July 7, 2022

Inaugural Winners Receive Cup, Champagne After Participating in July 4th Patriotic Boat Parade on Rogers Lake

Tereza and John Mainetti proudly display the cup they were by Dave and Christina Evers for the “Most Enthusiastic, Patriotic, and Best Decorated Boat” in the 2022 Rogers Lake Boat Parade. All photos submitted.

LYME/OLD LYME — The third annual Rogers Lake Boat Parade was another great success this year and, for the first time, a cup was awarded for the “Most Enthusiastic, Patriotic, and Best Decorated Boat” in the parade.

Maureen Plumleigh was at the wheel of her appropriately-decorated boat in the parade.

Dave and Christina Evers conceived the idea of the trophy to promote a unifying and positive spirit around the parade. Christina explained to LymeLine, “Dave grew up on this lake and wants people to enjoy and create memories just like he has … he thought the trophy would be fun.”

Lady Liberty graced this boat with her torch while Uncle Sam rode atop.

The inaugural winners of the handsome trophy were Tereza and John Mainetti, who keep it for 12 months and then return it to be presented to next year’s winner. The judges of the contest were Ray and Bobbi Ward.

The cup holding a bottle of champagne patiently awaits its first winner.

Congratulations to the winners, and also all those involved in organizing the parade and contest.

After Two-Year Absence, Long-Awaited White Elephant Sale Opens Friday

And they’re off! The annual White Elephant Sale starts each year on the first strike of 9 a.m. on the designated Friday.

OLD LYME — After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the perennially popular White Elephant Sale (WES) opens Friday, July 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and continues Saturday, July 9, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Most departments offer items at half-price on the second day. There may be some mask restrictions on inside shopping.

The Sale is hosted by the Ladies Benevolent Society of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

For those new to the town or folk who have never participated, this sale is one of the main events on both the town and church calendars.

Garage, tag and rummage sales may be everyday affairs, but few, if any, can match the size and color of this one. The sale items are organized into some 20 departments that fill the church buildings as well as every available space on the lawn.

The WES has grown so large that it has become a true “community event” since many of the donations are from non-church members and quite a number of volunteers are also from outside the church.

The sale raises a significant amount of money for missions and good works both locally and throughout the world. Some of the beneficiaries include food pantries, health organizations, family support centers, children’s programs, literacy volunteers, affordable housing, and disaster relief worldwide.

For more information about the sale or if you would like to volunteer to help in any capacity, whether with the sale itself or clean-up, call the church office at 860.434.8686 and/or visit www.fccol.org/wes.

See you at ‘The Sale’!

CT Dept. Of Public Health Announces State’s First Monkeypox Case

HARTFORD, Conn.—The Connecticut Department of Public Health has announced the first case of monkeypox in a Connecticut resident.  The patient is a male between the ages of 40 and 49 and is a resident of New Haven County. The patient is isolating and has not been hospitalized. No other patient information will be released.

“DPH believes that the risk to Connecticut residents from this case is low,” said Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD.

She continued, “The United States is currently experiencing a monkeypox outbreak, and there will likely be additional cases in Connecticut in the weeks ahead.”

Monkeypox can spread through close prolonged contact with an infected person. This might include coming into contact with skin lesions, or body fluids, sharing clothes or other materials that have been used by an infected person, or inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.” 

Over the past month, DPH has raised awareness of monkeypox among higher risk populations, alerted and educated local medical professionals, and informed local health departments throughout the state to monitor for cases.

For Connecticut residents that are concerned about fever, swollen glands, and a new rash, contact your health care provider for evaluation. Health care providers should request orthopoxvirus testing for patients at the state public health laboratory by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at (860) 509-7994.

For more information about monkeypox, visit Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a press release issued by Ledge Light Health Department.

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.

Sound View Puts On a Perfect Hometown Parade

A smiling Joann Lishing proudly carries the flag at the front of the parade. All photos courtesy of Frank Pappalardo.

OLD LYME — The weather was kind and so the crowds came out in Sound View to celebrate the Fourth of July.

And celebrate they did with a grand parade through the streets of this wonderful neighborhood that borders Long Island Sound.

They came on bikes…

They came in (appropriately decorated!) golf carts.

The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen came …

Veterans from Lyme-Old Lyme Post 1467 — David Griswold at front, center of photo — came …

Uncle Sam came in a golf cart …

He also joined the cheerful marchers …

The Emergency Services came …

In fact, the whole community came — led by the tuneful Sound View Band …

Even this colorful little guy came!

And the event ended with the contest results being announced by the ever-smiling Frank Pappalardo and Gail Fuller.

Friends of Lymes’ Senior Center Make $25,000 Donation to Support Activities, Programs at the Center

Pictured holding the check at the presentation of a check for $25,000 to the Lymes’ Senior Center Board of Directors (BOD) by the Friends of the Center are Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Gould (right in black top) and Chair of the Center’s BOD, Jeri Baker (left, cream top.) Also in attendance at the presentation are (from left to right, seated), Joanie Bonvicin, Susan Campbell and Recording Secretary Paula Emery, and (from left to right, standing) Kim Hale and Diane Blackwell, who are both Friends of the Center, and Center BOD members Diana Seckla, Kathy Lockwood, Jane Folland, Christina Gotowka, Doris Hungerford, David Griswold, and Jeremy Crisp. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME — UPDATED 1:30pm with names of everyone in the photo: The Friends of the Lymes’ Senior Center presented a check for $25,000 to the center at the June 21 Board of Directors meeting.  As a 501(c)3 organization, the Friends have conducted several fundraising efforts over recent years in order to contribute to the programs and activities of the center.

A spokesperson for the Friends said, ”We are grateful to the communities of Lyme and Old Lyme and also to the Center’s members for meeting our request for financial support with enthusiasm.”

The spokesperson added, “The programs are so rich and diverse and it is rewarding to see so many seniors taking part,” while posing the question to the community at large, “Have you attended an education talk or an exercise or art class?  If not, go see what you’ve been missing!”

Jeri Baker, who serves as chair of the Senior Center’s Board of Directors commented after the presentation had been made, “The Center benefits immensely from the fundraising efforts of the dedicated members of this group, who represent residents of both the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme.”

She continued, “Through their efforts to fund our programs we are able to plan for both the present offerings of the center and the future.  Since the towns do not subsidize any programs, it is vital that such efforts are not only necessary but a remarkable reflection of how important this Center is to the community.”

Lyme-Old Lyme’s VFW Post 1467 Named ‘Best Post in CT’ by VFW State Leadership

VFW Post 1467 Commander David Griswold tells members of the recognition that the Post had recently received recognition from VFW State leadership as the ‘Best Post in Connecticut.’ All photos by Doug Wilkinson.

OLD LYME — On Monday, June 27, members of the Lyme-Old Lyme Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1467 learned that their Post had been recognized by VFW State leadership as the ‘Best Post in Connecticut.’ Members had gathered for a regular meeting at the Lymes’ Senior Center unaware the award would be announced.

This great honor had been announced two weeks previously when the VFW State leadership held their annual awards ceremony at which they recognize 10 Posts out of 100 for their accomplishments. Criteria include membership, community activities, and helping veterans.

Commander David Griswold receives a number of gifts from incoming Commander Richard Mason as Griswold stepped down from his position after seven years of service to the Post in that role.

At the same meeting, Commander David Griswold, who had served seven years during two terms as Commander of the Post, was also honored as he handed over the command to Richard Mason.

Commander Griswold made the following statement during the ceremony, “As Post Commander, I was honored to accepted the award as the Best Post in Connecticut (VFW Post 1467) on behalf of our membership.  Our success is attributed to our members who represents the best in military service as well as giving back to their community as well as the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme who’s businesses and individuals have been so generous in helping veterans.”

Griswold added, “I would also like to acknowledge the Old Lyme Senior Center for all their support. This is a very special community who honors all who have served”.

Commander Griswold happily displays one of his gifts.

VFW Post 1467 success,  especially within the Old Lyme community has been primarily a result of focused, aggressive veterans outreach relief funding to approximately 80 military vets, who have benefited from over $100,000 in support during the past 10 years along with thousands of dollars in annual contributions to the VA Giant Steps Program, West Haven, CT and State of CT Rocky Hill Soldiers Home.

Newly-installed Commander Mason noted, “As the incoming commander for 2022-23, I will make sure our leadership team continues the popular traditions and community partnerships that Lyme, Old Lyme enjoys with our very interactive Post.

Commander David Griswold displays the certificate from the VFW National Home for Children for VFW Post 1467’s continuous support of the Home.

The Post also received a Certificate of Appreciation from the VFW National Home for Children for the Post’s continuous support of the Home.

Old Lyme Named ‘Best Summer Destination in CT’ by TravelPulse.com

Old Lyme has been named the ‘Best Summer Destinations in Connecticut’ by TravelPulse.com.

OLD LYME — TravelPulse.com has just announced its list ofEvery State’s Best Summer Travel Destination’ and Old Lyme has won the honor for the state of Connecticut! The travel site states, “the focus [of the list] … is on the best of the best, the summer spots that hit it out of the park every single year this time of year.”

Justifying its selection of Old Lyme, the site states, ” This coastal town is big on history and pulses with fun all summer long. Known for throwing great Memorial Day and Fourth of July events, the town also sits near two state parks (Rocky Neck and Hammonasset) which both boast beautiful beaches. But you don’t have to leave Old Lyme to go “beaching”, as Soundview Beach is home to handsome sands and a collection of waterside bars and restaurants.”

Unfortunately, the site chose to publish the above text under a photo of the beach at Hammonasset State Park, which — as we all know — is not in Old Lyme, but never mind … we won the prize for ‘Best Summer Destination in Connecticut’ anyway!

 

ARPC Proposal for $2.1M in Federal Funds Accepted Unanimously by OL BOS, BOF; Detailed Recommendations Now Announced

OLD LYME — UPDATED 6/28 WITH ‘FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS’ and PRESENTATION DETAILS: On Tuesday, June 21, the Old Lyme (OL) American Rescue Plan Committee (APRC) presented their recommendations for allocation of $2.1 million of federal ARPA funds to a joint meeting of the OL Boards of Selectmen and Finance.

The ‘Final Recommendations,’ which include details of  the businesses, non-profits and Town Departments and organizations that are to receive funds, along with the supporting presentation have now been published on the Town of Old Lyme website at this link. Note there are two separate links on the left column of the page.

All of the recommendations were accepted unanimously by both boards.

The next step in the process will be for the recommendations to be presented to a Town Meeting at which residents will be asked to vote on them. The date of the Town Meeting has not yet been finalized but the meeting is likely to be held within the next two weeks.

Friends of CT Libraries Honor Friends of Old Lyme Library



OLD LYME —
On Saturday, June 11, the Friends of Connecticut Libraries (FOCL) honored the Friends of the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Library (OL-PGN.)

BookCellar Co-Chairs Joan Overfield (immediately left of podium) and Claudia Condon (second from left from podium) receive the award for the Friends of Old Lyme’s Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library from the Friends of CT Libraries.

The award, which was designated for municipalities with a population under 15,000, recognized the OL-PGN for their outreach to the community during the pandemic when the Library was closed.

The Co-Chairs of the OL-PGN’s BookCellar, Claudia Condon and Joan Overfield, went up to Avon, Conn., to accept the award at FOCL’s Annual Meeting.

The citation for the award acknowledged that Phoebe’s BookCellar has been in continuous operation for more than 25 years. During that time, volunteers have worked to create opportunities to expand the library’s outreach along with awareness of the BookCellar and its support of the Old Lyme library. (One hundred percent of the income generated by the BookCellar is donated to the library to support its programs.)

The citation continues, “While the library and BookCellar were closed for an extended period during the pandemic, volunteers continued to find avenues to provide outreach to the community, as follows:

Book Bundles for Children
Volunteers assembled age-appropriate bundles of 3-5 books and distributed them to 116 children served by the Shoreline Food Pantries.

Little Free Libraries
BookCellar volunteers initiated support for two Little Free Libraries by filling them with over-stock.

Phoebie’s Freebies
This cart is located outside the library main entrance and offers patrons a choice of the BookCellar’s overstock of books and media. It is extremely popular and available to all.

Outreach to Region 18 Teachers and Staff
Friends of the Library provided every teacher and staff member with a gift certificate to the BookCellar for the 2020-2021 school year.

Outside book sales
Several pop-up sales were created outside the library during the pandemic. They were expanded to include refreshments and entertainment by local bands.”

And the Band(s) Played on—Making Music on Lyme Street to Celebrate Midsummer

Lucas Neil was a popular performer in front of The Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe.

OLD LYME — Lyme Street was alive with music last night as a dozen bands and soloists played in different locations stretching from Lyme Academy in the north down to the First Congregational Church in the south.

The Old Lyme Town Band drew a large crowd on the Center School lawn.

The Town was celebrating International Make Music Day, joining many other locations across the globe to mark Midsummer’s Night — the longest day of the year.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Lions did a roaring trade in hot dogs and burgers.

Hundreds of people came out in Old Lyme to enjoy the music and fill the street with relaxed cheer and conversation.

To the delight of many visitors, local celebrity Braiden Sunshine sang on the lawn at Lyme Academy.

Although the weather looked a little ominous initially, it ultimately decided to cooperate and stayed relatively warm and dry throughout the whole event.

‘The Moving Target Band’ played many cheery tunes Tuesday night outside The Village Shops on Lyme Street.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends despite the lingering shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Brown and Friends played Indy Folk and original tunes outside The Cooley Gallery.

The musicians ranged in age from teens to seniors and similarly, the genres of music varied from country to folk to blues and everything in between!

Nightingale’s Cafe featured a variety of solo musicians and bands throughout the evening.

Launched in France in 1982, Make Music Day is an international musical festival open to all who would like to participate, and takes place in over 1,000 cities in 120 countries on June 21, the summer solstice.

‘The Midnight Anthem’ performed in front of Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall.

The State of Connecticut Office of the Arts debuted the State’s effort in 2018 with 528 free musical performances at 224 locations across the state, including Old Lyme. 

The band at 71 Lyme St. was ‘Five Bean Row.’

Many thanks to the organizers of this wonderful event, who included Dan and Gail Stevens of the MusicNow Foundation and Nightingale’s Cafe, Old Lyme’s 2021 Volunteer of the Year Cheryl Poirier, and Mary Seidner, Executive Director of LYSB.

Playing a variety of music genres, ‘Hot Strings Cafe’ entertained in front of the Elms Building.

 

Summer Sculpture Showcase on View at Studio 80+ in Old Lyme

‘Open Plain Gray Wolf’ is one of the featured works in Gil Boro’s ‘Summer Sculpture Showcase’, which opens Saturday in Old Lyme.

OLD LYME — Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds on Lyme St. in Old Lyme offer a vibrant, artistic environment owned and managed by acclaimed international sculptor Gil Boro, who lives on the property.

Sculptor Gil Boro in his studio in Old Lyme.

Dedicated to arts education and appreciation, Boro vigorously pursues his mission to create a bond between art, nature and community by inspiring and promoting participation in the arts.

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds’ 8th annual Summer Sculpture Showcase exhibition provides a unique opportunity for artists to showcase their sculptures in a stunning environment specifically designed to nurture the creative arts. This year, the Showcase features a variety of sculptures from 15 national artists, who represent a broad range of artistic communities, which, in turn, creates an exhibition of diverse sculpture.

All works on the grounds are available for sale.

Ramblin’ Dan Stevens will provide the musical entertainment at Saturday’s Opening Reception.

On Saturday, June 18, an Opening Reception is being held from 5 to 7 p.m. to celebrate the 2022 Summer Sculpture Showcase. It will feature live music by Ramblin’ Dan Stevens, light refreshments, and the opportunity to tour the ground and view the artwork at leisure. All are welcome.

Boro comments, “I’m delighted to be able to open my grounds to these exceptional sculptors whose work intrigues me. Each one offers original creative thinking resulting in a combination of contrasting conceptual designs in a variety of media. I think any visitor to the exhibition is going to be thoroughly engaged by what he or she sees – including children.”

A sculpture, which is part of the 2022 Summer Sculpture Showcase, stands in front of a work by Gil Boro in his permanent exhibition at the Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme.

Boro is somewhat unusual as a professional sculptor in that he loves to see folk of all ages directly interacting with his sculptures, noting that he has a strong aversion to exhibitions, “… where people can’t touch my work.”

‘Armor’ by Craig Frederick is one of the featured works in the 20222 Summer Sculpture Showcase.

The Sculpture Grounds are thoroughly invested in the vibrant Old Lyme arts scene and anticipate this exhibition will attract art-loving visitors from near and far. Boro is committed to the important public mission to enrich the cultural life of the region for the education, enrichment, and enjoyment of the community. In previous years, the exhibition has drawn over 7000 viewers to the 4.5-acre sculpture garden located on the Connecticut shoreline.

A view across the Sculpture Grounds towards the Lieutenant River at 80-1 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds is located at 80-1 Lyme St., less than a minute from Exit 70 on I- 95. The Sculpture Grounds are open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free. Children, field trips and group visits are all welcome.

For further information, visit the Sculpture Grounds website or call 860-434-5957.

Letter to the Editor: Armed Security Guards in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools are Not the Solution to Gun Violence

To the Editor:

This past Wednesday, the Board of Education voted 7-2 to place armed guards at District 18 schools. Though many board members expressed reservations, including to NBC News, it passed.

I am submitting this letter as a child advocate and as a pediatric nurse practitioner withe certification and expertise in pediatric mental health. I am a parent and a community member. I have many friends and family in the teaching profession. I make my decisions based on data, not emotions. At the same time, it is impossible not to be emotional about children blown to unrecognizable bits. As a former pediatric critical care nurse, I have taken care of young gun violence victims, but have not been forced to bear witness to a massacre, as first responders have been.

I think after the tragic massacre in Uvalde, our immediate reaction is “do something, anything.” That something should not be armed guards at school. There is zero evidence that armed guards make schools safer, and plenty of evidence that they do NOT. The recent mass murderer in Buffalo was not deterred by an armed guard. This is anecdotal, but typical.

Placing armed guards in District 18 schools would be expensive and in no way is a solution to mass murders in school or elsewhere, and it would be a daily reminder to children that they are not safe. No one will be safe anywhere until gun laws are passed to ban assault weapons, enforce waiting periods and background checks.

Further, teenagers do not have developed frontal cortexes. This is the part of the brain responsible for judgement. They cannot control their impulses. They have no business owning lethal weapons.
Parents, teachers and school administrators who really want to protect children should relentlessly advocate for these changes.

Armed school guards are not even a bandaid, much less a solution.

My letter with this information as well as links to studies was submitted to the BOE before Wednesday’s meeting. It was not even mentioned in the discussion that night.

Sincerely,

Betsy Groth,
APRN (active); Faculty Yale School of Nursing (Retired); Member, CT Against Gun Violence,
Old Lyme.

Old Lyme’s DeBernardo Brings Home Three Golds, One Bronze From USA 2022 Special Olympics Games

Old Lyme resident Andrea DeBarnardo won three Gold medals and one Bronze at the 2022 Special Olympics USA held in June in Florida.

OLD LYME — In a remarkable feat, Old Lyme resident and Lyme-Old Lyme High School student Andrea DeBernardo won three gold medals, a bronze and a 5th place ribbon in the Special Olympics USA Games held in ESPN Worldwide Sports Complex at Orlando, Fla. from June 4 to 12.

She competed in Artistic Gymnastics along with over 50 individuals from other states in the country.  These individuals competed in Levels 1 to Levels 4.

DeBernardo moved to Level 3 this past year after sharpening her skills while participating in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Gymnastics program.  During this program, she was able to develop her own floor routine, which is a component of the Level 3 Special Olympics program. Level 3 gymnasts are required to be independent and require minimal assistance from the coach during performance (i.e. balance beam).

Her head coach, Christine Corah, and Andrea’s sister Elise worked on choreographing DeBernardo’s routine during the winter season. DeBernardo has been working hard these last few months practicing three days a week to prepare for the Olympics event.

DeBernardo has been participating in the Special Olympics since she was in middle school. She competed in the following events and placed as shown:

Level 3 All Around                         Gold Medal
Level 3 Uneven Bars                      Gold Medal
Level 3 Floor Exercise                   Gold Medal
Level 3 Balance Beam                   Bronze Medal
Level 3 Vaulting                              5th place ribbon

Connecticut Special Olympics sent a total of 33 delegates to the USA 2022 Special Olympic Games with three of them competing in the gymnastics section. DeBernardo was chosen to be one of the three gymnasts to participate in this event in October 2021 and starting group training in January of 2022 with her two fellow team members.

DeBernardo’s mother, Irene, said by email to coach Corah, “Andrea appreciated all the support of her friends and family back at home during her competition that she received through the special messaging system the Special Olympics application created.”

She added, “Andrea has always felt part of the inclusive atmosphere that has been created at the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.”

Editor’s Note: Congratulations, Andrea, on this amazing achievement!

Old Lyme DTC Issues Statement Concerning Guns, Public Health

Editor’s Note: The Old Lyme DTC sent us this statement, which is also published on their website at this link.

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) supports the statement below from Attorney Colin Heffernan, Democratic-endorsed candidate for the 23rd House District. We urge the public to take these issues most seriously and to vote for legislators who will adopt sensible gun legislation and increased access to behavioral healthcare. 

The DTC’s support for reasonable gun regulation does not mean we fail to support citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment. Like the vast majority of Americans, we support both. But we challenge this majority to hold our elected officials accountable for implementing measures to  reduce these intolerable daily mass-casualty events.

As noted by Colin [Heffernan], inconsistent and ineffective gun restrictions have led to easy access to military-style weapons. Uvalde demonstrated that even trained law enforcement officers may be hesitant or unwilling to confront assailants so armed, even if the lives of 4th graders are at stake. The data show that in places that have implemented  sensible gun restrictions, such as minimum age limits and red flag laws, lives are saved.  

The DTC seeks your support for legislators and candidates who, like Colin [Heffernan], will promulgate reasonable gun safety measures and public health measures, including mental health.

We have gotten to “enough.”

Statement from Colin Heffernan:

As the news of yet another shooting came out of Uvalde, on the heels of the shooting in Buffalo, I’m reminded of how little progress we’ve made since Sandy Hook. 

We still have craven politicians blaming everything but guns for the massacres that steal our children and threaten our lives in every corner of public space. 

We still have talking heads fantasizing that a “good guy with a gun” can stop monsters, even when we just saw that they can’t. 

I’d like to say “enough” but that won’t do. It will never be “enough” until we demand that lawmakers denounce the culture of death that values an AR15 over a child. It’s far too easy to get a weapon of mass carnage in this country, and no amount of bad faith whataboutism will change that fact. 

Oh, and here’s the thing: I’m a gun owner. I bought a shotgun while I was living in post-Katrina New Orleans where there were precious few police and the National Guard was patrolling the street under a state of emergency. It was a scary time and I know first-hand that there are legitimate reasons to purchase and keep a gun. 

But what we have now is madness. When a kid can go and buy two assault rifles for his eighteenth birthday and then murder 19 children a week later, the issue could not be starker. It is far too easy to obtain assault weapons and the results are horrific. We passed good  laws in Connecticut after Sandy Hook, but rifles and madmen don’t respect state lines and the easy access to assault weapons in the USA threatens all of us and all of our children. 

Let’s get to “enough” and demand that every one of our lawmakers commit to using every tool  at their disposal to enact nationwide comprehensive gun reform. If they refuse to do that, they  shouldn’t represent us … because they never will. 

Colin Heffernan
Democratic-endorsed candidate for House District 23

Lyme-Old Lyme Seniors Celebrate Upcoming Graduation with Joyful Parade

All photos by Michele Dickey except where indicated.

OLD LYME — It may have poured Thursday morning but nothing was going to rain on the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Seniors planned parade that evening. By the evening, however, skies were clear and the soon-to-graduates, who will celebrate their Commencement tonight, organized their now decorated cars into a line at the high school.

They then drove down Lyme Street and McCurdy Rd. to cheers, clapping and great jubilation. But there were not only  cars in the parade. There were trucks …

and more trucks …

Photo by Robbin Myers.

There were boats …

Photo by Robbin Myers.

There were ambulances …

Photo by Dottie Wells.

There were fire trucks …

Photo by Dottie Wells.

And there were vehicles we are not quite sure how to describe!

Sunroofs took on a whole new purpose …

Windows made great seats …

Truck beds were filled …

Jeeps were jam-packed …

And cheery waves came from cabriolets …

 

The Old Lyme Fire Department pulled out all the stops (and ladders!) to celebrate the Seniors ….

Photo by Dottie Wells.

All along the route, people waved enthusiastically …

Photo by Dottie Wells.

Families congratulated their soon-to-be-graduates …

… while one little girl, full of eager anticipation, waited patiently with her mom for the parade to come into view!

Congratulations to all the soon-to be-graduates!

Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden Celebrates Its First Anniversary

The Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden in June 2022. Photos by Sheila McTigue-Ward.

Growing.  Caring.  Sharing. 

OLD LYME — American horticulturist and botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey offered a tasty kernel of wisdom when he noted, “Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”

The good intentions of the Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden (LOLFSG) began in earnest one year ago when volunteers convened at Town Woods Park during the first weekend of June 2021 to build a garden.

A flurry of ‘firsts’ soon followed – first trench, first fence, first raised beds – and one year later, the LOLFSG is on the verge of its first harvest!  The garden now boasts more than 30 in-ground rows and six raised beds.  Planted crops include peas, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, kale, squash and more.

The ‘someone’ or more aptly, ‘someones” expending effort to cultivate the LOLFSG’s goals are the intrepid volunteers who dig trenches, haul mulch, erect fencing, plant seeds, water, weed and more.

LOLFSG is a nonprofit organization fully run by volunteers and without their concerted and ongoing efforts, the goal to support access to healthy food and reduce food insecurity by growing produce and donating it to local food pantries and kitchens would not be possible.

As the garden expands, the need for volunteers also grows.  The LOLFSG invites individuals of all ages to participate, including supervised children.   Teens interested in earning community service hours are also encouraged to volunteer.

Workdays are Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.   No gardening experience is necessary and tools/equipment are provided, including toddler-sized varieties.  Come when you can and leave when you must … every hour of work advances the mission of the garden.

An email is sent prior to each work session to identify tasks for the upcoming work session.

To join the volunteer mailing list, contact amelia.malsbury@gmail.com.

Updates and additional information and photos are available through Facebook, Instagram or https://www.lolfoodsharegarden.org/.

This was the garden in June 2021.

Editor’s Note: Congratulations and kudos to all involved in this remarkable project, especially Jim Ward, who both conceived the idea and has subsequently led the project from its inception.

Town of Lyme Awarded Sustainable CT Certification, One of Only Four Towns in State to Achieve Prestigious Bronze Level

LYME, CT – On Wednesday, June 1, the Town of Lyme announced that is one of four Connecticut municipalities to be recognized this spring for achieving Sustainable CT certification. Lyme met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for the prestigious bronze-level certification.  

Sustainable CT is a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient and inclusive. The organization announced its 2022 spring certified communities this week.  

In learning of the award, Lyme First Selectman Steven Mattson said, “I would like to thank the hard-working team of volunteers on our Sustainable Committee, as well as the volunteers on our boards and commissions, elected officials and Town staff who made this accomplishment possible. The award is further proof that Lyme is a great place to live.” 

In its application for Sustainable CT certification, the Town of Lyme demonstrated significant achievements with 18 actions in 12 sustainable impact areas. The Town was awarded points for its:-

  • Emphasis of the importance of open space
  • Adoptions of an equity resolution and an affordable housing plan
  • Expanded communications with residents
  • Active promotion of resources for:
    > maintaining dark skies
    > fighting invasive plant species
    > buying local
    >linking residents to area social services and public transportation.  

Programs of note that were launched as part of the Town’s efforts to receive certification include the Lyme Pollinator Pathway and Lymes’ Creative Arts.

More information on all of these activities can be found at this link

Lyme Sustainable Committee Chair Gavin Lodge said, “Being designated as a Sustainable CT municipality is a great honor and reflects a true team effort on the part of many volunteers, boards and commissions.”

In particular, Lodge thanked the 11 volunteers, who serve on the Sustainable Committee:

  • Sue Cope
  • Sarah Crisp
  • Diana Fiske
  • Liz Frankel
  • Carleen Gerber
  • Wendy Hill
  • Carol House
  • John Kiker
  • David Lahm
  • Jim Miller
  • Alan Sheiness
  • Cynthia Willauer. 

The Town needed at least 200 points to achieve bronze certification and received 275 points. Lodge said the next step would be looking at taking Lyme to silver certification, the highest current level of certification available. 

Sustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable, high-impact  program. One-hundred twenty-nine municipalities have registered for the program.

Collectively, 64 municipalities have earned Sustainable CT certification. Certification lasts for 3 years, with submissions rigorously evaluated by independent experts and other Sustainable CT partners.  

“Congratulations to our newest Sustainable CT certified communities,” said Lynn  Stoddard, executive director of the program. “They join a growing number of certified  towns and cities that are demonstrating municipal practices that make our communities  more inclusive, healthy, connected and strong.”  

The program includes actions that help towns and cities build community connection,  social equity and long-term resilience. It includes an action roadmap and support tools  that are especially relevant as towns seek practices and resources to promote racial  justice and respond to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19. 

Sustainable CT is independently funded with strong support from its three founding  funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Common Sense Fund and the Smart  Seed Fund.

Additional support is provided by the Community Foundation of Eastern  Connecticut, Connecticut Community Foundation, Fairfield County Community  Foundation, Main Street Community Foundation and other sponsors. 

The Town of Lyme and all 2022-certified communities will be recognized later this year at Sustainable CT’s annual certification awards ceremony and celebration scheduled to be held in November.

For more information about Sustainable CT, contact Sustainable  CT Communications Manager Jim Hunt at 860-259-4732 or jamesh@sustainablect.org

Old Lyme Church Honors Juneteenth with ‘A Celebration of Afro-Cuban Culture in Old Lyme’, June 18; All Welcome

Public is Invited to “Gathering on Sacred Ground: A Celebration of Afro-Cuban Culture in Old Lyme

OLD LYME – The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL)  announced today that, in honor of Juneteenth, it will hold a public screening of Tierra  Sagrada (Sacred Ground – or, perhaps, Holy Land), a film directed by author, musician  and producer Ned Sublette, immediately followed by a live performance by the Román Díaz Rumba Ensemble.

This event titled, “Gathering on Sacred Ground: A Celebration of Afro-Cuban Culture in Old Lyme,” will be held Saturday, Jun. 18, at 5 p.m., in the First Congregational Church’s Meetinghouse. It is free and open to the public.

The film Tierra Sagrada was shot in January 2020 at a series of bembés (spiritual fiestas)  and rumbas in west-central Cuba. The movie features powerfully charismatic singers, percussionists and dancers of Cuba’s profound, African-descended religious traditions.

The film’s 11 episodes transport viewers to sacred groves and elaborate altars in Black cultural centers seldom if ever seen on film, in the former sugar plantation heartland that received massive numbers of captive Africans in the 19th  century. Sites include Matanzas’s Barrio La Marina, Sagua La Grande’s Barrio de San  Juan, and Jovellanos, Colón, Corralillo, Carlos Rojas and the sugar-mill barrio of Sitiecito. 

Immediately following the film, Román Díaz and his Rumba Ensemble will perform. Díaz  is a master percussionist, particularly of the sacred Bata drums, and a living repository  of Afro-Cuban culture. He is a noted scholar of Cuban religious and folkloric music, as well as a composer and performer of contemporary Afro-Cuban and Jazz music.

Díaz  has said, “I walk the path of the poet, musician, teacher and student. Our ancestors are  with us today and I stand on their shoulders.” He has performed around the world and, in the United States, has appeared at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Museum, among other institutions. 

In announcing the event, Senior Minister Rev. Steve Jungkeit said, “The month of June has been an opportunity to explore the many ways that New England was forged in the crucible of the transatlantic slave trade. The settlement that became Old Lyme came to prominence through trade with the Caribbean, where practices related to those documented in Tierra Sagrada, and those that continue to be embodied in the music of Román Díaz, would have been found.”

Jungkeit continued, “Through trade and trafficked human beings, those ritual perspectives would also have been found throughout New England. Though the traces have grown faint, New England and the Caribbean are intimate partners in a shared and troubled history.”

He concluded, “Now is the time to acknowledge that history, even as we seek to discover, and thereafter to celebrate, the healing and reconciling arts of Cuba’s African-descended religious traditions.” 

The Román Díaz Rumba Ensemble will also play on Sunday morning at FCCOL’s 10  a.m. worship service. The guest preacher for that service will be Kevin Booker, Jr.

Ledge Light Health District Offers COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics at Local Senior Centers

AREAWIDE — Ledge Light Health District has scheduled the following COVID-19 vaccine clinic, which Lyme and Old Lyme residents can attend:

  • Tuesday, June 7, 1-3pm, Groton Senior Center, 102 Newtown Road, Groton

Only the Moderna vaccine will be available at these clinics, for individuals 18 years or older who need a 1st or 2nd dose (primary series) or are eligible for a 1st or 2nd booster dose.

The following groups are eligible for a 1st booster shot at this clinic:

  • individuals 18 years of age and older who have completed a primary series of a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) and it has been at least 5 months since completion of primary series
  • individuals 18 years of age and older who have had a primary dose of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and it has been at least 2 months and would like a mRNA booster

The following groups are eligible for a 2nd booster shot at this clinic:

  • individuals 50 years of age and older who have received a first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine and it has been at least 4 months since first booster dose

The clinics are free and open to the public. No appointment, insurance, or ID is necessary. Bring your CDC vaccination card if you have one. CDC recommends that everyone ages 5 years and older get their primary series of COVID-19 vaccine, and that everyone ages 12 years and older also receive a booster.

For a complete list of community clinics including those where vaccinations are available for people younger than 18, visit LLHD.org.

Community members and businesses are urged to access up-to-date information regarding the pandemic from reputable sources, including the Ledge Light Health District website (www.LLHD.org), Facebook (@LedgeLightHD), Twitter (@LedgeLightHD), and Instagram (@LedgeLightHD).