November 14, 2018

Old Lyme PD’s Thanksgiving Food Drive Continues Today, Saturday

Food Drive fun on Wednesday outside Big Y!

Food Drive fun outside Big Y in Old Lyme!  File photo by M. Garvin.

Old Lyme Police Officers will continue their annual Thanksgiving Food Drive on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Old Lyme Marketplace on Halls Road near the Big Y.

The final collection day will be Saturday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the same location.

All food donated will be forwarded to the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) for distribution to families in need. Food will also be given to stock the mini-pantries at Lymes’ Senior Center and the Town of Old Lyme Social Services.  After local needs are met, all remaining food is given to Shoreline Soup Kitchens.

Donations of non-perishable food can be taken directly to the Old Lyme Police Department at 294 Shore Rd., or to LYSB at 59 Lyme St. between Nov. 12 and  Nov. 16.

Families in need of food should contact LYSB at www.lysb.org/holidaygiving or 860-434-7208.

 

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Old Lyme Historical Society’s Launches 2019 ‘Now and Then’ Calendar, Makes Great Holiday Gift

The Old Lyme Historical Society (OLHS) will be celebrating the release of the new 2019 Now & Then Old Lyme Community Calendar at a free public reception Thursday, Nov. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the OLHS building at 55 Lyme Street, Old Lyme.  The calendar, along with other publications, will be for sale at the event. All are welcome to attend: wine, beer and light refreshments will be served, music will be played, and a door prize will also be awarded.

This is the sixth year that the OLHS has published this popular calendar that incorporates a different set of photographs from the organization’s archives, again juxtaposing the historical images with contemporary ones of the same scene.  The images included in the calendar are a small sampling of the many interesting archived photographs of Old Lyme establishments,  landscapes, and scenes dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century.

Each calendar month is generously sponsored by a different community organization and includes the dates of their events throughout the year.  The intent is to highlight and assist in marketing activities occurring in Old Lyme in 2019 as well as remembering the past.

The 2018 Now & Then Old Lyme Community Calendar was designed by James Meehan and edited by Alison Mitchell.  Michaelle Pearson was the copy-editor.

The mission of the OLHS is to “collect, preserve, and interpret the rich history” of Old Lyme.  To find out more about the OLHS and its interesting activities, explore their website at www.oldlymehistoricalsociety.org or stop by its office at 55 Lyme St.

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Theodore Wayland, Evan St. Louis Earn Eagle Scout Awards; Celebration Held in Their Honor, Nov. 4

A Court of Honor was held Nov. 4 to celebrate Theodore Wayland (left) and Evan St. Louis’s attainment of Eagle Scout rank.  All are welcome to attend and congratulate the boys on this achievement.

Boy Scout Troop 26 is proud to announce Theodore Wayland, son of Kathryn and Mark Wayland; and Evan St. Louis, son of Mary and Thomas St. Louis, both of Lyme have earned the Eagle Scout Award, the highest advancement rank within the Boy Scouts of America.

Troop 26 hosted an Eagle Court of Honor for St. Louis and Wayland on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Auditorium, 69 Lyme St., Old Lyme. All are welcome to attend the public ceremony and join in congratulating them on their achievement.

Only about six percent of all Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Each candidate must earn 21 merit badges, demonstrate leadership, commitment to community and successfully complete a significant service project.

Wayland’s Eagle project was to design and install three flag repository boxes for the Old Lyme and Lyme Town Halls and the Lymes’ Senior Center. He utilized carpentry skills, time management and communication skills. His project was the result of a grant awarded from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars.

St. Louis’s Eagle project was to refurbish the bocce courts at the Lymes’ Senior Center. During the project he managed the clearing of trees and brush, repaired and stained the wooden court frames, installed two new spectating benches, and reconditioned the playing surfaces. 

Both boys are juniors at the Lyme-Old Lyme High School, and share a genuine passion for outdoor living, camping, hiking and the communities they call home.

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‘Pop Goes the Portrait’; OL Library Hosts Final Lecture in ‘Art of the Portrait’ Series, Dec. 6

From Impressionism to PopArt, the upcoming ‘Face to Face’ lecture series at the Old Lyme Library will explore the art of the portrait.

The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library is hosting a three-part lecture series titled Face to Face: How great artists transformed the art of the portrait. The series will be presented by Bob Potter on the first Thursday of October, November and December from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

From Manet to Warhol, the art of the portrait has given the viewer a unique expression of and visual insight into the personalities and worlds in which both the artist and their subjects lived.

Through a wide range of examples of their art, profiles of the artists, videos, and historical context, this series will explore the artists, the people they painted and photographed, and the historical, social and artistic movements that influenced the art of portrait from Impressionism to Pop Art.

Details of each lecture are as follows:

Oct. 4
From Manet to Van Gogh: The impact of Impressionism on the art of the portrait. Click to register.
Nov. 1
When the Camera and Palette Collided: The portrait reimagined in photography, dreams and painting. Click to register.
Dec. 6
Pop Goes the Portrait: Breaking and remaking the rules of the portrait. Click to register.

All are welcome and admission is free.  Registration is requested for planning purposes.  For more information, call 860-434-1684.

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Presentation on “Financial Planning for College” at Old Lyme Library, Nov. 7

Sean Flynn, a financial advisor with Essex Financial and Certified College Planning Specialist will host an event, “Financial Planning for College,” at Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, Wednesday Nov 7, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Flynn will cover how to apply for financial aid, grants, scholarships, how to work with financial aid offices, college debt strategies, high
income household planning options, funding options and grants, how to find colleges that fit your budget, efficient ways to save for college, alternative payment options, and how new tax changes passed this year will alter financial aid applications.

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Celebrate Thach Preserve Opening in Lyme Followed by Guided Walk, Nov. 4

View across the beautiful Thach Preserve in Lyme.

Join the Lyme Land Trust for an opening celebration of the Lyme Land Trust’s new Thach Preserve on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m.  This will be followed by a guided walk with Tony Irving, forest ecologist and Lyme Land Trust board member. The walk is about one mile.

The location for the walk is Thach Preserve, 131 Brush Hill Road, Lyme.

For more information, contact stewardship@lymelandtrust.org or visit http://www.lymelandtrust.org/event/thach-preserve-opening-and-tour/

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Pakistani Couple Living in Old Lyme Church Sanctuary Return Home to New Britain

Malik Nayeed bin Rehman and Zahida Altaf and their daughter, Roniya.

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) announced at a press conference yesterday that Malik Naveed bin Rehman and his wife Zahida Altaf are ending their time in sanctuary at FCCOL.  They do so because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced it is not opposing the couple’s stay request, which is currently pending at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Based on that information, Malik and Zahida, together with their attorney, Glenn Formica, and the ministers at FCCOL, felt it is time to end their time in sanctuary, return to their lives, and await a ruling from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.  They now make plans for two futures.  Only one of those futures will allow them to fulfill their dreams, residing permanently in the United States. 

Malik and Zahida are relieved and appreciative that the Government has not opposed their Stay filed with the Court of Appeals and would like to express their appreciation to the individual ICE officers involved in that decision.

During their stay of deportation, the couple’s legal counsel will continue to help them pursue their efforts to obtain legal status in the United States. Malik and Zahida had pursued legal status on their own for years prior to being targeted for deportation, but were misled by two different immigration attorneys, both of whom ended up being jailed for fraud. The couple, together with their five-year-old daughter Roniya – who is a U.S. citizen – will leave sanctuary immediately following the press conference to return to their friends and family in New Britain, and resume operation of their popular Broad Street restaurant, the Pizza Corner. 

The family sought sanctuary at FCCOL on March 19 of this year — the date originally set for their deportation.  At the time, a stay with ICE was pending, but undecided and so they sought sanctuary to prevent being removed to Pakistan.  FCCOL offered them sanctuary to give the legal process a chance to work and give the couple an opportunity to plead the injustices of their case to the Courts.  While in sanctuary, the couple has been monitored by an electronic bracelet and regular telephone calls.

In announcing word of the unopposed stay request, FCCOL Senior Minister Steve Jungkeit said, “I would like to express my gratitude to all who have been involved in this ministry of hospitality: to Malik, Zahida and Roniya, for showing us the meaning of perseverance and of peace in the midst of enormous personal turmoil;  to the many parishoners and volunteers from the community who supported and sustained Malik and Zahida during their ordeal; to ICE, for respecting the sanctity of churches and for granting us the ability to minister to those who are desperate, afraid and in need; but also to those members of our community who may have been quietly reluctant about this form of hospitality and care but have chosen to support Malik and Zahida all the same.  We’re utterly grateful for the unopposed stay request.  But more than that, we’re grateful for all we have experienced and learned as a result of this experiment in compassion.”

Malik and Zahida said, “We sought sanctuary not to protest or defy ICE.  We only wanted more time for our case to be heard.  We are very appreciative of the kindness we have been given by the church, the community and now ICE.  It reaffirms our faith in the United States, and our determination to make this our home.” 

Attorney Glenn Formica, who has represented the couple during the appeals process, said, “This is a relief, but not a victory. For a little longer, America will remain the hope in Malik and Zahida’s dreams.” 

Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, Attorney General Candidate William Tong, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, the New Britain city council, the New Britain Democratic Town Committee and assorted human rights organizations and faith communities have been among the groups and individuals who called for federal authorities to grant the couple a stay of deportation.

The family’s deportation has received high-profile attention in the “New Yorker,” “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper” and many other national, state and local media and programs.

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‘Cancer Warrior’ Shelley Gregory of Old Lyme Walks ‘Across SE CT’ Again, Raising Funds for TBBCF

Small gestures can add up to big things

Shelley Gregory is 10-years cancer-free and will “Walk Across SE Connecticut” tomorrow raising yet more funds for TBBCF.

Shelley Gregory (formerly of Lyme, now of Old Lyme) didn’t get to be one of the top fundraisers for the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation (TBBCF) on her own, she’ll tell you that. She had help from a single benefactor who donates $10,000 each year to her team for the annual Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut marathon fundraiser.

She does not consider herself a survivor – even though she faced her own bout with breast cancer in 2008. She likes to refer to herself as a warrior. And she has the T-shirt to prove it.

And she doesn’t think that walking 11 marathons – and about to walk her 12th on Oct. 6 – is inspiring. She thinks the volunteers at TBBCF, who are so passionate about raising money and handing it out for cancer research, are far more inspirational.

“These people are tireless. It’s their passion,” she said of the volunteers who host the annual 26.2 mile walk in October from Old Saybrook to Harkness State Park in Waterford and the walkers who participate. They raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and 100 percent of the money goes to grants for research.

“I love reading about all the grants they give out. I know they’re really trying to help me and all the women touched by this terrible disease” she said. “They inspire me.”

But you can’t deny – even though she does – that there is something special about this Old Lyme resident who for the past 12 years has walked the walk, and has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the cause.

Even her sons caught the philanthropic fever. They both chose TBBCF as their senior project while attending Old Lyme High school. In 2010 her older son, Sawyer, raised about $2,000 by putting on a concert. And her younger son, Slater, walked in the marathon in 2013 and raised about $2,500. A friend of her son celebrated her birthday by asking people to withhold gifts and donate to TBBCF.

This year, on the 10th anniversary of her cancer diagnosis, Gregory has made a $10,000 donation of her own money to TBBCF.

“I wanted to do something special. I figured 10 years, $10,000 …,”’ she said during a recent interview, downplaying the grand gesture. “I won’t be able to do it all the time. But I could this year. … you don’t have to write about it, do you?”

Sandy Maniscalco, co-founder of TBBCF, said she was speechless when she saw Gregory’s check.

“Wow, Shelley! Your letter and your incredible donation speak volumes about you as a human being,” Maniscalco wrote to Gregory in a thank you.

Gregory walked her first marathon in 2007 after learning about the very first walk in 2006 and then signing up at a table set up at the local farmer’s market. She wasn’t friends with Terri Brodeur, but she knew some of her siblings. She said she doesn’t work out or do jazzercise or any organized fitness, but she loves to walk.

While training for her second walk, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Twelve of her best friends, who became known as the Bunco Babes because of their passion for playing the dice game Bunco, joined her. Following a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, Gregory delayed the start of her chemotherapy for six weeks so she could train for the walk. She said her doctor didn’t like the idea, but Gregory convinced him that the walk was important to her recovery. She and her gang were the last to cross the finish line that year – all smiles and tears and hugs.

She said she loves walking in the marathon and meeting all the participants and all the volunteers at the comfort stations who give out cookies, candy, granola bars, drinks, sometimes flowers and encouragement.

“It’s my favorite day of the year,” she said. “It’s like Christmas to me.”

This year she gave up an offer to go to Italy because she would have missed the walk. “I said no, I have to walk.”

Walking and donating are the ways she can contribute to finding a cure. She likes to quote the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead who said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This is her small part, she said.

Gregory said she’ll walk as long as she is able; and if there comes a time when she can’t, she’ll volunteer during the event. Eventually when she has more spare time – she works full time as an executive assistant in Chester – she hopes to become active on the TBBCF Board of Directors.

Editor’s Note (i): Shelley and some of the ‘Bunco Babes’ — Kelley Cahill, Brenda Winters and Julie Edmondson are definites while Jeanne Lucey and Nancy Hallahan are possibles — will all be walking from Old Saybrook to Camp Harkness tomorrow to raise money for the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation.  Their route will take them through Old Lyme — supporters are welcome along the way to cheer them on — the team anticipates crossing the Baldwin Bridge around 9:15 a.m.  Donations can still be made to this worthy cause at this link.

Editor’s Note (ii):  This article is published with the permission of the author Kathleen Edgecomb and the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation, on whose website it was first published.

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Marathon Walk to Raise Money for Breast Cancer Research is Saturday

Members of Team Brodeur at the marathon finish line last year. Photo by Shawn Stiles.

The Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation is registering walkers for its 13th annual Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut on Oct. 6. The fundraiser includes a full marathon, a half marathon and a quarter marathon.

Walkers are required to raise a specific amount of money to participate — $200 for the 6.55-mile quarter marathon, $250 for the 13.1-mile half marathon, and $500 for the full 26.2 mile walk. Students age 12-22 and cancer survivors must raise $100. The foundation provides a platform that is easily shared on social media for walkers to solicit donations. Participants are also encouraged to form teams and train and raise money together.

The full marathon starts at 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Saybrook Point in Old Saybrook. Walkers are escorted along the way and there are pit stops for hydration, snacks and bathroom breaks. Medical personnel also patrol the route. The half marathon starts at 10:30 a.m. at 8 Capitol Dr., East Lyme, and the quarter marathon begins at 1:30 p.m. at Niantic Baptist Church on Main St., Niantic. The walk concludes at Camp Harkness in Waterford where there will be snacks and beverages and a brief closing ceremony.

During the past 12 years, hundreds of walkers have participated in the annual event, which is held on the first Saturday of October, raising more than $4 million. One hundred percent of those funds have gone directly to research for breast cancer.

The organization was founded in memory of Terri Brodeur of Old Saybrook who died from breast cancer in 2005, leaving behind three young children. Norma Logan and Sandy Maniscalco established the non-profit in 2006 as a way to honor their friend and raise money to go directly to research. Walkers raise research dollars. Administrative costs are sponsor-supported or provided by volunteers. Logan died of breast cancer in 2006. Maniscalco carries on the legacy of both women.

For more information to volunteer or to sign up for the walk, visit www.tbbcf.org, call (860) 437-1400, or email info@tbbcf.org

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Letter to the Editor: Democrat Pugliese Represents a Fresh, Viable Alternative in House 23rd District Race

To the Editor:

Matt Pugliese offers a refreshing, non-partisan voice in the state House of Representatives for Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Matt brings business experience from the non-profit sector where he has managed tight budgets and competing union interests to deliver theatrical arts to communities in Middletown and at U Conn. Matt has been recognized for his business acumen by the Hartford Business Journal 40 under 40.

As a resident of Old Saybrook raising a young family, Matt knows first hand the importance of supporting education, working women and families. With his courage to speak up for policies that make sense, Matt has earned the endorsements of Moms Demand Gun Sense, CT Chapter of National Organization of Women and Planned Parenthood.

Connecticut has distinguished itself as a leader in gun control and voting equality. To retain these advances, our legislature needs to be controlled by those willing to stand up for these values. Connecticut needs to become a leader in business and the arts. Matt Pugliese has the experience and fortitude to be our next leader.

Sincerely,

Candace Fuchs,
Old Lyme.
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Letter to the Editor: Protection of the Environment is Good for the Economy

To the Editor:

We in the lower Connecticut Valley live in one of the world’s “last great places”. But can we afford to protect the environment if it raises our taxes and costs us jobs and money? This question always comes up around election time but it is based on an incorrect assumption and it leads to the wrong answer. For a state like Connecticut with its knowledge based economy, the environment is actually good for the economy.

China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it is a leader in the environmental technology. Some of the wealthiest places on earth (Germany, Denmark, California) are the most environmentally conscious. Solar voltaic installers and wind turbine service technicians are projected to be among the fastest growing occupations in the United States. Connecticut is home of some of the pioneers of the future (the fuel cell industry) and has some of the best resources in the world for the green economy; e.g.: the Connecticut Green Bank (the first in the nation) and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. Our own locality has initiatives such as Sustainable Essex and the Chester Energy Team and engines of sustainability such as Centerbrook Architects and Noble Power Systems. All of this is in addition to the tourist industry which brings jobs and money to the area as well as making it a nice place to live. These signs are telling us something – that the future belongs to the clean and the efficient.

You don’t need to be a member of the Sierra Club or a follower of the Pope’s Encyclical to care about the environment. It is good enough to care about turning “Green to Gold” (to quote from the book by Dan Esty of Yale). The green economy is the wave of the future and if jobs and money are what we want, we ought to get on board or we will lose BOTH our environment and our economy.

Sincerely,

Frank Hanley Santoro,
Deep River.

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‘The Chocolate Shell’ Hosts Grand Re-Opening in New Space

Barbara Crowley stands proudly outside the window of her new ‘The Chocolate Shell.”

Attention all chocolate-lovers!

The Chocolate Shell in Old Lyme has changed locations … to right next door! The new space welcomes customers with shelves of candy, bright colors, and elegant chandeliers — a guaranteed delicious experience for all that enter.

Barbara will be ready to serve her customers on Labor Day afternoon.

Founded in 1980 by Catherine Pratt, The Chocolate Shell is now owned by Old Lyme resident Barbara Crowley. Wishing to expand the business and thus share her love of chocolate with more people, Crowley has moved the store to a larger space to accommodate her endless creative visions for the shop.

The colors of candy!

“I’m going to start hosting events here,” Crowley explains. “Chocolate and wine tasting evenings, chocolate and bourbon tasting evenings. I’m hoping to do those once a month if I can.” Her first event in the new store will be an all-chocolate dinner … and yes,  every course of the meal will have chocolate in it!

Take a seat!

“I want to start doing birthday parties for kids,” Crowley continues. “We can do paint your own chocolate, make your own assortment of chocolates, make your own chocolate pizza, anything I can plan to do in the shop. It’ll be so much fun! I’m totally looking forward to that.”

The store is a chocolate-lover’s paradise!

Crowley’s enthusiasm and excitement about the store is almost palpable as she describes the unique experiences that The Chocolate Shell gives its customers. “What makes the Chocolate Shell special is the fact that everything is personalized to the customer who comes in here. Whatever that customer wants, we will make sure we give it to them.”

Crowley invites chocolate-lovers and the community in general to join her at the Grand Re-opening of the all-new Chocolate Shell tomorrow, Labor Day Monday, Sept. 3, from 2 to 5 p.m. when she be serving refreshments and giving tours of the new store. “It’s the next big adventure!” the effervescent Crowley exclaims.

For more information, visit www.thechocolateshell.com or call (860) 434-9727.

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Immigrant Family Taking Refuge in Old Lyme Church Featured in ‘The New Yorker’ Story

The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and the Rehman family of three from Pakistan that are currently living in the church’s basement were featured in a story titled No One Is Safer. No One Is Served in The New Yorker last week.

The Rev. Steven Jungkeit, senior minister of the church, describes the article in these words, “The story, written by reporter Dave Eggers, traces their lives from when Malik and Zahida [Rehman] first met in Pakistan, to their living in sanctuary in our church with their five-year-old daughter … It also provides a solid description of the theological framework that underlies our sanctuary efforts.”

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Teen Hosts Meatball Cart at Hamburg Fair to Raise Money for ‘Dog Days’ Charity

Hannah Morrison is sniffed by her dog Shadow, who was adopted from ‘Dog Days.’  Hannah will be hosting a Meatball Cart at the Hamburg Fair to raise funds for ‘Dog Days.’

Seventeen-year-old Hannah Morrison has loved animals for as long as she can remember.

When an eighth grade “Call to Action” project included a community service requirement, Morrison immediately knew she wanted to work with animals. “Originally, I was going to volunteer at an animal shelter,” Morrison recalls. “But all of the shelters I found had an age minimum of 16, and I was only 14 at the time. So I talked to Mrs. Regan, our English teacher, who told me that our librarian, Mrs. Isaacson, volunteered for an organization called Dog Days.”

Hannah Morrison (left) sells meatballs at the Haddam Neck Fair with her sister Julia (right) and friends Gabby Ehlert and Erin Rose.

Morrison immediately researched Dog Days and discovered that the organization takes dogs from kill shelters and hosts events where the dogs can be adopted. “In the United States, about 670,000 dogs are euthanized every year,” Morrison explains. “It’s not because they’re un-adoptable dogs that are violent or aggressive or have health issues. A lot of them are just in shelters that are overcrowded and don’t have the resources to care for them. So, people can come to Dog Days and adopt a dog there because there’s usually about 100 dogs at each event that would’ve been euthanized.”

In fact, Morrison herself adopted one of her three dogs from Dog Days. Shadow has now been a part of the Morrison family for three years.

Now, Morrison has taken it upon herself to help the rescue dogs in an even bigger way. At the Hamburg Fair starting today and continuing through Sunday, Morrison will be running a meatball cart where all of the proceeds benefit Dog Days. “I have a food cart that I’ve been doing for the past three years, and I was going to do an event at a store plaza just selling hotdogs and donating the money to Dog Days,” she says. “But when the Hamburg Fair contacted me asking if we were coming back, I was like ‘oh, maybe I could just use that.’”

Morrison is hoping raise about $2,000 for Dog Days, so be sure to stop by her meatball cart this weekend to grab some delicious food and benefit a great cause.

The next Dog Days event is on Oct. 20 and 21 in Cheshire, Conn.  For more information, visit www.godogdays.org 

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Talking Transportation: ‘Train Time is Your Own Time’ … True or False?


Train time is your own time” was the old marketing slogan of Metro-North, encouraging commuters to kick back and enjoy the ride while reading, working or taking a snooze.

But in reality, train time is shared time.  They don’t call it “mass transit” for nothing as passengers much share their space with a hundred other commuters on each railcar.

Assuming you get a seat, this means you’re squeezed in next to one or two fellow riders.

Usually commuters are respectful of each other and don’t blare their radios or carry on loud conversations, with each other or on cell-phones.  Or so we’d hope.

It was almost 20 years ago that Amtrak first introduced the concept of The Quiet Car, following suggestions of daily commuters riding to DC.  It was such a success that quiet cars were soon added to other Northeast Corridor trains and Acela.

The concept was simple, as conductors reminded passengers on every trip:  maintain a “library like atmosphere”.  That meant no cell phone calls and only quiet, subdued conversation.  You want to yuck it up over a beer, go to the Café Car.  Got an important phone call … sit in any other coach.

Other commuter railroads picked up Amtrak’s cue … but not Metro-North. While serving on the CT Metro-North Commuter Council, I regularly beseeched the railroad to give us a break and dedicate just one car to peace and quiet, convinced it would attract riders.  Finally in 2011, the railroad took the hint and launched such a car, branded as a “Quiet CALMmute”.

Victory for the sonically overloaded?  Not by a long shot.  This is Metro-North and if anyone can screw up a good idea, they can.

First, they offered the worst car location on the train to their CALMmute:  the last car in-bound and the first car out-bound from GCT.  And there were no signs indicating which car was “quiet”.  Worst of all, conductors all but refused to enforce the quiet rules, leading to altercations between passengers.

Conductors have no trouble enforcing other rules:  luggage on the overhead racks, no feet on the seats, no smoking etc.  But asking people to keep down the chatter was apparently too much.  All they would do, at first, was hand “Shhh cards” to offenders.

In 2016 the quiet car program was expanded to two cars per train, peak and off-peak.  But, still no signage (until just recently) and no enforcement.

Now, a major change.  The railroad announced that effective immediately there would be only one quiet car per off-peak train.  And the PR team at MNRR spun the story so well that some local media made it sound like the program was being expanded, not cut in half.  Brilliant.

There was no explanation for the cut in quiet cars though one official told me, “We have had no reports of quiet car demand exceeding availability in the off-peak.”  In other words, people who ride off-peak just prefer to yap.

That’s an amazing PR “spin” on what is really an admission of failure.  Metro-North never wanted quiet cars and clearly didn’t want to enforce the rules.  The people have literally “spoken” and the Quiet CALMmute won’t be as accessible anymore.

This is what happens when you have a monopoly, answerable to nobody, especially its customers.  I’d raise my voice in protest but … I’m in the quiet car.

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media

Jim Cameron

About the author: 

Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.  You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com

For a full collection of “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

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Sound View Beach Association Hosts Bingo Every Wednesday

Sound View Beach Association hosts Bingo on Wednesdays through Sept. 5, at the Shoreline Community Center, 39 Hartford Avenue, Old Lyme. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the game starts at 7 p.m.

Come for a fun evening and win some money!

Admission is $12 per person.

For information, call Bob at 860-434-3745 or 860-225-9458.

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Catherine Christiano Exhibits Paintings of Old Lyme Beach Cottages in Chelsea, NYC

Catherine Christiano, Twilight, Miami Beach, Old Lyme, 2018, Oil on Panel, 4 1/4 x 6 inches. Photo credit: Catherine Christiano.

A collection of small paintings by Old Lyme resident Catherine Christiano that feature the cottages of Old Lyme’s beach communities will be exhibited at George Billis Gallery in Chelsea, New York location. The Summer Group Show will run from July 10 through Aug. 4.

The opening reception for the public will be held tomorrow evening, Thursday, July 12, at the George Billis Gallery located at 525 West 26th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues from 6 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This latest series of paintings was created this past winter in a temporary studio at Hawk’s Nest Beach in Old Lyme.

Catherine Christiano, Twilight, Miami Beach, Old Lyme, 2018, Oil on Panel, 4 1/4 x 6 inches. Photo credit: Catherine Christiano.

Ever drawn to the character of the homes and the pictorial possibilities presented by these structures and their interplay with light, Christiano has returned numerous times to Old Lyme’s seasonal beach communities perched on the edge of the Long Island Sound.

Most of the paintings are an intimate 4 ¼ x 6 inches, the size of a standard postcard. While the paintings are small, each is a carefully painted arrangement of design elements that also convey a sense of the inner life of the place.

Christiano notes that while working from the Hawk’s Nest studio, “I was able to observe the ever shifting light day after day, sunrises to sunsets, and finally understood first-hand its qualities that drew the Impressionists to Old Lyme so many years ago.”

A painter known for creating detailed representational works, Christiano has been a studio artist based in Old Lyme for over 20 years. She was classically trained at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts during the time that it was an intensive program focused on working from nature and the human figure.

Catherine Christiano, Summer Rentals, Hawk’s Nest , 2018, Oil on Panel, 4 1/4 x 6 inches. Photo credit: Catherine Christiano.

Past local projects include the illustrations for the Old Lyme Historical Society’s memoir Poverty Island and the seal for the Town of Old Lyme.

The George Billis Gallery marks its 23rd year in the Chelsea Art District and opened a second gallery in the burgeoning gallery district of Culver City in Los Angeles.

For additional images and information about Christiano’s works in this exhibition, contact the Gallery via email at gallery@georgebillis.com  or phone at 2120645-2621.

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Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Acquires an AED Thanks to Donation from CT Trailblazers Facilitated by Critical Skills

Members of CT Trailmixers club celebrate LYSB’s installation of the Automated External Defibrillator with LYSB Director Mary Seidner, standing at right.

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) has installed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in their main Activity Center on Lyme Street. The addition of the LYSB’s new AED contributes to the growing number of readily available lifesaving tools and skills that are part of the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s “HEARTSafe Community” award to the Town of Old Lyme.

Critical Skills Education & Training owners Colleen Atkinson and Doug Lo Presti are local Emergency Medical Technicians and American Heart Association Instructors, who have coordinated the Town’s HEARTSafe Community award through three renewals, continuing the placement of AEDs and training of hundreds of individuals who live and work in Old Lyme. Training consists of Adult, Child and Infant CPR, use of an AED and relieving an obstructed airway.

The purchase of the AED for LYSB was funded partially by contributions made by Critical Skills through classes held at LYSB but the principal contribution came from the non-profit group CT Trailmixers, a Southington-based trail-running club, whose members are passionate about sharing the love and use of trails in the state of Connecticut.

The Trailmixers’ mission also includes making donations to a variety of causes and organizations, including the Southington YMCA and the Connecticut Forest & Parks Association. Proceeds also go to the CT Trailmixers’ Shoe Scholarship Program which, in partnership with Fleet Feet West Hartford, gives free shoes to children in need, who wish to run cross-country or track in school.

Michael Lo Presti, CT Trailblazers Founder and President, reached out to Critical Skills on candidates for donations and Lo Presti and Atkinson suggested the idea of an AED for LYSB.

The Trailmixers’ generous donation not only completed but surpassed the fundraising effort and LYSB purchased and installed the AED in May.

The AED purchased is a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) and available to trained and untrained bystanders alike in case of emergency. LYSB is committed to providing services to the people who live, work and play in Old Lyme and has been a central point of service for generations of children. The acquisition of the AED helps to ensure the best care for the existing population and for generations to come.

In addition to LYSB, Public Access Defibrillators in Old Lyme are now located in

  • Old Lyme Town Hall
  • OL-PGN Library
  • Town Woods Park
  • SNAP Fitness
  • Old Lyme Wellness
  • Soundview Community Center
  • Old Lyme Country Club
  • Black Hall Golf Club
  • Mile Creek School
  • Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School
  • Center School
  • Lyme-Old Lyme High School
  • Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church
  • First Congregational Church of Old Lyme
  • L & M Primary Care
  • Lymes’ Senior Center
  • Old Lyme Beach ClubIf you are interested in acquiring an AED or in American Heart Association CPR/AED training, call Critical Skills at 860-304-8471 or 860-391-3779 or visit www.criticalskillseducation.com.
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Anyone for Bocce? St. Louis Renovates Lymes’s Senior Center Courts for Eagle Scout Service Project

Evan St. Louis’s volunteer crew stain the frame of the bocce courts before a new surface of stone dust was applied.

On Saturday, June 2, Evan St. Louis, Life Scout of Boy Scout Troop 26, completed his Eagle Scout Service project at the Lymes’ Senior Center on Townwoods Rd.  St. Louis’s project focused on refurbishing the bocce courts at the Lymes’ Senior Center – this included tree, brush, and weed removal, reconditioning the bocce court surface, cleaning and staining of the court frame structure, and installation of 2 wooden benches for viewing.  

Evan St. Louis (in orange hat) instructs some of his volunteer crew about the day’s activities.

The project benefits the Lymes’ Senior Center and community members, who can now utilize the courts again after they had fallen into disrepair over the years. 

This photo shows the state of the bocce courts prior to St. Louis’s project. Overgrown trees hang over the courts, which are full of weeds.

St. Louis gathered more than 30 volunteers for the event, who contributed an estimated 150 man hours to help accomplish this task.  His project involved some April and May pre-work with chainsaws, clippers, and a power washer by family members to address the impinging tree line, weed growth and mildew on the frame lumber.

Bocce in action by members of Troop 26 after completion of St. Louis’s project.

St. Louis said the most difficult task of the Eagle Service Project was the preparatory work leading up to the actual project day on June 2, and engaging area community businesses for donations or discounts of materials.    He is grateful for the following donations:

  • surface aggregate (stone dust) for courts from Adelman’s Sand and Gravel in Bozrah
  • transportation of the stone dust by Al Bond of Old Lyme
  • discounted lumber for his benches by Shagbark East Haddam
  • assistance with final tree removal by the Town of Old Lyme Department of Public Works
  • discounted food for lunch provisions by Big Y Old Lyme
  • a generous monetary donation to the project from VFW Post 1457
  • financial donations from several private individuals. 

Evan St. Louis and his project mentor Skip Beebe of Old Lyme. Beebe earned his Eagle Scout honor with Troop 26 earned in 1962.

He also benefited significantly from the guidance provided by his service project mentor, Arthur “Skip” Beebe, who earned his Eagle Scout rank with Troop 26 in 1962.

Evan St. Louis with Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Lyon-Gould holds two new bocce ball sets in bags monogrammed ‘LOL Seniors’ that St. Louis presented to the senior center.

Drawing off his fundraising efforts, St. Louis purchased and presented two quality bocce ball sets from LL Bean to Lymes’ Senior Center Director Stephanie Lyon-Gould for the members of the Senior Center to use on their revitalized courts.    

Our hearty congratulations to Evan on completing such a challenging and worthwhile project!

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Noted Drone Designer LeRoi of Old Lyme to Give Free Lecture on Drones Applications

The Westerly Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association has planned a free lecture in Westerly RI that should be of interest to many residents and organizations.

Don LeRoi, noted drone designer of Old Lyme, will be speaking about the drones he builds for scientific applications and he will show how drones have helped scientists with research on killer whales and penguins in Antarctica.

The lecture will be at Dooney Aviation, 53 Tom Harvey Rd., Westerly on Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m.

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