February 20, 2019

Needleman Announces Bill To Hold Utilities Accountable

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33rd)

AREAWIDE – Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex), whose 33rd Senate District includes Lyme, announced that he has submitted a bill that would hold utility companies accountable to better serve their customers, requiring them to improve their response times after power outages and increase vital staffing.

“An Act Concerning Utility Response Times For Restoration of Electric Service and Utility Minimum Staffing Levels,” Senate Bill No. 469, would require companies to restore electric service on an improved schedule after power outages, also requiring them to establish minimum staffing levels for line crews.

“In the last several years, response times to perform repair work after storms and outages by utility companies like Eversource have grown precipitously, causing significant delays in restoring power to Connecticut residents and businesses relying on it,” Sen. Needleman said. “It’s no coincidence, I believe, this comes as Eversource continues to reduce its repair staff and equipment, instead increasingly relying on private contractors from outside of their system. Without adequate staff, in the event of severe weather, Eversource will waste time and inconvenience customers.”

The bill’s announcement comes as Eversource is requesting a rate increase from the Public Utilities Regulation Authority, according to the Hartford Courant, citing the increased costs of repairing systems after severe storms. If that rate increase passes, the average customer could see their bill jump $1.85 per month or more than $20 annually as soon as this year.

“Why should Eversource receive a rate increase for this work when it drags its heels doing it in the first place? Connecticut taxpayers and businesses were already inconvenienced when their power remained off for days during these storms, and they shouldn’t be punished twice,” Sen. Needleman said. “If Eversource had invested in effective weather responses in the past, instead of reducing staff and equipment to save money, they wouldn’t need to ask for $150 million in repairs.”

“Businesses lose money every second their power remains out,” Sen. Needleman said. “As a business owner myself, I know these problems first-hand. My manufacturing plant in Michigan has lost power one time in 14 years, while my manufacturing plant in Centerbrook sometimes loses power for no reason at all. Connecticut needs to attract businesses, and unstable electrical systems will only drive them away.”

According to the Energy Information Agency, Connecticut residents are already charged the third-highest rates for electricity in the country in both price and expenditure.

“Eversource should provide the services it already pledges to its customers, not be rewarded for failing to implement adequate weather-related response and repair strategies,” Sen. Needleman said. “When Connecticut taxpayers are already charged one of the highest prices in the country for electricity, they should feel confident their service will remain stable, not prepare for days of outages whenever severe storms rear their head. S.B. 469 will hold Eversource and other utility providers accountable for the services their customers deserve.”

Editor’s Note: State Senator Norm Needleman was first elected in 2018 to represent the 33rd Senate District which consists of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and part of Old Saybrook. Needleman is also the first selectman of Essex, a role he has held for four terms, and the founder of Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company that employs over 250 people.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Host Kindergarten Registration Today

Registration for Kindergarten in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools for the fall of 2018 is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 28 and 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lyme Consolidated School and Mile Creek School.

Children who will be five-years-old on or before Jan. 1, 2019 are eligible to register for this year’s Kindergarten class.

While you may complete the registration process at either school, your child’s school placement will depend on District attendance zones.

Please bring to registration your child’s

  • Birth Certificate
  • Immunization/Health Records
  • Three forms of proof of residency

If you cannot register on these days or would like additional information, call either school at these numbers to place your child’s name on the Kindergarten list and/or have your questions answered:

  • Lyme Consolidated: 860-434-1233
  • Mile Creek: 860-434-2209

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools look forward to welcoming your child.

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Old Lyme Annual Meeting to be Held Tonight; Announcement of 2018 Citizen of the Year Now Postponed

9:18am, 1/28 UPDATE: We have just been informed that the announcement of the 2018 Citizen of the Year has now been postponed due to a “schedule conflict.”

Old Lyme’s Annual Town Business Meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Auditorium, 53 Lyme St.

The agenda is as follows:

  • To accept the Annual Town Report for the fiscal year July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, as submitted by the Board of Finance.
  • To announce the recipient of the Board of Selectmen’s Citizen of the Year for 2018. NOW POSTPONED
  • A request by the Board of Selectmen to appropriate $46,000.00 for Technology Upgrades.
  • To consider and vote on a resolution (a) to authorize the Town to issue and sell its notes and bonds pursuant to the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended, or any other provision of law thereto enabling, in an amount not to exceed $1,250,000 to finance an appropriation for the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library renovation project being undertaken by the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association; and (b) to authorize such other actions relating to the foregoing as may be necessary or appropriate. The full text of the foregoing resolution is on file and open to inspection at the office of the Town Clerk, Town Hall, 52 Lyme St., Old Lyme, Connecticut and on the Town website (www.oldlyme-ct.gov)
  • Election to fill a vacancy in the panel of regular members of the Board of Assessment Appeals.
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Become a Middlesex Health Hospice Volunteer

MIDDLETOWN—Middlesex Health’s Hospice Program is looking for volunteers.

Hospice volunteers are an integral part of the Middlesex Health team, and they work with patients and families as they cope with the challenges of terminal illness.

All aspiring volunteers must submit a volunteer application and complete 12 hours of training and a mentorship before they can begin their work. The next training sessions will be held on April 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and April 13 from 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Both sessions are mandatory for new volunteers and will be held in the Randy Goodwin, MD Conference Center.

For more information and to request an application, contact a Middlesex Health volunteer coordinator at 860-358-5700. 

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Letter to the Editor: Pre-K for Some, But Not All

SEE COMMENT ADDED 1/27. According to the writer of the Comment, the Region 18 Board of Education has changed its proposed policy to include children born between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31

To the Editor:

The LOL Board of Education has proposed to expand the current special-needs lottery pre-K program into one available to all children in the district. This is great news!  Unfortunately, there is a gaping hole in the proposed program. It introduces a September 1st age eligibility cut off date even though the state of Connecticut strongly encourages children turning five before January 1st to enter kindergarten. This discrepancy means that children born after September 1st cannot participate in the program the year before they are slated to begin kindergarten.

Leaving out children born in the last four months of the year results in one out of every three children in a potential incoming kindergarten class being excluded from attending pre-K. It seems to directly contradict the stated intentions of the program. If the proposed pre-K program wants to “ensure limited variability among kindergartners in terms of skills and school readiness,” then why are we leaving out one in three kids?  Surely kindergarten teachers would prefer all of their students, not just some, have access to pre-K before coming to them.

This program has the potential to be a transformative equalizing force for our children and for our town, but it needs to truly include every child in order to do so. If the program is just available for some of our children while leaving out the youngest members of an incoming kindergarten class, it becomes instead something great for only some and a way for others to be left behind, and that isn’t universal or fair.

If you are interested in signing a letter in support of having the LOL pre-K expansion program’s age eligibility align with that of Connecticut kindergarten, please go to https://tinyurl.com/preK4all and thanks!

Sincerely,

Danielle Kuczkowski,
Old Lyme.

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Wildcats Secure Two Victories on the Road to Continue Unbeaten Conference Season

Tonight, Kirk Kaczor’s Wildcats crushed the East Hampton Bellringers away 67-40. Junior Aiden Using, pictured above, led all scorers with a powerful 19 points while Connor Hogan contributed 13 vital points and eight rebounds.

Brady Sheffield notched 11 points along with eight steals and completing the tally of double-digit scoring was Jared Richie with 10 points.

Old Lyme is now 11-1 overall and 11-0 in the Shoreline.

Last Tuesday, Old Lyme soundly defeated Coginchaug 63-44.  Employing the defensive tenacity of a five-person guard rotation comprising Brady Sheffield, Ray Doll, Connor Hogan, Quinn Romeo, and Liam Holloway, the Wildcats took control of the game at an early stage. 

Brady, Jared Ritchie and Aedan Using combined to score a remarkable 47 points. 

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Old Lyme Church Seeks Return of Waterbury Resident to Husband, Two Young Children

During a sermon on Sunday, Jan. 13, the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme (FCCOL) announced it would be working with local immigration experts to return Glenda Cardena Caballero to her husband and two young children in Waterbury while her deportation case winds its way through the lengthy immigration appeals process.

Last August, her husband Miguel Torres pictured above with their two children Nathaly (11) and Keneth (7) – all of whom are U.S. citizens – were forced to watch helplessly as Glenda was taken from them by ICE, placed on an airplane and deported to Honduras.

Glenda had been in the US since 2005; she had complied with all of ICE’s directives; and her case was under appeal in the court system. Despite following immigration rules and regulations, ICE agents deported her suddenly and arbitrarily in front of her children and husband, leaving her family bereft and heartbroken.

The city to which she was deported, San Pedro Sula, is considered the most violent city in the world outside of a war zone. In December, the house where she is living with her mother was strafed with bullets; then, the very next day, she had a gun held to her head and was robbed of her money and phone on the street.

The church’s goal is to bring Glenda home to her family in the U.S. while her case continues to wind its way through the appeals process.  According to Senior Minister Steve Jungkeit, the church is:
>working to get Glenda into a safe, protected space so her husband and children won’t be constantly worried about her health and safety;
>building a case for a humanitarian parole – an exception the State Department can grant that will allow her to return to her family while her case is under appeal;
>building a community of love and support for Miguel, Nathaly and Keneth that they can lean on when the emotional toll of separation is too much to bear.

The Torres family in happier times.

Jungkiet said the church’s humanitarian efforts to help the Torres family are centered in a story from the Book of Genesis, where two family members built a cairn called a Mizpah to symbolize a peace they established after resolving a bitter dispute.  As they parted company, they said words that have become known in Hebrew and Christian beliefs as the Mizpah prayer:  “The Lord watch between thee and me while we are absent one from the other.”

The meaning of the words has evolved over time to symbolize an unbreakable emotional bond between people who have been painfully separated, and the cairn has become symbolic of a place of sanctuary where people meet during emergencies.

The church will be chronicling its humanitarian efforts on its website (www.fccol.org/BringGlendaHome) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/congregationalchurchofoldlyme).

Donations to help the family bring Glenda home can be sent to FCCOL.  Checks should be made out to FCCOL with “Immigration Assistance Fund” written on the comment line – and mailed to 2 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, CT 06371.   Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.

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Old Lyme’s Mya Johnson Named ‘Female Athlete of the Year’ by CT Sports Writers’ Alliance

Mya Johnson, a senior at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, is the recipient of the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year Award, named in honor of a former sports editor and columnist for the Waterbury newspapers whose career spanned 61 years. Johnson tallied 19 goals and 10 assists in 2018 to lead Old Lyme to its fourth straight Class S state soccer championship.

Lyme-Old Lyme Senior Captain Mya Johnson, who was named the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year yesterday by the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance. Photo by Jennifer Alexander.

She was at her best in the big moment, scoring the Wildcats’ final five goals of the tournament, including a hat trick in a 3-1 semifinal win over East Hampton and both goals in the 2-1 state title victory over longtime powerhouse Immaculate.

Trailing by a goal in the finals, she tied the score by booting home her 100th career goal, then converted the game-winner for number 101.

Johnson scored both goals for the Wildcats to defeat Immaculate 2-1 in the 2018 Class S CIAC state championship.

The list of Johnson’s awards and accolades is remarkable, reflecting her exceptional talent. She was named an All-New England player in 2018 and 2017, and selected in 2018 as The Day’s All-Area Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year and named to the Class S All-State Team both for the third time. 

Johnson, who is also an outstanding artist, will continue her career close to home next fall at Connecticut College.

Harry Stanton, a 2018 graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown and three-time college All-American lacrosse player, will receive the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year Award, named after a longtime sports editor and columnist who wrote for the Hartford Courant for nearly half a century.

Stanton, a former three-sport athlete at New Canaan High School, led Wesleyan to the school’s first-ever team national championship, an 8-6 win over Division III power Salisbury at Gillette Stadium. Stanton netted two goals and added an assist in the championship contest to earn Most Outstanding Player honors.

Johnson and Stanton will be honored at the 78th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 28, at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Gold Key Award recipients for 2019 are former college and pro basketball standouts John Bagley and Chris Smith, longtime NFL coach and Super Bowl champion Chris Palmer, St. Thomas More basketball coach Jere Quinn and ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen.

The Gold Key Dinner was inaugurated in 1940, with baseball legend Connie Mack and golf superstar Bobby Jones among the initial recipients. The roster of honorees since then reads like a Who’s Who of Connecticut sports – Joe Cronin, Julius Boros, Willie Pep, Andy Robustelli, Lindy Remigino, Floyd Little, Joan Joyce, Carmen Cozza, Otto Graham, Calvin Murphy, Joe Morrone, Gordie Howe, Bill Rodgers, Tony DiCicco, Geno Auriemma, Rebecca Lobo, Brian Leetch, Kristine Lilly, Marlon Starling and Dwight Freeney are just a few of the past Gold Key winners. A complete list is available at www.ctsportswriters.com.

Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner are $75 apiece, and may be reserved by contacting CSWA President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at tim.jensen@patch.com or 860-394-5091.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Bo Kolinsky Journalism Scholarship, named after a longtime Hartford Courant sportswriter and past CSWA president who died unexpectedly in 2003.P

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Two New Exhibitions on View at Lyme Art Association

The Lyme Art Association (LAA) presents two new juried exhibitions of work by member artists beginning Friday, Jan. 18. There will be an opening reception for these two exhibitions on Sunday, Jan. 27, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Caboched in oil by Rosemary Webber is one of the featured works in the new exhibitions at the LAA..

The Associate Artist Exhibition features works by both emerging and established artists. This mid-level artist membership includes both well-known professional artists, who are relatively new to the Lyme Art Association, as well as long-time member artists.

“Our Associate Artists are very invested and engaged here and bring their best work to every show. You will find varied subject matter, all executed with skill and enthusiasm. These are our base and we love to celebrate them in this show,” says Gallery Manager Jocelyn Zallinger.

The Newly Elected Artists Show features the nine artists, who passed through the rigorous selection requirements to become Elected Artist members of the Association. They are Ralph Acosta, Harley Bartlett, Melissa Imossi, Karen Israel, Randie Karl, Steve Linde, Mary Mellot, Judy Perry, and Michael Rogan.

Laurie Pavlos, LAA Executive Director says, “These are fabulous, highly skilled artists and we are proud to now name them among our Elected Artist ranks.” 

The LAA is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. The LAA is located at 90 Lyme St. in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Rd.

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

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Old Lyme DTC Issues Statement on Federal Shut-Down, Starts Donation Drive for Impacted Residents

Jane Cable, Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee (DTC) Chairman, has issued the following statement on behalf of the Old Lyme DTC regarding the US Federal Government partial shut-down and how the committee is responding to it locally.

‘The U.S. government has been partially shut down since Dec. 22, over President Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion for a U.S.- Mexico border wall. The Old Lyme Democratic Town Committee believes this action is intolerable for the country, and heartless toward the affected federal workers.

The Old Lyme DTC membership is donating cash and food cards to the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) to assist residents affected by the shutdown. To date, we have collected over $800 dollars in donations for the LYSB. Our commitment to provide assistance will continue until the conclusion of the shutdown.

If you would like to join us build a bridge of support, donations can be sent to the LYSB at 59 Lyme Street, P.O. Box 589, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or to
The Town of Old Lyme, Social Services at 52 Lyme St., Old Lyme, CT 06371.

If you need a donation picked up, please email us to arrange this.”

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Wildcats March on with Unbeaten Record in Shoreline

Coach Kirk Kaczor (center) leads the traditional Old Lyme boy’s huddle before resuming play after a time-out.

Continuing their dominating season Old Lyme defeated Hale Ray 59-31 last Thursday, using a 12-0 blow-out late in the third quarter to secure their fifth win in succession.  Brady Sheffield led the scoring with two three-pointers during that stretch.

Sheffield ended the night with 15 points, while Aedan Using notched 14 points and Quinn Romeo scored 10 points with nine rebounds. Liam Holloway contributed four steals.

Old Lyme is now 8-0 in the Shoreline Conference and 8-1 overall.

Jan. 14

Old Lyme crushed North Branford 86-47 in a Shoreline Conference game with Aedan Using leading the scoring for the Wildcats with 26 points and seven assists. Brady Sheffield added 13 points and seven assists to take Old Lyme to its fourth straight victory.

Mike Sitro led North Branford’s scoring with 16 points.

Old Lyme is now 7-0 in the Conference and 7-1 overall.

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The Movie Man: The Joy of Going OUT to the Movies

As the calendar progressed through December, most people were looking forward to Christmas with joy and anticipation.

For me, as I looked at the calendar last year, I found myself looking back to a December from my childhood. The year is 2003, and I am recalling the day I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on the big screen; to this day it remains my favorite movie-going experience of all time.

I’m writing this because one of my recent reviews published in LymeLine.com was for a direct-to-Netflix release, not by some forgettable children’s movie, nor an attempt at slapstick by Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler … rather it was a film by the Coen brothers.

Years ago, we witnessed the vanishing of record stores with the digital revolution via iTunes. I was not alive when it was a social occasion to go to the record store and check out whichever new album had been introduced, but I did have a high school teacher who still raves about that to this day (I’m talking to you, Mr. Braychak.)

Going to the movies has always been magical for me. I recall that Steven Spielberg shared on Inside the Actor’s Studio that even he still takes his family to the theaters.

Years ago, I wished there were ways for me to see classic films on the big screen … how they were originally released. Lately, I’ve been able to see that wish fulfilled by catching The Big Lebowski, The Shining, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly courtesy of promotions by Regal Cinema, and the treasured Coolidge Corner Theatre (for those of you who have been in the Boston area).

And I firmly hold that catching a film on the big screen in its original run is as exciting and memorable of attending a live sports event. Both sources of entertainment you can watch at home, yes, but there’s nothing like being caught up in the energy of the moment.

A while ago, I developed the mindset of thinking that seeing a film by your favorite actor or director on the big screen is akin to seeing your favorite athlete compete. I am proud to share that I frequented Fenway Park and saw David Ortiz play. In time, I’ll talk of that in the same way that older folk today mention having seen Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams play.

Similarly, the day will come when Leonardo DiCaprio departs this world, and people will tell the younger generations about being caught up in Leo-mania with Titanic; or when George Lucas leaves us, people will recount the time they saw the unexpected sci-fi empire of Star Wars take flight at their local theater in 1977.

But as this ‘release via Netflix’ trend continues to gain momentum, I have to ask if we can really imagine replacing certain occasions that are meant for the theater to be changed to accommodate the streaming method? So many romantic relationships have begun with a date at the movies (Barack and Michelle Obama saw Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee on their first time out together).

Imagine this … “Alright! I got the computer ready … wait, the battery’s dead. Let me grab my iPad! Yeah, I heard this is supposed to be really great, didn’t you say you had a crush on … oh, come on! The Wifi is down? I thought I took care of that! Give me a couple of minutes to fix this!”

It just does not work.

Photo by Julien Andrieux on Unsplash

Going to the movies is quite simply magic … even if the movie does not entertain you. I always loved the process of lining up for my ticket (and skimming the list of other flicks that are playing), getting the drinks and popcorn, and picking my seat during the idle pre-showing ads.

Then the lights slightly dim for the previews, and you make remarks to either your friends or self as to whether the movie looks interesting or you plan on skipping it. Then the lights dim all the way until they’re out, save the little ones in the aisle.

Then the real magic begins.

And when it’s over, you leave, and you chat with whoever you came with about what you thought of the movie. Good, bad, whatever, and you marvel about the people attached to the project, and when their next movie is coming out.

Photo by Karen Zhao on Unsplash

The Lord of the Rings remains one of my all-time favorite movies. My love for the trilogy is increased all-the-more whenever I recall the day I went to see the final installment on the big screen on Dec. 20, 2003 … mainly because I felt like I was on my own personal quest towards seeing this film.

From Christmas of 2002 until the day I saw The Return of the King, I was on a metaphorical journey through the trilogy, in which I waited several months for opportunities to see each installment on DVD. This was also accompanied by a move to the home in which I would spend the rest of my childhood. Granted it was from Old Lyme to Lyme, so I would not be dropped somewhere with which I had no familiarity whatsoever, but leaving the place I had spent two thirds of my life was a big deal.

Not exactly like being taken halfway across the country and plopped in a totally foreign environment, like some others experience. But I was leaving the home that I had lived in for nearly nine years — three quarters of my life. It was all I knew.

We moved from Chestnut Hill in April of that year. But we did not move into our eventual home on Hamburg Road until that November. The home’s previous resident had dozens of animals on her property (some of you may be fondly smiling as you will recognize to whom I’m referring) and her new residence was not finished.

We therefore arranged a real estate deal that involved us renting the home to her, and since we had already sold our home, we briefly rented a home on Griswold Point. It was a beautiful home right on the Lieutenant River, and my mother raves that it was her favorite house. The only downside for my brothers and me was … it had no cable. Not something kids want to hear. But no cable meant … more time for The Lord of the Rings.

When we finally moved to Hamburg Road that November, the adaptation of the journey’s end in The Lord of the Rings seemed to go hand-in-hand with the fact that my own residence journey had also ended. All I had to do was wait another month.

But lo and behold, I was never a good student, and I got in trouble academically, resulting in the loss of my media privileges for over a month, which, in turn, meant I could not see The Return of the King.

What a devastating blow to the gut!

However, my mom understood how much this movie meant to me, so she made a compromise: if I went an entire week without a teacher calling to say I was missing homework, my punishment would be lifted (how bad a student do you have to be for a compromise like that?)

Luckily for me, I made it in time, and the Saturday after the film was released, Dec. 20, I ventured off with a friend to the Marquee Cinemas in Westbrook to catch the final installment. I remember standing in the long line, fretting over whether we would find a seat with a good view, drinking all of my soda before the movie started (and subsequently suppressing my need to use the bathroom for the next three hours), and once the movie was over … clapping vigorously when the words ‘The End’ appeared on the screen.

I left the theater more than satisfied.

I left fulfilled.

But I wonder how different this story would be had Netflix started the streaming business back then, and Peter Jackson opted for this method? I could not imagine myself getting hyped up for a groundbreaking movie that I would watch at home, leaning forward on my couch at the TV, no matter how sophisticated the device is?

If this is an action/adventure movie, and special effects are supposed to be out of this world, do I really want to see it on a 50-inch TV, and miss out on the sound system the theaters have? As much as we rave about Game of Thrones and treat each new episode as a social occasion, we can tell the special effects are not of the same quality as those we enjoy in full-length features. It’s almost as if everybody in the entertainment industry understands this.

Should the next Star Wars movie have the option for watching at home, I surely would skip that and go through whatever it might take to see it on the big screen, as it deserves. My plea to Hollywood legends is to not opt for the easier option, regardless of how much profit it might generate.

I certainly pray that if Mr. Spielberg reads this (first, I would faint upon learning he decided to read LymeLine.com!), he continues to respect the importance of the social aspect of movie-going … and that the rest of movie-dom join him in that belief.

Editor’s Note: Top photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

Kevin Ganey

About the Author: Kevin Ganey has lived in the Lyme/Old Lyme area since he was three-years-old, attended Xavier High School in Middletown and recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with a degree in Media Studies. Prior to his involvement here at LymeLine.com, he worked for Hall Radio in Norwich, as well as interned under the Director of Communications at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center. Kevin has a passion for movies, literature, baseball, and all things New England-based … especially chowder.

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Letter from Paris: Picasso’s Early Years on View in Blue … and Pink

Nicole Prévost Logan

In October 1900, Picasso – at age 19 – arrived at the Gare d’Orsay in Paris from Barcelona. So, it is appropriate that the Orsay Museum would host an exhibition about the young Spanish artist.

The blockbuster, which opened in the autumn of 2018, was called “Picasso. Bleu, Rose” and refers to the 1900-1906 years. It is a long overdue theme, never before treated in France.

For several reasons, this period is unique among Picasso’s long career. It reveals the precocious virtuosity of such a young person as a draughtsman;
never again will he express such intense emotions; Harlequin — a main character from the Commedia del’arte — is introduced for the first time and will remain his double throughout his life’s work. The image at right shows “Arlequin with an acrobat” (1905) portrayed as a young and emaciated boy.

Between 1900 and 1904, Picasso made several trips between Spain and Paris, until he settled permanently in the French capital where he rented a studio, along with other artists, in a dilapidated building baptized the Bateau-Lavoir (washhouse.)

He liked to hang around at the tavern of Els Quatre Gats (Four Cats) in Barcelona where he met Catalan friends – such as Santiago Rusinol or Ramon Casos. The exhibit shows hundreds of the small portraits and sketches, sometimes humorous, that he created at full speed.

With a voracious curiosity, he would watch the colorful, loud crowds at cabarets, bordellos, night clubs or caf’concs (cafés with a music hall performance) of Montmartre.

Toulouse Lautrec was his idol.

Like him, Picasso depicted the dejected night-life customers stunned under the effect of absinthe. “Arlequin and his companion” (1901, Pushkin museum, Moscow) shown at left represents a couple totally alienated from each other, sitting at a bistro table, with vacuous expressions on their faces.

The man is Harlequin, dressed in his usual costume with lozenges.

The “Portrait of Gustave Coquiot” (1901, Musee d’art moderne, Paris) at right is emblematic of this garish night life. The collector and art critic is depicted as a well-fed individual, with half naked girls dancing in the background, his mouth snarled in a lecherous grimace, under an insolent mustache.

But those years were lean years for Picasso. Both in Barcelona and in Paris Picasso lived in utter poverty.

This was the height of his “Blue Period” — the color of the bottom of the abyss. Beggars, orphans, the poor — Picasso showed his empathy for all of them.

He would take for models the former prostitutes incarcerated at the Saint Lazare prison in Barcelona, where many were dying of venereal diseases .

One usually links the Blue Period with the death of his close friend Casagemas in 1901 The painting at left of the young Catalan artist on his death bed, (1901, Musee Picasso, Paris) is realistic and shows the bullet wound on his temple after he committed suicide. The feverish multicolor strokes around the candle are reminiscent of van Gogh’s technique.

Abject poverty did not prevent Picasso from leading a lively, bohemian life among artists, poets, writers in the Montmartre district of the French capital, which was the center of the artistic world at that time.

The German art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler immediately discovered the genius of Picasso. Things started looking up when art merchant Ambroise Vollard bought several of his paintings. His melancholy disappeared when he fell passionately in love with Fernande Olivier, one of his many companions whose body and face he kept deconstructing.

The distinction between Blue and Pink Periods is rather artificial. Sadness lingered on through both periods.

Pink became predominant when the artist became interested in the circus world. Several times a week he would go to the cirque Medrano. But unlike other artists like Seurat, Rouault or Matisse, he was not interested in the spectacles per se but rather in what happened backstage and in the miserable existence of the acrobats.

In “Acrobate a la boule” (at right), a frail adolescent is trying to keep his (her) balance on a round ball watched by a heavy set acrobat sitting on a massive cube. Art historians give a deep meaning to the scene, to the contrast between the spiritual world, taking risks, being continually in motion with the stability of life grounded in the earth.

In the summer of 1906, Picasso’s life took a new turn. Being with Fernande on the hillside village of Gozolf, he seemed totally happy, enjoying the sun and inspired by the pink and ochre color of the clay. He discovered the Iberian sculptures of the fifth and sixth centuries BC influenced by Phoenician and Greek cultures as well as 12th century medieval sculptures.

His art seems to be changing course. In “Deux Nus” (1906, MOMA), shown at left, the bodies of the naked women, are deformed, with disproportionate legs and heavy torso. Picasso was ready for another discovery … African art.

Matisse showed him an African statuette in the apartment of Gertrude and Leo Stein. Picasso was stunned.

As a result, after numerous sketches, (the Steins bought most of them when Picasso was still unknown), Picasso produced the ‘Demoiselles d’Avignon’ (1907, MOMA), which remains probably the most important painting of the 20th century.

Editor’s Note: This is the opinion of Nicole Prévost Logan.

Nicole Prévost Logan

About the author: Nicole Prévost Logan divides her time between Essex and Paris, spending summers in the former and winters in the latter. She writes a regular column for us from her Paris home where her topics will include politics, economy, social unrest — mostly in France — but also in other European countries. She also covers a variety of art exhibits and the performing arts in Europe. Logan is the author of ‘Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s Thirty Years in the Foreign Service,’ an autobiography of her life as the wife of an overseas diplomat, who lived in 10 foreign countries on three continents. Her experiences during her foreign service life included being in Lebanon when civil war erupted, excavating a medieval city in Moscow and spending a week under house arrest in Guinea.

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Sing Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ with Cappella Cantorum in April 14 Concert

Join the Cappella Cantorum Masterworks Chorus for registration and its first rehearsal of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” on Monday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m., at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 Winthrop Rd., Deep River (use rear entrance).

The lyricism and use of orchestral and choral color in “Elijah” reflect Mendelssohn’s genius as an early Romantic composer.This inspiring work will be performed in concert Sunday, April 14, at John Winthrop with professional orchestra and soloists.

Simon Holt of the Salt Marsh Opera will direct. All singers and high school students are welcome; auditions are not required.

Registration is $50 plus cost of music. Late registration is the following Monday, Jan. 14, same time and place. Singers may register on-line or in person at John Winthrop.

For more information, visit www.CappellaCantorum.org or call 860-526-1038.

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New York Philharmonic String Quartet and Mihae Lee Open Essex Winter Series 42nd Season This Afternoon

New York Philharmonic Pricipal String Quartet, 11/26/16. Photo by Chris Lee

Essex Winter Series’ 42nd season begins with a stunning program of Haydn, Dvorak, and Schumann performed by the New York Philharmonic String Quartet and Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River.

The New York Philharmonic String Quartet comprises four Principal musicians from the Orchestra, including Concertmaster Frank Huang; Principal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl Staples; Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps; and Principal Cello Carter Brey. The group formed in January 2017, during the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season, and made its debut as the solo ensemble in John Adams’s Absolute Jest in March 2017.

The Quartet will start the program with the delightful Haydn Quartet Op. 72, No. 2 and end the first half with the iconic Dvorak’s “American” Quartet. Mihae Lee will join them for the brilliant Schumann Piano Quintet in the second half. 

Essex Winter Series’ season continues on Feb. 17 with the Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert featuring the Midiri Brothers Sextet with special guest Jeff Barnhart performing the music of reeds giants Benny Goodman, Jimmy Noone, Artie Shaw and more.

On March 17, violinist Tai Murray (the 2019 Fenton Brown Emerging Artist) joins the New Haven Symphony Orchestra under the direction of William Boughton for a program featuring Mozart, Prokofiev, Barber, and Hadyn.

The final concert of the series is Chanticleer, known around the world as “an orchestra of voices,” celebrating their 40th year with a program of favorites composers, from Palestrina and Victoria to Mason Bates and Steven Stucky, as well as audience favorite arrangements by Jennings, Shaw and others on April 7.

All performances take place on Sundays at 3 p.m. with the January and March concerts at Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Rd., Deep River; the February jazz concert at John Winthrop Middle School, 1 John Winthrop Middle School Road, Deep River; and the April concert at Old Saybrook Senior High School, 1111 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook.

Seating is general admission and tickets may be purchased by calling 860-272-4572 or visiting www.essexwinterseries.com.

The 2019 season is generously sponsored by The Clark Group, Essex Meadows, Essex Savings Bank, Jeffrey N. Mehler CFP LLC, Masonicare at Chester Village, Tower Laboratories, Guilford Savings Bank, and BrandTech Scientific.

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College Steps Offers New Program at Conn. College

College Steps is launching a new program for Fall 2019 at Connecticut College to provide supports for young adults living with social, communication, or learning challenges through a unique, individualized, and peer-based model serving high school transition students interested in a college experience prior to graduation, those exiting high school, as well as students already enrolled in college.

College Steps’ primary goal is to prepare students for meaningful careers and autonomy after graduation from college, placing a strong emphasis on self-advocacy, social competencies, employment, and independent living skills. Students work with trained peer mentors who are supported by a full-time, on-site Program Coordinator at Connecticut College.

Prospective students, families, school district personnel, and advocates interested in learning more about this exciting new initiative are invited to attend public information sessions hosted by Family Wise Solutions on Friday, Jan. 11 and Saturday, Jan. 12, with light fare catered by Mystic Market.

Register at admissions@collegesteps.org to confirm attendance.

Attendees will learn about specific services offered, including the individualized support model, admissions process and associated costs.

These information sessions will be held at Family Wise Solutions at 4 Broadway Avenue Extension (3rd Floor), Mystic, CT 06378. *The location is on the 3rd floor of the building and unfortunately there is no elevator access. Reach out at admissions@collegesteps.org to arrange an individualized meeting if
this does not meet your needs.

The priority application deadline for Fall 2019 enrollment with College Steps at Connecticut College is March 1, 2019.

Additional information is available at www.CollegeSteps.org.

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Tonight, Lyme-Old Lyme HS Show Choir Debuts Story of Local Syrian Family; All Welcome, Ticket Includes Pre-Event Dinner

On Thursday, Jan. 10, Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s (LOLHS) Show Choir, Amped Up, will debut its 2019 competition show, Rise, to the community in the high school auditorium. The show will be preceded by a Gala Dinner in the high school commons starting at 6 p.m., during which soloists will perform.

Members of the Lyme-Old Lyme High Show Coir rehearse ‘Rise,’ which will be performed Thursday in an event open to the community, which includies a Pre-show Gala Dinner.

What is this ‘Show Choir,’ you may ask? Well, it’s group of people singing and dancing to songs that link together to tell a story.

Think Glee. 

But this story means a great deal more than just sparkly costumes and bright lights. Darin Hamou, a junior at LOLHS, fled her home in Syria with her family two years ago and came to Old Lyme. It was then that she joined the LOLHS Chorus and met Kristine Pekar, the choral director at the high school. 

“I love her so much,” says Hamou, adding, “She is a second mom to me.”

Pekar, affectionately known as “KP” by her students, constantly works to provide the best possible experience for every child she teaches. She is always searching for new ways to share her love of music while continuing to inspire both herself and others. Her passion for performing and deep desire to continue experimenting with new ideas led to the creation of Amped Up in 2017. 

This year’s show, titled “Rise,” follows Darin and her family’s journey to the United States, featuring songs like I Gotta Feelin’ by the Black Eyed Peas, Rise by Katy Perry, and Come Alive from The Greatest Showman. The original choreography is by Ashley Racicot. 

“We hear about wars in far-flung parts of the world and the refugees spawned by conflict, but then we go about our usual lives and routines without really processing what it means on a human level,” says Pekar. “I think the show opened up a dialogue between Darin and the students here at LOLHS.”

She continued, “They now have a personal connection to Darin and have heard first-hand of the hardships she and her family faced. They now understand that this is a reality for many people in the world.”

Lyme-Old Lyme High School junior Darin Hamou, center in foreground, teaches a Kurdish dance to members of the LOLHS Show Choir in preparation for the upcoming performance of Rise. The show is based on the real-life story of her family’s escape from Syria as refugees and ultimate arrival in Old Lyme.

The students have had the opportunity to learn traditional Kurdish dancing and a few words of Arabic from Darin, a completely new experience for them. Not only have they learned about the work required to put on a performance, but they have also had the opportunity to gain an understanding of different cultures. 

Telling such a meaningful story has helped the students feel connected to the songs they are performing. “I am honored to be representing the Hamous,” says Philip Sweeney, the soloist who portrays Darin’s father in the show. “I hope this story can inspire people to help those who are struggling and provide light to this important issue.”

Other soloists include senior Hannah Morrison, who portrays Darin’s mother, and junior Emma Bass, who plays Darin. “It feels really special to know that we are representing the Hamous,” says Bass. “I think it’s making us work harder to try to make them proud of the way that we are portraying their story.”

“Telling this story through Show Choir is powerful because the audience not only sees the family and their journey through life, but they also experience that journey through music and dance,” adds Morrison. She notes, “The tones of the songs are very purposeful in that they serve to draw the audience into the story and make them feel as though they are a part of the story, rather than solely the viewers of it.”

Amped Up would like the whole community to be a part of this story. The performance on Thursday at 6 p.m. will include dinner in the LOLHS Commons while students perform solo numbers, followed by the debut of the show in the adjoining auditorium.

All net proceeds from the event will help the Show Choir offset the costs of their costumes, equipment, and other competition expenses. 

“By presenting the story with music, we can connect more to the emotions of these terrible experiences and realize that this is happening to people just like us,” says Pekar. “I hope people come to the gala to enjoy a great dinner and see a meaningful, exciting show.”

Tickets at $25, which include hors d’oeuvres, a catered buffet dinner and dessert, can be purchased at https://lolhschoirs.ticketleap.com/amped-up/

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All About Alewives: Hear About Their Impact on Rogers Lake at RLA Meeting

Looking for an opportunity to learn much more about Rogers Lake?

The Lyme/Old Lyme Rogers Lake Authority will host Professor David Post of Yale University at their next monthly meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 7:30 p.m. Post will give a presentation titled, “Alewives, and the Ecology and Evolution of Rogers Lake.”

Post and his associates have been undertaking studies on Rogers Lake for over 15 years.

He will discuss his team’s findings and observations along with the impact of alewives on fishing and water quality. Surprisingly, alewives impact both water quality and bass fishing in Rogers Lake.  

Alewives

The event will be held at the Rogers Lake West Shores Association
Clubhouse, 75 Rogers Lake Trail in Old Lyme.

All are welcome including Rogers Lake residents, fisherman and concerned citizens

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SE CT Legislators Including Sen. Formica & Sen.-Elect Needleman, Submit Bill To Allow Online, In-Person Betting at CT Casinos

(Press Release) State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) and members of the Southeastern Connecticut legislative delegation have submitted a bipartisan bill for the 2019 legislative session that would amend Connecticut’s existing state laws to allow for online and in-person sports betting at Connecticut casinos.

State Senator-Elect Norm Needleman
State Senator Paul Formica (R-20th)

The proposed law would include age and location verification requirements designed to block online access to persons under the age of 21 from betting on sports.

Since last May, when the United States Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law banning sports wagering, eight states now offer legalized sports betting, including nearby Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. New York has passed enabling legislation but has not yet instituted sports betting, and several other U.S. states – including Connecticut – are now considering it.

Rhode Island – which just launched sports betting in November – estimates it will collect $11.5 million in new state revenue in its first seven months of operation.

“Connecticut needs to play catch-up with surrounding states if we’re serious about modernizing our existing gaming industry. Fortunately, we can do that with a relatively simple regulatory fix,” said Sen. Osten, who represents Ledyard and a portion of Montville, home to Connecticut’s two Native American tribes that already operate gaming casinos.

She continued, “The U.S. Supreme Court decision last year paved the way for the expansion of private-sector sports betting, and I think Connecticut is in a good position to take advantage of that. We have the infrastructure with the tribal casinos, we can use the new revenue, and we’ve got bipartisan support. This should be an early session success story.”

“Neighboring states are already ahead of Connecticut on sports betting, but I think it’s an issue we can quickly catch up on that will have positive employment, economic and revenue impacts on Connecticut, “ said Sen.-elect Norm Needleman (D-Essex). 

He noted, “Two of Connecticut’s top-10 largest employers will benefit from this bill. The U.S. Supreme Court has already cleared the way legally, so I believe it’s incumbent on us as state policymakers to do what’s necessary to remain relevant and profitable in a rapidly expanding new national industry.”

The bill, with the current working number of LCO 578, is co-sponsored by Sens. Osten, Steve Cassano, Paul Formica, Heather Somers, and Sen.-elect Needleman, and by state Reps. Ryan, Christine Conley, Emmett Riley, Joe de la Cruz, Susan Johnson, Doug Dubitsky, Mike France and Holly Cheeseman.

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Wildcats Overwhelm Bellringers 70-29, Continue Unbeaten Conference Run

Playing on their home court, Old Lyme crushed East Hampton Monday evening ultimately winning by 70-29. Coach Kirk Kaczor said by email, “The boys played their best game of the season.” 

Aedan Using leaps to make a shot in this file photo from the Old Lyme game against the Haddam-Killingworth Cougars.

Aedan Using led the team with an extraordinary 21 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals. 

Brady Sheffield added 11 points and, in Kaczor’s word, “… did a fantastic job of setting the tone on the defensive end.”

Connor Hogan added 10 points. 

The win advances the Wildcats to 6-1 overall and 6-0 in the Shoreline Conference. 

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