January 28, 2022

Snow Predictions Still Changing; Seems Definite There Will be Some, Could be as Much as 2ft

Who knows how much snow will there be from the anticipated nor’easter this weekend? “Everything is on the table with this storm,” AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said Thursday. File photo by Fran Gumkowski.

LYME/OLD LYME — “Winter storm watches have been issued from the mid-Atlantic to southeastern New England in advance of a nor’easter that is set to charge up the East Coast Friday night into Sunday. As it chugs along, the storm will strengthen into a bomb cyclone and a full-blown blizzard will ensue in eastern New England.

“Everything is on the table with this storm,” AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said Thursday …” Visit this link to read the full story titled, Blockbuster nor’easter on track to bury Boston with heavy snow by Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, and published on AccuWeather.com.

We will have much more on local preparations for the storm Friday morning along with the latest snowfall and wind predictions. In the meantime, here are some general rules to follow as you prepare for the storm and once it has reached us:

Travel will be hazardous. Stay off the roads during the storm.

Your cell phone will be an important tool during this emergency — make sure it is charged.

Stay away from downed power lines and call 911 to report them.

Exposure to cold temperatures and sustained winds will contribute to hypothermia and dehydration. If you go outside, dress in layers and wear hats, scarves and gloves. Remove wet clothing as soon as you are back indoors.

If there is a fire hydrant on or near your property, please help by keeping it clear for emergency use.

Call 911 to report all emergency situations.

Letter to the Editor: Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition Responds to Hartford Fetanyl Tragedy, Encourages Community Approach to Substance Abuse Issues Locally

To the Editor:

An Open Letter to the Lyme-Old Lyme Community

I’m sure many of you have heard the tragic news about two recent drug exposure incidents in two Connecticut middle schools. Tragically, a young 13-year-old boy died after being exposed to fentanyl at his middle school in Hartford. The following day, five students were hospitalized after ingesting THC edibles (candy) at their New Haven middle school.
As we process these tragic incidents, the Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition is sharing resources and support to our community’s youth and families.
We strongly encourage you to join us and embrace a community approach to supporting youth and families around substance abuse prevention. Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) staff is working to schedule community Narcan trainings.
To receive prevention updates, visit this link to join our mailing list.
To find upcoming events and links to useful resources about current drug trends, conversation starters, and data, visit our website.
Our Coalition depends on input, expertise, and energy from community members, and we welcome you to our meetings. We are available to answer questions about substance abuse prevention, personal concerns, and be a resource to any youth, parent, or community member needing support, referrals, and/or guidance. Please let us know if we can be of help to you or your family. You can reach me at 860-434-7208 or by email at abehnke@lysb.org.
Allison Behnke, MSW,
Old Lyme.
Editor’s Note: The author is the Prevention Coordinator at LYSB.

Ledge Light Health District Offers Free COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in New London, Tomorrow

Photo by CDC on Unsplash.

GROTON/LYME/OLD LYME — Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 29, from 12 to 4 p.m. at McDonald’s, 406 Colman Street, New London.

The Moderna vaccine and a limited supply of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be available for anyone who is 18 years or older and needs a first or second dose or is eligible for a booster dose. The Pfizer vaccine will be available to anyone who is 5 years or older.

No appointment, insurance, or ID is needed.

The current booster recommendations are:

For individuals who received the Moderna vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot:

  • Severely immunocompromised at 1 month or more after their initial series.
  • Everyone 18+ at 5 months or more after their initial series.

For individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot:

  • Severely immunocompromised at 1 month or more after their initial series.
  • Everyone 12+ at 5 months or more after their initial series.

For individuals who received the J&J vaccine, booster shots are recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Mixing & Matching (heterologous series): Both the FDA and CDC support individuals to receive a booster dose that is a different vaccine type than they originally received for their primary series if they choose. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

Visit www.LLHD.org or follow LLHD on social media for additional clinic announcements!

Ledge Light Health District serves as the local health department for East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Lyme, New London, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Stonington and Waterford, Connecticut. As a health district, formed under Connecticut General Statutes Section 19a-241, LLHD is a special unit of government, allowing member municipalities to provide comprehensive public health services to residents in a more efficient manner by consolidating the services within one organization.

LLHD’s mission statement – to prevent disease, illness and injury; to protect and nurture our environment; and to promote improved health and prosperity for all residents – describes in more detail their slogan of “promoting healthy communities.”

Latest Delivery from State of COVID-19 Test Kits is Designated for ‘Vulnerable Populations’

OLD LYME — Old Lyme Emergency Services Director David Roberge informed us this afternoon (Friday, Jan. 21) that earlier today, the Town of Old Lyme received an additional quantity of COVID-19 self-test kits from the Connecticut Department of Health (CT DPH.)

He explains that the CT DPH has, “Required this delivery be designated for vulnerable populations … persons living in congregate housing and for persons who have physical, mental, intellectual or other developmental disabilities that are unable to seek out testing kits on their own.”

He notes that these kits will be available to persons in those categories by calling the Lymes’ Senior Center at 860-434-4127.

Roberge adds, “When we receive additional home test-kits for the general public’s needs, we will announce their availability on the Town of Old Lyme website and via email alerts through our Old Lyme Alerts text notification system, and also on LymeLine.com and our social media platforms.”

He stresses, “To be notified of important COVID information, simply text OLCOVID19 to 888777 to receive important text messages on your smart device.”

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Co-Chair Explains Why ‘Ames Property’ Acquisition Efforts Ended

Old Lyme Open Space Commission Co-chair Evan Griswold. Photo courtesy of E. Griswold.

OLD LYME — Several readers raised questions regarding the reasons why the efforts to acquire the two parcels of ‘Ames Property’ donated to the Old Lyme Open Space Commission have concluded.

We contacted the commission and were told that its co-chair Evan Griswold was speaking on behalf of the agency.

Griswold kindly returned our phone call earlier today and explained first that terminating the effort to acquire the parcels was “personally a disappointment” to him since he had invested a great deal of time and energy on the project over the past 18 months. He added, “It’s just a shame that we weren’t able to bring all the parties together.”

He noted that the owner of the properties, Stephen Ames, had been “very patient” throughout the whole process.

Asked what the fundamental issue was that halted the acquisition, Griswold explained that the problem went back to the restrictions that were placed on the five-parcel subdivision by Ames when it was created in 2005. Those restrictions deemed that the lots, in Griswold’s words, were, “really for residential purposes only,” and moreover, “Anyone buying one of the lots would have to commence construction of a house within 18 months of purchase.”

Griswold commented that the Open Space Commission by its very nature was not planning any construction and that its intentions were to preserve the 35 acres of land, adding that the most ‘construction’ they would undertake would be some signage and trail map information.

A second issue was that the access road for all five lots was established as a private road.

Noting that all the homeowners would have to be on board in order for the restrictions to be waived to allow for a house not to be built and to give access to the two lots in question over the private road, Griswold said, “one neighbor objected.”

Two of the three remaining lots not included in the proposed land acquisition are sold and Griswold said he believes the third is currently on the market.

While stressing his disappointment with the outcome, he noted that as a “someone involved in real estate for over 40 years,” he can appreciate both sides of the situation in that there were, “privacy concerns” for the objecting homeowner. He concluded, “There must be equity for the public and landowners.”

Inaugural PARJE Mural Promoting Racial Justice Through Public Art Unveiled in Norwich, Time-lapse Video Shows How it was Created

An opening frame from the just-released time-lapse video by Emida Roller shows the finished Norwich Sister Mural at the Market St. Garage.

NORWICH, CT/OLD LYME: 1/18 UPDATE: Despite freezing temperatures, the mural discussed below was duly “unveiled” yesterday. Visit this link to read a report of the event by Claire Bessette and published Jan. 18 in ‘The Day.’

On Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 17, at 12:30 p.m., Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE) will unveil its first mural, which has been created on the Market Street Garage in Norwich. In honor of this upcoming event, the group has released a remarkable time-lapse video showing how the mural came together.

All are welcome to attend the unveiling ceremony for the Norwich Sister Mural, the title of which echoes the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “We Are Not Makers of History.  We Are Made By History.”

Public Art for Racial Justice Education (PARJE) was formed by Rev. David Good, the former Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and now its Minister Emeritus, in March last year with help from Rev. Jack Madry of the Madry Temple in New London.

Rev. David W. Good, Minister Emeritus of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

Good explains that the catalyst for creating PARJE was the tragic killing of George Floyd in May, 2020. Good came to believe passionately that public art could be used to spark conversation and stimulate education on what it means to be engaged in antiracism. He started discussing the subject with Madry and together they looked for ways to bring communities together to address racial injustice.

Those discussions led to the birth of PARJE, which has developed into a broad-based, interracial, non-partisan, non-sectarian group consisting of volunteers from various communities around the shoreline region. These communities now include Old Lyme and Lyme, as well as Old Saybrook, East Lyme, Essex, Deep River, Norwich and New  London.

From the displacement of indigenous communities to the use of slave labor in the whaling industry, PARJE leaders point out that the the local region, along with many others across the nation, has been actively complicit in – and not passively just home to – various racial injustices.

PARJE aims to provide opportunities to examine or reexamine some of these events through the use of public art in many different ways. As the US struggles to confront systemic racism, PARJE will focus on engaging artists from all disciplines to create public art aimed at addressing not only contemporary issues, but also their origins.

Building partnerships with surrounding communities is an additional focus of the group’s stated mission.

A series of murals is planned throughout the region and the first mural to be completed is the one in Norwich.

Asked how the Norwich mural came about, Good told LymeLine via email, “Shiela Hayes is our point person for the Norwich Mural. She’s a member of our Steering Committee and as the head of NAACP-Norwich, Shiela was able to bring onboard a number of folks in Norwich.”

Good commented enthusiastically, “Sheila did amazing work in getting input and support from a number of individuals, organizations and government representatives!”

Hayes explained the background and timing of the mural to LymeLine in an email, noting, “The concept, theme and research started in March [2021.] They were completed in October when the title, “Freedom, Civil Rights and Human Rights,” was finalized.

Hayes noted that work on the mural began in October of 2021, with the 1st phase. The mural was designed by Samson Tonton based on input by the Norwich Sister Mural Committee.

On Nov. 15, the second phase began, which involved the Norwich Mayor and Council voting to approve the design of the Norwich Sister Mural on the Market Street Garage.

Lead artist Emida Roller of Wall Designs by Emida LLC paints a section of the mural in situ. Photo by Jac Lahav.

Power washing of the Market Street Garage by Norwich Public Utilities followed during the week of Nov. 15 and then priming and background painting by lead artist Emida Roller and artist Samson Tonton began  during the week of Nov. 22.

The third phase started the week of Nov. 22 when both artists painted on polytab pieces indoors and then affixed the images on the wall. They painted additional images directly on the wall and were able to complete the work by Dec. 20.

Artist Samson Tonton works on his painting on a piece of polytab prior to it being placed on the wall. Photo by Jac Lahav.

Community Engagement and Paint Days were held Dec. 8 and 11 at the Sikh Art Gallery with over 40 people assisting with the painting. The Gallery was founded by Norwich City Councilman Swaranjit Singh Khalsa, whom Good noted was “very important” in bringing the project to fruition.

Good added that he and another PARJE member from Old Lyme, Celine Sullivan, “visited on one of those [Community Paint] days, and it was great to see the diversity of those at work on the mural.”

Now that the design is complete, the next step is the official unveiling ceremony on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 17.

PARJE has a number of other murals currently in various stages of development at Old Lyme, New London, East Lyme, and Old Saybrook.

Good explained how things are moving forward positively in Old Lyme, saying, “Thelma Halloran, a Black art teacher in [Lyme-] Old Lyme’s Middle School and Alden Murphy* co-chair our Artist Selection Team consisting of Becky Crosby*, Kimberly Monson*, Alex Pinkowish, [and] Nancy Gladwell* (ex officio) in addition to Thelma and Alden.” (* indicates a Lyme or Old Lyme resident.)

He continued, “They’ve had some great applicants [to design the mural],” interviews have been held, and their plan is to select the artist [for the Old Lyme mural] around January 15th. Good noted that Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser, “… has been very supportive. He [Neviaser] hopes to engage as much of the school community as possible and also provide opportunities for community painting days to welcome those from other communities.”

One of the core beliefs of PARJE rests in the ability of public art to educate about the history of Black,  Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). Consequently, there will be a high priority on selecting BIPOC artists while also working side-by-side with others, trained and untrained, and those of all generations, races and ethnicities.

Other events currently scheduled for PARJE include a panel discussion at Long Wharf Theatre’s production of “Fires in the Mirror” on Jan. 30. Good plans to moderate the discussion with panel members Pastor Jack Madry, Attorney Lonnie Braxton II, Rabbi Aaron Rosenberg and Ghoufran Allababidi.

An event had previously been scheduled for Jan. 23 at Lyme Art Association but this has now been postponed to Feb. 20 due to the COVID situation. We will publish more information on this event as soon as it is available.

This image shows Nancy Gladwell’s side of the PARJE diptych, which pictures the events of March 7, 1965, at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. The day became known as ‘Bloody Sunday.’ Photo courtesy of PARJE.

A further project is the creation of a diptych (a two-panel painting intended to function as a traveling exhibition) by two local artists, Nancy Gladwell, who was Chair of Painting at the former Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and Jas Oyola-Blumenthal, an alumna of the same institution. Gladwell is also the Co-Chair of PARJE.

The diptych will be used in schools, or any public space, to tell the controversial story of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

The diptych project also intends to illustrate the possible future of the bridge supporting efforts currently underway to rename it after civil rights activist, John Lewis, who would have been 81 this February. 

Looking back at the breadth of work accomplished and all the projects completed, in progress, or in the early planning stages after only 10 months of PARJE ‘s existence — and especially considering all those 10 months have been under pandemic conditions — Good concludes positively, but pragmatically, “Public art will not solve systemic racial injustice, but it would be a public affirmation that, on the one hand, this is the country we are, and, on the other, this is the country we are endeavoring to become.”

Editor’s Note: (i) For more information about Public Art for Racial Justice Education, visit their website follow PARJE on Facebook at Facebook.com/Public Art for Racial Justice Education and Instagram @racialjusticeartTo donate to support the work of PARJE or inquire about joining PARJE, email racialjusticeart@gmail.com.

(ii) The following is a list of key people and organizations involved in the Norwich Mural project — (there are too many names to list them all): Matt Conway – Executive Director, The RiseUp Group, Inc., Swaranjit Singh Khalsa – Norwich City Councilman, Derell Q. Wilson – Norwich City Councilman, Leo Butler – Director of Diversity, Norwich Free Academy, Alysha Carmody – HOD, Visual and Performing Arts, NFA, Dayne Rugh – Director, Slater Memorial Museum, Beryl Fishbone – Rotary Community Corps of Norwich, Shiela Hayes – President, NAACP Norwich Branch, Tracey L. Holland – NAACP Norwich Branch, Brenda McDonald – Secretary, NAACP Norwich Branch, Sharlyne Naubert – President, NAACP Robertsine Duncan YC, Celia Siefert – NAACP Norwich Branch, Zechariah Stover – NAACP Norwich Branch, City of Norwich – Elected and Appointed Officials and Norwich Public Utilities.

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 Historical Society Receives CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant from CT Humanities 

OLD LYME — Connecticut Humanities, the statewide, nonprofit affiliate of the  National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), has awarded the Old Lyme Historical Society, Inc. (OLHSI) a $ 7,200 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant (CTCFOSG).  

The CTCFOSG will be used to support the Society’s mission to collect, preserve, interpret and promote  the rich history of Old Lyme and environs by making the Archives collection more accessible, improving  IT and online presence and increasing marketing to make the organization more accessible to the community. 

John Pote, the Society’s Chair, commented, “History isn’t static. New discoveries and new technologies broaden our understanding and enhance discussions among cultures and communities.” 

OLHSI was one of 624 organizations in Connecticut that was awarded CT Cultural Fund support.  

Old Lyme, Lyme Libraries Co-Sponsor History of Jazz Event via Zoom, Tonight; Includes Impact of Jazz on Civil Rights Movement, Live Performance

Learn how Jazz was an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement with Galen Abdur-Razzaq (centerin photo above) in a virtual event Wednesday evening co-sponsored by the Lyme and Old Lyme Libraries.

LYME/OLD LYME — On Wednesday, Jan. 12, the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library and the Lyme Public Library are co-sponsoring a virtual event that includes a live performance, a lecture and music trivia. The program begins at 6:30 p.m.

Learn how Jazz was an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement, with proceeds from concerts helping to finance major events such as the Freedom Rides and the March on Washington in 1963.

Galen Abdur-Razzaq, a Master Flutist, a jazz historian, and an educator, will chronicle music from the turn of the century to present day and highlight various artists, their music, their struggles, and their influence on the evolution of jazz.

Visit this link to register and obtain the Zoom link for the program.

Hamburg Fair is Happening in 2022!

LYME — The Hamburg Fair Committee has announced that the Hamburg Fair will take place this year on Aug. 19, 20 and 21.

This is great news after the disappointment of last year’s fair having to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much more information will follow but we wanted to share this good news right away, so mark your calendars now for this beloved event!

Lyme/Old Lyme Refugee Committee Seeks Assistance for Afghan Family Resettled in Old Lyme

An Afghan flag flies against a backdrop of the Hindu Kush mountains. Photo by Farid Ershad on Unsplash.

LYME/OLD LYME — The mission of the Refugee Resettlement Committee of Lyme/Old Lyme is to provide shelter and sustenance to families who need support due to a traumatic/catastrophic  event that has forced them from their homes.

The committee was established in 2016 in response to the world-wide refugee  crisis and co–sponsors with IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services based in New Haven). IRIS is a non-sectarian, non-profit refugee resettlement agency that has welcomed more than 5000 refugees to Connecticut since 1982.

The committee has recently welcomed an Afghan family to Old Lyme and, in its efforts to make Lyme and Old Lyme a welcoming, safe haven for displaced people, has sent out the following letter and asked us to publish it to reach  a larger audience.

As many of you may know by now, an Afghan family of seven, including five young children, has started their new lives in America, right here in Old Lyme.

A month after their arrival, the father is enrolled in ESL classes and the children are in school and loving it.

As we have done successfully for four other refugee families, the Lyme/Old Lyme Refugee Resettlement Committee is working to support this family as it navigates the language, customs and laws in its new home. Imagine the learning curve from rural Afghanistan to Connecticut! 

The family requires substantial resources and support by our volunteers. Refugees typically arrive with very little and we  need to provide them with temporary housing, medical care, transportation, educational support, employment  opportunities, as well as essential material items. 

How can you help?

Donations of time (such as driving family members for shopping, or appointments) and, of course  money are needed. All donations are tax deductible and can be made online or by check. 

TO DONATE ONLINE: Visit this link on the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme website and select Refugee Resettlement from the Fund dropdown list.

TO DONATE BY MAIL: make your check payable to First Congregational Church of Old Lyme with Refugee Resettlement Committee in the memo line. Mail to P.O. Box 172 Old Lyme Ct. 06371 

TO VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME: Email: jdstaves@gmail.com with your contact information and we reach out to you  with what’s needed. 

We greatly appreciate any support you may provide. 


Kathy Kronholm & Cookie Staves
Co–Chairs Lyme/Old Lyme Refugee Resettlement Committee 

Editor’s Note: The Refugee Resettlement Committee of Lyme/Old Lyme is an ecumenical organization formed by The First  Congregational Church of Old Lyme with Christ the King Roman Catholic Church and Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church.  Donations are tax deductible.

Update on Those State-Funded COVID-19 Self-Tests

OLD LYME — Asked when Old Lyme residents might expect distribution of the COVID-19 tests promised at the start of the week by Connecticut Gov. Lamont and anticipated to be in resident’s hands by today, Old Lyme Emergency Department Director David Roberge gave LymeLine.com an update in a phone call earlier today [Friday, Dec. 31.]

He said, “[Following Gov. Lamont’s announcement of a delay in the shipment of the tests from California,] we have not received any correspondence or communications from the state [regarding when the COVID-19 self-tests might be delivered to Old Lyme] as of 12:09 p.m. today [Dec.31.]”

He added, “We are fully prepared to respond with distribution [of the tests to Old Lyme residents] when we receive the product. We are just waiting for notification and will be ready for action.”

Roberge also committed to inform Lymeline.com of any updates he receives from the state.

Variety of Christmas Church Services Being Held This Week in Lyme, Old Lyme

Christmas Eve candles

LYME/OLD LYME — UPDATED 12/23: Churches in Lyme and Old Lyme will celebrate the festival of Christmas this week with a variety of services. There have been some important updates since we published this article due to the COVID-19 situation. These updates are shown below in red.

We have listed below all the services of which we are aware — as always, please let us know of any errors or omissions.

Christ The King Church, Old Lyme
All Masses will be livestreamed on Zoom

Friday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve

5 p.m. — Vigil Mass of the Nativity with children’s pageant and young singers and musicians
11:30 p.m. — Concert with adult choir and orchestra, followed by:
12 a.m. — Midnight Mass of the Nativity

Saturday, Dec. 25 — Christmas Day
9 a.m.
— Mass of the Nativity

Note: there will be no 5 p.m. Mass on Dec. 25.

First Congregational Church of  Lyme

Thursday, Dec. 23
6 p.m. —
Christmas Choir Rehearsal CANCELLED

Friday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
5:30 p.m
. — Christmas Eve service with Rev. Susan Olson preaching. There will be candlelight, beautiful music and also a children’s sermon  celebrate the birth of the Messiah. Masks will be required throughout the service, regardless of vaccination status. Windows will be kept open to create air-flow.  You are encouraged to dress warmly or bring a blanket. The service will be streamed on Zoom @ https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3295485601

Sunday, Dec. 26
10 a.m.
— Christmas 1 Worship Service with Emily Bjornberg preaching, (Rev. Susan Olson on vacation)

First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

Friday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve5 p.m. — Service for families with young children, with The Living Manger. This service will now be held outdoors on the church’s front lawn. Hot chocolate will be available to keep you warm through the celebratory service.
8 p.m. — Candlelight Service of Lessons & Carols. If you normally go to the 8pm service, perhaps consider coming to the 10pm service.
8 p.m. — Livestream – If you are uncomfortable with any of the in-person services, you can watch the 8 p.m. service online. Click here for the link.

10 p.m. — Late-night Candlelight Service of Lessons & Carols

Sunday, Dec. 26
One service only at 10 a.m. and no Sunday School.

Saint Ann’s Episcopal Church, Old Lyme

Friday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
4 p.m. — Family Eucharist with choir and trumpet
10 p.m. — Festival Eucharist with choir and strings

Saturday, Dec. 25 — Christmas Day
9:30 a.m.
— Holy Eucharist with organ music and hymns

Sunday, Dec. 26
9:30 a.m.
— One service of Christmas Lessons & Carols

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Two services of Holy Eucharist – 8:30 a.m. Rite I & 10:30 a.m. Rite II

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.

Letter to the Editor: Update on Old Lyme American Rescue Plan Committee’s Community Survey

To the Editor:

Thank you very much for supporting these efforts. There has been considerable activity on the community survey since your recent coverage (published December 13th.) By yesterday morning, December 15, we had already received 270 online surveys completed by residents, businesses, and/or organizations. We have not yet had any submissions of the paper survey that is available at the Town Hall reception desk.

This is a great start, but we want to be confident that we have thoroughly and broadly polled our community. To achieve that goal, we are placing posters in high visibility locations in Old Lyme, and mailing post cards to residents.

I can’t overstate the importance of these survey results; they will provide a framework for the Committee’s estimate of Old Lyme’s collective need, and help set priorities that will be included in the funding recommendation made to the Board of Selectmen.

Note that the online survey will remain open for submissions past the end of the year; but end on January 7, 2022.


Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is the chairman of the Old Lyme American Rescue Plan Committee.

Lyme Academy Welcomes Community to Enchanted Afternoon of Seasonal Celebrations

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

OLD LYME — There were smiles everywhere on Saturday afternoon when Lyme Academy of Fine Arts opened its doors and grounds to the community to celebrate the season.

There was plenty of activity at the firepits where ‘smores galore were toasted. Photo by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

Asked after the event how she felt this inaugural event had worked out, Mora Rowe, Executive Director of Lyme Academy told LymeLine, “Our first annual tree lighting was the picture of holiday cheer, with families and friends of all ages gathered on the Academy grounds. Hands were warmed around a bonfire, perfect for homemade s’mores, and hearts were made merry through the festive sounds of caroling and local bands.

Photo by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

Michael Duffy, chairman of the Lyme Academy Board of Trustees, addressed the large crowd from the steps of the Sill House (above).  State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) to his left followed suit …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

The Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Band cheerfully played …

Photo by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

Many local non-profit organizations participated and the Duck River Garden Club (DRGC) was an especially popular stand …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

… where people spent time enjoying their ‘Tussie Mussie’ handiwork …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

… and the ladies working behind the stand were clearly enjoying themselves too!

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

Pollinate Old Lyme! was kept busy educating folks on the importance of pollinators and selling beautiful medallions …

Rowe continued, “Our arts and crafts stations ensured that gift-able goodies would find their way under the tree – thank you to our own Academy students and faculty for their creativity and help with that!”

Photo by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold (center in blue baseball hat) and newly-elected Region 18 Board of Education Chairman Steven Wilson (second from left facing camera with dark-colored jacket) were two of the hundreds of local residents enjoying the festivities …

Photo by Suzanne Thompson.

… as were these DRGC ladies and their ‘customers.’

Photo by State Rep. Devin Carney.

These three local dignitaries, Michael Duffy (Lyme Academy Board Chairman), Tim Griswold (Old Lyme First Selectman) and Devin Carney (R- 23rd District State Representative) took a few moments out from all the fun to take a smiling selfie.

Photo by Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

The Lyme Academy Cafe did a brisk business in Apple Cider Donuts and hot chocolate …

Photo by State Rep. Devin Carney.

A sparkling Christmas tree was lit, carols were sung, and a thoroughly good time was had by all.

Rowe summed up the whole event with these words, “The afternoon was a reflection of the wonderful community we have here in Old Lyme and surrounds, and was the jolliest and most special way to begin the holiday season,” adding enthusiastically, “May all days be so merry and bright!”

‘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.

RTP Estuary Center Hosts Virtual Presentation on ‘The State of the Estuary’ by CT Audubon Director, Tonight; All Welcome

CT Audubon Executive Director Patrick Comins will give a virtual, interactive presentation on ‘The State of the Estuary,’ Dec. 9. All are welcome.

OLD LYME/VIRTUAL — Join the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. when it presents a virtual, interactive program titled, “The State of the Estuary,” with Patrick Comins, Executive Director of Connecticut Audubon.

Topics will include the state of birds and wildlife in the estuary, conditions in the Connecticut River watershed, advocacy efforts at the state and national level, and what all of us can do to help promote healthy habitats in our own backyards.

The program is free but registration is required. Participants will be able to submit questions via Zoom chat.

A lifelong, dedicated conservationist, Comins was Director of Bird Conservation for Connecticut prior to becoming CT Audubon’s Executive Director in 2017.  A past president of the Connecticut Ornithological Association and recipient of their Mabel Osgood Wright Award in 2001, he has written articles on bird conservation for the Connecticut Warbler and is past chair of the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Comins began his career with the CAS doing bird surveys on the coast at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and then worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a biological technician at the refuge. He is the principal author of Protecting Connecticut’s Grassland Heritage.

His talk will highlight environmental improvements we can celebrate along with ongoing concerns.

Visit www.ctaudubon.org/rtp-programs-events for more information and registration details.

Named for the internationally and locally renowned artist, scientific illustrator, environmental educator, and conservation advocate, the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center is known for its work in environmental education, conservation, research, and advocacy to preserve and protect the Estuary and its beauty for generations.

The Center serves young people and adults across the region, offering such programs as birding basics and owl prowls, a CT River ecology course, Estuary Explorations and seasonal nature crafts, as well as summer and vacation camp programs.

Visit this link for further information:  www.ctaudubon.org/rtp-estuary-home/.

Old Lyme Receives Sustainable CT Silver Award at Conference of Municipalities, One of Only 12 Towns in State to Receive Award

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold and Sustainable Old Lyme Team Chair Cheryl Poirier display the prestigious Sustainable CT Silver Level Certification Award they accepted on Tuesday on behalf of the Town of Old Lyme at the Convention of CT Conference of Municipalities held at Mohegan Sun. Photo by M. Noehren.

OLD LYME — On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold and Cheryl Poirier, who serves as chairperson of the Sustainable Old Lyme team, were honored at the annual Convention of CT Conference of Municipalities held at Mohegan Sun when they accepted the prestigious Sustainable CT Silver Level Certification Award on behalf of the Town of Old Lyme.

Old Lyme met high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for the prestigious Silver level certification, becoming only one of 12 towns in the state to receive that level of certification and the only one in New London County. All 2021 certified communities were recognized at the Annual Convention of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. 

Sustainable CT is a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient, and inclusive. The highest level of certification currently offered is silver — the Town achieved a Bronze certification in the Fall of 2020.

Asked how he felt about receipt of the award, Griswold responded by email saying graciously, “Cheryl Poirier deserves most of the credit for the honor Old Lyme received for achieving the Sustainable CT Silver Certification (the highest level at this time).”

He continued, “Cheryl and I were recognized during the awards luncheon of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities’ Convention at the Mohegan Sun Casino,” adding, “Numerous initiatives involving many different Town agencies helped the Sustainable Old Lyme Team win the three-year Silver status.”

Griswold concluded enthusiastically, “I have a feeling Gold is in the Team’s future under Cheryl’s dynamic leadership.”

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold (third from left) and Sustainable Old Lyme Team Chair Cheryl Poirier (second from left) stand with other winners of the Sustainable CT Silver Level Certification Award. The award recipients were honored on Tuesday at the Convention of CT Conference of Municipalities held at Mohegan Sun. Photo by M. Noehren.

An Open Space Plan with its eye on sustainability, a town-wide Pollinator Pathway that encourages residents to plant native species, and a strong commitment to arts and culture were just some of the initiatives that led to Old Lyme receiving this highest level of certification by Sustainable Connecticut. 

In its application for Sustainable CT certification, Old Lyme demonstrated significant achievements in 12 sustainable impact areas ranging from inclusive community building, thriving local economies, and clean and efficient energy use, to vibrant arts and culture, clean transportation and planning for diverse housing.

Twelve initiatives in Old Lyme’s certification application have been designated as “Success Stories,” which are deemed strong examples of a particular action and are shared with municipalities pursuing certification.  Twelve Success Stories in the Town of Old Lyme’s submission include:

  1. Meeting the Equitable and Inclusive Process requirements for the Economic Development Commission’s 2019 SWOT analysis process, 2020 Walk Audit, and the 2021 Lymes’ Creative Arts summer youth programming;
  2. The Town’s Open Space Plan which includes prioritizing acquisitions, enhancing the local ecosystem, connecting open space parcels, offering recreation benefits, and ensuring the long-term viability of the Town’s open space.”
  3. Pollinate Old Lyme!: A collaborative pollinator ecosystem educational program and the creation of a pollinator pathway in Old Lyme which includes public-access properties;
  4. A commitment to the inventory and accurate promotion of the town’s tourism and cultural assets;
  5. Its overall commitment to arts and culture in the town, including promoting arts programming by the OL-PGN Library and the creation of an arts district partnership;
  6. The Planning Commission’s 2020 Plan of Conservation & Development, which addresses six key sustainability goals related to compatible physical development and stewardship, municipal programs and operations, community character and livability, economic vitality and resilience, infrastructure resiliency, and land use patterns;
  7. The Old Lyme Historic and Architectural Resource Inventory with over 200 properties considered historically significant; the Inventory can be used as a planning tool for community leaders;
  8. The Town’s “Complete Streets” improvements to the Sound View Village and its Gateway with new sidewalks and improved safety;
  9. The Town’s communications strategy for disseminating information including meeting the challenges of communicating with residents during the pandemic;
  10. The Sustainable Old Lyme Team’s mentorship of the Town of Lyme’s new Sustainable CT effort;
  11.  Assessing and sharing with the public the Town’s three-year-residential solid waste tonnage, with an incentive to reduce trash by 10 percent;
  12. Two innovative strategies and initiatives specific to the community: Lyme-Old Lyme Public School’s carbon-free initiative, and the Witness Stone project in Old Lyme.

“It was an honor for our team to submit this application on behalf of the Town,” said Cheryl Poirier, chairperson of the Sustainable Old Lyme Team. “While we worked closely with various boards, commissions, and Town departments to document their sustainable efforts, we also sought out opportunities to reach new goals set by the suggested actions of Sustainable CT.”

She noted, “The Sustainable CT certification process gave us the vision to work toward an even more sustainable community,” explained Poirier.

Future efforts by the Sustainable Old Lyme team will be to educate its community members on ways to reduce the amount of solid waste that is tossed in the trash. “Sustainable CT sets a challenge for municipalities to reduce its residents’ solid waste by 10% or more, and we are interested in meeting that challenge,” Poirier noted.

Sustainable CT has seen strong momentum and growth as a valuable, high-impact program.  One-hundred twenty-five municipalities have registered for the program, representing 86 percent of the state’s population.  Collectively, 64 municipalities, which is equivalent to 60 percent of the state’s communities, have earned Sustainable CT certification.  Certification lasts for three years, with submissions rigorously evaluated by independent experts and other Sustainable CT partners.  

The program includes actions that help towns and cities build community connection, social equity, and long-term resilience. The program’s action roadmap and support tools are especially relevant as towns seek practices and resources to promote racial justice, respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and address climate change.

Sustainable CT is independently funded, with strong support from its three founding funders: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Smart Seed Fund, and the Common Sense Fund. Additional support is provided by the Connecticut Green Bank and a growing number of community foundations and other sponsors.

For more information, visit www.sustainablect.org.  

Old Lyme’s certification report can be found at this link

Editor’s Notes: i) Congratulations to all those involved in making achievement of this certification a reality. We recognize that an enormous amount has been undertaken in order to prepare Old Lyme’s submission and thank all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly on this project.


Lyme Ambulance Association Seeks P/T Admin Assistance, Flexible Hours

LYME — Lyme Ambulance Association, an all-volunteer EMS organization, is looking for someone to assist with administrative work, mostly by computer, and working from home.

The job can be as big or small as the appointee can handle — even just one hour a week would be helpful.  Word and/or Excel experience is preferable.

Contact Ariana.Eaton@LymeAmbulance.org for more information. www.lymeambulance.org