December 16, 2018

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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Boisterous Crowd Packs Middle School Auditorium to Listen to, Give Opinions on HOPE’s Affordable Housing Proposal

The Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium was packed for yesterday evening’s Public Hearing held by the Old Lyme Zoning Commission on the Affordable Housing proposal submitted by HOPE Partnership.

FULL REPORT NOW ADDED: More than 500 people  — 503 to be precise according to Old Lyme Fire Marshal David Roberge, who counted them — turned out Tuesday night to attend the Old Lyme Zoning Commission’s Special Meeting held in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School (LOLMS) auditorium.  The meeting was held to discuss the Affordable Housing proposals submitted by HOPE Partnership for 18-1 Neck Road (formerly 16 Neck Road) for a total of 37 dwelling units.  The property, which will be known as River Oak Commons I and II, falls under Connecticut General Statutes 8-30g and is currently owned by Graybill Properties, LLC.

After various formalities including the call of the meeting and a listing of all the items on record in the file, the lawyer for the applicant, Attorney David Royston, summarized what would happen next.  He said the applicant planned to make an at least hour-long presentation, during which he along with the applicant’s civil engineer, Joe Wren of Indigo Land Design of Old Saybrook; Lauren Ashe, Executive Director of HOPE, and John Cunningham, landscape architect for the project would all speak. 

In addition, Royston said Stephen Ullman, a traffic engineer with over 39 years experience working in the field of traffic design, who was engaged to undertake a number of traffic studies on behalf of the applicant, and Greg Nucci of Point One Architects in Old Lyme, who is the lead architect for the development, would make presentations.

Noting that the development is intended for Connecticut residents defined by the acronym ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), Ashe maintained that these projects “will convert an underutilized area of land to a vibrant community for 37 families,” providing them with the “peace of mind of a safe, affordable place to live.” She also noted that the development will “fit into the tapestry of the neighborhood.”

Ashe said the development will meet the housing needs of people who earn between $22,000 approximately and $67,840.  The area’s median income is $84,800 and the earnings parameters cited are respectively 25 and 80 percent of that median income.  She named retail, food service, landscape and office workers; hairstylists; dental assistants; EMT personnel, and recent college graduates as possible fields of employment for potential affordable housing applicants.  Ashe added pointedly that the state of Connecticut is “losing young people at the fastest rate in the nation.”

Photo by K. Winters.

Ullman, pictured above, said he undertook the original traffic study for the applicant in December 2017.  He followed up that survey with a second one over the 2018 Memorial Day holiday weekend and concluded, “Our opinion is this development will not adversely affect the traffic in the area.”  He added that he had heard in the late morning of the presentation that the Connecticut Department of Transportation was not willing to change the Yield sign at the foot of the Exit 70 off-ramp to a Stop sign.

Commenting on the land on which the proposed development is planned, Wren stated, “The majority of the property has deep well-drained soil,” adding that, “We don’t expect much blasting.”  He explained that the elevation of the site rises from 40 ft. above sea level at the street to 90 ft. at the highest point. 

Wren said that seven and four multi-family residential buildings respectively would be constructed on River Oak Commons I and II, and that there would also be a community center. He noted that there will be one septic system for each building, making a total of 12 septic systems, and in terms of residential water supply, wells have been deemed “the best method to serve the project.”  On the subject of fire prevention, Wren said recent legislative changes meant that the buildings comprising this project, “don’t need fire sprinklers.”

Schematic images of the River Oaks Commons proposed development were on display at the meeting.

The landscape plan included new tree plantings, maintained lawns, ornamental trees, a non-maintained area and a plant list that was 99 percent native, but in his presentation, Cunningham noted, “A lot of existing material … won’t be removed.”

Architect Nucci showed a video that was intended to convey to the audience a three-dimensional impression of the development, saying, “I hope this gives a sense of community,” in which the buildings are not “the same”  thus creating, “a village effect.”  He stressed the high standard to which the buildings were being constructed in terms of such factors as insulation, HVAC, siding, roof shingles, lighting, noting the buildings were designed “to look like one home, but were actually divided into a number of different units.”  These units are variously one-, two- or three-bedroom units.

Photo by K. Winters.

Commission Chair Jane Cable, pictured above right, then opened the floor to questions  from the commission members.  Commenting that she had lived in Old Lyme all her life, Jane Marsh said she was familiar with the requirement for a 500 ft. sight line and therefore, “It still bothers” her that, “There is not 500 ft. between the foot of the ramp and the entry to River Oak Commons.”  Loud applause erupted when she stated unequivocally, “You can’t see the car that hasn’t arrived.”  Marsh added that her ”main concern” remains, “What’s happening for people waiting to turn left.”

Stacy Winchell challenged Ullman’s traffic study, which had excluded study of traffic on I-95, asking, “Why not look at I-95?” to which Ullman replied, sparking laughter throughout the auditorium, “What happens on I-95 stays on I-95.”  Cable then explained to a bemused Ullman that she believed the concern being expressed was that “When an accident happens, people in River Oak Commons won’t be able to get out.”  Ullman continued to maintain, “This development will not affect traffic on average days.”

Commenting that there is a sidewalk in the development down to Rte. 156 but no sidewalk beyond that to the Halls Rd. shopping center, Marsh asked, “Does anyone think a pedestrian will take their life in their hands and cross 156?”

Nucci clarified that it was anticipated that the sidewalk in the property would be used primarily by children going to their school buses. Marsh responded immediately that she hoped school buses would not be picking up at this point on Rte. 156.

When Cable opened the floor to public comment, after a question requesting the noise impact of I-95 on the development be studied, Chuck Hinckley of Lyme St. stated he and Old Lyme resident David Kelsey had hired their own lawyer to assist in analysis of the project proposal. Hinckley then submitted a six-page letter to the Commission detailing his concerns with the River Oak Commons proposal.

These included the fact that the attorney representing the applicant also frequently represents the Town in land use matters creating a possible conflict of interest leading to an appearance of impropiety, possible lead contamination of the soil, the grade of the driveway that might prevent a fire truck obtaining access to the development, and the absence of a Stop sign at the foot of the Exit 70 off-ramp. Hinckley conclude, “There’s no way this project can overcome these fatal flaws.”

Attorney Lew Wise of Rogin Nassau of Hartford, who had been hired by Hinckley and Kelsey, summarized his findings saying, “The public hasn’t received information [on the project] on a timely basis.” and “There are consequences of not following proper procedures.”  He noted there was much missing information from the proposal such as a water supply plan, an analysis of the impact of the proposed well water system on neighboring wells, and a landscape plan, but noted some of these items had now been presented that evening. Although the Affordable Housing status allows a significantly less stringent level in the approvals process, Wise pointed out, “There is nothing in the Affordable Housing application that allows the applicant to have missing infomration.”

Wise urged the commission to “deny this (the current) application without prejudice so that it can be completed,” adding, “We should all be permitted to comment on the plans … the people of Old Lyme — the people here — are entitled to know that all aspects of the plan have been thoroughly studied.” He said that, “at this point,” this was not the case.

Lauren Ashe, Executive Director of HOPE Partnership, listens attentively to speakers at the Public Hearing. Photo by K. Winters.

In contrast, Laura Fitzpatrick-Nager, Senior Associate Minister at First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, spoke in favor this “wonderful” project, noting that the congregational church supports the work of HOPE and its efforts to provide “first-rate affordable housing.” She commented, “I am dismayed by the overall tone of this meeting.  I hope we don’t make Old Lyme a closed community but an open community.”

Greg Stroud, SECoast Executive Director, also stated that he is a strong supporter of affordable housing, and would like to see more affordable housing in Old Lyme, adding that he grew up in a poor urban area. He said that his organization would support or remain neutral about an affordable housing project in a different location in Old Lyme, citing Lyme Street and Hatchetts Hill Rd. as possibilities.

Stroud said he had met with HOPE and the Women’s Institute (with which HOPE is partnering on the River Oak Commons project) a month ago and raised SECoast’s major concerns regarding this proposal.  These centered on two questions, “How can pedestrians get to Halls Rd.?” and “How can people turn left out of the project?” Stroud noted that traffic engineering expert Ullman had not mentioned the words, “left turn” nor “pedestrian” in his report.  Moreover, despite Ullman’s extensive qualifications and a month’s notice, Ullman still had not given a response to Stroud’s questions, which led Stroud to say, “I think there’s a problem here.”

Concluding, “This site has fundamental problems,” Stroud added that he disagreed with the statement that sprinklers were not required. He said the requirement for sprinklers recently had, in fact, been approved but was then denied without prejudice. He stated that therefore, in his opinion, there was, “No sense that this requirement will disappear.”

Old Lyme resident Sloan Danenhower also questioned the location of the project, saying, “I am in favor of Affordable Housing but not at this location.”

The meeting was drawn to a rapid finish when LOLMS personnel indicated around 10:40 p.m. that the school needed to be closed.  The commission quickly adjourned the meeting saying it would be continued to their regular meeting next Monday, June 11, at 7:30 p.m. when the application for River Oaks Common II would also be heard.

Editor’s Note (i): It has since been announced that Monday’s meeting will be held in the LOLMS auditorium.

Editor’s Note (ii): Visit this link to view a video (lasting three hours, six GB) courtesy of SECoast.org of the majority of the meeting: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AsFtT2rPsiyw2QWQQrNEYMy7uHj9

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State Awards $1.25M to Valley Shore Emergency Communications for Upgrades

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman stands with Paul Fazzino, President of Valley Shore Emergency Response after the announcement was made.

After years of planning and local town coordination, the Valley Shore Emergency Communications received critical state funding to upgrade emergency communications for numerous towns in the region. Valley Shore Emergency Communications serves the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme along with Chester, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, and Westbrook. 

The State Bond Commission approved $1.25 million in grant-in-aid to the Town of Essex on behalf of the Valley Shore Emergency Communications, Inc. The funding will be used for upgrades to the outdated emergency radio dispatch system serving 11 towns. The upgrades will interconnect all member towns and allow coordination with adjoining systems to allow for better communication for police, fire and ambulances.

“I want to thank the tremendous work of the various public safety departments to make today a reality,” said Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman. “Throughout this process we worked together to bring our local emergency communications into the 21st century. This new funding will strengthen the safety of our towns and allow our public safety employees to better serve our communities.”

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Wayland’s Eagle Project to Construct Boxes for Retired US Flags in Lyme, Old Lyme Draws High Praise

Gathered for a photo after Theodore Wayland’s Eagle project presentation to the VFW Post 1467 last Monday are, from left to right, Post Commander David Griswold, Theodore, State Rep. Devin Carney and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder.

On Monday, May 29, Life Scout of Troop 26 Boy Scouts Theodore Wayland invited the local VFW Post 1467 to Old Lyme’s Memorial Town Hall immediately following the Memorial Day parade to present his Eagle project comprising three locally-placed flag repository boxes.

Edward Shyloski, a member of local VFW post 1467, which sponsored the project, congratulates Theodore Wayland on completion of the flag repository boxes,

Wayland’s project was generously sponsored by the VFW Post 1467. This allowed for Theodore and retiring Commander Edward Shyloski to develop a relationship through ongoing communication during the project. When Shyloski noted during the presentation, “He’s a boy raised right, ” it reflected the time and attention to the country’s history, veterans and the local community that Shyloski himself embodies.

From left to right, VFW Post 146 Commander David Griswold stands with Theodore Wayland, State Rep. Devin Carney and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The young scouts often offer opportunities for VFW members to reflect on their own youth and scouting experiences by sharing experiences with the scouts. An example of this occurred recently when Troop 26 hosted a dinner for the local Post, which has now become an annual tradition for the troop.

Troop 26 Scoutmaster Mark Wayland stands in the foreground with Theodore while the boys of Troop 26 stand behind.

Wayland spoke during the presentation of his goal to continue educating townspeople to dispose properly of retired flags.

Theodore’s parents, Mark and Kathryn Wayland, stand proudly with their son and other dignitaries who attended the presentation.

The photo at left show Wayland standing behind one of the three boxes constructed in which local residents can dispose of retired flags. He worked with his local troop to design and build three boxes to be placed this week at the Lyme Town Hall, Old Lyme Town Hall and the Lymes’ Senior Center.

Wayland’s troop hosts an annual flag retirement ceremony at their local campsite, Camp Emerson each spring and Wayland, along with fellow scouts, will collect flags as the boxes fill.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) both spoke in support of Wayland’s project and all the notable works local Boy and Girls Scouts accomplish in Lyme and Old Lyme.

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Old Lyme Generosity Builds a School for Didier in Haiti, Donations Still Welcome

Oliancy Charles and Francky Louis (pictured left), who live in the Artibonite Valley in Haiti, are two men on a mission. 

After the earthquake that devastated parts of Haiti in 2010, they started an organization to provide community support in the very poorest regions of their economically challenged local area.

Their aim was to help the community work together to ensure that basic human necessities such as food, water and education are provided to those most in need in the area.

Currently, Charles and Louis are helping the people of Didier, an isolated town where schools are not accessible to the estimated 600 children in the area. The people who live in the area see education as a path to a better life and are determined to make education available to their children.

Working with the parents, Charles and Louis first built a small school with banana leaf walls, but sadly it collapsed in the rainy season. It was rebuilt in a more protected area, but the school is slowly deteriorating. Those involved therefore decided to build a school of solid construction — land was bought and plans were made.

School in Haiti.

The Crosby Fund for Haitian Education, which is run by Becky and Ted Crosby of Old Lyme, has been  providing scholarships for students in Haiti for 15 years and now supports hundreds of students.

When the Crosby Fund took its first group of local high school students to Haiti in 2014, Hannah Behringer and her mother, Julie Martel, were among the travelers. On that trip they first met Charles and Louis.

On return visits to Haiti, Charles and Louis continued to demonstrate their hard-working and generous nature along with a desire to help their community in the face of very limited resources. Martel comments, “They raised some funds for the school, but securing funds in a country with no public school system is extremely challenging.”

After hearing the story of the school, mother and daughter Martel and Behringer decided to helpCharles and Louis, so they set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the school construction. It has been progressing successfully, thanks in large part to generous donations from residents of Lyme and Old Lyme, who value education for children locally and around the world.

Construction is progressing on the new school, but donations are still needed.

Over $13,000 of the $20,000 target has been raised and donations are still being received. Behringer notes, “Education strengthens not only individuals but also countries. It is rewarding to contribute to an investment that will make a lasting difference in people’s lives.”

Initial installments of money raised have been sent to Haiti and construction has started. A group of local high school students traveled to Haiti with the Crosby Fund recently and hiked up to the school site both to see for themselves the status of  construction and to spend time with students that attend the school.

Brynn McGlinchey, a junior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School who has helped with the fundraising, was on the trip. She summarized her impressions after visiting the construction site, saying, “I had been eagerly waiting to see the progress of the school in Didier since my visit to Haiti last spring. I was so impressed to see how much has been accomplished in a year.”

She continued, “As we arrived at the work site, we noticed a man trekking up and down the steep hill to deliver large rocks to Haitian masons. I was amazed to see this dedicated group of people working together in 90 degree heat to use the funds we have raised to build this school.”

Students from Old Lyme hike up to the School for Didier in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley.

McGlinchey concluded, “As our group watched the building progress, students joined us, giggling and pointing at what will soon be their permanent school. Their enthusiasm showed their appreciation of this project and their excitement to learn in this new building.”

Editor’s Note: If you would like to contribute to this project to build a school for Didier in Haiti, please visit the GoFund Me website that Mertel and Behringer created at  https://www.gofundme.com/help-haitians-build-a-school and follow the simple instructions for how to donate. 

Alternatively, if you would prefer to send a check, then make it payable to the Crosby Fund for Haitian Education with a note “School for Didier” and mail it to P.O. Box 953, Old Lyme, CT 06371, USA.

Thank you!

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Variety of Drum Circles Offered at Niantic Community Church

An Intergenerational Drum Circle for all ages and abilities takes place at Niantic Community Church, Friday, June 1, 7 to 8 p.m., hand drums and instruments provided or bring your own. The Circle will be facilitated by Kate Lamoureux and is sponsored by Music and Worship Arts and Christian Education.

All are welcome.

A Contemplative Adult Drum Circle takes place the fourth Friday of each month from 7 to 8 p.m. at Niantic Community Church, 170 Pennsylvania Ave, Niantic. The next session is May 25th with hand drums and instruments provided or bring your own. No experience necessary and all are welcome.
The Niantic Community Church is located at 170 Pennsylvania Ave., Niantic.
For further information, call 860-739-6208.
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9 Town Transit Faces Bus Cuts, Fare Increases; Encourages Users to Express Concerns

9 Town Transit (9TT) is preparing for a 15 percent reduction of state funding beginning July 1, 2018 with a proposal of service cuts and fare increases.  The agency says the reductions are due to the failure of revenue into the state’s Special Transportation Fund to keep up with expenses.

Under the proposal, bus fares would rise from $1.75 to $2 on bus routes and to $4 on Dial-A-Ride.  This would be the second fare increase in 18 months.

The agency is also proposing multiple service reductions.  They include:

  • Elimination of the senior fare subsidy, which would result in seniors paying a fare on all services for the first time in 37 years.
  • Reducing service on Rte. 2 Riverside, which provides service between Chester and Old Saybrook, by eight hours per weekday.
  • Elimination of all Saturday service.
  • Reducing service on Rte. 1 Shoreline Shuttle by three hours per day (7:30 a.m. trip leaving Old Saybrook, 9 a.m. leaving Madison).

9TT is holding the following hearings:

May 1, at 2 p.m. at Deep River Town Hall, 174 Main St, Deep River, CT;
May 2, at 9 a.m. at Clinton Town Hall Green Room, 54 E Main St, Clinton, CT;
May 3, at 5 p.m. at Mulvey Municipal Center (Multi-Media Room), 866 Boston Post Rd, Westbrook, CT regarding the proposed service changes.

Written statements concerning the proposal may be submitted either at the hearing, by email to info@estuarytransit.org or mail.

9 Town Transit is encouraging transit users and supporters to let their state representative and senator know how important 9 Town Transit, Shoreline East or other public transit services are to them.

More information about the possible service reductions and ways to help prevent the funding cuts can be found at www.9towntransit.com/fundtransit.

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Community Barn-Raising Restores Historic Old Lyme Barn

All photos by Tony Lynch.

Back at the start of this month, many locals were sad to see the 300-year-old barn on the corner of Bill Hill Rd. and Burr Rd. on the Lyme-Old Lyme town border being demolished.  But come, Saturday, April 14, joy returned when it was reconstructed in situ by way of a traditional community barn-raising.

The barn, along with two adjacent homes, were built circa 1717 as part of the Pierson farm of roughly 600 acres that straddled what is now the Lyme-Old Lyme border.  Sometime after Old Lyme was incorporated as a separate town from Lyme in 1855, the letter “L” was carved into the north side of the northwest corner of the barn foundation and “OL” was carved into the west side of the corner.  Most of the barn is in the current town of Old Lyme.  The original barn is listed on connecticutbarns.org with an address of 39 Bill Hill Rd, Old Lyme, CT.

The original barn was in danger of collapse when current owners, Enok and Leili Pedersen, recognizing that it was a treasure and local landmark, generously decided to rebuild it.  Brendan Matthews and his crew from The Barn Raisers of East Haddam, using native, rough cut lumber from Thompson Lumber of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, employed original methods to reconstruct the barn. 

The mortise and tenon frame, held together with wooden pegs, was assembled on site and then erected by the professionals and about 30 volunteers from the community and surrounding towns.  Several sections weighed nearly a ton each requiring everyone present to help raise and place them in position.

Matthew’s family was on hand for the event and his father, Gerry, took photos including a time-lapse photo video that can be found on YouTube at https://youtu.be/V8MdLSNc9JI

The barn was rebuilt on the original dry stone foundation and several original chestnut beams were incorporated into the new structure.  The barn is very similar to the original in style, dimensions and construction, with the exception of the addition of a cupola and a few interior design modifications to suit the current owners.

Notably, the barn is also the 100th traditional barn to be constructed by Matthews in his 25-year-career.  Owners of previous barn projects joined in to raise this barn, including the owners of barns number 1, 6, 40, 80 and 87.

In the midst of an unusually cold, wet spring, the day of the barn-raising was auspiciously a cloudless, warm day, which made the event all the more enjoyable.  Lunch was provided, and the professionals and volunteers worked together from about 9 a.m. until close to 5 p.m., at which time the frame of the barn was complete and the roof and main floor boards were in place.  A pine bough was fastened to the peak of the roof as a traditional finishing touch. 

At the end of a long but rewarding day, Matthews was presented with a celebratory cake to commemorate his 100th barn-raising and everyone who had participated in the barn-raising happily helped in its consumption.

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Social Club for Singles Offers Host of Meet-Up Opportunities

Singles Social Connections is a social club for singles in Connecticut and we have non-profit 501(c) status fromthe IRS.  Our goal is to give singles the opportunity to meet new people, have fun, and network.  We would appreciate thefollowing events being included in the community events calendar.  If you have any questions, please call me.

MAY 11 (Friday)  SINGLES HAPPY HOUR at TJ’s on Cedar Bar and Grill, 14 East Cedar Street, Newington starting at 5 pm.  They have half price appetizers and drink specials from 4-6 pm for us to enjoy.  Come join us after work for a great time and mingle with old and new friends!  There is no charge.  For info, call Gail 860-582-8229.  Sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

MAY 18  (Friday)  SINGLES SWEETHEART DANCE at Nuchie’s Restaurant, 164 Central Street, Bristol from 7 to 11 pm.  We’ll dance the night away to music of DJ Tasteful Productions.  There will be a delicious buffet 7 to 8 pm for you to enjoy.  Bring your friends for a fun night.  Dress to impress and door prizes.  Members $12, Guests $17.  For info, call Gail at 860-582-8229.  Sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

MAY 20  (Sunday)  SINGLES WALK & LUNCH at the lovely Walnut Hill Park, Park Place, New Britain at 11 am.  This is a nice place for a Sunday morning walk.  Afterward, we’ll go nearby for lunch.  Come join us!  No charge for walk.  For info, call Gail 860-582-8229.  Sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

MAY 26  (Saturday)  SINGLES MEMORIAL WEEKEND PICNIC at Gail’s beach cottage, 46 Swan Avenue at Sound View, Old Lyme at 2 pm.  For picnic, bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert, if no food, pay extra $5.  Members $5, Guests $15. To reserve, call Gail in Bristol 860-582-8229 or Old Lyme 860-434-6426.  Sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

JUNE 1  (Friday)  SINGLES HAPPY HOUR at Tuscany Grill, 120 College Street, Middletown starting at 5 pm.  If theweather is nice, we may sit outside on patio.  Come join us after work and mingle with old and new friends!  There is no charge.  For info, call Gail 860-582-8229.  Sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

JUNE 2  (Saturday)  SINGLES VERMONT DAY TRIP to Quechee Antique Mall, Quechee, Vermont.  The mall contains three floors of antiques, Cabot Cheese store with many samples, wine tasting, clothes store, soap store, and bakery.  Nearby there are several restaurants and Quechee Gorge is close by for those who want to walk the trail.  Come join us for a day in Vermont!  For info and to reserve, call Leo at 860-681-6165.  We’ll meet at 8 am across the street from theWest Farms Mall in the Jared Jewelry Store parking lot.  We will go up together in 2 or 3 cars depending on how many come.  Sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

JUNE 9  (Saturday)  SINGLES BLOCK ISLAND DAY TRIP.  Come join us for a fun day and lunch on the island.  We’ll meet in New London at 8 am at the gate for the high-speed ferry, 2 Ferry Street, New London.  It leaves at 8:30 am sharp and we’ll return on the 4:55 pm ferry.  The round trip ticket cost $47.50.  To reserve seat, call ferry at 860-444-4624.  For info, call Gail at 860-582-8229 or 860-434-6426.  Sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

JUNE 15  (Friday)  SINGLES 50’s, 60’s, 70’s DANCE at Nuchie’s Restaurant, 164 Central Street, Bristol from 7 to 11 pm.  Enjoy the sounds of the oldies!  There will be a delicious buffet from 7 to 8 pm to enjoy.  DJ – Tasteful Productions, dress casual, and door prizes.  Member $12, Guests $17.  For info, call Gail 860-582-8229.  Sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

JUNE 24  (Sunday)  SINGLES WALK AND LUNCH at the Farmington Canal Greenway, Mill Street, Southington at 11 am.  An old railroad track was paved to make a delightful walk area. Afterward, we’ll go nearby for lunch.  No charge for walk.  For info, call Gail at 860-582-8229.  Sponsored by Singles Social Connections.

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Old Lyme Joins 37 Other Towns in 2018 Sustainable CT Challenge

In February 2018, the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted to join Sustainable CT, an exciting new initiative to support Connecticut’s cities and towns. The statewide initiative, created by towns for towns, includes a detailed menu of sustainability best practices, tools and resources, peer learning, and recognition.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our community; a chance for representatives from our many organizations to work together toward common goals. The idea has been met with much enthusiasm and we can’t wait to get started,” comments Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder.

The Sustainable CT platform supports a broad range of actions, such as improving watershed management, supporting arts and creative culture, reducing energy use and increasing renewable energy, implementing “complete streets” (streets that meet the needs of walkers and bikers as well as cars), improving recycling programs, assessing climate vulnerability, supporting local businesses, and providing efficient and diverse housing options. 

Old Lyme has already embraced so many of the key concepts – the Town is already known as an arts community and Sustainable CT will enable Old Lyme to take that support to a new level. There is no cost to participate and communities will voluntarily select actions that meet their unique, local character and long-term vision. After successful implementation of a variety of actions, municipalities will be eligible for Sustainable CT certification.

The initiative was developed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University in partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.  Three Connecticut philanthropies – The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation, and the Common Sense Fund – have supported the program’s development and launch.

“We are thrilled that Old Lyme has passed a resolution to join Sustainable CT. The program builds on many current success stories in our communities to create and support more great places to live, work, and play,” said Lynn Stoddard, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy.  “We are looking forward to working with the Town as they pursue Sustainable CT certification.”

If you are interested in working with the Sustainable CT Team in Old Lyme, contact the Selectman’s Office at selectmansoffice@oldlyme-ct.gov.

For more information on Sustainable CT, visit the program’s website at www.sustainablect.org.

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HOPE Partnership Hosts FRIENDraiser Tomorrow at Old Lyme Country Club, All Welcome

On Wednesday, April 11, HOPE Partnership will be hosting their annual “FRIEND raiser” at the Old Lyme Country Club in Old Lyme, CT.  This event will be held from 5 until 7 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and wine, and is free to all who wish to attend.

HOPE is inviting all interested members of the community to join them and learn about HOPE’s mission to develop affordable housing options along the shoreline.

Executive Director, Lauren Ashe noted, ”We are very excited to host this event at the Old Lyme Country Club and share HOPE’s progress in making affordable housing options a reality for members of our community.   The need for affordable homes has impacted many of neighbors who may be working full time but unable to make ends meet or they may be young adults who wish to stay or return to the area where they grew up.  This evening is about friendship, partnership and community, while enjoying a glass of wine and refreshments.”

Anyone interested in attending can RSVP to Loretta@HOPE-CT.org or by calling 860-388-9513.

Founded in April 2004, HOPE Partnership is a non-profit organization committed to advocating and developing affordable housing opportunities to support families living and working in southern Middlesex County and surrounding towns.  HOPE’s purpose is to advocate for and create high-quality rental housing targeted to people earning between 50 and 80 percent of the local median income.

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Tickets on Sale Now for Community Music School’s 35th Anniversary Gala, April 27

Making plans for this year’s 35th anniversary CMS gala are, from left to right, CMS Music Director Tom Briggs, CMS Trustee and Gala Sponsor Bruce Lawrence of Bogaert Construction, CMS Trustee and Gala Sponsor Jennifer Bauman of The Bauman Family Foundation, and CMS Executive Director Abigail Nickell.

Community Music School’s (CMS) largest annual fundraiser is the CMS Gala and this year the organization is  celebrating its 35th anniversary with For the Love of Music! The event takes place on Friday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. in Deep River at The Lace Factory and includes fabulous musical entertainment provided by CMS faculty and students. Enjoy cocktail jazz and an exquisite dinner show, as well as gourmet food, dancing, silent auction, fine wines and more.

Featured faculty and student performers include Music Director Tom Briggs, Noelle Avena, John Birt, Amy Buckley, Luana Calisman-Yuri, Audrey Estelle, Joni Gage, Silvia Gopalakrishnan, Martha Herrle, Ling-Fei Kang, Barbara Malinsky, Matt McCauley, Kevin O’Neil, Andy Sherwood, and Marty Wirt.

Support of the Community Music School gala provides the resources necessary to offer scholarships to students with financial need, as well as weekly music education and music therapy services for students with special needs.

For The Love of Music sponsors include The Bauman Family Foundation, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Bogaert Construction, Clark Group, Essex Savings Bank, Essex Financial Services, Grossman Chevrolet Nissan, Guilford Savings Bank, Jackson Lewis, Kitchings & Potter, Maple Lane Farms, Reynold’s Subaru, Ring’s End, Shore Publishing, Thomas Alexa Wealth Management, Tidal Counseling LLC, and Tower Labs LTD.

Early bird tickets for the evening are $125 per person ($65 is tax deductible) by April 13 and $135 thereafter. Event tickets include hors d’oeuvres, gourmet food stations, wine and beer, live music, and dancing. Tickets may be purchased online at community-music-school.org/gala, at the school located at 90 Main Street in the Centerbrook section of Essex or by calling 860-767-0026.

Community Music School offers innovative music programming for infants through adults, building on a 35 year tradition of providing quality music instruction to residents of shoreline communities. The CMS programs cultivate musical ability and creativity and provide students with a thorough understanding of music so they can enjoy playing and listening for their entire lives.  To learn more, visit www.community-music-school.org or call (860)-767-0026.

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Local AAUW Hosts Luncheon with Nationally-Acclaimed Authors at Saybrook Point Inn, April 14

The Lower Connecticut Valley branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) will sponsor a luncheon at the Saybrook Point Inn on Saturday, April 14, from 11:30 am to 3 pm. Randy Susan Meyers, author of the bestseller, The Widow of Wall Street, and Brunonia Barry, author of the novels The Lace Reader and The Fifth Petal, will discuss their books and their writing process.

Tickets are $50 and help to provide scholarships for local women pursuing higher education. There will also be silent and chance auctions. Reservation forms may be downloaded at http://lowerctvalley-ct.aauw.net. The deadline is April 5.

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Informational Meeting for New NCL Mom-Daughter Local Chapter Held in Old Lyme


The National Charity League (NCL) is a an organization of mothers and daughters in 7th through 12th grade.  The mission of NCL is to foster mother-daughter relationships in a philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences.
The NCL is more than a service club or a social club — it is a well-rounded, three-pillared organization that provides opportunities to be intentional in your relationship with your daughter and to role-model actively things you would like her to learn.  There is no religious or political affiliation, and the members will decide which non-profit organizations are served.
The NCL currently has 250 chapters, totaling 65,000 members across 26 states.  A Shoreline Chapter of NCL is being started and is recruiting girls currently in 6th to 11th grade AND their Mothers.

If you like the idea of volunteering with your mom or daughter and building a bond while servicing others, join the Chapter’s founders for an informational meeting on Saturday, March 24, at 5 p.m. in the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau community room at 59 Lyme St. in Old Lyme.

For more information, visit this link.
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