds from their 2022 gift-wrap program Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden (LOLFSG). The LOLFSG is a non-profit volunteer organization with a goal of providing fresh produce to reduce food insecurity and support healthy nutrition to local families in Lyme, Old Lyme and surrounding communities.

The Bowerbird donation program runs from Nov. 1, 2021 through Oct. 31, 2022. 

The Bowerbird recently wrapped up their 2021 gift-wrapping campaign to raise funds for Safe Futures based in New London, Conn.  The Bowerbird owner Chris Kitchings recently presented a check in the amount of $3,058.00 representing 2,597 packages wrapped to the organization.

The Bowerbird charges a nominal fee for gift-wrapping purchases and donates 50 percent to local non-profit organizations. 

The Bowerbird pioneered ‘cause’ marketing when they created their gift wrap donation program in 1992. In the past 28 years, The Bowerbird has donated over $101,000 to 33 statewide and local non- profits proving that small businesses can make a difference.

Photo attached; 

For a complete listing of past recipients, visit www.thebowerbird.com.

Desperately Seeking Drivers: National Shortage of School Bus Drivers Impacting Lyme-Old Lyme Schools

The sign says it all.

LYME/OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser sent out an email Sept. 22, to the school community in which he stated, “There is a national shortage of bus drivers.”

He went on to urge, “… individuals who would like to drive for our [the company which runs the school buses for LOL Schools] bus company, M&J Bus, Inc.,” to consider applying for a position.

Neviaser linked his email to a statement from M&J Bus Inc., which reads as follows:

The Covid 19 pandemic has ravaged the school transportation industry. There is a nationwide shortage of school bus drivers and Connecticut has been hit especially hard. We are seeking potential drivers to become licensed to transport school children. We are also seeking licensed drivers, who would like to earn up to $5000 in signing bonuses.

Many of our current employees, started out driving school buses because they were parents of pre-school or school-aged children and it was a way for them to supplement their family’s income and still be with their young children.

We also have many semi-retired persons that were originally looking for part-time work to stay busy, and college students earning money to get through school. Some of those parents are still with us after 20, 30,and 40 years or more.

Sadly, many of the semi-retired are becoming the fully retired.

We are hoping you see yourself in the descriptions of our drivers above. We offer a full comprehensive training program for those who are not yet licensed. Parents can bring their pre-school aged children (and school-aged children) on the bus with them (thereby saving on day care).

If you would like to drive for the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, please call our main office in Old Saybrook CT, toll-free at
1-877-GO-MJBUS (1-877-466-5287) or, if local to Old Saybrook, at 860-388-6782.

Editor’s Note: For more information about M&J Bus, Inc., visit their website.

Suisman Shapiro Atty. Kyle Zrenda Now a Member of Mohegan Gaming Disputes, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Courts

Attorney Kyle Zrenda of Suisman Shapiro Attorneys at Law.

NEW LONDON/OLD LYME — Attorney Kyle J. Zrenda of Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-At-Law was sworn in Aug. 11 as a member of the bar of the Mohegan Gaming Disputes Court. Atty. Zrenda is a resident of Old Lyme, Conn.

As a sovereign Indian Nation, cases related to the gaming enterprise of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, including claims for personal injuries that occurred at the Mohegan Sun resort and casino, often need to be brought in the Mohegan Gaming Disputes Court.

Atty. Zrenda is also admitted to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court, which is the tribal court for cases arising from personal injuries that occurred at Foxwoods.

Commenting on his recent admission to Mohegan Gaming Disputes Court, Attorney Zrenda said, “I am excited for the opportunity this new license presents to expand Suisman Shapiro’s tribal law practice and to protect the interests of those working at and visiting the Mohegan Sun.”

Editor’s Note: If you have been injured at either of Connecticut’s resort-casinos, contact Suisman Shapiro for a free consultation to help you navigate the complex legal issues involved with claims arising from injuries that occur on tribal lands.