August 8, 2020

Old Lyme’s Visiting Nurse Veselka Retires After 47-Year-Career

Karen Veselka enjoys the moment while her OLVNA colleagues wish her well on her last day of nursing after a 47-year-career in the profession.

OLD LYME — Horns were honking at the Lymes’ Senior Center as Town Nurse Karen Veselka arrived there July 22 for her last day at work. After 47 years of nursing, Veselka is retiring and moving away. Her small drive-through parade was followed by a socially-distanced outdoor farewell.

Karen Veselka arrives at Lymes’ Senior Center for her final day of service as Old Lyme’s Visiting Nurse.

The Old Lyme Visiting Nurse Association knows how lucky they were to have had Veselka. She’s been a pillar of support for the most vulnerable in this community as she juggled wellness, skilled care coordination, outreach for special needs, and COVID-19 response.

Veselka’s colleagues at the OLVNA and board members of the organization all turned out to wish Veselka (left) happiness in her retirement and present her with some gifts.

In 2017 she won the Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing, and in 2020 she won the inaugural Old Lyme Kindness award.

Standing at an appropriate social distance, Veselka’s colleagues and OLVNA Board Members lauded her service as the Town Nurse. Veselka is seated at left in photo.

Holly Lyman spoke on behalf of all the members of the OLVNA when she commented, “Sad as we are to see Karen leaving, many of us also know what fun retirement can be, so we wish her all the best in her new life!”

Share

Vitality Spa Reopens Aug. 1 with New Protocols in Place, Now Taking Appointments

The welcoming exterior of Vitality Spa at 14 Lyme St. in Old Lyme. The spa reopens Aug. 1.

OLD LYME — “We’re so excited to be reopening our doors on Aug. 1,” Vitality Spa owner Lindsay Eisensmith says enthusiastically. Her business on Lyme St. in Old Lyme has been closed since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but reopening the spa was not simply a matter of changing the sign on the door.

Eisensmith explained that in order to reopen safely and in accordance with the Governor’s guidelines, the spa has found it necessary to make a significant number of changes.

Pointing out, “When a client enters, the spa will have a very different look since we have streamlined our space and put new protocols in place,” she adds,”We’re following the State-mandated guidelines and the American Massage Therapy Association recommendations to protect our clients and our staff.”

Although the spa is currently closed, appointments can still be made either online at vitalityspa.com or by phone at 860-434-1792.

Some of the changes that have been implemented involve a client’s arrival. Under the new arrangements, a client must call from outside the spa to say he/she has arrived and once inside the building, spa staff will carry out a symptom review and temperature check at the door. Eisensmith stresses, “We will not be applying any cancellation penalty if an appointment must be cancelled at that point.”

Staff will wear masks at all times when working with clients under the new protocols.

There will no longer be a reception area inside the spa and, in light of the current news, it will come as no surprise that face masks are required for all clients, while staff wear masks and goggles or a face shield.

Precautions regarding the use of rooms include a system whereby they are alternated so that no two clients are treated in the same space consecutively. Similarly, room recovery time has been extended to allow all surfaces to be sanitized/disinfected thoroughly after every use.

Eisensmith also mentions that HEPA filters are in operation during treatment sessions for air purification and also that massage tables and face cradles will have plastic protective covers beneath the sheets to allow for thorough disinfecting between clients.

In terms of general cleanliness for both the staff and clients, touchless soap and towel dispensers. and sanitizing stations are now provided.

Business Manager Jill Stranger stands behind the new plexiglass shield at the Vitality Spa front desk.

Finally, Eisensmith notes that a plexiglass shield has been installed at the reception desk to ensure personal protection during the check-out process.

With all these changes now in place, Eisensmith is excited to greet her clients again and says that, despite all the new protocols, “They can be assured that not only are our services still outstanding, but our therapists remain as skilled as ever.”

Share

Lyme-Old Lyme High, Middle Schools Announce Q4 Honor Rolls

Lyme-Old Lyme High School 2019-20 Quarter 4 Honor Roll

High Honors

Grade 12:

Anabella Arias, Emily Balocca, Audrey Berry, Chloe Cahill, Madison Cann, Faith Caulkins, Emilia Cheesman, Elizabeth Cravinho, Maria Denya, Raymond Doll, Theodore Enoch, Araselys Farrell, Nicholas Fava, Jada Fuentes, Tanner Griffin, Sophia Griswold, Kamber Hamou, Lauren Huck, Jeffy Joshy, Caroline King, Renate Kuhn, Rachael Larson, Melissa Mauro, Thomas McCarthy, Ryan McTigue, Chandler Munson, Kyle Myers, Samantha Olson, Samantha Owen, Sofia Pecher-Kohout, Jenna Porter, Jared Ritchie, Colby Sides, Emily Speckhals, Evan St.Louis, Olivia Stack, Olivia Tetreault, Ryan Tetreault, Lydia Tinnerello, Sydney Trowbridge, Kiera Ulmer, Megan VanSteenbergen, Jackson Warren, Theodore Wayland, Katelyn Wells, Clair Wholean, Maggie Wisner, Conner Wyman, Katherine Zelmanow

Grade 11:

Kaylee Armenia, Sophia Arnold, Rachel Barretta, Michael Battalino, Maxwell Bauchmann, Ava Berry, Emma Boardman, Sadie Bowman, Kyuss Buono, Kate Cheney, Hunter Collins, Emerson Colwell, Megan Cravinho, Michael Cushman, Patrick Dagher, George Danes, Emily DeRoehn, Francette Donato, Corah Engdall, Leslie Farrell, Isabella Flagge, Sadie Frankel, Fiona Frederiks, Eveliz Fuentes, Jackson Goulding, Samantha Gray, Schuyler Greenho, Lillian Grethel, Emma Griffith, Regan Kaye, Paige Kolesnik, Avery Lacourciere, Grace Lathrop, Owen Macadam, Elle McAraw, Brendan McTigue, Brianna Melillo, Michael Milazzo, Riley Nelson, Timothy O’Brien, Sophia Ortoleva, Connie Pan, Olivia Papanier, Gavin Porter, Aidan Powers, Jacob Quaratella, Ethan Rivera, Julie Rudd, Hayden Saunders, Tait Sawden, Jesper Silberberg, Isabella Smith, Tessa St.Germain, Kassidy Standish, Lian Thompson, McKenzey Thompson, Lauren Wallace, Kelly Walsh, Alison Ward, Ellery Zrenda

Grade 10:

John Almy, Grace Arnold, Nihad Bicic, Hannah Britt, Evan Clark, Ryan Clark, Lauren Creagan, Elise DeBernardo, Elias D’Onofrio, Elizabeth Duddy, Eleanor Dushin, Iona Fitzgerald, Victoria Gage, Aiden Goiangos, Shawn Grenier, Nicolette Hallahan, Austin Halsey, Andrew Hedberg (also Q3), Fiona Hufford, Zoe Jensen, Julia Johnston, Nevin Joshy, Kian Kardestuncer, Cora Kern, Felse Kyle, William Larson, Reese Maguire, Abigail Manthous, Stephanie Mauro, Emily Mesham, Evan Morgan, Samuel Mullaney, Elle Myers, Michael O’Donnell, Bella Orlando, Lauren Presti, Adeline Riccio, Jacob Ritchie, Frank Sablone, Lloret Sala, Olivia Schaedler, Calvin Scheiber, Abigail Sicuranza, McLean Signora, Abby Speckhals, Drew St.Louis, Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum, Victoria Stout, Maverick Swaney, Olivia Turtoro, Aidan Ward, Melanie Warren, Mary Wholean, Avery Wyman, Ryan Zbierski

Grade 9:

Elsie Arafeh-Hudson, William Barry, Callie Bass, Livie Bass, Cooper Bowman, Gillian Bradley, Ava Brinkerhoff, Jamie Bucior, Gretchen Burgess, Sebastian Burgio, Sarah Burnham, Hayley Cann, Liam Celic, Luke Celic (also Q3), Alexander Chrysoulakis, Grace Colwell, William Danes, Anna Davis, John Eichholz, Zachary Eichholz, Alexis Fenton, Clarence Hinckley, Willa Hoerauf, Arber Hoxha, Karissa Huang, Owen Ingersoll-Bonsack, Aidan Kerrigan, Celia LaConti, Phoebe Lampos, Theodore Lampos, Jonah Lathrop, Marielle Mather, Kennedy McCormick, Madalyn McCulloch, Caden Monte, Calvin Monte, Cooper Munson, Alexander Olsen, Alain Pecher-Kohout, Olivia Powers, Kelsey Pryor, Izzadora Reynolds, Benjamin Roth, Rhyleigh Russell, Eli Ryan, Anders Silberberg, Alyssa Spooner, Samantha Tan, Tova Toriello, Kaitlyn Ward, Harry Whitten, Quinn Williams

Honors

Grade 12:

Faith Brackley, Rory Cavicke, Kevin Davidson, Isabel Dean-Frazier, Leah Fouquette, Connor Hogan, Natalie Meyers, Dylan Mulligan, Chase Reneson, Samuel Roth, Aedan Using

Grade 11:

Bianca Dasilva, Justen Lessard, Katelyn Zbierski

Grade 10:

Lillian Herrera, Alexander Roth, Aidan Russell, Madison Thompson

Grade 9:

Kylie Dishaw, Matthew Grammatico, Monique Lavoie, Marco Supersano, George Williams

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School 2019-20 Quarter 4 Honor Roll

High Honors

Grade 8:

Emma Bayor, Oliver Berry, Alis Bicic, Elliot Bjornberg, Drew Brackley, Natalie Buckley, Sarah Colangelo, Ava Cummins, Ella Curtiss-Reardon, Eric Dagher, Eva D’Onofrio, Amelia Gage, Ryder Goss, Sydney Goulding, Nyla Goulis, Alexis Grasdock, Justin Green, Katherine Gryk, Nathaniel Heon, Sedona Holland, Agatha Hunt, Beatrice Hunt, Sabina Jungkeit, Emmerson Kaye, Grady Lacourciere, Audrey LeCour, Luke Legein, Brodie Lippincott, Griffin McGlinchey, Lucas McMillan, Matthew Miller, Katherine Mullaney, Delaney Nelson, Isabelle O’Connor, Kayla O’Leary, Ronald Olin, Jack Porter, Luisa Raby, Cailin Ruhling, Owen Snurkowski, Madeleine Soriano, Hannah Thomas, Louisa Warlitz, Mason Wells, Summer Wollack

Grade 7:

Christopher Anderson, Emma Arelt, Quinn Arico, Oliver Avelange, Natalie Barndt, Micah Bass, Gavin Biega, Molly Boardman, Chase Calderon, Andrew Clougherty, Tabitha Colwell, Amber Cutler, Chloe Datum, Andrea DeBernardo, Jared DeMarco, Zoe Eastman-Grossel, Caeli Edmed, Anna Eichholz, Davis Fallon, Grace Ferman, Samantha Fiske, Benedict Frazier, Hoshena Gemme, Ava Gilbert, Marco Gonzaga, Henry Griswold, Kaela Hoss, Kyle Ingersoll-Bonsack, Hannah Johnston, Shyla Jones, Simon Karpinski, Olivia Kelly, Ella Kiem, Peter Kuhn, Bronwyn Kyle, Ada LaConti, Elise Leonardo, Evan LeQuire, Andrew Liu, Elizabeth Lopez, Colette Marchant, Hannah Miller, Abigail O’Brien, Kanon Oharu, Sophie Pennie, Mutia Quarshie, Andrew Sicuranza, Drea Simler, Nola Slubowski, Audrey Spiegel, Morgan Standish, Madeline Supersano, Kathleen Walsh

Grade 6:

Zoe Brunza, Alec Butzer, Makayla Calderon, Tyler Cann, Colman Curtiss-Reardon, Christopher Dagher, James Dahlke, Sophia D’Angelo, Rose Dimmock, William Donnelly, Arthur Fusscas, Eric Fusscas, Chase Gilbert, Alexander Glaras, Scarlette Graybill, Christopher Kachur, Thomas Kelly, Katherine King, Harrison Kleefeld, Jade Lawton, Maya LeQuire, Jayden Livesey, Emily Looney, Sebastian Lopez-Bravo, Ian Maeby, Elise Marchant, Samuel Masanz, Carter McGlinchey, Ryan Miller, Eiley Montanaro, Sybil Neary, Nina Nichols, Michael Nickerson, Ryan Olsen, Ryan Ortoleva, Quenten Patz, Isabella Presti, Jacob Prokopets, Luca Signora, Emma Singleton, Tanner Snurkowski, Charlotte Spiegel, Addison Spooner, Carson St.Louis, Andrew Taylor, Meredith Thompson, Margaret Thuma, Lucian Tracano, Madeleine Trepanier, Elisabeth Viera, Warren Volles, Oliver Wyman, Carl Zapatka

Honors

Grade 8:

Henry Boremski, Douglas Griswold, Anna McAdams, Gabriel Tooker, Tyler Wells

Grade 7:

Nathaniel Bradley, Mark Burnham, Erin Durant, Max Novak, Andrew Sprankle, Ava Wilcox

Grade 6:

Charlotte Antonino, Trevor Buydos, Jack Conroy, Alexa Donovan, Benjamin Goulding, William Landon, Jeremiah Miller, Taylor Quintin, Connor Vautrain, Edith Williams, Julius Wilson, Katherine Zhang

Share

Job Opportunity: ‘Estuary’ Magazine Seeks Part-Time Assistant Editor/Publisher

Editor’s Note: This is a paid advertisement.

Estuary Magazine, a quarterly print and online publication about “life of the Connecticut River,” is looking for a part-time assistant editor/publisher, with both publishing and editing duties.  The position involves a commitment of time consistent with the pay, which is to be mutually agreed-upon.

The successful applicant will report to the editor/publisher of the magazine.

On the editorial side, duties include assistance with organizing the contributions and ideas from authors, overseeing writing assignments and deadlines, copy-editing, and bringing each issue to a timely close for publication.

Duties on the publishing side will include managing the questions and comments from subscribers and potential subscribers, following up on order errors, address changes, etc., as well as seeing to the timely broadcast of periodic online newsletters.

It is an exciting opportunity for the right person, who is still eager to learn.

Applications, including a resumé, should be sent to info@estuarymagazine.com.

 

Share

State Rep. Carney Names Two Old Lyme Residents ‘Local Heroes;’ Datum, Seidner to Receive Official Citations

Old Lyme’s Social Services Coordinator Jennifer Datum

OLD LYME — When State Representative Devin Carney (R-23rd) put out a call for nominations of local heroes who have gone and continue to go above and beyond for others during the COVID-19 pandemic, Michelle Noehren submitted the names of Old Lyme’s Social Services Coordinator Jennifer Datum and Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) Executive Director Mary Seidner.

Carney has now selected both women as Local Heroes, saying by email, “In the 23rd District, there is a wonderful sense of community and volunteerism. We see it all around us every day and it has been amplified over the past month and a half.”

He continued, “Thank you to both Jennifer and Mary for supporting those in need and for all of your work during this crisis – you are 23rd District Heroes.”

Datum and Seidner will be highlighted on State Rep. Carney’s Facebook page and receive official citations once the Legislature is back in session.

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Executive Director Mary Seidner

According to Noehren’s nomination, Datum has helped many people in Old Lyme weather the storm this crisis has created. She interacts daily with people in need and helps them in a variety of ways, whether it be through financial assistance, an errand, help with groceries, or obtaining a mask. 

Datum has also developed a Lyme/Old Lyme Resource Guide that includes information about food banks and soup kitchens, local churches, Meals on Wheels, and so much more.

Noehren noted that Seidner has worked tirelessly to assist Lyme and Old Lyme residents and families with their needs and helped launch the LYSB Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was recently featured on NBC.

She and LYSB also created a mask program where people can drop off handmade mask donations to be given to community members who request them.

Editor’s Note: Michelle Noehren is the Senior Manager of Administration in the Old Lyme First Selectman’s Office.

 

Share

Free Lunches Available for Pick-up Behind LYSB, Tuesdays & Thursdays

LYME/OLD LYME — The Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) is launching the community’s first Summer Lunch Program for families who have been negatively impacted financially by COVID-19, or qualify for the SNAP or Free/Reduced Lunch Programs.

Funded by private donations, the Summer Lunch Program is organized by LYSB in partnership with the Social Services Departments from the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme.

Free and nutritious lunches will be distributed curbside between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. behind LYSB on the middle school driveway, starting Thursday, July 16, and continuing every Tuesday and Thursday through Aug. 20.

Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau Director Mary Seidner explained, “The school lunch program ended in June and we wanted to fill the gap to help feed children whose families are struggling to afford their basic needs.  Our community is so generous when neighbors need help.”

Seidner adds, “We are working with local restaurants to provide much of the food, and the lunches will be delicious!”
Lunches will be provided to any child 18 and under.

To learn more about LYSB’s Summer Lunch Program, contact LYSB at 860-434-7208 or visit www.lysb.org

Share

Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center to Reopen Aug. 3, Reservations Open Now for Short-term or Full Year

The Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center on Lyme Street will reopen on Monday, Aug. 3.

OLD LYME — “I am thrilled it’s opening its doors again,” says Marie Ryan in a recent email to LymeLine referring to the reopening of the Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center (OLCLC) on Monday, Aug. 3.

An OLCLC Board member for more than 10 years, Ryan noted that the Center at 57 Lyme St. in Old Lyme is now accepting applications in all programs now for the 2020-2021 school year. There are also some spots still open for August if families need short-term care.

Kristen St. Germain, OLCLC Board President, notes that the issue on which most parents and caregivers are seeking reassurance is whether, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center is a safe place for young children.

She explains reassuringly, “The directors and staff of the OLCLC, with the help of our nurse, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control], Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood, Ledge Light Health District and our OLCLC Board of Directors, have been committed to opening safely and have created a thorough, comprehensive COVID safety plan for our reopening.”

St. Germain adds, “They have also done a deep professional cleaning of the entire center and established protocols that will allow our patrons to feel confident that their children are in capable, safe and loving hands.”

Stressing just how much work has been done to add COVID-19 safety standards and procedures to their operational procedures, St. Germain points out, “We have a nurse who was working very closely with us to help us create an environment where parents can trust we take their child’s safety very seriously. She has been amazing to work with as she is in the ER at L + M [Hospital] and knows what we need to do to keep our staff and families safe.”

The Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center has been caring for young children since its founding more than 30 years ago by the late Connie Pike.

Ryan, who has been an OLCLC Board Member for over 10 years, comments, “I truly love the Center’s belief in children and am elated that we can continue Connie’s [the late Connie Pike was the founder of the OLCLC] vision.”

She emphasizes, “I really feel we have done the right things to open safely,” noting, “We have implemented mask wearing, social distancing, modified drop-off and pick-up times, new sick and health policy procedures as well as done a massive deep cleaning of the Center by a professional outside source. We have procured automatic hand-sanitizers, PPE and now even have a Greeter at the entrance!”

Meanwhile, St. Germain expands on how challenging the COVID-19 forced closure has been, saying, “Small businesses such as ours have really been hit hard but we are ready to open on Aug. 3 and we are hoping that our parents will return their children to our care so we can begin making revenue again.”

She also notes, “We are also hoping for new registrants as the new [Lyme-Old Lyme Schools] preschool program, which is free, hurt us [financially] this last year as well.”

But on a positive note, she concludes, “We employee a large number of high school students each year and have kept a staff with little turnover, which is always nice. We have been in business well over 30 years and want to be able to continue providing excellent childcare for the people of shoreline Connecticut.”
Editor’s Note: For more information, to request a registration packet or reserve your child’s spot, contact Alison Zanardi at 860-434-1768 or email her at alison_baasp@comcast.net.
Share

Six Sculptures by Old Lyme Sculptor Gil Boro Featured in Stamford Downtown Outdoor Art Exhibit

Gilbert Boro’s ‘Helix Bench’ is on display in the Stamford Downtown Art Collective Exhibition.

STAMFORD, CT – Stamford Downtown is currently adorned with unique abstract art this summer as 34 sculptures, which are offered for free public viewing and enjoyment. These striking works of art line the streets and parks of the Downtown area and six sculptures by Old Lyme-based artist Gilbert Boro are featured in this major exhibit.

‘Turning Point’ is another of Boro’s six works on display in the outdoor exhibition.

Art Collective in Stamford Downtown is produced by Stamford Downtown and, apart from Boro’s works, feature sculptures on loan from five additional regional artists; Barry Gunderson, Lorann Jacobs, David Millen, Morris Norvin and Emily Teall.

The exhibition runs through August.

The organizers are offering Otocast, a free audio tour with an interactive map, sculpture photos, artist narratives, and information about many Downtown restaurants. This software application allows visitors to take a tour from home or in person. Download “Otocast” from the Apple App or Google Play Stores and choose Stamford, CT to access the tour.

All in-person visitors are requested to practice social distancing and wear a mask while enjoying this art exhibition.

Exhibition sponsors include The Cingari Family, Reckson, RXR Realty & LRC Construction, Andrew and Michael Whittingham & Families, First County Bank, NBCUniversal, One Stamford Realty, The Campus, 1937 West Main Street, True North Stamford, Highgrove, United Realty, Inc., The Palace, 95.9 The Fox, Star 99.9, WEBE 108, Stamford Advocate and Happyhaha.com.

For more information on the exhibit and to view a map of the sculpture locations, visit http://stamford-downtown.com/events/art-collective-art-in-public-places/

‘Sirocco’ certainly makes a splash in Downtown Stamford.

Share

Old Lyme Selectmen Vote to Cancel Midsummer Fireworks Slated for July 25

No fireworks this year after all — the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday to cancel the midsummer event planned for July 25.

OLD LYME — At an Old Lyme Board of Selectmen’s Special Meeting held Tuesday, July 14, the selectmen voted by a 2-1 majority to cancel the fireworks display, which they had previously approved to be held on Saturday, July 25.

Griswold told LymeLine by phone Thursday morning that plans were in progress to hold the fireworks –“the school was on board,” and, “we had got the application going,” when “We received word that the Governor was postponing Phase 3″ of the state’s reopening plan.” Griswold explained that this meant the crowd would have to be reduced to 500, so he had to the Governor’s Senior Adviser Jonathan Harris and asked whether, “there could be any accommodation for a larger number.”

Harris wanted to know if there would be two viewing areas and felt if that were the case, “there might be some latitude.” Griswold determined there were two such areas if one considered the areas behind the middle and Center Schools as separate entities.

When the selectmen met on Tuesday to discuss moving forward with the plans, concerns were raised which included the possible “redundant services” if there were two areas, and ultimately, although Griswold continued to maintain the situation would be manageable, the vote went against him.

Griswold (R) was the sole vote supporting the motion to continue with the fireworks while Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal (D) and Selectman Chris Kerr (R) voted against the motion.

Griswold stressed to LymeLine that the vote was specifically to not hold the fireworks on July 25, meaning it left the door open for them to be rescheduled to a later date. In reality, however, Griswold stated, “I don’t have confidence it will be rescheduled.”

He defended his vote saying, “I thought it would be a nice thing for people to come and enjoy … It’s a great show and would be a nice diversion when so many things are cancelled.” He conceded though, “We might lose some of the crowd [due] to social distancing [requirements,] and said, “I can understand the reluctance [to go ahead.]”

Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal told LymeLine in a text message that she was, “… personally disappointed that the Board of Selectmen had to cancel a cherished community event,” adding, “However, it is the prudent decision given the Covid-19 crisis and State guidelines to keep our community safe.”

Griswold concluded optimistically, “Hopefully, we can have it [the fireworks] back on the schedule for next year.”

 

Share

Re-Opening Plans for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in Fall Include Mandatory Mask-Wearing, Physical Distancing, Cohorting

What will a classroom look like in Lyme-Old Lyme when schools reopen in the fall?

LYME/OLD LYME — “The only constant in these plans will be flexibility,” said Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser during a phone conversation with LymeLine.com on Wednesday while discussing the numerous changes that will be implemented in the upcoming fall semester at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in order to for them to reopen safely.

Neviaser started by explaining that the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has recently issued a 50-page plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which requires each town or Regional School District in Connecticut to submit a fall 2020 reopening plan incorporating the state’s guidelines to the CSDE by July 24. The state plan calls for reopening all schools in the state to all students in the fall of this year.

Noting that two district committees — ‘Operations’ and ‘Remote Learning’ — are currently working on preparation of this LOL Schools’ reopening plan, Neviaser said he intended to share it with parents towards the end of July or early August. He stressed that this plan would be the district’s overall plan and that individual school plans are currently being drawn up by the school principals in association with a team of teachers and parents at each school.

Neviaser explained that the Remote Learning Committee is looking at models for hybrid learning (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and the Operations Committee is responsible for, “Everything else … which includes buses, masks, health,” and more.

After the district-level plan has been distributed, Neviaser said a survey would be sent out to parents including questions such as whether their children would be returning to school; traveling to school by bus; and using the school’s lunch service.

Key points of the reopening plan are that:

  • The 2020-21 school calendar has been changed so that all six teacher development days are at the beginning of the school year and the first day of school is pushed back to Sept. 1.
  • Face coverings will be required by all persons in all school buildings. There will only be exceptions for verified medical reasons.
  • Physical distancing will be implemented by various means throughout all five schools. Neviaser noted they are now using the term ‘physical’ rather than ‘social’ since it is felt that students benefit from social engagement.
  • Cohorting will be introduced for students, in Neviaser’s words, “as best we can … to limit the number of interactions students have with larger groups.”

In response to a question about whether students will be required to return to school, Neviaser said, “Allowances will be made for families to participate remotely.” He added that he had participated in a call set up by the LOL Schools’ accrediting body, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), with a number of  schools in other countries, which have already been through the COVID-19-related return-to-school process. Their experience was that roughly “20 percent of students did not return initially” but that after two to three weeks, that number had risen to almost 100 percent.

Neviaser commented, “We’re hoping for the same phenomena here.”

On the subject of buses, Neviaser noted strict protocols would be in place to promote physical distancing on board school buses but the use of buses will be discouraged whenever possible, saying, “If someone can drive you in[to school], we’d prefer they drive in.”

Explaining ways in which physical distancing will be implemented in the schools, Neviaser said, “We’re changing the traffic patterns in the high school so that all hallways are one-way.”

He also noted that arrangements for school lunches would be markedly different from previous years with all elementary age children (K-5) eating lunch in their classrooms while middle schoolers would eat with their grade in two different locations — the gym and the cafeteria — with 40 to 45 students physically spaced in each space.

Meanwhile at the high school, the number of lunch waves would be doubled from two to four thus reducing the number of students at each wave with provisions being made to allow the students to sit further apart. Neviaser also mentioned that all students will be encouraged to bring their own lunch to school whenever possible.

Asked whether LOL Schools would have a sports program in the fall, Neviaser responded, “We’re following CIAC [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference] guidelines … and our intention is to have sports.” He noted that a letter would soon be going out to parents from the LOL Athletic Director, Hildie Heck, saying that at this point students, “will go through the regular process” for sports sign-up’s. Neviaser added though, “As we get more information, we will adjust if necessary.”

Art and Technical Education classes are presenting special challenges in terms of the planning due to the use of shared materials. Neviaser said, “We’re working on trying to address those things,” adding that students will be required to wear protective gloves when appropriate, for example when using a drill but not an electric saw. He also noted that music classes — both instrumental and choir — require detailed planning with an increasing awareness of the nature of virus transmission.

“We’re buying a lot of disinfectant wipes,” Neviaser commented, “… and students will be cleaning up after themselves whenever possible.”

Asked what the plan is should anyone in the schools appear COVID-19 symptomatic, Neviaser replied that the individual would be moved to the Isolation Room by the appropriately protected school nurse (there will be an Isolation Room in each school) and then, “The school will follow the recommendations of Ledge Light Health District and proceed on the advice of the school district’s Medical Adviser.” He said the precise response to each individual and the associated quarantine requirements will be determined “on a case by case basis.”

In response to a question regarding the greatest concern he is currently hearing from parents and the broader community, Neviaser didn’t hesitate to respond, “Mask-wearing … especially for younger children.” He pointed out that presently, “The state’s expectation is that all children wear masks.” This would therefore include pre-schoolers but Neviaser noted that he, along with numerous other superintendents, around the state has raised further inquiries about masks requirements for that age cohort and a response from the state is still pending.

Neviaser also remarked that a new aspect of school life will be introduced in September when “mask-breaks” become a regular feature of the academic day. During these breaks, students will be permitted to remove their masks.

Throughout the conversation, Neviaser stressed repeatedly that these plans could change in the time leading up to the start of school and also once school has started. Saying,”We’re doing a lot of planning now but we’re prepared to change at any time,” he added, “We can shift to a hybrid plan [a combination of in-school and remote learning] or a completely remote plan,” as circumstances dictate.

He concluded, “Flexibility is key.”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read the previous article by Olwen Logan published July 11, titled, Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

Share

Swim Advisory Lifted at Sound View, Re-Sample Test Results are Below Bacterial Action Levels,

OLD LYME — UPDATED 7/17 at 10 a.m.Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) has now confirmed to LymeLine.com that this result means that the Swimming Advisory noted below is lifted with immediate effect. Danielle Holmes, Sanitarian II at LLHD, told us by email Friday morning, “Sound View Beach is open and cleared for swimming!”

UPDATED 7/16 at 4:33 p.m.: Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) posted the following statement on their Facebook page shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon: “The areas with elevated bacterial counts [which include Sound View] were re-sampled Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Results of the re-samples were below bacterial action levels.”

7/15 — Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) found elevated bacteria levels in the most recent water sampling at Sound View. As such, swimming or wading in these waters is discouraged until further notice.

Ledge Light resampled the water yesterday, Wednesday, July 15, and the results will be reported in the next two days.

This swim advisory is for Sound View Beach only — no other Old Lyme beaches have been issued a swim advisory.

According to their website, LLHD conducts weekly bathing water sampling from Memorial Day through Labor Day for the Towns and Cities of Old Lyme along with East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, New London, Stonington, and Waterford. The 2020 sampling season began on May 20, 2020.

Beach or bathing water quality is measured by the presence of enterococcal organisms, which are a group of organisms that may indicate the presence of potentially harmful bacteria.

The State of Connecticut has issued guidelines for bathing water quality, which are used to determine if a bathing area needs to be resampled or posted with an advisory. A concentration of enterococcal organisms exceeding 104 colonies per 100 ml of marine water and 235 colonies per 100 ml of freshwater is considered unsatisfactory for bathing.

At least once a week from mid-May to mid-September, LLHD Sanitarians collect water samples from different bathing areas throughout the District. The water samples are then sent to the State laboratory for analysis.

If any of the samples exceed the State guidelines, the water is resampled to verify the result. If the second test confirms the level, a bathing advisory is posted at that location.

Ledge Light Health District will continue to monitor the site and remove the posting as soon as the levels are safe.

Share

Vitality Spa Set to Reopen Aug. 1, Appointments Being Taken Now

Vitality Spa owner Lindsay Eisensmith

OLD LYME — Vitality Spa owner Lindsay Eisensmith has shared with LymeLine.com that she plans to reopen her spa on Lyme St. Aug. 1.  The spa has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic was first announced.

Numerous changes in protocols and decor have been implemented. We will be publishing an extensive article on how the spa has responded to the health situation next week

Meanwhile, appointments can be booked either online at vitalityspa.com or by phone at 860-434-1792.

Share

Project to Replace Mile Creek Rd. Bridge Begins, Road Closed for Around Two Months

OLD LYME — Machnick Bros. Construction has now begun the project to replace the Mile Creek Rd. bridge over the Black Hall River.

The first step is to remove the decking of the old bridge in preparation for installing three precast sections of the new bridge. The new sections are being fabricated in Massachusetts and will be trucked to Old Lyme. They will then be lifted into place on the existing abutments.

Mile Creek Road, in the area between Whippoorwill Rd. and Buttonball Rd. will be closed to through traffic for about two months. There will be detour signage advising motorists.

The west side of the bridge is fairly straightforward, but the east side is more complicated.

On the east side, passenger vehicles and pick-up trucks may use Buttonball Rd. to access Rte. 156. Larger and low clearance vehicles can use Cross Ln. and taller vehicles can use Mile Creek Rd. (east) to avoid the railroad underpass at Cross Lane.

Share

Lyme Church Offers “Hate Has No Home Here” Yard Signs for Sale

Selam Olson.13, displays one of the yard signs being sold by the First Congregational Church of Lyme. Selam is the daughter of Susan Olson, who serves as the church Pastor. Photo submitted.

LYME — The First Congregational Church of Lyme is partnering with Hate Has No Home Here to sell yard signs to members of the community. The signs show the message in a number of languages.

Lyme First Congregational Pastor Susan Olson notes, “While we’re a church, the movement is not related to a religion or political party–everyone can participate.”

Asked why the church decided to start selling the signs, Olson explains in a text to LymeLine, ” I came across the Hate Has No Home Here Project while doing some research for a sermon a few weeks back. I liked the origin of the project. It comes from a residential neighborhood in Chicago, mostly focused on families in walking distance of one particular elementary school.”

She continues, “A third grade child coined the phrase and the neighbors created the signs. The idea has spread like wildfire across the globe.”

Pointing out, “The project made sense for us at Lyme Church. We bought 100 signs to resell because we know that 100 signs denouncing hate will make a big splash in the Lyme area, whereas in a larger town like Hartford or New Haven, it would be harder to see them as part of a movement.”

“As Christians,” Olson adds, “We are deeply concerned about current events, about the deep stain of racism, and how hatred in all its forms is poisoning our communities and our world. We wanted to respond in a way that includes the whole community–not just our church–and the sign campaign seemed to be a good place to start.”

She concludes, “We hope that many of our neighbors and friends will join us in saying that hate has no home here.”

The signs are being sold for $6. The next opportunity to purchase signs will be Sunday, July 12, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the church parking lot.

Those wishing to buy a sign should bring a check payable to First Congregational Church of Lyme or exact change. Distribution of signs at the church will be contactless. The church’s Facebook page states, “Drive up, pop your trunk, drop your money in a box outside your window and off you go. We’re spreading love, not germs!”

Once a sign has been obtained, people are invited take a picture of their family with their sign and the church will post it (with appropriate permissions) on the church’s social media accounts.

Share

COVID Cases Constant in Old Lyme at 23 Including Two Fatalities

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — Hailing it as , “Good news!,” Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold confirmed to LymeLine by text message Friday afternoon, July 10, that no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Old Lyme since our last report.

There remain 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme plus two fatalities. Eight of these surviving cases are male and the remaining 13 are female. The two fatalities were a 61-year-old female and an 83-year-old male.

To demonstrate the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine.com has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes both fatalities.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
May 113
May 1515
May 2616
June 817
June 1018
June 1419
June 2221
June 2422
July 1722
July 2823

Details of all Old Lyme’s confirmed surviving cases to date are now as follows:

  1. Female, age 64
  2. Female, age 21
  3. Male, age 27
  4. Female, age 53
  5. Female, age 61
  6. Female, age 29
  7. Male, age 40
  8. Male, age 53
  9. Female, age 60
  10. Male, age 48
  11. Female, age 85
  12. Female, age 95
  13. Female, age 20
  14. Female, age 43
  15. Female, age 48
  16. Male, age 70
  17. Male, age 67
  18. Female, age 68
  19. Male, age 73
  20. Male, age 21
  21. Female, age 48

Griswold has previously noted that the 21-year-old female with a confirmed case was tested in Florida, but used an Old Lyme address although she does not live here. Because she gave the Old Lyme address, Griswold said that Ledge Light Health District must report her as an Old Lyme resident.

Lyme’s first and only confirmed case is a 34-year-old male.

Share

Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser discusses the reopening plan for LOL Schools during the Board of Education meeting held virtually July 1.

LYME/OLD LYME — At its regular monthly meeting held virtually July 1 via Zoom, the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Board of Education discussed the Connecticut State Department of Education’s plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which had been received the previous week.

The plan gives guidelines for reopening all schools in the state in fall 2020 and requires all Connecticut towns and regional school districts to submit their own specific plans for reopening, which incorporate the state’s guidelines, by July 24.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser noted that the 50-page document from the state, “Covers the major areas the state expects us to focus on,” which he said LOL Schools have broken down into five main sections.

The first is ‘Priorities,’ which gives “a general focus on a reopening model, in which every single student will have the opportunity to return in the fall,” adding that it does however, “have an allowance for students not to participate.” There are also requirements to appoint a School Liaison point-person, who will be available for any questions on the reopening of LOL Schools, and to create both a Communications Plan and a Data Collection Plan for the district.

The second section is ‘Operations,’ which includes the areas of facilities, cohorting, child nutrition (school lunches) and transportation. Neviaser commented that there was considerable work to be done to determine how lunches would be handled, but they “Won’t look the same.” He also mentioned that transportation is “the only area where they [the state] have identified a detailed description of what it will look like,” noting that all students will be required to wear masks on buses.

The third area of ‘Health Practices and Protocols’ focuses on training for staff regarding COVID-19 on, for example, how to sneeze and/or cough, and identifying symptoms of the virus. It also describes a Health Monitoring Plan, which must be maintained to record the numbers of COVID-19 cases reported, and also shared with the local health department.

A fourth area titled, ‘Family Support and Communication’ relates to the issues of social and emotional support with, “a strong focus on reconnecting students and families with school.”

The final section of ‘Staffing and Personnel’ relates to matters including teacher certification and professional development.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education Chairman Diane Linderman listens as the Superintendent discusses the reopening plan for LOL Schools.

Neviaser explained that two LOL Schools’ Committees — namely ‘Operations’ and ‘Distance Learning,’ (which Neviaser mentioned should now be called ‘Remote Learning’ to be consistent with the state’s terminology) — have been working intensively since the schools were closed in March.  The latter is planning models for both ‘blended’ (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and ‘at home’ programs since, in Neviaser’s word, “We need to be prepared for both of those.”

The superintendent had prepared a draft calendar for LOL Schools for the 2020-21 school year in which all six teacher development days are moved to the beginning of the school year and the first day of school is pushed back to Sept. 1. The idea behind this proposal is that “a lot of educating for our staff” needs to take place before students can return, adding, “There is much more to open school this year than any other year.”

He stressed that the draft calendar is very tentative at this stage and still a topic of active discussion. Similarly, Neviaser noted that although a reopening plan has to be submitted to the state by July 24, things may still change after that, “on a day to day basis,” and emphasized the need for staff, students and parents to be flexible with adapting to the reopening procedures.  

Nevaiser stated the reopening plan, “will continue to evolve — even after school has started … What we say today could very well change two months from now … We fully anticipate that there will be changes and we recognize that we need to adapt to those changes.”

Questions from board members ranged from how the plan is going to be communicated to parents and how attendance will be recorded — especially in light of the ‘opt-out’ possibilities for students — to how the type of masks used by students will be regulated and what the provisions will be for teachers and/or students who are unable to wear masks.  There were also questions about whether additional staff would be required to implement the reopening plan and how the requirement for students to wear masks all day would be handled.

Neviaser responded that, in many cases, “We don’t have all the answers yet,” but said “mask-breaks” were being planned when students could remove their masks under certain specified circumstances.  He noted schools will be required to have isolation rooms for students and teachers who may have contracted COVID and emphasized that, “This is going to look slightly different at each school building … school principals will develop plans for their building.”

Regarding communication of the plan, Neviaser said he anticipated “providing information to parents” in late July or early August and would follow that with a parent survey seeking responses on whether their children would be returning to school, whether they would be using school buses (Neviaser noted use of buses will be discouraged where possible) and whether the student(s) would be using the school lunch service.

Neviaser summed up the whole reopening situation saying, “This is new to everyone. Schools have never run like this; we will adapt and improve, and work towards getting better at this every day.”

Editor’s Note: Olwen Logan contributed to this article.

Share

Pre-College Academy for HS Art Students Continues at Lyme Academy

Kimberly Monson will teach a week-long Drawing course for Pre-College students starting July 6. A few openings are still available.

OLD LYME — This summer Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is hosting a Pre-College Academy for high school students and a Middle School Academy for ages 11 -13.

High school students aged 14 to 18 with beginning to advanced level art training can enroll in an exciting series of week-long, daytime courses starting July 6 that further explore and expand their technical skill and abilities. Each week of classes costs $375.00 per student and runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  All the courses will be taught by talented college faculty and aim to foster creativity, build artistic skill, and mentor personal vision in young artists.

The courses on offer include:

Drawing
Instructor: Kimberly Monson
July 6-10
$375.00

Illustration Essentials
Instructor: David Wenzel
July 13-17

World Building
Instructor: Jon Sideriadis
July 20-24

Oil Painting
Instructor: Michael Viera
July 27-31

Animation
Instructor: Roland Beccerra
Aug. 3 – 7

Sculpture
Instructor: Bruce Wallace
Aug. 10-14

Share

Two Ministers – Jack Madry of New London, David Good of Old Lyme – to Speak at Old Saybrook March for Justice This Evening

The Old Saybrook March for Justice meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in front of ‘the Kate’ in old Saybrook to hear speakers and then march down Main St.

OLD SAYBROOK/LYME/OLD LYME — The Old Saybrook March for Justice is an inclusive and welcoming coalition of friends and neighbors, who care deeply about basic human rights. The group gathers each Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in front of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook — the Kate — where they listen to speakers and then, immediately following the speeches, march peacefully up and down Main St. All are requested to wear masks.

Their mission statement says, ” We are outraged by centuries of structural racism in this country. We stand with Black Lives Matter. We listen, learn and act. We understand that silence is not an option and we will not be bystanders to white supremacy.”

The statement continues, “We aim to be allies and antiracist. We are respectful, nonpartisan and inclusive. We welcome all who share our values. We educate ourselves and join in weekly marches.”

Signs were held high at a previous rally as the marchers crossed Main Street in Old Saybrook.

Today, Wednesday, July 8, all are welcome to meet at the Kate at 6 p.m. for a teach-in followed by a march.

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

The speakers at this evening’s event will be Rev. Jack Madry from New London and Rev. David Good from Old Lyme. The question they will address is: “What role should the faith community be playing in advancing our national movement on racial justice?”

Rev. Jack Madry is the pastor of the Madry Temple, a predominantly Black congregation in New London, named in honor of Pastor Jack’s father.  Rev. Jack Madry is also an accomplished jazz pianist and for many years performed at Mashantucket. 

Rev. David W. Good is the Minister Emeritus of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, a predominantly White congregation. 

Through many years of interracial friendship, the two congregations have shared picnics, jazz concerts, volleyball games and church banquets.  Their ministers have preached in each others’ pulpits and shared Christmas and New Year’s Eve worship services.

Out of this friendship, the two congregations have partnered with Habitat for Humanity, building houses in New London County, starting first with a home on Pattagansett Road in East Lyme on land donated by Judy and Phil Simmons, members of the Old Lyme church. In Salem, members and friends of both churches had the honor of working side by side with Rachel Robinson — wife of Jackie Robinson, the great player and pioneer in racial justice — on land she donated to Habitat for Humanity.  

Representatives of each church then traveled to South Africa, along with Rachel Robinson and Emmanuel Red Bear (a proud descendant of Sitting Bull) to take part in the Jimmy Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity, working side by side with Black choir members from Soweto and Johannesburg. 

To celebrate Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and the end of Apartheid, Madry Temple and The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme organized the “World House Tour” for a 50-member choir from South Africa that performed throughout New England and New York, including the Garde Theater in New London. 

“World House” came from Martin Luther King Jr.’s book, “Chaos or Community: Where Do We Go From Here?”  In the last chapter, Dr. King recommended that all imagine that the human race had inherited a large house — a World House — in which all the races, religions and nationalities had to learn how to live together in peace.

Share

Old Lyme’s Whippoorwill Rd. Parking Lot Closed Resulting in Changes to Open Space Access

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Open Space Commission has announced in a statement that the parking lot on Whippoorwill Rd. used by visitors to the Ames Open Space and McCulloch Family Open Space properties was closed July 1, 2020.

The owner of the parking lot has graciously allowed the town use his private property for many years for parking, but recently rescinded permission in anticipation of a possible land sale.

In response, the Old Lyme Open Space Commission is actively exploring the feasibility of a new parking area on town land along the pentway (driveway) leading to the McCulloch property, adjacent to the former parking area.  As this may involve an archaeological assessment, survey and engineering work, land clearing and lot construction, it will likely become a future property amenity.

In the meantime, the Open Space Commission has announced the following access changes to trails:

Ames Open Space

  • The Whippoorwill Rd. access to the Ames Open Space will be closed until further notice.  This trail connector has been periodically flooded, rendering it unusable for periods of time in the past. Closure will resolve this issue and also allow beavers to occupy open space property without disturbance.
  • Ames Open Space trails may be accessed from the existing Evergreen Rd. entrance.

McCulloch Family Open Space

  • The yellow trailhead in the McCulloch Family Open Space will be accessible only by pedestrian and bicycle access.  Vehicle parking on the pentway leading to this trailhead is prohibited.
  • The yellow trail remains fully accessible for visitors and hikers, but without a parking area. This trail may also be accessed via either the property’s Tree in the Gap or Flat Rock Hill Rd. entrances, both of which remain fully open.
  • Maps showing the alternate open space entrances are available on the town website.
Share

Florence Griswold Museum Reopens to Public with 24-Hour Advance Tickets Only; New ‘Fresh Fields’ Exhibition on View

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum and Café Flo have reopened to the public.  Admission to the Museum is limited and by 24-hour advance online ticketing only. Check the Museum website for admission requirements and details of how to purchase tickets. Café Flo is open by reservation only.

Childe Hassam, Apple Trees in Bloom, Old Lyme, 1904. 25 x 30 in., Florence Griswold Museum, Gift of the Vincent Dowling Family Foundation in Honor of Director Emeritus Jeffrey Andersen.

Visitors to the Museum will be greeted with a new exhibition, Fresh Fields, which is a celebration of the Museum’s most beloved landscape paintings created by Impressionist artists who visited Old Lyme. The exhibition opens July 7 and runs through Nov. 1.

The selection highlights major recent acquisitions, such as Childe Hassam’s Apple Trees in BloomOld Lyme (1904), and emphasizes ongoing research about the local landscape that informed development of the Artists’ Trail.

Paintings, drawings, archival materials, and photographs will shed light on the history and ecology of Old Lyme, which caused it to become a gathering place for artists.

The exhibition also calls upon the knowledge and viewpoints of outside experts to build an interdisciplinary understanding. In addition to the Museum’s own curators and art history scholars, contributors will include an ecologist, members of the local Native American community, and experts on women’s history and African-American history.

Fresh Fields relies on those with expertise in these areas to help create a more complete understanding of the human history, culture, and values that shaped these Impressionist landscapes.

Editor’s Note: Remember that the Museum grounds are open and in bloom now — no need to wait for the reopening of the Museum to enjoy them!

Share