April 22, 2019

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools BOE Hosts Budget Hearing Tonight in Center School

The Region 18 Board of Education (BOE) hosts a District Budget Hearing this evening at 6:30 p.m. in the BOE Conference Room in Center School.

On Feb. 6, the Region 18 BOE approved a $35,084,758 budget for the 2019-2020 school year. This proposed budget represents a 2.29 percent increase over the prior year.

The main program improvements are the Pre-K expansion, 1:1 technology expansion for K-12, updated Next Generation Science Standards materials and enhanced security.

The major facility projects in the Operating Budget are the replacement of three tennis courts ($225K), classrooms for the Pre-K expansion ($180K), partial redesign and carpet replacement of the Middle School Media Center ($45K), and carpet replacement in Lyme Consolidated School ($12K.) These projects total $462K.  The proposed installation of a solar electric system, which is part of the non-operating budget, will be funded by the purchase of a power agreement.

Certified salaries at $13.8 million comprise 39.9 percent of the budget while non-certified salaries at $3.2 million account for 9.8 percent.

Asked to comment on the budget passed by the BOE, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser said, “I am pleased that the Board of Education has voted to support the fiscally responsible budget that we proposed.  The 2.29 percent increase is one of the lower budget increases our communities have seen and is far lower than all of our surrounding districts.  This budget will continue to provide a top notch educational program to our students and communities with enhancements to what is already one of the strongest districts in the state.”

The BOE will set the date for the referendum on the budget at the end of the hearing.  Residents of both Old Lyme and Lyme are eligible to vote in the referendum, which in order to pass, must achieve a simple majority of the combined vote of both towns.

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‘The Bowerbird’ Donates Over $4,000 to RTPEC From 2018 Gift-Wrap Program, Announces New Recipient for 2019

The Bowerbird owner, Chris Kitchings (right) presents a donation check from their 2018 gift-wrap program to Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Founding Director, Eleanor Robinson.

The Bowerbird of Old Lyme has selected as the recipient of the proceeds from their 2019 gift-wrap program East Street Arts. This non-profit arts organization (www.eaststreetartsnh.org) offers art-based employment opportunities for people of all abilities. The Bowerbird donation program runs from Nov. 1, 2018 through Oct. 31, 2019.

The Bowerbird in Old Lyme recently wrapped up their 2018 gift-wrapping campaign to raise funds for the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center located in Old Lyme. A check in the amount of $4044.00 representing 2,894 packages wrapped was presented to RTPEC Founding Director Eleanor Robinson. The Bowerbird charges a nominal fee for gift-wrapping purchases and donates 50 percent to local non-profit organizations.

The Bowerbird pioneered ‘cause’ marketing when they created their gift wrap donation program in 1992. In the past 25 years, The Bowerbird has donated over $91,000 to 31 statewide and local non- profits proving that small businesses can make a difference.

For a complete listing of past recipients, visit www.thebowerbird.com.

The Bowerbird is located at 46 Halls Rd., Old Lyme, CT.

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Starting July 1, Trash AND Recycling to be Picked Up Weekly in Old Lyme

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder announced today that a contract has been signed with CWPM Waste Removal and Recycling Services to provide collection services for trash and recycling in the Town beginning July 1, 2019.

In a press release, she offers special thanks to Old Lyme Selectman Chris Kerr, Old Lyme Board of Finance Member David Kelsey and current trash/recycling service provider, Gary Yuknat of Old Lyme Sanitation, for their hard work in developing an Request for Proposal (RFP), reviewing the bids received, and their input on the contract that was signed.

Reemsnyder states, “The big news is that all residents will now have weekly pickup of both trash and recycling, beginning July 1,” adding, “It is important to note that in the past, beach areas had trash pickup twice weekly from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but that will no longer be the case.”

She confirms unequivocally, “Trash pickup for the entire town will be once weekly throughout the year.”

She notes in the release, “Residents should also be aware that the State of Connecticut is pushing hard for compliance on recycling, and the Town has received several notices from its recycling vendor, Willimantic Waste, pointing out that there are contaminants in the recycling waste they receive from Old Lyme. This translates into increased cost to the town, resulting in increased taxes.”

The graphic at this link reminds residents”What’s In and What’s Out” in terms of recycling — please take note!

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Host Public Forum This Evening on Pre-K Expansion

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools are hosting a Public Forum on Pre-K Expansion, Monday, March 25, at 7 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme High School auditorium.

The purpose of the forum is to address questions about the proposed expansion of the existing Pre-K program.

All are welcome.

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High Hopes is One of 37 Beneficiaries of $120K Eastern CT Chamber Foundation Distribution to Local Non-Profits

The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation has announced the distribution of $120,000 to 37 eastern Connecticut non-profits that will improve the quality of life for thousands of children in the region.

This year’s disbursement reflects the highest-ever amount distributed by the Foundation and marks a twelve percent increase over the 2018 grant disbursement.

The Foundation raised funds throughout 2018 with fundraisers including the 7th Annual Bowl-a-Thon at High Rollers Luxury Lanes at Foxwoods Resort Casino in April and the 35th Annual Holiday Gala held at Mohegan Sun in December.

“I would like to thank all of our loyal sponsors and volunteers for their unwavering support of the Foundation,” said Louis Ziegler, Chair of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation’s Board of Directors. “In 2018, eastern CT opened its heart in support of the less fortunate and contributed more generously than I have ever seen before. A special thanks goes to the Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Sun, not only for providing a first-class venue for the Holiday Gala, but for going above and beyond to make sure that event was successful in its mission of raising funds in support of children and families in need.”

“Thank you to all our sponsors, committee members, volunteers, Foundation board members, and staff at the Chamber. Putting these events together is a team effort, and everyone involved played a critical role in our success,” said Ziegler.

Since 2002, the Chamber Foundation has donated more than $1.3 million to numerous local organizations that serve the needs of children. The Foundation’s goal is to support projects and programs that enhance and enrich education and economic opportunities for children and families in the Chamber’s service area.

This year’s recipients will be able to use funding to provide participation in regional activities, toys and books, school supplies, healthy nutrition, winter clothing, intervention for at-risk children, and food pantry items, among many others.

The 2019 Chamber Foundation grant recipients are:

  • Horses Healing Humans: $500 to provide a common ground equine-assisted activity program for Stonington Middle School girls.
  • Montville Little League: $500 to fund a scholarship program to distribute to children for registration fees.
  • The Center: A Drop-In Community Learning and Resource Center: $1,000 for additional support with supplies, transportation, and field trips for the Summer Enrichment Program.
  • Children’s Museum of Southeastern CT: $1,000 to provide monthly sensory-friendly programming at the Museum for families with children on the autism spectrum.
  • Eastern CT Symphony Orchestra: $1,000 for scholarships for participants in need of financial aid in the Eastern CT Symphony Youth Orchestra and Strings Ensemble.
  • Hygienic Art: $1,000 to support Artist Academy Jr. which fosters an interest in reading and the arts for young children and their families.
  • The Rotary Club of Norwich: $1,000 to support the Rotary Coat Fund which provides winter coats to children from low-income families in the greater Norwich area.
  • S.T.E.P.S. Inc.: $1,000 to provide part of the total funding for two full weeks of free Summer Leadership Training in July and August 2019 to middle school girls ages 10-18 in Groton, New London, and Norwich.
  • Eastern CT Community Gardens Association: $1,000 to support planting and care of gardens at various elementary schools for students to tend.
  • Groton Community Meals: $1,115 to purchase food and supplies needed for weekly dinners for local residents in need.
  • Shiloh Development Corporation: $1,160 to maintain the safety and quality of the preschool’s indoor play area by repairing items affected by wear and tear.
  • Channel 3 Kids Camp: $1,225 to help campership support for children with disabilities and children considered “at risk” from New London County.
  • Catholic Charities, Diocese of Norwich: $1,500 to purchase diapers, wipes, and formula for newborns to help struggling single mothers with families and their children.
  • New London Main Street: $1,500 to help with expenses and entertainment, including a children’s tent with educational activities during the Connecticut Family Festival.
  • Norwich Community Backpack Program: $1,500 to purchase 850 new backpacks and age-appropriate school supplies for low-income youth in Norwich.
  • Southeastern Regional Action Council: $1,500 to support the implementation of the 13th Annual Youth Forum in spring 2020.
  • Thames River Community Service: $1,800 to support the children’s summer program.
  • Child and Family Agency of Southeastern CT: $2,000 to help with renovating the playground at the Groton-Mystic Early Childhood Development Center.
  • Expressiones Cultural Center: $2,000 to support the ArtVenture Program which will provide culturally relevant bilingual arts and educational programming for children in New London schools.
  • Norwich Human Services: $2,000 to provide school uniforms to children of low-income Norwich families for the 2019-20 school year.
  • Pregnancy Support Center: $2,000 to support the Pregnancy Decision Program which provides limited medical services and material assistance to women and teens experiencing unplanned pregnancy.
  • Thames Valley Council for Community Action: $2,000 to support the Santa Boots project which provides new winter boots for children from low-income and working families throughout eastern CT.
  • FRESH New London: $2,500 to support the Fresh Crew youth program which combines hands-on skills with community empowerment to make a long-term impact on the food system in New London.
  • High Hopes Therapeutic Riding: $2,500 to support the VetKids program which provides children of veterans with equine-assisted activities that promote skill development and team-building.
  • New England Science and Sailing Foundation (NESS): $2,500 to support NESS’ programs in New London which provide water-based educational experiences that transform students’ lives.
  • Safe Futures: $3,000 to be used toward providing children who have impacted by traumatic experiences the opportunity to attend Camp HOPE America – Connecticut.
  • Sea Research Foundation: $3,000 to support the “Where the City Meets the Sea” project to hep Norwich and New London teachers educate students about the ecology of Long Island Sound.
  • United Community & Family Services: $3,000 to pilot a project designed to assist patients who experience transportation barriers to attend healthcare appointments.
  • Madonna Place: $3,200 to fund a portion of the “Great Beginnings” program, which provides screening and assessments to identify high-risk pregnant women and offer intensive services for their child’s first few years of life.
  • Higher Edge: $3,500 to continue the College Access and Success programs.
  • Always Home: $5,000 to support homelessness prevention/shelter diversion of New London County families seeking emergency housing assistance.
  • Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board: $5,000 to be used toward expanding the number of disadvantaged youth that the organization will be able to serve in the 2019 Summer Youth Employment program.
  • Riverfront Children’s Center: $5,000 to purchase new equipment to create an outdoor infant/toddler classroom.
  • St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich: $5,000 to provide peanut butter and cereal to children whose families participate in the St. Vincent de Paul Place food pantry.
  • United Way of Southeastern CT: $5,000 to procure healthy and nutritious food to be distributed through the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Bank’s sixty-nine feeding sites, serving 5,700 children each month.
  • Tommy Toy Fund: $17,500 to support the goal of providing two toys, one book, and a pair of gloves to low-income children.
  • Miracle League of Southeastern CT: $25,000 for seed money for the design and construction of a Miracle League field that will serve eastern CT children who face physical and developmental challenges.

In addition to the $120,000 granted to these 37 non-profits, the Chamber Foundation will award $1,250 each to four eastern CT high school students ($5,000 total) later this spring. High-achieving high school students who have a demonstrated interest in serving their local communities are encouraged to apply for a scholarship by visiting ChamberECT.com/foundation. The deadline for applications is April 15, 2019.

The Chamber Foundation will continue to raise funds through events in 2019 including the 8th Annual Bowl-a-Thon on April 9 and the 36th Annual Holiday Gala on Dec. 6. To learn more, register, or find sponsorship opportunities, visit ChamberECT.com or call (860) 701-9113.

Learn more about the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation at ChamberECT.com/foundation or call the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT office at (860) 701-9113.

Editor’s Notes:
i) Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut Foundation, a business community-based 501(c)(3) foundation affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, is dedicated to promoting initiatives that enhance and enrich education and economic opportunities for children and families in the Chamber service area.  ChamberECT.com/foundation
ii) The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut is a collaborative of business and community leaders dedicated to securing and enhancing the economic vitality of eastern Connecticut. The Chamber works to create value for its members and the region by providing forums for business networking, leadership and discussions of issues that affect the region; providing opportunities for members to showcase their products, services and accomplishments; helping small businesses succeed through educational programs; and working to reduce the costs of doing business in Connecticut.  For more information, visit ChamberECT.com.

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Lyme Academy to Drop ‘College’ From Its Name, Unveils New Website, Announces Summer Art Programs for Youth, Adults

File photo of the Chandler Academic Center at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

The board of trustees of the newly-renamed Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, Conn., has announced an extensive summer art program for youth and adults. “Our trustees, alumni, and the Old Lyme community are committed to supporting this historic art institution,” states Stephen Tagliatela, Lyme Academy Board of Trustees Chairman.

He continues, “With the recent announcement of our separation from the University of New Haven, we will once again become the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts operating as it was originally established. Continuing the summer art programs will be an important part of our mission as we plan for the Academy’s future.”

“The variety of art programs planned for this summer is very exciting,” notes Lyme Academy Campus Dean Todd Jokl. “In addition to the Pre-College Academy for high school students, which helps them improve their technical skills and portfolio development for art college applications, a fun new art camp for middle school students is being added.”

Jokl adds, “The 2019 program will also include adult art programs in painting, sculpture, printmaking and encaustic. Our new website www.lymeacademy.org has all the information about these programs and instructors.”

Screen shot of the homepage of the new Lyme Academy website at LymeAcademy.org.

The 2019 summer programs at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts for adults will begin in May and be offered through June, July and August. The youth programming is offered in July and August.

These summer programs will include:

Pre-College Academy:
High school students with beginning to advanced level art training can enroll in a series of courses that further explore and expand their technical skills and abilities. All Pre-College courses and workshops are designed to foster creativity, build artistic skill, portfolio development, and mentor personal vision in young artists.
The Lyme Pre-College Academy runs an intensive series of weeklong, daytime classes during July and August with instruction by master artists. Immerse yourself in a college-level arts experience this summer.

Middle School Academy “Art Apprentice” Program:
Middle school students will participate in an exciting art camp that showcases famous artists from history. Students will engage in art projects based on the talents, examples of work, and significance of each featured artist to make their own body of work full of fun and insight into the creative process. Learn from historic artists and art movements while exploring your own talents! Featured artists this summer include Edgar Degas, Michelangelo, Salvador Dali and Leonardo da Vinci.
Classes begin July 8 and run weekly through August 2.

Adult Workshops and Master Classes:
Lyme Academy’s traditional methods in figurative and representational art will provide adults at all levels an opportunity to work with professional artists, build portfolios, while advancing their skills in various mediums and techniques. Adult classes present an opportunity to immerse yourself in concentrated study in a specific area of expertise. Students will gain new perspectives in the process and the unique experience of guidance by professional artists in a mentored environment.
Adult weekly courses begin in May and the workshops and master classes will be offered in June, July and August focusing on developing technique and accelerated skill advancement in figure drawing, landscape painting, printmaking, sculpture, and encaustic.

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1976 by esteemed sculptor Elisabeth Gordon Chandler, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts is located in historic Old Lyme, Conn., which has been a vibrant center for the arts and artists in southeastern Connecticut for more than 100 years. The Academy offers a variety of programs in art education under the guidance of master artists who share a deep respect for both traditional and innovative forms of teaching that provide students with the necessary foundation and skills to develop their own unique visual expression.

For more information about Lyme Academy’s summer youth and adult art programs, visit www.lymeacademy.org or contact Kristen Brady at kbrady@lymefs.newhaven.edu or (860) 598-5143.

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Gov. Lamont Amends Education Proposal on Shared Services; Encourages School Collaboration, Reallocation of Resources to Classroom

Governor Ned Lamont (D)

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR NED LAMONT– Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is submitting revised language to the General Assembly on his proposal encouraging shared services in Connecticut schools. The new proposal, which was developed in collaboration with stakeholders, addresses concerns raised by members of the community while continuing to encourage collaboration and shared services among schools. The governor said that he agrees with many constituents who do not want their school districts to be forced to consolidate operations and is hopeful that the modifications to his proposal address those concerns.

Unlike other proposals, Governor Lamont’s legislation does not force school consolidation. Rather, his bill uses school construction bonds and other funds to incentivize communities to explore cost savings, but does not force regionalization.

“The truth is that our students and teachers are not getting the adequate resources they need in the classroom,” Governor Lamont said. “Sharing certain back-office administrative services and purchasing costs is more efficient for certain schools, and my bill is intended to highlight and incentivize those efficiencies. I’ve also heard the concern that school districts need independence to make the decisions they feel are best. My revised proposal seeks to strike that balance through a collaborative process that preserves the feisty independence of our towns while providing them the tools they need to accomplish our shared vision of focusing resources on the classroom.”

As an example, North Carolina uses one contract for school software throughout the entire state, however in Connecticut there are 170 different contracts and the state is paying a premium. The governor’s proposal creates a bipartisan commission on shared school services, made up of education stakeholders from across the state including parents, teachers, superintendents, and school board members. That commission has no power to force the adoption of its recommendations, but will look around and outside the state to issue advisory reports on how districts can best share services and prioritize money for students and teachers. The towns and the people’s elected representatives will be able to draw on the recommendations that make sense in their local contexts.

The revised language in governor’s proposal:

  • Ensures regional diversity by requiring each of the governor’s six appointees come from a different RESC service area
  • Underscores the non-binding nature of the commission’s recommendations
  • Eliminates requirements that the commission consider redistricting and regionalization in its reports

The legislation, SB 874 – An Act Concerning Education Initiatives and Services in Connecticut, is currently pending in the education committee. The same language is included in HB 7192 – An Act Concerning Municipal and Regional Opportunities and Efficiencies, which is pending in the planning and development committee.

**DownloadProposed revised language to SB 874

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‘Burt & Me,’ Featuring Love, Laughter & Great Music, Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse; on Stage Through April 7

Josh Powell, Andy Christopher and Nathan Richardson appear in ‘Burt & Me’ at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Playhouse opens its 2019 season with a dazzling parade of hits by the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David in the musical comedy Burt & Me by Larry McKenna.

This coming-of-age story is narrated by Joe, who tells the story of his obsession with the music of Burt Bacharach alongside his high school romance with Lacey. The old story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again, develops a new life in this nostalgic paean to the music and culture of America in the 70s.

When Burt Bacharach and Hal David met in the New York City offices of Famous Music in 1957, they had no idea that their collaboration would have such an impact on the world of pop music. In their years of writing together, they produced almost 150 songs. Sometimes the words came first, sometimes the music, sometimes both at once.

One Iyric (“Alfie”) took three days; another (“What The World Needs Now Is Love”), three years. This nostalgic juke box musical contains many of their greatest hits including, “What the World Needs Now,” “Walk On By,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “This Guy’s in Love with You”.

Andy Christopher and Lauren Gire sing a duet in ‘Burt & Me’

The cast includes Playhouse favorites Adrianne Hick* (South Pacific), Lauren Gire* (My Way: the Frank Sinatra Story )  Neal Mayer*, (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Oliver!) and Josh Powell* (My Way: the Frank Sinatra Story and Love Quest).

Making their Playhouse debut are Andy Christopher* as our protagonist, Joe, Katie Luke and Nathan Richardson. The show is directed and choreographed by Brian Feehan, musical directed by Michael Morris, set design by Emily Nichols, lighting and sound design by Tate Burmeister and costumes by Lisa Bebey.

This may well be an evening of pure nostalgia but it also serves to remind us of Bacharach’s genius for melody, the complexity of his arrangements and David’s keen sense of human motivation. These are the songs that form the soundtrack of our youth and even their sad songs make you feel good.

Burt & Me runs through April 7. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. There will be one Thursday matinee on March 21.

Tickets are $55 adult / $50 senior / $25 student / $20 children 12 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org  (Group rates and subscriptions are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

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Needleman Proposes New School Regionalization Plan, Public Hearing Today on Another Proposal on Same Subject

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

Yesterday State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd) proposed a new plan for school regionalization. His proposal would create legislation tailored to help school districts and municipalities cooperate to share services and resources on their own terms, in contrast to recent legislation that would mandate school changes.

Needleman appeared with East Haddam Selectman Robert Smith, Chester First Selectman Laurent Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Essex Board of Education member Lon Seidman, Portland First Selectman Susan Bransfield and CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice McCarthy.

Watch this news clip from NBC to see a summary of what Needleman proposed.

The 33rd Senatorial District includes the Town of Lyme.

Today a public hearing will be held at 11 a.m. in Hartford on HB 7192, AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL AND REGIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AND EFFICIENCIES, a Governor’s Bill dealing generally with regionalization and shared services for local governments

Sections 7-10 of the bill are the same as Sections 1-4 of SB 874, the Governor’s Bill on school regionalization and shared services. If you have already submitted testimony to the Education Committee on school regionalization bills, this is an opportunity to comment before a different committee specifically on SB 874.

– Make sure to read the four sections of HB 7192 (again) and comment on them specifically (of course, you may also comment on any other sections you choose).

– Include only HB 7192 (same as first sections of SB 874) in your testimony, as this is the only language from the three school regionalization bills that is before Planning & Development.

Written testimony should be submitted by 9 a.m. to PDtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Sign-up to speak between 9 and 10 a.m. (lottery) in Room 1D.

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Needleman to Join with District, School Leaders Today in Hartford to Show Support for Shared Services, Resources by School Districts, Municipalities

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

Today at 10 a.m. State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd) will join with district leaders and school officials in the Legislative Office Building Room 1A, in Hartford to voice their support for legislation tailored to help school districts and municipalities cooperate to share services and resources on their own terms, in contrast to recent legislation that would mandate school changes.

Needleman will appear with East Haddam Selectman Robert Smith, Chester First Selectman Laurent Gister, Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald, Essex Board of Education member Lon Seidman, Portland First Selectman Susan Bransfield and CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice McCarthy.

The 33rd State Senatorial District includes Lyme.

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Old Lyme’s History-Making Run to the Sun Ends in the Shadows with Loss to Innovation in State Final

A huge crowd of Old Lyme supporters came to the Mohegan Sun arena to cheer on their team. Photos by Lynn Fairfield-Sonn, Carol Frazier and Jack Collins.

Estimates of the number of Old Lyme fans who went to cheer on the boy’s basketball team at Mohegan Sun arena Sunday morning varied between 800 and 1,000.  Even the commentator on the channel that was live-streaming the game noted, “There’s a lot of blue in the building,” adding for clarity, “I think the stadium is at least three-quarters blue.”

Prior to tip-off, Old Lyme engaged in their traditional motivational huddle.

For a small couple of towns like Lyme and Old Lyme, this was an amazing show of support and belief in this team and its coach, who just two short years ago found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-18 season.

The Old Lyme team stands proud while the national anthem plays before the game began.

Sadly, neither the team nor the fans saw their dreams come to fruition.

The teams were announced in the traditional manner.

Third-seeded Old Lyme were first out of the starting blocks storming to a 10-2 lead in a little over four minutes. Everything seemed to be going their way when top seeds Innovation woke up and by the end of the first quarter had overtaken the Wildcats by 12-10.

Junior guard Ray Doll with arms outstretched was in the thick of the on-court action.

Old Lyme never took the lead again falling to 23-30 by the half.  Scoring became a real challenge for the ‘Cats who ended up achieving only a 25% success rate.

Coach Kirk Kaczor urges on his team.

But Coach Kaczor never gave up on his boys encouraging them all through the contest.

By the end of the game, Ray Doll and Brady Sheffield, who are both juniors, had scored 11 points each and Aedan Using, another junior, had  contributed eight, but more significantly had also joined the elite group of Old Lyme players, who have scored 1,000 lifetime points. Doll and Using also respectively had eight and five rebounds while senior Liam Holloway notched a game-high five steals.

Action at the free throw line.

Innovation continued their formidable advance through the third and fourth quarters taking their lead to 20 clear points at 58-38 with 2:58 remaining on the clock. Old Lyme began to see the writing on the wall and heard the final buzzer with their heads held high but their hearts down low.

Leaping high to shoot, an Innovation player looks to score.

Thank you, Old Lyme boys and Coach Kaczor for such a great season.  You have made our towns proud.  You may not have won the state championship but you’ve rewritten the history books for the program by simply reaching the state final. We will always remember this outstanding team and their run to the Sun!

Congratulations … and see you next season!

Editor’s Notes: Special thanks to our photographers at the game, Lynn Fairfield-Sonn, Carol Frazier and Jack Collins.

 

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It’s Sun-Day for Old Lyme! Kaczor’s Boys Play for Div. V State Basketball Championship at 10:30am Today

Coach Kirk Kaczor (center) leads the traditional Old Lyme boy’s basketball team huddle at the start of a game..

There’s nothing like an Old Lyme team participating in a high school state final to stir the sleepy towns of Lyme and Old Lyme to their core.

Extrapolating from past performance when Don Bugbee’s girls played (and won) the Class S State basketball championship in 2009 — the first played at Mohegan Sun — a conservative estimate suggests that at least half of the population of Lyme and Old Lyme will set their alarms early this morning, may even skip church (or perhaps the Catholics among us went yesterday evening …) and head east across the state to the arena at Mohegan Sun.

One assumes that pretty much every self-respecting, current Lyme-Old Lyme High Schooler will make their way to the arena this morning whether on a school bus or under their own steam. The parents of the boys on the Old Lyme varsity basketball team may even go to see the team bus off from the school at some God-forsaken hour …

The basketball game tipping off at 10:30 a.m. in the arena at Mohegan Sun will be the focus of their attention until around noon.

In a packed arena with likely around 5,000 fans present, can Kirk Kavzor’s boys pull off a spectacular win and topple top-seeded Innovation to bring the CIAC Division V trophy home to Old Lyme?

These third-seeded Wildcats have already crushed all previous records by becoming the first team in program history to reach the final. Can they now — urged on by their fervent supporters aged from 1 to 92 — take it one step further and make their tiny hometown the proudest for miles around and win the title?

In an exclusive and extraordinarily revealing email interview with LymeLine.com, Coach Kaczor gave us the inside story on how this exceptional team has reached the point it is at today, saying, “Two years ago we were 6-14 and a program in disarray.  The effort, attitude and culture were not anywhere near what I wanted it to be.  We were selfish and undisciplined, and it reflected poorly on me as well as the school.  We weren’t all that talented, but more importantly our attitude needed to change for our program to be successful.”

He continued, “Last year, we dedicated ourselves to improving both on and off the court.  We made a move to work with a strong group of sophomores and asked the older kids to help bring them along and to provide a fostering culture that valued teamwork and discipline. “

Interestingly he pointed to some small things that have made a big difference in team culture, such as, “We made new rules about tucking in practice jerseys and sprinting to help out teammate or opponent that went down during the game.  (You’ll see that during the game.)”

Kaczor concluded, “We had a great season.  We finished 15-5 but lost in the first round of our league tournament.  We entered the state tournament with a good seed but were beaten at the buzzer in the first round by Capital Prep.  However, during that season we created a culture and brotherhood that carried into the summer, fall and then back to the winter.”

Turning to this season, Kaczor said, “Everything was in place to run for the Sun.  I never said it, but the kids did.  It was the elephant in the room.  We knew we had the talent, effort, and attitude to get there.” He mused, “I just wondered if we could catch a break.  There always seems to be a little luck involved.,” adding, “Things just fell into place for us.”

Commenting on the tournament itself, Kaczor reflected, “We’ve played three excellent and young teams so far.  Beating a good Gilbert team in the second round.  Avenging our only home loss (on senior night) to Morgan in the quarters.  And this week, we beat a 16-4 Somers team that is really good.”

Kaczor ended with the words, “This season has been amazing in so many ways,” noting, “We just recently won the sportsmanship award presented by our Board 8 officials, as well.”

Let’s hope the season becomes a whole lot more amazing this morning! Good luck boys and Coach Kaczor … and GO WILDCATS!

 

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‘Four Acts’ on Show at Lyme Art Association Through April 30

‘Winter Song’ in oil by Katherine Simmons is the signature painting of the ‘Explorations’ section of the ‘Four Acts’ exhibition.

‘Darby’ in pastel by Anderson Flanders is the signature piece of the ‘Animal Kingdom’ section of the exhibition.

The Lyme Art Association presents its annual Four Acts show from March 8, through April 19. Each room of the gallery has a different theme: Hip to be Square (artwork in a square format), Out of Town (featuring artwork relating to artists’ travels), Animal Kingdom, and Explorations (abstract or exploratory works.)

The Four Acts opening reception is Sunday, March 17, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 to 5 p.m, and by appointment. Admission is free but a $5 donation is suggested.

Lyme Art Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme.

For further information, call (860) 434-7802 or visit lymeartassociation.org

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Today’s Hearing on Act Proposing Creation of Tax Authorities in CT for School Towns/Districts with Less Than 15,000 Students to be Televised

Today at noon, the state legislature’s Planning & Development Committee will hold a public hearing on House Bill 7319, An Act Concerning The Fiscal Independence Of School Districts.  The hearing will be televised on CT-N.

The bill requires local and regional school districts with fewer than 15,000 students to become taxing authorities, separate from any municipality.

The bill was introduced by the Planning & Development Committee and is applicable to all local and regional school districts in the state, except for five: Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury and Stamford.

For more information on the broad topic of forced school regionalization, visit HandsOffourSchools.org or their associated Facebook group, Hands Off Our Schools, which is strongly opposed to the proposals made to date.

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Old Lyme Boys Defeat Somers, Advance to State Basketball Final for First Time in Program History

Brady Sheffield shoots during Thursday night’s semifinal game against Somers.  All photos by Emily Gerber Bjornberg.

Old Lyme defeated Somers 69-53 in last night’s semifinal game played at Maloney High School in Meriden. Junior Ray Doll was top scorer for the Wildcats with 24 points for the Wildcats while junior Aedan Using had 23.

Wildcat coach Kirk Kaczor watches as junior Aedan Using shoots during Thursday’s semifinal game.

The Wildcats will now meet top-seeded Innovation in the championship final on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Old Lyme bench anxiously awaits the next call to go on court.

Visit this link for game highlights by Peter Huoppi published Wednesday, March 13, on theday.com.

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Old Lyme Routs Morgan, Storms into Semifinal Against Somers Tonight

Aedan Using (#33) takes advice from Coach Kaczor during last night’s game. All photos by Emily Gerber Bjornberg.

Third-seeded Old Lyme romped to a 61-31 victory over #6 seeds Morgan last night in front of a boisterous, sold-out home crowd.  The Wildcats now go straight into a CIAC Division V semifinal match-up tomorrow with second-seeded Somers at Maloney High School in Meriden. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Top-scorer across both teams was Old Lyme junior Aedan Using with 22 points, while Brady Sheffield notched 17 points and Ray Doll 10 for the Wildcats.

Coach Kirk Kaczor told LymeLine by email, “I’m really happy with the way we played against Morgan.  We were able to avenge our only home loss this season.”

The Old Lyme gym was packed to capacity for the semifinal game.

He added, “Ray Doll did an excellent job running the point and getting the ball to Aedan Using and Brady Sheffield.  He really got us going (tonight). When our guards (Brady, Ray, and Quinn Romeo) are in attack mode, we are pretty good.”

Asked about tomorrow’s game, Kaczor said, “We are excited for the chance to play in the semifinal vs. Somers.  We know that only a few teams are left and are proud to be one of them.  My understanding is that Old Lyme has never been to the final so we want to change that.  We’ve been taking it one step at a time and we are thrilled with where we are now.”

The team receives some advice during a time-out.

The last time Old Lyme was in the semifinals was in 2013 when the team faced Capital Prep.  In a gritty game, despite taking the lead in the third quarter, sadly the ‘Cats failed to clinch victory that night.

The other semifinal will see top-seeded Innovation play Old Lyme’s Shoreline Conference rival and No. 5 seed Valley Regional also at 7 p.m. at Bulkeley High School in Hartford.

Go Wildcats!

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Op-Ed: Avoiding the Tragedy of Brexit

Photo by A Perry on Unsplash.

This op-ed by Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was first published Feb. 25, by TheHill.com.

In view of the MV2 (Meaningful Vote 2) regarding Brexit, which is being held today in the British Houses of Parliament, we felt its re-publication was highly relevant.

US Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)

British Brexiteers and their U.S. cheerleaders promised a return to Britain’s glory days once they shed the bureaucratic constraints of the European Union. Steve Bannon celebrated Brexit as a victory for far-right nationalism and called for other countries to follow. The reality of Brexit, of course, is turning out to be entirely different. The economy will shrink by 7-10 percent, consumer prices will increase, unemployment will rise, and Britain will likely have to pay the EU to leave – not the other way around. Brexit will weaken Britain, the EU, and the entire Western alliance.

The question now is whether we will throw our lot in with those who want to break up hard-won international alliances, or take a stand in favor of a closer partnership between America and Europe. It would be a disaster if the United States reacted to Brexit in a way that encouraged more countries to leave the EU or other international organizations. We should not take seven decades of European peace for granted. After centuries of never-ending warfare and two world wars, stability in Europe is a core interest of the United States. We should also not take for granted how the allure of future EU membership has kept countries on its periphery promoting positive economic and democratic reform.  And Russia hawks in Washington should remember that one main goal of the Kremlin is to weaken the EU, the primary check on Putin’s hopes to restore the Soviet empire.

This is why the promise of a U.S.-Britain trade agreement, as a reward for Brexit, is such a bad idea. We have no better friend or ally on the planet than Britain. But this special relationship does not require us to jump off the same building they are. Those arguing for Britain’s hard exit from Europe claim that the United States will ride to the rescue and deliver a trade agreement that will repair the economic damage done by Brexit.  Russia cheers on this talk, because they know a U.S.-Britain deal might encourage other countries to leave the EU and expect a bilateral agreement with the United States as well.

At the very least, U.S. supporters of a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain should make clear the negotiated Brexit arrangement must protect the Northern Ireland peace process. A key pillar of the Good Friday Agreement was eliminating physical barriers and security checkpoints between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Pulling the legs out from this agreement by reestablishing a hard border risks upending the delicate balance of compromises that has maintained peace for the last twenty years. Even new technological infrastructure to monitor movement could be inflammatory. Recent surveys have found extreme antipathy in Northern Ireland for any type of north-south border checks. With our large Irish-American population and uniquely close relationship with the UK, the United States played an important role shepherding the peace process and must continue to safeguard the Good Friday agreement. We should be firmly against any Brexit agreement that doesn’t include the Irish backstop or other arrangement to protect the peace process.

When the UK government held the initial Brexit referendum, Brexit promoters implied that Britain could have its cake and eat it too. They claimed that Britain would make money by no longer having to contribute to the EU; that Britain would still be able to trade on favorable terms with the rest of Europe while being free from EU regulations; and that investment would continue to flow to Britain once it scrapped EU rules that were supposedly stifling their economy. It’s now clear that none of those things are true, and that very tough choices are now required. With this picture now clear, it would be wise to allow for a new referendum.

In the United States, instead of cheering on Brexit and promising individual agreements that weaken the EU, we should be doing the opposite – binding ourselves closer to the EU and negotiating a trade agreement that establishes the U.S.-EU bloc as a dominant force. In the coming decades, the size of China’s economy and military will continue to grow. The only way to prevent China from dictating terms in a world where they have significantly more influence is to join forces with Europe to agree on global standards going forward. While the special relationship will endure, Britain’s position will be stronger from within the EU rather than outside it.

The Irish poet Oscar Wilde once said there are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. Nigel Farage, Steve Bannon, and their allies in the White House are close to getting what they want in Brexit, but the tragedy may yet be avoided.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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Old Lyme Meet Morgan Tonight in State Basketball Quarters

Aedan Using was top scorer against Gilbert Thursday night.

Seeded third in the CIAC Division 5 State Tournament, the Old Lyme boys’ basketball team bounced back into action Thursday evening after the disappointment of taking an overtime loss to Cromwell in the Shoreline Conference final March 1.

The Wildcats defeated #14 seed Gilbert 75-65. Aedan Using led all scorers with 25 points while Ray Doll, Quinn Romeo, and Brady Sheffield combined for 36.

Old Lyme now advance to the quarter-finals of the tournament, where they will face the sixth-seeded Morgan School of Clinton this evening.  That game will be played at Old Lyme.

Morgan defeated Old Lyme 57-56 in the final game of the regular season

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Death Announced of Candy Green; Former Innkeeper of Old Lyme Inn, Owner of ‘Rooster Hall’

Candy Green
Photo by Malcolm Denemark/FLORIDA TODAY and published with permission of the Green family.

The death has been announced of the former innkeeper and general manager of the Old Lyme Inn, Catherine (Candy) Clifford Green. Her obituary published by Ammen Family Funeral and Cremation Care  and on LymeLine.com with their permission, reads as follows:

“Catherine (Candy) Clifford Green, was a force of nature. She was a lifelong lover of the arts and an active volunteer committed to public service. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2016, she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but she never let the disease get the better of her. If her time was going to be limited, she wanted to be sure it was devoted to the things she felt were important – her family, civil rights and the environment.

Two years after her first diagnosis, she was told that the cancer had returned, but she never gave up on anything, and always put up a fight, a legacy she leaves with us. Her battle with ovarian cancer was featured in the October 25, 2018, edition of Florida Today. https://www.floridatoday.com/story/life/2018/10/23/ovarian-cancer-survivor-advocates-sharing-dont-keep-secret/1484361002/

Candy died February 28, 2019, in Melbourne, FL. She was 74.

“Her laughter is what I will miss the most about my mom,” her daughter, Temple Diehl Mecchella, a West Melbourne resident said. “Her contagious laugh could echo through our noise and make you drop everything to find out what you were missing. Her smile would make your heart melt. She had a true natural beauty, with those electric blue eyes.”

She was born on Halloween in South Bend, IN, to Carol (Kidd) and Temple Clifford, both of whom predeceased her.

Along with her daughter, Temple, she is survived by her adored grandchildren Tyler and Rylie Grace of West Melbourne, FL, her sister Julie Clifford (John Hanson), of Alexandria, VA, stepson Josh Green of New York City and her husband Keith Green. Her cousin Madelyn Young and a number of devoted friends provided invaluable support during her illness.

Candy also lived in Atlanta, GA and New York, NY, where she had an award-winning 20-year career in advertising and public relations, which culminated as vice-president for broadcast and music production at Ogilvy and Mather.

She lived in an historic home in Old Lyme, CT, which was later converted to Rooster Hall Bed and Breakfast. She was also innkeeper and general manager of the Old Lyme Inn. She opened them to countless charitable events. Her annual birthday party on Halloween initiated an annual event that children from all over Old Lyme look forward to attending. This spectacular evening ended in a casserole competition judged by local food writers. The event would culminate with trophies for best costume, but somehow she always won “Best Candy.”

Candy was particularly involved with the Child and Family Agency of New London, CT, hosting and chairing the very successful Child and Family Garden Tour. She was named Volunteer of the Year in 2005. She also raised funds for the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

When she moved to West Melbourne in 2011, she continued her volunteer and community betterment activities, serving as a docent and volunteer at the Foosaner Art Museum, vice president and board member of the Space Coast Progressive Alliance, where she was active in planning many programs, and a member of the Brevard County Chapter of the Brandeis National Committee.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer SocietyChild and Family Agency of New London, CT, theBrandeis National Committee, the Space Coast Progressive Alliance or the Foosaner Art Museum.

Celebrations of Candy’s life will be held in Melbourne and Old Lyme.” We will provide details of the latter as soon as they are available.

 

 

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A la Carte: Hard to Believe, But You Can Make Mac & Cheese Glamorous! Lee Shows us How …

The perennially popular mac & cheese. Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash.

I don’t remember tasting mac and cheese until I was 14- or 18-years-old. i.e., high school or college cafeterias. Nobody made it in my house. I remember asking for it when I was fairly little, but at my house it was made with cottage cheese, sour cream, maybe butter, cinnamon and egg noodles. Basically, it was unconstructed noodle kugel.

When I was married the first time, I cooked the boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. When it was done, I put it into a Corning glass pot, sliced a tomato down the middle and ran some breadcrumbs around the tomatoes. For me, that was cooking and garnishing. Then my-then mother-in-law showed me how to make a white sauce and I made mac and cheese from scratch. (She also showed me how to make pork roast on top of sauerkraut, take it out of the oven, take them apart and add applesauce to the sauerkraut. I still make it the same way. It is delicious.)

Of course, almost everyone loves mac and cheese. As I get older, I take a lactase pill before I eat mac and cheese, as many do these days. And I will make sure I have the ingredients to make all the recipes in this month’s Food Network Magazine, of which the one below is the yummiest.

Glam Mac and Cheese

From Food Network Magazine, March 2019, page 48

Yield: serves 4

12 ounces fusilli
Kosher salt
One-third cup diced pancetta
1 small handful of fresh thyme
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon mustard powder\
Three-quarters whole milk (2 percent is fine)
1 and one-quarter cups heavy cream
7 ounces dulcelatte or gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
4 ounces parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 and one-half cups)
Freshly ground black pepper
One-quarter cup breadcrumbs
1 handful chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook just less than al dente, as the pasta will be cooked again in the oven. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta, return it to the pot and set aside.

Fry the pancetta in a medium skillet over medium heat until it just starts to brown and crisp up, then add thyme and scallions and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the skillet’s contents to the pasta.

For the sauce, put butter, flour, nutmeg and mustard powder in a small saucepan set over medium heat and cook, stirring, until butter has melted. Mix milk and cream together in a pitcher and add a little to the flour and butter in the saucepan, stirring well. Keep adding milk mixture bit by bit, stirring well each time (be sure to get into the “corners”of  the pan, as flour often lurks there). Once the sauce has fully come together, turn up the heat and boil for a minute or two. The sauce will thicken. Remove pan from the heat.

Add two-thirds of both the cheeses to the sauce while it is still hot and combine well. (It may be a bit lumpy, that is fine.) Season to taste with salt and pepper and add to the pasta mix. If the cheese sauce thickens too much, add some of the pasta water. Stir everything together and spoon into 4 large ramekins in a shallow 3-quart casserole.

Sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheese and the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble and the topping goes brown. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

About the author: Lee White (left), a former resident of Old Lyme, has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976.  She has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for the Shore Publishing newspapers, and Elan, a quarterly magazine, all of which are now owned by The Day. 

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